A Speed Workout + How I Scored a PR in 4 Weeks

Happy Wednesday!

I hope all of you are having a good week so far! I did a little speed work yesterday at the track and figured I would share my workout as part of Wild Workout Wednesday! As always, it’s hosted by Annmarie of The Fit Foodie Mama, Angelena Marie from  Angelena Marie: Happy, Healthy & Balanced , Sarah at Creating Better Tomorrow and Amber at Bold Fit Mom.

Beginner's Speed WorkoutI did my 800’s at around a 7:30 min/mile pace, and it was pretty intense! I want to try to keep fitting in speed work to see if I can maybe whittle down my 5k PR a little this summer. 🙂

Speaking of PR’s… The Cox Providence Half Marathon was about 3 weeks ago, so I promise I’ll stop talking about it soon, but I did want to discuss about how the heck my mom and I managed to BOTH PR on the race when our training period was only roughly 4 weeks long. And of those 4 weeks, I was only able to run about 4 days a week, because I was working full-time Tuesday-Thursday. In fact, I definitely recall posting that a PR would be “very unlikely” given our short training time. But clearly, I did some things right during this training period that helped me run fast on race day (Woo for accidental success!), so I want to talk about them. Mostly so that I can remember to keep doing those things for future races. 😉

1. First and foremost, I cross-trained more for this half marathon. My mom and I joined the gym right around the time that our training began, so we were both attending a dumbbell strength class semi-regularly. In that class, we did a lot of weighted squats, lunges, and upper-body work. I’ve been that runner in the past who hates to do any exercise besides running – and I know that contributed to me getting runner’s knee in January and other injuries. Now, I absolutely LOVE this class! Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m going to be able to continue attending it for a while (more on that later), but I’m going to do my best to keep doing the exercises I’ve learned from it.

2 Generations Running2. I finally got a GPS watch. Frankly, I have no idea why I waited so long on this one.

Wild Workout Wednesday Speed WorkoutDon’t get me wrong, I had been using Map My Run and I used to use Nike+, but my Garmin has been a total game changer. I love being able to look down at my wrist and seeing my pace in real time, rather than waiting to hear my mile split, like I used to do. I’ve been able to push myself to keep running at a faster pace now that I can see when I start to slow down. My mom actually just got the same GPS watch I have for Mother’s Day, and it’s been a big help to her in the same way.

6 Miles | 2 Generations Running3. I didn’t have to start from scratch. My mom and I had already been doing weekly long runs of around 8 miles before we signed up for the Cox Providence Half. Because of this, we were still able to gradually increase our long run up to 11/12 miles without putting too much strain on our legs.

4. I didn’t put pressure on myself. I knew that I felt great, and that I had trained well, so mentally, I felt ready to push myself. But I didn’t stress out about it. I stayed relaxed and honestly enjoyed the whole race (ok, maybe not the last 2 miles when I really kicked up the pace).

So now I just have to remember to keep doing these things. 🙂

Do you do speed work or cross-train regularly?

Thoughts on Breaking 2 Hours in the Half: A Guest Post

Hey there!

So I’m finally back from walking in my college graduation this past weekend! Even though I officially finished up in December, it still feels a little surreal. It feels like it was only yesterday I was making the drive up to Geneseo to begin my freshman year.

Graduation | 2 Generations RunningBut anyways… exciting things are in the works, but I’ll do a post on those a little later on. For now, I want to go back to the Cox Providence Half Marathon! Yes, it was a couple weeks ago but life got crazy, and I didn’t have enough time to post some of my reflections from that race – and my mom’s thoughts on breaking 2 hours for the first time! So today, I’m sharing a guest post from my mom.


So as you all know, we ran the Ragnar Relay 2 weekends ago, which was tons of fun and a perfect way to spend part of a mother’s day weekend. But as awesome as that experience was, I want to say a few words about the Cox Providence Half since, as you already know from Nora’s post (catch it here if you missed it!), it was a special race for both of us.

Cox Providence Half MarathonSince Nora’s talked about the confusion at the start, I’ll just cut to the chase, literally for me, the chase of that very coveted sub-two hour half marathon – which translates into the chase of that 2:00 hour pacer! I wasn’t really thinking I would catch this gentleman, but I found the 2:15 hour pacer and set myself up somewhere ahead of him, but behind the 2:00 hour pacer. My plan, such as it was, was to try to keep the 2 hour pacer in sight, and see whether I felt good enough at the end to close the gap. We did have a really nice day, so I knew I would not be able to use the heat as an excuse (aka whining). The night before I had tried to figure out what pace I needed and realized that a rough pace of about 9:04, was going to be very close to my best – and I didn’t really think I could manage that for 13+ miles. But while browsing the internet, I came across one runner in Scotland who, after multiple attempts to break that two hour barrier, had said that he found that if he finished mile 10, at 1 hour and 32 minutes, he knew he could beat the 2 hour mark because he knew he could run a 5k in under 28 minutes. And I decided to try and do that.

Cox Providence Half Marathon 2015I ran, certainly faster than was comfortable for me, always trying to keep the 2:00 pacer in sight. For the first time, I didn’t walk at the water stops, I did my GU on the fly, and I didn’t walk any hills! I don’t know exactly what my time was at the 10 mile mark, (a week has passed and another long race – and it’s all becoming a bit of a blur) but I knew that pacer was moving away, and I began to panic and ran mile ten at an 8:38 pace- fast for me! But then suddenly, there was a nice gentle downhill, and I decided that, damn it, I was going to catch that guy!

Cox Providence Half MarathonThe crowd at the start

By mile 12, as we moved back into Providence itself, I found myself close enough to overhear his conversations with the young ladies that had been with him all along. (They may have had enough breath to chat with him the whole way, but by this point I was kind of praying to see the end of the course!) Suddenly he said  he was going to slow down a bit, so that the people behind would know they were still on pace to finish in their projected 2 hours, but that we should go on ahead because, as he said, “you’ve got this!” So we did! Mile 13 was a pretty speedy 8:44 for me, and though I do remember saying some cuss words in my head as I ran, the younger girls beside were more vocal (I resisted the urge to voice my frustration, thinking that I should set a good example)! But we all made it! As I approached the chute, Nora was standing by and saw the finish clock said 1:59. She was thrilled to see, I had “pushed myself.” I had – and I was tired and happy. My official “net time” is 1:58:48, and I was 9/61 in my age group. Pretty nice birthday present!

Kind of on that topic, Nora has asked me to do a blog post about running/racing – and being older. And so I’m thinking about that – as we plan our next running adventure!

Have you ever had a goal that you surprised yourself by reaching? 

The Cox Providence Half Marathon

Remember that time I said we probably wouldn’t PR in the Cox Providence Half because of the shortened training?

Well, I guess I’m bad at seeing the future.

Cox Providence Half Marathon 2015The excited post-race snapchat

As a sidenote, the free race pictures STILL aren’t available (grrr), so I’m just going to do the recap with the photos I do have and I may throw more photos of the race at ya when those do finally go up.

The date of this race just so happened to fall on the 3-year anniversary of the first half marathon my mom and I ever ran – the Twin Lights Half, so it already felt pretty special. The two PR’s were just icing on the cake.

Let me back up to the beginning though. My mom and I got up bright and early to make the drive down to Providence, armed with travel mugs of coffee. We got to see the sunrise during our drive and the roads were empty, so that part was pretty much smooth sailing.

Cox Providence Half Marathon 2015Things got a little iffy when we reached Providence and found that the roads we were supposed to go down to reach our planned parking lot were already blocked off. Luckily we were able to find another public lot with plenty of spaces only a few minutes later.

We then made our way to the Omni Hotel to pick up our bibs and race packets. I don’t often criticize races, but I have to say this part could have been A WHOLE LOT more organized. The place was mobbed with runners, but there were no signs directing where to go. After some confusion, we found the room that was holding the bib pick-up, but again – there were no signs for where runners were supposed to line up for marathon, half, or 5k bibs, there was just one long, snaking line. After circling the room a couple times trying to figure out where to go, we finally got our bibs and shirts. Not a great start.

Cox Providence Half Marathon 2015We got out of there as fast as we could and made our way to the start area where the marathoners were preparing to leave. Luckily, we had plenty of time to use the porta-potties (which there were plenty of, thankfully!), warm-up, stretch, AND take some selfies. We were trying to get a selfie with this beautiful fountain in the background, but kept failing big time. Oh well.

Cox Providence Half Marathon 2015 | 2 Generations RunningThe marathoners were scheduled to start at 7:30, but didn’t end up heading out until probably 15 minutes later; we were told this was because of a small car accident along the course. Finally, the National Anthem was sung and they were off! Now it was our turn to line up in the corrals, self-seeding ourselves near the appropriate pacer. My mom and I lined up near the 2:15 group, not wanting to go out too fast.

After what seemed like ages of waiting, we were finally off! The first mile or so of the race was a nice downhill and I tried hard to rein myself in (despite the temptation to race everyone around me). My first mile split was 8:51, a little faster than I had intended, but I felt very comfortable, so I would attribute that to the downhill.

Between miles 1-3, I gained on the 2:00 pacer who had quite a pack of runners sticking with him. I settled in with their group for a while, but then noticed they were running around a 9:00/mile pace. I knew from my training runs that I could run sub-9, and I was still feeling excellent, so just after the 5k mark, I split from their pack and ran ahead.

Cox Providence Half MarathonI loved seeing all the trees in bloom! 

I had planned on doing a GU around the 4.5 mile water stop so that I could have a drink while I fueled. My crazy running brain panicked though when I came up at a water stop just before mile 4, thinking that this had to be the mile 4 water stop, so I tried to grab some water (took Gatorade by accident) and struggled to rip my GU open, which I then choked on. I was a sputtering, coughing mess. Not my smoothest moment. I was still coughing for the next half mile or so and I imagine the runners next to me were probably a little concerned that I was spreading some whooping cough/influenza/virus on them while I ran. No worries, I’m not contagious, I just don’t know how to drink liquids properly.

For a course that was described as “relatively flat”, it sure seemed to have a lot of hills! It seemed like every mile to mile and a half, I was reaching these long, gradual inclines. I tried to maintain my effort, noting that my pace would often drop to 9:00/mile on these inclines, but not letting myself worry too much because I was still feeling great and doing an excellent job keeping my pace between 8:40-8:50 on the flats. For the first 10k, my average split was right around 8:48. At this point I was pretty confident that I could run this race under 2 hours (what a huge difference for me from my last half!), but I wasn’t sure I could beat my PR of 1:55. I wasn’t worried though. Honestly, I was just having a blast running this race. I tried to soak in the gorgeous scenery – trees in bloom, beautiful houses, some gorgeous views along the river, even snapping a few photos with my phone.

Cox Providence Half Marathon 2015 | 2 Generations RunningAround miles 7-9, we ran past a park where many spectators had gathered with signs. Tons of little kids lined the streets with their arms outstretched for high fives – which I happily gave as I ran by. The crowd support was totally awesome and much needed, as my stomach was feeling a little crampy by this point.

Around mile 10, I looked down at my watch and saw that my PR was within reach – but it would be very close. I finally decided to push the pace for the last 3 miles. Whatever happens happens, I thought. In my haze, I couldn’t figure out the actual splits I would have to run, so it was more of a ‘Run as fast as you can and hope for the best’ plan.

Mile 10 – 8:33. Solid.

Mile 11 – Another freaking hill. I slowed down to 9:00/mile, but I was passing runners right and left, so I knew I was still doing relatively well. Just 2 miles to go.

Mile 12 – 8:18. The mile where I decided to go crazy trying to get my PR. This one HURT. I felt pretty comfortable through the whole race, except for here. Still, I’m glad I went for it.

Mile 13-13.2 – 8:12 for a final chip time of 1:53. I think I was about as excited for my PR as I was to just finally stop running at that pace. Two miles never felt so long.

After grabbing my medal and a bottle of water, I was doing some stretches, keeping an eye on the finishers when I spotted my mom, cruising in with the clock reading 1:59 – ANOTHER PR and her first time breaking the 2-hour mark!!! What a way to complete our New England states and celebrate our 3-year anniversary of half marathons.

Cox Providence Half MarathonThe food at the end of this race was not particularly special – bananas, mini Clif bars, and pizza – but there was a vendor selling fresh veggie juices, so we both tried a kale, cucumber, orange blend, which was delicious!

Once we’d recovered a bit more, we went on the hunt for a little restaurant to have a nice brunch. After a little hunting, we came across Circe, a cute little restaurant not too far from the finish area.

I was STARVING, and absolutely devoured this poached egg with chipotle hollandaise and crispy polenta.

Cox Providence Half Marathon 2015 | 2 Generations RunningSo all in all, the 2015 Cox Providence Half Marathon was a huge success. My mom and I got to cross Rhode Island off the list and we nabbed new PR’s in the process. 🙂 I still have more thoughts to share about this race and how it turned out so well with such an abbreviated training period, but I’ll save that for another post, since this one has gotten a little long. 🙂 Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who wished us luck and congratulated us on Instagram and Facebook. My mom and I are thrilled to have such awesome friends rooting for us.


It’s Finally Race Day!!

Hello and happy Sunday!

By the time you read this, my mom and I will be well on our way to Providence, RI for the Cox Providence Half Marathon! We will be getting up bright and early to make the drive for this one, but I could not be more excited. The weather is looking like it will be FANTASTIC, the GPS watch is charging, and our race outfits have been decided. 🙂

Cox Providence Half marathon 2015I also made a special half marathon playlist for this race with the perfect balance of old and current hits to keep me happy and energized.

Half Marathon Playlist | 2 Generations RunningTo draw attention to some of my new favorites right now–>

  • Something New by Axwell Ingrosso
  • Shut up and Dance by Walk the Moon (I actually realized I had forgot to include this song when I originally made the playlist and went back and added it, so it’s not actually in the graphic. This song is so upbeat and awesome though, I may actually start dancing in the middle of running the half marathon when it comes on.)
  • Budapest by George Ezra
  • Honey, I’m Good by Andy Grammer -> this music video is ADORABLE. It shows real couples dancing and singing along holding up a sign saying how long they’ve been together. I experienced some serious warm fuzzies watching it. 🙂

What are your current favorite running/workout songs? Anyone else racing this weekend?

Cox Providence Half Marathon: 1 Week to Go!

Happy Weekend!!

I had an absolutely CRAZY week (hence the lack of posts – whoops), so I’m looking forward to some running and relaxing this weekend. I’ll also be volunteering at the Groton Road Race that my running club puts on tomorrow, so that should be fun!

Today, my mom and I went for our last long run before next weekend’s half marathon, the Cox Providence Half. In case you’re a new reader, my mom and I are trying to run a half marathon (or more if we’re feeling up to a marathon!) in every state. We’ve had a few repeats, so this will be half marathon #11 and state #9.

The last half marathon we ran was the Clearwater Distance Classic in Florida. It was a great race and really well-organized, but it wasn’t the best race for me. I had hurt my hamstring one or two weeks before during an overly ambitious speed workout, and I think that issue compounded itself turning into a nasty case of runner’s knee by the end of those 13.1 miles.

Clearwater Distance Classic.I’m psyched to be feeling pretty darn awesome with this half marathon one week away from Sunday. I’ve been cross-training more regularly at the gym, and with my trusty Garmin, I’ve been pushing myself to run a little bit faster through my training runs than I usually do. Now I’m just crossing my fingers that I don’t do anything to sabotage myself in this last week!

Today, my mom and I ran our last 9 miler. While it was windy and a little brisk, this run felt pretty great. The sun was shining and there were a ton of runners and walkers out and about.

2 Generations RunningWhen we got home, we refueled with coffee (obviously) and pumpkin croissants from Trader Joe’s. My mom actually fell in love with them during the fall and stock-piled a ton of boxes in our freezer since (like everything pumpkin), these were a seasonal product. They’re still delicious, even in the spring. 🙂

Lastly, I just want to leave you guys with a little weekend inspiration. It might be cheesy, but I love me some inspirational quotes, and this one has been motivating me this week through some stressful moments. 🙂

Don't be afraid to pursue your goals | 2 Generations Running

Hope you have an awesome weekend too! Anyone else racing/running/volunteering this weekend? Do you also wish pumpkin products were available year-round or are we just weird?

The 4-Week Half Marathon Plan: Wild Workout Wednesday

Happy Hump Day folks!

I mentioned it in Monday’s post, but now, IT’S OFFICIAL.

Registered for the Cox Providence Rhode Island Half MarathonI’m running a half marathon in a month. Yikes! (in a good way… sort of.) I am excited, but my training for this one is going to be quick (I have 4 weeks) and sort of squished together, as I won’t be able to get any runs in during the middle of the week with my work schedule.

I figured I would share what my training plan looks like as part of  the Wild Workout Wednesday Link-up, (as always, hosted by AnnMarie of The Fit Foodie Mama, Angelena Marie of Happy, Healthy, and Balanced, Upala of Pretty in Pink Fitness, and Amber of Bold Fit Mom). I’m not a certified running coach, but I do have 10 prior half marathons under my belt, and I did a bit of research before drawing up this plan.

4-Week Half Marathon Training Plan.

A couple of notes about this plan-

1. I’ve been running pretty consistently in the months leading up to this, and can already tackle 5-6 miles quite comfortably. If you are new to running or not comfortable running 5 miles at a time right now, than I do not suggest attempting to train for a half marathon in 4 weeks. An 8-12 week training plan is more typical and probably safer.

2. It’s not ideal to take 3 rest days in a row, and then no rest days in between all your runs. This is only what my work schedule allows for me, but I would strongly suggest juggling with the days so that you are running approximately every other day, or cross-training on days when you are not running.

3. I have not included any speedwork or tempo runs in this plan. This plan should allow me to finish my half marathon safely and comfortably, but I’m not expecting a PR. 4 weeks is not a long time to prepare for 13.1 miles, so you have to have realistic expectations.

I kicked off this plan on Monday with my 6-miler in the flurries (again.) I think the cold inspired me to run fast, mostly so that I could get back inside and have another cup of hot coffee. I also felt like people were questioning my sanity to be out running in 30 degrees with flurries coming down, but seriously, it was MARCH 30TH AND THAT EQUALS RUNNING-OUTSIDE WEATHER. (Do you hear me, Mother Nature?!)

Have a great end of your week and happy Easter! Eat some chocolate for me!

What’s the shortest period of time you’ve trained for a race in? When do you think will be the last snowfall of the year? I’m hoping it was Monday, but that might just be wishful thinking. 🙂