Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fleet Feet Racing Team Kick Off and Our Harlem Shake!

Well, the marathon is only 4 days away now!  It looks like the weather will be great (30s at the start)! I got a very informative packet in the mail and am using Tia's blog to learn even more about the race. I am getting excited about Little Rock!

My last long run was supposed to be 8 miles, but our racing team had its annual "fun run" and informational meeting last Sunday, so Rick and I decided to just make that our long run.  I knew it would be a fast run (it's hard to have that many fast guys do a "fun run" and go easy).  So I ended up with something like 6.5 miles at around a 7:20 pace (I am just going on what I remember Rick telling me that night).  Our group then had a nice catered dinner from Nothing But Noodles as we went over the policies and procedures for being on the team.

And then, we did the Harlem Shake!  Rick was so excited about this!  And the rest of the group really got into it too!  Here is the link.  Rick and I (luckily) are in the back.  Rick is wearing a green dragon cape, and I am wearing an orange hat and hitting him with a big pink bat.  This video just reminds me of what a funny group of runners we have on this team!  These guys and girls are all seriously fast and amazingly experienced runners with the craziest senses of humor!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Little Rock Training--Less Than 2 Weeks to go!

In my last post, I mentioned my concern for the closeness between Mountain Mist and Little Rock.  To be honest, I don't think it's that the races are too close together, it's that I let that fact affect my training and confidence.  I held back in a lot of training runs, when I got sick I rested A LOT (I did not take off from running, but I switched to the elliptical machine), and I excused a lot of slower running ("Well, you did just run an ultra!").  But in the last few weeks, I've done the best I could to follow Hal's Advanced 1 Marathon program for Weeks 15-17.

Week 15 (Week of February 3) 
Week 15 called for Hal's toughest week of training.  I tried to hang on as best I could all week long. 

I hit the miles for his 5 miler (8:08 average), 10 miler (8:01 average), and 5 miler (8:22 average) all called for in the beginning of the week.
On Wednesday (Thursday on his plan), I did the 8x800 workout, my only track workout since a 5x800 back at the beginning of January.  I estimated an 800 m distance in my neighborhood and ran repeats there: 3:23, 3:21, 3:25, 3:16, 3:12, 3:12, 3:11, and 3:11. 
February 8-Friday called for 10 pace miles.  I met a fellow Fleet Feet teammate, Kylie Lemon, on the dark, rainy, cold Friday morning, and we got them in in 7:22 average (aiming for 7:15, and the slowness was my fault, not hers).
February 9-I really did not feel like running 20 miles, but I ended up doing them in an 8:59 pace.  I started with Jane (first 11 miles), and without her help of ibuprofen, a bathroom stop for me, a refill of water at the end of our run, and a quick glance at her precious baby, I would not have finished this run!  Her company was great and helped pass the time.

Overall, I managed to get the miles in this week and a few Jillian Michael's DVDs too, but I felt tired and stiff for most of these runs.  I really struggled---Was this too much of a ramping up for me all at once?  Am I really still recovering for MM?  What pace should I realistically aim for in the marathon?

Week 16 (Week of February 10)
Thankfully, Week 16 went back down in the mileage, but I could still focus on the hill workout and pace run.  Rick went out of town, though, so I ended up doing the elliptical more this week and counted it as miles.
February 18-I met Jane for the hill workout.  The plan called for 6xhills, but Jane and I just decided to run up to the top of Rainbow Mountain instead, a run we call "The Dragon."  9:41 average for 10 miles.
February 15-Warm up of 8:17, then 7:09, 7:11, 7:09, 7:01
February 17-I went with Kylie to a really scenic spot. 7:15 miles for the first 10 and 7:35 cool down for 2 miles.  Kylie is great company to run with, and she pushes me to run faster.

Week 17 (Week of February 17)
Taper Week!  
Tempo--30 min
February 20-Warm up 7:57 and 3 miles: 6:40, 6:39, 6:39 (these are from memory since I don't have the Garmin right now).  
I'm about to head out for a run right now.  I love the short runs in the taper!

More later about my thoughts on Little Rock, pacing ideas, etc.  

Below is a picture from Christmas Break.  I bundled the kids for what I think may be one of our last double stroller runs together.  I don't like marathon training cycles that begin with weather like this, but we made it work!

Monday, February 4, 2013

How Mountain Mist Compares/Affects My Upcoming Little Rock Marathon

My Mountain Mist 50K time of 5:11:03 averages to 10:02 miles.  My marathon pace is 7:15 (for a 3:10).  A loose rule of thumb is that you can add 2 hours to your marathon time and get your Mountain Mist time. For the more elite runners, this is not the case, but I have found it to be a pretty good loose rule of thumb for me.  This year it happened to be almost exactly 2 hours difference from my recent marathon time.

Yes, a 50K (31 miles) is only 6 miles more than a marathon, but in Mountain Mist there are tough trails and major elevation change.  There are sections where most runners don't run.  I walk on the steep uphills (K-2, Waterline, and McKay Hollow---see below), and I walk into each aid station too (since I enjoy taking a short break and properly getting my bottle filled by the volunteers).  Though there are many rocky sections, I like running those (you just have to be careful where you land).  The last 1.8 miles of Mountain Mist are flat, and this year I was able to run them in 14:41, or an 8:09 pace.  I considered this to be a great accomplishment.  The rest of the race takes a toll by that point.  

 Oh, and here are the white trail shoes....before the race!

Rick and I never really focus on Mountain Mist the way we do a marathon.  I do not train specifically for that race except for a couple of trail runs and a couple of long runs.  For the marathon, I do many more pace-specific runs.  But after the race, I am more tired and spent than I am after a marathon.  I am more "beat up" too.  I have blisters, cuts, black toenails, and dirt ground into my heel that won't wash away.  I feel very tired all over my body, not just my legs.

Mountain Mist has really caused my marathon training to be all over the place for Little Rock.  I aimed at focusing on Little Rock, but just as I was getting into my grove with the training, I hit the taper for Mountain Mist.  I really didn't plan for Mountain Mist to be a goal race, but I still knew I needed a good taper for it if I was going to have the strength to run it.

And then last week was a recovery week.  Yes, the whole week!  I ended up getting a bug or food poisoning on the Tuesday after MM.  I felt very weak, nauseous, and lethargic for a few days---just as I was starting to feel better from the race.

I sound down about MM, but I am actually very happy that I finished and that I PRed this year.  Eight years worth of running the race has paid off in terms of my knowing how to run the race.  I will always love the challenge of this race and the memories it holds for me.  I don't have a streak at any race, but since I've run MM multiple times, I have many memories of earlier stages of my life when I ran the same trails.  Trail running almost forces you to be reflective as you look at nature all around you.  I think about who I was when I began running this race.  I am so different now.

But back to Little Rock.  At this point, I've only hit 3 or 4 key workouts for Little Rock.  I am still struggling to maintain pace on pace runs, and I haven't done many tempo or track runs at faster than pace.  So I'm thinking I may have to adjust my goal time for Little Rock.  For now, I plan to run as closely as I can to my training program and assess how I feel I've done in 2 more weeks.  While Rick is doing a program for "5 weeks between marathons," I am still doing Hal's Advanced program (just added MM to it as a long run and took last week to recover).

Today's 10 miler was the kind of run where I just wanted to quit, but I forced myself to press on.  I told myself to focus on only my breath (and not my legs which still feel tried).  I never got to where I was breathing hard, so I felt good when I forced myself not to think about my legs.  I also feel like my heart is very taxed from MM.  I've had to do other "tricks" to get myself to run fast these days.  To get my miles to pace a few weeks ago, I had to turn up my music very loudly and run laps around the track.  I know having to find all of these "tricks" to make myself go isn't good.  I feel tired and ready for a break.

On a better note, I taught Science to my preschoolers this week.  I either look very cool or very nerdy in this picture, but the kids loved it so that's all that counts!  We did an experiment with celery and colored water.