Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cox Providence Marathon Training

Holy cannoli batman! Only 9 weeks before I run the Providence Marathon! It's just dawning on me that's really not far away...

Many moons ago, I wrote a post on lessons learned from my last disaster of marathon, which occurred a few months before I got pregnant in 2009. (Note: I can't seem to locate the post due to poor tagging. Therefore, I've learned yet another lesson; tag your posts appropriately.) Anyway, during that last training cycle I ran entirely too hard, wound up sick and injured, blah, blah blah. I came to the conclusion, that a crazy person such as myself, needs a shorter training cycle. This doesn't really mean that I haven't been training, but I tell myself I'm not training. Yes, I can be a bit strange, but now we're off topic.

For the Providence marathon, I decided that the week leading up to the half marathon would mark my first week of official marathon training. My first long run was the half marathon plus warm up and cool down, which gave me 17 miles for the day. So what does the rest of my plan entail? I'm so glad you asked!

  • I'll run a long run every other week. This gives me 4 long runs that should be 20 plus miles each. I don't have specific distances for the long runs planned. I'm going to run for time (rather than distance), and aim to keep my heart rate in my easy zone. I plan to run 3 hours, 3:20, 3:20, and then back down to 3 hours. I'm hoping this will keep my craziness in check.
  • Also, rather than worrying about running fast all the time, I'd like to try to keep my weekly mileage higher (between 48 - 62 miles).
  • There will be 1 tempo run every week (or every other week depending on how my legs feel) between 6-8 miles.
  • There will be 1-2 marathon pace runs every week between 6-10 miles.
  • Everything else will be easy. I'll just be aiming to get in the miles. I know some people hate this philosophy, but when I was in college we had two very hard workouts a week and all other runs were just about getting in the miles, not about pace. I was a lot faster then than I am now, so maybe there's something to that...
  • The running calculators claim I can run a 3:22, which is based on my 1:36 half from last week. I plan to train for a 3:30. I'm hoping that this might help prevent injuries, and set me up to run a 3:35 so that I can run Boston on my birthday! Because I so want to run Boston on my birthday! Deep breath...I just got overly excited there for a second...
How long are your marathon training plans? Do you follow specific plans or do you make up your own?

Marathon Training Week 1 (2/14 - 2/20)
Total Miles: 50
Total Time: 6:40
Average Pace: 8:00 min/mile

Marathon Training Week 2 (2/21 - 2/27)
Total Miles: 50.25
Total Time: 7:15
Average Pace: 8:39 min/mile

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Racing photography really gets my goat

There I am on the left, finishing the Hampton half, with awful form...On the plus side, I do sort of look like I'm flying. The photo is courtesy of Capstone Photography. Does anyone else find race photography annoying? I completely understand that they need to make a living. And I would be willing to pay a low price for a couple low resolution digital photos just for blog posting (low res pictures aren't good for printing). However, I have no interest in their prints or mugs or mouse pads or paying $35 for a single high res digital photo.

It's interesting that I can purchase a 20 inch by 30 inch poster of myself, but I can't spend a couple dollars to download a 256 pixel by 364 pixel thumbnail. Really, a poster? Who wants a poster of oneself? And running? I love to see race photos, but not life size photos. I simply don't look that good. And it would totally clash with our home decor.

This is why I usually bring my own personal photographer to races. He has a super fancy camera with multiple lenses. And the best part? He does it because he loves me! Yeah, I'm talking about Nick. Unfortunately, I can't always drag him to races. There's this whole thing about watching the kids while I'm off and running. I don't see why he can't be in two places at once...Am I being unreasonable? Probably.

Getting back to the point, downloading a cheap low resolution photo isn't an option, which really gets my goat. Obviously, I did download the photo, but you're not suppose to, and I generally don't do things that I'm not suppose to do. I'm a rule follower. Good, bad, or indifferent, it's just in my personality to follow the rules.

Ah well, seeing as I already broke the rules, here's another race photo of me below. What do you think about race photography? Would you be willing to spend a dollar or two for small digital photos? Do you purchase posters of yourself racing?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hampton Half - 1:36:11

This will be short. Maybe I'll write more in a few days. I ran the Hampton half marathon today. My goal was to run 1:40 or better, and I wound up with 1:36:11! Yay! Not a PR, but it's been a rough winter for me (with a new baby and yucky sicknesses). Therefore, 1:36 is looking pretty good to this running lady.

The race went went okay. It was cold and windy and after 7 miles or so my chest started to feel tight. Running hard in the cold is a trigger for my asthma. While I was running, I felt like I could run faster, but I felt like I couldn't run faster. Yeah I know that makes no sense, but to me that's what the asthma feels like. I feel like I should be moving, but just can't seem to do it. I did manage to run negative splits for the first 10 miles. My first mile was 7:42 pace. The miles just kept getting faster until I hit 7:08 pace for a couple. Around 10 miles, I started slowing down a bit. The last three miles were still faster than 7:42 though, which felt good.

I didn't taper for the race. My mileage this week was right at 50. The half was important to me, but the marathon in May is more important, and with my lack of good training this winter I didn't feel like I could afford to taper. I'm glad I didn't taper, I'm not sure I could have run much faster in the cold anyway.

According the training calculators out there with a 1:36 half, I should be able to pull off a 3:22 full. I don't know what my training paces will be yet, but with the new Boston marathon standards I'll probably train for a 3:30 and hope for 3:35.

Oh and I'd like to say congrats to my mom who ran 2:02:01. Go Mom! She actually wanted to run slower than that because she's running the Hyannis marathon next week, but I think the cold probably made her move faster.

I'd also like to say congrats to Ana-Maria, who is a running rock-star! She ran 1:32 and was the 3rd female finisher! Awesome!

Maybe I'll have some pics later in the week!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hampton Half in 5 days!

  • I'm still sick. Blah! My sniffles turned into another cough, but not as bad as the previous cough. My heart rate is higher than usual, but not crazy high. Just before I start running it's about 70 (20 beats higher than usual, but still lower than it was with my last cold). The half marathon should be goal is to run 1:40 or better. I honestly have no idea how realistic my goal is.
  • The real goal for the half is to figure what kind of shape I'm in. I'm running a marathon on May 1 and need to determine what pace is realistic for that race. I'd like to qualify for Boston. Boston will be on my birthday next year. What better way to spend your birthday, right? (Nick says statements like that only prove that I'm off my rocker.)
  • Despite my poor training and lack of dieting, I have reached my pre-pregnancy weight. It took 5 months. I'm a little surprised. Emily is exclusively breastfed and hasn't started solids yet. With Kaylee, I didn't take off the last few pounds until she was eating solids for a number of months.
  • I'm glad that I'm back to my normal weight, but I still don't look great. My belly looks deflated, but I wasn't happy with my belly until about 1.5 years after Kaylee was born. It just takes times (at least for me).
  • I find the heart rate discussion interesting. I had no idea that during races your heart rate is 5-10 beats higher than usual. It's interesting though, the last two years I've started running with music during races, but not to help me run faster. I find that listening to music at the start (of a 5K especially) I am more relaxed and less likely to run the first mile too fast. In fact, a lot of the music I listen to when I run is slower. I know this contrary to what most people find helpful. Not running too fast at the beginning of a race is a real challenge for me though. It stems from my cross-country days. My coach trained us to run the first 400-800 meters of a race as a sprint. In cross-country, the start is like a funnel. If you don't get out fast, you'll be stuck. Road races are just different (and most of the races I run now are longer than a 5K)...Anyway, I wonder if the music helps keep my heart rate down?
  • 144 is my body's favorite training heart rate. I've run several runs from 6 miles - 13 miles at many different paces from 7:45 pace to 9:15 pace that all had an average heart rate of 144. The pace is faster or slower depending on how I feel, but my body seems to settle right at 144.
  • For the half, I think I'll aim for a heart rate in the 150-160 range for the first half of the race. Then ignore the monitor and just run by feel for the rest of the race.
  • My mom is running the half too, but as a training run. She'll be running the Hyannis Marathon the next week. Her training has been phenomenal. She did a 22 mile run last week, and she's still feeling strong. She's a little nervous though. Her long runs have been on the treadmill because of all the snow. She's thinks that might be bad. I say if she can stand running a bunch of 20-22 milers on the treadmill, then she's ready for anything. What do you guys think? Do you think long runs on the treadmill are a detriment to marathon training? Have any of you had to do a training cycle on the treadmill? I'm sure she'd love to read about others' experiences (and so would I)!
  • Here's a random photo of my little ladies taken with my new favorite iPhone app (Hipstamatic).

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The new year is challenging me

In my last post, I wrote that I was on the road to recovery. Well, I wasn't. A few days later I developed a hacking cough. One of those that keeps you up for hours at night. Kaylee developed her first ever ear infection and Emily croup. It has been a tough winter for us. The kids recovered fast, but Emily's sleeping pattern devolved into this wake up every half hour for mommy thing that was killing me. And I had that terrible cough for a little over two weeks. So even when Emily gave me a two hour respite, I wasn't sleeping, I was coughing.

Things are better...I think. I'm not coughing. Emily is sleeping again. Kaylee is happy. Yet, we seem to be fighting off yet another cold virus, but right now it's all sniffles and not much else.

My running has simply been all over the place. During the whole mastitis episode, I took 12 days off. Then with the coughing thing I took off another 6 days. Finally, I just starting running really easy. "Really easy" was making sure my heart rate stayed between 140 - 150, which was 9:30 pace at the time. My heart rate has been so high. Usually before I start running, my heart rate is around 50. While I was sick, it was between 80 - 90 (that's before the running even started). Just crazy!

I'm concerned that I won't run my half marathon well, but what can I do? It's not like I can cram training, and I don't have a lot of control over being sick. I did manage a 13 miler last week at 8:38 pace with an average heart rate of 142. A couple days ago I ran an 11 miler at 7:49 pace with an average heart rate of 144, which sounds good, but it felt harder to me than 144 should feel. Today I ran a 7 miler at 7:19 pace, but I forgot my heart rate monitor. It felt fairly hard though. I really have no idea what I'm in for with this half marathon, but I'll be there ready to find out. When I reminded Nick that I had a half soon he responded with "you're still running it?" To which I replied, "of course!" It might not be pretty, but it's still worth the run...

Oh I had a question for those of you who use heart rate zones to train. I've sort of figured out my "zones," which are as follows:
  • Zone 3: 134 - 152
  • Zone 4: 152 - 169
  • Zone 5: 169 - 187
My question is: what zone should you be in when running a half? I'm guessing zone 4? And what zone should you run a full?