Chicago Marathon Training – Month 1

I’ve been training for the Chicago Marathon for a month now. So far, I’m hitting my training schedule.

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I actually can’t believe I’ve already hit 18 miles. I still have 14 miles to run the rest of this week – and 10 on Saturday (since I’m not running on Sunday), but I should be able to hit them without a problem. I have to say, I’m pretty impressed about the mileage I did this month – and the consistency of my pace.

18 miles - Done! It wouldn't have been so bad if the heat index wasn't at 95 degrees the last 5-6 miles. It's going to make me stronger, right? #chimarathon #teamrmhc #crazy

Latest Garmin Selfie. That Garmin is just so photogenic.

I have a few rambling thoughts that I’m going to put into somewhat coherent bullets.

**Base training was worth it – adding an extra run each week and longer distances hasn’t been too bad. The longest I ran during base training was 12 miles (once), but for the 3 months I was in base-training mode it was mostly 7 to 8 milers, hitting 20-25 miles a week. I actually felt more aches and pains during this base training than I have since I’ve upped my mileage. Go figure.

**It’s f*cking hot. Ok, so that’s a given because a) it’s the summer and b) I live in Florida, but I don’t think I realized HOW hot it would be. I did this training 3 years ago and mostly avoided the sun because I had people to met at 4:30 in the morning. This time I’m running it on my own (I’m open to running with other though!) and it’s hard to leave the house. I actually get up pretty early (like 4 or 5) but then procrastinate.

**3/1 Long runs are hard (but probably worth it). For my long runs I’ve been running the first 3/4 of the run at a pace between 10-10:15 minute/mile — and then the last 1/4 at race pace – 9:30 (or a little slower if the heat index is 100 degrees). I feel like it serves two purposes – teaches me to reserve my energy AND gets me to run faster on tired feet/legs.

**Running 4 days a week isn’t bad. When training for Savannah, I ran 3 days a week – but ALL of those runs were intense. I did a long run, a tempo run, and speedwork. I did not enjoy a single run. This time around, the runs are less intense, but I’m hitting my tempo run and hitting my mileage. I’m also just enjoying the miles. Some might call them junk miles, but I consider it time on my feet and a great way to get rid of stress.

**Ducks are really the cutest birds ever. Every morning I see ducks, ducks, and more ducks. I would be lying if I said they didn’t make my day. There was one day where I witness the world’s longest duck crossing. Sadly, a car came and broke it up (no ducks were injured – turns out, ducks are pretty smart about cars) – and a few of the ducks left behind were so angry/confused. I’m considering starting duck blog I love these damn ducks so much (not really).

Just out for a jog. #seeonmyrun #ducksofinstagram #hopetheyarentoffendedisaidjog #wooendorphins

Today's run was meh, but at least I felt like the duck posse was cheering me on. #seeonmyrun

**Ice baths hurt a lot less when you’re already sitting IN the bath and then you get “iced.” Yes, it’s taken me 36 years to learn this trick.

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Don’t get me wrong, ice baths are still pure torture, but they are a good kind of torture because I can walk (even run!) the next without issue.

**The best part of running in the middle of the summer in Florida (which is kind of like an oxymoron, right?) is the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.

So pretty. So f*cking hot. #seeonmyrun #wooendorphins #pardonmyfrench

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Happy Friday! What a peaceful sunrise... balancing out the crappy humidity. #seeonmyrun #wooendorphins #teamrmhc #whyamimarathontraininginthemiddleofthesummer

It never gets old.

**Falling still sucks. I fell during my 2nd long run (at mile 2.75). I managed to shake it off and keep going, but it really sucked and I felt the after effects for a few weeks (the bruising on left hip was pretty bad – as was the scrape on the inner pad of my right hand – I have NO idea how that happened).

Long run #2 and I had a meet up with the pavemen at mile 2.75. I'm banged up pretty bad, but at least I didn't have to get stitches! #chimarathon #teamrmhc #klutz

I also now really paranoid about sidewalks, so I try to run on the road as much as possible. Turns out that not a bad idea because I run faster and more efficiently on the road. Who knew?

**Bring on the carbs! Actually, my appetite is super weird. Long run days I crave food, but get full really fast. Rest and bootcamp days I eat the most. Is this normal?

**Since I’ve hit 14 miles on my long run, I’ve worn my Nathan Endurance vest on my long runs. I feel like I have a love – hate relationship with this thing.

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This is my trying not to die while foolishly taking a selfie because I’m an idiot face.

I love the ease and accessibility of my fuel/water – and I’ve finally gotten to the point where it actually feels comfortable to wear it – but I hate, hate, HATE the straps touching me while I run. Now I could wrap them up all neatly, but that is SO unrealistic and not going to happen. Instead I spend half of my trying to fix them so I don’t feel them. It is just me?

**I have the best cheerleaders waiting for me at home. Every single time I get home from a run I get cheers and applause. And also sometimes I get this…

Better than a medal any day.

**I need more pop-culturey running shirts.

Just got back from a 5-miler with Castiel. I hope he didn't get any bugs in his mouth like I did. (Thanks @eatwatchrun for the awesome birthday present!) #spn #extraprotein #wooendorphins

Running with Castiel is the best. Thanks to Paula for this fantastic birthday gift.

And that’s pretty much it for the first month.

14 disgustingly humid miles done (I wish that gigantic rain cloud would have just rained!). I met a turtles, gave dirty looks to more than 10 bikers riding on the sidewalk, and didn't fall. #chimarathon #teamrmhc #wooendorphins

TL;DR — I ran a lot, I feel once, I saw a lot of sunrises, sunsets, and ducks, the heat really sucks — but it’s ALLLLLL worth it. Hopefully. Also, 1 month done… 2 more

Favorite pop-culture tee/tank? I might have to get an “I Am Groot” shirt next… more about that in my next post.

A DNS, Piriformis Exercises, And Where I’ll Be

I was supposed to run a half marathon last Sunday, but after a week full of events (and the inability to pick up the race packet on race day)…

Last day of school! They are definitely ready for 3rd grade and Kindergarten. #wheresthepausebutton

It's official

Ready to rock this show.

I decided to skip it. Yeah, that’s my first real DNS (Did Not Start). I actually emailed to ask if I could switch my registration to “Virtual” but I never got a response. Oh well.

A part of me was a little bummed, but the other part (the part that got to sleep in) said, “eh – life happens”  I ended up going to a spin class instead — which was exactly what I didn’t know I needed. I haven’t been to spin in probably 6 months, so it was nice to change things up. I feel like it kind of “reset” my muscles a little too — or maybe I just used a few muscles that are neglected when I run.

I'm obnoxious. #wooendorphins

Not neglected? Neon colors.

Actually, a few weeks ago my piriformis started acting up on my left side. It wasn’t like “OMG I AM INJURED!!” but more like “WHY DO I HAVE THIS HUGE KNOT FEELING IN MY ASS???” It mostly bothered me when I was sitting at work, which is pretty much the entire day, so yay.  Spinning this weekend really helped as well as this really bizarre exercise that I found while Googling — Neural Flossing. Dr. Google can be dangerous, but sometimes it does have the answers.

1 million views on this dude’s goofy video can’t be wrong!

So, yeah, I started neural flossing every day and that, combined with the cross training, my aches and pains are now minimal. The LAST thing I need is to be injured before marathon training even starts (which is in TWO WEEKS – did I happen to mention that recently?!!).

Oh, in celebration of marathon training starting up – I am taking the next two weekends off from long runs.

If you need me I’ll be at the beach Celebrating Father’s Day…

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Partying hard and celebrating getting old(er).

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This was from our (for real) 29th birthday. It was only 7 years ago, but DAMN we look young!

I’ll also be neural flossing on the couch, watching the 2nd season of OITNB.

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And every episode (to date) of Downton Abbey.

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 Lady Violet is a delight.

So, you know, important stuff.

Marathon Training WITHOUT Speedwork

I haven’t 100 % fully committed to a marathon plan yet – but there’s one element of my plan that’s been decided: NO SPEEDWORK.

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But how do you expect to shave 15+ minutes off your PR, Michelle?  (my imaginary internet friends are asking)

Good question!

First let me defend my choice… While I really dislike speedwork, it’s not about love or hate… it’s all about my ankles. The peroneal tendonitis in my right ankle to be specific. I can either run higher mileage – or I can do speedwork, but I can’t do both.

I DO think you have to run fast in order to get faster, but I also think I’m capable of running a 4:15 marathon without it.

So what DO I plan to do?  (the imaginary internet friends are still skeptical)

*I’ll be running higher mileage than my first marathon, for starters. For Savannah, I peaked at 30-35 miles. That’s really not THAT high. Actually it’s pretty low, although it’s also not horrible for only running 3 times a week. For Chicago, I’m hoping to peak at 50-55 miles and run at least 4 times a week – with one of my mid-week runs between 7-10 miles.

*I’m planning on incorporating Hal Higdeon’s 3/1 Runs into my long runs —  where the last quarter of a run (so 4 out of 16, 5 out of 20) I will be running at a faster pace (although not necessarily race pace). I tested this out with my 12-miler this weekend. I ran the last 3 miles at a faster pace and I was surprised I could do it. Apparently I just need to apply myself (nope.. never hear that one before).

*And then of course, I plan on running some runs at marathon pace… if I can tolerate running a 9:30 pace in ridiculous humidity.

*I also plan on running the majority of my runs OUTSIDE. I spent a lot of time on the treadmill during marathon training last time – and I can’t say I enjoyed it or that it was really THAT helpful.

*I’m going to continue to do strength training. While I’d like to do two strength training workouts a week – I will be happy with one. Squats, Kettlebell Swings, and Deadlifts have been ESPECIALLY helpful this past year while I’ve transitioned from postpartum blob into a badassmotherrunner (that’s sarcasm, but I’m serious about the strength workouts) – and I’m not giving those up.

*And finally… I’m going to live every week like it’s shark week. Duh.

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I will probably be getting up earlier than ever. I predict I will be hungry 24/7. I already know I’m going to be tired — but when I cross the finish line at Chicago (regardless of a PR or not – but definitely a PR) I know it’s going to be worth it!

And if it DOESN’T work? At least now I’ll know — and the next time I train I’ll focus on speedwork — but not mileage. You never know until you try, right?

Have you trained without speedwork?

Do you have imaginary friends?

What’s your favorite {upbeat} song right now? I need some new music.

#RunWithMe

It’s hard to believe, but I started running 4 years ago. L was E’s age and *shocker* she wasn’t sleeping through the night. I was tired and struggling to squeeze in exercise. I wanted to find a workout that required as little prep time as possible , including driving to and from the gym – and I knew I could run. I couldn’t necessarily run FAR, but I knew my body could handle at least 5-6 miles. Around that time, Paula mentioned to me that she was signing up to run Disney’s Inaugural Wine and Dine Half. There was food AND wine after a half? Sign me up! The rest is history… or at the very least documented on this blog.

Why am I reminding you of this? Tribesports asked me to spread the word about their awesome #RunWithMe campaign. They are trying to spread their LOVE and grow their brand.

I picked 5 pictures that I thought represented what running means to me – and they turned it into a gif.

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So obviously to ME running means sweaty selfies, PR bell kissing, the Garmin, Jazz Hands, and the Running BFF.

They can also do the same for you. Check out their page - it has instructions on it explaining how anyone can have their own #RunWithMe story made up. While’ll you’re there —  take a quick survey about the companies newest clothing products that are going to be hitting their website soon (2-in-1 shorts for men and sports bras for women).

And this just isn’t a post about creating gifs! Tribesports was also kind enough to send me a pair of their new 2-in-1 shorts and Performance Tech Tee to test out.

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While I haven’t worn the 2-in-1 shorts yet, I really LOVED their Tee. It was crazy lightweight, breathed in the right places, and was the perfect length. I actually wish they had this tee in multiple colors (maybe some orange, pink, and purple? :)).

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I felt compelled to pose like this. At least you can see that the shirt doesn’t ride even when you look stupid.

They would be PERFECT for my summer marathon training (I know I keep bringing it up, what seriously what as I thinking training in the middle of the summer in Florida??).

In five words, what does running mean to you? Even if you don’t run, I bet you can find five words to describe it.

**In full disclosure, Tribesports created the GIF and sent me their products, but the opinions and stupid poses are my very own.**

This Post Is Full Of Excuses

I typically do my long runs on Sundays, but this weekend I’m full of excuses. I was READY to do 10-12 miles today. I went to bed at 10 (TEN!). My clothes were waiting, my gear was laid out, and my alarm was set. But then a little thing called Evan kept waking up and by the 4th wakeup  (which included a wardrobe change) at 5am (I was planning on getting up at 6), I decided to throw in the towel and sleep.

Sidenote: We definitely believe in tough love when it comes to sleep, and we have done plenty of crying it out (even last night). I think being sick, combined with with worst diaper rash on the planet (thanks antibiotics!), gearing up to walk (!!!) and kicking off another leap has him all out of sorts. In fact, I’m writing this right now as he refuses to nap despite being exhausted!

So yeah. I got up at 7:45 and by then it was already too hot to run. It’s been in the 90s here, because… Florida. All morning I contemplated running at night vs. running on the treadmill. Truthfully? I didn’t want to do either. So in the end, I decided to change up my running this week and NOT do a long run. I KNOW! I AM LIVING LIFE ON THE EDGE. Instead, I’m going to see how I do running consecutive days. I usually only run 3 days a week. Not for any particular reason. So, I’m changing it up.

TodayI ran a “quick” 4-miler (8:10 pace) on the treadmill (that was like TORTURE) and squeezed in a 20 minute workout that surprisingly kicked my ass. I was running short on time, but I assure you that you don’t need a lot of time to have a workout make you insanely sweat, turn you into jelly, and exhaust you.

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*I’m not a personal trainer, so I won’t tell you what weights to use but I use 12lbs and 15lbs*

So the rest of the week? The plan is to run 5 miles Monday, 7 miles Wednesday, 3 miles on Thursday, and 3 miles on Friday (with my bootcamp class on Saturday).

And if I write about it on the internet, it will happen.

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How often do you run? Does if help you to run more or less during a week (aka – what am I missing out on here)?