Marathon Training Recap: Last 4 Weeks

After my half in Florida in January, I quickly realized that my marathon was just around the corner <- *cue mental freak-out* and my longest run was my only 13.1 miles. I know, I’m terrible and should never increase mileage so quickly, but I took my time and didn’t overly kill myself. I knew I wanted to feel strong, not exhausted at the end of it all. So, off I went for 17 miles.

2014-01-26 15.06.00

Mission accomplished! I was happy, but not dying at the end. I took my pace much slower than I probably could have, but again I wanted to be able to move afterwards. Laundry won’t do itself and my pup still needs potty breaks during the day.

Long story short: the first 5 were decent and fun. I had my girl with me, so my mood and spirit is always high with her. The next 12 were rough. I tried the Margarita Clif Shot Bloks and hated them – give me my Chocolate Outrage GUs all day long! The absolute worst part was reaching the top of a hill, seeing Uptown, and knowing that I had to turn around and run back the way I came [I did an out-and-back course for the 12]. But I knocked them all out and I’ve never felt as accomplished as I did when I returned home to a quite energetic girl, I might add.

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The next weekend I set my mind to complete 19 miles. Now, that’s an increase that makes sense! Once again, Sizz and I took off for our 5 mile loop that takes us through uptown before I dropped her off before heading back out for another 14 miles. I mapped out a course that was more of a loop with a smaller loop in the Southpark area. I love running down there and staring at all the crazy, obsessively large houses, but wish there was a better trail system in the city. I tried the Salted Caramel GU at mile 10 and all seemed to be going smoothly [I also took my favorite Chocolate Outrage GUs at miles 5 and 15]. And then it happened, I hit the wrong button when I went to restart my Garmin after stopping at a light and saved the run around 16 miles. I was so mad at myself that I wouldn’t see a new PDR happen again that weekend. I took my fury out in my last 3 miles and made up some time! Hey, whatever works, right!? At the very end, I was trying my darnedest to get to 19 miles so I was running laps around my building and freaking Sizz out since she could see me from the window. Run complete!

PicMonkey Collage

So, 19 wasn’t too shabby; it was time to conquer a 21 mile run the following weekend. I mapped out a course that was about 16.5 miles knowing that I may cut some corners and didn’t want to come up short after dropping my girl off after her 5 mile jaunt around town. It was incredibly overcast [yet, somehow my Garmin connected almost instantly], so I erred on the side of caution and started Runmeter on my phone. It may not always be the most accurate, but I sure wanted to see a new PDR [and not 2 separate screenshots]! The first 5 went smoothly, as always, and then I dropped Sizz off before continuing on my 16.5 mile out and back course. My Garmin lost signal around mile 7.5 and I could NOT figure out why I wasn’t keeping my pace up – I kept running and running and running. Well, it turns out I was – thankfully Runmeter was still tracking my time. I gave up on my Garmin and let it keep running, but continued to check my pace on my phone. I took another Salted Caramel GU and struggled to get my energy up again for the next 5 miles. I then took a Chocolate Outrage GU and was like a brand new woman again. Lesson Learned: stick with what works! I arrived back home and was slightly shocked when I checked out Runmeter; it was a shiny new PDR for me! Knowing I only had 4.5 miles more to go for race day was a sweet surprise and gave me the confidence that I can complete a marathon in 2 weeks time!

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This last weekend was a bit of doozy for me…I needed new shoes as mine were completely shot. Who knew that when they bend in half vertically that they are done…lessons learned everyday. After a trial run of 5 miles in the Mizuno Wave Rider 17, they just did NOT work for me. I went back to my favorite Run For Your Life and they hooked me up with some sweet Brooks PureFlow 3 that I loved the minute I put them on.  Now, time to break these babies in before completing a challenge that a year ago I never said I’d do: complete a marathon!

2013-11-16 08.27.06_Thunder Road

Review: Running with the Kenyans

Last week, while running errands, Nick and I stopped by the library to pick up a few books. While I was there, I checked out the nonfiction running section and stumbled upon this book while looking for training guides.
Running with the Kenyans: Passion, Adventure, and the Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth

The story itself kept me entertained [and I am not normally a fan of nonfiction – give me fiction murder mysteries any day] and looking forward to the next runs with the Kenyans. Taking your wife and kids into the unknown world of Kenya was a brave decision, but one that the author [Adharanand Finn or just Finn as he’s better known as] would never regret.

As I was reading through his story, I kept thinking about his goal to find the one secret that made Kenyans so fast and beating world-wide records on a whim at the largest races [New York, Chicago, all the way up the ranks to the Olympic games]. It’s unbelievable when you read their stories. In the end, the reader and Finn realize that the Kenyans do not have just one secret, rather its the combination of many ideas. It’s barefoot running as children to and from school, while running errands, while completing their chores. It’s the diet of little meat and ugali. It’s the lifestyle, truly a “Run, Eat, Rest, Run, Sleep” day. It’s the altitude. It’s the trail running rather than concrete.

Running with Kenyans: The start of the local district cross country championships

Here in the west, running is a form of exercise, an activity we enjoy doing. In Kenya, running is a way of life. It’s all you do. You don’t take time to work a 50-60 hour workweek and ‘run for fun’ when you have a chance. At the end of the book, Finn runs the Safaricom Marathon, a 26.2 mile race in the Lewa Wildlife Conversancy at 5,500 feet <- as if you needed anymore challenges [I tried to run at Beech one time. Yes, that’s right, just ONE time]. Along the course, you never know what animals you will find. But the lions have been scared away by helicopters, so there’s little chance you will be eaten out there.

After finishing the book, I realized I have two goals in my fall training: run faster and run farther. Who wouldn’t also feel that way? I want to surpass my current half marathon time – the one I ran with little training and short runs and train past 13.1 in preparation for a full in the spring. I know I have the skills/techniques/training methods now to beat my current half marathon time, but I have no clue if I will actually meet my time goal. I know my legs can carry me farther and farther and I’m excited to see how well I can handle a full 26.2 mile race in April. And with that said, it’s time to get moving for the day!

Off the Grid

I took a chance this weekend and decided to go off the grid from the blog world, but not my phone, email, and camera – I just can’t leave it ALL behind. But the important piece I realized was that I missed sharing everything going on, so in that spirit – here’s a weekend recap in images:

2013-08-23 21.12.12

[They’re here! They’re here!]2013-08-24 11.50.12[Long, slow run but it’s done!]2013-08-24 19.55.22[Saturday night sunset on Lake Norman]
2013-08-25 09.30.21 [Sunday morning post cleaning]
2013-08-25 11.59.02[Treat for Nick]
2013-08-25 12.05.46 [Juice from the Market]
2013-08-25 13.15.58[Finally found it at Healthy Home Market]
2013-08-25 15.15.44[Lunch at Carolina Ale House]
2013-08-25 18.00.39[Dog park time for Sizzle]