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.

Friday, April 21, 2017

12 days of vacation- Speedwork,one terrible long run, and a few pictures

Apologies in advance for this really long blog post.

I had a really nice long break from work.  My place of employment observes the Passover hoidays, so we get several paid holidays during this time. I decided to combine some vacation days with those work holidays and I ended up having 12 days off from work. During that stretch, I travled to California to visit family, and then my children were home from school for spring break.  I managed to run most of those days. So let's pick up where we left off.

I had a really great 10 mile tempo workout on tired legs on Wendsday April 5th.

Thursday 4/6  4 Miles 35 minutes at recovery effort and 8 x 30 second strides at 10k pace.  This was a recovery effort, and I was so tired from the previous days workout.  The strides at the end felt difficult.

Friday 4/7  Rest day, I drove out to Southern California with my husband and my two kids.  I stayed up a little late and drank a little too much.

Saturday 4/8  6.5  mile cutdown run.  It is pancake flat in Oxnard California, the weather is much cooler, and the air is more humid.
Oxnard is full of farm fields.
And we are a stones throw away from the ocean.

But, I still was dreading this run.  My plan was to wake up at 6 am to go run and then link up with my family for breakfast.  At 6 am it was still dark, and my mother had warned me that it is not as safe as it used to be in my hometown.  I decided to eat breakfast, go to Target, and then run at 9 am.

My workout was 30 minutes at 9:00 pace and 20 minutes at 7:30 pace.  The 9:00 minute pace didn't feel hard, and about 20 minutes in I started to do some strides to warm up into 7:30 pace.  I felt tired from Wednesday's hard workout My split times for the 20 minutes were 7:32 (ok) 7:41 (uh-oh), and 4:48 for .63 miles (7:37 pace).

About 16 minutes into the tempo portion I saw a group of high school boys running towards me.  I think it was either the HS soccer or distance track team.  I let them pass me, and then I ran about 100 meters and flipped a u-turn so I could follow them.  I was really hurting but, these boys gave me some motivation to finish the tempo portion. Here's the data

This run was not a confidence booster at all.  I can't believe that I used to run half marathons at the tempo pace that I was trying to maintain.... I'm trying to trust the process.  And that marathon training has more volume/mileage than half marathon training.

That same day I visited family, went to a bridal shower, and again stayed up really late.
My beautiful cousins and I'm the short one on
the right.

Sunday 4/9 40 minute shakeout run.  I didn't want to get out of bed...  Again I was so tired.  But, once I got started the run went by quickly.  I noticed that the roads in CA are full of pot holes, and some roads are slanted to help drain water.

Later on that day I had some of the best sushi ever

Total Miles for the week 35.1

Week of April 10-16

Monday 4/10 6.4 mile cutdown run-  We hopped in the car early for the six-hour drive back to Las Vegas. Since I drove out to California, my husband drove us home.  We got back into town, unpacked, started laundry, and then I went grocery shopping.  I had been tempted to skip my workout because I was running long the following day.  But, since I am following a structured training program I knew that the last long run was not meant to be run on fresh legs... It was too hot to head outside so at 4:30 in the afternoon I hopped on the treadmill.  The workout was 30 minutes 9:00 pace and 20 minutes 7:45 pace.  I gutted this run out, and then I ran short cool down.   I think deep down I knew that I was in for it the following day.

Tuesday 4/11 17 miles total
I was lucky enough to have my mother in law watch my kids while I went for a long run.
My workout had called for 4 miles warm-up, 13 miles at 10-15 seconds above goal pace, and a 1 mile cool down.  I think I lasted about  8 miles of steady state before the wheels fell off the wagon.  I was tired, the speedwork, the traveling, the indulging finally caught up to me.

I chose a route that was fairly flat, the temps were about 68 degrees when I took off, and they were 78 when I finished up.  So I think the heat got to me too.  I had hoped to have one good last long run, but that didn't happen.

I had decided to run out to the Sunrise Picnic Area and through the wetlands.  There was no shade and there was a bunch of construction going on.

I ended up stopping twice.  I ran back to my house to grab a bottle of water, use the bathroom and to swap out my wireless headphones for regular headphones at mile 7, and then I stopped at a quicky mart to buy another bottle of water at mile 14.

The day before when I went to the grocery store I was on the lookout for run fuel.  This was all that I could find.

They don't dissolve quickly and they were way too sweet. I used to like these a long time ago.  But, I prefer Honey Stinger energy chews now.

Here's the data.

I stopped my watch at 16.5 miles and then I slowly jogged for another half mile.

Even though I only ran 35 miles last week.  In this last seven day stretch, I hit 48 miles.  

Wednesday 4/12- 30 minutes recovery effort.  Even though these runs suck, they help get the stiffness out of my legs

Thursday 4/13- Rest

Friday 4/14- 6.1miles- 30 minutes recovery 20 minutes General Aerobic, 5-minute cool down. I drove out to the other side of the valley to visit my friend Jenn, she's also racing Revel on April 29th. She will be running the half marathon. 
Us after RNRLV last November.

We have been friends for many years.  She was really nice and offered to watch my kids so that I could go run. I had been feeling down about Tuesday's long run.  But, I felt a little better after this run. It was also nice to check out a different neighborhood.

Saturday 4/15- 5.3 Mile run 30 Minutes Recovery 20 Minutes general aerobic effort 

Sunday 4/16 -Rest Day

Total miles for the week 37.8

Week of April 17-20
Monday 4/17 5.6 Miles 40 Minutes general aerobic effort (9:20 pace) 10 minutes 10 seconds faster than goal pace (8:00 pace). I ran this on the treadmill.

Tuesday 4/18- 5 miles at recovery effort.  My last day off from work, and I decided to drop my daughter off at daycare so that I could go shopping alone.  I had gift cards from my birthday earlier this month. I bought a new running top for next week's race,
Super lightweight
and different from all of
the hot pink I normally buy.

 some cute wedges,
These are Areosoles and they are super comfy

and some beet powder (more on that later)

Wednesday 4/19- No running.  My first day back at work, in almost two weeks.  I made myself a beet juice drink in the morning using my new beet powder.  I haven't been drinking any fresh beet juice lately.  Earlier this year and last year my husband and I were juicing on a regular basis.  Beet juice has magical powers (I'm serious) it lowers blood pressure, and in the past, it has helped me feel energized during hard efforts.

Thursday 4/20 9 miles- 2 miles general aerobic 6 miles steady/tempo pace 1 mile cool down. This was my last big workout.  After last week's disaster of a long run, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to execute this run.  The temperatures have climbed back up into the 80's  I drank another beet juice drink in the morning.
I will use a teaspoon and a half of beet powder
mixed with a LaCroix sparkling water and
a little bit of Gatorade or lemonade to cut
some of the beet flavor.

I took off at 11:30 and it was close to 80 degrees and when I finished it was 86 degrees.  I brought a small bottle of water with me, and I told myself to take it easy if the heat was getting to me.   Within the first two miles, I was close to finishing my bottle of water. I stopped briefly at the park to refill it.  But other than that this workout felt great.  I felt strong, and I felt like I could have pushed the pace harder..... I think the taper is helping too.  Here's the data.

Today is a rest day.  Tomorrow I have a short 30-minute recovery run, and then on Sunday, I have a 50 minute general aerobic slight tempo pace run.

I hope to have a summary of this training cycle post ready by next week.

Thanks for reading this whopper of a post.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Peek week- 48 Miles and over 2000 ft of climbing. Running without music, and strength training

Last week I had my highest mileage week of the training cycle so far! This week is a step-down week. I will be doing my last long run next Tuesday (April 11th) But, I believe we are starting to enter the taper zone.  So let me tell you how last week went.

March 27-April 2
Monday 3/27- 5.1 Miles 35 Minutes Recovery effort and 15 minutes General Aerobic effort.  I was feeling a little tired,  I like these runs because they are at an easy effort, but there is a gradual pick up at the end.  These runs are to practice negative splitting and holding back during the early miles.  I didn't listen to any music during this run.

Tuesday 3/28 - 8.3 miles (2 miles warm-up, 5 miles tempo, cool down) This run included both uphill and downhill tempo running. My coach wanted me to run some downhill miles at goal pace, which means that I had to run uphill first.  I chose a route that was 4 miles of climbing with most of the climb happening during miles 3-4  I ran the first 2/3 of this run without music and then I turned my iPod on for the final 2-3 miles.  Here's the data

Wednesday 3/29- 4.8 Miles at recovery effort.  I felt tired.  Not sore, just tired.  Even though this run was at recovery effort pace.  I still managed to climb a little over 215 feet.

Thursday 3/30- 7 Miles with speed work. 3 miles General Aerobic effort, 3 miles at 15-20 seconds faster than goal pace, 1 mile General Aerobic effort.  It was a crazy, crazy windy day. However, I didn't want to run this workout on the treadmill.  I figured "how bad could it be?"

Here's a link to the news coverage of the dust storm that happened that day.

I got knocked around like a ping pong ball. I had a nice flat out and back course planned, but I abandoned that route because I would have been running into a nasty headwind on the way back. Instead, I ran laps around a 1k block for six miles and it was still super windy.  But, I only had to fight a crazy headwind 1/4 of the way around the block,  and then I would have it at my back a 1/4 of the way....  This was a grit your teeth and pray the power lines don't get blown off the poles kind of run.  I was happy that I didn't get hit in the face with any flying debris.  Here is the data.

Friday 3/31 -18.1 miles This was a timed run of 175 Minutes of relaxed running with some downhill miles. lololol.  My last big long run was 17 miles with the first half going up, and then coming back down.  I got stopped at a few red lights, and I almost got nailed by a car.

I didn't want to have to worry about getting stopped, and I didn't want to climb for 8-9 straight miles. I chose a neighborhood that is fairly hilly and I ran 4 loops of a 4-mile route.  This run ended up being 175 minutes of rolling hills.  I can't belive that I climbed over 1000 feet during this run.  I had been worried that after Thursday's speedwork that this run would be super brutal.  It wasn't bad at all. The much cooler temperatures really helped.  For reference, my last 5 long runs have been in 70 degrees or warmer weather. On Friday it was a lovely 58 degrees.  I stopped by my car once about halfway through to grab fuel and drink fluids.
Here is the data.

I'm happy that my splits were somewhat even, and that there wasn't a bonk towards the end.  My only complaint is that my sports bra could have been more supportive.

Saturday 4/1- Rest  I did go for a short walk to the park with the kids to get some of the stiffness out of my legs.

Sunday 4/2- 4.9 miles Recovery effort with strides.  I had 35 minutes recovery on the calendar, but I ran 10 minutes over because I really wanted to hit 48 miles for the week.  I felt a little beat up from all of the hills on Friday.

Total Mileage 48.1 Miles Total Elevation 2,142 feet

Week of 4/3-4/6

I've decided to fill you in on this week's workouts as well, I may not be able to blog for the next few days, and playing catch up can be hard sometimes.

Monday 4/3- 6.3 Miles-Happy 39th Birthday to me!!  This was a recovery general aerobic mashup.  I ran 30 minutes at recovery effort and 25 minutes at general aerobic pace.  When I left it was 75 degrees and sunny.  I had noticed some dark clouds over in the distance, but, I figured that they would burn off.  I didn't expect any rain.  After my 30 minutes were up I dropped down to general aerobic pace, the clouds had become much closer and the temps dropped about 10 degrees, and then came the wind.  I started to gradually pick up the pace to head back to work.  By the time I made it back to my workplace I was worried that I was going to get hit by lightning.  We had a crazy fast storm pass through the valley and it dumped rain down for 2 hours and then it moved away.  I ended up running my general aerobic effort a little faster than I had intended.

Tuesday 4/4- 40 minutes recovery effort with strides.  I felt tired.  My previous week caught up with me.  On Sunday I felt fresher than I did on Tuesday (weird, I know).  The strides helped me feel a little more confident.  But, I was worried about my 10 miler the following day.

Wednesday 4/5- 10 miles with 3 miles general aerobic, 6 miles at goal pace, 1 mile general aerobic.   I had a busy morning and I knew that I would not have time to drive to the park.  I figured that I would have to deal with cars on busy streets, and in the end, I chose a two loop course near my work.

When I took off, I told myself to remember that I was running on tired legs and that this workout would be challenging.  I also told myself not to freak out when I saw my pace fall on some of the uphill portions.  This route wasn't crazy hilly, but it wasn't flat either.  The first tempo mile was slightly downhill, and it was the most intimidating.  But, overall this workout went much better than I had hoped.  I also didn't listen to any music during the workout. Here's the data.

Running without music

The Revel Marathon begins at the top of Mt Charelston.  There will be little to no cell phone reception up there.  During the second half of the marathon when we get closer to the valley the cell phone reception should be better.  However, I don't want to have to fumble around with my phone, and possibly trip and fall running downhill.  I have decided to leave my phone in the car, and I will be running the first half without music.   I have my trusty iPod circa 2010 that I will be using for this race.

Many, many years ago.  I never needed music to run.  Over the years it has become a creature comfort. I don't want to have to depend on it.  So I have been weaning myself off of the music.  I think this race will be fairly exciting, and my goal is to hold back during the first half.  By not listening to music I think I will be able to stay in control during the first half.

Strength Training (or lack thereof) 
 I haven't been spending much time in the gym.  I have to focus on getting the miles in, but that doesn't mean that I'm not doing anything....

A few weeks ago (6 or 7) I decided to set an arbitrary goal of doing 30 pushups a day.  3 sets of 10, 2 sets of 15, or whatever order I choose.  50 seemed like a lot, and 20 didn't seem like enough.

I'm sort of top heavy.  I have a short torso, that is kind of wide, but I can knock out pushups.
When I was in the process of losing the baby weight in 2013

Race for the cure 2015
Running out at the wetlands 2016

 I posted these pictures to showcase my broad shoulders.  I can't fight my body type.

Pushups are a great exercise because they hit a lot of different muscle groups in the upper body and I think they help with my running carriage.  When I am running tempo pace or strides, I feel that pumping my arms always helps with my leg turnover.  I will usually do my push ups right after I run, except on days that I do a long run (13 miles and up)

I also am working on hip mobility exercises such as donkey kicks, fire hydrants, and diagonal back kicks.  I will also sometimes do planks.

I stopped tracking my food calories a few weeks ago because I really don't expect to lose much weight during this training cycle.   I eat three square meals a day with a morning snack. I try to eat a huge salad with healthy fats for lunch (avocado, cheese, nuts, turkey bacon) and I'm not eating a ton of crap.
I know that I need to eat enough calories to fuel my body through all of this exercise.  I also realize that it is unrealistic to try to maintain a weight from when I was 25-30 years old.

I have a bigger butt that has gained some muscle (thanks, donkey kicks)

My apologies for the tangent.

My race is in 23 days, and I'm starting to feel the jitters.

Thank you for reading.

Monday, April 3, 2017

A few honest product reviews (non sponsored)

In this post, I wanted to share a few of my favorite things, and rant about a few products that have let me down.

Favorite Things

Powerbar Energy Gels and Energy blast chews

I like these gels because they are not super thick, and the flavors are pretty simple.  I prefer the fruit flavored ones to coffee/candy flavored gels.  These also seem to not cause too much GI distress.
The energy chews are kind of big but they are soft and dissolve pretty quickly.

It seems that these items are getting harder to find.  I used to be able to pick up gels at the grocery store, but now I have to go to Big 5 to purchase them.  The last time I went to Big 5 the protein cookies are now the new thing and there are not as many options for running fuel.

GU Electrolyte Capsules

We are heading into the hot weather season, and I break a sweat fairly quickly.  I will take a capsule right before I head out on a hot day.  If running long (12 miles and up) I will take another salt capsule about half way through.   These tablets help replenish all of the salt I lose during a run.

Slacker Radio
I run with music most of the time and I also carry my cell phone.  For a long time I was using the free Slacker music app, but about 2-3 years ago I bit the bullet and I pay $9 a month for their subscription service.  And I love it!!  I can create playlists, and there is a huge music selection.  They also create custom stations depending on your music tastes. I feel that their service is more reliable than Pandora or Spotify

A &D Ointment
I don't buy Bodyglide because it is a rip-off.  Instead, I use this $4 tube of ointment to protect against chaffing.  It's a little greasy at first, but it keeps chaffing at bay and it doesn't irritate my skin.

Buff Scarf

My son participated in his school's annual fun run to raise money for new electronics.  One of his fundraising prizes was this buff scarf.  He lost interest in wearing it (sorry kid), and I started wearing it as a neck warmer during the winter months, and recently it has been so windy that my regular running cap is being blown off of my head.

This scarf can be worn as a headband, baklava scarf, neckwarmer, etc.  An even bigger plus is that it keeps my wireless headphones is my ears!!

Waist packs
I have two that I am currently using.  For the last 18 months, I have been wearing this small Ultimate Direction.  I run with a phone about 95% of the time.  This belt is big enough to hold a phone and a gel or two.  It's also waterproof
My favorite feature is that it has a small inner pocket for money, and it has a hook so you can loop your keys.
It also has an emergency hair tie.  I really like this pack for long runs, because it is very easy to open and close while running.

My only complaint is that I have to cinch the belt tight or it will bounce when I run tempo pace.

I received this waist pack last year from the SLS3 company.
And this was an okay waist pack. But, within a year I have already had to call it quits.  The elastic strap wasn't very durable, and I'm worried that the belt will break during one of my long runs.  I did like the waterproof pockets and the fact that there were two separate storage pouches.   The zippers were easy to open, but it would be nearly impossible to be able to shove my phone back into the pockets while I was in motion.  That is a deal breaker for me.

I purchased this Nathan waist belt last month.

It is very similar to the flip belt. I really like this waist belt. It's stretchy and it stays in place. I can run tempo pace, and it doesn't budge. I was worried that my phone would fall out, but so far we have been okay. I like the fact that I can use the entire length of the belt to store items, and there are four separate pockets. The downsides to this belt are that there are no zippers to secure money, and it is not sweat/waterproof.  I will put my phone inside of a ziplock bag before I take off so that I don't kill my phone.  

Wireless Headphones by Yurbuds
I have a love/hate relationship with this product.
When I first bought this product I really loved them.  It was nice not having to untangle my headphones each time I went for a run.  The sound quality is really great too.   I was having fit problems where the phones were slipping out of my ears occasionally.  I switched the size of the little blue ear covers, and it did the trick and I had about six months of great running with them.  

Recently the earphones have been slipping out of my ears, and I hate having to constantly readjust them especially when running tempo pace.  This pair cost me about $70 (these were on sale and normally cost $100).  For that price I want these earphones to fit perfectly.

My other complaint is that the buttons for volume and the on/off switch are super tiny and I'm ham-handed.

Thanks for reading.