5 weeks until the Mountains to the Beach Marathon. I have been struggling with two things. First, running downhill. This has been going of for several weeks and it seems to be getting better but it isn’t 100% better yet. I have been using the COMPEX machine, extra exercises to isolate the weak muscle, and running in areas that don’t have a lot of downhill. I am still not 100% sure I will be able to run M12B because of all the downhill so San Diego is still a possibility.
Second, I have been struggling during my long runs (anything over 2 hours) and not recovering quickly. So this weekend my coach gave me a run of 3:20 (total running time this week was 7+ hours, that is HUGE for me). She rarely gives me a run that long but she knew I needed a bit of a confidence booster. I had told myself if I couldn’t run at least 3 hours successfully, then the marathon was out for this year.
After this I managed to run the last 20 minutes with no issues! BOOM!!! During the run I was totally on top of my nutrition, hydration, AND salts. I had a protein shake immediately after running. And after I took a shower, I spent 30 minutes in my Rapid Reboot recovery boots followed by a nap!
I feel AMAZING today!!! You have to plan your runs AND recovery!!! It is so important!
Graphs by SportTracks
This is encouraging… You can see that I am increasing my total miles each month but also decreasing my pace. This is exactly what I need to do to meet my goal of Boston Qualifying in May.
But we have an issue… running downhill hurts. CRAP! The race I am signed up for is mostly downhill.
Mountains to Beach Marathon
So if I can’t run downhill we may have big problem on our hands (left knee to be more specific). I saw the doctor yesterday and he confirmed what my coach thought was the issue, a weak VMO. So the plan is:
- Stay off downhill running for now
- Work on strengthening the VMO
- If downhill still hurts in 3-4 weeks, change race to Rock-N-Roll San Diego
San Diego Marathon
Wow… I am actually writing a race report. This means I actually finished a race that involved me running. YAY!!!
The Pacific Half Marathon is a relatively local race that is fairly challenging due to the hills. This was the first time I had run the course but I had re-run some of it and I was fairly familiar with the whole course. My expectation for the race was to hopefully run under 2 hours due to the hills. My race plan was to run to feel, run even, run hard, and not walk any of the hills. I conveniently covered up my watch so I wasn’t able to see my splits or HR data and I just ran to feel. Below are the details.
I am THRILLED with the race! I ran 1:52:12, 8:33 min/mile, even with all the hills! That pace is less than 10 seconds off the pace I need for Mountains to the Beach at the end of May. It was a hard race but I was never working outside of myself. This was the confidence boost I needed! Only issue I had was a small amount of knee pain when running down one of the hills later in the race. That has me a little bit concerned since the upcoming marathon is mostly downhill, but not as steep as the section that hurt.
Best part of the day was having a stranger come up to me at the end complimenting me on running a good race (he couldn’t catch me). My run was good enough for 10/124 for my age group, 38/676 for women, and 168/1381 overall!
I am still here! I promise!!! Life has been busy so here is an update on all things Becca.
My training is humming along. My fist big race of the year is coming up in May. I am running the Mountains to the Beach marathon in Ojai/Ventura and I am hoping to qualify for Boston again. I have to say, I am not totally sure it will happen this time. I am still working on my speed and endurance. I was thinking during my long run this last weekend that as long as I only have to really suffer during the race for 60 minutes I think I can manage that. Luckily I still have 11 weeks to prepare so there is time! The road to recovery has been slow!
I am starting a coaching business. I have some long term goals to transition from my normal 9-5 line of work to work that is full of my passion, endurance sport! If you are interested in working with me head over to Head Down, Do Work coaching. I will have my USAT Level 1 certification complete by the end of this month! I already have a few clients and I am really enjoying it!
That is what has been keeping me the busiest lately! As always, my Instagram is probably the best place to see what I am up to on a daily basis since my blogging is seriously lacking!
Not gonna lie, I had big plans for 2017. Unfortunately, blowing out my calf in February took me out of every race after that. No Boston Marathon and no Ironman Wisconsin. It was quite a bummer. 2017 totals are below and my race schedule for 2018 is updated on the blog here.
I am happy that I managed to finish the last couple of months of 2017 very strong and I think I have set myself up to hit 2018 running, not walking. Graphic by SportTracks, my source of truth for all my activity data.
Smart trainers are all the rage right now. Cyclists and Triathletes are usually willing to shell out money for anything that may help raise the beloved FTP (Functional Threshold Power). I am typically a late adopter to new tech. I like to KISS (keep it simple, stupid). I just want to do my workout and not have to mess with a bunch of stuff!
Well, Black Friday came and my darling husband couldn’t help but get me a Wahoo Kickr of my own (he already has one). I am a HUGE fan of TrainerRoad to run my cycling workouts. I either use their training plans or when I am working with my coach she will prescribe or even write me workouts in TrainerRoad. I have been very happy using my Kurt Kinetic Road Machine for the last three years and was very resistant to change. Anyway, I finally set up the trainer and have spent the last two weeks on it WITH a new higher FTP…. aaaand I love it!!! I truly think this will help me become a better cyclist for three reasons.
- There is no hiding from the watts, ever. When you use the Kickr in erg mode, TrainerRoad controls the resistance, as in how many watts you are pushing. There is no escaping the effort.
- Higher cadences are encouraged. For some reason, pedaling faster makes the watts feel easier. I was usually comfy at a cadence between 85-90. On the Kickr I am happier around 95.
- Recovery intervals are finally done right. I had a bad habit of over-riding my recovery intervals. With the Kickr, there is no way to over-ride them!
OK. I survived! I used the TrainerRoad 6 week Sweet Spot Base Mid Volume I training plan to work on increasing my FTP and it was super successful!
I did an FTP test when starting the plan and tested at 175 watts. I was pretty sure I just had a bad test (I am new to the 2 X 8 minute test) so I trained at my previous FTP of 185. There was only one workout I had to dial back and I only traded one workout for an outdoor ride sue to travel. Essentially I rode my bike 5 days a week as prescribed!
I did my FTP test yesterday and NAILED IT! New FTP of 194! I am getting closer to 200!
I am moving on to the next phase for the next 6 weeks. After that it is back to working with my coach to fine tune things for my upcoming races. First big one will be Mountains to the Beach Marathon where I hope to punch my Boston ticket!
I am planning. Honestly, I never really stop planning. It is no secret that my goal is to qualify for Kona. Earning a spot to Kona is dependent on how I place at a race. It isn’t just based off a time, like the Boston Marathon for instance. But that hasn’t stopped me from setting some goal numbers that I think will put me in the best possible position to earn that slot. I am a big believer in stating my goals out loud; it keeps me more accountable. So here are some numbers I am working on.
- FTP (Functional Threshold Power, how strong I am on the bike): 200 watts. Currently at 185 so I am getting close!
- Normalized Power: “An estimate of the power that you could have maintained for the same physiological “cost” if your power had been perfectly constant, such as on an ergometer, instead of variable power output.”- Training Peaks. I want to push 160-170 watts per Ironman ride.
- Weight: 125 pounds. I got down really close to this for Ironman Arizona. This is all about clean smart eating. Currently hovering close to 130.
- 100 yard swim pace: 1:30/100 yard for an easy/moderate effort. Currently swimming happily around 1:37ish/100 yards.
- Marathon Time: 3:40. I have run this before, and as long as this recovery keeps going well, I will run it again (hopefully in May!).
Ironman is such a big race that I have to break it down into manageable chunks or it is just overwhelming. I really hope to put this all together in the next couple years (before I turn 45 would be awesome!).
I have no real races on my calendar until May. Therefore I made the tough decision to take a break from being coached and manage my training myself and with the tools I have available. As soon as I start training for my marathon in May I will start back up with Jen. She has done so much for me and I believe in her training. I just needed to give myself a break when there was no upcoming race.
My plan for the next couple months is to use the training plans available in TrainerRoad to work on my cycling, run as much as I comfortably can, and swim around 10K a week.
The running is coming along pretty well. I had a tough week in early October where I was convinced that I may be developing another calf tear. So, I backed off for a couple weeks and then went back at it. Lesson learned, I need to take a recovery week while building up my running volume.
Swimming is swimming. Nothing exciting to report there. (but my Coeur Kona bikini is pretty awesome)
The most excited thing I am doing is using the Sweet Spot Base Mid Volume 1 training plan from TrainerRoad. The way the plan works is pretty slick and I am really enjoying it! I didn’t have a great FTP on the first day so I kept my original FTP and so far I am completing the workouts as prescribed! It will be great to see how I respond after the 6 weeks.
This year has had it’s ups and down but I completed my “A” race while in Kona!
I had been training for this for a couple months since chugging beer is new to me (despite what you may assume about my college days). This race is a bit of a secret and luckily I overheard some talk of it at a party on Friday night Kona. Sunday at 5!
So Sunday, we packed up our gear and headed over to the race venue.
The race was a bit harder than I expected. I had only trained up to two beers and found that beers three and four were much harder to get down (mental note for the next time I race). You can see in my splits where the wheels started to fall off the bus. The odd numbered splits are beers, the evens are running.
I did an extra lap at the end because I puked while getting my 4th beer down. #respectthebeermile.
Overall I am happy with my race. Since this was my first beer mile I was just happy with a finish! Oh, and there were a couple of pretty seasoned athletes there as well.
One of them even tweeted about my performance!
And for my review of my performance after the race:
Thanks goes out to my amazing sponsor Coeur Sports. No matter how long or short your race is, they have you covered. And of course I couldn’t have done this with out the amazing support of my husband, Stuart. Thanks for offering to hold my hair! I would do the same for you but…