Race Day Slumber Party (with a baby)

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I’m back at the office today, but my heart is somewhere on a boat with that sweet little first mate and her daddy. ❤️ @jonussery and I are running the Atlanta Peachtree Road Race 10k tomorrow, so I kept my workout at 30 minutes on the bike today to break a sweat. 💦 I’m sure there will be plenty of sweating tomorrow as we race the hills of Atlanta in July! 😂🇺🇲 Happy Monday! #charterboat #hiltonheadisland #21monthsold #perfection #firstmate #peachtreeroadrace #10k #spinbike #crosstraining #motherrunner #womensrunningcommunity #womenrunning #workingmom

Tomorrow is our 10k!  And the Fourth of July! Haha. Jon and I are both running, so we will spend the night with my parents so they can watch Cadence in the morning after we leave for the race. They live 40 minutes from our house in the opposite direction of the race, but we did this last year, and it worked out fine. I’m so thankful to live close enough to parents for the help!

My calf feels a little tight from all of the running in Hilton Head, but my shins don’t hurt anymore. If I don’t feel like I’m injuring myself, I plan to try for a fast race. It’s been a while since I ran a shorter distance, so this will be fun (and hot!)!

Here’s a neat survey of the Western States 100 participants and their gear, experience, etc. Given my newly semi-coachless status, I found it interesting that only 24% of participants had a coach to train for WS.  🙂

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Nana is the best for naps. ❤

What are your plans for the Fourth?

Late to the Party

 

I just received my bib for the Peachtree Road Race 10k in the mail, and I’m in the seeded wave.  This is something new to me.  I’ve always been active, but I didn’t really run races until around 2013 when I finished my first marathon (3:45), and I had to work really hard (3 marathons) to finally BQ for entry into the 2016 Boston.  I ran my first 50k in November of 2014, then ran a 50 miler in January of 2015.  These were not fast races for me, but it was a great introduction to trails and the lovely trail community.  And then I got pregnant, and running took on a whole new meaning as a little human grew in my belly.

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Fast forward to postpartum running, and I was pleasantly surprised to have come back faster.  This wasn’t without effort, as I painstakingly ran through pregnancy and kept up a pretty tight strength routine.  I also think that pregnancy, delivery, and the whole process of keeping a baby alive gives a certain resolve that must be earned.  I can do hard things.  And I don’t take running for granted after what essentially feels like a year of injury as a pregnant runner.

My paces went from about an 8 minute mile to about a 7:30 minute mile. I trained for Boston, and ran a 3:24 at 6 months postpartum, which was a PR of about 5 minutes.  Things were definitely more speedy, but nothing like the speed that I would develop in less than a year after I hired a coach.

I signed up for my first 100 mile race shortly after Cadence was born, and decided to hire a coach since this was totally new territory for me, and as a postpartum momma, I wanted to make sure to do things right for my body.  My coach is a total badass and she has a little girl too.  A big part of my training is interval workouts.  I had never (never) run intervals before hiring Michele.  It turns out that speed work makes you fast.

I hear so many other fast runners who talk about their high school and college experiences running cross country or track with a coach who pushed them. I missed that somewhere along the way, but I’m so thankful to have a coach now who has shown me my potential.

I ran my 100 mile race in September of 2016, and I had an amazing experience and kind of accidentally placed 2nd female.  Then I set a goal for a sub 3 hour marathon in January of 2017 and surprised myself by hitting the goal in 2:58.  I have runs where I feel so slow and can’t believe that I could ever sustain that marathon pace, but then sometimes I get ambitious and want to keep getting faster.

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My next big race is the San Francisco Marathon on July 23rd. I get to start as an elite runner because of my 2:58 marathon time, which just blows my mind. I would never have dreamed that my mid-pack legs would line up with the elites.  It’s been really fun (and a lot of work) to see how fast I can get. As long as I am still enjoying the process and have the support of my sweet husband, I’ll keep chasing goals.  For anyone else who has dreams to get faster, keep pushing!  You never know what your legs can do until you give it a shot.

Have you ever surprised yourself in a race with a faster finish than you expected?

Unstructured training (break) between training

I’ve been enjoying a little unstructured time since my last race, and it’s been great to get extra sleep and decide how I’m feeling in the morning to determine what kind of workout or run I want to do. Cadence still does not sleep through the night at 19 months, and I feel like I’ll be digging myself out of this sleep deprivation hole until she graduates from high school.

My favorite runs have been with Cadence in the stroller, and I forgot how challenging that can be!  It’s so fun, but we haven’t done any high mileage together, and I think Cadence is at an age where she’s not about to fall asleep and risk the chance of missing anything. We ran 13 miles together on Saturday, which I managed to extend from our usual hour by bribing her with Cliff bar bites throughout the run.

I’ve been getting at least 45-60 min of cardio a day, as well as 3x upper body and 3x lower body strength work each week.  My legs don’t feel quite as fresh and fast as I’d like for them to be, but I have no goals this month that require for me to push hard, so I’m enjoying a little less speed and a little more baby time.

I plan to keep May unstructured and move back into training in June/July for non-goal races.  I am signed up for the Peachtree Road Race 10k on July 4, and I’m also running the San Francisco Marathon (as an elite!) on July 23.  Neither of these races are A goal races, but I want to perform well and have a good time.  There are a couple of other races that I’m considering, but nothing else on the calendar.

I will most definitely be focusing on road racing for a bit now that Gorge Waterfalls 100k is behind me.  I just don’t have the bandwidth to run on trails enough to be competitive on the technical stuff.  Plus, I really like road racing.

Based on my last race at Gorge, and my future goals, my two main areas of focus are 1. getting stronger on the hills (San Fransisco!) and 2. being mentally tough and confident.  I felt so strong for my sub 3 hour marathon in January, but it all kind of unraveled for me when I got out on the course of Gorge. But that’s how you grow. 🙂

There’s a quote by Alan Webb that I love: “Experience is something that you gain… after you need it so much.” So true, huh?

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What are you working on right now?

(Un)balanced

The other day someone asked on Instagram if I have balance in my life in reference to all of my training.  I use my Instagram account as a running account, and it’s full of training pictures, but it still made me feel a little defensive.  I read the post right before I went to bed, so I went through various stages of answering this question in my head throughout the night (made possible when your baby wakes you up in the night and starts the thought process over again).

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I woke up clear headed with my answer.  No, I don’t have balance.  That’s not my goal.  If we’re honest, not many people have balance, whether they are training for crazy goals, or just trying to survive motherhood in a world that has traffic and work and grocery shopping and housework and relationships to attend to.

I don’t think there have been many stages in my life where I lived a balanced life.  I’ve always lived in extremes. I finished first in my class in high school, skipping my senior year and going to college early.  I didn’t drink before I turned 21. I was not good at math growing up, so I majored in engineering and ended up getting my masters degree in it.  I finished the masters degree in 1.5 years, while my peers took 3+ years to finish.  I married the first person who I ever went on more than three dates with.  I never missed a workout until I hired a coach and she made me so tired that I finally took rest days seriously.

Like most runners, I’m a bit A type, and I also really love to train and get stronger and faster.  So this past year of running postpartum has been a lot of work, but it has also been extremely rewarding.  I compared my Boston Marathon experience to Disney for adults.  In that case, training for my first 100 mile race and completing it was heaven.  And the feeling of satisfaction in training a little harder to get my sub-3 marathon was the icing on the cake.  While I can do it, I’m going to keep going.  I have a supportive husband and a baby who fits right in to the schedule.  It’s hard work, and I have to make sacrifices, but that’s where I am in life right now.  Unbalanced.  🙂

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Is balance one of your goals?

Reflections on Running: Jim Webster Interview Part 1

When I think about running, I think of going forward (fast) and what my future will be as I continue to train.  But one aspect of running that adds to its beauty is also to look backwards to see where we came from.  By “we” I mean a collective we, the running community, the coaches who formed our training methods of today, the first men and women to toe the line and ignite a passion in this country for the run.

This past fall, I was talking to a man at our neighborhood clubhouse about running and he casually mentioned that he ran the Boston Marathon in the early 1970s.  Wait, what?!  I am not as well read in the history of our sport as I would like to be, but I do know that if you ran Boston in the 70s, you were part of a very different culture of running.  If you were a runner in the early 1970s, you were competitive.  My neighbor, Jim, continued to talk about his connection with Blue Ribbon Sports, the company created by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight, which would later become Nike.

I had to know more about Jim’s story, and he graciously agreed to an interview for this blog.  I sent Jim a list of questions, and he answered with the most thoughtful insights, anecdotes, and bits of history.  It’s even more interesting and enriching than I anticipated.  There is a lot of content, but I can’t bring myself to shorten my list of questions.  It’s just so good.  So get ready to have a new appreciation for the sport and enjoy these installments interviewing my friend, Jim Webster.

Now for the interview questions:

1. You mentioned earlier that you started competitive running at the age of 13. Can you tell me what brought you into the sport?

I had just turned 11 and my dad suggested that it was time for me to get a job. My memory [of being a paper boy] is that we’d start our careers with about 100 papers and load those folded papers into two heavy denim bags. I must mention that my paper was the morning edition of the Los Angeles Times and my day began at 4:30 in the morning.  […] Now consider, I and I alone, am now getting up every morning and riding 10-12 miles and practicing my throwing accuracy working for the Times.  I did this job for 7 years!!!  Yes, all the way through high school.

So, you probably see where I’m going with this.  My freshman year, I did not go out for football or basketball, because I knew it would be fruitless.  However, come spring, ignoring my friends going out for baseball, I chose to see what track was all about.  Nothing special came of my first season in track, but the next year, Pius decided to add a cross-country team.  Father Daley was to be the coach and, as it turned out, one of my first mentors. Walt Lange, the answer to the password question, “who was your best friend in high school?”, also went out for the team.  The workouts were, it seemed, merely lots of miles of running.  This combined with my morning workout of riding a bike for miles gave me an obvious advantage vis-à-vis my fellow runners.  I was good.  I don’t believe I was a top three guy, but the team did well and so did Walt & I. […]

There was an incredible consequence of my dad encouraging me, maybe telling me, to get this job or throwing papers.  It seems that the Los Angeles Times gave five full tuition scholarships each year to any college in the country that would accept them to those of us still throwing papers their senior year and whom had worked at least five years for the paper.  I was accepted at Notre Dame.

I became a Catholic League champion and record setting (1:58.4) half-miler.  Walt, Bill Petersen, Mike Cauldero and I were third in the country in the two-mile relay with a combined time of 8:06.3 in 1960. I ran at Notre Dame, coached cross-country and track at Pius after graduation, and formed a cross-country team in Pensacola while in the Navy that competed with many southern colleges including Alabama.  For the Atlanta Track Club, I competed and also became its treasurer and Peachtree Road Race Associate Race Director.  The club set the world record for the 100 man 100 mile relay for men over 50 with me running 5:56.8 at 56 years old in 1999, with the 100 of us averaging 5:57. I just finished my 60th year of running since that first 440 for Wally Nowicki [73 years old].  And none of that success would have come without my paper route workouts!

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2. When I first met you, you told me that you ran the Boston Marathon in the 70s. I’ve also heard that you clocked a very fast marathon time. Can you tell me a little more about that race and your results?

Jim: When talking of my marathon, ‘tis easier to say two things at once…I ran a 2:55 and the Boston Marathon.  In 1970, I ran the Palos Verdes, CA marathon in 2:55:01.  In April 1971, I actually ran the Boston Marathon in 3:12:06 and placed 376th.

So, now for the complete story.

There was no such thing as a “half marathon” back in the 70s; my longest race had been a 15 miler around Mission Bay in San Diego.  But, due to the successes of American runners, notably Frank Shorter, I decided that I should add a marathon to my resume.  I chose one close to home: the Palos Verdes (CA) Marathon.  It’s profile was interesting and beautiful.  The first 10 miles were uphill and I ran accompanied by three or four of the high school kids I was coaching at the time.  We chatted up the hills knowing not to push too hard in the beginning.  They finished the 10 and got a ride back to the start.  At that point the mountain ended and there was a long gorgeous downhill to the Pacific shore where Marineland used to be.  There was a good long flat run along the beach and we finished in Redondo Beach at the water’s edge.  I actually cried when I saw the finish.  My time was 2:55:01 and I was ecstatic, but totally wiped out and needed to tend my blistered and bloody feet.

Boston.  Some months later my job training for Merrill Lynch in 1971 was to be completed with a 3 month stint in New York City in the spring.  I decided to run Boston on Patriot’s Day while there.  There were no qualifying times required…you just had to be male.  Women were barred then, due to their fragile natures!  I drove to Boston, spent the night and we took a school bus from the Prudential Building the next morning to the start in Hopkinton.  I graduated from Notre Dame and chose to wear my ND jersey in the race for all the Boston Irish.  I was in much better shape than I was for the PV run.  So, my goal was to break 2:50.  Those three sentences proved to be my downfall.  But, I learned an important lesson.  The course profile, you may know, is the exact opposite of PV: downhill for the first 12 or so miles into Wellesley, then Heartbreak Hill somewhere near the 20 mile mark.  The ND singlet had many of the spectators encouraging me along the route and, unfortunately, I probably ran too fast because of that.  I have no clue as to my splits, but I’m guessing I hit the 1/2 in under 1:25.  By 18 miles I was toast and struggled to finish, including some walking (oh, the horror).  I actually thought about stopping and taking the MTA back to the Pru.  But after Heartbreak it leveled off and I was able to finish in 3:12:06.  I remember going up the elevator for my Brunswick stew (a tradition) and sitting in the back of the elevator vowing to never run another marathon…and I never did.

What did I learn?  Beware the course elevation profile.  My quads were dead when the hills appeared and I was unable to maintain my pace.  Once in Atlanta and running the Peachtree, with a downhill half and then an uphill half, I always ran the first part with someone slower than me that forced me to hold back.  In the “old days” when the course started at the Sears building on E. Paces and finished at Five Points it wasn’t as difficult for me.  Last year I ran with my wife for the first 3 and then was able to finish decently.  On the track and in most relatively flat courses I’ve always been a “negative split” runner: the first half slower than the last.  It is the way to get your best time, which has been proven by many runner’s experiences.

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3. What other races do you consider your top accomplishments? Do you have a favorite distance?

Jim: You already have the mile race, which was 4:14.6, and double in the half…my best races.  There are tables produced by the IAAF which assign points for the times and distances of all Olympic and other events.  I got the most points for that mile, second was a 3:03.4 3/4 mile time trial I ran in Athens a week or two before the mile race which awarded the second most points and the 880 the day of the mile was third on the table.  There were no tables for the marathon.  My best 5k came in 8th in the table with a 15:40; 10k 13th with a 34:42.  It is clear that I’m at my best in the middle distances from 800 to 2 mile (9:23.8).

On the other hand, those are merely my best times.  My best races, the most memorable, exciting ones I didn’t win.  At Notre Dame in my sophomore year in an indoor mile in the Fieldhouse built in 1906 or something, I passed a U of Pittsburg guy in the last 300 yards for 3rd with 1000 screaming students cheering me on.  My two ND teammates were way ahead winning in a boring fashion.  A similar race, a 2 mile at the end of the meet in Pensacola where I’d already won the mile and came in third in the half, I went from 5th to second in the last lap to almost catch the leader.  And one more in Kingsville, Texas, in a meet between Texas A&I and UT San Antonio, with me as a guest…again I came from way back in the last lap to almost catch the local favorite at the finish.  The fans loved it, especially because the home town guy, Homer Martinez won.   I’ll never forget those three races.

4. How has running changed for you as you’ve aged? Do you have tips for longevity in the sport?

Jim: This one is tough.  The obvious is that goals must change…no more PRs.  There is now concern about injury and the long term effect of the pounding required in workouts and races.  The sun is setting not rising.  On a run the other day, I made a decision, or set a goal, to curtail or even stop running when I’m 75 1/2…7/4/2018.  My last Peachtree, my 40th Peachtree.  Those thoughts never entered my mind in my 50s and even 60s.  One of the things that keeps me going is that my wife, Beth, runs, as well.  She’s 69 and looking to moving into a new age group next January and getting first or second rather than thirds.  We are about to go to Brook Run [Park] in the next few minutes to do a 3-4 miler, not together, but…together.  She started in ‘92 and got committed after we were married in 2000.  It is great to share things…like mixed doubles.  We only play together, for example.  This helps whether it is your spouse or a friend.

Age group awards, though trivial, actually do satisfy the testosterone led competitiveness.  On the other hand, I now look at running as a way of life and health. My parents both had heart issues and I’ve been running from my genes for years.  I truly believe that it has helped me live longer in addition to increasing the quality of my life.  Beth & I did a tough 7.2 mile hike at Black Mountain State Park last week-end, through beautiful fall forest with a spectacular view halfway at the mountain peak.  Were we not fit we could not have done it.  We did decide not to do any “strenuous” hikes anymore, but to move down to “moderate”.  It was a b@*^h!  We’ve hiked Yellowstone, the Andes, Denali and more.  ‘Tis a good life.  And being fit is the gateway to many things most people cannot experience at 60 or 70.

Longevity:   I believe the mechanics of our individual running form contribute to how long we can do it.  As I mentioned to you, I think, “Born to Run” had a clue as to why some can run longer than others. Think of the fluidity of some top runners; it looks so easy…and beautiful.  When I first started running in California as a freshman in high school, we had a track with a nice grass infield.  We often ran our workouts just inside track….barefoot.  For cross country we’d go to a park very close to the school and run miles around the park…barefoot.  During the summer, a track buddy and I would go to the beach and run along the water line in the sand…barefoot.  (Easily done on many California beaches.)  Even in college at Notre Dame the cross-country team practiced on the golf course and I ran…barefoot.  I believe that this helped my joints build strength around them that really prevented me from ever having an injury.  Sure, I have run on the roads and sidewalks in Atlanta for years, but the base was built in those early years.  I still run barefoot when I can.  And I think I’ve been lucky!

But, most people today do not have the luxury of that kind of start.  So, the main thing that I’d pass along is that if you wish for running to be part of your life for a long time, go easy and listen to your body.  There are many regimens out there today; local coaches, internet training programs, and training groups.  But you are unique.  Build strength slowly; let your body get used to this.  Find what feels good to you; it shouldn’t hurt.  For years I have been saying that what you do this year will be there to help you next year.  So, don’t expect or ask for immediate gratification and superior results.  Due to some heart issues, I am very “out of shape” right now.  I’m putting in miles now and running races as if they are workouts, not RACES.  I’m building a base.  I’m looking to next March, when I expect to be ready to run faster than I am this year or even last year.  And my age is on a downward slope, so improvement in 2017 vs. 2015 is a challenge, but one I believe I can accomplish by doing more in 2016 than I could do in 2015.  I think you must look beyond and make sure you’re ready for your goal race.  I was influenced by a New Zealand coach (not personally) Arthur Lydiard who espoused a philosophy of pointing to one race six months down the road.  Even his countries half-milers did marathon training in January to prepare for the Olympics in August.  When I coached, it seems I’d lose two or more dual meets in the season.  But, at the end of the season’s championship meet, we’d win going away.  We had less injuries and were focused on the goal.

This is the end of the first interview installment with Jim Webster.  To keep reading click here.

Race Report: Warner Robins Aviation Marathon

I started marathon training in November with the idea that I’d run sometime in January and try for a sub-3 hour marathon. My previous PR was a 3:24 from Boston, but my coach planted the seed that a sub-3 hour marathon was possible, and I couldn’t resist.  She created an 8 week plan for me, and I didn’t miss one workout (for better or for worse).

The Week Before

I didn’t actually commit to this race until after New Year’s, which just goes to show how little confidence I had in my body at this point to pull off my goal of a sub-3 hour marathon.  I stayed quiet about race day on Instagram, which if you follow me, you know that I post everything on there.  In November, I was feeling extremely strong, but by the end of December, I was having little (and big) health issues pop up, and I just felt tired. 

Part of my problem in this training cycle is that I was just chronically not getting enough sleep.  Our 15 month old still wakes throughout the night, and with teething and runny noses (both momma and baby), we were have had some rough days and nights.  The week before the race, I finally started going to bed early.  I don’t know why it took me 15 months to finally get my butt into bed early, but it was glorious.  And in a few days, some of my health concerns started to abate and I was feeling human again.  It’s just so hard as a working mom to see above the weeds sometimes. 

I always choose a verse for my goal races, and for this one I wanted something to remind me that God’s love is sufficient, regardless of how I perform.  So, my verse was Phil 4:18a,19 “I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied […] And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” I’m thankful that the race went well, but even if it hadn’t, I know that my “medal” isn’t of this earth. It makes it a lot easier to run your heart out when you know that you’ve already won.

The Night and Morning Before

My grandmother lives 30 minutes from Warner Robins, Georgia, so my husband, baby and I stayed with her for the night.  My grandmother’s house wp-1484618173235.jpgis one of my very favorite places to visit to relax, but we had a few unexpected things happen to make the night exciting.  In one sentence: a criminal stole a truck and wrecked it across the street from my grandmother’s house so the five dogs that she is dog sitting barked at the eight cop cars and fire truck that showed up, and the wrecker that was called to tow the stolen truck ran over our water valve, so the water was shut off, and that doesn’t even include the baby who still doesn’t sleep through the night and my aunt who called at midnight to check on us!  🙂

I like to say this for the benefit of the new moms. I am still breastfeeding Cadence at 15 months postpartum, and I have not had any problems with breastfeeding while training and racing.  Everyone is different, but don’t let breastfeeding intimidate you out of competing.  You know your body better than anyone after going through pregnancy, especially if you are a runner.  So I breastfed Cadence the night before and the morning of the race, and then I pumped a couple of ounces in the car on our way to Warner Robins.

Everything went smoothly once we arrived at the race and I checked in.  The forecast changed to be a few degrees warmer than expected with full sun instead of clouds.  Also, the race started 20 minutes later than scheduled, but this wasn’t announced until we were all lined up at the start.  I wasn’t thrilled about the schedule change, but once I set my expectations, everything was fine.

The Start

My prayer was that the paces would come easy.  It’s the best feeling in the world to feel your legs floating during a race.  Thankfully, when the gun went off, everything clicked.  I was running in the low 6:40s , and it felt easy.  I ran with a small group of guys for a few miles, then many of them dropped off.  There were no females in sight.  It wasn’t long before I was running by myself on the course as we spread out.

My goal pace to go sub 3 hours was a 6:52.  Even though I was running faster than I had planned, my new rule is to run by feel.  If 6:40s feels like I’m running at top efficiency, then that is what I am going to do.  I knew that it would only get hotter as the morning grew later, and I wanted to take advantage of feeling good.

The course was not at all beautiful, but it was interesting to see different buildings on the base and see planes peaking out of hangars around the base. The course had minimal elevation change, but it was enough to have to work a little on the hills.  The hardest part was around mile 11.5 (and 24.5) where there was about a mile and a half of gradual incline. The aid stations were about every two miles, but I never felt like I could quite get enough water despite this frequency.

Halfway There

There were very very few spectators since it was a military base, and there were not many volunteers on the course.  I have never known whether I needed the spectators for energy, but I definitely noticed that whenever I passed anyone at all, I got a little bump in my speed.  The sun was out full force by the halfway mark, and I wished that I had worn my hat.  It was in the mid-70s by the time that I finished the run.  Otherwise, I felt pretty good in my zone and I was thoroughly enjoying this run.  This is what we train for and it passes so quickly!  You have to enjoy every mile because there are only 26(.2) of them.

By mile 13, my legs were feeling like they were running in the 6:40s, but I was pretty confident that I could at least keep pace to hit my sub 3 goal. When I passed the mile 13 aid station, I saw my husband and baby, and it was the highlight of my race (other than the finish, haha!).  Mile 13 was the only place where spectators could gather, and since I was completing two loops, I knew that the next time that I would see them was the finish. (Jon gets husband and daddy award of the year for keeping our one year old occupied at the museum while I was out playing. Below: it looks like they had a pretty good time!)

The Finish

So out I went for the second loop.  I knew that I could hit my goal, but I’d have to work for it.  For fuel, I was eating Honey Stinger chews, and I had packed one Honey Stinger gel.  I assumed that the race would have some type of gel at the aid stations, but I was wrong and only saw half bananas at one aid station.  I carried enough food, but would have appreciated a little extra should it have been available.

I was really happy with the Honey Stinger chews, as I was able to eat two or three at a time over the course of the run.  I mixed the caffeine chews with the regular ones in a ziploc bag.  I also ate one Honey Stinger gel before the race and one during the race.  The HS gels taste so good!  I’ve never cared for gels, but these actually taste like honey, and the consistency is more natural.

My left hamstring and both calves were feeling tight, but it was manageable and I was able to sustain a decent pace.  I started to slow to about a 7 minute pace in the last 3 miles, especially for the inclines.  At this point, I was passing a lot of walking half marathoners.  I was just focused on not letting my pace slip so that I could finish the race with a sub 3 hour time.  I kept comparing the last 6 miles of this race to the last 16 miles of the Yeti 100 where my husband helped me shuffle in to the finish. I’m still not sure which one hurt more, but both were uncomfortable and made the finish all the more sweet!

I finally got to the finish… and ran the wrong way!  I passed the turn to the finish, but since there were so many half marathoners around, it took me a minute to understand that the volunteers were telling me to make a turn.  So I took a left turn and finally saw the finish line!  Glory glory!  I saw my handsome husband and cute little baby, and crossed that finish line as first female in 2:58:22!

The awards ceremony was held about an hour after I finished, so Cadence and I ate bagels (and one of us napped) while Jon drove to a Subway to buy us lunch.  We got our award, and then we were off to my grandmother’s house to celebrate and shower.

Thank you to my amazing coach, Michele Yates of Rugged Running, for believing in me and creating a training plan that helped me reach my goals!  Also, thanks to the Warner Robins Aviation Marathon for hosting all of us for a great day of running!

Also, I’ve been training with the Milestone Pod, and here is the data it collected about the running mechanics of my run:

Did anyone else have a big race this weekend?

Seeing double: Training with two-a-day runs

This is the first year that I’ve hired a coach and actually followed a training plan. I’ve

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Second run of the day almost always includes a baby. ❤

learned a lot over the last year, including the value of intervals to help make you fast, how cross training is critical for ultra running, and most recently, the value of running doubles.

During my 100 mile training, my coach added a lot of two a day workouts, but I very rarely ran twice in one day.  Instead, I would run my workout in the morning and then hike, stair climb, or spin in the evening after work a few times a week.  For my current marathon training cycle, my coach has incorporated a few shorter tempo runs as doubles during the week.

There are several benefits to running double days once you’ve established a good running base:

  • You gain more cumulative miles, which helps boost aerobic endurance.  It also means that if you don’t have a lot of time in the morning, you can split up a longer run into two runs to still get the same mileage.
  • You challenge your body to recover faster when there is less time between runs. (It is recommended to give yourself enough time in between runs. Double runs are not as effective if you run them 2 hours apart, and many sources recommend five hours.)
  • According to Runner’s World, running doubles delivers a double boost of human growth hormone (production peaks about 40 minutes into a run), which helps build and repair muscle.
  • Along those lines, Runner’s Connect says running twice per day increases the frequency at which you speed blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the muscles.  Running a double run after a hard workout will help flush blood, nutrients, and oxygen to and from tired muscles.
  • Running doubles can create a spike in resting metabolic rate because you are revving the engine twice in one day instead of once in a continuous longer bout of running, which can help runners maintain racing weight.  With that, it’s important to maintain proper nutrition so that you continue to perform.
  • This also means that you put your body into a glycogen depleted state, which improves training adaptations. Studies have shown that glycogen content, fat oxidation, and enzyme activity increase when training twice per day.
  • It forces you to use muscle fibers that are typically not used, and your body learns to adapt to a new strategy of digging a little deeper.

Research and anecdotes all corroborate the value of running doubles, but for a working mom and wife, it’s a tough schedule to maintain!  For my current training cycle, it’s been made easier because my husband often joins me for my after-work runs, and we bring the stroller.  It’s time that we can be together and knock out a workout at the same time.  My doubles are also kept under 30 minutes, which is a much easier pill to swallow once it starts getting dark so early in the winter time.

I have definitely felt the effects of fatigue as a result of the doubles, which according to everything that I’ve listed above, should be a good thing.  With the increase in training, even just adding a few <30 minute tempo runs at the end of the day requires proper rest on rest days and a good strategy of recovery!

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After work double with the fam!

Do you run doubles?  How long is each run and what’s the intensity?