Route 66 Marathon Training – Week 16 & Recovery Week

28 Nov

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Hey there and happy Monday! I hope you had a good Thanksgiving/long weekend/regular weekend!

Just wanted to share how my last week of Marathon training went, and my first week of recovery. The races themselves went GREAT and I’ll be posting full recaps soon… I’ve got a lot to say!!

My last week of training was focused on running and stretching and resting.

Monday Nov. 14 – 5.35 miles easy in the AM (5 mile run that went a little long haha)

Tuesday – Rest day

Wednesday – 3 miles easy in the AM and my last run at home with my running group! ahhh!

 

Thursday – Rest day (this was the day we flew to Tulsa Oklahoma!

Friday – Rest day (and exploring Tulsa and the expo!)

Saturday – Route 66 5k

Sunday – Route 66 MARATHON!!

I honestly felt ready to run again on Monday but knew that was obviously not a good idea, so I told myself I had to wait until Friday to run again. I really started getting bored and feeling antsy though, so I compromised with a gym session on Thanksgiving, and my first run back on Friday! I started my runs back at 5 miles because I want to have a slightly higher weekly mileage than my normal 3, 3, 3, long run mileage. I’ll talk more about that in a later post though. Here’s last weeks recovery week!

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – Rest days

Thursday – 30 minute BodyPump + 30 minute BodyCombat

Friday – 5 miles easy

Saturday – 5 miles easy

Sunday – BodyAttack

Have a good week guys!

Route 66 Marathon Goals

18 Nov

Hi guys – Happy Friday to you!

I am in Tulsa, and today we are planning on hitting up the expo and sight-seeing so that tomorrow can be reserved for resting my legs! Make sure you’re following me on instagram @beccarun for the most timely updates of race weekend!

I wanted to check in and share my goals for this marathon, and talk through what I’m thinking (for now at least) in terms of race day strategy.

I always like to make multiple goals for big races – one that is a given, and one that is based on my hopeful finishing time, and then a few others.

Goal 1: Have fun, feel strong, enjoy the 26.2 mile victory lap.

Goal 2: Participate in the Center of the Universe Detour. The Route 66 marathon offers a .3 mile “detour” that marathoners can participate in, where we cover a toal of 26.5 miles, and receive a medallion that says we completed the world’s shortest ultra marathon.🙂

Goal 3: PR the Marathon. My last marathon time was 6:44:48 and barring anything awful happening, I know I can PR this marathon. Last time, I really struggled the last 6 miles, and I feel much more prepared for those late miles this time around since I ran 20 miles twice in training.

Goal 4: Finish 26.2 in under 6 hours. Keep in mind that this means I don’t have to finish the full 26.5 in under 6 to reach this goal – only the marathon distance.🙂 This has been my goal and focus this entire training cycle. It requires a 13:44 average pace which I feel really good about – all of my training runs have been faster. But I do think I have to be careful with my pacing to not destroy my legs and slow down significantly in the last 6 miles.

…and that’s a nice seque into my pacing strategy for the race…

I want to feel strong during this race, and if possible, not completely hate my life in those last six miles. So, I plan to take the first 6 miles painfully slow (maybe even a 13 minute mile pace). From there I’ll guage how I feel but try not to hit the full accelerator until around miles 18-20. From there, depending on how I feel, I will try to pick up the pace to get to that finish line.

We will see how all this will go, but I really really want to try to not kill my energy early on. I’ll be reminding myself to take it easy in those early miles. The race offers a 6 hour pacer so I may stick with them for the first half or so before picking up the pace. I have to see what their pacing strategy is though, so I’m hoping to catch them at the expo.

Most of all, my plan is to run my own race. And have fun, strong race!!

 

 

D&L Heritage Half Marathon (Race Recap)

15 Nov

On Sunday, November 6th I ran the Delaware and Lehigh Heritage Half Marathon.  The race starts in Slatington, PA and follows the D&L Trail, ending in Northhampton, PA. I ran this race last year (as part of my 2 halfs in 1 weekend challenge), and since my dad missed out on running it due to an injury, we decided to come back again this year. It also fit perfectly in my marathon training plan, where I swapped it out for a 14 miler, assuming that the .9 mile difference in distance would be made up for in the effort I would put forth.

We picked up our bibs and race shirts (long sleeved, tech, bright orange) the morning of with zero issues. The race starts at a local high school where you can easily use a real bathroom (and there were port-a-poties as well), and park for free. This course is a point-to-point and ends 13.1 miles away, and the race provides busses to get you back to the start post-race.

For the most part, the race is flat, if not slightly downhill, on a crushed gravel trail. There is one steep hill right at the beginning, but the key is to just expect your pace to be the slowest in the first mile, and make up for it over the rest of the race.

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As we milled around, waiting for the race to start, I decided to start with the 2:30 pacers and from there decide if I needed to drop back, or speed up. I didn’t have the goal to PR (especially since I PRed the previous weekend in Canada), but I had a feeling that if I felt good I may be able to finish under 2:30 again.  I did plan to walk the water stops since that was my strategy for all of my long runs and the upcoming marathon.

It was a little chilly, but would get up to the mid 50s, so I opted to wear a long sleeved tech shirt and capris. The trail is shaded, so I figured I’d rather be warm for the last mile or so than cold the majority of the time.

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The race started promptly at 8, and I started right behind the 2:30 pacers.

Mile 1 – 11:38 – I ended up loosing the pacers on the uphill. I ran it as long as I could and then opted to slow to a walk when my legs started to feel fatigued. They passed me while I was walking but I forced myself to go at the pace I was comfortable. I figured I could catch up to them in a few miles, and if I didn’t, it was no big deal. I really tried not to put pressure on myself.

Mile 2 – 10:25 – After a long steep uphill, you are rewarded with a nice down hill, so even though I was still trudging up at the beginning of mile two, the downhill made up a lot of time for me. I reminded myself to let my legs relax and to not exert much energy. Just let gravity do the work.

Mile 3 – 10:25 – I caught back up to the pacers and was thrilled. I felt good but knew I should back off the pace, and stopped looking at my watch. That’s what pacers are there for right?🙂

Mile 4 – 10:51

Mile 5 – 11:07

Mile 6 – 11:00

Mile 7 – 11:04 – Miles 4, 5, 6 and 7 felt great. I talked with the pacers and other runners around us, and let them set the pace. We all had a hard time slowing down because the course really makes it easy to go faster. I followed my plan of walking water stops to get water, and got in the habit of opening and eating my Gu slightly before hitting the water station (often while still running), so the amount of time I lost with those short walking breaks was minimal.

Mile 8 – 11:01 – At a water stop I got ahead of the pacers, and I decided to just go with what felt comfortable. I only had 5 miles to go and knew I could stick it out. I also knew that if I maintained my pace I was well on track for a PR. I wasn’t obsessing with my watch but I looked at it every mile to see each miles time and the overall time, and assess how I was feeling.

Mile 9 – 11:01 – When I looked behind me I couldn’t see the pacers anymore, so my goal became to not let them catch up and pass me.

Mile 10 – 11:09 – I hit mile 10 in 1:49:43 and was SHOCKED. I remembered how usually it takes me a full two hours to run 10 miles. Amazing. I felt good about my pace and my body felt strong!

Mile 11 – 11:07 – When I hit 11 miles in 2:00:50 I got a bit emotional. I knew I was on track to PR, and be well below 2:30. The question now was by how much.

Mile 12 – 11:40 – Like the previous at the Niagara International Half Marathon, mile 12 was my slowest. My body suddenly wanted to quit, and mind was not sure I could keep pushing. So I let myself take a 30 second walk break. This is clearly the hardest mile for mentally in half marathons. I want to work on getting stronger with this next year.

Mile 13: 10:42 – The last mile takes you off of the trail, across a bridge, and into a park. The change of scenery and increase in spectators invigorated me and gave me my second wind. I was ready to go and see how fast I could finish the last mile.

Mile 13.1 – 1:24 (9:53 pace)

I crossed the finish in 2:24:36 – my garmin time matched the official time exactly. If you’re keeping track, that’s just under a 4 minute PR from the week before. To say I was thrilled and amazed was an understatement. I never imagined myself finishing in the 2:30 range, much less breaking 2:30 and finishing squarely in the 2:20s.

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This race is well organized, inexpensive, and really scenic, and totally PR-able. That aside, for me it was the perfect confidence boosting long run for 2 weeks out from my marathon. I feel so so good about how I did and how I’ve improved as a runner this season. Regardless of what happens at the marathon, I feel so strong based on my performance over the last few weeks.

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Route 66 Marathon Training – Weeks 14 & 15

14 Nov

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Well here we are. In the last week of marathon training, and the big day is on Sunday!!! I am feeling pretty great – no taper crazies here at all. I am enjoying my taper and my runs feel so strong!!! Here’s how the last two weeks – the first two weeks of tapering – went. I focused mostly on running, getting in some light non-impact cardio through spinning, and staying on top of my core work. I cut BodyPump and anything super intense (besides the running) completely out to give my body the recovery time it needs.

Monday Oct 31 – A much needed rest day post-Niagara Falls Half/2o miler.

Tuesday Nov 1 – I took another rest day, shifting my runs around for the rest of the week, because my body still felt tired.

Wednesday Nov 2 – 5.6 miles easy in the AM, CXWORX in the PM

Thursday Nov 3 – 3 miles easy in the AM

Friday Nov 4 – 3 miles easy in the AM

Saturday Nov 5 – Rest day

Sunday Nov 6 – D&L Half Marathon!! I felt great during this race and surprised myself with another PR, finishing in 2:24 and change (about 4 minutes off from the week before). Full race recap soon!!🙂

 

In summary… 

Total running miles: 24.7

Core workouts : 1

 

Monday Nov 7 – Planned rest day due to the hard-ish effort the day before.

Tuesday Nov 8 – Another rest day, again, just listening to my body!

Wednesday Nov 9 – 4.1 miles easy in the AM, RPM + CXWORX in the PM

Thursday Nov 10 – 5.6 miles fast in the AM (10:45 pace!)

Friday Nov 11 – 3.3 miles easy in the AM, nice stretchy yoga class in the late morning.

Saturday Nov 12 – The Trip Immersive Cycling

Sunday Nov 13  – 10 miles (11:54 pace) – I took this easy and comfortable and finished feeling pretty good!

 

In summary… 

Total running miles: 23

Core workouts : 1

BodyFlow/Yoga classes: 1

I have just two easy runs planned this week before I head to Tulsa!!  With my free time I plan to rest, stretch and foam roll. On Saturday I’ll be running the 5k, and on Sunday the full marathon! Ahhh!!! I can’t believe it’s finally here!!

Niagara Falls International Half Marathon Race Recap

5 Nov

On Sunday October 30th, I ran the Niagara Falls International Half Marathon. But first, lets back up (and apologies for how long this is probably going to be).

I have always wanted to run a race in Canada, especially since it’s pretty much within driving distance for me, living in Pennsylvania. This race fit the bill since it was relatively close (4.5 hours or so), and it also fit nicely in my marathon training plan.

My dad and I drove up on Saturday, the day before the race. We drove right to the Scotiabank Convention Center and packet pickup was a breeze. They had a smallish expo, but it was honestly the perfect size. Plenty of free samples, a station to check to be sure the chip in your bib was correct, and I was able to pick up some salted caramel gus. They also had some nice photo stations set up.

We ended up staying at the host hotel that offered the shuttles to the start line of the race, and it was really conveniently located. We spent the afternoon and evening walking to the falls (as you do), watching game 6 of the World Series, and getting the traditional pasta dinner.

I had my second 20 miler of training planned for this weekend, so I planned to run 7 miles before the race, and then run the half marathon as my miles 8-20.1. Luckily the race didn’t start until 10 (and we couldn’t board the busses until 8), so I woke up around 5:30 and was out the door by 5:45. I ran the 7 miles at a pretty easy pace, though I definitely could tell I wanted to run faster, so I forced myself to take a few walk breaks to take it easy. It ended up taking me 1:26ish (12:15 pace). After run part 1, I took a quick shower at the hotel, changed, and ate my breakfast, before we boarded the busses parked outside our hotel around 8:15.

The race is point to point and starts 13.1 miles from Niagara Falls, and you spend the entire race running alone the Niagara river. It is really gorgous. There is a full marathon as well, that starts in Buffalo, NY, and you get to cross the Peace Bridge from the US into Canada, before meeting up with the half marathon course 13.1 miles in.

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The race started on time at 10 after playing both the American and Canadian National Anthems. I wore a tank top with arm sleeves, and kept a throw away sweatshirt on until minutes before we started, because it was in the low 50s and cloudy.

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On the bus ride to the start I had asked my dad what pace I would have to run to break 2:30. We calculated that it would have to be around 11:20 per mile. I wasn’t sure if it was possible, especially given that I had run 7 miles already, but I was feeling really good. I knew the course was going to be pretty flat and downhill (some folks mentioned some hills, but honestly there was nothing that I would consider a hill by my centeral Pennsylvania standards), and it would be cool… which were all pretty ideal PR conditions. I decided to take the race mile by mile, and see how I felt. I told my self to start of slower and just focus on the mile I was in. If I could PR or break 2:30, great. If not, 20 miles was still a great accomplishment.

Mile 1 – 11:23 – I did a bit of weaving but was happy to see how nice it felt to run the pace I had hoped.

Mile 2 – 11:01

Mile 3 – 10:56

Mile 4 – 11:27

Mile 5 – 10:58

During the first five miles I told myself to slow down a LOT. I kept thinking “chill out, you have another 8 miles to go” but my legs just would not listen, and it felt good. Miles 2 and 4 were slightly slower because they had water stops, which I walked through.

Mile 6 – 11:13

Mile 7 – 11:13

Mile 8 – 11:03

I knew I was banking some nice extra time for when I would inevitably feel the tiredness of being 7 miles ahead of everyone else. I focused on each mile, and felt good. I followed my routine of walking the water stops, taking a Gu every 45 minutes, and taking in the nice scenery.

Mile 9 – 11:35

Around mile 9 it began to rain and the temperatures dropped. I was under dressed – I would have been fine in a short sleeved top or even a long sleeved top. But I kept reminding myself that the quicker I did it, the sooner I would be done and out of the rain.

Mile 10 – 11:40

At mile 10 (mile 17 for me) I started to feel achy in my hips, and my feet were starting to feel pretty tired. I told myself to run with my heart, not my legs. Because my heart wanted to see 2:29 on that clock when I finished, and I had come too far to loose it now.

Mile 11 – 11:25

Mile 12 – 12:10

Mile 12 was really hard for me mentally. I knew I could PR and that I could break 2:30, but I knew it would be close. I actually felt kind of scared, like what if I pushed and pushed and pushed this hard and didn’t make it? That feeling of just barely not making it caused me to take a 30 second walk break, which caused this mile to be my slowest. But then I told myself to suck it up and go get it, I was NOT going to mess this up in the last 2 miles. No way.

Mile 13 – 10:50 – this was my fasted mile of the race, and fastest of all 20. amazing!

13.1 – 1:36 (9:50 pace)

I crossed the finish in 2:28:31 (2:28:32 OT) and was THRILLED and immediately burst into happy tears.

Finally I had broken 2:30 (and PRed by a little over 2 minutes.). Finally my second 20 miler was done (in under 4 hours cumulatively!!!). Finally the bulk of marathon training was complete. niagarafallshalf-4

(It’s hard to tell but that is Niagara Falls behind me.)

To say I felt proud and strong would be an understatement. I beat a time that I previously thought impossible, and as the last long effort of marathon training it couldn’t have gone any better!!