Post Disney-Feels and It’s Go Time!

How has it already been three weeks since I completed the Goofy Challenge? (Part 1, Half, Full) Aside from some lingering hamstring tightness from the second day of my trip, I feel great. I spent three weeks recovering, running as I pleased, and deciding what I want to do next.

As I shared my recaps, I am still so proud of myself and over the moon about how I did during the Disney Marathon. I feel like I’m stronger than I could ever believe, and I truly can do hard things.

As I expected, I also went through the post-marathon blues. I almost signed up for a March full, thought about training for a “speedy” 10K, almost spent all my pennies to go down for Star Wars weekend, so on and so on. I really did struggle with what to do next.

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Y’all, running after a marathon is HARD.

Last Friday, it finally hit me. I want to run faster. My biggest running dream (besides running the Athens Marathon) is to run Boston. Obviously, I have a really far way to go before that happens. The first step is to get faster, and truly work to do it. So I’m dedicating my spring to a half marathon PR.

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This is scary, really scary. My half marathon PR was so unexpected and random, and I’m still not sure if it was a fluke or not. I’m not so sure it’s attainable. But I’m putting it here to keep me accountable. I’m going to attempt   to break my 2:09:05!

I have some specific steps to do this:

  • Follow a half-marathon training plan (with speed-work!): I’m following Lindsey Hein’s plan that’s up on Zappos. It’s been so long since I’ve done “just” a half-marathon plan! Between now and march, I’ll be doing longer long runs than is called for, as I have Rock N Roll DC in early March.
  • Actually cross train and do strength work: Yeah, thats always a goal. I’m going to be buying a spin bike soon, so it’ll happen.
  • Do more running and less intervals!: Galloway intervals work for me, but they’re also a way of keeping it safe. I’ll be using them for easy and recovery runs, but I plan to run more during long runs and speed days.
  • Clean up the diet: I’ve been working so hard on this since the marathon. I’m addicted to my new ninja blender, and I’ve been making healthy swaps. I’ve even started to like kombucha (WHAT?!)

My goal race is the Frederick Running Festival Half Marathon on May 6th! If it’s not my day, I have a back-up planned for two weeks later. Right now, I’m having a hard time being really excited for the race. I’m doing as much reading about it as I can now to find a connection to the race and my training (which is key for me!)

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Goofy Challenge Training – Taper Time

IT’S RACE WEEK!!!!! EEEEK! I have been waiting for this since last year when the WDW Half was cancelled. AGAIN: RACE WEEK IS HERE!

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Sorry I missed last week’s recap – I didn’t bring my laptop home to NH for Christmas. When I returned, I was sick and my laptop charger was at work along with my iPad. Not much was missed though – my taper weeks were lower in miles than even I like to run in taper, but it is what it is. So instead of bringing you through each day of each week, here is what I did do:

Week 16:

Tuesday: 5 miles easy

Friday: Napped through my run time – oops!

Saturday: 3 miles moderate effort on the treadmill

Sunday: 5 miles + 7 miles on the treadmill. There was seriously so much snow when I went home!

Weekly total: 20 miles

Week 17:

Tuesday: 4 miles easy

Wednesday-Thursday: Sick. Ultimate taper!

Friday: 4 miles on the treadmill with some mini speed-work thrown in to keep my legs moving. It felt great and quad felt the best it has in ages.

Saturday: 4.5 miles. Plan was for 9 outside to make it to 1,250 for the year. With just getting over being sick, I chose the warm (more like sauna-esque) gym at my complex. I was dripping by the end of the first mile! I did 3 easy then tried to bring it up to marathon effort and my body was just not.having.it. Then I slowed and it was still not.having.it. So I took it as a bad run and just went home.

Weekly miles: 12.5.

Now the training is almost 100% complete! I was bummed about Saturday’s run, but it is what it is. The hay is in the barn anyways, as they say. My body is feeling good going into the marathon. While I’m still a little stuffy after being sick, the extra rest of being at home and literally being in bed all day was great (although inconvenient). I’m packed and ready for my trip, and I am seriously so excited! I’ll posting more about that sometime this week though.

I hope everyone had a great holiday season and has a wonderful, prosperous new year!

 

Goofy Challenge Training Week 15: 12/11-12/17/2017

I’m coming to you all straight from taper town today. With the completion of my 20 miler this weekend, I officially made it through the bulk of training for the Goofy Challenge! I’m ready to enjoy the next few weeks of less running, more sleep, and eating well. That won’t be hard with the holidays! I indulged in cookies yesterday. I don’t deny myself sweets, I’m just not a huge fan of them (give me doritos or cheese and crackers any day). However, I ate 8 cookies last night and I’m totally okay with it.

Let’s look back at how week 15 was.

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Monday: Rest. I was planning to run, but my quad was bothering me so I played it cool.

Tuesday: 5 miles during my afternoon break. I used 90:30 intervals for the first time since my period of “burn out” and ran pretty fast for me (10:47 average pace) and felt good!

Wednesday: Rest – I was planning to go to NP, but it was a windchill of 9 degrees when I woke up. NoThankYou.

Thursday: 5 miles during my break again. I made a conscious effort to run easy. I didn’t fuel well in the morning, and I felt really bad when I finished.

Friday: 8.13 miles. My plan was for 10, but it started snowing as soon as I got to the trail. By the time I was done, I was running on two inches of snow. I didn’t have my trail shoes, so I was slipping everywhere and kept having to de-clog my treads. Man, I forgot how much harder it was to run on snow. I was beat.

Saturday: 20.01 miles at 11:17 avg pace! GUYS, I RAN  20 MILES AT FASTER THAN GOAL MARATHON PACE!! That wasn’t even a goal or on my mind. I just wanted to finish. This long run was weird, though. I ran 6.2 miles to a race, ran a 4.9 mile race, then ran just over 8.8 to finish it out. Running to the race was almost all uphill, and the conditions were pretty icy. The race was full of hills. I ran some miles fast (like a 9:40ish first mile) and some slower (11:30). I kinda did my intervals, but ran the downhills straight. I didn’t want to screw myself up for the rest of run, but wanted to push a little. Then I ran 8.8 miles back down towards Jake’s house and finished around the harbor. I was tired when I finished, but could have kept going. My body felt great, aside from my tight quad.

When I got to Jake’s I saw his roommate outside, and he said “I’d invite you skiing, but you look thrashed.” Yes, Andrew. I felt pretty thrashed, but also pretty stoked that I was officially in taper town.

Sunday: REST. My legs were a little sore in the morning, but felt better as the day goes on. As I write this (about 7 pm) I feel fine. I’ve been ravenous all day, but I normally am after that long of a run!

Weekly total: 38.x miles. Not the 40 I had planned, but with plenty of miles atop snow and ice, I’m cool with it!

How was your week of running? Have you had any snowy runs yet?

Goofy Challenge Training Week 14: 12/4 -12/10/17

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but there is just ONE MORE WEEK until I start to taper for the Goofy Challenge! My magic bands have arrived, all I have left to buy is Disney’s Photo Pass service, and our fast passes have been booked for a month (well, some I re-did this week). This week didn’t go quite according to plan, but I’m really happy with how it turned out!

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Monday: Rest. My quad was really achy, so I took an extra day to let it recover a bit.

Tuesday: 5 miles before work. This was my first morning run in forever that I really enjoyed and was happy that I got out of bed for. I kept it pretty easy on the hills.

Wednesday: Rest. I woke up feeling ill and stayed in bed. I thought about running in the afternoon, but ended up going home and sleeping through my break. My daily resting HR was about 6 BPM higher than normal, so I took it as a sign my body was fighting something and needed rest.

Thursday: 5 miles during my afternoon break! It was an absolutely beautiful day to be outside, and it really helped me keep up my motivation during my last work hours of the week.

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Friday AM: CRYOTHERAPY! I’m planning on writing a post on this experience soon, but I’m so glad I went. My quad does not feel 100%, but it certainly helped it feel better and also helped my calves loosen up.

Friday PM: 7.31 miles. I honestly didn’t think I’d make it that far, but I felt great!! If I didn’t need to get home to start making dinner (homemade sauce, yo!) I probably would have ran another 1-2 miles.

Saturday: 19 miles! Guys, this run was fantastic. I think it was my second fastest long run pace of this training cycle, and I felt like I could have gone on and on. Now that I look back, it was :23 sec/mi faster than any 20 miler I’ve done. I had almost decided to go for 20; however, it started snowing the minute I started to run and by the end I was sick of my eyes burning by being pelted with snow. Then I spent the day celebrating my Birthday! I had an amazing night out with friends. Now, I’m ready to “detox” without (almost any alcohol) for the next 4 months until it’s time to go to Florida!

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My phone was almost dead by mile 10, so no run picture happened. So you get this beaut instead!

Weekly total: 36.6 miles!

I’m so glad that I’m finally, truly starting to feel like myself again. This week is my “peak week.” I’m aiming to hit 40 miles in 4-5 runs. Then it’s taper time, just in time for the crazy holidays. Taking two trips in 2 weeks is going to be draining, but so worth it. I’m hoping work will be nice and quiet in-between so I have some good downtime.

Goofy Challenge Training Week 13: 11/27-12/3/17

Week 13 is over! Less than 4 more weeks until I am done with the Goofy Challenge! This is the week where I started to get over the feelings of overtraining/burnout that I was experiencing for most of November. I also experienced some pains in my right foot and quad that caused me to run less than I wanted to. Nevertheless, I’m feeling more like myself again.

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Monday: Rest day – unplanned. I couldn’t get out of bed and was busy during my mid-day break so a run didn’t happen.

Tuesday: 4 miles during my mid-day break. Instead of running at the gym, I explored the neighborhoods around my office! It was a beautiful afternoon and was a pretty decent run.

Wednesday: 3.68 miles at November Project. It was a little rough getting up and moving, but running with two different people helped keep me going. I went much easier than I normally would on PR day. However, my right quad was feeling very tight and I didn’t want to cause any more discomfort.

Thursday: Rest day. I considered heading to the gym to cross-train, but I ended up doing some extra work during my break.

Friday: Rest day – unplanned. I planned to run, but when I got up I had an aching pain in my arch that felt like deja vu of my plantar fascitis days. SO instead, I walked to move my car, then went back to bed. I spent half an hour in the evening using all of my self-massage tools.

Saturday: 13.25 miles.  My foot felt fine, and while my quad felt tight it was alright. I ran 60:30 not to hurt it more. I started out really slow and sped up like normal. While it took me a while to get out the door, I did enjoy the run! I just went to use my R8 roller and it’s so cold!!

No long run picture, but we had a mighty Friendsgiving!

Sunday: Rest day

Weekly miles: 20.9. Once again, totally not where it should be right now. But, it is what it is.

The next two weeks bring my 19 + 20 milers. I may not do 9/19 and 10/20, but will surely do doubles with at least 5 miles both days. With my mileage being so low, I don’t want to bring it up too quickly again and hurt myself (especially with how my legs are feeling now). I got burnt out at a really unfortunate time in training, and it’s getting to me because I was feeling so good through October. However, now I know how far I can/can’t push myself before I break and I’ve been taking much better care of myself to try and find more balance in my life. I’m planning for 5 days of running this week, which will probably be close to double the mileage of last week. That means slow and easy runs while I’m hitting “peak week(s)” at a really weird time fitness-wise.

Getting Lit — No, Not Like That!

Disclaimer: I received Knuckle Lights Colors to review 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!

Earlier this fall, I found myself with a pickle. It was obviously getting lighter later and darker earlier. With my crazy work hours, the rotation of the sun was not working in my favor. I disliked my headlamp, then it broke while I was trying to replace the batteries. I bought a new headlamp, but it wasn’t running-specific and I really didn’t like how it lit my path. About half of my morning route around my house isn’t well let, so I was in a tough spot.

Then I got the awesome opportunity to check out Knuckle Lights Colors! Seriously, this opportunity came at just the right time (Well, I needed lights. The burn out – not so much). These two lights would be handheld instead of having an uncomfortable headband and would have 120 total lumens. This was a little less than my two headlamps.

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I love lists, so here are some of the top reasons why I love my Knuckle Lights!

  • Hey – they light my path! Actually, I love how they light my path. They light up about 15 feet in front of me. I’m able to see the imperfections in the sidewalks (which are everywhere when I run in Baltimore) as well as other animals and people around me. On my first run with my lights I saw 3 deer, 1 fox and 6 bunnies!

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  • These are Knuckle Lights. Plural. I really like having two so I can move one if I want to see something to the side of me.
  • These puppies are light! They are small enough to fit my hands without making them feel weighed down.
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Start in the dark, end in the light.
  • The batteries (1 AA for each light) are easy to replace. Seeing how I broke a headlamp trying to change batteries, I’m super happy with this.

+1 Bonus: These make me feel very safe when I run in downtown Baltimore. It’s not the safest city and I panic easy. Running in these makes me feel like I almost have brass knuckles and could punch someone with them if I have to 😛

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Think you don’t need any running lights? Think again. Not only do lights help you see people/obstructions, but they help others see YOU. There’s a guy I see running on my route in the morning who never has any lights or reflection. He always scares the crap out of me and I’ve yelled at him multiple times to “light up.”  If lights make you and others around you feel better, use them!

I’m kicking myself for not getting Knuckle Lights earlier, but I’m sure glad I have them now. I will never go back to using a headlamp (aside from at a Ragnar). At $39.99 the Knuckle Lights Colors are about the same price as a decent running headlamp. If you’re in the market, I definitely recommend that you try them out! Knuckle Lights also have a set with rechargeable batteries. Use the code BIBRAVEPRO to save $15 off your order!

Goofy Challenge Training Weeks 11 + 12

So long, so quiet! Things haven’t been quite silent around here, but I’ve slowed down a lot since getting sick a few weeks ago. To be completely honest, November has not been what I was hoping for. I started off the month aiming for my first 150 mile month, and I’ll barely hit 120. However, things are starting to feel a little better. It’s just in time, because there are just 2.5 more weeks until taper time!

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Week 11: (11/13-11/19)

Monday: 5 miles of a “workout” on the treadmill. I was feeling pretty motivated. I ran with longer, harder run intervals and finished with a 10:12/mi average – my fastest of the training cycle so far. “Daily” plank and 30 burpees.

Tuesday: 5 miles on the treadmill, again. I could not muster up the energy to get up and out of bed. Again, the “daily” plank and 30 burpees that I was trying to start up again.

Wednesday: Literally no.desire. to run.

Thursday: Typical rest day.

Friday: 8 miles. 2 miles, 2.5 miles of hills at NP, then finished up the daily miles. It took a lot to get going, and I really hated it. I didn’t enjoy the run at all. When people asked me how training was going, I didn’t have a positive word to say.

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Mid-NP photo by Gio Vargas!

Saturday: 18 miles was on the docket. 0 happened. You could have paid me $1,000 and I wouldn’t have ran. I was done. No fire in me. Instead, I enjoyed a relaxing day and a friendsgiving. I tried so hard not to think about, or talk about running. When my friends kept asking/talking about it, I tried to change the subject (for once). It was very needed.

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Sunday: Rest

Week 11 total: 18 miles.

Week 11 was #rough. I was the first time since I started to run that I truly felt an aversion to running. I was exhausted, stressed, and was putting so much pressure on myself to train as hard as possible for the Goofy Challenge. It killed me that I was working so hard to run a race that wasn’t “for time,” even though my paces have been great lately. I needed a change in mindset, and I needed it fast.

On Saturday morning, I posted in a Dopey Challenge training group on facebook about the struggles I was facing emotionally. Finds out, I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. It felt great to rant about it to people who were training for the same (or a similar) event and I saw that I wasn’t the only one in this state of mind. I just need to finish the marathon. It may not be fun, but it will be done.


Week 12: (11/20-26)

Monday: 3 miles. It took all I had to get out in the morning and I ended up running without my watch! I wasn’t feeling well, so I turned around when I felt like it.

Tuesday: 5 miles on the treadmill. While I ran, I watched WDW marathon videos on youtube and it really helped keep me moving. I teared up a couple of times, even!

Wednesday: Rest day.

Thursday: 3.15 miles at a Turkey Trot with a friend from work. We went to have fun and finished in 31:54. We were aiming for under 30, but it was hard with all of the weaving we had to do, as well as a few good hills. We kicked it in good and finished the last .2 at under 7:30/mi pace!

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Friday: 5.1 miles in the afternoon, as I took the morning to do some shopping. Actually, I ran this after a lunch and movie with beer and lots of popcorn. I ran without structured intervals and it felt wonderful.

Saturday: 18.1 miles. The run was a little rough, with 3 potty stops (with no feeling of relief), an outfit change, and some wonkiness in my legs. I felt pretty weak, and ended up running 60:30 for the entire run. Nevertheless, I was proud of myself for running the entire distance.

Sunday: Rest.

Week 12 total: 34.35 miles. A bit more back on track.

I shortened my weekday runs this week, mostly just to run enough days, but not to kill myself in the process. I focused a lot more on getting good sleep and taking the pressure off of myself. As of Wednesday night, my legs still don’t feel 100% after Saturday’s run. I’m thankful this weekend only calls for 13ish miles – which I’ll be sure to run easily. Hopefully I’ll be back to 100% by next week. Just two more hard weeks of training!