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Journey To the Finish Line

PR's, 4 children, hopes and dreams; I'm always running after something

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Marathon Training

Redemption Race Recap

This recap took much longer than I expected to finish. I have just been tired.

In the past, I’ve finished marathons with the desire to stay far far away from another one for at least a year. While I wasn’t upset about my finish at Disney, I finished it feeling…..unsatisfied, because I knew that in better conditions I could have done better. Not even 24 hours after finishing, I was mentally working through how I could try again before the humidity sets in.

My husband is a saint for putting up with the constant training.

Anyway, I managed to finish training take 2 without injury or illness, and then 48 hours before the race, I started to feel sick. Tired. Lightheaded. A little nauseous. I took an ibuprofen and hoped, waking up Friday morning feeling slightly better (at least not worse!). I lucked out with a few cancelations at work and was able to leave early and plant my butt on the couch for a couple hours, and (THANKFULLY) by the time my ride came I felt considerably better.

Tammie, who originally thought she might be making the trip up and running solo, found herself carting 3 of her closest Tri friends with her. Kelly and Dena had signed up for the half, and Tammie and I were both searching for our own redemption. Although she had BQ’ed at her marathon in December, given the time cut off needed in the most recent race, she wanted to switch her qualifier from a “maybe” to a “definitely”.

We left around 3:30 and spent an hour in Summerville traffic (fun), finally arriving at Myrtle and the expo around 6:30. Packet pick up was simple – give your bib number, get your bib. Rules hadn’t changed from last year, you could still pick up a friends packet with the need for a secret password – something I’m still amazed by. We walked around for a bit and I bought some much needed Body Glide and a pair of sunglasses. On the way to the hotel, we stopped for dinner at TBonz, where I happily gorged myself on carbs. (Mmmm, carbs). From there, we headed to the hotel, got our million things ready for the morning and went to sleep.

I don’t normally sleep well the night before a race, and this night was no exception. Considering I was in an unfamiliar bed and racing in the morning, I slept pretty well. My alarm went off around 4:30 and I jumped in the shower (it helps wake me up), ate and got dressed.

The four of us loaded the shuttle at 5:30 to head to the race start, which was right outside the Pelicans ballfield. We made a few trips to the bathroom and huddled together to try to stay warm.

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Perfect race weather isn’t always perfect standing around weather. There, we met an older gentleman dressed as a penguin. Apparently he does this for many races.

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We headed towards the race start at about 6:15, and it was here some excitement finally started to kick in. We situated ourselves near the 3:45 pace flag and waited.

Even though the conditions of Disney weren’t optimal, it was still a good learning experience. Typically, I like to try to start races a bit slower and finish faster, but the marathon is a whole different ballgame for me I nixed that idea and decided I had one goal: STEADY.

The race was well manned, with water stops every 2 miles, planned GU stops at 16 and 22, and then water every mile from 22 on. We hit one snag early on though – the mile marker at mile 1  was a tenth of a mile too soon. In fact, every mile up until where I stopped caring, so probably mile 18 or so, was at least a little short.

The first 10k was down a side street to 17 and then to the airport. Not super scenic, but I’m often concentrating too much during races to care anyway. We passed the first water stop and did a quick walk through of the second two, finishing the first 10k at an 8:34 average. Around mile 8 is where the “fun” started. The scenery became considerably nicer, but with it came a freakishly annoying coastal headwind that lasted FOREVER (around 11 miles). We pressed on, though, stopping at mile 12 for a potty break (Tammie) and a stretch break (me), where we lost about 55 seconds, but still finished the half at 1:52:53.

Fuel wise, I had two applesauces with me, and had planned to walk through most water stops and use the Gu stops at 16 and 22. By the time we reached 16 I was starting to get tired from trying to keep pace fighting the wind, and was really looking forward to that Gu, but I COULDN’T FIND THEM! I saw bananas and oranges, but no Gu, and by the time I realized that I missed them (or they weren’t there, I’m not really sure which) it was too late to go back to get anything.

I’m pretty sure I cursed the wind all the way through miles 16-19, where we FINALLY turned and headed a different direction. At the third checkpoint we were slightly behind pace (8:37) and I was starting to feel the effects of missing the Gu 3 miles before. Tammie was nice enough to give me a couple chews she was carrying with her, which helped a little, but I was still struggling. I was keeping pace, but what had started out as an easier conversational pace turned into a pace I really had to concentrate to keep. Not only that, but the “fast flat” course forgot to mention a  couple of steady inclines late in race (which I had obviously blocked out from the year before). I pulled out the music, which helped some. I was REALLY happy to see Mile 22 where someone was actually passing out the Gu. I’ve never been happier to see a packet full of carbs and sugar in my life.

At this point Tammie was leading and I was beginning to trail slowly behind. We’d agreed to stick together until Mile 23, which was where she started to pull ahead. I was searching for my best running music in my iPod, because I needed all the help I could get. I wouldn’t say I ever “bonked” or officially hit a wall, but I was definitely feeling tightness in my hamstrings and overall fatigue. I managed to speed up a little, and ran Mile 23 in 8:25. I stopped to stretch a few seconds at 24, and finished that one on pace in 8:36. Finally I picked up a bit of a “second wind” the last mile and ran 26 in 8:17.

Most of the last .2 was through the finish chute, and I was thrilled to realize that those couple faster miles had moved my average time up from an 8:37 to an 8:35 – the goal I needed to finish in 3:45. I crossed the finish in 3:45:54 gun time, feeling like a rockstar. They say pictures are worth a thousand words, and these ones taken by my friends captured it well I think.

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Official Results:

Total Distance: 26.26 (much better than Disney’s 26.5!)

Gun Time: 3:45:54

Chip Time: 3:45:18

Overall Finish: 325/1421

Gender Finish: 79/597

Age Group Finish: 11/67

Average Pace: 8:35

Redemption race was a success with a nearly 10 minute PR from Disney, and 17 minute PR from this same race last year !!

Oh, and Tammie turned her maybe into a definitely with plenty of time to spare, finishing in 3:44:38 (her BQ goal time was 3:55)!

WOO HOO!

1 Week to Myrtle (Race Week)

I got behind on posting this and any other blogs (I haven’t even started the recap yet) because, frankly, I’m tired.

Excuses excuses right?

Anyway, here we go:

Monday: cross . Swim 1600 meters. So, I figured since I can swim a mile at 2:23/100m, I should be able to swim 400 meters at like 2:15/100m. Right? Wrong. In fact, not even close. It just goes to show you how days can be so different. I did one set at 2:20, another at 2:21, then took a break and did some drills. Then I did 200 at 2:20, so I didn’t even manage to get faster there, and then said screw it and took the last 200 easy.

Tuesdaytempo. Well kinda. It really meant 3 miles at goal race pace. It was a little warm by the time I got out there, but otherwise it went well.

Wednesday: speed. 12×400 with 6@ 6:36 and 6 recovery. I lowered the goal down to 7 and ended up somewhere in the middle. 6:42, 6:53, 7:00, 6:57, 6:57, 6:46. Even with the lesser amount of speed this pace felt hard, which will become significant in a bit….

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This one is the “Tamfi”

Thursday: rest day. It was a planned rest day anyway, but I woke up Thursday morning feeling slightly dizzy, light headed, and even a little nauseous. The stomach bug has been running rampant around lately and all I could think was “48 hours from race day and NOW I’m going to get sick??”. I took an ibproufen and that helped, otherwise I just hoped for some good healthy vibes. Luckily, it did not get any worse. What is it with the taper week that makes your body just start to shut down?

Friday : rest day. Felt slightly better when I woke up but still not wonderful. I lucked out with several cancelations and was able to go home  2 hours earlier than normal, where I made myself plant my butt on the couch. By the time Tammie came to pick me up, I was feeling quite a bit better. Thank goodness.

Saturday: RACE DAY! Redemption run was a success, and I think these pictures from the finish say enough (for now)

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And, as if running a marathon wasn’t enough for the day, we also bought a new (to us) car that evening.

Sunday: um hello? Rest day. We skipped church (bad me) and watched a couple movies in the morning, then took the twins to the park where I semi-hobbled around. 🙂

Stay tuned for the recap!

2 Weeks To Myrtle

If you’ve been paying attention (because why wouldn’t you – these posts are SO interesting), you’ll notice I tweaked my title, because I finally registered for the race this week.

Monday – cross train. Swim 1600 meters. Nothing exciting here. I did a 400m warm up, 800 meter of various drills, and then a 400m cool down.

Tuesday – tempo. 2 miles easy, 3 miles @ 7:35, 1 mile easy. It was warmer for this run, which meant my sinuses were acting up, so it was a little rougher than I would have preferred. But, I got it done, and that’s all that matters.

Wednesday – speed work. 8×800 with 1:30 rest between each. Goal pace @ 6:46. It was warm again and I was unmotivated to start. Somewhere I found it though and ended up with some pretty even splits: 6:37, 6:35, 6:39, 6:39, 6:39, 6:39, 6:44, 6:46. I did do the last two slower on purpose, but truth was I was tired and I’m not sure if I could have done them faster if I tried.

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Thursday – easy run. 4.5 miles @ 9:23 pace. Yeah, I was supposed to cross train, but I cheated. It was a nice cool morning and I had planned to run solo, but Bryan was running late so I asked the twins if they wanted to go to school with Bryan or run with mommy.

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run with mommy!

Thursday was also the day our Palmetto 200 group had our meeting and the twins joined me there as well. Abby ate all the macaroni and cheese, and Miles stole my apple. They colored on a teammates info paper.

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Friday – rest day

Saturday – long run. 10 miles @ 8:35. Goal was race pace, and we nailed it!

Sunday – active rest day. 50 minutes of yoga….with Miles.

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3 Weeks to Maybe

No injury this go ’round, and I actually got to complete peak week!

Who would have thought that would be exciting?

Monday – cross train. 45 minutes on bike trainer. Like the treadmill, the trainer is something I’m really glad to have when I need it, but I’d really rather not need it. Alas, it was too cold to ride outside so I dusted it off. I used a workout I found in my “Run Less Run Faster” book and it actually kept me from getting bored. 10 min warm up followed by 6x 1 min @ perceived effort level 4 and then 4 minutes at effort level 1. 5 min cool down.

Tuesday – speed work. 5x 1000m with 400m recovery. I did these in my neighborhood instead of the track, since our usual track night was a local running stores’ monthly group run. It went better than expected. Goal pace was 6:53. Splits were 6:50, 6:47, 6:44, 6:45, 6:53. I forgot to hit the lap button on my watch between the last recovery and last split and spent probably a tenth of a mile trying to figure out what the heck happened.

Wednesday – tempo. 1 mile easy, 5 @ 7:40 average (goal was 7:50). Fleet Feet put on their monthly pub run so I used it as my tempo. A couple friends of mine and I showed up early, ran 3 miles and then ran 3 with the group. We ran the first two tempo miles a little faster than goal (7:46, 7:47) but ended up speeding up when the large run started so we wouldn’t lose the group leaders in the dark. My last two miles were in the 7:30’s. It was a good run though, in that it makes me think if I can run 5 miles at 7:40 and feel relatively comfortable, shooting for a 7:50 average half marathon would be doable! This plan is definitely making me faster!

Thursday – cross train. Swim 1600 meters. I got stuck in traffic because of an accident and got there with less than an hour to swim, change and get to work. So, I swam a mile without stopping. Much to my surprise, I did it in a minute and 50 seconds less than the last attempt!

Friday – rest day.

Saturday – long run. 13 miles @ 8:21. Not much to report here, other than it was nice to “only” run 13.

Sunday – active rest day. 45 minutes of yoga. I was STIFF when I woke up and this was just what I needed.

 

4 Weeks to Myrtle Maybe

Really, the only things keeping me from running this race at this point are injury and illness, neither of which we want to talk about because its bad vibes.

No one wants bad vibes.

I didn’t even get to these training runs for Disney because of my butt, so I find its good news that (knock on wood) there have been no major issues.

Monday – cross training. Swim 1600 meters. I did a 400m warm up, and then attempted a form of interval training, trying 4 sets of 100 with a goal of under 2:00. I swung and missed on all of them, finishing in 2:03, 2:05, 2:06 and 2:06. Swimming is hard. I took it easy for the rest and was still exhausted the rest of the day.

Tuesday – tempo. 8 miles total. 1 mile easy/ 7@ 8:23. This was a rough tempo run. Miles had come home sick early the day before and the only way for me to get it done was on the treadmill (no thank you) or start while it was still dark and be back before Bryan had to leave for work. Starting before daylight made it hard to see my watch, then when the sun starting coming up it brought with it some chilly wind. After that, I was fighting car wind. I hit goal pace, but I felt like I’d run 13 miles rather than 8 and had tired legs all day.

Wednesday – speed work. 7 miles total. 10x 400 @ 6:35, 10×400 recovery. I goofed on the pace goal, thinking I was shooting for 6:30. It was another blistery day and I had trouble finding my pace at first. 6:19, 6:50 (read my watch wrong on this one), 6:22, 6:30, 6:27, 6:30, 6:24, 6:29, 6:25, 6:10 (everyone else was done, I was hurrying). If nothing else, I’m getting faster!

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The few, the proud, the crazy

Thursday – easy run. 3 miles @ 8:53. I took the dog, and it was nice to run without having to worry about reading my watch for once.

Friday: rest day

Saturday: long run. 20 miles @ 8:36/mile. This was THE dreaded 20 miler, because of the pace. Last go round, my butt was still hurting. I finished 18 @ 8:42. I went into this one both dreading it and excited about it. We went a different route this time, parking at a local Target and running through a popular neighborhood (passing by where my sister will be building her house, too) and along 17 which has sidewalk for quite a few miles up. The change of scenery was much needed  as we were able to avoid the monotony of the trail but not have to traffic dodge. Plus, we were right by Chick -fil -a and coffee. The run itself went well, actually. I only had to fight with some tight hamstrings around mile 16. If anyone has any solution to that, I’m all ears. (I’m fine after resting a bit and stretching, but don’t really have the same time luxury on on race day).

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Sunday: active rest day. Yoga. Yoga with toddlers. And if your toddler hands you a toy broom while you’re yoga-ing and says “hold this”,   you improvise.

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Child’s broom triangle pose

5 Weeks to Maybe (Probably)

Since this race is still technically a “maybe”

Monday – long tempo. 11 miles. 1 easy, 10 @ 8:23. Usually I cross train on Monday after a long run Saturday (especially when it’s 20) and my original plan was to do my speed Tuesday and long tempo Thursday, but the weather was calling for a 100% chance of rain Thursday. There was a 100% chance I did NOT want to run 11 tempo miles on a treadmill, so I took a tired leg run outside instead. No, my legs weren’t completely recovered from Saturday, but all in all it wasn’t bad.

Tuesday – cross train. Easy 10 mile ride. It was a warm day and I was done with work early so I took the bike outside. Legs still (understandably) worn out so I didn’t try to push it with this one and took it easy. I wouldn’t have been able to push too much with the headwind anyway. Why is there always a headwind when I’m on my bike? This was after I commented to a friend of mine that it was such a nice day for a ride – too bad I didn’t feel like riding. #liarliarpantsonfire

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When I said I didn’t feel like riding, I meant….I lied.

Wednesday – speed work. 3 mile repeats with 400 m recovery. 5 miles total. Weather had been calling for rain Wednesday too but we lucked out and it held off until the evening. A group of us met about a half hour earlier than usual to try to get the workout in before the rain started, so we didn’t get our usual group picture. As luck would have it, it didn’t even start raining until the cool down. AND, my mile splits were faster than written at 7:00, 6:57 and 6:56. Now, if only I could maintain that for a 5k…..

Thursday –cross train. 1600 m swim. I did an easy 550m (sprint distance), a couple drills and then tried to speed up the 550 a second time. I did, but overall it was still slow. Too bad I can’t use flippers in triathlons….

Friday – rest day

Saturday – long run. 15 miles @ 8:32/mile. I was a little nervous about the pace on this one after my hamstrings and calves felt so tight from last week. I found a pair of Pro Compression socks on super sale and bought them, hoping they’d help with my new found calf tightness (it’s always something). They did seem to help. We finished the run on pace, and I did still feel a little more fatigued than I felt like I should have, but it was better than last week, so I think my legs are finally recovering. Just have to push through peak week next week and hope that the taper weeks will be enough to do the trick.

Sunday – active rest day. 50 minutes of yoga. Sometimes you just need a good excuse to stand on your head. 🙂

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In all reality, I just felt like I needed it, both physically and emotionally. It was a good choice.

Onto next week!

 

Myrtle Beach Maybe?

I ran the Disney Marathon. I wrote my recap for the Disney Marathon, and then I took an unplanned hiatus.

I’ve still been running, I’ve still been training (more on that in a minute), I’ve still been thinking about twin updates as I haven’t posted one in awhile, but the motivation to sit down and type any of it has just been lacking. Between work, training, and chasing toddlers, I’ve been going to bed shortly after they do most nights. The nights that I don’t I often find myself either cleaning (always cleaning) or staring blankly into space.

Hello space.

I was disappointed in the result at Disney. The trip was awesome, the race experience was great, the race itself? Not so much. I wasn’t and am not disappointed in my effort – if anything I probably tried harder at that race than any other. I was disappointed that one thing I couldn’t control (the weather) had such a negative impact. So, I thought about it for awhile and decided I wanted to give it another go. With Bryan’s blessing (he is obviously some kind of saint), I took an easy week, a second easier (though in retrospect probably not easy enough) week and last weekend started at week 11 in my plan with the hopes to run the Myrtle Beach Marathon.

I haven’t registered for this race yet, and I won’t until the deadline. It’s already as expensive as its going to get, and just in case I poop out or something in my body starts acting up again, its no pressure to decide to skip it. So, taking this one week at a time.

But so begins another set of (you guessed it) the ever exciting workout recaps.

(Last) Saturday – 15 miles @ 8:41. The “official” start of the plan again. The run went fairly well, but I felt like my legs were starting to poop out by the end, and my calves were a little sore and tight on the way home.

Sunday – rest day

Monday – cross training. Swim 1600 meters. It had been 3 weeks since I’d been to the pool, and so this felt like the slowest.swim.ever. It wasn’t by any stretch but swimming is definitely the sport I lose the fastest.

Tuesday tempo – 1 mile easy, 5@7:50. This one was inconsistent. Obviously the easy mile was fine. It was cooler temps so it took my lungs a bit of time to warm up. My second mile was 8:03, and my third, which was slightly downhill, was 7:35. Oddly, this mile felt so much easier than the second. Miles 4-6 I finally managed to get closer to 7:50. For some reason 7:50 is a tough pace for me to keep. I either feel more comfortable around 7:55-8:00, or 7:40-7:45. I have no idea why.

Wednesday – speedwork. 1000/2000/1000/1000 with 400m rest intervals. I had the twins with me for this one, so obviously I adjusted my time goals. I stayed pretty well within them, walking the rest intervals.

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Thursday – cross training. 30 minutes on the trainer. I still dislike the trainer.

Friday– rest day.

Saturday – long run. 20 miles @8:50 average. I wasn’t worried about this one going into it, and felt fine up until about mile 15-16, when my legs started to poop out. It felt reminiscent of Disney, only this time I didn’t have the weather to blame. By the end my calves and hamstrings were TIGHT. Cardio wise, I felt fine. This time it was my legs.

Sunday – rest day. Calves still tight. Biofreeze, foam rolling, epsom salt, husband massage, prayer 😉 (They don’t hurt, just are still tight).

 

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I swore up and down the weather was what slowed me down at Disney, but after yesterday I am not so sure. The problem is there are so many factors to consider (did I recover enough, busy schedule post Disney, nutrition/hydration etc) that it’s tough to tell. I read an Instagram account today of a girl who said a few of her biggest mistakes were: not taking the easy days easy enough, pushing for paces she wasn’t physically ready for, racing by pace and not by feel, and racing with goals that ended up to be too far out of reach. She found that she met them by getting there more gradually (smaller PR goals), and maybe that is more what I need. Maybe I am trying too hard. Maybe the Run Less Run Faster plan isn’t really for me. I don’t think I am pushing for paces too out of reach, as this same run before Disney was tiring but not painful. Maybe I’m just not completely recovered. All I know is: marathons are no joke, and I may end up tweaking the end goal. I will say, I oddly have more respect for my Disney finish now than I did 3 weeks ago.

One run at at a time.

Disney Marathon Training – Week 16

Race week! My butt has been cooperating for the most part, minus some tightness here and there – thank goodness.

Monday– cross train. Swim 1200 meters. I got a much needed massage today and ran late getting to the pool. Something is always better than nothing.

Tuesday – tempo run. 4 miles @ 8:23. My butt felt a little uncomfortable but never painful, and the pace was fine, but it was only 4 miles.

Wednesday – speed work run. 6×400 with 400 recovery intervals. I aimed to keep the pace around 5k pace, but the lights weren’t working and I couldn’t see my watch, so they were horribly inconsistent, ranging from 6:55 to 7:45. 4 of the 6 were in range, at least.

Thursday – rest day. Travel to Disney!

Friday– active rest day. Walk around Magic Kingdom!

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Saturday: rest day

Sunday: race day! Full recap to come later, but in summary this race was a perfect example of why marathons are so difficult. You can train fabulously (though I did miss some runs because of my butt issue) and then the weather sucks or you feel off or sore and it can change the outcome quite a bit. This is exactly what happened, but I did still PR, so it wasn’t all bad 🙂

 

Sooooo…..now what?

Disney Marathon Training – Week 15

The week that is less of a pain in the butt. A bit of a boring week with zero pictures. Fail.

Monday – cross training. Swim 1600m. The pool was surprisingly full this morning, full of swim team students who were swimming faster than me during their warmup. There were two lap lanes open but I had to ask share, which I always hate doing. I did my warm up and noticed the guy I was sharing a lane with was (unsurprisingly) faster than I was. So, when he was standing and resting I asked if he had any tips. Turns out, he used to be a swim coach! Poor guy probably gets tired of questions like that, but I really appreciated his looking at my stroke and giving me some pointers. He said that for only swimming for 9 months, I “wasn’t doing bad at all”. I’ll take it! I used my new swim paddles for a few laps and tried to concentrate on what he told me. Apparently I pull too much with my arms only and don’t use enough of my body. I also sometimes end up with my elbow in the water before my hand and cross my hand over too far. Lots to think about.

Tuesday – tempo run ride. My butt was feeling a little better but I didn’t want to risk aggravating it again, so I attempted a tempo on the bike. This proved to be a little harder than I thought because of a closed road, slick roads and traffic, but I did the best I could. I did 18:30 s at 17mph, around 24 minutes at an average 19.7 (was hoping for 20 but just wasn’t making it happen) and then a cool down at 17mph.

Wednesday– speed work. 5 x 1200 with 1:30 rest between each. I had been tempted to just skip all the runs till the end in hopes my butt would heal, but my chiropractor said try it just keep the speed down. I did the first set at marathon pace and then progressively got a little faster. Unfortunately, I still felt it. BUTT (ha, see what I did there) the recovery was much quicker than last week, and by the time we got to our recovery drink location, I already felt 90% better.

Thursday – rest day

Friday – cross train. Did 40 minutes on the bike trainer. Interestingly, my butt felt BETTER.

Saturday – long run. 10 miles at marathon pace (8:23 – I ended up doing 8:24). This one went a little back and forth. Overall though, I had discomfort, but not pain. I took my first mile slower (8:55) and then tried to increase speed. Unfortunately, I forgot I changed my watch settings and accidentally ran the 2nd mile 30 seconds too fast (I was looking at what I thought was lap pace but was actually overall average pace). It a pleasant surprise though because I remember running it thinking “dang, this is way harder than I feel like it should be”. Well, it was because I was running a 7:49/min mile. I stopped to stretch and assess a few times. I felt like it was starting to shift from discomfort to pain at mile 8, but strangely by 9.5 it was totally gone. (I did put some icy hot on the spot that is bothersome and have been taking Plexus Ease, which has turmeric and New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel daily for a few days).

Sunday – cross train. 45 minutes of yoga, focusing on hip openers.

The good news? I’ve had zero pain since Saturday. The bad? My right calf started randomly hurting Sunday night. What is this? Injury roulette??

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