Marathon Training: Run the Strip at Night: Week 1

Now that I’ve made the decision to start marathon training again, it’s time to shift my focus, run wise and concentrate on increasing my long run, since I’ve been stuck in a 9-10 mile rut since running the RnR San Diego Half.  Of course, this was quite possibly the worst weather week this year, with a major storm on Tuesday and so much humidity!

This week was also an event week for me so it’s always a bit more challenging these weeks because of long days and super high heels, oops ;).  So that all being said, let’s get into how my week went!

Monday: 30 minutes – Actual: 30 minutes 3.17 miles 9:28 average pace – Run after dinner

Tuesday: 45 minutes, Yoga & leg strengthening – Actual: skipped this one but it was an eventful day with a water feature being added to the Ritz Carlton lobby – yikes!  They were amazing in how fast they got everything under control.  This is why the Ritz is one of my fav places!!

Indoor Water Feature

Wednesday: 45 minutes – Hill Repeats – Actual: I didn’t do the hill repeats since we did lots of hill work on Saturday but instead went out for a run after dinner again.  I ended up doing 5 slow mile repeats with about 2 minutes of calf stretching between each.  I think 2 days in 4 inch heels took it’s toll.

Thursday: Bike & Yoga 1:20 – Actual: stretching, foam rolling, using the Stick to help loosen up my calves

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Friday: 45 minutes running – Actual: 43.37 4.55 miles 9:35 average pace – it was cooler, only 70 but with 91% humidity!!

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Saturday: 2hr 15 min running – Actual: 2:15 13.01 miles 10:24 average pace.  Again a bit cooler in the low 70s but with 88% humidity and after an hour, high sun.  I ran with the Cave Creek Chicks for the first 9 miles.  We had a few set-backs, which contributed to my average pace. 1st we ran into a lake on the trail so fortunately there is another trail higher up so we went up there for a while, then about 4.25 miles in we ran into a LOT of mud, so we carefully traversed that area so not to get our shoes too muddy, we are such girls – LOL!!  Then we ran into 2 high school cross country teams on the trail. After finishing with the girls, I headed out for an additional 45 minutes.  I ended up exploring a new trail, which was definitely interesting, crazy technical, with ridiculously large rocks that weren’t easy to run on but I was exceptionally happy to get over my 9 mile rut and even though it was Florida humid out there, complete with shorts sticking to me, it was an awesome run!

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Sunday: Today’s a rest day and then we start all over tomorrow!

 

Running Goals: Changing my focus

I’ve talked about this before, but after my experience at the Rome Marathon in March, I decided to focus on my half marathon goals & put the marathon on a back burner. When I achieved my sub-2 half goal at Rock n Roll San Diego, I continued to focus on half marathons and set a goal of a 1:45 half focusing on doing this at the Women’s Half in Scottsdale on Nov 2. Well if you’ve been reading or following along on Instagram you know, I’ve been struggling with being motivated by my goal.

I thought after Rome that I needed to achieve my half goals in order to be able to achieve my marathon goals and mentally I did.  However, I didn’t take into account that I’ve spent the last 2 summers marathon training and while, it’s not easy, I find it more exciting to train for a marathon vs a half.  I know I can do a half anytime and while a 1:45 goal is a huge speed goal, it wasn’t enough to keep me motivated.

I’ve been feeling like my running has been forced and it hasn’t really been fun lately, I neglected to remember that I really enjoy achieving those higher mileage goals and there really is nothing like going out there and running 20 miles on a Saturday morning :).  These shorter mileage runs have been a challenge and I think mentally I’ve just been doing just the minimum vs really pushing it.

So that being said, after talking it over with my coach and giving it a bit of consideration, I’ve decided to change my RnR Las Vegas registration from the half to the marathon!!

I am very fortunate that Sean agreed to run with me and help pace me as I attempt my first sub 4 hour marathon.  My friend Vanessa is also pacing the 4:00 hour pace group so I will know several other runners and will have a lot of support at the actual race as well as on my journey.

And so it begins…Marathon Training!!

 

The San Francisco Marathon – 1st Half Marathon Recap (July 27, 2014)

I love to race, no matter what the outcome, PR or not, it’s been 8 weeks since my last race, which I think was part of the reason I was getting bored with my training, plus this crazy heat is insane :).

Last weekend, I went up to San Francisco to run the 1st half of the San Francisco Marathon and because this wasn’t really a goal race for me, I didn’t follow any of my normal pre-race rituals.  Normally, the day before a race, I do a shake-out run in the morning, maybe a bit of walking around the city in the morning but rest my legs in the afternoon, eat & hydrate well during the day and have pizza for dinner before going to bed early.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California, Chrissy Field
Walking by the beach with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

This time, I didn’t do my shake-out run, although I did walk over 10 miles throughout the day, I definitely didn’t rest my legs, I think I was on my feet pretty much all day, I barely ate, although I did have some water, I had a really yummy rice bowl for dinner and went to bed around 10:45p with my alarm set for 4:00a.  But I wouldn’t change it Saturday for anything, it was a fabulous day!

But how did doing the opposite of my normal affect my run?  The answer is to come…

First though a little side story, I signed up to run the half with my friend Pete, who was going to run the marathon, in the end, he wasn’t able to run so I met up with Sean, my amazing ultrarunner friend from San Diego, my sister Diane and brother in law, David, who live in the Bay Area.  Sean, was going to be running the Worth the Hurt, a total of 52.4 miles, or 2 back to back marathons starting at midnight, for a really amazing cause, to find a bone marrow match for an 8 year old boy, Baylor, in the San Francisco area who is battling leukemia. You can check it out and donate to the cause here.

Diane & David were running their very first 5k and this was a huge deal, especially for David who 11.5 years earlier was in a terrible car accident and his doctors never thought he would ever be able to run.  I’m so proud of him and so happy that I was able to be there to support them, even though I was running a different race.

San Francisco Marathon, Expo, July 26, 2014, San Francisco, California
At the Expo with my sister, Diane – it was her first 5K!!

Now back to our regularly scheduled program…I didn’t sleep well the night before the race, I woke up suddenly, practically jumping out of bed twice, first because I was dreaming that I missed my alarm and second because the recycling truck came by and dumped a ton of bottles suddenly.

But I didn’t miss the alarm and was able to get ready and out the door on my way to the start line around 4:20a.  We stayed about a mile from the start line and it was a quick easy walk down to the Embarcadero that morning.  I got down towards the start line a little after 4:30a and was waiting to see if I could catch Sean between races to see how he did.

Another quick caveot, I am a part of this really amazing group on facebook, that was created by my friend David DeNeire last year, called 365 days of Cardio Challenge … One Month at a Time. It’s a great group, with people from all over the country & world for that matter.  The goal is to do 25 min of cardio or exercise in general every day. When I put it out there that I was heading to SF for the race, one of the amazing ladies, Sam, in the group lives near by and made sure to come and cheer me on at the start.  So I texted to let her know I was down there and to see if we could get a picture and chat for a min.

By this time is was about 5:10 and I wasn’t finding Sean so I decided I should probably head back to my corral, I’m not sure what time I put in when I registered, but I was in Wave 5, which was starting around 6am.  Right as I got there, Sam texted and told me she was at the start, so I checked my bag and headed back up to see if I could find her.  Well turns out she was on the other side of the start line from me, so I told her I’d catch up with her when I got up there and then managed to see the Elites and Wave 1 start the race, so that was pretty cool.

San Francisco, Marathon, Elite Start, July 27 2014 San Francisco, Marathon, Elite Start, July 27 2014

I then made my way back to Wave 5 which was a little confusing, there was a sign for Wave 4 & one for Wave 6 but I didn’t see one for 5, the other thing that was quite annoying, there were no port-a-potties or bathrooms at all between the start and Wave 6, in fact outside of 2 spots, I didn’t see any all race.  I’m glad I didn’t end up needing to use one because that would have been a huge issue.

It was a little cool out, with a decent amount of humidity.  I wasn’t sure what to do considering my mishap of wearing too many clothes during the Rome Marathon, but I made the decision to run in my long sleeve shirt, and considering the humidity, I’m really glad I wore my Lululemon running capris.

Pre-Race Photo
Pre-Race Photo

We finally got to the start, Bart Yasso was helping to start us off, I wish I had gotten a picture of him, but I was busy looking for Sam, who is the sweetest lady, she was right there before I stepped over the timing mat so I stopped to say Hi! and give her a hug, she gave me a kiss, said good luck and was like get out of here! lol.

San Francisco Marathon, 1st Half Marthon, July 27 2014
The view from Wave 5 🙂
The lovely Sam and I before I started the 1st Half
The lovely Sam and I before I started the 1st Half

And then I was off.  I went to start my Garmin only to find I lost the satellite even though I had just turned it on for the 3rd time.  So I’m glad I had my Nike+ on too, but I ended up getting it on, but was only at .65 mi at the 1 mile mark so I reset and started again so I could see my pace.

First few miles were right there on the Embacadero, I wasn’t really pushing it, but trying to get acclimated.  I had a slow mile one for once, and kind of just went from there.  The first hill was after running past Chrissy Field, I just went slow and steady up and didn’t have too many problems, then came a nice downhill by Fort Mason and we continued heading towards the Golden Gate Bridge.

By Chrissy Field
By Chrissy Field

There was another really big hill before we got to the actual bridge.  I managed to make it 3/4s of the way up before I had to walk a minute and then we were heading over the bridge!  I have to say this was my absolute favorite part of the race, I think it was a little over 4 miles over and around the rest area and back.  The first half, I was looking to see if I could see Sean, since he had started before me, I thought I might see him on the other side, but no luck. I did however see a runner in a very interesting get-up!! Sorry for the blurry photo, but I think you can make out what he’s wearing!

Interesting get-up, huh?
Interesting get-up, huh?
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marathon, 1st Half Marathon, July 27 2014
Getting ready to go over the Golden Gate Bridge

We finished up with the bridge and then immediately headed up a hill, I was pretty tired by this point so I did walk up a portion of it, but then came the 2nd best part of the race, this amazing downhill for what seemed like forever, it was amazing, I have to be really careful on the downhill because I’ve hyperextended my knee in the past, so I was concentrating on not doing that, but going downhill makes me feel like I’m flying.  After this there were a couple of more smaller hills and I was fine until mile 12 and then my hamstring started to cramp a little bit.  I’m not sure what I did but I walked a bit and then would run a bit and then were were at 13 miles so as soon as I could see the finish line I picked up the pace, I still had a bit left, I didn’t really push too hard this race, just running it to enjoy.  I ended up finishing in 2:07:01, which I was happy with, considering, I didn’t eat hardly anything all weekend and I didn’t sleep much either, that was pretty good!

Finish Line, Marathon, San Francisco, Marathon, 1st Half Marathon, July 27 2014
Almost ready to cross the finish line…

Finish Line, Marathon, San Francisco, Marathon, 1st Half Marathon, July 27 2014 Finish Line, Marathon, San Francisco, Marathon, 1st Half Marathon, July 27 2014

After I finished, I collected my bag from the UPS trucks.  I’m so glad I brought a change of clothes, I was soaked, it was sooo humid, my Garmin said 83%.  So I changed shirts and put on my track pants before heading to get some food.  They had this really awesome boxed water, which actually tasted really good, I got that after finishing the race.  The food section, had 1/2 bananas, muffins, coconut water and that was all except some coffee drinks or something which I didn’t explore. Kinda disappointing considering the size of the race. So I ate the other 1/2 of my GoMacro bar and the banana and that was all I ate until I got home to Phoenix that night.  What I was thinking, I don’t really know, but I just wasn’t super hungry, then I got distracted doing other things and never ended up eating, which if you know anything about me, NEVER happens.

Obligatory Medal selfie :)
Obligatory Medal selfie 🙂
Sam met me at the finish line...so sweet
Sam met me at the finish line…so sweet

The lovely Sam texted me to tell me she was waiting at the finish line, so I met up with her to chat.  She ran from the start line to the finish line to meet up with me, so unbelievably sweet considering we only know each other from FaceBook, and had never met before.  The power of social media!

So Sam and her husband drove me back to the finish line where I met up with my sister and husband, who actually didn’t start their 5k race until after I finished my half.  Apparently there were some technical difficulties or something.  But they were so so excited when I finally met up with them, David finished in 30:42 & Diane in 36:14 and were super happy with their times.

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We tried to find out where Sean was using the SF Maraton App, but it wasn’t working properly so I couldn’t track him or any of the other people I knew running the marathon, so that was kind of a fail on their part.

All in all, I really enjoyed this race, which kind of surprised me a bit, because I had been really resistant to running it because of the hills, so I guess the hill training is paying off!! Thanks, Coach!! 😉

The only negatives, to me, were the food at the end, and that the tracking app didn’t work.

Now to continue working towards #20, Ventura Marathon Half Marathon on Sep 7.

Have you ever run a race expecting not to enjoy it but ended up loving the course??