Month: May 2016

2016 Mountains 2 Beach Marathon Race Report

This was the first stand-alone marathon I completed since the fall of 2011. When I first signed up for it my goal was to have a successful marathon but nothing crazy fast (for me). I just wanted to run a good race and enjoy it. After Oceanside in April I realized that I was actually running pretty close to BQ pace so maybe I should go for it. After that I trained with that goal in mind!

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The race started really early, 6:00 AM, which is really good for me. I do so much better in the cooler temps so the early start and perfect cloudy/overcast weather were perfect for me. I started with the 3:43 pace group (I was shooting for 3:42 or faster) because I wanted to keep myself from going out too hard. My plan was to stick with them until 6 miles and then assess how I felt. But by mile 3 when the downhill finally started I was finding it hard to stay back with them. I let myself run my pace but I watched my HR very closely. The only numbers I was paying attention to were my mile splits and HR. As long as those numbers were good I wasn’t going to push it much harder. Original goal was just to run 3:42 but I had set my watch pacer to get me 3:40.  I knew that if I ran 5+ min under my BQ time I would pretty much be guaranteed a spot in Boston. At mile 8ish I finally looked at the pacer screen on my watch and saw that I was spot on for a 3:40. After that point the goal was nothing above an 8:25 mile as long as my HR was still aerobic.

Stuart was amazing! He found me all over the course. If you want a race that your family can really see you at, this is it.

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Mile 7

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Mile 9 coming in for my first Red Bull

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Mile 10 ish

There was a bit of a hill after 15 but running up felt good for a change. Around 17-18 I saw Stuart again and got my second can of Red Bull. I followed my nutrition plan all day. Water at every aid station, Cliff Shot every 5 miles ish (alternate chocolate and mocha), and Red Bull at miles 9 and 17.

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I want that can!!!

 

By 18 things were getting a bit tougher. My knees were getting a bit angry but I just kept an eye on my pace and HR. I knew if I just kept it up I would have my BQ by 5 minutes. By mile 21 I was starting to struggle but I knew it would be over soon. Luckily/unluckily the road surface of Ventura Ave is kind of crappy so instead of focusing on my pain and discomfort, I concentrated on the road and picking the cleanest and easiest line.

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Mile 21- focused on the bad road surface

The last 3 miles were really tough. I had looked at my watch finally to see how far ahead of the pace I was. I saw I had a 1:20 lead over the pace and I was just hanging on to NOT let that get below 1:00. That was all I could focus on. It wasn’t until Mile 21 that I finally was running in my threshold HR zone. I wasn’t maxing out so that was good!

I was dying for the finish. I didn’t know exactly where it was. Once I knew I was close I really kicked it into the highest gear I could. 3:38:56!!! I am going to Boston!!!

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The race has a net downhill and is very popular for local runners trying to get a BQ. What made this a benefit was there were so many people cheering in their Boston Jackets on course. It really helped keep me focused on the goal. They even have a gong that you can ring if you got your BQ.

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It was a super successful race. I met every goal I set for myself. When you look at the data here, you will see how controlled my HR was and how even my pace was. I was only 10 seconds slower in the second half over the first! I owe so much of my race to my Coach Jen. She trained me perfectly to meet this goal.

I owe a ton to Stuart for the day! He was everywhere on the course taking awesome pictures and keeping everyone informed of my progress.

Boston here I come!!!

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Race Prediction

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Some of the newer Garmin devices have a cool feature that predicts your time for certain races. I have been looking at this metric on an off for the last 8 months but with increasing frequency as I get closer to my upcoming marathon. I also found an interesting thread on Reddit about the topic.

At this point the watch has a lot of my recent running data so it should be fairly “tuned” in to  me. I would love to think I could run a 3:27 but I think that may bit faster than I can pull off. Although, it has me thinking, if I am feeling good maybe I shouldn’t slow my pace too much!

3 more sleeps until race day!

For the record, here are my goals

A: 3:42 or faster, I think this gets me the cushion I need (3 min) to get into Boston.

B: 3:45-3:43, This gets me a BQ but not a mostly-guaranteed spot.

C: >3:45, this gets me nothing but a marathon finish, which is something in itself!

Race Ready? I think so!

My marathon training in the past has been very different. Usually it was 16 weeks with several longs runs throughout. My coach Jen, takes a different approach to training for a marathon especially since we are balancing triathlon training on top of it! The big difference is I don’t run as much as I used to. For some this might be a bit unsettling but Jen hasn’t steered me wrong in the last three years so I am sure she has this figured out! I recently had two chance test my fitness. I did the Wings for Life World Run where I tried to run my goal marathon pace (8:27) for the race. Nailed it!

Then yesterday I needed to run 2:30 hours at zone 1/2 heart rate. I picked a loop to run that was a change of scenery for me but allowed me to circle back to my car for supplies if needed. My goal was to run at least 9:30 or faster but really pay attention to how I felt and keep it easy. At the end of the run I was supposed to be able to keep going if needed. Nailed it again! I managed 17 miles in 2:32:07, average pace of 8:57. And yes, I totally could have kept running!

So I have entered a bit of a taper until the race on May 29. I am doing my best to not mess anything up and just keep following my training. I am working to eat well so I can show up to the race at a good-for-me weight. I am making sure to stretch and keep my body happy. And I am doing a lot of positive self talk. It is going to get dark on race day around mile 18; but I know I can push through. I have done it before. On race day it will be time to trust the training and believe in myself. 3:43 or bust!!!

Back At It!

A couple weeks ago I did a number on my back. I didn’t have much time to fix it because I have an upcoming marathon that I am hoping to qualify for Boston at. So I made a call to a fellow athlete since I knew she had a guy. Enter Dr. Chris at Complete Performance Center. After checking me out we did some treatment for the next 2 1/2 weeks. Treatment included stim, stretching, and a couple of adjustments. By my second visit I was already feeling better! Now I am happy to say, my back is better and the stretches he gave me a doing wonders for me! Look at the data from my last two Yasso 800 runs.

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These 800s were all run in the same place. Only real difference was a headwind for the run back.  I was faster this week. Not a ton faster, but I will take any improvement I can get. Also, after the Wings for Life Run last weekend I got a notification from Training Peaks that my threshold run pace had gone down 2 seconds to 8:10. Once again, not a huge improvement but considering I wasn’t running at max effort and actually had a very reasonable HR this is great news!

So this has me VERY hopeful of running my goal marathon of 3:43 in two weeks. That is a pace close to 8:27 per mile. One more week to put a bit more hay in the barn and then I get to burn it down!

Motto right now is fear the training, not the race!

2016 Wings for Life World Run

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This is/was not your typical race. The finish line chases you and the the last one standing is the winner. Oh, and it is happening in 33 countries at exactly the same time! If you ever have the chance to do this race DO IT!!!!

I ran it last year and had so much fun I had to do it again, even though it meant a 2:00 AM alarm and 4:00 AM race start. Quick summary of the format. You start running and then 30 minutes after you start a chase car stars driving after you. When it passes you your race is over and you hop on a bus to go back to the start.

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Last year I made it almost 20KMScreen Shot 2016-05-09 at 10.13.51 AM

This year I made it over 23KM! And I cracked the top 1000 world wide!

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The goal for the race was to run it at my upcoming goal marathon pace of 8:27/mile. You can see by the data that I managed to do that no problem plus I wasn’t even running at my higher HR. I needed a boost to my confidence for the upcoming marathon. This marathon will be my only shot at qualifying for Boston for awhile. I really want to do it. After my run Sunday I really think I have a chance!

Ironman St. George 2012 Race Report

On the 4 year anniversary of my first Ironman I thought I would re-share my VERY long day.

See Becca Try to Tri

Wow, where to start…  The race report is going to be brief because I don’t want to get into every little detail about the race but give you the highlights of the day.  If you have any specific questions, leave me a comment and I will gladly fill you in!

The last weather report we got for race day predicted a perfect day for the event.  Low to mid 80s and a slight wind.  That was not the case at all.  The swim started off fine.  I was worried about the mass start because I have never done that before.  I didn’t have too much trouble finding open water to swim in and didn’t get whacked around too bad.  We all has no idea what was coming our way.  The race was essentially a big rectangle with three 90 degree left turns.  When we made it to the first turn…

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Set Back

I overdid it two weekends ago while volunteering at a track meet. I helped carry a double pop-up tent a fairly long way. I was fine that day but as the week wore on my lower back got worse and worse. By Thursday I struggled to get out of bed. Once I am up and moving I feel better but getting up and down is a problem.

Even though my back was sore I still went running, because that is what you do! Well, I tripped and fell…

IMG_0277.JPGIt is really just a nasty scrape and a couple of bruises.

What I am struggling with is how much rest do I take to let the back heal up and how much of an impact will it have on the marathon that is less than 4 weeks away? Shooting for a BQ wasn’t even on the radar before Oceanside 70.3. But now I see this marathon as my only chance for this year;  and I really want to do it.

A bit of doubt has crept into my head. I think if I can be running again by tomorrow/Wednesday I still have a chance. I am not ready to throw in the towel but I don’t want to make a bad decision over one race.

Stay tuned…