Archive of ‘Bellingham Bay Marathon’ category

Bellingham Bay Marathon Training: Week 1 – I’m Back!

The theme of my Bellingham Bay Marathon training is “I’m Back!” I’m Back has so many meanings during this first week:

  • I’m back at Refine, my favorite workout class in the world, after a 3+ month break thanks to a neck injury
  • I’m back to speedwork, something I’d been scared to attempt after slowly returning to running following said neck injury
  • I’m back to marathon training – finally! – after being forced to switch my original plans and  instead run a marathon later in the year

It feels really, really good to have a plan and a focus. Coach Abby created a killer plan that is so totally different from what I received from my last coach, it’s almost hard to believe. There is a much wider variety of runs, every single run has a purpose, and runs dedicated to speed have a goal. As nice as it was to run by feel the last time, I am determined to run a faster, stronger marathon this time around and for me, that means tangible goals to work for.

I’m aiming to go to one Refine class a week while I get used to training and getting back into strength work. I took it very carefully last week – I went to Brynn’s class and will only go to her for the next few weeks. She founded Refine, and is so knowledgable and smart, so I trust her to stop me from doing an exercise I shouldn’t or if I’m doing one I should but seem off. She helped me feel very comfortable at my first class back, which I was terrified for, and knows my strengths and weaknesses well. I kept it easy and didn’t pick up a kettlebell at all, but still got an amazing workout.

Week 1: May 19 – May 25

  • Monday – Refine
  • Tuesday – 2 mi warm up, 6×200, 1 mile cool down (4.14 mi)
  • Wednesday – Rest
  • Thursday – 1 mi up, 20 min On/Off, 1 mi down (6.15 mi)
  • Friday – Plyos
  • Saturday – 8 mi
  • Sunday – Easy hike with pup and husband (just under 4 miles)

Total (running) miles: 18.29


family hike

Summary of Week 1 running:

The first run: 6×200, was tough but good. The biggest takeaway from this run was learning the nuances of my new watch, the Garmin FR 220. During my first 200 my watch beeped and I stopped, thinking the interval was over. Really, it was beeping to tell me I was off pace and needed to speed up (I set it to give me these alerts). When an interval ends, the beep sounds different. Obviously I had to actually use this function to learn this, and now I know.

Another thing I know now – if I choose to set my desired pace range (and I might not for future runs for awhile), make the range REALLY big to avoid the watch constantly beeping and flashing my current pace. I need to focus on effort and not be distracted by my watch telling me every second that I am too slow. That was really annoying.

The second run: 20 min on/off also very tough, not helped by the fact that there was 94% humidity that day! Good practice for the summer though. I was happy with my on pace (8:36) especially considering the weather, though I was not happy with how brutally miserable I felt the entire time!

Girl and dog on hike at the Palisades

The third run: 8 miles. My first “long run” of training! I put that in quotes because in a few weeks, 8 miles will feel like a short run and I really look forward to that time. This run, however, felt long. Another humid day with some drizzles along the run, I focused on enjoying this one. After two challenging running workouts, my first Refine class back earlier that week and killer plyometrics the day before, I embraced this more relaxing run. The only goal was to get the miles in, and I ran a route that I love. I got to run past all my favorite cool-looking apartment buildings on the waterfront and into Liberty State Park. After two miles in the park I turned around and headed back the way I came. Since I kept it easy for the first 7 miles, I decided to pick it up for the last mile, running that one more than a minute faster than the miles before it. I ended the run feeling great about my first week of training!

And now I’m in the middle of my second week. I took advantage of the empty roads yesterday and drove to a track for my track workout – but that’s a story for next week’s recap, along with a little dietary change I’ll be making for the rest of training.

I’m so happy to have a challenging plan again. I spend so much time looking over my workouts for the next few weeks, thinking about how they might go, getting excited for different types of running workouts than I’ve done before. After my neck injury and being out of commission for so many months, I’m so excited to be training once again!

Do you miss having a training plan during the times you don’t?

Reminder: I am also running the NYC Marathon for the American Cancer Society’s Team DetermiNation in memory of my Aunt Dale, who died almost two years ago from kidney cancer. I will wear her name on my team shirt as I run 26.2 miles through the boroughs of my home city. I appreciate ANY donation to help me reach my goal – even $5. Thank you! http://main.acsevents.org/goto/dorigray 

 

How I Chose My Next Fall Marathon

I’m sadly not running the Eugene Marathon this year.

This is tough. I was so excited about it, I signed up when the price was low, I couldn’t wait to train in the spring when I’m all fast and race in the Pacific Northwest summer during a celebration of running in Tracktown USA. I was going to stay in an adorable rented house with my family (including baby nephew) and it was going to be an amazing weekend.

Of course, things often don’t work out as planned and with my neck injury coming in January, I’m just not ready to start training for a July marathon.

Naturally my thoughts went to a fall marathon. I started researching every fall race on the east coast, and finding fault with them all. Wineglass Marathon, the frontrunner because wine, just didn’t excite me. (And Ellen didn’t love it/didn’t think I’d love it and I trust her opinion). Every mid-late November race was out (which includes my beloved Richmond and Philly) because I didn’t enjoy the last few weeks of cold weather training last year. A few races that sounded interesting (Newport RISteamtown and Chicago) were the same day as Ashley Runningbun‘s wedding, so those were out.

Dori PDX marathon

This is what I look like when I see my family during a marathon

I liked that Lehigh Valley was in early September but I wanted a little more time to heal my neck and get back into running shape. Cape Cod seemed too hilly for a PR attempt. My friend Miranda loved Baystate and it’s near my husband’s parents’ house, but the course is two loops and I just wasn’t feeling it. No one I know liked Hartford much.  I didn’t want to deal with logistics, waiting for a long time in the cold and the hills of NYCMBaltimore was hilly. Marine Corps was too big. I wanted smaller but not too small. I want crowd support without hoopla.

After being frustrated with not loving any of my east coast options, I opened the Marathon Guide list of races and just started reading through each one, thinking maybe I’d find something in the Seattle area where my family lives. I came across two races in Washington state – Bellingham Bay Marathon and Leavenworth Oktoberfest Marathon. I researched both and really, Bellingham Bay seemed perfect.

A gorgeous course that runs along the water, a time of year the weather is usually ideal, not too hilly especially considering the location, an inexpensive price tag (for the next few days, more on that in a minute) and did I mention just how gorgeous it is? I mean, look at the course map! Apparently it is unofficially called “the most beautiful marathon in the Pacific Northwest.”

I also really liked the date – September 28. No cold weather training and also the good chance for a nice race day. I looked up flight prices and they were totally doable (unlike Eugene flights, which was driving me crazy).  And really, I just felt excited about this race. I didn’t feel this way about any of the east coast races I looked up. I was tempted to register on the spot. Bellingham Bay Marathon felt right.

I emailed my brother and sister in law to see if they were free for a trip to Bellingham that weekend and they were up for it. I asked on Twitter if anyone’s run this race, and every response I received was overwhelmingly positive. I was convinced!

Bellingham Bay Marathon

Photo: http://www.bellinghambaymarathon.org/%5B/caption%5D

And then I started to really think about whether this was a good decision. I’m first recovering from injury, but I’m getting better each week. This morning I ran 3 miles without pain. I’m getting there. Plus, I figured that even if I can’t run this race for whatever reason, I’d still go to Seattle and see my nephew (who will be 21 months at that time) which I’d need to do anyway!

Also, the price of the race was about to go up on April 1. Tempting! Pressure!

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="360"]Dori with Harrison nephew Showing Harrison my bling in PDX

I consulted with Coach Abby and she advised me to wait, and only register if I can run 8 miles pain-free and comfortably by the end of May. That made sense – better to wait and pay more than register now to save money and then not be able to run. Although I really hated the idea of paying more later on . . .

When I went to the registration page and began the process (you see where this is going), it gave me the option for buying race insurance. RACE INSURANCE. For $7 (less than the cost of the price increase April 1) I could get a full refund if I can’t run the race.

That was the sign I needed. I had nothing to lose by registering. So I signed up.

And that, my friends, is how I chose my next fall marathon. My fourth marathon. Another marathon where my nephew Harrison will cheer for his Aunt Dori. Another marathon combined with a family visit. And if all goes well with my healing, my PR attempt.

For now, it’s back to resting my neck, doing all my PT exercises (some for neck, some for hip which my physical therapist thinks is contributing to my neck), doing my leg and hip strengthening from Coach Abby and (semi) patiently waiting to get back to Refine and run more miles.

But all of this is so much sweeter now that I have another training season and a great goal race to look forward to.

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