PR!

PR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This weekend was the Half Marathon Unplugged, a race that starts in Colchester, VT and ends in Burlington, VT. My coach Denise Goode from The Sustainable Athlete and I decided that this would be a perfect race for me to add to my training calendar for the Vermont City Marathon as a warm-up race for the big day.

The weather on race day was incredible. Beautiful, clear blue skies, temps in the 50’s-60’s. My friend Bridget and I were signed up to run in the second wave of racers with race time being 11 o’clock. It was a bit difficult knowing we had a lot of time in the morning before the race to allow the nerves to take over. However on the plus side I had extra time to get enough fuel for my body.

Fueling my body to have enough energy stores during the race has been a big focus for me during my training. I made sure to get enough calories in the days leading up to the race. The night before the race I ate a hearty breakfast of banana pancakes with hemp protein powder, two fried eggs and some fresh fruit and then before bed a giant bowl of granola. On race day I started off with an enormous bowl of oatmeal with whole milk and strawberries, sipped on water with NUUN U Natural Tangerine Ginger. 

NUUN U Natural Tangerine Ginger-Yum!

We arrived at the start early enough to grab bagels and for Bridget an English muffin (a craving for nooks and crannies???). We had plenty of time to warm-up and stretch and also time for some rocket fuel . . .I mean GU ROCTANE to add in the extra energy punch at the starting line.  It is amazing how much thought goes into pre-race fueling!

Fast Pete & Gerry's Organic Chicks (Thanks EARTHTEC and Skirt Sports for the awesome gear!)

At the starting line I was feeling nervous. This race was going to be a good test of my speed for the actual marathon. I have definitely been feeling strong but surprised myself at this race.  During the fall I ran quite a few half-marathons but took a different approach to the race-I wanted to enjoy the race, run hard, feel good, and trust my training.  Before this half I was very focused on hitting my split times. When the race started I was able to let myself go and just race rather than to over-think. I knew that my training has been intense, lots of hills, mountain races, tempo runs, and running with some super fast training partners. I reminded myself that this race was “short” in comparison to the longer training runs. Also, starting this fall I decided to not even focus on the first half of the race but to only really think about the actual race with 6 miles to go because I know I am a strong 10K runner. I have been working hard to keep my thoughts positive. Instead of thinking 3 miles to go, I would think to myself, “3 miles is easy, just a 5k, time to kick up the pace.”  I also thought of people who inspire me, who I know are strong. I have also learned from running relay events to use the energy of the runners in front of me and imagine their energy pulling you closer.  How do you inspire yourself in the middle of a hard race?

Quiet your mind

I went out fast. Perhaps a bit too fast but I was feeling supercharged. My pace the first 2 miles averaged 7:11 minutes per mile. I have definitely never run that fast at this distance before! I knew I had to slow it down and eased into a 7:23 min/mile pace. I felt strong as I ran the course (which by the way runs right along scenic Lake Champlain and also along much of the VT City Marathon course). There were many strong women runners on the course including my friend Bridget who finished first in our age group (30-39) running a super fast 1:32.23. Seeing strong women on the course reminded me that I could run like that too and knowing that Bridget was up ahead made me want to run faster. The toughest half mile was the second to last where my first 2 miles definitely caught up with me. With a half mile to go however I decided I needed to pick up the pace and finish the race strong.

Racing to the finish.

During the race I never looked to see how long I had been running. I only checked my pace and to see how many miles I had run. When I approached the finish line I knew I was coming in faster than I had before but was surprised to see that I had crushed my previous PR by almost 8 minutes! I ran a time of 1:37.48 which put me 5/52 in my age group (30-39) and 35 overall out of 317 runners.

Post-race happy!

I am totally psyched and can’t wait for marathon day! I can start to see the possibility of qualifying for Boston coming within reach. I am going to train my a$$ off for the last month and a half of training.

I am going to reach for my dream!

 

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Who inspires you?

I’ve been feeling so energized lately. I am loving my new marathon training with my awesome coach Denise Goode from The Sustainable Athlete. I am feeling very positive about attaining my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon (even with the lowering of the qualifying time to 3:40).  I am ecstatic about having a big goal for myself and some training tailored just for me to help me increase my strength, speed, and endurance.

As an added bonus my running friend Bridget has agreed  to pace me at The Vermont City Marathon. This means that she will be there with me running the entire 26.2 to help me during my low points and to celebrate my high points along the way.

Do you have an awesome training partner who helps you to reach your goals? Now matter how positive your outlook is on any given day we all need a support team around us to keep us strong.

For me my inspiration comes from Bridget. We both enjoy being silly before, during, and after runs and especially giggly post race or hard workout. Bridget is the kind of training partner who I can always depend on to help me through a workout where my legs feel like lead and hills feel like mountains. She is always up for an easy workout with lots of talking along the way or a super intense silent workout where we both push each other and train to the limit.

Positive Inspiration

Bridget has always been way faster than me but I know that our workouts will always be positive and she will never leave me in the dust (except perhaps on race day).  I helped pace Bridget during the last 13 miles of her first 100 mile ultra run last summer and watched her push through limits and try to eliminate negative thinking to achieve her goals. Even when the race became difficult she was able to dig deep and find energy to pick up the pace during the last two miles and to finish in her goal time of under 24 hours.

This personal inner-strength that I witnessed is something that I often think about now as I am racing.

Tonight she and I will head out for some speed work with our head lamps. The challenge is on!

On your marks, get set

This is what I want to feel like on race day!

Energy

It has been crazy around here. I love having a full plate and being scheduled to the max. I always feel more productive. Although sometimes when I take a break for a minute I almost feel winded (almost like after running up a mountain . . . Which by the way I’ll be doing again tomorrow morning at the “egg” crack of dawn. Winter Wild Round 3 here I come!).

2 Laps of Pats Peak=4 Miles of Winter Wild

My two little chicks keep me on my toes every day. I wish I could drink in endless amounts of twirling, dancing, jumping, laughing pure energy. From the moment they awake they are out of their beds as though the starter pistol has gone off at the start of a race. During the race of our day there are meals to be made and devoured, intense playing at home and at pre-school, a daily battle of wits between 3.5 year old and Mommy, and wrestling matches with a cranky toddler who has discovered the joy of play and doesn’t want to concede defeat to exhaustion.

In the middle of this chaos is time for me to work, to write, to run. I officially started training for The Key Bank Vermont City Marathon this week to add in a bit more craziness. A coach from my friend Doug’s awesome coaching business The Sustainable Athlete is setting up my training. I am looking forward to having a daily plan to provide extra motivation. It’s been a long time since I had real coaching for sport.

Sweet one on one coach for ENDURANCE athletes

I am hoping for a Boston qualifying time which will be a fast 3:40. I feel like I’ve built a good base this past fall and winter thanks to half marathons and long miles with the awesome Pete and Gerry’s Organic Chicks.

Now it’s time to dial it up a bit. And just to kick things off with a bang my first official workout was intervals and I chose my friend Bridget (crazy fast with the energy of my 3.5 year old ) as my interval buddy. I had great plans to complete this workout in the morning but life took over. So, this workout ended up being a headlamp run on a dark VT dirt road. It felt amazing though and always the perfect way to end a crazy day and somehow I am always able to find the energy.

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Post Intervals Glow

Now begins the race to the finish line. This time with a plan to guide me and high energy surrounding me to serve as motivation.

Where do you get your energy?

Find your power source

“Reach the Beach is runners’ paradise” – ESPN

Runners Alley

 

If you are a runner and haven’t yet completed an insane 24 hour, 200 mile overnight adventure relay yet then you have been missing out. This is the ultimate team adventure for adults. You will remember your younger days participating in team sports. Riding in the van for countless hours while occasionally hopping out to run for a while perhaps wearing a chicken hat, carrying a rubber chicken named Wilson, or even perhaps sporting your favorite pink tutu will allow you to totally let go of your adult life and to just have fun (although I am not sure that is what most people on the planet would call it). You will enjoy the hilarious nature of this event as you find yourself totally sleep deprived, running down a long stretch of roadway, wearing a reflective flashing vest, headlamp, and red flashing lights in the middle of the night with your goal being to catch the blinking light up ahead and finish at the Beach with the other crazy members of your team. The Reach the Beach Relay (http://www.rtbrelay.com/) events are the adventure of a lifetime and definitely worth putting together a 12 member team(or if you are truly insane , a 6 person ultra team) and sign up soon. If you feel ready (and you know you are) you can sign up now for Reach the Beach MA in the spring and Reach the Beach NH in the fall.

 

Take a look and see what the ESPN sports team had to say about this:

 

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?id=6583449