Monday, December 30, 2013

Holiday Streak Recap

I hope everyone had a great holiday season. Here in Atlanta, we had a slightly bizarre holiday season weather-wise with days ranging from 40 degrees and raining to 70 and sunny.  I ended up wearing every type of running gear I own. The joys of life in the south.  Despite the odd holiday weather swings, we were able to maintain a holiday mood and had a great end to the year.

But on to other things.  Important things.  Streaking things.  How did every one's holiday workout streak turn out?  Much like the weather, we had mixed results here.  Initially, I started with an all running streak.  I made it 16 days running at least one mile per day (some days were combined with biking as well), but for a mix of reasons, I broke the streak.  First, I felt like the quality of my workouts was dropping due to the monotony.  Sure, it is only a mile, but I don't do well with boredom, so my actual workouts started to suffer.  On top of that, I quickly shifted back in to marathon training upon finding out that I am a 26.2 with Donna Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer Ambassador.  Both of these items combined to re-introduce rest days into my schedule and adjust my approach to the whole streaking thing.  Despite of not officially streaking the entire time, much was still learned and gained from the experience. Here is a breakdown of my workouts for the 34 day period.

Days worked out: 28 out of 34 days

Longest consecutive streak: 16 days

Number of miles logged: 82.44 Running, 30.2 Cycling, 5 Hiking

Fastest mile, Running: 7:45

Slowest mile, Running: 9:20

Average Run length: 3.75 miles

Shortest Run: 1 mile

Longest Run: 10.5 miles

Training plans started: 1 marathon, 1 donut dare

Races: None, but many days were spent dreaming about and planning for races.

Number of Holiday Treats consumed: Not sure, but I am positive that it is more than the number of days I worked out and I don't regret a single one. :)
How did the holidays turn out for you? Who has plans to do Something Fun on January 1?

Feel free to link up your holiday streak recap or recent training recaps here.  I'm excited to catch up with everyone post holidays and hear how your streaks went!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

#RunDonna Marathon Training: 9 weeks to go!

Here is a recap of my training 9 weeks from race day!

Monday: 6 miles on the mill.  I kept it easy and enjoyed my new play list.  Turns out Lady Gaga makes me dance a little while on the treadmill. Who knew.  You are welcome for the show fellow gym lovers.

Tuesday: 30 minutes on the bike followed by strength training.  The gym was very quiet, so I took extra time on strength training and pushed a little harder.

Wednesday: 6.6 miles.  Very slow start to the run.  I was a still a little tired from strength training only 16 hours earlier.  After a few miles I did get into the grove and over all pace wasn't too bad.

Thursday: 5.4 miles run-commute home from work.  Yeah, I worked through the holidays, but the good news is that I felt really productive.

Friday: 25 minutes on the bike to loosen everything up and get in a good stretch.

Saturday: 10.5 miles.  This was my longest run since Chickamauga Marathon. No major problems and it felt good to be out there putting in a long effort.

Sunday: Rest day!

A good training week.  I hit every mile that was on my plan and got in two cross training days.  Overall, my body is feeling good, but a little more tired from the mileage increase.  I did notice that I don't have a large pace difference between my workouts. My average pace for my 4 runs this week was 8:25, 8:35, 8:45, and 9:05 for my long run.  I know I should be running my long runs slower, but it doesn't always feel good to slow down.  It seems like my stride changes if I slow down too much.  Does anyone else have this problem?  Thoughts? Opinions?

Hope everyone had a good week!  How was your training?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

#RunDonna Marathon Training Week #10 Recap

I've decided this training cycle to count down the weeks. It reminds me that 26.2 with Donna is coming soon and I better get moving!

Monday: 3.1 mile easy run on the treadmill.  The run reminded me that I definitely need a new playlist.  At this point, I can tell my mileage based on what song is playing.  I went home and made a new playlist and then promptly forgot to sync it to my iPod.
This box of Donna goodies has helped get me motivated to run!
Tuesday: 5 mile tempo run home from work. I was happy with my pace and it included 2 solid climbs. Woowoo!  Still did not sync iPod.

Wednesday: Looooooong work day.  No time for the gym. :(

Thursday: 3.1 miles on the treadmill.  I did my 'progressive k's" workout where each kilometer is faster than the previous one.  It makes life on the treadmill a little more interesting even if you didn't sync your iPod.
I did get in some Donut Dare training this week.

Friday: 25 minutes on the bike.  Still forgot to sync iPod.

Saturday: 6.6 miles race pace.  This wasn't the workout I originally planned.  I was hoping to go longer and slower, but I just didn't feel like running in the morning and by the afternoon, I had to squeeze my workout in before the monsoon rain started. The good news is that I did sync my iPod and was able to enjoy some new tuneage while I was out.

Sunday: It is raining like bananas out there.  Thank heavens I got in some sort of run yesterday.

Overall, it was a good start to training.  My legs seem happy to be back training and my mind likes the challenge as well.  I would have liked to run longer on Saturday, but my body just wasn't feeling it.  I hope to pick it up this week.

How was your week?  Still finding time to workout during the busy holiday season?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Developing a 10 week Marathon Training program

As I mentioned last week, I will be running the 26.2 with Donna Marathon in February. I'm very excited to be a race ambassador, as I've had several people close to me battle breast cancer. The rapidly approaching race day though requires a new marathon training plan adapted for 10 weeks. Yes, I am very aware that 10 weeks is not a typical training cycle for a marathon, but I'll make it work.
To be honest, I haven't been following much of a plan since Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon. I've kept it easy and let my body dictate the pace of my work outs. After running two marathons in 3 weeks, it took about 15 days post race until I felt like pushing hard in workouts, and since then I've kept a regular schedule of 3-5 milers during the week and 6-8 milers on the weekend. Also, I have focused on doing more strength training. Recently, I did start training for the Krispy Kreme Donut Dare, but I'm not sure that plan has a lot of crossover with Marathon training.
Short and sweet?
I've been using last week and this week to start ramping the miles back up and see how my body responds. So far, so good. I've decided to adapt the marathon training program I used for Chickamauga. Though I typically like to go into a training cycle with specific goals, I'm also waiting to see how my training goes for the next few weeks to develop my race goals. For certain I know my goals will be to have fun, finish, and probably not win the race. Especially not since this awesome lady (and fellow Mainer) is running Donna again!
With the renewal of marathon training, I'm bringing back weekly updates to keep me accountable and to see how this 10 week thing really works.

Anyone have any experience with shortened marathon training programs?
How did it workout?

Friday, December 13, 2013

My year of running 2013

I've been dragging me heels about writing a year in review post because we still have over 2 weeks left in December and I didn't want to cut it short.  But,  Miss Zippy posted a fun link-up for year end reviews with 6 running related questions and I thought it would be fun to join in:

Best Race Experience: Heroes Half Marathon.  After signing up on a whim, it ended up being my favorite race of the year in term of running. I was able to really 'race' for the first time and it was really exciting to see hard work pay off. The post race helicopter ride didn't hurt either.
Happy to be back on the soil in one piece!
Best Run: My loop through Cades Cove in August.  It was truly a special experience to run through a national park completely solo.  I will remember that one for a long time!
Isn't it lovely?
Best piece of new gear: Island Boost. Finding a fuel that didn't make me hurl mid race was a huge game changer. I set multiple PRs this year from just having the ability to fuel better.
Birthdays are so much better when they are not Barfdays.
Best piece of running advice you received: Patience, it will come. For me this applies to individual runs (relax, you will get to the finish) and to training overall.  Big changes don't happen in seconds. Be patient, they will come.

Most inspirational runner: I loved Meb's NYCM story this year.  We've all had bad days and races, but it's all about how we respond when they happen.  If you haven't read it, do!

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be: Back in the groove!

Overall, it was a great 2013 and I am very excited for 2014!

How was your year? What are you favorite running memories from 2013?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

26.2 with Donna Marathon here I come!

I am very excited and honored to announce that I've been named a race Ambassador for the 26.2 with Donna Finish Breast Cancer Marathon in Jacksonville, FL this February!
In addition to getting the chance to run my 7th marathon, I have the opportunity to continue to raise awareness about cancer research and programs. After watching several close friends battle breast cancer, I am on a mission to raise awareness that breast cancer can strike at any age.

I can't wait to meet the other Ambassadors and work with the amazing team at 26.2 with Donna.  As always, I will keep you up to date with my race prep! Come join us!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Krispy Kreme Donut Dare Training Plan

You may have noticed that I have a bit of a non-traditional race on my calendar, and a non-traditional race calls for non-traditional training.
It's officially my dream event. Source.
By this of course I am referring to the Krispy Kreme Donut Dare. The race consists of running a 5k, where around half way through you get the privilege of eating 10 Krispy Kreme Donuts before finishing the second half of the race.  The time it takes you to eat counts as part of your overall time.  There are options to run without eating, but I don't see the fun in that. Then you would just be running a 5k and, to be honest, I am not a huge fan of 5ks. But I am a huge fan of donuts and a huge fan of charity races (the proceeds benefit UGA Miracle) and that overcame my disdain for the 5k in this case.

So back to the task at hand, training.  Being slightly competitive by nature, I want to eat all my donuts and run a respectable 5k. The only way to do that is train.
Little Circles of Happiness.
As good fortune would have it, I live exactly 1.25 miles from Dunkin' Donuts. I know this because I run by it pretty much on every single one of my runs. It is also possible that it's on my way to work and that a friendly DD employee, Kamal, knows my order and even asks where the Jayhawk is when I come in solo. In terms of life, having a DD so accessible could be seen as challenging, but it terms of training for the Donut Dare, it is essential and downright clutch.

I have put together a 6 week training schedule to keep me on track and make sure that I peak on race day. I tried to use the 10% rule in terms of increasing training (that is where the donut holes come in) and scheduled recovery weeks, but that can be difficult when donuts are involved. The plan assumes a running and donut base before starting. I recognize that I am training with a different donut that will be used on race day, but sometimes you have to do the best that you can. Maybe I could bring my own donuts to the race, but I think it would be hard to run with the box.

Race Day

Abbreviations used: M=miles, D=donuts, H=Holes, C=Coffee

Weekday workouts can be broken up into 2 a days (AM donuts with coffee, PM run).  Saturday workouts are designed to be run-eat workouts, with the donuts consumed at the midpoint of the run(or at least before the last mile) to simulate race conditions. Sundays are for recovery eating and Mondays are for recovery running. The peak week is two weeks prior to the race to allow for ample tapering and digestion.  Also, other plans might take you up to 8 or even 9 donuts, but I think that leads to overtraining. Nothing is gained from training with over 6 donuts except burnout, poor recovery, and the chance of never wanting to eat a donut again. I am excited to get started.

Have you ever run a non-traditional event (Spartan Race, Warrior Dash, Beer Mile, etc)? Did you train for it?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The History of my Bloody Feet

I received a lot of great comments, suggestions, and questions after my mentions of how my feet bleed in marathons, so I thought I do a post about the different things I've tried to stop this problem. Here is how my feet have progressed throughout my marathon training cycles.  I focused on marathons because it is only with higher mileage that I have a problem.  When I say my feet bleed, it is my baby toes and sometimes my ring toes (not my heel or other parts of my feet).  Basically my little toes get crushed to the point of severe blood blistering which often pops during the race.

Marathon #1: Houston, 2005
I was a totally Marathon and runner newbie at this point.  I did most of my training in a pair of free Nikes that an old roommate had given me (really, what could go wrong?). To make things more interesting, my trusty Monster turned one of them into a backless shoe (she literally chewed the entire back off the shoe) less than a week from race day!  Being a young college grad, I was a bit strapped for cash and bought an off the rack pair of Adidas three days before the race at Academy Sports.  In fact, race day was the first time I ran in them.  Needless to say, my feet bleed through my shoes.  I visited the med tent at the finish and asked them to look at my feet because "I wasn't sure the next time I would be able to bend over and do it myself".  Stay classy EB.
I use to eat running shoes, but I swear I've reformed over the last 8 years.
Marathon #2: NYC, 2007
For this race, not only did I keep the Monster away from my shoes before race day (she was 'older' and more 'mature'), but I bought real running sneakers at a real running store. I stayed with the Adidas, but move up to a size 9 (from a size 8.5) thinking this might alleviate some of the trouble.  Feet still bled, but the race was tons of fun and it is one of my favorites.
This won't be on our Holiday card.
Marathon#3: Goofy Challenge, 2008
I moved up yet another size in sneakers to a 9.5 Adidas and added specialty socks with additional padding in the toes and heels to reduce (hopefully) impact related blistering.  My feet did bleed through my sneakers, but I also ran 39.3 miles in a littler over 24 hours. I did also loose some toenails (on different toes) during this experience. This was the end of my hope of being a foot model.
Ah, Disney Memories.
Marathon#4: Mercedes Marathon, 2010
I stayed with a lot of the changes I made for Goofy and ran in size 9.5 Adidas.  I attributed that bleeding to the mileage, but apparently, 26.2 was enough to induce bleeding.  It actually occurred at mile 24 ( I could feel it happen) and it bled right through my sneaker. 
I still smile while my feet bleed.
Marathon#5: 7 Bridges Marathon, 2013
During this training cycle, I went to a shoe with a wider toe box, but unfortunately it didn't work for me and gave me mild PF.  I switched to Asics (size 9.5) and was happy throughout training.  However on race day, both feet bled, but only through the sock.  I do believe my super cute Birthday socks had something to do with this, but how often do you get to run a marathon on your birthday?
It was still a great birthday!
Marathon#6: Chickmauga Marathon, 2013
I went with a thinner, dri-fit sock that I used in my whole training cycle and was still in the same pair of Asics, but still experienced bleeding around mile 16. To be honest, I think a major reason my feet bled during this one was because they were not fully healed from 7 Bridges a few weeks before.  On a positive note, they did only bled through my socks, but they looked pretty bad afterwards. I'm hopeful that I am on the right track.
It was an ugly scene under this sock.
So to recap, I've moved up 2 sizes in shoes and feel confident to say I am running in the right size.  I've tried more padded socks, but decided less padded result in bleeding less frequently.  I've tried shoes with a wider toe box, but also discovered there is such thing as too wide and a bloody foot is better than the injuries that come with too wide.

Anyone else had experience with blood blisters and bleeding feet?  Other ideas on things to try?
I am open to new ideas!
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