Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts, Training

Summer Training and a Gatorade Endurance Review

Disclaimer: I received Gatorade Endurance products to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

And boom, it’s SUMMER! Can you believe it?

To be honest, it doesn’t even really feel like summer yet. It’s been pretty much June Gloom in Southern California these days. However, there are warm ones where I regret not waking up earlier to do a long run. The warm weather will be good for me though. I will begin to train for the Honolulu marathon soon and I need to get used to running in humid weather. If you’ve followed my running journey, you’ll know that my body does not adjust well to humid weather. If it goes above 72F, I’m a goner. LOL

To prepare for summer training, I’ve started loading up on some hydration gear and fuel. First off, I purchased a 4L endurance vest from Orange Mud. This was more for my travels in the next few weeks, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to get a hydration vest that could hold more fluids for my 15+ mile runs. I already have a Amphipod PureRun Hydration Vest that holds 2x 12 oz bottles for my mid length runs, but I would use up all of my fluids by mile 15 so I needed something larger.

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In addition to the hydration vests, I was fortunate enough to be able to try a few Gatorade’s Endurance products – more specifically the Watermelon Formula as well as the Mango Energy gels. Their Gatorade Endurance formula has twice the amount of sodium (300 mg) and more than 3x the potassium (140 mg) of traditional Gatorade, but is much lighter in flavor, which I can appreciate. My stomach is super sensitive while racing and something with a lot of salts and is light in flavor is just what I need. If you’ve ever had regular Gatorade, know that the flavor is probably 5x as dilute which is nice if you have a sensitive stomach. I’ve taken it on runs anywhere from 5-8 miles with no problems to my stomach. Even though the formula is designed for on course training, I’ve also used this drink to hydrate after runs and it’s worked great for me.

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The item that surprised me the most was their mango gels. I’m used to taking sweet gels (chocolate, espresso, honey, etc) so when I took their mango gel, I was taken aback because it was salty! LOL. The taste was a bit strong at first, but after taking more of it, it actually tasted like a light mango. Also, the gel is MUCH MORE DILUTED OUT when compared to your other gels (GU, Honeystinger, Hammer Nutrition, etc). I was shocked at how easily the gel went down. I even took half of it without needing water to wash it down. That was the most impressive part about this gel. 🙂 In terms of how it sat with me, I wasn’t able to test it for long mileage, but I did take it at mile 4 and ran with it for 5 miles without any issues to that’s an bonus in my book. 🙂

IMG_7236 (1) With all of my new hydration gear and fuel, I’m basically ready to start training. Now if only my legs would get with it. 🙂 If you have questions about the product, please feel free to ask me or read one of the reviews from other BibRave Pros who have tested these products out.

BibRave Pro Reviews

Lindsey – Karen – Lissa – Katy – Jessica – Kevin – Amy – Jenn – Vanessa – Ang – Corey – Barb – Ben – Emily – Brenda – Amy P – Eric – Meridith

Question for you: What things do you need for summer marathon training? 

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Posted in Marathon Mondays, Running, Thoughts, Training

Marathon Mondays – 3 weeks and counting

Yep, that’s right. Today, there are 20 days left until I embark on my 3rd marathon and this will be no ordinary accomplishment. This accomplishment will be absolutely DOPEY. And that’s because I will have run a 5k, a 10k, and a half marathon the three days before the full marathon. Am I crazy? Yep. Am I nervous? Hell yeah. No sane person would not be scared. 🙂

This last week’s “training” was more or less okay. I haven’t been following a plan, which was probably not the best idea, but with motivation being up and down lately, it was too much pressure to adhere to a plan. So I’ve been winging it.

Monday was a wash. I had a meeting after work and didn’t get to my usual run group in time so I settled for a 1 miler to keep the run streak alive.

I made Tuesday’s interval run though. Unfortunately, I started out too fast and couldn’t hold my pace towards the last interval so I called it at 4.73 miles. At least I got the miles in.

On Wednesday, I made it out to Fleet Feet San Diego again and managed to finish a 6 mile run. It was crazy cold for San Diego and my face felt super raw after the run, but the run was good.

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Thursday and Fridays were pretty much wasted. I haven’t been able to motivate myself to run when I’m not with a group so I did a short 2 and 1 miler, respectively and called it.

Saturday was my last long run of this short marathon training season. I met up with Movin’ Shoes and ran a 14.5 mile with another girl who was training for a full the weekend after Dopey. She and I chatted almost the entire time so the pace was good, but as we wrapped up, my knees ached. Ack.

Sunday was interesting. November Project partnered up with Team Hoyt for their Inclusion Community Challenge event. At the event, we participated in events designed to show us what it’s like to compete as a challenged athlete. I had to crawl on my knees and elbows to move a little football around a course. I pushed a Team-Hoyt-Running chair down and up a hill. I was blindfolded and told to find a ball that I had thrown. All the challenges were difficult and the experience gave me a new found admiration for challenged athletes. They’re amazing. Since I didn’t think the event counted as a 1 mile run, I made to run another 1.5 miles later on the day and called it a week.

I finished last week with about 31 miles and this week kick starts tapering. Wheee.

So how are your holidays coming along? Are you getting some runs in? 

Posted in Marathon Mondays, Running, Thoughts, Training

Marathon Mondays – Dopey Challenge edition

Since I’m less than 4 weeks away from the Dopey Challenge, I figured I should update everyone on my training or lack thereof. Heh. I’m screwed. Maybe.

During the last two weeks, I’ve bumped up my training a bit. It is nowhere as high in mileage or intensity, but it’s been better. Let’s recap the past two weeks, shall we?

November 26th – December 2nd

Since starting the Runner’s World Run Streak, I’ve been a bit more consistent with running. Also, the fear of not finishing the Dopey Challenge was getting bigger and bigger and I ultimately got my butt out of the house to run. I did a 5 miler on Monday, 3 milers Tuesday through Friday, a 15 miler on Saturday, and a 1 miler on Sunday giving me a grand total of 33 miles. The 15 miler was the longest run I’ve done since Chicago, which is a bit worrisome. I probably could have shot for 16 miles, but I fell at mile 14 and my left leg cramped up so badly that I had to stop to stretch for a few minutes before beginning to hobble my way back to my car. I was sore as hell on Sunday and only managed a 1 miler to keep the streak alive.

December 3rd – December 10th

I decided this past week that I was going to try and run longer miles and to motivate myself to do that, I ran with more running groups. I did my usual Monday night run with Movin’ Shoes, but only managed 5 miles because I got there late. On Tuesday, I decided to try an interval run with Movin’ Shoes, which ended up being a great 5 mile work out.

10 min warm up followed by a 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, min interval with 2 min rest in between. Intervals suck, but after finishing them, I felt great that I pushed myself to get after it.

On Wednesday, I found a new running shoe store to run with – Fleet Feet San Diego. They had a nice 3.5 to 6 mile route for runners so I chose the 3.5 mile route. My friend’s knees weren’t feeling that great so we opted for the 3.5 miler. Thursday and Friday were a wash – 1 milers to keep the streak alive and nothing more. Saturday consisted of a 10 miler and on Sunday, the pain came.

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Movin’ Shoes was having their 40th anniversary and celebrated by holding a Mt. Soledad 10k challenge. If you aren’t familiar with this challenge, it’s a 5k run up a hill (800 ft in elevation) to Mt. Soledad and a 5k run back down it. I’m not sure whether it was the 10 miler from the day before or the crazy amount of unhealthy chips I had eaten the days before, but my body was just not having it. My calves cramped up and I ended up having to walk a portion of the trek up. The run back down the hill was fine, but my ego was hurt from struggling so hard up the hill. Despite my struggle yesterday, I still managed to log in about 32 miles for the week. 🙂

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I will be attempting another 31+ mile week and possibly another 15 or 16 mile long run, but we’ll see how it goes. Wish me luck!

So do you think I’m screwed? Undertrained? Eek! Any tips on surviving back to back races? 

Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Chicago Marathon Race Report

If you read my previous post, you’ll know that I didn’t exactly make the smartest eating choices the night before the race. LOL. Oops! You live and you learn though. 🙂 And I learned to not eat really fatty foods the day before a marathon. FYI: This is A REALLY LONG POST. 🙂 You have been warned.

I woke up the morning of the marathon feeling fine. I slept a good 7 hours and despite walking around the expo a lot the previous day, my legs felt really strong. All the rest I did the week of actually paid off! Getting to the marathon start line was SO MUCH EASIER than getting to New York’s. I hopped onto the Green line and took it all the way down to Millennium Park where the start was. I barely had to do any walking and within about 45 minutes, I was near the gate entrances. Security was very tight due to recent events and I very much appreciated it. Runners had to walk in a single file line through the gates while being screened by security wands. Despite the initial bottleneck, I was through the gates in 10 minutes and made my way to gear check and the corrals.

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Do you see it? So awesome!
As I was waited for the race to start, my stomach started to feel kind of funny. I thought about going to the porta-potties, but since they had already closed the corrals for my wave, I made the decision to just hold it and hope it’d go away. I didn’t want to go use the porta-potties and then have to start at the end of my wave. Also, never have I ever had to use the porta-potty before or during the race. Spoiler alert: I can no longer say that. LOL.

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At the start
As I crossed the start line, I felt the excitement and nervousness that I felt in New York, but I also felt a lot of pressure. I had never trained so hard for a race before and anything other than my goal time would be considered a failure for me. So off I went. It was difficult to keep my pace slow because the energy around me was contagious. Almost immediately, we went underneath a tunnel, and I experienced what I will quite honestly describe as “Uh WTF” moment. Guys who apparently didn’t want to use the porta-potties either were finding corners in the tunnel to pee. LOL. So weird. Anyway, I had to get out of that tunnel asap so I sped up a little bit. Haha.

For the first few miles, we ran around the Chicago loop in downtown. Chicago is truly a beautiful city. The architecture is amazing to look at and the skyscrapers around us kept us nice and cool.

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Hello skyscrapers!
Then at mile 3, my stomach started feeling funny and since my biggest fear is probably accidentally pooping myself during a race, I darted to the nearest porta-potty. The lines were long and I lost a few minutes at each stop that I made along the race. Sadly, I made three during the first half of the race. After each stop, I increasingly became frustrated with myself. I knew I had lost precious time, but I wasn’t sure how much because for reasons unknown, my tracking app was anywhere from 0.5 miles to 1.5 miles off during the entire race and it was really difficult to gauge my progress. I was also really worried about my fuel plan because my stomach was so uneasy. I didn’t want to take the gels and make my stomach feel worse, but I also didn’t want to hit the wall at mile 20. I had to play everything by ear and luckily, my stomach eased up at the halfway point and I was able to continue on with the race.

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Spectators on the bridge cheering on runners
To make up for the lost time, I sped up quite a bit after each stop, which made the race less enjoyable for me. I was so set on reaching 26.2 miles that half of the race was a blur for me. Since I felt better after the halfway point, I started to pick up my pace.  Unfortunately for me and the other runners, the 2nd half of the race was not well shaded and it was also getting hot. The race at this point was still a blur for me, but I think it was because crowd support for this race was neverending. There were always people cheering for you, little kids wanting to high five you, and more “Touch here for power-up” signs than I could count. I know. I tried. For the last 6 miles, I ran through as many sprinklers as I could. I grabbed wet sponges that volunteers were handing out to cool my body and I kept drinking water.

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So happy to get a sponge!
At mile 22, my legs started to experience fatigue. By that point, I had a feeling I wouldn’t have hit my first goal, but I knew that at the pace I was going, I’d still beat my person record so I pushed on. At 25.5 miles, I was DYING. Everyone that says that Chicago is flat as a pancake is WRONG. They’re 99.8% right, but that last 0.2% is during the last half mile of the marathon. WHYYYYY????? was my exact reaction. I turned the corner and was just devastated that there was this hill at the end. In retrospect, this hill isn’t that bad, but at the end of a marathon, it might as well have been life or death. LOL.

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Hooray! I did it!
As soon as I crossed that finish line, a FLOOD of emotions came over me and I just burst  into tears. I had just finished my second full marathon, a race I had trained so hard for, and no one was physically there to celebrate it with me. It was really hard for me and to help me get through it, I spent the next few minutes posting to social media and thanking all of my friends who sent me texts during the race to keep me going. I was so distraught after the race and my body was in shock. I remember calling my boyfriend and telling him that I’m not sure I’ll ever run a marathon ever again, only to remember that I was signed up for the Dopey Challenge in January. Not to worry though, I’ve changed my mind since then and am still planning on doing Dopey. LOL.

If you’re still with me and have read this to the end, here’s how I did:

Chip time: 4 hours, 23 minutes and 30 seconds (I beat my previous record by 25 minutes and 19 seconds!!!)

So there you have it – my Chicago marathon experience. Hooray! Would I do it again? Sure, but not any time soon. I have a whole lot of other races I want to check off my bucket list first. ☺️

 

 

 

Posted in Marathon Mondays, Running, Thoughts, Training

Marathon Mondays – Week 16 of Chicago Marathon Training

I have one more week to go until I run my second full marathon and guess what? I’m still FREAKING OUT.

This entry will be a little different from my previous marathon Monday entries in that it will focus on how my overall training season with Hanson’s Marathon Method went, my plans for this week, and my goals for the Chicago marathon.

Weekly Mileage – I logged 36.7 miles this week and although this is a 7.3 mile decrease from last week, I think it was the best decision for my body since the fatigue has been overwhelming lately.

Overall Training – “The hardest part of running a marathon is training for the marathon.” Yup. Absolutely. Although, I might end up disagreeing with this quote when I’m running mile 22 of the marathon. LOL. In this last training cycle, I have:

  • Averaged 6 – 8 hours of running a week
  • Run at least one 10 to 12 miler almost every week
  • Been out the door before 7 am on Saturdays for my long run (I miss sleeping in. HA)
  • Done crazy intervals (Honestly, how is a 3 x 2 mile run an interval? LOL)
  • Had several difficult runs (BOOOOOO!)
  • Run over 200 miles in a month

I tried sticking to Hanson’s plan as closely as I could, but there were multiple weeks where I couldn’t hit the target mileage. There were weeks where my pacing was god awful and there were days where I wish I hadn’t chosen this program. But I’m a week away from running the marathon and despite not feeling super confident about the race, I wouldn’t trade any of the running experiences I’ve had with this program for anything. I knew this plan was going to be tough. I knew that I could fail horribly, but I tried it anyway and I’m so glad I did. I accomplished so many things that I didn’t really think were possible and this has really taught me that you have to aim high to reach your goals.

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Taper Week – Taper, taper, taper! This week will be dedicated to resting as much as I can. That means sleeping early, eating right, doing much shorter runs (think 3 milers), and having more rest days. My legs have also been taking a really long time to loosen up during my runs so I’m thinking that some foam rolling and lots of stretching will be in the agenda for this week as well. 🙂

Revised Goals – I can’t remember if I already mentioned this, but my original goal of a sub 4 hour marathon is no longer on the table. With my more recent runs, I realized that this was too ambitious of a goal. I have since revised my goals to the following:

Goal A – Run a sub 4:15 marathon (Pace: 9:40 min/mile)

Goal B – Run a sub 4:30 marathon (Pace: 10:20 min/mile)

Goal C – FINISH THE MARATHON

Goal A is still pretty ambitious since my one and only marathon time was an 11 min/mile. However, that marathon was the NYC marathon, which has hills. The Chicago marathon does not. Hooray! Also, my training for NYC was mediocre. I skipped a lot of runs and made a lot of excuses and averaged maybe 25-30 miles a week. I also had no finishing time in mind. This time, I ran my butt off during training averaging 40-50 miles a week and I have a specific time in mind. If for any reason, I can’t reach my first goal, there are back up goals and ultimately, I just want to finish another marathon.

6 days and counting guys and gals! If anyone wants to track me, my bib # is 36530. I’ll be starting a little after 8 am CT (That’s 6 am PT for my friends in CA ^_^). Wish me luck!!!

 

 

 

Posted in Marathon Mondays, Running, Thoughts

Marathon Mondays – Week 15 of Chicago Marathon Training

There’s only 2 weeks left until I run my second full marathon and at this point in training, I just want to get it done and over with. LOL. I’m super impatient. Can you tell? Here’s how training went for this week.

Scheduled Mileage – Actual Mileage

Monday (5 miles) 5.1 miles

I started my new job on Monday and was very fortunate to finish early and get in the easy miles with my run group at Movin’ Shoes.

Tuesday (4 x 1.5 miles with 1 mile WU and CD)8.9 miles with intervals of some sort

Since I’m shorter on time with my new job, I decided to try and use my lunch hour as my run/lunch (runch) hour. I haphazardly created a route on Strava around my workplace that would give me 4.5 miles and ran out the door when lunch time came. What I didn’t realize was that the route I created was fairly hilly. Because 4.5 miles would have taken me a little less than 45 minutes and I only had 15 minutes to change, eat, and stop sweating before my meeting with my manager, I booked it up the hills. Never will I do that again. LOL. I checked out the gym and ran another 4.4 miles after work.

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Wednesday (Rest)Rest

Thursday (10 mile tempo run with 1 mile WU and CD)5 mile tempo with 1.5 mile WU and CD 

Remember about a month ago, I had difficultly breathing on my runs. Yeah, it’s happening again. I’ve been plagued by what I think is severe allergies to something in the air. I thought the allergies would be better indoors and on a treadmill, but it wasn’t. I had to keep stopping because my throat was clogging up and I couldn’t breathe well. I had to keep blowing my nose and spitting out stuff. To say it sucked is an understatement.

Friday (5 miles)5 miles

TGIF! Ran an easy 5 miles on the treadmill after work. Allergies were still in effect unfortunately.

Saturday (8 miles)  – 11.7 mile long run 

Since Thursday,’s fiasco of a run, I had been trying to keep my allergies at bay by taking medication for it. By Saturday, they were a little more manageable and I was able to knock out 11ish miles.

Sunday (10 mile long run)5.1 miles 

I was debating with myself the entire week whether I could do another 50 mile week, but by Wednesday, I settled for 44 or 45 miles. My shins and knees were acting up on Sunday so I decided to opt for 44 miles.

Total mileage (50 miles)44 miles

Thoughts of the week: I don’t like missing mileage, but with my current situation, I think that I did the right thing by opting for lower mileage. I think I forgot to mention it last week, but my knee freaked out after a run and I couldn’t extend my leg without my knee feeling like it was going to pop. I had to extend my leg extremely slowly and even then, my knee felt locked. My knee was better this week, but I could feel that it’s still not 100% so I don’t want to risk putting more stress on it. The rest of training will most likely consist of easy runs with mileage in the high 30s or low 40s. Hopefully, that will be enough recovery and I’ll be able to finish strong in the marathon.

Question for you: Do you have any advice for tapering? Or even for the week before the marathon? I’m all ears!

 

Posted in Marathon Mondays, Running, Thoughts

Marathon Mondays – Week 14 of Chicago Marathon training

OMG. 3 weeks left and counting. I’m doomed! LOL. Jk. Only sort of doomed. 🙂

Scheduled mileageActual mileage

Monday (7 miles)7 miles

Since I was still in Texas and it was still hot as hell, the next few days of running were strictly on the treadmill. It was unfortunate, but it wasn’t unbearable. I ran an easy 7 miles and called it a day.

Tuesday (3 x 2 miles with 800 m recovery and 1 mile WU and CD)4 x 1 mile with 800 m recovery after 3 x 1 mile and 1 mile WU and CD

Intervals should be easy on a treadmill, right? You can adjust the speed to what you need it to be. Too bad my body wasn’t having it. I couldn’t hold the speed for 2 miles at a time and had to do 1 mile intervals instead. Boo.

Wednesday (Rest)9 miles with increasing pace

I was traveling to Boston on Thursday so I moved my tempo run to Wednesday. Unfortunately, my muscles were still really tight so I just decided to start out really easy and increase the speed slowly as each mile passed. I never got to my tempo pace, but I wanted to listen to my body. With only 3 weeks left, I can’t afford an injury right now. I also got booted out of the gym early because my boyfriend wasn’t with me. All residents must accompany guests to the gym. Boooooo.

Thursday (10 mile tempo run with 1 mile WU and CD)Rest

Again, HALLELUJAH! Honestly, I love rest days SOOOOO much especially when you spend half the day traveling.

Friday (6 miles)16 miles

Since I was in a completely new city (Boston) and my friend wasn’t available until noon, I decided to do a little sightseeing by way of running and boy did I sight see. In 16 miles, I was able to explore numerous neighborhoods and even got to run along the historical freedom trail.

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Sight seeing at its finest
This was probably the best decision of my Boston trip. 🙂 Although, the 16 miles were not all in one go. Ideally, it should have been one consistent run, but since I wanted to sight see, I made stops along the way. Hopefully that didn’t hurt my training too much. Bleh. I’d run and if I saw something interesting, I’d pop in to see what was there. I also went to convenience stores and bought water. LOL. Can’t have heat stroke in a new city. That’d be bad. 🙂

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Statue of Paul Revere along the freedom trail
Saturday (6 miles)6.2 miles

Someone on Friday mentioned that if my 16 mile route didn’t include running by the Boston marathon finish line, that I did it wrong. LOL. Sooooo I went back out and ran a route that specifically ran by it. It was awesome. 🙂

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The closest I’ll ever get to the finish line unless a miracle happens and I can run like lightning
Sunday (16 miles)4.2 miles

On Saturday, I flew back and what was supposed to be a 5.5 hour flight ended up being 10 hours. Since I was tired as hell, I just ran a easy 4 miler and called it a week.

Total mileage (57 miles)51.6 miles

Thoughts of the week: This was peak week for Hanson’s Marathon method. Thank goodness. I didn’t think I’d make it to this point. LOL. Although I missed the target mileage, I’m still pretty proud of myself traveling and still being able to continue my training plan with a few modifications. It’s also the most mileage I’ve ever run in a week so yay! On another note, remember when I resolved to run 1000 miles this year? Mission accomplished! Yup. I achieved it this week. I’m stoked. 🙂

Question for you: The next few weeks are critical for me. Hanson’s marathon method doesn’t actually really taper until the absolute last week and that worries me because I’ve been so fatigued lately. With my current mileage, how much should I decrease by? Hanson’s has me running 50 and 49 miles for the next two weeks, which is still really high considering I wasn’t able to hit 57 this week. I was thinking about shooting for 45 and 44 instead. What do you all think? What kind of taper works for you?