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2012 Race Calendar

27 Nov

With only one month left of 2011, I finally had the opportunity to sit and write down all the races I’ve mentally signed up to run for 2012.  I’m not sure if it’s too ambitious. I haven’t done an Ironman (IM) before, so I don’t know what toll the training and race itself will take on my body. The priority and focus for 2012 is definitely the IM, so if I need to cancel a race or two because I haven’t fully recovered from the IM or need more training time before the race, I definitely will. .


The race calendar is not finalized yet – I still have to register for a few of the races and there are a few shorter races I’d like to add – but it’s a general idea of what I will be training for in the next 12 months!


Jan – Mar: my focus will be on running.  I am going to cross train with swimming and biking in preparation for the spring and summer triathlon events, but my priority will be working on my speed to decrease my marathon time.  My husband also plans to run this marathon and will be shooting for sub 3:05 so we will be able to do some training together! 
Ocean Drive Marathon – Cape May County, NJ – Mar 25, 2012
– Goal: Sub-3:10


Mar – Jun: Immediately after the marathon, my focus will shift to biking and swimming.  I hope to maintain the running shape I will be in and will begin adding to my endurance in the other 2 events. 
Rev 3 Quassy Half-Ironman – Middlebury, CT – Jun 3, 2012
– Goals: Sub-5:30 (Swim – 50 min, Bike – 3:00, Run – 1:40); Become comfortable competing in longer distance triathlons to prepare me for the full Ironman in August.


Jun – Aug: Based on the results of the Half Ironman, I will have an idea of which event(s) need(s) more attention.  The focus from June until Aug will be on getting my body used to swimming for 1:45, biking for 6:00, and running for 4:00.  Hopefully, my recent experience with ultras will help me since I will be running the marathon portion on tired legs. 
NYC Ironman – NYC, NY – Aug 11, 2012 (registered)
– Goals: Complete the race; Finish in under 12:30


Aug – Nov: After a rest and recovery period following the Ironman, my focus will shift back to running in preparation for the ultra I hope to do in November.   
JFK 50-miler – Boonsboro, MD – Nov 17, 2012 (registration opens in the spring)
– Goal: Sub-8:00 (based on this year’s results, that would place me 80th out of 941 finishers and 13th female)


*I’m throwing around the idea of the Army Ten-Miler on Oct 21st (my birthday).  I had decided this year that I would try to run my age on my birthdays from now on, so doing this race would prevent me from this.  I did a “30 for 30” run this year (you can read about my 30 mile birthday run in a couple of posts I wrote: Live, Ran, and Learned and Pacing Lessons). 


I also want to do a couple of 5k and 10k races throughout the year.  I usually don’t bother to sign up and run such short races, but hope that doing so will help me continually work on speedwork rather than just long distance.


I’m trying to achieve 3 of my goals this year (for a list of my lifetime goals, click here): marathon sub-3:10 in the marathon, 50m, IM.  I’m trying to cross off as many as I can before I become pregnant with baby #2 (hope to get pregnant right after the JFK 50-miler).  I know that my free time will decrease after each child – so I’m hopeful that I can use this 11-12 months to achieve some of my goals! 


Any recommendations on local 5k or 10ks?  I don’t want to drive more than an hour from Staten Island, NY and definitely do not want to spend a lot of $ on race registration.  And they need to be between January and June or September and November. 

Goals for Knickerbocker 60k

18 Nov

Tomorrow is my first ultra.  I am competing in the Knickerbocker 60k in Central Park.  The course includes a short out and back (totaling 1.5 miles) and then 9x 4-mile loops of the park’s inner loop (thankfully, it does NOT include the arduous upper or lower portions of the park).
Here is a link of the course.

I had a long debate with myself about whether or not this course was the best for my first ultra.  There are definitely some disadvantages. First, Central park is notoriously hilly.  And although the upper section is eliminated, there are still sections that can kill your legs after repeated visits. Second, 9x loops will be a HUGE mental obstacle, especially since we will be passing the start/finish line each time. I’m fully anticipating to experience the temptation of wanting to stop each time I pass it, especially in the later miles. Third, it’s only 2 weeks after the NYC Marathon, so I was worried I would not be fully rested for the long distance.

But, I’m trying to remain positive and remember the advantages of this race:
Refuel and hydration will be easy since we will be passing the water/snack station every 2 miles.
My supporters (husband, son, and one of my sisters) can see me run by more than any other race before.
My husband (and possibly a girlfriend) plan to jump in for a loop or two to push and pace me during the later miles.
The course allows me to concentrate on getting through 4 miles at a time.  From what I have experienced in my training and learned from other ultra runners, you need to break the race into manageable segments.  So I can’t start out thinking that I have 9, 8, or 7 loops to go…it will be crush me.
There will be a professional photographer taking our race pictures –> that means LOTS of opportunity for running pictures since we will be passing him nine times! =)
The weather forecast looks PERFECT for tomorrow – 40 degrees at race start and close to 50 by race end. Light winds and sunny.

—–

I wasn’t going to write an entry regarding my time goal for tomorrow’s race.  I’m extremely nervous about my first attempt at this mileage and didn’t want to make my goals public in case I failed.
Anything could happen in a race this long. You always hear elites saying that anything could happen in a marathon – and this is 11 miles longer!
My stomach might not cooperate, my legs may decide they are not up to the distance, or I may just have an off day of running(which happens at least once a week!).
I usually keep my goals secret (I sometimes don’t even tell my husband or family) because I don’t like failing.
But then I wonder – if I don’t run this race in the time I want, am I a failure?
I think back to where I was last year at this time.  7+ months pregnant, carrying much more weight on my body then I am now, waddling on my daily runs, and nervous that I would not get back into the running shape I had been in prior to getting pregnant.
I read a post from Mile Posts, a blogger I love, on a similiar subject and realized that no matter what the time clock says when I cross the finish line, I will have succeeded – purely for trying and pushing myself to the limit. And at the end of the day, I will have a new PR to put on my blog tomorrow!!
(http://www.mile-posts.com/2011/10/as-ready-as-i-will-ever-be-marine-corps.html)

Running the SI Half-Marathon @ 27 weeks pregnant

So, my first goal is to finish.  To say I am an ultrarunner.
My second goal is to complete the race in under 5 hrs 25 min (around an 8:45 min/mi pace).  My last long training run was a 30 miler which I completed at a relaxed and comfortable 8:34 pace.
Out and back portion: 8:30 (roughly 12 min, 45 sec)
Lap 1-6: 8:20 (3 hours 20 min)
Lap 7-9: 9:00 (1 hour 50 min)
Total time: 5:22:45

I’m not being more ambitious with the pace because I’m most concerned about how my legs will react to the hills.  Most of my training takes place on the Staten Island boardwalk – a gorgeous out and back route along the eastern portion of my hometown.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t give me much practice with running up hills since it’s flat as a pancake.

Gorgeous view on my morning runs!
No hills!

On long runs, I often repeat NEVER STOP, NEVER STOP (running) when I start to feel tired and want to quit.  Never Stop means SO many things to me and has become my mantra in recent months. I plan to NEVER STOP TRYING tomorrow!!

What are your goals?

26 Oct

I have a long list of races that I want to complete.  Certain times that I want to run the marathon and half-marathon in.  Distances I want to run. 


Yet, I have never told them to anyone – including my husband, family and closest friends. 


Why have I not shared these lifetime goals with anyone?
  
I think the answer is that I am scared of failing and not living up to the expectations I create if they are said aloud.  If I don’t say them, then I’m not accountable to anyone.  And if I don’t meet them, I could easily convince myself I never was serious about them – so I didn’t actual fail. 


On this morning’s run, I realized I can’t go through life worried that I may not reach a certain goal.  I’ll never reach them if I don’t at least try. 


Saying my goals aloud not only makes them real, but it will gain me support from friends and family.  For me, having support is necessary – whether it’s a call or text from a friend, a reply on a blog, my mom watching my son so I can go on a 3 hour run, or my husband rearranging his work schedule for the day so he can run with me the last few miles of a long run.  But how can I expect support in reaching my goals if nobody knows what I’m after?


So with that said, here is what I want to achieve at some point in my life :
– Win the Foot Locker Five Borough Challenge (Nov 6, 2011)
– Marathon: 3:10
– Half-Marathon: 1:30
– Complete 50k, 50m and 100m ultras (First official 60k – Nov 19, 2011)
– Participate in and finish Ironman (Signed up for NY Ironman – Aug 11, 2012)
– Participate in and finish Western States Endurance Event and BadWater Ultra
– Complete all 5 Major Marathons (2 are completed: NYC and Boston) 


What are your goals??

Pacing lessons

24 Oct

As I’ve stated in earlier posts, I’ve always had a problem with not pacing myself correctly on long runs or races.  I start too fast and then pay for it heavily at the end.  I had always believed that I could start fast and gain some “extra time” so that when I slow down towards the end, I’ll finish at the pace I want.  I am thankful to say that I have finally realized my theory is completely wrong.  After the SI Half a couple of weeks ago, it clicked that I REALLY need to slow down and pace myself (discussed in Rookie Mistake).  


Here is how I paced myself and what I learned from my 30 miler:



By the numbers:
– It took me 4:17:30 to complete (not including 5x that I had to stop – once to fix my socks which had slipped beneath the back of my heel (I need to find socks that do not do this!), twice to pull out power gels that were in my camelbak, once to call Paul to tell him I needed more water, and once to drink the water/powerade that Paul had for me – the total time of “stopped time” was about 7 min)
– Overall pace was 8:34
– I ran negative splits – the first 15 mi were covered in 129:13 (8:36 pace); second 15 mi were covered in 128:04 (8:32 pace)
– My fastest miles were 8:19 (mile 19), 8:21 (mile 14), 8:23 (mile 23), and 8:24 (mile 30!)
– My slowest miles were 8:47 (mile 26), 8:46 (miles 4 and 28), and 8:45 (mile 1)
– The chart below shows my pace per mile – as well as my pace per 5 mile segment.  My slowest 5-mile segment was the first – miles 1-5 – which shows me that when I start slow, I end faster!!



Takeaways:

– Starting slow – and maintaining an easy, comfortable, steady pace (with no mile being run faster or slower than 15 sec from my average time) – is the key to success on a long run
– There is the belief that the infamous “hitting the wall” is inevitable in a marathon or long run.  So what often happens is what I used to do – you try to build up as much extra time as you can early on so when you hit the wall, you can still run the pace you were hoping.  If you run much faster than your target pace too early, you WILL hit the wall.  The fast pace too early is actually what causes the collapse at the end of the run.  But, if you maintain an even pace, you will never encounter the wall and may actually be able to pick up the pace at the end.  And trust me – that makes the entire run so much more enjoyable and fun to run!
– Although there were numerous points during the run when I felt great and wanted to pick up the pace, I forced myself to slow down 
– From my experience during races, it is extremely demotivating to have to significantly slow down at the end – not only do I feel like crap but I’m also getting passed by tons of other runners.  It has nothing to do with competing with them and trying to beat them.  It’s just hard to swallow to have each step hurt so much while all the other runners look and seem so happy.  The end of a race should be happy – you are almost done and all of your training and hard work is about to pay off. But you’ll never experience that happiness at the end if you don’t appropriately pace yourself


Lived, Ran, and Learned

23 Oct

My second attempt at my furthest distance to date went off (almost) without a hitch.  I plan on writing subsequent blogs on specific aspects of the long run (fueling and pacing), so this blog is more of a brief recap. 


I started the run @ 520am.  It was around 48 degrees so I decided to wear shorts, a tank top, arm warmers, and gloves.  If you dress to be comfortable and warm for the start of the run, you will be hurting yourself for a few reasons:
– The more clothes you put on your body, the more weight you will be carrying.  Doesn’t sound like much – but if you are doing a long run, an extra pound or two of clothes can – and will – make a difference
– If you start before the sun comes up, the sunrise will only make it seem warmer (even if the actual temperature doesn’t increase)
– Once you start running, your body will warm up on it’s own (usually about 10-15 min into a run).  If you are overdressed, you will quickly overheat and sweat more than you should be – which will lead to dehydration issues
So although I was cold the first 20 min, I warmed up and was completely comfortable for the remainder of the run.
* If you are unsure of what to wear on a long run, feel free to ask me!!  Or check out Runner’s World “What to Wear” tool that allows you to input the weather conditions and your comfort level for the cold – and will give you an idea of the appropriate level of laying:
http://www.runnersworld.com/cda/whattowear/0,7152,s6-240-325-330-0,00.html



Although the forecast called for winds around 12mph (which is tough along the boardwalk b/c it’s a headwind in one direction), when I got to the boardwalk, it was actually MUCH windier.  The weather app on my phone said it was at times 25mph (sustained) gusting up to 30mph.  My initial plan was to run on the boardwalk and into and through Fort Wadsworth a few times, but b/c of the strong winds, I actually decided to stay on the boardwalk.  This may seem counter-intuitive.  But, it actually worked out in my favor.  Each time I was running into the wind (which was really not fun), I kept telling myself I only needed to push to the end of the boardwalk (about 2.5 miles long).  Once I got to the end of the boardwalk, the ensuing 2.5 miles back north was a break for me.  I was able to relax and enjoy the wind at my back.  So while it was probably more demanding physically, it helped my mind stay off the notion that I had 25, 20, 15 miles left – it broke up the run into manageable 5 mile segments.  


I had planned on utilizing the numerous water fountains along the boardwalk as my method of hydration, however, I had a change of heart at 5am and decided to bring my camelbak.  This allowed me to forego the need to come to a complete stop every couple of miles and instead, drink on the run.  If I had not brought my camelbak, there was no way I could have completed the 30 miles – I found out at mile 25 (when I ran out of water in my camelbak) that the fountains have been turned off for the season.  My takeaway is that I should always plan to be self-sufficient on long runs – relying on outside sources for hydration, fueling, etc is a bad idea. 


My next blog will focus solely on pacing – but just a quick recap:  
– I completed the 30 miles in 4:17:30 – which is an 8:34 pace
– My first 5 miles were the slowest 5 mile segment
– I felt the best (and ran the fastest) during miles 18-25


For all of my splits, please go to:
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/embed/123207178

Live, Run & Learn

16 Oct


My attempted 30 miler today did not go as planned.  I ran just over 16 miles before I decided to call it a day.  I am trying to remain positive and use my failed attempt as a learning tool for future long runs.
The whole day started out on the wrong foot.  I had a 645am photoshoot with the Daily News in Central Park – my plan was to start my run immediately upon finishing.  Unfortunately, although I was promised it would only take 15 min, the shoot actually lasted almost 2 hours – and about an hour of it consisted of me running up and down a hill – over and over and over again.  Because of the delay, I didn’t actually start my run until 945 – after being up over 5 hours and having only eaten a piece of whole wheat bread with peanut butter.  In addition, there were refueling issues, major crowding in the park due to a breast cancer walk, and strong winds – which only added to my lack of motivation to finish the run.  Here are my key takeaways from today:

1. Don’t leave things to the last minute.  I realized last night that I had run out of power gels (my energy refueling option).  I decided to put it off until this morning – and planned to stop at a pharmacy on our way into the city.  Unfortunately, I completely forgot until we were already in the city and getting ready to head out the door.  Paul ran to 3 local stores – the only option were vitamin chews (that I had never tried before) – but I figured that it was better than nothing.  This leads to my next lesson…

2. Never try something new on a long run. Assuming the vitamin chews would meet my energy requirements was foolish.  I took the first at mile 8 and never felt any energy boost like I usually do with the caffeinated power gels I rely on.  About 10 minutes after taking the second at mile 13, my stomach started to cramp and I felt as though I was going to be sick.  I hoped it would fade away, but after a mile, I realized I would not be able to run another 13+ miles with the vitamin chews as my only source of energy.

3. Always bring extra food with you. My pre-long run ritual is simple.  I eat one piece of whole wheat bread with peanut butter about 45 min before I begin.  I assumed the photoshoot would take 15-30 min, so I ate in the car into the city.  Big mistake.  If I had packed an extra sandwich, I could have just repeated the ritual after the photoshoot ended.  Instead, I had to rely on food that I ate 3 hours prior to starting the run.

4. Never run in Central Park after 10am on the weekend.  This is a lesson that I thought I thought I had learned the hard way numerous times.  Central Park is a beautiful, amazing, quiet place to run – as long as you are running before the hordes of tourists are out.  There was also a breast cancer walk going on at 9am which attracted thousands of walkers.  Combine the walkers with the tourists and the result was an overcrowded park – so packed that at times there was no room to run – I had to weave in and out of the crowds.   This was my own fault.  I know better and should have made sure I was running long before the event started and the tourists were out sightseeing.  The “stop and go” running only added to my building frustration and was another factor of why I wanted to stop.

5. When trying my longest run ever, pick a flatter, easier course.  I shouldn’t have been so ambitious with wanting to do my 30 miler in Central Park (my favorite place in the world to run).  I should have planned a route that included more flat, even terrain.  After a few 30+ milers under my belt, then I should attempt a tougher course.

Taking all of these lessons into account, I have decided to give the 30-miler another try this Friday (on my actual birthday).  I plan on doing the course along the SI boardwalk and into Fort Wadsworth (which has a few hills- should be a nice break from the flat boardwalk) first thing in the morning (5am).  If all goes as planned, I should be finished before 930 and still have the whole day to spend with Paul and AJ!!!

 Keep your fingers crossed!

30 for 30

13 Oct

I am turning 30 next Friday.  Surprisingly, I am not having any anxiety or trepidation about this supposed momentous event in my life.  I think a lot has to do with the realization that I’m completely happy with my life and the family and friends I surround myself with these days.  I haven’t accomplished everything I thought I would by this age – I’m not holding down a powerful, high-paying job (I’m a stay-at-home mom), my family is not living in a huge house (we are in a 2-BR apt to save some $ to buy a home – hopefully in the next few months), and I often struggle to find the time and energy to head out the door each day to get a 45 min run in (nothing near my plans to have completed several ultras by this point)…But despite all of these “shortcomings”, I’ve never been so happy.  
I’ve decided to celebrate my 30th birthday by doing what else?  Running!!  What better way to start the new year – and new decade – then running?  And since 30 is a special year, I have decided to run my age in miles!!  
I’m going to be doing the 30 miles this weekend (about a week before my birthday) since I don’t want to put in such high mileage only 2 weeks before the NYC Marathon.  Plus, I plan to spend my actual birthday with my husband and son (which easily beats out running any day!!).
“After 30, a body has a mind of its own.”
~ Bette Midler
So bring it on, 30th year!!  =)