Today I had my last tempo run. 2 miles warm up, then 3x 1200 at tempo pace, 2 miles CD.

And wow -- I felt like I wasn't running inside my own body. My head is mildly fuzzy, and my legs feel like they've run a 1/2 marathon. And my lungs are working hard! Not a VO2 max hard, but you can actually hear my breathing on the repeats... which rarely happens at tempo pace now.

After the last rep, I put on my headphones and the first words I heard: "That What Doesnt Kill Me... Makes Me Stronger", by Kanye West. No joke! How absolutely fitting :)

We got home and I rummaged around the house looking for something, ANYTHING, I could drink besides water. I swear I have a packet of Crystal Light somewhere? What about low sugar cocoa, is that legal? Nate steps up behind me and opens a cold can of Sierra Mist and hands it to me. I'm sure I looked like a kid on Chrismas morning. It was absolute bliss to have sparkling, cold, pure sugar in my mouth :)

So, yes, guess you can say I cheated. But it was TOTALLY worth it.


Carb Depletion

= not fun.

I'm through day 1.5, and my brain is a little fuzzy (could be sleep related, or that work is a little crazy, but I don't think so). Looking forward to Thursday when the "all carb" plan kicks in! At least then I'll have more options for meals and snacks. Eating salad, chicken, PB, and hard boiled eggs gets old pretty quickly...

I've decided that Sunday night after the race I'm making a huge batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies. They'll be gooey, melt-in-your-mouth delicious, I can't wait :)


Less than a week to go!

My husband's alarm went off at 6:00 this morning, and as I was trying to fall back asleep (I don't wake up until later), my heart raced -- out of excitement and nervousness for the marathon :). I fell back asleep visualizing the excitement of the beginning of the race. Nervous energy from everyone around the start, the cool feeling of crisp fall air (weather is supposed to be absolutely PERFECT, I am SOOO excited), etc. I'm getting butterflies in my stomach now just thinking about it!!

One week to go... wow.

I raced the "For Pete's Sake" 5k on Saturday, which was a lot of fun. My legs felt really dead, though. I was surprised, because I feel like they're getting their spring back on my normal/easy runs, so wasn't expecting the tiredness/no-push-off feeling. I still managed an 18 flat, but it wasn't easy or pretty.

Sunday's "long run" was 13 with 2x10 mins of tempo in it. That felt effortless. I smiled throughout. How fun!! So I think the legs are coming around, they just probably aren't rested enough to have the power/spring for a fast 5k.

This week's focus is on recovery, sleep, hydration, and preparing myself mentally. One of the things I needed to do is look through my log from my last marathon. Here's a quick recap:

For Des Moines, I logged 5 20+ mile runs, 2 that had 9+ miles at marathon pace, and 1 that had a couple miles at MP thrown in at the end. I had a lot more speed in that cycle (which would explain why this cycle I haven't been able to race fast 5ks like I was then), but a LOT more up and down in mileage. I can't tell you how many times my log said, "unmotivated" or "feeling tired/sick". My mileage would be good for about 6-7 days, and then I'd have 2-3 days where I wouldn't do much of anything.

Compare that to this cycle. I've had 6 weeks above 70 miles (vs. 2 for Des Moines). In the 12 weeks leading up to the marathon, I've logged 738 miles. For Des Moines, it was 669. If you just look at 11 weeks, the comparison is more stark: 603 miles for DM, 713 to TCM (I wasn't able to run higher miles until 10 weeks to race day). I've had 4 20+ runs this cycle, as well as 2 19 milers. In a lot of these long runs, I've had a lot more tempo pace work -- the intensity has definitely been much higher on these than during the DM cycle. Take the "Epic Sunday Run", for example. I didn't think a long run like that was even possible. Although I don't feel as "fast" as I did before Des Moines, I feel much stronger. This could be because I've added in a 2x/week strength session into my training plan (still can improve upon that, but it's a start), or becuase of the amount of tempo work I've done. I feel strong and efficient when running 6:00-6:30 pace. Having done all of the tempo work makes marathon pace feel much easier!!

The one thing missing from this cycle has been that "wow, look at what I'm doing! look at how I'm racing!" feeling. I've lost that mental positivity, which is a huge edge when racing. I've been really working on this the last few weeks, during every workout and race. It's getting better. For exmple, when I ran at tempo pace on sunday I made sure to concentrate on how effortless it was, feeling strong/fit/fast, etc, pictured myself feeling that way during the marathon, and I found myself smiling to myself during the workout -- need to do that more often!! I still have a lot of work to do, though. Take the 5k for example -- I should be really happy with an 18 minute on legs that wouldn't move! Instead, I found myself thinking: Would have liked to have been faster, wonder why the legs aren't feeling good?

I know the mental game will come. I need to remember how well this cycle has gone (just look at the comparison to DM's cycle!) and that I CAN and WILL have a great race at TCM.


Excited to race tomorrow!

Hope tomorrow's 5k goes well!

My legs are starting to come around, which is fun. My right hamstring has been tight this last week, which is moderately concerning. I tore it in the summer of 2005 and every once in a while it tightens up on me. Luckily, I've gotten really good at caring for it (heat & deep massage from Nate have usually done the trick every time), so I'm not too concerned. Other than that, I can tell I'm starting to taper. Yeah! My legs have that "not quite ready" but starting to feel fast underneath. Sort of that groggy/sleepy feeling. I'm not sure if that makes sense at all...

So -- not sure what to have as a goal tomorrow. I think I'll just go out & go hard. And cheer for my mom and dad when they finish :)


1.5 weeks to go!

Wow... that's crazy! I'm starting to get really excited!!

This week will be a 50-60 mile week, and then I'll taper to 20-27 the week of the marathon. In a way, that's scary (I'm not strong enough! I haven't worked hard enough! That's what I always find myself saying during a taper), but in a way I'm ready. Ready enough to give a good hard effort and see where that gets me, anyway.

Later this week I'll spend some time re-reading a few good marathoning books, reading up on the pre-marathon carbo load (I think I'm going to try the 3 day no-carb, 3 day all-carb diet, anyone know any good resources?). I'll also spend time mentally preparing myself for the course (last time I did TCM it was awful, and I still have some bad feeling associated with the race) and fully map out my strategy (negative split? What's my exact goal finish time? Is it still 2:50?). I'm not sure what my goal time should be, or how I should "plan" to run. Obviously, everything can change once the race starts, but it's nice to have a defined plan going into the race.

Lots to do!

Although I'll spend a bit of time on all of this, I also want to make sure I'm not dwelling on the race too much. All of my best races have been in races where I've had a light-hearted, positive, no-pressure to perform attitude. I definitely want that. I know this marathon isn't the end-all, it's just a test run to see where a solid couple of months of training have gotten me (is that bad grammar? Oh well.). This summer has been a "train to train" cycle, and although it's made me strong (I've probably done more this summer than any other cycle), I feel like I can do so much more! So it's exciting to be able to race to see where I'm at, but know that I have a lot of upside potential.

Lots more to come on race-prep and getting the legs to feel fresh and fast!!!

P.S. I'm doing a 5k on Saturday -- the For Pete's Sake 5k in Hudson, WI. Not only am I excited to see where my 5k time will be now, but I'm really excited that my MOM AND DAD are going to do it! My mom called me yesterday to see if my registration had been mailed yet. There's a "family rate", so it costs the same to register 4 people as it is 2. It hadn't been picked up from the mail room yet, so I quick ran down and entered the two of them :). I think it's super fun she asked about it! They did their first 5k in May, and before that my mom had NEVER run. Now she'll be a seasoned 5ker!

The coolest part is that it's my Dad's 52nd birthday the day of the race, and his name is Pete. How cool is it to do the "For Pete's Sake" 5k?!?! :) :) :)



Argh. Why do I do this??

Tonight's VO2 max was 8x800m. 1st time I've done 800s during this cycle, so I didn't really know what to expect. I consulted my "advanced marathoning" book, and it told me to shoot for 2:48s.

Plus, I knew in the back of my mind that, per the "Yasso 800" workout, if I were to do 10x800 in 2:50, it'd be a good predictor of a 2:50 marathon. So 2:48 seemed like a good goal.

So, after a longer warm-up, that's what I did. 2:49 1st one, then a couple of 2:50s (which I told myself was OK, since that's my goal marathon time), then 2:48, 2:48. I gave myself 2 minutes rest between each one. I really only needed about 45 seconds (thank you, tempo workouts for teaching my body to recover VERY quickly).

So after the 2:48, when I looked at my watch 45 seconds into the recovery jog, a lightbulb went off. I wasn't tired. Seriously -- what am I doing out here, if I'm not even going to run hard enough to make it worth it? Let's forget the "goal paces" for the last three & just run hard.


Much better, and I was actually tired after them. Who knew? Wish I would have run them all this way.

Why do I do this? I feel like now I run too conservatively, always hitting my times, but holding back until too late because I'm not sure I'm going to be able to finish all of them. And then I do what I did tonight -- I feel like I've wasted a workout. Granted, tonight wasn't "wasted" -- but it could have been a LOT harder.

So, in short, I have a lot of mental confidence to build in the next two weeks. I know I need to believe in my ability and trust that I can do it. I also need to be confident enough to race with reckless abandon, knowing that it'll hurt, but not caring because you know you're strong & can push through. I know I used to have it, so it's there -- I just need to find it again.

After all, "to put it simply, I think that this [racing with reckless abandon] is the difference between being good and being great.", Jen Rhines, Runner's World article 2008, talking about why her track racing was suffering.

Good to realize it during tonight's workout. I don't just want a "good" time at Twin Cities :)


Another tempo run in the "bank"

Time's winding down: just a little over 2.5 weeks to race day! That means I get to count down the hard workouts I have left. What a fun feeling.

Tonight's Tuesday Tempo run was 2x20 minutes, with a warm up, 2.5 miles in between, and a CD, it totalled 13.5 miles. Although my legs were a little tired from Sunday's "epic" workout, they weren't too bad. I did the first one alone, finishing 3.28 miles in the 20 minutes (did 5k in 19:00) (6:07 pace). My legs burned a little the last 2-3 minutes (just tired), but my lungs felt really strong. I jogged back home during the rest in between to pick up Nate, and he came out for the second 20 minuter. So nice to do it along side someone!! The time passes a lot quicker. He went for 15:20 with me, and then met me with a minute to go. Again, my lungs felt really strong -- I was really surprised to end the 20 minutes with a 6:01 average pace. WOW! That's an 18:41 5k, which isn't too shabby.

All in all, not a bad night! And now I'm also one more tempo workout closer to race day!! Sweet!


Epic Sunday Run!

2 mile warmup
4x5 minutes at tempo, with 1 min rest
10 miles at marathon pace
4x5 minutes at tempo, with 1 min rest
2 mile CD

WOW. I honestly didn't think I could do this... usually my Tuesday tempo runs have 40 or so minutes of tempo in them. This workout had that PLUS 10 miles at marathon pace.

But I did it! And mostly within my target times (the last tempo pace runs were 2-3 seconds slow, I had nothing left). Hu-rah!!!

Bring on the marathon :)

(actually, first let's bring on the taper! I'm sooo excited to cut back and see how the legs feel!! Also very excited to have more time to catch up with everything I've been putting off...)


Too busy


I don't know what about the last two weeks has made time FLY by...

Is it because Nate's working now? He started as a dentist in Faribault two weeks ago. He loves it, but the commute from our house in RW is pretty long. It makes for pretty late nights if he has long cases, lots of charting to finish, continuing education courses, etc.

Is it because my work at RWSC is really crazy right now? Within the month, I'll need to have all budgeting work finished for my two business units. Sales, margin, monthly splits, advertising budgets, discounts... you name it. Honestly, it's a little overwhelming, and I feel like I should be working all the time.

Is it because I'm running 80+ miles a week? Take last night, for example. I came home around 6:30pm, quick ate something, and then headed out for a 5.5 mile run before coming back home to meet Nate (he didn't want to do all of my miles for the workout). We did another 2 miles, and then started a 6x6 minute tempo workout, and then a 2 mile CD. Guess I hadn't added that up before the run, but that's 15.5 miles. On top of a 10.5 hour work day.

Or maybe it's the fact that Finn Sisu is starting to ramp up, with the grand opening this weekend. I'm wrapping up with the trail team coaching and trying to manage the re-creation the website as well. Not to mention the fact that Nate and I are still deciding where we'd like to move to (somewhere in between Red Wing and Faribault)...

Too much :(

But, too busy to think about it... take it one day at a time. Another long day at work today, followed by an easier run (just 10 miles!) and a strength session. Uf.


Another workout that looked impossible...

And it went GREAT!

Like, seriously great. :)

I decided to do these on a treadmill becuase it was pouring out all evening. Nate snuck a picture, I'll post it later today. :)

Workout: 20 min warm up, 20 minute tempo, 20 minutes easy, 20 minutes tempo, 20 min CD

I thought to myself, there's no way... last week I couldn't make it through the 4x10 minutes of tempo! And prior to that, all of my tempo workouts were less than 6 minutes in length. 20 minutes tonight?!? And two of them?

But my legs felt GREAT, and my lungs weren't really working!! The first repeat finished, and I went 3.24 miles. That's 6:10 pace. The next I went to 6:06 pace, covering 3.28 miles (if it was just a 5k that would have been a 18:55). Again, I just felt strong. What a great feeling!!!

The last two workouts have been such confidence boosters for me -- keep 'em coming!