*Weekly mileage ~ Sept. 26-Oct. 2*

Mileage for the week of September 26th – October 2nd

Total weekly mileage: 30

Total September mileage: 200.75

Total October mileage: 12

Total year-to-date (2016) mileage: 1,095.25

Week in review:

9/26     No run/rest day

9/27     36:15 min./4 mi./9:04 pace

9/28     35:10 min./4 mi./8:46 pace

9/29     33:03 min./4 mi./8:15 pace

9/30     52:29 min./6 mi./8:45 pace

10/1     34:39 min./4 mi./8:40 pace

10/2     1:11:52 min./8 mi./8:58 pace

I find it interesting that I have to work to keep my pace conservative as hard as I have to work to pick it up when I want to push a bit!

After a few weeks of feeling frustrated and completely defeated with my training, I’ve received a little surge of confidence after executing runs that actually felt halfway decent and were enjoyable last week. I’m a little more optimistic than I was in the latter weeks of my training which I think I can attribute to the taper process. I guess we’ll find out in 6 days! EEK!

*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.

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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.

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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!”

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Ice bath alternative.

*Put a fork in me*

I’m DONE!

With marathon training, that is.

You’d think that after previously training for 7 marathons it would get a little easier. I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but holy moly, training for a marathon is hard! No matter how seasoned you are or how many you’ve run before. Each training cycle offers its own unique challenges. And for me, training for the Portland Marathon has been pretty tricky! The biggest culprit was a busy, adventure-filled summer. No complaints there but I basically had to cram to get to this point.

I didn’t follow any of the traditional rules… I only ran four long runs, about every other week, and increased by two miles at a time (14, 16, 18, 20), failing to stick to the 10% mileage increase rule. Technically, I should have started tapering last week. And, I didn’t do any supplemental training. No speed work… no hill repeats… no nothing!

No matter, though! I’m done!

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It wasn’t pretty, thanks to a grumpy psoas, but 20 miles is 20 miles!

Fourteen days and counting to marathon #8!

*Weekly mileage x 2*

Mileage for the week of April 13th – April 12th

Total weekly mileage: 20.5

Total April mileage (to-date): 115.25

Total year-to-date (2015) mileage: 805.25

Run review:

4/13           No run/rest day

4/14           38:37 min./4 mi./9:38 pace

4/15           49:50 min./6 mi./8:18 pace

4/16           No run/travel day

4/17          44:33 min./5 mi./8:55 pace

4/18           19:13 min./2.25 mi./8:33 pace (plus .25 mi.)

4/19           28:13 min./3 mi./9:25 pace

Mileage for the week of April 20th – April 26th

Total weekly mileage: 35.5

Total April mileage (to-date): 150.75

Total year-to-date (2015) mileage: 840.75

Run review:

4/20           BOSTON MARATHON! 3:33:06 min./26.2 mi./8:08 pace

4/21           No run/recovery day

4/22           No run/recovery day

4/23           No run/recovery day

4/24          No run/recovery day

425           27:55 min./3.22 mi./8:40 pace (5k with Run Girl Run. Course was long.)

4/26          54:52 min./6 mi./9:08 pace

Whew. With the marathon last week (how can it be that it’s already been a full week since I ran the Boston Marathon???), travel, and some recovery time, I’m finally caught back up on my weekly mileage. Nothing stellar to report, mileage wise, which is typical of tapering and then reverse tapering post race.

A week later, my legs feel heavy and I’ve had extremely sore quads and IT bands on both legs. Every day I’m feeling a slight improvement but I’m nowhere near back to pre-race form just yet. Totally normal.

The bummer is, is that mentally, I’m feeling fresh, inspired, and ready to run!!! Hurry up legs and get with the program!

I’m trying to run a few easy miles every day as well as cross train a bit more to keep my activity level high to compensate for the lower mileage. I guess I’m a true endorphin junkie… needing a workout fix to stay sane and balanced!

Have a great week!

*Avoiding taper weight gain*

Calories in. Calories out.

It really is that simple. I know there is a lot of research-based evidence out there that supports alternate diets to promote weight loss/gain/maintenance, And I’m sure, that for some people, paleo/gluten-free/vegetarian/vegan/raw/low-fat/etc. might be the ticket to a healthy weight, whatever their goal may be. But ultimately, it comes down to how many calories you are taking in versus how many you are burning through your day-to-day activities and exercise.

Regardless of the various styles of eating I’ve experimented with over the years, I always comes back to being mindful of my caloric intake. I don’t shun fats, count carbs, or obsess over protein. I aim to eat a variety of clean foods in their most natural state and purchase the least processed options when I do need to reach for convenience foods.

The reason I bring this up is because I decided earlier this week that I wanted to be a little extra cautious about avoiding weight gain while I taper. Over the past few months, I’ve been eating to support my training and the high mileage that I’ve been running. During previous taper cycles, I’ve noticed that while I might be backing off the mileage, my appetite continues to want the higher amount of calories that it has become accustom to.

A little weight gain, 2-3 pounds, during taper is totally normal and nothing to worry about. What I’m trying to avoid is packing on a bunch of extra pounds. Research shows that extra weight can contribute to a slower race pace. In most cases, just a few seconds per pound but I did find an online calculator that predicts that if I were to drop four pounds from my current (and I’m guessing what my current weight is because I rarely weigh myself) weight, I could shave 2:32 off my half marathon time or 5:17 off my marathon time. Taking that in to consideration, I think it is worth a shot to prevent gaining weight while I’m tapering.

That said, I’m going to try to avoid my OCD from taking over and work to allow for flexibility. Always. If I’m hungry, I eat. Plain and simple. (And of course, I’m totally hungry right now!) Fueling my body to perform at it’s best will always be my biggest priority!

In the past when I’ve lost weight, I’ve found, for me personally, that counting and tracking calories is the most effective method. It is a pain in the ass and time-consuming but on the upside, it holds me accountable and much more aware of portion sizes, which I have a tendency to distort. (What? A serving of tortilla chips is not half a bag?!)

Earlier this week I signed up for My Fitness Pal, which can be used online as well as an app on a Smartphone or iPhone. I’m still getting the hang of it but already see the value of it. It is so much easier than my previous system of Google-ing foods that didn’t come with the nutrient values labeled on the container. You can even scan the bar code to upload the nutrient data.

There are four things I really like about using this app:

1. Accountability with portion sizes. My aforementioned comment about distorted portion sizes… to be honest with myself, I need to measure out my food. Eyeballing it is not accurate and I know I eat way more than I think I do because I guesstimate a serving size.

2. Most foods are already in the system. I don’t have to do the research to figure out how many calories are in a cup of almond milk or enter it individually anytime I have it. Most brands, various serving sizes, etc., have already been entered by other users so all I have to do is search for it and 9 times out of 10, I find what I’m looking for. This is true of many mainstream and name-brand items.

3. It does the math for me. Considering math was my worst subject in school, followed by espanol, I love that the app automatically calculates my caloric intake for me once I enter the food item. It also adds calories back to the “bank” when I enter a run or other form of exercise. No math degree needed!

4. Logging foods before they are consumed. Sounds funny, but sometimes I enter the food or meal I’m about to eat. Once it’s entered and the calories are accounted for (subtracted from my daily allotment) I don’t want to go back to add more. Another win for portion control!

So far, the only con I’ve found is that it can be a guessing game sometimes… especially when it comes to homemade items or restaurant meals. (Though you can enter a recipe into a calculator that will generate the nutritional breakdown for you.) My rule of thumb is make the most educated guess I can and not worry too much about it. It is meant to be a guide to create awareness and some added accountability, not an end-all, be-all.

I don’t intend to use it long-term but see it as an opportunity to reset my ideals as far as portion sizes go and help me navigate my marathon taper without stressing too much about adding weight while I cut my mileage and my body and metabolism readjust.

Do you count calories, use an app to track your dietary intake, etc.? I’d love to hear what others are doing to stay accountable (or not). Shoot me a comment on you thoughts!

*A look back at March*

March Review:

Total miles: 237

Longest run: 22

Total days running: 25

YTD mileage: 690

Some of my favorite March moments included:

  • So many adventures! Mid-week dinner out with friends, a shopping trip with my girl, camping at the Oregon coast, a belated birthday trip to Seattle, and an overnight excursion to my favorite hot springs retreat center with Mr. Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking.
  • Celebrating my sons 13th birthday (on which I ran 13 miles) and officially becoming the mother of two teenagers. Gah!
  • The opportunity to coach, as a sub, for one of my favorite volunteer organizations, Run Girl Run. I filled in on two of their training days and can’t wait to watch the girls run their first race later this month!
  • Spending an afternoon working in the Portland Marathon booth promoting the October marathon at the Shamrock Run fitness fair. I loved running the Portland Marathon in 2013 and was disappointed that I couldn’t fit it in last year. If you are looking for a beautiful course with tons of support and entertainment, not to mention tons of race swag, put the Portland Marathon on your racing calendar!
  • Setting a minor PR (only three seconds but better than nothing!) at the Portland Shamrock Run. It was a super wet and cold morning but it’s always a fun event and usually one of my first races of the year so I like to use it as a gauge to see where I’m at.
  • Watching my daughters first track meet of the season, which is also her last high school sport season before she graduates in June. This is the girl who just a few years ago claimed she hated running! Now, a team captain and both a sprinter and thrower (she got recruited to do shot-put), I am just in awe of her speed and dedication to training!
  • Finishing up the last of my Boston Marathon training before I started to taper. I maxed out with a 22 mile long run the last weekend of March and am now making the final decent towards race day.
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Time to break out my tapering notice!

March was such a busy month and April won’t be much different! I’m in full-on taper mode and just 17 days out from what will likely be the most amazing race experience of my life. Additionally, I have a lot of things going on behind the scenes here at Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking for some fun partnerships and opportunities in the weeks to come!

Happy April!!