Friday, April 13, 2018

16 April, a very good day

I love Timehop and seeing memories from years past each day.

Instead of bitching about the weather- I’d rather focus on something more positive.  Being in a great mindset heading into a race is so important!

16 April. It’s a date that for the past few years has brought me immense joy. 

16 April 2016

The date of my first BQ. After 3 failed attempts- missing by a few minutes to 12 seconds, I finally punched my ticket to Boston at the Carmel, IN marathon with a 7+ minute cushion of 3:28.34. When I got to the start line I just knew it would be an amazing day. 


“I F*CKING DID IT!!!” — me to L at mile 26 

Read about that race {HERE}



16 April 2017

Sweet baby Ze Pequeno was born. I knew that one of the pups born that day would be joining our family- it gave me a boost at Boston the next day knowing my future running partner was here. I feel bad we will be missing his birthday this year- but we will make up for it when we return. He’s been a great addition to our family. 

From butterball to big nose. 



16 April 2018

My 3rd Boston and 2nd as a qualifier. I have no doubt that Monday will be magical and amazing and everything I’ve hoped for hell or high water. 


All smiles for 26.2 miles 

2017 Boston Race Recap {HERE}

Monday, April 9, 2018

Boston Marathon Training 2018 {Week 17}

Week 17!


Weekly Miles:


Running: 54.58 miles, 7:55:39 hours

Cycling: 0 miles, 0 hours 

Yoga/stairs: 00:31:00


Total Miles for this cycle:

Running: 890.60 miles, 125:53 hours

Cycling: 186.63 miles, 14:42 hours

Yoga/stairs: 05:16 hours




Summary


I’m ready for Boston. I’m ready to run this race and move onto the next things- Copenhagen marathon for funsies and IM Louisville. 18 weeks is a long time to focus on one event, and I’m reaching the end point of my mental endurance for this training cycle. I need more sleep which I’ll get this week during my 10 day taper (which started Thursday after my last hard workout.)


Everything went well this week minus when I slipped on ice. I’m down 6.5lbs since I started this cycle (a constant roller coaster of up/down) but down now due to eating well and no beer - except the handful I’ve had in the past 6 weeks. 





Ze and CB have asked to have a photo session once every 4 months so they can just reuse those stale pictures instead of creating new content for their social media channels. I said that’s lame. People will notice and not take them seriously. 



Lowlight


I had to document where I fell. It was .25 into my 2nd interval. 

Slipping on the ice during 10 miles worth of intervals at goal pace and almost going for a swim in the lake Thursday. I got too close to the ice-I should have known better. By the time my foot hit the ice I knew I was toast. Luckily I only ended up with a bruised elbow and some soreness in my neck and side for a few days. I’m ok now. And I’m sure people are sick of me talking about it- but it was the most *exciting* thing in my life this week. Lol 


Highlights




Running 6x1 mile repeats outside. I also chatted with another runner out on the path during one of my recoveries which pumped me up. 




The 10 miles of intervals at goal pace on Thursday despite the fall. I felt good and In control and my splits were right on target. 




Running 8 outside on Sunday. I stayed away from the ice. 


Running with my run club on Saturday. They are amazing!






Another massage!




Getting a new camera with the money I won from getting 1st in the March madness bracket at work! I know 0 about basketball. 


Thoughts


I still feel there’s no way I’ll be able to maintain 7:15’s for 26.2 miles. (I said that about the half marathon too and I slayed that goal). The weather is looking pretty much ideal minus some rain, so luckily it won’t be a factor this year. I feel like the 3:10 is a stretch probably because I’m tired and my legs need to fully recover- which what taper is for. It’s also because I haven’t been able to fully adjust my mindset from being a 3:30 marathoner with all the paces (easy/hard whatever) associated with that to a 3:10 marathoner wannabe even though I know my paces are much faster than all my previous cycles- despite feeling great. 


 Looking Forward 


I need to make sure I get more sleep this week. My weight is at a good place and I’m sure I’ll lose another pound or 2 during the week from eating well.  I just need to continue to take care of myself- can anyone recommend self care tips? (JK, I’m good!) Hot baths have been helping with recovery too. I’m so blessed I can sneak away from my dog mother runner responsibilities so I can soak in salt and essential oils. 


The countdown is on for Ze to start running with me- after Boston when he is one year old. (Fun fact, his birthday is 4.16, the date of the Boston Marathon this year- he was born on Easter last year, the day before Boston) I ordered Ze  a running leash which connects to me at the waist vs handheld so that I will have more control- I spoke with 2 dog parents at MRC who recommended this leash so I hope it will be good and I won’t get knocked on my ass and break something due to Ze Pequeno. I also ordered Ze a no pull harness because he’s crazy and won’t listen outside. It’s my fault for not being more consistent- taking time in the winter to work on walking properly was not a priority- getting him to go to the bathroom outside was bigger. 




For this next week I’ll be doing more yoga, going over my race day plan, and making sure I eat appropriate amounts of food - my problem is that I eat way too much. Closer to Wednesday I’ll check the weather and decide what to pack- but I’m set on race day kit regardless. I’m really excited for this race!




I’m enjoying cooking new to me recipes and am currently at 25/52 for 2018. A continually  updated list is 

{HERE}




Days to go: 7!!  One week from today! ðŸ™€ðŸ¦„ 

Monday, April 2, 2018

Boston Marathon Training 2018 {Week 16}

Week 16!


Weekly Miles:


Running: 60 miles, 8:26:42 hours

Cycling: 0 miles, 0 hours 

Yoga/stairs: 00:22:19 


Total Cycle Miles: 


Running: 836.02 miles, 117:57  hours

Cycling: 186.63 miles, 14:42 hours

Yoga/stairs: 04:45 hours </b>


Summary


Another 60 mile week! I also ran 266+ miles for March- another monthly PB. Taper starts soon-although looking at my training for next week, I’ll still be around 50, then the week leading up to Boston will cut to 26. Hanson is a 10 day taper because they believe cutting back too much/reducing too much intensity makes you feel dull. I’m feeling really good lately and excited to run Boston again! 




This week the boys didn’t want to post on Instagram if they didn’t have something “instaworthy” to share. I put an end to that quick. I don’t told them that they should put stuff on the ‘gram that makes them happy, or pics they want to remember and to forget about whatever perceived “audience” they think they have. They should never feel their life isn’t “instaworthy” enough because what good is it to add the pressure of only posting omg curated pictures from photo sessions (and recycling said photos for months)  just to keep up a front of a fake perfect life? (We see through those miserable people anyways). Why make yourself feel bad you don’t have some staged photo to share?  Double tap if you agree!




Lowlights:


The 10 mile tempo turned Into 6x9 minutes at 7:15 with one minute recovery. I  felt tired and hot (and woke up late again). The day before I turned off my alarm and fell back asleep for a while- I needed sleep more than a tempo I guess (can’t be upset at that). 


Feeling guilty if I eat a large portion of food. I’ve worked hard to stop binge eating- mainly by having multiple smaller meals a day so I don’t get to the point where I eat a huge meal due to lack of self control. But with Boston around the corner, and wanting to stay at a lower weight, I irrationally get upset if I eat too much. Whatever. I guess it’s not too irrational- you cannot out exercise a poor diet. I attribute my half PR success to eating well, no beer and being at a lower weight. I’m only being mindful of my food intake for a month, instead of the whole 18 weeks, because balance. 


Highlights: 




Running 4x1.5 miles at 10 seconds less than goal marathon pace OUTSIDE! It was my first speed sesh outside this year and first run before work in a while. I felt really good. 




Running 10.6 miles outside on Saturday. It was textbook easy, nothing special. I had fun seeing the gorgeous sunrise and then running into the headwind for the second half. Luckily I only encountered sleet for the final half mile. Felt like shards of glass cutting my face. 





Dyeing Easter eggs with my boys! Can you believe they’ve all never done that before?! I’m excited to have hard boiled eggs and rainbow egg salad. 




Getting my 2018 Boston jacket in the mail! I love the color combo!





Thoughts


Boston feels months away despite it actually being 2 freaking weeks away! I do know I’m nearing close because I’m ridiculously emotional when I think about the race and the goal I have. When certain songs come on my iPod I get emotional because they remind me of my first BQ, or other highlights of my running. 


I’ve also gotten to the place of incredible self doubt. Like- my new shoes aren’t good and I need to change the brand etc. or I need to get new race day outfit (despite it never giving me problems) and regardless of the weather I’ll be wearing the same thing I already picked out. It’s so dumb. I’ve been re reading my old race recaps (and getting emotional!) to put an end to these stupid thoughts-because what I’ve done in the past works perfect for me. 


Looking Forward


I just need to keep my head down and continue pushing towards Boston. No stupid “taper crazies” here- it’s not like I’m going back to have a significant extra amount of time to obsess about the race (and the slight extra time I’ll have will be for sleep). I refuse to waste energy on things like that. It’s not productive.  I’ll check the long range forecast soon to get an idea of what I’ll need to pack- but I’m set with my race day outfit and that’s the only thing that matters. There’s nothing I can change about the weather.


Spike and I are ready for Marathon Monday!

My run club meets this week- so I’ll drink one beer with them. Because it would be sacrilegious to not partake in post run beer. It will be nice to see everyone.  Then I’ll refrain from beer until the afternoon of April 16- or if the Boston College kids have something good around mile 22, I’ll drink that.  


I cooked new recipes again!




I made honey glazed carrots and split pea with ham soup yesterday!



I’m enjoying cooking new to me recipes and am currently at 25/52 for 2018. A continually  updated list is 

{HERE}




Days to go: 14! 🙀🦄

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Shamrock Shuffle 8k 2018 {Race Recap}



On Sunday I ran my 7th Shamrock Shuffle!



TL;DR version- I PR’d and ran a great race despite tired marathon training legs. 

We went to the expo on Saturday to get our bibs. I was shocked at how few vendors were present. I kept thinking- where’s the other room of booths? I remember when the expo was full of booths way back in 2011- I’d imagine if people only want free shit, and never buy anything, that there’s no incentive for vendors to return. 



Race Morning:

I woke up early to run 4-5 miles pre race. Boston training doesn’t stop for non goal race shuffles. I felt good, albeit a little rusty since I ran 16 miles (with a few hard miles) the day before. The 4 miles helped me feel a bit less rusty pre race. 

We walked over to the start area and took a group photo with our MRC team. We had a record 6 teams, and 27 people running for us this year!



Best run club ever!



I got to see Anne!

We made our way to the bag check area and I took off my jacket and pants and just ignored the fact it was cold and windy. I could complain incessantly about the weather- but that is mentally exhausting. I was here to run a decent effort and not let dumb stuff out of my control get in my way. 



I ran into Pete in the corral and hung out with our MRC team for a few min pre race.  I got my iPod ready and took a caffeine SiS gel 10 minutes before the start. Soon, the gun sounded and we were off. My goal was to try to break 35, so running high 6’s, low 7’s was the pace I was trying to hit. We ran together as a group for the first mile- which I clocked at 6:46. I felt fantastic.  



Eventually my MRC teammates pulled ahead and I just kept a steady effort. I was feeling good and didn’t want to push too hard since this was not my goal race - I just wanted a good, simulate the last 5 miles of the marathon, dig deep, kind of feeling. 

Photo: WolfpackChi

I got to the 5k in 20:59, beating my stale PR from 2015 by 1 second! 
I was trailing behind my MRC peeps by 20-30’ for a while and by mile 4 I decided to try to catch them- but they also sped up! The headwind on Michigan ave didn’t help me scoot faster. I never caught them- they finished 20 seconds ahead of me. 



I was ecstatic that I had just finally broken my 8k PR by 1:30 AND unofficially broke my 2015 5k PR by 1 second. On tired legs. 



We took another group photo post race and waited for everyone to finish. 


Obvs not this photo- this was from the expo. 

I had a beer in the park and then we went to Kaiser Tiger to refuel. I had one more beer there before swearing off beer until Monday afternoon of April 16. 



I feel like I executed this race perfectly. I was also incredibly encouraged to see all my hard work pay off- I wasn’t training for an 8k and at the bare minimum hoped I would run low 7’s and break 35- but I did even better by averaging 6:47 and breaking 34!  



I put the 33:42 into McMillians running calculator and it said a comparable marathon time would be 3:19. (Which I would be more than happy running in a few weeks) Had I run on fresh legs, I’m sure I could have taken 15-20 seconds a mile off of my time- which would have put me at the equivalent of a 3:10 marathon. 

It’s also crazy to think I’ve taken almost 9 minutes off of my time since I first ran this race in 2011! 



Housekeeping:

Oatmeal a few hours pre race.
SiS caffeine lemon gel 10 min pre race. 
No water or anything during the race. 

Wore long sleeve + MRC Shirt, shorts and racing flats. Temp: 33, wind 20+mph. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Boston Marathon Training 2018 {Week 15}

<b>Week 15! </b>


I received my Boston Rabbit gear and my Boston Marathon Runner’s passport!

<b>Weekly Miles


Running: 61.42 miles, 8:24.23 hours

Cycling: 0 miles, 0 hours 

Yoga/stairs: 00:21:00  </b>


<b>Total Miles for this cycle

Running: 776.02  miles, 109:31 hours

Cycling: 186.63 miles, 14:42 hours

Yoga/stairs: 04:23:00 hours </b>


<b>Summary</b>


This was my peak week of training which culminated with the shamrock shuffle 8k. After my disappointing half last week, I focused on getting into a good head space for the rest of the week. I was excited to test my tired legs in the Shuffle. Overall it was a solid week of workouts and I felt really good. 




I told the boys this week that they should take their complaining offline. It’s not a competition of who has the most miserable life. (Plus who wants to be around those negative people anyways!?) Like if they have an event outside but constantly complain about the weather, they will likely have a bad experience. Instead- focus on the things they are excited about and the experience will be better. The mental portion is so important for so many things, running included. I won’t tolerate their negativity!



<b>Lowlight</>


I still felt off on Tuesday so I amended my 3x2 miles @ 6:58 to 4x1.5 miles @ 6:58. The half mile less per interval helped me feel better and more confident. 


Tuesday uniform on a Wednesday FTW

<b>Highlights</b>


Running 10 miles outside to break in my marathon shoes! It was windy and cold AF, but my run went so well. I finished the last 6 indoors because I didn’t want to put a ton of miles on my new kicks, and I was cold. 


The waves were insane!

I Smashed not only my stale 8k PR from 2015 in the Shuffle but also my super stale 5k PR from 2015 during the race. Insane despite running 16 miles the day before and 4 miles pre race. More on this in the race recap.




Celebrating CB’s gotcha day on Sunday. 13 years ago yesterday,  I adopted him from the Greenville, SC humane society. We celebrated with Shake Shack burgers. I cannot imagine life without my big dog. 


Photo of CB with the prettier more instaworthy burger. His only was cheese and meat. 


<b>Thoughts</b>


I’m right where I need to be with 3 weeks to go until marathon Monday. My goal for the shuffle was to (bare minimum) run marathon pace 7:15’s. Ideally my goal was to break 35:00 - which I ended up breaking 34:00! This race has given me an incredible confidence boost- especially after last weeks disappointment. 


<b>Looking Forward</b>


For the next 3 weeks, I’ll be eating well- with the plan to lose 3-5lbs before race day. No more beer either. I had a few post shamrock and they hit the spot hard- but I know my success in Boston will be worth it  because of knowing I did everything possible to put myself in the best place possible. 



Warpigs Lazurite. Worthy of celebrating 2 PRs!


I’ll also start doing more yoga/meditation. Typically I only do yoga on my rest day- but I should start doing race day meditation daily. Visualization is so important for getting into a good headspace before an event. 


I’ll hopefully run outside on the weekend so I can continue breaking in my marathon shoes- I’d like to have 30-40 miles on them before Boston. 


I’m so excited. 


I’m enjoying cooking new to me recipes and am currently at 23/52 for 2018. A continually  updated list is 

{Here}




<b>Days to go: 21! 🦄</b>

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Boston Marathon Training 2018 {Week 14}

Week 14!

Weekly Miles

Running: 56.16 miles, 7:50:40 hours
Cycling: 0 miles, 0 hours
Yoga/stairs: 00:26:00


Total Miles for this cycle
Running: 722.60 miles, 102:18 hours
Cycling: 186.63 miles, 14:42 hours
Yoga/stairs: 04:02:00 hours




Summary

Race week! Although it was more training as usual, race on Sunday, no legit taper. I felt off all week, including a headache on Saturday night. I cut out alcohol after my last beer Sunday evening and ate pretty good all week. My “taper” was to eliminate the tempo on Thursday and just do easy miles instead- no sense in killing my legs to kill my legs again.



The boys are good. We discussed self care this week. Mainly not sneaking off to chew a bone to escape from reality. They need to confront their realities and live in the present. Self care also means controlling their emotions- no attacking little brother and no revenge peeing. By keeping their emotions in check, everyone will be happier. Instead of thinking of the next time they can have me time, I want them to instead deal their problems head on and take care of them.

Lowlight

2x3 miles at 6:58 on Tuesday felt like crap. I felt overheated and like I was struggling- so I amended it to 3 miles at 6:58, 2 miles at 6:58, 1 Mile at 6:58.

Still, Tuesday uniform FTW.



The half marathon was irrationally disappointing.

Highlights

Taking hot baths! It’s more of an injury prevention thing for me than omg self care- I’m not trying to escape from real life- just want my muscles to feel the benefit of hot water and salt. It works! So much better than ice baths.

Getting a 3 minute course PR at the March Madness half on Sunday! It was struggle bus almost the entire time, but I kept pushing, never gave up and clocked my 2nd fastest half on a beast of a course.


Thoughts

I have been feeling bummed about the half- more than I should. I don’t really understand where that feeling is coming from. I think if I had to pinpoint something- is that I did everything right- consistency is everything with performing- and despite that, still felt like garbage. It’s been a while since I felt like that in a race- and it’s jarring. I need to move on and slay these last 4 weeks of training.


Looking Forward

This week I’m running Shamrock Shuffle for the 7th time. I’ve only missed one since I moved here. Not really sure what my goal will be since I’m running 16 miles Saturday, and 3-5 pre race. If I had to write a goal down- it would be 1. Run a good effort (like sub marathon goal pace) . 2. PR. My pr is super stale and my half marathon PR pace is literally Seconds off my 8k PR pace. I haven’t “raced” this race in a while (yay spring marathon training!) so I expect that it is out of sync with my other race times. Regardless it will be fun.



I’ll likely cut out beer until Boston now. Maybe one post shamrock? I also need to watch what I eat a little more so that I can get to a better weight before Boston- shouldn’t be a problem without the beer. I just want to get to Hopkinton feeling like I did everything possible to have a good race. We are spending a lot of money for me to do this, and I don’t want to feel like I half assed it. This will be my last Boston for a while- so I hope everything aligns for a magical unicorn race.



I haven’t cooked anything out of my books in a few weeks. But I did make sweet potato pear soup (my own recipe) and egg in a jar.



Sweet Potato- pear soup with spinach sautéed with shallots and sherry

I’m enjoying cooking new to me recipes and am currently at 23/52 for 2018. A continually updated list is {HERE}



Days to go: 27! 🦄


-Xaarlin

Monday, March 19, 2018

March Madness Half 2018 {race recap}

My 2nd time running this race! It was my 2nd fastest half, and I got a 3 minute course PR!

Time: 1:39:30
AG: 8 of 66
Women: 31 of 443
Overall: 165 of 978



I went into this race thinking if I could run my marathon goal pace/be close to my PR, that would be great. I also figured that with tired legs (I ran 43 miles the days before) and the hills that I would likely be a few minutes over that time.



Race morning I had some oatmeal and a banana before we drove up to Cary, IL. The drive was as quick as 45 miles could be. Got my bib and everything super quick- the Hillstriders are A++ with organization. Then we waited for the start. I decided to wear a singlet + shorts because last year I was super hot wearing leggings and long sleeve in pretty much the same perfect conditions. Yay! For blogging and it being useful for something. (Race recaps)


I felt fairly ambivalent about this race - since it was basically a training run for me. I get a little nervous before races regardless- I’ve pinpointed that to the fear of having a code brown which luckily has never happened in a race before. I lined up near the front of the field- like 10 rows back and got my iPod and everything ready.


Without fanfare, we were off with a simple “GO.” I checked my watch and saw low 7’s and decided to go with it-the Race was downhill at this point. More on this later* I just decided to keep a steady effort when climbing hills/flat/downhill. Mile 4 is when I started feeling that the effort was too much for my pace. I’m sure the hills had something to do with this - but mentally I was f*cked. I started thinking all sorts of negative stuff- like how the hell could I possibly run a 3:10 if I can’t even hit 7:15’s right meow. I tried talking myself off the ledge- “you’re running hillz, expect the pace to be slower.”



Some miles were good others I felt like shit. I like how it’s a small low key rural race vs over stimulation like any of the big races in Chicago. But it also gives me too much to think about and not be distracted.



I played leap frog with one of the Irish Waldos and few other women for most of the race. This race reminds me of Boston not only due to the course, but because you end up running next to the same people for most of the race.



Around mile 6 I took off my gloves since I felt hot. I ended up putting them back on at mile 11.5. I tried to push the pace with 4 miles to go but I felt stuck. Everything felt like it was too much effort. After cresting “Mile 10 Hill” a Guy running near me started saying how thankful he was for being done with that huge hill and how awful it was. I echoed his comments and just hoped to be done soon so I could hop off the struggle bus.



With half a mile to go I realized I could break 1:40, so I tried to scoot as quick as I could- which felt like I was running through molasses. I saw L and was so happy to be finished.


There are some days which are extraordinary - those days when everything clicks and you feel light as a feather and it’s the best day ever! (Naperville half marathon, Carmel Marathon) then there are the ordinary days when you get it done but it’s nothing special. Then there’s the sub par terrible days. Today was one of those. It wasn’t terrible by a long shot, but it was far from ordinary. It was a big MEH with me feeling heavy and slow- nothing felt good and I just wanted to be done.



I spent too much time analyzing why I felt crappy and came to some conclusions:

What I did right:
•wore a singlet and shorts
•ran with my iPod
•race morning nutrition was ok



The look of disgust on my face cracks me up now

What wasn’t great:
•getting in my head too much during the race
•trying a new sports drink.
•no caffeine at all.
•the way I put my headphone wire around my shirt- I was messing with my right earbud the entire time because it was being pulled by the wire.
•possibly going out too fast- but after talking to my Daad, and thinking more, I doubt this was a cause- I routinely run each week- 6 miles at 6:58 , and 9 at 7:15- 3 at 7:08 shouldn’t destroy me
•shoes not being super fresh and getting close to retirement
•dehydration. I weighed myself pre race and then again post race (after eating a ton of food and drink) and only weighed 1lb more. That was concerning to me.
•the non-tangible aspect of running where despite *everything* being perfect- weather, training, nutrition, you have an off day.
•being 3lbs heavier than Naperville. I felt fat and slow.


So despite all of that I was still happy with my time. I tried some new things on Sunday to get out of my comfort zone. I used Maurten sports drink- it’s super full of carbs. I also decided to go with the 7:08’s in the beginning because it felt appropriate, and because my goal marathon time would correlate to a half with similar pace so it wasn’t so ridiculous.

2018 miles vs 2017


The last 3 miles I was clearly struggling.

Housekeeping:
Oatmeal and banana at home
Sis bar one hour pre race
500ml Maurten during the race
Singlet/shorts for high 30’s calm.



First beer in a week. And likely the last until Boston.

Takeaway:
Lose weight.
Abandon maurten for Boston. Use SiS
Remember that while my goal is 3:10, I’d be pumped to run a PR in Boston- better than 3:28.

You learn more from failure than from success.


-Xaarlin