Wednesday, September 17, 2014

From worst to best.

Two weeks ago I ran that horrible 20-miler. It was tough -- for many reasons. The two biggest reasons were the humidity and my stomach cramping issues. After that run, I wondered (several times) if I was meant for the marathon at all, let alone a marathon with a time goal.

I wondered and every time I did, I told myself that, yes, I'm meant for it. Now is the time to go for it. Go for that marathon PR. I mean, why not? Right? Right.

So I forged ahead and have had some rocking runs since.

Sunday's 22 mile run was the best yet.

I ran with people I've never run with before: Catherine, Rachel and Jen. Catherine was with us for about 5 miles and then looped back to finish with 14. Rachel, Jen and I continued on. We started in one county, crossed the bridge over the river, and ran on into another county. High adventure for this happy runner!

Mile 1: 10:03
Mile 2: 9:58
Mile 3: 9:28
Mile 4: 9:16
Mile 5: 9:51
Mile 6: 10:20
Mile 7: 9:53
Mile 8: 9:46
Mile 9: 9:41
Mile 10: 9:38

After 10 miles, we popped into a 5K in Washington Park. It was such an odd thing to do, but it worked. It got us to pick up our pace on tiring legs. It also forced us to hold back, because we knew we'd have 9 miles left to run after the 5K.

The 5K:
Mile 11: 8:39
Mile 12: 7:52
Mile 13: 8:01

After the race: Me, Jen, Rachel. Yes, I was wearing gloves. My hands were freezing on Sunday!

We ran together for the race, finished, and ran back to where we'd started. We went a different route back to the start, which happened to be super-duper hilly. But, no matter. We conquered those hills!

Mile 14: 10:40
Mile 15: 11:25
Mile 16: 10:43
Mile 17: 10:24
Mile 18: 11:31
Mile 19: 10:16

With 3 miles to go, something happened to me. My body just needed to go. I felt myself pick up the pace a little and I went with it. I worried for about half a second that I would not be able to hold on to the pace, but deep-down I knew I could.

Mile 20: 9:48
Mile 21: 8:47
Mile 22: 9:18

And I did. I ran such a solid last few miles. It felt awesome!!!


Actually, the whole run felt awesome. I loved the company and our pacing and I really enjoyed the mid-run race break.

Solid Sunday 22-miler = total confidence. 

Now, my taper is right around the corner. I'm ready!

Enjoy the rest of the week, everyone!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

August recap.

Training got real in August.

My long runs were longer and my overall mileage climbed higher than it has been in years. I committed to running more in the morning and that's what I did. I had an awesome race/long run in mid-August and ran some strong workouts. I also had just about the crappiest long run ever -- Sunday's 20-miler.

Sure, I got it done. But, man-oh-man if it wasn't hard.

I don't know exactly what it was that caused my problems, all I know is that the run did not work for me. I cramped after eating my energy chews and felt like I was going to throw up for most of the rest of the run. It really kinda sucked.

And it totally messed with my head. You know, in that why-on-earth-am-I-even-thinking-about-running-another-marathon kind of way.

I need a strong rebound run this week to help me get back on track!

While I work on making that happen, here's a look at my month in miles:

Running (miles): 143.1
Races: 1 -- the Clove Run
Cross training: ha!

And now it is September. The month of back to school. The month of soccer all the time. The month of peak training AND the beginning of my taper. The month before the marathon.


Enjoy the rest of the week, everyone!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Yasso 800s in the mix.

After focusing on marathon goal pace miles for the last few weeks, I decided I would run Yasso 800s yesterday. I wanted to test myself with some speedwork to kick off the week. My plan was to run 8 Yasso 800s, which requires me to run them at my goal marathon time, converted to minutes. So, 3:50-ish (my goal is 3:52).

If you're not familiar with Yasso 800s, here's a page that explains how they work.

I warmed up for about 3/4 of a mile and then took off running. I ran each 800 with a rest lap in between, where I jogged 400. Here's what my laps looked like:

Lap 1: 3:47 
Lap 2: 3:45 
Lap 3: 3:42 
Lap 4: 3:45 
Lap 5: 3:42 
Lap 6: 3:46
Lap 7: 3:48 
Lap 8: 3:41 

No 3:50s, but I was able to hold on. I mean, look at that 8th lap compared to the 1st -- 6 seconds faster! And I wasn't dying at all during these intervals. In fact, I felt really good. Really strong. I almost added on two more laps. But then I reminded myself to stick to my plan. No need to go all crazy with the Yassos!

That workout was a win. Now, I'm shifting my focus to my 20-miler for this weekend. I don't know where or when I'll do this run but I fully admit that I am already getting excited for it! 

Thanks for stopping by -- have a good week!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Clove Run 10 Mile Race Report.

Saturday was the day of two runs. My main goal was my 18 mile marathon training run. But it also happened to be the day of the Clove Run, a local 10-mile race that I've run for the past few years. I really enjoy the race and was even the top female finisher back in 2011.

This year, I decided to sandwich the race in the middle of my 18-miler. I figured it would be a good opportunity to test out my marathon goal pace over an extended run. Plus, I'd get to run 18 miles in a race atmosphere.

I started out by running 2 miles by myself and then hooked up with Elisa and Bridget for a mile. Bridget had already run 4 miles by herself (she was sandwiching the race in the middle of her 16-miler) so she left us and Elisa and I ran one more mile before the race started. I quickly changed out of my super-sweaty shirt and headed to the start line.

I had a plan. I wanted to run at a steady pace, but walk the two major hills. My marathon goal pace is 8:51 so I was hoping to stick close to that for the entire race. I know myself, however, so I know that I don't always start out slow enough in my races. I tend to bolt out of the gate. On Saturday, though, I kept it in check.

Mile 1: 8:40
Mile 2: 8:33
Mile 3: 8:29

I kept telling myself to slow down but I also tried really hard to only look at my watch at the mile markers. I wanted to run by feel as much as possible.

Those first 6 miles flew by -- surprisingly.

Mile 4: 8:36
Mile 5: 8:15
Mile 6: 8:31

There's no marker for Mile 6, but there is one for the 10K, which comes right before the first big hill. Because I had been feeling so good, I almost decided to run up the whole hill. But my plan was to walk at a certain point, so walk I did! My hip thanked me for it.

At the top of the hill, there is a family that has a water stop for the runners and they were so incredibly nice! I stopped, took my gel (honey stinger) and some water, chatted with the kind family, and then ran on.

As nice as that stop was, though, it might not have been worth it. That gel did me wrong. Or maybe it was the stopping? Or combination? Something was not right because a few minutes after taking the gel I got a cramp and it stuck with me for pretty much the rest of the race. Boo!

Mile 7: 9:24
Mile 8: 8:05
Mile 9: 8:29

And then there was the last mile. Ah, yes. The last mile with that hill. I walked it all. See, the hill comes at a point in the race when you've already run 9+ miles. Who wants to run up a steep hill at that point? Not me, that's for sure.

So, I walked and then tried my best to pull out a strong finish.

Mile 10: 10:14

I ended up finishing is 1:27:19 -- an 8:45 pace overall and good enough for 3rd place in my age group!

Not too shabby!

After finishing, I continued running for 4 more (slow) miles. The cool part of running those miles was that I also got to listen to my aunt's band that was providing post-race entertainment! Pretty awesome!

In the end, I ran 18 miles with 10 of them just under marathon goal pace. I learned that I do well with nuun in my water, but still need to figure out mid-race fuel. The gels really don't work for me. I re-confirmed that my Injinji toe socks rock for long runs. Same goes for my awesome favorite running skirt.

I wish I had some race day pictures but, alas, that didn't happen!

All-in-all, a good day of running! I'm glad I ran the Clove Run -- one of my favorite races -- as part of my 18-miler. Breaking the miles up like I did (4/10/4) made them relatively easy!

Sunday was a nice little recovery run and now, today, I will rest! Hope you had a great weekend -- thanks for stopping by!

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