Plant Powered Running – a year in review

It all started with Meatless May.

It was the weeks leading up to a marathon where I was trying to eat clean and my husband and I opted to cut back on /try to eliminate our meat consumption as well.   And come May 1st, I decided to see if I could go a month without meat.

Meatless May has so far lasted one year and 2 days.  And is still going strong.

Granted, I am not a vegan.  And that’s mostly due to a) my love of cheese and b) my gluten allergy.  Because you know what most vegan proteins are made of? Yep, gluten.

What I am…is a celiac pescetarian.   (possibly the most annoying eater on the planet.  LOL)  I eat fish, and sometimes eggs (organic, free range), and sometimes cheese (preferably small farm local or goat cheese).

My only ice cream in the past year was a banana split during Disney marathon weekend, But that was a situation where I didn’t have a lot of options at the restaurant.  And I only ate half.  And it was amazing.

I also eat kale, and spinach and lentils and beans and tofu and edamame and all kinds of amazing stuff.  Is it weird to say I love tofu? Its a challenge being a runner and not eating meat, because protein is essential to my way of life.  But there are a lot of plant based sources.  And I love the Vega company – their bars and shakes are delicious and convenient.

So has this new way of life affected my running skills?  I’d say it has…for the better.

And I mean granted, I am not saying that giving up chicken, pork, beef, etc made me a better runner.  But I think when you are focused on what goes into your body in a healthy way, it affects other aspects of your training – like committing to strength training and proper run fueling and hydration.

So lets look at what i’ve accomplished in the past 12 months:

  • May 1, 2016 – Providence Marathon.  Ran the entire thing.  Every single step.  My 10th marathon, but the first one I didn’t walk any of.
  • August 19-20, 2016 – Anchor Down Ultra.  12 hours of non stop running / walking. 44.1 miles.  My new distance PR.  And 9th female finisher.  Wow…
  • November 24, 2016 – Gobble Wobble 5k.  25:20.  a 5k PR.  And 6th in my age group.
  • January 5-8, 2017 – Walt Disney World Marathon weekend.  5k & marathon (Goofy Challenge 1/2 was rained out). Most fun i’ve ever had at a marathon.  And got my favorite race photo ever at mile 25.
  • April 23, 2017 – Blackstone Valley Half-marathon.  Fastest half in 2 years.  2:00:12 at the 13.1 marker and a 2:03:22 finish (13.47 miles).  Even hit a 57:00 10k.  Holy crow!

And next on the docket is the Maine Coast Marathon.  May 14th.

I’m not saying I have a shot at a marathon PR… but I might just.   Because you see, Sunday was my final LONG run – a 21 miler.  And it was the fastest i’d run an 18-22 mile training run since April 2015.

We’ll see what happens in 12 days. And yes, i’m going to spend taper freaking out and coming up with my real race goal (and backup goal) and checking the weather and questioning my outfit, just like normal.  But i’m also going to trust that may, just maybe as I approach marathon #12, that I finally know what i’m doing.

And I’ll have faith that if the amazing things I have accomplished this year are any indication, Maine Coast will be epic.


Hello April…lets party!

Anyone else glad that March is finally over?  Boy that was rough…

It came in like a lamb…then went full lion and stayed there.  With that one last hurrah of a snow storm on the 31st.  Because, why not.

But not only was the weather totally lion & lamb…so was my running.  March started nice and easy with marathon training just getting good.  And ended with a double-long run week.  For the second year in a row, March was my highest mileage total since March.  ūüôā  147 miles.  Of course, getting in an 18 mile run on the 31st totally helped with that total.  LOL

But see, in my family April is a big birthday month.  And my aunt was turning 60 so there was a surprise party to attend.  (Happy Birthday Aunt Laurie – glad you loved your party!)

So the options were… skip the long run this weekend and do 18 next weekend (with 20 the weekend after), or take a vacation day for the 18 and just do 12 next weekend.

Since the idea of running 18 & 20 back to back didn’t appeal, I went vacation day.  (Side note – does anyone else find that half of their vacation time ends up related to running? Training, races, etc.)

Granted, my 18 was definitely slower than the 16 I had done the Sunday before.  

And I was playing a game of “beat the rain” the whole time (got to 12 before the sprinkles and 16.5 before the hail.  LOL).  But it was totally worth it.

Because see… one of the April birthdays in my family is mine.  I get to enter a new 5-year age group this month (not confessing to which one) and i’d rather its first long run be an easy 12.

So while March was my workhorse month, April is my serious marathon training month.

I’ve got 2 20-milers planned AND a half-marathon (finally!) sandwiched between them.

Its just 5 1/2 weeks to Maine Coast…and we’ve still got plenty of work to do.  (OMG…I HAVE A MARATHON IN 5 1/2 WEEKS.  EEK! LOL)

But…its finally getting warmer. And lighter out in the mornings.  And while we’ve got miles to go, I just know they will be some good ones.

Hope everyone has a great month – and some really good spring runs!

Does mother nature hate runners?

Because seriously – i’m feeling like she’s out to get me.

Is she drunk? Feeling mean-spirited? ¬†Was the full moon affecting her?¬†Because this whole 50’s during the week followed by sub-zero windchills on the weekend for two weeks is just total BS.

I do appreciate that I have at least been able to run outside a couple times in the past two weeks.  I just wish that one of them had been a long run.

Yes, for the second Sunday in a row, it was netflix & ‘mill. ¬†Because if I¬†wasn’t going to run in -3 for a medal, I sure as heck wasn’t going to do it for nothing.

And can I just say how mentally challenging it is to run 14 miles on a treadmill? In a row… I¬†mean sure, 14 miles total is no biggie if its over oh…four days. LOL ¬†But 14 all at once? ¬†There’s no tv show in the world good enough to get you through that.

At mile 5 I started the calculations…the old well, since i’m running slower, then if I run by time versus distance I really only need to run x many miles to have the same effect. ¬†#runnermath At some point I decided even 10 miles would be enough…as long as I readded those 4 miles back in somewhere else so I still reached my weekly goal. ¬†#runnerlogic

I think it was around mile 8 1/2, when I grabbed a bottle of water, dropped in a nuun tablet and headed back down to the ‘gym’ that I realized that come hell or high water I was getting in that 14. ¬†Even if I¬†had to walk. ¬†Because there was leftover pizza in the fridge and I¬†was going to earn it. #runnerpride

And somehow…I did. ¬†Speed intervals, hill intervals, strategic walk breaks, another episode of Ultimate Beastmaster…whatever it took to keep the mind and legs moving. ¬†It wasn’t pretty, but it was done. And sometimes that’s all that matters.

Of course…yesterday we got SNOW. ¬†Fortunately not as much as they predicted but still…its going to be a few more days before it clears enough for outside running. ¬†And oh look – more snow in the forecast for the weekend.

I so would prefer not having to do yet another long run on the treadmill…. anyone know how we can bribe mother nature into playing nice this weekend? ¬†Maybe if we give her enough green beer Friday night she’ll sleep late and I¬†can get out early Saturday. ¬†LOL

Of course, i’m not just thinking about me. ¬†Because there are oh, thousands of runners all getting ready for the Boston marathon that need their long runs too! ¬†And I know from experience that training in the cold and then having it warm on race day makes the race a little harder. ¬†So please mother nature…for all my fellow unicorns. ¬†Can we just have one nice weekend????? ¬†Or at least move along to April. ¬†I’m so over March.

Taper again? Gak!

Seriously…my least favorite part of racing is the taper.  

I try to learn to love it. But I just can’t. 

I did manage week one of it okay. I cut back on my cross training and tried to not go too crazy on my runs. 

The problem is that when I don’t cross train I run faster. Good problem to have right? Lol

See Thursday I even skipped my kettlebell session. Because I was reading you shouldn’t do lower body weights during taper. You don’t get gains during that short period of time. I had always figured it was more I didn’t want to lose any strength. But I was tired that morning anyways. 

So Friday, I ended up doing my “long” run way faster than I meant to. Most of my long runs I’ve averaged 10:15 to 10:30/ mile. 

Friday’s 10.1 mile run was a 9:35 average. Oops! Fresh legs go faster. 

My first 5 were solid comfy about 10min miles. And then, for some reason I dropped to a 9:30 and kept getting faster. And decided, let’s make the last 3.1 a race. Pulled out a 27:56 5k. Not bad considering I had a 7 mile warmup. Lol

Saturday I rested (my parents were visiting and we took them down the cape) and Sunday I went out for a 10k run. 

Of almost all negative splits. First mile was my usual “warmup” of 10:30 and then, while I ran no harder, I ran faster. Mile 2 in 10 dropping to mile 6 in 9:13. Sweet. 

Maybe it was because shortly after I hit mile 5 I saw my hubby washing the car. And I wanted to look good when I ran by him. I do know that’s why I kicked at mile 6 and went a full 6.25 – so I could fly by him at the end. ūüôā

And I was just humid and hot enough to be glad he had the hose on. Lol  Better than sprinklers! 

Now, we enter phase two of taper. The final 6 days. Where the runs get shorter. The resting gets longer. The phantom aches begin. And the crankies begin along with them.  

I’m not nervous. Even tho I keep reading race recaps about how freaking hilly the first half of my marathon will be. 

Because I trained hard, I trained hills, and I trained to embrace the inevitable wall that I know I will hit.

I also have a very loose and very reasonable time goal. And since it’s going to be likely colder than I’ve been training in (it IS the Adirondacks in September), I’ll be naturally faster. 

I’ve done the work and now it’s time to do the rest. To let everything rebuild. Because fresh legs go faster. 

And Sunday morning, I’m gonna need them. ūüôā I’ve got a BIG lake to run around. Adirondack marathon here I come!

Happy Monday my friends. And happy running! 

True Grit

As a runner, you experience two kinds of grit. The stuff that covers your face, arms and legs after a long hot run, and the stuff you carry inside of you that gets you through those runs. 

Sunday’s 18 miles required both. 

Now, it’s partly my own fault. I logged higher mileage this week. And tackled hill training. 

Then Saturday instead of resting I went out for a long bike ride with the hubby. 

So I knew my legs weren’t quite as fresh as usual. But it was only 60 degrees when I headed out Sunday morning. And while I’d planned a hilly route again, I’d planned to just run it slow and easy. 

And it started fine. And I hit my turnaround at mile 7 feeling good. And then somewhere along the way it started to fall apart. Around mile 9 I started getting thirsty.  

By mile 10 when I took my second gel my legs were getting a little tight. 

By mile 11 I was really wishing I’d brought money for water. Even tho I didn’t go by any stores. 

By mile 12 I was wondering if they had water fountains in the clubhouse by the golf course. 

At mile 13 I almost checked. Instead, I stopped for a moment. And told myself “you’ll be home in mile. You can stop for water then”. 

And somehow miraculously, feeling like a girl lost in the desert, I made it to 14. 

I actually thought to myself “pretend you’re on the walking dead. They don’t have water half the time. They must get crazy thirsty” followed by “yeah, but they aren’t out running 18 miles dehydrated” lol

I went in, chugged about a pint of water. And seriously considered stopping. Because I noticed it was now almost 80 degrees. (Wow – major warmup!)

But it’s four weeks to the marathon. And I’m not running long again for like 10 days. So I really needed 18. 

Instead I filled a bottle with ice water, stuck it in the tree in my back yard, and decided to run the last four in my loop. 

And at the end of each sweaty, thirsty, cranky mile I stopped. Drank. And poured a bit on the back of my neck. 

A couple times I said out loud “Find your grit. Dig in there and find it. There is no can’t. And you will do this.”

And I did.  Somehow. Miraculously. But I did – completely covered in grit. 

So of course this morning I had totally dead legs. But headed out the door anyways for some recovery miles on my street. And was rewarded.  With some serious wildlife sightings. 

First loop – a pack of three raccoons headed into the woods. Probably to sleep the day away. 

Third loop – a wild turkey. (Probably the same one who was standing on my front lawn yesterday afternoon)

And fourth loop – a mama and baby deer. Saw the baby first. And after we had a staring contest a car came by and he ran to mama. She stared at me and took a step forward. I took a few back. And watched until they crossed the street and ran off. 

Was worth the delay in finishing my run. ūüôā

Happy Monday everyone – and hope you find your grit this week when you need it.