Happy New Year + A look Back at 2016

Happy New Year everyone!

I have been meaning to write up this post for a while, but as usual, life got in the way. Anyways, it’s New Years Eve as I’m writing this, which seems like as good a time as any to look back at the past year.

This was the first year where I had to juggle the responsibilities of a full-time job, a hectic travel schedule, and training for numerous races. Overall, I’m pretty proud of how it all went. Yes, there were moments of stress and mornings where I desperately wanted to sleep in rather than log another 5 miles (and also mornings where the bed won). Somehow, I got through it all and ran 2 marathons, shaving a total of around 45 minutes off from my first attempt at the distance. There were also PRs in the half marathon and 5k.

While my mom and I were training for the Delaware Marathon, we ran the Augusta Half Marathon in February in Georgia. Clearly the marathon training had me in great shape, and I was able to take 3 minutes off my time to bring my PR down to a 1:45. My mom got 3rd in her age group at that race which was the icing on the cake.

Augusta Half MarathonIn March, we both ran Stu’s 30k in Clinton, Mass. For both my mom and I, this was the first year we ran the whole 30k instead of doing the relay option. HOLY HILLS! It was probably one of the most challenging races we’ve completed (and my mom may have sworn off ever doing this race again), but overall we ran really well and I look back on this race with fond memories (probably because the pain from those stupid rolling hills has faded from memory).

2016 Stu's 30KIn May, there was the infamous Delaware Marathon. It was not really the marathon result I had hoped for and it wasn’t the best day for my mom either. But I think it taught me a valuable lesson. You’ve got to respect the distance and run what you are trained for. Sometimes you have to set your ego aside to figure out what that pace is. My aggressive pace coupled with the warmer temps was a recipe for disaster. I’ve decided I’d rather accept a slower time and be able to enjoy the post race party than push myself to the point of heat stroke and end up in the ER (#LifeLessons).

Delaware Marathon Race RecapJune and July were relatively quiet with no big races. However, in July my mom talked me into signing up to run the Baystate Marathon in October. At the time, I was pretty nervous about stepping back into marathon training after what had happened in Delaware, but I am so grateful she managed to convince me to go for it.

In August, my mom and I ran the Hobble Creek Half Marathon. While we did cross off another state, the name of this race proved to be a bad omen. What had been a niggling pain for my mom turned into a full-blown hamstring injury after all the miles of downhill running. While we had a fun vacation in Utah, I’m afraid the memories will always be tainted by the aftermath of this race.

Delicate ArchSeptember was full of long runs as I went through my final month of training for Baystate. I hit my highest mileage week ever. My Strava data shows September was my biggest month of mileage for the year. Note: I didn’t start using Strava until late April of this year so I don’t have a complete picture of the data unfortunately.

Monthly Mileage 2016

In October, I ran Baystate and completed my 3rd marathon! This race was HUGE for me. I PR’ed again, running a 3:53. That was nothing compared to the way I felt during this race though. My previous 2 marathons were big struggles for me, especially during the last 6-7 miles. In both of those marathons, I finished thinking I would never run a marathon again. Baystate was the first time I felt in control and strong for 26.2 miles. I never had to walk, AND I managed a small negative split.

Baystate Marathon 2016 Race RecapYou know it’s a good marathon when you’re actually smiling. This race has given me the confidence to continue with marathoning and I fully plan on running another in 2017.

The past couple months, I have slowly been building my mileage again in preparation for the Half at the Hamptons. It’s been a long time since I’ve done some targeted training for the half marathon and I’m excited to see the results.

Final stats of 2016:

States we’ve Crossed Off: 3 (Delaware, Georgia, Utah)

Marathons: 2

Toenails Lost: 2 (notice the correlation between lost toenails and marathons…)

 

 

PRs: in the 5k, half, and marathon

Pairs of Shoes: 5 (I think)

Total Miles: 1,541.9 – The data below is from Strava. I switched over to Strava from MapMyRun mid-April. I went back to my MapMyRun account and was able to see that I ran 405.1 miles during those first 4 months of 2016. This mileage is probably a little short since I didn’t log treadmill runs before I got my new Garmin. Hoping I can hit 2,000 miles in 2017!

strava-2

Top Blog Posts of 2016: The 4-Week Half Marathon Plan (really more for how to finish a half in 4 weeks when you have a super busy schedule… not a training plan for PRs!!), Asics Gel-Electro 33 Review (this shoe has been discontinued so unfortunately, I don’t think this post will stay popular much longer!), Why I Switched From MapMyRun to Strava, About Me (thanks for being curious!)

 

All in all, it was a very successful year. Yes, it had its ups and downs, but most years do. Here’s to hoping 2017 brings even bigger and better things. 🙂

Hope everyone had a wonderful New Years Eve! How was your 2016? Any big goals for 2017? 

 

 


The Final Race Preparations

I am so freaking excited for this weekend.

I know the nerves will probably kick in at some point, but for now, I’m just really looking forward to everything about this trip – checking off another state (this will be #11!), a fun road trip with my mom, and obviously, THE MARATHON!

This last week has been full of some of the more fun (and equally important) aspects of preparation. 🙂 The 20 mile runs are behind me, and I am fully embracing the taper. I hear some runners get freaked out by cutting their mileage back so much during a taper. I don’t. I’m one happy camper.

So the final preparations have consisted of:

1. Getting my nails done.

Delaware Marathon Nails | 2 Generations RunningI didn’t think it would be possible to top my Augusta Half Marathon nails, but these guys might have just done it.

2. Loading up my playlist with tons of new songs. My new favorites are:

  • “Something Beautiful” – NEEDTOBREATHE
  • “2 Heads” – Coleman Hell
  • “Inside Out” (feat. Charlee) – The Chainsmokers
  • “Gasoline” – Halsey

I’m going to try to resist the temptation to listen to these too many times before the race so that they’ll still be fresh and exciting when they come on during the marathon.

3. Carbo-loading.

Carbo-LoadingLOL – This episode of The Office demonstrated so perfectly how not to carbo-load, it still cracks me up.

4. Advising my mom on road trip snacks and music. For snacks, I’ve requested Terra Sweet Potato chips (absolutely love them) and trail mix. There may or may not be a bottle of wine (or two) packed for the hotel as well. 😉 The drive itself will be just about 6 hours, so bring on the Starbucks and CDs!

5. Trying to figure out what the eff I should wear for the race. I know, I know. They say you should wear whatever you wore on your long runs on race day so you don’t have to worry about chafe-age or it riding up weirdly. Well, I did the majority of my long runs wearing my long winter capris, but the forecast is showing high 60’s for race day, so that’s not exactly going to work. No matter what I pick, I fully intend on coating myself in Glide.

6. Reading up on all aspects of the race in other blogger’s previous race recaps. I’m a firm believer that there’s no such thing as too much information and I like to know what to expect, especially when it has to do with running 26 miles. 🙂

Delaware Marathon Elevation MapFor example – where will the hills be? Looking at this, I know I can expect a good climb between mile 6 and 7, another smaller one at mile 12, again at mile 18 and then a final hill at mile 24. I’m sure that last one is going to be a blast…

7. PACKING!!! Don’t forget your sneakers Nora, whatever you do!!! I’m also going to be sure to pack sunscreen, my compression socks, GPS watch and charger, and a good book. I made this list a while back that’s actually pretty helpful in terms of packing for a race-cation.

The Runner's Packing Checklist. 2 Generations Running

If you want to keep up with us on the whole adventure, I will be tweeting, posting to our Facebook page, and obviously Instagramming! Wish us luck 🙂


The Delaware Marathon: 1 Week To Go!

When my mom and I signed up for this race in December, May 8th sounded very far away. 16 weeks of training later, and here we are – This Sunday, we’ll be running 26.2 miles (in a row!)

Delaware Marathon and Running Festival | 2 Generations Running

It’s been a long 16 weeks, full of ups and downs. There have been moments when I’ve been confident in my training and just full to the brim with my love for running. And then, there were times when I told myself that I freaking hated marathons and would never train for one again (like when I ran 20 miles in the cold rain.) Even I would have to admit, that’s probably not going to be true though. 😉

At least, assuming I make it through this marathon without losing a toenail again.

Marathon TrainingRunning through the slush has finally given way to sunshine and flowers.

At the beginning of this whole process, my mom and I talked a lot about our goals for this marathon – namely, qualifying for Boston. Like so many other runners, I desperately want to run that qualifying time and earn my spot in Boston, especially now that I’m living in the city and feel so connected to its running culture.

For me to qualify, I would have to beat a 3:35 time by a couple of minutes, which translates to between an 8:05 and 8:10/mile pace. It’s fast. Really, really fast.

For the most part, my training has gone well. There were some schedule adjustments and missed runs due to work travel and weather, but looking back, I know I did the absolute best I could. I will have no reason to feel any regret on Sunday, no matter what happens because I have given this my all. From the 4:30 wake-up calls, to running in the snow and rain, it’s all been worth it.

But what I am trying to get at with all this nostalgic rambling, is that a BQ is not going to happen for me this race. And that’s ok. I came across this quote on Instagram recently, and it captured my feelings perfectly –

“Choosing differently isn’t failing, it’s just readjusting course to get to our end goal.”

Based on the pace I’ve been typically hitting on my long runs, it’s just not realistic for me to try to go out there and run an 8:05 average pace for 26+ miles. It’s not going to happen, and I risk bonking hard if I try. So, I’m choosing to be responsible, and set aside the BQ goal (temporarily).

This will only be my second marathon, and I have a lot of years of running ahead of me. I feel like I learned a lot through this training cycle and have some really solid ideas about what I need to add to my typical running regimen to make myself a stronger athlete. My end goal is still that BQ, but I know there is some significant behind-the-scenes work I will have to put in (even before beginning a training cycle) to get there. I’ve accepted that and made my peace.

So then, what are my goals for this race? Here they are, in ascending level of difficulty.

  1. A big PR. I was not in the best shape for my first marathon, so I’m confident I can achieve this. This would be anything faster than 4:36. Unless I fall and break my ankle or something else disastrous, I know I can do this.
  2. Sub-4 hours. Based on my half marathon times and the paces I’ve been hitting, I think this is completely doable.
  3. Break 3:50.
  4. Run a 3:45. I have to say these last 2 goals will be heavily influenced by the weather. It’s looking like the high of the day will be around 70, so it’s going to be warm.

So there you go, I’m laying it all out there! Mainly, I’m just really excited that the race is finally here. I feel like it’s been on my mind for the past 6 months and at this point, I’m just ready to see what happens.

Delaware Marathon Nails | 2 Generations RunningMy nails are race-day ready. 🙂

My mom and I will be road-trippin’ up to Delaware on Friday to avoid the long drive the day before the race. Wish us luck!!

 


The Next Race

First off, a HUGE congrats to all the runners who completed the Boston Marathon on Monday! Running 26.2 miles is hard enough as it is, and add in today’s warm temps and wind, and it takes it to a whole new level. You are all the embodiment of Boston Strong. ♥

The Boston Marathon | 2 Generations RunningI made my way over to the finish from my office around 12:30 in the afternoon. It was chaotic and a little bit stressful dealing with all the crowds. Nevertheless, I found myself feeling inspired and more determined than ever to run Boston. The whole experience has me even more excited to run Delaware in a few weeks too! I have a good feeling about this marathon. 🙂 I think you could say I have a touch of Marathon Fever.

But after Delaware, I’m really looking forward to putting in some work in the shorter distances – meaning half marathon and under. I mayyyyyyy even already have a race planned – the Runners World Classic Half Marathon in North Andover, Mass! Ahh, I’m so excited!!

So how the heck did I end up signed up for another half marathon before I have even run my full marathon? Well, you may have noticed a new logo on the sidebar of my blog – I am now a Bibrave Pro ambassador! Bibrave.com is a website that runners can use to review races – and to check out a race they are considering signing up for. Basically, it’s the Yelp of the running world. I’ve been writing reviews of my races for years now, so I recently started putting my reviews on Bibrave. Considering that my job involves planning races, I think I have a pretty good perspective on what it takes to plan a great event. 😉

Through my ambassadorship, I get to try out different races and running products, and the Runners World Classic will be my first one! I LOVED the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon when I ran it 2 years ago and I’m psyched to be doing another Runners World event. The cool thing is that it’s not just a race – they have a 5k and 10k in addition to the half, as well as a full day’s worth of seminars on different running topics. For a whole weekend, you can 100% immerse yourself in running. In case you need one more reason to register, Dave McGillivray, the race director of the Boston Marathon, will also be directing this event. Can you tell I’m geeking out right now?!

FangirlingIt’s only 2 months post-marathon, so it might not realistically give me enough time to recover and then train for a half marathon PR – but I might give it a shot anyway. I ran a 1:45 in Augusta, but I can feel that 1:40 calling my name! Even if it doesn’t happen at this race, that’s what I’m hoping to work on this summer.

This weekend will be another crazy work trip for me (which means tons of time on my feet, but no running unfortunately). Once I’m back, there will be nothing between me and running Delaware. I’m stoked.

Did you watch the Boston Marathon? Do you have any races planned for the summer yet? Want to come run the Runner’s World Classic with me??? 🙂


Marathon Monday + Bring on the Taper!

Happy Marathon Monday! To all the runners and blog friends running Boston today, GOOD LUCK!!!

In my marathon training news – 49 miles this week. BOOM. As I type that, I’m really wishing I had made it an even 50, but oh well. I am really happy with how this week went overall and I am SO ready for the taper that’s comin’ my way.

2 Generations RunningSelfie from Saturday’s easy 6 miles.

This week’s long run was 22 miles – the furthest I have run since my last marathon, 2 years ago. Early on, I had a lot of anxiety about this run. The 20-milers felt hard, and I couldn’t picture tacking on another 2. Especially, considering how crappy I felt on the previous week’s “easy” 15-miler where I had my fall. So I was a little nervous.

It had been a few weeks since I had seen my family, so I headed home this weekend to tackle this run alongside my mom. Even though, we’ve been training at different paces for this marathon, there’s something about knowing that we’re both out there taking on the same challenge that makes it a tiny bit easier.

The forecast was showing some pretty warm temps (yay 60 degrees!!!) so we made sure to head out for this run on the earlier side. We each set up our own little aid station on the front step with extra water, GUs, pretzels (for me) and dates (for my mom). We had 2 different 5-mile loops in mind, so we passed our house multiple times, which was super convenient (especially for the occasional bathroom visit).

Breaking this run into mental chunks was another HUGE help. By the time I had completed 15 miles (or 3 5-mile loops), I wasn’t feeling like I had another 7 whole miles to run – it was just one more loop plus a 1-mile out-and-back. While my pace was a little slower on this run than on the first 20-miler, my hometown has a lot of pretty good hills in it, so I’m happy. I also managed to run my last mile the fastest at 8:47/mile. Partly this was because I was sick of running by this point. But I also tried to think of Meb and all the elite marathoners at Boston who still manage to kick ass at the end and run 5 minute splits and channel that toughness. Finally, my watch was beeping 22 miles and telling me I had set a new record for longest distance. My 3rd and final 20+ mile run of this training cycle.

2 Generations runningMy mom and I took a few minutes to sit on our front step and drink our water when the dogs snuck out the front door and started licking attacking us because we were so sweaty and salty. Or maybe they were just trying to congratulate us 😉

The rest of the day was spent taking it pretty easy – which included a trip to the local ice cream place near us that has finally opened again for the summer and getting some well-deserved ice cream. The lines were ridiculous and we ended up having to wait a while, but it was totally worth it. I think ice cream might be my favorite post-long run treat. 🙂

So now the mileage is winding down. 3 weeks until Delaware and I could not be more excited. Bring on marathon #2 (for me and #3 for my mom) and state #11!

Did anyone else run long this weekend? Do you usually peak at 2o miles for a marathon – or more? I know there’s a lot of different schools of thought on that question. 


Miles on Miles

Happy Monday guys!

This weekend brought the end to one of the highest mileage weeks I have run in a REALLY long time. The long run this weekend wasn’t even that bad (only 15!!!), but there was a lot of mid-week mileage. All in all, I ran 46 miles in the past week! That’s not too crazy as far as some marathon training plans go, but it felt like a lot since I missed so many runs a couple weeks ago and this type of mileage is really not the norm for me in my day-to-day running.

Monday – I was planning on going to a 3-mile fun run followed by a marathon nutrition discussion hosted at a running store in Boston, but the weather had other plans – aka snow. Yeah, happy April. The roads and sidewalks were a mess, and I didn’t really want to risk slipping, so I decided to skip the event, but I was pretty bummed. In hindsight, I’m kind of happy this was a rest day since they were few and far between this week.

Tuesday – The training plan called for a time trial, but the roads were still slippery, so I decided to do this time trial treadmill-style. I warmed up for a mile, and then dove into it. I’m always a little nervous about going all out on a treadmill (just doesn’t feel safe), so I kept it a little slower than I would typically run a trial on a track. Still, it got my legs moving and heart pumping! I cooled down with a mile after, so 3 miles total.

Wednesday – 9 miles total w/ 4 1-mile repeats. I already talked about this workout a little, but I’m still so excited about how it went. This is the furthest I’ve ever run in the morning before going to work, and it just felt like such an accomplishment when I finished! Of course, I did have to get up at the butt-crack of dawn to get it all done, which was less pleasant.

My favorite thing to do is sleepI was CLEARLY not fully awake when I was getting dressed for this run, because I noticed when I got to the gym that I had put my workout capris on backwards. LOL. I was just glad I noticed my mistake before I started running!

Thursday – 4 miles easy. Technically, this was supposed to be a 6-miler, but I was running a little late (literally) and having some stomach issues on top of that, so I called it at 4.

Friday – 7 miles, 5 at goal marathon pace. Another early morning at the gym to get this done before work. I was having some stomach issues again (grr), which resulted in a little break between miles 3 and 4, but otherwise I did this one just the way it was written. 🙂

Saturday – 8 miles. FINALLY, a morning when I got to run and sleep past 5 am! Glorious!! It was really beautiful out – sunny and in the 40’s and perfect for running. My legs did seem to feel a little tired, and my ankle/shin issue did bother me for the first 3 and a half miles, but I tried to focus on how good it felt to just be outdoors running on a nice Spring morning. The ankle issue kind of faded as I ran, and my splits got faster as I went on.

I spent the rest of the day being insanely productive – it felt crazy how much free time I had on my hands with such a short run! I did laundry, cleaned my room, picked up a few things at the grocery store, AND made sweet potato brownies (which are delicious – This was the recipe I used in case anyone wants to check it out). BOOM. It’s days like these that make me excited to refocus on shorter distances again once Delaware is over.

I also got to play around with my new wobble board which arrived late Friday!

Training with Wobble BoardsI’m still figuring out all the exercises, but so far so good!

Sunday – Ah, Sunday. What to say about Sunday. You know how in movies, people will always say “Well, it can’t get any worse!” and then it’ll start pouring rain? Sunday was like that, minus the rain (since that already happened on last week’s long run).

The run seemed like it had promise. The sun was shining and it looked beautiful out. So much so, that I headed out the door in just capris and a light long-sleeve shirt. The wind quickly had me freezing my butt off, but I figured I’d warm up eventually (which I kind of did, but I still spent most of the run wishing I had a windbreaker).

Marathon TrainingLooks pretty nice right? That’s what I kept trying to tell myself. I was all, it’s only 15 miles, this should feel like a cinch after last week’s 20-miler! But it didn’t.

My legs felt tired and creaky from the beginning and it didn’t help that the first 3 miles of my route have some serious uphill stretches that had me gasping for air.

Training Run

The route I was doing was basically an out-and-back – 5 miles to a local park, a couple loops at the park for 5 miles, and then 5 miles home. The run takes me through Somerville though, which has some sidewalks that are in pretty bad shape. Normally, I’m really careful to watch the ground, make sure that I’m lifting my feet up high enough, etc… I don’t know what happened today. I don’t know if it was my exhaustion around mile 13.5 or if I was too distracted thinking about the chocolate milk I was going to have when I finished, but suddenly my toe hit a lip on the sidewalk and I was FLYING and then very quickly crashing down hard on my hands and forearms. CRAP.

ouch.(Got lazy painting my nails the night before, and only did my accent nail, hence the one white nail.)

I freaked out for about 30 seconds before assessing my injuries. I was pretty lucky – my right hand took the worst of it, I got a little road-rash on my forearm and left hand, but that was it. My favorite BAA long-sleeve also got all torn up on the right sleeve where I hit the ground. I’m still going to keep wearing it though, and I feel like it’s appropriate that it should reflect some marathon training scars.

So I dusted myself off and ran the rest of the way home. No one was around, and as far as I know, no one saw me eat it, which I guess is a good thing? Part of me wishes someone had been there to just make sure I was ok. Oh, the other awesome part was that in my fall, I must have hit my GPS watch and deleted my run, because it was GONE when I tried to start my watch again. I don’t even know how that’s possible! Ugh. So 15 miles at a mystery pace (though I know it was definitely one of my slower runs considering the splits I was seeing before my run got deleted).

And that sums up this week.

How’s everyone else’s training going? Has anyone else ever had a big fall on a run? 

Please send bandaids, ibuprofen, and wine my way. Or just wine, I’m not picky.

 


Songs that Are Secretly About Running (At least to Me)

Happy almost end of the week everyone!

I posted on Monday about some of the issues I’ve been having with training lately. After the weekend, I was not in a great place mentally with Delaware. I was pretty much ready to say I would never run another marathon (almost). I’m happy to report things have been going much better this week.

I’ll talk about it more later, but the biggest confidence boost for me was doing a mile repeat workout on Wednesday morning of 4 x 1 mile, for a total of 9 miles (with warm-up and cooldown). I was nervous about this workout with all the ankle/shin issues I’ve been having, but I decided to give it a try early in the morning before work (I knew I would not want to run 9 miles at the end of the day). I hit my goal splits and got the whole 9 miles done, all before 7 am. I was psyched.

In keeping with the theme of positive momentum, I thought I would share some of the songs that are favorites of mine in my marathon training playlist today. I know if you actually asked the artists of these songs what they are about, they (probably) wouldn’t say running. But I’m choosing to reinterpret for my own purposes. 🙂

Songs that Are Secretly about Running | 2 Generations Running

“Me, Myself, and I” – G-Eazy and Bebe Rexha

Oh, it’s just me, myself and I –> perfectly exemplifies the solo training run
Solo ride until I die
‘Cause I got me for life…
Oh I don’t need a hand to hold
Even when the night is cold –> SO many cold runs with marathon training through the winter!
I got that fire in my soul –> What keeps you going when it gets hard

“Monster” – Imagine Dragons

I’m only a man with a candle to guide me
I’m taking a stand to escape what’s inside me –> When you run to release that ball of stress that forms over the course of a week
A monster, a monster
I’ve turned into a monster –> A really, really fast monster.
A monster, a monster
And it keeps getting stronger –> When you have that feeling that you’re getting stronger the longer you run

“Till I Collapse” – Eminem

‘Cause sometimes you just feel tired, you feel weak
And when you feel weak you feel like you want to just give up
But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength
And just pull that shit out of you and get that motivation to not give up
And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you want to just fall flat on your face and collapse
                                            –> I think this whole verse demonstrates Eminem must be a                                                                            marathoner.
My demons are begging me to open up my mouth
I need them, mechanically make the words come out
They fight me, vigorous and angry, watch them pounce
Ignite me, licking at the flames they bring about…
   –> There will always be demons whispering in your ear to slow down, telling you that you’re not fast enough, or that you’ll never reach your goals.
Hold me down, hold me down
Sneaking out the back door,
Make no sound
Knock me out, knock me out
Saying that I want more, this is what I live for
      –> Super dark? Yes. But there is something about running while listening to this song that      makes me feel like I’m kicking those demons’ a$$es. 
Alive – Sia
I had a one-way ticket to a place where all the demons go –> Mile 20 of a marathon.
Where the wind don’t change
And nothing in the ground can ever grow
No hope, just lies
And you’re taught to cry into your pillow –> Yep, there’s usually a point in the marathon where you just want to cry into a pillow.
But I survived
I’m still breathing
I’m alive.
I found solace in the strangest place
Way in the back of my mind –> That place you go in your mind when your legs start to ache and your lungs burn. 
I saw my life in a stranger’s face
And it was mine.
I just love song lyrics. I used to be really into poetry when I was younger, and I think that’s translated over into being really attentive to the words and messages of songs now. What are your go-to motivational songs (for running or just for life in general!)? What makes them special to you? Any recommendations for my marathon playlist?

One of those Rough Patches

Hey there everyone!

I’m happy to report I survived my second 20-miler, although as I posted on Facebook, I pretty much felt like this afterwards-

Marathon... It seemed like a good ideaThere were a lot of factors that made this run kind of suck to be totally honest. I generally try to keep this blog pretty positive, because who wants to read someone’s complaints about an activity they choose to partake in, but I feel like today deserves a 100% honest post. If only for me to read a few months down the road when the memories have faded and I’m contemplating another marathon.

Remember how I said my heel had been bothering me, but that wearing more supportive sneakers seemed to have solved the issue? Yeah, I don’t think that issue has been solved. My heel was absolutely killing me earlier this week, even with the sneakers on. I hadn’t even run heavy mileage! I think this problem is tied into another issue I’ve been having where the front of my ankle up into the base of my shins (on the same foot) feels extremely stiff and tight  at the beginning of my runs, usually bothering me for at least the first 4 miles before loosening up. On my shorter runs, that really sucks because it barely starts to feel normal before I’m finishing.

I ran into just this issue on Friday,  when I tried to do a quick 5-6 miles after work before Saturday’s long run of 20 miles. Despite being windy, it had been a beautiful, sunny day in the 60’s and I was kind of looking forward to running. At least, up until I actually started running. My ankle felt so stiff and I kept stopping to try to stretch out my calves and roll my ankles to loosen them up, but nothing seemed to help. My splits were slow, and I just started to freak out. If running 6 miles is so hard, how the eff am I going to run 20 the next day, I just kept thinking to myself.  I ended up calling it quits at just about 4.5 miles. I went in and started consulting my running book, “Build Your Running Body” to see if I could find anything that might help. One of the tools the author recommends is a wobble board to prevent plantar fasciitis and shin splints.

Wobble BoardThis seemed to make sense, as it’s definitely the ankle flexion that’s giving me issues. On Saturday, I bit the bullet and ordered the Thera-Band wobble board on Amazon since that was the brand recommended in my book. I don’t know if it’ll work, but at this point, I just feel like I need to try something.

After that run, I just poured myself a glass of wine and watched Netflix and tried not to think about the next day’s 20 miles.

I knew there was rain in the forecast all day Saturday, but I was kind of hoping it wouldn’t rain the whole day. And given that there was snow in the forecast for Sunday, I was kind of out of options. Well, the rain started the second I went out at the door at 8:30 and continued steadily for the whole. 20. miles. Of course, it let up in the afternoon. After I had already finished. 

Pissed Off.Mother Nature, you were really pushin’ it this weekend.

I was soaked and slightly hypothermic by the time I got home and immediately hopped in the shower.

Chafing and Marathon Training.Yep, there was chafing on this run.

So all in all, I’m not feeling quite as cheery and optimistic about marathon training as I was a few weeks ago. 😦 My only hope is that things will feel a little better this week since the mileage is dipping back down (before it increases the following week).

I knew there were going to be challenges in the training cycle and I guess I’m just going through one of those tough periods with it right now. I know it will all be worth it in the end. 🙂

Any tips for getting through the tougher periods of marathon training? Has anyone ever trained with a wobble board before? 

As a sidenote, I can’t say wobble board without singing the Wobble song in my head.


Happy Friday (and the Giveaway Winner!)

Happy Friday everyone!

I am super excited to announce the winner of the Massage Envy gift card is… Jeffrey! Congrats Jeffrey, there’s a free massage coming your way!

Happy DanceI hope you’ve all had a good week. Mine has been a little insane. Between training for Delaware, traveling for work, and impending deadlines,  to say I’ve been slightly stressed this week would be an understatement.

But at least it’s the weekend now. 🙂

I finally got back into the swing of my regular running routine this week, starting with 3 miles on Monday, 4 miles + strides on Tuesday, and 7 miles on Wednesday. You know what made me SUPER excited about these runs though?

Running along the CharlesThe warmth + sunlight late into the afternoon/evening! The picture above is probably from around 6 pm and it looks like broad daylight!!!! I might be a little too excited about this.

I stayed after work on Tuesday and Wednesday and ran along the Charles, which was gorgeous and such a nice change of pace from all the treadmill miles I’ve logged recently. There were so many runners out, many of them wearing Boston Marathon jackets. There are also banners on some of the streetlights now advertising the race. You can tell the city is beginning to feel the marathon fever.

SunsetI love running along the Charles. The only thing that bummed me out about these runs in the city was that my GPS watch was never able to find signal with all the tall buildings and I don’t think MapMyRun was very accurate, so I’m not entirely sure what my paces were. Not a huge deal, but I like to at least know that I’m running fast if it feels like a challenge.

This weekend, I’ve got another 20 miler on the agenda. I’m not looking forward to it, but I’m not really dreading it either. After last week, I know I can do it. Right now, I feel like I need to work on dialing back into my goal marathon pace. I was doing really well during the first half of the training block, but I feel like I’ve lost some of that speed since my work travel kicked in. I want to get back to the feeling I had when I ran Augusta – like I can crank out the miles and just pick up speed as I go along.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the beginnings of spring!

Spring RunningIf you run in an urban area, do you ever have issues with your GPS watch? Are certain watches better at finding signal than others? Are you loving the extra daylight as much as I am??


Marathon Training: Over the Half Way Point!

Hey there! This is Nora’s Mom again posting today 🙂

This week, as we prepared for the New Bedford Half Marathon, we finished up week nine of our 16 week marathon plan, so thought it was worth a few words.

So far, we’ve been very lucky! No injuries and though we have sometimes had to make modifications in the plan to accommodate schedule conflicts (mostly Nora because of her job), things are going pretty smoothly.

2 Generations RunningThe brighter the sneakers, the faster we run.

The only thing was that, on my end, I was having a bit of trouble with sore toes. I felt this was to be expected after the hilly course at Stu’s, but the following Sunday, my toes hurt from the very beginning of my 14 miler. I managed to get in the miles, but was forced to admit that the pair of Saucony Triumph sneakers I had bought at the Bay State expo were the problem. Now I’ve worn this model for at least four years and loved them, but, by mistake, I bought this pair a half size bigger than I usually wear. Oops (The good news is that I don’t think I will forget my “running shoe” size again!). When I noticed this back at home, I decided it would probably be ok. And I think it was, for a couple of months, but as we get into the higher mileage, it’s clearly started to be a problem. So I was off to see my friends at Fleet Feet, where they set me up with the new version of the Triumph 11, the Triumph ISO. After one run in these, my feet were so happy I felt a little foolish that I hadn’t broken down and switched sooner. And they are such a pretty color! (It’s a little scary, but I’m calling them BQ Blue!)

They felt great on my nine miler and on the New Bedford Half, so hopefully no more “tender toes.” (which usually means several black toenails. )


 

Nora’s Thoughts on Marathon Training So Far:

Like my Mom mentioned, I also feel incredibly lucky that so far (fingers crossed so I don’t jinx this), I’ve been getting through the training block with no major injuries. The only issue I had was some pain in my heel that I think I mentioned on the blog a few weeks ago. Since experiencing that, I decided to buy a nice, black pair of sneakers that wouldn’t look weird paired with my regular clothes when I went to work. I’ve been wearing those sneakers every single day since I got them, and my feet have never felt happier! I think I will have to save my cuter, more fashionable shoes for after May 8th.

The other challenge has been all the travel I’ve had to do for my job lately. I spent a week in Texas, and missed every single workout while I was gone. My ankles also ended up covered in fire ant bites and blisters from that trip, and it took several days for the swelling to go down – not ideal for training. 😦 Running New Bedford after that trip was definitely challenging, but I’m hoping my fitness will bounce back quickly.


 

On Sunday, we ran the New Bedford half and since this was Nora’s birthday week race we thought we would not be too aggressive, but just try to have some fun. Despite it being another cold morning for the first day of spring and our enthusiasm levels being somewhat low, we both managed to enjoy the day and run great races!

New Bedford Half MarathonI took 2 minutes off my previous best from the Cox Providence Half, and finished just a few minutes behind Nora. This was my 13th half, and Nora’s 14th, which is crazy to think about. We celebrated at home with a delicious home-cooked meal of bacon-wrapped scallops, salads and cheesecake (Nora’s favorite). March has been our own running-inspired version of March Madness with 3 races in 4 weeks and now the two of us are both looking forward to a break from racing until the marathon.

Wish us luck! 🙂