MB Marathon 2016 Training: Week 10 & 11

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 9.38.59 PMLong time no training update! I am still here and still training, but the blizzard and its aftermath definitely broke some of the momentum I had built up. Then some personal life stuff happened and I had to shift around my priorities. Running/blogging got put on a back burner and my motivation suffered. I now feel like I’m in a little bit of a slump, which is really unfortunate since this is peak training time. Here’s what I had planned vs. what I actually did for week 10 and 11. Lots and lots of modifications as you can see.

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And here is the detailed rundown!

WEEK 10

Monday: Rest Day.

Tuesday: Easy Run – 2 miles / 18:57 + Dirty 30After we had over 2 feet of snow dumped on us here in Northern Virginia, I knew it would be really difficult for me to do a speed workout, tempo run and a 20 mile long run outside this week. There was a ton of melting and refreezing, and some roads that hadn’t even been touched by a plow. I knew it would also be very tough to do those runs on a treadmill. So I decided to be a bit flexible and prioritize which runs were the most important. Rather than do two speed workouts this week, I chose to skip my Tuesday intervals and focus on my tempo run later that week. Instead I just did an easy 2 mile run plus a strength workout.

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Wednesday: Easy Run – 3 miles / 27:48. Another easy run – but this one was outside, yay! It felt good to get some fresh air! The roads near my house were pretty good but there was definitely a lot of water/slush that I knew would refreeze overnight.

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Thursday: Tempo Run – 1 easy, 2 @ tempo pace, 1 easy [4 total / 35:08]. Treadmill- 1, Me- 0. It beat me on this night. My 8 mile tempo workout turned into a 4 mile strugglefest with a few breaks. I had a tough day and a bad headache for most of it. I probably should have skipped my run but the weather had forced me to adapt a lot of my training and I wanted to at least give it a shot. This was all I had on this night, but I knew it wasn’t the end of the world and that tomorrow was a new day.

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Friday: Rest. 

Saturday: Easy Run – 3 miles /  + 21 Day Fix Abs. 3 easy treadmill miles while both kids were napping and my husband was at work. This little one woke up just as I finished and then he watched me do my ab workout :)

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Sunday: Long Run – 20 miles / 2:58:35. 20 miles! I can’t even explain how it feels to have this run under my belt. It was such a beautiful morning too. I was so happy that one of my running buddies was able to start my run with me, and then Laura met me later on for some of the middle miles. For the most part I felt good, but I did have a little twinge in my knee that I was 95% sure was due to my old shoes. I’m ready to retire them but my new ones weren’t quite ready for a 20 mile long run. Lesson learned! Also- very thankful for the town of Fredericksburg, VA. They made sure that not only the streets were plowed but so were the running paths and most of the sidewalks.

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Week 10 Totals:

  • Run: 32 miles
  • Strength Training/Cross Training: 1 strength workout + 1 ab workout

WEEK 11

Monday: Rest Day. I finally went back to work after a week and a half off due to snow and it was rough! Lots to catch up on left me feeling exhausted. I was very thankful to have a rest day.

Tuesday: Speedwork Ladder – 400, 800, 1200, 800, 400 w/ 400 recovery + WU/CD [5 miles total / 43:13] . Nothing like a late night treadmill speed session to burn off some steam from a long, tough day of work followed by class. I wasn’t feeling up to doing my planned 5 x 1 mile repeats on the treadmill, so I did a little ladder workout instead and ran by effort level rather than pace (which I really enjoy!). 1 mile warmup, 400, 800, 1200, 800, 400, all with 400 recovery between, then .75 cooldown. No thumbs down after my treadmill workout this week. I’m feeling a lot better now!

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Wednesday: Easy Run – 2 miles / 19:12 + Upper Fix. I came home from work and immediately changed into my running clothes before I could talk myself out of it. I ran an easy mile on the treadmill, then did Upper Fix, followed by another easy mile. And then I sat my butt on the couch to catch up on the Bachelor with some popcorn and a glass of wine. Guilty pleasure!

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Thursday: Rest. This was supposed to be a progression run, but I was tired and not feeling up for it. I decided to go to bed early instead and get some rest.

Friday: Easy Run – 4 miles / 36:02. Where did all the snow go? So weird that it’s pretty much all gone now after the huge blizzard! I’m not complaining though. I’ll take the clear sidewalks! 4 refreshing, stress-relieving miles after work right before the sun went down. TGIF!

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Saturday: Long Run – 15 miles / 2:17:30. My Moms Run This Town running group planned a group run around Washington DC this morning, and I was so excited for it! DC is only about 40 minutes from my house but we don’t go often to visit because of traffic. Luckily traffic and parking in the city is super easy early on weekend mornings! I ended up running 15 miles (it was a cutback week for me) with two friends. It was so fun and beautiful to run next to the monuments and the White House, and finish along the Potomac River.

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Sunday: Easy Run – 3 miles / 27:41. Just 3 easy miles to finish out the week. I’m so happy that my new shoes are feeling a lot better and aren’t as stiff now. I didn’t have a single trace of the knee pain I had last week. I really think it was shoe related!

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Week 11 Totals:

  • Run: 29 miles
  • Strength Training/Cross Training: 1 strength workout

My successes this week were definitely fitting in my long runs. At this point in training they are my highest priority workout, so I’m really happy I was able to make them both happen and that they went well for the most part! My challenges were more mental this week. I had to allow myself to be okay with adapting my plan and skipping some workouts. I honestly did the best I could, and I know that is enough for now. My goals for this upcoming week are to prep mentally and physically to run 22 miles this weekend – my longest training run ever! I also want to at least get one quality speed workout in. We are supposed to get some more snow so that might throw things off again a bit. I have had to sit down and look at the last few weeks of my training plan, adjusting some things based on what I know is realistic with all that I have going on right now. It is what it is and that’s fine!

Some wise words I wanted to share for the thought of the week. I need to get out of my own head and out of this running funk!

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4 weeks and counting until I run marathon #10!

Previous MB Marathon 2016 Training Posts

Mom & Baby: 8 Months

Whenever I sit down to write a new update on one of the boys, I always open up my planner to see what we did over the past month. I also look at the pictures I have taken. I couldn’t believe all that happened in just one month! From the holidays to traveling to South Carolina to a blizzard… whew! We sure did pack a lot of excitement in. It’s actually been so exciting that I’m 2 weeks late writing this update. Here are all the details about Kyler’s 8th month of life.

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Baby

Kyler went to the doctor at 8 months to get his second flu shot dose, so I know that he now weighs 17 pounds 4 ounces! He’s gained a good amount of weight since last month when his sickness took his appetite away for a little bit, so I was relieved to hear that!

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He somehow contracted a viral case of pink-eye this month shortly after his ear infection, but other than that he’s been healthy (knock on wood!). It needs to stay that way! He’s been home with me the majority of the month thanks to winter break, travel, and some snow days, so that helped with the germ factor.

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Kyler has become quite the little eater! We’ve been a lot more relaxed this time about letting his taste different foods, after the initial month or so of experimenting with one at a time. By this point he’s had a ton of different food, and I honestly can say that there hasn’t been one thing he has disliked. From avocado to banana to green beans to broccoli to eggs, he devours it all and he really likes to feed himself. Right now he eats breakfast and dinner with us, but soon we’ll add lunch in there too.

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Since food is just for fun until he turns one, he’s obviously still nursing a lot too. One of the nicest parts of this month was that I was off work for most of it for winter break and then the blizzard, which meant I could put my pump far away and just nurse him. He usually nurses 6 times a day, sometimes more if he’s not feeling well or is extra attached. This month I did have a new challenge when I traveled for a work conference in Myrtle Beach, which meant I had to pump for 48 hours straight. It was weird to not feed him for that long but we got through it. I was very thankful for all the milk in our freezer!

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Nursing after the Charleston Half Marathon

He doesn’t have any new teeth yet, and is still very proudly rocking his bottom two. I can’t even handle this smile of his. Melts me every time.

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Kyler has gotten very good at sitting and only really falls over if his brother knocks into him or pushes him over (yeah… it happens!) Now he is starting to move from the sitting position onto his tummy. He is not really trying to crawl yet but he is working hard on pushing himself up with his arms and scooting a little bit. Kevin started army crawling at 9 months and crawling on all fours at 11 months, so I’m not worried about it. I’m enjoying his lack of mobility for now :)

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I think Kyler’s tummy and digestive system is still getting used to eating solid food, because we’ve had our fair share of poop issues this month. Never a dull moment, that’s for sure! He tends to not go for a few days at a time and then has a really bad, explosive diaper. It’s hard to predict when it will happen, which makes going out risky sometimes. Over winter break I took both kids to the grocery store, and Kyler started screaming when I was almost done and wanted to be held. When I picked him up I realized he had a huge blowout and it was all over the car seat, his clothes and me. I rushed through check-out while holding him because he was still upset, and every concerned citizen informed me that my baby had pooped through his clothes. Then Kevin had a meltdown because we had to go home and couldn’t go Christmas shopping for daddy. Sigh… all I could do at that point was laugh!

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About 30 minutes before the grocery store poop incident!

His sleep has been a little disturbed this month, which I think is due to the wonder week he’s working through. He went from 7-9 hour stretches to waking up 2-3 times a night. Now he’s back to the longer stretches but every once in a while he has a rough night. While I was off form work, I tried to get him napping on more of a schedule and in his crib more consistently and it went really well. He tends to take a morning and afternoon nap, and sometimes little catnaps if we’re driving somewhere.  I am also working on moving his bedtime up. He was going to bed at 8:30, but now we have him going to bed at 7:30. Then he usually wakes up between 3 and 4 to nurse.

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Coffee for both of us?

Kyler is VERY vocal and loves exercising his voice. He will screech, babble, make noise with his lips and blow raspberries. He practices different volumes and goes between screaming and whispering. He has started to say “dadada” but I don’t know if he’s associating my husband with that. He also LOVES to laugh, and has learned to wave! Check out the videos below to see my little man in action!

I still can’t get over the personality difference between Kyler and Kevin. Kevin was (and still is) very high maintenance, while Kyler is super laid back. He’s just happy pretty much no matter what is going on, unless he’s hungry or tired. For example, we got him up super early, drove to Charleston and dragged him all around the city and he was super smiley the whole time!

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Kyler’s favorite part of the day continues to be bath/shower time. As soon as he hears the water turn on he starts kicking and squealing in excitement, and he gets upset when it’s time to get out.

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One of the most special parts of this month was that we celebrated Kyler’s first Christmas. With him only being 8 months old, he only had a few presents to open and was mostly interested in trying to eat the wrapping paper, but it was really sweet and something we’ll remember forever!

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We are thinking of transitioning him into a convertible carseat soon. We already have one and he just looks so big in it, even though he hasn’t hit the weight and height limit yet. I might actually shed a tear when we move him out of it and say goodbye to the infant carseat we’ve had since Kevin was born. It’s close to it’s expiration date anyway, but I remember when we first bought it. Seems like yesterday and forever ago at the same time.

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Finally, here’s some brother love!

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The face they make when mommy sings… :/

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Melts my heart

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Pretty sure Kyler lived in his Christmas PJs all month

And some mama love too. This boy usually won’t take his eyes of his mommy lately :)

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Body

It was an interesting month for me physically. I don’t have any official body pictures this month so I will use a photo from my snowy run the other week instead. I am officially below my pre-pregnancy weight, which I don’t really want. I have been so hungry lately, and it was hard to tell whether it was due to marathon training, breastfeeding, my thyroid or a combination of those things. It felt like my metabolism was in overdrive. I got my thyroid levels checked and they were definitely on the hyperthyroidism side now (I’ve had Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism since I was 16) due to still being on a higher dose of my meds from pregnancy and the initial post-partum period. They adjusted them back down and I feel so much better. It feels like my body is functioning like it should, and my anxiety has gone down as well, which can be a side effect of thyroid levels on the hyper side. So glad I got that checked out!

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Even though I prefer to weigh around 130 and I’m a little below that right now, I’m pretty happy with my body at 8 months postpartum. My clothes fit really well, I feel strong from running and marathon training, and things are slowly going back to the way they were. I had my annual appointment with the midwives who I delivered Kyler with, and after examining me they said it seems like I never even had a baby (or two). I beg to differ about that, there are definitely some things that aren’t (and will never) be the same, but that is fine. The more I run and the more success I find in that, I’m so much more interested in what my body can do rather than what it looks like.

For example, I ran two races this month that I feel very proud about. I did the Resolution 5K on New Years Day and the Charleston Half in the middle of the month. Even though neither race gave me a PR, I think both showed how my running has improved since having Kyler, and helped me learn a lot about myself.

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Mind

So much went on this month that made me happy mentally and emotionally. First we celebrated the holidays for the first time as a family of 4 and with our extended families. It was really nice, despite strangely warm temperatures this year (I ran in shorts and a tank top on Christmas Eve… it was 70 degrees!). But we baked cookies anyway, sweating the whole time :)

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I spent two weeks off from work on Winter Break with my boys, which was so nice. It was definitely a different experience than the last time I was home with both of them for an extended time during the summer. Kyler and Kevin can actually play together a little bit, which is really nice. But it did make me a little nervous for this summer when they’re both mobile!

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A few weeks later we headed to Myrtle Beach for a mini-vacation. Like I said earlier, I went down a few days early for a work conference. I haven’t been alone for an extended amount of time like that since before Kevin was born. It was a little weird to say the least, and I didn’t like having to pump all day since I didn’t have a baby to feed, but it was also relaxing. And I got to sleep through an entire night uninterrupted! However, I was still super happy to see my boys at the end of the week and to spend the rest of the long weekend together.

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Finally, this month was capped off with a glorious blizzard that led to us being off from school for a week and a half. But that went into month 9, so we’ll talk about that more soon!

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I have been so aware of how quickly time is passing, and really trying to focus on enjoying and remembering these special times with a baby that is only going to be this little for a short time. A lot has happened in the last two weeks since he turned 8 months old, but I’ll save that for next month’s post. Hopefully I can get it up in a more timely manner :)

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Previous Mom & Baby posts:

MB Marathon 2016 Training: Week 9

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 9.38.59 PMWell, as expected, the big blizzard of 2016 threw my training plan for a loop this week! We got more than two feet of snow dumped on us and I haven’t been to work in almost a week! But I’m doing the best I can despite the circumstances. I was able to swap some runs around and had to adapt some things, but oh well. I still think I beat the blizzard! Here’s what I had planned vs. what I actually did.

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And here is the detailed rundown!

Monday: Rest Day. We traveled back to Virginia from South Carolina all day and were welcomed by freezing temperatures! I enjoyed this rest day for sure :)

Tuesday: Easy Run – 2 miles / 18:57 + Lower FixAfter a long day of travel the day before and a rough night of sleep I didn’t have it in me to do my speed intervals on Tuesday morning. Plus, temperatures were in the negatives due to the wind chill and I just couldn’t do it. So I swapped my runs around and did an easy 2 mile run and Lower Fix strength workout instead.

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Wednesday: Speedwork – 5 x 1600m w/ 800m recovery + WU/CD [8 miles total / 1:02:31]. I was less than enthusiastic about this speed workout after a long day of work. I tried to think of excuses to skip or shorten it. It’s too cold, it’s getting dark, I’m tired, I’m sore from yesterday’s strength training, I’ll just do 3 mile repeats rather than 5, etc. Well, I’m so glad I sucked it up and just did the damn thing because It. Was. Awesome! I went to a middle school track right after work and it really wasn’t bad once I got through my warm up. I did 5 x 1 mile with half mile recovery between. This was my first time doing 5 repeats and the first time I got them all under 7 minutes per mile! Splits were 6:59, 6:54, 6:58, 6:56, 6:55. I still have a hard time believing I can run like this. It feels like yesterday that I started running and couldn’t even make it around the block without giving up. It’s such an awesome journey!!!

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Thursday: Rest. It started snowing on Wednesday right after I got finished with my speed workout. It was a smaller storm but enough to close school the next day. Then on the news everyone was talking about this historic blizzard that was on it’s way, and it was making me nervous about fitting my long run in this weekend. They closed school the next day since they knew the snow would be starting around noon, so I decided to squeeze my long run in on Friday morning before it began. I ended up taking Thursday as a rest day to let my legs recover a bit from the speedwork I had done the day before.

Friday: Long Run – 18 miles / 2:43:33. I am so proud of myself for this run! I woke up at 4 AM, drank some coffee, fed the baby, and ate a quick bar before heading out the door at 5:00. It was really cold at first but I warmed up by the time I hit mile 3 or so. I was even able to meet up with Laura for 4 miles, which was so nice, and later on I saw a beautiful sunrise. My Camelback ended up freezing and I ran the last 11 miles without any water, but surprisingly I felt really good and strong. My pace felt comfortable, and the only reason why it wasn’t faster was because some roads still had snow/slippery spots from the little snowstorm that came through on Wednesday night. This also meant that I couldn’t really finish fast like I had originally wanted to, but that’s okay. It felt amazing to get 18 miles done by 7:45 when my husband had to leave for work!!!

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Saturday: Recovery Run – 2 miles / 19:20 + Upper Fix. And then we were snowed in! It snowed for over 36 hours straight, from mid-day Friday until late Saturday night. I did a quick recovery run to loosen up my legs from my long run the day before, followed by Upper Fix. I wore my new Adrenaline 16s and they felt great. My last pair was super stiff out of the box, but these felt better. My current shoes aren’t totally worn out yet but I want to ease myself into these a bit before they become retired.

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Sunday: Easy Run – 6 miles / 58:57. This was supposed to be a tempo run, since I ended up doing my long run on Friday, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it on the treadmill when there was so much beautiful snow outside to run in! After my husband went out for a couple miles and said it wasn’t bad, I decided to go for it. I didn’t know how much I would be able to do, but I ended up running 6 snowy miles. I met Laura halfway between our houses and then we explored the neighborhood together. I cannot remember the last time I smiled this much on a run. It was so much fun, and not as hard as I expected it to be thanks to the snow being pretty packed from plows and cars in most places. This was the best run I’ve gone on in a long time!

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Week 9 Totals:

  • Run: 36 miles
  • Strength Training/Cross Training: 2 strength workouts. Foam rolling & stretching.

So many successes this week. I feel amazing! I conquered a tough speed workout, a cold and early morning 18 miler, and had an awesome run in the snow. I also fit in two strength workouts and did my foam rolling and stretching. My challenges were definitely figuring out a way to work with the snow. That will also be my goal for this upcoming week, since we’re still dealing with the after-effects of it. Here in Virginia, there isn’t much of a budget for snow and cleaning it up. It takes FOREVER to get the roads cleared and the schools reopened. I know this will affect some of my runs this week, because it will be really difficult for me to do a speed workout, tempo run and a 20 mile (!) long run outside. There’s been a ton of melting and refreezing, and some roads haven’t even been touched by a plow. It will also be very tough to do those runs on a treadmill. I’m going to have to be a bit flexible and prioritize which runs are the most important.

The thought of the week, just need to keep at it day after day and keep plugging away at my goals. 9 weeks down and only 6 to go!!!

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Previous MB Marathon 2016 Training Posts

MB Marathon 2016 Training: Week 8

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 9.38.59 PMI’m a little late writing my recap of week 8. The last 10 days or so have been very exciting to say the least. I spent the first two days in Virginia, and then traveled to South Carolina for work on Wednesday. Kevin was already down there with my in-laws who live in Surfside Beach, and my hubby and Kyler came down to join us later in the week. We spent the rest of the long weekend until Monday there, and then came back home to FREEZING cold temperatures followed by news that a blizzard is supposed to hit us soon. Talk about a crazy couple of days! Anyway, here is the overview – what I had planned vs. what I actually did in week 8 of my training. I’m thankful it was a cut-back week because things did not really go as planned!

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And here is the detailed rundown!

Monday: Rest Day.

TuesdayRest Day. Really took this cut-back/race week seriously! :) No, what really happened was that I had a crazy day and finally sat down for the first time at 9 PM without having done my run yet… so I decided to push it to the next day and get some much needed R&R instead coloring my adult coloring book. If you haven’t tried it yet you need to! Instant stress relief!

Wednesday: Progression Run – 4 miles / 34:54. I had the day off work because I was traveling to the conference later in the day, so I had time to fit in a run and strength training in the morning after all my boys left for work and daycare. Since it was a cutback week and I had a half marathon on Saturday that I wanted to save my speed for, I decided to take it easier and I didn’t really stick to what I had planned. Instead of doing a 6 mile fartlek run I did an easy 4 mile progression run in the freezing cold. Once my face stopped feeling like it was going to freeze off I felt great, like I could go forever! Love runs like that. Then I came back home and did Upper Fix.

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Thursday: Easy Run – 5 miles / 47:20. What a change in clothing, weather and scenery! I arrived in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for my work conference on Wednesday evening. My hotel was right on the beach, and I watched the sunrise from my balcony on Thursday morning, wishing I could run. I couldn’t fit it in the morning because the sun didn’t come up until after 7, and I had to be at the conference by 8. It was just too dark for me to feel comfortable running alone at that time. When the conference was over I practically ran to my hotel to change, and was able to get 5 easy miles in (3 on the beach) while the sun set. Ahhh, it made my heart so happy, especially after sitting in sessions all day long!

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Friday: Rest.

Saturday: Charleston Half Marathon – 13.1 miles / 1:45:24. I ran half marathon #20 (!), a tough race physically and mentally that definitely made me stronger! Read my full recap here.

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Sunday: Recovery Run – 3 miles / 26:21. 3 recovery miles with my hubby in the afternoon while the kids napped at my in-laws house. We never get to run together without the stroller so it was really nice! Also, check out the elevation in Myrtle Beach… Haha! I don’t think I’ve ever seen an elevation chart so flat.

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Week 8 Totals:

  • Run: 25.2 miles
  • Strength Training/Cross Training: 1 strength workout. I intentionally didn’t want to do much else because of my race, but in hindsight some yoga would have done me good.

My big success was by far my race. Even though it didn’t go exactly as I hoped, I learned a lot about myself in the process and I left it all out there on the course. My challenges were not doing my stretching and foam rolling like I should be, due to the busy week I had, travel and life. I know… excuses, excuses. I NEED to get back into doing that regularly this week, so that is one of my goals for this upcoming week.

The thought of the week… because this is a thought that is definitely on my mind right now! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a good snowstorm, but I have 18 miles to run this weekend! Eek! Another goal for this week is to just do the best I can with this impending storm coming. I know that once we have 2+ feet of snow on the ground I’ll be hitting the treadmill which is always harder for me. I may have to make some adjustments to my plan and that’s okay.

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I am more than ready to ramp it back up in week 9 of training!

Previous MB Marathon 2015 Training Posts

Charleston Half Marathon

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On Saturday I ran the Charleston Half Marathon. I was really excited about this race for many reasons. It was my first time visiting a place I’ve wanted to see for years, my training was going really well and I was excited to push myself to see what progress I’ve made over the last 8 weeks. The main goal of this race was to check into my training and help me create a realistic goal for the Myrtle Beach Marathon in March. The race itself did not go entirely as I hoped it would, but it was such a good reminder that races are about so much more than a finish time and splits. Looking at those two pieces of information, this appears to not be a very good result for me. I finished in 1:45:24, missing my PR by 50 seconds, and almost every mile was slower than the last (huge positive split). However, I feel more proud about how I handled this race than many others I have done, including Richmond this past November where I got my big PR. Here are the details!

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My husband, Kyler and I left my in-laws house in Myrtle Beach at 5:30 AM to make the drive to Charleston, which is about an hour and a half away. One of the appealing things about this race was that it was on the smaller side, which meant logistics were easy. We were able to find parking close to the start, pick up my race packet the morning of, pump, and use the bathroom (twice) without having to worry about rushing or being late.

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Our view heading across the bridge and into the city.

The weather felt amazing as I lined up at the start. It was in the high 40s/low 50s at the time. I actually wondered if I might have made a mistake by wearing a long-sleeved shirt, but I wanted to wear my shirt from the Richmond Half because I felt so strong during that race. I also knew it was going to be windy and I thought the sleeves might come in handy to shield against that. I situated myself between the 1:30 and 1:45 half marathon pace groups, since I ran Richmond in 1:44:33 and was hoping to run faster than that, and tried to settle my nerves. I was feeling really anxious and like I had a ton of penned up energy inside. I was more than ready to let it out and start running.

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The race began right at 8:00, and I instantly felt relief that I could finally burn off my nervous energy. The first mile was pretty crowded and it was a little hard to find my rhythm. I also had to stop for a minute to adjust my compression sleeves because one was falling down. But after that I started to feel much better (maybe a little too good, hello mile 2!), and I got into my goal pace range of 7:45-7:50/mile.

  • Mile 1 – 7:52
  • Mile 2 – 7:37
  • Mile 3 – 7:48

This was a point-to-point race that started at a high school, went south along the water for a few miles, and then the remainder of the race went north. The first few miles by the water were beautiful, but I had a hard time enjoying them to the fullest extent because the sun was shining SO brightly and I could barely see. I was wishing I had my sunglasses! I also felt some wind during these coastal miles but nothing too bad, which made me hopeful that the rest of the race would be okay in terms of wind.

However, once we changed directions after mile 3 and started heading north I realized that we were running into a strong headwind. Eek! I hoped that it would pass, since I knew we’d be running north for the majority of the rest of the race. I wasn’t worried at this point. I was feeling good!

  • Mile 4 – 7:48
  • Mile 5 – 7:47

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I absolutely loved the first half of the race. Between the water and then running through the main street of Charleston, past all the adorable stores and beautiful homes and palm trees. It was everything I pictured it would be! The crowds downtown were nice too, and I was thankful for the spectators who came out to cheer for us.

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However, once we left this part of town and started heading into a more empty, industrial section, I started to feel the effects of running into a constant headwind. It also became more obvious with less things around to distract me. I passed the halfway point at a 7:48 average pace, but I started to worry about whether or not I would be able to maintain that.

  • Mile 6 – 7:52
  • Mile 7 – 7:54

My pace kept creeping up even though I felt like I was exerting more and more effort. This didn’t feel like the pace I had been practicing in tempo runs. This felt so much harder than that. By the time I passed mile 8 and realized I had run that in the same time as I did for my 8 mile tempo run last week (which was on tons of hills and not even during a race!), I realized that I needed to scale back my effort level a bit if I was going to make it to the end without blowing up. I knew that I needed to switch from trying to maintain a certain pace to trying to maintain a steady effort level instead, acknowledging the toll the conditions of the race were taking on me.

  • Mile 8 – 7:58
  • Mile 9 – 8:12

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Baby and daddy waiting for me at the finish line!

Just past mile 9 we turned right and I had a brief break from the wind. It felt amazing. I told myself, you came back from those hills in the middle of the Richmond half to finish strong, you can come back from this too. I tried to spend the next mile focusing on regaining my confidence and feeling of control. But when the next split flashed by and said 8:10 I couldn’t help but feel a little discouraged, because it felt like I was running so much faster than that. Especially since after that mile marker, we turned and once again were heading north, straight into the relentless wind. I fought hard in the next mile to try to maintain that and once again, a slower split popped up on my watch. I also had someone behind me trying to draft off me to avoid the wind, so that was new for me, not to mention it’s a little frustrating to feel someone right at your back for a couple miles. However, one part of the race that I absolutely loved and appreciated during these lonely miles were the volunteers and police. They were so positive and loud, cheering for us by the names on our bibs, offering high 5s and dancing. They really helped me keep smiling!

  • Mile 10 – 8:10
  • Mile 11 – 8:12

At this point I knew I had two miles to go and not much left in the tank. My Garmin told me my average pace for the race so far was 7:58, which was the exact pace I PRed in at Richmond. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to maintain that for the last two miles but I at least wanted to fight like hell to finish as close as I could get to that time. We entered a park that had some packed gravel/uneven terrain and a trail that wound around in different directions and it threw off my rhythm a bit. I just tried to hold on the best I could, but my last two miles were the slowest by far.

  • Mile 12 – 8:26
  • Mile 13 – 8:24

I passed the mile 13 flag at my exact PR of 1:44:33 and felt sad immediately. I really expected to do better at this race and not to struggle this much. Right as I turned the corner to the final stretch before the finish line I heard my husband yelling my name and I started to get all teary-eyed. I did my best to pick it up and finish strong.

  • Finish Time – 1:45:24 / 8:02 average pace

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I will be honest. I started crying as soon as I stopped running and threw myself a little pity party. I was disappointed in myself for missing my PR by 50 seconds. I had trained hard for the last 8 weeks and I felt like this race didn’t reflect my hard work. My husband tried to make me feel better but I couldn’t help but feel upset, and I knew I needed to let myself feel that way for a few minutes.

After getting some food and water I talked with him about the race, what happened, how I felt, and reflected on everything. It was then that I started to realize why I should be really proud of myself for the way I performed in this race. I fought hard and was up against some factors that were out of my control (like the wind), that forced me to really push myself physically and mentally. I realized that running a slower race doesn’t mean that I’m not stronger than I was when I started training for the Myrtle Beach Marathon. This race did it’s job- it allowed me to learn some lessons that will be very useful as I finish the last 7 weeks of training for another flat, coastal race that will be double the miles, and I am very thankful for that experience. I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself, be proud of my effort, take what I learned from it and move forward!

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Once I checked my attitude, I couldn’t wait to start exploring Charleston some more. But first, I had to feed Kyler, sweaty boobs and all. Mother runner life!

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Once Kyler was finished, we drove down to the center of Charleston to walk around, get some breakfast and do some shopping. It had warmed up some and the wind had died down (of course!!) and I absolutely loved exploring this beautiful town.

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Kyler did such a great job all day! Our little trooper!

We came across a cute little restaurant called Sweetwater Cafe and decided to have breakfast there. Such a good choice – this place was delicious! Kyler even had his first taste of hash browns and he couldn’t get enough :)

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After breakfast we walked around a little bit more until we were ready to head back to Myrtle Beach to our other little boy. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, playing on the beach at sunset, and having ice cream for dinner… just because. It doesn’t get much better than that.

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I am so glad that I decided to run the Charleston Half Marathon. I feel more ready than ever to tackle the last half of my marathon training and finish the Myrtle Beach Marathon feeling strong and proud.

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My beautiful medal!

MB Marathon 2016 Training: Week 7

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 9.38.59 PMI cannot believe that I just finished week 7 of marathon training. The time seems to be flying by! This week brought with it some challenges, since I returned to work after two amazing weeks off for winter break and didn’t have as much time. Here is the overview – what I had planned vs. what I actually did. I’m really happy that I actually stuck to doing my workouts on the days that I planned!

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And here is the detailed rundown!

Monday: Rest Day. Really loving my Monday rest days!

Tuesday: Speedwork – 8 x 800m w/ 400m recovery + WU/CD [7 miles total / 56:12]. To put it bluntly – this day sucked. I didn’t sleep well the night before and then had a very stressful day at work, followed by class. I didn’t get home until 7:30 and wanted to just go to bed, but I missed my speedwork that morning so I decided to do it. I warmed up for a mile, then did half mile intervals with quarter mile recovery between each one. I did the first four in 3:29 each (6:58 pace) and last four in 3:26 (6:53 pace). My goal range was 3:21 – 3:29. I’m not a huge treadmill person, but very thankful for it when I need it! Once I was finished I felt like superwoman! What a great way to end a not so good day.

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Wednesday: P90X – Ab Ripper X. Another very stressful day that led to me not getting home from work until late. By the time we took care of dinner and the kids my motivation was pretty much zero, but I really wanted to do some kind of strength work. I settled for a 15 minute ab video (that’s hard as hell!) and called it a day.

Thursday: Tempo Run – 8 @ steady-state tempo pace / 1:02:46. Another afternoon workout! I have been less motivated to wake up early and run in the dark since my usual running buddy Laura has been coming back from an injury. Plus, it felt good to take a long work day out on the roads. My goal pace for this run was 7:50-8:10. The first half was pretty much all uphill but I somehow finished at an average pace of 7:50 despite that, and it felt AMAZING! During the run I focused on feeling strong and keeping my breathing nice and controlled even while pushing the pace. Once we got back home my littlest boy “helped” me stretch, meaning he sat there looking cute and distracting me :).

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Friday: 21 Day Fix – Dirty 30. I am really growing to love this strength workout! It really does work the entire body and it goes by quickly. One of my faves for sure!

Saturday: Long Run – 18 miles / 2:47:18. My longest run yet!!! Due to a very busy day I had to start at 6:15 AM, which meant I was running in the dark for a while alone. I stuck to mostly well-lit areas but it was a little creepy, especially since it was also lightly raining and I was in a historic town full of old buildings and cemeteries… eek! Anyway, the sun finally rose and I was so lucky to have my friend Amanda join me for a few miles in the middle of this run. After I said goodbye to her, my other running buddy Laura (who is *fingers crossed* feeling great after rehabbing her injury!) finished off the last 3 miles with me. I was very proud of myself for completing all 18 miles. I almost thought I wasn’t going to make it because my stomach felt upset from the beginning. At mile 12 I realized I NEEDED a bathroom ASAP but I couldn’t find one until 14.5. Ouch. Lesson learned- no dairy the night before a long run! This is something I should have known already but chose to ignore the night before when pizza was calling my name. Never again!!! After my bathroom stop I was able to finish the last miles feeling much better.

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Sunday: Easy Stroller Run – 3 miles / 30:07. We had a nice and easy 3 mile family run on Sunday afternoon after a very lazy morning, recovering from being up late watching the Steelers game. It was almost 60 degrees outside, but strangely very windy (as you can see from my crazy hair!), so we just kept our pace slow and comfortable. Our older son is visiting his grandparents for the week and it felt weird to push the single stroller again!

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Week 7 Totals:

  • Run: 36 miles
  • Strength Training/Cross Training: 1 strength workout, 1 ab workout, foam rolling & stretching.

My successes this week were definitely my awesome speed work and tempo run. I had a few challenges this week as well. My 18 miler was definitely challenging physically and mentally, since I didn’t feel 100%. I also had a hard time fitting in time to do my full stretching and foam rolling routine after runs since I was pressed for time with going back to work. This upcoming week is a cutback week for me, but my goal for the weeks to come are to squeeze another easy run in on one of my strength training days, to bump up the ratio of hard to easy miles. I really like to keep my hard effort mileage at about 20-30% of my overall mileage, and this week I was at 33%, so I just want to bring that down a little.

The thought of the week is perfect since I have the Charleston half marathon on Saturday. This lesson is a hard one to learn. I still make this mistake sometimes even after 10+ years of running. I’m working on that gut instinct of control and plan to practice that at the race this weekend!

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I am ready for my cutback week! I have a few easy runs on the schedule and then the half, where I plan to race my little heart out. Bring. It. On!

Previous MB Marathon 2015 Training Posts

2015 By the Numbers

Happy New Year! Here is a quick recap of 2015 by the numbers…

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The Monthly Breakdown:

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Total Miles Ran:

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Previous years:

  • 2011- 1,462
  • 2012- 902
  • 2013- 828
  • 2014- 1,244

Total Miles Ran Pregnant: 331, from January 1st to May 21st (the day before Kyler was born at 40 weeks 4 days). For my entire pregnancy, from August to May, I ran 775!

Total Time Spent Running:

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Total Average Paces for Each Month:

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Top 5 Farthest Runs:

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Top 5 Fastest Runs:

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Total Workouts This Year: 223.

Total Visits to the Gym: I’m not sure about this, because we actually quit our gym membership in June after I had Kyler. We just couldn’t see it being worth paying for when we realistically wouldn’t be able to get there as much with our schedules and two kids. Before that I had been going pretty regularly to use the treadmill through the winter and to take Body Pump. I do miss it sometimes but we are making it work!

Total Races Completed:  8. My lowest number since 2009! I did two 5Ks, one 5 miler, one 10K, one 10 miler, two half-marathons and one fun quarter-mile kids race with my son (that one might have been my favorite of them all!). Check out my Running page for all the recaps!

Total DNS (Did Not Start) Races: The cancelled/failed Wilson Bridge Half was the only one. BUT we did end up holding our own replacement half marathon instead and it was pretty epic!

Total DNF (Did Not Finish) Races: 0 this year. Let’s keep that trend going :)

Total New PRs: 1, and I am VERY proud of it. I finally broke my 4.5 year old half marathon PR running the Richmond Half Marathon, taking over 4 minutes off my time!

Total Pairs of Shoes I Went Through: 4. That seems to be my yearly average.

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Total Running Streaks: None this year due to pregnancy and then the post-partum period. I’d like to do another one short-term one though, possibly later this year once I’m not marathon training anymore.

Total Running Breaks: I took a total of 3 weeks completely off running between Kyler’s birth and my first very slow, very easy, 1 mile run post-partum.

Total Pounds Gained/Lost: I gained and then lost 30 pounds this year thanks to pregnancy :)

Running on my due date!

Running on my due date!

Total # of Pee Breaks/Leaks: Oh, so many. Pregnancy was not nice to my bladder this time around. Thankfully it’s gotten better since then!

Total States I Ran In: 4. Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. We didn’t travel nearly as much this year as we did last year!

Total Running Buddies: Oh my gosh, way too many to count. I’m so happy that the number of people I spend time running with increases every year, thanks to joining and becoming more active in groups like Moms Run This Town. I love it! By far, the person I ran the most with this year was Laura. I have no idea how many times we ran together but we shared many, many miles!

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Total Wipe-Outs:  NONE!!! For the first year in a long time. Going to go knock on wood now.

Total Injuries: No true injuries this year, just some late pregnancy/early post-partum aches and pains. Nothing my amazing chiropractor and a foam roller can’t fix! Knocking on wood again.

Thank you Daily Mile for all those amazing stats! 2015 was an interesting year for me in terms of my running, because I spent the first half pregnant and the last half recovering from that. I really wanted to focus on enjoying running for the fun of it this year, and I do believe I accomplished that. I hope to blow all of these numbers away in 2016!