MCM Training Recap: Week 13

After last week’s not so fantastic training I was determined to get back in the right frame of mind this week.  And I’m happy to say that I loved week 13 – I guess maybe 13 isn’t an unlucky number after all.  I may have enjoyed it a bit too much…the training plan called for 36 miles but I ended up doing right around 57. (To be fair 16.5 of those miles were from cycling.) My legs are pretty trashed…

Week 13 started out on a somber note as I ran 3.1 miles for my brother’s 31st birthday Monday morning and then ran my scheduled training run Monday night.  Tuesday’s run was 8 miles of speed work (Yassos) which means lots of running in loops.  Sounds boring right? Well it can be but on this particular run I got to make a new friend – yay!

My training partner Stacey and I were running and noticed an elderly gentleman sitting  in a wheelchair on his porch.  I waved at him the first time we ran by and he waived back.  The second time we ran by he gave us a thumbs-up; the third go-round he yelled to us that we were “looking good”.  Well by the 4th Yasso I couldn’t stand it anymore so I stopped and trotted up his ramp (he looked a bit frightened… I can’t blame him; I was covered in sweat) and introduced myself.  I told him if I was going to keep running by him we at least needed to know each other. His name was Duckie – how cool!! We chatted briefly, I told him how much his cheering meant to us and then Stacey and I continued on.  Duckie continued to cheer us on for the next few Yassos – he totally made my night.

Thursday’s run was a marathon pacing session; nothing worthwhile to report there.  Then it was time to get ready for my last 20 miler!  It’s so hard to believe that I was getting ready for my last long run before I start tapering.  After my epic 21 mile run two weeks ago I had really high hopes for this run but I’m not going to lie, this was a super difficult run.  We (me + my training girls) spent the first 3(ish) miles in the pitch black dodging open man-holes (no joke, I wouldn’t be surprised if a person went missing from falling in one) and jumping huge sections of the sidewalk that were torn up from Hurricane Isaac.  Not off to a good start.  Then we tackled a huge incline and since this was an out and back run that meant that we would be tackling the same huge incline at mile 15.5. Yikes! Now,  throw in the mix that I was having pretty bad GI cramps the entire 20 miles…  Not fun.  We did get to see an amazing sunrise and we had some really gorgeous scenery along the way.

Beautiful sunrise over the beach.

We ran by this church just as their bells started to toll. Very cool.

Really cool carving from a dead tree.

But by mile 19 I was beat and all I wanted to do was finish…which thankfully we did!

Flashing my gang signs…HA! It’s supposed be a 20.

We stopped at a local farmer’s market to “refuel” before heading home.

Drooooool…..

Ok, so the ginormous cookie really wasn’t mine.  I got it for my hubby. (I’m such a sweet wife, right??) I bought a cranberry scone but greedily devoured it before I could snap a picture – woops.  I headed home, showered, changed and then headed back out for a 16.5 mile bike ride on the Long Leaf Trace with my hubs.  ❤ ❤ ❤

I love this guy so much!

Blinded by the light….Sorry, I’m just abnormally pale.

I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to hold up during the bike ride but they did pretty well.  I totally feel it today, but ll-in-all, it was really a fantastic Saturday and a terrific training week altogether.  Now I’m just excited, nervous, anxious to see exactly what this ‘taper madness’ people talk about is and before I know it the MCM will be here!

Question:  Have you ever experienced ‘taper madness’? What did you do to combat it?

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MCM Training Recap: Week 12

I can’t believe it’s October 1st. Not only does today mean it’s officially the month of the Marine Corps Marathon (yikes!!) but today is also my brother’s birthday.  Roger would have been 31 today so in memory of him I’ll be running 3.1 miles this morning (then doing my scheduled training run this evening.  Who doesn’t like 2-a -days?).  And in just 27 short days (on my birthday) I’ll be running in memory of Roger again. This time instead of a 5k it will be the real deal 26.2!

I’ll have a post on the 5k run for my brother’s birthday later this week but for now, onto week 12’s recap.  I feel like I need to pre-apologize for the amount of whining that’s in this post.  Sorry.

I can honestly say this is the first week I was less than enthusiastic about my training.  In fact, I downright disliked it.  Physically, mentally, emotionally, I was just exhausted and overwhelmed. We had a huge fundraising event at work that I’ve been helping plan since March.  It was one of those weeks where training and work collided and there were a few times I {briefly} considered hiding under the blankets and refusing to come out.  However, I’m not really a hide in the closet type person so I grabbed the bull by the horns and got everything done.

Adding to the mix, I ate terribly, too.  A Larabar here, a peanut butter and honey sandwich there, I literally snacked my way through the week.  I didn’t eat a real meal until yesterday so I definitely didn’t properly fuel my body for the miles.  And let’s not talk about what I ate at the event Saturday night.

So back to the running.  Tuesday’s 7mile run was the best run (which isn’t saying much) of the week and included an amazing sunset.

Wednesday’s run was tough.  It was another 7 miles but it was 7 miles of speed work and because I read the training plan wrong, I had us (me + one of my running friends) running a much faster speed then we should have.  Oops…  By Thursday my legs were just beat.  I got the run done but it really wasn’t pretty.  I was so happy to have a rest day on Friday.

Then it came Saturday.  This was a cut back week so it was only 14 miles.  Easy, right? Well it should have been but not quite 2 miles into the run it started down pouring, complete with sideways rain.

We took shelter and waited for it to stop but it didn’t.  It wasn’t thundering or lightening so we decided to tough it out and finish the run.  At one point in time we were running in ankle deep water. Bleh.  It eventually stopped raining in between miles 6-7 and we finished with just enough time for me to run home, shower and help set up for Moonlight Masquerade (the work event).

I ended up working about 55 hours last week but by the end of Saturday night, it was worth it.  We had a great turnout of people (almost 500) who enjoyed a great evening raising both domestic violence awareness and critical funds for the Gulf Coast Women’s Center for Nonviolence.  I’m going to leave you with some of the pictures from Saturday night; I may or may not have enjoyed several of the desserts from one of the pictures…

A few of my fellow gorgeous MCM’ers!

Yes, that is a replica Eiffel Tower filled with various wines.

Question:  How do you bounce back from a difficult week?

MCM Training: Week 11 Recap

Week 11…..done!! I absolutely had a blast during training this week; all 38 miles of it!  My legs aren’t too happy with me right now and my IT band has already made it known that it wants some group therapy with me and the foam roller for the beating I it gave earlier, but all-in-all I feel fantastic and accomplished!

Accomplished: Proficient as the result of practice or training <an accomplished dancer>.

Well, I’m swapping dancer with runner.  Although, I would love to be a dancer, I’m just not that graceful.  Case in point, I fell down the stairs after my long run yesterday.  Woops.

Thumbs up on my 21 mile run!

My midweek runs aren’t really worth mentioning other than the further I get into this training, the more the intensity dials up.  I’m loving the speed work but between strides, Yassos and marathon pacing sessions, my legs are like jello and begging for a day off.

So I gave them Friday off and most of Saturday. I did do a one mile test drive on my new kicks Saturday; 7:21 pace for the mile, not bad, Gina, not bad.  So my legs were pretty fresh and happy for Sunday’s 20 miler.  Yep, you read that right, 20 miler!  I have been eyeballing / dreading / anticipating this run on my training plan since May.

Saturday night, I gathered all my gear together so I could sleep as long as possible but when my alarm went off around 4:00am I was not ready to get up.  I begrudgingly drug my behiny (thanks Stacey for that word – love it!) out of bed to make the 45 minute drive to meet my running girls.  We usually do our long runs on Saturday but had to swap it this week due to some scheduling issues.

When we finally got to our meeting, I went potty one last time (TMI? sorry…), and then we were off! We did two 10 mile loops.  The first loop was uneventful except for a snarky runner tell us that we were running on the wrong side of the road. Really?  I just looked at her and said “Good morning”.  I’m well aware of what side of the road to run on. Some people, I tell ya… I did get to run through a gaggle of geese which made me less aggravated.

Somewhere around mile 12 I lost my running girls.  They stopped to grab some water but I kept going, not wanting to break my pace; I knew the route so I wasn’t worried about getting lost.  As much as I love running with my girls, it was surprisingly nice to have time to myself to ponder the wonders of the universe and come up with a solution to world peace.  Ok, just kidding on that; I didn’t come up with a solution for world peace.  But I did take the time to meditate for several miles and work some things out in my head.  It’s amazing what some miles on an open road can do as far as sorting out life things.

One of the lovely views from the run.

I heard my Garmin beep and realized that I’d made it to 18 miles and still felt fabulous.  Then another beep. 19 miles.  Finally, the beep that I’d been anticipating my entire summer….20 miles! But I wasn’t ready to stop running yet – crazy, right? I ended up doing 21 miles total – I can’t believe it!!  I got back to my car, grabbed my Cytomax and Clif Bar and then dipped my legs in the pool. Sooooo nice; almost instant relief.  We hung around the pool for a bit and then we stopped at Cracker Barrel where I got a protein/pancake fix! It was great and I ate almost all of it!!

I didn’t run the 21 miles at a fast pace by any means (it wasn’t slow either, just average) but I’m very grateful to have had the experience.  I’m reminded at how fortunate I’ve been to avoid injury during this training as several runners I know have had to defer their MCM entry to next year.  I can’t imagine how heartbreaking it is to make that decision.

Question:  Have you ever found your groove doing something and not wanted to stop?

MCM Training: Week 10

If you remember waaaaaay back before training for the Marine Corps Marathon started, I posted my training plan with the caveat that week 10 was where I started to get nervous.  These past few weeks I just kept watching the training weeks pass by and week 10 creep up closer and closer.  At more then one point I wanted to put the breaks on training just to slow it down a bit.  Turns out 1.) you can’t slow time, and 2.) I really had nothing to worry about.

Source

So what’s all the fuss I was worried about? Well, the name of the game for week 10 was speed work coupled with an 18 mile long run.  Yes, 18 miles…in one shot….the longest distance I’ve run to date.  At the beginning of the week, I wasn’t sure if my body was going to cooperate with trashing I was going to give it.  Monday’s run was an easy pace but had 4 strides (short bursts of running as fast as you can) mixed in.  I loved this run! I met my running buddy Lorena at the beach and we got to enjoy the most beautiful sunset!

Tuesday’s run had me doing Yasso’s which are basically like intervals.  They’re named after Bart Yasso who I’m pretty sure is a masochist.  But his method is tried and true so even though my legs don’t like it, I know they’re just getting stronger as a result.

By Wednesday’s 5 mile run, my legs were pretty trashed.  Typically I let my legs rest on Wednesdays and run on Thursday but I had a work event so I switched around my days.  Since my calves and shins were sore, I was curious to see if compression socks might help.  I wear them after long runs and love them but I know people who swear by the benefits of wearing them while running.  I didn’t really notice a big difference, but that’s a whole different post.  If nothing else, I was at least visible! I’m so glad that I have some awesome running girls who are willing to take incriminating pictures of my bad sense of fashion.

Finally, Saturday’s 18 mile run.  Friday night I was on the phone with Stacey trying to help her map out our route.  Something I really took for granted before I started running was how much prep time goes into planning the perfect route.  After about 30 minutes of frustration, we finally decided on a spot that took 45 minutes to get to.  When you start running at 5:30, one of the last things you want to do is drive 45 minutes to get to the start.  We actually ended up getting lost for about 20 minutes, too.  By the time we got there, I was in a pretty apathetic mood.  I also noticed that my hips were really tight and achy so I pretty much mentally chalked the run up as bad before I even began.

Boy was I wrong to do that! It turned out to be an amazing run! The weather was in the low 70s when we started and for the first time since May, my clothes weren’t drenched in sweat at the end.  I forget how much easier it is to run when it’s not in the 90’s.  Hooray for fall!!  The miles really seemed to fly by and before I knew it, we were at 10….and then 12….and then right before we got to 15 someone from the group yelled out that we only had a 5k left.  A 5k? Man, I can do those miles in my sleep!  I remember hearing my Garmin beep at mile 17 and thinking I can’t believe I only have 10.5 minutes left! (On the downside, the last 1/2 mile was uphill.)  And then BEEP mile 18!  I felt fabulous like I could have even tackled a few more miles. I may or may not have enjoyed some {definitely not clean eating} pizza with Jody after the run. YUM!

All that worrying for no reason!  I did notice last night that I had a pretty painful spot on my foot so I guess I’ll be headed to my favorite running store this week to see what they think.  Any excuse for new shoes, right? I’m learning so much about myself and I really think I’m starting to realize that I’m stronger then I give myself credit for.  I can’t wait for this week’s 20 miler – I hope it’s just a fabulous!
Question:  What’s your greatest accomplishment, something you thought you couldn’t do?

MCM Training: Week 9 Recap & a Winner

I’m baaaaack! After almost 2 weeks of being sick, I finally feel like myself and my runs (all 30.25 miles) totally reflected it!  Before I get into my training recap, I want to announce the winner of my Garden of Life RAW Protein giveaway.

Congrats Darlena! I’ll be e-mailing you shortly to get your shipping information.

Now onto the recap!  This week introduced speed work back into my life.  The past 8 weeks have been geared more towards building endurance but now I’ll be doing more intense runs to get my body prepared to run the marathon in the time I want.  At the beginning of last week, I was still feeling fairly crummy but by midweek I noticed a great improvement and by Saturday I felt 100% – finally.

Monday’s run was nothing to write home to mom about but Tuesday’s run was a hair raiser.  When my running girls and I met to knock out 6 miles (3 of those miles being tempo) we noticed some very ominous clouds in the distance.  No big deal, at least 75% of our runs lately are ran in some sort of rain so we ignored the warning signs and took off.  Biggest mistake ever! We made it 2ish miles before deciding to cut the run short and head back.  A few minutes later the bottom of the sky fell out. I’m talking blinding, raining sideways, wind-blowing-the-drops-so-hard-into-your-face-you-think-it’s-hailing type rain.

Oh, and did I mention the lightening?  The lightening was going off every 20-30 seconds and it was so close that I could actually feel the temperature rise after several of the bolts.  Seriously scary yet, oddly exhilarating.  In just a matter of a few minutes, the sidewalk and road flooded.  It got so bad that we had no other option but to run another mile to the nearest gas station for shelter.  We waited it out until the lightening wasn’t striking right on top of us and then took off for the cars.  We ended up running 4.25 miles and definitely got our speed work in! The next day the flooding was so bad that several schools were delayed.  Turns out it was the remnants of Hurricane Isaac coming back for round 2.

We made up the missed mileage on Thursday.  Then before I knew it, it was time to get ready for Saturday’s 16 miler….my longest distance ever.  After running the last two long runs while being sick, I kept my fingers crossed for a good long run.  But it wasn’t good….It was great!  I got 6 1/2 hours of sleep the night before (I normally get between 5-6) so I felt completely rested.  Another bonus was that the weather wasn’t nearly as hot as it had been in previous week; I’ll take anything lower then 90.  I had great company and it was just an all-around beautiful day.  The only downside was I did get some pretty nasty chafing from my Camelbak.

We ran by this little guy twice in 90 minutes & he was sleeping both times.

I was starting to get down about my training from being sick but this run went so well that it restored my confidence.  I know that I will be able to run this marathon for Roger without a doubt.

Post 16 miles

Finally, my goal recap from last week – don’t worry, I’ll make it short! My #1 goal was to get better….check!  Followed with reading my devotions daily.  I did this during the week but missed Saturday and Sunday.  I know 5 out of 7 days isn’t terrible, but I really need to make reading my Bible my top priority.  I don’t just eat 5 out of 7 days, and spending time in His word is just as important.  The next goals of burpees, pushups, squats, foam rolling and yoga were all accomplished.  I also did my cross training at the gym (cycling) but I did not accomplish my goal of strength training.   These are my goals for next week:

Question:  Have you ever had to run for your life due to a freak storm?

MCM Training: Week 8’s Epic Fail

Woo-hoo, I’m ½ way there! This week reached the ½ way mark in my training plan which means I’m on the downside of training.  It also mean that I’m now tackling my hardest training runs.  I’m sure these next 8 weeks are going to fly by like nobody’s business – eek!

 

Now, onto week 8’s training recap which I have dubbed as an epic fail.  I wish I had some fun, exciting training news to pass on this week but unfortunately this is the first week where I wasn’t able to get all of my scheduled training runs in.  I supposed to run 25 miles this week but only managed 19.67 miles.

 

Seeing the empty spots on my training calendar makes me want to cry but both Mother Nature and my body had different plans for me.  While the Coast was battling Hurricane Isaac outside, my body was having its own internal battle.  If you remember from week 7’s recap, I felt horribly sick on my 15 miler but hoped that it would go away with some rest.  Well the flu symptoms went away about midweek but then I started coughing up green stuff – yuck! (TMI? Sorry…) If it doesn’t clear out by Tuesday, I guess I’m going to have to go to the doctor.  I’m not a big fan of meds (I normally let stuff run its course) but I can’t afford to lose any more training miles.  Each run I miss is going to make running the marathon in the time I want much harder.

So the breakdown for my runs this week.  Monday was a time trial so it was only 1 mile.  I was able to run it in 7:57 (with a fever) but felt like death after.  Tuesday I knew Isaac would keep me inside for the next few days so I tried to get in 4 miles.  After 2.5 miles of alternating wind, rain, and intense heat I gave up and sulked home.  On Wednesday, Isaac was in full force.  I did nothing. Nada. Zilch.  Not even yoga.  By Thursday afternoon I was going stir crazy and needed to do something.  My friend Stacey was brave enough to navigate the closed/flooded streets to meet me at my house.  It was still raining on and off but nothing to terrible until 3.75 miles into the run when the sky decided to open up and rain so hard we couldn’t see.  We were just a little bit away from my house so we made a break for it and ended up with 4.17 total miles.  (And I wonder why I’m still sick…) And the pièce de résistance for the week was Saturday’s long run.  I went to bed a 9:30 knowing I had to get up at 4am but by 1:00 I still hadn’t been able to fall asleep.  I sent my running girls a message letting them know I most likely wasn’t going to make it.  When my alarm went off at 4 I was already semi-awake so I figured what the heck, it’s only 12 miles (delusional thinking) and I would be upset with myself if I didn’t run it.  I already had my stuff laid out from the night before so I just packed some Kleenex and cough drops.  Long story short, the run was terrible.

 I missed posting my goals last week, so here they are for this week:

I’m so glad that today starts week 9 and I can officially put week 8’s epic fail behind me.  Only 55 days left and I’m ready to tackle this beast! Oorah.  Make sure to come back for Wednesday’s post, I have a giveaway coming up that I want you win!

MCM Training: Week 6 Recap

If you remember from last week’s training recap, I had pretty apathetic training week and declared my attitude toward this week’s training to be resolved (firm in purpose or intent; determined).  I’m happy to report that this week’s training was exactly that.  I was eager and excited to tackle the runs and truly enjoyed each run.  I don’t know if the great training week was because I finally felt rested from all of my graduation excitement or if declaring a positive attitude before the week started kept me on track.  Either way, I’m glad week 6 went so well.

Another positive experience I had this week was being able to visit my brother during a 5 mile training run.  My friend Stacey is training for the Marine Corps Marathon, too, so she went with me on this training run.  She’s heard a lot about Roger and understands why running the MCM in memory of him is so important to me so it was really nice to ‘introduce’ (I know, sounds strange) her to him.

During this weekend’s long run, I tackled the longest distance I’ve ran since April…12 miles.  I’ve done several 10 milers over the past 4 months but backed off the distance knowing I’d have crazy miles to run during training.  I was a bit apprehensive about the distance because I was running with some ladies who are faster than I am.  I don’t know why I was nervous, everything turned out perfectly! The weather was phenomenal, in the lower 80s instead of the 90s that it has been, and running with faster women challenged me to kick it up a notch.  My training plan pace was supposed to be 11:15 but I ended up doing a 10:28 pace.  The only problem is I somehow bruised the side of my right foot next to my big toe.  We ran on the beach which has a pretty decent slant so I’m thinking it has something to do with the slant.

The last thing I want to report on are the goals I set last week.  In order to keep myself focused I gave myself some mini-goals which I really enjoyed having.  So how’d I do?  I did my devotions each day except for Saturday.  I made it to the gym for cross-training and got a 10.5 mile cycling session in.  I did my yoga and got my foam rolling in.  Those were all easy goals for me.  The challenging goals were the pushup/squats/burpees combo.  I did pretty well on this but I did only do it 5 days instead of every day.  I’ve said this before, but I have 0 upper body strength.  When I created this goal, I totally under estimated how taxing the pushup/burpee combo would be on my upper body. By day 3 I was totally hurting so I took it off.  I also decided after Saturday’s long run, there was no way I was subjecting my legs to any burpees which subsequently led to me not doing any pushups or squats either.  Funny how that was like a landslide effect…

I really enjoyed the accountability of posting my goals, so here are my goals for next week:

Question:  What do you do to keep yourself accountable?