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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Summer 2015 Week 11 Training Recap

If I had to pick a theme for this run it would be the weather. The heat and humidity are pretty much ridiculous. It’s clear that those two things are affecting my training but that’s par for the course when it comes to summer running in the south.

Monday easy run with hill intervals near end
This run felt so good, apart from the heat and humidity of course. My stride felt great and I felt strong throughout. I didn’t look at my Garmin once. I loved this run.

Tuesday tempo run
The tempo portion was challenging but not so challenging that I thought at any time that I couldn’t complete it. This was a good run overall.

Wednesday recovery run
The best way I can think of to describe this weather is thick and sticky. Mom added “sloggy” though I don’t think that’s a word. Apart from that, my legs felt a bit sluggish at the start as could be expected. I didn’t look at my Garmin and kept the effort easy.

Thursday stationary bike + NTC abs
stationary bike: This ride felt really good. I guess I had a lot to work out (mentally, emotionally,etc) because I was pedaling fairly hard and it felt really good.
NTC: Some of the moves felt just a tad easier than last week but I definitely still need to keep working towards stronger abs.

Friday interval run
The start of the run did not predict good results for the interval portion. My legs felt heavy and the warm up pace seemed more difficult than it should. The intervals were really tough but by the third one I had gotten the hang of it and the pace didn’t feel impossible.

Saturday long run
This was one of those “character building” runs. From the get go, my legs had very little if anything in the tank. Combine that with the pervasive ridiculous weather and you get the feeling of running on fumes. I also did not hydrate enough Friday. I got it done though.

Saturday rest

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Summer 2015 Week 10 Training Recap

This was a much better overall week of training. To make things even better, I finally topped 40 miles for the first time this training cycle. Well, technically I reached 40.04 but still … I made it!

Monday easy run
I did not look at my Garmin once on this run. My legs protested from the get go, still a little sluggish/sore from the race. This ended up being a pretty good run, all things considered. It wasn’t pretty or fast but it was solid.

Tuesday tempo run
The AC was out at the gym. I don’t think I’ve ever sweat so much in my life. The tempo portion was extremely difficult. I almost relented. I got it done and hoped that the gym would get the AC fixed ASAP.

Wednesday recovery run
Despite the absolutely ridiculous humidity, I enjoyed this run. I kept it at an easy pace and know for sure that I did because I spent half of it talking to Mom. While my legs did not feel fresh, (to be expected after Tuesday’s tempo run) my stride felt good. I even resisted the urge to throw on a sprint at the end and kept it easy.

Thursday stationary bike + NTC Ab Burner
stationary bike: I loved this ride. The time went by really quickly and the faster pace felt easy.
NTC Ab Burner: I realized that just like with tough speed work sessions, I can push myself in strength training. I have an alarmingly weak core so I need to start pushing myself in that area. This NTC workout did not feel good in all the right ways.

Friday intervals
These intervals were crazy hard. I may have miscounted but I don’t think I did. My legs were more sluggish at the start than I expected but I made through and felt good at the end.

Saturday long run
75 degrees and 70+% humidity at 6:30 in the morning is ridiculous. That made the run a bit of a slog. Overall though it was a pretty good run. I felt pretty strong considering the weather and the tough run Friday. I ran in my new Target C9 tank and shorts. The tank is hands down my favorite running top ever. With weather like this I might just shell out for a couple more. The shorts rode up but I’m used to that with my Oiselle pair.

Sunday rest

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Summer 2015 Week 9 Training Recap

Even though the race did not go exactly as planned (I’ve already figured out a few things I need to work on) this was a pretty good week of training.

Monday easy run
I felt really good at the start of this run. Maybe that’s because I had a 10 min pace. 😉 Once I saw that I picked up the pace a little and had a good run despite the ridiculous humidity. Seriously, I don’t think there could have been more water in the air unless it was a heavy downpour. I also did not appreciate the rank dead squirrel that we passed twice. Fun times. I wanted to run fast at the end and threw on a sprint but pulled back because this was supposed to be an easy run.

Tuesday race pace intervals
Legs were a bit stiff at the start. Warm up period did its job. The race pace intervals were tough and made me wonder if I’d be able to hold that pace Saturday.

Wednesday recovery run
It took a little time to warm up but once I did I got into a good rhythm. I felt strong throughout.

Thursday stationary bike
This ride went by quickly. I didn’t try to push it at all and still managed to get only a half mile shorter than the week before.

Friday easy run with some hard intervals near end
Twenty-five minutes is way too short but the race came the next day so short and easy it was. Intervals at end at the end got me exited to race.

Saturday Sunrise 8k
Tough races are great for motivation boosts.

Sunday rest
Waking up with sore core muscles and seeing pictures from the race where I’m leaning back confirmed that I need to strengthen my core. Lots of planning done while resting.


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Sunrise 8k 2015 Race Recap

Race #94
8k #8
Sunrise 8k #3

Today was not my day and I knew that almost from the start. That being said, since this was my last race in my 20s I wanted to give it my best effort. I can legitimately say that I did. (More on that at the end.)

First off, I did not start close enough to the front. It got pretty packed quickly. Matt mentioned that he was trying to get my attention to tell me to move up. Yeah, missed that.

Thankfully the congestion did not last long.

I could tell from the start that this was going to be a tough race. The best way to describe it is that my legs did not feel fresh. They definitely did not feel race ready. I kept reminding myself that this was my last race in my twenties and to make it count.

Mile 1 – 7:27

I still had hope in mile 2 but it was starting to get hot and I was already sweating a lot. The pace felt tough. I switched the screen to see lap info (average lap pace) and tried to get back to my 7:14 goal after a small hill at the start of this mile. I didn’t quite get there but it was my fastest mile of the race.

Mile 2 – 7:22

I’m not sure what happened in mile 3. Last year it was my best. This year I felt like I was going to same pace as mile 2 yet my average kept slipping and when I tried to pick up the pace either it was all in my mind or I went really slowly at the start of that mile and the average was taking a while to come down. I switched my Garmin back to the main screen, frustrated. The humidity was also starting to take its toll.

Mile 3 – 7:26

I knew that the hills were coming in mile 4. I also knew that I had very little left in the tank. The thought of pulling back never crossed my mind. I just wondered how much my pace would drop because of the hills. They felt crazy tough. Not bad and not unending but still draining. Somewhere in this mile I knew a PR was not in the cards for me so I switched my Garmin to the clock page but kept racing.

Mile 4 – 7:41

I felt totally spent during the last mile. It was really hard to keep racing. Somehow I kept going. I knew that Matt would be coming back around to push me to the finish and I had no idea how much I would have left. Not that much. I was further away when he caught up to me and though I tried I couldn’t keep up. I was even more at my limit than I was last year. I’m glad he did it though because with that last push I managed to tie last year’s PR according to the Garmin. Official time has me two seconds slower.

Mile 5 – 7:43

I have pushed hard in races before but never gotten to the “I think I’m going to throw up” stage until today. After finishing I had a couple dry heaves but managed to take a few deep breaths, pause and stay still until the feeling passed. That lets me know that I really did leave it all on the course.

While it may not have been my day, Mom did fabulously! (As if that were ever in doubt)
Mom Finishing 12
Not only did she PR with a 41:06 by nearly 30 seconds but she snagged 5th place Grand Masters! (I placed 2nd in my age group, again.)

Traditional Post Race Pic

Quick word about the race. For the first time, John Lehman (and his timing company) made available scrolling results in the lobby of the church’s activity center as well as labels with name, time and place that can be placed on the bib. I have never seen this done before and think it’s an awesome idea! Also, they had fresh cold grapes, the most perfect post-race refreshment ever.

Post Race Snack
(I did not eat that entire plate. Red grapes are better.)

Quick post-race reflection:
This race confirmed something for me that I’ve been thinking for a little while now. I think, for some unknown reason, that I’ve reached a sort of plateau. I’m not sure what it is but I’m not seeing the results that I had hoped for this summer. Holding the faster paces has been much tougher than I expected. I hope to take some time over the next week or so to figure out what it is and how I can break through. I want to start my 30s off with a bang on July 4th.


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