October 17, 2014
by Jen
4 Comments

How to handle a “bad” workout & vacation!!!!!

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The dreaded “bad” workout. I had one of these on Wednesday. It was going to be my last really tough speed workout of this cycle. I had planned to do 3×2 miles around a 6:30-6:35 pace. After my warm up, I knew this was going to be a hard day, but I have also had some of my best workouts on hard days. Not this time. First set was 6:40 and 7:04, at which point I decided to stop the scheduled workout and just run at an easy pace. This has really been my first failed speed work of this cycle, so I can’t complain, but these runs are disappointing. They leave you questioning your training. Am I ready? Am I overtraining? Do I need to push harder or take a day off?
In marathon training it can be hard to find a balance between the right amount of miles, speed, and rest that works for your body, and helps you continually make gains.
In the quest for this balance, it is inevitable that in your typical 16-20 week training plan there will be off days. There are a few reasons why these days occur.
First, there is always life factors. Illness, lack of sleep, and stress are just three things that come to my mind.
There is also accumulated fatigue. Basically, this is just small amounts of fatigue that carry over from one workout to the next until your body says enough!
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Then there are just “those” days. There seems to be no real reason for why you can’t complete the workout other than your legs just won’t.
While these runs can be disappointing, it is important to remember that they are just part of it. They are part of what makes the great runs so great.
When you have these runs, the best thing to do is to take a step back and look at your training. If you notice that it could be from accumulated fatigue or illness then have enough confidence in your training to take a day off….your body will thank you!
If there is no rhyme or reason that you can come up with for the off workout, then consider it a small bump in a long road. Don’t dwell on it, don’t look back at it, just look forward and focus on what lies ahead!
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One thing that made it easy for me to take my mind off of this workout was vacation!!! We left Wednesday night and drive part of the way to FL and finished the drive Thursday.
This mornings run with beautiful views of Palm trees was amazing!!! Monday we are spending the day at Disney and I am have a few other fun So here’s my advice….when you have a bad workout, take a vacation :) ….or better yet spend a day at Disney!!!
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How do you handle a bad workout?
Where do you go for vacation?

Don’t forget to enter to win PRO Compression socks here

http://milesandblessings.com/2014/10/12/training-week-fall-favorites-and-a-giveaway/

October 12, 2014
by Jen
45 Comments

Training Week, Fall Favorites and A Giveaway!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am now just under 5 weeks away from marathon day and getting SO excited, especially after seeing pictures and posts from Chicago Marathon finishers!!!

This week my workouts came to 61 miles with 1 speed day, 1 long run and 4 easy run days. I almost did not do my speed day just because I was coming off of my half marathon, but I felt great and don’t have too much longer before the taper!!!!!

Mon- 9 miles- 8:04 pace

Tues- 9 miles- 8:01 pace

Wed- 6×1 mile repeats on the road with 1.5 mile warm up and cool down- 6:18 average (6:16, 6:13, 6:15, 6:21, 6:22, 6:20)

Thurs- 8 miles- 7:58 pace

Fri- 8 miles- 8:11 pace

Sat- 18 miles- 7:52 pace

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The cooler temps have felt so nice and the Fall colors and just beautiful!!!!

I thought it might be fun to share with you some of my Fall marathon training favorites :) .

My first is one of my absolute favorite running tops. It is the Breathe Hoodie top from Gap Fit. This top is beyond comfortable! It is a thing long sleeve top so it is perfect for those in between weather days. I have worn it a few times already this fall. I would say it is best for upper 40′s and 50 degree temperatures for me. They are reasonably priced (especially when you have a coupon). I had a 50% off coupon code for the Gap too so I bought this in several colors!!! In my opinion these run big so I would size down….I needed an XS and I don’t wear an XS in anything (usually a small, sometimes a med).

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Next up is my Oiselle hat! I am not a big hat wearer because I seem to have a hard time finding hats that fit my head right. This hat is a perfect fit and perfect for the rainy or drizzling days!!!!

Number 3 are my Oiselle arm warmers. These are perfect to pair with a short sleeve top on those days when you just don’t know whether to go short or long :) . They are also super comfortable!

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Number 4 that has been working for me is my Nathan handheld water bottle. I hate fuel belts or pretty much anything around my waist. This little water bottle has been working out great for my long runs. I usualy pass my car half way through a long run and get a drink and pick this up to carry for the second half of my run.

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Last, but DEFINITELY not least, on my list on my list are my PRO Compression socks. I LOVE these socks. The marathon tall socks are amazing for recovery. They are not impossible to put on and they have the perfect amount of compression (which is great for marathon training and recovery). The trainer low socks are so comfortable. These are the only socks that I wear that is how much  I love them!!!

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AND……

I am SUPER excited to give you the chance to win your very own pair of PRO Compression Marathon socks or sleeves. Yup, that’s right, A PRO Compression giveaway! You can never have enough running socks, and these are the best! Simply enter via Rafflecopter below. Giveaway goes from Sun 10/12- Sunday 10/19. Winner will be announced Mon 10/20!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I also have a discount code for you to use to stock up on some socks with:

USE THE CODE BLG14 TO GET 40% OFF YOUR ORDER OF MARATHON SOCKS OR SLEEVES!!!!! (these socks would make the perfect gift for anyone who is training or just loves running. They are also great stocking stuffers if you do early Christmas shopping :) )!

Who ran Chicago?!!!! How did you do?

Who is training for a marathon? How many days/weeks do you have left?

Do you have any fall favorites?

October 6, 2014
by Jen
9 Comments

Freedom’s Run Half Marathon Re-Cap

What a GREAT race! It is always easier to say this when you actually have a good race :) , but this was really a very well run event!

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Here are a few of my thoughts…

1. It was very well-organized and put together.

2. Plenty of porta potties and no lines :) . It was a smaller race so that helped, but there were also plenty of volunteers.

3. Speaking of volunteers… GREAT JOB! There was plenty of super friendly volunteers :) .

4. Great medals. The medals were handmade from a local pottery shop…I love that :)

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5. Really nice shirts with your choice in color. (Choice is based on a first come first serve basis. Since we didn’t get our packets till race morning, I only got to choose between blue and yellow, but I love the yellow :) !

6. This course is BEAUTIFUL, but in my opinion hilly. Miles 3-8 were full of straight up and down hills. These hills were through Anietam battlefield so that was neat! I would not necessarily go into this with a PR mindset. The first few miles were on a trail and there are a bunch of turns in the very beginning, but it is such a historic and scenic course!

7. This race was only sort of chip timed….basically the chip recorded your finish time. The start time was the start of the race for everyone. This didn’t bother me too much because I was pretty close to the start line (within a few seconds)…my husband got stuck a little farther back though.

8. There is an event for everyone! There is a kids run, 5k, 10k, half and full. The runners of the full were amazing! The full meets up with the half so that some of those hard hills were coming for them at mile 16-18ish (I honestly can’t imagine). I heard great things about the scenic views for all the races.

9. Lots of great food after from pizza to bagels. If I had to make a suggestion it would be to add chocolate milk :) .

Here are some pictures of the course that my husband took while he was running:

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IMG_0353 It rained all morning before the race and stopped just in time! :)

IMG_0363 Notice that hill there in the background…..not fun on tired legs!

Now that you know all about the race, here is how it went for me. I went into this race with no real-time goal. You know though whenever someone says that they must have some number in their head. I was hoping for somewhere around 1:35-1:38. I have been running some longer tempos in the 7:10 range, but I also knew this was a hilly race and I wanted to go out conservatively.  My main goal was to end fast and to try to stay pretty even paced. I did not want to get caught up in super fast race mode in the beginning and then feel defeated by the end.

Before the start picture :) …..

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Mile 1: 7:02

Mile2: 7:15

Mile 3: 7:12

Mile 4: 7:37

Mile 5: 7:01

Mile 6: 7:10

Mile 7: 7:46

Mile 8: 7:42

Mile 9: 7:10

Mile 10: 7:23

Mile 11: 7:25

Mile 12: 7:08

Mile 13: 6:44…..This mile makes me so happy!!!!!!

I am terrible at reading elevation charts and everyone has different definitions of what hills are hard or not. Sometimes I don’t think a course will be that bad until I am running it and other times I think it will be so hard and it doesn’t seem as bad. On my husband’s Garmin it said in mile 4 there was 169 foot elevation gain, an 86 foot gain in mile 6, and a 75 foot gain in mile 7. I know that the 75 foot gain in mile 7 must have been in a very short span because I remember looking up that hill and thinking you have to be kidding me. I just kept telling myself not to think about it too much, just put your head down and put one foot in front of the other (for some reason looking down when I go up hills is easier for me…maybe it has something to do with not seeing how hard it looks). Apparently mile 13 had a decent amount of elevation (119 feet), but it really didn’t feel nearly like mile 6 or 7 because it was so spread out. I handle gradual hills way better than the straight up and down stuff.

All in all though, this was a GREAT race. We are pretty sure we will try it again next year too!!!! If you are in the area and looking for a beautiful race, FREEDOMS RUN is a great choice!!!!

My final time was 1:35:06….maybe a few seconds less just because I wasn’t right at the front, but I am very happy with it. It really actually makes me want to race a flat course half again. The first half I did was a totally flat-out and back Chicago course and I got 1:32 and I feel like my fitness is better now than it was then.

I am getting super anxious for Richmond and now I am really wishing it was closer. I am making a few adjustments to my training per some advice I received, but I am very excited for November and I am already praying for a nice day!!!!

Marathon season is in full swing, who raced? How did it go?

Did you long run? how far?

October 3, 2014
by Jen
0 comments

ZOOMA & Freedoms Run

I am super excited to announce that I am a ZOOMA Annapolis ambassador!!!!

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I don’t usually ever have races planned out this far in advance…but I do for this one. I ran the Zooma Annapolis half this past May and loved it. I knew I wanted to do it again next year, so I applied for the ambassador program and….I’m in!

This is a BEAUTIFUL race and I would love to see you there!!! You can use the code JEN15 to get 10% off either the half marathon or 10k!

AND……

Tomorrow is the Freedom’s Run 1/2 Marathon for me :) . This was a last-minute add-in to my Richmond Marathon training. It is raining now…but I think (I am praying) it is going to end tonight. From the pictures this looks like a very pretty and historic (although quite hilly) course.

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I am going for a strong well run race to give me a better idea of pacing for my full. I REALLY want to negative split this race. I keep telling my husband that I am not going to go out too fast…although I am not sure that he believes me :) .

Because I have this half tomorrow I laid off of the speed after my tempo run on Tuesday.

Tues- 8 miles 7:11 pace with a mile cool down

Wed- 9 miles 7:58 pace

Thurs- 9 miles 8:03 pace

Fri- 6 miles 8:19 pace

I have been using my new watch and I LOVE it!!!!!! …it is charging up for tomorrow :)

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Anyone else racing this weekend? If not are you running a long run?

Hills…love em or hate them?

September 29, 2014
by Jen
6 Comments

14 Reasons Why I Love My Husband

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On this day, 14 years ago, I married the perfect husband. Is he actually perfect in real life?..No of course not, but to me….he is! Here are 14 reasons why I think so :) .

1. He loves the Lord with all that he is. His knowledge of and love for God challenges me to grow closer to God everyday.

2. The way that he preaches the Gospel with so much passion.

3. The way that he loves me and how I know that he is praying for me.

4. His love for our girls. He is such an amazing dad!

5. His genuine kindness toward others.

6. His generosity. He is such a giving person both to others and to the Lord…not only giving of money, but also of time.

7. He is always hard-working

8. His faithfulness. He is a faithful husband, father, Pastor and friend.

9. He always sees the best in things and people. (including me)

10. The way he listens to me and wants to know what I have to say…(and even if he doesn’t want to know, he listens anyways :) ).

11. He is always trying to better himself, which encourages me to better myself.

12. He always puts others before himself

13. He loves the simple things in life and he loves to share them with me! Whether it is simply spending time with me, or doing simple things like a walk or seeing beautiful trees.

14. He really is just so very handsome :)

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My husband is God’s greatest blessing to me. Everyday he encourages me in everything I do and challenges me to want to be a better person. He loves me and makes me feel so very special. He is my best friend and the most special person in my life. There are so many times I wonder what I ever did to deserve such an amazing man for a husband.

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There are WAY more than 14 reasons why I love him and my list grows longer by the minute :) .

This is just kinda funny :) …..

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Matt, I love you more than a blog post could ever say and look forward to seeing all that God has for us in the future :) . Happy 14 year Anniversary!

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If you are married, how long have you been married?

When is your anniversary?

What do you like to do for your anniversary?….This year we got each other a marathon :) that we are running together in Nov!!!! We also got each other new watches!!!! YAY!!!!!

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September 28, 2014
by Jen
6 Comments

In the trenches of marathon training!

I am now just under 7 weeks away from marathon day….in other words right in the thick of training!

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This past week was another higher mileage week for me with another 20 mile run. I have always gone with the training philosophy that 1 20 miler was good, if not best for marathon training. No need to risk injury trying to do more. This is the first training cycle where I am going to try for 3. I now have 2 down, 1 more to go!

I really don’t think there is a magic number of miles to run or 20 milers to do, and it is going to be totally different depending on the person and their goal.

For me, personally, I am wanting to (and really feel like it is in my ability) shave another 10-15 minutes off of my time. I think adding in a few more 20 milers, to get my body used to running that long, will help.

It is important when you are in “the trenches of training” to pay attention to details

Trying to be careful not to overdo it, making sure to stretch, adding in some strengthening exercises, nutrition, foam rolling, keeping some of my easy runs at an easy pace, and running some on a trail are some things that I am trying to do.

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I am doing my own training plan based on a combination of several plans and just my own experience. This week I was a little worn out from last week so I did 1 stress workout on Tuesday and my long run on Friday.

Monday- 8.25 miles 8:03 pace

Tuesday- 9 mile tempo. I really didn’t have time for a warm up and really want the tempo to be 9, so I just did the 1st mile a little slower and then did a 1 mile cool down for 10 total.

Wed- 8 easy miles (8:23 pace)

Thurs- 8 easy miles

Friday- 20 miles 7:56 pace. While this was a hard run because any run that is 20 miles is hard, it felt good and my last mile was my fastest at 7:29.

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Sat- 8 miles on a trail while the girls rode bikes :) . I LOVE these runs!!!!

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Sun- off

Another week of training in the books! The weather has been absolutely perfect!!!!

I have been struggling with my fueling for runs, and for Friday’s 20 miler I decided to go a little unconventional. Peanut Butter m&m’s. I realize that this is not healthy (please don’t remind me), and I am sure not the best fuel choice, but it worked better than what I have been trying. I was able to get fuel in without feeling sick and finish strong. I am still not convinced this is what I will use, but it has worked the best so far :) .

Next weekend is my half……FREEDOMS RUN! If you are in the West Virginia/Maryland area come run it!!!! There is also a 5k and a 10k…and a marathon if you are the kind of person that can just do that without planning!

What race are you training for? How many weeks to go?

How many 20 mile runs do you do in a training cycle?

Who takes their kids on runs with them :) ?

September 21, 2014
by Jen
10 Comments

The ups and downs of running!

Everyone who runs knows that running has its ups and down…kinda like life :) . There are “on” days and there are “off” days. There are days where your run feels effortless and amazing, and days when your legs feel like a million pounds and to even get out the door is a struggle.

Let me just say this…if you are struggling through some hard days right now, keep at it! Remember that these hard days will lead to amazing days! Unfortunately, the hard days are just part of it.

This week has definitely been an up week for me! I did 2 stress runs and a long run and hot good times for all of them. Here is what my workouts were this week:

Monday: Progression tempo run- 8:03, 7:46, 7:38, 7:36, 7:36, 7:28, 7:17, 7:07

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Tuesday: easy 8 miles

Wednesday: 3 x 2 mile repeats om the road with 1 mile warm-up and 2 mile cool down (6:32, 6:40, 6:38, 6:34, 6:27, 6:31)

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Thursday: easy 8 miles

Friday: long run 14 miles 7:50 pace

Saturday: easy 8 miles

56 miles this week. I have just under 8 weeks till Richmond and I am doing a 1/2 marathon in 2 weeks!

In other exciting news….my favorite runner is back at it!!!

The Kara Goucher comeback!!!!

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Amazing! First race back and she flew!!!!! 71:39 for the Rock N Roll Philly 1/2…just amazing! (yes, I am a fan girl :) )

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Then there is Deena who broke the female masters record in 1:09:35…another amazing race!

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And…Molly Huddle had an incredible 5k (15:10), followed by Jodan Hasay in my hometown of Providence, RI!

In other exciting news…..I found this at my grocery store and I was SO excited! I have been waiting to try this and I LOVE it!

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…and we met a bunch of friends at the park (boys vs. girls and the girls won) Sat for a family fun game softball and picnic dinners :) .

Other than that not much new. I need to get out my fall “stuff” this week!!! I wanted to do it this weekend, but no time!

 

How is your running going…up or down?

Ever tried Stonyfield’s Petite Creme? ….you must and they are not giving me anything to say so!

Do you have fall decorations up yet?

 

September 13, 2014
by Jen
3 Comments

Another race on the calendar & a 20 miler in the books

Happy Saturday!!!

I can’t believe how the days are just flying by and it is already September!!!! I also can’t believe how last Sat it was so hot and humid I was getting dehydrated and today is chilly and I wanted to run in long sleeves!

I thought I would throw out some thoughts on what to do when a race doesn’t go the way you hoped…and let’s face it, we all have races like that!

Last Sat was definitely a race like that for me…I did my 20 mile run yesterday at a faster overall pace than my race last week.

I think one of the most important things to do is to keep it in perspective. I choose to focus on the process and the training and not just on the outcome or time. It is just not realistic that every race will be a PR, or even that every race will be a great race.

cameraHere are some things you can do to help get past it…

1. Go ahead, be upset. You worked and trained hard, you are allowed to be bummed…..but then move on! Being bummed about it won’t change the outcome and nobody wants to be around a crabby person.

2. Find the positive….there is ALWAYS positive! Did you get to meet a runner friend, was the course pretty, did you go to the race with your family….if nothing else you became a stronger runner!

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3. Analyze the race a little bit and try to learn from it. Look for things that went wrong and ways that you can fix them next time.

More often then not, for me, this list starts with going out too fast. I also have trouble with fuel so sometimes this is an issue. Last week heat was an issue, but that is out of my control. One think I am noticing though is I seem to be sweating more (I have no idea why) and have been thirsty, therefore I am paying more attention to hydration.

4. Evaluate your goals. Change them if you need to. Sign up for another race if you want to (I always want to :) ).

And sign up for another race is exactly what I did! :)

The Freedom’s Run half on Oct 4th. It is only an hour from my house, it is still good timing in my marathon training to run a half and it sounds like a beautiful course. It is a hilly course, but I am not necessarily going for a PR. I am really focusing on the Richmond full and I would just like to run another half to give myself another chance to try to gauge where I am at for the full. I definitely want this 1/2 to be more even paced and stronger than my last half.

This week I took my training a little easy. I had planned to take Sun and Mon off after my half, but I was really not sore at all so I ran Monday. I did not have a speed or tempo day, but I did hit my highest mileage.

Mon.- 8.25 miles @ 7:45 pace. This was set to be an easy run…but I just felt like running a bit harder.

Tue.- Thurs- 8.25 miles each day right around an 8 minute pace

Friday- 20 miles!!!! @ 8:01 pace. This was a last-minute decision. I was going to do my long run on Sat, but decided it would work for me to do it early Friday morning so I did. I am really happy with this run except for the fact that my last 2 miles were 2 of my slowest miles.  I carried small handheld water bottle for the second half of this long run, but it was gone by mile 17 and I was pretty thirsty the last 2 miles. I also tried a new GU flavor and did not like it so this run was done on 1/2 a GU.

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Sat. 8.5 easy miles (8:28 pace)

I love that I have a 20 miler done for this cycle and would like to do 1 or 2 more. For all of my other marathons I have only done 1 20 mile run per cycle.

I also got this fun thing that I am super excited to try out!!!!

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If you want to hear something really cool…….

jenny

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jenny Simpson wins the 5th Ave Mile in 4:19….UNBELIEVABLE!!! Ready for more….

Jordan McNamara wins for the men in 3:51. Just amazing!

What do you do to help you get through a bad race?

Who is having cooler weather?…I saw there was snow in South Dakota…I would cry if I lived there!

September 7, 2014
by Jen
6 Comments

It was the best of times…it was the worst of times (literally)!

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The Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon and 5k…..I have been looking forward to this weekend since we signed up for these races!!! It was my girls first 5k and then my husband and I were running the half the next day and there was balloon launches both days! Plus I was getting the coveted Road Apple Award (ha) for doing the spring half and this one. We decided to get a hotel, even though the race was only an hour and a half away, because we were going Friday and Saturday.

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So let’s start with Friday. The girls were super excited for their first 5k!!! I have been building it up quite a bit and have been trying to make it as exciting as I could :) . There was a pretty good chance it was going to rain for their whole race and be super hot and humid and I just kept praying that it wouldn’t. We went for our last and longest run (3 miles) on Monday night and it was HOT. They both finished, but had to walk more than they wanted to and I was a little worried that if it was hot it would be a rough race.

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Well, it rained on our to the race and a little right before it….just enough to cool off the temperature a little and make it a perfect race!!!!!! They did an awesome job and had a lot of fun. They were able to do the balloon launch just before the race and that was so cool! It was still pretty humid out, but definitely not as bad as it could have been! Alyssa finished in 33:40 and Courtney in 34:07 :) .

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Now onto Saturday. I knew it was supposed to be hot and humid, but I have done several of my training runs during lunch time and the heat has never really gotten to me that bad. At first I was aiming for around 1:34 which is a 7:11 pace, but after thinking about the heat I decided a 7:30 pace might be more realistic and go faster in the end if I felt good.

It didn’t happen that way and I can pretty confidently say that this was my worst race performance ever. In the last month, all of my long training runs (including my 18 miler) have been faster and I have felt better than I did on Sat. I don’t know if it was a combination of things or just the humidity and heat or what, but this was just not a good race for me.

I started out to fast to begin with….but not way too fast, so I am not sure how much of a factor that played. The start of the race was in the 80′s with 100% humidity. I think I just underestimated what the humidity would do to me. I think the fact that there was no breeze at all played a part in making it feel that much hotter.  I tried taking a gel before the race and that did not work for me! I guess it is hard to know though again it was the heat or the gel. Then there is always the mental part of it. I do not completely give up mentally, but I can say that I have points where when I am way off my goal I start thinking that since I am already so far off it doesn’t really matter how much farther off I get. This definitely happened in this race. Looking back at it I placed 5th in my age group and 3rd was 2 minutes faster….I know that I could have made miles 9-12 a little faster, but at that point I had kinda checked out. So, here it is:

Mile 1: 7:19. Not too fast for me, but for this race in these conditions it should have been more like 7:50

mile 2: 7:03

mile 3: 7:23

mile 4: 8:11

mile 5: 6:59 Not sure where this came from, but again, for this race probably too fast

mile 6: 7:28

mile 7: 7:54

mile 8: 8:31

mile 9: 9:59…By this point I was feeling pretty bad and a little bit dizzy….and the rest of the race just became about finishing.

mile 10: 9:01

mile 11: 9:54

mile 12: 9:06

mile 13: 7:49

mile.21: I forgot to stop my watch, but it was .21 on my watch

Finish time 1:47. As you can see my splits are all over the place!!! This is definitely not how I expected this race to go. I know that this would be a great time for some people too…but for me, my training times should put me about 1:32-1:34.

Any time you have a race not go as planned it can be easy to sit and analyze every detail, and wonder what you can do different or what you did that didn’t work. I honestly have hard training runs go better than this race did for me, so of course you want to figure out what in the world happened. I know I sweat more in this race than I ever have in my life!

What did I do different from last week when I ran 12 miles at a 7:34 pace and still felt like I had a lot left to give?

There was the heat and humidity. I also ate breakfast and a gel before the race (before my training run I just grabbed a handful of Cheerios and blueberries). I started out faster. That is about all I can think of.

When races like this happen I think it is just best to accept that it wasn’t a good race, learn what you can from it and move on! Wouldn’t it be great if we all PR’d every race :) …but that is just not realistic…so time refocus and gear up for the next race :) .

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It was such a fun family weekend and my bad race time doesn’t take away from that at all! The course was so pretty and the hot air balloons were so cool!

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My next race was the Richmond Marathon in Nov, but I am thinking about adding one more 1/2 in there. Possibly the Freedom 1/2 in West Virginia, or if I can find a 1/2 while we are in FL for vacation in Oct then maybe that. I kinda want one more chance to gauge where I am at before my full :) . ( a little redemption too).

Just one more cool picture…

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Have you ever had a race flop :) ? we all have them

Anyone else have trouble reigning it in at the start of a race?

August 30, 2014
by Jen
7 Comments

Honey Stinger, Power Gels, and GU, Oh my!!!!

I hope you are all having a great Labor Day weekend!!!! This has been a super busy but great week for me. I wanted to chat for a bit about the age-old topic of fueling! Before we get into that though I thought I would give you a week re-cap :) . I changed my running schedule up a little this week….just because of some things we had planned and to  hopefully help my 1/2 coming up next week.

On Tuesday we went on a family fun trip to Dutch Wonderland (an amusement park) with the families at our church. It was a blast! There were 40 of us all together and the kids all had such a great time!!!

Here is about 1/2 of our group:

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Swings with Courtney

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Crazy water log ride! My kids like to be in the front :)

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Monday I decided to do a 9 progression run which meant Tuesday I wanted nothing to do with speed work. For my speed work this week I wanted to do more of a tempo instead of repeats just to help prepare for my 1/2  :) . Typically in a week I only do 2 stress workouts; 1 speed day and the long run. This week I did 3. The progression run, the tempo and the long run. Next week my plan is to cut the miles back a bit and take it easy.

Monday: 9 mile progression: 8:08, 7:59, 7:54, 7:48, 7:36, 7:33, 7:42 (oops), 7:24, 7:07

Tuesday: early 6.5 miles before our trip to Dutch Wonderland

Wed: 8 miles 8:03

Thurs: Tempo run, 6 miles at 6:48 pace with 1.5 mile warm up and cool down

Friday: 8.25 miles at 8:09 pace

Sat: 12 miles at 7:34 pace.

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One thing I have been working on in almost all my runs is making my last mile my fastest or close and I am hoping this will help me at the end of my races!

Now onto the age-old question: How do you fuel during races?

This is something I definitely do not have down and I am always looking to find out what works for other people! One thing I have learned is that there is no right answer to how to fuel. Everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another. There are also SO many options from chews to gels to food. In my opinion once you have found something that works well for you, stick with it! I have tried several different things and while I have found something that is ok for me, I am not set on anything just yet.I have run 3 1/2 marathons and have not used fuel for any of them, but am thinking a gel might help me finish better. For the marathon I have tried many things, but for my PR marathon I got almost 3 gels down. The last one was tough :) .

I have used and like the honey stinger chews, but I have a hard time-consuming enough of them. I like the idea of just swallowing a gel and being done with it! I also really like to chew gum (actually, I HAVE to chew gum) when I run and this makes that more challenging.

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I have tried a whole slew of gels and barely like just a few. I can handle the Salted Caramel, Chocolate PB and Honey Stinger Fruit Smoothie….and I don’t really like any of them…but I can make it work.

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I have a hard time just getting them down fast without wanting to gag (sorry if that is too much info). I have had some people say just take them small bits at a time but that just seems like a pain to be carrying an open gel and trying to make that work. If you do that let me know how and what you think about it!

My hardest and worst marathon I brought 3 gels and after 1/2 of one I felt like I just could not handle anymore, so I ran the rest of the marathon without anything…SO hard and I totally hit the wall.

One of the best ways to find out what fuel will work for you is to just try different kinds on your long run. This really is the only way to find out what works for you. The only reason I hate this is because I don’t want to ruin a long run with the wrong fuel, but it really is the only way to know.

There is also the option of candy…which I have done, but am not thrilled with.

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I am going to be looking into some ways to fuel with food. My husband is particularly interested in this and I am planning to try some recipes from this book:

feed zone

 

So the next question then is how many and how often?

Most things you read will tell you to take one gel every 45 minutes to an hour. Again, it is going to be by trial and error as to what will work specifically for you. It is a good idea to look at a race map to and know where the water stations are and plan accordingly! Some runners even do a gel or part of a gel before the race starts…I will admit, I have never done this.

So, my question for you is how do you fuel for races? What is your favorite product?…I am dying to know!!!!!

Do you use fuel for 1/2 marathons?