Thinking Out Loud

It is Thursday already!! This week needs to slow it down. We have only two full days left of vacation. Thursday also means it’s time to think out loud and let it fly! 

Here’s what I’m thinking about:

We’ve had a great week at the beach so far. The weather has been beautiful and we’ve had a lot of fun. From playing bocci ball to walking out on the pier to mini golf, we’ve done it all! We’ve put together a half dozen puzzles this week too. Family fun!   

  I have so needed this week to regroup, refocus and settle myself down. I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and it’s been great to disconnect from back home for a while. I’ve also enjoyed using my solo runs to just think and put some things into perspective. I found a lot of much needed peace. Salt water is good for the soul! 🙂 

I’m pretty excited that marathon training starts next week. I tweaked our Gasparilla plan from February and we’re following a similar plan.  If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it. The plan we followed worked really well.  So we’ll be running back to back long runs. Chattanooga, here we come! 

What’s on your mind? What are you thinking about?

See what other people are thinking about too for Thinking Out Loud Thursday hosted by Running With Spoons.

Go be awesome! 🙂

blogsignature

Follow Runner Girl in a Rocking World

On my Facebook Page

On Twitter

On Instagram

Time Management While Race Training

It’s kind of appropriate that this week’s topic is about time management when essentially, I gave up making any kind of running schedule due to a trip to the beach with my daughter.  I didn’t want to be a crazy person worrying about getting a run in.  Don’t worry, I maintained my run streak and got at least one mile in. 🙂

For me, any time I decide to start picking back up training, it means that a certain time is spent having to plan out runs, make sure that I can juggle schedules, etc.  It doesn’t have to be stressful and hectic.  I’ll be entering my 7th marathon training in June and while it’s a bit easier for me to train through the summer (no work!), I just finished training for marathon and Gasparilla just a few weeks ago.

Here are some tips and things to consider when you make that decision to start training for a longer distance race:

1. Plan ahead as much as you can, but leave an “out” every week.

Every Sunday, I plan my week out.  I schedule my runs as if they are appointments.  Fitting them in through the week around meetings, work commitments, home, etc.  It’s like a giant puzzle.  Once they are written down, I do my best to keep them.  I leave myself a day or two each week which is my one mile “rest” day where in case things become disrupted, I switch my higher mileage days around.  So far, it’s worked out. weeklyplan

2. Find a training plan that fits your life the best it can

If you know that you can’t run 5 days a week, then don’t try to stick with a training plan that has that many days of running.  Look for plans that fit into what you may be already doing, though the miles might kick up on the long runs.  After having trained for 35+ half marathons now, I just make up my own plan.  I look at previous plans and try to match the weekly miles.  That leaves me some flexibility.  If you aren’t at that point yet, scour the internet for plans.  Hal Higdon, FURMAN First, Hanson, etc. all have plans sitting out there.

3. Make running dates with friends

I make plans to run with friends for 90% of my runs during the week.  I find that it helps me stick to my plan, keeps me motivated, and makes running social vs a chore.  We spend the time chatting and running, catching up with each other.  If you don’t have a big pool of runner friends, look for local running meetups.  A lot of the running stores offer a group run.  You may even find someone who is training too and can meet up for runs!mycrew

4. Share your goals with your family and friends

By now, Nick knows that when I start looking at races, that means training is starting.  He’s been amazingly supportive as I knew he would be, but I also make him part of the training and the decision.  Share your goals and training plans with your family and friends.  Once they see how important this is to you, they will be willing to help out and their support will go a long way!  Nothing worse than feeling any kind of guilt when you head out to run.  If everyone is in the know, then there is less room for resentment.  Non-running friends will know that you haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth; you are just doing something that is really important to you.

5. Plan ahead and prep

On days I know that I have meetings after school, I pack my running bag.  If there is any way that we get out earlier than 5pm, I’m running.  Mondays are my BodyPump days and I make sure I have my gym bag with me.  By planning and prepping ahead, it may help you sneak a run in when you might not have thought otherwise.  Several runners keep a full change of clothes and shoes in their cars at all times, just in case.

6. Be kind to yourself

There are going to be some times when life will throw a curveball at you and you miss a run.  It’s okay.  That’s why training plans are weeks and not days long.  Regroup, don’t let it set you back and try to fit in the miles somewhere else.  If you can’t, don’t sweat it!  One run missed will not make or break your training.  It won’t.  I promise.

7. Go for more!

During most of my marathon trainings, I’ve thrown in half marathons, 25K and 30K races.  Why?!  I’m running the miles already!  I might as well get a medal and a tee for finishing a long run!  It’s also a great way not to have to train again for one of those specific distances.  I don’t race them.  I run them at my training plan pace.  It’s also a great way to break up the long training and long runs.  It helps keep me motivated!

Any tips or advice that you can share about time management? Share them with me!

Looking for more running-related posts, check out Tuesdays on the Run by visiting Run the Great Wide Somewhere, MCM Mama Runs, and No Guilt Life. See what other runner’s are sharing!

Happy Week!

blogsignature

Follow Runner Girl in a Rocking World

On my Facebook Page

On Twitter

On Instagram

My Dirty Little Running Secret

I have to come clean.  I have to share something with you all that I’ve been hiding.  It’s my dirty little running secret.

I ran three runs in the last two weeks breaking from MAF.  I mean really breaking from it.  GASP!

I didn’t put my heart rate monitor on before a few solo runs because I just didn’t feel like it.  After several months of following a pretty strict nothing-over-a-HR-of-145 runs, I wanted to run fast.  I wanted to run faster than a comfortable pace.  I wanted to feel my legs work hard to run fast.  I wanted to quicken my stride.  I wanted all of it.

Did I feel bad about it?  Not really.  For a brief moment in the second mile in each run, there was a mental conversation.  I was mentally fighting to either slow up or continue running fast and hard.  I debated with myself over whether or not this was going to derail months of work.

I’ve come to realize something about MAF training.

Here are the five pluses of using it:

1.  I’m happy to run at my HR when I have friends with me.  The conversation and the run become social and I enjoy that part of MAF.  I live for our long runs!!  The miles fly by and we genuinely have awesome runs!

2, The daily miles to keep up my running streak are all at MAF also.  The slower pace ensures I can run back to back days.

3. Not worrying about pace but HR takes the need to have to feel like I’m having to hit certain paces all the time.

4. I needed a break from traditional training and concentrate on just my running fitness vs racing races.

5. Running this year smartly.  Using MAF means that I’m taking the time to really gain endurance and fitness.  My body is becoming more proficient with HR training and I’m being kind to my body this year.

BUT

The place where I struggle is when it is a solo run, usually 3-4 miles.  I don’t want to follow it.  It’s like those days are my “me” runs and I just want to run how I feel that day.  And for the last 3 solo runs that meant fast for me.

I’m back on MAF the rest of the week.  I have two mile only days today and tomorrow and then Sunday is the big day!  I’ll follow MAF for my marathon.  It helps me keep control of my pace early in the race and it keeps me in check for making it well into the mid 20’s feeling great.  This marathon, like my last one, isn’t about racing. It’s about running another marathon to celebrate my friends, to run one because I can, and to keep on moving towards by biggest (and scariest) 2015 goal, 100K at Crooked Road.

But every little once in a while…I’m gonna leave that heart rate monitor at home and just run to have my “me” time. I want to run hard and feel that I kicked that run’s booty.  I want that I just freaking nailed that feeling!!  Sometimes you got to break the mold, stray from the training plan just a little to have great things happen and to find confidence and a new found enthusiasm for something.

So, what’s your dirty little running secret? 

For even more running and fitness posts, hop over to:

Happy Week!

blogsignature

Follow Runner Girl in a Rocking World

On my Facebook Page

On Twitter

Weekly Rundown

Another week of training done.  We started training for Gasparilla and Tobacco Road Marathon 14 weeks and all that hard work and training comes down to this week.

weeklyrundown

Monday – This was the most beautiful sunny day!!  I had intended to run just three but once I got going, I added another mile.  I didn’t run with my HR monitor.  I was so excited about the weather, I totally forgot to grab it.  I ran a bit faster than my intended HR would allow, but it felt good.marathontrainingrun

Tuesday- 1 mile indoor.  As lovely as yesterday was, today was the complete opposite!

Wednesday – Cara and I met to run on another sunny day!  Mother Nature was acting all kind of crazy this week.  70’s one day and 30’s the next, back and forth.  We ran a really solid 4 miler and ran an accidental progression.

Thursday – 1 mile indoors.  Thursday was brutal…cold, rainy and bitter.

Friday- 1 mile indoors

Saturday – Christine, Cara and I ran our last long run, 10 miles! We ran a doozy of a route.  I have no one to blame, but myself.  I mapped it. It started out easy enough with most of our early miles flat to downhill, then around mile 4, that all changed and we climbed and climbed.  We did really well and hung in there.  A great last run to end on before the marathon!  lastlongtrainingrun

Sunday – One mile…I thought maybe I’d want to run more since the weather was so pretty.  But my early morning coffee and blogging time was more what I wanted.  Rest and relaxation is key at this point!

How did your week go?  Training going well?  Any races coming up?

Need some motivation?  Check out other #MotivateME Monday posts here.

Happy Week!

blogsignature

Follow Runner Girl in a Rocking World

On my Facebook Page

On Twitter

On Instagram

Weekly Rundown

Another successful week of training!  We continue to keep setting the bar high and we’re meeting each time.  Our confidence is building and we are getting stronger each week.  I love seeing the progress our Gasparilla group!  We got this!

weeklyrundown

Monday – This week has been another dreary and cold week.  I just don’t have it in me to bundle up to head outside for just one mile so I’ve been doing them indoors.  Monday was no different.  One indoor mile

Tuesday – I completed my second MAF test and saw some great results!  I gained 40 seconds on the 3 miles.  Faster pace but my HR stays at the same level.  All this training is working and I’m excited to see what the next test shows.  I got in 4 miles, one warm-up and 3 for the test.

Wednesday – One indoor mile I had hoped to do more, but with a late day at school, I couldn’t get any more in.

Thursday – I had another busy day at school, but I brought my running clothes and made it a point to get a run in.  If I had 40 minutes, I was going to run.  I got in a 5K in between school and volunteering to sell tickets for our home wrestling match.  I was thrilled!  Avg HR 137

Friday – Another indoor mile at school during planning

Saturday – I forgot my watch for this one and ran “unplugged” for our 11 miler.  It was a blessing in disguise!  I was thrilled when Christine told me we were at mile 7.  The miles flew by and I felt great the whole time.  Unfortunately, my heart rate monitor was acting crazy!  It would go from 133 to 210 back to 135.  It was driving me crazy.  I turned it off and just ran using Christine and Cara’s HR.  Having done this for so long, I can tell when I’m “high” even before my HR beeps anyways. Another great thing about running on HR, we all know the HR difference between each other and we’re within 10 beats of each other.

Sunday – We ran a local race route for our 14 miler this morning.  It’s a hillier course with overall elevation gain of 634. We hadn’t run it in awhile so it was something different.  I felt super when I first started, ran really evenly paced.  About mile 8, the hills were starting to beat me down.  I slowed my pace back a bit and felt a little better, but I was still having to talk myself into not walking.  I kind of ran and walked on and off through mile 10-11.  We finally hit the downhill section and I started feeling better again.  I stopped at mile 11.5 and had to really get myself together.  The other girls were feeling the same way I was and we just sucked it up and headed back through the last part of the run and the start of the mostly uphill climb to the end.  By this point, my HR was not cooperating and I could barely make it up any of the hills.  I walked a few and then just did the best I could, knowing my HR was above where it should be.  Overall, I was only over my HR by 10 minutes of the 2:30+ I was out there.  So, I didn’t totally blow it as bad as I thought!  Avg HR 137cannonballelevation

Total Weekly Mileage: 35.12 miles

How was your week?  Did you have any tough workouts or runs that you had to overcome or talk yourself through?

Happy Week!

Follow Runner Girl in a Rocking World

On my Facebook Page

On Twitter

On Instagram

blogicon

Weekly Fitness Plan – Gasparilla Week 10

It’s our last challenging high mileage week before we start tapering for Gasparilla. Everyone is still feeling good! I actually feel better than I have ever felt on some high mileage weeks during my typical marathon training. I will definitely be using the strategy for Crooked Road training in the fall.TampaTraining

Monday – 1 mile and maybe a BodyPump class. I’ll make the decision in the morning. Need to see how I feel after my long run today. If I’m not feeling BP, I can do PiYo lower body.

Tuesday – 3-4 miles with my friend, Kay’s running group. I have a late day at work so I’m excited to meet them for a night run.

Wednesday – 3-4 miles and PiYo upper body

Thursday – 1 mile and a yoga class at the gym

Friday – 1 mile and PiYo lower body

Saturday – 11 miler

Sunday – Just what we needed, a race to mix it up! Although we are running it as a training run, I’m on a 2 person team with Christine for the Massacre Marathon Relay. We get an awesome hoodie and a medal! Perfect training run! We have 15 miles, so I’ll grab another lap to get my miles in.

Total miles goal: 37 miles

Weekly focus: Stretching
I’ve not been as good at stretching this past week so I’m making an effort to go back to doing it nightly. I literally hit the bed and fell asleep so quickly all week.

What’s on your fitness plan for the week?  Do you have a weekly focus?

Happy Week!

Follow Runner Girl in a Rocking World

On my Facebook Page

On Twitter

On Instagram

blogicon

Weekly Rundown

I can’t say it enough…I am in love with our training plan!  Not only do I feel great and I’m enjoying each run, but I’m slowly seeing progress and that’s exciting.  It makes me really interested in seeing how the next few months go as we continue to add miles and work towards Gasparilla and ultimately, Tobacco Road Marathon.

weeklyrundown

I had a hard time getting in any significant mileage this week due to a lot of after school obligations so I fit in what I could where I could.

Monday – 1 mile

Tuesday – I completed my first MAF test.  Firstly, I didn’t head to a track to run the test.  Instead I found a fairly flat section in my neighborhood and did the test there.  I figured that as long as I use the same stretch of road for all my tests, it will still show growth.  I warmed up with a mile walk.  I started the test running at my MHR of 145.  Here are my pace splits for the 3 miles:

  • Mile 1: 9:40
  • Mile 2: 10:08
  • Mile 3: 10:16

I’m planning to do another test in 4 weeks and hopefully will see improvement.  My ultimate goal by doing this is to be in the low 9’s to high 8’s at the same HR.

Wednesday – 1 mile

Thursday – 1 mile

Friday – 4 miles with Cara avg HR 129 in my new shoes!!  I had to retire my pink Adidas Boosts.  I had racked up 771 miles on those.  I’m back in black!  Love the hot pink accents on the shoelaces!newshoes

Saturday – Christine and I met for a pretty snow flurry-filled 7 miler, followed by yummy burgers and brews!  We’re calling it the Snobb run (Snow, burgers and brews).  Every Saturday run should end the same way!  The route was a good one and we ran really well.  Definitely will be doing this one again!  Avg HR 139snobbrun

Sunday – A group of us met at a local bagel shop to run 8 miles, the rest of our weekend back-to-back runs.  My heart rate was really low today, despite it being my second long run of the weekend and I was able to run up most of the hills on our route.  I dedicated 3 miles of my run to The Solstice Sprint Virtual 5K hosted by Kristen, a fellow blogger.  I took my last three miles and it gave me a 31:30 for my time.  Avg HR 129  Today was also day 600 of my runstreak! 🙂

Total miles: 26 miles…not too bad considering I had mostly 1 mile days.

I also completed a daily plank of at least 2 minutes, pushing to 3 min on Friday.

Happy Week!

Follow Runner Girl in a Rocking World

On my Facebook Page

On Twitter

On Instagram

blogicon

 

Weekly Fitness Plan – Tampa Training Week One

So I’ve completely abandoned the meal plan part of my week since starting back to school and trying to stick to a meal plan was adding frustration to my week.  So I’m not including it for now, I’m just sticking with my weekly fitness plan and I’ll recap meals we cooked through the week on my Weekly Rundown.

This week is the first week of Gasparilla Distance Classic (Mich Ultra Challenge) aka Tampa training which has now morphed into marathon training!  Yes, you read that right.  I’m running another marathon!  We were all on a high coming off of Crooked Road and it went right into keeping that feeling going and now Tampa will be part of marathon training.  I’m officially signed up to run the Tobacco Road Marathon in March 2015 and I’m so excited!

For this training, I’m also starting and following the MAF Method.  I followed this training summer 2013 after having a VO2 test done and saw great results!  In order to train for Tampa correctly, which for all of us will be more about endurance vs racing, it seems like a perfect fit.  So I’ll be running all my runs with a heart rate of 145 and below.  I will not be doing speed work this time.  I want to enjoy the whole experience with this training for Tampa, that I don’t want to fall back into doing all that speed work just yet.  I’m planning to run my marathon like I did at City of Oaks by heart rate as well.  TampaTrainingWeekly Fitness Plan

Monday – 1 mile and BodyPump

Tuesday – 3 miles

Wednesday – 5 miles

Thursday – Our Running Group’s 4th Annual Running of the Balls  (almost 4 miles)

Friday – 1 mile

Saturday – Reindeer Fun Run 12K

Sunday – 4-5 miles

City of Oaks Marathon – Race Day

Here’s part two of the super sized post of City of Oaks Marathon

We made plans to meet at 6am to leave for the race start.  I wavered back and forth on what to wear and finally stuck with my tank and skirt (my original outfit).  The temps did not dip as low as we thought and I feared becoming overheated in capris.  I have to have at least one body part cold when I run.  But while the temps were behaving, the wind was not!  We had pretty steady wind with gusts reaching 24mph!  We arrived to the parking area with plenty of time to hit the bathroom (Thanks Harris Teeter!) and head to the starting line.  I made a beeline to the port-a-potties again before we moved to our corral.

The start of the race was way more crowded than last year and we had a hard time trying to get between the 4:30 and 5:00 pacers.  We didn’t want to start too far back and have to weave around walkers.  We just couldn’t move up anymore and we were right with the 5 hour pacer. After the horn blared, we were off!  Nathan and I decided to stay together for as long as we could.  I was sticking to my HR plan and we’d just see how long we’d run together.  Christine was running the half and she was just ahead of us from mile 2.  I could see her yellow flower! 🙂

After a few miles, we finally had some breathing room.  Nathan and I just chatted as we ran and enjoyed the race.  Katie was going to meet us along the course to take pictures.  If there is one thing that really helps when running a marathon is seeing your people!  While the crowd support is great, the boost you get from seeing a familiar face is the best!  We saw Katie several times as we weaved our way through downtown Raleigh.  Right before mile 10, Cara caught us just past the water stop.  She was trying to catch Christine, who was super speedy.  Cara ran with us for just a bit before heading to mile 12 to run with Christine to the finish.  Cara was going to come back out to 23 to run us back in to the finish.  finishline

By this point, I was starting to feel the hills.  I knew signing up for Raleigh that this was not an easy course, but I underestimated the hills just a bit.  I knew if we got to mile 11 and the greenway section of the race, we’d have a break. I was doing an awesome job of keeping my HR below 140 too.  Even though my HR was staying low, we were actually getting faster with each check point.  We hit mile 11 and had some good downhill sections.  It was definitely a lot flatter than what we had been running.  Nathan and I were still together at this point too.  We also met up with another pair of runners who were running our pace.  We linked up with them for a few miles, which helped the time go by.  Nathan and I would lose and find each other again a couple of times.  Neither one of us ever felt really bad, just needed a break here or there to get ourselves together.

We hit the turnaround at mile 17.5 and we were on our way back!  I was still keeping my HR low.  I had started to let it creep up to 150 now.  Going for 165 for the last 5K was my goal.  That also meant that we would be hitting some nasty uphills too.  Miles 22-23 were not runner friendly.  There was a sign that said “Steep Grade ahead”.  Not exactly the type of sign you want to see at mile 23 of a marathon.   I walked most of it while Nathan jogged up it.  I couldn’t even jog up it without my HR going crazy.  We did the best we could from mile 22-23.5. Cara caught us at mile 23.5 just at the same time, my nasty calf cramps started.  I stopped to eat some salt.  I had packed salt packets in my water belt for this reason.  runningmile24

We headed off the greenway back onto the road and we’re heading to the finish.  This part was a mix of uphill and downhill and with my calf cramps, I would run until they would tighten up and then walk for a bit.  I was still in great spirits though!  Unlike my previous marathons, I didn’t feel awful.  We hacked at the last few miles, finding our cheer squad at mile 25 and by mile 26, it was downhill to the finish.  Nathan and I headed off and ran into the finish!  Nick was there to take pictures right before we crossed under the banner.  He said it was the best he’d ever seen me finish a marathon!  Mission accomplished!

I finished with a 4:46 and could not be happier!!  Marathon #5 done!!  That was the toughest marathon I have ever run.  With 951ft gain of elevation over the course, I’ll take it!!  My best time was at Richmond which is about half the elevation gain.  To come within 7 minutes of my best (4:39) on a much harder course is so rewarding!!  I love the challenge of City of Oaks and I’m contemplating running similarly tough courses.  If I run them like I ran this one, they would all be awesome!finishlinecoo

PROS

Very well organized race!  Everything is where they say it will be (water, Gatorade, and GU).  The course is clearly marked and accurate to my GPS too.  The crowd support along the Greenway was awesome!  I like that the course is a mix of running through downtown and the greenway.  The variation is nice!  The medals are awesome!  As big as a dinner plate!  The post race event was a little thin by the time we came through but nice.

CONS

I have just a few suggestions for improvement.  This year, each runner received a finisher’s tee.  By the time we got through, the women’s sizes were picked through and I didn’t end up with the right size.  My shirt is huge!  I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t plan that better.  My other suggestion would be to have actual corrals vs a mass start.  The race had its largest field this year and it was obvious.  They need to consider a wave start to avoid a lot of the congestion at the start. bibandmedal

Happy Week!

blogicon

 

 

 

 

Follow Runner Girl in a Rocking World

On my Facebook Page

On Bloglovin’

On Twitter

Welcome To Taper Town!

tapertown

Hi there and welcome to Taper Town!  We are so happy to see you!  Before you begin your stay here, we need to go through a few things that you may experience while you are here.  Hopefully this will help make your stay here more enjoyable! 🙂

Marathon Nesting

Yup, nesting just doesn’t happen when you are having a baby!  It happens when you are tapering too.  You suddenly find yourself with hours to fill and what better way than to organize messy bathroom drawers, clean out and reorganize a pantry or even, tackle organizing a closet?!  Apparently all those hours we spent running could have been better spent cleaning and organizing! I rather run…

Hungry Hungry

Why suddenly did your normal diet turn into a train wreck and you find yourself eating and wanting foods that a. don’t usually go together or b. are so bad for you!  I have had a sudden urge to eat spicy Ro*Tel and cream cheese dip on salty tortilla chips followed by a Sara Lee Devil’s Food Crème Cake all while enjoying a cold brew.  I’m out of control.  My body is freaking out and it’s craving all kinds of weird things.  I’m just going with it.  I’m afraid to tell myself no because I might lose it. devils-food-creme-cakes_0

 

Gimme a Bubble

Around this time, you start to become really conscious that any little thing could cause you to get hurt and not be able to run.  A stubbed toe scares you death!  Did you break it?!  A weird pull in your hip terrifies you!  What is that?  You suddenly feel like you want to purchase a huge plastic bubble ball and live in it for a few weeks.S1510008+

 Zero to 60
Everything seems to be on extremes!  You can go from feeling happy and calm to crazy and stressed in the blink of an eye!  You were once a rational person and suddenly, every little thing bothers you.  You are on the verge of tears one minute and laughing the next.  If guys ever want to know what it’s like to have PMS, try tapering.  It’s about the same except you can’t run, which is usually what you would do to feel better.  Hence the vicious zero to 60 cycle!

Fashionista

All of a sudden you become very concerned with what you are going to wear for race day!  I just bought a running skirt last week for my race because I didn’t want to take a race picture in one of the other half dozen I already own.  Seriously.  I already know which tank I have to wear because it is the least likely to give me chafing (which is a good thing!) but now the weather might be in the 30’s and I’m second guessing my original plan of what to wear!

Weather Craziness

The weather app on my phone has been working overtime.  I have been obsessed with checking it.  At one point, I saw this post on Facebook and I about lost it?!  Snow?!  Really?!  Luckily Nick’s a weather guy at heart and he calmed me down.  Cara told me to stop checking my app until Thursday.  I might have snuck a few peeks…weather

Has anyone else experienced any of the taper craziness?  What am I missing?  Share it with me!

Linked up with: MCM Mama Runs for Tuesdays on the Run and The Fit Switch for The Fit Dish.

Happy Week!

blogicon

 

 

 

 

Follow Runner Girl in a Rocking World

On my Facebook Page

On Bloglovin’

On Twitter