Half at the Hamptons Recap

Hey All,

I’m back! Apologies for disappearing the past few weeks and leaving you hanging on the Half at the Hamptons. If you follow me on social media, you’ll know the race was not really the result I had been looking for and I needed some time to process it. The week after the race, I was traveling for work so writing the race recap got pushed back even more.

But I’m here now. 🙂

So let’s rewind to two weeks back when my mom and I headed up to Hampton, NH for the race.

When I first started weather-stalking the race (ie, checking weather.com every few hours for the raceday forecast), they were calling for temps in the high 40s and sunny. I got so excited I was even contemplating wearing shorts.

Half at the HamptonsI jinxed myself the minute I posted this tweet.

As the race drew closer, that high temperature steadily dropped. We ended up having a high around 32 and a very cold wind off the ocean. Not exactly ideal racing conditions.

Half at the Hamptons

FML.

My mom and I drove up Saturday night as I had decided to book a room in the hotel that was hosting the packet pick-up and post-race party. It was a really cute hotel, right on the ocean. You could tell it was the kind of place that would be PACKED during the summer, but it was very quiet for the beginning of March.

We had a quiet night on Saturday, eating dinner at the hotel restaurant and relaxing with some movies on TV before turning in early. I felt relaxed and honestly I was just excited to race. It didn’t even occur to me to be nervous.

The race started at 10 am on Sunday so I was able to sleep in comfortably. I had my pre-race bagel with almond butter and honey and layered up in my warmest clothes. I picked up my bib easily in the morning and headed out into the cold for a light warm-up.

It became obvious very quickly after going outside just how cold it was. I jogged along the beach for my warm-up and while the views were beautiful, it was kind of hard to enjoy in the wind. Still, I focused on jogging a couple miles knowing how important it would be for my muscles to be nice and warm for the start of the race.

After discussing with Mary, the plan for the race was to go out around 7:45 and to hold that for the first 3 miles. Most of the tempo work we had done during the training cycle was around 7:36/mile, so I knew that was a nice, conservative pace to start with. From there, the plan was to steadily drop the pace, hopefully leading to a negative split. The plan was a solid one, but sometimes even the most well laid-out plans don’t end up happening.

I lined up in the corral with all the other bundled runners and right on time, we were off. This was it. Months of hard work and 5 am wake-up calls were all coming down to this. I was definitely feeling the excitement during the first mile and I had to reign myself in a bit to keep to the 7:45 goal.

Mile 1: 7:46

Mile 2: 7:45

Mile 3: 7:46

My splits were RIGHT ON for the first 3 miles and I was stoked. I felt strong. Then came the straightaway along the ocean. We were running right into a fierce headwind. I tucked in and prepared to dial the pace down a notch.

And nothing. I felt like I was pushing harder than I had in the first 3 miles, but the split on my watch was going UP not down. Mary had advised me not to panic in the event of wind, so I sucked it up and figured I would make up the time in the next few miles once we were off the ocean a bit.

Mile 4: 7:49.

At this point, I still wasn’t too nervous. I thought I’d settle in and be able to work my way down to the 7:30s.

Just as I was thinking this came the hills. I had NOT expected any sort of incline. From what I had been able to find online, the race was supposed to be flat and fast. Well, I overheard another runner say that they changed the course this year so all my research and planning was out the window. I was peeved about the hill, but I sucked it up and did my best to keep running hard.

Half at the HamptonsYeah, that’s not flat.

Mile 5: 7:50

Mile 6: 7:53

At this point, I think I realized that things were really falling apart. Every time the wind would die down and I would think to myself it was time to push, I’d hit a hill and even with the increased effort, my pace would slow. If there wasn’t a hill, then it was the wind slowing me down. I tried to do my gels but I felt like I couldn’t breathe and swallow them at the same time. During my training, I had typically done my gels in between intervals which is all fine and dandy, but when it came down to it, I didn’t feel comfortable trying to take them while running fast. That was a stupid mistake on my part and something I need to think about more for my next half.

Mile 7: 8:16

Crap. At this point, I had really just been hoping to keep all my miles sub-8. So much for that goal.

From there, it was an absolute grind to the finish. I was still hoping and thinking I would finish in under 1:45, but my lofty goal of 1:39 was 100% out the window. Mentally, I just wanted this race to be over.

Mile 8: 7:58

Mile 9: 7:55

Mile 10: 7:58

I felt like absolute crap and knew I only had a 5k to go. I wanted to push. I really did. But we were back at that straightaway along the ocean and the wind was blasting me. I watched the pace fall off on my watch and felt absolutely powerless to do anything about it.

Mile 11: 8:00

Mile 12: 8:12

Mile 13: 8:21

I crossed the finish in 1:45. I immediately felt a sense of defeat upon seeing the clock. Not only did I miss my goal, but I didn’t even break my PR. After all the effort and all the training, I failed.

Half at the HamptonsHappy to be done. Not happy with the result.

My mom and I hurried back into the hotel to warm up. It seemed like it would have been a pretty nice post-race party with free beer, soup, and hot chocolate, but I didn’t feel much like celebrating. My stomach also felt like it was tied up in knots, much the way it gets after a marathon.

So obviously, I’m still disappointed that I didn’t reach my goal. But here’s the thing: I KNOW I’m in awesome shape and better trained than the last time I ran a 1:45. I KNOW I’m capable of a faster time. And now that I’ve had some time to let that sting of disappointment fade a bit, I look back and think ‘hey, I raced really freaking well for those conditions.’ My average pace ended up being 7:58/mile and to run that on such a terribly cold, windy day on a course that threw a few significant climbs my way? That’s actually a solid performance.

Everyone has races that don’t go their way. That’s part of the sport. You try to control everything you can in training, but on the actual day of the race, you also need a little bit of luck for everything to come together perfectly. It didn’t happen for me at the Half at the Hamptons, but that’s ok. All it means is that I need to start hunting for half marathon #18 so I can give sub 1:45 another shot.


Run Fast Eat Slow #6: Carrot Ginger Soup

Happy Friday!

For this week’s Run Fast Eat Slow post, we’re talking SOUP! Truth be told, I never used to be much of a fan of soup. It never felt filling to me and always left me kind of… bored (and hungry).

Carrot Ginger Soup | 2 Generations RunningOne of the best episodes of Seinfeld EVER.

I think that’s changing with Run Fast Eat Slow. The soup recipes in this cookbook are AH-MAZING (on par with the Soup Nazi’s I would even say!). So far, between my mom and myself, we’ve tried the Broccoli Chevre soup, the Curry Lentil soup with Charred Cauliflower, the Hearty Minestrone with Spicy Sausage and Beans and now, the Carrot- Ginger Soup (pg. 116). I guess you could say we’ve been craving soup this winter.

I think one of the things that I like about all of these soups is that they’re pretty filling and packed with lots of nourishing ingredients. I was also super stoked when I realized just how simple the Carrot-Ginger soup is. All you do is simmer the carrots in butter with an onion and then add broth and rice (I used brown rice which worked well). Then you just let it sit for around 40 minutes.

Carrot-Ginger Soup | 2 Generations RunningLook at those carrots simmer!

Once all the carrots have softened, you blend it up and boom – you have a wonderfully, thick and smooth soup.

Carrot-Ginger SoupThe only note I have about this recipe is that the rice absorbs a lot of the liquid. I had to add more water a few times while it was simmering and then I also added more water throughout the week (just mixed a little in with each serving).

But oh boy, YUM. I could see this soup being my new favorite for times when I come down with a cold. The lemon and ginger flavors add some serious zing (but if you don’t like ginger, you could easily omit this ingredient and it would be just as delicious).

What foods have you been enjoying lately?

 


Half Marathon Training: The FINAL Check-In

Hello again!

Apologies for the lack of posts last week. While I love blogging, my work during the week pretty much restricts my blogging time to only weekends. This can make things a little hectic trying to squeeze in all of my runs, chores and a week’s worth of blog posts in the span of 2 days. Last weekend, I felt like I needed the time to really decompress, but I’m back now!

Rather than share 2 week’s worth of workouts (which would probably be pretty boring), I wanted to touch on some highlights and my thoughts about the Half at the Hamptons being THIS SUNDAY!

Excited but nervous gif | 2 Generations RunningYes, exactly.

Two weeks ago, I had my last long run/hard workout on Saturday and it did NOT go well. The workout was 3 mile warm-up followed by 3 x 2 miles at 7:32 with 2 minutes rest between sets and a 3 mile cool-down. I knew it was going to be hard, but I can honestly say I wasn’t dreading this workout. I made sure to get a good night’s sleep and I felt ready to tackle it in the morning. The only bit of trepidation I felt was in that I was visiting my family for the weekend and the roads around my hometown are hillier than my typical running routes around my apartment. I knew it was going to be a struggle running 7:32 pace with hills thrown in. Boy, was I right.

I picked the least hilly area I could find, which still included 2 short but steep-ish hills. I went into the 2-mile repeats and knew pretty much right away it was not going to be a good day. My first set was 7:39 and 7:57 but then I fell apart even more on the second and third sets. I felt like I was working hard but I was literally GASPING for air and could NOT make the pace on my watch nudge down to the low 7:30s. Mentally, I was frustrated and already beginning to have doubts about the half. It was, by far the worst workout I have had this entire training cycle.

I ended up chatting with Mary (my coach) the next day, and she reassured me that this happens and is not the end of the world. One bad workout does not undo 3 months worth of good workouts. I felt 100 times better after talking it through with her, and I don’t think this workout will negatively affect my mindset going into the race this weekend.

Now, I am officially in Taper Town! I think I simultaneously love and hate the taper. I love knowing the race is coming up and running easy miles, but I do feel like my body/mind tend to freak out a bit. I had a few minor aches and pains during some of my easy runs this week (some pain in my achilles, a pain in my hamstring). When these would pop up, I would immediately start to wonder if I’m injured, if I’ll be able to do the race, etc… But all these little aches ended up going away after a mile or two, so thankfully I think I will be in perfect condition for Sunday. 🙂

This past weekend, I had an easy 8 miles on Saturday in beautiful mid-60 degree temps which was GLORIOUS!

2 Generations RunningNothing like wearing shorts on February 25th!

Everyone was outside on what I like to call “my” running route but I guess I can share if it means more nice weather in the future. 😉

This week I have a few more easy runs on the agenda, but nothing too crazy.

How was your week? If you’re in the Northeast, were you able to get outside and enjoy this amazing weather? 

How do you react to the taper?


Run Fast Eat Slow Post #5: Can’t Beet Me Smoothie

Happy Friday!

Today’s Run Fast Eat Slow blog post is another guest one from my mom. Enjoy!


Nora and I have been making so many of these recipes we can’t keep up with the posts !! This week, I decided to try the Can’t Beet Me Smoothie (pg. 28).

Even though I love beets, I have to say I was not sure what I would think of this recipe . But I decided I would give it a shot. I would love to add “after a great 5 mile run…” but sadly I’m still just walking with a few short jogging bursts here and there. At least, I’m still getting to take in some beautiful views.

Cant Beet Me Smoothie

I gathered the ingredients and put it all together in my blender. Nora had stressed the importance of using frozen bananas so I made sure I had peeled and sliced a banana into a zip lock bag and tossed it into the freezer the night before (Frozen bananas is HUGE for texture in smoothies – it’s almost like adding a scoop of ice cream – they add that much creaminess!). I used regular 1% milk because I don’t usually have almond milk on hand unless Nora is home. I followed the directions and whipped everything up in my blender… and voila!

Cant Beet Me SmoothieA really wonderful, tasty, creamy smoothie! It was surprisingly sweet, probably from the beet and the banana and, though it was a beautiful purple color, did not really taste of beet at all.  And the texture was so smooth and creamy. Much better than I had expected! Nora, the smoothie expert says this is the frozen banana (It is!!). The only thing I would do differently next time would be to cut the ginger up a bit more: my blender did not quite chop it up fine enough. I’m not usually a big “smoothie person” but this one has made a convert out of me and I know Nora will love it when we make it together!

Can't Beet Me SmoothieBeets – yay or nay? I know they’re supposed to be great for runners but I’m not a huge fan…


Half Marathon Training Check-In #5

Happy Monday everyone!

After the most boring winter ever, New England finally got hammered with a nor’easter this week and now the snow just seems to keep coming. It’s made for A LOT of treadmill runs this week. Honestly, I’m starting to get sick of it. I will take heat and humidity, I just want to be able to run outside again! But anyways…

The half marathon is 3 weeks away and after this week, it looks like my training is beginning to taper. I hope I’m ready. Here’s what the past week of training looked like.

Monday – Easy 4 miles on the treadmill in the morning. I was a little sore after Sunday’s long run/workout the day before but not terrible.

Tuesday – Easy 60 minutes also on the treadmill.

Wednesday – I had been pretty tired the night before so I decided to sleep in and do my run in the evening. I knew temps were forecasted to be uncharacteristically warm (high 40’s) so I figured I would run home from my office in the evening and tack on a couple miles for a total of 6. It was probably a good thing that I did this because when I went outside Wednesday morning, everything was a SHEET of ice – it was literally everywhere. If I had gotten up in the dark to go to the gym, I would almost certainly have slipped and fallen.

Thursday – Workout day. This time it was a 2 mile warm-up followed by 6 x 800 meters at 6:53 pace with 2:30 recoveries, followed by a 2-mile cool down. This was tough, but doable. I felt this in my quads and I KNEW I was going to be sore the next day. I knocked this off on the treadmill and the snow was just starting to fall as I came home. Unlike most of Boston, I still had to go to work but it was kind of cool seeing the city so empty and so snowy!

2 Generations Running

Friday – As expected, I was very sore. Luckily, I only had an easy 35 minutes to run which I knocked off on the treadmill since the streets were a slushy, icy mess. Later, walking to work, I slipped on some ice and fell flat on my back. The joys of winter… So in addition to my quads being wicked sore, my tailbone was also in pain. What a week.

Saturday – Easy 6 miles. The streets were still in terrible shape so once again, it was treadmill time. Thankfully, the Bibrave podcast kept me entertained through it and my quads were finally starting to feel normal again.

Sunday – Long run day and of course, there was more snow in the forecast. Ugh. I debated breaking up the run to do my first couple easy miles outdoors but the streets still were not in good shape and it would have required a lot of wardrobe changes going from street to treadmill. So I decided to suck it up and do the whole thing on the treadmill. The workout consisted of 2 mile warm-up, 1 x 3 miles at 7:32, 1 minute jogging recovery, 1 x 1.5 mile at 7:32, 5 minute jogging recovery, then 5 x 400 meters at 6:52 pace, capped off with 2 mile cool-down.

I really would have preferred to have done this on the road, BUT 11.15 miles later, it was complete. It was actually kind of nice that there were so many parts to this workout because it made it go by a lot faster. It was also probably good for my mental toughness.

Total # of Workouts: 2

Total Mileage: 45.5

Are you as sick of winter yet as I am? 


Run Fast Eat Slow Post #4: Wild Salmon Sweet Potato Cakes

Hello and happy Friday!

I have another Run Fast Eat Slow recipe review for you this week. Honestly, when I came up with the idea for this series of posts I thought it would just be a fun little break from all the training posts, but I actually love how it’s really forced me to get out of my cooking comfort zone. In the past, I’ve bought cookbooks, made a couple recipes, and then just tucked them away on the shelf to only be used when feeling particularly ambitious. Now I’m actually browsing the recipes and thinking ahead about what I want to make for the week!

Wild Salmon Cakes | Run Fast Eat SlowI’ve been on a huge sweet potato kick lately, so I thought the Wild Salmon Sweet Potato Cakes (page 142) sounded just about right – plus, they would be easy to pack with a salad for lunches for the work week. I love salmon and I know it’s a really fantastic food to include in my diet because of all its health benefits. Sometimes I just get lazy about remembering to buy it/prepare it. Apart from the salmon, I had all the ingredients on hand, which made it pretty easy to whip up.

It’s a pretty straightforward recipe – saute some garlic and onions, then combine them with the salmon, sweet potato puree, almond meal, eggs, and some seasonings. While the recipe recommends ordering wild salmon with skin and bones removed and finely chopped, I kept things a little easier (and cheaper) by opting to use canned salmon. I’m sure the recipe is delicious with real salmon, but I wanted to keep things simple.

Once everything was combined into a nice, thick batter, it was time to saute them in a generous serving of coconut oil. This was where I ran into issues. The batter was NOT staying together nice enough for me to be able to flip them in the frying pan.

Run Fast Eat Slow | 2 Generations RunningI tried it with 3 of the cakes and gave up as they all fell apart. Luckily, I remembered I had made a similar recipe a year ago where the sweet potato salmon cakes were baked in the oven in a muffin tin. I scooped the batter into the tin and had just enough to make a perfect 6 cakes. I popped them in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Wild Salmon Cake | Run Fast Eat SlowVoila! They look much nicer than the ones that kept falling apart on me. I have been lightly sauteing them in a frying pan to warm them up and get that nice crispy feel on the outside each night I’ve prepared them. They’ve held up much better like this and are just as yummy. 🙂 And, I’m happy to report these are just as delicious as every other recipe my mom and I have tried so far!

Have you cooked up anything tasty lately? 


Thoughts on Hard Workouts

Happy Wednesday!

As you all know, I started working with a coach in early November. I was ready for some extra guidance to help me reach my goals and wanted a little more support than a training plan copied out of a book can offer.

Coaching | 2 Generations RunningSo far, it’s been an AWESOME experience. I used to think I understood what I was doing with easy days and workouts but looking back now, I feel like I was blissfully ignorant. I would do my workouts, but I always targeted paces I knew I could hit. I didn’t like to fail (and I still don’t). And then I would always follow up workouts with total rest days, which meant I wasn’t running as many easy aerobic-building miles as I could have been.Consistency | 2 Generations RunningThings are finally getting consistent.

But the thing about targeting paces you know you can hit is that it means you aren’t really pushing yourself as hard as you could be. My coach has given me workouts that excite me, but also sometimes leave me questioning whether I’ll be able to complete them and hit the prescribed paces. But I’m learning to trust her and just give the workouts a shot. Sometimes I nail the workouts and sometimes I don’t. Last week I had a workout of 2 x 2 miles at 7:36 followed up with 5 minutes at 6:59. I was pretty much right on for the 2 mile repeats, but that last 5 minutes? I was WAY off – I averaged 7:24, basically 30 seconds slower than what I was aiming for and I was spent. I knew going into that interval that I didn’t have 6:59 in me, but I was willing to give it my all. And if I wasn’t working with a coach, I don’t think I would have ever given myself this workout or pushed myself this hard.

Half Marathon Training

10K PR | 2 Generations Running

Casually running 10k PRs in workouts these days.

So I’m learning that these difficult workouts are supposed to ride that line between what you’re capable of at your current fitness level and where you are trying to get to. And that’s where the improvement comes from. Before I started working with my coach, I was thinking about targeting 1:41 in the half marathon (a 4 minute improvement for me). And even that I worried, would be too aggressive. And after a few months of coaching, I am pretty darn confident I can do even better than 1:41 (though I really don’t want to jinx anything by saying that). Just have to wait till March to see what happens though. For now, I’m going to keep trusting the process and giving it my all in those hard workouts.

How’s your week going so far? Any tough workouts coming up?