Saturday, August 29, 2015

MCM 2015: Weeks #11 and #12!

Week #11 of training coincided with my youngest daughter's return to dance (3 nights per week) and my older daughter's start of dual enrollment classes. Week #12 of training coincided with my son's annual neurologist appointment and other general craziness!

But the training got done! And as you read already, a couple of races got done last weekend as well!

Yay, me!

As much as I wish I were doing another HIM this year (Augusta in particular), I am reminded over and over this year that it's just not feasible until my older daughter can drive herself places. Which could happen as early as January. If we can find her a car. Fingers and toes are crossed! (Though I will genuinely miss all of the great talks we have driving together for hours each week!)

Last week, I started back to swimming after a few weeks off. This week I only had time for one swim, but the shoulder was glad! Also, I found "the spot" (I think) that has been causing all the problem. I started rolling it - with a massage ball while I stand against the wall - and it is really, really painful but it really, really helps! YAY!

This week my long run was "only" 8 miles. I was going to hit the Mountain and run, but my friend Susan (who I ran the half with last year and who is doing the fulls I am doing this fall) reminded me that our fulls are mostly flat, and we need to train for mostly flat. So I dropped off my big girl at dance and came home and hit my flat park. It was really great! I have to remember to train for the races that I'm doing. I remember last year with Augusta being totally flat, my legs were unused to using the same muscles constantly. So it's a good thing to make sure those muscles are ready for the job they have to do!

I have been trying out some CW-X capris during my runs to help my muscles. Thankfully the heat has relented a bit and I haven't been too hot while I wear them. Today's 8 miler was the longest that I've worn them for, and it went well while I was running and then afterward I find that my legs are much less fatigued. I am having a hard time getting used to not having my bottom covered though. When I wore CW-X during the Goofy challenge, I wore skirts over them. But my collection of skirts is much less now so I'm not totally sure what I will do. I think I want to get an InkNBurn shirt to wear. But they are very expensive. And I don't really see anything in stock at the moment that I like. There is still time, though... so InkNBurn, you need to get busy! ;)

I'm 60% done with my training now. And I'm into the part of training where I do the really long runs every other week. So next Saturday's run is a 16 miler! And then that just leaves 18 and 20! I'm so excited - and nervous, too, because 18 is where I started having problems last time. (And I swear I am feeling twinges left and right these days. I'm starting to lose my mind about it! It's going to be a long 8 weeks if I am going to obsess about getting injured! @@) I am trying very hard to keep positive and trust that everything will work out just fine!

Hope training is going well for everyone! Here's looking towards September for some chilly mornings for training!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Free professional pictures?! YES! At the Hotlanta Half Marathon!

I couldn't believe my eyes when I got the email from the race directors at the Hotlanta Half Marathon that said we would be getting free race pictures! I knew we had a few pictures taken, despite the rain, so I was really excited!

Then I saw the pictures! They are fantastic and remind me all about the fun we had in the pouring rain!

Silly runner girls before the race started!

Too happy for being soaking wet!


It's like a party broke out at a race!

Totally love this picture!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Race Report: Hotlanta Half Marathon 2015

Today's half marathon included 7-8 miles of thunder, lightning, pouring rain, and street flooding!

And I had a BLAST! LOL

I know, it doesn't make sense! But it's true!

It didn't start out as a stellar morning. Strong thunderstorms rolled through my area overnight and woke me up and then kept me awake as the whole house shook. When the alarm went off at 4 AM, I had gotten about 2.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. But I am a Disney Runner and I have run a half-marathon while sleep deprived! No biggie! Because I was out of bed, the kitties thought it was time to eat breakfast. When I went into the other room to feed them, I noticed there were ants all around their food bowl. So I cleaned that up, got rid of the ants, cleaned that up, and then fed them. I did my rolling and stretching and got dressed. I needed to leave at 4:45 to meet friends from MRTT at the Park and Ride lot at 5:15. Susan had graciously offered to drive me and Grace into Atlanta, and after all the driving I do all week long, I welcome any chance to avoid driving on the weekend! ;)

We made fantastic time and got to the World of Coca Cola (the race start) before 6 AM and secured a great spot in the parking garage. There were real bathrooms near the parking garage and we hit those twice before the start. YAY for real bathrooms! Since Susan knows everyone in the running world, we met up with other friends at the start line. It was actually a little chilly and I was excited! As the sun rose, the clouds dissipated and I was glad that I had brought my sunglasses with me!

Start line selfie - complete with a photo bomb by the DJ!
Corral selfie!
The four of us pictured above in the Corral are all training for fall full marathons so today was a training run for everyone. I planned to do 4/1 intervals and they were all fine with tagging along. We kept a nice, easy pace and ended up staying together for the entire race!

I haven't done an Atlanta half marathon in several years and I think you forget how truly hilly the downtown area is. But I have been training at Stone Mountain so I was pretty prepared for it. What I wasn't prepared for was this sight:

There's a storm coming...
We heard the thunder starting around mile 5. The other ladies had actually seen lightning but since I hadn't, I decided to put it out of my mind. The sad thing is, I really wanted this cool medal and I wanted to make sure to get my 2015 Half Marathon done so I can keep up my streak! All I kept thinking was, "Please don't let the race be black flagged!" Yeah, I'm crazy!

It was sprinkling and lightly raining for awhile before we got to the Atlanta Beltline, a flat, paved recreation trail. And it actually felt good - the rain was cool and the cloud cover was controlling the temps. Now and then, we would even feel a nice breeze!

And then the rain hit. And it hit hard. But it still wasn't too terrible. I ran through heavy rain during the Peachtree and lived to tell the tale! But this rain was even worse, and it just kept coming and coming! We all ran together and remained light-hearted. I'm not sure I would have been feeling the same way if I had been running alone, instead of watching my running buddies jumping through puddles and singing songs!

A waterfall down the stairs at Piedmont Park!
We ran through Piedmont Park and back out and the water was sometimes 3-4 inches deep as it ran down the road! There was no way to avoid running through it, so the feet got soaking wet. But it wasn't cold and it wasn't hot. It was just wet! Very, very wet!

The rain was slowing down from a monsoon to a downpour by the time we ran through the GA Tech campus, which I do not recall running through before. It brings a new meaning to me now that my youngest child is talking about wanting to go there! The last hill came and went - my shoes came untied THREE TIMES - and at last we hit the home stretch to the finish. All four of us fairly close together as we crossed the finish line, celebrating a hard earned race!

My goal for today's pace was 2:30 and I finished in 2:25:36! I don't think you can get much closer than that, especially considering the weather! We maintained 4/1 intervals and I really felt like I could have kept going! MCM doesn't have such crazy hills so I think I should be fine. Despite the rain, I didn't have any chafing and only had one tender spot on my right pinkie toe where there was some skin that came off the bottom a few days ago. I really don't think that's bad at all. Nutrition was a packet of Generation UCAN taken 90 minutes before the race started. I felt strong the entire way! There was Nuun on the course, which was a pleasant surprise. I took some and I also took some water, but didn't really need so much because of the cool, wet weather! All in all, everything went perfectly - in spite of the crazy weather!

Post race with the awesome medal! You can see how completely soaked I was! 
I was so glad that I threw a pool towel into my bag before I left the house this morning. I took a change of clothes and a small towel anticipating being hot and sweaty. I decided to add the pool towel in case nobody wanted to take time to change clothes. I could just sit on the towel in the car. Instead, I needed to dry off my soaked body with it! When I took off my socks, I wrung them out and made small puddles! Crazy!
My biggest medal to date! :)
Cute race shirt, too! 
So there is the story of my wettest Half Marathon ever! I am really, really excited about MCM now! I'm in the big time of training now, with Week #11 being behind me now. I'm to the point where I have a super long run every other week, with a recovery long run in between them! Only 16, 18, and 20 to go! I hope that the rest of training will continue to go well!

9 weeks until race day!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Race Report: 2015 Magnolia Run/Walk for Epilepsy 5K

This morning, my 19 year old son joined me to run/walk the Magnolia Run for Epilepsy. I have done this race twice before and, in fact, I am pretty sure it's my 5K PR race. But this year, I have the half marathon tomorrow so I didn't want to race. But I did want to support the Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia! And now that my son (who started having seizures in 2008 and if you remember the story of how I got started in running you'll recall that it was the onset of his seizures and the resulting diagnosis that opened the door for me) is no long working 3rd shift and can actually have a real life, I decided that I would see if he wanted to come with me! And he did! 

Pre-Race pic of me and my "little" boy! 
He had not had any time to train, so this was going to be pretty much a walk and have a good time together sort of day. And that's exactly what we did!

Individuals with Epilepsy were given special purple shirts to wear during the race. It was so neat to look around and see all of the shirts! The front was pretty with the purple and green - but the back was simply FANTASTIC!


LOVE LOVE LOVE this!
Austin and I hung out before the race with Team Epilepsy Avengers, the team for a friend who leads our group bike rides and who has family members with epilepsy. Then we all walked over to the start line. Austin told me he wanted to try to run a little. So we did. And then he kept saying he didn't want to stop, but I made him stop and walk several times. Still, we did that first mile way too fast for someone who hasn't run in 6 years! LOL We ended up walking the rest of the way after the first mile. No biggie! It was still fun and we had a great time together. We did run from the last turn until we crossed the finish line! :D

Austin chose IHOP for some post-race refueling and then we came home and got cleaned up and took the traditional race shirt picture:

How did he get taller than me??
I hope he will do this event with me next year! And I hope he will train for it next time! :D




Saturday, August 15, 2015

MCM 2015 Training: Week #10

HALFWAY DONE!!!

I cannot believe that I'm done with Week #10 of my marathon training already! It is going by so quickly! With our homeschooling year resuming this week, it's going to fly by even more quickly, I'm sure! 

This week was a cut back week, which I really appreciated since we did start back with lessons and dance classes/rehearsals for one of my girls. I was able to get in all of my workouts, though my cycling went back to the trainer simply due to time constraints! I hope to be able to do some of the trainer workouts that I've saved over the last few months or from the book I have called "Workouts in a Binder for Cyclists". But for right now, I'm just going to work on getting my cadence up again. Actually, it may end up staying that way through marathon training. My focus is on my running legs right now. 

My shoulder is doing really well. I'd guess I'm about 95% with my range of motion and there is almost no discomfort anymore. I am planning to resume swimming this coming week, easing back into it slowly. 

Running this week went well. I started breaking in one pair of my pretty new shoes! And they really are SO pretty. They make me happy just looking at them. I also bought 2 pair of capri pants for the race, so I ran in one pair this week. I was surprised that I wasn't overly hot. I will try the other pair this coming week. I'm really missing having pockets, though, so I'm not sure what I will end up doing. Good thing I have some more weeks to try things out! ;)

My pretty new shoes! Today I wore the ones on the right!
Speaking of trying things out... I need to work on my nutrition. I use Generation UCAN for half marathons and for my 70.3 last year, but I am not going to be able to refuel with it on the marathon course. I have to research some ideas - hope that some experienced UCAN users will have some ideas for me. I know a common suggestion is to use the UCAN to make a gel for later, but I cannot tolerate the texture of gels. At least I have time to practice with that, too!

This coming week is going to be a whirlwind! Back into regular training and my younger daughter returns to dance and my older daughter starts her outside classes (one of which is a college class for dual enrollment - YAY!). I'm just going to focus on getting in some quality workouts and not neglecting my stretching, rolling, and strength work! Next weekend I have 2 races that I'm using as training runs. Saturday is the Magnolia Run for Epilepsy, and I'll likely be walking it with my son who has Epilepsy. Sunday is the Hotlanta Half Marathon which I signed up for to keep my Half Marathon streak going! I've run at least 1 half marathon ever year since my first one in 2010! 

Hope training and racing is going well for everyone! Don't neglect recovery, though!! Recovery and rest are important components of your well-rounded training plan! 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

MCM 2015 Training: Week #8 and #9

It's been a busy couple of weeks as our summer draws to a close and we resume our schooling and activities!

I had a big time crunch for the last two weeks so I decided to drop swimming from my cross-training. This would allow my shoulder to rest and heal and I could spend time on the bike with my group rides (which I will not be able to do at all during this school year due to my daughter's schedule). It was absolutely worth it and I had a blast on the bike! I am planning to take off one more week from swimming this coming week, not so much due to any pain or discomfort, but mostly due to scheduling constraints! I have been stretching and rolling my shoulder a few times a day. I've got a lot of the range of movement back, and it still doesn't bother me when I run or bike. The extra week off surely won't hurt!

As I mentioned before, the cycling went very well these two weeks. I got to ride with my friends and we did some excellent hill workouts. My speed was around 15mph over a 25 mile route and that made me feel very good!

I only managed to get in 3 runs each week instead of 4, but the long runs of 10 and 12 miles were completed as scheduled. Instead of the 4th run, I took a rest day each week, or a "drive to SC and pick my daughter up from ballet intensive" day and a "attend college orientation with my daughter" day. Both were well worth it, and I likely at least walked 40 minutes each day anyway! LOL

This coming week is Week #10 - a Cut Back week, and when I'm done, the halfway point of training! I simply cannot believe it! Training has gone by very quickly, mostly because I've been so busy. I regret that I haven't had more time to dwell on the training or to write about it, though. I've had some really great blog post ideas while I'm running or on the way home from the bike ride! Too bad they leave my head soon after I get home and before I have time to type them out!

School resumes for me and the kids this week and one of my daughters will go back to dance class (including teaching her own class for the first time this year!). One of the reasons I picked this training schedule is because I thought I could make it mesh well with my other obligations. I guess I'll get to test it out!

Hope everyone has had a wonderful week of training and/or racing! I sure did miss the TriCoachGeorgia Training Camp in Augusta this weekend! Hopefully I will be able to join them next summer, even if I'm not able to commit to a HIM next year!


Friday, July 24, 2015

MCM 2015 Training - Week #4... and #5... and #6... and #7

So, I fell a bit behind on my weekly training reports. Since this weekend is the end of Week #7, I thought I'd just give a brief overview for the previous 3 weeks of training.

I swam.

I biked.

I ran.

I raced. Twice. (You read those race reports already!)

All of it has gone well, overall. I am nursing some tightness in my left shoulder/arm that I think developed in my attempts to increase my swimming speed without paying good attention to stretching said muscles. It doesn't hurt and I only notice it now and then, and not at all while I'm swimming, biking, or running. It's weird. But I am being more diligent about stretching and rolling the muscles in my shoulders and back. Now that I'm out of triathlon mode and only using swimming for cross-training, I can cut back on my distance and intensity or cut it out altogether and let my shoulder rest if need be.

It has been challenging to get the training in with the schedules my daughters have this summer. Lots of dancing and lots of working - and they don't drive yet. I'm so glad that I didn't try for a Half Ironman this year! And it's been so humid this summer that training hasn't been pleasant. But it's all worth it for those fall marathons!

This is a cut back week of sorts (Week #7) and then I start into the double-digit long runs next week! I am actually very, very excited! It seems like everyone else has been in the double-digits for awhile and I'd been getting a little nervous. But I'm going to trust my training plan.

MCM2015 is THREE MONTHS from tomorrow!