Monday, April 29, 2013

Weekend Recap: 6 Days Out from the Marathon!

Can we insert a holy s*it moment. I kind of want to throw up and do a victory dance at the same time.

Officially less than one week until the NJ Marathon. I cannot believe it is here. At this point (well technically about 2 weeks ago) there is nothing left to do, you've trained and prepped and now all that remains is continuing to taper down and get ready to run the crap out of 26.2 miles.

I actually had (for me) quite the active and eventful weekend. I did this before the Miami Marathon as to be the couple weeks before and I came out of my hibernation. It helps distract from all the down time that I have since I am not doing a bazillion workouts each week anymore.

Let's see this is how I kept myself occupied.

This finally happened and I am in love. This is my third and I love love love it!

Left wrist :)
The weather was gorgeous and boy do I have the tan lines to prove it! I was supposed to run a 5K Sunday and long run Saturday got a little jumbled so I bailed on the 5K and did a short run Saturday and long on Sunday.

Apparently getting "less fat" as I like to call it (and no I do not think I am fat, but I am actually actively putting my plan in place of 'not acting like a vacuum' anymore and eating ALL the things) makes you speedier.

This happened:

Splits of 8:45, 8:35, 7:57, 7:44 - HUH? what? I wasn't "trying" until the end. Just trying to keep a natural pace.

Pace was actually 8:17 I just didn't reset
Then Saturday got busy with work stuff and my favorite part - the lazy ass persons answer to foam rolling aka: massage FTW! It. Was. Glorious. And my masseuse thought I was tensing my muscles when she worked my calves that is how tight they were. Yeah, I know. I don't stretch. Or foam roll. Or anything.

Can I have this every day? No?
Topped off by filling myself full of homemade carb goodness:

Sunday I took my sweet ass time getting out of bed before knocking out a little over 8 miles. LAST LONG RUN! and it went amazing. I challenge myself to set my Garmin screen to the time and just run a route I knew. Came back with these splits: 9:31, 9:12, 9:09, 9:06, 9:06, 9:06, 8:50, 9:06, 8:39 apparently I can run a mean 9:06. I will take that for a last run.

AVG pace actually 9:07
Gloriously sweaty
And finally it was time for my BFF's Birthday brunch. And this is all you need to know about why I was in bed at ohhhh like 7pm. One photo will sum it all up.

So there you have it! A pretty fantastic weekend if I do say so myself.

I feel ready for this race. Or at least that is what I am telling myself. I will get into goals and plans and pacing later on in the week. Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend!

Anyone else going to be in NJ this weekend? Also, am I the only one who's Garmin really makes me neurotic? I need to get back to learning to run by effort versus the data that thing is spitting out at me.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Tapering On


Wow, this marathon is going to be here before I know it! While it seems that Friday took FOREVER to get here this week at the same time I am amazed that we have entered the single digit countdown to the NJ Marathon.

After the Asbury Half on Saturday, I decided to take ANOTHER unprecendented rest day since my hip was bothering me during the race (who am I?). But all seemed to be fine. I think it was mostly shoe choice that day. Noted.

I am trying to be really smart during this taper. What does that mean? Well, let me tell you!

This means that I am not going to go and do "extra" workouts. While this marathon training cycle the only "plan" I technically followed was for long run placement (I will let you know how winging it for a marathon goes soon enough...) but I am following a "plan" for the taper.

This week, I have only done the prescribed (okay, kind of a lie) runs. I did eek in a few extra miles but honestly I want to keep this weeks mileage around what next week will be WITH the marathon.

Went a little something like this:
  • Monday - 3.15 miles @ 9:02 pace
  • Tuesday - 7 miles @ 9:20 pace
  • Wednesday - cross train + lift
  • Thursday - 6.32 miles @ 9:29 pace
  • Friday - 4.26 miles @ 9:23 pace

On tap for the weekend = 8-10 miles tomorrow and then a 5K on Sunday.

Should hit the mid 30's this week which is perfect for me leading up the week before.

Minus Mondays miles having my legs feel completely and utterly dead, every other run my legs have felt refreshed and ready to just go go go. A nice feeling to have going into the marathon.

And it's not even getting a big all star section, just a note: stomach = fine. (insert happy dance and knocking on wood and continuation of eating the same things over and over).

The only thing I will say is that while for the most part my runs have been energized, I have been feeling pretty lethargic.

I miss two a days.

And also, what do people do when not working out both before and after work? This extra time and stuff...confuses me. Sleep? Be social? Relax? I just don't know what to do with myself it seems so abnormal.

Yes, I am aware that I 100% have issues.

But I am trying my best to not over exert myself and go into this marathon being smart. Results of said experiment in being smart will be seen soon enough.

Hope everyone had a fantastic week and is enjoying this almost warm spring weather!

Does all the extra time during taper drive anyone else crazy?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Asbury Half Marathon Recap

Well to begin with recap is misleading. Should be titled "That time I Jogged a Half Marathon" - I don't have a whole hell of a lot to say about this race. The two most important takeaways are:
  • I not only ran the whole race without stomach issues but never once did it even give me trouble AFTER the race and we are still going strong!
  • I kind of didn't give a s**t if I am totally honest
I went into this race knowing that it was going to go one of two ways either I was going to rock it and gun for a PR or I was going to frolick.

Morning of we were in our hotel room (we stayed at the Berkeley Hotel which was not only the site of the expo but the starting line, booyah!) and all we could hear was the WIND. I knew in my heart if I was going to be battling wind for 13.1 miles I was not going to be gunning for a PR which would take enough effort as it was.

I finally go out of bed and ran downstairs to grab my bib then came up and promptly wanted to get right back into bed. My hip was already feeling tight so I probably should have planned a warm up and stretch but again thoughts of cold and wind kept me wanting to stay inside as long as possible.
Bib = Better than the medal. Which I didn't even bother to photgraph.

What took me so long to hop on the NIKE Pro train?
I ate a Special K crisp (you know something new just for fun and see how my body does) and grabbed a couple of gu's and headed on down. I decided to also have an espresso gu before the race began because I was feeling quite lethargic and needed a caffeine boost.

We went outside right before 8:30 got into position and a few minutes later we were off with Born to Run blasting (oh so appropriate for Asbury Park!).
Happy Little Cold Runners.

Rock Star - her not me. She almost PR'd again. Consistency at it's best!
Immediately I realized my legs felt like lead. I had also worn my Asics Speedstars (because they have blue and I really wanted some blue in my outfit since the rest was yellow!) and could feel that was a wrong choice. Love these bad boys but they need to be treadmill only now.

I kept my pace for the first mile around 9:00 but that was feeling hard. I eased back to run the second in about 9:10 and third just a little slower even trying to figure out what my body wanted to do. It seemed most comfortable running around 9:25. I knew off the bat 8:30's were not happening to PR so decided to run at a comfortable pace throughout. The wind was obnoxious. I just can't win. I was excited to have a flat half and see what my body could do but 15-25mph "swirling, gusting winds" pffttt my head was out of the game.

Somewhere around mile 4 I was over the whole thing. My left hip started to ache, my legs would not warm up. I did a lot of thinking between the next few miles about how much I wanted to DNF. And not going to lie, when there was the turn around for the 5 mile (we started at the same time) I had visions of turning back. Only thing that kept me was knowing I needed this mileage for marathon training!

I started to stop and stretch my hip as needed hoping my body would loosen up, to no avail. It didn't help that the course was super boring. (Sigh preview to the NJ Marathon I am thinking).

At mile 8 or so I actually called and made a massage appointment. That is how little effort was being put into this race.

When we hit the turn around point I don't think I have ever been happier. I also took another gu. I had noticed that there was ONE port-o-potty the entire race, right before the turn around - thank GOD I was feeling great! But thought that maybe taking a roctane would infuse some inspiration into the final miles.

In a way it did. When I was running I was in the low 9's. But every mile I would stop to stretch it out at least a little bit. At this point I am more concerned with mileage and making it to the marathon than I am in time for this race.

The last couple miles slowly went by. When it came to about half a mile left I said a small prayer and just jogged my way in to the finish, happy to be done running for the day.

My takeaways from this:
  • I seem to have nailed what is going to work for my body. Boring diet is here to stay.
  • But - it also seems that because I am eating less, I am not fueled properly and am feeling lethargic - Friday was busy at work so I missed most meals.
  • Shoes make a difference - 100% know that was the issue for the hip since I feel fine now
  • I need to up my mental game. I threw that race out early on. I know it wouldn't have been wise to push with the marathon in a couple weeks, but seriously - the desire to run uncomfortably in a race has been lost on me recently (even though last week proved what I am capable of - BUT I had a partner pacing).
  • Flatness = not as easy as I thought. It got boring and it started to ache. Here's hoping proper fuel + shoes = different outcome
  • I still feel ready for the marathon. I think that now that I am tapering my body is just recovering so tired legs will hopefully finally be refreshed legs come May 5th
So now we are less than two weeks away from the Marathon! I am excited but slightly indifferent. I feel ready to go just kind of in disbelief that it is already almost here.

Starting to obsessively stalk the weather and pray for a nice day. Fingers crossed mother nature gives us something good to work with. I swear if I see gusting winds I will punch someone. That is all.

Friday, April 19, 2013

My Week + #BostonStrongNYC

I haven't wanted to post all week because I honestly didn't have anything to say minus what has already been said, and I most definitely cannot say it with the eloquence that some others have.

My heart is heavy as I pray for everyone in Boston and for this all to end as quickly as possible and for everyone to stay safe.

Each run I have done this week has been with Boston on my mind, as I am sure is the case for the running community.

One thing I can say is how proud and grateful I am to be part of such a truly amazing and inspiring community.

The movement #BostonStrong begun by Pavement runner is just awesome. I am loving how all over the world everyone is uniting behind this. Seriously, could I ask to be part of a more supportive community? I am looking forward to running on Monday in support (please work do not keep me. k, thanks).

Tomorrow I am running the Asbury Park Half Marathon and am looking forward to racing and being with everyone and showing our support for Boston. People have asked if I feel guilty racing and yes there was a part of me that was feeling some guilt about being excited to get out there tomorrow but on the other hand, running is part of WHO I AM. It is a great part of my identity. Who is winning if I give up or pass on something that is so important to me.

So tomorrow I will run and my thoughts and prayers will be with Boston. I look forward to being in the midst of a community that has proven that we will rally behind our own and that we will only grow stronger.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Final Long Training Run + More Fitness Women's Half Marathon

How's that for a post title? Long enough?! Plus I am about to PR in blog post length.

Happy Boston Marathon Monday! While I am unproductive watching coverage I figured now is a great time to recap the fun that was had yesterday! **Note all that marathon watching was interrupted by impromptu meetings from 11-1. FAIL**

The NJ Marathon is now 20 days away, and I have entered the taper. I have been so concerned about my running ability the past month or so for this that I actually started totally doubting I could finish and considered dropping to the half.

Needless to say having this doubt clouding my mind was not what I needed when I woke up around 4am on Sunday to start getting ready for race and mileage. It took several pep talks to get out of bed, but finally I did.

I had to be on the PATH at 5:38 so that I could get the extra miles in prior to the More Fitness Half Marathon beginning at 8:00.

I was actually feeling pretty good though. I had packed my bag (sisterly fun post race in the city) the night before and really just needed to get on my gear and head out. I made two kashi waffles and filled a water bottle with Nuun and without much ceremony was out the door.

I got to the park nice and early around 6:15 so I took my time in bag check, used the restroom and finally got down to business of running at about 6:40 or so (I was definitely procrastinating my run!).

Early Morning Central Park.

THIS is how early I was
I decided to stick with the lower loop instead of doing one full loop since we would be doing that twice during the half.

I just set about at a comfortable pace, my goal not to look at my garmin and just keep it slow.

Well that kind of backfired on me when after doing a bit more than a loop I realized I had failed to start my garmin so have no idea what I ran for the first couple miles but sure it is comparable to what I ran the next once I began because I was more "jogging" than running at that point.

I just kept on frolicking around until I was getting close to 5 miles on my garmin (plus those couple missing) and then headed to the corrals with a minute to spare before they were closing.

I sadly missed seeing my sister or any of my friends because of my running before. And also missed any bathroom opportunity. However, I was feeling fine and tried to not think about that.

I had a gu at this point, took off my gloves and long sleeve shirt and got ready to "Run the World" as was the theme of the day (and I had Beyonce stuck in my head half the damn race!).

Bib numbers were LOW yesterday! Mine was 2012, always fun. But lower than my 8:23 pace usually gives me. That meant that there wouldn't be too much crowding at the beginning (in theory). My sisters bib = 107!

So the race begins and we were off! I love this race for a couple reasons, obviously the unique aspect of being an all women's race - so many friendly people! My sister was telling me she didn't know anything about the DTag all of her races have had bib chip timing and some lovely woman in her corral took it off for her and literally put it on her shoe to help her out!

And the crowds - definitely a unique crowd for this race - lots of families. I actually got a little misty eyed starting seeing some of the signs of support and kids. I'm special, I know.

Anyways the first few miles I was getting in a groove. Legs were feeling good, I was feeling good, I was enjoying the run and not paying attention to pace, or trying not to.

We hit Cat Hill for the first time and I wasn't feeling lethargic or out of breath. As I was psyching myself out for the long run I was talking to another woman who said to not look at the top of the hill, focus on one step at a time and look down and in front of you. Umm totally works, I used this approach the whole time. I also tried to be a little more strategic and actually run the downhills and open up on them more.

Since I was going long I wasn't racing this at all. I was just running comfortably.

Then, I got to Harlem Hill and all of a sudden a feel a tap on my shoulder and one of my friends and awesome runner, Barbara was beside me. She is pretty speedy but was just running for the hell of it so decided to stick with me for the duration.

This turned out to be so great for me. I was running without music so it was nice to have a buddy and also, she started to kick my ass into gear! I know I would have been easing up more on the west side hills that go round but having her with me and knowing I wasn't tired kept me moving. Plus I stopped glancing at my garmin. And the few times I did I was seeing paces that had I been alone...I would have been telling myself no way I could be running those paces that far into a long run.

Around my mile 11 and around mile 6 of the half I took a gu and we both took a bathroom stop. We actually didn't waste that much time because she told me we managed to split that mile at 9:34! Way to be hustling - but also strategic because we were in a downhill/straight at that point and cruising through the crowds.

I was still feeling really good and once we hit mile 7 we were just happy - more than half way done! Bring on Cat Hill again! We made pretty good time up it. We were semi delirious and talking about strategy for picture taking with him...just how you hike up there to the statue...a couple of women overheard and laughing joined in our conversation. Gotta love runners and distracting yourself!

I started taking water at most of the stops from mile 5 on since that is going to need to be happening with the marathon and left to my own devices I really won't stop. But we were really good about not wasting too much time.

The flats and downhill leading up to Harlem Hill again we were really feeling good and kept up a good pace. I was happy for the company. I can't lie I did steal looks at my Garmin and was seeing us drop under 9 at times and was okay with that. It felt good.

Harlem Hill the second time though. Oy. She was charging up and I definitely used more energy than I would have on my own. I was happy even at this point in my run around 17 miles in my splits were all under 10!

Once we got to the top of the Hill I was just focusing on getting to mile 11 of the race. I actually had plenty to give but was just kind of tired of running and hate the rolling hills on the West side.

I also took another Gu at this point and water knowing we had less than a 5K left. And Barbara at this point said no more stops for us! We were going after it and ending the race strong.

I told her now that I had some hate for her as we upped the pace and that I was probably going to stop talking now and she could give me tough love and motivate all she wanted. Just to not mind if a swear or two came out of my mouth.

This portion of the race sucked - since we were trying to push it, we not only had the runners we had been with to contend with but now walkers and people on their second loop. DEFINITELY expended a lot of energy weaving and chasing her to stay on pace to the finish. She would continually yell that I had better be right behind her. I totally appreciated the tough love she was dishing out!

And FINALLY we were in the home stretch. I ended that race so HAPPY with how my long run had gone. I had energy left in the tank as well even though we dropped the pace for the last 2 miles. My splits for the race are off from what she was clocking since I had the mileage before but the last 2.1 were paced under 9 mins! Umm hi tired legs not so much.

A beautiful example of Negative splits! For once.
My official half time was something like 2:06 I don't even know for sure. But, I was happy I ran it, SUCH a great atmosphere in the park yesterday!

All I can say is - just wow. I am SO happy that she found me for this run. I never would have been pushing anything lower than high 9's. I learned a lot during this.

First - I am 100% capable of this marathon.

Second - Stomach issues are definitely improving ONE stop! One. Speechless. And I ate breakfast and fueled.

Third - I think my Garmin makes me mental. I am obviously too reliant. Every time I saw what we were pacing internally had a minor freakout of oh this is going to explode sooner or later and you'll be walking. Umm no. Direct opposite. Finished STRONG.

I couldn't have asked for a better way to enter this taper. Strong, confident and feeling good.

My sister was in from Miami for the half (side note: I told her pre race to "enjoy" it and after she goes I know what you mean - those hills! still finished in 2:00 even though she walked at some hill points she said!) so after the race I had her take the trek down to our other sisters apartment (all the way down on 23rd hehe) to shower and then get some well deserved brunch + bellinis at The Smith. I am sure anything after 20 miles taste great but was great. We then did a jaunt to McSorley's and the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck (although sadly none for me...alcohol and then ice cream...not a good mix and ice cream in general is a no go).

My body today is feeling great. I am not sore even after 20 miles and hills. I hit the bike and weights this morning and will do a little shake out tonight and probably swim.

If you have stuck with this post this long, you are amazing!!! Thank you.

Anyone else have a long run this weekend - and anyone else training for NJ?! I can't wait!!!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Awake before Sunrise, Asleep before Sunset

Disclaimer: It is 6:30pm and I am in bed writing this post. Yup. Totally ready for the old folks home.

Today was quite the busy day!

Earlier this week I had ordered new sneaks from my running store. I have been having some foot pain for a while now and it was exacerbated after my long runs. I figured, it was because of my long runs.

Then I realized after doing one of my long runs in a different pair of shoes that it didn't really hurt (I still have lingering pain but not by any means as bad). So, I went and switched up my long run shoe. I have been in the Mizuno Wave Creation for the past year or so for distance over 10 miles. The shoes were not old as I have about 6 shoes total that I rotate. I LOVE my Asics Speedstar 6's (which I ran my 15 in lasst weekend) but of course, Asics discontinued them. Sad pants. So since I have had a lot of success in the Wave Creation's I decided to see what Mizuno had similar and wound up taking the Wave Rider's for a test drive and loved them. But, didn't love them in white so had them special ordered in purple for me! (color matters, do not judge!).

The Wave Creation is a phenomenal shoe, I just think my running has changed and it is a big support/stability shoe and I had outgrown needing that SO much.

They came in Thursday but of course didn't get back in time to pick them up from work. So finally got them last night. I want to wear them for my 20 and race tomorrow so today's planned rest day...was not so much.

I wound up FINALLY meeting up with the Hoboken Elysianettes and going for a nice 3.5 mile jaunt with them. LOVED running with the group and am looking forward to more runs in the future with them. It was really nice to have company and a diverse group of runners.

Have to say though my legs were feeling a bit tired (I ran a little over 7 yesterday oops) so here is hoping that the 20 tomorrow are not that painful.

After the run, I made myself some glorious blueberry pancakes and then headed into the city to meet up with my sisters for the More Fitness Half Marathon Expo and lunch.

My youngest sister is in from Miami to run (yay!!!) so that part I am looking forward to but I have no goals for this half tomorrow; it is a training run for me. I plan to go in early and get in as many miles as possible before the race begins.

The expo was a lot of fun! I finally met Jen (HI!!!! can't wait to run soon!) and was able to get some more Sparkly Soul headbands and some treats.

Now, after a day full of activity and a glaring wake up time of 4am, I am fed, in bed nursing a sippy  bottle of Nuun and seriously ready to crash. Non stop day for this girl!

Tomorrow my miles are going to be fueld by thoughts of brunching with bellini's. Because seriously that is one of my most favorite drinks!

Anyone else running the half or have some epic miles to put in for training this weekend?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Diet Changes = Improvement

I have stomach issues, that is pretty much evident in 95% of my posts.

So, finally last week I really decided it was time to buckle down and work on these stomach issues. I don't know why (okay, I do, I hate being on any sort of limiting "diet") but it was about time to get super serious since this was debilitating during my runs.

According to the Mayo Clinic: to reduce bloating, it may help to avoid or reduce the amount of gas-producing foods you eat. Many carbohydrates cause gas, and the following items are common culprits:
  • Baked beans
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Cauliflower
  • Chewing gum
  • Fruits such as apples, peaches and pears
  • Hard candy
  • Lettuce
I would like to note that is half my daily diet. Throw in ground turkey and grilled chicken and that list is what I eat in the majority of my meals. Sigh.

Is it odd just how sad I am about losing broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and apples? Tell me not to eat fried food, chocolate and alcohol (which I pretty much never do) and I wouldn't bat an eye. But losing my favorite fruits and veggies has me dragging my feet.

I am mostly dairy free already - I use almond milk and cheese is pretty much non existent in my diet now (and I do buy the almond cheese which I weirdly love); I do usually have a serving of greek yogurt each day and am going to keep that while I eliminate the other veggies/fruits.

I used to track religiously in MyFitnessPal. Like obsessively track. Where I had to finally cut myself off from it because it was making me neurotic.

However, I am SO thankful that I did - because it enabled me to go back to when I was not having issues and recreate what WAS working for me.

Minus the fact that I was indulging in said foods above a couple things that I noted were:
  • More frequent and smaller meals
  • More protein
  • Carb sources more from grains than vegetable
  • One hell of a lot less "cheating"
  • Nighttime snacking was at a minimum
I have taken those things into account as well as eliminated the offenders above as of last Thursday/Friday - and - dare I start to contemplate - it seems to be having a positive effect.

Sunday the 15 miler had it's moments of disaster - but as I pointed out they weren't AS bad as they have been in the past.

This week, thus far I have had 4 runs - and I not only made it through EACH and every without incident (holler at a 6 miler last night) BUT I completed EACH workout following - lifting and/or swimming - without running to the bathroom in the middle.

I am optimistic.

And this optimism I am hoping carries over to my running. I have been in serious doubt mode lately for my running ability and a lot stems from all of this that was going on.

While I hate to be on a "diet" because this one is seriously limiting and redundent (but hey I was at my fittest and fastest last fall when yay for things to come?) I am pretty sure I hate practically shitting my pants more (yes, I went there).

About 3 1/2 weeks out now from the NJ Marathon, and by golly I *may* be starting to get optimistic about it.

Stay tuned. 18-20 miler on tap this weekend (mixed into the More Fitness Women's Half Marathon) and I may not be dreading it quite as much as I was before...more dreading Harlem Hill x2.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

NYRR Colon Cancer 15K + Marathon Training Lately

Apparently, we are now less than a month out from the NJ Marathon. Ahhh when did that happen?

I am not going to lie, this training cycle has me at times questioning my sanity and at others so looking forward to running another marathon. It seriously changes by the minute.

I think in a way I am getting a tad burned out by always being in training mode. I have been in training since the fall of 2011 without a break. I have some exciting things lined up for summer but as of now, while I am excited at the prospect of the marathon and ultrathon coming up (say prayers for me) I am also really excited for a break. I will most likely still run most days but I am looking forward to less structure.

Anyways. About that marathon training!

Daily Mile is so enthusiatic
I definitely toned down some of the mileage the past couple of weeks. My legs have been quite beat and I have added in quite a bit of cross training. Have I mentioned I haven't gone over 16 miles in a training run? Like I said, say prayers for me and this marathon!

On Sunday I incorporated the NYRR Colon Cancer Challenge 15K into my long run.

Saturday I had volunteered for the start/finish area at the Scotland 10K (by the way, so much fun! although cold). So I only wound up running 3 miles - and was exhausted from getting up at 4:30 and being on my feet until 11:30 so was desperate to finish them and wound up doing them on the faster side. Always smart.

I got to Central Park around 8:45 on Sunday (yay 10:15 start!) picked up my bib, dropped off my bag and began to plug away at my mileage.

I decided to not eat anything before as I wasn't in the mood to deal with stomach shenanigans and hoped this would stop them.

I ran up the east side to the reservoir where I finished two loops before heading back down to the race start. I tried to begin conservatively but started around 9:45 and then progressively dropped the pace each mile as I warmed up. It felt fine but I also knew that I was most likely going to bonk out at some point.

I made a bathroom pitstop on my way down and I reached the corrals around 10:10 and just under 6 miles into my long run pre race. Perfect timing. We started shortly after and I could feel that I was a little tight from stopping but not too bad. My goal was to not really pay attention to pace but I wound up doing those first two miles in the 9 territory. I slowed down a little bit (or well FORCED to slow down by means of rolling hills on the west side thank you no hills in forever for this lady) and then my stomach got a bit off. I drank water starting at the first stop since if I wasn't going to fuel I should probably have some water so you know, I don't die.

I had to walk a little through the water stop down toward the south end of the loop and stopped for the bathroom there. I was frustrated but I also didn't care that much. I was not going for time by any means and while there was no way I could continue to run without the stop, my stomach wasn't AS bad as normal.

Shortly after I bumped into my running partner Tara who was volunteering!

A shining example of just how much I was NOT racing.
I may or may not have stopped and chatted with her for a couple minutes. I was definitely stalling my way back to running. Oops.

From here on out the run definitely got hard. On my way up Cat Hill for the 3rd time I am positive I was questioning why I run. Why another marathon was necessary and why couldn't I be normal and be happy with a one and done scenario. Then we hit the flats and I was all okay this isn't that bad.

Then as we were going across the 102nd transverse towards the west side, again, my stomach went off and I started to 100% psych myself out thinking of the rolling hills.

I stopped for the bathroom again and then was on my merry way.

I was still pacing in the high 9's so that was alright but the hills were taking a toll and my buns and calves were burning up.

Then I hit that magical 8 marker and was all - 1.3 miles, piece.of.cake. and was smiles for the remainder of the race.

15K? More like 15M.
All DONE. Feed me.
I have no idea what my time was for the race. I took breaks, I took my time through water stops and was not running it for time. I enjoy throwing races into training because it helps to pass the time! Overall time with everything included, not too bad. Oh and no fuel for 15 miles, pretty sure that won't fly for 26.2. I will figure it out.

Should I have run a couple more...probably but my rationale is that those hills compensated for a couple miles and NJ is going to be 100% flat. Like I said say prayers for me since that has been my mentality lately about this marathon. I am either going to surprise myself or its going to be pretty miserable. I am running it to beat my Miami 4:33 but other than that my goal race is in the fall, this is for "fun".

Fingers crossed, but the stomach DOES seem to be improving. Did I stop? Yes. BUT it wasn't as bad and I am only at the beginning stages of really taking things out of my diet that "could" be problematic. I did 5 miles last night for recovery that were totally FINE. Then again morning is when I usually have issues, but still. Here's hoping that just under a month out if I keep up this strictness with the diet (more on that later...) then shit (totally intended) won't be as bad.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cross Training Galore!

I want to say thank you for the kind words, advice and support on my angry stomach issues.

I am currently journaling my eats again, limiting a lot of foods, looking into some supplements and saying a few prayers that relief comes soon.

I have had some good runs, but never more than 3 miles without a stop. I am starting to think though there might be a slight mental block though - I pretty much go into EVERY run lately wondering just how far I will make it before I have to stop. While by no means is my GI distress imagined or able to be overcome by just not focusing; I do think I need to stop having that mentality because it can be debilitating. So here's to focusing on positive thoughts during my runs! Mind body connection is huge!

Okay enough about running. If you follow me on instagram, twitter or daily mile you may have seen that I have recently become pretty obsessed with being back in the pool!

I love my gyms pool we are becoming BFF's!
Look at all that sexiness.
I am loving it. It is a totally different workout and obviously is more gentle than running and my arms and back are loving it as well.

I was lucky that growing up I learned to swim at such an early age - I was put (aka thrown - *edit my Dad corrected me and claims I "fell" into the water and that was the start of my swimming career. clumsy from birth. awesome.*) by 6 months and spent every single at a day swim camp - that I am like a fish. So at home in the water. I was on a swim team for a while and man are these swim sessions bringing back the days of freezing our behinds off at 6am practices in the outdoor pool.

The swim coach at the gym watched me and gave me a few form corrections so now I am just working on my stamina and next week will probably begin to do more workouts with structure to them aka speed work, the joys! you can't escape it.

I have also been lifting at least a few times a week as well as hitting the spinner as much as I can. This is all part of the master plan: make Gianna run faster.

And apparently I think I am training for a tri as I did a reverse one this morning: run, bike then swim! So fun.

I will let you know how this works out for me. Or well I suppose you'll read about it in my upcoming races!

I am trying to not stress too much about all the running failures I have had lately. And praying that I make it through the NJ Marathon. I have 3 more weeks to get long runs in so hoping that one of those days it all clicks. And hoping that come May 5th my mental game is strong and I just power through those 26.2 miles.

The good news is that I do feel some progress regarding speed. I am trying to do more runs out of my easy comfort zone.

It's all a work in progress. That is what I love so much about this sport: you can always PROGRESS. The effort you put in will directly effect the outcome. It is all on you. Sure I have my issues with my stomach that are clearly holding me back to some extent; however that is not going to stop me from achieving my goals. Whether I hit my PR's this spring or the fall, it WILL happen. I will make sure that I continue the consistency and put forth the effort and hopefully it all falls into place.

And just like that I want to go on another run!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Stomach + Running = Fail.

So I know I have mentioned in several posts all of the stomach issues I have.

Recently they have just come to a head and I am so frustrated. It is not only disheartening to not know the full potential you could have reached in a race - but also to have it totally interfere with your training.

I have been alright with needing to stop during training runs to use the bathroom. I have long accepted that no, I cannot just ignore it and will it away, I genuinely NEED to stop. I haven't been as strict with my eating since the marathon so I know that there have been times I go into a run with the knowledge that I will probably have to stop.

But Sunday. Oh Sunday.

I needed to get a 20 miler in. 18 at least. I am running out of time before the NJ Marathon and need the time on my feet.

Enter the worst run of my life.

First off I set out outside and it was pretty windy. Ever since the half last weekend, I am SO OVER the wind.

I was doing alright though just kind of started to frolick around Hoboken. With 20 miles to cover I planned on doing a LOT of frolicking around town.

Around mile 4 my stomach started to churn.

It hurt prior to starting the run - so I had 3 Kashi waffles plain before and then waited almost 2 hours just to make sure I was alright.

I was not.

Thankfully I was able to make my way closer to home and made a quick dash for the bathroom.

I was 6 miles in. Argh. I was NOT FEELING this run. I did not want to run anymore. I had some Nuun and a gel because I knew I needed it and set out the door.

The second I started running I knew it was over with my stomach. So I made the smartest decision and ran the few blocks to my gym to hit the treadmill.

I made it in 3 mile increments. Every time I tried to even drink water I had to stop. Around mile 12 I started to get cramps, and knew I was dehydrated and it would be better to throw in the towel soon than push. I finally made it to 15 and called it a day.

Totally frustrated. And pretty defeated.

Now on the bright side, I manage 3 miles yesterday and 2 this morning without incident! Yay. BUT. I like half marathons. I enjoy the challenge of fulls now (enjoy may be over reaching haha). And a couple miles is not going to cut it.


So I am seriously scaling back on what I eat. Going very basic and mundane. I swear this time.

The worst part is, there is not officially 'wrong' with me. I have been to the doctor to try and see if there is...but nothing. That was a couple years back and may be time to explore again since this is really impacting me. I am getting very dehydrated and really cramping badly. And am borderline anemic before (and not to be graphic, but there is blood...yes so sexy. I love describing my symptoms to doctors) and this might be why I get dizzy at times.

The hard part is that it comes and goes. It seemed to go away for a while last year when I was super strict with my eats. So, that is my immediate course of action. Fingers crossed that there is some relief.

Starting this weekend I have a race every one through June and just want to be able to enjoy them. I want to be able to RACE if I feel like it (many are integrated into training runs for the marathon).

I know things could be oh so much worse but I am just seriously tired of dealing with this. And this holding me back.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy April + Sugar Detox

It's April! Happy April Fools Day - and it really feels like Spring out there today. That equals happiness for me.

This week I am taking part in Laura's sugar detox challenge.

In general I don't have a sweet tooth, but there is a lot of added (and often unnoticed) sugar to a lot of "healthy" things that I consume daily.

For instance, I often buy sweetened almond milk, protein bars, protein powders, nut butters, dried fruits, gels and gu's and greek yogurts to name a few and some have alarming sugar quantities.

And, I am a big abuser of "fake" sugar substitutes. Me and stevia are BFF.

It is no secret that I have been having rampant stomach issues lately and think that this could possibly help. If for nothing else - it cannot HURT me any more to see what happens.

More on workout recap and training plans for this week later on.

Hope everyone is enjoying a lovely Monday - I know I had a little extra spring (hehe) in my step this morning since it was absolutely gorgeous!

And don't fall prey to any April Fool's pranks!