Friday, 26 September 2014

Marathon (Kiawah)-Training Week 7

This week I hit 40 miles....I peaked at this stage the last time I trained for a marathon and now I'm doing it 11 weeks out. What a difference a good running base makes. Although I'm not sure I can train for another marathon after this one and keep upping my game!!

Plan 45 min swim
Actual Open water swim 0.5 mile, Lawn Mowing
I can't quite believe it but I did an open water swim. My first one in years. I was hanging out with some friends at Lake Murray and they mentioned they wanted to swim out to a small island so I went along. I don't think I would have done it alone. I felt fine even tho I was in at least 10ft of water the whole time, no panicking or cramping. The only thing I forgot about was what a pain in the ass waves are. On the way back I put my head down and powered my way back. Either I don't swim very straight or the waves were pushing me but I had to do course correction every few minutes.
Later that evening I spent around 2 hours cutting grass again. Roll on October when the grass should slow down!!
Boomer guiding me back to shore 

Plan 4 miles 9.30-9.45
Actual 4 miles 9.19
Dentist appointment in the morning so I ran that night, after a thai takeout dinner. Probably not the wisest choice but I was well fuelled for the run. Dinner threatened to come up a few times but I'm determined not to miss any runs this week unless I get injured. Less sore than usual on a Monday run, I guess the cold lake water eased any long run soreness.
Practically winter wear for a few days

Another crown started, luckily I didn't put this off much longer or I would have needed a root canal. Kind of screwed in the eating department as one of my last fillings is still very pressure sensitive (on the left) and I now have a temporary crown on the right. Some very careful eating is going on.

Plan 8 miles 9.30-9.45
Actual 8 miles 9.13
Another evening run. I tend to do all evenings, once I've done one, to allow time to recover between runs. This was one of those magical runs when everything feels good, no music needed. We've been getting a dip in temperatures for the last two days so it was nice and cool. I've even worn a sweater this week, madness!! 
I left the house around 6.45pm and ran 3 miles to a park. Then 5 miles in the park. I didn't push it at all on the way there because I was running lots of hills but once I got to the park the pace felt really good. When I feel like this I tend to think its too good to be true, so I played it safe wanting to finish the 8 miles feeling strong and ready for another run tomorrow. However when I got to 6 miles I knew I wasn't going to have any problems and picked the pace up for the last two, rounding off an 8 mile run with an 8 minute mile. Boomer and Martina met me for a cool down walk before I went home and had a protein shake and bath.
I can't wait for the weather to be this cool everyday. After training at slightly faster paces all winter, running that little bit faster, although harder feels more natural and smooth (if that makes any sense). Excited for fall to really kick in.

Plan 4 miles progression
Actual 4 miles 8.59 (9.31, 9.13, 8.50, 8.20)
This didn't feel as nice as yesterday but it was still cool so dropping the pace a bit didn't seem too hard. I hooked my Garmin FR220 up to my new phone so its a lot easier to see my stats for each run. Whats interesting is when I look at my cadence its about right at slower paces (180 spm) but as I pick up the pace it slowly increases. I don't think thats a bad thing but it might be a sign that my stride length is a bit short for faster paces?

Plan Rest
Actual Rest + Stretching
Game of Thrones watching with some friends...we will get them hooked before the new season. 

Plan 8 miles race pace 9 min/mile
Actual 8 miles 8.50 Min/mile
A bit cooler than usual so I really wanted to nail this run. A step back week last week seems to be paying off, as I stuck to race pace or faster and felt strong.
No real signs of fall yet!!

Plan 16 miles 9.30-10-30 min/mile
Actual 16 miles 10.08 min/mile
A very early start at 4am. 3 slow miles and then the darlington half marathon. Absolutely exhausted but very happy to finish my longest run in more than a year. Ended up between Friday and today running 24 miles in around 12 hours.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Lots of spending: happy and sad all at once

I gave in and ordered a new phone, an iphone 5c, waited all day yesterday for it to be delivered. I must have refreshed the UPS tracker one million times but they deferred delivery until today. I bought a SIM free phone (aka mucho dollars) so I wouldn't be tied to a contract and I can take it home and use it if I move back to Europe. I thought about buying an android as they are cheaper and I do like them, but Apple they suck you in. 
I won't deny the fact that I'm a huge Apple fan. My last laptop ran for 8 years and is still functional (just no battery and a bit slow for work) despite numerous drops and bangs. I don't know too many people that hold onto PC laptops for that long, certainly not ones they use every day, all day. My last iphone has lasted for 4 years and even then a new screen would probably fix it. 
So that extra money you fork out does get you quality. I feel like I get my money's worth because I don't feel the need to upgrade every time a new product comes out. But what really gets me is the connectivity between all my devices. Even though I use dropbox, box and numerous other cloud type storage services nothing is as seamless as the apple connectivity. Oh you took a picture on your its on your laptop, ipad easy, just don't take any naked selfies! Damn you apple I love and hate you all at once. Now where is my new phone!!

I came home from work to a package yesterday thinking it was the phone and got really disappointed when I realised it was car seat covers I'd ordered from Groupon. Even more disappointing, they didn't fit great. They don't cover the entire back of the (front) seats . The main material is faux leather but the material that covers the back is light so I was worried about tearing it. It would have made more sense to have the back made of an elasticated material to stretch to suit different car seats. I suppose they are better than nothing, I had Groupon bucks and got them really cheap. At least they are going on under towel(ish) covers for my sweaty self on the front seats and a waterproof doggie cover on the back.

I would whole heartedly recommend the doggie cover, it looks nice and feels like good quality construction and material. The toweled front covers are good as something absorbant (on top but waterproof on the back). They are washable and easy to take off BUT I'm not sure if they are worth the price I paid, we'll see as time goes on. I might have overkilled it on the seat covers, just a little. I'm hoping thats the last money I have to spend on a car, other than gas and oil changes, for a while.

So I guess the message is be careful when buying online. I always battle with myself on how much to spend but sometimes cheaper ends up being more expensive in the long run either that or you have to make do with something that is just not 100% right. 

Friday, 19 September 2014

Marathon (Kiawah) Training Week 6

Week 6 where have you come from. Maybe its running more consistently throughout the year, so training seems normal, but marathon training is flying by....12 weeks left.

Plan Cross-training -45 min swimming
Actual 45 mins swimming, lawn mowing
I finally made it to the pool. I did a lot of swimming with just my arms to give my legs a break. I threw in a few sprints every now and then to keep my heart rate up but mostly I focused on fixing my swimming form. I rewarded myself with 10 minutes in the jacuzzi which was really hot after the pool but so nice on achy muscles.
I drove home and then went straight out to battle with the grass, about 45 minutes later I had to call it quits. I got 3/4 of the back garden mowed but I contaminated the air filter with oil when turning the mower on its side to get rid of the clogged up grass from the blades. I was very proud of myself for figuring that out when it wouldn't restart. Off to Lowes to get a new air filter and then my battle with the grass will finally be done.

Plan 3 miles recovery
Actual 3 miles
An evening run with Boomer. We went 3 miles at the park without any problems. Today was a good running day for Boomer. He wanted to run 6 minute miles with his tongue hanging out the side of his mouth. I feel like bringing him running is not for me or him anymore, we are doing the running community a service if the number of and intensity of smiles he gets is anything to go by!!
Later some friends came round to have a couple of drinks to ease the Ph.D 'growing pains' they are suffering through right now. So much angst but they'll get there.

Plan 7 miles 9.30-9.45 min/mile
Actual 7 miles 9.44 min/mile
I'm all over the place this week...a lunchtime run. Once again I slept in. I was getting a massage at 5.30 that evening so I didn't want to a) spoil a good massage by running right away or  b) run in the dark, so I ran at lunchtime.
Hot, hot, hot is the only way to describe it. I took Boomer out for 3.5 miles but I think it was too much in the heat. I had planned on bringing him for 3 miles with a stop for water and a swim but I took a new route that was unexpectedly long. I know its bad when he wants to stop for a break in the shade. Don't worry he got lots to drink and breaks whenever he wanted. This first part of the run took forever as a result but its worth it to keep my little man happy.
The second part was a further 3.5 miles, I looped around the house again and again and again (anyone dizzy yet). It was boring but the upside is it let me pop in every few laps and grab some cold water. A cold shower and about an hour in my freezing lab and I finally got back to a normal temperature. A little sunburn showed up later...must remember sunscreen.
That evening I got my massage. It didn't hurt this time and I definitely feel looser afterwards. A lot of work on my hips again. At one point the masseuse was working on my hip flexors and asked me "does that not hurt?". My flexors aren't causing any hassle yet (cross all your fingers and toes) but I'll pay more attention to stretching to help. Maybe thats just normal for me, who knows.

Plan 3 miles Hardish pace (8.45-9 min/mile)
Actual 3 miles 8.33 min/miles
I'm so bored of all my usual running spots that I opted to run .6 mile loops around my house again. What is wrong with me? Any part of the city that I feel safe running in (within a decent distance) I've probably already run a million times.
I seriously need to do some investigating into some trails nearby but not in the city. At least when the long runs get really long I'll have races to occupy me for part of the run.

Plan Rest
Actual Rest
Did absolutely nothing. It was lovely.

Plan 7 miles race pace (9 min/mile)
Actual Run 1 3.3 miles (somewhere around 9 min/mile) Run 2...
Stopping my run really pissed me off. Its the first time I've had to do it and I'm mad about it.
Why? I had a bunch of stuff going on so even tho I really didn't want to I was up and outside running while it was still pitch black, what a waste. I'm also annoyed at myself because I didn't check the weather before heading out but I didn't since I'm so used to thunderstorms in the evening not morning.
Run 1
I was barely a half a mile into the run when it started to rain gently, no big deal. Crossing the river at mile 2 it started to pelt down and flashes of lightning were rapidly followed by booms of thunder. A frickin thunderstorm was right over me. Once I finished crossing the river I hid under the bridge for a while, like a little troll, to see if it'd roll over but the thunder and lightning just wouldn't stop and didn't look like it was going to any time soon.
I decided then and there, that given my limited time to get the run done before work, that I didn't have time to wait it out and I wasn't going to get the run finished. I needed to make it to the parking lot to get Martina to pick me up. I was averaging 7.30 pace for at least a half a mile while rivers of water flowed off me and I splashed through ankle deep floods. Hows that for speed work!!! Fear will work wonders. By the time I got there my shoes were full of water and the rest of me would have made a good mop. I hid in the bathrooms while waiting as the breeze outside was making me really cold. Eventually the all around greatest person in the world came to pick me up with towels galore. Thats the first time since last March I've actually felt chilled to the bone while in SC...I was very glad of a hot shower and coffee when I got back. Oh and my iPhone, that I've hung onto for the last four years also decided on this run that the cracked screen was finally a critical issue. Part of the screen doesn't work...the part including the call button and my text messages also come without spaces now. New screen or new phone???
Run 2
Did not happen, unfortunately. I spent 3 hours after work sitting with a friend at an emergency vet as her dog had an adverse interaction between two medications he was on. He is ok now but it wasn't looking good and she needed someone there. He didn't get to go home that night but once we got the news that he'd be ok we went and ate, there was no running after that. Worrying is exhausting I went to bed as soon as I got home.

Plan 10 miles easy 9.30-10.30 min/mile
Actual 10 miles 9.59 min/mile

To alleviate boredom I found part of the Palmetto Trail around 45 minutes from my house. I think the trail is meant to run from the mountains to the sea but only sections are finished. On this section old railroad lines were turned into trails featuring some pretty awesome bridges. There were no really hilly parts but the trail was rough as there was still lots of big gravel left from its railroad days. One or two parts had wood chips which were fantastic to run on, I wish they'd done that the whole way. 

I didnt run the whole 11 mile section as Martina and Boomer came with me...I doubled back every half a mile or so to check in. Boomer ran parts with me and since there was no one on the trail we got to practice some off leash training. I gave him an A+ since he ran right beside me and if he got ahead a word was enough to pull him back!! Except when I let him run ahead
It's amazing to see all the work we put into his puppy training paying us back now that he is starting to calm down a bit.

I ran late in the evening so it was cooler and even cooler since we were far enough from Columbia to leave the 'sweat bowl' we live in. Besides the nice view the evening weather brought out some deer, I saw a lovely fawn that ran off when I got too close. It was dark by the time I finished and I was pretty sore by the time I was done. BUT I ran on a trail and didn't fall!! Didn't even twist an ankle. I don't think I'd run this trail again, too much large gravel, but I might head back up with a decent camera to grab some nice shots.
BTW I did have more pictures but of course they were on my phone...will do better next week 😀

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Changing shape again

So I wrote a post about changing body shape due to running when I was marathon training the last time. At the time I was trying to get to WW goal weight and I was struggling a little. Taking measurements helped me realize I was changing even if the scales didn't tell me that. A while after the marathon I got my body fat measured by callipers (for free) and it came out at 23%. A lot lower than the electronic scales/handheld sensors have ever put me at, I hate those things.
10 months or so later I've gained 2-3 pounds, that fluctuates a bit depending on how I eat, usually downwards when I try to eat well and then back up when I don't. It comes off easily enough so I think a lot of it is water retention when eating more processed foods.

I'm happy to have maintained my weight loss so well, as 2-3 pounds is nothing compared to the 60+ I originally lost. Maybe its a bit vain but I'm curious as to how my body is changing as I train for my second marathon. Obviously the scales aren't changing much so I brought a pair of callipers for at home use.
Granted I know I won't be the most accurate measurer but it can give me an estimate. Taking multiple measurements (multiple times) at different sites, I set out to determine my body fat. First things first you'll need some help as some of the measurements are on the back. Once you take consistent measurements you need to decide what formula you want to use, with different formulas wanting measurements from different sites. There are websites that will do these calculations automatically.
Mine ranges from 18-20% depending on the formula I use. I would lean towards the 20% being correct. That puts me in the 'athletic' range. So almost a year of running has made at least a 3% difference to my body fat without changing my weight.

Would I like to lose more body fat?
Maybe a little as I still hold more than I'd like on my stomach and thighs but not much as I don't think its healthy to go too low unless you are training as a semi/fully-professional athlete with good support in terms of nutrition.

Do I care a whole lot?
Not really. As long as I stay in my healthy range, I'm happy. Weight loss is never going to get rid of my stretch marks (only add to them), scars, cellulite and horrible tan lines. These things will only get worst with babies/age so its important to learn to accept my body as it is.

Am I curious what a hard round of marathon training will do?
Very and I'll take measurements every few weeks to see if anything changes.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Marathon (Kiawah) Training Week Five

I didn't even realise it until I looked at my spreadsheet but my mileage jumped up last week (by 4 miles) and is going up another 4 this week. It doesn't seem like much but it might explain why I've been on the struggle bus with tiredness.
Its also been pretty stressful the last few weeks. The car breaking, dentistry, work...its never one thing :) I don't seem to have time to just sit and relax and when I do I feel like I should be doing something, the list never ends. This is one aspect of my personality that has always been the same but before my energy would be poured into keeping a perfectly spotless house etc. Thats gone by the wayside and I guess it annoys me that I can't do it all. I best get used to it!!!

Plan Cross-train
Actual 3 miles recovery 10.15 min/mile
So all my races (aka long run days) have shifted to Saturdays between now and the marathon in December (which is also on a Saturday). So I needed to move my training. I thought sooner was better so this week I shifted everything back a day. Unfortunately, that meant I missed cross training this week, again, but moving cross-training to Sundays will be more convenient anyhow, since swimming seems to suck up a lot more than the 45 minutes I'm in the pool.
I did a 3 mile run in the evening along the river which looked like a very different place when the sky wasn't falling down!! I thought this run would be a lot harder coming off a 13 mile one the day before but it was fine. I was a bit sore but once I warmed up that was gone.

Plan 7 miles 9.30-9.45 min/mile
Actual 7 miles 9.23 min/mile

I went some place different to run today, a miracle. I couldn't face the same trail, so I took the shiny new car and went further away to a different part of the river. I did more of my winter training runs here as a nice flat gravel trail runs alongside the paved one. This was my stomping grounds when my IT band was really bad and I could not run on any surface that sloped to the left or right. Familiar but fresh is how I would describe my surroundings. Boy what a difference that makes, the run passed quickly even though it was pretty humid.

I stuck a towel on the car seat to protect it from my sweaty self. I didn't care in the old car but we want to keep the interior of this one impeccable since we are either going to drive it until its really old or we move home and need to sell it on. Do any runners have suggestions for seat protectors (I'm worried sweat will soak through garden variety car seat covers) or does everyone change before heading home?

Plan 3 miles progression
Actual 3 miles 8.58 min/mile (9.11, 9.02, 8.41)
Well I did it, I met up with a running group. This one was having a promo for the race I'm doing in Columbia, in November. So I went along and I didn't really talk to anyone, except one nice lady, who encouraged me to join the group. There were drinks and free frozen yogurt at the end so I really can't complain :) I'll probably switch some of my training back to evenings when it cools down a bit so maybe if I show up a few times people will start to recognise my face. The run itself was pretty uneventful 3 miles starting slow, picking the pace up as I went along.
This was probably the first day this week that I didn't feel dog tired so I broke out the lawn mower when I got back to the house and did a bit of the garden. Me thinks we left it too long. Normally I'm pretty good about keeping the garden cut but its been so rainy the grass is never dry enough to cut. By the time I made it to the back garden the mower kept cutting out, the grass was too long. It got dark and I couldn't finish it anyway...another days work.

Plan rest
Actual rest
I took Martina to the dentist, to get three wisdom teeth removed, at 1pm, expecting to go back to work afterwards. One look at her face and I decided to stay home with her for the rest of the day. Luckily they gave her the good painkillers but I wanted to be at home in case she was totally out of it. Really I should have done some reading for work but in the end I wasn't much help to her as I ended up falling asleep for 2-3 hours. I was in bed by 9.30 and probably asleep shortly after. Lots of rest was had.

Plan 7 miles easy
Actual 7 miles 9.43 min/mile
Brought Boomer for 4 miles. It was great to have company. We took a break and Boomer had a swim in the river to cool off at two miles before we ran back and I dropped him home. I went back out for 3 miles and felt great I even threw in a half mile of hill.

Plan 14 miles easy
Actual 14 miles 9.52 min/mile
An early start but not for running. I spent most of the day either in the car or in IKEA. Mostly it was for a friends benefit but of course it sucked me in and we bought some bits and pieces for our house.
 We made it home around 4.30pm and I was out running by 5.30. It's still hot and humid as hell here so I had to stop twice at Wholefoods to refill my water bottles, I was drinking so much. I also brought along Gatorade and Gu Chomps. They didn't cause any stomach problems yay. No pain either it was just a bit of a slog. I managed to avoid lightning this week and only got a nice cooling shower of rain for the last 2 miles. That was awesome, the chaffing not so much! Easy pace is consistent, not quite as fast as I want it to be but I don't want to push myself into overtraining. It's scary but let's hope I speed up as it gets cooler.
 I felt under pressure as we were meeting friends for dinner and mid-run had to text them to push back the time. I made it home as it was getting dark and fought my way through the crazyness that is game day tailgating. After the quickest post run shower and change ever I made it to dinner for a Thai massaman curry.....totally worth running 14 miles. A really long exhausting day done, also marking the end of Week Five. 

Today starts week 6..swimming ahoy. The lawn still isn't finished so maybe that'll add to my cross training today.

How was your weekend? Am I the only person who cannot go to IKEA or Target and spend less than a $100?

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Marathon Training Week Four

I'm proud and ashamed in equal measures this week. Read On.
Plan Swim 45 mins
Actual A big fat nothing
6 hours driving from Virginia beach to home and then picking up the dog meant that by the time we got home I was exhausted and the gym was closed. I guess the 2 hours spent walking around outlet shops will have to count. <-----Ashamed. I did get a new dress tho :)

Plan 3 miles
Actual 3 miles 10.04 min/mile
Easing out the car stiffness

Plan 6 miles
Actual 6 miles 9.47 min/mile
A solid run I felt pretty good

Plan 3 miles
Actual 3 miles 9.59 min/mile
I really struggled on this run. My legs didn't feel bad but I just didn't feel like I could go, the energy just wasn't there. Who knew 3 miles could feel so long? I'll freely admit that I think this is down to the fact that I didn't eat all of my excercise calories yesterday. Not deliberately but regardless lesson learned.

Plan rest
Actual rest
Fun skype chat slash wine drinking session with some friends from home.

Plan 6 miles
Actual 6 miles 9.12 min/mile
A lot better than Thursday. Slowed a little towards the end but I got it done. I think I made up for my lack of cross training by helping unload and load a 10ft truck for a friend while she moved!! Our car finally bit the dust it started billowing out smoke as we moved stuff...she heard me say I wanted a new car and gave up. Garage confirmed it'd cost more to fix than the car was worth :(

Plan 13 miles
Actual 13 miles 10.15 min/mile
This was a crazy run. I was being a lazy Sunday runner and put off running until the afternoon as the humidity was way lower then (50% rather than 80+). Of course this last gasp of summer rain and thunderstorms have been awful this week so I got caught out. I got around three miles into the run before lightening started striking close by. 
I hightailed it to a nearby Publix and hid in their foyer area. I'm terrified of lightning (especially the fork variety) so I wasn't taking any chances. I froze in the AC with wet clothes for around 45 minutes while all hell broke loose outside, apparently while I was out the thunder was rattling the windows in my house. 
Eventually it passed enough that I thought I'd just call it a day and make a break for home. I decided to run back the way I came, by the riverwalk, simply because I could hide in their bathrooms if the storm got bad again. By the time I got there all the thunder had passed and it was now just a heavy rain. Rather than run home, since there was a good possibility of other storms rolling in, I sucked it up and ran my miles. It was slow going as large sections of the trail were now flooded or very muddy and the wooden boardwalk sections were very slick. In the end I ran all 13 miles, slow but steady won the day. <---- proud for sticking it out

That little speck past the rocks is a crazy kayaker going out in lightning

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Rock n' Roll Virginia Beach

Lets get all the stats out of the way first:
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes (9.25, 9.24, 9.27, 10.18, 9.19, 9.27, 9.33, 9.22, 9.34, 9.25, 9.35, 9.37, 8.37). I was 109th out of my age group of 709.
The Expo: This race was huge. Apparently 16,000 people were in town for it!! It coincided with the American Music Festival which made Virginia Beach even busier. As I'd mentioned we arrived late on Friday evening so I went to the expo on Saturday. It was in the massive Virginia Beach Convention Centre.
Trying to beat the crowds we arrived a half hour before the expo opened. It mostly worked we had no trouble parking, getting my number or shirt.....or shopping!! After an hour I was happy to be out of there because then crowds had built up and it started to feel like a cattle pen.
Since I don't really walk around expos, because Martina is usually outside with Boomer, I wanted to make the most of this one. After getting my bib and shirt, I got on a little shopping high he he. I've been debating whether or not my PureConnects need to be replaced. I don't feel like they have a huge number of miles on them but the left shoe was starting to look funny (I'll put up some comparison pictures later in the week) I went ahead and got a new pair at 10% off. I really wanted a new color but they only had the same blue as my old ones. I don't really like the t-shirt from this race (I'm turning into a t-shirt snob) so I saw a cute racer back top that Brooks had made for the Rock n Roll series and bought that. I now have three sleeveless t-shirts in my rotation for summer.
BTW so much free stuff. I think we picked up 4 beer cozies and a whole bunch of free samples etc. I even nabbed a pair of sunglasses!

The Race: 

Did you look at the elevation changes? A beautiful flat course except for two very short hills. I probably should have looked at this map before I came to Virginia Beach as the Half course went right around the KOA where we were staying. All the roads were closed the next morning but luckily we found out the night before that the city transport authority were running a bus from the campground to the race start. Even better as we had no worries about parking or getting lost. So we arrived early, two hours before the race started, as the buses were running at 5 o'clock. This made for a bleary 4am wake up. I got dressed and spent what felt like a half hour fighting to get my contacts in (I am getting better but it was 4am) and then ate half a bagel with PB on the bus.
I spent the time waiting by talking to some other runners who were very entertaining or going to the millions of port-a-potties. Right as I lined up in my corral I needed to pee but it was too late. I was also hungry but a bite of banana was enough to help with that.
The corrals were based on your predicted finish time (I put in 2 hours) and I somehow ended up in corral 5 which was super close to the start. Each corral was released after a 2 minute delay designed to space the runners out. It was still pretty crowded and of course I was passing walkers in the middle of the road within two minutes (please move over). 
The first couple of miles had loads of spectators (with signs etc) and lots of bands (two in the first mile). I left my music at home as I really wanted to enjoy the on course music so this abundance of bands was much appreciated. It got a little quieter as we left the downtown area but there were still bands every mile or so. I also managed to stay in the vicinity of what I dub "the guy with the loudest voice in the world", every so often he would shout out "lets go runners" etc. It was very motivating, like having my own drill sergeant :)

From the start I loved this race, every 1/4 to 1/2 a mile there was something, be it a band, cheerleaders, aid station or just a big bunch of lovely locals. The only section that was a bit boring was through Camp Pendleton and even then I think it was because the area was so open you could see exactly where all the runners ahead of you went.
   For a half marathon I thought the course support was more on par with a marathon. The aid stations were frequent and well stocked and a few extras like cold oranges and gels were available at different points. Did I mention the heat index was 107 that day....I was drenched in sweat even after the first mile, the humidity was so high. Additional course support included a misting arch and icy cold water sponges at one aid station to help combat the heat. I even saw a number of "runner cooling stations" aka buses with the AC on so high there was condensation running off the side of the bus.

I'll be honest there were some extras that I couldn't tell if they came from good Samaritan locals or if it was official course support, for example small cups of gummy bears and then ice pops at mile 11. The little cups of beer at miles (roughly) 8 and 10 were from a hiking association, that was awesome and my first time drinking beer while running. I do know a lot of the water hoses were coming out of peoples back gardens so regardless I think this race had the best spectators. I fully took advantage of all of these things to stay cool and appreciated it...thank you. At the finish icy cold wet cloths and really cold air blowers also helped with the heat. When I was done running you could have wrung out my clothes they were so wet from water and sweat. I have some unusual chafing as a result...the waistband of my shorts left a nice little belt line around my waist.
I didn't find the heat that bad and I don't know if it was because of all my efforts to cool off but I didn't overheat at all but then again the heat and humidity didn't feel any different to most of my training in SC. It was probably a lot harder for folks from parts of the country where its already began to cool off, I saw a few runners being supported on their way to the medical tent.

My strategy for this race was to run conservatively i.e. not race. This was about going on vacation and running a fun long training run. So I picked my pace 9.30-9.45 which is 30-45 seconds slower than my marathon pace (predicted). My other aim was to walk as little as possible. Most of my runs are punctuated by train crossings, traffic lights etc. etc. so I don't often get to test myself continuously.
 I probably took off a tiny bit too fast at the start but I was hyped up and ready to go. I stayed that way for most of the race, it was hard to hold back. Eventually my need to pee caught up with me and I dipped into a port-a-potty at mile 4 (another first) and that resulted in a slooow mile. I felt great after that and had to rein myself back in. Somewhere around the middle of the race my right knee felt a bit of IT pain (yes it decided to switch back to my right leg) but I concentrated on correcting my form and it eased off again. 

With regards to walking, I walked three times, twice I was forced to at aid stations that were really crowded and I got boxed in for maybe 10 seconds. The third time I walked for 10 seconds to douse myself with the sponge. All in all I was really happy with that, none of those were significant breaks and they weren't because I was flagging. 
I decided as I was approaching the 12 mile mark to run a fast final mile to see if I had any go left in my legs. I didn't go flat out...nowhere to hide on the boardwalk if I got sick and I didn't want to jeopardize the coming weeks training. However, I was really happy that I could drop the pace to a sub-nine minute mile with very little effort and hold it until the end. 
 I went across the finish mat and besides cold towels, I got so much stuff I had to hand things over the fence to Martina. Water, chocolate milk, granola (random), powerade. I did hold onto the ice pop and eat that. I can't remember seeing other solid food but I'm sure there was. When the barriers finally opened we went down onto the beach and I did some stretching and got a beer (Michelob Ultra--not my favourite) and after I'd used my beer ticket I realised further down the line Barefoot were there with wine that I could have had instead, doh.
We then walked down the boardwalk, stopping occasionally for me to stretch. I found some restrooms and got changed (my sherpa brought clean clothes) and we went and got breakfast (along with some Mimosas) on a nice beachfront patio. 
After food and two drinks I was a) slightly tipsy (only slightly, its the bubbles I swear) and b) very sleepy. We splashed out on a taxi back to the campground and I crashed for 3 hours before we went back out for the biggest amount of (veggie)sushi I've ever eaten. My bib would have gotten me free entry into the music festival that night but since I didn't know any of the bands and had a long drive the next day I gave it a miss.

I'm a bit stiff after the weekend, but I was before the trip and then throw in two 6 hour drives and you have some tight hips, so I don't think its down to the race. In case you can't tell I really enjoyed this race..I now have my sights set on Rock n' Roll Las Vegas at some stage in the future.

Do this race. Just expect the heat and to splash some cash. They didn't have my favourite t-shirt or medal but those things don't really matter (who am I) it was worth it for the experience.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Marathon Training Week 3

Marathon Training Week Three

I started this week off sore and tired.
My aim this week was to stretch more, get through my prescribed mileage and hydrate better-check, check and check.

Plan Swim 45 minutes
Actual Yoga 1 hour and 15 minutes
A wise swap I felt so much better afterwards.

Plan 3 miles easy
Actual 3 miles 10.31
Running with the pup. It was a cooler morning. I think I can say we both enjoyed this run a lot. Happy faces all around. This worked out some of the soreness left from last week

Plan 5 miles 9.45
Actual 5 miles-1 mile warm up (10.08), 9.14, 8.36, 8.11, 1 mile cool down (9.44)
I almost danced when I seen that the temperature at the start of my run was 65˚F. Dare I say it, I was even a little cold when I walked out the door.  So nice. I try to take advantage of these cooler days to push the pace a bit, as I'm worried all the gains I made in spring will disappear with this hot weather running.
I ran a slow 1 mile warm up to see how the soreness was and I felt good, so from there I decided to up the speed a notch with each mile. Nothing spectacular but it was hard work to keep upping the speed when I was becoming more tired. As I finished the fourth mile I got cut off by a train so I ran around a short block to finish out the mile without stopping. After that I had to just wait around ten minutes for the train to pass. Nothing I could do...I had to get home and I was short on time so I couldn't walk, I was very cool by the time it passed and I plodded my way home.
Evening-Strength training routine, stretching and foam rolling

Plan 3 miles 9.45
Actual 3 miles 9.26
Still feeling good. I knocked out another 3 miles :)

Plan Rest
Actual A day off work and a six hour drive to Virginia Beach. We dropped the baby (aka Boomer the dog) at doggie daycare at 8.30am, to be picked up by our friends and his lady friend (another Cocker Spaniel) that evening. He was going on a romanic break with his lady for the weekend, PG-13 romantic!
Since the AC cuts out after about an hour on our car (sometimes kicking back in after a while but mostly not) and the cruise control doesn't work we hired a car for such a long trip. I'm in love, I seriously have to get a new car at some stage..such a different drive!!
We left home around 10am and stopped off in Fayetteville in NC for lunch. I really liked this town and good thing too since I'll be there next March for the Mike to Mike Half Marathon.

Another hours driving and we stopped briefly at a set of outlet shops that we spotted along the way. I was doing all the driving since it cost an extra $16 a day to name Martina as a driver. I was struggling at this point but eventually the tiredness wore off. We ended up arriving at the KOA at around 8pm. We were staying in a cabin there, so we literally dumped everything in the cabin and headed out for dinner and a beer at a bar right outside the KOA entrance, so nice not having to put up a tent in semi-darkness.

Plan 2 miles Race Pace
Expo Shopping 
Actual 2 miles 9.37, 8.35
We spent a few giddy hours at the race expo (10% off my shoes) and wool shopping (<----giddy for Martina, not so much for me). We walked around Virginia Beach a bit and had some drinks, I was the DD so it was strictly water for me (with a taste of Martina's flight of beers).

King Neptune
 I got to see some of the setup for the next day. We went back to camp and I changed before going back to the downtown area. I went to the boardwalk along the beach for my run and dodged lots of people. I wanted to get rid of some of the stiffness after the car ride so I took the first mile slow. The second mile I wanted to get my legs turning over, so tomorrow wouldn't feel hard.
 I finished up and we went to dinner at a Italian restaurant (Big Italy) with 16,000 people in town for the races, all wanting pasta, it was a long wait but the food was delicious.

Plan Rock n' Roll Virginia Beach 9.30-9.45
Actual 13.1  at 9.31 min/mile
I loved this race I'll do a separate post for this tomorrow because I know my race reviews are always super long. For now, I mostly stuck to my pace goals and really felt good throughout the race. This is the first race that I've run as part of marathon training and I managed to curb my competitive urges and just have loads of fun.