T-O-K-Y-O-O-O Training RECAP

Testing 1, 2, 3. Is this thing on? After basically not blogging my whole training for Tokyo- and sticking to insta posts, this feels different. ;-)

Running in Santiago, Chile 

So we are within TWO WEEKS of toeing the line in Tokyo. I am thankful to be at this point. Thankful to have survived another marathon buildup, thankful to be injury-free, thankful to have gotten through what has been a tough emotional season with confidence that has taken a beating after 3 bad marathons back 2 back. 

So what HAS this marathon season looked like??? Here's the RUNdown.

1. I stuck to 5 days a week of running/5 runs a week. During Boston I ended up overtraining. Running 80 miles a week for 5 weeks straight- took a toll on me and I showed up at Boston with dead/flat legs and nothing to give. Ever since that, I am cautious about overtraining - KNOWING now the fatigue that comes hand in hand with that. I decided to dial it back and maxed out on 5 days of running a week with no more than 60 miles- manageable for me. It hasn't felt like too much- especially compared to 7 days a week of running with MULTIPLE double days. (I'm sorry - does ANYONE look forward to a 6 miler after a 20 miler in the am??!) 

2. I did my best to keep to my schedule/but was flexible & rolled with what life threw at me. This season hasn't been ideal to say the least. I had to bounce back from Berlin (September 27th) and pretty much take a week off from running and then start running again to get the base to set myself up for a good Tokyo. I had three weddings (that I played a role in) and other commitments during this training season. I was SUPER ill and was in bed for 8 days around Thanksgiving (forget running, I didn't go downstairs in my house during that time). I traveled to South America and was out of routine/couldn't get the hard workouts really done there- so just ran easy. Then I spent Christmas in Tennessee/went to Alisa's wedding in Virginia/went to Jacksonville, Florida to run a workout while Tyler went after his OTQ dream. These are just some of the main events of this season.. but through it all- I really worked to make sure my main workouts were hit. Part of making sure everything could be scheduled in was switching my long runs to Thursday morning (because running 20 miles before work sounds nice). I'm really proud of the fact that despite all of the craziness of my personal schedule/life- that I did my best to get my training in. Life & training is never perfect- and I just did the best I could.

marathon training & wedding season DO go hand in hand (who wants to NOT fit into their bridesmaid dress?!)

3. I tried to eat clean- most of the time. I really have been putting my nutrition as a priority- focusing on cooking and making sure I eat lots of veggies- whether that's in the Vmix or cooking them. I have been inspired from Instagram accounts focusing on nutrition- and just seeing the huge role that nutrition focus has made in Kara Goucher's turnaround in her fitness. And if I lose a pound or two- that wouldn't be the WORST thing ever. HA.

my every morning breakfast drink  ;-) there's spinach, kale, chard, apple, carrots, beets, ginger, & mango in it. Tyler LOVES it when I share some with him. Ha. 

4. I've been faithful to my tempos. Tempos are just the work that needs to be done in order to regain speed for a race. I honestly look forward to them now. Kinda get nervous for them- but I just know that that is really the workout I do that makes the biggest difference. I have done really varied workouts- short segments at a faster pace (for example: 3 by 3 miles), and then the next week longer work at a slower sustained pace (2 by 5 miles or an 8 or 10 mile tempo). I'm happy I'm coming into this race feeling pretty strong- but so ready to keep doing tempos after this and keep making progress.

5. I've got those long runs in. I hit 4- 20 milers, and probably 3-18 milers this season. I don't think I even did 1 -20 miler before Berlin (ugh)- so it makes me feel so much more confident to have done some great long runs- with some pretty quick paces- and some with some fast marathon paced last miles. Long runs are a lot of work - and I'm just proud that I got them in even with how exhausting life can be.

6. I'm taking those quick steps now. So my cadence is something I'm REALLY proud of. To the normal runner, maybe it's not that big of a deal. But being a pretty tall runner with long legs- I tend to lope along. Since we have been dating, Tyler has been telling me my cadence is really low and I need to work on it. I kinda just brushed it aside. Then I did a workout with Kevin McCrarey- and he pulled me aside to tell me that was quite a stride I had- but that my turnover was soft and I needed to work on it. I think nail in coffin of my slow cadence days was seeing myself in Tijuana in the final kick of the half marathon when this girl REALLY thought that she was going to outkick me in the final 200 meters- and then when I realize she is passing me- I kick it into gear and pass her to the finish. Adri recorded a video of me and seeing how long and slow my stride was mortified me. So beginning of August, I made my cadence a priority- even over pace. I made it so that cadence was a top field on my Garmin so I could keep my lil eye on those lazy legs of mine. Prior to working on my cadence all my runs were mid-150s to low 160's on a GOOD day. Every single long run I would look at my cadence- not even looking at pace- and anytime I saw it dropping, I would quicken my steps. For anyone who has low cadence, THERE IS HOPE FOR YOU. But it IS work. In the beginning, it felt ten times harder to run fast & with quick cadence. It just felt like I was working overtime. And it made the tops of my legs really sore. It has all been paying off though. With 6 months of focused work on it, pretty much every workout now is around 179 cadence (180 being ideal). I did a long run last week and told Tyler- my cadence was bad- it was a 177. He was like DO YOU EVEN REALIZE WHAT YOU'RE SAYING? That's when I realized how far I have come. My bad day of 177 cadence literally was an impossibility in my slow cadence days. I know that there is no way that I can reach my dreams of running real fast if I don't get my cadence quicker- so I'm really proud that I have focused SO hard on it and seen such progress. ;-)

7. I do 7 hours of strength training a week. Because I love to workout (no, really!) but can't be running excessive miles (see: Boston Marathon), I like that I can get some energy out doing barre & Kayla Itsines workouts. I do one of those two workouts each day. It keeps me strong & flexible. I am proud of the things I can do now that I wasn't able to do before- whether it is greater flexibility- or actually being able to do a pushup. I'm coming along. I would like to start lifting after this season.. but got to figure out what that would even look like. 

8. I've fought the mental battle. Everyday. Marathon training is hard. Marathon training and getting up for all those runs and workouts is THAT much harder when you have had no positive validation for over a year and a half (it's been that long since my last PR in ANY distance at the Lululemon Seawheeze Half in August 2014). It makes it a very thankless position to be in. I've been disappointed, I've cried, I've been nervous and had tremendous anxiety before big workouts- but through it all, God has been a constant- even when my running hasn't been. I am thankful for amazing people in my life who have reached out and encouraged me during this season. I've needed it all. It's felt very vulnerable and raw to be back at this point where I so desperately want to get back in shape- but my poor little body is still coming out of the fatigue that I threw it into after Boston.  I've worked hard to to stay positive & confident throughout the process of coming back. Getting through this season has only taken probably 1000 pep talks from my amazing bf & some incredible friends. It would have been really hard to keep at it without those. Never underestimate the power of your words to impact the lives of others. ;-)

So what does this all mean for TOKYOOO???

I feel pretty good about where I am going into Tokyo. My tempos have been consistent and strong. My workouts have been where they need to be for me to finally have a marathon PR.  I haven't felt fresh all season (the freshness comes after taper, right??!)- but I have felt strong. Before Boston, I was running so many miles and so tired/fatigued, that I wasn't able to hit any of my paces really for tempos. They were a nightmare. I can be really tired now, but consistently, I've been hitting what I need to hit on tempos, even a day after a 20 miler. That's encouraging. A year and a half ago- going into Big Cottonwood, I was hoping for a 3:15 and going into it with that goal. That course ruined my body (4500 feet descent in 16 miles while at 9500 feet altitude, with flat/uphill for last 10 miles).  I am not aiming for that fast of a race in Tokyo- it's insane how long it takes a body to recover from overtraining and extreme fatigue- but you know, coming away with ANYTHING faster than my PR (3:28) will be such a win for me. I just want to turn this train around and give myself a mental break from having to manage disappointment and turn that into motivation after every single race. With God's help & a strong mind, I hope to come away from Tokyo with a new PR and a little confidence booster. I'm a tougher & wiser runner from going through what I have the last year and a half.

Tokyo is 12 days away...

How to BE BRAVE [Kara Goucher's Podium Retreat 2015]

So Erin and I went out to Kara Goucher's retreat last year and it really was incredible. So when Kara announced she was doing another one, there was no question that I would be back for more. This year had a lot to live up to – since last year was insanely amazing- just a great group of girls and exactly the type of thing you need to rejuvenate your heart and spirit. It honestly is less about running and so much more about your life/personal growth. 

This year Kara opened it up to 60 girls (last year was around 45 girls) and her focus was just bringing women together to encourage and empower one another.  At this retreat, she said our retreat last year was the most rewarding event of her running career. It was such a special and real time where there were zero pretenses, where no one held back, and where being vulnerable was the norm and not the exception. A no judgment zone where women encourage/support each other? Yes. Can we please make THAT the new norm? 

I think something that makes this weekend so great is that that is how Kara genuinely is. And her being so open and vulnerable and empathetic means that she brings the same out of others. Oh you’re sharing your deepest fears and insecurities? Well I guess it’s not so scary to put my stuff out there too. Something super empowering and strong about putting your greatest fears and weaknesses out there- but not letting them define you. 

Tracey Katona of Katona Pilates is LEGIT. and my favorite. 

We started the weekend off with Tracey Katona of KATONA PILATES teaching us pilates right after we got there. Geez. If only I could have her there everyday to teach me. Such a good core workout and much needed in my run heavy life. Plus she is the funniest person and you can't be mad at her for these crazy moves she is having you do when you’re cracking up.

Then we had a session with Adam Goucher & Tim Catalano. Seriously if I could have this kick in the butt/pep talk every single day- who knows what I would accomplish. These guys are hysterical and get their message across so effectively. I’m reminded with them – “am I feeding the right wolf?”- what things in my life am I adding fuel to- that’s what’s going to grow. I will feed my dreams and starve my fears. Once again, they reminded us to be saying aloud our goals and tell everyone so that we’re held accountable. Scary stuff- but you don’t accomplish big goals by being terrified to communicate them. I still have my goals written on stickies at my office, bathroom and bedroom- can't wait 'til I hit them and can replace them with new goals. 

We had happy hour and dinner that night. The food this retreat was even better this year. Last year there were plenty of meals that I wasn’t able to eat because of being celiac. This year every single meal was gluten free- plus Lottie from Running on Veggies made desserts and snacks for the retreat that felt like you were cheating- but were actually super healthy for you. She’s a magician in the kitchen. (No wonder Kara asked her to create this magic consistently for her every night until Olympic Trials!)

heaven will have all of lottie's desserts around the clock! this was raw pumpkin pie. YUM. 

The next day we had our first run of our stay. OH GEEZ. I have really no words for this run (mostly because I’m still out of breath from the altitude). 9500 feet above sea level is not a joke, guys. And after this weekend, I don’t know how I could have signed up for dumb Cottonwood last year as a goal race when it is 9500 feet too. Sea Level people need to stay on their level.

IS THIS REAL?! (views & altitude WERE real.)

When we started the run someone was like yall can tack on more miles to the 4.5 miles if you want to, which I was definitely planning on doing. Please. When is 4.5 miles an actual run for me. Two miles in- after too much embarrassing huffing and puffing, I was ready for the torture to be over. When we got back to the hotel, don’t worry- I didn’t keep going to “tack on more miles.” I was lucky I arrived back without having to walk to catch my breath. Altitude, y'all. 

beginning of run made it easy to pose for the camera. end of run= barely hanging on. ;-)

We had a self defense session which was awesome and then we did some more stretching with Tracey. SERIOUSLY. I didn’t even know you could stretch the parts she was having us stretch. Felt amazing and terrible at the same time. Also, seriously hysterical to watch a group of runners stretch- we are definitely the most inflexible people out there.

Dr. Amy Oldenburg was our next session teaching about common injuries. Super interesting hearing about the most common injuries and treatments. Weirdly (and luckily) I tend not to get injured, just chronically fatigued.

Lottie did a nutrition session with us that reminded me again how important nutrition is to my running and how I need to be taking that time in my week to prepare good options so I am not stuck with ones that are not up to par for what my body needs to recover well. New goal is to really put that time in the kitchen to be creating more nutrient dense options so that my body is able to recover better. 

Next up was Anna Pfaffel. Geez. Last year was such a powerful and emotional session and just a really bonding experience. She brought it again. Such an incredible reminder to “be brave, be kind.” And most of all to be kind and gentle to yourself. How much do we constantly need this reminder. It’s so easy to remind ourselves to be kind and patient and gentle to others- but how often do we extend the same courtesy to ourselves.  Not ok. We need to change that. Life is already tough enough without the weight we put on ourselves.

 

2014 Podium Retreaters- lots of girls back for more!!!

2014 Podium Retreaters- lots of girls back for more!!!

Then Kara spoke next and basically gave her life story. This was it- what I needed this weekend for this season that I have been trying to survive. She spoke SO candidly about her life and success and how each success brought new pressure and anxiety to keep up. She spoke of incredible highs and devastating lows. Really she is so relatable. My highs are nothing like Kara’s (guys, there is zero possibility of any Olympics in my future unless you count spectating them, in which case- HIGHLY likely) and my lows aren’t on a world stage affecting my career, yet the rawness of her pain and disappointment were so tangible and felt so familiar.  I just got it. And felt it all. And somehow hearing her verbalize things I have felt and thought made it easier to accept that the lows are fine as long as you don’t accept them as defeat and give up. This girl DOES NOT GIVE UP. She has faced huge obstacles these past few years. HUGE. Injuries, surgeries, recovery time, a tough marathon, and some media firestorm for her standing by her convictions. She is not backing down though- she is going all out for the Olympic Trials this February and I trust that I will get to go to Rio and cheer her on. I guess it’s easy to believe in yourself and your goals when you’re on a positive trajectory and when the story sounds more like a fairytale than a tragic comedy. But that’s not really life, right?! There are peaks and valleys- and learning to navigate through them and trust that you’re going to make it through, while enjoying the journey is what makes life beautiful.  You can’t wish away the bad just to get back to the good. The struggle is what makes it that much more gratifying when you get through it.

Talking to the girls at the retreat was great- so many accomplished women that love running (and are fast too)- but each person is going through their own struggle too. I think what I’m really learning is that everyday we have to be our own encourager and cheerleader. There are enough things pulling at us to give up- that it’s too hard, that things are all going wrong- but daily we have to be on guard for those negative thoughts that try to sabotage our goals. I'm learning how to be my best cheerleader when I need it most. 

It's been amazing seeing Kara KILL it since the retreat - she broke tape at not one, but TWO half marathons this fall so far and is just really on track to make her dream of making the team for Rio a reality. This gives me SOOOO much hope for my own goals. This girl has kept at it no matter what, and things are coming back her way- in a big way. I know with patience that my own fitness and running will start coming together again soon. I'm already looking forward to next year's Podium Retreat and definitely excited to cheer Kara on at the Olympic Trials in February and to her making another Olympic Team. She sure knows how to be brave. And I definitely feel like going out there and going after some big goals myself. ;-)

She got CARRIED away [or what it's like to be a running bridesmaid]

don't you normally do running photos shoots with your best gals in matching outfits?! Photo Cred: Ryan Torres Photography

So one of my girls from Track just got married (she's in our track club babes/text a million times a day group) and instead of having an actual wedding party, she had running bridesmaids. Smart girl. I was super pumped to be able to have a weekend with the girls- it’s tough when your lives are so busy plus insane training. 

photo cred: my shaky long selfie arm

We drove up to Ventura for the wedding Friday night with an early morning Saturday run (6:45 am, y’all!). We had the sickest beach house in Ventura – literally right on the beach and three stories with enough room for the 7 of us. We didn’t get in til midnight or something and probably didn’t go to bed til 1 which made a 6:45 am run seem early. Carrie is great and actually had a photo shoot scheduled for us. Then after that a run and then brunch. Perfect morning.

i can run endlessly when a camera is around. Photo Cred: Ryan Torres Photography

It ended up being a super fun morning- and even better that it was a chill run (two weeks post Berlin and definitely enjoying taking it easy). Did I mind that we only did 3-4 miles? Um no. I could have done a yoga session at the beach and called it a day. Haha.

so one photographer isn't enough?? photo cred: random surfer who I convinced to do a mini photo shoot of us

it IS possible to get tangled mid-air. Christine- I'm looking at YOU! ;-) Photo Cred: Ryan Torres Photography

We spent the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying getting ready for the wedding. When do I ever actually take time to get ready? Never. So this was really fun. (Seriously, if you have seen me in the last couple years and have sited me with my hair done and dried- it's as rare as a Loch Ness sighting.)

CREW!

Spending time chilling with the girls and reconnecting even with our busy and stressful lives was just so good for the soul. I think I need to do stuff like this pretty regularly to not get caught up in the frenzied movement that life can be and learn to really focus on the things and relationships that matter. Talks with these girls help to put that kind of stuff in the right perspective. Also, an excuse to dress up in matching outfits and have a photoshoot? Please. You do not have to ask me twice.

Running bridesmaids are pretty much my new favorite thing.

Killing it.  

Thanks Carrie for having us be apart of your wedding. We LOVE our beautiful running (NOT runaway) bride. It was amazing getting to celebrate such an amazing, generous, kind, and loyal friend. You were an amazinggggly beautiful bride!

I LOVE THESE PEOPLE. 

Berlin Marathon Race Recap (or that time I did another World Marathon Major!)

Gosh this recap is wayyy late. Better late than never has ALWAYS been my motto though. 

So here goes.

For background, I did my first real long run July 27th (which also was the Tijuana Half Marathon) in preparation for this Sept 27th race- not ideal by any means- but pretty much necessary after a tough Boston- with some much-needed downtime from running and recovery. (Still trying to figure out how to recover from this fatigue thing well.) That being said, I was pretty realistic going into Berlin- I mean I got one 20 miler in. That’s all. There were a few 17’s and that was my long run, folks. Before M2B Marathon (BQ-ed there) and Big Cottonwood Marathon (BQ-ed there again)- I did 5-20 miles before each of those races- so going into this race with just one twenty did nothing for my confidence levels. I just feel like if you have better command of the distance you’ll have more control of the pace. Less command of distance- then later in the race it is harder to hold a pace. Either way- my expectations going into this race were pretty realistic yet hopeful.

We flew out on a Wednesday and got to Berlin Thursday afternoon. (Don’t even get me started on the drama of the Airbnb host putting down the WRONG address and the WRONG phone number. Literally so stressful thinking we were scammed out of a place to stay and would have to find a place last minute before one of the biggest marathons. Thank God, everything worked out.) When we got to our place (that didn’t turn out to be a scam) it was super sick- and really awesome to be able to have a marathon house with Adri & Eric- now my third international race with them- how great is that!!

We did the expo on Friday morning and it was in an old converted airport. It was a pretty easy process although I super disliked how we had to walk through the whole expo to get our bibs (they were really trying to make us buy stuff from their vendors- but it honestly was soo much/too much walking.  

some of my favorite people ever.

I loved that they had the other Marathon Majors up there. So cool to have done some and get to look forward to doing the rest.

back2back.

We spent the rest of the time prior to race being really chill and eating a lot (BASICALLY MY FAVORITE THING EVER. If only I could feel less guilty about doing this all the time instead of JUST before a race.)

We adjusted pretty well to the time difference so it wasn’t a huge issue. Also marathon night I slept- WHAT! I think it was because my expectations weren’t super high/it wasn’t a goal race- and I honestly just didn’t have any idea what would happen.

Well so getting to the race wasn’t too bad- the subways are free morning of race- making life super easy to get there. Tyler decided to drop off bottles for his race- so that was really the only stressful part of the morning.  (These bottles he worked on the night before ALMOST didn’t make it to the drop. They were supposed to be there by 7:30 and we rolled up at 7:45 with the truck about to drive off and we yelled for him to stop and begged him to take the bottles. He did! ;-) First win of the morning.

The corrals were easy to get to and even though the porta potty lines were ridiculously long in the main waiting area- once you got into the corral area it was way more manageable. (Nothing more stressful than panicking that you’ll still be in line when the race is about to start.)

Race Pro’s:

  • well-organized
  • beautiful, pretty flat course
  • attracts the best in the world. And me.
  • Good weather
  • Not mega expensive- I think a little over $100?? Can’t remember exactly.

Race Con’s:

  • registration is a lotto... gotta be lucky. 
  • it was like a full half mile or longer post race until you were handed water
  • and even longer to the meeting point
  • no race tshirt! Forced to buy any Berlin gear.

We got started and it was pretty perfect weather to the point that a few miles in with the sun out – it was way too hot for me. I would just pray that the course ahead would be shaded cause in the sun it felt so much harder. HA. To be honest- I haven’t really looked at my splits on my Garmin post-race-  but from what people said about my online splits is I was on pace til at least the half – I was aiming for 7:45’s which were ambitious considering my most recent half marathons weren’t at that pace- but I was hopeful that the couple weeks since those halfs were enough for some things to have shifted. I missed the first two water stations so I didn’t get water until around mile 7. Not ideal. Not end of world either. Something really random and surprising was I did not see electrolytes on the course. Tea, yes. Electrolytes, no. Weird. So no electrolytes for me for the whole race.

So random side note. I do the majority of my runs (including long runs and tempos) fasted and without Gu’s. I just feel if I can hold paces without that help- then when I have it, it’ll be an extra kick that I’ll be so thankful for on race day.  

I’m not quite sure what happened, but about mile 16 of the race my stomach was no longer on board for the race. It was pretty miserable. It hurt so bad and I was super nauseous. I literally stopped caring about the race and pace- and just wanted it to be over. Around the same time my toe also jumped on the mutiny ship. I have used the Newton MV3’s which I really liked for multiple half marathons and a marathon – so I tried out the Newton Tri-racer’s for the first time for this race (same shoe as MV3’s except the have a different upper) not thinking that this would be super risky. Unfortunately the different upper meant bad things for my toe. Every single step was piercing pain that never became numb or forgotten during the race.  (Turned out to be a mega blood blister that literally encompassed my whole toe. Hot.)

stomach was already hurting. but i'm a ham- so here's a pose.

Honestly when those two things happened, I completely stopped looking at my watch and just focused on getting through and not mentally punishing myself more than I was physically punishing myself. I was like- at least try and qualify for Boston if you’re not going to hit time goal. Didn’t happen. My stomach being in that much pain meant I had to pass all the water stations because even plain water aggravated my stomach. Geez. So I was like DYING for water. It was the worst. Super thirsty but with a stomach that couldn’t handle it.

someone just push me to the finish line. every single step was painful with my beautiful blood blister.

I got through the race somehow. It just felt neverending. And I am reminded to always be respectful of this distance that I somehow repeatedly choose to do. I was not in good shape after- with lots of people stopping me to see if I needed help. My stomach was just in intense pain. I would have just sat down and laid there forever if not for the fact that I had no clue how Tyler’s race went. Super anxious because on course I literally saw his bottles at all of the fluid tables and I equated him not picking up the bottles with his race falling apart and all I could do was pray for him during the race that it was going better than mine. Best moment of the race was finding out that he did a 2:23. Proudest girlfriend.

So what are my takeaways from this race?

-       Do the dress rehearsal. I’ll practice fueling at least a few times prior to raceday. I assumed because this was my fueling strategy for last several races that it will work for this one- but our bodies are constantly changing so I think it would be helpful to have a dress rehearsal prior to raceday. It definitely is stressful to think that after this many races I don’t have fueling down pat, but I’m hopeful I can figure out a solution before Tokyo that works so that my stomach doesn’t hinder my race.

-       No new friends. Or shoes. I have been SUPER lucky and have used new shoes for SO many races and never had any issues. This is my first bout of it. I’m lucky it wasn’t for a goal race because that would be even more devastating. But bad enough that it was for a marathon, because geez- that is a hard lesson to learn for a long ways.

-       Be realistic with race goals taking into account how training has been going. I felt like I was- and I definitely think there is a balance between realistic and downright negative. But I maybe could have adjusted goal pace a bit since I’m still (slowly) coming back.

-       Be thankful. I get to run. Maybe it’s not as fast as I would have hoped last year to be running, but it’s still running. And I get to travel to way cool places to do these runs. Such a blessing.

Super thankful for the chance to run in Berlin.. and for even getting into the lottery. I mean this time last year, Tyler and I were both hoping to get in... as single people. How crazy that we both did... and then went together. ;-) Life IS pretty great- even if my marathon wasn't perfect. 

And then after the race, as a reward for 26.2 miles of WORK, we did BULGARIAAAA...

and then Turkey. 

Training for TOKYO starts now, effectively. I've taken a week off from running and done a couple weeks of chiller running and this weekend I'll sit down with Tyler and work through a schedule (that takes into account the MULTIPLE weekends where things aren't exactly perfect to get my runs in: weddings, holidays, travel) but ya know- it's just running, and it's just a part of my life and I'm thankful for all the great things I get to do that make my life so much fuller. ;-)

Have a great run today!

tokyo, kara goucher, and taper.

W E   A R E   I N   T H E   W E E K   O F   M Y   M A R A T H O N.

I remember Dennis Kimetto setting the world record at the Berlin Marathon last year- and then curiously looking up how to ACTUALLY run the fastest course in the world. And then realizing they had a lotto. And then signing up for the lotto. And then writing a blog post about the lotto/marathon- and my (now) boyfriend commenting that he would see me in Berlin (poor thing - saw me a lot of times before Berlin too! ;-) And now it's finally almost here. 

in london with da fastest dude around… and tyler.

Geez. When I finished up Boston, I just had a false impression of how slowly time would go by before Berlin would start up. I NEEDED to take off time- physically and mentally from running- but then was UBER (getting at that german lingo now) slow in getting after it again - and then started panicking once Tijuana half marathon (July 27th) was here  and I hadn't done any speed and Tijuana was my fifth run over 6 miles since the Boston Marathon. No bueno. Thankfully- I got back on a schedule and got some structure into my running and have been slowlyyyyy improving and picking up some speed. 

Where does that leave us for this Sunday? Haha. ONLY GOD TRULY KNOWS. I do know that Dennis Kimetto isn't worrying about his world record. ;-) I'm still all over the place on what I should go out at. It's hard when you were previously at one speed and still think you can do that speed- but your current fitness isn't there so you just have to embrace the reality of the speed you're working with. I guess my ultimate goal is to come away with a PR. Not the same goal I had at my last two races- I had much bigger goals for Big Cottonwood last year- but after having a year of sooooo much hard work- lots of tempos, races, two a days, speed workouts and nothing really to show for it- I'll just be thankful to walk away from this race with a little PR. And then ya know- build off of it and get a bigger PR next marathon.

This season has felt short… mainly because it has been short! Ha. But you know- that's what I needed this time. I didn't run over 60 miles this season. I ran just 5 days a week most weeks. I didn't do any double run days (I did double workouts most days - but that would be a Kayla or a Barre and a run- never two runs). And that's all good and fine- because coming back from overtraining and overracing means being kind and gentle to yourself and knowing that in time things are gonna come back together- something I frequently have to be reminded of. (Thank you EVERYONE in my life for constantly reminding me of that and listening to me lament the current state of my (run) affairs!)

Here are da latest & da greatest:

Tokyo Marathon: Inspired by other running friends, I’ve decided to do all of the Marathon Majors (Boston, NYC, Chicago, London, Berlin, & Tokyo). This year I did Boston and will be doing Berlin and next year I want to cross a couple more off my list. I decided to look into Tokyo- and luckily I did so during their lottery month. (They have just August open for their lottery- which they reveal the results of in November.) But sadly I missed their July registration for their fast athletes, which I qualified for- which would have been guaranteed registration. ANDDDD.. I won the lotto- I'm going to Tokyo, babyyyyy. The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift will have NEW MEANING. 

i'll be there for the 10th anni??! how random/cool.

Kara’s Podium Retreats: Kara is the BEST so obviously when she posted her next Podium Retreat for October 23-25 in Breck- I had to sign up. Sadly my cuz won’t be coming with me (she has been going through some health stuff) but so many of the amazing girls we met out there last year will be there so I cannot wait for the reunion and for the recharge that this weekend will be for me personally.

Lululemon 2016: How can we already be signing up for an August 2016 race?! Well lulu signups for their Seawheeze Half Marathon were this last week and were literally the most stressful thing - it was like a russian roulette lottery to try and get a bib for their race (no rhyme or reason for who got through or why) but I'm sure glad that I did. I really have this vision of going back there and doing my half PR there next year… I have a number in mind. ;-) I'll probably do a fall marathon- but after Tokyo, PR-ing in the half will be my mainnnnnn focus. 

Soooooooo… gonna try to get all my stuff packed and not forget anything wild- like my garmins or my shoes. We're supposed to have good weather in Berlin - high of 68 on raceday which will feel like the Arctic Circle compared to this swampland we have been living in in San Diego lately. I'm going into this kindaaaaa blindly but I'll do the very best I can with what I have that day. Please say a prayer for Tyler as he is going for a big race at Berlin- I'm sure it'll be incentive for me to go faster throughout the race just to find out how he did. (Most likely he will finish an hour ahead of me. Showoff.) Feeling excited/scared/happy/blessed/nervous etc about this race. WISH ME LUCK! ;-)

BARRE SO HARDDDD!!!

So as part of my recovering from overtraining/getting back to the things that helped things come together really quickly last year in the lead up to my Boston Qualifying race (Mountains 2 Beach), I joined Pure Barre again this last May. I’ve been loving being back (anything I get into, I get into it HARD) and go 4-5 times a week. I love Pure Barre- and soooo highly recommend it to a runner who is looking to supplement their running with something else.

fake it til you make it- stretch edition.

My quick history with da Barre:

I decided to do a Groupon for ten barre classes last January (2014).  I went to one class, really hated it- it was so hard, I was so not flexible, it wasn’t running. Then I was really grumpy- I had paid for something that I wasn’t amped on, but I didn’t want to waste my money, so I went back for all 10 classes and slowly started to like it more – but the real kicker was I could start to see a change in my body in those ten classes to the point where I was motivated to keep going to class. This coincided with my comeback to running after basically taking a year off. I had started out with running 2 miles a day in December of 2013 (which was hardddd after not running for forever/having been out of commission healthwise for awhile). Then I started Barre in January and went religiously. I did normal miles and not even that many fast ones, but started getting faster, really quickly. When Mountains 2 Beach Marathon came around, I qualified for the Boston Marathon and I knew that so much of it had to do with Barre and the balance that came with not solely running all the time. I did barre through Big Cottonwood Marathon. But then took time off after that race and basically became way too busy to get back to it. I started training for Boston and replaced barre with a second run of the day (you don’t get to 80 miles a week by just running once a day)- and I mean, we all know how that turned out- a Boston race where my physical performance and the weather of the day were pretty reflective of each other. Obviously devastated after Boston, I have been trying to figure out how to get back to normal. Part of that is just replicating what I did last year- so barre came back into the picture. I signed up again in May and that’s where I am now. Happy to be back and praying that this helps my body recover quicker from overtraining and provides the base strength needed to regain lost fitness and gain some new speed.

What exactly IS Barre?

It’s a mix of pilates, yoga, and a strength class- done at a barre- with really energizing music and lots of isolated repetitive motion to fatigue each individual muscle group. I usually pour sweat most classes – so it’s definitely not a chill lay on your back workout- but it’s not pounding on your body and too intense to supplement your running with. It’s broken up into 4 sections: 1. warmup- where you do arms and abs, 2. Legs, 3. Glutes, 4. Abs/stretching.

So what has Barre actually done for my running?

SO MUCH!

1.     It’s helped to create balance. Literally & figuratively. As a runner who loves to (over)run, it’s a good way to get a second workout in in a day without just running my legs into the ground. It’s also amazing for working on your balance (helping to strengthen my ankles & core).

2.     It’s given me a place to stretch. I was the WORST at stretching or being active in recovery/the extras your body needs. I never stretched, except for one stretch I do in the minute before a race starts where I bop down and stretch out my calves. Now, I have ten minutes or so of focused stretching that I do several times a week. My body CRAVES barre after a hard workout because it knows it will get a good stretch during it and get back on track quicker. It also encourages me to stretch outside of class, because I have learned how much I love stretching.

3.     It’s helped me become so much more flexible. Runners are NOT known for their flexibility. At all. My first class at barre I hated it because of how inflexible I was. I am sooo much more flexible than I had been and have realized how much you can change your level of flexibility. My goal is to do the splits by the end of the year. Super random- but I know that being more flexible is always a good thing for athletes.

stretchhingggg time pre-tijuana race night!

4.     It’s strengthened my core. I did nothing. NOTHING. For my core before. It’s crazy how much it is supposed to help you in your running- yet so many runners don’t do anything to strengthen their core. Barre has around 15 minutes of the class just focused on abs/core and strengthening your back. While I’m still like 500 juice cleanses away from a 6 pack (or a 2 pack, whatever), I know that having a strong core will help create the base needed to give my running a chance to really improve.

5.     It’s isolated & strengthened muscle groups associated with running – legs/glutes. We use legssss for running- so it makes sense to really strengthen them. The class focuses on small isometric movements to fatigue each leg muscle group and really tone them. It’s changed the shape of my legs and they get a lot stronger with these workouts.

6.     It’s a super encouraging and positive environment where I am able to focus on just the workout that day. Running can be tough. Or let me rephrase that. I can be tough on myself while running. I love it so much- but it’s such a quantifiable hobby. What was your time at your last marathon? How did your long run go? These things are amazing- and I love being really goal-oriented and aiming for those big goals. But ya know, when things aren’t going smoothly and you’re not getting positive feedback from your running, sometimes it’s nice to have another workout that is just about the workout that day and completing it- and not thinking about how that workout/run factors into your time goals/etc. Basically, for any of us Type A runners who are ultra competitive, it’s nice to have a place where you get a great workout that supplements all the hard work you’re already doing, and where you feel like you are only receiving positive feedback from.  Plus at my studio, all of the girls who teach and work there are amazing and it really is like a breath of fresh air to get to be around them on a daily basis.

So yahhhh, I definitely recommend barre for someone that always has the great intentions of stretching or doing ab work, but in reality never gets around to it. It forces you to do those extras that helps your running, and keeps you more consistent with it. I’m excited to see how it will continue to help my running. C’mon barre- you’re my comeback at Berlin hope! ;-) Just ten short days away...

SEAWHEEZE RACE RECAP [i love VanCity]

I LOVEEEEEE this race. LOVE. This year was my third year doing it and every year Lulu does an insane job of putting on a great race. Unless I have a scheduling conflict in the future, I don’t foresee myself NOT going. It’s just that good of a race. And Vancouver is that sick of a city. The race is in the heart of downtown Vancouver and runs along the seawall of this gorgeous city. It really is suchhh a special place. I ran my half marathon PR there last year on the day after my 30th birthday (1:35) and so it will always have a special place in my heart. I was bummed that this year I’ve just been in such a weird space (overraced, overtrained, and trying to come back)- so I wasn’t in PR shape to really do this amazing course justice, but the race and environment is still so special, and it made for just an amazing weekend.

yummy breakfast our first morning, pre-expo. definitely a go-to place in Van for brunch. 

So (just like the last two years of coming out to Vancouver for this race) we get there late on a Thursday night, take their train into the City and walk to our hotel (which is always a block or two from the start line- race logistic HEAVEN).

We spend Friday going to the EXPO which is my favorite expo ever. Mainly because it’s not really an expo. It’s just such a fun place to be (everyone is so amped on the race) and no one is selling anything. It’s just different cool vendors that are giving out samples/free products= best thing ever. I had fresh pressed watermelon juice, tea, organic cotton candy- ok so I like food… they also have stations to get your hair did for free, nails, and even fake spray on tats. Then they have a race store where it’s all Lulu gear -specially for this Seawheeze race. Plus it’s just a really crazy fun environment where they have people walking around on stilts, all dressed up, doing crazy stuff. It’s like a weird psychedelic dream.

Kombucha samples? yes, please.

The rest of Friday was spent eating and just chilling at the stores in the area. Since I have done this race now for 3 years, I’ve really locked in to a good routine/some great restaurants so that I don’t starve to death/have a great pre-race meal. It was SO much fun taking the girls there this year and getting to see how much they loved Van and Seawheeze.

Race morning was pretty chill- we woke up at 6 am (I think) for our 7 am race. That is my favorite. I reallyyy dislike waking up even a minute before I need to. And I don’t. Haha. (Tyler has already promised to leave me in Berlin if I am not ready to go when he wants to/needs to go to our race. Imagine showing up to the start line and having time to warm up and stretch and not being frazzled and stressed that you won’t show up to the start before the race starts.)

RUNNING CUZINSSSS. [my cuzins & sisters are the best for putting up with my intense desire to run/race.]

I already had everything for the race ready to go morning of- all of my electronics charged. I did my morning race routine: 1. Picky Bar- I always just eat a half of a bar- or the whole thing the morning of a race. I don’t like eating too much- and it’s just enough to keep me from being hungry while not making me feel gross before I’m supposed to start running. 2. Nuun tattoo- gives me super powers. Or makes me feel cool. Whatever, 3. Nuun Energy in a disposable water bottle so I can sip on way to race and toss whenever the race starts. I love having that lil kick of caffeine in the half hour prior to the race. 4. Gu's- loading up my pockets with these bursts of energy.

We went down to the race. To be fair- we may have cut it a bit short and were doing our warmup on the way to the race. It was a brisk jog from our hotel to the start line where luckily we were able to duck into the first corral instead of being herded from the back of the corrals and having to make our way up front- that would have been pretty rough/we wouldn't have had enough time if we had to do it that way. It was wonderful having some of the girls with me to chat with pre-race- and we were all just taking it as a good long run/not really racing it- so there was none of the usual pre-race anxiety. I honestly didn’t even feel like I was running a race that weekend (which is why I slept like a baby the night before the race).

Race Pro’s:

-       hydration along the course was in the right spots- wasn’t hard to get to it

-       they handed out gels on course – I didn’t take any because I brought my own

-       expo is perfect- they really have that whole system on lock

-       they mail you out shorts to train in – and ya know Lulu shorts aren’t cheap

-       GORGEOUS course- I love running along the Seawall in Van

-       Costumed and crazy sets of people cheering along course- there was a whole spin class on this one bridge, with an instructor and everyone set up on spin bikes cheering us on. That was insanely cool. There were people on paddleboards in costumes in the water, people in trees singing, people on stilts and crazy costumes

-       Great finishing medals and a finishing reward: a cute lulu hat

-       Massages for runners- that was amazing- first time I took advantage of it. And the masseuse said I was crazy flexible- which made my day.

-       Finishing brunch- they had tons of food- like waffles and brunch stuff- not any gluten free options- so this girl couldn’t eat- but what a cool thing to do.

i love love love these girls. also LOVED the massage we got right after the race. 

Race Con’s:

-       the weather- not lulu’s fault- and the first time I’ve been up there that the weather wasn’t perfect for the race. It was cold and there was a strong headwind.

-       Not that many course spectators. But what they lacked in people cheering on the race, they made up for in so much energy and heart with the ones that were there.

-       How crazy popular it is- and how psycho it is in signing up.

-       Also if you aren’t in the front – it can get pretty congested if you’re a runner in the 1:50+ range- the roads can get narrow.

I went out too fast. I blame the great energy at the race and my lack of realization that the splits I hit before that were normal are just too fast for where my fitness is today to sustain. I was supposed to keep this more long run-ish but still had fun and tried to stay consistent. It was also my first race where I had a good cadence. Literally my first race ever where my cadence wasn’t in the 150’s or low 160’s- I consider my 170 cadence for this race a course win. It was over before you know it- and thank God because it was chilly and that wind was strong and biting. Still the course was reallyyyy beautiful and it made for such a fun run to get to see the water as we run. As a San Diego native, I love how different this ocean city looks with their pine trees and mountains. Just really beautiful.

this girl loves to stretch/yoga it out.

I was happy to see everyone afterwards and we were all happy to be warm and not freezing & sweaty.

Vancouver Running Company. check it out.

We spent the afternoon in Kitslano – just a cool area of town- where we stopped by Vancouver Running Company, Crocodile Pear (a fun juice company) and Mokoko Chocolate (Shambra’s idea of heaven on earth). It was the BEST day doing things we loved and having great girl time.

Kitslano. my new favorite part of VanCity. Seriously- we spent all day here and it was magical.

Our last day in town we spent at the Granville Public Market- long walk over there- but the weather turned out so much nicer for that day.

I will be backkkk to Vancouver next year and am so excited to be back with more friends so they can see why this city is so cool and this race is so special. Looking forward to being in the best shape ever next August and having an amazing race at Seawheeze. Who's coming with?! ;-)

Catching Up.

So after a bit of radio silence, I'm back-ish. Life has been busy. And I've been trying to get a handle on what's been going on with my running over the past … year? Eek. Seems like time has been flying- even though I feel like I haven't been.

So today we are 3 weeks out from Berlin [Berlin Marathon, September 27, 2015]. That is like NO time. I actually just finished my last hard run (20 miles at the easy breezy Lake Miramar in heat and humidity) and am heading into taper. Instead of freaking out and wishing I was at a different level of fitness now, I'm just being realistic about where I am today and figuring out what I can tangibly do today  to affect where I will be in 3 weeks. 

Some of my most recent takeaways:

1. Running less does not equal less fatigue when you overcrosstrain. OOPS. Who knew! I have been trying to get out of this fatigue funk I've been in since overtraining for Boston by running less this season. But in typical Type A fashion, I've been filling the time I would have been doing doubles with doing around 6-7 hours of strength cross-training a week- on top of 6 days of running a week. Maybe that would work for someone else. But since I'm still trying to dig myself out of this hole of overtraining/fatigue, it's just still TOO much. I'm backing off. 

2. Doing speed and tempo after months of NOT, is tough. I finally started back at track and have been a couple times- and have now done 3 tempos. All I can say about those workouts were that they were necessary, but not pretty. There is no way to get past the uncomfortableness of starting to do them again, than just by doing them. I know that consistency with the speed/tempos will eventually get me back to where I was (last summer). It has been ROUGH to say the least to have a point of comparison in speed work and in tempos to where I was this time last summer and it's really discouraging when I reflect on that. So instead of that- I'm taking where I am now and seeing the progress I have been making lately and just keep on chugging along- knowing that I will be back where I was, and then keep on making gains past that. 

3. I made my schedule. After weeks of going with the flow- I finally wrote out a schedule. It was  mostly to stop kamikazing my training with hard strength workouts on easy run days and then hard run days- so that basically every day was hard- i.e. no time for my body to rest/recover and actually make gains from my hard work. I also dropped down my runs from 6 days a week (with 6-7 strength sessions a week) to 5 days a week (with 6 strength sessions but more specific placing- i.e. leg workouts on speed/tempo days where my legs are already going to be destroyed). 

4. Dear Diary, I ran today. Ok so I decided to get this Believe Journal (from Lauren Fleshman- LOVE her) to be more detailed, focused, and reflective of my journey. Plus if I have it there in writing I figured I would be held accountable. Ok- real reason- Tyler guilted me into it. It's actually a really well put together training log with some good info/pace charts in there. I would highly recommend!

5. Getting back into shape seems to take awhile. When I say "in shape" I mean speed shape- the only way to explain how someone that works out around 12 hours a week is still "out of shape." That being said, I am willing to put in all the work necessary and just PRAYINNGGGGG I start seeing all my hard work come together. 

6. Counting on the extras. Doing all the extras.  The extras: supplements, stretching, rolling, sleep, etc. I just know that the extras add up- and I want to be more proactive with all of the other little things that could enhance this training. I'm not perfect- but I'm trying to be more consistent and really give myself the added boost to my training. I am keeping track of this in my new training journal. Look at me! I have been SOO much better at getting rest this cycle- which is great- and I have been making a huge focus on stretching and flexibility and rolling out my legs. 

7. Working on my nutrition. Trying to be light and quick like a Kenyan means I need to keep (or actually, get) my nutrition on point. I'm consciously trying to make the better decision when it comes to eating = more cooking and less eating out. With all the hard work I'm doing with my training, I want to give my body the nutrition it needs to fuel my workouts and let my body recover post-workout. 

organic kokonut mylk from Mokoko. DELICIOUS. got it at the OB Farmer's Mkt- you can get it here. 

I can't wait to see what happens in Berlin- just as a point of reference for where I am in my journey- and I'm thankful for the progress I'll continue to make. It's been an interesting journey (both physically and mentally) trying to come back and get in the shape I once was. And I'm trying to stay positive and focused while I'm getting back to it. 

Hope you got out on a run today. Have a great day! ;-)

 

Goals, Goals, Goals!!!

Well hello there, July. How did this year fly by SO quickly. I am now at 12 weeks til Berlin Marathon. Can I hit the pause button please? 

Finishing up a marathon season and heading into a new one calls for a reassessment of goals and a good refocus. I sometimes think it's great to apply beginning of year resolution mentality to new goal setting for a new marathon season. I mean it's essentially OUR new beginning. So whether you have a marathon season starting up, lost track of goals you had in the beginning of the year and need some refocusing, or just plain old need to set some new goals in your life- this is for you. We're starting the second half of the year and now is as good of time as any to reassess and get back down to business. 

So let's goal set!

1.     Spend some time evaluating where you are now- and where you would like to be. Sometimes it helps to talk to a friend/mentor- they can see you and your fitness better than you can at times and they can push you further than you thought possible. 

2.     Set tangible goals. You know those goals that are so lofty and vague that there is no tangible way to measure the results (i.e. I would like to be as fast as Meb). Yah- let’s not do that. The best way to be successful in accomplishing goals is actually setting ones that you can measure success and that are within reach (i.e. I would like to run a 3:14 marathon). 

3.     Figure out how to get from Point A to Point B. What good are goals if you don’t have an action plan to get you there. Get with a coach/mentor and have them help you figure out what you need to be doing to push past any plateaus and start making new gains- in distance or speed. 

4.     Commit to a schedule. It’s not enough to have good intentions and a lot of positive thinking. If it was, I would just be sitting on the couch eating Krispy Kremes dreaming myself thin/a gold medal Olympian marathoner. At some point, you have to buy in to the goal and really commit to getting there. How are you going to make this plan a reality? What are you willing to do/give up/facilitate in order for this to happen?

5.     Get outside your comfort zone. You won’t be hitting new and crazy goals by doing exactly what you have been doing for years. Mix it up, baby.

6.     Get mentored. Don’t be afraid to make yourself accountable to someone. All the elites have coaches and mentors- and they have the discipline of a Tibetan monk- so what makes you think you will be successful in reaching your goal if you are out there going rogue.

7.     Set a deadline. When is this goal going to happen? By putting a deadline on it, you create the urgency and the need to be accountable and faithful to the process to make this goal a reality.

8.     Trust the process. There will be amazing days- where you are on top of the world (Is it possible that I may accidentally in my goal marathon qualify for the Olympic Trials?) and days when you think that your speed workout resembles powerwalking at a retirement home. Don’t give up on your goals and things you have committed to because of some bad days. Regroup and stay positive. Everyone has off days.

9.     Write this goal everywhere. Or tattoo it on your body (just kidding). But seriously- see the goal. Have it be something you wake up to and go to bed to. It needs to be so engrained in your consciousness. Tell people about it- let them be on your team supporting you to reach this goal.

This last year I became sold on goal setting in my running and it paid off in huge ways (I BQ-ed twice last summer for first time ever after basically taking the year before off). I enjoyed my running more and got to see myself hitting big goals that I wasn’t sure were possible. This year has been a little tougher with some overtraining setbacks (but hey! I'm NOT injured!!) That being said- it's even more important for me to set goals and to reignite that hope to get me back out to do some work and make my goals a reality. 

Track workout #1. [after missing a MILLION of them leading up to Boston + doing zero speed post-Boston, this was a rude awakening. HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE.]

A couple of my goals in the lead up to Berlin:

  1. Commit to my marathon schedule (and in that vein, got to actually make it tonight.)
  2. Commit to Barre (at least 4 times) and Kayla (kaylaitsines.com) workouts (at least 3 times) a week. Something that I was missing last season was strength and I had seen it play such a huge role in my buildup to M2B and Cottonwood marathons. I was too busy/running too many miles to find the time needed for it- so this time around, I'm working it into my schedule as a priority. 
  3. Track each week (I had been MIA on track during Boston) and even though it's painful going back after such a long hiatus, the ugly has to happen SOMETIME. Better to just get it over with now and get some good workouts in again. 
  4. Not to be race trigger happy. This girl is over raced and needs to save her legs for the real deal. I'll do two shorter tune-up races before Berlin- but besides that, putting my head down and working hard.
  5. Eating clean. I usually eat pretty healthy- but I got into some bad habits when I was running a million miles a week (it takes a lot of calories to feed an 80-mile-a-weeker) so cutting out those unnecessary calories and just giving myself the right fuel to get my runs done while not putting on weight is da goal. 
  6. To really believe in my goals and stay super positive. Always harder to come back after a bad race (or in my case 2 bad marathons back2back)- but a bad race(s) doesn't define me. I know I have what it takes to pull off a great race and I'm gonna stay positive and super motivated to get the job done in Berlin.
  7. Ok so maybe those are the minor goals to get me to my major time goal for the next race… I'm going to keep it at the same place that my Cottonwood and Boston time goal originally was. Hoping Berlin is where I finally get it done. But in the next twelve weeks, I have a LOT of work to do. ;-)

CHASSANT REVES= Chasing dreamssss (a francaise)

Hope you set some crazy goals for the year and commit in the day-to-day to making them happen! 

LONDON MARATHON (aka the race Tyler 2:26ed at)

Because life is INCREDIBLY busy, it has taken me a hot minute (read: almost 2 months) to get a blog post on the London Marathon. So.. if you're still wondering how that all went- here ya go. ;-)

The morning after Boston Marathon we woke up super early and took the Megabus from Boston down to Jersey to take a flight out to London. Guys. I didn't sleep the night after Boston (legit like a few hours) so to wake up early and travel all day was a little tough (luckily I held up much better than anticipated). I wasn't really that sore and was able to walk pretty well and I can only attribute that to not racing Boston. (Here's a tip- don't run that fast- don't get that sore.) 

We got to London pretty smoothly and were just so happy to get there. We got there on Wednesday which gave Tyler plenty of time to get on London time and to get some good rest before his big day. 

THE EXPO:

Once I realized that London Marathon basically had some of the fastest marathoners of all time competing at it, I looked to see if any of them would be speaking at the expo. Turns out that Emmanuel Mutai (2011 winner of the London Marathon), Wilson Kipsang (just my FAVORITE marathoner ever, winner of NYC 2015, former world record holder of the marathon until this last fall), Dennis Kimetto (winner of Berlin 2015, world record holder in the marathon) would all be at the expo. They all spoke in the same afternoon and it was pretty incredible just to get to meet them and wish them luck before their race. We did the expo on Friday morning so that Tyler could rest on Saturday. Another genius idea!

Dennis Kimetto: fastest marathoner EVER- how nuts is that??!

It was amazing finding out more about how they trained. Wilson Kipsang said that after every marathon he takes a FULL 2 weeks off. ZERO STEPS. Then he runs easy for 2 weeks and then after that he begins training again.  Just totally surprised me that that was his norm for every single race. I can't count how many times I attempt to get on the treadmill the next day and shake out my legs or something- and kinda hold it as a point of pride- like I was back to running a day after my race.  While these elites and super fast dudes just give their body the rest it really deserves/needs/wants. So, that's my new thing- no steps for 2 weeks post marathons. If it works for them, then it surely is good enough for Kimberly "I just BQ-ed for the first time last year" Clark. 

Dream come true getting to meet Wilson Kipsang. Having watching plenty of videos of him running in a marathon (most beautiful stride I've ever seen) it was such an honor to meet him. Icing on cake? The three of us matching!

I've always thought elite marathoners were skinny but I think it is even more highlighted in this pic. Tyler and I look obese next to Emmanuel Mutai. Ridiculous. His hips are legitimately the size of my wrist. I'm sure it's easier to run faster when the wind literally lifts you up and flies you through a course. 

And of course, no expo is complete without a stop to the Skecher's booth and a photo opp with my favorite marathoner!

Do we look like the marathoning Olsen Twins??!

We clearly love to expo.

On Saturday we stayed in the hotel pretty much the whole day letting Tyler rest up his legs. So smart. I definitely will be more proactive for Berlin and will allow myself to just completely rest the day before my race (instead of walking all around Boston and half-starving myself during the day). Just things you learn as you go. The weather was suchhhh a thing prior to this race (but isn't that true of EVERY race where marathoners become amateur weathermen??!)- is it going to rain, it is going to be freezing, will it be hot- pretty much whatever type of weather you can imagine was predicted for this race. 

The view from our hotel room. 

Morning of the race, I was super nervous. (Let's throw out the reminder here that it was not I that was running this race.)  I honestly slept REALLY poorly during the night because I was so nervous (I know- I'm a mess). Tyler was pretty calm and honestly was a lot calmer all week than I was. Haha. His training had being going well with him hitting new PR's in all distances leading up to it, but honestly, a marathon is such a long race and anything could happen. I was just prayinggggg that it would really come together for him in an amazing way.

Doesn't he look ready to do a crazy fast marathon?!

Saying goodbye to him at that train station (for him to take it to the start) was so scary- just totally unsure of what would happen. It was pretty cool though- he was able to warm up in the area at the start with all of the elites. When can you say you warmed up pre-marathon with Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto?! Dream come true for him.

I was REALLY excited about spectating this race. It had some of my favorite marathoners and was really hyped up to be a head to head against the two fastest men in the world (Kipsang v. Kimetto). We ended up seeing Tyler on three spots along the course. Considering he was at a 5:35 pace, I find that quite the feat. A lot easier to spectate slower racers, harder when they are FLYING. 

We saw the elites at mile 8- all still in a pack flyingggg together. Mutai is directly in the middle (white jerz/black adidas shorts) and Kimetto & Kipsang are in the back corner (blue jerz and white jerz). It was BREATHTAKING watching them run. Literally one of the funnest things to just get to see these guys in person. They were incredible. 

That's him saying- HI I SEE YOU!

We ran from mile 8 to mile 13 (and by ran I mean we ran to the tube, took the tube on one line, switched lines, took it to another line, got out and ran to where the marathon was)- we literally barely got there in time to see the elites run through- that's how much time it takes to go through the city by Tube to hit up the next spot. Plus the crowds were nutso. People had parked and settled into spots so it was impossible to find a spot to cheer. I was super worried we would completely miss Tyler because he was across the way and no one was letting me up to the front. I popped up to the front and asked a lady if I could stand there for literally two minutes because my bf was about to run through. She was UBER grumpy and was like- sureeeee (I don't think she believed that Tyler was that fast)- and I reassured her I really would be out of her hair if she let me cheer him on really quick. Tyler came by and we cheered super loud for him- luckily he saw us. And the lady ended up totally warming up to me once she saw me go completely nuts cheering. By the time Tyler came around for mile 21 (they came back through the same spot) - she and the rest of our section were chanting "TYLER TYLER TYLER" so that he could hear us from super far away. Really one of my favorite moments rallying the strangers around me to cheer him on. 

This is beautiful. 

Sadly London has the WORST INTERNET SERVICE EVER. THE WORST. And the London Marathon Tracking App was unfortunately JUST as bad as London's internet. That meant we were in the dark THE ENTIRE RACE, pretty much. We guessed what his splits were. But after we sent him off at Mile 21 all we could do was pray because we wouldn't be able to make it to the finish in time. We had NO CLUE how he did until we saw him at the finish. 2.26.23. WE WERE ECSTATIC. It was just amazing to see all of his hard work pay off. 

Deep in the pain cave, as he says. (Mile 21)

I was so nervous all day so it was nice to see he finally accomplished his big goal. Crazy fact- his last marathon (Boston) he performed similar to me- 19 minutes OFF our PR. How nuts is that?! Just goes to show you to keep the faith. I am so very proud of him- and excited for our next big race- BERLIN- for BOTH of us. ;-) 

Our trip was a crazy ride- from a pretty low low (19 minutes off a marathon PR qualifies as a LOW) to an amazing high (Tyler shaving almost 10 minutes off his PR), we were thankful to have had the opportunity to travel and do what we love to do. Also- I cannot more highly recommend London- there's a reason it's a major. It's great weather (usually cool in London during this time), flat course, easy packet pickup, easy transportation, plus IT'S LONDON. Soooooo now I want to run London… Maybe 2017? (2016 Lotto is already come and gone.)

Hope this was a fun read- now go out and have a good run! ;-)

BOSTON STRONG: Boston Marathon Race Recap

Not going to lie to you- I am STILL processing everything that happened on marathon day/the season leading up to it. It all happened so quick and then I rushed off to London the next morning without a lot of time to dwell on it. And now that I've had a little time to dwell on it, I'm trying to process it…  and process it well. So here goes! 

THE BOSTON MARATHON.

I really had no clue what the Boston Marathon was before becoming a runner 3 years ago. No clue that it was one of the most prestigious races out there. No clue you had to qualify. No clue that I would ever want to run- and that I would ever dream of qualifying. When I started running (which was just supposed to be my Hail Mary attempt to complete a marathon on the ten year anniversary of my first/only marathon that I registered for the day before/didn't train for AT ALL and completed in 6:08), I had no idea that I would KEEP running after completing this 10 year anniversary redemption run. Once I realized I liked it and within 5 months of starting to run, had run a 3:51, I thought- well if I run for a little longer, I'm sure I can qualify for Boston. And there you have it. Once you have that thought, it nags at you until you accomplish it. 

Qualifying for Boston at Mountains 2 Beach was easily one of the happiest moments of my life. I knew that I would qualify for it while training for it and was pretty confident that I could make it happen. On the course, I felt great and was under pace for most of the race. Dream race scenario. 

Leading into the Boston Marathon training season was tough. I did a fall marathon [Big Cottonwood] that was pretty disastrous on my body [4500 feet descent in the first 16 miles] and so after the race, I felt like there was no point in holding back from doing any races (because I really do love races). So I did them. ALL OF THEM. I did 6 half marathons, 1 Ragnar, and 1 10k between the marathon and starting up marathon training for Boston. Basically I started out so burned out and so physically done before Boston. Not an ideal way to start marathon training- especially for a marathon you've built up in your head like Boston. 

this outfit went a lot better with sunshine- but survived in the rain. 

The RACE:

Pro's:

  • It's Boston- so they obviously have race logistics down to a science- bag check, transportation- all SUPER easy and uncomplicated
  • Tents in athlete village- better than being out directly in the rain- still felt like a runner's refugee camp
  • Hydration on point on the course- pretty regular stations
  • AMAZING spectators on course- really special

Con's:

  • No heated buses along course or at finish-a lot of races I have run if there is a chance of it being too cold will have heated buses along the course or at finish to prevent hypothermia. (A casual 1300 runners were treated for hypothermia at Boston.) Not only did they not have anything like that at the finish line- but Boston Commons (bag check - i.e. MY JACKET) was FOREVER away. I honestly thought I would die of cold before I would get there. Truly one of the most miz experiences. 
  • You are put into corrals based on the time you qual-ed with. It's SUCH a crazy packed course that if you are trying to do a lot faster than what you qualified with- it's pretty near impossible for first 5 or 6 miles because it's like a wall of people staying pretty firm to your qualifying race pace. 

a lil homeless. a lil scared. a lil not wanting to leave my CUZ.

In the morning I was super nervous about the weather and still so optimistic that by mental willpower alone I could keep it from raining (spoiler alert: I didn't). I got over to Boston Commons - but too late to meet anyone to ride over with. Next Boston I will be so much more on top of that because it was pretty depressing riding over alone and then being in the Athlete Village in the cold alone. Haha.

dropping off my stuff at bag check in Boston Commons. pre-race. 

On the bus ride over it started to pour and getting to the Athlete Village, it was just a mass of people all huddled in the tents trying to stay warm. The best moment of the morning was when I saw Cuong and it just felt AMAZING being so nervous and cold to see someone I knew. Then a couple minutes after, Adri walked by- and then she knew where another group of girls was. By the end, we had a little SDTC crew which made everything seem so much better. 

After waiting for awhile in the Athlete Village, we had to head up to the Start. I had my throwaways on and was planning on throwing them away when we started but it was just too cold- so I ditched my sweatpants but kept the fleece (which was ginormous on). When we started, the crowds at the start line were so wonderful that I started tearing up just so excited that I GOT to run Boston. Then after the initial excitement, I realized that I was pretty much locked into a solid 7:50 pace by the sea of people around me- which was off of my goal pace- and there didn’t seem like an end to the solid wall of people. That was just terrifying thinking that I couldn’t do anything to make sure I would keep my goal pace because of how thick the crowds were.

Around mile 2 or 3 is when the rain started back up.  I definitely was happy to have the fleece on (which I kept on until mile 9 and it became so heavy with water and I strongly considered whether throwing it away so I wasn’t weighed down was better than freezing. Tossup. I ended up throwing it  because I felt like there would NEVER be a time that I would WANT to throw it away, but it was just so heavy and wearing it didn’t make me feel like I was in a race.) 

no idea where in the race this was. also- my outfit was planned when i thought it would be normal race weather… 

no idea where in the race this was. also- my outfit was planned when i thought it would be normal race weather… 

Mile 3 is when I realized that the race was pretty much over for me. My legs were dead, stale, used up, not there- basically the legs that I had been so familiar with during training. I was pretty devastated. I just thought that taking the weight off my legs during taper would change everything- and all this hard work I had put in  (just a casual 1 week at 75 followed by 5 weeks at 80) would pay off. Just the worst moment realizing that pretty much my greatest fears during the thick of training were my Boston marathon reality. It’s like you have those days in training for the marathon where things are just OFF- like you can’t keep pace, or you feel lethargic, or your legs just feel beyond heavy- and you think, so relieved- man, I’m glad that this was just a training run and that the marathon wasn’t today. Well- my marathon WAS that day. And I was running it in truly miserable conditions- 40s, freezing cold rain, and a headwind on our point-to-point course. I was so devastated and did NOT want to be there. Like I was just wishing myself off the course. I had no control over pace or over my legs and I was so cold and miserable plus I was seeing the Boston experience I dreamed of crash and burn in front of me. Just a really heartbreaking experience.

I actively thought of how I could get myself out of this situation. I had no money on me- but I know I can usually talk most people into anything- so I figured I would just walk off the course and ask someone if I could borrow money to take the metro back into the city. I thought if they said no- that I would say I could Paypal them or give them my Garmin- ANYTHING. The point of these sentences is that I really thought through what my walk-off the Boston course would be like and what Option Z (as in my worst case scenario of not wanting to do a marathon and leaving a course) would be like.  Then I told myself that’s not YOUR option today.  I had people who had flown in to see me who were waiting for me on the course, it was the Boston marathon and really the realization of my dreams and prayers, and I don’t walk off courses. As terrible as it is to have a bad race and a time I want to be divorced from, I’m not the girl that quits- even on my worst day. 

the small man in the blue was my "drafter"for a casual 4 miles. also this expression was pretty much the only one I had all race. 

And so I suffered through. I stopped looking at my Garmin (because, really- what was the purpose at this point except to mentally punish myself) and I just ran in the rain. When a race feels hard from mile three… TRUST ME, it’s going to be a very long day. My feet that usually love my Skechers Go Speeds were so sore throughout the race – I honestly chalk that up to everything going wrong at once and not them being a bad race fit for me. I was just so cold the whole race and wanted the race to be over.

I went through so many different emotional phases during this marathon. From the initial Boston tears to be on the course, to true fear that I wouldn’t be able to do the pace I wanted, to disappointment that my legs were done and not on deck to do what I had planned for them to do, to just extreme frustration with everything happening, to having such an attitude of gratitude for the people there cheering. Once I realized my race was over, even though the experience was not enjoyable since I just was in pain and freezing, I just became overwhelmed with how kind people were to be out there in that type of weather to give us such support. I would just run by crowds and mouth “thank you” and they would go wild and just give such incredible support.  I was trying to be in the moment and just really thankful for the opportunity to run and to be healthy and to pursue what I love. Because even on a bad day that irks my competitive self, I have so much to be grateful for.

The Newton hills were… the Newton Hills. I mean, I was already SO over the race and so far off what my goal was, I just didn’t care. My only goal in the race was to not walk off course and to not walk. You’re in a really weird state when running and I couldn’t keep track of how many hills I had hit- or what constituted a hill – so I just focused on the mile markers, knowing that they started at mile 16 and would probably go until mile 21. I didn’t know which one was Heartbreak- and did it matter- I was already just focused on the finish line and being finished with this race. I saw Tyler and his parents at mile 21 and just felt so bad that they were out in the rain cheering and I was putting on such a poor show. Then I kept trudging along. My ipod playlist finished at 24, I think. And I kept trying to get it to work but the rain was making everything act funny.  For the last four miles a short man was “drafting” off of me. I mean WHO KNOWS what he was doing – but the road was wide- and he was on me like white on rice. Believe me, my patience is NOT more abundant towards the end of a marathon. 

i tried to muster a smileee. i love the guy in the orange's "BOSTON FINISHER" face though. that's how i'll look MY next boston. 

I finished the race- I don’t think I had any kick at the end. I didn’t babysit my watch basically at all after mile 5 or something. I just knew that it wouldn’t have mattered. There are some races when you have control over your legs so you police your Garmin to make sure you’re on pace. Here- I was doing the very best I could with the tools I was working with.  I just cared about finishing since there was no way to get my legs to do my goal time.

i call this look hypothermia chic. 

When I finally stopped running, I was pretty elated to be finished, which then changed into pure desperation and cold on the LONG walk to Boston Commons. It was so very miserable. I had a couple medics stop me to make sure I was alright. I told them I was obviously cold but wanted to keep going to get inside. I talked to someone the next day who was treated for hypothermia. What did they do for him? “Treat” him outside in the medic tent for an hour and a half. How does that even make sense? Luckily in as bad of state as I felt, I had enough sense to get myself out of the cold.

crossing… finally. 

The Boston Marathon was not what I had planned or hoped for. And I think having back-to-back bad marathons really does a number on you. Luckily at my last bad one (Big Cottonwood) I qualified for Boston 2016, which I had planned on running next year- but honestly, going back to Boston next year may be too soon for me. I do know that having one bad marathon makes you appreciate when a good one really comes together. I know I am that much more hungry for Berlin to be an amazing race. Sadly, all of my hard work did not end in a PR race at Boston- in fact it was probably BECAUSE of all of my hard work that I did so poorly (haha). But you know, you live (and run) and you learn. What your body can handle some training cycles, is too much during other training cycles if you have a lot of other stressors going on as well (work stress, no sleep, etc). 

So my Type A/competitive/hungry for redemption personality would have me running more and doing everything possible to make Berlin great… and I think for me, right now, I need to do just the opposite and give myself the rest and recovery that my body is desperately asking for. I always think I can handle high mileage or high intensity because I have been (thankfully) pretty resilient to injury- but sometimes fatigue is your body's way of saying enough is enough- and unfortunately I didn't pay enough attention to those signs this season. I overtrained and had an off race. 

seeing Mark randomly at Boston Commons and getting indoors at a coffee shop with him was one of the happiest moments of the day!

I am BEYOND thankful for all of the amazing friends and family that were on this journey with me. From the tough days of training to giving me an encouraging word when I needed it, to consoling/comforting me when I was really heartbroken about Boston being a complete disaster. What would I do without you. I learned some valuable lessons this training cycle. Trained far harder and sustained it longer than I thought possible (really, I am so proud of myself for how hard I trained and how disciplined I was- even if it didn't pan out how I wanted it to). And I'll be taking all of these lessons on to my next marathon pursuit: Berlin, September 27th. 

I am blessed to get to do what I love. I know that my fastest days are ahead. And I choose to be joyful and thankful even in the face of disappointment. 

Thanks for reading this monologue- it may have taken you longer to read, than it took me to run Boston. ;-) I hope you get out there and do a run for me- because I'm not starting up running again until next week. 

so thankful for how supportive he is. 


GETTING TO BOSTON

So I am FINALLY back from my trip (Boston --> London) and am still processing all of the incredible highs and the hard lows on this trip. Because we had internet that even the Third World would be ashamed of in London (how is this even possible for every part of the city to have TERRIBLE internet)- AND my charger gave up on life after a day in London- I didn't get a chance to blog abroad. So here we go back to revisit this Boston2London adventure. (It's the next "Boston2BigSur" obviously…)

Boston by the Numbers- here's some hot numbers from my Boston Training:

  • FIVE- 20 mile long runs
  • FOUR- 18 mile long runs
  • FIVE- 80 mile weeks
  • THREE- emotional breakdowns (tears, tears and some more tears)
  • ELEVEN- weeks of serious training (i.e. not running a race every weekend)
  • EIGHT- blog posts during this training cycle (ironically a running blog is negatively affected by too much running)
  • TOO MANY TO COUNT- double days (gotta love doing DOUBLE the run clothes laundry)
  • FIVE- calls to Tyler to suggest canceling/postponing a tough workout for 1. weather, 2. new illness that just crept up, 3. dead legs, 4. I was alive and breathing and didn't feel like doing it.

The week before Boston was a lot of emotions. Everyone asking what my time goal and how I was feeling and me responding with some variation of, "I'm feeling a lot of emotions." (Most of these emotions were fear/anxiety that my legs wouldn't recover from my training in time to feel fresh again.)

We flew on Saturday morning from SD to Boston and arrived late on Saturday night and made it to our hotel.  I was so nervous on Saturday- but trying to stay pretty hopeful. I mean- I still had no idea what happened in the taper (i.e. would magic energy be back in my legs??!)

my amazing cuz met us out in Boston to support me for the race. SHE IS DA BEST.

We were concerned about finding food since we wouldn't be in til around 10 pm. Luckily there was an Irish Pub at the Westin Waterfront and I was able to get every carb they offered. The two plates directly in front of me were ALL for me. I shared with no one. 

We headed out the next morning to the Boston Marathon expo and took a long walk to get there. In hindsight, I'll never walk this much/spend this much time on my feet before a marathon. Just want to give yourself every advantage possible, come raceday. 

It was so much fun seeing the San Diego Track Club at the finish line. It was also MUCH better weather the day before. I was still pretty hopeful that the weather the next day would dramatically change...

It was so special to have my cuzin there in Boston with me- she was such an amazing support in my journey to qualify for Boston so I definitely felt like it was OUR Boston. I couldn't imagine going to Boston and Erin not being there. 

Things started getting real at the expo. A real number. A Boston shirt. Everyone around super excited to run one of the most prestigious races out there. 

At the expo we watched a video of the course- really my first introduction to the course - as I don't like to really psyche myself out. I was a bit surprised with how it basically had rollers throughout the whole course. Was really trying hard NOT to freak out. Unsuccessfully. 

This great sign was ONLY seen at the Expo. They forgot to bring it to the race/it down poured and would have been ruined/all I wanted to do was live during the race so I really could have cared less. 


We went to the new Adidas Boston store and there was this really cool look at the course. It's a new store right by the Finish Line that has a focus on the Boston Marathon. So you can get your Boston Marathon fix ALL YEAR 'ROUND. 

Because everything was so crazy that day, we didn't have a chance to figure out dinner reservations and it was like 5:30 and we still had NO clue what we were doing. It didn't help that the week leading up to the race was so crazy so I did zero planning for Boston, except the actual packing for the race. I texted Adri to see what she was doing and she was amazing and let us tag along to her and Eric's pre-race dinner. We had amazing food and great convo which put me more at ease before the race. Nothing like expecting to have a romantic dinner with your boyfriend and having your friend and her entourage tag along. Thanks, Adri!!! ;-)

the last supper

We finished up dinner and went back to the hotel-and got back around 9-ish. Once I realized it would be raining and freezing, I changed up my game plan and borrowed Tyler's hat and arm warmers. THANK GOD I DID. As miserable as the race conditions were, I cannot imagine what they would have been like if I didn't add the hat and arm warmers to my routine. 

The day before the race, I was trying to stay positive, but was just SO very unsure what was going to happen the next day. I don't think I have ever felt quite like this. I mean, I always get pretty nervous- but this one I genuinely had no clue if my legs would be back to normal. That uncertainty was super tough to deal with the day prior. 

We got to bed a little later than I like to - maybe 10:30 or something and race nights always tend to be really stressful to fall asleep- not sure how long I fell asleep for but I know that I WAS asleep for some time, so that's a win. I wish there was a way to guarantee a good night's sleep before a race- but that's just not realistic- so I'm just happy when I get SOME sleep. 

To be continuedddd….. 

[Boston Marathon Race Recap up soon…]

DID SOMEONE SAY TAPER???!!!

So I'm firmly in taper territory- 11 days away from my marathon. WHERE DOES TIME GO?! I also am still a blogger- I know everyone was wondering since I've neglected my blog so badly.

Couple updates just to catch up:

  • My passport came in FINALLY on Monday night. THANK GOD. I only needed it by next Friday (when I fly out for Boston and then leave day after Boston for London). NBD. I play fast and loose with wayyy too many things. So now I have my Boston Marathon Runner's Passport & my UNITED STATES OF AMERICA passport. I'm ready. 

someone take me to Boston & London. i'm ready!

  • 80 mile weeks are a thing of the past (at least until next training cycle. How am I even saying those words right now?! TOO SOON. Wayyyy too soon to talk about next cycle.)

best part of a long run: it being over. hello skechers go meb speed 3's- I LOVE YOU.

  • I "tapered" into my lower mileage with a nice and miz marathon cold. Nothing says reward for all your hard work and endless fatigue like your body completely shutting down for a few days. That's one way to get me to slow down.

at the zoo a lil sick- but with the cutest kids ever.

  • I met Steph Rothstein Bruce & Ben Bruce. HOLLA. Don't worry- I totally didn't rungeek out over meeting them (just kidding- of course I did). They ran Carlsbad 5000- Steph's first race as a preg elite racer. Guys - she could be in the middle of delivering her child and still run a 5k faster than me. 

Terri (the real celeb here), Steph Rothstein Bruce, Ben Bruce & Josh Cox. Talk about a speedy (stalkerish?) pic.

spectating races is my new favorite thing. how am I going to run Boston if I've only been practicing my race spectating?!

  • This guy ran a BIG PR at Carlsbad- 15:07 for the 5k. London is going to be really good for his speedy legs.

that stride is something else.

  • I am currently trying to figure out if I will carb deplete for Boston.  If I do it starts next Sunday after my long run and then goes for a couple days (here is more info on carb depleting), until I break it with a carb resurrection when I eat anything carby in sight for the few days before the race. 
    • pro's- I did this for Mountains 2 Beach and for Big Cottonwood and ran decent races there; I know I physically can survive it (haha- but really it's not a laughing matter 4 days into no carbs)
    • con's- Having such a tough cycle with the phys/mental/emotional fatigue I went through, maybe I just need to have my carbs and try to feel good and get my head in the right space before my run?

 

I've been all over the place with this race. Literally all over the place. Coming into this training cycle with serious burnout (3 marathons plus a million half marathons last year) meant that I didn't get the phys or emo rest I needed to give myself a real chance. That said, I am hoping the fatigue wears off in time for me to feel fresh and bouncy and like running a PR. I am soooo thankful I get to run Boston. This time last year I was telling myself everyday that I was going to qualify at Mountains 2 Beach and that I was a Boston marathoner. Fast forward a year- and here I am, about to take off and run this race that I've poured myself into training for. 

Boston is 11 days away.... I got this.

Have an amazing day! Do yourself a favor and go run. ;-) I'm about to taper really hard.

INTO THE DEEP (week 4 into my 80 mile-a-week streak)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Guys! I'm the worst blogger ever. You know what isn't conducive to consistent blogging?? 80 mile weeks, one on top of another. So I'm doing a WAYBACK WEDNESDAY post (i.e.  I wrote this like March 17th and didn't publish). Enjoy this blast from the past....

The only streaking I do?! 80 mile-a-week streaksssss. So this lots of running thing- when you're in it, it can be a mind-f. Like in theory I get that running a lot of miles should make me stronger and faster. But in reality, instead of feeling like a racehorse, most days I feel like one of those burros that go up and down the Grand Canyon. In order to really set my mind at ease/trust the process, I've been doing reading on this high mileage phenom so that I can convince myself that I'm getting more benefits from running a million miles than just being able to eat everything in sight (which if that really was the ONLY benefit is not the worst thing in the world). 

Here are some great things I've read about running the HIGH MILES:

  • "Aerobic development is the most important training element for long-term success. High school coaches began instructing their runners to bump their weekly mileage and focus less on intense intervals. The result? A resurgence in American distance running, which started at the prep level, and has resulted in Americans making it back to the medal stand." Read more here.
  • "In the extreme example of Salazar and Rupp, who have been working together for nearly 12 years, taking a long-term approach to training has allowed Rupp to mature, adapt and improve incrementally year after year to the point where he’s now able to be competitive in nearly any race he enters and contend for medals on the world stage. Throughout this process, short-term successes were often sacrificed in favor of achieving long-term goals. From the time Salazar and Rupp started working together the main goal was to eventually end up on the medal stand. Rather than rush the process, however, trying to turn Rupp into a world-beater at 19 or 20 years old and risking injury or burnout, Salazar and Rupp exercised patience, sticking to their long-term plan and taking one small step at a time toward achieving big things.

How can you take a long-term approach to your own training and racing? The most important lesson is to be patient. Set long-term goals for 1 to 3 years down the road, such as moving up to tackle the marathon distance or taking a large chunk of time off your current personal best. Give yourself plenty of time to mature as an athlete, work on your aerobic development, and improve strength and speed over the course of a few years rather than try to cram it all into a 10- or 12-week period. Of course, it’s important to give yourself short-term benchmarks along the way as a means of checking your progress, but don’t be discouraged if you’re not running a personal best every time you take to the starting line. Always keep the bigger picture in mind."
Read more here. 

I think this ties into my whole high mileage thing because while I'm PRAYING and hoping for the absolute best at Boston, I also realize that building this aerobic base where my body is able to handle high miles, just means good things down the road. What I'm doing today, is setting myself up for a GREAT Berlin (Sept 27, 2015).  What I've realized in running is that a base matters, some of the best runners have been doing this for a HOT minute. It's hard to not want to be already to my goals, but there is something to be said for being patient and put in the work today so I get the results I want tomorrow (or like a hundred tomorrows later, whatever). 

So this is probably the question I'm constantly having regarding where I am now and what I expect to run at Boston in FOUR WEEKS:

That is my struggle. How do I know what my legs are truly capable of if it feels like I'm toting toddlers around on my calves? Is the best approach just to keep doing the work and have faith that at the end it will all come together?

post 20 miler. guys- all the black dots on my forehead and chest are bugs that met their end when they drowned in sweat on my body. not quite sure why I'm publishing this disturbing photo. but ya know- my blog, my world.

Well I guess that's the approach I should take. Not gonna lie. After Saturday's 20 miler I had a bit of an emo breakdown. (Probably not the fatigue and stress getting to me, at all.)  It's just increasingly hard to stay positive and focused on a time goal when I feel like my legs are dead so I can't hit paces I want at the end of a long run.  Luckily, I have wonderful people in my life to talk me off the ledge and reassure me that being in the THICK of marathon training is hard and fatiguing and exhausting- BUT THERE IS A POINT TO ALL OF IT. And taper happens and magic happens soon after at the race.

It reminds me of the California bar exam. It's this mentally brutal exercise (in futility?) where you are learning all of these subjects for a month and then having to study them and understand them- and then the last couple days are a scramble to memorize everything possible and then hopefully it all comes together for the bar exam and you can pull off a pass. We did a practice test a few weeks before the bar. I did HORRIBLE. Not bad, HORRIBLE. But you know what- passing a practice exam didn't matter- because that wasn't the actual exam. You know what I did pass- the California Bar. When it mattered and actually counted, things came together when they needed to- but not a minute before. Haha. Taking that analogy and applying that to my marathoning right now and trusting that it will all come together and that all my hard work is not for nothing.

where my legs basically live. my treadmill. i wish i got to be in this position all of the time tho. much more comfortable.

is 2 pounds of fried shrimp (gluten-free, of course) and grits enough for my 26 mile long run day?

Hoping that someone can relate to my struggle- and that you feel encouraged that things will come together when they need to. ;-) Have an amazing day- and get out there and run!

me n my crew. no dainty eaters here. 


Pump up the [Mileage] Volume!!!

So in the spirit of "mo miles no problems"- I have been sticking with high mileage. It has been THREE weeks at 80 miles. Y'all. Do you know what type of commitment that is? How many hours that takes? The actual math skills it requires to add up all the runs correctly (and then re-add to make sure you ran 80 and not 38)??!! 

Some thoughts on 80-80-80. HEY! HEY! HEY!

amazingggg vegan place in LA (The Punchbowl) with the BESTTTT smoothies ever. 

1. EAT!!!! I can eat any and everything. But really mostly EVERYTHING. Every minute not spent running is virtually spent eating. I've been trying to put a focus on nutrition these last few weeks though. Putting such a strain on my body I KNOW that I need to take my nutrition to the next level. There have been more nights of cooking and less nights of eating out in an effort to get more solid whole foods into my lil bod. I've been following insta's that have an emphasis on whole foods and raw foods (no worries. still 100% carnivore- but I know that getting some great ideas for incorporating more super foods/fruits/vegs into my life can only HELP my running/energy). 

gluten free fried chicken & gluten free pancakes???! MY IDEA OF HEAVEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I could probably eat this every night. i ate all of this. just kidding... i wish.

2. SCHEDULEEE!!! I am constantly having to plan ahead to make sure if I can't do a second workout one day- that SOMETIME that week those miles get done. That probably is one of the more stressful parts of it all. My life is a constant russian mile roulette where I am trying to figure out if I can squeeze in ONE LAST MILE before having to leave the house (i.e. how LATE will this last mile make me?!) I have mastered showering and leaving the house within 15 minutes of getting off the treadmill and cannot tell you the last time my hair has been blowdryed. Guys! This was the girl that in law school - EVEN on the days of finals or all nighters - I would show up dressed up and with my hair most likely curled or done up. Geez. What has happened to me?! (80 miles a week, that's what.)

break from running to hang out with college besties in la. life is perfect.

3. FATIGUEEE!!! My legs are TIREDDDD. I think they were worse after the first week. I THINK that my legs may be getting used to it though- or I'm just used to being consistently tired. You can't expect repeatedly putting high mileage in that your legs feel light and springy and super amped to do a fast workout. HAHA. I wish. I'm really hoping to have a breakthrough this week and start feeling more like myself even while running 80 a week. Stay tuned. 

4. SPEED!!! (WHAT'S THAT!)  It's TOUGH mentally/physically/emotionally to make myself do track and tempos. Running "fast" when you are feeling constantly tired and slow can be demoralizing. I'm thankful to have a great support system that encourages me that this is NORMAL and to push through it. I would skip track & tempos every week if I wasn't being told that 1. I cannot taper all week for my long run, and 2. To just keep practicing running on tired legs. Accountability is good. 

running "fast" at track is a thing of the past. instead i count it a win to just be running. 

5. DO I HAVE A LIFE ANYMORE?! I thought 2 years ago that 70 was a lot of miles- and I think I maybe hit that once or twice in that training cycle. It's crazy how everything is mental and sustaining 80 miles for 3 weeks hasn't been as hard as I would have thought going into it. Honestly I would say the toughest thing has been coordinating fitting in the miles between work and personal life. I definitely have had to sacrifice things during this time because- let's be real, I can run 80 miles, but I cannot create more time in the day. 

6. POSITIVE THINKING!!! When you're tired and exhausted and when fast workouts are not as plentiful- it is hard to sustain the right type of thinking to really motivate and propel you during marathon training. I'm constantly checking my attitude and making sure I'm keeping my head in the right space. High mileage is SUPPOSED to be hard and fatiguing. Duh. But when you're in it- and you're expecting to feel how you do when  you're in the 40-60 mile range, it's hard to readjust your thinking and expectations. I have been looking for any positive affirmations during this high mileage season and celebrating them- a tempo run in the middle of the week where I did 4 miles on the dreadmill at race pace- yes; a track workout where I just ATTEND after having two consecutive 80 mile weeks on my legs plus had done 8 miles that morning- wonderful; a tempo run of 6 miles at race pace in the middle of a tiring week- fab. It's so important to keep your head in the game, if you're gonna force your body to do crazy things. I have been realizing the importance of not letting the captain jump ship while on the high (mileage) seas. 

7. WEEKLY GOALS!!! I have been trying to have a focus during each week of things I wanted to work on to have some other tangible things to hopefully aid my body during this time. This last week it was 1. more sleep (somehow I had been giving myself 4-6 hours of sleep and expecting crazy things), 2. better nutrition (getting better at this), 3. more core work (eek- need to focus on this more). 

8. GRACE!!! There is a tendency if you're somewhat like me to be tough on yourself and beat yourself up for not being as fast as your low mileage self. 1. That's not realistic. 2. That's not productive. I'm really trying to focus on not being so tough on myself and realizing that progress is still progress. I have a tendency to be greedy with success and want it to come all RIGHT NOW. I decided the other day that my big goals are worthy of my patience and perseverance, so even if it takes a few trys to make them happen- I'll hold out for them. And in the meantime, I'll give myself grace for the days when it doesn't feel like it's coming together. Because, it will. 

I am feeling overwhelmed by gratitude (and a bit of fatigue, let's be real) that I GET to train for the Boston Marathon. As overwhelming and exhausting as training can get, I just feel so very blessed that I am in the position today that I am.... just a mere FIVE WEEKS from running the Boston Marathon. It really will be a dream come true. And I am doing everything in my power to not take this privilege for granted and work hard to give it my best effort when I'm running on running's most sacred grounds. Ok- I'm going to stop being sappy. THIS IS WHAT HIGH MILEAGE DOES TO  YOU FOLKS. 

Hope everyone stayed alive this weekend through our crazy heat wave. I about died of thirst a million times over during my twenty on Saturday. 

running in a dry sauna on saturday. 

Have an amazing day- and hoping that you get out there for a run (or two)!

 

Mo Miles No Problems!!!

HEY GUYS! I still have a blog. Shocking considering that it’s more abandoned than a New Yorker’s tan in February.  But whatever. Life gets nuts, and sometimes your running is even crazier- and sometimes you need time to get your sh*t together.

So here is the latest and greatest with me:

California 10/20:

I went out and spectated this race last week and it was really incredible to watch. This dude came out with a PR and it was really fun getting to watch him suffer out there going really fast. (Just kidding- I don’t love watching people suffer.) He came in 11th place, got a PR, and got some prize $$$. YES.

toeing the line. photo credit: Andrea Naylor

toeing the line. photo credit: Andrea Naylor

It was a beautiful course along the water and the weather was race-day perfect. Muchhhhhh better than the 84 degrees that I finished my 18-mile long run in the day before. But really- I enjoy suffering, so I would have been disappointed if I had great running weather for my long run.

looking fresh at mile 7.5 of 10. 10 weeks til the London Marathon for this dude.

looking fresh at mile 7.5 of 10. 10 weeks til the London Marathon for this dude.

No races- STILL:

Keeping my end of the bargain on this (I mean, it’s only been two weeks) and not doing ANY race until Boston.  With Boston just a mere 9 weeks away, I REALLY don’t have the luxury of taking off a weekend for a race or tapering for one. Need to put my head down, do work and not look to get fake race highs when I should be focused on just one race right now. I want to just get in a LOT of strong long runs where I feel good- and get in some good speed workouts. Speaking of- for the year, I will only be doing (as of now) Boston, Tijuana Half Marathon, Lulu Half Marathon & Berlin Marathon. Talk about racing minimalist. Maybe if I do LESS races I will actually get faster. Novel concept.

Dialing down the INTENSITY:

So after having a couple weeks of feeling the real effects of mental and physical burnout- I needed to do something different. My legs were feeling the opposite of fresh (think ten day old bread).  I felt like I had to do something different. I decided to up my miles – but make all my miles easier. Maybe it sounds counterintuitive to up the miles when I was already feeling tired, but easy miles without the speed and intensity I was throwing into my weeks sounded a lot more manageable. I ran double on most days- but took out my track workout and tempo for 2 weeks to dial down the intensity.

So after two weeks of trying this, I am feeling SO much better. This week I hit 75 miles- last week was probably high 60’s. I have kept most of my miles pretty easy (and majority on the treadmill) so that when I went out for my long runs I felt strong and coasted through them. My running easy for my long run this Saturday was 18 miles at 8:01 pace. At the end, I was obviously feeling tired and ready to be done- but was still able to push the last two miles: mile 17: 8 flat, and mile 18- 7:55. Seriously felt so encouraged after these last two decent long runs I have and like a PR in Boston (which is just 9 weeks away) is so much more attainable. Since running is SO mental- I know how important it is to get my brain on board for what I’m asking my body to do.

Guys. NO. I did not spend 25 minutes in this foot massage chair while at Brookstone today. But if I did, I would probably have deserved it with 75 miles under my belt/sweater.

Guys. NO. I did not spend 25 minutes in this foot massage chair while at Brookstone today. But if I did, I would probably have deserved it with 75 miles under my belt/sweater.

BOA Shoot:

I got to shoot this week for BOA Closure Systems- they do the pop & lock lacing technology on shoes, apparel and gear (like my Specialized cycling shoes have BOA's on them- they keep the laces locked in place and help with transition times. But when you decide to walk your bike up mountains during a tri - who is worried about an extra 30 seconds to tie laces.) It was fun running back and forth doing action shots with them and trying to look like a normal, semi-attractive person while running. The shoes that they had were 7's and 8's in women. And I have not been that size since 6th grade, so I got to experience a little Asian foot binding. It really wasn't bad- and the upside was my feet have never looked so petite. 

And here was my view....

I'm excited to start this week and READY to hit 80 miles this week- and start putting back in my speed workouts. I have been SCARED STRAIGHT by this recent bout of fatigue and overracing and I will be religious about doing my workouts but not looking for all the race day highs (i.e. more practicing the piano and less performances at Carnegie Hall unprepared). 

TRUTH.

TRUTH.

Have an amazing week - and deviate from your schedule if that's what your body needs. That's what I've been doing, and it's making a world of difference!

 

 

 

 

INSPIRE ME.

Soooo most of the races I go to, I participate, rarely spectate. The day after my Super Run 10k, I went out to cheer people on for the Cardiff Kook Run 10k. Um if you are in need of some SERIOUS speed-spiration, that is just the thing to do. There were some seriously fast runners out there.

We got there early in the morning and bopped around waiting for the start. It started 30 minutes later than the website stated (Kook fail)- but besides that everything seemed to go pretty smoothly. Pretty sure I woke up LIGHT YEARS earlier for a race that I spectated for (5:20 am for an 8:30 start) than I did for the race I actually RAN in (5:50 am for a 7:30 am start) the day before. Potato potahto.

hi encinitas sign.

We headed down the course to the 1 mile mark/5.2 mile mark (since it was an out and back) because I felt like this would be the spot where they would need it most (last mile push before the finish).  Pretty exciting seeing all of the elites sprinting through. 

parked at the mile 1/mile 5.2 spot ready to cheer everyone on

I literally cannot handle how fast they were all going. WHY CAN I NOT MAKE MY LEGS MOVE THAT FAST??!!

what a 4:56 mile 1 of a 10k looks like. scary fast.

Nothing better than having a cheering crew to make race spectating more fun. 

cheer crew. 7 strong.

cheer crew. 7 strong.

Natasha LaBeaud set a new course record and was first female (obviously, she's amazing). Here's a cool article about her. She's crazy fast. 

natasha labeaud KILLING it.

It was a good day for this dude too. He got a PR and came in 8th overall. The London Marathon is gonna be gooddddd. 

i spy a fresh to death 2015 boston jacket. 

Speaking of...  I have my tickets booked to Boston and I am starting to get nervous. Every time I think about Boston or even say the word I get butterflies. Probably a littleeee too soon to be getting butterflies, I need to just be training hard and resting harder for about 12 more weeks before I am allowed to feel nervous excitement. Excited that Shalane and Meb will be racing Boston this year (even though I literally won't see their race since I'll be running it myself) - but still knowing we are breathing the same air is enough for me. 

Have an amazing day- and get out and do a run. Or two. 

Getting over it.

Guys!!!! I'm happy because this weekend was my last race until Boston. I know. Words I really thought that I wouldn't so readily welcome. But if Saturday's Super Run 10k showed me, not only is burn-out real- but so is overracing, dead legs. It wasn't in my head. My legs were made of lead. 

my thoughts as I am running the last .1 miles - "God, please let me beat the 4 year old running the 5k..." a new low.

I have been training well lately... and over racing and I need to take it down a couple levels so that my body can train and recover and feel quicker. 

my amazing friend suly won the 10k and then came back a half mile to run me in.  I kept hearing "relax, loosen up."

Soo what is my game plan to shake this feeling and to get back to training/start feeling good again:

1. Be boring. Get back to a routine. As amazing as racing is (and believe me- I LOVE ITTT), it takes a LOT out of you. I flew across the country to Miami for 2 days to run the Half and the race and the traveling takes a lot out of ya. From now until Boston, I'm basically not going to be traveling or racing- which leaves me with more time to train & rest. Boring. PERFECT.

2. Rest up. Let my body get what it so desperately needs. Sleep and time to recover. You can't recover from hard training sessions and high mileage by not sleeping or g0-go-going. I can keep doing that, but I may as well kiss my speed goodbye then. Sleep and recovery will be a huge priority going forward.

blessed with great friends who celebrate highs and encourage during the lows.

3. Get to the Core. I haven't done barre/consistent core work for a MINUTE (read: 6 months. gah.) Putting that as a priority going forward. Most likely, I'll sell a kidney and pay for a month back at Barre because I know that helps immensely! I just remember last M2B marathon training season- my mileage wasn't THAT high- but I was consistently hitting up da Barre and it made up for the lack of miles.

4. Relax. Things take a hot minute to come together. And dead legs take a while to come back from. I'm going to continue to be faithful/consistent and trust that things will shake out for a great time at Boston in April.

5. Look up. Going through the race, I kept saying in my head how absolutely demoralizing running this race was in the condition I was in (4th race in a month, with a half marathon 6 days before, and a MEGA long speed workout on Tuesday and some high mileage days during the week). (Demoralizing= Coming in 2.5 minutes off my PR from a hot summer race that I took a bathroom break in. Geez.)  I KNEW going into the race that I wasn't fresh, my mind and body were tired, and then I clearly didn't taper for it. That being said, I still was super hard on myself. (Btw-Thank you to all the great people in my life for talking me off the ledge.) Then later in the day, I snapped out of it. And just said- I refuse to feel bad for myself coming in a few minutes off my PR. Really?! If that is the biggest worry/complaint I have about life right now, I would say I'm sitting pretty. I'm hoping that my legs can recover real quick in time to do a sick time at Boston. But if they don't- I have Berlin to shoot for- or another great marathon. I'm blessed to pursue something I love and to be ungrateful over a poor performance at a non-goal race 10k just doesn't make sense.

Hope this helps someone out there today. I obviously still care GREATLY about my running and will make every tangible effort to get my speed back on track- but until my legs are back where I want them- I'm going to have an attitude of gratitude for the opportunity to run everyday.

Have an amazing day!

Miami Half Marathon Race Recap!!!

Sooooo what's the fastest way for me to schedule in a trip anywhere? By race bribing me. For sure. So when Danielle (one of my best girls from law school) suggested coming to visit her in Miami.. during the weekend of the Miami Half Marathon... HOW COULD I RESIST?! Lauren (law school bestie) flew down from Baltimore to do the race with us. Ironically, the weekend was centered around the race and unsurprisingly when it came time to run we were feeling more like chilling and NOT running. That's why you pay for races and invest all the time/training into them- to keep you from backing out when push actually comes to... run?! 

So Miami- i.e. warmest place in all of the US at pretty much any given time of the year was FREEZING day of race. At the expo they said it was the second coldest Miami marathon on record. Yay. We picked up Lauren from the airport on Saturday morning and headed straight to the Expo where we were starting to realize the long road that lay head of us. For the record- this is my third half marathon in four weeks in case anyone is trying to keep track. To say my legs are slow/tired/over it is basically the understatement of the year. 

at the Miami Marathon Expo with my runsista herooooo, Kara Goucher.

We bopped around the expo, grabbed our bags and then went to go grab food/mentally prepare for our journey.

So the PRO's/CON's of the Miami Half:

PRO's (the good stuffffff):

  • the location- MIAMI. running along the water? check. running through south beach? check. running across bridges and onto beautiful islands? check. yah the course SURE didn't hurt your eyes.
  • price- pretty cheap- I think around $100 (but let's be real- I sign up for about 100 races a year so they are all running together now! pun intended, unfortunately.)
  • the expo was pretty easy to navigate and getting our bibs took no time
  • the bag check was super fast/easy/organized to drop off and pick up
  • race corrals were easy to get to
  • it was crazy easy to get to the race start with FREE public transport (the people mover in Miami)
  • hydration nation- there was hydration everywhere- I skipped it a few times because I just didn't need it
  • the Miami Half Marathon medal is one of my favorites. bling, baby.
  • photogs on course- there were a million and they seemed to time the cameras just right so they caught me on my game for almost all the pics and not looking like I was being chased to my death. ALWAYS a plus. I would have bought the photos if it was a good race (time-wise) for me- but I just couldn't justify buying them when I didn't actually do good at the race.

dark in south beach. where is the sun?!

CON's (the negsss):

  • getting to the expo in downtown Miami was fun. finding parking was even MORE fun.
  • hydration was Gatorade on course... WHERE WAS THE NUUN, people?!
  • FREEZINGGGGG- before and after race. like lose-my-will-to-live cold.
  • dumb timing. I've definitely not been in race shape/able to race the last couple races- which is definitely NOT a boost to my ego. adding insult to injury is that the timing on course for my last two races have been off and have ADDED minutes onto my already slowwwww time. Lame.

 

please note my nails- i.e. the love child of rihanna & flojo's nails.

So we got to the People Mover barely in time for us to make it over to the race in time for me to drop off my bag and then head to the right corral. I was assigned to Corral C based on the time I said I would do- and then I was frustrated to see the pace that I needed was actually in Corral B- so not terribly sure how they sectioned people off like that. I was about to start the race when I basically noticed that the people around me seemed like they were aiming for a different pace. It was super crowded in my corral and felt desperate from the start- like people just bobbing and weaving and I much prefer a not so insane start so I'm not terrified that I'm about to be tripped and go flying/get trampled before I even finish the first mile.

can these race photogs come with me to every race- they caught air in every photo.

It was absolutely freezinggg when we started. And dark. You think that you're running in Miami and you need sunglasses. Well I was pretty much paranoid for the first few miles that I was going to trip since I could barely see in the dark and with my sunglasses. SMOOTHHHH.

I had decided before race since my legs have been slow-ish/tired lately that I would just do some marathon pace miles and run the rest easier. I did miles 1-5 and 13 at marathon pace for Boston- 7:25 and the rest I just bopped along. When the sun rose it was gorgeous running out there and I kept reminding myself- even on tired legs and basically no sleep for several nights in a row- that I am so blessed to get to do this. And that I really do love it- even though I was feeling grumpy and cold. Final time: 1:44:50.

if this isn't a miami themed race outfit- I sure don't know what is.

So after I finished running- I ran back to find the girls and run them in. Somehow I missed D but ended up finding a sunny spot to stand in a mile back and wait for Lauren. At this point- all I wanted was warmth (well - that and a massage, and food, and a better time on my half- but the priority for sure was no longer being freezing). There were several different organizations out there running with some disabled runners and their support systems out on the course made me tear up so many times. Just so many incredible and loving people in the run world that inspire me constantly with their amazing attitudes and positive spirits.

my angels and I post-race when our lives were one million times better

After the race, life instantly felt better without a race looming over our quality time together. We cleaned up and dressed up and went out in the Miami Design District to binge on food.

obsessed with this sick graffiti

Let's see if I can convince these girls to do another race with me. I may have to wait awhile since the pain of this last one is still wayyy too fresh. That being said, I have been overracing. Is that news to anyone? It's hard to get myself in the racing game when literally every week it's survival out on some half marathon course. I'm
"racing" a 10k this weekend (that word racing has been overused for the really chill way I have been handling my races lately) and then after that I really don't want to run another race until Boston (less than 100 days away).  I need to put my head down. Get back to serious training and not interrupt the training flow with my RACE flavor of the week. Although racing will always be my one true love- my legs/body/mind are tired and need a well-deserved break to save up mental and physical energy for the biggest/most important race I'm about to do: Boston. I want to be excited and feel super ready for this race- so in order to feel fresh- I have to abstain from racing. You heard it here first, folks. Racing moratorium until Boston. I think.

happiest girls post-race

Have an amazing day- and I hope you get out there and run. And to everyone racing this weekend- have a great race!

NEW YEAR'S RACE HALF MARATHON RECAP!!!

So I went up to LA last weekend to run the New Year's Race - second year running, y'all. In case you haven't heard the story (first off, lucky you), I ran the race with my cuz and two friends from LA Roadrunners that I did Ragnar Socal and Ragar Napa with - Erica & Aletta. Somehow day of I managed to starve myself driving up to LA and then going to race expo- and didn't get a chance to eat til 5 pm (the race was at 7 pm for reference). Luckily I made GREAT choices and picked up Fat Burger fries. Then headed over to Carl's Jr. for the main course- chicken strips and curly fries and sweet potato fries. Surprisingly, when it came time to race 2 hours later, I wasn't feeling awesome.

Needless to say- that race feeling like a step above death + TONS of hills (how many times can you run up and down around Dodgers Stadium? answer: 5 times is not too many) was a bit rough. I said I wouldn't do it again. It was also less than ideal for my compatriots- one took an Uber back to the finish, the others suffered through to Personal Worsts. We all felt a lil stripped of dignity- which makes it even more puzzling why I would suggest the crew give it another good college try. I should be a politician because somehow I convinced everyone to sign up again. Us poor fools. 

This year was BASICALLYYYY a step above last year's disaster. First off- Erin & Erica opted out of the race a couple days/hours before, leaving Aletta and I to sojourn through the hills of Los Angeles alone.

I got to bed super late the night before- slept in, and then waffled all day with whether or not I would go to to the race- to the point that when I finally decided I would do it, it was too late to get my bib from the expo. Luckily Aletta had a friend heading to the expo who was able to grab it for me. I got to Aletta's by 4:15 pm and we left her apartment by 4:30 pm to head to downtown LA for our 6 pm race. It was FREEZING. Seriously. We got to downtown- started freaking out about the parking a little (ok...  A LOT) and then finally gave up on finding an economical parking option and decided to just do valet parking garage (we were feeling DESPERATE and worried we weren't going to make the race). As we pulled into the lot, the valet asked why we were there- we said the race- and he let us know parking was $10. WHAAAAA. It was meant to be.  Two blocks from the start line in a valet lot that we could stay in all night in downtown LA for $10. Unreal. 

downtown LA, babbbbyyy

We bopped on over to the start line, found her friend with my bib, and then went to bag check to get rid of our stuff. Crazy thing was bag check line was SO long... and there was NO line at the portapotties. WHAT IS GOING ON IN LOS ANGELES?!

my SOLEmate, aletta. aka the other psycho race loving runner out there. 

We made it to the start line like MINUTES before the race. I tucked into a huge crowd to block the wind/cold and kinda wished I could stay there all night long. In the race womb. Not so lucky. We started probably a few minutes late, but it wasn't too bad. I also sadly realized I didn't grab my gloves out of the bag check. I've gotten quite used to having gloves on and love having my hands warm during a race when it's so cold out. And my poor hands would eventually go numb during the race. Normal. 

bahahahahahha. THIS is what happens when you sign up for a race MONTHS in advance. you have UNREALISTIC goals for the following year, evidently. no guys- i'm not doing an Iron this year. NO WAY.

SOOOO the race Pro's & Con's:

PRO'S:

  • cheap race- I think under $100
  • great swag- I got a cute half zip black pullover- super nice for cold early morning runs
  • unique idea- downtown LA at night
  • well organized
  • PLENTY of hydration- I skipped aid stations- that's how much hydration there was
  • victory lap (mid-race) through Dodger's Stadium
  • super easy picking up bag check post-race

CON'S:

  • HILLS... WHY DID THEY MAKE IT HILLIER THAN LAST YEAR'S COURSE
  • cold- ok they can't control the weather- whatever
  • the bag check line was wayyy too long
  • they brought huge lights to some of the more desolate trail-y areas that we ran on- but there were some areas that could have been better lit
  • LOTS of looping- seriously felt like a bad dream- I'm going up, down, looping back... ya get the picture

fresh2death. ok just for the picture. i more looked like death in real life. ps the guy in back of me is my soulmate. he's so serious.

The race started out in downtown and then looped out towards Dodger's Stadium... which is on a hill overlooking the City. How do you get from downtown LA to Dodger's Stadium? By climbing it, of course. Guys. It was so much climbing. I had a goal pace in my head. HAHA. By the end I was just begging for it to be over and to not be freezing.

highlight of race was seeing Joel & Tim out on the course. that and the finish line.

My first two miles and last mile were 7:20's. The remainder of the race I just pushed myself hard effort- but honestly- sometimes I was giving up on life on some of the climbs. It was 1272 feet of climbing. Geez louise. And sometimes I just stopped caring and let my legs plod. It was tough climbing with legs that felt super tired from the week before's Holiday Half Marathon. Literally by mile 3, I just felt like my quads were unable to pick up and move. 

on the verge of dying from hypothermia.

I finished. Somehow. The race was a tough one. Fastest girl was a 1:31:52. [Pretty slow for a girl winner.] I came in at 1:47:06- like 9 minutes slower than the week before. Geez louise. But came in 25th woman- so that shows you how lady lonely it was on that course. 

Getting back to our car was a STRUGGLE. It was now officially freezing and I never thought we would make it back. We met up with our delinquent racers for some MUCH NEEDED fuel. 

Also- this race was my VERY FIRST TIME using my new Adidas Adios Boost 2.0. What better time to try them out than at a race. I liked them. Honestly, to give them a real shot I would have to do a track workout or a real race where I didn't have legs made out of concrete. But who cares how they ran, they just look soooo sick. (Just kidding, not kidding.)

Hope you have a great day. And hope I've inspired some other masochist to do New Year's Race in my place next year! I am officially New Year's Race retired. It's been a good/hilly run.