Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My Fall Marathon Decision

I wrote yesterdays race report in a hurry.  I wanted to get it out of the way, so I could move forward with my training plans.

I have made the decision not to run a marathon this year.  I haven't raced a marathon since March 2010 and I really want to run a marathon and qualify for the Boston Marathon again.  But, the reality is I just can't fit anymore training into my schedule without it throwing the rest of my life out of balance.

I could train to finish a marathon.  But, I don't want to just finish a marathon.  I have a lot of unfinished business with the marathon.  I have run a total of 16 marathons.   Some of these races have been wonderful successes.
Rock n Roll AZ 2008
I'm crying because it took me 9 years to finally BQ again!
They were tears of joy.
Other marathons have been not so good.
St. George 2009
I'm smiling in this picture but, I'm really bummed
because I missed my time goal by over 10 minutes.
I have lofty goals of someday breaking 3:30 for the marathon. My PR is a 3:31:49.  When I ran St. George in 2009 I was really pumped up, I had recently run a 1:31 half on a downhill course.  I thought I had a 3:20 in the bag.  Well, it didn't go exactly how I hoped it would go, I think I bit off more than I could chew and I should have focused on breaking 3:30 first.  

The marathon is a tricky beast.  So much patience and restraint has to be used in the first half or you will pay dearly for it in the later miles.  I have been running with a Garmin for a little over a year now and it has made a world of difference in my training and racing.  I wish I would have had this nifty tool years ago.

Getting back to the present day... I have a ton of marathon lust.  But, I just can't commit to the distance right now.  

Training for the Mustang Half Marathon opened my eyes up to speed work and longer distance runs.  I was able to handle the additional training and my mileage topped out in the mid 30's.  To run a quality marathon I would need to add an additional 10-15 miles per week.  

I work full time and I have two small kids.   I don't know how or where I would be able to fit this additional mileage in.  My husband is very supportive of my sport but, it does take away from some of our family time.  He watches the kids on the weekend mornings while I go run.  It's okay if I head out for an 8-10 mile long run.  But, when I start thinking about 16, 18, 20 mile long runs that need to happen during the bulk of my training I start to feel anxious.  I'll be disappearing for hours at a time every weekend. In addition these long runs leave me pretty wiped out.  How fair is it to my kids, if mommy is always worn down and snippy on Sundays?  Also my husband works a job that is somewhat seasonal. The summer is the busiest time of the year for him. He sometimes works on  Saturday mornings just to get caught up.  I just don't think it's fair for me to impose a marathon training schedule on my family right now.

They will only be this small for a short period of time.
Running a marathon can wait for now.

 I've tried to come up with ways to fit the miles in.  Treadmill runs at 4am? Waking up at 2 am to run in the dark? Running at 9pm when everyone goes to sleep? It just doesn't seem like a good idea right now. I'm also thinking that fall marathons just won't work for me period.  I live in Las Vegas, Nevada. Training in the summer sucks.  I still run outdoors but, I spend a lot more time on the treadmill than I would prefer. I'm thinking I will eventually have to find a spring marathon that is PR friendly. 

Since I have decided not to run a marathon this fall, I am going to focus on the half marathon and I'm going to really try to lower my time.  I have two goal races in mind. I will give more details in a future post.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mustang 50th Half Marathon Race Report

I really wanted to write this race report last week while the details were still fresh... But, I didn't get a chance to.   I hope I remember to include all of the important stuff.

My goal for this race was a sub 1:35 half marathon.  I came really close to my time goal.  I studied this course in my head.  I knew that there would be a lot of turns and loops, I also checked out the elevation profile using USATF.org.  I like to be as prepared as possible going into a race.  Here's a picture of the course map

Before the race

I signed up for this race a few months ago and I had the opportunity to submit my time to be placed in a seeded corral.  I submitted my time and I was told that I would be in corral "B".  I was satisfied because I knew I didn't belong in corral "A".

When  I arrived at the expo I picked up my race packet and I noticed that I was number "17". I went over to talk to one of the race officials and I asked about the seeded corrals.  I was told that the top 50 were going to be right up front.  I went home thinking, "maybe I have a chance at placing in the top 3".

I had been looking forward to this race for awhile and my race nerves/jitters were in full swing.  I started carb loading earlier in the week.  By Friday afternoon I was ready to jump out of my own skin, and eating was kind of hard.

Morning of the race

I went to bed at 1030pm on Friday night and I woke up at 430am.  I wanted to make my kids home made waffles before I left.  I ate a banana and drank some coffee while the waffles were cooking. I ate half of a waffle plain and then I smeared peanut butter and strawberry jelly on the other half and ate it in the car on the way to the race.  I had to choke down that waffle sandwich.  I was so nervous.

I left my house at 6am and  I got to the race site with 45 minutes to spare. It was just enough time to jog two miles, do some strides, use the port-a-johns, and make my way to my corral.  I wore throw away pajama pants and a throw away shirt to stay warm.  I didn't really need the throw away clothes,  it was a really nice warm morning.  I got to my corral and I felt like the guys and gals were kind of sizing each other up.  I felt like some of the guys were giving me the side eye, and the, "what's she doing up here" look.  I chatted with a few runners I recognized.  It made the time go by quickly.

The gun went off and I found my groove.   I looked down at my Garmin and saw 6:30 pace,  I backed off and tried to take in my surroundings. It was pretty surreal to be running around a NASCAR race track.

Mile 1-7:19

I kept telling myself to stay focused and run your own race. Don't make any big surges to catch anyone.  The real race happens in the later miles.

Mile 2 -7:16

The course left the race track and we were going up a slight incline the runners were becoming more spread out.  I grabbed a cup of Powerade and I dumped a cup of water on my head.

Mile 3- 7:35

Mile 4- 7:25

The incline was now a decline and I tried really hard not to fly down the decline.  I started to pass a few runners along this stretch

Mile 5- 6:57
Some men do not like being passed by a female runner.  They will fight you to the death even though there are still 8 more miles of a half marathon to run.  I had been running behind a tall man and when I would get close to him he would speed up.  Eventually there was a hill and I used this opportunity to shake him.

Mile 6- 7:06
We were along a stretch of road with zig-zagging loops that let you see the other runners ahead of you.  I noticed two female runners about 400 meters ahead of me.  I had no idea what place I was overall.

Mile 7- 6:57
At times I looked down at my Garmin and I saw 6:45 pace and I would get freaked out.  I told myself to trust my training  and just run by feel.  I dumped more water on my head and drank a little more powerade.

Mile 8- 6:57

The course was now headed back up the incline that we ran during  miles 3-4.

Mile 9-7:41

There was another dude that didn't want to get picked off by a girl runner.  He was a bit more obnoxious because I felt like he was weaving in front of me so I couldn't pass him.   I had a few  choice words with him when we almost tripped over each other going around a barricade.

Mile 10-7:31
I knew that we only had a 5k left and I really wanted to finish hard.   This mile had a slight decline

Mile 11- 6:58
We were entering the stadium and heading back towards the track, I could see the 2nd place female in my sights.

Mile 12-7:12
I passed the last aid station and I made my move to catch the 2nd place female.  I went around her and tried to open up.

Mile 13- 7:09
The 2nd place female came right up on my heels and I fought hard. But, in the end she had a much faster finishing kick than I did.

Mile .28- 1:57 (7:01 pace)

Final Finishing Time 1:36:04 (chip time)
Garmin Time 1:36:08  (13.28 miles at 7:14 pace)
3rd woman overall
31st out of 1703 finishers.

I've had a week to analyze and reanalyze this race. I definitely have some mixed feelings about my race.  I didn't meet my goal time but, I do take comfort in the fact that I did run a negative split race.

I'm bummed because the overall women's winner finished 42 seconds ahead of me.  It was a very close race between the top three ladies.  I wonder if I could have done anything earlier in the race that would have made a difference.

This may not have been the best race for a PR because of all of the twists and turns.  I didn't hit the tangents efficiently and I ended up running a long course.  I needed to average 7:15 per mile to go sub 1:35.  I ended up running 7:14 per mile but, I ran a long course so that doesn't matter.

Overall I'm very happy with how I performed on race day.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

6 x 400 One last speed workout, more shoe talk, and my race goals.

I was surprised to see a track workout during the final week of training. I had considered skipping this workout, but I'm glad I did it anyway.

Workouts since my last post

Tuesday 4/8- Speed work. 6 x 800 @ 10k pace. I ended up doing this workout on the street instead of the track.  I found a residential neighborhood with little traffic and I ran around the same few blocks several times.   I also want to add that it was a pleasant 78 degrees when I did this workout.

I didn't want to risk injuring myself so  I did a proper warm up. I jogged a mile, ran some strides, stretched my legs, and then jogged another half mile.  I gave myself a 90 second jog recovery in between the intervals.  Here's the data.  3:19, 3:20, 3:22, 3:25, 3:40 (This was on a slight incline and I was falling apart). 3:19.
After my workout I jogged another mile and I stretched.

Wednesday 4/9 Rest Day

Thursday- 4/10  Tempo/Progression Run    I'm feeling kind of sluggish because of the taper.  It was also a warm afternoon.  It was 81 degrees when I left.  I started it out at an easy pace and I sped up throughout the run.
Mile 1- 8:42
Mile 2 -8:54
Mile 3- 8:18
Mile 4- 8:00 (I stopped my Garmin during this mile to buy a bottle of water.)
Mile 5- 7:39
Mile 6- 7:14
Mile 7- 6:49

Friday- 4/11
I ran 4 recovery miles. No radio and no Garmin.

Saturday- 4/12 Rest Day

Sunday - 4/13 I ran 5 easy miles with a few strides at the end.  No watch or Garmin.

Monday -4/14 I ran a little over 3 miles at 8:30 pace.

Tuesday 4/15-  My last track work session. 6 X 400 @ 5k pace.   I took a few vacation days this week to be at home with the kids during spring break.  I was able to go to the high school track right around the corner from my home.    At first I was a little nervous about this workout because I'm not used to to doing speed work so close to a race.   But, this workout helped me get some of the jitters out.  The pace felt harder than what I was running, but at the same time I felt like I was holding back. If that makes any sense.   Tapering is such a weird thing mentally.  Here's the data.
1:40, 1:42, 1:41, 1:42, 1:45, 1:35

I then jogged a mile home and stretched.

Wednesday 4/16 Rest

Thursday-  I plan on running 3-4 miles easy and then, no more until Saturday Morning...

More Shoe Talk
Four years ago I purchased a pair of Brooks Launch running shoes.  These came out before their pure project line and I bought them to wear for racing only.  I only go to  wear them twice. I wore them to race a half marathon and I also wore them to race a 5k.  I was actually pregnant with my son Samuel at the time I raced the 5k and I didn't know it.  After that race I put my shoes away in the closet.  I never forgot about them.

After I had my son I got back into running and racing again.  I still had some baby weight to lose and I didn't see the point of wearing racing flats if I"m still carrying 10-15 extra pounds.

Last year when I was getting ready for the Saint and Sinners Half marathon,  I tried these shoes on again. They felt stiff and tight and they didn't feel very stable at all.  I was very close to donating these shoes to the goodwill but, I didn't.

On Sunday I saw them sitting in the closet and I tried them on....  I would have never guessed that after four years that they fit just right.  I wanted to make sure that these shoes were not dry rotted from being old so I ran 5 miles in them and they felt great.  I also wore these for my speed workout on Tuesday.

Race Strategy and Goals
I plan on doing a proper warm up on Saturday.  I want to run at least a mile to warm up and I want to stretch out before hand.  I would like to average 7:15 per mile but, I want to ease into this pace and negative split the second half of the race. I would like to hit 7:30 for the first mile or two and then drop down to 7:15 pace during the first 2-10 miles. I really want my splits to be even.  For the last 3 miles I want to drop down to low 7 minute mile pace.

C goal-  Run a consistent race.  Running 6:45 pace means nothing during the first 3 miles if I'm finishing the race at an 8:15 pace. 
B goal-  Run a sub 1:35 half.  I hope I can accomplish this.  

A goal-  Get as close to 1:33 as possible.  It's possible.

I would like to place in my age group and or overall but, I have no control over who else is racing.  I can only focus on my times.  To say I"m excited is a big understatement.  

Monday, April 7, 2014

4 more years until I become a masters runner and my latest workouts

Last week I turned 36 years old.  When I was younger I really loved to milk my birthday for a few extra days. When you are 36 it's just not as cute anymore.  

Workouts since my last post

Wednesday 4/2- Test run (3.23 miles @ 7:51 pace).  I was so nervous that my legs/abs would feel funny during the run.  The weather was horrible. There were crosswinds and drizzle.  I ran 3 miles and I got knocked around by the wind. My legs and groin felt really tight afterward.  But, that night I stretched my hip flexors and groin area and I didn't feel sore the next day.

Thursday 4/3  14 miles..... It just kind of happened.  I had planned on running 6 miles at an easy pace.  I headed out in the direction of my usual 10 mile loop.  When I got to the turn around point for 6 miles, I figured that I would run 10 miles.  When I got closer to the turn around for 10 miles, I talked myself into adding a few more miles on.   I ran this on my lunch break. It was a weird day where my boss and his boss were in meetings at another campus in a different state..  My workplace was a ghost town.  So I decided to do my long run on a Thursday.  I think I will use my birthday as an excuse. Happy Birthday to me.

I started out at an easy pace and then I threw a few tempo miles in the middle, and then I ran the last couple miles at an easy pace.  This run went by so much faster than I could have hoped for.  I didn't bring any fuel with me and I didn't stop for water. (It was a cool 60 degrees when I left) When I got back from my run. I refueled with a  huge lunch and birthday cake for dinner.

Friday 4/4- (3.79 miles @ 8:31 average pace) I ran a shakeout run mostly just to get the soreness out of my legs and it was a really nice day.

Saturday 4/5 -Rest-  My husband had a cold and he has passed it on to me.... 

Sunday 4/6- 6 miles (1 mile warm up, 5 miles HM pace) I was feeling a little sick (mostly sinus issues). I really wanted to nail this workout.  I ran a mile as a warm up and then I stopped my Garmin, stretched, and I did a few strides to warm up.  Here are the splits:

Mile 1-8:13 (warm up)
Mile 2- 7:23
Mile 3- 7:30
Mile 4- 7:22
Mile 5- 7:29
Mile 6- 7:34

I was hoping that my splits would have been closer to 7:15 per mile.  My goal for the Mustang half is to run a sub 1:35 half marathon.  I need to hit 7:15 per mile.   But, I am just coming back from taking a week off and this was my first speed workout since then.   I'm taking this workout with a grain of salt.

Monday 4/7- (3.79 miles @ 8:26 pace) I ran almost 4 miles at a recovery pace.  I went to Sunset Park for the change of scenery. 

I feel like I started tapering for this race early because of my groin strain.  I'm starting to get nervous and doubt my training.  The next 12 days are going to be so much fun.... (That's my attempt at sarcasm).