Tuesday, October 13, 2015

NROLFW: Phase 4 Recap

See also recaps of phase 1, phase 2, and phase 3. See weekly workout recaps in phase 4 here

Another 4 week/8 workout phase. This was somewhat challenging to fit in around the combo of marathon and triathlon training, but I managed it still in the four weeks it was supposed - 1 workout each in the first two weeks while it overlapped with triathlon, and then 3 workouts the next two weeks. 

The exercises for this phase are actually a repeat of those in phase 2. Instead of only 2 sets of 10 reps each, though, this phase prescribes 2 to 3 reps of 8 reps each (and presumably higher weights). Since it'd been three weeks off since the last phase, I eased into it, with 2 sets the first two times of each workout, and 3 sets the last two. 

Performance progress

I can do a chin-up!!! Not with perfect form, I think I'm using a tiny bit of swinging to give leverage at the beginning, but it's pretty close to a legit, underhand grip chin-up. Can't do more than 1 or 1 1/2, so still using the resistance bands within the workout, but pretty damn proud of this ability. 

Workout A

Workout B

Appearance progress

In the 3 weeks between finishing phase 3 and beginning phase 4, I dropped a couple pounds from 130 to 128. Over the four weeks of phase 4, dropped to 124! 

From the beginning of NROLFW, in December 2014, I've dropped 22 pounds (my goal for 2015!), from 146 to 124. This took me from the higher end of the overweight range (per BMI), to a few pounds under the threshold for normal weight. 

I've reduced myself overall. Some measurements (in inches lost):
Chest: 1.75
Waist: 2.75 
Hips: 3.00
Thigh: 2.00
Upper arm: 1.75

While this wasn't solely due to the weight lifting (marathon training (and other running) and eating better with my husband cooking certainly also helped!), I believe it's been a big part of it (I can see muscle in my arm! There's almost two inches less of fat on top of it, and it can pull me up in a chin-up now!)

Overall thoughts

As my running mileage dropped during tapering for the marathon, this amount of time to fit in on top became more reasonable. I'm looking forward to the next phase while I have no specific running goals and can prioritize this over other workouts (though I'm obviously not dropping running or other activities all together). 45 to 60 minutes twice a week really isn't that unreasonable. 

When I first realized that the workouts for this phase was a repeat of phase 2, I was concerned that I would quickly tire of them, but I actually enjoyed having that much of a direct marker to see my progress. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Recovery Week


Monday: Recovery day!

Tuesday: Qi Yoga for Runners (20 min) (and a wonderful - if painful, had bruises the next day - massage, and an epsom salt bath)

Wednesday: Super duper easy run 1.5 miles (15:00 pace)

Thursday: Ballet class (75 min)

Friday: Swim 1,300 yards

Saturday: Run 3.0 miles (14:21 pace)

Sunday: Hike 3.05 miles

Total swimming: 1,300 yards 
Total running: 4.5 miles

I feel like I recovered pretty well from the marathon - by Tuesday I was thinking about running, but figured it'd be good to hold for another day. I enjoyed a week of not having to do anything, but also missed the enjoyment of having a hard workout most days. Looking forward to diving back into a more typical workout schedule next week, with a new phase of NROLFW and a bit more mileage (though nowhere near marathon training level!). 

Friday, October 9, 2015

From 1985 to 2015: Back to the Future 30th Birthday Party

Let's time travel back to January, when I celebrated my 30th birthday. If you do the math, that would mean I was born in 1985. What else happened in 2015 and 1985? Doc Brown built a time machine in 1985, and used it to bring Marty to 2015, of course.

(PS: the real Back to the Future Day (the day they arrive in 2015) is coming up on October 21.)

I've actually had the idea of a Back to the Future 30th birthday party since sometime in college when I realized the 1985/2015 connection, so I was really excited about it and put waaay more time into planning and making decor than it really warranted. But I really like the final results (maybe we'll make a Back to the Future themed nursery when the time comes, so as to get more use out of them?), and had a blast making the props and having the party.


Abe and I dressed, sort of - abstract interpretations of, maybe? - as Doc Brown and Marty, in their 2015 apparel.

Doc Brown: Loudly patterned (pink checkered was as loud as Abe has in his wardrobe) button up shirt, translucent tie, metallic sunglasses.

Marty: Iridescent cap, maroon tee shirt, inside out jeans (and of course, keep your hoverboard handy!)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

2015 Portland Marathon Race Recap

I survived another marathon! (See recap of my first marathon in 2013 here.)

After a solid go at carb loading and hydrating the day before, I got up at 5 am, had my usual pre-run toast with peanut butter and Golazo energy drink. Abe drove me to the start line (and then went home and back to bed!) to arrive shortly after 6 am, for the 7 am start. I immediately got in the fairly short porta potty lines, peed, then got back into the now-longer line to pee again. (Overheard: it never hurts to be in the porta potty line.)

I then still had some time to kill, hung out and chatted with another runner, finally figuring out what was going on with the different colored race bibs: most bibs I saw (and mine) were blue, but here and there were red (actually orange-y, but looked red in the low light at that hour of the morning), green, and purple. Turns out they corresponded with what color finisher shirt you'd ordered (classic marathon blue and green, Beavers, Ducks, or Huskies). 

The weather turned out pretty perfectly - it was about 50 degrees at the start; I wore shorts, short-sleeves, and cheap-socks-turned-arm-warmers to begin, plus a long-sleeve throw away shirt (a very old shirt of Abe's that's torn enough that I hate to see him wear it in public, so I convinced hi to let me wear it to toss). After tossing the extra shirt, I was a bit chilly as my corral walked to the start line, but by the end of the first mile I also got rid of the arm warmers. There were some spots in the middle with shade and some wind that felt slightly cooler, but overly it stayed pretty warm and comfortable. By the end I think it was in the mid to upper 60s, plenty warm but not so hot to be overheated while running.

The overall goal: stay between 12:00 and 12:30 for as long as possible, for a 5:15 to 5:30 finish. But mainly, I wanted to finish strong, i.e., without tons of walking and stopping at porta potties simply for a break from moving (as I may have done last time).

Miles 1 - 5: 12:25, 12:00, 12:15, 11:39, 11:56

A little slower than I felt I could go in the first mile as it was crowded, then settling in to a nice comfortable pace as we spread out. Miles 4 and 5 are downhill, so not extra effort even though slightly fast. Started eating 2 shot bloks at mile 3, and about every 3 miles after. I carried a 12-ounce water bottle, getting it refilled several times at water stations. 

Miles 6 - 10: 12:03, 12:02, 12:10, 12:49, 11:54

Mile 9 included about a minute stopping to pee. I needed from about mile 5 or 6, but waited until there were some porta potties without a line. 

Miles 11 - 15: 12:11, 12:14, 12:21, 13:05, 14:28

Started to feel a bit tired, and wondered how the hell that was when I've gone this far, faster, in half marathons. I saw a friend who was spectating near his house in mile 12, which was fun to see a familiar face - everyone cheers for you by name if it's on your bib, so it takes a second to realize when it's someone you actually know yelling at you!

I was starting to slow down here and there, but the slower splits here are also due to taking care of other things - at the halfway point I ate a pack of nut butter, which is what I've been using to fuel on long runs (to try to train my body to use more fat than just sugar - the single-serving Justin's varieties that include honey or maple syrup, so they do have some sugar, but it's not just carbs) And then mile 15 was a porta potty stop for #2 - though I tolerated the shot bloks pretty well for not having used them much in this training cycle, I started having some mild stomach discomfort in the few miles before this.

I also let myself pull out my headphones around the halfway mark, and listened to Gilmore Guys for the remainder of the race as a distraction.

Miles 16 - 20: 12:11, 14:33, 13:22, 13:56, 14:24

After talking strategy with a coworker who was also running, I decided it wasn't worth expending energy to run up the hill to St. John's Bridge in mile 17, but I did manage quite a bit of speed walking. I was getting pretty tired by now, though, even without the hill, and had a hard time getting myself back into a groove of running even once I reached the top of the bridge. I took some gummy bears at aid stations a couple times to spread out my shot bloks (I had planned to take 2 every 3 miles, but for some reason didn't bother calculating then how many I'd need, and didn't have quite enough.)

Heading off the bridge, I started talking some walking breaks, but again, trying to do more speed walking than plain walking. I wore toe socks, which was actually kind of stupid, because I rarely wear socks while running (minimialist shoes are designed to not have any seams that make them prone to rubbing in the wrong places), but thought it'd be good... just because, I'm not really sure. But one of the toes of the sock was pulling and rubbing in a weird way, so I think it was in mile 20 that I sat down to take off my shoe and see if I could adjust the sock at all. That was where I saw some goats walking along the street (they didn't seem to be with anyone, so not sure what was going on with that), and since I was already stopped figured I might as well get photographic evidence.

Miles 21 - 24: 14:51, 14:46, 14:45, 16:05

This was getting really hard. My feet were hurting from the pounding. My left IT band was hurting. I pulled to the side a few times to try to stretch it. I had lots of walking intervals, but I think at most I walked a tenth of a mile at a time, and ran for at least half a mile (last time I think those ratios were probably the opposite). Although lots of stuff hurt, and I was getting really tried, It was easier - not easy, but easier - to push through, give myself a short break, but continue running, at least some.

Miles 25 - 26.2: 13:44, 13:11, 9:25 

Coming off the Broadway Bridge I got a small portion of a second wind, and was able to stretch out between walking intervals even more. Before 24.2 I tried to promise myself to run the last 2 solid miles, didn't quite, but I think only one break in the midst of that. I calculated by this point that getting under 5:45 was a definite possibility so long as I didn't walk the whole thing, so that became a new goal to focus on.

My parents and Abe were waiting for me just before the final finishing chute (there was a tracking app through the race that worked on GPS activated on the app on my phone, so they knew I was approaching), and I handed off my water bottle for the final stretch. I was pretty much running down the chute by myself, small clusters ahead and behind me. An announcer was talking on a microphone, I think by his expression when I passed by he had been teasing me in some way, but I was pretty out of it and had no idea what he was saying beyond hearing my name a couple times. 

My watch turned to 5:44 with the finish line still just around the corner, so I busted out a pretty good sprint to make sure it wouldn't be more than another minute. When counting in hours, the garmin screen I had showing doesn't show seconds, so I didn't know who close under I was, but I knew I'd made it under 5:45! 

Stopping, my legs felt stiff, but I felt decent overall, all things considered. Nothing sounded good to eat, but I quickly drank a cup of orange juice to get in some calories, and grabbed a banana, chips, and some candy. A friend from my Toastmasters group was volunteering at a food table, another friendly face that's nice to see at that point (I'll definitely need to volunteer next year!).

I walked out to meet up with my family, where I sat down as soon as I could, putting on flip flops (beyond the pounding, a mostly-healed blister from the tri a few weeks ago (where I wore perfectly worn-in but torn up shoes in which I really should always wear socks as the rips do rub the wrong way) got aggravated a bit by the aforementioned toe socks that were pulling weirdly), and drank up some coconut water. (Froze half of it overnight, pulled it out and filled the remaining way when I left the house for them to bring for me, and it was perfectly chilled!) 

They were parked maybe half a mile away, which I slowly walked rather than have them drive over, figuring the movement would help. I took a few minutes to stretch before the quick drive home, but was pretty sore and walking funny for a while. For a few hours after the race, my feet hurt a ton, even to the point that I took an Ibuprofen (which I rarely do, just cause I figure most pain is a signal to your body to do something (like hydrate, or rest), but in this case I knew what it was telling me already!), and hung out laying on the floor with my legs up on the couch. But then there was a tipping point where it pretty quickly dissipated to a mere annoyance, and then I started noticing the aches elsewhere in my legs.  

We went out to pizza for dinner, though I remained not too hungry until Monday morning, and even that hunger didn't last too long. Last time, after not feeling like eating for the first few hours, I remember being ravenous for a few days, and I still don't feel like that's really happened, which seems odd. My legs feel a bit tired still, and have plenty of sore muscles and knots, but overall not too painful. I got a massage on Tuesday that highlighted the worst spots, including my hip flexors (the speed walking that my body's not used to probably contributed to that). 

I'm both proud of and disappointed in my time. While I set my time goal based on what I thought capable on my half marathon PR (2:31, so twice plus some), 5:30 was also a pace that was faster than my first 5k five years ago - but by going over a 13:00 pace, I ended up not meeting that, and I really wanted to be able to say that. 

I still fell apart in the last several miles, and I thought I was strong enough to not do that. I thought the back to back long/medium-long runs, and especially the longer tempo runs in the Hansons plan would be great to help deal with that fatigue. I also thought the skill I've been developing in shorter races, of getting over the mental hurdle of just being able to push through pain and be uncomfortable for the remainder of the race, would be utilized, and I did to a degree, but the pain and discomfort of a marathon is different than that of a 10k, and I couldn't push through it the same way. 

I wanted to not take any real walking breaks and say I ran the entire marathon, and I didn't meet that, but even for as much of the walking that I did do, I think I still finished reasonably strong, I still pushed through and didn't walk as much as I wanted to, and for that I'm proud of myself. 

You'll either do one marathon or you'll keep doing them.. well I've already done two! I definitely plan on another one, but it will likely be further out this time. Portland Marathon's 50th will be in six years, so that sounds like a good timeframe at this point.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Hansons Marathon Method Week 18


Monday: Swim 1,100 yards + run 2.8 miles (11:33 pace): 0.9 wu/cd + a mile time trial - 8:19!!

Tuesday: Play a short round of disc golf

Wednesday: Unplanned rest day. I considered a swim and/or short run, but just didn't feel like it - and since it's taper, I can just skip it. :)

Thursday: Ballet class

Friday: Run 1.65 miles - easy with some strides

Saturday: Rest day

Sunday: Portland Marathon in 5:44:55

Total swimming: 1,100 yards
Total running: 30.65 miles

Friday, October 2, 2015

Best Dam Run 10k Race Recap

On Friday (the day before this race), a quasi-retired firm partner who likes to stay up on people's lives, and whose son does triathlons so he has a decent feel on running and triathlon stuff, stopped by to see what my next race was, if I had anything going on before the marathon. 

Now, he can be interesting to talk to, has had lots of life and professional experiences, but also long-winded, and tends to be very rah-rah religious and use a very "inspirational story" kind of approach to conversation (and those aren't positives, in my book). But when I said I had just hit my sub-30 5k, and was going to PR at the 10k, he asked if I was going for a sub-60 time. At that point, I was thinking of going for 1:02 or 1:03 - still a huge PR (it was currently sitting at 1:15:20 (12:07 pace) for real races, and 1:10:26 for a virtual race), but definitely totally doable. Maybe start out under 11:00, push down towards 10:00, maybe finish under 10:00 the last couple miles.

But he got me thinking, even with the inspiration quote he used of "attitude determines altitude" - if there's any chance of achieving it, you first have to believe that you can. The McMillan calculator said my new 5k time indicated a 1:00:43 10k - and I felt like I went a bit too conservatively at the start of the 5k - I certainly didn't want to finish that close but over a one hour finish!

What the hell. While being a little aware that I shouldn't stress my body too much just 8 days before my goal race, I figured I might as well go out fast, aiming for a 59:59 finish, and if I couldn't hold on, even if I slowed down into the 10:00s, or really even in the 11:00s, I'd still get a PR. I knew I could start for under a 1:00 finish, and even if I slowed down probably still get under 1:03, definitely under 1:05; but if I started for a 1:03 I didn't think I could pick up enough for under 1:00. Starting fast gave me the most options, and a virtually guaranteed PR either way. 

The Best Dam Run is held in Estacada, about an hour SE of Portland. It's a point-to-point course, with day-of packet pick-up (there was also pick-up the day before at the Tualatin Road Runner store) and buses at the city hall. Buses started at 8:30 to take runners out to the starting line, and then the 10k walkers began at 9:30 and the runners at 10:00. 

It was a small-ish race (though not quite as small as the 5k the week prior) - 79 walkers and 330 runners. The buses dropped us off by the start line, and from there we had a quarter mile walk down the road (the same way the course went) to a boat ramp on the lake to the porta potties. (There was also an enclosed "bathroom" as part of the available accommodations, but it was just a permanent porta potty, no plumbing, so actually kind of worse in a way.)

As usual I was super early, got my packet and t-shirt (very pretty shirt! worth paying the extra for, but I'm still wary of going down a size in shirt ordering - and ordering the size I used to need is a bit big), and hung out in my car for a bit even before the buses were heading out. An older gentleman chatted with me for a few minutes, explaining that he used to run a lot, but as he aged (now 72), he was getting into speed walking, and this was the first 10k he was walking.

I was on the second bus to the start line. Walked down to the porty potties. Ran back up, waited around (sadly, not good cell coverage at this area) and watched the walkers take off, ran back down and back, and then partly down and back again, to get a total of 1 mile easy running to warm up.

As the runners started, I got in the middle of the pack. Started off a smidge slow until the crowd thinned out, then got into a groove. I was leap frogging off and on with a few people, but gradually passing them, and picking it up a bit at the end. The course was almost entirely downhill. The most noticeable incline near the beginning was slight as we went over the title dam; then near the end of mile 5 we had a much more significant hill as the side road/quasi-path we were on went up to meet back up with the main highway. But quite an easy course overall!

Mile splits:
1 - 9:49
2 - 9:31
3 - 9:27
4 - 9:28
5 - 9:27
6 - 9:08
6.2 - 2:47 time for 0.35 - 8:14 pace

Official time: 59:37! Obviously my garmin went long, and I was getting worried as I approached just how long it would be, since I realized it would be quite close as far as getting in under an hour. I kept passing people, and made it!

There were finisher medals, and the finish line had a good spread of snacks - bagels, pretzels, tootsie rolls, red vines, cookies, peanut butter, gatorade. There was also a tent set up with laptops to immediately look up your official results, which was pretty nifty. All in all a very organized race - I think it's the first ORRC race I've actually done, even though some of them have been on my radar as possibilities before. Definitely makes me inclined to do more of their events.

(The 72-year-old speedwalker also finished in under an hour! (And was the first place walker.) But at least he was 10 seconds slower than me. :) )

(And the inspirational-conversationalist partner was excited for me when I talked to him on Monday.)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Hansons Marathon Method Week 17 & NROLFW Phase 4 Week 4


Monday: Easy run 3.15 miles (13:30 pace) + NROLFW phase 4 workout B

Tuesday: Tempo run 6.0 miles (12:00 pace)

Wednesday: Swim 1,000 yards + NROLFW phase 4 workout A

Thursday: Ballet class (75 min)

Friday: Swim 1,200 yards + run 1.5 miles (12:00 pace) - easy with some strides

Saturday: Warm-up 1 mile (13:43 pace) + Best Dam Run 10k in 59:37 (9:26 pace)

Sunday: Easy run 3.05 miles (13:30 pace) + NROLFW phase 4 workout B

Total swimming: 2,200 yards
Total running: 20.9 miles

A bit of an intense week, workout-wise, considering it's marathon taper - weight workouts, cause I wanted to finish up this phase of the NROLFW program, and a race (new PR! totally worth it). But now I'm going into race week, and will definitely be taking it easier. 
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