Long Beach Marathon Recovery

It has been 8 days since I ran the Long Beach Marathon.


I cannot lie, the first two days after the marathon were pretty uncomfortable. I spent most of Sunday afternoon watching football, resting, hydrating, and napping. I had Joe stretch out my legs for me which was very kind of him. I got a great nights sleep. Monday was pretty uncomfortable. I didn’t do too much of anything all day (luckily I had the day off) and my legs needed the day off. My feet were in pretty rough shape too with blood blisters and a toe nail that finally came off yesterday. I felt much better when I woke up Tuesday but I had to stand all day at work on Tuesday which really tested my legs. Sitting, bending, and walking up and down stairs was very uncomfortable and walking for 6 hours or so didn’t help the situation.

Wednesday and Thursday were much better and by Friday I had no soreness. I decided to wait until today to go on my first post marathon run. I’m really glad I waited. I probably could have tried earlier but my legs would have been very fatigued. The rest was necessary. I did a simple 4 mile out and back on the Strand and it was a fantastic run. No groin or ankle pain thank goodness! My legs were still a bit on the tired side.


Official photos are in! Running hard on the beach path.

Moving forward my running plan is just to do what feels good for the first month post-marathon. Last time I ran a marathon I was frustrated by how tired my legs still felt a few weeks out so I’m just gonna do what feels good for at least 1 month and then assess how I feel and where I am. I have to say: I have a burning desire to run the LA Marathon. I’m putting that decision on hold for a month so I can let the PR glow wear off a bit. I just know that I haven’t reached near my potential in training. There is so much room for improvement in my training meaning there is a lot of room to set a new PR. This is very enticing to me. No decision today but it’s on my mind. There are other training options on the table (get fast at a half marathon? Tri?) but I have plenty of time to figure out what I want to do.

In the meantime I’m focusing on doing what feels good, although after setting a new PR running feels pretty damn good right now. My other post-marathon goal is to focus on nutrition. I definitely use training as an excuse to eat like a glutton and I’ve gained some non-muscle training weight. Not a big deal. I’m just using Lose It! to track what I’m eating. I also am breaking down the nutrients in what I’m eating. I think if I eat smarter I will become a better runner.


Oh hey, a marathon photo.

In other news: I worked over my reported splits with my statistician (my dad) and realized that there is NO WAY the splits for mile 20 onward are accurate. 4 15 min miles followed by 2 5 min miles? Completely impossible. I was a bit bummed my stats weren’t accurate. My dad seemed to think I likely ran 13 min miles 20-24 and 9 min miles 24-26.2. I tell him all my times when I run so I trust his judgment. He also pointed out that I ran Long Beach 9% faster than I ran Chicago.


I believe I likely ran a 9 min mile for mile 25 and the .2 nub of mile 26 thanks to the above tattooed man. Thanks bro.

People keep telling me that I am a very photogenic runner. I assure you that I am not and if you look at my official race photos you can tell. Not my most flattering. I look like I’m running a marathon and not paying attention to the photographers. This is probably a good thing. Who wants to be the jackass holding up the race and posing ridiculously for photos? These race photos were exceptionally bad.


See I am not always photogenic.

Also, Gillian requested that I post my running playlist so here it is.





I repeat many songs while I run. This time around I was really into “Black Skinhead” by Kanye West and “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Throughout my training I started putting 2 or 3 new songs on my training playlist. I did this for the race with 3 songs from the original Jock Jams. I am ashamed to admit how excited I was when “Pump the Jam” came on. Yay 1990’s. I hesitated to put “Shake it Off” by Florence and the Machine on my playlist but I was glad I did. It came on around mile 23. That song reminds me so much of the first time I took the bar exam. It reminded me of the frustrations I’ve had in the past year and really motivated me. Finally, I made the playlist extra long because I just wasn’t sure how long I would be running for. “Rebel Girl” by Bikini Kill was the last song that played as I ran downhill to the finish. “Rebel Girl” is one of my favorite running songs. I heard it start, I got excited but got so swept up as I was booking it to the finish line that I stopped listening to the music. Being so into a moment that you forget music is playing? Priceless.

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Marathon Training: It’s about to get real

I haven’t updated the blog on marathon training in a long time so let’s get into it.

I started training for the Long Beach Marathon the week after the 4th of July. Unfortunately I had a gnarly summer cold for the entire month of June that put me out of commission. I was pretty freaked out going into training about having a tiny base to build on and a week or so less than last training cycle. I started training enthusiastically.

About a week into training, I noticed a pain in my right hip area. I’ve never had a serious running injury before. I’ve had some slight platers facitus issues and some it band tightness. I assumed this “hip pain” was just that. After taking a day or two off and icing I attempted a speed workout. While I was on the tract the pain got worse. I realized, after consulting Dr. Google, that the pain was actually groin pain. Apparently the groin can be pulled from running uphill which I do a lot of in Manhattan Beach.

For the next two weeks I took it pretty easy. I swapped my long run weeks and made the following week a cut back week. I also amped up the swimming and cycling while making sure I iced my hip consistently.

Within two weeks I was doing the same track workout with minimal pain. I’m very fortunate that the injury wasn’t worse. My body is basically back to normal. I have been icing after all my runs and mixing in cross training. I also have taken to walking up the more aggressive up hills on my running course. Manhattan Beach has 2 steep hills right off the strand that I have been able to run up but I don’t want to push myself too hard on them and reinjure myself.

Other than that minor issue, my training has been going well! Like I blogged before, I am doing my long runs on Monday’s. I’ve stuck to all of them so far which is great. This week I did a killer (for me) 16 mile run. The sun was out and it was a bit hotter than it’s been (this training cycle has been blessed with cool weather) but I felt like I dominated my 8 miles out and 8 miles back. I started slow which is great for me because I usually go out too fast. At the turn around I felt great, took a walk break and then headed back. The way back felt faster than the way out which is fantastic. It was also a beautiful day and I could see all the way to Malibu. I kept my watch on during the WHOLE run including my walking breaks and I did a 10:20 min/mile pace which I was pretty excited about.

Besides that, I’ve fallen off some of my training goals. I haven’t used hand weights in weeks, which is stupid. I really have no excuse since an arm burning takes all of 10 mins and I have weights in my bedroom. I also am getting in 3 to 4 runs a week. At least one of these runs is 5-8 miles with at least 1 shorter 2-3 mile run OR a 4 ish mile run OR both if I can get it in. I’ve also been pretty good at getting at least one bike ride a week in and while I haven’t gotten a swim in for two weeks, I’ve consistently been swimming once a week. I’ve also been taking 2 rest days a week typically which has been necessary. Running over 20 miles in 3 to 4 days makes my body feel creaky and I need the recovery time.

The past week or so I’ve been wondering how my training this time compares to my training 2 years ago, mileage wise. Luckily, when you have a blog you can go back and research these things. Last training cycle I was putting up similar miles and taking up a similar amount of rest days. However, this time around my midweek runs are longer. Also, I’ve been taking far fewer walking breaks. Last time I did all my long runs at a 10:2 run/walk pace. This time I’m only taking walk breaks as needed. Usually I walk at the turn around to shake out my legs and I walk every 45 mins to take in calories. I feel much stronger than I did last time and I’m starting to get excited about what I’ll be able to do on race day.

What else is new with running…. Oh! I finally got a hold on my fueling for long runs. I experimented with a few different fueling methods including sports beans, Gatorade energy chews and gel. Last time I ran a marathon I used Gu. The last half marathon I ran I used the Gatorade energy chews. I tried the sport bean thing but they really didn’t sustain me over the course of my long run. For my last run I used the G Series pre game drink, Gatorade energy chews and then the chocolate protein recovery shake. Overall, this method was the best. I never got hungry and I felt strong the entire time. I really liked drinking the protein shake after the run. I’ve done a terrible job of eating more to accommodate my hunger. I’ve been pretty hanrgy the last two or three weeks. This, hopefully, will help.

Goals

I’ve started to think about my race day goals. I don’t have solid goals set yet since I still have another month before I start to taper but I have the shape of goals forming. I think I should be able to set a PR pretty handedly in Long Beach. I also think I could run a sub 5 hour marathon. I’m holding off on setting other goals for now but I’m pretty excited about the way this race could turn out.

Running things I’ve been reading

Running has been almost all I’ve been thinking about for the past month or so and I’ve really enjoyed these three posts.

First, one of my favorite bloggers, Hungry Runner Girl, is going through a divorce. She wrote a post about how running makes us better at life. I couldn’t agree more.

I also really enjoyed this post from my spinning buddy Gillian about how running is mental. She’s right. With running attitude is everything.

I also enjoyed this post on the runners world website about how running steps can make you think about the years of your life. My marathon will take place when I am almost exactly 26 years and 2 months old. I am totally going to use this to push through those icky final miles. Finally, having a crummy time in my early twenties is good for something!

And now a photo of Izzy. Just because.

The end.

Chicago Marathon Training Weeks 12 and 13

I have a small cold but I’m a total baby plus Joan Rivers Fashion Police is on so this will be short and sweet…

Week 12

Monday: 6 mile run

Tuesday: Yoga

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Rest day (felt totally fatigued and sick)

Friday: 18 mile run

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Yoga, 4 mile run

Total miles: 28 miles

Week 13

Monday: 6 mile run

Tuesday: 6 mile run

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: 20 mile run!

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 5.5 mile run

Sunday: Yoga

Total miles: 37.5 miles

Week 12 was a little bit rough. We were having a heat wave in CA which I refused to run in so I moved my 18 miler and choose to do yoga on Tuesday instead of running. I felt truly awful on Thursday night hence why there was a double rest day. What can you do? It just wasn’t happening that day. Not a great mileage week but I loved going to yoga twice in one week. That was fantastic. Week 13 was an amazing running week. I hit almost 40 miles. I already blogged about the epic-ness of my 20 mile run. I wanted to get to 8 on Saturday but I was running late to a friend’s party and a cut it short to drink, eat bbq and stuff my face with cake from Sweet Lady Jane. I’m human. I’m excited to start tapering and I’m starting to get very excited for the marathon! This week really solidified in my mind that I can do it.

I want to do a series of posts after the marathon about training and my experience. I’ve gotten feedback that people want to hear about fueling and I want to address body changes that I’ve undergone in the past few months since I started training. Is there anything else you, my wonderful readers, want to know about regarding marathon training? I’m no expect but I can share my experience with you!

Half Marathon of the Harbors Race Recap

This morning I woke up bright and early (4 AM!) to run my third 1/2 marathon, the Half Marathon of the Harbors in Ventura, California. This half marathon was the most low key I’ve ever done. No parents in town, no fancy meal the night before. Just me waking up early, drinking watered down Gatorade (more on that later) and driving in the dark to Ventura.

Pre race eats:

Sadly, not beer.

Coffee.

Bagel I burned with peanut butter on it.

Ventura is about 50 miles north of where I live in LA and at 4:45 the ride only took 45 mins. Woo for making good time. It was still pitch black when I arrived. This race was the polar opposite of Rock n Roll San Diego. Only 550 people ran the race today meaning I got to park about 500 feet from the start line! Big and small races both have their benefits. I was able to pick up my packet, affix my number and drop all of my things at the car within about 15 mins.

Before the race picture.

Terrible, just terrible. This picture says, “Hello, it’s 4 am and I didn’t sleep well last night and I can’t stay awake”.

I hopped on the bathroom ride and ran into Amanda’s younger sister Sarah, her boyfriend Chris and her Dad. It was Sarah and Chris’ first half marathons. Sarah and Amanda’s dad is a long time runner (he’s done an ULTRA!) It’s always great to run into people you know on race day.

The race started and ended from Ventura Harbor which was beautiful.

Best part of racing is seeing the sun rise over the Pacific.

Like I said, the race was tiny, especially compared to San Diego.

See that surf board on the left? That was the start line. I’m not sure what the story is with official times but I used my watch while running. Pretty soon the race started and I was running my third half marathon.

I talked big talk this week about trying to go sub 2 hours. I was so close in San Diego. I figured with my marathon training I should be able to hit it. I knew I needed to hit around 9:00 min miles. Using my watch I measured my splits.

Mile 1: 8:36 (way too fast, told myself to slow down)

Mile 2: 10:02 (too slow, pick up the place)

Mile 3: 8:50 (good!)

However, mile 3 is where the wheel started to fall off. I brought watered down Gatorade to the race. Because it was the first Half Marathon of the Harbors ever I was unsure what the water situation would be along the course. I feared running out of water so I brought my water bottle and planned to supplement my water breaks with the drink. I started drinking it along with 30 second walk breaks every mile at mile 2. Around mile 3 I started getting nauseous and sadly, the feeling never fully went away. I trucked along and before too long it was mile 4 (9:04).

This whole time, on top of being nauseous I really needed to pee. Somewhere around mile 5 I hopped into the bathroom. I think I over drank watered down Gatorade before I left the house this morning. By the time I hit the bathrooms the course had made its way to the ocean front. It was beautiful.

This was also around the time that the mile markers began getting wonky. I think they were misplaced along the course. I never saw a mile 6 sign and I think the mile 7 sign was facing the wrong way? I also think misplacement of signs could explain my wacky splits. After mile 4 I didn’t have splits because of odd sign placement.

My nausea got much worse around mile 6. I took a Gu and made an official decision to stop drinking watered down Gatorade. I also increased my walk breaks. I almost puked in my mouth twice… it wasn’t pretty or comfortable.

Around mile 8 I started taking 1 min long walk breaks. My legs were super sore and my nausea was still kicking around. I looked at my watch and knew I wasn’t going to hit sub 2 hours. Truthfully, I knew this when my nausea set in at mile 3. I spent about 30 seconds feeling really sorry for myself, and then a voice (which sounded suspiciously like my Mother) came into my head and said “Get over yourself! You’re running you’re third half marathon in a year. You’re training for a marathon. Get the fuck over it!” Pity party over. I hauled my booty for the rest of the race. Ironically, when I talked to my Mom after the race she said “who cares? You’ve run three more half marathons than anyone in the family!”

Oh, and this tweet came to my mind too as I was ending my pity party.

I don’t have an older sister, but if I did I would like her to have said something like this to me. Maura, you’re seriously the best.

Around mile 9 the nausea mostly subsided (it didn’t really go away till the end of the race, but it was much better) and I started thinking about how much my life has changed in the past two years. This time two years ago I was at my high weight and didn’t feel very good about myself or my life. I got a little emotional. At mile 10 my watch read 1:36 and I knew that in order to PR I would have to run the last three miles at my 5k PR pace (aka it wasn’t happening). The pressure was off and I took it easy. I had some great spurts of energy. After mile 11 there were no mile markers which kinda bothered me. Around mile 11.5 (?) Avicci’s “My Feelings for You” came on and was totally clutch. It really helped me move my legs.

Before I knew it the finish line was in my sights and I was done!

Final time 2:09:20.

Hey, not a PR but still better than my first 1/2, still a great 13 mile training run and still a completed 1/2 marathon. The big goal isn’t this half marathon, it’s the full marathon in Chicago. I learned some lessons about fueling that will help me in Chicago. The course was beautiful. I got my runners high and now I get to put my feet up and watch Entourage, True Blood, Jersey Shore and the VMA’s (epic TV night people!)

Oh and Sarah?

She is a beast! She ran sub 2 hours in the first half! Seriously, so epic. Congrats Sarah!

After the race I took off my shoe to access the foot situation (I’ve had a blood blister problem in the past while racing but not during my longer training runs). Oh yes. I’m rocking several blood blisters and one popped leaving me with a bloody sock. Just call me Kurt Schilling.

It actually doesn’t hurt (yet). Check out my runner’s high smile post race. Nothing gets me down. Running is a good analogy for life. You can’t control everything that happens to you but you can control how you react to it. So why feel bad for yourself? Who cares about time goals? I rocked a half marathon today. Bring on the treats! With that in mind, I trekked back to LA and hit Lemonade.

I took an ice bath, shower and dug into some mac and cheese.

Exactly what I needed! I also got an assortment of salads. I barely touched the chicken (I actually was full!) but I ate much of the roasted beets and tangerine rice.

I plan on enjoying the rest for dinner tonight or lunch tomorrow.

The rest of the day I’m going to hang out, clean my apartment a little bit, watch TV and get ice cream from Sweet Rose! I think I earned it.

Next stop: Chicago!