Get ready…this is going to be a novel!

Saturday, December 12th I woke up at 5:50am. I made a fire, some coffee and spent close to an hour trying to make oatmeal. Unfortunately I stayed at the Leo Carrillo Campgrounds, which ended up being 30-40 minutes away from Malibu Creek State Park (which is south and east from Leo Carrillo). In hindsight I’d plan a little more ahead and stay at Malibu Creek State Park. Originally I wanted to leave around 6:40, but with waiting for water to boil, it was more like 7:05. So of course, I ate and drank on my drive over, resulting in some spilled oats on my shirt and shorts. Great!

I arrived at Malibu Creek State Park in the back of a car line around 7:35. I was slightly worried because the bib check-in was from 7-7:45am. However, I tried to remain calm, and remind myself that it was a super low-key race, and if I made it in the realm of on time, they would have to give me my bib.

When I arrived I quickly parked, hopped out of my car and ran over to get my bib. I returned to my car and prepped all my gear — water in the Camelbak, fuel, GoPro, iPod, keys, toilet paper, etc. I debated between wearing a long sleeve shirt and not (the same one that had oatmeal stains on it now). It was quite brisk so I decided to keep it on. I had to pee, and the line was a couple people deep, so I decided “this is a nature race,” and popped a squat behind a tree. My biggest fear was not starting with the pack and not knowing where to go.

IMG_0009

At 8am we were off on the Malibu Canyon 50k!  I hopped in the back and walked my way up to the start.  Everyone started at essentially the same time, because there was no tracking when we crossed the starting line. Around less than a half mile in, before we had even passed the parking lot, I decided I was NOT going to wear my long-sleeve shirt (mind you, we had already started the race). I decided to pop out and shed this extra layer, since 1. this race was pretty low-key, 2. I knew I would be taking pit-stops anyways, and 3. I didn’t want to end up carrying extra gear. I jumped back into the race but was now in the back of the pack. As we made our way from the camp road to the trail, we started on single track switchbacks, running in a single file line. It was fine until people started walking…already. In a single file line. My pace dropped to 13 minute miles and I knew I could be running this part at least a little bit faster. I wasn’t racing this race, however, I don’t like feeling stuck and confined. I was just going to go with the flow until a boy passed on the left so I decided to piggyback and follow him. I have and had no idea about etiquette in terms of trail running and/or ultra races. He seemed pretty experienced, like he’d run several ultras before, and like he’d be in the front of the pack. However, this was also his first ultra, and first race ever. Little did we know, Max and I would be spending the next 6 hours together.

The first aid station came at mile 2.7 (Tapia Park). I didn’t need any aid at this point and moved quickly past. This stop marked the start of the climb that would last until mile 10. It was definitely an uphill climb, so steep that running wasn’t even an option for me. Walking at a moderate pace was all I could manage. And even then, if I didn’t have Max hiking at a faster pace I definitely would’ve been walking slower.

Around mile 3 my nose started to drip and I realized it was bright red blood. I ended up using my gloves to stop the bleeding (which caused some chafing under my nose), and luckily I had packed some TP (in case of bathroom issues) so I shoved some up there several times until the bleeding stopped.

IMG_0010

The second aid station came at mile 8 (Corral Canyon). By this time I took a little water top-off and started my electrolyte hydration plan (or non-plan because I kind of made this up as I went along). I had packed some Nuun tablets split in half, and when I came to an aid station, I grabbed a water cup, threw in a tab, and chugged it. After this point, we had about 2 more miles of climbing until the GLORIOUS downhill began. The first time around it felt great. We flew down with an ~8 minute pace. On the flats we kept it consistent and were “flying” in an ultramarathon sense of the word.

At mile 12.7 we came to the M*A*S*H* site aid station. I re-filled my Camelbak with a little more water, took a Nuun, and sat down to rub some vaseline on a blister I could feel forming on the inside arch of my left foot. From this point we knew we had 2.9 miles until the halfway mark.

We finished the first 25k with smiles on our face. I think if I was alone and hurting, this would have been mentally challenging because the turn-around checkpoint was immediately to the right of the finish line. We stopped, I ate half a PB&J sandwich, swallowed a salt tab and continued with my half Nuun hydration tactic.

We started back off feeling great. But by the time we hit the switchbacks again we both were beginning to experience the fatigue. All of our intentions of making the second half better and faster than the first quickly went downhill. It’s true you experience so many different emotions, so many highs and lows. There are times when you feel like absolute shit and times when it’s not too bad. Max and I worked off of each other, making plans like “let’s walk the uphill and run the rolling hills,” or “let’s run to that ribbon,” “let’s run to that tree” even if it was just to keep us moving and propel us only 50 feet forward.

On the second go, the scenery looked vastly different. Instead of focusing on the people in front of me like I did in the beginning, there was nothing around us this time except for an arbor of trees and a fall backdrop. After crossing the small creek (a much bigger feat at mile 17 vs. mile 2) my hips started to tighten. We stopped and stretched, I did a figure 4 on both sides which helped out immensely. See, it is a different mentality! In a normal road race I would never stop and stretch.

IMG_0012

The one good thing about repeating a 25k loop twice is that you know what to expect. I knew from about 18-25 we would be climbing (which meant walking, which was OK by me). At mile 23 I could not be any more excited to seek some serious aid from the aid station. I already had it planned from 2 miles out. Salt tabs, Nuun, vaseline, potatoes dipped in salt. What I would’ve given for some McDonald’s French fries at that point! This was our longest pit stop but very much needed. It lifted our spirits and I left feeling refreshed and ready to go for the next 8 miles.

Max and I talked about what our position might be in the race. I suspected we were in the top third because based on where we started and how many people were in front of us, it didn’t seem like too many. Plus a lot of the runners that were on the loop the first time were only doing the 25k, so that put them out of the running.

IMG_0011

The downhills that felt so great the first time were far from that the second time around. They were torturous. My hips felt like they were rubbing and my knees felt like they were tracking out. I was afraid of taking too big of strides in case the impact was too powerful. Instead, I was taking 2-3 times as many small steps than usual. It was all about controlled falling. Originally we were going to skip the M*A*S*H* site and keep moving to the end. But after enduring the downhill, a little break sounded more than deserved. I could not have been more excited when we reached this aid station. A little stretch, a little Nuun, and a little questioning — “what position are we in?” gave us just the boost we needed. We found out we were 26th and 27th (WHAAAT!) and the game plan changed. “Don’t let anyone pass us, and pass people if we can.” We were ON! We came across #25 and he quickly succumbed to a lower position.

The last 2.9 miles ended up being a constantly evolving game plan. From holding a 9 minute pace, to just running by feel, to keeping it moving until we reached the stairs. I would have to say mile 29-30 was THE hardest. Not even mentally, but physically. I felt like I was a cartoon character trying to run. By the time we made it up the stairs and onto the camp road, we were in the definite home stretch!! As we rounded the corner into the last straightaway with a clear view of the finish line, I could not contain myself. My body filled with so much adrenaline, to the point where it would have been more work to slow down. I picked up the pace and finished strong. 31 miles. 6:19:20. I have never felt more happiness, excitement or sense of accomplishment in my life!

We checked the sheet and saw we ranked around 29 and 30 overall. The official results came out and I saw that I placed 29th overall, 5th female, and 2nd in my age group. So not only did I get a coaster for finishing the 50k, I also got a medal for placing! :-)

IMG_9979

It was a blessing that Max and I were able to run together the whole time. It would have been miserable and 100x more difficult alone. At the end, I kept telling him to go ahead and I’d see him at the finish. But he kept telling me “we’ve made it this far together, we’re finishing together.”

Going into this race I had no idea what I was doing, but apparently I looked like I did, as I got that from several people. Everything I thought about or brought with me ended up being perfect and of the most absolute importance. I ate before I felt any type of intense hunger (I did not keep track of what and when) because I knew by the time I really felt hungry, it would be too late.

Honestly, after this 50k, I am hooked. Everything from the experience to the culture is unlike anything else. From being smaller and on trails. To everyone being so nice, actually talking during the race and being super supportive. I found it to be very different from road racing and actually really nice. I already asked my mom to sign me up for my next 50k for my Christmas present and I wouldn’t be surprise if ultramarathons took precedence over qualifying for Boston….just saying 😉

Mile splits recorded by my Garmin (6:18:47):
1 – 9:49
2 – 10:31
3 – 12:35
4 – 15:55
5 – 15:34
6 – 13:09
7 – 11:14
8 – 11:43
9 – 14:57
10 – 9:07
11 – 9:26
12 – 8:42
13 – 12:32
14 – 8:52
15 – 8:51
16 – 14:12
17 – 10:55
18 – 12:28
19 – 18:13
20 – 18:17
21 – 13:59
22 – 14:45
23 – 13:46
24 – 23:46
25 – 9:38
26 – 10:56
27 – 9:38
28 – 11:24
29 – 9:24
30 – 9:28
Last .55 – 4:45

signature

IMG_8794

SURPRISE!  I signed up for my first 50k on December 12th — the Malibu Canyon 50k.  Piggybacking off the training and mileage I established for the NYC Marathon, I’m excited to embark on this new and fun adventure, with absolutely no expectations.  Although I originally signed up to do this with my (future) ultrarunning buddies who are no longer able to do the race, I’m still committed to filling up the next couple of weekends with long runs on Saturday (~2 hours) followed by longish trail runs on Sundays (2-3 hours).

This past weekend London and I visited Malibu Creek State Park for a quick overnight camping trip, with the intentions of checking out parts of the 50k trail.  While we didn’t actually end up surveying the route (damn Daylight Savings time making the sunset at 4:45pm…), we did come up with some good camp hacks, tips and recipes to share.

So stay tuned for a lot of trail running and a little camp vibes content coming soon!!

 

signature

IMG_9266

My Instagram post (which is the only paragraph caption I think I’ll ever write) basically sums up this race to the best of my ability — “Today I ran with no plan. After the summer off and only 2 months of training my goal was to make the ‪#‎tcsnycmarathon‬ as enjoyable as possible…and to have fun! I ran by feel, determination and some personal competition.  I stopped every time I felt like I needed to pee (3x) and filled my water bottle up at several stations.  The weather was perfect and the experience was unbeatable! I finished strong with an official time of 3:50:26 and I feel very lucky and inspired to have been able to run with ‪#‎teamCAF‬! *end paragraph*”

But if that’s not enough, here’s the full scoop:

The New York City Marathon is hard to describe. It’s something that should be on your bucket list one way or another (lottery, qualification or fundraising). The opportunity we had was unquantifiable. Jen and I fundraised and went as part of team CAF (Challenged Athletes Foundation).

I was nervous about the late start (10am) because I am the type of person that wakes up, shoves a bar in my mouth, and heads out to line up for a race. I didn’t know how eating and pooping (to be completely honest) would work with such a lull in time. However, the delayed start also made the race seem like a long run without all of the anxiety and anticipation that comes when you have to wake up and immediately run.

IMG_9315

CAF partners with FDNY and subsequently NYPD, and as part of our team perks, we received SUPER VIP treatment. Race morning we were instructed to meet in front of Park Central Hotel at 6am for the special shuttles that would take us over to Staten Island. Because Jen and I registered so late, normally we would have had to take the ferry over. Luckily we didn’t have to deal with any potential seasickness and were able to travel by land. The bus left around 7am and we arrived to Staten Island around 8am. At this time we thought we would be placed in the Charity Village, however, we were dropped off at a completely separate area reserved exclusively for Team FDNY/NYPD with heated tents, food, coffee and porta-potties.

Here’s how my wake up/eating schedule went down:
5:15 wake-up
5:30 eat buttermilk biscuit with strawberry peach jam and drink cup of coffee
5:50 walk over to Park Central
6:45 get on shuttle
7:00 depart for Staten Island
7:45 wake up from brief shuttle nap and eat larabar
8:00 arrive to Staten Island
8:15 drink cup of coffee
8:30 eat first half of almond butter & strawberry peach jam sandwich on a mini brioche loaf
9:10 eat second half of sandwich

IMG_9270

The morning was warm for being New York in November. There was no wind (even compared to the day before) and I felt fine in my sexy Target throwaway sweats. I ended up wearing my race day outfit (tank, shorts and compression socks) layered with an old stained lululemon tech longsleeved top (to also be tossed), and sweatsuit, plus gloves if necessary.

Around 9:10am we left this staging area and walked towards where we would line up for our corrals. Even though my wave didn’t start until 10:15am, the wave 2 corrals opened at 9:15am and closed at 9:40am. I split up from the rest of the group as I headed towards blue start. I shed my sweatpants. Then slowly my other garments. I kept my gloves on just incase the bridge was exceptionally cold, and in that case at least my extremities would be warm and help make everything else feel ok.

The race is divided into 3 different colors — green, orange and blue. These 3 groups start in different areas, and merge together after mile 2. The difference is how the 3 groups run across the Verazzano Bridge. I was in blue and we crossed over the top. Jen was in green and ran underneath.

The first half mile I was seriously worried. My legs felt heavy and I was worried this was going to be the longest, slowest and most miserable race of my life. I was worried that, even though I tapered the week before, maybe I didn’t take it easy enough the week before (post half-marathon when I only took 1 day off from running).

After the Verazzano Bridge you enter Brooklyn from mile 2 to 12. I knew this going in and kind of just wanted to get out of Brooklyn ASAP because I knew it would take up a good portion of the race.  However, the crowds were robust and I found myself scanning the sidelines in the off chance I might recognize someone (haha).

It’s hard for me to write about the rest of the race because as much as I tried to pay attention, it now all seems like a blur. The second bridge, Pulaski Bridge brought us over to Queens where you spend miles 13 to 15 (I believe).

Mile 15 to 16 is supposed to be the hardest over Queensboro Bridge because it’s an incline and no crowds are allowed on the bridge.  However, I am weird and almost preferred running on the bridges, because it would knock out 1 to 2 mile sections at a time. For instance, I preferred the silence of Queensboro Bridge over First Avenue, even though First Ave was probably the most populated area next to Central Park. But I felt like it just went on and on and on into infinity.

After spending about 3.5 miles on First Ave, you cross Willis Ave Bridge into the Bronx, where you’re in and out within a mile and a half. I knew mile 21 we would enter back into Manhattan via 138th Street Bridge. We passed by one side of Central Park on Fifth Ave and my goal was to just keep moving. This drag lasted from 21 to 25 before you round the corner onto Central Park South, around Columbus Circle and back into the park.

I stopped for the bathroom at 4, 10 and 20. I also stopped for water, and at first I would just grab the cups and drink them, but it worked out better for me to stop off to the side for a couple seconds and refill my bottle. Because honestly I didn’t care about my time. I was also worried stopping in the later miles would make it hard to get going again, but I ended up feeling so much better and refreshed after every stop. My goal was to get to mile 10, to get to mile 18, and to get to mile 20. At 23 I knew just a 5k more, and at 24 I was ready to be done but knew I could make it 2 more miles. I started picking up the pace, bobbing and weaving and just flying by everyone. It felt pretty empowering and exhilarating!

I have read a good number of recaps that consider the bridges hills, but honestly, I can’t really remember any of them being “hills.”  They were more like ascents followed by descents (on which I told myself to stretch my legs out).  It’s not necessarily a hard course, just hard in terms of humanity and obstacles (water cups, banana peels, sticky gus, etc.) Because there were ALWAYS people. I would look ahead and think that it would come to a complete gridlock. But it also gave me chills and motivation to know that there were that many people running the race and “I CAN DO THIS TOO!”

I ran based on feel, but after running M2B significantly faster, I knew my threshold. The last two miles I really pumped it, dropping my pace down to 7:44, 7:38 and 7:23 for my last half mile. I’m glad we walked/ran the finish line area before because the finish line was kind of inconspicuous and I knew to expect that the downhill in Central Park would be followed by a subtle incline to the finish line (which I literally picked up my feet and felt like I was climbing with large strides).

After the finish line, rather than having to walk to 77th Street (where people who opted for ponchos got to exit) or 81st Street where the rest of humanity got to exit, we got to exit with team FDNY/NYPD at 69th Street. Afraid I was going to miss my exit, I asked the first policeman I encountered, and he told me I had 2 more blocks to go up, and that I still needed to get my medal. Oh yeah! That thing!

I grabbed my recovery bag and headed out. My question for everyone was “how do I get out of here?” I also walked past Marcus Samuelsson (from the Food Network) who I didn’t recognize or realize at the time besides the fact that his bib said “MARCUS” and I remembered seeing a sign during the race that said “Go Chef Marcus S” (I just assumed it was a local chef). Later, cross-checking on Instagram I confirmed it was him.

IMG_9317

I headed towards the family reunion section “A” where I thought I was going to meet Jen’s daughter, Tyler. I was walking along with the walking dead until I got really tired of walking so slow. And being an annoying and crazy maniac I started to power walk and weave around everyone. I think this helped to keep the blood flowing in my legs… I mean I just ran 26.2 miles…I have no patience!! 😛 When I got to “A” it was around 2:11 and I projected that I would get there around 2:15. But I didn’t see Tyler and couldn’t remember if I was just supposed to meet her back at the hotel. So I kept moving and followed the crowd out of the family reunion section until I realized that it was heading back into Central Park and towards the race. Not seeing an exit that way, I found the next policeman (again, full of so many questions!!) and said “I just need to get to 54W St, how do I get out of here?” She looked at my bib and said, right this way, and let me walk through the center of Columbus Circle that was blocked off to all traffic and everyone else!!!! It was insane.

This race was FILLED with inspiration. I don’t think at any time I wasn’t surrounded by someone from a different country. There were people from Achilles running with guides which provided additional inspiration. It was a great way to experience the entire city of New York, and to see all of the boroughs, especially for my first time. It ended up making the run feel just like a long exploration of the city!

My official time was 3:50:26, but I stopped my watch every time I stopped for a bathroom, so my watch recorded 3:47:49.

All in all it was a great experience and I feel so fortunate to have been able to run the NYC Marathon!

IMG_9316

Mile splits recorded by my Garmin (3:47:49):
1 – 8:46
2 – 8:06
3 – 8:27
4 – 8:28
5 – 8:27
6 – 8:35
7 – 8:32
8 – 8:41
9 – 8:53
10 – 8:37
11 – 8:42
12 – 8:40
13 – 8:58
14 – 8:45
15 – 8:46
16 – 9:57
17 – 8:40
18 – 8:36
19 – 8:47
20 – 8:44
21 – 8:54
22 – 8:30
23 – 8:39
24 – 8:39
25 – 7:44
26 – 7:38
Last .46 –3:23

signature

Gahhh how is this race already here?! Seriously, it feels like I just committed to run this (probably because I just did…less than 50 days ago).

Since I just recently put together a playlist for NWMSF, I decided to do some minor updates and add some additional songs.  I also messed around with my music a lot in SF, so I’ll be taking out some of the songs I skipped, and adding multiples (maybe obnoxiously so) of some of the songs I went back to play again and again times.  M2B was a pretty solid marathon playlist so I incorporated a lot of those songs too.

signature

Here’s what I’m wearing for Sunday’s race…

IMG_9239

Lululemon Power Y Tank
Hoka One One Huaka
Stance Dreadmill OTC
Body Glide
–Ipod shuffle
Garmin 620 Forerunner
-Probar chews
Gu: Espresso Love, Salted Caramel, Caramel Macchiato & Chocolate Peanut Butter
Amphipod Profile Lite
–Lululemon Turbo Run Shorts

Plus a little lesson on flat lays (or flatlines like Jen likes to call it 😉 )

IMG_9240

1. When you’re mocking your “Millenial” friend 😛

IMG_9241

2.When you lay everything out in the right placement, exactly as worn (“organic” as I call it)

IMG_9242

3. And what you’re really wearing…ugly throwaway gear and all hahahah

signature

"Mountain 2 Beach Marathon"

Mountains 2 Beach (M2B) is a full, half and 5k race. I ran the marathon, which starts in Ojai and finishes in Ventura. It is also known as the third fastest qualifying race for Boston.  I had the most ideal situation in terms of where we stayed and getting to the race. Jen, her friend (Wendy), and I stayed in a VRBO (vacation rental by owner) 1/2 a mile away from the start. I’m pretty sure I had one the latest wake-up calls of anyone running the marathon (a majority of people stayed in Ventura and had to shuttle at either 4am or 5am). With a 6am race start, I woke up at 4:45, ate my banana and almond butter, made a cup of tea (because I was so cold!) and left the house around 5:40am. I did a light jog to the starting line, and got there about 8 minutes before the race began. I shed my throwaway gear right before I got to the race (it was a lot warmer than I anticipated). I ended up entering from the front of the line and stopping right behind the first wave.

To BQ (3:35) I would need to run an 8:12 pace, so my goal pace was anywhere between 8:10 and 8:15. I didn’t know if this was actually possible, but I decided to trust my coach and give it a try. Even if I blew up, I would know where to go from there the next time.

The first mile of M2B is an out and back. My race plan was to go out 10 seconds slower than goal pace, but to average around an 8:10-8:15 pace between the first 2 miles. I think this was very crucial. It set the tone for the entire race as disciplined and not faltering towards other people’s paces.

At mile 2.5 the race moves to the bike path, which also signifies the start of the downhill. My goal was to run this section (2.5 to mile 5) 10 seconds ahead of race pace.

The only issue I ran into was at the beginning of the path when everyone was so crowded. Then there were poles at each intersection where the path stopped and started but everyone worked together to notify each other. There were also large mile markers that kind of protruded into the path. Lastly, there was a water station in the early miles that kind of clogged everyone up. I was kind of worried that I would get bogged down and a trapped, forced to run one (slower) pace whether I liked it or not.

Around mile 3.5 “the loop” starts, and you run in a big circle until you exit around mile 8.5. However, during this loop you encounter a gradual uphill portion from mile 5 to 6.5 with one more significant hill towards the end (just for that kick :-P). I was to run this 20 seconds slower than goal pace. I just made sure that my watch didn’t show any slower than 8:30-8:40 through this section.

From mile 6.5 to 8 the course flattens out, and I supposed was to run even splits — somewhere around 8:10-8:15. I kept popping in and out with the 3:38 pacer. However, I felt like I couldn’t look at any of my surroundings, I could only focus my gaze on the person’s legs in front of me. When I would try to look up and out, I would get dizzy from so much going on.

From 8-11.6, you encounter the bike path again, signifying the start of the downhill section. It’s a very slight negative grade, with subtle rolling hills. Our coach advised us to not get too aggressive, but to be more reserved and run 3-5 seconds faster than our goal pace.

Miles 11.6 to 21 provides a 10 mile section of downhill, where we were allowed to go 12 seconds faster than pace where our legs felt good. I kept this in mind, trying to stay around pace or slightly faster (but nothing faster than a 7:55 pace).

At this point I moved in front of the 3:38 pacer, but not for long. Around mile 12.5 I did what I wasn’t supposed to and stopped to go to the bathroom (oops). However, I knew that if I didn’t go, it would be the only thing I could think of, and my bladder would bother me the whole time. I knew I would run faster even if I sacrificed 30 seconds.

After the bathroom I kind of dropped my pace to catch back up with the 3:38 pacer (yea like 7:30-7:45 on the watch). I tried to keep it reigned in because I knew eventually at some point I would meet up with them again. Eventually I did, and at some point I weaseled my way in front of them.

However, around mile 18 my morale was starting to get low and I was just getting bored. Luckily, the 3:38 pacer came up behind me, and I tucked back into their group. I invisioned other people in the group towing me and it helped me mentally to have someone take the lead at this point.

The pacer advised us that if we were trying to qualify for Boston, not to pass her until we reached mile 22.  My goal was to get to 21 and then to adjust my goals depending on how I felt. My coach gave us instructions to 21-22 at goal pace or 10 seconds slower, depending on how we felt. The best advice I took from this was just to take it mile by mile, and that’s exactly how I ended up approaching it.

Mile 22 we popped down onto the boardwalk. This was refreshing until we hit the last out and back portion (~24-26) which felt soooo long and brutal.  It seemed like we would never turn to make it back to the finish line. Eventually we did, with about 1.5 miles to go. However, after you came out from the Ventura pier, there was still half a mile to go. It seemed like it was soooo far away because you could see the finish line but it didn’t seem like it was getting any closer.

My mantra was – you can do anything for a mile and a half. You can do anything for a mile. You can do anything for half a mile.

I didn’t realize how close to 3:35 I was cutting it. At the end I felt like I was going to puke, but I just put my head down and tried to focus on moving my legs quickly and getting the damn thing done!

Mile splits recorded by my Garmin (3:34:32):

1 – 8:14
2 – 8:10
3 – 8:09
4 – 8:08
5 – 8:07
6 – 8:33
7 – 8:22
8 – 8:14
9 – 8:09
10 – 8:10
11 – 8:17
12 – 8:00
13 – 8:11
14 – 7:59
15 – 8:08
16 – 8:03
17 – 7:58
18 – 8:08
19 – 8:06
20 – 8:13
21 – 8:10
22 – 8:12
23 – 8:11
24 – 8:10
25 – 8:08
26 – 8:08
Last .29 –2:03

IMG_6650

I would HIGHLY recommend this race to anyone looking to qualify for Boston or to have a really great race. Whether it was the course or just everything panning out for this specific day, I had an amazing run. The biggest pressure for me was not qualifying for Boston, but to do my best and perform well. I liken the marathon to being a final exam, where you worked hard for 5.5 months, and you don’t want it all to go to waste.  This race definitely did not and my running club (Seaside Striders) pulled out with 7 PR’s, 6 BQ’s and 2 people under 3:20! All-in-all it was a great day at M2B!

signature

Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 4.51.52 PM

Slowly but surely sharing all my M2B stuff.  I had more songs on this playlist (over 4 hours worth), but edited this to match what I ended up listening to.  I finished this list and then restarted it again at “Lean On.”  See the full playlist here.

signature

I did it!!!!  My second marathon is complete, and I couldn’t be any happier about the results.  I surpassed my own expectations and came out with a HUGE PR and ran a time fast enough to qualify for Boston.  Recap and more to come!

IMG_6638

Lululemon Power Y Tank
Lululemon Seek The Heat Short

-Ipod shuffle
Garmin 620 Forerunner
Strawberry Lemonade Nuun
-Breakfast: Quest bar (ended up just eating a banana and almond butter)

Stance Fusion Run Crew Cut Socks (ended up trading these out for Injinji Trail Socks at the last minute)
Body Glide
Gu: Carmel, Macchiato, Salted Caramel & Chocolate Peanut Butter
Amphipod Profile Lite
Hoka One One Huaka

signature

IMG_8610

In less than one week I’ll be running my second marathon. Woot! While my ultimate goal (as is everyones it seems) is to qualify for Boston. My qualifying time is 3:35 (or sub now, probably more like a 3:32). However, I would be happy with anything in the 3:40 range or even just a PR (current best is 3:56).

For my first marathon (Chicago), I focused on getting the miles on my legs. At the time I was still living downtown so I wouldn’t make the extra early-morning effort to drive north. Instead, I would run straight out of my house, which just meant long, flat runs.

Round 2 (Mountains 2 Beach) and I haven’t missed a long Saturday run. I’ve been making the group runs which means varied terrain, HILLS, and integrated race pacing. I already know this combination has made me a stronger runner. I’ve been finishing with negative splits and strong final miles in my 18-20 milers.

This round of training essentially started with the winter/spring cycle of my running group (~January). Since then we’ve been doing 3 weeks of hard workouts with 1 week of rest/recovery cycled in.

I’ve pretty much been adhering to the plan except for when a lot of travel in March interfered with my training. Meaning missed speed workouts or even just completely missed mileage. I already know if I don’t achieve my ultimate goal for this race, I know that next time I will need to hanker down on Monday night workouts (one of my “running” New Year’s resolutions), make all/most Wednesday night speed workouts, and continue with Saturday long runs.

Stay tuned for race day essentials and an marathon updated playlist!

IMG_8590

signature

photo 1 Sunday morning our wakeup call wasn’t too early. We stayed at Hotel Allegro so we were less than a mile to/from the start/finish. We got up around 4:45am, I blogged a bit, made breakfast, got dressed and walked over to the race start at Grant Park. We got there around 6:50am and were herded into gate 1. Andy and I had to go to the bathroom and ended up waiting past 7:20am (when they threatened to cut off entry into wave 1).

photo 2

Luckily we were in corral E (the last of wave 1) so we didn’t miss out on anything.  I might be the weirdest person but I did not have any emotions towards the start of the race. I think it helped that I’ve never run a marathon before so I wasn’t stressed with time or performance. I just wanted to finish. I think with half marathons, I’ve gotten to the point where I always want to be better, and that usually means running faster for a long duration of time.

 Image-1

The race seemed to pass by effortlessly. 6 miles in and I felt like I hadn’t even started running. Mentally I tried to start the race over at this point, with only 20 miles left.

photo

Around mile 8 we saw Devon holding my self-made cheetah sign, and she also snapped an epic picture of us!

Andy and I hit the halfway mark at 1:56. We were pretty consistently under 9, and even got down to 8:20. So we decided to keep it closer to a 9 minute pace until mile 20. At the end of a half marathon I always question, how would I ever be able to do this again, but it was kind of a positive thing to be “halfway done.”

Image-1

I actually felt really good until mile 18 and even wanted to dance (thank you to all my snapchat friends who entertained my interpretive dancing to my marathon playlist the night before). I felt like once I got to mile 20, it would be home free (even though I had never run past 20 miles in a training run).

Mile 20-21 I started to cramp up, but then a decline presented an opportunity to stretch out my legs and hips. Andy and I ran together until 21 and then we kinda zoned out. I pulled ahead but then she caught back up around 24 and peeled away.

At mile 22 I thought I would just beast it to the end and picked up the pace. I just tried to imagine the mile repeats we’ve been doing Wednesday nights for speed work and just told myself, only 4 more miles. This worked, however, for only 2 miles until mile 23/24 when I felt like my body seize up.  24-26 were the most painful miles and my body felt like it started to go numb. I actually contemplated whether I might be having a stroke because sometimes I like to be a hypochondriac/overly exaggerate.

After many, many people have told me, there really is no way to prepare or describe the type of pain you will endure in a marathon. It truly is mental once you get to a certain point. I just wanted to be done but at the same time I didn’t want to stop because I was so close.

The finish line (or what I thought was the finish line) was AWFUL. From mile 25 you could see a huge Bank of America screen that looked like it would be the finish line. However, the end was still another half mile away, with 2 turns and an incline.

I ended up taking only 3 Gu’s (30 min, 1:15, 2 hours). Towards the end I started to feel really full because I kept taking in water at every station. But it gave me something to look forward to and something to refresh me. Kind of like in yoga when you breathe to release certain areas of tension, I just imagined the cool water going to release the tight areas of my body.

photo

The amount of participants, crowd support and aid stations were huge, amazing and really well put together. Running through a new city and 29 different neighborhoods kept it exciting and made it feel like an exploration. And the course was as flat as you could ask for. This is definitely a marathon I would consider running again.

After some anticipation that Sunday would rain, it ended up being the perfect day (especially for running). I think it’s the only time that I have barely ever sweat. And I ran 26.2 miles!!

I honestly didn’t hate the marathon, and I’m already looking to do another! I enjoyed the long weekend runs and the race itself was fun (until 24). I didn’t want to set too many expectations for myself for the first because I wanted it to be enjoyable and I knew there would be some factors (physical and emotional) I couldn’t prepare for. Now I feel like I’ll be better prepared, especially for the later miles.  I kinda gave up with training the last month or so (neglected my recovery runs) and now knowing what to expect from the marathon might push me to train harder.

The only thing I didn’t like about this race was that my GPS was so inconsistent. I hardly relied on it for pacing except to check my mile splits. After running through a tunnel within the first mile, and maybe the interference of the buildings, the pace was unpredictable.  It would range from over 10 minute miles and dip down to 7’s. I just ran primarily by feel and it seemed to turn out well. I successfully completed my first full marathon in sub-4 (3:56:09) and without any walking breaks!

photo 1

Mile splits recorded by my Garmin (3:56:01):
1 – 8:50
2 – 8:43
3 – 8:52
4 – 8:35
5 – 8:33
6 – 8:36
7 – 8:45
8 – 8:46
9 – 8:55
10 – 8:52
11 – 8:46
12 – 8:53
13 – 8:19
14 – 9:02
15 – 9:03
16 – 9:01
17 – 9:06
18 – 8:49
19 – 8:58
20 – 9:12
21 – 8:50
22 – 8:23
23 – 8:37
24 – 9:15
25 – 9:35
26 – 9:51
Last .5 –4:40

photo 2

signature

 
 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: