Just 4 days until the CHaD HERO Half Marathon

As you can tell from my lack of posting, I haven’t been digging deep into training for this race. I’m at that point where I look forward to going out the door and thinking to myself…how far do I feel like running today?

There are just 4 days left until the CHaD HERO Half Marathon. I have met my fundraising goal and soon thereafter, fundraising went stagnant. At least I met my goal! I’m not giving up though. Every dollar counts and I’ll keep trying.

Since I trained for most of this year for my previous races, this one I’ve pretty much deemed a fun run. My body is toast and damn it I love running but don’t always want to spend 2 1/2 hours a day doing it on the weekend. I have been running, mostly to maintain fitness. And will likely pay for it dearly. My weekday runs average 3-5 miles and my long run has been 8-12 miles. I’ve missed 2 of those runs due to being out-of-town. Bad excuse.

Even though this is a “fun” run for me and I haven’t done much visualizing for this race, I guess there are things I would love to achieve. The course is hilly and many consider tough, I hope to achieve a 2:23 or better. Part of that paying for it dearly thing I just mentioned. The 2:23 is my Big Lake Half Marathon time and that was a challenging course (for my 1st half marathon) and I managed a 2:15 at my last race, which had hills but was considerably flat for half the distance. I might also listen to music for this race, which will be a first. I usually have my Garmin and that’s it. Perhaps music will help me power through it. (Even though headphones are “banned” from the course–I always see people with headphones).

Along with not “seriously” training, the prior weeks have been filled with lots of indulgences and liquor. Travel indulgences. This has manifested in a few extra pounds for me to carry on race day. It’s time to reel it in and start deducting poundage or that’ll end up being a downward spiral. EEK! This week, I have been smarter with my diet and hydration. I’m increasing my carb intake and water. Eating clean and healthy. Fuel fuel fuel. Food is fuel. I know I can run the distance, I’ve trained enough for that. Now it’s a matter of how well. Whatever training I’ve done, I can’t change that now. With diet, I’m hoping to simply feel good and strong so I can actually enjoy this race.

Keep your eyes peeled next week for my race recap!

Keep running!

19 days til the CHaD HERO Half Marthon!

Time is ticking away and there are only 19 days until my last big race of the year. The CHaD HERO half marathon is on October 26th and my RB will also be running it. It’s the first half I do with a RB. We will likely split up during the race and meet at the finish. For my previous halfs I’ve listed my training plans week by week and recapped them. Not for this one. With so few weeks between my last half (Zooma Cape Cod) and this one, there isn’t much training really going on. I’m mostly maintaining fitness since I’ve already built up my training distance.

I’ve done several runs since the Zooma race. Yesterday, I ran 13.65 miles at a faster pace than my race last week! So much for a SLR. Anyway, by the end of that run my body was crying. I really struggled the last 2 miles and knew it was because I had just raced the weekend before. There were some major hills on the route I ran too. I decided not to push the last 1/2 mile needed to complete 14. I was initially only supposed to run 12. The last thing I need is an injury. My 13.1 time was a 2:14:16! Which is a PB for me for this distance, by about 1 1/2 minutes. Too bad it wasn’t a race.

Bonus was I found all this cha-ching $$$ on my run.

 

IMG_5126.JPG

Keep running!

Feetures! Elite Light Cushion No Show Tab (sock) Review

Please note: I’m not paid for this review and have no affiliation with Feetures! whatsoever. I simply was given this product as part of my Zooma Cape Cod race swag bag and felt I should share my experience with running with these socks for anyone who may be considering purchasing them. This post is genuinely my opinion.

elite-lcnst-matrix

I love to buy running gear. I hate spending my hard-earned dough on some of the items that I fawn over. Paying $15 for a pair of no show socks –eh–doesn’t fit into my budget when I like to have a ton of socks. So how did I get a pair of these? They were part of my race swag bag last month.

The Feetures! Elite “features” a compression arch design, referred to as the Power Arch. I have had socks with arch support, though nothing like this. The Power Arch really supports my high arches. Without these socks, my arches sometimes feel beat up or crampy post run and end up getting rolled out with a baseball or softball under my foot. I love the snug compression fit of the socks. The toe box of the sock don’t impede on my toes during the long runs either. Each pair has a designated left foot/right foot design maximizing comfort.

The Tab of the sock is great no matter which pair of running shoes I wear, the sock doesn’t slip down and cause a blister on the back of my heel.

There is just a tad of padding (ball and heel of foot) in these to make you feet feel cushioned. They also fit well into both pairs of my running shoes and don’t make my feet sweat.

IMG_5081

White & Pink

My feet LOVE these on long runs.

Another thing to add, they wash well. No pilling, no strings. This picture here on the right, is after they’ve been washed a few times.—>

I feel they are worthy of the investment and may even contribute to more happy runs vs. lost runs due to pain.

I feel like the only con to this product is the cost. $14.99 http://www.feeturesrunning.com. However, there are times that I feel quality over quantity prevails and the Feetures! Elite Light Cushion No Show Tab sock is definitely one of those items.

For all those reasons I rule in favor, Yay.

 

IMG_5040

Zooma Cape Cod Half Marathon | The Race

IMG_4985

Not located in Boston by the way

The race-cation began on Thursday, two days prior to the race. The travel to the Cape went smooth. I was disappointed by the change in weather forecast and we muddled through rain. We stopped for lunch at a new-to-us restaurant. It’s nice to see marathon memorabilia splashed on the walls of a sports bar…we don’t see that much in NH, but due to the Boston Marathon, MA is on it.

 

Shining Sea Bikeway

Shining Sea Bikeway

Friday began with some leftover rain which by late morning gave way to glorious sunshine. We couldn’t pass up an opportunity to ride the Shining Sea Bikeway. If you’re ever in Falmouth/N Falmouth, MA you should make a special effort to walk, run or ride the bikeway and take in some exceptional views.

Later in the afternoon, the Fitness Expo started and that’s where I planned to collect my race packet and swag bag. I <3  all the goodies I got. This also started my race jitters with excitement. I should have taken a pic of the expo. It was small, but everything was for WOMEN <3. I held back huge temptation to buy a motherload of stuff. I have enough stuff (if there is such a thing).

IMG_5022

The Swag!

Later that afternoon, there was a course Q&A session with the Zooma founder, Brae Blackley. No offense, I didn’t want to attend. Mostly because I had dinner reservations and didn’t want to sacrifice a nice meal.

In the evening there was also an Honest Tea Mocktail Party, which due to our dinner reservations, I skipped.

IMG_5023

My fancy lemon water.

Speaking of dinner reservations, we enjoyed a delicious meal, Chicken Marsala (stick with what you know the evening before race day) and even splurged on a little dessert. I skipped alcoholic beverages. It was a spectacular dinner spent with the hubby.

We traveled around the cape for a bit taking in the evening sights. Once we arrived back at the hotel, I set out my race clothes, fuel etc. that I would need for the following morning.

IMG_4970

I decided on the T-shirt vs. the tank

We had an early night (by 9:30 I was ready to sleep) and knew the excitement of the race in the morning would interfere with a good nights sleep. Easily I woke up 20 times (either to roll over or to peek at the clock). The downfall of a race-cation is not having a familiar bed to sleep in.

The morning came, with the trumpeting of my alarm at 6:00 am. I was awake at 5:20 am, so the alarm was just my signal to actually get out of the bed. First I ate my banana and oatmeal (which I brought from home to be able to have my run approved breakfast). Then I drank some water, brushed teeth, dressed and did my hair. Off to the start we go!

The 10K racers lined up ahead and had a 7:30 start and the half marathoners had a 7:35 start behind them. It was actually well-organized start, at least from my experience.

My plan for the race, after much visualizing and training review was to start and maintain a 10:15 pace up until about mile 9, then give myself leeway to pace back to a 10:25. My goal being a 2:15:00. Mind you, I haven’t run a fast enough pace to quite hit the 2:15 goal. I was realistic and knew I would slow even if I started at a slower pace because the rolling hills and inclines were located on the back half of the course, where fatigue would start to set in for me anyway.

IMG_5029At the race start, I was out of the gate at a 10:02, which I managed to slow to a 10:04. I felt good and decided I’d keep it here and see how it went. It’s a race after all, I’m supposed to push my limits. I knew if I felt like it was too hard, I had wiggle room to pace back and regroup. The Shining Sea Bikeway was part of the course, and I had a nice preview of it on the bike ride the other day. I knew it was perfect for me to do some faster intervals to keep my pace. As it turned out, I was able to keep the pace around a 10:08. I lost myself in some of the views and threw off my pace, which disappointed me. I had fallen back to a 10:12 in my daydream and had to pick up the pace for 60 intervals to get back to 10:07-10:08. My 10K time was IMG_50281:02:XX. Then the rolling hills came after we exited the bikeway. They are not big hills, but after a few of them, the legs start to cook. Actually, my left leg was bugging me at the start of the race (days before too) and limited my mobility. Which I needed those muscles on the hills. By mile 10 I was feeling it badly, but knew I was only a 5K from the end. Single digits! I pushed through and mentally felt good. Focused on trying to maintain good form to reduce pressure. I’m still working on perfecting my form.

Overall, I paced back further than I should have in those last miles, but finished strong at a 2:15:54 which I am ecstatic with! A new PR by 8 minutes +/-. A huge smile on my face, I did it. A great race and learning experience as to how my fitness has improved for this distance in the past 6 months.

There is no better feeling after 16 weeks of training than crossing the finish line feeling successful and don’t forget–the medal! It also didn’t hurt that my wonderful hubby was there to witness it and was beaming when we met after the finish line. It’s true, he loves me.

IMG_5056

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zooma Cape Cod Half Marathon Training | Recap Final Week (16)

This week will be a short training, since I’m in my taper and race day is on Saturday! This post will include the training runs and then I’ll do the race-cation with race day recap in a separate post since I’ll be away and likely be too busy to sit down and post.  I will only have one long slow run and one or two 3 milers before race day. I am excitedly calm…if that’s possible. Along with the physical training for the half marathon, I’ve been beginning to shift my focus to the mental training. I definitely should have done this sooner like in the beginning.

I have started to read Chi Marathon, which so far I’m enjoying. I’m not very far into the book. I do like how it is getting me to think more about what I’m doing and why. I already know I love to run. I know I’m considering a marathon next year. But why? What do I want from completing a marathon? The medal? I have many why’s as I’m finding out. Which I may discuss in another post, another time.

Sunday: 8 miles easy

Didn’t happen. Rainy and thunderstorms most of the day and didn’t want to chance getting stuck in thunderstorms. Rain is ok, lightning…not so much. I decided I would do a workout instead. I did 3 1/2 flights of stairs, 20 times for a stair workout and through in some flies (30 lbs) 3 sets, 15 reps. Tricep rope pulls (30 lbs) 3 sets, 10 reps. Lat pulls (60 lbs) 3 sets, 10 reps. Rows (60 lbs), 3 sets, 15 reps. I also did some balancing routines and some minor core work (ins & outs and russian twists (15 lbs)). At that point I blew through 45 minutes and was ready to be done.

Monday: Rest

I set out on the 8 miler today (was supposed to be yesterday) with the goal of visualizing race day and working through the thoughts in my head, feeling my body, scanning for twinges, pains, tightness–anything that I might want to work on adjusting with form correction, stretching or rolling out, prior to race day. I couldn’t have asked for better weather. Breezy, sunny, mid-hi 60’s. A wonderful way to start Autumn. The trees are changing and beginning to explode with brilliance. One of nature’s glory in New England.

The run itself was surprisingly more difficult than I had expected it to be. My calf muscles were a little tight from running stairs on Sunday. I had thinking about it being my last longer run before race day. Eight miles I had to squeeze in when I could easily have been lazy watching TV or reading at home. I ran trying to visualize race day. How I wanted to feel when I started out. What pace seemed to feel good and sustainable. How pushing to the finish would be exhilarating. Yet my body felt tight and I had to keep forcing limbs and shoulders to relax.

I tried too hard getting my form right and once I decided I would just let it all go, the run suddenly had bounce and freedom. Suddenly my form was better, my arms and legs were loose and I just powered along. Lesson: Don’t over-think things. It wasn’t my sore muscles making it hard, it was all in my head…literally.

 Note: Weather forecast is still exceptional for the race-cation! It makes my heart skip a beat with happiness.

Tuesday: 3 miles

Normally I wouldn’t run after a long run, but 8 miles isn’t really that long in the grand scheme of things. I also want to give my body two days of rest (no running) before race day and focus on stretching and rolling out. I’ll be getting enough exercise walking around the expo and the beach with my hubby before the race.

Today was another gorgeous Fall day. The sun was out. Breezy and in the high 60’s. My RB joined me for this 3 miler, which made my day. My RB has registered for the CHaD HERO, that I’m also running. I convinced her to take the plunge. She has run along with me on many training runs and has basically “trained” for this without even knowing it. It should be a blast having a buddy to run with.

Wednesday: 3 miles (last run before race day)

Just a quick 3 miles today, again with my RB. Another gorgeous day for running. The best part of Autumn is the cooler temps. It’s still 70 degrees, but there’s a chill to it you don’t have in the Spring. And lets not forget the breezes. The LAST run of training.

16 weeks have gone by. So many training days and they are done. Now I get to lay low, rest up, stretch and roll muscles and enjoy the rest.

My next post will have tidbits about the race!

Keep running!

 

 

36894c78be9edba1d3f8b57d722817f1

Don’t be so judgy

 As runners, we are in the same book so-to-speak, but often on different pages, chapters even. Stop. Stop it right now! What? Stop basing your achievements on what others are doing. 

If you feel like you had a great run and some dude ran by you at the speed of light–that doesn’t mean you’re doing poorly. Stop comparing yourself, judging yourself, on someone else’s chapter in life. That dude, he could be having the best run of his life and be just as shocked as you on his graceful speed {different page}. He could also feel like it’s the worst run of HIS life. You don’t know. His reason from running may be different from yours {a different chapter}. We assume we know so much based on a few seconds of viewing someone else. A pitfall of first impressions.

36894c78be9edba1d3f8b57d722817f1I say this to you, but also to myself. ^arm raising. I’m guilty. I see someone running and if I’m faster, I feel good. And when I’m not faster, I feel slow (like pat my back feel for turtle shell slow). I have to remind myself (and my competitive nature) that I’m not the fastest clearly runner (nor the slowest) and I’m really okay with that. I need to be less judgy. I don’t train nearly enough in a capacity that will increase my speed. I don’t focus on speed work nearly enough. Running is usually my play.

The point here has been said. You need to focus on YOU. Your chapter. Your page. Don’t sweat what other people are doing. Nod and smile. Be thankful that person who gives the sport of running that much more just by DOING it, no matter the pace. It only matters you are out giving to and growing the sport.

 

A race day packing list to calm your jitters

Whether you’re planning to run your first race or have run many, it’s easy to forget important items on race morning when your mind seems to be doing it’s own racing in all different directions. In the days before race day, you’re most likely going to be nervous and having a race day packing list will help calm your jitters.

I am a planner. I’ve always been one that needs to write stuff down or make a list. I even have an actual race calendar planner, so if I see races I might want to do I can jot them down on a calendar and make notes. For others that aren’t planners, you’ll want to stray from that mentality and at least work on a checklist of things you will need. After doing all the training runs and hard work preparing your body for race day, the least you can do is get organized and be ready to encounter just about any race day snafoo.

You’ll want to plan for pre-race, during race and post-race items. Many items will remain on the list for many races. Some items may be more seasonal.

Here are some of the things I pack or my running buds pack for race day.

Pre-Race Items:

  • Race confirmations, parking instructions, course map, etc.
  • Body Glide or vaseline for those of you who experience chafing (often under arms or upper thighs). No one wants to feel THAT burn during the post-race shower.
  • Lip balm with SPF.
  • SPF/Sunscreen. Protect that skin!
  • Hat, visor and/or sunglasses. Hats are great for keeping rain and sunshine out of your eyes.
  • Safety pins. Most races have these, but incase they don’t have them in your race packet or at packet pickup, you can pin them to your racing shoes to avoid forgetting them.
  • Deodorant (no one wants to smell you any worse than you have to).
  • Water!
  • Toilet paper. Even a couple of handfuls. This is especially the case if the race you are attending has participants and spectators in the thousands or tens of thousands. Toilet paper will go fast with pre-race jitters and the quantity of people using the facilities. No one wants to drip-dry or worse!
  • Identification. Often needed for packet pickup. Passport if you are travelling out of the country.
  • Cash. Even a small amount to buy water or a quick snack.
  • If you are travelling to a race, pack your pre-race meal that you’ve eaten before running during training. You can’t count on a hotel to have everything.
  • Bag for bag-check. Some races require clear draw-string bags.
  • Pack a book to read or magazines if travelling or flying to race.
  • Timing chip and/or race bib if you had it mailed to you prior to the race.
  • Hydration bottle holder or belt (if you do not plan on making stops at hydration stations).
  • Running belt (to hold your race fuels if you are not using the ones provided at the event).
Tips for the day before the race:
Don’t eat anything new or different
Hydrate!
Rest your feet and stretch
Set your alarm
Make sure to charge your GPS watch or phone
Prepare your mind, review your goals, splits and race strategy and then “shut off” your mind.
Get to sleep early (good luck with that!)

 Race:

  • Watch or GPS. I love my Garmin.
  • Gels or sports drink if you’ve trained with them. The event might have an energy gel station or sports drink station, but they might not supply the brand you trained with and could compromise your run.
  • Bandages for blisters or for men to protect their nips.
  • Outfit: Shirt (Singlet, tank, tee or long-sleeve as weather suggests), sports bra, shorts or tights, socks, SHOES, coat or vest (as weather suggests); Old sweatshirt or tee you can toss after a few miles. Make sure whatever you pack for clothing, it’s something you’ve worn and tested during training runs. That way you don’t run into any uncomfortable surprises.

Post-Race:

  • A clean, dry change of clothes: Socks, shirt, shorts/pants, bra for ladies, jacket if temps suggest needing one.
  • Snacks (banana, granola bar, if there isn’t post-race food or the line is outrageously long)
  • Towel/Wipes. There aren’t usually shower facilities available post-race and if you plan on sticking around post race, everyone would appreciate you not dripping sweat and smelling like stinky feet.
  • Ibuprofen
  • CELEBRATE! Yes, you did it!

Good luck if you are preparing for race day. 

Keep running!