Thursday, August 21, 2014

One Month Out, Welcome to the Grind

Somehow we are already a month out from Rochester Marathon, this year is absolutely flying by. When I first decided on my fall marathon it was below-zero out while I was plodding away on the treadmill training for Boston. Little did I know what this year was actually going to turn out to be, probably better that way.

I had planned on doing a post in July, you know...a half-way through training post. But July, quite frankly just sucked. It's hard to sit down and think about a marathon post when you are struggling to even run a 5k or 10k time that you {personally}deem acceptable. Luckily, I'm in a better frame of mind at this point in time, and am actually excited about what the next month will bring{this very well could be because I haven't seen my taper plan yet}.

Up to this point, I have covered a little over 578 miles since starting 'officially' training back in June. I have averaged a little over 50 miles a week, peaking at a little over 60 and including 3 cutback weeks (42, 35, 41) mixed in as well. This has been a good balance of quality vs. quantity and allowing my to maintain my busy schedule (and start to add more personal time to the schedule too).

Things that have changed...
This is the most I have averaged mileage wise for a marathon training cycle. While it may not seem like a lot to some of you mileage monsters, this consistency and slight increase has really helped me. I feel like I have had a good balance with quality and quantity going.

Hiring of a coach. Time wasn't on our side from the get-go. Starting with a new coach when there was only 2 months until race day wasn't ideal. BUT, it was the best move I made.

Trading intervals for tempo's. I've always loved intervals, but tempo's are really important in building strength during marathon training. I've not been good in the past about doing them, as I opted for my 'more comfortable{to me}' track workouts. Having a coach has a) made me do more tempo runs and b) made me start to like said tempo runs.

Running easy runs...easier. Granted this is a newer change as I have been held more accountable with it the last few weeks. But I do notice a difference, although there are times I struggle more than others controlling paces.

Thoughts
I feel much better now than I did a few weeks ago, that much I can say for sure. I am grateful for friends who scrape my deflated ego off of the ground after a hard workout or bad race, but also keep my head from blowing up after a good one. I am grateful for a coach who encourages me, pushes me and also listens to me.

Physically I feel strong. I don't feel as lean as I would like right now, but a) I will be feeling like a heffalump all week, and b) I still have a month to really "clean up" (and I have been working on this)

I'm seeing and feeling the changes in myself that consistency in my running/training has brought. This however, has not affected my goals for the marathon in a month. Yes it has improved my confidence in reaching those goals though. I believe that breaking my PR of 3:13 is not only possible, but highly probable. I am not ruling out a time that begins with 3:0X, not in the least. My goals (and coaches) could very well change in the next few weeks.

One month from today
I'll be running my 9th Marathon
One month from today I will be seeking revenge on a race that once destroyed me.
One month from today I will be drinking all the Guinness in the land while celebrating one kick ass training cycle (no matter the outcome of the race).
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So yeah, with a month to go my confidence level is building. If you told me a few months ago (hell, even a few weeks ago) that last night I would have knocked out a 14 mile run, with 12 tempo miles (breaking my 10k and 15k PR's in the process, and running my 4th fastest half time....all in a workout) I would have told you that you were on crack. [And yes I was legit sitting against my car after that damn workout]
What does the next month hold?
Well, a lot of fine tuning. Time to nail down fueling plans, race day gear, pacing plans and logistics. Time to focus on all those little things I CAN control. Time to start thinking about outfit options based on all the weather possibilities (it's Rochester, it very well could snow, rain, get hot, or all of the above). Time to get those last few hard workouts in, long runs and whatever else I can do to be prepared. The work isn't done, yet. I can't control the weather or who shows up on the line that day- but you can bet your ass I will be as prepared as I can for whatever comes my way.

Welcome to the grind.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

ROC: Training & Living {up}

Training update on a Tuesday? Apparently I'm a little pre-occupied lately. Life off the internet happens, who knew.

Where do I even begin with last week? I did a lot of running and a lot of living. Three cheers for not only being more social but actually being open and excited about it all. More on that another time though.

As for training, it was another solid 50+ mile week. Four easy runs, a long ass tempo run, and a long run. I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but I feel 'different' with my running the last few weeks (in a good way). I'd like to think that's a good sign seeing as, I'm legit toeing the line in less than 35 days.

I've been better the last few weeks about keeping my easy runs, well...easy. Having a coach now really helps me, that accountability works wonders. Taking it easier on non-workout days also allows me to hit workouts harder without feeling drained(who knew!?). Wednesday I nailed another long tempo run, 12 miles with 10 progressing between 7:13-6:37(including torrential downpour for the last few miles). I had some things going on and questioned how well I could pull it off, but some happy thoughts and encouragement go a long way.
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Pre- tempo run, with the sky all nice and sunny...that changed. Risky Business Shades because my running glasses were at home (that made the rain fun), That tank top didn't make it back from the run with me (Had taken it off and tucked in back of my shorts when I got hot, and wind during storm blew it out without me knowing), and my pre-run fuel in my 'motivational' bottle. 
Cross training has been pretty minimal lately as I have been focusing more on my running, and having more of a life. Enjoying my life outside training makes me enjoy training even more, so finding balance the last few weeks has been really good for me(working less has also helped). I did swim and do some core workouts last week, but I also missed a strength training workout. Getting called into work last minute and having an unplanned double on Thursday helped that happen, c'est la vie.

This past weekend was much needed time away for a night. Although I had a great week and was feeling better about things than I had in a long time---Quality time with a best friend NEVER hurts. Heather and I drove up to my families cabin in the 1000 Islands for Saturday/Sunday. We drank beer and ate lunch at a pub in town, hit the grocery store and stocked up on supplies...and then holed up in the cabin while it stormed all night. Girl talk, funny movies, food and beer. I'm pretty sure that all equals a successful relaxing night. Also makes for some funny stories (and both of us imitating Borat). This suit is black. Not.
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Uhhh, yep.
Sunday morning we got up up relaxed a little before our long run. If you are looking for new ways to spice up your morning cup-o-joe, ask Heather... she might have some suggestions for you. Can't complain about this view, this place is my slice of heaven.

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We did a 16 mile run up to the lighthouse then into town and back. The first 5 miles and last 5 miles are all rolling hills with the middle 6 being relatively flat along the water. Temperature wise we really lucked out, we did deal with some wind and humidity though. Reminder- even if the temperature is lower, you still need to hydrate. We both were reminded of this fact on Sunday. We followed the run up with an 'ice bath' in the lake, and of course refueled properly(well, our version of proper refueling).

Overall it was a really good week which left me even more excited for the next few weeks of training. I even used the words "excited" and "ready" in the same sentence as "hard 20 miler" when communicating with my coach. I'm so weird (not fancy).

For the first time in, well... a really long time, I feel like training and life are both headed in the same direction. Up. Get ready, this is gonna be good.

Vague blogging, for the win.

Monday, August 11, 2014

ROC Training: More Running Less Work

The last few weeks of training have been a roller coaster to say the least. Throughout it all though, I have continued adding 'bricks' regardless of everything else going on.

Last week I actually ran more miles than I worked, something that hasn't happened in a while. No I didn't run 70 miles this week, I just actually cut back on work hours and 'only' worked 50. Honestly, I wasn't sure what to do with myself but I knew that I needed a break. So I did what normal people do, went to the pool and laid in the sun for a while, got my hair cut, took naps, watched movies, and spent time with friends. Honestly, there were some things I should/could have done on my to-do list but chose not to. I actually have another 'light' work week this week so I will try and be more productive with my time.

Last Weeks Breakdown--1 Workout, 1 Race, 1 Long Run & 3 'Easy' Runs = 51.8 miles

This week brought me over 500 miles run since starting training for Rochester in June. Aside from being the most miles put in for a training cycle before (with 6 weeks still left to go), there is a consistency in my running that has never been there before. I am also 400+ miles ahead of where I was at this point last year, I don't hate it.

My 'workout' this week was a long tempo/progression (1 mile warm-up, 9 progression, 1 mile cool-down). I managed to hit the paces pretty darn close (finished a few seconds faster) starting with a 7:07 and a 6:39 closing tempo mile. This was a big confidence booster, as I felt strong while pushing the pace but not overwhelmed. Let's see how I feel about that tempo being lengthened by another mile this week.
Because we all know if I try and remember what paces I am supposed to run- I'm going to forget before I get 3 steps in.
Saturday's race wasn't the race I wanted or what I am capable of, but I'm not letting this one eat away at me. We will chat about that a little later this week. I thoroughly enjoyed being pretty damn lazy the rest of the day after the race. Saturday off, "what is this magic?!".
Lazy day by the pool, I didn't hate it. Don't knock my dollar shades, yo.
On Sunday I completed my third 20 miler of this training cycle. I laughed a few times this weekend, when I realized I look forward to 20 milers much more than 5k's. Who have I become? Anyways, it was a 'time on feet' run which meant no pace plan and take it 'easy'. I ran the first 13 bouncing around between different friends as we took to the Oak Tree 1/2 course (dirt back roads, hills etc.) which helped pass the time. After that I convinced Ben to tack on a few more with me and then finished my last 3 solo. Oddly enough, even with the hills and heat(and no pace plan) this was almost identical speed to my last 20 a few weeks ago(which was much better weather, and less hilly). Apparently not being a raging bitch and keeping your heart rate down helps you run better, who knew.  Then again, my fastest 20 miler (not in a race) was done the morning after a Whiskey/Red Wine bender so I guess there aren't exactly rules for running best 20.

Overall I am feeling more confident with training, and ready for the next 6 weeks. My focus has remained strong and has only gotten better thanks to my kick ass support team who I feel are with me every step. Holy crap, 41 days.

As for this week, more miles more workouts and...more time off. WHAT? Yes, another true 'weekend' coming up. Really excited to get away for the weekend and get a run in with Heather. Girl time at the cabin, swimming, bonfire, beer, food, running, beer, Swedish Fish, beer. Yeah, all that and more. I'm pretty sure it will be an incredibly therapeutic weekend up on the lake.


20 Milers- Love or Hate?

What do you do when you get time off of work? 
Be productive or Lazy?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Brick by Brick

This isn't the post I had originally planned for today. I had planned on recapping the two races that I did in July, which happened to be the worst 5k I had run in 3 years and the worst 10k in 3 years. I've avoided talking about them much because honestly I hadn't accepted them. While I haven't accepted them yet, I have realized that some things you shouldn't accept.

You shouldn't accept failures, because they don't define you- and you can use them as fuel to get better.

You shouldn't accept success, because if you become 'content' you'll stop pushing and challenging yourself and then what is the freaking point?

What's that quote? Never let failure go to your heart, and never let success go to your head.

You shouldn't accept people taking you for granted. You are worth something, your efforts matter and if people don't notice and appreciate...they do NOT deserve to be a part of your life.

You shouldn't accept that "bad things happen" it's part of life but sometimes those things can be prevented. Understanding that bad things happen is one thing, but accepting and not doing anything about it(when you can)- that has to stop.

You shouldn't accept constant negativity, each person in this world has enough going on that we don't need other people peeing in our cheerios.

You shouldn't accept people making you feel small, or useless or unimportant because you don't meet their standards. Fuck standards.

I could go on, and on about all the things that we shouldn't accept in this world. I could also point out that I have been guilty of each and every one, including doing some of these to others. Shame on me.


We shouldn't accept a lot of things, but we should use them...the good and the bad. They are all bricks. Now I'm not a mason, but I do know a good one so I'll  pretend that's me right now.

We build our lives brick by brick. Every lesson, every memory, every choice and decision we make- it all builds up to who we are and what we stand on. The people in our lives, yeah they are bricks too.

Not all bricks are created equal. Some are smaller and rough around the edges- for instance that test (or 5) that you failed in that college class..or those stupid drunk nights we'd like to forget...yeah that won't exactly wreck your home (maybe your GPA a bit). Then we've got some bigger bricks, jobs or friendships that held an important part in our lives but eventually faded. We've also got some gigantic bricks (again, not a mason)....that long term relationship (perhaps an engagement or even a marriage) that really takes up a piece of that structure we call life.

In terms of training all bricks are not created equal either. Those PR's and breakthrough bricks will be bigger than any crappy workout or race will ever be. Those hard days where you don't want to run but you do, those still add to the foundation.

All of these 'bricks' get put together in whatever way they fall, we don't always have control to move them around like tetris. As the lines pile up and full "rows" fall away it gives us room to fill the empty spaces and then move on to the next. The whole time, building a stronger and better foundation. Some of those bigger bricks (so technical, I know) take longer to 'fall away' but eventually you pile up enough on them that they too become just another piece of the foundation that drops out of sight.

Those bad races from July, sure they are still there and part of this training cycle. But so is the kick ass tempo run I did yesterday (where I most certainly beat that shitty 10k race time in a workout). Let the good fill the cracks and then move on. Each brick has purpose and each gives your life structure. You use the bad ones to step on while working your way to the good things.


Those friendships and relationships that didn't last? Those bad workouts or races? Those moments where you question if you'll find what you are looking for? Guess what, they helped you get where you are today. Learn from them, and use them to move forward without dwelling on them. Because you know what, tomorrow you'll add another brick to the pile and those other ones will be further from the top.

Maybe this makes no sense to anyone but myself, it wouldn't be the first time.

But right now, my 'mantra' is "brick by brick". I have some big things I need to build around(in life and training) so I can move forward, but each day I will do just that. Throw a brick on the stack and keep on going. Some days "brick by brick" is a tough pill to swallow because I just want to throw a million on at once to move on, and some days I want to take a sledgehammer and go all #beastmode on that damn wall knocking it all down.

My secondary mantra right now is 'get shit done', so there's that. Some days 'get shit done' is as small as getting out of bed when I'd rather just sleep, or doing a workout regardless of how I feel. Other days 'get shit done' means accomplish a ton of things today, so tomorrow's 'get shit done' can be to relax on my one day off.

So go build a wall, or knock one down and start all over. Whatever you do, don't accept...don't settle...and don't forget that eventually the older bricks will fall away making room for new and improved ones.

I wouldn't even know what questions to ask following this mindless masonry and tetris blerb.

Thoughts?

Let's all be thankful I'm not a mason, and be surprised to know I'm actually good at tetris.

Monday, August 4, 2014

ROC Training: The Turning Point

For each marathon I have trained for, I can look back and put my finger on a week and say 'that was the turning point'.  The point where everything changed, maybe little things and maybe something big. But all of the sudden I look around and things are different. Mentally and physically I have a ways to go before feeling like myself again, but there is a plan in place at this point and I have to trust it...and I do.

This week was full of good and bad, but choosing to focus more on the good (with help from friends) really got me through and helped in many ways. I can sit here and complain about how Wednesday was uber stressful (thank goodness for AAA) or that Thursday nights 10k left me defeated and frustrated, or I can look at all the good things that happened.

Tuesday I did a track workout, while it didn't feel amazing...I was consistently hitting paces that I certainly couldn't have a year or 2 ago. Progress.

Saturday I had a 'rest' day, and didn't feel bad about it...not one bit. I worked during the day and spent the evening with friends, had a beer watched a band play and went to bed relatively early (for a Saturday) so I could run in the morning (and no I don't feel guilty about this).

Sunday's 'Long run' was a progression 14 miler with the last 4 at 7:06,7:07,6:55,6:48. Those last 4 miles felt better than just about any other ones from the entire week, I started to feel like me again.

I enjoyed a lot of things about this week, I liked being told what to do and not stressing about 'figuring it out'. I enjoyed taking some runs easier, I enjoyed getting feed back regarding my running and having accountability that I have been 'lacking' with my training. I've been working hard the last few months, no doubt about that. It's time to really work smarter though, and the next 48 days are going to be work but I am ready for it.

While it wasn't a huge week training wise (41 miles), it was an important week for me. A fresh start with a new coach, and a new perspective on things. Turning point week, it always happens just not always at the same time. 7 weeks until race day, BRING.IT.ON.

As for this coming week,  I'm looking forward to continuing to work on feeling 'like me' but also trying new things with training. I WILL be racing this week. Bergen Road Race has been on my calendar all year, this will be my fourth year running it. Last year I ran my 5k PR there, I don't have any set goal in mind (right now) for the race, other than to find the fierce racing mentality that I used to have {but has been hiding lately}.

How has training been going for you?

Racing 'Funks'...have you been in one? How did you get out?
I feel like my training funk is going away but this racing one needs to leave, NOW.


Friday, August 1, 2014

5 Things to Start August

Five quick things to start the weekend/month off for you...

1. I can't begin to tell you how ready and excited I am for August. Fresh month, fresh start. I spent most of July feeling like I was in a rut {physically and emotionally}, and lord am I ready to put that behind me. I think a lot of 'life' caught up to me in June and July and it's time to start moving forward.

2. June and July were awesome training months, relatively higher consistent miles{224,225}. I'm really proud of the hard work I have been putting in but I am also ready to start changing things up a little bit and finding more of a balance on the Quality vs. quantity thing. I've always been Quality over quantity but I really want to try and find more of a balance, as I know that adding some of those miles the last few months really did help.

3. On the racing front, July.... not so awesome {Yes, I am considering the obvious correlation to the above mentioned training}. I've decided that the 2 {awful} races from this month shall be like "He-who-must-not-be-named" we just don't speak of it. Actually I will speak of them in a combined post at some point titled "How to run your worst 5k/10k times in years!"... Half Kidding...I'll come up with a better title.

4. I have a lot more things to look forward to in the coming months, and I think that will really help. I was serious the other day when I said I am really trying to have more of a life outside of running/working. While yes most of my friends fall into one or both of those categories, we are capable of other things as well. I think a part of me didn't WANT to be social for a while, understandable considering how this year has gone so far. But I also know that opening up and allowing myself to be 'out there' again isn't a bad thing.

5. I hired a coach. This is something I have gone back and forth about for a while now but finally decided it was time. I'm excited to be working with someone who has experience and can really help me, while taking into account my own experiences and training preferences. This is only the first week so I really can't say a ton about it all yet, once I get a better grasp on it all I will open up a bit more on things (reasons behind hiring, goals, plans, etc.)

I know I am not the only one ready for a fresh month, believe me I wasn't alone in that dream I had last night. You know the one where the month of July was burning in a bonfire while I drank whiskey and danced around it? Yeah, that dream. Anyways, tell me why you were celebrating with me last night....?

Tell me 5 random things, or 3...or one...



Bueller....Bueller...


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

ROC Training: Working My Way Back

This past week was all about changing things up and forcing myself out of this godforsaken rut I've been in. At the end of the day, while people can support you...you have to be the one to pick yourself up. So I grabbed my boot straps and did just that this past week. While I am not out of this thing yet, I am much closer than I was before.

Monday: 30 Minutes on Octane Cross Trainer, 40 Minutes of Core/Hips/Stretching & Rolling

Tuesday: 7.5 Hot easy night miles (still 85+ at almost 8 pm!) (7:58 pace)

Wednesday: Post work Track session, 10.25 miles total (4.25 of 'work')
[Warm-up, form/cadence drills on turf, workout, barefoot turf strides, cool down]
20 minutes core/stretch/roll at gym after

Thursday: 10 Miles between jobs on the canal path (7:41 pace) 

Friday: 5.15 Miles between jobs (7:48 pace) 
[Ran to the track, did form/cadence drills on turf, run a few easy laps and then ran home]

Saturday: 20.4 Mile Long run (14 of the miles on the actual marathon course) (8:03 pace)

Sunday: OFF

Total Running Miles: 53.3
ROC Training Miles: 413.3

I tried to mix things up a bit this week, and keep my body guessing what was coming and doing anything to keep my mind from getting 'bored'. Wednesday's track workout was such a mishmash of intervals but I loved it. Some intervals were at 5k pace, then threw in a random tempo paced mile, and then back down to 5k paced intervals. I really just needed to change things up and switching gears back and forth felt really good for my mind and my legs. I also extended my cool-down a bit on the track because the softer surface felt amazing. I need to try and get some softer surface runs in more often, my cranky calf really liked it.
View of Rochester from the top of Cobb's Hill...The start and finish point of Saturday's 20 miler
Thursday and Saturday were mental runs more than anything. We all know I love negative splits, it's my natural progression and I don't even have to think about it. I turned auto-pilot off this week, I forced some incredibly consistent runs. Thursday's 10 miler was a 5 mile out/back and I made my goal to run each half in as close of a time as I could. I ended up with 38:40/38:18, not too shabby for a girl who typically can't be consistent to save her life. Saturday's 20 miler was another consistent run, with each mile being in ~10 second range. I tell you what, those runs took some serious self control....mentally challenging more than anything.

Sunday was a complete 'rest day', although I feel like I can count putting on a bridal shower as workout. Lord, that was a long day but was so glad to be able to be there and help put on an important event for a good friend. Did I have moments of being a tad emotional...absolutely. But I am thrilled for my friend and cannot wait for her wedding come September. It happens to be the weekend after the marathon, which means I will probably celebrate even harder. Just a guess.
Love this girl, Sunday was perfect day for her Bridal Shower

I've also been working on 'the little things' trying to help myself...
1. Using my TENS machine in conjunction with a heating pad. This has made my calves feel a ton better after workouts, and I have also been using it on other areas as well. Everything is connected so just because one area is a bother doesn't mean that is the only thing to treat. In my head I'm singing the skeleton song they teach kids...the_____ connected to the __________. Well as runners we have to remember this too, it's all connected therefore if one thing isn't working properly...well you get the idea.

2. Ice baths, while this isn't new at all for me (I love them, I know I know...weird) I made sure to get in one quickly on Saturday after my 20 miler (and then followed it up with the TENS machine and heating pad)

3. Shoe rotation. This is something relatively newer for ME. The last few months I have rotated in some other shoes (Mirage, and Ride most notably) and having more supportive shoes on some days has really helped my recovery (and helps prolong the life of each pair of shoes). If you are interested in my current rotation just let me know, lord knows I can talk about running shoes for days :)

4. Taking time for non-running things. I'm filing this with these above things, because it is just as important for your health and running sanity. I've been taking time to unwind more, read a book, spend time with friends, meeting new people etc. I work a lot (understatement), add in training...and I don't have a lot of free time. So making the most of it is really important to me and I am trying to be better about it.

Overall, I'm on the upswing with things and very happy about it. I'm actively working on improving my quality of life instead of just letting things 'be' so to speak. I'm done saying 'it is what it is' about things that I can actually change. Some things deserve that phrase, but I have said it way too many times in the last 6 months about things that I absolutely have the power to do something about.


How many different types of shoes do you have in rotation? 

 What's been going on OUTSIDE of running lately?

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