1 Week Till Race Day!

Welp, here we go again. The Fast Half is this coming weekend, on Saturday. Typically, I prefer Sunday races, but I’m actually kind of looking forward to getting this one done and then being able to relax the rest of the weekend, rather than worrying about the race (I don’t usually get nervous for races at all, but going for a PR does add another level of pressure.)

Overall, things have been going pretty well running-wise with a couple of small hiccups. I noticed a couple weeks ago that I had some tightness in my Achilles that persisted for the first mile or so of my run before subsiding. I’m no stranger to aches and pains, so I wouldn’t have thought much of this… apart from the fact that it became consistent. For the past couple weeks, that tightness/discomfort has always been there for the start of my runs. It’s not terribly painful and I have been able to run through it, but it’s been a cause for concern.

I tried to book an appointment to get into see the chiropractor my mom was seeing for a while but he didn’t have any openings until JUNE. Not super helpful. But I’ve been doing various exercises (heel drops, ankle circles, wobble board moves) and those seem to be helping, as it hasn’t felt as tight on the past couple of runs lately. So maybe I dodged the bullet? Who knows… I was happy I was able to complete my last hard workout this past week. 2 mile warm-up followed by 2 times 12 minutes @ 7:32, 3 minutes @6:56 with 3 minute recoveries. I ran early in the morning and I was a little nervous I wouldn’t feel awake enough to hit those paces, but I was almost spot-on.

Half Marathon Training

Getting to see this sunrise was another AWESOME bonus.

Obviously, I’ve been weather stalking like a crazy person, even since we got inside the 10-day forecast window. Originally, they were saying 60s and rainy but now it’s looking like a high of 55 with afternoon showers. Honestly, I hope it doesn’t change too much because that would be PERFECT. Warm enough that I won’t freeze my face off the way I did at Half at the Hamptons but definitely not hot.

Half at the Hamptons

I’ve also been obsessively studying the elevation profile.

Fast Half

It looks like my first challenge will be just after Mile 4, then Mile 6-7 will be tough. 7-8 will have some climbing but it doesn’t look too dramatic. Fortunately, it looks like the end of the race will have more downs than ups. Is it going to be easy? Absolutely not. But I’m happy to at least know what I’m in for. I hadn’t been able to find any elevation maps for the Half at the Hamptons, and so that had turned into a nasty surprise.

Half at the Hamptons

Woof, that’s a big climb.

Anyway, that’s pretty much where I’m at! This week, it’s just about taking it easy, upping my carb intake just slightly, and keeping calm.

Bring on half marathon #18!

Happy Monday everyone!

Can you believe the Boston Marathon is EXACTLY 1 WEEK AWAY?? No, I’m not running it, but I am looking forward to doing the BAA 5k on Saturday and spending many hours wandering around the expo. I’m also super psyched that I will finally get to meet my coach, Mary and a whole bunch of the other McKirdy Trained athletes who will be in town for the marathon.

How much running/marathon-related conversation is too much for a weekend?Exactly.

As I mentioned a couple posts ago, I’m diving right back into half marathon training to give the PR a shot in mid-May. I was pretty disappointed after the Half at the Hamptons, but things continue to improve.

I was listening to a podcast the other day (Lindsey Hein’s I’ll Have Another) and on it, she was interviewing Teal Burrell, an Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon (if you’ve never checked out Teal’s blog before, I highly recommend it!). Teal’s story is pretty incredible – she went from running a 4 hour marathon to a 2:42 – so freaking fast. But what really struck me in her interview, was when she talked about the races that went wrong. She talked about putting in the paces and training and knowing she was capable of a sub-3 hour marathon, but then things wouldn’t go as planned on race day, and she’d come up short (and this happened multiple times). The marathon (and arguably half marathon too) are definitely races where every little thing has to line up just right in order to run to your best ability. The part that really hit home for me was when she talked about trying to remain confident in your running after missing your goal. The training is all there, the fitness is there, you just don’t have that stark proof of a race time to validate to yourself what you’re capable of. And of course, you have to have the courage to go back and keep trying again and again.

Yes, yes, yes.

I think it’s finally hitting me that while I didn’t run the time I wanted at the Half at the Hamptons, my fitness is still 1000 times improved since before I was working with my coach. Do I have a new PR yet? No, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a faster runner than when I began this whole process. My workout this past weekend wasn’t anything too crazy as we’re still building things back up, but the goal was a 2-mile warm-up followed by 3 x 1 mile at 8:01 pace with 60 second recoveries followed by a 2-mile cooldown.

Half Marathon TrainingPost run playtime w/ Brady.

I ended up running a 7:58, 7:48, and 7:44 for my goal pace miles and I felt solid. I know it’s not always a good idea to run faster than target paces, but in this case, my legs felt good. I could tell I was working, but it didn’t feel crazy fast like these paces used to so I decided to go with it. Like I said, this wasn’t one of the harder workouts, but it’s something I know I would have struggled with in 2016.

So my goal throughout April and into May is to continue to trust the process and to have faith in myself. Who knows what will happen on race day. It could be 80 degrees and humid. But I can’t control the weather, so no point worrying about it. For now, I’ll continue to focus on the workouts and getting comfortable being uncomfortable.

How was your weekend? Anyone else going to be in town for the Boston Marathon this week?

Half Marathon Training Check-In #5

Happy Monday everyone!

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

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

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

Tuesday – Easy 60 minutes also on the treadmill.

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

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

2 Generations Running

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

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

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

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

Total # of Workouts: 2

Total Mileage: 45.5

Are you as sick of winter yet as I am? 

Why I Signed Up For A Coach

Hey there, hope everyone’s 2017 is off to a good start so far!

Let me warn you in advance – I have a feeling this post is a little bit rambling, but I’ve been wanting to write this for a while and at a certain point, I think you just have to hit publish. So bear with me on this, I promise I’ll get to the point. Eventually. 🙂

When I was little, I randomly decided I wanted to learn to play the violin. I don’t remember what precipitated this decision, but once it was made, there was no changing my mind. I was fortunate enough to have a family with the resources to make learning a new instrument a viable option, so a few weeks later, I had a child-sized rental violin and my own private teacher. It probably became apparent after the first 150 or so renditions of Hot Cross Buns that I was no musical prodigy, but my parents still encouraged me to practice and continue with the lessons.

And so I did for roughly 10 years, only stopping the private lessons when my schedule became overwhelmingly hectic with school, college hunting, athletics, and various other extracurriculars.

Now if my parents knew I wasn’t going to be a professional musician after all the Hot Cross Buns performances, I probably figured it out a few years later. But I still enjoyed learning each new skill and steadily improving as a violinist so I stuck with it.

Now this is a running blog, and not a music blog, so I swear there is a connection here (that I’m getting to) and not just taking you all on a leisurely stroll down memory lane. I did say this was going to be rambling, didn’t I? 😉

2 Generations Running. Long Jump.(Fun throwback pic to my long jump days!)

In 2008 (I think?), I signed up for track and field in high school. Of course, back then I thought 3 miles was a death march of a run and the 400 meters was my “long” event. 4 years ago, I ran my first half marathon and realized that I was actually physically capable of running double-digit mileage and so began my “distance running career”.

First Half Marathon | 2 Generations RunningLike with the violin, it’s been pretty clear from the get-go that I will not be going to the Olympics for any form of running event, 100 meters up to marathon. But I enjoy races and running, so I have stuck with it anyway, steadily improving as I figured things out along the way.

Delaware Marathon Race Recap | 2 Generations RunningWe both placed in our age group, despite having rough days.

A few months ago, I started hearing about coaching from several different resources (Runners World did a great podcast on the topic of coaches for the average runner and Bibrave also did a Twitter chat on the subject). I had never really considered coaching for myself before because I was new to the sport and able to steadily improve doing my own thing. But as my goals have gotten bigger, I’ve realized a little bit of guidance/support might not be a bad thing.

When I was 6, my parents didn’t set me down with a violin and a page of music and hope for the best – they got me a teacher because they had the resources to make that possible.

Now that I’m out of college and working, I have my own resources. And I’ve decided to put some of that towards a running coach. I love the sport and I don’t see myself deciding to quit anytime soon, so I feel like it’s a worthwhile investment. Training and reaching goals brings me a lot of happiness, and I know a coach will help me blow those goals out of the water.

After a lot of consideration, research, and cost comparison, I signed up to work with McKirdy Trained, a group of 11 coaches formed by head coach, James McKirdy. I had reached out to James with a few questions before I signed up and was very impressed with his honest and friendly approach. The very next day I signed up to work with the coach, Mary Johnson (who also has a fantastic blog – It’s A Marython).

2 Generations RunningI signed up in November and so far, I’m really enjoying the experience. I’ve done a lot of different workouts and run a lot of easy miles. I’ve been in the base-building phase for my March half, but things are certainly going to pick up in January and February. I’ll be running higher mileage than I ever have for a half marathon before and I know there are going to be some killer workouts, but instead of being afraid, I’m so excited.

So here’s to a new year filled with new running friends, fast races, and big PRs! 2017, I have a good feeling about you. 😉