Monday, March 31, 2014

Zydeco Half Marathon: A New PR

Where has the weekend gone? They just fly by. Especially these run weekends, and there's no way to adequately explain how much I look forward to them. Well I probably could but that would need it's own post. Marathon race weekends are all around incredible, and oh so fleeting. As much as I was screaming, I need a break from all this running, today right now, all I can think is When do I get to do that again?

March 30, 2014 marked the Zydeco Marathon's first inaugural run. Lafayette has never had a half marathon or marathon, so no one really knew what to expect. What would the expo be like? How many participants would there be? Will race day organization run smoothly? Will the spectators come out and cheer, or will people sleep in and complain about road closures? 

I have nothing but wonderful things to say about this event. You'd never know it was the first race, and I'm told this was the first race the organizer had ever attempted. No 5k or 10k- straight to the marathon. What an undertaking! Go big or go home bay bay!

Saturday was expo and packet pick up day. The expo's turn out exceeded expectations, parking was easy coming and going, lots of great booths, packet pick up was a little complicated but overall, easy breasy. I had hoped to get to sync up with Anna from Running on Plenty  (She's getting her own post on the many reasons why shes so amazing. You need to be reading her blog) at the expo, but we missed each other as she was walking in as I was hoping in the photo booth and heading out. Why are photo booths always ridiculously fun?

Next, it was off to the Sole Sista pre race lunch! We had a great time together, nothing new there, and everyone was feeling amped up about the race! Everyone knew the weather could go either way, miserable or absolute perfection, and thankfully the latter won out. Everyone is discussing pace goals and planning out next year's race season, and I'm thinking I hope I can finish this one race strong.

Sole Sista Pre Race Lunch
The weekend prior to the race, I had set out on my scheduled 12 miler and it just didn't feel right, so I quit at 7.5 miles. I had had great runs during the week with treadmill speed training, but I knew I hadn't been able to train for this race the way that I should. I felt under prepared to say the least. Still quietly I knew I want to PR. I vowed not to put too much pace pressure on myself, remember this is supposed to be fun!

Before I can blink five times fast, it's race morning. Oddly, I wasn't at all nervous about this race. I didn't' have high expectations, I wanted to do well, but I wasn't going to beat myself up if I missed the PR. In all honesty, after that knee bomb at Louisiana, I'm just thankful to be running. Still I can't help thinking How awesome would it be to come back strong and end the season on a high note? You know that's what you want to do crazy girl.

I ate a Quest Bar and drank two scoops of Optimum's Platinum Nutrition Pre Work Out (stuff is preworkout crack.  I'm hard core addicted), and headed to the race. The Sole Sister group met up for pictures and stretching with a last minute pep talk and we're off to the start. I ran into so many people running their first half, people I didn't even know were running, people I hadn't seen in a long time, and honestly social hour was fantastic. I love the talking. There was no time to get nervous, as 7am approached quickly, and we're off. I didn't plan out my start position well and started towards the back of the pack, which would turn out in my favor.

As I'm crossing the start line and pressing start on my run AP, I see my Mom shaking a sign and cheering for me. I don't know if I've ever felt so special as I did this day. I can feel it in my bones, it's going to be a great day for running!

The first mile was crowded. I had started far back, and there's no way I can start the race too quickly. I'm blocked in by people. Just chill Leigh Ann. It's a long race. I'm not too worried about trying to pass people until five minutes in. My AP tells me I've run X distance at an 11 (which is very slow for me). I pick it up and actively start passing people.

Mile One: 10:23

I start running into a lot of people I know, insert the talking. How's your race going, what's your pace plan? I need a buddy. In between mile one and two I run into Anna and Tiffany, perfect! Anna and I start catching up since we weren't able to chat at the expo, and time starts ticking by faster and faster. Anna and Tiffany are clearly out to have FUN at this race. They're stopping for pictures, and waving to specatators. I'm sticking with these chicks! Since have fun and finish strong where my two goals going into the race, I decide that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Mile Two: 9:51

I'm having a hard time letting go of my pace obsession. I need to run X pace to beat my previous time. Gotta move faster, but I held back. Anna and I are talking, Tiffany's taking phone calls, we're laughing at all the funny signs all of us amazed at the great turn out. I made a friend for the next Crescent City Classic, and I don't even have my ear buds in. What the?

Mile Three: 10:01 *Water and Shot Block Stop*

In between miles three and four I have to switch to battery back up on my phone. Yes, already. I have to put the phone up and stop pace obsessing. It's killing me. Let it go, have fun!

Mile Four: 9:39

I have no idea what my pace is. I'm not listening to my music. When it feels good we run faster, when we feel like slowing down, we slow down.

Running and talking- these girls made the race a million times more fun. I owe you one Triathlon Anna :)
Mile Five: 9:54

The super athletes are making the loop back. They always inspire me to the fullest extent. How do they do it? 

Mile Six: 10:14 *Water & Shot Block*

We're approaching Bendel, which is a favorite for Lafayette runners who want to do hill work, as it's literally our only neighborhood with hills. Everyone is dreading the hills, but I know, when we come out of Bendel, it's time to bring it on home. We'll be more than half way done!

Mile Seven: 9:48

I'm getting antsy. The hills really aren't affecting me. She's so bougie! I do make a point to do hill work regularly, making myself run down to the river and back out again. I suppose it's paying off!

I feel great, and I know I want to go for the PR. I have to try, as those two little letters keep flashing across my brain every minute now. The PR idea has all of my spastic ADD attention. The girls want to make a pit stop. It's a tough call for me to leave Anna and Tiffany, I knew we'd have a great time finishing the race together, and honestly I could have used a pit stop at that stage myself, but I had to try for the PR. I needed it for more reasons than one. I had to prove to myself that I could come back from LouisianaSee ya'll at the finish line! At 7.5 miles my average pace is 10:01. I know if I'm going to PR I have to come in under a 9:55 average so I have time to make it up but I will have to focus, and pace this out.

Mile Eight: 9:50 *Water & Shot Block*

I'm out of Bendel and the hills are behind me. Time to bring this bad boy back on home! Five miles to go Leigh Ann don't start getting crazy now! Pace. it. out.

Mile Nine: 9:25

I'm fighting the urge to light it up and really hammer out the pace, but I know four miles is a long way to go if I run out of gas. I'm not hurting, I feel pretty fantastic all things considered.

Mile Ten: 9:39 *Last Water Stop*

I hit mile ten and see two of my best friends cheering for me. They've both been there for all of my big races, I don't know why it surprised me so much to see them there, but I was so touched and tickled. Plus they gave me the giggles.

The first is funny as I have one really nasty and unlady like toe. I don't know what I'll do come pedicure time. The second is funny, because well you know.
I'm rolling into my last 5k, I've just received this biggest support from my friends, and it feels incredible to be passing people at the end. It's literally never happened to me at a race before. I start fishing. Picking a person out in front of me, passing them, picking another, passing them, etc. I can hear my feet falling harder and I know I'm getting tired, but I keep fishing.

Mile Eleven: 9:36

Every five minutes my ap tells me my average pace is dropping. I know if I keep this up I'm going to get it. I'm going to PR. Geez Louise I am getting tired. My left foot is hurting in my arch and right quad is screaming at me to let up. My head says You can do this. You are one bad ass bitch. Pep talks for the win. My heart says I want to PR. Come on legs you can handle a little more.

Mile Twelve: 9:30

I'm getting tired, my form is total shit, but I want this PR like I want to breathe. The last mile and half was a real mind game. My body wants to slow down, my head says you're good where you're at, and my heart can't run fast enough.

I thought about those three miles at Louisiana when I had to drag my leg to the half finish on what was supposed to be my first Marathon. I thought about how bad that day was for me. Then I got mad. I got mad at my body for stealing my Marathon that day, and I know I have to have this. I need this. I need to end this run season with a bang. I need to prove to myself that I am stronger than that day. That that day doesn't define me. I am booking it. I'm passing people. No one has passed me since before mile seven and It feels INCREDIBLE.

Mile Thirteen: 9:25

I am huffing and puffing. My feet are slapping the ground. I'm sure I look utterly ridiculous and I do not care. I am completely winded and this last tenth of a mile feels like it will break me. There's a hill right at the end. Cruel and unusual punishment anyone? I know it's going to be there but it doesn't make actually running it any easier. Right on the other side, there's the finish. Come on Leigh Ann you got this. My right Quad is screaming at me to let up. I'll tata you later cher, we have a race to finish!  I'm over the hill. I'm scanning the crowd for my people. There they are! What an incredible feeling. My heart is in my throat, and the high is setting in. I did it. Take that ya stupid knee, Winning!

I stop my ap after crossing the finish line: 13.12 miles: 2:08:22 Average 9:47 pace.

Sometimes you're the windshield and sometimes you're the bug. Finally, it was my turn to be the windshield.

Winded, sweaty, and cold. Where's my jacket? About that bathroom break....

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Zydeco Half Marathon Playlist

Music, if it weren't for great music, I'm 100% convinced I wouldn't be in as good of shape as I am now. A great song encourages me to give much more of myself. I often think about what people did in the walk man/disk man days: Real talk, I wouldn't have made it as a runner.

 If my ear buds are in that means no talkie all workie. I like music. I really like loud music. I'm that person with the loud music you can hear outside of the car. The volume music should be set at either in the house or in the car is my husband and I longest running argument. What can I say?! I like to JAM. I'd rather sing than talk. True story. That said, picking a select number of tunes for the half was pretty challenging for me. The following made the cut:

Hold On Colbie Callat
The Man Aloe Blacc
Marry Me Jason Deroulo
Miracle Matisyahu
All of Me (Tiestos Birthday Treatment Remix) John Legend
Drunk in Love (feat. Jay Z) Beyonce
Winner (feat. Justin Timberlake & T.I.) Jamie Foxx
Wild for the Night (feat. Skrillex & Birdy Nam Nam) A$AP Rocky
Classic MKTO
Chocolate The 1975
Cannonball Leah Michele
Can You Do This Aloe Blacc
Don't Hold Your Breath Nicole Scherzinger
Let's Go (feat. Ne-Yo) Calvin Harris
Lift Off (feat. Beyonce) Kanye West & JAY Z
Pumpin Blood NONONO
TKO Justin Timberlake
Kyoto (feat. Sirah) Skrillex
Ring the Alarm Byonce
Partition Beyonce
Timber (feat. Ke$ha) Pittbull
Take Me Home (feat. Bebe Rexha) Cash Cash
Talk Dirty (feat. 2 Chainz) Jason Derulo
Best Day of My Life American Authors
Wake Me Up Avicii
Fade Into Darkness (Vocal Radio Mix) Avicii

Best of luck to everyone running this weekend! Race weekend I really heart you....

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

More Running beeble babble, Typical Thursday

Lafayette, my home town, is hosting it's first Marathon and Half this coming Sunday. The entire running community is excited for this event. I can always tell when a big race is approaching, runners have been out in packs these past few weekends, Cajun Cup race T-Shirts flutter across intersections, and the camaraderie builds up towards race day. This past weekend, every runner I crossed waved and said Good morning! with a smile. I love this place I call home. I love seeing other's training activity fluttering across my Facebook feed and I can't help but wonder; Would I have noticed all this running stuff before I became I runner? I like to think so, but really I'm not so sure. Interests and priorities in my life have majorly shifted over the past few years. I find myself surrounded with people who are passionate about health, fitness, and all things running. Three years ago, I would have had nothing in common with those people. I thank my lucky stars every day that I am one of them. That I woke up and took charge of my life. Being fit feels freaking fabulous.

That's not to say I'm immune to the don't wants. I had them Wednesday. I had them bad. I've been beating myself up over that crazy heavy leg day I decided to throw in Monday. Not smart less than a week from a big race. Tisk Tisk! I'm still sore *Thursday Morning Still Sore*, and I just knew running was going to suck. I decided to pull out my old 30 minute tempo run from Jazz Half training. This routine used to be incredibly challenging for me, and I hadn't been able to work in speed training during marathon training. I was curious as to how it would feel after so much time. About 8 minutes into the run, I had forgotten my don't wants. Kee yaw it felt grand. I worked up to 7.0 hung around there for three minutes instead of two, started backing down to 6.5. Recovered at 6.5 until I hit 2.5 miles then increased each tenth of a mile until hitting 3 miles. Dropped back to 6.5 and recovered for one minute, then sprinted out the remaining time minute to hit 30 minutes. I had to make myself stop. Save it for race day! I can't help but think, If I can do this when my legs are sore, what can I do on fresh legs? 

9:10 average pace

Thursday morning, legs still sore, brought speed training round two. The pyramid run. I completed this run twice last week, each time it gets easier than the last. I definitely wouldn't call this routine easy though. Not by any stretch but it's getting easier. My heart rate struggles to recover after coming down from 8.0. I was able to recover completely at 6.5 staying there for 9 minutes instead of four then sprinting out the last minute.

8:56 average pace

I've had some great long runs over the last month. It's been a little over two months since the disaster that was my first marathon attempt, and I feel my run confidence has recovered. I've been able to get aggressive with speed training, and I feel amazing. However, I don't know whats going to happen Sunday, race day. Le sigh. I've been so focused on pace goals throughout the last year, that real talk it's sucked the fun out of the run. Sunday I have two goals:

1. Have FUN
2. Finish Strong

Whatever happens between the start and the finish line, well I'm sure it will make great blog material. I love a race recap *insert my favorite overused Instagram emoticon*

Tomorrow it's play list time. I can't help but feel a teensy, a lot a bit excited for this race.

Gym to door in under 45 minutes. I'd like to thank Optimun Nutrition's Platnium Pre Work Out, without which I would never get productivity into gear in the 4am hour, and Coffee post work out for getting me through the work day. Hi my name is Leigh Ann and I run on Caffeine. Slow clap for the win. 

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Race Week Prep: Zydeco Marathon

Hey Hey Hey! It's me! Bad blogger of the year- March edition! I'm going through a life is insane right now phase but things should even out soon enough. They always do cher. 

I'm running a half marathon this Sunday. WHOA! After the disaster that was my Louisiana Marathon attempt, I'm so happy just to be running. My knee hasn't bothered me not a teensy little bit since late February. I'm heading into the Zydeco half with all cylinders firing oh yeahs! While the rest of the country is complaining about the late winter weather, I am all kinds of happy. It was hot last Saturday and real talk, that is no fun for a race!

How does one prepare during the last week before a race? Oh hey Wednesday, how you doin!

Weekly Work Out Schedule:

RIPPED was canceled this week The horror. In luei of RIPPED I popped in leg day. Heavy leg day. I really pushed myself. More weight, more reps, more work. Booty work. My legs are still hurting today. Woops. You know it's bad when they start hurting before you leave the gym. The work out was Jamie Eason's LiveFit Trainer Day 38. After lifting, I threw in an incline walk/run routine for fun. Just 30 minutes. No big.

Can't. Walk. Ok that's dramatic but I can't run. Instead of running, I did 30 minutes of the stair master and bicep/tricep/ ab strength

The ab guilder, my new bestest friend

30 Minute Tempo Run *Fingers Crossed my quads don't come detached*
Back Strength

30 Minute Pyramid Run
Chest & Abs



Half Marathon

I have mixed emotions about long run season ending. I had hoped to accomplish so much more this run season. However, when I stop and think about all I was able to conquer, those life long running fears, in under two years, I'm truly amazed. I will miss the Saturday morning long runs, and the anticipation that leads up to a race. I'm incredibly fortunate to be able to run the inaugural Zydeco half Marathon, which I'm sure will be a 2014 highlight for me.

That said, I'm looking forward to giving my body some rest. I'm burnt out on running. I want to fully commit to a shift in goals. Building lean muscle mass while cutting fat. I should mention I'm already signed up for two races in April (5k &10k) but a 10k will be my distance max for a little while. I've got a few agenda items going on behind the scenes I'm excited to share in due time too. Exciting things are coming!

Work out and nutrition has been on point for a few weeks now and I feel a-maz-ing. Amazing. Eat lean, fat burning machine! 

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