Monday, August 27, 2018

Madison Marathon Training: Week 6 Recap

Disclaimer:  I am running the Madison Marathon 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 to review, find, and write race reviews!  Wanna run Madison with me?  Enter code MMRAVE18 at registration for 10% off!

Coming off of a half marathon, I was a little nervous about how week 6 would go.  During my last training cycle, it took me a while to recover from Ragnar; I specifically remember the training week AFTER Ragnar being pretty bad.  Well, surprise surprise, I ended up having a really good week last week which was a good confidence booster given that I have been riding the struggle bus more often than not with this cycle. I now have completed one-third of the Hanson Marathon Advanced Training Plan!

Reflecting on the first third of this training cycle, I realize that I have to give myself some grace this time around:

1.  Adding up mileage totals from the first 6 weeks of Hansons for the previous cycles, I realized that the advanced plan is not messing around.  The first 6 weeks of my marathon cycle in spring netted 179.83 miles.  Right now, I am up to 240.44 miles, a 60.61 mile difference. 

2. I am going through a bunch of changes in my career, that I haven't brought up in this space.  The short story is that starting this week, I will be part time at my "real" job and part time at a consulting business I have started.  I know that all of this change has taken a toll.  My goal with this marathon training cycle has been to get uncomfortable and I didn't take into account that I am also getting uncomfortable in my work space so thank God the family space is going well right now because all of this discomfort is definitely maxing out my reserves!

3. It is HUMID out.  So I know there are all of these charts where you can see to what degree high humidity affects your pace, etc.  I've shied away from them but I know that my slower paces during speed workouts are getting affected by the weather.

Every single run last week was a morning run. #GotMyAssOutOfBed  I was really proud of that.  Here are last week's details:

Sunday Aug 19
Plan says:  Rest

What I did:  0 miles.  I rearranged my rest day to come after my race.  We still did a bunch of walking around Madison this day, so it wasn't a complete rest day, but honestly, a true and complete rest day is just not in the cards for my lifestyle and family these days!

Monday Aug 20
Plan says:  6 easy miles

What I did:  6 miles, 53:11 (8:51 avg pace)

Tuesday Aug 21
Plan says: 4 x 1200m with 1.5 mile warm up and cool down and 400 m jog in between

What I did:  This felt ok.  My goal for these was 4:35 and I was right around there.  If anyone has any tips for getting the timing down on using workouts with Garmin, I am all ears.  It seems like there is a several second delay that I am screwing up. Even though my first repeat was slow, it is still in my speed workout pace range of 6:00 - 6:16.

1.5 mile warm up:  13:36 (9:04 avg pace)

1 - 0.75 mile 4:39 (6:14 avg pace) / 0.25 mile recovery 2:42 (10:53 avg pace)
2 - 0.75 mile 4:32 (6:05 avg pace) / 0.25 mile recovery 2:45 (11:06 avg pace)
3 - 0.75 mile 4:32 (6:05 avg pace) / 0.25 mile recovery 2:28 (9:56 avg pace)
4 - 0.75 mile 4:33 (6:06 avg pace) / 0.25 mile recovery 2:20 (9:25 avg pace)

1.5 mile cool down: 13:16 (8:51 avg pace)

Wednesday Aug 22
Plan says:  easy paced 6 miles

What I did: 6.3 miles, 54:28 (8:38 avg pace)

Thursday Aug 23
Plan says: 7 mile tempo run with 1.5 mile warm up and cool down

What I did:  I felt really good for this tempo and praised the Lord for it.  I started slower than goal pace and allowed myself to ease into it, which honestly is my preferred race strategy as well. 

1.5 mile warm up 13:18 (8:52 avg pace)
7 mile tempo, 47:22 (6:45 avg pace)
1.5 mile cool down 12:28 (8:18 avg pace)

Friday Aug 24
Plan says: easy paced 8 miles

What I did: 8.1 miles, 1:10:53 (8:45 avg pace)

Saturday Aug 25
Plan says: 10 mile long run

What I did:  I felt good for this so I let myself push the pace as the miles went on.  They are still in range for my goal "long run pace", which is 7:20-8:50 per the Hansen training pace calculator.

10 miles, 1:08:01 (7:42 avg pace)
Mile splits: 8:13 / 8:06 / 7:59 / 7:36 / 7:37 / 7:28 / 7:24 / 7:29 / 7:35 / 7:31

Plan Total: 47 miles
What I did: 47.41 miles!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Madison Mini Half Marathon Race Recap!

I ran a half-marathon on Saturday!

My marathon training plan had me running 12 miles on Saturday so it was good timing to have a half-marathon at this point in my training.  That is, if I could just be ok with running a race for fun, as a training run.

I did want to push myself though and see how I would do.  I thought realistically I could be around 1:30.  I have struggled with a lot of my workouts lately, feeling off and without any pep in my legs.  Maybe it is the heat and humidity, maybe not.  I have not run a half marathon that I haven't trained for in several years - usually my fall goal race is a late fall half marathon.  So this was a bit of a change up for me to have a half marathon race that I wasn't in prime shape for.

The temperatures were not awful, but the humidity was high.  Nothing new or surprising for summer in Wisconsin.  I thought we actually lucked out with the weather, as this race has gotten into very high temps in previous years.  I was also looking forward to the course as my goal marathon this fall will also be in Madison.

In the week before the race, a woman that I follow on Instagram, Anne, contacted me as she signed up last minute to do it as a training run, but also wanting to push herself so did we want to try to run together?  I was all for this.  I do almost every single one of my runs by myself so I was looking forward to having someone to try to run with.

We arrived in Madison early Friday afternoon.  My kids wanted to search all around for the Buckys on Parade, which are these large statues of the University of Wisconsin mascot, Bucky Badger.  Translation:  Lots of walking.  I actually didn't mind this very much as I thought this would help me be in the right frame of mind for the run.

We ate dinner at The Old Fashioned with my husband's aunt, uncle, cousin and her friend.  His cousin actually is the reason I did the race - she asked me to sign up with her earlier in the summer as she is training for her first BQ this fall! I had a delicious burger and fries.

We went to bed, but did not sleep well.  My son was sleeping with my daughter and he is quite a snuggler so she kept waking up and freaking out that he was touching her.  I did a lot of eye rolling.

The alarm came at 5:30.  I did not feel like eating or drinking anything but I forced myself to drink 16 oz of BeachBody Energize and eat a Honey Stinger waffle.  I had prepared around 16 oz of Gen UCan as well, which I started on after my Energize was gone.

I met my cousin-in-law in the lobby at 6:15 after finishing my Gen UCan and we started walking to the start line.

We arrived at the start area not too long after but I still not feel any urge to go to the bathroom, which was worrying me.  I also was thirsty, despite having my usual 32ish ounces of pre-race fluid.  We took a Oiselle team picture and I went with two other Oiselle Volee to stand in the very long porta potty lines figuring that I should at least try to go to the bathroom.

The minutes ticked by but the line did not move.  At 6:55, five minutes before race start, I ditched the bathroom line to get to the starting corrals.  I was weaving through the corrals during the National Anthem to get to my corral.  Thank goodness I was in Corral A.  I found Anne and as the gun went off, I thought, "Shit.  I have to go to the bathroom."

We started running, and I saw my family right away.  I was able to give them high fives and also high fived Bucky Badger!  I immediately felt like I was working way too hard and my breathing was heavy.  I tried to settle in.  It was so helpful to have Anne with me because we were chatting and that helped settle me down.

Around the first mile mark, I saw my family again! More high fives!! 6:39 first mile.
High fiving my kids right after Mile 1

We continued on.  Mile 2 was 6:34.  Miles 3 and 4 were 6:44.  My freaking shoe came untied.  I don't think that has ever happened to me in a race! What in the actual hell.  Amateur hour!
Anne and I chugging through the humidity!
This is when I knew that I wasn't going to be settling in.  This was going to feel and be hard.  Not to mention that it was increasingly apparent that I was not going to get through the race without a bathroom stop.  Mile 5 was 6:57.  I loved the course, and running with Anne was great, but I felt like I was working hard to stay with her.  I told her that I had to back off and that she should keep going.  The space between us grew as I veered off course a bit to check if the lake structure had a bathroom.  Nope.  Kept going.

Do not think about the bathroom.  Do not think about the bathroom.

Mile 6 and 7 were 7:02 and 7:05 respectively.  This was starting to go off the rails.  Where the hell was a porta potty!

Finally at around mile 7.5ish there was a turn in the course, with a porta potty just beyond the curve.  The volunteer at the curve was calling out, "Go right! Go right!" as I continued straight so I had to yell, "I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM".

Sweet Jesus.

I am not sure how long I was in the porta potty but it was not a 13 second Shalane Flanagan at Boston 2018 stop.  But I felt so much better exiting that porta potty.  I knew that it was the right call to stop.

Back on the course, My goal was to keep a steady pace to the finish.  Mile 8 was 8:25, which included the bathroom stop. I was grateful to see Carrie, one of Volee that also ran Grandma's, at several points.  She was cracking me up with her references to the Hanson training plans (which we both use).

Mile 9 was back to 7:08, Mile 10 at 7:01.  The trek to Picnic Point felt so long and as I saw the runners in the lead come from the direction I was running to I was able to cheer for some of the women, including Anne.  I had been taking a cup of water at the aid stations, but I decided since my race already was not going to be amazing, I would try the Gatorade swish to try to trick my brain that it was getting nutrition.  My stomach did not want anything in it, that's for sure.  I grabbed a cup of Gatorade, took a sip, swished it and spit it out.  I hit mile 11 at 7:06 and then felt like I was at least going to be able to finish.
This guy was fun to finish out the race with.
Mile 12 was 7:02.  I was so grateful to see the signs "1/2 mile to go" and "1/4 mile to go".  I rounded the corner and dashed to the finish.  I could hear my family but it took me a few seconds to find them standing on the bridge above me!  That was so fun!! I started waving to them like crazy and actually helped me throw my arms up at the finish.

My official finish time was 1:31:31.  Far from a PR, but not too shabby.   My kids met me at the finish...and so did Bucky!  I got my medal from another WI Volee, Kate, and was able to see Anne and give her a big hug and also Jeannie, one of my Birdmachine CHI teammates who won our age group (I was 4th).

I learned a few things from this race.

First, I am getting more confident in my ability to judge what kind of shape I am in. I knew that I am not even close to being in top fitness right now and that showed.  I went out way too fast for where my fitness level was which caused the dreaded positive split.

Second, I need to eat pre-race food a little earlier and get in the bathroom line first thing at races.  New mantra: Bathroom first, socialize later.

Third, I must being doing a good job at getting some elevation in my training runs.  I was expecting this course to be a lot hillier than I felt it was.  I actually enjoyed the hills as they came and didn't feel like they were too awful.  That said, I am going to continue seeking out hills during the remaining 13 training weeks so I still think this when the marathon comes!

Fourth, I still need to work on my mental game when things get rough.  I mentally gave up on this race way too early.

It wasn't my best race, but I definitely had fun and it gave me some motivation to keep on trucking through the rest of my marathon training.

You can read my review of the race on here.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Product Review: OOfos OOmg Fibre Low Shoe

Product Review:  OOFOS OOMG Fibre Low Shoes

Disclaimer:  I received a pair of the of OOfos OOmg shoes for free in exchange for a review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to find and write race reviews!

I am definitely in recovery mode today after running a half marathon yesterday (race review to come) so I am glad that I have a pair of the OOfos OOmg shoes.  This is actually my second pair of these shoes (find my first review here). 

I like the shoes for everyday wear for the simple fact that they are comfortable.  If you are familiar with any of the OOFOS sandals, you know that the arch support in any of the OOfos products is heavenly.  The footbed of the OOmg shoe is like their sandals, which provides great arch support.  The upper is a flexible fabric that dries quickly, provides 4-way stretch, and lets air flow, keeping your feet cool.

I like wearing the shoes a lot around my house because they are easy to slip on.  Why not take advantage of the arch support of the OOmg as much as possible, right?  They pair well with an ice cream cookie sandwich:

The OOmg absorbs 37% more impact than a traditional shoe. This time around, I was going to be able to give them a true test of wear and recovery ability.  We were headed to Madison, WI for a long weekend and these were the ONLY shoes I packed (besides my race shoes).

We arrived in Madison on Friday and immediately started walking around.  One of the great things about the city is that is very walkable.  I had a race on Saturday morning so I was hoping the OOfos OOmg shoes were going to keep my feet and legs in race shape. 

Walking around downtown Madison in my OOFOS OOMGs
My legs felt pretty good during my race and my husband and kids met me immediately after with my OOFOS.  Ahhhh....nothing like changing out of your race shoes into some great arch support.  This time I paired my OOfos OOmgs with a beer.

Post race with my OOfos OOmg...and a Spotted Cow

The walking then continued.  We put on over 24,000 steps in one day.  My feet never felt tired.  My lower back never ached and my legs surprisingly held up well!

This morning I woke up and was surprised that my feet and legs were not as sore as they usually are after a long race.  I'm sold on these shoes as a post-race recovery tool!

What would you pair your OOfos OOmg low shoes with:  The Beer or the Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Madison Marathon Training: Week 4 Recap

Disclaimer:  I am running the Madison Marathon 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 to review, find, and write race reviews!  Wanna run Madison with me?  Enter code MMRAVE18 at registration for 10% off!

Last week ended up being a good week.  I hit the mileage for the plan and had a good tempo run.  I struggled with the 800s, which was a bit of a hit for me since typically I really enjoy 800s and find them easy.  That workout was a ride on the struggle bus!  It may have been the weather and it also may have been the crazy weekend that we were coming off of.  

I felt that I was better about getting to bed by 9:30 last week and it wasn't too difficult to get out of bed to get the workouts done.  

Sunday Aug 5
Plan says:  Rest

What I did:  0 miles.  We had a very busy weekend going from thing to thing to thing all day so I took the day as a rest day instead of my usual Tuesday.

Monday Aug 6
Plan says:  6 easy miles

What I did:  6 miles, 48:39 (8:06 avg pace)

Tuesday Aug 7
Plan says: 6 x 800m with 1.5 mile warm up and cool down and 400 m jog in between

What I did:  Again, I programmed a workout into my watch and this time I set a pace window of 6:00 - 6:05 for my 800s.  I hated this feature, mostly because I was having a hard time staying in the pace window.  I felt like a slug.  I'm sure the humidity played a role, but really felt that it was not just the weather.

1.5 mile warm up:  13:49 (9:13 avg pace)

1 - 0.50 mile 3:11 (6:22 avg pace) / 0.25 mile recovery 2:24 (9:39 avg pace)
2 - 0.50 mile 3:04 (6:10 avg pace) / 0.25 mile recovery 2:50 (11:20 avg pace)
3 - 0.50 mile 3:05 (6:10 avg pace) / 0.25 mile recovery 3:00 (12:00 avg pace)
4 - 0.50 mile 3:08 (6:18 avg pace) / 0.25 mile recovery 3:06 (12:26 avg pace)
5 - 0.50 mile 3:08 (6:16 avg pace) / 0.25 mile recovery 2:53 (11:33 avg pace)
6 - 0.50 mile 3:06 (6:13 avg pace) / 0.25 mile recovery 2:53 (11:32 avg pace)

1.5 mile cool down: 13:44 (9:10 avg pace)

Wednesday Aug 8
Plan says:  easy paced 6 miles

What I did: 6 miles, 52:00 (8:39)

Thursday Aug 9
Plan says: 6 mile tempo run with 1.5 mile warm up and cool down

What I did:  This tempo felt a lot better than last week's, thankfully.  I had to cut the cool down a little short because I was already "running" late for work.

1.5 mile warm up 13:30 (8:59 avg pace)
6 mile tempo (6:47 avg pace)
1.3 mile cool down 11:10 (8:34 avg pace)

Friday Aug 10
Plan says: easy paced 8 miles

What I did: 8 miles, 1:07:50 (8:28 avg pace)

Saturday Aug 11
Plan says: 8 mile long run

What I did:  Even though I was hitting all the workout distances, I was coming up short for the total miles for the week so I figured out that I had to run 8.68 miles to get an even 45 miles for the week.

8.7 miles, 1:08:01 (7:49 avg pace)

Plan Total: 45 miles
What I did: 45 miles!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Product Review: Karma Silicone Rings

Product Review:  Karma Rings

Disclaimer: I received a set of Karma Rings 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!

Generally, I wear my wedding rings all the time, and do not remove them for anything EXCEPT when I am at the lake on the weekend - I do not wear them on the boat.  I opted to get the Karma Duo Silicone Ring Pearl White 3-color set because they reminded me of the watch with the changeable bands that I had when I was young, planning on using them when I was at the lake.

And that is what I initially did!  The rings were fabulous for water skiing and tubing.  The silicone is super comfortable; did not affect my grip on the tow rope; and the rings didn't fall off!

Getting my skiis ready with my Karma Ring standing in for my wedding rings!

Tubing with my son!

Shortly after receiving the rings, I fell while running (those darn sidewalks jump out at you from time to time ;)) and scuffed up my engagement ring!  ARGH!  I was really annoyed.  The Karma Ring was a great stand-in while it was at the shop getting cleaned up.  Since I wear my wedding rings all the time, I definitely notice when they are not on.  The Karma Ring alleviated that "Where is my ring" feeling.
Wearing the Karma Ring on a training run!

I now wear my Karma rings instead of my wedding rings for running and since they came in a three-color set, I am also using them to set intentions for my Madison Marathon training.  I am wearing the light-pink color for the first six of eighteen weeks of training.  I began training really soon after an epic marathon (first sub-3:00!) and I have been having trouble with the fact that I am not in that level of fitness.  My intention of the first six weeks is to remember that I am in the first six weeks and to not have unrealistic expectations.

I am going to "graduate" to the light purple color for weeks 7-12 and finish out with the magenta color.  I am going to set the intentions for those weeks when I get there.

The Women's Duo in White Pearl set comes with a light pink, light purple and magenta insert!

It has been fun to use jewelry to set training intentions.  Have you ever done this?

If you are interested in getting any of the Karma Silicone Rings, head to their website and use code BIBRAVE33 for 33% off your order!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Madison Marathon Training: Week 3 Recap

Disclaimer:  I am running the Madison Marathon 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 to review, find, and write race reviews!  Wanna run Madison with me?  Enter code MMRAVE18 at registration for 10% off!

I am starting to recall why I typically only do spring marathons.  I am having a hard time managing life right now.  The good thing is that I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.  If you follow enough self-help podcasts and social media accounts, you will know that you can't be going full force in every area of your life for long periods of time.  Right now,  work/career is needing a lot more attention and thus, I have had to make some adjustments with running.  Because, guess what. Work pays my bills.  Running does not.  

All that to say I missed another workout in week 3; however, I am 100% sure skipping the miles was the right decision for my physical health and my sanity.  I started week 3 with a sore hamstring.  I think I did a decent job managing my level of freak-out-about-it-ness and I also think that cutting one of my runs helped with that as it is feeling pretty good a week later.

Shall we recap?

Sunday July 29
Plan says: Easy 6 miles

What I did:  6.0 miles, 51:42 (8:36 avg pace).

Monday July 30
Plan says: 8 x 600m with 1.5 mile warm up and cool down and 400 m jog in between

What I did:  The big news of this workout is that I successfully figured out how to program my Garmin Vivoactive with a "workout" so that I could successfully get my data out of my watch.  Typically when I have interval workouts, I just stop and save every interval and restart my watch for the next one.  This was my first experience with a watch "workout".  The watch basically counts down your mileage and vibrates and starts the timer for your next interval - so it is a continuous loop.  You therefore have to pay attention to the vibrations and make sure you start your accelerations appropriately.  I didn't realize this so my first 600m (or 0.37 miles) was slow. 

I also didn't take the time to look up what my 600m repeats should be and I mistakenly calculated them to be at 2:08 instead of 2:18.  This led me to believe that I was really slow on every single one and was not very motivating.  It turns out, with exception of the first 600, I was ahead of pace on every one.  Also, the continuous workout timer shows my true recovery pace, which is much slower than the recovery paces I get when I do start/stop with every interval because I definitely take a few recovery breaths, stopped, at the end of the interval.  The recovery pace plummets when those recovery breaths at a standstill are factored into the avg pace!

1.5 mile warm up:  13:27 (8:58 avg pace)

1 - 0.37 mile (600 meter) 2:24 (6:30 avg pace) / 0.25 mile recovery 2:25 (9:43 avg pace)
1 - 0.37 mile (600 meter) 2:13 (6:01 avg pace) / 0.25 mile recovery 2:45 (11:03 avg pace)
1 - 0.37 mile (600 meter) 2:11 (5:55 avg pace) / 0.25 mile recovery 2:27 (9:52 avg pace)
1 - 0.37 mile (600 meter) 2:11 (5:55 avg pace) / 0.25 mile recovery 2:53 (11:33 avg pace)
1 - 0.37 mile (600 meter) 2:10 (5:53 avg pace) / 0.25 mile recovery 2:31 (10:05 avg pace)
1 - 0.37 mile (600 meter) 2:14 (6:04 avg pace) / 0.25 mile recovery 3:05 (12:12 avg pace)
1 - 0.37 mile (600 meter) 2:10 (5:53 avg pace) / 0.25 mile recovery 2:46 (11:05 avg pace)
1 - 0.37 mile (600 meter) 2:15 (6:05 avg pace) / 0.25 mile recovery 2:52 (11:31 avg pace)

1.5 mile cool down: 13:37 (9:01 avg pace)

Tuesday July 31
Plan says: Off

What I did:  I did two JasYoga hamstring focused videos because it was really bothering me. 

Wednesday Aug 1
Plan says: 6 mile tempo run with 1.5 mile warm up and cool down

What I did:  Tempo runs are back!  And so is my anxiety about them.  This was not great.  My hamstring was bothering me and I had snot and phlegm all over the place.  I made several stops during the tempo to clear my nose and throat.

1.5 mile warm up 13:00 (8:39 avg pace)
6 mile tempo (6:53 avg pace)
1.5 mile cool down (8:42 avg pace)

Thursday Aug 2
Plan says: easy paced 7 miles

What I did: I was dragging.  I finally slept through the night on Wednesday night and thus, did not get up early to do this.  I had enough time to get in 5.35 miles after work, and I had to work for every bit of that.

5.35 miles, 43:27 (8:07 avg pace)

Friday July 27
Plan says: easy paced 6 miles

What I did: 0 miles.  Friday was the start of a busy 3 days for us and because I missed my early morning alarm, there was no window of time to run. 

Saturday July 28
Plan says: 10 mile long run

What I did:  I had to get my butt out of bed early on Saturday to get this done or it was not going to happen, which again borrowed from the sleep bank.  I had to stay up late Friday night to get some work done so I missed by bedtime by 2 hours. 

I again really felt like I was dragging during the first half of this run, which was largely driven by the fact that I was having some GI issues.  The park bathrooms were not open so I ducked into a gas station at the 5 mile mark and after that pit stop, I felt a lot better. 

I encountered lots of wildlife on this run, which is always fun.  Two deer, a fox, a blue heron, and loads of squirrels and rabbits!

10.25 miles, 1:25:53 (8:23 avg pace)

Plan Total: 46 miles

What I did: 38.58 miles