MCM Training is Underway!

I can’t believe the Marine Corps Marathon is going to be here in less than 100 days. 98 to be exact! I’m still following the run plan from my coach, so not too much has changed since I was already working to build toward marathon training, but now I start to really pay attention to how things are going and stress about how it’s going to impact my race.

I’ve been running a bit slow lately and I’m trying to tell myself not to freak out yet since it’s most likely because of the heat. I ran home Tuesday night in 99-degree weather, hit the track Thursday night when it was still 102 with the heat index and then overslept Saturday forcing my long run to be in midday 100+ degree heat again.

I really, really hate the cold, so I always try not to complain about the heat, but this heat wave sure is draining. How do you beat the heat and exercise safely in it??

I make sure I’m hydrating all day long – not just right before or during my run. I alternate between plain water and Nuun electrolyte tabs and absolutely love Nuun as a recovery drink during a lazy afternoon on long run days.

NuunTriBerry

I wear light-weight, light-colored, moisture-wicking clothing as much as possible. For yesterday’s long run I sported my mio mesh tank from Oiselle, which is perfect for this kind of weather along with the Oiselle strappy sports bra and bum wrap skirt – my all-time favorite running skirt.

OiselleGear

I also carry hydration for any distance run. I used to HATE carrying water, but years of living in D.C. has taught me that it’s necessary. For short to medium runs I’ve been bringing a handheld bottle I have from Nathan. It fits perfectly in my hand, but I always feel like it throws my running off a little when I carry it. On my 9-mile run home from work Tuesday I stopped by a water fountain to refill my bottle around mile 7.5 before the final all uphill charge home. I didn’t let myself look at my watch along the run since I didn’t want to freak out at the slow pace and push too hard in the heat, but I thought I was doing pretty well. A very pregnant lady carrying another small child was walking up to the water fountain at the same time as me so I stopped to let her go first. She took one look and said, “you look like you need this a lot more than me!” It was much appreciated, but a bit of an ego bruiser!

For long runs I go with my Nathan hydration vest. This is my favorite water pack and I find it way more comfortable than a fuel belt. It’s incredibly light for the amount of water it can hold and I’ve even worn it during my last couple marathons. It usually lasts me the entire 26.2, but this weekend’s long run was a different story. I actually had to refill it not once, but twice! I also splashed water on my head, neck and face during these pit stops. I might’ve looked a bit strange to onlookers passing by, but hey, whatever it takes!

LongRunVestOn

What are your tricks? Do you keep running in the heat or take it to the treadmill?

Race Recap: Smoking…

Tuesday night I ran the 2013 Women’s Distance Festival 5k. It was one of the DC Road Runners 2013 Bunion Derby series. It was actually one of two races that night. The race I did was a field of all women and we were followed 15 minutes later by a field of all men running the Run After the Women 5k.

The race took place in Bluemont Park starting near the South Pavilion. The out and back course seemed tailor-made for a PR and a negative split with what felt like a few gentle hills on the way out and slight downhills coming back. Unfortunately, the title of this blog does not describe my pace for the day. Instead it was smoking hot out – well above 90 degrees still at the 7 p.m. start time.

I love warmer weather and will take it over the cold any day, so I hate admitting that the heat slows me down, but this definitely felt like the case Tuesday night. I was drinking water and fruit punch Nuun electrolyte tabs all day so I was really well hydrated or it could have been a lot worse. Still I had an A goal of breaking my 21:25 PR and a B goal of breaking at least 22 minutes, but ended up crossing the line in 23:03. I realized just before the start that I’d forgotten my inhaler and immediately got upset with myself over that. I need to up my mental game when it comes to those kind of things (i.e. my Garmin dying before the start of the Nike Women’s Half), so I don’t let them effect my race.

At the start line.

At the start line.

We started off on a shaded path through the park and turned onto the W&OD trail where the sun was beating down into my eyes until the turnaround. I wish I’d worn sunglasses in addition to my running cap, but that was at least somewhat helpful. My legs felt strong, but my breathing was definitely harder than it should be for the pace I was running. I think it was part still getting my fitness level to where I want it to be, but also a bit due to the heat as well. I finished mile 1 in a (slow for a 5k) 7:15 pace, which wasn’t too bad, but then slowed down drastically on mile 2 – 7:48 – before picking it back up a little for a 7:25 third mile.

Despite the heat it was a really fun race. It looks like another one in their Bunion Derby series is on the same course in couple weeks, so I might give it another shot! I love the smaller races – and being a DC Road Runners club member, this was completely free for me. Can’t beat that! My usual 5k support crew of 1 (Ian) doubled for this race as a college buddy of his was in town and agreed to come along, so it was fun to have them cheering for me as I ran to the finish line.

Have to love those attractive race pics {insert sarcasm}…

dcrr5kfinish2

Courtesy of the DC Road Runners Facebook page

Another positive takeaway was my new shoes felt great. I picked the Newton MV2s up last Friday and other than a slower run over the weekend this was my first big test run with the super light, zero heel-to-toe drop shoes. I really liked how they felt and will keep using them for my shorter races and speed workouts! Also, despite coming in slower than I hoped, I still finished 13th out of 87 women and 6th in my age group! All in all, this was a great way to spend a Tuesday night…especially since it was followed up with a trip to Ray’s Hellburger!