Saturday, April 30, 2011

April Recap

Average Temp: 54F/12C, Spring seems to have arrived.  The flowers are out and the buds are on the trees but we did see snow this April.

Miles run: 126.7 mi

Rest days taken: 10 days

Highest mileage week: 37 miles - beating out my highest ever that I ran in March

Average pace: 8:19 min/mile

Races: Spring Forward 15k and Better life 5k

Current Obsessions: The royal wedding - I didn't wake up super early to watch the wedding but I did DVR it!

Current Blessings: As always, great friends and Brian.

Current Excitement: It's a secret, but I'll be sharing soon!

Current Read: Something Borrowed By Emily Griffin in preparation for the movie coming out next week!

Current Guilty Pleasure: Trying not to eat all my Easter candy before the race tomorrow!

How was your April?  I am so ready for May!

Friday, April 29, 2011

I think its time..

To put away the long spandex and bring out the shorts!

First official run of 2011 with SHORTS!  And my last "hard" run before the half!

20 mins easy + 15 mins HMP + 10 mins easy

The sun was out, the wind was mostly at our backs and everything felt good.  Sunday I'll be running with a few members of my running group and having them there will definitely be a confidence booster!

I have...
picked up my race packet.

I need to...
pick out a race outfit.

I will...
respect the distance and enjoy the race!

See you on the other side of 13.1 miles!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Confessions of a First Time Taperer

This is my first REAL taper!  Although I have read so many blog posts about what to expect, I honestly was completely unprepared!  Three weeks before the race, I started to cut back my mileage, 10% each week until the race and I still did a few workouts with high intensity.

My mileage:
Week 9 = 37 mi
Week 10 = 32.97 mi
Week 11 = 28.87 mi
Week 12 = Estimated at 27 mi

The best part about this taper was that I didn't make any drastic cuts in mileage or intensity.  I have slowly cutback on the workouts and mileage but continued to run tempo and half marathon paces in most of my workouts (except for easy runs).  Here is how things have been going -

First week -

Who needs taper - not me! I feel great.  Ok so my legs are a little tired from that super long run this past weekend but I am doing fine.

I thought this was taper - that meant no more hard workouts!  3x 2mi at Tempo is not supposed to be a taper workout!

Where are my recovery socks and sleeves? I should wear them all the time now to help my legs recover even faster...

Second week - 

I am RAVENOUS! I just want to eat all the time! I just had my mid morning snack which turned into a second breakfast! I cannot stop thinking about food!

And my knee hurts.  For real.  Ok maybe not, its fine now.  My hip hurts - I am serious this time.  Just kidding I am fine!

Third week - 

Ok 10 day forecast stop playing games with me! Yesterday you said 60% chance of rain and now today you say it supposed to be sunny and 70F!  If you are going to keep this up I am not going to continue to check you until the day before the race!

I am sorry high heels but I can't wear you this week.  I promise we will get back together in another week or two.  It has been pretty rainy out and you wouldn't want to be out in that weather anyway!

Only a few days left and only a few more I ready? I hope so!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Half Marathon - Week 11

**For those who guessed - The after run picture was Picture A or the one that I am smiling in!  You guys are good - most of you guessed correctly!**

Monday - Off

Tuesday - Tempo
7.3 miles/57:51/7:56 pace

The last real tough workout before the half marathon.

1x3mi at Tempo - 7:27 pace
1x2mi at Tempo - 7:23 pace

We had a bit of rain during the run and it was windy and cold.  Definitely didn't feel like spring but I ran with the running group which helped this run go by quick.  I really thought I had put away my winter running clothes for good, but apparently not.  My best deer caught in headlights look -


Wednesday - Easy Lunch Run
3.2 miles/28:40/8:55 pace

Despite a few sprinkles I headed out for a run at lunch.  After a quick jaunt around the block, I snuck back into work and changed back into my work clothes without anyone being any wiser of my run!

Thursday - Windy Tempo
7.6 miles/1:04:07/8:27 pace

This was a horrible run.  I had to run at 5am because I had plans after work, so at 5am I headed out for an easy warm up and then some miles at half marathon pace.  As I turned the corner to start my HMP run I was smacked with the wind that didn't stop until I got back home.  It was frustrating to be running an extremely hilly route that also was windy.  Check out this fun elevation profile from my run -

Friday - Off

Best part of the day was waking up to a beautiful sunrise.

Saturday - Longish Run  Easy
3.3 miles/30:00/9:05 pace

I woke up to pouring sideways rain and so I quickly changed plans and headed to the gym, for the second Saturday in a row.  This workout was originally planned for Sunday morning, but I did a switcharoo and ran it today and moved my longer run to Sunday when the weather would be better!

Sunday - 30 mins Easy Long Run
7.45 miles/1:00:04/8:04 pace

I was up at sunrise and headed out on the road for this run.  The plan was to run to Easter breakfast with my family.  I did a short 2 mile warm up and then did 20 mins at tempo pace (7:24 pace) and then ran the rest of the way easy.  It was a great reward to sit down and have a nice cup of hot coffee and breakfast after a quiet morning longish run.

Total week 11 mileage: 28.9 mi

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. Wednesday I did another lunch run because it is really hard to get up at 5am and run after a hard workout Tuesday night.  I took a "before run" and "after run" picture - Can you tell which one is which??

Picture A or Picture B???

2. The half marathon is getting close - Just 10 more days! I cannot believe how fast the time has gone.  This week I had my final tough run on Tuesday and now all that remains are a few easy runs with some half marathon pace thrown in which I did this morning.

20 min at easy + 20 min at HMP + 20ish min at easy

I just happened to pick the most hilly and windy route possible which made the run even tougher.  Running paced workouts in the morning when the temperature is 37F is not easy.  I was cursing the hills and wind the whole 7.6 miles!

3. Congrats to everyone who ran Boston on Monday!!  I was finally able to watch some coverage of the race last night - did anyone see Kim Smith's form?? 

Happy almost Friday and Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Better Life 5k Race Report

Brian and I ran this race last year too - Click here for the race report!

With just two weeks to go to the half marathon, I wasn't really excited about racing a 5k.  My legs were tired and cranky from weeks of high mileage and entering taper but I knew this was Brian's favorite race so decided to sign up with him.

Brian loves this race because it is on a golf course, plan and simple.  That is pretty much the only reason he wants to run it every year.  The course is challenging and hilly and not exactly a PR course.

I originally hadn't planned on racing, just running the 5k at tempo pace and seeing how I felt.  Once the race started that plan flew right out the window.  I began to judge the other women around me and started to feel more and more confident that I could take the lead and hold it.  So after the first mile I slowly started to pull away from the other women and increase my lead.

Leading the race was amazing and I felt great the whole time.  I just could not believe it was happening and that I was running a very consistently paced race.  With about a quarter mile to go, I finally looked behind me and saw that no women were in sight so I slowed down a bit.  I knew I had won and I thought that was enough for the day.  I will just have to wait for my next 5k to PR.
And now some race photos!

Official Time: 21:49
Overall: 7/102

Monday, April 18, 2011

Half Marathon - Week 10

Monday - Off

Another Monday off and it felt great after a weekend of tough runs.

Tuesday - Tempo
8.17 miles/1:04:31/7:54 pace

The plan was for 3x 2mi at tempo with negative splits and I was nervous about that because it sounded tough.  I went to running group and we started out and the pace felt great.  After the second set, our coach pulled us back and told us only to run a mile instead of the last 2 miler.  The reason he did this was because the tempo workout mileage should only account for 10% of the weekly mileage.  Obviously I was already over that 10% (weekly mileage = 37mi, 10% = 3.7 miles for tempo workout) but only by a little bit so it was better to pull it back and stick around 13.5% of my weekly mileage.

Wednesday - Easy
3 miles/26:56/ 8:59 pace

Well when I woke up it was POURING out, so I knew that a morning workout was out of the question. Next idea was to pack a bag and run at lunch.  Thankfully the rain had stopped by noon so I headed out for a run.
Just finished the run!
Cleaned up and back to work!

 Thursday - Another tempo run
7.7 miles/1:05:37/8:32 pace

Due to plans after work, I could not go to running group and run this workout.  I haven't run in the morning in a LONG time but that was the only time I could get this workout done.  I was up and out the door by 5:10am and it was DARK!  I forgot my headlamp which made it even darker! 

3 miles at easy + 20 mins at tempo + 2 miles at easy

My legs did NOT want to wake up and my easy pace was a little slower than usual.  When it came time to start the tempo, I had a lot of trouble trying to hit 7:30 pace.  I was able to average a 7:37 pace which I was happy with, I just forgot how hard it can be to run fast when its a cold early morning!

Friday - Off

Saturday - Long
10 miles/1:22:30/8:15 pace

April showers seem to be in full force because we got hit hard Saturday morning with pouring rain and wind.  I thought I was going to join my friend for part of her long run but decided that it was not going to happen.  I headed to the gym with Brian and hopped on a treadmill.

2 miles at easy + 6 miles at HMP (7:50 pace) + 2 miles at easy = 10 miles

After weeks and weeks of running outside, running on the treadmill for 10 miles was painful and boring.  I was just glad to get the workout done and get the miles in.

Sunday - Easy/Race!
4 miles/30:59/7:45 pace

 I happen to run a little 5k race and take first female!!  Brian also was first in his age group!!  Race report still to come!

Total week 10 mileage: 33 mi

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A little Sunday Surprise!

This morning despite 30 mph winds, Brian dragged me to a small 5k race.  

And despite having 30 miles on my legs for the week...

I finished the challenging course just a few seconds from a PR and 
was the FIRST female!

Official Time: 21:49

Friday, April 15, 2011

Conquering the Morning Tempo

Early on in the week I checked my running schedule.  I saw the workout scheduled for Thursday:

3 miles at easy + 20 min at Tempo + 2 miles at easy

It didn't look that hard and since I was busy after work I decided I would run in the morning.  It has been a long time since I had done a morning run.  Although I love running with a group, I missed the quiet, dark mornings when I would run all alone.

The temperature was 39F feels like 34F and I had no idea how to dress so of course I over-dressed for the run.  I headed out at 5am and forgot my headlamp and it was dark.  This was my third day in a row of running and my legs were stiff and not quite awake.

The first few miles ticked by and I thought I was going along at a good pace but I couldn't see my garmin in the dark.  I finally remembered how to light up the screen and saw the pace - 9:20/mi.  I guess my legs were not awake at all - I tired to pick up the pace a bit so that the tempo portion would not be such a shock!

Finally the 3 miles were up and it was time to go.  Speeding up was not easy and I could not get below a 7:30 pace even though 7:30 pace was my goal.  It was a constant battle to just keep my pace in the 7:30s range.  I couldn't help but think about Tuesdays workout where this same pace has felt so easy!

As I ran the tempo, the darkness began to fade as dawn neared and by the end of my run it was bright and sunny!  That almost made up for the fact that this run totally kicked my butt.  Who knew a pre-dawn tempo run could be so hard even after a longer warm up?!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wedding Talk: A big To Do List

Since the wedding is only 5 months away, I thought I would start to do an overview of what I had done so far because everything is starting to come together/get stressful!

As soon as I got engaged I searched the internet for help on what I should do next! Great, I got the ring, but now what?

I soon found the master of all "TO DO" lists!  It was a 12+ month list of things that needed to be done to have a successful, wonderful wedding - or at least that is what it promised!

Everything was laid out by due date, starting with the very first item to do - GET ORGANIZED!

It seemed like I was slowly crossing things off the list, little by little getting things done. Reception and ceremony site, photographer, DJ, florist, but there is still so much left to do!

Seems like I have all the big stuff done, and now all that remains are the little details!  Invitations, centerpieces, hair and make up, guest list, wedding cake, and so much more!
My wedding to do list from

See all those ticking alarm clocks?? Those are all the things I have yet to do and are overdue on my giant to do list!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Refueling on the Run

I have been keeping a secret the past 9 weeks....

For my 13 miler (week 4), and my second 13 miler w/ the last 3 miles at HMP (week 6), and my 16 miler w/ the last 4 miles at HMP (week 9) I have not been fueling during the run.

After my stomach revolted against the GU during my half in September I was apprehensive about using them again.

When I started running in the morning back in the summer of 2007, my stomach was super sensitive.  Not only did I have to be careful what I ate before a run but also afterward.  I had to stay away from dairy after all my runs because I became lactose intolerant for about 3 hours after I finished running.

My stomach has slowly become less sensitive as I have run more and more, but I still have an occasional problem.  So for the training of my 3rd half marathon, I decided to try and not use any fuel while running and see how it worked out.

I have this giant box of GU at home and have not used one yet!

Just to be safe, during all my extra long runs I have stashed one GU in my pocket but I haven't used it.  I just haven't felt like I needed to.  This is all very confusing because last summer while training for my second half, I used GUs all the time.

One difference could be the weather.  All my training runs have been during 30-40F weather while in the summer, most of my runs were in the 80F weather and it was hot and I needed to refuel.  

Another difference could be the fact that I am running my long runs at a slower, more comfortable pace for this training cycle.

I am not really sure what the difference is but I do know for the half marathon coming up on May 1st, I will most likely carry a GU with me during the race but I don't know if I will need it or use it.

Have you noticed a difference in your fueling based on the season or weather?  

Have you ever run more than 10 miles without taking any fuel?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Half Marathon - Week 9

Monday - Recovery Off

Switched things up this week and took a day off Monday.  It felt weird not to work out today but I needed the rest after the race Sunday.  This is the FIRST Monday I have taken off in this training cycle!  It worked out well that I took this day off because it ended up raining ALL day!

Tuesday - Tempo
8 miles/1:03:26/7:55 pace

Two days after the 15k race I busted out this workout and was proud of it. 

Warm up 1.5 miles in 12:08
2x (2mi at HMP, 1mi at Tempo)
0.5 mile cool down in 4:52

First set - 2 miles at 8:02 pace, 16:03; 1 mi at 7:23, Total = 23:27
Second set - 2 miles at 7:55 pace, 15:49; 1 mi at 7:10, Total = 22:59

The 3 mile course I ran with the running group was windy and hilly and I was happy to see those paces.  We decided to run the HMP portion a bit slower and aim for 8:00 pace because most of us had just run the race on Saturday.

Wednesday - Easy
3miles/28:00/9:20 pace

Brian joined me for an easy run after work.  I took it really slow to allow my legs maximum recovery from Tuesday's workout and also to get ready for Thursday workout.

Thursday - Interval
7 miles/56:45/8:07 pace

1.8 mile warm up
4x1200m at tempo pace - 5:32 (7:24), 5:29 (7:23), 5:17 (7:08), 5:15 (7:04)
2.2 mile cool down

Ran this workout a bit too fast.  It was a nice day out and I think I just got carried away.  Tempo pace was supposed to be about 7:30s but I ran faster.  I ran this workout alone and I kind of wish I had gone to running club because it keeps me in check and makes me run the correct paces.

Friday - Off

Saturday - Long with half marathon pace
15.66 miles/2:11:22/8:23 pace

Respecting the Distance.  Longest run I have done in my entire life.  I was pretty nervous because the plan called for ~16 miles with last 4 at HMP.  Thanks to some great company I was able to success full complete this run!

Brian picked me up some candy as a treat for completing a great long run!  Swedish fish, sour patch kids and peach gummis! Yum!

Sunday - Recovery/Easy
3.34 miles/30:36/9:15 pace

I woke up with sore hips from yesterday's run and also the bottom of my feet were sore.  Not exactly sure why my feet were sore - I have been noticing when I wear my Brooks Ghost 3s on longer runs, my feet are sore the next day.  When I wear my Asics 2150s, my feet are ok.

Just an easy run on this warm day (55F!) and just enjoyed being outside without all the usual cold gear on.  Now it is time to enter taper!

Total week 9 mileage: 37 mi

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Respect the Distance

This has been my mantra through this whole training cycle

Respect the Distance

It has run through my mind countless times as I have prepared for runs and as I have completed those runs.  I have tried never to lose sight of the fact that 10+ miles is a long way.  Anything can happen in a split second to turn a great run into a horrible, miserable run. 

This morning I attempted something I have never done before and I was nervous.  I was afraid of what would happen and if I would finish feeling good.

This morning I attempted to run the longest distance I have ever run in my life.  And it was awesome!

15.66 miles in 2:11:22 with the last 4 miles at HMP (~7:45 pace)

I left my house before the sun was even up and met the running group for the long run.  It was a chilly 35F and I still had to wear my winter running clothes.  I wrote out directions, just in case I forgot the route so I wouldn't get lost.  I brought my phone and gloves and all the other essentials including some gels.  At promptly 6:30am we were off.  The first few miles ticked by easily and it was a beautifully quiet morning.

As I neared the 7th mile, I was joined by my running teammate.  We continued on together, enjoying the run and the gorgeous morning.  As we neared the 11.5 mile mark, I wasn't sure how those last 4 miles were going to go, but I just tried to remember to take it one step at a time and respect the distance.

It was tough and painful over those 4 miles at half marathon pace but having my friend and teammate there helped to keep me going.  We managed to average a pretty even 7:47 pace for the whole 4 miles which was amazing considering I already had 11 miles on my legs.  I was just so happy to finish my last long run of this training cycle on a good note and head into taper feeling strong and confident.

After the run I took an ice bath with no ice, just cold water and I think it really helped to make my legs less least so far.  The true test will be to see how I feel tomorrow!  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Learning to Recover

Looking back a year ago, I didn't take recovery runs.  I knew I should take it easy on my runs after a hard workout, but I hated to see a slower pace so I pushed through and ran too fast.  I never followed a plan, I would just workout with how I felt.

And it worked for me then...well sort of.

Now that I have been following a plan for the half marathon I don't know how I ever trained with out it!  I love having the distance and paces already planned out so I just check the schedule to see what I have for each day.  And I am learning the important of recovery runs. 

I knew going into this 12 week training plan that I would only run 5 days a week.  I didn't want to over do it and I wanted to make sure that I had time for cross training (although that whole cross training thing really hasn't been happening).  With only 5 days of workouts, that definiltely left a little bit of flexibily in where to schedule runs.  Three of the workouts would be key, hard workouts and would be consistent each week, which left two workouts to be scheduled in where I wanted or needed them.

Consistent workouts each week:

Tuesday: Tempo or Interval Run
Thursday: Tempo or Interval Run depending on Tuesday
Saturday: Long Run with half marathon paced portions

That leaves four other days to fit in two easy/recovery runs.  In the beginning I was running four days in a row, Monday thru Thursday, but as the weeks have continued on, I am now running on Sunday after my long run Saturday.  Each week I decide whether to run easy on Monday or Wednesday.

For this particular week since I had a race on Sunday, I took off Monday and went right into Tuesday for my hard workout.

2x (2mi at HMP, 1mi at Tempo) w/ 3 min recovery

Taking the day off after the race was a great idea because I felt fresh on Tuesday and ready to tackle the paces -

First set - 2 miles at 8:02 pace, 16:03, 1 mi at 7:23, Total = 23:27
Second set - 2 miles at 7:55 pace, 15:49, 1 mi at 7:10, Total = 22:59

Wednesday I scheduled my recovery run and managed to convince Brian to come along with me.  Although it looked like it was about to rain, it held off and we ran a nice and easy 3 miler.

Brian left me in the dust - It's hard to take iPhone pictures while running!

Today, I am running after work because it is supposed to be 50F outside!  I have another hard workout planned with 4x1200m at Tempo pace.  I think the system I have for this training cycle is working really well and I am able to recover well before the next hard workout.  It also helps that I have recovery socks hidden under my work pants 50% of the time!   

Smartwool Recovery socks

How do you recovery? Have you found a schedule that works for you?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Half Marathon - Week 8

Monday - Easy
3 miles/27:00/ 9:00 pace

After two long hard runs over the weekend, I did not feel like getting up this morning.  My legs were cranky and my covers were warm so I stayed in bed.  I packed my bag for a lunch run and headed to work.  It was a gorgeous day when I stepped outside at lunch and had a very nice 3 miles before heading back in to work the rest of the afternoon.  I think I am getting the hang of this whole running easy at lunch and minimally sweating!

Tuesday - Interval
6.1 miles/49:13/8:05 pace

This week at running club we spiced things up with a little interval paced running!

4x1000m at Interval pace (~6:58min/mile or 4:19/1000m)

4:20, 4:15, 4:12, 4:09

I finished this workout feeling like I could do a fifth 1000m which according to the latest Runners' World is the best way to end a tough workout!

Wednesday - Off

Enjoyed my day off from running with a little ice cream sundae!

Thursday - Tempo
7.8 miles/1:05:12/8:22

Another Thursday workout with the running club.  This week the workout was at half marathon pace which actually felt a little slow compared to the paces we had been running.

2x 2mi at Half marathon
First 2mi = 15:39 (7:50 pace)
Second 2mi = 15:30 (7:46 pace)

Friday - Off

Saturday - Easy
3 miles/26:37/8:53

A quick run before jetting off to a baby shower.

Sunday - 15k Race!
9.3 miles/1:12:23/7:46 pace +2.12 miles WU and CD

Total week 8 mileage: 31.32 mi

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spring Forward 15k

A busy week followed by a busy weekend.  Feels like I have not had a break in over a month.  But if life wasn't busy what fun would that be?

Saturday I attended my future sister-in-laws baby shower.  I am so excited for her because she is having identical TWIN BOYS!!  One of the things I am looking forward to when I marry Brian is gaining sisters and nephews because I am an only child.  It was a fun day of family and friends with lots of food!

Just like when Brian's sister had her son last March, I made blankets for the babies! 

Sunday dawned early as Brian and I headed to the 15k race.  I met a friend from running club and we warmed up together.  It was a cold 35F morning with lots of sun.  The plan was to start off slow (8-8:15 pace) and then negative split the second half but that didn't exactly work out.

It was an extremely hilly course and the toughest 15k I have ever run (even tougher than the Boilermaker 15k).  I started off feeling really good at about a 7:45 pace which was too fast but I was feeling good so I just kept going.

At the 6 mile mark I saw Brian and my running coach.  They both cheered me on as I continued to run.  A little after the 10km mark the course started a gradual uphill for almost a mile and it was brutal.  I slowed down and started to get tired.  If the last 5km of the race had not been mainly uphill I think I would have broken my PR of 1:11 from last years Boilermaker.

Although it was hilly, I finished feeling good and not totally spent.  This was supposed to be a training run/tune up race to see where I am at for the half marathon and I think I have that now.

Finish Time: 1:12:23
Average pace: 7:46
Place: 127/514
Age Group: 4/45

Another race in the books...another step closer to the half marathon in May!