Friday, October 27, 2017

5 Weeks Till CIM + How To Recover From A Half Marathon

Are you guys feeling like fall is cruising right on by? I can't believe it's almost November, which means the marathon is right around the corner! Five weeks from today it'll be time to head on up to Sacramento, sleep, eat, hydrate, relax and get ready to pour my heart into 26.2 miles.
As for now, I've been recovering this week from the Ventura Half Marathon - easy runs all week with some pick ups on one run so far. I have a lonnnng run on tap this weekend - hint: it's over 20 miles - so really focusing on sleep and lots of gentle stretching. I'm still letting the PR soak in and allowing that feeling of accomplishment and euphoria propel me into these final weeks of training. I know the race will be a big bow on top of all the hard work, but it's really the training that is fulfilling me right now. Day after day (after day!) of running on the roads and trails that I love, pushing myself hard and really finding joy in the journey. I run because I truly love it and it never gets old. Yeah, there are days when it's not magical or days when I can't wait to finish because I need to move on to the next thing. Even through the craziness, I can truly say after all these years of running, I still love it and I know I always will.

Want to take a look at what my training has been like lately? I enjoy sharing with you guys and as we all know, it's not easy. There are so many moving parts that go into training for a marathon or any endurance sport. Making the time to train, motivating yourself to stay on top of strength training, nutrition and hydration... it all takes time and energy. We also know that when we toe the starting line, there is an air of confidence and excitment that this is your moment. You worked hard for it and it's time to lay it all out there. Zero regrets.

Monday October 16th - REST DAY. After a 20 mile day yesterday, it was good to completely rest today.

Tuesday October 17th - 8 easy miles

Wednesday October 18th - 10 miles: 5 easy paced and 5 a little quicker at 7:09 pace. Goal was just to get the legs turning a bit, since there was a race on Sunday.

Thursday October 19th - 8 easy miles

Friday October 20th - 6 easy miles

Saturday October 21st - 4 easy miles

Sunday October 22nd - Half Marathon Race = 15.66 total miles for the day with w/up and c/d. Still riding the PR high and big, gigantic thanks to my coach for all of his help, guidance and advice to get me to this point. Onward we go!

Total Miles: 51.66

I also did five days of core work and two days of strength this week.

Now the question is, how to recover after the hard effort you put in for a half marathon race?

How To Recover From A Half Marathon

1. Hydrate and replenish.
Your body has been through a lot and now it's time to give back what you have lost. Water, chocolate milk and an electrolyte drink are good choices for hydration. Nuun had a big booth at the half marathon and I filled up on lots of cups in ALL the flavors.
If you aren't super hungry, try to just nibble in small amounts to not overwhelm your stomach. For instance, I ate strawberries and half of a waffle within twenty minutes of finishing.

2. Stretch ang jog
It's not a good idea to stop and sit down after you cross the finish line. A better idea is to walk around, sip on a drink and stretch your muscles. Soon after, go on a cool down jog of a mile or so to flush out lactic acid and jump start recovery. You'll have plenty of time to sit during the car ride home.

3. Ice bath
When you arrive home or back at the hotel, try and sit in a bathtub of ice - it really does make a difference! 

4. Epsom Salt Bath
Later that night before bed, sit in a warm bath of epsom salt for at least 20 minutes. 

5. Roll Your Muscles
After the bath, roll out your muscles with a foam roller or your device of choice. I use both - a foam roller for the glutes and upper thigh. I also use the Roll Recovery R8 roller for the majority of legs and thighs.

6. Sleep
Sleep, sleep, sleep. Your body has done a lot for you over the course of 13.1 miles, now you need to rest. Put yourself to bed early each night all week and schedule a nap if you can. Sleep is critical to repair damaged muscles.
Don't forget to keep hydrating.

Have an amazing weekend!

What is the first you thing you do after crossing the finish line of a race?

How many days do you take off after a race?

Do Awesome Things.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Ventura Half Marathon Race Recap - NEW PR: 1:27:43!!!

It's been almost exactly two and half years since the knee surgery. I knew it would be a long and winding road and one that I was willing to take whole heartedly, joyfully, without hesitation. It never felt like a chore or something that I dreaded - only a challenge that I was ready to handle, one in which I relished. I knew it wouldn't be perfect, at times it might be pretty grueling, but that would make the reward so much sweeter.

Free race photos + I promise I'm racing! ;0

Let's look at where I came from for a moment... pre knee surgery, I spent the years having babies with some fun running in between, but zero marathons ( I had run five marathons pre babies), hardly any racing (I can count the races on two hands) and just a complete focus on motherhood. My story is a little different in that I wasn't able to run during pregnancy, and once I got over the shock of it (I did run the first trimester with Josh and raced a shorter race - I think a 5 or 10K), I embraced not running - for the sake of the babies health and my own.
When I stepped foot on the Ventura Marathon course three years ago - I was fit as I could be in that moment. Training consisted of nursing Elle during the base building, weaning her and then diving into a training plan that summer of 2014. There wasn't a coach in the picture, just me, a training plan, three little kids and a dream. The race was an eye opener, it definitely wasn't the best experience I've ever had, and I hit the wall in a very bad way. However, I did it - 3:32 and in that moment I knew it was just the beginning of a long road of dreams and accomplishments.
The knee injury happened right after that and a major set back, but it made me stronger. I needed that time with my PT, I needed a dose of reality and education above and beyond running. Runners think they know oh so much, but in truth you are always learning. I learned a ton about my body and it continues to shape my running to this day.

These two and a half years have been shaping a foundation, bit by bit, little by little, never rushing things - or be prepared to pay the price. A horrible case of plantar fasciitis last summer derailed me again for four months, but it's a risk you take when putting in the miles, you take time to heal and keep going.

So here I am in this moment and it seems slightly surreal. In January of this year, I ran the Carlsbad Half Marathon in 1:37. Yes, you read that right - 1:37 - ten minutes slower than I ran on Sunday. For me to cross the line ten minutes faster than nine months ago, was like a dream...(I did go on to run 1:33 at the Encinitas Half in March as a tune up for Boston). I knew going into Sunday's race that I was fit and ready for this PR, I just needed to believe in myself, reach out and grab it. Sometimes, that is not as easy as it seems... how many times are we ready for a breakthrough and we talk ourselves out of it?

Coach and I talked about planning a race or two before CIM and a half marathon was definitely part of the agenda, but by the time September rolled around, I hadn't given a lot of thought as to which October race I would tackle. Training was going well, but I was in a place where each day I could only focus on the kids, writing, training and LIFE. It kinda doesn't sound like much, but it was a mountain. The kids are all at different stages and each day is like the ultimate juggling act - what craziness is on tap for today? One afternoon I saw something about the Ventura race and it hit me that I needed to go back to where it started for me. I needed to go back and tackle this race with zeal and give it everything I had - I was ready.

I was ready for this moment.

Three years ago, we made it a little bit of a racecation - booked a hotel right on the beach, hung out - the kids raced on Saturday, we cruised around town, had a nice pre race dinner.
This year, I just wanted to go, race and come home - let's just get this done. Josh and Megan are at the age where they want to come to every race - they don't mind the wee hours of the morning, the driving, watching Mommy get ready to race... I realize this is shaping their childhood in a major way. They'll have so many memories of all the races they went to and cheering on their Mom, being part of the racing culture, running kids races themselves. This has been building for years, but gosh, this is our LIFE. Wow.

I guess I could wax poetic for days, but let's get on with the race details, shall we?

Saturday afternoon, I got down to serious business and the kids knew the plan - dinner at 4 PM, bathtime after and hit the hay BEFORE 6 PM - no exceptions. A 3 am wake up had to happen and we all needed to go to bed to make that a happy reality. Mission accomplished - 5:58 PM they were all in bed (Elle would not be going - I'm not completely insane and it would take her a week to recover from that - but she happily went to bed, she's a girl who loves bedtime!).

I really wanted to be in bed by 6:45 PM and had everything organized, but somehow my head didn't hit the pillow until 7:15 and I tried not to stress about it (type A in full effect - but I was afraid of what I would feel like at 3 am). 

Zero hiccups, I had a pre race meal of a Picky Bar, a banana, lots of water and a big glass of water with Nuun. That's it - I don't need a big breakfast for a half marathon and I in no way want to start the race feeling full and heavy. Also, I stop drinking a lot of fluids about two hours before the start of the race - no peeing during the race. We arrived in Ventura at 5:20 am which gave me one hour and ten minutes before the start. I hit the porta potties, picked up my bib and took a look at the starting line. I was also taking over Women's Running Magazine's Instagram and stories, so I took some pics and video too.

I got to meet Nancy IRL!

Jerold and the kids were hanging out, so I was free to do everything I needed- back to the bathroom again, and started the dynamic warm up while waiting in line. Next, was a one mile warm up around the race area (and ended with some strides to really warm up my body and get ready to race) as it as too dark to venture off on the road and before I knew it they were telling us to line up. Very, very smart for the organizers to have a 6:30 am race start - the day was promising to be a hot one and the earlier the start, the better. There was a bit of a delay and we actually did not begin until 6:54 am, which gave us 20 minutes of jumping around trying to keep warm. Temp was about 47 degrees and without a jacket, it was chilly, which I loved - finally good racing weather.

National Anthem

Then we were off. Coach had written a plan for me and I was sticking to that for sure, but I knew mentally that I wanted to get out ahead of the 1:30 pace group and stay there. I also wanted to run by feel and test out my body the first couple of miles. Well, my body was ready to rock and roll and I went for it.

Mile one: 6:36. Okay, let's talk about this for a hot second. I have never, ever started a half marathon with 6:36. Never. Let me say that I knew I was going into new territory and yet it felt good.

Mile two: 6:59. I knew there was a hill at mile two and yet I didn't really know what it would look like. I did a bit of research on google maps and Map My Run, but you never know until you're in it. Annnd this is why the pros run the course beforehand. The hill was a nice one, but pretty short and I knew I just needed to get up it as fast I as could and put it behind me. Trail running pays off.

Mile three: 6:26. I mean, when you run a 20:25 5K in the middle of a half... hot dog - I knew it was going to be a good day!

Mile four: 6:39

Mile five: 6:38. Nice, cool weather - no sun beating on me - beautiful course. Bring it.

Mile six: 6:30. Um, 10k time was 40:56. Yeah - this is what I've been working for.

Mile seven: 6:37

Mile eight: 6:44. Okay, don't lose your grip here. Smooth it out...

Mile nine: 6:36

Mile ten: 6:44

Mile eleven: 6:39. Lots of self talk. Coach had told me there was a hill around mile eleven and I would have to fight for it. I was nervous and kept thinking was this the dang hill? Also, the sun was blazing at this point and it was time to wrap this up in a hurry.

Mile twelve: 7:13. Darn. I really want to run this race without a seven something mile, but it is was it is. It was a long gradual hill, my legs were feeling it, but not toast so that's good. I needed to be a bit stronger here, but patience. It will happen. I'm also in the middle of marathon training, so there's that. No excuses, I simply slowed down here. When my watch beeped the mile twelve split time, I had to glance down. 1:20 total time. My mind was racing - crap, crap. 1:20 - how can I finish this race under 1:27? I couldn't think - just RUN.

Mile thirteen: 6:52. I'm freakin proud to finish the last mile in 6:52. YES. It was very rewarding to end on a high note + this is evidence that I'm getting stronger.

Last .1: 5:55 pace - I sprinted down that last stretch and gave it my all - no regrets.

Total time: 1:27:43 (6:41 pace!!) - a shiny, beautiful new PR!!!

11th woman overall, 2nd in my Age group

I kept thinking - I did it, I did it! Look how far I've come and the future is so bright!!! This is so fun!

All the cheese...

Real moments

Soak it in... I tend to not soak it in as much as should - I tend to pick everything apart - NOT TODAY!! #itsawin

Celebrating with the kids and also the fact the it was 80+ degrees at the beach and they were loving it!

Beach life!

Then it was time to refuel, cool down and have fun! 

The race offered fruit, waffles and beer! :)

I love when I meet Internet friends in real life...

Finally got to meet Emily!

I went off for a cool down (total of 15.66 miles for the day) and more streching while the kids played and then it was time to go home.

He is my rock - I couldn't do this without him.

If you are thinking of a great course in a beautiful location and want to come out West to California - this is the race!

It is a great course, scenic and easy to navigate, ends IMMEDIATELY at the beach, FREE race photos, great aid stations, bands afterwards with good food and beer. Very festive atmosphere and a GREAT course to set a PR. Loved the early start time to beat the heat and you can literally go and jump in the ocean afterwards. I highly, recommend the Ventura Half Marathon (and the marathon looks great too - go get that PR and BQ!) and I will be back! 

Nope, there isn't a pause button - just a lot of good recovery, keep training with heart and onward to CIM.

What is the best food you've had after a race?

Best race course you've run so far?

Do awesome things.


Friday, October 20, 2017

Almost 6 Weeks Till CIM + Race This Weekend!

Training is chugging away for CIM and I know these last six weeks will fly by in a blink. The name of the game is sleep, friends. I slept nine hours last night and it felt like a dream... wish I could say that I feel so well rested and ready to take on the world. Truth is I need to do that again and again and again. I started setting my alarm to remind me to go to bed each night, which is really helpful. I was able to sneak one nap in this week and that made a big difference in my training the next day. During marathon training, we work our bodies so incredibly hard, in addition to everything else we have to accomplish during our day that sleep becomes such a critical part of the recovery process.

My body is absorbing the training really well, I feel strong and in addition to sleep I'm focused on the nutrition piece and strength training. A good mix of carbs and protein, lots of fluids plus tons of fruit and veggies.
I can't believe it's already time to test my body with a race, so I've chosen the Ventura Half Marathon this Sunday. I'm excited to get out in a race situation (I haven't raced since July!) and test the fitness. Twenty miles last Sunday means there wasn't a taper happening for this race and that's the way it goes during marathon training. Coach did schedule a gentler tempo this week and I made sure not to push the pace.

This is the perfect time to race and then get back to work with the last six weeks of training. I'm taking over the Women's Running Magazine Insta account (and stories) on Sunday morning, so be sure and tune in for race coverage over there!

Here's a look at my workouts from last week:

Monday October 9th - Rest Day (18 miles on Sunday and I was ready for a rest day today.)

Tuesday October 10th - 7 easy miles. I like wearing a watch especially on the easy runs just to make sure I'm not going too fast. Easy does it...

Wednesday October 11th - 10.25 miles broken up like: 2 mile warm up, 5 x 1 mile repeats (6:27, 6:26, 6:23, 6:18, 6:21) .25 jog in between each set, 2 mile cool down. Even though only one repeat one within the prescribed range (6:10-6:20 pace), I still feel like I worked hard on this and as always, it'll be interesting to see where I am in November. #itsawin 

Thursday October 12th - 7 easy miles.

Friday October 13th - 10 miles: first 8 miles easy, then last two at 7:09 pace.

Saturday October 14th - 7 easy miles

Sunday October 15th - 20 miles at 7:31 pace. It was hot day today, so the thought on my mind was let's get this done. No messing around, not trying to be out here forever - how fast can I wrap this up and get home? ;0

Total weekly miles: 61.25

Josh has the relaxing thing down to a science:

I can take tips from him!

I hope you guys have a wonderful weekend!

Anyone racing this weekend?

Do awesome things.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Focus On The Negative Split In Training And Racing

Raise your hand if you regularly negative split a race? If you're reading this and you aren't sure what the definition of a negative split is: 

Negative Split: Running the first half of a race or workout slower than the second half.

I'm hard pressed to remember the last time I negative split a race. That is a huge yet truthful (and painful) confession... I totally go into a race with a clear plan of execution and for a marathon, I always follow my coach's plan/advice/instructions very closely. Yet, something always happens that I end up slowing down the second half of the race. Heat, hills, just plain tired - you name it, I have a reason for positive splitting a race. I will say that the last two consecutive Boston Marathons that I raced, I did run the first half exactly where I was supposed to be - but in both cases, the extreme weather was a big factor in slowing down the second half of the race. This training cycle, I am aiming to fine tune all the things that I know about running and make the execution better, sharper, finely tuned. The biggest obstacle is starting a race slower than I know I am capable and then turning it on the second half of the race. I have dreams about it, I think about it during a workout, I am practicing it and I want to challenge you to do the same thing (practice it - you don't have to dream about it ;0)
It doesn't matter how advanced you are in your running, a negative split will make the race experience more enjoyable and there is a much better chance of achieveing a PR.

Tired face, but I negative split the workout!

Three Ways To Practice The Negative Split In Training And Racing

1. Trust The Training
Whether you are self coached or under the tutelage of a coach, you have to truly trust the training. Know that you have put in the hard work, tapered well and your body is ready to handle to challenge of racing. Trusting your training also means that you can start the race a bit slower and know that you will have the strength to pick up the speed in the second half of the race and then put down the hammer in the final miles.

2. Practice 
If you want to get better at something, you have to practice. The best advice is to muddle your way through it during your training runs. So many times I do this on easy run - it's so easy to do after a hard workout. Your body is tired and recovering, so you start out easy and then the body gets warmed up and by the end of the recovery run, you are going a little bit faster at the end (but not too much, because we are running the easy runs EASY.)
This applies in a workout as well. For instance, if the workout in an interval workout, start the reps on the easier side and then build from there.

3. Hold Yourself Back
Many times in a race, we are excited, well rested and ready to go. The runners around you are excited and when the gun goes off, you want to stay or follow that pack of runners on your level - even if they are starting faster than your plan. Don't do it!! I repeat from experience, Do. Not. Fall. For. It.
I guarantee, if you stick to the race plan, at some point you will reel them in and while you are cruising by ready to take on the last part of the race, they will have their tongue hanging out. I've been on both sides and you definitely want to be on the cruising side.

Have you mastered the art of the negative split?

Share your secrets and what goes through your mind during the beginning of a race?

Do awesome things.


Monday, October 2, 2017

9 Weeks Till CIM + Live Life With Purpose

We are now into the single digit number of weeks until CIM. I have never raced a December marathon and it makes the urgency of the holidays so real. Christmas cards to think about, early shopping... I feel like I won't have a ton of energy or desire after the marathon, so the goal is to get a huge jump on holidays tasks this month. It was a good week of training, and I feel really ready for a break today. I will be full on enjoying a rest day from running and I couldn't be happier about it!
Let's take a look at last week's workouts:

Monday September 25th - REST DAY. Gosh I needed this rest day so much after 18 miles on Sunday and I relished in the fact that I could focus completely on recovery.

Tuesday September 26th - 7 easy miles

Wednesday September 27th - 10.29 miles.
Two mile warm up, 12 x 400 meter hill repeats (with 400 jog in between), two mile cool down. 
You can read all about it HERE and HERE.

Thursday September 28th - 7 easy miles

Friday September 29th - 10 miles with 8 x:30 second pick ups (all pick ups at 5:50/5:55 pace)
Progress. I'm now at a point where during these pick ups, I'm at under six minute pace on a consistent basis. Really happy with this workout.

Saturday September 30th - 7 easy miles at 8:22 pace.
My body was feeling less sore today - Wednesday's hill workout made me super sore for a few days. 
A good run today, so much so that I had to make myself slow down. EASY does it on these runs - nothing to prove here and can only hurt yourself if you don't dial it back.

Sunday October 1st - 15 miles. First 10 at 7:40 pace, last 5 at 7:00 flat pace.
This run had to be done on the treadmill today as it was the only time I had and it was an early evening run + I don't run in the dark. Long and emotional day today honoring a friend's life. Jerold and I had to leave super early in the morning to make it to the service and honestly, I didn't have the mindset to do this workout beforehand. Heck, it was hard to do the run in the evening - but goals... so I tried not to over think it and just jumped on the treadmill (after dynamic warm up of course :)
Happy that I could dial it down to 7:00 minute pace after ten miles of my normal long run pace. Running on tired legs is so beneficial in this training process. Needless to say, I was thrilled to be finished and I won't be running again until Tuesday! 

Total Miles: 56.29

Spending quality time with old friends was so wonderful. I love that we were all first connected through running, even though it has gone so beyond that over the many years. Although it was a sad time to come back together, we had some joyful moments reminiscing about time together as a team, old friends and the fact that our team and league produced some of the very best runners in the country. Pretty cool stuff.

I walked away with a renewed sense of purpose and wanting to make the most of every day. Am I living my life with purpose? Am I being as kind and loving as I can be? How can I help others more?

Waking up to the Las Vegas news made it that much more real.

It's a wake up call for all of us to live with zeal and adventure - joy and confidence. Let us all live our best life, even though that may seem hard somedays. May we all be reminded of the precious gift of life that we are given.

Thankful to always have him by my side.

Have a wonderful start to your week!

How was your week of workouts?

Anyone training for a Fall race?

Do you keep in touch with High School friends?

Do awesome things.