Labor Day Weekend Training Recap

Happy Labor Day!

I hope you’re all enjoying the day off – I know I am!

Good Times Summer Series 5kSome Final Thoughts on the Good Times Summer Series:

I could not be happier about how this series went. Obviously, I was stoked to get first in my age group for the series, but that was just the cherry on top of a whole bunch of 5k PRs (I think 3 to be exact). I believe I mentioned in a post here on the blog before the series started that I was hoping to carve down my 5k time a little bit over the summer, but I really did not expect that to be by as much as 30 SECONDS. Even more exciting to me is that my new PR is 23:01 – right on the edge of breaking 23 minutes. When I first started running 5ks, I was NOWHERE near this time and I never would have thought I would be able to realistically think about breaking 23 minutes (much less do it!). Again, this is just one of the reasons I love running. It’s the best feeling in the world to be able to measure my progress in running over the years down to the second. 

So with that in mind, my goal is to keep the positive momentum moving forward, even though the Good Times Summer Series has now come to an end! Now, my focus is on the Baystate Half Marathon on October 18th. It’s a nice, flat course and very local for my mom and I, so it should be the perfect opportunity to try for another half marathon PR.

With that goal in mind, I challenged myself with some tough runs this weekend. Saturday, I decided to try out a 60-minute tempo run, aiming for a sub-9 minute pace. I really wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do this for a whole hour, especially since my legs were a little sore from a strength training workout the day before. After I ended up doing my warm-up mile at 8:49/mile kind of by accident (I had figured I would take the first mile slow to warm up), I decided I had to really give it a shot. And I did it!! I only had one mile that wasn’t at a sub-9 pace, and it was when I was on this little trail section that I had to slow down on to make sure I didn’t trip over a rock, and even then, my pace for that mile was still 9:01, so close enough. 🙂 I ended up covering 6.89 miles at an average of 8:43/mile.

Sunday, I joined my mom for a section of her 20-miler. We drove to a nearby rail trail, since we thought a little variety would help the miles go by faster.

2 Generations RunningWe got a bit of a late start, and didn’t end up running until 9:45 or so – not the best idea when the forecast for the day was a high of 88 degrees. Whoops. Despite the heat, we managed to have a pretty solid run. I had originally thought I would just do 10 miles, but then I was feeling pretty good and figured I would try to keep my mom company as long as possible, so I ended up doing 13. After I finished, I walked to a nearby cafe where I waited for my mom to finish up before we got some delicious breakfast sandwiches to refuel. 🙂

2 Generations RunningAfter 13 miles, I was RAVENOUS and ate this in about 90 seconds.

The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing, cooking, and catching up on some blog reading for me. Not super exciting, but just the kind of chill weekend I needed. 🙂

How has your weekend been? Are you doing anything special for Labor Day?

 

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Lowell Good Times Series: THE FINAL 5K

Wow.
I can honestly say that last night was probably the most epic race of my life.

What Just Happened GIF | Lowell Good Times Summer Series 5kI can still barely believe it.

I had a pretty big case of nerves going into Tuesday – I couldn’t help remembering all the big track meets from my high school days (and how I never seemed to handle the pressure well). Those thoughts were swirling in my mind all weekend, even while I tried to remain calm and focused on my strategy.
My first panic attack came Monday afternoon when I saw that a late evening meeting at work had been scheduled for Tuesday – smack dab in the middle of race time. Luckily, my coworkers are awesome and have been rooting for me in this series all summer long, so it all got sorted out so that I could leave early to be on time for my race. Although my boss did end up telling me not to bother coming in the next day if I didn’t win. 😉 So the pressure was definitely on.
If you remember from my last post, I was TIED for first place going into this final race. So, both me and the other girl (let’s call her “Jane”), knew that we only had one other person to beat in order to get first place in the female 20-29 age group. I kept an eye out for her throughout my warm-up, but didn’t see her. I fantasized for a second that maybe she wouldn’t be there, but no such luck. I spotted her stretching on the side of the starting corral during the pre-race announcements and I swear, it was like something out of a movie the way we locked eyes, both of us realizing there was going to be no easy running this night. I refused to let it intimidate me though. I was happy I had seen her because I knew she was in front of me – all I had to do was run my race and I would catch up to her. It also gave me a few seconds advantage on chip time since I would be crossing the starting mats a few seconds after her.

Lowell Good Times Summer Series 5k | 2 Generations RunningThe national anthem finally finished… And then we were off. I ran hard but controlled, focusing on my own pacing and not worrying about when I would catch up to Jane. About a quarter of a mile into the race, I suddenly heard cheers- it was my dad and our family friends who are big fans of the blog waving a sign and cheering for me!

Lowell Good Times Summer Series 5kI felt so touched that they came out to support me, my mom, and brother in our last race of the series and it gave me a definite boost to have fans out on the course!

Lowell Good Times Series 5k | 2 Generations RunningFirst mile: 7:07. Faster than I had planned on, but it was a cooler evening and I felt solid.
Just after passing the first mile, I spotted Jane not too far ahead of me. Rather than risk over-exerting myself trying to catch up to her, I decided to hang back and let her set the pace. I was hoping she wouldn’t know I had caught up so soon, but again -just like in the last race- she turned around and spotted me, and I knew the race was on.

I let her stay roughly 25 meters or so ahead of me and worked on just keeping her in my sight. I didn’t want to make the same mistake I had made the week before where I had passed her too soon, only to have her pass me again and gain a mental edge.  Mile 2 – 7:34. Solid.

By the last mile I was hurting for sure. But I was also thinking about all the people I had rooting for me – all my family members, my blog friends, and my coworkers – and how I didn’t want to let them down. Usually, I would be more than happy with a second place finish, but in this case, with first place being SO FREAKING CLOSE, I knew I had to dig deep and go for it. The last mile is thankfully mostly flat, and I slowly started reeling in Jane.

Lowell Good Times Summer Series 5kRunning past my dad and family friends again, she was probably only 15 feet or so in front of me, but she also wasn’t letting up. Finally, we reached the last twisting walkway and then the last 100 meter straightaway with the sharp left turn into the finish. And I POURED it on like I was running for a gold medal in the Olympics. (Not trying to be dramatic here, but that’s honestly what it felt like!). Bit by bit, I could see myself gaining on her – 8 feet away, then 5 feet, then 3… And then we were crossing the finish line, Jane probably one second ahead of me. She collapsed on the grass on the side of the finish to catch her breath, and I shook her hand, telling her that it had been a good race. 3rd Mile: 7:23.

I didn’t know for sure whether I had won or lost- I remembered from last week that I had beat her on chip time, and in that race, there had been a bigger gap between us crossing the finish line. In that race, I had ended up beating her by 2 seconds, so I thought my chances were good. After catching up with my mom and brother, we headed back to the bar that hosts the runners and I was able to check the results… AND I HAD DONE IT. My time was 23:01, another big PR for me, even from the week before. The unofficial results posted that evening had me winning by 5 seconds, but when the official results came out the next day around noon, I found out it had been even closer- I beat her by 2 seconds, good for a 1 point victory. 10 weeks of races and it all came down to 1 POINT. You couldn’t script this to be anymore dramatic!!
Needless to say, I couldn’t keep the smile off my face, when I found out. When my name was announced as the first place winner for my age group, my running club started cheering and hollering for me. It was a seriously awesome moment.

The Lowell Good Times SeriesMe and the other 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers in our age group.

What made it even better, was that my mom DID get first in her age group too!!! It was another huge victory for 2 Generations Running. 🙂

GT6Our whole running club showing off our loot, including our “Golden Miley’s” – medals given out to runners who attended all 10 5ks over the summer.

My family celebrated by getting ice cream for dinner on the way home from the race and rehashing all the details and excitement of the night.

Lowell Good Times Summer Series 5k | 2 Generations RunningShowing off our first place plaques and Golden Mileys!

This race totally exceeded my wildest expectations and I’m still just basking in the glow from it. I’ve also never treasured a silly little plaque the way I do this one.

Lowell Good Times Summer SeriesIt’s going up on the wall for sure. 🙂
Finally, I just want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who wished my mom and I luck before this race, offered us advice on 5k strategy, and supported us through the series. We are just the luckiest.


Cheers to a Beautiful Weekend

Wow. After a crazy hot week that JUST missed the official heat wave designation, a few thunderstorms cooled things off on Friday and Saturday, making for the PERFECT summer weekend weather. I literally made it my goal to spend as much time as possible outside on Sunday to take advantage, and I would say I definitely succeeded. 🙂

But anywho, here’s how the running shaped up for me this week –

Tuesday – Good Times Series 5k. It was freaking hot AGAIN because apparently it is always going to be hot on Tuesday nights this summer. Oh well. This week featured the “reverse the course” theme. It was interesting mixing things up and experiencing it from the opposite direction, but I would have to say the course DEFINITELY works better going in its standard direction. I ended up caught in a bottleneck early on because the group was still too clustered from the start when we hit the narrow walkway on this bridge.

Lowell Good Times Series 5k(This picture was from 2 weeks ago, but just imagine it jammed with runners going the opposite direction and you’ll pretty much get a picture of what it was like this last week.)

I was able to get around after a while, but that’s normally not a problem when we hit this part of the course after mile 2 because everyone’s gotten spread out enough. The hills were also worse going in this direction, in my opinion. That being said, I ran the EXACT same time I did the week before. Down to the second. Ugh. I was hoping to be a hair faster, but oh well. On the plus side, my last mile ended up being my fastest mile, which I was pretty excited about as that NEVER happens for me.

Wednesday – I did about 40 minutes of strength training after work, focusing on arms and abs. It was a pretty solid workout and I felt like I had pushed myself after, so I was pleased.

Thursday – I was planning an after-work run, but then thunderstorms rolled in when I was getting home, so I took the excuse for a rest day. 🙂

Friday – On Friday, I went for a nice evening run with my Mom. We were hoping to run late enough to get to enjoy the Blue Moon, but by 7:30, I was getting pretty darn comfy in my armchair and I knew if we waited any longer, I wouldn’t be able to summon the effort/motivation to get up (much less run), so we headed out then. We ended up getting some nice views of the sunset, but not so much of the moon. Still, the temps were perfect and it made for a nice, 4-miler.

Sunset Run | 2 Generations Running

Sunset Run | 2 Generations Running

Sunset Run | 2 Generations RunningSaturday – I went out for a solo 8 miles. This run felt pretty fantastic, especially considering how yucky I felt on the 10-miler a week ago.  I think the mental side of things really plays a huge role in how I feel on a run, and maybe I just felt more enthusiastic and positive going into this run than I did last week. I ran a pretty consistent 9 min/mile over the 8 miles, with a few slower miles thrown in on some of the nasty hills I hit.

Elevation Chart | 2 Generations RunningSunday – I joined my mom on a portion of the 13-miler she had scheduled, although I only did about 4.5. I was rushing to meet my friend who I had planned to walk dogs with at 10, so I used it as an excuse to push the pace on my way back, which I did successfully ending up with some nice negative splits for my last 2 miles! Then, Brady and I enjoyed an hour long walk/doggy play date, before I hit up the beach with my friend for a few hours. It was the perfect way to take advantage of the gorgeous weather.

So overall, not a bad week. This week, there’s no 5k on Tuesday, which will actually be kind of a nice mental break. It’s really hard trying to go all out in a 5k every week, and I’m looking forward to switching things up with some different workouts instead.  I’m toying with the idea of trying to fit in some more HIIT or strength training workouts in the mornings before work. And then, in 2 weeks, my mom and I will be heading down to the Cape for the Falmouth Road Race!!! I cannot wait for this race – I’ve heard such good things! Plus, it’s been a while since our last racecation. 🙂

How did your running shape up this week? Did you also have a beautiful weekend?


Movin’ Up in the Standings (And the Rest of My Week)

Happy Monday!

I have good news to report  – I’VE MOVED UP IN THE AGE GROUP STANDINGS FOR THE GOOD TIMES SERIES 5K. I am now in third place in my age group (and I think I have a good shot at taking second place). My mom is holding steady at FIRST PLACE in her age group.

I’m going to spare you a full recap of Tuesday’s 5k (there’s only so many times I can recap the same race/course). All you need to know is that it was another stupidly hot and humid night, but I managed to run a 23:59, which I was pretty pleased with, especially since it came with a third place finish in my age group for the night!

Lowell Good Times Summer Series 5kNext week, the forecast is calling for 90 degree temps on Tuesday AGAIN. We seriously cannot catch a break with the weather for these races! On top of that, the “theme” next week is  running the course in reverse which will mean more uphill running. I’m not thrilled about that, as I’m more a fan of the downhills myself 😉

Running Downhill GIFMy strategy for downhill running 😉

But speaking of hills… I joined my mom Wednesday evening for 5 miles of hills. Because it’s important to know your enemy, as they say. 🙂

Thursday, the exhaustion of the work week and the workouts caught up to me. I needed the rest day and was in bed by 10 pm.

Friday, I did a little weights and ab work in the evening, but nothing serious. If I had really wanted to get a good workout in, I probably should’ve gotten up early since I’m always ready to chill out when I get home from work in the evenings, but on Thursday night, I could not STAND the idea of setting my alarm for any earlier than I had to.

I made up for it with plenty of mileage over the weekend though! On Saturday, I slept in and then went for a glorious 7-miler at my leisure. My legs were feeling great, so I ended up pushing the pace for a few miles and ended up with an average pace of 9:08/mile overall. I think the all the speed work and weekly 5ks are definitely helping me get faster.

2 Generations RunningSunday, I got a little too ambitious though. I decided to join my mom on the 10-miler she had scheduled for her marathon training. This was actually a cutback week in mileage for her, so she was pretty psyched to “only have to run 10 miles”. 😉 For me though, I hadn’t run anything further than 7 miles since the Providence Half. On top of that, my legs were feeling a little fatigued from my run the day before. I made it through all ten miles, but this was not a happy run for me. I went into the run with a “10 miles? No problem!” mentality, but it didn’t last. My calves felt tight right from the get-go, and I started getting pretty grumpier and grumpier 5 miles in, until I was extremely displeased by miles 8 and 9. For the majority of this run, I kept thinking I should turn around and just cut it short. I honestly didn’t really believe I was going to run the whole way until my GPS watch dinged 9 miles, and then I knew I could finish it, even if it wasn’t pretty.

My mom plied me with a new smoothie from the Runner’s World Big Book of Marathon Training when we got home to make me feel better.

Pumpkin maple smoothieIt was a maple pumpkin smoothie, which I enjoyed straight out of the empty peanut butter container because I’m economical like that (and didn’t want any trace amounts of peanut butter to go to waste.).  DELICIOUS. Even in the middle of summer. 🙂

How was your week? 


Lowell Good Times Series 5k #4: Coaster Toss

Remember how I said I wanted to shave some time off my 5k PR this summer? Well, it was a VERY CLOSE shave, but it’s official – I have a new 5k PR! I took ONE second off my overall 5k PR at the Lowell Good Times Series this past week, and about 11 seconds off my course PR.

The theme for Tuesday night was ‘Coaster Toss’ – each runner was given a coaster from the bar that hosts the race and told to write their name and bib number on it. Just before the 1 mile marker, there were buckets, and the object was to throw your coaster into the bucket – but you have to keep running while you do it. I was really hoping this would be my year, but alas… I missed.

Lowell Good Times Series Coaster Toss 5kEverything else about this race lined up for me though. It was a little cooler (still a relatively warm and humid summer night, but not as bad as the week before). I had time to stretch and warm up a little and try to get my head in the game. I had remarked to my mom earlier when we were driving over that I didn’t feel fast. Maybe I was less pumped up than usual, but once I was surrounded by all the excited runners, I felt ready to go.

Lowell Good Times Series Coaster Toss 5kLooks like a good throw!

Lowell Good Times Series 5kOpen your eyes, Nora!

I ended up holding onto my coaster to try to throw it on the way back so that I wouldn’t have to throw across my body since I’m a righty. So much for my strategy though. 😉

I wouldn’t say I felt comfortable on this race, but I did feel in control, which was pretty awesome especially after my early disasters with pacing myself. My splits ended up being 7:24/7:44/7:38, good for an average pace of 7:34/mile. I know there are folks out there who can run a 5k MUCH FASTER than this, but when I think back to the times I used to run a few years ago, I can’t help but be pretty darn pleased with how far I’ve come.

Lowell Good Times Series 5kI managed to even smile for the camera sort of (gotta love the free downloads this race offers!).

I was especially proud of myself for that last mile. It did not feel easy, but I just concentrated on reeling in a few runners at a time, and the fact that I was going to be done soon.

Lowell Good Times Series 5kThere’s my Mom working hard!

Finally, I crossed the finish line – 1 second ahead of my 5k PR! As my mom said, it was a good thing I didn’t stop to sneeze or something because I could not have cut it any closer. I ended up 6th in my age group for the week, and moved into 4th in overall points for my age group. 🙂 AND I was the 10th female overall! Not too shabby! My Mom was a little off her PR, but she still ran a strong race, good for third in her age group again.

My brother has also joined us in running this 5k the past few weeks, and while he is relatively new to running, he’s been doing great! (My mom is plotting to turn him into a runner too!)

Good Times Series 5kSorry for the small pic, but this photo of our running club made the race website, and I thought it was too great NOT to include. 🙂

We’ll see what this Tuesday’s 5k brings!

 


Lowell Good Times Series 5k #3: America’s BDay

Happy Thursday!

I’m back with another recap from Tuesday’s 5k (I swear I DO have some other posts that are not 5k-related in the works – stay tuned!)

This week’s theme was America’s B-Day in honor of the 4th of July. Again, neither me or my mom actually knew the theme and apparently most of the runners didn’t either, as there was not a lot of red, white, and blue running attire in sight!

It was another hot, muggy night, but my  cold had all but disappeared, so I was excited and ready to run despite the crazy summer heat. My plan was to pace myself with another runner from our club who had beat me last week after I went out too fast. We warmed up, stretched a little, and then it was time. 🙂

The first mile, I forced myself to keep my running buddy in sight, as we both weaved in and out of the field of runners. There are a lot of sharp turns at the beginning of this course (and a lot of people like to go really fast at the beginning and then drop off) so it’s kind of to be expected. Before the first mile, there is a turn down onto the walkway along the Merrimack River, and there’s always a photographer. This time around, my face was ENTIRELY blocked by the ponytail of a runner in front of me (LOL), but my mom got some photogenic shots (she’s in the blue Nike tank).

Lowell Good Times Series 5k Recap

Lowell Good Times Series 5kThis photo cracks me up. That is some serious side-eye my mom is getting!

Side Eye GIF

Despite getting a little boxed in a few times, my mile 1 split came out as 7:40 and I kept next to my teammate as planned.

Mile 2 had a little uphill section (I can’t say it’s very impressive, but even a little hill feels pretty hard when you’re running fast!) and our pace slowed down to 7:50. I felt good though. After I hit the Mile 2 mark, I knew I was almost there, just over a mile to go and I could do that in less than 10 minutes. I could do ANYTHING for just 10 minutes, so it couldn’t be that hard, right? Wrong. I should just learn to accept that the last mile of a 5k is always going to hurt.

Even though I was breathing hard and practically melting into a puddle of sweat, I actually felt like I still had a little something left in the tank at this point, which was a HUGE change from last week. I decided to pick up the pace a little and give it everything I had. I gave my running bud a thumbs up and passed her (we had agreed ahead of time that we would run our own races), and set my focus on running the last half mile or so as strong as I could (I think my pace was fluctuating between 7:10-7:30 on this section).

Lowell Good Times SeriesI passed another girl who looked to be in my age group and then immediately began thinking, “Oh god, don’t slow down, don’t let her pass you!” I also passed a 12 or 13-year old boy… Until he SPRINTED by me like I was standing still. Haha, I guess I’m glad I gave him the mental push he needed for a strong finish?

I kept running, really wanted to check behind me to see if that girl was close behind, but instead I focused on my leg turnover, trying to keep it quick and relaxed, and then FINALLY, I saw the clock and was crossing the finish line – official chip time: 24:03. 

I was only a few seconds faster than last week, but I have to say, I ran this race a thousand times better. My splits were 7:40/7:50/7:40 – so much more consistent than last week when I went out way too fast that first mile and then got progressively slower. This week, I raced smart. By sticking with my running club friend through the first 2 miles, I managed to pace myself so that I still had something left for the last mile. It paid off too – I finished up a place in my age division, coming in fifth. 🙂

Another fun aspect to this race is that you earn points over the course of the summer based on where you finish in your age division, and they keep track of everyone’s points from week to week. So, as long as you run every week, you can end up doing better overall than someone who races really well but only runs the 5k two or three times. My mom is currently FIRST in her age group (which she is very excited about; this race series is bringing out her competitive side!)  I am fifth in the overall points in my age group, but I have high hopes to keep moving up in the standings. 🙂

So there you go! Another summer 5k in the books! This weekend, I’m looking forward to some speed work at the track and then a bit of a longer run Sunday.

What are your weekend running plans? Do you have any pacing tips for 5k’s? 


Good Times Series 5k #2 + Lily Trotters Compression Socks!

Happy Thursday and almost long weekend!
As promised, I’m back with a recap of Tuesday night’s 5k, which I rocked in the awesome Lily Trotters compression socks that were so kindly sent to me to review! (*spoiler alert*- I love them!)Lily Trotters Compression Socks Review | 2 Generations RunningBut let’s talk about that 5k first. I mentioned it in my last post, but I’m still dealing with a bit of a weird summer cold. I felt pretty horrible during the beginning of the week, but a good nights sleep had me feeling A LOT better on Tuesday. Not 100%, but I was still excited to run and give it my all.
It was warm but there was a little breeze and it felt like pretty good running weather. It also helped that I felt like a badass in my polkadot Lily Trotters socks. Because nothing says badass like polkadots. 😉

We lined up and after a few opening remarks, and then we were off! I felt like I was flying that first mile (which I was), and I had to make myself slow down a few times to keep myself from being too much faster than my desired split. My legs felt great in the compression socks and I was happy to discover I didn’t feel too hot in them even as I started sweating up a storm.
1st mile: 7:22. I was aiming for 7:30, so I was pretty close to on-target which I was happy about. It all went downhill from there though.

I could feel my cold beginning to take its toll on me as I began to slow down despite my best efforts not to. I tried to relax and focus on slowly reeling in a few runners ahead of me. Maybe if I didn’t think about it, it would feel easier. Meanwhile, a few runners from my running club who had paced themselves better were passing me! They gave me a thumbs up and I appreciated the little gesture of solidarity as I was struggling.

Mile 2: 7:51. Off from my goal, but still sub-8 which me relatively happy. Finally we were into the homestretch and I knew that at least I was going to be done soon. There was a woman in a black running tank ahead of me who I’d been working on catching for most of the race and I was just behind her now. I made the final turn off the river walkway that most of the course winds along and gave it all I had up a small hill and around the corner, passing her only 25 yards or so before the finish.

Mile 3: 8:01 for a final chip time of 24:09. Not a PR and DEFINITELY not negative splits. At first, I was a little disappointed, but then I had to admit that this time was pretty dang good for the second 5k of the series and for having a cold at the time. I have to be a little patient with myself and get it into my head that I have all summer to work on getting faster; it shouldn’t and probably won’t happen right away. I did move up one spot in my division though! I should also mention, it was a great night for my mom! She scored a new PR with a time of 25:35 and a third place finish in her age group! She’s a speed demon!

Overall, I was pretty darn happy with how I ran and how great my legs felt in my new socks. I’m a total newbie to compression socks, but I think Lily Trotters has set the bar pretty high with their cute designs and comfortable, not-too-tight feel. 🙂 My mom was totally coveting my pair and even borrowed them for a run after a hard workout the other day (I swear, we don’t normally share socks…) Needless to say, we’ll be ordering her a pair of her own. If you visit their website right now, you can sign up to receive notifications when their website launches and to receive the best early bird discounts. I’m so pumped to kick back in my pair after some long runs later this summer. 🙂

Have an awesome 4th of July weekend! I know I will!

Have you tried Lily Trotters compression socks or other compression socks? Are you a fan? Got any 5Ks on your summer race calendar?