Saturday, April 30, 2016

Dear Self: You Got This!

Dear Megan:

You've worked hard for this one. Probably harder than you have for the last three fulls (remember how your longest runs usually topped out at 16?).

246 miles in the last 8 weeks is pretty damn incredible and you worked hard for every. single. one. 
Even when you skipped runs or opted for an additional rest day, it was in good faith that the next run out the door would make up for it. And they usually did.

Those #tenmiletuesday weeks? Where you set new personal highs for mid-week mileage? Those are going to pay off. Because running on tired legs just shows you how far you've come when you can push through the tired wall.

Those goals are do-able.

You have goals in sight for the year. This is opportunity #2 before a long and hot summer derails things just a little bit, both for weather and for work. Use this opportunity to your advantage!

Remember that 21 mile day? It was hot, and windy, and you ran right through it. You killed it. Even more than you thought possible. What's five more?

Bib #777. If anything, that's lucky.  

This race day is mine. These last eight weeks of training, all the extra mileage unlike anything you've done before, finally pushing out of the comfortable 13-15 mile range and knocking out some amazing long runs, the 5 am wake up calls, the extra need for stretching and foam rolling and all the so-very-needed yoga sessions... this is it.

See you on the other side of 26.2!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

OC Marathon Goals

Goals. Sometimes they're really hard to put out there. Sometimes you need to, just to hold yourself accountable.

The last time I wrote out race goals, I was feeling way under-prepared, nervous, and kind of just a wreck. That was before Phoenix, all of eight weeks ago. I ran Phoenix, attained my C goal of a strong race (pretty much my strongest race ever), and knew that if I stuck to a plan, I could totally rock at OC. Phoenix became a great mental test of where I stood, and of course physically, given that my longest run had been just 16 miles like seven weeks prior to Phoenix. All being said, Phoenix worked out okay. And then I had a full week of recovery - just walking, yoga - and by the end of the week, I was itching to get out and run. I think that's a good sign.

OC training was all of eight weeks. Eight weeks isn't a lot, but I wasn't starting at point zero either, considering I really count Phoenix as a long run to test my endurance and mental capabilities in handling another 26.2 so soon. Mind you, my first two fulls were TWO YEARS apart, and now here I am running two in eight weeks.

My major goals for training were:
- More longer distance runs (over 13)
- Strength/yoga
- Weight loss

Compared to my other two fulls, I nailed the longer distance runs perfectly. A 15-miler, 16-miler (where I could have kept going), 22 at Ragnar in 30 hours, and capped off two weekends ago with the biggest confidence-boosting 21-miler ever. I built more mileage in during the weeks, often having an 8- or 10-miler on Tuesdays, bookended by 5 each on Monday and Wednesday. Mid-week mileage certainly makes a difference.

21-miler day.
I didn't incorporate strength training (weights, really) in any form, like ever, but practiced yoga weekly at Fleet Feet and a few times, did at-home practice too. I'm proud that I've continued with it and really see what a difference it's making just in terms of my overall strength.

Weight loss was up and down. I don't keep a scale at home (mostly on purpose), but about halfway through training had dropped about 3 pounds. That was about 5 weeks ago, and I have no idea where I stand heading into race day, but I'm feeling better than I've felt in a while. We shall see what kind of difference that makes on Sunday!

With that... here we go! My goals for Sunday's race, marathon #4 lifetime and #2 of 2016.

Goal A: The Elusive Time Goal
Much like Phoenix, I'm leaving this goal to myself. It's a goal for the year, but I honestly feel like with the work I've put in the last eight weeks, it's just maybe attainable this weekend!

Goal B: A PR
That PR still stands from LA (4:52) and I know it's bound to be broken, because I am far better off than I was last year (not to mention those 100-degree heat indexes). I know a PR is in the bag, whether it's 20 minutes or 5 minutes. It's mine.

Goal C: Run a Smart Race
The highs are not super forgiving on Sunday (75 as of Wednesday night), but tolerable, especially given that we're on the coast for the race. I've definitely run in hotter weather, but am hoping I know how to take advantage and still run smart, all things considered.

There we go. Vague on purpose, but I'm hoping that I can at least come back with a pretty killer full marathon PR. Here we go, #4!

Have you run the OC full? Favorite parts? Worst parts?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Race Day Disasters

I pray to all the running gods in the universe that I am not foreshadowing any disasters come Sunday morning, but I thought this was too good not to share.

A few weeks back at our Long Beach Marathon ambassador lunch meet-up - as it was right after Phoenix - I was telling the story about race morning in Phoenix. One of the ambassadors laughed and was like, "Remind me to never to start my race day with you!" Here's the thing though... my stories always work out in the end! So I thought it'd be kinda fun to reminisce on some race day disasters because you know... they're laughable now! And then some others I've collected from around the interwebz.

- Transportation Disasters: Case and point? Phoenix. I haven't done many races that are point-to-point and require a shuttle in some direction, so Phoenix was a whole new experience for me. I was nervous enough about running the race, let alone my bus dying somewhere not near the start line!

- Garmin Issues: Before I finally upgraded my watch and got my new Garmin, my old 110 was dying at start lines on the regular. I can't even tell you how many races I ran without a watch. But honestly? Running naked is so good sometimes!

- Forgetting the Essentials: Like, you know... your shoes? #notmyshoes became quite the saga, and now it's just laughable because who packs TWO LEFT SHOES for a race? This girl. This girl right here.

Rock 'n Roll San Diego became quite the adventure last year and while I never wish to re-live it, the quick thinking of both my boyfriend and the hotel front desk staff certainly saved this race day from becoming a real disaster.

- Traffic: Kim at Barking Mad About Running said that one time at a race she got caught in traffic, so she got to the start line 15 minutes late and ran the first whole mile of the race before catching up with any of the walkers. "But at least I got a good time!" See... there's always something laughable about it. Doug and I definitely showed up after a race started once and had fun catching up and getting ahead!

My favorite (insane) story of all is from Shelby. I can't even put this into my own words, so I'm going to share just as is with you:

"Let’s rewind about 3 years to the 2013 Rock ’n’ Roll Portland Half Marathon. Running this less than a week after my first full marathon I had no time goal but to finish with a smile. I donned my Sparkle Athletic skirt, cranked up the music and took off. If you’ve run in Portland you know it’s full of trains, bridges, and hills. I had never run in Portland, or a Rock ’n’ Roll race before so really I had no idea what to expect. Around Mile 5 we were going over the umpteenth bridge of the race when my left foot got stuck in a railroad track. Yes you read that right. The carpeting from the race didn’t cover it properly and I was stuck. After a little wiggling I got my foot out and kept running. By the time I hit the finish line I was in some pain but honestly thought it was because I ran my first marathon followed by a half in 7 days and I was still pretty new to it all. 

This is where it gets interesting….I went to run after 4 days off & could barely run a mile without stabbing pain. Being an out-of-state student at Oregon,I found a random foot doctor and made myself an appointment. The first thing the doctor did when he looked at me was say, “Have you ever worn a walking boot?” Random doctor say what now?!?! After telling the doctor what happened, he showed me the X-rays. I cracked the first metatarsal in my left foot, which I’ll be honest I was expecting something to that degree. I could feel a bump on the top of my foot that wasn't there before. The right foot was inconclusive because of a shadow so I was being scheduled for an MRI. In the mean time I got fit with a snazzy walking boot. Oh joy. Did I mention I WALKED to the doctor's office and had to walk back to campus? 1.2 miles a boot for the first time ever.

 A week later I went for my MRI and the next day got called in to discuss the results. Play by play: “The good news is you won’t be in a walking boot much longer”. “Really? I thought you said I’d spend the summer in this?” “Yes, instead of ‘a’ walking boot you’re going to be in two”. Ummm WHAT. Turns out I fractured the navicular bone in my right foot, which is more serious than the left foot fracture I was sporting. Instead of ONE walking boot I got to waddle away with TWO. Yeah, that was a lovely conversation to have with my parents. 
I spent 9 weeks wearing plastic bags over my boots so I could navigate through rain, avoiding downhills because I legit picked up speed with every step (try learning that for the first time while out to sushi with all of your friends….we STILL laugh at that revelation) and walking up stairs to classes turned to the side one by one. Even flying home to visit my parents was a freaking sitcom because I had to get a wheelchair, bypassed the metal detector at TSA so they could wave a wand over the boots, and got to board early. (If you've ever flown Allegiant airlines you know that's a freaking miracle and totally worth it). While at the time I was miserable (couldn’t even celebrate my 21st birthday for fear of me falling over and injuring myself further) looking back it’s completely hysterical. In the end the doctor gave me the green light to run the #DumboDoubleDare with my dad and I got introduced to the magic of Brooks shoes." 

Um... yowch?!
So let's here it. Traffic issues? Porto potty lines? Dead Garmin on a dream race? What's been your worst race day disaster and how did you fare?

Monday, April 25, 2016

Weekly Workout Recap #16

April 17 - 23

Week 1 of taper in the books. Not gonna lie, this week was hard. Considering it's taper time and all supposed to be easy, I feel like I'm definitely at the point where it's just like "Dear race day: get here already." So some of my runs I fought through this week, and some just didn't happen. And I'm at peace with that.

Sunday | 5 miles pace
Dude. I had just run 21 miles on Saturday morning. Proof:

Because obviously if I held up any other  number, it wouldn't be true. 21 freaking miles. But I digress... so we also went out Saturday night for Doug's friend's birthday (happy birthday Justin!), and in turn woke up real hungover on Sunday. Life... it was nice to enjoy it! But that definitely added up to no mileage on Sunday. Also enjoyable.

Monday | 4 miles + strength
You'd think with all the Boston hoopla I got into on Monday morning, that I'd take that high and run with the whole way on Monday evening. I was scheduled for 4 miles and my legs were apparently feeling both the 21 from Saturday and the Sunday hangover, so 4 were hard. I settled for 3 when my knee also flared up and just decided to call it a day. Better than zero?

3.00 miles, 28:40, BLAH

Tuesday | 6 miles
...because then I settled for zero on Tuesday! I got home from work on Tuesday just wiped. And I was hosting a baby shower at work on Wednesday (spoiler: it was adorable), so I opted to get my last projects and crafting done for the shower. I very much enjoyed an evening on the couch (or at the kitchen table)... hooray taper?!

Wednesday | 4 miles + yoga
Jacky was finally making a comeback to yoga, so we opted for some miles before a good stretch. I left work a bit later than intended, so it worked out when I thought I had to do 5, but turns it was just 4... because that's all we ended up with time for. Four easy miles out on the trail, just in time to get back for a fantastic stretch sesh with Veronica! Seriously loving my Wednesday nights. These views sure don't hurt either.

4 miles, 37:56, 9:28 pace 
60 minutes yoga

Thursday | 30 minutes tempo
After work, sometimes the last thing I wanna do is get out and run. But you know, duty calls - I sat and enjoyed my armchair for awhile but decided the longer I sat, the harder it would be to get a run in. I finally headed out, convincing myself that 30 minutes is "like nothing," and that I just need to get get in a good run and make it count! The first mile was okay, the second mile sucked, and the third mile (and the extra) just flew, so I guess that's a win overall! Mile splits 8:40, 9:02, 8:13 and change - got home pretty winded, so I guess that's a success!

3.6 miles, 30:49: 8:33 pace

Friday | Rest

Saturday | 4 miles
Running up in the mountains just does something for your soul - especially when you're normally a city-streets kinda runner. I went out for a few miles before our retreat day started around Angelus Oaks - a small little town just south of Big Bear. Just gorgeous - I love being up in the pine trees and taking in some new scenery (and elevation - whew!).


3 miles solo this morning plus a 4.5 mile round trip hike with my students to this gorgeous little gem of a lake. Perfection. 

7.5 miles, 2 hours total

And here we go...


How was your week? Make sure you link up below!

Join the link up each week, stay accountable & on track! And hey... make some new blends (blogger + friends = blends) in the process!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday Favorites #17

I can't believe another Friday is here and April is almost over. Insanity -- because then that also means that OC is just a week away and ZOMG cue the nerves.

Honestly, I'm feeling great and ready for another 26.2, but you'll read more about that in a sec because you know taper time is definitely part of my faves for the day!

I'm taking myself on a 30-ish hour adventure up to Seattle for RnR in June, as of this week! 

It's our commencement weekend so orientation season will not be taking my life that weekend so I'm taking the opportunity to go hit up half marathon state #10 and get one of these fab fish medals in the process. Best yet? Free flight, free race reg through #RocknBlog and I am a freaking happy camper! 

Join me before the price increase in 4/30 -- use code RUNMEGANRUN for $15 off your entry on the half or full (there's an 8K too!). 

2. Local Scenery
I run the same routes pretty often, but it's rare that a new sight literally stops me in my tracks. The other night on a run before yoga - again, in a place I normally run, this literally caught my breath:

The purple flowers, the sunset, being able to see down in the valley was just incredible. I'm looking forward to summer when I can get more daylight runs in and find some new sights around our area too! 

3. Retreat Weekend
It's retreat weekend with my student leaders up in Big Bear - which also means new sights! We're at a camp resort center with tons of trails downtown the creek and around the lodges and even out to a lake. I'm excited for a weekend to get to know our team of 50, but also excited for some new views!

4. SOM Needs
Y'all didn't miss Pro's new Sock of the Month, did you? Hope not! Anyway, these mint with white dots are a-freaking-durable and I can't wait to rock them at OC. 

My problem is such: I need a mint tank to wear them with! Got a fave or seen some lately? Send links and recommendations my way! I've got 8 days to get myself dressed for 26.2!

5. Taper Time!
You didn't think I'd miss this, did you? Week 1 of taper time is done and I've got one more full week of runs and then it's GO TIME. 

After last weekend's kick-ass 21-miler, I've got a new sense of confidence about rockin' at OC. There are still some big goals at bay, but it's not impossible. In fact, I find it more do-able than ever. Bring it on, OC! Bring. It. On. 

What are you loving this week?