Monday, November 24, 2014

The whiny self indulgent post that I was too chicken to write last week.

I'm eight days post marathon, and I'm still trying to process what happened....Yes I'm a naturally positive blogger so I'm trying to find the life lesson involved in blowing a big race.  I hope I can snap out of this mode of feeling sorry for myself...No me gusta!

There were two moments in time that I wish I could have done differently the night of the race.  The first one was when I was checking my gear bag.  I wish I would have taken off my long sleeve top and checked it with my gear bag.

I could have probably done without
the long sleeve top, calf sleeves,
and the skull cap underneath my other hat.
The other moment was around mile 10.  I wonder if I'm making this part up,  But, I could have sworn that for a split second I was thinking of ditching my long sleeve top and throwing it into the bushes and then picking it up on the way back in.  I had decided against doing that because I thought it would have been too hard to untangle my headphones and take off my vest, to take off my long sleeve top.  I also thought I would freeze my ass off without the extra gear.  So stupid!!

The irrational side of my brain is wanting redemption.  I want to erase the mental anguish of running a bad race.  And the only way to do this is to run another race!!!  A 5k would be fun,  a half marathon would be nice,  But, the stupid irrational brain wants another marathon!! ASAP!!!

I'm actually eyeballing the Hoover Dam Marathon next month.

But, this race makes no sense for a PR.  It's a tougher course. I think because I'm not really sore anymore, and because I see other bloggers that can race marathons once or even twice a month, this idea is starting to grow legs....  I know I'm being an idiot.  But, I feel like I wasted the fall training for a marathon.  I might as well run one more before I let my running go to seed.....

The one thing that's standing in the way is money.  Like the majority of my readers, I don't receive any freebies.  My blog isn't big enough for comped races or free NUUN.  I also haven't told my husband that I'm considering the race.  Maybe I can swing it as an early Christmas present.

I don't talk about my husband much on the blog.  He's actually really supportive of my running, and he understood how bad I felt after not meeting my race goal.  He's let me talk his ear off all week on all the little details from the marathon.

I do know for sure that I want a rematch with the RNRLV marathon.  It is my home course.  I will run another PR on that bitch one day.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Rock n Roll Las Vegas Marathon 2014 Race Report

I didn't even come close to my expected finish time.  I will try to keep this from turning into a whine fest.  I'm still really happy that I finished a marathon.
I can't seem to flip this picture over.

From the get go, 8:00 minute miles were harder than I expected them to be.  I stayed positive throughout the race.  I went into this race knowing that I would hit a low point or two  and that I should push through them because they will eventually pass. This ended up becoming the theme of the day....

Before the Race

I was driving myself nuts during the week trying  to decide what to wear.  I ended up wearing a tank top (base layer), a long sleeve top, a vest, shorts and calf compression sleeves.  The starting temp was 50 degrees and when we finished temps were in the high 30's I had been worried about the cold. I ran the Las Vegas Marathon in 2007 and I under dressed and I froze my butt off.  I didn't want that to happen again.
Vegas 2007-Windy and Cold that day.

I didn't have any trouble eating or fueling before the race.  Here's what I ate that day.

Breakfast (5:30 AM)- One small slice of pizza two eggs over medium, and a banana 30 minutes later

Lunch- (10:30 AM) Burrito bowl-Spanish rice,  a little shredded chicken, a little cheddar cheese, and a flour tortilla

Snack (2:00 PM)- One slice white toast  with peanut butter, 1/2 of a banana.  I also had a few bites of a cliff bar.

I also drank a bottle of Powerade Zero, 2 liters of water, a diet coke, and 16oz of Fruit Punch Gatorade throughout the day of the race.

I really liked how organized the race was, from the starting village, but I had to walk almost two miles to get from the monorail station to my starting corral.

The Race
I lined up in corral 5,  I think I should have asked to be moved to corral 3-4 because  it seemed like I got stuck behind a few half marathoners during the early miles.  The first mile was really clogged, and I had to run around several walkers.

During the 2nd mile of the race. Meb Keflezighi ran by me.  I realized that it was the pace group for the 1:45's  I thought of trying to hold on them, but, I didn't feel warmed up yet, and I wanted to ease into faster miles, later in the race.

I got really pissed off when I saw a runner run right up on Meb to take a freakin selfie... Who does that?!  If you want a picture with Meb, you should have taken one with him at the expo.  I think it was really dangerous move, and what would have happened if they would have tripped him?

I opened up my first gel between miles 3-4 and I nursed it over the next mile.Running along the strip was pretty neat, but after 4 miles my feet and legs were still feeling sluggish and at mile 5 I decided to turn on my music (I had wanted to hold off until mile 10).
Mile 1-8:54
Mile 2-8:08
Mile 3-8:04
Mile 4-8:16
Mile 5-8:00

The music was a welcome distraction.  I began to hit my goal marathon pace and  I told myself to be patient.  I was confident that I would be able to pick it up on the way back. I had a few Gatorade Energy Chews and some water around mile 7. We kept on running on Las Vegas Blvd. and we were headed towards the Fremont Street experience and the older downtown section of Las Vegas.  At mile 9 I pulled out another energy gel.  I wasn't feeling the greatest and when we passed the turn around point for the half marathoners to split off, I toyed with the idea of running just the half....
Mile 6-8:02
Mile 7-8:06
Mile 8-8:02
Mile 9-8:03
Mile 10-8:26

It was actually a welcome relief to split off from the half marathoners, the course was a lot less crowded and I felt like I finally found my rhythm We were now headed up MLK blvd.  I was already trying to divide the race up into chunks.  I kept telling myself that I would feel stronger and open up on the way back in.  My calves were starting to burn, and my feet were hurting too.  But, I still had wild fantasies of catching the 3:30 pace group during the final miles.  They weren't too far ahead of me at this point.

Mile 11-8:12
Mile 12-8:09
Mile 13-8:18
Mile 14-8:32
Mile 15-8:19

We were heading up Carey and that road has a slight incline (105 feet over two miles). I thought this was going to be NBD and where I would be able to let my calves relax a little because my stride would change a little running up the grade.  I kept feeling like I had to pee, I was looking along the road for bushes but, I didn't want to get arrested for flashing my butt, so I used a port-a-potty at mile 16.  When I went inside the porta-a-potty I noticed that my upper body was soaked in sweat and peeing was very difficult.  I realized that I was dehydrated and I started drinking a lot more fluids...

My Friend Pam, who I met at the Saints and Sinners Half marathon in September went flying by me with her brother along this stretch of road.  She looked so strong...

I tried to eat another Gel around  mile 18, but the texture and the sugar was making me gag.  I stopped to walk through the aid stations starting at mile 18...   We were headed back down the grade and I told myself to just hang on, at mile 20 we will try to pick up the pace.
Mile 16-9:39
Mile 17-8:59
Mile 18-8:40
Mile 19-8:58
Mile 20-9:01

Around mile 19 we were back on MLK Blvd and I could see the downtown area.. I was getting excited because I could finally try to hustle and make up some time.  Well right around that time my left calve seized up on me.  It hurt so bad that I stopped to stretch and I told myself,  "Just make it to the next aid station and you can walk through it while you drink some water and Gatorade".
Rinse and Repeat.  I had that strategy for the last 6-7 miles just survive and run your ass off to the next aid station.  I was actually grateful that it was dark and I couldn't obsess over slow Garmin data.
Mile 21-9:05
Mile 22-9:12
Mile 23-9:23

Where the hell are the mile markers?  We were running through the downtown arts district with a whole bunch of 90 degree turns. I kept turning the corner hoping for a fresh mile marker.  But, I didn't see any mile markers except Mile 21 and mile 25.  During this point of the marathon.  I appreciate every last mile marker and this really messed with my head.

I felt like I was picking up the pace,  I was back on the Las Vegas strip, I had started passing people but, I kept having to stop to stretch my stupid calves.  The marathon ended in front of the Mirage hotel and casino, and it seemed like an optical illusion, I could see the hotel from two miles away and it never seemed to get any closer.
Mile 24-9:48
Mile 25-9:45
Mile 26- 9:44

It's crazy how bad I imploded those last three miles.... They didn't seem like they were that slow.  I felt like I was working hard, and I was passing people...  My calves were just so knotted up.

Garmin Time 3:49:13
Official Time 3:49:06 avg 8:45 pace
103rd woman overall (out of 1265)
19th in my age group (out of 229)
507th finisher (out of 3208)

I crossed the finish line and I was in a world of hurt.  I was honestly close to tears, my calves hurt so bad.  I'm guessing that I became dehydrated from sweating so much during the race.  I never felt cold, which is good. But now that it's Monday afternoon. I'm wondering about all of  the things I could have done differently or executed better.

There will not be a redemption race for me.  I'm looking forward to not training for a marathon for awhile.  I don't have the extra money or time in my budget to try to find another race.  I'm almost second guessing if I want to run another marathon.  I can kick some ass at the half marathon distance and it doesn't seem to be as emotionally draining/taxing on myself or family.

I know that's crazy post marathon talk.  But I know that I don't want to run another marathon anytime soon....

Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Marathon Strategy and Goals Post- and a Little Marathon Pontification

It's race week!!  I am so excited I could dance.  I'm so nervous I could drive myself batty.  This is the moment that I have been waiting for and I'm shooting for a PR.

Marathon Strategy
I would like to run as smart of a race as possible.  I have run a total or 16 marathons, and I don't think I have ever finished one thinking, "Shit yeah, I did it!!"  I usually finish holding on for dear life and vowing never again..... It's been four and a half years since my last marathon and I think I have learned a few lessons on patience and fueling.

My ultimate running dream is to run a negative split marathon.  I want to run the first 20 miles at 8 minute pace, drop down to 7:45 pace for the next 5k, and then 7:30 pace for the last 5k.  

My biggest challenge is being greedy..... I know that I might see a 7:50 mile early on and think,  "This feels good.  Let's bank some time"....  I know that I can run 15-16 miles at 7:30 pace,  but then I will hit the wall so hard at mile 17 and then have to shuffle the remaining 9 miles. 

I think racing with a Garmin (my first marathon with one) will keep me from going out too fast,  I also plan to race without music for the first 10 miles.

Eating on the run is something I am sort of new at.   When I was younger I would race marathons without music or food.  I don't know how I managed to do that.
My second marathon, and first BQ.
Venice, Italy 1999

 I think I was a lot tougher and more stubborn back then.  It's also probably why I hit the wall during so many marathons.  I never ate anything during the race.

For Sunday's race I plan on eating a Heed energy gel at miles 5, 10, 15, 20, and also eating some Gatorade energy chews along the way.

To Pace Group or Not

Positive Experience
I have mixed feeling about pace groups.....  I had one of my best marathons ever at RNR Phoenix in January 2008.   I had missed qualifying for Boston in December of 2007, on a whim I decided to race RNRAZ five weeks later.  My friend convinced me to run with a pace group, and it worked out perfectly.  I ran the whole way with the 3:40 group, and I joked that it was like riding a bus.  We all worked together to finish.  The pacer was excellent about hitting even splits.  I remember hitting a low point at mile 23 and the "bus" began to pull away from me.  I had a cheesy but good song come on my MP3 player and I fought like hell to catch up to the bus.   I ended up pulling away from the bus at mile 25 and running the last mile a little ahead of the bus.

Negative Experience

I ran the St. George Marathon in 2009 with the hopes of breaking 3:20.  I felt that I was pretty well prepared.   I planned on riding the "bus" again with my fellow runners and hoping to hang with them.
I didn't anticipate the pace group to be so large.  It seemed like I was elbow to elbow and shoulder to shoulder with quite a few runners.  The road was a bit more narrow and I kept getting jostled.
At mile 5ish  we ran through an aid station, and the runner in front of me stopped to grab a drink, and I crashed right into him.  He didn't just slow down, he stopped in front of the aid station.  I was rattled by the experience, and I just couldn't hold on to the pace group after mile 11.   I ended up hitting the wall pretty bad that day.  But, I don't think it was entirely the pace groups fault either.

I also ran the 2010 Los Angeles Marathon with the 3:30 pace group.  I think I was able to hold on the the pace group for about half of the race.  I had spent the night before, drinking my face off because I thought drinking beer would be the best way to carb load.  I look back at that race and wonder, "WTF was I thinking?"  I was in pretty great racing shape and I was serious enough to train for the race, but not serious enough to turn down celebration beers before the race.......Again this wasn't the pace groups' fault....

I don't drink beer or any other alcohol anymore.  I don't know if that will make a difference in my athletic performance.  However, I do know that it will not be able to hinder my performance.

Marathon Goals

A goal- 3:29:59
B goal   Beat my old PR 3:31:49
C goal- 3:34:59

I would also love to finish in the top 100 women's finishers and top 10 local women's marathon finishers.  I have no idea who else is racing on Sunday night, and this is something that I can not control.  I only hope that I am able to execute the best possible race to my athletic ability.

Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My Latest Workouts, Weather Talk, And a Summary of this training cycle.

I'm in the middle of the taper and I wanted to do some navel gazing and talk about my race goals. But, I think I will save the goals post for next week.

I would like to run a sub 3:30 marathon but, I think it's still to early to talk about race goals and strategy.  I think it would be cocky of me to say that it will be a given and that I have trained enough to meet my goal.  When in reality I'm second guessing my training and wondering if I have what it takes to break 3:30.

My Latest Workouts
 I live in the Las Vegas Valley and it has been warmer than usual.  On Halloween the daytime high was 88 degrees.  The very next day in typical Las Vegas (We have two seasons hot and cold) the temps dropped almost 30 degrees and the daytime high was only 62.  The mornings have also dropped into the high 40's.  I have about a week and a half to get acclimatized to running in colder weather.

Saturday 11/1-  Rest

Sunday 11/2  9 miles with some Tempo pace.   I had planned on running between 10-12 miles, but I got pretty excited watching the NYC marathon pre-race and the start of the women's race.  I left the house really pumped up and I wanted to hurry up to come back and watch the race unfold. The first mile felt a little sluggish but, once I warmed up I felt great and the last mile I kind of eased off a little bit...  I ran a route that was pretty flat. Here's the data.
I ended up stopping my watch at a long stop light
I normally try to cross when I can, but there was
too much traffic to do it safely

Monday 11/3  3 miles @ recovery pace. I feel like I have so much extra time in the morning because of the time change earlier this week.

Tuesday 11/4   3.5  miles- Tempo Progression Run. Here are the split times 8:56, 8:25,8:02, 4:02 for the .5)
This week I'm trying on different outfits trying to figure out WTF to wear for the marathon.  I've always been a, "I don't race in capris / tights person", but temps in the high 40's are making me question my judgement.

Wednesday 11/5  4 miles.- I could have ran 6 miles on my lunch break, but I really don't want the cold weather to be a complete shock to me next weekend.  For the past few mornings I notice during the first mile of my run, that my stomach cramps up a little from breathing in the colder air.  After the first mile or two I'm okay.  At first I didn't know if it was my breakfast bothering my stomach, but I usually have no probably running in the heat with food in my belly.  Then I realized that it's the cold air.

Summary of this training cycle

I can honestly say that I started training for this marathon around July 2nd.   I spent the month of June doing speed work and weight training for a 1600 meter race.  That race didn't go as well as I hoped and I began to ramp up my mileage for the fall half marathon season.

I didn't really tell my husband that I was going to do a marathon until after I raced the Saints and Sinners Half Marathon.   I have been married to my husband for a very long time.  He has been very supportive of my running over the years but, we now have two small kids to take care of, and my running can cut into some of that family time.

I've done my best so that my running doesn't take away from them too much on the weekends.  I did most of long runs by taking some vacation hours at my work and by dropping off my kids at daycare.

I can't imagine trying to race more than  two marathons a year....

Mileage by the months:

July-           124  -Approx 28 miles per week
August-    137.5  Approx. 31 miles per week
September   120  (This month included a taper for a half marathon)
October       139.5  Approx  31.5 miles per week...

Some weeks had higher mileage than others, Like one week would be 28 miles and the next week would be around 36. etc...

Each week included two days of rest.  Each week included at least a 10 mile long run.  During the months of August and September I did quite a bit of speed work and tempo runs.   The month of October was all about adding in some long runs.

My monthly  averages are kind of low for marathon training and that worries me.  But,   I couldn't realistically fit any more training into my schedule, without giving my family the shaft, or without driving myself to the point of injury.

I was looking over some of my past training logs of past marathons and I have realized that I really am not a high mileage runner.   I usually top out in the low to mid 40's and it has seemed to work for me in the past.

I hope that training  through the hot Las Vegas Summer has given me some mental toughness.  The hardest part of a marathon is the last six miles.

Thank you for reading.