Monday, January 28, 2013

ING Miami Half Marathon Race Report

I am humbled and honored to have raced the ING Miami Half Marathon. I could probably write a novel on the experience. But I'll break it down the best I can with humility and humor for your reading pleasure.

*A half marathon PR 1:27:20
*26,000 runners. 15,000 in the half. 10th female. 1st age group. 68th overall.
*72 degree start
*A 6 mile headwind over an ocean bridge (historically my weakness)
*Sub Elite status
*VIP everything
*Many new friends from around the world.
*And yes, I'm a dork, I warmed up with the Ethiopians....

So, a few weeks ago I had a few long good tempo runs. I felt I needed to jump on a half. I train my ass off up to twice a day and never race. And racing is a skill so, it was time. So I sent out a few emails. One to Miami. I said:

     Hi Miami! I'm a runner in NC with some good speed right now. I have a 3:02 marathon pr 
     and some guts.I'd love to be considered for your Sub-elite Program. Thank you for your       

The next day I received an email from the elite coordinator. He said, ya know what? I like you. Your honest, not demanding. Welcome to Miami's Sub elite program.

I have never been so honored and subsequently so stressed out. Yet so honored and so stressed out! This was a huge race.  A race of 26,000 runners. The largest race of my life. And I was hoping for the time of my life. I almost immediately accepted the invitation. Clearly, there was pressure. I told absolutely no one but my training partner and coach. I couldn't even think about the ramifications of tanking this race. I had my best friends and family in the Miami area...still not a word. Sister, one. I needed to focus and get in race mode. 

So I left Raleigh in an ice storm. Delays put me into MIA at nearly 2am Friday night. Someone from the race was scheduled to pick me up. I didn't see anyone. MIA was empty. It was late. I had been in the airports for 7 hours. I hopped in a cab. I needed sleep.

The next day I had a few meetings to attend and a shake out run. I ran first then went to Elite headquarters to check in and put some Mio in my water bottles that were to be placed at miles 3, 6, and 9. From that point on I was catered to from the most hospitable race staff I've ever met. I didn't even have to squirt my own Mio. lol. They also immediately apologized for leaving me at the airport. They went and I wasn't there and left. No biggie.

I came back to my room and rested. I had had only 3 hours of sleep the night before. I was in downtown Miami so everything took forever. Finding my anal retentive food items, my coffee etc. Before I knew it, it was time for the mandatory elite meeting to go over race protocol.

The room was filled with many uh, fast people. The first thing the Race Director said was, “how many of you just arrived from Ethiopia via London?” Hands of athletes and agents flew up. I squirmed in my seat. Which was probably documented because the meeting had a photographer. I may not be the fastest today but shit, I can give you a photo. Lol. I hope I can find those. So we went over every detail from pothole locations to staying with your handler.

After that we ate the best dinner ever. I met the coolest coaches, agents, authors, race officials. The people I google were right there with me. Some good chit-chat and new friends.
So now it was late. I took my distended tummy to bed and set the alarm for 2:45. I slept maybe 4.5 hours. The mornings agenda was:

4:30 headquarters to walk the elites to the stadium.
5-5:45 stretching and warm up.
5:45 we left as a group to the starting area.
6:15 gun time

I was semi jacked. I had a good warm up, stretched and was ready. The following is a classic case of ignorance is bliss. I thought there was ONE gun for the half, full and elites. Well, thank god I didn't know this at the time but there was an elite gun. I knew I wasn't going to be chasing down anyone. There were the top American women and men, East Africa, Columbia, Guatemala, Netherlands. The front row looked like a Running Times cover. I was going to run a smart race and prayed I could draft off the some of the 27,000 people behind me as we headed over a 3 mile bridge into the strongest head winds ever. NOPE.

I was with a few elite female marathoners and we cursed the winds and tried to work together. At about mile 5 we turned onto Ocean drive on South Beach. I used to work here in college. I busted my ass till 3am on weekends to put myself through college. Now I was running down this street at 7am reminiscing and forcing myself to focus. I was thinking, I'm glad I'm not picking plastic cups out of the gutter anymore..zoom zoom. Later!

For a few miles it was hit or miss wind. My goal was 6:34 pace avg. The entire race I kept that. I knew that meant a 1:25:5X. I stayed focused. I never got loopy. I begged myself to not blow up. I felt like I could drop the pace but we had more bridges coming and I didn't feel it was a good move.

At mile 9 I had the best shout out ever: A female spectator yelled out: I love your abs! I was like YES! The crunches are working!! Then a male runner pulled up to me and said, I'm running with you because you get the crowd going. I was like fine, but I'm drafting off you bud. Lol

My goal was to keep the 6:34's going until mile 11 and then hammer. I was thinking to myself, holy shit:
a. I'm gonna pr
b. I'm not dying
c. I'm in control and having fun and I have a sub 1:26 in the bank.

PS. having someone yell: Elite 105 at a water stop and handing you your special drink is freaking cool. Especially to someone like me who can't drink from a dixie cup to save her life. I also took water for my head and to drink at all 9 water stops. It was hot!

So I keep going. The scream tunnels were the coolest. Think Ryan Hall Boston 2011. I was definitely using them to push. I should have been near the finish but my watch was pushing 13.3 and the road kept curving. I was like WTF, mats please! I finally hit the mats with some good kick and saw 1:27:1x. Before I could say WTF the elite coordinator had a handler escort me to the tent. My elation for 1:25 was killed. I didn't understand. My garmin said 6:34 pace. Well peeps, don't trust your garmin.

I was disappointed in the number because had I have know I needed to pick it up I would have. I knew I could handle 6:34 pace. But I didn't want to get cocky and run 6:30 flat so I was patiently waiting for my 1:25 at 6:34 pace. So, they take me to my bags and hand me a medal. I immediately had to see what the other runners thought. Yup, wind was confirmed, heat killed many. But I was still standing. 10th female out of 15,000+ runners in the half, a PR and excelling in horrible conditions. I am still irked but content.

Here's my garmin. Perfect aside from mile 4. All I can say is it was dark and I'm glad I didn't see that one.

After that I mingled and got everyone's story. I changed and we went to awards. I won first in my age group. They didn't present AG awards so after that I thanked the coordinators and left for my hotel.

I'm headed back to the sub freezing temps in NC now. I am PUMPED as hell for my March half and Boston. I needed to get back out there after a slight hiatus of not racing. 

Let's roll guys!! 8 recovery on deck in a few hours.

Happy Running!

Here are some pics:

Miles 1-3 HARD WIND

dinner time elevator pic

elite dinner
my thoughts at 3am

y'all know this

I swear this was pre coffee. lol

4am heading to race
This is my race morning "security banana" I didn't eat it but it made me feel safe should I starve to death pre race.

Me and Miguel the Elite Coordinator.

Me and Dane Rauschenberg. A badass runner/author. Buy his book!

elite area post race at the finish line

more vip tents

can you feel the wind?!

Me, Miguel and his own running coach
overall female half 

The best news a tired runner could hear: Are you ok with Exit row ma'am?

Later Taters!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Look who found the balance ball...

I've been touting this workout for months now..look who is catching on...Good boy Rupp! My fingers are always crossed Rupp will marathon. Click on the link. It's pretty bad ass.

Galen Rupp hits the weights, yay!

Sub 3 in training: C'mon Boston!!

Hey My Dear Fast and Slow Pokes alike!

Here we are 12 weeks out from Boston: Sub 3! I am telling you all these 80 mile weeks are freaking awesome! I really don't get tired while running, I have way less anxiety about tempo, intervals and distance. It's a good space to be in as a runner.

Last week was a little spasy. It was going to be a cut back week so I reduced mileage on Monday and Tuesday. Then, I freaked. Mileage is my crack. So I laid out 10-15 miles a day for the remainder of my week. I ended up with 70. Meh.

I live in NC. Then weather has been rainy and or freezing and some snow. Not ideal, but hey I don't give a f**k. 

Aside from the usual miles I hit the track this week for 4x1000. I don't do track. I hate it. But it was on my schedule and how hard could 2.5 laps be when I run 80 a week? BAH! Gimme! Unfortunately, it was 35 degree with sideways wind and rain. I was alone and on an asphalt track. It really can't get worse.
I wanted some reminder of the hell. That was the best smile I could muster up!

In the spirit of AB UPDATE I have to report that the large ball I have been doing my crunches on is working! More so than any other ab routine. I do 250-350 crunches in the morning and 250 at night. In addition to some planking here and there. I got a little crazy one day and did a *few* extra sets. I cried all night. Definitely work into the higher reps.

So all else is well. I can't wait to marathon again!

Happy Running!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Go big or go home: My week of self slaughter

This week rocked! I like to push myself. I especially love trying to create handicaps before key workouts. haha. So here is my recipe for a week of self slaughter:

Monday: 8 miles at 7:27 pace. This was post 17 miler so a good shake out run. Then the gym.

Tuesday: 12 miles averaging 7:03pace and drilling the last 5 miles sub 6:45 pace because it's fun. Then the gym.

Wednesday: Screw just a double. Let's make it a QUAD workout day. 
     8 miles @ 7:24 pace in the morning. Then abs and stretching at the gym
     Check out a kickboxing bootcamp at noon for an hour of plyometrics and punching.
     Immediately run 5 miles. 7:41 pace
SWEAT Fitness in Raleigh.
Of course I have to jump the highest, punch the hardest, and squat the
busted hands from the bag. My knuckles are swollen.

So this is a perfect setup for TEMPO the next day!

Thursday: 10 miles with the middle 6 at 6:30's. The whole run was 6:55 pace. I made it. I was happy!!
Friday: Not so happy. Very sore. 11 miles at 7:34 pace. 
Saturday: 9 miles at 7:40 pace. Still feeling like shit and reserving for the long run.
Sunday: 17.25 miles and 8 miles (2-10) at 6:35 pace. Whole run at 7 flat.

Perfect clip art!

Now here it is Monday and I'm a tad sore from the long run. Mostly because I went from my Brooks Pure Flows to these flats for 17:
awesome shoe but they were munching on my calves big time.

But it's hard to be pissy grumpy. I have two legs that can run. I'm in great health. And woke up to this:

So another perfect week of 80 miles. This week is a bit of a cutback with some track. A necessary evil I guess. 

Have a great week!!


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I feel like a badass but look like a no ass

This is one of those comparison pictures that made me go hmmmmmm:

My first thought was, well that sucks! I would like some resemblance of a sprinter's body but on marathon training. For the sole reason being that I think it would help my running. But it's not looking promising. Damn it. It's funny because the more I run the better and stronger I feel but the punier I look:

Meh, oh well. I had a good run today. 12 miles. First 6 at 7:15 pace and then next 6 averaging 6:45 pace. Kinda all over the board. I was trying to find 6:45 and stay with it. But if I concentrate too much I get into the 6:30's or if I fall asleep, the 6:50's. So I need half way give a shit. lol.

Oh PS this got me excited for Boston again. It's not breaking news or anything but still cool:

Happy Running Guys!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Racing Calendar

Okay, I'm a commitment phobe..."potential" racing choices. haha

I'm sitting here reading my blog list and everyone has races to report. I don't. I never do. I used to race every single weekend for a long time. Now, it's a few times a year. I know I needed a break but c'mon!!!

Sooooo, I crept on over to to check out my options. I mean racing is a skill. I practice everything else to death so I guess it makes sense to strap on the 'ol D tag. Or whatever the current technology is, lol.

In addition to the half and full I'm already doing this winter, I am eyeing:

The Key West Half Marathon 1/20. Awesome course in my second hometown. But HOT!
The ING Miami Half Marathon 1/27.
The Goldsboro Half Marathon 2/2. I've done this one. It's fast but has a meh vibe to it.
Myrtle Beach Half Marathon 2/16. Much bigger. Flat. a little bit of a drive.

I also really want to altitude train. I've run in Colorado at 8000 feet. It was the hardest freaking thing ever. So, gimme more!

I think I have too much fire and I need to use it! I just want to go already! I'm oddly not dying to set any PR's or nail any race. I honestly just love the daily grind. I've upped my mileage but I'm trying to add to it in other ways. ie altitude, racing...

I'll keep you posted. Just some thoughts. If you guys know of any other cool half's, 10 milers or even a 20k In January or February please let me know.

Thanks and happy running!

This is true. 

Which leads me to one more tangental topic, foot health....
I don't mean to gross you out with my crocked toes but I have to give Brooks Pure Flow a shout out for keeping my feet in pretty good shape for the mileage I put on them. Not a damn blister in the house!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

My highest mileage week EVA!!

Happy Sunday Guys!

I am super proud to have hit a new milestone. This was my first 80 mile week in my life, ever! I did it with only one double too. I thought I would feel a little different than I do. In fact, I'm kinda annoyed. I expected something like this by Sunday:

But instead I feel like I haven't done a damn thing. I feel tapered. Ripped off. I didn't even take a nap this week. And I have been sick all week too. It makes no sense to me. I guess by doing all the "right things" I'm still feeling good. In addition to the running or to enhance the running I have been:

*strength training with obsessive stretching 5 days a week post run.
*Eating tons of protein. Keeping my diet very healthy and staying hydrated.
*Taking a ginger bath 1-2 times a week
*8pm bedtime
*still no refined sugar in my diet

PS who knows if those are the right things but for me they work....

It sounds restrictive or obsessive but it's really not. I love it all. I haven't slept-in in years. It doesn't appeal to me. Why the hell would I want to lay on my ass? That's for AFTER the run.

I'd have to say the single most problematic issue with running higher mileage is EATING, enough. I am so sick of being starving and needing food RIGHT NOW. My jaw hurts from chewing trail mix and protein bars. Its never enough. I just eat all day. I am 5'4" and 100 pounds. It's a freaking awesome problem though. I'm not gonna lie!

So this week went like this:

Monday: 8 miles @ 7:34 pace
Tuesday: 12 @ 7:22 pace
Wednesday: 8 @ 7:22 pace and pm run 5 miles @ 7:25 pace
Thursday: 12 @ 7:09 pace with middle miles: 6:15, 6:23, 6:19, 6:17, 6:24. 4 min recoveries.
Friday: 10 @ 7:36 pace recovery
Saturday: 9 miles @7:20
Sunday: 16 miles @ 7:37. Hills.
Total: 80!

Most of these run were in 25 degrees.

So that's about it. I'm itching for a double today but with the 16 earlier I should probably chill. Arg!!

Happy Running Everyone!

Friday, January 4, 2013

I'm too ripped to sleep!


Here it is midnight on a Thursday and I can't sleep. Why? Because I'm too ripped! Fo real my shizzle.  I worked my abs overtime today playing with my new stability ball. I was having so much fun doing odd shit on the ball that I probably obliterated my abs. Now, I am shuffling around the house all extreme geriatric, whimpering. I can't take Motrin because I'm treating that damn ulcer from taking too much ibuprofen for running. So I shall blog...

It started off silly..wooooo, fun

Then I saw her doing this and wanted to copy, clearly...
Well, I tried all day...ain't happening! Not enough upper body strength.
but this burns!
which leaves me here...ho hum...can't sleep

I ate on the ball today, bounced watching tv, tried to prove I was the coolest mom ever, rolled out planks all day. I had no idea it would put me in a hunched over walking fetal position all night. Ridiculous. I have a heating pad on my abs people! Unacceptable. This is not jiving with my STFU attitude. Meh.

My usual was boring me...

I wanted cross bars....
But never did I anticipate ab pain!! Well, sometimes it's best summed up by the words of others.

Take it Sweet Brown because I just ain't got time for that!:

Night dears!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Thinking of changing my goal race and more badass stuff.

Happy New Year My Little Badasses!

Actually, I could give a shit about the whole NYE hype. I am in my 30's now and I need a reasonable bedtime if I'm going to: PERFORM AT MY BEST, FEED THE BEAST, CRANK OUT THE MILEAGE AND KICK SOME ASS! Okay, sorry that's my permanent runner's high taking over the keyboard. lol. But kinda true.

I'm so used to running the same paces and same mileage that I never really know if I'm improving. Well, there is no time like the present to jack things up and see what I really have. Worst case, I get tired and can't do my workouts. So, why not?!

I am loving the 75+ mile weeks, doubles, lifting, abs, sugar free empire I have created. And finally, I am noticing my efforts are less and some of the faster paces are not a struggle. I think the whole mileage = speed and endurance is working for me.

Last week:

Monday: 8 miles in the am 7:33 pace 5 miles in the pm 7:42 pace
Tuesday: 8 miles @ 7:11 pace
Wednesday: 8 freezing rain miles @ 7:26 pace
Thursday: tempo. 11 miles with 5x1 mile repeats in the middle: 6:25, 6:13, 6:22, 6:16, 6:16. 4 min recoveries in the low 7's.
Friday: 8 miles in the am @ 7:16 pace and 5 at night @ 7:37 pace
Saturday: 8 miles of more freezing rain @ 7:34 pace
Sunday: 15 miles @ 7:06 pace. 2 warm up, 5x5 min tempo with 1 min recovery and then an hour easy. THAT workout is a bitch because you kill yourself first then keep going.
Total: 76.2 miles

So, I'm on track for a great BOSTON MARATHON, but then enter a wrench:
Elite entry into Eugene! Crap. You guys remember Eugene from last year The minute I finished I didn't want to leave. I enjoyed the town, the nostalgia, the race. I've always wanted to run it sub 3. But hello, BOSTON, my goal race, the honor, the screaming crowds. I want that too! Unfortunately, they are 13 days apart. The torment!! I like shiny boxes and Eugene just started glaring!

I have figured out a few things:

*I will only do one race.
*I really want the Boston jacket
*I would flip my lid to have my own beverage on a "special table" every 3 miles in Eugene. The honor alone will drop seconds off my pace. lol
*I want to run sub 3 at Boston with Dan, my training partner and see my other friends.
*I want to run on Hayward Track again! The gift, the gift! (Prefontaine humor)

So my default is Boston but Eugene is pecking away at me. Stay tuned!

Here are some randoms from the week:
this is why I run early!

Abs..laying pig out tho..woohoo!

New Oakley's!

Happy Running!!