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Into the Furnace!

Monday: 6m easy 10:30/pace, Crossfit

Tuesday: 8.1m interval (5 x 1000s @6:40/p)

Did you guys get the memo that the DC area was super hot this past weekend? Like 104 and extremely high humidity with lots of heat advisories? It was stupid hot out. But I did it, I finished the 50k with a smile, my husband and a great friend.

I started at 6am, not in an attempt to beat the heat (that wasn’t possible), it was 80 and humid before the sun was up. I turned on Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People podcast and took off for what I knew would be a very long, very difficult, hot, humid run.

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The first 10 miles flew by, I kept as close to a 9:45-10:00/pace as possible. I was eating Honey Stinger gels every hour and drinking plenty of water. I figured the best defense I had in this weather would be to front load as many calories as possible so later when I didn’t feel like eating in the heat, I wouldn’t bonk. For the most part, this worked.

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Around mile 14.5 I met Cameron’s parents on the Capital Crescent Trail and took an 8 minute break. They had the station stacked! Coconut water, a Honey Stinger Waffle and orange slices. I ate as much as I could and took off again with the coconut water and a fresh bottle of water in hand. I was so surprised by how many people were out biking, walking and running that morning. It was seriously disgusting out. I had to chew the air and paddle with my arms to move forward.

My next meet up was with Deena. This is where I started having trouble. Checking in with myself, like I often do in distance runs – body felt excellent, brain was alert, I was super fueled, but of course in humidity like this, I was having trouble. Mile 20-24 was rough. I couldn’t take a deep breath. I could only inhale short, shallow breaths. I don’t have asthma, but I can imagine this feels similar like breathing through a straw. The humidity simply wouldn’t allow normal airflow to my lungs. Which made me anxious, angry and upset. My body was more than ready to run, but the humidity stopped me over and over again. I was walking more than running trying to make ground to get to Deena. I was over 45 minutes behind my scheduled meet up.

After the longest walk/run segment of this race, I made it to her. I trudged over to a wooden railing, sat down and felt my face get hot and my eyes tear up. I couldn’t control it. I was upset I was so behind schedule, I was frustrated the run was going to take longer than I wanted, I felt bad I made her wait so long, I still couldn’t take a deep breath (which after all the slowing down was very disheartening.)

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Deena gave me everything I needed, a pep talk and a Coca-Cola. Then we started our 4 mile segment where Cameron would meet us. The caffeine and sugar helped a ton, and I needed the company during those last miles. Walk/running and catching up on life made the few miles go by faster than the previous ones and soon we united with Cameron and he joined us for the final 2 miles.

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Finally done!

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It was a long race, i felt good through 21 miles and if it wasn’t 100 degrees and could breathe normally, i feel like i would have completed the 31 miles feeling strong. At the end of the day, it wasn’t about me or a time goal. It was about the money being donated to the National MS Society ($1250 total!) and running the 31 miles to signify my 31st birthday.

Once we showered we headed to lunch at Full On. Had a glass of deserved sangria and a crab cake sandwich.

Then I napped. For like 2 hours according to Cameron. Next on the day’s agenda was a Nationals game. It was Star Wars Day at the park and the perfect way to end the day.

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Sunday was spent sitting on the couch, rehydrating, dehydrating, Olympicizing, and movie watching…oh and eating tiramisu and macaroons.

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Someone loves sugar as much as me…

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Last Week

Monday: Crossfit

Tuesday: 8m interval (6 x 800s @ 6:35/pace)

Wednesday: Crossfit

Thursday: 9m tempo (6m @ 7:49/pace)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 31m ultra

Sunday: Rest

Total Miles: 48

What’s your favorite birthday dessert?

 

 


9 Comments

The 50K Course!

Ultra training is finally coming to an end! I’m happy because I know all these weekend miles have prepared me to run 31 miles for my 31st birthday next weekend. I’m sad because I just started feeling comfortable with these crazy double long runs, but with Hanson’s Marathon training plan I’ll still be doing back to back weekend runs. The volume will be scaled down though. I’m ready to run 31 miles and get right back to the marathon. My head is in the right place for the training and hopefully a fall PR.

I finished scoping out the course for next weekend and it is pretty cool. It kinda connects all the trails i’ve been running since I moved out here 4 years ago. I can’t believe i’ve been living out here for four years and that i never knew how all these trails connected.

I’ll start on Sligo Creek Trail which is an asphalt trail, then head into downtown Silver Spring which is a huge switch from the shaded trail.

Then I’ll cross the DC border and head onto another connector dirt trail. Hopefully the change of surface will benefit me during this later part of the race.

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pretty horse stables near the trail

I have one 5 mile out and back portion that will be on the Georgetown Branch Trail, again a dirt path. Once that out and back is done i’ll be on Rock Creek Trail heading north on my normal stomping ground ending at Lake Needwood.

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I’m trying to take one day at a time right now, but i can honestly say i’m getting really excited to see what I can do with the marathon in 15 more weeks. Sounds like a lot of time, but i know it will fly since i’ll be having so much fun.

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OK, now i have to give a GIANT thanks to all the people who donated to the National MS Society. I was able to raise $940.00!! And since I’m a runner i have to make sure i’m ending on an even number, i’m donating the final $60 so I can write a big fat check for a thousand dollars.

I can’t tell you guys enough how thoughtful and gracious you all are. This was exactly what I wanted for my birthday. We’re giving to a great cause and all of you helped make it possible. I will be doing a small giveaway containing a few of my favorite running essentials for those of you who donated. I will contact the winner at the end of the week. Keep passing along the good vibes! Remember it’s the small things in life that make it worth living.

Monday: 5.3m easy 9:50/pace

Tuesday: 8m interval (8 x 600s @ 6:22/pace), 20 min upper/core

Wednesday:  Crossfit

Thursday: 8.5m marathon tempo (6m @ 7:49/pace)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 15.5m long 9:30/pace, 5000m row

Sunday: 14m 9:53/pace

Total Miles: 51.3 (weekly mileage PR!)

Any tips for running a 50K?

Who’s marathon training? 

 

 


10 Comments

What I Do Before a Long Run + 26.2 Training Starts NEXT WEEK!

Just as planned, I dipped my toes into a speed session last week. An 8 mile run with five of those miles at a 7:30/pace tempo. That went well. The next day I did my usual body weight leg day which consisted of about 20 minutes of very basic exercises: light weighted squats (40lbs), TRX balance lunges and TRX pistol squats. I don’t know if it was the combination of speed & strength but Saturday I was still feeling sore legs…

When the alarm buzzes on a Saturday, usually 6:00am, the first thing I do is press the ON button for the coffee to start, then I take LE out for her walk and to get a feel for the outside temps to prepare for my run.

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sleepy pup

Once we get back I chug a large glass of water, move onto coffee, check emails and blogs while i stretch out my legs.

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I try to multi-task as much as possible while i’m waking up so I can get out the door in 30 minutes. I’m not one of those people that can just roll out of bed and run. When i do that i feel like i’m sleep running or something. I like being alert so coffee and stretching will do that real quick.

Once my eyes finally wake up, i pop the contacts in, get dressed and grab what I need for a 2+ hour run.

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I drove about 20 minutes from my house to scout out a connection trail for the ultra i’m running next month. (You can read more about it here, or donate money to MS research here.) I was happy to find that Rock Creek Trail has been updated with a lot of signs, port-o-pottys and lights have been installed in a dark under pass. The trail itself feels super safe, easy to navigate and there are plenty of fountains and toilets.

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Now i can tell you about how craptastic these two weekend runs were. I’m not joking when I said my legs were sore. Every single step I took over 15 miles hurt. I was hopeful that they would loosen up in the first few miles. Nope. Maybe this side stitch will go away. Nope. My muscles tightened for approximately 19,000 steps. And i felt every single step. The side stitch was there from mile 3 to 13, which resulted in a lot of walk breaks. I am always humbled when I see 10:XX miles blink on my watch.

But hey, these long runs are no joke. Cumulative fatigue is a real thing and the hard runs during the summer will make a strong runner for the fall. I didn’t mentally give up. I knew my legs were just tired. <—if that’s not ultra marathon mentality I don’t know what is.

Sunday I set out for 7 miles. Again, i was hopeful my legs would feel better. They didn’t. It was another slow, hot run. There was nothing I could do but enjoy Hello, From the Magic Tavern podcast and look forward to Monday, a day off from leg work.

After the run, we relaxed pretty hard. Just the way we like it.

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I got out my calendar to mark the weeks until Philadelphia Marathon and whoa, I didn’t realize training starts next week! I’ll be following the Hansons Marathon Method (advanced) this training cycle. I’ll slightly adjust the long runs until the ultra is done in August, then follow the plan as closely as possible.

I’m excited about this marathon. My first ever marathon was a 4:28 in Chicago when I was underprepared and undertrained. The last I completed was Chicago again in 2014 when I was extremely burnt out from work and personal life issues. I completed it in 3:50, which was a huge PR, but it was a stressful time to attempt a marathon.

Now i’ve got the mileage and strength to back me up. I’m happy at home and in work. This all adds up to a good time to try the marathon again. Cross your fingers and stay tuned for all the highs and lows of marathon training. File_000 (263)

Last Week

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 6m easy 8:40/pace

Wednesday: 8m tempo (2m warm up, 5 @ 7:30/pace, 1m cooldown), 45 min upper body

Thursday: 6m easy 9:40/pace, 20min legs

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 15m long 9:43/pace

Sunday: 7m easy 9:42/pace

Total Miles: 42

Has anyone used Hanson Method before? Thoughts?

How was your weekend?

 


15 Comments

Ultra Training – This Is New.

Ultra marathons are any distance above 26.2 (marathon distance), but most runners consider an ultra starts at 50k or 31.07 miles. I’m no expert and i’m not running 31 miles for MS with any particular time goal. I just want to have a good time, not injure myself and finish. PS- Thank you so much to the many awesome people that have already donated! It makes me extremely thankful and proud to call you my friends.

First I did a little research about how to train for an ultra. Hint: it’s not the same as a marathon. Big change #1: You have to get used to running on tired legs. Hence the double weekend long run.

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I do a normal long run on Saturday and a shorter run Sunday. Eventually the goal is to have your weekend runs equal the distance of the ultra. I need to build up to two back-to-back 15 milers OR something like a 20 miler + a 10 miler. I was surprised at how I’ve been afraid of the 2nd run more than the first. The 4-5-6 miler has been terrifying after a 15+ long run, but each 2nd run has felt better and better. Maybe it’s a mental thing since I’m running a short distance?

Also, I like having an off day before and after long runs, so during the week i’m running Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, which gives me Friday and Monday off. Those three back to back running days again, help with more cumulative leg fatigue.

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In traffic, getting my GPS up, stopped on the way home for 8 speedy miles. Tell me you’ve done this!?

Second you have to strength train. Just because the mileage is creeping up (44 this week!) it’s no excuse not to strength train legs. It keeps the hips and glutes strong and i haven’t had any IT band issues since December. I contribute that to lifting heavy. I try my best to strength train 2-3x week, one heavier leg day, one lighter or body weight day. And i do arms/abs every time no matter what. You can’t swing your arms by your sides for hours running without a strong upper body.

Third, you need to fuel like a pro. Plan your routes around water fountains, take money or a debit card in case you need to grab food/drinks. Or do the opposite of what i’ve been procrastinating and buy a hydration pack already. And take more food than you think you’ll want. Last Saturday’s long run I finally was able to get down 3 gels (one more than usual) and it was the reason I had the energy to finish.

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new Pro Compression socks! Love them

Last, take the recovery seriously. During the week I have ONE day off from working legs in either a run or strength session. Which means I have to spend extra time stretching, foam rolling, wearing compression gear, sleep & nutrition. I’m on top of having a protein smoothie immediately after a workout. <—this was a big change with a noticeable recovery time difference. I also walk a LOT. I stopped adding it to my weekly workouts log because I couldn’t get track of how often i’m out with LE and Cameron. I truly think the additional walking miles are keeping my legs fresh and working the other muscles running doesn’t.

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typical evening meal. Burger with avocado & greens, brussel sprouts YUM!

One note I found very interesting about ultra training is not to forgo speed work altogether! You still want to keep the fast twitch muscle fibers firing. June was all about mileage building which i good about and July will be about tossing in some speed to prep for the August ultra. Someone asked me why I want to do this in August. It’s my birthday! And why not?? Plus i’m hoping all this heat and humidity training will translate to some fast times this fall once the ultra is over. 🙂

Last Week

Monday: 20min upper body

Tuesday: 7.5m easy 9:02/pace, 45min legs (backsquats 45-110lbs, bosu ball burpees, situps)

Wednesday: 8.1m tempo 7:53/pace

Thursday: 5m easy 9:45/pace

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 17.5m long 9:23/pace

Sunday: 6m easy 8:51/pace

Total Miles: 44.1

Who’s training for a fall race? When does your plan start?

How did your long run go last weekend?

 


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Run and Beer and Run Some More

The title sums up the weekend perfectly, and the weekend was perfect if you ask me. Saturday morning at 7:30 I explored a new-to-me trail which I will be spending a ton of time on this summer, especially since the majority of it is shaded & has water fountains, a runner’s saving grace. I realized, especially while out on the paths for 16+ miles, I want to get a water pack to carry more water. Does anyone have suggestions? I’m open to brands (Nathan, Ultimate Direction, Camelbak etc), but I would like a backpack type hydration tool, not a belt with bottles.

Anywho, the 16.6 miler went well. I was anxious and nervous for absolutely no reason. Especially when I’ve been coasting around 15 milers each weekend with no problem. I only took in two Honey Stinger gels, probably not enough, but it was warm out and it’s always hard for me to eat a lot in the heat. I’m trying to slowly eat more during these long runs in preparation for fall marathon training.

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Deer selfie & a Chocolate + caffeinated Honey Stinger

Note worthy items on my run: I saw 3 deer, a crane and a black snake. Yep. Saw another female runner jump several feet from the edge of the trail and was quick to point out to me to watch out. I’m always hopping over twigs and branches on the trails in fear they might be a snake. Turns out it’s not a bad idea.

After I finished, feeling excellent by the way, I surprised Cameron and took him to a local brewery that a client told me about. Manor Hill Brewing! (Ellicott City, MD)

 

We started with a flight to taste several beers, played corn hole (or “bags” depending on what part of the country you’re from), walked around the facility (they allow self guided tours) and enjoyed the sunny afternoon!

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growing their own hops!

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I enjoyed the Coffee IPA and their sour saison. The brewery doesn’t serve food so you can bring your own! We brought along chips, peanuts and oreos. Don’t judge, remember I ran super far so I can eat some junk once in a while.

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Coffee Brown IPA & Latte milk stout taster w/Cinnamon bun oreos 🙂

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inside is so pretty!

The brewery has limited space and is only open Friday to Sunday so if you plan on going, i’d recommend making a reservation! The space is beautiful, the bartenders were so nice and we both agreed it was a fun place to spend an afternoon and we will return!

The next day, Sunday, which is now turning into my 2nd runday I met up with my friend Deena for an easy 5 miler.

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Talking about life, relationships and running is just the way I like starting the morning! This is also one part of the the 50K course i’m planning. Just need another weekend to scout out the parts of the course and I can share it.

Last Week

Monday: 30min upper body

Tuesday: 7.1m easy 8:38/pace

Wednesday: 8.1m easy 9:10/pace

Thursday: 5.1m fartlek20min full body HIIT

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 16.6m long 9:25/pace

Sunday: 5.1m easy 

Total Miles: 42

Water hydration pack? Brand/type/Liters?

Favorite way to spend a summer afternoon?