Training Runs and Patriotic Sneakers

Hello!

Hope you all had a great weekend. I have an extended work trip coming up (2 weeks in West Virginia…) so I was happy to relax at home this weekend and get some good workouts in.

Things have been continuing to go well running-wise post 2-mile race!

Holy Moly, did I feel that 7 minute pace after the lack of speed work in June. Even that afternoon, the soreness was setting in in my quads and I felt pretty wiped out – even if it was a measly 2 miles. The guy who won the race is actually a member of my running club in Boston and ran an 8:54 to take the win (4:30 mile, followed by a 4:26). Haha, clearly I shouldn’t be complaining about being sore!

On Wednesday, I went for an easy 5 miles and my pace showed the fatigue – average of 9:42/mile.

2 Generations RunningThursday, I think my legs began to feel normal again and I got in a good 9:18/mile pace for 4 miles in the morning before work. I had some energy still in the evening when I got home from work, so I went to the gym and did 25 minutes of spinning on the bike and worked up a good sweat.

On Friday, I meant to wake up early and run before work, but sleeping in won out. While it rained all day, luckily it pretty much cleared up by the late afternoon when I got out for my 5 miles. It was sticky and humid and I wasn’t really feeling it, but I got in 5 miles nice and easy. As I was running through one of the fields in the park that I usually run in, I counted 21 rabbits! Not exaggerating. They were all hanging out and as I ran by, they would spring into action, running into the bushes. Haha, I felt kind of bad for disturbing them but this was also probably the highlight of my run.

Saturday, was a no running day on my calendar so I enjoyed sleeping in and a leisurely cup of coffee before heading into Boston for a barre class. This was only my second class, but I am really enjoying adding something new to my fitness routine! The classes are low-impact and consist of a lot of core work, arms, squats, and planks. I’m hoping to try to incorporate 1-2 classes a week into my routine at least until my mileage starts getting crazy towards the end of the summer.

And as a sidenote, check out the beautiful sneakers I HAD to purchase for the 4th of July.

Saucony Freedom IsoSaucony Freedom ISO

I am a total sucker for a pair of patriotic sneakers and when I saw Saucony post these babies on Instagram the week before the 4th, I knew I needed a pair. They are the Saucony Freedom ISO, a model I actually got to test at The Running Event when they first launched. I’ve only taken them out for one run, but so far, I’m feeling really positive about them. I’ll post a review and let you know how they compare to my beloved Kinvaras once I get the chance to test them out some more.

Sunday, I had an easy 5 miles. This was one of those runs where I felt great and was easily able to keep the pace a hair on the fast side (ran mile 3 in 8:54 – technically a little faster than my easy pace, but it felt fine). There were tons of people out running and walking around and also enjoying the beautiful weather. After I finished up, I popped into CVS to pick up a couple of things and could not resist this chocolate milk (please excuse my extremely red face.)

Chocolate milk

Yum. So good for recovery!

This week, I’m looking forward to some more runs and actual workouts as I slowly begin to pick things up again!


The 2017 John Carson 4th of July Road Race

Hello again!

4th of julyAs I mentioned in my post on Monday, I randomly happened upon the registration and bib pick-up for the John Carson 2-Mile Road Race while out getting ice cream with my family this past weekend. I had been hoping to find a 4th of July race to do, and this just felt like fate.

My Achilles has been feeling about a thousand times better lately, so I was excited to really race this (as best I could given that I hadn’t really run much at all through the month of June much less done any speedwork). I was hoping to get under 14 minutes, but if that wasn’t going to happen, then I just wanted to focus on continuing to push myself through the uncomfortable parts of the race. After all, it was only a 2-miler and I figured I could gut out a fast pace knowing how quickly it would all be over.

Since this is a point-to-point course, my parents dropped me off at the starting area before heading to the center of Chelmsford where the race finishes. I thought the race started at 9, but it actually started at 9:30, so I had plenty of time for a 2 mile warm-up and drills. I was feeling the heat even on my easy paced warm-up, so I knew it was going to be a little rough for the race.

Before long, everyone was gathering at the start line. It was crowded and I found myself in the middle of the pack behind a lot of high schoolers and even some walkers. I knew everyone was going to go out fast, so I figured I would be able to wind my way around people once we were on course.

And right at 9:30, we were off! As expected, most of the high school boys went out crazy fast, only holding the pace for a quarter of a mile or so before I was able to pass them. There were plenty of spectators lining the street because the town parade immediately follows the race, so it was awesome to experience so much cheering and crowd support.

I was hoping to run sub-7 for my first mile and I almost did it, but couldn’t quite hold on towards the end of the first mile – 7:03. At this point, I was feeling the heat and just focused on telling myself to keep pushing, just one more mile. Throughout the race, I was hearing cheers for a guy who had dressed in a banana costume, so I was also highly motivated to not let the banana pass me. 🙂

I may have gone out a little too fast myself, given that my “best pace” was a 4:42… Haha, whoops.
The finish was pretty awesome with tons of cheering. It also came with a long gradual hill, which kind of sucked, but I knew I was close at that point and just did my best to keep pushing. Apparently my parents saw me at this point, and cheered for me and got some pictures, but I didn’t notice them (too busy gritting my teeth I guess!).

I hit Mile 2 in 7:10, which I was pleasantly surprised with. I think I was running closer to 7:20 through the first half of the second mile, but then sped up significantly at the end with the crowd support.

John Carson Road RaceI had been hoping for ice cream at the finish, since Sullivan Farms was a sponsor, but sadly, no cigar. 😉 They had water, bananas, watermelon, capri sun, and a few other snacky things.

John Carson Road RaceOverall, it was a really fun race! While I didn’t go sub-14 minutes, I am happy with my final time of 14:18. I felt like I pushed myself and did about as good as I could have done given that I’m coming off a really light month and a slight injury recovery. I’d love to race this one again next year and see what I could do with a little more preparation.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

 


The Comeback

Happy 4th of July (in advance)!!

Hope everyone’s been having a wonderful holiday weekend. I’ve been enjoying some family time with my parents and Brady and just soaking in the long weekend. 🙂

I’m happy to report that my past couple of runs have been pain-free and my chiropractor thinks I am well on my way to recovered. I saw him on Friday last week and got another round of ART and graston (still HATE that but I know it’s doing the trick).

I’ve finally pushed past the 3 mile mark and have been comfortably running 4-5 miles.

On Sunday, I was running a couple of errands with my parents and we stopped to get ice cream. I noticed a flyer for a 4th of July 2-mile road race and they happened to be doing bib and T-shirt pick-up right there! After doing a little googling on the race while I ate my ice cream, I went ahead and signed up. I am so excited to have spontaneously found a fun race to do for the holiday AND I’m stoked to try my hand at the 2-mile distance! Automatic PR considering I’ve never raced this before. 🙂

Now that my ankle is really starting to feel better, I’m getting very excited to start training for Philly. 139 days!!!

Anyone else running a race for the 4th of July?


Life Updates + My Achilles Heel

Hello again!

Apologies for falling off the grid there for a bit, but life got in the way (as it usually does). Things are once again getting crazy with work (I realized I will only be home for 1 full week during the month of June) and there really haven’t been any exciting happenings with my running to blog about.

Short 3-miler on Friday.

Basically, I’ve been running minimal mileage and really focusing on letting my Achilles heal (HA – it’s a pun!). Leading into the Fast Half, it had become a persistent niggle. It would bother me pretty consistently for the first mile to mile and half of a run before easing away. After finally getting my goal race out of the way, I decided it was time to really focus on rehabbing my Achilles before diving back into any heavier training. Plus, my coach wanted me to take a decent break after the long training block I had just experienced.

So once a week for the past few weeks, I’ve been going to the chiropractor and getting ART (active release therapy) and graston. For those of you who don’t know what those are, you can think of it as a very deep and painful massage. It is NOT relaxing or comfortable, I can promise you.

ART MassageMaybe Monica was actually doing ART.

The good news is, it seems to be helping. I’ve been going on easy 2-3 mile runs in the past couple weeks that have felt almost normal. I’m confident that in a couple weeks I’ll be good as new.

I think the break has been good for me mentally. I’ve been going to a lot of yoga classes and really enjoying sleeping in a little later in the mornings. As nervous as I was about the late timing of Philly, now I’m really happy that I chose this marathon because I haven’t felt rushed to dive back into training. I know I have PLENTY of time this summer to get back to it.

Have you ever had ART or Graston?

What have you been up to this June? Any exciting plans for the rest of the summer?


OOFOS OMG Shoe Review!

Disclaimer: I received a pair of OOFOS OMG Shoes to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Happy Friday!

As we head into the weekend (usually a great time for some R&R), I wanted to share with you all my thoughts on the OOFOS OMG shoe which I was sent to test out and review as a Bibrave ambassador.

OOFOS OMG Shoe ReviewOOFOS is known for their recovery footwear and frankly, I’m glad that a company has started paying more attention to this. As runners, we’re only wearing our running sneakers for a small fraction of the day and then we’re putting on other footwear that are probably not the best for our feet (*cough cough… flip flops).

OOFOS is different from the other ‘squishy’ types of shoes on the market in that it is made with a special foam that absorbs 37% more shock than other types of shoe foam. I actually got to see a little demonstration of this when I was at The Running Event where they dropped 2 golf balls side by side on pieces of foam, 1 from OOFOS and the other a different brand. When the golf ball hit the OOFOS foam, it barely bounced at all while the other one bounced a good 2-3 times. That’s because OOFOS was absorbing the shock.

After I’ve gone for a 12-15 mile long run on the weekends, I want nothing more than for my feet to be totally babied. By that point, I’ve already put enough stress on them. Slipping on OOFOS feels fantastic and SO much better than a regular pair of slippers or flip-flops.

The weeks leading up to the Fast Half had me running pretty high mileage and some tough workouts. I wanted to take care of my feet and keep them in good shape for my race, so I just decided to wear the OOFOS OMG shoe to work! I couldn’t really have pulled that off with their sandals this time of year given how crappy the weather in Boston has been.

OOFOS OMG Shoe ReviewHere’s a few more specific notes on my experience with the OOFOS OMG shoe:

  • Fit was true to size. I’m generally a 9.5-10 in regular shoes and a 10.5 in running sneakers. I went with a size 10 and they fit comfortably (both with and without socks).
  • I wore them a lot when I first got them with no problems at all. On maybe the 4th day wearing them, I did get a tiny blister on my heel from the shoe rubbing, but this does happen to me a lot with flats or certain sneakers.
  • I wouldn’t call these the most fashion-forward shoe… They’re pretty plain and if I were to see them in a store, I wouldn’t pick them out for myself. But, the black style I got does pretty much go with everything and I can wear them to my office without looking too silly.
  • They really do feel insanely comfortable in the way they cradle your arches and absorb the shock of your steps.
  • Color choice: currently, the OOFOS OMG shoes only come in black, gray, and a neon yellow. I’d love to see more options become available down the road.
  • Cost: $120. Yes, these are a little pricey, but it is funny how as runners, we wouldn’t even bat an eyelash about spending that on a pair of running shoes. When I look at it that way, it kind of makes sense that you should pay that much for a great recovery shoe.
  • Overall, I really do think these are a useful pair of shoes for a runner to add to their arsenal. I’m stoked to have a pair myself as I know the mileage will start picking up again soon as I dive back into marathon training for Philly!

OOFOS OMG shoe reviewBrady would recover in the OOFOS OMG shoe too if they made a version for dogs.

What are your favorite recovery techniques? Have you tried OOFOS before?


The Fast Half Recap

Happy Monday!

This past weekend, I ran my half marathon redemption race, the Fast Half. After missing my goal at the Half at the Hamptons, I had been eager to find another half a few weeks later to give the PR another shot.

The weather was absolutely perfect this time around – low 50s and overcast. There was a breeze, but it was nowhere near the 20+ mph headwinds I was contending with at the Hamptons. Mentally, I felt ready. I felt like I had learned my lessons from the Half at the Hamptons, and I was ready to hop aboard the pain train once again.

The start/finish was at the Hamilton-Wenham regional high school, about an hour’s drive for me. I showed up about an hour early and had no issue parking, getting my bib, and using the porta-potty. While doing my warm-up, I also discovered another bathroom open to the public around the back of the school, which I was able to use a couple more times without having to wait in any lines – SCORE. 🙂

Before I knew it, it was 9 am and everyone was lining up at the start. It was a pretty small race and I was able to get a good position near-ish to the front. And then, we were off!

The goal was to go out a touch slower than I had at the Half at the Hamptons and to run very comfortable through Mile 6, at which point things would start to get tough.

I settled into an easy rhythm, enjoying the scenery and the gentle downhill of the first few miles. Miles 1-3 were 7:53, 7:53, and 7:54. Right on target. I had a group of the same runners who I was pretty much sticking with through these miles and it felt good having the company.

After the first 5k, I knew it was time to push a little bit harder. I was still feeling really comfortable and miles were ticking by like clockwork. I took my first GU and was able to get it down relatively easily. I had kind of struggled with my nutrition in March so it was a relief to have this go smoothly this time around. Mile 4 I hit in 7:48.

For the next couple miles, I worked on trying to maintain this slightly fast pace as we entered more of the rolling hills. Mile 4-5 featured a decent climb and I was happy to come away with a 7:51 split for the mile. Mile 6-7 I knew was going to be a tough one. It’s pretty much uphill for the whole mile. I focused on remembering what my coach had told me – “You are fit enough to recover on the downhills.” I reminded myself of the Groton Road Race where I had run 7:30-7:45 pace on substantial hills. I ended up squeaking out an 8:01 split for the mile. A bit slower than I wanted, but not as bad as I had worried it would be.

I told myself that the worst of the hills were over and now I could get to work at dialing the pace down again. Unfortunately, there really were plenty more hills coming my way. Mile 8 I was able to recover a bit running a 7:49. Still slower than what I realistically wanted to be running at this time in the race though.

Mile 9 I hit in 8:05. I remember a couple of small climbs during this mile, plus I took my second GU at this time. I know I was 100% feeling the strain at this point. I knew my original goal of 1:41 was out the window, but I had to hold on if I was going to still squeak out a PR. I couldn’t let myself fall apart the way I did before.

Miles 10 and 11 I hit in 7:53 and 7:51. Again, slower than what I had really hoped for, but not terrible in the grand scheme of things.

And then the wheels fell off….

I tried to focus on sticking with a girl in a purple shirt who I had caught up to over the last mile who was looking strong. Maybe she just looked strong because I felt like crap though, I’m not sure. I tried to concentrate on my breathing and I tried really hard to just not give up on myself. Never have 2 miles felt so EFFING long though. I hit Mile 12 in 8:14 and Mile 13 in 8:09. No bueno.

As I came around the final bend and entered the school parking lot, I saw the clock read 1:44 and I sprinted as hard as I could across the finish, so glad to be DONE.

Fast Half MarathonSo I got my PR, but only by about a minute or so. I’m happy to have PR’ed, but also slightly frustrated that I lost pace so badly in the last 2 miles. If I could have kept it in the 7:50s at least, my average pace would probably have been around a 7:51 for a 1:43 finish. Yes, I’m agonizing over seconds here, but I feel like those last 2 miles pretty much botched an otherwise solid race.Fast Half Marathon Race Recap

But the other thing I keep remind myself is that this race really was not all that flat and fast. Here is what my Garmin captured as the elevation profile from this course versus the map they put on the race website.

Fast Half Elevation Profile

And the elevation profile they post on their website-

Fast Half Elevation

Yes, the general gist is the same, although I think it’s fair to say that they selected a scale and width of the line to smooth out some of the other smaller hills that were in between the big climbs.

I also thought it was interesting looking at Strava’s grade-adjusted pace data from the run.

Notice Mile 7 where I actually ran an 8:01 – my grade-adjusted pace would have been a 7:41.

Overall, I think this just proves to me how much choosing the right course matters when you’re racing. No, I can’t avoid hills entirely (though I definitely wish I could), but you do need to take them into consideration when selecting goal races.

I know my fitness is there. I am so much stronger than I was back in November when I first joined McKirdy Trained, and that’s exciting. Yes, this was a small squeaker of a PR, but that just means there will be more records to be set down the road.

No, I am not hunting down another half marathon to race this summer though. I am ready for a nice break from the half marathon (and a short break from running) to let my body recover before diving into whatever is next.

 


Goal Race COMPLETED + Recovery Footwear

Disclaimer: I received a pair of OOFOS OMG Shoes to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Hello, happy Monday!

Hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend! While I did go home, my family and I kept it very low key. My mom is still dealing with her injury (which seems to actually be a spinal issue instead of the original hamstring pull we thought it was…) and she told us she’d rather celebrate Mother’s Day later on when she is feeling better.

I ran my goal half marathon on Saturday! I’ve got a race recap ready to go for ya, I’ll be sharing that later this week.

Fast Half Marathon Race RecapTo be perfectly frank, I’m glad it’s over. It was a long training cycle and I am ready to reduce the mileage and let my body recover. Plus, I kind of forgot how freaking hard half marathons are to race. I was thinking to myself how I never wanted to run another half marathon ever again during the last couple miles.

I know that won’t be the case, but I was feeling pretty strongly about it at the time. 😉

My body and feet were feeling pretty beat up after the race, so I was happy to have a new recovery shoe from OOFOS to slip on afterwards!

OOFOS OMG shoe

I received these shoes a week or two ago through my Bibrave partnership, and I have honestly been LOVING them. I first tried OOFOS when I picked up a pair of their sandals at The Running Event in December. They became my go-to pair of shoes post-run pretty much immediately thereafter, and when the opportunity came up to test a pair of their shoes, I jumped at it. I’ll post a full review later this week.

How did you celebrate Mother’s Day weekend? Did anyone else race this past weekend?