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

 


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. 🙂


Spectating the Boston Marathon + An Announcement!

Well at this point we are one week removed from the Boston Marathon, but I am still slightly awestruck from the experience of watching the marathon this year. It’s interesting because at this point, marathons and races are nothing new to me. I’ve always said I love the excitement and joy of a race atmosphere.

Boston is on a whole different level.

Around 9:30 in the morning on Marathon Monday, I met up with my coach and a couple of her friends to head out to mile 18 to spectate and cheer on the other McKirdy Trained athletes participating in the race. Already at 9:30 in the morning, it was HOT – probably in the 60s and bright and sunny. Pretty nice for spectating but not at all good for running a marathon. We got off the subway close to Mile 16 in the race and were just in time to watch the elite women breeze by us.

Elite women You could tell they were working hard but they still looked FAST. The crowds lining both sides of the streets erupted in cheers every time one of these women passed.

Shortly thereafter came the elite men. We saw the lead pack with Galen Rupp and a bunch of others cruising right along. A minute or two behind them was Meb! We cheered for him like no other and I was so excited to get some good pictures. His stride looked so powerful, I was in awe.

Meb Boston Marathon 2017We continued on our way, walking to just before mile 19 on the course. I knew Boston was huge on spectators, but still, it was something to experience, seeing the course lined with spectators on both sides so far outside of downtown Boston. There was also a much more relaxed vibe out on this part of the course. There was still plenty of security but there weren’t security checkpoints at every corner, which made it way easier to get around. People had set up tents and/or picnics outside their homes, kids were running around, and the whole thing just felt like one big, epic block party (one that just happened to be bisected by a marathon).

As we continued on, we saw a McKirdy Trained athlete coming our way who we immediately started cheering for. She saw us and stumbled toward Mary, clearly not in good shape. Just as she reached us at the side of the road, she toppled over onto the ground. Mary and her friend immediately scooped her up, protecting her from being trampled by the steady flow of runners behind her. Someone ran over and gave us a water bottle which we gave to her, and then she insisted on continuing on her way, despite assurances that she could stop and get some help. It was honestly a little scary and really hit home how tough the conditions on the course were.

Boston Marathon spectatingFinally, we got to our prime viewing area just before Mile 19. By this point, the elites were passed and more of the ‘average’ runners were passing in a steady stream. I had so much fun cheering for all the runners and listening to the funny cheers and comments from the group standing near us. It was hilarious how many runners ended up striking up conversation with those guys as they ran past!

Last year, I had gotten caught up in the chaos of trying to find my way to the hotel my running club hosts an after-party at right by the finish. Crowds of people, security checkpoints, and general pandemonium had me so stressed out I was hardly able to enjoy the marathon. It was so different this year and so nice to actually be able to spectate and enjoy the race. I would highly recommend the stretch of Mile 16-18 to anyone looking to spectate along the Boston Marathon!

I had felt passionate about running Boston someday before this whole experience, but watching it this year really brought the feeling to life for me. More than ever, this race feels like the Olympics of running for the everyday runner. So… after all the excitement and inspiration, I figured it was finally time to cement my own plans for 2017. Namely, marathon #4 and my attempt to BQ once and for all…

Philadelphia Marathon 2017

Philly.

Bring on Marathon #4.


Boston Marathon Weekend 2017

Hello and happy Marathon Monday!

I hope you all had a great weekend. As expected, mine was packed with running. If I wasn’t actually running, I was hanging out with runners, listening to runners give inspirational talks, or shopping for running stuff at the expo. 🙂 It was a lot of fun.

Happy Dance I had Friday off from work so I slept in and went for a nice relaxing 45 minute run.

2 Generations RunningThis past week I felt so solid in my runs. Even my easy runs were on the ‘fast’ side of the easy spectrum. Despite some digestive issues Thursday evening during my workout (*Note to self: Don’t eat Chipotle for lunch when planning to run after work.), my paces were right there where I wanted them and I felt fast.

In the afternoon, I went to the expo for a little bit before hitting up a yoga for runners class. In some ways, I’ve been glad I’m not running on Monday since I was on my feet A LOT walking around the expo and jumping around to different presentations/seminars. It’s been a ton of fun, but not what you want when you’re about to run 26.2 miles.

After the yoga for runners class, I hung out at the Runners World Pop-Up store, to hear the presentation on how to run your best Boston. No, I’m not running it this year, but I definitely see this race in my future, so I figured it would be fun to get some tips. Ryan Hall was one of the speakers for this seminar (did you know he ran 2:04 at Boston in 2011?!?) He was SO funny and interesting to listen to. He joked that he likes to think of Boston as really only a half marathon since all the downhill sections are “free miles”. That got a good laugh. 🙂

On Saturday, I had the BAA 5k in the morning, which I had been REALLY excited for. While it was a cool race and I’m glad I did it, it was not quite what I expected. My plan had been to do 30 minutes easy as a warm-up before the race before using the race as a workout to do some 7:30 miles. Well, I guess I forgot that the race had 10,000 people in it. By the time I finished my 30 minute warm-up and got over to the corrals, they were already packed with people.

BAA 5kI jumped in where I could, but within the first mile, I realized there was not a shot in hell of me running a 7:30 mile. The streets were narrow and I was bobbing and weaving around walkers and slower runners. It was still cool getting to experience running part of the Boston Marathon course.BAA 5kCitgo sign!

So lesson learned. Don’t plan a workout for races where you know it’s going to be overcrowded. The shirt and medal were super nice though, so that was a nice little bonus.

BAA 5kAfter the race, I made my way back to the Runners World Pop-Up to take in a couple more seminars. First up was a discussion from the First Ladies of Running – this panel included Bobbi Gibb, Sarah Mae Berman, and several others.

Runners World Pop-Up

It was so amazing listening to them talk about getting started running races when it was still seen as improper for a lady to break a sweat (they also used to say a woman’s uterus would fall out if she ran too much. LOL.) Next up, was a presentation by Kathrine Switzer to commemorate the 50 year anniversary of her first running the Boston Marathon.

I have to say, I think I have a new running idol. (If you want to learn more about her story, I highly recommend listening to the Runners World podcast interview with Kathrine). She was so funny and just amazing to listen to. I was so inspired listening to her talk about how she went from a 4:20 marathon to a 2:51 through hard work and training (especially during a time when running was seen as such a bizarre hobby for a woman).

If I wasn’t excited to start marathon training  again soon, I sure am now!

Hope you had a great weekend and are ready to watch the marathon today!

 


Happy New Year + A look Back at 2016

Happy New Year everyone!

I have been meaning to write up this post for a while, but as usual, life got in the way. Anyways, it’s New Years Eve as I’m writing this, which seems like as good a time as any to look back at the past year.

This was the first year where I had to juggle the responsibilities of a full-time job, a hectic travel schedule, and training for numerous races. Overall, I’m pretty proud of how it all went. Yes, there were moments of stress and mornings where I desperately wanted to sleep in rather than log another 5 miles (and also mornings where the bed won). Somehow, I got through it all and ran 2 marathons, shaving a total of around 45 minutes off from my first attempt at the distance. There were also PRs in the half marathon and 5k.

While my mom and I were training for the Delaware Marathon, we ran the Augusta Half Marathon in February in Georgia. Clearly the marathon training had me in great shape, and I was able to take 3 minutes off my time to bring my PR down to a 1:45. My mom got 3rd in her age group at that race which was the icing on the cake.

Augusta Half MarathonIn March, we both ran Stu’s 30k in Clinton, Mass. For both my mom and I, this was the first year we ran the whole 30k instead of doing the relay option. HOLY HILLS! It was probably one of the most challenging races we’ve completed (and my mom may have sworn off ever doing this race again), but overall we ran really well and I look back on this race with fond memories (probably because the pain from those stupid rolling hills has faded from memory).

2016 Stu's 30KIn May, there was the infamous Delaware Marathon. It was not really the marathon result I had hoped for and it wasn’t the best day for my mom either. But I think it taught me a valuable lesson. You’ve got to respect the distance and run what you are trained for. Sometimes you have to set your ego aside to figure out what that pace is. My aggressive pace coupled with the warmer temps was a recipe for disaster. I’ve decided I’d rather accept a slower time and be able to enjoy the post race party than push myself to the point of heat stroke and end up in the ER (#LifeLessons).

Delaware Marathon Race RecapJune and July were relatively quiet with no big races. However, in July my mom talked me into signing up to run the Baystate Marathon in October. At the time, I was pretty nervous about stepping back into marathon training after what had happened in Delaware, but I am so grateful she managed to convince me to go for it.

In August, my mom and I ran the Hobble Creek Half Marathon. While we did cross off another state, the name of this race proved to be a bad omen. What had been a niggling pain for my mom turned into a full-blown hamstring injury after all the miles of downhill running. While we had a fun vacation in Utah, I’m afraid the memories will always be tainted by the aftermath of this race.

Delicate ArchSeptember was full of long runs as I went through my final month of training for Baystate. I hit my highest mileage week ever. My Strava data shows September was my biggest month of mileage for the year. Note: I didn’t start using Strava until late April of this year so I don’t have a complete picture of the data unfortunately.

Monthly Mileage 2016

In October, I ran Baystate and completed my 3rd marathon! This race was HUGE for me. I PR’ed again, running a 3:53. That was nothing compared to the way I felt during this race though. My previous 2 marathons were big struggles for me, especially during the last 6-7 miles. In both of those marathons, I finished thinking I would never run a marathon again. Baystate was the first time I felt in control and strong for 26.2 miles. I never had to walk, AND I managed a small negative split.

Baystate Marathon 2016 Race RecapYou know it’s a good marathon when you’re actually smiling. This race has given me the confidence to continue with marathoning and I fully plan on running another in 2017.

The past couple months, I have slowly been building my mileage again in preparation for the Half at the Hamptons. It’s been a long time since I’ve done some targeted training for the half marathon and I’m excited to see the results.

Final stats of 2016:

States we’ve Crossed Off: 3 (Delaware, Georgia, Utah)

Marathons: 2

Toenails Lost: 2 (notice the correlation between lost toenails and marathons…)

 

 

PRs: in the 5k, half, and marathon

Pairs of Shoes: 5 (I think)

Total Miles: 1,541.9 – The data below is from Strava. I switched over to Strava from MapMyRun mid-April. I went back to my MapMyRun account and was able to see that I ran 405.1 miles during those first 4 months of 2016. This mileage is probably a little short since I didn’t log treadmill runs before I got my new Garmin. Hoping I can hit 2,000 miles in 2017!

strava-2

Top Blog Posts of 2016: The 4-Week Half Marathon Plan (really more for how to finish a half in 4 weeks when you have a super busy schedule… not a training plan for PRs!!), Asics Gel-Electro 33 Review (this shoe has been discontinued so unfortunately, I don’t think this post will stay popular much longer!), Why I Switched From MapMyRun to Strava, About Me (thanks for being curious!)

 

All in all, it was a very successful year. Yes, it had its ups and downs, but most years do. Here’s to hoping 2017 brings even bigger and better things. 🙂

Hope everyone had a wonderful New Years Eve! How was your 2016? Any big goals for 2017? 

 

 


Holiday Running + Yulefest 5k

Happy Monday folks!

Can you believe we are almost halfway through the month of December?? And almost to Christmas?!

Christmas is coming | 2 Generations RunningIn keeping with the holiday spirit, I ran the Yulefest 5k in Cambridge on Sunday. With it being my 3rd 5k in a month, I decided to treat this race as more of a workout followed by a fantastic post-race party (my running club was one of the biggest teams to sign up so we had our own tent, supply of soft pretzels, Bolloco breakfast burritos, and of course, beer/hard cider).

So in spite of the frigid temps (low 20’s), I was pretty excited for this race.

Our club did a group warm-up (1 mile easy paced followed by some drills) and then it was time to go! My goal was to reign myself in on the 5k and then I was going to finish up with 4 x 2 minute intervals to round out the workout.

I got into the starting corral with only a couple minutes to spare and couldn’t work my way backwards to my desired pace group, which probably contributed to me going out a little faster than intended. Nevertheless, I didn’t feel like I was killing myself (which is how I typically feel in 5ks) so I thought that was a good sign. I hit the first mile in 7:21.

The course was mostly flat with a couple of gentle hills. While it felt super cold standing around, I have to say, the temps felt MUCH better for running than they did in the 5k I ran in Orlando last week. Plus, it was tons of fun running with all the reindeer (I was wearing a pair of antlers myself), santas, and elves. I even got a high-five from Santa outside a bar. 🙂 Mile 2 was slower but more on target for my desired pace – 7:39.

In mile 2-3, I was running next to an older guy who was breathing extremely hard (really more like gasping). I wasn’t listening to music so I felt hyper-aware of it. The good news was that it reminded me to tune in to my own breathing/effort levels. I still felt pretty solid. I knew I was working, but I didn’t feel like I was running myself into the ground (the way the guy next to me was). I hit mile 3 in 7:40 and then had an exciting .1 finish with tons of folks cheering. It amped me up and I managed to run the final stretch at a 6:53 pace, overall 23:42. Not a PR, but also not a bad time for me.

I happily grabbed a water and then made my way past the crowd to find an open area to finish up with my intervals. The sidewalks were crowded, but I quickly found a little park, which was the perfect size for my 2 minute intervals. The first was a little slow as I dodged the folks on the sidewalks – 7:33 pace. The last 3 were much better and made me pretty excited (as tough as they were).

Interval 2 – 2 min @ 6:56/mile

Interval 3 – 2 min @ 6:54/mile

Interval 4 – 2 min @ 6:48/mile.

And all after running a 5k at an avg 7:31/mile pace. 🙂

I know the intervals are short but it does make me pretty excited to see sub-7 min paces popping up on my watch. Gives me good feelings about what will happen in half marathon #17. 🙂

After finishing the intervals, I made my way back to enjoy the post-race party. It was chilly, but still an awesome time. And my running club won for fastest team!

yulefestHow was your weekend?

Did anyone else race? Any holiday themed runs?


The Race that Wasn’t

Remember how I said I was running a Turkey Trot this year and was all excited to try to beat my time from the Boston River Run? I had it all planned out – I was going to show up an hour early, pick up my packet, warm up, and then race. My plan was to drive over by myself since no one else in my family was joining me for this 5k. At the last minute, my dad decided to come along to watch.

We headed over to Ayer and got there in about 20 minutes. I thought it was a little surprising that there were so few cars on the road, but figured that most people didn’t want to show up an hour early for a 5k. Similarly, there were some spectators standing along the course, but no runners. I didn’t think much of it and hurried over to the fire station where packet pick-up was.

Inside, there was a busy group of volunteers doling out the post-race apple crisp. I was surprised to not see anyone handing out race packets. I asked an older gentleman if I was in the right place for bib pick-up.

“Packet pick-up? It’s over – the race is almost over!”

And that’s when it dawned on me. It was 8:12. I had thought the race started at 9, but nope. 8 am sharp. $h!t. I think I got confused because when I had been looking for a turkey trot to sign up for, I had been between 2 options – one at 9 am and this one, at 8 am.

Embarrassed, I hurried back outside to explain the situation to my dad but found him talking to a couple of runners from my running club. He’d clearly heard the news. I had missed the race.

img_1980-editedSmiling, but I’m actually pretty embarrassed and disappointed.

We hung around for a bit and watched as the fastest runners started coming in and crossing the finish line. The only saving grace was the most adorable yellow lab puppy that was there with a spectator that I got to pet for a bit while the pup attempted to play with our giant, 10-year old lab that my dad had brought with us.

We went home after a while and I channeled my frustration into a 5-mile progression run. M1 – 9:20, M2 – 8:59, M3 – 8:58, M4 – 8:45, M5 – 8:32. The rest of Thanksgiving was a wonderful day with my family and plenty of delicious food. I was bummed about the race but I definitely did not let it spoil the rest of the day.

I’m happy to have another 5k coming up on Wednesday this week at a running conference I’ll be attending for work. I’ll have the chance to redeem myself and you can bet your life I’ll be double-checking the start time, my alarm, AND the packet pick-up times. Generally speaking, I’m a very organized person and I love to plan things in advance. We’ll call this one a wake-up call to give my own races a little more attention to detail the next time around. 🙂

Have you ever missed a race? What was the cause?