Sunday, November 29, 2015

Eat/drink 5000 cal/day --> succeed at marathon training

Posted by Rachel

Well, marathon training week 2 was MUCH better than week 1. It probably helped a lot that I only had a 3 day work week and I ate and/or drank nonstop. I haven't trained in November/December since 2012, but I have to say it's not too bad so far. It turns out it's possible to have a "fat drunk November" at the same time that you are marathon training; previously, I skipped the marathon training part.

Week 1 I died in pretty much every workout, but this week I had 5 good runs for 41 miles total. The first hard workout was a Tuesday track workout: 2000 tempo/200 easy/1600 tempo/200 easy/1200 tempo/200 easy/1000 tempo/200 easy/600 tempo. Before we started I dubbed this the "ladder of misery", but it ended up not being too bad. For the first few intervals the tempo pace doesn't feel that hard (I was running ~ 6:45), then once it starts getting hard the interval gets short. Then on Thanksgiving I had a solid 8-miler with 4 @ "marathon pace". MP is in quotes because it was actually about 15 sec faster than my goal marathon pace, but it felt relaxed and I don't mind training with a buffer. We were at my aunt & uncle's house near Santa Cruz, meaning I got to run on the beach and this view during stretching wasn't bad :)

Obviously, the rest of the day was spent eating and drinking. A lot.

Friday was an easy run through the Forest of Nisene Marks. On Saturday, I took a rest day and spent time with the family in SF eating and drinking even more. 

Then today I did my first fast finish long run. It was a 16 miler with target 8 miles @ 9:00 pace and 8 miles @ 8:00 pace. My legs felt good (probably from the rest day Saturday) and I ended up with the first half @ 8:41 and second half @ 7:43. I felt strong the whole time, which I attribute to having an infinite bank of calories within my body from the day before.

We rounded out the week by decorating our place for Christmas. I'm on travel for work next week and I don't anticipate really training, so maybe I'll check back here again in week 4. Happy holidays!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

I unintentionally started marathon training this week, and other tales

Posted by Rachel

Today marks 12 weeks out from the LA Marathon. My plan was to begin a 12-week training plan tomorrow, but then this week I found out that I'm going to Switzerland for work the first week of December. This effectively eliminates a week of marathon training, so here I am on Wednesday of this week trying to figure out what to do. Realizing that I had already done a couple of quality runs in the week, I decided what the hell...this can be week 1!

I thought my fitness was doing alright, given the Ironman we did 4 months ago and the surprisingly good half last month, but week 1 of marathon training was a rude awakening. It kicked my ass, all 39 miles of it (and yes, I know that's not even that many miles compared to many plans). I would love to blame my cold but I'm pretty sure it's my shoddy fitness. To top it off, here are some things that went wrong:

1.) I body glided the wrong part of my inner thigh for my 14 mile "long" run yesterday (seriously? how do you miss?). Tons of chafing - ouch.
2.) I somehow lost a toenail already. WTF?
3.) Major stomach issues after my run Thursday and my Saturday. Macy's is not where you want to be when having stomach issues post-long run.

Granted, none of those things are that bad, but I feel like I have a long road ahead (in a short time) if I really want to PR in LA. This week a February PR felt like an impossibility, so but hopefully things start looking up as I get back into marathon shape (if that ever happens).

I haven't said much about my training plan, which is a hybrid of many things I read on the internet specifically designed for a sub-3:30 marathon. The main difference between what I'm doing this time versus previous plans is my use of the long run. Usually in the past, I just ran my long run at "whatever" pace. This time, I've designed my long runs to have a "purpose" based on this Asics plan:

The 3 types of long runs are:
1.) Target 8:30 pace. This is pretty much the standard/straightforward long run.
2.) Easy long run 9:00 pace. I'm going to reserve these for weeks where I have a long/hard tempo run on Thursday, or when I want to add some hills into the LR.
3.) Half the run @ easy 9:00 pace, half the run @ 8:00 (marathon pace). These are going to hurt, but I think they'll help build confidence.

I'll check in sometime soon on marathon training progress (or lack thereof).

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Healdsburg half marathon 2015 race report (*see alternate titles)

Posted by Rachel

*alternate titles
Replacing some run training with wine drinking improves performance (n = 1)
I run faster when I don't care about my time
Taking tequila shots within 36 hours of race time is a good idea
Doing a tempo run hungover makes that pace seem a lot easier on race day
Good thing I did those two hilly runs
Ironman fitness lasts a long time

So there was a half marathon this weekend, but easily the best part of the weekend was the fact that two awesome friends (and former training buddies) came into town for the race and the whole group of us got to stay together at an amazing house in wine country.

Wait a minute... where is my wine glass?

The view was alright :)

Truth be told, I didn't have any hard goals and wanted to have fun with this one. I felt I had undertrained, especially compared to last year when I ran a 1:36, so if anything I was hoping to come in at a time that gave me a glimpse of hope that I might be able to break 3:30 at LA in Feb if I actually start training for it. I think this means I would have been happy with anything sub-1:40.

Fast forward to race morning, we could tell the weather was going to be awesome (and it was). Last year when I ran this course I charged the hill in the first mile WAY too hard and felt I suffered the rest of the race, so this year I ran much more relaxed and hit the first mile about 15 sec slower than last year. After 2 downhill miles, the next 5-6 miles are rolling and my plan was to try to keep a 7:30ish pace if it felt ok. When I let myself run by feel, I noticed that I was hitting a consistent 7:20. Sometime in mile 5, I thought to myself "I have no business running this fast based on my training, and if I keep doing it I will probably blow up. Oh well, let's just see what disaster happens if I don't back off." By the time I got to the hill at mile 10 I hadn't died yet, and I could tell I was somehow feeling way better than I had at this spot last year. Even though this was shocking, I figured I might as well take advantage of it. I ran the hill comfortably, and then mile 11 is net downhill and I clocked a 7:06. It seemed so miraculous to me that my legs still felt good, so I thought to myself "I wonder if I can run a 7:00 pace for miles 12 and 13." I kept trying to do math and I thought that 2 x 7:00 miles might get me to a PR, although I wasn't sure how much "extra Garmin distance" I had accumulated at that point so it was hard to tell exactly. By the time I hit mile 11.5 I realized that 7:00/mile pace is really hard (duh), but I figured the race is supposed to be hard and and I hadn't come anywhere near the struggle I had at points in the IM yet (thank you, 13 hour race). So I just kept pushing to the end. One detail I forgot from last year is that the finishing chute is deceptively long (almost 1/4 mile) and I had started cranking as soon as I could see it. Although sprinting at this point was really starting to get painful, I knew I only had a minute or so left and I somehow came across the line in a 1:35:37, a 59 second PR from last year!

This is what over-striding (because you started sprinting way too early) your way to an unexpected PR looks like! Thanks to Lois for the picture!

Travers had a huge PR!

(split 14 - 0.19 mi)

Why couldn't I execute like this last year?

Everyone on the team did so awesome, and we were all able to enjoy the wine festival afterward. And as an added bonus, team Running for the Win(e) got 2nd place, and more importantly, 6 bottles of (almost) victory wine!

Yeah team!!

Afterward we stayed in, continued the wine drinking that we began at 9:30 am that day, cooked awesome food, and enjoyed the views!

The next day wasn't so great weather-wise, but I was ok with that because (1) we didn't have to run, and (2) we need water. Even in crap weather, Healdsburg still has a certain charm.

Next up: in 3 weeks, I'll begin a 12 week training plan for the LA Marathon. More on that later!