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Wake me up when September ends: September recap!



September 2018 in review

Total mileage for the month:  305.4  -- in comparison:  January - 207, February - 254, March - 298, April - 307, May - 355, June - 232, July - 290, August - 357

  • August 27-Sep. 2:  75.8
  • Sep. 3-9:  73.0
  • Sep. 10-16:  80.1
  • Sep. 17-23:  81.7
  • Sep. 24-30: 57.7 (planned cut-back week, but ended up being lower than the 70ish planned because I missed cool down miles on Sep. 29, then took Sep. 30 off due to a calf issue)

This month sure illustrated how running can give us major highs and significant lows, even within the span of 30 days!


Signaling low battery in sync with my

training partner Rebecca


  • Sep. 3 - Run for a Child 10K in 37:55 for 1st overall female.  I was thrilled to slip in under 38 and net a course PR after a conservative start and with less effort than I've put into this hilly, warm, humid race in past years.
  • Sep. 9 - Plaza 10K in 36:34 for a bright shiny new PR!  This race really couldn't have gone any better...well, unless the 5 women who beat me had instead slept in that day (but I was the fastest in age group 35-39)!  I was pretty much elated about this one for remainder of the month.
  • Sep. 22 - Gill Family Fall Festival 5K, although I ran this as a recovery run instead of a race I won overall person in 21:01 (see: tiny small town 5Ks).
  • Sep. 29 - Indy Women's Half Marathon in 1:24:19 for 6th overall and my worst decision of the month (turned a minor calf problem into a major issue).  I did not get to show my fitness in this race due to the calf injury (I believe I was in shape for 1:18:50-1:19:30), but my husband told me, "Now you know you can run a 1:24 on one leg", hah.


  • Sep. 5:  12.5 miles with 0.15 pick-ups at the beginning of the final 5 miles - 6:57 pace for all 12.5; pick-up paces of 5:33, 5:40, 5:47, 5:33, 6:07.  I almost turned around and ran the final push in the opposite direction so I could avoid the uphill and hit a faster pace, but then I figured I'd get more benefit from the hard uphill so I continued on but couldn't get it under 6:00 (grade-adjusted pace was 5:49 though, thank you Strava!).  This was just a tiny workout within a medium long run midweek, but I was really happy with the run as a whole because I distinctly remember running 12 miles two days after the Run for a Child 10K last year; I remember it because it was one of my worst runs of that season due to residual fatigue.  12 miles felt soooo long that day!  So before this one I was a little concerned that would happen again, but instead I felt good!  I ran 3.1 miles from my house to meet Rebecca, ran a 6 mile loop with her, then ran 3.4 miles (a different route) back home.  Anytime I do this it splits the run up mentally and makes it seem short.
  • Sep. 12:  6.2 mile 3', 2', 1' fartlek with recoveries equal to the next push, 3.1 warm up, 2.2 cool down.  My push paces were 5:44, 5:39, 5:34, 5:38, 5:28, 5:48, 5:42, 5:46, 5:24, 5:43.  I ran this with Ben, who was a college miler, and he told me that I recover like a long distance runner (7:10ish pace on those) and sent me out to run on the outside of the road on the loop while he got the inside (lane 8 vs. lane 1 basically), haha!
  • Sep. 18:  5 x 1 mile road repeats in 5:41, 5:50, 5:50, 5:53, 5:51 (5:49 average), 0.25 recoveries, 2.2 warm up, 2 cool down.  My goal pace range for this workout was 5:34-5:50, and I was feeling confident coming off the Plaza 10K and lined up to run with Ben, who always helps me run faster than I run alone.  Even though the workout was more repeats with half the recovery distance of my PR mile repeat workout, I decided beforehand that I was going to try to better that average -- possibly an unreasonable goal, but I was being stubborn and refusing to admit the difference between 0.25 vs. 0.5 recoveries and the effect of 1 more rep. The first repeat went just as I wanted, and felt hard but do-able.  Unfortunately Ben strained his calf about 0.75 in and pulled out of that repeat, then intelligently called it a day. Repeat 2 alone felt much harder even running slower, and I really had to fight in the final bit to get my pace down to 5:50.  I was a little discouraged, but told myself maybe I was just finding my rhythm and the rest would be better.  The rest were pretty much the same, fighting for the top of the pace range or not quite that.  I milked those 0.25 recoveries for all they were worth, running over 8:00 pace, and even walking for about 20 seconds each during the final 2.  I certainly stick by my hypothesis that I can run about 10 seconds/mile faster when I have someone to push me, and I think I could have stayed in the 5:40s if Ben had been able to run the whole workout with me, but I sure couldn't get back down to that gear by myself.  I was somewhat disappointed that I did not come anywhere near my best mile repeats, and that my average pace was "only" 10K race pace, but I am also trying to remind myself that I can't compare workouts run during 55 mile weeks (as was the case with my PR mile repeat workout) to workouts run during 80 mile weeks. It is also probably unfair to compare workouts run alone to workouts run with others.  It was 68*, dew point 68*, so also not as nice as my 10K PR weather.  I gave it my all out there under the circumstances!
  • Sep. 25:  10 x 400 m of regression - splits of 1:25, 1:25, 1:25, 1:26, 1:27, 1:28, 1:28, 1:28, 1:29, 1:30 (goal range was 1:21-1:24).  This was not my day!  I think it was just the perfect storm of several things that were not conducive to a good workout:  71* with a dew point of 71*, tiredness, GI issues/a minor stomach bug, and a calf niggle.  This wasn't the first time I couldn't hit my 10K pace on 400 m repeats and probably won't be the last time either, bahaha!  This was one of those workouts I just had to laugh about in order to not be upset about...you can't win 'em all, and I sure can't seem to win at 400 m repeats this year!
  • Doubles on Sep. 6, 10, 12, 18, 19, 24, and 25.
  • Strides on Sep. 2, 13, 20, 27, 28, and at least few before races and workouts.
  • Full body strength workouts - Like last month, I completed my full strength circuit twice per week and also did 5-10 minutes of core work more days than not.  I also did some extra rehab exercises often for a couple of niggles I had this month.
  • Favorite workout: I felt the best on the Sep. 12 fartlek, which coincidentally also had by far the best weather!


Albani came outside at the end of a run we'd all

started from my house, so got in Amy's daily

Lululemon photo with us!

Long Runs:

  • Sep. 9:  17.5 miles via 3 warm up, the Plaza 10K, and 8.25 cool down.  This sure didn't feel like a 17+ mile day, thanks to my post-PR high and the company of Michelle, Jessi, and Janell on the cool down.  I brought chews and a gel on the cool down...I have learned my lesson about hungry cool downs!  Janell ate an apple on the cool down, which I found quite impressive.
  • Sep. 15:  18.5 miles (6:52).  Let the true long runs really begin!  I had company the first 9 miles (Ben, Claudio, and Missy), and then finished it up solo.  I ran this fasted, although I carried a just-in-case gel.  I felt strong throughout this one!
  • Sep. 21 (Friday):  16.2 miles (7:16).  I ran this one a day early due to our weekend plans, and I didn't feel as perky for it as I usually do for long runs.  Usually I run 4 miles on Fridays, which my coach calls my "rest day", and it truly makes a difference.  I didn't feel bad on this one, but just didn't have as much pep in my step or glycogen in my muscles.  I had Missy with me for about 10 miles, and Rebecca for 8 miles, and it went by quickly.  It was what I presume will be my last summer weather run, at 75*and 90% humidity (I will welcome cooler temps and lower humidity, but I also believe I get a lot of training gains from running in crap weather).  All in all, it is always great to knock out a nearly 2 hour run before work!
  • Sep. 29:  16.2 miles via 3.1 warm up and the Indy Women’s Half. I missed my cool down mileage, but I couldn’t even walk to the car after the race, so there was no chance. 
  • I didn't run long on September 1 because I ran that one a day early on August 31, which in turn got me to a monthly mileage PR in August while subtracting from my September mileage total...but no regrets because with September having only 30 days and 2 of my goal races, it meant no chance for a monthly mileage PR anyhow (plus I lost miles on Sep. 29-30).
  • Favorite long run:  Since there were only two outside of races, I choose the longer - the 18.5 miler!


Smiles from Miles from Mentor group members

(we need a Hoka One One sponsorship!)


  • On Sep. 13 I experienced a first, when a horse that was out of its fence followed my friend Missy and I during our early morning 10 miler.  I've encountered cattle out of their fences before, but this was the first horse.  Our conversation went something like this:  "OMG, Sara, it's chasing us, what do we do?!"- Missy.  "Just keep running, I don't want to stop my watch!"- me.  I knew there was nothing we could do to return the horse to where it belonged, plus it was unclear where it actually belonged (we were between about 10 different farms), so I told Missy to call the non-emergency number for the county sheriff.  When she did, they told her to call 911, so she did that to report the horse's location.  It was a dangerous situation for the horse and any oncoming traffic (although there is really no traffic on this road, it was about a half mile from a highway).  We continued our run after it stopped chasing us, so I hope it was returned to the appropriate location safely, but I know enough to know not to try to handle an unfamiliar large animal!  Missy also thought to snap pictures of me while she was freaking out; if I'd have known she was taking them I'd have turned off my headlamp.
  • Another random first - I found a completely unopened scrapbooking pack laying in the road at the end of a lunch run from my office.  Too bad it wasn't one I'd like to use!  I had to pick it up for the pure weirdness of it though.
  • The last 10 or so days of the month I had a calf issue, which really blew up at the Indy Women’s Half (I limped through 9 miles of the race).  I had a hamstring niggle I was able to train through in late August/early September, and it completely resolved with some extra attention to strengthening and rolling, but the calf thing didn’t respond as well, and by trying to race on it I doomed myself to some days off, in addition to strengthening, stretching, foam rolling, and ART.  I plan to write a separate blog about this also, because hindsight is 20/20 and I know exactly what I did wrong during the final week of the month (the race was the nail in the coffin, but I made a few other errors as well).  Hopefully others can learn from my mistakes!
  • RIP to my running streak - January 27, 2018 to September 29, 2018. I never streak just to streak, and even if I did, I could barely walk on September 30 so there would have been no chance!


You can't say I'm not visible!  I was also returning to over-

dressing for heat adaptation on this 70 degree run


Not horsing around


Found on my run...

Life events:

  • We had events every weekend this month!
  • Labor Day weekend we traveled to Arkansas to visit a friend, visit the fun Bentonville area, and to race a 10K.  This was our fourth year in a row doing this, so it's become a tradition that I'm not willing to give up, even though it's not an ideal match with running the Plaza 10K 6 days later.
  • The weekend of September 8-9 I traveled to Kansas City to run the Plaza 10K and to work at our Kansas City division.
  • Albani had her 11th birthday bash on September 15 at the Ozark Community Center pool.  Her actual birthday was on September 18, which was also her school picture day.  After running mile repeats I still managed to curl her hair.
  • Jon and I celebrated our anniversary on September 17...he got me a trip to Sacramento at the beginning of December, which was exactly what I asked for (CIM!).
  • The weekend of September 22-23 we traveled to Southeast Kansas for a community event fundraiser for one of Jon's closest friend's family members who has Lou Gehrig's disease (more details here).
  • The last weekend of the month I made the trek to Indianapolis with my parents, to run the Indy Women's half.  We had some other fun planned afterward, but ended up heading back home post-race since both my mom and I were having problems walking...it was not our finest day!


My mom made this; the photo was taken after

the Tiger Trot 2016


I got to dine with my 7-year-old nephew while in

 Kansas City


Pool party




Birthday + school picture day


Excuse the dead plants in the background


Bandit is still nearly as big as Albani!


Crazy amazing slip and slide


I was in awe


I can't convince everyone to plunch (planks at lunch) with me,

at work so sometimes I just ask people to lay on my

office floor & chat while I do daily core, hah!


She wore this medal for 2 days straight + our

cat is huge


Our Sep. 30 visitors


Family photo to close out the month


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Another blazing fast month. It'll be interesting to read about calves. I try to care for mine daily, but it always seem like they're a step away from disaster.

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On 10/8/2018 at 2:29 PM, NavEng said:

Another blazing fast month. It'll be interesting to read about calves. I try to care for mine daily, but it always seem like they're a step away from disaster.

Unfortunately my peroneus longus is still a complete disaster!  Definitely don't ever let yours get as bad as I let mine get.

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