Marathon recovery

Hello!  It’s marathon recovery week!  I’m expanding the definition to mean “don’t do anything mentally or physically taxing unless it ends with ice cream or watermelon.”  One of the greatest parts about running a marathon is basking in the accomplishment of completing the distance and doing nothing productive for a straight week (also known as being incredibly lazy and embracing it).  The race came pretty soon after the busy spring semester ended, so my brain is loving this break too.

And Michigan is an excellent place to enter summer mode.  The next time I need to calm down, I will look at this picture and say “whishhh lap whishhh lap *seagull noise* “:IMG_8112
*Photocred to Olivia!

Instead of running, studying, going to classes, or hanging out with my classmates (because most of them are in AFRICA–Hello from the USA, Andrea and Bre!), I’ve spent an enormous amount of time reading, shopping, watching the first few seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, and deciding whether or not I like Grey’s enough to keep going (any diehards out there?).

I have a long summer book list that I want to power through, and first up is Lois Lowry’s The Giver quartet.  I remember reading The Giver way back when I was in elementary school as probably my first utopian/dystopian novel, and my mind was blown by it.  Some people find this genre to be weird and disturbing, but I think it’s so interesting.  Each of the four books is a short 150-ish pages, so they’ll be quick reads.

As far as leg recovery, I bounced back easier from this marathon than I ever have before.  When I got out of bed on Sunday morning, my quads were tight and my upper back was sore, but I didn’t have any trouble walking or going down the stairs, and everything felt just about 100% by Monday.  It didn’t help my “lazy-daze for 7 days” cause, but it was nice to not hurt.  I think this is what helped:

  • I brought a protein drink with me and drank it within 30 minutes of finishing (I usually drink these after long races or long runs, though you can also buy it in powder form to mix with water, which is way cheaper)
  • I walked around a bunch on Saturday after the race
  • I hydrated like a champ.  Water, powerade, pop
  • I took a 30 second ice bath.  Okay, maybe that didn’t help, but a real ice bath may have

*I did get a black toenail, my second one ever, which I’m showcasing proudly with flip-flops until it falls off.

I went out for a short run on Thursday evening with a friend (it ended it ice cream, so no recovery week rules were broken) as my first post-race run, and we ran 4 miles.  She was doing a tempo, so we warmed up together and I hung in for the first fast mile, and then I backed down to a slower pace. Pain-free and feelin’ good!  Feeling kind of puke-ish actually because the temps were in the 80’s, but my legs felt normal and happy.  I’m excited that my left hamstring (the naggiest muscle in my body) was totally fine throughout the whole race and post-race.

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What do you do to recover after races or long runs?
What do you do for fun when you don’t run?

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Bayshore Marathon 2014

Marathon #5: Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City Michigan last Saturday

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The course was an out-and-back along the shoreline of the East Grand Traverse Bay, so it was incredibly scenic and definitely the prettiest full marathon I’ve ever done.  I loved running next to the water, and I enjoyed the peaceful yet exciting semi-seclusion of the gorgeous route with 2500+ other marathoners.

It was flat relative to most other marathons but had small rolling hills along the entire route and hardly any turns.  Temps were in the high 40’s at the start (7:15am) and increased to the high 60’s by the time I finished.

Pre-Race
I set my alarm for 5:15am, but I slept really well and woke up ready to go at 5am.  Here’s the view from our lake house porch in the wee hours of the morning.  I had no idea it was light outside at 5am!
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I got ready, ate a bagel, and hopped in the car with Erin, Stacy, and Mike to drive to the local high school where the race started.  Mike and I were running the marathon, and Erin and Stacy were the cheer team–they’re both speedy runners/marathoners who weren’t able to run on Saturday due to injuries, but they’re awesome friends for coming to cheer anyway.

Race
My goals for this race were: 1. finish, 2. try to enjoy it, 3. finish in an okay time, but don’t stress over time.  I lined up somewhere between the 8-minute and 9-minute signs and made two friends: one woman with whom I bonded over our excitement for a flat course, and another woman who turned around and told us that the entire course was a series of rolling hills.  She was right, but I’m glad she gave us the heads-up.

Miles 1-10: These felt awesome.  I fell into an easy 8:20-8:30 pace and cruised along for the first 10 miles, enjoying the marathon experience and the lake view.  I actually ran these with the first woman I met at the start line–she talked to me while I kind of grunted, but it was nice to have her company.  I took water or Gatorade at every aid station, and I had a Shot Blok at mile 8.

Miles 10-18: These felt okay.  I maintained an 8:30 pace, though I struggled more with it.  The turn-around was at 13.1, so that was a high point because I could mentally cross off the half marathon mark, AND I saw two friends (shout out to Lauren and Chase!) who had already passed the turnaround.  Stacy and Erin were cheering at mile 16, and their high fives boosted my energy.  I drank water or Gatorade at every aid station and had another Shot Blok somewhere in there (still haven’t mastered taking in enough fuel), but the weather really warmed up, and I was starting to feel dehydrated.

Miles 18-25: These felt terrible.  Everything in my body and soul was tired of running, and I started getting goosebumps and chills despite the super warm weather (a beginning sign of heat exhaustion, according to this).  I kept an 8:30 pace until mile 20, and then I stopped at the next water table and downed like 6 cups of water.  It wasn’t even a race aid station, but a family along the course that had generously set up a water table with ICE(!!) water.  I stood there for probably 30-40 seconds while someone refilled my cup over and over (and over and over) again.  I thanked the woman for saving my race.  I stopped 2-3 more times at aid stations to drink multiple cups of water/Gatorade, and twice during these miles I stopped and walked for about 10 feet (I’m not sure if that even helped because it was hard to get going again).  I repeated motivation mantras (thanks for the suggestions!), told myself to “run to the next tree…now the next tree…”, and reminded myself of “Just [4] more easy little miles.”  Somewhere in there I choked down another Shot Blok.

Mile 25-26: This mile felt super terrible but I couldn’t stop because: 1. before the race, I asked Ryan what mile he wanted and he claimed this one, and 2. there were people cheering all along the sides of the street.  I struggled through, and those 9-minutes were rough.

Here’s me at mile 26, looking waaay better than I felt:photo 1

I saw my friend Olivia at around mile 26 too, and she jumped in and ran a few steps with me!  This photo, taken by her boyfriend Zach, shows how happy I was to see them:
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Mile 0.2: This felt like joy. The race ended with 200-ish meters on the high school track, so I knew I would be okay once I reached the track.  I heard my name over the loudspeaker, crossed the finish line, and said a few Hallelujahs that I was finished.

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Finish time: 3:46
Pace: 8:39
This race uses clock time (3:47 for me) as your official race time, but I’m using net/chip time for my personal running log because that’s how long I was actually on the course.

Not my fastest, but I was really proud of myself for pushing through those last few miles.  I got my medal, drank 3 full water bottles almost immediately, and hobbled off to find my friends.  BIG BIG BIG congratulations to THIS speedy lady, my college friend Lauren, for an amazing race, PR, and BQ.  She is incredible.

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And a huge thanks to Erin and Stacy for their fabulous support!photo 4-01

Overall thoughts and takeaways for me:

  • I struggled with the heat.  I drank at least 1 cup of water or Gatorade at every aid station, but I still felt dehydrated, got scary goosebumps, and my face was covered with large chunks of salt after the race.
  • The last 8 miles were difficult, as expected, but in future training I might consider running the day before long training runs to practice running on tired legs.
  • I raced with my garmin for the first time and have no strong feelings on using it versus not using it.  I didn’t look at my pace very often, but I checked my distance quite a bit.
  • I drank a protein shake within 30 minutes of finishing (I swear by this for recovery) and walked around for the rest of the day with my friends, and I think both of those helped recovery.
  • I’m not sure how I feel about destination races, but being able to visit with Michigan friends and have a getaway weekend with Indiana friends made the hassle of packing worth it.  I would consider doing this race again.

I would definitely recommend the Bayshore Marathon if you’re looking for a late spring race with a small-town feel and beautiful course!

Lakeside weekend

I had a fabulous weekend in Michigan!  I’ll post the marathon recap soon, but let’s cover the rest of the weekend.

My friend Erin and I drove up to Traverse City on Thursday afternoon and fell in love with Michigan in the summertime.  We pulled to the side of the road to take this picture of one of the hundreds of gorgeous lakes at sunset.IMAG1000

We rented out a little lake house for the weekend with our friends Stacy and Mike–Mike and I were running the marathon, and Stacy and Erin had registered too, but they weren’t able to run due to injuries, so they were our cheer team.

On Friday, the day before the race, we explored the area a bit.  Traverse City has a super cute downtown, so first we stopped for lunch at a cafe called Swiches Deli.  We all got sandwiches served with pickled carrot sticks (? I think?) on the side–my sandwich had chicken with pesto and some other things (I was sold at the pesto), but the whole menu was full of unique options.  Erin’s sandwich had asparagus on it!  We popped into the local running store, a thrift shop, a bookstore, and a little coffee shop before heading back to our house to relax, eat a pre-race spaghetti dinner, and rest up for the marathon.

Saturday morning started bright and early.  I ran a marathon! (recap coming ‘atcha soon. spoiler alert: I survived).  After the race, we picked up sandwiches at a different local sandwich place– I got a ham sandwich (it was fancier and more delicious than it sounds) and a large Diet Coke.  I gave up pop for 8 weeks before the marathon as an experiment and challenge, so those first few fizzy sips were wonderful!  DC will be back in my life now.  We brought our food back to the lake house, and Erin, Stacy, & I sat on the porch and chatted.  Happiness is eating sandwiches with friends on a porch overlooking a lake on a summer afternoon after finishing a marathon.  And that sentence had more prepositional phrases than anything I’ve ever said.

After a liiiittle bit of down time (I called my family to recap the race, a father-daughter post race tradition), we got ready and drove to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  Miles of sand dunes lining Lake Michigan.  Beautiful.  Erin and I made it up the first three sand mountains in anticipation of seeing the lake on the other side, but then we heard that it was a 2+ mile hike through more sand dunes to reach the lake, so we turned around and enjoyed the view back down.IMAG1009

We drove a few miles away to see Lake Michigan and touch its freezing water.IMAG1011

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Erin, me, and Stacy in nature’s ice bath.

I love this state in the summer, but I went to school in Michigan and know how bad the winters are…otherwise I’d totally move here for the lakes.

After an afternoon of exploring, we met up with my friends Olivia and Zach at their campsite to cook hotdogs, roast marshmallows, and see the sunset.  I hadn’t seen Liv in way too long, so it was good to catch up and meet her dog Franklin!

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I think Saturday was the most physically active day of my entire life, but all of the walking around the dunes and beaches must have helped my legs recover because I wasn’t very sore on Sunday.  Not sore, but starving.  We packed up and peaced out late morning, en route to a pancake house.  ..Then we got lost and landed in the parking lot of the nearest breakfast restaurant we could find because I was about to eat my race medal.  It was a cozy mom & pop type diner with GREAT FOOD, as advertised:
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Then we left Michigan’s lakes and dunes for Indiana’s cows and wind turbines.

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Have you been to Michigan?
Water or mountains?

Off to the race

Happy Wednesday!  This will be the last post before I leave tomorrow morning for the race and a weekend in Michigan!  Tomorrow, Erin and I are meeting for a short and easy run (her comeback to running after several weeks in a boot!!), and then we’ll grab our bags and hit the road.

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So far, taper week is going pretty much as planned.
Tues: 5 total (3 @ 8min pace)
Wed: 40 min easy

I’m still deciding what to wear, what fuel to bring, and whether or not I should wear my Garmin.  Fun fact: I’ve never raced with a Garmin!  I usually wear a normal sports watch and press the lap button at the mile markers so that I can check my splits at the end.  I can see total time and lap time, but not distance or pace, which I actually like.  I have this unfounded concern that my Garmin will suddenly run out of battery or lose satellite mid-race, which are problems I don’t need to worry about with my old purple sports watch that has been with me since the beginning (realistically meaning that there is a better chance of Trusty Purple running out of battery).  **This is coming from the girl who won’t use cruise control in her car for fear of it not turning off–I clearly have technology trust issues.

Things I’ve accomplished during taper week instead of running:

  • I FINISHED the 8th and final season of DH and LOVED all 8 seasons.  I’m not usually a tv binger, but DH is better and less trashy than you may think.
  • I finished The Book Thief (I’m glad I read it and was intrigued with this perspective of a Holocaust story, but I never had that “I can’t put this down” feeling) and started reading A Map of the Child.  <–If a little part of you ever wanted to be a pediatrician, this is a great read!
  • I ate lots and lots bread.  Better to be overcarbed than undercarbed, right?
  • I thought, several times, about cleaning my apartment.

On this morning’s easy run, I was reviewing my running/training over the past few months and how it wasn’t as perfect as I had planned for it to be back in February.  I did the runs, but my heart wasn’t 100% into marathon training, and I used more of my time and brain power for other things, like school, sleep, and relationships.

Good: I completed the long runs, including three 20 milers and one 22 miler.
Not so good: None of my long runs felt good.  Like, at all.

Good: I didn’t get injured!! This is huge because I was returning from a little injury break when I started training.  I’m crediting my health to two rest days each week, mediocre strength training, and not pushing myself with the slightest twinge of hamstring pain.
Not so good: Inconsistency and lack of speed work and tempo runs

Good: I learned how to run in temperatures cold enough to freeze your eyelashes (exhibit Aexhibit Bexhibit Cexhibit D)
Not so good: Need I say more?

So even though it won’t be the PR and BQ I wanted, it’ll still be an experience!  I was talking about this with a friend and vet marathoner, and she gave the best advice: “It’s marathon #5 no matter what…whatever the time and how you feel, you’ll take it and think about it and apply it to the next one.”  And my dad reminded me that it will be more fun than a long training run by myself.  Both are so true.  I’m excited!

Have a nice weekend, and good luck to anyone else racing (Salt and Colby)!!

taper week

Today is the first day of the summer semester, so campus is delightfully dead.  Yesterday when Ryan and I went to school for a bit, we were the only ones in the business building, so Ryan took that opportunity to take a rolly bench for a spin across the room.

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Empty buildings are a nice change.  Excited for an empty rec center!

I’m fortunate that my summer semester is light and flexible right now, so I have plenty of time to relax, sleep, hydrate, eat bread, check the weather, and stretch before I leave on Thursday for the marathon.  I am trying to keep my nerves under control, but I keep having these weird teeny panic attacks whenever anyone asks me what I’m doing this weekend.

I’m trying to distract myself with mindless things like Season 8 of DH (the final season!) and laundry (haven’t done that one yet), but what REALLY helped me feel better was an afternoon coffee date with Erin and Stacy, two good running friends who are going up to Bayshore with me.  They aren’t running the marathon because they’re battling injuries, but they are awesome friends for spending the weekend exploring Traverse City with me and cheering at the race.  We sipped on iced coffee and chatted about running, injuries, running goals, and just life in general.  It was just what I needed to make peace with just doing my best on Saturday and being happy with however it goes.

Here’s my taper plan for this week:
Mon: rest
Tues: 4-5 miles with speed bursts
Wed: easy 3 miles
Thurs: easy 3 miles
Fri: rest
Sat: marathon

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Rank these potato chips from favorite to least favorite: regular, barbecue, sour cream & onion, salt & vinegar
Rank these race distances from favorite to least favorite: mile, 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon

9 miles and weekending

I drove back up to school late Friday morning in the rain and HAIL (fun fact: here’s why it hails in the spring & summer) and arrived just in time to pick up a few groceries before Ryan came.

He surprised me with flower baskets!
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These are the first plants I’ve had in my apartment, but now I understand why people have flowers and gardens–they make you happy!  Glad I’m 24 years old and finally learning this.  The hanging flowers inspired me to get more plants or start a herb garden or maybe plant an indoor watermelon patch.

Now, the running part: Thanks for all of the bronchitis well wishes!  My lungs are feeling much better after four days of meds.  Bronchi (that’s what my dad nick-named me for the week) is on the mend, so I figured I was okay enough to do my last Saturday morning run before the marathon: 9 miles in perfect crisp 50 degree weather.  My quads and glutes were tight, and I basically had to crawl up the ONE hill on all fours, but I’m getting excited for next Saturday!  At this point, I’m not necessarily going for a certain goal time, but I’m going to just enjoy the ride.  Now accepting motivational phrases.

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It’s graduation weekend at Purdue, so during the run I saw groups of grads walking around campus in their caps and gowns and posing for pictures.  Our program held a Saturday afternoon party to celebrate the 4th years (now Dr.’s!) in their accomplishment, so Ryan and I popped over to congratulate the grads and chat with my classmates.

We continued our social Saturday by meeting another friend that night to play Catan.  Ryan and I offered to bring snacks, so we brought a jar of peanut butter and a variety of healthy foods to dip: apples, bananas, celery, and graham crackers.  We really are life of the party when it comes to bringing snacks.

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Sunday was church, some school stuff (the summer semester starts tomorrow), and plant shopping (inspired by the flowers!).  Say hello to basil:
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Hope you had a nice weekend!

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Do you have a garden?
Any good running mantras?

bronchitis and a minor league mascot

Guess who rarely gets sick…and then gets bronchitis the week before a marathon?!
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ME! With my bag o’ meds

I’ve been coughing and mildly wheezy for a few days, so I went to the doctor today to get a refill on my inhaler, but I left with a z-pack and a diagnosis.  There are still nine days to feel better before race day, so I think that will be plenty of time and I’m not very concerned.  It’s kind of funny though–just when I thought I couldn’t feel any less prepared to run another marathon…BOOM, surprise bronchitis!

I decided to skip a baseball game tonight with my family because it’s cold and rainy out, but Greg kindly brought a friend in my place and kept me posted…through his picture diary, it’s just like I was there.  What a brother.
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The car ride with Greg, Laura, and my replacement sib Johnny.

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The game.  It was a minor league game, so the seats were super close.

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Greg’s new BFF, Belle.  She is a “Peagle”–a pink eagle, according to the Florence Freedom website, and a diva.  Instead of talking, she expresses herself by “flirting with cute players and fans.”  Watch out, Greg.

I’m not sure if I have ever mentioned this before, but in high school (junior high?), we took one of those career aptitude tests, and my #1 career was a minor league baseball mascot.  I am totally serious.  Did you know that was a possible outcome in a career aptitude test?

I’m home for one more day of relaxing, reading, and eating ice cream (ice cream is good for all illnesses, I think) before I head back to school tomorrow afternoon for the start of summer semester.  The week has gone by way too quickly and it’s been nice to spend time at home and with my family, but I’m ready to have a to-do list and things to study.  AND I get to see Ryan tomorrow for the whole weekend!

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Have you taken a career aptitude test?  What did you get?