I Trust Myself. I Trust My Taper.

A lot of people don’t care for taper.  I’m not a lot of people.  I think the combination of not liking to rest, questioning was your training good enough and having so much free time can get to your head.  For me personally I really enjoy tapering and letting my body relax.  When I tapered for swimming I would constantly remind myself of all the things I did throughout training to get to this point.

During this training cycle I remind myself of the four 20+ miler runs I did.  I also remind myself of the 7 miler I ran directly after the Rock and Roll VA Beach in 80+ degree heat, the 16 miler I ran at goal pace and the pretty consistent miles I put in.  I remind myself daily that I have put in the miles and this is my time to rest and relax.  No amount of training I do right now is going to better prepare me for the race besides…not cramming in miles.  I am cutting my miles by 20% each week and adding a little more speed.

This is my time to rest and recover.  My time to do other things and focus on other things…like blog writing (kidding).  Actually this is my time to focus on other things like hanging out with friends and family and also honing in on my nutrition.  (a post I’ll probably do at another point).  While running is a huge deal of my life, it does not define me.  I want to say when I’m not training I have other things going on in my life.

So my general opinion is that I enjoy taper.  Though I have never fully tapered for a running race I have tapered for plenty of swimming championships.  You must trust your training and trust yourself that you are ready for this race.  I have had both great and poor tapers for swimming.  Some tapers I have swam my best times of the season or my life.  Some tapers I have swam personal worsts and I think the last 2 weeks before any race or meet are the most important.  The delicate balance of being too rested and stiff versus not enough rest and stiff is hard and the threshold is different for everyone.

So yes the last two weeks can truly make or break your race by not listening to your taper.

I trust myself.  I am ready.  I trust my taper and my training.  I trust my body to carry my across the finish line of New York City.  If that is a 3:10 great.  If that is a 4:10 great because I finished.  I truly stand by my comment that finishing a marathon in itself is a great feat and for someone to complain about finishing their first marathon is ridiculous.  The marathon humbles even the best and most prepared runner.

Question for you: Do you like taper? 

Wicked 10k (39:28)

Wicked 10k Race Recap

I have been dying to do the Wicked 10k in Virginia Beach for quite some time.  J&A Racing puts on five races a year (all being themed and I love dressing up).  So when the possibility of being able to run the Wicked 10k race rose up, I immediately took it.

The Wicked 10k weekend has several events including the Mini Monster 1k presented by Bon Secours, and now even a flat, fast, one-mile race, the National Bank Monster Mile (The mile happens on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk on Friday Night).

With the Wicked 10k, J&A Racing brings you, Hampton Roads, the largest Halloween Race and Party. During the Anthem Wicked 10k, participates are encouraged to be creative and dress up. That’s why Kris an I chose to be pumpkins for the Wicked 10k. Plus there is live music and post-race party. After the Wicked 10k, you can enjoy the Huge Post Race Party with blue moon beer, live music, and the costume contest.

Then I realized that since the Wicked 10k was a week before the marathon, it would be a perfect last high effort run (or really only high effort run).  Though my run at the Wicked 10k is a solid minute per mile faster than my marathon goal pace…I think the marathon is a little longer…

A local runner, Kris and I decided to dress up as pumpkins for the Wicked 10k.  It would be a lie if I didn’t tell you that Kris has always been one of my running idols since she moved to VA.

krislandi

We warmed up for the Wicket 10k around the Convention center and it honestly went by really quickly.  As much as I love running with Tim, it’s not the same as running with females and gossiping.  We quickly made it back to the start of the Wicked 10k and put our stuff away in the car.  Since it was a 10,000 person 10k the lines for the bathroom were so long.  We quickly went to the porta-potty and hauled butt to the starting line of the Wicked 10k.

When the Wicked 10k went off, I immediately fell into my groove.  I wasn’t sure how my skirt would hold up or if the socks would give me blisters but in proper running technique, I didn’t test any beforehand and just winged it.  If I got massive blisters on my feet from the Wicked 10k, that would have been my fault and I probably would have stopped to take the socks off.

The first mile of the Wicked 10k, I felt I was in a solid groove.  It was pretty crowded and I got boxed in several times but I managed to pass a few females and settle in by myself.  I was weaving a lot during this first mile and with the turns, I managed to take out every turn way to wide.  (5:52)

The second mile of the Wicked 10k went right down where I got hit by the cyclist and onto the boardwalk. (6:10)

Mile three of the Wicked 10k was along the boardwalk and I was all alone.  The closest person in front of me was a female (about a quarter of a mile up).  I wanted to catch her so badly, but couldn’t and never did.  (6:14).

 I hit the 5k of the Wicked 10k at exactly 19:30.

Mile four of the Wicked 10k, I drew on the crowds from other corrals passing the other way.  It kept my mind off running and I was high fiven’, cheering and looking at other people passing the other way.  I wanted to speed up during the Wicked 10k but my legs would not turn over any faster.  This is just a product of not doing speed workouts and focusing on longer runs as well as high mileage.  (6:14)

Mile five of the Wicked 10k was exactly the same way, but there was no one cheering and I was all by myself.  I was passed by some males somewhere along there and I tried to keep up but they powered way by me.  This was the hardest mile mentally but just kept reminding myself…that’s probably how I’ll feel for 10 miles in the marathon.  (6:30)

Mile 6 of the Wicked 10k was motivating because we were heading back to the convention center and it was almost over.  I didn’t feel like I was dying but I certainly wasn’t getting any faster.  I just gave it everything I had and went to the end.  (6:14).

The final .4, you could see the Wicked 10k finish line.  I hate those finishes because they never seem like they are getting any closer and there are people at the .4 telling you that you are almost there…when, in reality, you still have 2-3 more minutes.

In my mind, “almost there” means I have about 5 strides to the finish line…not 2 more minutes going into cardiac arrest.  Then after a few minutes (but not before being outkicked by someone), I crossed the Wicked 10k finish line, begged for some water, coffee mug and medal and headed into the post-race party with Kris.

Thoughts on the Wicked 10k: 

The Wicked 10k was a great confidence booster going into the marathon.  I had made the executive decision throughout training to forgo speed workouts and focus on building high mileage instead.  Since it is my first marathon and my goal is to FINISH (with a secondary goal around 3:10), I took away all speed and just focused on high mileage.

It was great to only be 8 seconds off my 10k PR without any speed and not feeling the greatest.  The weather for the Wicked 10k was beautiful and it was a flat, fast course so I cannot complain about that.  Overall the Wicked 10k was a great race and I had a lot of fun.  I was 4th female overall at the Wicked 10k and Kris got first!  The Wicked 10k also a minute faster then last month’s Zero Prostate Cancer Run (and 40 degrees cooler!)

If you are ever in the VA Beach area, I recommend any race put on by J&A Racing. I always enjoy festive races, especially Halloween, so the Wicked 10k remains one of my favorite.

Questions for you:

 Do you like themed races? Have you run the Wicked 10k? 

What are your plans for Halloween? 

Mine are to whine and complain that I have to wait till Sunday to eat all the candy.

1 Week to Go (NYCM) 54 miles

This week in workouts was a combination of taper and I’m so busy I don’t have time or energy to workout.  There I said it.  It’s been fairly good that my week of taper has coincided with moving, looking at houses, traveling, being at home, being ultra busy and every other excuse I can think of.  As I said before I have absolutely no idea what a good running taper is.  I’ve researched and looked at various articles but it’s my first taper for a running race. (swimming I just followed a coaches plan). If this plan doesn’t work, it doesn’t and I know next time I run a marathon not to do this.  I know a lot of things not to do next time training for a marathon but that is a post all to itself.

Monday: 12.23 miles Charlotte, NC. 
Tuesday: Cross train (elliptical)
Wednesday: 11.12 miles home, fast finish (8:25 overall pace)
Thursday: Off
Friday: 7.22 progressive run
Saturday Wicked 10k (39:28) (total 11 miles)
Sunday 12.75 miles
Total: 54 miles

Thoughts:

As most articles suggested, the second week out is the time to reduce mileage by around 20-25%.  I’ve gone 102 miles-80 miles-54 miles.  So that is falling about into that. (a little more actually). My legs honestly did not feel as good as I was hoping with the cut of mileage.  Hopefully they will continue to feel better.

The Wicked 10k on Saturday went extremely well.  I’ll have a recap tomorrow but the weather and course made it for a fast race.  I was only 8 seconds from my PR and with no speed work I should be happy.  Am I happy?  I’m pretty happy but alas a 10k PR would have been nice too, especially since I have reduced my mileage.

My last high effort run yesterday went according to the plan.  The goal was to start off easier (8:30 pace) progress and hold for a few miles at goal marathon pace (7:15) then push the envelope a little more and drop down to 7:00 minute pace. Even with not wearing racing flats, I was able to do this so it was certainly motivating.

When I had bad tapers with swimming, I never felt good and found myself feeling sluggish at the start of the race.  (I swam the 1000m and mile in college).  As much as I tried to swim fast, I just felt like I had no turnover or speed.  Hopefully that isn’t the case here.

Next week I’m cutting my miles again with a few miles spread out at marathon pace.  Nothing left to do but continue to rest and mentally prepare for the race.  As I’ve said throughout this training cycle my primary goal for this marathon is to finish.  Would I love to run a 3:10?  Yes, of course, however with waiting around a cold start for 3 hours as well as running a very overcrowded race it’s very tough to say what will happen.  I know if I cross the finish line as happy as when I start, I will be happy.

Questions for you:

What was your first marathon goal?

What is your most confidence boosting workout? 

Eating on High Mileage

A lot of people question how I eat enough to withstand 100 mile weeks.  It couldn’t be possible to ever gain weight while running 100 mile weeks and you couldn’t possibly eat enough to withstand that activity…ect. 

First and foremost, I only ran 100 mile week.  I didn’t run 52 but rather just 1.  That was my peak week and most of my other weeks were between 60-80.  Most not all.  As much as I want to credit myself to running multiple 100 mile weeks, I know I would just get injured running several in a row.  (or more then 1).

I’ve rambled about this a few times but blogging nutrition and real life nutrition is not the same thing.  I feel bad for certified dieticians and nutritionists that also blog.  They get mixed in with other bloggers whose research involves personal research and study which is not the same as being certified.  Point blank: it’s not.  I’ve taken plenty of nutrition classes but don’t know nearly enough as someone who has studied and has their undergraduate, masters, or even PhD.  I can tell you what has worked for me but that is no way telling what will work for you or that is right or wrong.

The majority of healthy living blogs focus on getting enough vegetables, fiber and more vegetables into their diet.  If I ate half the amount of vegetables that some people do, I would be able to run 1 mile…maybe 2 with deciding it was time to go home.

When you run high mileage and exercise you must learn that you have to eat a lot of foods that aren’t high in fiber.  You must eat food that is still healthy but you can’t eat 3000 calories worth of broccoli.  You also can’t eat 3000 calories worth of ice cream.  Both will result in you not feeling great for a run.

A typical day for me looks something like this right now:

Breakfast: 400-500 calories

Coffee+cream (100-200 calories…my vice).

Some of my breakfast choices lately have been: Bagel and peanut butter, egg sandwich, eggs and toast, waffle with Greek yogurt or peanut butter.

A standard waffle with peanut butter and yogurt has been my go to before races right now and I think I’ll stay to that before the marathon (as well as a bagel with peanut butter while waiting around beforehand).  My standard race day nutrition used to be a bagel with peanut butter and yogurt but I had stomach cramps a few races back and it was enough to change my mind.

Raspberry pancakes make me happy
Raspberry pancakes make me happy
Bagel+peanut butter+yogurt also make me happy
Bagel+peanut butter+yogurt also make me happy

 

French toast bagels are my favorite (panera or wegmans FYI)
French toast bagels are my favorite (panera or wegmans FYI)

Run

Lunch (within an hour of running) 500-800 calories

I’ve been having a lot egg sandwiches lately.  Eggs, avocado and cheddar cheese on a bagel.  I really just have whatever is in the fridge.  It could be a sandwich, soup or salad.  I don’t have a standard post run meal or lunch. I normally just like to eat what is in the fridge.

Sometimes I’ll go to the gym in between, sometimes I won’t.   (now that I’m tapering, I don’t).

egg and ham sandwich
egg and ham sandwich
lentil soup (this cold has got me craving it)
lentil soup (this cold has got me craving it)
Soup with parm cheese so good
Soup with parm cheese so good
Random salad I attempted to make restaurant worthy...they never are as to why I try and eat salads at restaurants more.
Random salad I attempted to make restaurant worthy…they never are as to why I try and eat salads at restaurants more.

 

Snack: 200-300 calories

I consume a lot of yogurt
I consume a lot of yogurt
No really...
No really…’
Baked apples are good (especially in the cold)
Baked apples are good (especially in the cold)
I also eat bars on the go...snickers marathon bars are really good
I also eat bars on the go…snickers marathon bars are really good

I normally have a snack sometime in the middle of the day.   I’ve been enjoying apples and peanut butter lately but that is only because apples have been so cheap at stores.   I also have left overs if they are in the fridge.

Dinner: 800-1200

As if anything else is planned, my dinner is the least planned and changes daily.  I am such a meat and potatoes kind of person.  I’ll have a serving of meat (steak and fish being my favorite), some sort of vegetables (cooked kale, brussel sprouts and spaghetti squash are my current favorites) and some sort of grain.  I’ve been better about eating a carbohydrate such as bread or race.  I’m actually not a big pasta fan (I don’t like the consistency) so I tend to eat more rice and bread.

steak and potatoes
steak and potatoes
ham and potatoes (and apples)
ham and potatoes (and apples)
Sweet Potato+Salmon+mushrooms (I'm so different)
Sweet Potato+Salmon+mushrooms (I’m so different)

I normally like to make a smoothie at night with a cup of milk and protein powder.  I have a big sweet tooth so often times I’ll just have ice cream.  I don’t really schedule a treat at night but if I’m craving something I’ll have something.   Whatever I’m craving I generally have at night.  I go to bed around 9-10 personally.

ice cream
ice cream
ice cream, cherries and whip cream
ice cream, cherries and whip cream
Protein shake
Protein shake
hot cocoa and whip cream
hot cocoa and whip cream

—–

I know this is very vague but it’s how I eat.  I don’t worry or stress about food or getting my vegetables daily.  As much as I say I want to meal plan, I don’t. If I eat too many vegetables then I don’t feel good running.  I don’t know how people eat so many vegetables (honestly).  I do strive to get vegetables but not overboard.  I try and get enough protein, carbohydrates and fat but I don’t track it and it doesn’t ruin my day.  I found the less I stress about food the easier it is.  I’ve never had a problem getting enough food and have never lost weight during a training cycle.

I will say I’m hoping to do a carbohydrate deplete and then carb load during my final week of taper.

Questions for you:

What does a typical day for you look like?

Do you plan your food weekly or eat when you are hungry? 

Driving Mile Musings (1850 miles)

After a week of being on the road, it is certainly nice to just sit and relax for a few days and not worry about driving.  As I said on the way to Texas, a driving recap is like a race recap.  You go for a certain amount of time, stop to eat, drink and use the restroom and keep on going.  So I’ll recap it like a training log except I have plenty of photos. The drive actually wasn’t bad because we stopped a lot along the way, made new friends, saw old friends and saw plenty of different sites.  In total we covered about 1850 miles and saw 9 different states (totaling 17 states this year).

A lot of these photos appeared on my instagram but I thought I would share anyways because I like to caption photos longer than my instagram hashtags.

In unproper blogging technique I had dinner at California Pizza kitchen last week with Stephanie and didn’t take any photos.  It was a lot of fun and I’m glad I could see her before we left.

Leaving San Antonio there were huge floods and so much rain.
Leaving San Antonio there were huge floods and so much rain.
In you follow me on instagram, you know I chronicle my adventures with my 23 year old bear Bloomie.  (nicknamed Bloomz).  So much rain.
In you follow me on instagram, you know I chronicle my adventures with my 23 year old bear Bloomie. (nicknamed Bloomz). So much rain.
Stopping for a run in Houston.  This was one of the most mentally challenging runs I've had in a while.  It was pouring rain, windy and cold.  My legs were stiff and sore but I made it through and felt a lot better...afterwords.
Stopping for a run in Houston. This was one of the most mentally challenging runs I’ve had in a while. It was pouring rain, windy and cold. My legs were stiff and sore but I made it through and felt a lot better…afterwords.
Raw oysters in Pensacola.  Perfect.
Raw oysters in Pensacola. Perfect.
I like to pose with statues...because well who doesn't?
I like to pose with statues…because well who doesn’t?  “It’s for the blog…don’t worry about it”.  
Pit stop in Florida!
Pit stop in Florida!
Had to take a photo of Bloomz in Florida too.
Had to take a photo of Bloomz in Florida too.
Running in Florida was gorgeous.
Running in Florida was gorgeous.
I had to stop and use the rest room and they made me buy something to use the restroom.  It was fine since I like dr. pepper anyways.  The thing was this gas station didn't sell any coffee but did sell hookah.  WTF.  It was at the point we knew we should get out of there.
I had to stop and use the rest room and they made me buy something to use the restroom. It was fine since I like dr. pepper anyways. The thing was this gas station didn’t sell any coffee but did sell hookah. WTF. It was at the point we knew we should get out of there.
Of course seeing Laura in Atlanta was a lot of fun!
Of course seeing Laura in Atlanta was a lot of fun!
The best egg and smoked salmon sandwhich ever.  It was just so big I didn't even know how to eat it.  I just stuffed it in my mouth like a proper and polite date would.
The best egg and smoked salmon sandwich ever. It was just so big I didn’t even know how to eat it. I just stuffed it in my mouth like a proper and polite date would.
Touring the coke museum
Touring the coke museum
Yes I need to take photos with all the coke people...it's for the blog.  I need to look like I exist outside of running.
Yes I need to take photos with all the coke people…it’s for the blog. I need to look like I exist outside of running.
If you know me then you know Which Which is my favorite sandwhich shop ever.  I will miss it on the East coast!
If you know me then you know Which Which is my favorite sandwhich shop ever. I will miss it on the East coast!
Stopping at a Japanese restaurant was especially tasty (and pretty).
Stopping at a Japanese restaurant was especially tasty (and pretty).
My first real cold weather run.  I haven't run in 40 degrees in over 8 months.
My first real cold weather run. I haven’t run in 40 degrees in over 8 months.
I also ran with deer for about a mile.  The family of four was running parallel to me.   They eventually stopped and peeled off.
I also ran with deer for about a mile. The family of four was running parallel to me. They eventually stopped and peeled off.

 

And that is all I really have for real life adventures from traveling.  Though this is a lot of photos.  I had a great time full of good runs, eating and adventures.  (much like what vacation should be like).  I would say I’m happy to settle down into a routine but in reality I don’t have a routine until I officially move to New Jersey (sometime in Mid November).

Questions for you:

1. Do you like road trips?

2. What is your favorite cuisine?

I really like Greek food and sushi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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