Friday, May 22, 2015

More Protein Powder & Miles

I was almost out of protein powder, so my recent package from Nutrition 53 of Vegan 1 protein powder came at just the right time. Each Vegan 1 packet contains 20 grams of plant-based protein and the powder mixes up with just a spoon.  

Lately, I've been having some jaw pain (TMJ) that will, hopefully, soon be relieved by my new mouth guard. Until then, chewing hurts so protein shakes to the rescue! I had fun trying the four flavors they sent me.

Chai: It's nearly impossible for me to find a powder mixed with only water that I like, but the chai flavor made the grade.

Banana: With a fork, I mixed together the banana powder, water, banana and a dash of molasses, which adds iron and sweetness.

Chocolate: I used my immersion blender to make a version of one of my favorite recipes (photo): blended frozen banana slices, a tablespoon of peanut butter, enough water to get the consistency I want and chocolate protein powder (or instead of powder, sub cocoa powder).

Vanilla: I made a pretty purple smoothie by blending together the vanilla powder, blueberries, strawberries, yogurt, oats, milk and honey. 

Nutrition 53 sent me 12 packets in exchange for my posted opinion, but anyone can request one free packet.

Can You Find the Raccoon I Spotted on Today's 15 Mile Run?

This Week's Workouts

My husband and I will be heading north in our RV this summer and I'd like to fit a race in. I'm thinking about running the Missoula Marathon in July, but our plans are still up in the air. Still, that gives me an incentive to increase my weekly miles and to include a tempo, hill and long run even as the summer heats up here in Texas.

5/16: Low Back Pain Exercises for Runners, Plank RoutineFitnessista WO (1-6)

5/17: Run 7 miles (Tempo4 miles moderate effort @11:17/mi. ave.), Myrtl video
5/18: Strength Training: coreupper body video; Bike 30 min.
5/19: Run 9 miles; Meb's Drills: skipping, skipping with extended legs, backwards skipping; strides
5/20: Run 5 miles (Hills), Coach Jay's Core HHips: clamshells, sidesteps, bridges
5/21: Bike 30 min., Strength Training
5/22: Run 15 miles (Long): extra challenges: no food/music/audio book during run, last mile- fast finish
Total Running: 36 miles 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Running in Palo Duro Canyon State Park

This week I went on a vacation to Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas, about a day's drive from home. It's the second largest U.S. canyon. On Tuesday, I ran up the trail to see Lighthouse rock, which you can see in the distance in the center of the top photo. Last time, my husband and I ran and biked all of the way to the rock, but this time we didn't have the time.

I got in some great hill running on this trip. My husband rode his bike and made a few jokes to the hikers we saw on the trail about keeping up with me or finally passing me. We stayed in our RV and had a campfire that night.

We both got in some hill work!  
The next morning, I set out from our campground down the road for a 5 mile run. Someone driving by asked if I needed a ride. They probably didn't think that anyone would actually want to run in the cold rain! It was a nice change from warm and humid and we don't have good hills like that at home so I was happy to be out there running.

This Week's Workouts

5/9: Bike 30 min, Strength train
5/10: Run 7 miles (6 x .5 mile), Myrtl routine (video)
5/11: Rest
5/12: Run 5.8 miles (short hills)
5/13: Run 5 miles (long hills)
5/14: Rest
5/15: Run 13 miles
Total Running: 30.8 miles (ramping up after my 4/25 50 mile race)

Monday, May 4, 2015

50 Mile Training

Before the Race: Would I Really Finish?
I completed my first 50 mile race nine days ago!
Here's how I trained:
My 50 Mile Race Training
(My Long Runs/ Some Back-to-backs/ Weekly Totals) 
8 weeks out: 26.2 (The Woodlands Marathon) (45 miles this week total)
7 weeks out: 10 (15 miles this week total)
6 weeks out: 24/10 (Back-to-back run: 24 mile run followed by a 10 mile run the next day) (54 miles this week total)
5 weeks out: 28/7 (Back-to-back run) (55 miles this week total)
4 weeks out: 10 (19 miles this week total)
3 weeks out: 25/10 (Back-to-back run) (66 miles this week total)
2 weeks out: 15 (39 miles this week total)
1 week out: 10 (34 miles this week total)
Race Week: 50 Mile Trail Race (62 miles this week total)
# of Days Per Week: Mostly, I ran 4-5 days a week with a 3 day and 6 day week, too.
The closer I got to race day, the more I noticed little niggles (slight pain). The day before the race, my 95 pound dog stepped on my feet and ran into my knee! None of this bothered me on race day, though. What a relief! 
If I had more time, I'd do more back-to-back runs where I would do a long run followed by a 10 or 12 mile run the next day. This 50 mile training plan helped me to make up my own.
DOMS? One thing I wondered about was the pain after the race (DOMS: delayed onset muscle soreness) because I had never run longer than a 50K (31 miles) before. Good news: I recovered a day or two sooner than I have after my road marathons. Three days after my 50 mile race, my sore legs and back weren't stiff or sore!
What would you change about your training? Have you run back-to-backs?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Brazos Bend 50 Race Report: 5 Lessons Learned from My First 50 Mile Race

I am now a 50 mile finisher! On April 25, I ran the Brazos Bend 50 Mile Race in Needville, Texas (near Houston). How many chances do you get to run with alligators? I counted 14. The gators stayed in the water so even when I was alone on the trail - it was just part of the fun to see them.

I saw my husband and our dog along the course, too. We stayed in our RV the night before the race, which meant I was only five minutes from the start. When I got to the start before the race, I ran a little and realized I had to rearrange my gear in my pockets so it didn't bob up and down and bug me. I'm glad I did!

Our RV That I Could See From the Race Course

Here are my 5 biggest race take-ways.

1. It's the little things that make me happy. 

  • Seeing my husband in the pouring rain who offered me a towel and a gel
  • Chit-chatting with other runners 
  • Volunteers always filled my water bottle quickly (I'm glad I carried one)
  • A real restroom (not a porta-potty) at mile 21 
  • Ice whenever I wanted it at the aid stations  
  • Knowing the exact mileage to the finish from the volunteers
  • The Trail Toes cream from my race packet - no blisters on my soaked feet!
  • Knowing toe nails grow back in when you know you will lose them
  • I didn't fall!
  • Not being struck by lightning
  • Not being hit by the cracking tree branch I heard during the storm
  • Zero mosquito bites (I sprayed myself pre-race, but does that stuff last 12 hours?!)
  • I didn't get lost! 
  • I quickly got back on the right trail after taking a wrong turn when I didn't follow the clearly marked trail. That was about a half mile from the finish. Brain fog!
  • I finished!
2. The heat is worse than mosquitoes, rain, thunder, lightning, mud, and puddles all put together.

It was easy to start out at an easy pace like I had wanted to because it was humid. Multiple heavy rain storms brought a short break from the heat, but then the trails were muddy, my shoes were soaked and the slippery mud caked onto my shoes. From 1:00 until I finished, it was a hot and humid 80-84F and that was worse than anything else.

Zoe with the Fake Gator

3. Having lots of food to choose from at the aid stations was great, but my stomach still hit some rough spots where it felt uncomfortable. No cramps, though!

I carried 20 gels and ate 15 (one every half hour until I tired of them, a variety of flavors was good including high sodium and caffeinated gels)

From the aid stations, I had:

  • ice, two 1/4 peanut butter sandwiches, oranges, 2 chocolate chip cookies, pineapple, 2 Ritz crackers, a date, pickles, pickle juice
  • I ate salty foods and gels, but somehow I forgot to try a salt pill, too.
At the mile 43 aid station, these foods turned my race from bad to good:

  • ginger ale (to settle my stomach), 2 Oreos, GU chews and Gatorade

Misc: To learn how I carried 15 gels or a little bit about my gear, check this post. Also, I don't really know if the mile 43 aid station was at mile 40 or 43, but I thought it was 43 and I'll leave it at that.

4. It was harder than I thought it would be. 

Oh, the drama! What time was it? Where's the next aid station? Where is everybody else? Would I make the 15 hour finishing cut-off? Would I even finish?

My Garmin 220 watch, phone (for music) and phone charger batteries all died somewhere before the mile 43 aid station. My lower back hurt so much that I held it with my hands while squeezing my fingers into my back and walked. Before getting to the mile 43 aid station, I sat down a couple of times, ate a salted gel and watched a butterfly land on my muddy legs.
6AM Start

5. An aid station can turn your race around.

At the mile 43 aid station, I sat down, learned how close I was to the finish, ate some new foods and listened to the other runners tell how they were suffering, too. It all helped! I came into that aid station not knowing if I could finish, but I left knowing that I would cross the finish line.

My First 50 Mile Finish

Even though there were only 95 finishers, the spectators cheered like it was the finish of a big city marathon. At the start, the race director gave us high-fives and at the muddy finish, he was still there to shake our hands. At the finish, I forgot to even look at the finishing clock - just finishing felt like winning!

The Numbers: 

  • I ran from 6AM-6:12PM.
  • 12:12 finishing time (14:38/mile average pace)
  • 58th out of 95 finishers
  • 13th out of 27 females
  • 5th out of 13 in the 40-49 female age group 
  • I'm 49 and was the only female aged 45-49

Post-Race Thoughts

Two days after the race, my legs feel better than they have after road marathons, but my back still hurts. I'll try some more core and back exercises when I feel better.

I don't know if I'll ever have the opportunity or want to run such a long race again. If I do, I want to run more and longer back to back training runs and wear a watch that won't die. It was even harder than I thought it would be to finish this race, but I'm so glad I did!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

50 Mile Race - Gear List

My first 50 mile race, the longest race I've ever run, is coming up on April 25. I'm a mixture of excitement and nerves! To calm my nerves a little, I've made a list of what I'll carry during the race and what I'll eat on race morning.

shirt with pocket
Skirt Sports Adventure Skirt with 5 pockets
buff to pour cold water on to cool my neck (I'm expecting a warm day.)
comfy socks and shoes

Banana Boat Sport sunscreen
Ivy X pre-contact poison ivy spray (Just in case I run into some poison ivy again!)
Gold Bond Friction Defense (like Body-glide, but sold at my local grocery store)

Fuel for the Run
Nathan Handheld Quickdraw Water Bottle
20 GU gels (taken every 30 minutes, about the same as my fuel plan for my last marathon and 50K race)
may supplement with aid station fuel: Hammer gels and Heed drink

Also Carry
Garmin Forerunner 220 GPS watch
phone charger (It'll be a long race!)
ear buds
ankle timing chip and race bib
Happy thoughts!

Pre-run Meal 
instant oatmeal, a banana and coffee (Coffee may reduce perceived exertion. Need that!)

Is there anything you'd add to my list? 

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