Monday, April 30, 2012

Mega miles week

Today begins my last big week of miles before entering taper. 

54 miles.

That's my mileage for this week.  Slightly insane especially after racing yesterday, but I am up for the challenge.

Here is a peak at my workouts for the week:
Monday - 3 miles easy AM, Yoga PM
Tuesday - Total Body Class AM, Yassos 10x800m@ 3:25 w/ 3:25 recovery, 9 miles total PM
Wednesday - 3 miles easy AM
Thursday - 3 mi E, 2x (4mi@ MP + 1mi @T), 2 mi E; 15 miles total PM
Friday - Easy spinning AM
Saturday - 22 miles easy AM
Sunday - 2 miles easy AM

And I really hope that this mornings run was the last morning I have to wear full winter gear and put on all my layers.  It was 30F and there was frost every where and although it was beautiful in the morning light, I am ready for shorts and a t-shirt.

The race went well yesterday (race report coming soon, I promise!).  It was the perfect weather and the perfect race.  I will say that I PR'd big time!  Today, I am a little stiff today but actually not as bad as I thought I was going to be.  Yoga was exactly what I needed to loosen up my legs.

I think the key to this week of crazy mileage will be getting to bed early.  And eating lots of food and maybe some strong coffee!

Bring on the miles!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tune up Race

Tomorrow I am racing.  With four weeks to go until the marathon, this race will give me a good idea of my current fitness and training. 

I love running races during training, it gives a mini goal to reach for while still training for the goal race at the end.  Last year I ran this race as my goal race - what a difference a year makes.

I went back into my garmin archives from last year and took a peak at my paces for the race.  Having the records is nice so I can go back and see how I did - where I went too fast or too slow, where I pushed and where I held back.

There are some hills in this race - between miles 6 and 9 but unlike last year I know they are coming and I have run them before.  The goal is to not over exert myself up the hills and then recover quickly on the downhills. 

My goal for this race is to not go out too fast because it is flat and fast for the first 6 miles.  Then the hills come but once I reach the 15k point it is all flat to the finish.  I want to run smart for the first 6 miles, tackle the hills and not go too far off pace, then just hold on until the finish.  Sounds so easy when I type it out but I know that it wont be that easy.

Half a mile to the finish at last years' race
This year I also want to try and smile when I pass Brian near the finish.  No one wants to see my pain stricken face.

Now all that is left to do is hydrate today and decide what I am going to wear!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WIAW: Mac 'n Cheese Tacos

This week seems to be flying by (so far) and I am so happy it is Wednesday!  Last night I went to my running club and ran a pretty intense workout.  My training plan called for something even more insane but I cut the mileage down since I am racing Sunday!

Training Plan: 2mi E, 4mi T, 5mi E, 3mi T, 2mi E = 16 miles
Actually ran: 2mi E, 3mi T, 2mi E, 3mi T, 2mi E = 12 miles

(Check out this post for info on figuring out paces for runs)

This was the last intense workout before my half marathon on Sunday - it is just a tune up race for the marathon but I am excited to see how it goes.

Post workout last night, I made the best meal ever.  We had leftover Skinny Mac and Cheese from Sunday and Tacos from Monday so I combined them for the best recovery meal.

I used a large piece of romaine lettuce and wrapped it around the hard taco shell so in case the shell broke, the taco insides would not fall out.  It worked perfectly plus I got some good veggies with my dinner.

Mac 'n Cheese Tacos
1 hard taco shell
1/2 cup ground beef seasoned with taco seasoning
1/2 cup leftover mac and cheese
1/2 tomato, diced
1 piece of romaine lettuce

Heat the hard taco shell in the oven for a few minutes.  Remove carefully and then fill with taco meat (I used ground beef but you could use anything).  Layer on leftover mac and cheese then top with tomatoes.  Place romaine lettuce on bottom of the taco to prevent spillage.  Add any extra toppings or condiments as desired. DEVOUR!

This was so good and I have just enough to make one more taco.  It looks like Thursdays post run recovery meal may be very similar!

Thanks to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for What I ate Wednesday!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Where's Spring?

The weather sure has been funky around here.  Last week it was hot out and I was running in shorts and a tank top.  Saturday and Sunday it was cold and rainy so I ran in capris and a rain jacket.  This morning it was snowing and I ran in my full winter gear.  Good thing I didn't pack up all my cold running clothes yet.

When I headed out for my run at 5am, the streets were covered in about an inch of snow and the snow was still coming down hard.  My poor little plants were covered in snow - even my tulips.

Thank goodness I adjusted my schedule this week and planned for only 3 miles because I don't know if could have run more in the cold, snow and wind.  When I got back home, I was covered with thick, wet snow.  It even stuck to my headlamp (and hat) and covered all the trees around the yard.

The snow/rain isn't supposed to let up until tomorrow night so it looks like I will have at least one more rainy run. 

How's the weather in your neighborhood?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Email Address Correction

This week I became aware that the email attached to my blog was wrong.  I have been receiving all the comments posted but whenever someone would try to email me, apparently it was going to someone else.

I have since corrected this and now if you email me, I will actually get it.  I apologize to anyone who has emailed me and I did not respond.  From now on my email connected to this blog is correct.  Feel free to contact me at morningrunner12{at}gmail{dot}com

Hope you have a great weekend! And just for fun, here are some Friday Favs from the week -

Tulips - They in full bloom in my garden! This has to be my favorite flower.

Grilled Cheese MONTH - Apparently April is National grilled cheese month.  Check out Galley Kitchen for a different grilled cheese sandwich every day.

Following Kara (and Shalane) - The Olympics are coming and everyone is getting ready. You can follow their training online.

Warm Toasted Marshmallow S'mores Bars - Must. Make. These!

Fun Fact - This is so true for me.  Sunday's are always my worst eating day.

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The hardest workout

The toughest workout of this marathon training schedule had to be today's.

2mi warm up
3x3mi at tempo pace w/ 3 min recovery
1mi cool down

Earlier in the week, the weather looked great for a lunch time run and since my running buddy was busy after work for our usual running club rendezvous we decided to meet at noon on Thursday to run.

The temperature when we started was very close to 70F with ~15mph winds.  I thought nothing of these two factors until about half way through the first set of 3 miles at tempo.  The wind was in my face and I was frustrated because I felt like this workout was taking more energy than it should.

Once the first three miles were over, I was already feeling drained.  The sun was beating down on us and I just was not used to the heat.  I said to my running buddy, "Maybe this is what all the people who ran Boston felt like, except much worse."

We started the next set and the wind turned into a greater hindrance than a help with the tempo pace.  Every step was a mental battle to not stop running.  Sometimes you just have those runs, they happen every training cycle and I was about due for one.

The final set was the worst of course, but somehow I was able to dig deep and barely pull out negative splits (by a second or so) on the three sets.  After finishing, I vowed that lunch time was strictly reserved for easy runs and not tempo runs.  Once I returned to my desk, showered and back in my work clothes, I quickly consumed my whole lunch and 32 ounces of water. 

The heat had taken its toll on me today.  I just got unlucky in the fact that the first warm day, I decided to do a tempo run in the middle of the day.  So it was a bit of poor planning on my part but it was still good to get this run done.

12 miles total at lunch was a bit of a stretch, especially since I was gone for almost 2 hours (with changing and showering post run) but thankfully I work in a place that is flexible like that.  Not that I can do this every day but its nice to have the chance every once in a while.

Post run tonight, I am still ravenous for food and water.  Brian worked late and so I decided to work on the leftovers in the fridge instead of making a brand new meal.  I realized that if I was single and alone, I would most likely make and eat some type of tacos every single night.

Leftover grilled chicken with cheddar cheese, tomato and guacamole on a burrito tortilla.  Hit the spot. For now.

5 more weeks to go until the marathon.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Coffee or Tea?

Ever since I was sick back in the beginning of March, coffee has not had the same taste.

I am not sure why.  I used to be able to drink coffee every day and I loved it.  I often would pick up Tim Horton's on the way to work for a special treat.  Now some days I can stand to drink it but others I just can't.

Except Tim Horton's - I can still down a large coffee from there with no problem.

So I made a little switch recently and have been trying to drink tea in the morning.  I still love a hot beverage with my breakfast any time of year and the tea seems to be a good way to fill the void of coffee.

I don't know why my taste's changed after bring sick but I am glad that my taste for coffee didn't completely disappear.  Also, I bought a new coffee creamer this week to try because maybe its that instead of the actual coffee. In the past I have used the coffeemate regular stuff, but I splurged and got some International delight in caramel flavor.  Yum. (Hopefully.)

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Today instead of driving my car, I ran to work!

My training plan called for 15 easy miles.  15 miles on a THURSDAY!!??  That is quite a bit of miles for a weekday.  The past few weeks, the weekday miles have really been growing - the past two Thursdays I have tun 13 miles each.  I thought about doing a double run with 6 miles in the morning and 9 miles after work but for once, running twice in one day did not sound appealing.  Then the idea popped into my head to run into work.

My work is about 10 miles from my house on non expressway roads but that still left 5 extra miles.  I began to experiment with routes and was able to add on a couple miles to make it 12 miles from home to work.  As I was making plans, I texted my running buddy.  She was pretty thrilled with my idea and since she lives very close to where I work, she decided that she would run out to meet me and finish the run with me.  I would run the first 6 miles by myself, then the next 6 with her and then drop her off at her house and add on 3 miles before heading into work.

I packed all my bags up the night before for Brian to bring into work (one of the benefits of working at the same company)and tried to go to bed early.

4:45am this morning I woke up and got ready.  I grabbed some cheddar goldfish and ate those before heading out just after 5am.  As soon as I started I knew I was overdressed for the run, but there was nothing I could do about it because I knew if I went back inside to change I would be late for my buddy meet up.

 It was super dark but thankfully since the local schools have this week off the traffic was extra light.  The miles were ticking by and I got closer and close to meeting up with my buddy.  Meeting up with her definitely helped to break the run up because I was so focused on meeting her, that I wasn't thinking about how many miles I had left to run.

Soon my running buddy appeared and we started running together.  It was great to have company and although I could tell I was tired from all the high miles, having someone to run with made everything better. 

Slowly the sun began to rise and it was beautiful!  Reds and oranges streaked the sky as we continued on, close and closer to work.  It was so different to be running after the sunrise because usually I never see it on my run this time of year.  Most of my runs are completed before 6am so this was a welcomed treat.

My buddy started to have some GI issues around mile 10.5 so I had to leave her behind and keep going since I needed to be to work on time.  The last 4.5 miles were slightly lonely and very tough.  I had packed water in my nathan hydration backpack but I didn't want to stop to take it out.  I was munching on orange GU chomps but I was just so thirsty. 

Finally, I reached the end of my miles and pulled into my work parking lot.  It was great timing because Brian drove in at the same time.  I was pretty happy to be finished with the run and pretty happy that I ran 15 miles before work.  Now I get a full 48 hours of rest before my long run Saturday and I think my legs really need it and are going to enjoy it too!

Thank goodness for work showers, that weren't that cold this time (except when someone in the men's room flushed the toilet) because I was able to dressed and working by 7:45am.  Not too bad for a long run on a Thursday morning.

I really enjoyed running to work and although it was tough to get all the logistics together, it actually worked out really well.  I hope I can start to do this more often!

Now I just have to get through the rest of the work day.  My legs are pretty tired and I can't seem to eat enough food to satisfy my starving stomach but it was worth it!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

10 Reasons to become a Spring Morning Runner

It is finally Spring!  Time to come out of gym hibernation and hit the roads for some runs.  This has to be my favorite time of year for running in the morning.  I did a post like this about reasons to run in the predawn during winter, but I think morning running in the spring is a lot more appealing to most people.

1. It is finally light out before 7am (and soon 6am!)

Having the sun rise earlier and earlier makes morning runs more enjoyable because you can see where you are going. And the early sunrise make getting out of bed easier too!

2. You don't need as much clothing as during the winter. 

There's nothing like throwing on a pair of shorts and a long sleeve shirt and heading out the door for a run.  Without spandex and all those heavy layers, it makes running feel easier!

3. Spring running clothes are way cuter than winter running clothes.

Capris, tank tops, shorts, long sleeves.  All these are so much cuter and fun to wear than winter spandex and under armour tops.

4. Since its light out, you don't need to wear that goofy headlamp anymore.

I am so ready to ditch the headlamp (and the hat). And the gloves.

5. Some of the best sunrises happen in the spring. 

There have been so many mornings where I wish I had run with my camera in order to capture the most beautiful sunrise.

6. Persuading your running buddy to run in the AM with you is more likely to happen in the spring when the weather is nice.

Predawn running is even better with a buddy and with the nicer weather, it is easier to meet up for a run.

7. The morning temperatures are more enjoyable than the winter.

I will take 50F or 60F any morning rather than the freezing cold 30F.

8. No more battling snow covered roads and trails.  

Running is more fun when it isn't snowing!  Plus seeing the trees bloom and bring all that vibrant green color back to the world is so amazing.

9. Spring makes running a double workout so much easier.

Squeezing in some AM miles before a PM speed session seems so much more doable when you don't have to go out into the cold, bundled up in tons of clothes. 

10. You start the day off with a caloric deficit.

Best part of morning running! Can't beat burning 400 or 500 (or more) calories before breakfast.  Just means you can eat more cupcakes later!

Happy Spring Morning Running!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sugar Coma

I did two things this weekend - run and eat. Although not at the same time.

Saturday morning, I met up with my Saturday early morning running group for a 16 mile run.  It started out flat and then got super hilly!  I think one of my favorite things about my garmin is that I get to see the elevation charts from all my runs. 

My legs were already beat up from the race Sunday, tempo run Tuesday, and marathon paced run Thursday so this run was pretty tough towards the end.  Thankfully I had a buddy who helped to get me through it.

Post run, the eating began as Brian and I celebrated Easter with my family on Saturday night.  We followed up that feast with an Easter brunch at his family's home on Sunday morning. 

I may have overdosed on the awesome Easter cookies and a whole bag of Starburst jelly beans.


But today is Monday which means a brand new week and a chance to start over on the healthy eating. It's not really going so well since everyone brought in their leftover cake and Easter candy...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Thanks, Runners' World

Tonight's dinner was brought to my kitchen by Runner's World and The Athlete's Palate.

After work tonight, I made Quick, Creamy Chicken Lasagna and it was delicious!  I have to be honest and say it was not all that quick because it did take me about 45 minutes to prepare because I had to cook the lasagna noodles and the chicken.  Once everything was ready though, it took me less than 10 minutes to assemble this all together and pop it into the oven.  And then the lasagna had to bake in the oven for 45 minutes. 

After all that, it was finally done and it was delicious!  I had to pull myself away from this because I kept going back and nibbling on the edges. 

The leftovers will be great tomorrow night after my almost end of the week long run.  The perfect reward after a tough day at work and a long workout!

Sometimes I am afraid to try new recipes for dinner because what if it doesn't come out right, then we wont have any dinner.  So far so good though, I have only had a few failures with a too soupy mac and cheese and a cauliflower pizza crust.

Do you often try new recipes or just stick to the ones you know??

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Semi Solo Tempo Tuesday

Tempo Tuesday - It comes around each week and this week I was not looking forward to it. 

The longer the tempo miles get, the harder the workout and tonight was an especially long workout.  Last week I did 2x2mi at tempo pace and this week it bumped up to 2x3mi at tempo.

All day at work my mind would slowly stray away from my work and drift to my workout.  I was doubting my ability to run that fast for that long.  What if my legs were too tired and I just could not hold on?  What if this workout was just too hard for me?  What if, what if, what if! 

Why do we as runners let these thoughts control us and let us lose sight of the fact that we can run fast and run well!

By the end of the day, I did my best to push aside all the negative thoughts and headed to my running club.  I warmed up alone and really thought I was going to have to run my tempo miles solo but then a friend showed up.  She was tapering for a marathon but still had to do some tempo miles and although she wouldn't be with me the whole time, at least I would have a buddy.

We headed out and started the first set.  My legs actually felt good and as we continued along the miles flew by.  At the end of the first three miles, we stopped and recovered for three minutes before starting again. 

When we started the second set, my legs still felt good but I could tell I was getting tired much faster than the first set.  At about a mile into the second set, my friend veered off to do a cool down and I continued on alone.  The final solo miles were hard but with about a mile left I began to count my steps.  At first I was counting my steps for a minute to see what my revolutions per minute was.  My coach suggested this as a technique to keep stride rate up and distract from the pain at the end of a race.  After I had figured out my stride rate, I just continued to count.  I counted every 20 steps then started over again.  Somehow this distracted me from how tough the end of this run was and kept my pace fast.

I am so glad that this workout is done but also very proud that I did this.  Sometimes having a buddy for half a workout is better than none at all. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Ending a long week with a race

This week was a very long week.  Besides pretty much everything going crazy at work this week which made me work a ton of hours, I also had my biggest mileage week ever.

Tuesday, I ran with my running club and did 2x2mi at tempo pace.  The sun was shining and although it was quite chilly compared to previous weeks, it was nice to be outside and away from the office.

With all the pressure from work, I almost didn't make it to my running club workout on Thursday where I had 13 miles planned.  But I did make it and I ran 13 miles during the week which was pretty awesome.  I felt so good running that many miles on a school night but eating enough after ward and before bed was a bit of a challenge.

Saturday I was actually able to sleep in a little bit because this week I wasn't doing a normal long run.  There was only 6 miles on my plan because Sunday was my first race of 2012. 

Sunday dawned beautiful with a red sunrise.  The redness was quickly replaced with gray gloominess as rain clouds came in.  Thankfully the rain stayed away until after the race finished.

I met up with my favorite running friends for this race.  A bunch of people from my running club run this spring 15k race in order to use it as a tune up for a spring half or full marathon.  It is a very hilly course but a great gauge of fitness level and every year there are more and more participants.

There was no shortage of fast women at this race, but I wasn't planning on really racing - I was using this race to test out a half marathon pace.  Last year I ran this race at a 7:45 pace and then 4 weeks later ran my half marathon at the same pace.  This year I am running the same half in 4 weeks so I wanted to test my fitness and see if I could hold my goal pace.

The only foreseeable problem was that I started this race with 41 miles on my legs.

I decided before the race if at any time I didn't feel good during the race I would pull back and just finish because I didn't want to run myself into the ground.  Thankfully that didn't happen.  I started off and didn't look at my garmin and just tried to run a pace that felt good.  My legs were moving along and tacking the hills as they came and recovering on the downhills.

The most exciting part of the race (for me at least) had to be about mile 6-7 when I was running alone but had sight of three women ahead of me.  My favorite distraction during a race is picking people in front of me and trying to catch and pass them.  I successfully caught up to the first women and was closer to the other two.  We then came upon the dreaded mile 7 hill that stretches for over half a mile.  I slowly reigned in the other two women and passed them just before we crested the hill.  Now all I had to worry about is those women catching me.

In my head I was counting down the miles and with only 2 left, I was very happy to be almost done with the race. With each step I was using a mini mantra I came up with for the hills - "arms machine".  It may seem odd but it worked because I was saying it in my head and moving my arms and my legs were following my arms. As I made the turn to the final uphill, I was feeling pretty good and then that hill just killed me.  Finally all the miles caught up to me and I was losing steam with only 0.2mi to go.  Once I got to the top of the hill, it was downhill to the finish - downhill on a pot hole filled dirt path.  Not exactly my favorite finish but still its downhill.

My final pace for the race was 7:26 min/mile which was just 1 second from my secret goal of 7:25.  It was a great race and I am glad that I was able to run it well and hopefully it is a sign of what my half marathon will be like in 4 weeks, but since I wont be tapering for that this year it is hard to tell how it will turn out.

After a cool down, I ended this week with 52 miles which is my highest week of miles ever and I ended March with 177 miles, also another monthly mileage record.

This week sure was hectic and long and after a post race shower and hot chocolate, I took a much needed nap.  Hopefully next week wont be as bad!

Final Stats:
Time: 1:09:16
Age group: 7/52
Overall: 91/561
Females: 20/?