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  1. 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!
  2. January 2018 in review...Happy New Year! Total mileage for the month: 207 - This should be my lowest mileage month of 2018! Towards the end of the month, I did the math to see if I was going to make it over 200, concluded that I wasn't, and made peace with that (after an initial urge to add mileage) -- but I think I forgot to include Jan. 31 in the calculation, and that was the difference. Jan. 1-7: 55.4 - taper Jan. 8-14: 58.3 - marathon week Jan. 15-21: 20.5 - recovery week (4 days off running) Jan. 22-28: 48.2 - more recovery (1 day off running) Jan. 29-Feb. 4: projected at 55 (back to 7 days of running) January is cold Races: Jan. 14: Chevron Houston Marathon in 2:54:06. Although this was a far-cry from the time I went to Houston to chase, I was content with it. I knew running this one was a risk, and I am glad I took the risk even though I didn't reap The Big Reward. I learned a lot that I will carry forward, and it felt good to run my third fastest marathon and 5th consecutive sub-3:00 with joy. Workouts: Jan. 3: 3 x 2 mile tempos with 0.5 recoveries (2.3 warm-up, 2 cool-down), with splits of 6:06/6:03, 6:00/6:01, 6:05/6:04. My goal pace ranges were progressively faster for each one at 6:05-6:10, 5:55-6:02, and 5:50-6:00, so my first two reps were right on and my last one was 5+ seconds/mile slow; however, considering the weather I thought this was solid. It was 28*/feels like 14* with an 18 mph north wind. The temperature was actually balmy compared to my other runs around this time and I don't think it hurt me one bit, but the wind ate me up. I ran a loop course that is mostly north and south, and it's a fast course that I do most of my tempo and road speed workouts on, but it has zero wind block and going north was tough. I fought to hit my splits on the first two reps, but because the effort was more than the pace showed I didn't have sub-6:00 in me at the end. The last time I ran this workout on October 31, my first two reps were almost identical to what I did in this one, and the last rep was faster, but thanks to Gamin Connect showing weather data I looked back to see that the wind was 3 mph that day, so I am calling this one a win! Jan. 9: 2 mile tempo in 6:13/5:58, 0.5 recovery, 0.5 mile tempo in 2:51 (3 warm up, 2 cool down). This was the same final tune-up workout I did the week of CIM on November 28, and have also done plenty of times before. My goal paces were 6:10-6:15 for the 2 mile and 5:50 for the half mile. Actual paces were almost identical to what I ran 6 weeks before, on the exact same course, so cheers to consistency. Jan. 27 - 2 mile tempo in 11:39 via 5:49.8/5:49.7 (3.3 warm up, 3 cool down). I included the tenths of a second on my splits because I was very happy with my even-ness! This was done during my no training schedule recovery time, because I was dying to run something faster. I rationalized this with wanting to try out a pair of new racing shoes while they were still in the return window. I am almost embarrassed to admit that I bought a pair of Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%s - but I am not above trying them out for the purported performance benefit! After this run I will say that either they really do give a performance benefit, or I was just rested, because I expected I would be more like 6:10 pace because of post-marathon de-training, post-marathon sugar binge weight gain, and the day's powerful wind. Shoe review to be continued... Jan. 30 - 5 x 3' on/3' fartlek (2.1 warm-up, 2 cool-down, 4.24 covered in the fartlek portion). There was definitely a reason that my coach made this one short and effort-based, and it was nice to run a workout even though I still had some "out of gas" feeling going on and it was 16 degrees. My paces for the ons were 6:01, 5:44, 5:55, 5:53, 5:54, which I was overall good with all-considering, but clearly I should have run a little faster on the first rep to keep them all sub-6:00 -- or really just warmed up better, because 2 miles easy is not sufficient at 15* (actually at any temperature some strides and drills sure help!). No doubles - sadness, but it's not the time for them and I also know I would have struggled going out twice on the stupid cold days! Strides on Jan. 3 (pre-workout), 8, 12, and 13. Full body strength workouts on Jan. 1, 22, 28, and 31. I did quite a bit of maintenance work (core, glutes, calves, etc.), nearly daily aside from right before and right after the marathon. I've committed to strength training on my hard running days during this cycle, typically Wednesday and Saturdays, which is recommended but more difficult than what I've been doing with my life schedule. I started on Jan. 28 with a strength workout on my long run day (it's much easier when the long run is only 12 miles) and continued on Jan. 31 on my midweek long run day (a little harder because running 10 miles + 45 minutes of strength work before work is a lot). I know I won't be perfect on this every week, but if I can get at least one full workout of the strength routine my coach gave me every week (along with a little maintenance most days right before or after running), I will be happy. Favorite workout: Since the 3 x 2 mile split tempo was the only full-length workout, it wins by default! Long Runs: Jan. 6: 12 easy (7:22). It was terribly windy for this one with Missy and Rebecca. I love running farm roads, but our typical routes have no wind block, and after a few miles we all agreed that we should have run this one in town! We went out against the wind for 6 miles, running around 7:40 pace. Missy said, "This sure feels like 7:00 pace" and I agreed. When we turned around, we were running 7:00 pace at the same effort. We know our "feels like" paces! It was also "feels like" 4* and my face froze for the first half of the run. Jan. 21: 9.5 easy (7:15). Eh, I'm counting it! This was my first day of feeling more normal after the marathon, and I joined some of my favorite girls (Missy, Jessi, and Danielle) for part of their long runs. I thought I was joining for 8 miles, but the loop I did was a little longer than expected. I ran 1 mile later in the day with Albani, so split I made it to double digit miles for the day, haha! Jan. 28: 12.2 easy (7:26). This was one of those runs that just flew by with good company! I was glad Jessi wanted to take it easy pace-wise along with me, because although I felt about as good as I could expect to post-Houston, my body wasn't ready for a fast long run yet. Favorite long run: I'm struggling with this because I can't classify any of these as actual long runs, but I felt the best on Jan. 28! Highlights/thoughts/randomness: This month I did a lot of record-setting in regards to the coldest conditions I'd ever run in. New Years Day I tackled 3*/feels like -11* (in daylight) and on January 2 I ran in -1*/feels like -8* before dawn. At the end of December I set some similar records, with a 10 mile hill repeat workout in feels like -3* on December 27 (my first time running double digit mileage at below 0 real feel), a 21 miler in feels like 6* on December 30 (my coldest long run ever) and a recovery run on December 31 in feels like -6* (my coldest run ever until I bettered it on January 2). These are the kind of PRs I could do without ever improving on. I used to not run outside if it felt like below 0*, so I've been proud of myself! I hope February isn't terrible, though. I am slower in the extreme cold. It's easy for me to forget that the cold effects pace physiologically, as heat also does. I run my easy runs by feel, and they were around 30 sec/mile slower when it was very cold - some of this is probably from wearing 15 lbs of clothing. I heard my second mention on Lindsey Hein's I'll Have Another Podcast. I'm a new listener, but it's safe to say I'm addicted to this podcast now. I was listening to the Christmas special (late, clearly), and they talked a little about CIM. The gist of my mention was on the topic of PRs at CIM, and something like "That Sara girl we met at Indy ran a 2:47...and she only ran a 1:20 half at Indy." Hah. I'll give them a much better "only" with my 5K PR! 2:47 and 1:20 are actually pretty equivalent performances, per the Jack Daniels calculator, but a lot of people can't pull off a marathon equivalent to what their half predicts. I am the opposite and can't pull off the short distance times my marathon predicts. The podcast I'm mentioned in is here. I proactively ended my running streak on 1/15/18. I ran every day from 6/20/17 to 1/14/18. I never planned to streak, but I began running 7 days a week in my CIM build and it just happened. It then became pretty hard for my obsessive personality to stop to stop streaking (I ran for 10 minutes/1.1 miles the day after CIM to maintain it), but I knew I needed to stop it both physically and mentally, and to stop it while I was healthy. After all, I have to get prepared to build for a 2:45 attempt at Grandma's Marathon in June! Speaking on Grandma's Marathon...I applied for and was accepted as an elite! I'll get have my own fluid bottles placed on the course which I am super excited about. My official training schedule for it began Jan. 29 (although the first few weeks will be lighter), and if all goes as planned I will have another streak from Jan. 27 through race day on June 16. Albani ran her first 5K! Albani and my mom attended the OMRR (our local running club) banquet while I was in Houston! Non-running life events: We welcomed the New Year at home, with family game and movie time. I tried to fall asleep during a movie around 10:00 p.m., but Jon and Albani were being loud and kept me awake until around 10:45 p.m. At that point Jon sent Albani to bed, but then she came back downstairs at midnight to wish us happy New Year. I only halfway awoke for that! I love being old, haha! We got some extra time with my parents after the Houston Marathon. My mom stayed with Albani while my dad went with Jon and I to Houston. We returned from Houston late Sunday night, and my parents were planning to leave on Monday morning, but due to bad weather they ended up staying with us until Wednesday! Albani was also out of school due to the snow on Monday through Wednesday (then had a late start Thursday), and everyone had a great time. I had to work but I also don't do well with not leaving the house for days on end, so it was alright. Our wild New Years I imagine I made a similar face when I went outside in this temperature! Being spoiled by Grandma
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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.
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