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The Almost PR- Rock N’ Roll DC 1/2 Recap!

Monday: 20min yoga

Tuesday: 8.5m interval 16 x 400s @ 10k pace (6 @ 6:31/pace, 6 @ 6:27/pace, 4 @ 6:22/pace)

Wednesday: 6.9m easy 8:58/pace, 40 min shoulders + legs

I made a ton of last minute changes for the race which made me extremely nervous and anxious during the week leading up to it. Pre-race went badly, a lot of stuff was out of my control, I didn’t think this was going to be a good race.

Monday through Friday leading to Saturday’s race I dealt with a massive sinus headache, sinus related vertigo/dizziness & pressure headaches until Friday ,when i finally started feeling better (cue sigh of relief!) and changed my hair color. Not that hair color had anything to do with me feeling better.. wait, it may have been a slight pick me up.

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The sinus/allergy stuff  was out of my control of course. It’s never fun going into a race week feeling like absolute crap. I still managed to hit the weekly running workouts on the schedule, even though they all felt harder than usual. I’m thankful it was a cutback week, although I probably would have had to cutback anyway with how tired those horrible allergies made me.

The changes I mentioned have to do a lot with nutrition. Since last fall I’ve cut out most refined carbohydrates (breads/pasta etc) and have replaced those grain carbs with potatoes/carrots/beets etc. I will do a post on this in more details soon–> the point being, I was nervous about not having a regular pasta meal the night before and a bagel the morning of the race. So what did I eat?  I had a whole sweet potato with maple syrup and pork chop for dinner. The morning of the race I had a banana with pb and coffee, then on the train I ate a Honey Stinger Waffle and drank pink lemonade Nuun.

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Another thing out of my control pre-race: the metro was a complete mess on race morning. 13 minutes behind schedule and the train stop we were told to get off at had their stairs and escalators blocked off. Hundreds of runners were waiting to load up into an extremely small, slow moving elevator. A lot of us hopped back on the train and got off at the next station. Because of these setbacks, I did not have the chance to warm up or start the race on time. I was literally in a port-o-potty at 7:28am, two minutes before the start.

I ran slowly to the corrals, peeling off my throwaway clothes, getting my Ipod set up and finally squeezed into Corral #5. I was supposed to start in #2, so i knew i’d have some weaving to do in the early miles. My plan for this race was to hold back until miles 6-7 where the big hill was then see how I was feeling to push the backend of the race.

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After the stressful morning,  the race itself was great! Once my legs warmed up (took 2 miles) and I weaved around the corral 5 runners, i got into a groove and felt very relaxed. I finally had some elbow room at mile 5 and I could feel myself trying to speed up and kept telling myself to save energy for the hills in the 2nd half.

You might not like it, but my race mantra for the hill was “I like it on top.” It made me smile and laugh a little, which relaxed me. Feel free to think of this on your next hilly run 😉

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Once I hit that wretched hill and my slowest mile–it took another half mile for my quads to stop screaming at me. But once they recovered I was feeling fantastic and I just let the legs do what they wanted.

The final miles of the race were 7:05, 6:59, 6:51, 7:05 and my final mile was a 6:56! I was hoping on a good day i could FINALLY hit a sub-7 mile during a half. The negative split was my fastest ever 10k! Hitting those splits are a good indicator that big things may happen in 6 weeks. Horn officially tooted.

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Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 2.05.47 PMHere are the splits! Official Time 1:37:05.

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I did a breakdown of the good, bad and otherwise in a few other race recaps and I’m going to continue with this because it’s easy to look back and recall what needs to change and stay the same for future races. So here it goes!

The bad

-I did not anticipate the Metro being backed up, therefore I had ZERO time to do a proper warm up. I truly feel if I had that extra 30 minutes as planned I could have had a PR day, but i’m not upset over it because that was not the purpose of this race. This just means for my ‘A’ race I will have to plan for extra time to warm up just in case!

-My back was really sore after this race. I don’t know if i was tense or if my back was taking all the downhill jolting. Guess I’m out of downhill running practice?

The good

-I felt 100% properly fueled. My nutrition is on point and Honey Stinger products & Nuun are sitting well in my stomach.

-The final 6 miles. I paced properly! All those workouts of mile repeats and 2 x 3s are showing up!  A 7:00/pace did not feel like death :).

-I’m definitely a midwest girl. The flat parts of the course I cruised and dare i say, the pace felt easy. I never felt like I went above an 7-8/10 effort and the negative split was just icing on the cake.

-This race felt better (i.e I felt more comfortable) than  Indianapolis where I got my latest PR.

The firsts  I know you aren’t supposed to try new things on race day, but this was a practice race for me so there were a TON of new things.

-Pre race evening meal. Sweet potatoes will forever be a staple. And the morning meal, no bagels just real food.

-On the course i only drank water. This is the first time I didn’t have gatorade, and my stomach was happy because of it!

-Shoes. I bought a brand new pair of Saucony Kinvara 6s for this race. I did not wear them or break them in before the race. They worked perfectly. No blisters or anything. Saucony is seriously amazing.

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-I was blonde. Hey when you’re not gunning for a PR you need to find other running firsts. It was my very first run with blonde hair. lol.

 

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Last Week

Monday: 7.5 tempo (2m warm up, 3 @ 6:53/pace, 4 x 2:00 @ 6:18/pace, 1m cool down)

Tuesday: 4m easy 9:45/pace + 2m walk w/LE

Wednesday: 6.9m easy 8:41/pace

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 13.1m Race 7:20/pace Rock n’Roll DC 1/2 marathon

Sunday: Rest

Total Miles: 31.6

What are your pre-race rituals??

New running “first” you’ve accomplished during a race (other than a PR/distance record)?


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Let’s Recap it! Philly Part Deux

Let’s start at the end. I PR’d my 10th half marathon in a row. I don’t know when this crazy ass streak will end, I’m hoping not anytime soon! I went into this race with no idea of what pace I could maintain or a race plan in general, I figured the day would choose the pace.

I was not tapered or rested in the slightest, this wasn’t a “goal race”, I’ve never done a race this difficult before a half or full marathon, and I’m coming off an injury where training began later than ideal (mid-July). Which is why i didn’t have a goal time in mind. At the last minute I figured I’d think of this as a long tempo workout instead of a race. It definitely helped to take the pressure off.

Relaxed walking to the start

Relaxed walking to the start

My tempo workouts (holding a faster-than-goal-pace for X amount of miles) have been in the 7:00-7:35 range, so I wanted to be conservative and try to stay as close to 7:30s as possible and push if anything was left at the end. Unfortunately my Garmin went a little haywire after Mile 1 and I was on my own as far as pacing goes.

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Pacing is not a strong suit of mine and as the first miles flashed across my watch– 7:30 (sweet!), 7:07 (shit!), 7:17 (sllloooww down!).. I really tried to run based on feel and effort while still trying to keep as close to the 7:30 pace as I could. After mile 7 I realized just how hard it was going to be to finish the race at this pace for several reasons.

It was warm and muggy . Even in the early morning hours it was close to 80 degrees and SUPER humid. There’s a  good article on how humidity affects your running. Basically the more moisture in the air, the hotter your body feels. And I was definitely feeling warm. So much so that I actually felt nauseous at mile 8 until the race was over. There were definite moments of “i’m gonna run against the grass just in case I hurl…” and “this is going to be a funny finishing photo of projectile vomiting.” No joke, it was bad. But obviously that didn’t happen, so yay!

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Those were the two things that were physically effecting me. The mental side was a different story.  I was coming up with reasons excuses not to do my best when I felt like giving up because things weren’t going perfectly. It’s a very strange feeling running a race with friends/family/bloggers/coaches looking for you to hit your goals (sometimes this is a great motivator, other times it’s stressful).

So there I was, in the middle of running my “not for a PR, not a goal race” pace and I’m coming up with all these excuses as to why i didn’t PR or do my best BEFORE I was even finished!! I battled with this for a while and finally snapped out of it. Every runner was dealing with the same humid conditions, and every runner came out there to accomplish something. I went out to run a 13 mile tempo–not an 8 mile tempo and a few slogging miles.

I did the best thing I could have done. I shushed my brain and checked in with my body. Legs felt better than fine, arms weren’t tired, and form was good. Why was I being such a wuss!? My mental game hasn’t been the best and to get me out of feeling sorry for myself I started to focus on the big picture. I was injured 4 months ago, and coming back from that was a slow process.  I am so fortunate and lucky that I was able to jump right back into a marathon training plan and stick to my fall schedule.

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Here’s a secret: i love racing. I love testing the training and seeing improvements. I love running alongside people with similar goal paces. I love crossing the finish line feeling good about myself and the countless hours and miles I put my body through. I get excited each and every time I cross a finish line, look to the sky and think, “what’s next?”

Around this time of self- high-fiving, a girl ran up next to me and said “You look great, you’ve been pacing us for the last 5 miles, are you going for a 1:35:00 too?” I looked at her laughed and said thank you and no i wasn’t shooting for that time, just trying to stay under 1:40:00. But it was just what I needed to give me a boost, stop thinking about puking and keep putting one foot down in front of the other.

Her name was Maria and yes she hit her goal. She inspired the crap out of me that day because I tried keeping her and her pacer in eyesight once they passed me. I’m hoping when Chicago comes I can just keep the time of 3:35 in my head and work at hitting that goal with a smile on my face like Maria.

Got to catch up with maria after the race

Got to catch up with maria after the race

Minus the pukey feeling from the humidity, i felt really good about this race. This is probably the first time I finished a race smiling in ages, almost cried and wasn’t in pain all day. My legs felt normal. Which means I didn’t demolish myself on the course. I ran a smart race and did what I needed to do to prepare for Chicago.

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Last Week

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 5m easy recovery 9:25/pace

Wednesday: 20min back, 10 abs

Thursday: 7m tempo 7:49/pace, 20min legs, 30min core

Friday: 5 easy 8:55/pace, 30min upper body

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 14m easy 8:16/pace

Total Miles: 31

Anyone else running Chicago??  in 10 days!??!