Preparing for lots of F-Bombs

Here’s what I’m predicting about my experience at the Blue Ridge Marathon:  It’s gonna be the marathon where my F-Bomb count is BY FAR the highest.

The hills (mountains) are already scaring me.

blue-ridge-marathon-elevation

Blue Ridge Marathon Video

I’ve been reading blogs about, and looking at people’s Strava entries for, the Blue Ridge Mountain Marathon.  And I’m realizing I NEED to get going on the hill training.  I know it’s so crazy steep for so long that I’ll end up walking a lot of it (apparently everyone walks some of it – there are parts that aren’t even runable). But I need to get going on the hill training so that I’m not aerobically dead from doing this thing.  I’ve been trying to do some hills on my treadmill runs, and last week I sought out a fairly hilly route near me.  But after reading the blogs and looking at the marathon profile again, I know I need to kick the hill training into high gear.  Not an easy task when we have sub-zero temps and crappy road conditions.  Gotta figure something out.

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Thursday Thoughts: Blonde Moment Edition

Random Thursday Thoughts:

  • Can a former-blonde-turned-brunette have Blonde Moments?  Cause I had a major one today with the morning’s hill workout.  It’s actually way too embarrassing to even publicly admit, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say that I’m an idiot.  In the interest of full disclosure and trying to be a good trainee, I confessed the details of my Blonde Moment to my coach via email.  He hasn’t responded.  He’s probably running for the hills, wondering WTF he got himself into with me.
  • Good news!  I did NOT fall down this morning while I walked down a fairly steep hill backwards.  10 times.  Must only be when I’m running or biking that I fall.
  • News flash:  Walking down a fairly steep hill backwards hurts.  At first I was fine.  But now, 15 hours later, the back of my calves HURT!  I’m thinking tomorrow’s recovery run is gonna be an ultra slow one.
  • Coach had me go to a sports medicine doc for some blood tests, to test hemoglobin, ferritin and hemocrit – just to make sure I’m in normal range and don’t have any issues (other than the obvious two left feet issue).  So today was the day that I went to the doc to go over my results.  My heart DROPPED when THREE doctors walked in the room with my chart and shook my hand.  I seriously thought that my blood test must have showed that I was dying or had a rare disease or something.  Turns out my tests were all completely normal.  Guess it must have been a slow morning and the docs just needed to triple bill the insurance company or something.  Or maybe word of my morning’s Blonde Moment spread quickly & they wanted to see me for themselves . . .
  • Meg’s cross country banquet was tonight.  So inspiring to see her.  She received the Committment to Excellence award – based on dedication.   Just like mom – she may not be the fastest, but she is SO dedicated and loves running so much.  I love it!

 

Donut run!

Loved today’s long run for a bunch of reasons:

  • It was with the group and running with them is good for me.  It motivates me to go faster/harder than I would on my own.  It also forces me to get out and be social, which is desperately needed after months of focusing too much on work and life craziness.
  • Hills!  They have been lacking in my training this time around.  But between last week’s hilly 21 miles and this week’s hilly 17 miles, I should be good for racing in Lansing (which is supposedly flat; anyone know if this is really the case?)
  • 17 miles, with hills and a bunch of marathon paced miles that didn’t feel like MP miles, which is always a nice feeling.  17  miles, 8:21 pace avg.
  • Good times.  Good conversation with KH and Jen, made the time and miles fly by.  Plus I got some good baking, fashion and self defense tips.  Fun stuff.
  • The best part:  DONUTS!  We started our run from the parking lot of Yo-Yo Donuts, so when we were done with 17 miles we pigged out on yummy donuts and coffee.  I’m gonna talk to coach about starting all our runs from there.  So good.

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I’m gonna admit it:  I’m jealous of all the Boston peeps.  Most of the running group is doing Boston, so there is excitement in the air.  I think I’M more excited about it than they are (most of them have run it before).  I can’t wait next year when I get my Boston chance, finally.  I’m gonna be crazy obsessed with the picture taking and blogging.  So be ready, readers.

Embrace Change

From a meditation book by Melody Beattie, which has been so valuable to me these past couple of months:

Embrace Change

You don’t have to fear change.  What you need to fear, a friend once told me, is things remaining the same.  When that happens, life has stopped.

Life is an evolution.  Your life is constantly, quietly evolving each moment into something new, something different, something that adds gracefully, beautifully, and perfectly to what was.  You can trust that process with all its insights, clarity, confusion, and emotion.  You can trust that process with its peace, joy, laughter and its side trips.

Learn to honor and love the process of continual evolution and transformation.  It’s how things grow.  It’s how you grow.  It’s how life is.

Learn to embrace change.

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I’m not gonna lie.  I’m terrified of the changes that become official today.  But I am going to do my best to do as this passage suggests and embrace the change.  Stay tuned.

*****

7.4 miles of hill loops with the group this morning.  The idea was to work on various paces during each loop (loops are 1.5 miles).  Marathon pace, half marathon pace, then 10k pace.  I felt good on the MP and HMP loops (8:02 and 7:42) – breathing was right where I think it should have been for those paces, even with the hills.  The 10k loop I don’t think I did fast enough (7:38).  I can do a 10k faster than that.  Still, it felt like a good workout.

Hill repeats! And pushups!

Hill workout #1 of the Lansing Marathon training cycle is in the books!   8 miles w/ 4 x .30 hill repeats (I’ll have to ask coach what he estimates the grade of the hill is) mixed in the middle.  The goal on the repeats was to push yourself to about marathon pace (pace not effort).  On the last one we did it as an “Indian Run”, where we ran up in a line, the last person sprinted to front of line while person in front sets pace, then the next person at end sprints to front, etc.  Thank goodness we did this to distract me from how tired I was, because by the 4th hill repeat I was ready to quit.  The last one (Indian run style) ended up being my fastest repeat – no surprise since almost all of the 10 people that were there are speedsters, so they really pushed me on the pace.  Paces were: 8:03, 8:10; 8:19 and 7:52.  Disappointing, if my goal was marathon pace, but not horrible since it’s the first of 17 weeks of training.

Oh – and at the top of the first two hill repeats, we had to drop and do 10 pushups.  Hopefully coach isn’t reading this blog:  I cheated and only did 8 and 5 pushups.  I hate those things.  I’m so weak!  Especially when doing them after hauling ass up a steep hill!

So what IS my marathon pace?  Still undecided on goal, obviously, since I really need to see how things go with training.  BUT, in general I’m thinking anywhere between 3:34 – 3:39 for marathon finishing time.  Which puts marathon pace between 8:10 – 8:21 (faster, actually b/c that is for 26.2 and I need to account for course measuring long if I don’t run tangents right, which I never do).  SO – when I look at it this way, I guess the hill workout was right where it should be.  For some reason I had 8:00 as my marathon pace in mind.  I think because that would be about 3:29ish and I DO think I’m capable of sub 3:30 this year.  Maybe not in Lansing, maybe Chicago?  Since my PR is 3:42:14, 12 minutes seems ambitious for the first marathon of 2012.  We’ll see!

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Has anyone tried the Godiva Truffle Bar with Souffle filling in Dark Chocolate?  Holy crap!  220 calories of pure heaven!  Should put me on my way towards gaining weight! 🙂

If it breaks, I’m now prepared to fix it!

So, what does every soon-to-be-divorced-and-on-her-own-fending-for-herself-woman need?!?

Pink tools!*

How awesome are these, which showed up on my doorstep wrapped in a bow today? (Thanks, little brother!)

They are so pretty that they almost make me want to actually use them.  The scissors I have figured out.  Now who’s gonna show me what to do with the rest of them when something breaks around my house?!  Fingers crossed that I don’t actually need to use these things any time soon!

*This is a family friendly blog, so get your mind out of the gutter and keep the comments clean, people.

*****

In running news, I had an awesome 7 mile workout with the group this morning.  7 miles with 3 hill loops (1.25 miles each; pace goal was to stay aerobic at 85% of half marathon pace for first 2 loops, then on 3rd loop to push it to anaerobic during the last 1/2 mile or so).  It went really well.  We had done 2 of these same hill loops last week and I felt like I was going to die at the end of the 2nd loop, but this week I was ok on all 3 loops, even the anaerobic one.  I LOVE when I can start feeling myself get in shape.

I also LOVE that it is December 14th and it was 37 degrees and ZERO snow when we ran today.  You realize that there is no snow this year because we spent $1000 on cross country ski equipment for Meghan, right?  Totally worth it.  I’m gonna buy her new ski equipment every year if it keeps the snow away!

Embracing the Enemy

Today, for the first time in ages, I embraced an old enemy:  The Treadmill.

I despise running on a treadmill.  I seriously go mental from boredom.  I am not coordinated enough to run on a treadmill and listen to an ipod (don’t ask).  I can’t run and watch tv because I don’t have my glasses and I have weird issues so can’t get lasik or contacts (don’t ask).  And my right foot always seems to get a funky feeling in it, making me think that I have to stop (again, don’t ask).  SO – why then did I run on the dreaded treadmill?  Because I didn’t have outdoor running clothes and I really really really needed to run.  It was one of those days.  So, I did 5 miles, with 3 miles of hills (hills and/or speed are the only way I can survive a treadmill run; helps keep the boredom at bay).  Then I hopped on the bike and biked for 30 minutes.

I also weighed myself and confirmed what I thought:  I’m down lower than pre-pregnancy, pre-wedding weight.  I can tell b/c my clothes are falling off of me.  My weight loss secret? The Stress Diet.   Mix in equal parts life stress and work stress and you are guaranteed to drop pounds.

The bad thing is that I don’t want to be losing weight.  I’m bordering on an unhealthy weight, if not already there now.  So, what’s a girl to do?  Follow up the workout with a glass of Pinot Noir, a chicken avocado bacon and jack sandwhich, and an extra large chocolate malt.  That ought to put some weight back on me!

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Started a new book tonight.  Before I Go To Sleep.  Looks good.  I’ve heard it’s disturbing.  Just what I need to keep me up at night!  🙂  Anyone read it?

 

20 Miles Done, Now Taper Time!

First, some shout outs:

Good luck to my running twin Kristy (at Run The Long Road) who is running the Lehigh Valley Marathon tomorrow.  Kristy is hoping to get a BQ tomorrow, which will be 3:45 for her.  She is SO trained for this, having run her last 22 miler 4 seconds BELOW her goal pace.  She will do it!  Go Kristy Go!

If you are looking for running tips, inspiration and wisdom, check out the new blog of Coach MB, the coach who has helped me get speed and, more importantly, a kick-ass mental game over the past couple of months.  In addition to the in-person coaching that he provides to me and a group of others, he sends inspirational emails and texts.  You’ve heard me write about the inspiration and motivation that he gives me.  Well, I’ve been encouraging him to share his wisdom with others and start blogging about all things running (and more – he does triathlons).  So, check out his blog when you have a minute!

And finally, I’d like to say What Up to my new BFF’s Adam and Tim.  Remember them from my Running the Edge book review?  Please note the comments to this post!  What sweet BFF’s.  I’m sure Adam and Kara will be inviting me over for dinner sometime soon.  I’ll keep you all posted.

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So, today was our last 20 miler before Twin Cities.  It was the Capitol Run, sponsored by Life Time Fitness.  There were about 400 people, running from the Capitol 10 miles out on the Twin Cities Marathon Course and then back.  So the last 10 miles of the run were miles 16 – 26 of the TCM race course, which is the hardest part of Twin Cities, with essentially the 3 mile hill from mile 20 – 23 (today miles 14 – 17).

It was, by far, my best feeling (and fastest) 20 miler ever.  I finished it in 2:53:15 (8:39 pace), with probably a good 3 – 4 minutes of stops built in, so the actual running pace was faster.  The stops were quick water stops, where I was able to pick the pace back up and still have a decent avg mile, but then not-so-quick stops at stoplights on Summit on the way back, where I wasn’t able to make up all the time that we stopped.  Frustrating, because I wanted to have all my miles LOOK like a good pace, but when we have to stop for 20 – 60 seconds, it’s hard to tell what pace I was even really at.

Things that were good about the run:

  • It was the quickest training run that I’ve done and it didn’t feel like I was killing myself or going all out.  Depending on what my goal ends up being (still up in the air; I need to decide this week so that I can mentally prepare), a good chunk of the miles were at or below MP.
  • I tackled the hills and did a decent job at them.  Mentally and physically hung in there and didn’t give up.  (Though when you look at my splits, it doesn’t reflect it because of stopping once for start of GI issues and on the other 2 miles for stop lights).  I am SO glad we ran these hills on tired legs – this was definitely needed as a confidence boost before the marathon.
  • I was able to do this well without taper, in heat (it was 70+ and sunny for the second 1/2 of the run) and after a big quality week (with a 10k race on Monday, 10 miles at marathon pace on wednesday and 9 miles with intervals on Thursday).
  • I didn’t let the start of GI issues at mile 15 derail me.  I stopped for 10 seconds to walk when I felt the sick-GI-distress urge coming on (it happened during the middle of the 1st mile of the 3 mile long hill).  But there was no bathroom in site (and I knew there pretty much wouldn’t be), so I told myself to calm down, take it easy and not worry.  I did back off the pace a tiny bit for the balance of the run, because of the GI issues too.  For some reason they seem to happen when I’m really pushing myself.
  • I still had energy in me during the last mile and kicked it in.

So I should be really happy about this run, huh?  And I am, for the reasons above, but I’m also a little disappointed in myself because I didn’t do what I (and the coach mostly) had set out to do.  My plan was 8:20 – 8:25ish miles for first 3, then pick up the pace to around 8:10 – 8:12, then finish stronger.  Fail on all accounts on this.  I didn’t even try to do this.  I was too scared of blowing up, of it feeling too hard, of injuring the hamstring again so close to race day, of not being able to do it, blah blah blah.  So from the start I just switched into a mode/pace that felt good for me and that I knew I’d be able to do today.  So, even though really there was SO MUCH positive out of this run, I’m disappointed in myself that I didn’t push it and didn’t even attempt to do what I was “supposed” to do.

21 days until Race Day!  So I guess taper starts, at least in terms of cutting back the long runs.  Still looks like the schedule calls for decent mileage and lots of quality this week.  And I get to run in DC this week (Virginia actually) because I’m going for a 4 day training for being the local Toys For Tots coordinator.  Who knew there was so much involved in that???

Push it

That’s what this whole group/coach marathon training thing is making me do so far.

Push it.

Push it faster than what I would do on my own, without a group or without a coach running with us.

Push it further than what I would do on my own.

Push it harder under conditions that I wouldn’t normally run in on my own.

Today’s workout was at 6:00 P.M., when it was 80 degrees.  You all know that I very rarely run at night, particularly when it’s a hard workout and it’s so hot out.  But that’s when the group was running, so I forced myself out in conditions that I normally wouldn’t train in.

Today’s workout was supposed to be warm up, then 3 of these mile long bow-tie shaped loops that were rolling hills on each of the ends of the loops (with only about 1 minute recovery between loops), then cool down.  I’m not sure if the group had already done this workout or not, but I was really the only one who asked what pace we should do it.  Coach said pace should be a bit faster than marathon pace, maybe 5 – 10 seconds.  Not an all out track type effort.  Ok, so I figured MP for me is around 8:17, so I’d run each of the bow-tie loops at 8:05 – 8:10 pace.  But then the entire group (maybe 7 or 8 of us) took off.  Fast.  So I did too.  Looked down at garmin and was going WAY faster than 8:05 – 8:10.  But I didn’t want to be left in the dust, so I tried to keep up.  And felt like I was going to die.  Each loop I slowed down.  By the 3rd loop I felt like I was going to die and wanted to quit.  I probably would have said F it if I had been running on my own.  But Coach stayed just in front of me the whole time and I didn’t want to be a wuss and quit with him there, or with the others waiting at the finish area. So I finished, with a bright red face, over heated body and gasping for breath.  Paces on each loop:  7:07, 7:30, 7:57.   Yep, definitely pushed it A TON faster and further than I would have on my own.

Now, as I’m sitting here looking at my runningahead log and typing this, I feel very satisfied and glad that I did push things today.  This training cycle is gonna help (if it doesn’t kill me first!)

And, as an aside, some of the funny searches that led people to my blog this week:  “running a marathon naked” (ok, that’s just weird!), “how to run from the law” (sorry, I’m not a criminal attorney!), “cutest turtle ever” (WTF?), “sexy feet blog” (this one always cracks me up since I have the world’s UGLIEST feet!).

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