3 Weeks to RnR Montreal!

Hello and Happy Labor Day!

Hope you all enjoyed the long weekend! I got in some great workouts, got ahead on some food prep for the week, and generally enjoyed a pretty low key weekend.

I had a couple of tough workouts this week that I absolutely NAILED, which has me feeling pretty excited for Rock n Roll Montreal. It’s only a few weeks away at this point and I am so stoked!! I’m getting to participate as part of my Bibrave ambassadorship and I can’t wait – my first Rock n Roll race AND my first international race!

I worked on Saturday this past weekend, but then had Sunday to myself to get in my long run. The workout was 2 mile warm-up, followed by 4 x 2 miles at marathon pace (8:01/mile) with half mile recoveries, and then a 2 mile cool-down. I LOVE these long tempo runs and I was excited to give this one a shot. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t looking great for Sunday and we were supposed to get hit with the remnants of Hurricane Harvey. When I started the run, it was cloudy and lightly drizzling, but not bad at all. I had my phone safely wrapped in a plastic baggy, but I was hoping I’d be able to finish up before it got too crazy. No cigar.

The rain and wind progressively picked up as I ran and by the time I got to the third set of 2-mile repeats, it was really pouring. My shirt was soaked through and felt like it weighed 5 lbs. But I was crushing my paces, so I focused on staying tough and reminded myself that I have no guarantees for what the weather will do in Philly so I might as well get used to it. During the last set of mile repeats, my wireless headphones died from all the water (currently trying to revive them using the old bowl of rice technique).

Splits for the 4 x 2 mile segments were: (1) 7:59, 8:01 (2) 8:07, 8:03, (3) 8:08, 8:06 (4) 7:59, 7:48. BOOM! I was really surprised by how controlled I felt at this pace. Not super easy but it doesn’t feel like an all-out sprint the way it used to. Progress is happening, I can feel it!

I also spontaneously tried my hand at a mile race on Thursday night! It was a track event called the Mob Mile

Mob Mile

I’ve never raced a mile before (track or road) and I was excited but admittedly nervous to try it. I think my best mile time before this was a 5k I ran last year where I went out WAY too fast and ran a 6:57 for my first mile. So I guessed 7 minutes for my seed time, but I figured I could probably run under that.

(Not a great photo considering it was dark but gives you a sense of what the heats were like!)

It was so fun to be out on the track again and when my heat went off, I tried to focus on staying calm and not going too hard in the first couple laps. I really wanted to make sure I would have something left over at the end so I wouldn’t have to crawl across the finish line. Mission accomplished!

Mile race

My official chip time was a 6:43, but you can see looking at this chart from my Garmin that I was speeding up at the end – I felt so strong!! I’m aways off it now, but someday I’d like to break 6 minutes for the mile.

Oiselle VoleeI also got to meet some of my new Oiselle Volee teammates! I joined this group back in April and it’s been so much fun connecting with other women who love this sport as much as I do.

Anyways, sorry for the rambling post, but that was what I was up to in my running this past week!

75 days to Philly

19 days to Montreal

 

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Long Runs and Dry Needling

Hello!

So despite having a lot of time on my hands (I start my new job next week), I’ve been totally lazy about blogging. I’m not sure why, but I guess I’ve been feeling a little bit of writer’s block.

Anywho! Let me update you on what’s been going on of late.

Last week, I ran an awesome 12 mile workout. There was a 4 mile warm-up, followed by 6 miles around goal marathon pace (I was supposed to start these around 8:15 and then cut down to 8:01/mile). Then 1 mile at 7:32, followed by a 1 mile cool-down. As you see, I didn’t quite hit my splits, but I was really happy with how well I did considering this was the longest block of miles I’ve run at goal marathon pace since I started training.

12 mile workout

Though it wasn’t bad, I was still feeling some discomfort in my Achilles on this run. I stopped and did my ankle circles which helped, but I was feeling annoyed that here we are, 4 months later, and I’m still dealing with this. That afternoon, I did a little research on places where I could get dry needling done as I had heard really good things about that treatment method. Because who wouldn’t want a bunch of needles stuck in the back of their ankle?!

Count me in gifI found a place very close to my apartment and gave them a call that Monday. To my complete amazement, they had an appointment available the NEXT DAY.

Without going down too much of a rabbit hole here, the place is awesome. The doctor I saw spent just over an hour with me, getting my history, assessing my movement/flexibility, coming up with a treatment plan, and yes – dry needling my ankle (which was not as painful as I would have expected actually). I’ve never felt so excited about physical therapy before. I have a whole bunch of appointments set up for September and I feel really really good about the whole process.

After the dry needling, I took a day to rest my Achilles with no running. I did do a lot of walking around that day and while it was a little sore and looked kind of bruised, it wasn’t too bad at all. The following day I ran 35 minutes easy and it was like MAGIC. I couldn’t believe how good my ankle felt. I had gotten so used to having to stop after half a mile to do ankle circles to loosen it up, but for the first time in ages, I didn’t feel like I needed to stop at all. If you are reading this and dealing with Achilles tendonitis, do yourself a favor and go get some dry needling done ASAP! Don’t be an idiot and wait months to try it the way I did.

My ankle has continued to feel good into the weekend so on Sunday I did 90 minutes easy with 4 strides, which worked out to 10 miles on the nose. I slept in and took my time getting out the door and kind of paid for it with how sunny it was out. I was carrying water though so that definitely helped.

So my mileage dropped down a bit this week with all the Achilles stuff going on, but it will likely pick back up again this week since I’m feeling good. I have another round of PT on Monday as well.

83 days to Philly! This Friday I start my new job! Very excited about all the things going on around here. 🙂


Exciting Things Are Happening

Hello and Happy Monday!

CallieHere’s another cute picture of Callie because she is my fave and whose Monday can’t be improved by looking at a cute cat picture?

This week in running featured a good speed workout and a 12-miler on the weekend (eee, longest run since May!!)

On Wednesday, I ran the following workout-

Speed workout

The distance worked out to about 7.6 miles (my cool down was a little over a mile). I didn’t have a track to run this on so I just used a nice flat stretch of my usual running loop. It was a little awkward looking down at my watch to see where I was at on distance for each repeat. Overall, I think I did pretty good and my last set of 200s was nice and fast.

We officially hit this mark –

I was thinking the other day that I’m kind of glad I still have 3 months to go till this race. I haven’t had to do any 16-20 milers yet, and maybe (*fingers crossed*), we will make it into the cooler Fall weather before I have to run that long. I remember SUFFERING through some hot and humid long runs last year training for Baystate and I’m kind of glad marathon training hasn’t been like that this year.

My 12 miles on Saturday was fueled by Nuun performance hydration mix. I picked up some of this at the Boston Marathon expo back in April and I’ve been waiting for some longer runs to really test it out. I LOVED it on my run today. It’s not as sweet as Gatorade but it still gets you those electrolytes.

Pre-long run there was coffee. Obviously.

Nuun

And then on the run, there was Linkin Park.

Linkin Park

I loved Linkin Park when I was in high school but I hadn’t listened to them much recently. After learning about Chester Bennington‘s passing, I started listening to more of their music again and remembered how much I loved it. And it is AWESOME running music.

My total mileage for the week bumped up to just over 37 – keep the miles comin’!

In non-running news, I have an exciting announcement (that actually is kind of running-related)! After 2 years working in the obstacle course racing industry, I am changing jobs! I will be working at a local running store in the Boston area and assisting them in putting on local road races. I am SUPER excited. 🙂 It will mean less travel and it won’t be the typical 9-5 office job. I’m sad to leave my coworkers but overall I think it will be a great change of pace and I’m glad to be a little bit more immersed in an industry I am absolutely passionate about.

So lots of happiness and excitement going on in these parts.

Hope you had a great weekend! Have you been watching the IIAF Track and Field World Championships at all? Emma Coburn’s performance in the 3000m Steeplechase was AMAZING!


Welcome to the Family!!

Happy Monday everyone!

I have some exciting news to share….

Callie

CallieI’d like to introduce you all to Callie, my new kitty! I adopted her last weekend and we’ve been getting comfortable with each other ever since. She likes to stretch out by my running sneakers and pretend like she was the one who went for the workout.

FlexibilityShe is such a sweetheart and I’m so glad to have a new furry friend in my life. 🙂

Anywho, let’s talk running! I am just about 100 days out from Philly and happy to be sinking my teeth into training again.

This week’s workouts included:

On Wednesday – 2 mile warm-up, 4 x 1 minute @ 6:32, 1 minute recoveries, 2 x 2 minutes @ 7:32, 2 minute recoveries, 2 x 3 minutes @ 7:32, 3 minute recoveries, 4 x 1 minute @ 6:32, 1 mile cooldown. I won’t lie – I was worried I wouldn’t be able to keep all these intervals straight in my head while running so I wrote the workout down on my hand.

I wasn’t super excited about this workout – I just don’t really enjoy the feeling of constantly changing pace and never really settling into a rhythm. Still, I was happy when I was done and most of my splits were spot on or a touch fast.

Sunday was long run day with some marathon paced miles. THIS was a workout I was excited about. 3 mile warm-up, 2 x 3 miles @ 8:05/mile, with a 3 minute recovery, 2 mile cool-down.

Here’s how I did:

SplitsI was a little nervous after the first 3 miles that I was going to fall apart on the second set, but I ended up being more on target than the first set, running 8:04, 8:00, and 8:04. Still, it didn’t feel easy (or like I could run 26 miles at this pace). My plan is to keep assessing as we get closer to Philly on whether I need to adjust my goals.

While this run was pretty solid, I did something weird with my gel where there was still some left in the wrapper when I shoved it in the little holder I had for my handheld water bottle. Next thing I knew, during my cool-down miles, I realized I had brown goo (not the brand GU, I was actually using a Huma gel) smeared all over my white shirt. Not sure how I did that, but I’ll need to figure out a better system.

Just over 35 miles for the week and my Achilles has been feeling good so I’m feeling optimistic and excited to see what’s coming! **Funny fact: One of the things that always used to make me hesitant to work with a coach was because I liked to be able to look at a training plan for a race and see the whole picture and know what I was getting myself into. Now, I kind of like getting my workouts/training plan on a weekly schedule because it’s kind of a fun surprise to see what I’ll be running! Plus, I trust that my coach is thinking of the whole process and taking into account where my body/fitness is right now, which a training plan can’t do.

Do you have any pets? Any cat people out there? (I used to be strictly a dog person but I’ve come to love cats too now – clearly!)


When your Running is Going Swimmingly

Hello!

I got back from West Virginia on Friday and boy, does it feel good to be back home. Fun fact about West Virginia: there are hills EVERYWHERE.

I was dying. I am used to FLAT FLAT FLAT but I didn’t have any other options but to suck it up and get on with my runs. I was a little nervous heading into the trip just because I knew my hours were going to be long and wonky and I was worried about fitting in my training since Philly and RnR Montreal are coming up fast.

While I missed a few runs, overall – I was really happy with how I did fitting it all in. I even squeezed in a marathon pace workout. I didn’t think I’d be able to hit the paces with the hills/heat/humidity I was battling, but I actually nailed it. Workout was 2 mile warm-up followed by 1 x 2 miles @ 8:01, 800 meters rest, 2 x 1 mile @ 8:01 with 2 minute recoveries, 5 minute cooldown. Actual splits were: 9:15, 9:07 (warm-up), 8:03 and 8:02 for the first set, 8:05 and 8:00 for the second set.

Marathon TrainingIt didn’t feel super easy, BUT I’m optimistic that all my half marathon training did build my fitness this spring and that this pace will continue to become more comfortable. And if I can hit those splits WITH all the hills, then I think it bodes well for doing these workouts in Boston.I flew home on Friday last week and went for a run along my regular route that afternoon. Even though it was sunny and hot, I felt AMAZING on this run. Maybe I was just happy to be home, but I found myself easily running a sub-9 minute pace. My easy pace usually ranges from 9:00 – 9:45, but I decided to roll with it and I’m kind of glad I did as it was a nice confidence boost that I am getting faster. My average pace ended up being 8:35/mile for the run.

This past weekend, I had my first “real” long run since early May – 9 miles! I was stoked. It was hot and sunny, but I got it done and I’m excited to see the long runs starting to bump up.

Things are starting to fall into place!

How is your summer training going?


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!