Tips for PRing Your Second Marathon After Your First One Sucked

When I added the Chicago Marathon to my “must run” list, a lot of people told me it was a PR race. My reaction was usually, “Sweet – who doesn’t love to PR?”

After my crappy Savannah experience and missing my goal time by 3 minutes, I knew I was out for revenge and WHY NOT make it Chicago?

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I also knew I wanted to train differently. As I previously (and potentially stupidly) declared, I didn’t want to do speedwork. I’m not against speedwork, but I worried that my body just could not handle both speedwork and significantly increasing my mileage. It was a risk that I took. On top of that – shortened my training schedule and jumped RIGHT in to upping the mileage. This could have been an incredibly dumb decision.

BUT, that was my PR plan. Run more in a shorter period of time — and pray for nice weather.

Good thing it all worked out!

So what REALLY helped me? A few things, actually. Get ready for a list…

1. Enjoying my runs.

When I trained for Savannah, I remember hating my weekly runs. Now, I’m not going to say I love getting up at the ass-crack of dawn to run a 9-miler on a Wednesday before work (especially because E always picked those nights to wake up several times), but once I got up and got up there — I really enjoyed it. I think it really helped that I didn’t stress about how fast I was running. Sure, there were times when I upped my pace so I was pushing myself, but for the most part I turned up my iPod, peaced out, and just ran.

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Those were some great runs.

2. Running a 20-miler solo.

The hardest run I did this summer was 20 miles –  by myself. It was mid-August and probably close to 95 degrees outside when I finished. I wanted to quit at mile 18.5. I completely bonked. I considered calling my family for them to come get me because I was THAT done, but I remembered that at dinner the night before the kids told me they didn’t think I COULD run 20 miles by myself. So, I sucked it up and finished. It was painful.

Having that experience in the back of my mine, pushed me to focus on nutrition and water during Chicago. I knew I could bonk and it could happen very quickly if I didn’t eat and drink enough. Without that experience I might not have grabbed a banana at mile 22 — or chugged that cup of water.

3. Running with a friend – a fast friend.

After running that 20-miler by myself, I was so ready to find a running buddy. At the time, Tyler couldn’t run Sundays and I couldn’t run Saturdays. It sucked. Thankfully, all of the stars aligned, Dan started a new job with weekends off (I’m still so excited about this!), and I was able to run with Tyler.

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He’s also really good at playing ponies.

Now Tyler is 11 years younger than me and has waaaaaay more energy than me (although he does have a busy schedule) – yet, he still runs at my pace. Why? I’m not sure. I’m a good listener? He likes it when people whine to him? Whatever the reason, while he’ll run in my comfort zone, he’ll also push me to run faster at times. I need that push and as much as I bitch at him, I know I’m capable at going faster.

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I’m planning on PRing the crap out of my half marathon time this spring – and Tyler is definitely part of that plan (as soon as he forgives me for posting that pony picture).

4. 1/4 Long Runs

I know I said I skipped speedwork – but one thing I did do, and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND is 1/4 long runs (this is what I’m calling it – go with it). The first 3/4 of the run I would run at a normal long run pace (about a minute slower than race pace — for me this was between 10:20-10:40/mile) and then the last 1/4 I would pick it up and run race pace (9:30-9:40/mile). I didn’t necessarily do this every long run, but a good chunk of them. This approach was a huge confidence builder during my last 22-miler. I ran the last 6 miles on wet (it was pouring), tired legs at a 9:30 pace and it KICKED ASS. I did not feel ready for Chicago until that run.

5. Ice baths

Ice baths are….

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But, they also helped me recover so much faster.

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I didn’t ice bath after ever long run – just runs longer than 14 miles. I usually needed about 30lbs of ice and would shiver in it for 20+ minutes. The kids thought my torture was hilarious.

6. Running, running, and more running.

This is the non-expert, vague advice you were looking for, right?

When it comes down to it, just running and lots of it is what helped me PR. I peaked at 45 miles — I did a 5-mile recovery run, two 9-milers, and a 22-miler. That week kicked my ass, but I was 100% ready for it. I’ve always heard that if you want to run faster, you just need to run – and I didn’t necessarily understand it. But now, I kinda do. It’s still hard for me to run more than 5 days a week – but upping the mileage really did build up my endurance. I am not in my fastest half marathon shape right now — but I think I can easily get there.

7. Recovery Runs

I hated these runs with a passion. HATED. But, they were so important to my training. Most of my recovery runs were painful. I slogged for 5 miles the day after a long run – feeling it in my feet and in every leg muscle. Miraculously though, after that run I felt great. Instead of feeling like I just ran 18 miles the day before – my legs felt rested and ready to go. I will continue to do recovery runs for any future marathons (except this stupid marathon I’m running at the end of the month).

8. Cute Cheerleaders

Have cute people waiting for me at the finish line – and after every run, really, was a huge motivator.

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Even if they would tell me how much I smelled after every run. That however, just made me realize that the people who love you the most are also the most honest.

9. Horrible training weather.

As much as I hated. HA-TED. running in the humidity this summer, it did nothing but help me.

I also ran 22-miler in the rain. I actually love running in the rain, but I’ve never run that far in it and I worried about slipping, chafing, and God knows what. Thankfully, that didn’t happen – I just looked like a drowned rat. And an idiot.

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It was worth it – especially since up until race day, the weather-people-who-are-never-right were predicting rain — and it didn’t terrify me.

10. Running for Charity

Anytime I thought — I CANNOT DO THIS. I was reminded that there were millions of families that could not do this and mine was NOT one of them.

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That’s pretty much the biggest kick in the ass you can give yourself, especially at mile 24.5.

11. Friends

They listened to me bitch and moan for 3 months – and they were super excited when I crushed my goal. That’s true friendship, if you ask me.

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It’s also true friendship when they dress up with you on Halloween.

12. Luck

Who am I kidding?  You can have the most perfect training cycle and a million things could go wrong on race day. It could have been hot. It could have rained. I could have gotten sick or sprained my ankle waiting around the city. My kids could have boycotted sleep (oh wait…). As much as you can train for a marathon and feel 100% ready (although – does anyone feel ready?) — you can still have a horrible race. Me? I was lucky.

The big question I have now is — how will this training plan hold up with Space Coast (which I am no way looking forward to – why did I think a second marathon would be a brilliant idea?). While I am still running, it’s taken me a little bit to recover (oh, and I ran a half two weeks after my full — kinda dumb). It is mentally challenging me to put in higher miles – and I plan on capping my long run at 16. I’m going to get over this, right? I don’t plan on PRing, but my goal IS sub 4:30. And to have fun. Or something. Maybe my goal should be to complain less than 100 times on race day? That plans sounds more accurate.

Any tips for PRing?? What’s your dream race? Best Halloween costume?

Things Lately

Hey, remember me? Is this thing on?

*crickets*

As you can probably tell, things have been…busy lately. Maybe busy isn’t the right word, because I swear I’m always busy. Hectic? Beyond busy? Chaotic? Yeah, that’s it. Needless to say, my life has been blowing up in front of my face — and for some reason I feel compelled to document it.

1. Rhode Island is GLORIOUS in the summer.

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Today we got a little lost and ended climbing over rocks (cue anxiety!) before hitting the Cliff Walk. Still ended up chasing the sunrise with this amazing view. #seeonmyrun #newport #wooendorphins #sunrise

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I could probably post 25 more images that look vaguely similar, but different than this. I was in Newport last week for work and while it sucked being away from my family – the rest of it really did not suck. Although, I think I said “I wish I was on vacation…” about 100 times a day.

While I was in Newport, I squeezed in some awesome runs with my coworker.

 

 

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What’s funny is that this was taken at 5:30am — those are some EARLY sunrises!

I love that I work with people crazy enough to meet me at 5am for a good run! Both times we managed to hit the Cliff Walk at sunrise and both times is freaking amazing. The second day, however, we got a little lost and I ended up climbing over rocks with a very apparent look of terror on my face.

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I’m a wuss. 

The last night we were there we took a group trip to the Cliff Walk and it turns out that Woody Allen was shooting a movie.

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All of that lighting was for the movie.

We didn’t see him (nor did we really care to), but we did see Emma Stone. Truthfully, it was more exciting to hang out in the beautiful weather, with my coworkers. You can tell we were having a horrible time. The weather was just terrible.

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Oh, I ate a eat gigantic lobster along with some mussels and clams. Give me alllll of the New England food, please.

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Newport, why must you be so fantastic? *sigh*

2. Girl’s Night Out happened. Again.

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For the 3rd year in a row, a bunch of us got together, got silly, and drank waaaay too much.

This year we went to a super secret speakeasy (which, I loved – maybe I’m a hipster?), a rooftop bar where I managed to tweak my knee dancing (don’t ask), a bar where one of my friends almost won a twerking content (technically she did win because we got free shots), and a club/tattoo parlor (?) with stripper poles.

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I don’t even recall taking half of these pictures. For more fun check out Paula’s post...

3. The Girls’ Night Out plague is REAL.

The first year we went out, I ended up with an ear infection and a horrible summer cold. Last year,was just NOT a good year for a bunch of us. I was in a postpartum/baby haze, so I don’t really remember details. This year was GREAT, until we got home. One person has pink eye, another ended up with a stomach virus. While I didn’t get sick – B came home with stomach issues and E ended up with Coxsackie virus (OMG THIS VIRUS IS SO HORRIBLE).

What sucks? Coxsackie virus What doesn't suck? Hanging out with this guy. Just wish it was for a happier reason.

Poor baby.

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It does not keep him from being adorable though.

This week was exhausting. But it was worth it. Well, the hanging out with my ladies was worth it. The kids being sick though? Totally sucks.

Oh and one side effect of this whole ordeal is that E refuses to nurse (can’t blame him) — so we might be done. I’m still pumping (barely any milk) in the morning and at night – just in case this is a strike (he still loves the milk), but it’s not looking good. I never thought I’d wean this early (it’s early for me!) and without any kind of warning. My Dr. wasn’t kidding when he said “third kids tend to be a bit of a wild card.” The saddest/possibly most ironic part is that it’s during World Breastfeeding Week. Sigh. Bad timing.

4. I found myself a long-run running buddy!

Cut back week! 10 miles with Tyler. Running buddies are the best.

It’s funny because even though Tyler and have raced together — I never thought to harass him to come run with me. Although I think we are very similar in that we don’t necessarily NEED to run with anyone, but the company is always nice. He’s also training for Space Coast (you know that OTHER marathon I am running this year?).

5. I MET MY FUNDRAISING GOAL!!

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I actually had to change this writing my post because I received a donation from my aunt that tipped me over. Wooooo-hoo! One less thing to worry about. Now I just have to worry about running that race. #cuepanic

But in all seriousness — THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to all of you who have donated! I can’t wait to share my Chicago Marathon experience with all of you.

6. I finally FINALLY cut my damn hair.

Suddenly, I feel 5 yrs younger and 10lbs lighter. I also feel kinda like a douche taking a selfie in these sunglasses.

I’ve been procrastinating – but the last time I had my hair done was in JANUARY. I love it though and I love my stylist. She is seriously the best.

I’ve gotten a little wiser and scheduled my next appointment already. It’s 2 days before I leave for Chicago. I might have to go a little crazy… hmmmm.

7. If you need a good dystopian book to read, I’m currently reading/rereading the MaddAddam trilogy. I’m pretty sure I read Oryx and Crake years ago — but I have book amnesia.

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Apparently, it’s going to be a series on HBO, so you should read it now and throw in your friends faces when they get addicted to the series and want to know what happens. Not that I would do that.

And with that… it’s 9pm and time for bed. I have 14 miles in the morning, Taste of the Nation Orlando tomorrow night, and a whole bunch of other stuff in between.

What’s the last book you read? Where’s your favorite place to vacation? 

My Rock

I was contacted last week by Red Envelope — you know, the awesome site you visit when you need gift ideas? Yeah them. They didn’t contact me to test out a product, or give them rave reviews — but instead to promote their newest campaign — Thank Your Rock. It took me .4 nanoseconds (if that) to decide who MY rock is.

Yes, it’s always and forever this guy.

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I know…It’s an obvious choice. I didn’t just decide to marry him for funsies (although, our wedding WAS fun).

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But in all seriousness I could not do half of what I do without him by my side. He is my equal partner. He cleans, he picks up food, he chauffeurs, he baby wrangles. He tolerates my crazy and supports my early morning wake ups.

We’ve known each other since we were 18. We had a somewhat tumultuous relationship while were in college, because, well, we were in college. We were young, stupid, and naive. Oh the good ‘ol days when I didn’t have bangs and he did.

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As we’ve gotten older and wiser (ha!), we’ve found ways to keep our relationship interesting by traveling, having kids, and participating in key swap parties. (just kidding, just checking to see if you’re still reading).

While our relationship is far from perfect, Dan has always supported my decisions and acted as my sounding board. When I’m stressed out at work or something is bothering me – he listens. When I’m paranoid and anxious, he doesn’t tell me I’m crazy (I’m sure he certainly thinks it) – he make accommodations. To me, these gestures are more important than gifts or affirmations. Of course, my highest ranked”Love Language” is Acts of Services, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

So to Dan… thank you. Thank you for being there, sharing your life with me, and having these adorable kids with me.

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Thank you for supporting my running addiction, for making the coffee, for washing the 8 gazillion pounds of laundry, for not questioning me when I buy more makeup and more workout clothes,  for supporting me when the kids say I’m mean (we both know you’re the “fun” parent!), and for all the little things I recognize, but may never acknowledge.

E feels this way about Edward Cullen too.

Thank you for your friendship, you humor, your commitment to making me laugh every day, for taking pictures of me/us in weird places/at strange times without questioning it, and for doing Zumba in public with a baby on your shoulders.

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In short… Thank you for being my rock.

*you may all vomit in your mouth now*

Who is YOUR rock?

**I hate that I have to write this, but I wasn’t compensated for this post, nor was this post sponsored/affiliated. I just thought it was a really nice campaign that came with the opportunity to gush over a person I truly love.

Things I Keep Meaning To Tell You

Get excited for a whole bunch of random stuff… It’s time for another installment of things I keep meaning to tell you!

1. We’re two weeks out from Christmas and I’m feeling a little Scrooge-like up in here. We have yet to buy a tree or decorate. It doesn’t help that it’s freaking 85 degrees outside. Seriously Florida, get your shit together. Winter technically starts in 12 days.

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Did you know that it’s almost summer in Australia… and it’s the same temperature here as it is there? They are predicting that it’s going to be in the 70s on Christmas Day… which… just makes my heart shrink three sizes. If I start turning green, please let me know.

2. Amazon Prime is AMAZING.

This is my first Christmas with Prime and I think it’s pretty much paid for itself these last few weeks alone. Even though I’m feeling like Scrooge in the spirit department, I’m kicking ass in the gift department. I still have a few more items to cross off my list, but I think last year at this time I had purchased nothing. That’s a win right? I’m sure I will still wait until the last minute to wrap everything though. #procrastinatorforlife

3. Jackie and I took our girls to see Frozen a few weeks ago. At the time I was really ‘meh’ about going. It was right before Thanksgiving, I really had no desire to see it, and the showing was at Downtown Disney (which is about 45 minutes from me)… but I sucked it up because a) it was free and b) I needed a little girl time with Livie. Needless to say it was pretty great.

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Not only does Kristen Bell sing (along with Idina Menzel – who can really do no wrong – it’s so unfair that she can sing like that AND is married to Taye Diggs oops, apparently I jinxed that one), but I didn’t expect the end AT ALL. And it’s a FANTASTIC princess movie. Plus, the animation was gorgeous. And did I mention Kristen Bell? Anna is now officially my favorite Disney Princess *decorates walls* So, if you haven’t seen it – GO SEE IT NOW.

4. I’ve been reading A LOT but haven’t been telling you about it at all. So, here are a few of the books I recommend…

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

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This book was great. Seriously great. Read it!

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

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This book – wow. Made me paranoid, but at the same time it falls into the “More you know” category.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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A few people recommended this book to me and I thought it was OK. I didn’t bawl at the end like everyone told me I would, though.

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

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I really enjoyed this book – except the end. And it’s not that I hated the end — I just have mixed emotions.

Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan

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Another book where I enjoyed it thoroughly — until the end.

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham (yes, that Lauren Graham)

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I read this one at the end of my pregnancy/when Evan was a newborn — so it took an insanely LONG time to finish, even though I should have been done with it in two days. However, it’s cute and sweet and well written. I hope Lauren Graham continues to write!

I’m currently reading The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan and so far I’m sucked in. I am a pretty big fan of Amy Tan’s — although her last few books haven’t delivered, so I’m hoping this one changes things.

Anything I NEED to read next?

5. A book I don’t recommend is Allegiant. I was so disappointed by it and hated the ending. So much so that I’m not even going to do a full review (like I did with Divergent and Insurgent). It could have been great. Instead it sucked. Did ANYONE like it?

6. Race photos are fun, even if I always look like I am dying. Also, those shorts and socks really emphasize how long my legs are. In case you were wondering where I got my blog name from, here you go…

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Just out for a stroll.

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7. Evan just wanted to say “I”m still not sleeping!!!”

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Anyone want to come sleep train him?? Or maybe babysit him (and his siblings) on Saturday night? :)

On a happy note, he’s now sitting in a shopping cart and it’s kind of adorable.

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He also refused to look at me while I took these pictures. Probably because I’m already embarrassing him.

So, what’s new with you? Any book recommendations? 

Life Lately – Labor Day Edition

I am so need of a vacation from my weekend.

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I’m beat.

Is it REALLY a holiday weekend when you are working your ass off?

Truthfully, it wasn’t all bad – it was just long. Dan works in retail and Labor Day is one of the busiest holidays of the year, so it was mostly me and my crazies. They get REALLY crazy during holiday weekends too.

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There was also a visit from my brother…

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Clearly, Evan hates him.

A hang session with this squirrel (that I’m PRETTY sure is also living my crawl space/attic).

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This is as close as I will ever get to having a pet.

And a drive up to the middle of nowhere Umatilla to visit my mom.

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I’m just happy there was wine this year. And beer! Pumpkin beer, specifically.

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Let the pumpkin beer tasting begin. This one was excellent.

I really hate most things pumpkin (I know, it’s a blogger sin), but I REALLY love pumpkin beer. I’m currently having a beer-off… I’ll let you know how that goes.

Thanks to the gym’s childcare I managed to squeeze in some great workouts this weekend too – including this one from Paula

4 rounds and my legs can barely function (I added in planks too!). It only takes a half hour peeps!!

I used 30lb dumbbells for the deadlifts, 20lbs for the kettlebell swings, and I added a minute plank before the run. It’s three days later and my shoulders and legs still hurt. You should totally do it too.

I also tried to run 6 miles on the treadmill on Saturday and I just couldn’t make myself run more than 4. What is the secret of people who can runs for miles and miles on the treadmill? Somebody PLEASE share or sprinkle some magic running dust on me. I was so freaking bored I had to end it. I can’t wait until it’s cooler outside so I can complain about running outside again. At least it’s interesting.

In parenting of the year news, I gave my husband the baby while we were hanging out with friends on Saturday night and I turned around to see this…

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So, of course I took a picture of it. Baby’s first beer is a milestone in this family.

Five minutes later he looked like this.

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Lightweight.

Speaking of milestones – a year ago this weekend I found out I was pregnant. A YEAR! It goes by so fast. I have to admit, I thought the shock of having a third baby would have worn off by now – but it still kind of blows my mind. Sometimes I miss being pregnant (<–yes, I’m weird), but dang this kid is cute.

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Best shock ever. Yes, he was planned but I was still completely shocked when I saw that “plus sign.” And yes, that onsie is true.

I’m finishing the weekend (kind of) watching FSU football. I’m not ready to talk smack because we have a new QB this year — but as always, GO NOLES!

Game day selfie. #fsu #gonoles

And now that I have survived another holiday weekend –  my brain somehow needs to transform back into work mode. I only have three days of work this week (and a hair appointment on Friday – THANK GOD), but that’s three days to cram everything in. Wish me luck.