Monday, February 23, 2015

Marathon Taper Time!

Recap of Last Week

I quickly recovered from the Valentine's Day trail half marathon. I recover more quickly after racing on dirt trails, like the one above, than I do after running a road race. (Unless, I trip on a root and fall!) Two days later, on Monday, I was running again.

M: 8 mile run, strength train 
T: 5 mile run, strength train
W: rest
T: 8 mile run (8 x 800m or 1/2 mi with 400m rests)
F: 9 mile run, strength train

S: rest
S: 7 mile run

Taper Week

This week I'll be running less than usual and eating more carbohydrates than usual because on February 28 I'm running in The Woodlands Marathon! I've run the half marathon a couple of times, it's close to home and it looks like the weather will be fairly nice for running, too! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Highlights: Pacers, Races & More

I've gathered some posts that I hope you'll find fun to check out!

How to Be a Fitness Product Tester - My best personal experience with this was when I tried out some New Balance running shoes in exchange for a review on Trail and Ultra Running. They even used my photo of my shoes, which is kind of fun!

Run Repeat - Speaking of shoes, you can check out this site before you buy your next pair of running shoes for reviews.

Athletes' Winter Tales - In order to produce more oxygen carrying red blood cells and to make running at sea level easier, some elite runners train away from home. Mother Jo Pavey no longer trains away from home and says that you really can train anywhere, though. Here's another look at how high altitude helps from Hungry Runner Girl along with a 20% off code for the Utah Valley Marathon.

Comparison of all of the Utah Marathons - Speaking of Utah, I've run the St.George Marathon in Utah - a beautiful state, but too many hills for me! 

Should I Run With a Pace Group? I'm running a marathon on February 28 and I think that I'll at least start out with a pacer. I did that before, but I couldn't hang on. Maybe this time I will!

Race Recaps

Terri placed 2nd in her age group in a 5K race, but the best part of the race was seeing her daughter win her first age group award!

New mother Christine earned a 5K PR with a time of 23:34 and finished 3rd in her age group!

When Deb ran a 10K on Valentine's Day, it was her 100th race and she placed 4th in her age group! 

Triathlon training Grateful Mama blogger finished her first 10 mile race and followed that up with a 29 mile bike ride!

I ran a trail half marathon on Valentine's Day and finished 3rd in my age group!

Visit Debs' blog to see how evenly she ran her recent 50K and finished 5th female in 4:05!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Love. Run. Half Marathon. Report

3rd place AG Finish!
The Love. Run. Half Marathon was held on Valentine's Day in Huntsville State Park, Texas. I finished in 3rd place in my age group in 2:07:54!

When the results were posted online on Sunday, I was excited to find out that I was bumped up from 4th to 3rd out of 31 runners in the 40-49 age group. Because the Master's award went to a runner in my AG, I became the 3rd place finisher.

Course: I brought my own fuel, but they handed out water and Gatorade along the course along with one GU gel handout; root-filled trails (I saw a runner fall, but no falls for me), some hills, mostly shaded, plenty of race markings so you'll stay on course!

Weather/Clothes: perfect weather, blue skies, 45 degrees at the start, Nike shirt and cap, North Face skirt, Saucony Ride 6 shoes. I like the race finisher's shirt and the Project: Love One shirt I was given for volunteering.

Got the Medal!

Fuel Pre-run: white rice, banana, coffee with milk (I'm not a coffee drinker, but maybe the caffeine helped.)

Fuel During Race: This worked well: 1 serving lemon and 1 serving caffeinated Raspberry Tailwind Nutrition (the total calories and carbohydrates was similar to taking 2 gels) in my 20 ounce handheld water bottle. The two flavors mixed together tasted good and my energy was steady throughout the race.

Post-race Food: chicken and beef soft tacos, oranges

Volunteers: At the finish line, I ran into a  race volunteer who I only know because of our blogs! Later that afternoon, I volunteered as course marshal at mile 25 of the marathon held on the same course. One runner jokingly asked to be carried to the finish line. I know that feeling!

Race Sign: Try to be better than yourself!
Parking: I had no problem finding parking since we stayed at the park the night before. If you drive there on race morning, you'll want to arrive early. They started the race 10 minutes late to accommodate runners stuck in a line at the park entrance.

Our RV Race-mobile: My husband and I stayed at the park in our RV for the weekend. I didn't even need an alarm to wake up for the race since we were there and the race didn't start until 8AM. The day after the race, I rode my bike on the race course and saw one of the encouraging signs leftover from the race (photo). The ride was supposed to be a recovery ride, but I ended up riding up a lot of hills that I had forgotten about!

Race Organization: I ran this race in 2012 and both races were well done. Project: Love One raised over $30,000 from the race to help orphans. Along the course, they posted photos of children they've helped. It's a great race to run if you're near Houston in February!

The King will reply, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40

Monday, February 9, 2015

This Week's Long Run Fuel

Zoe Inspects the Leftovers
Cool weather, eating more carbohydrates than usual the day before and for my pre-run meal and just being farther along in marathon training all contributed to a great 18.5 mile run this week. I ran faster (9:31/mile ave. pace) than I did during my previous 18 milers and finished fast at 9:05 and 8:50 pace for the last two miles.

Long Run Fuel 

I ate something every 3 miles: two halves of a tortilla with grape jelly, Powerbar gel, 2 fruit twists (new type for me), half of a citrus Vitalyte electrolyte drink (new to me, tastes more salty than sweet) and a tri-berry GU Brew electrolyte tablet (tastes sweeter than Nuun). I carried all of this in my Skirt Sports Adventure Girl 5 pocket skirt ($35 at Skirt Sports now).

Long Run Fuel (skipped the honey)
Too Much Liquid

One disadvantage of drinking my fuel over getting all that I need from food with water is that sometimes I drink too much like I did during this run. With a running drink, when it's cooler I don't need to drink as much, but I still need to fuel my run and this requires adjusting - sometimes it's hard to do on the run and it takes a little more experimenting in similar weather conditions.

Recap of My 50.5 Mile Week

M: 12 mile run, strength train (post-run: sore right hip flexor)
T: 8 mile run, strength train (hip flexor is fine, but right foot hurts to flex post-run)
W: bike 55 min
T: 8 mile run, strength train (foot is fine)
F: 18.5 mile run (post-run: slightly sore hip flexor)
S: 4 mile run, core (hip flexor is fine)
S: rest

I'm running a marathon on February 28, but first I'm running the Love. Run. Half Marathon on February 14. They've changed the name since I ran the half in 2012 when I won my age group (!), but it's put on by the same group. That was a great race - I'm looking forward to Valentine's Day and I hope you are, too!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Simple Shepherd's Pie

On a chilly night this week, I made shepherd's pie to warm us up. It's one of my favorites because it's easy to put together.  

Simple Shepherd's Pie

In a 9" x 9" baking dish, place:
  • 1/2 lb cooked ground hamburger
  • 1/2 cup beef broth (I use Better Than Bouillon)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup mixed vegetables such as corn, carrots and peas (frozen is fine)
  • 4 cups leftover mashed potatoes
Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
Then broil until top is browned.

This meal makes about 4 servings, but you could double it for larger families or potlucks. For a side, roast some vegetables while the shepherd's pie is baking.

What is one of your favorite meals for warming up on cold days?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Highlights: Nutrition, Races & More

Here some of my favorite posts and recaps found on the web this week...

Aggressive Fueling Plan Means Faster Marathon Times (Runner's World) - In the study, runners used 3 gels an hour. I've never tried 3 gels an hour, but in a recent 50K trail race, 2 gels an hour worked for me.

Race Day Tactics (iRunFar) - Performance boosting strategies to enhance your race.

The Low-down on Snack Bars (The Real Life RD) - Sometimes you don't have time to make a blueberry French toast sandwich (photo)! That's when snack bars are handy. My favorite bars: Larabars (cinnamon roll and apple pie) and homemade bars like Sally's Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal bars.

Female Race Directors Make Their Mark (Zelle) - Lists 5 marathons directed by women, such as the LA Marathon.

At Home with Jo Pavey (BBC) - A video of the 40 year old gold medal winner in the 10,000m at the 2014 European Championships in her home with her family and out for a run.

Soon-to-be Scientist Makes Remarkable Recovery - A runner fell into a ravine while running at Houston's Memorial Park and broke her neck. That led to the realization that she loved science and a science degree.

Race Recaps

Marathon Training Academy blogger, Angie, was the 1st female finisher at the Hawk Indoor Marathon (MD)! It wasn't nearly as hard as she thought it would be to run an indoor marathon.

Nicole Studer broke the American 100 mile trail record last weekend at the Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile Race (Huntsville State Park, TX - that's where I'll run my next half marathon). She didn't wear a watch, took in more gels the farther she ran and finished in 14:22!

Stef at Enduro Stew ran the Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile Race, too, but her race ended with a broken ankle. That race course is where got my only DNF - those trail roots are no joke!

Ultra Runner Stewardess blogger, Jean, completed the Snowdrop Ultra 100 Mile Race (TX) in 31 hours 53 minutes! The Snowdrop Foundation raises funds to research pediatric cancer.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Second 18 Mile Run

This week's long run was a good one. The weather was so nice that I was able to wear shorts and, best of all, I finished feeling strong. It was my second long run leading up to my 2/28 marathon.

Goal, Pace & My Sore Arm!
  • My goal was 3 hours, but I missed it by 5 minutes and ran a 10:18 average pace. Maybe next time! 
  • Knowing that I was nearly finished gave me an extra surge of energy and my last mile was my fastest - 8:50. 
  • After finishing the run, my left arm was sore from carrying my water bottle in my left hand for the whole run. I thought about switching hands as usual, but I like carrying it in my left hand and I wondered if it would make a difference. Now I know! 

Food for the Run

  • toast and jam
  • mocha coffee
  • Beet Elite Neo Shot - Beet Elite tastes like sweetened beets. I can't tell if it made a difference after only one packet, though. See what Flexitarian Filly, a 2:42 marathoner, thinks about it and how she achieved a half marathon PR.

During run: 
  • Tailwind Nutrition tasted great and got me through the run. I mixed together 2 lemon and 1 caffeinated raspberry serving (75 carbs total). Tailwind now comes in small packets you can use on the run.
  • A Clif Kid fruit rope (17 carbs) that comes in a convenient to carry packet. 

When I finished my run, I was chilled so I warmed up with lentil soup and saved my Cherry Smoothie for later. That's a first for a recovery meal for me!

With a half marathon and a marathon coming up this month, I plan to buy some tart cherry juice this week. I received a $1 coupon for Cheribundi tart cherry juice by signing up here. I know that it tastes good and I need any help that I can find to recover quickly!

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