Week 1: Getting back some consistency!

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Each week I am going to post a short recap of my training as I work towards my goal of PR-ing my marathon time at Colfax in May. In total, we are about 19 weeks out from the big day, and although things are still up in the air, I am assuming that I’ll be toeing that line on May 21.

I began my training last week and kept it light. This was really my first introduction back to real running and I didn’t want to push it and risk injury. I had two key workouts and three easy runs, plus I did a lot of yoga. Lately, my yoga practice has been a lot more about focusing on my meditation than it has been in the past. I’ve always tried to cultivate a strong asana (or postures) practice, but lately, I need yoga as a way to clear my headspace. Yin yoga has been a real refuge as the world around me becomes a bit unstable.

Key Workouts: Tempo Run & 8-mile Long Run

 Monday: Rest – was heading home from my trip

Tuesday: 4 miles easy pace (9:28/mi) + Yin Yoga – I was honestly worried that I didn’t even know how to do this anymore. I had taken a full three weeks completely off running and had been rather inconsistent before that. But I still knew how to run, and it felt good.

Wednesday: 5 miles with 3 miles at tempo (8:42/mi) + Hatha Yoga – I wanted to see if I still had my speed. Well, three miles isn’t much, but it definitely let me see how things were going. I didn’t lose as much fitness as I thought I had. The run felt great.

Thursday: Yin Yoga + Rest

Friday: 8 miles LSD (9:22/mi) + Yin Yoga – I dreaded the long run all week, and was surprised to find that it was actually pretty okay. I’m certainly glad I didn’t go any further, but the 8 miles felt just find.

Saturday: 5 miles easy (9:11/mi) – I kept most of this run pretty chill and then accidentally busted out a mile at 8:30. Oops. Guess I was feeling pretty good!

Sunday: 3 miles easy (9:49/mi) – I ran with Frank and he is a bit slower than me, so we kept it chill. I always like running with him because he forces me to keep a much easier pace.

Total: 25 Miles

Next week I am bumping it up a little with a total of 30 miles and another key tempo workout and 10-mile long run. My goal next week is to really focus on some strength training. Since I herniated a disc in my back, I need to be more diligent about abdominal and lower back strength work. Next week, I’ll be getting to a bit of that along with some stairs.

How were your workouts last week? What is your favorite kind of workouts (I love speed work

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A1A Half Marathon Goals

One week from today, I’ll be heading down to South Florida for some warm weather, family time, AND to run the A1A Half Marathon. Although I have been focusing on my training for the Colfax Marathon in May, I think it might be time to talk a little about my goals and expectations about this race.

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I’m not sure if it can get any better than last year’s race!

Original goal when signing up for A1A: 1:45:00

When I signed up, I had imagined that I would have had a full training cycle devoted solely to this half. I thought I would be fresh off the Chicago finish line and ready for some faster races. However, that’s not how it happened. I got hurt, sidelined, distracted, and a little discouraged by my ankle injury in September. I did not devote a training cycle to this race, and I am in the middle of my training for Colfax. I have been training for longer, slower times… not the quick ones that would get me that goal time. I have not been practicing 8-minute miles or anything close to it. And really… even if I could do that pace, I am not sure that I would want to. I think a very fast time would burn me out and make it hard to continue my training for Colfax the next week.

So what now?

My PR is 1:51:48. Now, you probably think (for all of the reasons listed above), that I am in no shape to go for a PR in the half. However, my current half marathon PR was in less than favorable conditions and during my training cycle for the Chicago Marathon. The race was in Estes Park (7000 ft above sea level) with 1000 feet of elevation gain throughout the race. The night before the race, I was camping and sleeping on the hard ground of Rocky Mountain National Park. The race was fantastically beautiful, which I am sure helped me get that time, but it was not a race most people would go for a PR at.

A1A is at sea level and is a pancake flat course. It runs along the beautiful Fort Lauderdale beaches AND my entire family is going to be there. I’ll also have the luxury of a good night’s sleep on a bed the night before. Although I am not sure if this is going to be a PR blow out, I think I have a chance to sneak just under 1:51:48.

These are my goals for A1A:

 A: 1:49:59 – 8:24/mi pace – a little unattainable… but maybe if I have a crazy awesome day

B: PR – so anything under 1:51:48 (8:30ish/mi)

C: Course PR – Under 1:56:48

The way some of my training has been going lately, a sizable PR is possible. But my legs are tired and I’m deep into my training for Colfax. This race suddenly isn’t as important as I thought it would be a year ago.

So, I guess next Sunday begins my race season for 2016. Hopefully it begins as well as 2015 did and that I nab that PR. Either way, I’m going to go out there and have a good time! I’ll be enjoying some much needed time with my family, some sweet weather, and I get to see Ally and Kristina! PR or not, A1A is going to be a ton of fun!

Colfax Training Week 3: I saw Sage Canaday on a run!!!

I saw Sage Canaday on my long run this week. Let me repeat that… I actually SAW and RAN BY Sage Canaday while on a run in Boulder. I’m pretty sure that my running life is complete. He ran by at a crazy fast pace decked out in some Hoka gear and some sweet sunglasses. After we passed each other, it took me a moment to realize that it was really him. Then, I went on my Strava app and confirmed. Yes, in fact, it was a Sage Canaday sighting. Yes, I’m a complete running nerd.

Besides my epic sighting while on my long run, I’d have to say that my training this week was okay. I had a lot of trouble pacing myself and was putting a little too much effort in my easy miles. This culminated in a missed run on Thursday. Frank and I got to Colorado on Friday morning, so I did both my marathon paced tempo run and my long run on the multi-use trails in Boulder. We made it home Sunday night and Elly, as always, was pretty glad to see that we made it home.

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Monday: Rest Day… Yeah! + some gentle yoga

Tuesday: 6.3 miles – Hill Repeats with 700 ft of elevation gain + yoga

I wrote about this run in a previous blog post. It went pretty well. Zeb, my new running partner, came with me for some of it. We took things slow, but overall it was a good workout.

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Pretty solid hill!

Wednesday: 3 miles – easy run + yoga

Not much to say about this run. I was still a little sore from my hill repeats, so I did some yoga in the AM and went for a quick run in the afternoon. I kept it slow, although the easy pace felt strangely more difficult than it should have. The yoga class that I took kinda kicked my butt and made my legs kinda feel like jello while I was on my run. I’m sure that didn’t help keep things feeling easy.

Thursday: Unintentional Rest Day + yoga

I took a yoga class in the morning in hopes to make me feel a little less stiff. Unfortunately, it was a rather tough class and really only made the soreness worse. By the time I was out, my legs felt tired and I knew that I wasn’t going to go for a run. I decided to take it easy and just do my tempo run on Friday.

Friday: 6.1 miles – Marathon Pace

I warmed up for one mile and then bumped up to marathon pace. I’ve arbitrarily decided that 9:00/mi is marathon pace, since that would sneak me just under 4 hours. I tried to hold the pace without being glued to my watch, but unfortunately, my legs wanted to go faster. Instead, I held close to 8:45/mi, which felt good, but I didn’t want to put that much effort into the run. Luckily, I still have a few months to hone my pace down a bit.

Saturday: Snow shoeing with hurricane force winds

We met up with some friends in Boulder and drove out to Nederland to go snow shoeing. There was absolutely no snow for most of the way, but once we got up into the mountains, it seemed like a pretty substantial storm had come through. The car was being blown around a lot and we considered turning back for a lower elevation. However, once we made it up it was pretty fantastic, and the trees kept the winds at bay.

Sunday: 12 miles – Best long run ever!

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Frank and Scott were biking on the Boulder trails while I went on my run.

The run itself was nothing particularly special. It was pretty cold out and I was a little underdressed, especially for the second half of the run when the sun was in the clouds. I felt good and strong for most of it, but at the end had some trouble getting to marathon pace. I, again, wanted to go a little too fast, which made my legs feel like they were working too hard. However, in the last mile, I saw a guy fly by me decked out in Hoka gear with a little hydration pack on. I had to do a double take, but it was definitely Sage Canaday (confirmed by flyby on Strava). I was pretty much the most excited groupie ever.

Total Mileage: 27.5

Overall, it was a good week, but not a great week. This was a cut back in mileage from last week, but for some reason, it never felt like that. My legs were often tired or feeling sore. In order to fix that, this week my goal is to run my easy mileage a little slower, even if the effort seems like too little. I am entering the 4th week of training and I want my legs to stay strong so I don’t have burn out in the weeks to come.

This week:

M: 4 miles easy
T: 6 miles MP
W: Rest
T: 6 miles Hill Repeats
F: 4 miles easy
S: Rest
S: 14 miles LSD

Total: 34 Miles

Have you ever seen an elite on a run? How has your training been going?

Colfax Marathon Week 2: Kickin’ Butt!!

Week two of my Colfax Marathon training cycle is over, and I only have 110 days to get myself ready! I know that sounds like a long time… but it’s not. However, it will be more than enough time if every week goes as well as this week did. Basically, mostly everything went right. I had a few weather snafus that stopped me from hitting my paces, but the effort was there, even if the clock didn’t say so.

Monday: 8 miles LSD – Long run pushed off from week before due to weather

I wrote about this run here. It was a pretty good long run, but was pushed off to this week due to arctic temperatures in Kansas.

Tuesday: 3 miles easy pace on treadmill + Yoga

It was still bitterly cold out on Tuesday, and I had kinda lost feeling in my legs by the end of my 8-mile long run, so I decided to take this one inside. I hate the treadmill, and even though it was an easy paced run, mentally, this run was pretty tough. I have such a hard time keeping my mind occupied while running indoors.

Wednesday: 3 miles in snowstorm + Yoga

I went out for a run during a rather nasty snowstorm. I figured that since the temps weren’t too bad, that I could take the snow. I was hoping to hit close to marathon pace, but couldn’t stop my feet from slipping on the snow, so I just did put a medium amount of effort into the run. I was pretty glad to get home and dry off a bit.

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This is what Elly was up to when I got back from my run. It was apparently too cold to be awake.

Thursday: 3 miles easy pace on treadmill + Yoga

Kansas doesn’t believe in plows and salt… so I ended up taking my run inside… again. By the end of it, I was ready to swear off the treadmill forever. I did some yoga after, and that made me feel better about being cooped up indoors.

Friday: 5 miles Marathon Pace… but not really + Yoga

I intended for this run to be at marathon pace. Frank and two of our friends came out for the run (although Frank only did 3 miles). It was icy and cold, which slowed us down a lot. Dodging the ice and snow made for an interesting run that almost felt like trail running. We kept it about 30 seconds per mile slower than MP, although the effort seemed pretty tough.

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The reads and sidewalks were caked in ice… and it really only got worse as we went along.

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Obligatory post-run selfie. Frank had already run inside to get away from the cold.

Saturday: Rest Day – Went to see the largest ball of twine in the world… and yes, that is in Kansas!

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Artsy shot of the twine. Kansas is a strange place…

Sunday: 10 miles LSD + Yoga

I went to a yoga class in the AM and ran in the afternoon. One of Frank’s co-workers expressed interest in training for a half marathon, so I took him along for 7 miles of the run… and he did great! This was the first long run that has actually felt like a long run in a while. It was a real milestone to hit double digits. I actually don’t think I have done that since my Chicago Marathon training back in October. It was a great run, and I even got to explore a new route. Frank joined me for the last three miles and really pushed the pace. I ran a negative split with the last mile well below marathon pace (Thanks Frank). I had intended to keep this run pretty slow, but with the ice gone and fresh legs, I felt too good to slow down.

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Zeb is learning how fun running can really be!!

Total Mileage: 32.4

Overall, this was a great week. I needed it too! With the A1A Half Marathon coming up, I think I needed a few confident long runs under my belt into order to go for a PR in Fort Lauderdale. Also, the higher mileage felt good on my legs, so I’m pretty glad to be back! This week, Frank and I will be heading to Boulder on Thursday night, so I’ll be doing a few runs at altitude!

This week:

M: Rest

T: 3 miles easy

W: 6 miles MP

Th: 3 miles easy

F: 6 miles

S: Hiking in Colorado!

S: 12 miles LSD through Boulder

How was your week? Anyone hit by bad weather? Also, I know Kristina and Ali are doing the A1A Marathon/Half Marathon. Is anyone else gonna be there?

Training Update: Keeping up the Intensity!

Here we are, two weeks out from the A1A Half Marathon. And, I gotta say, this week was great! It was exactly what I needed to get myself back on track after being so sick. I am certainly not quite 100%, though. My husband says that I have been snoring sometimes at night, which is very unusual for me, and likely it’s due to still being a bit congested. I’m also definitely not as quick as I was before I had the flu, but that’s ok. I’m sure it’ll come back. In good news, I have also had absolutely no IT band pain, so I have concluded the pain last Wednesday was a fluke.

Beautiful view for my tuesday night run! It was a little chilly out, but worth it.

Beautiful view for my tuesday night run! It was a little chilly out, but worth it.

Tuesday’s run was especially awesome. I went along the river after work while my husband biked along side. It was really beautiful watching the sun set along the river. I went caving Saturday in Southern Indiana with the South Bend Adventure Club. We went into a wild cave (meaning no guided tours, you just get a key to the cave and go in) and spent about 4 hours underground. Caving has a way of showing you muscles you never knew you had, but it’s pretty freaking fun.

The caving group from the South Bend Adventure Club. Pretty awesome time!

The caving group from the South Bend Adventure Club. Pretty awesome time!

That brings us to Sunday… Sunday’s long run (attempt) was a bit of a fiasco. I woke up in the morning and decided that no blizzard was going to stop my long run (haha, I’m a native Floridian, what was I thinking?). Well, I only made it 5.5 miles AND I was miserable the whole time. I was nearly plowed over and ran through some white out conditions. I cut things short, so I am going to go out for my long run tomorrow after the snow settles (and if it doesn’t, I’ll be running at the gym).

See South Bend there tucked in the middle of that wonderful splash of blue? Yeah, I tried to do a long run through that. Didn't happen.

See South Bend there tucked in the middle of that wonderful splash of blue? Yeah, I tried to do a long run through that. Didn’t happen.

Training Summary for this week:

Monday: rest
Tuesday: Ran 5 miles at 9:30 pace along river + teaching hot yoga
Wednesday: Ran 3 miles at 10:00 pace with run group + yoga
Thursday: Yoga + rest
Friday: Tempo run: 1 mile warm up, 3 miles at 8:45 with 1 min break between each mile, 1 mile warm down + yoga
Saturday: Caving!
Sunday: Ran/walked/stomped through snow for 5.5 miles through a blizzard + yoga
Monday: Run ~11 miles for long run (either in the gym or outside if the weather is better)

Total: ~27 miles

Overall, despite the blizzard, I had a wonderful training week. My goals for next week are really to keep up the intensity from this past week. I can’t wait to finish up my training and get to the race!

Training for next week:

Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 3-4 miles with running group + yoga
Thursday: Yoga + Bike (or rest)
Friday: Tempo run + yoga
Saturday: Cross Country Ski
Sunday: Run 9-10 miles for long run

Hope you had a great week too! And all you midwesterners, stay warm! 🙂

The Ups and Downs of Training

I am officially less than three weeks out from the A1A Half Marathon, and I have no idea what to expect. This week was full of ups and downs. On the up, I seemed to have beaten the flu. On the down, well, I had a flare up of my IT band syndrome on Wednesday’s run. However, I rested it, and my long run on sunday went great. So, go figure. I did change a few things, and I hope maybe I can get to the bottom of this once and for all.

Over Christmas, I went to the Delray Running Company to check out their shoes and see how they fitted me. I had come in with my Brooks Ravenas, and the owner of the store swore that I was in a shoe that had too much of a drop. She convinced me to come back in and get fitted by showing me her awesome setup where they record your running gate on video and slow it down to see your weird running tendencies. When we looked at mine, I was horrified. I am a super duper crazy pronator and I do this really strange kick out thing with my right foot. To improve my form, they fitted me into a pair of Newton Pop 1‘s. These shoes were really weird (they have these strange things on the bottom called lugs that force you to mid-foot strike) and ridiculously expensive. So, long story short, I took the info from my gate analysis, and didn’t buy the shoes. However, after my flare up on Wednesday, I decided to try and attack my form a little and go back to some of what I learned from my analysis. I also bought a compression sleeve for my knee and that seemed to help a ton. On my long run sunday, I concentrated on not kicking my foot out and trying to not over-stride, which seemed to be causing at least some of the over pronation. Hopefully, these adjustments help and I can forge ahead in my training without too much trouble.

Aren't these the weirdest shoes? I just can't commit to something so different for $175.

Aren’t these the weirdest shoes? I just can’t commit to something so different for $175.

My training last week:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 5 mile run outside at ~9:30 pace
Wednesday: Tried for 3 miles, but only did 2.5 because of the IT band + yoga
Thursday: yoga + rested my leg
Friday: More Yoga
Saturday: Hiked 6 miles + Biked 50 min + Yoga
Sunday: Ran 9 miles at ~9:30-10:00 pace for my long run + Yoga

Total: Ran 16.5, Hiked 6, Biked 50 min and a ton of yoga

My one picture on my long run before my phone died. It was snowing the whole time and my face felt like it was being pelted by tiny razor blades, but besides that, it went great!

My one picture on my long run before my phone died. It was snowing the whole time and my face felt like it was being pelted by tiny razor blades, but besides that, it went great!

As you see…this is a pretty all over the place week. My long run went great and gave me a ton of confidence for my training ahead and the A1A Half coming up. However, Wednesday had me pretty worried since I had so much pain. Hopefully this week goes a little smoother. I have my longest run of my training cycle and this week will likely be my hardest week.

My training this week:

Monday: Yin Yoga + Rest
Tuesday: 6 miles chill pace
Wednesday: 3 miles with Fleet Feet run group + yoga
Thursday: Yoga + Bike
Friday: 5 miles with 3 miles at 8:45 pace + yoga
Saturday: Hiking
Sunday: Hiking + 11 mile long run

Total: 25 miles

Finally Back to the Training

Apparently the A1A Marathon and Half Marathon has a race poster.

Apparently the A1A Marathon and Half Marathon has a race poster. This runner is a real heal striker.

Here we are, less than one month from my first Half Marathon. I am starting to get a little nervous about the whole thing, especially since my training got pretty messed up after having the flu. But with two weeks of illness behind me, I am back in the game and ready to take the A1A Half Marathon on. Having the layoff gave my legs some nice time off, but also forced me to reevaluate my goals a little. I went into this thinking that I’d kick some butt and break two hours, and that’s still what I want to do, however, I am realizing that I will have to be happy with simply finishing. Northern Indiana is still deep in winter’s grips, so my runs will be a mix of indoors and outdoors to accommodate for weather. Here is my training for the rest of the week:

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 5 miles indoors slow + yoga

Wednesday: 3-4 miles with run group + yoga

Thursday: Biking + yoga

Friday: 5 Miles + yoga

Saturday: Biking + yoga

Sunday: 8 miles

Total: ~22 miles

It’s also important to remember that I am 10 weeks out from the Holy Half. With the kinks worked out at the A1A Half, I should be ready to go come March. To increase speed a bit, next week I am going to start incorporating some speed work into my training schedule.