Here We Go Again!!! Phoenix Marathon Training Recap Week 1– Will Third Time Be The Charm?

Welp!! I’m going for it!!

This will be my third time training for Phoenix Marathon–it was my first marathon a mere year and half ago (and my current PR), it was my first DNF this past February, and I’m hoping it will be my first sub 4:30 this go around.

That’s my goal and by golly, I’m gonna get it!

I’ve trained for two marathons with this being the target and both times I felt ready, feeling confident that 4:30 was in my reach. One ended with me getting halfway and in tears (my DNF), and the other ended with me not being able to run strong enough and finishing with frustration and anger (Chicago).

But both have left me stronger.

Having come off a Ragnar weekend, my first official week of Phoenix Marathon training had only 3 runs, two of which were very strong.

Tuesday, I met up with my run club for a 4 miler. It was my first run post Ragnar and I surprisingly felt strong. The first two miles were great but the last two were a little tougher as we had the wind against us–I still managed sub 9s for all 4 miles and that made me really happy 🙂

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 5.54.47 PM

Wednesdays are track nights at my run club and I definitely felt tired from the previous day’s hard run. I wanted to go though because I was going to be officially crowned Runner of the Month!!

IMG_20151111_190030

My Runner of the Month Question & Answer 🙂

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 6.12.45 PM

I love my run club and there are sooo many awesome, amazing, deserving people that to have been selected made me feel super special. Our coach said I had trained really hard for Chicago and “killed it” and I couldn’t help but feel a pang of sadness (mixed with anger) that I didn’t share that sentiment. But, I quickly hid those emotions and accepted my crown with pride.

And then I ran two easy miles with Runner Jenny. We opted for 4x800s instead of the 3 mile repeats coach had assigned.

I rested Thursday and Friday but met up with my run club buddies Saturday morning for our long run. All of us are running the inaugural USA Half Marathon in San Diego next weekend and wanted to get in 10.

The first 5 we stayed steady

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 6.00.35 PM

and then we negative split the last 5 miles..

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 6.01.31 PM

well, almost negative split..damn .3 seconds in mile 9!

It was a great run that was a perfect hard. We were able to chat most of the way which let me know I was working at it but not killing myself at those paces.

Which ended me with 16 total miles for the week! I’m not sure yet what plan I’m going with for Phoenix but it’ll be something. I like having a schedule telling me what to do, lol!

–How was your running week?

–Do you have a go-to training plan or one that you like more than others?

–How many races did you have to go through to reach a goal time? (Crossing my fingers third time is the charm! 🙂 )

 

 

 

 

Ragnar Trail Relay 2015 {Recap}

Whew!! It’s been quite the past couple of weeks!!

Last weekend I ran my first Ragnar run–the trail version–with some of my high school cross country buddies (and Runner Jenny 🙂 as one of our girls was unable to make it). It was all of our first Ragnar which was really cool.

–The week before though was stressful as my husband had been out of town. In fact, I ran ZERO times after the Haunted Half leading up to Ragnar–

I took Friday off from work, which was the first day of the relay, and my husband flew in that same morning. I scrambled to finish packing and he helped me and Runner Jenny get to McDowell Mountain to begin our crazy adventure.

Our team started at 1 p.m. and we arrived right when our first girl started. We missed her start and I was a little bummed but since I was such a newb, it took me forever to unload my car, find our spot, go back to my car, park it, and get the shuttle back. It was kind of a big ordeal and quite chaotic.

Anyway, our camp spot was right next to my run club which was super fun since I knew everyone around me. After our first runner returned (she was our captain), she explained our plan and how we’d gauge our start times by our estimated paces. We were all pretty close in paces–which actually was super nice–and it proved to be helpful in guessing when our turns were.

I was the 5th runner.

We had a gauge of when Kat, the runner preceding me, would return and the race had a big screen that announced when your teammate was approaching. When you were alerted, you had to go “on deck” to get ready for the exchange–which was a bib clipped on to a belt. The exchange was a lot less crazy than I thought it would be and the race people did a good job of keeping it all organized.

Kat ran in, unclipped her belt, handed it to me, and I was off!

My first loop was the Yellow Loop, a 4.8 miler. It was around 5:30ish so while I had the sun in my face for most of the loop, I got an amazing sunset on the back end.

12207466_10105621987434011_1647697718_o

The loop was a tough one but I was having so much fun. I love running trails and the up and down and up and down was quite exhilarating. I finished feeling pretty good with how I’d done.

12184283_983419968388971_5878964584276163693_o

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 8.18.08 PM

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 8.18.00 PM

12214214_10105622000562701_1463774756_o

Runner Jenny was waiting for me to hand her the bib and I told her how fun it was and that she’d have a blast.

I went back to our camp and hung out with my buddies as we waited. After a while, we headed to the mess hall and had dinner. The pasta offered wasn’t very good and I opted out of it, lol!!

I’m not much of a camper and I was a little worried about the sleeping situation. I knew my next run would be around midnight and that it would behoove me to get some shut eye. I ended up cat napping a little on my chair. It was ridiculously cold. I know, I know, I’m in Arizona and cold here is not really cold. But I was freezing!! Despite being layered like crazy, there was a biting wind making me second guess how good of an idea this all was.

12168329_10105621985991901_1108818530_o

Rocking the letterman jacket

Anyway, midnight came sooner than I expected and I was off for my second loop. Luckily, I had the short Green Loop for my night run–4.1 miles. This was supposed be an easy run and it was except for the first part of it. Overall though, I was very happy with how’d I’d done.

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 8.19.40 PM

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 8.19.31 PM

When I went back to our camp, one of my friends told me to take her sleeping bag spot as she’d be running soon anyway. This was HUGE. I slept for a good hour and a half and it was the best sleep ever.

Morning came, and our team was doing better than we had expected. We had had an estimated finishing time, but we were way ahead of it. This made us all happy as most of us were kinda over it, lol! We were having fun but it was cold and few of us were not campers.

My last run was around 6 in the morning and I had the long Red Loop to cover. I was worried having the long loop as my last run–I was tired, cold, hungry, and dirty–but everyone assured me that the Red Loop was easy despite a huge hill upfront. The rest of it was totally fine. In fact, most agreed that the Yellow Loop was the hardest–that was the first one I’d done and where I had felt great.

I figured that whichever loop people had done first, that was the one they felt was the better one, lol!!

It was still cool at 6 a.m. but I knew it would heat up. Sure enough, about a mile in, I unzipped my jacket and tied it around my waist. I did this walking the huge hill since I figured I was walking anyway.

12218271_10105621983826241_1219693728_o

And when I crested the hill, I had hoped I’d be able to pick it up and go but I just couldn’t. I was tired and I kept going from being cold to being hot to being cold to just hot. I was bummed I had my not so greatest run last but it was what it was. Overall, I was very, very happy with how I had run my 3 loops 😀

11201194_983680651696236_258314800504524635_n

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 8.16.48 PM

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 8.16.28 PM

My buddy was able to snag a pic of me crossing the finish line. My goofy grin totally shows how excited I was to be done, jaja!!!

12231446_468242373363691_939475670_n

12212555_468242616697000_799559526_n

Afterward, I headed back to camp and we all started packing. We had 3 runners left and we figured we’d get a head start. We made major headway by the time our last runner was about to come through and we met her at the finish line to run her in–it was around 11:30, we nailed the sub 24 hours 🙂

12196122_10101244801744398_3148361029540550226_n

and then we took our post race pics

12208700_10101244801899088_2118161839990816535_n

The team

The high school crew

The high school crew

Couldn't find a Coke so a D.P. had t do

Couldn’t find a Coke so a D.P. had t do

It was such a fun experience and so cool to check off my list of things I want to do–would I do it again? Maybe. I think it’d be fun to do it somewhere else, just to explore new trails…..and with my husband, who I think would totally have a blast doing Ragnar 🙂

–Ever run a Ragnar race?

–Do you have a high school letterman jacket?

–Are you a camper?

Haunted Half {Recap!}

I hope everyone had a good weekend and if you celebrated Halloween, you’ve recovered from your sugar coma 😀

I ran Phoenix’s first Haunted Half Marathon and even though it was advertised as “Phoenix,” it was actually in a suburb right next to where I live, lol! That was one of the reasons I was enticed to run it. That, and the medal. Seriously.

Anyway, I had heard about the race a long while ago but was iffy on it because it was three weeks after Chicago and I wasn’t sure I’d be up for 13.1 miles. Then about a week after the marathon, my friend posted there was a Groupon for the race and an additional 20% off making the entry fee under $40. I was sold. A bunch of my friends were also running it and I knew it’d be a lot of fun. Plus, medal.

My husband and I headed to the “expo” on Friday and maybe there was more inside Sports Chalet but packet pick up booths were outside and there wasn’t anything else there to see. No vendors, no nothing. The swag was pretty sweet though and considering I’d gotten a deal on my entry free, I was very satisfied.

Cotton V-neck tee, gloves, KT tape, and scary bag

Cotton V-neck tee, gloves, KT tape, and scary bag

They also had a little photo op thingy which of course I had my husband snap a shot

12189331_980428305354804_6055491130843991867_o

The race was seriously right down the street from me, so I woke up the next morning around 4:30ish which is my usual wake-up time. I got dressed and realized there were several “firsts” happening with my outfit. It was the first race I would wear with full compression socks–up til then, I’d occasionally race in calf sleeves. It was also the first time I’d be racing in a skirt–a buddy loaned me a really pretty Sparkle Skirt, which I pulled over some shorts.

Then, because I figured I needed a third first (since you know, everything comes in threes), I brewed me some coffee. I’ve never had coffee before a run or a race. It was 5 in the morning and the race didn’t start til 7; I figured it was enough time and coffee sounded amazing at that moment. It certainly tasted amazing.

The course was a point to point so I arrived early enough to get on the first bus that would take us to the start. I met up with several run club buddies and we chatted as the bus got lost several times.

We finally arrived at the start which was at a familiar place near mountains I often run trails on. It was dark and very cold (for AZ) and volunteers gave us runner’s foil to wrap ourselves around. We found the porta potties and another first happened: I was the first one to use the porta potty. My friend, who was in the potty next to me, shouted, “Make sure you lift the seat!!” And thank goodness because that would’ve been a complete and total disaster.

I had quite a few friends pacing this race and I planned to stick with two who were pacing the 2:00 hour group. I was hoping I was in 2 hour half marathon shape and wanted to see how I could do at that pace. As I hung out with my buddies, I ran into Kindal @runningwithstrength, an Insta/blogging buddy that’s local. She’s got a marathon next weekend so this would be a training run for her and planned to run with the 1:55 group (she’s speedy).

But about 30 minutes before the race started, the coffee I had had worked its magic and I needed a porta potty fast. Unfortunately, many people needed a port potty fast and it took me well over 30 minutes to get to one. Kindal and I were in line together and we looked at each other when the announcer counted down the start–we were gonna miss the start!

We really needed to go so we stayed in line (10 porta potties=not enough, race directors!) and about 5 minutes after the start, Kindal and I crossed the line. We agreed she’d pace me for the first 10 miles and then she’d go on ahead.

Another appeal to this race was the course elevation–

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 6.01.43 PM

It mimicked the start of Phoenix Marathon.

And like with Phoenix, we’re always cautioned to not start off fast…. And we never listen.

Miles 1-8 went like this: Wooohoooo!!!! I got this!! Sub 2 BABY!!!! Yeahhhh!!!!

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 3.54.37 PMMiles 9-13.1: Whhhooaaa!!!! Wind!!! Wall!!! Why??!!! What was I thinking??!!!

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 3.55.21 PM

We made a right turned heading north at mile 9 into a breeze and by then, I was already so tired that trying to maintain a 9 minute pace seemed impossible. Kindal tried her best to get me back on track but when we reached mile 10, I wished her luck and knew it was going to be a tough 3.1. (She finished in 1:55 like a total badass.)

I tried to do math in my head to see what I needed to do to sneak in under 2, but thinking so hard was making me feel worse, so I just kept running as strong as I could. Luckily, no cramps were happening, but the legs were just tired. When I reached mile 12, I told myself to run this last mile fast and the only fast I could muster was a 9:30.

When I turned the last .1 corner, my teammates were along the side and their cheers gave me a surge. I stopped my watch just before I crossed (I didn’t want a watch stopping finish photo, lol!) and headed straight toward my friends. I needed their hugs.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 6.29.07 PM

We were right near the insta results and I saw my name and time– 2:05:xx

I shook my head and everyone told me I was okay. This was a fun race, no pressure, 3 weeks post Chicago. So I got over it, grabbed a beer, and admired my medal.

12188102_10105602689831561_1775122155293364676_o

The medal. IT OPENS.

And when I got home, I told my husband about my race and he asked me about the difference in Garmin time versus race time; four minutes was a lot. I realized I hadn’t even looked at my watch time; after I crossed, I went immediately to my friends (thank goodness for autosave). But I told him my watch kept beeping way before the mile markers so I figured the course was off (longer). He said that was still a lot of time difference so he went online and sure enough

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 6.21.25 PM

You’d think by now I’d know to look at Net Time and not Clock Time…oh, Helly….

Even though I was sooo close to a sub 2 and maaaaybe could’ve done it had I had the ability to do math and get my butt moving, I’m really happy with this time.

I wanted to run this race for a few reasons: 1.) the medal 2.) assess my half marathon skillz 3.) have fun

Check, check, check! 😀

–Ever got your times mixed up?

–Ever ran a race mostly for the medal? (I’m not usually so medal influenced but for some reason, I thought this one was pretty cool, lol!)

–How was your Halloween? Costume?

12197403_10105607273900051_667072108_o

Did you R.I.P?