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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
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