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Rock N’ Roll DC 2017 Recap!

Monday: 40 min legs (back squats/deadlifts for volume), 5m easy 9:31/pace

This was a big one. Bigger than I expected or hoped, way beyond a time PR.

The week of the race was typical. I was antsy, nervous and my training log concerned me. Pacing was all over the place and some workouts were scaled down and adjusted. Extremely different from how marathon training went last fall, where I hit almost every running workout and every pace to the T.

So I started examining the log as a whole: I put in all the miles, 45-51 miles per week, and did each workout to the best of my ability, all while increasing strength training days from 2x to 3-4x weekly, which meant getting used to training 2x a day (or two-a-days as it’s called). The work was there. The power from lifting heavy should translate to the run as long as I tapered well.  And with that, I put the log away and told only two very close people what my goal was. 1:33.

The forecast was rough in the DC area that Saturday. Cold and 25 degrees at the start, and lots of NW winds 10-15+ mph. Fortunately nothing new to me. If you’ve been following my blog the past year, i can’t seem to get away from the wind.

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info from my Garmin that day

But the freezing cold on top of it lead to wearing a lot of layers and we were all so happy the sun was out. It was the only thing keeping the weather bearable. I hopped on the Metro with Brian & Betty, a few runner friends I met at my Gold’s Gym.

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Brian & Betty 

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We had plenty of time to use the bathrooms, get hydrated and get into our corrals. The first miles were flat, so the plan was to hold back until after the big hill between miles 6-7 and then start speeding up.

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The flat miles weren’t incredibly easy for me. My left shin was tight and i was hoping it would shake out in the first couple miles but it didn’t. I felt it tighten every step of the way. I felt good otherwise, almost bouncy in a way and had a ton of energy.  I was afraid of pushing too hard in the beginning in case the shin/calf muscle became more of an issue later in the race, so i was running on feel for the first half.

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The big hill came and went. Once I felt recovered enough to push a little I did just that. The grade change helped stretch my calf and loosen up my shin. The uphills actually felt better than the flats and I could almost relax a bit on the downhill portions. Almost. There was no time to relax, i had work to do.

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This half was not easy. Mentally I was having a great race, I was doing well going on effort while still keeping my goal time in mind. When it got tough and i felt like slowing down, and that happened several times, i just repeated a short piece of a pep talk I got that morning.

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You’re going to fly. Over and over I said that to myself. And you know what, it made me feel fast and weightless. And focusing on the finish kept me sharp.

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The last couple miles were hard. I don’t remember much because I was focused on a quick leg turnover, and pushing through muscle fatigue, especially while on a few short & steep hills that had my legs screaming. But when you only have a mile to go, you go. Proud of that last mile.

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official 1:33:47

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3 Big things happened for me in this race, which is why I said it was major and so much more than a time PR.

  1. I started in Corral #1. When i first ran the Rock n Roll DC 1/2 back in 2013, I believe i was in Corral 5 or 6. I made it a goal of mine 4 years ago to make it into #1. It was a special feeling having my bib read #1.
  2. I PR’d at my heaviest racing weight to date, in the coldest temps i’ve ever run in and the most clothes i’ve ever worn. I’m about 7lbs heavier than the marathon last November and 16lbs heavier than my first marathon. I’ve been consistently gaining muscle mass and running faster year after year. To PR with all that additional weight, on a windy, cold, hilly course reinforces that my training is on point and I’ve got faster times ahead.
  3. I broke into the top 100 females at a major half marathon. This was the big one. Bigger than the actual time I finished in. It has been a goal of mine to break into the top 100 of a major race for years. When i found out I was 67th, I got teary and overwhelmed with happiness. It’s been a long time since i’ve been able to let myself enjoy these victories and allow myself to be proud.

Til’ next time kids.

Last Week

Monday: 5m easy 9:05/pace

Tuesday: Crossfit, 6m easy 8:46/pace

Wednesday: 6m easy 8:41/pace

Thursday: 3m easy 9:22/pace

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 13.1m Race 7:10/pace 

Sunday: Rest

Total Miles: 33.1

What goals besides time goals have you set for yourself?

What are your current goals?

 

 

 


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I’m Doing Everything Wrong This Time. #ThePeakWeek

How am i already at another peak week?? Seems like yesterday this was Philly’s marathon peak last November. I can full heartedly say as much as i love running, i did not care for this training cycle. I’m gonna be honest, this was one big experiment after another. From counting calories/macros, adding and removing foods, trying to find balance with strength training and napping whenever I had the chance… Every aspect was challenging and it started off on the wrong foot for me.

Hansons Marathon Method & Half Marathon Method training plans are 18 weeks long. Both of them. I assumed for some reason the half training plan would be either 12 or 16 weeks. And after my happy-go-lucky base building in December, I dove into training early January and realized I was already several weeks behind! I started at the week I was already supposed to be at (week 9), thinking i was ready mentally and physically to jump in and handle it. For the record I kinda was, but it was mentally tough to skip weeks. I don’t recommend it.

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From Saturday’s 11 miler!

I should have started from the beginning of the plan and adjusted for an earlier taper, not the other way around by playing catch up. It was physically tough hitting 50 mile weeks. Again, i assumed volume would be less in the Hansons half. Turns out the half plan is extremely similar to the full. Paces are where it differs and for a half marathon and long term goal of breaking 1:30, the pacing is tough on top of the weekly volume.

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That all being said. This is the hardest i’ve trained for a half, but my heart isn’t fully into it with the passion I felt during the Philadelphia training. I think it’s because i’m having so much more fun with the weightlifting and Crossfit right now. I’m a newbie at Olympic weightlifting so I’m gaining strength quickly and get to see PR’s almost every week. It’s so fun, challenging and rejuvenating.

The half marathon has been my favorite distance, but also a tough distance for me. I want the sub 1:30 badly, but I know it’s going to be work. It might be work for the fall when my mind can wrap itself around a hard half. I’m hoping that the Rock n’ Roll DC 1/2 will bring either a course PR (under 1:37:07) or an overall 1/2 PR (under 1:35:36). As long as the taper goes well I think i’m more than capable of these goals.

Now let’s talk about nutrition. I mentioned a few times that my energy had been zapped. For a quick moment i thought i was overtraining, but that wasn’t the case. I just wasn’t eating right.  I wasn’t taking in enough carbohydrates.

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Sup Carbs? #missedyou

I think the 50 mile weeks caught up with the 2-4 days a week I was lifting and when I was hungry my face was in a jar of peanut butter. It was funny at first, like haha I can eat 2 jars (big jars) of PB a week because I’m a runner… yeah no. All the peanut butter was not helping me with performance. Yes, it was helping eliminate the calorie deficit and is delicious and should be it’s own food group, but all the fat was not helping replenish my glycogen levels so i can hit workout after workout hard.

*Sidenote: I always use My Fitness Pal to log food when something feels off, whether its energy, tight pants, breakouts, migraines, anything – log food for a couple weeks and look for patterns. My recent pattern was a PB overload.

Couple changes I made immediately were adding a mini whole wheat bagel to breakfast, 110 calories, 22g carbs.

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1/2 regular bagel (similar macros), similar breakfast everyday

When i’m craving excess calories or reaching for the pb jar i’ve been making protein shakes and adding a little pb to the shake. And on days i’m doing more than an easy run (like two-a-days where I Crossfit in the morning and run in the afternoons) I make sure to eat carbs like potatoes or rice the night before and I either have a Picky Bar or Rx Bar about an hour before my second workout (22-28g carbs).

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I’ve been eating a low carb/high fat/high protein diet for the last year and a half and it’s been working just fine, until i started seriously lifting heavy and running volume on top of it. It’s just not a feasible diet anymore. I’m trying out a pseudo-carb cycling plan where I have 3-4 higher carb days (specifically for two-a-days) and a couple lower carb/higher protein + fat days when I’m not doubling workouts or long running.

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higher carb- cup of rice, veggies, chicken, peanut sauce 😉

I think the key here is to plan for nutrition changes when starting a new training cycle. I’ve made this mistake over and over, forgetting to increase overall calories as my mileage increases or even changing up the type of calories i’m eating. Again, I’m going to do a better job at logging food and hopefully i can train smarter not harder. Also-i’m not a nutritionist or a dietitian. I’m just changing some stuff up based on what myself and a few dudes discussed in the gym. If you have questions or comments feel free to ask away, but i’m not an expert in this area!

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higher carb dinner

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lower carb dinner. 

Just these few changes over the last two weeks have made a huge difference in my energy levels and i’m finally feeling some speed in the running workouts. Now I gotta grab some carbs for my run later 😉

Last Week

Monday: 9.5m interval ( 3 x 2m @ 6:44/pace)

Tuesday: 5m easy 9:14/pace

Wednesday: 3m easy 9:00/pace, 5 x 5 front squats @ 115#, 2m cooldown 9:30/pace 

Thursday: Crossfit, 10m tempo (7m @ 7:03/pace)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Crossfit, 11m long 8:03/pace

Sunday: 8m easy 9:23/pace

Total Miles: 48.5

How do you increase overall calories during training?

Do you count macros or try to eat a certain high fat/protein/or carb diet?

 


7 Comments

The Runs That Suck and How to Turn it Around.

Speed work was not happening last week. With each training cycle, I experience a crap week. It’s just a waiting game to see when it will happen. This time it was Week Seven… I had not one, but two (all speed training for the week) sessions that just did NOT go my way. Between coming off of the weekend course for USA Weightlifting and hitting Crossfit as hard as ever and lifting on my own, my legs were just beat up.

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Her legs must have been tired too…

During marathon training I was able to double up early morning Crossfit days with speed work later in the afternoon. I think it worked for marathoning because the pace is much slower than the half marathon training plan, but right now it’s too much. I’m going to start doing speed on Monday/Wednesday with CF on Tuesday/Thursday and hopefully this will give me one hard thing to focus on daily with more rest and recovery time between workouts.

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Friday afternoon I tried my best to get a tempo run in. A tempo I had put off from Thursday after CF with the hopes my legs would be recovered. Spoiler alert, they weren’t. I talk a lot about how smooth training is going and how my mental game is on point–> but that doesn’t mean there aren’t hard days where it’s tested.  There are many moments of self doubt, the urge to quit or having to battle with myself every step of the way, literally and metaphorically.

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Friday was one of those mental and physical test days. I had to pull out the big guns and warm up for 2 miles on a treadmill just to have a flat surface to shake out the legs. Once I got outside and started the speed portion, it took everything in me to keep from giving up completely and not walk back to the car. Every step was hard. With each footfall my quads were SCREAMING. Trying to hold a 6:50 mile, my “race pace” did not happen. I was struggling to maintain anything that felt fast-ish…hell, I was just struggling to run, period. Uphill hurt, downhill was worse. I never wanted a run to be over with so badly…

(the mile pacing below is deceptive, i stopped a lot during this run so if you include breaks i was much closer to a consistent 8-8:15/pace, but you can still see how I slowed and was no where near race pace.)

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So what do I do during these runs, because they happen and they happen more often than i like sharing on my Instagram feed. I do what I always do. I don’t give up and I turn on the self pep talk as much as I have to.

The hard runs make you stronger on race day. It’s the work you put in when no one’s around that’s important. Practicing how to coach yourself through these painful dark moments will be so clutch if you need to draw from it on race day.

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during a much better long run a few weeks back

Here’s the checklist I go through when the going gets tough–the tough get going! Keep that in mind and keep going!

  1. Are you hurt, injured, on the verge or being injured or just sore? Take a moment to actually listen to your body. Friday my quads were super sore from doing 57 back squats in CF the day before. No injuries, just super tight and fatigued. *If you feel like you’re riding the edge of injury STOP, take the day off and evaluate your training plan and take care of your body asap.
  2. Adjust your workout or move the workout to another day and take it easy. My mile repeats and tempo run became more of a fartlek and I went solely on effort! Effort when you’re tired or sore is still effective as long as you’re honest with the effort level for that day. Pace doesn’t always dictate effort!
  3. Be your own coach and talk yourself into a more positive mindset. Tell yourself you’re awesome, say your goals out loud, practice your mantras to see if they pull you out of the slump. I always end up with, “The hard is what makes it great!” “I am the strongest girl I know.” “I am a big brave dog.”
  4. Turn on the music. Play your power songs, your pump up jams, pull from the music you think might give you a little pep.
  5. Bribe yourself. Okay, i’m not proud of this one, but from time to time I pull out the ol’ if you don’t give up today you can get a Starbucks this afternoon trick…
  6. Be grateful for whatever your body gave you during that workout. Don’t beat yourself up, don’t be hard on yourself. No matter how bad or awful you may have felt, be grateful your body gave you something on the given day.

Once the workout is done you will feel better and make gains, even if the gain was mental training prep. <—which is, in my opinion the most important part. If you still feel like you had a terrible run, like I said, don’t let it ruin your day. Just know that a string of bad runs means a good one is around the corner!

Week of 1/23-1/29

Monday: 5m easy 9:30/p

Tuesday: Crossfit

Wednesday: 10m interval (1.5m repeats- sort of became 1000s because I took a break halfway in between each one. oh well)

Thursday: Crossfit

Friday: 8m tempo 8:07/pace (tempo-ing didn’t really happen, so i just tried to maintain a hard effort in the wind and hills and sore legs!), 30 min upper body

Saturday: 11.1m long 9:15/pace

Sunday: 6m easy 9:15/pace, barbell skill work: Power Cleans + volume deadlifts

Total Miles: 40.1

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Last Week 1/15-1/22

Monday: 5m easy 9:06/pace

Tuesday: Crossfit, 10.5m interval ( 6 x 1m @ 6:35/pace)

Wednesday: 5m easy 8:41/pace

Thursday: Crossfit, 9m tempo (6m @ 6:53/pace)

Friday:  15 min row

Saturday: 6m easy 9:10/pace

Sunday: 10m long 8:33/pace

Total Miles: 45.5

How do you get yourself through a bad run?

Favorite running mantra?