Paris Marathon Training: Catch Up

Bonjour from Paris!

bonjour

Patrick and I are currently enjoying our dream European honeymoon. I owe you all some major catch up posts from marathon training, life, etc. I promise to catch up on all the excitement going on!

For now, here’s the summary… I started a new job 2 weeks before my wedding. It also happened to be peak marathon training week. I also had an awful cold. Between starting the new job, getting everything ready for the wedding and 12 days in Europe, I did not get to updating the blog. So much excitement and so little time!

Here’s a little recap of the last 7 weeks of my marathon training cycle:

  • Week 11 – 36 total miles (Long Run: 18 miles @ 9:53 pace)
  • Week 12 – 44 total miles (Long Run: 20 miles @ 10:20 pace)
  • Week 13 – 44 total miles (Long Run 22 miles @ 10:09 pace)
  • Week 14 – 47 total miles (Long Run 18 miles @ 10:16 pace)
  • Week 15 – 50 total miles (Long Run 23 miles @ 10:10pace)
  • Week 16 – 22 total miles (Long Run 15 miles @ 10:28 pace)
  • Week 17 – 33 total miles (Long Run 10 miles @ 10:12 pace)

And here is some photographic evidence of said weeks :-)

22 miler 22 days before the wedding

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Long Brick with Meghan20140405-213614.jpg20140405-213633.jpg

23 miles along Bayshore Blvd20140405-213657.jpg20140405-213713.jpg

Married the man of my dreams
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Run in Amsterdam20140405-213925.jpg

Beautiful run though Phoenix Park in Dublin

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And tomorrow…
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We run Paris!

Race Recap: Best Damn Race Half Marathon

After having an incredible time at the Best Damn Race 10K last year, I told the girls that I would love to have my bachelorette party at this year’s race weekend. I knew I wanted to do a race, and I knew I wanted to stay at least somewhat local. It just all worked out too perfectly.

The girls and I stayed at the Safety Harbor Resort for the weekend. The location is incredibly convenient as you walk out the front door and are at the start line.

Race morning started early as it always does. This one felt particularly early after staying up a bit too late chatting with everyone. Totally worth it!

We had shirts made for the race. Caitlyn let me borrow her white Sparkle Skirt for the race and Meg gave me a “Bride to Be” Sweaty Band. How fun is that?

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A first floor suite meant our room was closer than gear check. We took full advantage of the extra time and convenient bathroom access it gave us.

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We did a quick half mile warm up and made our way back to the start. We found Genna, Meghann and Beka at the start line and jumped in the corral together.

20140201_072100-1024x768Photo Credit: Meghann

Coach Steve had given me an race day strategy for my sub-2 goal. I’d studied it, and Meghan and Meg (who planned to run with me) had studied it. It had been cold all week and we were expecting perfect race day temperatures. I was anticipating perfect PR conditions. However, as we got closer to race day, the temperatures were creeping up and the humidity was sitting at 100%. You could see the moisture in the air race morning. I emailed Steve and asked him if I should stick to the plan. He said in those conditions it was best to back off :15-:30 per mile. He reminded me that we only can work with the conditions we are given on race day. At that time I decided to not let go of the goal, but to run the best race I felt comfortable with.

After the start Meghan and I almost immediately lost Meg. We were bobbing and weaving through the crowd and she’d gotten ahead of us. Meghan and I settled into the low 9 pace that we’d planned.

I noticed during the first few miles how much harder it felt in the humidity. I did everything I could to fight the negative thoughts about the rest of the race. This was my Best Damn Bachelorette and I was going to enjoy every second of it.

This mostly waterfront course really is awesome. It weaves through the charming little city of Safety Harbor. There were families out on their lawns to cheer on the runners. You really felt the sense of community as you ran through the neighborhoods.

Meghan said things along the way like “Do you know anyone getting married next month?” and “hey look a photog, LETS JUMP!”. I couldn’t help but smile.

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I took a Gu at miles 5 and 10 as I’d planned. I was carrying a handheld and drank a lot more water than I normally do. It was humid and the last thing I wanted to do was get dehydrated. At some point Meghan started feeding me salt pills. I definitely noticed a difference using them. Thank you Meghan. I purchased a bottle to use throughout the rest of training.

Somewhere midway through I saw my future mother-in-law spectating with a big sign with my face and a veil that said “Best Damn Bride”. It was such a sweet surprise.

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At mile 10 I decided to make a quick port-a-potty stop before giving all I had left for the last 3 miles. Meghan waited for me and filled my handheld… have I mentioned how awesome my running buddies are?!

The last three miles were tough, but almost bittersweet. I looked over at Meghan during mile 12 and said “it’s almost over” with a sad puppy face.

We crossed the finish line with our hands in the air and huge smiles on our faces at 2:03:27. My second fastest half marathon to date. I was very pleased with our time.

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After crossing the finish line we found the other half marathoners and ran back around to watch the 5k girls to come across. We enjoyed a beer and food from the post race party, took way too many group photos, cheered on some of the final half marathon finishers, and recapped our experiences at the race.

My Best Damn Bridal Party: 20140209-081216.jpg

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I have to admit, I had a lot of favorite parts of the weekend, but perhaps my favorite was the excitement of all my friends coming across the finish line. I was so worried they’d think I was completely insane for wanting to do a race for my bachelorette party, but everyone really seemed to have a good time. Hearing them talk about how much fun they’d had at the race, and talks of doing another one, made me so damn happy. It really was the Best Damn Race.

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And of course, we cleaned up and enjoyed a night out after :-)

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Great big huge thank you to Nick Zivolich and the Best Damn Race Team. You guys put on one hell of a race and I look forward to more Best Damn Races in the future!

The Marathon is a Journey

On Saturday, I had one of the best long runs I’ve ever had. Everything about it was enjoyable. The pace felt comfortable. My heart rate stayed low. The weather was overcast and cool. The company was awesome and helped pass the miles quickly. Every mile felt better than the last. That is not an exaggeration. I felt more and more comfortable with the run as it went on.

I finished 16 miles at a 9:24 pace. Just slightly faster than last weekends half marathon, and it felt nothing like last weekend.

That’s the thing about marathon training. We train and train and train for race day. Some of us – like myself – have tunnel vision about the race. Every step is about preparing our minds and bodies to go to the distance on race day.

But what if it’s not? What if it doesn’t have to be? Hear me out…

In the last few years I’ve gotten faster. There is no doubt about that. I’ve had a few great races, but more notably, I’ve had a really great time training.

Working with a coach this year has already taught me a lot. Every week I look at my training plan and think “oh hell no, no way”, “an 8-mile tempo run? Is he serious?”. And yet, every week I’m surprising myself with what I’m able to do. I find myself excited at the end of runs. I find myself happy dancing in the middle of the street because I just had fun doing something I never thought I’d be able to do.

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My point is this, we can’t always predict race day. Spending 18 weeks and countless hours training for one 4-5 hour event puts a lot of pressure on you that day. So why not celebrate the entire journey? Celebrate the accomplishments, milestones, and the great runs along the way.

From here on out, I’m making a better effort to enjoy my marathon as a journey, not just a race.

Paris Marathon Training: Weeks 9 & 10

I’m still really enjoying this marathon training cycle. The last two weeks were particularly amazing.

Last weekend I raced the Best Damn Race Half Marathon as part of my Best Damn Bachelorette. I had such an incredible time with all of my friends. I’ll get a race recap up in a few days as soon as I have the photos back. It was an awesome race!

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Week 9

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 6.2 total miles. 800s @ 4:02, 3:57, 4:03, 4:04, 3:59 (AVG HR: 156)
Wednesday: 5 miles @ 9:56 (AVG HR 146)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 2 mile shakeout run @ 9:54 pace, 1500 meter swim
Saturday: 15.1 total, Best Damn Race 13.1 @ 9:25 pace, 2 additional miles @ 10:30 pace (AVG HR: 168)
Sunday: Rest

Best Damn Race was the highest HR I think I’ve ever maintained. I really enjoyed the race and had an absolute blast running with Meghan, but it felt a lot harder than most of my other long runs lately. Perhaps the hot muggy weather? Adrenaline? Maybe I’ll never know.

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Week 10

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 1/2 mile repeats. 6.2 total miles. 800s @ 4:01, 4:00, 4:01, 4:03, 4:01, 3:49 (AVG HR: 156)
Wednesday: 3 miles @ 10:20 pace (AVG HR 146)
Thursday: 8 mile Tempo-ish Run. 6 Tempo miles @ 9:00, 8:56, 9:14, 9:10, 9:15, 9:17. (Avg HR 154) / Personal Training
Friday: 1500 meter swim (35:20)
Saturday: 16 miles @ 9:24 (Avg HR: 147)
Sunday: 40 mile Bike (18.4 MPH / Avg HR: 106) / 1000m Swim (22:56)

Saturday’s long run was one of the best long runs I’ve ever had. My heart rate stayed low, the pace felt very comfortable, and I had great company (Patrick, Meghan and Beth) to pass most of the miles with.

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These last two weeks were full of some challenging runs, and some amazing runs. I feel like that’s really what marathon training is all about. Taking the good with the bad, learning, and moving through it. One foot in front of the other, right?