MCM Training Recap: Week 15

For some reason I had the hardest time writing this post.  I don’t know if it was because I didn’t feel like I had a lot to report due to the reduced miles, or if my reluctance to write this post reflects the fact that  by writing it, I’m actually acknowledging the fact that I’m officially in my last week of training and will be running a marathon in 6 days.  Either way, this post was hard to write (hopefully not hard for you to read).

Like I said a minute ago, I had reduced miles this week.  Only 24 miles to be exact.  A year ago I would have died laughing at the idea of me complaining about only running 24 miles but now that I’ve been running in between 30-40 miles for the past few months that number seems foreign.  So how did it break down?  Well, Monday was a short 3 mile run with strides.  This was the day after I ran the Gulf Coast 1/2 Marathon in Mandeville, LA, and it was nice to shake the legs out.  The professional race pics from the 1/2 are finally up so I thought I’d share one with you.  Proof that I did actually run the 1/2 and not just douse myself with water and steal a medal. 😛

It’s like Where’s Waldo? I’m even wearing a striped shirt….


Wednesday was another short 4 mile marathon pacing session. Boring.

By Thursday I was beyond ready to move and I knew I’d get the chance during the 7 miles of speed work that was on the calendar.  However, I spent the first 4 miles feeling sick to my stomach and wishing I could hurl.  It was bizarre but I pushed through it (after stopping several times) and got the speed work done at a faster pace then was on the plan.  I think I just wanted to be done.  I was worried I was getting sick but I’ve felt fine ever since.  I guess it was just one of those freak runs.

And then finally it was time for my final “long” run.  It was 10 easy miles .  I got up at 4am to meet a couple of my running girls.  It was a chilly morning (temp was 53* – don’t judge, I live in MS) but it was absolutely gorgeous.  The stars were out for the first hour and then I got to see a gorgeous sunrise.  It was strange stopping after 10 miles.  My body was confused and then I had all this pent up energy the rest of the day.  Grrrrr….

Random big fish right before the sunrise.

These girls stuck out the entire training with me! ❤ Stacey (L) is running the MCM and Lorena (M) trained even though she’s not running the race.

So now I get to play the waiting game.  I have 3 easy runs totaling 10 miles before next Sunday.  I guess my legs will be good and rested but I question if they’ll remember how to run or not.  Either way, functioning legs or not, I will be running the Marine Corps Marathon in memory of my brother.

Question:  What is your favorite time of day to workout? Do you ever get to see amazing sunrises or sunsets?

Gulf Coast 1/2 Marathon Recap

Did you get your presidential debate on last night? I hope so; it’s incredibly important for you to be as informed as possible.  Alright, that’s the end of my public service announcement.  I’m not a political blogger so I don’t like to talk politics….I like to talk about running…and eating!  As promised, my Gulf Coast 1/2 marathon recap is finally ready for your viewing pleasure! I’ll try not to bore you with too many details but this 1/2 was absolutely fantastic!  I give it two thumbs way, waaaaaay up and already have plans on making this an annual race.

Ok, bad blogger confession.  I left my camera & phone in the car so I don’t have any pictures during the race and the professional pics haven’t been released yet. 😦 I’m sorry.

Race weekend started off Saturday with me packing enough food to feed an army my travel snacks.  I am absolutely incapable of traveling without food – thank you clean eating.  Because I eat clean going out of town takes a bit more planning then it used to.  I know that if I don’t have food packed I’m going to be incredibly limited on my options on what I can eat.  Plus I always like having extra food for my running girlies.  If you ever meet me, I promise you will not go hungry!

Now that I’ve shown you my clean eats.  Let me show you my not so clean eats.  One of my favorite parts of race weekend is the clean eating hiatus I take for my pre and post-race meal.  See exhibit one (pre-race mufaletta, a classic New Olreans sammy, Dicristina’s) and exhibit 2 (post race club sammy with fries at Camellia Cafe). What can I say? I love my sandwiches!

Sorry, I digress.  Back to Saturday… My friend Karla and I drove over to Mandeville, Louisiana, to pickup our race bibs and t-shirts.  I was super excited about the shirts because the other Gulf Coast 1/2 I ran in Florida had an awesome shirt.  I was disappointed.  It’s just so blue.  And boring.  And not even dri-fit.  But I did love my bib! I decided to do something different and put my Twitter/Instagram handle on it just for fun.

Then it was time for race morning.  At the lovely hour of 4:50, alarms started going off.  Good morning sunshine….It’s race day! A quick check of the weather (don’t pretend like you don’t check the weather before doing anything else) revealed that it was already 71 degrees and 90% humidity.  Fantastic race conditions….

I threw this tree pic in here because I want you to see the gorgeous southern oak trees that were all along the course.

We got to the start area and hit the fantastic port-o-potty lines one last time.  Spoiler alert this next part is TMI.  I waited and waited and finally it was my turn.  So I hop into the john and first check for TP.  None.  Ok, I can deal with that.  I’m a runner, it happens.  But then I notice some, uh, semi-solid stuff (gags) on the outside of the potty.  Nope.  NOT HAPPENING. I high tailed it out of there and yelled some words of caution to the next few people in line.  I ran the entire race needing to pee – ugh!

At this time it was a few minutes before the race started so I hurried to line up.  They didn’t have specific corrals (just recommended times) so it was first come, first serve which meant I was waaaaay in the back.  It was cool though I decided the night before to not race but just let my body do what felt right.  If I set a PR great.  If I didn’t set a PR, great, my body would still like me.  If you remember, in my post last week, I struggled with the decision to run it as a training run or race it.   I just didn’t want to put any unnecessary pressure on myself.  I still ran with my Garmin but I had it programed to where I couldn’t see any stats that way I wasn’t tempted to monitor my progress.

Did I mention it was still insanely early when we got to the race?

So the race gun went off, and I spend the first mile bobbing and weaving in and out of runners.  Faster runners passing me, me passing slower runners.  You know, the whole circle of life type thing.  Early on in the race I got to wave hi to Mindy from Road Runner Girl.  We were supposed to meet before but I forgot my spibelt (my checklist failed me) so I decided to leave my phone in the car.  Even though we didn’t officially meet, I at least know there is a super cute person behind her blog – hi Mindy!!

I remember passing the 3 mile marker and thinking, “Yay, I only have 10 miles to go”! It’s funny how marathon training can warp your sense of reality. The course took us along the lake front which was gorgeous! Lots of guys fly fishing.  I briefly considered jumping in to cool off.  Then before I knew it I passed mile 6….and mile 9… By mile 10 I could tell I was going at a fairly decent pace.  Surprisingly, my body wasn’t fatigued at all and the running just felt effortless.  I had no idea if I was doing a 9:30 pace or a 10:15 pace but I had an inkling that I would at least PR by a few seconds.  Then finally I saw mile 11 so I started my countdown. Only 20(ish) minutes left.  Anytime I get close to the end of a run I like to countdown the minutes instead of the distance; it just seems to make things go faster.

I still had a ton of energy left so I kicked up the last mile and booked it to the finish line where I was greeted with a surprising 2:07:07 a 7:40 PR!! My Garmin said 2:07:03 but, between you and me,  if I had known I was only a few seconds away from 2:06 I would have kicked it up sooner.  The total distance was 13.23 which made my pace 9:36; not bad considering I walked through all the water stops.  This was the lowest stress race and I really enjoyed listening to my body; just soaking in the atmosphere and running with no prerogative.  A sub two hour 1/2 is totally in my future! Buuuuuut first, I have to tackle the MCM!

Sweaty finisher’s pic.

Hooray for functional race bling – a bottle opener!
What do you think of my lovely sweat line?

Question:  Have you ever hit your race or workout groove and surprised yourself at the results?

MCM Training Recap: Week 14

When I was typing the title to this post I seriously had to double check that I had the right week – 14.  14?? How in the world did that happen? I mean there’s only 16 weeks in my training plan so (go ahead and take off your socks for this insanely hard math problem) that means that there’s only 2 weeks until the Marine Corps Marathon!

Hello butterflies.  Nice to meet you.

This is the first week that I got to enjoy the benefit of {somewhat} reduced mileage.  I can’t really say I ‘taper’ because I still ran 32 miles.  I am happy to be backing down the miles because I’ve been experiencing pretty severe muscle aches that run up and down the side of my legs between my calves and shins.  They go away after 3-4 miles but then come back as soon as I’m done running.  Growing pains? Maybe I’m going to get some oober-bulgy calves?  *Sigh* Probably not.  I’ve actually taken to sleeping in my favorite compression socks (Pro Compression) after speed work helps relieve some of the post run pain.

Ummmm yeah, those are Mr. & Mrs. owls on my PJs. Don’t judge.

Speaking of speed work.  This week was chock full o’ it! Which is good because I know that speed work = faster running.  Yep, I did it.  I pointed out the obvious! Monday’s run included 6 miles with 6 strides, Wednesday’s run was 8 miles with 8 Yasso’s, and then Thursday’s run was 5 miles with 3 at marathon pace.  I got to chat with Duckie (the elderly guy I met while running Yasso’s last week) on Wednesday.  Turns out he was special forces in the army… i.e. The type of person who could kill you 36 different ways with a pencil.  I’m sure he has some awesome stories to tell.  I think it may become a Tuesday routine to stop and chat with him.

Then Saturday was the Gulf Coast 1/2 Marathong which was my first half of the fall! I’ll have a full recap on Wednesday’s post but let’s just say it was awesome! (And included a surprising PR, too!)  I have to admit that it was really strange only running 13.1 miles which is my shortest long run distance in almost 2 months; my legs were totally confused when I stopped.  I can honestly say that I feel very prepared for the MCM.  If any of you are training for a marathon, I highly recommend running a ½ a few weeks before your full.  It will give you a huge boost of confidence!

Annnnnnnnnnd with the end of week 14, I officially start to taper.  I’m pretty nervous about dropping down the miles and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t encounter the taper madness everyone talks about…  I guess we’ll see!  For now, I’m off to foam roll the kinks out from today’s ½ marathon.  I hope everyone else had a fantastic weekend, too!!

Tell me, what exciting things did you do this weekend? I want to hear from you!

Gulf Coast 1/2 Marathon Here I Come!

Yippee!! It’s race weekend! Racing is arguably my favorite part of running.  I know I’ve said this before, but I love everything about it.  From preparing for the race, to packet pickup and all the swag at the expo (I ❤ free stuff!), to soaking in the nervous energy as all the runners are waiting in our corrals.  I. just. love. it!

This weekend I’m off to Mandeville, Louisiana, to run the Gulf Coast 1/2 Marathon.  I haven’t run this one before but I’ve heard nothing but great things about the course; it snakes through some pretty scenic parts of LA.

Fingers crossed the course goes by lots of historic homes.

I have my checklist printed out and ready to get packing when I get home.  I know it’s oober nerdy but I will inevitably forget something (more likely multiple somethings) if I don’t have a checklist.  What can I say? I’m a spontaneous planner…

The plan of attack this weekend is supposed to be running the 1/2 like I would a normal training run.  With the marathon coming up in 2 weeks it would be silly of me to exhaust my legs by trying to PR.  What’s that? You noticed the “supposed” in the first sentence? Yeah, that’s because I know myself well enough to know that I’m not going to follow the long easy run advice and I’m going to try to PR.  *exasperated sigh*

On the plus side, my current PR is a not very speedy 2:14:47 (this was from my 1st half 7 months ago).  On the down side, I’ve been training for a marathon and not working on my 1/2 marathon speed.  I guess we’ll see what happens.  Mark my words, a sub 2 hour 1/2 will be mine in 2013!

So what am I going to be listening to as I try to PR complete my long, easy run? Well thanks to your wonderful suggestions, these songs have been added to my playlist:

  • My Body by Young the Giant (Thanks Megan!)
  • Bob Seger’s Old Time Rock-n-Roll (Thanks Ms. Belva!)
  • Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide by Shine Down (Thanks Nicole!)
  • Tubthumping by Chumbawamba (Thanks Dad! <3)
  • Just a Girl by No Doubt (Thanks Kat!)
  • Little Lion Man by Mumford and Sons (Thanks Amanda!)
  • Strange Clouds by B.O.B (Thanks Carrie!)

Thanks for all the suggestions y’all! Can’t wait to randomly fist pump or bust a move to them this Sunday!

Question:  Who else is racing this weekend? Any 5k’s, 10k’s, 1/2 or even full marathons – I want to hear about your awesome plans!

10 Running Questions Answered

Today is my hubby’s birthday! It’s hard for me to believe he’s 27; especially since he was 17 when we met… GAH, we’re getting old! Time for a throwback pic – Jody’s Senior prom!

We had a fun day of kayaking planned (I even took today off from work) but he’s not feeling great so I’m not sure what today has in store for us.

As far as this post goes, I’m totally taking the easy way out and doing a survey.  I’m not really one to do survey/answer type posts but when Darlena from Run Find Your Happy Pace tagged me last month I put it on my things to do.  If you have a minute, check out her blog, she’s always posting something inspirational; plus she makes SUPER cute headbands for runners. Also, thanks to Another Mother Runner for originating this great idea.

Another Mother Runner posted 10 questions about running and here are my answers:

1. Best Run Ever.  Hands-down, my first 1/2 marathon which was Rock-n-Roll New Orleans this past March.  It was a phenomenal race and I loved everything about it and it solidified my love for racing.  I remember at mile 12 having marathon envy watching the marathoners split from us as we entered the last mile of the course while they continued on to achieve their 26.2.  I felt so great at mile 12 that I {briefly} entertained the idea of following them.  Luckily common sense kicked in and I stayed in the 1/2 marathon lane.  But that 26.2 finisher’s medal will be mine; I’ve already registered for the 2013 full (yes, I’ve registered for my 2nd marathon without having run my 1st)!

2. Three words to describe my runningEntertaining (I like to sing very off tune to my running friends), focused (because I know when to stop singing and get down to business), accomplished (nothing feels better then tackling a hard run you thought you couldn’t finish).

3. My go to run outfit.  Anything that covers me so I’m not charged with a public indecency crime.  HA! I don’t actually have a go-to outfit but my must have accessory is my Garmin.  I literally cannot function without it!

4. Quirky habit while running. I guess I gave it away in my answer to #2 but I’ve been know to burst out singing random lyrics on occasion….

5. Morning, midday or evening runner?   I’m an equal opportunity runner…no discrimination here, I’ll take it anytime I can get it.  (Does this make me sound like an addict? I might need to rephrase the answer…) Typically I run at night during the week and in the very early morning on the weekend.

6. I won’t run outside when its... Pre-marathon training, I had a huge list of elements I wouldn’t run in but I can honestly say I’ve ran in every single condition possible – to include a hurricane.  Thanks Isaac

Soaked to the bone = thumbs down

7. Worst injury & how I got over it.  The worst injury I’ve ever had from running was years ago when I was in high school.  I tore my MCL (from running) and had to do physical therapy for a few months followed with wearing an annoyingly huge brace for what seemed like forever! Unfortunately I let this injury dictate my running (or lack there of) for the several years until I just said ‘no more’.  So last year I figure if I have to have knee surgery eventually I should at least wear my knee out doing something I like.  Yes, my logic is very flawed…I realize that.

8. I felt most like a badass mother runner when…I finished my first half marathon in New Orleans.  In just a few short months I went from someone who was just getting back into running and had trouble with a 5k to someone who ran a 1/2 marathon and still had energy left over! Seriously, for anyone who has ever said “I can’t run”, I’ve been there and if I can do it so can you! You just have to train, train, train!

9. My next race is?  This Saturday; woot-woot!!  I’ll be running the Gulf Coast 1/2 Marathon and then just two weeks after that I’ll be running the Marine Corps Marathon in DC – AHHHHH!

10. Potential running goals for 2013.  Speed is the name of the game for 2013.  I really, really want a sub 2 hour 1/2 marathon which is totally doable if I train myself properly.

I am tagging the following four of my favorite fitness blogs to participate:

Carrie from Fitness and Frozen Grapes

Kat from Sneakers and Fingerpaints

Abby from Back at Square Zero

Jennifer from Wine to Weight Lifting

I want to hear from you, too! Tell me, what is your answer to #2? What 3 words describe your running/cycling/lifting/ect?

Music That Gets You Moving

Are y’all tired of the sappy, emotionally charged downer posts I’ve put up this past week? ‘Cause I know I am! I feel like I owe all of you a box (or two) of Kleenex.  I’m so happy to report that this week has been a million times better than last week and I’m feeling back to my annoyingly upbeat self.  Not to mention I got this little nugget of joy in my inbox last night!

I have my last 20 mile run tomorrow and I’m soooooo ready to get out there and tackle it.  Then next weekend I’ll be running the Gulf Coast 1/2 Marathon in Mandeville, Louisiana – yay!

This race is a series and I ran the one in Pennsacola, Florida, this spring. It was just alright, not fantastic by any means.  The course was long (as in 13.35 miles), flat, boring, very few spectators.  BUT I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this course so I’m really excited it!

Plus, I can’t wait to get my hands on some more race bling.  They have the coolest finisher’s medal….a bottle opener!

I’m also excited to run this because it will be a good test run for the Marine Corps Marathon.  But I need your help. My 1/2 marathon playlist needs some new beats.  The only time I run to music is at the gym or during a race where I know they won’t have music.  My music taste is super eclectic so I’m up for any suggestion!  My current top songs on my playlist are:

  • I Love Rock ‘n Roll (Joan Jett)
  • Joy to the World (Three Dog Night)
  • Last Resort (Papa Roach)
  • Pour Some Sugar on Me (Def Leopard)
  • Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (Marvin Gaye)
  • Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (AC/DC)
  • The Boy From New York City (The Ad Libs)
  • Everybody Dance Now (C+C Music Factory)
  • Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch (The Four Tops)
  • {And I almost hate to admit this song but if you’ve ever been stuck behind someone in a congested race you’ll understand…} Move B*tch (Ludacris)

Man, I can feel my adrenaline increase just thinking about these songs! Makes me want to dance.  And yes, I am guilty of during some sort of strange run/dance & random fist pumping during races.  Annnnnnd also high-fiving any poor spectator that might make eye contact with me.   I could pretend like I’m embarrassed by those revelations, but the truth is, I’m not! I love to have fun.  And I don’t want to disappoint Mr. Gosling.

I’m looking for songs that around 150+ BPM (beats per minute) but will take any suggestion into consideration!  Side note – If you’ve never used to help find music with a certain BPM, stop what you’re doing right now and check it out (but make sure to come back to me…I have abandonment issues…HA).

So tell me, what else should I have on my playlist? What song(s) gets your blood pumping? 

Spartan Update

If you remember, a few weeks ago I put out a plea for advice in my Spartan: Am I Tough Enough post asking if I should register for a Spartan Race.  The race is just two short weeks after completing my first full marathon and I was worried about my body being recovered enough to handle the intensity that Spartan races are known for.  I want to thank everyone who weighed in; I received a great deal of advice through my blog, on facebook and also e-mail.  Y’all are awesome!

So an update on my decision….Turns out, I’m NOT tough enough for Spartan.  Next year Spartan, you’re mine but right now, these Olive Oyl strength arms are simply not ready for the beating a Spartan race will take on them.  Maybe Popeye can spot me a few cans of his magical spinach??

I wonder if this is how I look when I run??

What really helped me make my decision was reading a Spartan Race recap from Melissa who blogs at Melissa Runs.  I was fine with all of the obstacles, crawling under barbed wire, jumping over fire, climbing over walls, etc… but what stopped me dead in my tracks was reading that you have to do 30 burpees any time you fail to complete an obstacle.  (To read Melissa’s totally BA recap, click here.)  Now for most people, doing all those burpees might not dissuade them, but for me, I felt like I ran right into a brick wall.  You want me to do what?? How many times?? On legs that may or may not have recovered from running 26.2 miles?? Pfft!  That’s pretty much begging my body to rebel and get injured.  Yes, Mr. Race Director, I would like a side of torn IT band with this wall I have to climb; thanks for asking.

So for those of you who may not know what a burpee is, it’s not a cucumber.  It’s an explosive total body exercise that combines squats, pushups, and jumping in one fluid motion.  I can only do about 10 of these right now…not 30!

Am I disappointed that I didn’t sign up? Yes.  Am I content with my decision? Yes.  Now here’s the kicker…Can I promise not to sign up in the next few weeks? Unsure.  I’m kind of a compulsive race registrant.  Case in point, I just registered for the Gulf Coast Half Marathon Series in Mandeville, Louisiana which is only 2 weeks before the Marine Corps Marathon.  I’m hoping I don’t regret the decision to run a half 2 weeks before my first full but registering for it sure made not registering for the Spartan Race much easier!  Wish me luck and thanks again for all the wonderful advice – y’all rock!

Question:  Have you ever had race registration conflicts?  How did you resolve it?