Tag Archives: Race Day

Fit Friday: Taper Madness

I thought I might be able to avoid it but I was wrong.  I’m barely a week into my One City Marathon taper and the lack of miles has done it.  Taper madness is here.  With 15 days to go, I feel ready to race though I know more time to let my body rest will only be a benefit.  Here are a few of my go-to taper madness ‘Do’s and Don’ts’.taper madness

Start reading.
  Take all those non-running hours and grab a book.  Or a tablet or an e-reader.  Even if you’re not actually running, you can get your fill of running excitement from any number of books.  One of my favorites is Eat & Run, home to a great story and some tasty recipes.

Meditate.  Practice relaxing.  That hour you’d be running is the perfect time to meditate and visualize yourself yourself crossing that finish line.  Get all the details from who’s standing near the finish line to what it reads on clock then remember if you’re not starting in Corral 1 to adjust it for your expected finish, not the gun time!  Visualization can be incredibly powerful and the more you see it happening, the more likely it is.

Plan.  Study the course map to create a game plan for hydration, find out what food is on the course and decide if you’ll be packing your own.  Figure out what your pacing strategy is.  Then come up with a few alternatives because we all know nothing ever goes just as we planned it.  Learn how you’ll get to the start and home from the finish area.  What’s the deal with gear check?  Read the race’s FAQ page to help you develop a bulletproof plan for success on marathon day.

Be a Weather Monster.  Yes, the weather is a big concern for a 26+ mile event when you’re out there for hours and hours.  No, you can’t do anything about it.  Checking it every hour for three weeks will just stress you out and that’s no good at all.  Get a ballpark idea of what the race location’s weather is typically like that time of year, use your plan and make an educated guess.  The truth is it’ll probably change anyway.taper madness

Change.  Whatever you’ve been doing for the last 13 weeks, keep doing it for the next three.  Your body is repairing, healing and getting ready.  If your taper madness boredom leads to happy hour, you’re wrecking those weeks of hard work with poor sleep and dehydrated muscles.  Stick with the diet, nutrition and sleep patterns that have successfully carried you through your training.

Get nervous.  Something always goes wrong but that’s OK.  You trained then you planned and you’re going to show up.  There’s only so much you can control so don’t worry about anything else.  Bad weather, misplaced water stations and potholes all happen but with a solid plan you’ll be just fine.  Trust your training and yourself.


What are your favorite ways to tackle taper madness?

Mutt Masquerade 5k + Volunteering

This past weekend was filled with racing.  Volunteering at a race, running a race and getting ready for a race.  Friday I spent the afternoon volunteering at the Wicked 10k expo, Saturday I completed my last long-ish run before the Monumental Half and Sunday I raced the Mutt Masquerade 5k.

I wrote about the value of pitching in a mutt masqueradehelping at a race last week.  My time at the expo Friday did not disappoint.  Stationed at t-shirt exchange I saw tons of friends, met new runners and, since the shirts ran small, helped lots of people out.  Here I am hanging out with some of my good friends who are J&A Racing Ambassadors.

Saturday morning I ran my last big workout before I tackle state #24, Indiana.  The Monumental Half is a fast and flat course I’m feeling halfway prepared for.  I’m not in peak shape by any means but my legs are feeling good.  My last two long workouts were both very good and I’m looking forward to a solid performance.

Sunday morning the whole house packed up to hit the boardwalk for Virginia Beach SPCA’s Mutt Masquerade.  A morning filled with adorable dressed up dogs and lots of sunshine, it was lots of fun.  My legs were tired from Saturday’s finish fast long run and I didn’t mutt masqueradehave high expectations.  After a mile warm up, I lined up in the front pack of runners.  I took off, settled in to a comfortable pace for the out and back course and had some fun.  mutt masquerade

On the outbound side I realized my right shoe was tied too tight (still figuring out the new shoes).  My ankle was bothering me and an injury however slight was last on my list.  I decided to stop to fix it when I could hear my funky gait on the cement.  Passing all of the wagging tails on my return trip really made the race enjoyable.  Not one of my best performances after having to tie a shoe midway through, I finished second female overall (22:54) and won my age group.


Do you run with your dog?  Would you do the Mutt Masquerade?


Crabby Recap

Crawlin’ Crab Race Day is in the books, and here’s my Crabby Recap.  I set a new 5K PR and really enjoyed J&A’s second annual October affair.  The weather didn’t cooperate too much, and as I turned into mile two, could feel the humidity rising.  Reenforcing the decision to not run the half marathon today, the heat definitely played a role in my race.

The day in Hampton, VA started with a trip into Race Day Packet Pick-Up, which I breezed right through.  After pinning on my number, I headed to the start to pep talk and cheer on everyone on Team FitNice who was running the half marathon.  I sent them off and a short Crawlin' Crab 5K 2013warm up later, I was in my corral clapping for the 5K start of Team Hoyt.  Next thing I knew, I was off.  The first thing I encountered was some light traffic, but I skimmed right through it and then faced a street problem.  Running on the right-hand side of the streets, the bank that had my right foot landing lower than my left for the first mile really started to bother my right ankle.

Luckily, I knew it would be the reverse on my way back.  Running through a course that wasn’t particularly twisty, but did have two straight out U turns and six at 90 degrees, it made my race not only a hair slower, but a little longer as I ended up running 3.19 miles.  My ankle started feeling better as soon as I hit those U turns and the pavement leveled out or had my left foot landing lower, and I finished feeling pretty good.  I picked up a little extra distance, running the 3.19 miles I mentioned, though I’m not sure where, and missed my goal time of 22:30.  With a, by my watch, final finish of 22:54 and 3.19, instead of 3.11, miles, I know at 3.11 I was under 22:30.  Running 0.08 miles in 24 seconds would mean three seconds per hundredth of a mile, calculating to a 300 second, or a 5:00 mile.  Yeah, right.  I do wish I had warmed up a little harder, but I’m still learning and am glad to have the experience.  Averaging a 7:11 mile, faster than the Bay Days 8K, I’m very happy with my overall performance, especially considering the heat and humidity.

After my finish, I hit the Post Race Party for a few adult sodas and a bowl of Baker’s Crust Corn and Crab stew (delicious).  Around the half marathon two hour mark, I headed back to the Finish Line to cheer on every member of Team FitNice who ran it.  Due to the heat, they all finished a little behind their goal times, but still set new PRs and I’m super proud.

Now it’s off to cheer the Eagles on in a tough match-up at the New York Football Giants.  I’ll have my Crawlin’ Crab Race Review for you tomorrow, but for now, let’s Go Birds!


Rest Day!

A big rest day closed out Race Week One of Two, so I didn’t do much for Fit Friday.  My final run before Race Day, speed work Thursday went well, my legs feel ready to go and I am champing at the bit to run.  I have two stretching and foam rolling sessions in the books so far today, one more scheduled for tonight, and my legs will feel even better in the morning.  Other than staying loose and being lazy, Rest Day provided plenty of post-work relaxation.

Last night I prepped for Rest and Race Days with a carb filled spaghetti dinner.  Two glasses of Fess Parker’s 2008 The Big Easy, which were excellent, accompanied dinner, and today it’s been nothing but water.  The pre-race dinner menu holds one of my favorite pre-race meals: grilled chicken, long grain rice and green beans, so bring it on.  After dining and completing my final stretch out before bed, I’ll be hitting the hay with loose muscles and a friendly 530am wake up call in mind.

Sleeping well shouldn’t be an issue after such an easy Rest Day, and all things considered, 530 isn’t very early.  Replacing a two hour run on the docket for Fit Friday, Rest Day gave me time to catch up on some reading and work on my tan after a morning full of work.  It was a perfect afternoon with a warm sun, cool breeze and cloudless sky that made me very happy to be resting instead of running today.  An hour in the sun did more than give me my daily dose of Vitamin D, it gave me a chance to go over my strategy for tomorrow morning and just chill out.

Race plan mapped out, I’ll start Race Day with a 530 wake up call and an extra big breakfast before heading over to Hampton for Race Day packet pick-up.  Even with a big breakfast, it will be almost two hours between leaving home and crossing the start, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be taking a much needed snack with me, too.  The weather guessers say it’s supposed to be in the low seventies with little humidity on the other side of the water in the morning, and that means it will be just about perfect.  The gun goes off at 830am and I’ll do a little warm up consisting of a pair of 200M sprints with some light stretching around 815.

After the race, and setting my new PR, I might stick around to check out some of the Bay Days festivities before heading home to prepare for another evening of College Football.  The Hokies face Western Carolina University and I’m hoping it goes a little better than last week.  I’m also hoping this race gives me a good tune up for Philly.  While I’m not as dead set on hitting a new half marathon PR as I was a month ago, I’m still going to give it my best shot.


Ready For Race Day

Two days until Race Day and Race Week One presses on!  I had a good last long training run for Philly yesterday morning and did a 3.5 mile bike ride to really loosen up in the evening.  The bike route was flat and easy, my legs felt great when I hopped off and I did a 30 minute stretching session right after.  Even with this little bit of added work, the stretching and foam rolling made my muscles feel great.  I knew I’d recover enough to feel fresh for today’s speed work and ready to go on Race Day.

Today’s intervals were my last workout before Race Day on Saturday.  Usually my long run is followed by a strength workout or tempo run, so this was a different kind of challenge, especially since I wanted to get my pace locked down for Race Day.  It was a lovely morning for Beach Boot Camp, but by the time I had my shoes tied on the morning fog had burned off and it was a little warmer than I would have liked since I was wearing capri pants rather than shorts and a dark grey tank top.

Clothing, temperature and beaming sunlight aside, I felt good after my ten miler and recovery bike ride yesterday.  I normally do speed work to help my long run, and heading out I wasn’t sure how they would work in reverse order.  I figured I’d probably be a hair slower than normal because my legs were more tired than usual and I had a slower pace, rather than a faster one, heading into the day’s session.  An extra half mile warm up helped turn my legs on, getting them nice and loose for my six 800M repeats.  Doing a lot of speed work on the Boardwalk scares me a bit because the surface is so hard and if anything bothers my sore shins, it’s boardwalk speed work.  As my last run before race day, and with no shin soreness or pain, I decided to push it today and if my shins flared up, head out onto the streets.  My goal was to be fast and consistent through all six reps.  I almost did it.  The first four were right where I wanted them to be, but I dropped about ten seconds off my pace in reps five and six, but all of them were completed painlessly on the rock hard Boardwalk.  I wasn’t surprised to loose a little steam, with a ten miler leading to these repeats, and was overall very happy with my outing.

I nailed down my pace for Saturday with this workout and have a Race Day strategy ready to go.  I’m excited for the opportunity to set an 8K PR and will be taking full advantage of tomorrow’s total rest day.


Last Long Run

Race Week One of Two rolled on with my last long run before Philly.  A ten miler rather than the originally planned two hour outing, it was surprisingly good.  I got a good night’s sleep and didn’t have any leg soreness from yesterday’s light strength training, however really waking up was a problem.  My mind and my body both felt lazy, but I had a nice breakfast and with weather was as good as it gets for a long run at this time of year, out I went.  A nice cool breeze, a little cloud cover and a temperature sitting right around 72 degrees, I expected to be genuinely awake after my first few steps.

I took off without planning a route beyond my first two miles, mainly because I couldn’t really think to begin with, but I did leave myself some choices for shade if the clouds burned off.  The only thing I definitely wanted to do was get the ten miles in at exactly 80 minutes.  My brain showed up as soon as my heart rate rose a bit and the first mile was good, but my body still felt like it was in bed and took a while to get in gear.  My back was muscle sore from yesterday’s strict pull-ups, although it had shaken right out before my run, so I’m not sure why all of my other muscles had been so lethargic, too.  The clouds were in and out as I passed the first possible entry to a long loop at mile two and I hopped on.  The clouds were disappearing and I wanted some shade, even with the breeze helping me stay cool.  Featuring lots of big trees and a spot to stop for water, it was part of the route I ran on last week’s long run, but this time I didn’t get lost!  I made the correct turn and followed the shaded streets all along the edge of the golf course to circle it entirely for miles three through seven.  A few mild grades to climb along this loop made sure I was officially awake and gave me a good workout.  Exiting the course entrance, I headed back past my start point towards the lake to finish with a lap around it.

Zig-zaging through a few streets en route to the lake ate up some distance as I ran towards my terminal mile and a half loop.  I hit mile eight during these distance eaters and my quads started to get a little tired, but they weren’t unmanageable, plus I got a little reprise when I had to wait about 20 seconds to cross a busy street.  I trotted across the street and turned left to run around with the lake on my right.  My last mile was good.  I could feel my legs working hard but my pace stayed right on track and everything else (shoulder, breathing) felt fine.  I hit the Stop button on my watch at 79:29, meaning I hit my goal, and jogged a little cool down.  Lots of stretching and foam rolling got my legs back in order post run and I’m on to speed work tomorrow.

It’s 6x800M repeats Thursday morning then rest up time for Race Day.  I want to turn in a good race Saturday, and I hit 5 miles at close to my goal time during Monday’s tempo run, so I’m heading in with a boost of confidence.  Lots of stretching and rolling before Saturday morning and a good warm-up before heading to the starting line should have my legs ready to finish up Race Week One with an 8K PR.