Weekly recap

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday started out with a double digit run. Foot was fine. Knee was meh. But the run felt great.

The first 2.5 miles were on trail – and still no rattlesnake/tarantula sightings – followed by 8 mostly downhill miles on the road. The half I’m schedule to run in 2 (!) weeks is net downhill and I want to make sure my quads can cope. I took it pretty easy (8.45 min/mile pace), took my chocolate Gu at mile 6 and finished pretty strong. I even managed to avoid getting sunburnt – by avoiding the bright side of the street and hitting the dark side of the road.

A good mornings work. Followed by refueling with my favorite foods – chocolate milk, berries + yoghurt, and my signature egg/avocado/bacon toasted sandwich.

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I then did my PT exercises in front of this.

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Saturday afternoon/evening was spent at a friends wedding. So much fun.

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Beautiful venue.

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Cakes!

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Pretty! And the food was so good.

This was a late night for me but I still managed to meet some friends (and Hood to Coast team mates) for a Sunday morning trail run. This was actually in the same canyon as the wedding. 5.50 nice and slow recovery miles. I’m really digging running with other people – it definitely makes the miles go quicker.

Total mileage for the week: 25.85 miles (I am back!)

May mileage: 57.8 miles

May was not the greatest month for me – with two weeks completely free of running. But I’m trying to be more sensible about dealing with injuries – resting early and trying not to run through pain. And this totally worked for my (self-diagnosed) foot tendonitis.

However, it this derailed my half marathon training plan. I had hoped to PR this race but this layoff gave me the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate my goals for this race (no PR – but controlled and sensible race pace) and focus on putting the fun back in running. So hitting more of Utah’s scenic trails and badgering people to come run with me.

Next up: June and the start of marathon training! Holy crap – I am totally intimidated by the thought of running 26.2 miles. I need as much advice as I can get. And maybe a new knee/glute.

What do you wish you knew before you started training for your first marathon?

 

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Day 80 – What I learned Wednesday

First of all I’d like to thank everyone who commented on my post yesterday. I felt a little emotional all day and it was so nice to read your messages. I’m so glad to be part of such a great running/blogging community.

Today was the last workout of my half marathon training. 1 mile warm-up at about 7.55 min/mile pace. Then 12 minutes at 5K pace. Followed by a slow run home watching a pink sunrise. Perfect. Even better was hitting a new milestone. As part of my 2014 goals I wanted to run a sub-7 min mile. I managed this during my 10 K in March but this was on a pretty speedy downhill section. I hadn’t managed to do it during any of my tempo runs. Until today. Mile 2 was 6.58 min/mile! So happy! And a perfect confidence boost before the race. Overall 3.89 miles at average 7.48 min/mile pace.

I have a slow 2 miler tomorrow and then that’s it. Rest day with some foam rolling and icing of my right knee. I also got the race director’s email yesterday and my bib number. This is really happening! So what have I learned over the course of the last three months………..

1. If you run more you need to eat more.

I dropped about 4 lbs in the first 4 weeks. I upped my mileage without changing my diet and was finding things a little tough. So I started to be more careful with my diet – adding more fruit, vegetables, nuts and avocado. Since then my weight has stabilized even though my miles have increased every week.

2. I need to fuel if I’m running more than 8 miles.

In my last half marathon I didn’t have any gels during training or the race and I’m pretty sure that was a mistake. On one of my first long runs I had a weird light-headed feeling that shook me up a bit and I decided to try to be more diligent about fueling before and during my long runs. This meant getting up even earlier to eat before running and taking a gel with me. And it totally worked. I felt like I was getting a second wind and started to finish my long runs feeling strong.

3. I don’t need to run all my runs hard.

If you look back at my training runs you’ll see that my paces vary a lot. From 7.40 min/mile (race pace run) to 9.30 min/mile (recovery run). Last time I tried to go as fast as possible for every run – there wasn’t any real variation in my times. No wonder my long runs felt like hell. This time I wanted to train smarter. I run two easy runs a week. One long run. One slow recovery run. And one workout where I really push myself – hills, or fast tempos. We’ll find out if this strategy works on Saturday!

4. Strengthening your legs/hips/glutes will help you run better.

Although this training cycle has gone pretty well it has been plagued by a chronic hip/knee injury. Seeing a PT has definitely helped. I personally feel that a regular doctor will help to solve your symptoms but a PT will work to make you injury-proof (wouldn’t that be an awesome super power). She gave me exercises to help strengthen my glutes/hips and had the unenviable task to trying to correct my running form. And while my knee isn’t fully back to normal it doesn’t really bother me when running and I’m hoping in a couple of weeks it won’t be an issue.

5. I love running!

I’ve managed to rack up 57 runs in the last 11.5 weeks. And while some have been tough I have enjoyed 99% of my time running. No burnout. No thinking of not going out on my scheduled run. I guess running and I are still in the honeymoon stage!

6. Trail running is the best!

My two absolute favorite runs have been on trails. A 9-miler during our weekend in Moab and a 4 mile afterwork run on the hills in Salt Lake. Getting away from traffic (especially crappy drivers who have never seen a pedestrian before) and being surrounded by nature is the best medicine.

7. I need protection from myself.

This is the first year I got proper running gloves and I loved them. Not only did they keep my hands nice and warm but they stopped me from hurting myself during the 3 (!) times (and only one was weather-related) I fell on early morning runs.

April mileage: 58.1 miles/93.5 KM

ATWRBR mileage: 180 miles/289.7 KM

Day 77 and 78 – the countdown has begun

After 11 full weeks of training I am now entering race week. The mileage is pretty much done. I’ve decided on my fueling strategy. And the extended weather forecast is calling for a partly sunny morning and low 50Fs, which is pretty much perfect.

J and I both woke up at crazy o’clock AKA 4 am to watch the second half of the London marathon. Those elite runners are so impressive – the men’s winner, Wilson Kipsang, ran a 4.30 min mile for mile no. 25! Holy crap – that is fast. Plus he looked so smooth and relaxed the whole way through. It’s a shame the BBC director kept going back to follow Mo Farah – especially when Kipsang was about to enter the Mall to break the course record. I get the Mo love – he is an amazing athlete and he’s British – but we kept missing things like how Kipsang and Biuwoot made their break from the lead pack. Anyway – rant over. It looked like a great race and something I would love to run someday.

Sunday was spent doing wedding related chores – who knew planning a wedding took so much time. Well, everybody probably.

We did manage to hit the climbing gym for a little bit and then I hit the treadmill (rain, hail and wind are not for me) for 3 miles at 7.35 min/mile pace.

We settled in for the night to watch Shailene Flanagan on 60 minutes and eat some homemade BBQ short ribs and cornbread. (No photo as my phone was dead – but this was seriously one of the best meals we’ve cooked in a long time).

Taper week began with a 4 mile recovery run at 9.33 min/mile pace. My legs feel a little heavy but they should feel like that now, right? The plan is for a very short tempo run on Wednesday and a shake-out 2 miler on Thursday. My other plans for the week are to get a little more sleep, hydrate like crazy and carbs, carbs, carbs! Lauren who blogs at willrunforBoston (and is an amazing runner) has her taper week plan, which I will definitely be following.

April mileage: 54.2 miles/87.2 KM

ATWRBR mileage: 176.1 miles/283.4 KM

Day 73 – The times they are a changin’

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This is me setting off for my last early morning hill session for my half marathon training session. Notice anything different? Still got my hi-vis vest on but no gloves, no ear warmers, no jacket but yes I am wearing SHORTS! It was about 50F this morning. I’m not sure I even want to type this but I’m pretty sure that winter is gone and SPRING is here. I don’t know about where all you guys live but over here in SLC the cherry blossoms are out (and so pretty) along with the daffodils and tulips. Warm and sunny most days and I’m even thinking of dusting off our grill after its winter hibernation.

I think this change in weather has lightened my mood. I did my hill repeats – 6 x 100ish ft up and down for a total of 4.8 miles and 670 ft elevation gain (and loss). It felt good, like seriously good. I looked back through my Garmin data and saw that I did this exact run about 3 weeks ago. During that time I’ve managed to drop 20s per mile off my average pace (9.17 min/mile to 8.54 min/mile)! What a confidence boost! (Random Bob Dylan song in my head earlier today)

So what’s been happening? Well the last couple of weeks have been among my highest mileage ever. Plus I’ve also been doing the exercises recommended by my PT. These are largely targeted at glute strengthening – lateral leg raises and leg circles and clamshells every night. My legs look leaner and so does my butt (according to J). Who would’ve guessed that running more and working your legs improves your running? Well probably Captain Obvious!

I’m also starting to get obsessed with salads for lunch. Usually baby spinach, half an avocado diced, some feta, cherry tomatoes, whatever salad dressing is in the fridge and protein. Today it’s eggs but sometimes pulled chicken. In my world spring has most definitely sprung!

April mileage: 34.05 miles/54.8 KM

ATWRBR mileage: 155.95 miles/251 KM

Day 69 and 70 – Weekend recap

My half marathon is now less than two weeks away (!) and this week marked the highest mileage week of my training plan. The runs during the week went pretty well and my main aim for this weekend was to avoid the rain and get the miles in.

Friday night started with some chicken and pineapple stir fry. Extra broccoli. Followed by German chocolate cake gelato with raspberries and extra chocolate. Yum all round.

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Saturday morning called for four miles at half marathon race pace. I ran part of this on the actual race course and managed 4.00 miles at 7.44 min/mile pace. I would be so happy if this was my actual race pace on the day. I’m still not experienced enough at running to accurately predict my time. I definitely feel stronger and in better shape than my last half marathon but how will that translate onto a tougher course? I guess I’ll have to race to find out.

Saturday was spent with some girlfriends having a blast. We stopped for lunch in Les Madelines, a French patisserie-style cafe, eating awesome sandwiches, frites and pastries.

More carb loading in the evening. Homemade fish sticks, fries and a bunch of asparagus. This might become my fueling meal of choice in the future.

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And Sunday was the big day. 12 miles. Longest run on the training schedule. My 11 miler last week went OK but I had a bit of a weird dizzy minute after about 8 miles. I figured my blood sugar was dropping and I needed to rethink my fueling strategy.

This might sound a little dumb to some of you but in this training cycle and last year’s half marathon I didn’t use any gels during my runs. In fact, last time I think that the only thing I ever brought with me was my keys and some water.

It was time to introduce gels into my running life. Because J is training for a full marathon we had a ton of different types of gels in our pantry. I went with the Gu salty caramel gel (which I had seen a bunch of bloggers rave about) and 22oz of lemon/lime Nuun.

And the result? I am an idiot! The second half of this run felt amazing! I definitely need calories for this length of run. It was like someone injected me with run faster juice. I also started drinking my Nuun way earlier than normal. Even the rain that started after mile 10 could not dampen my mood. Best long run ever! 12.03 miles at 8.33 min/mile pace. All with 860 ft of elevation gain.

The only downside was an ache under the arch of my right foot. This started to bother me at mile 9.5 and disappeared as soon as I stopped running. I’m a little worried it might be the start of plantar fasciitis but I’ll mention it to my physiotherapist on Thursday.

And after my run my favorite part of half marathon training – eating as much calories as possible.

Starting with granola – this week I added pecans, walnuts, dried cranberries, pepitas and chocolate chips. I think the chocolate chips will have to stay.

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Then I decided to hop on the green smoothie train. Banana, strawberry, blueberry and spinach. With a side of pulled chicken quesadilla (with the obligatory avocado). And pineapple.

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After icing, foam rolling and compression socks I spent the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying my single girl time. Ended my weekend with some red wine, Audrey Hepburn and popcorn (from our brand new (to us) science oven – we have somehow managed to survive four years without one). Perfect weekend.

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5 runs

Weekly mileage: 30.35 miles (highest weekly mileage ever)

One yoga class

One strength workout

One climbing session (finished three 5.10ds!)

April mileage: 25.2 miles/40.6 KM

ATWRBR mileage: 147.1 miles/236.7 KM

Day 66 – Hard runs are hard

Today was my first run in April. And it’s still cold. 37F – still wearing winter running clothes and gloves. Sigh.

Wednesdays are my hard work out days. And if I’m honest I usually need to psyche myself up in order to leave the house. Why? Because they usually hurt. But you don’t get stronger or faster by not pushing yourself, right? Unless you all know some secret where I can just do easy runs and still get better?

Tempo day. First mile is downhill and a warm up to get my legs used to increased turnover – 7.40 mins. Then 3 miles around the local park – 7.11, 7.15, 7.18 pace. The first two miles felt OK but that third mile was hard. I was trying to figure out if my body or my mind that wanted to quit more. I’m pretty sure it was my brain but I just couldn’t convince myself to push any more. I was a little disheartened but then I decided that I was doing just fine and to just run at an easy pace back home. Total distance 5.3 miles at 7.50 min/mile pace.

It got me thinking about how running is much more than a physical task. How we really have to train our brains to keep going when things get hard and we want to quit. For me the hardest part of training is getting my mind and body on the same page. Running long training runs on your own definitely toughens me up.

Bonus: pain-free run! Woohoo!

April mileage: 5.3 miles/8.5 KM

ATWRBR mileage: 121.9 miles/196.2 KM

Day 64 – Adios March!

This week is my peak mileage week in my half marathon training plan (FYI – I’m following a modified version of his Intermediate plan) and started with a 5.15 mile run this morning at 8.30 min/mile pace. It felt pretty comfortable and I even got to switch off my head lamp with a mile to go. And I managed to avoid falling on my face so already I’m off to a better start this week!

March has been a pretty interesting month for me. I had my highest ever monthly mileage (only the second time I’ve ever gotten over 100 miles in a month). At the start of the month I realized that my goal for the ATWRBR2014 was a little ambitious – I blame my inability to convert from miles to km – but somehow I am on target(!). I’ve completed my longest runs since my last half marathon training cycle almost a year ago.

One of my goals for the year is to log 1000 miles and I am also on target for that. Plus I managed to complete one of my other running goals for the year – to run a sub-7 minute mile (on the very downhill portion of a 10K race). Which also brings me to my first race of the year which went amazingly well. New PR!

Amazing because I have been nursing a hip-knee combo injury for all month. And this has been the source of highs and lows over the last 31 days. Highs – running my 10K pain-free, getting the OK to resume tempo runs, feeling so much stronger from doing my PT exercises. Lows – having hip pain return on my first double digit run, not being able to shake off knee pain, realizing just how much weaker my right leg truly is :(. But overall the positives have won out – and I’m hopeful that I can shake this injury off soon(ish – maybe?).

Which brings us to April. Half marathon month! I ran the majority of the course and feel good about the race. It’ll be my hometown race and I’ll be running right by my house (mile 8 in case I want to give up/poop/refuel/whatever). A PR might happen but my real goal for April is to come out of it healthy and able to run pain free. That would be pretty nice.

March mileage: 116.6 miles/187.6 KM