Sunday, 30 November 2014

Marathon (Kiawah) Training Week 16-Week 1 of Taper

Week one of tapering over. I can't believe that its only another 2 weeks until the race.

Plan Cross training
Actual Yoga
A really good class. I think my yoga instructor is sick of me requesting hip openers (even though I limit my request to once every few weeks). I've been complaining about my hip being tight for ages but it seems to be slowly loosening. Every yoga class for the last few weeks has been better.

Plan 5 miles
Actual 5 miles 10.20 min/mile
A very slow easy run to break in new shoes. After a bit of anxiety about how I felt running on Saturday, I just wanted to run and enjoy it. No pace goals. I started out sore (right glute mostly) but it felt like the muscle letting me know it was tired (rather than full on injured). As I warmed up that disappeared after a mile or two. 
Starting out I considered ending my run after 3 miles to let myself recovery more and prevent injury (my running buddy was finishing then and there was lightning in the distance) but by the time I got to 3 miles everything felt good. I continued on and got a nice smattering of rain, lovely on a warm and humid evening.
Foam rolling, extra stretching and lacrosse ball massages in abundance at my house!

Plan 8 miles
Actual 8 miles 9.30 min/mile
Finally a nice easy run. I felt good and didn't want to quit at any point!!! Wooohooo! Started late enough but I got lucky and avoided most of the rain that evening, only getting sprinkled a few times in the last couple of miles.

Plan 5 miles
Actual 5 miles 9.04 min/mile
Another rainy day, a bit on the cooler side. I had 5 miles to run and the rain had stopped by the time I went out, yay! I've been feeling better and better as the week has gone on. I had a few twinges from a shoulder muscle but otherwise everything felt good and not so tired!! I got to run in the light and enjoyed all the leaves on the ground. Managed to run race pace without any effort.

Plan Rest 
Actual rest
A quiet relaxing thanksgiving at home. Boomers leg is hurting him again, not as bad, but I think it's still healing. His girlfriend came over to stay, as her humans were going away for thanksgiving, that cheered him up.
In return for babysitting she made her humans bring us some delicious pasta for lunch.

Lots of eating today, who am I to break with tradition. Four kinds of potatoes for dinner, yummy.

Plan 4 miles
Actual 4 miles 9.47 min/mile
The first time I really felt like I was tapering this week. An easy four miles with Martina.

Plan 12 miles
Actual 12 miles 9.38 min/mile
I spent the morning painting the living room. We color matched it to the original color (well a bit more yellow) as we rent. Over two years in the house and those walls were a bit scuffed, especially though Boomers puppyhood. I got paint all over me and ended up running afterwards wearing a hat to hide the evidence. 
It was nice going running, knowing I only had 12 miles to do. They went fine. Easy pace felt easy. The groove just wasn't there but I knocked out the miles anyhow. The last mile my left knee got some ITB pain so I walked parts of it. This really worries me so close to the race but I really hope with the reduced miles and lots of stretching (and rolling) in the next two weeks my body will cooperate. Race anxiety is kicking in, eugh!! On a positive note it was a beautiful day to run and I got to see a ton of wildlife.

Since the living room was painted we went off with some friends to pick up my first real Christmas tree. Here's the finished product...not too shabby.
I hope your Thanksgiving Holiday was great!

Monday, 24 November 2014

Exactly what I needed to see today

For all my friends starting to taper.

 After Saturday's confidence knocking run this is exactly what I needed to see. I knew this before but seeing it pop up today was a mini reminder to get my mind right and the rest will follow along.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Marathon (Kiawah) - Week 15

Wednesday is hump day, well this week was hump week. I've been ready to taper for a while. Maybe 3 peak weeks were too much. I reverted to my one day at a time attitude and that really helped me so much this week.

Plan Crosstraining
Actual Yoga

Tough class, I couldn't actually do a few of the poses. This body was not meant to bend like that. I am improving though. We did one pose ----->

I actually managed to hold it for a good bit of time, usually I just push myself up and forward and plop straight back to earth!!

Plan 5 miles
Actual 5 miles 8.52 min/mile
I stuck my arm out the back door of my house and when it didn't immediately freeze I reached for a short sleeved T-shirt. Other than a few shivers getting out of the car it was the perfect choice and the perfect temperature for a run at 55F (I checked just for you Kristen :)). I turned up my music and ran, the 5 miles weren't long passing by.

Plan 10 miles
Actual 10 miles
My email got hacked, how annoying. Needless to say I now have every security feature I can find activated on my account. I also spent a good 30 minutes cleaning out my contacts in case it happens again. Its a bit awkward having spammed someone you haven't talked to in years. Luckily I had some destressing pre-planned.
A massage after work again. I don't normally get them this close together but I really want to be in good shape for the marathon. I got back from that and after a handful of pretzels it was out the door to complete my 10 miles. Other than the below freezing temperatures it was pretty uneventful.  I had some awful chafing and very pink skin for a while. A hot shower and around an hour under a pile of blankets and I thawed out. The results of the overnight temperatures were obvious the next morning.

Plan 5 miles
Actual 5 miles
 Boomer is back to his old mischievous self but we aren't bringing him out running this week in case his muscles aren't fully healed. As a result he is driving us crazy but thats so much better than the sad eyes of a sick pup.

My last pair of new shoes, for this training cycle, arrived. The plan is to wear the current ones until the end of this week, at which point they'll have 150 miles on them (enough to use again later) and then wear the new ones for the two weeks of taper and marathon week. I also replenished my supply of body glide, hallelujah. The travel sized sticks were a little smaller than expected, lol.
 4 miles with Martina after work. The temperatures managed to hover just above freezing today, yay. I felt very tired and I was the slower one on this run. I thought a lot about the fact that the next day was a rest day to get me through to the finish. 3 out of 5 runs finished for my last peak week. Lets forget about the fact that the last two amount to 30 miles ;)

Plan Rest
Actual Rest

 Plan 10 miles
Actual 10 miles 9. 24 min/mile
3 miles with Martina, 7 alone at race pace. This is becoming a familiar pattern. Everything felt good. It was a bit hard to get in the groove but I finished strong.

Plan 20 miles
Actual 20 miles 9.51 min/mile
8 miles with Martina for her long run and then I picked the pace up approx. a minute a mile for the remaining 12 miles. Mentally this was a really hard run. I had to stop a few times due to stomach issues. I tried to take on as much fuel as I could. I don't think this affected me badly, in fact I think I just ate too much the night before, being greedy always gets you one way or another!
The first 8 miles weren't too bad and before Martina took the car I stopped at it to drink a good bit of watered down Gatorade, eat some pretzels and grab my music. Then it was all on me to finish the run. The change of pace and music kept things interesting for a while, as did the fall colors that seem to have finally arrived.
 As well as long stretches I used mini out and backs to add distance e.g. To the parking lot and back was 0.5 miles. That helped chip away miles without getting too bored. I kept the pace constant but many times during the last four miles I felt on the edge of tears; my feet hurt, my knees hurt and the old fear of 'if this is hard how will I run 26.2' kept rearing its head. 
I would say >80% of this was mental. I circled the parking lot, towards the end, to be there when Martina and Boomer came to pick me up. Boomer ran the last 0.8, in the park, with me. Nothing like a joyful little face to bring me back to a positive frame of mind
A tough run to make me stronger. Now it's time to taper.....

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Marathon (Kiawah) Training Week 14

If you've never watched a program about childbirth, you should (Channel 4, UK One Born Every Minute--awesome show). It's crazy. There comes a point in labor where every women says "I can't" and almost always the baby comes along shortly afterwards. Not to say childbirth and marathon training are on a par but that's how I feel rIght now. I want to get this done. One more peak week then tapering. 

Plan Crosstraining
Actual Yoga
Still stiff but much better than last week.

Plan 5 miles 9.10 min/mile
Actual 5 miles
Me and the pup. Came home to freshly made bread, muffins and pasta bake, life doesn't get better than that.
Ordered my last pair of shoes for training. The plan is to use them for two weeks of tapering, enough to break them in but still have cushion left.

Plan 6 miles
Actual 6 miles 
A step back week so this was nice compared to my normal 10 mile run. No idea of my pace I completely forgot my watch, lucky there were mile markers. 

Plan 5 miles
Actual 5 miles 9.52 min/mile
4 miles with Martina, 1 on my own. Wednesday's are lovely because one of the local clubs leave water out at the 2 mile mark. 

Plan rest
Actual rest and foam rolling.

Plan 5 miles
Actual 5 miles 8.51 min/mile
All on my own. Spent the whole time worrying about hurt Boomer and the fact that I was the only person in the park. It was kind of creepy, that and the cold made me run faster.

Plan 13 miles
Actual 13.1
Tryon Half Marathon. Tight hip otherwise felt good.


Tryon Half Marathon, NC

This was a reluctant race entry for me. A friend was running and didn't want to drive almost 2 hours by herself in the early morning. All she had to do was show me a medal picture and I was sold. I'm such a magpie. The race cost $50, a great price considering I signed up a couple of days before. 
I laid out everything I needed the night before and gave myself fifteen minutes to dress, eat etc before I was picked up at 5am. The drive there was uneventful except for the steadily dropping temperatures...eventually the car thermometer settled on  21F as we reached Tryon. Let me tell you that's a shock when it was in the 70s only a couple of days before. I came prepared though with long thermal tights, a thermal top, gloves, bandana and headband.

The race started and ended at Harmon Field in Tryon, a sports and recreation area, so there was plenty of parking. The packet pickup was in a small building, where we picked up our bibs and a nice t-shirt. Coffee and power bars were laid out for runners, I thought that was a nice touch.

We had around 30 minutes to the race start so we retreated to the car for warmth. Especially convienant as we'd parked right by the start and close to a pair of port a potties. I had the best laugh in ages while lining up for the porta potties. No one was using one, when that happens I don't investigate. One lady did, she opened the door thinking it was ok and then all you could see was a look of horror and shock on her face before she, and everyone in line, broke into giggles for a good five minutes. seriously the look on her face. Don't even want to know what was in there. 

After that bit of comic releif it wasn't too long until the race started. This race was 75% non-technical trails, mostly gravel roads, and was an out and back course. So the first mile was on good ol Tarmac before we hit the trail portion. Aid stations were spread out every 1-2 miles, less on the way back as a few had been packed up. 
For the first while (driving up and packet pick up mostly) both myself and my friend were saying 'what were we thinking', because of the early start and how cold it was, but after a few miles into the race we were so glad we came. It was such a beautiful course. 

This was the perfect time of year for the race as the fall colors were at their finest. We don't really see these colors too much in Columbia, as to my recollection one day most trees are green, the next the leaves are gone. What a treat.

There were a two port a potties on the course one at mile 5 and another about a mile later. I was so glad to see the first one as I was in strong danger of peeing myself at that point, too much water on the drive there. From there on I felt so much better. My right hip is still tight and it had been getting worst until I stopped, waiting for my friend to pee, I stretched and managed to release it a bit. It was nice to hit the turnaround and head back towards the start. This also provided fresh views as we were now facing the mountains.
I was running with the same friend as Cherokee and expected the pace differential this time. I chose to run with her and honestly I'm glad we ran together, lots of laughs. It also slowed me down on a course that I probably would have rolled an ankle on otherwise. After the halfway stage the pace dropped off a bit but I was expecting it. We walked up the few hills on the course and I used the walk breaks to call Martina to check in on Boomer who'd hurt himself the day before. 
****If the guilt I feel over leaving my pet is this bad...I'm never having kids. He's now high as a kite on pain meds as he strained his back and leg****

By mile 9 I was ready to be done, the constant pounding on large pieces of gravel was killing my lower back. I seen a few runners rubbing the same area so it seemed to be a common ailment. I was still appreciating the beautiful views but a seat would have been a nice way to see them, lol. We eventually made it back to real roads, man I felt invincible running on them, so nice. We finished the race with a lap around a track. We came in at 2.32, no chip time. The course seemed spot on distance wise according to my Garmin.

So beside the scenery this race really exceeded all expections, considering it was a small local race, in the food department. We all know I love my food. The food was in a different building to packet pickup. Outside we were greeted with Sierra Navada beer (got another free coozie) and inside a huge spread. Fruit, bagels, coffee, all sorts of quiche, omelets, muffins and soup. 
There were 3 of these tables full of food. All the veggie stuff tasted amazing. Since the race is for charity I'm guessing the running club came together and made the food? I've no idea how they pulled all of it together for $50 a runner. Just goes to show how stingy some for profit races are when such a local one can do this and still have money left for charity. On top of that they had a nice medal. Not the biggest one in the world but a nice unique design.

The atmosphere was also wonderful. There weren't many spectators or anything really but the volunteers from packet pick up through to the very end were so warm and friendly. Even the other runners were very friendly and supportive, lots of people shouting out to each other.

This race wasn't really advertised. I troll the Internet for races and didn't see a hint of it which is such a shame. Great race all around, so glad I decided to run it, much better than a cold 13 miles by myself! 





Friday, 14 November 2014

Variety is the spice of life

My half marathon racing season is coming to an end for this year and marathon training is reaching its peak. As a result I've been thinking back on the last few months. 
There have been weeks were I've been exhausted, sore, sick etc etc. I've ran in fog, rain, heat, humidity, lightning, frost, daylight, darkness. Yes I've complained, as always, sorry! 

The biggest achievement for me has simply been to run. It hasn't mattered whats happened I've run. Not always feeling as good as I've liked, or as fast as I'd want, but I've learned to accept that running is part of my life that is not going anywhere. The varying weather conditions or how I feel is just another way that a run is different, adding variety to my training.

I've also accepted what I've heard so many really doesn't get any easier, you learn to push through and raise the bar. This year I've ran a bunch of races, which have been fun, but really what I've been doing is slowly becoming a better runner. I've gone from training for a single race and then not running for months (and repeat), to training continuously throughout the year, running more miles every week than I ever have and thankfully not getting injured. I've learned more about stretching, strengthening (not enough), the value of replacing gear frequently (mostly shoes) and looking after myself properly.

Will I be thankful to go back to training at the half marathon level...hell yes! No matter how the Kiawah Marathon turns out on the day, would I change what I've done this year? NO way, I've loved it all.

Soooo another race, why yes I do have a problem

You know how I said last week was my last half marathon race...well my friend showed me a picture of a shiny medal for a race that she is running Saturday and I just happen to have to run 13 miles.

I'll have to get up super early (before 5am) but for once I won't be doing the driving. Its too good of an opportunity to get the run done early and have some company.

It'll be a shock to run my 20 mile long run on my own and unsupported the next week!!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Governors Cup Half Marathon

Governors Cup Half Marathon, Columbia, SC 11-08-14

A hometown race to finish out my half marathon season. Originally billed as the twelfth of the year it ended up being lucky number 13. The race had a small expo in the Conventon Center in Columbia. Registration was pretty cheap, I can't remember exactly how much but I think it was $45. The packet included a long sleeve t-shirt (seems like a cotton-tech blend) and a 13.1 sticker.

The start was pretty low key with the usual anthem. The race started at the state house and so did the rolling hills of Columbia. Immediately we ran downhill and faced our first big hill. For the first 3 or so miles I ran well concentrating on breathing, especially on hills, and keeping a reasonable pace. 
Every 2-3 miles we hit aid stations with water and Gatorade. Since I didn't bring my water belt I tried to take in a good bit of liquid so I walked through each one. At mile 3 of the race (mile 6 total running) I took 2 shot Bloks and some water. About a mile later my stomach didn't feel so hot. I'm guessing I didn't take enough water with the Shot Bloks. That or the half a large pizza the night before was a bad move, won't be doing that again. Every aid station afterwards I doubled up with a cup of water and Gatorade. That settled my stomach for a while but at mile 8 it started cramping, so at the mile 9 aid station I took a quick pit stop. I felt much better and stayed ok for the rest of the race. I didn't take any more Shot Bloks or solid food, not ideal on a 20 mile run but better than the alternative ;) 
We ran through familiar neighborhoods, including old Shandon and around Lake Katherine, very pretty. There were some awesome spectators and lots of volunteers but the spirit stations were the best. I think there were over 15 station including a steel drum much fun. One neighborhood dressed up in costumes to cheer us on, kids and adults alike. All of this kept me smiling the whole time. 
The hills continued, none big but they almost never stopped. I knew these streets and for some of them the roads are really crowned. I ran right in the middle not chancing any problems with my knees or hips. We came to mile 12 and here it came, the climb I've been dreading. The race finished near the university in an area I know well. A long climb up Blossom Street and just when you think it's over you turn right for a long, less steep, climb up Sumter Street. I ran the whole thing for the first time, yeah!!! As it levels out the finish is in sight....sweet relief. 

I crossed the finish got my medal and grabbed some water. There was a good variety of food; bagels, fruit, Gatorade and someone was there giving massages, right by the finish. I didn't hang around I had another 4 miles to finish my running for the day. I wrapped up my medal and headed towards home (downhill, thank goodness). 
My second half in Columbia. Another one in March and I will have completed the Trifecta. This one is probably my favorite. The course is not one to PR on but the atmosphere can't be beaten. After over 40 years of this race, they've got it down. 

Governors Cup Half Marathon 2 hours 8 minutes. 


Friday, 7 November 2014

Marathon (Kiawah) Training Week 13

Finally some signs of autumn (fall). A few trees have started to change color and leaves are slowly starting to accumulate on the ground. The temperatures are still fluctuating a lot but the general trend is downwards. I was overly optimistic a couple of times this week and wore gloves and a jacket and ended up too hot after a mile. Overall, loving the cooler temperatures. This is officially my favorite time of year to run.
This week is turning out to be a series of slow runs but with the miles I have to do (another 50 mile week) and my hip acting up I'll settle for getting the runs finished without injury. I really wanted to toss aside this week as a high mileage week but I stuck with it and took each day as it came. Sometimes the harder a week it is the more rewarding.

Plan Crosstraining
Actual yoga 1 hour 15
Wimped out again and went to yoga but after Saturday's race and a week of hip pain it was probably for the best. Even the most basic postures hurt and I shook and sweated my way through class.....why did I run hard on Saturday, sometimes I'm my own worst enemy.

Plan 5 miles
Actual 9.45 min/mile
5 slow miles with Boomer. Is it wrong to reward yourself with alcohol after a run?

Plan 10 miles
Actual 10 miles 9.32 min/mile
Massage time. Scrambled to get from work to my massage at 5.30pm. It was really badly needed. Lots of work on my hip flexors, psoas and glutes. Its a bit weird to have someone knead your butt and groin area. Gotta do what you gotta do, right! Even on the massage table I could feel that my right hip was releasing, yay.
However, I went home had a snack and then proceeded to undo 90% of the massages good work by getting my 10 mile run done. I ran the first 3 miles with Martina and then the last 7 all by myself (cue Celine Dion). Got some good pace for the last 6 miles (approx 9.10 min/mile). My knees felt kind of weird (which has happened before after a massage) but overall the run was really good.

Plan 5 miles
Actual 5 miles 10.25 min/mile
 Four miles with Martina and another opportunity to destress and vent. All good things. Picked up the pace for the last mile by myself. Another huge dinner and a beer afterwards. Should probably have had some water instead :)

Plan Rest
Spent a lot of time on a lacrosse ball trying to work on my glutes hoping my hip would release a bit pain, no gain!

Plan 10 miles
Actual 10 miles 9.22 min/mile
Again 3 miles with Martina and 7 myself. Picked it up as the run went on. Finished it out with an 8.24 mile. Sore starting out but loosened up. 

Plan 20 miles
Actual 20 miles (9.33, 10.01, 10.33, 9.43, 9.48, 9.33, 9.28, 9.36, 9.30, 9.57, 9.38, 9.51, 10.43--bathroom break, 9.38, 9.15, 9.41, 9.44, 10.25---more stomach cramps, 9.56, 10.22---death march)
Not too early of a start. I ran the Governor's Cup Half Marathon, my last half of the year, which started at 8am. I leisurely got up at 6.30am and ate. 20 miles were on the cards. I decided to run to the race since it was close to home, no parking logistics involved, hurrah! I ran 2 miles to the race and realized, right after I'd stopped my watch, I'd arrived earlier than I thought. I decided to run another mile before the race and managed to pop into the back of the pack two minutes before the race started. Ran the half and then planned to run home and drop off some gear. I got stopped since a train blocked my path in every direction so I ran up and down the sidewalk to get some distance in instead of stopping and waiting.
 It eventually moved and I made it home with just under a mile left and a very unhappy tummy. A quick pit stop and I headed back out the door with Boomer to finish the last 0.8 miles. I hit a bit of a wall at that point and the 0.8 seemed so long, not surprising since I'd had 2 pieces of shot Bloks and some Gatorade for the entire run. Bringing the dog was a great idea because the joy he has for running is infectious. Finished out the 20 miles tired and sore but proud of another big week!!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Run Like a Nut

Run Like A Nut was a half marathon as part of the Pecan Festival in Florence SC. I registered for this ages ago. However, when it came down to it I really didn't want to go do it. I woke up at 5am after having not slept very well at all and it was that lovely time of the month too. 

I dragged my ass out of bed and ate a bagel, took some ibuprofen and some coffee listening to the rain pelting down. Today was meant to be a wash out so I expecting it. It was also in the 40s this morning so I pulled out 3/4 length tights and my new long sleeved t-shirt from last weekend. On top of that I put on a fully water proof jacket. I didn't bother with my race belt as I wasn't going further than 13, it was cooler and it also chafes like hell when wet.
The drive up to Florence was only an hour and a half long so once I got used to the rain it was an easy drive. I found The Fitness Forum (aka the gym where the race started) and parked easily. I ate some Shot Bloks and had some water. I went inside. packet pickup was easy and real restrooms were right there!
I got a very cozy long sleeved cotton t-shirt in Halloween colors lol, included in the bag were a mini Clif bars and brochures.
The race started on time and I took off on what is one of the most confusing courses I've ever ran. Most of the time it was fine, arrows were visibly spray painted on the road or there was a volunteer but at points the yellow arrows (for the HM) were really faded and hard to distinguish from others. I paused once or twice to figure it out and several times either had to keep going until I hit another marker to be sure or check that the group behind me were still following.
The aid station were around 2-2.5 miles apart and I walked through them all. I also stopped once to tie a shoe. I tried to take in lots of liquids because even though it was freezing outside my rain jacket was keeping things nicely sweaty underneath. Because of the rain jacket I pinned my bib on my leg and felt oddly rebellious doing it lol.
I accidently ran this way faster than I should have for a couple of reasons. One being my rain jacket was fiddly over my watch and everytime I tried to look at it I either pressed the lap or stop I stopped looking. Two, early on another girl decided to get a bit competitive with me since we'd been running lockstep for a while. Let's just say I couldn't let it go but I did leave her behind. It sounds mean but it's a race. Once I get dialed into a pace it's hard to break it. Ignoring my stellar 3 min/mile pace for a minute you can see I kept it pretty constant except for aid stations.
No hills this weekend 
Towards the end I did get a bit tired and realized I may have overdone it but I took it home at the same pace. In the end we didn't get rained on except for a sprinkle or two in the last few miles but right after I finished the heavens opened.
The joy of finishing at a gym meant that showers were available and I came prepared with a towel and change of clothes. I got a shower and grab some snacks and waited for the awards. I got 3rd in my age group and a sweet glass. There weren't that many females in the race so I got lucky but it's still nice to get something extra :) next year I'll work on getting some firsts or seconds in my age group but I think that'll take some serious work. 
Run Like a Nut Florence, SC  1.54.16 (first .43 9.23, 9.12, 9.01, 8.51, 9.09, 8.54, 9, 8.47, 8.48, 8.56, 9.04, 8.56, 8.49, last half a mile 7.59 min/mile)
 I think this might be around a 30 second PR but the course might have been a bit short?! let's call it  a repeat of my previous PR