Monday, December 15, 2014

CASA Half Marathon Recap

Half Marathon number 10 is in the books with a shiny new PR!

Saturday I ran the CASA Half Marathon. This was the 2nd time running this particular race. It's a smaller race, but for a great cause as it supports the CASA Women's Shelter. It's still a new race, and is continuing to grow, and for good reason. It's truly a flat and fast course. I earned a PR last year at the race actually.

Because of my marathon training, I initially wasn't sure if I would go into this as a race or as a training run. The day of, I knew I was racing 100%. It was in the mid- to upper-40s at the start with overcast skies, but very little wind. My plan was to just go with how I was feeling, find a pace and try to sustain it for as long as possible. I know many runners start out slower and increase their pace. I tend to be pretty consistent with my splits throughout.

I did a super easy 1 mile run to warm up before heading to the start. I wanted up closer to the front, but not the very front of course. I was far less nervous than I usually am. I was just ready to go, get moving and see what happened.

I saw the first mile marker but my Garmin was showing almost a tenth of a mile short, usually it's already buzzing at me, so when it finally did indicate a mile, I was well past the sign and it showed a 7:15. Initially I felt the urge to pull back thinking I was going out way too fast and was going to crash and burn quick.

But I stuck with it and just went by feel, keeping somewhere between a 7:16 to 7:20 pace. Of course, my watch was behind so I really wasn't exactly sure what my overall average was, well, I knew what the watch said, but I didn't know the true pace since it was off.

I decided that I needed to try to take my fuel sooner, something I struggle with. So I actually carried the gel in my hand as a reminder, which worked well. I took my first at mile 5, I usually wait until 6 or 7. I am getting a little better at getting water in at the aid stations without choking on it, so that's a plus.

The miles were kind of a blur to be honest. I was focused on breathing, on trying to maintain a solid form that felt more efficient. I did pass some young teenaged boys at one point. One of them said, "Good job" and I said, "Good Morning." He replied something along the lines of not being so sure about that. Then I thought (didn't say it) yep and you just got chicked by a 40 year old lady! Ha!

The running community is really tight here and there were so many positive affirmations and words of encouragement all along the course from runners as we passed by each other. It was a great feeling since the crowd support is fairly minimal. I had one man pass me at mile 8 saying, "Looking strong." And he meant it, you know how you can feel when someone is genuine, and even congratulated me again as I finished.

As I mentioned, the course is truly a flat one. There is one blip around mile 9.5, which of course does feel even bigger that far into the race. But other than that, flat flat flat.

Again, I thought I was pacing at a 7:19 average and was beyond ecstatic with myself. I couldn't believe I was able to hang onto that pace. I started to hear a couple coming up from behind. The guy was pacing a girl (who I had actually barely beat last year, which I find a funny coincidence) and he kept saying something about them hitting 1:35. Well, that and "It's only a 5K left, you do that every weekend! blah blah It's only a 5K blah blah ..." Super annoying and I had the urge to trip him. But, I digress. When they got up next to me I asked to confirm (the pace not the 5K bit) and he said yes, that's what they were shooting for.

What? Holy cow! That can't be right. There's no way I'm going that fast. Oh wait, oh wow, man. No you can't do that. Yes I can. ... I just might be able to ... hang on to them, keep up keep up ... those were the thoughts going through my head. I started to hit 7:07 then a 7 minute mile.

This was all going down just after mile 10, mile 10 to 11. By mile 11, however, I started to almost hyperventilate. It scared me. I couldn't catch my breath, it kept getting more and more shallow. I thought I was going to have to stop to be honest. So I slowed myself to about a 7:45 pace and started to just take slow, steady breaths trying to gain control. Thankfully, I was able to get my breathing in check and able to get my pace back up. Only 2 miles to go. I knew I could do it. I knew it. I think I was already starting to smile outwardly at that point.

I saw Jason shortly after I had passed the mile 12 sign. It was that last bit of encouragement I needed. That last boost. The finish kind of stinks, however, as you have to take a hard left then another hard left into the parking lot then around the lot behind a stadium. Those lefts are super sharp and hard to recover from in terms of speed.

As I rounded the corner coming from behind the stadium, I still wasn't sure of my time. I thought for sure I was getting my 1:37 (my secret goal), then I saw the timer and it was in the 1:34 range. I absolutely couldn't believe it. So I gave it every last ounce I had and sprinted as hard as I possibly could to that finish line.


When I was done and realized my time, I was nearly in tears. Jason rushed over to me to congratulate me and all I kept saying was, "Holy crap, Oh my gosh, I can't believe I just did that." I was beaming from ear-to-ear. I knew I needed to get in a recovery mile then stretch well, so I did that before heading over to get some fuel at the recovery area.

By this time, the sun was out and the temps were warming up nicely. I knew that my time had secured me first in my age group. I was 8th female overall and I had a huge new PR by 3 minutes and 2 seconds: 1:35:16.

What I didn't realize was that I had secured 2nd place in the Master's Division this year since I aged up. My prize was this amazing hand crafted glass dish by a local artist James Hayes. I had eyed those prizes last year, but knew I was never getting top 3 female to win one. Little did I know how the Master's Division worked though and that I could win one.


Once again, I'm learning that when you let go of your doubts, you can achieve so much more than you ever imagined.

When was the last time you let go of your doubts?


Thursday, December 11, 2014

12 Fit Days of Christmas Challenge


I am super excited to announce an up-coming challenge that I'm running through my personal training site - Where's the Beach Fitness.

My 12 Days Of Fit Christmas Challenge will begin on Sunday, December 14 and run for, you guessed it, 12 days. With this challenge, you have the chance to win 1 month of free online training*, or you can just do the challenge for fun!

How the Challenge Works

I'm sure you've likely seen some Christmas or Holiday workouts, even 12 Days of Christmas workouts. What's so different about this 12 Days Of Fit Christmas Challenge?
  1. You don't get the workout in its entirety in advance. You will need to register so that you receive the daily workouts via email. I will also post the workouts at 12 Days of Fit Challenge Page and on my Facebook Page.

  2. Each day leave a comment on the 12 Days of Fit Challenge Page letting me know that you completed the exercises. Comment is required. For fun, you can also Instagram or Tweet using #12FitDaysChallenge and/or tagging me (Instagram | Twitter).

  3. Complete all 12 days and comment each day and you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win 1 month of free online training*. As a bonus, even if you aren't able to complete all 12 days, I will be offering participants a discount on 3- or 6-month plans PLUS 1 free month!

Questions?

Q. What types of exercises will you be sharing?
A. Exercises will be bodyweight only, mostly plyometric (e.g., squat jumps).

Q. What if I'm a beginner or can't do high impact?
A. I will provide modifications for all exercises so that anyone can do them.

Q. Can I do these exercises if I am already on a workout plan?
A. You should be able to complete the exercises in addition to any other workout, however, the length of time to complete will increase with each day as the exercises build.

Q. Why do I have to leave a comment each day?
A. Leaving a comment on the page each day lets me keep count of the number of workouts you complete and lets me know that you are doing the workouts each day.



* Online Basic Training will include: 4 weeks of workouts: 3 days of full-body weights and 2 days of HIIT cardio, links to videos will be included for all exercises. Plan also includes 1 weekly email check in.

(More details will be added, but feel free to email me with any questions: info@wtbfitness.com)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Last Long Run Complete

Well, I did it! 
As I mentioned on Friday, I had my last 20-mile run planned for Saturday. Amy has been helping me get through a large chunk of the miles for my long run, but this weekend she needed to get her miles done pretty early. I almost had a panic attack thinking I was going to be solo for 20 miles.

Thankfully, I have found two more running friends over the course of this training. Let's just say that during the last two solo miles I was thinking, "It takes a village." I was also thinking, how many people does it take to help one runner train for a marathon? You know, kind of a joke but I couldn't come up with a punch line, because it's really true. You need far more support than you think you're going to need and it comes from a variety of sources.

Saturday morning ended up being another randomly warm day, and super windy. How was I wearing double layers in November yet tank and shorts in December? I knew this could affect my run negatively. I sweat, a lot. Which means I have to really pay attention to electrolyte intake.

I headed out around 7:30 to get in 6 miles before L and C were going to meet me at 8:30. I went out way too fast because I got concerned about time, getting back to the house on time. Silly because I had given myself plenty of wiggle room. So I started off with an 8:30 pace and knew I had to slow myself down or I wouldn't make it.

I went ahead and took my first gel and sipped on some electrolytes then when they arrived, we quickly got moving again. L was really helpful with pacing. She asked what I was shooting for and was vigilant about keeping track, as was C if we started going too fast.

We headed downtown then across the bridge into North Little Rock to run along part of the river trail. Unfortunately, this time of year, all the nice, convenient water fountains are shut off. Not good when you are out for a LONG run and really need the water.

L and C had initially planned on 10 miles with me, but then decided they could go farther, so we ran farther down the trail. They needed gels and I needed another, but there was no water to refill my bottle, and they hadn't anticipated needing any. So I shared and hoped we'd get to water soon. I knew where we could refill once we crossed back into downtown.

My tummy started giving me some issues, so I asked that we just head straight to my house instead. There we could all get water; I could take a potty break. C was having issues with her shoulder and asked to stay behind. L decided to go ahead and do another 2 miles with me, not wanting to leave C alone too long but also not wanting me to have to be solo again for long.

See, it takes a village. These ladies were so amazingly awesome to run with me and even run farther than intended. My heart was full. I finished out my last few miles and ended up with 20.5 total. Part of me wishes I would have stuck it out just a tad longer for 21 miles. But my legs were fairly done and tapping out at the end. You know that running in mud going nowhere fast feeling? Yep.


So, just like that, it's time to start tapering. I have a half marathon this coming Saturday and then the miles back down even more. No more long-run-Saturdays. I guess I've got no excuses now for ditching the chores huh?

Just a few quick notes about post run: I felt pretty good after this run. I had gotten my electrolytes rights, maybe a tad dehydrated but remedied that easily enough. Huge frosty protein shake for the post-run fuel win. I soaked in an epsom salt bath after some gentle stretching then napped. My heel was tight and painful when I woke up, but not nearly as bad as last week. And gentle stretching helped. I think a 2nd nap could have happened as I was asleep by 8 pm and slept until 7 the next morning.

Friday, December 5, 2014

T'was the Eve Before My Last Long Run

Happy Friday!

So, a bit of rambling today. I have to admit that it feels weird not blogging as much or as consistently. I know this means fewer interactions with my blogging friends. That's probably what I'm missing the most with blogging less. And while I don't feel the pull to blog as frequently as I once did, I still want a place to share thoughts, share recipes or workouts and to converge with others over similar life happenings whether it be weight lifting or marathon training or just enjoying the heck out of time with family and friends.

I never thought I would run a full marathon. So, of course, I never thought I'd be blogging about my training. Blathering away about long runs, hitting the wall, feeling great or feeling pukey. I never thought I would feel so much gratitude towards someone helping me make it through all of this either.

Tomorrow marks my last truly long run - 20 miles (more only if I am feeling up to it). Then I begin my taper period. I'm both looking forward to it and sort of dreading it. Yeah, I am pretty sure at the onset of this crazy marathon journey I declared that I would embrace and enjoy taper. We can forget those words right?

Over the course of this journey, I have hit 14 miles three times now, I have hit pretty much hit every mile from 14 up to 20 actually (duh right, but I mean a 15 miler, 17 miler ... over explaining).

First 16-miler - super proud of myself but couldn't fathom any farther
First 18 miler - solo and it was kind of rough

First 20-miler - thank goodness for this lady

And along the way, I found new running friends as well. Oh, and scenery. I've taken historical routes, boring routes, out and backs, routes along the river. It's been sunny, it's been cloudy, windy, rainy, warm, cold ...


I feel like I've run through 4 seasons in just a few months too with our weather being up and down and all over the place, including a random snow morning. I've learned to take naps and drink lots of very large protein shakes (usually shakes then nap).

The surprising part to me is that I have enjoyed this journey more than I believed I would. I've heard about people dreading the long runs, dreading so many miles, or simply just getting very tired of it all.

Maybe because I had already been doing so many miles before, maybe it's been having a supportive running partner, but it's not felt like training so much as growing. Does that even make sense? I thought I might feel burnt out from running, and I really don't. I think that's where I'm going to dread the taper. My body, however, will be ecstatic of course.

Has training for something ever surprised you? Did you find that you enjoyed or maybe didn't enjoy the journey like you thought? Any taper advice?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Another Long Run & Thanksgiving Recap

Happy Hump Day. Since it's already Wednesday, guess it'd be a good time to do a quick weekend recap, that included an accidental 19-mile run and a 3rd Thanksgiving meal.

Long Run

Saturday morning Amy agreed to run with me for what was a planned 18-mile run. I was going to head out and get in some miles before she arrived then run 10 together, then finish out solo.

I got in 5 miles exactly, then we set out on a meandering route around the neighborhood. The temperatures were suddenly back into the 60s with high humidity and even higher winds. Thankfully it was cloudy. The positives were that we were most certainly not freezing and the wind did help dry us off.



Amy had said 10 miles, but then decided she could do another mile with me. We made another loop before getting back to my house. Her watch said 11 miles on the dot, mine was behind showing 15.85 miles. For some reason, I got it stuck in my head that I was at mile 15 and needed 3 more - even said that out loud a few times.

After refilling my water bottle, taking a handful of Honey Stinger chews and sipping on some electrolytes, I begrudgingly set off to finish 3 more miles. I say that because by this point I was starting to get really achy, I was terribly warm, sweaty, downright grumpy. But, I did it, finished out those 3 miles, then realized I was actually at 19. Doh.

My heel was bothering me far worse than it had been in a while and my legs were achy basically from the waist down. I decided to attempt an "ice" bath. We have an old, iron claw foot tub so simply running cold water is really all you need to make it feel icy! Let's just say I only managed to stay in the water maybe a minute, maybe. Brrrrrr.

The rest of the day was spent running errands and prepping for our 3rd Thanksgiving meal that we were hosting for my mom, her husband, my sister and her boyfriend.

Thanksgiving 

Being vegetarian, I obviously wasn't making a turkey, but Jason did. He found one deeply discounted (thank you day-after Thanksgiving sales) that he found a brine for and all of that fun jazz. I focussed on the veggies and sides: roasted broccoli & sundried tomatoes, roasted brussels sprouts that were tossed with strawberry jam & mustard, coconut maple glazed carrots, wild mushroom risotto, and homemade rolls. I did make a lentil loaf for myself to enjoy.



Anyone else spread Thanksgiving meals out across several days? And please tell me I'm not the only one to accidentally run too many miles!

Also - I've extended Where's the Beach Fitness Cyber Monday to Cyber WEEK. Give yourself the gift of fit!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Cyber Monday - Personal Training Deals

It's Cyber Monday and I'm offering up to 15% off personal training plans. If you've ever wanted to hire a trainer but thought you couldn't afford it, now is the time to sign up!


Visit Where's the Beach Fitness to learn more. But don't put it off, Cyber Monday deals end at midnight tonight!

UPDATED - Cyber Monday is being extended for Cyber WEEK! Visit Where's the Beach Fitness, pick the plan that's ideal for you, then choose how you want to save.

Contact us by 11:59 pm, CST, December 7 and mention Cyber Week!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Birthday Weekend Recap - Eating, Running, Eating

Today is Wednesday, but also like my Friday with Thanksgiving being tomorrow. Can we collectively vote for 3-day workweeks every week? Since I ended up doing a healthy holiday tips post yesterday, I thought I would do a quick birthday weekend recap today.

I could really sum it up as eating, running, eating if you need the abridged version.

On Friday (my actual birthday), I had taken off work so that I could sleep in, be lazy, and just enjoy the day. A gift to myself if you will. Jason wanted to take me out for lunch, so we met up for a late lunch after a hair appointment. Later we ended up going out again for dinner at a restaurant just a couple of blocks from our house called South On Main.

I didn't get any pictures of the food, but it was all good. They definitely aren't famous for their vegetarian options, mostly serving meat dishes, but the options they had were quite good. Jason made it a point to let them know it was my birthday and to insist on ordering a dessert. He ordered Pumpkin Pie in a Jar. It was basically pumpkin pie filling and it was topped with a locally made (Loblolly Creamery) Snickerdoodle Ice Cream (also known as sin in a jar).

The staff signed a birthday "card" for me
Saturday morning I was planning to run with Amy. The temps were suddenly warmer than they had been, upper 50s at the start. Friday had been super rainy, so Saturday was super damp and humid. From the start of the run we were both sort of struggling.

I blamed it on the sin in a jar dessert and wine. But since Amy was having a hard run as well, we knew it was the suddenly warmer temps combined with wind and humidity. Even worse I ran out of water completely because I was banking on water along the way, but all the fountains on the river trail were shut off.

Dehydration lead to stabbing pains in my side - as in stop immediately and double over kind of pains. We did manage to get water somewhere around mile 11 and I eked out 15 miles, very thankful that it was a "shorter" run week and thankful for a running friend who stuck it out with me.

After a much-needed nap (and gallons of water), the rest of the day was spent trying to prepare for my birthday party. I had decided that I wanted to celebrate the Big 4-0 with a wine tasting party. I made lots of different appetizers, even sandwiches, for everyone to enjoy along with a cheese tray and fruit tray.


My hope was to spend the evening surrounded with friends. I was definitely feeling a bit down about the whole aging thing and just wanted an evening of laughter and fun to help me embrace the birthday.

Without getting all Debbie Downer, it ended up being bittersweet. Many people who said they'd be there didn't show up. One friend in particular not only never replied about the party, but also never even wished me a happy birthday. I felt a bit let down, sad. But, I have since decided that it's me who has the power to allow others to make me feel that way, and I'm taking control and moving on.

Sunday we headed to our hometown to celebrate Thanksgiving early with my dad, stepmother, sister, her kids and her boyfriend, and stepbrother. Having a hug from your dad and your sister can really help when you're feeling down by the way. So the timing was ideal. Even better, they ended up surprising me with the only cake I'll eat, an Italian cream cake. We actually used these cakes for my wedding. Simply incredible!


For fun: What's your favorite indulgent dessert or treat?
For serious: How do you deal with feelings of disappointment?