Catching Up!

Boy oh boy. I’m like a shitty boyfriend who stops in one day, promises to hang around more and then disappears for another couple of weeks. I’m hoping that cat pictures in future posts will make up for it.


Since Mom can't keep up with her blog, I'm taking over!

Since Mom can’t keep up with her blog, I’m taking over!

I took some much needed time off after the marathon to enjoy all of the things I put off/couldn’t do during training and it was wonderful! I even thought about running the Peace, Love, Run half out at North Park this Sunday but ultimately decided not to. It’s too soon, and I’m just not feeling any kind of racing in the heat/humidity right now. I do have a 5K planned for the 4th though and I would really like to do well so I should probably start incorporating some speed work into my weeks.

  I’ve slooooowly eased back into running and have started pacing my runs via heartrate.  I was so intrigued after reading and following Nichole’s experience with it, and then Jen started using it and seeing awesome results so I knew I had to try it. I’m a total follower and this was no exception.

It was a hard adjustment at first, and can still be challenging but I am really loving it. I followed the instructions, calculated my resting heartrate, max heart rate, and my heart rate zones and came up with the following:

Recovery  <155

Easy/Long Runs 155-167

Tempo Runs 162-176 (Beginners should be between 163-171& Advanced 170-177. I use the full range of this zone)

MAX 186-190 (I haven’t done any workouts yet in this zone, but I’m hoping to soon!)

I’m trying to stick to the zones as closely as possible, and for hills I give myself a 5-10 bpm cushion. I know it’s not exactly right, but it works for me. I call it a “controlled spike” – I know and expect that my heart rate is going to rise on the incline and as long as I can keep it to within those 10 beats AND bring it down quickly after I reach the top, I’m OK.  I’m usually able to bring the rate down within 35-40 seconds and rarely more than a minute, plus I can get my heart rate waaaay down on downhills (like 135ish) so I feel like it’s OK. I also really, really don’t want to walk the hills. I have worked so hard to like them, enjoy them, and excel at them and walking them now just doesn’t jive. This seems to be working well, and it’s teaching to be very controlled on those hills and ensures that I am focusing on my form and breathing – something I was NOT so great at before. I used to hunch over, put my head and flap my arms around like a T-Rex trying to pump up a hill

Training this way is definitely an eye opener! If you give it a shot, prepare to be served a big ass slice of humble pie because you will be running SLOWLY! I thought I knew my easy pace, and was even prepared to see it go down a little, but oh my god was I wrong!! I am easily seeing paces in the mid 13 min/mile ranges some days and to be honest…it’s tough. I’m already sensitive about being a slow poke and this makes me even more self-conscious.  It also takes some serious work to keep my heart rate that low; that sounds strange, but it takes a lot of focus and control to not let the heart rate start to creep up and out of the zone and also to trust the process.  Finishing a run and feeling like you haven’t even broken a sweat and haven’t really worked is just strange. THEN someone pointed out this is on purpose! You want to feel that way so when it’s time to throw down some speed or bust out a longer run, your body is ready for it. DUH. Once it was put into perspective, I was much happier to stick to that.  I’ve also changed the display screen of my Garmin and it no longer shows my pace at all; if I don’t see it, it can’t bother me. The only time I see my pace is when the mile ticks over and briefly pops up on my screen; the rest of the time it’s HR, Time, & Distance. This is also hugely beneficial to me during these summer months. The heat and humidity are brutal already, and not needing to worry about how it’s affecting my pace is great. I just go out, do my thing, stick to the zones and am blissfully unaware until I sync my Garmin.  I’m getting better at not letting the paces bother me and have been trying to just concentrate on the heart rate.

I’ve only been doing this for a couple of weeks so I don’t have much data or some amazing decrease in paces to share, but I’m confident that I will.  All I need to do is trust the process!


Post Marathon Thoughts (a month later, but that’s ok!)

Well, howdy! I posted my actual race recap and then disappeared for a while! I have been going non-stop since then and finally have a few moments to check in. I also need to catch up with everyone else – what have I missed?

A few more thoughts Post Race that I want to mention before we’re done talking about Pittsburgh and we move on to bigger and better things.

-I was in rough shape after. I couldn’t tell if I was STARVING or if I was going to throw up. I was a hot, sweaty, salty mess so the first order of business was a shower…but the thought of climbing the stairs was just too much so I laid in the foyer for a while with my feet propped up against the wall. Jen told me that helps with post-race soreness so I figured if I was going to lay there, I might as well make it productive. After a while, I decided I could venture up…but the stairs were too much of a challenge so I had to crawl up them like a toddler. From there, I still wasn’t sure if I was going to be sick or not and I still didn’t have the energy to stand long enough for a shower so I put my head on the cat bed and laid there for a little while longer.

Not. Moving.

Not. Moving.

Pretty sure the cats thought I was losing it.

"Get your sorry butt off the floor, and away from my bed"

“Get your sorry butt off the floor, and away from my bed”

After I finally showered, I put my robe on and laid it bed and it was soooo wonderfully soft. Wilber must’ve been really concerned because he crawled under the blankets and sat next to me for about 20 minutes. He usually only does this when I’m sick, so I knew I must have been giving off some bad vibes.

"It's OK, Ma. I'll take care of you"

“It’s OK, Ma. I’ll take care of you”

It also took me forever to eat. I was hungry, but after a few bites I would feel sick so it took me about 2 hours to get a Qdoba burrito bowl down when it normally takes about 6 seconds.

-NO sunburn and NO chafing. WAHOO. I sprayed about a half a bottle of sunblock on but wasn’t sure if it would last and I was so happy to see that it did. If you notice, in the pictures from the first half of the race I have a black armband on to hold my phone but by the time I finished it was gone. Somewhere between miles 17-20 I ditched that sucker – it was HOT, heavy and I could feel it rubbing funny on my arm so off it went. I stuffed my phone in the kangaroo pouch and it worked out just fine.  It was $6 from Big Lots, I’ll get over it.

-The course was NOT as bad as I thought it would be; Forbes Ave sucked big time, but I knew that it would.  The rest though wasn’t nearly as scary as my nightmares led me to believe.  Had the heat not kicked my ass, I’m pretty confident that I would have either met my 4:50 goal time or have been veeeeeeeerry close.

-Even though I didn’t get burned, I was still really over heated. It took 2 or 3 days before it felt like my body temperature returned to normal. I’m sure that sounds strange, but I just felt hot.

-Sadly, I did NOT take advantage of the VIP offerings after the race. There was a lunch buffet, massages, etc. but since I had both Tall One and mother in law with me (and they didn’t have passes), I thought it was rude to make them wait outside while I got a massage. Plus, I just wanted to get home.

-I thought about registering for the Harrisburg or Philadelphia Marathons in November, but didn’t. My original goal at the start of the year was to run this marathon, and spend the rest of the time focusing on speed. Lots of weekend 5Ks and a few half marathons are in my future. My current PRs are 28:09, and 2:18:xx respectively. I KNOW there are faster times in my legs; I ran the 10 miler at North Park in February and finished with a 1:40:xx and was still speeding up. I’m pretty confident in my ability to get my time down to at least 2:15, but more like 2:12ish especially if I run a flatter course.

-My co-workers are awesome. Not only did most of them come out on Race Day to support me, but I had this awesome surprise waiting for me when I got to work Monday morning. How lucky am I?


-I WILL be back for Pittsburgh 2016. It is Game On 2.0, baby.

Soooooooooo, what have I missed?? Fill me in – I need details!