Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Three Degrees of Hell Stage 2 Race- And other updates

I have about two months to update you on- I apologize in advance for the rambling nature of this post.

Last month (June) I had been in a funk, because the weather was really hot, and I had been nursing a tendon injury in my right foot.  Tight calves may be the main cause. But, all of my trail running/hill climbing wasn't helping things either.  
Jenn and I at Whitney Mesa
Add caption

Armagosa Trail in Henderson

Horizon Ridge

I have had zero desire to work out at noon in my workplace gym. After dealing with a treadmill heckler, and lackluster gym equipment, I just don't want to deal with it. Instead, I am working out in the mornings at home.  I do very short 15-20 minute bodyweight/kettlebell workouts in my garge gym. Sometimes I run on the treadmill, or if I'm lucky I get a short 2-3 mile run in before work.

Three Degrees of Hell Stage 2

I did race a fun trail event earlier this month.  It was a gnarly trail race, and it was part of a three stage race series.  The first race took place on Friday night at 7 pm.  The second race took place at 7 am on Saturday, and then the final event was on Saturday night at 7 pm.  There were 7k and 7-mile options for each stage.    I decided to race the Saturday morning race out at Rainbow Gardens.

Pre Race
Rainbow Gardens is located on the South East side of the Sunrise/Frenchman's mountains.   I'm not exaggerating when I say that this is one of the hottest times of the year in Las Vegas.  The daytime high on Friday was 115, and the morning low on Saturday was 92 degrees.  My friend Jenn raced on Friday night, and then she spent the night at my house so we could travel to Saturday mornings race together. (It was really close to my house)

We left the house at 6 am, The race started at 7 am, but I wanted to make sure that I had enough time, to park, and use the porta johns before the race.  I didn't really plan on warming up, it was already 95 degrees before the start of the race.   There had been tents for us to stand under to protect us from the sun, and there was wonderful fresh fruit.  But, the fruit was attracting bees and hornets, so standing under the tents had been close to impossible

There were coolers full of drinks and ice.  I kept grabbing ice and rubbing it on my shoulders and arms to keep my body temperature lower.  I also stuffed ice in my bra and in my hat.  
My head looks pointy because I have ice cubes under
my cap.

Trying to stay cool in 95-degree temps before
the start.

Triple Dare Running was the group that was hosting the event.  They are a smaller low key trail racing company.  But, what they lack in size, they make up for in enthusiasm,  The race atmosphere felt like a party.  The aid stations were well stocked and they had awesome volunteers.  Since I wasn't doing the three stage series, my goal was to race this as hard as I could and hopefully place overall.

The race
 I lined up near the front, I carried a hand held bottle with me (racing without water was not an option)  The gun went off, and I found my groove, we had to climb up a slight incline, 

and then   about a quarter mile later on I noticed that I had forgotten to start my Garmin (shit).... After that, the course went downhill for a mile, and then the real climbing began.

Mile 1- 8:20
Mile 2- 10:27

During the second mile, I got passed my two ladies and a few dudes.  There was an aid station at the 7k turn around point.  I stopped briefly to stuff more ice down my bra, and inside my hat.

Mile 3- 9:36

We started to get close to the 7 mile turn around point, and I'm slowly closing the gap on a woman that is ahead of me.  I get to the 7-mile aid station, and I stop briefly to drink a cup of Powerade, and for more ice.  There was a guy misting down the runners with water which was a nice plus.  When I hit the turn around point I noticed that I  was the 5th female overall.

The course on the way back was mostly downhill, so I tried to open up, and catch as many runners as I could.

Mile 4- 8:52
Mile 5- 7:39

The course flattened out again, and there was a short incline back to the start. 

Mile 6- 9:01

During this mile, I passed a woman and a few dudes.

.5 4:23

Garmin Time 59:41
Official Race Time 1:01:44

Here's the data

When I finished, I was told that I was the 5th woman overall.  The top 5 got a plaque but, there was a mix up and I was actually 4th woman overall.  It stinks becuase I had to give back my 5th place plaque, and I was told that I would recieve my award in the mail.  So I ended up leaving empty handed.  Womp Womp.

Me and Jenn post race
I felt great during the race, but that night.  My right ankle/foot started to bother me (again!)  I finally put two and two together, and I realized that hill climbing/trail racing is the main issue that is causing the problems in my right foot. After this race, I ended up taking a whole week off from running.. Just to let things heal.

Shout out to my girl Jennifer!!! She raced all three races and she ended up placing 5th overall in the entire race series.  
So freaking proud of you!

Life Updates
In June I went to California to attend my graduation ceremony.  

It was a quick weekend trip, and  my husband and kids met up with my parents in So Cal, and we even squeezed in a quick trip to Disneyland.
In less than a month I will be sitting for my first section exam, as part of the CPA exam.  There are four tests, and I have 18 months to pass all four sections.  

What's next?
I decided that I will be racing the Rock n Roll Las Vegas Half marathon.  It has been 18 months since I have raced a half, and I'm looking forward to  throwing myself into another training cycle.  I plan to stay off of the trails and focus on faster paces on the roads.  I have reached out to my coach Brent Bowers again,  My goal is a sub 1:40 half.   

Retail Therapy
In June when I was in a funk, and not looking forward to working out,  I treated myself to some new running shorts.

I found a few good deals on Amazon.  I had been on a hunt
for running shorts with pockets.
I also bought a new pair of shoes.
Saucony guide 9.  I love this shoe.  It's so soft yet supportive.
And finally,   I treated myself to a new office chair. ( my work paid for it)

Sitting is the new smoking.
My hips were feeling creaky from my other office chair.  So I ordered this little guy on Amazon.  I sit down all day long....My hamstrings and glutes just atrophy from sitting all damn day.   I try to get up several times a day.  But, the majority of the day I am sitting down.  I can tell that this chair is going to improve my posture, and I can already tell the difference in my hips.

Well that's all I have for now.  I'll try to update you again sooner so my posts aren't ridicuosly long.  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Summer/Fall of 2017 Plans and a mini rant.

The marathon has passed, and like usual I felt down for about two weeks.  You look forward so much to a goal race, and then when it's over you miss having a goal to look forward to.

I am 100% positive that I will not be racing a fall marathon.  Rock N Roll Las Vegas was a lot of fun last year, and I think I might do the half marathon distance.  But, this race is so expensive that it is still in the maybe category.  There is a much cheaper half marathon option the week before called the Recycled Half Marathon.  This race company hosts a race twice a year to get rid of extra shirts, medals, etc.  The race is in the morning and the course is kind of hilly, it's not as fun as RNRLV.  So, I can't really commit to this race either just yet.

In July I will be racing a trail 7-mile race.  It's part of a 3 stage race series, my friend is trying to talk me into running all three stages for a total of 21 miles in 24 hours.  It sounds doable now.

 But, it is going to be hot as balls in July.  And I think doing all three races may beat me up way too much.  The first race is at 7 pm on Friday night, the next race is at 7 am Saturday morning, and the final race is at 7 pm on Saturday night.  I know for sure that I want to race the Saturday morning 7 am race.  It's right around the corner from my house behind the Sunrise/Frenchman Mountains.
And the Saturday night race is at Whitney Mesa,

I know this park like the back of my hand.  I think the hard part is going to be trying to convince my husband to watch the kids, and then being away from all of them.   My selfish hobby cuts into my family time

I think I may register for the three-stage series, and then try to negotiate running just two of the three races..... I'll keep you posted.

I am 100% sure that I am racing the Revel marathon again next year. I bit the bullet and registered early.  I'm juggling quite a few things right now(more on that later).  If life is too hectic, I will drop down to the half.

Training Updates

We had a mild month of May (for the first three weeks), so instead of strength training, I have been running outside most days.
I haven't been working with my coach since the marathon.  So I'm kind of running like an idiot.  I have been doing some shorter/faster efforts on the road.  No real speedwork, just tempo progression runs, I realized that this isn't the proper way to recover from a marathon, so in order not to run so much tempo I have been hitting some of the close to my workplace trails.

I can get a good workout in without the pounding of the roads, and I really enjoy climbing up the side of a hill.

I'm hoping to keep my mileage in the 15-25 mile per week range throughout the summer months. Over the weekend, Summer arrived in vegas, and I am not looking forward to running on the treadmill.
***Mini Rant****
Yesterday when I was at my workplace gym, I was on the treadmill, running on an incline, and I was really concentrating. I had my headphones in my ears, and this older guy walks up to me and starts cheering me on... Oh man, I did not want to be bothered!! I gave him a scowl and kicked the treadmill up a notch.

Why do people think that this is acceptable behavior?!  It didn't feel encouraging it felt awkward, and I felt like he was totally invading my space.  Usually, I have no problem confronting people, but this person is a faculty member, and I'm a staff member.  So I did not want to get in trouble for being outright rude to him.
***Rant over****

Education/Career Plans
I recently obtained a Masters degree in Business Administration.   I waited about two months so that I could decompress and relax for a bit, but now I have started another block of studying.

I'm hoping to sit for the CPA exam in the next year.  The test is in four sections, so my plan is to study for one section, take the test (pass it I hope), and then move on to the next section.  There is a lot of material to cover. I will still have to do my public auditing hours (about two years worth) before I can get my license.  But, this has been a big career goal, that I have been slowly working my way towards.

I may know that I will not have much time for blogging or racing.  Running is always going to be my number one form of stress relief, so I will always be a runner.   I will try to update you guys on my progress every now and then.

Thank you for reading.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Revel Marathon 3:40:25- Bittersweet BQ

This marathon was an incredible experience.  But, I tend to reflect on what I could have done/executed better.  I expected a faster time due to the screaming downhill course.   However, I'm very happy with how things went overall.  So I will try to focus on the positives.  My calves hurt so bad 24 hours post race.  Surprisingly, my quads and hamstrings are not too trashed.

On Friday morning, I made myself another beet soda.

I worked until noon on Friday, and then I went to the Expo to meet my friend Jenn and to pick up our race packets.  She brought over a fresh beet juice blend for me.

That night I stayed up a little too late watching TV.  I went to bed at 10:30 pm.  I was so afraid that I would miss my 3:15 am alarm.  I slept lightly and at 3:00am I dragged myself out of bed and turned on my coffee pot.

For breakfast, I had two eggs over medium cooked in cooking spray with a flour tortilla.  I drank my coffee and then I got dressed.

I had been worried about freezing my ass off on the top of Mt. Charleston,  The temps were going to be 27 degrees at the start. I had thought about wearing long sleeves but, I figured that it would be warmer at the end of the race.

I had to drive across the valley to catch the bus to the start of the race, I was worried that I would get lost and miss the bus.   The race was well organized, and the buses were on time, and there was plenty of free parking.

***Random story time***I boarded a nearly full bus, and there was a lady that had an empty seat next to her.  I asked her if I could sit down and I did.  Everyone around us was pretty chatty, and once the bus got rolling we started to talk.  It turns out that she was one of my local Strava friends... We are both in a local Strava club, and I had started following her training a few months ago because she runs near my workplace.  We had a laugh and were happy to meet each other in real life.

The bus climbed up into the Mt Charleston mountains, and when we got to 7,000 feet I could feel the air getting thinner.  I had to catch my breath a little bit.  It was still dark when we arrived at the race start, and we were immediately kicked off of the bus.  It was a freezing 26 degrees outside.  But the ski lodge was allowing the runners to congregate inside the lodge until the beginning of the race.

I used the porta potties and then I headed into the lodge to chill for an hour.  I sat on the floor and ate a granola bar, took an electrolyte capsule and finished another beet drink.   I wore throw away pajamas and a fleece jacket.  I dropped my gear bag with my jacket and hit the porta potties again with 30 minutes to go.  I then went back inside the lodge.  I was starting to get a slight headache from the elevation.

All around me people were discussing strategy and I kept hearing "There is no way to negative split, positive split and bank time".  I did not like that idea at all.

The Race
This was one of the most chill starts ever!! There were a lot of runners who wanted to wait until the last minute before leaving the lodge.  With 10 minutes to go, I hit the port-a-johns again, and I dropped off my pajamas at the drop bag location.  I had already checked my bag, and I told them to just donate my clothes.

I saw runners walking towards the start, and a race director was telling us.  "Hey, the race just started" I decided to start towards the back to keep myself in check.  We had to run up a hill for the first half mile, and then the course was headed down the mountain.   I knew the first hour of the race was going to be the hardest for me.  Doubt and worry always creep in.  My feet were a little numb and I was worried that my right foot would bother me.  I told myself "the real race happens in the last 10k. Run easy.  This should feel easy."

I'm so glad I wore a beanie hat, head scarf, a throwaway neck scarf, gloves, and sunglasses.  It was cold but, the sun was out in full effect. The course ran from west to east, so the sun ended up being in my face the whole way.

The first four miles were downhill and then there was a short climb.  It was a nice change up, and during this time I opened up my first gel. I also took my second electrolyte capsule. The first few miles were super annoying. My shorts and run belt kept sliding down and I had to keep pulling my shorts up.  I knew once I started sweating this wouldn't be an issue anymore.

Mile 1-9:24
Mile 2-8:23
Mile 3-8:21
Mile 4-8:24

My plan was to stay on top of my hydration and nutrition.  I  tried to eat two energy chews every two miles and I also grabbed a cup fluid at every aid station.  Even in the cold dehydration is real.
I had to take off one glove before grabbing a cup of fluid.  I didn't want to get my gloves wet and end up freezing...
The course continued to rocket down the mountain but, my legs were warming up and I was able to slightly pick up the pace.  My strategy for running downhill was to keep my stride short, and to switch up my foot strike so I was landing on my feet differently every so often, and to land as quickly and softly as possible.  The aid stations were a little tricky.  Some were well stocked with volunteers handing out cups.  At other stations the volunteers may have been afraid of getting run over so they just left the cups on the tables, I had to stop at mile 9 to grab a cup and then take off again.  I had a few energy chews and kept on going.

Mile 5- 8:12
Mile 6- 8:03
Mile 7- 7:58 (around this time I ditched my throwaway scarf)
Mile 8-7:58
Mile 9-8:06

Around mile 10 I felt like I had to pee, but I didn't want to stop.  I kept debating if I would rather pee my pants or lose time in a porta-potty.  At mile 11 there was another hill, and I tried my best to save energy and not attack the climb.  I started to pass runners during the climb.  I think it was around this time I ditched my gloves.

During mile 13 I saw another porta potty and I made the wise decision to not pee in my pants.  Oh man, running downhill and then coming to a full stop was hard.  I felt like I was falling into the porta potty, and I could feel the burn in my quads.  I lost about 45 seconds but, I felt so much better.  I told myself that I would make the time up.  I was at an aid station so I grabbed a cup of water to wash my hands and a cup of Powerade to drink.  I also took another electrolyte capsule.

The mountains were beautiful.

I had planned on turning my music on at the half way point. But, I told myself to hold off until mile 16.

So many things ran through my mind.  I kept thinking about all of the hill climbing that I had done, and I was thinking of my husband and kids.  My calves were feeling knotted but, I was getting excited about the last 10 miles of the race.  Runners up ahead were starting to crash and burn.  I saw people stopping on the side of the road to stretch, and to take walk breaks.

Mile 10-8:06
Mile 11-8:10
Mile 12-8:09
Mile 13-8:51 (bathroom break)
Mile 14-8:09
Mile 15-8:15
Mile 16-8:12

At mile 15 I grabbed an energy gel from an aid station and began to nurse it. Around this time I began to slow down a little bit during the aid stations.  Instead of running through them I' would grab a cup and shuffle stride to stretch my calves.  I kept telling myself to hold off on the music until 20 miles but, at 18.5 miles I caved and turned the tunes on.  I also pulled out my final electrolyte capsule, and I dropped it on the pavement.  Without a second thought, I stopped, picked it up off the ground, and popped it into my mouth.

The music was a game changer.  I kept telling myself to not get too excited.   I knew that 3:35 was just out of reach but I was excited to go sub 3:40.  It was getting warm so I said goodbye to my beanie hat at mile 21.

Mile 17-8:18
Mile 18-8:17
Mile 19-8:30
Mile 20-8:09
Mile 21-8:15

The course began to flatten out some, and I was starting to really feel the burn.  At mile 23 we had to run a horrible out and back section with an uphill climb into a headwind.  I pulled out my last gel hoping that it would work its magic.

I felt bad for a woman who was throwing up.  This is the part of the marathon where the carnage is the worst.  People were stopping and I began to fall apart myself.  The climb wasn't super steep, but after all of the downhill pounding it felt so hard.

I saw my sub 3:40 starting to slip away.  But,  I told myself to snap out of it and fight.  I said all kinds of things in my head.  "In 25 minutes this will be all over, and then I can feel sorry for myself", "You are not a p*ssy", "You know how to suffer",  "Everything, everything, everything, leave everything out here"  The course went back downhill, and at mile 25.2  I hit the last timing mat and it was nice to know we only we only had 1 mile to go.  At this point, I didn't know if I would be over 3:40.  But, I fought like hell during the last mile

With 600 meters to go, my friend, Jenn was waiting for me, and she ran and cheered me through the finish.

Mile 21-8:15
Mile 22-8:29
Mile 23- 8:34
Mile 24-9:26 (ewww)
Mile 25- 8:39
Mile 26- 8:17
.38-2:47 (7:21 pace, wth?)

I'm shocked that I had such a fast sprint at the end.  If I had not seen my friend at the end, I may not have broken 3:41.

Official Time 3:40:25

Race Results/Data
Can you tell where I stopped to use the bathroom?

Official race data

Strava Data
My friend Jenn set a 10 minute PR in the half marathon distance!
Love you girl!
Thank you for taking care of me after the race!

Final Thoughts
I did manage to BQ with 4:35 to spare.  But, I don't think I will be registering for next year's race. I love the idea of going to Boston.  But, it will be expensive to fly across the country and stay 3 nights in Boston to run a marathon.  I feel guilty spending that kind of money.  I know that I really want to run this race again next year.

I know I have the potential to knock off a few extra minutes. I'm probably about 10 pounds over my ideal race weight, and while I feel strong, I know that I am doing myself a disservice by carrying the extra weight.   If I truly want to PR or get faster at this distance,  I will have to start dieting down (lifestyle changes) to get back down to race weight.

5 days after the race, I finally feel normal enough to go for a run.... I will discuss future plans in my next post.

Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Revel Marathon is on Saturday- A Summary of this training cycle, and goals post

13 weeks is enough time to train for a marathon, right?   I would like to say that I feel very fortunate to be able to race on Saturday.  In December I was recovering from a tendon injury in my right foot.

I had promised that I would work on strength training and that I would slowly ease my way back into running.  But, like the impulsive person that I am, I ended up signing up for a marathon in the middle of January after only returning to running after two weeks.  My foot has been feeling okay.  It was a little sore during my vacation earlier this month.  I had been wearing flat sandals and had been doing more speed work.  But, since I have been back at work and wearing heels or wedges the slight foot issue has healed.

I felt like I started training for this marathon at the last week of January.  I had managed to get my mileage up to 35 miles a week by the end of January with base building running.  February was more base building with hill climbing.  During this training cycle, I did a lot of hill climbing in preparation for the downhill marathon that I will be running.

In March I began to work with my coach Brent Bowers again, and I had a monster month.  I ran 198 miles in March. Even though this training cycle was shorter we crammed in some higher mileage weeks with lots of climbing.

My favorite workouts were the mid-week mid-long tempo runs.  My long runs were handled differently.  I was mostly running for time instead of distance.

So let's get to the actual numbers and mileage

This is what my last marathon training cycle looked like
August 159 -Approx 36 miles per week
September- 162- Approx 38 miles per week
October- 170. Approx 39 miles per week.
November 35- About 25 miles per week (taper month)

And this is the current training cycle

January 102 Miles -Approx 23 miles per week 
February 147 Miles-Approx 37 miles per week
March 198 Miles-Approx 45 miles per week
April 113 Miles-Approx 33 miles per week (taper time)

Elevation stats
January- 3,993 feet climbed
February- 5,706 feet climbed
March- 8,382 feet climbed
April- 2,305 feet climbed

Total Elevation 20,386 feet.

***tangent*** (sorry in advance for the narcissistic naval gazing)I was looking through my old running calendars.  I sometimes wish that I was as fast as I used to be 10 years ago.  
Me dying during the 2nd
half of the St. George Marathon
in 2009.

I could run a 21 minute 5k easily, and I would sometimes race an okay marathon.... But,  when I went over some of my training logs I realized that I wasn't training very smart.   I would run a 20 miler at 8:00 pace, but then I would need to take 3-4 days off from running to recover from that effort.  My mileage would sometimes top out at 45 miles per week, but then other weeks I would only hit 25 miles per week.  I was also a vain runner who thought that I had to run hard all of the time and 9-minute miles scared me.  I had plenty of speed, but it never translated into a fast marathon. I BQ'ed a two or three times but,  I was always a positive split marathoner.  I would run strong for the first 15-20 miles and then crash and burn on the back end....

So while I might not be able to run as fast as I used to, I'm okay with it.   My legs are able to handle higher mileage, and I've become a smarter runner. My coach Brent was able to demonstrate that not every run has to be in the 8-minute range and that less is more sometimes.  I have learned to appreciate recovery days.
End Tangent****

The weather for this race should be perfect.  We are going to be bussed up into Mt. Charleston Mountain area and it will be a freezing 33 degrees at the start.  I'm going to wear fleece throw away pajamas until the start, and I will be wearing a throwaway beanie and gloves too.  It will be in the lower 60's when the race ends and there will be a slight cross wind.

Goals and Strategy
This is a crazy fast course.  But, it can be super brutal if you take the downhill for granted.

My PR is a 3:31:49, (8:05 per mile) I don't think that I'm quite ready to PR. My strategy is to hold back during the first half.  If I see any sub 8-minute miles I will purposely slow down.  I can not bank time during a marathon.  If I go out too fast I will crash and burn hard during the 2nd half.
I plan on hitting 8:20-8:15's for the first half, and drop down to 8:10's for the 2nd half.  If I feel really good, I will save it for the last three miles and try to run 7:55 pace.

A-Goal 3:35
B-Goal Sub 3:40
C-Goal  Run a smart race. (don't crash and burn)

See you on the other side and thank you for reading.