Caper’s Mountains to Beach Marathon Race Report

blog marathon outfit

Flat caper ready for race morning!

I am writing this race report from a lovely canopy bed in an “undisclosed location” while savoring homemade molasses cookies and a rich latte.  My quads, glutes, calves and toes are complaining about what I put them through on Sunday, but I feel elated.  So grateful to be away with my beloved husband, celebrating  the culmination of months of effort and pausing to recover and reconnect.

I loved racing the Ventura, CA Mountains to Beach marathon.  The first 19 miles and the last half mile were amazing and exhilirating.  Miles 20-26 were hard, and worsened by a hard fall that left me scraped up. But part of the human experience is the joy that comes after pushing through pain and difficulty.   And I can’t wait to work on these weaknesses in the hope of having a better experience in the fall.

Here is how my experience unfolded. Read more

Reader’s Roundtable: What’s Your Favorite Prerace Meal?

140 easy calories right here.

140 easy calories right here.

This has been a long time coming. It’s been four and a half years, actually, since I raced a half! But, in less than two weeks I plan to toe the line for 13.1 miles of sheer bliss (a girl can dream, right?). Since it’s been so long I’ve forgotten what it was I ate before big longer races. I’ve also been a bad runner and been kind of lazy about eating before long runs, just opting for some coffee (necessary) and a cereal bar. However, I’m doubting a cereal bar will give me enough energy to make it through my half.  I need a little more for my prerace meal, I think. I figured the best way to get some good ideas is to ask you!

So tell me, are you a bagel and a banana girl? Do you take your toast buttered or dry? Do you think a protein is key? Are you fat- or fiber-phobic on the morning of your key races?

What do you eat before races? 

Vanilla’s Training Log 4-26-15 to 5-2-15

It’s Memorial Day weekend, so why not start posting my training logs for May?!

4/26:  Watched the replay of the London Marathon, then lifted and swam 1,650m.  Easy 4.15 miles in 35 minutes later that day.

4/27:  5.5 miles with 5 x 90″ hard.

4/28:  First bike ride since New Orleans.  17.5 miles on the trainer.  Not gonna lie, this was tough, and my legs still felt heavy.  4.4 miles of hills in the evening coaching my running group.

4/29:  Weights followed by 15 miles on the trainer with 5 x 1 min hard.  Easy run at lunch with our new HR Director.  4.85 miles in about 41 minutes.

4/30:  3,100m total in the pool including a master’s swim class.  Tough workouts, but the sun was out, and the pool was warm.  I had to stay at home for most of the day for a home repair, so I was able to squeeze in an easy 4 before heading to the office.

5/1:  Slept awful last night.  Managed a weight workout before work.  Got in a run at lunch.  5 miles in 39:37 with 6 x 30″ hard.

5/2:  Weights, then easy 4 in the morning.  1,800m swim at night.

Weekly Totals:

Running:  31.9 miles

Biking:  32.5 miles

Swimming:  4.07 miles

Weights:  2+ hours

5 Strategies for NOT Racing Your Next Race

fri5I ran the Rock-n-Roll Portland 10k this past weekend. This may seem like a strange way to taper for my 50k, but it was unavoidable. My work team decided to do it, and as one of the “runners” I really felt quite obligated to attend (plus it was really fun). But this brought me to consider, how do I NOT race this race? As a runner and sometimes racer our competitive natures come out in a race environment. While I told myself, “this is not a race. Don’t do anything dumb. Just run nice and easy and have fun,” I was afraid that I would be unable to restrain myself and would end up trying to race a distance I had not trained for and then injure or tire myself out in the process, negatively impacting the next week’s race that I actually did train for.

Run long enough and eventually you’ll be entered in a race that you aren’t supposed to, well, race. Whether we run them with friends or coworkers, as a tempo run, as a supported long run, as practice, or because we got a free entry, these should not be run all out. But HOW do we stop ourselves from racing like a fool?! Read more

What Were You Wearing?

Should we be surprised she made it to the finish line in one piece? Flickr image by Phil Roeder.

Should we be surprised she made it to the finish line in one piece? Flickr image by Phil Roeder.

What were you wearing?” That is exactly what my supposed friend asked me when I called her shortly after I was stalked while running. “Excuse me?” was all I could form my lips to utter. I was very upset. Hurtfully, that was the response from many other women. Not that it mattered, but I was in my usual running attire: running bra, shorts, shoes, and socks. Fortunately the police did not care what I was wearing. Stalking is against the law and they took action.

My incident happened over 10 years ago and I am distressed that the same thing is still happening. We are still blaming women for actions that men may or may not take based on clothing. Read more

Rolling in the Deep (Tissue) for a More Effective Cool-Down

The runner's toolkit

The perfect cool-down rolling toolkit.

Last month we featured a piece on the warm-down: what it was, when to do it, and how to complete one. Naturally we had to follow that up with the final phase in any athlete’s workout: the cool-down. While you will likely do easy running, drills, strides or other active movement in your warm-down, for the cool down you will be focusing on muscle manipulation. Historically, that meant a lot of static stretching. But for those of you out there who want to really dig deep, the most effective cool-down activity might be a post-workout muscle manipulation and lactic acid abolishing through rolling. Read more

Cutback Weeks: Stair Step Your Way to Running Success!

The Great Wall of China might just be the perfect visual representation of successful weekly mileage progression! Image via Wikipedia.

The Great Wall of China might just be the perfect visual representation of successful weekly mileage progression! Image via Wikipedia.

Pssst. I have a secret. Recovery weeks are key to getting faster. I learned this the hard way. In 2014, as a new-to-serious-training runner, I increased my mileage week after week and piled on the speed work. I improved very quickly: I saw my training paces jump from running for 8 miles at an 8:15 pace in early April to logging a 15.5 mile run at 7:20 pace on June 1, 2014. With few days off and no down weeks, I soon suffered a series of injuries and found myself in the proverbial penalty box unable to run for most of the summer. After much cross-training and rehabbing and only eight weeks of outside running, in November 2014, I ran the NYC Marathon in 3:43.  I barely felt strong enough to do it.

Quite the exercise in humility, but I still hadn’t figured out how to improve while avoiding injury.
Read more

Readers’ Roundtable: Revising Running Goals

How many days per week do you lace up?

When have you revised a running goal?

Happy birthday, Salty!  And welcome to the Masters’ League!

While my dear sister was off having a wonderful 40th birthday weekend I started answering some Salty emails.  I came across a question from Salty reader Erin, who wanted some answers about forming a game plan so she could qualify for Boston before her 40th birthday.  And it got me thinking about a post Salty once wrote: Forget Time Limits When it Comes to Your Running Goals.

Working toward our goals is supposed to be fun and rewarding, but can sometimes become stressful if we start to put undue pressure on ourselves.  So today for our roundtable I’d like to know:

Tell us about a time you revised your goals.  What was the end result? Do you think it was worth it?

As always, we’ll take your answer in the comments!

5 Gifts to Myself for My 40th Birthday

fri540In three short days I will turn 40. That’s right! I’ll be officially old a masters runner! Of course when you turn 40 everyone makes a big deal out of it. My 40th birthday inspired my best friend to convince my notoriously thrifty husband to send me on an expensive trip to Disneyland to see her. It also inspired my sister to drop everything and blow lots of money and time to meet me there. My mother has been hounding me about what I want for a gift and will be taking me out to dinner to celebrate. Maybe I’ll wake up to flamingos covering my lawn or open the door and find a scantily-clad singing telegram (please no!) Disney and dinner are enough from my loved ones! But, that’s not all I’m getting for this major birthday.

Here are 5 gifts I’m giving to myself.  Read more

TED for Runners: Make Prerace Anxiety Your Friend

Ideas worth spreading ... among runners!

Ideas worth spreading … among runners!

Over the winter, I discovered the joy of watching TED talks while getting in my treadmill miles. Almost every time I watched one I’d think darn, this applies to running! I should write a post about this! So guess what. I am. In this new occasional series, I’ll be bringing you a TED talk and will discuss how to apply the message of the talk to your running.

Our first talk is from psychologist, Kelly McGonigal and it’s called How to Make Stress Your Friend. How does this apply to running? Read on! Read more

Are YOU the Next Salty Blogger?

Are these a few of your favorite things?

Do you love to run and like to write? Do you enjoy sharing your insights, wisdom, fears and embarrassing stories with hundreds of friends? Do you often refer to yourself by your Spice Girl name? Well, maybe that last one isn’t necessary, but if you said yes to the rest we’d love to invite you to become a part of the Salty family. Salty Running is a collective of amazing women runners and writers and we’re looking to add a few more awesome peeps to our roster.

We require a commitment to 2 posts a week for a minimum of three months. One of the posts is a training log, which is fairly straight forward and not at all time consuming. The other post is a substantive post; the Salty Running posts you’ve come to know and love. Our bloggers share their inner most thoughts and well thought-out insights and research the stuff they don’t know that much about to bring our audience their best. No blogger’s on her own though. We help eachother out with ideas, edit and find photos for  each other. It’s a collective in the truest sense of the word!

If you’re interested in becoming a Salty blogger, you can view our application with instructions on applying here.

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In Praise of Course Maps

IMG_3553

A beautiful morning for a run in Bear Mountain State Park.

Trail races are absolutely a different beast than your traditional road race. As a city dweller, I don’t get many opportunities to commune with nature in the great outdoors, so the chance to run a trail half marathon in a state park about 2 hours north of New York City seemed like something I should try at least once.

I will always love New York and Central Park, but I’ve often thought that one of the best parts of living in New York City is when you get to leave New York City. You’re reminded that there is the rest of the world off of the island full of space and greenery and quiet.  Bear Mountain State Park, located along the Hudson River in upstate New York, is certainly a world away from the hustle, bustle, and buildings of Manhattan.  Read more

Readers’ Roundtable: Who Improves Your Running Life?

My mom and me. She's up to 27 minutes of running in her couch to 5k program. Inspiring!

My mom and me. She’s up to 27 minutes of running in her couch to 5k program. Inspiring!

Happy Monday, Salties!  I hope you moms out there had a nice day yesterday, and for the non-moms, well…I hope you had a nice day too.  No matter how I spend it, Mothers’ Day always makes me think about all the women who have made my life better: my aunts, grandmothers, cousins, friends, my sister, and of course, my mom!

So I thought today would be a particularly apt time to talk about the women we’re grateful for in our running lives.  If you want to brag about your best friend, your mom, or even Paula Radcliffe (Kara), here’s the opportunity to do it!  I really have some serious appreciation to do, but you know how the roundtables work: we leave our answers in the comments!

So here’s the question: Who are the women who improve your running life, and how do they make you a better runner?

5 Telltale Signs of a Cheater

fri5Cheating sucks. Here at Salty Running we have several bloggers who have worked their tails off to qualify for Boston. Some have made it and some haven’t. Some of them did qualify, but were shut out from registering because they didn’t qualify enough. So it really steams me when someone claims to have earned this achievement and takes a spot on the Boston start line when good, honest people who earned it get shut out.

Enter Viral Letter-to-Principal Boston Marathon Guy. He’s the guy who took his kids with him while he ran Boston, received a form letter from their principal advising him their absences were unexcused, and then publicly reamed her out for questioning the educational value of witnessing their dad heroically overcome injury to complete the Boston Marathon. Sounds noble, until we learn of allegations that he cheated his way to Boston. WHAT?! Could it be?

Here’s the evidence. You decide: Read more

A Lesson About Respect

Sometimes you need a reminder that this stuff is harder than it looks on the Internet.

Sometimes you need a reminder that this stuff is harder than it looks on the Internet.

On Sunday, April 26th, I embarked on a 26-and-a-quarter mile journey through New Jersey that changed my running life. The short story is that I wound up running 3:53:xx, a personal best by sixteen minutes. This makes it sound like an incredible victory.

But really, there was no victory here. It was certainly an accomplishment, but the truth goes deeper.

See, the thing is, I was cocky at this race. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say, and now I know I could have done better, but I’m young at the marathon; this was only my third, and only my second in which I tried to race. And only my second in which I didn’t bonk, for that matter. And only my first at which I wasn’t humble. I made that mistake so many young people make: I thought I was in charge. I thought I was going to make that marathon my bitch. I thought I had this.

What do you think happened? Read more