My First Century

Hi! I haven’t written about any training things for a while, but I’ve been training for the Tour de Tucson which is a 111 mile ride. I had been training for my 2nd marathon, but after Hood to Coast and just not feeling 100% back to running health, I decided to be smart, give myself a break, and focus on a new goal, so I’ve been riding the crap out of Mean Green, and grown to really love cycling beyond as more than a means to get to coffee, breakfast or yoga. ;)

A few weeks ago, I had a really great, confidence-building, solo 80 miler, and I wasn’t really planning on doing more than that until closer to the race.

In fact, yesterday’s route was originally supposed to be about hill training–for those of you that aren’t local, there is a gooorgeous hilly route that I always stop and turn around at just before it gets challenging because I’m a wuss.

Anyway, we planned to tackle it yesterday and the entire route was supposed to be about 60-70 miles, but then I got a message earlier in the week from Steve asking to make it a century with a map. I thought he had planned a century instead of the hills, but he had planned one that included them. Awesome.

Well, Friday night Steve tells me he feels like he’s getting sick…again. That was the whole reason I went solo for 80 mi is we had planned to do it together, and then he got sick. You see, I have this really annoying personality trait where once I decide to do something, I can’t not do it. Once I’m mentally committed, there is no backing down–it can be really obnoxious, but I guess it’s mostly a good thing. 

We still started the ride together, but Steve was struggling almost immediately. The wind was also out in full force–like, sometimes I swear if I didn’t pedal hard, I was just going to go backwards. We made it pretty slowly to the hilly section (Power to Usery), all into the wind of course, and as we started climbing Power, we met up with a couple other cyclists Doug and Kendra who chatted with us for a while. We rode together for probably 5-7 miles and it was so nice to have some strangers to distract me from how tough things felt. The wind was so intense at this point because we were in the middle of no where–no buildings or anything to block it. Even going downhill was hard! Anyway, we broke off from them at Usery, and that’s where Steve and I started to split up as well.

After the first mile of consistent climbing (it’s 3.5 miles of climbing total), I stopped to wait for Steve. When he caught up, he told me to just get to the top and wait for him there, so I continued on. One guy passed me, then I passed him back, then he passed me again and that was that. I am a sloooow climber, and I honestly have basically no hill experience at all. I kept looking down at my garmin and thinking “this is slower than most of my friends run”, but I didn’t really mind. I knew I’d get there eventually, and I was happy to not have to stop and rest. My friend Jason told me that the first time he did this route, he had to stop and walk his bike up, so I was happy to feel strong even though I was averaging a snail-like 7.2 mph.

I didn’t realize I had gotten to the top until an other cyclist mentioned it to me. I had been really scared about this part of the ride, and I was thrilled to finish the tough climbing section with so much fuel left in the tank! Good thing too, because we were only about 30 mi in. I waited for Steve, and then the fun began! I hit 35.8 mph without even pedaling! It was exhilarating, and it made every foot I had climbed 100% worth it. Not to mention, we finally had the wind at our backs!

As the path flattened out, Steve started struggling again. He just felt terrible, couldn’t breathe, etc. He was in no shape to make it a century. He told me to wait for him at our next turn, which was several miles away. He had planned to still do 80 with me, but when he got there, he was in bad shape. I thought about calling it. I had finished the climbing, I didn’t feel great (female problems…sorry boys), and I wasn’t even half way through yet. I was mentally unraveling a little at the idea of doing more than half of the ride by myself, but that thing inside my brain clicked in, and off I went. I actually felt fine until mile 60 where I turned back into the wind.

I knew if I wanted it to be easier at the end, I had to face the wind at that point, so I went back east and the wind was literally confidence shattering. I was struggling to go 13 mph, and it felt like no matter how much I pedaled, my garmin would.not.move. On top of that, my shoulder started to get really tight, and I kept having to try to stretch it while I was riding which is…not easy haha. I texted Steve at mile 78 and told him I wasn’t sure I could make it. I had been going back into the wind for almost 20 miles, my shoulder was killing me, and I was feeling spent. He asked if I could finish 85 and be satisfied with a new PDR, but I told him no–ya know, that brain thing.

But then something magical happened! I turned away from the wind, and suddenly I was going 20-21 without effort! Here’s where I started to go a little nuts. Laughing, yelling things to myself, pep talks with myself out loud. I kinda lost it, but in a good way? I texted Steve again the last time I refilled my water and told him to meet me at Dutch Bros for a celebratory coffee, and I thought about that coffee the entire way there. As I got to the last 1/2 mile, I remembered that this was the same way I ended my first 20 miler, and I got all kinds of emotional and started to cry.

100.2 miles in 6:41:51 with 1,900 feet of climbing. Not super speedy, but not bad either!

Fuel:

For those of you who are curious, and  because I know I would be, I brought enough fuel for a small army, but here’s what I actually ate:

  • 1 ALT Larabar (pumpkin pie flavor–yum!) ~ 200 calories w/10 g protein
  • 1 Kind bar (one of the protein ones) ~ 200 calories w/8 g protein
  • 3 packs of black cherry shot blocks (I cut the tops off with scissors before I leave so they’re so super easy to eat while moving) ~ 600 calories

So that’s about 1,000 calories total. I have no idea if that’s good, or right, but it seemed to work for me. I feel pretty confused about bike fueling, so a couple of days ago I emailed my friend Julie who gave me some good tips. She suggested alternating small snacks with bigger ones, so I would get through an entire pack of blocks (first time after an hour, then 2 blocks every 45 minutes), then eat a bar. Towards the end when I needed more energy, I started eating 1 block every 15 minutes, and it seemed to really help!

So that’s my story. Now I’ve hit my longest ride that I’m going to do and the race is still a month and a half away, so I’m not really sure what to do for the next 6 weeks. Maybe the husband will rope me into an other century, but with how tired I feel today, I’m not so sure I want to commit to triple digits again until race day. We shall see. :)

 

PF Chang’s Marathon Training Week 3

I didn’t run a ton this week, but it was a great week, and it ended on a a REALLY great note. I don’t have a ton to say other than that, so let’s get to it.

Look! A leaf! Maybe Arizona has fall after all? Anyway, Steve took this picture at the race on Sunday, and this post needed a photo…

Monday: 8 mile run. The schedule called for 4 miles easy, 1 mile at MGP, 1 mile at HMP, 1 mile at 10k pace and 1 mile cool down. Somehow I counted wrong and started the marathon pace mile after 3 miles. Whoops. So after 3 miles Nicole and I did a mile at goal pace, then 9:03, 8:12 (what????), then we added an other mile at goal pace, and a mile cool down. We ended the day with an average pace of 9:54, and I felt surprisingly strong.

Tuesday:  Upper body strength training? Okay, so I’m determined to get back into strength training. I’ve been ignoring it, and let’s just say I’m not too happy with the Atlantic ocean that has become my upper arms, so I’m starting slow with things I can do at home until I at least get my motivation back up enough to get in the weight room, and do some legit strength training. It’s weird, before I started running, strength training was my favorite, and now I dread it. Anyway, I did 3 sets of 10 regular and dip push ups, 2x1min planks, and my dance ab warm up that I used this summer. I was SORE the next day, so even though the whole thing only took me about 15 minutes, I feel like it did something?

Wednesday: 2 mile run. No, seriously. I waited around too long, ran out of time, and that’s just all that was in the cards that morning. It was probably for the best. After my Monday run my foot started really bugging me, and I wanted just a short easy run to see how it was feeling after hours of icing. The good news is, I felt AWESOME! The whole run felt so easy, and I really wanted to keep going, but I had a time deadline, so 2 miles ended up being it. I went out with the intentions of taking it super slow, but without garmin stalking, I settled into a 9:30 pace that felt like a breeze. That never happens for me. It was great!

Thursday: 8.7 mile bike, upper body. Rode to Dutch Bros, then repeated Tuesdays strength training. Twice in one week–WHAT??

Friday: 11.32 mile run. 3 miles easy, 2 at goal pace, 1 easy, 2 at goal pace, 1 easy. I felt super sluggish during this run. The marathon pace miles felt harder than usual, and I was just having a hard time getting my head in the game. Luckily, I had Nicole there to yell at me when I slowed down which was about every 5 seconds. Just kidding, she didn’t yell, she just ran in front of me and told me to hurry up in the way that the best running friends nicely do when you’re kinda sucking ;) . Anyway, I still finished with an average pace of 10:07 and hit all my paces, so even though I wasn’t super into it mentally, I’m glad I got it done.

Saturday: Rest. 

Sunday: Fiesta Bowl 5k. Recap coming soon. Spoiler alert: it was one of the coolest days of my life, and included some happy tears :)

 

NYC Marathon Training Week 18

Week 1 of taper, check. You know, I read about how everyone hates taper, but this week was kinda nice. I enjoyed a slightly shorter Monday run, still pushed myself at the track, and loved being done with my long run at 7:15 Saturday morning! It was also really great to end a long run and not be totally exhausted. 10 miles felt short, and nice. I could get used to this taper thing! ;) Here’s how it went down:

Monday: 6 mile run. The schedule said “3 miles easy, 3 miles at marathon pace”. WHAT IS MARATHON PACE?!?!?! HOW DO I CHOOSE???? LIFE IS SO HARD!!!! Soooo, I ran 3 miles slow, and 3 miles less slow, ending up with a 10:11 average pace. I was not feeling this run. I had canceled on Nicole so that I could sleep in later, then I had to keep making deals with myself like “Maybe I’ll just run 3 miles….” to get myself out and going, but finally I turned on some relaxing music (because I’m a freak and sometimes I want mellow music while I’m running), and just gave my mind some time to do it’s thing. The run ended up being really good, and a nice reminder that even when I realllllly don’t want to, it’s almost always better to just get out there.

Tuesday: 11 mile bike. Easy ride to coffee with Steve.

Wednesday: Track. Ao about this marathon goal pace. I guess I’ve figured it out? Coach Loken sent me my projected finish time, and it scared the crap out of me. My head immediate filled with “I can’ts” and doubt. I’ve since talked it through with anyone who will listen including my super smart coach (you know the person I actually should talk to about it), and figured out what a realistic goal is mentally for me, and I’m keeping her projected finish time as a dream goal, but trying to run my marathon goal pace miles at that pace. I’m not going to talk about what any of these goals are because when I write my recap about how I ran my first marathon, I want to write it with joy and pride no matter what my finish time is, and if I tell you what I want it to be, and that doesn’t happen, I will feel like a disappointment. Anyway, back to the track. We warmed up, had a mile at marathon goal pace, then 4 x 400s, then an other mile at goal pace, then a cool down. I hit my goal pace miles and they felt easy! It was AWESOME! I also pushed really hard on my 400s running them @ 7:05, 6:57, 6:58, 6:42. The whole workout felt awesome! I completed 5.17 miles in 50 minutes. After track, a couple of people from my team came up to me and told me how much faster I’d gotten!! This is the second time this has happened recently, and it made me feel so awesome!!

Thursday: 3 mile run. Nice and easy recovery run with my speedy friend Ashley. She was practically walking. ;)

Friday: 17.3 mile bike. The usual Friday am bike ride/breakfast/coffee with Nicole.

Saturday: 10 mile run. I came, I ran, I got chased by wild dogs, I ran the second half fast to keep up with my friends, I was done by 7:15 and averaged a 9:57 pace. Ask me about the wild dogs sometime. It’s a really funny story that includes some pretty big embarrassment, but I don’t mind embarrassing myself.

Sunday: Rest. Necessary.

Fundraising update: As you know, I’ve been running with Team Chances to raise money for Chances for Children. I committed to raising $5000, and I’M GETTING SO CLOSE!!! I’ve now raised $4,110 and have just $890 to go thanks to so much support from everyone in my life! Please consider helping me to reach my goal by making a donation or placing an order! Remember that all donations/orders are tax deductible and in the state of Arizona, you can receive a full tax credit ($200 individual, or $400 family) for donations. Thanks to all of you for all the support!! I truly believe I can meet this goal by November 4th!

NYC Marathon Training Week 16

Good morning! It is an absolutely perfect fall morning in Phoenix. It is a beautiful 68 degrees with the most perfect breeze. We’ve got the front door and all of our windows open. It’s fall break so I have a much lighter schedule this week. My run is done. I’m just hanging out, enjoying the breeze and a pumpkiny breakfast. It.Is.Awesome. I can’t even tell you how happy I am to have a little bit of a break right now, especially since it’s peak training week. I’ve got a big scary 20 miler staring me in the face this Friday, and I’m super pumped that I have an easier week work-wise to prepare for it.

Anyway, that’s this week, but I’m here to talk about last  week. Here’s a look at how my training went down:

Monday: 8 mile run. Ran with Nicole. 4 easy miles, then 4 moderate @ 9:38, 9:40, 9:25, 8:37. My legs weren’t quite ready to get back to work yet, but they made it through and we averaged a 9:58 pace. Those stupid easy warm up miles totally kill the average. I should track them separately. Just kidding. Kind of…. ;)

Tuesday: 10.4 mile bike. I didn’t feel like working out at all, so I just took an easy bike ride to coffee with Steve. I broke all sorts of records with my amazing cycling speed and averaged 13.6 miles an hour. It’s okay Lance, I’ll take your spot since they won’t let you race anymore. Clearly, I’m at your same level.

Wednesday: Track. Warm up, then 2 x 1200s with 90 second rest @ 8:33, 7:54, then 800 @ 7:45, then 4 x 400s at 7:00ish. Ummm yeah, apparently the work out was so hard I forgot how to work my garmin. I kept forgetting to hit the lap button, then accidentally stopping it–it was just a hot mess. When I went in and tried to figure out my paces, it looked like they were all between 7:00-7:05. My type A brain was a little annoyed to not know every single pace EXACTLY (shocking, right?), but I got a pretty good idea. This workout was HARD. I thought my 400s would be closer to my ridiculously fast 400 at track a couple of weeks ago, but I did my first intervals really fast (for me), and didn’t account for the fact that 4 400s would be hard than, oh, one. It was awesome, though, and I ended up covering 4.77 miles in 42:28 for an average pace of 8:54. Not too shabby.

Thursday: 12.8 mile bike. Had a recovery run scheduled, but I found out when I woke up that I’d be going alone which sounded not at all fun, so I swapped it for an other ride with Steve. Stepped it up to a 13.9 average pace. Watch out cars. I will pass all of you.

Friday: 21.4 mile bike. I guess I rode my bike a lot last week! Nicole and I took a new route and rode to breakfast at Essence Bakery. It.Was.Amazing. My breakfast was, um, a little heavier than I expected, and by heavier I mean covered with cheese from top to bottom, but it was soooo delicious. We also both got some mini macarons for the road. The pumpkin spice and hazelnut were my favorites, but they were all amazing! Oh wait, I’m supposed to be talking about exercise, not cheese and macarons. The ride was great. We chatted the whole time (obviously), and it was nice to ride somewhere new! Oh, and I averaged a speed demon pace of 12.9 miles an hour.

Saturday: 10 mile time trial. EEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

10 weeks ago, we were asked to run a 10 mile time trial. I ran it up in Portland with Tali and Camille. I called it the best run of my life. It was perfection–perfect weather, perfect company, perfect mind set. I finished that run in 1:34:45. Well, it’s 10 weeks later, and I’m 3 minutes faster! Pretty good, right? I was NERVOUS about this run to say the least. The last time I went after a specific time goal was at AFC in San Diego. I posted my big goal of a sub two half all over the internet for the world to see, then I crashed and burned. Hard. I didn’t really tell anyone my goals for this run, except for Steve and Nicole. I didn’t want to set myself up to tell everyone I failed again. Of course, I had a few goals–the main one was just to be faster than last time, which I actually was not sure I could do. Everything last time seemed so perfect–what if I couldn’t do it again?? I really wanted to be around 1:32. 1:32:30 is a 9:15 pace which seemed like a big jump from my previous 9:28, and I knew that would be something I could be proud of. My dream goal was to magically be able to pull a sub 1:30. That one obviously didn’t happen, but I am totally okay with that!

Towards the beginning of the run, I found myself running right behind to other ladies, so I asked what their goal was and they told me 1:32. Perfect! I ran with them until about mile 6, and we chatted most of the way. It was an awesome distraction. A little over haf way through we all started to split off a bit, it was getting harder, and I was starting to doubt myself. I put on my music, and told my brain to STFU. I really started to understand the mental battle part of running. I was sure that I was too tired, and that I couldn’t do it, but I really fought back this time instead of giving up, and I ended up really surprising myself!

Mile 1: 9:32
Mile 2: 9:15
Mile 3: 9:20
Mile 4: 9:08
Mile 5: 8:56
Mile 6: 9:11
Mile 7: 9:09
Mile 8: 8:53
Mile 9: 9:31 <—SOOO TIRED!!!! WHEN WILL THIS BE OVER?!?!?!
Mile 10: 8:43

You know something I love? When you’ve sprinted at the end, and you go and look at your final lap pace on your garmin.

LOOK COACH SUSAN!! I ran your marathon pace for 6 seconds. I think I’m ready for the olympic trials now too. 97 feet is basically the same as a whole marathon, right? Also, I really need a manicure.

Anyway, the time trial was awesome. Really awesome. So awesome that McMillan seems to think I can now run a 4:17 marathon. Silly McMillan. I’ll be happy with half an hour longer than that! Also, I just wanted to say that 9:09 for 13.1 miles = 1:59:59ish half marathon, if I ran the tangents perfectly…. Lost Dutchman, I’m looking at YOU!

Sunday: Rest. Much needed. I’m getting better at this whole rest day thing. I might even go so far as to say I LIKE them! :)

TOTALS:

Running: 22.85
Biking:  44.55
Eating: Everything in site. 

Tell me about your training!! Any big goals coming up? Record breaking bike speeds? Long run PRs??

 

NYC Marathon Training Week 15

GUESS WHAT!!!! In September, for the first time ever, I ran 101 miles! My first time breaking the triple digits. I am aware that some people run that many miles a week, but whatev. I’m excited. In September I also got sick and took a week off running all together, so basically I ran 101 miles in 3ish weeks. I like it. Here’s a look at how last week went down.

Monday: 8 mile run. This run was just okay. I was still not feeling my strongest, and my breathing felt off from being sick. But this girl got me through it, and we averaged a 10:09 pace. Slower than usual, but not terrible.

Tuesday: 13.7 mile bike. Rode with Nicole at a faster-for-us-but-still-easy pace. Averaged 14.4 mph which is slow for all you speedy cyclists, but good for a couple of girls who really just ride their bike as an excuse to hang out and be social. I miss spin class. I haven’t been in weeks. I have a million excuses, but I think it really comes down to two things: I don’t like waiting until 9:15 to start my work out, and I’m really physically tired from marathon training, so a nice easy bike ride outside just seems so much nicer.

Wednesday: 4 mile run, 30 minutes strength training. WHAT?!?!?!?! Yes. You read that correctly. I was a little bitch still not feeling quite 100% and my ankle was bugging me after Monday’s run, so I ditched out on hill repeats with the team, and decided to make up my own speed work and run with Ashley. I suggested a 1 mi warm up, 2 faster miles, and a 1 mile cool down. For once I was not the queen of ridiculously slow warm ups, and we ran our miles in 9:50, 9:07, 8:39, 9:42. That’s pretty good for me! Then at physical therapy, instead of just asking to get scraped and needled, I actually pushed myself through a bunch of my exercises, and my abs were sore for days. Like, today they still hurt. Talk about needing to get back into strength training….

Thursday: 4.1 mile run. Fun run around Kiwanis park with Jason. We hadn’t run together in so long! It was supposed to be recovery, but he is so fast now! We averaged a 9:33 pace, but it felt harder than it should have.

Friday: Rest. Rest days are so weird when they’re the day before a long run. My legs weren’t really that tired. I didn’t feel like I needed  to rest. I felt like I wanted to go ride my bike and do fun active things outside, but I knew I’d regret the slightest hint of tiredness on my legs the next day (and Nicole was out of town, so I had no one to ride my bike with–problem solved). Instead of exercising, I baked cookies. That seems like the obvious choice, right? It’s actually what I have always ended up doing with the free time I usually spend exercising. They were awesome and Halloween-like, and I promise to share them with you this week. See, you too like rest days. They bring you cookies.

Saturday: 18 mile run. Thank goodness this went well. I was so nervous. Read about it with practically step by step detail, because I have always been wordy and long winded ;)

Sunday: Rest. This rest felt AWESOME and NECESSARY.

I’ve definitely noticed that now that we are in peak training, my body needs more rest. It needs lighter cross training, more rest, and more focus on running. Half marathon training didn’t really feel that way, so I was a little taken off guard at my body’s reaction, and I felt a little bit like a slacker for skipping out on things like spin, and choosing to drive to the coffee shop when the weather is perfect out for a bike ride, but I have 26.2 miles to run, and I need to listen to my body and RESPECT what it is doing for me. My legs carried my butt around for 3 hours and 8 minutes on Saturday. My body is amazing, and it is being great to me. Aside from a sprained ankle and my usual achilles stuff, I have been able to stay injury free throughout this process, and I am so grateful. So I’m backing off a little in other areas to say thank you and give my body a break.

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR TRAINING!!! Do you back off from other workouts in the peak of marathon training?