Sunday, June 29, 2014

MCM Training Week 1

Holy crap I'm training for a marathon!

I know you all know that already.

But I'm still personally having moments of omg.wtf.thisiscrazy.why.hoorayhappyfuntimes... ;)  So pardon me if I stay this nutty for the next... oh, 17 weeks.

Week 1 = DONE.

I had my first brush of speedwork in eight months.  Oh how I loved and hated it.  But, it was very confidence boosting to know that a) I still "have it", so to speak, and b) I wasn't in any kind of pain or discomfort at any time during or after.  My fear of it was definitely worse than the actual running.  I don't know when that fear will go away for good, but I'm glad that, at least in this case, it was unwarranted.

I completed all my workouts with no issue, including 2 strength training sessions, 3 core training sessions, and 1 longer flexibility workout.  Again, I'm utilizing the supplemental training workouts from the Pfitzinger Advanced Marathoning book.  So far, I highly recommend them.

So, while my mileage dropped a bit this week (25.4 in total), this week was a little more intense in that I added speedwork and other training.  I've been very diligent about keeping my easy runs easy and not letting the pace creep up on me.  Before I'd just say "eh, screw it" and roll with it but now I will slow down - way down - if I am getting out of control.  This used to be an ego crusher, but now I feel stronger and smarter for it and believe it is the way to go.

Victoria also got to run with me this week!  She's doing really well.  She likes doing 4:1 run/walk intervals for her runs and before recently she'd really run out of gas toward the end.  Now she's sprinting ahead of me!  She really wants to beat her Liberty Mile time from last year and I think she will do it!

The only real downer I'd have to mention about this week was my nutrition.  I really need to watch what I eat the night before longer (or faster) runs.  Last night I was with a rambunctious group who wanted to eat at the buffet for dinner.  As much as I try to control myself with that it's tough.  So I ate way too much, felt like crap all night, and had tummy "blahness" (let's just make believe that's a real word) through most of my 8 mile run today.  The run was fine other than that, but I don't like feeling like that, especially on a hot and humid morning.

I also need to work on getting to bed earlier some nights.

Hey, it's a process, right?

Speaking of nutrition, since I signed up with the Clif team for MCM, they sent me a cute little box of goodies to try!

Free stuff is always nice! Even red shoelaces!

I haven't had the opportunity to try anything yet, but I plan on it soon.  I've had practically every flavor of their standard bars, so I already know I like that.  I've never tried the vanilla flavor of shot gel, but I vaguely remember the last time I tried a Clif brand gel it was very runny, which turned me off. Hopefully it is a bit thicker.  I'm most excited about the recovery mix.  Admittedly, I'm terrible about post-run recovery (unless a short stretch followed by staring into space for a while like an idiot counts), at least I have been in the past and I'm trying to get better about it.  I know this will be very important as my mileage increases, so I'll take all the help I can get.

I'd say this week was a great start.  I'm feeling strong and confident and am ready for Week #2!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Time Has Come.

As of this writing, I am on day TWO of training for my very first marathon - the Marine Corps Marathon on October 26, 2014!  I am excited and I am nervous and there's a part of me that is feeling crazy for even doing this.  But hey, even if I turn into one of those "one and done" marathoners (which I hope NOT to be - I'd love to enjoy it enough to attempt more), then that's still quite a feat, right?

I'm most of all, very happy to have made it today.  I was supposed to begin training for what was to be my first marathon - the Pittsburgh Marathon - back in January, but unfortunately my injury made me have to drop to the half.  I was thankful to be able to complete that, and finish very well on May 4th.  So just having made it to this point is an accomplishment, I think.

I am using a hybrid plan of my creation based on the Hal Higdon Intermediate 1 plan and Pfitzinger's 18/55 plan.  I will also be doing the strength, core, and flexibility workouts from the Advanced Marathoning book.  I've turned into a real fan of hard bodybuilding since being injured (hey, a girl's gotta have attainable goals, even if she can't run), so this is kind of a step back for me, but I do agree with the principles and reasoning behind the specific workouts.  This is actually my second week doing the Pfitz workouts and I like them, although stability ball supermans can suck it for the time being.  They'll get better with time... they have to.  lol

I will listen to my body and give it rest when it needs it.  I will (do my best to) enjoy the process.  I know there will be bad days along with the good... the tough runs and the easy.  That's life.

Today was my first run of the program - 3 miles at an easy pace with 5x 100m strides.  I did the strides after mile 2 so that I'd have them done with enough distance left for a little cooldown of sorts.  The run was good, even though it was 80 degrees, but the intervals were tough!  I haven't done any kind of speed training in months and I sort of forgot the agony.  haha.  I did well, though... much better than I expected.

Want to know what totally made the run, though?  Well, I couldn't run first thing in the morning like usual due to some appointments.  So, it was pushing noon and the kids wanted to go to Sandcastle.  We drove out there, with me dressed in my running clothes.  Nick and the kids went in to the park and I got on the Great Allegheny Passage right there and got my run done.  The eagles sure do draw a crowd!  Afterward, I grabbed my swimming bag out of the van and went in, changed, and jumped into the Mushroom Pool.  It felt freaking awesome!!  I totally want to do that again!  How convenient!  Why haven't I thought of this before?

Two days of training in and I'm feeling good and ready for more.  I've got 5 easy miles on the schedule for tomorrow and it looks like they're gonna be rainy.  That's fine too!

Hope you're all enjoying your summer running no matter what you're training for.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer Vacation Begins!

The kids have just completed their first full week of summer vacation (last day was a week ago today).

The first week of summer vacation is always rough.  Everyone has to get used to new schedules and activities and also used to being around each other more.  I get to say things like "don't punch your brother in the face again", "if you want your clothes clean, then get them to the laundry room", "stop writing on the couch", "the cat doesn't want to wear a hat and dress", "why is the fridge open", "yes, you have to wear more than underpants to go outside", and "please get out the door - you might be off, but the adults still have appointments" a million times a day.

But, that being said, we get to have a great time together without worrying about all the homework and school commitments.  Finally, after all the years of begging, Kennywood and Sandcastle have offered a combo season pass to get unlimited admission into both parks all season.  We are proud card carriers!  This is one of the reasons I love living here and I love buying the season pass - we don't have to take 1 day and squeeze everything in (unless we want to, of course).  We can go for a few hours here and there a few times a week.  One of our favorite things to do, especially on the weekends and holidays is spend a hot afternoon at Sandcastle and then grab some dinner and head over to Kennywood that evening.  It's like a consistent staycation including two of the best parks you can ask for.

Hanging out with Kenny Kangaroo!

I'm just trying to soak up this time and enjoy the kids and have fun.  This morning Garrett started a Kindergarten transition program that lasts 2 weeks and the older two will be headed off to camp in the next couple of weeks for 11 days each.  This is our first year doing the camp thing, but I feel that they are old enough and it will be good for them.  I'd like to see them each gain more confidence and independence and I believe it will help.  They'll be with familiar people and friends so there's nothing too extreme about it.  

As for me and my running/training goes I'm finally back up to around 30 miles per week (last week was 31, this week will be around 33).  As of this last week, I've cut back on my weightlifting, and will move toward a more running specific plan. I'm honestly probably just going to do the strength workout out of Pfitz's book with some of my own flair.  I'm running comfortably, recovering well, and feeling really good.  I'm happy that I've built myself up to right where I want to be before next week.  One week from today is officially day 1 of MCM training.  I'm bouncing back and forth between being excited and ready to go and freaking terrified.  I can do this.  I will do this.  My first couple of weeks start with slightly lower mileage than I'm doing now, but with specific workouts and strides so it all works out.

In my last blog I posted about trying to find a half marathon to run as a marathon pace training run or tune-up race.  Well, I've done more digging and if the Montour trail thing isn't going to happen (they seem really wishy washy on whether it is going to go on or not and I don't want to take the chance of a cancellation and having no other plans) then I have some options within a 2-2 1/2 hour drive from here in Ohio or West Virginia.  I would go farther, but I'll be travelling with kids which makes any trip at least 45 minutes to an hour longer ("I have to use the bathroom NOW!!!").  Nick also said that it's actually a good thing if we have to travel and stay a night in a hotel for a race because it will give the whole family a "training run", so to speak with regards to pre and post race travel and activities and behaviors.  I didn't even think about that before, but he is right.  I'll most likely make my final decision in the next two weeks.

I'll return to posting more and getting into more details about my training when its time to roll.  Right now there's not much to report on.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Well, Hello June!

Hey, it’s June!  What the hell happened to May?  Didn't I just run the Pittsburgh half the other day?  No?  OK, then.

There really isn't much to report on here.  I've been running 4-5 days per week, lifting 4 days per week and getting a rest day in there.  I've been sticking to my guns on this whole “keep it easy”/heart rate thing.  I do allow myself 1-2 runs per week without the strap, but honestly, I’m starting to kinda like it.  I never thought I would say that about running 10+ minute miles (my average seems to land around 10:30.. some days it’ll be 10:11, and the next it’ll be 10:50, etc).

I feel AMAZING.  I’m recovering from all my runs pretty much the instant I walk in the front door and stretch.  I’m not aching, hobbling, tired, or otherwise worn out.  These legs feel fresh all the time.  My runs are, for the most part, all enjoyable.  I’m having fun.  I could have done without the mother goose chasing after me and trying to nip at my legs after I must have ran too close to her precious babes, but hey, that was a cool experience too.  I’m not doing the whole “omg is this run OVER yet??  thing”.  I’m taking new routes just for fun.  It’s been wonderful and I’m so glad that I have this feeling back.

A big key in all this sunshine and lollipops feeling right now is the fact that I've allowed myself the absolute peace of not giving a heaping crap about my pace.  Now, you know this is TOUGH for me.  I always want to go harder, faster, better.  So, to keep myself from cheating on the process this time around I disabled my watch from showing me my pace.  Last year when I was trying to do this low heart rate recovery and buildup I kept obsessing about how slooooow I was going.  And in my silly head slow = bad = must not do it.  So, I’d be all fine and good running within my general aerobic zone for a mile or two but then after seeing those double digit paces for a while I’d get frustrated and say eff it and run whatever was left hard… to catch up to my self perceived “what I should be doing” pace.  Of course all this did was defeat the purpose and leave me disgruntled (AND put me on a terrible path to injury, but let’s not go there right now).

Now, I don’t have that opportunity because I set my watch up to only show me my heart rates and overall distance.  Sure, I can pull my pace and average pace up by fiddling around with the buttons for a while, but that takes too much effort and time when I’m running.  I’m lazy like that.  So, I have no idea how fast I’m running until the mile checkpoints (which I often miss because I either don’t hear the watch beep or I don’t look fast enough) or until I stop the watch at the end of my run.  All I know is how far I've gone and if my heart rate is in the right place.  And it’s been completely liberating.

Oh, and just to get it out there: in 21 days I get to start training for a marathon.  YAHOOOO!


Speaking of which, the one problem I’m having right now is finding a tune up half marathon to run.  I want it to be between the last week of July and first week of September, somewhat local (meaning I can get up, drive there, run the race, and come home before dinner.  Lol), and not incredibly expensive.  I was originally thinking of the Montour Trail half, but rumors swirling around say that they have to change the date of the race or cancel it altogether due to construction done on the trail?  I don’t know.  I’ll get it figured out one way or the other.  But if you have any suggestions, please send them my way.