Summer 2015 Week 6 Training Recap

This was a solid week of training. I’ve been keeping an eye on my knee and I don’t think it’s a problem, thankfully. It’s good to have another solid week of training under my belt.

Monday: recovery run with fartlek
It took a while for me to warm up. I had ambitious plans for the fartlek portion but after the warm up portion I thought better and dialed the speed back a bit. By the end I felt petty good, better than when I started.

Tuesday: tempo run
My legs did not have a lot of get up and go for this run thanks to a long day at work. (Most of the day on my feet and no lunch break) Other than that kind of tired, I feel pretty good. The tempo section was tough but I got it done.

Wednesday: recovery run
I expected to have my legs be more sluggish than they were. That’s a pleasant surprise. I felt strong throughout this run. I avoided looking at my pace and ran by effort. This was a good run.

Thursday: stationary bike + rowing machine
stationary bike: This ride went by really fast. I enjoyed it and threw a sprint on at the end.
rowing machine: I think I might be getting the hang of this. I was able to get into a good rhythm and get a little bit farther than last time.

Friday: interval run
My legs felt really tired throughout this run. I made it through the intervals. Hopefully my legs will be rested enough for Saturday’s long run.

Saturday: long run
When I started my legs were not pleased that I was making them work again. I figured that the entire run would be a slog. However, after a pit stop for Mom the sun was up farther and I felt much better. Running in daylight makes a huge difference. I focused on easy pace which ended up being a slower pace but still okay. Surprisingly, I felt the best during the moderate effort intervals near the end which included massive hill.

Sunday: rest
Nothing to recap here.

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Summer 2015 Week 5 Training Recap

I was so glad to get the mileage back up this week. It helps to not have any races this week. As you will see through some of the following entries I’ve had some weirdness in my left knee which I’m hoping will work itself out for good. (There has been no pain. Just weirdness.)

Monday easy run with a few short intervals near end.
My legs were tired. Plus, this run was mentally tough for me because of the weirdness in/of my left knee. (No pain. Just odd.) Other than that I felt great. ;) No really. Other than psyching myself out mentally this was a pretty good run.

Tuesday interval run
I was a bit nervous about my knee for nothing, thankfully. These intervals were really tough but felt so good.

Wednesday recovery run
I cannot do math on the run. I switched up today’s route to go check to see if the track at the local high school would be available to use on Friday for my truck workout. Apparently it is now open just when there’s someone there to monitor it. Apparently they’ve had some vandalism issues. I understand but still… I did the math for the turnaround point completely wrong and ended up 10 minutes short which was easily solved by a quick five-minute out and back. I felt great on the run itself. Just bummed that I won’t be able to use the track anymore.

Thursday stationary bike + rowing machine
bike: This ride went by very quickly. I especially enjoyed the sprint I threw on at the end to “pass” Mom.
rowing machine: Wow. This is a serious workout. I wondered if I would even be able to make it to 10 minutes. I liked it.

Friday short intervals
These intervals were really fought but definitely doable. I really enjoyed them and felt strong through the cool down, like I could keep going.

Saturday long run
This run turned out way better than I expected it to after yesterday’s tough speed work. As expected, when I started my legs felt like they had little left in the tank. Running at Mom’s pace was a bit difficult. 😉 When she said she needed to walk for a little bit I didn’t mind a bit. I ended up going on and finishing the run on my own. (Today just wasn’t her day.) After pushing on ahead I settled into a comfortable pace and was surprised to see my splits come in around 8:50. I was also surprised at how good I felt considering Friday’s effort and the hot, sweaty weather. Three in a row of my splits were less than 2 seconds apart. For me, that’s a small miracle. I felt so good in the last couple miles that I pushed the pace a bit and felt awesome. I love closing out the training week on a high note.

Sunday rest
Nothing to recap here.

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Summer 2015 Week 4 Training Recap

While I love racing short races, I love getting as many miles in as I can. Hopefully I’ll get my mileage back up after three straight weeks of races. :)

Monday recovery run with hill intervals
This was a pretty good recovery run. My legs definitely felt better than they did last Monday after the 10k. I really liked the hard intervals on hills and hoped that this work would pay dividends on Saturday’s 5k. That hill on the back half of the course is killer!

Tuesday tempo run
This tempo run went much better than last week. It helps to not be super sore from a 10k PR. 😀 I kept pushing during the tempo portion and through a lovely little side stitch and felt really good.

Wednesday recovery run
This run was a little faster than I had planned because I ran with Mom. 😀 It still felt great though. My legs were just slightly fatigued. I’m not sure whether that means I need to go harder in speed work or if I’m doing it right.

Thursday stationary bike at gym
This ride went by quickly. I enjoyed it but other than that it was fairly unremarkable.

Friday 30 minutes easy with 3 x 2 minutes hard intervals near end
My legs felt unexpectedly fatigued at the start of the run. They warmed up after five minutes or so. I hoped for fresh legs the following day.

Saturday Covenant Race for Adoption 5k
Not quite the time I was hoping for but definitely the performance I wanted.

Sunday rest
This is pretty self-explanatory.

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Covenant Race for Adoption 5k 2015 – Race Recap

Race #93
5k #39
Covenant Race for Adoption 5k #2

Brief summary before breaking the race down by mile: I took about 16 seconds longer but still finished 3rd overall female* and raced the course much better than last year.

Warm up: Although I cannot remember exactly what the temps were last year, I think that it was warmer today, not by much but definitely warmer. That plus the late start makes it very easy to warm up. I did run a little too fast towards the end of the warm up to make sure I could get back to the restrooms at the start. The race didn’t get started until 9:05 (scheduled at 9:00) so I had plenty of time.

At the start: No instructions were given for walkers to get to the back. Surrounding the obviously faster runners were many, many children and an overweight woman who I overheard say “I’m not starting this thing running.” Why are you on the start line in front of everyone else then? I actually engaged her in conversation and tried to make her understand that she needed to get to the back but to no avail.

Mile 1 (6:54): I think a big part of my being able to run this race smarter was familiarity with the course from last year. This first mile is almost entirely downhill. I ran his mile way too fast last year. With that in mind I kept telling myself to pull back so I didn’t spend all my energy here.

I quickly found myself as the lead female. I knew this wouldn’t last. Before the start I had seen last year’s winner plus a girl in a GTC Elite shirt. (I found out later that this was Kimberly Ruck. First female for me? Hah! :))

I enjoyed it while it lasted and did not give chase when those two ladies passed me 3/4 of a mile in. The fact that they were running a sub 7 minute pace while chatting sealed the deal for me.

Mile 2 (7:43): The long slow killer hill starts very shortly into the second mile. My biggest goal for this race was to not let this hill defeat me. Despite a nearly 1 minute slower mile, this hill did not defeat me. I may have been able to push harder here but that’s likely what did me in last year. Instead I focused on keeping an even effort and not letting another female pass me.

Mile 3 (7:51): Positive splitting for the win! Okay, that’s said in jest of course. I am perfectly okay with positive splits on this course because more than half (the second half) of the race is a gradual uphill. Once it starts it really never relents until you get to the entrance of the subdivision to cross the street. I focused on pushing forward no matter how I felt remembering just how much I wanted to walk during this section last year. This year mile 3 was still the hardest mile but at no point did I want to walk. I could actually see the second place female up ahead of me but not close enough to attempt chasing her down.

last nubbin (6:06): I managed a last little sprint which likely would be faster if they could just change the finish to one of the driveways to the church instead of making us step up and then down to cross a grassy area.

Despite getting a slightly slower time I am very pleased with my overall effort. I could still use some more hill work but for the conditions and the course, this was a good time for me.

cool down: After grabbing some water and some pictures of Mom finishing I headed out on my cool down. It’s a nice way to occupy some of the waiting time before awards.

A word about the last section of the course. The course exits the subdivision and crosses the street before finishing in the church’s parking lot. That means that cars on the road (Old Spartanburg) need to be stopped. Today the cops were doing an excellent job sending the cars when there were gaps to keep traffic from completely stopping. Obviously there was still a minor back up.

Back to the warm up. I crossed the street while the cars were stopped and headed the opposite direction. As I ran I heard a guy in a convertible with the top down yell out in frustration “Come on. Go!” I shouted across the street. “There’s a race, dude. There’s a race.” He replied, “There’s plenty of drivers too.” Want to make a runner mad? That’s it. I was still running so all I could think of was “I’d rather keep them safe.” Later as I ran I thought of a great reply “Would you rather hit someone or waste a few minutes of your life?”

awards: After I got back to the church parking lot we did not have long to wait. I expected to win my age group because last year the organizers recognized just the first place winner. When he announced that they would be recognizing the top three I got ready to go up and claim my third place award.

I know for a fact that I started out in first place and was passed by just 2 women. That’s it. Somehow another name get in there between Kimberly and the second place finisher and I was bumped down to age group winner.

I happened to remember that Pace Running Magazine was livestreaming the finish with a new app that I know little about. I found the tweet, watched the video and confirmed that I indeed was the 3rd place female. Just now I looked through Pace Running Magazine’s pictures from the events and confirmed this again. Talk about anti-climactic.

After I got home I emailed the race director and he apologized profusely. A husband and wife pair accidentally used each other’s bibs and things are being sorted out. Phew!

Reflection: Since my goal in this race was to run a smarter race than last year, I can check that goal off my Summer of Speed list.

I’m also keeping watch on my left knee. It’s felt off and on wonky (no pain) at various times (never during a race) and I want to make sure that I make it to Chicago healthy and ready to BQ.

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2015 – A Summer of Speed

As of the past week I have been training with Matt, my coach, for a year.

All of my race times have improved significantly. In a year’s time I’ve knocked off more than a minute in every distance I’ve raced: 5, 8k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon. I loved running hard and fast last summer, especially when it took me to the age group leaderboard or pretty close. I’m also sure that this training paid off when it came time for the marathon because I’ve PR’d in both marathons I’ve run and dropped 20 minutes from my San Francisco PR of 2013 and I plan on dropping 9 more. (A few seconds more than 4 minutes would get me a BQ but I want a bit more of a cushion but more on that in a moment.)

When Matt asked about my goals for the summer I told him the following.

1. Run a smarter and faster 5k at the Covenant Race for Adoption 5k on May 9th. I pretty much died on the second half uphill last year.

2. PR at the Sunrise 8k on June 14th and see how close to the top of my age group and/or the podium I can get.

3. PR and age group place in my new age group (30-34…eek!) at Red, White and Blue Shoes 5k on my birthday, July 4th. I also want to go sub 21 here. Yikes!

4. PR and win the Julie Valentine Run2Overcome 10k since it’s a smaller race and I was 5th woman last year not even racing it. When I did both of those things at the TR Earth Day Run 10k a week ago I’ve modified this goal. I still want to win but I also think I’ll aim for a sub 44 (or just above) and a well-executed race. The weather should be better this time so I can stick around for the awards.

That leaves the marathon in the fall.

As I stated at the beginning of the year, my big goal for 2015 is a BQ. While I want those other goals I just mentioned, they are secondary to the BQ chase. I pursue them because I know they will help me get to Boston.

I have only four minutes to shave off. I’m so close I can taste it. That means that this fall marathon needed to be run on a flat, fast course.

Up until Marathon Monday I planned to run the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. (I still want to run this some day because the course and race look awesome.) This marathon fulfilled my criteria and crossed another state off the list. (Yes, I also want to run a marathon in every state.)

Then I saw a tweet (on Marathon Monday) from another runner about registering for Chicago. I thought for sure that the lottery/time-qualified guaranteed entry period had ended. Nope. I had that afternoon and evening to decide between the two before the window closed at noon central time the next day.

Talk about a difficult decision. Both would work really well. Both are on my 50 states bucket list. Chicago costs more but holds slightly more appeal since it’s one of the Marathon Majors and one of the biggest marathons in the world.

Two other things factored into my decision. One, I’m tentatively running the Dublin Marathon next fall so I wouldn’t be able to run Chicago until 2017 at the earliest if I didn’t run this year. Two, I could get a guaranteed entry with my Rome time. How could I turn that down?

I submitted my entry that night with three different proofs of my time, just in case. I woke up the next morning to an acceptance email. Woohoo! $185 later (ouch) and I’m registered for the Chicago Marathon.

My plan for the next few months (aside from training of course) is to study that course and race like nobody’s business. That BQ is mine.

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Summer 2015 Week 3 Training Recap

This week included yet another race with a surprising performance. This time it wasn’t mine. Mom did so well! I’m so looking forward to the rest of the races I have coming up this summer before I dive into training for Chicago. (A post will be forthcoming on both the shorter races this summer and the decision to run Chicago for my fall marathon. I just have to type it up and publish.)

Monday easy/recovery run
My legs confirmed the previous Saturday’s 100% effort. I knew when I started I feel sore last night that this run would be a bit of a slog. I tried to keep it at an easy pace yet above 10 min.

Tuesday tempo run
This tempo run was intended to help my coach reevaluate what my short speed is at the moment. I was able to do the tempo portion at just a few seconds slower than his estimate. My legs are still a bit sore from Saturday’s effort. They warmed up though and I felt the best during the tempo portion actually.

Wednesday easy/recovery run
This run felt amazing. I felt strong throughout had to bring myself to make sure that it stayed a recovery run.

Thursday stationary bike
The ride itself went great. The internet, however, did not feel like cooperating. Perhaps that’s why I got as much distance as I did, frustration with trying to watch the last 16 minutes of “The Flash.” (I ended up finishing the episode 5 minutes before my ride ended and it was a 65 minute ride.)

Friday Swamp Rabbit 5k
I ran with Mom and she knocked a full minute off her PR! This was definitely a fun run.

Saturday long run
I felt great on this run considering the effort I gave in the 5k Friday night, less than 18 hours prior. I actually felt pretty good overall. My legs were just slightly fatigued. I figured that might happen based on previous experience so I chose not to look at my Garmin except at a couple points and run based on effort keeping it easy. That ended with me being quite surprised at a 9:10 overall average. If that’s my easy, post-race pace now I’ll certainly take it.

Sunday rest
Nothing to say about this.

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Swamp Rabbit 5k 2015 Race Recap

Race #92
5k #38
Swamp Rabbit 5k #4

I had no plan of racing tonight. I was just glad that my schedule allowed for me to run the race this year. It’s hard to pass up the opportunity to race for a mere $6, especially when the weather was almost perfect. I was happy to just run with Mom.

Well…Mom’s gotten pretty speedy lately. I don’t think there’s any “just run with Mom” any more. :)

I left straight after closing from work to change and then warm up by jogging to the race start with Mom. It took a lot less time than I thought it would so I went up and back the street beside the site of the race start and ended up with a mile in 9 minutes instead of a 20 minute warm up. Whoops. I tried.

I probably could have done a few more out and backs on that street in the time that we waited for the race to start, delayed, at 6:36.

Speaking of the start, they could have made that part a little more clear. With that many people there they should have gotten a better loudspeaker. At some point I could make out the words being said like “minutes away from the start” (this was at 6:31) and “waiting for some people to get in place” but I heard no countdown and was surprised by the starting whistle. That could have been louder too.

With so many people still ahead of us, it didn’t matter that I missed the countdown. Speaking of the “corrals.” Unless this is monitored and strongly reinforced, people are not going to listen. Mom and I stood at the very front of the 7-9 minute section and there were many people in front of us that I knew could not hold a sub 7 minute pace for a 5k. I wish people would actually follow these instructions but oh well.

Thankfully, even with the above, we did not have as much congestion to deal with as I have in years past.

We set off at a good clip and started moving through the sea of runners.

Mile 1 felt good and very fast. I figured that Mom might end up slowing down but I hoped that she wouldn’t, at least not that much. When we passed mile 1 and I saw 7:37 pop up on the screen I wondered if she would be able to sub 8 this race.

Mile 2 is where the major hills are that drain pretty much everyone. These are serious, no joke hills, that usually weed out everyone that started too fast. In the past that’s been Mom. When she first started running, hills like that would cause her to struggle with her breathing and need to walk. Not today. We kept plugging away and passing the people that slowed. Our pace slowed a bit here, 7:53, but we kept it under 8.

Mile 3 is where you start feeling the pace if you took it out too hard. I felt pretty good considering I was running faster than I had planned. I realized that this is probably my “comfortably hard” pace and that my 7:35 tempo pace on Tuesday’s test run was likely not 90-95% effort for me. (I was pretty sore from last Saturday though….) This is also where we get onto the Swamp Rabbit Trail and the course narrows making it difficult to pass people as quickly. Mom told me afterwards that this last half mile was pretty hard for her and I totally understand why. She really pushed it in this race! Mile 3’s pace: 7:46.

We ran the last little nubbin at a 6:14 pace. (I love the paces on those last little bits when you’re sprinting. It makes you look like you can run really fast. :D) I felt like I could have sprinted harder here but I wanted Mom to finish before me. She crossed the line before me but we finished the race in the same second for a total time of 23:32!

She crushed her PR by over a minute! Plus, she won her age group. Way to go Mom!

This race got me excited for next week’s 5k which I plan to race. Running fast is fun.

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