Dallas Marathon Training: Week Fifteen

The plan – identical to last week:

UTDMStR

Monday, Rest

Tuesday, Rest 

I felt so tired after work, and my right quad was still really sore from the 20-miler, so I took another rest day. I am definitely ready for the taper to begin.

Wednesday, Ran 3 miles/8:57 pace3e

Easy run: I intended to do my 5-mile speed run, but I still just lacked energy! I got up before work, and whereas usually I have no problem getting into my ‘speed’ pace, I felt sluggish and slow. I decided to just to do my 3-mile easy run, and try to figure out a way to reclaim some energy for the next few days. I took my B-complex vitamin when I got home, which I’ve been neglecting to do lately, and I tried to drink more water and eat better throughout the day. I’d been eating kind of bad the previous few days, which surely doesn’t help contribute to energy and activity.

Thursday, Ran 5 miles/7:59 pace

5s
Speed run: My coworkers and I agreed we were all feeling extra tired this week. Maybe it’s the weather? Still adjusting to DST? Whatever the case, I was still tired Thursday morning when I got up to do my speed run, and I felt myself running out of gas near the end. But, somehow, I still managed to do my fastest pace for a 5-miler ever. Pretty sure I’d never run 5 miles at a sub-8:00 pace before. I’m constantly amazed that after several lackluster and sometimes downright awful running years, I’m now the fastest I’ve ever been.

Friday, Ran 5 miles/8:40 pace

5t

Tempo run: I couldn’t muster up the motivation to do this run before work, and I even considered pushing it back to Saturday morning. But I got out and did this run Friday evening instead, and I felt okay but not great. My pace was slower than last week. 😦 Verrry sweaty afterward too. This is November. Sigh.

Saturday, Arm workouts

Sunday, Ran 20 miles/9:58 pace

20l

Long run: Just like last week, I super procrastinated getting out the door to start this run. It’s just so mentally daunting sometimes. But the run went by rather quickly once I got going. The weather was really nice, in the high 40s to high 50s, breezy, sunshine. I listened to episodes of Dateline and Hollywood Crime Scene podcast, and those really kept my mind off the task at hand.

I also focused on trying not to glance at my Garmin too much, so that I wouldn’t be constantly checking how far I had gone. As a result, my pace was usually too fast. I did make conscious efforts to try and slow down at points, but it never stuck.

Mileage starts coming down next week, and I am relieved. I think the combination of weather changes making me sick, adjusting (or not adjusting, as the case may be) to Daylight Saving Time, on top of work, volunteering, and marathon training, has all started to catch up with me. I will focus these next three weeks before the race on trying to get as much rest as I can, taking my vitamins, eating well, drinking water, and hopefully being at peak health on race day.

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Dallas Marathon Training: Week Fourteen

The plan:

(Let’s try this again)

UTDMStR

Monday, Rest

Tuesday, Ran 5 miles/8:02 pace

5 sp

Speed run: I ended up working later than expected, and when I got home it was chilly and drizzly outside. I was tempted to push this back. But instead, I sucked it up and got it done. I didn’t get too wet, and ended up with my best 5-mile pace thus far.

Wednesday, Arm workouts, sit-ups

It was raining tons this day, so running outside wasn’t happening for me. I pushed my tempo run back a day and did my typical lazy “cross training” instead.

Thursday, Ran 5 miles/8:26 pace

5 te

Tempo run: I got up before work and did this run around 6:45 AM, with temperatures around 44 degrees. I felt kind of bad during the run, but still pulled out a good pace. I was happy to have this done early.

Friday, Rest

After work we went to a little concert at my brother-in-law’s church. I felt so tired at the end of a long week!

Saturday, Ran 3 miles/9:07 pace

3

Easy run: Another early morning, chilly run. I got up and did this run around 7:30 AM before heading out to volunteer at the cat rescue for the rest of the day. I ran what felt “easy” and felt really, really good.

Sunday, Ran 20 miles/10:11 pace

20

Long run: For this run, I was hoping to have the same cool temps we had earlier in the week, but alas, it was about 68 degrees when I headed out Sunday morning. I got a much later start than planned because I was procrastinating, big time. There is something so mentally daunting about tackling 20 miles solo. It’s only 2 miles longer than 18, but just sounds so much harder.

Finally, I got started shortly before 8 AM, and I just tried to zone out. I listened to a couple of podcasts, but mostly music. I did a decent job fueling for this run – peanut butter and honey toast beforehand, three PowerBar energy gels total (beforehand, 7 miles, and 14 miles), and Powerade throughout. My pace was faster than I expected or intended, and I finished strong at the end, but I was definitely feeling tired at the end. I think in the marathon I’m going to end up taking 5 total gels, so I will be eating more calories during the race.

Hotel for race weekend is booked, and I’m growing very excited. I hope my nerves don’t get the best of me come race day. I need to remember to enjoy it.

Dallas Marathon Training: Week Thirteen

The plan:

UTDMStR

Monday, Planking and bicep curls

This was my “cross training.”

Tuesday, Rest (HALLOWEEN)

I was going to run after work, but I ended up working late, it was raining off and on, and the neighborhood was inundated with trick-or-treaters. I decided to call it a night.

Wednesday, Ran 5 miles/8:06 pace

5 miles

Speed run: This was my fastest 5-miler yet. I didn’t feel great throughout, in fact I felt kind of crappy. I did it after work, and had been feeling kind of nauseous throughout the day. But I sucked it up and got it done! We had a nice spell of cold weather, but now it’s back to warm humidity.

Thursday, Ran 5 miles/8:53 pace

5 tempo

Tempo run: I had to do this in the dark as I didn’t get home from work until after 7. Not much to say! I was very sweaty, apparently! It was nice to only have 5 miles on the schedule, instead of 8 miles like the previous three weeks.

Friday, Rest

We traveled this day, so I went into work extra early and we left around 3 PM to hit the road. I woke up with a cold, which would affect me during the weekend…

Saturday, Ran 12 miles/10:24 pace

12 miles

Long run: Welp. At the last minute, I decided to switch this week’s 20-mile long run with next week’s 12 miler, because 1) I felt terrible – my cold had worsened and I just felt like garbage when I woke up. 2) I had gotten a terrible night of sleep. 3) I was visiting my family for the weekend and wanted to have more time with them during the day Saturday, so 90 less minutes of running seemed more desirable.

Due to this switch, I will end up running 20 miles two weeks in a row instead of running 20, 12, 20. Also, if I had been following the plan for the week where I do a 12-mile long run, I’d have run 8 miles instead of 5 miles for my tempo run. Oh well. When all is said and done, I only came up 3 miles short this week from the plan, and I will make up the 20-miler the next week. This is the first time in 13 weeks that I deviated from my training plan, so I guess that’s pretty good.

As for the actual 12-miler, I felt horrible as I started running with all my cold symptoms, and the thick South Louisiana humidity did not help. I wanted to quit a few miles in, but I kept at it and completed the 12 sweaty miles.

Sunday, Ran 5 miles/9:08 pace

5 easy

Easy run: If I had done 20 miles on Saturday, this would have been a 3-miler, but after I switched to just doing 12 miles, I did the easy run length that went along with that week’s plan – 5 miles. Nothing to write home about, my cold felt a little better, and I did it rather quickly because we had to get packed up and leave in time to go to the Saints game in New Orleans.

saints

The Saints are 6-2! I felt my sickness during this game, and at times I thought maybe it would have been better not to run at all this weekend. I don’t want to prolong sickness by being stubborn and running instead of resting. But a few days later, I feel almost completely better, so I guess I got away with it this time.

October Recap

oct

Miles: 144! I’ve been doing a good job at incrementally increasing my miles each month. From July to August I went up 20, from August to September I went up 30, and from September to October I went up about 40.

Races run: 2 – the Red River Revel 15K and the Heroes Run Half Marathon. Incorporating races into my long training runs makes them way less lonely!

PRs set: 1! My new half marathon PR, and first sub-2 half marathon, came almost 3 years after I last set a PR at that distance.

This was a pretty quiet month personally. I didn’t go out of town at all, just kind of kept in the grind of working, running, and volunteering at the cat shelter.

October went by really quickly, and I know November will too. Then the Dallas Marathon will be mere days away! I so love this time of year and want to savor it.

Dallas Marathon Training: Week Twelve

The plan:

week 12

Monday, Rest

Tuesday, Ran 5 miles/8:15 pace

12 - 5 miler

Speed run: I’ve decided the worst thing to run in is not heat, cold, or rain – it’s WIND! This run was SO windy, and the first half was brutal because I was going up against head wind. When I turned around to come the opposite way back on the river trail, I had most of the wind at my back, and I was able to make up my pace.  Ultimately I was very surprised that this run was faster than last week’s speed run.

Wednesday, Ran 8 miles/8:58 pace

12 - 8

Tempo run: I did not get a good night’s sleep the night before, and I went running after work, so I was super sluggish to start, and I knew I wouldn’t have as good of a pace as last week. But I just focused on pushing through, and somehow I still got a sub-9 pace, which I was very happy about. And it was only 3 seconds slower per mile than last week. The sun was pretty much almost gone by the time I finished this run. After Daylight Saving Time next week, I am going to have to adjust my schedule so that I’m not running in the dark.

Thursday, Push-ups…

Ummm…. cross training kind of fell to the wayside this week.

Friday, Rest

Saturday, Ran Heroes Run Half Marathon/8:52 pace

12 - half marathon

Race recap here. I figured it was okay to use a long run to try and get a half marathon PR, since the marathon is still over a month away. If the race were sooner than that, I would have been worried about over-straining myself, but it all worked out! I felt really good during this run, and I wasn’t too sore afterward.

I was pleased with how I was able to dig deep at the end to up my speed and meet my goal. And hopefully I can do the same during the marathon. All these runs, including these races where I have been able to get a new PR, are really helping build my mental fortitude as well as my physical training.

After running this race as hard as I could, my energy was soooo low for the rest of the day as I volunteered at the cat rescue. I was exhausted! But I kept at it because those kitties are worth it 🙂

unnamed

Sunday, Ran 5 miles/9:32 pace

unnamed (1)

Easy run: Pretty forgettable run. I have definitely felt my “easy” runs are a lot tougher when done the day AFTER my long run. Every time I do this run after a long run, I feel exhausted throughout.

Heroes Run Half Marathon Race Recap – Joining the sub-2 hour club

meda

Just go get it.

That was my mantra during the second half of this race. I had decided before race day that I was going to try for a new half marathon PR, which would mean anything faster than 2:02:09, set almost exactly 3 years ago.

But as I was running the race, I decided that I also really wanted a sub-2 hour half marathon. And so, as I sped up and focused on hanging on to my pace, I just kept thinking, “You want it, so just go get it.”

This race felt kind of meant to be. I had 13 miles for the long run on my marathon training schedule this weekend. And I got to do it for free because my workplace worked out a sponsorship or something like that, so we got a certain number of free entries.

The race is put on by Brookshire’s and Super 1 Foods, and everything was just very professionally done. I went to the expo on Thursday to get my race packet, and everything was set up just like you would see at a Competitor-run race. Half marathoners got a nice jacket instead of a T-shirt, which was awesome (although they were out of small by the time I registered, so I had to settle for medium and it’s a bit too big. But hey, it was free for me.)

jacket

Weather was also perfect for this race. It was sub-40 degrees when I left my house Saturday morning, and the air was crisp and not too windy. I left a little later than planned, but parking was super easy to find on the street near the Shreveport Convention Center. I walked to the starting area, and only had to stand around in the cold for about 5-10 minutes as they did the mayors welcome, pledge of allegiance, and national anthem.

The half marathon group didn’t seem that large, although looking at the results I see that there were about 640 finishers.

I really liked the course, which was different from any other race I’ve done here. We ran out of downtown over the Texas Street bridge to Bossier City, a few miles down the parkway, then over the Shreveport-Barksdale bridge back to Shreveport. We ran several miles down the parkway and eventually turned around to return to downtown and the finish line, which was the same place we started.

For the first several miles, I was only concerned about PRing, but the funny thing is, I wasn’t even sure what pace I needed to PR. I knew my PR was a little over 2:02, and that my pace for that race had been like, 9:20-something. So I just focused on trying to stay under a 9:20 pace for the first several miles. I kept the 9:10 pacer in sight, and thought that if I had the energy at the end, I would at least try to stay with him the whole time.

laps

Well, about 5-6 miles in, I started thinking that a 2:00 or 2:01 would be great and a PR, but I wanted to cross that finish line with the hour mark still at 1. At 8 miles, I calculated that I would need to run at least a sub-9-minute pace for the remainder of the race to finish under 2 hours. And so from that point on, I ran hard, and being the worrier I am, I aimed for much less than 9-minute paces to ensure the finish time I so wanted.

laps 2

The cold weather really helped. I fueled with one gel before the race, didn’t eat breakfast – which was stupid – and drank Gatorade or water at the water stops from miles 1-8, but for the last 5 miles I felt comfortable enough to not stop at the water stations.

My last mile was 7:51! I was flying, just envisioning the clock time and it being under 2 hours was a big motivation to me. I know I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face.

finisher

After running 15 half marathons with varying results, I really never thought I would ever get a sub-2 half marathon.

results

My splits are kind of hilarious – I really went into “run as fast as I possibly can while still breathing” mode for the last 5K.

my info

My chip time and new half marathon PR is 1:56:50. 🙂

I would definitely do this race again next year if I am in town. Very professionally and nicely done, good course, plentiful water stops, beautiful medal and nice jacket for half marathoners… can’t say enough good things about it.

Dallas Marathon Training: Week Eleven

The plan:

week 11

Monday, Rest

Tuesday, Ran 5 miles/8:18 pace

5 speed

Speed run: I was raring to go for this run! I had a lot of energy considering it was the end of the day. I got a later start than anticipated, after 6 PM, so the sun was going down when I finished. I have been so pleased with my paces lately. I never thought I would run this fast again… it’s been 6 years since I felt this level of progress in my running. It just took some actual discipline and consistency on my part.

Wednesday, Ran 8 miles/8:55 pace

8 miles

Tempo run: Ended up beating last week’s 8-miler by 15 seconds per mile. Pretty good! I’m not sure if I’ve ever recorded an 8-miler that was under a 9-minute pace before.

Thursday, Rest

Friday, Ran 5 miles/9:25 pace

5 easy

Easy run: I wasn’t sure if I was going to feel like doing this run after work, or if I would put it off until Saturday, but when I got home I decided to just get it over with. I started out pretty slow, but I felt better as I went along and surprised myself that this was my pace for an “easy” run. I ran in my new shoes again after re-lacing them. I think they are still a little too tight. Ugh.

Saturday, Cross-training – a self defense class!

sheriff

This class wasn’t super strenuous or anything, but we did practice several different upper and lower body defense moves, and I was sore on Sunday!

Sunday, Ran 18 miles/10:17 pace

18 miles

Long run: This was a weird run. We had some heavy thunderstorms come in throughout the early morning, so I couldn’t start this run at 7 like originally planned. Instead I slept in a little, got to eat my toast and peanut butter and kind of just lounge for over an hour until the rain subsided enough for me to feel comfortable beginning. I finally started around 10:30.

clouds

It was very gloomy when I started running, and it started raining again about 3 miles in. It was never a heavy rain, but it was very consistent, so my clothes got drenched as it rained for the next six miles, about an hour. Thankfully at the halfway mark, around mile 9, it finally stopped, and there was so much wind that it dried my clothes as I continued on for the second half. I felt surprisingly strong for much of this run, but I was pretty tired by the end. I fueled with two PowerBar Energy gels and Tailwind.

This was my peak mileage week for this training plan. Pretty crazy how close the race is getting. Scary and exciting!

Dallas Marathon Training: Week Ten

The plan:

week 10

Monday, Rest

I really didn’t like having Mondays as a rest day at the beginning of this training cycle. I felt like I should be doing something to start the work week actively. But now, as I get into longer runs during the middle of the week and on Sundays, I am really grateful for and am relishing having Mondays off.

Tuesday, Ran 4 miles/8:15 pace

4 milers

Speed run: I was surprised to have such a good pace considering I did this run after work, when I usually have less energy. I wanted to give my foot a little extra rest time after it hurt so much during my Sunday run, and it really gave me no problems.

Wednesday, Ran 8 miles/9:10 pace

8 miler

Tempo run: The first half of this run was a struggle, and I was averaging around 9:30 miles. Once again I ran after work instead of before, and I was tired. I fueled with Tailwind and drank from my handheld water bottle throughout. I found an extra burst of energy in the second half to up my speed and end up with a much better result than expected. This was my first tempo run of 8 miles, and it is the longest I will go for a tempo run during this training plan.

These runs that provide more of  a challenge, for various reasons, just serve to remind me that this isn’t going to come easy. I really have to work to meet my pace goals sometimes, and I think that’s a good thing – it means my goals aren’t too simple.

Thursday, Rest

I have Thursdays scheduled as cross-training days, but I’ve found lately that I’d rather rest after two days of hard runs. I had a fun day at work, exploring the new aquarium in town.

22538735_10101673416841528_9191610953544760_o

Friday, Ran 4 miles/9:34 pace

easy

Easy run: I don’t even remember anything about this run except that I did it before work, and I don’t think I enjoyed it.

Saturday, Bicep curls with weights, and sit-ups

I also worked at the cat rescue cleaning for 7 hours, if that counts as cross-training.

Sunday, Ran 17 miles/10:31 pace

17 miles

Long run: Holy humidity. It was already warm and humid when I got out to the river path just before the sun came up, around 6:45 AM.

morning

It looks very dark, but there were already several people out there, and the sun started coming up about 5 minutes into my run.  I’ve found lately that I really, really hate my life for the first couple of miles of longer runs, but then it gets so much easier as I go along. I think that is better than it feeling easy at first and getting harder later.

I fueled with two PowerBar gels, Gatorade, and Tailwind. I listened to two episodes of Generation Why and then some other random podcast about celebrity gossip – lately, I’ve found I prefer podcasts over music for these longer runs. I think they are better at keeping my mind distracted from the task at hand. I was drenched with sweat at the end, thanks to the awful humidity.

I finished at 10 AM and only had time to take a quick shower before we had to get to church. Thankfully I wasn’t too achy. After church, we picked up some ice, and I took a 20-minute ice bath, my first of this training cycle.

ice bath

So this was a pretty ho-hum week. No races, nothing really exciting to report; I was pleased with my speed and tempo run paces. I am glad that I have been gaining energy and strength in the second half of my long runs, even when the beginning feels so miserable. I hope I feel strong in the second half of the actual race as well.

Dallas Marathon Training: Week Nine

Got my new shoes in this week! For some reason this weird combo of fuchsia and orange really appeals to me. I used to be such a Brooks Ravenna loyalist, but this is the 2nd pair in a row where I’ve gotten Mizunos instead. I’ve just been able to find better sales or deals on Mizunos, whereas it feels like I never see Brooks shoes on sale that are in my size.

new shoes

ANYWAYS, here is this week’s recap.

The plan:

week 9

Monday, Rest

Tuesday, Ran 4 miles/8:38 pace

speed run
Worst picture ever

Speed run: I was still sore all day on Monday, so when I set out for this run on Tuesday morning before work, I could tell I wasn’t completely recovered from my hard 5K on Saturday.

My legs felt fine for the most part, but I just had trouble getting that extra push that I usually manage to find during my speed runs. Hopefully next week will be better.

Wednesday, Ran 7 miles/8:54 pace

tempo run

Tempo run: This run started out a little rough, and I thought for a little while there that it was going to be slower than my tempo run last week, and that my speed was going to be terrible all week. But somewhere between miles 3-5, either my PowerBar gel kicked in or I woke up, because I started going faster and feeling strong. I finished with my fastest 7-miler so far from this training cycle.

Thursday, Rest

Friday, Bicep curls and sit-ups

Another LAME “cross-training” day. I need to find a workout I might enjoy and set my mind on doing that every cross-training day.

Saturday, Ran 13 miles/9:58 pace

13 miles

Long run: I ran the Red River Revel Road Race 15K in downtown Shreveport as part of my 13-mile training run, which was perfect because the race utilized both the Clyde Fant Parkway and the running trail adjacent to the parkway. It was very easy to hop on the trail before and after the race to get in my extra miles.

The race started at 7:30, so I got out to the starting area by 6:45, picked up my timing chip, and ran about 2.7 miles on my own at a pretty easy pace. Then, I ran the 9.3 mile race in 1:31:10, which was a 9:47 pace. I definitely have trouble keeping my pace slower when I’m doing a race as part of a training run, because I get antsy and competitive. I ran most of the race at about 10-10:20 miles, but for the last two miles, I upped it to sub-9 miles and tried to pass as many people as I could. I went into more detail about the race in my recap here.

After I reached the finish line, I had one mile left to run, so I just went back to the running trail and ran a slow mile. I was parked about a half-mile away, and it starting raining really hard as I was heading back to my car, so I ended up jogging some more just to get out of the rain quicker!

After the race, I went straight to the cat rescue and was there until 3:30 or so. (I changed clothes in the bathroom when I got there!) Then I came home and took an epsom salt bath with Dr. Teal’s Pre and Post Workout. This had an icy-hot effect, and it was very… strange. I think I might stick to plain Dr. Teal’s in the future.

Saturday night, we went for a quick bite at Chick-Fil-A, where I indulged in fries and a frosted coffee. Then we went to the Film Prize film festival to finish out the movies we hadn’t seen yet so we could vote for our favorites! I was exhausted and achy at the end of the night.

Sunday, Ran 5 miles/9:50 pace

easy tun

Easy run: Despite the smile, I hated this run. I was achy, sore, and tired. It was really hot outside. I ran in my new Mizunos, and I probably need to re-lace the shoelaces because the top of my right foot hurt throughout the run, and my left foot kept going numb. I just hated it and couldn’t wait for it to be over.

The end of week 9 means I am HALFWAY THERE!

Red River Revel Road Race 15K Recap

rrrr bib

This was the second week in a row where I signed up for a local race at the last minute. I had actually been planning for a long time to do the Red River Revel Road Race 15K as part of this week’s long training run, but then something came up and I thought I was going to have to work that day instead. On Friday, it got worked out to where I wouldn’t have to work on Saturday, so I went and signed up for the race in person because online registration was closed.

The race started near Festival Plaza in downtown Shreveport, utilizing both the parkway and the running trail that runs alongside the parkway. It made it very easy to hop on the trail before and after the race to get my extra miles in for a total of 13 miles.

My alarm went off at 5:50 AM, and I actually woke up pretty easily because I’d gotten a decent night’s sleep, hallelujah. I got everything together and left the house by 6:30 AM. I parked about a half-mile from the race start, and ran almost 3 miles pretty slowly prior to the start.

For the actual race, I was planning to just run my marathon pace of 10:18 or so. It’s hard because I get competitive, but I knew that I wasn’t going to win anyway, so I just wanted to pace myself and enjoy it.

The weather was overcast and very thick with humidity. The course was out-and-back. We started on the parkway and ran about 2 miles on the actual road, then we were directed to get off the road and get on the asphalt running trail for an additional 2.5 miles before turning around to come back the way we came. There were water stops every few miles or so, and I made sure to get fluids at each one. I also fueled by taking a gel right before the race started.

I kept a pretty even pace for most of the race, but when we got off the trail and back on the road to head to the finish line, for some reason I just couldn’t help myself and I started booking it. My next two miles were an 8:41 pace and an 8:09 pace. As I sprinted to the finish, I was doing 7:05. It’s hard to just jog in to a finish line!

13 garmin

My chip time was 1:31:10. Post-race they had M&M cookies and jambalaya, water and Gatorade. I got back on the trail to run one more mile so that I could hit 13 for the day. Overall it was a good race, very convenient to include in a long run for the weekend. Also, your race bib gets you free entry into the Red River Revel for the day. I will definitely try to do it again next year.