Friday, July 19, 2013

Fall Racing Schedule

I feel like I should use the term "fall" lightly because in Texas we really just have hot and cold, with about 3 weeks worth of "fall" or "spring" weather tossed in there.  October through December is my favorite of the year!  Not only does it bring about much nicer running weather, but it's the holiday season, and it is FOOTBALL season!  The perfect Saturday consists of getting a nice long run in out at the lake, and then coming home to watch college football either from the comfort of the couch or a local patio.  It's the little things in life.

Now that I have laid out my marathon training plan (here) I can look ahead to the races I plan on tossing in there!  A few are tentative depending on how I'm feeling at that point.  One thing I loved about my San Fran training was I was able to work in several other races into the schedules.  It really helps to break up the monotony of training alone for months, and racing the distance you need is just more fun.

  • August 3 & 4 - RRCA Coaching Certification Course
  • September 21 - Tour des Fleurs 20K
  • October 12 - The Showdown Half Marathon
  • October 26 - Allstate 13.1 (tentative)
  • December 8 - Metro PCS Dallas Marathon
If any of you would like to join in the fun, let me know.  The more the merrier!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Adios comfort zone...

If you're looking to run your first full marathon, your first and most important goal should be just to FINISH!  You are about to put your body through something its never done before, so a wide array of things could go wrong along those 26.2 miles.  The goal in the back of your mind should always be, JUST FINISH!  Now that I have two full marathons under my belt, I feel like I understand the distance.  I understand what it takes to truly train for it, to hydrate for it, to fuel for it and to mentally prepare for it.  I also understand that I have SO much more to learn!  I don't know if you ever really "perfect" the art of the marathon. 

For my first marathon in NYC, I trained doing "just enough" to finish.  You know what, I finished...but I felt like death afterwards.  I wanted to cry from the pain and exhaustion (and the fact that we had to climb one billion subway stairs before making it back to the hotel).  I learned a lot from that experience.  After the race I swore I would never do it again and for awhile there I thought I would be a one-hit wonder.  It took me almost two years to gather up the balls to decide I wanted to go for it again.  I thought about it long and hard because I knew this time around what I was signing up for!  I told myself that if I was going to go through it again, I was going to try harder and train harder!  I wanted to get every single training run in, and if I missed a training run, the only acceptable excuse was an injury.  With the San Francisco course being incredibly hilly, I knew I would have to make the extra effort to drive out to an actual hill (not too many of those hanging around in the Dallas area) and run repeats on multiple occasions.  I also made the extra effort to really educate myself on the nutrition and hydration needed to make it through training and the race.  After months of training and combining all of those elements, my PR at San Francisco completely validated everything!  Yes, of course, the PR left me ecstatic.  More importantly though, after just having run 26.2 (26.58 to be exact) I felt fantastic, sure I was moving a little slow!  Unlike NYC, I didn't feel like complete death.  I didn't feel like my insides were about to come spewing out from all parts of my body.  I was so excited, full of energy, and could not stop smiling!  I actually got to ENJOY that finish and relish in the accomplishment with my husband and friends.

The way I felt afterwards spoke volumes about my extra efforts in training.  This isn't an attempt to toot my horn, but rather to show that the marathon shouldn't feel like death.  Now that I have a better handle on all of the components for good training, I decided it's time to focus on the miles themselves.  I've used a traditional training plan for my last two marathons.  Plans that focus on the infamous 20-miler at the peak of training.  These plans have served me well (I finished, remember?), but it's time to step outside of my comfort zone.  It's time to really focus on being strategic with training and also time to shake things up a bit.  That's why I have decided to go with The Hansons Marathon Method Beginner Program 

The training plan is based around the theory of cumulative fatigue which basically means, you train your body to run on tired legs.  Why?  You know what happens to your legs after mile 16 of a marathon?  They get tired.  Really really tired.  Most notable about the plan is that your longest run at any given point is 16 miles.  They completely toss the notion of the 20-miler out the window!  To be fair though, I think the 20 mile run is important for your first time around.  It's more of a mental test than anything else.  By the time you get around to that 20 mile run in training, you're completely dreading it, so just "doing it" is the real victory.  One of the creators of the plan, Kevin Hanson, explains it best, "It also means that when a Hanson's-trained runner sets off on a 16-miler, there’s already three workouts’ worth of fatigue in their legs. So it’s not like running the first 16 miles of a marathon, it’s more like the last."  My running doc and I have had a few conversations about this theory and at first I thought he was crazy.  How in the world could that ever really work?  After reading the Hansons book it makes complete sense.  Anything over 15-16 miles and our bodies kind of start to rebel.  By conditioning your legs to continue to crank out the miles even when they are pooped,  in theory those last ten miles come race day should be easy right?  I guess only time will tell.  This plan also incorporates specific Speed, Tempo, and Strength workouts that are based strictly around your goal pace.  Honestly, I've never really done any of that intentionally.  This plan is really calculated and goal focused which I love.  In addition to hill workouts, I'll also be spending some time at the track!

The plan itself seems daunting at first glance.  Running this many days per week is new to me.  Having a peak week of 57 miles is REALLY new to me!  "If you do what you always did, you will get what you've always got."  Could not be more applicable to running!  So for the Metro PCS Dallas Marathon coming up on December 8th, I'm saying adios to my comfort zone and hello to a new adventure....

Monday, July 15, 2013

Race Report: Too Hot To Handle 15K - July 14, 2013

Boy oh boy, where do I even begin with this race!  Lets start with the fact that I was only four weeks out from the San Francisco Marathon, I was completely unprepared, my longest run since then had been a 10K, I had chinese food for dinner the night before (and a beer - so sue me), oh and it poured down rain the entire time?

Our alarm went off bright and early at 4:45am on Sunday and we headed out to Norbuck Park.  The 15K was set to start at 7:30.  While waiting in line for that ol' porta potty at 7:15 we felt a rain drop here and there.  The gun went off at 7:30 and at the same time, here comes the rain!  Mother Nature provided us her own hydration station for the entirety of the race.  Given the fact that a race in Texas (in July) is usually unbearably hot, it was a welcomed gift!

One of the things I have struggled with most during my active recovery since San Fran, is getting my pace back on track.  During marathon training the pace slows significantly to allow for the extra mileage being tacked on, so my legs became accustomed to a slower pace. (This is something I'll be training differently on for the next marathon, more on that later)  I've been working to slowly get it back down but keeping it there is the struggle.  I would LOVE to be able to review and post my mile-by-mile splits from my Garmin, but seeing as how it won't connect (grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr) I will have to settle with chip time splits instead. 

I thought my 10K time was way faster than last weeks, but apparently it was only :20 faster.  Womp womp.  Based on my 10K time and my total finish time, it's safe to say that the last 3 miles were a disaster.  I was tired, my legs were tired, and my right calf seized up on me which then triggered the pain in my right arch.  Also worth noting, the roads were so slippery!  I love my new Adidas Boost but it was very apparent there is zero traction on those bad boys!  Much of my mental time those last three miles was spent watching every step and actually walking the downhills because I was sliding around like crazy.  I finished the race in 1:38:35 with a 10:36/mile pace, and completely drenched from head to toe.  I looked like I had on a swimsuit!     

Needless to say this race was disappointing but all I could do was laugh.  Not every race can be a good one that's for sure!  I got to run this race with my husband, my family, and several friends who were out there as well so all-in-all, it was a fun day! 

Speaking of my husband, I have to give him a quick shout out for the awesome race that he had!  He finished with a time of 1:12:21.  He's the kenyan of the family and I'm glad at least one of us had a good showing out there.  His overall stats:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

RRCA Running Coach Certification

Last night I completed step one of the process to becoming a Certified Running Coach through Road Runners Club of America (RRCA)!  The really good news is that step one is becoming CPR and First-Aid certified, which means I can save your life after I kick your booty.  Isn't that considerate of me?  I thought so.

Along my running journey through the years, I've helped unofficially "coach" some newbies through their first race.  Seeing someone cross the finish line at their first race is hands-down one of the most rewarding feelings as a runner.  A few months ago I looked into getting my nutritionist certification because aside from the running aspect, what you fuel yourself with is just as important.  I did a little more digging and decided that I had to follow my true love and go with the RRCA cert!  The two day course coming up in August covers exercise physiology, running form, training technique, injury prevention, psychology of running and sports nutrition!  I feel like I'm kind of killing two birds with one stone going this route.  I don't have any regrets in life, but I will say that if I had been this into running out of high school I would have gone a totally different route with my college education.  Exercise physiology and sports psychology is completely fascinating to me!  I'm a book nerd and by books I mean actual books, ones where you can actually turn pages.  Remember those?  I'm always on the hunt for something new to read on the subject.  Our brains need food too!  A lot of what I read goes into the "the shredder" as my husband likes to call it.  In the world of nutrition and fitness everyone and their third cousin has an opinion and believes it is the only right answer.  I take the nuggets that I like out of each book and mentally shred the rest.    Getting my RRCA certification is another piece of my "I want all of the knowledge I can handle" puzzle.  Do I plan on turning it into a full blown coaching business?  Part-time, sure.  I firmly believe that we are put on this earth to serve others in some form or fashion.  If I can share the knowledge I gain from this with others to help them achieve their goals, sign me up.  

"The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others." - Albert Schweitzer  

One of the things I love most about running is there are no shortcuts.  You either do the work, or you don't.  If you do the work, you get the result.  Simple.  I'm a simple kind of gal.

I'll update once I have that fancy piece of RRCA paper in hand!