Monday, March 27, 2017

Three Weeks

Hey you guys.

It's been silent here on the blog lately. I feel like I am juggling a thousand balls and gambling that they don't come crashing to the ground. I've never been good at juggling, and somehow it's working? I think. I hope.





Running a whole lot of miles, writing deadlines and super focused on my kids. The afternoon/evening routine with three kids literally running around is hectic to say the least. They have been getting bored with the meal choices lately and I am making a concentrated effort to spice things up a bit in the dinner department. Honestly, it's not easy to do that when my Sunday meal planning has been lacking (yeah, I've been falling asleep after a 22 mile run - not really jazzed to meal plan) and then we're on the fly for the week. 
I could make it sound neat and pretty and tell you I've got it all together, but most of the time I don't. Sunday afternoon following the race (recap is coming!) I made a delicious leek and zucchini soup - so easy to prepare and I found it in this cookbook which I love. I paired it with a whole roast chicken plus sweet potatoes and felt pretty darn proud of myself! Nutrient dense and colorful for the win, also a perfect recovery meal after a race. We all sat down for dinner together, which was really nice, as during the week Jerold is working a ton and we don't have many family dinners with him.

I looked around the dining table and couldn't believe how much my kids are growing. Josh is 10 (TEN!) now, Elle is such a little girl at four and Megan is this spunky six year old first grader. How did this happen and please let me not miss a single second.




The grind of marathon training is completely here. I've hit the peak of the crazy mountain, we need to fine tune a few things and then coming coasting down to race day in three short weeks. These weeks are going to quickly evaporate and before I know it, it'll be time to board the plane.

My kids are beyond excited to go to Boston. In their eyes, we may as well be going to Tahiti - they are so pumped and it makes me smile to have them with me. There was a point where I was going to fly in for the weekend, race and fly home, but Easter is the day before the race and it's also during spring break. There was no way I would miss Easter with my family - so off we go.


I realize I haven't updated you on my training in a bit, so here's an eight day snapshot:

Sunday March 12th - 4 moderate, 8 at 7:03, 4 moderate. 16 total
I kicked butt on this workout. It was the end of a long week, my legs were a bit fatigued, and I put it aside and got to work. 

March 13th - 4 trail miles to recover

March 14th - 6 miles

March 15th - 6 miles

March 16th - Yasso 800's anyone? 2 mile warm up, 10 x 800, 400 jog in between, 2 mile cool down.
Splits for the 800s: 3:09, 3:09, 3:09, 3:07, 3:05, 3:05, 3:05, 3:03, 3:01, 2:58

March 17th - 6 miles

March 18th - 10 miles

March 19th - 22 miles at 7:40 (coach didn't want me to go faster than this)

65.5 miles for the week of March 13th.





This was peak week, last week was a tad lighter and then I raced the Encinitas Half on Sunday! I can't wait to tell you all about it.

I will say that official time is looking like 1:33:33, 3rd in AG = 7:08 pace on tired legs.

Bring on Boston.

xo,
Natalie


Monday, March 6, 2017

Boston Marathon Training: 6 Weeks To Go!!

Hey you guys. 
I picked up my computer several times last week to write and between a yucky cold (that thankfully was really bad for only 48 hours), kids and a 62 mile week...
Yeah, there were a lot of early bedtimes, stretching, eating and Mom life going on for me.

Thank you so much for all of your sweet words about my son Josh. We go back to the doctor today for his three week post op check up and I really hope he gets the all clear to be active again. Fingers crossed and lots of prayers going on around here!

Training has been on fire. I had zero days off last week and I could feel the hard work being done. These are the weeks that you remember - the ones that flash through your mind during the marathon (especially that last 10K) and propels you forward. You can't even think about giving up, because you know all the work and sacrifices that have been put forth.




Strength training has been a huge priority this week and of course always plugging away on PT exercises and core work. You wanna run fast - get your core and glutes in order.

I have been rolling my muscles like a boss - before and after each run and I have an epsom salt bath date practically every night. A heavenly 90 minute massage happened this week (life changing) and I have another scheduled in a couple of days. I purchased a new pair of shoes (Brooks Ghost 9) and I am thinking about the shoe I will wear for the marathon. It may be the new Launch 4 as it is a lighter, faster shoe and I will try that out in the coming weeks.

I am so excited to keep working my butt off during this month, because I know a month from now the taper will begin and it will be time to put the hay in the barn.

For now, there is a whole lot of hay left to be made, so let's catch up on the past two weeks of workouts, shall we?


Monday Feb. 20th - 5 easy trail miles

Tuesday Feb. 21st - 5 easy treadmill miles

Wednesday Feb. 22nd - 10 miles on the road

Thursday Feb. 23rd - 10 miles on the treadmill - 
2 mile warm up, 5 x 1 mile repeats (6:28, 6:24, 6:20, 6:16, 6:09), .25 jog in between, 2 mile cool down
**Making progress on these mile paces. Short term goal - get low sixes on all of them. #boom

Friday Feb. 24th - 4 easy miles on the road

Saturday Feb. 25th - REST

Sunday Feb. 26th - 15 miles on the road - 10 miles easy, 5 miles at 7:04 pace

Total Miles: 49 


Then things got real in the mileage dept.  :)


Monday Feb. 27th - 4 easy miles on the road
** Love these easy, recovery days. I focus on the joy of running, paces are what they are and I have a lot of fun.

Tuesday Feb. 28th - 6 easy miles on the road 

Wednesday March 1st - 10 miles - 3 mile warm up, 5 mile tempo at 6:40 overall pace, 2 mile cooldown
** This workout was one of the highlights of my week. My body really pulled through, as I was not feeling well and doubting whether I could accomplish the paces that I needed to hit. Really happy with this effort (and was super glad when it was done!)


Thursday March 2nd - 6 easy miles

Friday March 3rd - 10 easy miles

Saturday March 4th - 6 beautiful miles on a trail that I love!
**This run was heaven. I feel so lucky to have access to these trails!! 


Sunscreen in full effect.


Sunday March 5th - 20 miles at 7:40 pace!!
**Took 3 GU (Salted Watermelon, Pineapple, and Blueberry Pomegranate. I've decided I prefer Espresso and Vanilla) and tried Run Gum (humm - the jury is still out on this - have you tried it?) during the course of this long, long run. Water every 3-4 miles with Enduropacks.

Immediately after the run. They are my everything. Oh, and then I stuffed a banana and almond butter in my mouth, stretched for 5 minutes and hauled my butt to the shower. Crackers with more almond butter on the way, lots of water. I had to rush and take my daughter to yet another birthday party! I ate a lot at the party and then a healthy dinner (I made chicken and zucchini Pho soup!!) afterwards. So thirsty, so tons of water.
PS: I love my son even more for not caring how sweaty I am.


Total Miles: 62

Six weeks till the race, which means we leave for Beantown in less than six. Whoop!!

Have a great start to the week!!


Tell me something fun you did this weekend!

Is it still cold where you are?


xo,
Natalie

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Boston Marathon Training: Surgery, A Sick One and 19 miles

Let me tell you - last week was insane. It was one of those weeks, where as you are in the middle of it all, you wonder will you be strong enough to get through it? How will you accomplish everything, be a good Mom and stay sane?



He started playing beach volleyball before the surgery - I didn't have that when I was kid! ;0


I wrote a long post on Instagram, but Josh (our nine year old) had a major, major surgery on Tuesday (which happened to be Valentine's Day, but we couldn't even think about it). When your child is in a four HOUR surgery, you start to feel uneasy. Okay, scared out of your mind - but you know you have to hold it together and trust that everything will be okay.

The surgery was good and he is healing well. I hate that he has to have another surgery in nine months, but in order to completely restore the hearing in his right ear, that is what has to be done. They have to go in and insert a prosthetic bone in his middle ear that was destroyed. Ruined by the skin growing in his inner ear (a condition he was born with, but we didn't know) that has blocked a lot of his fine tune hearing. For instance, take your thumb and index finger and rub them together up to your ear. Did you do it? Okay, you can hear that, right? Well, Josh can't hear that and many auditory tests have shown us that he has lost a lot of his hearing. So, after many consultations, this was what we had to do for him. 
We got up at zero dark thirty on Tuesday and made the trek to the hospital for our half day visit. He was so incredibly brave and I have never felt more proud of him. Josh is such a loving, inquisitive, funny kid and he walked away from us with the anesthesiologist, confident and ready to get it done.



Gone in a blink - I almost missed it!


Jerold and I went and had breakfast together - making small talk and trying not to think about the surgery. The nurse called a while later to let us know what Josh was sleeping and they were about to begin. After pacing around the hallway, trying to read, and catching up on e-mail, I realized that the best thing for me to do was run. I had my phone, Jerold was there and I walked out the door into the (rare - it finally stopped raining for a bit) sunshine and began to run. I was praying as I ticked away the six plus miles and asking God to watch over him. Take care of our baby, please.
The run was the absolute best thing I could have done to whittle away an hour and when I returned, it was time to go and see him.

Josh was in a lot of pain and a bit disoriented, so the nurse gave him some pain medication to ease the discomfort. I wish I could have traded places with him in those hours - I gladly would have done it in a heartbeat.

It was the perfect week to have this done, as the kids were off for ski week (do you guys have that? It's a total thing here in LA) and we stayed home to rest (no skiing for us - the kids were sad) and for Josh to heal. He can't run, jump, ski, swim, play hard or anything that a nine year old boy likes to do to stay active for a while. Zero plane trips, altitude, long car trips - pretty much just stay home and play with legos and rest, rest, rest.

By Thursday/Friday, he was going a little stir crazy, which was awesome, because that meant he was healing.
We took the kids for a walk and they found snails laying around after the rain.



The bandages are all gone - now he just has cotton in his ear with a ton of ointment to protect and a scar behind his ear where they made the cut. My heart hurts writing about it, but he is strong. Love him so much.






Sunday rolled around, and I was happy to run 19 miles and get it done - it's such a great feeling during a marathon cycle when you have the first super long run under your belt.







Sunday night, Elle (our four year old) wakes up in the middle of the night BURNING UP hot. Ugh. 104 fever and she feels absolutely miserable. Soothing, medication and getting her back to sleep, put us into the wee hours of Monday morning. She has been sleeping and sick all day Monday.
This, ladies and gentleman - is Mom life.



Monday February 13th - 4 easy miles. 

Tuesday February 14th - 6.5 miles during Josh's surgery

Wednesday February 15th - DAY OFF (I took the day off - I needed the rest today and day was spent taking care of Josh)

Thursday February 16th - 1 mile warm up, 7 miles at 7:10 pace, 1 mile cool down. 
Didn't want to run today - these are the days that test what you are made of. It's days like this - where you have to push and shove yourself out the door that make you stronger.

Friday February 17th - 4 easy miles

Saturday February 18th - 6 easy miles

Sunday February 19th - 19 miles at 7:45 pace (prescribed pace was 7:45-8). Note: Coach was not happy with the 17 miles at 7:34 pace that I did the other week. I trust and respect his advice and he told me to SLOW DOWN this week. I listened. :) #trusttheprocess

Total miles: 48.5


Strength work: Core every day; including push ups, bicycle crunches, dynamic plank, bridges, russian twists with medicine ball, superman. Plus monster walks, lateral walks (with band), jumping jacks, squats, dynamic warm up before every run, PT exercises for foot. Yoga = pigeon, legs up the wall, child's pose and downward dog. Heavy weight training lacking this past week - looking forward to hitting it hard this week.


Eight weeks left till Boston, time to lay it all on the line! 

Have a great week and happy running!

xo,
Natalie



Monday, February 13, 2017

Boston Marathon Training: Single Digits Have Arrived!

This tree is my favorite part of our backyard and every February it blooms the most beautiful flowers. I can sit outside and gaze at it for hours - mountains in the distance is a huge bonus.




We are getting a big break from the rain this week and it's been so fun to be outside. I bring the yoga mat and get all of my post run stretching and some strength training done out here.

Yesterday, I got in a long run (although not as long as usual, it was a step back week) and we also made it out to a trail with the kids.




They are definitely my kids and to say they got the wiggles out is an understatement.

It's always fun to find creatures along the way...





And this newly four year old insists on picking out her own clothes - this was her choice of the day.




Nine weeks till Boston!!! Here is what my week looked like:

Monday February 6th - 5 easy miles. Run easy to run fast and I fully take advantage of these easy, recovery runs. It's all about what my body wants, enjoying the run and taking in the scenery.

Tuesday February 7th - 10.45 miles on a Tuesday = we are in the thick of training!!
2 mile warm up, 3 x 2 mile repeats (6:59, 6:48) (6:44, 6:42) (6:25, 6:22), 2 mile cool down.
This was a good workout for me and my body is adapting to these paces - getting stronger!

Wednesday February 8th - 4 easy miles

Thursday February 9th - An unexpected day off. We went to a wedding and it was a crazy, fun day!

Friday February 10th - 9 easy, rainy miles. 





Saturday February 11th - 5 easy miles

Sunday February 12th - 14 miles. 10 at 7:55 pace and then 4 at 7:11, 7:04, 7:03, 7:02

Total miles: 47.45


Core work, yoga and PT exercises happen every single day, weight training two times during the week.

Nutrition: I was craving steak on Saturday night (that never happens!), so I prepared a juicy rib eye, with butternut squash and broccoli. #fueling



I've got a 19 miler on tap for the weekend, so ----> lots of sleep this week!!

I hope you guys had a great weekend and a stellar start to the week!

Happiness Is Running Life.

xo,
Natalie

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday Favorites!

What's up you guys? Friday is HERE! 

I can't even tell you how happy I am for the weekend. I have talked about sleep a lot lately and how it relates to good marathon training. Welp, I haven't gotten as much as I have wanted this week and I am feeling the effect today. It is raining again - by the way, we have had so much rain in Los Angeles, that no one has a regular conversation anymore - all we talk about is RAIN. 
Anyway, I am cozy inside with a mug of tea and my kids are having their weekly movie night afternoon (movie night would mean disaster for my family complete with a bunch of crazy kiddos.).
The silence is unbelievable and all I could think about was connecting with you guys and catching up.



It's not always sunny here!


Let's talk about flexibility for a moment. I think it's so important to be flexible in your training. Life is a series of roller coasters and no training plan is perfect. I've talked about my word of the year being GRACE and I'm still in love with the word. Giving yourself grace and love and understanding. It sounds like something you would gladly give your best friend, but what about yourself? I am learning every day to love myself more and more. I know (most of the time - it's so easy to revert back to beating yourself up on occasion) that if I love myself, I will be capable of giving more love to others. 

For example, yesterday we went to a friend's wedding. Yes, on a Thursday afternoon. It was so beautiful and super fun, but I had to juggle a whole LOT to pull it off and guess whhhat? The run didn't happen. I kept thinking that we would get home in time (early morning didn't happen for a good reason, not because of sleep cause I was up at the crack) that I could jump on the treadmill and it just wasn't meant to be. We arrived home late, bellies filled with food and wine (I haven't had a glass of wine since New Years, I think) and all I wanted to do was go to bed. So, that means I have to run Friday, Sat and Sun - but it's worth it. Grace.

Alright. here is what I am loving this week!



1. Sarah Mac Robinson's blog post - How To Go Faux Pro, Marathon Edition

Um, yes; I'm fan girling here. Sarah is a STUD. She is an amazing athlete, I love the raw honesty of her blog and balance of motherhood and marathon training. Be sure and check out her Instagram for pics of her adorable daughter and dedicated, blazing workouts (8 x 1 mile at 5:56's!!) She qualified for the Olympic Trials in 2016 (hello, awesome!) after having a kick ass race at CIM in December 2015 (her face as she crossed the finish line is absolutely priceless). She is down to earth and I feel like I could have tea with her and talk for hours. Anyway, you have to check out the post, as she keeps it real and lifts you up all at the same time. You'll find yourself muttering "yes, I do this!" or cursing "ahhh, I need to do this!" 




2. New World Women's Half Marathon Record!!

4:57 average page!!!???

I guess we should all have that look on our face when we finish a race, right?! 





3. Martha and Snoop!

I love this commercial and more importantly, I want to move into her house, stat! :) #lifegoals





4. Ina Garten Brownie Tart Recipe

Someday I am going to meet Barefoot Contessa. Yep, I just know it :)
Here is a delectable dessert to make for Tuesday! This looks so good I want to eat the page...










I hope you guys have a great weekend! 


Do you celebrate Valentine's Day? If so, how?

How many miles are you running this weekend?


Happy running.


xo,
Natalie

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Boston Marathon Training: 10 Weeks!

I have a ton of sweaty running laundry to wash. I always know that I am in the thick of marathon training when the machine seems to always be full of running laundry.
Currently rotating between two versions of the Brooks Ghost 9 in different colors, pondering on ordering the new Launch 4 - especially after I saw my friend Jes's pretty new ones! I love the Launch - it's a tad lighter than the Ghost, the heel to toe drop is 10mm vs. 12 mm for the Ghost (which I realize a 12 mm drop is pure sweetness for my feet, but the 10 mm is good for tempo and speed work).
What else? Training is going well. Smooth as glass, fingers are constantly in crossed mode that it stays that way. I talked last week about doing all the little things to stay strong and healthy. I try not to over think, otherwise I will drive myself nuts - which totally defeats the purpose of running, right?





Psyched to be an official blogger for Women's Running Magazine!! I wrote an article on five of my favorite trail runs in Los Angeles, and you can check it out here!! 




After my daughter's birthday, this was the definite highlight of my week!!! Woot!!

Coach directed me more toward performing a dynamic plank as opposed to a stationary one - so I am in plank position and then raise each leg twenty times - perform two or three reps. I like this so much more than the regular (kind of boring) stationary plank.

Oh, and I am wearing these socks underneath my regular running socks - I bought them months ago when I was on the tail end of plantar fasciitis, and they are so comfortable that I have been wearing them ever since. Anything that gives my foot a little more support, I'll take it.


Here are what my workouts from last week looked like:

Monday January 30th - 5 easy miles. Also, Happy 4th Birthday to my sweet girl!!



She said to me: "Mama, I want ladybugs and butterflies on my cupcakes, please!" 



Tuesday January 31st - 1 mile warm up, 5 x 1 mile repeats (each at 6:27 pace on the treadmill) with .25 jog in between, 1 mile cooldown. 8.25 total miles

Wednesday February 1st - 4 easy trail miles

Thursday February 2nd - 8 easy miles

Friday February 3rd - 5 easy miles

Saturday February 4th - REST. If you follow me on Instagram, you have heard me talk about this before, but I go with how my body feels on the weekend. The plan is always a long run on Saturday - BUT, that is usually after I have been running six days straight. If I wake up and feel beat down tired, I rest. Period. You are not doing yourself any favors if you ignore your body.

Sunday February 5th - 17 miles at 7:34 pace. And there you go - happy body = happy running :)

My splits: 7:33, 7:02, 8:02, 8:01, 7:19, 7:31, 8:05, 7:21, 7:25, 7:23, 7:27, 7:29, 7:27, 7:42, 7:45, 7:22, 7:29



Oh, and by the way - after the run I pulled on the compression socks and put my legs up the wall. Seriously, you could FEEL the blood circulating in my legs and I felt so much better after doing that for 10-15 minutes. #thelittlethings

Total miles for the week: 48.25


Have a great week!!

Happiness Is Running Life.

xo,
Natalie


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Boston Marathon Training: Less Than 11 Weeks Till Race Day!

How is it February first already? January is usually such a slow month after the holidays, but 2017 is off to a quick start. I think the race in the middle of the month and the long weekend really broke up the month and time has flown by.
Marathon training is in full effect and I feel like I finally have a sold base of running in my legs. I am also building on some quality workouts in which the goal is to continue to strengthen and get those fast twitch muscles revved and ready to go on race day. I am training with all my heart to finally dust away my old PR of 3:23 and grab a shiny new one. I will be ready on April 18th to run completely with my heart and make it happen.





I am continuing with all the little bits and pieces: dynamic stretching routine before every single run, continued PT exercises, not forgetting to take care of my feet to keep the nasty PF far, far away - strength training, adding more weights to my routine and really working on my upper body. I need my arms to be strong - especially for the last few crucial miles of a marathon. I am focusing on sleep and I know I am such a better runner and person when I sleep a good amount at night. My body has been craving nine hours and I have been giving it what it wants. Nutrition plays a big part in my day - eating balanced healthy meals and fueling right after a workout to repair the muscles. I love having a cup (I'm actually sipping as I type this) of chicken bone broth for added protein during the day. Eggs are on the menu every single day along with fish and tons of fruit and veggies. I am constantly thirsty and my body is demanding that I get 100 ounces of water each day - I feel so much better when that happens. I am also taking iron, vitamin D, a multi, probiotic and amino acid supplements.
Stretching and legs up the wall, foam rolling, compression socks, massages and ice baths - whew! I know I am probably forgetting something, marathon training takes a lot of work.




Oh yeah - mental stuff. I am upping the mental game too. I have been feeling like at the end of a race, I need to stay focused and present in the last two miles. Of course you can sprint down the last 100 meters when you see the finish line, but what about in the last miles before the finish line, when you are so tired? How to stay really focused and fight through the pain. I am working on that a lot.. With seven marathons under my belt, I know miles twenty three through twenty six are when you are truly tested and I need to conquer that and not break down. I'll have a post coming on that, cause I think it's so important.

I noticed a change in my body ----> after Carlsbad I tried cyrotherapy and felt so GREAT the following week - it was as if I didn't even race. The next weekend I ran 15 miles at 7:37 pace and did NOT jump into the ice bath afterwards and I could really tell the difference in the following days. Yesterday I ran five - one mile repeats at 6:27 pace and you better believe I jumped in the bathtub of ice. I realize it's just part of the marathon routine.


Here is what last week's workout looked like:

Monday January 23rd - 5 easy miles

Tuesday January 24th - 8 miles: 2 mile warm up, 4 mile tempo at 6:53, 6:44, 6:35, 6:22, 2 mile cool down. Really happy with the strength I showed in this workout. #progress

Wednesday January 25th - 4 easy recovery miles

Thursday January 26th - 8 miles

Friday January 27th - 5 miles

Saturday January 28th - REST. Supposed to run long, but my body wasn't having it. 

Sunday January 29th - 13 miles. 10 miles easy (8 minute pace) 3 miles at 7:12, 7:08, 7:02

43 total miles for the week

154.28 for the month of January

There it is - chugging away bit by bit. I will race a half marathon in March and I'd like to race maybe another 5K this month, we'll see.

I hope you guys are having a wonderful week and happy running!

xo,
Natalie