Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A rough 10, but still. 10.

I KNOW that I have been really lousy about posting lately, and at some point, I really need to get back into the habit. I MISS writing. Everything about me needs this outlet. And here I have been completely slacking off on this, not writing how I feel I need to, and as a result, my head is getting really cloudy.

The fog that settles over my head causes motivation to come in slowly and difficultly. I am not even sure that difficultly is a word, but it is not coming up on spell-check, so I am calling it a win? Sunday, June 14th was an example of that. I really needed to log 10 miles as part of my slow build to Chicago. I have nailed all of my mileage so-far, and did not want that particular day to be any different. Never mind the fact that I had probably walked 10 miles per day on both Thursday and Friday. Nevermind the fact that I had traveled and basically just sat on an airplane for the entire day on Saturday. Mileage must be done!

Oh, and the fact that we were a bit stressed after arriving home from our trip the night before and learning that there was a point in time over the weekend where there was water POURING down the side of our house (!!!) So honestly, we spent the morning getting up slowly, hanging out with our kiddo that we had not seen in a few days (a week for J!) and dealing with the stress of a leak. So I did not even start running until around 12:30 pm when the temperature was 85* and the dew point was 70.

Obviously, that seems like a great time to start running, right? So I dressed in some spandex and a tank, got out my visor and some sunscreen and immediately chickened out and headed to the basement to spend some quality time with my treadmill.

I clicked on the next episode of Parenthood (where my netflix allegiance lies currently), and hopped on the treadmill starting at my "maintenance pace" (6.8). I increased it every mile, and by 4 miles, I could not STAND it anymore and got off. I went upstairs, told J I had it, and I NEEDED to go outside. I was going to do the last 6 miles outside even if I had to walk (Yes, this was a declaration that I made). I had to hunt down my watch (it was NOT where I left it when I left for Vegas, but it is ok, I have it now) and ended up unable to find it, so I grabbed my phone off of the charger and booted up the runcoach app.

As soon as I stepped outside, I was full of regret. It was SO HOT. But no, I said I was going to do this, so I started running. My legs felt like lead. The air was so hot. I was sweating instantly and moving very slowly. My first mile clocked in at 9:06. Ugh. I don't even go that slowly on easy days. But I tried to remember how hot it was, and that I am only base building, so just keep on rolling. I ended up cruising through 3.2 miles (at a 9/mile average pace) before I could not handle it. I was seriously afraid of getting hurt (and yes, I was carrying water). So in the house I went, collapsed on the carpet which made J say "oh, is it hot?"
Yep. It is hot.

Eventually I made it back down to the treadmill and rocked out the last 2.8 miles, so I managed to get all 10 as needed.

I am calling it a win. And again, stating, I have GOT to stop running in the middle of the afternoon OUTSIDE! Stupid!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Flying Pig Marathon - Relay

First things first, this will be my 1000 post. Nothing special, just normal stuff, but I wanted to call that out.

The first weekend in May was the Flying Pig marathon. I planned on hardly running last week leading up to this, and I managed to follow through on that. I know, hard to believe, right?

Some of the work people and I had been planning to have a team all year (probably since October or so) for the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon and we were definitely struggling to find our fourth person. Only about three weeks ago, we heard that one of the QA guys had recently started running and had done a few 5Ks and stuff like that. So we basically cajoled him into joining us. But the more we talked as a group, the more excited he clearly got.

The Flying Pig is a big deal to me, since it was my first marathon and stuff. Since then, I have been involved in some capacity every year. I ran the 5K when I was pregnant to make sure that I still had some involvement. (The weekend after that preggo Pig 5K was the 5K when I fell and broke my elbow.) And running it in relay form with some of my coworkers/friends, that is even better!
I contacted my high school friend John of Jupmode.com to make us some team t-shirts. Despite my last minute request and payment, he came through for me BIG TIME, and I was able to pick them up when I was in Toledo for the Glass City.  I am THRILLED with how they turned out for us.

So I ran leg 1 of the relay, which included the Northern KY portion. I have obviously run the full course before, but I had completely blocked it out, I guess, not to mention the fact that now, three years later (I ran it in 2012), I am 2 minutes per mile faster on average than I was then. That certainly makes a pretty big difference. I lined up with the 3:30 marathon pace group, figuring that would hold me to my goals out of the gate.
When we took off through downtown, I felt comfortable. Happy. Running. I just love the feeling. And I love it even more as I get faster, because it makes you feel like you are flying. I cruised through downtown and turned onto Gilbert to head up the hill. My memories from running this full marathon in 2012 leave this as the moment that broke me, only 6 miles into the race, and despite the fact that I obviously finished my first marathon, I fell off my goal right at that moment.

But this time, there was no goal. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had a plan to run a BQ time (for me) as a team. So I know that I wanted to stick with about 8s, but I had no idea what to expect, so I did not even wear a watch. But I was just ahead of the pace group, so I knew that I was on pace as I ran into the exchange to find Alex.

After the exchange, I ran back down the hill (it was much quicker than taking the bus) and headed to the finish area to see my teammates arrive and make sure we all connected with each other.

We ended up finishing the race in 3:22:58, which was good enough for 7th in the relay division. BOOM.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Up next....

So…  now that I am through my Spring goal race, it is obviously time to start planning ahead, working on the next goal. And sometime around April 15, marathon fever started to set in. I don’t know what it is about the Spring that makes me want to train for a full marathon (not to mention chase BIG dreams), but once again, I am there.

As usual, watching Boston on Marathon Monday, or Patriots Day, definitely continued to inspire and make me realize that the BQ dream is definitely still there, even though I stepped back from it this spring. I was feeling mentally unable to get there when training first started this winter. I just did not have it in me for the long runs this winter, especially when I had some struggles trying to get outside, run long miles on the treadmill, whatever. I apparently got very comfortable with the fact that I was out.

Regardless, since I have come to peace with the fact that training in the winter is the harder time of year for me. I seem to feel better in the summer and fall, I guess.

As a result, I have been making a plan for fall. And I think I might have it locked in.

Yep. I am in. I had a guaranteed entry from running in Columbus last year (from my time) so I applied for it and was accepted as a result. I am going for the big BQ once again in the fall.

Not only that, but due to some discussions with an old high school friend, there has been some coaching discussions. So... be on the lookout for that... It is coming.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

GCM follow up

So I am sitting in my hotel room in Sioux Falls, SD. The last time I was here I started writing a blog post, and it sat in my drafts for MONTHS, and I do not know that I ever actually posted it.

Today is my first day back on the workout train after the GCM on Sunday. I got up at 6:30 am (CST) and headed down to the hotel gym for a quick three miles. After that (progressive pace, 8:24 average), I did a solid core workout (including this one from one of my HEROES!) and did some basic leg strengtheners (squats, bulgarian split squats, calf raises, donkey kicks, sumo squats) with the free weights that my hotel gym had available. You do what you can, right? I will head down there again tomorrow, I think, for a similar workout.

I have two more pics from GCM that have not been posted yet.
Me, my cousin Megan (first half!) my Uncle Joe (you may remember pics of him from other Toledo races) and Megan's son Quin. I am so proud of Megan for running her first half, and her husband for running his first (and only, so he says) full. We shall see where they end up landing, after all, Uncle Joe said last year was his only, and he obviously has now done another.

I am definitely already wondering if Megan is done or not. I know that she and Pete are planning to come down and run the Hudy with me in the fall, so maybe we can discuss it then.

And of course, I had to meet up with Jen and Deloris again AFTER the race to see how they did. They both said they had decent races, but were a little disappointed (understandable, that happens.) But overall, it was a great morning in Toledo!

Glass City Half Marathon: Race Recap

Well well well, Glass City Half Marathon, we meet again. The site of many "firsts" in my racing career. My first real goal race (although it ended up being a training run for my first marathon.) My first sub-2 in 2012. A DNF due to pregnancy in 2013. A 2014 PR. A brand spanking new (spoiler alert) 2015 PR. And that being in a boot for 2 weeks prior to the race. Yes, I still ran light miles during those two weeks, but outside of workouts, I have been in a boot. I didn't want to mention that on here for fear of jinxing myself or something.

(And before you ask, YES I have been clearance to get OUT of the boot for workouts).

So I arrived on the University of Toledo campus at approximately 6:15 am (7 am start time) after my mom dropped me off at the college of engineering. That is where I parked the previous year, and so I knew that it would be a good place to get dropped in order to best bang for my buck (read: mom would be able to get back OUT of the parking lot, and I didn't have a terrible walk!)I headed immediately for Savage Hall to use the INDOOR facilities. I went twice, for good measure, and then headed outside to meet up with some of the birds at the elite tent.
(Deloris, me, Jen)
Granted, Jen was the only one of the three of us who could actually USE the elite tent, but it was a good place to find each other. After snagging this pic, Jen went to go warm up and Deloris and I walked to the corrals where my high school friend Alisha joined us. We chatted together for a few minutes and then Deloris headed a bit further back and Alisha and I talked plans for the race. I told her what I wanted to do, and she talked a bit about being sick and not training exactly how she wanted. It wasn't long before the race started and we were off!

Leaving the campus of the University and heading into Old Orchard, we passed Alisha's mom immediately (I could hear Alisha behind me yelling to her - "Did you see Emily?") and ran through the neighborhoods of my high school friends, a few of which I saw as we ran past their family homes. At about 1.5 miles into the race, we crossed Secor and entered Ottawa Hills, where the majority of the race takes place. Now the "hills" here are nothing like those of Cincinnati, so I was comfortable, but it is the hilliest portion of the course, if you can call it hilly. We ran past St. Ursula Academy, and I considered stopping to pee, but I had set a goal and I did not want to miss it for a potty break.

Mile 1: 8:04
Mile 2: 7:54
Mile 3: 7:53
Mile 4: 7:54

Mile 5-ish is where the first relay exchange is. I was kind of in the zone by then so I was not really noticing ANYTHING that was going on around me. I noticed a pair of Stride short minis (in the punch) and since I have been tossing these into and out of my cart for WEEKS I decided I was going to catch this girl. I spent the rest of the time weaving up and down the streets of Ottawa Hills chasing those shorts (if it was you wearing those shorts, reach out to me!) and when we crossed Central Avenue to go into Wildwood, I was excited. I kicked up the speed then (although looking at my splits you cannot see it because over the mile I didn't actually go any faster) and caught this girl. I complimented her shorts, and sped by. Just past the 8 mile mark the half and the full split directions with the full going into Sylvania and the half headed back to the University.

Mile 5: 7:56
Mile 6: 7:57
Mile 7: 7:58
Mile 8: 7:51

After we turned back on to the bike trail, I kept my head down and kept running. They had mile markers out there for the marathon, which were the 21 and 22 markers, which made me realize how different they would be feeling when they hit that part of the course. I was feeling good, running the race I had planned, conservative pacing. We went back into Ottawa hills and ran what felt like the hilliest miles of the course, but if you look at elevation, it is probably not. I was starting to feel a little tired, but I was able to keep pushing back through Ottawa Hills and back into the University. It was a good race. I eavesdropped a little on a few folks that were running slightly ahead of me, and was able to catch and pass them.

Mile 9: 8:03
Mile 10: 7:59
Mile 11: 7:51
Mile 12: 8:05
Mile 13: 7:51
Last tail end: 1:01

My official time was 1:44:17 for a 7:56 average pace. I am so pleased with the race! I ran exactly how I hoped to run, and honestly, look at those split times, they were pretty damn good and even. I am SUPER pleased with the race.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Some training notes on flexibility

So I have been looking back at my training cycle and trying to pin down different things that have happened, how they have maybe effected me (or not) and try and look at it and see how I can do better next time. I worked very hard to try and be more flexible this cycle, knowing that I had to be that. I knew that it would be better for me to be more open this cycle and try not to get very stringent about training.

I have certainly struggled since I started training for big races finding a balance between my "regular life" and training, and this cycle was a test. I started lifting again, but still managed to get the majority of the mileage that I wanted to get by shifting my days around, running in the morning and then adding additional miles while warming up before lifting. It made things work out.

I also learned that it is a little bit difficult sometimes to run the paces that I need to run for my speedwork first thing in the morning. But I am going to continue to make it work. I have to. I think that as I get back into marathon-mode, I am going to need to run in the morning almost all that I can. It is definitely going to be the easiest way to make sure I can log all of my miles.

Occasionally I did runs (usually a tempo and a long run) on back to back days on the weekend because that was the easiest time to make sure that I got them both done. It is all about making sure that I can best get the appropriate amount of training.

So here are some numbers for the training cycle (reminder: I have about 8 more miles to run this cycle.)
309 miles run
4 pair of shoes rotated
105 lbs squat (new PR! for 4 sets of 12 reps)
6:44 fastest mile
8:30 or faster - most runs

So here we go. Let's run hard.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Less than a week

So I am now less than a week out from the Glass City Half Marathon, a race that I PR'd at a year ago after not training the way that I should have. This year, I have trained my rear end off after all of the training I did in the fall for Columbus and then falling off the wagon for a short time. But regardless, this year I am ready for a REAL race with a well-earned PR instead of one that I just lucked into. I am very much ready.

I keep telling myself that, I have been telling myself that for weeks, and after two back to back 12 milers, I truly feel as through I have properly trained, even though the cycle was not without its flaws.

But I am ready. I am ready.

I will review my training cycle soon, and go into race goals later this week, but for right now, I want to take a deep breath and focus on how things went and try and focus on running fast and feeling good.

Here goes nothing!