phoenix marathon

My post-marathon spring fitness program

At Caesar's Palace on our Vegas vacay

At Caesar’s Palace on our Vegas vacay

Now that the Phoenix Marathon and my winter vacation has come and gone, I sat down over the weekend to plan out my soring fitness program – essentially my workouts and meal planning from now until the summer. I finally went for a short run on Sunday, two weeks after the Phoenix race, and it was a total slog. Nothing hurt, which was great, but my legs felt like lead. It probably didn’t help that I jumped right into strength training this week and was feeling a bit sore.

Although there’s a small part of me that wants to sign up for the BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 1st to attempt to qualify for Boston again this year, I know my body (and mind) needs a break from those epically long Sunday runs. I could probably train without increasing my mileage too much, but I really miss feeling strong and fit from those four-day-a-week strength training sessions. So, I’ve decided to forgo the BMO Vancouver Marathon and to set my sights on the Goodlife Victoria Marathon again as a qualifying race this fall. Yes, that means I won’t achieve one of the goals I set for myself in January (well, just the year that I get to run Boston – I still could technically qualify this year). And I’m okay with that. I feel like this year will be a year where a lot of things may change and goals will shift accordingly. I’ve already experienced several big changes so far this year that will probably affect my 2016 goals that I’ll share at some point on the blog (don’t worry, it’s in a good way!). (more…)

Race review: Phoenix Marathon

Hard earned medal! I had to have my bag searched when I took it through security as it looked like a weapon on the bag scanner, haha.

Hard earned medal! I had to have my bag searched when I took it through airport security as it looked like a weapon on the bag scanner, haha.

So my Phoenix Marathon race didn’t go as planned.

And for some reason, I’m not terribly upset about it. Even when the grinding pain in my right hip — which started around mile 9 — became too much to handle at mile 13 and the 3:40 pace group passed by me about 15 minutes later, I wasn’t frustrated or mad. Even though I travelled 1,600 miles to run a race in hopes of qualifying for Boston, I was more concerned about not being about to walk around Disneyland and Vegas after the race. It’s not that I wasn’t focused on my goal or disappointed that I didn’t do what I set out to do… but I think I’ve just run enough races now to understand that’s just the nature of the marathon. You could have a completely perfect training cycle and taper, only to totally blow it on race day. And likewise, you could be riddled with injuries and illness and somehow have a fantastic race. That’s just the way it goes. (more…)

Phoenix Marathon training update: 1 week to go!

newgarmin

My new Garmin Forerunner!

My current state is a mix of pre-race jitters, concern about the heat in Phoenix, general excitement for running a marathon in another country, worrying about staying healthy before we go, and crazy excitement for Disneyland (I haven’t been since I was 12!) and Vegas (I’ve never been!).

I did my last long run on Sunday, a 10 km at a moderate 5:23 pace. I meant to go slower, but decided to test my new Garmin (yes, I bit the bullet because and bought a Forerunner 225 because it’s one less thing I have to worry about on race day) and how it paces. I cruised along at my race pace for a bit (about 4:55 min/per km) and felt pretty good. I LOVE all the data on the Forerunner 225, which also doubles as an activity tracker; you can wear it all day to track steps, sleep and calories burned, plus it has continuous heart rate tracking from your wrist (own with chest straps!). I’ve been wearing the Garmin on one wrist and my FitBit Charge on the other to compare tracking, so hopefully I can write up a full comparison for the blog eventually. (more…)

Phoenix Marathon training update: Two weeks to go!

Last long run before the race!

Last long run before the race!

I meant to write another update last week, but could only manage one blog post amid freelance writing priorities. This week will be much of the same I think, as I have seven 500-word articles due before I leave on the 25th. Hopefully I can get back to more blogging in March when things slow down a bit!

I did my last long-ish run on Sunday before the marathon, and will now spend the last two weeks taking it easy. Here’s how I’m hoping the next two weeks will go (with some changes from my updated plan):

Feb 15 – 21
Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 30 minute full-body strength circuit/plyo plus 15 minutes yoga and foam rolling
Wednesday – 40 min treadmill intervals
Thursday – 30 minute full-body strength circuit plus 15 minutes yoga and foam rolling
Friday – 40 min easy run
Saturday – 6 km easy run
Sunday – 10 km easy run

Feb 22 – Race day!
Monday – Rest 30 minutes yoga and foam rolling
Tuesday – 30 minutes yoga and foam rolling 40 min easy treadmill run
Wednesday – 30 min easy treadmill run (plus yoga and foam rolling)
Thursday – Rest (travel day)
Friday – Easy 3 km in Phoenix (plus yoga and foam rolling)
Saturday – RACE! (And run a 4:57 pace to finish in 3:29:00!!!)
Sunday – Rest/eat and drink everything (more…)

Phoenix marathon training update: What it’s like to train for a warm destination race marathon during the winter on Vancouver Island

winter runningHave I mentioned how strongly I dislike training for a marathon during the winter?

As a chronically cold person, I much prefer warmer climes when running outside for long periods of time; I’d take sweating it out on a hot and muggy three-hour run to trying to stay warm during a gloomy and damp three-hour run ANY day. Even though I don’t have to deal with snow and 20 below temperatures here on the west coast, I struggle to get warm no matter how many layers I wear, both when I’m running outside and when I’m just sitting around inside. And when you’re sitting there freezing before you need to go outside to run at 6 a.m. in even COLDER temperatures, getting up and out the door is a real struggle.   (more…)

My three goals for 2016

My goals for 2016Welcome to another edition of my annual non-New Year’s resolution blog post, where I list my top three goals for the year to come: one fitness-related, one professional, and one personal.

I started publicly sharing my goals back in 2012 as a way to keep myself accountable, but also so I could look back and see where I was at the time fitness-wise, professionally and personally.

My 2012 and 2013 years were tough professionally and personally, as I was leaving one long-term relationship and moving into another, and transitioning from a tough contract job into a government position. In 2011 I completed my first triathlon and was a running machine, signing up for almost every local race I could afford. But in 2013 my focus shifted, and for some reason I made it my goal to “have abs” in 2013. I’m glad I decided to run my first ultra instead. That’s a much more bad-ass goal.

In 2014, I actually achieved all the goals I set out for myself, which I was super proud of — especially getting published (and featured!) in a print magazine and qualifying for Boston. Last year I did okay, but as I explained in this post, I was having another “transition” year, as I like to call it — where a lot more stuff was going on than what was shared on this blog.

So for this coming year — considering all things that have happened this past year — here are my three goals for 2016. (more…)

My Boston Qualifier winter marathon training plan

Me after BQ'ing at the Victoria Marathon last year. Hopefully I'll be this excited again in February!

Me after BQ’ing at the Victoria Marathon last year. Hopefully I’ll be this excited again in February!

What happens when you miss the cut-off for the Boston Marathon by 1 minute and 25 seconds because you didn’t run fast enough under your qualifying time?

You pick a promising goal race with enough time to run another qualifying race if you don’t make it during the first attempt, and then make a plan to get faster.

To be honest, I’m not thrilled about training for a marathon in the cold winter months when it’s dark and rainy out. But if I want to run the Phoenix Marathon on February 27, 2016, long runs on cold winter mornings will have to happen. I’m also not thrilled that training will start in a few weeks, even though I had planned (and started) to go into a muscle/strength building phase.

But Boston is my goal, and since I didn’t make it in for 2016, 2017 will have to be the year.

One of the reasons why I chose the Phoenix Marathon (other than it will give me enough time to try again at the BMO Vancouver Marathon in May if I don’t run at least 6 minutes under my qualifying time of 3:35) is the net elevation loss on the course. It’s pretty much downhill the whole way, which is awesome, whereas Vancouver is a bit too hilly for my liking. Also, Matt and I have decided we could make a trip of it: Hitting up some NHL games, Disneyland and Vegas on the way back. Sounds like the perfect excuse to run Phoenix to me! (more…)

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