Flagstaff Half Marathon Recap

“The Toughest Trail Marathon in Arizona” and oh boy was it tough!

Friday morning I went to hot yoga then headed up to Flagstaff for the marathon. This week I really tried to prep as much as I could before this race. There’s not a lot of running training you can do before a half, you gotta just bank on all the miles you’ve put in all summer, so focus shifts to what you eat and what your mind tells yourself.  The race site didn’t have the course map up so I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into! But I really tried to eat carbs that would fuel me, lots of water, and stayed away from things like fried foods or dairy that wouldn’t agree with my stomach.

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This race was small. About 400 runners. The expo was just a table outside of a coffee shop but they gave out lightweight hoodies instead of shirts and I was jazzed to say the least.

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I packed my dinner to eat in the hotel. I stayed in the cheapest place possible which meant no fridge or microwave for me. I made a pasta and spinach salad with lemon basil vinaigrette which totally hit the spot!f46

The race didn’t start till 9am for the half-ers which felt so late  to me. But when I woke up it was only 45 degrees! That’s COLD to this Phoenician.

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The course. Okay. Look at this thing. There was a 10K, half and full marathon option. The 10K was the red loop. The Half was the red + black loop and the Full was the red + black loop twice. And the elevation starts around 8,000 feet! And climbs all the way up to about 8,600. I was quite worried about the elevation. That’s about 7,000 higher than I’m used to!

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I got about 3 miles in before I reevaluated my goals. This course was hilly. Plus a trail run plus thin elevation cold air. I just wanted to stay under 3 hours. Actually, I was worried about finishing at all. I have ran trails before. Desert-y dirt trails. That’s NOT what this was. This was forest trails. Let me tell you, it was beautiful when I could look up at it. But I couldn’t look up! Every time I did, I would trip or twist my ankle or slide on a branches and sticks that covered the ground. I twisted my ankle so so so many times. One time was pretty hard and I was scared I was really going to do some damage before the NYC marathon.  I started on my mantra early on, repeating in my mind a line I got from the book Build Your Running Body “There is one finish line and it’s at the finish.”

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I was slipping and sliding all over that course. I trained pretty hard to break the habit of picking my feet / knees up so high that I’m wasting energy but for this course you HAD to pick your feet up so high or else you’d jam your toes into a jutting rock.

So it was slow going. You always go a little slower uphill, right? But downhill I’d have to go just as slow! I was sliding on the dried pine needles or loose rocks that littered the course. I tried to push it on the rare straight stretches of the course when I could.

Now I do want to say that the race support was excellent. The signage was clear and flags lined the course to mark where to run. There were a ton a great volunteers and water stations just about every 2 miles. Plus most of the stations had oranges, bananas and/or pretzel chips. It was a really good set up and that really impressed me.

But the mile markers were a bit of a mess. The provided pre-race info did warn that due to the type of course, the miles were more approximated and “may not match” what your GPS says. And mine sure didn’t. For most of the race my watch was saying I was about 1/2 a mile further than the mile markers so I had it in mind that I was going to run about 14 miles. No biggie.

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Mile 8-10, I was advised, were the big big uphill miles. I ran for as much as I could miles 1-8 and then let myself take a walk break for the big uphill. Miles 10 and 11 we’re okay, I was tired but I was moving. Then I wanted to really lay it all out on the course for miles 12-finish, again thinking it would be closer to 14-ish miles.

I saw the mile marker for mile 12 and my watch said something like 12.25 and a volunteer pointed down the path telling me the finish was that way. So I picked it up and…. ran about 100 feet and there was the end! What??

I really wish I had pushed harder on mile 12 but I thought I had 2 more to go! Not less than a quarter mile! Haha.

Oh well. I collected my medal, skipped the free beer and headed straight for the food truck. This race provided free lunch! It was a bit of a wait since all the runners (for every distance) and volunteers got a free meal but hey, it was free!

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Gringodillas food truck! I’ve never heard of this place before (it’s local to Flag) but it was awesome they set up shop for us and everything looked so good! I got the Sly Dog with bbq pork and cole slaw and it was delish!

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All in all I felt really great during this race. Parts were hard for sure but I wasn’t depleted at the end and I KNOW I can continue on (which I’ll have to come November!) I had a good more miles left in this tank and NYCM won’t be a trail and is basically 0 elevation so all of that will make it a little bit smoother. But NYCM does have all those bridges….

Next up is the South Mountain Classic and then I think I’m hanging up my trail racing shoes!

 

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When You Are Supposed to be Marathon Training but Just Want to Marathon Watch Netflix

TextThe other day I was chatting with a friend about Seinfeld- it’s a great show and he asked me what episode he should watch that night. I spouted off a bunch of favorites but then I remembered exactly what episode he needed to see. The one about the NYC Marathon! Ha it’s hilarious.

Half Marathon today. Netflix marathon tomorrow.

Who is going to hold this sign out for me come November? So how about we “marathon” shows about the marathon! Here are some funny episodes to get into the running spirit!

 

So of course #1 is Seinfeld S7E5 – The Hot Tub

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Elaine host’s a runner who last time slept through his alarm and missed the marathon. So this year she and Jerry go to every precaution to get him to wake up in time! (UH this is my nightmare!)

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special mention S7E9- The Sponge. It’s an iconic episode!  Kramer signs up to participate in a charity Aids walk and Jerry doesn’t think he’s going to make it.

 

#2 How I Met Your Mother S2E15 – Lucky Penny

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Barney bets the gang that he can run the marathon with no prior training.

 

#3 Sex and The City S4E6- Baby Talk is Cheap

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Miranda joins a running group while training for the NYCM and meets a cute (if gross) guy

special mention S4E7- Time and Punishment: Miranda is so sore from the marathon she cranks her neck and ends up lying naked on the bathroom floor

 

#4 Friends S6E7 – The One Where Phoebe Runs

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Phoebe starts running with Rachel through Central Park and she is embarrassing

 

#5 Parks & Rec S5E2 – Soda Tax

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Andy is training for the Police PT test and has to run 2 miles under 25 mins

 

#6 Veep S2E9- Running

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V.P Selina, high on painkillers, runs a 10K with her staff

#7 The Office S4E1- Fun Run

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Michael hosts a fun run for rabies after he hits Meredith with his car. So he has to carbo load fettuccine Alfredo immediately before running the 3 miles

 

Or you know, you could watch a documentary with actual knowledge about the sport. But these shows are funny!

 

NYCM Check in: 8 Weeks Left!! Did I make any progress??

I really really tried to step it up this week. I was far from perfect but I felt like I did better than I’ve been. 8wo-e1505000930751.jpg

It’s hard to really judge so I feel like the fall back marker is weight. And this week the scale moved UP half a pound. Definitely not the direction I want it to go but I’m just trying to remind myself that the number on the scale is not the deciding factor here.

I felt so confident with my workouts this week. I did get off my butt a few times when I reallllly wanted to stay in bed (like this morning. 1 minute “sprints” on the assault bike for 15 rounds. Killer!) but I’m sitting here thinking, well I skipped 1 morning run. 1 turned into a walk for a run. I didn’t go to yoga on Friday…. Hmm…

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I did get in my long run on Thursday- 12 miles in the morning and then I got in another 3 that night. I felt pretty strong ( strong but still slow) during the run and thought if it were race day I had a few more miles in me. Plus on race day you’re so excited and the energy is just buzzing that you always get about 4 or so miles that fly by. So I think I have 20 miles in me right now. The last 6.2 are gonna hurt hurt hurt but I CAN do this! Running is mental anyway right. I just need to repeat I CAN I CAN I CAN!

After my race on Thursday, I was craving a soda (I almost always crave a coke after a long run!) and a salad! So I ran over to Salad 2 Go on the way home and ate it immediately on the couch with Copper Mercury watching and waiting for any spilled bits.

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I got in 22 miles this week. Plus 2 lifts, kayaking 1 day- super fun- and a round on the assault bike. My pace is still beyond slow!! Which gets disheartening! Definitely need to do more speedwork and just push push push.

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THIS Saturday is the Flagstaff Half Marathon. I think I’m still in denial that it’s already here. I want to get in a short “long run” on Wednesday. I’m thinking 8 miles. And then training runs of course with a rest on Friday. This will be my 10th half so I’m pretty excited about it. I just gotta WORK!!

 

“Bananas Are the Devil!” Should you stay away from ALL sugar?

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Recently where I work, we all had to attend a training course about health and fitness. The instructor made some really good points, but she made a really bad one too. Not in my class, but in others she apparently said, “bananas are the devil. They’re as bad as drinking a Mountain Dew.” Now, I wasn’t in this class (thankfully!!) but it was said enough that that phrase has been quoted and quoted in the halls here. Bananas are going to kill me!! NO THEY’RE NOT!

I am against this idea with all my heart and soul (and nutritional knowledge!) Say what you want about what it means, but I did pass the NASM nutrition course. And I lost 50 lbs while eating fruit 2-3 times a day. 

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Yes there is sugar in fruit (and veggies) but it is SO NOT AT ALL the same as a can of soda. Let’s break down sugar!

There are a few different kinds of sugar but to keep this as simple as possible, I’m going to stick to talking about sucrose and fructose. What’s the difference? Both are monosaccharides, aka simple sugars. But they are processed differently in the body. Sucrose is your “blood sugar.” It’s what gets broken down and used as energy or stored as glycogen. Unlike with fructose, insulin is secreted in response to sucrose with is what raises your blood sugar levels. Fructose is not the preferred energy source and does not cause insulin to be secreted. It is broken down in the liver and treated more like a fat, which can raise triglyceride levels.

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So does eating too much fruit cause weight gain? Yes, actually it does. A study had participants eating fructose as 25% of their diet. For a 2,000 calorie diet that’s 500 calories of fructose– that would take 20 apples to reach. 20 apples, every day? Yeah, don’t do that.

But every nutritionist, the FDA, WHO and FAO all say to eat fruit, usually 2-3 servings a day, as part of a balanced diet. In fact, dietitian Dr. Alan Barclay said in an interview:

Fruits are a core food and Australians only eat a piece a day on average which is appalling. The minimum recommended amount per day is two and anyone who suggests it contributes to obesity is wrong. We’re eating so little of fruit, how could it possibly be contributing to obesity when two-thirds of the population are overweight or obese. It’s absurd.

Humans have been eating fruits since the beginning of time! But what we haven’t been eating, what’s really changed in the Standard American Diet (SAD… literally) is the amount of added sugar we’re eating. Sugar is added to EVERYTHING. Natural and non-natural sugars and that is what is really killing us.

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Like Mountain Dew. So are bananas just as bad as drinking a Mountain Dew? Let’s take a look.

1 serving according to NLEA is 126 grams of banana (a medium sized one -ish) and according to Pepsico 1 serving of MD is 12 fluid ounces.

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You know what I also should have added to the ingredient list under bananas?? Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, Panothenic Acid (all B vitamins), Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, and Selenium <– all micronutrients that are vital for living.

So tell me again how eating a banana (that will fill up your stomach and keep you full) is “just as bad” as drinking a MD??? To me, it’s not even close!

EAT YOUR DAMN FRUITS.

*Here, of course, is where I caution you and remind you it’s about balance and portion. But against dried fruit. I LOVE dried fruits.  I could eat a handful of dried bananas in one sitting… which could easily be the equivalent to eating 6 bananas at once. Has anyone ever sat down and eaten 6 fresh whole bananas??

Pick whole fresh fruits over dried. Pick dried over juice. Pick juice over… soda? Idk. Don’t bother drinking juice.

 

 

VB6! What Is It and What Am I Eating?

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Have  you guys heard of VB6? I read this book a while ago and it really struck something in me… but then I didn’t change my eating habits. But last week I was listening to a podcast with Tig Notaro, who I adore, and she talks about going vegan (mainly for health concerns) and suggested people just give it a try for a few weeks. Well if Tig says so…

Ok, I’m not going 100% vegan, but I am following VB6. The idea is that you eat vegan before 6pm so basically breakfast and lunch and then a regular ol’ omnivorous dinner. (Really I’m going VB2am since that’s about when I eat dinner on night shift ha)

The best things is nothing is “off limits.” You can eat cheese and ice cream and steak and hot dogs, just you have to wait till dinner/dessert time. The goal is to shift you into eating more plant based whole foods and less processed foods, meats and dairy. Dairy is the easiest thing for me to give up which I am counting myself lucky about since I think more people with struggle with that.

So am I eating a salad every day for lunch? Well, yes and no! It’s not just lettuce and dressing and I definitely do not feel deprived!

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Someone PLEASE teach me how to be a food photographer!

There have been a couple “fails” (I don’t think I can get on board with nutritional yeast…) but I’m basically eating all my favorite foods just minus the meat and dairy. And there have been a few surprises. I was craving a BLT the other day so toasted some bread, added veganiase, tomatoes and avocado and YUM. It hit the spot more than I could’ve imagined.

I’m still trying to stop myself from eating all carbs and really focusing on fruits and veggies. But I am not worried about protein! I haven’t been monitoring my macros that closely but I am still getting a lot from beans and chickpeas, quinoa, and vegetables! Plus I usually do have meat at dinner.

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Midnight Madness 5K Recap!

Racing Season is here!! I just wish cooler temperatures were here too.

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At the last minute I signed up for a 5K last friday night: Midnight Madness. It sounded like a good idea at the time. But come game day and I was a lot less excited about the whole thing. I was LAZY this weekend. Like seriously not getting out of bed, lazy.

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To be honest, it was nice! I feel like I’ve been going going going  lately and yes, I had things on my to-do list but I didn’t have to be anywhere so I took advantage and didn’t leave the house. (On Thursday, I even had food delivered! Yay for grubhub and vegan PF changs options.) But when it came time to actually leave the house, and for a race, oof it was rough.

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But I got off my ass and went. And of course I got lost so hey, another reason to just head home? No, I found the place. Then I read the email wrong and thought the race started at 7pm but it started at 8! I had a whole hour to kill and again thought, forget it just go home. But I stayed and I actually ran.

The gun finally went off at 8pm and it was still hot hot hot! Since it was dark the sponsors had glow sticks for people to snap around and light up as they ran. It was pretty fun.

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The course was pretty flat with one little dip in the middle but easy going.

My goal for this race was just run. Run the whole thing and do not stop.

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And I DID! It sounds so simple. For a girl that should be marathon training 3 miles is easy. And it was easy, kinda… it did make me realize that I am capable of running 3 miles but not ready for 26.2. Was I the fastest? Nope. Did I want to stop? Yup. Did I keep running away? Hell yeah. It was a good reminder that running (every distance, every ‘type’ of run) is supposed to hurt! It’s supposed to challenge and push you. So I felt really good about how I did! mm-otter.jpg

The best part was that at the end they had otter pops! I’m going with lime every time! Plus they had finisher medals if you’re into bling. (I still haven’t unpacked my medals and bibs from when I moved last month!)

There’s another midnight madness in the series in October that I’m debating about. I have a 20K the very next day so I probably can’t do both. I have to remind myself I can’t do every run in the world!!

 

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What do you guys do with your medals?

What flavor of otter pop (or popsicle) is your favorite? 

NYCM Check In: 9 Weeks Out. It’s Been an Eye Opener!!

Real talk time, guys.

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I have just over two months till the New York City Marathon. An iconic marathon that I feel SO lucky I get to run this year. But to say I’ve been lazy and slacking is an understatement. I have given myself excuse after excuse to skip workouts, run less miles than planned, eat junk and be a quitter.

I am not ready for this race.

I ran a 5K (a 5K!) this weekend and yeah I was able to but it wasn’t a walk in the park. If it’s that hard for me to run 3 miles, how am I going to do 26? But I have 2 months to get ready.  To focus and crack down. It won’t be pretty. It won’t be easy.  But it’s possible and I CAN do it!!

So here’s where I’m at.

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Current weight: 161.4

  • This pic was me today at the gym. I do want to slim down for a myriad of reasons but #1 is because the less weight I have to carry, the easier it is to move it for 26.2 miles. I’m not going to be really focused on the number on the scale but I’d like to get it back down to what it used to be. I’m hoping for 10lbs gone by Nov. 5th but again, I’m not going to do anything crazy just to see a number.

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My huffing it pace: 11:10

  • This was my average pace for my last 5K. And to be honest, I could not keep this up for another 10 miles, let alone another 23.

I’m eating like an idiot

  • There’s no other way to say it. I’ve only just started following VB6, and I really like it! I want to keep it up at least till marathon day. I really think I feel better overall when I’m eating this way. But there’s still a lot to learn that goes with it (like how to not just eat ALL the carbs!) Time to go back to tracking my food/macros!