October: Unplug

standard October 29, 2014 Leave a response

While I do not consider myself dependent on gadgets, I do find it hard to go without them. Especially when I’m traveling or moving and do not have a pre-established route that I know. Sometimes having GPS is helpful in determining where you’re going and how fast (or slow) you need to go.

I’ve run races without looking at my watch until the end. I really like having a record of what I’ve done so I can track, improve, and celebrate progress. But it is also very easy to get dependent on them, even for easy, fun miles.

IMG_20140726_084444October’s Runners World goal was to Go Gadget-Free. Considering I was at the end of training for a marathon this month, I did not work on this goal this month. But I am going to do my best to see how I manage without technology as I ease back into running next week.

GPS/Watch: When you’re training and needing to know exact mileage, pace, distance, these things are great. When you’re trying to recover, complete an easy training run, or just having fun, they can be a mental burden.

As part of the Marine Corps Marathon weekend, I participated in a shakeout run and brunch. And promptly forgot my watch in the hotel room. While I was not a fan of having no clue what my pace was, the point of the run was to shakeout your legs, nerves, stress. Which without my watch, I did. Hopefully, next week it will get easier!

 Music: I always need music. I need a beat to distract me from how many miles I am running. But sometimes, it’s a distraction. When I run before the sun to beat the heat, I barely have the sound on so I can hear what’s going on around me. I’m going to start hitting the neighborhoods again next month instead of the gym in the early dawn hours, so leaving my iPod at home will be beneficial. Safety first!

Anyone else dependent on technology? How often do you unplug when running?


Run with the Marines

standard October 27, 2014 Leave a response

Of all the races I’ve done, the Marine Corps Marathon is definitely the most patriotic, nostalgic, and supportive. This weekend was one of the best race trips; easy, laid back, and fun. And if I thought Austin spectators were awesome, MCM brings out the best of the best. Even through the rough stretches, there were cheers, signs, candy, high fives. And best of all was my favorite brother waiting at just the right spot to give me the boost of energy and confidence I needed to get through the end.

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My #1 goal was to race strong and have fun. Yes, I had a huge time goal (ranging from 15-45 min). But through all my training I tried to not focus on it. I knew if I worried too much about my time, I wouldn’t enjoy the race for what it was. And despite surprisingly warm temperatures and crazy long Metro traffic, it was a fantastic race. Rolling hills at the start, tree-lined forest and breezy lakefront miles in the middle, a quick jaunt around the Mall, and a last push to the finish across the water in Virginia. Having Marines cheer for you, high-five you, congratulate you, and put a medal around your neck is surreal. A marathon is nothing compared to their service, yet they were the best cheering squad you could get.

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My second goal was a 15 minute personal record. I knew from mile 3, I was going to definitely achieve it. Each mile I creeped more and more ahead of that 15 minute gap, and ended up finishing with a 20 minute PR. By the half, I had a slightly bigger lead, but the blazing sun later on and a pair of tired feet slowed me down slightly in the second half. I just tried to relax, have fun, and enjoy the race I was running.

Marathon #4: Mission Accomplished!


Next year’s marathon feat? Hit the stretch goal, which was a whopping 45 minutes off my Disney Marathon time, and is now (thankfully) only a 25 minute time gap.

But first, REST!


September: All the Miles

standard October 2, 2014 1 response

While I was busy creating, writing, photographing, and eating lots of recipes during September, I was also doing a LOT of running. My highest mileage month ever at 180 miles. I also got to tackle not one, but two 20 mile training runs. And a 22 miler is on the schedule for next week before the taper begins for marathon day.

This will be my 4th marathon. Each training cycle for the first three would fall apart when it got to the 20 miler week. This is the first time I even finished two 20 mile training runs, let alone felt great at the end of them. So what was different (besides experience)? Using the Runner’s World guide, I made it my goal this month to master the long run.


Plan. Plan your route ahead of time. I usually do my weekend long runs on the Town Lake Trail downtown Austin. It’s a 10 mile loop, so only two laps and I’m done. After my first 20 mile attempt 3 years ago, however, I have a slight irrational fear of 20 miles on this trail. Mile 11 is where I suddenly got horrible knee pain before my very first full, and I’ve been terrified of tackling all 20 there ever since. Plus, its been (thankfully) raining a ton here lately, so the rain, mud, and humidity did not account for a fun 4 hours. I planned to do the first 10 on the trail, and the last 10 on the treadmill, regardless of how I felt. This way I could also push myself to hit marathon goal pace (MGP) for the last 10. Knowing this plan in advance really helped me to mentally prepare for an awesome run each time.

Pace. Pace yourself. 20 miles (or any long run) is, you guessed it, LONG. My goal for these runs was to not just go 90 seconds slower than MGP, but to go so slow that I could try to train my body to burn more fat instead of sugar. 12 minute miles may seem embarrassing when everyone is passing you, but it works. I was able to slowly gain speed halfway through, and finish strong at or above goal pace.

Break. It. Up. Even 10 miles is long. Having a break in between each 10 mile stretch was nice, but I still broke those up into 5 mile segments. Four 5 milers is way more manageable mentally than two 10 milers or one 20 miler.

Eat AND Drink. This is one rule I KNOW and still broke during my 18 mile run turned 16.5 miler. I make myself sip water every single mile split. Regardless of how I feel. This particular week I just cruised along for 5 miles not thinking about it. Trying to conserve water for the whole 18 miles. BIG mistake. Once you’re dehydrated, chugging water will only give you a stomach ache. I was sipping water every 1/4 to 1/2 mile by mile 10, and by 15 I was completely out. And it was hot. And humid. A quick detour back to the car and I was done. Lesson learned.

Anyone else have a fall marathon coming up? How did you master your long runs last month?