Sunday, May 27, 2012

Med City- The ever changing race goals

On Friday my decision was to run the full marathon, but as the day progressed a few things happened that made me rethink my decision. 1) Madison Marathon was cancelled due to heat concerns and 2) Med City Marathon was offering free races changes from full to half also due to heat concerns. Even with these two factors and the potential for Med City also cutting the race I wasn't changing. Then around 10pm I had this idea to run a marathon on June 3rd and switch to the half at Med City. Why not? What are the chances that the weather will be this unseasonably hot three weeks in a row! Saturday at the expo, still debating, we made the change along with many other runners. Why not, we had only paid $30 to enter the race.
Ready to go, not too hot yet...

The race can pretty much be summed up in these words: hilly, hot, humid, headwinds! I honestly don't know what was worse Boston with sun and 90F or today 74F & 80% humidity at the start with winds of 20+ mph! I started with all good intentions of a PR until I soon learned that the only mile without a strong headwind was the first mile and the elevation chart was deceiving, where did all these big hills come from?
Mile 1 & 2 were feeling pretty good and I had the 1:35 pacer in sight
Mile 3-5 backing off a little but starting to get in a good pace, these hills can go away now!
Mile 6 Killer hill! and calf cramps, time to slow a little more. Let's make this a marathon pace run.
Mile 8 where is the water! I took Gatorade instead to wash down the Stinger, bad idea
Mile 9 here come the GI issues and some lady coming at me on a bike
Mile 10 there goes the 1:45 pacer, wtf?! he is way ahead
Mile 11 the split for the half is here, I am so glad I made my decision to change
Mile 12 the side of the road is covered in geese, run faster!
Mile 13.1 Done! 1:44:10

I saw the best sign today, pretty sure it was aimed at someone's past unfortunate race experience and many would not have understood but working marathon medical it was all too clear to me "Stay cool and hydrate. Remember the rectal thermometer!" One truly good reason to avoid the medical tent!

Matt and I done and looking forward to next weekend!
We are done and out of the heat! All set for next Sunday and happy to be relaxing at home. I also got the chance to meet Tracy (Sea Legs Girl) and her husband today, he was 2nd man and she 4th woman, way to go! See you both at Afton.

It was a fun (but short) weekend with friends, congrats Sarah on your 2nd half and Geoff on your 1st half. I know you will be back for more despite what you said today!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Decisions and race goals

I have spent the last week trying to decide the best option for me, going back and forth and attempting to weigh the pros/cons of both decisions. I think the back to back longer runs a couple weeks ago really caused me problems and the resting and lower mileage has greatly helped this. Last weekend I ran 12 miles that felt great, followed by another good run on Tuesday which solidified my decision to stick with the marathon. I know mentally I have an easier time if I have to take it easy at this distance rather then another half where I need to take it easy.

I will remember this on Sunday :-)
Through the last couple weeks I have tried to be smart and learned (something I already knew) that I don't taper well. I have limited my miles, only running twice this week and filling in the days with biking and elliptical. I get restless and frustrated, I feel I need to be out running. Yesterday I decided to sleep in after a long Wednesday and skip my morning workout, but I then spent the day hoping the downpours subsided because I needed to get out a run. In the end the rain continued and we hit the gym instead where I realized a downfall to working there and knowing so many people. My workout got cut down to only 35 minutes because it took me nearly 20 minutes to get upstairs after everyone wanted to talk. This is okay, I need to remember I will gain nothing by an extra workout this week and have done what I can which may not be needed as the forecast for Sunday is a high of 90F! My best training might just have been the easy, hot race in Boston last month.

Here it is Race Goals:
A. Feel good, run smart and finish < 3:50
B. < 3:40 with a negative split
C. PR with a sub 3:30 (ultimately I was hoping for < 3:20 but with all the leg issues I doubt this is possible)

Pinned Image
I think this pretty much explains my decision!

Hope everyone has a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend! How ironic, Jill also talked about being flexible and setting new running goals today.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Why do weekends go by so fast?

We all had to ice our legs together while enjoying coffee outside!

Saturday started out as usual with a group run, I was a little nervous heading to the gym that morning not knowing what the leg would give me. I guess part of me wanted to deny that there could be a problem. Luckily I ran and it was good, almost 12 hilly  miles pain free and speedier (8:20 pace) then I had planned thanks to conversations that kept me distracted. I made sure head home and ice and not run again Sunday to avoid a repeat of last week. Now I am leaning towards sticking with the full marathon on Sunday and hoping the extra rest and icing is all I need.

The rest of the day flew by to the point that I don't even remember what I did. O got a quick swim with daddy in the new pool and then it was dinner out with my parents, the whole afternoon was a blur!

Sunday marked our first gymnastics show for monkey girl! Great timing after her failed attempts to climb chairs and do monkey flips off the deck table on Friday resulted in a nice head bruise. Last Summer to burn some energy we started her in a toddler gymnastics class that I got a great deal on and then in the Fall transferred her to a well known school only a couple miles from home. She loves it, looks forward to every Thursday morning and her 45 minute gymnastics class with "teacher Beth". After just 9 months at this school she is ready to pass to the next level, meeting all criteria except the one beyond her control, she can't move up until she is 3. 

She did great on Sunday, but unfortunately things were so crowded that there is a lack of decent pictures, boo!

After a great nap while I did my typical Sunday afternoon grocery shopping we took advantage of the sun and went for a bike ride. 19 miles in the wind was tough! This is my longest outdoor ride in probably 1 1/2 years.

Sunday ended with the decision to book our Winter vacation, I can't believe I am already looking ahead to January when we haven't even hit Summer yet. Thank you Delta for sending an email with great vacation offers and a boring day at work earlier in the week to get me thinking (and looking). We are all set for a week in Costa Rica in 7 months, I can't wait. This will be the first time we have returned to a destination, but when Matt and I were there 6 years ago we loved it and keep talking about going back. O will have a blast on the beach and seeing all the monkeys hanging out in the nearby trees.

And now we are back to the busy work week and more thoughts of all that didn't get done, ugh! Why can't we have more weekends?

Friday, May 18, 2012

TC 1 Mile - Why do I do this to myself?!

At least I looked fast, right!
Most people think 1 mile race no big deal, not me, I have no idea why I do this to myself. I have only run this race one other time with similar results and of course coming off another injury. In 2008 the only difference was weather and I was not racing on a team. I could pretty much copy that report here, minus a few seconds off my finish time, but complete with breathing issues. I think I spent much of last night coughing and wheezing. Over the past 5 years this is only my third asthma issue and the last one was also at the 1 mile, maybe a sign I need to stick with long distance running!

A 1 mile race in 25+ mph headwinds the entire time makes for a tough run! No sub 6 like I hoped, not close either (6:53) but I can't complain since there has been no speedwork in the past 2 months. I think I need to remember this when I want to register next year, I'll take a marathon any day over a 1 mile race. The best news from last night, the leg felt fine, such a relief both physically and mentally.

Now it brings me back to my big decision of changing from the full to the half marathon next weekend. Yesterday I was all set to do the half then after a talk with Matt and the pain free run I am reconsidering the full. The argument is: will it be better to run an easy marathon or attempt to race a half (which I know I will do)? Both physically and mentally it is probably best to take it easy on the full, but will I do this? Time to start thinking. I plan to take it easy with low running the rest of the 10 days and see what this brings, meaning another spin class today!

A friend posted an article about Pain and endurance athletes on Facebook yesterday which I found very timely and interesting. It kind of explains why I (and many others) continue to train through injury at times when we should probably rest. What do you think beneficial or negative? I think pain tolerance is helpful through those tough training runs and races, but sometimes this ability to push through can hurt us further when it is truly our body telling us to back off.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lack of running leads to food talk

I stupidly decided to run 10 miles on Sunday morning the day after the half marathon. The run actually felt fine, weather was perfect and I was with a few friends. Now fast forward to yesterday I attempted to run to the gym to add an extra 1.5 miles to my group run but quickly turned around to join Matt and O for the short drive. My calf was tight so I figured I could just use a longer warm up and take it easy. Not really the case I headed out with my group aiming for 4.5 or maybe 6 miles if all went well. I took it easy running 8:45-9 pace which wasn't terrible but achy and tight, boo! They decided to continue on for 6 miles and decided to be smart and go shorter. I made it about 2.5 miles and started walking. Walking was luckily pain free, but running was not. I had no choice but the finished the 4.5 miles but it was not speedy or involving too much more running.

I thought this injury was behind me and now it creeps back in! I already plan to take June as an easy, low mileage month where I will refocus my training but didn't want this to happen until after my marathon. Now I am strongly considering dropping down to the half instead. I have time to decide, but in the meantime I am icing, taking time off running (except the 1 Mile Race tomorrow). Guess it is back to cycling and the pool.

For now I can talk about my baking fun from last week. Another example of how one left over ingredient leads to another recipe. I saw similar muffins at the store and decided to make my own healthier version, they were a little dense but still good. The protein bars have been a great addition to my work snacks.

Pineapple Coconut Muffins
2 cups flour (I did 1 1/2 whole wheat + 1/2 coconut flour)
1/2 cup oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp Agave (more if you want extra sweetness)
1 cup dates (I added some apricots since I ran out of dates) soaked in water
1 ripe banana
1 cup crushed pineapple with juice
Juice/zest of 1 lime
Shredded coconut

Puree banana and dates in food processor, add lime juice and agave combine, add 1/2 pineapple and mix. Mix flours, oats, soda and powder. Add wet into dry and combine. Add remaining pineapple and shredded coconut. Pour into muffin papers and top with coconut. Bake 15-20 minutes at 350F

Tropical Protein Bars
1 cup crushed pineapple
2 Tbsp Cashew Butter (could leave out)
2 Tbsp raw honey
1/2 cup dates soaked
3 cups oats
1/4 cup vanilla protein powder
1 cup dried apricots chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Combine dates/water, cashew butter and honey in food processor until puree, add in 1/2 pineapple until mixed. In separate bowl mix oats, protein powder, coconut and apricots then add date mix and remaining pineapple to dry. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and press down. Bake 40-45 min at 325F.

What can I do next? Need to think of more fun food combinations, oh and some actual meals!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The half marathon that wasn't

This is not my list of excuses or how I quit a race, but instead how my plans changed and I finished the race but with a new plan and injury free. The morning started out great, leg was feeling good and I was ready to go. I took an easy warm up run to the car and back, had to use the bathrooms and the port a potty line was awful so I took advantage of having a potty chair with. I hid in the back of the SUV. Yes, I peed on a potty chair and it was so convenient to have why not take advantage of it!

The race lined up and I made sure to be in front of the 1:40 pacer knowing the first few miles of the course were easiest and I wanted to bank some time. I was on pace the first 2-3 miles but it was tough, the leg injury has made me back off both speedwork and hills for the past 2 months making a race like this nearly impossible. I kept pushing but suffering at the same time and telling myself "just stay in front of the 1:40 pacer"

I passed Mile 5 and saw O and my mom cheering me on, slightly beyond this it happened, I was passed by 1:40! Ugh, I pushed to get ahead but quickly came to a decision that this was not worth it, I was going to push to the point of injury and not only disappoint myself with how I raced but possibly prevent myself from running the marathon in a couple weeks. I also knew that just backing down wasn't enough, I am too competitive and would still try pushing myself. This is when I made the decision to kind of quit. I turned around and ran back to where O was cheering and waited for Matt. We have yet to run anything more then a 5K together so why not do it today. I think my presence shocked (and at first worried) him. He stopped and started talking, but we then took off and I now had the goal to help him get his goal of a sub 2.

Matt and I ran together and I was feeling great, the weather was perfect and I was, for the first time, running a half marathon with my husband. We got the Mile 13 with a minute to go for him to make his time. He took off along the track to push it to the end, finishing 2:00:11 (1:59:51 by his watch which paused during his stop). A great finish for an early season race and although not a PR it was a best for him on this race by 10 minutes. I held back and waited for an opening in the traffic and grabbed O who has been wanting to run a race. We crossed the finish line together. 14.5 miles in 2:00:34 and I felt great!
Her grin made then entire race worth my decision!

A spectator near my mom made a comment to her about how it was a bad example and wrong of me to just quit because I wasn't going to win. Maybe that is true, but I don't think of it that way. I know myself and yes I am competitive, but more important I know what needs to be done to convince myself that I can stop and take it easy. In this case I needed to do this to have the best long term outcome. This is only one race. No I did not run what I wanted, but I did what was best for me and I will never regret it.
Family Finish!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Free Friday

Free from work and free to ramble on Friday: Taper, parenting and goals. Taper madness is real, I swear it needs to be an official DSM diagnosis! Your emotions are all over the place, you second guess everything and every little ache/pain becomes the biggest problem and has you losing a limb! One minute the extra energy is great to refocus on the things pushed aside during high level training, but the next it is cause for worry of your eating, running and reason for that weird ache. You spend your time trying to convince yourself that resting is okay (believe me this is the toughest part for me). No matter how many time I have been through it (this is my 19th episode of taper madness) it is always the same, at least this time I have hubby to experience it with me!

Since it is Fitness Friday let's first look at my workout goals: Pilates 2x this week, 3 morning workouts resulting in 3 doubles, but I have failed to call the gym at work. The leg ache is back but lower this time, so of course I am over analyzing and freaking out! I am trying very hard to rest and only do what does not cause me pain. The plan as of now is to take June as a rest month with minimal running and fully heal. Besides continuing with my regular fitness goals I only have one to add...
  • Run a good half tomorrow: feel good, but push myself. Would love to beat last year's time of 1:37:54 and defend my AG win
My biggest issue this week causing problems with everything else is stress/fatigue. I fatigue and headaches are better and coffee intake is closer to my normal. I took time to think about it all and had a major breakdown about all my stresses over the weekend, which has actually helped my mood and makes me really think about where I am and what is important in my life. Many time my problem is trying to fix everything else and not focusing on my stress or preventing it, I take on way too much but then lack the time to focus on the little things in life. My goal for this week and beyond...
  • Make more time for family, spend time each day doing something O wants to do.
And finally food! How am I doing on the goals I set last Friday? I stopped tracking a lot of stuff since it was way to time consuming unless it was premade foods, meal planning continues to go well thanks to Pinterest, dairy is 90% out, but still working on the mindless eating. I am at least trying to eat better when I do this: packing lots of veggies and fruit to have at work and trying to make my own snack bars instead of all the processed ones. The week ahead is even busier so a couple new goals
  • Prepare at least 1 new meal this week
  • Change the breakfast routine from cereal to something with more protein and less carb loaded to combat the morning starvation.
Last weekend after making Sweet Potato Kale Pasta (needs some tweaking but has potential) I needed to use up some leftovers and decided on this...

Sweet Potato Sun Butter Protein Bars
1 cup sweet potato mashed
1/4 cup Sun Butter (I think it needed more but that was all I had)
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups oats
1/4 cup vanilla protein powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup raisins/dates

Combine sweet potato, Sun Butter and vanilla. In separate bowl mix remaining ingredients then add wet to dry. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and press down. Bake 45-50 min at 325F.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Running solo

It has been awhile since I have run by myself. Tuesday and Saturday I always run with the group at the gym, Sunday I have been doing long runs with some friends and most other runs involve the cutest little running partner in the BOB. Today the Sunday long run plans with friends changed due to a few injuries and storms so I was on my own.

After waking at 2am and hearing thunder, hail and downpours I wasn't sure of what to expect and even considered a treadmill run instead. I took advantage of this and slept in, heading out around 8 instead of the usual 6:30 meeting time. It turned out to be the perfect morning to run, 50s and mostly cloudy. My first long run of the year in shorts. Thanks to iTunes and their $0.69 Gen X playlist I was set with Blink 182, Toadies and few other new songs reminding me of high school and college life to keep me going. I am in need of new songs, what are your favorite running songs?

I love having access within 1 mile of home to 100s of miles of paved and unpaved running trails all part of the regional parks. Without thinking I can easily plan a route and change as I go, I always know how many miles to get home which can be good or bad! We've talked of moving to get into better schools and I will miss this if we do.
So happy to run 21 miles this morning in perfect weather while getting lost in my thoughts and surroundings. It was a much needed run to improve my attitude. I felt good on the leg, belly wasn't too happy. I am still suffering from a month of bad eating, yuck! I used to always run alone so this was a welcome return, don't get me wrong I love my running friends and the conversation and motivation, but today this was what I needed.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A much needed reassessment

Everything in life is temporary.

Why does it always seem that when everything is finally falling into place that something snaps and it just doesn't seem to be working anymore? I keep reminding myself that I just ran a marathon, had been injured and ill recently and haven't eaten the greatest resulting in a little extra weight. I have decided I need to take a look at what I am doing and what should be changed to improve not only my training but also my overall mood, stress and energy level. I feel like my body is regressing back to where I was a year ago and I don't like it! As any good health provider I decided to do a full assessment and plan...

Food/Weight: I have a bad habit of mindless eating and consuming a lot of carbs. To fully look at this I started tracking everything earlier this week and see thins trend. Tracking is helping me to focus on if I am truly hungry when I eat and to see what I already knew that I need more protein and should cut some carbs.
My goals:
  • Continue tracking
  • Plan weekly meals and stick with the plan
  • Don't eat when I am just bored! 
  • Cut out dairy again (doing pretty good)

Stress/Fatigue: The new job is mentally exhausting resulting in extra caffeine, lack of sleep and headaches. I am spending too much time sitting in my office at my computer and in my car.
My goals:
  • Walk at work when I am getting tired (there is a 1/2 mile loop)
  • No more afternoon coffee!

Workouts: All of the above is resulting in lack of energy to workout out and even though I am pushing myself to get out for something easy it ends up being slow and tough. Maybe I cam back too quickly after an injury, maybe I need more sleep as less morning workouts, maybe I need a complete rest. Who knows! My plan is to focus right now on enjoying running again and the last long run for Med City this weekend and then another taper. I am back to racing with my team which is always a highlight of the year.
My goals for the week:
  • Pilates or yoga 1-2x
  • Continue my current running/cycling/weights
  • Find out about joining the gym at work (easy way to get in short strength workouts during the day)
  • Morning workouts 3x week with doubles 2x week


I tried making other general life goals, but I think in the big picture feeling better and less stressed will help with this. I haven't been spending a lot of quality time with my daughter and husband lately instead sleeping or just lacking energy so hopefully feeling better will improve this as well. I think the better weather will help it all! I promise my posts will get more positive, just a rough patch in life. Head over to Fitness Friday.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

April in review

A little late, so I am keeping it short. What a month! April was filled with much more cross training, a little running and strange taper. My toughest marathon in Boston after an injury, a new job, illness and now things are hopefully on the up.

  • Biking 14 hours including a weekly spin class
  • Running 100.6 miles, not too bad considering I was limiting runs
  • Strength training 2x per week, I have been slacking
  • Elliptical 12.25 hours, yikes this is way too much
  • Continued with pilates a few times and went to a new yoga sculpt class

May will be filled with races and warmth (I hope).

  • My first half marathon of the season and hoping for an improvement from last year's time. This is a hilly, tough course so no expectations of a PR, but I would love another 1st place AG finish!
  • A marathon PR would be great, but realistically I want to get back on track with a strong race and running 100% again.
  • My 2nd team race is a 1 mile race in a few weeks, I am a distance girl so this is always tough!
  • This month I will track my food and revamp my diet to help with recovery and training.