training for marathon

Charleston Marathon – T Minus 5 Days

Gulp. My marathon, the one that seemed like it was going to take forever to get here…is here. And I’m ready. Whether or not I feel like I’m ready, I know I’m ready. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. Sometimes you have to do that, right? Fake it til you make it?

As I weather stalk, I allow myself to freak out just enough to get to the point of throwing my hands up in a tantrum and saying F*%# IT!!! I’ve had it with weather! But I don’t, and I still freak out, but that’s ok because it gives me something to concentrate on. This is something I do. It works for me. It’s sort of like a diversion, like before Ironman and I melted down over my phone and before Houston, I flipped out over getting to the start line on time. That was a release of sorts and I moved on and raced well. I have a history of freaking out and telling myself the race is going to suck or whatever, then I move on and race well. I learned that Pre used to do that too. So if he can do it, I can do it too.

I digress. For this marathon, I’m going in with a different attitude. I’m not going to worry (as much) about the weather, but just deal with it the best I can. If it’s warm, hydrate more. If it’s rainy, keep my shoes dry. If it’s cold, wear more layers. OH, and there’s this:

a race

This is what I’m taking with me on race morning.

Also, I’m loading up on my Base ROCKET FUEL. I Amazon Primed some new hydration handheld bottles since I know I’m going to need more than just water and Gatorade on the course. Besides the Rocket Fuel, I’m carrying some Rocktane and Base salts, just in case I start feeling goofy.

My plan is to run this race evenly, and if it goes the way I want it to, if my mind wills my legs to do what I know they can do, I will negative split by 1:00. If I negative split by :01, I’ll be happy, but 1:00 would be a good plan for me, assuming I’m on time the first half.

I have to admit this is the first time I’ve truly believed in myself. That’s what Ironman gave me out of all these years of marathon running. I know I can do it, and if, for some reason I don’t meet my time goal, I’m going to drive home (well, my husband will) knowing that I gave it my all, I ran my best given the circumstances, and I will be happy knowing I left it all out there on the course, something I’ve never truly done in a marathon.  Surprised to hear that? Well, I am too. I always thought I was relatively confident, but after looking into my “failures” and digging pretty deep, I realized that I never truly believed I could do it, so I gave up. It’s actually a lot more common that anyone probably thinks it is, unfortunately.

Anyway, this is what’s going on in my house tonight:

 

Go Tigers!!!!!!

I made this since I was feeling festive. I can’t wait to cut into it and see everyone’s face because this ain’t a regular cake!!

Feeling feisty for the game!

Feeling feisty for the game!

So what about you? Staying up late to watch the National Championship game? Eating cake?
 

 

 

 

Categories: anything is possible, being epic, Boston Marathon, ironman, learning from failure, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Holiday Recap

It’s hard to describe the last few weeks in a few words. Whirlwind maybe? A big whirlwind of family, sleeping, getting up early, running, more sleeping, eating some damn good food, driving, more driving, even more driving? I’m sure it’s like that for pretty much everyone else, but there’s something about this year that makes my head spin. I’m going to recap the last month, then look forward into 2016. One of my “things” for the year is to blog more! I’ve had several people comment they miss it, and honestly, I miss it too, so I plan to make sure I blog at least once a week. There’s a lot going on, lots to talk about, and if anyone knows me, I do like to talk!

So here’s a quick recap of December and the holiday.

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Epic Running Company – 2015 Fall Season

First, my Epic Running Company kids had their 5k on Dec. 12th. I felt such pride as those boys crossed the finish line. Their abilities spread out like Texas, but if they all have one thing in common, it’s heart. I struggled getting some of them to really push themselves and put more effort into their simple two days of training, but I think they understood more of why I was doing that when we got to the race. They put a lot of effort into their races, and I told them to just try their hardest. One runner was determined to get a PR from his last 5k, and boy, did he blaze a PR trail and finished in 21:45. That was amazing. I had several more finish in under 25 minutes, and of course, that was cool. A few threw up, and the one surprised himself by how hard he tried. His mom was sort of a wreck because of it, but I assured her he was just fine and was only pushing himself very hard. I think he wore that like a badge of honor, a puke patch?  Anyway, it was a great coach moment, and I’m already preparing for this spring, where I will have a boys and girls group. I have so many ideas of how to make the program better and more specific to the kids’ abilities and goals, so I have my work cut out for me! If only I had a track for them to practice on!!!

The next cool thing of December was finding out Ironman bought out the Beach 2 Battleship races here in Wilmington. I was planning to sign up for the half in October anyway, and thankfully, there’s still a half option, so I have my fall race planned. Ironman North Carolina 70.3 is purchased and on the books! This time though, I’m going to race the thing. My coach and I already discussed what she thinks my time should be, assuming it’s not tornadoing outside, and I’ve my sights set on a 30+ minute PR. I have a lot of work to do this summer, but I’m confident that smart and focused racing will do the trick.

 

My boys at the Orange Bowl

 

Next. Not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but my husband is a total Clemson nut. He graduated from Clemson in the 90’s and has been a true fan of theirs before that and his love of the Tigers has grown and spread to me and our boys. Thankfully, we were able to drive eight hundred forty thousand 12-13 of the longest hours each way to Miami to watch them play in the Orange Bowl.

I’ve never been to a bowl game before, so it was a fun and entertaining experience for us, especially since Clemson won the game.

Our hotel in Miami was a mile away from a gorgeous park (WITH OPEN BATHROOMS WHOHOOO!) where I did 14 total miles of running, including speed work, the two mornings we were there. It was like July there, and although it was enjoyable, I was happy to head back north where the temps actually cooled after a very warm fall. On New Year’s Day morning, I saw the sun rise, loved the peacefulness of the reflection on the lake, saw snails chugging away to wherever they were going, and saw sun shining on the dew drops laying on a leaf. What a way to bring in the new year!

The interstate was a sea of orange as we all headed home after the big game, and it was cool to wave, nod, glance at all the other Clemson fans along the hundreds of miles towards home.

Definitely one of my favorite books!!

Since we were in the car for five zillion hours over 4 days, I finally got my book read. It was amazing. Truly amazing. I recently realized that my training intensity and effort does not match my race intensity and effort, so it’s time to change that. Good thing is, the test will be in twelve short days at the Charleston Marathon where I’m trying to PR and BQ. I’ve decided to go for it and use the tools I learned from this book. I would highly suggest this to anyone, no matter your goals. You never know what you’ll get out of it.

And one more thing, I decided to bite the bullet and get my Ironman tattoo. This tattoo does not symbolize Ironman. I hear a lot of backlash about people doing an Ironman branded race just for an “M-dot” tattoo. I did an Ironman branded race for the experience of doing one. They do things in a top-notch way, plus coming down the finish chute to people high-fiving you and cheering you just because you’re finishing was one of my favorite experiences ever. No offense to smaller races, but it’s not the same.

Anyhoo, this tattoo symbolizes following a dream, pushing “REGISTER” although I didn’t believe in myself. It means months of blood, sweat, and tears, of fear, of proving to myself that I am an Ironman, that I am stronger than I think. Training for and finishing an Ironman changed my life, and this tat is representation of the good things that can come of dreaming big and working hard.

Ironman I am

Did you watch football this holiday? Have a good time?

 

Categories: anything is possible, Boston Marathon, coaching, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, half iron distance, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, running, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Acclimating to the Post-Ironman World

It’s two weeks post-Ironman, and it certainly hasn’t been an easy two weeks. It certainly hasn’t been difficult, but mostly, it’s been weird. The first week was one of recovery and getting my house cleaned up and all my triathlon stuff put away. I blogged about my race, I had doctor appointments, my boys’ running group, and no workouts to do. I wasn’t sleeping well that first week, kept waking up at night, and was dragging around. I had no desire to do another Ironman for a long time. I walked my dog with my coach, I went grocery shopping, and I cooked, which means I ate a lot.

I finally got my race pictures :)

I finally got my race pictures 🙂

The second week was one where I wanted to go back out and start running again, but didn’t because I didn’t want to sabotage my recovery. There’s a marathon coming in just a few months, and I know I needed to recover from the Ironman in order to get my speed back up to be even close to qualifying for Boston. I had a lot more time on my hands, started sleeping (FINALLY!) again, but was very unfocused. My to-do list is REALLY long, but I couldn’t figure out what to do, when to do it, and I just didn’t do much of anything. Key word for the week is “unfocused”. I don’t like that feeling. I assume, this is when most people sign up for the next race, but I still have no desire to put an Ironman in the near future. I can see it for sure, but I don’t want to touch it.  I also know that signing up for another Ironman would be betraying my husband and kids. They need and want me around, and as much as I love the Ironman thing, I love being with them more.

I do love my training peaks workouts to do!

I spent several hours that second week making my Ironman video. What a trip that was! Take a view – the race starts at 3:50, but a really cool part starts at 3:20….Check it out!

I remember more things from the race I had forgotten to write about and unfortunately, forgot to put in the video:

She is Purdy.

She is Purdy.

I saw Batman along the run course. And a lot of funny signs.

I. Am. Batman.

I. Am. Batman.

My favorite sign, compliments of my son, Tyler.

My favorite sign, compliments of my son, Tyler.

I was taking Base salt, and I remember putting the salt in between my lower teeth and lip, like it was chew, instead of under my tongue for a lot of the run. I remember thinking it was weird that it was burning. Well, duh, because you’re not supposed to put it in your lip, dummy.

I forgot to mention that the guy who wondered if I was swearing because I dropped food after Mile 100 on the bike (when I was really swearing about the sudden change in wind direction), saw me on the run and said, “Hey! There’s the *%#$ you girl!” I was embarrassed yet I laughed. He wasn’t supposed to hear me swearing on the bike!!!

So basically, it has been a blah week, one of more recovery, more doctor appointments, and then going out of town for the weekend for my son’s last football game. I’m so ready for football season to be over! As great as it is, four months is a long season of every Saturday having a game plus at least 2 practices per week. I love having my family all home in the evening where we can play, talk, eat, and simply be together.

 

My little Panther

The one big thing I did this week was to start back to training. Oh, yes I did. And I needed it. It was late into the week, but it wasn’t a day later or earlier than what I needed. The running has felt good so far.

This makes me happy.

I still have a coach, a different one, but the same coach I had to train me for the half iron distance last fall and the Boston Marathon in 2014. Part of me wonders what I was thinking by jumping back into training so close after the Ironman, but I know if I had some time to think, I’d be signing up for something anyway. It was a preemptive strike against doing something DUMB during the post-Ironman blues, since I know myself, and I’d most likely go a tad crazy without a direct and big goal to work towards and would sign up for all the races. I NEED FOCUS.

Another thing I did was to visit the local tattoo artist about getting the M-dot tat “and more” plus re-tooling my “Boston B” tat on my shoulder. I have some good ideas so far and am looking forward to some new and improved ink. I’m feeling more like myself, signed up for a personal training certification course, and have a bunch of ideas for my middle school program in the spring. I think I’m finally getting back to normal again!!! Yes, normal is just a setting on the dryer, but I feel more like myself again!

This marathon, the Charleston Marathon, is January 16th, so I have a lot of work to do. I’m still taking it relatively slow, but I feel that my endurance and strength is over the roof. I hope that it will translate to speed in the upcoming weeks. Only time will tell!

How do you handle post-race blues?

Categories: anything is possible, Boston Marathon, coaching, follow your dreams, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Summer is Here!

Wow, there’s a reason why I haven’t written in a long time. I’m too frickin’ busy complaining about how hot it is here. And the only thing I can think of when I think about the hot weather, which has seemed to permeate my thoughts, is this scene from “Good Morning, Viet Nam”:

Training has taken its toll on me, as it has everyone else who has been trying to deal with the sudden emergence of surface-of-the-sun-like temperatures we are having here. Unseasonable? Yes. But there’s nothing we can do about it but pack our salt licks and go on our merry way.  I give myself five minutes of “bitch” time, then it’s over and just deal.

This is me.

Why yes, I WOULD like some cheese with that whine.

My kids are back home, which has been nice, yet messy and time consuming. We’ve had a sleepover with three extra kids, and yes, it’s time consuming and messy, but I really like it. It makes me happy. When they were gone the week before, I got a lot done, but I certainly missed the mess and the noise. I missed the snuggles and the night time routines, their socks in the laundry, and cheerios found in random places. It’s good to have them home and to see their friends.

So let’s see, last week was the post-shark bite week when we all flocked to the 93 degree pool. My workout the day I went to the pool was a two hour bike ride, one with friends doing pickups, then a 3000 yd swim. I had no idea how miserable swimming long distance in a hot pool would be. I had to stop a lot to put my arms up on the side like a beached whale, just so, when I put them back in the water, it would feel a tad bit refreshing. That workout took me so long, and since I had gotten up so early, I crashed when I got home and stuffed my face. I took a power nap, and still, that night when we went to have dinner, I would talk about something and then just forget what I was talking about. I think it was just the culmination of a lot of hard workouts in the heat. Acclimation at work.

Last Saturday was the Tour de Blueberry bike ride, in honor of the Blueberry Festival in a small town right up the road from us.

Getting ready to roll....

Getting ready to roll….

I think there were several hundred people there, and I had originally signed up to do the 64 mile ride. With the late start and near-100 degree temps expected that day, I changed my mind and decided to do the 32 mile loop and make it count. The roads were bumpy in some spots, we smelled “money” out on the farm, and I got hit in the face with some HUGE bugs (thank goodness for sunglasses). It was hot and I was tired when I got done, but I felt good about my decision to cut the ride in half. I hadn’t been on a ride with that many people since I did RAGBRAI (a week long bike ride across Iowa) way back in the 90’s, so it was actually fun!  I ran 2 miles post-bike, and nearly found myself melted onto the ground. The line for the food was too long, so I just headed home, ate like a pro football player, cooled off, then headed out to get my husband’s Father’s Day present and grocery shop, since he was picking the boys up that day.

Father’s Day was a TON of fun. A special “Happy Belated Father’s Day” to you dads out there! A friend of ours, who’s kids are good friends with our kids – BONUS, took us out on their boat for the day. We parked at Masonboro Island, and we frolicked in the sun (well, it was under a canopy) pretty much the ENTIRE day. We came home happy with big smiles.

Our view. Ahhh, gorgeous!

Our view. Ahhh, gorgeous!

On Monday, my friend and I headed back to the waterway for our first open water swim since the shark incident. We didn’t see any jellyfish or have any other “encounters”, but we were on high alert, and it was nerve wracking. We were glad to be done. Since there was no current at that particular time, I was pleased with 1.1 miles in just over 40 minutes. With all the currents, it’s hard to get an idea of what my pace is and what to expect for Ironman, so I was happy to have a “time trial” of sorts.

I swam again this morning for a long 1.7 miles with a push, and I was a little more comfortable being back in open water, even with another shark incident just north of our beaches the day before. We had a current so my time was at a much quicker pace and I finished in 47:00. I went home to do 16×1:00 bike intervals. It was the hardest I think I’ve ever pushed, and I have to say it was an amazing workout. I’ve never seen 27 mph on my bike, EVER, so that was good, even though it didn’t stay that fast very long! Even with the air turned to 72 and a fan, it was a sweat fest!

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I’m surprised you can’t see my feline supervisors. They’re there making sure I work hard.

My running has been going well, biking is picking up some strength, and well, the swim is the swim. I have one gear (slow), but as long as I get it done, that’s really all that matters.  I’m so close to launching my business, and wow, there’s a LOT that goes into starting something, even when it’s pretty simple. I’m working on my husband’s marathon training plan. That has been a lot of fun, well, a lot more for me than for him!! It’s hard to believe it’s already that time when I can’t even wrap my head around October, which is when his race is. Well, it’s our 140.6 relay where I’m swimming and biking in prep for IM Florida, and then he gets to do the marathon. It’s so cool that we will be able to cross the finish line together!

I’ve got a 12 mile run on Friday, swim again Saturday, then a 4 hour bike on Sunday (I’d like to do 70 miles so however long that takes). Looks like the weather will be more “normal” next week, just in time for me to go out of town!

How about y’all? Complain about the weather when it’s unseasonably hot? Do you feel more worn out and run down when it’s hot?

 

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, coaching, interval training, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, open water swimming, swimming, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

From 0 to 120 in Seven Days

I wonder what it’s like to go 120 in a car. I’ll never find out, but I’m curious if your face flies back like when people skydive. I would think so.

I wonder what this feels like. Probably dry.

I wonder what this feels like. Probably dry. And windy.

I’m 30.5 weeks ahead of Ironman Florida.  It doesn’t seem like that much time when you think about all the training the race will require, but then again, it’s over half a year. I’m sure it’ll be here before I know it, so it’s time to get to work!

Last week, I started riding my bike and swimming. I rode 30 miles on the trainer once, then twice, I rode 20 easy miles. No intensity was necessary, as I felt I needed to avoid ramping up miles and intensity at the same time. Saturday, I decided that I needed to get up to 50 miles. I planned to meet up with my friend, Gary, so we took off early on the route we rode tons of times last year. Part of it is a 4-lane highway at 60 mph (for the cars, not me because if it was me, hello Kona!), but it’s a good route with a 30 mile loop. There’s a convenience store that’s conveniently located for pit stops as well. I felt the 30 miles was done at a pretty good pace, especially since it was the first road ride in a LONG time. My device didn’t work right, but Gary’s Garmin said we were going between 17-18 mph. I felt like we were going slightly north of that, but who am I to argue with a Garmin?

I mentioned last week that my tri bike didn’t feel that different from my old road bike. Well, once I got on the road, I could definitely feel a difference.  It was good, and when we were done with the 30 (Gary’s first 30 in a long time), I decided to go home and ride another 20 miles on my trainer to avoid the A-holes who think they don’t have enough space in an entire highway to move their vehicles-of-death more than two inches away from my arm. A-holes. I felt like I was going to be endangering my life on the road enough this season, and I did not feel like getting killed, as I was NOT Jesus and would NOT be rising from the dead.

The 20 miles on the trainer was not what I expected. I was tired. My legs were tired, and it was hot and sweaty inside. I decided to leave the TV off and listen to music instead. It was sort of nice to have my own personal DJ (thank you, dear husband) and when I needed a new song, I just said, “NO” and he changed the song. I’m definitely going to look into this Sufferfest I hear rumors about. A lot of my harder workouts are going to be inside and probably by myself, so it’s time to turn off “Oprah’s Where Are They Now”, and get into it for real.  I wanted to give up my bike ride and wondered why 50 miles seemed so challenging. Well, one week before, I hadn’t ridden, and within seven days, I’d gotten in 120 miles. THAT is probably why. It makes more sense when you add it up.

Post-bike run. It was pretty awesome.

Post-bike run in the sprinkles. It was pretty awesome.

I stopped pedaling as SOON as that thing whispered “20” to give me a total of 50, and I quickly laced up my shoes, grabbed my phone and gum, and went out the door for more torture a two mile run.  It felt super slow, and when Helga from “Map My Run” spoke at the 1 mile mark, I was happy to realize that I was going at an 8:30 pace. Ahhh, the glory of post-bike running. I got in another mile at the same pace and was. just. done. Wow, from zero to 120 in seven days. Glorious. I’m guessing I’m going to feel accomplished for the next several months as I continuously cross the line of what is comfortable and redefine uncomfortable. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

On Sunday, I slept in. It was awesome. I felt good and it was an absolutely gorgeous Easter Sunday. My husband had gone to run 12 miles with his group, so I talked with the kids, told them to wait on the Easter egg hunt, and went out for a good 5 mile run. At the first mile, the one that seemed like the longest mile ever, I wondered if that was how I was going to feel every Monday, since my long brick workouts will be on Sundays. But after the first mile, I got into the groove, remembered what it was like to be injured, was very thankful to be exactly where I was in life, and the rest of the run felt better and better. It was Easter, a time of new beginnings, and this was my new beginning. I ended up at an 8:28 pace overall, and I came in with a smile and spent the rest of the day with my family. My husband, on the other hand and a possible rock star in the making (ok, he IS a rock star), ended up running 13.1 miles at his goal race pace. That isn’t what he was supposed to do, but he was really happy, and I am now 100% sure he’s going to blow away his old half marathon time in just a few more weeks.

My tri training is really in it’s infancy, and it’s only going to get bigger and badder, so I’m channeling my inner beast whenever I can, but especially when I have a workout in my head.  My plan is to push past it, even if just for one minute, yard, or mile. I headed to the pool on Monday and planned to do 8×100’s with a rest. I’ve just started back swimming and it’s my most difficult sport, so I’m giving myself some time to adjust to it. When I had one more 100 left, I channeled the Beast and decided to do a 200 after I was done with my 100’s. I knocked out the 200, and decided to finish with a 100. So my workout ended up being 1100 instead of the planned 800, and I was pretty happy when I left the pool. I could have stayed and done more, but I plan to swim thrice this week, so I didn’t want to end up regretting that decision. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to deal with my chlorine allergy until open water season starts, but hopefully Loratadine will help.

My view at the pool. Interesting, ain't it? Not.

My view at the pool. Interesting, ain’t it? Not.

This morning, I woke up feeling like crap because we decided to stay up and watch the basketball game. WHY DO THEY START GAMES AT BEDTIME?????  I don’t know what time it was when we fell asleep, but it was too late and after too much beer and a mini Totino’s pizza. That was dumb, but at least our dinner earlier in the evening was healthy and delish.

Springtime Orzo - Um, YES.

Springtime Orzo – Um, YES.

I wasn’t too thrilled with doing speed work, but again, I know that in order to race fast, you have to train fast, so my plan was to do 4×400’s at as fast as I could get down to, or 6:05. I hadn’t done really anything faster than 6:50, but closer to 7:00 minute miles in a LONG time, so I honestly didn’t know if I could get these done. I made the mistake of not going to the track, so it was hard to see what my paces were and then I had to check on the distance relatively often. Next time, to the track I go. My Garmin was fussy since it was cloudy. For instance, it had me going at a 5:24 pace during my warm up. Yeah, NOT. So to the best of my estimation, I got my 400’s in, not four of them, but SIX 400’s at about a 6:15-6:20 pace. I thought my hands were going to fall off when I was done and I do not understand how people can run marathons at that pace and faster. Seriously. And how do they keep their hands from falling off?

I came home after 6.3 total miles in an average pace of 8:06. A good day’s work. I then burst into tears. I was sad. It was the song’s fault, but I was just sad. I’ll tell you why in my next post but it’s running related. It comes and goes, but today it was here for a short visit.

It’s not all bad, and I’m not sitting here crying while typing. It’s just one of THOSE days.

crying

Not me.

It’s cloudy, I’m tired, and my cat is at the vet. He’s fine, but it’s weird without him here. I can go pick him up this evening and pay my bill that is probably the equivalent of my mortgage payment, but at least we’ll have him back.

With the training for this Ironman, my focus has shifted. My perception has shifted. I was annoyed a lot of the time when training for the half iron last fall. Maybe it’s because I just wanted to run and was spending all my running time on the bike or in the water? But this time, I’m getting my workouts in and my mileage built up for when I start with my coach in June. I’m also allowing myself to run when I want to run. If I want to add running, then I’m going to. I’m planning a post-IM marathon, so I will have to really work on running along with the swimming and biking, more than I would normally. This Ironman can’t be a fluke. I have to be prepared, mentally, physically, and yes, emotionally. It’s going to take a lot of Beast to get it done, so I might as well be a Beast now. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Do more than the minimum. Push yourself. Give more and you just may surprise yourself by what you find on the other side of the effort. From 0 to 120 in seven days.

Now where’s the food because I’m going to eat all of it.

Do you mentally prepare for big races? Do you for training? Do your hands feel like they’re going to fall off when you run fast?

Categories: 10x10 challenge, anything is possible, go for your dreams, half iron distance, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, no fear, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

It’s The Food Network’s Fault

It’s that time of year. You know, when you have the heater on in the morning and the air conditioner on in the afternoon. It’s spring!!! It finally sprung here in coastal North Carolina, and you can simply tell by all the pollen all over the place. It’s kind of gross.

The kids are out of school this week, and although I desperately miss having a career of my own, I really enjoy this time with them.  We stay up later than normal, we sleep in, we watch TV in the morning, we go to the beach, we cook, we clean, we eat ice cream, we play games. Last night, my boys had two friends over and tonight, they’re going to stay at my sister’s house. All of us are off on Friday, so who the heck knows what we will do.

I still consider myself in post-marathon recovery mode, but I’ve only taken two full days off where I didn’t do any workout at all. It would have been three days, but yesterday, I convinced my kids to go run a few miles with me. I’m just about going a little nutty. I think part of it is not meeting my goal in the marathon, part of it is just to move on from that to the triathlon. Part of it is just being used to having workouts almost every day. Since I’m not running 50 miles per week, I have a ton more energy.

Saturday, I ran 5 with my husband at an 8:30 pace. I  felt great and had to hold back, and he went faster than his normal pace – so it was good for both of us.

Sunday morning was cold (29),  so when the hubster went for his 10 miler, I got my new (to me) bike out and rode 90 easy minutes on the trainer, or just over to make 30 miles. This was my first ride on a tri bike. Felt about the same, but then again, it’s been a few months since I’ve been on a bike. My legs were slightly tired, but I figured it was from the marathon just a week before. Ironic the movie “Without Limits” was on. I’d never seen a movie about Pre, and honestly, I don’t know much about him. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t learn too much more because I found myself really bored and turned the channel. Later that day, we took the kids to see the Harlem Globetrotters. I think they’ve been doing the same thing for generations, but the really enjoyed it and it was cool to see them play ball.

Dunk!

Dunk!

On Monday, I took my kids to the YWCA pool and swam an 800, stopping after each 100 to catch my breath. Crazy, I can run a marathon, but swimming just sucks the energy right from me. Then we played in the deep end for half an hour until I was too raisiny to stay in any longer. I’m really working on form, and I have to say, my right side is catching on, my left, not so much.  I know it will just take persistence and work and patience, but as much as I dislike swimming as compared to how much I love running, I do look forward to more workouts and especially some open water swimming. I can’t believe I actually just typed that.

Playing around in the pool.

Playing around in the pool.

On Tuesday, I rode for an easy hour, 20 miles, on the trainer and then went for a 3 mile run. I LOVE the post-bike run feeling and I ended up doing my 3 miles in a 7:47 pace. I was BEAT when I finished, but I had a pretty big smile on my face. I met a friend of mine at the beach and we walked the 2.5 mile loop with our dogs while the kids trotted behind, beside, and in front of us. We then took our lunch to eat on the beach and had ice cream when we were ready to head home. It was a fabulous afternoon with almost perfect weather. Ok, for March, it WAS perfect weather!

The beach.

The beach.

Wednesday was the few miles with my kids, and then this morning, I rode my bike easy for an hour. The boys slept in later than they probably have, almost EVER, so I didn’t have to share the TV as I rode. Bonus. I usually check their breath with a mirror when they sleep past 8:00, but I checked in on them and did NOT want to disturb the bears, so left it alone.

My "new" tri bike, now called "KitKat"

My tri bike, “KitKat”

Tonight, my husband and I are going to a social run for 4 miles, something we haven’t done in a really long time. Part of me is looking forward to it (Running AND social? HELLO!) but part of me wants to just go to dinner or something since we don’t get out very often just the two of us.

The Cooking Part

The cooking frenzy started last week. I’ve always liked cooking, but this is probably the most I’ve spontaneously cooked, like real food with recipes, since, EVER. It was the new show’s (I CANNOT, for the life of me, remember, what the name of it is!) fault, totally. Well, Chopped too. A lady had made gnocchi, which I’ve never made but have eaten before only from the pre-made packages, so I decided on a whim on Saturday afternoon that I was going to make gnocchi. Plain gnocchi was a no-no, so I decided to make some garlic butter cream sauce to go with it. Once I had that going, I realized that I needed to make some pesto with my huge basil plant that I’ve been loving on ever since I got it. Did you know that two cups of basil is pretty much every leaf from a medium sized basil plant? Poor bald thing.  Ok, I LOVE pesto. I REALLY LOVE pesto, like eat it out of a jar with a spoon, and I love garlic, but I learned a very important lesson when I made my homemade pesto with home grown basil. You CAN have too much garlic, or shall I say, gahhhhhhlic, in your pesto. I may have “accidentally” put in twice as much as what the recipe called for, but I’ve never been a real stickler for following recipes, except in baking. It almost garlic-burned my mouth. It was pretty bad. There’s no way in h-e-double-hockey sticks I was going to waste my lovely basil plant I’ve been lovingly caring for, so I just stuck it in the fridge.  And that was just Saturday afternoon.

Gnocchi with garlic butter cream sauce and pesto

Gnocchi with garlic butter cream sauce and pesto

Sunday was Lemon and tarragon-poached chicken with mashed potatoes.  The terragon recipe required white wine, and when I have leftover white wine, I immediately think of risotto. So the next day, I made some delicious risotto with our leftover grilled chicken. The risotto was perfect for toning down my fire hot garlic pesto sauce, so I mixed some of the rice into the pesto and BAM, you have a four-star meal.

Risotto with gahhhlic pesto

Risotto with gahhhlic pesto

THEN I decided to make some cheese filled shells with turkey spaghetti sauce. I made a batch with shredded spinach in the shells and one without. It was good.

Cheese shells. Mmmm. Good.

Cheese shells. Mmmm. Good.

The kids have been asking me to make jambalaya for about a month, so yesterday, I made that for the crew since I can just add more rice to make it go further. Thankfully, I didn’t get crazy with the cayenne pepper as I’ve been known to do, so it was the perfect spice heat for us. Because the kids had friends over, I decided to make some knockoff Cinnabon cinnamon rolls. My house actually smelled like the mall when you walk by the Cinnabon store. Fabulous. I’ll have to make a double batch next time as one regular batch only makes SIX!

Check out that bun!

Check out that bun!

So with my girth a little thicker than a week ago, thanks to my current cooking phase, I’m looking forward to some warmer weather, getting my bike out on the road, and running for speed, maybe even looking for a 5k PR (21:13).

Do you like to cook? Do you go crazy right after a marathon?

Categories: ironman, ironman florida, marathon, open water swimming, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, swimming, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Post-Race Euphoria Has Risen Again

This has been an interesting week. I mourned the loss of my PR successfully. Thanks for your kind comments. I took time off. I went to the pool. I ran slow. I ran fast. I took videos of squirrels sliding down the bird feeder pole (they went down super fast when I used cooking spray-it was freaking HILARIOUS). I did what I wanted to do. I drank beer and didn’t care. I got post-race euphoria. Again.

Post-marathon run pre-post-race euphoria.

Post-marathon run pre-post-race euphoria. Wouldn’t be classy without the smoothie seeds.

I’ve never done a shakeout run AFTER a marathon before, so on Monday, when my brain wires were all crossed, I decided to get out there and do it. I was slightly sore (definitive proof that I could have done better on Sunday), but I went two miles easily in the light rain. It was just enough to clear my head, work out residual soreness, and bring a smile to my face. It was perfect.

brain before after run

Then I noticed a blood blister on my thumb. Strange. I had done it while running the race on Sunday – I pinched the pad of my thumb with my index finger when I got upset in the last few miles enough to cause a blood blister. Strange…very strange.

Weird. Just weird.

Weird. Just weird.

I was sad until Wednesday. My soreness was gone, the sun was out, and I was ready to get back to it….slowly. I headed to the pool to re-acquaint myself with the water. It was, um, ok. I got out of breath VERY fast, but I practiced form for about 30 minutes, taking a breather after every 50 meters. I remembered what I learned at the swim clinic. Not sure if I could really execute it, but I tried. I was almost excited about getting back in the water.

Back at it!

Back at it!

On Thursday, post-race euphoria hit. And I was happy. I was happy that I was happy and not the anvil-on-head feeling of devastation after Boston last year. I could feel the euphoria coming, like a train whistle in the distance, on Wednesday, but didn’t know how nutty it was going to make me feel. I dropped my son off from school, decided to go pick him up at noon and play hooky since he was just having a hard day and felt “invisible” and walked into the school looking pathetic like Eeyore or Winnie the Pooh, which was enough to make me cry while grocery shopping in Walmart. I assume the dumb U2 song, “Stuck in a Moment (and can’t get out of it)” coming on did not help matters. But first, I got the groceries put away, and again, went for a run in the rain. I ended up going about 3 miles at 8:15 pace.

I didn't have my hat so this is what I looked like most of the time. Dazed and confused.

I didn’t have my hat so this is what I looked like most of the time. Dazed and confused.

My legs were tired when I was done, but they weren’t tired enough to deter me from looking into running a marathon this weekend. And by the way, when I say, “post race euphoria”, it can also be called “making bad decisions within a week of running a marathon”. I’ve had this before, I’m experienced. I’d been watching the weather, and THIS weekend’s weather was going to be cold, which is PERFECT for me. Give me 30-something degrees and I’ll run all day long. Perfect for running another marathon, right?

So I Googled all the marathons for the rest of the spring, including Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN. I even got so far as looking into plane tickets. I think the $750+ air fare and the relative warm race conditions were the final slap to sensibility. Plus, duh, there’s Ironman training that is WAY more important than marathon racing right now. BUT there was a marathon this weekend, just up the coast. It was still open. Hmmm, I clicked the “REGISTRATION” button. (By they way, THAT is how the whole Ironman thing started…it was open, I clicked, I clicked again, and BAM, I’m in an Ironman). I checked the weather again. Hmmmm, rain and possible snow. The next screen after hitting the “click this if you’re a complete idiot” button, I found the registration was, in fact, closed. Ahhh, saved!!! I’m no marathon pro, but I DO know that running a marathon two weekends in a row for time is not a good idea. For anyone. I just had a brief moment of invincibility and that those particular rules to not pertain to me. Because I didn’t run all out on Sunday. Yeah, so let’s run again a week later. Seems smart to me! That’s how tricky this euphoria thing is. I mean people, who actually clicks the button to sign up for a marathon that’s ONE WEEK from the marathon they just ran? INSANITY AT ITS BEST. That certainly wouldn’t have been a huge disaster, would it?

I Googled more, looked at dates, weather, experiences of other people who ran marathons not long after Ironman races, and I think I’ve decided on when I will race a marathon again, but it will be after Ironman Florida. One thing at a time, Kelli, one thing at a time! Post-race euphoria, the best way to run up your credit card and do stupid things!

Later on Thursday, I stole my son away from school at 12:30. There’s nothing like the ocean and ice cream custard, the most delicious invention EVER, and an afternoon out of school to elevate a pre-teen’s mood. We chatted, we collected shells, we laughed, we put our feet in the ocean, we took goofy pictures. It was wonderful, and it worked.

My boy and me

My boy and me, at Wrightsville Beach, wearing Wrightsville Beach shirts, just in case we got lost, because, you know, there’s a map on the shirt.

So anyway, today is Friday. I decided to take the day off any exercise. The kids got out of school early for spring break, which is all next week, so we went to Lowe’s and got some supplies to build a flower bed around a tree in the front yard. Our neighbors and we were planning to have a nice big bed combined in our front yards, but they are moving and decided instead to put one bush up surrounded by a few handfuls of mulch. It’s gorgeous and could be a contender for Better Homes & Gardens “Front Yard Award”. Yeah, I’m totally exaggerating, it looks like crap. I’ll post a picture when we get it done.

I’m fighting the urge to buy a bunch of books on endurance nutrition and the best method, as I know it’s part of the euphoria effect. I want to know all the things about all the diets, but I am especially curious about Nutritional Ketosis. Not sure if it is even a good idea with my history and a very long endurance event planned, but I’m going to be looking more into my options.

For workouts this weekend, I’ll be on my trainer for “all the miles” (euphoria) and then I’ll be doing some running as well. I’m also planning to be at the pool 2-3 times a week, so we may all head there on Sunday for more practice. Then we’re heading to the Harlem Globetrotters game. My kids are going to have a blast!

What is everyone up to? Do you ever go nuts after a marathon?

 

 

 

 

Categories: ironman, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, open water swimming, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, swimming, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Wrightsville Beach Marathon – Race Recap

PRE-RACE

It’s the day before the big race, the marathon, the day I’ve been waiting for for months. I was looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time. I got up, ran my shake out run, the weather was good. It was cold and cloudy. Could tomrrow be a PR-making day?

My son came home from a sleepover Saturday, and ironic enough, he didn’t sleep much. We went to his soccer game, came home, and got ready to go out to the race festivities, all while I’m stuffing my face with carbs.

Food. I ate A LOT. It's like, the more I ate, the hungrier I got.

Food. I ate A LOT. It’s like, the more I ate, the hungrier I got.

Friday evening and Saturday were packet pickup, and on Saturday, there’s a 1-mile fun run and a 5k race. The full and half marathons were on Sunday morning.  I have to say, the Wrightsville Beach Marathon is relatively small, but it’s getting bigger and better.  I easily got my race packet and then my son’s packet for the 1-mile run that was Saturday evening.  The expo was nothing new, and I didn’t see anything I wanted wanted it all, but didn’t buy anything.

A beautiful day for the expo, 1 mile and 5k races!

A beautiful day for the expo, 1 mile and 5k races!

My husband is the head of the Cape Fear Clemson Club’s aid station for the race, so he was in charge of meeting The Tiger, the only “real” mascot who came to the college team themed race. It was cool to meet a real mascot. He started with the 1-mile and 5k races and was at the Clemson aid station during the marathons.

My boys and The Tiger

My boys and The Tiger

Then it was time for my son’s 1-mile race. Evidently I signed him up early last year, and thankfully the race emails all participants, because I had no recollection that I had signed him up until I got the confirmation email. Oops. The race does keep you informed well in advance, so there should be no question as to when or where events were taking place. Pretty awesome. It was time for my little one to run. I was slightly nervous, but he’s been running A LOT lately, so I figured he’d be just fine.

It's not often you can say you ran with a leprechaun.

It’s not often you can say you ran with a leprechaun. My guy is in the orange shirt just right of Mr. Leprechaun.

Momma was right. That little bugger came in 2nd overall with a freaking 6:21 mile time. He’s NINE. Yeah.

Post race.

Post race. Complete with his hand in the bag of chips.

By the time The Tiger was done with his duties at the races, I was more than ready to go home. I was so happy to see tons of familiar faces. So many people I know where there, whether it was to volunteer or race in one of the four races. What a great family event!!

We headed home so I could eat more carbs and put my feet up, because, yes, it IS all about me. Bedtime was early.

My typical pre-race burger. It never fails. Kitty wanted one too.

My typical pre-race burger. It never fails. Kitty wanted one too.

RACE MORNING

I normally eat four hours before big races. I’ve been doing it since I started learning more about marathons, and it’s never failed me. I’ve bonked ONCE during a race, and I knew exactly what I had done to mess it up. It’s never happened to me since. I got up at 2:30 to stuff my face once more.

That was an early morning.

I don’t see that time very often.

I tried to get back to sleep, but my mind wouldn’t let me. At 4:something, I got back out of bed to get ready for the marathon. Would I be happy when I got home? Would I be sad? Angry, thrilled? You just never know with these things.

We dropped my car off at the finish line and headed to the aid station where my boys would be working, which is conveniently located right by the start line.  I got my Gu situated, used the port-a-jons about ten times, and I was ready to go.

Pre-race.

Pre-race. Looks like I have to pee.

I remember having some “oh shit” feelings because the weather forecast was off. It was already warm and the race hadn’t even started. It was 57 degrees and 90% humidity. Gulp. I do not run long distances well with temps above 50-55, especially with the humidity. Well, here goes!

THE FIRST HALF

The race started at 6:40. It was crowded, but it wasn’t where you’re stumbling and having to weave in and out of people. I think people actually seeded themselves according to the pacers, probably a first in any race I’ve done. At mile 2-3, I passed my boys’ aid station and called out to them. They had their music blaring, Clemson gear out in arms, and it was fun. There were a LOT of runners, which is something that I really like when racing. We headed off the island, and I noticed that I was soaked with sweat.  Grrrr. Of all the &(*%& days to be warm and humid. The course is a loop course, but it’s not even loops, so it’s hard to explain. We would be heading back to the island again, but first, a nice stretch of road with a lot of spectators and cool, funky aid stations, all college themed. You know, because it’s March Madness, the theme of the race. The NC State station had my friend, Alecia, dressed as Ms. Wolf, and the three times I passed her, she was dancing away. I hear her calves are strong as steel. I thought to myself, “I’m doing it”. (Thanks for the reminder, Judith!!!)

We went into the gated community of Landfall, a place I’ve only seen when visiting one friend and running through for this race. I had my times at certain intervals marked on my arm so I would know if I was on pace or not. Things were going according to plan, and at mile 10, I had 30 seconds on my goal time, 3:43. I met with a friend who would end up running almost the entire rest of the race with me, when I exited Landfall the first time. It was back to the beach.

I wasn’t feeling on my A game, and I wasn’t sure why. I knew it would be a test and that I was going to have to dig really deep to get my BQ that day. At the half point, I was one minute ahead of my goal time. Whew. I was sweaty. I was ready to do it.

Runnin' my race

Runnin’ my race. You just can’t keep those thumbs down.

As you’ve heard me complain before, my Garmin does not like the clouds, so the readings for mine and my friend’s were all over the place. I could only run based on feel. I picked up a little goody bag at my boys’ aid station at mile 14-15. It had ibuprofen, salt pills, gu, a mini water bottle, and a new gum in it. I really struggled with getting my stuff out, so I asked my friend to get them out for me. There was a lot of swearing.  As I passed mile 16, I used some more colorful words and basically said that I was going to make this marathon my bitch. I had ten miles to go. Let’s do it.

A-Mazing

A-Mazing

I have to mention that along the way, I came upon this group. The woman in the chair was paralyzed 26 years ago. She was a very young and extremely active girl at the time and was hit by a car. She and a friend decided the best way to celebrate life was to participate in a marathon. I had heard the story, and when I passed them, I told them they were amazing and blew them a kiss. Some good perspective. Because of chair issues, they were only able to complete 13.1 miles, but anyway, 13.1 is a LONG way.

Feeling good. Still have hitchhiker thumbs.

Feeling good. Still have hitchhiker thumbs.

We were coming upon mile 18, which is close to where you go back into Landfall. I had my goal time written on my arm. When I saw my time, fully expecting to still be a minute or more ahead of goal time, I

Huh????

Huh????

Then I realized that I was one minute BEHIND my goal time. I lost TWO MINUTES in those five miles.

wtf

Yeah. Needless to say, I sort of freaked. I was definitely feeling the weather. I FELT like I had been running a really good pace. My legs felt strong, but my breathing, eh, it was just not regular. When I brought my pace down, my heart rate skyrocketed and my breathing went with it. WTF?

Herein lies the confusing part. Maybe I spent too much energy trying to figure out what happened. But I felt defeated. I tried to speed it up. It wasn’t working. My body was like all

Heeeellll NO.

Heeeellll NO.

I knew I would not be able to pick up and get a negative split marathon, the one thing I was really counting on  and planning for the entire training time. My legs felt good though. I wasn’t sore. They weren’t tired. WTF? Honestly, I knew my goal time was out. I felt like I was running in pudding, or soup, or water, or something other than air. I FELT like I was running at a good pace, but the fastest I was actually going was too slow.

I didn’t give up. I really thought about what was going on. And I didn’t understand what was going on. Is it the humidity? I kept going until I just felt like….

wtf6

And I walked some. I adjusted my goal to be a sub-4:00 marathon. Nope. Gotta beat stomach flu marathon of 3:56, so my new goal became a sub-3:56. And I was REALLY upset. How could this happen? How could I lose two minutes in 5 miles? How could our watches be off? How could I LET this happen? How could I waste this opportunity and sacrifice all the sacrifices that my family and I have made for this dream of mine. Then there’s the other side of me. I am freaking running a marathon. Ain’t no shame in that. So it’s the Libra side of me that pulls me on either side, the one that divides the happiness with “you didn’t try hard enough”. And I kinda wanted to punch it in the face that morning.

Almost to the finish.

Almost to the finish.

And I saw my family, my boys, the ones who are always there for me. I saw so many of my friends who yelled my name. And strangers were yelling my name too. It was confusing earlier since I was like, “how the heck do they know my name” and dur, it was on my bib.

And I finished.

Marathon #8. Done.

Marathon #8. Done.

Official time is 3:52:28.With all the walking I did, it ended up being an 8:53 pace. An 8:50-effing-3 pace. So with that, come mixed emotions. I really needed to sit and think for a day, let the weekend digest and see where it went. Yes, I’m REALLY disappointed. I’m confused.

IMG_7525 wb5

I’m also very proud, I’m happy. That’s a REAL smile. I ran a marathon. Sure, it wasn’t the pace I wanted, but I sure gave it a hell of a try. So I let my disappointment marinate for a day, and now I’ve moved on. I loved this marathon. I love having goals to shoot for. I loved that my friend ran with me. I love that I saw TONS of people I knew out on the course, that my boys were a part of it too. I loved that my friend made sure I had food, even though I didn’t want to eat. I LOVE the fact that my friend, Amanda, who I met because of this race,  KILLED her race and got her BQ by almost SEVEN minutes. It’s about family, friends, goals, energy, and living life. Next year, I’ll be back.

But first, I got me some Ironman to do.

Hugs, anyone?

Hugs, anyone?

What do you think about marathons? Love/hate? Time goal/no time goal? Do you like all my new animated gifs?

Categories: Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, ironman, ironman florida, learning from failure, marathon, marathon training, no fear, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, running with friends, training for marathon, training for marathon hal higdon training plan, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

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

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