Monday, April 21, 2014

Marathon Monday: Boston 2014 and Planning For My Biggest Race of the Season

I hope you all got to see at least part of today’s Boston Marathon because, boy, was it a thrill!  I luckily had the chance to watch both the elite women’s and men’s finishes, including Meb Keflezighi’s record making victory.  Can you believe an American man hasn’t won Boston since 1983?  A big hurrah! to Meb for ending that drought.  Also, can you believe that Meb’s winning marathon time was faster than my fastest half?  Oy.

In case you missed it, here’s the highlight reel of Meb’s run:

In reading up on all things Boston before today’s big race, I came upon an oh-so-appropriate article from Runner’s World about how to BQ (no, I’m not planning on running a sub 3:35 marathon anytime soon—although I loved it today when my coworker asked me if I would ever run Boston.  Bless your heart for thinking I could!).  There are some super helpful hints for all aspiring marathoners, and I know I’ll be referring to this list again as my training picks up in the summer.

Sooooooooooo, all this Boston awesomeness has me seriously contemplating my May 4 10-miler.  I really really really want to go for a sub 1:30:00 finish.  That would mean shaving 9.5 minutes off of last year’s time.  

That’s quite ambitious, but I’m so close to that milestone that I see it, smell it and taste it every day.
With so little time left for training, what will get me to that point?

Sleep—No more late nights binge-watching Pretty Little Liars (FYI, Season 4 is not yet available on DVD, and I refuse to pay for individual episodes on Amazon or iTunes, so I’m SOL on that front anyway).  It’s all about clocking those Zzzs.  

Hydration—I’ll be chugging water and tea leading up to my race.  This is also the time to cut out things like soda and alcohol (not too big of an issue for me).

Stretching—I’m talking yoga, foam rolling and good ole fashioned stretches.  My IT Bands have been tight for the past several weeks, but I would love to ditch my injury-soothing straps for race day.

Vitamins—Basically everybody in my office has been sick recently.  I need to ward off all manner of germs.

Rest—This is more than just sleep.  I won’t push myself crazy hard in my workouts (so if my shoulder’s hurting, that means I’m laying off the weights).  I also will try to incorporate massage, meditation and quiet periods into each day.

A Killer Outfit—I’m still planning this one, but I’m pretty sure the pants are going to look like this:

Juicy Couture Sport Cropped Leggings in Leopard

What do you do in the weeks leading up to a race?  What has helped you to set a PR?

~Tomato Face

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Week in Review: April 14-20, 2014

Happy Easter!

I don’t know about you, but I am TIRED after this week.  Even though my race last Sunday was relatively short, I am still winded from running faster than normal.  Thankfully, after a long Lenten season, I finally have Doritos and Dunkin’ Donuts back in my life.  That helps with the fatigue!
Because my body and mind were zonked, I took several (unplanned) rest days:

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: Stair climbing, 33 flights up and down (!)—20 minutes

+ Yoga for Runners—36 minutes

Wednesday: Rest Day

*I was supposed to do both upper and lower body workouts from the Butt Bible, but since my neck and right shoulder were/are still giving me trouble, I didn’t want to aggravate anything by using weights.  Best to save the dumbbells for after Broad Street!

Thursday: Running, easy/no stopping, 5.36 miles @ 9:22 average pace—50 minutes

Getting fatigued during a run—any run—is one of my biggest problems.  I have never had a race that I was able to run straight through, and my training runs with no stopping are also rare.  I definitely want to boost my endurance, and this run was a good start!

Friday: Rest Day

I didn’t have any formal exercise on this day, but I did a TON of walking—more than 18,000 steps!  That pales in comparison to Thursday (33,636) and Saturday (27,094), however.

Saturday: Running, tempo, 5.24 miles @ 9:17 average pace—48:36 minutes

Very interesting how I averaged the same pace over my easy/no stopping and tempo runs.  The difference—during my easy workout, I kept the pace consistent and measured.  In the tempo, I went all out (average running pace just over 8:00 minutes/mile) but became very tired very fast and thus had to take several walk breaks.  It would be nice to marry these two so that I am running consistent fast splits with very few walk breaks!!!

Sunday: Running, long, 10.03 miles @ 9:40 average pace—1:37:04 hours

On this run, I tried yet another strategy: scheduled run/walk intervals of 7:00/2:00.  While this structure kept me from hitting the wall, I’m not 100% confident in it as a race plan.  I know that I could adjust the intervals for race day (maybe 7:30/1:30?), but some of my best races (in terms of PRs) have seen me go all out the first few miles, reign it in with walk breaks in the middle, and go back to relative speed at the close.  Then again, I know I lost my drive in the last few miles of Broad Street 2013, so this might be a good way of preventing a repeat of that.  And, in good news, this training run was faster than last year’s BSR PR of 1:39:10!

+ Yoga for Runners—36 minutes *planned

Don’t worry, I don’t intend on skipping this session.  I sorely need it.  Haha, get it?  Yeah, I’m lame.

Did you do anything fun for the holiday?

~Tomato Face

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hershey 10k 2014 Recap

How sweet it is…to not only PR, but to best a PR from just two weeks ago (what what) and to PR in my hometown where I previously couldn’t even run the mile when forced.

First things first.

The Hershey 10k fell perfectly in the middle of my spring race schedule.  After a chilly start with February’s Cupid’s Chase 5k, I gradually eased into higher mileage with March’s Back on My Feet 5 Miler and this past weekend’s 10k.  Spot-on training for May’s Broad Street 10 Miler, dontcha think?  To make things even better, a portion of the proceeds from the event support various local charities, including the Ronald McDonald House of Central PA.

I absolutely loved last year’s 10k, so I knew I would be in for a good race experience this time around.

Packet pickup was super simple (in and out at the Hersheypark Stadium—couldn’t have taken more than 2 minutes), and of course, the fam and I had to pregame:


On race morning, I was a bit of a slacker and slept later than last year… my 5:30 wakeup call was certainly kinder to my body, but not to my nerves.  I was anxious about getting to the start on time!
Thankfully, I had nothing to worry about, as I had time for a warmup stroll, potty break and ceremonial discarding of my hideous pre-race cover-ups.

Sans outerwear and ready to run!

Soon enough the gun signaled the race start…

I tried to situate myself in the middle of the pack, but, unfortunately, the majority of participants seemed to be arranged in reverse pace order—the slowest runners/walkers were blocking their quicker counterparts!  I’m 100% for runners of all skill levels entering races (hey, it wasn’t too long ago that I finished in the back of the pack), but man, did I have a bear of a time in the first 1.5 miles trying to maneuver around throngs of newbies.  The 10k did not have start corrals, so no wonder it was slow goings at first.

By mile 2, I was in the front half of runners.  The weather was beautiful (nowhere near the hot disaster I had anticipated, although it was mega humid), the scenery was gorgeous, and I was feeling strong.

That strong feeling didn’t last too long—I had to start taking walk breaks after mile 2.5 (are we sensing a theme here?).  I’m a wimp, I know.

I tried to keep those breaks as short as possible, and to compensate, I jacked up my running intervals into a higher gear.

The race (literally) flew by, and before I knew it, I was in the final 1.5 miles through Hersheypark grounds.

Because it’s Hershey, there were several hills in the last stretch, but I tried my best to sprint to the finish…

Tomato Face in mid-flight!

It was a fabulous run, and I walked (walked, not limped—always a yay!) away with a PR: 8:51 minutes/mile pace for a total time of 54:53.  What’s more, I finished in the top 30% overall, top 25% of my age group, and top 20% of females.  Woot woot!!!!  

My entire body was in rough shape prior to the race, so despite enjoying a smooth 6.2 miles on the big day, I was all aches and pains afterwards.  My neck is a little jacked up (not running related, as far as I know), so I have to be cautious during my training runs leading up to Broad Street.  And those lovely IT Bands have been acting up for a while; I’m crossing my fingers that I’m able to wean myself off my straps prior to Broad Street.

Course: A
Packet Pickup: A
Post-Race Experience: B
Event Organization: A
Overall: A

This one was a winner!  Here’s to May 2 being as good a run!

~Tomato Face