Monday, May 26, 2014

The Big BQ: Mountains 2 Beach Marathon Race Recap

This post has been in the works since sophomore year of high school; it has taken me a year and a half to gain base fitness, 11 months to plan, and 14 weeks to train. All this amounted to one very nervous me standing on a start line at 6 AM yesterday morning. This was the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon, but the battle had been fought on the long runs and sore muscles and trial-and-errors and self-doubt and self-reliance of the past 3+ months. The only thing left to do yesterday, I tried to convince myself, was hold on for the ride.

My spectacular family had driven all the way down to Ventura (an hour south of Santa Barbara) with me for this race. My sneaky sister had previously told me she couldn’t make it to this mini-milestone, but, of course, was waiting for me when I walked out of my apartment on Saturday morning to begin our adventure. What a lovely, unexpected surprise! With my parents, my best friend, and my sister all in toe, we made our way down the coast. All the while their high spirits were both hugely comforting and mildly stressful, as I knew I’d share either a great triumph or a relatively crushing disappointment with them in the next 36 hours.

After a six-hour car ride, 2 huge meals, and a whole lot of ‘together’ time, I was at last crawling into a lumpy hotel bed hoping for some restful z’s before my 4 AM wake up. And, naturally, none were to be had.  So after maybe 3 hours of sleep, my gracious mom and I were climbing into the car and heading to the start line. This wonderful lady drove me 35 minutes into the mountains on windy backroads so I could avoid the 3 AM wake up required to catch my allotted shuttle time. How great is my mom? Really though, that’s love.

Friday, May 16, 2014

9 Days to Go!

Would you look at that? I'm 9 days out from my first attempt at chasing the unicorn and I am flooded with joy and prickly fear and gratefulness. For those of you who aren't toeing the line of insanity about qualifying for the Boston Marathon, 'chasing the unicorn' is Runspeak for 'trying to qualify for Boston'; this is because, naturally, the symbol of the Boston Marathon race is a unicorn:

So what does it take to qualify for the most prestigious marathon in the world? Well for my age group, I have to finish the race in under 3 hours and 35 minutes, which calculates out to 8:12 minute/mile pace maximum. My crazy-ass goal for the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon is a 7:43 pace, but my real-person goal is to cross that finish line in under 3:35. There you have it. Inked in Internet-land for all to see, for better or worse.

But as I mentioned in my previous post, I run because it's love and it's life and it's every embodiment of earning and sowing and getting out of something so much more than you put into it. I've had a lot of time during these long runs and speed workouts to contemplate why I prioritize running over movies and nights out and drinking with friends and eating large quantities of chocolate cake in my yoga pants on my bed (though much cake has still been consumed, for good measure).

Friday, May 2, 2014

Week 4: Race To Taper

< ONE MONTH OUT. It's time to get down to business as I have 23 more days until the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon 2014! I am a hop, skip, and a jump away from the notorious distance runner mantra "the hay is in the barn," meaning, of course, that the work you've put in up until this point is what will be carrying you through the race - not the work you put in on the day of the race itself. Let's dive into a recap of what I've been up to from the second half of last week and this week:

The end of last week stumbled by with Berkeley Lululemon Run Club, Hot Yoga, a 3 mile jaunt, an unintentional Saturday rest day (sometimes real-life is a struggle) and then my first 20+ run of this training cycle.

Sunday 4/27
21 miles
7:43 pace

Monday 4/28
3 miles

Tuesday 4/29
Fever (!!) ..stuck in bed
and this ended up being my evening:
Trader Joe's Salad & Born To Run

Wednesday 4/30
6+ miles tempo
Berkeley Run Club

Thursday 5/1
(make-up from Tuesday)
7 x hill + 2.5 miles there and back

Friday 5/2
5 miles

My long run last weekend was most notable because I was actively trying to regulate my pace as consistently as possible. This was a test-run of what I can hold in my gas tank. Finishing 21 miles in 2 hours and 38 minutes means that even if I drop down to 8:10 minute mile pace for the last 5+ miles, I would still qualify for Boston in under 3:30. You would think I would be STOKED on this realization, but if I'm being honest, as I've vowed to be on this blog, I'm not counting my chickens just yet.