Mental Marathon Plan Cont

As promised here is part 2 of my mental marathon plan.

In reading about how to prepare mentally for a full marathon, a lot of people mention their why. Why do you want to run a marathon? Or why are you doing this?

I have been asked this many times through training and I ask myself this question all the time. When it gets tough that is the first thing that comes into my mind. Why am I doing this??? So here is my why.

First I want to prove to myself that I can complete a marathon. If you don’t know a few years ago I thought I would never be able to run again. I have a fracture in my back that doesn’t heal and I thought well there goes my fun… Fast forward and obviously I am able to run again. So I want to be able to part of that 1% that says I finished a freaking marathon.

Second and probably my bigger reason is to show others that you can do hard things and things that seem impossible. You can achieve what you put your mind to, work hard for, and try. I work with students that give up all the time. I want to show them that if you put your mind to something and put in the effort, then you can achieve it. My students are constantly saying they can’t do it or they aren’t good enough. The quit before they even start. I want to do this for all the people who believe they can’t and hopefully give them reasons to believe that they can!

The last part of my mental plan is using my mantras or positive affirmations. I have a few different ones and honestly I just plan to use all of them when I need them.

Just keep going…. (like Dory just keep swimming)

You can do this, you are already doing it!

You are strong

And of course my life phrase NO REGRETS

I am viewing this like I coach a woman through labor. So all the things that I would say to them, I am saying to myself.

What are your mantras? What is your why?

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The Mental Marathon Plan

Alright as I get closer to running this marathon, I am starting to prepare even more. First let me say, I am terrified. I have had some really disappointing long runs and I feel like I am not ready for this. Second, I am so over this training… I’m so ready to not have to plan my schedule and life around long runs and hoping that it doesn’t snow just yet! I can’t wait for this to be over.

This Tuesday will be my last really long run before race day and I am looking forward to getting it out of the way and desperately hoping that I feel awesome and finish feeling confident that I will be able to do this 26.2 miles in a few weeks. As I prepare for this long run, I have been preparing myself for race day. This is my last chance to prepare and practice my strategy before the big day. I have been researching a lot of mental strategies and motivations for finishing a marathon. I have also been researching getting through the wall and overcoming common race day obstacles (especially bathroom issues).

I want to me as prepared mentally as possible so that it is one things less I have to think about come race day. So here is what I have planned and am going to try on Tuesday. As a Birth Doula I am planning this out like a woman in labor. After all labor is a marathon (I need to write a whole post on that)

First I plan to break the race up into 5 mile segments. For me 5 miles is an easy segment and I know I can run 5 miles pretty smoothly. Each segment I plan to focus on something different to help me get through it and prepare myself for the next one to come. I am planning to write these focuses on my arm in case my mind goes blank and I can’t remember while I am running. So here they are:

Miles 1-5 (Pre-labor) Focus on breathing, relaxing, and warming up. Many people push themselves at the start of races and I do not want to burn out so I plan to focus on my own pace and not get wrapped into other people’s paces.

Miles 5-10 (Realizing you are in labor) I will be focusing on pace and form. Form is really important for me and I know during these few miles if my form is not good I will be hurting the rest of the race.

Miles 10-15 (Start of Active Labor) I will be focusing on my body and checking each piece from my toes to the top of my head. Thinking through what hurts, if anything needs a stretch, and how things feel. I will also focus on maintaining nutrition and hydration.

I know I can get through these miles pretty smoothly so up to mile 15 is all focused on preparing for the challenging miles ahead and giving myself the best possible circumstances.

Miles 15-20 (Water breaking/Epidural thoughts)  will be focused on enjoying the race. I plan to look around, read every sign, give as many high fives as possible and simple take it all in. I know after this point I won’t be able to focus on taking it all in and I don’t want to miss it. So this will be a good distraction as I lead to that place.

Miles 20-25 (Transition) will be all about distracting myself mentally. I plan to use each mile to pray for something different (writing them on my arm ahead of time) and really think about that person or situation. I plan to dig deep and use my why and mantras to push through these last few miles (more on that in a post in a few days).

Mile 25- finish (Pushing and Baby!) Will be all about taking it all in and enjoying the accomplishment that I am achieving. I don’t want to miss a second of the last mile. Even if I have to walk this whole mile I am taking in every second of it!

I am hoping with these goals and focuses I will be successful in completing this marathon and feeling accomplished at the end. I plan to try them out on Tuesday in my last long run and really get a feel for what needs to change and what is working.

Have you run a full marathon? What was your mental plan?

Whole30

I have been having some health problems for the last 6 months. Well mid-March is when I first started to notice something was off. It started as extreme fatigue and feeling unrested even after 8-10 hours of sleep. Since then it has progressed my many more symptoms including pain in my joints.

I think its adrenal fatigue or thyroid issues, my mom keeps saying its mono or lupus. While I try to get in with another doctor (headache and a half), I decided that I needed to give Whole30 a real try. Most adrenal and thyroid problems start with your diet, so I need to start there to fix it.

I try to eat pretty healthy anyway, but over the last few years I have reverted more and more back to a high starch diet. This was a problem a few years ago and I know Whole30 will start me off right. So what is Whole30?

Essentially it is a change of eating habits for 30 days. During this month long change here is what is not allowed

  • No dairy* – this includes cow, goat, sheep and all of the products made from them – cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream.
  • No grains – wheat, rye, oats, corn, rice, quinoa, buckwheat, etc. This includes the bran, germ, and starch.
  • No legumes – no beans of any kind! Black, pinto, white, Lima, fava, chickpeas, lentils, or peanuts. This includes all forms of soy, so no miso, soy sauce, tofu, edamame, and tempeh. Check your labels for soybean oil and soy lecithin, they are no-nos.
  • No sugar – none, nada, not even the artificial kind! No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, stevia, etc.
  • No alcohol – none, nada, not even in cooking!

*Exceptions to the rules:

  • Clarified butter and Ghee are allowed. The milk proteins need to be removed or they could affect your results.
  • Fruit juices are allowed as a sweetener, just don’t overdo it.
  • Green beans, snow peas, and sugar snap peas are allowed. They are technically legumes, but are more of a pod than a bean.
  • Vinegar – white, balsamic, apple cider, red wine, champagne, and rice vinegar are allowed. Always check your labels, flavored and varieties that contain sugar or malt are not allowed.

Not too bad right?! Wow this is going to be hard. Honestly the hardest parts for me are going to be Alcohol, and Dairy. 30 days without a beer, at least I don’t have the added stress of finishing school.

So I planned to start this journey on August 1, but I went on vacation August 8th so decided to wait until I go back. So I started August 23. The first week I didn’t notice any changes. I didn’t even really crave things unless it was right in front of me like banana bread or sugar snacks. The second week I actually started to notice a little less fatigue in my normal day. I still have 4 more days left but so far so good. The hardest thing is finding things that are whole30 compliant to have on a long run like electrolytes and foods.

I am now starting to think about what my eating will look like when I finish and what I want first! I think probably a beer. Of course with any cutting out type diet you have to go through a reintroduction phase. So that should be “fun.”

Have you tried Whole30 before? How did you feel about it?

5 things I learned from my first triathlon. 

As I just finished my first triathlon, I thought I would share some things that I learned from my first triathlon. I know some of you are thinking about doing one in the future so learn from my mistakes.

1. Training

OK as I stated in my race recap, I did not train for this race. Obviously that was a mistake. I would have done so much better and been more confident had I trained. Training is important to any race. While I was able to complete the race, I was not confident and did worry I would struggle. Race on the base actually has a training group/ plan that people can join. Of course since I don’t live in the area this was not possible for me.  Take it from me, find a good training plan, stick to it, and train!

2. Reapply sunscreen

Sunscreen is important. I did apply sunscreen early when I put my clothes on, but did not reapply the sunscreen. That was a huge mistake. I ended up lobstered. It was around 5 hours from the time I put sunscreen on to race start. Plus I took layers off and such. So put sunscreen on again before the race. Do not be like my dad though. He had a clogged sunscreen can and ended up spraying it straight into his eye looking for the clog. That was not a great thing to do right before a race. While I am on this if you are like me and always have chapped lips make sure to bring ChapStick.I suffered without it. 

3. Eat before the race

Nutrition as always is important for race day. Eating before the race is important to fuel your body for the race. Make sure it is something you have ran on before and that your body will handle it. My mom was so sweet and made me a bagel to eat in the car. Unfortunately the bagel had cream cheese on. I don’t like cream cheese so I didn’t eat the bagel and was hungry before the race. I ended up eating an entire bag of honey stingers before the start of the race. So plan out what you are going to eat and eat it. 

4. Hydrate

Hydration is important to any race. I can not stress enough for any race to make sure you have water and can drink it during the race. I made sure to drink prior to the race. I am not the best at drinking water while I am on the bike. This was a challenge so make sure you practice grabbing your bottle, drinking, and putting it back. Stay hydrated. 

5. Have a great cheering squad 

Finally have a good cheering squad. Not only did I have friends racing the same race with me, but I had others cheering me on during the race and helping me through. My mom raced in the earlier wave and was there in transitions and by the pool cheering for me. That was awesome. My dad did the bike and swim with me. I can safely say if he was not there for the bike, I would have been miserable. I get so bored riding by myself and it probably would have ruined my experience. I am so thankful for him! This race would not have been nearly as enjoyable without his presence. My friend Julie was volunteering for the race and seeing her on the race course was awesome. Every person there to cheer for me was awesome and so encouraging. Get a cheering squad together for your race, I promise it will make all the difference! 

Race on the base 


I am a triathlete! Wow never thought I would say that. 

This weekend I completed my first triathlon, Race on the Base. My family has participated in Race on the Base for years. My parents usually do the triathlon while I do the 5k or the tri relay. This time I decided I needed to do the triathlon for myself. I have always wanted to do one so this was the perfect goal to add to my 30 for 30 list. 


If you know anything about the weather we have been having in Northern California, you realize it’s not ideal training weather. All the snow and rain has prevented me from a lot of running as well as biking. I hadn’t swam since July (when our pool was open) and I probably haven’t biked in that long. So I was no where near trained for this. 


My goal was to finish and enjoy it. Which is exactly what I did. The run is my best event, as I run more often. It was a 5k run so I knew I would be golden. I took off. About a mile in I realized my pace was closer to a normal 10k race pace which meant I was pushing to hard. I slowed down, but still not enough. Once I finished the run I transitioned and met my dad for the bike. Thankfully he had volunteered to do the bike and swim with me. 

The bike was great. We just chilled and talked and enjoyed the ride. We really had a good time. This course is on the Los alamitos joint forces base and the run and bike are on the runway tarmac. That made the wind really difficult. The second lap on the bike the wind really started to pick up and it wasn’t as fun. I was so happy to see the finish, but dreading the swim portion coming up. 


I transitioned from the bike and grabbed my goggles. Thankfully I remembered to take off my sunglasses, but I forgot to take off my skirt. As we ran to the pool, I remembered about my skirt and was thankful dad had to stop to take his shoes off anyway. We stopped and I took of my skirt. The swim wasn’t as bad as I expected. 50 meters is way longer than my tiny pool at home. We had to do 200 meters in a 50 meter pool. The first lap was OK. The second lap was more exhausting by the 4th time I was so ready to be done, but it didn’t seem as long. 


I was so happy to get out of that pool and finish. I would definitely train better overall next time. The pool was brutal, but overall I had a great time. It was so fun doing it with my family and having family and friends cheering the whole time. 


I left feeling like I could do another triathlon in the future. I don’t know that I would want to do any long distances, but this was fun. 

So there is one more off my 30for30 list!

When I get the official race photos I will upload those too!  

Ready, set, tri

tri

This week I have been gearing up for my first ever triathlon! I know, crazy! As you may remember a triathlon is on my 30 list for this year. I have been working to cross a few things off the list so far and this will be a big one.

rotb

This weekend I will be racing in Race on the Base. I have done the 5k a few times and the triathlon as a relay, but this will be my first ever complete tri. As I get ready I am nervous! I haven’t trained for it at all and now that it is here I am worried. What did I get myself into?

While our weather has been horrible the last month or so, it has been really hard to think about training. So this week I have put a lot of effort into mental training. A triathlon has many components and walking through it mentally can be a huge benefit. The transitions are especially important to be prepared for. Last week I bought myself a transition mat (more about that later). I decided to this to help me stay organized and it will be useful for other events like Ragnar.

Trying to figure out what to wear has been another struggle. It needs to be good to run in, comfortable for the bike, but also able to be swam in. As this is a sprint distance I am not going to change clothes between legs. So hopefully I have picked out a good outfit.

So here is my packing list… Am I forgetting anything? Let me know so I can pack it!

Clothing:

  • Tank top
  • Shorts
  • Sports bra
  • sweats (for before)
  • Ragnar Jacket (for before)
  • Flip flops (for after)
  • Comfy clothes (for after)

Run:

  • Running Shoes
  • Hat
  • Sparkle Skirt (I know not needed but so great!)

Bike:

  • Bike
  • bike shoes
  • helmet
  • Water bottle

Swim:

  • Goggles
  • Towel

Random:

  • Transition mat
  • Fuel/hydration

Next week I will recap the race, and do a full review of my gear (especially my new transition mat). I may even do a giveaway! Stay tuned.

Ragnar 101 pt 5

Sleeping

Sleep is overrated. This is something you learn in Ragnar Relays. You can actually get by and run on a lot less sleep than you think. You can also run on adrenaline for a long time when needed. It is very difficult to get more than an hour of consistent sleep during a Ragnar Relay and it is best to do a little planning and preparation for sleeping prior to the race. There are usually designated sleep spots at major exchanges. These can be the best option for most people. Others pay for hotel rooms and sleep in actual beds. I have gone the hotel route and while it was comfortable, it didn’t seem worth it for 3 hours when you could have more time if you didn’t waste time driving to and from the hotel.

Next option is sleeping at the designated major exchanges. Ragnar has a strict rule about not sleeping in the parking lots unless in the van. This is for safety so you do not get run over by other tired drivers. I have seen people almost run over. They usually provide an area that is grass, field, or inside where they prefer people to sleep. I have tried multiple ways to sleep and still haven’t found the perfect option. I have tried hammock (sometimes hard to find a place to hang), blow up mattress or pool floaty (takes time to blow up), inflatable hammock (good but once again have to inflate), sleeping bag on a tarp (not as comfy but totally doable), and in the van (can get crowded). Each way has pros and cons and it’s really up to you for your own comfort.

During the sleeping portion, it is really important to set a couple alarms and to be in contact with the other van so you know when you need to be ready to run next. Last thing you want to do is search all over a field for your other runners in the dark.

Nutrition and Hydration

Nutrition is an important part of any race training and race day. With a 24-32 hour race, nutrition becomes even more important to plan for. During a Ragnar relay you are going to have to plan out food and snacks. It is important to know your body ahead of time and how long before your run you should eat food. I personally like to eat a few hours before a run to give my body time to digest the food. I also like to eat pretty soon after I run. Taking this into account I look at approximately when I am scheduled to run and then decide what time I need to eat. Then I make sure I have something for after I finish to eat. We usually plan to eat a “real meal” while the other van is running their legs. This gives us time to use a real bathroom and sit for a while.

We try to bring snacks in the van to give us something to eat while we are driving and running. Our go to snacks are usually peanut butter pretzels, fruit, nuts, fruit snacks, and red vines. You should know what your body can function on and plan for those snacks. Some teams do a Costco run before the race and stock up for the whole team while other teams rely on individual members to provide their own snacks.

It is also important to know if you will need nutrition during your legs and how much you will need. This is an individual preference. It is important to run that distance prior to the race so you know what you will need. Personally anything over 4 miles I eat during my run. So any Ragnar leg that is longer than 4 miles I bring some form of nutrition (I prefer fruit snacks or gu chomps).

Hydration is another very important factor in a Ragnar Relay. We usually buy a few huge jugs of water for each van that way each person can fill their individual water bottle. We also grab a few pounds of ice to keep everything cold. It is important to remember to drink water throughout the whole race. Like nutrition you should know if you will need water on your leg. When it is hot, it is a good idea to bring water even on shorter legs. As your body is running on little sleep and odd eating schedule, hydrating is very important especially in the heat. I have a hydration pack for longer runs and a hand held for shorter runs. I suggest bringing some form of electrolyte replacement as well. If it is hot than I will bring in during my runs as well. Otherwise I drink it after each leg to help my body recover. (I prefer nuun as my electrolyte). Remember you will be running on tired legs later so do everything you can to recover from each run.

Safety

Safety during any race is very important. Before starting your Ragnar Relay you have to watch their safety video. It is super cheesy but good information. Ragnar requires runners to wear a reflective vest, front facing light, and rear blinking light during all night time hours usually 630pm-630amish. It is important to look at your night legs and see if it will be in a rural area. In these area it is important to have bright headlamp so you can see where you are running.

It is important to be seen as many times you will be running on the side of the road or in sketchy areas. Brighter colors, extra lights, and reflective gear are always helpful at night. Make sure to keep your eyes open for anything that could be dangerous. If you feel weird running through a park in the dark, bring some pepper spray or have someone run with you. Better to be safe than have a problem!

During the day make sure you are always looking where you are going and look out for cars. Do not cross the road when the light is red, it’s not worth it. I have seen so many people almost get hit when running across the street during Ragnars.

Ragnar 101 pt 4

Training

Training for a Ragnar Relay can be like most other races you train for. Usually you know what your courses will be far enough ahead of time to plan training. Make sure to train for your longest leg and for elevation. I personally try to do a few days of running twice in the day (one in the morning and one at night). This gets my body used to running on tired legs and running at different times of the day. Remember to train at different times of the day as you will be running at odd hours. As I work night shifts once a month I try to run on no sleep at least a few times during my training.

Another thing most people forget about in training is stretching. It is important to know your body and know what stretches you need to keep your body moving. I have a specific stretch routine I do between runs so that I can loosen up and not get cramps. I also try to get out of the car at every exchange. Otherwise you go from running 7 miles to sitting for 6 hours. It is not a fun experience when you try to get out of the van after that. I try to walk around as much as possible at exchanges.

My personal training includes:

Look at my leg maps (try to do this 2-3 months before)

Make a training plan for 3-5 miles over my longest assigned distance (Longest assigned distance is 6 miles try to train for 9 miles)

In all of my training I take 1 day a week for hills and/or speed drills

As the race gets closer, add a second shorter run 1 or 2 times a week

I also run when I get off night shift on no sleep atleast a couple times

Stretch and foam roll as much as possible.

Training plan

Recovery between legs:

Many people run their first leg really fast. They get into race mode and take off with all the excitement! This can be really bad. I have learned the hard way to take it easy especially on the first leg. My first race, I pushed myself so hard I was exhausted and sore the rest of the time. I totally regretted it. Take your first leg at a comfortable pace and don’t push yourself too hard.

After each leg make sure to stretch and foam roll if possible. Personally I finish my leg, get in the car and at the next exchange get out and stretch as much as possible. If I have time to foam roll I will do that as well. Then I change my clothes (I hate sitting in dirty running clothes) and spray myself with magnesium oil. Magnesium oil is my best friend at Ragnar races. Magnesium helps your muscles recover and prevents cramping. I made my own and added essential oils that help my muscles recover even more!