{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 19 Recovery}

Recovery really begins the moment the race is over. If you were prepared for your race and fueled and hydrated properly during your race, then recovery will be easier. Within 30 minutes of finishing you should eat a combination of protein and carbohydrates to replenish what your body used during your race. Bananas, bagels, fruit, and electrolyte drinks are good.

If you were me then you ate a banana, a brat, cheese and washed it down with beer. I never said all my advice was solid. The husband was feeling sick, but I made him him eat and drink something. Eating good for you foods throughout the day and hydrating are also necessary.

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Resting the legs is a good thing, but too much of a good thing is often bad i.e. You may never get up again. Balance your resting legs with easy walking or an easy hike. Moving legs will boost recovery.

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The next day moving the legs is also essential to recovering. Go for a nice and easy jog, or if that seems impossible then go for a walk. Ryan wanted nothing to do with running the next day so we opted for walking a few miles around Lake Michigan.

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Resume running and training when you feel your body is ready. Sometimes you will be sore, but an easy jog can make you feel better. Ryan had a baseball game almost every night and had no time to run so he took the week off until our hike/run. The important thing is to listen to what your body is telling you.
Tuesday-5.5 miles (Sarah)

Thursday-4.5 hilly miles (Sarah)

Sunday-8 mile trail hike/run (both is us)

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Keep eating those good foods to continue recovery and boost performance all training long.

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Total Weekly Miles: 18

Happy Training!

SS

{Wisconsin Marathon Race Report}

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On Saturday the husband became an official marathon finisher. Over the past 18 weeks I documented our training ups and downs on this blog. We had some great runs and some challenging runs. We ran in the negative temperatures of the polar vortex, indoors on treadmills to beat the chill, in rain, in sleet, in a foot of snow, in gorgeous spring weather, and everything in between.

Training for a marathon through all these types of weather builds your confidence and teaches you you can do difficult things. Marathon training prepares you for the difficult miles ahead not unlike those of life. Training teaches you there will be miles that hurt and miles that take your breath away. There will be miles that are lost and miles you want to lose it in. All of these miles add up to the distance we completed on Saturday and sometimes are experienced all in one race.
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Friday evening we left town to stay in a hotel just outside of Kenosha. We stopped at an Olive Garden in Madison for some pre-race fuel. We had been saving our Olive Garden gift card we received for Christmas and used Hotwire to get a deal on our hotel room. We arrived to our room at 9:30, laid out our outfits for the next morning and got to bed around 10:30. This may be the most rest I’ve gotten the night before a race in a long time.
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Saturday morning we were up by 5:15. We quickly showered, got our race gear on, and packed the items we had laid out that we’d need for the race like Gu’s. I’d carefully packed everything and laid it out the night before. My race outfit had been chosen three nights earlier. We double checked the weather, loaded directions on the phone, and were off. As we walked down the hall to the car, I thought about all the emotions Ryan must have been feeling and about how I felt on the day of my first marathon. It made my stomach flip just thinking about it.
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We arrived to the race and parked a few blocks away. Parking was a breeze and we arrived to the start with plenty of time to visit the bathroom, snap a few pictures, and enjoy the emotions of the start line.
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It was around this time that I ran into Stacy from In it for the Long Run. We had both ran at the Wisconsin Marathon and Half Marathon (her the full, me the half) last year where we’d hoped to meet, but it wasn’t our day. Today was. She was originally hoping to BQ, but was dealing with a “setback.” Check out her blog post about her Wisconsin Marathon experience.

Immediately upon seeing Stacy I noticed her purple Garmin 220 watch. I noticed this because I have the same one and it wasn’t on my wrist. I had forgotten the freakin’ watch in the car. I have been so forgetful lately that this shouldn’t even surprise me. I was immediately upset. This was Ryan’s marathon and I wanted to make sure we were running a smart pace the entire race. I told Ryan if the race course took us within a couple of blocks of our vehicle, then I’d run to the car and get the watch. I still couldn’t figure out how I’d left the watch in the car.

No watch...eek!

No watch…eek!


With the start only minutes away I didn’t have too much time to worry. The national anthem rang while I silently freaked out. I’d never run a marathon without knowing my pace. I decided I’d start the stopwatch on my phone as I knew from experience the RunKeeper GPS would kill the battery around mile 17-18, and I also wanted to be able to take a few photos. This is sick irony in a way as Ryan is a math teacher. The mental math we did during this race was crazy.

Finally we were off. We quickly learned that the course was not going to go near the car so it was time to suck it up, buttercup. The first miles took us through downtown Kenosha. This area is cute and kitschy in its own way. The next few miles looped out along Lake Michigan. The views were beautiful. The houses huge, and the miles fast. Around mile two we peaked at the stopwatch and saw we were running near nine minute miles. We were okay with this, but had a goal to run around 8:45 pace. This pace was conservative, but allowed us to bank some time, too. Around mile two Stacy caught up with us. We chatted about the forgotten watch, her “setback” and goals, and running races in general. Around mile five we separated and I wished her well. I knew she would do great considering her alternative race plan as she was rocking some awesome fast paces in her training earlier this year. I know a BQ is only a race away for her. Take care of yourself though, girl!
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Miles 5-7 took us back into the downtown area, along Lake Michigan (above), and looped back past the start. We checked our pace at mile five and we were just under nine minute mile pace. As you loop past the start and the half marathon splits from the marathon we naturally checked in with ourselves. How do we feel? Are we fueling right? What is our plan? We both felt good, felt the pace was manageable, and decided to keep on keepin’ on.
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It was around this time that we caught the above awesome view and ran up on a hilarious group of runners. They were so funny and we “drafted” behind them for a mile laughing along the way. At one point we came up on a mile two marker. Someone from the group commented, “WTF we are only at mile two. Son of a bitch this isn’t going well.” When running long distances things make you laugh easily (and other times nothing makes you laugh.) Next they were joking about making jigsaw puzzles out of the view and how you definitely had to start with the horizon line. A moment later they were singing I’ll Be There For You…cue Friends. Still one of the best shows ever.

Around the halfway point we moved around the funny group and double checked our time. We came through the half way mark at 1:54:30. We were running an 8:45 pace at the half way mark and we were pumped. It was around this time that I hit a mental funk. I just felt ugh. I can’t really explain it. At mile 14 Ryan had to take bathroom break at the port-o-potty that appeared out of no where as were due to enter the Kenosha Sand Dunes area. Excellent choice on his part as I don’t recall a bathroom for miles…err till the finish.
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I stretched it out and snapped a picture while he port-o-johned it. Ryan came out asking if something was moving the port-o-potty. Some nearby girls played along with me as I thanked them for shaking the port-o-potty. In reality, I have no clue what he was talking about. The thing didn’t move an inch.

The break and the laugh found me in a better mood. We also headed into a packed gravel road. Reviewers complained about the second half of the course, but I thought it was peaceful and beautiful. I enjoyed the marshish feel, the sounds of birds and frogs in early spring, and the seclusion. If you love rows of fans this isn’t for you. If you don’t mind you, your thoughts, and you then you wouldn’t mind.

The view for miles 20-24.  Beautiful!

The view for miles 20-24. Beautiful!


As we approached mile 19 Ryan started to have muscle pains. We came through mile 20 at 2:58:30. We were doing awesome in pacing for Ryan to finish under four hours (his goal.) Around this point however Ryan began to experience muscle cramps in his hamstrings, calves, and behind his knees. In all of his training runs he never had cramps once. I attribute this to the warmer (but so gorgeous-near 60) temperatures on race day. He also drank no water before the race because his bladder is similar to the size of a small child’s. I did not tell him to skip out on all water, but he took my suggestion to limit his water before the race to mean drink nothing. Lesson learned.

The next miles were hard. Mile 22 our time was 3:20. The past two miles took us 21:30. Not good. I was nervous. I helped us devise a plan. At each mile marker we would walk a minute and then run until the next marker-no walking. We carried this plan out almost perfectly. We had some intense exchanges as Ryan felt terrible despite never feeling bad in a 22 mile AND a 20 mile training run. I waffled between cheerleader and keep your damn mouth shut, he’s in pain. I felt terrible that he was feeling rough.

Near mile 25.5 I told Ryan he could not slow down. We needed to keep the pace to achieve his goal. At mile 26 he told me his whole body was cramping; I told him he couldn’t slow down or he’d miss his goal. As we came down the home stretch I spotted some of Ryan’s family with a big sign that said Happy 30th Sarah. My family and some of our friends were on the right. We came through the finish holding hands in the air. Our finish time 3:59:35. My stopwatch was 14 seconds ahead of the chip time. We did it. Ryan did it. And boy did he.
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I didn’t make the connection about why everyone was at the finish until later because I was so excited and proud of him for finishing in under four hours. I wanted him to soak it in, enjoy every moment, and feel prouder than ever.
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It was part of a surprise birthday party he had planned for me. He kept telling me he was running the marathon for my 30th birthday. I didn’t get what he meant. What he meant was he wanted to plan a birthday surprise that was all about the things I love, that was personal and special to me. He nailed it on the head. Running together and training was ultimately an awesome experience. To culminate it with family and friends was even better.
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Little did I know there was more. He had reserved a block of rooms at nice hotel (I heart!) in the Historic Third Ward (my favorite part of Milwaukee) where everyone met after the race for drinks, then we bar hopped along Milwaukee’s river walk, and finally he had a reservation for the 25 in our group at the Water Street Brewery for dinner. Then it was out with friends for the night. The day was me to a T. He combined my favorite things (friends and family, marathons, swanky hotels, Historic Third Ward Milwaukee, craft brews, breweries, and awesome food.) What an awesome husband I have. He took a day that should have been about him and made it into the perfect birthday surprise. He gets me. And for that I’m so grateful.
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Wisconsin Marathon
Time: 3:59: 34 (Ryan) and 3:59: 35 (Sarah) He won between us!
Pace: 9:09
Overall: 284/847 (Ryan) and 285/847 (Sarah)
Gender: 199/463 and 86/384
Age Group: 31/58 and 18/71

Happy Running!

SS

{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 18}

The final week of training was a blur. It was both bittersweet and exciting. Ryan was ready to be done training and also call himself a marathoner. I was anxiously anticipating Ryan’s first race remembering all of my own first time fears, excitements, and nerves.

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Monday-3 miles (Both of us)
Nice and easy miles.

Wednesday-6.18 miles (Sarah)
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I came back from this run in the rain wet, but so content. The legs felt rested and ready to race on Sunday.

Thursday-2 miles (Ryan)

Sunday-26.2 miles Race Day! (Both of us)
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Full race recap coming this week!

Tip of the Week-
Double, no triple check, your packing list and make sure you have everything you need. Thursday I laid everything out I planned to wear, eat, drink, etc.

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I double checked it as I packed everything. Even though I packed everything I needed to be prepared on race day, this didn’t prevent me from forgetting to bring my watch to the actual race. More on that in my race report this week. Below is a list of my must haves for race day!

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-Fuel (for me this involves choosing my GU flavors and planning at what miles I will eat each)
-race belt
-body glide
-Garmin or other GPS watch
-safety pins or clips for race belt to attach race bib
-iPod/iPhone for music and photos
-headphones
-headband (Sweat Band or Bic bands)
-hair ties
-Nuun for pre and post-run hydration
-sunscreen
-lip gloss
-sports bra
-Shirt(s)
-bottoms
-compression socks x2 (one pair for racing the other for post-race if necessary)
-hat (if cold or wet)
-shoes
-warm layers if needed
-change of layers (especially if raining)

I also try to remind myself that if anything is forgotten a runner ultimately only needs clothes and shoes. Everything else on this list simply makes the miles easier or more comfortable.

What items are on your race day gear list?

Total Weekly Miles-29.2 miles (Ryan) and 35.4 miles (Sarah)

Happy Training !

{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 17}

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In hindsight making this the week to start giving up your biggest vice may not have been smart. Diet Mountain Dew and I have a long history. If asked my favorite food I would say Diet Mountain Dew. Favorite way to start my day-Diet Mountain Dew. Favorite pick me up-Diet Mountain Dew. My favorite treat, you guessed it, Diet Mountain Dew!

Except what we have turned into much more than a treat. The obsession turned into a strong dependency to the point I packed it with me everywhere I went. This week after feeling it suddenly tasted off, I decided to end the dependency I have on Diet Dew.

I try to eat healthy most of the time and I buy products with reduced chemicals or more natural options, yet I ingest chemicals horrible for my body 12 ounces at a time, three times a day. It was time to make a change. Plus I don’t want to have to pack cases of pop to take on our vacation out West this summer or be confused with a momma grizzly if I’m short on Dew.

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Tuesday I had a can and a half of the vice. Wednesday and Thursday I had no diet soda. Friday I had one fountain diet soda with my late night dinner that I did not finish. I drank tons of water over these days and felt ok. The first few days were easier than I’d anticipated they would be.

Then this weekend came. I’ve felt like a zombie! All I want to do is sleep. Today I had no coffee in the morning either which left me with the worst pounding headache I’ve experienced. I’m hoping this is the worst of it. I don’t plan to give up coffee or start drinking more of it. My only intentions were to give up the sauce (dt. Dew)! I’m curious to see how I feel in a week. Will my training see improvement or not with less soda and more water? Will I feel better or recover faster? We will see! Anyone have any suggestions?

With one more week before the Wisconsin Marathon here’s how our past week of training looked.

Monday-5.25 miles and 50 minutes of yoga (Sarah)

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Monday was Boston Marathon Monday. I dream of running this race one day and hoped everything would go positively for those running today. To show my pride and support for those in Boston I dressed in my Boston Strong colors and Boston Strong Bic Band.

Tuesday-10 mile tempo run (Sarah)

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I didn’t intend to make this a tempo run, but the legs wanted to go and the weather was perfect. I averaged 8:15 pace over my ten mile run. It felt great!

Wednesday-5 miles

Sunday-8 miles

Tip of the Week-if you’ve managed to make it through your training without losing a few toenails or gaining black ones-congrats! I struggled with black and painful toenails until my third or fourth marathon. Now my toe box of my current shoes fits better so there is less sliding for my toes to hit the ends of my shoes. I’ve also learned to never go for a long run without clipped toenails. Forgetting to trim your nails can lead to painful blisters and toes later on. Ryan has had no issues with this by taking my advice about clipping his toenails and purchasing shoes that fit his feet.

By this point you’ve also earned some calluses and rough parts to your feet. Once you’ve earned those I’d recommend keeping them. I’ve had only one pedicure since my wedding in 2007. Now that my feet are often sensitive I don’t want anyone coming at them. Plus I worked hard for those calluses and I don’t want to have to work to earn them back. Foot massages on the other hand-amazing! Paint your toes pretty ladies (and gents if you wish) and carry those funky feet proud. You earned them!

Total Weekly Miles-13 miles (Ryan) and 28 miles (Sarah)

Happy Training!

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{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 16 (the real post)}

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First of all congrats to all the runners at Boston today. I was so excited for Meb to win the men’s race today. I was cheering and on the edge of my seat those last miles. It was also awesome to see Shalane Flanagan PR and set a new American record along with a new course record by Rita Jeptoo. Watching them run reminded me that even for the elite a marathon is a challenge.
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Our first week of taper is officially over. Since accidentally posting this before it was done you can also tell that I’m already starting to lose it…sort of. Let taper madness begin. Taper madness is the self-doubt, phantom aches and pains that pop up, questioning of ones training, and general hysteria that surrounds a drop in mileage before a big race.
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Ryan is following his taper schedule which is coming at a perfect time as he has baseball games three nights a week. I’m sort of tapering, but not. Since my big race is the Chesterwoods 50k in June and my two marathons in July, I do want to taper some for the Wisconsin Marathon, but it is really serving as a long run for me.

Monday started with a snow day and Tuesday it was still cold yet. While you’d think I’d be used to this, I am so over it. I also wanted to rest the legs from our 22 miler. I should have run Tuesday, but didn’t. I later regretted that choice. I swear sometimes I never learn.

Wednesday-5 miles

Thursday-8 miles (Ryan)

Friday-8.6 hilly miles (Sarah)
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Saturday-10 miles (both of us)

This surprise package greeted us on Saturday! We opted to pay for packets to be sent to our house as we knew we wouldn't have time to attend packet pickup. This makes the race seem so much more real!

This surprise package greeted us on Saturday! We opted to pay for packets to be sent to our house as we knew we wouldn’t have time to attend packet pickup. This makes the race seem so much more real!

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We ran our ten miles on the Great River Trail which runs parallel to the Mississippi River and into the nearby marsh areas.  We even saw a pelican fly by a few times which is a new sighting this spring.  20140421-124530.jpg

This run I had hopes of going 16, but I wasn’t feeling the greatest tummy wise and we had places to go and people to see so I settled for ten miles. Sunday was the same story and sadly my miles really tapered this week. The runs I had felt great and strong so I’m not too worried. I’m looking to have a strong week and my miles up again next week although with a busy calendar it is going to take some forward planning on my part to make it happen. Get after it!

Tip of the Week: When tapering for a marathon-respect the taper. You’ve earned the time off and recovery for your legs to perform their best on race day. Remember while you might be cutting mileage, you do not need to cut intensity. Keep doing those speed sessions if that has been a part of your training. Tapering is about reducing miles on your feet not intensity. Also, now is the time to make sure you’ve done a dress rehearsal or two on you last long runs to make sure you know what you are wearing on race morning to eliminate unnecessary surprises or discomforts. A little forwards planning can really save your race ahead of time!

Weekly Mile Totals: 18 miles (Ryan) and 23.6 miles (Sarah)

Happy Training! I’m off to start my week right with a run and show some Boston Strong pride!

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{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 15}

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As I sit starting this post it is pouring rain outside and thundering and lightening. My hopes of running a long run on Saturday this week are pretty much gone. Instead I’ve been blissfully stalking reading race reports about the Wisconsin Marathon and searching for other races to add to the spring training schedule. With so many long, long runs for my 50k training coming up, I feel the need to break up the monotony of running in my boring city with only six miles of trails.

Speaking of my 50k I recognize I haven’t really mentioned how I’m training for it exactly. I’m basically following the same training plan as Ryan is for the Wisconsin Marathon with longer distances on some days and hillier and/or trail routes on other days. My actual 50k training plan is below. I’m currently on week 9.
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I’m not looking to break any times or records, rather I’m hoping only not to die or end up hurting so much I never want to do it again. I want to enjoy the trails and running and training in nature more. I want to accomplish a new distance I never have before. I want to get a taste of ultra running.

Back to the focus of this post…Wisconsin Marathon Training.

Monday-5 miles (Sarah)
3 miles with the track kiddos and two miles on my own.

Tuesday-5 miles (Ryan)

Wednesday-7 mile tempo run (Sarah) and 7.5 miles (Ryan)
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I had a dinner date with friends so we did not run together. I left school right after I could and got my miles in and Ryan ran his after baseball practice. I had a phenomenal run. It was a run that makes your heart feel full and bursting with happiness and contentment. I needed that-it had been too long. My legs just wanted to go fast. My lungs still struggled to keep up with some junk in them yet, but they are improving. I managed what I think is my fastest 10k time during this run. Hmmm…now I might need to set a PR goal in this.

Thursday-6 miles
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4 miles with the track kids plus 2 miles on hilly trails.

Saturday-5 miles (Sarah)

Sunday-22 miles (both of us)
We are so bored with the running scene in our community, so we decided to take a road trip to La Crosse. La Crosse is so runner friendly with lots of runners, beautiful trails and scenery, and lots of places to celebrate a long run. Below is our route for our 22 miler. We basically went out 5.5 miles then came back. Then we went out 5.5 miles in a different direction and came back. If you ever get the chance to visit all locations below are great for running.  We took a GU every 4-5 miles to stay fueled and drank water in the middle of the run.
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Running into MN and back. The WI-MN state line is in the middle of the Mississippi River.

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After running in a light rain from miles 11-19.75, we felt lucky it only poured on us for just over two miles. Even though we were drenched we were happy to have felt as good as we did.
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After all of our hard work it was time to relax a bit. I chose a delicious bloody mary from a local favorite of mine, Fayze’s.

Tip of the Week: When long runs get mundane and old running routes lose their allure it is time to change up your running route. There are so many running friendly trails, state parks, towns, and bike paths that there isn’t really a good excuse not to try new routes. We are usually willing to drive an hour to these places if needed for specific runs. It gives you new scenery, a chance to try new local fare, and a renewed mental appreciation for runs. More on this idea later!

Total Miles for Week: 45 miles (Sarah) and 34.5 (Ryan)

{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 14}

After this past week’s training we have a month to go-four more weeks. It seems so close and the second guessing and doubt is starting to creep in. By now I know this is totally normal, but for first timers it is such a mix of emotions.

This week the foot is feeling awesome, but I’ve come down with a mother of a chest cold. Despite not feeling awesomesauce, I pushed through and ran some good mileage. Ryan, too. Weather temperatures were all over the place. There was rain, snow, sleet, freezing rain, and sunshine. There was wind and there was calm. We ran it all this week.

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Yup…we’re at this spot!

Monday-5 miles
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Today should have been a rest day for me since I ran 15 miles the day before (first run in 11 days) and I was sore! I am helping coach middle school track on Monday’s though and it was just too nice of a day. I ran a couple miles with the kids and ran a few more when I got home.

Thursday-5 mile
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We were making our angry and sad faces at the cold and sleet and snow. I had to take a break half way through because I couldn’t stop coughing. This only caused more coughing, but I do believe it helps break up some chest congestion.

Saturday-6.7 miles (trail run with walk breaks)
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The weather was great (50 degrees and sun) and I was anxious to hit the trails for the first time since the snow has started to melt.  We headed to a nearby state forest to run some trails. I might have jumped the gun a bit as there was a fair amount of snow in places. The open spots were wet, muddy, and awesome.  Smelling leaves and spring was so rejuvenating.  There were plenty of walk breaks though because this chest cold gets me coughing and very out of breath.

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Sunday-18 miles (Sarah) and 12 miles (Ryan)

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Since easing back into my long runs after my foot injury Ryan and I are on different pages with our long runs and that is ok. Today’s run was ok. My chest is filled with junk so I cough regardless of whether I’m running or laying on the couch so I chose running. Plus it was too nice to sit inside (60!)

My legs felt strong and the foot good. I ate a GU at mile 5, a sweet juicy pear at mile 11, and another GU at mile 15 because I was hungry and felt I needed it. It feels great to be back! I have to say though the past few months have been rough between the hurt foot and the chest cold. Even though it feels great to be back, I’m not saying the runs themselves have been really great. Every run has felt challenging or frustrating since I hurt my foot in mid-February. Once this cold is gone, I’m expecting to fall hard for running again-in love that is!

Tip of the Week: If you are sick know when to sit out a few days and when to run. If you are running a fever I usually recommend taking the day off from running. No fever, means you can run! If you truly feel terrible, then a day off will help you bounce back faster. I felt like I had a bit of a low-grade fever mid-week and felt zapped for energy. Later in the week, I was starting to feel better but still had the lingering and annoying hack going. Since I knew I didn’t have a fever, I didn’t let a cough become an excuse to sit out again. Get lots of rest, drink lots of water, and eat good foods to help your recover or ward off sickness in the first place.

Total Weekly Miles: 28.7 miles (Ryan) and 34.7 miles (Sarah)

Happy Training!

{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 13}

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This week I rested most the week but ended this training week with a bam! Ryan had a solid week and ran his first 20 miler-such a huge feat in marathon training.

Monday-8 miles (Ryan)

Wednesday-lifted (Ryan)

Thursday-5 miles (Ryan)

Saturday-5 miles (Ryan)

Sunday-15 miles (Sarah) and 20 miles (Ryan)
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We ran the first 15 miles of this run together and each mile felt difficult. Despite sunshine, temps in the 60’s, and busting out one of my favorite running skirts (similar-Target) it was a challenge. We never felt like a mile was easy or flying by. We were both dehydrated. It was my first run in 11 days and if I’m being honest-it sucked! The thing about running is that even when it sucks is still feels good after or later on. You still feel proud and glad you ran even if the actual miles weren’t awesome.

It was Ryan’s first 20 miler and he took a GU every five miles and drank Nuun at the same time. I stocked up on both GU and Nuun this weekend. Both are cheaper on Amazon and you get free shipping when your order is more than $35.00. I have no ideas why both are cheaper on Amazon than on their own websites, but I’m always looking for a deal so I will always look on Amazon first from now on.
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To be close to GU and water we broke our run into five mile loops. This made the run mentally smaller and more manageable. Despite trying mental strategies to make the run seem shorter, it was a difficult run for both of us, but neither of us quit. We did stretch when we felt we needed to and didn’t put any time pressure or expectations other than to finish it. I went out saying 15 was my max as I wanted to see how the foot held up and didn’t want to injure myself in another way. Ryan planned to follow the training plan and run 20.

When Ryan got back from his extra five miles I asked him how he felt. He said it sucked. He was glad to have taken my ipod with for the last miles because they were rough. In his words: the whole thing sucked! All my muscles wanted to let go.

This is the hard part with running. A few weeks ago we ran a 17 mile run and felt great. We both felt we could have kept going and perhaps ran a marathon that day. Today we struggled. Some runs are great and others are not. The important thing is to keep going. Every mile makes you stronger.

Tip of the Week: Be proactive in injury prevention. Since I’m recovering from a foot injury I thought it perfect to mention some tips to prevent injury. Even though my injury was not caused by running directly, running made it worse. Some of the most common injuries for runners are runner’s knee, plantar fasciitis, IT Band, pulled muscles, blisters, and shin splints. If you take care of yourself, then you can decrease your chance of these common runner injuries. Here are some tips to follow in being proactive against injury.

1) Warm up with dynamic stretches and movements. Ten minutes of these before your next run increases your strength and flexibility and warms muscles up so they are ready to run.

2) Run with good form. I am a total hypocrite for saying this, but I do believe some of my hip pain is because I’ve never done anything to improve my form other than focusing on holding it together on long runs.

3) Choose a training plan for your current level of fitness. It’s easy to want to run a certain time or mileage, but be honest with yourself, your current level of fitness, past experiences, and past injuries. Choosing the right training plan can keep you running healthy and strong all the way to race day.
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4) Set a realistic race goal and train accordingly. Running every run really fast will not help you on race day. Neither will training on all flat terrain for a hilly course. Know your race course and fitness level, and choose an appropriate goal. If it is your first time running a specific distance I recommend running to finish not to compete. You will automatically have a PR!

5) Stay hydrated and eat healthy. Both will help speed recovery and fuel runs. The better the things you put in your body, the better your body will operate.

6) Save static stretching and yoga for after your warm up or runs. Some studies say static stretching (holding a stretch in place) before a run can actually increase your chance of injury and decrease performance. Save it for after your run when it is most beneficial.

7) Pay attention to trouble spots and past injuries. Since spraining my ankle last year I am doing extra exercises to strengthen my ankles before my upcoming trail races.

8) Know when pain is pain and not soreness. If something really hurts and feels more than sore, then you should consider cross training and/or sitting out a few runs. If the pain goes away then resume your training plan. If it doesn’t, you know you have more than muscles soreness.

Injury prevention is so much easier than injury recovery…trust me! I’m so looking forward to resuming my training plan this week.

Total Miles: 38 miles (Ryan) and 15 miles (Sarah)

Happy Training!
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Sneaks & Stilettos

{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 12}

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This week I only ran once.  If I had to pick a week to be injured, I guess this would have been it.  With lots of responsibilities, life events, and unexpected things popping up, running took a back seat this week.  After sitting out most the week, I am so anxious to go for a run.  My foot is feeling better, but where I go from here is on a day-by-day basis.  I’d love to resume the training plan Monday, but we will see.  The most important thing is giving my foot time off to heal so I can show up to the starting line healthy.  Even more unexpected than missing my running time this week was how much I missed the fresh air and being outside.  Having ran outside all winter this week has been the most I’ve been indoors and it was challenging.

Looking at Ryan’s training this week, I’d say my foot held not only me back, but Ryan too.  Granted we had some unexpected family things happen this week.

Tuesday-5 miles (both of us)

Wednesday-Ryan lifted

Thursday-5 miles (Ryan)

Tip of the Week:  Just because we didn’t do so well sticking to the training plan this week doesn’t mean you have to have the same experience.  If you are injured or something feels painful, then by all means skip your run until you feel better or see a doctor.  If you are healthy, then here are some tips to stay committed to your training plan.

1) Plan Your Workouts-Yes, your training plan tells you what to run and when.  What I mean is look at your obligations and work load for the week.  Are there days you need to move around?  Will you need to move a p.m. run to the a.m?  What might be going on this week that could negatively impact your training runs being completed.  Be proactive and adjust your training plan to accommodate your week in advance to ensure all training runs have a time and a place.  Sunday nights work great for this!

2)  Run with Friends-Schedule a run or two for the week with a friend.  Having someone to meet up with will increase the chance you don’t bail on your miles.

3) Log Your Miles-I log every run in RunKeeper.  I get excited to enter my miles and see my progress towards my goal.  Other apps or social media to try include Daily Mile, Strava, or even Instagram.

4) Spread the Word-Tell family and friends about your race or long runs.  Knowing they might ask you about them and how they went will help you stay committed to your training.

5) Reward Your Hard Work-I almost always think of a personal incentive for after a long run or difficult speed session.  Rewards could be food, but might also be a massage, new pair of running socks, a pedicure, or whatever interests you.

6) Move that Butt-Once you get home from work or out of bed in the morning, get your run on right away.  Don’t make excuses or procrastinate because you only increase the chance you won’t make it out the door or have time for all your miles.

7) Cross It Off Your List-I love lists and crossing things off them.  I have a paper copy of my training plan on the refrigerator so I can cross a workout off after I complete it.  Something is so satisfying about the action of checking off a list.

8) Race for Your Race-Schedule a few tune up races to get some speed training in or a half marathon race as part of your long runs for marathon training.  I love racing; the change in scenery is refreshing to your training, you get the opportunity to have a dress rehearsal for your big day, and it can rejuvenate and remind you of your training goals.

Total Miles-5 (Sarah) and 10 Ryan

Happy Training!

{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 11}

Thanks to a solid run on Monday, this was a good mileage week for both Ryan and I.  This week brought out some emotional aspects of training that I wasn’t necessarily expecting.  We all have our ups and downs when preparing for demanding physical feats.  When I signed up for my first marathon my only fear was could I really run 26.2 miles?  Would I be physically strong enough?  Would my body hold up to the miles and the pavement pounding?  What if my muscles tired too fast?  Little did I know physical challenges are often the least of my worries when it comes to training, or they had been until this training cycle.  My mind was often the biggest thing to overcome in past years.  This year it seems to be both a physical and a mental battle I’m fighting.  If it’s not one, then it’s the other.  On some days it’s both.

Monday-17 miles, long run (both of us)

20140312-120730.jpgMonday’s long run was supposed to happen the day before (Sunday), but social choices got in the way. Monday’s weather was absolutely, freaking gorgeous, so I’d say it worked out in the end.  At lunch it was 52 degrees and the sun was shining.  I went for a drive with the windows down, sun roof open, radio blasting, and a large fountain drink in hand.  It was a great fifteen minutes.

Post-work Ryan and I got down to business to get this 17 mile long run completed.  We busted out the shorts and had an awesome run in the 59 degree weather. The bare leg feeling made us both feel like we had just started for the first 13 miles.  We finished our run in 2:25, which was speedier than I’d expected for a long run.  Bare legs just felt that good.  Ryan tested taking GU’s earlier in this run so he is prepared on race day, and because when you start a long run at 5:15 after work and have not had dinner yet fueling is super important.  The GU’s went fairly well and held our hunger over until dinner.  We were both starving post-run.  Remember to make sure to fuel with protein and carbs within 30 minutes of your long run to start the recovery process in a positive way.

Wednesday-easy 5 miles (Sarah)/8 miles (Ryan)

I was still sore as I did not drink hardly any water on either Tuesday or Wednesday.  I did not do my body any recovery favors…oops!  Sometimes I need the reminder though that being sore doesn’t always mean you need to skip a workout.  My legs felt better than before the run after knocking out this easy pace recovery run.  I contemplated skipping this run for about 20 minutes, but thought better of it.  I was so glad I came to my senses even though it was back to running in the teens outside.  As for my foot, that is another story.  Damn that foot.

Saturday-8 miles (Sarah)

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Sunday-18 miles (Ryan)/10 miles (Sarah)

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Pre-long run stretching in our house!

Sunday’s run started off on the right foot, that is until my right foot started hurting again.  The pain is hard to describe, but it is constant when running and walking.  At mile six I was questioning if I should continue.  I decided to head out for one more loop, but at mile eight I tearfully admitted to myself that it was stupid to push through the pain I was feeling.  I handed Ryan the Garmin, and turned back for home defeated, upset, and feeling sorry for myself.  How could the marathon runner be having worse training weeks than the first-time marathon trainer?  I still feel frustrated by this, but have had an hour to mentally come to terms with today’s disappointing run.  Monday’s run was awesome; no pain.  Today-Grrr.

Sometimes training is great and other times it’s a bitch.  But, I guess that is what training is for.  It prepares you for the mental and physical rollercoaster you might have on marathon race day.  I’ve ran marathons that have felt easy and effortless.  I’ve ran marathons that felt difficult and challenging from mile 11 on.  I’ve ran marathons where I ranged from jubilant to wanting to quit to ecstatic in a matter of miles.  Sometimes the highs are high and the lows are really low.  We come out stronger and prouder for taking on and overcoming the challenge.  That is what the marathon is about.

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No matter how many marathons I train for and run, I feel like I learn something new about myself, my body, and my spirit.  It is a journey that is not always rainbows and sunshine, but what great things are always great?  I need to focus on the quote above in the coming weeks.  It is so frustrating to want to do something and have your body not want to.  I know my mind wants to run the distance.  My body just has to come along.  For now I am busy scrunching a towel with my toes, stretching the foot, rolling arches with a soup can, foam rolling, and doing yoga stretches.

Tip of the Week-When aches and pains start (and they will!) foam rolling will be your new favorite love-hate relationship.  The pain it brings is worth the pleasure in the end.  I use my Trigger Point Foam Roller, which I bought on Amazon.  I love the different spaced pressure points that allow you to vary your foam rolling experience.  No idea how to foam roll?  See the graphic below to get started.

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Ryan’s Total Miles-43 miles

Sarah’s Total Miles-40 miles

Happy Training!