hal higdon training plan

Building a Marathon Playlist

I love listening to music when I run. I think it actually can enhance my performance. Sometimes, when I’m just listening to a certain song, my heart rate will go up and I will want to go run, or if I’m at home doing “my thing”, clean faster. In fact, this song is making my heart rate elevated right now:

Can anyone listen to this and NOT get pumped up? It’s now on my race playlist. Twice. Once in the beginning and once at the end.

Side note: It’s not a very good idea to listen to your fast playlist and drive. Just sayin’.

My playlist is vast and varied. I look for good race songs all year long and add them when I hear them a few times and pass the “I won’t get annoyed at this song after a week” test. I have country, rock, instrumental (example above), teeny bopper, and old school. It would be boring to give you my entire playlist – I mean really, who DOESN’T have “Roar”, “Eye of the Tiger”, “Lose Yourself” and “Runnin’ Down a Dream” on their playlist? How about “The Fighter” by Gym Class Heroes? So here’s a few highlights that may differ from your own.

“Come on, feet…got ta get me there!” This one makes me smile and think of making it to the finish line.

“Got ta walk on…. I’m so tired… but I just can’t lose my stride!”

Then there’s this one. It’s pretty obvious just by the title, “Ignition”.  If anything, listen to the chorus at :47. Again, how can you NOT run faster to this one?

I have two different “Animals” songs, one by Nickelback and the other by Martin Garrix. They are both heart thumpers.

Here’s a different sort, and I know it’s not everyone’s thing, but I use these two songs as a “triggers”. I used them in Boston when we were to start heading up, up, up around mile 15-16. I knew it was time to kick it in gear when I hear them. That’s when your body tires and your mind needs to stay sharp.  The hardest part is coming. Hard work it is.

 

The song below makes me want to run mountains. Big mountains with Vikings and lions and fight people wearing bear coats. I have the short, 2 minute version on my playlist.

Then I’ve got “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark”, “Just Push Play”, various AC/DC songs (but not Highway to Hell, that would be way too obvious), “The Distance”, “Higher Ground”, “Kickstart My Heart”, songs like that. But near the “it’s mental more than physical” part (ok, that’s pretty much the entire thing), I have put a nice little reminder of what I’m trying to do and where I want to go and why I’m putting myself through this. After all, it’s all about Boston.

What are your go-to race songs? Have taper madness before?

 

 

 

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, boston red sox, hal higdon training plan, marathon, marathon training, no fear, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Marathon Prep 101 – How I Do It

March 22, 2015

March 22, 2015

As you know, I’m in taper mode over here at Running Boston and Beyond, and I have to say this is one of the first times I can remember having a hard time with it. The race is next Sunday, March 22nd, and I’m way more agitated, annoyed, grumpy, and moody than my normal sun shiny self. The only real reason I can come up with the difference in this taper is that my actual training cycle has been much shorter, thanks to my 70.3 paired with shin splint denial. I didn’t even start speed work until the first of the year. From everything I can gather, I’m ready, and that particular detail will not matter in my race results. I believe the other variables will have the final say.

Anyway, I’m coming down the last stretch, and there’s a lot to do. Lists, grocery shopping, more lists, playlists, and race planning. I think we runners can all learn from each other, so I thought I’d share what I do to get ready for a marathon, besides getting on everyone’s nerves and randomly breaking out in tears.

Everyone has their own thing, but this is mine. I tweak it here and there for all my races depending on the location and all that, but the basics remain the same. Maybe it can help you prepare for your race as well.

This probably deserves it's own category, but taking weather into account is a must-do, but you cannot mentally take yourself out of the game if it's not looking perfect. My last BQ was with heavy rain and wind the first 10 miles.

This probably deserves it’s own category, but taking weather into account is a must-do, but you cannot mentally take yourself out of the game if it’s not looking perfect. My last BQ was with heavy rain and wind the first 10 miles.

  • Playlist preparation – this one is a doozy for me. It takes a LOT of time, because I don’t just compile my music, oh no, I have a specific order of songs and I time them based on where I SHOULD be during my race. I have an excel spreadsheet where I can enter the song title and length so I can put my really good “pump-it-up” songs when I know I’ll need them the most.  Music actually helps me focus and keep my mind off the discomfort I will be feeling during that 26.2+.

 

  • Long-term pre-race nutrition plan (the three days before race until evening meal on race eve) – this is one of the most important parts of the overall nutrition plan. I’ve bonked during a marathon before (made it to mile 6 and quit at the half) and vowed to never do it again, so I take nutrition extremely seriously. I write down the different foods that I will consume during these three days. I am very carb-heavy, but I also throw in a LOT of protein in the form of meat. That’s just one of my things – I eat a lot of meat pre-marathon. I do not have specific meals planned to a T, I just write what I will eat on each day. Some of the items included are oatmeal, grits, white noodles, white rice, quinoa, grilled chicken, and casseroles with noodes/rice and chicken. I go light on the milk and cheese during these days. Or at least I try.

 

  • Make a race plan – These are the specific activities I will do and the time I plan to do them from race eve until the gun starts, and I go backwards from the gun. Here’s mine so far, and I know I will be tweaking it until the night before the race. Why do I do this? So I don’t even have to think about when I do anything before the race. It’s already planned and is a no-brainer. And then I won’t forget things either.
    • 6:35 am – race starts
    • 6:15-6:30 – eat chomps/stingers
    • 6:00-6:15 – use bathroom, take ibuprofen
    • 5:30-6:00 Drop supplies at water station, use bathroom, focus, find friends, laugh, check weather, try not to throw up.
    • 5:00 – Arrive at race start after dropping vehicle at finish line with my post-race clothes and recovery drinks in it (Husband is heading up a water station and he has to be there early so I’m going with him so I can have a dry/warm car to sit in).
    • 5:00 – Eat banana or PB bread, probably both
    • 4:00 – Get up, stretch, write goal pace times on arm, check Garmin
    • 2:30 (am) – Eat big pre-race meal and hydrate, try to get back to sleep
    • 8:00 pm night before – Check weather and verify clothes needed – be sure they’re bagged and labeled
    • 7:30ish – Eat big meal (hamburger on a bun) and hydrate; check Garmins to be sure they’re charged.
    • See what I mean? There’s a lot of detail in these, but if you think everything through and plan, you should find yourself not frantic or realizing you forgot something the morning of your race.

 

  • Make supply lists – I start from the bottom and work my way up. Shoes, socks, tights, shorts, undies, bra, tank, short sleeve, long sleeve, throw away shirt and gloves, BIB, gum, iPod, earphones, arm warmers (cheap socks with the feet cut out), hair ties, nutrition, EVERYTHING I may possibly need for race day, before and after the race. It’s a long list, but again, it takes away the possibility of forgetting something.

 

I'm sure I'll add a few more items....

I’m sure I’ll add a few more items….

  • Plan race nutrition – This one takes practice.  I can take my gum out of my mouth, open the gu, eat it, put gum back in, all while having it timed so after I’m done, I will run upon an aid station and wash it down with water.  One thing I know from other people’s mistakes though, is FOLLOW through with your race nutrition plan. I’m going to take a Gu every 6 miles, even if I feel like Meb, unless I feel I need one sooner, then I’ll adjust on the fly. NEVER wait too long to fuel or it could very well be too late. Make a plan and follow it, but also allow yourself a little bit of flexibility if you’re not feeling right.

 

I'll probably have one more Gu just to be sure.

I’ll probably have one more Gu just to be sure.

  • Plan race strategy – I’m hoping to run a negative split race, so I need to start more conservatively. I don’t know what the weather will be, so I may have to make adjustments, but I have a nice range of per mile times I need to 1) get me to Boston and 2) get me a dream PR. I know where I need to be to BQ, which is the goal, so these are the times I will write on my arm with a Sharpie, so I won’t have to do any math while racing. In Boston, it was great to know that at the 10k mark, I saw my goal time on my arm, was one minute ahead of that, so knew I had a 1 minute cushion. I think one of the keys here is to make your plan and stick with it. At the end, if you have gas, push the pedal to the metal, but don’t do it too early or you may just run out.

 

  • Visualize your run – This one came about the first time I ran a marathon for time. It evolved naturally for me, but I had read about visualization in Hal Higdon’s book. It used to start a few days before the race, but now this process starts several weeks before the marathon and sometimes, my husband will find me staring at the wall, only to distract me out of my first place finish fantasy. Haha, really, I imagine this: a good, strong run (one of those awesome days), hearing steady, strong footsteps on the pavement, even, strong breathing, taking my water at the aid stations, passing the mile markers, crossing the finish line with my arms up and a smile on my face. I do this when I am training, when I write blogs, when I am doing house work. It’s a great tool to build confidence and to visualize yourself going through with the race and meeting your goals.

 

Always have to keep this in mind.

Always have to keep this in mind.

  • Think positive, be realistic, have no fear – Running marathons is such a mental game. I’m one week away as I write this and I’m not in a good place mentally. The difference is that I know this is the typical up and down I have before a big race where I’ve set major goals. I’ll be ok. I’ve also decided that I will not allow myself to give up at the end, when I’m most tired and probably struggling. I’ve planned how to attack, how to talk to myself, how to keep my knees up and get the miles done successfully, how to focus on the end, not the process. This is something different that I’ve never done. I KNOW it will be hard, but I KNOW it will be worth it in the end.

 

I know it's going to hurt, I know it's going to be hard, but I know it will be worth it.

I know it’s going to hurt, I know it’s going to be hard, but I know it will be worth it.

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, hal higdon training plan, interval training, marathon, marathon training, no fear, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, training for marathon, training for marathon hal higdon training plan, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

A Letter To Shoe Companies and More

PART I: Shoes

My letter would read like this:

Dear Shoe Company,

I love innovation and cool new things. I really do. But there’s also something to be said for the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Changing shoe designs so much that the sizing is different is just friggin’ wrong. You’re messing your runners up, so STOP IT! People are becoming hoarders because of your shenanigans. Yes, they go buy all the old pairs of shoes that fit them because they know you are going to ruin it with your “innovation”. This could eventually lead them to financial ruin, too. See what one simple change can do? Please stop, unless you can just keep some of the old models around, oh, like FOREVER.

Thanks, love ya, mean it, and by the way, I’m switching to another company!

Love,

Kelli

I know the other company is just going to do the same damn thing, too. We’re screwed.

Anyway, I got my new Asics Nimbus this weekend, and I was excited since the new concept was super cool. I put it on my tired foot on Sunday when I got home from an equally awesome/horrible trip down to Myrtle Beach to take the RRCA Coaching Certification class. And within five minutes, my toe was going numb. Seriously, they were too short. I wear a 9W and have for several years, but my foot didn’t all of a sudden grow, heck no, the shoe is smaller. As I mourned the loss of my dream of having beautiful new Nimbus’s? Nimbuses? Nimbusses? Nimbus’? I ended up chatting with a rep from Roadrunner Sports and BAM, ordered a pair of the new Adidas Ultra Boost. Remember, I’m currently in a love affair with the regular Boosts. Anyway, I figured THEY would be too small because that’s what shoe companies do and I’d end up not having any new cool shoes to wear, BUT, two days after I ordered them, I opened the new box and channeled Carrie Bradshaw.

I’ve run in them already, and I can officially say that I’m infatuated.

Maybe the color will make me run faster?

Maybe the color will make me run faster?

PART II: Class

I was so thrilled and lucky to be a part of the RRCA Coaching Certification Course last weekend. What better environment than a room filled with runners talking about running? It’s like my kind of heaven! I was in an extremely diverse group, from new runners to very experienced runners with decades of coaching experience to one of the authors of “Run Less, Run Faster”. This class reinforced what I already thought I knew, and it taught me a few things that I certainly did not know (well, more than just a few).  Most importantly, it gave me the confidence to put my experience and knowledge together to successfully build a training program. My husband is my first guinea pig, my sister is second, then back to hubby for another go-round.  Do I want to do this for a living? Yes, I could see this for myself, mostly beginners or someone new to a structured training plan, but my goal and focus has been and will continue to be towards kids. Do what you love, love what you do, right?

rrca

The horrible part of the weekend started about 7:00 pm that Saturday of the training. We stayed on Ocean Blvd in Myrtle Beach, along the strip, so to speak, and it turned into a drag strip for all the teens on spring break who wanted to rev their souped up engines and annoy all the old fogeys trying to rest and sleep before 2:00 am.  Hour after hour passed with them making so much noise, the room literally shook. I didn’t get to sleep, well, ever, because I don’t remember actually waking up. I just remember being up all night. I got up to run at 5:30, which was actually 4:30 because of the time change, and at least I saw an amazing sunrise.  I made it fine through the day (probably because we talked about running all day), but let’s just say I passed out Sunday night around 8:00 pm. And I was happy.

Myrtle Beach sunrise

Myrtle Beach sunrise

I took and passed the test with a 94% (angry that I missed six questions and can’t find out which ones were wrong, but the thing had me tied up in knots because some of the answers weren’t clear to me because of my overthinking). I passed and so now just need to complete my First Aid course, and I’ll be good to go! Whohooo!

Part III: Training

I’m still hanging out in taper mode and haven’t gone nuts yet. YET. I’m doing what I normally do, planning, worrying, checking the weather, second guessing my training, but I’m also focusing on the whole “getting comfortable with being uncomfortable”. I didn’t get a good run in over the weekend, as explained above, but I got in a nice pace run on Monday.

It warmed up enough for tanks and SWEAT!

It warmed up enough for tanks and SWEAT!

Tuesday, I did four 1-mile repeats: 6:51, 6:52, 7:13, 7:01. I was tird. My legs were a little sore on Wednesday, so I had a nice and easy 4 miler, then a 4 mile pace run today. Well, it was faster than pace at 8:02, but wasn’t necessarily fast. I’m off Friday and I’m honestly not sure what I’m going to run this weekend. I want to get in 10-12 easy miles, but it depends on a few things.  No matter what, it’ll seem so short! Next week is going to be weird with only having a few miles a few times all week. But then then big race is almost HERE, so it’s time to rest up and prepare!

Part IIII: New Find

I went to Costco last week, and I don’t know if you’re like this, but I want to buy everything when I go in there. It happens at Whole Foods too. I browsed a lot and ended up finding this stuff.

 

I'm NuttZo for this stuff. Har har.

I’m NuttZo for this stuff. Har har.

I’m sort of happy and sort of in sticker shock that I didn’t check the price before I bought it and got it home, but I’ve been adding a spoon to my morning smoothie, and it is delish! It’s not great by itself, which is why I add it to smoothies or put on a wild rice cake. Just thought I’d share, but don’t let your eyes fall out of your head when you see the price. Just don’t look.

So how is everyone doing? I’ve been out of the loop a bit but since next week is taper and I’m not supposed to start projects (I was seriously considering painting a room), I’ll have lots of time to catch up! Have you ever bought something inadvertently expensive? Do you get annoyed with loud and annoying drivers?

Categories: Boston Marathon, coaching, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, hal higdon training plan, interval training, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, rrca coaching certification, running, running buddies, running with friends, training for marathon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

It’s THAT Time

taperYes, it’s taper time, bitches, and you know what that means?? It’s time to get my game face on and freak out prepare for this marathon! And I’m totally 100% exhausted. From checking race day weather. Oh, and running my 16 miler this morning since there’s no way in HELL I can get that done before my 8:00 am class plus time change on Sunday morning. There’s no rest for the weary as there’s kid stuff to do tonight. One has soccer and one has a party. Until 9:15. I’m like, WTF, I want to be getting ready for bed at 9:15!!! Hence the cuppa coffee next to me right now. I’ll taper next week.

imfl3

I’m off to RRCA Coach Certification class bright and early tomorrow morning for two full days of learning. I’m really excited about it. It will be a good distraction from my race and all that weather checking that does me absolutely no good besides freaking me out and giving me bouts of depression and anxiety. I never said it was a smart thing to do, I’m just being honest. It’s actually pretty dumb, but I’m still going to do it. Obsessively. Until the race.

Anyway, I did get a good 16 mile run in today, the last 6 being quite a bit faster than the first 10. I ran with a friend, which made it about a billion times better since we got a nice cold front and it wasn’t very pleasant out. I don’t think I fueled enough last night as I pretty much ran out of gas with half a mile left. I learned I liked Salted Caramel Gu, ran a new route that takes me through a gorgeous part of Wilmington where I’m CERTAIN Dawson’s Creek was filmed, and I had just enough time to hurry up and grab lunch to have with my newly minted 9-year-old. Then I fell asleep.  Oops.

I had an unintentional day off on Thursday since I woke up with a nasty case of “dead leg syndrome”. It was a pretty crappy feeling, and if I hadn’t planned to run 16 this morning, I would have SUCKED IT UP BUTTERCUP and ran anyway. I decided to take my dog for a walk on our last nice, pretty day for a while, listen to the birds, and get some other crap done. I rarely have dead legs, but 48 miles in 5 days, all but 5 at a sub-8:45 pace, well, I’m not too surprised. I didn’t want to ruin my long run or risk injury, so I actually listened to my body and rested. Lookee me, I’m growing up and being responsible!

I’m taking Saturday off running since there’s just not enough time if I want to actually sleep, but I’m planning on some sort of tempo or pace run on Sunday. I just haven’t figured it out.

imfl2

When Monday hits, I’ll be back home and it’ll feel like taper time. I can’t believe that the marathon is in two weeks, and I’m at the point of no return, or the “ready or not, here I come” feeling with this thing. I don’t feel like I’m prepared enough to do what I want or am capable of, but I know I’m prepared enough to run a really good race.  You bet your bottom dollar that I’m going to try like hell though, no matter what.

IMG_6809

I hope everyone has a great weekend, and if you haven’t already, check out my Facebook page (you can link to it on the right side of this page). I post almost every day and you can then see pictures of my cats. Have a good one, peeps, and keep on running!

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, coaching, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, hal higdon training plan, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, rrca coaching certification, running, running with friends, training for marathon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

I’d be in taper mode if I’d not gotten all fancy with the training plan

My marathon is three weeks from this past Sunday. By the looks of my Hal Higdon Advanced II training plan, I’d be in taper mode, but as my husband knows quite well, I don’t always follow the rules. I decided to kick the three week taper to the curb and go for more of a modified two week taper. Why? Because I’m a glutton for punishment, clearly.

No really, I have modified the training plan here and there, mostly making it more difficult in some aspects, and then changing some interval training to bike interval training due to crappy weather. It happens, you just have to be flexible and deal with it as best as you can, as long as it doesn’t involve long runs on a treadmill because HELL NO. I changed the 800’s to mile, mile point five, and then a longer 5 mile interval, which was less than an interval than 35 minutes of torture/hell combined, complete with dangerous falling icicles.  I think the changes have helped me more than 800’s would have, not that there’s anything wrong about 800’s. I’m a fan.

So last Sunday…..WAIT!!! I’m forgetting something!

Saturday was my youngest son’s 9th birthday. I got up early to run my 10 mile pace run (ended up knocking this one out at an 8:11 pace – HOLLAH!) so I could make him breakfast pizza.  We then headed to Defy Gravity, which if you don’t know, is the COOLEST place on Earth. It’s basically a building with a floor made of trampolines. The four of us bounced for 30 minutes and exited with huge smiles on our faces, sore calf muscles, and sweat. I love that place. Here’s my son’s cake and sheepish grin as we all sang to him. I felt like crap all day, which made me feel guilty because I wanted it to be THEBESTBIRTHDAYEVAH for him, and even though he had a blast, I struggled to stay awake most of the day.  My babeh is almost in double digits!

My behbeh with his Seattle Seahawks cake, complete with goal posts made by his big brother.

My behbeh with his Seattle Seahawks cake, complete with goal posts made by his big brother.

This cake took a long time to make and decorate so I'm posting a picture of the damn thing. DELISH.

This cake took a long time to make and decorate so I’m posting a picture of the damn thing. DELISH.

Anyhoo, last Sunday, the day after the par-tay, was supposed to be my last real long run of 20 miles, and a group of us knocked it out at an 8:38 pace.

We rocked it.

We rocked it.

I felt good about it, but I had been sore from the bike day followed by the 5 mile torture day, plus the 10 miler the day before, and it was harder than the last 20 miler we did. I had been strongly considering changing my plan again, and increasing my long run for this weekend, two weeks before the marathon, from 12 to 16 miles. The last two marathons I’ve run had a two week taper, and even though it scared the shit out of me, I felt like I was very well rested and prepared come race day. So over the weekend, I decided to add a few miles to my scheduled 12 miler to make it 16 for this weekend. I might even add a few pickups to spice it up even more. Yes, I’m getting fancy with my training plan.  I guess I’ll have to save my “It’s taper time, Bitches!!” title for next week.

So what have I been and what am I gonna do this week? Monday was a nice recovery run. I didn’t think I went under a 9 minute mile and was totally good with that, but I didn’t look at my watch and ended up with an 8:45 pace. It’s nice see hard training come through when easy runs are in the 8 minute something mile range with minimal effort. I looked at the week’s forecast and seriously. I mean SERIOUSLY, Mother Freaking Nature needs to get on some freaking meds. Cold, hot, rain, wind, freezing, followed by more of the same. Mix it up, and that’s our forecast here. So I was dreading running in the cold and rainy wind on Thursday for some repeats, so I decided to get them done today, Tuesday.  I headed to the beach for a different route than last time, and I was met with 40-freaking-TWO degrees and 15 mph winds. THIS was what I was trying to avoid, dammit!!! WEATHER APPS ARE LIARS!

I'm smiling but I wasn't too happy.

I’m smiling but I wasn’t too happy.

My legs are still pretty tired, but I figured that’s the point of training and to just do the best I could given that and the stupid conditions. My plan was to go out the 1.5 miles, recovery jog, then 1.5 miles back to my car for water, then do it all over again, making my first and third repeat against the wind. The repeat coming back, well, I was trying to prove a point. I was almost heaving when I was in the last half mile. I mean, I was the freakin’ Monica Seles of running. I probably scared the old guy when I passed him over a bridge. But alas! I did prove my point and the time difference between the first and second repeats of the same distance was 45 seconds. I PROVED IT! Running against the wind SUCKS. Then it started raining. Yippee. Anyway, the second two sets of repeats weren’t THAT stellar, in my opinion, but I do have to say that getting pelted with 42 degree rain in the face, having rain drops on sunglasses blocking a good view of the running surface, your face freezing into a very strange look, and being alone were significant enough factors to slow me down. When I finished my last repeat (going with the wind) I was pretty disappointed I didn’t “Monica Seles” my way through it again and push harder. Oh well, it’s done, I ran close to a mile recovery, and headed home with the heat blasting and seats heating my buns, dreaming of my coffee and peppermint mocha creamer.  1.5 mile repeat times: 11:04, 10:19, 11:15, 10:51.

I have a recovery run tomorrow, and honestly I’m just not too sure what I’m going to do yet, as I think I’m changing my long run to Friday. I’m so excited to be taking the RRCA Coaching Certification class this weekend!!!!! With that, the added mileage, and the time change, I don’t think 16 on Sunday before class is going to be a smart thing to do. I have to drive down to Myrtle Beach before class on Saturday, so I’m completely off that day, so looks like it’s Friday. I’ll figure something out though.

Anyway, I’m working on a “How I prepare for marathons” post and will be sharing that next week. The marathon day creeps closer and closer, so it’s time to start getting prepared for the big day.

Hope everyone stays warm!!!

 

 

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, coaching, follow your dreams, hal higdon training plan, interval training, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, rrca coaching certification, running, running with friends, training for marathon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

I Love This Commercial and Update Before Things Get Cra Cra

Watch this and try not to get all verklempt.

Seriously, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this commercial and what it stands for. Sometimes, aren’t we all the guy who comes in last but just never gives up? Does it matter what place we get? Isn’t the most important fact is that we are out there trying and busting our butts to get to where we truly want to go?

I love this commercial. This could be me in a few short weeks as I run my marathon. This could be me when Ironman Florida comes around. But you’ll never find me giving up. Hell no. I’ll never give up on my dreams. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

By the way, I had yet another interaction with Hal Higdon. I took a screen shot of it. Err merr gerrrd, HAL HIGDON AND I ARE ALMOST BFF’s!!!!! 😉 The subject was about fashion and races.

See, Hal is talking to ME!

See, Hal is talking to ME!

The weather has been quite difficult for those of us without gym memberships. Tuesday, school was cancelled because of the threat of ice. I didn’t even know we were supposed to get any bad weather at all until I got word on Monday afternoon that there was no school Tuesday. So much for those 800’s. It was 30 and raining and windy, so I decided to save myself from pneumonia and had a good, hard workout on my bike.

One hour with 4 x 7 min intervals at Z4

One hour with 4 x 7 min intervals at Z4

My friend, Amanda, and I decided to tackle her tempo workout together on Wednesday. Gulp. It was 5 miles at 7:30 pace. I figured that would be just as good or better as my two mile repeats I was planning for Thursday, so we got together Wednesday to get it done.

Man, isn’t running with someone else so much better than on your own? I mean, I love to run on my own, but for difficult speed workouts, it’s so much better to have someone to run with. We ran at Wrightsville Beach, since that’s where she lives and there’s a good straight road where we don’t really have to worry about traffic or making stops.  No one likes to be interrupted during a speed workout.  Right before we started, we both looked at each other with that “well, here we go” face. I have to admit, it didn’t feel terrible. It didn’t feel GREAT either, but it’s really not supposed to.

I forgot to mention that we had a lot of freezing rain on Tuesday and there was ice everywhere but the roads. The power lines and plants and trees were covered.

Ice at the beach.

Ice at the beach.

My kids had a lot of fun eating the icicles and I’m sure ingested tons of dirt along the way.  Nothing new. At least they were hydrating. So anyway, as we were running, a piece of ice fell from the power line and hit Amanda in the head. We didn’t find out til later that it actually cut her and made her bleed. I guess Ralphie’s mom WAS right, those icicles can be dangerous. Thankfully, she was ok and it was not a major cut, but it made us pay more attention to what was above us when we were running.

Two and a quarter miles into the tempo, I wanted to stop and breathe, which I slightly feel guilty about and am justifying with “it was a better tempo run than the two mile repeats” but I really wish I hadn’t stopped. It was maybe a minute or two and we headed back to finish our 5 miles with no more stopping. We ended up at 7:22 overall pace for the 5 miles. Whohoo!!!! And my legs felt it. When I got home, my dog was waiting for me, so I figured a good way to stretch out was to jog a little loop with her. She loved it.

Had to take a few minutes to enjoy the view and ocean sounds after our run.

Had to take a few minutes to enjoy the view and ocean sounds after our run.

There’s a reason why you don’t have two hard workouts in a row. My speed schedule is all off because of the dumb weather, but I knew I couldn’t do another speed workout today. I also didn’t really know what to consider the bike workout. I knew it wasn’t easy on my legs, but it wasn’t running. So, ????  I decided to just do the 5 miles on the schedule for yesterday. It didn’t feel bad, but I could tell my hammies and quads were tired. I could see how having back-to-back hard workouts can cause you to get injured or burn out. I did the smart thing and didn’t do it.

I’ve got 10 pace on Saturday and 20 on Sunday. THIS, my friends, will lead into my taper for the race. I think I almost threw up. It’s almost here. My son is turning 9 years old on Saturday and I have a lot to do to get ready for the family stuff we’re doing, the company we’re having, and the awesome Seattle Seahawks cake I’m going to make him.

Anyone else get hit with icicles? Running long this weekend? Want to come over for pizza on Saturday?

Categories: anything is possible, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, hal higdon training plan, interval training, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, running buddies, running with friends, training for marathon, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

There’s Something Satisfying About Being Completely Exhausted

It still sounds like I’m plugging my nose when I talk, but at least my ears have started to pop and I can hear again. It’s funny that you don’t realize how much you can’t hear until you can actually hear again. This weekend was a doozy, in a good way. I think I need a vacation from it. Nah, just kidding, it was a really good weekend.

My Friday night ended with my family watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail (“It’s merely a flesh wound”) and me dozing on the couch and finally calling it a day.  At a whopping 8:45, I headed to bed.  I felt like total crap. I had a big weekend planned so was hoping to get a good night sleep and wake up all bouncy and fresh.

I didn’t wake up bouncy and fresh, but I woke up feeling better on Saturday morning, thank goodness. I had to get up early to get a good 6 mile run in. I checked the temp and it was 20, a tad warmer than Friday but without any wind. I layered up and headed out, hoping to get a few tempo miles in since I missed them last week. Man, it was cold. Yes, I know, North Carolina’s version of cold is very different than many, but 20 is literally freezing, so I  stand correct when I say it was FREEZING. 🙂 The first mile felt good and I didn’t have a cough, so I picked up my pace and ended up with a mile at around 7:10. I rested about 30 seconds and started jogging again. I slowly picked it up and after a half mile, went for another fast mile, this one closer to 7:00. But I didn’t feel great after that. My LEGS felt fabulous, but the rest of me needed food. I hadn’t eaten much in over 12 hours, so I decided to just finish the rest of my run at a decent pace and not push it anymore. I was HUNGRY. 6.2 miles at an average 8:21 pace. Not too shabby.

I had enough time to get cleaned up, eat my smoothie, and get my stuff together for the swim clinic with Sheila Taormina. I was a little nervous, but this was just the classroom session, so at least I didn’t have to worry about snotting all over the pool. The first two hours was in a conference room where Sheila discussed the science behind the swim strokes and why we have the stroke we do. Or at least the one we should have. Basically, the entire time was discussing what to do with your hand/arm when your hand slides into the water until it comes out of the water. There wasn’t much talk about kick or anything else for that matter. I found it fascinating and I learned a TON. Now for translating that into being able to actually DO it. We then had a tubing session (I was disappointed there was no lake, boat, or tube) where we practiced our newly learned stroke with tubes that provide resistance. She looked at each one of us individually and told us anything we should be doing to correct it. Ok, I could do it right OUT of the water, so I was happy. I was SO GLAD I had the opportunity to attend this clinic.

Sheila showing us proper form while tubing.

Sheila showing us proper form while tubing.

I came home all excited to be able to swim better and MORE EFFICIENTLY. I yammered on and on to my husband as I showed him my new practice tubes and Sheila’s book. I’ve wanted to buy swim books before but didn’t because they didn’t make any sense to me. I didn’t even know what the swim term “catch” was before Saturday. Now that I understand what she’s talking about, I’m guessing the book will be helpful as I gain skill and check with the book THAT I NOW UNDERSTAND to be sure I’ve got it right. She even signed it for me. Ahhh, my brush with fame.

Finally, a swim book I can understand.

Finally, a swim book I can understand.

A few hours after I got home from the clinic, the entire family headed to meet a few other people at the theater to watch McFarland, USA, probably one of my new favorite movies. It’s a true story about a coach and his immigrant cross country team and what they go though.  It’s about hard work, it’s about perseverance, it’s about going for your dreams, it’s about family, it’s about trust, it’s about RUNNING.  My only advice is TO JUST GO SEE IT. It’s a Disney movie, so it’s kid safe. My personal favorite part is at the end when they show the real coach and team and where they are now.

After the movie, we went to dinner with a friend and his kids, and by the time we got home, it was pretty much time for bed. I had to get up early for my 12 mile run and then 2 hour swim clinic in the pool, so I appropriately fueled on popcorn, wings, and beer, then headed to bed.

Sea fog, or at least that's what the weather people were calling it.

Sea fog, or at least that’s what the weather people were calling it.

Sunday’s weather was weird. We went from cold and static-y to warm and damp. I even wore shorts and a t-shirt to run in, and it was soaked when I got done. I met with a group and ended up running with someone I didn’t know. Evidently, my pace pushed her, and it was great to get to know someone new. I would have like to maybe go a little faster, but when it was all said and done, I ran 12 at a sub-9:00 pace and it felt good. That was exactly what I was supposed to do, so I was satisfied AND got a friend out of it. A friend who has done TWELVE, yes TWELVE iron distance races.

Nice and calm for the run on Sunday.

Nice and calm for the run on Sunday.

I got home, ate a smoothie, and got ready to go to the pool.  What do I say about the pool session? Difficult? Yes. Annoying? Yes. Tiring? Yes. Amazing? Yes! This is where we put into practice what she was talking about the day before, PLUS the other parts of the stroke. We did drill after drill to drill the proper form into our muscle memory.  I mustered to the end and was literally shaking when I got out of the pool. Can you say, GOOD WORKOUT? Holy hell, I learned so much and was exhausted! But this is the first time I’ve EVER been exciting about swimming.

Learning at the pool.

Learning at the pool.

Not long after I got home from the session and ate my weight in lunch, the family took advantage of the warm weather and headed to Carolina Beach State Park. We walked the trails, explored, and had a nice time outside IN OUR SHORTS. The poor dog was so tired from smelling absolutely everything possible, she crashed as soon as we got home. I gave my kids hair cuts and then made Mexican pizza for the first time (I seriously was missing something because YUM), and we hung out, watching some TV.

I was tired. Damn dog tired. But doesn’t that feel good? Isn’t there something to be said for being busy, doing all sorts of new and fun and difficult things? I think so. And now it’s Monday, I have a HUGE list of things to do to make up for my time off last week and my youngest son’s birthday this weekend. Funny, 9 years ago today, I couldn’t bend down to tie my shoe because of my ginormous belly fully of baby (and about 45 lbs of “other”) and today, I’m a month out from running a marathon. Of course the weather is off her meds again and it was rainy for my run. It wasn’t one of those pelt you in the face, make you miserable, wish you were on a treadmill rains. Yet. Hello, cold front. This morning’s temp was the high for the next few days. Blech.

Monday's rainy run.

Monday’s rainy run.

What did you do this weekend? Even been to a swim clinic before? New song: The Creator by Pete Rock and CL Smooth – it’s in a pretty cool ad, which is how I found it thanks to Shazam.

Categories: follow your dreams, hal higdon training plan, iron distance, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, running buddies, running with friends, swimming, training for marathon, training for triathlon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Sometimes It’s Good To Not Have A Choice

I guess I had a choice, but I wasn’t giving myself a choice on whether or not I ran on Sunday. And after looking at so many other posts about the polar flavored air up north, I feel a little bit whiney. But Sunday was cold. And I had 20 miles to run.  And I didn’t have a choice to do it or not. I HAD to run.

So let’s back up to Saturday. I felt like I had been fighting off a cold since Thursday. Seems many people are getting something, a cold, the flu, something. I was extremely and unusually tired on Thursday evening, so I knew my body was trying to fight off some sort of bug and I had been exposed to about a zillion different viruses at the airports and planes full of sick people on Monday coming back from Vegas. I felt ok on Friday, but again, felt pretty tired for no apparent reason. I set my alarm for Saturday morning at 6:30 so I could get my 10 mile pace run in, and when the alarm went off, I threw my phone on the floor turned the alarm off and went back to sleep. For TWO MORE HOURS. Holy cow, when I woke up at 8:30, I was sort of pissed, sort of happy. Happy because I got the sleep I evidently needed. Pissed because I was just getting my lazy ass out of bed at 8:30 and had 90 minutes of running to do.

Saturday morning was cold, but the sun was out and it quickly warmed up. I started my run and immediately knew I was overdressed, so came by the house and changed. Another mile later, I swung by the house again and changed again, into shorts and t-shirt. It was almost hot. Several f-bombs later (I should have effing started effing earlier then I’d be effing done with this effing workout), I was ready to finish my effing 10 miler. I had a shitty attitude, and I didn’t want to run, I just wanted to make heart-shaped pancakes for my boys and drink coffee. I know myself and I’m not one to skip workouts, so I effing got out there and got it done. My stupid watch pace was all over the place, so I quit looking at it and tried to dial in race pace on my own. Two costume changes and 85 minutes later, I was done. Whew, race pace dialed in at 8:22. THAT is why I do my workouts, even when I don’t want to. They always feel good when they’re done.

The weather was pretty nice on Saturday, but the cold was coming. I had tried to change the long run to Saturday, but my friend couldn’t so I knew I had to get it done Sunday. It was going to be super windy and cold. Yes, all you northerners, cold is a relative term. Many of you would probably LOVE 20-something temps, so I apologize for my whining. Honestly, I don’t mind the cold. It’s the freaking wind that I hate. I HATE WIND.  I had my pre-long run and pre-race burger on Saturday night (delish) and got in bed all hydrated and ready to brace for what was coming the next day – 20 miles in the cold wind.

Wasn't too crazy about the cheese on the pasta, but the burger was goooood.

Wasn’t too crazy about the cheese on the pasta, but the burger was goooood. Goldie is in the background.

I woke up and it was just crap out. I felt fine, so I was happy about that, and I was meeting other people, so I knew I couldn’t get out of it, delay it, anything. I knew I had to just get out there and run. It was almost a relief to not give myself a choice. I had asked a friend/coach to run with us too, and she is the one who always seems to push my pace on long runs. She’s my dangling carrot, so to speak. I didn’t know if I could keep up or if she would care about pace on a crappy day, but I knew it would be good to have a group to run with. I brought all my clothes, got my fuel ready, and headed towards the beach. I don’t think I even pushed the gas pedal beyond a tap the entire way there. Wind. When the group of ladies was all there, we headed right into the 25 degree, 25 mph wind. We knew it was better to head into it first, but man, it was effing cold. My face, hands, and toes were cold. A few miles later, we headed into an area that’s more sheltered, so for the rest of the 12 mile loop, it really wasn’t bad. The last few miles getting pushed was pretty awesome. Some of the ladies were done, so three of us headed out for a 6 mile loop. It was so nice to talk and chat and keep our minds off tired legs and how many miles we had done/had left.  It wasn’t “conversation pace” but maybe “labored conversation pace”, but I never checked. Soon, 18 miles were done and the two ladies remaining were done. I had two to go solo. I ran towards the beach and felt pretty good. Wow, 8:05 minute miles at the end of a 20 mile run? Hmmmm, fishy. Yup, I was getting pushed by the wind, but I was also happy to be feeling good. Until I turned around. Yikes. “One more mile” and “I can do anything for just one mile” kept going through my head and some other thoughts like “this is bullshit” and “FUCK” were sprinkled in. Mom would be so proud (sorry mom, it’s dad’s fault). But I got my run done. When I met with Amanda, who waited for me to finish, she told me we were rocking our paces. Holy cow. I didn’t give one thought to pace because of the weather, and it turned out to be one of the fastest 20 milers….ever. And I was so worried.

20 miles, DONE. And you can see my cat's tail back there too.

20 miles, DONE. And you can see my cat’s tail back there too.

20 miles at 8:35 pace? Pretty damned awesome if I do say so myself. I was thrilled and it boosted my confidence for the race.

Me and Amanda - evidently my face froze into a strange look during my last mile.

Me and Amanda – evidently my face froze into a strange look during my last mile.

After hugging Amanda, I passed up stretching and immediately got in my car, turned up the heat, turned on the heated seats, and headed home. I did NOT want to get cold, as I knew it would take me several hours to warm back up if I did, and I was afraid I would be more susceptible to that little bug I’d been fighting. I have a few friends who swear by Ultragen recovery drink, so I drank a bottle on my way home.  I didn’t get sore the day of my last 20 miler and this time, I didn’t get sore either. I blame it on Ultragen, so that’s my plug – drink it and you won’t be sore when you run 20 miles. Really though, I like the way I feel after I drink it and it really does seem to curb the soreness that’s been normal for me.

I had five easy miles on Monday for a recovery run and decided to, again, ignore any pace on my watch and just run. It ended up being a sub-9:00 mile, so I guess that’s good.

Today, I was planning to do three 2 mile repeats but again, the weather was just not looking good. The cold that was trying to overtake me was not overtaking me, but was trying to settle in my chest/lungs. It was cold, windy, and wet out.

My back deck. Yuck.

My back deck. Yuck.

I asked some peeps on my Facebook page if it would be pansy or smart for me to stay in and have a tempo ride on my bike, and the response was overwhelming to ride my bike indoors.  So that is exactly what I did, and it was a good ride. I warmed up 10 minutes, then had four 7 minute repeats at Z4 with a 3 minute recovery (the 4th was a full 10 minutes at Z4), ending with a 10 minute easy recovery. I did run a little with the kids as they had their running practice after school since the rain ended and it dried up for the most part.

Tomorrow is an easy 5 miles and then Thursday, bum bum BUMMMMM, the 2 mile repeats. And the high is going to be 29 (really, super cold for us here). I’ve already planned to meet Amanda and get these cranked out, so there’s no excuses.

It’s been a good week of workouts, the marathon is in LESS THAN 5 weeks now, and I’m feeling good. Of course I’m nervous, but I’m ready to get my work in and see it pay off. I haven’t been able to get to the pool (that’s a story in itself so I won’t even start but I really wish it was warm enough to open water swim), and my swim clinic is this weekend. Exciting!

Anyway, if you haven’t already, check out my Running Boston and Beyond Facebook page (and hopefully LIKE it) HERE.

Categories: hal higdon training plan, marathon, running, running with friends, training for marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Why Do You Run?

This week, Hal Higdon’s Marathon Facebook page asked a simple question. Why do you run? It took me just a few minutes to figure out what I wanted to say to one of my absolute favorite celebrities, but this was my answer:

“It is something that makes me truly happy and is my own. I think, I vent, I laugh, I cry when I run. I come back home happier, healthier, and refreshed, even after Advanced II training :)”

This is a VERY simplified answer to a question that could take me weeks to answer. My husband nods his head in agreement that I could take weeks to explain/talk about running, how much I love it, and why I do it.  I love to run. It’s a part of me, it’s part of who I am. I do it for so many reasons, but the first and foremost reason is that I love to run and that being so, it makes me happy.

If anyone read my Boston Marathon post about the expo, you’d know that I stalked Hal’s booth for over an hour and never got to see or meet him. What’s so great about Hal? Well, let me tell you. When I first started running for time, I read his books. All of them. Like in the Pixar film Ratatouille, Remy learned from a chef who believed that “everyone can cook”. I believe HaI teaches running to everyone and believes “everyone can run”. His plans are for everyone, the slower runner, the faster runner, the beginner, the experienced. I learned from him (a LOT), I did what he said, I learned more, and I got fast. I tried, I failed, but it wasn’t because of his plan, that’s for sure. I REALLY wanted to meet him in person and thank him for all the advice to me. I took his advice personally, so it was personal to me to thank him. I’m following his Advanced II Marathon plan right now, and it’s a very good, solid training program. I have full confidence I will be able to qualify for Boston again using this plan.

So suffice to say, when I got a message FROM HAL in my Facebook inbox, I freaked out. HAL HIGDON MESSAGED ME.

hal's message

OMG. It was almost like meeting Shalane Flanagan four days after Boston last year. I might have yelled, but I don’t remember. I might have peed a little too. But I was jumping up and down and twirling around like a 2 year old little girl who just met Elsa, so really, can you blame me? Me? In a book??????? Holy crap. More on that below.

ANYWAY.  This week has been pretty good as far as training goes. Monday was 4 easy miles, Tuesday was a tempo workout that would have been ok had I run it with someone else. It was just tough and I actually stopped for about ten seconds in the middle of the hard tempo part. I’m thinking I was still tired from the race, but I tried to suck it up, Buttercup. Wednesday’s easy 5 miler felt A-Mazing and ended up turning into a pace run at 8:13 average, so I was happy about that. It was cold (I know, I know, all you northerners and rolling your eyes when I say cold), but my pup wanted to run when I got home, so I took her out. She was so cute and bouncy as she played with the leash. She just loves the “cold”.

Scarlett and me. What a good girl.

Scarlett and me. What a good girl.

I switched up my workout for Thursday and ended up doing 7 x 800’s.

Pretty good pace, but why am I slightly disappointed?

Pretty good pace, but why am I slightly disappointed?

All of the 800’s were between 3:30 and 3:34.  I honestly don’t know if I should be more tired when I’m done. I was tired, but I wasn’t TIRED. Should I be stepping up? Should I be pushing harder to finish? I know I need to keep them consistent and not slow down as I go, but how hard should I push? Food for thought, time to bring out Hal’s book, isn’t it?

Friday is my day off, and I have to admit that I’m slightly anxious for the thirty miles to run this weekend (nothing new), ten on Saturday and twenty on Sunday, 30-90 seconds slower than race pace. My reward will be eating some good food without guilt on Super Bowl Sunday! Ha! I’m looking forward to the challenge though.

Anyway, I’m going to email the information Hal asked me for 🙂 and if I end up winning an autographed book THAT I’M QUOTED IN (he didn’t say he would send me one or that I would actually be quoted but I’m fantasizing about it), I’ll be sure to aim myself towards the yard, so when I pass out finding it in the mailbox, I will fall into the grass and not the street and get run over. Imagine the headline on that one. Then once I recover and explain to all my retired  neighbors that I wasn’t drinking and then explain WHO Hal Higdon is and that I’m not cheating on my husband, I’ll go inside and see my name printed in a Hal Higdon book and then pass out in the safety of my own home. Wonder if I should cover all the sharp edges?

So in keeping with that theme, tell me, why do YOU run? And should I fall-proof my house?

Categories: Boston Marathon, hal higdon training plan, marathon, qualifying for boston marathon, running, training for marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Beethoven 15k Race Recap and Why Negative Splits Might Be The Thing For Me

I’m using the Hal Higdon Advanced II training plan to get ready for the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon on March 22nd. My goal is to get a 3:43 or better and re-qualify for Boston and PR. I would LOVE to be able to get a sub-3:40, but since I started my training and speed late, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to crank that out. But I’m sure gonna try! On Hal’s schedule last week was a half marathon race. Since I didn’t see one that I could go to, I decided to switch weeks up and run the 15k and some bonus miles this weekend and did this week’s workout LAST weekend. I’m amazed at how the change in schedule has allowed me to miss some really crappy weather to run in, so yea me! Fist bump.

This was Friday night. It continued into Saturday. Yikes.

This was Friday night. It continued into Saturday. And I’m guessing the humidity was slightly closer to 100%.

I had Friday AND Saturday off this week, which was so awesome I almost felt guilty, then I looked ahead at the schedule and realized that no, I’ve got it coming. I knew a lot of people who were going to be at the race, so I was looking forward to it, and yet again, the downpours, wind, and crap had moved out of our area by race eve. The timing couldn’t have been better, as race morning was going to be cold but clear and sunny with little wind, if any. I LOVE to race in the cold. Not “freeze your face off” cold, but t-shirt, tights, and gloves cold.

I had a pretty hefty goal to run the 15k at 7:45’s, but it was more of a time trial so I could see where I was in pacing, speed ability, and endurance. I had nothing at stake and nothing to lose if it wasn’t going to work, but deep down, I had doubts. I know, shocker, isn’t it? Maybe it’s just so I wont be disappointed, maybe that’s my defense mechanism, but it’s getting old. The timing of the race was a little weird (9:00, which is late for me), and I did NOT want to run out of energy, so I ate a peanut butter sandwich before I left home, along with my typical small glass of orange juice. I grabbed a banana, granola bar, chomps, and two energy gels just to have. I have been very hungry lately, so wanted to be prepared!

I got there in plenty of time, picked up my packet, and had my 2 mile warm up to do. It felt like crap and turned into 1.6 miles. I wasn’t out of breath necessarily, but my stomach was bothering me a little bit, which it was when I got up, so that had nothing to do with my nutrition. But I felt like crap anyway.  “Oh well, SHIT!” was what I thought. Having a bad warm up before a race is nothing new. In fact, the day before Boston, my 20 minute run was one of the worst runs I’d had the entire training cycle. Heavy breathing, no energy. It. Was. Horrible. So I’m not all that upset when it happens anymore, but I was looking to adjust my goals. I thought, “let’s try negative splits”. I was thinking of that anyway, but decided to go ahead and start slow and go from there. I ate the chomps and granola bar, got new gum, and found some peeps to hang with.

I planned to run in my Adidas Boosts, but I was hesitant since they didn’t always feel like they fit right. I decided at the last minute to go ahead and wear them, and if they didn’t work, I’d know after the race.

It was race time. The guy said, “Ready, set, GO!!” and we were off. Whoahhhhh there and slow down red rocket. Pace started at 7:15, so I took the foot off the gas and backed it down. Strange. I felt pretty damn good! Breath was even, good crowd to run with, but I still wanted to go with negative splits. At the 3 mile mark, I was at 23 minutes. Hmmm, that’s an aggressive pace. I knew I had a super fast first .5 mile in there, but I was glad that I still felt good with a 7:40 pace overall. Ok, then, so it was time to KEEP that pace. Garmins are Garmins, so I tried to go more on feel than what the watch said. When I was getting more out of breath, I backed off a little. When I felt good, I surged a little. When I crossed the 6 mile mark, I was able to do the math and see that I was still on the 7:40 pace (I know it’s not calculus, but remember, when running, I can turn a 40k into 60 miles in my head). Silly me, this is what I get when my warm ups are bad, friggin awesome runs. Bring it on then! So here goes. You want to do negative splits? Do them then. You want to go back to Boston? Then do the work! Get yo ass movin’!

I have to say, that this was one of the most focused I’ve been during a race since before Boston. I don’t know what it was, but I had my music on loud and I just paid attention to the road in front of me. It was a good focus, and I was happy to have found it.  So with three miles to go, I pushed the gas a little. I saw women running in front of me, and I thought, “I’m comin’ for YOU”, and slowly, I picked off about four or five of them. I was definitely going faster this split, and I was amazed at how good it felt to feel good at the end of a race. THIS is why you negative split. I kept at it, didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to my Garmin, had to slow down on the wooden walkway that felt slick, but pushed myself. Soon, the end was near. I could hear someone behind me and once her shadow got close enough, I could tell it was a girl. Nooooo, don’t let her pass! The finish line came into view and it was RIGHT THERE. I gunned it as fast as I could. Then she flew by me. Shit. Well, the good thing is that I knew I couldn’t have done better right then. Maybe a little here and there, but I left it on the course, and I felt good. It was the second time that I’ve been passed right at the end during a 15k, and this was my second 15k. Damn. Both times, the ladies thanked me for keeping them going, so I guess I just do what I can to help other runners 🙂

I didn't do that. I was just happy that I tried really hard. Yeah. That's it. That's how I felt :)

I didn’t do that. I was just happy that I tried really hard. Yeah. That’s it. That’s how I felt 🙂

Finish time: 1:10:45 (give or take a few seconds, haven’t seen official results yet)

Pace: 7:36 based on that finish time

Since I’ve done another 15k, I was happy to get a pretty big PR this morning too! A FIVE FREAKING MINUTE PR!

1st in Age Group 40-44 – Who whoo!!! I won shit!!!!!

A Medal AND a Coffee Mug? Awesome.

A Medal AND a Coffee Mug? Awesome.

As for the Boosts? I’m feelin’ some major Boost love going on. They were friggin’ perfect.

I love them so much they're on the table.

I love them so much they’re on the table.

I’ve been planning to negative split in the marathon. Based on my little race today, it just makes me want to try it more. It feels good to finish strong, to have gas in the tank, to push when you’re tired, and to BE ABLE to push when you’re tired. It feels good to hold back, to conserve energy. It’s also cool to pass people too. Another thing I learned AGAIN is to push hard when tired, which is a first cousin to negative splits. I’ve done this before, but I have a tendency to let the fatigue take over and slow down. I had to focus, be determined, and know that I have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s all mental training for the marathon.

I’ve got a big week coming up, lots of miles to put in and two swim sessions to fit in. No other races are scheduled prior to the marathon, but I’d like to tackle a 5k next month. We’ll see. I’m also in full force with planning some sort of middle school running program. I’m a little overwhelmed with how to go about doing it, but I’ve met and am talking to lots of different people to help come up with a program. If anything, I’d like to bring the new and improved Middle School Stride program to every middle school in the county. The kids need it.

What did you do this weekend? Scoop snow? Race? Long run? Nothing?

Categories: 15k race, hal higdon training plan, marathon training, running, training for marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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