Monday, August 29, 2011

Week 8 - Marathon Trainin Recap

Week 8 is done and I really feel like the end is in fact it's 6 weeks away!  Last week's 16 miler really took a lot more out of me than I thought and my runs in the beginning of the week were really hard on my legs.  It was the first time I really thought "when on earth is this marathon training going to be over with".  I definitely don't see how people train for a marathon year round!  BUT, I completed all my planned runs for the week and feel GREAT about that!

Monday - 5 miles easy + Element 5 Bootcamp - DID IT
52:00 - 10:24 pace
Took the pup on an easy 5 miler and I was glad I let her dictate our slow pace which was perfect for my very tired legs!  I met my brother for a bootcamp like class at Element 5 later in the evening where the instructor put us through a circuit of 12 exercises.  It was different than anything I've done before and I learned some new exercises but overall I didn't think it was that good of a workout.  There were too many exercises that I never did one enough to really tire out any muscles.  But I'll be going back since I have a coupon for 15 classes, plus I know the next class will be better because my friend will be teaching it!

Tuesday - 6.0 miles at marathon pace - DID IT
1:02:00 - 10:20 pace
REALLY glad this run was supposed to be at marathon pace since my legs were still tired and I literally ran as fast as I could.

Wednesday - Personal Training - REST
Canceled my personal trainer for the afternoon since my body was tired and needed rest. 

Thursday - 5.0 miles - DID IT
48:00 - 9:33 pace

Ran with my running buddy Sonia and we kicked some butt in the heat.  The schedule called for running the last half faster than the first and that sort of happened.  The first 3 miles were an average of 9:40/mile and the last two were around 9:20/mile.

Friday - Yoga or Rest - Short Hike
Went for a hike in Issaquah with my brother and some pups he was watching.  Went most of the way up to this landing where paragliders take off from.  It was fun to watch them come down and land.  We re-fueled after with XXX Burgers and the best root beer I've ever had!
Super gorgeous evening!
Saturday - REST - DID IT
I enjoyed a hot Seattle Saturday with brunch at the Boka Kitchen and a Sounders game with two of my favorite lady friends...Kath and EY!  I had a blast with my girls and spent the rest of the evening relaxing and hydrating for my 18 miler on Sunday. 

Sunday - 18 mile long run - DID IT!
3:07:17 - 10:24 pace
Woohoo, I did it!  Or rather, we did it!  I set out for the longest run to date with my marathon training pal, Stacey, and we kicked 18 miles BUTT! We headed out a little before 8AM and had cool cloudy weather for the first two hours of the run until the sun came out for the last hour.  We kept a pretty steady pace for the entire run and fueled up twice which felt perfect.  My hips were screaming at me towards the end, but after some walking and stretching they were pain free again.  I'm so proud of myself and my running pals, Stace and Kath (who completed her 18 miles later in the day)...I feel very confident we are going to do well in Chicago.

Post run activities for me included sleep, sleep, and some more sleep...oh and a chocolate shake from Wendy's.  Stacey enjoyed a day at Evergreen State Fair and enjoyed what she described as the perfect post run elephant ear!
Made a delicious recovery meal from Runner's World Athlete's Palate book

Total Mileage: 34 miles
Total Strength: 1
Total Yoga: none...oops!

Marathon Training Week 9 - Say It Do It - August 29-September 4
I'm going to Cannon Beach for Labor Day weekend so my schedule is a little turned around.

Monday - REST my 18 mile legs!
Tuesday - 5 miles easy in the AM / Element 5 bootcamp in the PM
Wednesday - Personal Training <---focus on the legs!
Thursday - 6 mile run
Friday - 10 mile long run
Saturday - REST
Sunday - 5 mile run/hike

Question: Have any of you out there taken an ice bath after a super long run?  I'm curious if they are worth the freezing pain!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

An Ode To My Running Shoes

I said goodbye to my blue Adidas Supernova Glide running shoes this past weekend after they carried me through 16 pain free miles.  They will go into retirement in a growing pile of even older Adidas shoes in the back of my closet where they will probably never see the light of day or feel of pavement again.

Oh so shiny and new you once were...note Stacey's running "shoes" in the photo too

I would like to thank these shoes for carrying me through one of the best running years of my life so far:
  • Since April 2011 you have provided pain free support for almost 400 miles of running.
  • It felt great to have you there with me as we crossed the finish line of the 2011 Seattle Rock and Roll half marathon with a new personal record, 2:03!!
  • You were right there with me when I started training for a marathon and kept up with the large increase in mileage I piled on top of you.  
  • And how could I not forget personal distance records of 14 miles and 16 miles proving that yet again you are the best shoe for me...I'll never cheat on you...
But unfortunately, I do have to replace you for a younger model:
out with the old...
in with the new!

I usually run on shoes a little longer than these ones, but with a marathon in the looming distance I knew I had to break in a pair of new shoes to carry me through 26.2 miles.  So, I went to my trusty local running store, Road Runner Sports, and bought the latest version of my beloved Adidas that I know will not let me down during 26.2!

Question: What is your running shoe of choice?  Do you stay loyal to one brand? 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Week 7 - Marathon Trainin Recap

Hello Summer!  Welcome to Seattle, thanks for staying for the entire week!  I don't think the weather could have been more perfect...sunny but not too hot, perfect for perfecting my running tank top tan line.  Sorry for the lack of pics this week...I was too busy soaking up the sun to remember to document it.

Monday - 5.0 mile run- DID IT
51:00 - 10:15 pace
Took the pup on a run and we went north on the Burke Gilman trail for a change.  Took it slow since the pup is starting to show her age and had a hard time making it 5 miles.  Did a yoga on demand quick routine when I got home.

Tuesday - 6.0 miles with 5 - 3 minute pickups - DID IT
59:00 - 9:47 pace
Warmed up for 2 miles then started the 3 minute pickups.  Kept the pickup pace between 8:30-9:00/mile and took a 3 minute rest in between sets.

Wednesday - Personal Training - DID IT
Another hot day!  Sara pushed me as always and we did lots of lunges then about a million step-ups on a bench, pushups and tricep dips.  My shoulders were on FIRE the next a good way of course.

Thursday - 5.0 mile easy to moderate run - DID IT
48:00 - 9:30 pace
Ran around Greenlake before meeting a friend for dinner and decided to push it a bit more than usual.  Pace felt good and I stretched in the park before having some mexican food followed by self serve fro-yo!

Friday - Rest Day - DID IT
Enjoyed happy hour outside in Madison Park followed by a good night's rest to prepare for the big run on Saturday.

Saturday - 16.0 mile long run - DID IT!!!
16.0 miles - 2:47:39 - 10:28 pace
OMG...this run was HARD, but I guess that is why marathons aren't easy.  I ran this alone and it was definitely more of a mentally hard time than physically hard.  I mapped a loop course from my house that had me running through some of my favorite Seattle places like Montlake Park and Lake Union and Gasworks Park.  The great news was that my pace remained pretty consistent and my hips had NO PAIN!  I stopped at Gasworks to refill my water bottles and splash water on my face...the sun was beating down hard and I even have a fun tan line from my Garmin watch to prove it.
The run was so long it wouldn't even fit on my computer screen to get this screen capture!
I can honestly say after this run I feel like I'm really almost ready to run a marathon!  I would have never imagined being able to run this much mileage in one week including an almost 3 hour run a year ago.  It really is amazing what your body will do for you when you treat it right and train smart.  My new marathon fear is now what the weather will be like on race day which I know is silly because it is something I CANNOT control.

Sunday - No Plans - Yoga at the Gym
I realized I didn't plan anything for whatever weekend day I didn't run, but I woke up Sunday morning and hit up my gym for yoga since my personal trainer, Sara, was teaching.  It was the PERFECT thing to do after a long run.  We spent lots of time opening up the hips and stretching hamstrings.  I may have had some influence with the teacher and what she focused on ;).

Total Mileage: 32
Total Strength: 1
Total Yoga:2

ALL goals met for the week!!

Marathon Training Week 8 - Say It Do It - August 22-28
Monday - 5 miles easy - boot camp workout at Element 5 Fitness
Tuesday - 6 miles marathon pace - aim for 10:30
Wednesday - Personal Training
Thursday - 5 miles - run last half faster than first half
Friday - Yoga or rest
Saturday - rest
Sunday - 18 miles! <---swapping weeks for this long run to free up my Labor Day weekend

Question: Do you have any mental "tricks" to help yourself through a long run or race?  I try to break the run into parts, like 3 miles to Montlake Park, another 3 until I go downhill, etc.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sizing Up My Chicago Competition

I've been seeing a few press releases from the Chicago Marathon lately announcing elite runners who will be racing in Chicago.  The fact that I get to run side by side (okay, not side by side, more like hours apart) some of the world's fastest marathoners is a very cool feeling.  Hopefully, I at least get to have a glimpse of the runners before the race or when I stalk them at the expo.

Let's evaluate the competition shall we?  I might have to bump up my speed training in order to beat these people.

Russian Liliya Shobukhova:

Fun fact alert...the Chicago Marathon is the only world marathon major without a three-peat.  Liliya hopes to change that. She easily won the 2009 and 2010 Chicago Marathon woman's title and hopes to use the 2011 event to practice for the summer Olympics.  You know, just a quick 26.2 training run in under 2.5 hours.  And she has something to run for...the woman's winner in Chicago takes home a small $500K in change...I need a career change!

Winning the 2009 Chicago Marathon...holy quad muscles!
My patriotism would love for an American woman to win the 2011 Chicago Marathon, but of course history being made would also be pretty cool. Good luck Liliya, I'll be sure to look for you when I finish 2 hours after you.

American Ryan Hall:
Go America!  Ryan Hall is fresh off running a personal best in April's Boston Marathon where he ran 26.2 miles in 2:04:58...folks...that is my half marathon PR meaning this guy literally runs twice as fast as me.  He will also use this race to try and beat Moses Mosop of Kenya who wiggled by him in Boston.

Ryan is also a pretty nice guy and will donate any winnings at Chicago to his charity, The Hall Steps Foundation, which he started with his wife, Sara.  He also has a BLOG.

Evidently elite runners wear running sleeves...I need to get some ASAP.
Kenyan Moses Mosop:
Oh those speedy Kenyans!   Not really a big deal at all, Moses ran his FIRST marathon in Boston in April and became the new world debut marathon record holder with a time of 2:03:06...this is also the second fastest marathon time EVER.  If this doesn't prove that Kenyan's are born marathon runners I don't know what does. He will definitely be giving Ryan a run for his money...literally!

And now for the most important runners of the running partners!

Dr. Stace:
Stacey daylights as a physical therapist but please don't stop her on the course and ask her why your IT band is on fire.  I began running with Stacey back in 2008 when we were all tricked into running a half marathon with Katie and we haven't stopped since.  She ran her current half marathon personal record back in June and is primed for a sub 5 hour finish in Chicago.  You'll see her training until race day doing out and backs on a trail in Woodinville, Washington wearing her "nerd belt".

Kath McJoggerson:
Katie, aka Kath, is the woman behind all this running madness.  She was bored running all by herself back in 2008 when she recruited Stace and I along with a couple other ladies by promising a fun party in Las Vegas as long as we completed a half marathon first.  She has over 10 half marathon under her belt and is excited for the challenge 26.2 miles brings.  You will find her training until race day by running multiple laps around Greenlake and avoiding all hills in Kirkland since Chicago is a flat use in running hills!  Kath starts out any race slow and steady but don't let that fool you, she often picks up the pace toward the end zipping past uknowning race participants in an effort to just be done already.

Along with running with these lovely ladies and elite runners we have a whole group of friends and family coming out to support us!  I can't wait to have people along the course cheering me on, I know it will make all the difference after I hit the marathon wall I've heard so much about.

Question: Who else out there is running the Chicago Marathon?  How is your training going?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Week 6 - Marathon Trainin Recap

SOO proud of myself this week.  I managed to get all my training runs done while on vacation...woohoo!  I'm sure it had something to do with the fact I realized the Chicago Marathon is 2 months away.

I was in upstate New York visiting my mom's side of the family and the week FLEW by.  I felt like I was there for a day, not a week!

Monday - 5.0 mile run - DID IT
48:00 - 9:38 pace
Got up as soon as I woke up and hit the pavement in the humidity.  Ran on main roads from my uncles house to my aunts house.  It was super muggy, but pace felt good and I had breakfast casserole and french toast waiting for me at the end.

Tuesday - Yoga for Runners podcast or rest - REST!
Went to a state park with the family and then celebrated my 30th b-day with my whole family that night.  Super fun day with all my cousins, aunts and uncles.

Resting on the beach!
Wednesday - 6.0 mile run - DID IT
1:00:00 - 10:00 pace
All the bad food I had been eating during the week was starting to catch up with me so I took it slower.  I ended up running most of of these miles in this amazing park called The Crossings.  It has tons of trails, water ponds and borders a farm with baby cows that greeted me when I ran in.
picture from
The rest of the day was spent at the Saratoga race track where my brother's friend got us access to an owner's box and we even went up on the roof for one of the races.

Thursday - Rest day - DID IT
Me and all my first cousins went to a New York Yankee game in the city.  We took a tour bus down and I'm pretty sure we were on the bus longer than at the game, but it was a fun day with all my cousins!
I wouldn't call myself a Yankee fan but when in New York right?
Friday - 5.0 mile run - DID IT
This was the first time I did a run first thing in the morning with no food in my stomach and I did pretty well.  I think my limit is 5 miles though because I was pretty drained after.  I ran in The Crossings again and discovered a couple new paths.  The rest of my last day in NY was spend shopping with my cousins and BBQin with the whole fam.

Saturday - Rest - DID IT
Flew home early in the morning, picked up my VERY happy to see me pup and went to a friend's birthday party that night.  I was so nice to be back in my own bed and I slept forever!

Sunday - 8.0 mile long run - DID IT
1:17:00 - 9:40 pace
Nothing too exciting to say about this long run other than it's done!  I pushed myself a little harder than normal on long runs and it felt pretty good.  Weather was cloudy and cool and I did an out and back on the Burke Gilman trail.  I have a feeling after all this marathon training I'm going to boycott the BG trail for a few months. I love that it is flat and you don't have to stop for a million stop lights but it gets a little boring doing the same thing over and over again.
Post run treat at Greenlake after purchasing some new runnin shoes
Total Mileage: 24

Marathon Training Week 7 - Say It Do It - August 15-21
Monday - 5.0 miles easy / Yoga!
Tuesday - 6.0 miles with 5 3-minute pickups followed by 3 minutes of slow running
Wednesday - Personal training
Thursday - 5.0 miles easy to moderate pace
Friday - REST or yoga
Saturday/Sunday - 16.0 mile long run <---haven't decided which day to do this and will decide after weekend plans come together.

QUESTION: What thoughts/fears go through your head when you are really really close to running a marathon?  I think my biggest fear is being in too much pain to continue running.  I know my heart can handle running that long but my legs and hips give out before that.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Race Recap: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage - Part 3

Read part 1 and part 2 to catch up.

Okay, where did I leave off...oh yes...sugar coma.  It was about 2:00 in the morning and we got the hour warning from the other van.  I woke up a sleeping Paul and told him to be ready to run 7.8 hard miles of hills in the dark in 60 minutes.  SOO glad I wasn't in his position!  We all woke up and donned our safety gear and glow-sticks.
Van 2 came in with their last runner and just like that we were off our LAST runs.  Paul did an awesome job on the 7.8 and we loaded him up with Gu and support the whole way.

My LAST run - Leg 26 - 3.1 miles:

My last run was about 3:30 in the morning and even though I only had 20 solid minutes of sleep, if that, I felt like I had enough energy to run this last leg hard.

Mile 1 - 9:29 <---gigantic hill that everyone pretty much walked up
Mile 2 - 8:31
Mile 3 - 8:34

2.96 miles = 26:16

Garmin said the leg wasn't even 3 miles and I was ok with that. Since it was pretty much all downhill I pushed it the whole way and gladly handed off to Lindsey and just like that I was done done done!  Can I sleep now?
I gladly cheered on Lindsey, Karol, Emily and last but not least Prentiss.  That is him above running while the sun was rising.  THIS is why you do these crazy relays...sharing these gorgeous views with your 5 new best friends.
Our silly no sleep faces
We handed off with van 2 just after the sun completely rose and then I took the best shower of my life.  Despite the fact the locker room was so hot the ceilings were sweating the shower felt great and I felt like a human being again.

We made our way to the finish line in Coupville and scouted out a breakfast spot.  I ate a cinnamon role as big as my head and we drove straight to the finish line festival and crashed on the grass.

Team #187 Casual Encounters crossed the finish line in exactly 27 hours at 11:15 AM.  Our average pace was 8:31 (we had some SUPER speedy boys who helped that pace significantly).
We stayed for about an hour at the finish line, enjoyed a beer, and took off for the ferry. After cleaning and returning the van I took the best nap of my life.

I can honestly say that the past 27 hours were some of the best in my life.  Will I do it again?  Absolutely, in fact at the finish line we were talking about next year's team already.  My friend and teammate Lindsey put it perfectly when she said that she loved this race because they managed to take a single person sport and turn it into a team sport.  I'll end on that note and encourage any of you out there to try a relay in your running will not be disappointed.

Good luck to all my Hood to Coast readers out there...I can't wait to read your recaps!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Week 5 - Marathon Trainin Recap

It was the first week of August, a milestone birthday for me and summer decided to make it's appearance in Seattle.  I'm pretty sure the temperature hit 70 or higher everyday, hello summer! was my last 4 days of work before being on vacation for a WHOLE WEEK!  

Monday - 5.0 miles in the AM/ Personal training in the PM - DID IT!
51:00 - 10:11 pace
Man running in the morning is both refreshing and hard at the same time.  It felt amazing to be outside in the cool fresh breeze and although I felt like I was sprinting my pace told me otherwise.  Stacey was extra excited for some morning exercise since usually her mornings consist of a quick potty break and back to bed for the day. I was pretty tired when it came to personal training in the afternoon but I powered through and we worked on inner/outer thigh/glutes with some chest and biceps thrown in.  Sara really knows how to combine two exercises to get the most bang for your buck. 

Tuesday - 5.0 mile run - DID IT
51:00 - 10:11 pace
Feeling a little slow this week I guess.  It was pretty H-O-T out and by hot I mean above 70 and sunny.  You won't hear ANY complaining here about the weather from me since this is the first full week of summer weather Seattle has seen!

Wednesday - 6.0 mile run - DID IT
57:00 - 9:30 pace
I met a new friend, Sonia, for this run around Lake Union.  She is new to Seattle so I taught her the secret way to make the 6 mile loop.  We chatted the WHOLE way about everything under the sun and I'm excited to have a new running can never have too many! She is a bit faster than me and I was proud I could keep up and chat at the same time.   Did I mention how nice it is in Seattle this week:

Exhibit A:

Thursday -REST - DID IT
Today was a rest day since I have the scary big ol 14 miler tomorrow!  It was also another important day...

My co-workers took me out to lunch for my b-day and spoiled me with decorations, an orchid plants, and gift cards...they rock!  The afternoon consisted of happy hour on the Ivars deck overlooking Lake Union and downtown Seattle. 

Friday -14.0 mile long run - DID IT
2:23:00 - 10:13 pace
Personal distance record baby!  My friend's Stacey and Katie ran their 14 miles the weekend before the Stacey said the feeling of going past 13.1 miles was awesome when you know every step beyond the half marathon is uncharted territory.  I decided to do an out and back on the Burke Gilman Trail taking me through the University of Washington to Gasworks park almost to Ballard...and turn around.  I kept a good pace the entire time and never felt really tired.  My hips were screaming at me the end and I ended up with a 3rd degree chafing burn from my sports bra, but otherwise, I consider this long run a screaming success!  I did a little happy dance when I stopped and walked about a half mile to recover. 
I wonder if my Garmin was as proud of me as I was?

Saturday -REST - DID IT
Rest rest rest after 14 miles and the partying the night away with my friends for my 30th birthday.  Plus, oh yeah, I'm getting on a plane to go see my family in upstate New York.  I wasn't sore at all except a little knee pain when going down stairs.  I can really tell my legs are getting stronger since I managed to dance 2+ hours in heels on top of 14 miles.

Sunday - REST - DID IT
I arrived to see my family in upstate New York today...yeah...vacation!

My cousin Kristin and I cruisin the Hudson River

Total Mileage: 30 miles <---- Definitely the most I've ever run in one week!

Total Strength Sessions: 1 personal training
Total Yoga: NONE again...

Marathon Training Week 6 - Say It Do It - August 8-14
I'm in NY with family this week so I'm not going to STRESS if I don't complete my runs and I will repeat this sentence to myself over and over again when I do start stressing.

Monday - 5.0 mile run
Tuesday - Yoga for runners podcast or rest
Wednesday - 6.0 mile run
Thursday - REST - going to a Yankee game!
Friday -5.0 mile run
Saturday - REST and fly home
Sunday - 8.0 mile long run

Question: Do you have any go-to recovery food or drinks you swear by after a long run?  I really love Muscle Milk even though I know there is an ingredient list about a mile long, but it really works for me so I'm sticking with it.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Race Recap: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage - Part 2

You should probably read Part 1 if you haven't already!

After stuffing our faces to fuel for our second legs, we hit up Fred Meyer for glow sticks and water...two race essentials! Then we headed to the next place we would switch off with van 2 in Bow, Washington. Never heard of Bow?  It's a tiny little town south of Bellingham about 10 minutes off I-5.  It is pretty much the beginning of the Skagit Valley and provided amazing views for evening running. 

Van 1 ready to run again:
Around 6:00 that evening van 2's last runner, Preston, came flying in and just like that we were off again.  Most of us had legs under 4 miles so we knew this section of runs would be quick.  Van 2 wasn't excited about the short break we were going to give them and told yelled at us via text message to SLOW DOWN more than once.
Paul ready to rumble!
My second run - Leg 14 - 3.5 miles:

I had this secret goal in my head to try and run this in 30 minutes or less but when I did the math in my head I thought, sub 9:00 miles the whole time...that will NEVER happen.  I am NOT a fast runner!  Well I proved myself wrong.  The adrenaline rush of the whole event, not letting your team down, and passing runners gives you way more energy then you thought you ever had.
Waiting for my slap bracelet
Beautiful country and great team support!
Mile 1 - 8:41
Mile 2 - 8:46
Mile 3 - 8:55
Mile 3.5 - 8:27

3.51 miles = 30:40 <----SO CLOSE to 30 minutes!!

Seriously, I'm pretty sure I had an out of body experience for this run because I don't even run this fast when I do intervals. Maybe it had something to do with the downhill nature of this run, but I killed it and I killed 5 people along the way :).  It was definitely warm during this run and the van started stinking after we all sprinted in the heat of the early evening...I would like that shower now please?

It started to become dusk and at 8:30PM the reflective vests must go on and runners have to wear head and tail lamps for safety.  Lindsey, Karol, Emily, and Prentiss screamed through their runs and we were all done with our second runs in less than 4 hours.
Bubble dance!
Nice action shot at the exchange!
Romantic sunset photo with my Linds!
We met van 2 at the next major exchange near La Conner.  It was a new place for the exchange and I would rate it a major fail by Ragnar this year.  I rarely have anything negative to say about Ragnar except this exchange was SUPER crowded and there were no showers or food available.  We hiked up a large hill to meet our runner and the rest of our team before gathering our sweaty team and finding some food.  We were LUCKY that a roadside diner was still open at 10PM, but I don't know what other teams did in the middle of the night to find food.  Linds, Emily and I ended up taking a baby wipe shower in the restaurant bathroom, which was at least one step up from a porta-potty baby wipe shower and change.

Sleep Time (or so I thought...):
After chowing down we went to Deception Pass State Park to grab some shut eye before it was time to run again.  I got my sleeping bag out and grabbed a patch of grass right next to the van.  Just as I was drifting into a semi-conscious state I received a flashlight in my eye ball with a voice proclaiming that "You CANNOT sleep next to your van, you might get RUN OVER!".  I tried to argue with the flashlight voice, but I didn't win.  I got up and went into the van, reclined my seat and got approximately 20 minutes of shut eye.  Lindsey and I woke up and dug into the sugar stack we had and proceeded to illuminate our many glow bracelets and necklaces in preparation for our night runs.

Part 3 coming...