Things have been… unstructured… since the end of my Renaissance Periodization cut and my BQ race at the Phoenix Marathon. I’ve written about my efforts to get back on track, not with the strict diet/training regime I had before, but something with a little direction. Basically, I need to do a better job of having food on hand so that I didn’t eat cereal and ice cream for every meal (true story). And a few new recipes after 12 weeks of the same tofu doesn’t sound like a bad idea. So I decided to try out some meal kit programs. I’m sampling Green Chef, Blue Apron, and Hello Fresh, at least to start. I’ll provide a review on each as I wrap up a week of meals. First up: Green Chef…
Better late than never on this one! My husband and I were fortunate to be invited to a wedding in St. Moritz, Switzerland in mid-January this year. I honestly had never heard of St. Moritz, but as soon as I Wikipedia’d it, I was pretty pumped, even if I mis-pronounced it for several weeks until someone correct me (Mor-RITZ, not MORE-itz). We also decided to extend the trip with stops in Florence and Rome, Italy. Here are some of the highlights.
I feel like I could write about 234,908 posts about all of the things I learned, tried, tweaked, etc. during my journey to BQ. So I’ll just do that until you or I get bored, whichever comes first… So far I’ve covered nutrition and pacing and my race tunes. Today’s topic is Orangetheory.
I’m continuing my post-Phoenix Marathon brain dump, which I hope can help me with future races, but also help my readers who are looking to optimize their own performance. I previously provided an overview of all the thoughts I had during the race, and then I wrote about how pacing and nutrition played key roles in my success. Next up: MUSIC!
What: The BMO Harris Bank Mesa-Phoenix Marathon, aka The Phoenix Marathon, aka The Mesa-PHX Marathon. (There were approx 17 different hashtags associated with this race at various points — a little bit of an identity crisis, I think.) (Not to be confused with the Rock ‘N Roll Arizona race, also held in the Phoenix area.)
Where: Mesa, Arizona, just a few miles outside of Phoenix. Race started in Usery Mountain Regional Park and ended in the Mesa Riverview shopping center.
When: Saturday on the last weekend in February.
I spent years working toward my goal of running a Boston qualifying marathon time. Recently, it all came together for me at my 21st marathon, the Phoenix Marathon, where I ran a 3:28:56, over six minutes faster than the BQ application cutoff for my age. This race was obviously a PR for me, but I was shocked with how much I was able to improve over my three most recent races culminating at Phoenix.
First, I PR’d at Chicago with a 3:42. I credited a fast course, good weather, improved training (mainly Orangetheory and running hills at altitude), and a stronger mental game. (My previous PR of 3:44:46 was achieved way back in 2012; for my thoughts on what went on in the five intervening years, check out my slowdown story and my thoughts about getting back on the BQ wagon.) Two months later, I PR’d again at Kiawah with a 3:37, an unexpected five-minute improvement. Again, I credited a fast course, good weather, new mental strategies, and my altitude training. But I also ran negative splits for the first time in a long time, and I felt like that made a huge difference compared to Chicago. Then less than three months after that, after training back at sea level, I PR’d and BQ’d at Phoenix with 3:28:56, a whopping eight minute improvement over Kiawah, and a 13 minute improvement over Chicago in less than five months.
As someone who thought that Chicago might be as good as it gets in terms of race conditions, that 13-minute improvement was unfathomable — especially without significant changes to my training. (During the buildup, I frequently Googled “What is a reasonable marathon time improvement?” and “How long does it take to BQ?” Here’s my answer!) So what made the difference?