NYC Marathon Training Week 17

17 weeks of hard work down. 3 weeks of taper to go. I had a lot of thoughts about the training cycle as a whole this week. I was feeling tired physically and mentally. Last week was a step back week, but even though our long run was only 10 miles, running it at race pace made it challenging, and I did not go into this week feeling rested, but I started to realize that maybe that’s the point? If I can run peak week on tired legs, then I can certainly run the marathon on fresh legs, right? I’m guessing that’s why the plans work, but really, what do I know? Basically nothing.

I went to bed last Sunday night thinking about how I had to kill it this week, and make every run perfect because THIS IS IT!! Then I woke up Monday morning totally lacking in motivation. In fact, the only thing that got me to get out of bed for my work outs was knowing that this is the most important week, and after this it will all get easier. Here’s a look at how this week’s training went down.

Monday: 8 mile run. It was a good thing I had plans to run with Nicole, because otherwise it just would not have happened. Something has to be really wrong in order for me to cancel on a friend, but it is so easy to hit the snooze button and roll over when it’s just me. I was NOT feeling it this morning. My legs felt tired from Saturday’s time trial and I was quiet, grumpy, and not a whole lot of fun, but Nicole stayed really positive and pushed me through until the end. I was happy when it was over, but it took me until the moment I was finished to be happy I did it. Ran the first 4 easy, then the next 4 @ 9:46, 9:36, 9:22, 8:30.

Tuesday: Spin. I finally went back to spin! It was a great class, but I just mentally wasn’t 100% in it. I gave it a solid effort and had a good time, but I was just more at like a 90%.

Wednesday: Track–6 x 800. Partner 800s!! YAY!! Stacey and I finally got to complete them together. The way it works is partner #1 (me) runs a lap solo, then partner #2 joins for lap 2. While partner #2 runs their 2nd lap, partner #1 gets a short break. I did a mile-ish warm up over to the track, then completed my 800s @ 8:01, 8:00, 7:42, 7:38, 7:34, 7:22. I was dyyyyying on the last one, but it felt awesome! I did a short cool down jog back and ended up completing 4.4 miles in 37:31 for an average pace of 8:31 including the warm up and cool down! I was stoked!! As soon as I got home, I checked out my paces from the time we did this same work out just one month before: 8:07, 8:08, 8:02, 8:00, 7:58, 7:57. I was so ecstatic to be able to see my improvement!! MAYBE I WON’T BE A SLOW RUNNER FOREVER!!!!

Thursday: Rest. Lots of carbs and compression socks all day long.

Friday: 20.5 mile run. Check it.

Saturday: 15ish mile bike. I literally felt like I had been run over by a truck, but Susan had asked me to bring muffins for the team, so I figured while I was there, I should cheer my friends on. I got my tired legs onto my bike and rode around the canal for almost an hour and a half. It was great to be able to to be there for my friends while they finished the toughest part of the journey as well!

Sunday: Rest. You couldn’t pay me enough to work out today. Rest days are awesome.

Sooooo…..now we taper. Everyone says taper makes you crazy, but I’m sososo excited. My legs are beat. My brain is duuuunnnn. My social life is pathetic. Well, that one probably won’t change. ;) I’m sure after a week or so I will start feeling a little nutty about not running, but for now I can’t wait to tone it way down and give myself a break. My goal is to spend the extra time I would have been running, and focus that energy/time on taking care of myself. Lots of stretching and foam rolling. No skipping PT sessions. Good nutritious food and….no more alcohol (wahhhhh) until after the race. I mean, I’m not a big drinker anyway, and I haven’t been drinking during training except to celebrate long runs, and they’re all over, so there’s really nothing to celebrate until Nov 4. I mean, there’s real life things, but I will celebrate those just fine without. I want to go into the race feeling my very best. Oh and I need to make SLEEP a priority. This 5-6 hours a night business is not cutting it for me.

What do you do differently during taper? How do you prepare for a big race to make sure you go in feeling your best? GIVE ME YOUR AWESOME MARATHON ADVICE!!!!!

NYC Marathon Training Week 12

This week was a cut back week. After 15 miles at South Mountain, and looking ahead at the training that’s coming up, an easier week sounded awesome. However, I think for the first time I started to feel a little bit of the craziness I always hear other runners talk about during cut back and taper weeks. I have to admit, even though I really do love running, I’ve never been one to look at less miles on the training plan and feel disappointed, but I started feeling weird not-so-healthy thoughts of not doing or being good enough this week. I followed the plan almost to a tee, with the exception of a missed recovery run to which Nicole replied “It’s just 3 miles. That means you’re supposed to skip it. In fact, I think she probably meant ‘skip this run'”. This is why I love her.

Anyway, my 3 main runs (long, medium distance, and track) usually leave me feeling like a rockstar. Each one leaves me with a different sense of pride, and accomplishment. This week though, especially after my long run, I just felt a little…inadequate. Let me premise by saying I am well aware of how silly that is. I literally used words like “I only ran 10 miles.” Ummm, how many people out there would be over the moon to be able to run 10 miles??? And since when is double digits only 10.

I feel like part of that comes from the constant use of food (and beer) as a reward for long running. How many times have we all hear “Don’t use food as a reward”. Well, there’s good reason. It’s a tough habit to break, and I find myself continuously falling into it this training cycle. I can’t even tell you how many long runs I’ve gotten through by thinking about what I was going to eat for dinner! I know that’s not the worst  thing, especially if it motivates me enough to keep going (what can I say? I love food), but it becomes bad when I do a 10 mile long run, and feel like I haven’t run enough to “earn” a fun dinner out. Ridiculous. I know. I’m actually kind of a smart lady. And I think that if I wasn’t aware of my silliness, then there would actually be a problem. I’ve learned enough about myself at this point in my life to be able to navigate the craziness, but I wanted to talk about it, because I feel like it’s something a lot of people deal with, and it’s okay. Beating ourselves up for struggling mentally is equivalent to beating ourselves up for  one bad work out. You wouldn’t do it to your friend, so why should you do it to yourself? That’s just how I was feeling last week.

Okay, enough of that. Here’s how last week’s training went down!

Monday—4.2 mile easy run. After Saturday’s challenging long run at South Mountain, I was super relieved to have an easier day. I ran with Nicole and Stacey, and averaged a 10:27 pace. It was good, but shorter and easier and came with no awesome runner’s high. Sad day.

Tuesday—Linda’s Spin. This class kicked my butt this week! Linda called some of us out on our flat road being too easy, so I picked mine back up to 11, and I hung in, but I was definitely working hard!

Wednesday—Track: 3×1 mile. Balloons. Rainbows. Glitter. Confetti. This run was so freaking awesome!! I had the biggest case of runner’s high all.day.long. We warmed up, did all the silly looking running drills and about a million lunges, then set out on the track for our mile repeats (with 400 recovery jogs in between). The first one was supposed to be at 10k pace, then between 5-10k pace, then 5k pace. My goal was 8:40, 8:30, 8:20. My first mile clocked in at 8:38, then my second in 8:27. I was getting nervous at this point. I mean, I’ve done 800s faster than that, but I was worried about my ability to run any faster for an entire mile (so much longer than it seems!) when I was already feeling so tired. The first 3 laps of my last mile, I was doing okay. Not great, but staying on pace. The last lap, I just wanted to give up and lay down on the track. I asked some of my speedier friends that were finished to finish my last lap with me, and they ran the last 300ish with me, pushing me and helping me bring my lap pace from a steady 8:15 to 8:06!!!!! Ummm, that is FAST for me! I felt amazing, like I had really given the workout everything I had. I rushed up to Coach Susan to tell her my splits, and she said that I got a P for Perfect for the day! This was one of the best runs of this entire training process!!

Thursday—14.7 mile bike ride. Since Nicole and I decided to long run on Friday, we took a nice little bike ride on Thursday. 

Friday—10 mile run. 10:21 average pace. Pretty uneventful with the exception of all the wildlife we encountered! In our 10 miles, Nicole and I saw a toad, coyote, jack rabbit, and a giant fish! This was the run that I ended and had my ridiculous, bratty “so what” attitude. I’m over it. 10 miles is 10 miles. It has 2 numbers, therefore it is long. Welcome to the long run logic of Ari’s Brain. Actually, anything over 10 seconds usually feels kind of long….

Saturday—9.7 mile bike. Rode to rehearsal, and for the first time in months, I actually focused on riding, rather than pedaling along having casual conversation. There was a super intense headwind, and I still only averaged 14mi an hour, but it felt good to push a little more on the bike again.

Sunday—8.4 mile bike. Rode to coffee with Steve, and took it mostly easy/moderate with a couple of sprints thrown in for fun. He does this weird strava thing for nerdy boys who ride bikes (or maybe it’s for all people, but since he does it, I just assumed…) and he wanted to race his “segment”. Of course that meant I was going for it too. I was doing really awesome and averaging a 20.8 pace, but then I hit two stop lights, cursed at them (only in my head), and ended up at around 18.5 for both sprint segments. It was fun to change it up a little!

Wow, it’s a good thing I have this little blog. Apparently, I have things to say, or something. Poor Steve would be so annoyed if I just regurgitated the same recaps of my paces and feeling to him 50 times a day. Oh wait, that is his life. Now it’s yours too–HAH! ;)

TIME FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO TALK ABOUT THEMSELVES!!! I want to hear about your training–your accomplishments, frustrations, celebration beers, thoughts that celebration beers should never ever happen. TELL ME EVERYTHING!

NYC Marathon Training Week 11

Friday night I had big plans. I was, for real–no sarcasm, super excited about said plans. I sat on the couch (between sessions of stretching and foam rolling), ate a big salad with whole wheat gnocchi on top (because I still don’t like eating a whole plate of just pasta–yuck), and watched Fast Women. Fast Women is a documentary about some local Phoenix runners including my super amazing inspiring coach. It definitely inspired me, and made me excited to get out there and run the next morning! Perhaps my big Friday night plans seem super lame to you? That’s okay. I’m perfectly content with my life as it is right now. I’m feeling good about my training, and I’m starting to take it more seriously, and commit myself in all areas of life, not just the training runs.

I had a really great week of training. I was in the right place mentally. I felt focused, and positive all week long. I really pushed myself this week, and ever since last Saturday’s 14 miler, I have been in almost a constant state of runner’s high. After almost every work out, I felt that sense of pride, accomplishment, and “I can do anything”! It was awesome. I made a lot of personal discoveries this week, and though most of them came through in my training, many of them aren’t running related. That is why I love challenging myself. It’s only when we push ourselves beyond our limits that we truly learn about ourselves and grow as human beings. Too much? Sorry, I’m a REALLY sappy person. I mean ask my friends who is the most emotional person they know. I guarantee you, they will all say me. And you know what? I like it. So here’s how the 11th week of training went down in the land of I Feel Deep Personal Crap 24/7:

Monday–7 mi run. Okay, so about these medium distance runs…Until now, I’ve totally sucked at them. The training plan always reads something like “X miles easy to warm up, then X miles at moderate pace. Moderate pace is slightly harder. You can hear your breathing, but you’re not gasping for air.” Problem #1: I can always hear my breathing. Perhaps that’s not normal? I just usually wear headphones to block it out ;) Problem #2: It’s 90* out, and no pace feels easy. Problem #3: PLEASE JUST TELL ME A PACE TO HIT OTHERWISE I NEVER KNOW IF I’M DOING IT RIGHT!!!! Please Coach Susan? Can’t you just tell me exactly what to do at every moment of every run? I thought that was how this worked? And while we’re at it, maybe you could just run the miles 4 me. You’d do it in about half the time. Okay, or maybe that’s not the point. Anyway, after the scheduled 3 mile warm up, I told Nicole that I actually wanted to try to push the next 4 miles. I’ve spent a lot of time being scared I can’t run faster when it’s hot out, and that if I actually picked it up, I wouldn’t be able to get through it. Well it turns out, although running in the heat is still tough, running at a moderate pace is actually not that much harder. I ended up running the last 4 in 9:40, 9:34, 9:25, 8:31. Note to self: Stop sucking it up like a baby, and actually push yourself. You  can do a lot more than you think.

Tuesday–Linda’s Spin. Love.

Wednesday–Track: 6x800s. We were told to find a partner at about our speed, then one partner did a lap alone, then the second lap with their partner, then the second partner did their second lap alone. Sounds more confusing than it is. I partnered up with Bob and was the first to go, so basically I would run the second half of my 800 with him, then rest while he ran his final lap (around 2 min). After Monday, I was all pumped up and ready to really push myself, and I ran my 800s in 8:07, 8:08, 8:02, 8:00, 7:58, 7:57. I wanted to die on the last one, but it was awesome to really push myself, and work harder than I have been. I was still basically the last one on the track, but such is life.

Thursday–Recovery run. 3 miles of shuffling at a snail’s pace. The first run I’ve done by myself in a while. No music (what??? I’ve actually run a lot without music lately, and it really isn’t so bad!) It was nice to just go at my own pace, shake my body out, and let the recovery run do it’s thing.

Friday–18 mi bike ride. Friday mornings are my happy place. I get to hang out with one of my favorite people, move my body, and not worry about pace/time/mileage/anything. Nicole and I just spend the time chatting, and there is always breakfast and coffee. This time it didn’t rain (YAY!!), and Nicole learned to change a flat tire.

while I sat there and looked totally confused.

For some reason we wore our helmets the entire time. We wondered how many food bloggers it takes to change a tire….Steve ended up coming to save the day, but Nicole was doing pretty awesome I have to say! We also saw this awesome sunrise.

My favorite thing about morning workouts.

Saturday–15 mi run. If you live in Phoenix, perhaps you’ve had the pleasure of running on San Juan Rd. No? Lucky. In all seriousness though, this run was I would say 90% great. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t 100% hard. It was one of the most challenging training runs I have ever done, and it was the first where I had to take walk breaks, but you know what? I didn’t care. I didn’t care about my super slow pace, and I didn’t really mind the fact that when I arrived at 5am my phone said it was 92*, and I didn’t hate working hard on the hills. I’ve said it 100 times, but I signed up to do this because I wanted to challenge myself. For some sick and twisted reason, I actually enjoy this crap. Not so much while I’m doing it, but nothing compares to the pride I get when I finish a tough work out. In the end, I ran 15 miles with 986 ft of elevation gain at a 10:48 average pace. I had so much support from my coach and so many members of my team it was incredible! At the turn around point, Susan was up at the top of the hill with a bull horn yelling for us! We also had people on bikes (ummm David you are AWESOME) with water and lots of positive energy to keep us going. When my ipod stopped working, David actually sang to me. Nicest guy ever. Having so many supportive people around during the hardest parts of this run made it so.much.better. The end was the hardest. The road is only 6.3 miles long, so I had to run back past my car, run the opposite direction for a little over a mile, and it turns out the way out was all downhill, so at the very end when I wanted to die, I had to run back alone and uphill. I may have had an F this moment, but I finished it, and within an hour I was riding some serious runner’s high.

I spent my Saturday night like this.

I lead a thrilling life. Don’t be jealous.

Sunday–Super easy recovery ride. I wanted coffee. My legs were stiff and a little angry, and begging to move around, so Steve and I rode to Dutch Bros and back.

 

Next week is a cut back week (hallelujah!), and then the week after that, shit gets real. I’m going to run further than I ever have, and I cannot freaking wait. All this time I’ve been telling everyone “I can’t wait until we do 16 miles! I’ve never done that before!’ Well as some sort of cruel joke, we skip 16 and go straight to 17. Whatever. I’m freaking stoked.

NYC Marathon Training Week 10

Week 10–half way there! This was a huge week. We had our team fundraiser with a big silent auction, and I spent most of the week freaking out over preparing for it. Good thing I had a little lot of help from my friends! The event actually ended up going really well for me , and I am happy to say that once everything is entered in, I should be about half way to my goal! That means there’s still a lot of work to do, but I am starting to feel more confident that I can do this. All of it.

This week was tough for me. I don’t know what it is, but the day after a half marathon I always feel terrible. It doesn’t matter if I’ve done well, or if I’m frustrated with my time, I just feel completely wiped physically and emotionally. The emotional exhaustion just seemed to carry through the week. I honestly can’t be surprised. Most nights I don’t get home until after 9, and then I need time to wind down before I can fall asleep, and then I wake up between 4-5am most days, and it’s just not enough sleep. For the first time, I started to feel like the time commitment of my training was a burden, and I know I don’t *actually* feel that way, but between work, fundraising, training, and trying to not completely suck at being a wife/family member/friend, I just felt like something had to give. I’m hopefully with the stress of the auction behind me, this week will be better. Also, I have an incredibly supportive coach and teammates that are doing everything they can to help me reach my goal.

This week felt like the transition into real marathon training, if that makes sense? For the last 10 months, I’ve been perpetually training for multiple half marathons, and now I don’t have anything scheduled until NYC. Our long runs are getting longer (14 miles this week), and the entire commitment of a full marathon is slowly starting to sink in. It’s tough and it’s presenting unexpected challenges, but I like it. I didn’t sign up for a walk in the park. I signed up to challenge myself, and stretch my abilities in ways I never dreamed were possible.

So, all that said, here’s how it went this week:

Monday–12 mi bike ride. Nice and easy recovery ride with Nicole to get my muscles loosened up post AFC.

Tuesday–Linda’s Spin. Perfection, as always.

Wednesday–Speed work: 8 x 1min. Warm up, 1 min intervals @  6:58, 7:12, 7:21, 7:24, 7:25, 7:17, 7:11, 7:00. My legs were definitely still a little tired, but not too bad.

Thursday–6 mi run. Okay, so I kind of suck at the whole do 2 miles slow then the next 4 at moderate effort thing. I’m really good at the slow part, but then I just slowwwwwwlllllyyyy get faster each mile. I don’t really think that’s the point, but with the heat, I’m still trying to base it on effort. I don’t have it totally figured out yet. I ran with Nicole (who is awesome and slows down from her speedy ways to stick with me) and averaged just over a 10 min pace. I feel like I need to work a little harder on these.

Friday–12 mi bike ride. Ugghhh, this day was annoying. I rode in the 10 min of pouring rain, got picked up by Nicole just as it stopped, then we went back out to ride, but everything was muddy and gross. Ended up cutting it shorter than normal, but as always the company and breakfast/coffee parts were awesome :)

Saturday–14 mi run. Okay, so Friday was the team fundraiser, and I didn’t get home til well after 10. I tried to go straight to bed, but I was all wound up from the evening and it took me forever to fall asleep. I ended up getting between 4-5 hours of sleep, waking up at 4am, and almost convincing myself to go back to bed and just skip the run. It felt impossible, and I knew I had 4 hours of teaching to do right after that I wasn’t quite sure how I’d make it through. I’m not gonna lie, the run was tough, and the rest of the morning was too. However, tough is not impossible, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I didn’t feel great, and it wasn’t my best, but I also didn’t feel horrible, and it wasn’t my worst. I ran with Stacey the entire time, and we ran with Jo a lot which was super helpful, because when you run with someone you don’t know as well, there is more pressure to keep going, haha. I ended up finishing in about 2:26 with a 10:24 average pace. I got some serious runners high and decided that there was nothing in the world I couldn’t accomplish. Then I was so tired that I missed my exit going to the studio, and then stopped at a green light. I was a little weird all day long, but no one really seemed to mind ;)

Sunday–10 mi bike ride. Snail speed. Rode with my perfect husband. He has been so awesome, I could write an entire post about how I’m the luckiest woman alive.

So there you have it friends. Half way through marathon training. Also, I’m working on convincing my mom to come out to NYC to watch me cross the finish line, because at 27 years old, I still haven’t grown out of needing my parents approval when I accomplish things. Okay, let’s be honest, I still haven’t grown out of needing the entire world’s approval, because I thrive on positive reinforcement. ;)

 

NYC Marathon Training Week 9

Oy. Yesterday was not the best day, but you know what? It finished a whole lot better than it started. It’s amazing–if you just ask for help, usually people are happy to do it! Heather, Nicole and Tara are being rock stars helping me out to get ready for the fundraiser. Emily and Lauran talked me down, and reminded me that I don’t suck at life. I got lots of love from my best friend Bethany, and then my amazing husband….GAHHHH, I LOVE HIM. He cleaned the house. He knows me. He gets it. He knew exactly what I needed from him, and he agreed to help me with my baking for the fundraiser on Friday. Everything will work out. I just have to get through this week of auditions and silent auction planning!

So about this whole marathon training thing…. One day its going to be over and I’m actually gonna have to run the thing. That day used to seem so far away, but its going to be here before I know it. Sometimes I think I prefer the training to the actual race. There’s less pressure, and so many opportunities to hit new paces and mileage. I’m so excited for the week we do 16 miles because it will be my first time really tackling a new distance since February. That was my favorite thing about training for PF Chang’s–every week I was setting new records for myself, and it definitely motivated me to keep at it.

I was a little emotional about my running this week. Pick your jaws up off the floor, people. I know me being emotional is totally shocking and out of character, but please keep it together ;) Here’s a look at how it went down.

Monday: 6 mi run with Nicole. This was supposed to be 2 miles easy, then 4 moderate. It ended up being a start realllllllly slow, then get faster every mile. Close enough, right? It was hot, and by the end I was at my normal moderate pace, but it took me a while to get there. Ended up with an average pace of 10:14–not quite where I’d like to be, but I’m trying to learn to go by effort rather than numbers when it comes to running in the heat. Nicole and I did see a really gorgeous sunrise, though which made everything kinda worth it!


Tuesday: Linda’s spin. 20.5 miles in 55 min. I love spin. Christina even joined me last week, and she’s coming down again today. I love spinning with friends!

Wednesday: Track. 1.2 mi warm up, 4x400s @ 8:17, 8:16, 8:16, 8:10, 1mi @ HMGP @ 8:54. I ended up with 4.36 mi in about 41 min (9:17 average). I felt like my paces were spot on, but then I was the very last person left on the track. I ran 2 entire laps with no one else. It was embarrassing and frustrating. I know it’s because most of my team was not racing, and did their mile time trial, and that’s faster obviously, but it just kinda put me in a bad place mentally about it. I hate feeling like I’m the worst, slowest, etc. Coach Susan gave me a pep talk about not comparing myself to others–something that could still use some work.

Thursday: Recovery run. Ran with Nicole again. I love having running friends so close by, and I’m so happy we’ve been able to work out in the mornings so often lately! I came up with this brilliant plan for Nicole to do her mile time trial while I recovery ran. We warmed up together, I met her at the end of her mile after I continued on at my slow recovery pace, and then she was able to cool down while I kept shuffling along my tired legs. I ended up with 3.32 mi in 35 min. Nicole killed her mile. She is Speedy Gonzales.
Friday: 19 mile bike ride. BBFF cross training day! Bike + breakfast + coffee = the reason I love Friday mornings.

Saturday: Rest. 

Sunday: AFC Half Marathon. Full recap coming soon. Spoiler alert: it was hot and I met none of my goals I’m working on being Zen about it. Here’s an other sunrise picture. This was probably the best part about this race.

So this week was kind of a roller coaster. That’s okay. It’s  long training plan, and not every week is going to be perfect. I just keep reminding myself of when I did my 10 mile time trial, and it was the most perfect run ever of life. It reminds me that I’m capable of having kick ass runs that not only meet my goals, but feel great too. Onward.

PS: Yesterday I officially signed up online, then received my travel info from marathon tours. Talk about things getting real!