Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lightning Workout

1-2-3-3-2-1 min with 1-2 min rest at a fast pace

1-2-3-3-2-1 at a fast pace for 9 mile total

I did this workout at 7am with Jay. I was hoping we would get our run in during a time frame when the rain had stopped.  Fortunately this was the case for the first 25 minutes of the run, but then the skies opened up and rain poured down on Jay and I as we turned around in Freedom Park.  The rain was so heavy that the Sugar Creek Greenway began to start flooding after only 10 minutes of rain!  It got worse once the lightning started to strike. Jay and I were on the verge of screaming out in terror when one bolt seemed to strike a little too close for comfort.

I enjoyed the conversation with Jay, even if it was somewhat disjointed as I would sprint off for my interval, and he would stay at his easy pace. Jay hasn't been cleared yet to perform workouts since he is getting over a recent back injury.

I didn't catch the paces for each of these intervals because (1) it is a pre-race workout so it doesn't matter and (2) it was pouring, so it wasn't worth the worry.  My legs felt pretty good and I definitely have the confidence going into this 10k.  This will be my first race since the Houston Half Marathon, so I'm hoping the last two month's of decent mileage will help me achieve my goals. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Week in Review

~81 Miles
9 Runs
5k on the track - 17:25
18 mile Long Run at 715 pace
1 World Record

While the week started off with the sun shining and the temperatures rising, all hopes of Spring were instantly washed away by Saturday morning, when the cold rain blew into town, right in time for the CRC 100x5k World Record Attempt.  You can read my recap of the event in the link above, but, suffice to say, it was a success!  Our world record event brought together so many people of the Charlotte running community and it was definitely a great opportunity to meet so many passionate runners.

I did participate in the 5k, and consistently ran 83s pretty much the entire time.  Mark Hadley told me that I hit 83.4 for four laps in a row.  Apparently, I became one with my inner metronome while on the Providence Day Track.  I was especially pleased with my ability to roll 5:35-5:37 pace per mile during a week of high mileage training and after hanging out in the cold rain for 4 hours.  After helping out for around 10-12 hours on Saturday, I made my way home to thaw myself out and to get ready for my 18 mile long run the following morning.  Considering that I had just completed my first 5k race on a track in over 3 years, my legs felt surprisingly great on the long run on Sunday.  After wrapping up 18 miles in 2:10, I dried off to see the final legs of the relay.  

Just got my official splits back from Lee Timing!  Wow I was even.  Here they are:
83.4 (5:35.4)
83.3 (5:34.4)
84.0 (5:35.1)
:41 (17:25.1)

Warming up on the track
Running my Leg of the 100x5k - 17:28
Jordan and Meagan warmed up with me

Charlotte Running Club's 100x5k World Record

Break the 100x5k World Record (37:12:53 - 22:30 5k ave) set by the Florida Striders in December 2010

Demolish the 100x5k World Record in 30:56:49 for 18:32 average 5k (5:58 pace/mile)

It all started with the Charlotte Running Club's Director of Competition.  Ben Hovis - always competitive with an insatiable desire to win - caught wind of the Florida Striders' World Record and immediately knew that the Charlotte Running Club could break that record.  After only 2 months of planning, Ben, with the help of the CRC President, Aaron Linz, was able to turn an idea into a reality, putting together a successful event during terrible, rainy weather.  Of course, there were definitely some hiccups along the way as our Club had never organized such an event, but, with the help and support from many CRC members, we were able to persevere through some of the worst weather conditions we've seen all year for an entire 31 hours. 

Ben Hovis and Megan Hovis kicked off the relay with a 6am start, before heading off to a wedding in the Northeast.  It was unfortunate that Ben could not see it all go down as he had organized every single detail to ensure that we could make the relay a success.  After their legs, ninety eight more runners completed 12.5 laps each around the Providence Day School track, and a large number of other Club members came out to support those ninety eight in their laps of glory.   I was amazed at how many people of the Running Club came together to help make this event a success.  Running and non-running members of the relay really showed how passionate they are about running by making an appearance.

Mike Beigay, Aaron Linz, and Emily Barrett were there in those early morning hours to provide support and help count the laps until the sun came up and more people began filing to the track.  Our fearless leader, Aaron Linz showcased why he is indeed the President of the Charlotte Running Club as he was at the Providence Day Track for probably 25 out of the 30 hours. 
CRC President Making the Most of the Rain
Emily Barrett took on the daunting, high pressure task of counting laps for so many different runners.  After Aaron got sidetracked and miscounted one person's leg, it was immediately clear that the task of counting laps wasn't as easy as it looked.  Emily performed the job with perfection! 

The generosity from the Charlotte running community didn't just stop there.  Numerous people donated their own personal tents to us to use as the rain continued to pour down onto the runners.  People brought coffee for those runners who got the middle-of-the-night time slot.  The Hadleys baked a cake for everyone.  So many different people took pictures with their awesome dSLR cameras.  People ran a triathlon in the freezing temperatures and then made their way to the Relay on Sunday to see the final leg.  Owners of the Charlotte Running Company donated t-shirts for the event.  Providence Day School allowed us to use their facilities and carried away our trash bags. 

Meagan Nedlo brought Karhu wear test shoes and a bear out for the kids to play with, despite the rain.  Our middle of the night captains gave up a night of sleep to ensure that everything continued to run as planned.  Stephen Spada painted the CRC Logo onto his abs to showcase his pride in the Club.  Rebecca Thomason gutted out a 5k after almost two years of not racing.  Jordan Kinley gutted out a 5k in front of his admirers even though he had not run for the past two months.  Emily Barrett graciously ran our second to last leg to ensure that we sealed the deal on the record, in case of lap miscounts.  The list of items goes on and on...I probably left out three-fourths of all the other kind things that people did for the CRC this weekend. 

The most exciting part about this entire weekend was to see so many members of the running club come together and finally meet each other face to face.  The number of people that I met this week was astounding.  Some introduced themselves to me, or I introduced myself to others.  I was finally able to meet members that I had previously only known as a name on a list of race results.  Passion exuded from each and every individual out there on that track.  Not just from the people who were running, but also from the people who were cheering on loved ones.  

After this weekend, I feel so grateful for each and every person that has taken the time to join our Club and to share that passion for running.  I am so proud to be in the Charlotte Running Club!

I included some pics that I took with John's camera.

Had to post Meagan and Jordan's Handoff because Jordan shouted at Meagan to "RUN!"
Meagan and Jordan Handoff Pic #2
Despite the fact that Jordan gave Meagan the baton, she is still behind
The late night crew - Matt Jaskot, Billy Shue, Kelly Fillnow

The Karhu Bear made a rainy day appearance
Emily Barrett Bringing in her Leg
John Bringing in the Fastest Leg of the Day - 15:12?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

6x4 Min at McAlpine

6x4 min with 3:00 jog rest at 5:25-5:40 pace, progressively getting faster

3 miles warmup
6x4 min with 3:00 jog at paces of 5:38, 5:32, 5:28, 5:34, 5:28, 5:26
1 mile cooldown for 9.5 miles total

Today I felt like I had fully recovered from the sickness that I battled at the beginning of this month.  I was a little nervous to do a speed workout that featured longer repeats because of the debacle of a mile workout I did two weeks ago, but I went into the workout believing in myself and the tides turned!  I ran the exact same times as when I did this workout last year on July 7 with Meagan and Pezz, but felt much better this year.  My legs felt fresh and I actually was able to finish all 6 intervals (last year I cut it short at 5). 

Eric and I started off the first interval a little on the slow side so that we would feel good on the last one, allowing us to push our body to run the fastest time of the day on #6.  We ran throughout the course and let our Garmins lead the way.  Since Eric has been battling some hip flexor issues, he hung back on a couple of the intervals. I know that in just a couple of weeks he will be leading the way, a couple of meters in front of me!

Just a couple weeks after I did this workout last year, I went on to run a 17:01 at the NC USATF 5k Champs in Winston-Salem.  I am feeling really positive about my training right now and I trust that I can post a strong PR in the 10k next weekend at Richmond.  I really believe that my training is beginning to fall into place and that I will see improvement in my times.  In fact, I've purposely put off writing down any goals until I was feeling strong and confident.  I have finally penciled in my goals for Richmond (35:50 or below)!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Week in Review

80.2 Miles
9 runs
14 Mile Long run at 6:45 pace
3 Days in Florida

Well, this week started off great with some decent mileage during the first four days, while I was still in Charlotte.  I knew that running my planned workout of 3x2 miles was going to be difficult to do once I got to Florida because of the traffic in the area where I was staying, so I changed it to a 6 mile progression tempo instead.  While the 2 mile tempo would surely be a big confidence booster workout for me, I decided it would be best to do it in Charlotte, on familiar terrain and when I have the company of friends.  Running three days in Florida was definitely boring since there are so many traffic lights and it is so hot.  I was able to muster a 14 mile long run at 645 pace, with the last mile at 555.  I was pretty happy about that. 

After travelling to Orlando on Thursday night, I enjoyed three quality evenings with Garrett, during the hours that he was not playing baseball.  I was lucky enough to have the company of his cousin, Meghan, as she travelled from Jacksonville to keep me company during the day while Garrett went to work.  We enjoyed time at the pool and ate delicious meals at Whole Foods while Garrett was gone.  I took advantage of the few hours in the evening that I did have to hang out with Garrett.  We played Putt Putt at Downtown Disney on Friday night, which featured the hardest and most fun putt putt course I've ever played on.  Some of the holes had a par 6!  Garrett, of course, dominated the game. 

Meghan and Garrett at Putt Putt in Disney

Garrett and I playing putt putt!

Garrett and I in Celebration

Garrett and Meghan in Celebration

On Saturday night, we played laser tag at Wonder Works and ate some pizza that I got from a Groupon.  The best part of the weekend was when Garrett and I went to the Vegan Restaurant - Dandelion Cafe - in downtown Orlando. The food was absolutely delicious - just as it was when we went there last year - and then we drove around some cute neighborhoods.  it was definitely a treat to get to spend a whole five hours with Garrett on Sunday because he got done with practice at 4pm, versus 5:30pm!  Garrett and I also discussed how it is best to run around a pole for the Trials, since he has to practice base running and all.  He gave me some great pointers on how to maintain my momentum and we will practice together in the fall. 

Garrett and I also both agreed that I need to take a full week off from running in May to give my body a much deserved rest period.  I have not taken off more than 3 days in a row since 2008.  I think this will help me prepare, mentally and physically, to run to my fullest potential in 2012.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

10x90 Second Frollick in Freedom

10x90 seconds with 3:00 jog at 5k pace or faster

2.7 mile warmup
10x90 seconds at 5:05-5:25 pace in Freedom Park
2.2 miles cool down

For this workout, Billy and a surprise guest, Michael Hefner, met up at my house to run some intervals through Freedom Park and the Sugar Creek Greenway.  We met Eric halfway and began our workout near the restrooms. 

The key for this workout was to feel good and strong the entire time. While I struggled more when Billy and Michael pulled away from me, I was able to pull myself together mentally to finish out with strong splits.  It was exceptionally helpful to have Eric there to push me through and help me maintain a fast clip throughout the entire interval. 

Considering that I was wearing my trainers and that we were running through some sections with rolling hills, I'm pleased with the times that were posted in this workout.  It's good to get the legs moving at a faster clip as I head into the Ukrop's 10k in less than three weeks.  I can tell that my legs are coming around and that with a couple more weeks of solid training, I will feel fresh and confident. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Week in Review

82.6 Miles
8 Runs
18 mile long run
2 workouts
45 minutes of lifting
90 Minutes of Massage from Balance Bodywork

With a deep sigh of relief, I can officiall say that this week was definitely a success.  I hit over 80 miles for the first time since September of 2010, and I continue to feel strong going into next week.  While I started the week off with an unimpressive mile repeat workout on Wednesday, I ended the week on a positive note with a 60 minute tempo at 6:16 ave pace and an 18 mile long run on Sunday.  I am beginning to feel strong and healthy leading into these next two weeks for my first race since the Houston Half Marathon on April 2.  I am excited to put on my racing flats again and race against some great competition in Richmond! 

Later in the week, I enjoyed cheering for racers in the Corporate Cup Half Marathon and Relay on Saturday morning with Marley, my former teammate from Wake Forest. We got to watch so many people achieve so many PRs!  Alana Hadley ran a very impressive 1:21:15 for her debut half marathon and several other athletes that Mark Hadley coaches saw huge PRs.  Aaron's latest athlete, Dalena, also ran an awesome half!

Another update from this weekend is that I am now a member of Honey Stinger's Hive Program.  I am honored to receive discounts on Honey Stinger's products, which are full of natural ingredients.  I used their products in the Twin Cities Marathon, and I think that the natural boost of energy from honey is all that is needed in an energy gel product.   

The highlight of the week was when I participated in the World's Largest Bar Crawl for St. Patrick's Day in Charlotte.  As you can see in the picture below, we had a decent sized group as we completed a full tour of practically all of uptown Charlotte's bars.  Bjorn, Thomas, Vanessa, Matt, John, Ottie, Robert and I all had a good time, especially watching all of the overly intoxicated pub crawlers make complete fools of themselves. 

So, there you have it!  Another solid week is in the books as I continue to build up my strength and endurance for the 25k Champs in May in 9 weeks.
The entire bar crawl group...minus me

Friday, March 11, 2011

60 Minute Tempo

60 minute tempo at sub-6:30 pace

2.5 miles warmup
60 minute tempo at 6:16 pace for 9.56 miles
.33 mile cool down

After getting sick and bombing two workouts, I decided that in order to walk away from this workout with a positive feeling, I needed to reassess my goals.  Do I think that I'm in bad shape?  No.  Do I think that my body is still recovering from whatever sickness I had two weeks ago? You betcha.  In order for me to maintain a sliver of confidence, I decided to lower my expectations for this workout so that I would practically be guaranteed to achieve my goal time.  I decided to pick a goal pace of 6:30 for this 60 minute tempo so that I would have less pressure going into it.

Before I began my warmup, I braided my hair into pigtails in memory of Sally.  It took me 30 minutes just to braid my hair, and I was all the more amazed with Sally's skill of making two perfect braids in her hair!  My braids were no where close to perfection, but I did feel like she was there with me, spreading positive energy around my being. 

With my two braids whipping from side to side, I took off from my house, in the direction of Freedom Park to meet Will.  We started in the middle of Freedom Park and ran to the end of the Greenway, rounded back through Freedom Park and then ran the Booty Loop 1.5 times.  I didn't look at my watch for the first four miles, because I really wanted to start the tempo truly on feel and not worry about whatever pace I was hitting.  

After we crested the first big hill in the Booty Loop, I really began to feel pretty strong and I maintained a pace between 6:19 and 6:14 for the final 4 miles.  In the last .56 mile, I ran an average of 5:51 pace.  I am really proud of myself for finishing so strong, especially after a workout that I really lacked a lot of confidence going into.  While this tempo pace is much slower than what I was running in the fall of 2010, I know that there have been some small hurdles I have had to deal with.  With a couple more weeks at 75-80 miles, I think that my legs will finally be coming back under me!  

What I learned most from this workout is that it's much easier to walk away from a workout in a positive mindset if you make goals that are realistic for where you are at that given moment in time, taking into consideration sickness, weather, terrain and other factors that could affect performance.

As a side note, I spent this evening watching the NCAA DI Women's DMR online.  I was so amazed and awed by the performance of both Sheila Reid and Jordan Hasay.  The competitiveness that they both exhibited was something that I would love to be able to execute upon in my own races.  When Sheila made a move with 1 lap to go, Jordan went to a different gear to try to pass her back, but Sheila noticed the move and reacted with another gear too!  It was an amazing race and I was inspired to finish with such fierceness. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dedicated to Sally

5x6 min with 2:30 rest at 5:50 pace and getting faster to 5:30

3.5 mile warmup
4xmile with 2:30 jog rest at 5:50, 5:50, 5:45, 5:56, then 800m in 2:48 and 400m in 1:17
2.1 mile cool down

Today I woke up to work out with Meagan and Billy.  Then I heard the sad news about Sally Meyerhoff.  I cried. And cried.  And cried. 

Despite the fact that I had only exchanged a few emails with Sally in the past and had just met her in person at Houston for the first time, I always found inspiration in Sally.  I looked up to Sally as one of my running idols because of her red hair and because of her ability to run a 2:35 marathon.  I tried to help her get on the Charlotte Running Club XC team for the USATF Club XC Championships and at Houston we promised that we would link up to run together whenever I visit my brother in Phoenix. 

From that 5 minute snippet of conversation at Houston, I was able to tell that she truly was a beautiful person, with a tremendous heart for her family and friends, who possessed a true appreciation for her sport, sponsors, and believers.  According to her blog on Feb 3, she lived life without regrets because "we never know how much time we have in life."  I am happy that she lived her 27 years of life without regrets, because her life was tragically taken from us yesterday.  From her Facebook page, it is clear that she had a positive influence on so many people in the community and will be greatly missed.  While I did not know Sally well, I know that the entire US running community is deeply saddened by this loss.  For this reason, Meagan and I decided to dedicate each of our intervals in our workout today to each member of her family and her 4 precious dogs that she gushed about in her blog.

While we ran with heavy hearts, we completed this workout, albeit slower than Meagan and I would have hoped, with Sally on our mind every step of the way.  In the grand scheme of things, we are grateful to be here in this world and running with our friends.  The only thing that matters today is that I have the opportunity to live and breathe, which is something that should not be taken for granted.  You are in our hearts, Sally! 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Week in Review

~75 Miles
16 mile long run
1 Workout Fail
7 runs at 730 pace
Garrett is in Baseball Season!

Considering that I ran 45 miles last week, this week was definitely a step in the right direction. Yes, I struggled to run faster than 7:30 pace on most of my runs this week, but I was able to get my mileage back into respectable digits and also run a two hour long run. I am finally getting over the flu that I had for the early part of this week and late last week. I think that running through while I felt fairly weak will make me stronger in a couple of weeks.

To prove that I have a life outside of running, I adventured outside of the trails and found myself in Cow Fish, where I enjoyed a nice evening out with the Hovises, the Fillnows, the (soon-to-be) Holders and John. John and I shared a dessert like we were a couple and it was delicious. Cow Fish is a great restaurant and is reasonably priced.

Garrett arrived at Spring Training in Orlando on Thursday and enjoyed his first day of practice with the other baseball boys. Since he was out of commission for a good portion of the off season with a sports hernia, he was not as strong in the running drills as he was last year. I'm sure he'll get that strength back once he gets done with his rehab!

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Benefit of a Bad Workout?

4 miles at 6:15 pace and progressively getting faster, 5 min rest, 4x2 min at 5k pace

5k tempo at 6:08 pace (19:00), 10 min rest, 4x80 sec at don't die pace for 10.5 miles total

Prior to today, I had run two tempos at a fairly decent clip: 5 miles at 5:58 pace and 3 miles at 5:50 pace. Today I ran my third tempo for 2011, a 5k in an unimpressive 6:08 pace.

Sounds like a bad workout, especially when you compare it to the two previous tempos. But maybe not. Since I'm driving toward peak performance at the USA 25k Champs and eventually at the USA Olympic Trials marathon, then I got exactly what I needed out of a workout at this point in my training. I worked hard, pushed myself too a strong effort, and listened to my body to boost my own tolerance for suffering. While my tolerance for suffering happened at slower clip than at what I would have hoped for, I pushed through the psychological barrier of knowing that I had been sick for the past 7 days with the flu. I trust that this feeling of enduring the suffering will carry over into one of my future races, making me tougher when it matters.

While the rest of workout's details may be significant, they are uninteresting. All you need to know is that I gutted this run out with the company of Will and Billy, and felt miserable the entire time. I'm going to keep my head up and know that within the next couple of days I will finally begin to feel like myself again, both physically and mentally. At the very least, I feel grateful that I am able to run pain free and in the company of friends. I am sending healthy vibes to Jay as he continues to struggle through some pain stemming from his winter injury. I can't wait to see him out here on the roads again!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sicky Update

I've been sick for the first half of this week. It started last week with a sore throat, then developed into a fever, and then a cough. For this week, the fever has subsided, and I'm just now beginning to get rid of the cough and phlegm. I ran 45 miles last week instead of 70 miles and since I believe that I've taken enough down time to safely get back into my regular weekly digits, I am on the path to returning back to my regular running routine. I have run 37 miles over the last four days, and look forward to running my first workout in over a week tomorrow and to running a 17 mile long run on Sunday. I have hopes of hitting 75-80 miles for the next 3-4 weeks.

While it certainly was frustrating to get sick last week, and even more frustrating to cancel my planned races for this weekend, my body was probably signaling that it was stressed out and was in need of a break. Now that I've taken it easy for a couple of days, my body should feel like it has recuperated enough to keep up a solid month of training before I race again at the Ukrop's 10k in Richmond on April 2.

I've got four weeks to get into shape for the 10k and I've got ten weeks to get into shape for the 25k in May. I'm planning a trip to see Garrett in Orlando for the weekend of Mar 17-20, but I know that I'll still be able to get in all my miles while there. Along with the 100x5k Attempt in March, I will be pretty busy throughout the course of this month. This is good as it will help keep my mind off of missing my long distance boyfriend. I also will be taking the GMAT on April 16th for the third and FINAL time, in hopes of achieving a high enough score that will merit acceptance into a top-30 MBA school. Other than that, I'm looking forward to spending a lot of time in Charlotte, running with great friends and enjoying this spring weather.