Wednesday, February 25, 2015

On Marathon Confidence + Giveaway Winner!

My head has gone in both directions on how ready I feel, how ready I am, and how not ready I am for these 26.2 miles in two and a half weeks. I cannot believe it is almost here and just in awe at how fast the last four months went - seriously though!

My first leg at Ragnar was rough - a tough elevation climb, but it left me doubting what kind of shape I was in, because surely, I'd run hills before?! That's nothing new, so why did they beat me up so badly? It left me feeling a little down, as I'd hoped to knock out three stellar legs and maintain at least marathon pace on all three legs. The first leg averaged a 10:01 pace, leg 2 at 10:35 (only because all those dang stoplights!), and leg 3 finally kicked tail at a 9:49 pace.

The last mile of leg 3, I was feeling it. I had rocked pretty good that leg, and going into the last 1.25 miles, had five kills (all men) to help kickstart my final push into the exchange. When the going got tough, the first thing in my head  was, "Okay... this is mile 22 of the marathon. You got this now, it's time to push, get past the hurt and uncomfortable... and make this happen!" Bam. Done and done.  More on Ragnar Del Sol soon.

Tonight, I was scheduled for 40 minutes at an aerobic threshold pace. It was the last thing I wanted to do after an exhausting day with third graders, and really, I put it off as long as possible.

10 minutes of an easy warm up, 35 minutes at an AT pace, and then (too short of) a cool down, but that's okay. Those 4 miles during my 35 minutes are probably, in combination, my fastest 4  miles ever, all at an 8:13-8:29 pace, and even with the cool down and warm up, these 5.5 are probably my fastest ever (too bad the last Ragnar leg didn't turn out the same!).

Killer. And then it's runs like these that make me feel like I can do it all over again! Bring it on, LA Marathon!

Congrats to Jillian for winning the Spartan giveaway! Jillian, I'll be emailing you information and your registration code for the newest race on your calendar this year!

Didn't win? Have no fear - you can still get 10% off with the code SPARTANBLOGGER. This is good for any race in the US, any distance!

When did you hit the point where you feel like you COULD tackle that distance, whatever it may be?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Top 6 Reasons You Should Run a Rock 'n Roll Race

...because numbers like 5 and 10 are boring and expected.

1. The music.
It's no lie that you have a real, live iPod with you along any RnR course. With over a dozen bands and entertainers along every course, you have no reason to bring headphones along... just cruise to the jams provided for you! And, of course, every race finishes with a headliner concert. Past headliners include the Goo Goo Dolls, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and the Wallflowers, among dozens of others!

2. Who doesn't love a runcation?
The opportunities to see new states - and new countries, at that - is abound. If you're a Tour Pass holder (there's a 3-pack and both a North American and Global option), you can check out all kinds of new cities and cross off some of those half- or full-marathon states while you're at it!

2015 Rock 'n Roll tour stops. 
3. The scenery. 
Part of the fun in running in new cities is getting to explore on foot. Personally, I think there's no better way to get to know a new place! Whether it's the bright lights on the Vegas strip, or running underneath Spanish moss-covered trees in New Orleans, sights are abound along any course you'll find.
One of my major bucket list races! (source)

4. The expos! 
We all know that if you aren't careful, you can pretty much blow your entire month's paycheck at a race expo. Rock 'n Roll expos are that, times ten - everything from other races (and discounts!), to food and fuel samples, to the newest and greatest in all other things running (including some of my faves like Pro Compression and Sparkly Soul). The entire front half of each expo is a Brooks-based store for all things specific to that race, from jackets to hats and all kinds of shirts and tanks. It's dangerous. You've been warned.

5. The challenges. 
So many races around the country are now doing their own weekend-based challenges, and RnR is no exception. Last year, the Remix challenges were in cities like Vegas, San Jose, Philly, and Virginia Beach. The challenge? Run the 5K on Saturday (medal #1), and either the half or full on Sunday (medal #2), and then you earn the sweet, spinning Remix medal (#3). Sounds like a good time to me! There arew a few additional Remix location for 2015 - I'm in for San Diego! Bring it on!

6. The BLING
Most notably, Rock 'n Roll races are known for the bling. You know they don't fall short in this area - my Vegas one from 2013 glows in the dark, and I swear they weigh 5 pounds each and hurt my neck just walking those babies back to the car from the finish line. Check out all the special medals here - including Remix challenges, destination challenges, and the Heavy Medals (I'm stoked about getting a few of those this year!).

Hello! Excited to earn one of these babies in May, too!
Want to run for all these reasons and more? Use code RUNMEGANRUN for $15 any domestic (Canada included) half or full marathon. Las Vegas is not included in this promotion. 5K, 10K and relay distances not eligible for promotion.

Where will I see you this year?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Unexpected Adventures

So, somehow I've found myself on a Ragnar team. As of last Friday, officially. For a Ragnar that starts... tomorrow.

I mean, realistically, this is probably not shocking. Tina has been on a team with her local Moms Run this Town group (or at least what started this way). Over the last few weeks, they've had a number of runners fall in and out of the rotation. Someone just pulled out last week after having some PF issues and bam - the offer was thrown my way.

Phoenix is far enough but close enought that this isn't a stretch for me to be able to do -  not to mention, (nearly) the entire team is based there, so there's no extra lodging costs at all either! And, compared to a plane ticket, travel is cheap. I call it a win.
We'll be running from wild west Wickenburg (re: middle of nowhere) all the way up and around the north side of Phoenix, way out east, and then back in towards Tempe. Save for a few good hills (also known as my entire first leg), this is pretty flat in comparison to a lot of other Ragnars I've done so far.

I've joked that I don't want to repeat Ragnars until I've done them all - DC, So Cal, and Napa were a blast, but I'm excited to conquer a new one too! I'm excited to be runner 1 - better yet, excited to be in Van 1 over Van 2 (I'm still under the theory that Van 1 gets a lot more rest), we're driving ourselves (yes, that's a bonus in my book), and get to run with Tina, Erica, and Mandy again!

Ragnar Del Sol, here I come! I'm off this afternoon sometime to make way to Phoenix. I'll get there super late (8-9 pm), and we are out the door at 3 am to get to Wickenburg for our 5 am start. Needless to say, I'm already going to start Ragnar on a very, very tired foot. But that's how Ragnar goes, amiright?

Are you rocking with me at Ragnar Del Sol this weekend?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Reebok Spartan Race Series | Giveaway!

It's no lie that I like to run. But sometimes, it's fun to take on a different sort of challenge - one that's just not all about running. While I have no strength in my body besides my legs, it's nice to put that theory to the test and see if I can manage any other strenuous activities that require muscles from my waist up (hint: my arms are more tired than my legs usually).

Obstacle courses are probably the best way to do that - with so many around by name (Spartan, Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder) and then smaller, local races that do the same, there are plenty of options to get your obstacle on and see what you're made of, too.

I have yet to add a Spartan race to my schedule this year, but maybe at some point in the near future, it'll get on my race calendar too! I'm excited for a little not-all-running fun, you know what I mean?

The cool part about the Spartan series is that there's varying degrees of intensity to choose from: Spartan Sprint is 3+ miles with 15+ obstacles, Super Spartan at 8+ miles and 20+ obstacles, and Spartan Beast at 12+ miles and 25+ obstacles! Each course is filled with mud pits, water, and their signature obstacles for you to tackle. Sounds like a blast to me!

For more updates all about Spartan races, be sure to follow their news feed - you can check out their new Podcast series, learn about the Spartan pass that allows you do to multiple races in a year, and even check out their newest venture - the Spartan CRUISE! Yep, a cruise down to the Bahamas so you can get your obstacle on internationally. If only I'd be ready, I'd say count me in!

Spartan races are all over the country, from Washington to Florida and Vermont to California - where will you take the challenge?

Spartan Race Twitter | Facebook

The super awesome Spartan folks have given me a chance to giveaway a race entry for any Spartan race (open-heat) in the Continental US for 2015! Sound like something you're game for? Enter below! Giveaway closes February 25 at midnight PST. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 16, 2015

Marathon Training: One Month To Go!

So I'm running the LA Marathon in four weeks - holy crap, four weeks. I realize that I, for once, haven't recapped training once (though have been good about it on Daily Mile), and really... haven't talked about it all that much here on Run Megan Run. I guess life has other plans while I'm not blogging and staring at my computer.

But amazingly enough, the last four months have flown by, hundreds of miles down, and I'm gearing up and getting ready to hunker down, finish the last two strong weeks, and psych myself up for taper time. The last time I did this, taper really meant get-bronchitis-and-be-forced-to-sit-on-the-couch-anyway, so I am actually wondering if I'm really going to feel the taper madness.

After a super tough 12.3 miles on Saturday (re: where I didn't even make it to 13), I realize that I've got some major commitments to make in life for the next four weeks to ensure I am at my absolute best going into race day. I'm laying them out on the line to ensure you folks hold me accountable and that I follow through with my actions.

1. Stretch & Foam Roll 
This is vital - I'm guilty of not streching, even when I feel tired and sluggish, and know that I need to keep myself limber and able. I am making a commitment to stretch every morning, whether there is a run scheduled or not, and that especially after long days, I'll be getting down on the floor with the roller to make sure I'm working any tight spots out.

2. Hip Exercises
I know my hips have been wonky for awhile - my theory is that it's mostly due to fluctuating between which leg I put more pressure on to either make up for a bum left knee, or overcompensating for that fact. The chiropractor I met with after the Russ 5K started to adjust me, started to get me in place, but told me there's a lot of work to do. I'm going to start with some basic hip strengthening moves, just to keep things in place and as strong as they'll be!

3. No Alcohol 
The culprit for most of the reason that Saturday's run sucked. I don't drink a lot, nor all that often, but here on out, there's none of it. I had some fun indulging this weekend, but that's enough to get me through another four weeks.

4. Don't Miss a Run
Quite honestly, there are not many runs I've missed altogether in this cycle. Some have been modified, but overall, the runs have all been happening. But this is ultimate time, time to make sure I've got it together, that I'm stronger and tougher than I think. Skipping on a run will only be in cases where my body really just says, "Yo, chill for a day."

5. Chiropractor
Again, the awesome chiro we met with offered one free treatment for visiting her again. I'm already planning on going again in two weeks, and then plan to shortly after the marathon, too. She was amazing in talking through where my aches are, what history I have with surgeries, and how my right side overcompensates for the left and therefore a lot of the physical issues inside! I would like to make this a regular occurrence, but that'll have to wait for a regular income.

6. Water Intake
It's amazing how much better I was about drinking water while I was sitting at a desk, rather than running around all over the place like I do now. Even with substitute teaching like I have been, I need to ensure that I'm taking in my daily recommendation (90 oz) and staying hydrated appropriately through the week.

7. Portions, Diet, Whatever
I'm calling it a diet, but really, I'm sucking at it. What I really intend to do is watch my portions a little better, cut out some of the crap (I'm a sucker for dessert). Originally my goal was to lose about 10 pounds prior to race day, but really, I'd be happy with 5 because frankly, I'm just not getting there. I know I need to eat better for the way I run, but I also like to eat the way I do because I run. One long, vicious cycle. Le sigh.

There you have it. Seven major goals, projects, tasks, whatever you want to call it to ensure that I'm my best on March 15. I feel stronger, healthier, better and more capable than I did for marathon #1, and I'm excited that we're just a month out! And terrified. But mostly excited, amped, and ready to go.

What are your major focuses heading into the last weeks of marathon training? Any additional tips for me?

Saturday, February 7, 2015

16 Miler + A 5K Sandwich

Because, really... this is what it's all about.
Today I had 16 miles on the schedule for LA Marathon training. The last time I remember running 16 miles (aside from during the Surf City full TWO years ago), was during training for the Surf City full! That time, I went and ran a half marathon that was near me, and then went home and ran 3 more miles to top it all out.

Today was different. I skipped out on the IERC run club group long run (eeeep!) in exchange for another one of the local Chino 5Ks, the Run for Russ. We ran this last year and it's such a heartfelt local cause, it'll be hard not to run it every year. This year marks 15 years since Officer Miller was killed. Last year there were about 800 finishers and today just over 900, so this race is certainly picking up steam in the community.

So, my day. 16 miles on tap, only 3 of which were going to be with other people. A solo half marathon? Not going lie, was a little nervous for that idea, but also excited to test out how much willpower I really have and to see how far this marathon training cycle has gotten me.

The Goal:
- At least 5 miles before the 5K
- 2 miles to the 5K from home
- 5K
- Rest of the miles to get to home... eventually

6:25: I rolled out of bed at and was out the door at 6:30 to get moving. I ended up doing a full 5-mile loop from home straight back to the front door. Perfection. I had exactly 5 minutes to change my shirt and shoes and head out the door again.

7:28: Out the door for the run to the start. 2 miles, race started at 8, so I was on tap to get there before 7:50 and have a few minutes to chill out.

Halfway there: Realize it's not 2 miles to the start, but 2.5... got some hustlin' to do. Last mile to the 5K start line, 8:40 pace. Whoops.

8 am: 5K start. Start too fast for legs that already have 7.5 miles on them today. Back off, Doug pushes on ahead.

8:28: Finish 5K in 28:14. Wait for dad to see if he'll make his goal time (35 minutes, or at least a PR).

8:36: See Dad, jog down to him and sprint with him back up to the finish line (.25 miles in total).

Dad's got a new PR! 37:02 and 13/55 in his AG!
Hang around, eat pancakes to re-fuel with Mom, Dad, Doug, and Adrienne and listen to age group awards. I finished 6th of 53 in my age group. Not bad. Go visit the chiropractor at the race, get adjusted, get advised to come see a chiro more often (my hips are all kinds of wonky), and get loose again.

10:15: Take off for the last 5.25 miles to get to 16 miles on the day.

11:10: Done and done. 16 miles ticks exactly as I reach the front door. BAM.

I wanted to quit at mile 14. I was ready to be done, but the thought of having only two more miles to go in the span of 16 was nothing, so I pushed on and had an awesome last mile. I did it!

BAM. Done and done! 
It's been a long time since I've run that much (aside from in increments, like at Ragnar), and I felt/feel pretty damn good, considering. I'm really proud of myself for sticking through those solo miles and being able to knock out 16 miles in 2:32 at a 9:30 pace, which is perfectly on target for marathon pacing and I couldn't feel better about it!

Bring it on, LA.

Have you ever done a race to account for a long training run?