Thursday, October 16, 2014

MCM Taper time

Here I am tapering for my second marathon- the MCM. Last week was the first week that I started tapering. The last week before tapering should be the highest mileage week. Anyway, that week (09/29-10/05) I only ran 42 miles (compare to 56 miles the week before with 5 day run) with 4 day run. I felt right hip pain and I didn't want to risk getting injury before the marathon. I didn't even do the marathon pace run which I usually did on Thursday for about 10-12 miles. I switched it to 6 miles easy. I did my longest run ( 21.6 miles) easy also.

 For the first taper week (10/6-10/12), I ran 42 miles with 4 day run, one day cross training on my rowing machine and two rest days. I did all workouts – speed on Tuesday, 8 miles at marathon pace on Thursday (total 12 miles), easy 7 mile run on Saturday, and 12 miles at marathon pace on Sunday (total 16 miles). All my marathon pace came out faster than I planned to run. I barely looked at the watch while running, and I just ran by how I felt. I was pretty tired at the end. I just have to slow down more when running my marathon. 

I'm now in the second week taper. So far, I took Monday off, and did speed work on Tuesday (7x1K at 7:40-7:40 pace with 2 min RI, 1M w/u, and 1 M c/d). I plan to run 4 days a week, with one cross train day on Wednesday, Thursday will be my marathon pace run (plan to do 3M w/u, 6M at MP, 3M c/d), Friday- an hour easy run, Saturday will be easy 8-10 miles, with another rest day on Sunday.

I'm still not so sure what to do about water on race day. Most people told me to just stop at the water stops, but a few runners told me that I should be carry my own water especially for MCM which will be SUPER crowded. I asked my coworker (Sandra) who is much faster runner than me to be my pacer for my second half of the race and maybe carry the water for me. She said that she will have to let me know later if she can do that or not. It would be great if she could help me out, so I don't have carry my own water and has someone to run with.

My marathon race day plan- I plan to run the first few miles (9:10-9:20) easy especially they are pretty much uphill the first 3 miles. I think I may start with the 4 hour pace group for those miles. I will have to talk to them to see what race they decide to run those miles first before running with them. Then I will ease in to about 8:55 from mile 4 and hold the pace for the first half, then lower the pace to 8:50 until mile 20, then see if I could hold the pace all the way to mile 23, then I would give it all I have left.

We will see what is actually going to happen on the race day. Right now, I will just relax and enjoy my taper.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Parks Half marathon 2014 race recap

I was running the Parks half marathon 2014 this past Sunday (09/14/14). The course started at Rockville metro station, going downhill on Veirs Mill rd before turning on Rock Creek trail, before exiting through Chavy Chase neighborhood, and continued on to Capitol Crescent (CCT)/Georgetown Branch Trail, and ended in downtown Bethesda.

Picture from

The course wasn't super flat but neither super hilly. It was a nice course with the first few miles downhill, then a big hill at around mile 4, then mostly flat until mile 11- finish. 

Picture from

I usually do my marathon pace runs, and some long runs on Rock Creek trail, so I'm familiar with the course. Anyway, I've never run the whole course in one run.

I was taking a mini taper by running only 6 miles on Thursday instead of 10+ miles like every week. Then I did the cross training on Friday and no running at all on Saturday. I was eating Chipotle (BIG meal) for dinner on Saturday, then went to bed super early (around 7:30-8 pm).

I woke up around 5 am, ate two slices of bread with Nutella, got dressed, did my normal knee stretches, then I woke Brian up around 6 am. The starting line was at Rockville metro station. We got there around 6:30. It was about 10 minutes walk from where we parked to the starting line. There were lots of potties there but there was still a quite line. I went to pee three times before toeing the starting line. My goal was to break sub 1:50. I found the 1:50 pacer and planned to try to stick with her.

The weather was around late 40 which was kinda chilly. But as soon as the gun went off at 7 am, and I started running, I felt great. Laura (the pacer) was weaving through people the first mile since it was crowded (about 2500-3000 runners). I didn't set my Garmin to do the auto lap like usual. I just hit the lap button each time I ran pass the mile marker (it was clearly visible on the course). I ran the first two miles too fast (8:14, 8:17) because they were downhill. I realized that I got in front of Laura, so I slowed down and walked through the water station. Mile 3 came out at 8:42 which was the slowest mile for me.

After the big hill at mile 4, I just kept following Laura. I may not be running right by her, but hearing her voice assured me that I wasn't too far from her. I pretty much drank Gatorade and walked through all water station. One good thing about this course was there was a sign before the water and aid station which let me know when to take Gu gel. Right before mile 8, I took Gu gel, and drank it down with water. Around mile 9, I saw Sherene,  a runner from my XMP pace group. We just said hi to each other, and I kept running.Mile 9 and 10 were the fastest miles for me at 8:02, and 8:08, not sure if it was from Gu gel or what.

Mile 11 came the hill, I just concentrated on my form running uphill. When we hit mile marker 12, I decided to take off from the 1:50 group. I heard Laura cheering me on. I was getting tired at that point, but kept running. From mile 11-finish was pretty much uphill even though you didn't really see the hills but your legs felt them. I managed to pass a few more runners. As soon as I hit mile 13, I sprinted the last 0.1 miles to the finish line. It felt good passing lots of other runners at the end.  But my photo probably didn't say so. LOL

I gave it all I had at this point. 

I was smiling running through the finish line. 

My Garmin showed 1:48:53, and my official time was 1:48:51. I was super happy with the result. I did it!!! I ran sub 1:50. I felt that I ran the race smartly. I even had energy left to sprint the last 0.1 miles to the finish line. I may be able to run little faster if I didn't slow down too much at mile 3, but I'm definitely happy with this race.The weather was perfect, the course was nice, volunteers were very helpful, and I did beat my PR by 4 minutes. 

 Here are the splits from my Garmin.

The result from the race; I got 125/983 (overall female), 26/150(AG),time 1:48:51, pace  8:19.
About 6 weeks before the MCM, I feel more confidence that I will be able to run sub-4 marathon. :) 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

20 miler

So, I went out to run yesterday trying to do 20 miles, but I just didn't feel right. I was super tired after a few miles. My hamstring felt tight uphill which was unusual. I think it must be from Jillian - no more trouble zones workout that I did on Friday. I usually did this workout on my cross training day but haven't done it in at least a month. I wasn't smart to be doing that workout a day before my long run.

After 5 miles, I was ready to call it quit. I was about 5-6 miles from home and I wasn't looking to be running back home. I saw a few walkers on the trail, so I asked to borrow the cellphone to call my hubby but they didn't have their cellphone with them. Luckily, this gentleman on a bench had his cellphone and let me borrow it to call Brian to come pick me up.

Last night, I made sure to go to bed early. I woke up around 5 am to eat a slice of bread with nutella. I woke up again at 5:30 to do this runner's knee stretches following by this warm-up routine which I have been doing for a few months.

Then I was out the door at around 6:10. The weather was cloudy, 72F, with about 98% humidity. I definitely felt it after a mile. I was sweating but at least there was some breeze to help cool me down a bit.

I planned to do 20 miles progression run. My plan was to start at 10 minute-pace and then ran 10 seconds faster every two miles for the first 6 miles, then 10 seconds faster every three miles, mile 18 at 8:50, and mile 19 as fast as I could, then recovery jog the last mile.

The first 6 miles felt crappy. I felt weak and didn't have much energy. I took Gu gel at mile 7 and by mile 9, I felt much better. Mile 10-19 moving pace came out at 9:17, 8:48, 9:16, 9:04, 9:02, 8:57, 9:04, 9:04, 9:03, 8:48. I felt tired the last 4-5 miles. I tried to look for somebody on the trail whom I could tag a long. I think it helps mentally to have somebody running with you in those tough miles. The last mile, I was pretty much huffing and puffing the whole way. But, I was happy that I pushed through. The last mile I just took it easy with walk/jog home.

After a few minutes of stretches and a bottle of chocolate milk, I took the ice bath. My calves felt much better after a bath. Then I did the ITB rehab routine and the Core H routine like I usually do on hard run days.


There are two more 20 miler runs on my training plan before the MCM. I just hope that I will be able to run sub-4 marathon.