Getting back at it: 5/15 – 5/21/17

Week 3 post-marathon: I started the week feeling refreshed and ready to do a little bit more than the past couple of weeks.

I started doing 30 burpees a day, inspired by this Runner’s World article. I’ve successfully made it through the first 7 days, each day getting a little easier, aside from Wednesday (burpees after a big dinner a beer or two). Saturday was the best day so far, and I can feel my form getting better, as well as not being as dead after a set of 10.

Monday: 30 burpees, ’tis all

Tuesday2.15 mi at Girls on the Run. It was HOT and the girls did great. I felt good running as well. Then, 30 burpees.

Wednesday: 3 mi. 2.1 at November Project, then .9 to get to a number that made me happier. Plus, 30 burpees after dinner, with my roommates cheering me on in the living room.

Thursday3 mi in my new Adidas Ultra Boost X’s. I felt great, but didn’t go longer because I was nervous to do so with the new shoes. With a dessert of 30 burpees, which felt significantly easier than the night before.

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Friday: Rest, and 30 burpees.

Saturday: 5.5 miles on the Zooma Annapolis Half Marathon course  with Beth! It was hilly, but a great run – aside from getting screamed at by someone in a car. AAND 30 burpees a few hours later.

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I can deal with more post-run Brunches!

Sunday: 22.5 miles on my bike, with Jake and a couple of his friends. It was a great, mostly leisurely ride. The stop for ice cream made it completely worth it. Lastly, 30 burpees!

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Run miles: 13.65

Bike miles: 22.5

I’m happy with how the week went. My body is still a little off, and I’m fighting a lot of muscle tightness, in both my glutes (still) and my calves. I’m sure it’s probably normal after a marathon, but I don’t remember the residual tightness and stuff after my first one.

This weekend I also weekend that Zooma is only two.weeks.away. Oh lordy. Realistically, I know I’ll be fine and get through it, but I’m already telling myself to be realistic and understand it won’t be a PR and it may not be pretty!

How long does it take you to feel back to normal after a big race?

Do you have any goals for the week/the rest of May? I’ll be happy to reach 20 miles this week!

Post Marathon Recovery Weeks

How was my marathon already two weeks ago? The weeks following have been a physical and emotional whirlwind. I almost signed up for two half marathons, one during each past weekend. Thank goodness I didn’t. I also almost signed up for a fall marathon. Thank goodness I didn’t do that either.

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Here’s what the first two weeks following the New Jersey Marathon looked like…

Week 1: May 1 to May 7

Monday-Tuesday: Full rest. My quads were nearly immobile Monday after driving back to Maryland, as well as Tuesday. Walking through the casino on Monday, I walked worse than all of the senior citizens in there!

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Winnah winnah chicken dinnah

Wednesday: Yoga after school. My body felt almost 100% after school, and some good quad stretches only helped.

Thursday: 8.5 miles on my bike.

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Friday: Bicep curls….lifting up margaritas HA!

Saturday: Yoga on Tap. I was looking forward to this and it wasn’t nearly as fun as I expected. Yoga in a crowded bar isn’t fun. Yoga after too much indulging isn’t fun. I was so anxious and didn’t have room to properly execute a lot of the twists, which I think played into the back pain that followed. Later in the day I walked about 3 miles at the Towson Town Festival.

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Treat yoself

Sunday: Rest. My back was all jacked up after Saturday’s events.

Week 2: May 8 to May 15

Monday: My back felt a little better, so I attempted to run. I made it 2 miles. Just over 1 mile in, I had a horrible pain deep in my left glute. It was short, but sharp and intense. I made it home very slowly, and instantly regretted my decision to run. In ways I needed it so badly. My body and digestive system felt all out of whack and I was crazy enough to think a run would fix it. Emotionally I was grumpy, anxious, and felt disgusting. I took an epsom salt bath and rolled out really good, hoping the pain wouldn’t last.

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Note: My Sarah Marie Designs negative split reward tank

Tuesday: Rest. Back pain/spasms during the day what were the worst while sitting, as well as some slight glute and hip pain. I was able to massage it for a while with a spiky ball (which I promptly went and purchased) and felt better before hitting the hay.

Wednesday: .9 miles at November Project. I felt so guilty about not going in months, and I felt good upon waking up. Thankfully it was an easy workout running-wise. It included tons of burpees, planks, and squats, which led my upper legs sore for a couple of days. My body felt great after the workout! After school was yoga, which brought back the back and glute pain.

ThursdayNothing. I planned to go on a walk, but the weather sucked. My back was so uncomfortable sitting at trivia and while driving, that I got myself a heating pad and Icy Hot.

Friday: Rest. I put Icy Hot on my back before school which helped tremendously and I was almost pain free for the entire day. At home I was sitting on the heating pad for periods of 20 minutes, followed by rolling out my left glute and upper leg.

Saturday: More rest. I felt largely pain free, aside from some slight tightness spread across the left side of my body. I stopped at a local run specialty store, and was advised to put one side of my “stick” roller against the wall, and press the other side into my glute/piriformis. WHAT A LIFESAVER. Omg. The hurt. But it also helped so so much. I also continued to use the heating pad.

Sunday:  I woke up feeling fantastic, and decided to try a run, knowing I would scrap it if needed. I made it 4 miles, very slowly, without any pain. Some tightness and awkwardness, but no pain. My heart rate was also so high for my pace. So recovery is not done, but I RAN!

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Weekly miles: 6.9 WOOHOO!!!!

So while my return to running isn’t going quite as smoothly as planned, I hope to run more this week and be back to my old self next week! Zooma Annapolis and the Old Port Half Marathon are going to come up very quickly!

How long does it take you to bounce back after a big race?

Do you have any tips to squelch back pain?

What’s next? Summer 2017 Racing and Goals

Why yes, I did just finish a marathon a few days ago. And yes, I’m already worried about “what’s next”. While I respect the recovery process, my mind is already guns a’blazin for the next training cycle. I’m excited for what the rest of Spring and summer has in store for me. I have races set in stone through September, but for now I am going to focus on Mid-May through July – a short, but hopefully successful training and “racing” stint.

Races:

June 3rd: Zooma Annapolis Half Marathon just 5 weeks out from the marathon, I’m hoping for a decent showing. Last time I ran a half after a full, I set a big PR. I’m not expecting it on this course (hills, with typical heat and humidity). I’ll be happy with a good effort and fun as an ambassador for a second year.

July 4th: 4 on the 4th in Towson. I was hoping to run one in Maine, but I won’t be north in time for it. This was a fun one last year, but it came with lots of hills. I’m hoping for an improvement, but it probably won’t be super speedy.

Finishing last year’s 4 on the 4th!

July 8th: Old Port Shipyard Half Marathon! I can’t wait to run in Maine again, and there are so many reasons to be excited for this race. The beer. The pizza at the afterparty. My brother running a 5K (and hopefully the boyfriend, too) and my family being there to watch. The Casco Bay. The Old Port. All of this is despite the reputation of hot weather (YES, Maine gets HOT). Running for Bib Rave. I’m ready to make Maine mine for the morning. If it’s not blisteringly hot, I may be gunning for a PR.

One of my first races, running around Portland!

July 15 or 16: Maryland Sprint or Olympic Duathlon. I’m taking my bike for a spin for a run/bike/run. I haven’t yet decided if I want to do the sprint or olympic. Part of me wants to attempt both, but my wallet says otherwise. While I may not be “competitive” in this type of race, I do want to do my best and see what a good training cycle can do for me.

The process…and summer goals:

Running: Starting in Mid May, I plan to bring my running mileage back up to 30ish miles per week, with long runs of 12-15 miles and 4 running days a week for a solid month before tapering off before the Shipyard Half. I feel my body does great around this level and plan to keep this going throughout the summer, while I figure out fall plans. A summer goal is to maintain 100+ mile months June-August. (May won’t happen with marathon recovery). Another goal is to increase run:walk ratios. Currently I’m training with a 60:30 and doing speed work and longer races with 90:30. I’d like to increase my training intervals to a consistent 90:30 while keeping a low HR, and increasing that speed/race intervals to 120:30.

Cycling: I can’t wait to get on my bike some more! I need to get on planning rides with friends, who like to bike around Annapolis and DC. Along with completing the Duathlon (13/26 miles), my goal for the summer is to do a 40 mile ride on the rail trail. I aim to do one bike ride on the weekends, and hopefully at least one during the week once school ends.

Strength: I always say that I want to do strength, but always slack. However, seeing my run times improve without strength, makes me hungry to see how much they will improve with this added in. I’ve slacked with November Project all winter, largely due to work stresses. Starting next week I’m determined to get back into going every week, and after the school year ends, I intend to double (5:30 and 6:30 workouts) most weeks. I’ve also been curious about doing a burpee challenge and a TRX is on my wish list.

Eating/Drinking: I was on a great streak for the last month before the NJ Marathon. I was eating much healthier and cut down on my beer intake. In turn, I arrived at marathon day 6 pounds lighter just from making healthier choices. Now that I’ve indulged for a few days, I’m ready to keep moving forward. At least if I only indluge in beer on the weekends, I have enough in my stock to last me the summer!

New Jersey Marathon 2017: Race Recap

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the New Jersey marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Just a few days ago I finished my second marathon! It was an amazing day and I’m still on an emotional high from it. The weather worked out perfectly and it was an all around wonderful day. Spoiler alert: Goals were crushed.

Race day eve: The night before, my boyfriend and I enjoyed a dinner at Olive Garden, played some mini golf and billiards, then settled into our hotel. Harry Potter was on tv all night, which was great – however, the partiers throughout our hotel were not. I didn’t fall asleep until 1 and I woke up around 5.

Pre-race: By reading other runners’ recaps,  I knew that traffic has been an issue at this race in the past. I arrived at the Monmouth Park race track just after 6 (for a 7:30 start) with plenty of time to use the porta johns (there were plenty), and wait. I started the morning a tad grumpy due to my lack of sleep. Checking my bag and getting settled into my corral (7, the last one) was painless. The race started right on time, and I crossed the start about 10 minutes later.

Miles 1-5 brought us on a long loop through neighborhoods around Monmouth Park. My plan was to run in the 12:00/mi range for the first 5, but I ended up being a little faster. I spent a lot of time on my phone trying to figure out tracking. The AthLinks app wasn’t working for my mom, so I turned on MapMyRun (I’m glad I paid for the MVP plan!). My heart rate stayed reasonably low, and after a couple of miles I was able to run with plenty of room around me. Splits: 11:21, :38, :51, :48, :47

Miles 6-10 – “mighty, strong, powerful”. I upped my intervals from 60:30 to 90:30 as I hit mile 5. I contemplated waiting, but my goals weren’t going to be met by me sitting back. These miles brought us closer to the water and through some nice neighborhoods with people cheering on couches that they brought outside to sit on. I felt great during these miles, despite a dull ache in my left ITB that almost sent me into a panic. This was eventually settled by finding the right place on the road to run. I lost about 90 seconds during a potty stop at mile 8, but aside from that, these 5 miles were pretty uneventful and (mostly) below goal pace. The best part? There was a girl singing potty songs outside the porta johns! Splits:  11:17, :18, :22, 12:23 (potty break), 11:08.

Miles 11-15 – “this is NOT Marine Corps (Marathon)”: I mentally faded a bit during these miles, especially 11-13. The half marathoners turned off, leaving the course much emptier. I struggled with remembering that this is where I started to lose it during Marine Corps, especially with my knee still bothering me a bit. I wasn’t really paying attention to my watch, but if I had been, I would have seen that it felt hard to run because I was running faster than goal pace. I kept repeating out loud “This is NOT Marine Corps!” and it really helped me keep going. I came out of it when I hit 15, and knew it was time for the last of “four 5-milers”. Splits: 11:10, :19, 10:58, 11:01, 10:43.

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Miles 16-20 – “You’re doing this!” – As soon as I hit 15 miles, I started processing that a sub 5:00 was very possible if I kept running as well as I was. I was entertained by beautiful seaside houses and before I knew it I passed the 5:05 pace group, which started about 1:30 before I did. Next was Asbury Park, which was not nearly as nice as I had imagined. However, I was on cloud nine. I started passing people left and right. I also started feeling pretty hot, and dumped water over my head every 1-1.5 miles. I struggled a bit around mile 19, wondering when the turnaround would hit. Once I turned around, my quads started burning and I started to truly feel fatigued. Splits: 11:02, 10:57, 11:20, 10:52, 11:24.

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Miles 21-26.2 (or 26.49): The miles north were riddled with challenges. I definitely hit a sort of wall. Around mile 22.5, 2.5 miles of side stitches began. I struggled so much during miles 22-25. People around me were having a rough time, and I started to feel like them (although I was still passing them all). At mile 24.5 (I think), the 5:05 pacers passed me. Oh no, I’ve lost my sub-5:00. At one point they got to be almost out of my view. I decreased my intervals to 75:30 and pushed forward. Around the 25 mile marker, my cramps subsided, but my legs were still dead. I turned off my interval timer and decided to do what I could. I caught up to, and passed, the 5:05 pacers! While I realized the sub 5 wasn’t happening, I was going to fight for a 5:05. The last mile or so is a blur of me looking for Jake and wondering where the finish was (my watch had been about .2 miles ahead all race long). As soon as I saw the chute, and Jake, I gave as much as I could. I just remember the announcer saying “Look at her smile! She is so exhilarated!” Yes, yes I was. Splits: 11:15, :44, 12:19, :19, :43, 11:26, 5:17 (.49)

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Final time: 5:03:43. I met my C, B, and A goals and set a PR by 28:32. I can’t say that I “couldn’t believe it”, because I could. I trained hard, was in great shape, believed in myself, and executed my race plan pretty well. I had the race that was truly for me, and despite having a 5 at the beginning of my time, I couldn’t be happier.

Post race: I made my way through the chute pretty quickly, getting boxed water (why boxed?), gatorade, and a snack box. I skipped the photo station, which I regret, as I decided to buy my pictures. Reuniting with my boyfriend and getting my bag was painless, however the fact that you couldn’t bring bags into the finish festival just created a hassle that I wasn’t up to. I changed out of my shoes, ate some potato chips that I had packed in my checked bag, and left pretty quickly. I felt great, but I was ready to go get some FOOD. Jake kept asking me if I felt good and said I “looked like I was in a lot of pain”, but I really was just so happy that I couldn’t do anything but smile and laugh. It wasn’t until after food and a nap when my body caught up with my emotions!

Swag: The medal is absolutely beautiful! It is a spinner with beautiful colors. I love that all of the towns the course runs through is on the back as well. The marathoners received a long-sleeved shirt that matched the medal (the half-ers got a tee that matched their medal).

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Overall, this race was wonderful. The course support and volunteers were amazing. The course was mostly beautiful, aside from Asbury Park (which also smelled) and a stretch in Long Branch. The course was virtually flat, with only 2-3 gentle inclines over bridges. You also can’t beat boardwalk miles and a beach finish.

While the field was mostly half-marathoners, I actually liked that the course emptied out. It allowed me to focus on my run more. I also loved the out and back. Seeing the marathoners coming back was really motivating and kept me moving. I could also see how much time I had gained on those who I had passed!

Just a few days out, most soreness has subsided, aside from some quad stiffness. I’m already yearning to run another 26.2. I love the training and the pain that comes after mile 20, along with the pride that comes with meeting your goals. I’m not running until Sunday at the earliest, but I’m ready to get back to the grind. While the Goofy Challenge is the next marathon I have on my schedule at this time, I’m contemplating an October/November marathon as part of my prep.

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Read my review of the race on Bibrave and review your races to help other runners choose which ones to run!

 

NJ Marathon Training Week 18: Race Week

I seriously can’t believe that the marathon (and April) is/are already over! April was seriously a whirlwind and Sunday was amazing. I can’t wait to share it with you all tomorrow (I need to decide if I’m buying my pictures!). I was worried that my taper wasn’t “restful” enough, but I think that it ended up being just right.

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Monday: #restday

Tuesday: Girls on the Run –  1.17 (ish) miles. We ended up doing the workout indoors and my watch was on treadmill mode. It was about 6/8 walking and 2/8 running. But it worked for taper.

Wednesday: 3.1 miles easy around the neighborhood.

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Thursday: Girls on the run – 1.28 miles. It was HOT but one thing is for sure, I love running with those girls/students!

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 2 miles easy. It wasn’t as “easy” as it should have been, seeing it was almost 70 degrees and 99% humidity! I’m NOT ready for Summer running yet. Bring back Spring!

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Sunday: 26.49 miles. I’ll share more tomorrow, but it was as wonderful as 26.2 (+some) could be.18157622_10155281422646983_5880693262203025622_n

Week 18 total: 34.04 miles

On Monday morning I was crazy and along with entering the 2018 London Marathon lottery, I was looking up fall marathons. I also said on Monday that I wanted to run, although I couldn’t sit on the the toilet without hanging on to the walls/door knob, bathtub, etc. I’m still so on a high.

 

NJ Marathon: Goals and Race Prep!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the New Jersey marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Everything for the last 4 months has been about this race. I’m so ready for Sunday! I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few days trying to think of realistic goals…

I’ve been so emotional over the past two days. This marathon is just for me. In October, I ran side by side with someone and it greatly changed my experience. I made the mistake of not taping both of my knees and my ITB locked up. I adjusted and proudly finished, but it wasn’t what I imagined after a great training cycle.

Outfit: There will be a “Flat Sam”, but help me pick my skirt! Seriously – I can’t decide!

Race plan: 60:30 run/walk intervals, around a 12:00/mi pace for the first 5 miles, to make sure I don’t go out too fast. After 5 miles, I’ll switch to 90:30 run/walk intervals. Typically my “easy” pace with 90:30 intervals is around an 11:30. I plan to hold this until half-way, when I’ll speed up to a pace I feel I can hold. Every one of my long runs was a negative split, and I’m gunning for that again. I feel so confident after two-three hours now. Plus, I’ve promised myself that if I run a negative split, I’m buying myself this….

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Image credit: Sarah Marie Design Studio

Time goals: In my heart, I truly think I can, and want to go after a sub 5:00:00. However, the fear of hitting “the wall” and failing pushes me back (I didn’t really hit a “wall” in my first 26.2). However, if it is an absolutely perfect day, I think I have the ability to do it. I know with my whole being that I have a 5:15 in me – none of my long runs (60:30 intervals) have been with slower than a 12:00/mi avg, and I’ll be running 90:30 intervals instead of 60:30 for a majority of the race.

C Goal: PR (current PR: 5:32:17)

B Goal: 5:15:00

A Goal: 5:10:00

A+ Goal: Anything with a 4 in front of it!

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While I have races planned for the summer, I’m already struggling with thinking that my next marathon isn’t until the Goofy Challenge in January 2018! I really do love training for a marathon – the long runs are my only time I let myself “slow down” (HA!) during the week.

But really, I’m just hoping for a fun, successful, positive race experience come Sunday. I’m excited for a little road trip out of town, and to explore a new place. And for extreme bagels and blackjack on Monday. #allthebagels

If you’ve run multiple marathons, how did your time differ between races 1 and 2?

Skirt advice, anyone?

 

 

NJ Marathon Training: Week 17

The first week of my taper for the NJ Marathon is done, and now comes the worst part. The week of so little running before the whole shebang. The week of incessantly checking the weather. Days of making packing lists. I’m so excited that Marathon Week is here, but I’m not ready for it to be (almost) over!

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Monday: 13.5 miles (counted in Week 16‘s mileage).

Tuesday5 miles of recovery – a steady progression run. I planned to keep all of my miles in the 12’s, but the last two snuck into the 11’s. It was a perfect day for a run.

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Wednesday: Rest – I was supposed to go to yoga after school, but I went to meet our new roommate before seeing Boston! (So many feels!!)

Thursday: 3.1 miles steady and easy around my neighborhood. It’s crazy how about a year ago, the hills near my place killed me, and now they don’t phase me at all.

Friday: Rest day

Saturday: 6 miles. I planned for 8, but randomly met someone on the trail and ran with her. It was a great change of pace. We ran a bit faster than I planned, which had me doing 4 MGP miles. I felt great after and don’t think the harder effort run really affected my taper much.

Sunday: 3.1 miles at the Columbia 5K. Seeing as I didn’t personally take a single picture, there won’t be a recap aside from this: I indulged too much the night before, almost didn’t go/run, kept it slow for the first 2.5 miles, then felt good enough for a hard effort to the finish. Despite the headache, it was a good confidence booster to keep my cool at the starting line of a race.

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When iCloud and Google Photos aren’t working, you get a post-run picture.

Week 17 mileage: 17.2 (30.7 M-F if you count Monday – which “week wise” I put in Week 17).

Seeing as how I still racked up a good amount of miles last week, this week is really going to be painful before Sunday. My plans are 2-3 miles on Tuesday, yoga at work on Wednesday, and 2-3 miles on Friday morning. I’m looking forward to sleeping in more during the mornings but I already dread how antsy I’ll feel in a few days. Nonetheless, I’m feeling great, and I can’t wait to share my goals for this race!

What are some of your taper tips and tricks?