Well, it’s back to Day 1 of marathon training! Richmond will be my 8th marathon! I can hardly believe that!
Training started nice and gentle with only 3 miles today. Tomorrow has 6+ miles of intervals, though, before 6 am so I’m not so giddy about that… My training buddy and I are trying a plan from Runner’s World this time around. We are trying to break 4:15. Which is insane. It’s especially insane because everything but the speed work days are to be at 11:00 minute miles or slower!
After spending so much time trying to run faster, we are having a REALLY tough time going slower. Like, really tough. I understand the reason but I’m not sure how successful we will be with this. Since my pace naturally slows so much during the marathon, I don’t know how training at this pace is going to help me “learn” the correct pace. Maybe that’s “old school” thinking, though. Maybe the physiological benefits of not trying to continually kill my legs will reap great benefits on race day. I’m highly intrigued by how this will all unroll.
Needless to say, if this works, I’ll be over the moon!
Have you ever tried a plan from RW or spend the majority of your time at a much slower pace? How did that work for you?
So, I went from a season of sloth to running full-tilt, with about 24 hour’s transition time.
My BRF and I have decided to take on a 3 times a week weight training plan to improve our strength before marathon training begins and we’ve decided to train for a “fast 5K” somewhere around July 4th weekend, to improve our strength. While both of these are “good”, both together is a bit tough to schedule.
In all our planning, we have recently discovered a distinct lack of rest days. We are on week 3 and our burn-out risk is super high!
It’s so difficult! We want to do all of these great things but we just don’t have the time! As much as I hate to say it, I think either my beloved Friday boot camp (and optional Wednesday one) will have to go or be replaced by a weight day. So sad! (I never thought I’d see the day where I was sad about missing boot camp…)
What’s the point of this post? Hell if I know. I’m tired. And hungry. (Ohmygod! I’m more hungry now than during marathon training! Send food!)
Meanwhile, my new FitBit is getting snarky with my routine 6 hours of sleep. It actually told me that one day’s workout was going to hurt worse because I didn’t get enough sleep in a certain stage the night before. Not helping!!
So, that’s my news. Oh, and I apparently have a trail half marathon in two weeks. Huh. Good times, y’all!
I always have a hard time writing this report because there is SO MUCH to tell! Bear with me, this will be long (and has a ton of pictures). TL;DR It was awesome. You should do it 🙂
My race prep started Thursday night when my Sole Sister give me a fantastic send off. She was unable to race this year due to family commitments so she did the next best thing by plastering my house with a fantastic sign, a light-up star, a bottle of champagne, and other goodies (including a shower cap because the weather guys said there would be rain)
Friday morning I picked up the other two runners from my MRTT chapter and we made the trek to Roanoke with no problem. We stayed at the Cambria hotel again and, once again, I say it’s the best choice. We had a two bedroom suite that was as big as some apartments! I highly recommend them!
We hit the expo as soon as it opened. Everything was well managed and it seems like it was a bit bigger this year. All race distances received a custom shirt. This was the first year with the double marathoners being an official distance so they even had their own race shirt! Not a lot of smaller races do that! They are also SUPER soft! We also received a free pair of socks from Farm to Feet.
And there were more clothing options this year so I grabbed the best hoodie ever and a new buff that I will cut down and use as three head bands.
We had a lovely meal at Fortunato’s. I had bolognaise with homemade spaghetti and my friend had a fennel and speck pizza. We both had sides of roasted beets 🙂
We left the hotel at 6:30 and walked over to the start. It was just over a mile and it was a nice little warm up. It was sprinkling but not bad. We dropped our bags with no problem, met up with some other friends, and then went to check out the VIP area that I had access to as part of being a blogger and having a team. The indoor bathrooms were nice and we could have had some coffee or a muffin or fruit but we were good.
The race started at 7:35 with a legit cannon and we were off!
First stop was Roanoke Mountain. The course was crowded for the first almost 3 miles but thinned out considerably when the half marathon and 10K people split off to go up Mill Mountain to the star. It was a bit drizzly and we were running through the clouds as we went up the mountain. As usual, the first overlook did not disappoint!
At the top of the mountain, there was a big aid station with gummy bears, pretzels, bananas, and oranges. It was nice to have some real food!
We then went back down into the mist and it soon turned into rain
Then we went back up Mill Mountain to the star.
Then down for the alcohol!!
Then down we went to the town, along the river and greenway and through the soccer field (including what we referred to as the “rape and murder tunnel” – though I am sure it is perfectly safe!) The weather was still holding so it was quite comfortable and it was very different from the sunny death march of last year!
And then… duh, duh, du PEAKWOOD!
Yeah, Peakwood is still a bitch. You go up, and then down and think “oh, that wasn’t bad” and then you go UP!! Luckily, I was prepared this year and didn’t want to die at the top! Though my calves were screaming for mercy!
And then down we went, back to town. Around mile 22, our friend who was supporting her husband (who placed second in his AG in the half, NBD… ) found us and was going to run with us but I told her that the police were reporting lightning and asked that she go back and find out what was going on. Not long afterwards we were informed that the course would be closing. There was a bus coming and our friend confirmed that we could finish on our own and get a medal or get on the bus and not. By that time we were almost at mile 24 so we chose to not get on the bus. They took down our bib number and confirmed that we understood that the course was now open to traffic. We said yes and off we went!
This is the first time I have had a race called due to weather and I think they handled it very well. The aid stations were packing up but they left cups out for anyone they could catch before they left and a lot of the course marshals stayed at their posts. We only had to cross two bigger roads without a marshal and the traffic stopped for us with no problem. Even the volunteers who were walking back to their cars would stop and cheer for us. Seriously, Richmond Marathon may say they are the friendliest marathon but I think BRM is an EXTREMELY close second. Every single volunteer went above and beyond to give us an excellent race!
So, the clock was ticking and the clouds were looming and we were hot-footing it for the finish. We were all hurting but we knew we were almost done. I was really happy I knew the course so I could give my team a heads-up before the last big hill and talk them through the finish.
They were tearing down the finish area but we still had a clock time and received our medals. Also, our awesome friends at the finish secured food (and beer!) for us and helped us get to shelter before all hell broke lose. Seriously, it would have been a different finish without their support!
Crowd support/aid stations/all the volunteers
How they handled the shut down
The rain at the end but what can you do??
Solid A! This remains my favorite race! It still kicked my butt but I still don’t care. I ran without a watch (until the very end, just so I knew where we were for our support crew) and we lingered over the views and at the aid stations and that made it awesome! Yes, we could have been faster but we would not have had as much fun! We chatted with all sorts of interesting people along the way and just had an amazing adventure. I will definitely be back next year!
48 hours from now I will likely be enjoying a mimosa as I descend Mill Mountain as part of the Blue Ridge Marathon.
This will be marathon #7 and Blue Ridge #2. For a girl who never used to run, that’s saying something!
The weather is looking spotty. Maybe rain. Maybe crazy humidity. At least there will be cloud cover so I won’t burn my ears and have massive burn lines on the back of my calves (CWX capris, apparently, make a very good sun barrier!). I’m still packing sun screen, though. And Vaseline. And wool socks.
I’ve said it a million times but BRM can eat you up and spit you out if you aren’t careful. As with last year, I plan on this to be a “joy” race. I’ll start my Garmin (just so I can play with numbers later) and then stash it in my pack until the final mile.
My only goals are:
A) Keep my ess together enough to partake in the fun on Peakwood. I was a mess at that point last year and I’m very sad I wasn’t able to hang out for a minute up there.
B) Keep my ess together enough to support anyone running with me. I will have at least 1, and maybe 3, runners with me and I want to give them as much support as I can.
C) Have fun.
D) Get at least one good race picture.
Overall, this training cycle has been fantastic! I’ve been hitting paces that I’ve never dreamed of (my tempo runs are in the low 8s! What the what??!) and I’m feeling super strong. While I have no intention of “racing” on Saturday, I have been using my training to create a super solid base for the fall. This race is a celebration of my hard work and a nice set up to my summer strength work.
So, once more unto the breach, dear friends! Time to climb some mountains!
I finally had a stress dream about the Blue Ridge Marathon last night. In my dream, I was late to the start, I was wearing the wrong clothes (including a sweatshirt!), and I was worried that I shouldn’t even start since the race started 20 minutes ago and I was “so slow” that I was sure I’d not make the time cut off (which is 7.5 hours, btw). Throughout the dream there were actual, literal signs that reflected the true stressors that I’m working through right now. Uh, Dr. Freud, your slip is showing….
I’ll admit that I’m not handling things well right now. I’ve spent a lot of time crying. I missed my workout yesterday. I’m tempted to just throw my hands up in the air and walk away from it all. (I’ll admit that I am more than tempted by that last one.)
So not healthy.
So, what can I do?
I can eat well.
I’m feeling antisocial but I can kick my own butt in classes.
I can support others. Even though I don’t really feel like it and the weather will be rough, I will be out spectating at the DC Rock n Roll half marathon tomorrow (sorry, the marathon starts too early for me to get there with Little Runner). The weather will be gross so they will need extra love.
I can try to get out and enjoy some nature. Granted, that was easier when it was 70 earlier in the week but I still plan on my lunch walks in the rain. My goal is to find something pretty or amusing during each walk.
So, that’s my plan of attack for the next few days until I figure this shit out. Burning the ground and salting the earth is still SUPER tempting but I’m trying to save that for a last resort. We shall see.
I have just completed my first 60 days with Isagenix and I’m still liking the products! I only lost 3 lbs last month but I literally had to safety pin my pants so they would stay on this morning so I think it’s safe to say that I’m dropping fat 😀
And I’m definitely not starving myself! I ran 19 miles on the 26th so I ate a lot more that day but I average around 1900 calories a day unless I have a heavier workout.
I’m starting to add in the Isagenix line of fuel on the run, both an energy gel that tastes like apple pie (it’s like if Huma gels and GU had a love child) and e+ shots mid run on my supper long days for an extra boost. So far, so good! I’ll write more about these products soon!
Overall, still super pleased and I’m seeing an improvement in my endurance and speed. Still no migraines (I had one in Jan but none in Feb), my back and hip are doing great (well, my back hated Sunday’s run but that was a different problem), and my hamstring hardly hurts at all any more. This is dated but #winning totally fits!
Apparently, we are two months out from the marathon! How did that happen? Since I’m following a training plan that I have mostly done before, I don’t feel like there are any big surprises for me right now – at least as far as the plan goes.
One thing that I have done is add in a lot more cross-training and I’m really seeing the benefits! I try to do a light stretching program on Monday, swim or HIIT on Wednesdays, and boot camp or spin class on Fridays. I think just moving my legs in a different direction is such a nice change for them!
The one “surprise” that we received is we found out that my BRF/training partner will not be able to join me at Blue Ridge due to a family commitment. While we are both super disappointed, she found another marathon for the next week so we can keep training together (I can’t imagine trying to run at 4:00 am on a Tuesday without her!) The biggest problem is we’ll both be doing our marathons solo. Not ideal.
Thankfully, the Blue Ridge Marathon has a ton of super friendly supporters. I have literally never seen such awesome aid stations in a relatively small race! Also, most of the participants are not trying to burn up the road (at least not where I run!) so it’s easy to strike up a conversation. Still. She’ll be missed.
In other “fun” news, I took my first fall in almost 4 years on our long run on Sunday. At mile 7 we were commenting on how fast we were going and wondering what our average pace was so I decided to check it on my watch and BAM! Down I went. My elbow took the brunt of it, with just road rash and a super nasty bruise on my legs. After I got cleaned up, we still pulled of two fast miles back to the start. I managed to destroy my water bottle in the fall so I couldn’t finish the entire run but I was starting to feel it so was happy to stop at 9 miles.
After that little adventure, my family and I went to a local ski resort for the weekend so my poor kid would finally see some snow. 45 minutes of “ice skating” (more like swimming, it was 70!) and two hours snow tubing killed me.
We won’t talk about the water park the next day…
And so we soldier on! Various work and school issues are creating some need for creative scheduling in the next few months but, we’ll figure it out.
If you’re training, how is it going? Just logging the miles or are you mixing things up? How do you keep it fresh?
I’m participating in a link-up with other Blue Ridge Marathon Ambassadors! Check them out! (I’ll update the list as more post, because I’m an idiot and can’t figure out how to do it automatically via the link-up)
I haven’t written much about my training plan because I feel like things are humming along, pretty much on track. I’m hitting the hills like crazy, I’m doing boot camp on a regular basis (unheard of before), I’m doing more core work, and I’ve only missed a couple of workouts. I’m also walking two miles every day at lunch still and that has been a big mental boost.
But, we are starting to get into the “long-ass long run” territory. The kind where you need to remember to use Body Glide and pack all your fuel.
Last week’s LALR was 16 miles. And let me tell you, it was a struggle from mile 1. We had a forced “group hug” at mile 4 and things perked up a bit as the sun rose but, at mile 13, I was the closest I have ever come to just quitting and calling for someone to pick me up. I was hurting and mentally miserable. Thankfully, my stubborn streak kicked in and said “the hell you are!” so I turned on some 80s music and put my head down and finished it. Mentally, it was a “win” but man, what a price.
So, skip ahead to this week’s LALR – 17 miles. As you can imagine, we were feeling a bit… apprehensive. Not only did we run faster than expected the day before on a ton of hills but we also accidentally ran an extra mile. Brilliant. Add to that the fact that my BRF got about 10 seconds of sleep and was busting butt all night at her waitressing job, we were expecting quite the shit show.
BUT, we had a secret weapon! I decided a few weeks ago that I wanted to do a Valentine’s theme race and this area is lousy with them. There was a 5K that day so we planned to make that the end of our long run! That meant doing 14 miles in an area that we aren’t overly familiar with but we were up for a challenge! We parked at the starting area for the race and headed out to make the most of it.
We had such a good 14 miles! The hills were rough but not anything we couldn’t handle, the conversation was flowing the entire time, and we were really up beat! We ran that first section at a 10:09 pace. I also set a half marathon PR. What the hell??
Now on to part two! We did a quick shirt change in the parking lot -sorry random people driving by – and ditched our packs/ added more Valentine’s obnoxiousness awesomeness. (true fact, I ran the entire distance in my tutu because I was afraid of trying to bend down and put it on after 14 miles)
We had two friends that we were hoping to see for a few minutes and they decided to run with us as one of them was a little beat up from mountain biking and trail running the day before (total BA).
These ladies were such a blessing to have with us! Somehow, this race was entirely up hill! We’d run up a hill, turn the corner, and have to run up another stinking hill! It was nuts! Needless to say, the last 2 miles were painful and both of us were struggling. Having our friends with us to chat and keep us distracted made the world of difference! We finished that 5K still at 10:05. Again, what the hell??
The entire day was perfection. Yes, we worked hard (and yes, we are sore today!) but it wasn’t a drudgery. I wish I could bottle up all of that awesomeness and open it on every bad or difficult run.
I’ve been thinking a lot about motivation and attitude and about how a lot of the struggle is just getting out there and showing up. You don’t know what the day/run will bring you but, if you don’t show up and put in your best effort every time, you’ll never be blessed with days like this ❤
So, what can’t you eat? Not too much, really. No dairy, red meat, minimal fruit (only if you are following the strict 30 day program), white foods (white potatoes, white rice, white bread), carrots and peas (high sugar). That’s about it! You’re encouraged to drop coffee or use their low-acid version. Honestly, I’m finding my coffee dependence greatly lessening. I’m down to just half a cup a day now. I used to drink 4-5 cups a day!
Here’s what I ate yesterday: thick chocolate shake for breakfast with a Natural Accelerator; mid-morning snack of egg whites, avocado, and a brown rice cake (all things I like – I have a long list of snack options); lunch of another shake (I could have had vanilla, strawberry, or mixed berry but grabbed chocolate by accident), an IsaDelight chocolate, and another Accelerator; afternoon snack of a small apple and raw almond butter; and dinner of savory sweet potato waffles , poached eggs, and a side salad with balsamic vinegar. Hardly a deprivation diet. And water. A LOT of water.
What about cost? The initial start up package cost me $342 for the month (there was a “new year” benefit that offered free enrollment – the initial cost may be higher/lower for you) but, here is a comparison of our average grocery bills for the past few weeks (yes, we spend a lot on groceries. We live in an expensive area and never eat out. Don’t judge me :D)
Savings per month
That monthly $232 savings is just on groceries. It does not include Starbucks, migraine medicine, or other things I no longer need. Based on just grocery savings along, it costs me less than $30 per week extra to use the base system! That’s pretty reasonable, if you ask me.
Can I lose xx lbs in a month?? It’s hard to say how much you will lose. Everyone is different. I’m not being dodgy but there isn’t a clear answer to this. Don’t expect a magic pill, though.
Can I use this and train heavy? Yes. There are actually quite a few pro-athletes that use Isagenix (I did not know this) and there is a large Facebook group dedicated to runners who use the program and are willing to share their experience and perspective. It includes people just starting to those who run ultras and Boston. I’m sure there are also other groups for weightlifters, cross-fitters, etc.
How much are you exercising? A shit-ton. In addition to my running, I am walking two miles at work almost every day (one of my goals was to walk more during the day #nailedit) plus cross training at least twice a week. That said, only the walking is beyond my training plan. I didn’t suddenly go into overdrive to make the diet work — but you will see better results if you exercise and try to move more.
Is the science valid? I am not a scientist nor a nutritionist. They are using studies from, and are publishing in, main-stream, peer-reviewed journals. Take that as you will. They do cite everything so you can easily read the source articles.
Isn’t it just a MLM that’s only looking to make bank? Eh, I don’t think so. Sure, you are encouraged, and compensated, to sign people up but you are not penalized if you don’t. You can easily use the program successfully and never talk to a soul about the products. There are a lot of various coaching/support groups. Some may be more high pressure than others. The ones I am in are seriously low key. If you are in one that is too sales-y, move on.
What will you do different this month? Like I said, I like the cleanses but they are rough since I don’t have two “off” days in a row in my training plan. I think I am going to try just cleansing on just Monday’s for this next month and see what that does for me. They say that 80% of the fat loss is on the second day but if it helps with the inflammation and I can stick to my training schedule, that will be okay with me.
I am also going to try a “belly buster” option – it is basically a scoop of their straight protein (not the meal replacement shakes) with a scoop of their “fruits” mix and you take it 30 minutes before bed. The idea is that you will sleep more soundly, enhancing weight loss, and your body will be able to burn more fat more easily. Here is what it is based on. I’m willing to give it a month.
Is that all? I think so 🙂 Overall, I like the products and I like how it’s encouraging me to focus more on my nutrition. I feel it is working quite well with my training goals. Feel free to comment, if you have any questions that I didn’t cover!
(Nuts, I didn’t get talk about the the AMPED performance line. I think that will have to wait until another post)
Today I finished my first 30 days with Isagenix. I’ve alluded to it on Facebook and Instagram but I’ve kept a bit quiet until I could see what it was all about.
If you haven’t heard of it before, Isagenix is a nutritional support program. The model I follow has a protein shake for breakfast and lunch, morning and afternoon snacks around 100-200 calories (I up my calories on heavy training days), and a healthy dinner that’s around 500 calories. There are also two sets of two “cleanses” where you just consume the company’s products and are in a semi-fasted state for 48 hours. For me, day one of the cleanse days were easy but the second was a bit of a struggle because I was still running around 5 miles.
Like I said, I just finished my first 30 day program and I’m pleased with my results. I have lost 10.6 lbs and 15″. The bulk of the pounds were lost in the first week but most of the inches were lost in the last two weeks. I have not had my body comp calculated but those changes clearly show that I’ve been gaining muscle while dropping fat! While my visual results aren’t crazy impressive, I can see a difference and – bonus – pants that were almost too tight to zip at the start of the month are now quite loose!
I think I was eating fairly healthy before starting this program but, really, I was allowing a lot of junk in and I was not as meticulous about planning my meals as I should have been. It wasn’t unusual for me to find myself starving when I got home, eating handfuls of this and that, and then never eating a real dinner. Not good. With Isagenix, I plan every meal and every snack and log it on MyFitnessPal. Before, this would have kicked off some unhealthy attitudes but I haven’t had any problems with my mental game this past month. I’m also really enjoying finding and sharing new recipes!
Since I am marathon training, I do eat more than the standard plan. I try to eat back about half of my exercise calories but that means an extra piece of Ezekiel bread with raw almond butter and maybe a smidge of honey. Not a big bagel with extra cream cheese!
I am also a migraine sufferer (since I was 7) and I know my diet affects my migraines but I easily “slip off the wagon”. Since I have been on this program, I have only had one bout of a headache and that was after eating two (planned) pieces of pizza at a work function. That kicked off a headache that then hung on for a few days as a weather front moved through. Other than that, I have taken zero medication for headaches or even body aches.
Another big, and surprising, benefit came on my cleanse days. I’ve been dealing with a ton of chronic pain in my lower back and hips and would have to get up in the night to take Advil or use aspercreme with lidocaine so I could try to sleep. When I started doing the cleanses, the pain totally disappeared! Since I haven’t done a cleanse in two weeks, the pain is starting the creep back in just a bit so I am looking forward to my next cleanse on Monday!
One kind of big tweak I did was to add in extra protein to my shakes. They do have a “pro” line that has extra protein but a) it is more expensive and b) my initial package only had the regular shakes. No problem, though! I just added two tablespoons of dry egg whites or collagen (not gelatin so it does not thicken anything) to my morning and lunch shakes! Instant protein 🙂
The shakes themselves are quite good! Not too sweet, no weird after taste, and if you mix in your blender with ice, they become quite thick! There are a bunch of “recipes” to change the flavor but I’m too lazy so I just use them as-is. I wasn’t sure how they would work with my finicky stomach so I chose regular whey protein as well as some dairy-free flavors. I use the dairy-free at work since they are in packets but the regular ones don’t bother me at all so I will be just using straight whey from now on.
One thing that has taken some time to get used to is the Ionix Supreme. It is basically a “tonic” that you take every morning that has extra vitamins in it and is to help with stress and fatigue. Some people love it. They dilute it in water and have it either cold or warm, like a tea. For me, it is a necessary evil so I just slam my 1 oz shot every morning and follow it with a tall glass of water!
This is getting pretty long so I’m going to save the cost, their “fuel” line (AMPED), and what I’m doing next for tomorrow.
** I am not going to turn this into an all-Isagenix, all the time blog. It was hard for me to find honest feedback before I started the program so that is why I am posting this. That said, if you want to try it, I can totally hook you up 😉 **