Manic Monday – 05/30/16

Manic

Vermont City Marathon Training Week 19
What Was Planned vs What Happened

Monday 05/23/16: Rest | Rest
After a quick dinner at home, I went to a bra fitting party with a bunch of girlfriends. It was super fun, and I was still home and in bed by 10:30.

Tuesday 05/24/16: 40 Minute Easy Run4 Miles @ 10:28 Pace
It was pretty warm out, which was uncomfortable, but I just tried to look at it as a good preview of race day. It’s supposed to be quite hot and humid. Yuck! After the run I stretched out really well, then foam rolled and did some hip exercises.

Wednesday 05/25/16: Hot YogaHot Yoga
Other than overdoing it a bit on some quad stuff, it was a good class.

Thursday 05/26/16: 50 Minute Progression Run40 Min Progression Run
I was short on time because I had to run on my lunch break, so I only did 40 minutes. I had great negative splits and felt pretty good.

Friday 05/27/16: RestRest
I had a ladies’ night out with some friends, and then was home and in bed by 10:30.

Saturday 05/28/16: 2 Miles Easy + Yoga2 Miles + 45 Min Yoga
This was my final run with Athleta, and then they sponsored a 45 minute Yoga for Runners class when we got back to the store. It was fun meeting a bunch of VCM runners and getting a good stretch. Then I basically sat on my butt, carb-loading and binge-watching Gilmore Girls for the rest of the day.

Sunday 05/29/16: Vermont City Marathon | Vermont City Marathon DNF
Those of you who follow me on social media know by now that VCM was cancelled due to black flag conditions at the 4 hour mark. I was at mile 19 and knew I couldn’t finish without water stations, so I bussed it back to the start. Obviously I’ve got a lot of conflicted feelings going on, but you’ll have to wait for my recap for that mess.

Have you ever had a race cancelled while you were still out on the course?

Friday Free-For-All – 05/27/16

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It’s marathon weekend. AAAAAHHHH! All the emotions. All the feelings. All the OMG. I’ll be hitting up the expo tonight, having a ladies’ night after, and relaxing most of the weekend. I can’t freaking believe this is happening…

Vermont City Marathon offers live runner tracking. If you’re interested in following my progress on Sunday, click here to get all the info you need. My bib # is 2796.

I’m hoping for some blogger meetups this weekend. Colby and Darlene will be here running the two-person relay, I think Stacey‘s husband is running the full, and my fellow BR Pro Christine will be running the full as well. Anyone else running VCM? I live within walking distance of three different breweries, so I’m more than willing to meet for a drink on Saturday–just email me! darlinrae[at]gmail[dot]com.

Who else is racing this weekend?

 

Vermont City Marathon Goals & Plan

I seriously can’t even believe it’s time to write this post. I can’t believe that in 3 short days, I will be running my first marathon. Over the course of the last 19 or so weeks, I’ve thought A LOT about my goals for my first marathon. I’ve talked it over with friends and family and Coach Suz. People have asked a lot about it. So this post has been percolating for a while.

I’ve been pretty clear from the outset that my main goal, and the single thing that I really set out to accomplish, is crossing the finish line. No matter what happens, as long as I cross the finish line, I’ll be happy. But of course, because I’m a runner, and runners are crazy, I have other goals.

  • Finish under 5 hours. Based on my longer training runs, this is totally possible. To come in under 5 hours, I’d need to run with an overall pace of 11:26ish, which I’m reasonably sure I could do as long as something doesn’t go catastrophically wrong. ANYTHING under 5 hours would make me over-the-moon-ecstatic.
  • Finish healthy and uninjured. These last few weeks of training have been plagued with issues, and I would really like to finish this marathon without a recurrence of said issues. I have a 10k race in July that I’m really excited about, and my first relay race in August, so I want to be healthy and able to train for those races after I recover.
  • Finish with a smile. I hope to be able to really enjoy my first marathon, and I want it to be an overall positive experience. I want a nice picture of me crossing the finish line at least looking like I had a good time. If I have enough energy to fake it, I’ll know that I’m not going to die.

So now, the plan for race day.

What I’m Wearing:

  • Athleta Be Free Shorts
  • BibRave Tech Shirt
  • UV Buff around my neck for sun protection (can also wet it down to cool me off)
  • Saucony Mirage 4 shoes
  • Balega socks
  • Lynx ports bra
  • Brooks Running hat
  • OrangeMud VP1

How I’m Fueling:

  • Jelly Belly Sport Beans
  • Nuun in my OM bottle

I will eat my sport beans every 5 miles, and take a sip of Nuun every mile; it’s looking like Sunday will be very hot and humid, so I’ll need the electrolytes. I assume I can refill my bottle at hydration stations, but if not, I know they’ll have both water and Gatorade every 2.5ish miles on the course, and I know I can tolerate Gatorade, so I don’t have to worry about tummy issues. Pre-race, I’ll probably have a bagel with cream cheese, and maybe have a small snack about 30 minutes before the race. I’ve been finding myself very hungry during a lot of my long runs, so I’m trying to make sure I’ve got plenty of fuel in the tank.

Pacing:

As of right now, I’m pretty sure I’m just going to run with the 5 hour pace group. I like to start out nice and slow on my long runs, and generally once I get warmed up, I speed up a bit. I think if I just start easy with the 5 hour group, it will be possible for me to speed up and leave them later, so that I can get in under 5 hours. I have also programmed 10:1 intervals into my Garmin so that if I completely blow up, I can fall back on a run/walk routine to get me to the finish.

Celebrations:

I’m not sure what I’ll eat immediately post-run, but I do know that Ben and I have a date at Burger Barn for dinner, where I will be INHALING a Nutty Goat and some fries. And some beer. And then I plan on sleeping as late as I want on Monday, and sitting on my butt as much as possible.

Recovery:

I plan to take at least 4 full days off from running, but I don’t plan to just loaf around either. I’ll hit up a yoga class on Wednesday, and I’m going rollerskating with my friend Sharon on Thursday. I’m hoping for a short, easy run on Friday, but we’ll see how I’m feeling. There will be lots of stretching, foam rolling, walking, and Epsom salt baths. I don’t want to take too much time off, because I have a 10k in July to train for, but since I’ve never run a marathon before, I have no idea how long it will take for me to feel ok again post-race, and I don’t want to rush back into running and end up injured or burned out.

So there you have it. Marathon goals and race day plan. Wow. Yikes. THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING.

Are you a list-maker/planner like me?

It’s Race Week!

Here we are. Almost 20 weeks of marathon training, and it’s officially race week. I’m a little bit in shock. In some ways, I’m like “Finally! I’ve been waiting for this forever!” And in other ways I’m like, “Woah, WOAH, I am not ready for this how is it already race week?!”

It’s no secret that training for this race hasn’t exactly been fun. I was overly busy and stressed out trying to train while rehearsing and performing in Mary Poppins. Then I went on vacation and just didn’t train for a week. And then I got hurt, and it all went to hell in a handbasket. For the last month or so, I’ve been whiny, emotional, and thoroughly freaked out about this whole marathon thing. I feel bad for being so negative, but I needed to let those feelings out and process them, and you have all been incredibly kind and supportive, so thank you for that ❤

The good news is, I’m finally starting to get excited. They released photos of the medals this weekend, and they’re GORGEOUS. I can’t wait to wear mine all day on Sunday. And possibly Monday too.

Because I’m just a little bit Type A, I’m trying to approach this week with a plan. I like to be methodical, to feel like I have taken care of everything that’s within my power, so that I can go into the race knowing that I’ve done everything I can, and it’s out of my hands. So that means, it’s list time! Here’s my plan for race week.

  • Hydrate like a BOSS. I’ve got a 32 oz water bottle on my desk at work, and a 25 oz water bottle on my coffee table at home. I aim to drink at least 80 oz of water each day. I’m tracking my intake with an app, cause I like data and certainty.
  • Carb load responsibly. I’m trying not to make this week an excuse to eat like an asshole. I’m trying to get my carbs mostly from whole grains, sweet potatoes, and less fibrous veggies and fruits.
  • Know my sh*t. Study the Runner Essentials handbook. Familiarize myself with the course. Know how I’m getting to the start line. Know where I’m meeting my family after the race. Make sure I have all the information I need so that nothing throws me for a loop and freaks me out on race day.
  • Make self-care and recovery a priority. Stretch. Foam roll. Go to yoga. Take extra good care of my body so I feel rested and well on race day.
  • Get lots of good quality sleep. I know that nerves will probably make sleeping on Saturday night a challenge, so I’m determined to get caught up on rest during the week. In bed, lights out, no later than 10 every night. This may be challenging as I’ve got some fun parties that are happening, but I just need to stay strong and remember that the marathon is a goal I’ve been working toward for months, and I need to prioritize it over partying.
  • Take it one day at a time. I’m doing my best not to freak out. I’m trying to just focus on what I need to do each day, and not worry about what tomorrow will bring. This is hard. I’m worried about the weather, I’m worried about my foot, I’m worried about a lot, but I’m trying not to let it get to me.

Any other advice for marathon prep?

The 20 Miler

In spite of last week’s injury and illness, I really hoped that my report on the dreaded 20 miler would be positive, like “It was hard, but I feel good,” or, “I felt so accomplished,” or something. But as I stated in my Manic Monday training summary, it was just hard, and I’m glad it’s over.

I was very, very lucky to be able to join some awesome ladies from Athleta for a fully-supported, pre-planned 20 mile route that closely followed the actual route that the Vermont City Marathon will follow on May 29. Two gals from the store were a mobile aid station, and they met us at miles 4, 8, 12, and 16 of the route, with water, Gatorade, Gu’s, and they also carried our extra clothes around in case we got cold.

Photo May 03, 8 27 59 AM

The forecast called for rain, which wasn’t ideal, but it actually didn’t start truly raining until around mile 10. Katie, Roo, Nikhil, Ann and I started off from the store shortly after 8. Ann quickly left us in the dust as she was planning to run 8 minute miles, whereas my goal long run pace is between 10:30 and 11 minute miles. It turned out that Katie was injured too, so she was down to go my pace, and Roo was a rock star and slowed down to stay with us, but eventually Nikhil took off at his own pace too, leaving just me, Katie, and Roo.

I was disappointed to feel my left quad start to complain around mile 4, and my right foot joined the party soon after. Still, though, Katie and Roo were really good company. They’re running buddies, and had been training to hit a sub-4 marathon time together before Katie’s IT band became an issue. She was literally running with a plastic bag of ibuprofen, not sure if she was going to be able to complete the full distance. I just tried to focus on the company, and have completion as my only goal. I didn’t stop my watch for any of our water or bathroom breaks, so that I’d have a better idea of what race day might actually look like.

I did my best to keep to my usual sip of water every mile and fuel every 4-5 miles, but I was dragging by mile 10. My leg hurt, my foot hurt, my sinuses hurt… Honestly, I wanted to quit. Was planning to quit. Actually rehearsing in my head what I would say when we reached the next aid station and I bailed. The traveling aid station missed us at mile 12, but looped back around to meet us at mile 13, and I confessed I was hurting, but decided to keep going. We all took a round of Katie’s ibuprofen. Roo was chafing really badly under her arms, and we were all wet and cold. I told Katie and Roo to go on at that point. We were about to head up the Battery Street Hill, and I knew there was absolutely no way I could keep up with them.

Battery Street comes right after the halfway point on the marathon course, and it’s a bear. I used to run hill repeats on it all the time, but my hill training has been sorely lacking this cycle, so I ended up walking the hill. I knew that the only way I was going to finish was by adding in some walking. Coach Suz and I had talked about this beforehand, so I decided to walk for 2 minutes after each mile, to help rest my leg and foot and reset everything. I was a little cold, and very hungry, and also running all alone at this point, which was kind of a bummer. Around mile 15, I REALLY wanted to quit. I knew the mobile aid station would be at mile 16, and that they’d drive me back to the store if I asked. I thought long and hard about it. But in the end, I knew that I needed to finish. If I didn’t get it done that day, I’d just have to try again another day, and I REALLY didn’t want to have to go through this again.

I made it to the aid station at mile 16, where I announced “I’m struggling. Hard.” The girls gave me a pep talk and some Gatorade, and told me that there would be bagels waiting for us back at the store. Those were the most motivating words anyone could possibly have spoken at that moment. As I ran/walked the final four miles back to Athleta, I just kept imagining a huge bagel with cream cheese, how good it would taste, how amazing it would feel to be done… And I made it.

Everyone at the store cheered for me when I came in, and my friend Chris gave me a big high five. I shed my hydration pack, put on my jacket, and had probably the best spinach and cheddar bagel I’ve ever had in my life. Then I went to the grocery store for recovery supplies:

 

And took a long, hot epsom salt bath and ate sushi in the tub while reading Harry Potter. The rest of the afternoon was spent eating ALL THE THINGS, foam rolling like a responsible adult, icing my foot, and watching Game of Thrones Seasons 1 and 2 on the pulled out futon. I limped a lot Sunday and Monday, but I’m definitely feeling a bit better today. My quad is still achey, sort of like really bad DOMS. My foot is more acute pain in the heel, with a duller ache by my pinky toe, but again, less than it was even yesterday. I’m hoping that good rest and recovery this week will help resolve my issues and get me ready to run this marathon.

I have also decided to switch back to my very first pair of Saucony Mirage 4s, because in looking back at my mileage log, I have quite a few less miles on them than I thought. I’m going to test them out on a short run today and see how it goes. Worst case scenario, Amazon has ONE pair of Mirage 4s in my size available, and I can use Prime to get them here in 2 days, which should theoretically be enough time to break them in a bit before the marathon.

After writing this post out, I do now feel a sense of accomplishment, but honestly, on Sunday I was in such a haze of pain and runger that I was kind of emotionally numb to the enormity of it. Including all of our water stops, breaks, my walking etc, it took 3 hours and 51 minutes, an overall pace of 11:35, which I am IMMENSELY proud of. And I need to give a MASSIVE shoutout to the Athleta crew for sponsoring this 20 mile run. I absolutely would not have gotten through that distance without the company and support.

In closing, I have to say that my experience running 20 miles sort of solidified that the marathon will be a “one and done” for me. The training is just too much. Too much time. Too much energy. Too much worry. Too much pain. I’m just not a multiple marathoner, and that’s ok.

Have you ever done a 20 miler? When training for a marathon, do you cap your training at 20 miles, or go further?

Friday Free-For-All – 04/29/16

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This week’s Friday Free-For-All post has a theme: STRESS!!!

Insult to injury. Literally. I hurt my left quad and right foot during my attempted 18-miler on Monday, and then I got sick this week. Maybe a sinus infection, maybe just a really bad cold, but either way, headache, major congestion, mild fever, and crappy sleep. I haven’t run at all since Monday, but I think I’m gonna attempt a gentle 5k today. My fever is gone, and although I’m super congested, I’m feeling better than I have the last couple of days. This week has just been kind of a crap fest. I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to do my 20-miler with Athleta and RunVermont on Sunday, but I think that if worse comes to worst, I’ll just go for it and use some run/walk intervals to get me through it. That’s not how I’ve been training up until now, but I REALLY would rather do my 20 in a group setting than try to do it on my own later.

Ben’s employment situation. I haven’t talked about this much on the blog, but it’s weighing heavily on my mind this week. Ben is an educator, and unfortunately, job stability isn’t always a thing when you’re a teacher. Ben and another teacher were hired at the same time last year to cover two full-time positions for teachers that were away on leave. One of those teachers has decided not to come back, and one still has a year of leave left, meaning that there is now one permanent full-time position available. Due to budget cuts, the other temporary position covering leave is now only a part-time position, and we don’t know the actual extent of the position and pay. Ben and the other teacher both interviewed yesterday for both positions, and we just don’t know how the chips are going to fall. The other teacher has more experience and a Master’s degree, but Ben is better at classroom management and has better people skills. They may decide they want to pay more for the other person’s experience, or they may decide they want to save money by hiring Ben. It’s really scary not knowing whether or not he’ll will have a job next year. He has applied for a few other positions at other schools, but hasn’t gotten any interviews, which is super discouraging. Taking a pay cut by accepting the part-time position at his current school, or not getting a job at all would mean that we’d need to do a serious lifestyle overhaul, and delay a lot of stuff like home buying and starting a family even further. The uncertainty is putting a lot of strain on us right now, and it sucks not being able to plan long term because we just don’t know what next year will look like. Thankfully, it sounds like we should know either way by Monday at the latest, so at least it’s not going to drag on for weeks.

Shoes. I’m still feeling stress about my damn shoe issue. I can’t say for sure that my leg and foot issues on Monday were due to the shoes rather than just stress or attempting too much mileage after a week of almost no running, but I’m a little nervous about attempting 20 miles in the Mirages on Sunday. I’ve been doing lots of research, and even used this great shoe finder app on Runner’s World (Shoes Like Mine) to find some options. I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods on Wednesday night and tried a bunch of the recommended options, but totally struck out. Every shoe I tried just didn’t have enough room for my toes. It seems like most toe boxes sort of angle down toward the front of the foot, but my toes angle UP, so it’s hard to find a shoe with enough room. I’m trying not to panic, and I still have some options for other places to go, but it sort of feels like zero hour here, and I’m anxious.

ONE MONTH. Vermont City Marathon is exactly one month away. In some ways, it feels like I’ve been waiting forever and I can’t believe it’s finally time, and in other ways, it doesn’t seem like enough time has passed, and I’m under-trained and oh my god how am I ever going to do this?? I think if I can just get through this 20-miler on Sunday, I’ll feel a lot better about things. I seriously can’t believe it’s almost taper time. I honestly don’t even feel like I “deserve” a taper because I haven’t really been training all that much these last few weeks. It’s so weird. All I can say is, thank God for Coach Suz. I’d be a mess right now without her. OK, more of a mess than I already am…

Who else is feeling stressed out this week? I need a massage… Or a drink…

Friday Free-For-All – 04/15/16

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Spring Break, baby! As of 4:30 this afternoon, Ben and I will officially be on vacation. We will be taking off on an East Coast Friends and Family road trip. We’ve planned stops in New Jersey, DC, and North Carolina, and we couldn’t be more excited. The timing works out perfectly that we’ll actually be arriving in NJ for a friend’s birthday, and the longest stretch of driving we’ll have to do in any given day is 6 hours. I’ll try to schedule some posts to go up while I’m gone, but I’ll mostly be away from computers.

I’m teaming up with Athleta and Vermont City Marathon to host a few training runs in the weeks leading up to VCM. As you already know, I’m running and promoting VCM on behalf of BibRave, but I was contacted by Athleta because they are working with the “New to 26.2” first-time marathon training program that VCM is offering. Each Saturday a group will be meeting at Athleta for a 4-6 mile training run, and I get to be one of the “leaders.” I’m excited because a) I LOVE Athleta, b) I’ve really been missing group runs these last few months, and c) it’s a perfect cross-promotion opportunity. I’d like to say right out that if it weren’t for the fact that my friend Chris is the general manager of my local Athleta, this probably wouldn’t be happening, but I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth!

I FINALLY got my Saucony Mirage 5s this weekend. I have run in them a couple of times so far, and while they are definitely a bit different than the 4s, I think they’re going to work out just fine. Hallelujah! Now to stock up on them before they completely disappear so that I don’t have to deal with this shoe drama again for a loooong time…

Remember that I’m raising money for the Vermont Respite House by running the Jiggety Jog 5k. I’m trying to raise $1000 by the event on May 7. Wanna help me get there? Click this link to make a secure online donation: http://bit.ly/1MuGMhM

Anyone else on spring break this week? Any fun plans?