Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Shaking off a Disappointing Race

Pretty sure by now it is evident that Saturday just

As much as the photos might try to depict otherwise.

I'm sure an f bomb immediately followed

One of my race goals is to try and make sure I spy the camera and am ready
And I am not going to lie, I carried that with me the rest of the weekend. Ultra competitive me was just pissy. (And I suppose doesn't help that it's that time of the month one bit).

But, I set out on a run Sunday and did a nice 8 miles. My legs were pretty tight  from the race proving that I had put forth effort and it felt nice to just shake them out with no actual goal in mind, or rather, more importantly, truly not CARING how fast I ran.

I took some time to reevaluate my training and what I could change up. And I more or less came down with two things:
  • More strength training
  • More speed work outside
  • More cross training
  • Seriously, stop eating ALL THE FOOD
I think the treadmill is a very useful tool. But I was completing anywhere from 5-7 runs a week - and only 1-2 would be outside. Actually false statement - there were plenty of weeks that I did my long run on the treadmill. Thanks winter. Glad you are FINALLY coming to an end.

The treadmill does not leave you race ready, or at least not me, and definitely not when I have a significant goal in mind.

I will be dusting off the Garmin a lot more now and bearing the elements.

The fact that it is warming up ever so slightly is encouraging and had me in a skirt and short sleeve shirt for a lovely 7 miles last night (okay - it got really kind of cold, and frickin windy on the water but I barreled on through!).

What an absolutely AWFUL view.

Also hit the weights each morning this week thus far! And am feeling equally sore. Kettlebells give you one killer workout I tell you.

And - more cross training, cycling, swimming, yoga, pilates - you get in anything that is NOT running.

Helpful that my friend has joined my gym since we have a pool and she is training for a Half Iron Man. So now I will be more willing to get in the pool (I was a swimmer once upon a time!).

Oh and just a minor footnote - "diet" is back in full force. That race and my stomach issues was enough to a) get my ass in gear to eating clean 95% of the time and b) a note that going faster feels better the less you weigh. It's not rocket science.

I think the biggest take away here - is to CHALLENGE myself. Go faster. Do fartleks. Run some sprints. Lift heavier weights. Do things that are outside of the comfort zone and get comfortable being uncomfortable.

I am not sure that I have another opportunity this spring to really gun for a PR in the half. I have the More/Fitness Half but will be doing 7 miles prior to the race for NJ Marathon training. Then two weeks after the full I have the BK Half - and not sure how recovered my legs will be to run hard.

That being said, I have been (frantically) clicking away and trying to find something that could fit in with marathon training and also my current schedule.

Enter, the Asbury Park Half Marathon. Took all of two seconds to consult with Tara my race buddy and we were signed up, hotel booked and ready to go. It's 2 weeks prior to the marathon so perfect for taper. That weekend I have a free entry to the BK 15K which is the following day which I will probably relinquish. Because you know THAT really isn't necessary two weeks prior to the marathon.

Idiotic move? perhaps. But I love it.
Whether I redeem myself or not, that is yet to be seen but I just NEEDED the chance to have a good race. One that I can actually kind of race. That close to the marathon I will have to be careful but I know the plan will be to AT LEAST get close to my current PR.

So here's to continuing training. Diversifying what I am doing and chasing that PR down.

I know I really have to focus on the marathon as well, but this go round I am not changing much training wise (as in dropping everything and just running like I did for my first in January, Miami) I will just be adding mileage to my long run.

Which scary fact = only 4 more long runs until taper. Where did time go? And man I don't think I have had any "off" training time in since...2011?

Attempting to turn a bad race experience into a positive, because I love this sport and sometimes the bad is necessary to get to the good. I'm a total nerd, I know.

When you have a bad race, or fail to meet a goal, how do you usually react? Try to race again asap or take a break?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Allstate 13.1 Marathon: Recap

Embrace the suck. (And this post because it may be long.)

That is all I can say about this race. Okay. That is a lie. I have a lot of thoughts. And not many of them are happy thoughts. Well, minus that it's over. That was a really happy thought some time around 11:05 this morning.

Oof. Want a race where everything can go wrong? Step right up Allstate 13.1 Marathon!

I guess I should start from the beginning.

I had mixed senses of confidence on how this was going to go for a while now. Last week I went out and did a 10 mile tempo that put me at ease...until this past Wednesday when I did a 30 minute tempo that had me totally doubtful. Always an awesome final run before the race.

My half PR is 1:53:14. I knew it would be work to beat that with where I am at right now, but I was going to give it one hell of a shot. That was the plan.

And then I kind of did everything wrong that I could prior to a race.

I haven't had a drink in about a month and what did I do, had one last night. fail. I didn't run Thursday or Friday but I spent an hour on the elliptical Thursday and Friday did the elliptical then an hour on the trainer (which my ass TOTALLY felt today).

I loaded up on veggies yesterday and also ate a non traditional dinner. You know things that are smart when you haven't been able to get through a single run without a bathroom break in like a month (sorry but I'm not sorry, me and bathroom problems go hand in hand).

In spite of this I woke up at 5:45 this morning bright eyed and bushy tailed with excitement that it was race day. Kind of the only reason to get excited when you alarm is buzzing at that hour!

I decided since my stomach was feeling weird to have get things moving, which I always avoid on race days.

I also ate a different breakfast than normal - but plain - two kashi waffles.

But, the coffee was not working and when I left my apartment to head to Queens I figured I would get there with a ton of time to walk around, warm up and get settled before the race.

Well, that would not be the case. I was set to meet my running bud at Port Authority at 7:30. I showed up a little bit before that and she did not...until 8:00. In that period of time of me waiting, also my (TMI again, sorry) period decided to show up days early. THANKS BODY.

Anxiety levels were slowly rising. The 7 wasn't running from PA so we had to hit up the N to the 7. By the time we got to the race it was 15 minutes before start time. The bag check is a hike away from the start line so we literally had just enough time to rush there, have like 10 seconds in the bathroom then get to the start. We inserted ourselves just as the anthem was being sung and pretty much were off.

As we started running I definitely was feeling a bit stiff. I could tell it was going to take some time to settle in and get warmed up but was okay with that. I accidentally smoked my first mile in 8:33 but didn't feel that was a totally out of reach pace for me, but nonetheless tried to tone it back and slowed up a little bit.

The next couple of miles I managed to settle into a bit of a groove. I was trying to get on that pace that just feels sustainable. Problem was twofold however: within that first mile my stomach was rebelling, and the wind. Oh dear lord sweet baby Jesus, the wind. WHY. For the record there were a few minor stretches where it wasn't too bad (but then was really warm) but holy shit that wind was a effing killer today and it was COLD (and profanity was being spewed from my mouth for approxomitely 2 straight hours.

As we passed mile 4 I knew that I had to stop so made porto potty pit stop numero uno. I seriously tried to make it as quick as possible but there is only so much time to do your business and pull on and off sweaty spandex. Mile 5 was a slower 9:35.

After that stop I was trying to make up the lost time. And from here on out, mentally the race was lost with me. I felt so defeated that my stomach within another mile was in knots that I was ready to throw in the towel. I had to stop at the bathroom yet again.

And each time, I lost the groove I was in and had to get out get going again into the wind (which god I swear felt like I was standing still or attempting to run through quick sand at points) and I just wanted to quit. By the first stop I knew I had killed all chances of trying to PR and started having the mental fight of why bother challenging myself anymore and pushing. It really took a lot of willpower to not just phone it in and dial the pace back and be comfortable half way through.

Then, there was the bridge on the out and back loop that we got to cover not once, but twice. They definitely changed the course from the previous two years as well. But that stupid bridge I wanted to punch someone as I went over it.

On the second out and back I finally decided that I should maybe take a gu because I needed energy; and did right before mile 10...which then resulted in a rather long bathroom break. I mean seriously body - WE ARE STRAIGHT UP IN A FIGHT at this point. Once that one happened, I really lost the energy to push it. I was going to have to bust out some killer miles to finish it off to get sub 2 hours and honestly, I was spent. I was tired of trying. Tired of pushing. I just wanted to cross that finish line and didn't have the strength (mentally) to push myself anymore.

I am not sure if I have ever been so damn happy to see a finish line. I did manage to push out of pride for that last bit to bring in the final bit at an 8:30 pace - which side note there wasn't much wind and that felt fine so note to self I definitely have a better half in me - but lord I crossed that finish line and was just 100% PISSED.

I feel bad a man came up to me right after to say I pushed him and he was chasing me in the last 3 miles and great race, and bratty Gianna was nice, but I wanted to hit someone.

F You Wind and Stomach
Here are my splits. Womp, womp. 

Split Time
1 08:33.3
2 08:46.1
3 08:54.2
4 08:44.4
5 09:35.6
6 08:57.2
7 08:58.3
8 09:14.6
9 09:08.1
10 09:15.8
11 11:08.7
12 09:17.4
13 09:16.6
14 02:11.3
 Summary 02:01.4

I make no illusions that I was going to PR but this from Garmin makes me feel a bit validated in that I had a better race in me:

Moving Time:1:58:39
Elapsed Time:2:02:01

Avg Pace:9:12 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:8:57 min/mi
Best Pace:6:22 min/mi

This was one hard earned medal I tell you.
And for the third year in a row to go with these:

Take aways from this race and where do I go from here. Man. This was a hard one. Because most of what went wrong was out of my control. I don't know what to do about my stomach we were doing so well for a good clip there. But lately it's just awful. I need to get back to my totally strict diet and pray for the best. Because days like today are totally unacceptable. I haven't gotten TOO upset on stopping during my training runs but during races, and multiple times, that just kills my spirit.

The wind...also can't do anything about the weather conditions. However my race would have been more acceptable in my eyes without those bathroom breaks. And I think had the breaks not happened I would have had a lot more fighting spirit in me and been able to dig a lot deeper to pull out some better splits.

Oh and my foot. Yeah. It was hurting. Quite a bit. But honestly my stomach issues were far more pressing that I didn't even focus on it at the time it was more just nagging and annoying and occassionally I would think to myself, definitely still hurt, hope this doesn't last.

I did still push for this race despite the challenges. Even those last couple miles weren't that bad pace wise and that was when I eased up knowing I was not going to get under 2 and just kind of didn't care anymore.

Mental focus isn't something I lose too often - but good god I just wanted this race to end. I wish I had a script for what was going on in my head throughout. I spent a good chunk thinking that I hate running. Saw the guys with the NJ Marathon jackets spectating and was like mother of god another full in a few weeks, I am nuts. Oh and an ultra after that, even more stupid. I am insane. Followed up with berating myself for being weak and to man up.

Where I am going from here with my training - back on the speed work. I do think I need to start doing a lot more speedy runs with speedy friends. My friend whom I would push last year, smoked it in 1:50:07 today! Total run envy and I totally need to get back to doing more runs together even if I am chasing her around. I think I need to stop focusing on pace and more training by effort.

So now I am spending some quality time with my legs up, pro compression socks on, icing my foot (which is oh so not happy right now) and just relaxing. I will say my legs are BEAT and it has been a long long time since I have had soreness from a run.

Oh and of course - stomach has been 100% fine since the race.

Bad races happen. I will get over this. And reasons I know that I 100% love it: I cannot wait to run tomorrow with my running buddy. I was humbled greatly today but I will have my day and knock it out of the park. I just need to not overthink it.

But, again body, we are in a fight. Just for today, I kind of hate you for failing me.

Friday, March 22, 2013

13.1 New York Goals

FINALLY! Real racing begins this weekend. I don't count my 5K a couple weeks ago as "real" racing, even though I won a trophy and all.

That was fun, but the torture that is a 5K and all is not something that I look forward to on my racing schedule.

This weekend the fun begins!

Low number love! And BEER. Bring on the beer. 
This weekend however I am running the Allstate Life Insurance 13.1 New York. This is the race that started it all, and will be my third year running. It is a fun race and will probably continue to run it for sentimental reasons.

If I wasn't already iffy about my ability to PR tomorrow, I would like to thank NYCRuns for the extra vote of confidence (in today's racing email):

13,1 New York 3/23 - Flushing Meadows Park wasn't created for a half-marathon, but that's part of the fun at this annual 13.1-series event in Queens. The sharp turns and loops make the Allstate 13.1 uniquely challenging. Not a PR course, but definitely one of the most interesting! As with all of races in the 13.1 series, this one will feature a 5K as well.

Womp, womp.

While we are on the topic let's discuss what my goals are for this race:

  1. A Goal: PR which means anything under 1:53:14 for me. I may be laughing at that.
  2. B Goal: Under 2:00
  3. C Goal: Under 2:07 (last years course time)
I genuinely have no clue how tomorrow is going to go.

First I suppose let's discuss workouts. I did 3 runs and my final run on Wednesday was a 30 minute tempo and let's just say my legs felt heavy and I was breathing heavy. HM goal pace was not feeling the best. Always a confidence booster when trying to run for 15 minutes at goal pace feels awful.

I kind of failed on rest days. Sure I didn't run - but I did an hour on the elliptical yesterday and some elliptical plus an hour on the bike this morning. Oops.

My foot is feeling SLIGHTLY better, but it's still sore. However pain is pain. It's probably going to be bothersome whether my pace is easy or all out so I mean mine as well go all out to get it done faster, right?

And then we have my stomach. I haven't made it through a run over 4 miles in about a month without a bathroom break. I am fine with stopping just hoping if I have to it just happens right off the bat so I can get on with it. And I know I've mentioned but funny enough my PR from November is with a bathroom break. Sheesh I was speedier. Time to lay off the carbs.

But all in all, I am looking forward to racing. I know whatever happens I will have a good time. I have a pretty tough race calendar this spring and just am looking forward to kicking things off!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dessert Me!

Lately I have totally been struggling with my night time eating.

My day eats are pretty perfect. A solid breakfast, usually a big salad of greens + protein for lunch and then a decent snack before leaving.

Then I get home and all bets are off. I am sure it is a combination of waking up even earlier lately because I now have to be in an hour alarm is going off any time from 4:15-4:45 to workout. Then at work for usually 12 hours without much time for a break. I am super busy so my mind is just in over drive.

But I am really feeling these night time binges and I am not amused.

So I had to sit back and remember what has worked for me in the past as far as keeping it under control.

And that was when I remembered about this oldie but goodie which is a favorite of mine. And oh so filling and oh so big! And boy am I a "volume" eater.

Enter this lovely Chocolate Protein Muffin!

Fresh out - and steaming!

Now this is a pretty basic recipe with a LOT of wiggle room to alter it to what you are looking for or have in your kitchen.

2 T of flour - I like coconut but use whole wheat when I out
1/2 - 1 T protein powder (works without though!)
2 egg whites
1/4 pumpkin (today I used sweet potato puree! also mashed banana, apple sauce)
1 T cocoa powder
1/2 t baking soda
a few drops liquid stevia (or other sweetener)

Today I also added cinnamon and vanilla extract for a little more sweetness.

Also as you can see to the batter I diced up a couple of strawberries and threw in some blueberries.

Mix all ingredients together and then pour in a bowl that you have sprayed with cooking spray so that it slides right on out.

Microwave for about 3 minutes (today took about 4 probably because of the berries).

Slide that baby on out of the dish, and if like me you want to top it with something. Today I added just plain chobani, but I will make a protein fluff, heat up some almond butter or pb2 or you know, chocolate syrup for extra chocolately goodness!

Like I said this recipe is HIGHLY customizeable! You can do it without the cocoa if you don't want chocolate, I have added a dollop of almond butter to the batter for some oozy goodness, put chocolate chips in there...the possibilities are endless based on what you have to work with.

And not to mention, this baby is HUGE. My bowl that I used is probably about 3 inches in diameter so that is a good size.

If you try it out let me know what you think! Healthy dessert in a few minutes...there is nothing bad about that!


Happy Wednesday and Happy SPRING!

Someone should send a memo to Mother Nature on that one because the frigid temperature with gusting winds on my commute to work this morning were not feeling very "spring" to me. I am ready for no jackets kind of weather. The weather that we got a preview of last week for ohhhh about a day

I am the person that will ditch the jacket the SECOND it becomes acceptable. Or even not acceptable, just where I won't absolutely freeze my behind off walking outside for 10-15 minutes without.

Was I the only one super annoyed to leave work on Monday evening only to be greeted by this scene:

As pretty as it can be I am more than ready to say so long to the snow and hello to sunshine!

Not to mention my shoe choice left a lot to be desired in this weather:

Those are peep toes FYI. Snow covered peep toes. #fail
I woke up Tuesday morning to an icy slushy mess of a situation.

I was slipping and sliding my way to the gym. Running outside was not even an option. Apparently people decided that that the expected snowfall was going to be minimal enough that salting was unnecessary.

I am ready to wake up and actually see sunshine. Or at least for the sun to be out when I am ending my workout because it still being dark is totally unacceptable.

Although this morning I was getting a glimpse of the beginning of a beautiful sunrise as I walked my way home after my run. The colors were definitely going to be gorgeous I wish I had been running on the waterfront!

Courtesy of my IG of course as were the previous.
I am stalking the weather for my race Saturday and the high right now is 47. I am happy that at least the race begins later at 9:00am so hopefully it is warming up a bit. Haven't 100% decided if I am going the pants or skirt route yet though. It's more about the fashion/color options than the comfort here; let me be real about that. Once I decide on my top the rest will follow (the serious side of running folks).

If by some miracle the weather changes in the next couple days and the projected high is in the 50's this girl will not complain one little bit!

So hope everyone is enjoying the week and the official start of SPRING!

And also I need to bottle up my discontent with the cold for when I am cursing waking up at 4am on the weekends to get my 20 milers out of the way before the sun gets too hot. But I keep telling myself I would rather be dealing with excessive heat and humidity than the cold!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Taper Week + Injury (?)

Happy Monday! 

And for those that raced over the weekend (which seems like EVERYONE) a big CONGRATS!!! It seemed like this weekend was PR City. And I am SO having a case of jealousy and can't wait to race my pants off.

Kind of. 

I'm a tad bit worried about my foot and what is going on with it. But not worried enough to go see someone about it. I have a feeling that the advice and/or diagnosis is going to go something like "oh hey maybe don't run so much on it" or "total rest".

And all I can say is with my race schedule...

I've got training to do! Half marathons, Marathons and Ultra's to run!

On Saturday I had some magazines to read so I spent a lot of time on the elliptical with that before running a good 3 miles at HM pace. After I walked it out on an incline for a while. I just felt the need to be moving but knew I shouldn't run too much with the long run on Sunday.

My foot felt a little achy, but it feels better running than anything else. I should say that I was responsible and iced it...but that didn't happen. I did stretch out a lot focusing on my calves which I was told to do since if it is tendinitis then that would be helpful.

Sunday I was super lazy and more interested living vicariously through everyone racing the NYC Half to get my butt out of bed. I woke up so that I could watch the coverage which was awesome. GREAT race by both the men and women! But then had lots of trouble motivating.

Mr. Hal Higdon called for 2 hours of running - not specific mileage so I finally set out around 1:30 or so. 

My foot pretty much "ached" the duration of the run. Not unbearable pain, but definitely uncomfortable. I'm less than amused. 

I managed to cover 12.5 miles in those 2 hours. I tried to not pay attention to pace only to keep myself dialed back when I took off out of the gates sub 9 min pace. Bad news for a LSD run but hopefully good news come race on Saturday!

On another note, I have once again gotten to the bad habit of not fueling for these "long" training runs. My stomach and fueling improved greatly over the fall since I knew I HAD to do it for the marathon - however - I took one gu during my run on Sunday and oof disaster. I probably won't be fueling for the half this weekend. Especially if I am on track to PR. I do not have a stomach of steel and will need to retrain it in the next few weeks for the NJ Marathon.

I am going to actually taper this week! So with drastically reduced mileage and both Thursday and Friday off I am hoping that helps a bit. Plus I guess I will stretch. And maybe ice. Or something like that.

Anyone with a great race weekend? Tell me about it! And let me live vicariously through you! 

Friday, March 15, 2013

TGIF. Seriously.

Hey now, good seeing you Friday! I feel like this is a common saying lately but holy week. 

I cannot wait to wake up tomorrow at a time that does not begin with a 4 and not be in the office for 12 hours. The level that I have been functioning at on 4-5 hours of sleep has me impressed.

The good part is I have been so ridiculously busy between training and work that the week just flew on by. 

The bad news is, I am beat down, mentally and physically but powering through. Also, feeling bloated because I have been feasting on carbs, and epic amounts, at night due to starvation during the day and not getting nearly enough food in for the crazy activity level I have had this week.

I gave myself an intervention yesterday though and made sure that stopped. I puff up like a balloon and retain water on carb overload and I wasn't feeling my greatest. Happy to say the balance is back and I hope it stays that way! There will be a serious meal prep this weekend. That is for sure.

I am pretty proud though in the midst of all this craziness I am probably about to hit one of my highest mileage weeks and things really seem to be coming together for the half next weekend. 

Let's have a little breakdown of training so far this week:

  • Monday - 6.18 miles - Easy pace - 9:24 recovery from the weekend
  • Tuesday - 5 miles - Pace - 8:49 was going to go longer but I noticed some foot pain
  • Wednesday - 10 miles - Tempo - Pace - 8:54 - as I reported this run was amazeballs
  • Thursday - 4.5 miles (morning) - Pace 8:50, 6 miles (evening) Pace - 9:03
  • Friday - 2 miles - Pace 9:02 - prior to lifting

I mean look at that, I am about 34 miles and still have long run tomorrow and a recovery Sunday. I'm pretty happy with how this shaped up thus far. 

Also my paces - are getting a lot better. My comfortable pace is inching it's way down. I love seeing training pay off.

Things I am not so happy with...I am having foot pain. I am in the process of self diagnosing because that is obviously the way to go. And it seems like it could be tendinitis. It only just started so I am hoping that ice and stretching can help. If it stays at the level it is at now I should be fine for the half. Running doesn't hurt per say (and also my crazy threshold for pain sometimes can be my worst enemy because I tend to work through things until too late) it's the flexing motion that hurts. 

Meh. That's all I can say about that. 

So here is to making it through just and sleeping in tomorrow. NO ALARM for this girl. And if I wake to the clock saying anything after 7 I will consider it a victory. And lounge around gloriously in bed. There will be no rushing out the door in the morning to run. It is supposed to be chilly still so I will be waiting until mid day regardless. 

Happy Friday and for all of you racing this weekend, GOOD LUCK!!! Can't wait to hear all about it!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Building Confidence

I have had a draft blog titled "adjusting expectations" on hold now for a while. 

If you have followed my training at all, by all accounts it seems that it is going pretty well.

I log a decent amount of miles. I do intervals, I do tempos, long runs and easy. 

There has been a good amount of balance in my training. 

However, there has been a lot of doubt in my mind. For some reason I keep thinking there is no way that I will be able to run this half marathon. Forget my goal time, or getting near my fall PR, I was telling myself that I wouldn't even be able to even get under 2 hours. Questioning finishing even. I have been preparing to write a post about not being able to hit goals and coming to grips with that.

This morning, I set out on a 10 miler. I wanted to get some good mid week miles in and I have been super stressed with work. I have to be in to the office an hour earlier now and my days are lasting until 7 or 8pm. I'm tired, loopy on little sleep. I decided to turn it into a tempo run. And all I can say is I am thankful I did.

Look at this baby: (I know I know it doesn't say 10 - but I probably ran a good quarter to half a mile before the signal picked up. at 5am I am not keen to just stand around the dark streets waiting). 

I eased into this with a couple miles warming up before easing into pace. Splits:

9:45, 9:27, 9:00, 9:00, 8:57, 8:45, 8:44, 8:45, 8:39, 9:14

And it was all done with ease. I hit those middle miles comfortably. I was holding back some because my stomach was a disaster zone so I didn't want to really push it for fear of what would happen.

I don't know why, but ever since the marathon I have been doubting my running ability. Perhaps because I was so far off what I hope to run (although I am seriously proud of my 4:33 thank you very much and still talk about it). I think it is because the last half I ran is so long ago back in November and as such it has been a long time since I have held that pace for a long duration.

So here we are now a week and a half out from the half and I definitely have a lot more confidence in my running and training. I've got sub 2 that much I know. Do I have a PR in me? I'm not 100% on that. Do I have sub 1:50. Perhaps if the stars align correctly. That goal is a stretch I haven't been hitting the intervals where I should. I don't know I had enough training time for that.

But what I do know...I need to trust my training. I'm out there busting my butt and it should all come together out there on race day. I have a tough race schedule ahead of me this spring and I am going to keep on chugging and knocking out those miles and hitting those workouts.

So let's get to running some happy miles.

And I will leave you with a couple things.

The beauty that was this mornings sunrise over NYC:

And my new BFF and I have connected over Twitter. I was at work when this appeared and the squeal of excitement I let out was slightly embaressing.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Winning is FUN

I loathe 5K's. Seriously. I am not fast. I don't like the discomfort of a 5K. There is no easing into it. You just go go go right off the bat.

That being said, my hatred towards them has dulled oh just a tad today and it is all because of this beauty...

Oh yeah baby guess who go their first running trophy!

This makes both the early wake up after losing an hour of sleep, plus the long hike out to the Bronx - Van Cortlandt Park - worth it.

There is something to be said for small local races. If you haven't done one before, get your butt out there. I am not a fast runner by any means (I don't know my official time even - no timing chips!) my time according to my Garmin was 22:41 but I also started it a tad late. And I think the course was short. Not to detract from how I did though. Pretty proud.

I did a long training run of just under 13 miles yesterday - hitting race pace for a few miles so the fact that I did pretty well in the 5K today - on a part trail course - patting myself on the back.

Never underestimate the desire for wanting to be DONE with race for getting you to get your hustle on! I was pretty chilled so I ran a couple laps of the track to warm up prior to the start. I couldn't wait to begin because I was so cold for some reason! And it wasn't even THAT cold out today.

The race started out on the track with a couple of loops before heading out of the stadium towards the trails. I realized shortly after the start I didn't start my Garmin my goal was to try and pace around 8 - I was using today as a tempo run - so when I started it I was pacing under 8 which didn't feel too difficult.

Once we headed into the trails though I was slowed for sure - the change in running path to the trails slowed me down, but it was nice to be off the asphalt. There was one uphill that was definitely daunting especially when trying to keep a quicker pace. Once we got up that though it was pretty smooth sailing and I quickly got back on pace.

I'm not sure how long we were in the trails for maybe a mile or so. Once we were out we looped back toward the stadium before finishing around the track.

I did my best to keep a steady pace and to stay in that uncomfortable place. And obviously it worked! The race was over before I knew it!

I also met a few awesome runners out there - truly inspiring people that I can't wait to keep in touch with. One was a running coach and she let me pick her brain and gave me advice for a long time after the race. She is 20 years older than me and ran the race easy in the same time. Sheesh. Humbled.

And seriously I wish it wasn't so far away from me - Van Cortlandt Park is awesome. I would love to just go frolick around out there. Such a nice change of scenery.

So now I am going to kick back and relax. Bask in the glory of my newest running accomplishment and possibly look up some more small local races.

Winning is fun.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Spring Race Schedule: Updated

A little something has happened since I last spoke of my 2013 Goals and Races.

THIS happened?!

Not sure how this evolved...
The other day my running buddy sent me over a picture of her year in racing planned out so that we can coordinate.

Now she is a little more crazy than myself in terms of the load she takes on (as if that was possible...) since she will be doing Tough Mudders and dipping into Tri's...with a 1/2 Iron Man planned (can you see how we are destined to be running besties - go big all the way baby!). I am sticking with just the running for now as I plan on hitting some Ultra's this year and am focusing on improving my running speed and endurance.

That lead me to think about how I've on the whim signed up for a couple "other" races recently and well perhaps I should write that out.

Glad I did.

Anyone else notice as of 4/7 I have a race every weekend.

All I can say is please say a prayer for me that I make it through May alive. If I am still standding come May 27th I am giving myself a gold star.

Starting this weekend spring racing commences. And obviously this weekend is a 5K that I was given a free entry for so I can't complain too much - it will be my first time playing on the trails and it's a baby race...I am mostly concerned with my tendency to trip over my own two feet and how that will play out on the trails.

So I'm not sure if this is an epic fail or an epic win.

On one hand. I LOVE TO RACE.

On the other, in terms of hitting new PR's and such I am not sure how it is going to play out.

I am pretty confident that I can PR the full marathon. But not sure about the half (an update on that training to come...) And the Ultra is more for "fun" than time. So I think that I should be alright.

Only time will tell just how crazy I am.

YAY for running!

Anyone else out there do this - race a lot of weekends back to back? I did this in the fall with 6 (I think) half marathons. I PR'd the first and last and ran the middle one's more for enjoyment than time.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Gnarly Training!

Or at least Daily Mile thinks so!

I suppose it was a pretty good week, I am happy with it. Inching my way back to 40 mile weeks. I want to continue to keep the mileage up so that when I am adding back in the long long runs for the marathon it is with ease. My goal is to not drop off the speed work or strength work this marathon cycle.

And speaking of keeping the mileage up, Monday turned into an 8 mile (recovery?) kind of day.

I would like to thank my stomach (or errr too much All Bran the past few days possibly, sorry for the TMI) but yes I had to make a couple of bathroom breaks in there.

Overall, those 8 felt surprisingly great given I haven't had much time off. But that is what I want, to have my legs getting used to the mileage and 6 day running weeks.

The only thing that was off was I was feeling dizzy/light headed at some points. I am not sure if it was dehydration or under fueling (I barely ate before this workout) but I was feeling kind of queasy. Note to self fuel better and this shouldn't happen.

After the run, I hit the weights for a total body circuit.

I was definitely shaking by the end! But boy do I love a kick ass workout to set the tone for the week.

Let's hope that the rest of the workouts this week continue on as well. I am still nervous where my fitness will be at for the half in a few weeks, but I do feel like I am slowly but surely gaining more speed. I am inching my way down for where my conversational runs are paced at so progress is happening.

Slow and steady progress hopefully translates to me getting speedy :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Weekend Perfection

Sometimes you need a weekend devoid of plans to recharge and regroup and feel refreshed once again.

There was a lot going on but I was pretty wiped out so played the non commital card to everything and glad that I didn't commit to any one plan.

Friday night I went out for an early dinner which was perfect because I was able to get back home and do some grocery shopping and still have plenty of time to unwind before going to bed.

I made a decision to not set any alarms for Saturday or Sunday and just let myself sleep and wake up when my body was ready.

This meant Saturday I "slept in" until the beautiful time of 9am.

In Hoboken it was the St. Patty's Day celebration. I had fully intended on participating but when I woke up I had absolutely no desire to rush myself to workout just so I could go out and day drink. I'm getting too old for those shenanigans and to go around and be a drunken mess is not exactly high on my list of priorities at this age.

Instead I enjoyed a relaxing morning of coffee and reading in bed and watching movies before heading to the gym to go get in 5 miles. (there was no way I was navigating the drunk crowds outside - which was sad because it was a really great day!)

For those 5 miles I eased in with 3 miles @ 9:30 and the final 2 miles @ 8:50. I was happy because the 8:50 felt comfortable. I am still concerned with where my speed will be at for the half on the 23rd but I'm chugging away at speed work and upping my easy pace slowly but surely. I'm just trying to be smart about my training and avoid injuries by over doing it. 

Saturday night included one of my favorite easy dinners to whip up:

Sauteed peppers and onions, fajita ground turkey, chobani and salsa over baby spinach. Delicious.
It seriously takes no time at all to make, and I just love it.

Saturday night also included me watching Breaking Dawn: Part 2. Yes I somehow got hooked on the Twilight Series and paid to watch this. Only somewhat ashamed in my choice of movies.

Sunday morning I woke up on my own early so hit the road for my long run right away before I had the time to talk myself out of running outside.

The verdict was 12 miles @ 9:45 pace. I was pretty happy with it. I have a lot on my mind these days and I definitely just zoned out during this run. The miles flew by and I wasn't in tune with my body like I usually am. It was just what I needed though, therapeutic miles, without trying to hit any sort of splits.

I was happy to have the run out of the way and then able to just sit back and relax for the remainder of Sunday.

I should also mention my new obsession:

Yes my name is Gianna and I am addicted to All Bran.
I randomly picked up All Bran the other day and well can't get enough. Although warning the fiber content on there is crazy so ummm proceed with caution if you know what I mean!

Overall this weekend played out perfectly. I am energized and have renewed mental focus. I was so drained after the past couple of crazy weeks and was getting too stressed out so completely changing the pace was just what the doctor ordered.

Here is to a great week!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Here I Am!

Damn. Life has been straight up busy. It feels like it was just yesterday that I wrote my last post but it was over a week ago.

The good news is, I am alive!

But what a couple of weeks it has been.

It has been hard, mostly on a personal front, I have a lot that has happened and a lot of challenges have been presented and I just didn't have too much to report nor is this fun little fitness blog the outlet for those (at least at the moment while it is all happening) so I just had to step away.

I just needed to break from social media for a bit. I haven't been on instagram or facebook much and am still yet to start up with twitter! But I'm back now!

I returned from Indianapolis late Monday night (thank you very much planes not showing up and flight delays...)

While my last post was discussing the challenges I faced trying to get in my training while I was working 12 hour days and at dinners/late nights each night.

I am happy to report I somehow still managed to get in a 30 mile week.

It was a matter of grabbing runs when I could. Meant a lot of speedier short runs and lacked a long run, but running was just the name of the game. If I had a break for an hour I was going to run 3 miles shower up and get back to work. I didn't sleep a lot and was the most shocked that I did not wind up sick by the end lasting on 4 hours of sleep most of the time.

I got back on Monday night and even though I didn't get to bed until after 1am (I am stickler for unpacking and doing laundry right away, thank you type A) I was up and in the gym at 5:30 to get back to business as usual Tuesday morning.

I managed to get in some great workouts and with some juggling got my schedule to "normal":

Monday - rest day
Tuesday - 4 miles morning / 6 miles night
Wednesday - lifting morning / 6 miles night
Thursday - full body lift morning
Friday - 4.5 miles morning

Normalcy feels great when it comes to my workouts. When I am unable to stick to my schedule I just don't feel "right". I am such a schedule person.

I am also happy that the weather seems to be warming up some so I can probably start ditching the treadmill more! Woo! This cold weather wuss can't wait.

So there we have it. I have lots to report and other things to discuss on the running front but for now I am happy that I am home, have a day off (it's been 2 weeks without!) and can just rest up a little bit.

Oh and HAPPY MARCH! We are inching our way closer and closer to Spring and I for one am ecstatic about that!