Guest Post: Mr. LOLZ Mercedes Marathon (2:59.45)

As most people know, my husband ran his first marathon last weekend.  For his first blog post, he decided to share his recap of the race.  Enjoy!

Hollie


As people know, Hollie and I lived in Alabama for about 6 weeks due to my work.  Going into the marathon, I was finishing a six-week course for the Air Force. While I had time to train, running wasn’t my main focus.  In fact, I hadn’t committed to the marathon until we finished the preview run just two weeks prior.    I finished 20 that day.  I knew I could finish a marathon, but I wanted to finish it under 3 hours.  I heard the Mercedes marathon was a good full and it fell on the end of my course so I thought it would be a good idea to do.

The night before, we had Mellow Mushroom pizza which is Hollie and I’s favorite restaurant. I’m lactose intolerant, so I don’t get cheese but garlic and oil based. I like to feel full but not overwhelmed. We went to bed at 8 pm and were up at 4:15 am. I had coffee and a bagel for breakfast.  We walked to the start after Hollie needed to go to the car twice in the morning for random things including running shoes. I guess she is not into barefoot running.

I don’t like big races and would rather do a small 100 person one.  The bathroom situation and start line are always crazy. Once we got to the start, I was faced with a 30 min bathroom line, but I discovered bathrooms on the third floor which had zero line. We got to the start about 10 mins before and chatted with Miles, and exchanged race strategies. My goal was to go out in a 7 min pace and pick it up to break 3 hours. I was told this was a bad strategy given the heat conditions and it was my first marathon.

Since the half and full marathon started together, I started next to my wife. As they did the countdown for the start, my wife was dancing to rap music. I don’t understand why they play rap music at starts but it’s another reason I don’t like big races.  Unlike Hollie who talks to everyone she knows and dances at the start line, I like to stay focused.

The race went off with a literal “go go go”. I started off as expected. It was rush of people as expected. I told myself to chill and relax. I came through the first mile in 6:40.

I was already getting hot and anticipated I might need to delayer to my top.  Between mile 1-2, I moved my race bib from my shirt to my shorts because it impeded air flow. I don’t know how I didn’t fall.

The next few miles clicked along, and between miles 2-8, I kept an even pace between 6:50-7. I run with a stopwatch with no GPS, so I went based in mile markers. My goal to the halfway was to remain relaxed and not to pick it up. The heat wasn’t affecting me as much as I anticipated but I also ran a half marathon while deployed in 90 degrees (literally 90 degrees).

At mile 10, many half marathoners passed me doing their finishing kick. They pulled me along, and I caught up with one kid whose goal was to break 90 minutes in the half. I hit the halfway point in 1:30.40 which was exactly what I planned. Even though that was “the plan,” I was worried because it was slower than 3-hour pace and my hamstring was tight.

The marathon course is a double loop of the half, and we started back around for round 2. Excitingly enough, we ran the exact same course twice. I looked up at the first hill and saw two runners about 2 mins ahead and thought they were probably at the 3-hour pace. I caught them about 3 miles later. I ran between 6:20-6:40 for the next few miles based on hills.

Around miles 16-18, I slowed down for the next few miles because I was nervous to hit the infamous wall marathoners talk about. I kept an easier pace going up hills and passed a few more people.  I had begun to pass a lot of people.  That’s motivating in any race.

Personally, I never felt as though I hit the wall. Around mile 20, we hit the downhill with a minor headwind.

Once I got to mile 23, I did the math and realized to break 3 I would have to run 7-minute pace exactly. The next three miles I ran in 7:03, and when I got to mile 26, I knew it was extremely close, and I had to go. I would regret running above 3 hours.  My half marathon PR is 1:20.02 so I didn’t want to do that again.

When I rounded the last turn, I could see the finish line reading 2:59. I picked it up and ran as hard as possible and finished in 2:59.45.  I guess I ran by my wife screaming but I didn’t notice because I was staring at the finish.

After I crossed the line, I felt my legs cramping and kept walking. I chugged a Powerade and ate half of the Orange supply.

tim-and-i-1

I know I’ll a do another marathon at some point when my schedule allows me to train.  I had a good experience with the marathon and while I prefer it over the half marathon, I still like 5-10ks better.

Hollie told me to ask some questions at the bottom so:

What do you remember about your first marathon?

Do you like to stay focused at the start line or are you relaxed and talkative? 

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Training: Back to the Cold

Last week was a solid week of training.  My easy runs felt good and I had two quality workouts. Since the Mercedes half marathon was more of a workout, I recovered quickly.  Not that I’m complaining…

Monday:  Easy 60 minutes at McAlpine Park in Charlotte
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: Easy 60 minutes
Thursday: 12X2 minutes with 30 seconds rest
Friday: Easy 70 minutes
Saturday:  Easy 60 minutes
Sunday: 2X4 mile tempo (6:42 pace)

I didn’t race this week and I probably won’t next week.  Due to weather, February is typically a “drier” race month in New Jersey. I’m happy to get a couple of quality weeks of training under my belt as well.  My next major race is the Shamrock half marathon in about a month.  That will be a race to hopefully test my fitness.  Incase you are interested, I wrote about my 2017 Spring Goal Races here.

Speaking of New Jersey, I’m having a hard time adjusting back to the climate.   When I left, we hadn’t had a lot of cold days and now running in the 20s feels difficult.  It’s quite a shock from the drastic humidity of Alabama.  So if you see someone running around in a parka, it might be me.

Workouts:
Thursday: 12×2 minutes with 30 seconds rest (average 6:15 pace)

I appreciate my workouts are rarely the same.  This is one of the better workouts I’ve had lately.  I’m back to doing workouts on roads and I felt good

Sunday: 2X4 miles (6:42 average)
This workout intimidated me.  The goal pace was 6:44.  I did the workout on roads and it flew by.  I never felt amazing but I was able to make the pace.

This week will be similar.  I’ll just crank through workouts and get them under my belt.

Posts from the Week:
Mercedes Half Marathon
Saucony Freedom ISO Shoe Review
Love Yourself

Questions for you:
How was your week of training?
Where is your favorite spot to workout?

Saucony Freedom ISO Shoe Review

While living in Alabama, I committed one a runner sin.  I was underprepared shoe wise for 6 weeks.  While I could have gotten a pair of shoes I’ve already run in, I decided to try the Saucony Freedom.  Before leaving, I had tried them on at work. They seemed like they would be a good shoe for me.

This is the first model so there is nothing to compare it too.  I have run in multiple other Saucony shoes including the Kinvara, Zealot ISO 1 and 2, Ride 9 and Triumph ISO 1 and 2.

The Freedom uses Saucony’s signature Everrun material.  It is the first of the line to use the Everrun at the forefront of the shoe.  What does this mean for me? As someone who strikes extremely far to the front, there is plenty of cushion up there too.  There are actually very few shoes with a full length cushioning in the forefront too (most shoes have a lot of cushioning in the heel and it tapers to the front).

Fit:

Just like the Saucony Triumph and Zealot, the Freedom uses the ISO fit.  It fits more like slipper than an actual shoe.  I find the ISO fits my foot better but the shoe does run short.  Typically I wear a size 10 but I found the 10.5 to be the best fit.  I even contemplated doing an 11 or a men’s size 9 because I could use more width.  I would recommend going up at least a half size if not more.

Ride:

This was definitely interesting.  I could feel the extra cushion in the forefront immediately.  My first run in the shoe was an easy 7 miler.  It felt comfortable the moment I put it in on.  It was soft, yet responsive and the extra cushion for my metatarsals was immediately noticed.

me running

Pros:

  • More cushion in the forefront
  • Light weight

Cons:

  • Sizing
  • Cost ($160 makes it one of the most costly neutral shoes on the market)

Similar options:

There aren’t a lot of options with extra cushion in the front.  Both the Saucony Kinvara and Zealot ISO 2 have a 4mm drop and are the closest by far.  The Asics Nimbus or adidas Energy Boost has a good amount of cushioning in the front as well.

Current Shoe Rotation: 
Saucony Freedom ISO (long runs, daily runs)
Brooks Ghost (any run)
Brooks Launch (shorter runs, speed work)
Saucony Type A (speed work)

Questions for you:
Where do you wear out a shoe first?
Which shoes are you currently running in?

 

Mercedes Half Marathon (1:27.01)

If you want the short recap I can tell you the following:

I was getting over a cold, it was the most humid half marathon I’ve done, and it wasn’t a goal half marathon.

But why have 20 words when you can have 1000? 

As I mentioned in my training log, initially the Mercedes half marathon was meant to be a goal race.  After looking at other options, my coach and I decided to target the Double Bridge 15k.  What was not exactly public knowledge, was my husband was training for the full marathon.  Since we were driving back to New Jersey afterward, one of us had to be in somewhat good driving condition.  Too bad, of the two of us, he still felt 10 times better post race.

Targeting the Double Bridge 15k the week before ended up being the right move for me.  I was feeling better that day, and despite being windy, the weather was much better.  I came down with a minor cold a few days before the Mercedes Half.  It felt as though I was breathing through a straw.

With that all of that said, we got to the race start around 6:30 am for the 7:03 start.  We chatted with my friend Miles.  My husband located bathrooms and we were able to go and drop off our bags.  The race director began with a countdown followed by a frantic “go go go.”  It felt as though we were starting a local 5k, not a major (and incredibly competitive) race.  The full and half ran the same course.  Both miles and my husband were running the full, so we all started together.

Since we had run part of the preview run, I knew the course well.  The first mile was flat and I found myself trying to get into a rhythm.  People were running by me already, and I felt discouraged.  I hit the first mile in 6:34 and didn’t feel good about it. I thought: “this is going to be a long race.”Run Mercedes Half Marathon me

The second and third mile were more hilly.  Runners were going by me left and right.  Negative thoughts immediately crept in my head.

Had I taken the race out too fast?

Was I just bad running hills?

Do I not handle heat well anymore?

I hit both miles in 6:27 and felt a little better about it.  I changed my mindset to running my own race.  All I thought was, LOLZ you can make it to the end.  Nothing can surpass the regression miles of Shamrock 2016 (or so I thought).

The next few miles were a bit of a blur.  Both mile 4 and 5 went by without any major excitement.  I grabbed the course Powerade at every stop.  I ran both miles by myself in 6:42.  In a half marathon, I usually take whichever electrolyte fluids they have, and I was thankful for Powerade at every stop.

Run Mercedes Half Marathon me

By the halfway point, I was overheated.  I wasn’t in danger, but I also knew, it wasn’t my day.  It was hot, my body wasn’t feeling great, and my coach had it marked as a workout, to begin with.  Why was I freaking out for a race, I knew wouldn’t be a PR?   

With that, I just focused on each mile I was in.  The middle miles ran through Highland Park.  It was hilly, and it felt like we just kept climbing.  I ran my slowest mile (7:01) followed by my fastest mile (6:22) down the hill.  By the time I knew it, we were at mile 10.  I caught my friend Dani, who was running the full marathon.  We ended up running the last 3 miles together which made the time go by faster.

Run Mercedes Half Marathon me

Mile 11 and 12 entered back into the city of Birmingham.  We ran right by my hotel, and I visualized napping and eating hotel stale hotel pastries.  I ran both miles in 6:44.

There was some headwind, but it was circulating hot and humid air.  The half and full marathon divided and runners were sent to opposite sides of the road based on their distance.  Dani and I were still running “together,” just separated by a median.  During this time, a group was holding cups, and I thought they were holding more powerade.  I had seen someone up ahead grab it and so when they offered me the cup I didn’t turn it down.

Only to realize I had grabbed beer.  I wasn’t terribly upset, but I didn’t drink the entire cup and proceeded to the final mile.  It was more shocking because it was not what I was expecting.

Just after the 12th mile, I noticed someone on the ground surrounded by medics.  It was scary to run by, but the medical staff had everything under control.  During that time, I looked up and noticed a woman within .1 of me.  For the last mile, I focused on a woman in front of me.  I was outkicked in the final .1 at the Double Bridges race the week before (for the win) and I didn’t want it to happen again.

Run Mercedes Half Marathon me
This face says: I might be having a $hit race, but I will not be out kicked in the final .1

Despite being exhausted, I powered to the end.  I crossed the last mile in 6:37 and the finish in 1:27.01.

Run Mercedes Half Marathon me
and then apparently I immediately chuckled and checked my Garmin

Thoughts:

It’s hard to feel satisfied with this time when I know I’m in better fitness.  I’ve been stuck in a plateau since October (Runners World Half).  While I ran Dallas in 1:23.44, I was fully tapered for that and training indicated I should have PRed.

Unfortatently, I have also dealt with weather or my body doesn’t feel good on race day.  These are the periods that make training difficult.  I’m not devastated or even upset about the Mercedes Half Marathon. I gave it everything I had for the day.  I am, however, longingly hoping for PRs that I’ve been working hard for.

As I mentioned, my husband ran his first marathon at Mercedes in a time of 2:59.45.  He met his goal to break 3 hours in nonideal weather conditions.  He’ll have a full recap next week. 

tim-and-i-1

Questions for you:
Have you ever been to Alabama? 
Have you drank beer during a race? 

I actually did at Shamrock last year (on purpose).

Training: Heat and Moving

Monday: 55 minutes easy
Tuesday: 60 minutes easy
Wednesday: Workout: 4X1 mile and 4X400s
Thursday: Easy 55 minutes
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: Easy 45 minutes
Sunday: Mercedes Half Marathon (1:27.01)

Most of my week was spent preparing to move back to New Jersey.  Even though it was only 5 weeks, there were a lot of loose ends to tie up the final week.  Plus packing is hard no matter how long you’ve lived somewhere.

Workout Wednesday:

4X1 mile (6:38, 6:42, 6:27, 6:27)

4X400 (1:30)

I can’t say this workout went extremely well, but I got it done.  My body was still sore from the Double Bridges 15k.  All four of my 400s were run at exactly 1:30 and that was unplanned.  Consistency is key…I guess.

My goal when I first found out we were moving was training and PRing at the Mercedes half marathon.  The focus changed once I was settled to training and racing hard at the Double Bridges 15k.  I’m glad I did that as the weather was better that day, plus my legs felt better than they did at Mercedes.  The weather at the Mercedes half marathon was extremely hot.  At the

At the start, it was 65 degrees and 93% humidity.  By the end, it was well above 70.  It was *supposed* to pour rain which would clear that up…sadly it did not.  Out of every half marathon I’ve done, including RnR Virginia Beach, it was the worst for heat.

The race itself, wasn’t about me, though.  Even before the race start, I knew it would be a rough and challenging race.  My gut didn’t lie.  I finished in 1:27.01, which in the heat I’m happy with.

But my focus of the race that day wasn’t my own race.  It was to support, cheer and watch my husband, as he ran his first full marathon of 2:59.45.


Upwards and onwards.  We are currently in route back to New Jersey.  I don’t have any major races until Shamrock on March 18th.

Questions for you: 

What is the hottest weather you’ve ever run?

What is the hardest thing to pack?

I would say hangers, they are awkward and don’t fit anywhere.

 

Training Last Week: Mostly Boring with a 15k

For some reason, I struggled with writing this week’s recap more than usual.  My easy runs were just that, easy and boring.

Monday: 6 miles (8:40)
Tuesday: Workout
Wednesday: 5 miles easy
Thursday: 5 miles easy
Friday: 5 miles easy
Saturday: Double Bridges 15k (58:41)
Sunday: 60 minutes easy
Total: 51 miles

Tuesdays Workout:
3X400 meters
1X10 minutes (6:38 pace)
3X400 meters

The track was being used, so I found a piece of road and ran there. I felt as though I was still recovering from the Polar Bear 5k in Atlanta the weekend before, but I was happy with my effort.

Double Bridges 15k: (58:48) 6:18 pace
This was the only “exciting” aspect of training last week.  The Double Bridges 15k was a solid race effort for me.  It wasn’t a PR, as Broad Street’s pace last year was faster but it was fastest I’ve done since my ankle fracture. I will say, I’ve never been as cold as I was at a race start.

The weather changed overnight from the high 50s to 38 and windy at the start.  I barely made the start, and it wasn’t an exaggeration when I say I didn’t have a minute to spare.

The race itself was decent.  My legs never felt great and my calves actually felt stiff the entire race.  I’m happy with my performance, although I do feel as though I’m in better shape than the race shows.

Sunday’s easy run was my favorite.  I asked my husband if he wanted to take a running selfie post run.  Then when we went to actually do it, I promptly fell. As you can guess, I’m clumsy and that wasn’t a surprise.

#thatawkwardmoment you try and take a running selfie with your husband and you fall.

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

Next week I’ll be running the Mercedes half marathon in Birmingham.  I ran the course preview last weekend, which was fun and I’m looking forward to running the race.

Running Related Post from the week:  January 2017 Training

Questions for you:
Have you run a 15k before?
I feel as though they are much more common in Upstate, NY.
How was your workout week?

January 2017 Training

Training wise, January was a good month.  I didn’t PR, but I’ve been working diligently and training hard. I know I’m close to PRs…

Miles Run:  248
Workouts: 7
Longest Run: 12 miles
Shortest Run: 1-mile cooldown
Range of Pace: 5:54-10:30

Races:
Run for Jack 5k (18:30)*
MLK Birmingham 5k (18:40)
Polar Bear 5k (18:42)*
*Both of these races I did as workouts of 2X5k.

Favorite Race:
Out of the three, I enjoyed the Polar Plunge 5k the most. It was on the most difficult terrain, and it was a huge race. I never felt bad, but also not great.  I was happy with my results.  I enjoy racing in new states and environments.

Polar bear 5k atlanta me running

Best Workout:
4X60 seconds
1X10 minute
1X3 minute
4X60 seconds

I did this workout a few weeks ago and made my intervals and felt strong doing so.  Everything clicked, and I finished feeling great afterwards.

run for jack 5k bryn mawr

Thoughts:
In summary, I’m happy with how January went. Thinking out loud, I had a lot going on between life and relocating to Alabama for the month. To be fair, I got every run that I needed too, but running didn’t take priority.  Despite not Pring, I do believe I’m in PR shape.

With my coach, I’m running fewer miles (and fewer races), but the pace has quickened.  I don’t mind, and I’ve enjoyed the change.

February has a few bigger races including the Double Bridges Run and Mercedes half marathon.  I hope to find a 5k towards the end of the month as well.

On another note, I’ll also move back to NJ, towards the middle of the month!  I have enjoyed my time in Alabama, but I’m looking forward to going home.

Posts from the month:
How to Run with a Significant Other
Running Books I’m Reading
2017 Goals
adidas Super Nova Shoe Review
Tips for Training through the Winter
Runners you Might Encounter this Winter