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Found 17 results

  1. SIbbetson

    Snow Busted

    I love that Dave puts together the Snowbuster Pikermi every year. I always enter, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually run a hard 13.1 miles for it. I typically take the longest or best run that I have within that date range and enter it. This year the weekend fell 3 weeks before my next marathon, so I had my longest long run of this cycle planned – a 23 miler! After a really rough patch in January, I took 8 days off running and decided I wasn’t going to run my March marathon after all. It’s an inaugural race near where my parents live (where I grew up). All along I was planning to run it completely for fun (without a time goal) prior to getting serious about a PR attempt at Grandma’s Marathon in June. At the end of January, I was feeling terrible and getting slower by the day, so I figured there was no point in running my for fun race when running wasn’t fun! However, I guess those 8 days off plus another week easy was exactly what I needed. Once I started running again (sans training schedule) I felt the best I have in months and was improving. I was running quite a bit of mileage simply because I felt like it. On February 23 I decided that if I could run 18 miles that day, then follow it with a 20 miler on March 2 and a 23 miler on March 9, I could do a 2 week taper and run my planned marathon after all – and I passionately wanted to! February 23 didn’t exactly go as planned; I ran 20 instead of 18 and felt amazing doing it (I'd run an 18 in January so this wasn't completely unreasonable). That meant I could do my 23 miler on March 2 and still have a 3 week taper in my long run distance, which is my preference, so I decided to run 23 miles on snowbuster day. This also allows me to do a long run with a workout on March 9, but that's another post... I have several training buddies who are also marathon training, and two of them wanted to get in 21-23 miles that day as well, so it worked very nicely. The weather was great; 32 degrees with a windchill of 26 degrees. Since my training cycle has been rocky to say the least, I simply wanted 23 steady miles with nothing fast or fancy (i.e., no workout). I really wanted to finish strong because I really needed that confidence boost to tackle a marathon on fewer long long runs that I typically do. If I bombed this one I couldn't exactly say, "It's okay, my other 23 miler went great!" I told my friends that I didn’t want to run anything under 7:30 pace during the first half of the run, and that if I felt good I’d be open to dropping the pace later, but I left my watch under my sleeve for the entire run so really didn’t know what we were doing. I am a big proponent of running by feel, and sometimes ignorance of pace can be bliss! I started the run with Claudio, Rebecca, and Jack. Jack is a high school junior who has been running with our group to prepare for track season, and his long run was 8 miles, so we began with an 8 mile loop and dropped him off. I’d set a small bottle with a gel taped to it on the back of my car and picked it up on the run. I like to practice marathon aid stations like this during long runs; I never stop my watch to drink or fuel because race clocks don’t stop. We then tackled a 13 mile loop because Claudio was aiming for 21-22 miles. The miles flew by and I felt strong. The pace never felt hot and we talked the whole time. Rebecca had a bit of a rough day and dropped back from us around mile 14. I've run enough long runs that I can typically tell how things will hold up, and I felt like I was going to finish the 23 strong. We eat 23 miles for breakfast At 18 I knew for sure that 23 was going to be no problem at all. I didn’t really realize we were speeding up, but my splits tell me that we did. We made it back to our cars at 21 miles, and Claudio said he’d do 22. I felt fine with finishing up a mile on my own after he stopped, but then he said he’d go to 23 with me, which was even better! After we finished, he made a comment about our sub-7:00 miles, and I said, “I don't think I ran any miles under 7:00” and he said, Yeah, yes you did”, which I discovered was true when I uploaded my run. My last 5 miles were all 6:50-7:05, and my average pace for the entire run was the fastest I’d run a relaxed long run this season. Before my injury in September 2018, I was running my entire long runs at 6:50-7:05 pace, and while my fitness is not back to that level yet, this was a small glimpse that it’s coming back. I also set a PR on my rolling 7 days mileage this day! I was pumped about this volume, but will admit that it was easier than most weeks I've done in the 80s with workouts (I did only one baby workout, a 3 mile tempo run within a 10 miler, plus a couple set of strides - the rest was easy running). Our forecast called for 5-8 inches of snow overnight on March 2 into the morning of March 3. I woke up on March 3 to about an inch of snow, and finished off my weekly mileage while it was still coming down. We ended up getting very little more, so I'm going to say my snowbuster run worked to bust the almost all of our snow. I hope the Snowbuster Race Series continues every winter! Now come on, spring! Splits It wasn't flat either
  2. January 2019 in Review Total mileage for the month: 262.7 Dec. 31-Jan. 6: 73.7 (2:42 strength training) Jan. 7-13: 76.5 (2:46 strength training) Jan. 14-20: 75.1 (2:29 strength training) Jan. 21-27: 45.7 (1:52 strength training, 2:00 cardio cross-training) Jan. 28-Feb. 3: ?? (3 as of Jan. 31, plus cross-training) Races: Not there yet! Amy makes winter running much better! Workouts: Jan. 1 - 3 x 1 mile repeats with 0.5 recoveries in 6:12, 6:18, 6:18 (2.1 warm up, 1.3 cool down). This was my first workout on my first official day back working with my coach; clearly he didn't hold back! I left my Garmin account connected to his coaching platform when I was building mileage post-injury, so he knew what I'd been doing, and it was pretty clear that my endurance was solid but my leg turnover/speed was in dire need of help, so this was where we started. The pace range he gave me for these was 6:11-6:18, and I feared that I wouldn't be able to do it but vowed to try. I had to really work to keep the final one in range, but I made it! Afterwards I told him he chose the perfect pace range for my current fitness, because this was challenging but do-able. If I'd have been in charge of my own workouts, I certainly wouldn't have picked mile repeats, and if I did I would have aimed for more like 6:30 pace, so day 1 being coached again showed me that I need to be coached (even though he gave me a workout and double on New Years Day)! Jan. 5 - fast finish long run, described below. Jan. 9 - 6.3 mile 3'2'1' fartlek (recoveries equal to next push, 3.2 warm up, 2.5 cool down). This was supposed to be 6 miles, but who is going to stop in the middle of a push? My push paces were 5:45-6:36, but mostly 6:05-6:15. It was very windy and I blame that for the inconsistency in pacing - the 6:36 was definitely all into the wind and the 5:45 was definitely all out of it! My average pace for all 6.3 miles was 6:50; pre-injury I'd average more like 6:20 on this type of workout, so it was pretty consistent with everything I'm running right now being 30 seconds/mile slower than what I was doing at peak fitness. I am choosing to be thankful for the opportunity to improve rather than upset about being slower, but sometimes not comparing is hard. Jan. 15 - 3 mile tempo (3.3 warm up, 4 cool down) at 6:30 average via 6:27, 6:33, 6:29. I ran with Rebecca, and our Garmins were significantly discrepant (her's said 6:19 average), so I would rather claim that since my goal was 6:18! We have had Garmin discrepancies on that course before, although not by that much and usually mine is the faster one, hah. We had very dense fog for this workout so it was also pretty much like running hard into a dark abyss, because headlamps are rendered nearly useless in fog (mine also iced over because it was 29 degrees!). I gave it my best effort, but it was honestly very disheartening to be unable to maintain the pace I've run for several marathons for a mere 3 miles after being back to running for 7 weeks. Jan. 17 - 4 x 0.15 presses at the beginnings of miles 7-10 within in 10 miler. This is just a tiny get-your-legs-moving/mix-it-up kind of workout, but it always serves as a good reminder that I actually can pick up the pace if I need to. My press paces were 5:54, 5:37 (downhill), 6:01, and 6:20 (uphill). This was run #3 of the month in cold rain, but at 42 degrees and no wind, it was fine, especially after my Jan. 12 long run, detailed below. Jan. 21 - 5 x 1 mile tempos with 0.25 recoveries (2 warm up, 1.5 cool down) in 6:27, 6:33, 6:30, 6:30, 6:33. I had pretty low expectations for this workout since we were in a wind advisory and the windchill was 2 degrees, and I suppose I met those expectations. I put forth my best effort and was consistent with my splits, which was really all I could have hoped for. When I stopped my Garmin it said I needed 3.5 days to recover, which seemed about right, haha! Doubles on Jan. 1, 7, 14, 21. Strides on Jan. 10, 20, 24. Favorite workout: Weeellllll, I can truthfully say that I was thankful for all of them, but not satisfied with any of them. Long Runs: Jan. 5 - 15.6 miles (7:27) with 3 progressive fast finish miles in 7:05, 6:52, 6:36. We had a great group of 7 for this run, although about everyone was doing different distances. Claudio was kind enough to fast finish with me, even though he kicked my tail on the final hill (without the hill, I'd have been in the 6:20s for my final mile, but even though my lack of fitness showed on the hill it was good for me to fight it). Dying less every week though! Jan. 12 - 18 miles (7:46) in 33 degrees and rain, with a windchill of 22. I learned a lot of things on this run, the most important of which was that I am never running that far in these conditions again! I ran a 5 miler in similar conditions the week before, and finished it toasty and dry, so I thought I would be okay...plus there was really no alternative since it had been the exact same temperate with rain for about 36 hours straight and was supposed to continue the entire day until it changed to snow overnight. I was afraid the roads would be a sheet of ice on Sunday so I didn't want to bump it a day (although in actuality they weren't too terrible and I ran outside the next day), and I couldn't wrap my head around running this on the treadmill. I felt decent for the first 10 miles or so, but during a patch of heavy rain even the awesome rainproof jacket I'd borrowed didn't hold up, so I was just cold, soaked, and carrying what felt like 15 lbs of water in my jacket, tights, socks, and shoes. We ran a big loop course to force us to commit to the distance (my idea, oy.), so there was no choice but to keep plodding along back to my car. On the road back there was a lot of flooding and standing water, so my shoes ended up extremely soaked and heavy (at that point the only alternative routes would have added 2-4 miles to the run, so I ran through the flooding but remembered why we don't run that part of that road when it's rained a lot). My only saving grace was that at the last minute before we started I grabbed plastic grocery bags out of my car's console and put them over my mittens, and with the way I had them tied up and gripped, my hands stayed dry. That is the only reason I didn't stop at 16.2 miles when I passed my car! This run confirmed my suspicions that I would have been among the people who died off at Boston 2018, because I definitely slowed and struggled, and felt like I was shutting down. I was with 3 friends, and Rebecca and Claudio went ahead and ran a beautiful negative split while I dragged my frozen self in. My body definitely isn't made for cold rain. Amy was also with us, and she ran Boston 2018 and said this run was colder but less windy (14 mph wind). I came very close to crying during this run, but at the same time I was sure glad to say I gritted it out and always thankful to run! Jan. 18 - 16.4 miles (7:37). I ran this one a day early to avoid another cold rain/ice/snow fiasco. I told my coach I had PTSD from the previous week's cold rain long run and wasn't doing that again! Missy was kind enough to run most of it with me - I ran about 3 miles, picked her up and we did 10 together, then I ran back home. I started at 4:44 a.m. because I had to be at work a little before 8:00, so it was still pitch dark even when I finished, but I was happy to have it knocked out to reduce weather-related stress! It was actually really nice, around 36 degrees and light wind, which is very warm for that time of day in January in Missouri (last year I had many morning runs in below zero wind chills). Jan. 26 - I skipped this one, because I learned from my September-November injury and the great tendon debacle of 2016. More details to come, but I just knew that if I ran this my peroneal tendon was going to get seriously injured, so I stayed home. I think my body hates winter. Better 5-7 days off now than 8 weeks off later! Favorite long run: I felt the best on the January 5 one! My body kind of went downhill after the Jan. 12 one... 8 degrees & pitch dark Highlights/thoughts/randomness: I started back working with my coach this month. I think my rapid mileage increase post-injury made it clear that I need someone to save me from myself, and my avoidance of workouts in December also showed I needed a push. He gave mile repeats and a double on New Years Day, hah. This article about CIM really illustrates why I wanted to run it in 2018 and hope to return in 2019! I have a long ways to go to get to where I want to be, though. I've been feeling discouraged about my paces, but I'm not sure what to do about it except to keep plugging along. I remembered why winter training stresses me out: winter weather uncertainty and my inability to control it! I also think my body responds poorly to winter weather (especially stupid cold morning lows); I recently realized that I have never had a good winter of outside morning running except in 2017, which was a very mild winter. In 2018 I had a serious winter slump (slowed and became worn down - some details here and here but I was relatively quiet about it), in 2016 I got injured, in 2015 I did okay due to running almost all of my weekday runs on the treadmill (manageable since I was typically running Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday), 2012-2014 I wasn't running much, in 2011 I got injured, and before then I ran mostly at lunch when I was at a different job. Look at that resting heart rate of 32! Average was more like 40. Life events: I have never done a word/phrase of the year before, but one came to me for 2019: "Lead me". I often question whether I'm making the right decisions, and what could be better than focusing on where God leads me? We had a pretty low key month; some weekends we didn't go anywhere except for church (and out running for me). Jon enjoyed cheering for the Chiefs, and Albani watches the games with him because he gives her candy when they score or make a good play. Albani is learning to play the recorder and practices a lot, which is both a good and bad thing! Nature loving on a 62 degree January day! I had some thoughts this month about changing my sport to bowling! Crazy hair day on little notice Her hair is supposed to look like pouring soda We had a snow day on Jan. 30 Recorder practice Books this month: Once Upon a Time There Was You by Elizabeth Berg The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld Time Keeper by Mitch Albom Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes & Jo Piazza Clay Girl by Heather Tucker A Child Called "It" by Dave Pelzer The Reason You're Alive by Matthew Quick Theme of the month: Struggling. I came upon these verses at just the right time: "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." - Romans 5:3-5 I cannot run a 3 mile tempo at the pace I used to run for marathons, my mile repeats are at my goal marathon pace (or slower in bad weather), and my current all-out sprint is maybe my 10K PR pace...but I am sure thankful to be running regardless! At least my mileage is solid. I just keep wondering what I'm doing wrong because I really haven't improved in the 10 weeks I've been back to running post-injury... BUT! I am SO THANKFUL to be running! Especially after taking some time off with a little tendon scare from Jan. 26-Jan. 30, which was consistent with the struggling theme.
  3. SIbbetson

    2018 Running Highlights

    I recently read my Top 5 Running Highlights of 2017 when searching for my yearly mileage history list. I was correct when I noted in that post that 2017 would be hard to top! My 2018 running wasn't quite what I wanted, but I have a lot to be thankful for. My Instagram Top 9 wasn't far off! My Highlights Were: With 3,047 miles, I ran my highest yearly mileage ever, surpassing my 2017 mileage by 4 miles (the 2017 mileage was a huge yearly mileage PR). I had 8 weeks of mileage in the 80s, which before this year I had only done for 1 week, in 2017. All other "normal" training weeks were in the 60s-70s; the weeks that were not that high were when I was tapering, recovering, injured, or returning from injury - the majority of those when I was healthy were in the 50s, but several were big fat zeros when I was injured. I am pretty pumped that I managed a yearly mileage PR with 8 weeks of downtime, and I know I can improve it next year if I don't get injured. I counted my AlterG treadmill miles in this total, which feels a little like cheating, but I did run the distance so I'm keeping them (my outside miles are around 160 less). I ran a huge 10K PR. Everything really came together for the Plaza 10K even though I did not rest for it or do any 10K-specific training. Although I was extremely disappointed that my fall season was cut short, I am so thankful that I got this race in before I got injured. I was thrilled to better my track best on a rolling road course, but more importantly it really showed me how well my body responded to consistent higher mileage training (higher mileage is all relative, I know 70-80 is nothing for some but it is the most I've ever done). I'd been targeting running a 36:59 10K for over a year, but I really never thought I'd be able to run a 36:34 on the road. I ran two solid marathons. Although I did not accomplish my time goal in Houston, it was a great experience and I'm glad I went for it. I am proud to say that my complete bonk/bad day marathon there was a 2:54. Grandma's wasn't what I dreamed of when I selected the race, but based on how terrible I felt for most of the build up, I am proud that I pulled off a 2:49:08, my second fastest marathon. I sure hope I have more in me as far as marathon PRs go, but regardless I sure enjoy the training process and the races! I set two Missouri single age state records, in the half marathon at Rock the Parkway and the 12K at the Big 12 12K. Neither are great times, but they are currently the best a 37-year-old female in Missouri has managed. I bombed nearly every run in the months leading up to those races, so even though I don't think I ran good times, I do think I ran really well compared to how I was performing in training. I persisted. In February, March, and April I had an illness and a slump (which was extra hard since I was coming off of several break-through performances in fall 2017), but I raced beyond what my training said I should have in everything I raced for the first 6 months of the year. I was injured in September, but I did everything I could to strengthen my weaknesses and to return to training. I learned. I learned how much consistent mileage helps my race times. I learned to be more cautious about running when sick, and about running and racing on potential injuries. I re-learned just how much I love the sport and how empty I feel without it. I learned that my running friends mean the world to me. I re-prioritized. My biggest goal is to run for the rest of my life. This is more important than any PR. That doesn't mean my Big Goal (2:45:00 marathon) has changed, just that it's decidedly second on the list, at best. I was more thankful. I still have a ways to go in this arena, but I did better. I've always been pretty bad about wanting more and more, in running and in other aspects of my life. Looking back, I haven't appreciated many milestones and PRs because I was already onto my next goal. The first time I broke 3:00 in the marathon, I left the finish chute ecstatic but also thinking, "I can run faster." I distinctly remember waiting for my flight at the Phoenix airport following my break-through 2:49 marathon emailing my coach saying I wanted to train for a 2:45, instead of relishing in the post-race high. I wasn't nearly as happy about my 2:47 at CIM as I should have been, because it wasn't "enough" compared to a very specific cut-off time. I regret that I didn't savor those moments, but this year I found more joy in my performance at Grandma's Marathon than in any of those marathons, even though it wasn't a PR. I really let myself ride a high after my PR at the Plaza 10K. I do want more, but if I never get more I will still find great joy in the process. I am more thankful than ever now. I helped others. Whenever someone tells me that I helped them, I am reminded why I was given my passion for running. I typically don't realize I'm doing it, but whether it's by answering running questions, giving training advice, encouraging others, inviting someone to join our group runs, listening to my friends when we run together, helping my local running club, or making individualized training schedules for friends free of charge, I have opportunities to give back often. That has to be why God made me a runner. I know I'll remember all of the people that running has brought into my life more than I'll remember any PR; however... Bring on 2019 training blocks and goal races! I have a long way to go to get back to my best fitness, but I'm ready to try!
  4. December 2018 in Review Total mileage for the month: 316.3 -- in comparison: January - 207, February - 254, March - 298, April - 307, May - 355, June - 232, July - 290, August - 357, September - 305, October - 10, November - 114. This was a good mileage month, but only about 5 of those miles were fast (I am not even kidding)! In 2018 I ran 3,047 miles total, which was a yearly mileage PR! I ran 3,043 in 2018 (see #4 here), and I thought because of my calf injury this year I wouldn't be able to beat that, but in the end I did! Full story: I looked at my year-to-date total on Dec. 2 and although I'd never cared much about yearly totals before then, I suddenly felt it would be a complete tragedy if I didn't make it over 3,000 this year. So I did the math and suddenly had a goal of running at least 62.5 miles a week for the rest of the year, as long as my calf continued to feel 100%. I ended up with weekly totals over that and began closing in on my 2017 total, but I didn't expect to beat it until with 4 days left in the year, I checked it and saw that 40 more miles would get me there. 40 miles in 4 days is completely reasonable, so I decided to go for it. Nov. 26-Dec. 2: 52.4 (31 AlterG) Plus 4:05 cardio cross-training, 2:30 strength training Dec. 3-9: 64.8 (22 AlterG) Plus 1:30 cardio cross-training, 2:50 strength training Dec. 10-16: 72.8 (11 AlterG) Plus 2:46 strength training (0 cardio cross-training from here on!!!) Dec. 17-12: 75.5 (12 AlterG) Plus 2:40 strength training Dec. 24-30: 80.1 (10 AlterG) Plus 2:16 strength training Dec. 31-Jan. 6: projected at 70 Merry Christmas! Races: I had the final DNS of my injury, missing the California International Marathon. This DNS burned the worst by far. I'm hoping to return to the magic of CIM in 2019, though. Workouts: Dec. 13 - At the hill closest to the end of my run, I completed 4 x 1:00ish hill repeats. Hill repeats are hard for me even when I'm in shape, and these were tough for a mere 4:00 of hard running! I didn't time them exactly or take my paces on them, just ran from a sign to a mailbox that took me about a minute the first time, then repeated it 3 times before jogging back to where I was parked. Hills are a great way to get speed work with less impact, and I was scared of everything except hills sprints and strides this month. Dec. 28 - I finally bit the bullet and ran a real workout - 3 mile tempo at 6:36 via 6:43, 6:43, 6:24 (2.1 warm up, 2.3 cool down). I chose the windiest day to do this, but also figured that would mean I'd for sure improve on my next workout. I wasn't sure what to expect so I ran this by feel, as I am usually pretty good at zeroing in on tempo effort. I did look at my mile splits, and my main thought at mile 2 was "I may have lost my speed, but at least I didn't lose my ability to run consistent splits!". This run reminded me that it takes me 2 miles of any tempo to get into a groove and feel good, but I was still sure glad to stop after 3 hard miles! I'm very thankful to be running and to have the opportunity to re-gain fitness, but it's sure hard not to compare. I kept thinking "I have no idea how I used to run marathons averaging paces in the 6:20s!" but I also know that improvements come much faster when you haven't run workouts in a long time...here's hoping [Jan. 1 note - I did improve in my second workout back]! I wore two Garmins on this run: my old 220 and new 235, and they had all of my mile splits within 2 seconds of each other so unfortunately my disappointing pace was pretty accurate. Doubles on Dec. 18, and 26. My 80 mile week during the final week of the month was the first time I hit 80 with only 1 double! Strides on Dec. 10, 18, 23, and 26. Full body strength workouts: I started listing my weekly strength training totals with my weekly mileage above. Most of my strength routine uses body weight (e.g., planks, push ups, walking lunges) or resistance bands (e.g., clamshells, monster walks, glue bridges), but I do some weighted moves (e.g., squats, deadlifts, rows). I ran 10 miles in this ugly Christmas sweater! 8* is less cold with friends, but apparently feels colder to me than to Amy! Long Runs: Dec. 1: I tagged my 7.2 miles (7:36) as a long run on Strava, because when your outdoor runs have been 0 for 8 weeks, 7.2 is long! While the duration of the run seemed short, it also seemed like a long way to run, if that makes any sense at all. It was a nice one, with my running buddies Amy R., Elise, Rebecca, and Claudio on farm roads in 48 degrees. I can't say that I like being the one running the shortest distance, however. Dec. 8: 12.2 miles (7:39) with my amazing friends Missy and Rebecca on a cold and windy morning! I also ran 10 miles (7:26) for my midweek long run with Rebecca that week, on Dec. 5, which was my first double digit run outside post-injury! Dec. 15: 14 miles (7:19) with a wonderful group (Rebecca, Missy, Jackie, Danielle, and Claudio...I told Claudio he was in for a lot of estrogen!). Early on some of the 7:10ish miles felt a bit hot, and I sure felt the long inclines in miles 10-11, but my final 2 miles were my fastest (7:05, 6:50) and I was happy to average 20 sec/mile faster than the previous week, going 2 miles farther. The upside of returning from injury is that you improve much more rapidly than when you're fit! I'd had a few daily runs that were around 7:15 pace by this point in my comeback, but they'd been 5-6 milers, so this was really solid for where I was at. I then ended up running 12.2 miles the next day on Dec. 16 (oops - but the pace was slower at 7:57). Dec. 21: 16.2 miles (7:49) with Missy, before work. This seemed like a really good idea until my alarm sounded at 4:00 a.m. the Friday morning of the run! Shortly after, Missy texted me, "What were we thinking??!" We'd planned on a pace over 30 seconds/mile faster than this, but it just wasn't the day for it. After hearing the wind whipping around all night, we decided that even 8:00 pace would be fine and we'd consider it time on feet. It was very windy, but I think most of my problem was eating crappy the day before at Christmas events and probably also getting used to the miles...after all, I did go from a long run of 7.2 to 16.2 in 3 weeks! It didn't seem that long (thanks to my super long cross-training sessions that weren't nearly as fun), but for the remainder of the day my body sure reminded me that I hadn't run this distance in almost 3 months. But whenever you run 16 miles before the sun comes up, you accomplished something - plus Missy is awesome! Dec. 24: 14 miles (7:59) on Christmas Eve for an unscheduled but excellent long run! I met up with April to run the Chisholm Trail Marathon course in Wichita while visiting my parents for Christmas, which ended up being the perfect Christmas Eve bonus long run. The course is two loops of 13.1 miles, and she had a 14 miler scheduled so I of course ended up running the extra mile. The run went by really quickly and felt more like 7 miles instead of 14, and we only made one wrong turn when navigating the course from my memory (i.e., the course is very easy to follow even completely unmarked)! Dec. 29: 14 miles (7:39) mostly before dawn. I ran the first 7 with Elise, Amy, and Rebecca at around 8:00 pace, then did a progressive-ish 6 at around 7:20 pace because I felt good! We ran a 13 mile loop but when I got back to my car I decided to tack on another mile for 14 (funny, initially I'd planned a cut back long run of 12 this week but ended up with two 14s instead). I would have run 15-16, or maybe even 18, if I hadn't been on a time crunch to get home because Jon had to leave...and that was a nice feeling that I hadn't experienced on a long run recently! I followed this up with 11.6 miles the next day. Favorite long run: All of them! I love every single run! My new compression socks! Elise bought the same pack & we both wore a pair on 12/16 Cross-Training: I supplemented a little with cross-training as I worked up my mileage, but nothing like the previous two months (thank God)! The earliest I can start running on the AlterG is 6:15 a.m. (and I pulled a lot of strings to make that happen - the first appointment for it is actually at 7:00 a.m.), so some days I ran on it at the beginning of the month I did 30 minutes on the bike or elliptical at home before, because I can't sleep past 5:00 a.m. That died off pretty quickly though, hah. Reflecting with Amy on 12/13 (it was in the 40s this morning!) This is why Amy is usually in charge of post- run photos - Kansas City run w/ Jessi on 12/17 This is how dark it is when we finish weekday runs... Highlights/thoughts/randomness: Stopping cross-training was a highlight, for sure! Wow, I need running in my life. I fully believe that nothing helps your running more than running more. My first week back to running was rough, even though I ran 52 miles (only 21 outside, with 31 on the AlterG though). I felt like I'd lost everything and 3-4 mile easy paced runs were so hard it blew my mind to think that just 2 month prior I'd been running that for my second run of the day after running 3 times as far in the morning. 7 miles was really long on Dec. 1 and I truly didn't want to run any farther. I was very discouraged. The second week, though, I turned a corner and running felt good again! I got super excited for each run and they kept getting easier. The 10 miles I ran on Dec. 5 was easier than the 4 miles I ran on Dec. 2. I felt encouraged. The third week was even better, and so forth! My first workout back was also very discouraging, but I'm thankful I can try to improve. I built my mileage back up rather quickly post-injury, but my easy pace is slower and I did 5 weeks of easy running without workouts (I finally got brave enough to try a workout at 5 weeks, 1 day). However, slow running is so much better than no running, and at this point I don't even care if I never PR again. I enjoyed running with friends and never thinking about pace (in general I let whoever I was running with set the pace). I was not coached this month, and although I enjoyed running whatever I wanted, I was also reminded how easy it is for me to over-train myself. I had a general idea of what I planned to run each day (I even wrote out a rough plan at the beginning of the month), but my approach quickly turned to matching the mileage of whoever I was running with if it was farther. "I planned to do 8, but sure I'll run 12 with you; who cares that I ran 14 yesterday?!", "I was thinking I'd do 10, but 14 works just fine too!", etc. In related news, I will be starting back with my coach on January 1, as clearly I need someone to save me from myself. I'd considered training myself for my "for fun" March marathon (more info on that to come), and although I can write a good training schedule I am super apt to add things, which can come back to bite me. I hope to build from March for time goals in June and December marathons. I got a new Garmin for Christmas! I wouldn't have bought one for myself until my 220 died, but my husband thought I'd like it. He was right - I love my new 235. It was the only reason I doubled in Dec. 26; it was windy and wet outside but after opening it in a final gift exchange with my immediate family I was super excited to get out and try it. Winter running is here! I'll run in about anything temperature-wise, but bitter cold is my least favorite. I've been so thankful to be running I haven't even cared though! Most winters I'm scared that I'll have to run on the treadmill, but after putting in so many miles on the AlterG I'm not even worried about that (although I still plan to/hope to avoid it!). I don't have any more AlterG runs planned, but if the weather forces me indoors I'll use it over a standard treadmill to get miles with less impact once in awhile. This already happened on New Years Eve; I cannot quite manage 38 degrees and pouring rain. Life events: Christmas-themed everything! I wasn't the best at taking pictures, but we did a Christmas parade, put out outdoor Christmas decorations (our tree and indoor decorations were completed in November), and ate some Christmas treats. Albani had a terrible stomach bug the second weekend of the month so we stayed home all weekend. I could not believe how much puke came out of such a small body, and I felt terrible for her. I ran, read 3 books, and cleaned up vomit all weekend. For Christmas we visited my parents/siblings from Dec. 22-24 and Jon's parents/siblings from Dec. 24-25. It was hard to narrow down which photos to share! We are certainly blessed. For New Years Eve we saw an early movie as a family, and I was asleep before 10:00 p.m., which was everything I hoped for. Cold weather indoor entertainment Those are my PJ pants! Gingerbread house building Stockings at our house Pre-Christmas church service Christmas Eve at my parents' Cousin cuteness Cousin craziness My loves on Christmas Day Family Christmas Day photo
  5. 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 Races: 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. Workouts: 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!) Highlights/thoughts/randomness: 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 Joyful 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
  6. SIbbetson

    July in Review

    July 2018 in review Total mileage for the month: 290.5 (in comparison: January - 207, February - 254, March - 298, April - 307, May - 355, June - 232). In July 2017 I ran 275 miles, and I was pleasantly surprised to be higher this year - I thought I was running less due to my Grandma's Marathon recovery phase. June 25-July 1: 58.1 July 2-8: 58.7 July 9-15: 64.1 July 16-22: 67.8 July 23-29: 67.2 (vacation week and definitely the most volume I've ever run while on vacation, although I wish I'd had 70+!) July 30-August 5: projected at 72 After an extremely humid run Races: July 7: Shuffle for the Shelter long 5K in 19:40 for 1st overall person. The week before I ran a short 5K, and this one was long, so I guess it evens out, right? I won a free massage so that mostly made up for the course being long. I really called it in on the second half of the race, so this race/workout was really something like 1 mile at 10K pace, 1 mile at half marathon pace, 1 mile at marathon pace [face palm]. July 10: Fleet Feet Track Meet 2 mile in 12:15 (1st female), 1 mile on the DMR in 5:59 (1st team), and a leg on the 4 x 100 m probably at half marathon pace also (2nd team no thanks to me). This was a fun way to get in a sauna session track workout! July 21: Girls Just Wanna Run short 5K in 16:17/18:17 for 1st overall. Maybe someday I will run an accurate 5K, but not in July 2018! The lead cyclist cut 4 block off of this course. I finished in 16:17, but they adjusted my time to account for the cut course by adding 2:00. This was my final short summer race (whew!). Workouts: I don't start back to full workouts until August, but I had a bit of faster stuff this month. July 4: 9 miles with 3 fast finish miles in 6:22, 6:26, 6:11 (the first 6 miles were progressive-ish as well, and my average for all 9 was 7:00 on the nose). I was going to run a Firecracker 5K, but the logistics didn't work out, so I did the 3 mile fast finish on my mileage for the day "for fun" instead...and based on how I felt on those 3 miles, I was sure glad I hadn't raced a 5K! I ended up running a 3 mile cool down, so this was a 12 mile medium long run. July 10: The Fleet Feet Track Meet 2 mile (6:07, 6:08) counts as my season opener tiny tempo! Somehow I will work up to 10 miles at that pace over this season...which will definitely require it not being one million degrees. The 1 mile I ran after (5:59) counts as *bonus*! July 21: I was scheduled to do 3 miles progressive fast finish on the tail end of 10 miles, so I ran the Girls Just Want to Run race as a progression. I was aiming for 6:20, 6:15, 6:10 (then sprint in), and my splits were 6:19, 6:16, 6:01 so I was very close to my goal, especially considering that the final split wasn't for a full mile (meaning I started off closer to 6:10 and then sprinted in once I saw the finish line). July 24: 4 mile fartlek of 3' on/3' off (2.3 warm up, 2.4 cool down). I ran this on vacation, and I love running on vacation but running fast while traveling is always a challenge for me, especially in unknown areas! My push paces were: 5:50, 5:46, 5:43, 5:50, 5:54, and I was more than happy with that, because I don't think I'd have really run any faster at home. July 28: 13.1 miles with 5 x 0.15 presses. Technically I was scheduled to run 12 miles, but I also ran this on vacation and got back to my hotel at 12.8 so made it a half marathon. The pick-ups were at the beginning of miles 7-11, and my paces on them were 5:59, 5:48, 5:58, 5:45, 5:48 (I was trying to keep them sub-6:00). My average pace for the whole run was 7:17, and I was happy enough with that on the tail end of an exhilarating but exhausting trip. July 30: I had a mini-speed session during my second run, including 2 miles of 1'/1' fartlek (1.5 warm up, 1 cool down). This was my first time having a little "work" within my second run of a double. I ran 9.3 relaxed miles starting at 5:30 a.m. that morning, and then ran this workout at lunch starting at about 1:00 p.m. My push paces were all over the place - ranging from 5:01-6:05 - making me suspect that my Garmin wasn't accurate when measuring pace for only 1:00 (I also ran under two underpasses, twice for each one, so I imagine that didn't help). But the effort was there, and it was fun to do a little workout in my second run for the first time ever. Doubles on July 10 (Fleet Feet track meet), 16, 19, and 30. I did not run any doubles as I eased back into mileage at the beginning of the month or during our vacation week, but in August I'll have 2 a week again. Strides on July 26, and before races and most workouts. Full body strength workouts on July 4, 7, 11, 14, 18, and 29, and 5-10 minutes of core work most days. I didn't do full strength sessions on July 21 or 25 as scheduled due to traveling, but I did 10-20 minutes of strength work creatively here and there (before and after runs, while waiting on everyone at rest stops, while waiting on everyone to go to dinner, etc.) and ended up with 100 minutes total for the week, which is just a little less than I average, so I felt like it was a victory. Favorite workout: I'll say the fartlek on July 24, mainly because I felt good running sub-6:00 pace and it was much better than the failed farleks that began my Grandma's build. CIM 2018, I'm coming for you! " Long" Runs/Medium Long Runs: I think it's clear why "long" is in quotations this month, but I ran a lot of 10-12 milers. July 1: 11 miles (7:20) for my first straight double digit run since Grandma's Marathon (I ran 10.4 miles on June 30, but it was split a bit into warm up, 5K, cool down). I didn't have a structured training plan for the week that ended on this day, so when my friend Casey asked me to run while she was in town I told her I'd run whatever distance she wanted. She said 8 miles, and she picked a course that was "about 8 miles", but I ended up at 10.6 miles when I got back to my house so tacked on a little more to get to 11...in retrospect I should have gone 12. July 4: 12 miles, as described above in workouts. July 7: 11 miles total with the Shuffle for the Shelter race in the middle. July 12: 12 miles (7:23). This was supposed to be 10 miles, and as per my season goals I ran a new route, which I was completely sure was going to be 10.2 miles. It was actually 11.2 miles, and when I realized it was going to be long I doubled back to tell Rebecca (who I'd dragged on this new route with me) about my error, and when I got back to my car I was at 11.6 so just made it a 12! I felt terrible because Rebecca had to text her boss that she was going to be late to work since we ran farther than planned, but she kept telling me it was not a big deal. July 14: 12.4 miles (7:08), throwing in a MGP final mile (6:21). I ran that final mile by feel (did not allow myself to look at my watch), trying to zero in on 6:17 effort and I was close! This was a very hot, humid, and hilly long run. We had 6 people start with our running group, but everyone was doing different distances. I had company for about 8 miles. Anytime someone said something about how oppressive the weather was or complained about the second loop that I took them on (which has some ridiculous climbs), I said, "That'll help your marathon". I was the annoying person who felt good on this sauna-esque run. Then I laughed really hard that I finished this run with a faster final mile than I ran at Shuffle for the Shelter race the week before. July 18: 12 hilly miles (7:29). This was another accidental 12 on a 10 mile day, as I was again exploring a new course (I am doing well on that season goal!) . The route looked simple on a map because I just had to follow one road (which I knew how to get to) until I hit a highway (that I am also familiar with), which I would cross and then loop around on other roads that I was familiar with. The one road I had to follow was very rural, curvy, and hilly, and at one fork in the road the street sign was bent over so was therefore no help at all. I guessed which way my correct road went, and I guessed wrong, so I ended up running on the shoulder of a highway for 1.5 miles (not ideal!) to avoid making the route 15+ miles. I got back to my house at 11.8 instead of 10.X, so I just went to 12 again. July 21 - 10.6 miles with the Girls Just Wanna Run "5K" in the middle. July 23 - 11.2 miles (7:28) in Florence, Kentucky. It appeared that I'd have nice running options from our hotel, with a paved recreational trail just across the street, but, alas, it was less than a mile long. I strung it together with some sidewalks for a 2.6 mile loop, then ran around a golf course cart path for a 1.4ish mile loop. I then ran both of those loops in the opposite direction as I had the first time, and added a bunch of parking lot loops to get my distance in. It was a hilly run (891 feet of elevation gain), and after finishing it I felt confident that I could run from about anywhere if I had to. July 25 - 10.5 miles (7:38) in Niagara Falls, New York. I ran from our hotel towards Lake Niagara hoping to find a running trail, and I did! It was pretty and the distance I had scheduled took me just to the edge of Niagara Falls State Park. I only saw 3 other people running the whole time I was on the path, which made me wonder if it was dangerous or something, because when I've run on paths like that in other cities they've been much more populated. I carried my phone on all of my vacation runs just in case, and I never felt unsafe even if I should have. July 26 - 10 miles (7:22) plus strides, for 10.8 total. I drove 1.8 miles from my hotel to the running trail I'd found the day before so I could run farther on the trail, and was rewarded with a rainbow over Niagara Falls! We'd walked all around the area in Niagara State Park, but running it was even better. The line between medium long runs and "what I run every day" has again become non-existent, so I won't note these next month, especially because I had a lot of 9 milers this month that will doubtlessly be 10 milers soon. #doubledigitseveryday July 28: 13.1 miles, as described above in workouts. Favorite long run: The July 14 12.4 miler was the one that felt most effortless, but it's pretty hard to beat seeing a waterfall over Niagara Falls on July 26! Breathtaking Highlights/thoughts/randomness: I received a sub-elite entry into the California International Marathon on December 2! This is the same category of entry I received in 2017. Since the race is the USATF National Marathon Championships again, an elite entry requires a 2:46:00 or faster marathon (or 1:18:00 or faster half), but as I learned last year, the elites and sub-elites share a starting corral, with separate corrals for men and women. This is a really nice perk when every second counts, gun time! I do not get to place bottles on the course like I did at Grandma's, so I will be back to stuffing 4 gels into my shorts while I attempt to get from Folsom to Sacramento 2:15 faster than I did last year. I received an elite entry into the Indy Women's Half Marathon on September 29. This is also the same entry I received there in 2017. I figure this will be a nice checkpoint in my build to compare where I'm at to 2017...although at the same time I think I need to stop comparing everything to that season! I ran two runs in Kansas City this month while there for work, and they were both pancake flat; I did not know flatness existed there but it's nice to know I no longer have to coordinate that work trip around workouts like I have been doing since that division opened 3+ years ago! I have run every day since January 27, so I am still streaking. I found this photo I'd never seen from July 2016 when looking for online photos from a recent 5K. Just keeping up my double- chin racing form! I also folded that bib number up like mad for some reason, haha! I got to meet up with Jessi for a run in KC Life events: 4th of July...Albani is more interested in setting things on fire than I'd like! I missed out on most of the fun due to work; Jon and Albani went to Kansas for 3 days without me. Truth be told, I went to bed at 8:00 p.m. and thanks to white noise slept through all fireworks! We did several fun local weekend activities: blueberry picking, the Christian County fair, farmer's markets...along with our usual weekend church, groceries, and library routines. Albani spent a week at my parents' house, mostly being spoiled. Summer vacation #2 happened (details and photos here). Jon kept gardening, and I kept cooking and eating (you can find many food pics here)! She did half of these on July 3 Black and Blue Berry Farm (we are growing both; Jon wanted tips/secrets) Her favorite part of the blueberry patch Ducks at the fair It doesn't get much cuter than a baby goat! A tame & tolerant rabbit Albani saw this with my mom; Jon & I watched it while she was away Grandparent activities are exhausting At a YMCA waterpark Kansas Cosmosphere Cosmosphere
  7. (*except for Rehoboth, which is really in its own category of everything) There are some sure signs of spring’s arrival that I look forward to each year. Birds singing in the mornings again. The sun coming up before I’m done with my pre-work run. Daffodils and tulips poking their colorful heads out, even through the snow sometimes. Cherry blossoms of course. And the George Washington Parkway Classic 10-Miler! This was my very first double-digit run back in 2012 (only a couple of weeks before I broke my ankle), and I’ve run it every year since. It’s become my favorite DC-area race due to its beautiful course, reliably crisp spring weather, and well-organized logistics. It is also typically held the Sunday after the Boston Marathon, so I’m usually still a little high on all the excitement of tracking superstar Loopsters on Marathon Monday as I head to my own race. The fact that I’ve PRed there all but one year doesn’t hurt either… This year, the Parkway Classic was designated as my big spring goal race by Coach, so most of my workouts over the last few months have been aimed at this, with a target 10M pace of 7:40-7:30. This would be a good 30+ seconds per mile faster than I ran this race last year, so this felt like an audacious goal. But I’ve learned to do as Coach says, and even if things went poorly, it was “only” a 10-miler, and life wouldn’t be terrible for too long before the finish line. April 22nd looked to be another perfect spring race day: sunny with an overnight low in the mid-40s and a high in the mid-50s, with a light breeze. I got Flat Caitlin ready and made it an early night given the ridiculous time that I needed to leave the next morning to get the shuttle to the start. I left my apartment at o’ dark thirty to board the shuttle bus that would take me from downtown DC to the start line out at Mount Vernon in Alexandria, VA. It was a long ride, but I chatted with a few of the runners sitting near me, mostly about how crazypants Boston was, and about upcoming race plans. We got to the start just as the sun was coming up and illuminating the little athletes’ village on the lawn of George Washington’s estate. I like to get to the start excessively early (one year of having to sprint off the bus, drop my bag, and race to the start corral just in time for the gun to go off was enough, so now I over-correct), so I found a nice place to camp out and killed some time on social media, since runner friends are reliably up early. This was my second time running, and first time racing, in my new Nike Vaporfly 4% shoes, which look pretty darn cool with neon socks. Eventually it came to be time to ditch my warm layers, check my bag, and go do my prescribed 2-mile warmup. I headed off down the bike path alongside the parkway we’d be running on, and immediately didn’t feel awesome. There was no reason not to feel awesome: the weather was perfect, all my workouts leading up to today had been stellar, it had been 7 full weeks since the New Orleans half-marathon, and I was wearing my magic shoes. But I just didn’t have any pep in my step, and it was a struggle to get those warmup miles under a 9:00 pace. I tried hard not to dwell on that, and told myself that race-day adrenaline would kick in once I was in the company of the other runners. I made my way back to the start line, and got into my corral. A few minutes later, the gun sounded and we were heading off down the parkway! There’s a big downhill right at the start, so I made sure to keep my pace in check and tried to just stay relaxed. My plan (i.e. Coach’s plan) was to try to hit the upper end of my pace target (7:40/mile) right away, and camp out there for the first 3-4 miles. Then I would try to drop the pace by 5 seconds or so for the next 5K, and then try to drop the hammer as much as I could for the final 5K and bring it in at whatever pace I could manage (preferably under 7:30). I clicked off the first mile right on target, but the downhill start provided a big assist. Once the road leveled out and we entered into several miles of small-but-noticeable rolling hills, it was a much harder effort to hold that 7:40 pace than I wanted it to be. I tried to focus on the mile I was in, rather than worrying about how I was possibly going to drop the pace come Mile 4 when Mile 2 felt so hard. I also had the added mental boost/torture of knowing that Coach had signed up for live tracking, so she would know if I’d been able to follow our plan before I’d even finished the race. I finished Mile 4 and knew that it was time to pick it up. I told myself that it was just one mile at a time. I could run this one mile at 7:35 pace and then see where I was. I focused on the upbeat tempo of my music and dug in. 7:34. Boom. Ok self, you’re halfway done now, and the back half of the course has more downhills. You got this. And COACH IS WATCHING. Hitting my Phase 2 target right when I was supposed to provide a major confidence boost (as did finally getting to the nice long downhill in Mile 6!). Miles 6 and 7 clicked off relatively quickly, and then it was just the final three miles to go. Phase 3. Drop the hammer and race. I pretended to be the kind of runner that actually “races” during a race and started picking out people ahead that I could try to catch up to and pass. I tried not to look at my watch as much as possible during this last phase and just ran as hard as I could manage. There was one final short-but-steep hill right at the Mile 9 marker, a left-hand turn onto Union Street, and then about 0.75 miles straight to the finish line. I caught up to one of the women I’d chatted with on the bus who had been just ahead of me for the last few miles, and as I passed her she picked up her pace and we raced each other down the last quarter-mile or so (I won by a few meters). Finished!! I waited a minute for my new friend to finish (we follow each other on Strava now). We high-fived and congratulated each other as we made our way over to where they were handing out breakfast tacos (totally a step up from the usual boring snack boxes from past years!). I was eager to get my checked bag so that I could upload my Garmin data and look at all my splits together. I knew that I’d hit my target paces and had negative split as we’d planned, but I wanted to see the pretty pretty graph that proved it. So pretty! Official results: PR by 7 minutes! I went over to the beer garden and found some run club friends who had finished earlier, and enjoyed some liquid recovery. More people joined the party as they finished, and it was fun as always to rehash the race, talk about upcoming race plans, etc. with runner friends. I love this race so much. I headed out with one of the run club friends to go meet some other run club friends (who didn’t race this morning) for brunch. Obviously, such a great race called for an appropriately celebratory brunch drink. Another year, another fantastic Parkway Classic. (They didn’t start giving out medals until my third year, which was the race’s 30th anniversary, so I don’t have a medal for all my times doing it. But it is pretty cool that I have all the medals that this race has ever given out!) Next up (thanks to the time machine that enables me to post bloops about races that happened a month ago): the National Women's Half-Marathon with some Loopsters!
  8. The short: I entered the Bill Snyder Highway Half at the last minute, mostly so I wouldn't have to run the monster workout I had scheduled alone. While the workout morphed from a split tempo to a continuous tempo when I found myself running around 2-3 other women early in the race, the outcome was much better than I would have predicted. I finished 2nd overall female in 1:21:41, in humid 70 degree weather and during an 82 mile week, following an 81 mile week (both weekly mileage PRs for me). There were a few wrong turns and hills that didn't help my finishing time, making me even happier to come away with the fastest half I've run in 2018. Although a part of me really wonders what I could have done if I'd tapered (tapering improves performance by an average of 3%), I am trying not to regret that and focusing on the benefit that running this with so many miles on my legs will give me in my marathon. I know more than ever that I have a 1:19 half marathon in me, but that goal took a backseat this season. Always dream bigger, but thank God for what you have more than you ask Him for what you want. Also, if you haven't tapered for any races all season, don't start doing the math on that 3% gain, hah! Another fun fact: My time was the 2nd fastest half marathon ever run in the state of Kansas by a 35-39 female, and the 21st fastest half marathon ever run by a woman of any age in the state of Kansas on a certified course. The rankings aren't updated online yet, but will be shown here. You may not recognize me smiling AND without a double chin in a finishing photo! The long: When I saw the workout I had scheduled for May 19, I thought it was just begging to be run within a half marathon race: 3 miles warm-up, 3 x 4 mile tempos at 6:07-6:14 with 0.5 recoveries (making the "meat" portion of the workout 13 miles long and at my half race pace), 2 miles cool-down. Around the same time, my friend Michelle mentioned that she was running the Bill Snyder Half as a workout in her Grandma's training. I've wanted to run this race for a few years, but it's never worked out before. For a few weeks, I was 50/50 on entering the race, with the main barrier in my indecision being the 4.5 hour drive. After running a lot of solo miles in the weeks leading up to the race, I decided that having others to run the workout with was my only hope to hit the workout on tired legs would make me more likely to hit my goal paces and make the drive worth it, plus based on past results I thought I could win enough prize money to at least cover the cost of the trip, so I signed up two days before the race. As it ended up, my brother-in-law's family also traveled to the race, so in the end we made the whole thing into an extended family weekend get-away! I was in an 82 mile week (only my third lifetime week in the 80s), but I had the workout on tap whether I ran it within the race or not. I'd run two halves already this season during 70 mile weeks (Rock the Parkway and Illinois), so I wasn't too worried about my lack of taper, plus I haven't raced anything tapered since the Houston Marathon, so racing on tired legs has become normal and I keep telling myself that surely it's good for me. But on the other hand, when I bumped up to 80 mpw it sure showed me that I'd gotten comfortable with 70 mpw but wasn't comfortable at 80. Side note: last season mileage in the 70s still seemed very big to me and 60s felt normal, but this season 70s became normal. Hopefully next season I can say that 80s are normal, but this time around I am feeling the increase! Race morning started with thunderstorms, and the buses poised to transport us to the start of the point-to-point course were delayed to ensure runner safety. The race director was great about giving updates and sharing his plans, but this is something that would have stressed me out if this had been a goal race. As it was, I just rolled with the punches and chatted with Michelle on the bus until we made it out to the start. I didn't have time for my full 3 mile warm up or strides, but I got in 2.2 miles and a few drills, with just enough time to spare to pee in a ditch. Again, this was something that would have bothered me had this been a goal race (I didn't even do leg swings - the horror!), but I was just thankful I'd had enough time for what I did; at one time the race had thought they wouldn't start sending the buses until 30 minutes before the start due to the weather, which would have been a really tight timeline since it took about 20 minutes to drive to the start. It sprinkled during my warm up and my shoes got pretty wet from puddles, but we didn't get rained on during the race. The first mile of the course had a significant downhill drop, so many people got out fast. I held back to what I felt was 6:20ish effort and ran a 6:05 first mile split (Strava said my grade-adjusted pace [GAP] was 6:21, so yay for my effort gauge!). I saw four women get out ahead of me, and I knew who three of them were from Midwest racing and Strava. I suspected one would be significantly faster than me, but I thought I could hang with the others so I didn't want to let them gap me by much (remember, I needed to finish in the top 3 to rationalize the cost of the trip!). Mile 2 was all up incline, and I was aware of not putting in too much effort too early. I pulled up with the ladies sometime in that mile and shortly after began chatting with Sharon. I'd never officially met her before then, but we have a mutual friend and I knew who she was. She mentioned that she was on PR pace at that point, and I told her I was supposed to run a split tempo workout but didn't see that happening anymore, so I hoped to keep plugging along at that pace, so we should go get her a PR. We caught up with Chantalle, one of Sharon's Kansas City Smoke teammates shortly after, and Sharon encouraged her to join us in pacing together, which she did. We also had men around us here and there. Mile 3 had a some drop, then mile 4 was again incline. If you've ever driven about any highway that goes into Kansas City, that's what the first 8 miles of this race were like - straight with long inclines and declines. Early on I could feel the long inclines, but they weren't a problem; however, I knew that I was in for climbs during the race's final miles and was conscious of that. I paid a lot more attention to my watch during this race than I have in any other race this season, partially because I wanted to hit the workout paces my coach had given me and partially because I wanted to help Sharon PR. This is somewhere between 4-8 You can see the wet roads & our female pack And you can see the long incline we are running up...also other female runners make me look tall! Mile 5 was fairly flat, then mile 6 had a huge drop. It was my slowest GAP of the race, which I wasn't surprised about because I felt like I had the breaks on. It was a mile you definitely could have hammered, but that could have come back to haunt your quads later in the race. I was also conscious of not wanting to pound my legs during the peak of my marathon training - I would go straight into my biggest mileage week ever after this race. Miles 7-8 had a gentle decline, which I enjoyed. At that point Sharon, Chantalle, and I were all together, along with a man named Juvenal who trains some with Michelle (cue It's a Small World After All). We came into town at mile 8 and I suddenly thought, "Wow, I feel good!" I felt better than I'd felt at that point in my last 2 halves, which was particularly nice since I was running with two other women (no one wants to feel not good when running with a pack they hope to outlast!). I'd been chatting most of the race and pushing the pace of our little pack without thinking much about it. Shortly after that, Chantalle and Juvenal fell back and it was just Sharon and I. Miles 9 and 10 had a little up and down but were generally pretty flat. I checked our total time at mile 10 and told Sharon it was time to pound the final 5K for a huge PR for her. I felt like it had become my duty to pull her along to a PR; I'd told her that we would be in the 1:21s, and in my runner's high state of mind I decided I was like Desi helping Shalane at Boston...helping someone else was helping me too! I always find it amazing the bond that you can forge with someone through running miles next to them. I was really excited to see her succeed! Somewhere in mile 10 we started the confusing part of the course, which entailed switching between sidewalks and the road. In several spots there were signs that had "right turn" indicated, but there were two paths to turn right on, and we made several mis-steps off the course. Mile 11 was The Confusing Mile (also my least favorite mile - especially after the wonderful straightness of the first 8 miles), because it was super winding on paths through campus and it was really unclear which way to turn in multiple spots. I assume the race wasn't allowed to spray paint on the campus paths because the rest of the course was better marked than that portion. On 4-5 occasions I took steps in the wrong direction and had to correct. I never went very far off course, but it affected my momentum more than anything. I was leading Sharon by a couple of steps throughout this time, so sometimes led her wrong and other times she was able to go the correct way when a volunteer corrected me, and then we would be side-by-side again when I turned back the right way. There were volunteers at all of the turns, which was nice, but most didn't voluntarily tell us which direction to go, so I also ended up asking more than I wanted to talk at that point in the race! Mile 11 had some short but steep uphills, but overall the weaving was much harder than the elevation. The drop from 6-8 was nice; the climb from 9-13 was not as nice I knew that mile 12 had some elevation gain, and when we turned a corner to see a long uphill it was intimating. I felt like I had a strong finish in me, but I don't think anyone wants to climb 70 feet during mile 12 of a half marathon. I'd stopped looking at my watch after mile 10, and was just pushing to get both Sharon and myself in as quickly as possible. I'm glad I didn't look at the mile 12 split because it was 6:34 - the GAP was 6:20 though, so although we did fall off pace a tad, it wasn't as bad as it looked. I was happy to get over the hill and to shortly after see the mile 12 sign. I'd pulled out a little on Sharon on the hill, and I think even though that climb hurt my time it likely was to my advantage competition-wise because I am more of a strength runner and generally good on hills. I knew it was go time for me in the final mile, so I pushed with all I had left. We had another long incline, then had to make a few turns in a parking lot going into the finish. It was a massive stadium parking lot, and I was certainly feeling the race and the high mileage leading up to it on my legs, but I knew I couldn't let up. I reminded myself that this wasn't about how I felt; it was about what I'd trained my body to do. Sharon's husband and teammates were around the final stretches, encouraging her to get me, and I kept thinking that I had to keep the pedal on the gas or she was coming! My final 1.13 was at 6:03 pace; my Garmin recorded it lumped together due to how I'd programmed the long forgotten workout into it. As I rounded the final turn, a man told me, "You've got about 30 meters on her" and I was able to enjoy the final stretch because I knew that there wasn't enough real estate for her to make up that much distance. I even remembered to smile for my finishing photos! Final stretch Clock shot by Jon Ibbetson Professional clock shots I really was smiling even though you can't see it! How's this for running through the finish? You can also see my sweat-soaked pony tail. 5 of the top 10 finishers were women running under 1:23:30! Sharon came through just behind me, elated with her bright shiny new PR, and we hugged in the finish chute. Michelle was in not long after that, and we all made quick fuel, water, and shoe change stops, then headed out for a cool-down together. Michelle needed 5 more miles to hit 20 for the day, and I told here I'd run the whole way with her unless I got too hungry (typically low blood sugar is my biggest barrier for race cool-downs, but I carried some chews with me this time!). Sharon wasn't going to go the whole way with us, but after we couldn't find through streets where we thought they should be to get her back to the stadium, she ended up running the whole 5 too. We look pretty good for having run over 20 miles! The way my splits are recorded is proof that I really intended to run the scheduled workout! We then headed to the awards ceremony and received our awards from the legendary K-State coach Bill Snyder, the namesake of this race and the highway the first 8 miles were run on (his highway was the best part of the course!). Luckily I did win enough prize money to pay for the trip! After the race my family played in Manhattan with Jon's brother's family, which made the trip even more worth it. When I told my coach about forgoing the workout and instead running 13.1 at the prescribed tempo pace, he responded, "I figured that might happen", haha! At least I'm predictable! Awards by Bill Snyder Everyone wants to PR, and I am no different, but I feel that what I got from this race was just as valuable, and I am so thankful that I went to it. I believe that if the final 5 miles of this course would have been more like the first 8, I would have PRed even without a taper. I believe if I'd tapered I would have broken 1:20 (that 3% math is in my favor, equaling a 2:26 gain). But none of that would get me to the Trials, and to hit a 1:21 half with 2 weeks of mileage in the 80s on my legs in warm weather was a huge confidence-booster going into Grandma's. If I hadn't run this, I wouldn't have the confidence that I can race well in a long event at 70 degrees - because historically, I haven't! Remember 4 weeks before CIM I couldn't hit marathon goal pace in the Bass Pro Half Marathon in warm temps (I ran 1:23:50)? Then there was my death march at the Dam to Dam Half Marathon, which was even a goal race that I tapered for (1:26:19 there when I was in at least 1:21 shape). I should mention that the wind was very light for the Bill Snyder Half at 5 mph, which was a change from the Bass Pro race and from the other two halves I ran this season. It was also cloudy, which feels cooler than the same temperature and sunny (fingers crossed for cloud cover at Grandma's!). I also now know that my race shoes function just fine on wet roads and when soaking wet from puddles, so that is one less thing to worry about if it rains at future races! I am excited to see what this all means at Grandma's in 4 weeks! This season has felt very different to me than last season. I've become more flexible and more thankful. Leading up to CIM, I spent the whole cycle obsessing about focusing on a 2:45, and even though I didn't think I was quite ready for it on race day, nothing else was going to be good enough and I didn't enjoy my PR like I should have. For most of my Grandma's build, I've felt like I have no chance of getting the standard this cycle. Just recently I've started to think that maybe, just maybe, it's possible -- still not likely, but I don't think I will ever be confident about it because 6:17 pace is just so darn fast for 26.2 miles! Whatever my best is on race day is going to be good enough though, and I am going to be thankful for it and for the process. Each time I don't run 2:45, I will remember to be thankful that I can start another training cycle and keep trying...and for that reason I'm also thankful that I didn't get it at CIM or Houston, because my Grandma's cycle has been good for me in many, many ways. My sister-in-law also raced, only a couple of months postpartum with her 4th! Cousins! Happiness
  9. April 2018 Total mileage for the month: 306.8 (in comparison: January - 207, February - 254, March - 298). Wahoo, made it over 300! This is my third time ever for that in a month, although last month was very close. March 26-April 1: 71.1 April 2-8: 70.3 April 9-15: 63.7 April 16-22: 71.9 April 23-29: 70.5 April 30-May 6: projected at 74, April 30 started the week with 14 (split 10 and 4) Races: April 14: Rock the Parkway Half Marathon in 1:22:42 (6:18 average) for 3rd overall female and a new single age Missouri state record for age 37. Although this finishing time was 1:52 slower than my half PR of 1:20:50, the optimist in me felt like it rivaled my PR performance based on the weather (crazy headwind for the final 5.5ish miles) and course (over 500 ft of elevation gain), which was shocking (in a good way!) because my workouts haven't been as nearly strong as I was running last season plus I did not taper. I also accomplished something I've been striving for for about a year, which was running the final mile of a half under 6:00. My last mile was 5:52 (then 5:18 pace for the last 0.1), which I was so pumped about that I wasn't even upset that I got out-kicked for 2nd place (actually, kicking in trying for 2nd place is exactly what got me that fast of a final mile!). April 28: Illinois Half Marathon (race re-cap coming soon!) in 1:22:00 (6:15 average) for 1st in age group 35-39 and 11th overall female (this one had a stacked field!). Like Rock the Parkway, this was no PR, but it was only 1:10 off and under the circumstances I was pumped about it. The course was flat (215 ft elevation gain; felt like less), but it had too many turns and curvy running paths for my taste, and the wind was just as terrible as two weeks before. Still waiting for Strava to add WAP (wind-adjusted pace)! I raced this without a taper as well, and ran a nice negative split, including finishing with a 6:02 mile. I also had a great time traveling to this race with my parents! Do I want to run a goal race half and nail a PR? Yes; I am dying to try to break 1:20. Do I want to run a marathon PR more? Absolutely; that took priority when planning this season...and marathons are going to take priority for me until I either run one in 2:45:00 or reach January 2020 without doing so. Every time I run a 1:22 I have a double chin in my finishing photos Less of a double chin here because it was really 1:21:59.9, right? Workouts: April 4: Medium long run of 11 miles, with 2 fast finish miles (6:32, 6:29). I would have liked to run these at or under 6:15, but my legs said noooooo in regards to going any faster. I had a big week March 26-April 1 (2 workouts, a race, and a long run), and I think I was feeling that plus my double and strength workout on April 3. One thing I'm learning this training cycle is to not be too upset about less than ideal paces during higher mileage; if the effort is there on tired legs, the benefit is there and our bodies know effort, not pace. I ran this one with Jessi, and always appreciate her pulling me along on the Wednesday double digits ones. April 8: 2 x 4 mile + 2 x 2 mile tempos within a 20.5 mile long run (3.5 warm up, 3.5 cool down, me over-achieving by a half mile on a 20 mile day). My goal pace range for the 12 tempo miles was 6:03-6:26, which is a huge range with the lower end being far too ambitious for 12 miles worth of work. I secretly hoped that I could average 6:17, ultimate goal marathon pace, but I hadn't run anything recently that made that a realistic goal. I ended up averaging 6:18 for the 12 tempo miles! My splits were: 6:25, 6:25, 6:21, 6:19 / 6:25, 6:16, 6:23, 6:15 / 6:17, 6:08 / 6:19, 6:04. As with every split tempo I ever run and as evidenced by my splits, it was always hard to get re-started after the recovery jogs, and I would have rather just run the whole thing straight. I practiced drinking and took a gel during the run (half of it after each 4 mile tempo) without any stopping, so that was a perk of the recovery jogs. I wrote more about this workout here, because it was a Big Deal to me. April 10: 4 mile fartlek of 90'/90' (2 warm up, 2 cool down). My leggies were tired for this one coming 2 days off of the big 20 mile workout. I should have had an additional day between those two workouts, but since I'd had to push the long run workout back a day due to sleet and snow (!!!) I didn't. I also had a double the day between the runs, so this workout was more about running hard on tired legs than anything. I ended up with 9 pushes within the 4 miles, and my paces on them were 5:56, 5:59, 5:49, 5:59, 5:42, 6:10, 5:35, 5:53, 5:40. I think the 6:10 one was up incline and the 5:35 one was down incline. I always like to keep all of my fartlek pushes in the 5's, but I will blame the incline for the one that wasn't. April 17: Flippin' Fartlek (2.2 warm up, 2.3 cool down for 10 miles total). This one is pushes of 6', 5', 4', 3', 2', 1' with recoveries of 1', 2', 3', 4', 5'. It's always an interesting workout, because early your recoveries are so short (especially the 1' between the 6' and 5' pushes) and then later they are so long (that 5' between the 2' and 1' pushes takes forever!), and I have complaints about both too short and too long recoveries, haha. My push paces were: 5:59, 5:58, 5:57, 5:52, 5:47, 5:36 and I felt good about that - especially because the first 3 were almost like running sub-6:00 pace for 15 minutes straight (actually I think it was slightly harder than running it for 15 minutes straight because the recoveries disrupt my rhythm). April 24: 10 x 400 m. with 200 m recoveries (3 warm up, 1.6 cool down). After I bombed this working last month, I wasn't particularly looking forward to heading back to the track, but the bar was also set very low on my season best 400 times! I was hoping to average 1:25 or under, but couldn't pull that off (guess I didn't want to set the bar too high for next time!). I was like clock-work on 1:27 though, with 8 of the repeats being 1:27, 1 being 1:25, and 1 at 1:28 - for 1:27 average. The best I've averaged on this workout is 1:21, so this was grossly off that, but that was also on relatively fresh legs and with a guy friend pacing me. I typically run slower on my workouts coming off weekend 20+ milers, and on my cool-down I realized that I'd run 55 miles in 4 days (4/21 - 21 miles, 4/22 - 8 miles, 4/23 - 14 miles, and 4/24 - 12 miles), so that may not have helped me. I thought about how my friend Kris said that she never ran anything sub-6:00 in her training for CIM, and most of her tempos on marathon-training legs were in the 6:20s, but at CIM she averaged 6:13 pace for 26.2 miles! With my marathon goals, running fast-ish on tired legs is better than running faster on fresh legs, for sure...but geez, why am I so slow at speed work this season?! 400s are so short that I never feel like I really get rolling. I could definitely hold the same pace for 800s and 1600s (probably even 3200 - we will find out in May!), but I just can't go any faster. I can finish half marathon races with 5:52-6:02 miles but I my 400 m. repeat pace is barely faster. Oy. Doubles on April 3, 5, 9, 10, 17, 23, 24, and 30. Strides on April 5, 13, 27, and at least a few before all workouts and races. Full body strength workouts on April 3, 8 (the afternoon of 20.5 mile workout!), 10, 14 (8 hours after racing a half), 17 (during a work conference call), 21 (immediately after a 21 miler), 24, and 29, and 5-10 minutes of core work nearly every day. When I first started lifting on my hardest running days I thought it was terrible, but I've gotten much more used to it. The only one I bumped was April 28 after the Illinois Half, because after the race/20 mile morning, 5.5 hours in the car, and a 7:00 p.m. return home, it just wasn't going to happen. I was going to skip that one altogether since I got no taper for or recovery from that race, but I ended up rallying to get it done on Sunday evening, while my family ate pizza nonetheless! Favorite workout: Obviously it was the 20.5 miler with 12 miles of split tempo! Long Runs/Medium Long Runs: April 1: 16.2 miles (7:24). This was 3 miles of uuuugh, followed by 13 miles of good! It took some time to loosen up since I'd run the Easter Sun Run "10K" and 10.6 miles total the day before, and since the wind chill was 22 degrees. I ran 5 miles solo then 11 miles with my friend Kim who lives near my parents. Happy Easter - by His wounds we are healed! April 4: 11.3 miles (7:27), more details above in workouts. April 8: 20.5 miles with a workout (more details above and here - clearly this was the highlight of this month aside from the two races!), and I am not sure on the average pace for the entire run because I split off the warm up and cool down on my watch. If you want to do the math it was 3.5 warm up (7:39), 13.5 miles that was 12 miles of split tempo and 1.5 miles of recovery jogs (6:28), 3.5 cool down (7:37). I ran this solo and the weather was ideal, around 30* with light wind. It sleeted and snowed enough to make the roads hazardous on April 7, so I ran this a day late, and then about 2 hours after I finished this run it sleeted/freezing rained, so I certainly hit the weather sweet spot. April 14: 18.3 miles total with the Rock the Parkway Half, 2.8 miles warm up, and 2.3 miles cool down. April 18: 11 miles (7:39) - holy wind tunnel! I have no idea how Boston Marathoners ran 26.2 miles into crazy winds, and thinking about that made me feel bad for complaining about it, but I complained anyway. April 21: 21 miles (7:18). Since I'd run a 20 mile workout two weeks prior, 20 miles didn't seem as intimating, but I was also pretty tired going into this run. I never looked at my watch because the goal was just to get the mileage in, and I didn't want to get upset with myself if I was running 7:45 pace (I keep growing fonder and fonder of not looking at my watch this training cycle, which really is a switch after living and dying by it last cycle). I ran a 15 mile loop with Daniel, Claudio, and Rebecca, and then I needed 5 more miles on my own to round off the 20 miles I had scheduled (I couldn't talk anyone else into running farther!). For some reason I couldn't mentally bring myself to run a 2.5 mile out-and-back after they stopped, so I ran a 6 mile loop instead and ended up with 21 miles instead of 20. I guess you know you're in the depths of marathon training when 6 miles seems easier than 5! I finished the run feeling really, really good (definitely could have continued to 26.2). After I finished this run, I drove the 5 minutes back to my house and did my 45 minute strength workout immediately, which I'd told myself I didn't have to do (immediately or at all that day), but I felt completely up for. Although my long runs haven't been as fast as I was doing last cycle, I could have never done a full strength session after my 20+ mile runs or half marathon races last cycle, so I hope that counts for something! April 28: 20 miles total with the Illinois Half plus 3.1 warm-up and 3.8 cool-down. Favorite long run: I'm double dipping by selecting the same run as I selected as my favorite workout - April 8's 20.5 miler with a workout! Apparently I am also seeing how many times I can refer to that run in this post, haha! The half marathon race/long run combos were pretty sweet too, but I threw them out of contention since they were races. I make the rules up as I go here. Highlights/thoughts/randomness: Boston! My friend and coach's wife Kimi Reed placed 8th female in the Boston Marathon! She was 16 seconds behind Shalane Flanagan and a place ahead of Edna Kiplagat (Edna ran 2:47:14...my exact time at CIM). I was in awe! Training through the terrible Missouri winter sure served her well. I was so impressed with her performance in a field of professionals. Times meant nothing in the horrible race day weather, and Kim gritted it out with the best marathoners in the world. I loved that the second place female, behind Desi, was a non-professional full-time nurse. Of course I loved that Desi won! I love her secret to success: Just keep showing up. I loved that the 5th place woman didn't even start with the elite women, coming in with a 2:53 PR. Simply amazing! For the first time ever, I've got the itch to run Boston... My first BQ marathon was in 2004, so I've had 14 years of having no desire to run it (call me crazy, I know, but I hate large cities and crowds). I have a friend who got on the elite women's start 3 times with a 2:47 marathon PR, so that would eliminate the running in a crowd thing...I am pretty sure I want to run it at some point, but not sure when due to my 2:45:00 obsession preoccupation compulsion neurosis mania craze goal. My friend Jamie ran right on the OTQ standard at CIM in December: 2:45:02 gun time and 2:44:57 chip time. USATF goes by gun time for the Trials, but they also note that they will accept appeals when it's close and chip time is under. Finally Jamie found out that she got into the 2020 Trials - actually because I saw her on the list after randomly clicking a link to it that I saw on an article, because I was curious how many women had qualified. She'd appealed but never heard anything back, but now she's on the official list! Read more about it on her blog. I was so happy for her, although I also sure wish she'd have received a much faster answer! She has been training for Grandma's on the assumption that her CIM time would not be accepted...but I suppose she will just have to go get the A standard there! Although, at this point the A vs. B standards seem to be a moot point since Atlanta was selected as the Trials host city and plans to pay expenses for all athletes who've qualified! Atlanta was selected to host the 2020 Marathon Trials! I've never wanted to go to Atlanta until now. The Trials will also be on Leap Day, 2/29/20 - how fun is that?! No days off again this month; I've run every day since 1/27/18. My Garmin glitched and was out of commission for a mere couple of hours, which sent me into much more of a panic than it should have! I had to re-set it, and then after every run I did for awhile it told me I'd set new records, since all of my old data was erased (this was a non-issue because I'd uploaded it all; it's on my Garmin Connect account, just not the actual device). I will say, it was a good boost to be told I was setting records every day for awhile. Since historically I've run un-rested halves in my training builds at about the same pace as my tapered-for full marathons at peak (see Bass Pro Half Marathon 2017 and Kansas City Half Marathon 2017; this also occurred at the Johnston's half marathon when I ran a 1:28 prior to a 2:58), and since I averaged 6:18 for my tempo miles in my recent workout 20 miler, after Rock the Parkway I told my husband that at the rate I'm going if Grandma's goes uber-well I will average 6:18 pace...which would be a 2:45:10. It probably goes without saying that this would be extremely exciting, but of course I'd then agonize over those 10 seconds until the end of time. If I were forced to pick a goal pace for Grandma's right now, though, I'd say 6:30ish. But hopefully someday I can string my performances at Rock the Parkway and the Illinois Half Marathon together (1:22:42 + 1:22:00 = OTQ!), and I think racing those halves with mileage on my legs was helpful towards that goal! Non-running life events: Easter - He has risen! Pretty amazing that Jesus died to heal us, mind, body, and soul. It snowed on Saturday, April 7, after sleeting for awhile, so the roads were quite slippery and the wind chill was 8*! I bumped my long run to Sunday since footing was bad, and ran Sunday's mileage on Saturday very slowly wearing screw shoes. It snowed again on April 15, but not enough to stick. I ran in a sports bra on April 30. Albani competed in the Awana Grand Prix after she and Jon dedicated a lot of time to making The Yellow Speeder a fast car. Albani was in a pirate-themed school musical. My parents spent the last weekend of the month with us. After our Illinois trip, we spent Sunday at church, eating out, and hiking. Work continued to provide additional stress in my life this month. If I hadn't worked late so many evenings, I'd definitely have written full posts about Boston and Atlanta hosting the 2020 Trials! Matching Easter dresses with my little! My mom loves the grandkids in rabbit ears We now have a year's supply of Easter candy (this was 1 of 4 hunts she did!) My sweet parents My sister's family More nieces & nephews + more egg hunting I love seeing my dad as a grandpa Cousin love It snowed twice in April, which is not normal for Missouri We love our winter weather library trips The Yellow Speeder Pirates My adorable pirate I look about as tired as I was this evening! Race weight isn't everything! Church pose (Jon hated this photo of him so I had to crop us out to publish it) Hiking on our land out in the boonies I think we should host a trail race here!
  10. My 2018 running year is off to a great start, and I think it’s time to share my Big Goal with you. Putting it in writing for consumption by an audience other than my mom and a few select friends who have gotten previews is absolutely terrifying for me, but I think it’s the good kind of terrifying. Which is largely how I feel about my goal for 2018 in the first place. In 2018, I want to BQ minus 5 minutes. That will be a 3:30:00 marathon. A PR by 15 minutes and 21 seconds from last October. And I want to do it at Rehoboth in December. Excuse me while I go breathe into a paper bag for a few minutes… Ok, I’m back. Like I said, 2018 is off to a great start. I’ve run two 5Ks and a 10K in the first two months of the year, and I have a half-marathon coming up this Sunday. In New Orleans! Yay! When I decided that pursuing a BQ was going to be a real thing this year, and not just something I passively wanted but didn’t do anything in particular to accomplish, I knew I needed to step up my training game. I’ve been following the Hansons Marathon Method training plan for the last couple of years, and have had success with it, but I knew I wasn’t really making the most of it. I talked myself out of about ⅓ of the interval and tempo workouts in any marathon cycle because I didn’t like doing them, and it was easy to come up with reasons why I should just do an easy run instead. I still made improvements in the marathon, and ran them pretty well, but I wasn’t seeing anything like the improvements people were posting about in the Facebook group and I felt like my fitness was plateauing. Just being accountable to myself wasn’t cutting it, so I decided last fall that after Rehoboth 2017 I would sign up for Hansons Coaching Services and bring in reinforcements. Knowing that I was paying someone every month to get the Garmin data from each and every workout seemed like an effective way to make sure that I did each and every workout. Signing up for coaching also meant that my training plan would be customized not just to my running abilities and goals but also to my race plans and travel schedule. Since I’m me, by December 2017 I’d already registered for three marathons, a half-marathon, and a 10-miler for 2018! That is definitely more racing than Hansons recommends with their off-the-shelf training plans, so I was excited about working with a coach who could shape a training plan around the things I already wanted to do, and still aim for the Big Goal in December 2018. And so far, it’s been everything I was hoping for and then some! My coach, Melissa, is awesome and was completely unfazed by both my ambitious (some might say audacious or even flat-out ridiculous) goal and the excessive amount of racing that I like to do each year. I only get 2-3 weeks of workouts at a time, which is VERY helpful for me as I am definitely prone to looking ahead in a training plan and getting all psyched out over the paces and distances in the later weeks. It also allows us to adjust the plan easily if anything comes up, like illness, injury, ridiculous winter weather, or work travel to places where running outside is a no-go. And every time I finish a run, my Garmin data is automatically uploaded to the Final Surge app, where she can see every last detail of my run. Because of that, I haven’t skipped a single run since we started working together in mid-December. That’s HUGE for me. In addition to the added accountability making a difference in my consistency, having a coach tell me how fast I’m supposed to be doing speed and tempo workouts and the races I’ve done so far has been AMAZING for my confidence. For the first few speed workouts she had me do in January, the paces made me look like that bug-eyed emoji face and I was like, “Omg no way can that be my target pace! I can’t run that fast! What is Coach thinking?!?” But you know what happened? I DID run that fast. As part of my ongoing realization that running is so very much a mental game, having Coach prescribe target paces that I thought were beyond my current abilities has made me faster. I might start out a workout with some doubts, but I also tell myself that I have to at least try because Coach told me to. And then I run the first interval or first tempo mile and absolutely nail the target pace and say to myself, “Oh! I CAN do it!” 2018 so far has already been vastly different than it would have been if I hadn’t gotten a coach. One thing that I’ve avoided like the plague has been racing short distances. I’m a marathoner! Why would I race a 5K? Those things hurt! Well, because Coach said I have to. And it turns out that they’re actually kind of fun in a weird, masochistic way. Kind of like speed work, as I’m also discovering. So over MLK Day weekend, I ran my first race of the year: a small 5K along the C&O Canal Towpath out in Maryland that was organized by the DC Road Runners. This was intended to be sort of a benchmark race to see where my fitness was. I’d only been back to normal running for a few weeks after recovering from Rehoboth and had done just one very short speed workout beforehand. My 5K PR from last July was 23:54 (7:43 pace), but since that was set in an evening race in the heat and humidity of the DC summer, I was pretty sure I could beat that time in a small, flat race in January. The only daunting thing (you know, other than the entire idea of racing) was the wicked 20+ mph wind that day! But the race was an out-and-back, so I’d really only have the wind in my face for the second half. I positive split the race like whoa, but that was pretty much inevitable with that wind. I went out a little bit faster than I probably should have, but the first half of the race felt surprisingly good (albeit tailwind-assisted). I finished in 22:56, a PR by 58 seconds! That race was a major confidence booster for me, and I spent the next few weeks ramping up my workouts a bit in preparation for back-to-back race weekends in February. First up: the Love the Run You’re With 5K on February 11th, organized by my favorite LRS Pacers Running. I had hopes of another PR here, but I really should have looked at the course first. I made the mistake of assuming it was flat. It was very not flat: So I gave up on the idea of a PR early in the first mile when I was panting my way up that first hill. But even though my pace was not what I was hoping for, I did manage a lovely negative split for this one: I finished in 23:48, which I’m actually pretty happy with. I didn’t realize until now that it was a faster time than last summer’s PR on a flat course, despite the hills. My coach also helped me realize that with there being so little room for error in a 5K, it’s not necessarily helpful to compare results from different races/different courses at that distance. So for this course, she was really happy with my pacing. The weather was something of an improvement over the January race: low 50s and pouring rain instead of 20s and howling wind. There was a photo booth at the start line, so I hopped over to get my souvenir picture before we started: The following weekend I ran the By George 10K, which was another very small race put on by the Potomac Valley Track Club. It was held down at Hains Point, which anyone who’s run the Marine Corps Marathon or Cherry Blossom 10-Miler will be familiar with. On the plus side, it’s very flat. But it’s sort of the Mt. Washington of DC - whatever weather the city is having, it’s amplified at Hains Point. Luckily on race down, it wasn’t tooooooo windy, so the wind down on the Point was only around 10mph. The 10K course was a double version of the 5K course, which meant a double out-and-back. Not the most interesting course, but that was ok. It was actually kind of fun to get to see the other runners so many times during the race. This was the first 10K I’ve actually raced. My only other time at this distance was the TinkerBell 10K that I ran/walked with my mom in Disneyland in 2014. I was pretty sure I could PR this one! My strategy was to go out at a controlled pace and hold that for the first half, and then see if I could bring it down for the last three miles. My target for the first three miles was 7:40ish, and then I was hoping that I could get down to 7:30 in mile 4 and then closer to 7:20 for the final two miles. I didn’t quite manage that, but I’m still happy with how this race went: The first three miles felt great, though mile 3 was back into the headwind, which I blame for the slight uptick in pace. While miles 4 and 5 weren’t quite as fast as I’d hoped, I was happy to see my pace dropping. But then mile 6 was back into the headwind, and I was spent. I was hoping for a final mile under 7:30, but I’m comfortable with the knowledge that I gave it all I had. And my 47:40 time was good enough for 2nd in my Age Group of 30-39, which earned me an apple pie! Next up: the Rock n Roll New Orleans half-marathon! I was originally planning on running the full, because it was there. But I’m trying to be more strategic this year and think in terms of the long term and the Big Goal. While I have no doubt that I could finish the marathon, I haven’t been running anywhere close to normal marathon training mileage since Rehoboth so it would basically just be a 26.2 mile easy run that would still require a solid couple of weeks to recover from before I could pick up with the intense training again. I decided that there wasn’t really a benefit to running a “fun run” marathon right now, whereas if I dropped to the half, I could race it, because my mileage and workouts have been much more in line with that distance. And I’m discovering that I really like pushing the pace! So that’s what I’m going to do. Based on how the 10K went, I’m planning to target a pace of 7:50-8:00 for the half and hopefully come in right around 1:45:00. This would be a 7ish-minute PR, so it’s definitely a lofty goal! But more importantly, I’m going to really focus on race strategy and pacing rather than a specific pace target. I want to negative split the race and practice being patient in the first half and then picking it up on tired legs. Basically the opposite of how I’ve run almost every race ever. Not-so-coincidentally, 8:00 is the pace that I will need for that 3:30 marathon, so if I can hit it in a half right now, I will feel really good about building up to that for a full by Rehoboth. After this, I have a goal 10-miler in April (the GW Parkway Classic, which I loooooove) where I’ll definitely have a goal time that will probably be informed by how New Orleans goes. Then at the end of April is the inaugural National Women’s Half-Marathon, which will just be for fun and where I’ll be joined by Keep Running Girl AND SLCAthena! And maybe NCAthlete and ASchmid who are coming to the area for a 50K the day before! Then in May I have the craziest part of the year: the 39.3 Challenge at the Maine Coast Marathon. Coach definitely thinks this is nuts. I think it’ll be fun! Plus, I’ll get THREE different mermaid medals! But needless to say, both the half and full that weekend will be run at easy paces! This is the 2nd annual HPS Mother-Daughter birthday weekend race experience; Mom will be running her 3rd half-marathon that Saturday! On September 1st I’m running my first international marathon: the Dingle Marathon in Ireland! I’ve been planning on this race since my first trip to Ireland in fall 2016, but it turned into a family vacation when my mom discovered that there was a half-marathon too and my parents invited themselves along! I’m not complaining though; it’s going to be amazing! But as the coast of the Dingle Peninsula is crazy hilly and this course is not USATF-certified, this will be another “just for fun” marathon rather than a goal race, followed by a week of recovery in Ireland. I know it’s tough, but someone has to do it. I’ll probably (be forced to) do some more short races in the summer and early fall as tune-ups for the REAL marathon training leading up to Rehoboth. After the Dingle Marathon, it’ll be time to get down to serious business! I’m not thinking too much about what that’ll look like yet, but based on the last 10 weeks or so, I have all the faith in the world in my coach’s ability to guide me to my Big Goal. I’m so excited for what this year has in store! #Rehoboth2018 #BQorBust #Chasingtheunicorn (Please tell me when my obsessing over BQing at Rehoboth becomes insufferable and I’ll try to tone it down. Maybe.)
  11. 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
  12. November 2017 in review! Total mileage for the month: 267.7 - the marathon taper really ate some mileage! (in comparison: January - 261, February - 212, March - 203, April - 219, May - 249, June - 205, July - 275, August - 301, September - 271, October - 323) Oct. 30-Nov. 5: 70.2 Nov. 6-12: 80.7 (peak mileage week & my first time to hit 80!) Nov. 13-19: 64.0 Nov. 20-26: 53.3 Nov. 27-Dec. 3: projected at 52ish (26.2 of this being The Big Race!) Races: Nov. 5: Bass Pro Half Marathon in 1:23:53. I adjusted my goal pace to marathon goal pace due to the weather (72*, dew point of 70*, 15-25 mph S wind), and couldn't quite hit that but I got the overall female win! Bass Pro Half - relieved to be finished! The best designed & fitting shirt the race has ever had Workouts: Nov. 7 - 8 x 0.25 hill repeats with jog back downhill recoveries (3ish warm up, 1ish cool down). I did not feel nearly as bad as I expected I would on this one, being 2 days after the Bass Pro half (when I initially saw it on my training schedule I thought, "Whaaaaat?! Whyyyyy?"). Hill repeats are always beasts, and I always huff and puff like crazy on them, but I managed a solid effort, with all of my grade adjusted paces sub-6:00. I ran these back and forth in a "bowl", so did 4 repeats were on one hill and 4 on another. Each of the hills climbs about 100 feet in 0.25 mile, but one starts off steeper then gets more incline-y, and the other is a more constant grade, so I think they both have benefits. It's always somewhat discouraging to have my heart pounding near max when I'm running 7:0X pace, so I'm glad that Strava does GAP to confirm that my effort was there! Nov. 16 - 10 x 800 m with 2:45-2:50 jog recoveries (2.1 warm up, 2 cool down, for 12 total) in: 2:54, 2:54, 2:55, 2:55, 2:56, 2:57, 2:58, 2:58, 2:59, 2:58 (average 2:56) for a really solid regression run, haha! While I couldn't come anywhere near my goal splits for this workout, I finished it. I was proud of myself for not walking away when it became blatantly clear that I was not going to hit any reps in my goal tange or even close. My goal was to start at 2:50 and work down to 2:45, but I simply didn't have it. I sure learned why my coach typically puts an entire week between the 24 miler and this workout; I believe the schedule switch we made in this cycle will be better for my marathon, but it also resulted in me bombing these 800s (although I've also bombed them twice before even being a week removed from the 24, so really it's just tradition at this point!). I never felt like I was running fast, but my legs sure wouldn't move any quicker. Guess I should have run the final repeat in 3:00 to have a perfect positive split, but halfway through my goal became to just keep the rest under 3:00 -- and I sure had to fight for that! I averaged 2:54 on this workout before Phoenix, so this one wasn't hugely horribly worse, but I like to think I'm much more fit now and my marathon goal is bigger now. When I ran this before Phoenix I had a fantastic day; this time around my day was craptastic but I hung on the best I could. Hopefully I can replicate the former type of day on marathon day, but if not at least I now have practice hanging on and rallying for a back-up plan. Nov. 19 - 17 miles with a 5 mile progression, described below. Nov. 23 - 20 x 400 m in 5 sets of 4 reps with 2:00 between reps and 3:00 between sets, 2.1 warm up, 1.5 cool-down for 13.6 total). This workout used to terrify me, but this was the fourth time I've done it (read about the other times here, here, and here), so it's become less scary. It is still a million laps on the track though! My goal split range was 1:23-1:27, and I ran all of them in 1:24-1:26. It was 17* and I had a lot of fumbles with my watch's lap button caused by my thick mittens, so some of my splits are a second or so slow (I remembered when some of the fumbles were and noted them). It was definitely a day I needed someone else to take my splits -- lesson also learned: suffer and wear the gloves if you're going to be pressing the lap button 40 times! My recorded splits were: 1:26.2, 1:26.5, 1:26.8, 1:27.4 (major mitten fumble here so I'm counting it as a 1:26), 1:24.5, 1:24.8, 1:25.3 (fumble), 1:24.5, 1:24.2, 1:24.1, 1:24.4, 1:24.9 (fumble), 1:24.2, 1:24.3, 1:25.1, 1:25.5 (fumble), 1:25.3 (fumble), 1:25.1, 1:25.3, 1:24.6 (fumble) - for an average of 1:25.15, but I am going to say I hit at least 1:24.9 fumble-graded! This was a lifetime best on this workout, improving on my pre-Phoenix average by about 1.3 seconds, even with the mitten-induced timing issues (which for me is A LOT in a 400), in conditions that were not as good this time. It was "feels like" 17*, and I felt like I could run 1:24s all day but I couldn't speed up from there. My core got warm but everything else stayed cold! Maybe I can also get a half of a second subtracted for running in layers of clothing, haha! And my final asterisks are that it was pitch dark and I was running solo. I've usually had this workout 1 week before my marathon (therefore on a weekend when I could run it in daylight), but I asked to do it sooner this cycle because I felt like 1 week was too close to my race, and it takes your body about 9 days to get training gains from a workout; if I'm running these crazy repeats I sure want to reap the benefits on race day! Overall I was happy (but also know I can do better in the future - surprise). While the 400s aren't super fast, the sheer volume of this workout makes it a doozy! During the final reps of this workout, I was telling myself, "Sara, you've got to get that 2:45 so you don't have to run this workout again until 2020," hahaha! November 28 - 2 mile tempo in 6:12, 5:54, 0.5 recovery, 0.5 mile tempo in 2:51 (3 warm up, 1.3 cool down). I was a bit faster than I was supposed to be on these after mile 1, and I had a hard time reigning it in. I remembered why people start out too fast when they are rested! This was my first I-feel-fresh workout in quite some time, and the timing of it was impeccable because I was dealing with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (more info on that here), and this run showed me that sub-6:00 could feel relatively easy while I was feeling the dizziness and nausea from that. This was a comfort because I might still be experiencing those symptoms on marathon day, so as odd as it sounds I ended up being glad I felt that way going into this run, because after I ran it well I was no longer worried that the vertigo would hurt my race. I just kept telling myself that there was not anything physically wrong with me and that my inner ear was just playing tricks on my brain. Doubles on Nov. 2, 7, and 9. My doubles disappeared when my taper started! Strides on Nov. 2, 5 (pre-race), 9, and 14. Bootcamp (full body strength workouts) on Nov. 6, 13, 20, plus enough additional strength here and there to hit at minimum 90 minutes of strength work total per week for the first 3 weeks. The week of Nov. 20-26 was my last period of any strength training prior to CIM, although I did some planks during taper just for the sake of routine, Favorite workout: Ummmm...it feels so wrong to pick the 400s, but I'm going to have to go with them since my legs were tired for every other workout! My new visibility gear, since most of my running is at 5:30 a.m.! Long Runs: Nov. 5: 18.2 miles total with the Bass Pro Half Marathon, described here. Better than doing a long tempo on my own! Nov. 12: 24.53 miles (6:50) - The Long One with 21 steady, 3 progressive fast finish, then running to 2:47:56 so that hopefully this was my longest time on feet for the season. I went back and forth on going to 2:47 or 2:48, and ended up just stopping when I noticed I'd hit 24.5. The logistics of this run were harder than the actual run, which is saying something! I figured out a way to start at my house, meet Rebecca at the location we usually start at 3 miles from my house, run a 6 mile loop with her, meet Daniel at the same location, run an 12 mile out-and-back with him, then have 3 miles back to my house, with 1.5 miles of difficult terrain followed by 1.5 miles of flatter terrain for the fast finish portion. I told Daniel that if we do this again I would figure out a way to meet him a mile earlier to avoid the hilly fast finish (the first mile particularly had a lot of uphill/incline)! I also managed to have 4 drink opportunities from 2 bottles with carrying 1 bottle or the other for about 4 miles total - carrying them to drink on the run and to drop at another fluid stop on the planned course. I was proud of myself for coordinating it all, and also proud of my 3 fast finish miles that were 6:35, 6:16, 6:10 (grade adjusted paces of 6:27, 6:14, 6:07 -- my goal paces for them were 6:30, 6:20, 6:10). However, those were hard and did not inspire confidence that I could run a whopping 26.2 miles around that pace. The 21 miles before that felt nice though! The whole run went by super fast, and I didn't feel as run down/depleted after it as I have after some of my other really long ones, possibly because I fueled more before and during. I also never stopped my watch after I started, which meant picking up bottles from wherever while on the run, mainly the ditch. I was prepared to keep my watch going if I had to stop to pee, but luckily I didn't have to go that badly (the key on that seems to be getting up more than 20-30 minutes before starting the run; who knew?). Nov. 19: 17 miles (6:50) with 10 at MGP +40 sec., 5 progression (6:45, 6:39, 6:33, 6:25, 6:19), 2 cool down. The good news was that 17 miles felt short; the bad news was that my progression wasn't as quick as I'd hoped for. I was supposed to do 10 at 7:00ish, and those felt relaxed and great, and then I was to drop about 10 seconds/mile to finish around goal marathon pace -- so 6:50, 6:40, 6:30, 6:20, 6:10, although I was hoping to be about 5 seconds under those times. This workout was mediocre; not bad but not stellar, and I just didn't feel like I had the reserves or pop that I usually do on fast finish runs. I was running into a headwind the final 4 miles, and that didn't help either. But at least it wasn't as bad as the 10 x 800 workout three days prior, and I'm chalking it up to feeling the fatigue from my peak mileage week and the 24.5 miler, which immediately followed racing the Bass Pro half (the 10 x 800 workout 3 days before this probably didn't help either!). The taper arrived just in time to avoid over-training! Nov. 26: 11.3 miles (7:42). When I saw this on my schedule, I thought I would have a difficult time stopping at 11, but during the actual run I wanted to stop at 3! I would have swapped this with Nov. 27's shorter run had it been any other week. I was at the worst of my bought with vertigo but did not know what was wrong with me yet. I just knew I was nauseous and dizzy, and with every step I kept thinking about how awful I felt which sure did not help. I finished nearly in tears and told Jon that I wasn't sure I could even run the marathon. More details on this freak occurrence ailment here. Favorite long run: There is no choice but to choose the 24.5 miler. Highlights/thoughts/randomness: Albani attended a USATF Run, Jump, Throw clinic hosted by World Championship silver medalist and Olympian Courtney Frerichs! Courtney is from Nixa, Missouri -- right around the corner from where I live. I stopped drinking coffee on Nov. 11. Caffeine is a confirmed performance-enhancer, and this season I've been consuming it (via nuun energy) before races and key workouts, and certainly do get a boost. Historically I've taken gels with caffeine during marathons (and will again at CIM). If you over-use caffeine, it loses some of its performance enhancing benefits, so I do not have it before most runs. However, I was drinking 1-2 cups of coffee every morning after running, and I love sipping it while getting ready and while driving to work, especially after cold runs! In addition to the coffee, some days I would have a nuun energy (before or after running, depending on the run), and some days a cup of tea or two at work. When I stopped the coffee, I limited myself to one cup of caffeinated tea each morning and nuun energy only before my 10 x 800, 15 mile progression run, and 20 x 400 m workouts, then on Nov. 26 I switched to decaf tea only (e.g., no caffeine between Nov. 26 and now, planned through Dec. 2). It ended up not being difficult at all; I think a bit part of my coffee habit was just wanting a warm drink, and tea fit that bill! Even if this gets me a mere 10 seconds at CIM, it was worth it. I also have plans to pick back up with my morning cup on Dec. 4, but if I feel the caffeine taper was helpful I'll do it again for future goal races. No days off in November = no surprise (my last day off running was June 19). Will I take a day off after CIM now that I'm addicted to this streak? We will see...but if I don't there will be several days of 1 mile total at 9:00 pace for certain. My Kansas City Half award came in the mail, personalized (photo below). The Bass Pro Half proved to be the race that kept on giving, in that I kept getting more and more race photos that I actually liked (most likely because I did not like my finishing time). Albani with Courtney Frerichs Courtney complimented her on her hurdling skills! KC Half award Bass Pro finishing shot (sad about no tape to break though!) Bass Pro just finished (happy to be done!) Covering the 1 on the plaque with my fingers like a pro, hah Non-running life events: Thanksgiving, of course. We chose and cut our Christmas tree from my in-laws farm the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We also started decorating for Christmas, which seems kind of wrong before December. Albani got bunk beds, after my husband said a few years ago we were never bunking her beds (I've wanted to bunk them since we got them from my brother-in-law, but she had to talk him into it). Give thanks in all circumstances Give thanks with a grateful heart Our Christmas tree (re: her hair - it was windy!) I had to re-string lights on two of these deer Bandit was pleased with the new arrangement too Well, I've been building this foundation for months... The foundation has been built...now onto CIM
  13. I was waiting on my professional photos from this race to post this, but 2 weeks later I've decided I might be waiting until my next race so here it is! This race was November 5, and I am now 2 weeks out from my big goal race marathon at CIM. The Short: Based on the crap weather (72*, dew point of 70*, 15-25 mph south wind), my goal for this race shifted from aiming for a solid time to running it at goal marathon pace (6:17). I also cut out the small taper for it, running 70 miles for the week instead of the planned 61, because there wasn't any reason to sacrifice marathon training volume when there was no chance at a fast half. My goal that stayed constant was to get the overall female win, and I accomplished that one despite not being able to quite hit goal marathon pace (I averaged 6:20 pace...but let me tell you, 6:20 sure felt like 6:05 pace!). However, I loved the hometown event and ran with a smile on my face the entire race! God doesn't always give us what we want (such as nice race weather), but He always gives us what we need (perhaps the way things turned out will be more beneficial for The Big Goal). The best part about the race was that two of the ladies I train with took the 2nd and 3rd overall spots, effectively giving our group the 1-2-3 sweep! Oh, and Albani's shirt was also a hit, and she couldn't have worn it in cooler temperatures. But her dad gives her junk food while her mom races! The Long: I included this half in my race schedule because it's local, the organizers do a fantastic job, and it was 4 weeks out from my goal marathon so I thought it would be a good checkpoint -- also because my coach recommended that I not run the Bass Pro full marathon as a B race like I usually do. The course isn't fast because it has one million turns, the final 2 miles up inclines, and the field at my pace is always very thin/nonexistent, but those cons are usually balanced out by nearly perfect weather and by it being a hometown race (typical routines, no travel, sleeping in my own bed, eating at home). But, alas, the 40*/sunny/light wind combination we usually get for this race was not to be in 2017! Instead, it was 72* with a dew point of 70* (i.e., painfully humid) with 15-25 mph south winds. Midwest weather is predictably unpredictable, but our high of 83* on this day set an all-time record, so it's usually not quite this extreme in November. I knew I couldn't run a PR or anywhere near it in those conditions, because anytime the dew point is in the 70s my performance nosedives. I've read that humidity that high reduces your VO2 max, and based on how my races go in those conditions I fully believe it (not where I originally read it, but it is mentioned here and here so I did not make this up!). Pre-race my goals shifted from gunning for a fast time to mainly working for the win and running around goal marathon pace. I also ran 70 miles during race week, so I figured to some degree this could simulate the second half of a marathon. Race morning I woke up in my own bed after the time change (meaning an extra hour in bed!), headed to the race with my husband and daughter, and warmed up with my dear friend Missy. It felt more like a workout day than a race, and I felt no pressure. I hoped to keep my pace between 6:15-6:20, and I knew I shouldn't bank on a negative split because the course started off working its way north (tailwind) and finished working back south (headwind), plus the beginning has more decline and the end has more incline. After the gun I found myself in first female position for the half (the first female in the full was just ahead of me, but I know her and knew she was running the full...she is also my coach's wife and he was running with her!). This seemed like a great sign for me, because I was running around 6:20 pace. There were a handful of men around too. The half and full courses split just after the 1 mile mark, and I saw 3 men in front of me. I also got a female lead cyclist at that point, and despite my experience with having a lead female cyclist without actually leading in Kansas City two weeks prior, I trusted that I was leading this time since it was a much easier gauge in less of a crowd and complete daylight. Around 2.5 The race itself was pretty uneventful, while at the same time very enjoyable -- the awesome local race feeling! I locked into the effort that felt sustainable for 13.1 and ran familiar streets. I drove the course twice the week before this race to prevent any re-occurrences of The Bass Pro Wrong Turn Incident of 2016. I thought driving the course beforehand helped me run the course tangents, but sometimes I couldn't run the tangents due to cars parked on the side of the road, aid stations, or huge mile marker signs blocking the path; however, I thought I did a much better job than my watch indicated. I later learned that the current half course isn't certified anyway, so perhaps I did do a better job with tangents than my watch showed. There are two certifications on the USATF website for the event, but neither is the course we ran (see here and here for the certified ones), also making me not feel so bad about missing the Missouri State road racing record for age 37 (1:23:11), since it wouldn't have counted anyway. Nor would a PR have really counted had I run one, so maybe I can even say I dodged a bullet there (just being optimistic)! Excuse the tangent - pun intended. My pacing was very consistent when considered with the elevation and headwind/tailwind situation, so even though I wasn't running my fastest I thought I did really well at zeroing in on the effort I could sustain for a half in these conditions. I got to see my husband and daughter around 2.5 and 9.5, something that I don't get to do in non-local halves. Elevation I really enjoyed all of the amazing spectators and volunteers out on the course. Many took the time to shout "First female!", "Girl power!", etc. as I passed. I am so thankful for our amazing running community! Around the 15K, I heard one spectator say to another, "Wow, she looks so strong and fast", and that made my day. I ran with a smile plastered on my face the whole race. It's such a fun race to win. Even though I never felt stellar, I loved being out there and having the opportunity to race locally and see so many people I knew. My lead cyclist was awesome, and I asked him to let me draft off him going south, but we could never quite work it out -- I think it's difficult to maintain consistent 6:20 pace on a bike, because that's very slow cycling. Around 9.5 - running into the wind & trying to draft I have often struggled with the last 2 miles on this course, but I got a boost from my friend Danielle cheering around mile 11 and a man passing me a bit before mile 12 (he went on to beat me but I hung with him until the last half mile or so). It felt great to hear the race announcer mispronouncing my name as the overall female winner for the half Running happy around 11.5! I look like I'm haulin' here (although I was not necessarily) Sweet finish stretch Clock shot I then got to see two amazing ladies I train with come in 2nd and 3rd overall females! I was so proud of them and that our group dominated this one. I will also add that I know they are both in 1:25-1:26 shape and that this race did not show anyone's true fitness level (the overall male has run 1:12 recently). Official results can be found here, and a news article about the race here. After the race (and an I'm-dehydrated-and-starving cool down to make it an 18 mile day), I enjoyed socializing with our amazing running community. Albani and I also volunteered at the expo the day before the race and enjoyed plenty of that there too. Runners really are the best people! Future marathon pacer Missy's daughter Emma ran a 5K PR with Danielle's help! Awards Results Splits that reflect the headwind/tailwind miles well (7-10 headwind) Although it would have been nice to have a confidence-boosting speedy half going into CIM, maybe I got more benefits from skipping tapering for this race and the heat training adaptations that I hope occurred from it (in a timely coincidence, I read this blog post regarding the benefits of heat training the day before the race). On one hand, I think if I want to run a marathon at 6:17 pace, I ought to be able to hit a half at that pace under any circumstances, but on the other hand I averaged 6:10 pace for a 10K on Labor Day in similar weather, and then managed 6:07 pace for half a few weeks later with decent weather, so I haven't lost faith. And, I ran far better at Bass Pro than I did at Dam to Dam, so I guess I can call this my 70* dew point PR! Hopefully this also means that I'm due some really, really nice weather at CIM! I know that God will give me what I need, even if it isn't what I want, then too.
  14. I think my best answers are: ...worked late, completed my second run of the day, then helped my daughter with homework, prepared and ate dinner, and did other random things at home, then quickly it was 9:00 p.m. I went to bed wearing the clothes I'd run in, and then the next morning I woke up and ran in them again! ...almost ran 3 times in a day. I had a double, and ran my second run at lunch, but all of my days were running together and I forgot I'd run it. I got dressed to run after work, and then saw my lunch run laundry and double checked Strava to ensure that I was in fact done for the day! But in the end this was winning, because I just slept in my running clothing and ran in it the next morning (clean this time!). Clearly I am most likely to make tired errors on double days that result in sleeping in running clothing! What's your fill in the blank? Disclaimer: I actually felt fantastic overall throughout this marathon training cycle (and the three before it). If you are constantly tired and worn down with beaten up legs during any training cycle, you are probably over-training (I did this a lot prior to working with a coach).
  15. This weekend’s good, bad, and ugly: Good, dare I say great, was Saturday morning. My twins (10), daughter (4), and I ran the By the Bay 3K in Pacific Grove. This is held the day before the Half Marathon formerly known as the Big Sur Half. In typical Wirz fashion, we were running almost late, so my wife dropped the runners off at the tent to get our bibs at 7:40am, while the non-runners (her and Son #3) found a parking spot. The gun was at 8:00am. Bibs pinned, and we made it to the starting line between the national anthem and the start. The twins found a spot at the start, and Lily and I found a spot about half a dozen rows back (Deena Kastor and family spotting #1). Horn sounds, and we’re off like a bunch of spastic little kids. I let the twins run their own race (and prayed that there would not be a fight…). Lily did great! She ran a lot, walked enough to catch her breath and get a little rest. We got to the last corner, and I pointed to the finish line about 200 yards away, and told her that once she crossed the finish line, she would get her medal and pancakes. She took off like a shot. She heard the announcer say “Put your hands in the air when you cross the line,” and she ran the last 25 yards with her hands in the air, and wouldn’t you know it, she had those 25 yards and all those cheering spectators to herself. It was wonderful. The twins came in 11th and 13th out of 283. Lily came in 132nd of 283, and I was 133rd. She beat me by a whole second! After well-earned pancakes, and running into Deena again, and not acting like a stupid fanboy, we headed off to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We usually go a couple times a year, and I think this may be the last time we go during a big event weekend. For the first time, I felt claustrophobic. I know I’m spoiled; we’re members and go multiple times a year. Free passes for Loopsters that come to the area. The good, bad, and ugly rolled into one: Sunday long run. This was supposed to be my 20 miler that would lead to a 3 week taper before CIM. After a later than planned start, I got rolling. The route was a 2.25 mile leg that led to a loop that I would run twice, hit the straight again, giving 20.1 miles. At the end of loop 1, I felt both calves and my right hip cramp up. I stopped dead in my tracks. I didn’t want to hurt myself, but this was the last really big run. The last week’s long run (14 miles) was ok except for the last 2 miles had a lot of starting and stopping from tight calves. I turned around, and with the exception of one more stop at the gate one mile out from my house, I made it home without stopping. After getting home, cooling down, and feeling a little upset, this is what I learned. 1. I probably could have sucked it up, stretched every ½ mile for 8 miles, completed the run, and been miserable or hurt myself. I chose to not hurt myself, and turned in a good run. The bad part about this is the self doubt that it causes. Will I be able to fight on race day? Should I have embraced the pain and not turned into the barn? 2. 12.3 miles in 1:52:27=9:11 pace. My goals for CIM have been to PR (beat 4:27 from 2005), break 4:00, and if I have a spectacular day, break 3:50. If I run more conservatively, like: 9:30 miles, I can still PR and go longer. 3. I am packing too much weight. 175# on a 5’6” frame is just flat too much. My appetite has gone up the last couple of months, and instead of dropping 10-15# during training, I have gained 5#. (?!&#!*&) 4. I have not been able to stick to a training plan consistently, specifically the consistent building on the long run, and that in itself is another post. So, after having a small freakout about not being able to finish, or blowing up in 3 weeks, I have a plan. I will get my midweek runs in, and even though it will sacrifice a taper Sunday, I plan on getting a 20 miler in this Saturday, 15 days out from the race. I should still get some physiological good out of it, right? The following weekend will see an 8 mile max long run from me. I realize that breaking 4:00 may become difficult. Cheers, D
  16. October 2017 in review! Total mileage for the month: 323.6 - my biggest month ever! In comparison, I did: January - 261, February - 212, March - 203, April - 219, May - 249, June - 205, July - 275, August - 301, September - 271. Oct. 2-8: 70.1 Oct. 9-15: 77.1 - a volume-focused week (only a tiny workout) Oct. 16-22: 71.6 Oct. 23-29: 76.6 - my sixth week in the 70s! Oct. 30-Nov. 5: projected at 65 - a cut-back week with a half marathon race at the end October 1st family photo...if only I'd worn a blue skirt on this day! Races: Oct. 7: Panther Run 5K as a workout at steady 6:00 pace for 1st overall female Oct. 21: Kansas City Half Marathon as a split progressive tempo workout, in 1:21:36 (1:23:16ish adjusted) for 2nd overall female Favorite race: Any time the choice is between a half and a 5K, there is really no choice, even though I had some legitimate complaints about the race. KC Half! Workouts: Oct. 4 - 5 x 1 mile repeats with 0.5 recoveries (3.2 warm up, 1.1 cool down) in 5:42.0, 5:38.7, 5:38.4, 5:35.8, 5:34.3 (average 5:37.8). I was a bit shocked to see this workout on my schedule so soon after the Indy Women's Half, but I chalked it up to more getting used to trying to run fast on tired legs. I was even more shocked that I nailed the workout (and look at those beautiful negative splits)! My goal pace range from my coach was 5:38-5:42, and I was just hoping I could hold onto 5:42, particularly since it was 68* with a dew point of 68* (you'd think that type of weather at 5:30 a.m. would be over by October!). This was a PR mile repeat workout; my previous best was a 5:40 average for 4 repeats (run on May 10 on the same course as this workout). The last time I did 5 repeats I ran 5:57, 5:54, 5:57, 5:56, 6:02 (also the same course) -- I was unhappy with that workout and it was back in December 2016, though. I ran these solo, so I was pleased with the implication that I am getting mentally tougher about pushing when I'm on my own. It was also nice redemption after failing a mile repeat workout, and then re-trying it 2 days later with a medicore performance on August 22 and 24. Oct. 7 - Panther Run 5K at tempo in 19:01 via 6:00, 5:56, 6:04, 5:58 final bit (2 warm up, 3 cool down). After my October 4 mile repeat workout, I almost wanted to throw-down all-out race a 5K to try to break 18:00, and might have tried (and subsequently been disappointed) at this one if it had been on an accurate good course and in good weather. But since I knew the course was turny and a shade long, and since it was over 70* and very windy, I had no problem sticking to my original plan of running it at 6:00ish pace in order to try for the win, get in a short tempo, and save my legs for my long run the next day. Based on how I ended up feeling, presumably because of the October 4 workout and the Indy Women's Half being on my legs, I would not have raced a fantastic 5K anyway (6:00 felt harder than I expected it to)! Oct. 14 - 21.4 mile long run with 5 x 1:00 pick ups (described below). Oct. 17 - Fartlek of 2 x 4', 3', 2', 1' pushes with recoveries equal to the next push (2 warm up, 1.6 cool down). My paces on the pushes were 5:54, 5:47, 5:42, 5:28, 5:44, 5:49, 5:33, 5:59 (incline), and I recovered at 7:00ish pace, giving me 5.77 miles at 6:16 pace for the pushes and recoveries all together. Strava said the last 1:00 push grade-adjusted to 5:42 pace, but because of the incline it came very close to ruining my sub-6:00 streak! I think this is the best I've run on this workout, but I was more excited about recovering at 6:58-7:05 than anything! Farleks are always a nice lower-key way to get in fast running. Oct. 21 - Tempos of 4 miles, 3 miles, 2 miles, 1 mile, 1 mile with 0.5 recoveries (2.5 warm-up and 4 cool-down), run during the Kansas City Half Marathon. This workout requires a lot of elaboration, which can be found here, but seemed to have been successfully executed. Oct. 25 - Fast finish mid-week long run (9 steady then cut down final 3); I averaged 6:55 for the whole 12.2 miles and the final 3 miles were 6:23, 6:12, 6:09. The final half mile on the course I ran is up an incline we complain about call Mentor Hill, and I about had a coronary trying to keep it under 6:10 pace! It's funny because every route my running group runs from this frequent starting location is rolling the entire way, but we act like this incline at the end is a mountain; I guess it is just the placement and length of it, because it's not at all steep. Oct. 31 - 3 x 2 mile progressive split tempos with 0.5 recoveries (2.1 warm up, 2 cool down). Call this one practice negative splitting under cumulative fatigue! My goal paces were 6:10, 6:00, sub-6:00 and I executed just under with splits of 6:08/6:06, 5:58/5:59, 5:57/5:53. I could definitely feel the 22 miler from 2 days before on my legs (not to mention the lunges from the day before), but I think that was part of the point for this one. It was cold (25*) and I tend to under-dress when I'm going to be running hard, but I think I erred a little too much on that side because I didn't actually warm up until I was almost finished with the first rep. The first rep was also the hardest and I was really glad I got to start slower! The last mile was a push but it felt good. Overall I was happy with this workout, although it didn't inspire confidence about running 13.1 miles at a just slightly slower pace. Doubles on Oct. 3, 5, 10, 11, 12 (the true miracle was that I ran all 3 of them at lunch that week!), 17, 18, 24, 26, and 31. Strides on Oct. 7 and 21 (pre-race, even though they were workout races), and 27. Bootcamp (full body strength workouts) on Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30, plus enough additional strength here and there to hit at minimum 90 minutes of strength work total per week. Favorite workout: The mile repeats on October 4 felt like a huge victory to me! Long Runs: Oct. 8: 18 miles steady (6:52). I ran the first 8 with Missy and Rebecca, and the next 10 with tunes. The weather was beautiful (49* and no wind) and I felt fantastic! I find that once I warm up, 6:50ish is my cruising relaxed pace now, which is super encouraging. Feeling strong on this run solidified my confidence that I made the right decision about not throwing down all-out in the Panther run the day before. I drank quite a bit of water with 3 tabs of nuun energy before and during this run, and I had to pee twice but the caffeine seemed to have me raring to go (with the run in addition to with the peeing)! Oct. 14: 21.4 miles (6:52), with 16 steady then 1:00 pick-ups to 6:00-6:10 goal pace at the beginning of every mile the rest of the way (so 5 x 1:00 within a base run). My paces on the pick-ups were 5:54, 6:01, 6:15 (uphill), 5:47, 5:45 (some decline). Strava said my grade-adjusted pace (GAP) was 6:01 on the uphill one and 5:52 on the decline one; the others were all pretty flat with GAPs within 1-2 seconds. This was faster than I ran the same pick-ups during my 20 miler in September, and they felt better this time, so I was happy about that. The pick-ups certainly illustrate the importance of even pacing though, because picking it up like that blows me up a bit (e.g., the last 5 miles would have been much easier at the same overall pace with even pacing), but I think blowing up a bit is the purpose. I felt good enough that I kept going until I got back to my house instead of stopping when my watch hit 21 (that's how I know a good day vs. a not good one -- on bad days I will stop the second my watch hits distance!). I took one gel of the brand I will use in my marathon around mile 11, and also drank some nuun energy and water at miles 11, 15, and 19 while on the run (no watch stopping). I ran this solo except for brief company from about miles 2-5, so it was a bit lonely but probably good for me to tick off consistent paced miles alone (most were around 6:55, with the end faster). It was 65* when I started and probably over 70* when I finished, which is pretty amazing for mid-October -- I love this weather for training, but would complain if it was a race day (as exhibited in regards to the Panther Run and Kansas City half this month alone). Oct. 21: 19.6 miles total, with the Kansas City half as a progressive split tempo workout, described here. I was scheduled for 18 miles total, but ran a little longer warm up (because I like to keep moving until the gun) and cool down (because a friend had a 10 mile cool down after her 10K, and I was going to do 5 with her to help, but I got too hungry and stopped at 4). Had I done the math at the time I'd have probably gone 0.4 farther, but maybe not because I was absolutely starving! Oct. 28: 22.4 miles (6:54), all base. Going from long runs at 60-70* to this one at 26*/feels like 20* was a bit of a shock! I over-dressed in an effort to maintain some of my heat adaptation and because being out in the cold for over 2.5 hours can be quite draining if you're not warm enough. Overall this went really smoothly. I had company for about 4 miles (miles 3-6), and was solo with music for the other 18.4. The miles ticked off and I finished feeling good. Strava told me this run had exactly 700 ft elevation gain; I am not sure how I managed to hit that on the nose. Before this run I looked back at my 22 miler before Phoenix; it was the same run (all base, and I ran to 22.5 that day on the same area farm roads) and I averaged 7:26 pace on it. I remember being a bit tired on it because it was a week after I raced the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona half, and likewise I was a bit tired on this one following the Kansas City half, but I was pretty pumped that I averaged 32 seconds faster/mile on this one! I drank nuun energy and vanilla Ucan before, and during I had nuun energy and most of one Accel gel (my mitten had the rest of it), all of which I will have on race day (well, I will have 3 gels on race day). I will also eat a solid breakfast about 3 hours pre-race on marathon day, but I didn't want to get up at 3:30 a.m. to do that before this run. So basically I will be better fueled on race day, but I practiced some of my race day nutrition and it all went down well! Favorite long run: I loved them all -- it's a 3-way tie! Wednesdays were 11-12 mile days (mid-week long runs). Highlights/thoughts/randomness: I feel good. I never knew I could run this mileage and feel so good! Sure, I feel fatigued sometimes, and my easy runs the day after long runs are always significantly slower than my usual easy pace, but I think I feel better than I ever have during a marathon build. Perhaps the increased mileage is helping me in this aspect. Whatever it is, I'm thankful. I am also completely injury-free (not even a niggle), which I am super thankful for. I wrote an entire post about my October food cravings here. No days off in October and it's getting redundant to report this (my last day off was June 19, and I expect my next to be post-marathon). We got to watch my youthful training partner Jessi take 3rd in her conference cross-country meet, which MSU hosted right here in Springfield on October 28! The weather was crazy this month; I ran a half in 70* on October 21 then a long run at 25* on October 28. It felt like we skipped fall and went straight from summer to winter! Where were those nice 40-50* morning lows? The high on November 5, my next race day, is 78*. Hopefully all my race day weather perfectness is just saving itself up for CIM.
  17. This is a copy and paste from my personal blog page, but I wanted to start somewhere! The Short: I ran a bright, shiny new half marathon PR of 1:20:50 under circumstances that were not nearly as ideal as those I had for my previous PR of 1:21:26. I walked away from this race feeling like I'd nailed one of my best workouts ever, but not exactly like I'd raced or PRed (you'll have to read The Long for an explanation of why). However, the more I analyze this race the happier I become with it. I placed 5th overall, netted some cash, and best of all enjoyed an amazing weekend trip to Indianapolis with my parents. Official results can be found here. Sunny clock shot courtesy of my mama The Long: I looked at a lot of fall halves trying to find the "perfect" goal race before deciding that none were. The major things I was looking for were: A) fitting into my schedule (marathon training and non-running), B) likelihood of good weather, C) straight course/minimal turns, D) flat course, E) competitive field, and F) within driving distance. The Indianapolis Women's Half fit the bill on 5 of the 6, only missing requirement C), but the more courses I looked at the more I realized how hard it is to find one as nice as the White River half (which, alas, does not meet requirement A) this year since it is only 2 weeks before my goal marathon). So I landed on Indy, and was accepted as an elite entrant and honored as one of the "5 Women to Watch" in the race. The race organizers were amazing and I was fortunate to be a part of this event. The race was on a Saturday, so I made the trip to Indy on Friday with my parents. Since I won't pull Albani out of school for a race, she and Jon weren't able to come. I treasure my time with my parents so greatly, which also meant that even if I bombed the race, it would be worth going to! I never got nervous for this race, and I think that was big part of why. From the event program Expo fun More expo fun I was quite excited for this checkpoint in my marathon training cycle. After 10 consecutive weeks of mileage in the 60s plus 2 weeks with mileage in the 70s, I had a 50 mile week the week of this race. While I may not have been completely rested since I ran 20 miles one week before the event, I was the most rested I'd been in months, and I also had the opportunity to race in NOT 70-80* with 100% humidity for the first time in months! I felt like a new woman! Feeling like a new woman in the hotel room pre-race Based on the "5 Women to Watch" and a handful of other elite entrants, I expected to have several woman right around my pace. I lined up on the starting line feeling very relaxed and ready to give it a go. I kept reminding myself to trust my training and to trust God, and to go get what I'd trained for! Nothing is ever guaranteed in these long races, but fretting about it never helps. I planned to aim to keep my pace at 6:05-6:10. I'm looking weird on the starting line as per usual At the gun, a lead pack eased out, and a check of my Garmin around a quarter of a mile in showed 6:05 pace as I settled in right behind the leaders. For a brief moment, I thought, "Perfect! Maybe this will be the 6:05 pace pack! Couldn't be better!" After that brief moment, I could feel 5 of the girls accelerating (the 2 others who were not accelerating were 2 I expected to drop off before the mile at 6:05 pace). I couldn't decide; should I risk going through the first mile in 5:55-6:00 for the benefit of running with the pack, or should I stick to my plan? I let them go and stuck to my pace. I knew that if they could maintain sub-6:00 pace, I could not compete with them, and if that was too fast for them, they would come back. When 6:05 pace was briefly happening The 5 quickly pulled away from me, and at the mile I gauged them as over 20 seconds ahead of me (I later spoke to one who said they went through in 5:45). I came through the mile in 6:08, right where I wanted to be, but so alone. I felt antsy during mile 2, and really had to hold myself back because I wanted to chase the leaders, and kept questioning my decision about not going with them. However, the gap grew and I settled into complete no man's (no woman's?) land. Somehow I could feel that no one was close behind me. With the turns on the course, I simply couldn't see anyone. I had to start paying attention to the course markings/signs, which the event did a really good job with (including course marshals at all turns), but which just takes extra work. In regards to the course markings, in many places the cones on the road were set up in a way that did not allow you to run the tangents on turns and curves. When a course is certified, it is measured on the tangents of the road, but I noticed early on that many of the tangents were blocked. I knew I was not running the shortest route, but I didn't want to risk disqualification by going outside of the cones (and in some places the tangent was occupied by an aid station in the road, which I clearly could not go through). I was frustrated about this early on because I knew I was picking up extra distance, and there was nothing I could do about it. We all know I dislike anything out of my control! Between miles 4-5, I picked up a cyclist escort. I believe there were 10 cyclists, for the prize money positions, but I am not sure why they didn't pick up with the runners until that far into the race. I sure needed my guy earlier! Having him was a great help in regards to navigating the course, but I think the cyclists were probably told not to aid the runners (as they should be), so it wasn't helpful pacing-wise. I was extremely thankful to have him to keep me on course though - no more thinking about markings and signs! Between about 5.5 and 7.5, the course doubled back on itself, so I could see the runners ahead of and behind me. The leading 4 ladies were still pretty closely bunched when I saw them, significantly ahead of me (about 1:30). There had been 5 women ahead of me when I lost sight of them, but one of them was in the 5K (I hadn't been able to see the 5K turn off, but confirmed the 5K winner from the bib number in the photo above). At the time I thought maybe someone dropped out or stopped in a porta-potty, but regardless I knew I was in 5th at that point, with little chance of moving up. As I turned the other direction, I saw that 6th was farther behind me than I was trailing the leaders, so I also had little chance of being caught. I checked my watch at the 6.55 mile mat, and I was at 40:23, which was about what I wanted (the online results have the 6.55 splits wrong for everyone). I pressed on, feeling solid at the pace I was at and happy with my splits, and also really channeling those long tempos that I'd done solo. I kept thinking, "This is just like that 8 mile tempo, only 5 miles farther" -- which I am really not sure was the most encouraging mantra I could have invented, haha! I've really been working on pacing by feel, and after the first 2 miles when I used my Garmin to ensure I didn't go out too fast, I only looked at it when it beeped mile splits. I believe all of my tempo runs have really helped me pace consistently. My pace felt like exactly what I could maintain for a half marathon, but at the same time it's intimidating to try something you've never done before so I hoped that the wheels didn't fall off before 13.1! I tried to focus on trusting -- trusting my training and trusting God -- but I kept coming back to, "It's just like those 8 mile tempos, just 5 miles longer." Hah. Around mile 9.5, for the first time since about mile 1 I could see someone ahead of me! I realized that one lady had fallen off the lead group and even though she was still uber-far ahead of me, I was gaining. I told myself to give it my all to finish strong and to pull her in. I looked at my total time when I passed the mile 10 marker, and when I saw 1:01:35 (a huge unofficial 10 mile PR), I knew that it wasn't my day to break 1:20 because I knew I couldn't close with an 18:24 5K, but I also felt confident that I would PR. I worked on pulling in #4 throughout the final 5K. Mile 11 felt great, and then the final 2 miles were into the wind. I truly believe that I maintained a 6:00-6:05 effort on those 2 miles, but when you're running into a 14 mph wind, that does not translate into 6:00-6:05 splits. Although this was a tough time to encounter the wind, I am thankful that much of the course had fantastic wind block, because the main other time I felt it was at the beginning of the race (which makes sense, since we started and finished in the same area). Also, for what it's worth, Strava gave me a grade adjusted pace of 6:02 for mile 13. I was happy to see the mile 12 sign, and I knew I could gut out one more mile, but I was sure ready to finish! As we turned onto the final stretch, the finish seemed so reachable yet so far. I gained a lot of ground on #4, but not enough (she went on to finish in 1:20:40), and it was apparent I wasn't going to catch her by the long final stretch. It was a mental battle between easing off since I couldn't pass her, and going with all I had left to get the best PR I could. My kick was a far cry from my best (5:59 pace), but it was what I could do mentally and physically at that point, and that final half mile or so was the most prominent incline of the race (still very minor, but I could feel it!). I crossed in 5th in a new PR of 1:20:50. My dad's video of the finish is here, and the announcer even pronounced my last name correctly! Splits I guess I called it quite well when I noted here that I felt ready for a half PR but not ready for a 1:19! Although I'm very thankful for this race, I could also identify key factors that, if different, would have led to a faster time: A) less wind, B) people to run with, and C) being allowed to run the tangents. My Garmin read 13.19 at the end of this race, and in my last 3 half marathons it has read 13.10, 13.09, and 13.08, and it almost always reads slightly under on certified courses (it read 26.10 in my last marathon and 6.15 in a recent 10K). Whenever someone says their Garmin was right and the certified course was wrong, I am the first to say that, nope, your Garmin is wrong and the course is right; but we were not allowed to run the shortest route on the road, which is how courses are certified, and I think that cost me about 30 seconds. The course was right, we just didn't run the shortest route that it was measured on. My pace on my Garmin was 6:07.X (must have been 6:07.9+ because Garmin Connect rounded up to 6:08), and per the course was 6:09.96 (no, I am not rounding up to 6:10, bahaha!), so not a huge difference, but when you're chipping away at your PR, every second counts! A 1:19:59 takes 6:06.07 pace. Fun fact: my last 8 mile tempo was 6:07 pace, so this pretty much was just like that 8 mile tempo, just 5 more miles! One of these distances is not like the others... However, I've decided to let these factors boost my confidence that I can run faster. When I ran a 1:21 in Arizona, I wasn't sure if it was something I could top because everything aligned so nicely for that one; I am very pleased to beat that time when things did not align as well. The lower you work down your PRs, the more you really need that White Unicorn of race day conditions to improve them. I got a bit spoiled because I actually had those conditions for not one, but for three winter/spring races (Arizona Rock 'n' Roll half, BMO Mesa-Phoenix full, and the Wash U Distance Carnival 10,000 m). Maybe I can find them again at CIM, God-willing! When I told my coach about the race, he said, "You need to see what you can do on a straight course", and I look forward to doing just that. I've also been thinking, we often discuss trusting God when things go wrong, but it's just as important when things go right! Throughout the race, I kept reminding myself to trust Him, and to relax and just remember that whatever He had in store for me that day was far better than anything I could have planned myself. Luckily, things went right in the form of a new PR, but regardless I trust Him and I trust the process. "God is within her; she will not fail." - Psalms 46:5 Awards ceremony My sweet dad My sweet mom One of these things does not belong (that would be ME!), w/ podcast affiliated runners & the race director I got to post-race brunch with my dear friend Briony who was in Indy from Kansas! Bling Results The trip home Now it's back to marathon training! Less than 9 weeks until CIM!
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