Monday, December 10, 2018

My 2019 Spring Marathon Is...

Disclaimer:  I am running the 2019 Illinois Marathon as a BibRave Pro which means my race entry fee was covered for me.  Don't forget to review races on Bibrave.com!

Last week, I did a thing.  I registered for the 2019 Illinois Marathon!

This race was at the top of my "potential spring marathons" for several months given that it is billed as "flat and fast".  The opportunity came through to run it for BibRave and I took it.  Last year, nine women went sub-3 in this race and four were olympic trials qualifiers (all B-standard, meaning sub 2:45 but not sub 2:37).  The marathon will be held on Saturday April 27 at 7 AM in Champaign-Urbana, IL.  this is about a 4-4 1/2 hour drive from our house.

I am again doing the Advanced Hanson's Marathon Method plan for training.  My day 1 of training will be December 26.  My rib likely will not be healed by then, so I may have to modify the first few weeks of training. 

Last week, I logged 30.62 miles, all done at an easy-pace.  Well, I thought it was easy-paced but my heart rate data would tell you otherwise.  My goal for the next 16 days, is keep doing the easy-paced miles.  Running with a fractured rib doesn't feel great, but it isn't too awful either.  It's sort of like having a constant side ache.  My longest run last week was 7.1 miles.  The cold bothered me more than my rib did that day.

I will be doing more short races in the build up for Illinois.  My plan is a 5K in January, a 10K in February and a half near the end of March.  I am looking forward to this after not having too many races in 2018.  I ran a 10K PR and a half-marathon PR in the midst of training/racing last year and it would be fun to be able to update those numbers legitimately. 

Another thing that I will be doing more of this training cycle, and trying to begin the habits now, is regular strength training and continual work on the mental side.  I know that most of the reason Madison went down the tubes was mental and I didn't put any work in the mental side of running during that training cycle because I thought I had already conquered that instead of thinking of my brain as another muscle to continue exercising.  #rookiemistakes

What race are you targeting for spring 2019?

Using the code 'bibraveillinois2019' will get you $10 off registration for the Illinois Marathon!


Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Running Event Influencer Day with BibRave!!!

Disclaimer: I received a travel stipend and a swag bag of goodies from Brooks, Altra, Vooray, Handful, CEP Compression, Nuun, Addaday, Arcanum, Vuori, Incrediwear, and Zwift to attend The Running Event for TRE Influencer Day in Austin, TX on November 29-30.


If you follow me on social media, you likely saw an influx of orange from my accounts at the end of last week because I was one of twenty BibRave Pros selected to attend the first TRE Influencer Day at The Running Event in Austin, TX!  The Running Event is "the premier conference and trade show for running retailers".  I didn't really know what I was getting into before I left.  It was CRA-ZY.

I was a little nervous heading into TRE because I am NOT good at networking.  But my theme of 2018 was to pursue the uncomfortable, and applying to attend this was in line with that theme.  Like everything else that I did outside of my comfort zone this year, I was not disappointed!

Thursday November 29
I had a 4:30 alarm to make it to my flight out of Milwaukee.  I am completely out of routine of waking up early so I didn't sleep at all the night before since I was nervous I would miss the alarm.  I made it out of bed, donned my BibRave orange and got to the airport.  As you can see in the photo below, taken during my layover in Kansas City, I was SLEEEEPY.
I made it to Austin, TX around 11 AM.  Lucky for me, my three roommates for the night were arriving around the same time.  I met up with Erica first and then as we watched for orange on the escalator, assembled quite the group of BibRave Pros.  We made a plan to go out for lunch. 

TRE Roomies in the Uber!
Lunch time for the Pros!
I had only met one of the BibRave Pros in person before this event so it was fun to meet a bunch of new people that you "know" from social media.  After lunch, we got to our hotel and unpacked.  We had a little time before we had to be at the convention center hotel so we decided to try out the motorized scooters we saw all over downtown Austin.

I had to send my kids a pic of how cool their mom was, ha ha ha.

We got to the Hilton shortly before 5:30 PM for our first event: The Zwift Run!  Zwift held a reception for us where they demonstrated their foot pod technology.  If you are a cyclist, you may have used this technology before.  They had two amazing Woodway treadmills set up in front of a big screen where four pre-selected Bib-Rave Pros ran and showed us all how it worked.  It made me excited to go back home and try out my Zwift pod (you can see it on my shoe in the scooter picture above) on my treadmill.  The Zwift team were on hand to answer any questions.  They also gave us beer and cheese so I was pumped about that.



During this reception we also got the mother of all swag bags!

I mean, we were warned that our swag bags would be epic, but I don't think any of us were expecting this level of craziness!!  In the coming weeks, I will be writing more about everything we got in more detail!  Thank you thank you THANK YOU to the brands that provided us with stuff:  Brooks, Addaday, Vooray, Altra, Handful, Arcanum, Nuun, CEP Compression, Zwift, Vuori, and Incrediwear.

After the Zwift Reception, we headed to get BBQ.  YAAAAAAASSSSS.  Give me all the brisket.


After the BBQ, we headed to the Brooks Party.  Several other people who arrived early to the party with us told us that this party always gets crazy.  It was really quiet at first so we grabbed a beer and chatted.  And then Des Linden showed up.  FOR REAL.  At first I was hesitant to grab a photo with her, but I asked her agent if she was annoyed by this and he said to go ahead and get in there and so I did.  I felt like a GIANT next to her.  In this pic, I am crouching down and am still a head taller than her!  SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! 
Side note: Aren't the Brooks jackets we got super cool?  They are reflective!

Prior to getting to the party, my roommates and I thought we would stay about an hour.  But then the band started and we were dancing and so we left around 11.  I WAS SO SO TIRED.  I crashed in my bed.

Friday November 30
Our alarms went off at 5:30 for another jam-packed day.  We had to get back to the convention center hotel for a BibRave Pro group run.  Our hotel was located about 0.8 miles from the convention center.  Once we arrived to the convention center, we were told that Ram Racing, the group that puts on those Hot Chocolate runs, had arranged for a photographer to take photos of our group run.  Larry was so fun and scooted around Austin popping up to take photos of us.  It was a little challenging to keep our big group together but Larry got some great shots!





After the group run, we somehow had to get back to our hotel, showered, and back to the convention center in less than an hour.  My roommate and I took motorized scooters and mid-scooter ride I discovered that my "go" button was broken.  I should have gotten off the scooter, but I didn't want to be late to our tour, and we were SO close to the hotel.  Unfortunately, I ended up flying off the scooter and landing on my side.  ARGH.  I had some minor road rash and I know now that I ended up fracturing my rib from that fall.  Anyways, we ended up ditching the scooters and running to the hotel, quickly showering and I ran back to the convention center. I made it there just as they were opening the doors for our tour.

From 8:30-11:30, we visited the booths of the brands that provided us swag.  This was really fun because we were able to hear about the motivation behind starting the company, see future products that were slated to be released to the public next year, and ask questions.  Every single brand was super engaging and nice to us.  Incrediwear even had Olympian Manteo Mitchell at their booth!
TIRED eyes for me!
The rep at Brooks also fell off his scooter the night before so we had to take a pic showcasing our injuries.
All in all the vibe during our tour was exciting, and loads of fun.  It was fun to be able to interact with the different products.

After our tours were done, we were free to roam the exhibit hall until it closed at 1 PM.  AND YOU KNOW I was there until the doors closed.  I scored a lot more free stuff, mostly food items, and had fun learning about some new-to-me products.

I think it would be SO FUN to be able to go to the full conference and hear the speakers, etc.

A group of us grabbed some lunch after the expo and then it was time to head back to pack our bags.
Packing the bags.  The struggle is real.  I ended up leaving the old pair of running shoes that I came to Austin wearing.  My suitcase and backpack were CRAMMED full of stuff.  We took an Uber back to the airport and the TSA guy told me to take any food items out of my suitcase.  I started laughing and said, "Half of my suitcase is food items."  I had to go through some extra screening with all of my swag.  The TSA guys had some fun stories of people coming through earlier in the day with a lot of the same stuff I had.  But I didn't have to throw any of the stuff away!  THANK YOU GOD!

I boarded my flight to Houston at 6 PM.  After a short layover in Houston, I was en route to Milwaukee and home in my bed by midnight.  WOWSA.  I may still be trying to catch up on sleep from this trip, but it was so worth it.  Thank you to BibRave, The Running Event, and all of our amazing swag sponsors.  I had a blast!



Wednesday, December 5, 2018

November Update

Wow, it's December already.  How many times have you heard that line this week?!

I ended November with 111 miles, which I was pleased with, and a fractured rib, which I was not pleased with.  First the mileage: After my marathon, I took 10 days off running.  I started running easy paced miles the day before Thanksgiving with the goal of logging about 20 miles/week for the rest of the month.  I came up short as both weeks landed around 17 miles/week.  My legs felt good.  I felt way better after this marathon than I did after Grandma's.  I took two weeks completely off after Grandma's and felt like junk for a few more weeks after that.  After Madison, my left hamstring was feeling a little tight still so I took advantage of a discounted offer for physical therapy in my Madison Marathon race bag and made an appointment in December.

I discussed 2019 plans with my friend Eric and had a draft race plan for next year all ready to go, which included a spring marathon.  I was excited to get going with training again!

So the rib.  I was one of twenty people selected by BibRave to attend The Running Event Influencer Day in Austin, TX at the end of November (more on that to come in future posts).  While in Austin, I used motorized scooters to get around.  After an early morning group run last Friday, I hopped on a Bird scooter and realized that the go button was broken while riding.  Instead of being smart and just getting off, I kept riding since I was super close to my hotel (and running late).  Unfortunately, I had to make the decision to hit a guy or take a curb because I couldn't get the scooter to stop and I went flying off.  I landed on my left side, which was sore for the remainder of the day.

I got through the weekend, including a short treadmill run on Saturday night, but by Sunday night I was in a lot of pain and feeling nauseous.  I also really had had no appetite all weekend.  My SIL, a nurse-practitioner, thought I should get it checked out so I called my primary care doctor Monday morning.  They didn't have any available appointments and sent me to the ED for imaging.  I was concerned that there was something wrong with my spleen. My spleen is fine - but my 10th rib is not.  "Nondisplaced fracture of the left lateral 10th rib."  Fun times.

The good news is that my pain is manageable.  I have ran both days since getting the diagnosis.  I will have to take it easy on runs for the next few weeks, but am hoping to make a quick recovery and jump back into marathon training!  Let me know if you have any experience running with an injured rib!  I have heard that KT tape helps so going to try that too!

My goals for December are to continue with the Fellow Flowers Holiday Challenge, which calls for 30 minutes of activity every day from Thanksgiving to New Years Day.  So far so good on that one.  I also am trying to do the TW Training and Wellness December Strength Training for Runners videos.  I did the first one focused on glutes yesterday and got my ass handed to me, pun intended.  I know that I have weak areas in my body and hoping to start 2019 on a strong note and incorporate strength training into my routine.

In other news, HOW ABOUT THIS YEAR'S CALIFORNIA INTERNATIONAL MARATHON?! 99 women ran 2:45 or faster.  NINETY-FREAKIN'-NINE!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Madison Marathon Race Report


Disclaimer:  I ran the Madison Marathon as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me in exchange for social media promotion and writing a review of the race.  The application to be a BibRave Pro is open for two more days (until 11/14/18) at this link!  Please also visit bibrave.com to read and write race reviews!

All I have to say about my Madison Marathon experience can be summed up in this sentence:

"It was going so well...until it wasn't."

But don't worry.  I like being verbose so I will give you the long story too.  And anyways - I find that most marathons can be summed up with that sentence and it's up to you to navigate the parts where it isn't going well and that is where I failed yesterday.

Des Linden's Post NYC Marathon Tweet Resonates!
Saturday
I woke up Saturday and my hamstring still hurt from the day before.  GRRRR.  I made the decision to skip the shake out run.  How cold it was outside played a small role in this decision.  We packed up the kids and drove to Madison.  Our first stop was the marathon expo, which was held in the Monona Terrace.  It was a small, easy to navigate expo which I was grateful for.  My kids made some signs for me, I picked up my packet and Leah's packet (another Wisconsin Oiselle Volee), we found my name on the wall, and signed the banner that the race had for veterans and then grabbed some lunch.  After lunch we went to the Madison Children's Museum which is nice because I could sit.  We spent some time at the hotel pool and took the hotel shuttle to dinner.  We got back to the hotel room and I used some KT Tape to tape my inner thigh before bed.  I made my overnight picky oats and put them in our fridge and set out the pile of clothes.  I had not yet made any decisions about what I was going to wear.  I was struggling with how cold it was going to be (in the low 20s to start).

I really struggle with bringing my kids to races.  I love having them along the course and at the finish, but they really drive me bonkers the night before.  We got a king bed with a pull out couch in our hotel room and my daughter spent the entire night whining about sleeping with her brother.  
"Stop touching me!"  
"Stop breathing on me!".  

At 2:30 in the morning I HAD HAD IT.  I yelled at her and made her sleep with my husband in the bed which meant that I had the good fortune of sleeping on a lumpy pull out couch.  Apologies to our hotel room neighbors if my yelling woke you up.  It's a good thing that pre-race sleep doesn't really matter anyways, but I think my inability to move past FUMING was not ideal mentally.


Sunday
I woke up at 5 and started eating my picky oats in the dark.  After they were gone, I chugged 24 oz of Gatorade Endurance followed by 20 oz of Gen UCan.  It was so dark in our hotel room and the bathroom was just a toilet and shower so I couldn't even use the bathroom to get dressed while my family slept.  This was not an ideal set up.  In addition, I should have taken a lot more time the night before to just make some decisions.  I left way too many decisions for race day morning and used up more mental energy before I even left my hotel room.  I put on my tall compression socks, redid one of my KT tape strips, and initially put on a tank and arm sleeves.  I panicked about that and switched my bib over to a long sleeve shirt.  Then added a bunch of layers on top.  Now shoes.  I was not sure how my VaporFlys would be in cold.  That, added to the fact that I didn't really love them at the end of my spring marathon.  I ended up bringing two pairs of shoes in my gear check bag.  I wanted to braid my hair but just.could.not.   As a result I put my hair in two pony tails and one of the elastics was at the end of its life.  

I ended up leaving the hotel room feeling very scattered.  I was trying to finish getting dressed in the hall when I heard "Is that Amy?" two doors down.  It was Chelsea, one of my Icebreaker Marathon Relay teammates!  It was fun to see her.  She was running the half.  Then my son opened the hotel room door.  ARGH!  GO TO BED! PLEASE! 

I then went down to the hotel lobby to finish my UCan and wait for a fellow BibRave Pro, Barb, who was running the half and staying at the same hotel.  I ended up finishing my UCan and using the bathroom twice which was nice to use a real bathroom, versus a porta potty.  Barb came down and we set off for the start line, which was about 4 blocks from our hotel.  Really, our hotel (Hyatt Place downtown) was a great location for the race!

We got up to the capitol around 6:15 and it was a ghost town.  Barb and I could not believe that the race was going to start in 45 minutes based on how few people were there.  I expected there to be a lot more people milling about.  There was plenty of time to use the porta potties, check my stuff, give Leah her packet, take a BibRave Pro photo and get in the corrals.  It was really cold but I felt ok about it because I had a lot of throwaway layers on.   I decided to run in the VaporFlys.  
Fun to meet up with Barb and Angie before the race! Can you tell we were FREEZING?!

With about five minutes to spare, I started removing my throwaway layers and in doing so, my hair kept falling out of the elastic.  Someone said, "Ooh. You're brave running in shorts." I replied, "I'm either brave or stupid."  Holly, who I follow on Instagram, said Hi!  That is always fun.   My final race day outfit was:  VaporFly shoes, Oiselle Compression socks, Oiselle Distance Shorts, Oiselle Crop bra, BibRave tank, BibRave long sleeve, BibRave Buff worn as an ear warmer, throwaway gloves with hand warmers inside.  I felt like I had to pee but thought it was nerves since I had already peed 4 times that morning.

The start gun went off.

Miles 1-5
My plan was to go out in 6:52 ish pace.  I also started at the front with all the fast guys so my first mile ended up being fast.  The course went right past our hotel so I saw my husband and kids right away.  My husband called out, "Have fun!" and I replied, "I'm gonna try!".  

Really the first five miles were rough.  I was so cold.  My fingers and toes were numb.  My feet felt too small for my shoes and it felt like there were golf balls on the bottom of my heels.  I was running by myself because every time I ran next to a guy, they pulled ahead a bit.  (This drives me bonkers.  Guys, it's ok if a woman runs next to you!) I knew there were two women ahead of me, but there were no women around me during this section.  I was very aware of place throughout the whole race which really messed with me in the later miles.  We had some hills during this, but nothing crazy.  But mentally I was not there.  I was already being negative at this point.  "What if today was my first DNF?" came into my mind more than once.

I took water from the aid stations and legit it was freezing.  As in, a thin layer of ice began to form and ice shards were stabbing me in my face.  Normally I don't care if I spill water on myself, but when it's in the 20s, it is not the best!

My first mile was fast, but miles 2-5 were right where I wanted them to be pace-wise.  I didn't feel like I was exerting myself, but I didn't feel smooth.

Mile 1: 6:39
Mile 2: 6:52
Mile 3: 6:53
Mile 4: 6:52
Mile 5: 6:48

At the five mile mark, I went to take one of my gels out of my hand held pouch and because my fingers were so numb, I dropped it.  SHIT.  I had to back track a bit to pick it up but I easily got it down and used some of my Gatorade Endurance in my handheld to wash it down, followed by a cup of water at the 5 mile aid station.

Miles 6-10
One of my favorite pieces of advice to dole out about running a marathon is to take advantage of the times during the race when you feel good, and work through the bad parts.  Both come and go throughout the race.  Miles 6-10 were a good part for me.  A woman came up from behind me and we ran part of this section together.  I eventually pulled ahead of her and didn't see her again for the rest of the race.  I felt good during this section, despite having to run to the top of Observatory Hill. 

The first section of the course had more hills than I was anticipating, but I felt like I was generally able to maintain my pace throughout the miles.  It was difficult to ascend them, but I kept telling myself that I would feel good after cresting the top.

Mile 6: 6:42
Mile 7: 6:53
Mile 8: 6:43
Mile 9: 6:35
Mile 10: 6:47

I took another gel at mile 10, and this time I didn't drop it.

Miles 11-15
I was looking forward to seeing a pack of Oiselle women during this section, including one dressed in a banana suit.  This did not disappoint.  I saw that banana from a while away.  This section too had more inclines than I was anticipating.  Wowsa.  I was sick of running up and down hills.  But I was feeling good.  The feeling like I needed to pee never left me though and during this section my growing bladder was increasingly uncomfortable.  I flew through the half in a PR time! My half marathon PR is 1:28:35.  My half split from yesterday was 1:28:34.  I started thinking, "Hey! I really could do this! I could PR this race!"  

Mile 11: 6:54
Mile 12: 6:42
Mile 13: 6:40
Mile 14: 6:50
Mile 15: 6:47

Miles 16-20
I saw my family at mile 15 which was super fun.  My daughter tried to run up one of the hills with me.  I was sick of carrying my handheld at this point so I tossed it to my husband. My bladder was screaming at this point.  I have never peed myself during a race and I was considering it but also felt like it might freeze to my legs and ten miles was a long way to run with cold pee on myself.  I made the decision to duck into a porta potty at the mile 16 water stop.  The porta potty was covered in poop so I had to hover to pee.  You want pain?  Try hovering after running 16 miles!  I made the right call because my bladder was FULL.  It took a while to empty.  When I came out of the porta potty, I saw a woman up ahead of me, and knew I was now in 4th place.  I took a third gel at this point.  My KT tape was coming unglued and flapping and bugging me.

And this is where it started to fall apart because instead of just running my race, I got caught up in what place I was in and ran extra hard to get up to the woman ahead of me.  It is not a good strategy to try to start racing at mile 16 of a marathon.  The terrain was more of the same.  MORE HILLS.

Mile 16: 6:52
Mile 17: 7:35 
Mile 18: 6:43
Mile 19: 6:48
Mile 20: 6:55
High fiving my daughter on the course.  3rd and 4th place women at this point

Miles 21-24
At this point I was trading back and forth with the other woman and ended up ahead of her at some point.  At this point, I could feel a blister forming on my second toe on my right foot.  There is a large hill around mile 22/23 that I legit stopped when I was 3/4 up it.  My legs hurt so much, particularly my left leg which was starting to feel numb.  I tried to rally after a bad mile 22.

Mile 21: 6:59
Mile 22: 7:27
Mile 23: 6:39
Mile 24: 7:01

Mile 24-Finish
I stopped running at the mile 24 water station because I was beginning to feel woozy and didn't think I could coordinate taking a gel while running, but knew I needed one.  I took my 4th gel with a cup of water and saw the woman behind me run through the water station.  I again was in 4th place.  I saw the Oiselle group again and started crying.  I just kept telling myself to keep running.  Don't stop.  I could see the woman ahead of me but could not make my legs go faster.  At some point in this part, I knew I was also not going to get a sub 3.  And of course, we were not done with hills.  I heard my family at the finish and just tried to keep moving.  I had no kick.  

Mile 25: 7:44 (OUCH)
Mile 26: 7:12
Finish: 3:01:58, 4th female of 410, 1st age group (of 61), 29th overall (of 1,072).

I got my medal and went over to see my family and just grabbed the side rail and started crying.  Someone gave me a bear hug and initially I thought it was my mom but it turned out to be one of my best friend's Brooke.  Then Nora came over to say hi and it took me a few seconds to recognize her.  So I was a little out of it at the finish, but nothing like the finish of my spring marathon where I had to be held up through the finish chute.

Elevation Profile:

During my text postmortem with my coach and his wife (another one of my besties), he said, "You objectively ran better than your last marathon.  Temperature, hills, bathroom break.  I consider this a huge PR.  I also think you are tired.  The training block was tough and you haven't totally adapted to that volume." 

I'm not sure I totally agree with this, but I definitely do not feel as wiped as I did after my spring marathon.  I really think the chase post-bathroom break was what did me in.  I remember the whole race and I never felt really out of it like I did for the last 3 miles of my spring race.

My takeaways from this race:
1. Make a race plan that includes all details for race morning before race morning
2. Go to the bathroom one last time before entering the corrals, even if you don't feel like you have to go
3. RUN YOUR RACE.  Don't get caught up in others' race.  Look at how close 2,3,4 were.  Had I not expelled all that extra energy at mile 16, I may have been able to catch them! (Both of them are in the 18-24 age group - so fast!!)


4. I love having cheerleaders!  So many people cheering for me out there and I loved it all!!  My three youngest cheerleaders were happy to take a post-race pic with me:
I LOVE the race shirts!!
5.  My race nutrition went pretty well.  I never had a crash nor did I have any nausea/GI issues.  
Pre Race: Apple & Cinnamon Picky Oats make with milk overnight + 2 scoops of chocolate Gen UCan in 20 oz of water + 24 oz Gatorade Endurance
During Race:  3 GU Roctane in Vanilla Orange, 1 Gatorade Endurance gel in Mango, Water cups throughout

6. This might be unpopular, but I am not a fan of the Vapor Flys. They were driving me more than crazy during yesterday's race. Hindsight is 20/20 but I do wish I had selected my Pegasus to wear.

7. I don't know why I opted for yucky throw away gloves.  I never took them off my hands and would have preferred one of the pairs of nice running gloves that I owned over those $1 magic mini gloves.  

I will leave you with this.  I ran the Mad City Marathon in 2002.  It was my first marathon and I ran it in 4:08:36.  The Mad City Marathon became the Madison Marathon a few years ago.  While the course is not exactly the same, I was able to knock an hour and 7 minutes off my finish time while aging 16 years.  Marathon results take time and while patience is not always my strong suit, I still think my best marathon is out there. Keeping the dream alive folks!

You can read my review on BibRave here and I claimed my result in Athlinks here!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Madison Marathon Pre-Race Thoughts Part 2

Disclaimer:  I am running the Madison Marathon presented by SSM Health as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was paid for me.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (applications are currently open!) and checkout Bibrave.com to read and write race reviews!

We are about to finish packing and leave for Madison for the Madison Marathon tomorrow!  As with every race, I made a long list of all the race day gear I needed.  I just got done getting the bag of nutrition packed.


I'm trying to remain positive but after my run yesterday my inner thigh/hamstring was sore all day and it doesn't feel great right now.  The idea that this is just part of the taper crazies is diminishing for me.  But I will continue foam rolling and stretching.

Even if I don't have a stellar race tomorrow, I accomplished what the purpose of this cycle was for:  Run more miles and jump up to the next step in building fitness and base mileage to build upon in 2019.  This was the first year I have trained for two marathons in the same year.  The fact that I even got through the training cycle is a big accomplishment that I am really proud of.  This fall was a zoo:  My kids were back in school, which creates some unique challenges for my daughter, I went part time at my "real" job and started my own business, AND I finished 17 weeks of the Hanson's Advanced Marathon training plan.  I ran 843.41 miles in this buildup, which is 117.75 more miles than my previous marathon training cycle. Yes, I feel like a badass.

My other challenge is determining what to wear.  Wisconsin was treated to some snow yesterday and it will be around for the race.  Race weather is going to be in the 30s with some wind.  COLD.  I am in process of packing ALL the things.


Let's talk goals:

The first goal was always to treat tomorrow's race as a celebration, given the above.  A few weeks ago I was listening to an episode of The Michigan Runner Girl podcast and they used the phrase "Joy in Movement".  I decided that I was going to focus on that when things got tough in the race.

What about pace/goal time? The fact also is, that prior to this week and whatever is going on with my leg, I honestly feel like I am in the best shape of my life.  And so during those rock star tempo runs, I did think that I had the opportunity to PR this marathon, despite the fact that it is a very hilly course.  Maybe the stars will align and that will still happen.  I am trying to keep my emotions in check.  There is no sense in premature disappointment.  

My marathon pace that I used for training was 6:52, which is just squeaking out a sub-3, and the pace of my spring marathon.  I made this plan before training began with my friend and running mentor E, given we were increasing mileage and dealing with a hilly course. Change one variable at a time, right?  It turns out that even though 6:52 was really difficult to get to in the first half of training, once my body adapted to the extra mileage, my tempo run pace started to drop into the 6:40s and my last tempo was 6:36.   I am going to start the marathon with the 6:52 pace in mind and will to hold that through the first half, evaluating every 5 miles.  The "evaluate every 5 miles" plan is one that has worked for me for my last several marathons so my brain is properly trained for that.  This is also when I take my gels so it is easy to remember.

Once I get through the first half, if I'm feeling good, I will have to decide when to pick up the pace.  At my previous marathon, I really picked it up in the miles 13-18 because I was feeling awesome and then ended up having to hang on until the end of the race.  I think I may have pushed prematurely so my goal will be to get through the hilly Maple Bluff section of the course (mile 22) before letting it go.

Off to finish packing!  Watch for my race recap next week!




Thursday, November 8, 2018

I'm So Excited!! Madison Marathon Is Three Days Away!!! (Pre-Race Thoughts Part 1)

Disclaimer:  I am running the Madison Marathon presented by SSM Health in November as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!  

Three more days until race day!  EEK!

My taper has been business as usual here.  I've had some annoying aches and pains, I'm eating lots of carbs, and I'm making lists and lists and lists.  All of my taper runs have felt off.  Again, business as usual as far as me and the marathon taper are concerned.  One nice thing about documenting your training is that you can go back to previous races and see how psycho the taper makes you feel :)  The two issues that have been nagging me over the last week are 1) Tightness in my left hamstring that has come and gone, but always seems to be "there" during my runs; and 2) The Never Ending Period.  It's fun being a female athlete sometimes!

Nevertheless, I am excited to be heading to Madison to run again.  My eleven mile training run to check out the back half of the course that I did a few weeks ago just made me excited to get going.  The race organizers sent out a *stellar* race day logistics email earlier this week.  Nothing puts my anxiety at ease like a well-organized race!

I am also excited about the course!  Madison Marathon is my favorite kind of course - looped in various directions and with a start and finish at the same spot:

Madison Marathon Finish/Start Line area

I am excited for post-race amenities!  I for one am planning to cross that finish line and walk directly to that Michelob Ultra blue rectangle to get my FREE post-race beer.  It has been a while since I had a beer and I know it will taste so delicious.  Madison Marathon also offers FREE race photos!

I am excited about the weather!  As of right now the weather is looking good:  41 degrees and partly cloudy.  I still haven't finalized my race day outfit but know that I will be wearing my BibRave orange shirt!

I am excited to race! I have been tracking a lot of marathons recently:  Milwaukee Lakefront, Chicago Marathon, New York Marathon, Indianapolis Marathon.  Every one was so exciting and fun and made me even more excited for my own race.  This is one nice thing about a late fall race!

I am excited to see spectators, including one Oiselle bird in a banana suit!  FOR REAL.  I didn't know any spectators outside of my husband and kids at my last race so I know it will be a real boost to see friendly faces at different points of the race.

I am now reminded of the Saved By The Bell episode where Jesse Spano takes caffeine pills and sings "I'm so excited! I'm so excited! I'm so...so....SCARED".  This is true.  I am a little scared.  More to come on that later.

My family and I are headed to the great city of Madison on Saturday and will head to the Monona Terrace (where the hubs and I met, and, years later, got engaged!) to pick up my packet and check out the expo.  You can track me by downloading the Madison Marathon app.  My bib number is 8826.  The race starts 7 AM on Sunday.

Madison Marathon App Interface

If you are running Madison Marathon, let me know and I will #SEEYOUONTHESQUARE !

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Madison Marathon Training: Week 17 Recap

Disclaimer:  I am running the Madison Marathon presented by SSM Health in November as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!  Wanna run Madison with me?  Enter code MMRAVE18 at registration for 20% off!

The first half of last week was fantastic.  I had two hard workouts left to do - mile repeats and a 10 mile tempo - and I really nailed both of them feeling calm and controlled in my running.  After my great tempo run on Thursday, my runs were not so great.  I don't know if it was the mental switch to "I'm in taper mode" or the fact that my left hamstring has felt very tight ever since that tempo run.    I also have early cold/sinus infection symptoms.  I always feel like crap during tapers so I am trying not to freak out.

Another thing you may notice is that week 17 has 8 days in it.  This is because I have found that it is more manageable for me to have my long runs/hard days on Friday/Saturday rather than Saturday/Sunday like the plan calls for so I always shift the plan a day.  For Sunday races, this means I usually have an extra day to play with and I have also found that having this extra rest day is usually clutch for me in the final weeks.  So I used my "get out of jail free card" this week and thus shifted my taper week to align with the plan exactly.

October ended mid-week last week and so that means another monthly mileage update.  In October, I ran 245.81 miles!  HOLY CRAP.  This significantly blows my previous monthly mileage record of 224.18 miles out of the water and was my third 200+ miles month in a row. High fives!

Here was my week:

Sunday Oct 28
Plan says:  Off

What I did:  Nothing.

Monday Oct 29
Plan says: Easy 8 miles

What I did: 8.04 miles, 1:09:28 (8:38 avg pace)

Tuesday Oct 30
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 6 x 1 mile with 0.25 mile recovery in between each set, 1.5 mile cool down

What I did: I REALLY did not want to do this workout.  Even though it was a Tuesday and a gorgeous fall day.  I had to fight with every last ounce of my being to get dressed and out the door when my kids were on the bus.  Of course, as per usual, I was glad I did it after it was all done.  And check out those miles!!!  I felt so so good on this run.  I overshot the runway on pace (goal pace = 6:37) but went with it.

1.5 mile warm up, 12:16 (8:11 avg pace)

1 - 1 mile, 6:11 / 0.25 mile 2:18 (9:15 avg pace)
2 - 1 mile, 6:17 / 0.25 mile 2:21 (9:27 avg pace)
3 - 1 mile, 5:55 / 0.25 mile 2:32 (10:10 avg pace)
4 - 1 mile, 6:13 / 0.25 mile 2:14 (8:58 avg pace)
5 - 1 mile, 6:08 / 0.25 mile 2:22 (9:29 avg pace)
6 - 1 mile, 6:01 / 0.25 mile 2:09 (8:39 avg pace)

1.52 mile cool down, 12:01 (8:01 avg pace)

Wednesday Oct 31
Plan says:  Off

What I did:  Trick or Treat!

Thursday Nov 1
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 10 miles tempo, 1.5 miles cool down

What I did:  I had such a good experience with doing last week's 10 mile tempo in the mid-afternoon that I again arranged my schedule to repeat the experience.  I didn't have as great of an experience with my gels this time around but my pace was on fire.  Honestly I thought last week's 6:41 average was a fluke and then this week, surpassed that.

1.50 mile, 11:48 (7:52 avg pace)
10 miles, 1:06:04 (6:36 avg pace)
1.5 miles, 12:50 (8:34 avg pace)

Friday Nov 2
Plan says:  easy 7 miles

What I did:  My hamstring was not feeling amazing.  This coupled with the fact that my kids were off school and my husband and I were doing the work half a day to cover the other person thing, I didn't get out the door until late afternoon and had to be back to get ready for our evening plans sooner than I would need to get the full 7 miles in.

5.5 miles, 44:30 (8:05 avg pace)

Saturday Nov 3
Plan says:  easy 8 miles

What I did:  My hamstring was still not great but I thought perhaps it would loosen up on an easy run.  It didn't but it didn't get worse.

8.11 miles, 1:08:50, (8:29 avg pace)

Sunday Nov 4
Plan says: easy 8 miles

What I did:  It was pouring outside all day and, still struggling with motivation, just did not have it in me to run in torrential downpours.  I put my run off all day and then had to jump on the treadmill after my kids were in bed.  UGH.  I was so tired and not into it, I ran it at a super slow pace and only have Des Linden's interview on I'll Have Another to thank for the fact that I made it 5 miles.

5.05 miles, 49:20 (9:46 avg pace)

Plan Total: 55 miles
What I did: 50.21 miles

Monday, November 5, 2018

Product Review: SPIbelt SPIbeams LED Visor


Product Review:  SPIbelt SPIbeams LED Visor

Disclaimer:  I received a SPIbelt SPIbeams LED visor in exchange for this review.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

Are you surviving daylight savings time?  My husband and I just high-fived yesterday because for once we had zero issues with setting the clocks back.  Our kids slept until their normal time and they didn't act like crazies all day.  WIN!

Another win is that my morning runs will end in daylight!  I was fortunate to be able to test the SPIbeams LED Visor made by SPIbelt for the last couple of dark weeks and love it.  I opted to test the visor over the hat so that I could easier wear it over a warm stocking hat if necessary.  The visor has become part of my morning run pile by my front door:


My morning run necessities pile by my front door includes the SPIbeams LED visor!
The SPIbelt SPIbeams LED visor has four small LED lights on the brim of the visor that you easily turn on with the push of a button located on the right side of the brim.  This makes it easy for me when I start my morning run in super dark and when the sun peaks out I can easily click the button to turn the LED lights off.
SPIbeams LED visor is easy on/off with a click of a button
The back of the visor has two small red LED lights to also help with visibility.  These also function with a push on/off button and can be on, blinking or off.

The visor is adjustable via velcro so you can make it fit to what size you need.  I have a large head so I like this feature.  And if I wear it over my stocking hat (like in the photo above), I can also adjust it easily for comfort.

LIGHT IT UP!
The lights provide 128 lumes of light.  This is a nice alternative to a headlamp for me.  As I have said before on the blog, when it is dark out, I stick to running loops around my neighborhood and the adjacent neighborhood because they are well lit.  I still like to have extra illumination with me to make sure that I don't step on something (once this was a raccoon.  Yes, I screamed.) and avoid weird cracks in the street.

SPIbelt SPIbeams LED visor with hat underneath for warmth!

Overall, I have found this to be a great product and one that I will continue using through our dark Wisconsin winters.  HIGH FIVE.

If you would like to order the visor (or hat), or any product from the SPIbelt website, enter code BIBRAVE at checkout for an extra 20% off until 11/12/18.

Oh, yeah.  I also used it to trick or treat.  Better to find all the good candy with, MWAH HA HA.
I love Skittles. The End.


Monday, October 29, 2018

Madison Marathon Training: Week 15/16 Recap

Disclaimer:  I am running the Madison Marathon presented by SSM Health in November as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!  Wanna run Madison with me?  Enter code MMRAVE18 at registration for 20% off!

I ended up doing a combination of weeks 15 and 16 last week in an effort to catch up to my plan.  If you missed last week's recap, I discovered that I am a week behind my training plan due to miscounting weeks.  I know.  Some days it is hard to count up to 18.  {Eye roll to myself.}  Anyways, I didn't want to entirely just skip week 15 because that is peak week on my plan so I ended up coming pretty darn close to peak week mileage.  Plan for week 15 called for 63 miles, plan for week 16 called for 56 miles.  I ended up with 61.7.

Overall it was a decent week.  I was very nervous about the 10 mile tempo and I felt so good that I ended up running it in 6:41 avg.  I think a lot of this has to do with afternoon vs. morning running.  I just do not usually feel good running first thing in the morning; and because of that, I am opting to really take advantage of some flexibility in my work schedule to accommodate afternoon runs during the week.  I had to choose between the 3 x 2 mile workout or the 4 x 1.5 and I chose the 3 x 2 because I find that to be more difficult. 

Here was my week:

Sunday Oct 21
Plan says:  8 easy miles

What I did:  8.15 miles, 1:09:21 (8:30 avg)

Monday Oct 22
Plan says: Off

What I did:  Off

Tuesday Oct 23
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 3 x 2 miles with 0.5 mile recovery in between each set, 1.5 mile cool down

What I did: This was challenging as my legs felt tired, but I was able to complete the workout and execute my pacing better than the first time I did this workout, a few weeks ago.  I had one of those "An OTQ marathon is running 6:17 pace and I struggled through running that for 2 miles, how am I eventually going to do a full at that pace?!" mental spirals that are so not helpful!

1.5 mile warm up, 11:43 (7:49 avg pace)

1 - 2 miles, 12:46 (6:23 avg pace) / 0.5 mile 4:15 (8:31 avg pace)
2 - 2 miles, 12:36 (6:18 avg pace) / 0.5 mile 4:19 (8:39 avg pace)
3 - 2 miles, 12:54 (6:27 avg pace) / 0.5 mile 4:02 (8:04 avg pace)

1.52 mile cool down, 12:19 (8:07 avg pace)

Wednesday Oct 24
Plan says:  easy 6 miles

What I did:  Squeezed this in on the afternoon.  6.51 miles, 53:10 (8:10 avg pace)

Thursday Oct 25
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 10 miles tempo, 1.5 miles cool down

What I did:  I left work early to get this done in the afternoon.  I was so so nervous about this...so much so that my legs felt shaky in the first few miles.  Good practice for race day, I guess.  I used the Gu Roctane gels and loved them so I think I will be using them for race day and just dealing with the viscosity.  (I have used Gu gels in all of my races to date and have been trying some other options because I find it difficult to choke down Gu in the last miles.  No other gels have been quite as successful as the Gu gels for me, so I'm just going to stick with them for race day.)

1.50 mile, 12:06 (8:04 avg pace)
10 miles, 1:06:53 (6:41 avg pace)
1.5 miles, 12:01 (7:59 avg pace)

Friday Oct 26
Plan says:  easy 7 miles

What I did:  7.5 miles, 1:00:47 (8:06 avg pace)

Saturday Oct 27
Plan says:  long 16 miles

What I did:  This is my third and final 16 miler on the plan.  My 16 milers have not been that speedy - and truthfully, I have felt tired for every single one.  As I mentioned earlier, I think a large part of this is that two of my 16 mile runs have been done at 5 in the morning, off of little fuel.  My best 16 mile run was the first one, which I had the ability to do in the afternoon, off of lunch fuel.  I haven't freaked out too much though because even though my pace is on the slow end, it is still within the range prescribed.  This is a case where I see other people's long runs on social media and comparison sometimes gets the best of me.  Head down...stick to the plan.  It hasn't failed me yet!

16.01 miles, 2:14:38 (8:25 avg pace)

Plan Total: Between 56-63 miles
What I did: 61.7 miles

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Product Review: Now Foods BCAA Big 6

Product Review: Now® Foods BCAA Big 6

Disclaimer:  I received both watermelon and grape BCAA Big 6 from Now® Foods in exchange for this review.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!
Roar talks about the benefits of including BCAAs in your diet, particularly if you are a female athlete

I first heard about Branched Chain Amino Acids, or BCAAs, when I read Roar (a book I also recommend for female athletes).  I was excited to have the opportunity to test the Now® Foods BCAA Big 6 supplement through the majority of my training for Madison Marathon.
Just add water!

So what are BCAAs?  They are essential amino acids that serve as building blocks of protein, which helps fuel muscles during workouts and can help support recovery post-workout.  "Essential" means that your body cannot make them on their own, so you have to get them from your diet.  The Now® Foods BCAA Big 6 product makes this very easy.  You add a scoop of powder to 16-20 oz of water, shake, and drink.  Now® Foods sent me a shaker for this product, but I have found that it blends very easily by just shaking it in a regular water bottle too.
Watermelon and Grape BCAAs

There are two flavors, watermelon and grape.  I received the watermelon first so I have used that the most and liked the taste.  I prefer it with really cold water and ice so I keep a tub of it in my desk at work because we have an ice and water machine there.  This also helps me with recovery because often if I do a tough workout in the morning, I am racing to get to the office.

Yes, my desk drawer is really messy.
Then I got the grape in the mail and all bets were off.  I am forever Team Grape :)

I also like that the company, Now® Foods, is a highly-tested brand.  The company conducts more than 16,000 tests each month for identity, purity, strength and composition to ensure that what is on the label is in the bottle.  They are also third-party certified via Informed-Sport for added purity assurance.  This program certifies that their products have been tested for more than 200 banned substances by their anti-doping lab.
Recovery Day! Calf sleeves + BCAAs

My typical use of this product has been to aid recovery and I have been impressed with how my recovery has gone this training cycle.  If you have been following my training log, you know that I just bumped up to the Hanson's Advanced Marathon Training plan and it is a doozy.  I was super tired from all of the initial miles in the early weeks and I feel that the BCAAs are working for me.  I also like drinking a full bottle of the product before going to bed the night before a tough workout.

If you are interested in trying either the watermelon or grape, use this Amazon link to save 20% off.  This is a one-time promo code for your use.  It is not an affiliate link (i.e., I do not make any money off of it.)  You can also enter code 20NOWBCAA on Amazon.com for either flavor of the product.  The link or code are good until 11/15/18. 

You can also join in #BibChat on Twitter this week, which will be sponsored by Now® Foods!  Tuesday night, 8 PM Central Time.  Follow @bibrave for instructions.  (While you are at it, follow me @amyschlott )

Have you ever used BCAAs?  Let me know in the comments!

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

CHI Marathon 2019

Do you know where you will be in 353 days?
On October 13, 2019 specifically?

I know where I'll be?

RUNNING THE CHICAGO MARATHON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I applied to the American Development Program two days ago and my acceptance just arrived!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Madison Marathon Training: Week 14 Training Recap - And a BIG OOPS!

Disclaimer:  I am running the Madison Marathon presented by SSM Health in November as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!  Wanna run Madison with me?  Enter code MMRAVE18 at registration for 20% off!

The biggest thing that happened last week is that I realized that I am a WEEK BEHIND IN TRAINING.  Seriously.  I am not sure how this happened.  Obviously, I miscounted weeks.  I should have started the week of July 8 instead of July 15.  So annoying.  All in all though not a big deal.  What this means is that I will be missing a strength workout and a tempo run.  Given that I have been consistent throughout this training block, I do not think this is that big of a deal.

Last week was a recovery week.  It went well, although I was feeling decent all week - none of that deep fatigue that I have had in previous weeks which led me to have much less variation in pace than I typically do.  My easy runs were at a faster pace than usual. 

Sunday Oct 14
Plan says:  6 easy miles

What I did:  6.15 miles, 49:33 (8:03 avg)

Monday Oct 15
Plan says: Off

What I did:  Off

Tuesday Oct 16
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 2 x 3 miles with 1 mile recovery in between each set, 1.5 mile cool down

What I did: I didn't feel great for the first 3 miler, but felt AMAZING for the second.  As I posted on my Instagram after this, I have noticed that the time it takes for my body to warm up seems to be increasing.  Also, I need to have a bit more fuel in the tank before doing a workout like this. Again, my goal pace for strength workouts is 6:37.

1.5 mile warm up, 11:43 (7:49 avg pace)

1 - 3 miles, 19:40 (6:32 avg pace) / 1 mile 8:17
2 - 3 miles, 19:07 (6:21 avg pace) /

3 mile cool down, 23:28 (7:49 avg pace)

Wednesday Oct 17
Plan says:  easy 6 miles

What I did:  Afternoon run!  This felt great.

6.01 miles, 47:17 (7:52 avg pace)

Thursday Oct 18
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 9 miles tempo, 1.5 miles cool down

What I did:  I had to do this in the dark morning, which I was NOT excited about.  My time for the tempo run was a full minute longer than last week.  I tried a Huma gel on this and it didn't exactly sit well with my stomach.  I think I will skip those for the marathon.

1.50 mile, 12:52 (8:35 avg pace)
9 miles, 1:01:38 (6:50 avg pace)
1.1 miles, 9:12 (8:21 avg pace)

Friday Oct 19
Plan says:  easy 10 miles

What I did:  I have been increasingly worried about the hilly course and mid-week, I found out that the woman I ran part of the Madison Mini half with was going to potentially run the Madison Marathon.  I am excited at the possibility of having someone to run with on race day!  I took advantage of my flexible Friday and actually drove to Madison in the morning to run part of the second half of the course and check out the hills first hand.  The good news is that I think the course is manageable, and that there are two hills in particular that stand out in my brain.  I anticipated that this would feel harder than it actually did given that I was doing it the day after my tempo run.

11.5 miles, 1:29:07 (7:45 avg pace)

Saturday Oct 20
Plan says:  easy 10 miles

What I did:  I had wanted to get 10 miles in but I didn't have a lot of time this day because I slept in and didn't do the early morning run so I did the amount of miles that I needed to do to hit the weekly mileage mark.

8.51 miles, 1:04:32 (7:35 avg pace)

Plan Total: 55 miles
What I did: 55.31 miles