WOD in the Park

I took a solid 6 days off after the Chicago Marathon. I slept in all week, and did no exercise, other than walking my dog. It was glorious! I personally do not like to get back in to the swing of things too quickly. I take a full rest week, and then do various cross-training for the second week. Then, come week three, I’ll start getting back to running again.

Sunday I had the opportunity to catch a free Cross Fit Class, hosted by Lululemon and a CrossFit 813. Lululemon likes to host different fitness events one time per month, and this time happened to be a CrossFit workout – WOD in the Park. We set up in the park by the store, and the people from CrossFit 813 brought plenty of equipment for everyone to use.

First, we completed a quick warmup. Everyone jogged about 400 meters, and then we went through some quick arm swings to loosen up, then did some air squats and pushups to get our blood moving. We were set up with a partner of similar ability, and then split up into groups of 8-12 people. We went around to each station, and learned the exercise that we would be completing. Then, after everyone was taught how to do the exercises injury free, we started the workout. It was set up like this:

  • Complete as fast as possible with good form
  • Do the exercise for 3 solid minutes
  • If one partner gets tired, the other partner takes over
  • Count all reps

The directions were very simple. I was happy to have the 3 minutes broken up – it doesn’t seem like a long time, but it feels much different when you are in the moment! Here are all of the stations:

The only exercise that I modified was the situps. The flexion of situps messes with my lower back, so I do not practice any of those. Instead, I did planks for as long as possible for my portion of the abs. It worked just fine! in total, the workout ended up being close to 30 minutes – at least that is what I said when I could get a photo of it ;)

As my first workout back after the marathon, it was very nice to change it up a bit! I am not a huge fan of cardio machines, so I am thrilled that i didn’t even have to worry about heading to the gym today. I live super close to the location of the event, so I was more than happy to start off my Sunday with a good sweat! Looks like I wasn’t the only one…

Ever done a WOD like this with a large group of people? How long do you normally take off after big races? A couple of days, a couple of weeks, a couple of months?

7 Reasons I PR’d in Chicago

So I still haven’t come down from racing on Sunday. Chicago thoughts are still racing through my head. After posting the recap, I got to thinking about how I prepared for the race, and all of the things that actually went the way I wanted them to. Here is what I am attributing to PR’ing in Chicago.

1. A solid taper

3 weeks out from the race, I completed my last long run of 22 miles. From there, I slowly decreased my mileage each week, logging only 9 miles the week of the race. I felt like crap the whole time – that is, until the day before race day. When I did my 20 minute shakeout run in Chicago, I knew that my taper was perfect. I felt unstoppable, and ready to conquer that 26.2 the next day. You will hear see me say this time and time again – Trust Your Training! You will not be sorry!

2. Lots of rest

Running races in new (to me), big cities is always tricky. All that I want to do is go out and explore, but I know the best thing is to relax a bit so that I don’t tire myself out. Back in 2010 when I ran NYC, I was on my feet for a solid 2 days before the race. It was ridiculous. For Chicago, I knew that I would not be able to do this and have fresh legs. To prevent overdoing it, I scheduled one activity per day on our trip. We were there for 5 days, so it was pretty easy to not worry about having to over schedule our trip.

The Bean

2. Compression Socks

I wore my CEP compression sleeves everywhere! I put them on the second I woke up in Tampa before heading to Chicago, and pretty much only took them off to shower between then and the race. I really felt such a big difference with the sleeves on, and I knew it would increase my circulation while flying. I also wore them during the race, which is something I have really grown to love. They also helped with those cold temperatures too!

3. Eating well

Starting around Thursday, I started to up my caloric intake – nothing crazy, but I would eat a little bit more at meals, and be sure that I was always full. I don’t tend to carbo-load. It doesn’t work for me. I hardly ever eat pasta, so I am surely not going to start the week of a race. The night before the marathon, my dinner consisted of a bbq chicken pizza. I have been loving that lately, and thought it would be a perfect pre-race meal. I left the restaurant feeling full, but not stuffed. I also kept fiber to a minimum so that I would not have any GI distress during the race.

Wrigley Field Tour

4. No alcohol

This is (to me) a no-brainer. I am not one for drinking anyhow, but I do not have any alcohol in the weeks leading up to a race. It is calories I just don’t need, it leaches my body of water, and it will cause my immune system to tank. These are all things that can really hurt you leading up to race day. Wait until after the race for those celebratory drinks – you will have definitely earned them.

5. Lots of water

A lot of runners start drinking a lot of fluid the day before, but it is important to really start hydrating the week of the race. It will help to flush the bad stuff out of your body (think possible sickness) and have you in tip-top hydration shape for race day. Remember not to drink too much – hyponatremia is a real thing! Just have the right color of pee, and you are all set!

6. Consistent Fuel during the race

I have always carried some kind of fuel with me during races. I tend to wait until I feel like I need it, but that has always proven to be too late. For the Chicago Marathon, I decided that I would take 2 Gu Chomps in 5 mile increments. It didn’t matter whether or not I wanted it. I was going to take it. I actually stuck to it, and washed them down with cups of water. Then, in between Chomp fueling, I would grab a cup of Gatorade and take that. I was pretty much having some sort of caloric intake each 2 to 2.5 miles, which seemed to work really well for me. If it were warmer out for the race, I would have most likely had to stop at more water stops, but the weather was on my side for this race! :)

7. Starting Slow

Out of everything that I did, starting the marathon at a slower pace than usual is what had me PR. I have shot out of the start corral too many times, and felt my legs become led around the 21 mile mark. It is the worst feeling ever when you can see 18 weeks of solid training slipping away from you, just because you were over eager at the start. I had to physically slow myself down for the first 5k. It was annoying, and I had people passing me left and right. The difference? I was the one passing everyone in the last 6 miles. I didn’t hit a wall, and know it was because I relaxed at the start and just experienced the race.

What do you attribute to having a good race? Do any of these points work for you too?

Running Pop Quiz

Well, I am still in Chicago enjoying vacation, so my Chicago Marathon Recap will be up on Wednesday. I promise! (It is taking me a while to write!) The Hungry Runner Girl posted this pop quiz last week, and encouraged others to answer, and share it! So here you have it! My answers to the pop quiz!

1. FUEL: Shot Bloks, GU, Energy Chews, Candy or Other?

Definitely Gu Chomps! All the way! I can not handle regular Gu – the texture gets to me.

2. Race Length: 5k, 10k, 1/2 Marathon, Marathon, Ultra or Other?

My favorite distance is probably the  marathon. Crossing the finish line of a marathon is a pretty wonderful feeling. There really is nothing else like it!

3. Workout Bottoms: Skirts, Running Shorts, Capris, Pants or Other?

I love a good running skirt, as long as they have shorts underneath, and those shorts have antislip bands on the seams. Very important!

4. Sports Drink: Gatorade, Powerade, Cytomax, you stick to water when you run or Other?

I’m a fan of Gatorade, as long as it is watered down. The full brew stuff is wayyy too sugary for my tastes!

5. Running Temperatures: HEAT or COLD?

Definitely cold!! I feel like I can run for soo much longer when it is cold out, compared to the stick heat! I am so much more comfortable in cooler running temps!

6. Running Shoe Brands: Suacony, Mizuno, Nike, Brooks, Asics or Other?

I’m a Brooks Glycerins girl! Through and through!

7. Pre-race meal: Oatmeal, Bagel, Banana, Eggs, Cereal or Other?

I eat a bagel (or english muffin) with peanut butter. It is perfect!

8. Rest Days: 1x per week, 2x or more per week, never ever ever or Other?

I like to run 4-5 days a week, cross train 2 days, and have 1 rest day. ALWAYS have rest days!!!

9. Music: Have to have it or go without it?

Depends – long runs, I must have music. I just get bored way, way too fast! But easy 3-5 mile run, I can easily get by with just the thoughts in my head

10. #1 reason for running: stress-relief, endorphins, you love to race, so you can eat all the cupcakes you want, weight-loss, love running for social reasons or other?

My #1 reason is because it is the one thing in my life that is 100% for me, and no one else. I run because I love the sport and the community that it provides. It is so much fun!

Now it’s your turn! Answer a couple of questions in the comments, or post this quiz yourself! :)

 

A Big Chicago Thanks!

Needless to say, today was by far the smartest, most uplifting marathon I have ever completed. I can’t wait to share my recap(I PR’d!!), but just know how thankful I am for all of the support I received today and yesterday leading up to the race. The number of tweets, texts, and Facebook posts I received was unreal. I’m off to enjoy the city some more, but felt compelled to say thanks first. I have a smile just thinking about today!

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