Thursday, March 23, 2017

Marathon Brain

To say I have a lot on my plate right now would be an understatement. I'm training for a marathon, working two jobs, I'm in a wedding and I'm super excited for my birthday in three months. With everything going on, my brain is just everywhere. I have heard a lot about "baby brain" from my mommy friends, but guys, I'm convinced there is something called "marathon brain".

In my opinion - marathon brain would be described in the following way. 

"The process in which your brain turns to mush while marathon training. Everyday common knowledge has been replaced with long run distances, race paces and fueling strategies."

Let me explain. In general life, I'm pretty much a scatter brain. Hey I only speak the truth. My brain can't focus on something for a super long time. So, let's now throw in marathon training. Not only am I forced to think about things in my everyday life, now throw in the mental capacity to train for a marathon.

Here's an example. I was talking to someone at work the other day and completely forgot her name. I see her sometimes more than my husband and could not remember. On the other hand, I can tell you what my workouts are for this week with no problem.

How about this one. I scheduled this post for the wrong day! Usually I post on Wednesdays, guess what - it's not Wednesday. I actually scheduled it for next Thursday. Not Wednesday. Not even the same week. Let's also add losing articles of clothing. Yep. That has happened twice.

It always happens! I repeatedly apologize to people for asking the same question ten times, leaving things places or just flat out forgetting. This time around, I was ready. I bought a big planner that not only has daily blocks, but space to write notes each week too. It has actually helped a lot, but I still forget some things. I also downloaded some puzzle games on my phone to help keep my brain busy.

If you are experiencing marathon brain, just know you are not alone! Your brain will come back. It might take some time. You might feel frustrated. Just know when you cross the finish line it will all be worth it!

Do you suffer from marathon brain? I want to hear some of your moment.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tunes Tuesday - 3.21

Welcome to the Tunes Tuesday link up! I co-host this link up with Kim from KookyRunner and Janelle from Run With No Regrets. If you are new to the link up, all of the information you need to know can be found here. We hope you will join us!

The third Tuesday of the month brings some new pump up music. I am currently digging Ellie Goulding. Her music is upbeat and different. It has really been a great addition to my running playlist.
For this weeks Tunes Tuesday I am sharing "Lights" and "I Need Your Love".

I hope my pump up jams will help get your workout moving! Don't forget to add your Tunes Tuesday link up below! I can't wait to see what you guys are enjoying!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Pittsburgh Marathon Training - Week Two

This week was strange. There was the potential for weather and I never felt like there were enough hours in the week. This is marathon training folks. It is all about adjusting and doing what you can when you can.

Monday was the usual, work all day and don't work out at all. Something that did come out of the day is the announcement of the first We Run Social meet up in Pittsburgh!!

That's right local friends, join myself, Ciara and Jessie Saturday morning for some laughs and selfies! We have to show those west coast peeps how we roll here in the burgh! We hope to see you all there!

Tuesday was suppose to be the weather. It was really windy and the snow started kinda later in the day. Hubs has a work trip so we needed to do some running around. It was a really long day with zero exercise.

Wednesday we actually did have some snow so I took to the treadmill for the first time this week. I did a progression run for four miles. I have been trying to not wear my watch on the treadmill and just go by the paces on there. It helps me not have to focus as much.

Thursday was the only day I could do my long run. It ended up being on the treadmill. I was in the freaking zone for this run! I posted on twitter every so often, watched some old wrestling and just focused on taking it easy. I did my 15 miles in 2:18 and felt really good up until about mile 14.3. My hips were not happy with me when I was done, but I didn't feel as bad as the last time I ran 15 miles. Total win.

Friday my hip still really hurt. I'm glad I could rest. I got stretched out a little bit and took it easy. I also got my fun new shirt in the mail from Sparkle Athletic. Seriously, how cute!?

Saturday morning I woke up and headed to the treadmill. I didn't have a ton of time since I had to work. I wanted to get eight miles in but my hip was still not feeling it. Plus my mind was everywhere but there. I ended up with five miles and literally could not run another step. I jumped off that treadmill and moved along with my day.

Sunday after work I went back out to run these eight miles I STILL haven't done. I made it two miles and stopped. It never felt good. I was tight, creaky and just not there. I have the 30k on Saturday and would rather focus on recovering strong for the long run.

Weekly Total: 26 miles.
March Total: 52.2 miles.
2017 Total: 299 miles.

Am I happy with this week, overall yes. I was very happy with my long run and keeping my pace slow on my easy days. I need to mentally get back in the zone of marathon training, and I really think this 30k will help on Saturday. This transition to longer distances is something I knew would be tough, but I will get there!

Don't forget, if you are interested in running the Pittsburgh half or full marathon in May, use promo code RUBEL17 for $10 off registration!

Remember Pittsburgh running bloggers, add your weekly recap post to the link up below!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

PowerBar Clean Start to NYC and GIVEAWAY

Even though I have never entered a race lottery, I always get super anxious on drawing days for races. So many people are on social media just begging for their credit cards to be charged. Sadly, not everyone can get in and then the scramble begins. Over 80,000 people signed up for the TCS NYC Marathon lottery, and only 20,000 got picked.

But what if there was another way?

For those who had their hearts set on running the TCS NYC Marathon in 2017, PowerBar wants to give you a second chance to run one of the most sought after marathons in the world!

PowerBar believes everyone deserves a Clean Start so they are offering entry in to the TCS NYC Marathon to 17 deserving runners! Now through April 12, 2017 you can visit PowerBar Clean Start and share why you deserve a clean start at the TCS NYC Marathon. Maybe your goal race was cancelled, or you got injured weeks before your big marathon. Heck, maybe you fell out of love with running and came back. All stories are welcomed!

Winners will receive a bib, training tips from PowerBar athletes, PowerBar gear and and products leading up to the race!

All of this is because of the launch of the new PowerBar Clean Whey product line. PowerBar sent me a bunch of the Clean Whey protein bars and I have to admit, I really like them! I have never been one for protein bars, but these are very tasty. Plus, I feel better knowing there is 20 grams of protein and very little sugar. The cookies and cream bar in my favorite!

Since PowerBar sent me a few extras of these Clean Whey protein bars, I decided I would share the love! I am giving away four PowerBar Clean Why protein bars! All you have to do is enter the giveaway below! It runs from today (March 16, 2017) until Sunday (March 19, 2017) at 11:59pm eastern time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was provided product by PowerBar for this post but all opinions are my own. I am responsible for sending out the giveaway prize. Winner will have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is announced.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

2017 Rock 'n' Roll DC Half Marathon Recap

I'm going to start this recap with how we got here. After Princess I knew I had more to give. I wanted to give a fast half marathon another shot. Lucky for me I have been registered for Rock 'n' Roll DC for months. Plus, I have ran this race twice before. I know the course and I love it. This could work!

2016 RnR DC finish line

Then the weather happened. It was going to be cold. Now, normally this wouldn't be *as bad* but since we had a relatively mild winter, I haven't ran in the cold in over a month. With marathon training just starting, and the race not too far away, I knew I couldn't risk getting hurt. Luckily, I was going to DC with Kelsey and I asked her if we could run together. Thankfully she said yes.

Saturday morning we woke up, layered up and headed to the expo. I had found a coat I was going to donate in my basement, so it made the trip. Kelsey had packed a blanket for our cheer section (Lauren and Joe) to have waiting for us, along with my winter coat. The sun was out, which was awesome, but the wind was cold. We were cold. I was so happy I made this decision.

Kelsey and I getting ready

The coolest start line ever.
I told Kelsey she could set the pace. I would maintain it. Above all, this was her race and I am here for support. Rock 'n' Roll did an awesome job with this years race. Because of the metro, the marathon started an hour and a half before us. It just didn't feel as crowded and they sent us off quickly. We started in corral 4 and I don't think we waited five minutes.


Almost instantly we saw our cheer squad. We didn't expect to see them until about mile 4-5ish. This is the first year I have done this race in the sun. It was nice to actually SEE what was around me. I love Washington DC.

The only course difference this year was not crossing one of the bridges in the first 5k. We were very happy with the winds that it was cut out. I had to take a potty stop right before mile three. Nothing crazy, just had to pee due to being cold (yay!). I also still can't feel my toes. I told Kelsey to run ahead and I would catch up. Well, as I was trying to catch up I got stuck in the 2:00 pace group. It was a MASSIVE group! I told Kelsey that after seeing that many people trying to break 2-hours makes me feel like I take running a sub-2 for granted. It is such a huge accomplishment, and I need to keep that in the back of my mind.

5k split: 34:45

So we are moving along. The sun feels super good but as soon as we get to an open area, we get hit with the wind and it is cold. We both took our gels at mile 5. Mine was frozen and Kelsey's did not go well. She took water from a volunteer who balanced the cup on his head. We were really just enjoying the views around us.

Since we have both run this race before, we know about mile six. It is not only an almost 200ft gain, but it is the Wear Blue To Remember mile. The first part is a bunch of signs with pictures of fallen solders. We saw someone next to one of the signs and it made me remember the first year I ran this race. (No one warned me about this mile and in a downpour I saw a woman next to one of the pictures taken a second. It was too much for me to handle.) I did good this year though and did not cry. Then, all of the volunteers are lining the entire hill with American Flags cheering us on. Kelsey was having a rough time with the hill, plus there were A LOT of people at this point. Kelsey walks faster than I do so I jogged. This is the first year I not only ran up the entire hill, but did not cry. WIN!

10k split: 1:10

Alright, 10k down and now the fun begins! I like to call this course "Business in the front and party in the back". The crowds start to build as soon as you get to the top of the hill and they don't stop. People cheering, tons of dogs and all the fun along the way! 

At one point Kelsey found people with champagne and whiskey. The bubbles felt amazing! We then found some beer. While it was really good beer, it was a lot of beer and we couldn't finish it. I felt bad. The course has a lot of rolling hills at this point and I'm trying to distract Kelsey. She is doing an awesome job but I'm sensing some sort of meltdown coming. 

10 mile split: 1:53

At the 10 mile mark I turned to Kelsey and I told her how awesome she was doing. She was having some hip discomfort and I tried everything to keep her moving forward. I had grabbed another beer at this point so I didn't have to take another frozen gel. We got to chatting about how the marathoners must feel. If they were cold or really happy they got to start early. We also started noticing more tents around. It was....interesting. 

I remembered Courtney saying she would be at mile 11.5 with the other Oiselle girls. Fun fact, this is the third year I have seen Courtney at this exact point, and we have never seen each other outside of it! Anyway, I saw all of those lovely ladies and gave Courtney a huge hug. We were almost done!!

I remember seeing a sign for RFK Stadium. Come on Kelsey, we are almost there! She has the intervals set, and I only looked at my watch at the 10k mark. I have no idea what time we are looking at. As we made the final uphill to the finish line I hear our cheer squad loud and clear. I see marathoners finishing and I'm incredibly moved. These are sub-4 marathoners, which is my last running goal I need to hit. One day I will be one of them. Plus they did it in this cold!

Once I could actually see the finish line I told Kelsey we had to go it was almost done. We moved and finished! 

Thank you Elle for catching this!!!

I looked at my watch and yelled, "2:29!!! Kelsey 2:29!" Which Kelsey proceeded to tell me this is the first time she broke 2:30 in almost four years.

So, was it the race I expected for my 22nd half marathon. Nope, but it was the race Kelsey needed and I am so glad I could help. Sometimes our purpose is to help others achieve their goals more than our own. I'll break 1:50 again someday, I'm sure of it. For now, I'm moving forward with marathon training and can't wait to get back and run DC again next year!


Disclaimer: I am on the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Rock 'n' Blog team but I did purchase registration for this race. All opinions are my own.