Just Breathe

Seems so simple, right?

Remember last week when I mentioned I was just getting over an upper respiratory infection? Yeah, I completed the 5 day Z-pack last weekend, but sadly I still had a lot of chest tightness and trouble breathing.

It felt like I couldn’t take a deep enough breath so I just kept taking lots of shallow breaths all the while my chest feeling really tight/congested. I somehow stuck to my Tuesday/Thursday runs but at the end of them I was waaay more out of breath than I should’ve been. I felt like I ran really hard sprints after just a couple of miles.

When I set out to do my long run of 18 miles yesterday, I got no farther than a mile from home and was waiting at a traffic light to take me into the park, when I realized there was no way this was going to happen. I was out of breath after less than a mile.

I turned around and ran home, rinsed off and took my butt back to the doctor. After explaining my symptoms and rehashing the past month of terrible running, Brandon having pneumonia and a course of antibiotics not making me feel better, the doctor decided I should either have a breathing treatment or prescribe me an inhaler. Apparently, there has been a lot of respiratory stuff going around here recently and she said I presented as such. Asthma-like symptoms, etc. So I stayed and did a 10-15 minute breathing treatment where I breathed in albuterol to dilate my bronchial tubes.

It made me pretty jittery afterwards, a common side effect, but the doctor said she could hear a big difference in my lungs than before the treatment. She said the effect would peak about 15-30 minutes after the treatment and I should be back to normal.

It made a BIG difference! I felt like I could finally breathe again. She said not to attempt running again that day, so I took advantage of my free morning to run some errands.

Then, Brandon and I met up with our friends downtown for an O.A.R./Carbon Leaf concert!

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It was a blast – despite getting poured on for about 15 minutes!

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I woke up this morning ready to tackle my long run. Again, 18 miles on the schedule. It was a beautiful morning, in the 60s, sunny skies, light breeze.

I brought my headphones but didn’t end up using them for the whole 2.5 hours, I just wanted to see how I was going to handle running. I was off and found running to be A LOT easier than it had been for the past 3 weeks. I actually had hope that I’d be able to complete this run.

So, I did what any marathoner would do. I kept running. And running… And I wasn’t gasping for air. My body felt strong and I wanted to go faster, but I knew I’d never finish if I went my usual 8:30 pace as I was doing before all this began. So, I kept it around a 9:00min/mi and felt really good for the first 10ish miles of the run. I ate some PowerBar energy chews, got some water and was on my way.

Then the hills came. More hills on the second half of my run than the first and I think they were a little too aggressive for me just coming back from all this. My longest run since Labor Day was last weekend at 12.75 miles, so I knew the last few would probably not be as fun as the first.

I ended up running 16.5 miles and I’m really happy with that.

16.5

18 just wasn’t in the cards today and I don’t want to stress my body more than it has been over the past month.

The doctor gave me an inhaler prescription to fill if I want to, which I haven’t yet. I’m thinking I may though because I want to be able to finish out strong for this marathon. At least getting all (or most of) my miles in.

After my run today, my chest is a little tight (understandably so), but I may take an appointment with the pulmonologist just to make sure everything is ok.

My hip has been doing exceedingly well throughout all of training this summer. I do PT exercises during the week to keep it strong and ice it occasionally when I feel a tinge of pain. I’m so thankful I don’t have that to deal with, too.

One thing that having an injury taught me (last winter) is that now, I train more conservatively. The goal isn’t to run 18 miles because my training schedule said so. The goal isn’t to even run this marathon in a month.

The goal is to be runner for life. Maybe not a marathoner, but a runner.

I don’t want to be over-zealous now and eff up my body for the rest of my life. It’s just not worth it to me. No time goal is worth that, no distance goal is worth that. Just being able to run.

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I’m a pretty simplistic person, really. I’m happy with the small things in life. So give me a few minutes of your time and go on a run with me; I’ll be a pretty happy camper.

I was really frustrated by this setback since I had really high hopes for September. My training over the summer was going really well and I was getting pretty fast. But again, while I may be disappointed about slowing down, I’m still running.

I leave for Naples, FL on Tuesday evening so I’ll be running my long run in FL on Saturday! I’m hoping the humidity won’t kill me since I’m just bouncing back, but I only have 10 to run, so at least I won’t be out there forever.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

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Getting It Together

Sunday I busted out 12.75 miles. It was my first long run since Labor Day and I was kind of dreading it. Sort of like that first workout after a long hiatus; I knew this run probably wasn’t going to be the best I’ve ever had.

It went well overall and I even tried some new energy chews from Nutrilite.


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I really enjoyed the flavor of these guys. Last year for Savannah I trained primarily with fruity supplements on my long runs. This year I want to gag when I taste those flavors. Heck, I actually did gag on my 18 miler a few weeks ago when I attempted a Gu.

I’m really digging the citrus flavors in my sport beans and these chews are really good, too. They’re not sticky like the Clif Block Shots and they’re small enough to manage to chew while I’m running. 2 servings come in a pouch, so that makes it easy for me instead of carrying 4 packs of another brand. Try them out!

So, the chews helped me out on my run and so did the fall-like temperatures. It was somewhere in the 60s Sunday morning and a little damp from overnight rain – perfect running conditions. I even ran a new route for the first 6.5 miles which helped break up the monotony long runs have plagued me with this summer.

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Pretty pleased with the overall time considering my extreme lack of running over the past 2 weeks due to my upper respiratory infection and chest congestion. Can you tell when I hit the big hill near home?

I’ve also managed to change jobs right in the thickness of marathon training and recovering from being sick so.. I just have a lot going on right now.

I did manage to run tonight. Only 2 miles with Owen. Seriously though, I’m just glad I ran. I almost said forget it..which I’ve been doing too often lately during the week.

Even going for 2 miles means I went and I can get used to running 3-4x/week again. I know there’s not much left of training but I feel like I have so much time to make up for. Obviously, I’m not going to get those 2-3 weeks back. I’ll just have to make the best of the situation and run with the training I’ve got under my belt and anything I can gain over the next 40 days.

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When you break it down, I have:

18 miles this weekend
10 miles next weekend with Dawn
20 miles on October 6th with Tyna

then it’s taper time!

13 miles, 10 miles, then it’s the Marathon!

How is it so soon, already? Knowing myself, I don’t what to look back on this training cycle and have regrets.

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I know I can’t help getting sick, especially with a respiratory illness, but from here on out I’ve got to stick with my weekday runs. Just running long runs on the weekend isn’t going to make for a happy marathon day no matter the goal.

There, it’s on the internet so I have to follow through, right? Winking smile

 

Have you been struggling or embracing your workout plans lately?

Stronger, Better, Faster, Then A Really Hot Run

Rewind! Still catching up from the past week of running. This is a pretty loaded post so stick with it! All my cheering for the Olympic gymnasts and swimmers this past week has infiltrated into my normal life. Carrying on..

Last Saturday’s run was fun! I took my sport beans with me again on a 12.5 mile run. My schedule called for 12 miles at a 9-9:15min/mi pace, but it felt too good to slow down around mile 8. After that I just wanted to punch them out.

For those people who like numbers:

saturday 12.5mile splits

I did pretty well staying on/around pace like I said, until mile 9, then I hit a flat part of my route and was ready to feel the wind in my face.

Or the bugs getting stuck to my sweaty skin.

Either way I was ready to kick it up and I did for the last 3.5 miles.

Afterwards I got ready for the day and spent it with Brandon and my parents, who were visiting us from Indiana!

My mom took all our pictures from the day, but after we visited the farmers market and lunch, we took Owen to the park and lake to swim.

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“Let me in!!”

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Finding a good throwing stick..

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I’m free!!!

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Fetch…

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Guys, I’m really hot.

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Family picture before heading home to doggie ice cream and fro-yo!

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My parents enjoying seeing Owen swim despite it being 2398423 degrees outside. Afterwards, we pretty much spent the rest of the day watching the Olympics.. nothing better!

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I spy a compression sleeve.

Tuesday’s run this week went great! I know it sounds like I have great runs all the time, but trust me, I don’t. This one just felt particularly awesome because it was my first time doing this workout and I really surprised myself with how well I was able to execute it.

The workout:
10-20 minute warm-up
3 x 1600m (3 min. RI)
10 minute cool-down

(1600m = 1 mile)

I woke up to this weather:

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Glorious! My coolest summer run yet this year!

Here are the splits:
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You’ll notice I got really fancy after having this Garmin for 7 full months and figured out what the “lap” button was for.

Splits 3, 5, and 7 were my mile repeats with the 3 min rest interval in between plus a warm-up and cool-down. (Was that a run on sentence?)  Super fun!!

Remember how I said last week my legs were KILLING me after my Tuesday speedwork sesh? I think my body did some major damage repairs because I feel REALLY strong this week. I  didn’t experience anywhere near the pain this week as I did last week.

I love it when I can see (feel) progress!

I finished up my workouts for my step-down week with 10 miles as my long run before I begin building again. I always feel so refreshed after these weeks. They help keep me motivated for the weeks to come where I’m running half marathons every weekend + some.

Tonight I ran my weekend long run of 10 miles. I’m going to visit my younger cousins this weekend so I want to spend all my time with them instead of on unfamiliar roads.

Tonight’s Splits:

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Two words; Heat. Kills.

It was about 85 degrees during my run but thankfully there are water fountains along the way. No sport beans though. I had to walk a couple of minutes during mile 7 and 9. I normally don’t walk but the heat just really got to me.

When I got home a chugged a PowerAde, took a shower, and refueled with the best recovery drink ever…

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Chocolate Milk!! They may be for kids but I look like one, so it works.

Ok time to pack, eat dinner, and go to sleep.

Don’t forget to set your DVR’s to record the Track and Field Olympics starting tomorrow! The women’s marathon is this Sunday so check it out! (Go Kara!!)

What keeps you motivated for your long runs?
Have you had any cooler temps this week?
What do you eat/drink for recovery?

Stilettos? Nah, Sneakers all the way

It’s that time of training again. I’m really excited about running the marathon.

That puts me in an overzealous buying mood and I want all-things-running.

Remember how I said I need new shoes? I went to Fleet Feet Winston-Salem last week after work and had a great fitting by a guy named Thomas. He was so helpful!

I’ve had my eyes on the Brooks Pure Project shoes since they came out last fall. Screen Shot 2012 07 16 at 7 39 08 PM
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Once I saw this post from Janae who got to visit Brooks headquarters, I was really intrigued and wanted to go in for a fitting. I realize it was a sponsored post, but I’ve heard great reviews from other runners as well. (P.S. Janae is one of my favorite runner/healthy living bloggers to follow!)

I have my heart set on the Flows or the Cadence. They’re basically the same shoe except different price points because the Cadence has more “bells and whistles,” so says the guy from Fleet Feet.

I was kind of bummed when I was talking to Thomas about the shoes because he told me it’s not a shoe you can just go out and run all of your training runs in right away. Since they’re considered minimalist shoes, you have to start out slow, going only one to a few miles at once. He said it can take up to 4-6 months to fully transition depending on how you currently run. He’s currently transitioning and he’s on month 2. Marathoner and all.

Apparently he’s seen injuries ranging from sprained muscles to stress fractures because people are too quick to up their mileage in them. One mention of the word injury and you’ve got my full, undivided attention.

I didn’t leave with the shoes.

My current running shoe is Brooks’ Ravenna 2. In February they came out with the 3 and like the saying goes, “if it’s not broken don’t fix it.”  I think since they’ve been such a good shoe for me during PT and after, I’m going to stick with these.


(Ravenna 2)

Except I’m probably going to upgrade to the 3’s for a few updates.


(Ravenna 3)

There’s actually another shoe I want for my long runs that Thomas suggested, but I’m not sure I need to buy 3 pairs of shoes at once. (You’re welcome, Brandon!)

In reality, my current Ravenna’s could last me a few more weeks, so that will give me some time to decide for sure what I’m going to do.

In other running news wants, now that I’ve fallen in love with The Grid as my foam roller, I really want The Stick.

I bought the grid as my travel foam roller for the NYC Half Marathon because it would easily fit on my carry on. I liked it, but it was a big step up in density (more firm) from the previous foam roller I used and took some getting used to. Now I love it and can’t get enough, the ridges on it make it hurt so good.


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I mainly want the stick because I can use it at work on my quads.


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I tend to feel the majority of my soreness there, especially the day after a hard run. Plus, it comes in travel size so I can take it on road trips to “destination” races.

Does anyone have The Stick and like it?
What running needs/wants to you have?

Keeping Up

I wrote the following post last Thursday, just haven’t had time to publish it add pictures. It’s pretty direct, so I apologize for the lack of writing style. For your reading pleasure:

Marathon training is going well, I’m in my 5th week out of a total 18. I had a low-mileage week 2 weeks ago when a random Wednesday night concert was thrown into the mix and I couldn’t get my Thursday tempo run in. Follow that with an only 6 out of supposed to be 10 mile long run that Saturday. Truth be told I felt like I was getting sick that weekend and just couldn’t run any longer in the heat that Saturday.

Last week I had a decent speed workout on Tuesday but the rest of the week was great. Instead of cross-training last Wednesday I ran 4 miles then on Thursday did a 5 mile tempo run. Last weekend was also the first Saturday I’d gotten up to run a long run and actually felt like I was in training. I slept in my own bed, woke up before the sun, ate my usual waffles + PB and water, grabbed my sport beans and was out the door for 11 miles.


                                            (Not my picture)

That was honestly the first run of training where I felt like I’m getting stronger. The distance seemed easier, my form felt good, breathing was in sync with everything, and I loved my route. I decided there is no. way. I am going to be able to train with gel this year. I bought several packages/flavors of sports beans and wanted to give them a shot this summer. Verdict? I really like them, just not the fruit punch flavor. It reminds me too much of the gel that I used last summer and when I’m running and think of that, I literally almost vom.

Seeing how I need all the electrolytes I can get, there will be no vomiting while I run. No thank you.

The Sport Bean package was easy to carry; it’s even resealable so I can eat a few then close it up so they don’t spill everywhere as I run.

Pink Ribbon Sport Beans - Fruit Punch Flavor
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I like the actual size of the bean. I like Clif Blok Shots but they’re so gummy and big it’s really hard for me to run, chew, and breathe all at once.
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                                Sport Beans                            vs.                Clif Blok Shots
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The small size of the jelly bean is good for me, even though I eat them one at a time. Safety first!

Coming into this week I’ve had some pretty strong workouts following suit with Saturday. Tuesday was my best ever speed workout to date. Not in terms of actual speed, but in the way I felt during the workout and hitting good splits.

tuesday speedwork splits

Time to play a guessing game! Which splits were my intervals?

SPOILER ALERT: Miles 4-6!

The whole workout looked like this:
10-20 minute warm-up
6 x 800m (90 sec. RI)
10 minute cool-down

(800m = 0.50miles)

That workout really did a number on my legs. They were killing me the rest of the day/evening despite wearing my compression sleeves to work all day.

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I did a lot of foam rolling on Tuesday evening and even iced my hip and knees as a precaution. Bedtime was an early one at 8:45 and I slept for 9 glorious hours. I awoke to refreshed legs, but I didn’t want to overdo it, so I grabbed Owen and we were out the door for an easy 1.5 mile run.

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It was his first run since he was sick a week and a half ago, plus he hasn’t been running with me in the heat so I wanted to take it easy with him. Even though the run was short I came inside and did plyometrics focusing on core and back strength along with some PT exercises for my hip to keep me strong and pain-free.

Thursday was a 5 mile tempo run but as I was running it on the route I chose, I realized it was going to be more of a hill workout than a tempo run. I tried my best to bust out the splits, but those hills are no joke.

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I.E. mile 2 and 5.

Now I rest until Saturday when I have a 12 mile run at 9:00-9:15min/mi pace planned. My parents are driving down from Indiana tomorrow, so it’ll be an early run to maximize family time!

One other note I’ll add is that this humidity is AWFUL. I usually start my runs around 6:15am-6:20am and it’s so hard to breathe through the thickness of the air.
I think I already mentioned this, but since my hip injury I haven’t been able to use the treadmill. I am missing it sorely these days.

Last year I’d save my weekday runs for the afternoons when I got off work and hit the gym to bust out 4-8 miles 3 days per week. This time around I’m running before work Tuesday-Thursday and it’s not exactly a walk in the park with the weather. In addition to the humidity (even though temps are between 71-75 degrees) there are hills no matter which way I turn out of my neighborhood. If it’s downhill on the way out, it’s uphill on the way back.

Yeah yeah, “hills are speedwork in disguise” but I’d really rather just have one route I could run that’s relatively flat!

This has turned into a novel but now you’re caught up!

Enough about me:
Are you training for anything?
How do you deal with the heat and humidity?
When do you run during the day?

Race Recap: Fun 4th Freedom Run 10k

As part of my training for the Marine Corps Marathon, my plan had me running 8 miles this past Saturday. There was also a race in Greensboro and I thought, no better way to spend my miles than at my first Greensboro Race!

My friend Tyna, from Winston-Salem came over to run it with me as she is also training for the MCM.

We started the morning off at 7:15am with a 2 mile run before the race so we could get all 8 miles in for the day.

I’ve never split up a long run during training like this, but since it’s early on and a special event, I thought it’d be worth it. The weather was perfect during the warm-up and we had a pretty easy route around downtown Greensboro. We finished within 20 minutes of the race starting.

After our 2 miles we met up with another runner friend of ours, Erin. We had some confusion before the race as to where we were meeting, but we found each other in plenty of time before the start.

I will say that since this is one of the smallest races I’d participated in over the past 2+ years, the starting line was a little confusing. Runners were corralled behind the starting line in no particular order so if we weren’t paying attention we would have ended up pretty close to the front. We started somewhere towards the middle of the pack though and we were comfortable there.

Starting Line:


(photo source – On the Mark Sports)

Up until the week of the race I had been planning on taking it easy and just running for the fun of it. Once race week came I (of course) started to flirt with the idea to run for time. With the heat and humidity that crept up as the morning wore on though, I knew at the starting line I wasn’t going to be racing. It’s too early on in marathon training to go all out and risk injury, especially after my first week just wrapping up. The race was supposed to count as my long run anyway, so I was fine going at a comfortable pace.

The course was beautiful and I got to see areas of Greensboro that I didn’t even know existed. Course Map


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It was a hilly one! It was pretty much half shaded and half in the sun and thankfully some generous homeowners along the course set up sprinklers for runners to run through.

There were lots of water stations along the way, some of which I drank and some of which I poured down my back. The volunteers were amazing, calling out times at each mile marker, cheering and using noise makers for support, along with manning the water stations along the entire course.

The run went well despite the hot and humid conditions, but I was a little bummed that I couldn’t run for time. There is no way I could have run at my usual 10k training pace that morning. I went into the race a little hungry and under-hydrated, too. The last 0.2 miles though, the course flattened out and I picked up speed towards the finish line. I finished strong with a time of 54:38, an average of 8:49 min/mile (official results from the race website). I placed 10th out of my age group…but I have no idea how many runners were in my age group. hah

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Waving to Brandon, about to cross the finish
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Tyna finishing!!

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After we were across the finish line we waited for Erin to cross and dug into the post-race snacks; bananas, oranges, bagels, bread, Krispy Kreme glazed donuts, Gatorade and water. I had half a banana, some orange slices, a quarter of a bagel, and washed it down with some Gatorade + water. It was a good spread!

The best part was the misting tents they had set up!


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Not quite like that but it gives you an idea. We stood under those a bit after we finished refueling then went to see our posted results. Can I put one of these on my “training plan wish list” for use after my long runs? No? No takers? Meh, there’s always Christmas.

I would definitely consider doing this race again. It was so nice to wake up in my own bed on race day and in combination with the packet pick-up, crowd/volunteer support, entertainment/announcers, post-race spread, and fast turn around on post race results, it was a great first Greensboro race experience.

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Did you race this weekend? Are you racing on the 4th?

 

Weekend Race

Week 1 of training is almost complete! Wednesday is my “we’ll see how we feel day” for marathon training. If I’m feeling strong I may run a few miles or if not, I’ll cross-train at the gym. This week I cross-trained an did a Body Pump class. I would’ve liked to also do elliptical or the bike beforehand, but it wasn’t in the cards. The class was good as always, but I kept my weights lighter than I usually would chose for legs so they weren’t too fatigued for my 6 mile run Thursday morning.

Thursday morning came and I could definitely tell I went back to Body Pump. I wasn’t too sore, but my legs didn’t quite feel refreshed. I’m ok with that though because learning to run on fatigued legs is part of training. The leggies (yep, that’s a word) are going to get fatigued on marathon day; better to practice before then.

The 6 miles were good. It was my first tempo run and I did a straight out-and-back course.

I’m not very good at slowing down after the tempo part is over though..

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Case in point: Mile 5.

It was supposed to be 2 miles easy pace, 2 miles tempo (gradually building up to a faster pace), 2 miles easy. Clearly I had a need for speed. In all fairness, mile 5 was the downhill of one of the biggest hills I run so I had some extra “ump.” Just like mile 2 was the uphill. Why slow down when you can fly?!

So yeah, tempos are supposed to be slower than my interval days on Tuesdays but faster than my long runs on Saturdays. It’ll be interesting to see how I progress over training with tempo runs. Once I’m in a groove of running fast I don’t like to slow down. Learn child. Learn.

Today is a scheduled rest day, which I love that Fridays are rest days BTW. I can tell I’ve stepped it up with training in the past week because I’ve been a little extra tired and hungry. Just when I got into the groove of eating while not training I have to switch it up once again. Last night I was in bed by 8 and slept through the whole night. 9 hours on a weekday? I’ll take it!

Tomorrow I’m running the Freedom Fun Run 10k here in Greensboro.

It will be my first Greensboro race (shame on me) and my first official 10k. I’m really excited for it! I have two friends that are running with me so it should be a good way to kick off training. Since my schedule calls for 8 miles tomorrow, I’m running two miles before the race to beat the heat. We’re having our first summer weekend with temps over 100. Oi. The joys of summer in the south!

Do you have any Fourth of July races planned?

Yoga and Speedwork

In going with my theme of quality over quantity this training period, I have designated Monday’s for Yoga, Tuesday’s for interval runs, and Thursday’s for tempo runs.

I started the week off on Monday with a Yoga for Athletes online class. (The link will take you to the class if you’re interested in trying it.) It’s taught by Sage Rountree who practices yoga in the Raleigh-Durham area; about an hour or so away from me. Here’s more about her background and the class:

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This online yoga class for athletes and everyone is part of a weekly series taught by Sage Rountree, an endurance sports coach, runner and triathlete herself. She regularly writes for Runner’s World and Yoga Journal online and has several books and DVDs. In this particular class, we look at our nemeses: poses that frustrate us. Find more freedom in Warrior I; fly into crow; open into camel; experiment with really letting go in corpse pose. Along the way, you’ll build strength, flexibility, focus, and the equanimity to approach both the poses you love and the poses you find challenging.”

It was a good class, the first of hers that I’ve practiced, but it was pretty slow for me. I like power or (vinyasa) flow style yoga the best, but I still learned a few good stretches I can incorporate during my post-run cool downs.

If you’re interested in more Yoga for Athletes- style classes, here is a list of DVDs I found on a Runner’s World forum.

Yesterday was my first speed work day and I must say I am a huge fan thus far. It was a cool morning here in NC (around 60 degrees!) and I got a tough workout in before 7:15am; a great way to start any day. 

intervals

Breakdown:
10 min warm up
6 x (1 min fast, 3 mins easy)
10 min cool down

I saw lots of other runners in the neighborhood I ran in; just another reminder that I love doing this!

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And.. I’m back!

3 months later I promise I’m still alive.

I strongly believe that if you’ve got nothing to say, don’t say anything. So that’s how it’s been lately.

Sure, things have been happening and I’ve been running (infrequently but we’ll get to that…) but I really didn’t feel the need to update you on my daily life, seeing how this is a running blog.

About that infrequent running.

After the NYC Half Marathon I felt like I needed a break. Mentally and physically I needed a break from running. The physical therapy and the “training” leading up to the half was exhausting and stressful. That’s not why I run. I run to be free, happy, and healthy.

Although I made a huge PR even coming off an injury I definitely needed some time off. So I took it.

I ran a totally of 5 TIMES in April. May was a little closer to 10 but definitely not the standard I’d made for myself over the past 18 months.

I had some good and bad runs, but I was still running and that’s all that mattered.

I needed the time off to prevent burnout from my upcoming marathon training, to get my head in the right place, to figure out some goals, and to enjoy a social life again.

Thankfully I can say it was just what the doctor ordered, because now I feel like I’m supposed to be where I am at.

Last year during marathon training there was a stint of time where I traveled about 8 out of 10 weekends in a row between weddings, celebrations, and beach trips. This summer was much like that but instead of falling during marathon training it fell before hand. I am SO thankful for that. I feel like I can 100% focus on training this bout and not feel guilty about cheating myself.

So what have I been up to?

In April I celebrated my 25th birthday at the beach in Hilton Head with family.

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In May I organized a beach camping trip with a group of our friends.

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Then Brandon and I went on a cruise leaving out of Puerto Rico and sailing the southern Caribbean to St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Barbados, St. Lucia, and St. Maarten.

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In June we visited my little brother in D.C. who is interning with a major company for the summer.

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I also realized I was less than a month away from marathon training so began to up my mileage. Imagine my surprise when I was still pulling out runs in the 8:xx min/mile.

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Then we celebrated a friend’s birthday in Charleston, SC..

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And I wrapped up my travels with my best friend’s bachelorette party in Las Vegas last weekend!

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(view from our hotel at The Cosmopolitan)

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(early at Marquee)

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(Bride and Matron of Honor)

During these exciting few months I’ve been thinking of my goals for the Marine Corps Marathon and what kind of training plan I’d like to follow.

Since running my last marathon I was surprised at my speed when I began training for the NYC Half Marathon, so I’d like to incorporate speed work in my plan this time around.

It seems as though I could be prone to injury, so I’m looking for quality than quantity out of my next training plan.

Going along those same lines, I want to practice yoga at least once a week to help prevent injury.

Today I sat down and vowed to not get up until I had made my plan. I did just that and am excited for the next 18 weeks leading up to my second marathon!

I’m glad I got fueling mostly under my belt during training last summer, but I definitely need some tweaking in order to feel 100% confortable on race day.

Here’s to another training cycle to 26.2!

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Pintrest1

 

What my last marathon taught me

As with all things you experience in life, once you’ve done it you know better for next time.

Here’s a list of some of the things I learned from my first marathon. Some things I’ll keep and others to improve on.

1. You can’t run every training run at race pace.
 
Otherwise you’re running the race. Mixing up your run speeds gives your body room for improvement in speed, agility, strength, and the prevention of injury.

Tempo runs, hill intervals, mile repeats, fartleks (Swedish word for “speed play”), long runs, Yasso 800s, recovery runs, easy runs. They all serve a different purpose and help you in training.

I plan on mixing up my training this round and quit trying to be a speed demon for every workout.

2. You don’t have a license to eat everything in sight.
I haven’t touched much on nutrition throughout the blog and that may be surprising for some considering that’s what I do for a living. I’m being honest when I say eating to fuel your body for a marathon is completely different than a “healthy diet” or eating for fat loss.

Proven fact: You cannot follow a fat loss diet if you’re training for a marathon. Unless you want to continually bonk out.

Carbs give us marathoners fuel to burn for our long runs in training and for the actual race. Fat loss diets (I’m not talking Atkins here) include restricted carbohydrates, particularly simple carbs (white breads, pasta, even candy..that’s all Gu and block shots are, anyway). Simple carbs are the carbs most valuable to marathoners before training runs and leading up to races. Complex carbs (whole grains, sweet potatoes, brown rice, etc.) are our recovery carbs.

So, while I’ve noticed since I’m getting closer to the NYC Half and my training runs are increasing in distance, the hungry monster has returned.

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It’s everywhere I tell you.

While anyone that knows me, knows I love food (hence the name for this blog) it’s kind of annoying being hungry all the time now.

Since I had from December-February to “eat normal (every 4-5 hours)” a.k.a not every 2-3 hours, I realize how much I actually had to have been eating during marathon training. Granted, I choose healthy foods 80-90% of the time, but that other 20-10% you can bet I was eating cookies.

Those healthy foods were also pretty heavily focused on carbs and processed foods.

This time around my goal is to be smarter with my diet. Over the past several weeks/months I’ve been making the switch to less processed, more whole foods. The other side of that is the more whole foods one eats, normally it’s harder to get in all the calories you need because whole foods are naturally lower in calories and fat. That’s where nut butters and cooking oils come into play.

As a registered dietitian I obviously know what to eat but sometimes all that just gets thrown out the window. It’s all about balance.

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This just goes to show that knowledge does not equal action.

 3. Sleep
I feel like I always win in this category. However, it didn’t always start out this way. When I started training for my half marathon in February 2011, I noticed how continually tired I was when I being upping my mileage each week. Each night I was forced into bed at an earlier time because I just was not functioning on 6 hours of sleep.

When marathon training came around in summer of 2011, I was used to a 9:30pm bedtime. So my 8.5-9 hours of sleep each night are now a staple in my life.

Sleep is when our body regenerates, repairs, and moves learned information from short-term to long-term memory. Crucial factors while training and life in general.

4. Alcohol
If you’re a runner, you know alcohol doesn’t mesh well with the running lifestyle. Even in college I was never pumped to spend 2-3 nights a week drinking with hangovers lasting the entire weekend.

Now that I’m an adult not only is that frowned upon, it certainly isn’t conducive to productive training runs.

I’ll go out for drinks maybe once a week and usually limit it to 2-3 drinks while I’m out. Drinking just isn’t a priority to me and hasn’t been since I graduated college. Being hungover is not worth it anymore, even if I don’t have a planned run the next day.

Research has proven that not only does alcohol affect sleep, it reduces muscle recovery, cancelling out gains made from workouts. (source)

5. Hydration
I was awful at hydrating during my long runs outside over this past summer. I got this for Christmas and am changing that stat.

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                                    Nathan Speed 2 Hydration Belt

6. Race Fuel
I did a pretty good job of experimenting with difference race fuels during my long runs last summer. However, my fueling strategy wasn’t 100% on race day. I hate Gu’s; the texture makes me want to barf. I tried other brands and PowerBar is good, but I still can’t suck down the whole packet.

Cliff Block Shots are yummy, but they get stuck in my teeth. Smile pretty for the race pictures with gummies smeared across your teeth! Yuck.

I didn’t hit a wall or anything during the marathon, so the calories, electrolytes, and hydration were good for me. I just need to figure out what kind of fuel I’m going to use in October so I can stop wasting time at aid stations.

I’m seriously considering Swedish Fish or Starburst jelly beans. Better stock up this Easter!

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Epitome of simple carbs, remember? I’m not too worried about the electrolytes I’d be missing if I were using an engineered sports product (Gu); I’ll get that from the sports drink on the course or put it in my hydration belt.

So there’s my quick list of some things I’d change and others I’ll stick with.

Now you tell me:
What things (if anything) do you want to change for your next race?