Sunday, November 8, 2015

Overview of Where I've Been and What's Next

Hi!  How are ya?  Not gonna lie, I've been drinkin' tonight so pardon the slurred speech and the beer muscles.  At least I'm not to the point of listening to Hick Hop (yet) so we're good.  j/k... I was reading a hilarious thread on Reddit and Hick Hop is on the forefront of my hilarious thoughts.

This shit is awesome.  Sometimes I buy beers just for the graphics on the label.  Sometimes it works out... others not so much.  This one is a winner, though.

Anyway, I'm really not going to go back to structured blogging, but I wanted to write down some things... talk about what happened especially over the last few weeks and what I'm looking forward to.

First of all, I'm really enjoying some downtime.  That said, I really get annoyed with the downtime.  I'm not really on any sort of "plan" - be it running or lifting or whatever - and while some days that's very liberating other days it pisses me off because I want that goal/that purpose/that drive for a true end result.  but it is what it is... pretty soon I'll be bitching about fitting all my runs into my life schedule again so I'm trying to chill and enjoy.

For all intents and purposes 2015 is done for me, as far as training/running goes.  I may... just may.. do a five mile race here in the coming weeks but if I do I will not all out race it.  I'm just itching to do something.

So, my final thoughts on my training cycle and MCM are this:
I loved the training plan I chose.  Funny thought:  this was just a free plan offered by the Clif Bar company.  I was attracted to it by the low mileage (since I was coming off an injury and still run/walking for those first few weeks), as well as the 2x weekly speedwork.  I also liked the fact that it was 4 days per week running with the flexibility to add easy miles and/or cross training on the other days - which I did take advantage of and was running the standard 5 days per week by the middle of the plan.  I only modified it slightly - it scheduled 2 runs of 19 then 21 miles and I thought that sounded stupid, so I just did 2 20 milers.  And the tempo runs I made true tempo runs, not race pace miles sandwiched inside a warmup and cooldown (that is NOT a tempo run!).  In general, I think it was a nice, well rounded plan that was super flexible so that it could "grow with me", so to speak, as I fully recovered from my stress reaction and felt ready to take on the longer/harder stuff.  I did hit 50 miles a week at peak, which as you know is short of the 55 I was at before, but really.. that's not too shabby in the world of casual marathoning.

I did not follow the nutrition plan that came with the running plan because I was trying to follow the Racing Weight book.  Which was a fail for me, like I've posted before.

I felt totally prepared for the race, but in the end it was the mind over matter issue on top of the awful weather that did me in.  I pulled the classic "go out too fast" scenario and then faded and couldn't mentally get over myself in time to really bring it in.  BUT - I still pounded out a 9 minute PR, and achieved my B goal of a sub 3:50 (A goal was 3:45).  I also didn't walk a single step of the Iwo hill or any of the rest of the race, which was a big positive over last year.  So, even though the race didn't go as planned, I consider this whole cycle from day 1 of run/walking to feeling awesome in the days AFTER the race (seriously - easiest recovery ever) a huge success.
Thinking of buying this pic... it's one of a whopping 2 that I like.  The rest look like I'm about to die, give birth, am smelling a raunchy fart or just simply hate my life. Plus this is one of those cool "both feet off the ground" pics and I actually look like I'm totally focused and owning that shit.

What's next?  Well, like I said right now I'm in that limbo point.  I'm not training for anything, I'm just taking care of myself and staying fit.

I am planning on tackling some different things in 2016.  I absolutely plan on MCM again.  I want to get into the lifetime club so bad.  My "goal" early 2016 race is actually pretty early in the year so I'll be starting a training plan by the beginning of December.  I've enlisted the wisdom of a coach/someone who is a more seasoned and talented runner than I'll probably ever be.  One of the things that has been brought to my attention is that supposedly I am doing my running journey a huge disservice my consistently running my "easy" and ESPECIALLY my long runs (unless there is a prescribed workout within the run) too fast.  Now, I've been running by a heart rate range that I'd calculated and thought that was good enough but I'm told I need to run "slower than that slow".  So, it's going to be tough but I'm gonna try it.  I've been kinda trying out the paces on the runs I've done this week and I still ran every one (of the three I did) faster than the plan! I guess I need to take some time and focus and hone in on what it's supposed to feel like.  Of course, once winter rolls in it's easier to go into turtle mode anyway to prevent death by ice patch.  But, anyway, I'm looking forward to a different type of training, different type of plan, and different race and a different goal.  I know this is gonna sound bad, but running has gotten a little boring as well as frustrating for me and I need a change in perspective to keep me motivated.

I also - and this may be a shock - will not be doing an intense weight training plan in between or during running cycles.  For the last two years I've done that and I've gained some serious muscle (I'm no Ronda Rousey but I could beat a bitch down, just sayin'), but the honest fact is I'm bulkier than a runner is meant to be.  I really noticed this in recent pics.  So, I need to pare down and I will be following a plan tailored for endurance athletes and running functionality.  This will be a lot of core work, hip/glute strength and some upper body.  I won't be doing hours upon hours of curls and benching and shoulder presses and all that because I need to focus on other areas.  And the core work takes #1 priority.

I was kind of inspired by one of my favorite YouTubers  to do a 30 day vegan challenge but my family is totally against it.  I guess I'll think of something else to do like the Yoga challenge I did last year (that's kept me doing at least some form of yoga on the regular all year!).

Well, that's all that's on my mind right now regarding the current status of life.  In the coming weeks I'll be cleaning up my nutrition a bit again (I've been on an OMG eat all the crap I couldn't have during marathon training binge for two weeks and that's not real smart with the holidays coming at us), but other than that it's just keep on moving and loving life. :)

He wanted to take his own damn selfie.  What a brat.


  1. Well good to hear you are doing okay. I suggest running that 5 mile race in the up and coming weeks, just because I know what race it is and I will be there, lol. Like you I kind of went away with the structured blog, just was starting to get old and boring. Hopefully in 2016 we end up doing some of the same races

    1. Ha, yes! One thing I want to do in the upcoming year is do some new and different races and different distances. Maybe do more low key small local stuff, you know?

  2. Well, you've given just enough information for me to be intrigued with what your new training/race/plans are for 2015 but still leave it a cliffhanger, lol. Inquiring minds want to know! Interesting that you ran your easy paces by heart rate and that was too fast? Honestly, you could do that vegan challenge without telling your family & they'd never know. I was vegan for 6 months before I told my husband or family, and they never even guessed that all the meals I was making were vegan. All they cared about was that they were good!

    1. Ok now you have my interest and I would like to know how you accomplished that for 6 months!! The reactions I've gotten when mentioning it have been from "you're going to hate your life" to "you're just going to make yourself sick", but I'm sure you've heard all those things and more. I just kind of got interested after seeing several people do it and most of them sticking with it afterwards (even if not 100%, at least mostly - the one person did reintroduce milk and eggs but nothing else) because they noticed such great performance gains! Now, I do like my meat but if there's that noticeable of a difference among other meat lovers that they're willing to keep at it... hmm. Let's test this out... haha. AS for race plans I'm still ironing out things but like I said to Shaun, I really want to branch out and do some new things. I'm looking at some trail 25k/30k races.. maybe even a 50K! I just know I don't want to spend a whole year pounding pavement for the same old PR attempts. Meh.

  3. Glad you are enjoying some down time after a good season/year. I would love to see the plan that you used for MCM - very curious since you liked it so much. I started lifting again as well since the marathon is over and I always worry about bulk - ugh

    1. Thanks Kim. Here's the plan:

      Like I said, it was just a random internet freebie. I'm glad I gave it a whirl and I'd do it again. I really liked the progression of 800 repeats every week - and I did run those as proper Yassos with regard to the listed "target pace". Very flexible outline of a plan, and very smart buildup (especially from practically nothing), I think.

      Don't be too concerned with bulk - it really doesn't happen unless you intentionally put it there.... which I did. I liked the process and the outcome but I believe if I want to keep getting better at running I need to pull back a bit and just focus on functional training to balance myself out. I don't need to bench press my body weight or do rows until the cows come home to cross a finish line... lol