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  1. January 2018 in review...Happy New Year! Total mileage for the month: 207 - This should be my lowest mileage month of 2018! Towards the end of the month, I did the math to see if I was going to make it over 200, concluded that I wasn't, and made peace with that (after an initial urge to add mileage) -- but I think I forgot to include Jan. 31 in the calculation, and that was the difference. Jan. 1-7: 55.4 - taper Jan. 8-14: 58.3 - marathon week Jan. 15-21: 20.5 - recovery week (4 days off running) Jan. 22-28: 48.2 - more recovery (1 day off running) Jan. 29-Feb. 4: projected at 55 (back to 7 days of running) January is cold Races: Jan. 14: Chevron Houston Marathon in 2:54:06. Although this was a far-cry from the time I went to Houston to chase, I was content with it. I knew running this one was a risk, and I am glad I took the risk even though I didn't reap The Big Reward. I learned a lot that I will carry forward, and it felt good to run my third fastest marathon and 5th consecutive sub-3:00 with joy. Workouts: Jan. 3: 3 x 2 mile tempos with 0.5 recoveries (2.3 warm-up, 2 cool-down), with splits of 6:06/6:03, 6:00/6:01, 6:05/6:04. My goal pace ranges were progressively faster for each one at 6:05-6:10, 5:55-6:02, and 5:50-6:00, so my first two reps were right on and my last one was 5+ seconds/mile slow; however, considering the weather I thought this was solid. It was 28*/feels like 14* with an 18 mph north wind. The temperature was actually balmy compared to my other runs around this time and I don't think it hurt me one bit, but the wind ate me up. I ran a loop course that is mostly north and south, and it's a fast course that I do most of my tempo and road speed workouts on, but it has zero wind block and going north was tough. I fought to hit my splits on the first two reps, but because the effort was more than the pace showed I didn't have sub-6:00 in me at the end. The last time I ran this workout on October 31, my first two reps were almost identical to what I did in this one, and the last rep was faster, but thanks to Gamin Connect showing weather data I looked back to see that the wind was 3 mph that day, so I am calling this one a win! Jan. 9: 2 mile tempo in 6:13/5:58, 0.5 recovery, 0.5 mile tempo in 2:51 (3 warm up, 2 cool down). This was the same final tune-up workout I did the week of CIM on November 28, and have also done plenty of times before. My goal paces were 6:10-6:15 for the 2 mile and 5:50 for the half mile. Actual paces were almost identical to what I ran 6 weeks before, on the exact same course, so cheers to consistency. Jan. 27 - 2 mile tempo in 11:39 via 5:49.8/5:49.7 (3.3 warm up, 3 cool down). I included the tenths of a second on my splits because I was very happy with my even-ness! This was done during my no training schedule recovery time, because I was dying to run something faster. I rationalized this with wanting to try out a pair of new racing shoes while they were still in the return window. I am almost embarrassed to admit that I bought a pair of Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%s - but I am not above trying them out for the purported performance benefit! After this run I will say that either they really do give a performance benefit, or I was just rested, because I expected I would be more like 6:10 pace because of post-marathon de-training, post-marathon sugar binge weight gain, and the day's powerful wind. Shoe review to be continued... Jan. 30 - 5 x 3' on/3' fartlek (2.1 warm-up, 2 cool-down, 4.24 covered in the fartlek portion). There was definitely a reason that my coach made this one short and effort-based, and it was nice to run a workout even though I still had some "out of gas" feeling going on and it was 16 degrees. My paces for the ons were 6:01, 5:44, 5:55, 5:53, 5:54, which I was overall good with all-considering, but clearly I should have run a little faster on the first rep to keep them all sub-6:00 -- or really just warmed up better, because 2 miles easy is not sufficient at 15* (actually at any temperature some strides and drills sure help!). No doubles - sadness, but it's not the time for them and I also know I would have struggled going out twice on the stupid cold days! Strides on Jan. 3 (pre-workout), 8, 12, and 13. Full body strength workouts on Jan. 1, 22, 28, and 31. I did quite a bit of maintenance work (core, glutes, calves, etc.), nearly daily aside from right before and right after the marathon. I've committed to strength training on my hard running days during this cycle, typically Wednesday and Saturdays, which is recommended but more difficult than what I've been doing with my life schedule. I started on Jan. 28 with a strength workout on my long run day (it's much easier when the long run is only 12 miles) and continued on Jan. 31 on my midweek long run day (a little harder because running 10 miles + 45 minutes of strength work before work is a lot). I know I won't be perfect on this every week, but if I can get at least one full workout of the strength routine my coach gave me every week (along with a little maintenance most days right before or after running), I will be happy. Favorite workout: Since the 3 x 2 mile split tempo was the only full-length workout, it wins by default! Long Runs: Jan. 6: 12 easy (7:22). It was terribly windy for this one with Missy and Rebecca. I love running farm roads, but our typical routes have no wind block, and after a few miles we all agreed that we should have run this one in town! We went out against the wind for 6 miles, running around 7:40 pace. Missy said, "This sure feels like 7:00 pace" and I agreed. When we turned around, we were running 7:00 pace at the same effort. We know our "feels like" paces! It was also "feels like" 4* and my face froze for the first half of the run. Jan. 21: 9.5 easy (7:15). Eh, I'm counting it! This was my first day of feeling more normal after the marathon, and I joined some of my favorite girls (Missy, Jessi, and Danielle) for part of their long runs. I thought I was joining for 8 miles, but the loop I did was a little longer than expected. I ran 1 mile later in the day with Albani, so split I made it to double digit miles for the day, haha! Jan. 28: 12.2 easy (7:26). This was one of those runs that just flew by with good company! I was glad Jessi wanted to take it easy pace-wise along with me, because although I felt about as good as I could expect to post-Houston, my body wasn't ready for a fast long run yet. Favorite long run: I'm struggling with this because I can't classify any of these as actual long runs, but I felt the best on Jan. 28! Highlights/thoughts/randomness: This month I did a lot of record-setting in regards to the coldest conditions I'd ever run in. New Years Day I tackled 3*/feels like -11* (in daylight) and on January 2 I ran in -1*/feels like -8* before dawn. At the end of December I set some similar records, with a 10 mile hill repeat workout in feels like -3* on December 27 (my first time running double digit mileage at below 0 real feel), a 21 miler in feels like 6* on December 30 (my coldest long run ever) and a recovery run on December 31 in feels like -6* (my coldest run ever until I bettered it on January 2). These are the kind of PRs I could do without ever improving on. I used to not run outside if it felt like below 0*, so I've been proud of myself! I hope February isn't terrible, though. I am slower in the extreme cold. It's easy for me to forget that the cold effects pace physiologically, as heat also does. I run my easy runs by feel, and they were around 30 sec/mile slower when it was very cold - some of this is probably from wearing 15 lbs of clothing. I heard my second mention on Lindsey Hein's I'll Have Another Podcast. I'm a new listener, but it's safe to say I'm addicted to this podcast now. I was listening to the Christmas special (late, clearly), and they talked a little about CIM. The gist of my mention was on the topic of PRs at CIM, and something like "That Sara girl we met at Indy ran a 2:47...and she only ran a 1:20 half at Indy." Hah. I'll give them a much better "only" with my 5K PR! 2:47 and 1:20 are actually pretty equivalent performances, per the Jack Daniels calculator, but a lot of people can't pull off a marathon equivalent to what their half predicts. I am the opposite and can't pull off the short distance times my marathon predicts. The podcast I'm mentioned in is here. I proactively ended my running streak on 1/15/18. I ran every day from 6/20/17 to 1/14/18. I never planned to streak, but I began running 7 days a week in my CIM build and it just happened. It then became pretty hard for my obsessive personality to stop to stop streaking (I ran for 10 minutes/1.1 miles the day after CIM to maintain it), but I knew I needed to stop it both physically and mentally, and to stop it while I was healthy. After all, I have to get prepared to build for a 2:45 attempt at Grandma's Marathon in June! Speaking on Grandma's Marathon...I applied for and was accepted as an elite! I'll get have my own fluid bottles placed on the course which I am super excited about. My official training schedule for it began Jan. 29 (although the first few weeks will be lighter), and if all goes as planned I will have another streak from Jan. 27 through race day on June 16. Albani ran her first 5K! Albani and my mom attended the OMRR (our local running club) banquet while I was in Houston! Non-running life events: We welcomed the New Year at home, with family game and movie time. I tried to fall asleep during a movie around 10:00 p.m., but Jon and Albani were being loud and kept me awake until around 10:45 p.m. At that point Jon sent Albani to bed, but then she came back downstairs at midnight to wish us happy New Year. I only halfway awoke for that! I love being old, haha! We got some extra time with my parents after the Houston Marathon. My mom stayed with Albani while my dad went with Jon and I to Houston. We returned from Houston late Sunday night, and my parents were planning to leave on Monday morning, but due to bad weather they ended up staying with us until Wednesday! Albani was also out of school due to the snow on Monday through Wednesday (then had a late start Thursday), and everyone had a great time. I had to work but I also don't do well with not leaving the house for days on end, so it was alright. Our wild New Years I imagine I made a similar face when I went outside in this temperature! Being spoiled by Grandma
  2. December 2017 in review! The title refers to my marathon PR on December 3 followed by the slowest mile I ran all year on December 4. :-) Total mileage for the month: 255 --- in comparison: January - 261, February - 212, March - 203, April - 219, May - 249, June - 205, July - 275, August - 301, September - 271, October - 323, November - 267...that makes 3043 for 2017!) Nov. 27-Dec. 3: 53.6 - 26.2 of this being CIM! Dec. 4-10: 28.6 - recovery week Dec. 11-17: 58.3 - yes, I wanted to go back out for 1.7 Dec. 18-24: 70.9 - peak mileage week for Houston Dec. 25-31: 65 - how convenient that 2017 ended at the end of a training week Ibbetson Christmas card Races: Dec. 3: California International Marathon in a new PR of 2:47:14. I wrote 8 posts about this race (the post linked contains links to the 7 others), so I'm not sure I can add much here, but I'm both beyond thankful and hungry for more. Dec. 16: Ugly Sweater "5K". I don't have anything to add about this one either, for different reasons! I loved racing in Christmas attire, though (Christmas compression socks were also involved) Workouts: Dec. 13: 2 progressive fast finish miles on the tail end of a 9 miler, to ease back into some faster running. I was supposed to drop 10-15 seconds/mile, something like 6:45, 6:30, but I ended up doing 6:36, 6:16. It felt nice to reintroduce some faster running, and clearly I wasn't 100% recovered 1.5 weeks after the marathon, but recovery seemed to be going smoothly. The last mile did make me question how I ever ran 26.2 miles at an average pace of only 6 seconds slower than that one, though. Dec. 16: 16.1 miles with 5 x 1:00 pick-ups to marathon goal pace at the beginning of miles 8-12, again, just to ease back into some faster running. I had a hard time finding 6:17 pace, and these were: 5:55, 6:11, 6:03, 6:02, 6:15. I hit the sweet spot on pace at the end (the second one appears close but it was uphill), but otherwise I kept going either too slow and then overcompensating, or too fast throughout. Dec. 20: Flipping fartlek (2.9 warm-up, 6' on, 1' off, 5' on, 2' off, 4' on, 3' off, 3' on, 4' off, 2' on, 5' off, 1' on, 2.5 cool-down for 11 miles total). When discussing this workout with others who've done it, we always call it the flippin' fartlek and laugh. It can be a beast, but my chief complaint about it is that the way the pushes and recoveries are inverse makes you run positive mile splits. My push paces were 5:54, 5:52, 5:41, 5;42, 5:43, 5:41, which I was pleased with (my average pace for all 5.61 miles I covered during the workout was 6:25, with 21:00 total hard and 15:00 total recoveries). The 6:00 hard/1:00 recovery/5:00 hard sequence is in theory the hardest, but I also like that part a lot because it's almost like a 2 mile repeat! Dec. 23: 18.1 miles with a 5 mile progression (6:42 for all 18.1; progression miles of 6:37, 6:32, 6:37, 6:17, 6:08). I ended up running a bit different than this workout was written, because I joined a men's group in Wichita while visiting my parents for Christmas. They were generous enough to oblige on the progression, but it was done on the fly once I realized that we were putting down 6:30s mid-run (they also stopped at 14 miles, so I'm glad we ran it how we did). I was supposed to do 12 miles steady (7:00ish), then a 5 mile progression of 6:50, 6:40, 6:30, 6:20, 6:10, but ended up doing miles 1-8 steady (between 6:41-6:57, except mile 1 was 7:22), then miles 9-13 progression, then miles 14-18 steady (between 6:35-6:49). This long run as a whole was the fastest 18 I've ever done in training, so yay (and only twice have I run faster 18's in races, in my 2:47 and 2:49 marathons). It was also the flattest long run I've done, which was perfect because Houston is pancake flat. Dec. 25: Short 90"/90" fartlek (2 warm-up, 2 fartlek, 1 cool-down, 1 with 6 x strides). My coach gave me a little workout for Christmas! My push paces were 6:08, 5:59, 5:44, 5:44, 5:46. It took me two of them to fully warm up since it was 20*. I felt a bit off on this workout due to holiday travel, holiday eating, and sleep deprivation, but it was nice to get in a little run before Christmas morning got too crazy. Dec. 27: 8 x 0.25 hill repeats (3ish warm-up and 3ish cool-down to 10 miles total). I set a personal record by completing my first ever double digit run in sub-zero conditions (feels like -3*)...this is a PR I wouldn't mind going the rest of my life without improving! This workout was pretty much a struggle, mentally and physically, the entire way, but I got it done. My hill repeat splits were the slowest I've ever run on this hill (grade adjusted paces were 6:01-6:28, whereas I usually keep them 5:30-5:45), but I had on about 10 lbs of clothing in addition to the 10 lbs I feel like I gained over Christmas, and I just couldn't move in the conditions (the upside is that I was warm enough the whole time, though!). I remembered why I take speed work to the treadmill when it gets this cold out. Although my performance sucked, I was proud of myself for simply doing this one at all -- I am pretty sure normal people would have stayed in bed this morning. This run also put me over 3,000 miles for 2017. Doubles on Dec. 19 and 21. Strides on Dec. 1, 2, 11, 14, 18, 21, and 25. Bootcamp or full body strength workouts on Dec. 11, 18, and 25 (yes, I managed it on Christmas, albeit a shorter one) -- plus enough additional strength work to get to at least 90 minutes total per week starting back the week of Dec. 11. During the final 2 weeks of the month I ended up doing 120 min.+ per week because I was focusing on strengthening my weaker glute with daily exercises. Our Dec. 18 bootcamp did a 12 days of Christmas workout, going through the following repeatedly just like the song, and it was one of my favorite bootcamps ever: 1 burpee, 2 walk-outs, 3 push-ups, 4 single-leg dead lifts (on each leg), 5 squats with overhead press, 6 mountain climbers (counting 1 leg only, so really 12), 7 renegade rows (on each arm), 8 lunges (on each leg), 9 single leg balances (dead lifts without weights, on each leg), 10 forward/backwards runs, 11 jumping jacks, 12 consecutive 5 second wall-sits (which was just a 60 second wall-sit, but had to be made into 12 somehow). Favorite workout: The progression run within the 18 miler on Dec. 23 is the clear winner! The hill repeats on Dec. 27 is the clear last place! Long Runs: Dec. 16: 16.1 miles including 5 x 1:00 pick-ups to marathon goal pace, described above. Dec. 23: 18.1 miles with 1-8 relaxed, 9-13 progression, 14-18 relaxed, also described above. Dec. 30: 21.1 miles (6:42). With the race director's permission, I ran the first 21 miles of a small local marathon with a friend who was gunning for his first sub-3:00 (he did it with a 2:58:04!). This was my fastest 20+ ever in training, and also a cold weather PR because it was feels like 6*. I have never done a long run when it was quite that cold! I was so thankful to have someone to run this with, because it's tricky to get out for that many miles in that cold of weather. I felt good overall but I was sure happy to stop at 21. It was one of those days where I thought, "Well, on one hand that was super solid, but on the other hand how will I ever run 5 more miles all at 25 sec/mile faster??!" One thing is for certain: I don't plan to try for that at 6*! Favorite long run: I was really happy with both the 18 and 21, but I'll go with the 18 because I felt better at the end! Highlights/thoughts/randomness: I'll be a nuunbassador again in 2018! Non-running life events: We vacationed in San Francisco during our trip to California after CIM. Highlights included Fisherman's Wharf, Muir Woods, the Golden Gate Bridge, Piers 31-39, Lands End Look-Out, Twin Peaks Look-Out, and Alcatraz. I have never walked to much post-marathon! Christmas, of course. We hosted family in the 2 days after Christmas, for a few Springfield/Branson adventures. This was a challenge for me because I went back to work on Dec. 27 -- probably a challenge for my husband for the same reason, but it was his idea and his family, haha! This is probably also related to my crap run before work on Dec. 27. It was hard to narrow down photos to include below! Looking out from Pier 39 to Alcatraz On the beach with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge Muir Woods Twin Peaks Look Out Alcatraz More gifts than tree at my parents' Major family Christmas For our 2018 Christmas card! Some were more excited about the hats than others Jon tired of photos before we did Grandma love Stockings Cousin love Ibbetson Christmas More cousin love
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