October 2018: Did I pass?

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October was a lot less busy than September, and after a couple of months of travel — mostly fun stuff — I was ready for a slower pace. If you follow me on Instagram here, you know that I did run a half marathon on Cape Cod this weekend. In a Nor’easter.

 

I was with one of my running buddies — not to mention 50+ of my new best running buddies from Another Mother Runner.

Getting in scheduled runs
I did it, but while I was looking for faster paces as Fall finally arrived, it seemed I was slowing down instead. And tired, oh so very tired. And yet there was the 10k PR. ūüôā My half was not a PR, not a huge surprise in those conditions, but it was quite a bit faster than the last time I ran a windy (albeit dry) half, so I’m quite happy with it. I’m giving myself an A+ for sticking it out in those nasty conditions.

Grade Earned:  A+

Recording my runs
Oy! It always seems like Fall gets me. I’m tired because I’m at the end of months of hard training, daylight is vanishing, and all I want to do is go to bed. At least most of the time I get it on the blog.

Grade Earned: C

A couple of rainy races messed with my dynamic warmups

Dynamic Warmup
There wasn’t much of a warmup before that 10k, but there was a little bit — although I skipped the warmup mile; obviously the race didn’t suffer. Mostly I’ve been pretty good about it. I did warm up before my half, because it was a short walk from our hotel to the start.

Grade Earned: A-

Foam Rolling
I’d say we’re about 90% here. Every once in a great while I do skip it, and then I always regret it. Stay tuned on the foam rolling front, I have stuff to share there eventually!

Grade Earned: B+

It was all yummy, but I think it’s still sitting around my tummy!

Nutrition
After months of travel and racing I’m at a weight that isn’t quite comfortable for me. You probably wouldn’t notice anything but I do. I don’t go crazy, but between being short, on the other side of menopause, a stressful year . . . it’s oh so easy to let the pounds inch their way up. I’m fighting it.

One of the ways I’m fighting it is by switching up my snacks. I love sweet snacks. Who am I kidding, I like sweet everything!¬† And sometimes I still do sweet snacks. But I’ve also been snacking half a sandwich on sourdough with canned salmon mixed with hummus. Don’t knock it til you try it!

Grade Earned: B+

Support

  • Massage? No.
  • Chiropractor Appointment? Yes.
  • Do I need a hair appointment? Soon. Very soon.
  • I did an epsom salt foot soak!

Grade Earned: A-

Cross Training
I’ve continued to be pretty strong on the strength training front, but most other cross training is lacking. It seems every time I would normally swim I have a vet appointment or something else in the way of getting to the pool

I have used the stationary bike, but not as much as I should. When it’s a choice between that and actually getting in some strength training, the ST always wins.

Grade Earned: B-

October 2018  gets  . . . 
. . .¬†an¬†B+. It was definitely a good month, but some things are just not getting done. And I know I’ll regret it later.

October Goals:

    • Continue to Prehab. Y.¬†As always, something is always better than nothing. Some days I even did it before running and then later n in the evening, too.
    • Strength train 2-3 x week. Y.
    • Some extra Core TLC. Y & N.I do work my core, but I think I need to make it more of a priority again. I started out the month pretty strong with it but began to skip it more towards the end of the month. I still work my core, but hadn’t been working it a bit extra.
    • Foam roll — really foam roll. Y.¬†At least, I thought I was doing good until the Trigger Point class at the retreat!
    • Chiropractor visit. Y.
    • Swim! N.
    • Greens daily. Y & N.Almost daily, but slipping a bit here, too. Hello, soup season!
    • Berries daily. Y.¬†It may be time to modify this a bit. Of course berries are super healthy, but they’re also no longer in season. Frozen is great, of course.
    • Meal plan on the weekends! Y.¬†Even with a few crazy weekends, I’ve started to meal plan again. I don’t need to prep quite as much, since I don’t work, but planning on the weekend still makes a big difference for me.¬†

Which leads me to November Goals:

    • Continue to Prehab. As always, something is always better than nothing.
    • Strength train 2-3 x week.
    • Some extra Core TLC. I do work my core, but I think I need to make it more of a priority again.
    • Foam roll almost¬†daily. I’d really like to say daily, but I just know that won’t happen. Can I work those knots out?
    • Swim! Before it gets too cold & I am totally unmotivated.
    • Play around with savory snacks (and report back on them!).
    • Meal plan on the weekends! Much easier to shop and eat well when I have a plan.¬†

I’m linking up with with¬†MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and¬†My No Guilt Life¬†for the¬†Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

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This week I am also joining up with¬†Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs¬†each¬†week for¬†the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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Couch to Active: Book Review + Giveaway

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There’s a good chance that you’re intimately acquainted with Couch to 5k if you read my blog. You’re probably already pretty active.

But do you struggle with your motivation? Is it still hard to get out the door — to run, to get to the gym, or even simply get out on your lunch hour to walk?

Whether you’re struggling with that motivation and family responsibilities, or you want to just get more active in general, Lyn Lindbergh has an 8 week plan that will literally walk you into walking (or running, or swimming, or biking) more!

Read on to find out more about the book and to enter to win a copy for your very own!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my hones review. All opinions are my own.

Book Overview
It’s an eight week plan so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s broken down into eight chapters:

  1. The Basics. Check in with your doctor, start slow, be mindful of where your body is at now, not where you want it to be, don’t compare yourself to others, schedule it.
  2. Reach Out. Tell your loved ones why this important to you, make it fun, and don’t forget to thank your loved ones for supporting you.
  3. Breaking Barriers. Where you figure out why you’re not already doing what you know you should be — even advice to just accept that your body won’t be where you want it to be and no one cares but you.
  4. Solve It. Figure out what barriers you can actually solve, how to deal with naysayers (or not, really), and solutions to make sure you will follow through.
  5. Own It. You are an active person — just own it, how you are healing yourself, and why sleep is important.
  6. Radical Change. There’s no surprise — or shame — that there are just barriers to fitness we can’t break through. Work your way through what can’t change, and what needs a major change to have a break through.
  7. Your Next Two Years. Make a plan, consider the times of year when it will be tough to be active, and how to deal with the inevitable setbacks.
  8. Celebrate. You have broken through your barriers and become an active person. We do what we’re rewarded for — so celebrate your success!

There are also recommendations for how to schedule exercise — not the actual exercises, but when to do cardio, strength training, rest, etc. — whether you’re doing this because your doctor says you have to or you’re already very active and everything in between.

There are planners by month (including space for holidays, so you know when something is coming up) and by week.

There is also a list of all the affirmations in the book (there are many!) broken down by chapter.

How it’s all broken down
You’re a busy person; Lyn’s a busy person — she gets it. Each chapter is broken down into multiple small sections with short assignments to work through. The assignments would, and should, take some time, but most of the sections are less than five pages.¬†

Lyn’s not just preaching at you, she gives real world examples from her own life and from people she’s worked with — and then she prompts you to work through the assignments — because she knows that just reading about something won’t motivate you off that couch — you have to put in the work. If you put in the work, the program will work! Simple, right?

There are also many affirmations throughout each chapter. I’m personally a huge fan of affirmations and believe that you can never have too many. Don’t just read them — write the ones that speak to you on a post it and put it somewhere you’ll see it every day.

Who is this book for?
Anyone. Whether you’re looking to get off the couch or you just need strategies to deal with whatever is keeping you from exercising or you need to work on consistency and motivation, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

I also think personal trainers might get a lot out of Couch to Active, too.

Win a copy of Couch to Active for yourself!
I have one copy of the book to give away. Enter to win here.

I’m linking up with with¬†MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and¬†My No Guilt Life¬†for the¬†Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

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This week I am also joining up with¬†Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs¬†each¬†week for¬†the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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Great Pumpkin 10k Race Recap 10/13/18

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This year I got to ride with friends so there was no mad dash to make it to the starting line like last year (read about it here). We had a fairly large group, with most doing the 5k, but this year there were a couple of friends doing the 10k, too. It’s always fun when you have friends cheering you into the finish line.

Packet Pickup
We all picked up our packets the day of the race this year, with no issues. Even my friend who’d registered after the tee cut off time got her tee.

In 2017

The weather & dressing
It was fifteen degrees cooler than last year’s race, which would have been fantastic — if there hadn’t also been a cool drizzle going on for pretty much the entire race.

Major drop in temps a year later. And this is the only photo I took since it was raining.

I wore my Skirt Sports Wonder Wool Tee (Skirt Sports Ambassador) under a Tough Chick Top and a Skirt Sports Charmed tight.

My Race Plan
I didn’t bother to ask Rachel @ Runningonhappy¬†for a race plan (again). But Another Mother Runner just happened to run an article about 10ks recently, so I based my plan at that: shooting for an average of a 11:00 mm, I planned to go out at around 11:10 – 15, try to run 11 the next three miles, then see if I could pick up the pace the last two.

I did not look up my 10k PR or last year’s race — but I did know that the hills start when the 10k splits off from the 5k (you all start together).

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 10:58. A slightly fast start but nothing that would come back to haunt me.
  2. Mile 2:¬†11:09. Relatively flat. So just switch mile one and two and I’m right on track.
  3. Mile 3: 10:39. A slow decline and oops! Definitely way faster than I’d planned to run it..
  4. Mile 4:¬†10:40. A long decline and a long incline — I guess the decline must have been longer! The hills were already draining my energy.
  5. Mile 5: 11:19. Mostly a long hill, plus quite a bit of wet pine needles and pine cones that you need to be careful on. I got to see Running Buddy J here & shouted some encouragement. Definitely a tough mile.
  6. Mile 6: 10:47. Mostly downhill.
  7. Last .16: 10:45. And a sprint to the slightly uphill finish with my friends cheering me in.

1:07:14 — Official Time
10:50 Average Pace
6 out of 9 in F55-59
249 out of 321 Runners

Previous Years:
2017:¬†1:08:39 ‚ÄĒ Official Time, 11:03 Average Pace

Yes, it was both a 10k PR and a course PR. I met my goal although I didn’t quite follow my plan. Hills always make it hard for me to pace myself! A really good tune up race for my half in two weeks, which supposedly is rolling hills.

Was the race well run?
The race was extremely well marked and there were plenty of course marshals even on a cool, rainy day. There are a lot of refreshments after, but there’s a long line (even though the 5k was long finished!) and we skipped them (I had a protein bar with me). One of our group placed in her AG — I was definitely envious of her pint glass, but I was nowhere near placing in mine, even though there weren’t a lot of us.

Since I’m now a *little* familiar with the race, having run it two times, and went with friends, we had no problems with parking. If you miss the first entrance with the Great Pumpkin sign (we did, actually), do yourself a favor and turn around — you can thank me later. Otherwise you may have trouble finding the appropriate parking lot.

The real bathrooms at the pavilion are always a treat — and there are portapotties if you don’t want to wait on line, too. There’s a coat check, too, which Running Buddy J and I took advantage of. So my throwaway fleece lives to grace another race.

Positives:

  1. Such a pretty park to run through, especially in the Fall.
  2. Real bathrooms.
  3. A well marked and well directed course.
  4. Nice long sleeved tech shirt.
  5. The entry includes a free raffle ticket — unfortunately I didn’t win anything (again!).
  6. Running with friends.
  7. A PR is always sweet.

Of course no race is perfect. The downsides:

  1. The weather (although it wasn’t that bad).
  2. The pavilion is too small for all the runners! Thankfully it wasn’t pouring.
  3. Hilly.
  4. The paths, for the most part, are quite narrow. And speaking of running with friends, two moms were running with their strollers, keeping together. While I was happy they had each other, I was not happy that they took up the entire path. And with my run/walk, I’d pass them, then fall behind, then have to pass them again . . . and again . . . maybe I was petty, but it was annoying. Then there was another mom pushing a stroller, who stopped to tie her shoe, and the stroller started to roll into the woods . . . runners closer to her alerted her and as far as I could tell her kid was just fine — never saw that before!

What I learned
Good question. I guess that I will probably never execute a race plan perfectly. I didn’t learn this, but it’s a good reminder — I really have a lot of trouble pacing myself on a hilly course. And always carry something to eat after the race — you can’t always rely on race food.

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This week I am also joining up with¬†Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs¬†each¬†week for¬†the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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Ocean City Half Marathon Race Recap 9/30/18

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I went into this race half believing I could push through the heat — after all, my last two long distance races had been even warmer — and half believing it wouldn’t be my day. If you follow me on Instagram here, you know it was the latter.

A tentative smile at the hot, sunny start

Many have assured me of the fact that finishing is winning, don’t be too hard on yourself, yadda yadda (not making fun of your comments, I appreciate them all!). I had wanted to do this race since stopping in Ocean City on my way down to ZOOMA Annapolis three years ago (read about it here — that was one of my hottest — and worst — races —¬† apparently Ocean City is a jinx for me! — but I still love it). In case you’re wondering, I did enjoy my race weekend.

Did I psych myself out? Read on and find out what I learned from this half marathon.

You run over this bridge . . . twice.

Packet Pickup
Compared to my last few long distance races this was actually a “large” race — which is to say there were more than just a few hundred runners. Packet pickup was easy, although just a little confusing because it was supposed to be at the Sneaker Shop when in reality it was at the Paint & Sip (not sure of the real name, and being a dry town, no sipping going on) adjacent to the sneaker shop. A sign would have been nice.

There’s an envelope with your tee and your bib and pins and that’s all she wrote.

No expo at all, but as I said, it does take place next to a small running shoe store — you might be able to find something if you’ve forgotten it.

Getting There & Hanging Out
We had, again, chosen a hotel within walking distance of the starting line. The Harris House Motel was a very serviceable hotel — nothing fancy, but clean, and met my requirements: able to walk to the starting line, a microwave and mini fridge. There was also a very nice pool, but alas, I never did manage to use it; the hotel was also quite close to the boardwalk and beaches.

I was able to use the bathroom in my hotel room, again avoiding portapotty lines, and run to the start (while Mr. Judy carried over my hydration vest for me). I took off my Skirt Sports bolero, which I no longer needed, donned the hydration vest, and sent Mr. Judy on his merry way to attempt to get photos of me at the beginning of the race.

If you do go, be aware that there is a Bike ride to benefit MS on Saturday, the day before the race. A little synchronicity as we’d stopped to have lunch with Mr. Judy’s cousin, who has MS, on the way down. A large bike ride. They close off half the bridge heading onto the island. It took way longer to get into Ocean City than we’d anticipated. I’d read, but not really noticed, this detail in the runner info. We’d actually driven most of the way down on Friday, but decided to stop about an hour and a half north of OCNJ to stay the night, which just added lots of frustration and time on Saturday.

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Totally fake smile

The weather & dressing
The weather is what got me — or more specifically, the lack of clouds. My 18 mile race was actually warmer and more humid, but there was cloud cover almost the entire race — apparently I can do a hot race if it starts early,¬† has cloud cover, or is a dry heat. I’m happy that I had the better weather for my 18 mile race.

And I wore exactly what I wore for my 18 mile race (read about it here): the Wonder Girl Tank in Temper Tantrum and Cool It Skirt; Newton Distance on the feet.

This time there was zero chafing. Anywhere.

Loved running on the boardwalk

My Race Plan
I told Rachel @ Runningonhappy that I wanted a race plan (AP = actual pace & RP = race plan), which she provided, but unfortunately I could tell as soon as I started running that this would not be my day and the plan went out the window. The good news is I have one last half this year that I can use the same plan for.

I had been seeing lots of butterflies everywhere lately. By this point I’d pretty much given up on pace so figured why not take a selfie with the butterfly on this post.

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 11:01 AP/11:00 RP. The start was very narrow and congested and there was just no way to even weave. It did prevent me from going out too fast, because I definitely could have run this mile faster.
  2. Mile 2: 11:03 AP/10:55: RP. Mile 2 began to open up a little and I noted that there was actually shade (about the only shade on the course). I also had pretty much realized today was not going to be my day.
  3. Mile 3: 11:16 AP/10:55 RP. There is quite the bridge here, but I felt I dealt with it fairly well. Oddly my Garmin shows an elevation gain of 2 ft for the entire race. I’m quite certain I gained a lot more than 2 ft on this bridge — what’s up with that? Otherwise it is a totally flat race. On a cooler day that would have been kind to me.
  4. Mile 4:¬†10:57 AP/10:45 RP. I think this was where I sprinted to catch up with a woman wearing Skirt Sports to chat with her; you also come back over the bridge — the two things together gave me my fastest mile.
  5. Mile 5: 11:37 AP/10:45 RP. I was still in the race. Sort of.
  6. Mile 6: 11:47 AP/10:45 RP. I believe this is where we got onto the boardwalk, and I actually quite enjoyed running on the boardwalk. Although the smell of popcorn (and I love popcorn) was totally nauseating to me by this point.
  7. Mile 7: 11:49 AP/10:45 RP. I think this may have been where the first cooling station was — I was on the right, so stopped to grab a cold towel from them, but they weren’t ready, so I had to go over to the left.
  8. Mile 8: 11:57 AP/10:45 RP. I remember thinking that if I could just have an 11-something pace it wasn’t too bad . . .
  9. Mile 9: 12:29 AP/10:45 RP. . . . and then thinking that anything with a 12 in front of it wasn’t so bad . . . by now the wheels began to come off.
  10. Mile 10: 12:47 AP/10:45 RP. Although I was carrying my own water (and oddly I didn’t drink enough of it), I was stopping at every water stop to grab water and pour it over my head, the back of my neck, my wrists.
  11. Mile 11: 13:16 AP/10:35 RP. Flat. Forward is a pace. Seriously, that’s what I told myself. I think it was at this mile that I grabbed some ice and shoved it down my bra. I wish I could say it made me feel better.
  12. Mile 12: 14:12 AP/10:25 RP. Back on the boardwalk. Not only had the wheels come off, I couldn’t even find them anymore. I was walking most of this mile. Hey, for me a 14 mm while walking is a good pace.
  13. Mile 13: 13:59 AP/10:15 RP. Still mostly walking, but I managed to run a bit more. I absolutely hate it when I give up my run/walk intervals and mostly walk. It wasn’t really that it was a super hot day, but it was warm, relentlessly sunny, and by now it’s after 11 — believe me, there were plenty of unhappy runners walking all around me. See below.
  14. Last .18: 11:32 AP/All out sprint RP. Don’t ask me how I managed to pull myself together to sprint to the finish line.

2:40:47 — Official Time
12:14 Average Pace
22 out of 53 in 55-59F division
813 out of 1107 runners

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This is how I really felt

A slower average pace than my 18 mile race! Not my best, not my worst. Overall solidly BOTP, but in my AG solidly MOTP. Actually one of my best hot races, so I can’t complain too much.

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Obviously lots of people felt the same way

Was the race well run?
This is a relatively small town race (although quite a bit larger than the last couple of long races I ran), but it’s extremely well run. I had read nothing but good things about it and seriously they’re all true — my problem was with the weather, not the race — although starting a half marathon at 8:30 am when it’s sunny and warm is just way too late.

Weather at the end of September can swing in many directions: beautiful Fall days, hurricanes, cold, or quite hot. You know you’re in trouble, though, when the RD sends out an email the week before saying they’re adding cooling stations. They said they were adding two, but in fact I think they added four.

One of the reasons the race starts late, I was told, was that bikers like to bike on the boardwalk early (I personally think it could accommodate both). We spent quite a bit of time running on the boardwalk, which is not closed, but I never had to deal with people just walking in front of me — I’ve definitely dealt with that in races before.

The course was clearly marked with signs and also spray painted numbers (which for the most part I didn’t notice) on the boardwalk, and there were ample course marshals, too. Results were emailed to you the same day as the race. Although I didn’t need the aid stations to drink water, I used them to frequently grab water to pour over myself — they were always well stocked and the water was cold. Nothing worse than sipping warm water during a warm race. Plenty of cooling stations (where they handed out icy towels or even just ice) were available.

Food was also still plentiful when I finished, although there were runners who finished two hours after me! You get a goody bag with local treats — caramel popcorn, a soft pretzel, salt water taffy, orange slices — and pizza, bagels, fruit and I think it was monkey bread were also available at the finish — I think there may have been some other things available to grab, too, but I don’t remember. I didn’t see chocolate milk (not my thing anyway), but did see cartons of iced tea.

And it was all yummy!

My one very tiny quibble with the food is put the napkins before the pizza (which I didn’t take, as I’m not ready to really chow down directly after the race, but who wants to pick up sticky monkey bread with their hands? It was tasty, though).

There were photographers along the course, although I didn’t notice all of them — which shows in my photos — the photos were up on the Website by the next Thursday (the race was Sunday). You do have to pay, but they also offered a 25% discount.

Post race treat shared with Mr. Judy

There’s also a bunch of pretty sweet prizes that are raffled off and sent to you if you’re not local. Darn it, I didn’t win anything.

Positives

  • Staying at a hotel close enough to the start/finish to walk (and use the bathroom in my hotel room — again!)
  • Also some real bathrooms near the start (although I didn’t use them)
  • Running on the boardwalk
  • Running near the ocean
  • The cooling stations were so appreciated
  • A very well organized race
  • Never wondering when/where to turn
  • Personalized bibs — and volunteers often encouraged you by name
  • Great goody bag of local foods post race
  • No chafing!

Negatives

  • The late start
  • Too hot & no clouds/shade
  • The race shirt is kind of meh but not bad (although it does run large)
  • I only drank half the water in my hydration vest. Which is very unlike me and probably didn’t help my race, although I doubt it would have made a big difference, but I’m sure I would have felt better if I’d been better hydrated (and not had some cramping going on). I think I focused way too much on pouring water on myself to cool down and just forgot to drink.

 

There’s a magnet on the back of the medal — I guess so you can stick it to your fridge

What I learned
I thought I had conquered the whole heat thing. I’ve set PRs in some pretty hot (to me) races. So I learned that a late start with no cloud cover causes me to fade in the second half of the race. Maybe someday I’ll be able to overcome that, but for now I’m not really sure what I could have done differently.

I actually don’t think I went out too fast. In fact, I majorly adjusted my paces in the first half of the race from the plan, and my first half wasn’t too bad. Would starting even slower have prevented me from walking so much in the last two miles? I don’t think so, but I guess we’ll never know.

This is a great race and I highly recommend it — just be warned about how uncomfortable it can be on a hot day. I wouldn’t do the half again, but I think I’d enjoy the 10 mile race — I didn’t feel too bad until about mile 9 — and I really enjoy Ocean City, NJ: a great place to walk along the ocean, enjoy good food (or boardwalk food, if that’s your thing), some cool shops and really, just relaxing!

I’m linking up with with¬†MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and¬†My No Guilt Life¬†for the¬†Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tor-box

This week I am also joining up with¬†Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs¬†each¬†week for¬†the Coaches’ Corner linkup

coachescorner

10 Ways to Sizzle, not Fizzle

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Fizzle: to fail or end feebly, especially after a promising start.

It happens to all of us: we start out with such high spirits and high hopes and then our race just fizzles. But what if you could make it sizzle rather than fizzle? Here are a few tips to do just that.

Make sure you’ve fueled and hydrated properly
It’s not just about what you take in during a race, even though that’s important. It’s also about what you ate and drank in the days leading up to the race. If you’ve been slacking on the hydration and overdosing on the carbs or sugar, there’s no way you can make up for it on race day.

Respect the rest days
Runners love to run. Some of us embrace the taper and our rest days, too, but all too many runners just wanna run.

Rest is where the muscles start to repair themselves. Rest is where you restore that depleted glycogen (if you’re eating well). Rest can make the difference between a good race and a great race.

If you don’t sleep well the night before a race, don’t sweat it. Much like fueling and hydration, it’s more important what you do leading up to your race than the night before — which doesn’t give you permission to party all night, of course.

Know the course
You don’t have to memorize it. I know not only am I unable to memorize a course, I can’t even quite recall it all when I’ve finished. Knowing where aid stations are, where the hills are, where the half turns off from the full — that’s knowledge that can sometimes make or break your race.

Play to your strengths
When choosing a course, that is. If you live in a flat area, hills are definitely going to seem hard — especially if you won’t embrace a treadmill and be able to at least simulate them. Or maybe you enjoy rolling hills, but hate a downhill course.

Some of my best races have been literally running down mountains, so I keep looking for downhill courses. Although the truth is if a race is interesting to me, I’ll tackle most anything — and have — flat, hilly, sometimes insanely hilly (but no running up Mt. Washington or Pikes Peak, thank you very much), downhill, trails.

Just know what sort of course is kind to you. And if a different kind of course calls to you, go for it.

Lay out (or bring) multiple running clothes
If you’re traveling for a race, this one gets tricky — believe me, I know, since I travel for all my longer races. There’s only so much room in that suitcase (and who wants to pay to check their bag?).

Weather changes. And sometimes weather changes big time. Always add at least +/- 10 degrees to whatever the forecast is, and remember that things like throwaway sweatshirts, arm warmers, and gloves can make a huge difference if you have to stand around in the cold before a race.

Lay out your running clothes the night before
Who wants to think about what to wear when they’re only half awake? Or maybe you’re a morning person like me, but your SO is still snoozing when you head out the door. Lay out your clothes (and remember the point above, lay out different options) the night before and not only will you not skip your run, you won’t have to think about what to wear.

Arrive early
Unless I can walk to the race start, I like to get there an hour beforehand. You just never know what’s going to happen: long portapottie lines, missing timing chip, wrong timing chip, no parking spaces . . . get there early and you’ll have the time to handle what life throws at you. And maybe hit the potty multiple times.

Skip the warmup
In the summer it definitely feels like you don’t need a warmup, but if you’re just standing around, those muscles are probably still tight. When it’s cooler, you’ll definitely tighten up standing around in the cold (even if you have those throwaway clothes).

Warming up doesn’t have to take a long time, 5-10 minutes most likely. It can mean the difference between feeling good and loose — and even potentially an injury.

Nothing new on race day!
It’s oh-so-tempting to wear that new, amazingly soft running top. But have you run in it already? Anywhere close to the distance you’ll be running? Chafing is not fun, and it can definitely make your race fizzle.

And that cookie at mile 9! Or the candy! Even people with pretty good stomachs like me can reject food later in the race. Stick to the tried and true.

Don’t start out too fast!!!!!
More races have been killed by starting too fast than probably anything else. It feels so good, so easy. You’re caught up in the excitement of the crowd (and maybe literally with the crowd). What feels really easy in mile one can translate into the walk of shame in the later miles. Have a plan, and try to stick to it.

Racing seems like a “simple” thing: line up, take off, and go as fast as you can, right? But more than one race has fizzles due to poor planning or poor judgement. It isn’t really that hard to make a race fizzle, rather than sizzle — and visa versa.
— Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy

Deb Runs

I am linking up with Debruns and her Wednesday Word

I’m linking up with with¬†MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and¬†My No Guilt Life¬†for the¬†Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

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This week I am also joining up with¬†Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs¬†each¬†week for¬†the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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Tell me in the comments:

What has made a race fizzle for you?

What has made a race sizzle for you?

September 2018: Did I pass?

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September found me resting from the 1812 Challenge (read about it here), very briefly, then training hard for my next half, which is this weekend. And we traveled to NYC to celebrate Mr. Judy’s birthday the week before my half, which included fasting for Yom Kippur, so it was a whirlwind of a month.

I feel like I can’t really grade September, because I still have a half to run, but it’s the last Tuesday of the month so I’ll just roll with it.

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I think I deserve brownie points for this super humid run that found me plastered in gnats

Getting in scheduled runs
You know what I’m going to say, right? The humidity! And if it wasn’t humid, it really was, in the form of rain. I sweated, I got rained on, I did shorten a few runs, but I got out there in almost anything Mother Nature threw at me.

Grade Earned:  A-

Recording my runs
I’m still doing better than 2017 but whenever I get busy, well, you know how it goes. By the time I sit down at night to record my run I’m tired and just want to get into bed — the shorter days aren’t helping anything. Definitely not doing quite as well as I’d like to here.

Grade Earned: B

Dynamic Warmup
Still rolling on the dynamic warmup train. Doing better with the postrun stretching but there have definitely been times I’ve either a) skipped it due to weather or b) just spaced out about it.

Grade Earned: A-

Foam Rolling
I have been better, but I have again sometimes skipped it because I left it to the evening. I also didn’t even think about bringing a foam roller — even a travel one — to my sister’s — and that was a hard run, y’all!

Grade Earned: B+

Nutrition
Even thought I seriously cleaned up my eating at the end of the month, I still had one week I had to pay for Weight Watchers (first time in years). Weight loss — or maintenance — is never linear. The next week I didn’t have to pay.

I enjoyed some good food for sure in NYC, but I did not get a single dessert — although it was certainly tempting at times. I brought my own healthy treats and that’s what I ate. Oh, except the chocolate mousse cake at my sister’s for break the fast, and that was worth every bite.

Grade Earned: A

Support

  • Massage? Not yet.
  • Chiropractor Appointment? Yes.
  • Do I need a hair appointment? It just keeps getting longer . . .

Grade Earned: A-

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Yup, I’m back in the saddle. Occasionally, anyway.

Cross Training
I’ve definitely upped my game with strength training, getting in some yoga, and sometimes doing a little stationary biking. Swimming is still absent . . . hoping to get back into the pool next week but we’ll see!

I didn’t do any yoga or strength training while we were at my sister’s and in NYC. We were busy all day. Yes, I got in a fair amount of steps, but not actually as much as I normally do in NYC.

Grade Earned: B+

September 2018  gets  . . . 
. . . an B+. Life definitely got a bit in the way of some healthy habits in September. It happens to all of us. The trick is to realize it and just get back to what was working for you.

September Goals:

    • Continue to Prehab. Y.¬†I did well with this in September.
    • Strength train 2-3 x week. Y.I feel better about my body when I strength train.
    • Some extra Core TLC. Y.¬†I do work my core, but I think I need to make it more of a priority again.
    • Foam roll — really foam roll. Y.
    • Chiropractor visit. Y.
    • Swim when the pool reopens. N.Life got in the way most weeks.
    • Greens daily. Y.Mostly, anyway. A lot of green smoothies.
    • Berries daily. Y.Mostly — again, lots of green smoothies with berries!
    • Sign up for a half at the end of September. Y.I’ll be running that this Sunday.

Which leads me to October Goals:

    • Continue to Prehab. As always, something is always better than nothing.
    • Strength train 2-3 x week.
    • Some extra Core TLC. I do work my core, but I think I need to make it more of a priority again.
    • Foam roll — really foam roll.
    • Chiropractor visit.
    • Swim!
    • Greens daily.
    • Berries daily.
    • Meal plan on the weekends! I got out of the habit in the busy training months of August and September. I’ll still be busy in October, still training for the next half, but I think life will calm down a little.¬†

I’m linking up with with¬†MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and¬†My No Guilt Life¬†for the¬†Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

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This week I am also joining up with¬†Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs¬†each¬†week for¬†the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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Oh, the Places Skirt will Take You!

When did I first start running in a skirt? I have to be honest, I’m not 100% sure. I know I didn’t run my first two 5ks in a skirt. Or my first two halfs, for that matter. I believe the first half I ran in a skirt was the Runner’s World Half in 2014. After that there was no turning back; I was sold on the comfort of my skirts and the pockets.

Skirts have taken me many places since that half marathon 4 years ago, and not just running, oh no.

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Gardening in Happy Girl

C’mon get happy!
When I first started to run in skirts, they were strictly for running, and they were not short skirts. It wasn’t really that I was ashamed of my body, it was simply I didn’t really think I’d be comfortable in a shorter skirt and maybe felt a bit too self conscious to show off my legs — not my favorite body part from an aesthetic point of view.

Wearing a skirt to run in made me happy (and coincidentally the Skirt Sports skirt I was running in was called Happy Girl), made me feel like a runner — even though there weren’t a whole lot of women running in skirts at the time — and the pockets. I needed those pockets! Still do.

These days I no longer run in the Happy Girl skirt, but I do love living in them during the summer. They take me easily through my day from walking the dogs, to doing some yoga or some strength training.

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Gaining body confidence in Lioness

Gaining confidence
As I gained confidence as a runner, I began to be much more motivated by clothing that was functional — and cute, of course, always cute — than by the length. Hot day? I needed a shorter skirt. Run in a tank rather than a tee? Why yes, please.

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Matchy matchy with the head coach while volunteering

I dabbled in the shorter skirts — no one ever keeled over laughing at me. Capris, leggings, long skirts, short skirts . . . it really just depended on what I was doing and what the weather was doing.

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Running along the Mississippi

It motivates me to look cute, but I will always choose function over cuteness. If I’m comfortable, I run better; it’s really pretty simple when you boil it down.

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Posing with Bandit in a Tough Chick Top (why yes, I’m a touch chick!)

Skirts aren’t just for running
I walk the dogs every day: there are poop bags, there are treats, I need my phone.

Hiking with Lola & Bandit in Mod Quad (as in four pockets)

If it’s hot out, I don’t want to wear jeans, but shorts never have enough pockets to safely store everything I need to carry with me.¬†

After running with Bandit

 

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Touring in NOLA

I often like my hands free when I’m touring a new city, too, but I still need my phone, some cash, and usually some snacks, too.

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Hanging out in Boise

Hiking the last couple of years has taken me to some gorgeous places. And I don’t want to be weighed down by jeans in the heat.

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Hiking in UT
At a garden center in ID
The Anne Frank Memorial in Boise (of all places! who knew?)
Shoshone Falls, ID in Lotta Breeze Skirt
Just kickin’ around Bryce National Park in Sorceress

I’ve even SUPPed in my skirts!

What’s the best activewear for you?
It’s just the same as when is the best time to exercise for you — morning or night? The answer is the time you’ll do it. I feel comfortable in my Skirt Sports. I have the pockets to carry what I need on the run or while hiking or touring new places. And when it gets cold, I feel comfortable in leggings and skirted leggings and so on from Skirt Sports, too.

If you’ve never tried a skirt, I hope I’ve convinced you that they are cute, functional, and work for a lot more than just running. But be careful — skirt is a lot like potato chips. You can’t own just one.

And if skirts aren’t your thing, that’s cool. Whatever makes you feel like a tough chick — that’s what you need to wear. If you do want to give Skirt a try, don’t forget to use the $20 off code BDAY14 (code expires 9/23/18, one time only please, and a minimum purchase of $50).

Talk to me:

What do you feel comfortable being active in?

Have you ever tried running in a skirt?

Do your running clothes get used for more than just running?

I’m linking up with with¬†MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and¬†My No Guilt Life¬†for the¬†Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

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This week I am also joining up with¬†Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs¬†each¬†week for¬†the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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1812 Challenge Race Recap 8/26/18

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I won’t lie: I spent much of the summer kicking myself for not running this race last summer. Last summer was so much cooler. And race day last summer? I happen to remember it because it was the trail running festival where I did the 5k and then volunteered — it was a gorgeous, cool day!

What was I thinking? Let’s face it, this summer has not been fun weather-wise. Rain, humidity, heat, repeat, repeat, repeat. Then I remembered — by June last year I’d already run three hard halfs and was signed up for another one in October. I wasn’t mentally ready to tackle 18 miles!

Hold on to your hats, ladies & gents, it’s gonna be a long one. Because I am not planning on anything longer than a half again anytime soon but you always remember your first.

Enjoying the serenity of Sackets Harbor Battlefield

I believe that things happen for a reason, though. The course was changed this year: it started and ended in Sacket’s Harbor, instead of starting in Watertown. Supposedly it was a lot flatter, although I wouldn’t exactly call it flat and fast like it was billed (isn’t that always the case?).

I’m getting ahead of myself, though.

Yup, I’m doing that!

Packet Pickup
I picked up my packet Saturday since it was such an easy walk from where we were staying. The goody bag didn’t have much, but it was printed with the race logo, and they gave you a can of tart cherry juice and a can of beet juice, which I thought was a really nice touch.

I had good intentions of drinking the cherry juice but then forgot to

We got the wristband for the beer, which Mr. Judy gave to someone. There was a coupon for a free soft ice cream after the race at a local place; we never did get around to it.

There is a very small expo, so if you’ve forgotten something essential you may be able to find it — and I picked up my usual expo buy, a couple of pairs of sunglasses.

A lovely look, eh? Well, it did rain the first couple of miles but I’d ditched the poncho before starting. It wasn’t exactly cool (as in temperature).

Getting There & Hanging Out
As I mentioned above, the start was changed to Sacket’s Harbor this year. We stayed at the Harbor House Inn (which I definitely recommend!) and it was a simple ten minute walk to the starting line. Of course using my own bathroom before the race was really nice! We also ran right past the hotel towards the end of the race, and I joked with one of the course marshals that I was just going to take a little break in my hotel room.

Unfortunately it started to rain the minute we stepped outside our hotel. Mr. Judy had a rain poncho which I eventually put on. There were a couple of tents and a picnic table pavilion, and most of us were huddling under cover in those.

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We’re only 2 miles in here

The weather & dressing
Ok, the weather. It doesn’t sound good, does it? High 60s at the start. Humid, although not oppressively so. Wind gusts up to 12 mph. It rained the first two miles, but it wasn’t a downpour, and then it stopped (except for a brief pelting with some cold rain about mile 12).

Trust me when I say that this was actually pretty good weather — it was cloudy almost the entire race, which was a huge help — if it had been a sunny day, there would have been very little shade; and those wind gusts, while not super helpful, were cooling.

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the heck to wear. I went with the Wonder Girl Tank in Temper Tantrum and Cool It Skirt; Newton Distance on the feet, like I did in the Camp Chingacook 10k (read about it here).

I’d first worn a Wonder Girl Tank in the Best Damn Race NOLA (read about it here), and that was actually similar temps, although much more humid. I brought that top with me, figuring if it got me through 13.1 swampy miles without chafing, it was good luck. Wonder Girl is more fitted in 2018, so my top in Temper Tantrum is a medium and I hadn’t worn it on a long run. In the end I went with the larger one to be more comfortable and prayed I wouldn’t have chafing, and I didn’t.

So let’s talk about chafing, shall we? I practically bathed in lube: my underarms, under my bra, shoulders, under my pockets, between my toes, bottoms of my feet, and my ankles. I actually thought, despite running in wet socks for 18 miles and the humid conditions, that I’d gotten off scott free. Until I showered, of course.

None of the usual suspects were the problem — it was my race belt that attacked me! I had some chafing on my back (not unusual) and on my stomach on each side of my belly button. I hadn’t felt it, but it seriously looked like I’d had an operation there.

My Race Plan
This time I actually had a race plan! A very simple race plan. I’d told Rachel @ Runningonhappy that I wasn’t out to crush this race, simply to finish, hopefully uninjured. I still didn’t execute the plan exactly as she wrote it, but the end result was still spot on.

A blurry selfie with Dina — thank you for the company, Dina (and I have much better photos of you)!

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1:¬†11:33 AP/12:20-30 RP. The race starts with a downhill, and even though I started out a bit fast, I really don’t feel as though that was a problem. I had a strong last mile.
  2. Mile 2:¬†12:01 AP/12:20-30 RP.¬†Mile 2 starts a long, slow uphill, but it’s very mild and seriously I didn’t feel it at all. Mr. Judy took some photos of me here, high fiving the Men at Work formation.
  3. Mile 3: 11:58 AP/12:20-30 RP. The rain stopped. Somewhere in this mile I ran into Dina, who’d commented on my blog and said she was doing 1812, too. Don’t ask me how I knew it was her, since she didn’t have a photo and I’d never met her. I just knew.
  4. Mile 4: 12:18 AP/12:20-30 RP. Dina kindly ran at my run/walk intervals and we chatted away.
  5. Mile 5: 12:13 AP/112:10-20 RP. Dina and I continued running together, chatting, and realized we had a lot in common, not the least of which was that we had both working in printing — not something you “run” into every day!
  6. Mile 6: 12:05 AP/12:10-20 RP. The uphill ended with a small downhill.
  7. Mile 7: 12:11 AP/12:10-20 RP. Basically another flat mile. I think this is where Dina & I parted ways.
  8. Mile 8: 12:01 AP/12:10-20 RP. Still basically flat.
  9. Mile 9: 12:11 AP/12:10-20 RP. Flat.
  10. Mile 10: 12:10 AP/12:10-20 RP. Flat.
  11. Mile 11: 12:20 AP/12:10-20 RP. Flat. Don’t know why I slowed down.
  12. Mile 12: 12:15 AP/12:10-20 RP. Flat. A little cold rain that stopped quickly.
  13. Mile 13: 12:13 AP/11:50-12:10 RP. Some rolling hills beginning, but pretty small.
  14. Mile 14: 12:16 AP/11:50-12:10 RP. This was the “big downhill” — 33 ft, LOL. But it felt big. Which is a good thing.
  15. Mile 15: 12:46 AP/11:50-12:10 RP. The corresponding uphill, 51 ft, felt pretty darn large at mile 15.
  16. Mile 16: 12:50 AP/11:50-12:10 RP. Continuing rolling hills. This was actually a small uphill with a medium downhill (30 ft); don’t ask me why it was still so slow.
  17. Mile 17: 12:36 AP/11:50-12:10 RP. Why do race directors put those hills at the end? Another small one but I seem to recall it feeling pretty darn big.
  18. Mile 18:¬†12:02 AP/11:50-12:10 RP. I had Mr. Judy and the slight downhill to the finish to thank for a strong last mile (yes, the course was short according to my Garmin and for the first time in my racing “career”, I was quite happy about that!). Mr. Judy was at the bottom of the hill waiting to take some photos of me. My watch vibrated for a walk break, but I knew he wouldn’t be happy taking photos of me walking (again!). So I skipped that last walk break. It actually did help me with my sprint to the finish so thank you, honey.

3:39:45 — Official Time
12:08 Average Pace
7 out of 10 in 50-59F division
240 out of 282 runners

There was actually more runners running the 1812 Challenge than there were the half.

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Come to mama, lovely recovery meal!

Was the race well run?
Yes, even with the new course this year, I found this race to be a well oiled machine. Oddly enough, I didn’t have any dessert after the race. Maybe because I polished off the other half of my stuffed French Toast.

There was a woman singing at the packet pickup, and I felt kind of bad for her because no one was really paying attention to her. The Sacket’s Harbor Battlefield is bordered on three sides by Lake Ontario and is lovely.

Even though the course was changed this year, this race was such a pleasant outing after the fiasco that was my last half (read about that here, but I still need to update it about the fact that I will never get an official medal from it). The race started at 7:30 on the dot. Since I wore my hydration vest, as usual I didn’t need to stop at aid stations — as far as I could see they were always well stocked, even for a BOTPer like me.

Thank you for entertaining us bagpipers!

There is entertainment at a few places along the route: a fiddler, bagpipers, and a girl doing Irish Dancing.

And thank you, Irish dancing girl! Notice the rolling hills . . .
I might actually buy this photo. Looks like I’m pacing team RWB, doesn’t it?

Patrick Henry Photography was on hand to take photos mostly near the beginning and the end (at least for the people going all the way).

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There was a photographer right before the finish line, but for some reason there are no¬† finish line photos of me except for the one Mr. Judy took above. Since there was absolutely no one running anywhere¬†near me at the end, that’s a little surprising.

When I crossed the finish line I thought the clock said 3:34 — and that’s what it looks like from the photo above — but my Garmin agrees with 3:39. I have to admit to a little disappointment in losing 5 minutes off of what I thought was my finish time.

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Mr. Judy snapped me stretching post race as we waited for Dina to finish

I was much closer to the BOTP than the middle, but food and drink were still plentiful after the race: pizza, donuts, chocolate milk, beer, bananas, apples. It wasn’t a huge spread but there was definitely some variety — I had half a donut. As is usual, I wasn’t hungry immediately after the race. The volunteers were super enthusiastic and wanted to make sure that they got you what you wanted.

Positives

    • Staying at a hotel close enough to the start/finish to walk (and use the bathroom in my hotel room)
    • The cloudy weather and the fact it didn’t rain the whole race
    • Running into Dina & enjoying some miles with her — never ran with anyone in a race before; at least not for that long
    • A small race so not too crowded on the course (much of my later miles there was no one at all near me)
    • Well stocked aid stations and finish line
    • The tart cherry and beet juice provided at packet pickup
    • Running along Lake Ontario in the beginning and near the finish

 

 

If you like farms, you’ll love the course!

Negatives

 

  • The rolling hills really start around mile 14 — so the last 4 miles were not easy
  • The farm early in the race with an overpowering smell of manure
  • Although it’s a pretty area, the truth is most of the course was a bit boring to me. If you love farms, you’ll love the course
  • Some parts of the course are open to traffic, although there is a decent shoulder
  • Toward the very end of the race there were a few sections with few course marshals, and since there were no runners anywhere near me, there were a few times I actually worried I’d missed a turn
  • There was a typo on the pint glass I purchased to commemorate this race: it reads “challenge excepted” — expected would have worked, but it’s meant to say accepted — however, I do like that it says “challenge conquered” on the inside bottom of the glass
I do wish these were part of everyone’s goody bag, but it is a nice pint glass

What I learned
I knew before I left home that as long as the weather wasn’t too hot and I didn’t get injured, I would finish this race, and I was pretty sure I could do it within the time limit, too (4 hours).

I confirmed what I already knew: racing, any distance, is hard. It’s supposed to be hard. I sort of used this race as a training run — not that I’m training for anything further — but I didn’t push as hard as I know I’m capable of. My pace ended up being only about 15 seconds faster per mile than my long run pace.

And I know I was kind of genius in my decision to run a half marathon a month before this race. It helped immensely mentally. I trained for a half, and then I just had two really, really long runs. Running the half hid the fact that I was going to run an 18 mile race. It worked perfectly.

And running with someone for several miles during the race? Priceless — thank you Dina!

I’m linking up with with¬†MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and¬†My No Guilt Life¬†for the¬†Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

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This week I am also joining up with¬†Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs¬†each¬†week for¬†the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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August 2018: Did I pass?

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August was filled with the most miles I have ever run in what seemed like the most humidity, too. Not to mention warmer than normal temps.

My cooling neck towel got a lot of use!

Getting in scheduled runs
When it came to getting in runs, August was a doozy! Not so much in getting my runs done, but in the never-ending rain and humidity it threw at me. I managed to do almost all of them outside. I usually cave in this kind of weather.

Grade Earned:  A+

Recording my runs
I did pretty good. I at least filled in the bare bones pretty quickly. Still a bit sketchy about things like distance, time, and splits, but those are things I can look back up.

Grade Earned: A

Dynamic Warmup
It’s really tempting to skip that warm up. I mean seriously, when it’s that humid do you really need to warm up? You’re sweating practically before you step outside! (and yes, you really do still need to warm up!)

Grade Earned: A-

Foam Rolling
Every once in a while when I’m really tired at night, I skip my foam rolling (which is another reason it’s better to do it after the run and not wait until before bed). And every time I do, I wake up the next morning feeling stiffer than normal.

Grade Earned: B+

Totally wish I could like this all the time
Some would say I earned my half of this. My body begs to differ!

 

Nutrition
I know a lot of runners say they always gain a few pounds training for a marathon. Only I wasn’t training for a marathon. And yet I seemed to have found a few extra pounds. Some of it was due to travel. Some of it was due to less strength training — who am I kidding — no strength training during travel. And some of it was no doubt due to the choices I made about what I put into my mouth.

I did make a real effort to clean up my act towards the end of the month¬† . . . until my 18 mile race, of course! Even then, while I certainly indulged — anyone that follows me on Instagram knows that — I also passed things by that I wanted. It’s the story of my life.

Grade Earned: B-

Support

  • Massage? Not yet.
  • Chiropractor Appointment? Yes.
  • Do I need a hair appointment? Yes, a broken record here. Luckily I like a long braid for my summer races.

Grade Earned: A-

Cross Training
After an extended break during/after my half in July, I got back at it. I knew I would need strong legs! I swam once a week until the pool closed. There was at least some yoga, and there was definitely strength training. I even did yoga before and after my race this past weekend — when what i really wanted to do was just laze around.

Grade Earned: A

August 2018  gets  . . . 
. . .¬†an¬†A-. Yes, I ran two races in August and PR’d them both (one being a new distance for me). Yes, I trained hard. But I also relied too much on protein bars and other “convenient” foods and while I didn’t gain a lot of weight, it’s enough to make me feel a little uncomfortable. When I indulged, though, I enjoyed every bite — if you make the decision to indulge, don’t feel guilty about it! Every next choice is an opportunity to make a healthy choice.

August Goals:

    • Continue to Prehab. Y. Probably not enough, but,¬†as always, something is better than nothing.
    • Strength train 2-3 x week. Y.
    • Foam roll — really foam roll. Y. With just a few exceptions.
    • Chiropractor visit.¬†Y.
    • Join my friends for a fun race — although I’ll be doing the longer distance — if the weather isn’t horrible (which is usually is). Y.¬†Although I decided to really join them and did the shorter distance.
    • Greens daily. Y. Mostly. Even when it was just greens powder in my smoothies . . .¬†
    • Berries daily. Y. Mostly. Even if it was in stuffed french toast . . .
    • Shoot for a class at Wellnest Studios. N. At least I started doing some yoga again.
    • Hopefully keep all of my toenails. ūüôā Y. Happy dance!

Which leads me to September Goals:

    • Continue to Prehab. As always, something is always better than nothing.
    • Strength train 2-3 x week.
    • Some extra Core TLC. I do work my core, but I think I need to make it more of a priority again.
    • Foam roll — really foam roll.
    • Chiropractor visit.
    • Swim when the pool reopens.
    • Greens daily.
    • Berries daily.
    • Sign up for a half at the end of September.

I’m linking up with with¬†MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and¬†My No Guilt Life¬†for the¬†Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tor-box

This week I am also joining up with¬†Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs¬†each¬†week for¬†the Coaches’ Corner linkup

coachescorner

Here be dragons

bdragons

Before you could see pretty much anywhere on earth via Google maps — way before — map makers would write “here be dragons” for unexplored lands/seas. I’ve always loved that phrase!

How far can you go?
For many years I’ve wondered what lies beyond 13.1 miles (or maybe 14.1, because sometimes I do a warm up mile before a half). I’ve thought about just going out and running a longer long run after a race, just taking my time, stopping to eat and drink whenever I wanted to, because there’s literally no race (or reason to rush).

Of course I never did. I know some runners just love running long for the sake of running long, but for the sane runners, why would you spend hours running when you didn’t have to?

In every person’s life, there comes a time . . .
. . . when they need more: more challenge, more daring, more than the “norm”. Being a cautious runner, I wasn’t ready for a marathon. But I finally decided that I needed to find out what dragons were waiting for me after 13.1 miles.

Maybe I’d become too “comfortable” running halfs (not that it ever feels comfortable, mind you). Maybe I subconsciously knew that my body was ready for something more — or at least I hope it is. My training has gone well, as well as it can in such a humid summer; my longer long runs were definitely challenging, but I bounced back quickly.

As you read this, though, I have not yet tackled that longer race. It’s this Sunday. I know that barring a heatwave or an injury I will run 18.12 miles. There is a time limit for this race, though.

Again, barring an insanely hot day or injury, I know that I should be able to run the race within the time limit. I also know that’s it’s close enough, for me, to be challenging. There are two points during the race that if you are not on track to finish in the allotted time you’ll be swept (and I don’t even know where those are!).

They don’t call it a Challenge for nothing, though.

Some people are comfortable being comfortable
I won’t lie — that is me, most of the time. If I really wanted to be uncomfortable? I’d tackle that marathon. I’m not getting any younger. It would have to be a damn good marathon, though — great swag, no time limit (or a very generous one), and especially not during the summer.¬†

I can say without hesitation at the moment that training for a longer race has not whetted my appetite for a marathon. Quite the opposite. I also know that things have a way of changing, sometimes, when we cross that finish line. Sometimes months after we cross that finish line.

It’s funny how doing something harder can plant the seeds of change.

Growth only happens outside our comfort zone
One of the things I know for sure is that we have to continually grow and take risks that scare us — all through our lives. It’s not easy, and it’s definitely not something that comes easily to me. It’s absolutely easier to keep things status quo and not rock the boat (or tackle the unknown distance where the dragons are waiting for you).

I hope that next week I will tell you that I slayed this particular dragon. I know it won’t be easy. I also don’t know what dragon I’ll need to slay next; I just know that there will always be another dragon. It’s what makes life interesting and exciting (and sometimes tiring!).

Talk to me:

Do you feel as though you’ve gotten too comfortable in your life?

When has doing something outside your comfort zone paid off big for you?

What dragons are you looking forward to slaying?

I’m linking up with with¬†MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and¬†My No Guilt Life¬†for the¬†Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tor-box

This week I am also joining up with¬†Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs¬†each¬†week for¬†the Coaches’ Corner linkup

coachescorner