Showing posts with label marathon training. Show all posts
Showing posts with label marathon training. Show all posts

September 12, 2018

Candy as Running Fuel? {My Top 4 Favorites}


Disclosure: The products from Goetzes were received complimentary to review and share. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own.


As I mentioned in my last post (all about my favorite runner recovery tools!) I am just finishing up training for my 7th marathon. So many questions. How did this happen? I guess I really am a marathoner instead of a person who ran a couple marathons now? Don’t you get hungry on long run. The answer to that last question is definitely yes. I usually always eat a little something before long runs and practice fueling so my body is used to what’s going to be happening on race day. Typically I don’t eat during runs if my run is less than 75 minute-ish. I do fuel more on race day than I do in training runs too. I’m a fan of Honey Stinger Ginsting gels (like caffeinated honey in a packet), Huma gels, and GU gels. I do take some chews on middle distance runs or half marathons. In a pinch though, I always turn to adding some candy into my fueling. Or taking a Ziploc bag of Swedish Fish with me on a 13 mile run. It’s kind of an excuse to indulge my sweet tooth, but also is pure sugar running fuel.  


For marathoners, it is recommended to intake 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour, depending on his or her speed and size. Carbohydrate gels like the ones I mentioned I use or even Sports Beans contain between 20-25 grams of carbohydrate per packet. If you look at some of these candies, they contain 20-27 grams of carbohydrate per serving as well.

mini Cow Tales vs. Birthday Cake GU

This is really talking about marathon distance over other distances. Fully carb loaded, your body can only store about 60-90 minutes of carbohydrates. For more information on marathon fueling check out this awesome post via Charm City Run’s blog. Typically you only need to fuel. Anyways, you want some fast, pure sugar coursing through your veins fast so why not turn to candy. This article from Runner’s World does a nice job of explaining the pros and cons of using candy as fuel.  

Pros of Using Candy as a Fuel

-It is delicious
-Candy is cheaper than most running fuel.
-Candy can be bought at any convenience store, drug store, etc.
-It’s sugar.

Cons of Using Candy as Fuel

-Some studies show that taking in more than one type of sugar carbohydrate can speed absorption and lower chances of GI issues
-It doesn’t include any electrolytes or caffeine like many of the running fuels do.
-Most candy contains artificial colors and preservatives which aren’t the healthiest/best for you and may cause GI distress.

So I’d say try it for yourself. It’s a nice way to switch up fueling for a run or if you happen to find yourself without fancier running fuel on you. Again, I love candy as a supplement to my gels for longer distances, something to eat before an afternoon/evening run or to eat during a middle distance run. 


These 4 candies are my favorite running fuel candy options which are tried and true for me. Again, always test any new fueling out to see if your body tolerates it during a training run :) 

1 . Swedish Fish

First of all I love Swedish Fish period. They are a little chewy, with that delicious strawberryish flavor. They don’t take a lot of chew when I’m on the run and also don’t melt a ton. Unfortunately for any other time but fortunately for running, you only need a handful to make a serving so there isn’t a ton of candy you need to consume at once.

2. Gummy Bears

Another delicious candy. This option is great because you can bring one serving which is usually somewhere between 12-17 bears give or take (depending on brand) so you have lots of little bites of sugar. With gummy bears you also get a few different flavors in each handful.They can get gooey or involve a lot of chewing, so they aren’t always the best mid-run option.

3. Cow Tales

Caramels with a little creamy center. These do have some milk ingredients in the cream which can be iffy when choosing candy as fueling because the fat can cause GI issues plus is slower digesting-they are also wheat-based if you have any allergies. Popping a few of these in my mouth before a run hasn’t been a problem for me so far with my already very sensitive stomach (hasn’t made anything worse) so I’d say as with anything, try it and see how your body likes it.

These are individually wrapped and don’t melt which is a plus. I used to eat these all the time as a kid and love how chewy and delicious they are. Goetze's Candy , which I found out was a Maryland-based company, was nice enough to send me some Caramel Creams and mini Cow Tales since I’m such a sweet tooth. Let’s just saw these did not last very long, with and without running!

4. Twizzlers

Twizzlers are a weird strawberry chewy candy that I happen to like. They cemented themselves as a great running candy when I grabbed a few from a stranger during the Boston Marathon at one of the middle miles when I was freezing cold, soaking wet, and candy seemed like a good idea. Despite it being a monsoon, Twizzlers do not get gross when wet! It was also something that was easy to hold and take a few bites out with while running. I was actually snacking on a serving of them before a couple afternoon workouts last week!


Do you use any nontraditional or runner-specific fueling options?



August 14, 2018

Berlin Marathon Training Recap #2 (Weeks #6-9)

Summer has been flying by which means so has marathon training. Like I mentioned in my first Berlin Marathon training recap, my mileage has still been lower than my 2015 and 2016 training cycles. I've gotten all of my hotels booked and figured out all my travel for getting to Berlin for the race as well as a return flight home out of Munich. I think my mileage has moved up safely and steadily, but having a nice base for marathon training since Boston has helped too. Here's how the past few weeks of training have been going for the 2018 Berlin Marathon. 


berlin-marathon-training-2018-recap-2

Week 6
Week 6 was a lower mileage week than I wanted, but I was able to get in a solid 12 mile long run with 3 miles at marathon race pace which felt good. However on that long run I had some GI issues so I had to take a bathroom break and had some miles that were a struggle. Because of my schedule I ended up doing my long run on Thursday which felt weird. I have been really trying this cycle to make my easy miles at an easy pace, keeping it nice and slow. 

Post-long run acai bowls are always a good idea

Week 7
This week I hit over 40 miles for the first time during training.  I did another long run this week with my friend Lizzy who is training for her first full marathon so that made many of the miles on my 17 mile long run fly by! I also got in a solid tempo run on the treadmill this week along with a HIIT class. I actually have done at least one run a week on the treadmill if it's shorter because of thunderstorms or humidity and heat. I don't mind getting through a tempo run on the treadmill if I can watch Netflix on my phone!

Netflix and treadmill. 
Because of coaching I ended up doing over 9 slow miles the day after my long run which adds some extra training on tired legs for sure. 

Week 8
Week 8 included another over 9 mile run on Saturday, the day after my long run. It was nice to get in another Friday long run with Lizzy while I still was not working full-time yet. This week was really humid so my long run and Saturday run felt swampy and rough.

Drenched post-run feels
I was happy to also get in some true cross-training this week including some lifting as well as a jumping fitness class that uses small trampolines at Movement Lab. It's kind of like dancing and jumping to the beat of music on trampolines and is SO much fun!   

Week 9
Week 9 was just under 40 miles agin. I had to cut my speed workout short this week due to dehydration and feeling really overheated. I'd rather be safe than sorry. I also got in another tempo treadmill workout and some recovery miles while coaching my training group on Saturday. 
Post-drenched foot selfie, because my selfie of me looking like a wet dog no one needs to see! 
Friday I did my long run but because I had a race at night I decided to do it in 2 parts with a 25 minute drive in between. I ran 9 on the treadmill at ~9:14/mi which was mentally tough and then literally changed my shirt and drove to the Sneaks Come Out at Night 15K sponsored by Back on my Feet Baltimore. I started the race too fast throwing in some sub-8 miles and slowed down to just over 8 minutes/mile by the end because on my 3rd 5K loop (for the 15K runners did 3 loops), there was a torrential downpour and thunderstorm. The rain got into my eyes and messed up my contacts plus was just some driving rain. Luckily my mantra for rain that isn't cold is, "at least it's not like the 2018 Boston Marathon"! After the race and 18 total miles I was toast so I came home to a hot shower, cold beer, and pizza for dinner. 

Highs
For most of my long runs I have been using my Ultimate Directions Hydration Vesta (full review here). It has been a great hydration pack choice after I was getting frustrated with my waist hydration belt and my other options for carrying water which is a necessity during long runs in Baltimore in the summer.


 It is hard to do my own marathon training when I am coaching at Charm City Run, my local running store, especially because my group meets on Saturday mornings. It was nice to get in most of my long runs done before the weekend so that they didn't have to be interrupted or broken up. 

Lows
I have been slacking on doing my glute and hip exercises as well as foam-rolling more (story of every runner's life?) . I think instead of nebulously saying that I should do recovery work that I need to pick an actual day and make it part of my schedule. I am thinking maybe Mondays. I also need to keep drinking water because of this heat and humidity. Being dehydrated for runs already sets me up for a terrible run. 

You can follow along with my marathon training on social media with my hashtag #breathedeeplyandrunberlin . 

Are you training for any races or events? How do you deal with training during the summer? 

July 31, 2018

Gear Review: Ultimate Direction Race Vesta 4.0


Disclaimer: I purchased this Ultimate Directions vest on my own-this is not a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  

As a running coach and marathoner, I often am asked about hydration belts, bottles, and vests. I trained for and ran my first two marathons with a Fuelbelt hydration belt with 2 small bottles (that I picked up at a Marshalls on sale). I was never a fan of it, but it seemed to be an okay solution to carrying water on the course. My 3rd marathon, I ran with a handheld water bottle. For my 4th through 6th marathons I haven’t carried water on the course, but have relied on the on-course water stations. With big marathons such as Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston there are so many water stations that it is easy to not carry any hydration gear with me if the weather is not hot.

The problem has been training in Baltimore hot & humid summers for long distance races. I have been using a Flipbelt with a water bottle or this Peak Hydration Nathan pack for training. I tried a Camelbak on a couple runs a few summers ago and did not like all the sloshing as well as cleaning out the bladder. This summer anything on my waist has been really annoying me. That fact, plus toying around with the idea of running a 50K later this Fall, I decided to start looking into purchasing a hydration vest with bottles.

After much deliberation, I decided to bite the bullet and purchase the Ultimate Direction Race Vesta 4.0 which I found on sale for under $80 (it retails for $114.95). This isn't a sponsored post, I am just sharing my thoughts on the vest because I've gotten a some questions about it. I chose it because it has two bottles that sit up front on the chest, it’s lightweight, and it had good reviews. I ran with the Race Vesta for the first time and had not properly watched the videos on how to adjust it so it bounced a lot. Since properly adjusting it, it has minimal bounce and is my new go-to long run gear.  Here’s an overview and my thoughts on the Ultimate Direction Race Vesta 4.0.
gear-review-ultimate-direction-race-vesta-4

Overall

(All information via Ultimate Direction
-Available in two sizes: XS/SM, MD/LG (I bought the XS/SM version)
-Available in two colors: pink or blue
-MSRP: $114.95
-Materials: 4-way stretch woven mesh, 30D coated nylon ripstop, micromono mesh, and 150g flex mono mesh.
-Includes (2) BodyBottles 500s (500 mL soft bottles)
-Volume Capacity: 494.29 in/ 8.1 L
-Weight: With Bottles-9.56 oz. / 271 g ; Without Bottles-6.1 oz. / 173 g

gear-review-ultimate-direction-race-vesta-4_1
According to Ultimate Direction, the women’s Vesta differs from the men’s Vesta in that it has a different configuration for pole attachment, is compatible with a 2L hydration bladder, includes two zippered pockets instead of stash pockets on the bottle pockets.  
This vest is one of the more lightweight hydration vests from Ultimate Direction, with larger vests including the Ultra and Adventure Vestas.

Features

-Sliding Rail Sternum Straps (adjustable!)
-Extensive Front Storage (2 zippered and 2 bottle pockets)
-Trekking pole holders
-Comfort Cinch TM Technology

gear-review-ultimate-direction-race-vesta-4_back

The Good

I love how lightweight the vest is. It doesn’t add a lot of bulk and feels really breathable on the run. The fabric is really stretchy too so the vest fits well to my body and feels like it moves with me. I have never used soft bottles before but like them so far. From the placement of the bottle pockets on the front, I am able to use the bite valve on the bottles to drink easily without removing the bottles from the vest.  The bottles in the bottle pockets sit right above “the girls” and feel comfortable and aren’t right up in my face when I’m running either.
gear-review-ultimate-direction-race-vesta-4_2

I have been using the zippered storage pockets for my gels and fuel as well as my debit card.  I love that the zippers mean everything is nice and secure. The fabric of the vest is stretchy so I can even fit my Samsung Galaxy S9 phone in one of the zippered pockets, but prefer to have it more easily accessible in one of the bottle pockets. I’ve been running with one of the bottles filled with water and Nuun Hydration in one of the bottle pockets along with an extra bottle filled with plain water in the large back compartment that I can switch out. Since I have been using this for running, I cannot speak to the trekking pole holders.

I love that the vest is easily cinched with the shock cords on the top and bottom in the back. On my first run with it, I did not pull the bottom shock cords tight enough and really tighten up the cords in the back to stop most of the bouncing. Once I adjusted it properly, the vest and bottles bounced barely at all.

gear-review-ultimate-direction-race-vesta-4-cinch


The fact that you can move the placement of the sternum straps up and down is awesome. I am 5’4” and bought the XS/SM size based on the sizing chart and did not adjust the sternum straps from their original placement.

gear-review-ultimate-direction-race-vesta-4-straps

The Bad

I love the light pink and blue color options, generally speaking but always worry about gear getting dirty. After a handful of runs, I already have a dirt spot on the front of my vest. Sure, it’s easy enough to just throw the vest in the wash to clean it, but I would appreciate a gray color option as well.

As I mentioned, the pack is really stretchy. I haven’t tried to use a hydration bladder in it yet, but have been putting a filled water bottle, extra gels, or something like a light rain coat in the large back compartment. The large compartment doesn’t have any extra support on the bottom so I’m not sure how heavy it would feel if I loaded up the back compartment for a longer race and am worried it might wear out the fabric quickly due to the sagging strain on it.

gear-review-ultimate-direction-race-vesta-4-back-pocket

One last nit-picky detail is that in the right side bottle pocket there is also an emergency whistle which has its own little pocket. It sometimes comes out of the pocket and bounces around which can be annoying. I wish it was just a bit more securely fastened in the pocket.

Takeaway

I think the Ultimate Direction RaceVesta 4.0  is a great, lightweight option for marathoners or ultra marathoners who want a hands-free way to carry a smaller amount of fuel and gear during training runs or for a race. It’s a great option for ladies like me who need to do some longer runs with just the essentials-phone, fuel, and hydration.

gear-review-ultimate-direction-race-vesta-4-3

Do you use any sort of hydration belt or vest? How do you carry your gear with you on longer runs? 

July 12, 2018

Berlin Marathon Training Recap #1 (Weeks 1-5)

My Fall Marathon Plans

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you know that I've been training for the Berlin Marathon for the past 5 weeks. SURPRISE! 

I entered the lottery on a whim because I've never been to Germany, and my new bucket list item after running the Boston Marathon is to run all 6 of the World Marathon Majors (a series of 6 of the biggest and most "renowned" marathons in the world). Also spending days after a marathon drinking beer in Germany sounds fabulous. Yes, I've already been warned by multiple people that the beer the race has at the finish is non-alcoholic! To my surprise, I actually got picked via the lottery! 

For months it was this thing I might be doing, but once May hit I knew I had to start training soon so I either had to book flights and make it real or not. I planned on taking a big trip in celebration of graduating from my M.S. program so this is it, just a bit belated. I ended up booking flights and a couple hotel rooms in June, followed by having a panic attack that I rooms were already getting booked up and that I knew nothing about Germany. 

Committing to the race was stressful because of the unknown timeline of my passing my occupational therapy board exams and finding a full-time job (which I am still searching for). The job search along with some other things in my personal life have been extra anxiety-inducing lately, so I still feel like I'm not shouting it from the rooftops that I'm running the 2018 Berlin Marathon. Some travel plans are to be determined, so I may even be making the trip alone-which honestly scares me. 

I've already run the Chicago Marathon 3x, the Boston Marathon, and now tentatively the Berlin Marathon which would be 3 of the 6 World Marathon Majors. Also can we talk about how this will be my 7th marathon?!

world-marathon-majors-boston-2018-expo
2 down, 4 to go for the World Marathon Majors

I trained for the 2018 Boston Marathon conservatively out of fear of getting injured plus wanting to run it for fun. After the race, I took the time to recover and slowly get back into running in May. I am ready to have a full, more challenging training cycle for Berlin, but my race goals are still to be determined. I am following basically my training plan for the 2016 Chicago Marathon but am listening to my body and have been adding extra rest days as needed. #NeverNotScaredOfGettingInjured



berlin-marathon-training-2018-recap-1

Berlin Marathon Training Weeks 1-5 Recap

While my mileage was already in the 30s by this time in the plan in 2016, for the past 5 weeks I have been hovering around 29-30 miles a week which is low to many but is okay for me right now. The past couple weeks have not been quality training weeks due to distractions, but I'm ready to take Week 6 of training and get back into. 

My plan basically has one full rest day, long run (a couple of which I've had to split into 2 runs with a short break in between due to my coaching groups, which is less than ideal), a tempo run, a speed or hills workout, and some easy runs and cross-training days including November Project-Baltimore at least once a week.


november-project-baltimore-tricep-dip-2018

I have been switching my runs and workouts around to fit my schedule but think I've been a little too easygoing the past few weeks and need to get into a stricter routine. The heat and humidity has also made many of my runs feel crummy. Two weeks ago when there was a heat wave (you know, real feel in the high 90s and 100 degrees) I had a 16 mile long run that ended particularly terribly and included multiple water stops including a stop at 711. I really felt out of it for most of the day afterwards. Heat exhaustion and dehydration is no joke, everyone. 

Despite the heat I really like marathon training in the summer better than the winter. It may be the comfort of having trained for all my marathons except Boston in the summer or the fact that I need to get my long runs out of the way in the AM due to the heat. It may just be despite terrible hazy temperatures and thick, humid air that your girl just loves warm weather over cold weather any day. 

Here is your daily reminder to go drink some water if like me sometimes you forget to keep your water bottle next to you and end up dehydrated. Also here's my reminder to continue to do my pre-run warm-ups, hip and glute resistance band exercises, as well as foam-roll religiously this training cycle. 


run-baltimore-marathon-training1
After one of my awesome-feeling tempo runs!
In conclusion, I am definitely marathon training again and will be posting more regular training updates. 
Follow along on social media with my hashtag #breathedeeplyandrunberlin . I also seriously considered making my hashtag #willrunforpretzelsandbeer, because that is the truth. So let's call it the unofficial hashtag (and maybe of my life?). 

June 14, 2018

5 Reasons to Train with a Running Group {at Charm City Run}



This post was originally published on the Charm City Run blog. Head over there to check out more great blog posts talking about running shoes and gear, training tips, inspiration, and stories from the running community in Maryland.

With the arrival of summer, comes the start of training for fall race season. Training through a hot and humid summer in Baltimore takes guts, and some days it can be tough to get out the door for a run. Charm City Run offers many training groups throughout the summer from 5K to full marathon and beyond. In the age of the internet when anyone can google a training plan for any distance, I think that in-person training groups offer so much more than a plan. Here are 5 reasons why YOU should train with Charm City Run.


5 Reasons to Train with a Running Group {at Charm City Run}


1. ACCOUNTABILITY.

For some people, paying money for a group alone makes them more accountable to showing up and committing to the plan. It is also easier to get dressed and out of bed before 7:00am on a Saturday morning knowing you have a group of people waiting for you to run together. Aside from the sign-in sheet, everyone notices when someone hasn’t shown up to a workout. The group becomes a tribe or family of runners, especially with longer distance groups.

2. OTHER RUNNERS WILL PUSH YOU.

When running by yourself, it can be harder to push or pace yourself. Running with other people allows you to challenge yourself to finish tough workouts that may seem scary at the start. Running with people in your training group also allows you to stick with others of a similar pace which usually helps you learn to pace yourself more evenly. I also find I will push my pace a little more when completing workouts with others which allows me to become a better runner. And, if your running group buddy says they are running X distance, you’ll probably try to stick with them and run X distance as well even if you weren’t feeling great at the start of the run

April 2, 2018

Why Marathon Training is Difficult Post-Injury

Be sure to enter my giveaway for Smile Brilliant easy at-home teeth whitening, ends 4/6/2018! 

As of today the Boston Marathon is officially 2 weeks away. It is really exciting and still feels unreal to me. Unlike previous marathons including the 2016 Chicago Marathon, I have not been posting weekly recaps about my training or how things are going besides some post-run photos on Instagram (you can follow my hashtag #BreatheDeeplyandRunBoston for all of my Boston updates!). This is a huge race and something I have been dreaming about since I ran my first marathon in 2013. So why no weekly recaps and blog updates on my training? Honestly because I have been scared I'll be injured again. I won't be truly relieved until I am at the start line. 


To recap after my best marathon and big personal record and Boston qualifying time at the Chicago Marathon 2016, I was diagnosed with a a metatarsal stress fracture. You can read all my posts about my injury and being an injured runner here. I did the whole boot and physical therapy thing. I have dealt with real or psychosomatic soreness occasionally in my right foot ever since. My last injury update in July talked about how I was starting to feel like myself again as a runner. 

Phantom Pains 

From my research and knowledge of biology/anatomy, my brain could just be hypersensitive to any normal soreness in my foot. There could still be some nerve or tissue irritating surrounding the site, although the bone callus has formed, and the bone is fully re-modeled. I have also read anecdotes that some people still get soreness and tingling years after a stress fracture. 

I had to defer the 2016 Philadelphia Marathon to 2017 because of my injury. I followed a low-mileage Hal Higdon marathon training plan because the goal was just to run the race for fun as well as prove to myself that I can run the marathon distance again without getting injured. For 2 months before that marathon, while I still had good health insurance at the end of graduate school, I went to True Sports Physical Therapy to continue to work on mobility and posterior chain strength. I remember even race week I had my physical therapist push around on my foot because I swore I was having some pain again. Then I had fun at the marathon, finished in 3:43, took my recovery seriously, and continued running. 

November 8, 2016

So I Have a Metatarsal Stress Fracture

So this really isn't the thing you want to be given (aka pay for) at the doctor's office as a runner. 

metatarsal-stress-fracture-blog-runner

It seems I have a metatarsal stress fracture in my right foot. 

According to OrthoInfo a stress fracture is "a small crack in a bone, or severe bruising within a bone. Most stress fractures are caused by overuse and repetitive activity, and are common in runners and athletes who participate in running sports, such as soccer and basketball." Recovery time for healing is 6-8 weeks. 

How it started
So 6 days after the Chicago Marathon on 10/9 and a couple easy runs, I decided to run the 5K and a leg of the marathon relay (Leg 4- 7 miles) at the Baltimore Running Festival on 10/15/16. It was super fun and the excitement got to me so I ran a little fast. The next day as I took my first steps during my run with the Charm City Run training group I was coaching, I had pain on the bottom side of my foot that did not go away.  In fact it continued to hurt the next couple of day as I took each step walking. It was mostly this pain on the outside of my foot which made me suspect tendinosis, but there was also this achy not sharp pain on the bottom top and heel of my foot that also felt kinda burning sometimes.  

Initial Steps
I took a a bunch of rest days, iced my foot, and used some KT tape to tape it up. It was feeling better later that week by the time of the appointment I made with the orthopedist. I've never had any injuries so I was freaked out and wanted to get it looked at. Things felt good and the X-Rays came back clear. I did a couple shorter runs with my training group (3, 4 miles), and it felt a lot better.  

Monday 10/24 I went for a 9 mile run with a friend, and my foot felt great until just after mile 4 where it was in pain. After the run it was in a lot of pain-no bueno. So I called my doctor and got an MRI scheduled for 10/29. Perhaps for another post, but MRIs are SO weird. 

MRI & Where I'm At Now
The MRI saw some bursitis between my 2nd, 3rd, 4th metatarsals (inflammation between my toes), tendinosis and fluid at my peroneal longus tendon (inflammation in my tendon along the outer edge of my foot), and a 4th metatarsal stress reaction (stress fracture almost in my 4th toe). 
metatarsal-stress-fracture
Image from AAOS

My doctor said it's a stress fracture from what he sees on the MRI despite there not being a ton of pain. It hurts more when he presses on it than the next toe but not a ton and way less than there was initially.  Honestly the tendinosis is bothering me on the bottom/side outer edge of my foot more lately.  As a future clinician the science of it all and looking at my MRI was pretty cool. Minus the fact that it was MY foot. 

The doctor think it is just an overuse activity from running and marathon training since nothing else seems glaring wrong. Although we're going to get my bone density tested as a precaution (despite not having the Female Athlete Triad), and in a few weeks I'll go to physical therapy and get my gait analyzed to see if it's something bio-mechanical in how I'm running as well as re-strengthen my foot. I just had my calcium and Vitamin D levels tested with Insidetracker, and both were in the normal range (which I tried hard to make sound legit when I explained to my doctor, haha).  

I got the MRI results on Thursday and pretty much spent all weekend watching Netflix and having a pity party party for myself. There was a lot of sobbing, beers, and some ice cream. Plus reading every Google search results on metatarsal stress fractures and running, of course. 

It just sucks because medical issues cost lots of money and time which I am happy to do to be healthy but still I'm a poor graduate student. Also I LOVE RUNNING, and JUST came off some great races and was finally feeling stronger and faster for the first time in a while. 

Now I feel like I'm going back to square one.

I went to a yoga class (that was actually great) last Tuesday and haven't worked out since. 

For now I'm in the Aircast boot for 3 weeks all the time except sleeping, until I go see my Dr. again and get re-evaluated with some X-Rays to see how its healing. He said for now pretty much just rest unless I can get in a pool and go swimming.  

Feelings About It All
Honestly I go back and forth between being fine and accepting my body-mandated rest period, and then just crying and freaking out. I'm actually really bummed that I can't run the Philadelphia Marathon anymore, but clearly it wasn't meant to be this year.  

Despite this I have a lot of gratitude. It's sucky but hey this all happened after training for the Chicago Marathon and then running a big PR and BQ and amazing race. I'm assuming since it's November it should get colder and take a couple months off from running at the holidays to rest won't be so badly. Lastly (and only second importantly to already getting the PR/BQ), is that I am lucky enough to still have healthcare through my job even though working full-time ish hours during full-time grad school sucks. That means I have a Hopkins sports medicine orthopedist to work with through all this which is awesome. He thinks I should be back to my running self in January/February which is great to hear.

Now I'm that runner who is on #injurydeck and can't run. Bring on the Netflix marathons and stay tuned!

So anyone ever had a stress fracture? How do you stay sane during injuries?

October 27, 2016

The Big Chicago Marathon 2016 Recap {Expo and Race}

I have been putting this off because I don't even know where to begin talking about the Chicago Marathon. I've also been dealing with some foot pain and grad school midterms which can take a person's mind off blogging. Anyone else feel like their marathons go by in a blur? After it's over I only remember certain sites, certain miles, and certain feelings (including those steps across the finish line). 

The Big Chicago Marathon 2016 Recap {Expo and Race}

Because of my grad school schedule I missed some fun things and had to get into Chicago late Friday night. I was feeling like a cold was coming on all week which had me thoroughly freaked out about the race. Saturday morning I ended up taking the train downtown to meet up with Kelly Robert's #SportsBraSquad Shake-Out Run at the Westin on Michigan Ave. I had met Kelly briefly at the November Project Summit in Ontario in July but finally got to have a quick chat and snap a photo with her.  She's fabulous and had a nice big group for a 2 mile shakeout run that included lots of beautiful city views and selfies. 


run-selfie-repeat-shakeout-run

Also kudos to Oiselle for hooking us up with some swag. I am in love with this shirt! 

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You should totally go to Kelly's NYC Marathon shakeout run if you are in town for it! After a quick pit stop at Trader Joe's for bananas, bars, and beet juice with Emily  before heading over to the expo. 

Since this is my third year in a row, I knew what to expect. Things were still really organized as I expected. I suppose I was feeling a little bit anxious about the race and that my boyfriend hadn't up with me yet so I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.  Also the expo is far more crowded on Saturday than it would have been on Friday so that is something to get used to if you haven't been to a big race expo, particularly a World Marathon Majors race one. 

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So I quickly grabbed my bib and bothered strangers to take photos of me, despite still being kinda gross looking since I didn't shower post-shakeout run. 

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No big race expo is complete without a stop to the Nuun booth to say hello and grab a cute new water bottle to add to my collection. 

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I also got to check out the Moji booth and try out some massage products that I took home with me. This Moji Foot Pro is fabulous on the bottom of your tired feet, especially if you freeze it first!

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As always, I love all the awesome Nike graphic photo backdrops around the expo. Perfect for getting pumped about the 26.2 miles happening the next day!

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I also co-hosted the We Run Social meetup with the fabulous Heather which was nice, despite some people being confused that we were not in fact speaking on the Runner's World stage but rather just meeting near it! 

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There was a few more photos before getting showered and relaxing. I grabbed some pasta with Erica for dinner. I had some pasta with chicken and marinara sauce as my pre-race dinner. 

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Before bed was iPod and Garmin charging as well as laying out all the goods I needed for the next day. 

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{Lululemon Run Swiftly tagged shirt, Lululemon shorts, Ciele hat, Feetures! compression socks, Brooks Launch 3 running shoesHoneyStinger Ginsting gels & Huma gels, Nuun Hydration Lemon-Lime Energy, and Run Gum in peppermint} 

I had worked with Coach Suz (she's fabulous!) to have her consult on my training plan and race day plans and offer her suggestions so I had a general idea of how I wanted to run the race. I was feeling anxious and unsure of how I felt about the race pretty much up until I got to the starting area.  Once I felt the chilly weather (despite not being quite as chilly as I prefer) and all the marathon excitement in the air, I was really happy. 

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It was also possibly that things were going super smoothly. I got dressed and had a banana, Salted Caramel HoneyStinger waffle, and Nuun. I took the train into downtown and caught one just as it arrived from the Austin blue line station. I moved through the security checkpoint super quickly this year and EVEN found a port-a-potty with only 6 people ahead of me in line. There were Nike pacers in line too so I'm almost positive it wasn't VIP or anything and was just covered by bushes so it was less crowded. The realist that I am, I was thinking that things were going too smoothly to be true but tried to roll with it. 

Miles 1-5: Pace groups make me anxious because of my self-placed pressure to keep up with the group, but I decided to line up with the 3:30 pacers anyways. Hats off to the guys that were super fun and amazing.  The start is really crowded which kind of helps with runners starting out slower and not going out too fast so I didn't worry. The beginning miles with the pacers was super crowded and for the first 5 mile I was almost tripped and bumped into people multiple times which was really freaking annoying.  It's such a big race and the 3:30 pace group seemed popular. Especially since I have run this race now twice before, I really tried to soak in the race and excitement with no music or anything. My GPS was yet again messed up because of the tunnels so I really focused on just staying with the pace group.

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My boyfriend got this cool shot of me running by and smiling at around Mile 3ish. 

Miles 6-10:
 I told myself to just try to settle in, stay comfortable, and follow the pace group but not freak if I wasn't right next to a pacer. The pacers were great with one guy telling the guy in front to pull back. I was feeling great and tried to settle in and stopped at most of the water stops. I wasn't carrying any water because it annoys me so I made sure to stay hydrated.  The miles were moving past especially because I wasn't paying attention to my watch. It was nice to feel comfortable with the pace group and not have to worry about anything but running and keeping them in sight.  Still no music and lots of crowd support! 

Miles 11-15: I feel like in my marathons I always am dreading and waiting for the wall so I talked to Suz about throwing in some faster strides and changing my mentality. This time I stuck with the pace group but was feeling really good and was annoyed by the crowdedness of the group behind the pacers so decided to run in front of the pace group around mile 14. I kept my mentality the same as I had at the Philly Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon this year where I tried to just run where I felt good and not get freaked out by the pace. I also took an extra gel around mile 12.5 as Suz suggested to give me an extra boost when I usually start to freak out on the inside.  The pacers reminding everyone from Mile 11 onwards to stop at the water stops was also super helpful. 

Miles 16-20: Around Mile 16 I turned on the iPod. I also peeked back behind me a couple times before I just kept running and knew that if I saw the pace group pass me, I'd have to keep up-but I didn't see them. I kept telling myself my mantra "I am comfortable, I am strong" and reminding myself how crappy I felt at this point last year and how my legs felt good this year. My breathing wasn't heavy or labored, and I was having fun. Once it hit 18 I tried to periodically check out my watch but not let it determine the race for me.  Around 18 the thoughts that I had a fast enough 3:30 BQ (and PR) in reach but tried to not get ahead of myself because as I knew, the marathon is a 20 mile warm-up with a 10K race.  I saw my boyfriend at Mile 18 who had some water and was literally stunned as I ran by smiling and giving him the thumbs up, telling him I felt great. 

Miles 21-26: Obviously my legs started to hurt after mile 20 as is expected with a marathon. I knew at this point that I was crushing it and only had to make it to the finish. Mile 22 on was just giving it all I had left in the metaphorical fuel tank. I had my music and the crowds to help push me. At Mile 22 was the November Project-Chicago cheer station which was a huge boost to get some cheers and high-fives.  During this last stretch I focused on just getting to the next mile marker.  Making it to the next mile was a nice mental game that helped push me to the end.  The miles blur together now. 

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Around Mile 23, pushing it to the end. 
As I got to Mile 25, all the emotions start to hit me. It was different because usually I get more emotional during the race but was surprisingly composed during this marathon (mostly because of my mental game).  Once I was at this point I knew I would make it and tried my best to push it to the end.  As I crossed the finish line I was in tears and just broke down sobbing after I finished. Two different people asked me if I was okay, and I told them it was just happy tears, no worries. 

As I waddled towards the fountain with my Goose Island beer in hand, which tastes effing amazing after a marathon, I was SO damn happy. You can see it in this photo below. That moment of relaxing, with a beer in hand, all by myself was is my favorite post-race moment to savor. 

 I was ahead of the 3:30 pacer, completely surpassing my A goal for the race. I grabbed my bag and had texts from friends. Suz texted me that I crushed it. I was confused because friends were saying I had run 3:34 because the live tracking on the app had gone by gun time not chip time (which I later found out) and caused me to freak out that my results were messed up. 

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Suz texted me my actual race results which made me feel awesome. 3:27? WHAT?!


I met up with my boyfriend and some friends and was on top of the world. ON TOP OF THE WORLD. I was kind of in disbelief that I ran a marathon in crushing my goal time and it wasn't that painful. I mean my legs hurt, and I don't think I could go faster but I did it. Despite not really believing in myself until race morning. Over a 7 minute PR and a nice cushion over my 3:35 Boston Qualifying time.  

Third time's a charm, Chicago. I LOVE YOU. 

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The race was a little warm (not as much as last year thank goodness), but perfect for hanging out afterwards. After frantically finding the results tent I learned that their tracking system was down and others had messed up tracker times so I felt confident that my time was not completely messed up. I threw some sandals on and just hung out with friends jamming to the live band. 

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Oh and I used my beer ticket to grab my free beer (the one at the finish doesn't count-I love you Chicago). It was so sunny out I actually got a little sunkissed on my face.  

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After a shower and some relaxation, I headed out to Small Cheval for my post-marathon meal of choice-a burger, fries, and a beer. Amazing

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Finally the night was ended with a few more beers and some Jeni's Ice Cream in Wicker Park. I was going to go for the double scoop, but the triple scoop was the marathoner's special for the same price so obviously I went with that. The perfect end to the day! 

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The race day was better than I imagined and now I'm a little worried I won't have a better marathon!  Thank you again everyone for all the love, support, and good vibes!

What is your favorite big race moment?