12-13-2013

2013 – My Year Of Running

I found this great link-up on Miss Zippy’s blog and wanted to take part. 2013 was a great year for me in terms of running. I conquered some fears and mental roadblocks, and worked hard for a marathon PR. Hopefully there is more to come in 2014! Here are my answers to her running survey. If you fill it out, head over to her blog to participate in the link up!

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  • Best race experience? I mean…I think you know what I’m going to say. NYC MARATHON!! I didn’t run many races in 2013, not even a half marathon in my build up to NYC, because Hanson’s Marathon Method didn’t really recommend it. My training was 100% for NYC. I wanted that PR. And I got it! It was also a great experience to run 26.2 miles with my mom, and cross the finish line together.

  • Best run? Hm…I’d have to say running on a trail that my mom and I just discovered this summer. We did short runs and long runs there. It’s paved and scenic…can’t wait to run there again this spring!
  • Best new piece of gear?  My Garmin! Finally invested in one. I used to use a Nike GPS watch but the screen went black. Then we used RunKeeper for the longest time but I wanted an actual watch for the marathon. It’s pretty on point in terms of distance, and is certainly handy!
  • Best piece of running advice you received?

*In reference to my worrying that missing days due to injury would affect my marathon. Everyone should remember this when they freak out about missing a few days!

  • Most inspirational runner? Gosh there are so many awesome running bloggers I follow…I’m going to pick 2. Lindsey from Out For A Run, and Theodora from Losing Weight In The City. Lindsey is just a beast at running. She crushes it in training and I wish I had her work ethic when it comes to running! I hope to be as fast as her one day…but that is long ways away ;) Theodora was one of the first bloggers I followed when I first started blogging. She has an amazing story as well, and has really gotten faster since she began her journey. I also hope to be as fast as her one day! Both of these ladies inspire me to get out the door and work my butt off for my goals.
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? Hard work pays off. I went into marathon training with the goal of not only a PR, but finishing the race feeling good. I had the best race I could that day. I attest that to doing the most training I have ever done since starting to run. I ran the most monthly miles and the most miles in a year since 2010!!

2013 was truly a great year for running. I pushed myself and conquered my fear of running 6 days a week, and accomplished my goals. I can’t wait to try the Hansons Marathon Method again!

How was 2013 for you in terms of running and fitness?

What goals do you have for 2014?

Let me know if you fill this out for yourself! I’ll be doing a fitness related one in the next week or so.

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Don’t forget to enter my giveaway!

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11-12-2013

Hansons Marathon Method Review

As many of you may know, I used the Hansons Marathon Method as my training plan leading up to the ING New York City Marathon. I was really apprehensive about using this training plan, but really wanted to have a good race this year, as opposed to 2011.

I honestly don’t even remember where I found out about this training plan, but once I read reviews about it online, I immediately bought the book through Kindle.
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After reading it, I was seriously so nervous about training. It would be way more than I have ever ran…but I knew that would help me get faster and fitter as well. The book comes with a “Beginner” plan and an “Advanced” plan…though even with the beginner plan, you should probably have a good base before starting it.

Cumulative Fatigue

One of the main principles of Hansons Marathon Method is cumulative fatigue. Cumulative fatigue is, “the accumulation of fatigue over days, weeks, and even months of consistent training.” It doesn’t allow for full recovery between hard runs, though that doesn’t mean you wont’ have recovery days…more on that later.

The Hansons have 5 components that will result in this cumulative fatigue:

  1. Mileage
  2. Intensity
  3. Balance
  4. Consistency
  5. Recovery

Mileage

The difference with this plan and many others is that the bulk of your weekly mileage will not be on the weekends. They say many plans have you running only 3-4x per week, and then running your long run on the weekends. That means 50% of your weekly mileage is done within the span of 2 days. That can lead to overtraining and injury. You will be running 6 days a week. They state that this could freak some runners out in the beginning…I didn’t think I could do it, or run around 50 miles per week like they asked me too…but as they say, have confidence, and you will slowly build up to it. The great thing is that in the first few weeks, you get 2 rest days per week.

Intensity

This plan includes tempo runs, track workouts, and your usual long run. But most of your days will be easy run. While many runners think easy runs are junk miles with no real benefit, according to the Hansons, they are the runs that will really help you in the marathon. Why? Because you are running on tired legs. Do you know how many days after a tempo or track workout I really did NOT want to go out for an easy 5-6 miles? But I did because I knew running on tired legs would help me succeed in the marathon. Also, they stress that in those tempo and track workouts, proper pacing is KEY. If you go out faster than you are told, your body will take even longer to recover from a hard workout.

Balance

As I mentioned above, this training plan emphasize balance in all runs. Your long run shouldn’t be the bulk of your weekly mileage. Instead, all of your SOS (Something of Substance) workouts should be equally as important. Which is why during the week you could be running anywhere from 8-12 miles in your SOS workouts. That also helped me not be so nervous before long runs, because I was already running a decent amount during the week! The good thing about it too is if you must miss a run, all of the workouts are balanced and equal, so missing 1 long run will not totally ruin your entire plan. BUT, you really should try not to miss runs because it will throw your training off and put you behind. I think I only missed about 2-3 runs before I got injured (and had to miss a whole week).

Recovery

“When it comes to cumulative fatigue, you walk a thin line between training enough and overtraining.” Incomplete recovery allows you to perform well, even when you’re not feeling 100%. SOS runs are followed by easy runs. You will not go into a long run with fresh legs…because what’s the point? At mile 20 of the marathon, you won’t have fresh legs. The Hansons want you to get used to that feeling. The good thing about their recovery is that you can run 1-2 minutes slower per mile than your goal pace. It should truly be an easy pace. Enjoy these runs as leisurely runs where you don’t have to worry about time.

Other Key Points

If you look up Hansons Marathon Method, you will find the first thing you read about it is that you will not run 20 miles in training before the marathon. What?!?! Yup.

Not gonna lie…it’s awesome. I loved it. I did not feel like running 20 miles in training before the race. It takes up so much time, and they argue that it also requires a lot of recovery time too.

They are not saying, however, that everyone should not run 20 miles in training. Their rule of thumb is that your long run shouldn’t be 50% of your weekly mileage and that a long run shouldn’t take longer than about 3 hours to complete. After 3 hours, you’re hurting yourself more than benefiting yourself. Your body will need a lot more recovery time, which may lead to missing a run because you’re not feeling recovered.

I actually ran 18 miles in training, as opposed to 16, because I would finish right around 3 hours. If you need longer mileage for mental confidence, then go for the 18. Generally speaking, this plan has you running one 15 miler, and 3 16 milers before the race. And a bunch of double digit weekday runs.

What I Liked:

  • Very structured…took the guess work out of my training plan. Everything you do is explained by science and facts, which makes you feel more confident.
  • Tempo runs (though I also didn’t like them at times haha). They really help build your confidence since you are running at goal pace.
  • Not having to run 20 miles. Maybe once my average pace is faster, I will run longer…I hope one day I can run 20 miles in around 3 hours but that is a long time away!

What I didn’t like:

  • Honestly, there isn’t much I didn’t like. Running 6 days a week is tough. But you’re training for a marathon, it’s going to be tough.
  • Some days, getting in those easy, recovery runs is harder than the SOS workouts. 1) Running 5-6 miles after a hard workout is hard. Your legs feel like logs. 2) Running 8 miles before a long run the next day can be intimidating, but you know it will definitely help you in the marathon.
  • That’s really it!

Overall, I would highly suggest this plan to someone looking for one before their next marathon. It makes sense, has good information, and outlines everything you need to know, along with paces for each workout. They also include nutrition tips, taper tips, strength workouts, and more.

I ran NYCM and got a 33 min. PR! I really attribute this to the plan. Honestly, I never hit “the wall.” My energy never waned. Yes, my hips got tight around mile 24…but I ran 24 miles with ZERO problems, and was able to finish a marathon with only 1 walk break to stretch. It felt amazing to be passing people at the end, instead of being passed.

As I was finishing the race, this Hansons phrase stuck out to me, “We are training you for the last 16 miles of the race, not the first 16.” The cumulative fatigue aspect of this plan is what really helped me.

Would I use it again? Definitely! I already am trying to figure out a way to modify the plan in order to use it for half marathon training. If I run a marathon again next year, I will stick to the beginner plan again, since I couldn’t complete all the runs towards the end. If I can stay healthy, I wonder if I can get another huge PR!

You can order the book on Amazon, or order it to be sent right to your Kindle (or Kindle app on an iPad).

Have you used Hansons Marathon Method?

Would you consider it?

If you use it, please let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts, and I’m open to any questions you may have!

Here’s a basic outline of their Advanced plan, taken from their website.

**Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission if you order through Amazon…hey, it’ll help me save up for my next marathon entry ;)

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10-18-2013

Nervous…and Paranoid

We are 16 days out from NYC Marathon…and I’m really nervous.

I haven’t ran the past 4 days. One of my friends was like, that is not a big deal! Muscle memory, etc.

But I am really worried! I missed a 4×1.5 mile workout and a 10 mile tempo workout. I plan on doing the tempo run tomorrow…but I hate that I low on my mileage this week, and had to skip runs due to my shin pain. I did do cross training. Monday, I rode the bike, and yesterday I pool ran for over an hour (SO BORING).

I am going to lay out my worries, because I think writing/expressing them will help:

1) I’m worried that I’m losing fitness…I know that I really wont in just 4 days BUT I’ve had to miss a few days in the past 2-3 weeks due to this pain, and I’m scared of it all adding up.

2) I’m scared that I won’t be able to finish in less than 5 hours, which is my ultimate goal. I feel like missing these runs are going to affect my overall time.

3) I’m scared my shin will hurt during the race and I won’t finish. Surprisingly, this is the least of what I’m worrying about but it’s still in the back of my mind.

Basically, I just want to run this marathon and feel good. Like I’ve said a few times before, in 2011, I ran my first marathon and was miserable. I was done by mile 17 and had to walk/run the rest of the way in. We were on track for a 4:55 marathon and ended up in 5:20. I felt bad that I held my mom back.

I know it had to do with fueling and hydration. I just want to finish this race feeling strong. Obviously I will be tired by the last few miles, but I want it to be “normal” tired, not exhausted and puking at the finish line, like last time.

This post was really random…and I just wanted to get these worries out there and hopefully hear from other runners who have gone through the same thing.

Did missing a few days affect you in the end? Or not really?

Were you really worried? How did you get over that?

I’ll leave you with something the Hanson’s tweeted me (I’m following their training plan). I needed to hear this!

Screen shot 2013-10-18 at 11.25.46 AMI will certainly try to remember this!

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09-30-2013

NYC Marathon Training Week 13

First week all training plan where I had to take multiple days off and veer off from the plan :( It was rough but had to be done.

Monday:

Was supposed to do 3×2 miles but my shin was really hurting. I went to the gym and did 3×2 miles on the bike instead. I modified the workout and did 3×20 minutes at a hard pace, 5 min rest, on the bike, and ended up biking for 23 miles.

Tuesday:

Off

Wednesday:

Got in my tempo run (1 mile warm up, 9 miles at marathon goal pace, 1 mile cooldown), but whenever I stopped (once before starting and once to pick up a water bottle on the way) my left shin hurt a lot. I couldn’t put weight on it and had to massage my leg first to loosen it up. Glad I at least got to finish the workout but knew I had to take it easy after this.

Thursday:

Took a spin class instead of running an easy 6 miles. I wanted my legs to be ready for a long run this weekend.

Friday:

Went to a PT and got my leg massaged, got ultra sound and electric stim treatmeant. PT advised me not to run until my long run.

Saturday:

Saturdays are the days I usually do my long runs but decided for an extra rest day and moved my run to Sunday. Went for a 1.5 mile walk instead to see how my leg felt.

Sunday:

Was SO nervous for this run but felt great! No pain in my leg and no pain once I stopped either which is a good sign. The inflammation went down too. We ran part of the NYC Marathon course and those bridges will definitely be killer. The most exciting part to me is that we just went by effort, and ended up doing an average pace of 10:24 per mile! Our goal pace is 10:18…it’s a good sign that our easy pace is improving.

My dad also came along for this run to give us our gels and water every 6 miles. I loved running in NYC. For all of you who live there, I’m so jealous. You can run anywhere when you have a long run day, while I have to do loops around my town!

I’m so happy that I was able to do ok with this run. As a precaution, I’m taking today as a rest day before finishing up the rest of the week’s workouts. Tomorrow I have to do 2×3 miles (hopefully).

Do you get paranoid or worried when you miss days in your marathon training plan?

Do you live in NYC? What’s your favorite place to run?

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09-16-2013

Week 11 of NYC Marathon Training

Another week of training in the books…and it was the first time we have ran 50 miles in one week!! I’m feeling it today though…my shin is really hurting today so I may need to take a spin class instead of doing a strength workout (4×1.5 mile repeats). It hurts just walking around and putting weight on it, so I don’t want to take any risks. Missing one workout won’t kill me right??

Anyway, here’s last week’s training:

Monday:

Strength workout. 1 mile warm up, 6×1 mile repeats at 10 seconds faster than goal marathon pace (400 meter jog), 1 mile cool down (total = 9 miles). This was a great workout! We ran a bit faster (by like 5 seconds per mile) but were feeling good.

Tuesday:

Off

Wednesday:

This was supposed to be an 8 mile temp, with 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool down. But look at what the weather was that day:

Seriously, awful. We were able to keep our goal pace for 3 miles (which I was even surprised about) but we were working REALLY hard to do that, and once we hit mile 4 it was way off. We decided to just do a normal paced run from there on out for a total of 6 miles instead of 10, which stinks but whatever =/

Thursday:

Easy 5 miles on the treadmill. I hate the treadmill but reading made it go by quicker!

Friday:

First time this training round that I got up early to run…8 miles! 8 easy miles which felt great. The middle miles were hard but once I was over halfway done I sped up a bit and felt good. I think I may convert to some morning runs, because it is so peaceful!

Saturday:

16 miles! =O I felt confident going into this run but was nervous because we were doing it in the morning as opposed to the afternoon like we usually do. I woke up an hour before hand to eat a good breakfast. We did a 6 mile loop to end at our house in order to refill our bottles. We felt AMAZING. We were running a bit faster than we should have been but it felt easy so I went with it. I also was drinking 6 oz. of water every 2 miles, and taking a GU every 2-3 miles to keep fuel stores up and I think it definitely made a difference.

Check out our negative splits and those hills!

Sunday:

Easy 6 recovery miles. These were SLLOOOWWWW. Like almost 13 minutes per mile slow. My quads were really sore from the long run so I really didn’t care how slow I went.

TOTAL: 50 miles!! =)

How often do you take GU/fuel on your long runs? I know the package says every 45 minutes but I don’t think that’s enough for me. Plus, you’re supposed to take in 200-300 calories per hour so how is that enough? That’s why I experimented with taking them every 2-3 miles.

What is your preferred long run fuel?

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09-09-2013

Week 10 of NYC Marathon Training

Another week done. Now we are about to get in the tough portion of Hanson’s Marathon Method…I’m kind of nervous! This week includes 6×1 mile repeats, an 8 mile tempo run, and a 16 mile long run…

Here’s last week’s recap:

Monday:

Track workout.

4×1200 meters with 400 recovery @ goal 5K pace.

We felt really good for this track workout, as opposed to last week’s where we started to doubt ourselves. Our paces were right on the money, and we felt strong overall. Obviously I was tired by the last 2 reps but it always feels good to finish a tough workout. My dad tagged along and did his own track workout because he wants to run the Fifth Avenue Mile with us in a couple of weeks!

Family track workout

Tuesday:

Off

Wednesday:

8 mile tempo run with a 1 mile warm up and cool down. Total=10 miles.

Another great run for us. I felt confident going into this that we could keep our goal marathon pace for 8 miles. While we didn’t hit each mile EXACTLY due to hills, etc., the average pace was good and we were mostly in the range, as seen below (though we definitely started too fast).

Thursday:

Had to move my schedule around because I knew I wasn’t doing my long run on Saturday this week (football game). Today we did an easy 5 miles before heading to a Blake Shelton concert! Who are my country fans?

Friday:

10 mile long run for the week.

When we left, we said let’s just do 8. We were feeling tired and slugging, but once we got out there we felt fine. At mile 8 I said let’s just do 1 more mile, then once we hit 9 we were like, well we might as well make it 10! The weather was great too…though I still get salt stains from sweating too much! Who else gets these?

Saturday:

Early morning 6 miles before heading to the Rutgers football game. Check out this weather??? A little TOO chilly for me but I cant complain.

Sunday:

Was supposed to do 7-8 miles but decided to take the day off. My mom has been feeling really fatigued, and this upcoming week will be a tough one, so we called it a rest day. Hey, we haven’t skipped any days yet in this plan and it’s been 10 weeks! This is the best I have ever done following a plan :)

Do you think taking a rest day before a hard week is ok? One day won’t make or break us right? I was a little paranoid all day about it but it felt good to just relax!

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09-05-2013

Halfway Through Marathon Training

I can’t believe we are almost done with week 10. Since we are more than halfway there, I wanted to take some time to reflect on how training is going. As you know, my mom and I have been using the Hansons Marathon Method to train for the NYC Marathon. Here are some thoughts.

Mileage

It actually hasn’t been bad at all! When I first read this plan I was so nervous. Running 6 days a week?!!? I hadn’t done that since high school cross country. I have shin issues…would this be a good idea? The most I have ever ran in a week was 37 miles during marathon training in 2011. We will be running close to 60 miles during peak weeks and have already ran over 37 weekly miles…and ran the most in a year EVER!

It hasn’t been bad at all. Yes, I am tired some days, especially after harder days, but I look forward to each run. Running 6 days a week hasn’t been bad at all, and in fact, my shins have been hurting less than in other training bouts…did running MORE help??

The Workouts

They’ve been tough at times but I look forward to the hard days (track workouts, tempo runs, and the long run). We had an awesome tempo run yesterday which actually made me feel confident that we will be able to do way better this marathon. While I’m a little scared of the fact that the longest run we will do is 16 miles…I am trusting the plan and the science behind it. I definitely feel fitter!

Overall

We are feeling good. We have some aches and pains occasionally as is expected. I am still practicing with fueling on long runs. Currently, I’m taking half a GU every two miles with 4 oz. of water. I think I need more though, from what I read, I should take 1 GU every 25 minutes, and drink 2 oz. of water every 15-20 minutes! I will try this on my next long run. Fueling is what killed me next time so I need to do better with this.

I’ll end this with some humor ;)

Are you training for a half marathon or marathon this fall? How is your training going? Tell me, I’d love to hear about it!

 

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08-29-2013

That Time I Got Advice From Lauren Fleshman and Amby Burfoot

Thanks to Runner’s World, I got to ask from pro runners for their advice and input…and I’m glad I did! I didn’t think they’d respond to my questions since a million other people were submitting questions but I got lucky :)

Here’s what I asked along with their response:

Screen shot 2013-08-29 at 2.16.56 PM

I have been wondering this for a while (how elites strength train), especially because it is so hard for me to balance both. I had asked Kara Goucher this once at a meet and greet, and she also told me that they mainly focus on core. Time to start doing more abs! I know Adriana has posted about Myrtle exercises before, and I need to get on that.

Screen shot 2013-08-29 at 2.17.53 PM

I wanted to get input from someone about the Hansons Marathon Method plan that I have been following. I know others who are marathon training do their long runs with some miles at marathon pace, however the Hansons have long runs at easy pace…though we do speed work and tempo runs during the week too. Thanks to Amby for easing my nervousness a bit!

I’m mainly nervous about maintaining my goal pace for 26.2 miles. I don’t get how doing easy runs mainly but tempo runs at goal pace (but only up to 10 miles) will help us keep that pace…I mean I know it will, just like Amby says, it all comes together, but I’m just nervous! I shouldn’t be, since I have completed a marathon before, but I just really want to actually do well. I remember during half marathon training, I was able to keep my goal pace during segments of my long runs…I was so positive I’d be able to do that in the race…but it didn’t end up happening.

Anyways, I wanted to share these tips and advice with you all in case you can benefit from it as well!

How do you mentally prepare for a long race? How do you erase your doubts?

 

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08-26-2013

Week 8 of NYC Marathon Training

Last week was a hard week…but it’s done! Cannot believe we are halfway through training now…

Here’s a recap of last week:

Monday:

Track workout. 1 mile warm up, 6×800 meters with 400 meter recovery jog, 1 mile cool down.

Actually felt pretty good. I was nervous about the fact that it was 800 meters but I got the pace down (5k pace) for each set.

Tuesday:

off

Wednesday:

Tempo run. 1 mile warm up, 5 miles at goal marathon pace (10:18), 1 mile cooldown.

My mom and I have been nailing our tempo runs lately, BUT this was tough. We decided to run on a hilly route to practice more hills…and the last mile was this quarter mile steep climb that killed my pace. Clearly, we need to be doing this more often!

Thursday:

Was supposed to do 5 miles…but mother nature happened. Did 30 minutes of cross training.

Friday:

Needed to do 6 miles but only did 5. My shins were killing. I almost stopped at 3 miles but said, no, I will finish at least 5. Glad I did.

Saturday:

11 miles.

How is it that you can have a horrible run one day, then have a great run the next? While my shins still hurt, we kept a great, easy pace and only stopped a few times to fuel. We even finished the last mile faster than goal marathon pace! We discovered another new trail in my area and it was the perfect place to run:

And I had the best post-run fuel:

Sunday:

Easy 6 mile recovery run. It was slow…but I’m ok with that :)

Questions that I need help with!!!

1) I sweat…a lot. But I hydrate and drink water every 2 miles on long runs. But towards the end my mouth is still SO dry and I feel like chugging water. This is what ruined my marathon experience in 2011. Has anyone else experienced this and can help?!

2) How much water do you drink on a long run? Do you stop and walk while you take a gel and drink water? Because I cannot keep running or I will choke! Tips?

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08-19-2013

Week 7 of NYC Marathon Training

Another week down. Didn’t have a perfect week of training (missed one day), but got close! Here’s last week’s recap:

Monday:

Track workout. 1 mile warm up, 8×600 meters with 400 meter jog, 1 mile cooldown.

I followed the paces prescribed in Hansons Marathon Method but couldn’t hit them for all 8. I was supposed to do 600 meters in 3:06 but the last two were 3:10ish. Probably need to slow it down for the next track workout because you aren’t supposed to walk during the recovery jog. Oops.

Tuesday:

Off

Wednesday:

Tempo run. 1 mile warm up, 5 miles at goal marathon pace, 1 mile cooldown.

So my goal pace is 10:18. I’d love to run a 4:30 marathon considering my last one was in 5:20 due to major bonking. Therefore, 5 miles tempo means 5 miles at 10:18. Not bad at all. Tried to stay within that but went a bit faster…is that bad? I also think mile 4 got all screwed up due to a phone call I got (I use RunKeeper on my phone).

Thursday:

Easy 5 recovery miles.

I had to switch around a few days this week due to going to Atlantic City on Saturday. I was supposed to do 4 on Thursday but ended up doing 5 instead so I’d only have to wake up and do 4 miles before heading to AC on Saturday.

Friday:

10 miles! Our first double digit run! We felt pretty good…need to work on fueling though, I’m still clueless with how I can fuel better. Here is us post run-

I actually felt so good afterwards. No stiff legs. No shin pain. Nothing! I think my body is getting used to running longer miles finally :)

Saturday:

Easy 4 recovery miles.

Ok so that day I was feeling the tiredness in my legs. We ran sloooowww, and walked the last mile home. I really just knew my legs needed to take it easy.

Sunday:

Was supposed to do 4 miles but being that I was out the night before and didn’t sleep until 4:30 am, my body just wanted to lay in bed the next day ;) AC was fun though! Minus the fact that I lost my shoes, but that’s a whole other story ;)

I can’t believe we are almost halfway through training. I don’t know how I feel about it. Hansons Marathon Method has us only running up to 16 miles, though a couple of times. I really hope that this works. I do not want to feel miserable during the race again.

How do you fuel for long runs? Gels? Gatorade? Do you get a sloshy feeling in your stomach if you drink too much? I really need to figure this all out!

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