Race Plans

Happy May friends!  I hope you all had a fun filled Cinco De Mayo. We are celebrating tonight…FriYay! Honestly I cannot believe it is May already. This year has flown by and I doubt it helps that we haven’t reached typical Virginia Beach weather yet. I believe it was warmer in Canada then it was here yesterday! Ugh. I love my hot weather and can’t wait.

As far as training as has gone, I’m in the “use 5K’s to get into shape” training method. I’ve run a 5K every week for the last three weeks, which I believe may be more than the entire total number of 5Ks I ran in 2015!  First 5K was my favorite, ODU Big Blue 5K.  The look on my face in the second picture below adequately displays how I felt.  Horrible!!  :) I went out way too fast and while I didn’t wear a Garmin with splits, judging from my regular watch, I must have run my last mile over a minute slower than my first.  Yikes.  The afterparty and finishing on the Old Dominion football field was pretty amazing though so it was worth that 5K pain. Results and website HERE. This was the most fun 5K event I’ve run in a very long time and watching the kids run the 1K race was the cutest bonus.

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The Thursday after the ODU 5K, I ran a 5K on a local Navy base.  The only pictures of myself were equally on par with the above pain face, so no point in sharing. I still felt out of shape but enjoyed having friends to race with on a random Thursday instead of busting through a hard workout solo. I ran it only a few seconds faster than my first 5K but my pacing was much smarter. Progress.  The final 5K I ran was yesterday and I did it solo in my neighborhood.  There was an awesome local 5K (Corporate 5K Challenge) but my son had a baseball game against the number one ranked team in the league and I couldn’t stand missing that. They ended the game tied 9-9 (two hour time limit and pouring rain made the Umpires end the game) and my son pitched a few innings, pitching better than he ever had before. Hearing him say “I’m so tired but so proud!” was priceless. So while I didn’t want to miss the local 5K with friends, Mom Life always comes first.  The solo 5K was brutal. More of a mental struggle than anything. I grinded out a 18:53,  not because I was fitter than I was at the ODU or Navy 5K but because of pure stubbornness. I wanted progress so I willed it that badly even if it was by mere seconds.

Judging from the past three weeks, I’m still far off from my fitness prior to Shamrock, but I’m content with where I am at during this point of the post-recovery comeback. The first month back is always the hardest and I’m almost through that.  After weeks of okay legs, I’m starting to get that bounce back.  So, what am I training for?  I’ve gotten this question many times. I told a few people and was hesitant to say. My plans were to hold off telling anyone else but after many inquiries, it’s easier just two write it out.  I am THRILLED to say I will be running the New York City Marathon this Fall.

I’ve said it before that the marathon is my favorite event.  In my mind, everything else I run is aimed as preparation for my next 26.2.  Mr. Law was deployed when I ran at Boston last Spring. Having him miss that dream experience of mine was tough. I wanted to share it with him so badly. This time though, he will be in NYC to experience this bucket list race by my side so I want to make it a great one. 2015 was a rebuilding year for me and this past Shamrock Marathon exceeded my “comeback” expectations, so as long as I can stay healthy (the key for me!) I feel confident saying I can run fast on the challenging New York course come November. I thrive on accountability and laying it all out there so my running goal for 2016 is to run sub 2:47 at NYCM. Get there healthy, be brave,  be thankful I get to run on one of the best courses in the world, and be faster than ever!

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Before NYCM, I have on my race calendar- The Strider Mile,  Allen Stone Braveheart Run-Swim-Run (Guys I’m Swimming!! ), Strider 10 Miler, my favorite half Crawling Crab Half, Fox Trot 5K,  and Wicked 10K. I’m still looking for more races so suggestions on the East Coast are welcome.  We are traveling a ton this Summer so traveling too too far for races is probably not an option for me.

If anyone had NYCM advice, blog posts, helpful links, etc. please send me my way!  I could read race recaps all day long so New York ones are greatly appreciated.

Wishing all the Moms and Amazing Women that are just like Moms a wonderful Mother’s Day!! We are thankful for you!  Sleep in, make them bring you coffee, wear your pajamas ALL DAY LONG, then make them bring you cake🙂 Enjoy your day!

Recovery Time

 

Days Since Shamrock Marathon- 26

Number of Days I have run since Shamrock- 11

Average miles run on said days- 4

Cinnamon rolls consumed in past 26 days- 23

Fast miles run- 2.

How I felt during those 2 miles- Death

Favorite recovery period quote- “When I said you have to get hungry, I didn’t mean for pie.” -Jerry Frostick

Up Next- ODU Big Blue 5K

As a firm believer in taking as many days off/easy as the distance you race in miles, I am nearing the tail end of my post Shamrock Marathon recovery period.  Unlike the Philly Marathon where I didn’t feel like I had spent my energy, after Shamrock I was drained both physically and mentally, happy as can be, but drained.  I did not run a step for 6 days after the marathon and a quarter mile into that run, I turned around to go home. The following week I ran twice, then each week a little more. Nothing planned, nothing formal. For someone who adores marathon training, I adore a good rest period and I”ll never be the kind of person busting out miles soon after an A race.  My mind had zero desire to run even a foot. Thats how I knew it was a good training cycle.

We told myself I wouldn’t start planning things until I got hungry again. (Hungry for running not hungry for dessert) and coincidently my “hunger” started back up when then Boston Marathon news started peaking last week. I entered my first race back, which will be the ODU Big Blue 5K this upcoming Saturday. I don’t expect much out of it but I’m anxious to shake some rust off these legs and see where I am at. I’m hoping I surprise myself but the cinnamon roll count above hints otherwise.

Here are some snapshots of life lately but other than this, I don’t have much to share running wise. By the way, for the East Coasters, today is Wawa Day.  Go get yourself some free coffee!

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Even Bart Yasso agrees!

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More fun bike miles than run miles lately

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This arrived in the mail, along with a nice check, from which Britney tickets will be bought. #bucketlist

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Geocaching with my favorite twins! We searched for this one FOREVER and have the leg scratches to prove it.

Good luck to all my friends running Boston next Monday! Go 2015 Boston roomie, Michele!!!  I’ll be spectating and cheering from afar! Best of luck to friend Jenny running the Carmel Marathon on Saturday!  If anyone has any interest, here are my recaps of my Boston Marathon 2013 and Boston Marathon 2015.  Happy training friends!

 

 

 

Shamrock Marathon Recap

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Never did I expect a race experience to exceed the one I had at Boston last year, yesterday though, at the Shamrock Marathon I had an experience that surpassed my expectations and will be a day I will not ever forget. While the time on the clock doesn’t show it, I do believe it was my best marathon to date.

First the stats, then the recap with a little backstory.  As you can see in the below picture, I was 3rd overall female. I think everyone is aware that I really wanted to make top 3, it determined our entire race strategy for the day but I’ll get into that later. I did not negative split like I had hoped. Weather conditions were unreal. Over ten miles of extreme headwinds with gusts of 30mph and side winds just as bad.  We did have a tailwind for the last three miles, which I was so grateful for. If we needed it anytime, it was then. So all things considered I am thrilled with my time, placing, and pacing.

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The backstory. Going into this race I was a bundle of anxious nerves. I knew I was fit and ready but the truth is, I hadn’t had a great marathon in two years since the Philadelphia Marathon in 2013.  I spent 2014 injured. I ran Boston 2015 coming off an injury and Philly 2015 was a bust after reaching for an OTQ and crashing bad. While I appreciate my experiences at Boston and Philly in 2015, they didn’t leave me with the most confidence. I fought so much self doubt these last few months. I confessed to close friends and my coach in private that Philly really messed with my head. The amount of mental prep that went into yesterdays race was extensive and necessary.

Last Tuesday we started getting hints of bad weather.  I felt awful for our out-of-towners, the volunteers, and the race staff but selfishly it took pressure off me. I know I can run in gritty weather. I had the advantage of knowing the course and training on the course in every element. I wasn’t worried.  That being said, we hadn’t anticipated the winds. There is always wind in Virginia Beach, there is always wind during the Shamrock races, not wind like this past weekend though. It was much worse and had everyone a bit worried. The gusts were knocking over port potties and even walking was difficult. So my coach and I talked the night before the race and we threw away the old plan of hitting the halfway mark in 1:25 and then slowly speeding up and making an attempt at a negative split and possible PR. With no real reason to hit a PR other than pride, the goal was properly placed on overall placing. I wanted to place as I high as possible.

Thank you to my friend, Megan ,who volunteered to help and was told to walk me from the race hotel to the start. I was a bundle of nerves and she was a calming influence. At the start I saw friends, Steve Speirs and Stacin Martin.  We decided to work together and that quick decision was one of the best I made all day.  I know these guys well. They are experienced, fast runners and I trust their judgement and pacing expertise. We stayed together for a good 15-17 miles and every time my mind felt a little worried or overwhelmed I knew I was just taking another brisk run on my favorite streets with friends.  They quickly became the leaders in our pack of 8-10 runners but by mile 18 we were all strung out. A few times I told myself out loud- “Nothing flashy” as a reminder that I needed to stay at a safe pace, nothing aggressive. Females 1 & 2 were already gutting it out minutes ahead of me and in the back of my mind I was worried I would hit a wall and be passed by other female runners. Nothing flashy was my way of reminding myself to race smart. I didn’t have much to gain but had a ton to lose by taking a big risk.

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I won’t go over the middle miles too much. My nutrition was good but I know I did not consume enough fluids, something that is sometimes difficult for me (those cups are so hard to drink out of while running!), and I paid for it later in the race. I should have taken more time at each aid station but I skipped many because I was so concerned about staying with my pack. I knew if I fell off the back end I would helplessly be alone for miles. At the halfway mark I felt AMAZING. I saw Megan and my husband Steve and I gave them a huge smile and wave to let them know that I was feeling fantastic. The amount of course support I received was unreal. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who cheered for me! Somewhere around 16 I saw my coach and he told me I was running a perfect race and that was a huge confidence booster.  Around mile 18 I started to tell myself that I only had an hour left and I could do anything for an hour. At that point I was still feeling very strong. Around that time period (I could be remembering the distance wrong) Steve Speirs surged ahead. My biggest regret is not going with him and instead choosing to stay with another group.  Not that I think I could have stayed with Steve, he was flying, but because it would have put some faster momentum in my legs.  The pain was starting to creep into my calfs but the end of the marathon is supposed to hurt real bad.  I didn’t hit the real pain train until mile 23ish and I wish I had been a bit braver a little earlier.  All good though, no point in overly analyzing it.

From miles 23 to the finish I was hurting bad. A good friend Cardave gave me some words of encouragement that I am so thankful for. My coach told me to race until mile 25 because I can always dig out another mile and that was a huge piece of advice. It’s so true. I got to see him twice in those last few miles and we were both smiling like crazy.  At the last stretch on the boardwalk I felt amazing.  My legs were in agony but I knew I was going to finish 3rd female and I knew that my friends and husband were at the finish line area waiting for me.  Best…feeling…ever.  It was arranged by the J&A Racing staff that my husband would be in the medal area and place my medal on me.  That was PRICELESS.  My heart was full giving a few of my training partners hugs and I just can’t even describe how perfect it all was. My legs were in agony but I had the happiest smile and tears. I had worked SO hard and it paid off.

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Many thanks to my running coach, Jerry Frostick, for telling me I didn’t need high mileage or doubles to be successful, that I am faster than I think I am, and that fast times aren’t the most important thing in our sport anyway; it’s the people and experiences that matter most. Thanks to the whole J&A Racing staff for another perfect event. Thank you to Running, Etc. for their support and endless advice. I love going into their stores and chatting running for way too long🙂 Thank you to Direct Performance, Raeswear, and Handful for helping me out this training cycle and a few others. And big thanks for my friends and family..you’ve all been amazing! Congrats to all the Shamrockers. I want to name specific names but there are too many fantastic ones to include. You were all incredible and this  entire Shamrock weekend was also incredible. We survived the storm! Celebrate well & enjoy your recovery! I got to celebrate with friends post race and last night and we obviously had fun.  Take care all!

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Shamrock Week

 

Here in the Hampton Roads area, Shamrock Weekend is THE weekend for our wonderfully large running community.  If you aren’t one of the over 20,000 people running, then you are usually volunteering, spectating, and/or cheering while sometimes handing out free beers to runners along Atlantic Avenue. As a runner, it’s easily one of my favorite times of the entire year, so much that I refer to the whole week leading up as Shamrock Week. Making these days even more special is that our youngest celebrates his birthday. Suffice to say, the excitement is brimming here in the Law household. We are all going to need a huge nap next week.

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Thanks for permission to use the above photo of the finish line area set up  Willian & Minday

This time last year I was coming back steady from yet another frustrating injury. I ran the Shamrock half and had a fun time with friends but I wasn’t able to race it (pic below). This year, things have changed. I had just started with a new coach and training plan that time last year, so the needed time to adjust has kicked in. I have completed an 8 week strength class that kicked my tail and kept up with the work. I’ve had a hiccup here and there but nothing the guys at Direct Performance could not handle in a matter of one or two appointments. If I combined my unplanned days off due to pains/sickness/travel/etc., I think it adds up to maybe 7 days in the cycle.  That’s pretty huge for me as someone who has gone through cycles of months off at a time. The consistency is there.  My mileage may not be in the 90’s like it was before my marathon PR but I have a good 18 weeks of steady, consistent training under my belt.

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Honestly I do not have a time goal for Sunday. The pressure is off to reach some magical number and I feel a huge weight of relief in that, JUST RACE. My main goal is to be competitive for 26.2 miles. Another goal of mine is to try to negative split.  I’ve had some fantastic races but I do not believe I’ve ever negative split a marathon. So with nothing to lose, the plan is to go out conservative (the OPPOSITE of what I did at Philly) and see where I’m at at mile 13-15.  Everyone says the halfway mark is the 20 mile marker in a marathon but I say it’s closer to 18.  Once you get there, it’s a grind no matter what. I begrudgingly did many a tempo on the hardest part of the Shamrock course so I have no excuses on race day.

What have I done this past week to prepare?  My mileage has dropped considerably, in the high 30’s with Saturday off completely.  Today being Thursday I will start adding more carbs to my diet and today is the last day I’ll be eating lots of salads and veggies to avoid stomach issues on race day (tmi?). I had one dry needling session which involved laying on a table with five needles up and down my left let.  I swear it sounds awful but I love it. Some people love deep tissue massage, some love compression gear, I think the dry needling works miracles for me.

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Also, earlier in the week I was grateful to attend a Shamrock Race Directors Chat with Amy & Jerry Frostick at Lululemon, Town Center VB. (pic above by Lululemon) We were given a fantastic list of tips and advice, like where to park, how long it takes each corral to start, and such.  Myself, being the run nerd that I am, wrote down a million of their tips on their handout and later after viewing what I wrote down saw  my own note to myself- “DON”T FORGET GELS AND HAIRSPRAY!”   These are my priorities, can’t forget the hair😉  Speaking of crazy hair, the weather is predicted to be not-so-perfect.  As much as I feel for the spectators and our awesome friends who will be working on race day, not-so-perfect would be perfect for me. My friends and I have literally trained through every race condition- snow, sleet, rain, heat, and winds that would knock you over.  Even with strong predicted headwinds, I feel confident that we are ready!

Alright guys & gals, I’m rambling but that’s what happens when you only blog once a month.  For those interested, I am bib number 7.  007 is my lucky number (James Bond fan!) so I am thrilled to wear it.  The marathon starts at 8:30 am on Sunday and I cannot wait to hear Leprechaun Bob (pictured below) to say my name as I cross that finish line as he has been doing for many years for as many runners as possible.  Wishing all the runners an AMAZING day!!  Very excited to see so many of you out there and meet a few new friends faces from out of town.  Happy St. Patricks Day all!

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What matters most is how well you walk through the fire. -Charles Bukowski