Monday, January 16, 2017

Boston Marathon Training {Week 5}


I am an All World Athlete Bronze level for Ironman! By completing a full and a half IM, my combined points put me in the top 10% of my age group for the overall 2016 rankings. There's some perks for being AWA, like being recognized in the event program, priority bike racks and a special swim cap for the full distance- which makes me almost want to sign up for another 140.6 this year. Almost...


This week was mediocre- nothing exceptionally great or poor. If I had to pick a highlight, the 8 miler on Saturday would be it. Since Ive been running inside a lot, it felt great to run outside and enjoy the lakefront. The low point would have to be my speed sesh on Tuesday where I felt very hot. Another low point was having to run inside on Sunday after I ran with CB because the Raynaud's decimated my hands too much to go back outside.

I'm looking into better winter gloves but wonder if it's worth it to spend $60 on a pair- because I'll just run inside if it's below 25 anyways.

Training Plan

Monday- Easy 6 mile run
Tuesday- 5x 1k w/400 recovery 
                2x800 @ 3:30, 2x400 @ 1:45,1:40, 2x800 @ 3:30 + JasYoga "Run Your Core"
Wednesday- Rest    Easy 13.5 mile cycle
Thursday- 6 Mile tempo run  Easy 3 mile run
Friday- Easy 6 mile run  16.5 mile cycle
Saturday- Easy 6 mile run  Easy 8 mile run
Sunday- Easy 12 mile run. (4 mile with CB, 8 Miles inside including 5x1 min @7:00 pace)

7:49 Hours, 65 miles Total
35 mile running- 5:05
30 miles cycling- 2:21
22 min Yoga

Goals and Stuff

I feel like I'm still on track for a 3:25-3:30, although I feel even better now than I did last year at the same time. I zoomed up and down hills while I was outside, but haven't done any dedicated hill training yet. The stair machine in my gym is still broken, so I'll likely just start taking the stairs up to my place after workouts.


I'm now about 5lbs lighter and 2% leaner than when I started training. I owe this almost entirely to meal planning. For this week I made Shalane's Lemon Blueberry scones again and also the soba noodle salad- but changed up the ingredients a bit. I also made the peanut sauce from her book and I'm pretty much obsessed.
My Ombré game is strong in this outfit

Sunday was CB's 12th Birthday. We did an easy 4 mile run on the lakefront to celebrate. He insisted running on the ice on the side of the trail and looked so freaking happy. I love him so much.

Looking Forward

Hill training is a priority- especially since the half marathon I'm signed up for is a beast elevation wise. I need to add in more of my PT exercises with the resistance bands. I also need to be more positive if I swap an easy run for cycling. I guess that's one of the downfalls to having a training plan- I feel guilty if I amend it too much. I also want to do training right and feel good about the process vs most of my other training cycles where i felt like I could have done better.

90 Days to go until Boston!


Monday, January 9, 2017

Boston Marathon Training {week 4}

This week was all about getting into a routine and good mindset with training that will carry me the next 14 weeks.


On Friday, it was 100 days until the BM! It is finally getting closer and more exciting, but there's still a lot of work to be done.


Monday- Easy 6,

Tuesday- 1x 800 @ 3:20, 4x400's @ 1:40, 3x400 @ 1:37, 1x400 @ 1:35. 7.07 miles total

Wednesday- Easy Cycle 15 miles, JasYoga "Optimal Hip Reset"

Thursday- Easy 4

Friday- 5 Mile Run

Saturday- 8 miles w/ 22x1 minute @ 7:30 pace, and 3.12 miles with #MRCChicago

Sunday- Easy 8 mile run

Training Plan

I deviated a bit from the plan I'm following.

Instead of Tuesday's scheduled 6x800's, I settled on 1x800, and 8x400's because I hadn't done more than a handful of speed sessions since the Carmel Marathon. 400's would be less taxing on the body- although they left me sore for a few days.

Wednesday was to be a rest day, but I opted to cycle easy to assist with recovery.

I didn't do the scheduled 6 mile tempo Thursday, and instead did a fartlek type workout Saturday when my legs were more recovered. For my Carmel training I would tempo a portion of each of my 2 back to back long runs- it worked really well so I'll continue to do this.

With any training cycle, I believe in amending as I go to fit my needs and recovery so that I stay healthy.

Goals and Stuff
Each week I evaluate how I feel and analyze what time goal I should be aiming for. Currently I'm training for a 3:25-3:30.

Starting next week I plan to incorporate hill training into a few of my workouts each week. I'll practice running hard on down hills, and also run hard up hills. I'll also use the stair machine at my gym.


For the first time in a while I did meal prep. I made a soba noodle salad out of Shalane's cookbook- which was enough for 4 large salads during the week. I also made lemon blueberry scones from her cookbook, "Run Fast, Eat Slow" for breakfast. As a result, I didn't eat out at all during the week- which is a huge contrast to the 3+ times a week I go out while at work. I feel much better, am 2+ lbs lighter and 1.2% leaner.

Looking Forward

I'm looking forward to continuing to find my training groove- and embrace speed work more. Pending the weather, I'd like to run more outside.

14 weeks from today is Boston!


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Boston Marathon Training {Weeks 2 & 3}

Quick recap- during week 2 I got my wisdom teeth removed. So being a few grams lighter, I should totally smash all Strava segments and PR all the races in 2017!

In my post surgery haze, I bought some fresh kicks. Nike Pegasus shield, because they are awesome in the cold. No, really. They are awesome. And green and rose gold makes my heart flutter.

I also registered for a hilly half marathon. Perfect Boston training run.



After a great start to training in week 1, everything came to a screeching halt. On the Friday of week 2, I got all 4 of my wisdom teeth removed. This was planned, and also a reason for doing a 20 week cycle- that I would have plenty of time to recover and train my ass off before race day.

Post wisdom teeth, I took a few days off for recovery before I got stir crazy and started walking on the treadmill. I was super lucky to not have much if any swelling, and very minimal pain. Walking on the treadmill made me feel better than slothing around on the couch- once I felt good enough to do so. I was very conservative with returning to running because recovery was number 1. And because I was terrified of dry socket.

Goals and Stuff
My only goal for weeks 2 & 3 was to recover from wisdom teeth surgery.

Sums up getting 4 teeth ripped out of my head. Written in the recovery room while still high AF from sedation

Having to eat only mushy food for a week helped with resetting my mindset towards food- I wasn't as active so I didn't feel the need to consume large quantities of food- which made me feel much much better. I also lost a few lbs, so that was cool too and made me feel marginally better. Body fat is still not budging.

Looking Forward
I'm excited to get back into training and start doing speedwork again! Yay!

102 Days to go!


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Boston Marathon Training {Week 1}

December 12, 2016 I started training for Boston. 20 weeks to go, yay! (Such a loooooong time- compared to my usual 10 week focused plans). The first week of workouts went well and felt good.

My Daad sent me photos from my first marathon, NYC 2002 recently. I honestly didn't think we had photos of us crossing the finish so I was floored to see them! It's insane to think I've taken off 2+ hours from my first marathon 5:35 to my PR marathon 3:28 in 2016!


Goals and Stuff
It's so early in the cycle to decide on a goal for Boston, but to train well I need to have some sort of target time in mind. I'd like to requalify for Boston 2018- which means a sub 3:40 (more like sub 3:35 to guarantee registration) for me since I will be in the next age group for 2018. Either this cycle or the next (should there be another 26.2), I'd like to train for another breakthrough PR- sub 3:20 or something.

Training Plan
Since I'm not training for a Full Ironman anytime soon, I'll be focusing a little more on running than I did when I trained for Carmel. I'm using the Hanson Advanced plan and will amend it to include some cycling and eventually swimming. It worked really well for me last year, so I'll try something similar again. I also want to do a half Ironman at some point, so I need to be cycling and swimming- plus I can't neglect Mortadella. Cycling also helps me stay injury free. A win win win all around! I'll also be doing yoga a few times a week- from Jasyoga. Strength training and PT exercises are also happening regularly.

I'm 8+ lbs heavier than I'd like to be for running, so focusing on nutrition (and not binge eating, and drinking less alcohol), will be a priority for me this cycle. I love food too much and don't have an off switch, so this will be a challenge for me. Weight aside, my body fat percentage according to my fancy scale is around 25-26% which is too much for my frame- especially given how much I work out. Ideally I'd like to be around 20%, which doesn't seem like a big difference, but has been so hard to move so far. Body fat % trumps weight for me- I need to get leaner because of belly fat and the diseases associated with it.

Looking Forward
I'm going to take each day at a time and not think about the race being so far off in the future. I'm excited to run this race, but I need to put in a lot of work over the next few months.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Grant Park Turkey Trot {2016}

Spoiler alert, I got a finishers medal!

Wednesday we went to BeerFriendsThanksgiving. It was full of great people and amazing beers. Bourbon county vertical back to 2006, WUT!?

Thursday morning we had mimosas and quiche and treated the pup to some turkey and mashed potatoes. He was super thankful.

Friday morning CB wanted to see the Chicago Christmas tree, so we ran up Michigan Ave so we could take a selfie with it.

Later on Friday, we went to Goose island and drank a lot of Bourbon County Stout. Coffee, Prop and Rare were amazing as expected. But, made waking up Saturday morning a hard sell for the race.

I had low low low expectations on Saturday morning. Originally I wanted to give a decent effort and see where I was at with my fitness, but post 3 days of holiday drinking and over indulgences, I just decided to run. Without a warmup, I took off running in Grant Park and felt alright.

First Mile 7:03 Whoa flying! Felt decent.

Second Mile 7:23 Still flying but feeling hot and over dressed but starting to feel sick.

Third Mile 7:53 C'mon, my Garmin *must* be wrong. No way I've slowed down this much. Get to next corner- Garmin still must be *off.* Feeling more and more nauseous with each step.

.10 trotted in the finish at a blazing 7:46 pace and was happy to be done.

Photo from 2013's race. Because race recaps need an "action shot"

Finished in 23:17. 4th AG. I'm surprised I ran as fast as I did given how absolutely shitty I felt in the morning.

I learned that bourbon county stout and cherry pie (my breakfast) only fuels enough for 1.5 miles. Lesson learned.

We met up with some other MRC'ers for a quick photo and then proceeded to get some Lagunitas beer at the beer van.

And then I decided I'm done "racing" for 2016, especially when I haven't been training for a particular distance. It's just not worth the $ or effort.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Races and Accomplishments

I got this in the mail a few days ago:

I almost had forgotten that I placed the order for the display at the expo the day before the IM. It was the first time I ever purchased something like this from a race. (I don't display my medals anywhere). When I opened the package It brought back all the feels from the past year. I'm so proud of myself for setting and completing the goal of "Finish an Ironman." I'm so happy I was able to train and make it to the start, and finish injury free.

And then I started reflecting on past races and started having mixed emotions about them. I thought about my BQ at the Carmel Marathon and didn't feel particularly proud of that race. Yes, I achieved my goal of a BQ on my 4th attempt in 4 years after coming so close 3 times, but my training was shit. I could have done better. I was super surprised at the outcome of that race.

Looking back at many (if not all) of my races, I feel like I could have done better at training. (Race execution generally was on point). Not like I'm trying to have super significant gains in times and Not like I would quit alcohol entirely, eat 100% clean and devote myself to a hobby where I pay to play- but instead be more moderate with everything - and not bailing on workouts when I'm lazy would make me happier with future race results... I like getting better, I want to continue to improve for as long as I can. Achieving a time goal in a race which Ive put in the work for is something that makes me feel proud, or accomplished for any distance. Tangible results.

Training totals from the day I registered for the IM through race day. 10/20/15 to 9/11/16

Even with the Ironman, I felt like I could have done a bit better with training- mainly train on hills and run more (I'll remember those changes for next time) but I know there's no way I could have skimped on training and completed the distance upright. It was a challenge I worked my ass off for, and I finished. I'm proud of this accomplishment. I think that's what spurred these feelings- that I had to put in the work to be successful at the IM. There was no way I could have "winged it" on race day.

I read {this article} recently and it got me thinking of how so many people on social media are so "obsessed" with running/triathlons/working out, yet don't have a fraction of the dedication of the guy in the article. All talk and no action. So much wasted time and energy which is easy to get caught up in. I know I've spent too much time obsessing over a freaking hobby over the past few years and have spent thousands of dollars to be mediocre in a race (for my goals/standards) all for a medal and t-shirt that never get looked at again.

I try not to take myself too seriously with my exercise lifestyle. I stop and take photos of the scenery during each outdoor run. It makes me happy. Sometimes I run, sometimes I cycle, sometimes I lift weights, sometimes I spend my disposable income on races. I like being active. I'm just noticing a huge shift in my thinking regarding training and races lately. Achieving modest time goals I've arbitrarily set for myself in races through solid training is important for me. First and foremost, my goal is to have fun at whatever I'm doing.

I think it's good to have a balance that works for your lifestyle- I'm always trying to find that and think I'm finally getting closer.

CB agrees.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Life Post Ironman

2+ weeks post IRONMAN WISCONSIN aka the greatest day ever i feel pretty good. It feels like the race was 2 months (or more) ago! 3 days post race I found myself halfway down the subway stairs and suddenly realized that I had no muscle soreness. I expected a lot worse- my hard marathon efforts left me way more sore. I can only guess that a bunch of low intensity exercise (even if it was 14:39 worth) didn't destroy my muscles like a sustained hard run effort.

The only physical complaint I have is that the top of my foot hurts and is a little swollen. I first noticed it on Monday while walking to pick up CB. At the peak of its existence, the top of my foot felt like it was cramping up bad while I walked. 2 weeks later, it's still noticeable but much improved. I'm not rushing to the doctor yet because I think it has to do with my bike shoes and how I was pulling up on the pedals during the second part of the race (for a change in muscle usage). The good thing is that it is not load bearing so I know it's not a bone issue. It's likely a tendon being pissy or bruise.

First week post IM, I did elliptical for 30 min on Saturday and Sunday. 2nd week post IM, I ran less than 30 min on the Saturday and Sunday. My foot doesn't seem to be bothered by light running or elliptical, but it will be a few more weeks before I return to running. I'll start cycling on the trainer and resume swimming soon. I'm surprised at how much I don't miss working out right now, but I've also been super busy at work and at home. I'll get into a more regular routine with more core+strength within the next week.

Mentally, I feel weird post IM. I'm definitely not experiencing post race blues, but I've had a difficult time adjusting to "normal" life. I wake up too early for no reason and then try to go back to sleep. But In the first week post IM, I felt like I could sleep for days. I also got a bad allergy/cold thing which lasted a little over a week. Not surprising since hard endurance efforts decimate your immune system. I like having a plan to follow for workouts because, structure is good. At the same time I'm enjoying doing whatever I want, when I want even if it includes mainly no workouts and sleeping in (something I usually don't do).

Outside of IM stuff, I replaced the tires, tubes and brakes on my 16 year old beater hybrid bike, moqueca. I went to my local cycle shop to buy rim tape (to cover the area where the spokes join the rimei prevent tube punctures) which was likely the cause of the flat. I asked the employee for rim tape and he replied which color? I thought that was a weird question since you wouldn't see it since it's on the inside of the rim. And he brought out handle bar tape. We laughed a second when I reiterated what I had come in the store for. I haven't ridden Moqueca yet because I need to adjust the brakes, but I look forward to rides to the pool and other adventures soon. Mortadella will likely live on the trainer unless there's some decently warm days this fall.

The Friday post IM I registered for the Boston Marathon after buying FOBAB tickets. Dream come true. FOBAB was a blast last year and I know Boston will be incredible.

The next week Vicky and I celebrated Ironman and Boston with cake. And I continue to wear M dot branded shirts out even though it's not my usual style.

I went to Boston with L for a beer festival this past weekend. We had a blast meeting new friends and catching up with old friends. I got to see some family and eat beach pizza which made this trip awesome.

I also slogged over to the Boston Finish Line to take a few pictures. All. The. Feels. Especially after seeing the memorial. No words.

What's next?

•I'm going to not run for at least 2 more weeks (minus our MRC run this Saturday). I'll keep doing light elliptical for 30 min every few days. I feel great but I see no reason to rush returning to a jarring exercise like running.

•Buy a pool membership and go swim laps 1-2x a week

•Start cycling again

•Cook lunch and dinner a lot more, drink alcohol a lot less

•Start sketching out a plan to start return to running/base building for Boston, and eventually write a 10 week training plan for the race. Also geek out analyzing training plans and methods. I'm in no rush to jump back into training for anything for a while.

•Focus on core/PT/strength

•Enjoy life now that I don't have 140.6 miles looming like a dark cloud over my head.