Marathon Training: Week 14

This. is. crazy! Is this really real? Like really going to happen? I feel like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders after completing my last super long run of training on Thursday. It is slightly bittersweet; no more 3-5 hour long runs (oh, the agony!), no more stopping to have to refill my Camelbak on said long runs and the marathon is now just 20 days away.

All of this is so surreal right now. 14 weeks ago I was scared of running any distance over 14 miles, I still can’t believe I lived to tell about that long run on Thursday or how the soreness only lasted a couple of days, and I can’t believe that I’ve been training for nearly four months to be able to run for 5 hours. Call me crazy, please, because I feel like I am.

At this point, I’m beginning to collect so many emotions about all that has transpired over the past four months, so expect some heartfelt posts in the coming weeks. Sorry in advance, but it’s how I roll.

Let’s get back to reality. Typically I am a morning runner, but an 8 mile tempo run did not sound like how I wanted to start my Monday. Life happens, laundry piles up and I had to prioritize. Oh and bed was nice and warm and I didn’t really want to get out of it. Instead, I have spent my morning laundering running clothes so I don’t have to run naked (see, I am considerate of others…), planning for the week, fitting some studying in, and cooking some food for the week.

This afternoon I will be trying my luck at being an afternoon runner on the revolving wheel of death. In my opinion, tempo and speed work is better done on a dreadmill because if I want to give up/quit/stop running in turn, would flat on my face and suffer public humiliation.

Monday: 8 miles, tempo plus strength
Tuesday: 3 miles, easy
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 13 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 5 miles, supposedly easy

If your kids (or you) need a last minute Halloween costume for tonight, might I suggest this one?




44k = a long time running

So on Wednesday, I mentioned an ‘xx’ mile long run that I was going to attempt to complete yesterday. I only told a handful of people how far I was planning on running because I honestly had no idea if I could even run this insane amount of miles, and didn’t want to set myself up for failure.

You see, my training plan called for a final 20-miler as my last long run. The reader and researcher I am, I had been doing a fair share of reading on marathon training and many renown coaches recommend that runners complete at least a 22-26 mile run before a marathon. I even talked with local seasoned marathoners and they said the same thing; to log at least a 22-24 miler for my final long run. This reasoning is mainly because 6.2 miles is a lot to run after you’ve already run 20 miles, and runners typically ‘hit the wall’ within one mile of their longest training run.

This all made sense. My longest training run for my first half marathon was 14 miles, .9 miles longer than the actual race. So earlier this week I was trying to plan out my route for my last super long run and hit a pickle. I love my 9.1 mile loop that I’ve been using for my 18 milers, and it was really difficult to map out 5-7 miles extra out there because the way the trails loop around. I knew my 9 mile route, I liked it, so I decided to just run it 3 times. Let’s do some math here…

9.1 mile loop x 3 loops = 27.3 miles = longer than a marathon = 44k = takes a long time to run = I am crazy.

Yes, this really happened. I didn’t really believe that I was going to be able to do it. I literally spent over 5 hours yesterday in a motion that resembled running. I still can’t really believe that this happened, except the soreness in my legs reminding me that they ran a freaking long time yesterday. The run was a process, let’s break it down a little bit:

The first 15 miles were great, honestly. I was feeling good, it was still cool outside and I have become fairly comfortable with distances in the 16-mile range. I was trying to not think about the fact that I still had 12 miles to go, which was daunting.

At mile 18 I was feeling sore, 18 miles was the longest I had ran outside before, and I was worried about ‘hitting the wall.’ But I reminded myself that this run was for that purpose; if I was going to crap out and start bawling, it would be yesterday, not on November 20th which I have been looking forward to for about 6 months now.

Mile 21.5-on was hard. Not going to lie. I started to really feel pain in my legs around mile 22. Cardiovascular wise I was fine, but my legs began to feel really heavy. Miles 22-24 d-r-a-g-g-e-d on…these were the longest miles of my life. My pace dropped by about a minute per mile average and it was hard to stay mentally strong. My feet were really hurting at this point, at times it felt like I was running on sharp pins. I alternated between praying and cursing because that’s pretty much all I could muster out.

Mile 25 was when I hit my wall. I started crying, I had been running for over 5 hours, I was in serious pain and I wanted to be DONE. Part of my crying was ‘Ohmygosh is this really happening I am running 27 miles’ and the other tears were out of frustration, impatience and anger. It hurt to lift my feet to take each additional stride, but then I made it to the 26 mile mark and could only help but think ‘THIS IS HAPPENING!’

Then it happened. I was done. I ran 27.3 miles (alone).

I took gels at miles 5, 9, 13, 18, 22 and 24. That was  gourmet lunch, let me tell you. I went through about 140oz of water and water/Powerade Zero.

I’m not sure how soon I will be running 27 miles again, but I am so ready to run 26.5 in three weeks in Tulsa!

One thing I love about running is that you’re never quite the same person after a run as you were before a run. Hands down, I can say that after my run yesterday, I’m a little bit different of a person and I am thankful for that.

Marathon Training: Week 13

Although I slacked on posting my training for last week, I did not slack on training…which is what really matters, right? This is my last really challenging week before I begin tapering, which also calls for my last really long long run.

Monday: Did 5 miles, I didn’t want to, but it happened
Tuesday: No Zumba sadly, but I got 3+ miles in plus some strength training
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: I have a goal of xx miles but you will hear about that when I actually complete it. To be honest I am scared out of my pants. I hope I don’t die. No, really. I hope I survive this.
Friday: Rest, stretch, maybe cry out of pain, who knows.
Saturday: Attempt 3 miles if my legs don’t hate me too much from Thursday.

Cheers to living to tell about my run tomorrow!

Happy Weekend

How was your week? Was it crazy like mine? Hence the lack in entries! I was so busy that I didn’t even get to write about my week 12 of torture marathon training. Don’t worry, I wasn’t blogging about it because I was out running. Running in the cold.

We went from having an unusually warm fall to SMACK! Here’s-a-side-of-frost-and-28-degrees-on-Thursday-morning-have-fun-on-your-long-run-sucker! I was afraid I was going to freeze my boobies off. Thankfully my parents lovingly gave me a gift certificate to my favorite running store for my birthday and I was able to buy Zensah compression sleeves for my legs and those amazing Nike arm warmers. They totally did the trick.

Also, being too matchy matchy is not my thing, obviously. I figured that if any point during my run I got discouraged, I could just look down at my outfit and laugh. It worked.

Here are some ideas of fun things you can do this weekend…

Decorate a pumpkin! Because decorating is much safer than carving.

Make some Crayola art...or off brand crayon art if you don’t want to spend $4 extra on something just to melt it…

Be a good dog mom…unlike me

Make s’more cobbler. This is too easy and too good. Hands down the strangest recipe I am glad I have ever followed.

Make a tutu and spend time with your best friend. Then make her model it. I need to make a tutu-tutorial for you guys…

You could go run 18 miles. Wait, don’t do that. That’s a terrible idea.

How about looking ridiculous running a half marathon? That sounds fun.

Whatever you do this weekend, have FUN. And sorry these pictures are basically all iPhone pictures. Regular blogging will hopefully resume tomorrow or Monday. Along with my sanity.


For my Momma

I read this card a few weeks ago that said, “Why are we celebrating you when your mom was the one who did all the work?”

So 22 years ago my mom was hanging out in a hospital bed, chowing on ice chips, probably watching my great grandma pacing like a race horse, trying to get a 21-inch, 9+ pound baby out of her body. Sorry about that one, mom. Then it happened. The San Francisco earthquake that interrupted the World Series. Oh, and they finally got my out of my momma’s belly. We joke that the world shook when I made my entrance into it (ha!). But anyways, this one is for you mom. Thanks for having me, thanks for loving me, teaching me, crying with me, laughing with me, supporting me, listening to me, challenging me, and being my rock.

I’ll like you forever, I’ll love you for always, as long as I’m living, your baby I’ll be.

The Perfect Race

Last night I was going to write a post on my pre-race rituals, but those rituals got interrupted by something that might need become a new pre-race ritual:

Yes, this definitely happened. 

I typically would never eat this before a long run, but I have no willpower when it comes to an invitation for froyo. At least this was the ‘small’ cup compared to my usual bucket. Plus candy corn can always fuel me for a run…I ❤ candy corn.

After fueling with probiotics and extra sugar, I prepped all my stuff for the race, which is a necessary race eve ritual

I do this to avoid scrambling race morning. Getting out of bed at 5am is hard enough as is. This step was important last night because I almost forgot to everything except my running shoes and socks. Almost forgot my race bib, timing chip, body glide, Accel Gel…yeah. Setting everything out the night before helps prevent potential race morning disasters.

Typically I set goals for races. This is the first half marathon I have ran that I have experience running before (last year). I knew the course, I knew what to expect and what I needed to do. My goals for this race were to 1) beat my time from last year 2) stay relaxed 3) have a good run and 4) enjoy the race. I didn’t want pressure of a PR, I just needed a solid run. Check, check, check and CHECK.

Before races I usually get butterflies, psyched, nerves, you name it, but this time around I didn’t. I’m not sure why but I am definitely not complaining. I didn’t miss those butterflies one bit! 5am rolled around way too soon, and I pulled myself together in a haggard fashion. It was nice being able to ride with my mom and dad to the race, so on the way I was able to listen to some jams, say lots of prayers, and drift in and out of sleep. I also focused on staying calm and relaxed through the morning. Nothing like being half asleep to stay relaxed.

Three rituals I did follow this morning included immediately getting in the lines for portapotties, warming up, and getting back in line for the portapotties because for some reason relieving oneself is…relieving? Ok so I do get those little bitty nerves right before a race and two bathroom trips helps. No matter how nervous I get, at least I wouldn’t pee myself.

I decided to hang with the 2:25 pacers at the start of the race. In Texas, I know I started out too fast and in order to have a good run today, I knew the importance of not blasting across the start line like a bull on charge. My pacers, Mary and Gretta were hilarious. They were both wearing wings, cheering and the jokes and sarcasm started less than five minutes into the run. Gretta was my comical relief, and we have a very similar sense of humor. Read: sarcastic, quick, witty and punny.

The course is great with the exception of a few hells hills at miles 3 and 4, when my quads were yelling at me, but I showed them who was boss. After that, this race went by super fast. What? We’ve been running for an hour and a half? Running sans watch finally broke my terrible habit of looking at my time every 5 minutes during a run, and I was fully enjoying this race.

Around mile 9, Gretta asked us who had found their inner Kenyans, and as she pushed us to keep a steady pace ahead of her, she gave us homework: to make up our own Kenyan names. Something to pass time? Sure! Why not. My Kenyan name is officially: Bih Azbuhddi. Just sound it out.

Around mile 9-10 is where I used to crap out/hit the wall/walk. But this time, at mile 10 I caught the most amazing runner’s high. I hadn’t looked at my watch, knew there was only 5k left to run, and came upon the most glorious downhill ever. I just kept going and going like Forrest. Probably all those prayers I were doing the trick.

At mile 12 I allowed myself to look at my watch, and I’m glad I did. I was at 2:11 and flabberghasted. What?!?! I WANT A PR! RUN KELSEY! Then I was like, wait. Don’t be mad if you don’t PR, but push it to the end. I wanted a solid run and that’s what I was getting. From mile 12 I hauled Bih Azbuhddi. I kept telling myself, “Strong is all you have when you’ve used up all your weak. Run this with your heart Kelsey, run it with your heart.” Because I had already used what I had stored up in my legs and mind. I don’t think I have ever ran that hard in my life, I know I must have looked wretched, but pain is not cute. And I finished. In 2:21:10…seven minutes faster than my time last year, 5 minutes faster than I planned on finishing, and sixteen seconds short of a 13.1 PR.

Story of my running life

I. am. elated. I could not have imagined or asked for a better race; everything was perfect. The weather, the people, the pacers, it was SO good.

I also have the best parent cheerleaders ever…they mean so much to me! No you may not rent them out, they are all mine, not to share.

Finally, please get as much of a laugh out of this as I did. This 110% accurately describes how I felt upon immediately crossing the finish line, I’m just glad it was broadcast for all of Kansas City to see.

Now off to enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Marathon Training: Week 11

The weeks are starting to blur together! Moving my long runs to Thursdays has been great but doesn’t really provide a distinct break between weeks, especially with oddball weeks like this one.

First, let’s chat. Get comfortable, grab some coffee/tea/soda/whatever. I don’t share a lot of my day to day life on the blog since my posts tend to have specific topics (because my day to day life really isn’t that thrilling…to you). For example, this is what my posts would be like everyday: Breakfast, run/workout, study, drink iced coffee, read blogs, lunch, work, study some more, coach, maybe workout again, dinner, Pinterest, read, sleep.

I would rather save my energy for drinking iced coffee, recreating training schedules and Pinning than blogging about them. If I did blog on a daily basis, you probably would have heard about a pain that I’ve been experiencing the past two weeks. I’m a mildly gravely determined individual, which means I can also be gravely stubborn at times. I tell people how important it is to listen to your bodies, and I’m usually pretty good at it too, but not this time around. I’ve had this pain in my left arch for a little while now and I have been doing everything I can to help it; massaging, new running shoes, rolling it on a golf ball (yes this works, yes I am crazy), whatever. It. is. not. helping. It is more of an annoyance than anything, but recently the pain has intensified. Like, “can’t walk in the mornings because pain is shooting from my foot all the way up my calf,” intensified.

What is this pain you ask? It’s called plantar fasciitis. This is a common injury with long distance runners and I hate to admit it, but I think it was something I did. Messing with my gait, form, stride, running on uneven surfaces (guilty…) something…something to cause this. All I know is that my body is talking to me and I finally have to practice what I preach and listen to it. My last couple of runs have left my arch swollen and bruised all the way up to my ankle so I’ve got to take care of it. I have read that this pain can take anywhere from 6-12 months to heal completely but I am believing that it will be completely healed by like um this weekend. I made this request to God before I started training for this marathon that I would get through the whole thing injury free and I know he’s honoring it, but he also gave me a brain to use when crap like this happens.

Plan for recovery: well today was a total rest day, more icing my foot, more massaging, easier runs, keeping it taped to stabilize it and prayers. I am really looking forward to the KC half marathon this weekend and want it to be a great race, which means this week I had to slow down a little bit. Thank you for listening to my ramblings and boohooing.

This week’s plan:
Monday: 7 miles, 5 miles at goal half marathon pace. This run was painful…very painful.
Tuesday: total rest, body you are welcome
Wednesday: 4 miles, easy plus strength workout
Thursday: 3 miles, easy
Friday: total rest
Saturday: KC Half Marathon!!!!
Sunday: rest

I can’t believe tomorrow is already Wednesday, this week is FLYING by!!! Make it a good one friends 🙂