Sunday, March 11, 2018

Stripes! Stripes!

About 99% of my blog posts are related to running and racing, and I rarely post about the "stripes" part of Racing Stripes. As I mentioned in my previous post, the day after running the Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans Half Marathon, Greg and I headed about 90 minutes outside of the city to go visit a zebra and her family.

Zee's owners, Jennifer and Alan, greeted us with all sorts of goodies. There were zebra cookies, zebra napkins, zebra candies, and zebra plates for our delicious lunch. Living on the gulf, they own a shrimp processing business so we were also treated to some of the best shrimp I've ever tasted. It doesn't get any fresher.

They have a zebra, a bull, a horse, a peacock, some chickens and a dog. They plan on getting two more zebras next winter. They let us feed Zee and really get to know her:

She generally didn't want us to pet her, unless we were feeding her with one hand, and petting her with the other hand. It was fun to meet all of their animals and learn some history about the shrimp business. Even though my race didn't go as I planned, it was totally worth the trip to Louisiana just to meet this zebra and her owners!

Training Update
As for my training, things continue to go really well. I recovered remarkably fast from the half marathon, which is typical when I can't run to my full potential in hot weather. I did a short recovery
jog in New Orleans on Monday morning and I couldn't even tell that I had raced the day before. My legs didn't seem to take a beating at all! On Tuesday (just two days post race), I was able to run 12.5 miles at an average pace of 8:15. And I felt peppy doing it. It's truly amazing how much easier it is to run when it's cool out. On Wednesday, I ran easy again: 8.4 miles at an average pace of 8:30.

On Thursday, I ran a set of really quick intervals: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, minutes hard, all with 2-minute recovery jogs in between. My coach typically gives me very short and fast intervals during marathon training because it's important to not only develop endurance and lactate threshold, but also VO2 max and speed. Plus, I still have that goal of a sub-20 5K at some point! I warmed up for 2.4 miles and then did the workout. My paces were:

1:00 at 5:48
2:00 at 6:14
3:00 at 6:18
4:00 at 6:24
5:00 at 6:33
4:00 at 6:27
3:00 at 6:16
2:00 at 6:16
1:00 at 5:52

I was happy with how everything felt. My Achilles has not been bothering me at all, and if anything would aggravate it, it would be this type of workout. On Friday, my coach tacked on an extra 5 minutes to my typical 70-minute easy run, resulting in 8.7 miles at an average pace of 8:39.

Saturday's long run was also a success. Since it was too cold to wear my skirt with the large pocket for my UCAN gel, I decided that I would not fuel during the run; only beforehand. Typically for a 20-miler I take a packet (1.5 scoops) of UCAN before the run, and then a homemade UCAN gel about halfway through. But since I wore tights instead of my skirt, I figured it would be a good day to experiment without the additional fuel. I had felt so good during my last 20-miler and wondered if that UCAN gel at mile 10 had truly been necessary. I like to practice my fueling strategy during training, but I also like to practice not using as much fuel so my body isn't entirely dependent on it.

Saturday, March 10th
Greg dropped me off on the W&OD trail in Ashburn and I ran home. For those of you who are local, I ran 7.5 miles on the W&OD, 7.5 miles on the Fairfax County Parkway trail, and then six miles through neighborhoods to get home. Point-to-point runs make me feel like I have a true purpose and I am actually going somewhere. Plus, the W&OD and the parkway provided good hill practice. I ran the first half of the run at an average pace of 8:23, and the second half at an average pace of 8:03, finishing it off with a last mile in 7:43. I was happy that I was able to run 20 miles at an average pace of 8:13 without any fuel during the run. I felt great during the run and afterwards.

Today I ran 4.9 miles recovery at 9:09 average, wrapping up the week with 68.0 miles. Pretty good considering I was "recovering" from a half marathon.

I'm ready to tackle next week, which (if all goes well) will be my highest ever mileage week!


  1. Looks like you and Greg had a fun time visiting zebra-land! I think you may have posted on it, but don't recall the fascination and love of zebras? Probably has something to do with the stripe pattern that might represent speed, but might be nice to remind me! Geez...20-mi LR in 2:44 and no fueling! You definitely have conditioning to smoke in Boston! Have this small zipper pouch that has zebra striping fits around your wrist and will hold credit card, DL, key and some cash. It's reversible to flat black one side and zebra stripes other option. It's all worn out and faded, so will try to re-discover where I bought it online. Keep up that strong training, but balance out and don't overextend. 2nd 20-mi took 3:14 to cover. Contending with what seems to be shin splint R-leg...and hoping not a stress-fracture on the verge. Good post and good times!

    1. I started loving zebras when I saw them at the zoo at the age of seven! It's been a lifelong thing and there is no reason other than that I find them really cute/beautiful/amazing. Congrats to you on completing another 20-miler in your cycle. What is your start corral? I am 2/5.

  2. I love that you wore a zebra shirt to meet Zee! What a fun side trip. The only time I've ever seen a Zebra is at the zoo. Curious how they were able to get a zebra of their own?

    I'm really impressed with your training! Good luck on your high mileage week!

  3. Congrats on a great week and recovering so quickly. I'm glad you had fun in NO and you had a good race even if it wasn't a PR or the race you really wanted. It's just another stepping stone in the journey. I'm always so jealous of your training and all your runs and wish I could handle higher mileage AND workouts right now.