Long runs….

If you have ever trained for a half marathon or a marathon, you know that the weekends are dedicated to the long run.  I usually complete mine on Sunday but have altered it if the weather is going to be nicer on a Saturday.

This weekend I was lucky enough to have two days to choose from for my long run.  I, of course, picked today, Sunday and I think I picked the best day.

My plan called for a 16 miler with 8 miles at marathon pace.   For me my goal pace is around 9:30 per mile.  I am hopeful that I can keep the 9:30 pace for the whole 26.2 when it comes time to tackle the marathon.  I have to say that it is still a little odd to slow down but I completely understand.  The goal is to get to the end still running and typically I have slowed down a lot in the second half of the marathon.  Basically running 9 min miles in the first half and so slow in the second half that when I finish my average time is 11 min miles.  Although this is not bad, I want to be more consistent and get faster.

IMG_3662Back to today’s run.  It was awesome.  The weather was in the mid 40’s with a light breeze.  I went to my favorite “go to place” and was greeted with lots of hills and wide open streets.  At one point I was even singing out loud to my ipod because no one was around and it just seemed like something fun to do to pass the time.  Today was a day I was thankful to be a runner, thankful to be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery, and thankful for those moments of alone time to think.

This week I finished with 55 miles completed.  I think that is the most miles I have run in a week since the final weeks of my last marathon.  And to think I am only in my 2nd week of this training plan.  Looks like every week after this will be a new mileage record per week for me.  That’s kind of exciting to think about and terrifying at the same time.

Tomorrow is rest day.  I am looking forward to it but it also means that I will do a little cross training because really I am supposed to rest from running.  So the plan is to bike a little at the gym and then work on the core as well as lots of stretching.  It is also one of my favorite Mondays at the gym because it is free massage Monday with a 10 min chair massage.

The rest of the week looks like this:

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 11 mile run

Wednesday: 13 miles

Thursday: 5 mile recovery run

Friday: 9 miles w/ 4 miles @ half marathon pace

Saturday: 5 miles recovery run

Sunday: 15 miles

Total: 58 miles  Holy cow that’s a lot but here goes!

How is your training going?IMG_3663

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Still training…

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Beautiful Oklahoma sky!

So there I was ready to write a blog a lot more often and talk about my training for my upcoming marathon and then it happened.  Life again got in the way.  This is not to say that the training came to a stop because it didn’t, it was just the blog that came to a stop again.

Now I am hoping to get back on track…

Recently I had an impromptu trip back to IMG_3588Oklahoma to see my mom, family, and friends after my Grandmother passed away.  Even though this was sudden, it was a blessing in disguise.  My mom had been spending a lot of time taking care of her mother and was suffering a few health issues from the stress this was causing her, so I am glad she can get back to taking care of herself.  This is a great learning moment because it is always so easy to put yourself last in life.  I believe if you do not take care of yourself, how can you possibly take care of others in your life.  This is the one main reason I run.  It helps me regain focus on my life and what needs to get done.  Sometimes if the day at work is long, I find it better to leave at a normal time, go for a run and then spend a few moments during the evening finishing some of my work projects.  It is such a better use of my time and does make me feel better.

Back to the marathon training……

The month of January was a great training month.  In fact I ran more miles (168.21 miles) during the month than I have ever run and ran more days than ever (24 days out of the 31 days).  The good news is that it felt good.  I started my training plan having run 50 miles the week before which is a very aggressive plan but something I think I need to do to reach that goal of a new PR marathon.  Unfortunately I was unable to hit all my goals last week due to my travels to Oklahoma but have been right on track this week.    So far I have completed 39 miles and have a 16 miler planned for tomorrow.

IMG_3621I was spoiled while I was in Oklahoma with some incredible weather and was able to get outside for all my runs.  I even got to run a 10 mile training run last Saturday with about 200 people from the OKC Landrunners.  This seems like a great group of people who are all training for the OKC marathon.  I will hopefully see some of them when I return in April to run the half marathon on this same day with these marathoners.

Some of the most interesting things I have found about this plan are the variations of the runs.  Most of my runs are not even close to marathon pace.  I knew this was going to happen but when you are doing it, it feels so strange.  I spend a lot of time running at a slower pace which I think is the hardest because I want to get the run done.   There is also speed work involved and half marathon pace work which is not really speed work but holding a faster pace for a long period of time.  I think before this most of my runs were at the same pace all the time which is not really a good way to train.

Something else that is hard are the midweek long runs.  Yes I meant for that to be plural.  Think about trying to get in 55 miles or more a week…. Did you figure out how to divide up those miles?  Well this plan has you completing a 13 miler on Wednesday, 10 miler on Friday and a lot longer run on Sunday 15 + miles.  I am use to only one long run on Sunday so I am having to figure out how to give myself the time it takes to run this much.  I do know that in the end this will pay off.   I am also fairly certain that there is no way I could have done this plan when I still had kids at home so I feel so lucky to have this time at the end of my day.IMG_3613

Please don’t think I am complaining, I’m merely explaining the plan.  It is a very involved one, mainly because it is “Advanced Marathoning”.  I think what I am learning in all this, is that in order to be more serious about this marathon thing is that I need to run more to prepare for it.  When you really want something, you have to work hard towards it.  Like I said in my last blog my new motto is:

“Things you want, don’t come easy”

With this in mind time to get some rest for tomorrows long run.   🙂

How is your training going?  Any new plans you are trying out?  Any goals for your next race?

Here we go….

running motivationI haven’t written very much in a while, mainly because I have not had much to say.  Okay maybe that is not a great way to start a blog, with a lie.  I always have a lot to say.

I have started a few blogs but found them whiney so I deleted them.  Today when I was at the gym, once my music stopped and I actually had to think, I was thinking I could just start talking about my training that started officially today.  Maybe this will help Dave, so he won’t have to hear about it every day when he gets home.

So here goes….

Because I am crazy, I signed up for my 6th marathon about two months ago.  It’s called the Vermont City Marathon and we are excited to go up and spend a little time with the oldest child.  When I signed up I was thinking I would maybe hire a trainer to help me with my goals but then thought about it and realized that if I bug my friends enough about their trainers than I can gain their knowledge without the cost (wink, wink).  Okay maybe that is not the truth (what is it about you all that I seem to be lying left and right now).  I really don’t know the first thing about hiring a running trainer but I did ask my friend who has had a lot of success lately what she is doing.  She said she has been utilizing her trainer and they are working through the book “Advanced Marathoning”. IMG_3548

Well that I can handle.  I can buy a book, read it, follow a plan and get better.  So that is what I have been doing.  Although the plan starts today, there is a lot of ramping up you have to do to follow this book, I mean after all it is “advanced” marathoning.  First of all I had to get my running to 6 days a week.  Then I had to get my miles up which made me start to feel I was in marathoning stages way before today.  My plan is to do the medium level training which is 55 to 70 miles a week.

The good news is that I got my miles up to 50, I’m completing the 6 days of week running, and that I am smart enough to realize that my plan is going to be a little modified smaller than the 55 miles but at least it will be more than I am use to.   So with that, today I begin.  And here is what that means…..

Monday =  Rest Day/Cross train

Now don’t get me wrong, I struggle with rest days so I did get to the gym for a light bike ride (10 miles), upper body and core workout.  Some stretching and then the highlight to my every other Monday’s at my gym, Massage Monday.  It’s a 10 minute chair massage but felt so great at the end of the day.

I have to say that this training plan seems a little daunting and I am somewhat scared of it but really things we want don’t come easy.  Well I guess I just found my theme for my training plan.

“Things we want, don’t come easy!”

Here we go…. I hope you will join me on this great adventure.  My real hope is to complete the marathon more successfully.  What that means to me is:

  • Not hit that wall at mile 20 where I start to question why I am even alive, not to mention why I do this to myself
  • Run or some type of continued forward movement without stopping or walking through the length of the full marathon
  • Not have leg cramps so bad in my legs that the next week after the marathon do I question my ability to walk nor do I want to be in the med tent for two hours like my 3rd marathon
  • Enjoy myself. I have enjoyed my running adventure and most of the time I think I should stick with the half marathon distance but apparently twice a year (oh yeah did I mention I am hoping for a fall marathon maybe NYC I registered for the lottery but if not that one, I will find one) I like to test myself and my sanity!  I am clearly insane, glad I have the mental health license so I can diagnose myself!

So join me as I make my quest towards a successful Vermont City Marathon on May 29th and this training adventure to get me ready.   If you have any tips, please let me know.  🙂running motivation3

 

Well Duh!

nutritionI had one of those moments this weekend.  I met up with my marathon friend and we went for a walk along the Charles River in Boston chatting about our recent marathons.  For me it was Chicago for her it was her hugely successful New York Marathon where she PRd by 23 minutes and got even closer to the elusive Boston Qualifying time.

Before I get started on my Duh moment, I have to say how impressed I am with her.  She did incredible and I am so happy with her accomplishment.  She worked so hard this summer through the crazy heat and lots and lots of miles under her feet.

As we discussed our races and things we did leading up to the races (well everything besides the running because we had already spent quite a bit of time talking about the running each week during the summer) we found ourselves spending a lot of time discussing nutrition.  I started to have another one of my Aha moments but we will call this a “well Duh” as in you should have thought about this way before now moments.

My nutrition is pretty good, basically meaning I eat well and drink lots of water.  I do overindulge in sweets but I always say that is why I run, “to eat desserts!”  But really something I have never focused on in my 5 marathons and 10 half marathons is the pre race nutrition.

You know…. What to eat for the week or 3 days before the race, primarily the carbo loading.  Shockingly (insert sarcasm here) one bowl of pasta the night before a marathon does not last you a whole marathon.  I thought you could eat well, eat your pasta the night before the race and then fuel during the race.  Well that works okay if you run a half but this is not enough food to fuel you through the marathon. pasta

As I described the wall I hit during all my marathons and discussed my nutrition to my friend, it became glaringly obvious that I need to make some changes to my nutrition plan.  But it also gave me hope that if I can finish a marathon like I eat right now, what could I do if I did the fueling part correctly.  As my friend put it, “the wall is 3 things, mental strength, training, and nutrition.”  I have the mental strength because I have done 5 of these crazy things.  I have the training although, I will up my miles to a little more for my next marathon.  But it was the nutrition that was what I was lacking.  My body got so tired during my last race that I forced it to even drink and had no desire to eat during my last 6 miles.  This will not happen again!

So instead of feeling defeated, I have found my new focus for my next training.  I have even begun to start about running a spring marathon instead of just looking for a fall one.  I’m not sure why I continue to push myself so hard other than I just want to do better and feel successful and I don’t feel like I have gotten anywhere close to what I can do for a marathon.  Now it times to research nutrition a little more and create a plan for the next marathon and maybe even sign up for one….

Well Duh can be a moment of “I feel so stupid for not thinking of this” or a moment of “Wow, that was the thing that was missing.  I can do so much better with this knowledge.”   I have had both of these thoughts go through my head but I am going with the positive one and setting new goals.nutrition3

Have you ever had one of these moments? 

What did you do with it?

Chicago Marathon Recap #1 of 2

chicago8Sorry for the delay in my Marathon Recap of the Chicago Marathon and let me apologize about the length but it is full of pics too so enjoy and I did divide it up into two different posts so you have to come back tomorrow to get the end.  🙂

Well…. I finished.  I also finished over 23 mins faster than my marathon in April.  Unfortunately it was still not to the goal I had set but more on that in a little bit.

The weather for the trip could not have been better (well, it could have been a little cooler on Marathon day but definitely a beautiful day).  We arrived in Chicago on Friday afternoon and made it to our Airbnb residence for the next 5 nights.  Here is the view:

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After taking Uber to the expo to pick up my bib it was time to relax and get ready for my first ever group shake out run with Another Mother Runner.  On Saturday morning, I woke up and ventured down to take my first adventure on the Chicago Transit system to make it to the meet up location.  I do have to say I was impressed.  It was easy to get around and pretty cheap too.  (Let’s just say that we did not use Uber after we figured out the subway)  Here are some pics of the run on Saturday morning…..

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Sarah in the middle is one of the creators of Another Mother Runner. Go check out their website here and get some cool another mother runner bling.

Great shot at Lake Michigan and the background of Chicago

Great shot at Lake Michigan and the background of Chicago

At the "Bean" in Grant Park with another running group we hung out with. So much fun.

At the “Bean” in Grant Park with another running group we hung out with. So much fun.

I was so happy to have spent some time getting the nerves out of my system and thankful to meet so many other mother runners.  But we all know that the day before the marathon you should not walk around too much so we opted for a River Boat Architecture Tour on the Chicago River.  It was a great idea and there are some fabulous buildings along the river.  Take a look….

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Sunday morning arrived and believe it or not, I was not really nervous.  After all, as my other half says, “You’re a pro.  You have done 4 other marathons.”  Well I am not really a pro but I am beginning to really learn what works and does not work before races and have developed a sort of routine like visiting the bathrooms early because they fill up as the race gets closer and then sitting in the corral because we didn’t even get started until 8:20 which was almost an hour after the race started (that’s what happens when you are in the slow group but I did not mind.)  I look pretty ready for the race here:

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Right before I said Goodbye to Dave to head for the Corral.

Right before I said Goodbye to Dave to head for the Corral.

 

Once we got going I was very excited.  I also tried to not let the excitement get me to go out fast and I would like to say I did a great job of that but really I have no idea.  Why you ask?  Well, let’s just say that my wonderful Garmin watch does not like the very tall buildings of downtown Chicago and since that is where we are running I was at a loss for pace from almost the very beginning.  My first mile went pretty well but when my 2nd mile chimed on my watch and I was nowhere near the 2 mile mark according to the course and the clocks where off because they started with the elite runners I knew I could not trust the watch so it was time to just run based on feel.  Now I am not sure you have ever tried running by feel in a huge race (45,000) runners but if you haven’t and I really didn’t train that way, trying to do it for 26.2 miles is a little bit of a challenge.  Really I did not let this factor into my mind though and focused on enjoying the race.

Right after mile 2. Who needs a working Garmin? Im having fun.

Right after mile 2. Who needs a working Garmin? I’m having fun.

Even though the weather got up to 75 by the end of the race, it was a beautiful day to run.  The first 13.1 miles where pretty much in the shade of the huge buildings of downtown Chicago and through the parts of Chicago that had lots of trees and were very beautiful.

In fact, a little side note… I did something I never thought I would do.  At one point in Lincoln Park, I did jump off the course and find coverage in some of their draping trees and gave back to nature.  Hey, when you have to go and you are only at mile 5 and the bathrooms are all 10 deep at each water stop you do things you would never do before and really I had no desire to pee down my leg which I have heard some people do.  Yuck!

Anyway, back to mile 13.1… I felt great.  It was the best I have felt at the halfway point in a marathon EVER!  (big accomplishment #1)  Here is photo proof:

A big thumbs up for just over halfway!

Little did I know that after mile 13 was the heat wall.  Apparently when you leave the downtown area there are no more tall trees and the buildings are shorter too so it’s just you and the sky (oh and those 44,999 other runners)!  So it got warm and it got warm fast but more on this tomorrow…..

Motivational Monday 9/21/15

Happy Monday!

As I taper towards my 5th Marathon on 10/11/15 this quote has jumped out at me.  motivational115

My last 20 miler was completed this weekend and now I begin to taper and with it comes the mind games of whether I have done enough.  I fight with myself to not go out and add on lots of extra miles.  I know that I have to trust my plan and with this comes the confidence that I have completed 4 other marathons and yes it’s going to be hard but it can be done!

 

Last Day, Last Day 30/30

This is it. I’m all done!  Completed Juneathon 2015.

Many miles, gym workouts, as well as just making up workouts.  But today was real.  Today was track work out.  Glad to finish the month with this craziness:

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Turns out I am as bad at pacing on the track as I am on my long runs.  The good news is that I beat my time I was supposed to run.

4 X 800 sprints – supposed to be 3:47 pace

actual 3:24, 3:22, 3:27, and 3:30

1 mile cool down, 1 mile warm up and walking a lap in between.

Glad to be done and thankful for the cloud cover that came in as I was starting the sprints.

Thankful for another good training day.  On to Chicago Marathon 2015!

It’s that time again (Juneathon 22/30)

Not sure how it got here but today is the day!

I’ve checked and rechecked and even had reminders go off on my phone only to prove that it is that time again.

It felt like it was just yesterday when I was setting the reminders and thinking, “do I really want to do this?”

Now that I have grabbed your attention, I beat you are wondering what is this crazy person talking about?

Should I tell you…..

Do you really care….

Well now I have built it up and really it’s not that big so I guess I will tell you so you can stop reading if you want to but keep reading if you want to.

Today is the day that my training starts “hardcore” as I like to call it for the Chicago Marathon.  I hope you just got as excited as I am.  No really I’m excited!  This will be marathon number 5 and I have high hopes.  Most of those hopes are because OKC marathon was hard and I still finished despite the dreaded allergies that tried to make me stop.  I am also happy because it is in the fall and I seem to have better races in the fall.  And one more hope is because it is a flatter course, close to home.  Well anyway, today it started which meant cross train day.  Now as I can barely move my arms to type and my legs to walk, I know it will be worth it in the end.

So happy 22nd day of Juneathon.  I hope you had a great day!

Exercise completed:

7.7 mile bike ride, 1000+ meters rowing, arm exercises and core exercises and lots of stretching

The Post Marathon Funk

My friends Troy and Nettie who finished the half marathon and waited around for me to cross.

My friends Troy and Nettie who finished the half marathon and waited around for me to cross.

Well the marathon is over, the one I trained so hard for.  17 weeks of training completed and the results… well not at all what I trained for.  So bring on the post marathon funk.  I was ready, I had done everything, and then it happened.  I flew to the race and could not stop sneezing for days.  Basically making it near impossible to meet my goals.  To say I’m sad or in a funk is an understatement.  I felt like this was going to be the one to get me near the 4 hour mark.  But if you have not ever tried to run a marathon while only breathing through your mouth I don’t recommend it,  I found it pretty much impossible.

With the crazy winter we had in New England, I was thankful to hear that the weather was going to be nice and cool and pretty much ideal.  But this is not about the marathon (I promise I will do that recap soon) this is about the funk I have been in since the moment I crossed the finish line. runningquotes2

Let’s just say there were lots of tears and some were from exhaustion while others were from missing the mark.  It was great to have my family and friends at the finish line and be able to share in the finishes of two of my friends for the half marathon.  It was also helpful that two days later I found out that I had been chosen in the Chicago Lottery to run the Chicago Marathon in October.  But then there was the how to get back at it without pushing too hard and still letting my body rest.  This is really hard because running has always been where I process, where I figure out how to deal with expectations when they go awry and how to move on when feeling stuck.

I was able to get a massage which was helpful and then my mom dragged me (it was fun) to Jazzercise with her on Tuesday which was helpful to do something different than the usual routine.  Over the past week I have also had a long run of 8 miles and a few short ones outside (still mouth breathing because of allergies but at least I’m outside.)  Then there is the crazy moment I had last week where I signed up for a half marathon coming up this weekend for my 43rd birthday and mother’s day.

I guess I’m telling you all this to let you know that even though the race was hard and I have been in a funk, I am trying really hard to get back to a routine and move past this disappointment.  Also I’m remembering that running is a gift.  Not everyone can run a marathon and this was my fourth one!  Not everyone can stick to a crazy training plan and keep the motivation going when things get rough and I made it.  So now to focus on my next race, read lots of racing blogs and books and prepare for the 5th marathon in October and who knows… I may meet my goal in Chicago or at least enjoy the adventure. runningquotes