Special Guest Column…Elizabeth Koch Talks Tackling the Full Marathon
Hey CFE family! You guys are looking so good on FB these days. I am so proud of how far CFE has come at CFS and how it has impacted you guys as both endurance and CF athletes. A few weeks ago, Karen Harris came to visit me in SoCal and we both ran in the Rock and Roll Marathon (I’m still waiting for the rest of you clowns to visit!). Your fearless leader and rock star coach, Jen C, asked me to share a few words of wisdom post-marathon. So here is a little background into my training and goals for the R&R, and some things I learned. My hope is to encourage some of you to take that step into running a half or full marathon and take some of the fear out of it.
When Karen told me she was planning to come visit, we were about a month out from the race. I had no intentions of running the R&R, but if she were going to come all this way to run–I wasn’t going to just stand at the start line and hold her sweatshirt for her… I had to run, too! And, if I was going to pay the money and get up that early, then I might as well just run the freakin’ full marathon! Well, somewhere in my decision to run the marathon and planning Karen’s trip out here, I got a wild hair up my butt to see if I could try to qualify for the Boston Marathon. The R&R would be my 3rd marathon ever and my first in almost five years. My previous marathon PR time was 3:58. To qualify for Boston I needed to run a 3:35.… which is a blazing 8:12/mile pace. Every race calculator I went to online said I could do it based on my past racing times, but I was not so confident. Oh, and minor details–I had a month to “train”. This right here is the beauty of CF and CFE training. My month-long training plan consisted of a handful of SI and LI workouts, two 10-mile tempo runs and a 15-miler (because Jen C told me to!). I most definitely could have benefited from more time to train but whatever, right! So here are some of the things I learned during my recent race that I really wanted to share with you guys:
1. “The Wall” does not exist! The infamous “wall” you have all heard about while running a marathon is a fictitious thing that only exists for runners who hydrated and re-fueled poorly early on. I learned this big time! In the past two marathons I have run I most definitely “hit the wall”, but I just figured that was what happens when you run a marathon. Mile 20 comes, you hit the wall, you gut it out and then you live to tell the story to all your friends about how horrible it was and blah, blah, blah….. in reality your body is crashing from not properly being fueled throughout the race. So this time I forced myself to re-fuel early and often in addition to hydrating at every aid station. I started around mile four and continued every 2-3 miles all the way till the last mile. Its that burning fire analogy, fuel the fire slowly and steadily as opposed to letting it die and then throwing a bunch of gas on it when its almost dead. So what did I use for fuel???….
2. These…… I LOVE these…….
These were a total fluke when I tried them the first time, but they worked so I stuck with them for the race and I was a big fan in the end. Right before my 15-mile training run I ran into the store to try to get some honey stingers, but they didn’t have any so I reluctantly picked these up for my training run and was pretty pleased with how they worked. The key is steady carbohydrate intake. The general recommendation is 30-60g of carbohydrate/hr. I was probably taking in around 30-35g of carbs/hr.. These Vega gels are essentially a liquid Larabar, made primarily with dates and electrolytes and they sat well with me and provided me with 22g of carbohydrate per pack. I used six of them during the course of my race, starting at mile 3-4 and using the last one on mile 26! Now remember, race day nutrition is highly personal so I am not recommending you all run out and use Vega gels but I am recommending that you find what works best for you and your digestion and use it early and often, always chasing it with some water to aid in digestion.
3. Pacing…. pacing.. pacing! If you haven’t learned the importance of pacing and being consistent then its time to go back to water aerobics. I had one of THESE on my wrist during the race and I stuck with a pacing group the whole time to try to help me meet my goal. This is again where your CFE training becomes so valuable. I encourage you all to pick a goal pace next time you race and utilize one of these bracelets. If your goal is “just to finish” then fine, but pick a pace to help you achieve that and stick to it. We are no strangers to intervals and knowing how to stay consistent. I stayed three minutes ahead of my pace all the way till the end when I hit a mile-long uphill, gained back those three minutes, and then lost my pace recovering on miles 21 and 22.
4. “Look up”, “relax your arms”, “pull, pull, pull”, “nose over your toes”. You have all heard us preach it to you and things were no different during my race. When the wheels started to come off or my mind drifted, I came back to the same coaching cues I have used with all of you.
5. The final thing that I learned and I want to share with you is my new love for marathon racing and my changed attitude about the marathon race. The key to the half marathon and the full marathon is pacing, nutrition and not fearing the distance. Your body is much stronger than you think and we all have some runner in us, regardless of what you may say about yourself. I finished the R&R in 3:38….. three minutes off my goal time of 3:35 and a Boston Qualifying time for my age. I am pissed that I was only three minutes off, and if it weren’t for that mile-long hill I would have done it. But, I am also amazed that I came that close. I doubted myself big time and I showed myself that I most definitely can do it and I will next time! Stay tuned for Part II this Fall when I run another marathon and DO qualify! Believe in yourself, eat a good breakfast, and re-fuel early and often.
Miss you and Love you all- EK
PS…. now come visit me!
GREAT article, EK! Thank you SO much!
This Week’s WODs
Short Interval (Mon 5pm/Tues 10am): 3 x 400 with 2:00 rest, 4 x 300 with :90 seconds rest, 6 x 200 with :60 seconds rest
C2: 3 x 500m row with 2:00 rest, 4 x 375m row with :90 seconds rest, 6 x 250m row with :60 seconds rest
Long Interval (Thurs 10am/5pm): “Short and Clean Mudder”: Run 400, 2 wall climbs (7′), Run 400, 15 over-unders with stick (24/20″), Run 400, 1 monkey bar traverse, Run 400, 200m Prowler sled push (4 x45/4×35), Run 400, 15 pullups, Run 400, 200m sandbag carry (90/70), Run 400, 15 box jumps (30/24), Run 400, 2 wall climbs (7′)
C2: “Short and Clean Mudder”: WOD as above, replace 400m run distances with 500m rows
Summer…in the sunshine. :)
1. NEXT WEEK! Get ready for the announcement of our 2014 CFE Dogwood Training Plan!
2. Please…without fail…sign in to Wodify when you attend Endurance class. The owners rely on this information to track attendance, determine resources needed, etc. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! Your coaches will help to assure you’re all signed in! While you’re at it…
3. Don’t forget to record your times/performance in Wodify! This is imperative if you’re to track your progress over time. Wodify makes it SO easy! Remember…you should denote your performance as “Rx’d” IF you have completed the WOD exactly as written, including having completed all rounds, held the prescribed intervals (i.e. 3-5 seconds), and rested the prescribed time between intervals. This is a group that really push one another–so don’t lead your pals astray and post all crazy! :)
4. Like our Facebook page, “CrossFit Running”, for up-to-the-minute information and updates!