Looking Back: Shamrock Half Training Cycle/Race

Looking back at this training cycle and the Shamrock Half Marathon, it’s hard not to analyze every single little bit of running slash running things that occurred.

There were a lot of good things, bad things, and…random things surrounding the past few months of my life.

To train, I used Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Plan [Novice 2]. It followed a twelve week training schedule with adequate rest that slowly added a mile to each week’s long run.

whatishouldhavedone1

whatididdo1Whoops. There’s a lot more rest days on there than are supposed to be!

*****

thegood1

  • I built up my mileage.

Pretty much every extra mile I ran during this training cycle was a new experience for me. This was my first real crack at distance running, and I had a lot to figure out. Moving forward with my mileage base makes me feel more confident that I can run farther than I ever thought I could.

  •  I got the basics down.

Now I know some of the little tidbits about running, like which gear to use and the difference between normal running discomfort and actual bad pain [like if a muscle is strained, etc].

  • Fuel. I understand the importance of fuel on – and off the trails.

guchompsDuring the Shamrock Half, I took 3 GU chomps around mile six or seven and 3 at about mile ten. Gels are an acquired taste that I’m still working on ;).

I get how important eating the right food is when you’re training, and how shitty you feel if you don’t.

  • I found the perfect shoes. 

lovebrooksAbout halfway through the training cycle, I realized that with longer mileage, I needed a bit more padding for my feet than I originally thought. I bought the Adrenaline GTS 13 from BROOKS and I am obsessed.

the bad1

  • Cross-training.

So, uhhhh if you look at the chart of “What I Should Have Done” above, you’ll see that every week had one cross training workout. Cross-training was virtually non-existent during my training for the Shamrock Half, except for the occasional yoga DVD. I don’t think I would understand how to work a spin bike anymore.

  • I’m slow.

longrun11miI like to run slowly. Or maybe I’m just convincing myself that I like to because I do run slowly. Anyway, I think I would like to get faster. Perhaps there shall be some speed work in my future.

  • Timing matters.

Timing as in time of year. Training in the winter kind of sucked. It was always too dark to run outside by myself, forcing me into a few too many treadmill runs. I think late spring or late fall might a good race season for next time.

  • Water.

I need a large-ish handheld water bottle stat. Long runs tend to be rough for me trying to grasp on to a teensy plastic water bottle. Maybe I’ll invest in one with an extra cool mesh storage pouch.

therandom1

  • The need to run at my own pace.

Yes, it’s good to run with buddies that run at different speeds than you from time to time – but not when you have a pace you need to keep in a race! Now I know what I’m capable of, and I need to start running selfishly (whether that’s faster or slower than others!)

  • My running form needs some work.

That heel strike is making me cringe.

What are some lessons that you’ve learned from a training cycle or race? Good, bad, or random?

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Pre Half Marathon Expo and Eats

We probably did more this weekend than I usually do in a month, so let me start at the beginning.

On Saturday morning, I woke up at 5:30am to head over to Mal and Rose’s apartment in Arlington.

They are both my BFFLs/college roomies from THREE YEARS ago even though it does not seem like that long ago! (I’m the one that always forces us to do a funny pic – don’t judge me).

We missed you, Allyson!

We missed you, Allyson!

We all wanted to leave early on Saturday just in case there was any traffic on the way to Virginia Beach. Luckily, there was zero traffic, and we zipped on down to the beach in no time.

Mal’s friend Jenna (who is a saint for letting us crash) let us stay at her house with her three-legged cat, Franco.

2013-03-16 16.48.25After we settled in, we headed over to Taste with the Richmond crew for lunch. It was a delish gourmet sandwich place that reminded us of Take It Away in C’ville.

taste1The rest of the afternoon was spent at the race expo. Thanks for posing for me, Rose!

conventioncenterIt was my first race expo, and it was pretty darn cool. There were tons of vendors with overwhelming amounts of running gear. It was running heaven for sure.

expo1I think everyone’s favorite thing at the expo was testing out The Stick.

sticking1I’m surprised we didn’t all walk out with one!

sticking3For our pre-race meal, we went to another one of Mal’s friends’ beach house for a potluck dinner, which I sneakily captured on film. It’s normal to constantly take pictures of food, right?

potluck1I tried to limit myself to only half the tray of crab dip, since supposedly you’re supposed to steer clear of dairy the night before a race.

potluck2I loaded up on pasta, garlic bread, and a little bit of salad. We were all fearing fiber that evening.

Pre-race potluck dinner = awesome.

potluck3potluck5And was even better because we got to go check out the beach!

beach1beach2All the runner girls for the weekend:

girlsatbeach

beach3I couldn’t let the night end without a funny one.

2013-03-16 19.28.36Thanks as always to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

That Run Was Ugly

The title says is all – that run was ‘effin ugly.

I might have been experiencing the last of my cold…

Or maybe it was because on Friday night I thought I was 21 again, and drank just a fewwww (think exponentially) too many [beers].

Perhaps it could have been the bar food I fueled with on Saturday night.

appetizers16 people, 9 appetizers. We did some damage.

americantapas1Needless to say, on Sunday morning – I was hurting.

Thank goodness the weather could not have been more perfect.

weather1Mistake number one: I wore running tights instead of shorts.

Mistake number two: I headed out with some margarita shot bloks in my sports bra.

twittershotbloksWhen I told Tuna this after the run, he was very confused. He thought I spilled my fuel down my sports bra.

No. I intentionally put them in there, Tuna.

Note to self: never do this again. I won’t go in to detail (you’re welcome) but shot bloks melt. And it’s not pretty.

Neither were my miles.

longrun12miThey were rough and thirsty.

But it finally gave me the confidence I need for Sunday.

13.1, here I come!

Slow and Steady

My back is officially 100% better! I took an extra day of rest last week, and even though I felt guilty then, I’m glad I did. I don’t even want to have to think about an injury for the next two weeks leading up to the half.

However, my whole fam seems to have given each other the same set of sniffles, so I have been kind of under the weather all weekend.

I decided to give my long run a go anyway, which turned out well!

longrun11mi2I didn’t even think about feeling sickly during the run because I was a little focused on the entirety of my body being quite confused at running a new distance.

Thanks for putting up with my strange desires to run longer distances, body.

I tried GU Chomps for the first time and loved them! They taste a heck of a whole lot better than GU gel and seemed to give me a bit more energy than the sports jelly beans.

guchompsI’m pretty sure I’ve found my race fuel! However, before the race I must figure out how to successfully breathe through my nose while I literally chomp on each of these like a freakin’ cow. They’re a little chewy.

longrun11miSlow and steady wins finishes the race! (That’s what I keep telling myself….)

Before I knew it, I entered new trail territory and stumbled on a pleasant surprise.

2013-03-02 18.37.08Just another day of runnin’ in the nation’s capital.

P.S. It’s Tuna’s birthday today! If you wish him a happy birthday, I’ll make sure to let him know. 😉

happybirthdaytunaHow was your long run this weekend?

 

 

Friday’s Five

One of my favorite blogs, Carrie Bradshaw Lied, does a Friday feature called “Friday’s Five,” that shows pretty/funny/inspiring things from the past week or the week ahead.

I look forward to her hip Friday posts so much that I’m going to start doing my own Friday’s Five! #copycat

1.  Inspiration for Saturday’s long run.

2. Finding the “lost” BIC Bands in the pocket of your workout jacket.

13.1

3.  This hilarious gif of Jack Nicholson being just as creepy as usual.

4. Bubble baths and starting a new book club read.

The bubble bath did help my back a little bit! I took an extra rest day yesterday in hopes it would magically heal my teensy muscle strain.

5. It is finally March…

Which means 17 days until the Shamrock Half. The countdown has officially begun.

What are your Friday’s Five? 

New Running Gear and 18 mph Wind

If you follow me on twitter, you’ll know that I went on a running store shopping spree this weekend.

runningstoretweet1I tried to keep my purchases to a minimum, but it was hard to once I kept spotting more and more running related things that I needed. 

My plan was to go to Pacers for some new shoes. I still love my minimalist shoes, but as I get into longer distances, they just weren’t cutting it [for me]. I am continuing to explore the barefoot running trend, but I’m starting to realize that they might be for super serious runners that weigh forty-five pounds.

I don’t weigh forty-five pounds, so my left arch was not too happy.

But I’ll definitely wear them for shorter workouts, and for races like 5K’s and 10Ks.

I did buy some shoes, but I ended up getting a little sidetracked first. Whoops.

gearcollageFuel galore, body glide, and sports laundry detergent.

I won’t elaborate on the body glide – but I am really starting to need it! I haven’t noticed a difference yet, but hopefully I will as I continue to use it.

And thank goodness I stumbled upon this detergent, as my 3 sets of running fashion outfits are growing quite janky. I feared I would have to invest in an entirely new running wardrobe due to people switching from the treadmills next to me because of stank, but I’m crossing my fingers that this will solve that problem.

Thanks for the fuel advice, guys! I took you up on all of your suggestions.

fuel2 I am particularly excited to try the margarita shot bloks.

And finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…..

brooksshoesThe most beautiful, gorgeous shoes I’ve ever seen.

They are Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13 and are amazing so far. I’ll do a review on them once I break them in more.

lovebrooksWith all of my cool new gear, I was determined to finish my long run on Sunday, despite my slow-ass-self almost freezing to death.

LongRun10milesSee that 18mph wind? Not my kind of fun.

What shoes do you run in? Do you have a favorite?

Long Run Nerves

I don’t know what it is, but for some reason, I get nervous before my long runs.

The nervousness sets in around mid-week, usually after I finish my third (or….second….) training run of the week and the only run I have left is my long run.

It’s not that I mind long runs once I’m actually doing them (well, maybe the last 3 miles of them) but I just build them up in my head to be this huge big deal. Aka: I psych myself out.

When I laced my shoes up before my long run this weekend, I felt like I was gearing up for battle.

Please take a pic of me before my scary long run, Tuna!

Take a pic of me before my scary long run, Tuna!

What am I scared of?

I’m scared of walking. I’m scared of failing and not being able to finish the run. If I really think about it, I have to ask myself – why am I so scared? What is the worst that will happen?

I’ll have to walk. Or I won’t be able to finish a run. Big deal. That doesn’t make me a terrible person or a failure. But that hasn’t even happened yet. The thought of stopping doesn’t even cross my mind during the run.

It must be all in my head, man.

I was glad I finished this weekend’s run strong (unlike 2 weeks ago) and felt really good!

summary9miles

Please ignore the random ass 0.00 distances. Still gettin' used to my Garmin!

Please ignore the random ass 0.00 distances. Still gettin’ used to my Garmin!

I tried using some gel fuel for the first time at mile 6, and it really helped.

2013-02-09 16.08.37I definitely felt stronger and less fatigued. It tasted pretty damn disgusting though. I’m going to try a few different flavors (I tried strawberry) before I completely rule out gel. I might be a shotbloks girl.

Only three more long runs to complete before the Shamrock Half! Eek!

Do you get pre-long run jitters?

Please tell me if you have any tricks or tips to prevent dreading your long runs!

Getting Location

I realized yesterday that the Shamrock Half Marathon is in less than two months!

That is kind of terrifying.

I did feel more like a real runner this past weekend though because I finally got to use my brand-new Garmin Forerunner 10 that my dad got for me for Christmas!

garmin1It is pretty cool that I will be able to show you sweet charts and stats from my runs now – though I may not want to because they are embarrassingly slow. But I did read in Runner’s World that the first few years of distance running are about building your mileage, not freaking out about your time.

Of course I messed up the stats from my first Garmin run. I accidentally pressed “save run” in the middle of it, so the run was split into two separate stats!

The lap button also seems to hate me because it said I did 13 laps and I only ran 6 miles. Whoops. I’ll have to figure that out this weekend

It is interesting that I am not at all concerned with my times with the Garmin, but waaay more concerned about my pace (and distance, of course).

The other very exciting part of my run on Sunday was the new trail I ran on! I finally ventured over to the very flat, very awesome trail leading into D.C. near Tuna’s house.

It had such cool scenery – like this ancient brick tunnel.

bridgeonrun

I’m definitely going to start running on this trail more often. Can spring please come asap so it won’t get dark at 5pm and we can all run on the trails outside all night long?

I refueled this weekend with Tuna’s cheesy chicken. He had the genius idea to shove a bunch of cheddar cheese inside of it.

cheesechickenI may start shoving cheddar cheese inside all of my food.

Do you use a Garmin?

Are there any good trails to run on near you?

My First Giveaway!

This is a big day in Chicken Nugget Girl land because this is my 100th post! That seems like a lot of posts of incessant ramblings. It seems like just yesterday I was gearing up for the Tough Mudder, and now I’m signed up to run my first half marathon!

So why do a giveaway? Because I can!

All the real bloggers have sweet giveaway after giveaway. I’m not cool enough to have a “real” giveaway yet, but I want to THANK YOU for reading!

That’s the awesome thing about blogging – you can write whatever you feel and do whatever you want with your tiny space on the internet. So however tiny it may be, I want to give back to you for taking the time to visit my internet space.

You are so important to me because you inspire me to run further and faster. You are my motivation to find new healthy recipes to make and explore a healthier lifestyle.

You’ve read about my obsession with BIC Bands, so I am giving one lucky reader (I’ve always wanted to say that) their very own BIC Band.

Before after 13.1

To enter:

  • Leave me a comment below telling me which BIC Band you would like to have from the BIC Bands website!
  • For an extra entry, follow @chickennug_girl on twitter and leave me a comment telling me that you did.

Giveaway ends on Wednesday, January 2nd at 11:59 pm. Winner will be chosen on Thursday, January 3rd.

This giveaway is only available for U.S. readers. The winning BIC Band will be shipped to U.S. addresses only. 

This giveaway is not sponsored by BIC Bands – it’s sponsored by ME! I was not compensated for this giveaway.

I Have Lots of Exciting Things to Tell You

1. Christmas was awesome.

I spent Christmastime surrounded by family and friends and it was perfect!

It also helped that Santa was overly generous to me – he must be excited that I started running this year or something. I almost felt a little guilty that I got so many sweet goodies. I’m sure they’ll all pop up on CNG at some point, but I’ll highlight a few of my favs because I am so excited to use them that I’m debating squeezing in runs this week at an ungodly hour.

So without further ado, some of my amazing gifts:

    • Foam Roller

And not just any foam roller, but a fancy foam roller from Trigger Point. Thanks, Mom!

I was so eager to start foam rolling that I immediately did on the floor in front of everyone on Christmas morning. Until a little birdie stole it from me!

bfoamroll

I was completely blown away that my dad got me the Garmin Forerunner! I am dying to use it. Saturday long run, here I come. Slash I may just wear it at all times because I am in love.

For once I won’t have to study satellite images of the specific arrangement of foliage on mapmyrun.com to determine how far I need to run/ran.

2. I am officially signed up to race a new distance.

13.1When my friend Mal told me that she was going to run the Anthem Half Marathon in March and asked me if I wanted to run too, I didn’t hesitate to register!

Eeek!

I am slightly terrified but also really excited.

The Anthem Half is on the same day/course of the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach. You can see the beach from the course and it’s supposed to be really flat, which is absolutely necessary. I don’t want a repeat of the Tough Mudder where I sucked it up running-wise on the rolling hills of Crumland Farms.

The Shamrock Marathon weekend is so legit that there is even a race expo! I’m finally going to get to see all the cool booths and gear that real running bloggers talk about.

I never thought sprinter me would even want to run a half marathon – ever. But I do! I’m pumped to have a new race and new distance to train for that will really challenge me.

Did you get or give any cool running gear this Holiday season?

Tell me what race/event you’re signed up for next!