Tag Archives: half marathon

Upcoming Race Schedule

If there’s one thing I know for sure about myself as a runner, it’s that I love to race.

Racing is the reason I started running in the first place way back when, and once I finally married the ideas of competitive racing and running as a hobby, it was like a match made in RB heaven.

Put me in coach! I’m ready!

Racing makes me feel like an athlete . It makes running more than just exercise or a “calorie torcher” (btw I HATE that expression.) And racing provides a very tangible measurement to log your progress, successes, etc. Sure, some races are just fun—like this one—but for me, I really prefer to actually race when the opportunity presents itself.

When you’re marathon training, spontaneous racing becomes a little tricky. It’s a good way to gauge your fitness, but you don’t want to overdo it or set yourself back in training. I’m currently not training for a marathon, so I’m pretty excited to use this winter to pencil in some short distance races. Sorry paychecks, my Christmas present to myself is coming in the form of registrations and tech shirts.

Here’s a look at some of the races I have on the schedule:

Mustache Dache 5k

Along with every other blogger/runner in Seattle, I’ll me showing my facial hair pride (what?) at this humorous pre-Thanksgiving race. And as silly and fun as the premise of this race may be, I’m having this bug-out issue with it for some reason.

Yes it’s just a 5k, and yes I don’t need to try and run fast every race, but ever since my last 5k where I PR’ed without intending to, I feel this 5k pressure of sorts. 5ks also just scare me because my pace is so much faster than what I’m comfortable with, and we all like to keep our comfort zones within reach. So, I don’t know if I have “goals” for this race per se, but I think I’ll just try to run fast and hold on.

PS: Brunch afterwards bloggers?

Seattle Half-Marathon

Again, I think this is another event where a ton of people I “know” will be running, which makes it exciting. It’s also going to be the first half-marathon I’ve actually raced in nearly a year and a half. My last half was Disneyland, which was really just a for-fun race, and so now it’s back to business.

Sort of.

To be honest, I’m a little scared of this course, and while I’m anxious to go for a very ambitious half-marathon time goal, I’m not sure this is the time to do it. It’s a tough course, and since Tacoma, I don’t underestimate the effect a hard course can have on race expectations. On that note, screw you Tacoma.

So, I think for the Seattle half I may go for a new PR (my current is 1:46) and see how I feel. My half PR was run when I was much slower than I am now (at the time I thought it was a fluke), so I’m interested to see what else I have in me. We’ll see.

Christmas Rush 10k

Nicole let me in on this little $10 secret, and I’m so excited to run another 10k. Fun fact: when I first started running (other than running track), a 10k was my first race. I had no idea what I was doing, but it was a blast. I like this distance a lot more than 5ks—less puke-inducing but still fast enough to feel like a race. No goals really yet for this race—but I’m excited for it.

Yukon Do It Half Marathon

This little race in Port Orchard might be the ticket to my lofty half-marathon aspirations. It’s a smaller race, but such a beautiful course and still all the bells and whistles of a race (bibs, time chips, medals, etc.) It’s also on December 30, and I love the idea of closing the year with a half-marathon.

That’s all for now! Who knows, another one might pop up—but for now I’m pretty psyched for this schedule. It seems that November and December have turned into racing season for me, and I love it!

As for this weekend, no racing, but some running and seasonal fun as well. We have a “Family Thanksgiving” feast with some of our friends on Saturday night, and I’m planning a beautiful, cold 16 miles for tomorrow morning. Winter running, I love you so.

 

Now, please tell me which of YOU are running any of these races! Let’s meet-up 🙂

Disneyland Half-Marathon Race Report

Chances were that I was going to have a fan-flipping-tastic time at the Disneyland Half-Marathon. I wrote all about how obnoxiously tickled I was to be doing the race, and after the fact—it’s pretty safe to say that overall, my expectations were definitely met.

But let’s start at the beginning—because what’s a race recap without expo and pre-race details?

On Saturday, BF and I made our way from Pasadena, CA (where we were staying) to Anaheim to get our race packets at the Disneyland Hotel. This is about where my Disney-themed excitement really began and lasted until our final farewell to the park on Sunday afternoon. Typical expo scene—plus a boatload of Disney-themed running things, music, DJs, etc.

BF has a toothpick in his mouth, he doesn’t just look creepy normally.

Sorority pride in the form of exercise headbands! I didn’t buy one, but I appreciated the gesture.

The best part was the option to SEE the finish line.

I actually have never seen a finish line before the end of a race, and although I consider the finish line to be sacred ground, it was definitely fun to see where the grand finale would take place the next day.

If you read my post on Friday, you know that I really didn’t have high ambitions in terms of actually “racing” this race. I never intended on taking it too seriously, plus with peak weeks for Chicago afoot, it was the best decision to lay-off in terms of speed and effort during this race. Needless to say, I wasn’t nearly as nervous come race morning as I normally am.

It’s 3:45 am!!! No one has ever been up this early!! Let’s take a photo!

BF and I were both in Corral A, which was very nice, and we managed to do the whole wake up-drive-arrive-park-porta potty-corral-wait thing like champs. We had enough time that we weren’t stressed out, but we also only wait for the race start for about 10 minutes.

BF DON’T HATE ME FOR POSTING THIS K?

After the National Anthem played, FIREWORKS went off (yes, at 5:45 in the morning) and with the shot of a gun, we were off!

The race course was designed to highlight both the Disney parks as well as Anaheim, and it showed. I knew this race was bound to be impressive (both due to Disney’s reputation and the first born child fee it cost to get in, but I wasn’t expecting quite the spectacles we were given.

To start off, there were spectators nearly the entire race. And not just one or two “Go Mom!” signs…like, crowds of people lining the course, cheering everyone on. And not only general fans—there were cheerleaders, volleyball teams (weird?), bands, even a rally of old-time cars honking their horns. It was mighty impressive, and there’s something so great about getting your name called out even if it’s by a stranger.

We started off going through California Adventure, winding our way through the park. All the lights on the attractions were on, so it was really easy to see everything and everyone. It was at this point that there started to be characters along the course, which was highly entertaining. They were all definitely in character in terms of the mannerisms. Oh, and just about every princess was there EXCEPT for Belle. She was probably too busy reading and being an independent woman.

Mid-run photo fail. But you get the idea.

After leaving California Adventure, we headed into Disneyland for a run around all the different lands. It’s surprising how much smaller Disneyland feels when A) you aren’t 7, B) you’re running through it, and C)there aren’t hoards of people to meander around. Perhaps my favorite part of the race was when we ran down Main Street toward the castle. I got all kinds of giggly and we stopped for a photo.

Dark shot…but you get the idea.

At this point, the course was still decently crowded. I normally don’t mind crowds too much, but with BF and I staying together the whole time, all the weaving was a little annoying. But relatively speaking, everything was still well and good, and without a goal time—we really didn’t mind the bunching.

When we left Disneyland, we were around mile 5 or so and for all I knew we hadn’t really been running at all. BF and I were clocking a cool 8:50 pace or so, and I was so distracted/enthralled with the whole thing that it barely felt like a race.

The next 5 or so miles took us through Anaheim toward Angel Stadium. These miles were definitely less scenic than the rest of the course, but the race did a good job of making sure there were still groups cheering along the way. There was even an authentic mariachi band and Spanish dancers which was great.

There had been a few rolling hills at this point but really nothing significant. It was flat mostly, and it felt like a course someone would choose for their own run, if that makes sense.

Around mile 10 we came into Angels Stadium which is where the real cheering began. The stands were piled with all kinds of people cheering, and it was really encouraging to run into a professional ballpark feeling like the competitor. We ran nearly all the way around the warning track of the field, and they projected all the runners on the big screen by the scoreboard.

We were starting to realize at this point where some of the enormous registration fee went…

{BTW I took a video of the stadium crowds, but WordPress wouldn’t upload it. Sad.}

You might be wondering exactly how I/we were feeling at this point. I know race reports are typically filled with minute-by-minute details of when every Gu was consumed and when each calf began to cramp. But honestly, I have never felt better during a race. I almost felt like I was on an easy recovery run rather than an actual half marathon, and by Mile 11 I felt it might as well have been Mile 3. I did have, by the way, only two cups of water and no Gus during the race…and I choked on both cups. Still a skill I need to learn.

Now, it would be a lie to say that BF felt as good as I did. He was in pretty high spirits up until this point in the race, but around this time his endurance started to wane. We both expected this—so it wasn’t surprising, but let’s just say someone was not very excited about all of my “Look at that!”s and “I love this!”

However, he went almost two weeks without running at all (severely rolled ankle) and it wasn’t until two and a half weeks ago that he actually even started running again. He maxed out mileage at 8.5 miles last week, and although he was pretty confident he could finish the half—he knew it wouldn’t be pretty.

And although he was definitely feeling it around Mile 11—I was in awe of him. After very little endurance exercise, clocking 8:50 and below miles consistently is pretty damn awesome—especially when that’s only slightly above what he does when he’s in great shape. He was a rockstar.

We picked it up a little bit toward the end, and I asked if he wanted to hold hands across the finish line. He was game, and as we approached the end both of us were getting so excited and we picked it up a lot. Once the finish line was in sight, I knew we’d finish in under 2 hours (which wasn’t even a goal) and..behold, Mickey and Minnie were at the finish line! So, despite my hand-holding idea and BF’s compliance, the poor boy was left holding his hand out unheld while his Disney-freak girlfriend scurried over to Mickey and Minnie for her euphoric finale.

The photos are hilarious, and in the end we did hold hands across the finish line, but not before I got to slap those big gloves of love.

1:56!

For a race with no goal other than to go slow and have fun (and stop and take pictures!) this wasn’t too shabby. Mostly, I was just impressed that BF was able to pull off such an impressive display without much training.

And as for me, the race might as well have been 5 miles. It FLEW by, and I credit that to going slower than normal but also how much fun it was to see and hear everything going on. I LOVED not wearing headphones for this race, and it was really nice to be able to chat with someone the whole time. I’m not convinced these strategies would work in an actual goal race, but for a race with no agenda—it was perfect.

Ignore Mr. PhotoBomb in the background.

Finishers!

Disney Half-Marathon success!!

I loved this race, and after a quick baby-wipe bath and change of clothes, we were ready for a day at the park. That’s a post for another day…but I’ll show you how it started off:

Mickey waffles!!!

Going to the Minnie and friends BUFFET breakfast was perhaps the best idea I’ve ever had. Refueling from the race and prefueling for Disneyland at its finest.

The heaviest/coolest medal ever. We wore them all day.

Have you ever done a Disney race? What did you think of it? Did you dress up? Were you up as early as we were?

Excitement Overload

I am 24-years-old. I am a fully-functioning adult. I pay bills, I do dishes, I can change a tire, and I have a real job with a 401k plan.

And yet, I’m currently sitting at my desk, listening to Disney music, and my legs are shaking with excitement. My brain is scheming on various ways to affix a crown to my head while running and whereabouts to put temporary Mickey Mouse tattoos.

Yes, it’s here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Disneyland Half-Marathon. AKA: Everything I love in life is about to happen all at once. ALL CAPS EXCITED, PEOPLE!!

I know, I know…nearly every runner gets all giddy excited about the prospect of running through the happiest place on Earth. It’s perfectly normal—the child in us gets to tag team with the runner in us for 13.1 miles of magic.

But, my elation about this race is on a whole other level. It’s over-the-top, some may say unhealthy, and most would say obnoxious. I am the quintessential Disneyland kid: I was SUCH a princess when I was little, I worshipped all the Disney leading ladies, and to this day I can sing just about every song there is, word-for-word. Needless to say, a trip to Disneyland for me—as a 24 year old—is equally as exciting as it was when I was little. Friends of mine who have gone with me have said that they never really knew me until they saw me in Disneyland—in my primal element of giggles and a huge toothy grin.

Four years ago with Minnie. Besties.

Have I scared you away yet?

If not…thanks, you’re the best.

Obviously, the idea of running (aka my favorite activity in the world, see:every post I ever write) combined with Mickey, Splash Mountain, and Sleeping Beauty’s castle is just about too much for me to handle. I’m a little worried I might actually combust from sheer euphoria during the race. I will probably have the best races photos I’ve ever taken, though, seeing as I will have a constant obnoxious grin on my face. Or tears of joy—one way or the other. There’s also a chance a lot of gallant leaping will be involved too.

Point blank: I am so stupid excited for this weekend I can’t even contain it.

And BF? What a trooper that boy is. He is fully aware just what he’s dealing with in terms of his 24-turned-6-year-old girlfriend, and so far he seems well prepared. We’ve been to D-land before together, twice in fact, and he was such a great companion both times. He himself is a big fan of the park (let’s get real…if he wasn’t we would have some serious issues), and so I’m pretty sure he’s really excited himself.

Super cheesy pic from way back when I wore my ponytails on one side of my head.

So, considering I always have a well-thought out, down-to-the second pacing plan and goal times in mind—I’m sure you’re wondering: Hey Robyn, what’s your race plan?

The plan? NO PLAN! We are going to do this race super easy and casual. I’m not wearing headphones (a first!) and I’m going to carry my phone to take pictures. Hello…um, there are characters lining the course, some of which I have never in my life been able to get photos with. Watch out Belle…you might get tackled. But you still need to pull it together for a picture with me.

JK I have a pic with Belle already, you really think Mom was going to get away with not letting her little baby meet her idol?

So the plan is not to have a plan. We want to have fun, enjoy the whole thing, and not stress about PRs or negative splits or whatever. The other thing is that Mr. BF is recovering from a bad twisted ankle from a few weeks ago, and although his injury has recovered…his endurance has waned a bit. My plan, then, is to help keep us at a comfy pace and distract him with all of my sobs of joy. I’m dedicated to staying with him the whole race, and if I know BF as well as I think I do…I’m pretty sure he’s going to finish no problem. If we can get in under two hours, that would be cool, but I’m not worried about it. There’s a good chance this will be my slowest half to date, and I really don’t care.

Sure, I’m a little itchy to race since I know I could do well if I pushed it, but even if that were an option…it probably wouldn’t be the best one. With peak weeks coming up and a marathon in a little over a month, going balls-out in a half wouldn’t be the best idea for me. Maybe for some people—but I’d rather use it as a relaxed training run and keep up with my schedule rather than risk injury and need extra recovery time.

So, from now until 5:45 AM on Sunday, I’ll be busy packing, flying, expo-ing, carb-eating, listening to Disney Pandora, and trying to get some sleep because as we all know…sometimes the promise of Disneyland leads to insomnia.

Have a great {long} weekend!!!

If this isn’t the picture of readiness for a flight to Disneyland…I don’t know what is.

Post-Script: Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth, not Disneyworld. Those who disgree, meet me out back after school.

Are you racing this weekend? Long run? No run? Labor Day Plans? 

 

 

 

Chicago Marathon Training Week #8

Good morning!

I hope everyone had stellar weekends and you’re enjoying the finale of summer. I personally refuse to accept that autumn has arrived until nearly Halloween, so you’ll be seeing me in my summer dresses until the very last minute!

This is an exciting week, primarily for two reasons. The first being that it’s a cutback week, which has such super perfect timing. Last week was my highest mileage to-date, and although it all went well, I am definitely feeling it, particularly in a very sore quad/hip, and I just generally feel drained. And the other perfect reason for this being cutback week leads me into the SECOND reason to be excited…

The Disneyland half marathon is this weekend!!

I wrote about registering for this race way back when, and now it’s finally here. I giddy excited for it—and so is BF. He tweaked his ankle a few weeks ago, and although for a while his ability to race was questionable, he thinks he’s gonna be up for it. We both have NO intention of racing, and it is highly possible this will be my slowest half to date, but I don’t really care. I’m really just excited to frolic around the park with BF and all the characters lining the course. And no, a costume decision has not been made yet.

Needless to say, running 13.1 miles through Disneyland is a perfect long run option for a cutback week.

Anyway, let’s talk about some training.

Here is what last week looked like:

M: 60 min spin class + ~20 min stair-stepper

T: 10.4 m run, 8:10 avg. pace

W: 7 m tempo run, 5 @ 7:30 + BodyPump

T: 10.2 m run, slow—no watch

F: REST

S: 20.5 m run in 2:44

S:9 m run, slowww recovery

Total: 57.1 miles

My weeks are really starting to look a bit identical, but I suppose that’s what happens when you spend over 10 weeks training for something. This was a new record of miles in one week for me, and like I said…I was feeling it. Saturday’s 20 felt superb (I’m a little convinced that time isn’t right…8:03 averages seems fishy) but yesterday’s recovery run turned into a very hot, slow, “ow my hip hurts wtf” trudge. I think my hip hurts a bit from canoeing for two hours immediately after Saturday’s long run and trying to balance on a wet swimsuit bottom—but it could also be some general wear and tear from so much mileage. I’m trying not to be too concerned, and like I said—perfect week for a cutback in running. I’m trying to get a sports massage in this week too and I’ll likely abuse the privilege of decreased miles.

After this cutback, I’ve got two more heavy weeks—peaking at 63 or so, and then it’s taper time. I’m hoping my body cooperates, because it’s been a trooper so far. Lots of rolling, stretching, and sleeping to come.

Other than nearly 30 miles in the books, I had such a wonderful weekend—canoeing, swimming, and brunching with some of my best friends, getting late night McFlurrys with BF (did you know they have a snack size now??), and buying some new running shoes yesterday. I’ve already put nearly 400 miles on my little baby Pure Connects, not too shabby after almost 2 months of running silence 🙂

Also, stalking following all the Nuun HTC lady bloggers this weekend via Twitter was insanely entertaining. Congrats to all you gals who participated, I hope you had a blast!!! Now I really REALLY want to get a team together for next year….

How was YOUR weekend?

Happy Monday!

Bests, Worsts, and Scary Things.

So yesterday’s post got a little serious—I know, I’m sorry for my susceptibility to getting all  existential in my writing (the English major in me lives on).

Anyway, if you read yesterday’s post, you know that I think we should take advantage of the New Year, and I personally intend to use the opportunity to highlight some of my goals.

I use the term goals instead of resolutions because most of them have already been in existence for a little while. My specific running goals were detailed in my running wish list, and I’m planning on prioritizing those throughout this year’s races and training. I do have an overarching resolution, however, that I feel encompasses several areas in my life—both running and otherwise.

But first, I’ll being with a quick New Year’s recap. BF and I spent the evening visiting with some of our friends from high school, and it was low key but all-around a good time. We all went to the fancy shmancy hotel in our hometown and pretended to be upper-crust socialites that can afford $10 drinks and lavish suites. Hint: We can’t. Instead, we lounged in the overly-manicured hotel bar/lobby/hang out area and shared our best and worsts of 2011.

If you’re interested, I would say that I had 2 Bests of 2011. Yea, yea I know it’s cheating, but ties are allowed in your own list-making rules.

But I’ll start with my Worst of 2011, because I like ending on a good note. The worst part of 2011 was being injured for 3 months, completely unable to run and even walk correctly. I had full-fledged gimp status from March to June, and let’s just say in the beginning I was not happy about it. I cried, I was angry, I was lost. In the end, though, this worst turned into a very important lesson for me, and the harshness of the situation turned out to be bittersweet. I am now a more careful, smart, and balanced runner—and it took a humbling and disabling experience for me to reach these new understandings about running. So yea, it was a worst, but fortunately I was able to make the most out of a crappy situation.

The beginning of the end. Days before the death of my hip flexor.

Now onto happy things:

My first Best of 2011 was officially moving into a place with BF. Sure, we started living together toward the end of 2010, however in July 2011 we signed an official lease together, bought furniture together, the whole real-world-relationship shebang. It was great and a true highlight.

Look! We are Seattle residents!

The other Best somewhat goes without saying—running my first marathon.

You've probably never seen this photo before, right?

Two years ago, I would have laughed in your face if you asked if I could run a marathon, or even a half-marathon for that matter. Even months before signing up, I felt that a marathon was for the “other” runners, and I was content with the 13.1 distance. However, after recovering from my injury, I realized that only sticking with the 13.1 distance was really playing it safe. I knew I could go further, and I knew that if I worked at it enough I could build to doing a full marathon. Also, I knew that following a strict, regimented schedule would help me from overdoing it and abusing my running as I had been before.

So I went for it, and it was amazing. The training was intense, as were the nerves and apprehension leading into the race, but there has not been anything more rewarding in my life than seeing the “Mile 26” marker and mustering all my strength to sprint to the finish line.

So what’s next?

Well, inspired from the marathon and my overarching quest toward expanding my horizons, I’ve decided that this year will be all about alleviating the things that scare me.

No, I won’t be re-watching The Ring or visiting graveyards, however I will be facing head-on the things in my life that I either avoid, shy away from, or simply ignore based on the fact that they are hard or daunting. I find that too often there are things in my life that I settle with simply based on the fact that they are comfortable and easy. A simple example would be driving my car down the massive hill by my house because running up it at the end of my run is simply too hard.

A bigger example would be deciding to spend my entire weekend at home instead of calling my friends and making plans, because sitting on my couch and perfecting my hermit status is easier than mustering up the energy to go out.

{Dexter, you do not help with this habit}

The fact is, in each of these examples, I know myself and I know that taking the harder, less-convenient option is almost always much more rewarding. When I complete a long, brutal hill, I feel much more satisfied in my run overall. When I actually go out with my friends (whom, mind you, I adore) and spend some quality social time, I am a much more well-rounded person and frankly happier overall.

When we are able to identify the things in our lives that we do based on comfort and routine, we can recognize that there is an element of apprehension and curiosity missing. And understandably, because facing the unknown as opposed to the familiar is typically the much easier choice. However, when we acknowledge our fears and purposefully face them, we are given a rejuvenating sense of accomplishment. These fears can be monumental or miniscule, however opting for the more challenging course gives us the opportunity to expand our experiences beyond that which is comfortable. Comfort is good, however we cannot grow or learn without reaching beyond our safe zones.

I look at this “resolution” to face the things that scare me as more of an overall mind shift. I might be able to get up and get sweaty every morning, but when it comes to laziness and taking the easy way out I am also a master. I want to get rid of this mentality; I know myself well enough to know that sticking to the mundane, simple routines of life do not stimulate my need for new experiences. I know that if I can be intentional about facing the things that I’m scared of, I will begin to establish a greater understanding of my strengths, my weaknesses, and my overall potential.

2012, fearlessness is the name of the game.

Gah, got serious again. Something about the New Year is getting to me apparently. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading, and I highly encourage you to think about the things you’re afraid of and how you can overcome them. Because I guarantee—you can.

Question: What scares you? 

 

“Santa, can you hear me?” Running Wish List

First things first. Yes, my title is referencing the magical Britney Christmas song, “My Only Wish This Year.”

It will remain my favorite Christmas song of all time for the rest of my life.

Alright, now that we’re all caught up on my shamelessness, let’s talk about running.

First, THIS:

HA!

An old friend of mine from high school—who I ran with—sent me this the other day, and I got a big kick out of it. I think race photos are very humbling proof that if you think you look hot when you run, you’ll always be wrong.

Anyways.

Today, it happened again. I don’t know what’s going on with me—some sort of brain metamorphosis; I spent about 85% of my run in voluntary silence, and I loved it.

My brain juggled around numerous thoughts on running, writing, blogging, and other miscellaneous wonderful things. While I was playing this fun game of weaving through various thoughts and enjoying the crisp {frigid} morning air, I began thinking about my upcoming running goals. The list is somewhat substantial, both in length and content, and I can only attribute it to the fact that running is my most treasured hobby, therefore it comes with a lot of extraneous planning.

So, today—in honor of the holiday season—I thought I’d share with you my “Running Wish List.” My actual Christmas list is way too far-fetched and idealistic, and obviously I don’t want to be known as the materialistic running girl who wants anything and everything to do with Lululemon and workout gear. No, a “Running Wish List” is not only more plausible, but it offers a lot more potential for self fulfillment than a new pair of fabulously cut running tights.

So, without further ado…

This year in my running career I hope to…

1) Do a 12k in under an hour

Ah I hate saying these things out loud, because somehow it makes me feel much more accountable than keeping them in the back of my mind. However, this wish is due to the upcoming race BF and I are doing called the 12ks of Christmas. However hard I try, I cannot go into a race without a specific number pulsing in my head, and in this case it’s under the 60 minute mark. I will have to run pretty dead even 8 minute miles to do the 7.45 in under an hour, and although I’m confident I have it in me—it’s still pretty fast, and there isn’t much wiggle room

2) Get faster

I have been very purposefully resisting the plunge into integrating speed work into my routine. The fact of the matter is I would so much rather go out for a nice long, leisurely run than spend an hour on the track doing intervals and sprints. Understandable, right?

Unfortunately, I do want to get faster and speed work is the obvious gateway to that wish. Fine, I give in. 2012—you’ll see me on the track. Plus, my local running store West Seattle Runner offers weekly custom speed workouts. I have no excuse. Maybe I can use my old track spikes?

3) Get a BQ

Again, I can’t believe I’m saying this out loud. Now it’s real. Affirmed by the officiality of cyber space documentation. (No, officiality is not a work—but it should be and you get it.)

For those of you who don’t know, a BQ stands for Boston Qualifier—meaning you ran a  qualifying time to get into the Boston Marathon.

Okay, I KNOW I have only run one marathon and the loftiness of this goal is completely irrational and far fetched. I know this, trust me. However, the sprinter inside of me cannot help but want to reach the next level. And when your first marathon time is only 7 minutes away from qualifying for Boston, you cannot help but wonder how possible it could be. Those 7 minutes stick in my head pretty consistently, and I know that with some good solid training I can shave off that time. Also, Boston continues to lower their qualifying times, so if I don’t go for it soon the time will only be do-able by the Olympic hopefuls.

BTW…thanks a lot for this, Boston.

4) Get a new half marathon PR

I am seriously convinced that the race I ran my half PR in was a fluke. I ran way faster than I ever do, and I still have a hard time understanding how I was able to pull it off completely unintentionally. Therefore, the thought of breaking this PR is really daunting to me. Just doing the math of how fast those 13.1 miles need to be gives me a nervous stomach.

I haven’t done a half since that PR (mostly due to my injury and marathon training),and since my endurance/weekly mileage is higher than it was before running that race—I’m on a mission to set an intentional PR, no matter how gut-wrenching it might be.

5) Do more yoga, stretch more often, and fuel more appropriately

Okay, so I thought I would put a wish out there that was a bit more easily accessible, and doable on a day-to-day basis. The fact of the matter is that when I take good “running care” of myself, I’m a much happier and better runner. It sounds simple, but I think that all the extras that are required in this sport can easily fall to the wayside. Which is ridiculous, because as I’ve written before—the simple things such as proper stretching, adequate fuel intake, and ample hydration make all the difference when it comes to running performance.

In the next year, I’d like to try and do yoga—here goes—3 times a week. I feel so much better when I keep up on a yoga routine, simple as that. So despite my reluctance and excuses (typically consisting of wanting to sit on the couch and watch Jeopardy instead), I am vowing to get on my mat more. Additionally, I could do a much better job of pre and post run fueling and hydrating. I cannot tell you how many times in the middle of a run I think, “Why the F did I not just drink more water yesterday?” And then after I’m done, once again I don’t drink enough water. This is not acceptable as a runner—and I plan on changing this bad habit. Also, I’ve decided to eat more bagels and pasta—because, you know, as a runner I should. I get too wrapped up in getting all my food groups in that sometimes I forget—oh yea, on the night before a long run I should probably up the carbs. Ridiculous, I know. And this is a “wish” that is really freaking easy/awesome to fix.

 

So there you have it. My “Running Wish List” is out there for the “world” to see. It makes me nervous to say some of those bigger goals out loud, as they’ve remained in the depths of my running psyche. However, putting them out into the universe—even just in the sense that I can go back and read that I’ve said them—actually helps motivate me. And ultimately, saying them out loud is the first step to making them a reality.

Now You! What are some of your wishes, running or otherwise?

 

Training for 26.2

Hi!

Today, I thought I would talk a bit about the marathon training schedule that I followed, as I’m about to start it up again in the new year. As you may know, I was injured for 3 months before I started my marathon endeavor, so as I was deciding on a training routine—I was pretty careful to make sure that running wouldn’t take over all my time.

After recovering from being hurt (bad hip flexor strain) I knew that my body needed lots of different forms of exercise to keep it healthy. Running is a beneficial, fulfilling, and all around glorious sport, however it comes with a hefty “handle with care” caution tag. In order to stay a sane and injury-free runner, there are—in my opinion—three essential things to incorporate into your running routine: Yoga, Cross Training, and Rest.

Yoga

Sure, you can consider this cross training, however I believe that practicing basic yoga at least once a week is essential for distance runners. Yoga offers your muscles a lot of relief from all the heavy impact of running, it helps prevent excessively tight leg/back/core muscles, and it centers your mind in the most deliciously peaceful way. It took me a long time to start liking yoga, but once I finally figured it out I can’t imagine my running routine without it. Plus, if you’re a runner, I can guarantee yoga will feel really damn good.

Cross Training

When I was injured, I learned to love cross training, and I found that once I was out on the roads again, the muscles that I had strengthened from participating in other activities actually helped my running. Developing the smaller muscles around your big running muscles helps prevent injury and it can improve your flexibility and speed. I can honestly say that doing sprints in spin class helped with my marathon finish time more so than my long runs.

Rest

Again, this realization took a while for me to come by, however resting from exercise is not only essential to preventing injury and burnout, but it makes you a smarter athlete. Even the most elite athletes and runners in the world still take a rest day to allow their muscles and minds to relax.

The fact of the matter is simple: if you never rest, you will burn out—and you don’t want burn out to come in the form of a sidelining injury.

 

Anyways, integrating these three essentials were very important in my marathon training. I got my 12 week training schedule off the internet, and tweaked it a bit to match my own timeline and mileage. With that said, a typical week in my schedule looked like this:

m: rest

t: 8-9 miles, lifting/core work

w: cross train and yoga

t: 10-12 miles, lifting/core work

f: cross train and yoga

s: 6 mile “shake out” run

s: long run (ranged 14-22 miles)

 

Now, keep in mind that when I designed my training program, I was already running a decently high weekly mileage (appx. 35-40 miles/week). Therefore, I was able to use a shorter training time frame (12 weeks as opposed to the standard 16-20), and I trained up to 22 miles instead of the more common 20 miles.

This schedule worked really well for me. I felt like I had a great balance of running and cross training, and because I wasn’t running 5-6 days a week (like some programs) I mostly enjoyed all my running days. I was fearful of starting to loathe my long runs, however by sandwiching them between a shake out run day and a rest day, I found that they were a fantastic challenge to look forward to each week. Sure, I had very little social life and they took a good 2-3 hours out of my Sunday, but in the end it was totally worth it.

So worth it, in fact, that I am currently in the stages of planning my next few marathons for 2012!

As of right now, I am planning on doing the Vernonia Marathon in April (a small race along a gorgeous course), potentially the Seattle Rock’ N’ Roll in late June, and the Bellingham Bay Marathon in September.

Wow, writing that down seems daunting.

However, I am really committed to establishing a competitive running routine. I’ve been an athlete and competitor my whole life, and running offers a great way for adults to still compete with others but mainly with themselves. I never plan on winning a race, however continuing to push myself, lower my times, and continue improving is incredibly rewarding and gratifying. Does it come without hardship, bad runs, self critique, or all around shitty experiences? Absolutely not. But the bad only makes the good that much better, and I’m a big believer that any experience is good experience.

Yes, even if it’s being forced to not run for 3 months after overdoing it.

We learn this way, and ultimately we become better runners.

Anyways, enough psychological jargon.

As I take on my next marathon, I am planning on actually increasing the distance of my long runs, and will perhaps train (gulp) past 26 miles. This is a training method used by some, and as long as I go slow and build even slower, I am thinking that this technique could work for me. I want to do the Seattle Rock’n’Roll just over 2 months after Vernonia, and I’m thinking the only way to do this successfully is to up my overall mileage.

We will see though, nothing is set in stone—and with the other distance races I have planned, who knows what will happen.

What marathon or half marathon training plans have you used? What were some successful side activities you did to help your training?

 

Firsts

Today is a Sunday in all aspects of the word. It’s the final day of Thanksgiving “vacation,” it’s rainy and gloomy, and currently there is football on tv and bagels on the table. However, something special has ALREADY happened today.

BF finished his first half marathon this morning!!

He started at the Seattle Center in the dark and rainy morning, and he finished 1 hour and 56 minutes later!! Official finish was 1:56:40, WITH a negative split, and he averaged 8:54 miles. I am so incredibly proud of him, and he has definitely worked hard to get so far. He only started running a few months ago, and to run a half marathon, especially with such a fantastic time, is so impressive!

super star boyfriend!

I love seeing people finish their first significant races, and something tells me this will not be the end of BF’s racing career.

Standing at the end of any race is inspiring for a runner, and personally seeing everyone cross the finish line and receive their medals is the best kind of motivation to keep up training and sign up for another race! Right now, I’m trying to decide on my spring marathon, and at this point it is either going to be Vernonia Marathon on April 15 or the Eugene Marathon on April 29. I’m really keen on Eugene, however another race may conflict with its timing. Stay tuned. I will be signed up by Christmas for one either way, and I am pretty excited to start some serious training again.

Otherwise, BF and I are planning on running the 12ks of Christmas race on December 17th, and I’m planning on a half on January 8th after my holiday trip to Colorado.

Racing is fun. Check out some tips on racing here!

Anyway, to give a brief running/life update since I last wrote (too long ago!), these past few days have been filled with food, family, and relaxation. (I really wanted to find and appropriate “f” adjective there for alliteration’s sake. Oh well.)

My mom and her partner Kate came to our house for Thanksgiving, along with my sister and her boyfriend Grayson. I started the day with a fast 12 miler, and by the time I was done it was time to start cooking! It was our first time hosting Thanksgiving, which included our first experience making a turkey! I was a bit worried, especially when this was how the process started…

We alternated between being horrified by the turkey and finding it hilarious.

In the end, all the food turned out great, and pretty much everything was hot when we served it! Thanks Trader Joe’s for your hard-to-mess-up Thanksgiving dishes and to the internet for ensuring the success of our turkey endeavors. There were also three bottles of wine and two pies, neither of which exist anymore. I love Thanksgiving.

Not too much else to report, as the weekend was pretty much filled with leftovers, lounging, and staying dry. I’ll be making a trek outside at some point today for my Sunday long run, and I’m sure BF will relish basking in his post-race glory.

How was your first big race? What are your best tips for beginners?