Training: First 20 Miler in 18+ Months

As I mentioned in my training log last week, I am still entertaining the idea of a marathon.  So last week set out with personal friend Angela, we ran 20 miles.  It wasn’t pretty, fast or even that fun (minus running with her) but we did get it done.  More on that later…

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 20 miles with Angela
Wednesday: Rest ART/PT
Thursday: Easy 30 minutes
Friday: 6 miles with Montana Core/ART/PT
Saturday: Easy 30 minutes
Sunday: 30 minute tempo run  Core

Thoughts:

I was lucky to find someone to be able to run the entire twenty miles with because honestly, I’m not sure I would have been able to run the mileage by myself.  I never felt awful during the run but it didn’t feel good either.  Not feeling amazing is to be expected considering I haven’t run that far since the Phoenix Marathon.

I finished the 20 miles, and it honestly took me all week to recover even with extra rest and ART sessions.  I still don’t feel perfect, but I do feel a lot better.  Have I made up my mind about the marathon?  Not really…I wish I could say running 20 miles motivated me to run a marathon, but it didn’t.  I don’t feel like I could confidently finish 26.2 miles right now.

Angela and I

The majority of the week was spent recovering, shakeout runs and easy runs.  I was able to run with a friend too.  I took the weekend off from racing as well.  I did a tempo run on Sunday, but it was pouring rain and windy.  I was running about a 7-minute pace, but the effort felt much faster.  As I’ve learned this year, you can’t choose the weather on race day…and you can’t on workout days either.

In summary, except a 20 miler, it was a down, boring and easy week.  I guess when a single run makes up most of your running, it’s not as boring.

But after your longest run in 18 months, you shouldn’t be running too much.  I’m running the Runner’s World Festival next weekend (the 5k and 13.1 miles).  (If you are local and want to run, I have a 10% discount code of FueledbyLOLZblog). So before then I’ll continue to rest and see where running goes.

So before the race weekend, I’ll continue to rest and see where running goes.

Questions for you:

Do you recover well from long runs?

Is anyone else doing Runners World?

The Great Hat Debate of the Men’s Marathon

If you watched the Men’s Olympic Marathon, then you noticed the amount of talking about hats.  Most athletes that ran had at least one statement commentating on their hat.  The commentators of the Olympics is a post for another day, though…

mens marathon

image via IAAF

On the US side, Rupp, as well as Meb, changed hats and most competitors ultimately took off their caps.  Ward stayed hatless the entire race.

Why were the commentators so obsessed with the racers hats? 

Thinking out loud, I decided to take an in-depth look at the hat situation and see how it affected the athletes and their placing.  Because why not? If the world’s “best” marathon commentators allowed to comment on hats…why can’t I.

If you followed me on twitter, you know after five minutes of listening to #hatchat by the commentators, I jumped on board with #hatchat too.

Actual comment from the commentator:

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To clarify, Salzar later said the hats were filled with ice to keep the racers cooled.  Is that an unfair advantage?  I don’t know.

Any runner was welcome to have multiple hats but how many runners thought of that?  Are water stations going to eventually become aid stops?  Will you be able to stop, check your cell phone and play Pokemon Go at a water station?  Who knows how the marathon rules will progress…That being said, none of the athletes were breaking any rules by exchanging hats.

Let’s look at the three medalists: Kipchogue (gold), Lilesa (silver), and Rupp (bronze).   We can see both one and three started with hats but by the end of the race, neither had their original hat.  Several athletes exchanged hats during the course, however, Rupp was the only to medal.

At the beginning of the race and through about mile 10, it looks like several racers have white hats.  Only one lone athlete dared to wear blue, and he made it in the lead pack until around mile 20.

Let’s look at the various types of hats athletes used:

The overall winner began his race with more of a ball cap.  It had a flatter rim.

Both Rupp and Meb (possibly other athletes too), used various hats.  Each of their hats was filled with ice to keep them cool.

Early Stages of Race:

Lead pack of 35ish men:

  • About half wearing standard hats
  • One blue hat
  • One bandana/headband combo
  • A few visors but it seems more like a female racing strategy (I am a visor woman myself)
Mid-Race: 10-15 men
  • Half of the racers are wearing standard hats
  • One blue hat
  • One bandana/headband combo
  • No visors remain
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsLead pack of 7
  • Leader maintains hat
  • Rupp is on hat 4 (?)
  • Blue hat begins to fade
  • Three hats left
Lead Pack of 4:
  • Leader has dropped his hat
  • Rupp remains the only hatted athlete
  • Pace starts to drop
Final Few Miles:
    • No athletes have hats and pace quickens
    • The hat debate is over

So my questioning begins…Do hats make you race quicker?  Does throwing your hat off mean you are about to drop the pace?The most important question, however, is: How can Hats Help the Nonelite Runner?

I’m no professional but can a hat (or 10 hats throughout a race) help a common runner like me?

Here I am running in a visor (which I kept and have run many races and training runs in).
Here I am running in a visor (which I kept and have run many races and training runs in).

Hats can keep the sun or rain out of your eyes and can keep you cooler.  If you can find a hat that you like running in, there aren’t any real disadvantages.

Conclusion:

Will I wear a hat in my next marathon?  I will probably wear a visor if it’s sunny or rainy.  I like the sun out of my face as well as the rain.  I won’t have the luxury to exchange hats midrace but I’ll still use the one I’ve come to know and love.

Questions for you?
Hats or no hats?
Do you think the hat exchanges were fair? 

Life, Articles and Cake

This week went by a lot faster than last week.  I haven’t done any life update posts for a while, but that’s because I’m boring. 

Something I common I hear about blogging is: I don’t live an exciting life that anyone cares…

Well, we both have something in common!  Believe me, I don’t have that exciting of life either!  I just run work, and try and go to diners.  I wish I had more free time to travel the world, but alas, you can’t do that if work.  So here I am boring but updating you on life.

My husband and I decided to get each other cakes this year for Valentines Day.  To be honest, it was the greatest decision ever.  Flowers die, I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, and I like cake.

valentines day cake

Blueberry velvet is my new local favorite
Blueberry Velvet is my new local favorite

We celebrated with an at home meal of squid and sea bass.  Squid is one of my favorite seafood.  It’s easy to prepare, as you can sautee it in oil like any other fish.  This is the recipe we used.  It’s easy and not intimidating.

Sea Bass and Squid
Sea Bass and Squid

We enjoyed relaxing at home as well as our cakes.  No, we did not eat it all in one sitting, but I can’t say there is much left nearly a week later either.

This week there has been a lot of excitement outside of blogging as well.  Olympic Trials?  Grammys?  Why is my husband researching Shamwows?

Olympic Trials: (Here is a quick overview)

Here are my two cents (Which obviously have little to no value since I’m just a spectator…)

Photo from here
Photo from here

Personally, I’m very happy all three women who made the Olympic team.  Would it have been different if Kastor had been healthy?  Or if the weather was a little bit cooler?  Possibly but each of the women who made the team has worked hard.

I do have a question left unanswered: Why didn’t the reporters give Sara Hall the respect she deserved? For a while, she was a contender but was left out most of the time.  

I wasn’t as familiar with the men’s side, so I won’t pretend to be too knowledgeable about it. 

Everyone knows Meb.  Everyone was distraught when Ritz was forced to drop out.

Am I surprised Rupp won?  Yes and no.  I don’t believe Salazar would have race his debut marathon if he didn’t think he would win. I do hope he remembered to wear sunscreen and that he does in Rio.  I haven’t seen any week later photos so see if he was sunburnt….

I seem to be the only person not as familiar with Jared Ward.

I had a few elites favorite a few of my tweets talking about them, so that was neat.  Twitter is nice like that…talk about someone (good/bad) and it calls back to haunt you.

I hope each athlete competing was clean, and I’m excited for the Olympics to play out and how each athlete trains in the next few months and does.  Winning the Trials doesn’t mean you’ll medal. I could dedicate multiple blog posts to geeking about this sort of stuff.

Finally, in case you missed any posts this week, here you go:
5 Ways to Love Yourself
Saucony Kinvara Review
Meal Favorites
How Blogging is Changed since 2010

That’s all I have this week.  Unlike last weekend, I’m looking forward to a beautiful weekend.

Questions for you:

Are you racing this weekend?

How was your week?

How Social Media Skewed my Thoughts of Running Fast

How social media skewed my thoughts of running fast

I created my blog about a month after I decided to start running.  My running story has been a journey filled with highs and lows, and you can read my entire running story here.  When I first created LOLZ Blog it was not big nor did it have the connections and friends I do now.  A few years into blogging, I wrote a similar post to this.  Even in the last two years since writing the first post, social media, and running has advanced more.  My thoughts on running have advanced as well.

When I first created LOLZ Blog it was not big nor did it have the connections and friends I do now.  I did not know that so many amazing and talented runners from all over the world existed!

how social media skewed my thoughts of running fast 1

I first created LOLZ blog to reflect upon my personal journey of running.  It started with a 12-minute mile and 5.5 years later I am here today.  My blog also allowed me to meet people who also shared a love for running and working out.  This was before there were hundreds of blogs and blogging became an advertisement platform.

When I first started running, I was in my own bubble.  I watched countless races where local heroes ran 17-18 minute 5ks. The first 5k I ever ran was in a time of 30 minutes!  I was in shock of how people could that fast. To me, these local athletes were my only inspiration and the people I strived to be like.  I never knew elites were running 14 minutes 5ks.  It’s funny because now I routinely talk to these local legends and fan girl them at races.

Like Mollie and Kris
Like Mollie and Kris

Five years later, running and blogging are much different. I have raced in several states and have seen and met hundreds of inspirational athletes.  With race results readily available, I’m no longer in a single community with a single running inspiration.  I have many running inspirations, some I have met and some I have not.  When reading race recaps and reports the definition of “fast” becomes skewed.  Do I consider myself fast? What exactly makes you a “fast runner”?  What is the standard?  Why does it even matter?  

The athletes running the Olympic Trials marathon this weekend are fast.

The athlete that won a local race is also fast. 

The athletes finishing their first race are fast.  

My definition of “fast” will always be different from someone’s else definition.

With so many different social media platforms it makes me think: Am I selling myself short saying that I won a half marathon when I ran an X? Or once that I ran a (bad race for me) and got 3rd overall?

Before social media, I would have no problems bragging about a race…Now I don’t want to be “showy” because I know if someone else had shown up they would have won.  The fact is they didn’t show up, and I won.  Now with social media and website forums like letsrun.com, your results are everywhere.  People with lots of credentials or even no credentials are judging performance.  

Now with social media and website forums like letsrun.com,  results are everywhere.  Individuals with and without credentials are judging performance.  With race results being judged so quicklyI can’t imagine the pressures of being a professional runner.

One of the most common questions a runner will receive after a race from a nonrunner is:

Did You Win?

Runners are afraid to say they won or placed in an age category.  Instead of saying I won and my time was X, someone will mention “I won but”…Adding but just adds a backhanded compliment to yourself.  Whether there are ten people are 10,000 if you won, you won.  Even if you didn’t win, place or just had a bad race, you still ran.

So while local races give you a glimpse of a single group of athletes…social media connects you to thousands of athletes of every speed and ability.  It’s overwhelming.

Where do this all connect? 

Social media is here to stay.  Runner or not, everyone is plugged in and connected.  It’s important to remember everyone’s definition of progress and perception of fast is different.  There is no need to compare yourself to others or even to yourself!  It’s hard to keep your personal training at the forefront of the mind when it’s so easy to compare.  There will always be someone better or faster.  You should use them as a role model and inspiration rather than comparing.

If you are out there and running, you are fast.

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Question for you: 
Who are your inspirations and role models?
How has social media changed your training? 

 

2016 Race Bucket List

As 2016 begins, I have started thinking about a race bucket list.  In a world where I stayed injury free and my schedule allowed I would be able to do all of the races I’ve had my eyes on. Who knows, I doubt I’ll get to all of them this year, but there are a few races I’ve had my eyes on!

2016 running race bucket list

January: 
The Carlsbad Half Marathon
I’ve heard this race is scenic and beautiful.  I was born in San Diego, and I’ve been dying to go back.  The half looks much flatter than the full marathon, plus San Diego weather beats the East Coast.

March: 
The Shamrock half marathon
2016 will (hopefully) be my fifth year running Shamrock.  I love the race series, and J&A does an excellent job putting the race together.  I recommend it to anyone!

It’s a flat, fast and crowd supported course and I would like to better my best Shamrock time of 1:25.14, if not just flat out PR.

At least I look jazzy right?
From last year

Shamrock Legacy: 
Year 1: 1:33.30
Year 2: 1:25.14
Year 3: 1:25.29
Year 4: 1:33:06 (two weeks post marathon and having hamstring/hip issues)

April: 
The April Fools half
The April Fools half marathon is where I set my PR 1.5 years ago.  The Atlantic City Race directors do an incredible job.  For being in such a large city, I love how low key the race is.  Plus it’s in a decent time of the year, and the only thing to worry about is how windy it is.

September: 
Air force half OR full
It scares me to put potentially another full marathon on the calendar. The fall is a very long time away.  My training has been going well, and if I can remain injury free, I would like to run either the Air Force half or full this year.  I’ve run two marathons and not enjoyed either but maybe the third time is a charm…or maybe not.

But hopefully I'll be more prepared than this if I choose that route.
But hopefully I’ll be more prepared than this if I choose that route.

I won’t run another full marathon until I have not only Pred in my shorter distances but am satisfied with my progress. Marathons are always there, and there is no reason to sign up until I’m ready to run another one.

Those are just a few races that come to mind.  I do plan to fill my schedule with plenty of 5ks, 10ks and halves, but these are a few I’ve had my eyes on!

There will be many races I’ll train and race untapered as a workout, and there are many races I’ll run after tapering and resting.

Questions for you:
Do you have a race bucket list? 
What is your all time favorite race?

Marathoning

Marathons and Me…Me and Marathons

I guess there is no hiding what this post is about right?

Right now I’ve run two marathons and neither of them have been enjoyable.  That is the blunt honest truth and yet I find myself pondering whether I should run a fall full marathon.  Right now I plan to train shorter distance and then see where I am at the end of the summer.

Will I run another marathon at some point?

Yes I do know I will eventually…I am not satisfied with either of my marathons…

Is it my favorite distance?

No…

Let’s rewind to a brief history of my running…

I had a very long period of staying injury free.  When I evaluate myself and my training, I can see that period of injury free running stopped when I began training for marathons.  Admittedly I didn’t train that well for either marathon but I did make it through. 

Reflecting upon my running the last 2 years:

I made it through the entire New York City Marathon training cycle injury free.  Since it was my first marathon, it took me a lot longer to recover afterwords .  The marathon was in early November and I was comfortably running again in late December.

YAY marathon...
YAY marathon…

January through April of 2014 were my only “solid” months of training from the last 2 years.  I PRed in a half marathon (which was shocking) but other then that there have been no other PRs or solid races.  Was that half marathon a fluke?  Well I haven’t come anywhere close since!  

A year ago, I ran Broad Street 10 miler at roughly the same pace as my half marathon PR. and until Broad Street yesterday, 2014 was the last race I deem “successful”.   

Cue in the multiple injuries:

My first issue was plantar fasciitis in June of 2014.  I took two weeks off and it didn’t seem to heal.  From mid June until mid July, I dealt with the dreaded PF.  I was training for my second marathon: Wineglass…and the race date kept creeping closer.  Finally by August 1st I was running again.  I still had hope that my base might pull me through.

Then I woke up with a stress fracture in mid August and everything was shut down.  I’m not sure if that stress fracture was a mental relief or not.  I didn’t really want to run Wineglass full marathon but I probably would have if I didn’t have a fracture.  Before my plantar fasciitis I had invested so much time that I didn’t want to waste.

Lots of races...
Lots of time and races… 

From mid August to Mid October I took off from running.  Running on a stress fracture is dumb. I healed well and decided I wanted to run the Phoenix full marathon in February.  Little did I know it would be the perfect break to get out of the east coast during the worst winter in a while.

I actually had really good training for the race and I felt really confident at the race start.  I didn’t race much from December until January but I did have quality training  from November until February.  I was satisfied that I would PR and be around 3:10.

Except the Icicle 10 miler...that was a great race for me
Except the Icicle 10 miler…that was a great race for me

But I didn’t finish around 3:10 like I had hoped because I finished the race in a lot of pain.  I am not saying I would have broken 3 hours in Phoenix if I was injury free but I would have been closer to my goals.  I finished the race with a lot more energy than I should have. I also finished with a lot more hip pain than I should have…

But I somehow cracked a smile
But I somehow cracked a smile

From March until now, I beebopped around with hip, butt and leg pain.  Now that I’m finally running injury free again…do I start another cycle of marathon training?

No…my history right now points to steer clear of marathons.

So where do I go?

As I said my history with full marathons has not been fulfilling.  Not only have I missed my potential but I also haven’t enjoyed running either marathon.

I’m ready to go back and toy around with shorter distances for a while.  I don’t have a number of days, weeks, months or even years to quantify a “while” but I do want to work on shorter distances for a while (I do know it will be at least until the summer).

I plan to run a lot of 5ks in the future.  If everything goes well and according to plan I will be running a 5k nearly every weekend.  I enjoy the availability of small and local 5ks.  I also enjoy that small and local 5ks don’t take commitment and I can sign up a few days prior.  I don’t have to worry about a race being sold out (like it seems every half and full marathon these days!)’

A random 5k in the hail
A random 5k in the hail

Will every 5k be a PR?

Since I haven’t come within 40 seconds of my PR in 2 years I doubt any 5k will be a PR for a while.

Will each 5k work on speed and turnover which eventually could help in longer distances?

Yes…and that is what I’m hoping.

It will be a nice break from 15-20 miler long runs that I don’t need (or want to do) now.  I do enjoy running long, easy distances but I know I will enjoy some faster and shorter races too.  

A Pain in the Butt

pain in the butt

This week I’ve seen much better improvements with my butt, hips, hamstring and everything else but instead of listing every muscle group I’ll just refer to my leg.  Instead of being stubborn I went to get some to look at it.  It turns, it was nothing that I had originally thought.  While I’m not better, I do have a formal answer.  I used fancy paint and filled in (yellow and blue) the parts of this diagram that are the problems.  (I drew in the blue for the piriformis muscle since it was wasn’t there).

hollie injured chart

In Cliff notes: My piraformis had a few adhesions which caused my adductor muscles to become strained.  Along with that my psoas muscle was extremely tight.  The chiropractor said she hadn’t seen one that tight ever.  (I guess that explains why I couldn’t walk).  Both the psoas and the piriformis being so tight  caused my hips to be knocked out of alignment.

The Longer Version: 

The most important is that I have an answer to why I’m in pain.  I’m glad I got it looked at because I would have continued to think it was my hamstring. Most runners who strain their adductor muscle do so by going to the track and starting speed work. I didn’t do either of these things.

I do have a sneaking suspicion that I might have strained it about 4 weeks ago when I did the Feel the Love 5k.  I distinctly remember that race having a lot of turns (like a track). Since I began tapering the day after, I didn’t feel the effect as if I was running high mileage.  It had began to heal but when I ran the marathon, it obviously restrained and made it much worse (enough that it was hurt when I finished).  There is nothing I can do about it now but hopefully promote healing.

The next issue is my psoas muscle. The psoas muscle is tight and knotted.  This is where the root of my problems stem with my hip.  Someone told me that you don’t know you have a psoas muscle until it begins to hurt.  I think this is 100% true and it took me from running normally to wishing I could lay down. The muscle is so deep the only way to address the tightness is through ART, trigger point or dry needling. It appears as if this has been tight for a while now.  That could be from improper stretching of the hip flexors and psoas. During the marathon I pushed through a threshold and the muscle became too tight to stabilize my pelvis which is why my hips became tight.

But wait…there’s more!

Since my psoas muscle was so tight, it pulled my hip forward. My pelvis, sacrum and hips are noticeably crooked (to the chiro…I look fine In my opinion). That’s a matter of the chiro realigning them and loosening up my psoas. If my psoas is still tight, my hips will just return to be crooked.  That was the easiest part and I feel a lot better (not 100% but noticeably better).

Finally (the injury gift that keeps giving):
My piriformis (butt muscle) has multiple adhesions which is causing everything to also tighten up.

Long story short, half of my butt, hip and upper leg muscles are tight causing my pelvis to tilt forward. It doesn’t sound like it was caused by the marathon but has been building for a long time. The marathon caused it all to manifest into an injury.

The problem with most of these issues is that they will not get better with just resting. There are a lot of tight muscles, knots and adhesions that have to be taken care of. Rest (as my chiro put it) will just allow my muscles to fester but not solve the problem. They won’t feel better until the problems are solved.

Since we talked on Tuesday I have gotten a few more things done as far as recovery goes:

  • Deep Tissue Massage (this is number 2)
  • Stretching my adductor muscles 2-3 times a day as well as foam rolling that targeted area.

How did this happen?

Honestly I don’t exactly know.   I didn’t up my mileage quickly and I stretched, foam rolled and rested when appropriate.  I think it was a combination of running the Feel the Love 5k during a high mileage week as well as running a lot of the same routes which caused me to favor my hip.  I didn’t realize it was bad (because I wasn’t in pain) until I reached a threshold of no return.

Running Plans:

I gave myself two weeks before attempting a run.  I’ve run twice now and both runs have felt decent.  I am still sore but I also haven’t run in two weeks.  I know the deep tissue massage and chiro appointments have been working because I’m beginning to feel half way decent again.  I still have quite a few knots to get worked out but I am beginning to loosen up.

All of this rambling makes my issues sound a lot more severe than they are.  I can walk normally and it’s not hindering my day to day life.  I slowly run but the thought of running fast right now does not sound pleasant.

Questions for you:

Have you ever dealt with any of these issues?

How was your weekend?