Sunday, March 15, 2015

What it takes (part 2) and March Madness semi-recap.

I'm not gonna lie. That list I posted about "What it takes".... that has become increasingly more difficult to stick to as of late.

So when today's race didn't go quite as planned, despite being disappointed, I got over it. I know I am in the best (running) shape of my life right now. My coach just ran a 1:17 at the Get Lucky 1/2 marathon--a flat, fast course in the city. We are always neck-and-neck in our workouts, so I am confident that I am in 1:17 shape, which makes me believe I am on my way to 2:42 shape. (check out my March Madness recap here.

I am not writing this blog to complain about my race (Ryan, Coach Jen and Coach Dave already had the luxury of hearing me do that;)), but rather to re-evaluate my "What it takes" and add in more accountability. I have had the fortune of having people (who I know and who I don't formally know) tell me that they read my blog, so by writing this down, it holds me accountable.

If I say I am not going to indulge in cookies/candy from now until U of I, I absolutely expect (and appreciate) someone to call me out if they see a bag of gummy bears in my hand. I truly believe accountability is HUGE for anyone trying to reach a goal of any kind.

I tell my students that I don't email them and their parents when I am missing work from them to get them in trouble, but rather that I do it to hold them accountable. Being someone who is reliable (aka holds themselves accountable) will get you far in life. People appreciate that stuff. So, without further adieu, let's re-evaluate my "What it takes" list...

What it Takes
2:42:xx, Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier

Proper training
  • ·      Follow training plan (duh)
    All good here. 
  • ·      Rest when exhausted to prevent injury/sickness
    No issues here. That Ester C stuff is gooooood...
  • ·      Roll out/Roll Recovery tool post run and bike
    <3 foam="" font="" roller="" that="">
  • ·      Strength/core is a priority to stay healthy
    Probably should do a little more core..
  • ·      Focus on form: relax shoulders, neck, arms
    Work in progress
  • ·      Run with Coach/group when possible
    All. The. Time.
  • ·      Confidence: the power of positive thinking
    Did not have this in today's race near the end...

Proper fueling
  • ·      Protein post big workouts—immediately!
    Pretty consistent with this...Thanks PowerBar!
  • ·      No stress eating!
    MAJOR WEAKNESS. Maybe I should try crying when I'm stressed instead?
  • ·      Drink 60oz or more of water daily
    Evidenced in my frequent bathroom trips anywhere I am...
  • ·      Practice portion control
    New Rule: no eating while working on things. That's when I find myself overeating because my mind isn't focused on "feeling full" but rather whatever else I am doing (grading, emailing, Facebook, etc)
  • ·      No snacking while working (avoid over consuming)
    See above
  • ·      Healthy snacks
    Portioning nuts as I type this right now...
  • ·      One “cheat” meal/snack per week. No exceptions!
    And still have it be healthy (aka dark chocolate, not cookie dough or gummy bears)

Proper recovery
  • ·      7.5 – 8.5 hours of sleep per night (quantity)
    I've been cheating my body. 7-7.5 hours is the norm. That's changing for these next 6 weeks. 6 weeks, that's all it is... I think I can, I think I can...
  • ·      Monitor REM through use of FitBit (quality)
    Yep, even when I don't like seeing 6:xx hours...
  • ·      Bed by 9pm (9:30 on Thursdays)
    GOOD NEWS: I dropped my Thursday night class so bed by 9 every night is now possible!!
  • ·      Foam roll at 8:45pm (9pm on Thursdays)
    I was not consistent in this. Going to now set TWO alarms to help fix this.
  • ·      Stop school work at 8:30pm to get in bed by 9pm
    I usually checked emails until 9pm for students. No more. It is not practical to always expect immediate feedback, so by stopping ALL school work at 8:30pm, I will also be teaching my students patience (right?!?!)
  • ·      No more “screen time” past 8:30pm
    This will help get my mind free of thoughts so I can fall asleep faster. Cell phone plugged in at 8:30, laptop shut at 8:30.

Proper maintenance
  • ·      Weekly massages
    Even got this in when in Boulder last week. Truly see the benefits of this.
  • ·      Iron supplementation
    Keeping OJ in stock now so that this will be a nightly occurrence. 
  • ·      Vitamins daily
    Easy peasy.
  • ·      Pedicures bi-monthly, toe maintenance weekly
    This will be a new blog post all together about proper maintenance... but basically no more pedicures for me.
  • ·      Compression post-workouts to reduce soreness
    All. The. Time. I wish I had a compression sponsor since I constantly do laundry to have this stuff clean and ready for use!
Bottom line here...doing the "little things" right will help me obtain BIG THINGS come April 25th. Now, if you'll excuse me, it's 8:30pm and I'm following my plan :)

March Madness Recap

I haven't really been able to wrap my head around why today just wasn't my "day," but for some reason, my race today didn't go as planned.

This is now my fourth year recapping the Cary March Madness 1/2 Marathon. It's an extremely special race to me as not only does my dad's running club (the Hillstriders) put it on, but it's also now a hometown race for me as I live 1.5 miles from the startline (but no, I do not run my warmup from my house to the start line... I prefer to just run the hills DURING the race;)).

I haven't really done a race since Ironman Cozumel, so it was really weird to be racing this weekend and not meeting Coach Dave to do a long run of some sort. I was lucky that Coach Dave actually was running a 1/2 (the Get Lucky 1/2, fast and flat, in the city) the day before, so I'd get to see kind of how I would do ahead of time. 

Dave and I always are right with each other in long run workouts and our pacing is so similar on mid-week workouts that he and I knew his results would indicate where I could put myself as finishing today. Based on his 1:17, I should be able to run a 1:20 on the March Madness course (keep in mind this is arguably the most challenging 1/2 marathon course in the state of Illinois). We talked on the phone last night after my bison and beer pre-race ritual and everything sounded great to me regarding my race plan.

I knew if I wanted to run a 1:20, I'd have to be around 39minutes at the halfway mark since the second half of the course is where the hills come to get you. I run many of my runs and workouts on the March Madness course, so I knew I could be at 39minutes halfway through if I just listened to my plan and my body.

The first five miles, I felt great. And then the pain train began to call my name. I'm not really sure why this happened, as I wasn't going too aerobic too early and 5:49s-6:05s really shouldn't have been causing my hips and quads to feel so tight so soon. 

One of my running friends came to me around mile 4 and encouraged me for a good mile, even motivating me with, "You beat me here the last two years, c'mon, come with me and let's attack this 1:20 time," but my legs just wouldn't respond. 

I pushed the flatter ground, but just could not get my legs to charge up the hills that I continuously run throughout the week. Even on my easy days, I push myself up the hills to reinforce that I need to do that during the race. Today, my legs and brain both seemed to agree that this "pushing up the hill" thing was just not going to happen.

Mile 9 is generally my fastest mile on the course. Every year, I break 6:00 on that mile, and this year I ran a 6:00, which again indicated to me that my legs just had not spark in them. We finally hit the wind head-on just before mile 10... that real big hill for all of you who've run the course. Between the wind and the hill, I ran my slowest mile by 13 seconds and knew my 1:20 goal was out the window. I hung on for dear life and told myself to just push through it, because I'd be sore the next day regardless of how fast I finish! 

Overall, I came away with a mixed bag of emotions. I was obviously happy to be the first overall female finisher (and proud of Ryan for being the first overall male finisher!), but I was disappointed my time was SO far off where I had thought it would be.

Ryan actually reminded me that in 2013, I ran this course in 1:22 and then six weeks later ran my current 1/2 PR of 1:18 at the U of I 1/2. So, if we take 4 minutes off of my 1:21 from today, that puts me at the 1:17 Coach Dave ran. 

Splits and recap..more for my benefit when I look back at this than anything, but feel free to see if you can pick out what hills caused what mile splits;)

6:06, 5:55, 5:49, 6:09, 6:05, 6:19, 6:26, 6:12, 6:00, 6:39, 6:29, 6:16, 6:14, 1:03... 1:21:49 for 13.19 miles, 6:11 pace.

More pictures to come once I get them, but figured I'd get a blog posted since it's been awhile ;)
That finish hurt...

 With my dad and Ryan post-finish.
Giuliano double win!

 Pre-race meal of champions right here.