Monday, October 28, 2013

Training Lately

Well I haven't bored with one of these in a couple weeks! 

But as I am flying back from a long weekend in Miami at the moment it seemed like a perfect opportunity to catch up! 

The past couple weeks have been hard. Running just isn't clicking for me at the moment. Every run so far has been done with a bit of feet dragging.

I am just TIRED. 

All. The. Time. 

I think my body is a bit over it all at this point in time. I was so ready to be done training and then, DNF at Hartford. The wind was taken out of my sails and I just can seem to get it back. 

My mental state isn't exactly helping my physical performance either. Running just seems HARD. What's that all about? I am ready for one of those runs where it all clicks again and things fall together. 

Hopefully during NYCM. Okay body and mind let's get on board with that as a plan. Thanks. 

Along those lines. NYCM is going to be a training run. I have a time in mind that my coach thinks we should hit pace wise which on one hand should be totally doable (and a sweet PR) - but on the other I want to embrace every moment of New York. I already am emotional reading recaps and advice pieces that I want to be in the moment. 

So what's been going on with me for the past two weeks since Hartford? Here is a brief recap:

Monday: 8 miles - 1 easy / 1 MGP or under

Tuesday: XT and strength

Wednesday: 10 mile negative split 5 easy 5 speedy

Thursday: 6.5 miles easy 

Friday: rest (day off from work sick)

Saturday: rest again

Sunday: 12 miles morning / 3ish night

Total: 40ish

Monday: XT + strength

Tuesday: 11 miles - 6 x 1 mile repeats + 2.5 warm up and cool down

Wednesday: 6 miles easy

Thursday: 8 miles with 10 x 30 hard

Friday: rest

Saturday: Miami Halloween Half + 2.5 miles

Sunday: Flywheel class + 4.5 miles + biking 

Total: 45 

Mileage is still up and will be taking it a little easy this week leading up to NYCM. 

To be brutally honest, yes I am SO EXCITED for this marathon but on the other I just don't want to think about it. All the countdowns and such I am not taking part of. Considering how my running has been lately I am almost in hey lets just try to survive this marathon kind of mode. 

So there we have it. I am sure I will soon enough get fully back on board. Pretty sure I will be caught up in marathon excitement. 

But until then I am just taking each run as they come. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Regroup. Refocus.

So it's pretty safe to say that my confidence is lying in a ditch somewhere in Hartford right now. 

Mentally I am repeating to myself that this was a fluke. 

I was prepared for this marathon. 

Scouring over months of training logs proving that yes I ran the miles and did the work and sub 4 should have been in my grips. Hard, but doable. 

But some times it is so hard to get out of your head. To get out of your own way. Some times our mind can play tricks on us. 

Look a marathon is supposed to hurt. It will hurt. If someone tries to tell you differently, they are lying. Trust me. 

That day for a while I kept trying to differentiate. I spent 33 or so painful minutes trying to figure it out. Heck I was so focused on that from the start; I never even started my music! 

Was this the typical running "suck" was it just that kind of day? Did I totally luck out and was now going to struggle through the entire run? 

Or was something else wrong? 

In the end I choose the latter. I have an absurdly high tolerance for pain. One that usually gets me in trouble because I will brush everything off to "oh running just hurts some times". When I got to the point where I was grimacing and getting pains that would take my breath away I knew it really was the latter. 

I am more or less fine now. I have been more sore and stiff this week than I have in a while but that could also be in part to the strength workout I put myself through (note to self I guess I was half assing strength for a while).

I did a long run the next day. And have hopped right back on the training bandwagon. 

With a little less gusto and a little more reluctance. Okay not quite reluctance more like flat out not wanting to do shit right now. But, I am all in. In theory.

If only my brain would catch up. None of my runs have felt comfortable and have been full of doubt. 

However, I am lucky in a way. 

I am running NYCM in 3 weeks and Palm Beaches in 8. 

I am going to use NYCM as a training run (although we do have a time goal but it's my typical long run pace more or less). 

And then, if all goes according to plan I will be in Florida RACING Palm Beaches. 

It is pancake flat and a smaller race so it has a lot of potential. Just pray the heat won't be too much of a factor. 

So moral of the story is that I have 8 weeks to get out of my head and get that focus back that I had going into Hartford. I was SO confident I was running sub 4 it was ridiculous. I think NYCM will give me the confidence that yes I can do it. And the additional training will have me confident again on pacing. 

There is a bit of me that is begrudgingly still accepting that I am not going to coast through fall anymore. But that's okay. Victory will be that much sweeter having failed first, right?

I'm going to run with that :-)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Hartford Marathon: First DNF

First off I need to start this by saying just how awesome my friends and the running community are; I have never felt more supported in one of the hardest decisions I have had to make.

Now to get down to business. (and grab a drink and snack this is epically long - sorry).

ING Hartford Marathon.

Big. Fat. DNF.

Hi. That was NOT in the plan. Remember that sub 4 or bust plan? What happened to that, that sounded like a lot more fun.

Being in that moment still makes me emotional. There have been a lot of tears. Not in thinking I made the wrong choice rather frustration, anger and disappointment. My body failed me. I trained 17 weeks for this specific moment with a specific goal and within minutes knew it was not happening.

Let's bring it back to the beginning.

The past couple weeks, I have been SO careful. Set myself up for success.

I have done ALL the stretching.

Slept ALL the hours.

Drank ALL the water.

Eaten ALL the things that will not upset my stomach. (seriously, if I see turkey sandwiches and grilled chicken salads again in the near future I might punch someone).

All the things I know can be my downfall but wanted to leave nothing to chance come race day.

I went into work for a couple hours on Friday before heading up to Hartford. I was rested and relaxed. I got to town around 3pm and headed to the expo real quick before checking into my hotel.

I was in the hotel, stretching out and chilling and had a plain dinner of some grilled chicken and pasta before getting into bed before the sun had even set.

No nerves. I had been visualizing for days running a calm strong race. Envisioning seeing 3:5x at the finish line.

I had never felt so absolutely prepared for something in my life.

I slept like a baby Friday night. I do NOT sleep through the night. Minus waking one time and sleepwalking for the bathroom I was out like a light.

Race morning. Wake up with plenty of time to get moving enough so that I can walk out the door with my stomach feeling "settled" and confident that it will be okay.

Had my breakfast. Lubed up to avoid chafing and was out the door only 3 minutes later than I had wanted.

I got down to Bushnell Park right before 7, hit the bathroom line one last time before heading out to warm up a little bit and find the pace group.

My plan was to start out with the 4:00 pace leader and stick with him to ensure I didn't go out with a bang and paced evenly (which was his plan).

Warmed up and was lined up around 7:35 in the corral. Perhaps my downfall that I cooled down. But who knows.

Was super calm, still not nervous. EXCITED. Not nervous. I was ready to rock.

Trusted in my training.

I did get a little emotional during the National Anthem and Invocation (seriously, longest, but greatest invocation). But that is just me I can be a big mush some times.

The next thing we knew, it was the wheel chair start and then we were off!

Oy. The beginning was super congested. I was focused on keeping near the 4:00 pacer.

I briefly looked down and saw we were a good 40-50 seconds under pace but figured that would even out.

My legs felt completely dead. There was nothing refreshed about them. Was just hoping that they would warm up.

Then shortly after the start we were on an uphill (stupid overpasses) as we were going up I felt my calf start to tighten. I ignored it and concentrated on keeping in pace with the group.

We kept going and things kept going downhill. I briefly stopped for just a moment looked down and could see the muscle in my calf spasm. Kept going praying this would stop, that I would feel better and could enjoy some miles before shit was supposed to get hard (because you know this was more like 20 mile kind of pain not mile 2 kind of pain).

Spoiler alert, it didn't. Another uphill and more pain.

I grabbed some water briefly walking and started back up and we were right around mile 3 and I knew it was decision time. DNF started to float around my brain.

Pretty sure this was the point when I started crying while still running and calling all my smart running friends and trainers for advice. But I knew I didn't need it I knew I was done. I knew I was walking off.

Eventually I walked to the side of the course hyperventilating and sobbing.

MAJOR thank you to the course support, friendly runners and spectators that rushed to my aide as I blubbered that yes I was okay but I was cramped up and quitting. But how the hell did I get back to downtown Hartford? I then called my parents barely able to speak as my Dad basically talked me down about how stupid I would be to push through.

I then called my BFF running buddy Tara and she was kind enough to deal with my tears and crying and anger and be my sounding board as I talked it out.

I was also happy to encounter a lovely girl running her first marathon - she crouched down and was feeling faint and I helped her fuel and kept her company for a few miles before I couldn't stand to be on the course any more. It took my mind off of things and was nice to help someone on their first journey.

Meager splits: 8:38, 8:30, 9:00, 8:43

Turned off Garmin at 3.6 officially went off the course at Mile 6ish.

That walk through the finish area, still crying, in pain and pride tattered was not one of my most favorite running moments. It took me the better part of an hour of walking to navigate my way through the road closures and crowds back to my hotel where the only thing I wanted to do was stretch, take a hot shower and get the hell out of dodge.

I am not saying this to diminish the accomplishment of the marathon - but this day was the culmination of 17 weeks of focused training. I began the training with sub 4 hours at Hartford the end goal. I had no interest in collecting a medal and just finishing. I would have probably just thrown the medal in the river.

I could have continued on. Slowed down. Perhaps run my slowest marathon to date. I was not interested in that. As soon as I realized what was going on with my body I knew that if I wanted to not jeopardize the remainder of my fall racing that I should not just run the 26.2 just for the hell of it. I don't need to prove that I can finish it. I know I can finish a marathon when it sucks. Heck I know I can finish an Ultra. This was about being smart and knowing I want to set myself up for the best chance to race again.

I have not a single ounce of regret after having slept on it. Minus the fact that I had to get out there and do a long run this morning. Le sigh. Back into training.

Obviously I have to reassess. My fall was based around Hartford as my go big or go home, the rest just have fun. (and yes I am coming to grips that my form of "fun" is quite sadistic)

Originally I figured I would go for it at NYCM. Now I am thinking more of running my heart out in NYCM but making my goal marathon at Palm Beaches December 8th. Pancake flat and not a big marathon so no crowding. Obviously after running Miami in January I know weather can be a factor; but that is what I am leaning towards at the moment. Clearly awaiting coaches official thoughts as I bombard her with texts :)

I am super excited for NYCM - to just be a part of it, and to be a part of it having raised money for Team for Kids, now that is about more than just ME.

The end of the day. This is just a hobby. Do I love training and challenging myself and striving towards goals? Absolutely. Do I sometimes get a little wrapped up and consumed? Totally guilty type A in that respect. But I can step back and know that this is supposed to be FUN for me as well. Shouldn't cause me more stress. Maybe I need to stop taking myself quite so seriously. Not to say that there was not every reason to be emotional or upset about the DNF but such is life.

I didn't fail. It just wasn't my day yesterday.

If you are still with me at this point, THANK YOU. Thank you for all the kind words and support. Every person that wished me well and then cheered me up brought on fresh tears of happiness and gratitude. It meant the world. (The next time I am crying at a race better be with a massive PR. Just saying.)

And seriously has anyone had a great marathon at Hartford??? Yesterday two buddies told me that they DNF'd last year and for most everyone else they have had a crappy time there. Note to self: more research before choosing goal race (this was chosen in the spring based on timing and location).

And to everyone that rocked the marathon world this weekend, CONGRATS! All inspirational. I will be back November 3rd.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hartford Marathon: Sub 4 or Bust

Alright so I am going to keep this pretty short and sweet. 

This week has been less about nerves than it has in the past. In general, really, there are no nerves. Just a pure sense of wonder. 

Will I be able to do this? 

Have I trained hard enough? 

Did I do everything I could to this point to set myself up for success?

The answer is, honestly, yes. 

I am sometimes way too hard on myself and do not give myself enough credit for what I manage to accomplish.

This has been a pretty damn awesome year for me.

I started a job in March that continues to evolve into something I love coming to (even those weekend days – annoying but I still like working!) With this job I have met some pretty damn awesome people who have become very close to me. (In fact, I owe the majority of my NYCM fundraising to their amazing generosity!)

I ran 2 marathons and an ultra marathon earlier this year – when as of October of last year I was dead set against EVER running a full marathon in general. 

After racing most weekends in spring I gave myself a whopping 2 weeks off after finishing a full marathon, 10K, half marathon and ultra marathon all in May - before diving head first into training again with my new coach. (and, note my first week consisted of a trail half marathon in Miami…I sure am sadistic). 

At the same time I was working 12 hour days preparing for our news network to launch. 

That meant 4 am wake ups and sacrificing sleep at every turn. 

Looking back I have no idea how I made it through summer without completely shutting down. 

I have FELT speedier. I think my training times SHOW I am. But with the marathon there is just the constant sense of wonder.

So let’s lay it out GOALS

As if we all don’t know what I want.

A: Sub-4 – it can be 3:59:59 and I will consider it a success

B: 4:05

C: PR = Sub 4:26

And there we have it. 

I might go radio silent a bit as I just absorb this time leading up to the marathon. 

Originally my buddy was going to travel up with me, but doesn’t look like she can and that is alright. In a way I need the time to be by myself and focus. 

I plan to have fun in this marathon and enjoy it, but I also plan to race. This marathon, I mean business.

I have felt very introspective. Kind of odd for me. I am a little bit scared by my goal but I do have confidence in myself. Just trying to maintain an air of calm. I just keep visualizing running strong and running my race. 

And with that, let’s bring on the race. 

Less than 48 hours to go. And about that long until I have this beauty hanging around my neck. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Hartford Marathon Training Week 16


Okay, actually less than a week, SATURDAY it is finally here.

I am oddly still not stressed about this. To be honest on one hand I doubt my ability for it to happen and on the other I keep visualizing coming in under 4 hours.

Time will tell. Race day I will run my heart out.

So here it is my final week of training...since this week is all easy and shake out runs. Two runs stand between me and another round of 26.2 miles.

Monday: 75 minutes on the spinner - I was actually really happy to not be running, legs were TIRED!

Tuesday: Last HARD workout - Pyramid: 1.5 Mile w/u @ 9:35 / 2 miles - 8:27 / rest .25 @ 10:00 / 1.5 miles @ 8:13 / rest .25 @ 10:00 / 1 mile @ 7:53 / rest .25 @ 10:00 / .5 @ 7:30 / rest .25 @ 10:00 / c/d 2 miles @ 9:30 - I felt phenomenal during this workout!

Wednesday: Morning - 30 min easy elliptical / 30 mins strength - I planned to do my easy run at the gym but had NO energy so saved it until after work - Evening - 6.75 miles: 9:17, 9:24, 9:15, 8:59, 9:18, 8:09, 8:21 (.75) - my legs were DEAD I forgot my Garmin and arm band so had to hold my phone and use mapmyrun - I thought I was barely breaking a 10 min mile and at the end of the run when I checked was shocked at my splits. Oops?

Thursday: 8 Miles with 6x2min and 4x1min surges during run - I did this on the treadmill - kept the pace 9:40-10:00 min with surges between 8 and 8:30 pace. Couldn't wait to be done! Sometimes running slower is harder than running that just me?

Friday: REST!!!! Seriously becoming a favorite. Why did I never take rest days? #idiot

Saturday: Long Run - 10:00, 9:46, 9:50, 10:09, 10:03, 9:56, 9:47, 9:50, 9:45, 9:42, 9:01 (.13) I was under strict instructions to keep it slow and no problem I wound up having to work so was beat after

Sunday: Easy run - 9:55, 10:01, 10:00, 9:58, 10:04, 9:58 - Oh hey summer and humidity #strugglebus this was not fun but it kept me slooooow - I was DRENCHED!

Total Miles: 40.38

And now this week holds for me lots of stretching and taking it easy.

I am looking forward to it. The taper hasn't really affected me as much this time. Probably because ahhh I am still running 40 miles weeks!

I feel so much stronger with my running but I just am hoping that my legs start to feel more rested. I will be stretching like it is my job. And hopefully keeping off my feet as much as I can when not necessary.

Almost race day. 


Bring it. Like whoa.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

My Decison to Get a Running Coach

So in one of the most epic fails of my blogging, here I am officially a week out from the marathon and haven't really spoken about how/why I choose a running coach! 

My goals for a 4 hour marathon pretty much existed from the time that I began training last fall for ING Miami (my first marathon). All those pace prediction calculators had me dead set on getting as close to 4 hours as possible. 

As that marathon blew up (humidity, heat...that whole training in winter then running a marathon in a different climate) and I finished in 4:33 after a great half time I realized that I had quite a bit of work to do to get near that goal. 

Then enter an insane spring which included running races most weekends, multiple half marathons and another full and an ultra marathon. 

And, missing my spring goal of a 1:50 half marathon by a mile - in fact I didn't run a single half marathon in under 2 hours all spring (most were training runs after the first epic fail at the Allstate 13.1 New York).

I knew immediately after running the first marathon that I had lost a significant amount of speed (in the fall I ran 3 or 4 half marathons under 2 hours - my first of the season in 1:54 and my final in 1:53 so I had a pretty consistent fall race season). 

As I trained during the spring, I had the mentality of just getting through it mixed with having fun, but that I needed to step back after and readjust my training and expectations to really RACE a marathon. I knew that meant focusing on a goal and not running a race every weekend. I ran the NJ Marathon in 4:26 kind of not really taking it seriously and my final race of the season was the Dirty German 50K which was hands down one of the most awesome experiences of my running career to date.

Around that time I stumbled upon the instagram of Coach Karen! (Twitter too!)  I saw that she was local to me, one heck of a speedy runner and started emailing with her about my goals and possibly taking me on as a client. 

We finally met face to face to discuss where I was at and my goals and I was sold. I love her holistic approach to training and health in general. 

With making the ING Hartford marathon my goal 4 hours or bust marathon - we had a lot of work to do and pretty much had to start right away.  

This was my only downfall, I never really got a "down time" from training. I have pretty much been in a consistent training cycle for 2+ years. 

What I love? 

Taking the guess work out of what I need to do. In March I also started a new job which entailed a LOT of work. I love it but the hours were insane and still can be. 4am wake ups have become way too normal in my life as have 10-12 hour work days...and weekends.

I am not the person that needs the motivation to do my workout BUT I live for accountability - and if you tell me I am to run xx amount of miles in xx:xx I WILL run that come hell or high water. I hate disappointing myself and others so I approached training as a non negotiable. Reporting back my workouts has been perfect.

We had planned to meet for track work in person, but again my work schedule kept hindering that so we were only able to do two together. Which I am sad about but it's just a fact of life. 

I love my google doc and anxiously awaiting new workouts (especially speed work, I seriously LOVE it now!) to be entered. 

I love that if I have an off day or for instance am sick (aka when I lost a week of training with the flu) she can readjust everything and tailor it to what is going on real time. In the past I would have just been afraid to sway from my plan and would barrel on through - not always for the best. 

What I do know? That no matter what happens with Hartford, training with Karen has made me a MUCH stronger runner. And SMARTER.

I typically run 5 times per week with my schedule - but am running same/more mileage than before when I was running 6-7. Cross training is a non negotiable as is a rest day. And let me tell you - I embrace the heck out of rest days now! The quality of running is so much better. The balance is finally there. There is a WHY behind every workout I do. 

I already have told Karen that I want to keep her on (umm forever basically) for my spring goals but apparently I should really just focus on Hartford at this point ;-)

She is so wise. And I fully trust in the training.

So basically, love Karen, love this training cycle (although so ready to race) and this was the best decision I could have made to help me achieve my goals. 

A final side note: ONE WEEK UNTIL HARTFORD!!!! Just. Wow. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hartford Marathon Training Week 15

Yay for the taper!!! 

This time around since I have trained so differently and since I have a couple marathons under my belt, tapering doesn't seem quite as awful as it was before. In fact my week of workouts was still pretty tough and mileage high! 

I will take it versus the taper crazies I got the first times around.

Monday:  Regular run - 5 miles (Garmin free) ~ 9:30 min miles 

Tuesday:  Tempo 8.25 miles: 9:31, 8:41, 8:41, 8:41, 8:39, 8:34, 8:29, 9:26, 9:30 (.25)

Wednesday: Cross train 80 mins + full body strength circuit

Thursday: Speed! 800's!: 2.5 mile w/u @ 9:50 then 10 x 800 (goal 3:55) 3:53, 3:53, 3:53, 3:52, 3:51, 3:51, 3:48, 3:48, 3:46, 3:45 - 2.5 mile c/d @ 9:15 - 800's had about 2 mins active rest between 

AND I took yoga at night! Namaste :)

Friday: REST and boy am I embracing rest days!!!

Saturday: Long Run: 13.25 miles: 10:06, 9:38, 9:45, 9:40, 9:32, 9:21, 9:31, 9:24, 9:07, 8:49, 8:56, 9:41, 9:15, 9:00 (.25)

A tale of two runs :)
Sunday: Shake out: 7.05 miles: 9:19, 9:00, 8:57, 8:57, 8:58, 9:14, 9:06, 8:44 (.05) 

(and insert my gorgeous views)

Total miles: 45:05 

How's THAT for taper!  

(and I think perhaps losing several inches of hair is making me faster? more aerodynamic? solid reasoning, right?)

Overall, I am feeling good. A bunch of good quality workouts in there. I had stomach issues and was a little discouraged...until I realized it was that time of the month (TMI?)...after almost 20 years of having my period you would think I would know...sad but true I never put two and two together. Oops?

The 800 workout? Awesome. I pushed for pace and felt strong throughout. 

The long run was a breeze. Seriously you know you are a marathoner when you look at 13 on the schedule and don't consider that a long run. I rolled out of bed and hit the road. Then realized I was creeping on MGP towards the end so decided to throw down some miles at pace. I felt it but it felt good to push it. 

Then there is my "shake out" run on Sunday. Which I did all at MGP. Oops? Or yay that tired legs had it in them to do the whole run at goal pace? Not sure which but while yes I am feeling comfortable at pace, I still can't fathom the entire 26.2 at it. 

But regardless as I keep telling myself - the training is there. It is just me and the road on race day. What happens, happens. I am seriously NOT stressed about this (yet, try me again perhaps at the end of next week). 

Still a little shocked that it really is almost here!!! <insert giddy scream>

11 Days until GO TIME.