Thursday, May 31, 2012

Keeping it Honest for a 17-Minute PR

4:39 BayShore Marathon 
I may never have another PR with this much time—17 minutes! I can hardly believe it. I am pleased, but the actual experience was the smartest and most enjoyable race I have ran to date. So all this gabbing and running in training really did pay off in a big way.

Our goal was to run 10:30 splits and we were close with 10:25 during the first half and 10:40 during the second half. And, this was included one restroom stop!

Running Smart:
There were a few things I consciously did to power thru this:

1) I fueled correctly starting two days before. I made a big deal out it and gave no excuses not to have food that could become glycogen for my muscles.That means, the whit stuff that we are told is so bad; white rice, bread, flour tortillas with hummus, pasta and more white rice. I also met a friend for dinner the night before who was running her first 10k—it has to be fun too! Unfortunately, I did have a dream that I gained 50lbs and couldn't run in the morning. Good thing that doesn't happen overnight.

2) Pro KT Tape. I have a strained Achilles tendon and this it a must to keep it feeling good and give it a little extra support. The Pro version of the tape does stick better. It comes in a plastic case to store it. KT's site is loaded with videos demonstrating how to apply the tape for your particular strain.

3) I ran with one head phone on and the other off so I could hear my run partner and interact with spectators and other runners. I felt the cheerleader in me from the late 80's surface and I loved ever howl of it. I even thought of my old coach—CheerLEAD. I believe that these bursts of excitement, thanking volunteers, telling runners "Sweet Skirt!", and slapping high-fives to every stranger that looked like they were energized and ready for it, actually springs more bounce to my step. However, the talking was consciously kept in check. I am not making that mistake again. We mostly checked our Garmins to say, "we're doing great, I love this course, I am feeling good, or there's the photographer!"

4) I have found my new favorite thing to energize with at mile 20… Pickle Pops. It is a packet of crushed pickles in pickle juice with 250mg of precious sodium. It is an instant kick in the can.That is twice that of GU Roctane and about 4x that of regular GU. I first tried pickle juice at the Grand Rapids, Michigan Marathon and it gave me an awakening boost. My run partner tried the Pickle Pops at mile 23 and she was amazed. She said it saved her. Pickle Pops will now be part of my training and big race days. I will have 2 of them in my next Marathon.

5) My mindset or "mission" was really on keeping as close to goal as possible and enjoying the circumstances of this race. I wanted to have a smile on my face and to have the new experience of running with someone without completely turning inward. There are plenty of future adventures that I can rely on just me. But this moment I wanted to LIVE the experience of a little teamwork, and fun and it payed off.

6) I had 4 GUs. That is a first for me. I seem to loose my mind and stop taking them—not this time.

7) I pulled out a mantra: Don't…You…Surrender! When my body was spent I told myself to relax and slow the breathing and repeated Don't…You…Surrender! Every race is hard, and if it is not for you, maybe you need to go faster or move on to a longer distance. Unless I am running with a five year-old, I am on "E" for Empty at the end of every race no matter the distance.

8) Time to recover with CherryFlex. I have been taking this real food product for a couple years after runs of 8 or more miles. I would take it more if I was a beginner. It is particularly important for me after a race or when I have a strain. I take more of it then (4 pouches or 2 teaspoons of the tub) usually within 30-minutes after going long. Tart cherries reduce muscle and joint inflammation and have strong antioxidant properties. This product tastes like concentrated whole tart cherries and that is what it is. I believe it helped me recover quicker to run my first Half Marathon after a hamstring-pull that I could not run on the week before in 2011. I was sore the day after the BayShore Marathon going down stairs, but I was still able to be active. My in-laws didn't even notice I was sore or stiff. I could actually run 3 days later, but due to my rules of recovery I am waiting a week no matter how good I feel, and depending on this CherryFlex to help the swelling in my Achilles tendon so I can recover faster and better.

Other Racing Highlights
Pre-Race Greetings: I love seeing my race friends before the race to wish each other a good run and get a photo. I know just where to find them—Porta-Potties. We all had a PR this day, except for Becky on the far left. She is always kick'n our tails anyways and the first to cross the finish line. Evie Ultra and I snapped a fun pre-race photo with the 6mm line-up sign. Sorry I am laughing like a hyena. I will never hit this pace, let alone hold it.

Family: One of the highlights was seeing my two children and husband as I was approaching the track finish. I lost 16 seconds hugging them. But it was worth it and I would do it again. I want to mark their memories as they have marked mine and when 98% of this is about me, it is important to give it up a little. It is not like I was heading to Boston Qualify. I knew I was heading in for a PR and it is their time too.

Massage: Another factor that made this a great experience, included a trip to the Excelerate VIP tent where I received a leg massage and my swollen Achilles tendon got some attention. It was the best massage I have ever had. There has to be something different about a sports massage technique. I am thinking that the foam roller needs to come on these trips so I can drive after. I am not kidding in the least bit. Rolling out those super tight muscles is painful but relieves tension.

Food: The BayShore Marathon has homemade cookies at the end and chocolate milk! I will pass on the Doritos, and premium ice cream (sorry, I can't stomach that after all this) but you would have seen me down 5 homemade snicker doodles, sugar, m&m, and peanut butter cookies with a chocolate milk. They also had a large spread of other carbs like bagels, pop and oranges—which I usually lean towards, but the homemade cookies swept me away.

What I need to Fix
Choking up: I don't know how to fix this. But I need to NOT think about anyone dear to me in the last 3 miles. I get emotional. I did this in my first Marathon and decided then, that dedicating the last 5 miles to my loved ones made me gasp for air and tighten my throat. Apparently my run partner has a similar issue. She was getting emotion in the last 2 miles. My squeal about having a monthly visitor at that moment changed the game and slapped us both out of it. This race needed to be over now. And add this to a tip: I bring extra clothes and was glad I did this day.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Digging Deep

Last week Friday I really did DIG DEEP in my closet and donate 2 years of running shoes to the Soles4Souls organization thru my local running store, RunningFit. Soles4Souls takes gently used shoes to those in need of footwear in deprived or devastated countries like Haiti. The shoes also become part of economic relief for families to sustain themselves. In all, I dropped off 3 paper bags full of Saucony Stability shoes pictured in the pile above and two boxes of kid shoes not pictured. To my surprise, they take whatever gently used shoes you have, not just running shoes. I thank you Soles4Souls for caring for others and the environment, and my closet thanks you too.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Make It Rain

The last week seemed to have one theme: MAKE IT RAIN

It has rained every morning for a week now. Which was working out okay since I have a kick'n treadmill. I was getting nervous about these slower 20 milers, so I took the opportunity and picked-it-up with 4 mile runs at 9mm. I can say that the treadmill looked like it was raining inside and I felt super charged.

I was motivated to "Make It Rain" by this video below featuring a local girl, Courtney Argue who is singing the lead. Looks like a lot of sweaty rain to me. It works—just what I needed.

I have started to prepare my Marathon list and now need to reserve some music that really helps me pick-it-up. I am not one to sneak in too many ballads and I need a fresh mix for each race. This Week's 4 Miler Pick-It-Up and Make It Rain List: Make it Rain | 3:16 Courtney Argue & J.Greene Feat. Pitbull Go Get It | 3:16  Mary Mary Whistle | 3:45  Flo Rida Touch Me | 3:51  Smash Cast Version Featuring Katharine McPhee) All This Time | 3:26  Britt Nicole Live Like That  | 3:57  Sidewalk Prophets Let's Go (Radio Edit) | 3:46 Calvin Harris Love U Betta | 3:21 Neon Hitch 50 Ways To Say Goodbye | 4:08 Train Some of these will make the reserve Marathon cut and others will have to go.

Last 20—Washed Away

By Saturday I had had enough rain! My last run with Evie Ultra for this training session, and any melancholy I had for the last 20 miler was washed away in the showers and down the flowing streets. Cold wet feet with a good attitude got us thru the last 20.75 miles. Yep, we pushed a little further and talked about mental toughness. I am now prepared for a cold shower Marathon—but it isn't my desire at all. It's taper time! I have been experiencing a NEW perk the day after my 20 milers—a running surge/urge the next day and I have high energy and crave a run like chocolate. Not remotely kidding. I hand-washed the floors in the house, put away 5+ loads of laundry, cleaned and then finally flung out of the gate like I was in the Kentucky Derby—it was this weekend afterall. I ran a 4 mile recovery run that was a little speedy for recovery mode and felt amazing the entire time. My legs were not as happy, but my mind seemed to say this was pure adrenaline. Ahhhhh no rain. Find your FOCUSED DRIVE.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Training NEWs

Training for 26.2 and a New Outlook on Training Runs

I have trained for 2 marathons in the last year and am on the last lap of my third. One more 20 miler and it's taper time. I am not even that excited about it. And this is why… In the past, I have enjoyed running alone and digging deep. I have thought highly of the self coaching and dealing with the mental Olympics in my head to get up some hellacious hills at the end. I have had to break up the run in segments to get thru it.

Not this time. I have tried something new or should I say someone? All but one of my long runs I have ran with a new running buddy. It has been a pleasant surprise to me as I thought I loved to run alone. But, 2-4 hours of running alone can be a safety risk. Thus, the initial reason I found someone. And then I found the other perks as well…

I have not had to struggle to get thru those long runs. I have noticed we run slower because we are talking the entire time about running and anything under the sun. HA! When I did run the one 20 miler alone, I found I was going faster. So at least I can say I am not totally slacking off. I am just hoping that I have discover a new way of building lung capacity by gabbing and running which could be equal to shutting it and running faster during a race. Will I ever beat Oprah's time? Really! 

If this is not the case and I have speed issues during the race, there is always the next marathon on my list to test the theory in June. Until then I will continue to enjoy the company. We are going to try to run this marathon together. This will be a totally different experience for me again.

And in June whether I like it or not, back to training it alone and digging deep, unless…