Chicago Marathon Week 4 Training Recap

So, it turns out that when you’re not training for short speed, it’s a bit more difficult to achieve a 10k PR. Newsflash for everyone I’m sure. :) I still enjoyed the race and am very please with the past week of training. I’m ready for longer, though not that much slower, distances.

Monday easy run
It took a little while to warm up mentally. Physically, I felt pretty good. After a mile or so I was able to settle into the run and knock out the hill intervals with ease.

Tuesday tempo intervals
The first tempo interval was more difficult than I expected but after that I felt warned up and the rest of the tempo intervals went well. I felt strong.

Wednesday recovery run
My legs felt a bit tired at the start as to be expected with a recovery run. My form felt great though. I really enjoyed this run.

Thursday easy run with some short intervals at end
I expected my legs to protest a little at the fourth day in a row of running (like they have in the past the few times I’ve done it) but they loved it! I can’t remember the last time I felt that strong. It was awesome…apart from nearly running into the biggest spider web I’ve ever seen.

Friday stationary bike at gym
It was nice be able to do the ride on Friday like I used to always do. The ride itself, like usual, felt good and passed quickly.

Saturday Julie Valentine Run2Overcome 10k
Not quite what I had hoped for but a good performance for the day anyway.

Sunday rest
Well appreciated

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Julie Valentine Run2Overcome 10k

Race #96
10k #5
Julie Valentine Run2Overcome 10k #2

This has become one of my new favorite races. The weather’s not ideal. The course is crazy hilly. That doesn’t matter though. From top to bottom this is a hidden gem that I wish more people knew about.

The goal for this race was an average pace of 7:28. I also hoped for a win or at least a podium since I came in as 5th woman last year not even racing it. (I ran it just a week after a half marathon PR in San Francisco.) Silly me forgot all about the crazy hills, except for the last torturous one just past mile 4.

After we arrived and walked over to the bathrooms by the zoo, I saw local runner Ashley Liew. I turned to Mom and told her that he would definitely win overall. I was right. :)

We picked up our bibs and shirts and walked them back to the car with just enough time for a 15 minute warm up (for me).

I felt great through the warm up although I was a bit concerned that I did not see where the start would be. The course changed just slightly from last year pushing the start line of the 10k close to the start of the 5k.

I finished the warm up with about 4 minutes before the start but did not see Mom. I didn’t want her to miss the start so I texted her and gave her directions. She arrived in just enough time to turn around while still jogging and join the rest of the racers. Phew!

I was so distracted that I totally forgot to put my vivoactive on the activity screen and start my music so I spent the first 100 meters or so fixing both of those problems. Less than auspicious start.

I started right at the front with one other woman. Her pace seemed a touch faster than I wanted to run so I had to calm myself down to keep from going out too fast. I felt good and ready to race. For some reason this first mile was 10 seconds below goal pace, a bit disappointing because it was the easiest mile of the race.

Mile 1 7:39

During the next mile I ended up passing the girl I started with and being passed by two other women. These were the only other lead changes in the race. As soon as the second woman passed me I determined that I was not going to be passed by “orange shorts girl.” I wanted that podium finish. In hindsight this was the best motivation possible because she stayed pretty much on my heels for the rest of the race.

The hills started in the second mile. Honestly, I don’t remember much about this mile except for a thought of “why on earth am I doing this to myself again?”

Mile 2 7:47

Near Greenville Tech we make a turn that includes a significant downhill. As I tried to remember the course from last year I hoped that the changed course meant that we got to run down this hill, not up. Then I remembered, nope. We’d be heading right back up at the end of the race.

The hills on campus are no joke either. I hate them. Well, I actually had a love/hate relationship with hills in the race. I observed the “orange shorts girl” did not run hills well. The gap between us grew on the uphills and shrank on the downhills and on some of the flats. I hated the hills but towards the second half of the race I almost loved them because that meant putting more distance between us closer to the end of the race. My least favorite hill (tied for least favorite) was the hill that led from campus back to the road.

This was the worst mile for me not only because of the hills but also because my stomach was not happy. I’ve never had that feeling in a race before. I kept hoping that a burp would take care of it so I wouldn’t have to step to the side and hurl. At that point I made my peace with whatever happened. If she passed me, she passed me. She wasn’t in my age group so I would still get the age group win.

Mile 3 8:04

During this mile I started to feel better, thankfully. There were still plenty of hills but nothing significant, just enough to keep my pace slower than I wanted. Plus, I knew that the killer hill was still to come and I wanted to have something left in the tank. I didn’t know if I would though. Also, I don’t think I’ve looked over my shoulder more than I did in this race. (Probably not a good thing. :D)

Mile 4 7:57

Leading into the last hill there was a nice descent and flat which helped me gain some momentum. It was at this point that a volunteer told us “The hard part’s behind you!” I actually said out loud, “Have you seen the hill over there?” (or something like that.)

That hill was not pretty. I kept trudging though and waved off the water at the water stop at the top of the hill. Well, I thought I waved off the volunteer. He kept standing there until I said “No thanks.”

I thought we turned right at this intersection but no one said anything. I’d heard the course had changed so I kept going. Then I heard a friend of mine who was working the water stop call out my name and tell me to turn. I’m very thankful for that. I’m a little ticked at the volunteer who was standing at that corner with some cups of water who said or indicated absolutely nothing. I don’t think there was even an expression on his face.

Thankfully the course goes downhill and levels out from there.

Mile 5 8:12

I felt strongest the final mile and tried to get back as close to goal pace as I could. I hoped I wasn’t picking the pace up too soon though. I didn’t want to get passed with the finish line in sight.

Without looking I figured that “orange shorts girl” was probably laying on a finishing kick of her own – I have no idea if she did or not – so I had to put on one of my own. I think I started a tad too soon but I was able to hold on.

Mile 6 7:55 (not as fast as it felt)

Then came finishing and stopping the Garmin. Since the vivoactive is still new to me there’s still kinks to work out. One of those is notifications. Today I learned that if a notification comes right when you want to stop the time, the button will not work. You have to dismiss the notification first. Whoops.

I thought I would have to wait a while for the official times but they have already been posted. Officially: 48:20 not a PR by a long shot but good enough for third overall female and first in my age group.

Less than 6 minutes later Mom came in looking strong!
Run2Overcome 10k 2015

She finished in 52:44, 2nd in her age group! There were a lot of fast ladies out today.

While we were waiting for awards I figured out that I hate 10ks. They require both speed and endurance. I seem to be good with one or the other. Accomplishing both is crazy challenging. Of course, I’m a bit crazy so that means that I will be running every 10k I can find until I conquer the challenge.

We stuck around for awards and I am so glad that we did. The awards were painted by the child clients of the Julie Valentine Center. Well I should say hand and foot printed. So adorable!
Run2Overcome 10k 2015

Everyone at the Julie Valentine Center did a fabulous job with this race and do much needed work throughout the year. It’s a cause I definitely wholeheartedly support and am just a bit disappointed that I missed out on the first 5 years of this race. I don’t plan to miss again. If you aren’t familiar with the organization and the work they do I strongly urge you to look them up and support them in any way you can.

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Chicago Marathon Week 3 Training Recap

Sunday would have been the 5th year in a row that I had run one of the San Francisco Marathon races. It just didn’t make sense in my training or work schedule and certainly not in my bank account. I watched all the social media tweets and etc about the race and really wanted to be there. If only San Francisco was a little bit closer to the east coast. :)

Despite that, I had a great week of training and can’t wait to run the Julie Valentine Run2Overcome 10k on August 1st. After finishing the RWBS 5k three weeks ago and still not making my goal I was ready for a change in training. Once marathon training started I got pumped up again and that motivation has spread back to the 10k. I can’t wait to race.

Now to look at last week…

Monday easy run
This run felt awesome. I didn’t feel fatigued at all. My stride felt great. My feet loved the new shoes. Apart from a random GPS glitch that added .37 to my mileage (not included in this totals) and the weather of course, this was the perfect way to start the week.

Tuesday tempo run
This tempo was a bit faster than week 2 and correspondingly a little bit harder. I still felt really strong throughout and like I could keep going for a while.

Wednesday easy/recovery run
This run went really well. I felt a little bit tired at the beginning of the run as to be expected but after a mile or so I felt great. I think my pace might have been a touch fast but the effort definitely felt easy. I passed the “talk test” several times throughout the run.

Thursday stationary bike + NTC Ab Burner
stationary bike: My right hamstring has felt a little tight so I took it easier than the past few weeks. I’ll be stretching and foam rolling for sure. Other than that this was a good ride.
NTC Ab Burner: I definitely feel stronger doing this work out. It’s still hard but I love pushing myself and feeling the burn.

Friday interval run
I ran these intervals at a very slightly faster pace than last week. It definitely felt a little bit harder but still doable. I enjoyed the run.

Saturday long run
This run went really, really, really well. I wore my new OrangeMud vest and was surprised at how easy it was to use. I love having my hands free. I also loved the pocket on the shoulders. Those will make carrying fuel really easy. As to the run itself, I felt just a little bit sluggish at the start which is to be expected. Throughout the run I felt strong and my pace reflected that. Once again, long-run success.

Sunday rest


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Chicago Marathon Week 2 Training Recap

This was a solid week overall which left me wanting more. I can’t wait to get into the higher mileage, hard workouts portion of the training cycle.

Monday recovery/easy run
Aside from a slowish warm up first mile, I felt pretty good throughout this entire run. Of course, the humidity was abysmal as normal.

Tuesday tempo run
This run felt amazing. The tempo portion did not feel tough at all though. My stride felt great. I could have kept going for a while.

Wednesday recovery run
A little bit of the run may have been a touch too fast for a recovery run but since none of it felt hard at all I’m totally okay with it. Judging from this, Tuesday’s tempo definitely wasn’t hard enough.

Thursday stationary bike + NTC Ab Burner
stationary bike: I frequently feel a bit like a broken record when it comes to these rides. Once again, I felt good and the ride went by fairly quickly.
NTC Ab Burner: I can definitely tell that I’m getting stronger. This workout is still on the tough side but I think I might be able to “graduate” to a harder one soon.

Friday interval run
These intervals were tough but doable. I think I could have run these intervals a bit harder. It took a little while to warm up but that’s what the warmup is for. By the end I felt strong and pretty good.

Saturday long run
Despite the 74 degrees and 88% humidity, this run went exactly according to plan. I felt strong through the first easy 70 minutes and loved the faster 20 minutes at the end. I wondered before I started the run if I would be able to maintain that pace for the full 20 minutes. It ended up that the prescribed pace felt almost easy to maintain. I had to reign in my pace at a couple points. I’d call that long run success.

Sunday rest

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Chicago Marathon Week 1 Training Recap

Marathon training has begun! What a difference a name makes. Once I switched from short distance speed training to marathon training I got really excited about training. That makes a huge difference.

Monday easy run
I am continually perplexed at the difference in my pace when it’s dark and when it’s light out. This run was a bit of a slog but that’s to be expected after Saturday’s race effort and with the typical summer weather. I didn’t like for motivation though what with Sunday night’s women’s World Cup win and the fact that this run kicks off training for Chicago. I can’t wait to see where this training cycle take me.

Tuesday fartlek run
This one was tough but oh so fun. Fartleks for 40 minutes is no joke. I started off the fartlek portion fairly well. At about the halfway mark, I noticed that my mile splits were getting slower although not by much. This was after a sprint up the hill. I decided that I wouldn’t let the hill get to me and to make the most of the second-half. It was incredibly hard but very rewarding. First speed work session of Chicago training was a success.

Wednesday easy/recovery run
The weather was pretty much ridiculous this morning. And it certainly helps make sure that this was a slower paced recovery run. My legs also had very little left in the tank after Tuesday’s fartlek. I’m also still getting used to the new vivoactive and the touchscreen. Right at the end of the run I paused at a stoplight and when I went to hit the start button I accidentally saved the run. At least I didn’t accidentally discarded it.

Thursday stationary bike + Nike Training Club Ab Burner
stationary bike: Not much to say about this ride. It went by quickly and I felt pretty good.
NTC Ab Burner: This workout is still tough although it is just a tad easier than when I started doing it again.

Friday long intervals
The plan called for long intervals at 85% effort. I have no idea what 85% effort feels like. It was a bit frustrating. However, I gave it my best shot and then I think I did pretty good. The last interval felt like it might have been at 90% effort in but I think that’s OK.

Saturday long run
For reasons not related to running this was not my favorite run of the week (or month for that matter.) My legs were a little bit sluggish but not terribly so. The weather also wasn’t terrible. I was a bit frustrated by the factor that made this run suck just a little but it’s a fact of life. Overall, it was one of those runs that make you mentally stronger so I’ll take it and look forward to next week.

Sunday rest
I got to celebrate my birthday again. Resting can be fun. ;)

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Summer 2015 Week 12 Training Recap

Well, the summer of speed has come to an end. I have to admit that it did not turn out how I had hoped. That happens sometimes when you set big goals. In this case, I think that I set the goals but took my eye off the ball and that came back to bite me on race day. (How’s that for mixed metaphors?)

I still have the Julie Valentine Run 2 Overcome 10k in a month but I won’t be racing it with the same mindset that I first set out when I set the goals for the summer. I’m ready to get mentally tough and put diligent effort into Chicago training which starts this week!

Monday easy run
Despite some issues with my car not starting, this run was fabulous. My pace was slower when it was darker out once the sun came up I felt great and was able to maintain a really good pace. The short hard intervals at the end were awesome. I loved this run.

Tuesday race pace intervals
These race paced intervals were tough but not so tough that I could not complete them, just below that though. I thought I might just be able to use for the race on Saturday.

Wednesday recovery run
My legs definitely felt in need of an easy/recovery run which this was. They didn’t feel too bad and warmed up quite nicely through the run. Based solely on effort I had perfect negative splits.

Thursday stationary bike
This ride was nice and easy, nothing extraordinarily good or bad.

Friday rest
I chose to sleep in and relax instead of running the optional 25 minute run I had on my training plan. It had been a long week.

Saturday Red, White, and Blue Shoes 5k
Even though I’m pretty sure that a PR was just out of reach Saturday (and sub 21 was definitely way out of reach) I know that I could have snagged another sub 22 if I had been mentally stronger through the race. That’s going to be an area of focus for Chicago training.

Sunday rest
Rest days are wonderful.

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Red, White, and Blue Shoes 5k 2015 – Race Recap

Race #95
5k #40
Red, White, and Blue Shoes 5k #5

Spoiler alert: today was not my day unlike last year but definitely much like Sunrise last month. I have yet to figure out why I’m stuck on this plateau.

Back to the race…

Like last year, I woke up to brand new running gear, this time it was a Garmin vivoactive! Yes, I used new gear on race day but since Mom has had hers for a couple months, I’m fairly familiar with how it works. (Still very excited to try everything out though!)

We did not time our arrival at the race start very well and also had to pick up our bibs because I just didn’t feel like stopping by Timmons Arena yesterday after work. Thus, I did not have enough time for a full warm up. (I ended up with about 10 minutes instead of 20.) I also was not able to get as far towards the start as I would have liked.

A few minutes after 8 we were off. This year the cannon worked.

The start is crazy crowded, way too crowded. I stand by my belief that it is possible to carefully navigate those early few meters until things start to sort out without stepping on someone else. That is not what happened to me. About a hundred meters from the start someone bumped into me in such a way that they pushed my left foot (my right foot was the one striking the pavement at the time) into the back of my right calf. I seriously almost went down and was extremely ticked.

Thankfully that was the worst of it.

People quickly spread out and I was soon up to pace. I felt pretty good but could already tell that it was likely to be a battle. Even though the rain held off I wish it had let it all out and gotten all the water out of the air. The humidity was ridiculous. I felt mentally strong through this mile and kept pushing. I entertained thoughts of trying to negative split this race and made 7:00 flat my goal for the first mile. Soon into the mile I made my goal holding 7:00 flat for the entire thing.

Mile 1: 7:00 (right on the money)

The first part of the second mile still went according to plan. That mile felt interminably long though. As each tenth of a mile passed, the pace I was trying to hold grew harder. For some reason I didn’t even try to come up with a mantra to hang onto and keep pushing. Looking back I wonder why I gave up, mentally, so easily. I think this may be part of why I’ve been stuck in a plateau this summer, the so called Summer of Speed.

Mile 2: 7:15 (still salvageable)

Then came the hill behind McAlister Auditorium. I had nothing left and I didn’t even try to force myself to come up with a mantra. My legs felt like they had nothing to give. As I look back I realize that I didn’t even try to push up that hill. It’s almost as if my competitive drive had switched off for some reason.

I didn’t want to see what my pace was. Since I haven’t figured out how to turn the vivoactive screen to just a clock (it’s probably fairly simple) I avoided looking at it all together. I tried to keep pushing though.

I really hate the final hill before we make the second to last left turn. I really wish we would enter the stadium from the other side instead of having to go up this hill.

I got to the top of that hill and tried to increase my pace. There was another woman near me that I thought may or may not be in my age group. The initial debate in my head ended with being okay with not chasing and beating her.

Mile 3: 7:47 (positive splitting like a champ!)

Then my competitive nature kicked in and right as we made the final turn into the stadium I poured on the full sprint. (Turns out she was in my old age group.) By the way I still had plenty left in the tank for that print I know that a big part of my trouble with racing this summer is mental. I went into this race defeated. I know I could have given more in this race but I’m not beating myself up about it.

.10: 5:07 (hah! that felt good)

22:23 officially

Then came time for results. I love the racemine site that go-green timing uses.

All the speedy people must have stayed away (or gone down to Atlanta for Peachtree) because even with the lackluster race I snagged 3rd in my new age group and 24th woman overall.

Mom had a little more difficulty today but that’s what she gets for going to California on vacation and not taking me. ;)

Even with not running for a week she still did really well: 25:18 officially.

Red, White and Blue Shoes 5k 2015

We were both really confused though because the results said that she came in 16th in her age group but then I couldn’t find her in the Female 55-59 division. I checked it again and kept scrolling over on the results. Whoops. When I registered, I registered her as male. I still laugh at that.

That gave me a chance to test the results corrections link on the racemine site. Amazing. I submitted the necessary information and by the time we got home it was fixed!

I really love this new tradition of starting my birthday with a race.

Red, White and Blue Shoes 5k 2015

It’s almost time to start marathon training!

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