Sunday, May 13, 2018

Vancouver Marathon Recap

     I did it! I ran the Vancouver Marathon. It went really well, and I had an amazing time in Vancouver. 

  I am super proud of having finished. I have signed up for 2 other marathons over the past 3 years, but could not run them due to injuries. This was something I really wanted to do and wasn't completely sure at times during training if I could do it. 

Here is a recap of race weekend:

     Craig and I left Saturday morning for Canada. It was my first time crossing the boarder in a car. I immediately was impressed by how beautiful Vancouver is. We picked up my race packet at the convention center, which is located right on the water, looking towards the mountains.

The view from packet pickup

A cruise ship ported at the convention center
The day before the race- I remember feeling pretty nervous!

     We stayed with Craig's friend Nick and his girlfriend at a VRBO. We played Catan (for the first time) and went and ate pasta at a mall. 
     I didn't sleep well that night but oh well... soon it was race morning. 

I had my outfit all prepped. The T-shirt is one Craig made for me for our honeymoon

Gotta wear sunscrean

     We parked semi-nearby and walked to the start line at Queen Elizabeth Park. We were all pretty excited for the race.

At the start line, super excited
     The race started at 8:30. We arrived at the start line just in time so didn't need to wait long. The weather was already nice and warm!

The race start line

The Race

     Within the first few minutes, I really needed to use the bathroom. I stopped (for the first time during a race) to use the Porta potty at mile 2.  I guess I was over hydrated haha. 
     The first 5 miles were pretty easy and downhill.

Mile 1- 10:59
Mile 2- 12:08 (with bathroom stop)
Mile 3- 10:35
Mile 4- 10:23
Mile 5- 10:42

     The next few miles were a bit more difficult and uphill. My feet where beginning to hurt already, which made me a little nervous. I made sure not to push myself too hard so that I would be able to finish the race.
     I just kept reminding myself that as soon as I reached the halfway point it would be flat, along the water and beautiful.

Mile 6- 12:12
Mile 7- 12:07
Mile 8- 11:28
Mile 9- 11:24
Mile 10- 11:22
Mile 11- 12:14
Mile 12- 11:16
Mile 13- 11:00

At the half-way point: 13 miles!

At the halfway point
    I was right! The race was super beautiful from the halfway point onward. I was feeling great and was enjoying the run! At this point, I decided that I would just take it one mile at a time and have fun, regardless of pace. My splits got slower because I took some walk breaks.

Mile 14- 12:00
Mile 15- 12:21
Mile 16- 11:23
Mile 17- 13:34
Mile 18- 12:28
Mile 19- 12:40
Mile 20- 12:09

Around mile 20 where I saw Craig

Feeling strong at mile 20
     I saw Craig between mile 19 and 20, and was feeling great! I remembered that at the Portland Marathon that this was the point where I completely broke down and felt terrible, so I was happy that I was feeling ok. I started listening to some music (I hadn't been until now) and just ignored that I was at mile 20 so that I wouldn't even think of crashing or "hitting the wall."

Nearing the end of the race--- it just kept getting more beautiful

At the end of the course: Stanley Park

Almost finished!
      Nearing the end, I had terrible blisters on my toes. It hurt a lot! I even took off my shoe at one point lol. I definitely walked at the start of each mile and through water stations. But I was still enjoying myself! 

Mile 21- 12:54
Mile 22- 13:08
Mile 23- 12:36
Mile 24- 12:57
Mile 25- 13:02
Mile 26- 13:11
Mile 26.5- 5:55

Final time: 5:18:21

Finish line

About to cross the finish line

I finished in 5:18! (I started around 3 minutes after the official start)

My wonderful husband is the best support team!

I am so happy to have finished this marathon-- it's been a long time goal!

     This was definitely one of the most fun races I have ever run! I already want to run another marathon. Other than the blisters, I didn't really injure myself, and I was hardly even sore after. Even though I felt that my training was semi-inadequate, I feel like I finished well (and even cut about 30 minutes off of my last marathon time!).


My race! I obviously slowed in the second half of the race- but basically ran the entire time

     Because of the late start, it was pretty late in the day by the time the race ended. We went back to the VRBO, cleaned up, then went and got a ton of sushi and bubble tea! 

     All of us were pretty tired that night, so didn't do much that night. Craig was sick with a cold, too, so ended up watching movies.

     Craig and I fortunately had the next day off, so we went out to breakfast before crossing back into the USA. 

     I took the whole week off from running. I have a new job, so it was nice to sleep in! I am excited to plan my next race, though. 

     Overall: the Vancouver Marathon was a blast! I would definitely recomend it to anyone wanting to run a marathon. They also have 8K and half marathon courses, which are beautiful too! 

Monday, April 30, 2018

Marathon Countdown: Final Week

     The Vancouver Marathon is less than a week away! Last week for me was pretty hectic- and I think I found a job! I had an on-cite interview on Wednesday that required a presentation, which I was pretty nervous for but it went great. By Friday, the company gave me a verbal job offer. I haven't received a written offer yet, so we will see what happens.

     I did not run as much as I would of liked last week, but still managed to run on 4 days. I tend to be too lax on the last two weeks before I race with the excuse that I am "tapering."

     I am proud of myself for running yesterday though. Craig and I were gone most of the day for his grandpa's 80th Birthday! I was a tired when we got home around 7:00 last night and hadn't eaten. I forced myself to go out for a run, even if it was only for 30 minutes.

     It was a nice day, and I ended up enjoying running downtown.

     When I got home, Craig had made me dinner!: Chicken burgers and Sweet potato fries... yum.

     There is a chance I will start work this week. (yikes!) I am filling confident that I can pull everything off.

     I think the marathon will be difficult, but as long as I take it slow, I am strong enough to run those miles and make it to the finish line! Also, I am so excited to go to Vancouver!!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Surviving a Tough Training Run

     I wasn't feeling up to running that day... I had run 5 not-so-great miles the day before, and I had just had a job interview that morning, so I really wasn't feeling up to doing much.

     I think that BECAUSE I was so tired actually pushed me to actually go for my long run in a weird way. I wanted to prove to myself that I could run that far of a distance even when I didn't feel like it.

     My goal: run for 3 hours or 15 miles, whichever came first.

The weather was pretty nice... so I had no excuse not to run for 3 hours... right!?

     I have wanted to run this far for some time, but over the past few weeks I kept stopping around the half-marathon point, mainly because I ran out of fuel/water. My legs have also felt tired during my runs recently, so that has been the tipping point at the end of each long run, and I would stop at 13 miles.

This time, I made a few changes:
  1. I packed twice the amount of water
  2. I made a plan of how much fuel I would take and packed more than enough
  3. I created a route that wouldn't allow me to stop at the 13 mile point
  4. I decided to take about a 10 second walk break after every mile

     It wasn't easy, but I did it! It was easily one of the hardest runs I ever ran (in recent memory). I think the recent weeks of marathon training has left my legs pretty tired,  and I was pretty stiff when I finished.

     I haven't run this far since the summer of 2014 when I was training for the Portland Marathon. Basically, it's been 4 years since I have run further than a half marathon. It felt so great to finish and to break past that barrier!

Feeling good after finishing my super long run that day

     Though inconvenient, I think taking planned walk breaks saved my leg strength so that I wasn't so tired when my mileage got above 10 miles. I kept my pace around 12:00 min/mile, which is about a minute per mile slower than my current easy run pace. I think the slower pace helped me go further too!

My mile splits over 15 miles. That's a lot of miles!

     If I need to, I may implement the walk break strategy during the marathon. I am not racing for a particular time, so this may make it more of an enjoyable experience. 

     Funny thing is I still ran out of water way before I finished. I can't really pack more water than I did that day, so I guess I need to be more conservative with how much I drink in the beginning of the run. Luckily, hydration won't be as much of an issue for the marathon because they have aid stations.

     With about a month until the Vancouver Marathon remaining, I have decided I am going to check in more frequently. I'm not sure I will ever train for a marathon again... so I want to do a good job of documenting this experience!

Monday, April 2, 2018

March Marathon Miles

Total Miles: 109

Total Time: 20 hours, 23 minutes

Average Pace: 11:16 minutes per mile

Elevation gain: 2,513 feet

This month of marathon training went pretty well! I was able to get in three long runs, each a half-marathon in distance. The beginning of the month I was running around 20 miles per week, and by the end of this month, I ran over 30 miles in a week, which is closer to where I would like to be this far in my training to be prepared to run the full marathon. 

Most of my runs this month where run in nice weather with beautiful scenery: either along the water or on trails surrounded by trees. 

I feel like longer runs are getting to be easier and more routine, which will help me mentally when I need to run for such a long time during the marathon (which is about a month away!). I also feel like I am getting faster/stronger. I can run about 8:30 minute mile without pushing myself too much, though I usually stick to a 10-11 minute mile for my easy runs during training. 

Over the next month, my goals are: run 2 more weeks of 30+ miles per week, then taper for 2 weeks; to work my way up to a 16 mile run; include core workouts so that I don't get any back pain during the marathon; and to continue to enjoy running in my new home! 

Week 1: 18.1 miles

Thursday- 5 miles
Friday- off
Saturday- off
Sunday- 13.1 miles

Week 2: 14.1 miles

Monday- off
Tuesday- 4 miles
Wednesday- 4 miles
Thursday- speed training 6 x 400m
Friday- off
Saturday- off
Sunday- 2 miles

Week 3: 27.2 miles

Monday- 4 miles
Tuesday- 4 miles
Wednesday- off
Thursday- 13.1 miles
Friday- off
Saturday- 5K race
Sunday- 3 miles

I raced a 5K on St. Patrick's Day

Week 4: 17.5 miles

Monday- 3 miles
Tuesday- off
Wednesday- 6 miles
Thursday- 3 miles
Friday- 5.5 miles
Saturday- off
Sunday- off

Week 5: 31.4 miles

Monday- speed training: 5 x 1 km
Tuesday- 13.1 miles
Wednesday- off
Thursday- 4 miles
Friday- 6 miles
Saturday- 3 miles

Craig and I ran together, and I was able to keep up with him the entire time! 

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Life After an Across-State Move

     This has been a crazy month! Craig started work at his new job the beginning of March. I have been interviewing for jobs all month. Interview-anxiety has really driven my running this month. After every interview, I feel wired and energetic, so I go for a run.

     It has been strange trying to adjust to our new home. I did not expect to miss Pullman so much. I think what I am really missing, though, is the freedom we had while Craig was getting his PhD. I got to see Craig a lot more often! That and I miss the people I knew and the familiarity of the town. I know that after we adjust, I will be a lot more happy in Western Washington, it's just a lot of change happening at once!

     I did do a lot of happy things this month. Here is a little recap.

Craig and I explored the local Asian market and I learned how to make sushi

We went for a walk at sunset. It was absolutely gorgeous. 

Before my first in-person interview I got my hair cut. It had been 1-2 years and was getting too long!  

I had an interview right near the space needle. I was actually offered the job- but turned it down sadly because it didn't seem like a good fit. It was a hard decision! 

I ran a 5K that started a few blocks for my house. It was just for fun; I hadn't trained for it specifically, but I ended up getting a PR: 27:43. 
I went back to my old high school with my best friend and we saw their production of Guys and Dolls- a musical we had been in together back in middle school!

I got to hang out with my friend and her adorable sons for a bit at a local state park.  

Craig's friends from the university came to UW to see the cherry blossoms. They took us to lunch after at this amazing all-you-can-eat hot pot (shabu-shabu) restaurant in Bellevue. 

The UW campus has so many gorgeous, brick buildings. 

The campus was super crowded, but I was able to get one photo without anyone in it! 

     So life has been pretty great, overall! I will update on my running this month later this weekend (spoiler: I ran 100+ miles and 3 half marathons).

Monday, March 5, 2018

My Own Half-Marathon

I wrote earlier about how I was feeling behind in my marathon training because of an across-state move. To make matters worse, towards the end of February, I had constant nausea with abdominal pain.

This lasted for about a week, so I decided to go to urgent care. They were concerned I had an appendicitis, so directed me to the ER. Not what I wanted to hear! I was plugged in to an IV, and had an ultrasound and CT scan. Fortunately it was not an appendicitis. They discovered a lot of excess fluid in my lower abdomen, so concluded that I had an ovarian cyst rupture, which explains all the discomfort.

A few days have passed since, and I am feeling about 75% better (to be exact haha). Running with a supposed-ovarian cyst has not been a pleasant experience, but luckily I am basically back to my happy running self.

Yesterday I ran a half-marathon!

Pre-run. Wearing a fuel belt for the first time in awhile

I was supposed to run the Snake River Canyon Half Marathon near Pullman last weekend. I was registered and everything. Since we moved though, obviously it didn't make too much sense to run it this year (it would have been my 4th year running it). 

Instead, I decided to just run my own half marathon.

The run was fun and pretty eventful.  I saw a lot of different parts of town. And only got lost once...

I got lost when I decided to run over the overpass. I should have taken a left turn before it... whoops.

I was pretty excited to do a long run in my new hometown. The route a took was gorgeous and along the water at least half of the time. 

Seattle is in the distance.

I didn't feel too tired during the run, and my average heart rate was only around 160 bpm.

I was so happy to be able to run this distance! Now I feel like there is still hope that I will be able to run the Vancouver Marathon in about 9 weeks. 

Mile splits

After my run, I took a second to relax by the water.

Post-run face. I did it!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

February Marathon Training

     The struggle is real as I try to balance moving across state with training for a marathon. Spoiler: training gets super-derailed, but I am still holding on to the hope of running a 26.2 mile race in a couple months.

     This month has been kind of crazy! At the beginning of the month, we were still looking for apartments. 

Touring apartments... this is the one we ended up choosing! 
     Mid-month we signed a lease, moved everything out of our apartment in Pullman, then moved everything into a NEW apartment. This sounds pretty straight forward (maybe?), but required a ton of work. Needless to say, February went by super fast. 
Driving away from Pullman

Everything we own fit easily into a U-haul truck

At the Marina near our new home

     All of this is a way of saying that I probably got in 50% of the runs that I wanted to in February. I guess that's better than nothing? 

     Here's a recap of my month:

Week 1

Monday- rest
Tuesday- easy 5 miles
Thursday- easy 4 miles
Friday- easy 5 miles
Saturday- easy 4 miles
Sunday- easy 6 miles

Total: 24 miles

Week 2

Monday- rest
Tuesday- 12 X 400m at 5k race pace
Wednesday- rest
Thursday- rest (was sleep deprived because worried about choosing right apartment lol)
Friday- 4 miles easy
Saturday- 2 miles easy (almost didn't run at all)
Sunday- 8 miles easy

Total: 21 miles

Week 3

Monday- rest (aka moving from Pullman)
Tuesday- rest (aka moving from Pullman)
Wednesday- 4 miles easy
Thursday- 8 x 600m at 5k race pace
Friday- rest (aka moving to new apartment)
Saturday- rest (aka moving to new apartment)
Sunday- rest (aka moving to new apartment)

Total: 10.1 miles

Week 4

Monday- 3 miles easy
Tuesday- rest 
Wednesday- rest
Thursday- cross training (skiing!)
Friday- 5 miles easy
Saturday- 6 miles easy
Sunday- rest (was feeling sick)

Total: 14 miles

Week 5

Monday- 5 x 1Km at 5k race pace
Tuesday- rest (surprise ER trip because not feeling well)
Wednesday- rest (was feeling sick)

Total: 5.3 miles so far...


So it's probably pretty obvious that training did not go as planned this month. 

Week 1)  Right on target. 

Week 2)  I struggled but held on to sticking to training mostly. 

Week 3) I felt that I had to kind of give up on the training and prioritize moving. 

Week 4) I probably really should have been running more but felt so overwhelmed by being in a new area, needing to set-up a new home and unpack that I put it off.

Week 5) I am currently struggling to get back to a "normal" routine and it doesn't help that I've been feeling really sick (which I will write about later.

Total miles for this month: 70

Not bad considering all the chaos... 

Here's to a productive March and to all the happiness that will happen at my new apartment/town!