Monday, June 12, 2017

Oh hey, remember me?

Whoa it's been a while...

In the past year and a while I've done a LOT! First, I ran the Revel Rockies marathon in June of 2016, earning my first BQ. Meaning of course I had to run Boston in 2017. It was the most amazing experience of my life! I'll have to do a post about that soon, for now it's just a quick hello and re-starting point. 3 weeks after Boston, I ran the Colorado Marathon and earned another BQ, but I've decided not to run Boston in 2018, instead deciding to try to qualify for 2019 so I have time to save up (that was one expensive trip!!) so I can take the hubs and kids next time. I'll be running in St. George in October to shoot for the next qualifier, and this time I'll be working with a coach to help me work toward a PR as well...more on that later as well. So, as you can see, I've been busy and will continue to be. Another goal I'm working on this year is running 2,017 miles. I'm slightly behind my goal due to tapering and recovering - twice - during April and May...but I'm almost back on track and will be working hard to hit this fun goal. Ummmmmm....I think that's mostly it. I'll be excited to blog about these individual goals and recaps when I get a chance...until then, I'll just be over here running!!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Slow down to run faster?

I Have you heard of the 80/20 Principle in running?  I'm currently reading 80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald, and in intrigued by the idea of running slower in order to race faster.  

It's not all easy running, the idea is to run 80% of your runs super slow (like reallllllly slow - I figured out my pace based on this idea and it's well over a minute per mile slower than in used to running) and make the other 20% of your runs high intensity. He claims, and my training in the past has mimicked this, that most people run a high percentage of their runs at a moderate intensity, this sabotaging their training.  There is a ton of research behind this, but you'll have to read the book yourself, because it's too sciencey for me to try to explain.  

Fitzgerald suggests beginning with a "week of slow" to pull back and let your body adapt to what running slow should feel like.  I figured the run streak was a perfect time for this - my hope is that, as Fitzgerald claims, it will help me avoid burnout.  I used his fancy math to determine that I should be around a 143 heart rate for these slow runs, and after experimenting this week, I've discovered that it puts me right around a 9:30 pace. 

It feels so slow and awkward, but I feel amazing after my run and going into the next.  I'm excited to try this out for a while, especially to see where the high intensity runs take me.  

While the slow running seems easier, I do feel like I'm running forever and that if I just sped up, I'd be done already.  It takes discipline to continue at snail's pace, but I'm determined to at least give this a whirl.  The research supports it, and it sure sounds nice!  For now at least, I'll be keeping my runs slow with the exception of my weekly tempo run, which I will continue to do at the same intensity as before.  Wish me luck!

Monday, November 9, 2015

November challenges

Last November I had just completed a half marathon (with a PR!) and had nothing up on my race calendar.  I didn't really lose motivation, but after training for two consecutive races, I felt a bit misdirected as to where I wanted my running to go next.  November and December were slow months for my running.

This year, I'm fresh off of two consecutive marathons, and while I do have another one planned, it's not until next summer, so I am finding myself again feeling a bit lost.  I decided I needed a good challenge or two to get me through the end of the year, so I'm linking up with Monica at Run, Eat, Repeat for a Pile on the Miles challenge and Amanda at Run to the Finish for the Holiday Sweat.  My hope was to have some fresh new challenges to keep me going. 

My goal for Pile on the Miles is to pile some on each day.  I want to run every day in November.  Certainly some of these will be slow, short runs, but the goal is to keep moving.

For the Holiday Sweat, we have daily prompts to think about to challenge our fitness and way of thinking.  Today's prompt is What’s your baseline # of minutes, and how are you going to accomplish it?  This is a funny one for me, because I don't think in terms of minutes, I think in terms of mileage.  But for the purpose of this challenge, I'll change my thinking for a bit and go with minutes.  To keep my run streak going, I need to run at least a mile a day (the one mile days will replace my usual 2 rest days a week).  But on those days, as well as every other day, I will do 30 minutes of something active.  I'm hoping to incorporate some yoga on those days and possibly some other type of strength training.  It's all about challenging myself, and stepping outside of my running comfort zone is a good place to start.  

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Let's talk about running in the cold

It got stinkin' cold this week!  It was 10 degrees this morning when Axe and I headed out for our morning run.  Although we have run in colder weather - and likely will again this winter - I froze.  I am like a little Popsicle.  When it hasn't been this cold in months, you kind of forget how bone chillingly cold it is.  So how do I manage?

1.  Wear alllllllll the clothes.  When it's this cold, that means two pairs of pants (today I only wore one pair and a long pair of socks - I regretted it because my thighs were really cold), a long sleeve shirt under a jacket, a neck warmer thing (what are those called?), gloves, and a hat. No love this hat because it keeps my face warm too.  

2.  Warm up slowly - if at all.  On these cold days I definitely don't push the pace.  It takes me a long time to get warmed up, and sometimes I don't really get warmed up at all.  I don't want to risk injury by running too hard on cold muscles, so I take it nice and easy.

3.  Get out of your running clothes as soon as you finish your run...for me this meant putting on a pair of leggings under some fleece pajama pants, a hoodie, and crawling under a blanket with a cup of coffee. It took me a good half hour to thaw out.  Putting on warm fresh clothes helps me warm up a bit more quickly before I head into my scalding hot shower.

Colorado winters can be pretty cold, but I definitely don't want my running to suffer because of the weather.  Most mornings I get my runs done on the treadmill, but I still love to do my longer weekend runs outside, no matter how cold it is.  Plus it's a fun challenge.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Portland Marathon Recap

And then there was that.  Just like that, the Portland Marathon is over.  Four months of diligent training built up to this event.  And it's done.  I'll be honest, I feel a little naked with no marathon to train for.  On one hand, it was nice this afternoon, when I did my first post-marathon run, to choose what I wanted to run rather than running what the plan told me to.  On the other hand, I feel naked.  I've been leading up to this one event for so long, that I feel a little lost now that it's done.  But more on that later.  Let's chat about the race.

My friend Melanie and I flew out to Portland on Friday and met up with our third runner friend, Kara.  The three of us hit the expo and picked up our goodies before an early bedtime on Saturday.  On Sunday we had an early wake up call and made it to the start of the race just in time to hit the porta potties before the race started at 7:00.  Once we found our corral, it was already time for the National Anthem - and I love the way they did it!  The announcer started it, and then the crowd sang the song without the help of a singer over the loudspeaker.  And then, it was race time!

The most amazing part of the first few miles was the drummers downtown.  They sound of their drums reverberated throughout downtown and gave the beginning of the race such a great vibe.  As always, the first 15 miles or so flew by.  There was a long out and back through an industrial area that I was worried would bore me, but it was fun to see the runners before and after us, so those miles went by quickly.  And the course support was amazing!

I was feeling great at this point, even though there were quite a few gradual uphills (by the way, for such a 'flat' course, there sure was a lot of gradual uphill!).  I knew there was a large hill at mile 16 as we would climb the St. John's bridge.  That hill really wasn't nearly as bad as I was worried that it would be, and the view from the top was amazing!  Melanie, Kara, and I ran together on and off up to this point, but it was really special that we all found each other for the bridge - I enjoyed experiencing that with them.

After the bridge was a 'flat' (read: uphill) stretch along the top of the bluff.  I continued to feel well until mile 22 when some feminine issues reared their ugly head and I had terrible cramps for about two miles.  These two miles were slow and awful, but then just as quickly as the problems started, they ended, and I was able to finish the last two miles strong.  I'm bummed that those two miles took so much out of me, because when all was said and done, I missed a BQ by less than a minute.  I was definitely disappointed to miss my goal, but at the end of the day, I know I left it all out there on the course.  I know I ran the best race I could that day, and I'm happy with it.  Plus, I have a new PR which is exciting.  I ended up finishing in 3:40:55.

A few notes about the race.  I train at 7800 feet in elevation and this race was at sea level.  I definitely felt the difference - my breathing was easier and I felt much better after the race than the last time.  I had some soreness, which was to be expected, but not nearly as much as I thought I would.  Also, I was worried about it being hot, but the temperatures, which were warmer than I'm used to, were a non-issue.

Overall, this was a great race experience.  The course support was fantastic and the entertainment was just as good.  My favorite race sign?  "Up ahead:  Mortuary.  Look alive."  Also, I chose to personalize my bib with the word "FASTER."  I loved hearing people yell "Faster" at me as I approached - it was a fun little motivator.

So now it's all said and done and I'm not sure what's next.  With so much going on this year, I think I will take a (short) marathon break and try to stay half marathon ready for a while.  I'd like to run some halves next spring and summer and possibly look at another full next fall or the following spring.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

One week happy dance!

The Portland Marathon is one week from today and I can't wait!!  During my last marathon taper I had some major marathon obsessing...I was so nervous and definitely over thinking things.  This time I've definitely taken that down a notch (maybe I'd call it a huge interest in all things marathon instead of an obsession).  The difference, so far, is that I'm not nervous.  I'm excited.  Sure I remember how hard miles 20-26 are, but I know what to expect and I'm ready.  I've trained well - I feel like other than one or two missed runs for sickness and one for vacation, I stuck to the plan.  When I didn't want to run 8 mile tempo runs, I did.  And I ended loving speed work days (still not sure how that happened).

I've been going through all the taper crazies though - caught a cold, my body hurts in realllllly weird places, I can't stop eating all the things, bed time is early, heck, I even cut back on wine!  (Just a little though).  My last couple of runs have been pretty miserable, but looking back at my last training cycle, this was also the case then, so I'm not worried about it a bit.  I'm just excited to get going.

I have a nice 3 mile run, a 4 mile race pace run, and a 2 mile run on tap this week...then it's off to Portland!  I'm excited to get outside and enjoy the beauty of fall this week while I finish out this training cycle.  Fingers crossed for a great week and an even better race!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

T-15 days and the taper crazies

The Portland Marathon is in 15 days.  Well, to be more exact, 14 and a half days.  But who's counting?  I haven't updated in a while because I have been BUSY!!  Busy running, busy working (school started back up), busy studing (yay for Graduate School), busy being a mom...the list goes on and on.  With everything going on in my life, running has become my peace.  It's my 'me' time.  Running has been the time where I can clear my mind, enjoy nature, and be alone.

Melanie and I finished up the meat of our training last week.  We worked our way up to two 20 mile runs...and we rocked them!  We were both pleased with how well those long long runs went, and now we are one week into the three week taper.  I don't really count the first week though, because the mileage is similar to stepback weeks and not enough to where I really feel like it's a break.  Although mentally, the taper crazies have begun!

I trained hard.  I did all of the runs that were scheduled (minus one while we were on vacation and one while I had strep throat).  I hit the intensity on all of the tempo runs and speed workouts.  I hit the mileage...and then some.  I know I did everything I could.  But naturally, I'm still doubting myself.  I had an 'easy' 12 mile run this morning.  These are the runs that are the hardest for me.  I think when I have an 18 or 20 miler on tap, mentally I know I'll be outside running for what feels like forever, and I'm mentally prepared for it.  When my schedule says 12 miles, it seems so short in comparison, but I fail to realize how far that really is. Those are the runs that feel like they drag on and on because, shouldn't I be done by now?

Today's 12 miler was good.  I felt strong and comfortable and even managed the mileage well mentally.  Then I got home and realized how slowly I ran.  I wasn't trying to push it or run fast (Heaven forbid I mess up the taper), but surely that comfort level should be faster than that, right?  Ahhhh, one of the classic taper crazies.  How the heck am I supposed to maintain an 8:11 pace for 26.1 miles when I can't maintain an 8:30 pace for 12 miles?

I know that I did everything I needed to do during training, and now it's time to trust in the training.  This same training plan (minus the speed work) helped me run a phenomenal race last spring in Denver.  I know it's effective.  I've been reflecting back on my training log a lot this week - comparing this training cycle with the last one.  I'm right where I was with the last one in terms of how I was running and how I was feeling about it.  That gives me a lot of reassurance.

Other taper crazies have been milder.  Like today, all I did was run, nap, and eat.  Really.  I'm SO hungry and tired.  I was supposed to get up and start my run by 6:00 am so I could get home and bake muffins with Cupcake.  But for the life of me I couldn't drag myself out of bed until 8:00...we made muffins then and I managed to make it out the door at 9.  I don't think I've ever left for a run that late in the morning, I usually prefer to be home before the kids are awake.  But today, I enjoyed it.  And I love that I still went at all - that means I can sleep in tomorrow before sitting around, watching football, and eating all the food.

I'm anxious to see how the next two weeks play out in terms of taper crazies as the mileage starts going down next week.  I actually get to run a 3 mile run.  I don't remember what that feels like.  And two four milers?  CAKE!!  Woohoo!!!...for now.

15 days til the marathon.  15 days to obsess over my fueling plan (I think I've decided on it), my outfit (that's important stuff!), my pacing strategy, and other important things like convincing myself to stick to my resolve to run this marathon without the help of my garmin telling me my pace.  Scary stuff!

One last note, I'm SO EXCITED for this race!!  I love that I get to share it with such an amazing friend and running partner.  I'm the luckiest person in the world.