Long Beach Marathon. It’s Happening.

Hello Everyone!

As promised, I’m posting on the blog before the Long Beach Marathon. I realize that I haven’t blogged a lot about this marathon training cycle.

This is my second marathon. When I trained for my first marathon in Chicago everything felt like such a big deal. Every long run was a personal distance record. I challenged myself and my body in brand new ways. You know the old joke: “How can you tell that someone ran a marathon?” “Oh don’t worry. They’ll let you know”? That was me to a T. I have a blog which really is pretty much just a license to talk about ones self. After weeks of training race weekend finally arrived. I traveled to Chicago and was reunited with friends and family and ran my first marathon. My only goal was to finish, and I did, in over 5 hours. The whole experience felt epic and monumental.

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This time around I was committed to training but I talked about it less. Because I’ve taken on the distance before, the training felt less exciting. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I knew what to expect and I went into my long runs more confidently because I knew what to expect.

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THE GOOD: 

Unlike last time, where I trained with a 10:2 run/walk ratio, I focused on just running this time at least on my long runs. I’ve dealt with some on/off groin muscle issues which has led me to walk uphills on my runs however, my long runs were spent predominantly, well, running. I took far fewer walk breaks and was able to maintain a 10:50 pace on all my long runs. I even ran 12 miles two weeks ago at a sub 10:00 min mile pace. The average pace for my long runs was 10:30. I committed to walking the uphills due to the groin injury and walking every 45 mins for taking in Gu because I cannot run and also eat at the same time. Other than those short breaks, I just ran.

EDIT: this should read that I maintained at least a 10:50 pace (my 20 miler). Most of my training runs were done at a 10:30-ish pace)

I also had 5 training weeks where I covered over 30 miles thanks to added cycling. I challenged myself over labor day weekend and did an 18 mile bike ride followed by an 18 mile run the next day. Since I started training 12 weeks ago, I had 10 consecutive weeks of over 20 miles logged. This is pretty big for me. I’ll never be one of those people who can log 40-60 mile weeks on the regular. I’m just not built that way.

Given the effort I’ve put in though, I’m fairly confident I should be able to walk away from Long Beach with a PR, hopefully.

THE BAD: 

There isn’t anything BAD to report. On my run Monday my foot cramped up and started to hurt but it loosened up after walking and it didn’t bother me on my final run yesterday. I wish that I had done more (or lets face it- any) strength training during training. The week I was in San Francisco I didn’t get a long run in and I treated it like a step back week. Part of me is worried thinking I should have done another substantial long run of 16-18 miles. Its easy to second guess training during taper. I’m trying to stay confident right now and trust the process.

GOALS:

I’m so hesitant to announce goals for fear that I won’t meet them. However, I feel great about the pace I was able to produce on my long runs. I know the speedier runs I did with my run club are going to help me.  You never know what will happen on race day or during those final miles but here are my goals:

A+, over the moon goal: 4:45 or sub 4:45.

I picked up the 4:45 pace band at the expo today and plan to wear it during the race. This would put my pace at around 10:50 min miles. I feel this is do-able because long runs are to be done at about :30-:45 seconds slower than desired marathon pace. Additionally, I plugged my most recent half marathon time into McMillian and I was predicted to run a marathon in 4:25. This feels WAY too optimistic BUT I ran my 12 mile run 2 weeks ago at the same pace so there is hope I suppose. Can you tell I am rationalizing all my goals? It’s a marathon, a lot can happen. 

B goal that I will still be very happy to achieve: sub 5:00

This is big. A marathon with a 4 in front of it is a big hump to get over based on last time and I would be setting at least a 22 min PR which would be a huge achievement. I will be happy with running anything faster than 5 hrs. 

C Goal: Sub 5:22 (or 12:17 min mile)

Anything faster than this is a PR. Hurrah! 

D Goal: FINISH with a smile on my face

It’s hard to run 26.2 miles. Any day your body is fit enough to achieve this is a great day. I need to remember this. Amen. 

Non Time Goal: EVEN splits, no walking in the final mile

Last time I ran my pace dropped like a rock in the final 6 miles and I struggled to run. I noticed this trend in my early races, that I crap out and start to walk and kinda bag it towards the end when I’m tired. I’ve done a great job in the past two races I’ve run of not giving up near the end and pushing hard. I want to do that in Long Beach no matter how tired I feel. 

Expo: 

Today I hit up the expo with Gillian. Gillian and I were twitter friends turned blog friends turned real life friends. She is running the half and so we decided to take on the expo together.

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Overall I really loved the expo. There was enough to see without it being overwhelming. I was able to buy more body glide (essential) and also check out the booths with out being swept away in a crowd. Its nice to hit an expo with another runner so we could catch up on life, blogs we like to read, get off my internets, and races we want to run in the future.

I also really liked the t-shirts which are blue v neck tech tees. Unlike my Chicago Marathon finishers shirt it is not tiny. I cannot wait to wear it on the strand.

After we went to Simmzy’s of Long Beach for beer and burgers. As usual the food was bomb.

I have to work tomorrow for 6 hours but otherwise I’m putting my feet up and carb loading.

Thanks to all the people who have followed along with me and given me encouragement. If you want to track me my bib number is 3374 and the website is here.

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Welcome to marathon training season

It’s that time again! Marathon training season has begun.

You might remember that I signed up for the Long Beach Marathon a few months ago. I was so burned out on running after Chicago 2011 but I am pumped to take on the challenge of a new marathon. I picked Long Beach because it’s close to home and has a beautiful course. Long Beach runs the same day as Chicago so I have the added benefit of an identical training cycle.

Because I can’t post this photo enough.

Well not exactly. I decided to hold off on starting training until after my 4th of July vacation. I was in South Dakota eating and drinking for a long weekend and knew there was no way I would want to run while on vacation or in the humidity. I had the never ending cold from hell for the entire month of June. I am a bit concerned that I started my training late this cycle. Based on my vacation and how I felt for the entire month of June I know my training would have been crummy. I’m trying to remind myself that where I am in July matters a lot less than where I am in September. Let’s just say I have a healthy level of concern about my training.

South Dakota: big open space, lots of beer.

For my training plan I ended up combining a couple of plans. Last time I used Kelley’s team in training plan. This time I’m combining a bit of what I did for Chicago and also incorporating workouts from the Nike Chicago plan (for 2013) as a guide. I didn’t want to fully commit to an intermediate training plan however I wanted to step up my training a bit this time around. Last time my goal was just to cross the finish line. I used a run/walk method (10:2) for all of my long runs, didn’t time many of my runs or pay attention to pace, and managed to cross the finish line in 5:22. I also didn’t do any speed work. This time around I plan on incorporating speed work, paying attention to my pace on long runs. I want to trounce my prior time and set a big PR this time around. Any PR would be awesome but I would like to run sub 5 hrs.

A few weeks ago I put my time from Rock n Roll Pasadena last February (which I barely trained for) into the McMillan Running Calculator…

Oh McMillan, you seductive temptress… putting ideas in my head.

I would love to run the full that fast and do think I am capable of it, but I’m going to hold off on setting specific race goals until at least early September. I also want to see what kind of pace I settle into for my long runs before making any grand declarations.

As for training: I am currently splitting my time between two jobs (one where I sit all day and one where I stand all day). I also have wonky weekends that run Sunday – Monday unlike the usual Saturday – Sunday that most of the plans are tailored to. As such, I’ve planned to do my long runs on Monday and I have planned out all my long runs leading up to the race. The long runs are critical and I do not want to miss any. I started last week with 6 and I will peak in mid September with my 20 miler.

The only runs I have physically in my calendar are my long runs. All other workouts for the week will be planned out on Monday’s in light of my work schedule and other life things I have going on. While some love a strict calendar, the idea of knowing how many miles I am going to run on a random Wednesday in late August freaks me out and I want flexibility.

Here is how I am breaking down my workouts

Running:

I have decided I will run 4 times a week. I already have my long runs planned for Mondays. I also will be doing one speed work run per week on the track near my house. Finally, I want to get in two more runs, which will be done at an easy pace. For these runs I want one to be on the longer side and one will be shorter. I know this sounds vague. The longer one will be at least 5 miles and build up to 9 miles. I can’t make it every week but I imagine that some of the “longer easy runs” will happen with Run Club. I wasn’t able to go last week or this week but I am going to make an effort to be more regular because I feel like the group pushes me to work harder. The shorter runs will be 3 to 4 mile shake out runs just for fun.

I am going to get into the habit of running with my watch. This way I can watch my pace and have some idea of how I can perform on marathon day. I reread my Complete Book of Women Running from Runners World last month and brushed up on some Hal Higdon advice regarding pacing for long runs which should help.

Swimming:

I’ve been swimming weekly since May and I’ve really enjoyed the diversity that it’s added to my workouts. Plus, I live in Southern California walking distance from a pool and its summer. I plan to continue to swim weekly. Usually I do somewhere between 1500 and 2000 yards per workout and I plan to keep this up as cross training. I can build lung and arm strength and hopefully take some pressure off my it bands and knees

Weights:

I almost never do weights despite owning them. Last week I did an arm burner from Fitnessista in addition to my swim workout. I’d love to incorporate weights once to twice a week. Last time I trained for a marathon I didn’t do any weights. My legs felt strong but the rest of my body didn’t feel strong if that makes sense. Specifically, I felt like my arms were totally lacking any strength. I want that to change this time around. This Nike Chicago plan calls for once a week strength training.

Soul Cycle:

As you know if you follow me of social media, I am addicted to Soul Cycle. Because it is expensive I only go once or twice a month. I’ll probably continue this practice as a form of cross training. Plus, it incorporates weights, which goes along with my goal of keeping my entire body in shape. In addition, I am going to be buying a bike in the next week or so. I plan to do some casual biking just for fun as the summer goes on. Not training really, but still time spent being active.

So how did last week go?

Monday: 6 mile run at 9:23/mile pace

It was hot and I tried to take it really slow but I had new running songs and somehow slow just didn’t happen

Tuesday: Arm burner, 1500 yard swim

I did the arm burner before work and the 1500 yard swim after work. The burner kinda kicked my ass. The swim was great. I did a kick set, a pull set, and then alternating 100 yards easy/hard. Love swimming in the summer time. I’ve found that it’s hard for me to run and then spend 8 hours at my standing job so I’m altering my training plans accordingly.

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: 3 mile run, 10:00/mile pace

I’m still getting to know my neighborhood so I just ran for 30 miles on a new to me random route. So. Many. Hills.

Friday: 3 mile run, with sprints every 1/4 mile.

Short speed work, didn’t time it. Will next week.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Soul Cycle

I took Joe to his first Soul Cycle class. I’m definitely competitive and pushed harder because he was there. The weight routine was easy so I stepped it up to 2 lb weights which makes me feel like I can never go back to 1 lb-ers. Sunny is an awesome instructor and you should take her class if you haven’t already!

Weekly totals:

Miles: 13 (including swimming)

Workouts: 6

Overall I felt like last week was solid considering I didn’t workout the week before. This is not an ideal training week and after searching the #LongBeachMarathon on instagram I got concerned that I was too far behind. Trying to remind myself that it’s only July, I have the advantage of not feeling burned out, and I know (reasonably) what I am doing.

If you want to follow my training, I’m going to try to consistently post on Daily Mile and I’ll probably blog about it a little bit too.

ETA: I went on my 8 mile run on Monday and despite being slightly fatigued from Soul Cycle managed to pull a 9:08 pace out over 8 miles, even splits! I am quite pleased with this progress.

I believe that is about it for now. I plan to update the blog with some notes about training. Not sure if I want to do weekly posts or what. I’ve been slowing down on the blog, as you may have noticed. I just have other things that are taking my attention. I’d rather write when I feel like it and not feel compelled to keep up with some self imposed schedule. I have a good food post going up soon and I have an event at Pinkberry on Thursday that I will write about.

Seasoned marathoners: any advice? I’m always game for more.

Back in the Saddle

This was my first week back on a training plan. I have not been on an official plan since over a year ago when I trained for Chicago. It felt good to be back on an actual plan. It’s been a while but I think the break was good. Rather than feeling fatigued by the plan, I feel energized. For those that didn’t see the prior post, I’m training for 13.1 LA in early January and I am using the Runner World sub 2 hr training plan. I tore it out of an old, old issue years ago and I’ve now plastered it to my fridge.

Here’s what I did last week:

Monday – 3 miles walking

Yeah, I’m counting my walking around Boston because I forgot how much walking I do there and I forgot how tired it makes my feet. This is why I never had a pair of shoes in Boston last longer than 1 season. I basically walked from Simmons to Flour in Cambridge and then to the T stop to go to the airport.

Oh, don’t worry; I managed to refuel with a sticky bun!

Tuesday – 4 miles easy

This run was hard. I was coming back from vacation and my liver and tummy were not happy about it.

Wednesday – 4 miles easy

I took the same route as Tuesday but the run was overall much easier. I had kind of a blah day and it felt so good to come home, lace up the shoes and hit the pavement. I also took no walk breaks.

Thursday – 5 miles tempo (1 mile warm up, 7:32, 8:32, 8:48, 1 mile cool down)

My first tempo run! I mapped out a one mile out and back and ran it three times plus a run to warm up and cool down. I went out way, way too fast on the first mile and crashed and burned a little bit. The final mile especially was struggles central. It happens. Now I know what I always suspected, that I start too quickly.

Friday – 7 miles easy

I did my first long run in a while, going 7 miles. It was nice to do a long run, since it’s been a while and be back on my old marathon training paths. My legs were pretty fried after the prior 3 days and I took the back half easy and took a stretch break half way through. I didn’t time this long run.

Saturday – rest

Sunday – rest

I had a festive weekend and I knew that I wasn’t going to want to run hence the back to back rest days. My legs were really shot on Friday night but feel 100% now on Sunday so that’s all good I guess. The signs on increased mileage are coming back (oh hello blisters). Overall, I’m really glad that I’m back into a training plan.

so here’s the plan stan

Get ready for a bazillion race photos…

Remember a week or so ago when I ran a marathon?

I thought so.

Post race my Mom looked at me and said, “So you’re going to give your body a little rest now?” And you know what. I am.

The last year has been an awesome running year for me. In the past year I have raced 73 miles! I ran my first half marathon and two others, including one where I ran it in nearly 2 hours.

I also ran my first marathon!

I’ve been running for less than 2 years and I’ve already accomplished some amazing things and I am very proud of myself. You can read my running story here.

I see running, races and fitness as a lifelong activity. I plan to be doing this for the rest of my life and I’m only 24. I have so many long term goals. I want to get faster. I want to do triathlons. I want to run more marathons. I want to go on yoga retreats and practice more. I want to try other fitness workouts like cardio barre and cross fit. There is plenty of time to get to all of these things and I cannot wait to explore them in the future and share them with you on the blog.

One question I was asked immediately after my marathon was “are you going to do another one??

YES. I promise you that I will be running another marathon!

When? After the Bar Exam. If you’ve been reading for a while you know that I am a third year law student which means that starting in May my life is going to become consumed by something called the bar exam. The exam itself is in late July and then I plan to do nothing for a while in August. While marathon training was an amazing self esteem boosting experience it was also stressful and anxiety provoking in many ways. This is not something I want to deal with while preparing for the bar. I will run another marathon but I’m thinking spring 2013, the LA Marathon.

So what is next in the near future?

Well, I took last week totally off. I was sore through Wednesday, went to San Francisco on Friday, walked all over the city on Saturday and traveled home on Sunday. I ate whatever I wanted but made the decision to go back to regular cleanish eating at noon on Sunday (exactly one week after the marathon). I eat chocolate once a day so it’s not really like my indulgent eating was that different than what I usually do but I knew I needed to give myself a deadline on treating myself.

Treat yo self.

Also, I may have signed up for another 1/2 marathon.

I will be running the Pasadena Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon! Now that have been around the block a few times with half marathon training I plan to use an intermediate training plan and working in some speed work. I would love to run a sub 2 hour half marathon. Pasadena is hilly but I’m going to give it the old college try.

The race isn’t until February and I don’t plan to start training until December. What will I be doing for the next month and a half? Well, I plan to try and go to yoga once a week, Zumba once to twice a week and run 2 to 3 times a week with runs from 3 to 6 miles. I went to Zumba and loved it! It was only my second class ever but I love the environment of Zumba. It’s very female positive and I love the fact that even though I’m not very skilled I can still have a good time. What I lack in skill I totally make up for with sass. I love any situation where it is socially appropriate to booty pop.

So that is the plan for now! I plan another marathon post or two regarding issues surrounding marathoning like fueling, my playlist, and post marathon reflections. Is there anything else marathoning related you’d like to read about?

I am a Marathoner! Chicago Marathon Race Recap

It’s official! I crossed the finish line at the Chicago Marathon after 26.2 miles. I can now call myself a marathoner!

I will start at the beginning. I had a 4:30 am wake-up call at my parent’s house. I barely slept the night before but I rolled out of bed with enthusiasm. The day I’d been preparing for had finally arrived. I stretched out, ate half of a peanut butter bagel, went to the bath room, trimmed my toe nails, chugged coffee, you know, all the race day essentials. I normally start race morning with a tired face but yesterday I was sporting my excited face.

FYI Repping for the summer intern crew with my t shirt

Ready to race!

My Dad drove me downtown. We’re really lucky because he works near the start time. We parked hassle free in his work parking lot and I got to use the bathroom at his office. Yay for not waiting in porta potty lines twice.

I also snapped this pic of Millennium Park (which is just north of Grant Park). It was still dark while walking over to the start line.

My Dad walked me over to the start line. My Dad stayed with me as long as they would let him but I said goodbye eventually and entered the park. 35,000 people were at the start line but it was so well organized. I was able to quickly drop my bag, hit the porta potties one last time and still lined up 30 mins before the start.

One of my favorite things about races is being up early enough to watch the sun rise in some incredible places like Malibu, San Diego, and Ventura. Now I can add Chicago to the list.

I got in line near the 11 min mile pacers. I mentioned before but I did not train for time. I took it easy on my long runs and I didn’t even think about doing speed work. Literally my goal was to finish and not to puke on myself. I figured since I run around 9:30 min miles in halves, 11:00 would be accurate for a full. I started to get nervous so I chatted up someone with an LA Road Runners chip on his shoe. I also saw a man with his face entirely painted like spider man. The girl next to me and I started to guess what would happen to his face by mile 5. There were so many people that it took 22 mins for me to pass the start line. Starting was amazing. There were tons of spectators and the noise in the tunnel that goes under the Standard Oil building (the tallest one in the above photo) was so loud.

My plan was to take it easy for the first 10 miles. The course was crowded which was good because it forced me to go more slowly than I might have otherwise. After mile 1 we passed the iconic Chicago theater, just before mile 2 we passed a water station. There were tons of spectators with great signs and the first 5 miles flew by me. Some of my favorite signs? “26.2 miles = 26.2 cupcakes” “if you have the stamina to run for 4 hours, call me!” “Run like you stole something” and “Run like your mother is chasing you”. I also saw some Occupy Chicago protesters. Not to be political but I’m a big supporter of the Occupy movement and I actually started cheering them when I ran by.

Just before mile 5 we hit Lincoln Park. I really had to pee so I pulled off at the first porta potties. I wasn’t the only one, there was a line which was ok. I caught my breath and talked to a stranger who told me that “sweat is nothing but liquid awesome”. So, so true.

I started cranking again after mile 5. I walked through all the water stations because it was HOT yesterday. I love cold, shaded running with no humidity so this was not my ideal conditions for running but I stayed strong. Just after mile 7 the course turned and headed south. At this point I saw a women laid out on the ground being fed a gel. Up until this point I had thrown my run/walk method out the window in favor of running with walks through water stations. After I saw her it hit me that the weather conditions are REAL and I needed to take it easy. I ended up taking 2 waters at every station and more to pour on my body. I also consumed 6 gels over the course of the race. I started taking walk breaks when I needed them but at that point they were few and far between.

At mile 8 we hit Lakeview AKA boys town! Easily one of my favorite parts of the course! There were out and proud ROTC members which warmed my heart. There were tons of people out partying including drag queens in cup dresses dressed up to by Lady Gaga and line dancers dressed up like cowboys. I loved this part of the course.

The heat started getting more intense after mile 8. There were people out with hoses and I ran through all of them. They also had sponges on the course and tons of water. I cannot overstate how amazing the people of Chicago were and how great the race execution was. It reminded me why I love the people of Chicago and why I am proud to be from there. Miles 8 through 13 are really a blur besides being hot and dousing myself in as much cold water as I could get my hands on.

Around mile 13.1 I knew that I needed to start taking my 10:2 run/walk ratio. I had maintained an 11:40 pace for the first half. I actually had a negative split between the 10k and half way point which I was proud of.

I hit a major second wind between mile 13 and mile 18. I was in my groove and some of my more clutch songs came on my ipod. I was still walking through water stations. I ran through every sprinkler. Trick of the trade: tell the person with the hose that you love them and they will spray you down extra! There was a woman at Malcolm X Community College who literally hosed me down for a full 30 seconds. I was SO grateful. I really liked this part of the course because it went by an area where my Mother used to work that I’ve seen/heard about for years, the Greek Islands, a restaurant my Father frequents, and the United Center (home of the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks). The cool thing about this course was that I saw many parts of the city and was about to put them together better than I was able to before.

Also memorable, at mile 16 I passed a police station with a large sign with pictures of police officers. The sign read, “These and 500 police officers killed in the line of duty will keep you safe for the next 10 miles”. I nearly burst into tears but I suppressed it and decided to save the emotion for later when I would really need it.

By the time I got to mile 18 I kept thinking about how I was going to see my family at mile 19 and that I wanted to look strong when I saw them. Mile 19 is in Pilsen, a heavily Mexican area and there were TONS of spectators turned out with tons of decoration, noise makers and music. They really pushed me. At mile 19 my brother David jumped in with me. I have never been so happy to see my brother in my life. I needed him to push me. He also had my camera with him and he started snapping away.

Seriously, can you see the pure joy on my face?

I hit mile 20 and all I could think was this is the farthest I’ve ever run before. David kept me motivated and I am so thankful that he was with me that that he is my brother. He kept pushing me but was very supportive at the same time. I cried on him (very briefly) twice and he kept supporting me.

At this part of the course we were South of downtown but had a great view of the city.

I have a confession: after I run 18 miles I start to get a little crazy. Like singing along to the songs on my ipod and quoting lines from Arrested Development. I had warned my bro about this and his reply was something to the effect of “you’re always weird”. Excellent. He played along well because after mile 20 I started singing along to Britney Spears, Eminem, Deadmau5, and David Guetta. Yeah. At one point on the course I was running, and singing the lyrics to “Sofi Needs a Ladder”. I think my brother actually sang along to something like Britney or some rap song (I can’t really remember which it was). My brother even yelled at me to “turn my swag on”. I’m pretty sure everyone who saw me thought I was crazy but that’s ok because I’d run 20 miles. I stopped caring.

And for you Arrested Development fans: I saw a guy with ice and I actually yelled “You can’t have a party without ICE!!!” Yep. I’m that girl.

At mile 22 my brother and I entered Chinatown which was another one of my favorite parts of the course. There were tons of spectators and groups out supporting the runners.

This is my favorite picture that has ever been taken of me hands down. I will love this forever. I look at it and I cannot believe that that is MY back with my back muscles at mile 22 of a marathon. I can still feel how I felt in that moment and I hope I will never forget it. My body felt sore but I felt so mentally tough. At no point did I think I couldn’t do this or that I wouldn’t be able to. I was determined to make it to the end and I knew that I could. I’m proud that I finished but I’m even more proud of myself for never doubting my ability to finish and staying strong. I know that I will take that into everything I do in the future. That picture makes me feel strong, I did it all by myself FOR myself and I never want to let that feeling go.

At mile 23 we were going to meet up with two of my friends from growing up: Brenna and Claire. I’ve known them forever and it made me so excited to know that they were going to meet up with me and boost my spirits for the last 5k.

With my friends after mile 23. David actually stayed in and ended up running 7 miles like a CHAMP!

My friend Claire was a division 1 athlete in college and a great coach. She really pushed me to keep running when I was sooooo wanting to just walk the majority of the last three miles. She knew I had more in me and she wouldn’t let me give less than I had left in me.

Seriously my crew was so awesome. See that girl in the yellow tank top? Looking at us and totes jealous.

By the end of the race I was totally drenched in water. The temps actually felt colder near the finish line because we were running up Michigan Ave and were closer to the lake. It was sweet, sweet relief for the final few miles.

I was taking frequent walk breaks but was always telling myself when I would start running again and Claire held me to it. Seriously she has a talent. I want a recording of her voice in my ipod for future races and long runs. She would not let me walk because she knew I could run. At mile 24 there was a cheer zone and someone on a loud speaker saying, “You are about to finish. THE. Chicago. Marathon!” It made me push harder.

After the mile 25.2 sign I started pumping my arms and running as much as I could. Before we turned the corner onto the uphill that leads to Grant Park and the finish line Claire and David got pulled off the course. Brenna was running behind up and by some fluke she was able to cross the finish line. They kept trying to give her a medal! While she did not accept a medal she did accept a free beer (wouldn’t you?) I had no idea about this until after the race.

I walked up the uphill and pushed to the finish line.

I crossed the finish line with my arms extended, took a heat blanket and started to cry but it was a glorious cry because I WAS A MARATHONER!

It took me 5:22 mins with an average pace of 12:17. I held a sub 12 min mile pace until after passing 30k. I gimped around, got my medal, had three sips of free beer before discarding it and hobbled to get my bag from gear check. I love the lakefront and Grant Park.

I made a call to the friend who inspired ME to start running because I wanted her to be the first to know that I had finished and went to the family reunion area to reconnect with my people.

Pain is temporary but pride is forever.

It still hasn’t totally hit me what I did yesterday. I have a runner’s high and a sense of earned pride. Like I said, I am most proud of myself for staying really mentally tough the whole time. I never hit a wall. I managed to push through the whole thing and I could not be more proud of myself. This feeling is going to be with me forever and this moment can never be taken away from me. I know that I will take it into other parts of my life like studying from the bar and other personal challenges I face. I started running at a time in my life where I was struggling emotionally and yesterday made me feel like I’ve conquered everything and nothing will ever hold me back.

After the race I went home and promptly ate about a million treats that my mom baked, Cape Cod chips and local fall beer. It was everything I wanted and more.

Thank you to all of my family, friends and reads. I have felt so much love throughout my training and especially in the past week. You all are the best ever. Special thanks to my family and friends who jumped in with me. I cannot express how much your support means to me. I feel so blessed to have so many loving and supportive people in my life. I’ll have more posts about the marathon coming up including my future plans for working out (after a well deserved week off!).

Chicago Marathon Training Week 15

Second to last week of training is in the books!

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 4 mile run

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: 4 mile run

Friday: rest

Saturday: 8 mile run at a 9 min mile pace! Finished feeling fantastic!

Sunday: yoga

Total miles: 16 miles

Observations:

  • I really loved this week of taper. I did a few easy runs and I can feel my legs starting to feel fresh again. My 8 miler on Sunday was particularly fantastic. I did my 10 to 2 run/walk ratio and felt amazing and despite all the walking finished with a 9 min mile pace which is faster than my fastest half marathon. My body felt great the whole time, no foot pain, no leg soreness. This taper thing is amazing.
  • I meant to go to yoga on Friday but I went to Mohawk Bend instead. Whoops. It was totally worth it. I had two double hops beers, pizzas, bacon wrapped dates, and a glass of wine. It was so worth it.
  • My excitement level for next weekend is off the charts. I leave for Chicago on Thursday and I’m excited not only to run the marathon but to go home. I haven’t been to my hometown in almost a year.

My plan for the rest of the week:

  • The next several days I’m going to ice my knees, roll my foot on my ball to loosen it up and get organized to go to the race. I already put my body glide and blister preventing foot powder in the mail. I was paranoid that TSA would take them away from me. I planned to carry on all my race day items and I have to carry on all my books for this semester (because law school never takes a break and I’ll have a crap ton of reading to do over the weekend). This is too much for one carryon bag so I made the executive decision to just carry everything on, hence the mailing of anything TSA might take away from me.
  • I plan to do one short run on Monday and maybe a short run or yoga session on Tuesday. I read this month’s Runners World and they said for first time marathoners it’s best to take it very easy in the week before the marathon.
  • Mentally I’m getting prepared too. I am very excited for the race and my trip home. I want to harness that energy and focus. I’m excited to see family and friends before and after the marathon as well as along the marathon course.
  • The blog is likely to be a bit focused on running this week, I promise recipes, restaurants and famers market finds will return in the near future!

Experienced Marathoners: I need you words of wisdom! What advice can you give me pre-marathon?

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!

20 miles done!

Source

I know I owe a training recap from last week but I had to update the blog about this achievement: Last night I ran 20 miles!

I don’t know that I have words to adequately describe how I feel about what went down last night. I took off along my usual route, extended by two miles. I took it easy with my usual run/walk intervals. I was antsy to get going and had an adrenaline high the whole run. I took my friend Carolyn’s suggestions and loaded my ipod with house music so the whole run felt like I was dancing in the club. I turned around to head towards home near a familiar pier which I ran to the end of, coming back and seeing the entire coastline in front of me was incredible.

My lower body got tight around mile 14 so I pulled off and did some stretching. Once I knew that I was only a mile away from home I took a slightly longer walk break with the knowledge that if I did I wouldn’t have to take another. With my eye on the watch I saw the walk break was off and I took off like the wind sprinting to the end of the 20 mile run. Nothing hurt anymore, all I felt was adrenaline. I finished the run and did a little fish pump in the air. The high I experienced was completely unparalleled (so far)! It is true, running never takes more than it gives back. Running 20 miles takes a lot, my whole lower half was tight, but the feeling I got back was 1000x.

I walked it off, took an ice bath, ate dinner, drank water and iced my knees. It took a while for me to come down enough to sleep despite being totally beat. Luckily I woke up this morning and didn’t feel sore at all! Actually I feel fantastic, like I’d completed a light yoga class. Tomorrow I have an 8 miler so I can have a round 40 on the week.

In the past few months I’ve learned that marathon training takes a lot out of you. It cuts into your time, it seems to last forever, it leads to soreness, hunger, exhaustion and weird body quirks (I promise you don’t want to know) but yesterday reminded me why I am doing it and I cannot wait for three weeks from now when I am in Chicago.

Bring. It. On.

Thanks for all the support I’ve gotten via facebook, texts, twitter, the blog and email. You have no idea how much it means to me. I really appreciate it. You guys are the best!

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 11

Not many weeks left now!

Monday: 1/2 marathon recovery

Tuesday: 6 mile run

Wednesday: Rest day

Thursday: 16 mile run

Friday: yoga

Saturday: rest -> dad was in town so I spent the whole day with him

Sunday: 4 mile run -> again, dinner with dad so I ran, didn’t go to yoga

Total miles: 26

Observations: What this week of training doesn’t reflect is the fact that I ran 37.1 miles in 5 days (Sunday to Thursday). I was VERY proud of myself when I finished my 16 mile run Thursday. I had calculated the 5 day mileage total in my head. My legs felt like jello during my 6 and 16 mile efforts but I managed to hang in with both and I ran a negative split in the final mile of my 16 miler. Hello runners high! Seriously was swelling with pride. Runners run! The mile total for 7 days was lower than I had planned but hitting 37 miles in 5 days is a huge accomplishment and injury free! Who says a running week needs to be Monday through Sunday? I love to buck tradition.

That’s about it! Only two more really long runs left (18 and the dreaded 20) and I’ve already gone to yoga once this week! Yesssssssssss.