Marathon

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!!!

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Garmin Race Predictor

You may not know this but if you have one of the newer Garmin devices that estimates your VO2Max you also have a race predictor. Apparently, it uses your VO2 Max with your gender and age to predict how you will do at different races. I am currently training for a marathon so I thought it might be interesting to see how accurate this function is. Below is what my crystal ball Garmin 920 is predicting as of today, September 15, 2015:

IMG_7795

This is based off my estimated VO2 Max of 46. It will be interesting to see what I actually run in November. The watch has captured a lot of running data so you would think it could be pretty accurate. Do I think I can run 3:36 marathon right now? No. But it is nice to know my watch thinks I can!

Marathon Math

Ironman St. George is only 4 weeks away and at this point I have felt pretty good about everything except the run. Until last night.  I had a pretty successful run (9:22 average pace) in which I used a run/walk approach.  I managed to do 6 miles and it was the least painful run I have had in a long time!  This is also due to the success I am having with physical therapy (working on strengthening my glute medius).

But as I was running last night I remembered something I heard on a podcast about marathon math.  Once you have hit the half way part of a marathon you start to do marathon math.  Here is how it works.  At 13.1 you are half way done, at 16 miles you only have 10 miles left; 20 miles you only have a 10 K; and then at 23 you are just over a 5K away from finishing.  For me, setting these intermediate goals within a race really help me get past the overwhelming feeling you can get from thinking about running 26.2 (or more) miles.  This marathon might end up being a mile-by-mile effort but hopefully I will be using my marathon math as well.

29 days to go…but whose counting!

November 2011 Training Summary

My plan for the month!

Training Summary

  • Running – 84 Miles / 15:53
  • Swimming – 10 miles/ 5:49
  • Biking – 134 miles/ 9:03
  • Total Distance – 229miles
  • Total Time : 32:48

Races

I did two races this month.  First was the Santa Clarita Marathon.  This was a backup race in case I didn’t BQ in Portland.  Since I did, my plan for this race was to run smart and recover well.  One out of two isn’t bad!  I totally hit the wall at 20ish but I recovered great and felt awesome after the race!  The coolest part was I was the 4th woman overall and I won my age group!  My next race was my first Ultra marathon, a 50K with over 5000 ft of climbing.  I was hoping to do it in 6 hours.  The weather (it rained for more than half of it) and my lack of training specifically for this race played a big part in why it took me over 7:30 hours!  But when all is said and done, I am very pleased with the accomplishment of completing an ultra and three big races in 6 weeks!

Notes on Month

It was a funny month because of two big races which means a lot of recovery time and tapering.  Because of that my times and distances were down from previous months.  Except for my swimming that is…  I used the need for recovery and tapering to increase my time in the pool.  I am very happy to say that my speed that I had this summer is coming back.  I never thought I would enjoy swimming without my master’s team but through the help of some workouts designed by a teammate, I have been trying to make effective use of my time in the pool.  One notable thing was I did 50 miles on my new tri bike.  That was the furthest I had ridden it so far!  I also have been a little better about more consistent core work.

Goals for December

  • I am trying to work on my running form but I am not so sure now is the time to do it…
  • As I say every month, I need to increase my bike mileage
  • I want to have a well-defined plan for my Ironman St. George race.  I will be starting training specifically for this race towards the end of the month.
  • Improve my nutrition
  • Keep smiling through the tough times!

I invested in a pair to help with my running form. I am only walking in them!

2011 Santa Clarita Marathon Race Report

4th OA women, 1st in my age group!

In 2006 the Santa Clarita Half Marathon was the first race I ever ran.  After that experience I started to fall in love with running and have been continuously racing marathons, half marathons and triathlons.  So this year I signed up for the full marathon in Santa Clarita as a back up race if I was unable to Boston Qualify in Portland.  Luckily I did BQ in Portland so this race became a training run for an upcoming 50K as well as a practice in race execution and recovery.

Kwicky Blade-Light Runs laced and ready to go! (Marathon # 2 in this pair!)

I got up race morning, had trouble getting any solid food down but I had an Herbalife shake and some coffee so I wasn’t going into it with a totally empty stomach.  The race start was cold and rainy but that has always worked well for me so I was happy to get started.  My plan was to go out easy and try to get faster as the race went on.  Well as usual I went out too fast but my legs felt so good.

Around Mile 7 I met a really nice guy, Iyob, who I ended up running the next 10 miles with.  Iyob really helped get me through the middle miles because we were talking the whole time(about running of course).  When we got to mile 13-14ish and we ran through the aid station I found out I was the 4th women overall so far!  At this point I started to focus on not letting anyone pass me and hopefully catch one of the other women.

But as the run went on I started to hit the wall hard at 18.  My hips and knees were getting angrier and angrier as I ran on.  Another runner who had been following for awhile caught up and tried to help push me along, but I was fading.  I just tried to stay on top of my nutrition and NOT walk no matter what! 22 until the end were terribly painful.  About a half mile  before the finish I saw my first ever running partner and burst into tears, but I kept running.

I finished the race and found all the people I had been friend-ed by on the run.  We had a big group hug and got strangers to take our pictures.  It was the friendliest race I have ever run.  Not only that, it had the cutest and sweetest kids at every aid station.  I hobbled to my car, put on some dry clothes, and hobbled back to see how I did.  I was thrilled to see I had come in 4th women over all and 1st in my age group with a time of 3:46:04! I made the leaderboard;  I had never done that before!!

So back to my original plan for the race, I totally failed at the pacing plan.  I went out too fast and died the last 6 miles.  But I was much more successful with my recovery this time.  I ate well, often, and very soon after the race.  I also went home and soaked my legs in a very cold swimming pool and then wrapped my knees with Arctic Ease wrap.  Instead of curling up in bed I kept moving; this was the best thing I could have done.  It is two days since the marathon and I am barely sore!  Which is a good thing because I have a 50K in less than 2 weeks!

Click here to see all the Garmin Details…

October 2011 Training Summary

Training Summary

  • Running – 101 Miles /15:39
  • Swimming – 4 miles/2:25
  • Biking – 131 miles/9:55
  • Total Distance – 236 miles
  • Total Time : 28:52

Races

My “A” marathon of the year was this month, the Portland Marathon.  I had been training for it since July and had realized in the last 8 weeks of training that I was really close to Boston Qualifying.  With that in my head I gave it all I had and successfully qualified for Boston by running 3:34:43.  I had a very difficult recovery because of what an intense effort it was for me but I was finally feeling pretty good about 2 weeks later.

Notes on Month

My overall distance and time was down quite a bit this month due to the taper before the marathon and the recovery after.  I am shocked to see I still ran over 100 miles for the month!  This whole month was really eaten up by the marathon.  But I think it was worth it!  The rest of the month was just about trying to maintain since I have another marathon the first weekend in November and my first 50K on November 20th.  I am really looking forward to the 50K.  I think I will be challenged in a way I never have before.  I think it will be a good test of my will as I get ready to start training for my first Ironman…which I am registered for!!  Thanks to my Cook Train Eat Race Team, I am registered for Ironman St. George on May 5, 2012!

Goals for November

  • Successfully complete another marathon and my first 50K
  • Begin to work on correcting my running form (get off my heels)
  • Increase my swim volume (I have lost a lot of speed in the last three months)
  • Work on a new more consistent training schedule
  • Try to be at peace with my life (long story)

My new favorite shirt...

Portland Marathon 2011 Race Report

About 10 months ago joined Twitter after listening to the Geeks in Running Shoes podcast.  They used to do this thing called the “Twitter Search and Follow” and my interest was peaked to finally looked into Twitter.  One of the first people I met was a Teri (@runnerteri).  After a few exchanges it turned out that Teri would have been my pacer at the 2010 Portland Marathon had I stayed with the group.  After the warm reception from her and a couple other Portland Runners (@julierje, @Sarah430, just to mention a couple), I decided that I needed to come back to Portland to run this marathon again.

It wasn’t until that last 6-8 weeks before Portland did I realize that I might be in a position to qualify for Boston.  I had said a long time ago that I wanted to do Boston before I was 40, but I had lost sight of it because I just never thought I could run the needed pace for 26.2 miles.  But since I picked up triathlon I had made some huge gains in speed and endurance.  I ran Portland last year in 4:21 and I had to run sub 3:40 this year to qualify.   That was over 1:30 faster per mile!  After a couple confidence boosting races (Vineman and the Half Marathon of the Harbors), as well as some very strong support from my running community I finally started thinking this might be possible!

So with the hay in the barn, I flew off to Portland to “get it done”.  Pre-race was awesome.  I met up with Teri, Julie, and Courtney; three of my Twitter/Dailymile Friends.  It was great to meet them finally!  We even got a quick little run in down by  the river on Saturday.

Race morning went very smooth.  No problems getting up, getting ready, getting fed, and getting to the start.  We managed to park right behind my corral which was perfect!  Met some really nice people while waiting for the start; two men who were doing all 50 states, and someone else with whom I had a shared friend (small world).  Courtney found me in the corral and we waited for the start.

As usual I went out a little bit fast but I was feeling great!  I needed to run 8:20 minute miles to come in under 3:40 but I really wanted go for 8:15 minute miles to give myself some cushion.  I kept looking at my watch and I was running well under 8 minute miles.  I had to keep slowing myself down so I would have something left at the end.  All was going great until the train.  You have to cross several train tracks during the race and I knew that with the pace I was going for I had a very good chance of getting stopped at one.  Sure enough, I did.  I was stuck there for a good 1:30-2 minutes.  I knew that if I bonked later in the run this could be the difference between qualifying or not.  Since there was nothing I could do but run the rest of the race I tried not to dwell on it.

I felt great for the out and back portion (running 5 miles in row under 8:00 minutes each), but once I made the turn back into NW Portland my quads started hurting.  I just kept running, very aware of my pace; trying to run fast but smart.  I was also very aware of my nutrition and hydration.  I didn’t want to get behind on either of them because that could end my race for me very quickly.  I made it up the hill at 16-18 and over the St. John ’s Bridge; quads still hurting but very happy to only have 8 miles left.  These next four miles were much harder than they were for me last year.  I had really pushed the pace in the beginning and was feeling it now.  My legs were heavy and I kept feeling my pace slow.  I was not a happy camper at this point.  But I was so close to Boston that I decided I was going to push it until I exploded.

At 21-22 you start a descent that I thought  was going to hurt more than it did.  The pain in my quads was going away or the adrenaline/endorphins were taking over.  I really didn’t care; I just wanted to be done.  I made it over the Broadway bridge that is just under two miles from the finish and started looking for Salmon St.  Last year Salmon was much closer (I am sure of it); it felt like an eternity before I got to it and turned up for the finish.  I finally got to it, made the last two turns and ran with tears in my eyes across the finish line.

Because I had been stopped by the train I had no idea what my time actually was (I hadn’t turned off the auto pause because I didn’t expect to get stopped).  Luckily Tara (@frenchiegirl) had been tracking my race and had been tweeting me the time (bless her heart).  I tweeted her and asked her to check my finishing time, 3:36:18!  I had just Boston qualified!  More tears of joy started flowing!  I couldn’t believe I had just done it!

I proceeded to eat everything in sight and give my body some time to get back together while I waited for Julie and Teri.  Once I got home I showered and promptly went into post race coma where I didn’t move for about 2 hours!  Once I downloaded my Garmin time I realized that my time might have been as fast at 3:34:43 if I hadn’t been stopped by the train.  I have sent a request to have time adjusted but I l kind of doubt they can help me.  It is worth asking!(** See update below)

I couldn’t have done this without the support of my family and friends.  There was a lot of training that went into this race, and my family has been patient and understanding with all the time I spend training.  I have found a TON of support through my Dailymile/Twitter friends and my Teammates.  Honestly, without their support, encouragement and don’t think I would have even tried to do this!  They believed in me and encouraged me in ways that have propelled me to believe I can do more than I ever thought possible.

Now I get to go into PMS (post marathon syndrome) for a couple weeks, but I have another marathon in 4 weeks to do (it was my back up in case I didn’t qualify in Portland).  The only thing to work out is if I am just going to run the race and enjoy the 26 miles, or can I better my time… Give me about 10 days to decide (although, sub 3:35 for real sounds mighty good!)

**So I asked and they listened and they corrected my time to 3:34:43!  The reason it is significant is it gets me more than 5 minutes under my qualifying time which allows me to register for Boston on day earlier than before.  I have been having a very bad case of PMS (post marathon syndrome) since the marathon.  I need to take a step back and realize that I ran the best race I have ever run and I should be REALLY proud of my accomplishment! I ended up 27/730 for my age group which to me is amazing! Here is the Garmin data from the race as well.  And I will NOT be racing that marathon in four weeks.  My body is beat! I will run it in preparation for the 50K, but I am shooting for around 4:00 hours instead!

I will follow…

as best I can!

I am just over three weeks from the Portland Marathon and I have been trying to follow the FIRST plan in hopes of qualifying for Boston.  I have done my best to follow the plan.  It has been a little bit of a juggling act since I have been racing while training for Portland. That has complicated the plan a little but for the most part I stuck to it.

The biggest difference in this training  plan was I finally tried to do speed work.  Speed work has never been a friend of mine.  But once I figured out the suggested splits were a little too fast for me, and that doing the speed work on the flattest surface possible (even the treadmill) helped,  I found myself more and more successful at completing the prescribed workouts.

I have my last 20 miler this Sunday.  The first two were awesome (see here and here)and I am hoping I can nail this last one and finish the plan strong.  The real proof  will be seen October 9th when I run the Portland Marathon.  If I can go sub 3:40, watch out Boston!  I will see you in 2013!

August 2011 Training Summary

New shoe of the month!

Training Summary

  • Running – 117 Miles /18:22
  • Swimming – 7 miles/3:50
  • Biking – 154 miles/10:17
  • Total Distance – 278 miles
  • Total Time : 32:45

Races

At the last moment I decided to do a half marathon in Ventura.  My running has been going pretty well and I have been fairly consistent with it so it wasn’t hard to decided to do a half last minute.  I met my goal for the race and was very pleased.  I especially needed to do it for a confidence boost as I set my sights on a possible Boston Marathon qualifying run coming up in October.

Notes on Month

Still an extremely stressful month personally.  Some of the changes happening are making it hard to train like I used to. That coupled with a pretty nasty fall trail running (almost broke my ribs), really reduced my overall mileage for the month.  And since  my main focus is getting ready for the Portland Marathon in October, I haven’t been spending time on my bike.  But hopefully that will change soon.  I am getting a Cannondale Slice 5 TT bike in the next couple weeks!  I am really excited to get a new bike.  There is nothing like a new toy to get you motivated to workout sometimes!

Looking at my goals from last month’s training report I really didn’t stick to them.  I didn’t do a great job on my speed work and I didn’t spend more time on my bike.  The one thing I did do that I am really happy with is have another GREAT 20 mile training run. I am very motivated to have a good marathon in October and if I don’t qualify at Portland I have a backup plan….

Goals for Next Month

  • Get on my bike more!
  • Podium at the Carpinteria Olympic Triathlon September 25th
  • Get in some more trail miles to prep for the 50K trail run in November

July 2011 Training Summary

Starting out the run at Vineman

Training Summary

  • Running – 118 Miles /18:40
  • Swimming – 12 miles/6:31
  • Biking – 277 miles/16:53
  • Total Distance – 409 miles
  • Total Time : 42:50

Races

Big month for racing because I did my second 70.3 triathlon of the year!  It was a huge for success for me since I beat the goal I had set for myself and had a very successful race. I finished the race in 5:32:change.  I was most proud of my run.  After the 1.2 mile swim and 56 mile bike I felt very strong off the bike and had a great run; 1:51:10 for the 13.1 miles!  I also did a better job of managing my nutrition and hydration during the race.   It was very rewarding for everything to come together on race day.  What was even better was I felt great after the race!

Notes on Month

It was still a very stressful month at home while some things are getting sorted out.  That combined with racing meant a week to taper and a couple to recover which took a ding in my mileage.  But it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  I finally did my first 20 mile run for my marathon plan.  It went really well and I am encouraged to train hard for my upcoming Portland Marathon in October.

Goals for Next Month

  • There are a few things I would like to focus on in August.
  • Increase my running miles so I can be well prepared for the marathon in October and hopefully my first ultra in November.
  • Work harder to make the splits I am supposed to when doing interval or tempo work.  I tend to just try harder during those runs but I don’t really watch my pace too carefully.
  • And as always, spend more time on my bike.  I need to get more comfortable and stronger on the bike so I am ready for some serious Ironman training starting in December (the goal is Ironman St. George in May!)