With only five days or so left before the big race, here’s an update for last week. It seems crazy that next week, I’ll be giving an update of the actual race. You know, if I live through it. I’m incredibly nervous.

1) Last week’s runs went well. Got them all in uneventfully including a 4.25 mile run on Saturday (was supposed to be 5 or 6, oh well) even being at a family reunion on the Oregon coast. The scenery was beautiful even if the misty, humid air nearly killed me off the two times I ran out there.

training week #19

2) I’m not going to lie that the idea of tapering renewed my energy (that horror of a 10-mile run the other week kind of burned me out). I ran slowly through the week, ditching my GPS watch and iPhone app in favor of just trying to enjoy (ok, maybe that’s the wrong word) the running moments.

training week #19

3) Counting some archery at the reunion as well as lots of walking around the campground, chasing kids, and canoeing on the lake (holy arm workout!), there was lots of unintentional cross-training.

training week #19

4) This week is simple: 2 mile run Monday (already done!) and 3 mile run on Wednesday. The other days will probably be bike rides and walking. And emptying every crevice of our lives of sand and doing 143 loads of laundry.

5) Many of you gave great advice in last week’s comments: clip toenails before the race, take ibuprofen at the starting line, bring something warm while waiting for the race to start, take full advantage of the port-a-potties at the starting line before running, think positive. I’m a little nervous about what to eat the day before (we’ll be driving down later than I would like due to work schedules…so we’ll be in the car at dinnertime), what to eat – if anything – the morning of (I haven’t eaten before my long runs before so not sure I want to before the race even though I’ll be awake for several hours), how to calm my nerves while I wait for over an hour that morning, and on and on. I’m trying not to overthink every detail but yeah, that would take a total personality overhaul.

As always, thank you, thank you, thank you for all the advice and support and love and help you’ve given me over the last several months.

To all of you who are running races in other parts of the country this week or in the next little while, good luck! And I can’t wait to meet all of you running in the Utah Valley race or those coming to cheer on the runners.

This is happening!

27 Responses to Training Update: Week #19

  1. Helen says:

    I’ve been watching for this last running update before the race. I an so impressed with your training .. Wish I was all trained and ready to run on Saturday .. I don’t think my 3-4 mile walks 3-4 times a week count as training though .. Hope to be there for moral support .. I. Know you will be amazing … Because that’s who you are

  2. Emily says:

    I don’t have any advice. But, I wish you luck and I will be thinking and praying for you on Saturday. GOOD LUCK.

  3. Kelli says:

    Advice for the race:

    I have done the traveling to get to the race thing and I just packed some pasta (just noodles with marinara) and bread, and it worked out great! You want to eat something very simple the night before, mostly just carbs, maybe a little protein. Don’t eat anything that will upset your stomach the next day.

    As for the morning of, I usually just eat a banana and drink water/gatorade (but DON’T try gatorade on race day if you have never had it while running before!). I tried eating a bagel before a race and that was too much for me. Bananas are easy and fast to digest!

    One more race tip: Start out a little bit slower than you normally would (especially since Utah Valley is so downhill) then speed up after the first half if you are still feeling good! If you go out too fast you will pay for it later. I usually listen to a podcast or no music at all for the first half, to ensure a steady pace. Then blast the music later for a faster pace and motivation!

  4. Rachael says:

    I usually eat a PBJ the morning of the race, but I’m a little worried that you haven’t been eating before your long runs! You don’t want to mess with something you haven’t tried before, but at the same time, you’re not going to have enough fuel without it to get through the race (honestly, not eating before your long runs is probably why they’ve been so hard). I usually eat 1.5 hrs before the race.

    Start out at your planned pace and keep it there. Starting out too slow can mean that you never catch up; going out too fast will make you crash and burn later. The best race strategy is to keep your splits as even as possible. If you can find a pacer at your chosen finish time, hang wit them IF they are pacing evenly (I ran with one two weeks ago who ran the first mile way too fast!). The nice thing about a good, experienced pacer is that they take the guesswork out for you plus you have a group to chat with and you can drift off the group if it’s windy! My last bit of advice–walk through the water stops. You’ll stay hydrated and you’ll be able to keep running the rest of the time bc you can tell yourself that there’s a walking break at he next water stop. Good luck!

    • Diana says:

      I completely agree with Rachel. You have to eat before long runs! Legs feeling tired and dead is definitely a sign of nutritional imbalance (or overtraining). Keeping fueled is super important both before and during exercise. It is good to up carb and water intake the week before a race (not just the night before). As for pre-race meals, that is up to what works for your body. It might make your stomach upset when you first start eating before long runs, but your body will adapt. When I first started racing I would strictly adhere to the pasta thing the night before and then plain oatmeal the morning of. But now I mix it up quite a bit (toast with PB and honey, croissants, or granola are current favorites). You probably shouldn’t eat breakfast if you haven’t tried this before. But definitely work breakfast in on your next training cycle. Good luck on your half!

      • Mel says:

        After all this advice, I think I’ll go with a banana the morning of the race. They seem to be ok on my tummy. I was planning on upping my carbs a bit each day this week so I’m glad to hear that’s what you do, too. Thanks for the tips!

    • Mel says:

      Thanks, Rachael! My sister and cousin will be running with me – we are all about the same pace so that will help. I’ve heard from a lot of people not to start out too fast. I actually haven’t felt like the non-eating thing has been a big deal for my long runs except for that last 10 miler and I’m not sure it was food-related but I’m not and expert. I run so early in the morning that I can’t eat a couple hours before my runs (plus I take medicine first thing in the morning) and my stomach is pretty uneasy in the mornings. Anyway, now I’m sufficiently nervous about the race morning and the whole eating thing. Ahh!

  5. Holly says:

    Mel I am SO excited to (hopefully) meet you after the half marathon this weekend! I have had running a half marathon on my bucket list for sometime and I’m finally doing it! I’m nervous and excited, but we’ll make it! It’s going to be a gorgeous run!

    • Mel says:

      You and me both, Holly! It’s been on my bucket list forever and now it’s finally happening! I’m trying not to waste my whole week being nervous because you’re right – we’ll make it. I’ll be wearing a bright pink shirt and probably dark gray workout capris so if you see me before, during or after the race – grab me!!

  6. Rachel says:

    I’ve also been wondering about what to eat the morning of . . . what is with the crazy early start time?! This is my first ‘real’ race, but my husband has done multiple half marathons (and other races) and this one is just such an early start time (especially when you add in the shuttle times before–yikes). I’m a bit worried about the super early wake up, as well as when to eat breakfast. Hopefully it’ll just work out the day of!

  7. Mollie says:

    Looking forward to seeing you in Provo on Saturday! Just a couple of things: I’d be a little wary of ibuprofen before the race, especially on an empty stomach, it could cause some major stomach distress, which is not what you want! I’ll be eating some PB toast in the morning before the race. I’m usually not a fan of eating before my runs, but 13 miles is a lot of energy used up when you’re on an empty tank, even with mid-race fuel. I’m just going to be sure to eat it 2 hours before the start of the race. My first half (last summer) started at 10 PM, so I obviously ate (all day) before my race, but made sure I didn’t have anything 2 hours before, and it seemed to work well. My pre-race meal for that one was a baked potato, which seemed to sit well with me. Also, don’t forget to be well hydrated the day before too – which I know is hard when you’re on a car trip. But so important. Good luck! See you there!

    • Mel says:

      Yes, Mollie – good point about the ibuprofen! I’ll work out all the kinks of my pre-race meal plan before Saturday. I’m so looking forward to meeting you! And seriously, 10 p.m. start time? That’s as crazy as the 6 a.m. one. 🙂

  8. Julie says:

    Good point about no ibuprofen on an empty stomach. For me, I have to eat before long runs or I don’t have any energy. My last half marathon, I had oatmeal at home before going to the buses and the starting line. The race started an hour late, and I felt so hungry and depleted of energy. It was so hard until I tried a GU for the first time about mile 8, and that made all the difference for me! And I was so desperate, I didn’t even really gag while I ate it! For this race, I am planning to eat yogurt with granola before I leave home, then have some other snacks like a Clif Z bar, a banana, and maybe some other stuff with me on the bus and starting line in case I need it. I don’t like to run on a full stomach, but having something to fuel me really helps.
    Don’t worry Mel- you have trained so diligently, and you’ll have so much support at the race! You will do great! See you on Saturday!

  9. Michelle says:

    I’m like you Mel– I NEVER eat before my long runs! I know some people don’t think this is safe, but I run much, much better on an empty stomach. However, I DO eat a banana about an hour before any half marathon. Simply because I know adrenaline will be pushing me faster than a usual run pace and just in case there are hills, etc, that I’m not prepared for. A banana seems to be light enough that it won’t upset my stomach while I’m running but also give me enough energy when I’m running fast. If I can’t get my hands on a banana, I will usually take a few slices of apple and a little peanut butter.

    Good luck! You’ll do great!

    • Mel says:

      Thank you so much for commenting, Michelle. You have helped to resolve some of my fears! I had kind of decided on a banana that morning and I think that will be my plan. Thank you!

  10. Caren says:

    Hey Mel,
    I’ve been following your progress during the last couple weeks and am speechless by your progress! Congrats on getting so far in such a short amount of time!

    For me personally, not eating in the morning will result in really painful stomach cramps after only a little while. What has worked really well for me is Oatmeal (I cook it with milk, but if your stomach gets upset by workout + dairy, then do it just with water) and a smashed up banana mixed in there. Easy to digest but still energy that lasts quite long.

    Just in case you feel particularly hungry on the morning pre-race 😉

    Best of luck!

  11. Cara says:

    Mel, you are going to have an absolute BLAST! I cannot wait to hear how it went. My advice is simple…enjoy every mile of the race. It (seriously) goes by so fast, just totally take it all in and enjoy it!

  12. Michelle says:

    Mel you’ve got this! I will be at a family reunion this year or else I would be there with you! My friend and amazing runner gave me the tip of eating some slower digesting carbs like oatmeal mixed with chia seeds as you drive to the race the morning of then at the finish line she busted out one of those baby squeeze pouches of sweet potatoes for quick, clean energy. Genius. And I’m interested to hear what you eat post-race. That’s always the best! (My family loves when I take them out to Chuck a Rama a few hours later, don’t judge.)


    • Mel says:

      I’m sad I’ll miss you, Michelle! Have fun at your family reunion. Great tips on eating before the race and at the finish line! I’m still hoping I survive…

  13. Megan Lang says:

    I’m almost a little sad you’re heading to your race this weekend. I have so enjoyed reading your posts. You (along with several of my family/friends turn runners) have inspired me to try running, and it has been a positive, mind-clearing activity for me. Good luck in your race! I look forward to hearing how it goes! You’ve got this!

  14. Jaime clement says:

    Thanks Mel for getting me and my daughter to run this!! Good luck!! I know you’ll do great!

  15. Stacie D. says:

    I have never had any desire to run a half-marathon, but reading your posts has been inspiring. And being pregnant and unable to run right now has made me miss the little bit of running I normally do. If I ever feel motivated to try this after baby comes, I know where to go for great tips and inspiration. I wish you lots of luck tomorrow!!

  16. Mary Jo says:

    Good luck this weekend Mel! You are going to ROCK your race. Enjoy every mile and I can’t wait to read all about it.

  17. Bethany says:

    Thinking of you right now and hoping you’re celebrating a successful finish!

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