2015 Boston Marathon -> One Week to Go

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A week from today I’ll be running my 11th marathon – the 2015 Boston Marathon. After about 4-5 weeks of subpar runs and workouts, I’m more than thrilled to finally start to feel strong again. Runs are more enjoyable, my stride feels more natural and relaxed and I (finally) had a great workout last week.

Workout: 2 mile warmup, 8 mile AT tempo, 2 mile cooldown. Goal pace 6:55-7:05 for 8 miles. I decided to start on the slower end and see how I felt. The week prior’s workout of 4 x 2 didn’t leave me with a lot of confidence since even 7:00 pace felt difficult and uncomfortable.

I was on the treadmill for this workout again (husband was away). Incline was at 1% for entire run with occasional jumps (every 6-8 minutes) to 2% for 30 seconds at a time.

Splits: 7:08, 7:03, 6:58, 6:58, 6:55, 6:53, 6:48, 6:35. Average pace of 6:55. 

The run was definitely not easy but I hit the paces and felt stronger as the workout went on. So that’s a victory in my book.

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    It’s More Than Just Running

    fitness mag
    fitness mag

    Two quick things. First, check back on Monday – I am super excited to be hosting a VITAMIX giveaway!! One person will win a Vitamix S30 (retails for $500).

    Second, the boys and I are in the May 2014 issue of Fitness Magazine!! It was a special Mother’s Day edition of #motivationmoment!!

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    Each marathon teaches me a ton about myself and my approach to the distance. A PR or great finish time is exciting and kind of the point of a dedicated training cycle, but I’d argue that it’s not the the most important thing. If you are like me, there will mostly likely be another marathon in the next season. And so the real key is figuring out what worked and didn’t work so that the next training cycle can be stronger and more successful.

    In the week following any race, I try to replay it in my mind so that I can pinpoint things to improve upon. I made some changes after the 2013 NJ Marathon and then made more tweaks after Philly and again after LA (including some things I did differently during the taper which I already discussed in Wednesday’s post).

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      2014 New Jersey Marathon Recap

      The pain that is Mile 26 of  a marathon

      Sunday was a great day – and so close to being perfect (had I run just 27 seconds faster, I’d have a shiny new PR…so close, yet so far!). It was great for so many reasons – I ran smart. I didn’t bonk(!!).  I walked away with lessons learned, things to maintain and a couple of things to work on. And most importantly, I had fun.

      The more I race, the more I understand that a great race doesn’t always mean the fastest time on the clock. It’s about looking back on the race with ZERO regrets or saying I should have or could have done this. This was one of those races for me – something I haven’t experienced in the marathon since 2011. It gave me back confidence about myself, my ability to pace properly, to push hard when things got hard and to not give up.

      Race Week

      Before I get into the details of the race, I want to share some of what went on in the days leading up to the marathon. I did several things differently and plan to continue these for the next goal race:

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        2014 New Jersey Marathon

        Hi everyone! This isn’t the full recap of the 2014 New Jersey Marathon (I have LOTS to say) but wanted to give you a cliff notes version of the day in case you didn’t get my updates on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook =)

        I followed the plan I had talked about last week – ran mostly blind for the whole race (my watch beeped with the mile splits but I couldn’t see my pace during each mile) and focused on running smart and in control.  I initially started out with the 3:15 pace group but after some fast splits (7:21 and 7:13), I knew it was in my best interest to let them go and run my own race.  When I felt like I could go faster the first 18 miles, I held back – something I never have done during a marathon.  I crossed the half in 1:38 which was right around where I thought I could be.

        And then I hit the turnaround and met the wind. Oye vey. It was a sustained 16-17 mph headwind but there were some serious gusts that made me feel like I was running into a wall at times. Miles 19-26 were slower – but consistent – all around 8:05 (with the exception of one which was 8:27 – I walked through a water point so I could drink two cups of gatorade).

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          NJ Marathon – Take 2

          me and boys
          nj marathon 5

          2013 NJ Marathon

          Sunday will be my second attempt at the NJ Marathon. After last year’s bonking and DNF’ing (ugh), I thought I would never want to give this marathon another shot. I guess time makes the sting go away a bit because here I am…two days out from running the NJ Marathon.

          I have some times in mind that I’d like to run Sunday, but similar to the LA Marathon, I am really looking to just have a steady race.  Truth is, I am not totally sure what I am capable of running. I ran a lot of miles on the treadmill this winter. I wimped out a bunch during the brutal winter and then had to rely on the treadmill more than I wanted the last couple of months with my husband’s work schedule (he was gone for lengthy trips a handful of times). But rather than dwell on the “what ifs” or what I didn’t do, I’m focusing on what I DID these last 7 weeks (since the LA Marathon):

          • 2 x 20 milers, 2x 18 milers (including an 18 miler with lots of miles at goal pace)
          • First 80+ mile week
          • Changed up some workouts – did a few tough interval sessions
          • More cross training (tried to bike 2x/week for 30-45 min)
          • Lots of strength training and core work (hello Barre and Pilates!)
          • Tested out a new energy drink for race morning (super excited about this!)

          Sunday’s forecast is good and bad. The temps look okay (mid 40s at start, mid/upper 50s by finish) and it should be partly cloudy. The downside is that there could be a nasty headwind for the last 8 miles (16-20 mph). Out of my control so I’m trying not to stress about it.

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            Weekend Happenings and Training Catch Up

            aj and ryan4

            Happy Monday!! I started off this morning with a 20+ mile run. Truth be told, I had initially planned on getting this run in yesterday but after a jam packed, fun and exhausting weekend, I made the decision to postpone it one day. I felt that it was better to get more sleep and recover from the weekend’s festivities before I put my body through any more stress.

            I wanted the run to be outside which meant that the run had to happen before my husband had to go to work…which meant starting before 5am. That’s still a bit too early and dark to be running alone (for my liking) so I did the first 7 on the treadmill and then layered up (it was 38 degrees this morning!) and ran another 13.3 outside. I’m really happy with how consistent the splits were – 7:42 pace inside and 7:38 pace outside and with the exception of the first two miles of each, all miles were between 7:28-7:44.

            The 20 miles also capped off a great week of training and a great weekend with family and friends:

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              NJ Marathon Race Recap

              race start

              First, thank you SO much for all of your encouraging and supportive words on my last post – I’ve reread them over the last few days numerous times and they’ve helped put me back on the right track.  Physically, I feel great.  My legs were a little sore on Monday (not even 1/2 as sore as they were after the NYC Half in March), and by Tuesday felt recovered and strong again. Emotionally, I’m getting there.  I think it’s helping that I have the Ironman to focus on now – as much as I want a redemption race, it’s just not in the cards for me now.  The IM is rapidly approaching (11 weeks!!) so time is of the essence.

              So now the recap…it’s a lengthy one. I am writing this post in such detail because I want to remember every part – the good and the bad.  So if you plan on reading, you might want to get comfortable =)

              After a fun, exciting week in Atlanta and working with Mizuno (more on that later this week), my husband, boys, and I flew back to Newark Friday morning.  We landed just before 2pm and after a quick stop at my mom’s to say hi, arrived home by 6pm.  No unpacking.  No cleaning the house.  Basic, easy dinner of whole wheat spaghetti (with crushed red pepper and coconut oil).

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                Initial Thoughts on NJ Marathon (Failure)

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                So, yesterday’s marathon did not go as planned.  I didn’t hit my A, B, or C goals.  Instead, I got my first DNF (did not finish).

                Long story short (I’ll go into more detail in my next post).  I got charlie horse-like cramps just past mile 22 (my garmin said 22.5 but it was a bit off).  I felt like I could barely stand, let alone walk, so for me, there was no decision to even make…the race was over.  I don’t run marathons to say I ran “x” # so the idea of hobbling my way another 3.7 miles to the finish line just to say I finished (and potentially injure myself or force an extremely long recovery – neither of which would bode well for the IM in < 3 months) is not who I am.  The question I asked myself was “At what cost?” And in my opinion, the cost was too high.

                I will do a full race recap in the coming days because I’m still sorting through everything from the day. It stings too much when I think about it and I feel I need time to process it all.

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                  NJ Marathon Info!

                  race pacing

                  Hey everyone!! I have SO much to share with you regarding my week in Atlanta with Mizuno.

                  We are on our way home after a fun, exciting week but my mind is focused on one thing – the NJ Marathon on Sunday.  After months and months of planning, training, and imagining this race, it is finally here!

                  First, the race details.

                  • Date: Sunday, May 5th
                  • Start time: 8am
                  • Route:  It’s a mix between out and back and a loop.  The race starts by Monmouth Race track, heads north for a bit, over to the coastline by mile 10, then south for 8 miles with the turnaround just after mile 18 and heads back north for the final 8 miles.  

                  • Elevation: Virtually pancake flat (after my last few races have been in Central Park, this makes me VERY happy!)

                  The weather forecast looks almost too good to be true.  I’m still not celebrating because I know it can still change.  But right now, race day weather looks to be cool (~45-50 at race start), calm, and sunny.  One of my biggest worries leading up to this race has been the wind.  Before moving last summer, we had lived less than a mile from the SI boardwalk, so almost all of my runs would take place right on the coastline.  Most early mornings were calm, but the wind would often pick up (>15-20 mph winds) by mid-morning.  So far, race morning looks like it will have very little wind (~ 5 mph winds).

                  For everyone that has asked…if you want to track me, here is the link to sign up to receive alerts (you can get text, email, twitter updates).  My bib is #1023 in case you need it. There’s a part of me that is excited to know that all of my friends will be able to track me on Sunday, but a large part of me is starting to freak out about it. HA. 

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                    #BostonStrongSI + Taper Begins

                    bostonstrongSI

                    The #BostonStrong runs are being held tonight.  After I wrote about the one being organized in NYC, I made the decision to organize one in my hometown:

                    The FB event page is located here.  We have over 100 people running or walking in support of Boston tonight.  PowerBar is sponsoring us so there will be gels, blasts, recovery bars, and other yummy treats for pre/post run fuel.  Other runners from my hometown have arranged for local news stations to be present, newspaper stories to be written, and water to be provided.  SO, if you are in the NYC / SI area, please come out to Clove Lakes tonight at 6:30pm to show your support.

                    *As of Sunday evening, there are 112 cities participating in this GLOBAL event. It is truly amazing.

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                    I am officially tapering!! Still feels weird for me to say that.  I feel like the marathon crept up on me (so much so that I didn’t remember to book a hotel room and now they are all sold out!).  For so long I felt like the marathon was still off in the distance…and then I blinked and, boom.  It’s two weeks away.

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                      Two Weeks Off From Running + Scotland 10k this weekend

                      First ride in the wagon!

                      I loved reading all your comments on yesterday’s post – glad to know that my husband and I are not the only ones who struggle with both fitting in working out daily.

                      Ever have a day where everything seems to go your way?  Yesterday was one of those days for me.  Started with an amazing ~20 miles of the Lake Placid Ironman Course  on the trainer.

                      This DVD is amazing.  I am so thankful that Amanda recommended it to me.  My plan is to use parts of the DVD for at least one bike ride a week so that I can become intimately familiar with the course.  The bike course at LP is 2 56-mile loops.  This DVD takes you through one complete loop with Coach Troy with pointers and tips for the course along the way.

                      Both boys slept later than usual (6am for the oldest and 8am for the youngest) AND had joint naps (for a little bit) which allowed me to shower, work on training plans, respond to some emails, do  laundry, and clean the house.

                      Then I had a few deliveries.  First Fedex dropped two huge boxes off containing this:

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                        Spring Racing Decisions

                        I am signed up for the NJ Marathon on May 5.  I was registered last year, but deferred (for free!) when I became pregnant.   This IS my target race for the spring.  It’s a flat, fast course and I have big dreams of running sub-3:10.  This is ultimately what all of my training will revolve around.  I want all the races I choose to run to add to, not take away from, this goal.

                        But I have a dilemma.  I am toying with the idea of running either a March marathon or half marathon as preparation for NJ in May.  Here are my options:

                        Option A: Run the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon (or the B & A Trail Marathon) on March 16

                        • I would use this race as a test run before the NJ Marathon.  Truth be told, I haven’t “raced” a marathon since Boston 2009 – that’s almost FOUR years!! I ran the NYC Marathon in Nov 2011, but had to run the first half with four other runners (it was at a pace much slower than I’m used to running) so I didn’t get the opportunity to push myself for the full 26.2 miles.  I feel like using it as a test run could be a great idea – work out any issues I may have – fueling, water, clothes while also getting in the mindset of pushing for 26.2 miles.
                        • The NJ Marathon is 7 weeks after these two races, so there is plenty of time to rest/recovery, get a few good long runs, and taper again.
                        • This would require me to begin training NOW since the marathon is 15 weeks away.  Am I ready to begin putting in the long runs necessary for this?  I am not sure.  I’m still having a hard time being away from my boys – even for short runs (unless they are asleep).  And I’m not 100% sure I’m in the mindset of having long runs every single weekend.

                        Option B: Run a half marathon (maybe NYC Half?) mid-March

                        • This race could easily fit into my marathon training plan
                        • I have HUGE goals when it comes to the half (I want to take 3+ min off my previous PR of 1:34) so would love a chance to PR during marathon training
                        • The rest/recovery for this race would be much less than marathon (two weeks total as opposed to four) so I could focus on more long runs
                        • I wouldn’t have to start training for another few weeks (just after the holidays)

                        Part of me REALLY wants to run a marathon as soon as I can and I know I can definitely be ready by March.  But I’m not sure if doing one that soon would actually hinder my goals for NJ Marathon as opposed to help them.

                        What are your thoughts?  

                        Have you run marathons ~7 weeks apart?  Did you feel rested and ready to race again? 

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                          How to Run a Marathon while 20 Weeks Pregnant

                          nyc marathon

                          Spoiler alert…this post is NOT about running 26.2 miles all at once when you are pregnant!  I’m a believer in the everything in moderation thinking during pregnancy, so I will likely never run a marathon when I am expecting.

                          This past weekend, I ran the 26.2 miles over the course of 3 days.  Yes, I know I didn’t actually run a marathon by technical terms, but this is the closest I will likely get to running a marathon for the next 6-7 months!

                          One of the things I miss most about running when I am pregnant is the challenge…During pregnancy #1, I didn’t have any measurable goals for myself.  Yes, I wanted to stay healthy and active and run as far into pregnancy as I could, but there were no day-to-day or week-to-week goals.  I would run however far I felt up to running.  While this is definitely a great way to go about running during pregnancy, I found it boring and for months, felt like something was missing.  I missed the excitement of having a goal, having something to strive for, and then the euphoric feeling afterwards of achieving that goal.

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                            Do Yasso 800s work?

                            yasso

                            Two weeks ago, I gave the infamous Yasso 800s a try.  Bart Yasso, the Chief Running Officer (CRO) of Runner’s World and author of My Life on the Run, has created a workout that (many claim) predicts your marathon time.

                            Here’s how it works:  Want to run a 4:00 marathon?  Do 10x800m in 4:00 with an active (jogging) recovery of 4:00. Shooting for a 3:15 marathon?  Complete your 10x800m in 3:15 with a 3:15 active recovery. (*Note: Bart recommends incorporating Yasso 800s on a weekly basis in your marathon training plan – he suggests starting with 4x800m and working your way up to 10.)

                            I had never done this workout before but since I’ve been doing mile repeats on a pretty consistent basis I wanted to see how many I would be able to complete. I ran 8 repeats before my son woke up from his morning nap.  I am training for a 3:10 marathon, but was (overly?) ambitious and ran the repeats in 3:05 (with a 3:05 active recovery).  To be honest, I’m not sure I could have finished the last two – numbers 7 and 8 were extremely difficult and I almost stopped on the 8th one because I was dry heaving.  However, the NJ Marathon is 12 weeks away, so I should be able to complete the 10 well before the big day. 

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