Race Recap: Chosen Marathon

October 28, 2014



On Saturday, I ran the Chosen Marathon. My alarm went off at 4:50am race morning. I had my race outfit ready, tried eating breakfast (only 1/2 a banana and eggs) then it was time to leave the house. My family and I headed to the race which was about a 50 minute drive. It was around 60 degrees which is perfect race weather!


When we got there we had about 40 minutes to wait. They had a bunch of booths set up including a massage table that I wanted to do after the race but the line was too long. There were people leading this jazzercise warm-up. I opted out of that and stretched instead (aka stood in a group of people not knowing what to do with myself).



I ended up wearing my fuelbelt since I noticed the race map only had water stations written on it. I emailed the race directors and they said they had a different electrolyte drink at each mile but since I have only trained with Gatorade I didn't want to try anything new.

Miles 1-10: 8:00 pace

Coach Jenny sent me my race strategy which split the race into three chunks. The first few miles were all about staying "easy" and comfortable. Everyone started off at a much faster pace than I wanted to run but I didn't want to fall off the back so I stayed with them. Plus, it didn't feel hard so I ran based on effort just like Coach Jenny has been teaching me.

The course was an out and back race. It was also a lot hillier than I was expecting! There were a bunch of rolling hills and a few climbs. I kept the pace easy uphill and then lengthened my stride downhill.


Miles 11-22: 7:50 pace

I ran on and off with another girl from miles 8-12. She told me this was her 15th marathon! I would pass her, she would pass me, etc. She was really encouraging and I gave her encouragement too.

I hit the half marathon/turn around in 1:46 and did a body check- feeling strong but probably should drink more Gatorade. My family was waiting to meet me there to exchange my fuelbelt bottles. I have trouble when I fuel too much so I didn't want to eat/drink a lot. I took a Clif blok at miles 5, 10, 15, 19, and 21 but I had only finished one bottle of Gatorade. That was when I realized I had taken in 7oz in 13.1 miles when I should have had about 16 to 30oz. Oops! I was so focused on how I felt (which was great) that I didn't think too much on hydrating.

Mile fourteen to mile twenty were tough as I ran alone. By this time in the race it started to warm up and there was little to no shade but I was going along strong, cruising through the miles. Then mile 23.

Miles 23-26.2: 8:40 pace

At mile 23, my calves cramped up BAD. I have never felt so much pain. My pace went from 7:30s to 9:40. With only three miles left I wasn't about to start walking. They say running is mental so I kept telling myself "I feel good, I feel strong." I quickly stopped to stretch then ignored the pain and within the mile I got my pace back down to around 8 mins/mile.

Lesson: always drink Gatorade or some electrolyte drink in the beginning miles even if the weather deceives you because it's much cooler than you trained in.

Since the course was out and back, I ran into a few half marathoners completing their race. I focused on getting to the next group of people. I made my way back through where we first started and kept pushing through to the end. I saw my dad on the corner near the finish line yelling for me to go. Then I saw the rest of my family cheering me on. Finally I made it to the finisher's chute.


The announcers said, "Sara just finished the full marathon in 3:36!" I was a short 90 seconds from Boston qualifying... but I also broke my previous marathon record by thirty minutes (29:30 to be exact). To me, that is so much more and I can't help but feel proud of myself.


Finish time: 3:36:29
3rd in age group (18-29)
13 out of 171 full marathon runners

The awesome thing about this race is that all race money goes to helping adoptive families and orphans. It was a really great race with a great cause and I am looking forward to racing it again next year!

Thank you to Coach Jenny for coaching me this past year! Thank you to my family for coming to my race, to the race volunteers and directors who all worked so hard, to Instagram and blog friends who encourage me, and to Clif bar for the training fuel!

Race "Expo" + Goals

October 27, 2014



On Thursday when I got out of my afternoon class I headed over to IRun (local running store) to pick up my race packet. I got an email that morning that said something along the lines of "bring in a picture of who you are or who you are running for to be placed on a large frame at the race." So, I printed off a picture and wrote why I run. Which is simple, I run because it makes me happy.

The race packet came with coupons to free yoga classes (definitely taking up those offers), a race shirt, car decal, and a personalized race bib. I've never had a race bib with my name on it!


On race morning, I found the large frames that the race director was talking about and spotted my picture! Can you see it? It was really neat seeing all of the people who wrote that they were running for the children they adopted, a family member that was adopted, etc.


Every marathon I run I go into with the goal of: qualify for the Boston Marathon. 

A goal- 3:35
B goal- improve last year's marathon time

I completed my first marathon in 4:05 and needed to beat about thirty minutes off of that time in order to qualify for Boston. 

"If you're dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough"


Check back later this week for the race recap! 

Chosen Marathon Race Outfit

October 24, 2014

I always put a ton of pressure on myself to do well at races which makes me very nervous... but not this time. After training for several months and working with a coach, I am excited to see what I can accomplish. It's supposed to be warm (upper 60s) but I will take that any day over last year's marathon conditions. I have my race bib (personalized, too!), playlist ready, fuelbelt filled, and race outfit figured out. See you tomorrow, 26.2!


Lululemon Swiftly Tank | Lululemon Sport's Bra | Lululemon Speed Shorts | Mizuno Wave Riders
Thorlos socks (not pictured) | Ipod + Watch | Clif Shot Bloks

Training Guide: Part 2

October 23, 2014

I'm back with part 2 of the training guide. Today's training guide features items that I have found to be important for training for a marathon. 

Also, side note. I took these pictures outside and it was pretty windy. I used Clif blocks to anchor the foam roller from blowing away. Extra points if you can find them ;)


Training plan-
I worked with Coach Jenny this past marathon training cycle and this is a similar plan to what I ran. I like all of the training plans on her website. Runner's World has detailed training plans but you have to pay for them. Hal Higdon also has training plans. This is a good beginners plan from Hal Higdon.

Running attire-
Just like half marathon training, you need proper running attire. Proper running shoes and clothing are important as you want to be comfortable when running for longer, double digit distances. Having proper attire prevents chafing, injury, blisters, etc. Nothing has to be expensive but I do think investing in a good pair of running shoes is important.

Some examples of what I wear/like to run in:

Tops- Nike Shirt 




FuelBelt- 
I take the fuelbelt with two 8oz bottles on my long runs. I fill both with gatorade.

Fuel-
A ten mile run is very different from a twenty mile run. You need more fuel for marathon training. Fuel that I like having for pre, during, and post training runs:
  • Clif Shot blocks
  • Everything in -- this -- blog post 
  • Recovery accelerator 
  • Salt tablets (I use these for race day only)

Watch + Heart rate monitor-
I would recommend having a heart rate monitor to run with for the longer distances as you can track what paces to run based off of heart rates and also see how long you should recover between hard workouts.

Recovery essentials-
See -- this -- blog post.

Good luck to all those training!

Training Guide: Part 1

October 22, 2014



Fall is a popular season of half marathons, full marathons, and races of all distances. For today and tomorrow, I have a two part training guide/tips for the half marathon and marathon distances. They are two posts that are similar as I made a list of things necessary for training. These are items that I have found to be important in my training and that I think are useful to others as well.


 Training plan- 
The most important thing is having a proper training plan for you and your level of fitness. If you have never run a half marathon, stick with a beginner program. If you want to PR your half marathon time, find a training program with speed work and longer weekend runs.


Hal Higdon has great training plans all the way from beginner to advanced. This training plan is a good beginners one and you can easily print it out and mark off when you complete each workout.

Jenny Hadfield (where I find all my training plans) also has great training plans. This is a great beginners guide that takes you up to 10 miles. You can find training plans on her website from beginners walking half marathon to advanced. There is even has a training plan for those who are busy and don't think they have enough time to train.


Running attire-

Proper running shoes and clothing are important as you want to be comfortable when running for longer distances. Having proper attire prevents chafing, injury, blisters, and additional problems. Nothing has to be expensive but I do think investing in a good pair of running shoes is important.

I know Gap has good workout clothes. I have never bought from there before but my sister has and she says it fits similar to LuluLemon. Under Armor, Nike, and Adidas are also good workout clothing stores.

Foam roller-
As you increase milage, you may want to consider a foam roller to help your legs recover faster and roll out knots in your legs. You could easily use a lacrosse ball or tennis ball as well.


Watch-
For a watch, any watch that tracks milage will do. I love having a Garmin to show me every stat of every run. Garmin has a lot of different watches for every sport and they keep track of all your milage, pace, run times, etc.

Ipod-
A form of entertainment.


Training Belt (and fuel)-
I personally don't use a fuel belt for half marathon training. I would take my spibelt. However, others may find that they like to take the fuelbelt for their longer weekend runs. The difference is that one has bottles for liquids while the other is a pouch for gels (that's the one in the pictures). In my previous half marathon training, I went to ten to twelve miles and only took gu chomps.

What else would you add to the list?

It's Race Week!! ... Brought to you by google images

October 20, 2014



As I was working on some blog posts I noticed my race countdown and how it shows single digits until my next marathon. Single. Digits. Less than a week until the race..When did that happen so fast?! I will let Google images explain how I am feeling this week as I get ready for race day.

I saw my calendar shows 26.2 on Saturday morning...



I finished all of the long runs feeling strong... 



I have been following my taper plan...



I have my race outfit ready...



I don't even feel nervous...



I figured out which fuel to take with me...



I'm not even worried about my finish time...



5 MORE DAYS...

Week Recap: October 13th - October 19th

October 19, 2014

This was the last week of "training." I had my last speed work day on Thursday, a long-ish run on Sunday, and some cross training. Nothing too intense as I continue to taper down for the marathon this weekend. 

I have a list of small things to do this week as I get ready for race day which includes: buying an Itunes gift card for race music, putting together a good playlist, packet pick up on Thursday, getting my race outfit ready, and eating and resting a lot. I have the race map printed out and I think I am (almost. see above needed items) ready to go! 


My list of workouts for the week:

Monday: Rest day 
Tuesday: Run- 60 minutes
Wednesday: Cross training (cycling) + Strength training
Thursday: Run- 1/2 mile repeats @ 6:45 pace
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: Cycle- 30 minutes
Sunday: Long run- 7 miles

Coach Jenny told me Thursday's speed workout was the best one yet. My paces were better and I kept the pace even throughout the entire interval. I had my last long run this morning of 7 miles which felt great. 

And some random things to share.. I didn't post this photo but it is from last weekend when we were in Houston. We ordered room service for each meal and it was delicious. My mom said "take this for the blog!" I was proud of her for knowing that most things need to go on the blog ;) For dinner the previous night my mom got steak, Kathleen got salmon, and I got macaroni with chicken and tomatoes. It sounds weird but it was really good. Yes, I have the appetite of a ten year old. I wanted a picture but we were so hungry that I didn't even think about it.


We celebrated our mom's birthday this weekend. After church on Saturday, we went to dinner and the movies. Today (Sunday), my sister Liz surprised our mom by coming into town this weekend. Liz works at a camp and we see her once a month. 


This week was:
4.52 hours of training 
20 miles of running

Lessons learned from the long run (literally)

October 15, 2014


Let's get honest here for a minute.. I run, I make mistakes, I learn from mistakes, then I share with the internet what I did wrong. After completing a tough training cycle of six very long runs, I have learned so many new things that I didn't know/didn't think about before.



Mistake- Running by pace. 
Lesson learned-  Coach Jenny has been telling me since the very beginning to run by effort and not pace on every single run. Meanwhile, I was stubborn and ran what pace felt right which led to even slower paces. Once I listened to coach and ran by HR zone (effort) rather than pace, my paces ended up better.

Mistake- Running in new shoes on a long run.
Lesson learned-  Don't try to break in new shoes on a long run. After having calf pains and becoming frustrated, I realized my mistake. I broke in my new shoes by running shorter weekly runs in them and running my long runs in the older shoes. Once I broke the new ones in more I started running in them for longer distances. Sometimes it takes awhile for new shoes to be broken in and you have to be patient. 

Mistake- Thinking I could run certain distances without fueling.

Lesson learned- Always have Gu and gatorade when out for a long run. I fueled more often on the longer runs- I took one Gu chomp every three miles, drank a sip of Gatorade every mile, and ate a bite of a Clif bar during the 20 milers. 

I'm sure there are more but I will stick with those three for now.

Week Recap: October 6th - 12th

October 13, 2014

Last week was a looong week. I had midterms which meant I spent most of my time studying. However, it was the best week because my dad bought my mom, sister, and I tickets to the Katy Perry concert so we were so excited all week!

Monday: Rest day
Tuesday: 45 min run
Wednesday: Cross train + Strength train

After class I headed to the pool to swim laps. After I finished the workout I played around with the self- timer:


Thursday: Tempo run
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: 5 miles
Sunday: 5 miles

I was supposed to have a 10 mile long run on Saturday. I had my playlist ready, my route mapped out, then at mile 2 it started pouring rain and lightening which changed it from a 10 mile run to a 5 mile sprint as I tried to hurry back home. I definitely wasn't prepared for that. I split my run into two days because of time issues. 

We had the best girls weekend at the Katy Perry concert! When we got to the arena we kept screaming as we made our way closer and closer to the stage. We couldn't believe the seats our dad got us! We saw Katy Perry's dad walk by a few times and I got a picture with him! I will post a couple pictures but the rest is for us to remember :)

I love this picture of my sister and I! There was confetti every where and my mom snapped this pic.

This week was:
4.6 hours of training
22 miles of running

20 Miles

October 7, 2014

A few months ago, my coach updated my Training Peaks with all the long runs planned out. The weekend's went something like this: 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 20, with a few shorter distance runs in between each long run. My first thought- two 20s?!

I'm not going to lie: I was intimidated. This is only my second marathon. Last training cycle I ran twenty miles as a race. I didn't know what it was going to be like running on my own.

From 12 miles...

Each weekend I mapped out where I would go and included quick stops at my house. My fuelbelt holds two small bottles which I would fill up with gatorade. I would run out of gatorade around mile ten of each long run so I looped back home to refill my bottles. I broke up the distance and ran 12-13 miles around the area then would only have 7-8 miles to finish up. It worked better mentally to finish a big chunk of the milage, quick break for more liquids, and run a shorter distance.

..to 20 miles

Not only do I feel more confident going into this next marathon, I also feel that I have gained more speed as I worked on speed training once to sometimes twice a week. This training cycle was tough but I am proud that I never gave up and finished every single run.

Week Recap: September 15th - October 5th

October 6, 2014

I'm super late on my week recaps! I have been working on different posts but with everything going on right now I haven't had a lot of time to finish them. So, I figured I would take a blogging break until after I finish my three big week's.

I celebrated one of my friend's birthdays, played in the orchestra during the weekends for church, have been going to small group and I love it, planned upcoming races (more on that later), and saw Maze Runner.. twice. I'll spare all the small details about the past three weeks and give an overview of what training was like. I also have been really bad at taking pictures. I don't always have my phone in hand which means I don't take pictures all the time.

I found this while cleaning out my room:

Like.. my dream of qualifying for Boston will come true?? ;)

(3 weeks ago. September 15-21)
Monday: Rest day
Tuesday: 70 min easy run
Wednesday: Cross train + Strength train
Thursday: Tempo run
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: 30 min run cycle
Sunday: Long run- 20 miles

This week was a rough week: tired, sore, super busy with school. My coach and I discussed training and she told me I could move the 20 miler but I knew it was just tired (not an injury or anything serious) and didn't want to mess up my training. I was surprised the 20 miles didn't feel awful and I finished in a good time.


Also, random but you have to try these popsicles. They are so good.


Week stats:
6.26 hours of training
32.24 miles of running

(2 weeks ago. September 22- 28)
Monday: Rest day
Tuesday: 45 min easy run
Wednesday: Cross train + Strength train
Thursday: 45 min easy run
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: 30 min easy run
Sunday: Long run- 10 miles

This was a better week, a lower volume week. All runs kept at easy pace except for the 10 miler that was a race sim workout with finishing at a faster pace than I started.

I kept my cross training easy also. I headed to the pool after class and took lots of breaks between sets.


Week stats:
3.58 hours of training
23.54 miles of running

(Last week. September 29- October 5)
Monday: Rest day
Tuesday: 60 min easy run
Wednesday: Cross train + Strength train
Thursday: Tempo run
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: 30 min cycle
Sunday: Long run- 20 miles

This past week was another busy week with school and work but I stayed on top of my to-do lists. I fit everything in and am super happy that I got through another long week.

I was able to take my cycling outdoors on Saturday. It was nice weather and I didn't want to be stuck on my trainer.


Week stats:
6.32 hours of training
32.82 miles of running 

I have been hitting all of my goal times for the tempo runs and I have finished each long run feeling strong. I was nervous for two 20 mile long runs and thought they would be difficult and awful but neither felt bad. In fact, I actually had fun running them! My legs do better after I have a break from running so occasionally Coach and I added in a cycle before the long run.

I survived peak weeks and now on to the taper!

18 more days until 26.2!!!!
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