*Weekly mileage ~ Oct. 31-Nov. 6*

Mileage for the week of October 31st – November 6th

Total weekly mileage: 37.75

Total October mileage: 112

Total November mileage: 32.25

Total year-to-date (2016) mileage: 1,236

Week in review:

10/31    40:34 min./5 mi./8:07 pace

11/1      52:56 min./6 mi./8:49 pace

11/2      27:35 min./3 mi./9:10 pace (and November Project workout)

11/3      42:50 min./5.25 mi./8:10 pace

11/4      1:12:06 min.8.5 mi./8:29 pace (mix of trail and road)

11/5      26:24 min./3.17 mi./8:20 pace (rounded down to 3 mi.) (Coffee run w/Burbank Fleet Feet)

11/6     1:04:55 min./7 mi./9:16 pace (mix of trail and road)

What a week! And not in a bad way at all! I got in some decent runs in preparation for my upcoming 10k trail race this weekend. I did a great workout at the November Project which made me sore for the two days following. I managed two runs that were a combination of trail and road, both of which were hilly. I met up with a small group of runners for the Saturday morning Fleet Feet Burbank coffee run which was three easy miles followed by a coffee stop at Starbucks. Finally, my week concluded with a little outing to Beverly Hills (I know, right?) for a November Project gathering and screening of a new short film about the project titled Showing Up, hosted by The North Face. This all wedged in around the other interesting tidbits that make up my life!

npfilm

Showing Up

With the time change yesterday (and every preceding year when we return to standard time in the autumn) my internal clock is waaay off and likely will be for a couple of days as I adjust. I’ve never been able to figure out why I’m so sensitive to the time change but instead of fighting it, I’ve learned to allow myself some gentleness through the transition. (Bed at 8:00 PM? Yes, please!)

The timing is probably good since I’ve got a race this weekend. While it’s not an “A” race (even though I had originally hoped to tackle it with a little more gusto), I’m still hoping for a decent performance so I am trying to step up the pre-race self-care rituals this week.

One other random thing to pass along… because I don’t have enough on my plate already… HA!… I’ve started a new Instagram page for an outlet to house my deep fascination with holistic, nutrient-dense, and superfood nutrition. Over the past few years, I’ve been diving a little deeper into the study of superfoods and ways to apply their qualities to help me, as an athlete, train harder, recover faster, and perform better. I’m just get started and not sure exactly what direction my feed will take, but if you’re interested in what I learn on my journey, I’d love for you to check it out!

athletealchemy

 

*One week until marathon #9*

Time flies, doesn’t it?

It seems like just a few days ago that I was considering whether or not I was going to actually train for, and run, the Portland Marathon. I decided to go for it since I’d been registered since the end of last year and to be honest, I needed something to get me moving again after the stress of relocating. Now, in just four days, I’ll be heading home to Oregon and preparing for my 9th marathon next Sunday.

pdxmarathon

Crazy.

I ran my last “long” run this morning. Eight conservative miles. It was the first morning that actually felt like autumn. It was much cooler than most recent days and so welcome! I’m hoping that training in the heat here in Los Angeles will work to my advantage next weekend!

My week will be easy mileage-wise and I plan to take an extra day off on Friday, in addition to my regularly scheduled rest day on Monday. I will run four easy miles on Tuesday, four miles on Wednesday with two miles at tempo, three miles on Thursday, and two on Saturday.

I feel as ready as I think I’m going to feel at this point. My only concern is that it’s going to be a bit a whirlwind with traveling Thursday (on my birthday no less!), working two shifts at the race expo, and trying to spend as much time as I can with my daughter and Mr. WJTWT, all while being mindful to squeeze in as much downtime to rest and relax as I can.

As always, high-quality nutrition, hydration, and self-care are at the top of my list in preparing for race day. A little more challenging when traveling but I’m getting that game plan together too.

I guess it’s about time I start getting serious about creating a list of things I need to pack!

*Taper makin’ me cray*

Happy autumn!

As I write this I’m sitting next to the AC unit, the ceiling fan is on high overhead, and I have a pumpkin scented candle burning. It was 99° today and tomorrow is forecast to be 101°. This Pacific Northwest girl, who loves the changes of the seasons, ESPECIALLY fall, is a bit confused.

The good news is that in a little over a week, I get to head home to Oregon to reunite with Mr. Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking and our daughter, visit family and friends, and soak up some much-needed green and cooler temps. Oh, yeah. And run a marathon!!!

I’m officially two weeks out from marathon #9. While I’ve been tapering (sort of) for the past week, this coming week is when things really begin to shift. Last week was taper “light”, basically. I ran most of my runs easy but still managed a good chunk of mileage. Only 4.5 miles less than the previous week in fact. This coming week will see a slightly bigger drop in mileage and slower paces. More rest and stretching are on deck too.

I’ve come to realize that, and I’ve probably been thinking about this waaaay too much, but the taper is going to be the deciding factor on how race day goes. Yes, I’ve put in the miles but every one seemed to be a struggle during this training cycle. I really had a hard time with pacing and staying mentally strong when my body started to bitch. I’m trying to not let it totally get to my head but honestly, I’m a wee bit worried about the outcome on race day. To counter it, I’m committing myself to hard-core taper self-care these next two weeks.

Even with 8 marathons under my belt, I still struggle with finding confidence in my training, my body’s innate ability to perform and recover, and that I won’t lose my mind during the taper process. I’m already feeling like this taper is makin’ me cray!

With that, I’m off to shoot some vitamin C, chug some water, have a turmeric nightcap, stretch, and hit the hay!

*You’re doing it wrong*

Adaptation

ad·ap·ta·tion / ˌadapˈtāSH(ə)n/

noun

  1. the action or process of adapting or being adapted.
  2. a change or the process of change by which an organism or species becomes better suited to its environment.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been a little bit of a mental mess when it has come to my marathon training. My intentions have been good but I sort of feel like I’ve been doing the whole thing wrong. For various reasons, each week has found me making adaptations to my training plan… which honestly, I’m starting to think it was never very solid to begin with.

20160918_061536

It’s all “fun and games” BEFORE you run 21 miles.

I’ve skipped long runs (due to an injury of sorts). I’ve run two long runs in a 7 day period. I’ve increased my totally weekly mileage by more than 20 miles in a single week. I’ve bumped my long run mileage from 15 to 18 miles in a single run. And then again from 18 to 20 miles. I’ve beat myself up over the *slow* pace of my long runs when in fact, they are supposed to be run slower. I’ve been comparing myself to other runners and their training plans, mileage, paces, etc. (A BIG no-no!) I’ve allowed myself to think that I’m not fit or fast enough, nor have I worked hard enough, to accomplish the goals I’ve set for myself.

Before I continue, I should note that I realize that I’ve done a few things right too. I’ve been trying really hard to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night and naps on the weekend. My nutrition plan has been on target. I’m consuming close to four liters of water each day. My post-run recovery routine has been going well and I’ve been taking one day off completely each week. Also, because early on this week I noticed that I was feeling extra rundown, I backed off my mileage and effort. I skipped my tempo run and opted for a shorter, easy run instead of pushing myself.

20160917_155849

Fueling/refueling like a boss!

I was planning to keep my mileage high… maybe even increase it… for another week before tapering. However, due to how I’ve been feeling during the latter part of my long runs… essentially my body screaming “uncle”… I’ve decided to make another adaptation and am going to call training good. As in, DONE! (I will also note that I believe one of the reasons I’m struggling during my long runs is because I’m running through the city and have to stop numerous times for traffic lights. I lose momentum and I begin stiffening up the moment I stop which makes it hard to get moving again.)

I’ve never tapered for three weeks before. During past training cycles, I’ve run my longest, or close to longest, training run two weeks before the race. I think it’s time to try something new. I’m planning to follow this guide that I found online from Runner’s World. And more important, I’m trying to reframe the messy mental chatter that I’ve been doing it all wrong. Instead, I need to see those adaptations over the preceding weeks as opportunities to become better suited to my environment. I got the mileage in despite the challenges thrown at me. Now, I need to find trust in the final portion of the training process. (And let my body rest!) (And also, you’d think I’ve never trained for a marathon before!)

So, with the Portland Marathon officially three weeks from today, I say, “BRING ON THE TAPER!”

20160918_094209

Ice bath alternative.

*Weekly mileage ~ Sept. 5-11*

Mileage for the week of September 5th – September 11th

Total weekly mileage: 68.25

Total September mileage: 88.75

Total year-to-date (2016) mileage: 971.25

Run review:

9/5     2:36:08 min./18 mi./8:41 pace

9/6     No run/rest day

9/7     39:49 min./5 mi./7:58 pace

9/8     55:32 min./7 mi./7:55 pace

9/9     1:13:23 min./8.5 mi./8:38 pace

9/10   30:44 min./3.75 mi./8:13 pace

25:42 min./3 mi./8:34 pace

25:15 min./3 mi./8:25 pace

9/11   2:57:07 min./20 mi./8:51 pace

Two long runs, spaced only 6 days apart, made my mileage leap into the upper 60-mile category last week. My legs and lower body staged a protest yesterday and didn’t really want to have anything to do with the run. Why is it that either you’re mentally in the game or physically in the game but both can’t cooperate and be in the game at the same time? Hmph. I also made a minor error in calculating the mileage of my route. What I intended to be a 19-mile run turned into 20. That’s not such a bad thing but leaves me with the new challenge of figuring out what to do the next two weeks. Run up to 21… 22… or drop back next weekend and run another 20-mile run the following week prior to taper? Decisions, decisions.

Also, I mentioned in my last update that I was going to play with my diet a little and adjust my macro nutrient intake. Essentially, carb cycle. If you’re unfamiliar with carb cycling, it’s basically a way to trick your body into burning stored body fat instead of using carbs. It’s a very popular method for cutting (a.k.a. getting lean) in the bodybuilding world. My experiment was pretty low-key. Basically, on the days that I ran more than an hour, I ate a moderate amount of carbs, as is normal for my diet. On the other days, I restricted my carb intake slightly and added more protein and fat.

I can’t say for sure if I really experienced any noticeable difference in performance or body weight (I don’t own a scale so I really had no way of tracking this except for by look and how my clothes fit… which seemed to me to be the same as usual). It did however, force me to try a few new meal/food combinations and I think breaking the norm can be beneficial since it keeps the body guessing.

This week, I’m back to my typical diet which works for me and that is the key to the whole diet thing in general. You need to figure out what works for you. Experimenting is the only way to know what works and what doesn’t but once you find a diet lifestyle you can live with, one that allows you to eat what you enjoy in moderation, provides your body with essential vitamins and nutrients, makes you feel good and fueled to be active or whatever it is that drives you, and does’t make you feel deprived, then you know you’re on the right path.

I should disclose that I’m by no means an expert or qualified to provide dietary guidance. I can only speak from my own experience and it is because I’ve done the work to figure out what foods fuel my body best.

Anywho… rest and recovery is also on the forefront of my training plan and my bed is calling.

Have a fantastic week!

*Weekly mileage ~ Aug. 29-Sept. 4*

Mileage for the week of August 29th – September 4th

Total weekly mileage: 41.25

Total August mileage: 175.5

Total September mileage: 20.5

Total year-to-date (2016) mileage: 903

Run review:

8/29     44:16 min./5 mi./8:51 pace

8/30     55:03 min./6 mi./9:11 pace

8/31     31:40 min./4 mi./7:55 pace

50:48 min./5.75 mi./8:49 pace

9/1     33:43 min./4 mi./8:26 pace

9/2     32:34 min./4 mi./8:07 pace

9/3     1:20:43 min./8.5 mi./9:30 pace

9/4     33:06 min./4 mi./8:15 pace

Due to some extra time off the previous week when my knee was acting up, on top of moving my long run for the week to today, I didn’t take any rest days last week. On three of the days I ran harder or a bit longer, including a couple of good hills in there too. The other days were shorter and run at an easy pace. Nicely balanced, I think.

2016-09-05 13.48.40

Updated training plan… taking it one week at a time.

I’ve reconfigured my plan for this week to accommodate a second long run next Sunday. What can I say? I’m a glutton for punishment. (If I stick to said plan, I’ll hit 64 miles this week.) Rest and recovery is high priority so I will take a rest day tomorrow and aim to get as much extra sleep as I can each night.

Also, I’ve decided to play with my macros just a little bit and see what happens. I love nutrition and I love experimenting with my diet. Essentially, on days that I run longer than an hour, I’ll eat more carbs. On the other days, little carbs (including wine… sniff, sniff) and more protein and fat. I don’t want to over think it and I still aim to keep my food choices nutrient-dense but I’m curious to see how it will affect my body and my training since my objective is to lean out a little bit while maintaining muscle and endurance, of course. I’ll report back on that later.

Happy Labor Day, btw, and have a fantastic week!

*Know when to hold ’em…*

Know when to fold ’em.

This week was a transition week as we adjusted to the start of school. My mileage and training were not quite where I wanted it to be with the changes to our household schedule and a bit of a heatwave early on. No biggie. I’m exercising my flexibility muscle and trying to adapt to the little life challenges that come my way without letting them throw my completely off course.

At any rate, as is typical, my mileage ramped up the closer the weekend got. About three days ago, I started experiencing some tightness in my left quad so I played the precaution card and tried to make sure I was stretching a bit more and practiced extra mindfulness when I was running as to not aggravate it. That said, I was feeling really well prepared for my long run this morning. Adequately fueled, hydrated, mentally prepared and optimistic that I’d feel better than I did last week.

I ventured out about 6:10 this morning. The air cool, the streets still fairly quiet, the sun tucked behind the hills to the east. The plan was to run a 9.5 mile loop that would bring me back home to meet Mr. Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking who would run the last 6.5-ish miles with me. All was going according to plan when at around mile 7, I became plagued with a tightness above my right knee. RIGHT (not left) knee. I stretched and massaged it at every intersection that insisted that I wait to cross and pushed forward.

Somewhere in the 12-mile zone, we came upon a hill that forced me to change my stride. The tightness increased and things fell apart soon after. The discomfort migrated into my knee and I was forced to stop multiple times in an effort to stretch it out. I kept pushing forward, on the verge of tears, knowing that I was ultimately doing more harm than good. My pace dropped and I was limping. I told Mr. WJTWT that I’d run to 13 but then I was done.

I cried out of frustration, more than pain, for a few blocks and then walk/limped toward home, which at that point was about three miles away. We formulated a plan. My mister would run back home as I made my way to the Starbucks a few blocks away and then he’d come back and pick me up. I can’t recall, in all the years that I’ve been running, that I was forced to fetch a ride home because I couldn’t continue. But then and there, it was the most brilliant remedy to the situation.

IMG_20160821_085525

Long run cut short and I end up at Starbucks icing my knee.

While I waited for him to return, I iced my knee while drinking my latte and silently cursed at every person that ran by. (I know, not nice.)

He came with ibuprofen in hand. I’m such a lucky girl!

2016-08-21 13.24.25

Pity flowers. A total score at $2.49 for the bunch!

We sloooooowly walked over to the grocery store. It wasn’t pretty. I was feeling a ton of discomfort and pissed in general. In addition to dinner (and school lunch) provisions, I bought myself pity flowers and a bag of ice. (There may have been a very large bottle of champagne in the cart too.)

2016-08-21 13.11.17

Once home, I filled the tub about halfway with cool water, got in and added three pounds of ice. I’m not sure if the ibuprofen kicked in or it was the ice bath itself, but I could barely walk just a couple of hours earlier and while I could still feel the tightness and soreness to the touch, I was able to walk without limping not long after I got out. What a difference a few hours makes.

The moral of my story is this: know when to hole ’em, know when to fold ’em.

I don’t know what the next few hours, or next few days, will bring but I’m certain that my decision to stop when things fell apart was the first smart choice I made this morning, no matter how frustrating and disappointing it was to cut my training run short. The second was icing as soon as possible and following that up with an ice bath once I returned home, not to mention the ibuprofen. (I rarely take ibuprofen or pain relievers but in this case, I could feel the inflammation and knew I needed something to help relieve it.) The third smart choice was the champagne. Just kidding. It is the recovery techniques that I’m diligent about following to aid in recovery… a post-run recovery meal, compression sleeves, a topical muscle pain/soreness ointment (I use Tiger Balm), legs up, rest, etc.

I’m moving cautiously but optimistic that because I chose to “fold ’em”, along with a chill afternoon and complete rest day tomorrow, I’ll be feeling good as new by Tuesday and ready for another week of training.