Podcast Picks

It’s the eve of my final 20 mile training run for this Boston Qualifying attempt.  I was telling Chap today that I’m on the front end of the crazy taper antics where runners start to panic (mild at first) that their training time is running out.  I know that in the next three weeks there’s not a lot I can do to really improve my conditioning a substantial amount.  There is a lot I can do to undo my training though.  So these next three weeks will be very cautious, and like I outlined earlier this week, a little rigorously routined.  This is me trying to find any way besides running that I could improve a little – nutrition, sleep, recovery, mentality, etc.  So, here I am on a Saturday night at 8pm already ready for bed.

I have recently been introduced to the world of podcasts.  And what an overwhelming world it is!  I’ve been enjoying some episodes in the middle hours of long runs (usually running related), as background noise while I clean or cook, and as an alternative to music in the car.  I usually find that I like to listen to something related to what I’m doing at the moment.  Except when I’m walking Miley or driving – that’s when I go rogue and pick episodes at random.

These podcast pick posts will mostly be for me, so that I have a record of podcasts that I enjoyed to reference down the road.  I hope that maybe it’s helpful for some of you to find episodes that you might like, without drowning in the seemingly millions of episodes out there.  Seriously, I think my eyes went cross one night when I was scrolling and scrolling through categories and top ranked and recommended podcasts.

It’s still completely overwhelming to me so I would love to hear how you “do” podcasts.  I’ve had several dozen recommended to me and that’s usually where I start.  I subscribe to the ones I really like.  Sometimes when I have downtime I browse the top hits (as mentioned above) or search particular key words.  Do you subscribe?  Do you go in order of the episodes or search for topics you like?   How often do you listen?  Is there a time when you always listen or don’t listen?  Tell me more!

Here are the episodes I loved this week!  I promise to never even mention ones that don’t interest me at all so you don’t waste the same precious time.  Here’s what I listened to and loved this week:

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Episode 589: Tell me I’m Fat

  1. This American Life Episode 589: Tell Me I’m Fat.    IF YOU LISTEN TO THIS ONE, I WANT TO HAVE AN ADULT DISCUSSION ABOUT IT WITH YOU – LET ME KNOW.  (yes, I’m yelling because I want to make sure you hear that)  I listened to this episode fiddling around the house and taking an epsom salt bath after a tough run one day.  I downloaded it because the title and description intrigued me, both as someone who has lost weight before, and as someone who works with fat people.  So many brilliant points that I agree with were addressed in this podcast.  The first part of the podcasts interviews two different fat women – one who accepts herself as she is (not in an instant though of course, through very much painful emotional acceptance) and one who loses the weight but still has the baggage of it hanging on her.  Both perspectives are so interesting and critical to understand.  And, let me say this loud and clear for everyone to hear: BEING FAT/OVERWEIGHT/OBESE (yes, even) DOES NOT ALWAYS CORRELATE TO POOR HEALTH/LAZINESS/GLUTTONY.  (yelling again, this time in bold!) I know that is the stigma, and that is what we are taught but it isn’t true.  Someone can be fat AND healthy, just as someone can be thin AND unhealthy.  Then, in a surprise twist I didn’t see coming, Tulsa makes an appearance (although not in a proud moment).  ORU’s POPs (Pounds Off Program) of the 70s is discussed and I was shocked to hear that they required all students to be in a particular body fat percentage range in order to come back to school.  One girl they interviewed was 4 pounds over the weight they wanted her when she returned after summer break and they wouldn’t let her enroll for that semester! WTF?  And there is very little information on it outside of the podcast.

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    Interview with Kathrine Switzer

  2. Marathon Training Academy – Interview with Kathrine Switzer.  Listen to this for motivation to overcome anything.  I started listening to this on my 15 miler last weekend when I was really struggling.  Even Kathrine, the woman who pushed me into training for this by saying, “We are very good at underestimating what we’re capable of”, couldn’t get me through those last miles last weekend.  I finished the episode on a walk with Miley this week.  She told this same tale of how she got to that iconic Boston Marathon in 1967 that she did when I heard her speak in Boston in April.  It is no less inspiring the second time around.  She is driven, funny, well-spoken, realistic and inspiring.  She goes on to talk about how that one race catapulted her to champion for women’s distance running to be included in the Olympics (not until the 70s) and women to be able to participate in races all over the world.  Even if you’re not into the “feminist stuff”, it’s worth a listen to hear how running has evolved in the past 50 years.  We’ve come a long way and the people of my day are spoiled rotten.

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    Episode 238: The Savant of Speed

  3.  The Tim Ferris Show Episode 238: The Savant of Speed – Ryan Flaherty.  I knew who Tim Ferris was before I heard about this podcast.  He’s the author of 4 Hour Workweek and 4 Hour Body.  As a trainer, I’m familiar with his approaches in the 4 Hour Body and for the most part don’t agree with them.  I also think he’s kind of a conceited asshole.  All that to say, I certainly wasn’t going to listen to his podcast on my own accord.  Chap recommended it to me (he loves this dude) last winter and only recently did I finally have a listen.  And only because Chap suggested this specific episode – “it’s got some good running related stuff in there”.  He was right.  But man these episodes are long!  I started this one on my first super long run of this training cycle maybe 8 weeks ago, and only now finished it.  But this Ryan guy that Tim interviews has a lot of excellent and nerdy insight into fitness, training and running.  I took these three things out of it – 1. Do the 7 way hips exercises to strengthen hip muscles and prevent injury (been doing it fairly diligently on run days)  2.  Incorporate step-downs to prevent injury  3. Add hexbar deadlifts with no eccentric loading to make you faster.  You might enjoy this one if you’re a runner or into human performance science at all.

 

What all have you been listening to?  And seriously, if you listen to the This American Life one I posted, please tell me!

 

Race Recap: 2017 Firecracker 5k

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Last year, this race was my target run for my 5k PR.  This year, I ran it because it’s part of the Four Season’s Challenge I’m participating in with the Oklahoma Sport and Fitness race team.  And it would be a fun way to get some tempo work in for my 26.2 training.  I’ve been having a rough time on runs recently (thanks OK heat and humidity) and this was a welcome change to slogging through some miles on my own.

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Start line (photo: Fleet Feet Tulsa)

Based on this year’s race, you wouldn’t know that last year I really tried to work on my 5ks.  While I definitely improved my times over the course of two years of dedicated speedwork and practice, I never really nailed down the pacing.  And that is certainly apparent in this race!

I didn’t really know what to expect from this run as far as finish times go.  Marathon training and 5k training don’t work the same systems and so I’m out of 5k shape.  On the drive over to Fleet Feet, Chap was trying to tell me he was sure I could finally break that 22 minute mark.  And while yes, I would like to eventually nail that goal, marathon training is not the season to do it.  So I was just going to run hard and try to hit a seven something pace.

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Rainy start! (Photo: Fleet Feet Tulsa)

Race morning was completely different from last year’s sunny and hot start.  This year, as we were waiting at the starting line, it started pouring on us!  I don’t mind the rain at all for short races, and it actually felt really good because the air was so sticky without the rain.  It seemed like it took forever for them to get us started and I even started to get cold just standing there.  I was soaked before we got started.

Finally, we were off!  The whole first mile it kept raining on us, and eventually it stopped but the streets were still wet.  I had my watch on and my Strava app to help me pace but for some reason I never looked at my watch.  And while Strava will tell me how fast I ran the previous mile, the rain water kept my headphones from staying in my ears.  I decided to run by feel.

The race starts out pretty flat, heading west towards the BOK center.  We hit a little hill on Denver taking us north towards Brady area and then turn back east to a flat streak to Guthrie Green.  Another baby hill (by this time though, we’re at or past halfway and it feels huge) takes us up by Cain’s and then back down.  We ran back along the same Denver route and back to the store.  Those hills also felt gigantic in this last mile.  I walked a little, but tried to only allow myself 5 deep breaths to regroup and then started running again.

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Tough finish (Photo: Fleet Feet Tulsa)

I finished tough, being dragged along by the motivating words of fellow racers, “less than half a mile to go, come on.  One foot in front of the other.”   I always appreciate this encouragement even though sometimes I’m like, “walking is still one foot in front of the other.”  Sometimes it’s good to get a dose of my own medicine, and have someone else telling me that I can hang longer than I think.

Finally the finish line was in sight and I crossed, trying my best to hold down some puke (if you’re new here, get used to puke talk on race posts.)  I managed to keep it down but decided no more breakfasts on 5k days.

My finishing time was 23:42  , which managed to be a 4th in my age group placement (last race in that age group in Tulsa!).  It’s a little slower than last year’s but I am so pleased that I’m that close after distance training the past 16 weeks.

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Positive splits!

After studying my splits, I know I have an out-of-the-gate-too-fast issue to work on.  I ran by feel, and it didn’t feel like a 6:32 mile when everyone else around me is trotting along or passing me (of course they are, I start in the front of the pack).  Maybe I need to start a little farther back.  My paces dropped off significantly each mile, but that first mile was my fastest ever recorded on my apps so that’s a pretty encouraging stat :).

Overall, it’s a fun race and one of the more popular ones in Tulsa (in my opinion – seems like a lot more people at this one than some others I’ve done).  Fleet Feet always puts on a great after party, and has awesome support through volunteers.

2 of 4 races down for the challenge and I love how the medals are coming together!

Later that afternoon, I got to run 5 more miles to finish off that day’s assigned 8.  Michelle joined me, the humidity was gone and it was only in the 80s.  It was awesome.

What’s your philosophy on racing 5ks?  Run as hard as you can the whole time?  Or start a little slower so you can really push it at the end?

4 Week Peek

We’ve finally reached July, and that date that seemed so safely far away when we signed up for this race is now in the current month.  I’m about to go on a complaining rant here with the understanding that this will be the last time I let myself complain about how this training is going, so if you don’t want to hear the whining then just scroll on down to the next section.

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It’s the final grind of the marathon training.  Peak mileage weeks, the longest of the track workouts (2k should NOT get to count as track work) and tempo runs that used to be long run distances are making for one tired and grumpy gal.  Coupled with that is the start of the hot and humid season in Oklahoma where whether you run in the darkness of the night, or just before the dawn, there is absolutely no time in the day when you won’t feel like you’re wading through the air or have lost half of your body weight in water by the end of the run.   Running has become flat out miserable.  I can’t hit my goal times, and sometimes I can’t even hit my goal distances.  Michelle and I are both too busy balancing work and personal lives to match up our schedules so much of our long miles are being done on our lonesomes.  I miss strength training 3 times a week (have been keeping it around 2).  I miss sleeping in on Sundays.  I miss donuts, ice cream and cookie dough.

Done Complaining

This past weekend I ran back to back doublers within 24 hours of each other.  I wanted to get the 26 mile distance in that time frame, even if not all in a row.  It was a horrible struggle.  Saturday, I did the 10 miler in the heat of the day because I’d put it off and put it off, knowing I would be tired and not on pace.  But so pumped I got it done.  Then, today, Sunday, I got up early to do 15.  I made it a miserable run/walking 10.4 before I just completely threw in the towel and walked the rest back to my car.  As miserable as I was on both runs, I used that time to make some determinations about the remaining 4 weeks.

  1. I’m still in this.  Yes, training might suck right now but I’m going to keep fighting through it and finish the last 4 weeks as strong as I started.  I can’t worry about if I’ll hit that magic 3:30 time, only that I will give what’s left my best shot.
  2. No more complaining.  Period.
  3. Prioritize rest.  I’ve been feeling mentally and physically wiped out the past two weeks.  And while I can’t control the busy, active nature of my schedule, I can make a few improvements to how I handle it.
    • No electronics after 9pm.
    • In bed by 10pm, books only.
    • Up at a consistent time each day – still debating this one but thinking it’s gonna have to be in the mid to late- 4ams.
  4. Prioritize healthier eating.  I’m about an 80% well-rounded eater about 80% of the time.  Recently it’s dropped to maybe 50/50 on both because of travel and socializing.  I am committing to making a conscientious effort for the next four weeks to eat a healthy mix of carbs, fats and proteins and as close to whole foods as possible.
  5. To encourage me to stay excited about the 12 training runs left, I’ve dedicated each run to a person or group of people.  This will help keep each run fresh and motivating to me to run in that person(s) honor.

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Once again running is showing me that just as in relationships and in life, you can’t give up when it gets hard.  Stick with it, tweak your approach and take care of all the areas that are a part of the bigger picture.  In running this means the training, the resting and the nutrition.  In relationships it might mean taking care of communication struggles, or  paying more attention to the needs of your people.  And in life, it means taking care of your whole self, body mind and spirit.

I still love running, I just don’t have to like it all the time.  (But now I’m disliking it without complaining).

Jack + Jill 26.2: Halfway Point Thoughts

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This past week marked halfway to the big shot at trying to get a BQ.  8 weeks under my feet, 8 more to go.  As I’ve been running this week, I’ve been reflecting on how I think it’s going and will continue to go until we get to Washington.   Generally, some days I feel like I’ve got a really good shot.  And other days I think there’s no way I can run that fast for that long.IMG_9477

Stuff That Makes Me Feel Confident:

  1. I haven’t missed a track workout.  I’m really proud of this!  Even on the cruise ship.  Even on days when I couldn’t do it in the mornings and I had to hit the treadmill or run in the heat of the afternoon.  I’m logging those fast paced miles and I know that it’s keeping me strong.
  2. Strong long runs.  Until recently, I’ve logged some relatively fast, not too painful long runs.  I try to keep those in mind as they’ve gotten harder in the past week or two.
  3. No major injuries.  Aside from falling down on a hike in Alaska and jamming up my back (fixed by Dr. B), I’ve had a relatively pain-free training cycle thus far.  This has never been the case in my past three rounds of marathoning.  I give credit to strength training, yoga, and regular chiropractic care.
  4. Race conditions.  It will be cooler.  It’ll be downhill.  I’ll have lots of people around me.  And it’ll be game day.

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Stuff That Makes Me Worry:

  1. I haven’t run long enough.  I wanted to have at least one or two 20 milers under my belt by now but the most I’ve done is 18 twice.  I’m glad that these runs don’t leave me too sore or tired the next day but I still want to hit that 20 mark.  Because there’s being conditioned for that long AND having to hit it at goal pace.
  2. I miss my running partner.   I’ve been logging some of these longer runs on my own because M has been battling her own injuries and our schedules just don’t match up well.  It makes getting those longer miles in super boring even with playlists and podcasts out the wazoo.
  3. It’s f*cking hot.  I did a 16 miler last weekend and was soaking wet hair to bra to shorts to shoes and it didn’t even rain.  I wish it would have rained – I would have been just as soaked but cooler.  It makes hitting the distances hard, and the paces harder.  And it’s only going to get worse.
  4. There’s only 7 weeks left.  That’s all.

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Yesterday, I tried to go out for a simple six miler.  One mile easy, 4 miles hard, one mile easy.  I quit at 2.5.  I’m not one to give up mid-training run but it was in the afternoon.  It was hot.  My legs were shaking and felt like I was running sub 7s but I was barely even in the low 8s.  I sat down on the west side of the Tulsa bridge and cried for a minute while I thought about what I was gonna do.  I decided that probably not enough rest, and not enough food (I really have a mental block with later in the day runs.  I don’t want to eat too much and get a cramp so I usually end up not eating enough) and the heat contributed to how I was feeling.  I threw in the towel because I really want tomorrow to go well.  I want to feel strong and rested when I hit the pavement at 5am.

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I’m feeling pretty discouraged.  And I have to come to terms with now the thought of what if we don’t get it?  This is classic Sprenkel.  I always like to think of the worst possible outcome to something, and how I’ll handle it.  So, I’ll keep lacing up and doing the best I can these next seven weeks with a huge emphasis on proper rest. Then come Sunday, July 30, I’ll give Jack and Jill my best shot. But if I don’t get that 3:30, I’m betting that I’ll hit a massive marathon PR in the process and have a breathtaking new state to cross off my list.

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Photos by Kayla Tandoc.

Jack + Jill 26.2: Week 14 Recap

I’m going to (try to) start doing a weekly review of the training for the week before.  This will likely be pretty dry for most of you out there (unless Michelle and I continue to have long run adventures like the one this weekend!).  But, I want to highlight the ups and downs of a training cycle this long and intense mostly for myself but also so that those of you who want to go for it can see what it’s like and maybe, hopefully be inspired.

So.  14 weeks to go.  3.5 months.  Seems far away still.

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Monday: Mondays are a circuit day for me.  I also want to make them a yoga day, but I’m not waking up early enough to go to the 6am class at StudiOne.  It’s a weekly struggle.  I did get in 3 rounds of full body circuits, and a little bit of yoga simply from teaching to my class.

Tuesday: Track day!  I ran a descending ladder today with the StudiOne track group.  My target track pace for Boston is really fast (to me).  I aim for under 7 min average on every track interval.  I hit it today and felt really strong!  Tried the Run Fast Eat Slow Beet Smoothie after and almost loved it.

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Track day

Wednesday: More circuits.  And I went to Rachel’s 5:30pm flow class at StudiOne.  I want to make Wednesday a yoga and circuit day too.  Nailed it this week!    I had my first appointment with Dr. Brandon Washatka DC that Michelle recommended to me.  My shoulder has been hurting, feeling a little bit like tendonitis, my low back feels compressed and my left hip is very tight.  I always have to very carefully open up into Warrior 2 from Warrior 1.  I told him all of this and went over other health history things.  He cracked me a few times, and I felt like a completely new person when I left.  My neck and shoulder muscles relaxed, which released some of the pressure on my shoulder, my low back felt like it had space again and my hip is bothering me less.  I’m going to keep going to him on his recommendation throughout the training.

Thursday: This is a buddy run day.  Michelle and I get together around 8:30 after my first two classes to crank through a tempo run.  Sometimes we follow the template and sometimes we just run hard.  Today we went for 1 mile easy, 5 miles hard and 1 mile easy.  We made it but both almost puked at the end of that 5 mile interval.  I could feel a difference from the adjustment and think I ran stronger because of it.

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Tempo

Friday: Rest day for me.

Saturday: Taught yoga class so got a little bit of a stretch.  Ideally we’ll run long on Saturdays but an actual monsoon descended on Tulsa today so we didn’t run.  I did my third circuit in the afternoon at the Studio so that I can practice running long on tired legs.

Sunday: Long run.  Went 17 miles!  This is the farthest I’ve run in over 4 years.  I was surprised how easy it felt not only to go that far but to maintain our pace.  We strategically drove to southwest Tulsa so we could have the northeast wind at our back most of the way.  It was a beautiful morning and we enjoyed adventuring along the river and on the backroads of Jenks.  We encountered flooded roads to wade through, 20+mph winds and a little sleet storm on our cooldown.  All kinds of crazy weather.  And then, we brunched.

Overall, this was a great week for me.  I feel healthy and strong in my bones and muscles and we hit all our target pace times.  Maybe I can do this after all…..

J&J: Week 17 Long Run

Today is the start of being 16 weeks of training away from my fourth marathon.  The Jack and Jill (J&J) in Washington state.  I would just like to say that all of you who promised to never let me run another one have failed miserably.  16 weeks is a pretty standard marathon training calendar and since I’ve got a solid base it should be plenty of time.  I had my half PR last weekend which was super encouraging.  I rested most of the week following the race (last week), and was ready to hit the pavement for 10 by Sunday.

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Here we go

Meteorologist Michelle figured we should start south and run our way  north (due to 2o mph winds).  We started at Turkey Mountain and ran our way home.  It sounds like a simple enough plan but there was lots of planning that went into this route.  Weather, outfits, mileage, cars, etc.

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We got there by 7:20 and had perfect weather to start running.  Here are the things I want to remember from this run:

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See him?

  1. We saw a bald eagle!
  2. I had some funny heart racing moments whenever we would stop for water.  One was around mile 5 at a water fountain on the west side.  The next was when we first got back across the bridge to the east side.  I stopped to rest and my vision went pretty white.  I found a street sign to hold onto and just took deep breaths until I felt steady again.  We walked to a water fountain and pressed on as soon as my vision was clear again.  I ran/walked the rest of the way home.
  3. Some guy stopped me in Owen Park who appeared to be lost.  I tried to help him the best I could but honestly didn’t know where he was trying to go.
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Just one short

I made it 9 of our planned 10 miles.  It was a rough start to official training but it’s a start.   I find that when I have countdowns and calendars like this, I can keep momentum going well.  For example, I got up and did my circuits this morning!  I’m excited and also not excited about these next 16 weeks.  Excited for the challenge, and not excited because I know (x3) how hard this can be.  But, I’m glad to have someone by my side (or a little bit in front of me) through the next several hundred+ miles.