Race Recap: Marine Corps Marathon

So happy at mile 18.

So happy at mile 18.

Marathon Magic

Before I ran my first marathon last April at Big Sur, one of my coworkers told me about something she called “marathon magic.” I was freaking out and anxious about the seemingly impending doom that was running 26.2 miles along Highway 1 and I told her I wasn’t feeling good and my legs felt slow and sore. She told me that come race day, undoubtedly, something called “marathon magic” would kick in and all of the pieces would fall into place.

I ended up finishing Big Sur (with some walking) in 4:33:41, not terrible for my first marathon and the challenging course. Leading up to Marine Corps last weekend I was feeling the same way. My left calf muscle had been irritable for weeks, I was starting to come down with a cold, and my hips (which had been fine all throughout training) were feeling oddly sore. I was nervous about my time goal of breaking 4:15, and even more nervous about my secret goal of breaking 4:10, and my “dream big” goal seemed completely out of reach.

But like clock work, come early Sunday morning, when I lined up with my pace group, the “marathon magic” set in. I finished Marine Corps in 4:07:06, a 26 minute, 35 second PR.

Finish200

The Race

I got to the starting line early to get settled into my corral and be there in time to watch the Wounded Warrior Project paratroopers jump from the sky with flags attached to land at the start. It was pretty inspiring to watch them floating through the sky as someone sang the national anthem just outside of Arlington National Cemetery. (Pro tip: if you run MCM get to the start early to see all of this!)

I also wanted to get to the start early because MCM has you self-corral based on what you think you’re finishing time would be. I trained for a 4:15 but decided to line up a little closer to the 4:00 group. The start was very congested and when the howitzer went off to signal the start, it ended up being more of a slow crawl than a run. After about two miles and the first set of hills, the pack thinned out a bit.

My plan going into the race was to focus on 5-mile increments. I typically go on 5-mile runs during lunch so in my mind, breaking 26.2 miles down to 5-mile increments helped (I also fuel every 5 miles). Then I figured I’d give it my all in the last 1.2 miles to go with my mantra – Last mile, strong mile, kick it in.

I was lucky to see my parents really early on in the race around the mile 2 marker, which gave me the surge I needed in the very beginning. My boyfriend had also gone to the start but since there were so many runners, it was tough to find him in the crowd while focusing on not tripping over the runner in front of me.

Once the field thinned out, I focused on staying steady and consistent. I was trying my hardest to run even splits but between the spectators, the inspiring runners running alongside me, the military presence, and my own personal cheer squad, my paces darted around a bit. I joked after that every time I saw my parents or my boyfriend, I ran my fastest miles – I guess I got a little excited.

My cheer squad :)

My cheer squad :)

Takeaways

The race itself is all still a bit of a blur to me. I’m terrible at really breaking down races, mile by mile for recaps but there were some incredible highlights:

  • Seeing my family at the very beginning of the race and then again around mile 18/19.
  • Seeing my boyfriend at mile 10, 16 (he even ran with me a bit then!), and the finish.
  • Seeing Bart Yasso twice and having him yell my name!
  • Running the Run to Remember mile out on Hains Point in honor of fallen veterans.
  • Running alongside those running for their loved ones who have served, are active duty, or who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
  • All of the Marines who were genuinely cheering for all of us. It seemed odd because we really should be the ones cheering for them.
  • Surprising myself and running a huge PR.

The best part about my second marathon, besides my cheer squad, though was being able to run the entire 26.2 without walking and feeling like it was actually comfortable. It makes me wonder, and dream, about what I could do once I get more experience under my belt with the distance. I think the whole “marathon magic” thing happens for different reasons. At Big Sur, the marathon magic came to me because it was my first marathon. At MCM it came because I knew I had my family there cheering me on.

When my co-worker first told me about “marathon magic” I didn’t believe her. After Big Sur, I was still a little cynical about it but MCM confirmed it for me. Marathon magic is real, and I believe it.

Stats

Ran: 26.62 miles in 4:07:06 at 9:17/mile average

Splits:
(1)10:15 (2) 9:40 (3) 9:38 (4) 9:05 (5) 9:26 (6) 9:00 (7) 9:23 (8) 9:28 (9) 9:11 (10) 9:00

(11) 9:07 (12) 8:56 (13) 9:02 (14) 9:12 (15) 9:08 (16) 9:15 (17) 9:09 (18) 9:18 (19) 9:13

(20) 9:26 (21) 9:05 (22) 9:14 (23) 9:12 (24) 9:12 (25) 9:39 (26) 9:34 (27) 5:28 (for 0.60)

Marine Corps Marathon Training: Week Ten

Trying to stay consistent with strength training.

Trying to stay consistent with strength training.

Week ten of Marine Corps training presented me with a mileage PR of 44 miles. While I’ve been able to get all the miles in I feel like my legs might be starting to push back. A new pain in my left shin has me a bit concerned but I think it should subside if I take it easy on my next few runs.

As my mileage keeps increasing I’m learning the importance of post-run recovery, something I’ve almost neglected a little bit in the past.  To make sure I’m recovering properly I’m taking the five-to-ten minutes post-run to stretch out, as well as icing on a regular basis.

Monday: Yoga

Tuesday: Strength Training and 5 miles, easy

Strength Training- 50 minutes

Arms:
3×10 reps of:
Rotational Shoulder Press with 10lbs weights
Alternating Dumbell Rows with 12lbs weights
Tricep Pulls with 15lbs weights
Chest Press on Stability Ball with 10lbs weights
21s with 8lbs weights

3×15 reps Standing Side Leg Lifts
25 calf raises

Abs:
3×1:00 planks
3×0:30 side planks
3×0:45 supine planks
3×0:45 bicycles
3×0:45 bridge

Run:

It was pretty hot and humid on this run but I waited until after work in the hopes that it would be a little bit cooler. My legs were still feeling a bit sore from Sunday’s long run but once I got a mile or so into the run it felt good to be shaking them out a bit.

Plan: 5 miles, easy
Actual: 5 miles in 43:54 at 8:46/mile
Splits:
(1) 9:31
(2) 8:43
(3) 8:37
(4) 8:48
(5) 8:12

Shoes: Asics GT-1000 2
Conditions: 86 degrees, 80 percent humidity

Wednesday: Double run, 8 miles total

Run One:

Plan: 4 miles, easy
Actual: 4 miles in 36:40 at 9:10/mile average pace

I ran an easy pre-workout shakeout run on the treadmill. I had 8 miles on my schedule for today with my first Yasso 800 workout. Since I couldn’t do the whole 8 miles during my normal lunch run I decided to split up the workout with 4 miles easy at lunch and 4 miles at the track after work.

Run Two:

Plan: 4 miles with 4x800m at 4:10 with 400m recovery jog

Actual:
1-mile warmup at 8:54/mile
4x800m-
(1) 3:40
(2) 3:41
(3) 3:39
(4) 3:30
With 400m in between each 800m

Shoes: Saucony Fastwitch 6
Conditions: 90 degrees, 80 percent humidity

This was my first Yasso 800 workout of Marine Corps training and it went very well! I ran them at the track and did a 1-mile warmup to begin. It was extremely hot and humid out so I wasn’t sure they were going to go well but I was pleasantly surprised.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 8 miles with 5 miles at marathon pace

So this run went much better than expected. I’m still having a difficult time controlling my paces though and I know I really need to work on that but I felt really, really good during this whole run.

Plan: 8 miles with 5 miles at marathon pace (9:10/mile) with 1 mi warmup and 2 mi cool down
Actual: 8 miles in 1:09:46 at an average of 8:43/mile
Splits:
(1) 9:19 (2) 8:51 (3) 8:43 (4) 8:35 (5) 8:24 (6) 8:30 (7) 8:45 (8) 8:37

Shoes: Asics Gel Kayano 19
Conditions: 68 degrees, sunny, low humidity, a bit windy though

Saturday: 5 mile shakeout

It took me awhile to get out the door this morning but once I did I felt really good. Something has been going on with my left shin/knee though and I’m not really sure what that’s all about. I’m going to keep stretching/foam rolling/icing to see if it starts to feel back to normal again.

Plan: 5 miles, super easy
Actual: 5 miles in 44:56 at 8:59/mile average
Splits:
(1) 9:34
(2) 8:52
(3) 8:56
(4) 8:53
(5) 8:38

Shoes: Asics Gel Kayano 19
Conditions: 61 degrees, overcast, windy

Sunday: 18 mile long run

This long run went really well. I ran the first 10 miles with our RW Half Training Group led by Bart Yasso. We took it super easy which was really good because lately I’ve been pushing a little too hard on my long runs. After the 10 miles was done I finished the last 8 on my own. My left shin was giving me some trouble again which accounts for the crazy pacing here but overall I felt pretty good.

Plan: 18 miles, long slow distance
Actual: 18 miles in 2:54:33 at 9:39/mile average
Splits:
(1) 10:29 (2) 9:57 (3) 9:47 (4) 9:50 (5) 10:02 (6) 9:58 (7) 9:55 (8) 9:39 (9) 9:35 (10) 9:37 (11) 9:56 (12) 9:16 (13) 8:55 (14) 9:04 (15) 9:38 (16) 9:48 (17) 9:32 (18) 9:33

Shoes: Asics Kayano 19
Conditions: 50 degrees, sunny

Weekly Mileage Total: 44 miles

See all training recaps here.

The High Mileage Weeks Are Here

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 4.31.26 PMThe next few weeks of my training schedule for the Marine Corps Marathon are going to be my highest mileage weeks of my short running career. This week alone, the first of the monster weeks, will eclipse my peak week of Big Sur training by 4 miles.

For someone as new to running as I am, this can be pretty terrifying. Looking at the weeks as a whole has me literally waking up in the middle of the night in a panic. But that’s the funny thing about marathon training, just when you think you’ve hit your limit and you can’t go any further, another week goes by and you are able to go further than you ever thought. At least that’s how I’ve chosen to look at it.

My midweek runs over the next few weeks will range between 8 and 10 miles, with one easy run in between. Most of these are workouts or marathon pace runs, which to me, makes them much more enjoyable.

I’ve found the only way to get through these monster mileage weeks is to break it down and face each day as it comes. Yes, you need to plan. And yes, you need to schedule the time to get them done. But if you stare down your schedule on Monday and think, “Oh my God, I have to run an 8 mile workout on Wednesday, a 10 mile MP run on Friday, and other runs and workouts in between, as well as work and have some semblance of a social life?!” you’re going to drive yourself crazy.

Instead, take it day by day and figure out a time for each day to get your run done. For example, this is what my week looks like this week (different paces though):

Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 9.30.13 AM

On Wednesday, I had an 8-mile run with 4x800m in between. I knew I couldn’t get the workout done during lunch, but I also knew I wanted to do the 800s on a track. So since I only had to do 4x800m (2 miles) I decided to split up the run- run 4 miles, easy at lunch and 4 miles (1 mile warm-up, 4x800m, 1 mile cool down) on the track after work. I’m still getting the benefit of the speedwork but not stressing out over setting aside a huge block of time.

I recently read a great blog post by Jason Fitzgerald on time management. He argues that if something is important enough you will set aside the time to get it done. You will not “make” the time, because you can’t just “make” time appear out of nowhere. But if it’s important, like eating, sleeping, working, spending time with family and friends, or in this case, training for a marathon, you will set aside the time to get it done.

So, how am I planning on fitting in these high mileage midweek runs in the coming weeks? Here are my tips for marathon training time management:

  • Make it a priority – Training for Marine Corps is very important to me so I wil make it a priority and set aside the time to get my training done.
  • Take it day-by-day – I will take it day-by-day but try to schedule my week to fit in my runs and workouts.
  • Run doubles – If I have to, I will split up my higher mileage runs into a double. I’ll still reap the benefits of the workout and get the mileage in.
  • Something is better than nothing – If I honestly can’t set aside enough time for a run, I will try to get whatever I can done. If it’s an 8-mile run but I only have time for 6 miles, I’ll run the 6 miles.
  • Don’t sweat it – If I really had a hard day at work, or I’m feeling extremely tired or sore, and I have to miss a run, it’s not the end of the world. Giving your body enough time to rest and recover is almost as important as getting all of the training runs done. If your body is telling you it needs a break, it probably really needs a break.

I’m not going to lie, training for a marathon is a ginormous time commitment. You sacrifice some things like going out on a Saturday night so you can have the time to do your long run (not hungover) on Sunday morning. The monster training weeks come for everyone but if you plan them out right, they are totally doable. You just need to, in a sense, brace yourself and prepare for the runs. They will get done and you’ll be much more prepared for when race day comes.

Are you training for a maraton or half-marathon? How do you manage to fit in all of your runs with work and personal life? Share your comments below!

Marine Corps Marathon Training: Week Nine

Why you startedIt’s been a couple weeks since I last posted about my training for Marine Corps. One excuse for this is the last two weeks of training were kind of messed up due to running Hood to Coast and a surprise thunderstorm that completely ruined one of my long runs. But the real reason for not posting was I wasn’t really feeling all that into my training. Everything has been going well, I’m hitting my paces (even my new paces) and I’ve been following my schedule but for some reason I just wasn’t that excited. However, last week’s training went extremely well, I had a fantastic long run, and I’m starting to feel much more confident in my training.

Everyone hits that point in marathon training where you just feel tired and you start to question why you’re spending so much time and energy on training but you always have to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. For me, I’m running Marine Corps to better my marathon time and to experience a race I’ve heard so many great things about already. I also want to prove that I can get better at this whole marathoning thing and MCM will be the perfect place to make that happen. Besides, there really is something addicting about running 26.2 miles!

Monday: Rest day

Tuesday: 4 miles, easy

Last run at home around my town. I took it really easy because the heat and humidity is absolutely killing me. Felt pretty good though.

Plan: 4 miles, easy
Actual: 4 miles in 35:21 (8:47/mile)
Splits: 
(1) 9:13
(2) 8:45
(3) 8:35
(4) 8:40

Shoes: Asics Gel Kayano 19
Conditions: 80 degrees, 60 percent humidity

Wednesday: 6 mile tempo

This was my first tempo ever and I have to say I was pretty proud of it. Since I changed my time goal for MCM I wasn’t quite sure what my tempo pace should be. According to my old plan (marathon goal pace of 9:47/mile) my tempo pace should have been a 9:05/mile. However, now that my goal MP is 9:05/mile, obviously my tempo would be faster. I decided to shoot for 8:40/mile and see how I felt.

Plan: 6 miles with 3 miles at tempo pace (8:40/mile)
Actual: 6 miles with 3 miles at tempo (8:20/mile)
Splits: 
1.5 mile warmup at 9:30/mile pace
3 tempo miles in 25 minutes (8:20/mile pace)
1.5 mile cool down at 9:30/mile pace

Shoes: Asics Gel Kayano 19

Core Strength-

3×1:00 planks
2×0:30 side planks
3×0:45 supine planks
4×25 crunches
3×0:45 bridges

Thursday: 45 min. Strength Training

I’m vowing to get back into the swing of strength training so I made up my own workout.

Abs:
3 x 1:00 planks
3 x 0:30 side planks
3 x 0:45 supine planks
3 x 0:45 bicycles
3 x 0:45 bridge

Legs:
3 x 0:45 Stability Ball Jackknife
3 x 0:45 Stability Ball Hip Extensions
3 X 15 (each leg) Standing Side Leg Lift

Arms: 3 x 10 of all
Rotational Shoulder Press
Alternating Dumbbell Rows
Tricep Pulls
Chest Press on Stability Ball

3 x 21s- 7 x forearm lifts, 7 x bicep curls, 7 x overhead press

Friday: 6 miles with 4 miles at Marathon Pace (9:05-9:10/mile)

It was incredibly beautiful outside today so I was finally able to run during lunch again. I went running with my roommate and told her I had to run 6 miles with 4 miles at marathon pace (9:05-9:10/mile). Well, we ran one of the miles at MP but the rest were faster.

Plan: 6 miles with 4 miles at MP (9:05-9:10/mile)
Actual: 6 miles in 53:08 at 8:51/mile average
Splits: 
(1) 8:55
(2) 8:38
(3) 8:55
(4) 9:09
(5) 8:48
(6) 8:43

Shoes: Asics Kayano 19
Conditions: PERFECT

Saturday: 4 miles, easy

I felt AMAZING on this run which was really surprising because I may have had one too many beers last night. My legs felt so fresh and I just felt like flying. I was supposed to run super easy to shakeout before tomorrow’s long run but I just decided to go with it.

Plan: 4 miles, easy
Actual: 4.04 miles in 33:46 @ 8:21/mile
Splits: 
(1) 9:14/mile
(2) 8:14/mile
(3) 8:15/mile
(4) 7:44/mile

Shoes: Asics Gel Kayano 19
Conditions: 73 degrees, sunny, 42 percent humidity

Sunday: 16 miles with 2 miles fast finish

This was my first actual long run in two weeks due to scheduling/racing/surprise thunderstorms. I was pretty nervous it wasn’t going to go well but I think this was the best long run I’ve had in my MCM training cycle. I felt really great the whole time, my fueling was on point, and my breathing was good. My paces look a little all over the place but that’s because this is an extremely hilly route I run. I decided to try for a 2-mile fast finish and nailed it. So happy!

Plan: 16 miles LSD
Actual: 16 miles in 2:30:25 at 9:24/mile average pace
Splits: 
(1) 9:50 (2) 9:11 (3) 9:25 (4) 9:37 (5) 9:47 (6) 9:48 (7) 9:29 (8) 9:17 (9) 9:37 (10) 9:25 (11) 9:19 (12) 9:32 (13) 9:33 (14) 9:17 (15) 8:54 (16) 8:21

Shoes: Asics Gel Kayano 19
Conditions: Started off kind of cool, 68 degrees and overcast but warmed up to 75 degrees with 66 percent humidity and full sun by the end.

Weekly mileage total: 36 miles

See all weekly training recaps here.

On Running Faster than Marathon Pace

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

I have a confession to make. A run confession. I think I’m selling myself short with my training for Marine Corps.

Let me explain. In the year and a half that I’ve been running, I’ve never once set a time goal for a race, and I’ve especially never set a time goal for a marathon. I mean with a marathon, there are 26.2 miles of opportunities to make a mistake that could completely sabotage any time goal you had at the starting line. Not only that, there are 16 to 18 weeks of training to make mistakes that could prevent you from even getting to that starting line. So yes, the marathon is an intimidating distance and honestly, setting a time goal has me freaking out a bit. Ok, a lot.

I ran my first marathon at Big Sur this past April, just over a year after I ran my first mile. I ran a very conservative (i.e. slow) 4:33. I went out very slow because I knew the hills that were ahead of me were going to be tough but thanks to my by-the-book training I was more than prepared for Highway 1’s hardest inclines.

When it came time to pick a training plan for the Marine Corps Marathon I wanted to set a time goal. I knew I would be able to beat my Big Sur time but I wasn’t sure by how much. Based on some advice from coworkers, I thought breaking 4:15 would be reasonable- that’s a 9:44/mile marathon pace.

I’m five weeks into the training plan and have been running all of my training runs much faster than the prescribed pace. I know this is generally a major no-no in marathon training but it isn’t feeling hard. When my plan tells me to run 4 miles easy at 10:34/mile pace and I go out and run 4 miles at 8:45/mile pace and it feels easy I don’t think I should have to scale it back.

According to my training plan I should be running my long runs at 10:40-12:10/mile pace, which to me feels more than painfully slow. I tend to average between 9:20-9:30/mile pace for long runs and that feels good.

So what does this mean? Do I need to readjust my race goals? Should I stick to following the paces on my plan? Or should I stick to my faster paces that feel comfortable and hope I don’t hit the wall on race day?

The reason I didn’t set a harder goal in the first place is because I was scared. I considered setting a goal of breaking or going just over 4 hours but then I came to the realization that would be a 33-minute PR, which is huge. I’m very new to marathoning and I still consider myself a beginner runner, but when I look down at the paces on my Garmin I realize, I am getting better. I’m getting faster.

I’ve decided to continue with this plan by following the mileage and most of the workouts but going with the paces that feel comfortable to me. If that means I’m running my easy runs at 8:45/mile instead of 10:32/mile so be it.

As far as any new time goals, I may just keep that one to myself for now!

What do you think I should do? Re-adjust my time goal or stick to this one and see what happens race day?

Marine Corps Marathon Training Week Five

LVRR 5K 2This was another busy week of training but it went well. I went back to boot camp on Monday night for strength training- I hadn’t been in a few weeks due to scheduling conflicts- but it felt good to be back. The only problem is the session left me with dead legs for practically the whole week. It didn’t help that I had a high mileage week last week too and decided to run a 5K Wednesday night but my legs were thankful for the full rest day on Thursday

Monday: XT

Vinyasa flow yoga class- 45 minutes

  • Was able to do a full backbend. Yay!

Boot camp- 40 minutes

  • Did four circuits of no repeat exercises

Tuesday: 4 miles, easy

My legs were absolute DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) city after yesterday’s double strength training workout. I went on the run with my roommate who was also really sore from yesterday’s workout too so we decided to take it super easy. Then, the route we took had us go straight through Musikfest (a week-long outdoor music festival in Bethlehem) and there were so many people we had to dodge for about 1.5 miles. But it was good, we needed to take it easy.

Plan: 4 miles, easy
Actual: 4 miles in 37:40 at 9:25/mile pace
Splits:
(1) 9:42/mile
(2) 9:24/mile
(3) 9:00/mile
(4) 9:24/mile

Shoes: Asics Gel Kayano 19
Conditions: 70 degrees, overcast

Wednesday: Double run day, 6 miles total

Run 1- 3 miles easy

Went for my first run of the day at lunch. I had 6 miles total on the schedule today but I wanted to run the free 5K in the parkway at night so I decided to split up my miles. My legs were still pretty tired from Monday’s strength training (pathetic, I know) so I may have to re-think doing a double strength training day going forward.

Plan: 3 miles, easy
Actual: 3 miles in 24:48 at 8:16/mile (kind of too fast)
Splits:
(1) 8:58/mile
(2) 8:10/mile
(3) 7:40/mile

Shoes: Asics GT-1000 2 (not loving these)

Run 2- 3.1 miles at the Lehigh Valley Road Runners Summer Series 5K

I ran the Lehigh Valley Road Runners free 5K in the Parkway and felt really good. I went to this with the intention of not racing AT ALL and trying to just jog it, maybe 9:20/mile pace. Well, that didn’t happen. I ended up going faster than intended but definitely still not racing. I had more in the tank for sure at the end but I had a lot of fun. Just a fun little Wednesday night race!

Plan: 3 miles, super easy
Actual: 3.1 miles in 26:04 at 8:24/mile pace
Splits:
(1) 8:22/mile
(2) 8:24/mile
(3) 8:34/mile

Shoes: Saucony Fastwitch 6

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 6 miles with 2 miles at Marathon Pace

I was really happy with the results of my first marathon pace run. I was supposed to do 6 miles with 2 miles at marathon pace, which for the break-4:15 plan is 9:44/mile. Well, my paces lately have been much faster than the paces my plan has been calling for so I decided to make some adjustments.

Plan: 6 miles with 2 miles at marathon pace (9:44/mile)
Actual: 6 miles with 2.4 miles at “marathon pace” (8:41/mile)
Splits:
20 min warmup at 9:13/mile pace, roughly 2.06 miles
20 min at marathon pace, 8:41/mile, roughly 2.40 miles
15 min cool down at 9:13/mile pace, roughly 1.6 miles

Shoes: Asics Gel Kayano 19
Conditions: indoors, I did this workout on the treadmill so I would have better control over my paces.

Saturday: 4 miles, easy

I was helping to cover Worlds for Runner’s World all morning so I didn’t get out to do my run until the early evening. I felt pretty good but it was extremely hot out. The sun was strong but it wasn’t as humid as it has been.

Plan: 4 miles, easy
Actual: 4 miles in 35:01 at 8:45/mile pace
Splits:
(1) 9:18/mile
(2) 8:35/mile
(3) 8:50/mile
(4) 8:17/mile

Shoes: Asics Gel Kayano 19

Sunday: 16 miles, long slow distance

Today’s long run was a lesson in pacing. I did the first 10 miles of my long run with a group training for our Runner’s World Half. I felt pretty good but was very tired because we started early. We did the run on a rail trail and I was running with one of my coworkers who set a much faster pace than I’m used to for long runs and it showed toward the end of my run where my pace slowed drastically. I was kind of disappointed in myself during this run. I’m usually much better at holding a steady pace so maybe I’m better off doing long runs solo. After doing 10 with the group I added on with four of my coworkers to get the 16. I was completely cooked at the end.

Plan: 16 miles, long slow distance (10:40-11:30/mile pace according to my plan)
Actual: 15.6 miles in 2:25:37 at 9:20/mile pace
Splits:
(1) 8:55 (2) 8:47 (3) 9:03 (4) 8:58 (5) 9:22 (6) 9:22 (7) 9:28 (8) 9:16 (9) 9:31 (10) 9:46 (11) 9:48 (12) 10:03 (13) 9:06 (14) 9:28 (15) 9:31 (16) 5:11 (for 0.60)

Shoes: Asics Gel Kayano 19

Weekly mileage: 36 miles

See all training recaps here.

Marine Corps Marathon Training Weeks Three and Four

My home for the past week!

My home for the past week!

First off I have to apologize for the temporary blogging hiatus! I was on vacation with my family and was trying to completely unplug (OK, I sent out a few tweets here and there) but I really wanted my time away to be spent with family, friends, and the beach so I missed blogging about week three of Marine Corps training. But not to fret, luckily in these past two weeks of training I’ve learn A LOT so I have a quite a few blog post ideas in the works for the upcoming weeks. Also, I can’t even believe it but Hood to Coast is only a few weeks away so I’ll be writing updates about that (including my packing list, fave Nuun flavors that’ll keep me going long, and much more).

Anyway, training for Marine Corps has been going very well. My paces are far faster than what I was doing when training for Big Sur (more on that later) and I should probably take it easy to keep my goals in perspective but I’m having way too much fun with my newfound speedy legs. I’m also proud to report that I didn’t miss A SINGLE training run during my vacation. My runs weren’t exactly in order but I got all of the miles in, so I’d say that’s a win. The beach air was a refreshing change from the humidity and heat wave we had a few weeks ago so I was feeling really good.

Week Three- July 22 – July 28

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 2 runs, 1 day

Run #1- This was my first lunchtime run in awhile and it might be my last for the summer. It was so incredibly hot and I just felt pretty bad the whole time. I had to split up my runs today and do a double because I’m going to a group run tonight that’s only doing 3 miles, I have 6 on my training plan.

Plan: 3 miles easy
Actual: 3 miles in 26:13 at 8:44/mile pace
Splits:
(1) 8:50/mile
(2) 8:33/mile
(3) 8:12/mile

Conditions: 81 degrees sunny and 65 percent humidity
Shoes: Asics Kayano 19

Run #2- Did an easy group run out of the local running store tonight. It was a lot of fun too! Newton running was sponsoring the run and we ran 1.5 miles out to the Little Lehigh River with a cup, had to fill the cup with water, and then run back to the store dropping as little water a possible. I have no idea what my splits were but it was a blast!

Plan: 3 miles, easy

Actual: 3 miles in 27:00 roughly 9:00/mile pace

Wednesday: 3 mile track workout

It was a beautiful night for a track workout! My right hip flexor has been super tight so I decided to take it a little easier on the intervals. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do for the workout when I first got to the track since my plan only called for 3 miles, easy but I decided on 2×400, 2×800, 2×400.

Plan: 3 miles, easy (10:40/mile according to my training plan)
Actual: 3 miles in 25 minutes at 7:41/mile pace
Splits:
1-mile warmup at 8:55/mile pace
400m- 1:42
400m- 1:43
800m- 3:40
800m- 3:33
400m- 1:41
400m- 1:40

Conditions: 72 degrees, strong headwind
Shoes: Saucony Fastwitch 6

Thursday: 6 miles, easy

It was absolutely perfect running weather today at lunch. I thought I was going to run before work but when I realized it was only going to be 65 degrees at lunch, I opted to wait. It was supposed to be a rest day and my plan had me running 6 on Friday but I’m traveling a lot tomorrow so I didn’t want to be extra tired.

Plan: 6 miles, easy
Actual: 6 miles in 53:46 at 8:57/mile pace
Splits:
(1) 9:24/mile
(2) 8:54/mile
(3) 9:00/mile
(4) 8:55/mile
(5) 8:45/mile
(6) 8:45/mile

Shoes: Asic GT-1000 2s
Conditions: PERFECT! (65 degrees, overcast, basically zero humidity)

Friday: Rest/Travel Day

Saturday: 3 mile shakeout and strength training

I went to the gym with my sister so I did my 3 miles on the treadmill. I felt like I could have gone forever but needed to save some juice for Sunday’s long run. Not really sure what my splits were exactly but I felt great.

Plan: 3 miles, easy pace
Actual: 3 miles in 26:38 (8:52/mile pace)

Shoes: Asics GT-1000 2

Strengthening: I did two circuits of the standard core routine followed by 2×12 rows with 10lb weights and 2×8 rotating shoulder presses with 10lb weights.

Sunday: Unintended rest day to spend with the family, moved my long run to Monday.

Week Four: July 29 – August 4

Monday: 13-mile long run

I was supposed to do this long run yesterday but I’m on vacation and thought, why not do it Monday? Also, my right hip has been feeling a little funky lately, very tight and sore, so I thought I could benefit from the extra rest day. So I did it today and felt great. The majority of my run was along the ocean and through the harbor and by Nubble Light House. I felt really strong and this actually ended up being a 2-minute half-marathon (unofficial) PR.

Plan: 13 miles, easy
Actual: 13 miles in 2:00:15 at 9:15/mile pace
Splits:
(1) 9:48/mile (2) 9:11/mile (3) 9:23/mile (4) 9:18/mile (5) 9:10/mile (6) 9:02/mile (7) 9:29/mile (8) 9:23/mile (9) 9:13/mile (10) 9:16/mile (11) 9:23/mile (12) 9:05/mile (13) 8:35/mile

Shoes: Asics GT-1000 2
Conditions: 66 degrees, overcast

Tuesday: 3-mile shakeout run

This was supposed to be a post-long run shakeout but I just felt so great so I decided to kick it up a notch. I was also running along the ocean so that got me pretty excited for the run too.

Plan: 3 miles, easy shakeout
Actual: 3 miles in 24:47 at 8:15/mile pace
Splits:
(1) 8:46/mile
(2) 8:13/mile
(3) 7:45/mile

Shoes: Asics Gel Kayano 19
Conditions: 70 degrees sunny, no humidity

Wednesday: 6 miles

This was another really great vacation run. I ran to the harbor and onto this little island full of trails. I stopped a few times just to take in the sights but it was absolutely beautiful.

Plan: 6 miles, easy
Actual: 6 miles in 52:43 at 8:47/mile pace
Splits:
(1) 8:57/mile
(2) 8:44/mile
(3) 9:16/mile (trail mile, I’m really slow on trails)
(4) 9:01/mile
(5) 8:29/mile
(6) 8:14/mile

Shoes: Asics GT-1000 2
Conditions: 70 degrees, zero humidity, slight headwind, and sunny

Thursday: Rest Day with 2.5-mile beach walk

Friday: 5 miles, hills

I did my 5-mile lighthouse loop run this morning and felt really good. I thought it was going to be a bit cooler out but it was pretty humid so I was dripping by the end of the run. In the last mile though I felt a bit of a cramp in my left hamstring which made me stop to stretch but after stretching it felt fine, thank god.

Plan: 5ish miles easy
Actual: 5.05 miles in 43:47 at 8:40/mile pace
Splits:
(1) 9:06/mile
(2) 8:41/mile
(3) 8:39/mile
(4) 8:34/mile
(5) 8:22/mile

Shoes: Asics Gel Kayano 19
Conditions: 69 degrees, overcast with 87 percent humidity

Saturday: Rest Day

Sunday: 10 mile, long run

I took a nice early morning run around my hometown before traveling back to PA. I just did my usual out and back and felt really great. The temps were absolutely perfect and there was nearly no one on the road.

Plan: 10 miles, easy
Actual: 10 miles in 1:29:44 at 8:58/mile pace
Splits:
(1) 9:01 (2) 8:58 (3) 9:03 (4) 9:14 (5) 8:36 (6) 9:00 (7) 8:54 (8) 9:14 (9) 8:54 (10) 8:46

Shoes: Asics Gel Kayano 19

Week Three Mileage: 18 miles

Week Four Mileage: 37 miles

See all training recaps here.

Marine Corps Marathon Training Week 2

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

This week of training can be defined by two words: heat wave. But I’m not going to complain too much about it here because I’m honestly tired of talking about the weather. It is what it is and everyone is dealing with it, it’s just a little bit harder on us crazy marathoners because we voluntarily run and strain ourselves in this weather so we really can’t complain about it. But a hard summer makes for a strong fall, right? Anyway, besides the heat, this was a pretty solid week of training.

Monday- Cross-training at Bootcamp.

45 minutes of strength training. We did five circuits of no-repeat exercises.

Tuesday- 5 miles, easy

I did not want to wake up early for this run but I’m so glad I did. It wasn’t too hot when I left my apartment and the forecast for later on in the day would be 95-97 degrees and humid. It was pretty humid out which made breathing hard but overall it was a good run.

Plan: 5 miles, easy at 10:40/mile pace
Actual: 5 miles in 43:05 at 8:37/mile pace
Splits:
(1) 9:15/mile
(2) 8:30/mile
(3) 8:29/mile
(4) 8:41/mile
(5) 8:09/mile

Shoe: Asics Gel Kayano 19

Wednesday- Speedwork – 3.5 miles total

My training plan called for 3 miles easy today but I really wanted to do speedwork. I waited until after work to head to the track and it wasn’t as bad temperature-wise as I was expecting. I felt surprisingly great and my times on these intervals were all faster than when I did this same workout three weeks ago in 15 degree cooler weather.

Plan: 3 miles, easy (10:40/mile pace)
Actual: 3.5 miles
1-mile warmup at 8:50/mile pace
8x400m-
(1) 1:42.0
(2) 1:39.8
(3) 1:37.7
(4) 1:36.9
(5) 1:38.0
(6) 1:36.1
(7) 1:36.5
(8) 1:32.4
0.5-mile cool down

Shoe: Saucony Fastwitch 6

Thursday- Rest Day

Did Lululemon’s Yoga for Runners

Friday- 5 miles, easy

It was really tough out there this morning. It was only 75 degrees but it was also 88 percent humidity. I had a really difficult time breathing during the entire run. At 4.3 miles I had to stop because I had a pretty bad cramp in my diaphragm and an old man driving by offered me water. That act of kindness pushed me forward to finish the run strong. My pacing was kind of all over the place during this run but oh well.

Plan: 5 miles, easy (10:40/mile pace)
Actual: 5 miles, easy (8:49/mile pace)
Splits:
(1) 9:32/mile
(2) 8:37/mile
(3) 8:50/mile
(4) 8:55/mile
(5) 8:14/mile

Conditions: 75 degrees, 88 percent humidity, air quality alert
Shoe: Asice GT-1000 2 (testing for RW)

Saturday- 3 miles, easy

It was another hot one out there this morning. I slept in a little so I didn’t get out until 10ish. It wasn’t as humid as yesterday but it was still pretty muggy. I was really overheated at 2.77 miles so I decided to finish with 100m strides so it would be over faster.

Plan: 3 miles, easy (10:40/mile)
Actual: 3 miles (with 2x100m strides) in 25:52.1 (8:37/mile pace)
Splits:
(1) 9:00/mile
(2) 8:50/mile
(3) 8:00/mile

Conditions: 82 degrees with 69% humidity
Shoes: Nike Vomero 8 (testing for RW)

Core- 20 minutes of two rounds of the Standard Core Routine

Sunday- 12 miles, long slow distance

I left my apartment early to get my long run in before the humidity and heat got the best of the day. My paces were more or less even which was really good. My legs felt great but even though it was a lot cooler this morning than it has been, the humidity was killing me and I had a hard time cooling my head down. I’m going to have to work on that. Maybe wear a hat with ice cubes? I also almost ran out of water so I’m going to have to keep that in mind on my longer long runs.

Plan: 12 miles, at LSD pace (10:40-12:10/mile according to my training plan)
Actual: 12 miles, in 1:51:32 (9:17/mile pace)
Splits:
(1) 9:38/mile (2) 9:00/mile (3) 9:16/mile (4) 9:22/mile (5) 9:22/mile (6) 9:26/mile (7) 9:21/mile (8) 9:22/mile (9) 9:33/mile (all hills) (10) 9:17/mile (11) 9:11/mile (12) 8:43/mile

Total mileage: 29 miles

See all weekly training recaps here.

{Monday Motivation} Convince Your Mind

Running is not a physical sport, it’s a mind game. Ok, that’s not 100 percent true but how many times have you been on a hard run and thought to yourself, I can’t do it. You barter with yourself, “Well, if I run to that mailbox, I can take a break…” or, “Maybe I just need to stretch against that street sign for a bit…” or, “I can’t finish this long run, what if I just finish a little early, that’ll count right?”

Your brain is the most important muscle to work during marathon training. Over 26.2 miles the mind can come up with all kinds of excuses to give up, throw in the towel  and just head for the massage table. But you can’t let it. I had my first long run of Marine Corps training yesterday and it was a boiling 90 degrees when I left my apartment. Believe me, I would have much rather stayed at home in air conditioned luxury but my training was more important. I wanted to quit but I didn’t. I’m sure there will be times in October when I’ll want to quit too but I won’t. I powered through my long run and ran my fastest long run average pace ever. Success like that is so much sweeter than giving in to the mind games. Happy running this week, y’all! Stay cool and hydrated!

(source: Pinterest)

(source: Pinterest)

Marine Corps Marathon Training Week 1

From the Lehigh Valley Summer Series 5K this week.

From the Lehigh Valley Summer Series 5K this week.

This week was a solid week of training. It was low mileage to kick off training but I felt pretty great on all of my runs. I truly believe the first week of any training program is telling of how the rest of the cycle will be. There’s always room for tweaking and improvements in the following months but you learn a lot in that first week. I learned I’m going to have trouble with the paces given on my training plan, not because they’re too fast, but because they are much slower than my comfortable running pace. I’m going to make some changes with this plan along the way and it’s only the beginning so we’ll see how this training plan goes.

Monday- Cross-training at Bootcamp

45 minutes of strengthening exercises. We did four circuits of no repeat exercises.

Tuesday- 5 miles, easy

Went for a pre-work run with my roommate. We wanted to take it easy, especially since we both went to boot camp last night. My legs felt surprisingly good, although breathing and sweating were an issue. Ahh, summer training.

Plan- 5 miles at easy pace (10:40/mile)
Actual- 5 miles in 43:40 (8:44/mile)
Mile Splits-
(1) 9:18/mile
(2) 8:48/mile
(3) 8:50/mile
(4) 8:48/mile
(5) 8:04/mile

Shoes: Asics Gel Flux

Wednesday- Lehigh Valley Parkway 5K

I was by no means racing this 5K. It’s a fun, free 5K put on in the Parkway the first Wednesday of each month and this was the only one I was going to be able to make this summer. It was a lot of fun, but it was extremely hot (86 degrees at the start) and incredibly humid. I was dripping by the end. I felt good though!

Planned: 3 miles easy (10:40/mile pace according to my training plan)
Actual: 3.14 miles in 27:34 (8:46/mile pace)
Splits:
(1) 9:01/mile
(2) 8:27/mile (got a little excited here and had to pull in the reins)
(3) 9:03/mile

Shoe: Saucony Fastwitch 6

Thursday- FULL rest day

I was going to go to gentle flow yoga after work to stretch out a bit but it was cancelled.

Friday- 5 miles, easy

This was the first lunch run I’ve been able to do in awhile since it wasn’t 90 degrees or more. It was really relaxing and enjoyable, a nice break in the day.

Plan: 5 miles, easy (11:45/mile pace according to my training plan)
Actual: 5 miles in 44:13 at 8:50/mile average pace
Splits:
(1) 8:55/mile
(2) 8:43/mile
(3) 8:52/mile
(4) 8:58/mile
(5) 8:45/mile

Shoe: Asics Gel Flux

Saturday- 3 miles, easy

Took a short run along the canal with my roommate and her friend. It was a really good run. Again, my training plan had me running 3 miles at easy pace (10:40/mile) but I ran considerably faster and it felt easy.

Plan: 3 miles, easy at 10:40/mile
Actual: 3 miles in 26:12 at 8:44/mile pace
Splits:
(1) 9:04/mile
(2) 8:40/mile
(3) 8:27/mile

Shoes: Asics Gel Flux

Sunday- 10 mile long run

This was the first long run of Marine Corps training and it went pretty well. I left my apartment at 10 a.m. which was probably wayyy too late to head out for a summer long run but heat training is always good. I did my 10 miles and finished with 4x100m strides.

Plan: 10 miles, long slow distance at 10:40-11:45/mile pace (according to my plan)
Actual: 10.2 miles, LSD with 4x100m strides in 1:31:50 (9:00/mile pace)
Splits:
(1) 9:28
(2) 8:47
(3) 8:56
(4) 9:12
(5) 9:21
(6) 9:22
(7) 9:02
(8) 9:35
(9) 9:02
(10) 9:00

Shoes: Asics Gel Flux

Total mileage: 26 miles

See all weekly training recaps here.