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Seacoast Half Marathon Recap

This weekend was awesome! The whole week I was looking forward to Friday. Why you might ask? Well it was the Rise Run Retreat, hosted by RunFarGirl.

Every since I got into this running community through instagram and blogging there have been a number of people I look up to, RunFarGirl and HappyFitMama are two, but there are SO many! I see how you can make a life doing what you love and build an amazing community at the same time.

Friday was nothing short of what I hoped. Sarah’s house is amazing and the food and wine were perfect and plentiful. There was no shortage of laughs and stories and I met some new people. I decided I think I am somewhat socially awkward, but that was my own conclusion, nothing in particular happened 🙂

Last but not least, the swag bags. The swag bags were AWESOME. I am excited to try some new brands and most likely get hooked. Already hooked on coolcore, as I sit here using their wraps to ice my knee.


With Friday off to a great start I was excited for the rest of the weekend. My sister and parents arrived Saturday afternoon/early evening. My mom brought tons of pasta, food and wine for our own pasta party. I have always loved her chicken, pesto pasta and she brought it! We laughed, talked, ate and drank wine in my cozy apartment. It was nothing crazy, but perfect none the less. Eventually my parents headed to their hotel and I laid out my outfit for the morning. It was supposed to be pretty chilly so I opted for capris, a short sleeve with a long sleeve pullover and gloves.

At 6:30 am I woke up and had some yogurt to start the day. I changed into my outfit while my sister walked my dog and got ready to pick up my dad. I was excited. I knew a lot of people running and spectating, so it would be fun either way. At 7:45 I picked up my dad and headed to the school which was a 5 minute drive from my house. There was a bit of traffic going into the school but we parked and got to the high school by 8am, just enough time for the bathroom line! Or so I thought until I saw it and vetoed it and waited in the cold for a porta potty instead, great decision.

I went inside, found my dad and chatted with my friend Kailey before walking to the start! I remember thinking I LOVE this race, everything about it. I can’t really describe it. We got to the start just in time and before I knew it we were off. I actually liked that we only gave ourselves a half hour of waiting because it was much less stressful, we didn’t have enough time to just wait around and think about the race.

We saw my sister and mom shortly after the start, as well as my friend Angela! I was loving it already. The sun started to come out and I was running through my town, what could be better? Miles 1-6 felt really good for both me and my dad. We were right where we wanted to be around 8:40’s. This portion is where we loop out towards Wallis Sands beach and run along the water, gorgeous!


Around mile 7 it got a little hard, but I gave my dad my maple syrup gu and we stayed on track. Then around mile 8 we saw my sister and mom again which was a good pick me up. We headed out towards The Wentworth and Newcastle which is my favorite area to run. So scenic and whenever I run there I pinch myself thinking that I live so close to this beautiful place. How lucky am I? So often we take little things like this for granted so I try to remind myself to be grateful.

Mile 9-10 was where it really got hard. My knee started really bothering me. I think it is my IT band, which is discouraging. I had no pain in my IT band until the very end of Chicago, but no pain in the training leading up. I am hoping I can rest, stretch and recover! It was my knee and my dad was tired. I don’t blame him, half marathons are hard. I also had him running 3 days a week so that he could have more days for recovery, to avoid injury and not over-train, and also because that is what worked for him.

Even though the last three miles were HARD, we got through them. I tried to run a little ahead of my dad. Not because I wanted to leave him in the dust, believe me I didn’t. I wanted him to keep pushing, so I was just out of reach to see if he would speed up a little. If he didn’t no problem. We got up the last major hill which is killer (but I love hills) and the finish was in sight. I love the finish for Seacoast there are always so many people and its slightly downhill so you fill like a rock star finishing no matter what. We finished with a time of 1:56:29. A minute and a half off of his goal, which was to beat his 2015 time of 1:55, but hey we gave it all we had and we had fun doing it, at least I did.


My only goal for people is to get them as close to their goal as possible given where they are today. You always have to respect where you are which I tell my athletes all the time. If that means you don’t PR but you give all that you have left then AWESOME, you did amazing, that is absolutely something to be proud of. I want to make sure my athletes have no regrets in running and in life (cheesy I know)! 

Until next year Seacoast! You are still my favorite race but Wallis Sands is the next local half in the Spring so we will see if that one steals the number one spot. I am hoping to break 1:30 in the spring. That’s my goal and I just said it, but we will see. I am coming off a cycle where I kind of lost my confidence, trying to build it back up, but first making sure my knee/body is recovered.

As for what happened after the race, see below 😊


 

When the Fire Starts to Return

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the Boston Marathon. Training starts at the end of the year so it has been on my mind lately. I keep having thoughts like, if it was any other marathon, would I run? Would I sign up with excitement? Would I have the fire in the pit of my stomach to devote myself to training? If you asked me a few weeks ago I probably would have said no.

You see, somewhere in the middle of Chicago I lost that fire. I trained hard, but my heart wasn’t in the end result. I had worked for years for a BQ and after missing a Boston number by seconds the redemption fire carried me all through training and I never lost sight of my goal. Come race day, I knew no matter what I was going to do it, I didn’t care if it was hard or if everything was working against me. I would do it. I decided this long before and honestly I think that mentality was just as important as the training that got me to a 3:20 PR.

Things were different for Chicago. Yes, I wanted to improve, I wanted to run faster, but at Chicago? I am not sure. I thought a 3:15 was the most logical next goal so I went for it and I trained for it, but it wasn’t a goal that was running through my veins. It didn’t keep me up at night and get me out of bed in the morning. It was just there. It was just dictating my workouts.

Even the week before race day, I was more concerned with PR’ing for others than PR’ing for myself. On race day my mind was full of “I can’ts” not “I cans” or “I wills”.  Both of those were red flags that my heart wasn’t in it. I wasn’t truly invested in my goal, at least not then.

Fast forward to now. After Chicago I did a lot of reflecting. I realized I have just been going through the motions with running. I knew this was a sign. I needed time, so I have taken my time getting back into running. I still haven’t done a hard workout since Chicago and honestly prefer it that way. I have been running around 25 miles a week for 3 weeks and will continue for the next 2 weeks, still keeping it easy.

It wasn’t until a run this weekend where I started to feel that fire again. I haven’t felt it since March. It was sunny and around 50 degrees. I decided I wanted to go long, which lately has meant 8 miles. I was halfway through and realized I was averaging 8:30’s and it felt good. Then I started thinking about Boston. How long it took me to get to this upcoming training cycle. How hard I have worked. How awesome the race will be regardless of the result. How many familiar faces will be there on the course and at the finish, including my parents. Even just thinking about it made me excited and determined. The determined part was what I have been missing these past few months.

I am relishing in the slow build to my Boston training cycle, but I am ready to chase some new goals for Boston. Regardless, I am keeping my first goal as to run strong and make myself and my family proud because I know no matter what I will. Other than that, I am hoping to run between a 3:10 and 3:15. Same goal as before but different fire carrying me along the way.

Social media makes it hard to take breaks and ease back in your running and not feel guilty. Stay focused on you and what makes you the best runner you are! This is different for everyone. I see some people go from one race to another and never seem to actually cut back on miles and workouts, that might work for them but that does not work for me. I live for those 25 mile weeks where I can enjoy other things like my friends, my family, gym classes I haven’t been to in months. I live for the weeks of easy runs and no hard workouts. I live for the recovery and reset. Training for a race takes a lot of dedication, don’t sell yourself short, give yourself the mental and physical break you deserve, no matter what that means.

Jules

Ever Wonder What to Eat Before you Run?

Here are some suggestions from my twin who is a Registered Dietitian! You can follow her and all her foodie adventures here.


“What should I eat before I run?” Well it’s not as simple as “x, y, z”, that’s for sure. And what works for one person may not work for another.

The first thing to consider is when are you running? In the morning? After work? At lunch?

  • Morning: You’ve likely just rolled out of bed and haven’t thought about breakfast yet (unless you’re me). Your body has been fasting all night long and maybe need a snack before heading out the door.
  • After work: If you haven’t eaten in 3-4 hours I would recommend having something to eat before exercising. You don’t want to go out on empty and then have no energy for your run. Try something light, a snack will do.
  • At lunch: It’s been a while since you’ve had breakfast. Try having a small snack before starting and saving your lunch for after the run.

The second thing to consider is how much time do I have before I hit the pavement or hit the trails. An hour? A half hour?

  • 1 hour prior (or more): You may be okay having a meal before your run. Try having a “normal” breakfast or “normal” lunch and see how your stomach holds up.
  • A half hour prior: Try a snack high in carbohydrates (any grain, fruit, or dairy) with a little protein for a quick bit of fuel.

 

Next up, think about how long you are running. 3 miles? 6 miles? 15 miles?

  • 3 miles: You’ll likely be running about a half hour and probably don’t need fuel prior to running. Unless you’re hungry!! Listen to your body.
  • 6 miles: Once your mileage starts getting up there and you may be closer to running for 50-60 minutes it would be best to eat something beforehand. A snack would do.
  • 15 miles: When your runs will take you longer than 90 minutes or two hours your body needs more fuel to get through. Try having a meal before the run, focusing on carbohydrates.

 

And finally, is your stomach sensitive or solid? Which foods work for you?

  • Sensitive stomach: Choose foods that are low in fiber. This is the time to eat plain bagels, cheerios, etc. Avoid the whole wheat bread and oatmeal at all costs.
  • Solid stomach: Eat whatever your heart desires, but try not to get overly full as that would be uncomfortable. Go for the dairy, fruit, and fiber if that’s what your heart desires.

 

And finally, don’t be afraid of trial and error. This is your body, not anybody else’s. If your sister/friend/coworker can eat a bowl of yogurt, granola, and fruit before running and you can barely stomach one slice of white toast with jelly, that’s fine! You’re still giving your body fuel for the run aka you’re giving your body what it needs to perform.

Snack Ideas:

  • Fruit and nuts/nut butter.
  • Yogurt
  • Toast and jelly/nut butter
  • Muffin
  • Granola bar or energy balls
  • Pretzels/crackers
  • ½ bagel
  • Trail mix

Meal Ideas:

To each his own! You do you.

 

And as always, if you want individualized recommendations please reach out to a dietitian in your area. This post is not meant to be considered as medical advice and is merely a summation of sports nutrition recommendations through my studies and personal experience.

Races on my Mind

When you aren’t running, you think about running right?

At least I do. I plan out my next strategies and think about races I want to do if I don’t have one already lined up. That wasn’t a problem post Chicago, because I knew Boston was up next!

Right now I am thinking about 2018…what to run and where? Hmm so many exciting options. I have nothing planned for sure besides Boston, woot woot, but here are some I am thinking about!

Race Options in 2018:

  1. Eastern States 20 Miler – this would be in preparation for the Boston Marathon. It starts in Maine, goes through Portsmouth new Hampshire and ends in Mass. It is a very cool race, I ran it in 2016!
  2. Boston Marathon April 2018 – this one is a definite! Making a second attempt at my goal for Chicago, but overall goal is have fun and enjoy myself!
  3. Wallis Sands Half Marathon May 2018 – this is a local half for me along the coast in Rye, NH. It is also known for being flat and fast! It has always been on my list, but the past two years I have had marathons very close to the race date.
  4. Run to Remember Boston May 2018 – I would decide between Wallis Sands or this race, leaning towards Wallis Sands since I like the convenience of races nearby 🙂
  5. Pineland Farms Trail Running Festival May 2018 – I heard about this event last year and thought it was AWESOME. I immediately wanted to sign up for 2018 but held myself back. Well it is still in the back of my mind. I think it would be a lot of fun to run the canicross race with Ruger or Lyla on Saturday (it’s a 5k) and then try the 25km trail race on Sunday!
  6. Covered Bridges Half Marathon June 2018– If I did the previous race, I would not run this one. This is a really popular half in New England it sells out in minutes and the sign up is in December, have to make up my mind soon!!
  7. Beach2Beacon August 2018 – would love to get into this race again, it was so well run and a great course despite the humidity!!
  8. Hartford Marathon October 2018–  If I decide to do another marathon in 2018 (debatable) this one might be it! I honestly never thought of this race and then I heard rave reviews about it. I started looking into it and depending on how this year plays out I might go for it. I definitely prefer smaller races but also well organized and fun races, which this one seems to be. Might be a winner in my book!!
  9. Seacoast Half Marathon November 2018 – I love this race because it is in my town of Portsmouth, NH and I love the course. I have run it ever since I moved here. Some years I race it and some years I run for fun. This year is a just for fun year but who knows what next year holds!

Other Races on My Mind:

  1. Philadelphia Marathon
  2. NYC Marathon – trying to qualify!
  3. Mount Desert Island Half Marathon
  4. Mount Washington Road Race
  5. A race in Colorado – not sure where
  6. A race abroad – there is a marathon in France that gives you wine while you run, dream race!

 

I like to use new races to try new things and see new places. That is why I get really excited about looking up races and why my lists get so long!!!

Chicago & Chicago Marathon Recap

This weekend was long, but SO much fun! I hope I remember everything I have to say about it. Here goes.


Friday: I took the 7 am bus from Portsmouth to Logan Airport and breezed through security for my 10:40 am flight. I wanted to take the later bus but it would have been too tight for my flight. Everything seemed to be going well but I was worried about leaving my pup for so long. Boarded the plane on time, everyone was seated and ready to go and the captain said we were delayed an hour. UGH, trapped on the plane not moving for an hour. I was already bored with myself, now I really didn’t know what to do. I started downloading a bunch of podcasts for the flight and listened to one and fell asleep. Before long we were taking off. Luckily the flight was only 2 hours and 15 minutes there.

Once we landed I set out to find my friend Suzanne who got to Chicago hours before me. After finally figuring out we were in different terminals we found each other and grabbed the L into downtown Chicago. It was overcast but not raining yet, which was good. We found the correct stop and were off to find our hotel, JW Marriott Chicago. Around 3 pm we got to our hotel, it was in the perfect location and really nice! We dropped our stuff in our room, changed and headed to the expo.

The Chicago Marathon Expo was kind of far away, we couldn’t walk there and didn’t really want to take public transportation, but luckily a hotel near us had a shuttle. We walked to the Hilton and grabbed the shuttle over to the expo. It was HUGE but very well organized. I didn’t know how to take it all in. First we picked up our numbers, one person asked for our info and ID and then we were directed to another counter to grab our numbers. It was a very organized process. Next were our shirts! We found those and walked through Nike, Saucony, Asics and so many other places. I wanted everything but I also wanted to hold myself back unless I found the perfect thing.


We took a lot of pictures and went through the Goose Company beer van for free beer sample. We also grabbed some popcorn, SO good! Then we took some more pictures. I decided I didn’t really need a shirt or anything at the expo so we made our way back. We had to wait in line for a bit for a shuttle, so we weren’t really making good time. I planned to meet my Saucony/MileStone Pod group at 6 but also didn’t want to rush the expo.


We got back to the Hilton at 6:15 so we decided to try to make the Saucony/MileStone Pod drinks a little late. They were at Harry Carey’s. It started raining so we power walked there. SO much walking today! We eventually found it and went in to meet some new people and have some drinks and food. It was a lot of fun. I had another local beer and some toasted tortellini. David also brought us all the Chicago edition of Saucony Kinvara’s, SO AWESOME. I knew I would wear those all day Saturday!


After meeting everyone we walked back to the hotel. We decided that it wouldn’t hurt to get another drink at the bar, so I had some wine and Suzanne had a cider. We hadn’t seen each other in a while so we just caught up on a bunch of stuff in each other’s lives and then headed to our room for some much needed sleep. We decided to not set an alarm and just sleep in, we both needed it.

Saturday: I woke up early, of course, I always do. The sun was shining so I was ready to go. Suzanne woke up and we headed to the bean for a shakeout run. It was about 1/2 a mile from our hotel. We ran there and took a bunch of pictures. I also met a few other people coached by Run4PR’s and we all got together for a picture. There is a 5k that goes along with the marathon so there were so many runners there since it had also just ended! It was SO cool. After a while we continued our run down to the lake and down the river walk. Let me tell you, I can’t wait to come back when it’s summer and go to the bars on the river walk, they look SO fun! I could already tell Chicago was a place I would want to return to.


We headed back to our hotel to shower and get ready for whatever else we would do. We needed some more food (I had been snacking on things I brought but we wanted something more). We stopped by a few places but a bunch were closed, then someone told us a lot of the loop is closed or closes early. We were getting hangry, but eventually we found a place. Then we headed to the SkyDeck to see if we could make it to the top. The line outside was moving quickly but they told us once we go inside it would be 3 hours to the top. It was already 1 pm. I was not about that. We went back to our hotel and asked the front desk if they had recommendations. They told us that if we didn’t want a long wait we should go to the bar at the John Hancock building and get a drink. This is also where 360 Chicago is. We called an Uber and headed that way.

We got there and the line for 360 Chicago didn’t look long so we asked them how long it would take us to get to the top, he said we would wait in line for an hour. We said no thanks and then headed to the bar which was on the 96th floor. The line was short and we waited probably 10 minutes to get in the elevator. The elevator is so fast and they cram you in there, it probably only took 30 seconds to go 96 floors. We got a seat by the window and it was amazing. You can go up there and take a picture and go back down and pay nothing, but we wanted to enjoy the view with a drink. I got more wine and Suzanne got a chocolate martini. It was SO much fun. I am so glad we found a view but also didn’t have a long wait. If you don’t get a seat right by the window, the bathrooms also have great views!


Afterwards I facetimed my sister to show her a little of the windy city while Suzanne visited her cousin nearby. Speaking of the windy city it got super windy while we were talking and started raining, she witnessed Chicago at its finest. Suzanne and I called an uber and headed back to the hotel. We watched No Strings Attached and then headed to the lobby for some dinner. I got pasta and she got chicken, before we headed back to our room for sleep and race preparations. Now we started watching Taken. I laid out all my clothes and set my alarm for 4:30 in the morning. Before I knew it I was asleep and I slept well!

Sunday: I ended up waking up around 4 am really hungry, so I had my english muffin and almond butter. I usually eat pretty early before a race so I figured this would work well for me. Then I drank some gatorade and fell back asleep for a bit. Then I was up and getting ready to go and so was Suzanne. We headed downstairs around 5:15 so Suzanne could get a bagel and peanut butter. We asked the front desk for a sharpie and wrote our names on our arms so that people could cheer for us. I was excited but nervous. My stomach had been flip flopping all morning and I couldn’t get it to stop. I was literally making myself sick with nerves.


Around 5:40 am we left the hotel and headed for Millenium Park for our gates. Some buildings nearby had windows on to spell our messages it was really cool. We didn’t exactly know where we were going but the good thing with big races is you can just follow the crowds. it was still dark but the city felt alive. Eventually we found our gates, they were right next to each other but we would still be separated since we were in different waves. We had someone take a picture of us and then we parted ways. There was a lot of walking until I found corral B, but it was very well put together. There were not many people at my corral so I sat near the corral and just tried to relax. I had about an hour until I needed to go into the corral. I started stretching and talked to a few people from home to try to calm the nerves. It wasn’t working, my stomach was all over the place. I told myself to just run and have fun. Enjoy the city and the crowds.


Eventually I got in line for the bathroom so I would make it to the corral in time, then I headed in. It was still pretty empty so I warmed up a bit in there. Then we waited. I could see the start which was cool and the clock counting down to the start. We had some nike pacers in the group and the 3:15 one was really funny. For a while I contemplated trying to run with them, but then I told myself to run my own race. They were doing even splits and I like to aim for negative splits. Close to the start guys started peeing out of the corral. I thought this was very unfair haha if I had to go to the bathroom, I couldn’t do that! Anyway, I eventually let it go.

Before I knew it we were off. The beginning I was overcome with emotion watching all the runners ahead of me take off. It was SO cool. There were so many cheering fans and I thought okay this might turn out okay. The beginning of the race went alright it felt like a good pace. I kept the 3:15 group a little ways ahead of me and just ran by feel. About 3 miles in, my stomach started hurting. What the heck was going on? I told myself it was nerves and to just keep going. It was also humid, I was getting warm. I was currently still on pace even though I missed a few mile markers so I wasn’t really paying attention to my watch or pace band. I grabbed some water at the next stop and my stomach cramped and I thought I was going to throw up. This had never happened to me. I was nervous to take water let alone anything else. I kept running and hoping the pain would subside, it didn’t. The miles were ticking by so slowly. The pace started to hurt.

I told myself if I can get to the halfway point I can make it. Just keep it easy until then. Each mile was around 7:40’s not where I wanted to be at all but I told myself after the halfway point I would pick it up. I hit the halfway point and I still felt awful. I had tried to take a untapped maple syrup gu and seriously thought I was going to have to stop at a porto potty to throw up. I was basically choking things down. I knew my legs would not last the whole marathon with no fuel. I decided to keep the pace where it was until mile 16-18. I told myself that is where the race begins.

Mile 16 came and went and I did not feel better. Mile 18 came and went. Now I was just falling apart. I was SO behind on my goal, it was slipping away. What was I going to do? Was I going to quit all together? Would I change my goals? I tried to just focus on the crowd but since I was hurting so badly I wanted to just see a familiar face. I needed that pick me up, but I knew that wouldn’t happen at this point. I didn’t know anyone spectating for me. This was probably good since I think I would have walked off the course if I saw someone, especially a family member.

At mile 20 the water stopped hurting my stomach. YES. I wasn’t looking for any speed miracles but this was good. I immediately took my other gu and my stomach accepted it. I started drinking more water too. I knew it was too late to make up time and get to my goal. I also knew my legs were already pretty far gone and I was struggling. My only hope was that this would help me make it across the finish line. My goal since the halfway point of the race changed from 3:15 to maybe a PR to just survive and see what happens.

I stopped looking at my watch and I took off my pace band and just ran. I felt like I was crawling, not going to lie. I just had nothing left. The last 6 miles seemed to last forever. I didn’t hit the pace I wanted for one mile. I kept telling myself just don’t stop running. You can run as slow as you want just don’t stop. Everyone else around me seemed to be struggling too. There were a few people that breezed by and I thought, yes go with it this is your day. This is clearly not my day, but that is okay. I passed a woman who was having a breakdown. She told the person she was running with that she doesn’t know why she does this she sucks at it. After hearing this I thought, okay you are going to make the best of this race, it is not always about time. You will find something to be proud of, now just don’t give up. If you walk or walk off you will be disappointed, but if you don’t stop fighting you will have no regrets. That is exactly what I did.

At mile 24 , with 2 miles to go I told myself to pick it up. There was nothing there, I continued what felt like a shuffle. People yelled that there was only a mile left and I had no kick, nothing. My knee and hip had started to hurt and at this point I just wanted to finish without being injured. That being said I don’t think I would have had a kick even if my hip and knee felt fine. It was just one of those days. Eventually I could see the finish line and I was SO happy. So happy to be done, SO happy to walk. Although all I wanted to do was sit and I couldn’t because you have to keep walking to get to the end point where you meet people or go to the race party.

I shuffled along and got my medal and beer. The beer was amazing. It was exactly what I needed. I had sweat crusted on my face and was limping along. I swear it was a mile to the post race. I kept stopping to sort of stretch. My legs were in SO much pain. Eventually I made it to the post race party and immediately sat on the grass.

For a few minutes I just sat there. Then I started to tear up. I didn’t know why I was crying, so many thoughts went through my head. Why do I do this? I wish my family had been here. I just want to see someone I know. This race is so big but I feel so small. I took a deep breath and told myself to get it together. I finally looked at my watch and saw 3:23, well damn that is a time worth being proud of. Despite everything I fought and as I saw my goals slip away I continued fighting and came out with my second best marathon time. I know it is not what I trained for, but not one part of me was disappointed. I didn’t stop fighting. Nothing was going my way and I kept moving forward. If I could apply this type of fight to different aspects of my life, how could I not be successful? Life is about not giving up.

Finally I turned my phone back on to let my family know that yes I was in fact alive. I also wanted to see where Suzanne was. The messages that popped up on my phone, made me feel so much better. Yes I was proud of myself for not giving up, but so was everyone else. I knew I didn’t disappoint myself but for a while I thought maybe I disappointed others. Then I thought, who am I kidding, at the end of the day it’s not about the times at all. It’s about loving running and chasing something you love. My family and friends will always support that, they won’t care about my times as long as I am happy.

This race wasn’t my race, but hopefully it was someone else’s. I drank my beer and took in the sunshine and the city while waiting for my friend. This was a pretty amazing weekend and I did fall in love with a city that I didn’t expect to. I decided then and there I would be back, but not for a race, for fun.


I had a long trek home after the race, so I took the day today to recuperate. Not going to lie, that marathon made me sick. I couldn’t keep much down last night or this morning, but it seems like it is now better.

What’s next: I have already told my coach that I need a break from marathons. I know I am running Boston but I told her, I want to go in with no goals. No time goals whatsoever. I want to train for half marathons but keep my fitness up so that I can finish a marathon. I need a mental and physical break. I also told my sister that my goal when I start training again is to really figure out what I can and can’t eat before and during a race. I think that will be what brings me to the next level in my running. Not going to lie most of my current race results are from running on empty because I don’t trust my stomach. For now, I am looking forward to taking a solid 2 weeks off from running completely. If the urge to run comes up maybe I will run 2-3 miles, but I know my body needs a serious break. When I start back up I plan to have maybe a month of just easy running, no speed whatsoever. I still love running and I look forward to when I do reach my goals in the marathon, but for now I think I need some time off from marathon time goals and the distance in general.

The Importance of Workouts that Scare You

To put it in the simplest terms, workouts that scare you make you better. They probably scare you for a reason, that being they are hard and probably uncomfortable. Sometimes you may think unreasonably hard, but you will never know if you are capable unless you try.  Sometimes all it takes is someone to believe in you and your abilities more than you believe in yourself. Then you break through your barriers and see results.

That person can be a coach, for me it was a coach, many coaches. From high school coaches to now I see paces that I think, “are they crazy? nope definitely not happening” and then I try. I give it my best shot and realize “okay, maybe they are right” or “I didn’t quite get there but I was close!”. That realization empowers you to dig deeper and see what you are made of. It pushes you forward, motivates you.


I am not saying that you will 100% crush every workout that scares you, some will not go as planned and you will have moments of doubt, but as long as you keep pushing through one of those workouts will go right and your mindset will completely change. Those workouts and moments might be rare but they are magical. It is just like race day, you never know what will happen but sometimes the stars align and everything is perfect!

Workouts that scare you are not comfortable. It isn’t your nice easy jog route that you are used to. It is different, whether it be the length or the pace, the workout itself or everything combined. Being outside your comfort zone is a good thing in running and in life! You are challenging yourself, striving for something new and unknown and as long as you try you will have no regrets and you will inspire others to do the same. No matter the outcome it is an experience that will help you grow as a runner and a person!

Besides the physical benefits of doing hard workouts the mental benefits are huge! These workouts are key for race day because you have to push past the self-doubt and learn how to talk yourself up and keep yourself going. You learn what works for you to push through the pain and discomfort the last 5k of a half or full marathon or the last mile of a 5k. What motivates you? What mantras help you keep going? These hard scary workouts are not only physical but mental workouts. Without these runs, come race day we might not know what to do when the run gets hard, but with the right training we do and we have these workouts to thank.

Now, I always look forward to the workouts that scare me. It took me a while, but I now know those are the workouts where I grow most as a runner and a person. I love to push myself to new limits and constantly set new goals for myself. It won’t always be pretty, it won’t always go my way and sometimes I might push too hard, but it is all a journey. Working with a coach and being a coach has made me believe anything is possible if I put in the work and the effort, which I know I am always willing to do.


Just for fun here are a few workouts that would scare me, but I also hope to try when training for Boston!

*Before attempting any of these workouts make sure you have a strong running base and have done some strength runs before. If you aren’t sure, consult a coach!

4-3-2-1 Long Run Workout

After x number of miles warm up — 4 miles over GMP (goal marathon pace), 800 meter recovery 3 miles at GMP 800 meter recovery, 2 miles under 800 meter recovery, 1 mile fast, x number of mile cool down

Alternating HMP/MP tempo miles in Long Run

After x number of miles to warm up, 1 mile at GMP, 1 mile at HMP, alternating back and forth for 4-8 miles, cool down

Alternating Fartlek between fast and GMP as recovery

Warm up 10-20 minutes, 3 minutes fast (between 5k-10k pace), 2 minute recovery (goal marathon pace), 2-5 times through depending on experience, cool down

5-4-3-2-1 Fartlek!

Warm up 10-20 minutes, 2 minute recovery after each burst of speed – start with 5 minutes at 8/10 effort, 4 minutes at 8.5/10, 3 minutes at 9/10, 2 minutes at 9.5/10 and 1 minute fast 10/10 effort, cool down. Can’t wait to try this one!

 

 

The Truth About Tapering 

The last two weeks before a marathon or race is when you over analyze everything. Literally everything. I shouldn’t have skipped that workout three months ago, I should have run faster, I should have run longer, I should have done more core, cross trained more. I should have, I should have, I should have. 

Although we all fall into this trap and way of thinking, especially when we have more time on our hands with less running, we have to be strong. The two weeks leading up to a race is when I start using my mantras, building my confidence and making sure I believe in myself. It’s the time to visualize everything and anything that could happen in the race and how you would handle it in a way where you still succeed. I go to bed thinking about the race, dreaming about the race and wake up excited and nervous for the race. It’s good to be a little nervous! 

When you are tapering it is also not the time to overdo it. When I taper I am not afraid to cut my workouts short. Any other week I wouldn’t want to or I would try to make the mileage up somewhere else. However if I feel tired and my legs feel like bricks while tapering I need to cut back more because I need to be well rested come race day. Two weeks before the race is when you have to train smart. Although you want to nail every workout for the confidence boost, it may not be the place. For example today I had a 9 mile tempo with 1 mile at 6:55, 4 miles at 7:15 and 1 mile fast, but it was 80 degrees and real feel of 90 so after three tempo miles I could feel myself fading. I knew if I pushed through I would probably be sick from the heat. I knew it would also probably hurt some of my other workouts this week, so when I saw my friends I called it quits. It wasn’t worth it. Tapering is the time to listen to your body. You know what’s best! Only you know how you feel!

Normally whatever workouts my coach gives me I do. When it comes to the two weeks leading up to the race that isn’t always the case. Someone can taper anywhere from 1-3 weeks, you really have to find where you fall and what works for you. So if I run the mileage two weeks out and feel sluggish and like I am crawling, it’s up to me to know I need to take a step back and communicate that. Maybe I need to cut more mileage, maybe next time I need a three week taper? It’s trial and error and being in tune with yourself and what your body needs. You want to be on your A game come race day and the hay is already in the barn, so now it’s about maintaining fitness, recovering, resting and mentally preparing. 

Taper Don’ts:

  • Overdo it – run faster than you should or longer than you should 
  • Cut out all intensity or hard workouts
  • Try new workouts 
  • Try new foods 
  • Doubt yourself and your training 
  • Lose sleep 

Taper Do’s:

  • Listen to your body 
  • Come up with race day mantras and start using them 
  • Build up your confidence 
  • Visualize race day 
  • Sleep!!!
  • Rest and relax 
  • Cut workouts short if you need it 
  • Keep variety of running workouts but cut mileage and reps 
  • Hydrate!! 
  • Look back on all the hard training you have done