Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Pursue the Uncomfortable...Even if You Fail

"If you're achieving all your goals, you're probably not setting a high enough standard for yourself."
~Shalane Falanagn on the Lindsey Hein Podcast

In February 2016, I watched the Olympic Trials in my living room and I wanted in.  I looked up the qualifying standards and thought that they were ridiculously impossible.

I was training for a 3:15 at Boston that year.  I didn't get it.  Crash and burn.  My marathons had stalled out at the 3:25-3:30 area and maybe that was what my max was.

Except that I hadn't really allowed myself to fully commit to do the work to get faster.  My prep for every marathon was half-assed in some way.  Either I limited myself to how many days I was running (and therefore limited mileage), or I limited myself by skipping workouts that I didn't feel like doing.

What would happen if I actually showed up...did the work?  In training for Cellcom Green Bay in spring of 2017 - I found out.  I could drop 14 minutes off my PR and feel good for the race.  So good that I could finish and know that I could do more.

My coach said the words, "Olympic Trials" in a discussion and that brought it back to my head...."What if...."

Yeah but.  I have a job.  I have a family.  That is a lot of time to drop.

So I put a qualifier on going for it.  Let's get to a sub-3 marathon before really allowing myself to think OTQ.

I knew I could do the work - I chose the same plan that got me to Cellcom and just upped the paces.  The workouts were hard...but I was finishing them.  A sub-3 scared me but deep down I knew I could do it.  Every hard workout this spring I was thinking of breaking 3 at the finish line and that got me through.  In my gut, I wanted the OTQ but I was convincing my head that sub-3 was the ultimate goal.

Still, I was afraid to go for it on race day.  Thank God for the people who texted, messaged, or told me to my face: "GO FOR IT."  It took me two miles of hem hawing at the beginning of the race but I went for it...and got it.  Just like I saw myself doing during all of those early morning practices.

Now I have no excuse for limiting my goal.  I made myself prove that I could get here and I did it.

My mantra for 2018 was to purse the uncomfortable.  I'm sure by now you've seen my godawful race photos.  You can bet I was pursuing the uncomfortable in that race.  In examining a lot of the stories I have been telling myself to date, I realized that I was seting goals I knew I could achieve. I don't like to fail (no matter now many "fear of failure" quotes I write down in my journal) so I set goals I can achieve. I do this in running, and I do this at my job.  When I achieve these goals, they feel good...but there is always this very small voice saying, "This is not it."

So I'm jumping in.  Going public with the dream that began 2 years ago.  I want to run in the Olympic Trials Marathon in February 2020 in Atlanta.  I am a strong believer in omens and when Atlanta won the bid for the trials, it was another sign.  I lived in Atlanta during a pivotal time in my life.  I went to grad school there - I met my running coach there.  I have besties that still live there.

Maybe this is the goal that I don't get.  I'm willing to fail.  It's time to really pursue the uncomfortable...well, at least it will be in two weeks when training starts again, ha ha ha.

Card by Emily McDowell Studio

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Product Review: NEW Watermelon Gatorade Endurance Formula & Mango Energy Gels

Product Review:  Gatorade Endurance Formula and Gels

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

As I alluded to in my Grandma's Marathon race recap, I have been fortunate to try out the newest flavor of Gatorade Endurance - WATERMELON - and the mango Gatorade gels.  My only disappointment about this is that I didn't get these products earlier in my marathon training cycle so that I could take advantage of them on race day (I definitely subscribe to the nothing new on race day advice!).

I haven't had Gatorade or Gatorade Endurance in quite a long time, but was excited to try it because I think the fuel plan that I have used for a while needs some tweaking.  The first thing I was surprised by is how light the flavor of the Gatorade Endurance is.  I found out that they reformulated this product in 2017 and it no longer is that thick syrupy drink that you may have had on race courses years ago.  It is nice and light!  It was easy to drink on the run - I used it during my taper week - and I didn't have any weird stomach issues afterwards.  This was also easy to drink on its own - I packed my tub of powder in the car and was mixing it up on our drive to Duluth, and used it to help me hydrate the day before the race.

I really like having powder to mix (vs. premeasured packets or tabs).  This way I can customize my drink to the exact flavor profile I want.  The powder very easily dissolved in water.  I added two scoops of powder and filled the bottle they sent me, shook it and voila.  Energy drink.

Gatorade also sent me several of their Mango energy gels.  I used one before my 6-mile taper run and I absolutely LOVED the consistency.  It was much "run"nier than the gels I used throughout my training so there wasn't that gross swallow of glob that I was accustomed to.  Once again, the flavor was nice and light and it was akin to drinking from a pouch.  This product also did not give me any weird cramps or stomach issues while running.  Honestly the consistency was the number one thing I liked about the gels.

Twelve ounces of the Endurance Formula provides 90 calories, 300 mg of sodium, 140 mg potassium and 22 g of carbs.  One energy gel provides 80 calories, 90 mg of sodium, 30 mg potassium, and 20g of carbs.

Overall, both of these are promising and I am looking forward to using them during the build-up of my next marathon - the Madison Marathon.  Training starts in 3 weeks and 3 days!

The new flavor bundle pack is available on the Gatorade website and includes a canister of the watermelon Gatorade Endurance powder and 21 Mango gels.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Grandma's Marathon Race Recap

Disclaimer:  I ran Grandma's Marathon as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!  

How do I even start to write about Grandma's Marathon?!

Let me first tell you how it ends.  I ran a 2:59:50.

Sub 3.

Dream goal of 2018...achieved.

Ok.  Now that that is out of the way, I'll tell you the long story.  Well, what I remember of it anyways because quite honestly, I don't remember a lot about the last 3-4 miles of the race.

Thursday Afternoon
We left for Duluth Thursday after work so that we could break up the driving a bit.  My husband and two kids were coming with me and if anyone has taken car trips with young kids, you know they can be brutal.  Duluth is about six hours away from our house.  We stopped for dinner at Buffalo Phil's train restaurant in Wisconsin Dells and I had a philly cheesesteak that did not agree with my stomach.  We stopped for the night in Chippewa Falls, WI which was our goal.  We promised the kids a swim when we got there and we were in bed by 10 PM, which is way later than my usual bedtime and I was little freaking out about that.

We were awake by 7 AM on Friday and slept well.  We headed down for breakfast where I stuffed more carbs in my face and then went to do my 3 mile shakeout run while my husband took the kids swimming.  We were truly in the middle of nowhere so I ran around the parking lot and on two small roads along cornfields in loops until I got 3 miles in.  My legs felt good and springy.

I got back to the hotel and we showered, packed up and resumed driving.  We arrived in Duluth around noon on Friday and went to our hotel.  The hotel staff were all wearing green Grandma's Marathon t-shirts which made me very excited.  They clearly had worked the marathon before and had organized everything around the marathon.  Extra snacks, earlier breakfast, shuttles to the the start, allowing you to say when housekeeping could clean your room...these were all some of the benefits.  Our room was not ready yet but they said they would call so we made the decision to go to the Expo.

The Expo was crowded, but my kids got plenty of free samples and I got my packet.  I really wanted to be at the talk with Carrie Tollefson and Kara Goucher but I also did not want to deal with taking my family back to the expo with me later in the day.  My husband said we had to eat at Grandma's restaurant so we went there for lunch.  I had a chicken pot pie that was yummy.

After lunch we opted to go to the Duluth Children's Museum which was great because it was pouring rain (it rained most of Friday), the kids could run around and I didn't have to be on my feet.

We went to the Oiselle-organized dinner at 5 PM at Va Benne Cafe.  Oiselle did a great job having a bunch of activities for runners during marathon weekend.  I probably would have gone to many more of the activities if I hadn't had my family with me so I was glad we were able to go to the dinner.  They had yummy pasta.  I spent most of dinner trying to keep my kids entertained but chatted a bit with some other Volee.  We ditched out early though because the kids were super antsy by the time dinner came.  There was a cute ice cream shoppe near the restaurant that we went to afterwards and then we did a walk along the lake, even climbing down to test the waters of Lake Superior.

Everyone was good and tired by then so we headed back to our hotel.  I organized my stuff for the next morning (race morning).  The weather forecast all week was showing thunderstorms during the race and it was unchanged as of Friday night.  I had brought a throw-away pair of shoes and socks as well as a jacket, tights and long-sleeve from my throwaway clothes pile at home.  I had grabbed a poncho from the stash at the hotel and my plan was to wear all of that and keep my race clothes dry and change into my race shoes and socks at the last minute.  I got my watch ready and it was blinking showing me there was an updated.  I shrugged and clicked accept and the watch began updating.

I prepped my food as well.  I brought my picky oats for race morning but didn't bring milk for them so I made them into overnight oats using chocolate milk that we were given at the race expo.  I prepped my Gen UCan and some nuun in my handheld for on the course.  I also had another throwaway water bottle with Beachbody energize - which was what i was using in the mornings before many of my workouts.  I had gotten some Gatorade Endurance the week of the race in the mail that I was using a lot because I liked it but I was a little nervous to use it during the race since I hadn't had the opportunity to test it during a long run.  (I'll be reviewing Gatorade Endurance soon on the blog!).  I did drink a lot of Gatorade Endurance all day on Friday.

I was in bed by 8:30 PM on Friday night.  My legs did not feel good.  I was a little panicked that we had done too much on Friday (even though I felt like I was good about not using my legs much).  My calves in particular felt really crampy and tight.  I rolled them out before bed and prayed for the best.

Saturday - Race Day
I slept beautifully - until about 4:45 when I could hear others in the hotel moving around.  I was fine with this because my alarm was set for 5 AM.  I checked the weather and it was like a gift from God.  All of the rain had disappeared from the forecast.  WHAT?!   Like when does that ever happen?!

I got dressed.  I was wearing my Oiselle distance shorts (these are always my race day shorts) and crop.  I had to wear my BibRave singlet as a condition for getting my marathon fee covered by them.  Honestly, I was a little sad that I couldn't just wear my Oiselle crop but the singlet is a Rabbit tank, of which I have several and like so I knew it wasn't going to be an issue.  I brought along both my Balega blister resist and Balega silver socks for the race in my gear check bag.  I slapped on a temporary Oiselle tattoo on my bicep and started to braid my hair.  It took me three tries to braid my hair because my arms were shaking so much.

I realized that my spray deodorant sample was actually NOT a deodorant - just an antiperspirant so I grabbed my husband's deodorant to wear for the race.  I then ate my picky oats.  I was not hungry so eating the oatmeal was a challenge but I ate it all.  I grabbed my three hydration bottles and my pre-packed gear bag....and then my son woke up.


I laid with him a bit and then went to the bathroom.  In that time, he had crawled in bed with my husband.  I prayed that he would fall back asleep so that my husband wouldn't have to get up so early, gave everyone kisses and then left my hotel room.

The lobby was jumping with all the runners and then the shuttles came.  I boarded the first one and we were off to the start!

It seemed to take forever to get to the start.  Of course, all the while, you are thinking, "Oh wow.  I have to run all of this back."  We approached the starting area and then....kept going!  All of us on the bus were looking at each other like, "What is going on?"  Finally the bus driver stopped and said, "I think I missed the drop off so I'm just going to let you off here."  Um...yes.  Just what a bunch of marathoners want to do - walk extra before the race! The extra walk did let us see two deer though, which I took as a good omen since I was constantly running into deer during my training runs!

We got to the start and I got into the porta potty line when I see Jana from MN.  I met Jana at the Icebreaker relays.  She came over to say hi, and told me to run fast.  After I used the bathroom, I saw some Oiselle singlets by the med tent and it turned out to be Kelly and Carrie from WI, whom I follow in Instagram.  So I went over there and gave them big hugs.  Carrie also used Hanson's and all of us were going for PRs.  (Spoiler - all of us got PRs!).  Carrie also told me to go for the sub-3.  I changed into my race shoes and got my gear bag situated.  It was 7:30 and I was getting nervous so I just headed for the corrals.

Once I got in the corral, I saw Amy from BibRave which was exciting as we had been following each other's training on Instagram as well.  We took a pic and she also told me to go for the sub-3.

I ended up lining up at the 3:05 pace sign.  I was surrounded by smelly guys.  I mean, I just do not understand why guys have to be smelly BEFORE THEY EVEN RUN.  I ditched my sweatshirt with a few minutes left.  The air was cool.  It was a great day to run a marathon.  I got my watch ready to go, made sure my shoes were ready, and did my Kristina Power Pose. 

The horn went off.

Here we go!!!

The Race
Miles 1-3
I started running in the big 3:05 pace herd, and immediately got boxed in by the smelly guys.  I was not running my pace - it felt slow - so I looked down at my watch.  Why the hell is the pace in the 4s?!  I kept going with the guys and then my watch beeped.  "Why is my watch beeping??"

OMG.  It is showing me kilometers.  It must have reset to defaults in the updates.  NOW WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!

After a brief panic, I decided to just stay with the 3:05 pace group for the first few miles.

At the mile mark, the pacer yelled out the split.  7:02.  I didn't feel great...I definitely was still all nerves so I decided to stay with the group even though I felt like I was adjusting my stride to run where I was running.  It was very crowded.

At the second mile mark, the pacer yelled out the split:  6:56.  At this point, I decided that I could not run any more with this group.  The stride adjustment was driving me bonkers so I went around them to the far outside.  I saw a group of two women and one guy shortly up ahead.  I caught up to them and could run comfortably.

[From here out, I am going to give you mile splits but I didn't know these during the race.  These are my splits from my watch which I was able to see after I uploaded the run into Strava.]

The women were chatting up a storm.  I liked them because they were discussing their pace splits at every mile so during the race, I could kind of realize where I was.  I was doing math in my head by 7:00 miles - so I knew roughly where I was at every mile based on the overall time elapsed.  As we were approaching mile 3, I knew that I wanted to be under 21 minutes.  Mile 3 was another 6:56.

Miles 4-6
The next miles were easy.  Just rolling along.  The course and weather were beautiful.  I took a cup of water at every aid station I came upon and just stayed with my pack of 3.

Mile 4: 6:55
Mile 5: 6:50
Mile 6: 6:51

Miles 7-9
At some point, we went under the train overpass.  I don't know what mile this was at but the image is burned in my brain because it was like something in a movie.  SO PRETTY.  I was waving wildly at the spectators yelling at us from the train.

I still felt very calm and comfortable at the pace we were going.  This was all going great with my plan to flow through the first half.  I was still running with the 2 women and the guy.  We had other people kind of come in and out of the group but I don't remember anyone else but the main 3 because I just stayed right behind them.   At one point, I think it was around mile 8, I yelled out, "Oh my god you can smell pine trees."  It was the freshest, cleanest scent ever.  Nobody said anything.  They just looked at me like I was insane, likely because up until that point, I did zero talking.

All along these miles, the road was tree lined and so very green.  It was very foggy...there were sporadic views of the lake that were starting to occur and you could feel them before you could see them.  The air temperature would drop and a very cold breeze from the lake would blow.

Mile 7: 6:56
Mile 8: 6:50
Mile 9: 6:52

Miles 10-12
I started to realize that I wanted to be around 4:16/km on my pace watch.  I continued doing math using 7:00/mile as a guide and comparing my watch elapsed time to that benchmark.  The overall time was under the benchmark so I knew I was running sub-7 miles, but I didn't know how far under I was.  We had caught up to Erin, wearing a black Oiselle crop.  She said, "This looks like a strong group" when we came upon her and she joined us for a while.  I could not believe how easily she was talking.

Mile 10: 6:42
Mile 11: 6:52
Mile 12: 6:45

Mile 13
I remember getting to the halfway point and thinking, "That wasn't too bad."  At this point, I was running with Oiselle Erin and one of the original women I was with in the pack.  The two of them were chatting it up and I was just behind them, mute.  I learned that the other woman was 26 and ran for South Dakota State.  Erin was 43 and ran for Ohio State.   She was talking so was fun to listen to but I was still mute.

Mile 13: 6:35.

[My half marathon time was 1:30:14.  When I got to the half point, I saw the clock by the mile marker at 1:30 and thought, "Looks like I am not breaking three today...but I am good with where I am at...try to stay ahead of the 3:05 pace group."]

Miles 14-16
Erin and I ended up by ourselves for a bit and she was still talking.  She asked me what my PR was and I responded, "3:11" and she said, "Woah! You are definitely ahead of that right now, but as we know, anything can happen in a marathon."  I was responding to her talking in one word phrases but not really talking, because I was starting to feel like I was working.  She was running so effortlessly - it seriously helped to have her and I am grateful for the miles that I ran with her.  At some point, she picked up the pace and I didn't trust myself to stay with her.

Mile 14: 6:33
Mile 15: 6:45
Mile 16: 6:40

Miles 17-20
At this point, I was on my own.  South Dakota woman was with me for part of it but I saw her duck into a porta potty and then didn't see her again.  I started thinking that I was going to pass Glensheen Mansion soon....but that came later than I was expecting.  When I did pass it, I managed to mumble, "Stay Sexy, Don't Get Murdered" like I wanted to but I was hurting.  Somewhere in this block I also threw my handheld water bottle away because it felt so heavy.  I drank about half of it along the first half along with the waters I was grabbing.  I think I ended up throwing a gel away as well.  I was taking gels every 5 miles, beginning at mile 5.  At mile 20, the thought of taking a gel made me nauseous so I skipped that one.

Mile 17: 6:43
Mile 18: 6:48
Mile 19: 6:43
Mile 20: 6:54

Miles 21-24
I don't remember a lot of this section.  I remember passing the trolls lined up and thinking of my WI teammate Ali who told me about them and smiling.  I remember passing the Oiselle cowbell corner who cheered for me (you could see some of my crop under my singlet).  I remember a lot of people cheering for me yelling "Go Oiselle".  I remember slapping two kids high fives after a water station.  I remember inhaling more than one cup of water through my nose.  I remember wanting to stop running.   I remember some lady saying, "You're almost to the top of Lemon Drop Hill."  At this point the arch of my left foot was throbbing with every step.  I remember thinking that I was giving myself a foot injury.

Mile 21: 6:52
Mile 22: 6:52
Mile 23: 6:55
Mile 24: 6:51

Miles 24-Finish
Around Mile 24, I looked at the elapsed time on my watch (my KM paces were so varied that they weren't that helpful to me.  Some kms were 4:06; some were 4:22) and realizing that I could maybe sub3 if I just kept going.  I was hurting so so bad, my left foot was throbbing with every step, and I knew I looked terrible because everyone on the crowd was making comments about "Yeah girl - keep digging keep digging"...."that is grit"...."yeah - dig deep - you got this".  I truly felt like everyone was cheering for me.  I was mostly by myself, but still would pass people.  One of the hallmarks of the Hanson plan that people talk about on the Facebook group is the craziness of passing people at the end and it's true.  [I also have a bunch of the official race photos and I look TERRIBLE.  I could be on a "Be Brave Get Ugly" shirt any day.] I saw the elapsed time at mile 25 and still thought I could do the sub 3 so I kept pushing.  As I made my way around the corner to the finish, I could hear the announcer saying, "Can these people get a sub-3? Come on! You can do it - the sub-3 is yours" and then I saw the finish clock turn 3:00.  I was sprinting as fast as I could and my bottom left foot was on fire.  I crossed the finish and shut off my watch.  My watch said 2:59:51 but I didn't really know what my official time was.  I immediately felt woozy and crashed into some scaffolding when I felt a bear hug behind me, holding me up and then saw a wheelchair to my left.  I said, "I really do not need a wheelchair" and they trusted me but told the person holding me to keep walking with me.  She walk/held me through the finish chute and by the time I got to the t-shirts, I felt like I was ok.  I started balling and turned around and gave her a huge hug to say thanks and she was so kind and said, "Oh you're welcome sweetie."

I continued going through the finish area in a daze, sobbing, but I did stop and let them take my photo because one of the things I am sad about from Boston 2016 is not letting anyone take my finish photo.

Then I heard "MAMA!!!!!".  I knew it was my daughter's voice but couldn't see her.  She kept yelling and finally I spotted them.  My husband pointed me in a direction to meet them and I collected all my food, gear and sad down on a statue of a propeller and trying to stop crying.  My family caught up to me and my husband said, "You did it!!!!  Sub 3!!!!!"  I looked up and said, "OMG I DID?!" and he had his phone out to the tracker which had my official chip time at 2:59:50.  I immediately started crying again, which of course freaked my kids out.  I still did not quite believe it though.

I was freezing so my husband created a changing area with the post-run blanket so I could change out of my shorts and into my tights from my gear bag.  I changed into my flip flops.  Then he took pics of me and made me ring the PR bell because he's awesome like that.

I said that I wanted to check my results in the "official results" tent because part of me still didn't believe that I got the sub-3.  We headed over there and I got the official print out that I indeed had gotten it.  More crying.

I turned on my phone, which was buried in my gear bag, and oh my goodness the text messages were awesome.  My friend Bettina watched it online and posted this screen shot of the finish.

I checked Facebook and the Birdmachine CHI relay team had a whole thread tracking me. More crying.

Mile 24:  6:51
Mile 25:  6:47
Mile 26:  6:56
0.35 miles: 6:40

Second Half Marathon: 1:29:36.  NEGATIVE SPLIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I mean, I can't even.

I was legit in a daze during the last miles.  Later on in the day, we drove past the course and my husband mentioned something about me running here and I said, "I don't think we ran here" and he looked at me like I was crazy.  He showed me the whole route of the last miles and none of it looked familiar.  Usually I also see/hear my family near the finish and I didn't see them at all.  My husband showed me a video he took of me finishing and they were really loud.  I also had to laugh at this video because in my head, I was sprinting and watching myself finish on video it looked more like a wandering drunken crawl to the finish.  I know that I left it all out there though - which was my goal!!

Thank you Duluth.

Thank you to every single person who told me to go for it.  Thank you to everyone for your support.  Thank you to my husband and kids who cheer me on every day.  It takes a village!

Next goal - OTQ baby.

I posted a race review on - check it out here.  Click here to see my UNOFFICIAL results posted on Athlinks! I can't wait for Athlinks to update my PR!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Grandma's Marathon Taper Recap & Goals

Disclaimer:  I am running Grandma's Marathon in June as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!  


We leave for the marathon this afternoon.  I have one more 3-mile shake-out run to do tomorrow morning but for all purposes, the hay is in the barn.

I was happy with how the easy runs went this week - check out those average paces!  If anything, I have gotten more comfortable with making my easy runs truly easy.

My heart rate for each of these runs was split pretty evenly between zone 2 and zone 3.

Sunday, June 10
Plan Says: Easy 5 miles

What I Did: Easy 5 miles.  We were at the lake for the weekend and it rained all day Sunday.  I saw a break in the rain around noon so I went for it, and still ended up wet.  Oh well...good prep for race day, given the forecast (see below).

5 miles, 39:55 (7:55 avg pace)

Monday, June 11
Plan Says: Easy 5 miles

What I Did: Easy 5 miles, 42:32 (8:30 avg pace)

Tuesday, June 12
Plan Says: Off

What I Did:  REST DAY!

Wednesday, June 13
Plan Says: Easy 6 miles

What I Did: Easy 6 miles, 51:54 (8:38 avg pace)

Thursday, June 14
Plan Says: Easy 5 miles

What I Did: Easy 5 miles, 43:34 (8:43 avg pace)

So that's it.  Ok wait.  That's not it.  That's the culmination of 18 weeks of hard work resulting in 722.86 plan miles and 874.61 miles in 2018 to date.  That's a lot of hay in the barn!

I recently saw this cartoon posted on LinkedIn by Adam Grant and loved it.  Part of why I share so much about my running journey is to bring more light to what we don't see behind success, however success is defined.  Social media can definitely be problematic, but one of the things that I have really enjoyed about it is the getting to see the journey in so many runners that I admire.

Let's talk goals.

I am not feeling how I usually feel in the week leading up to a marathon.  Normally, it is all I can think about and I am nervous and anxiety ridden.  I am feeling more excited about this one and also can hardly believe that it is here.  The preparation was challenging, but not in the same way that it was the first time around (last year) when it felt down right impossible.  (That probably means I am ready to move from beginner to advanced Hanson plan.)  Because so much of it didn't feel out of control impossible, it is making me feel like I might not be ready.

I realize most of this is attributable to the taper mind f***.

Here is the forecast from
It's going to be a wet one, which I am okay with.  The humidity makes me a little nervous, but what can you do.  I would rather have a wet marathon than a hot one.  Also, my last marathon PR was run in rain, so there is that!

My goal is to do the best that I can do on the day and leave it all out there.  I do not want to finish wondering if I could do more.  Of course I would love it if I checked my 2018 dream big goal off the list (to sub 3:00), but everything will have to go perfectly to achieve that.  Realistically, I think I can PR this course - run faster than a 3:11.  I put 3:05 into Athlinks as my finish time goal.  Truly, when I visualize the ending of this race, though, I am breaking 3. 

I want to run the first half by feel.  The miles should feel flowing.  If they are not, I will back off.  Provided that I get to the first half feeling good, I will evaluate and see if I can push the pace a bit and  finally really give it everything for the last two miles.  I have learned through tempo runs and strength workouts to run the mile I am in and not freak out about the coming miles.  I know I did a good job doing this at my last marathon (Cellcom Green Bay last spring). Finally, at the start line, I am going to take a page from my Birdmachine CHI teammate, Kristina, who did a badass power pose while waiting for her final leg to boost her confidence.  (This is also recommended in Lauren Fleshman's Compete Training Journal, p.88 based on Amy Cuddy's book Presence).

My other goal is to yell "Stay Sexy, Don't Get Murdered" when I run past the Glensheen Estate. (Fans of the podcast My Favorite Murder will get this.) Because another thing that we should all remember is to keep the joy in life :)

See you on the other side!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Grandma's Marathon Training: Week 17 Review - The Taper has begun!

Disclaimer:  I am running Grandma's Marathon in June as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!  

I had one goal for week 17 and that was to execute on the tempo run.  I mostly accomplished this.

Week 17 is a half/half week on Hanson's Marathon plan.  The first half of the week is like every other training week - HARD.  The second half of the week is the beginning of the taper.  The first few runs of my taper have felt hard.  My legs didn't feel like they were working correctly, I have had thoughts of, "How am I going to do this?" already...and thankfully, because I have documented all of my training before, I know this is normal and thus, I'm not worried about it.

It does feel weird that I am going to run a marathon in 5 days.  I still feel like it is so far away! 

Sunday, June 3
Plan Says:  Easy 7 miles

What I did:  7 miles, after the kids were in bed because we had a graduation to attend.  I allowed myself to sleep in this day because I was really tired after Saturday's long run + 5K run/walk + day at the zoo with my family.

7 miles, 58:54 (8:17 avg pace)

Monday, June 4
Plan Says:  6 x 1 mile with 0.25 mile recovery in between, 1 mile each - warm up and cool down

What I did:  Last strength workout!  I did not want to kill these miles...ok, well I did want to kill the mile repeats because I like this workout, but my goal was to run them as close to the prescribed pace as possible (6:42) to maximize my recovery for the tempo run.  I did ok with this.

1.13 mile warm up, 9:55 (8:49 avg)

1.  1 mile, 6:35 / 0.27 mi recovery 2:42 (10:09 avg pace)
2.  1 mile, 6:35 / 0.25 mi recovery 2:33 (10:11 avg pace)
3.  1 mile, 6:40 / 0.25 mi recovery 2:23 (9:35 avg pace)
4.  1 mile, 6:34 / 0.25 mi recovery 2:21 (9:29 avg pace)
5.  1 mile, 6:32 / 0.27 mi recovery 2:44 (10:03 avg pace)
6.  1 mile, 6:29

1.35 mile cool down, 11:47 (8:44 avg pace)

Tuesday, June 5
Plan Says: Off

What I did:  Off.  I was also able to squeeze in a 30 minute nap after work before the bus came home.  It was glorious.

Wednesday, June 6
Plan Says: 10 mile tempo with 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool down

What I did:   SHIT.  That is what I said when I woke up Wednesday morning.  I had a 4:15 AM alarm set because I had early morning meetings at work and my daughter's rescheduled piano lesson after work.  And who wants to do a 10 mile tempo run after the kids are in bed? NOT ME.

I woke up too late to get it in before work, so I left work early to get it in before having to pick up my daughter for piano. I did not have time to do the warm up or the cool down.  It was sunny and warm, but not overly hot.

I DID end up having to take a bathroom break around the 5 mile mark.  I had eaten my lunch fairly close to the time I did this run and spent the first few miles feeling like I was going to go to the bathroom in my pants.  I diverted my route to go past one of the park bathrooms - it was still locked.  I let out a few expletives and further diverted my planned route to go past another set of park bathrooms, which were thankfully unlocked. 

I was happy with my mile splits, which felt good and not forced, until the end.

10 miles, 1:08:33 (6:51 avg pace)
Mile splits: 6:42 / 6:49 / 6:54 / 6:48 / 7:08 / 6:51 / 6:53 / 6:52 / 6:47 / 6:48

Thursday, June 7
Plan Says: easy 6 miles - First run of the Taper!

What I did:  I wanted to make up for the missed warm up/cool down mileage from my tempo run so my goal was to do an easy 7 miles.  I was up early and running, and for the first time in a really long time, I again felt like I was going to go to the bathroom in my pants.  So after 2.2 miles, I went back in my house, used the bathroom and went back out there. 

2.18 miles, 19:28 (8:55 avg pace)
Bathroom break
5.02 miles, 43:57 (8:44 avg pace)

7.2 total miles

Friday, June 8
Plan Says: easy 6 miles

What I did:  Goal was to get to 7 miles to make up for missing my warm up/cool down mileage with my tempo run.  I still felt really tired on this run, but no bathroom breaks.  :)

7.0 miles, 1:00:58 (8:43 avg pace)

Saturday, June 9
Plan says: easy 8 miles

What I did: Got up early as we had a busy weekend planned (welcome to our summers!).  At this point, waking up at 5 AM no longer feels like a chore most of the time.  Got in my 8 miles and then some by doing one of my favorite routes. 

8.35 miles, 1:10:09 (8:23 avg pace)

Weekly Total
Plan says: 49 miles
What I did: 49.42 miles

Monday, June 4, 2018

Grandma's Marathon Training: Week 16 Recap

Disclaimer:  I am running Grandma's Marathon in June as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!  

I felt much better last week than the week previous so I think it is safe to say that I have recovered from Ragnar.  Don't get me wrong, my legs still feel fatigued, but not in the I cannot move myself forward AT.ALL way.  Last week was a return to form - I was able to get up for all my morning runs, which just keeps the rest of the day operating so much more smoothly and keeps my stress level down!

I had a little plan switching to accommodate Memorial Day, which was a gorgeous, hot, sun-filled day on the lake.  I took advantage and made that day my off day than my regular old Tuesday.  This delayed my strength workout and my tempo run by a day.

First, I was so proud of my strength workout.  Several weeks ago, I was not able to do all 4 of the 1.5 mile repeats and I not only finished all four, but got progressively faster with each one this time around.  My tempo was not perfect, but I actually finished it and learned a valuable lesson that while I may not need sunglasses for the sun in the early morning, I need sunglasses to act as bug shields.  I was seriously finding bug pieces in my eyes for a while after my run was done!  GROSS.

16 weeks are DONE.  My May mileage came in at 217.71.  Holla! I really wanted May to top out as my all-time highest mileage month ever, but my failed tempo run last week ruined that plan.  April 2017 at 224.18 miles remains my highest mileage month.

Bring on week 17!

Sunday, May 27
Plan Says:  Easy 5 miles

What I did:  We were at my husband's family lake house so this was officially my first lake run of 2018.  It was so hot and humid already at 7 AM so this was not "easy" but it was done.

5 miles, 40:17 (8:02 avg pace)

Monday, May 28 (Memorial Day)
Plan Says: Off

What I did:  I was on breakfast duty for the group so I was up early cooking.  I had decided to take advantage of the day off and make it my actual day off for the week.

Tuesday, May 29
Plan Says: 4 x 1.5 mi, with 800 recovery in between and 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool down

What I did:  Back at it. 

1.12 mile warm up, 9:30 (8:30 avg)

1.  1.5 miles, 9:56 (6:37 avg pace) / 0.5 mi recovery 4:31 (9:05 avg pace)
2.  1.5 miles, 9:42 (6:27 avg pace) / 0.5 mi recovery 4:45 (9:32 avg pace)
3.  1.5 miles, 9:43 (6:29 avg pace) / 0.5 mi recovery 4:40 (9:23 avg pace)
4.  1.5 miles, 9:38 (6:26 avg pace)

1.5 mile cool down, 12:40 (8:26 avg pace)

Wednesday, May 30
Plan Says: easy 5 miles

What I did:   5.25 miles, 45:13 (8:37 avg pace)

Thursday, May 31
Plan Says: 10 mile tempo, 1 mile warm up and cool down

What I did: Well, it was time.  After several botched tempo runs, I had to get one done.  If you look at my run time, I was about on pace.  But the fact is I stopped SEVERAL times to dig bugs out of my contacts because I neglected to wear sunglasses.  And it was HUMID.  So the actual time that it took me to get this done was not on pace.

1.15 mile warm up, 10:05 (8:48 avg pace)
10 miles tempo, 1:08:55 (6:53 avg pace)  / 1:12 (7:08 avg)
0.25 mile cool down 2:41 (10:51 avg)

I didn't have time to do the whole cool down because I had to get to a conference for work.  I was really tired after this run.

Friday, June 1
Plan Says: easy 8 miles

What I did: Back on track for the plan. The temperature plummeted overnight so it was so nice and cool this morning!

8.01 miles, 1:07:23 (8:25 avg pace)

Saturday, June 2
Plan says: long 10 miles

What I did:  I had to get up early to get this done because we had a full day planned, including me acting as "running buddy" for my friend's third grader at the Girls on the Run 5K and my annual employee picnic at the zoo.  This was a great run.  I wanted to just let the run flow so I didn't pay attention to my pace.

10 miles, 1:23:47 (8:23 avg pace)

After returning home, eating some eggs and a waffle, we were back out the door for the 5K.  Obviously, my entire goal for this 5K was to act as a support to C.  I had hypothesized that we wouldn't run the entire thing and I was right.  There was a lot of walking and a lot of laughing.  I was proud of her for finishing the entire race! 

3.1 miles, 43:13 (14:11 avg pace)

Weekly Total
Plan says: 50 miles
What I did: 49.73 miles without the GOTR 5K / 52.83 with the GOTR 5k

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Product Review: Coros PACE Multisport Watch

Product Review:  Coros PACE Multisport Watch

Disclaimer: I received the Coros PACE Multisport watch to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

I was extremely excited when the Coros Pace watch showed up on my doorstep.  The watch I was using prior to the Coros was very very simple.  It showed me mileage and time.  I was excited to have a watch with a few more bells and whistles.
From the moment I put this watch on, I was excited.  It felt light as air compared to my other watch.   The band is not stiff at all and nicely molded to my arm.  I was also surprised that with two pushes of a button, I was ready to go.   No standing at the end of my driveway for several minutes for the GPS to catch up.  I started running and realized that the default was set to kilometers.  The watch was fairly easy to figure out how to change the default presets.  The lap counter was also set to kilometers by default and after the first run, I was tired of trying to do math while running and I changed that to miles as well.

There are so many things that I appreciate about this watch after using it for the last month.
1.  Mileage vibration:  At each mile, the watch beeps AND vibrates a little letting you know that you have hit the mile mark.  I would routinely miss beeps with my old watch so I have appreciated this feature, even though it is a feature that I would not have searched out if I had been shopping for a watch.

2.  Syncs to my phone via Bluetooth technology:  When I get back from a run, I open the Coros app on my phone and my run immediately syncs.  No digging in the drawer for the USB cord to connect my watch to the computer to upload to a website platform.  INSTANT. DATA.TO.MY.PHONE.  The app in turn instantly syncs to Strava.  So many instantaneous updates, which has saved me a lot of I can rest in my hammock:

3. Battery life.  Coros claims that the watch lasts 25-30 hours between charges.  I would say it may even be more than that in "real life".  I love how long the battery lasts in this.  I charged before leaving for my Ragnar race, ran 3 legs, and have not re-charged since.  By and large, I think the battery life is the most stand-out feature of this watch.

4. Built-in Heart Rate Monitor.  I haven't ever done heart rate training nor do I really know anything about my heart rate, other than my resting heart rate is low, which garners questions of "Do you run?" from every medical professional that has ever taken my heart rate.  The heart rate data is the thing that I have been most excited about in the last month and I look forward to learning more about heart rate training this summer. 

Here is a run that I did today (easy 7 miles) compared to one of my 10 mile tempo runs:

These are screen shots from within the app.  The app also provides data on cadence, elevation and heart rate over time. 

5.  Step counter:  Yesterday I wore my watch the whole day and realized that the watch doesn't stop tracking data when you are not running.  I had a days worth of heart rate data, step count, exercise time and active energy time.  Because I am a nerd, I think these things would be fun and helpful to track for a period of time.

While I have only used the watch for running in the past month, it is a true "multisport" watch, ideal for triathletes.  One can track swimming and cycling events with the watch, which has a 5 ATM Water Resistance rating.

If you are interested in the Coros Pace Multisport watch, tune into BibChat on Twitter (follow @bibrave for more info) on Tuesday, June 5 at 8 PM CST.

You can also check out some reviews from my fellow BibRave Pros who also tested this watch:
Kevin - I just learned that the watch has a compass from reading this! So cool! Thanks Kevin!

Corey - Corey tested it swimming and has a few videos about his experience

Angie - Walks through the set up of the watch and also shows you the "medals" you can earn within the app

The watch retails for $299 and you can find it on Amazon.