Friday, August 31, 2012

One last long run.

Where has the time gone?

This weekend- more like this afternoon will play host to my final long run for this marathon training cycle. 22 miles with 10 at goal marathon pace is the last chance I have to prove to myself before race day that ive got what it takes to crush my marathon PR by a significant amount. Kind of.

Im going into this run with low expectations after Last weeks long run. I've decided that running 22 miles after I get off work today in the heat and low humidity is *better* than tomorrow's forecast of heat, high humidity and storms. I don't need practice running in the rain. I think I am confident in my rain running abilities.

I just need to remember that running in close to 90 degrees is not going to be an accurate measure of my fitness. Fox valley seems to have lower early morning temps than Chicago, so running in 55 degrees on the morning of 9-16 will feel like a dream. I will try to hit my GMP miles today and will drink more water and take more salt and gu to accommodate the toasty temps, but will promise myself that I will not get down on myself if it doesn't go according to plan.
This run will be nothing like race day. except for the fact that I will be wearing the same shoes, shorts etx. I still haven't decided on which top to wear. I'm going between a couple of options all tested out in long runs or half marathons this year. I'm not too concerned. My new Swiftwick socks my mom got for me have been a dream so far and I plan on testing them out this afternoon too. Apparently all the american track n field Olympians we're given a pair of these to run in for the Olympics.

As I sit in my office in my last day in my old job (got a promotion which starts Monday) I'm listening to Pandora trying to find new tunes to spice up my playlist for the marathon. My mind is also swirling with thoughts of Fox Valley marathon. It's hard to not think of what will happen 2 weeks from Sunday after pouring my heart, body and soul into training for the past 23 weeks. I'm so consumed with Fox Valley that it's making me crazy. I need to take a few steps back and savor how far I've come since early this year, and also why I'm doing this and how much I do enjoy flying down the path nearly every day. I'm excited to have a taper where I won't have any more "long runs" but will still have some nice tempo threshold runs scheduled to keep me on my toes. I'm excited to see my Daad soon so I can talk his ears off about the marathon and get his advice (3:04 marathoner- so he knows a lot!)

I'm also kind of sad this training cycle is coming to an end. But, I'm super excited beyond belief to run the Chicago Marathon 3 weeks post Fox Valley with my L.

- xaar

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A bad run

The Goal for Saturday's run:

18 miles
Miles 1-6 @ easy pace

Miles 7-16 @ GMP (8:10-8:00/mile)

Last 2 miles @ easy pace.

What actually went down:

18.14 miles in 2:30, with 10 @ GMP.


So on paper, or garmin, this looks like a fantastic run. Unfortunately it was the most awful run I've had in a while.

Most of my training runs have been perfectly uneventful. I prefer them to go without incident. This one was a huge struggle. I could tell in the first couple of miles that this run was only going to get worse. When it came time for the GMP miles, I gave it my all and now think I should have backed off a bit with the pace. I had to stop at the fountains for water every other mile because I was so overheated and hellbent on achieving the GMP miles. (I was dressed appropriately for the temps)

All day post run I've felt so terrible- headache, achy leg, etx, feelings I usually don't experience.

What I did Right:

It was 73 degrees when I started sometime after 6am- with a decent humidity level. I didn't immediately feel hot. I felt pretty good, maybe a little groggy until mile 2 or 3 like normal.

I took water whenever I needed it. Which was a lot more than normal and I continually felt thirsty.

I took a salt tab and gatorade prime and honey stinger waffle (not all at the same time) pre run which is what I usually do.

Took a salt and gu at mile 5.5, another gu at mile 11.5, and some mango salt strips at mile 12.

Feet felt happy in my brand spanking new mizuno wave elixirs.

No tummy issues or any other issue to speak of.

Possible causes for the craptastic run:

Not enough carbs. I haven't been a fan of pasta or other carbs for quite some time now. I can't eat sushi rolls anymore (used to be a carb loading fav of mine until I got sick a few months ago from them) and I just really don't like eating pasta because of the way it makes me feel (brick in my belly). I haven't really carb loaded for a run in a while- I tend to go for burritos with rice and chicken the day before a big run. Maybe the lack of carbs has finally caught up to me?

Friday I had 2 beers and a few pieces of chicken quesadilla, and a small piece of veggie pizza for dinner. Maybe this wasn't good pre run food? Eh, I've had beer the day before a run and never had a problem before. Doubt it was this.

It was 86 degrees and full sun by the time I finished the run. I'm pretty sure this had something to do with me feeling absolutely terrible during the 18 miles. I don't run with a HR monitor, but could tell my heart rate was very elevated today.

Final Thoughts

I'll just chalk this crappy run up to pushing myself too hard in the heat. I can't really think of anything that stands out which would have directly contributed to this run going bad.

I so desperately needed/wanted this run to go well for my own psyche, because I've been struggling with my goal for this race and second guessing my abilities. I pretty much had a huge breakdown today over this run. I only have one more long run left before my short taper begins and hope to have some good runs next week during the peak of my training. All runs can't go well, and just makes you appreciate the good normal runs a lot more after a run goes bad.

I like to analyze how to make things better or prevent certain events from happening "next time" and can't find a reason other than the heat which caused this run to be terrible. I'll now walk away from this bad run with a clean slate.

Here's hoping next weeks 22 miler goes according to plan.

3 weeks to go!

- xaar

Friday, August 24, 2012

I like beer. And running.

With just over 3 weeks until Fox Valley, I've been busy running. A lot. I've turned into a blog sloth and hope to catch up with all your posts this weekend.

Last weekend, L and I went to Michigan for some beer. We went directly to the source of some of our favorite beers as well as some of the best breweries in America. We went to Founders, Jolly pumpkin, Bells, Dark Horse, The Livery and 3 Floyd's (in Indiana). I really appreciate the care and thought that goes into a craft brew. If you ever get a chance, check these breweries out (all of their beer is delicious!) and support the smaller guys!

Training has been going well. This weekend I've got an 18 miler with 10 miles at my goal marathon pace. It will probably be one of the more difficult runs I've done all season. I've even stressed way too much over this run because the Chicago Triathlon is happening on the lakefront this weekend- with events both Saturday and Sunday. I've Finally come up with a good plan to execute this run and am excited to get it done! And holy hell, after this week I've got one more long run before my taper!!!

Got to run with my favorite 4 legged buddy last night. It was on the warm side so we took it easy. There are few things in life that make me as happy as seeing this guy enjoy being outside.

With the marathon fast approaching, I'm excited to celebrate all the hard work I've put into this training cycle. I have been having some serious doubts about my goal and if it was realistic, but felt much better after seeing the splits from my last 20 miler. The file was corrupt so I was unable to upload it to garmin until last night. I actually posted the file to the Garmin forum and someone was able to fix it for me! SCORE!

Now seeing that nearly half of the miles were under 8:30, and that overall this run seemed pretty "easy" has given me a shot of confidence. I also ran an 8 mile tempo run the day before to have "dead" legs for the 20, so I'm quite pleased with my progress. The only thing left is really to decide what to wear for race day. I've got the shoes, and shorts figured out. But I have no idea which top I will wear. I'll have to wait until it gets closer to gameday.

Time to put my big girl pants on and stop thinking about elements out of my control- like the weather and remember that I've come a long way since earlier this year when I couldn't run a quarter of a mile without being in pain due to the hip flexor injury.


- xaar

Friday, August 17, 2012

29 days, holy Sh*t!

Hot damn! Only 29 days until my goal marathon. Where the heck has time gone? It seems like only yesterday I was sitting in a cafe with my Coach going over my previous injuries and outlandish goals for this race.

Training has been going amazingly (minus one shin pain scare a few weeks ago). I've been officially in training for the past 10 weeks, for the 10 weeks prior to starting "official training", I was base building and coming back from a heinous hip flexor injury that had me wondering if it would ever go away. (it eventually went away 100% about 7 months after it started)

(pumped up marathon kicks in orange-blue, original elixirs in purple-white)

I also recently decided on the shoes to wear for this race. It was an Agonizing decision because I was so attached to my Nike lunar racers, but the Mizuno Wave Elixir 7's have proven themselves over the past 2 months and 120+ miles that they are worthy to be on my feet at the start line in St Charles on September 16. My brand spanking new orange-blue pair will have about 50-60 miles (and 2 long runs) on them allowing them to be fresh for tackling the Fox Valley 26.2 with me in 4 weeks.

I'm filled with nervous anticipation for this race.

•It's the most consistent I've ever been training wise for a race. Ever.

•No injuries to cripple and sideline me like nearly every other full I've done.

•3 more "long" 18+ mile runs until game day. With one of those- 20 miles- after work tonight. Yikes!

•about 20 runs left until FVM.

•A 35 minute PR to punch my ticket to Boston is not impossible.

•I don't know what I'm wearing for the race asides from the elixirs and lulu shorts. But since I train in different clothes each week- not a huge issue this far out.

•I'm missing a wedding in Brasil to run this race. I need to #makeitcount and #Findgreatness

•Hotel and rental car are booked. My Daad's all set to fly up here to cheer for me.

•Over 10lbs lost since last year this time. With 6+ alone from the past 10 weeks. I feel much better without the extra lbs. :)

•A nice short 2 week taper to look forward to. Because anything longer will rest me too much.

I'm so pumped for the next few weeks!

- xaar

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It's not me, it's you

I've been going through a tough breakup recently. I've been going through denial and not accepting the fact that this 4+ year relationship is over. The situation has consumed my thoughts for the past few weeks and has nearly given me sleepless nights because of it.

I'm breaking up with you Nike Lunar Racers.

There, I said it. Finally it feels like I've come to terms with the inevitable, finally I feel a load off of my chest for acknowledging this reality.

Backup for a moment, how have these shoes captured my heart so strongly?

2008 I was looking for a lighter shoe than whatever I was wearing. I did some research and was intrigued by these super light almost minimalist type shoes, so I bought them and took them out for some short runs and fell head over heels in love with them.

They were light (5oz I believe), so flexible, and my feet seemed to really enjoy them. I trained almost exclusively in them because I loved them so much. Perhaps it is psychological, but there is a HUGE difference between a 5oz shoe and a 10+oz shoe, especially in distances over 10 miles.

My Lunar Racer 2's and I have run every race since 2008 together. Half marathons, 5ks, 8ks and 4 marathons have all been run with the lunar racer 2's. As you see, we go way back.

Enter the Lunar Racer 3

I was so incredibly bummed that the newer model of my beloved Lunar Racer would revert back to the original model as opposed to my 2's. I'm sure I was in the minority on this. lunar racer 2 and 3 are totally different shoes.

(green 2's, red 3's)

The 3's are cut much more narrow and the feel is just completely different than the 2's. I begrudgingly gave the 3's a chance and didn't like them. So I did what any sane person would do, I bought a few more pairs of 2's in order to hold onto this dying relationship.

Almost 250+ miles later, I need to retire these shoes. One of my only cons for these shoes is that they do wear out quickly because of the soft sole (the other con is being Able to feel every pebble, pavement etx because of the soft soles). So I have been frantically trying to figure out what to do for my marathon in 5 weeks.

Distance running shoes are like a long term relationship. You need commitment and trust which is something not earned overnight. after 17 half marathons and 4 marathons, I know how my feet will feel in these shoes.

My only option

I've been running in my Mizuno Wave Elixirs for the past month and have logged over 100 miles on them- including some 15+ milers. I am not convinced that they are a "shoe in" for my BQ attempt marathon except I have no other option available.

5 weeks is not the time to switch brands completely. The Saucony Kinvaras intrigue me as well as some pairs of Asics, but I haven't ever run in Saucony shoes and it's been years since my last pair of Asics. I Know firsthand how shoes can cause injury- my first year of cross county was injury plagued thanks to some terrible reebok shoes.

With 39 days to go until game day, I need to pull the trigger and get a fresh pair of kicks.

Last night while wearing the Elixirs for an easy 7 miler, I decided that it's time to move on from my Lunar Racer 2 heartbreak and learn how to trust another shoe again. We've run as far as 18 miles with some goal marathon pace miles and had a fun time together.

So here it goes- Mizuno wave elixirs, will you be my go to shoe? Will you carry me to the finish of marathon number 6 in 39 days and marathon number 7 in 60 days without any significant blisters or discomfort?

- xaar

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

July in numbers

•191 miles run during July. Highest mileage month ever.

•313 miles of total marathon training miles complete over 7.5 weeks. That's the distance between Tampa and Key Largo, or Chicago to St Louis or San Francisco to Santa Barbara.

•3 phantom injuries that went away within a day or 2 of appearing.

•1 possible reoccurrence of shin issues that happened after running 40 miles in 3 days. It cleared up with rest.

•More than halfway done with the 14 week marathon training program!!

•18 miles run on a weekday So I could take a weekend trip to Vegas.

•4 miles run in the desert.

•9% humidity during the time of the run.

•1 severe sinus migraine- bloody nose thanks to the low humidity.

•30 years celebrated.

•2 birthdays celebrated. July babies are awesome ;)

•1 conference attended. Kind of. The badge is cool.

•1 Mediocre performance in a half marathon.

•2 concerts attended. Cobra Starship (post RnR Chi) and The Crystal Method.

•237 photos of Chicago and my precious CB taken.

•9+ apple fritters consumed from Starbucks.

•1 surgery for my precious running buddy who is now back to 100%

Looking Forward

•6 weeks of marathon training left.

•3 "bonus" marathon training weeks to stay in shape for Chicago post FV.

•45 days until I attempt a massive PR and BQ at the Fox Valley Marathon.

•66 days until my Wonderful, Wonderful and I run the Chicago Marathon together.

- xaar