Fitness Friday – Half Marathon Training Update #1

Hi everyone and a belated Merry Christmas!

I hope you all had a nice time visiting with family and/or friends, eating good food, and enjoying the season. I know I did!

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On Christmas Eve, we drove to Marin County to spend the evening with my Grandma. My mom’s family is Italian, so our own tradition is Italian food on Christmas Eve. This year, we brought that tradition to my dad’s side of family and my mom made an epic lasagna, which we enjoyed before going to church and checking out some Christmas lights in the neighborhood.

On Christmas morning, the rest of the family arrived and we had a Christmas brunch, complete with mimosas (because duh, this is me we’re talking about!) and plenty of eggy, cheesy dishes. There was no shortage of cheese this Christmas hahaha #godblessusEVERYONE!

I got a few nice things this year, but the two best gifts I got were a job offer (!!!) and my parents treated me to a new pair of running shoes.

I went to Fleet Feet to get fitted (they’re the ones putting on my half marathon!). I’d had my old shoes for almost a year, and when I got fitted last time, I told them I was running 3 miles max (which was the truth!)… this time, I made sure to get inserts and running socks as well.

Which leads me to my next subject… An update on my Half Marathon training!

I am currently in Week 4 of my “12 week” training plan. I have 12 weeks of runs planned, with 2 weeks extra in case I need to delay a long run because of travel or sickness. I actually did have a bit of a head/chest cold this past week, but luckily since I stayed in on Friday night and slept 10 hours, it didn’t get in the way of my long run on Saturday.

Last time we spoke, I had worked out a training plan…

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I have since decided to create another spreadsheet showing my actual progress where I can keep track of my pace.

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Any run labeled as “run” is supposed to be at an easy pace, and any run labeled at “pace” is supposed to be at race pace. I have basically been pushing myself to stay under 9 minutes for my race pace runs.

You can see last week my pace SHOT up after getting new shoes and replenishing my fitmixer Clean Energy supply. At this point, I think/hope I can manage a 2:00:00 half marathon time, which would be about 9:10 min/mile. We will of course see if I can keep up my pace as I increase my distance!

Thoughts After 4 Weeks:

aches & pains

I decided I couldn’t wait till Christmas to get new shoes because I had been getting bad blisters and, since increasing to 3 runs per week, a little bit of knee pain. So I went on December 18th, and learned that my right knee over-rotates a little bit, which I think accounts for most of the pain I experience. One of my feet is also SLIGHTLY (like less than half an inch) bigger than the other, which may cause some hip pain eventually. So basically I’m feeling a bit of wear and tear, but I’ve got fingers crossed that it’s nothing that will develop into a more serious injury!

Moral of the story: stretching and icing are my friends right now!

the course

For 5 miles or less, I usually just run loops around nearby Capitol Park or McKinley Park…But as my distance increases, I’m changing up my routes, because it would be a little boring to run around Capitol Park 8 times 😉 This past week, I ran on part of the actual Half Marathon course and was less than thrilled that there were a couple of hills…

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The view was nice though!

It motivated me to go for a bike ride on Sunday for my cross training, and I biked pretty much the entire half marathon route. It was extremely humbling, to say the least. There were way more hills than I expected on the bike trail that the course follows! This definitely solidified my plan to train on the actual course.

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lifestyle changes

One big reason why I decided to do this half marathon was to force myself to make changes as far as diet/lifestyle/etc goes. I’ve already started using my Saturday morning runs as an excuse to stay in on Fridays (and drink tea instead of beer 😉 ) and the result is definitely tangible. Being well rested for my long runs makes a huge difference!

I’m hoping that once I start my job, I will get back on track as far as food goes. I’ve been all over the place: some days eating cookies for breakfast, vegetables for lunch, and going out to eat a lot more than I prefer. Tis the season, right? I’m interested in seeing how much weight I lose post-holidays, if any – I’ve put on about 10 pounds, but am fairly convinced it is mostly muscle!

Tomorrow will be my first “furthest run ever” training run of 7.25 miles, and it’ll be a fun exercise in self control to abstain from adult beverages tonight 🙂

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That’s it for today! I doubt you’ll be hearing much from me until the new year, since we are trekking out to my roomie’s family cabin on the Oregon Coast for New Years. We went 2 years ago and had a fantastic time, so I’m excited to escape to the little lakeside cabin again!

Happy New Year!

Do you have any fun Christmas traditions?

Half marathoners: How did you predict your race pace? Were training runs a good indicator for you?

Treat Yourself Tuesday: Running Edition

It’s time to TREAT YO SELVES, friends!

Treat-Yourself-Tuesday-BadgeEvery Tuesday, my dear friend Becky over at Olives n’ Wine hosts a linkup encouraging bloggers to share in what ways – big or small – they have treated themselves over the past week. I love this idea and think everyone should find at least one way to treat themselves each week!

As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite way to reward myself after a race is by going and getting a pedicure. What’s better than getting a leg massage after running 6.2 miles… amirite?

Well, since I had to go straight to my parents’ house and help start Thanksgiving dinner after my 10K on Turkey Day, I finally found some time to treat myself to a post-race pedi on Friday.

IMG_2553It was much needed, especially with how much I’ve been running lately! I am in desperate need of a new pair of running shoes (hint hint, Christmas present idea!) and my feet have been pretty wrecked.

Some other ways I’ve been treating myself:

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I participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap this year and have been SO impressed by all 3 boxes of cookies I received! My measly cookies seemed so lame in comparison…no worries, I have drowned my cookie-lameness sorrows by eating, um, pretty much every single cookie that I’ve been sent. That’s 36 cookies in about a month. No wonder I’ve gained like 7 pounds…

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I also treated myself to one of my favorite Friday night rituals- a cozy night in with some wine, cheese, crackers and my iPad! I watched NBC’s The Sound of Music Live with Carrie Underwood. Har har. I know people really ragged on Carrie’s performance, but… terrible acting aside, I think she’s amazing. Lovable, beautiful, great voice, great legs (lol 😉 )… And I will never turn down an opportunity to watch The Sound of Music and sing along!

Now…I do love cookies, and it’s no secret I love wine. But I’ve definitely felt like I’ve been overindulging at times lately. What good is it running 3x per week (with the occasional living room ‘weight lifting’ workout) if it just gets canceled out each weekend? I don’t think that’s the best way to treat your body. Especially if you claim to be a healthy living blogger.

In the past year or so, there has definitely been a shift in my blog away from recipes and more toward a log of my workouts and running. Of course, I do still post recipes from time to time (Gorgonzola Turkey Burgers, anyone??) but, as my mom has pointed out several times, “All you talk about is running these days!”

I like to use this blog to keep myself accountable for fitness goals. Because if I announce on the Internet that I’m going to run a 5K this year, and that I’m going to run 25 miles in a month…that means I have to do it, right?

Welp…today is one of those days.

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YEAH. THAT HAPPENED.

I had been on the fence about this decision since my Thanksgiving 10k, but what really did it was attending the California International Marathon this weekend:

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I went for a jog along the last mile or two of the race, and it was extremely inspiring to see all the different kinds of people – different sizes, shapes, age groups – finishing the marathon! It was 20-35 degrees for most of the race as well, which made it all the more impressive. I even saw a 74 year old man finish in less than 4 hours and 30 minutes. Right after that, I texted all my friends who I had told I was thinking about signing up for the half:

textSidenote: I overslept on Sunday morning, so I didn’t get to see her fiancé cross the finish line, but I was super excited to FINALLY meet Erica from Coffee & Quinoa this weekend and celebrate Nate’s 6th marathon with the two of them!

Anyway, I am very excited, but also nervous, to be undergoing this challenge. I am luckily in the best running shape I’ve ever been in, which puts me in a good spot as far as training goes. I think creating a safe training plan is key in treating my body right and making sure it doesn’t rebel against me throughout this process!

I made myself a training plan based on Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 Half Marathon training plan. Instead of running 4x per week and doing cross training on Sunday, I will be running 3x per week, doing upper body weight lifting once, and my “cross training” on Sundays will consist of dodgeball 😉 I also was a little leery of increasing my long run by a whole mile every weekend, so I am only increasing by .75 miles most weeks. However, depending on whether I actually do a 5k and 10k race along the way, I may change that.

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I actually am already on week 2 of the plan, so I’m 1 week ahead of schedule. This extra week is to allow myself at least 1 week to get sick at some point this winter…it’s inevitable! I also gave myself the week of President’s Day weekend off, because I might be traveling at some point that weekend 🙂

So that’s my big news! I hope you all stick with me to follow along while I train for this race. In March 2013, I ran my first 5K…and in March 2014, I am now signed up to run my first Half Marathon. What a difference a year makes. I am scared, and I actually think there might be a screw loose in my head for wanting to do this to my body…but it’s on the Internet now, so there’s no turning back!!!

How have you been treating yourself this holiday season?

HALF MARATHONERS: Tips and training advice please!!