Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tunes Tuesday: Marathon Training Halfway Point Playlist

Nothing motivates me more during my training than an updated music playlist (okay, maybe I lie: doughnuts, bagels and ice cream certainly play a big role in keeping me inspired).

I love listening to my favorite songs on repeat, but every so often, I need a fresh dose of tunes to put the pep back in my step.

Lately my iPod has been stuck in 2009 and 2010 (reliving my college glory days, I guess), so I turned to the basic girl’s best friend/music snob’s worst enemy, the Now That’s What I Call Music! compilation.

What others might call Top 40 trash, I call pure running gold.  Listen, I know Pitbull et al are completely derivative, but when my knees are aching and my lungs are ready to burst, I don’t need complex rhymes and sophisticated chord progressions.

I want mind-numbing, head banging, eye rolling treasures like these lyrics:

“Wooooah (timber), wooooah (timber), wooooah (it’s going down)
Wooooah (timber), wooooah (timber), wooooah (it’s going down).”

And yes, when I wander into Trader Joe’s post-run and a friendly intellectual-looking customer asks me “what are you listening to?” I will have to shamefully admit “um, Miley.”

The shame is worth it.

~Tomato Face

Monday, September 29, 2014

Marathon Monday: 2014 Fall Marathon Training Week 10

Yes, I’ve basically fallen off this blog other than to report on my weekly training, but guess what?  All of that is about to change this week, so get excited for lots of new posts!  But of course, I must rehash all of my recent workouts because running at this point consumes most of my non-working waking hours.

Monday: Rest day

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Tuesday:  running, hills, 4.01 miles @ 9:32 minute mile pace—38 minutes
+ Yoga for Runners—36 minutes

Don’t ask me how I managed to scooch under 10 minute mile pace for a hills run.  It may have been the weather (it was most likely the weather: 68 degrees, pre-sunset, humidity 46%, winds 6 mph) or it may have been me getting stronger now that I’ve been doing this whole marathon prep thing for what seems like FOREVER.

FOREVER, also coincidentally the not-as-interesting-as-I-had-hoped fall crime drama starring my childhood crush Ioan Gruffudd:

Wednesday:  running, race pace(ish), 8.01 miles @ 9:03 minute mile pace—1:12:29 hours
Sigh.  My race pace runs never quite hit my goal times.  But I gotta save some juice for the real races, right?  That’s how I’ll justify it.

Even though my times were slower than I intended, I felt super strong through all eight miles.  I almost didn’t run this night because of the threat of impending storms, but it ended up being the perfect kind of gloom for speed running.  I also wore my water belt for the second (real) time ever.  Although I felt comfortable during my run, for two days afterwards the side muscles in my back were incredibly sore to the touch.  Plus water sloshed all over my shirt for the first few miles when the bottles were close to full.  Somehow I don’t think I’ll be wearing the water belt for the marathon.

Thursday:  Rest day

It seems to be a trend, doesn’t it, that I always add in at least an extra rest day to my calendar?  I’m trusting it’s my intuition protecting my body from exhaustion, or it could be that I will always be a sedentary creature (although my Fitbit, even on non-running days, disagrees).

Friday:  running, easy, 4.14 miles @ 9:30 minute mile pace—39 minutes

If only every run could be at easy pace.  Delightful.

Saturday:  Butt Bible, lower body, Level 2 with 3 lb. weights—30 minutes

I will always sing the praises of this exercise DVD.  Days later, I am still sore (how there are muscles I am not using on a regular basis with my running and walking, I don’t know).

Sunday:  running, long, 17.01 miles @ 9:57 minutes mile pace—2:49:20 hours
+ Yoga for Runners—36 minutes

Ah yeah!!!  That’s what I’m talking about!

I ran my longest distance to date: 17 miles.  I even outpaced my usual pacer, which made me all kinds of giddy.  It was ghastly hot and humid and sunny during this run (unseasonably so) but I somehow survived.

The takeaways?

I love shade.

No, really.  It’s the best thing ever.

Or maybe the water fountain in East Falls is the best thing ever.

Let’s call it a tie.

I also really love my dorky-but-awesome running fanny pack that I recently picked up at Marshalls.  It fit multiple gels and some Clif Shot Blocks, and I experienced zero bounce or chafing.

About those gels: disgusting.  Horrendous.  What tasted fine as a small sample (GU Vanilla Bean) was absolutely vomit-inducing mid-run.  I will NOT be using this during the marathon.

About the Shot Bloks: so much more my style.  I’m already used to gummies thanks to my Scooby Doo fruit snacks, and these were like a more pumped-up version.  The citrus flavor was actually very refreshing, although it did have me craving Sprite (kind of annoying when you are miles away from a store).

How serendipitous that my run group (the “official” training program of the marathon) gave out sample packs from Clif after said run.  I was thinking I needed to buy more Bloks before the race, but they are expensive ($2-$2.50).  Yay for free samples, especially of something you like (I probably would have chucked any GU gels).

I'll give Clif's gel a try, but I'm not too hopeful.

This week I attempt 18 miles on the long run, and I hit my highest weekly mileage (36 planned) of this training cycle.  Here’s to another good week!

~Tomato Face

Monday, September 22, 2014

Marathon Monday: 2014 Fall Marathon Training Week 9

What a roller coaster week 9 was!  On the non-running front, I was dealt a fairly devastating blow that reverberated throughout my training.  Turns out that stress, anger and disappointment carry into my running (who knew?).

Despite the personal setbacks, I’m proud that I have made it through the first half of my training program.  I would say the hard part is over, but that would be a total lie (because, duh, the 16/18/20 milers are still ahead of me).

Monday:  Yoga for Runners—36 minutes

Usually I save Mondays for complete relaxation (except for the whole grocery shopping/housecleaning/prepping for the work week angle), but since I skipped out on yoga on Sunday due to travel, I had to make up for it.  I’m at the stage in my marathon training where I HAVE to stretch religiously.  My muscles take top priority!

Tuesday:  Running, easy, 4.02 miles @ 10:00 minute mile pace—40:10 minutes

After two hard runs in the previous week, this relaxed jaunt felt incredible.  I was perfectly content to just meander along.  If only all runs could be this lovely!

Wednesday:  Running, attempted race pace, 7.01 miles @ 9:07 minute mile pace—1:03:49 hours

What a difference a day makes.  On Tuesday I was running on rainbows and sunshine, and on Wednesday I was running on sheer frustration.  My blustery mood helped me to stick close to my race pace (although I still was slower overall than I wanted to be).  I didn’t eat well at all during week 9, and I think it started to catch up with me on this day.  Still, rage can propel you quite a bit.

Thursday:  Rest day

Instead of working out, I went to Philadelphia Runner’s Distance Night.  Store staff set up rotating clinics that focused on nutrition, injury prevention, setting a PR and technology.  I got to sample almost every GU flavor known to man (the winners: vanilla bean and salted caramel), and I also picked up some helpful tips for how to maximize my foam roller.

Friday:  Butt Bible Level 1 upper body with 3 lb. weights

Saturday:  Running, fartlek, 4.01 miles @ 9:46 minute mile pace—39:12 minutes

Ouch, this was not great.  I felt off this whole run. 

Sunday:  Running, long, 13.12 miles @ 10:17 minute mile pace—2:14:54 hours

If you can’t pay their $150 race fee, spectate!

Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia hit the city streets over the weekend (Philly was one of the first host cities for their new “running festival”).  I’m very anti-Competitor Group after a negative experience at last year’s race, but many of my group run peeps and Olympians Deena Kastor and Kara Goucher were running in the half, so I HAD TO WATCH!  

It was fun cheering on so many of the athletes, and I even saw history in action as Deena set a world master’s record.

Please excuse my annoying “woo-ing” in the background:

After a solid hour of spectating, I had to hit the pavement for my own long run.  I covered the half marathon distance as part of training, and since my usual route was reserved for Rock ‘n’ Roll, I ventured down to the city’s other river (that would be the Delaware, for non-Philly folk).  It was blissfully overcast during my entire run, but I still struggled.  

This week I really need to focus on getting more solid sleep and nutrition, and I also need to zen out.
Where are you in your fall race training?  How do you recover from stress?  What’s your favorite GU flavor?  How fast does this thing go? Does it have automatic transmission? Does it have four-wheel drive?

~Tomato Face