Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Shoreline Half Marathon Race Recap

This was my second race of the summer and I'm happy to have another under my belt. I think it's good to get beat up a bit and realize that when the fast times and PRs come, you will be truly thankful for them and never take that success for granted.

I got my butt handed to me in this race. If you followed along on my Instagram or over at Women's Running Insta, you got an overview of the day. I mean you guys, my times just got slower and slower and at one point I literally was struggling to breathe. We read and talk about "never give up!" "keep pushing", "fight for it!" and in those hard, hard miles I couldn't seem to muster any of that. I just wanted to stop on the side of the road, have a cold one (anything) and just rest. It was hard to accept my feelings as I always have something left in the reserve tank. Even in those hard Boston miles, I still felt strong, I never thought about stopping and I kept pushing. 




The plan for the morning was for Jerold and I to go to the race solo. My Mom was happy to hang out with the kids and we were planning to leave by 4:15 am and be back before noon. Yeah, things went a little different than the plan! Josh decided that he really (really) wanted to come with us - please, please can I come. I didn't want to say no to him, so okay, Josh can come with us. Well, when I rolled out of bed before 4 am, Megan was at my bedside saying she want to come as well. Please Mommy, please can I come, it's not fair - you can't take Josh and leave me. In those moments I knew the plan was going to go out the window a bit - it's hard for Jerold to get around on his bike with two kids on their bikes and I was hoping he would be there for various points in the race including start and finish. At first I sat both kids down (Elle was in total dreamland and never woke up) and said maybe its better if Mommy and Daddy go to the race and come straight back before noon. Well, yeah - they were pretty darn stubborn and there were some tears, so I'm like - gosh if they really want to come to a race and see me run, then why the heck not?


I promise they were happy - they were just super hot and sun in their eyes at this point! :)


Well, by the time we actually got on the road, it was well after 5 am and I had a sinking feeling in my heart that I was going to be SO rushed to make it to the start on time. We arrived at 6:30 am (7 am start) and I bolted out of the car and started my warm up. Half mile done (was supposed to be a mile) and dynamic stretching completed while I waited to get my bib. Got the bib, had to GO badly to the restroom, the line was huge and the announcer was saying that they would start the half marathon at 7 AM sharp - not a minute later. Crap. The time was about 6:47 am. A nice lady points me in the direction of an uncrowded restroom and I take off running toward it. A short line, I was in and out and then jogged back to the starting line just was they were about to start the gun. I felt a little flushed and a tiny bit like I need five more minutes (!),  Jerold was asking me about a picture and I couldn't focus on any of it. I also realized that I forgot to put the GU (I like to take one at around mile 7 or 8 in a half) in my back pocket. OOPS.
At 7 am sharp we were off and running.


Mile 1: 6:59 (Crap. Started faster than coach wanted. This mile was supposed to be between 7:10 and 7:20)

Mile 2: 7:00 (This is the mile pace that I supposed to run the whole race. The instructions were to keep running one 7 minute mile after another - and I knew I was in shape to do it.)

Mile 3: 7:04

Mile 4: 6:57

Mile 5: 7:10

Mile 6: 7:15 (I felt the humidity a lot at this point. The sun was ablaze and no shade)

Mile 7: 7:19

Mile 8: 7:28 (humm, this is NOT 7 minute pace, but there is still time to recover)

Mile 9: 7:44 (whoa. I knew I was in real trouble here) - I was thinking about the forgotten GU and maybe that would have given me a boost?!

Mile 10: 7:51 (what?)

Mile 11: 8:25 (This was the mile I debated on stopping. I was jogging and felt so, so bad during this mile. It was so humid and hot and I was by myself at this point)

Mile 12: 7:33 (decided I had to find a second gear in this race and salvage whatever I had left)

Mile 13: 7:20 (finish as strong as you can)

Final Time - 1:36:45 (7:24 pace)




A full three minutes slower than what my half marathon times have been this year and I had a whole range of emotions going on. 

The good stuff:  I won the race for the women. There was a woman running with me and we stayed together for the first few miles and then I went ahead. She caught up and went ahead and we were volleying back and forth for a bit. Then I went ahead until I had a breakdown at mile 9/10 and then she caught up and went went ahead. There was a point where I had to decide what to do - was I going to lose this race on top of the disaster of my pacing/splits? Nope. I knew I had to try. I passed her at the end of 11 and decided to give it whatever I had left. There's that feeling when you pass someone in the last miles of a race and they don't immediately respond - you know you can tough it out, so put the hammer down and don't look back. Try it in your next race!


Inspiring to run with these women!


Here's the thing: it was a tough day out there for everyone. Even on the way back when I saw the front guys - they looked hot and tired too. 
Also, not every race is going to be an amazing PR or even the time you desire - but you still put in the effort and that is huge.

I loved hugging the woman afterwards and saying kind words to each other - community!

More good stuff: this time last year I was injured and not running or racing at all!!

Everyone has bad races - we all do. I think the important thing is to pick yourself up and learn from the experience.

Let's talk about the logistics of the Shoreline Half Marathon (In Ventura, CA - about 60 miles north of LA) for a moment:

I thought it was a very well run race! A good amount of bathrooms (Porta potties and regular), water and Gatorade at many mile points, on time start (to beat the heat as much as possible), great volunteers, good swag (medal for all finishers, t-shirt, small bag and water bottle + age group medal award and I got a sweet black bag with many compartments for winning the race!). They had to move the race from the beach location to 8 miles inland (near Ojai, CA - a beautiful mountain town) which made the heat more intense without an ocean breeze. The course was great (run along the Ventura/Ojai bike path) and it finished at Foster Park, a really pretty location.






As far as the heat and humidity training - I need work on this! I have to learn to run stronger in the heat.

SO - I'm off to New Orleans tomorrow to put it to the test (and have fun of course!). I'll be posting all over the place and updating here on running in extreme heat/humidity, so be sure and follow along on my trip to NOLA!


How do you deal with bad races? Do you race again pretty quickly, or take more time for reflection (and training)?

How do you deal with racing in heat and humidity?

Have you ever been to New Orleans (this is my first trip there!)?



xo,
Natalie

Friday, July 7, 2017

Mixed Baby Greens With Mint Lime Yogurt Dressing

This post is sponsored by Stonyfield Yogurt and Taylor Farms. 
All opinions are my own.


Every time I make a huge salad for dinner (and throw in whatever veggies we have in the fridge) I find myself doing yet another happy dance that my kids actually LIKE salad and will eat it with joy. YESSS! Total win in the Mom department. Salads are such an easy, healthy, go to for dinners and especially during summer when no one really wants to turn on the oven if there is any way to avoid it.
I've made everything from huge salads topped with chunks of wild salmon, salad with fruit, veggies and grilled chicken, grilled swordfish - you name it, we have probably done some variation of it. When Stonyfield asked me to make a salad dressing with their yogurt along with mixed greens from Taylor Farms, I couldn't have been more excited. Running is my first love, but cooking is definietly a close second! My family loves to eat and I like knowing exactly what goes into our food - so needless to say, our kitchen is always buzzing.




When I started brainstorming on a dressing, I knew I wanted it to be tangy, light and refreshing. It had to be kid friendly and easy to make. One herb that I can't get enough of (and I knew would be part of this recipe) is mint. We use mint in our lemonade, many other summer drinks and I love the smell of fresh mint in the summer. 
On to lime - lime has that special tangy quality that gives everything a bit of a different taste than lemon and that sounded interesting to me. Mini oranges are the secret ingredient in this dressing! The orange flavor added another layer of citrus and I couldn't wait to put everything together and give it a try.





The result was so delicious! You never know with recipes how long it can take to get everything right, but this is so tasty - I hope you'll give it a try on your next summer salad.





Mint Lime Yogurt Dressing
By: NatRunsFar

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Fresh Mint Leaves
1/2 half Lime (juice only)
1/2 cup Stonyfield Whole Milk Organic Yogurt
1 mini orange (peeled and sectioned)
1/4 teaspoon lime zest


Directions:

Place all ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth - about 1 minute.

Serve immediately or refrigerate.


Salad:

Taylor Farms Organic Baby Spring Mix
1 avocado chopped
3 Fresh strawberries sliced




Voila! Whether you need a quick lunch option or want to use this an a starter for your next summer dinner party - this is sure to get your taste buds popping.

What type of salad dressing do you like? (I normally use olive oil and balsamic vinegar, so this was a really fun change!)

What is your favorite summer salad?

Enjoy and happy summer!

xo,
Natalie

Thursday, July 6, 2017

What A 60 Mile Week Looks (And Feels) Like + Happy 4th!

I love going all out for Fourth of July. It's the biggest holiday of the summer and it always feels so festive and happy. I've been dressing the kids in red, white and blue on the 4th since they were born. 


Now


And three years ago! (+ Elle can now wear Megan's dress!)


I didn't make my famous flag cake this year - ahhh, too tired I think (hello, training, writing and #momlife), plus you have to have a big crowd to eat it - the cake is huge. I am going to work on making a smaller version...



We missed the cake this year



We had such a fun 4th! Megan asked to run the kids race - she loves running it every year and of course I love that :)

That kick!



I am coming off of a 60 mile week and here is what that looks like:

Monday June 26th - 4 easy miles (easy recovery run from Sunday's 13 miler which ended in 3 miles at 7:06 pace)

Tuesday June 27th - 7 miles (Comfortable. My comfortable/easy pace is between about 9:15 and 8:10 pace. The first mile is always a bit sluggish and I don't think about the first mile, which usually falls very slow (for me) - about 9:30-9:40. I just let my body take the lead...

Wednesday June 28th - 7 miles

Thursday June 29th - 2 mile warm up, 3 x 2 mile repeats (13:19, 13:20, 13:13) = 6:39-6:36 pace. 2 minute jog in between, 2 mile cool down.
10.50 total miles
This workout is TOUGH. Sustaining a quick pace for 2 miles is great training (lacate threshold) and helps you stay focused, which will help you become a faster, stronger racer.

Friday June 30th - 7 miles

Saturday July 1st - 9.5 miles with 8 x :30 second pick ups (I love this workout - the miles tick by and its nice to get the legs turning over with the pick ups. Paces for the pick ups in the low 6's).

Sunday July 2nd - 15 miles at 7:39 pace

A good amount of strength work: 3 solid days of 20-30 minutes of strength. 
including: push ups, dynamic planks, bear crawl, squats, bridges + weights
Core work: 5 days

What a 60 mile week feels like:

My body is in a good place where I can handle the miles. I needed to eat a good amount without over eating. Eggs every day, plus yogurt, lots of fresh veggies and fruit, one day we made homeade burgers - SO GOOD.




Another day I made homemade meat balls for the pasta - this is Josh's favorite.




Today's breakfast - egg tacos!



Sleep: I could feel that my body needed more sleep - the best recovery ever - so I tried most nights to put myself to bed early. Last night, Jerold was home and put the kids to bed. I crawled into bed at 7 and was asleep by 7:30. Glorious.

Testing out my fitness by running a half marathon this weekend. Praying that it feels cool until about 9 am.

Have a great rest of the week friends!


What time do you go to bed each night?

Anyone racing this weekend?

Favorite summer meal?


xo,
Natalie