Monday, March 31, 2014

Knoxville Marathon Week 10, RACE WEEK!

Monday: rest day

Tuesday: 2x 400's, 1 mile @ GMP, 2x 400's. This workout kicked my ass. The gym was hot and the effort seemed way too much for this last speed workout.

Wednesday: rest day

Thursday: easy 4 miles through my mom's 'hood. I did numerous laps around the streets which didn't have the truly LARGE hills and was still out of breath from this run. Didn't help it was almost 70 degrees and I was over dressed. Derp.

Friday: easy 4 + 5x 20 second sprints at the gym. This one also felt less than easy for the pace. I was overheated in this really nice gym. Side note: L and I easily brought down the average age in the gym by 33+ years that morning.

Saturday: Rest Day!

Went down to Knoxville to pickup my bib at the expo. Rested a lot and tried to come up with a good strategy for the enormously hilly course that was waiting for me on Sunday.

I finished my 11th marathon with a huge smile on my face, and it also happened to be my 2nd fastest time ever. A recap is in the works. Until then, I'll just say it went pretty much as expected, and the hills were no joke!

- xaar

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Knoxville Marathon Week 9, One week to go.

Monday: REST

Tuesday: Easy 5 
I RAN OUTSIDE!!!! Learned my lesson from a previous week and decided not to take 2 days off in a row.

Wednesday: 6 tempo miles at 7:18/mile, 8 miles total
Felt like shit during this run. OMG so hot and sweaty. Might have been fighting a small cold and probably sweated out my soul on this one.

Thursday: REST

Friday: Easy 5 
My last run as a"single" woman. Again, felt off- sneezed 89 times the day before. So um, thanks allergies? Or mild cold?  Got married. 

Saturday: 6 easy miles with some sprints
Planned on my long run but woke up feeling feverish hungover and had an elevated heart rate so decided on my other short workout. Surprisingly I felt much better once I got going. 4 miles indoor, 2 miles outside to run to Whole Foods and back for some stuff.  BEER FEST in the early afternoon.

Sunday: 10 easy miles, 1:22:30
Got up early to knock out 12, but felt shitty again- probably remnants of a hangover from the Beer Fest the day before because I had to sample like 18+ beers. I drank more beer Saturday than I have total in the past 5 weeks. It took me until mile 5 to really settle in and enjoy this run. I tried hard to get into my "performing" mindset, but man it was a struggle. Every week cant be a rainbow sneezing pony, so this week will hopefully be much better.


So Tuesday was approaching 50 degrees, so I HAD to run outside. I was so freaking happy I did, because I saw PANCAKE ICE!!!!!
I hadn't seen this phenomenon since last spring, and was losing hope I would encounter it this year with Spring (fast?) approaching, but IT WAS THERE IN THE HARBOR and I was OMG SO HAPPY. Day made.


On Friday L and I went to City Hall and got married almost 5 years to the day we first met. We decided on a City Hall wedding a while ago because an actual ceremony wasn't feasible for our situation, nor did we want to deal with anything related to wedding planning. Since our family and friends are all over the United States and the world, we will go on mini vacations to see all the VIPs in our lives during the year. Some things that I *loved* about our little wedding:

  • There were about 10 couples ahead of us to get married- and it was a 60/40 split of straight to gay couples which I thought was pure AWESOME. YAY equality.
  • An older gay couple started clapping after each couple came out of the judge's chamber to congratulate the new married couple. This lightened the mood up considerably because it felt a bit like waiting at the DMV...
  • Our judge was AMAZING. This guy obviously loves his job of marrying people and made us laugh and (maybe) shed a few tears... 

Dress: Monique lhuillier, 
Shoes: Corso Como (Gold- because it's a Brasilian Wedding Tradition
Belt/Hair clip: Anthropologie, 

Post wedding, we changed back into normal clothes and then hit up Dryhop for some delicious beer and lunch.Then went to Gilt Bar for an amazing dinner.

Saturday we went to the craft beer fest at Union Station. We had our pretzel necklaces and a huge entourage which made sampling dozens of different beers all the more fun.
More thoughts:

While I might have been fighting a little cold or allergies this week, the likely culprits for my lackluster (shitty) feeling runs was probably a combo of too many beerz +  not paying close enough attention to my food intake. I need to make sure this week I avoid dairy and cool it with all the beerz until I'm celebrating post 11th marathon. Ok, Ok, I'll have a beer with my dad on Wednesday when he arrives... 

I'm still wishy-washy on my shoe choice and am leaning towards wearing my older Newtons because the NEWtons are still making my left foot feel a little strange on longer runs. I'm all set with my race day outfit, and realize i'll probably freeze my ass off in the 40 degree start temps (with a skirt and tank), but will feel so good within a mile or 2.
I'm looking forward to leaving Snowy Chicago for a few days to see my mom. I'm also really psyched to run in a new area.
So in these final days of taper for #11, i'll continue to take care of myself and get rest and eat foods that make me feel good and not the foodz that I know make me sick. I'll also only think the most positive thoughts, because why the hell not? I run because I love it. I love the challenge of marathons, and am excited to put these past 10 weeks of training + changes in nutrition on the road in Knoxville. I'm prepared, I'm ready, and I'm excited beyond belief to run marathon #11 and hopefully get my long awaited BQ.

Third time is the charm, right??

7 days to go!


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Knoxville Marathon Week 8, OMG 2 weeks to go!

Monday: REST

Tuesday: Easy 5

Wednesday: 2x3 Miles HARD & FAST, 8 Miles total. (3 sets strength stuffs/ 2 sets core)
1st set @ 7:08 avg pace, 2nd set @ 7:03 avg pace. YEEHAW! 2 weeks ago I did the 3x2's and had doubts because the pace was around 10 seconds slower than my 5K PR (from October). Well, I nailed this one. Doubts were cast aside and I ran hard and enjoyed this ass kicking workout.

Thursday: Easy 2.5
Was supposed to be 5, but the pup detoured my plans. He was freaking out from all the ice falling that I made the decision to board him for the night, so he wouldnt hurt himself anymore by scratching at doors and destroying things.

Friday: 20 FREAKING MILES before work with 10 @ GMP. 2:41.37 +2 sets strength stuffs
Gym was at 75 degrees, FML. The thermostat is too high tech (read:not intuitive) and I couldnt lower the temp. There's a special place in hell for people who like the gym to be hot. It's not a freaking Bikram Studio, Idiots. Sweated my balls off during this one, but pushed through with the 10GMP (8:00-7:50 pace)  for miles 9-18. Overall felt pretty good. Experimented with nutrition more- Took a TJ's "Fruit Crusher" at mile 4.5, gu around mile 10, and ate bites of banana from 9 to the finish.

Saturday: REST
Was going to do my easy 5, but needed all the sleeps. An early massage at 9am also didn't help with running, but the massage was needed. My quad seems to have a knot in it, but the therapist said no- it was just tight. More Dead Sea salt baths are in my future, along with the usual foam rolling, myo ball, etc.

Sunday: Easy 6 with "All da Hillz" + 2 sets strength stuffs, 2 sets core.
12x 20 second hill sprints. I felt tired and heavy and lethargic and hot. Residual from the 20 most likely. Was happy to be done with this one.

 Monday the CBear and I took a walk because it was a "warm" 50 degrees out. It was probably the 3rd walk he has been on this year. We both enjoyed ourselves immensely even though the sunset was lack luster.
Much of the snow was melting and causing flooding.

By Wednesday the F*CKING snow came back. Around 4" of heavy wet snow was left behind after the storm. The wet snow quickly turned to ice and was so fun to walk through. With warmer temps on Thursday, the ice started breaking off buildings creating a need to wear a hard hat while outside down town. 
 As a result of the ice breaking off, CB got so freaked out that by Thursday he had opened a shut door in our place and tried to open several other doors. I made the executive decision to board him for the night because I didn't want to worry about him at work on Friday- nor did I want him to hurt himself further. (His paws were torn up from scratching...)
The 20 miler was good because CB wasn't home and I wasn't worrying about him.He was off having fun at doggy play time all day Friday. Lucky dog.
The fountains celebrating St Paddy's day

Thoughts this week:
Well, taper officially begins Wednesday at sundown. Post tempo run I can become the cliche of "Taper Madness." ok, not really. I've got a lot going on this week to keep me busy.And I don't waste my energy on stuff like that. 

I'm feeling really good about the past 8 weeks worth of training. Every single mile has been quality. And while I would have preferred to be running outside, the conditions were pretty much shit for one reason or another. The melting snow causing puddles mid week were turning into ice by the weekend. I ain't got time for falling and injuring myself this late in the game.   Oh, and running in 20-30 degrees would certainly impact my ability to run a race in potential 50-70 degrees race day. The gym has been my savior for acclimatization. It's the "silver lining" I keep telling myself. I'll be prepared for warmer temps because my gym is a sweat box. 
 He was so chill when I brought him home Friday afternoon. 

So with 2 weeks, 2 WEEKS until Knoxville, I'm starting to make a list of all my running accouterments that I'll need to take with me. I've already placed an order to restock my supply of the drink I use, and pretty much have my outfit picked out. That sounds so silly, but the "outfit" is important. Need to avoid chaffing, need to be comfortable, and of course, lets not forget "if you look good, you feel good." I've also got a small list of other things I'll need to purchase this week from Fleet Feet- some more GU, Body Glide, stuff like that. This will be my 11th Marathon, but the one of the things I've learned is leave nothing to chance. Routine and consistency are key to a solid race performance. And I pretty much have a routine that works very well for me. No need to change it up now. 

So finally, going into these last 2 weeks, I'll continue to visualize the race and how I want it to go. Mental prep is SO IMPORTANT. I'll also keep thinking only the most positive of thoughts, because why the hell not? There's no room in my head for negative shit. (that's just a waste of energy)  

2 weeks to go! YAY. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Knoxville Marathon Week 7

Monday: REST
Work stressin me the eff out.

Tuesday: REST
Work stressin me the eff out again.

Wednesday: 5 mile Tempo @ 7:18. (7 miles total)
Felt overheated and rusty like a tin man that's been left out in the rain. Strength + Core stuffs too.

Thursday: Recovery 5 miles.
Flushing the gunk out.

Friday: 18 miles, 2:27
Another pre-work long run in the books. Didn't experiment with real foodz because I didn't plan ahead. DERP. Felt a little hot, but otherwise an uneventful slightly progressive run with the final 5 miles around GMP.

Saturday: Easy 5
Felt like shit. Ate a ton of food for brunch and struggled through this one 4 hours later.

Sunday: Easy 7 + 2 sets strength stuffs
Mildly progressive + filled with rage because of our elderly neighbor and her barking "Rats" which never STFU. One or all 3 (barking rats, not elderly neighbor) shit in the hallway and she didn't clean up until after they went for a walk.

Wore my new Lulu skirt to test out and it was AH-MAZING. It didnt take a chunk out of my thighs, so I believe it will be part of my race day outfit. And... IT HAS 4 POCKETS!!! No need for a janky spi-belt or fanny pack now. YAY! My NEWtons also are feeling great after the 18 miler and the 7 miler. finally broken in after 50 miles and my feet are very happy. :)
With Knoxville fast approaching 3 weeks from today, I've been feeling every type of emotion towards this race. One moment i'll feel super confident in my abilities, and the next wonder why the eff am I doing another marathon. I'm doing another because I have unfinished business. I won't settle until I reach my goal, ok that's a lie. I'll never settle. The awful memories of Fox Valley 2013 creep into my head more than I would like, and I wonder if the same bonk-fest will happen at Knox. Answer: Probably not since I know what caused it and have figured out a solution to avoid the great bonk in the future.
Some of the thingz I've realized this time around...

  • I cannot take 2 days off in a row and expect to run a hard tempo with "ease." 
  • Looking back at past training cycles helps build confidence. Especially since i'm much stronger now than back in September 2013 as evidenced by my training logs.
  • Figuring out why I bonked at FVM was important, and the changes I've made to my nutrition since have made a huge difference in my runs.
  • Acknowledging I have some sort of pre-run anxiety happening before speed work and long runs. Once I get running, all those feelings fade.
  • I want to run more than 5 days a week but won't change this until post marathon. 

Stuff to remember going into my final high mileage week:

  • I have all the confidence in Coach and her plan to get me to the start line ready to smash my goal for this race.
  • I've been putting in all the work and need to trust in my training and myself.
  • The bonk-fest of FVM won't happen in a future race due to tweaking my nutrition & knowing the cause of the issue.
  • I love running and chasing better times for as long as my body allows. 
  • In the words of Macklemore "This is F*CKING AWESOME."

3 weeks. Time is flying by and I'm getting more and more excited for this race. It will be so nice to run outside in a new area and even tackle some hills.AND HAVE FUN!

- xaar

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Knoxville Marathon Week 6

Time flies when you're having fun!  I'm now more than halfway through my 10 weeks of training for this race :)

Monday: REST

Tuesday: Easy 5 + Core stuffs

Wednesday: 3x2 miles, HARD. + Strength Stuffs
Averaged 7:10, 7:08, and 7:05 respectively for the 2 mile sets. I felt really good during this workout and was *almost* sad there was no 4th set... When I saw this workout in the email from Coach, I thought there was no way i'd hit the paces since they are so close to my 5K PR pace from October... Coach knows me better than I know myself.

Thursday: Easy 5
Some easy recovery miles. My legs were a bit sore from the 3x2 + strength and it was amazing how some easy miles flushes the crap out of your legs and makes them feel almost good as new.

Friday: REST

Saturday: 16 miles with 8 @ GMP of 8:00-7:53, 2:09.
Felt pretty good overall minus feeling a little overheated. Tried eating "real food" on this run by eating a bite of a banana every few miles after mile 5. No explosive stomach issues happened, so I'll continue to experiment with "real foodz*" during these runs.

*real foodz= things people usually hand out on a marathon course. Bananas, oranges, etc. I did have one gu at 4.5, but am looking to get away from stuff like that in the future.

Sunday: All the Hillz. 6 miles with 10x 20 second sprints. Incline 4.5, Pace 6:30 + 2 sets Squats/ Core Stuffs.
Felt surprisingly springy and good considering the long run yesterday. The incline sprints were "fun." The first few are always tough and then I find myself looking forward to the next one.


I'm feeling really good this week compared to last week. My new Newton shoes were giving my arch some grief in the first 3 easy runs I used them for, but Sunday's hill run went without incident. Depending on how the easy runs go this week, I might take the Newtons out for their first log run- an 18 miler.

Now that my shoes are almost "chosen" for race day, I need to start thinking about what to wear. My new lulu skirt has 3 pockets which should be enough to carry all my gu/salt/etx instead of a janky fanny pack. I flippin hate my spibelt, so anything to avoid wearing that mess will make me happy.
I started comparing my mileage from this year to last and was very happy to see I'm way ahead of last year! It feels so good to not have to start out the year injured as in years past.
I'm sick of the snow and extreme cold we continue to be dealt this winter. I keep visualizing Knoxville to be in the mid 40's-50's and be partly cloudy. My god that sounds so beautiful right now.I hope it warms up, but stays "perfect" for race day.
CB is not amused with the weather at all.
More thought stuff

  • This week I'll continue to experiment with food intake during long runs, and force myself to eat breakfast before my long run this time around too. I like to roll out of bed and just run on an empty stomach usually.
  • Need to remember to use body glide on my "arm/back fat" and "under arm skin roll" areas because I'm sick of getting mild chaffage/hot spots in there. I keep thinking it was a "one off" but it's been happening during each of my long runs regardless of which tank or sports bra I use. But that's the definition of "insanity"- doing the same effing thing and expecting different results. I've FINALLY stopped wearing the stupid shorts that ALWAYS cause chaffing. It's the small victories.
  • With 4 freaking weeks to go, I need to start thinking about what i'm going to wear. So that means the Lulu skirt might make an appearance at the gym this week for a test run.
  • "Milk Free Week" was a big success. And now I'm terrified to have any dairy because this was the first week in a long time I didn't get the painful belly bloat. So maybe I cannot place all the blame on avocados? I'll experiment with that later this week. I just thank god it wasnt gluten causing my issues. I've known all along cow milk upset my stomach a little so I switched to rice milk in my cereal, but I continued to put half n half in my coffee and eat cheese. Time for a change. Sigh.

I'm so excited to get the hell out of Chicago for a weekend to see my Mom. Knoxville can't come soon enough!

4 weeks to go. COWABUNGA!