Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I'm Racing This Weekend!! A Summary of this Training Cycle

Its race week!!! Now it's time to party!!  Now it's time to freak out and analyze my training!!

In preparation for this marathon,  I looked at a few different plans before deciding on Hal Higdon's Intermediate II Plan.  I had a 16 week training cycle, but before that I had about 2-3 solid months of base building.

Hal Higdon Intermediate II

I  used the Basic Training Schedule that can be found free online
this plan focused on getting the mileage in.
There was only one day of goal paced running.

Here's what my actual run data looked like.
I didn't have the ability to run back to back days on the weekends.
I did a lot of my goal pace work on  Tuesday's and Sunday's.
I also fit my long runs in and around my work schedule.

During the first two months of this traininig cycle there were quite a few two a day workouts.  I chalk that up  to the fact, that it was way too hot to run 8 miles all at once outside on my lunch break (When this training cycle first started the day time high was 100 degrees).

FWIW I do the majority of my training during the middle of the day.  I don't have enough time before work to get a quality workout in, and at night after the workday my family comes first.

I really did focus on adding more mileage per week, than last year's marathon attempt. I also decided not to race a half marathon during this training cycle.  I thought it would be too risky trying to taper for a half, race, and then recover from the half.

Here is a snapshot of what my mileage looked like last year.

And here's this year's totals:

July                         139 Approx 31.5 miles per week
August                     137  Approx  32 miles per week
September                190 Approx 44 Miles per week
October                    179 Approx 40 Miles per week
November                 111 Approx 37 Miles per week

I knew that I ran more mileage during this training cycle, but it blows my mind that I ran 70 more miles in the month of September than I did last year.... See that's what happens when I stick a half marathon in the middle of a marathon training cycle.  I lose too much time on the roads from recovery.

I'd be lying if I didn't say that I feel more confident going in with a higher mileage base. But, I don't want to take anything for granted. 26.2 miles is a long race.

The race starts at 9:00am on Saturday morning,  The temperatures should actually be pretty pleasant for running.

I still don't know what I'm going to wear but, I have a ton of options.

I started carb loading earlier this week.

Homemade Cinnamon Swirl Bread.
I was a little stingy with the cinnamon sugar.
This doesn't look appealing, but it's
one of my favorite meals.
Rice, Beans,  Potatoes, and Salsa Verde
I also forgot to take a picture of the
homemade tortilla I ate.

I'm trying to stay away from dairy, and I'm not trying any new foods over the Thanksgiving Holiday.

I'm nervous as all get out, but I love to race.  The race itself will be the reward of this training cycle.

Thank you for following along.

See you on the other side!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Latest Workouts and Retail Therapy

It's been about two weeks since I filled you in on training updates.  Nothing too exciting to report about. I'm tapering and trying not to feel too anxious.  I'm running less miles, and it's nuts how you start to doubt your athletic ability yada yada yada.

Training Updates (since the last update)

Wednesday 11/11-It was Veteran's Day.  I felt very conflicted on that day.  I'm a veteran.  I served four years in the United States Army right out of high school...  I ended up leaving the military in 2000 to go back to school.  The military that I experienced was very different than the military post 9/11.   I'm proud to have served my county, however,  a part of me feels guilty for not having served any time in a combat zone.   I didn't run that day.  I did go shopping. (More on that later)

Thursday 11/12- 8 Miles.  2 Miles warm up 4 Miles at Goal Pace, and 2 Miles cool down.  My left hip has started to bug, me I don't know if  it's  from the colder weather. Once I'm warmed up I'm fine.  I chose a route that was mostly flat..  The downside, is that I had to cross a  few busy intersections, and I ended up playing chicken with a delivery truck during mile 5....  I need to be careful!!
Here's the data:

Friday 11/13 5 Miles So now my hip is sore.... Is it from the tempo pace from yesterday?  After about three miles into my run. I noticed that my hip was sore on the same side that I wear my arm band to carry my phone.  I took my armband off and switched it to the other side. It was like magic my hip started to feel better.....

Side bar:  I started to have hip problems at the end of last year-beginning of this year.  I kept trying to figure out what the cause was.  Holding my kid on my hip? Running in improper shoes? Running on the shoulder of the road that is uneven?  Too much speed work?  Well it turns out that I really have lost a ton of flexibility on my left side.  So my stride is probably a bit shorter that it used to be.... I think the arm band was shortening my stride even further...

While I love my new armband for working out at the gym. I don't think I will be using it for long runs anymore.... Welcome back fanny pack!
I'm sorry to have strayed from you.

Saturday 11/14-Rest

Sunday 11/15-9.2 Miles..  I wore my fleece vest and I just stuck my phone in the pocket.  My hip was feeling okay.  I ran the first 3 miles easy, and then I eased into some goal paced running. Here's the data.

Monday 11/16-  Three miles easy, and then a short strength training workout.

Tuesday 11/17-Rest, but I was feeling fidgety so I did some planks, and some stretching.

Wednesday 11/18- 7 Miles 2 miles warm up, 4 miles at goal pace, 1 mile cool down.  I ran these along the Pittman Wash Trail.  The fist half was uphill, the second half was downhill.
Man I was so worried last week, because I felt like crap. My legs felt sluggish, and my hip was achy. The taper is working... Now that I switched back to my waist pack, my hip is feeling better, and I don't feel nearly as tired this week...Here's the data

Thursday 11/19 2 Miles easy, and they felt really sluggish...

Friday 11/20-  I ran 5 miles in the cold, I didn't feel too sluggish, and I did a few strides during the last mile.

Retail Therapy

I'm a runner on  budget.... So I enjoy finding good deals.... I have been on the lookout for discount running shorts.  I have been to TJ Maxx, Ross, and Marshall's to find shorts, and lately I haven't found anything.  On Veteran's day I went to Nordstrom Rack and I found two pairs of shorts for less than $15.00 each.

Today I found another pair of clearance shorts....I had seen these around forever, but at $75.00 I have siad, "oh Hell no!" many times.  When I found them for 75% off at the local running shop I couldn't resist.
Brooks Pure Project Shorts

Christmas came early!!

Well that's all I've got for now.  Marathon is next Saturday! I will probably do a summary of this training cycle post next.

As always Thank You for reading!!!

Monday, November 16, 2015

There is a lot of wiggle room between a 3:40 and a 3:30 marathon.... Setting myself up for success instead of failure

So now that we are in countdown mode, I'm starting to take an honest look at my marathon goals.

A 3:40 marathon seems doable..In fact it seems like a perfectly reasonable goal. (8:22 pace per mile)

A 3:30 marathon could possibly happen if the stars align (8:00 pace per mile)

Now which time goal should I shoot for?   In the past I would have just went for that 3:30- Hell I've even attempted to run faster than that.   But, I still have yet to break 3:30

Last year I was totally in for a rude awakening during the Las Vegas  Rock N Roll Marathon when my first mile was an 8:45.. In the past I would have had to reign it in because my first mile is in the high 7's low 8's....  But, I'm not the same runner that I was 5-10 years ago.  FWIW  I would run a screaming first half, bank some time, and then positive split the heck out of the second half.

Now that I am older and wiser, and my legs need a bit more time to warm up.  My natural speed isn't what it used to be.  However, my endurance and patience have grown over the years.

I really did stick my head in the sand about my race goals(too much pressure) because I thought a 3:35 would be too hard, and for some reason I thought that I would have to average 8:05 per mile. It turns out that I have to run 8:12 per mile.

When I started this training cycle, I always tried to run my tempo runs at 8:00 minutes or faster which is 3:30 pace. I think I will always be hungry for that sub 3:30.  But, if I lose sight of what I am actually capable of, then I'm setting myself up for failure.

So I came up with a plan, that will let me run within my ability, and hopefully run a negative split 2nd half.
I used Excel to create my own pace band...  My strategy is to warm up the first 4 miles, drop down to a easy tempo pace for miles 5-20, and then "race" the last 10k.

If everything goes well, I will totally be happy with a 3:35 marathon.  If I'm feeling so good, and that 8:15 pace feels easy, I'm still going to stick to my plan until mile 20.  If I feel really great I can run 7:45 pace for the last 3 miles.

I just hope the weather cooperates and it isn't too cold or windy.  But, I can't control the weather.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Last Long Run Done Now it's Time to Taper

This last long run left me feeling a little underwhelmed, but I will focus on the positives....
I did a really horrible a job of choosing my running route.  I think I didn't want to stress out too badly about this run, so I stuck my head in the sand, and tried not to think about it.  On Thursday I remembered that I didn't have any gels on me.  I'm so glad I remembered to buy them.  This would be my first long run in the cold.  All of my previous long runs, have been in summer like conditions.  I didn't want to over dress.  I wore shorts, a t-shirt, and arm warmers.

Friday 11/6
I had this idea of staying close to home, and running either 4 x 5 mile loops by my house or 5 x 4 mile loops.  I didn't want to have to cross a busy intersection, nor did I want to climb too many hills...
Within the first two miles, I realised the route I chose sucked.  The first mile was uphill, the next was right into a busy school zone during the morning drop off...The next couple of miles weren't so bad, but it was already time to head back towards my house.  I'm thinking, "how am I going to run this 4 more times?  I did a few loops in the park to tack on some distance.

I went by my house during mile six to grab a drink of water, and to pick up my energy gels.
Mile 1-9:51
Mile 2-8:46
Mile 3-8:49
Mile 4-8:49
Mile 5-8:48
Mile 6-9:06
I headed out to do another 4 mile loop but in the opposite direction.  During mile seven my daughter's day care calls, and needs me to pick her up before noon.  They think she may have pink eye... great.
Mile 7-9:34
Mile 8- 9:02
Mile 9-9:01
Mile 10- 8:44  I ate a gel during this mile.
Mile 11- 8:57
I swung by my house again to drink some Gatorade, and I got a morale boost from seeing my husband. I was also crushed because I really wanted to be done running... I headed out for six more miles.
Mile 12- 9:14
I'm headed back up a grade and the wind is blowing in my face.  I keep wondering when I'm going to finally warm up.
Mile 13-8:59
Mile 14-8:52
I hit a turnaround point to start heading back home. I"m feeling good, and I want to pick up the pace.  I also opened up a caffeinated gel around this point.
Mile 15- 8:25
I realized that I still needed to add some more distance to my run, back up the hill I go.
Mile 16- 8:44
Hello downhill running, finally.
Mile 17-8:16
Mile 18- 8:15
That caffeinated energy gel made me thirsty!!! I was close to the park so I stopped for water at the fountain.
Mile 19-8:30
Mile 19.22- 1:57....
I passed by my house for the last time, and called it a day. I'm kind of mad at myself for not running the extra .78 miles to make it up to 20 miles.  Here's the Garmin and Strava Data for transparency.

This route was not ideal for even splits.  Damn hills.

I had hoped that this last long run would have been a little faster. But, I'm happy to report that I didn't have a horrible bonk, like I did during the last two 20 milers.  It was nice to feel stronger towards the end.

After my run, I took a quick dunk in the back yard pool..It's even colder than an ice bath at this point...

Then I took a shower and headed to daycare to pick up my kids.... FWIW, my daughter didn't have pink eye.  It was only allergies.  My date day with my husband, will have to wait for another day... Womp womp....
They were very happy to be picked up early from preschool.

Saturday 11/7- Rest

Sunday  11/8 I slept in, and went running in the afternoon.  I ran a little over six miles.  I felt tired, but not so bad.
Strava Mobile was acting funny, so I took a picture of my stats
in case I had to upload manually.
No I'm not obsessed with you Strava.
I'm not I swear!

Monday 11/9  Maintenance work in the gym... I ran two miles on the treadmill to warm up, and then I did a whole body workout.  I did the following exercises for circuit training.
1st Circuit
Flat Bench Press 
Hamstring Dead Lifts 
Back Rows with Bar

For my next circuit I used a 25lb EZ curl bar for the following exercises: 
Bicep Curls 
Upright Shoulder Rows 
Overhead Shoulder Press 
Good Mornings 
Single Leg Lunges
Last circuit: 
Push ups 
Mountain Climbers
Tuesday 11/10-  I drove over to Sunset Park, and I ran a few miles at goal pace on the actual race track...I ran 1 mile to warm up, three miles at goal pace, and a mile cool down.  Here's the data:

So.... I guess I now have to really decide what I want my goal to be....  I really want to run a sub 3:40 marathon.  Even more I want to run a sub 3:30 marathon, but I realize that might be too far out of my reach....
There is a lot of wiggle room between 3:30 and 3:40.... I think I will save my thoughts for the next blog post...(I have a lot to say)...
As always thank you for reading.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

23 days to go!! Training Updates-Last week's and some of this week's training log.

So today is technically my Friday (woo-hoo).  Tomorrow will be my last long run, I'm taking the day off of work to run, and to possibly go to the movies or just hang out with my husband without the kids.  We don't have too many date nights, so we make up for it with personal days off from work.

Anyhow I need to get this blog caught up with my training updates before my spotty memory forgets the details of previous runs.  Last week was a lower volume week, but I had one hard work out, and two mid distance runs that were leaving my hip feeling cranky towards the end of the week.

Training updates
Tuesday 10/27- 7.2 miles.  I headed out to the Pittman Wash again, I had planned on running some trails, but instead I found the perfect bike path for intervals...

I decided to do some 800 meters.  I was tired from the weeks previous 20 miler, so I think that's why I didn't want to think t0o hard or put too much pressure on my split times for the 800's.  I tried to run these by feel/effort and I tried to only look at my stopwatch.  I don't have a fancy Garmin, so I use my Forerunner 10 to track the distance, and then I use a regular stop watch, to time the interval.
Who needs a fancy Garmin when you can just do this?

I ran about two miles to warm up, I was lazy and I didn't really stretch out well... For my recovery I would slowly jog for two minutes.  The bike path was also part of the Pittman Wash Trail but, I have never run on this stretch before.  It was very flat, and empty...  Here's the data:

Perfect for running repeats

Here are the times I recorded manually for the 800 meter intervals:

3:33, 3:38, 3:35, 3:31, 3:30, 3:35.

The first two repeats felt easy, the last two were very hard.  Go figure...After the work out,  I jogged a little over a mile to cool down.

Wednesday 10/28-  4 miles  recovery.  I went to the gym on my lunch break, and did a short circuit training workout, and then I ran the miles at recovery pace.

Thursday- 10/29 Two a day.  11.3 miles total.  I wanted to get  a short run in before work, so I ran an easy 2.9 miler before work.  At lunchtime,  I wanted to run a little over an hour.  I ran 8.4 miles of rolling hills.  Here's a picture of the elevation.
This route climbs 580 feet over eight miles, with most
of the climb happening the first five miles.
For pace, I tried to run by feel. I didn't want to run tempo, because I just had done a speed workout on Tuesday.  Another thing I have noticed is that now that the temperatures have cooled off, my feet have shrunk.  It felt like me feet were slip sliding around in my shoes.  I will need to wear thicker socks this winter.

Friday 10/30 3.1 Miles recovery and they felt like crap.  I went to Cornerstone Park, to run  a few easy miles.  I just felt tired, and I couldn't really lift my legs that high to run, this run felt like a shuffle... I was supposed to run 4-5 miles, but my left hip which hasn't bothered me in awhile started acting up.  I knew my running form must have been really shot to shit and it was time to call it a day.

Saturday 10/31-  Rest-  I went to the pumpkin patch with my kids. Does that count?

Sunday 11/1- 10 miles  3 miles warm up, 6 Miles at Goal marathon pace, and 1 mile cool down.  So I have kind of figured out what aggravates my hip... Lots of Hills or Lots of Torque from Tempo pace...I gave myself three miles to warm up.  The three miles were slightly uphill, but, My hip felt fine.  The next six miles were downhill, so I ran the goal pace miles a little faster than goal pace because of the downhill.  I also ate a gel during mile 5 to practice fueling. My goal was to feel relaxed but, running steady...Here's the data.

After my run, I took a very quick soak, in my freezing cold swimming pool.  

Almost the same as an ice bath right?

Monday 11/2- Rest, I got a surprise invitation to meet for lunch.  My husband is now vegan, and most of the time we try to eat healthy.  Sometimes not so much.

Did you know Mc Donald's french fries are vegan?

We went through the drive thru, to get french fries, and soft drinks.   It was nice to see my husband since our work schedules leave us working on opposite ends of town, its' nice when we can meet up.

Tuesday 11/3- 10.75 Miles.... This was another tempo goal pace workout.  2 Miles warm up, 7 miles at Goal Pace, and 1.7 mile cool down. Since hills had aggravated my hip last week, I tried to find a route that was reasonably flat....hahaha.  I work in an area, that is adjacent to the foothills/mountains of Southern Henderson.  You can only run in one direction for so long before you encounter hills....  I ended up running a loop course to get 10 flatish miles in.  There was still 420 feet of climbing. My feet hurt during the first two miles.  Now that it's cold my feet need a few miles to warm up.
I had hoped for this to be a cut down run, going from 8:30, 8:15, 8:00, but I ran the first two miles of the tempo section too fast.

 Here's the data:

The reason I chose this route, is that   I wanted to run with as little interruptions as possible, and I also chose this route so I would  not have to cross too many busy intersections...  For fuel, I didn't have any energy gels, but I did eat some leftover Halloween candy (a box of Dots)

This workout was a huge confidence booster.

Wednesday 11/4-  Strength training in the gym, and then 4.1 miles recovery.

Thursday 11/5- 5.1 Miles in the dirt at Cornerstone Park....

Tomorrow is my last long run.  I'm not sure if I'm going to do the full 20.  I plan on running between 16-18 miles but, if I feel good, I will complete the 20.  I also don't want to run this all out.  I do not want to "race" this 20 miler.  I do want to run some tempo pace towards then end, but I definitely want to start out conservatively.

Well I guess that's all I have for now...  Thank you for reading!