It has been a while since I posted a new running motivation. So, here you go!
Look at that! Even Buddha can inspire runners ;-)
Go do what you'll be!
PS: You can find more running motivation HERE.
Ten weeks down, six to go.
About two weeks ago, I took some time to review where I was with my training -- what has been working, what hasn't, what I think I need to change -- and then I modified my training plan to make the most of the remaining weeks before the marathon.
It was a good exercise for me and I'd recommend it for anyone training for a race. When I started my marathon training, I was at Point X in terms of endurance, speed, marathon-running ability. At the half-way point, I was at Point Y. Things had changed. I knew more about my strengths and weaknesses. I had adapted to the training so I needed to modify my schedule.
Overall, the modified plan is quite similar to the original. The basics remain the same. But I've made some tweaks and I'm happy with it so far -- let's hope I'm happy with it on marathon day!
Here's what the upcoming week looks like:
1. You do laundry All. The. Time. and 90% of it is your running clothes.
2. Your nightmares about being late/unprepared for the marathon have progressed from the simple fear of "Eeek! I forgot to pack my running shoes!" to the more complicated "OK. I forgot my running shoes, sports bra, gels, and my water bottle. I'll tape the bottom of my feet so I can still run. I'll forgo the bra. Let me see if there is anyone I can sweet-talk into giving me gels and water . . . " Tape the bottoms of my feet? Who does that?
3. You buy snacks based on their potential ability to help keep your young sons happy while you run on the treadmill.
4. You buy gels by the 24-count box. And still run out.
5. One of your most visited sites on your browser history list is the McMillan Running Calculator.
6. You go out for drinks with your girlfriends who are also training for the marathon and you spend hours talking about that training.
7. Your biggest concern about an upcoming weekend away is how you'll fit in your 16-miler.
8. Nine miles on a Saturday seems like a short day.
9. You stress about race day weather. Starting 16 weeks before the race.
10. You fear that training success could jinx you on race day and spend hours contemplating how to avoid that.
Yup, that's how you know you're training for a marathon.
New Jersey Marathon, I'm coming at ya!
We've been having serious spring weather here in upstate New York -- temps in the 70s all week. And sunny! It's great. There are only a few downsides, including that my younger son has discovered the sand table and decided that sand tastes great (so I'm digging sand out of his mouth all the time). He also likes to track it through the house. All over the house. Gosh, I love to sweep.
Anyway, spring. It's a wonderful season.
Aside from this being the first day of spring, it is also time to announce the winner of my Larabar giveaway! Thanks to everyone who entered. I could only pick one of you and I did so using random.org. The lucky winner is . . .
Kris at Random Thoughts
Congratulations, Kris! Shoot me an email (felicehalf at yahoo dot com) with your address and I'll get you your bars!
Enjoy the day, everyone.
Time and again I have heard people say that marathon training made them lose their speed. I've heard it, read it, and started to worry about it. I have an aggressive time goal in mind for the New Jersey marathon and if I lose my speed, there's no way I'll be able to reach it.
So, for the Runnin' of the Green 4-mile race this weekend, I really wanted to finish in 30 minutes, which would be 7:30 miles. I felt confident I could do it and, if I did, I could believe that I still had enough speed in my legs to go after that 3:45 marathon.
I wanted the confidence boost. I wanted to shake out the worry that these longer, slower runs were making me slower.
The day was perfect -- warm but not too hot. I met up with a bunch of my friends, chatted a bit and then ran a quick 1.5-mile warm-up. Just before the start of the race, Amanda was able to get a quick picture of a few of a few Strong Running Mamas:
|That's me, Suzy, Tami, Melissa and Amanda.|
1. My post-20 miler recovery has been perfect. In fact, I've felt great ever since finishing the run. I kept thinking some DOMS would sneak up on me at some point during the week but, nope, that never happened. I got in three good runs this week -- all on the treadmill, unfortunately, even though the weather was great. A 6.5-mile tempo run on Tuesday, 5.1 easy miles with the last mile at marathon goal pace on Wednesday, 4.1 easy miles yesterday.
2. Tomorrow is all about speed! I'm running a 4-mile race, the Runnin' of the Green, and I'm hoping for a speedy time. I have a time goal that I would really like to hit and if I do I'll feel like my legs still have the speed they need to break 3:45 in the marathon. I'm hoping I'll have the luck of the Irish on my side tomorrow!
3. Since I'm racing on Saturday, I don't have a long run on my schedule this week. It feels weird not to be gearing up for 16, 18 or 20 miles. Instead, I will race tomorrow morning, go for a recovery run in the afternoon (for a total of 9-10 miles tomorrow) and then run an easy, short run on Sunday. Nothing crazy.
If you are looking for an easy, fun book to pack in your beach bag this summer, Diary of a Mad Fat Girl by Stephanie McAfee is it. The book is the story of Graciela "Ace" Jones, a big girl with a big personality in Bugtussle, Mississippi. Ace has plenty of issues: She sees herself as fat, she has an on-off relationship with the guy she's loved since she was 11, she's at odds with the school principal where she works. On top of that, one of her best friends has been framed and fired from her job and her other best friend is in a terrible marriage from which she needs to be saved.
The story is, as I've said, fun. It is also quite over-the-top and not all that believable but what does that matter when you're looking for a quick, easy, beachy-type read? Not much. The narrator, Ace Jones, has a strong, sassy voice and the story moves ever-forward through one twist and crazy turn after another, making the book one of those that you have a hard time putting down. It seemed that every time I got to the end of a chapter, I told myself I'd read just one more and that led to another one and another one and before I knew it I was done. Quick, easy, fun!
I LOVE LARABARS!
For real. If you were to come to my house right now, you'd see Larabars in my pantry and in my diaper bag (for hunger emergencies). My favorite flavors are carrot cake, chocolate coconut chew, peanut butter cookie, and my numero uno fave, cashew cookie. Seriously delicious.
I like that Larabars are made from whole foods, with no more than nine ingredients. They are a bar you can feel good eating.
And I am far from the only one who thinks that. Dolvett from The Biggest Loser totally agrees with me -- he encouraged the contestants to snack on Larabars on last week's episode. Yay for Larabars!
In celebration of that . . . I have a giveaway for you!
Who wants to win 2 Cherry Pie bars and 2 Peanut Butter Cookie bars?
Remember on Friday how I wrote that I was incredibly excited about the 20-miler I had scheduled for Sunday? Well, I'm happy to report that the run did not disappoint.
Oh, no. Far from it.
My 20 mile run was pure awesome! And I could not possibly be happier about it.
I was excited for the run all week. Then, sometime Saturday evening when the reality of the time change (getting up at 6:30 felt like 5:30), the distance (20 miles!), and the route (two hilly loops) hit me, I started to get nervous. I knew I could do it but sometimes doubt still creeps in.
What if I hit the wall at mile 18?
What if the hills are just too much?
What if this little cold that I've had messes makes my breathing all wonky and I can't run?
What if I over-sleep?
What if . . . ?
What if . . . ?
The "what ifs" were totally unnecessary. On Sunday, I woke up, got myself together and headed out to meet Tami and Melissa at 7:30. I made a wrong turn and ended up being a little late but the two of them were, fortunately, waiting for me. We did a quick check to make sure we were ready and then we were off.
And the run started -- as if to foretell what we were in for -- on an uphill.
Now, let me tell you a little something about where we ran. First, Sunday was a beautiful day with highs in the afternoon in the 60s. At 7:10, when I left my house, my car thermometer read 39 degrees. As I drove to the meeting spot -- up on a MOUNTAIN -- the temperature dropped. And kept dropping. When I parked the car, the thermometer read 30 degrees.
But that's not all. There is no snow on the ground where I live. But on the mountain? Oh, there's snow. As I drove up and up and up, I started to notice the snow. First a little, then more and more. It's colder and snowier up there. And that is where we ran. In the cold, snowy hills.
As I said, though, Sunday was a nice day so by the end of the 20 miles, it was sunny and warm, even up there on the mountain.
Back to the run . . .
The first 5 or so miles of the loop is pretty much all uphill (our total climb was 3839 feet). Most of it gradual, some of it steep. The three of us chatted away, though, so the hills weren't too bad. The second half of the loop is bliss: Mostly gradual downhills, with some flat areas. We ran the loop twice, to end up with 20.35 miles in 3:22 (9:56 pace).
Remarkably, with all of the hills, I felt great. I honestly could have kept going and I felt that I was still strong on the uphills in the second loop. It was a wonderful feeling! I credit my running partners, a good steady pace, and the 3 gels taken at the right time (miles 5, 10, 15).
Afterward, I was tired but not overwhelmingly so. And today my body feels absolutely fine. I admit that my hamstrings and quads are a little tired but that is it. Nothing more.
In other words: My first 20 miler rocked! It was a huge confidence booster and it really validated my training plan. I think that if my training had not been going well, and I had not been building up properly, the 20 miler would have been harder. I have two more 20s on my schedule and I'm already looking forward to them. After this hilly run, I can guarantee that at least my last 20 will be run on a flat route, though, to better prepare for the flat New Jersey marathon course.
Today is a full-on rest day. These legs deserve it!
Hope you all had a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by -- GIVEAWAY coming up tomorrow so come back then!
1. This was supposed to be a week of monster mileage. Instead, it was a week of skipped runs. A crummy illness landed in Chez Happy Runner and I ended up too sick to run on Tuesday and Wednesday. Well, I ran a wimpy little 1.5 miles on Tuesday, ending the run when my light-headedness got the best of me. But Wednesday? Nope, no running. This body just wasn't having it.
2. After taking the sick days, I came back yesterday with some stellar speedwork. I warmed up for a mile then ran 4 mile repeats -- 3 at a little faster than marathon goal pace and 1 at 5K pace -- and cooled down for a half mile, making the total run 6.5 miles. It felt great to run fast!
3. MY FIRST 20-MILER IS SUNDAY! OK, it is not technically my first, since I did run that marathon waaay back in 2004. But it is my first one of this training cycle and it pretty much feels like my first ever. And, oddly, I am So FLIPPING EXCITED. I honestly can't wait!
4. The weather is supposed to be perfect on Sunday. I'm running with Tami and Melissa and we're going to run a hilly 10 mile loop, twice. Let's hope everything goes well!
5. I don't even have a #5. I guess my mind is just focused on that 20-miler!
Have a great weekend, everyone!
Two things about running shirts:
1. After a few runs, no matter what*, mine start to stink.
2. Tech fabrics are awesome but, you know what? Sometimes it feels good to run in an old, worn-in cotton t-shirt.
Sport Science sent me one of their t-shirts that promises to a) not stink and b) feel like a friendly, old cotton t-shirt. Sounds good, right?
And it was! They sent me the Smarter Women's V-neck long sleeve dri-fit shirt in heather sky:
|Here I am in the top, finishing my leg of the Winter Marathon Relay.|
Long runs can be tough. And yet, if you looking to run a half-marathon, full marathon, or just want to improve your endurance, they are a necessary part of training.
Ideally, as you'd go through a training cycle all of your long runs would be nothing but awesome. You'd cover all your miles, hit your paces, and enjoy the many hours spent running.
This doesn't always happen, does it? No. In order for all of that long run awesomeness to fall into place, you have to prepare and set yourself up for long-run success.
Recently, I took stock about what has worked for me on my long runs and I thought I'd share my tips in case they might help you as well. So, here you go!
Happy Runner Tips For Awesome Long Runs!
1. Grab your pals!
The first time I trained for a marathon, I ran alone. Every. Single. Run. Alone. It was fine and I don't mind running alone. But, man. Running 18 miles with a friend -- or many friends -- is WAY better. Way. Running pals make the miles fly by and help you through the tough spots. They can give you a boost when your energy starts to dip. Running with friends is probably the single most important ingredient for my long run success this time around.
I love my running buddies!
2. Compression rules!
I can't say enough about my CEP compression socks. They are The Best. I love them. I've been wearing them for my long runs for about a year and I truly believe they have helped my legs feel better during the runs and afterward. I usually only wear them for runs and races of 15K or more.
Here I am sporting the green CEPs in my half-marathon last April:
At the beginning of the month, I recapped January and wrote about how February had a lot to live up to. Looking back, I'm happy to report that it was successful. Not only did February live up to January, I'd venture to say it surpassed it! It was a short month full of long runs. And good ones, at that!
I upped my mileage this month, with long runs of 15.1, 17, and 18 miles. I also ran a right-on-target 11 mile race and had two decent tempo runs and one good speed workout. I've also found that running 5 days a week works well for me. I take two rest days each week where I don't do anything close to running. Sometimes I'll do a kettlebell workout, or some weights/squats/lunges/push-ups but that's about it.
Running (miles): 134.9
Racing: 1 -- The Winter Marathon Relay (11-mile leg)
Cross training: 7
That monthly mileage is my highest monthly mileage EVER. As in, my whole life. Considering I have even longer runs on the plan for March, and there are two additional days, I'm expecting I'll be able to report another lifetime high this time next month.
9.5 weeks to the marathon! But who's counting?!?!
Thanks for stopping by. Have a good day!