Chicago Marathon Training Check-In

Hello hello!

So I didn’t run any races this week, but I thought it would be a good time to check in and update you all both on my fundraising for Team Paws and my base building for the marathon. These are still the early stages since Chicago isn’t until October, but I am still doing plenty of running trying to lay a strong foundation for when the hard workouts come later.

Chicago is my first time running for a charity, and I have to say – fundraising is its own challenge! Props to all the charity runners who raise thousands of dollars for Boston every year. This isn’t easy!! I have to raise $1500 for Team Paws and while I think it’s 100% doable, I am starting to have to get creative. I need to raise about $600 more by September, so I’m currently offering a couple of fun incentive for folks to donate.

  • For anyone who donates between now and July, I will mail homemade cookies! I’m going to do batches of chocolate chip and white chocolate macadamia nut and will ship them out around the 4th of July. I’m also happy to take requests. 🙂
  • Anyone who donates between now and Sunday, June 24th (12 pm EST) will be entered in a giveaway to win either one of these cute, paw print bracelets (I have two of them) or a key chain. I made these myself with the help of my oh so crafty Momma!

Chicago Marathon Fundraising for Team Paws

Chicago Marathon FundraisingJust a simple cute way to rep the furry, four-legged friend in your life. 🙂

Here is the link to my page if you are interested in donating!

As for the running, things are off to a GREAT start! I think if it weren’t for my coach, I’d probably be trying to dive into 15-16 mile long runs by now, I’m feeling so excited. My mileage has been hovering around 30 miles/week, with one week that was a little higher (42 miles) and a few weeks that were a little lower because of some work travel (25-27 miles).

I’ve consistently been getting in two harder efforts a week – usually some shorter, faster intervals during the middle of the week and a longer tempo run on the weekend. On Thursday this past week, my workout was:

1.5 mile warm-up, 4 x 600 meters @ 2:30/rep (2 min recoveries), 4 x 400 meters @ 1:40/rep (90 sec recoveries), 1 mile cool-down.

I went to the track to tackle this and it was SO fun. Challenging, but I always managed to be pretty much right there with my splits.

Chicago Marathon Training

Saturday’s long run was a fun one too. 9 miles with 3 miles around 8:10, a recovery mile, and then 2 at 7:50. My splits for those target miles were 8:09, 8:09, 8:02 and then 7:47 and 7:51. Pretty much right on the money!

Oh Yeah.It sounds weird, but I really cannot wait for those long runs to keep getting longer and for the tempo sections to keep extending. Honestly, it was such a good feeling going into Hyannis, knowing I had run 20-milers with 3 x 4 miles at 8:00/mi and felt comfortable. It was huge for my confidence, and gave me the self-belief that I could BQ. While it’s REALLY early and my coach and I may adjust the plan based on how training goes, my new goal race pace is going to be 7:45/mile for Chicago. Woof. Right now that sounds so fast!

Race-wise, next up will be something for the 4th of July – I’m still toying with a few different local options. Overall, the summer is looking good!

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Trying Not to Jinx Myself

Hi there!

So you may have noticed recently that I’ve been posting here a lot less lately. I haven’t been sharing all of the training and workout recaps the way I did leading up to Philly. It hasn’t been a time issue; my schedule’s been about the same lately.

Honestly, I haven’t been writing here because I’m still so afraid of jinxing myself when it comes to running. While the first half of 2017 started out well enough, the last half was a string of DNSs, PT and chiropractic appointments, and significant frustration (mixed in with some tears). I had never DNS’ed (Did Not Start) a race before this year. And then I had 3 in 2017 – the BAA 10k, the Baystate Half Marathon, and then the Philly Marathon (where I deferred to the half).

The BAA 10k was supposed to be more of a fun run anyway so I didn’t terribly mind sitting that one out even though it was a bit of an expensive race for a 10k. Ok fine, BAA just take my money. Baystate I had planned to use as a tune-up for Philly. I had run PRs on that course in the past, it’s a local race with some beautiful fall scenery and I  generally love that race. While I could maybe have run it, I decided not to risk it with my iffy hamstring.

Baystate Marathon 2015Baystate 2015 – good memories from that race alongside my mom.

I was a little more sad to sit that one out than I had been for the 10k. Not being able to run the Philly Marathon was hands-down the biggest disappointment of the year and probably of my whole running career. I had built that race up SO MUCH in my head for months and months and to have it turn out the way it did (well, didn’t I guess) was awful.

So in a lot of ways I’ve been trying to protect myself against that with Hyannis. No countdown watch face this time around. No training recaps.

There is even a tune-up race the end of this month that I’m thinking of doing but I still haven’t registered (so unlike me) because I’m still so nervous that something will go wrong. I haven’t booked a hotel near the the race start because I’m terrified that the weather will be horrendous and that will be more money  down the drain (it’s also a doable drive so I’m not being too stupid there). I’ve become injury-paranoid. Every twinge I feel in my legs during a run becomes a point of hyper-focus. I’ve been gobbling down so many anti-inflammatories I’ve probably become fire-resistant from the inside out.

So far, my training has been good. Not great, but the hard work is really only just now beginning to kick in. And as you can see, my mental game is…questionable. I’m trying to just take it week by week and not overly stress about the race. That has manifested into a total lack of blog posts. Hopefully my confidence will return soon and I’ll be able to share a little more here, but I’m not putting pressure on myself for the timebeing.

Come on 2018, don’t let me down.

 


Philly Week

Hey there!
This Friday, my mom and I will be hopping on a train bound for Philadelphia. While I could be disappointed that I won’t be running the marathon, I’m choosing to be excited about running the half. I’ve been slowly working my mileage up in the past couple weeks and have been having zero pain in my hamstring so I feel confident that my body will comfortably be able to handle 13.1 miles. Not at a crushing speed but definitely in the “fun run” range.

When I look back on 2017, it really has been the year of Taking It Seriously. This was my first year working with a coach and understandably, my big focus was on PRs. It was also the first year that I actually experienced some really rough races. In March, I went after my half marathon PR at the Half at the Hamptons. It was a freezing cold day, the course was hillier than expected and I faded badly in the final miles to finish in 1:45 (my old PR). I was pretty disappointed afterwards and couldn’t even really enjoy the post race party. For the first time ever really, I did not have a pleasant experience running a half marathon.

Half at the HamptonsI then rallied my strength and gave it a shot a couple months later at the “Fast Half”. While this one was slightly better, I still struggled in the last two miles and ended up just squeaking under my PR at 1:44. While I wasn’t thrilled, I decided to view it as a success. It was definitely not the flattest or fastest course I have run so who knows what I could have accomplished on a more PR-friendly course.

Fast Half Marathon Race RecapAnd then there was the RnR Montreal half. This truly should have been a blast. And it was for the first 7 or so miles. I was using it as a workout and I felt great, nailing my splits. And then my hamstring seized up and that was that. The second half of the course was decidedly painful and filled with anxious thoughts about Philly. Despite wonderful spectator support in the final miles, I couldn’t enjoy it. I felt beaten up and depressed by the end.

So… not a great year for me and the half marathon.

But something positive can still come out of not running the marathon in Philly – I will be running the half. And my only focus for the race is to run it feeling healthy and happy for the whole damn thing. I am going to smile and relax and enjoy running a race with zero pressure or expectations. I think that is what I need more than anything right now. And afterwards, I’ll get brunch with my mom and enjoy exploring Philadelphia in a way we wouldn’t have been able to do if I was running the marathon.

Another added bonus: I will be able to run a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving! (This would have been ill advised if I had been running a marathon only 7 days earlier).

So maybe it’s a good thing I won’t be going for a marathon PR. That can wait till February.

How has your fall training gone?


The Comeback

Thank you all for your kind comments on my last post, it meant the world.

Since my last post, I’ve been doing much better. Very shortly after I posted that, I listened to an interview of Neely Spence Gracey (a professional marathoner for Adidas) on the Ali on the Run podcast. In it, Neely spoke about her first season as a professional. She was gearing up for the Olympic Marathon Trials in 2016 when she had to withdraw due to injury. More recently, she had to withdraw from the New York City Marathon due to tendonitis hampering her training (SOUND FAMILIAR?!).

Ali on the Run podcastListening to this podcast, I had a few thoughts.

  1. I feel like I could be best friends with this girl (too bad she lives in Colorado!).
  2. I made the right decision to postpone my goal race.
  3. Thank goodness that I’m not a professional runner and that I get to do this because it’s fun and I actually just love running.

It was a really great interview and I highly recommend giving it a listen if you’ve been struggling with some injuries or are just fascinated by the lives of professional runners.

Mentally, I’m feeling much more positive and happy about the decision to not run the Philly Marathon than I was a few weeks ago.

And what about the hamstring??

Well, I’m happy to report that that actually IS feeling much better (and that’s not me just saying that trying to trick myself into believing it). Since my decision, my coach and I cut WAY back on my running. Last week, I ran 3 miles 4 days a week and this week I’m up to 4 miles. And that is without any tightness in my right hamstring!

Strava MilesWhen I think about it too much, I get a little sad looking back at the workouts I was doing back in the beginning of September and how strong I was feeling, but I know that I’ll build back up to that again. I also have to keep reminding myself that training stacks on top of training. No, I didn’t get to run a goal race after those all those weeks of work in August and September, but the fitness that I gained during that period will only make me stronger as I build up to that again.

Fall RunningIn the meantime, I’m going to continue to enjoy getting out for easy runs as the temps finally cool off this Fall! I haven’t signed up for one yet, but I’m hoping to be able to get in a turkey trot in a few weeks on Thanksgiving.

Oh, and as a sidenote, this happened –

Chicago Marathon

I’ll let you guys know on December 12th whether I’ll be going to Chicago in 2018!!

Anyone else already getting excited for Thanksgiving?? I think it might be my favorite holiday.

 

 


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?