Sunday, July 31, 2011

Week in Review

80 Miles
8 Runs, 1 double
2 work outs
16+ mile long run

After starting out the week with a crazy travel day, things immediately began to settle down as I eased back into my normal work and running schedule.  I started off with a less than impressive minuters work out but finished the week with a great 1.5 mile repeats work out.  I reached my weekly mileage target and feel ready to hit the 85 mile mark for the first time in over 6 months this coming week.  With the exception of a short stint in Atlanta midweek to see my best friend Merry on her lay over back from the Peace Corps to visit her family for the first time in over a year, I will be in Charlotte for the rest of the week.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Success in Summer: 4x1.5 Mile

4x1.5 mile at 6:00, 5:50 and faster with 3:00 jog rest

26 min warmup for 3.2 miles

Total Time - Mile Split - (rest)
1 - 8:37 - 5:45 (3:00)
2 - 8:34 - 5:41 (3:00)
3 - 8:37 - 5:43 (4:30 - pee break)
4 - 8:31 - 5:38

18 min cool down for 2.2 miles

After a quick chat last night, Meagan and I decided to do our workout in Dilworth instead of at McAlpine.  Due to this July heat, we wanted to start off at a relatively conservative pace (6:00) and get faster.  This morning, Meagan and I met at the Freedom Park bathrooms at 7:05AM to continue our way up to the corner of Worthington and Dilworth Rd E to meet Caleb and Billy.

After situating my water bottle in a nearby tree and wiping my sweat off with the towel that I brought along, we toed the white line and waited for the beep of my garmin.  For the first one, the pacing was left up to me and Meagan told me she was going to rely on me to bring us through in a controlled pace.  Through the first 600m, we were around 5:55 pace.  Apparently my internal pace calculator didn't like that and by the mile, we had picked it up to 5:45.  It should be noted that there is a nice down hill that helps propel the pace to a faster time.  We formed a nice square with Billy and I in the lead, Meagan on my shoulder, and Caleb behind Billy.  I felt really controlled and relaxed at the completion of this one.  On the second interval, the goal was to go out easy again but somehow we came through in 5:42.  My body felt great though so we continued to push through.

For the third and fourth intervals, I noticed that in the first 600m, my legs felt really heavy and sore, but that the feeling would go away as we got further into the repeat.  I will account this to the slight uphill that characterizes the first part of this loop. Further, my breathing adjusted as my legs adjusted.  I felt like my breathing was a lot heavier in the first part and then would settle down at the same time my legs felt better.  I would rather that my breathing is not affected by how my body feels, so I really need to focus on not letting my physical feelings affect my mentality and therefore my breathing. If I start to get freaked out, it affects my breathing and that could be detrimental, especially in a longer race. 

I'd also like to point out that I ran all of these faster than when I did this workout in the same location back on June 3rd.  It was hotter today, so that's a really good sign of improvement.

I will also note that I'm really proud of Meagan because she was having a hard time breathing on the third one, but she really pulled it together on the fourth interval to bring the breathing back under control.  What i love most about working out with Meagan is that when she's having a hard time, I can provide her the words of encouragement that she needs to hear.  She does the same thing for me when I'm having difficulty.  The two races we have planned for this fall - the 13.1 Minneapolis and the Army Ten Miler - will be really special for me because I know that Meagan and I will be able to work together to push each other and also have a great time doing it. 

Caleb also stayed with us through 2.5 intervals and Billy shined on the fourth. All in all, we had a good time in the 80 degrees this morning.  The best part was definitely getting cold water on Rebecca's porch. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

16x1 Min Bonk

16x1 min with 1:15 rest

~3.8 mile warmup in 29 min
14x1 min with 1:15 rest, then 2x30 seconds
~2.2 mile warmup in 18 min for 11.5 miles total

After last night's run, I was weary about my work out this morning.  I knew that it was going to hurt, which is why I actually switched my scheduled workout for 1000s out with next week's workout of 16x1 min.  I figured such a decision would be less painful and I really want to run strong in my 1000s. 

This morning, I left my house at 6am with Billy to meet Eric at the tennis courts in Freedom Park.  We added on some more miles before beginning our minuters.  There really isn't much to report except that I felt pretty good considering the fact that I had been in an airport or airplane for 20 hours the day before.  That feeling of strength left me after 12 intervals.  On thirteen, I felt tired and heavy and struggled to keep up with the boys on a measly 1 min pickup.  My legs felt like they were dragging through wet concrete, so I decided to stop on 15 and 16 at 30 seconds, before my legs really were starting to shut down.  My breathing was heavy as well, so the work out ended on a rather negative note. 

However, I am happy that I was able to get through 12 without a problem, especially given the circumstances.  With just a little more rest, I'll feel better soon.  I'm confident that things will be back on track later this weekend after my body has had time to adjust.  To speed up that process, I got a massage today from Byran at Balance Bodywork and he worked his magic on my sore muscles. As I continue to run 80+ miles, massage will be a critical component to my regime.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Week in Review

45 Miles
6 Runs
0 Doubles
5 Days in California
20 hours in an airplane or airport

What a great down week this was! When I received my training plan from Mark in February, I saw this planned down week and immediately looked into booking tickets to visit my sister in Orange County.  After two days in Charlotte, I set off on a direct flight to LAX on Wednesday morning.  Southern California greeted me with a cold breeze and temperatures in the 60s and 70s.  Apparently I missed another hot weekend in Charlotte that featured temps in the upper 90s.  I missed the other really hot weekend when I went to Albany.  My timing has been quite right! 

Ironically, I was a little bummed that my down week was planned in California though because the weather was so ridiculously nice out that I felt great running.  It would have been easy to log over 80 miles here because the temp was so moderate.  In fact, I have seriously contemplating moving out here next summer to work remotely, to live with my sister, and to put in some quality miles.  It really would work out quite great, so stay tuned as I weigh my options!

In my down week, I ate lots of delicious vegan food, took naps during the week, and pampered myself with a facial.  Spending time with my sister and her best friends Athena and Anna was just what I needed. 

My glorious down week came to an immediate halt after I was stranded in an airplane or airport for 20 hours.  I had a red eye flight connecting in Phoenix and then on to Charlotte.  Well, we flew over Phoenix for two hours, re-routed to Las Vegas due to a storm in Phoenix, sat at the gate in the airplane in Vegas, and then took off AGAIN for Phoenix.  I wish they would have let us off the plane because then I could have just stayed with my brother Joey who, ironically, lives in Phoenix but was partying in Vegas.  Alas, my luck was not with me Sunday night.  We arrived in Phoenix at 2:15AM and I was left to either pay for a hotel or sleep in the airport until my 10AM flight the next day.  I opted to buy a hotel room at a "discounted" rate of $90. 

After three hours of sleep, I was up again and on my way BACK to the Phoenix airport.  When we finally departed, I felt like the travel mess was over.  I was wrong.  We circled Charlotte for another hour before landing, so I finally arrived at 615PM, another 90 minute delay added onto my travel saga.  My body felt like I had just gotten off a plane from Europe!  This definitely wasn't the way I was hoping to start my week, but I've got seven days in Charlotte coming up where I can focus on recovery and getting rest.  I can't wait. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cheating on the Down Week

Don't work out this week

~11 miles with 10x1 min on/off at 70% effort

Over the weekend, Mr. Stephen Spada sent me an email requesting a workout partner for Tuesday.  I didn't check my work email over the weekend, so I received it once walking into work on Monday.  However, I forgot to respond to it.  It was easy to forget about it because I wasn't supposed to work out any way. Stephen wouldn't let up - I received another email from him requesting the same thing.  I agreed to do some minuters with him and to keep them relatively relaxed and controlled and clicked send.  There was no backing out now.

I showed up at Boyce with 4 minutes to spare as I put Body Glide on before meeting up with Josh, Megan, Mike, Stephen, Gordon, Mike, Aaron, and others that I can't remember.  After spending 35 minutes with the entire group, Stephen, Josh, Mike and I took off to begin our minuters.  I just ran with Josh and Stephen, keeping everything controlled.  Considering the race this past weekend, my legs felt relatively good and it was just fun to be out there running with friends.

Tomorrow I board a plane at 7am, heading to Newport Beach to visit my wonderful sister.  I have travelled quite a bit this year, but this trip is special because it was planned so far in advance.  As soon as I received my training plan and saw a down week in the middle of the summer, I knew I would want to escape the NC heat and go to LA!  I'm excited to run around the back bay just for time, not worrying about work outs or waking up early.  It's definitely needed.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Week In Review

~67 Miles
8 Runs in 6 Days
12 Mile Long Run
5k Race in 17:03
Weight Lifting Started

After starting the week in Albany and realizing that I hadn't take a day off in over 6 weeks, I took Monday off and enjoyed working from Garrett's dorm room as he played baseball.  The travel on Monday and Tuesday put a little bit of a damper on my running as I only accumulated 8 miles over those two days.  However, I enjoyed every moment that I got to spend with Garrett, so it was entirely worth it.

Back in Charlotte, I got in lots of easy runs in preparation for Beat the Heat before finally making it to race day.  I competed with a race with some great local competition and then enjoyed hanging out with some of NC's finest at Foothills Brewery. 

My mileage over the course of the past 7 weeks has been consistently in the 70-80 mile range.  After I take a week off from working out this coming week, I will bump my mileage up to 80-85 for the next three weeks before tapering a bit for the 13.1 Minneapolis Race.  From there, I'll begin to dip into the 85-90 mile range to build my strength for the Trials.  With only 6 months left until the big day, little things are becoming more and more important.  It's crazy how quickly the year is flying by.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Beat the Heat 5k Race Recap

5k race in 16:59 (5:27/mile pace)

~3 miles warmup
5k in 17:03 (5:23, 5:40, 5:26, :32)
$590 earnings ($500 USATF, $90 Age Graded)
~3.5 miles cool down

You may tell me that I'm crazy to walk away disappointed from a race where I won $590 and competed well against some of the best competition that NC has to offer, but I did.

So call me crazy.

Really, I'm confused about what emotions I should be feeling.  Excited that I competed out there and executed a race strategy that suited my strengths?  Or - disappointed that I was unable to be as strong on the 2nd mile as I was last year in this exact same race?  Last year my splits were 5:26, 5:31, 530.  This year I dropped a 5:40 in that second mile.  I can't really explain what the difference was this year in that second mile, but I'm definitely not pleased with it.

The woman who won from Raleigh was only a mere ten seconds ahead of me and it's frustrating because I truly believe that I'm fit enough to have run a 16:52.  In my dreams, Meagan and I would have been battling with her at the line for the win in 16:50 fashion, but we didn't.   Instead, this is how it all unfolded:

In the first mile, the four of us women - Heather, Emily, Meagan and I - were all together and then we began to separate as we neared the halfway mark.  Soon I couldn't hear the breathing of the other women, but I could still sense they were close.  I ran through the 2-mile mark in 10:59 and knew that it was going to be a tough one to break 17:00 because I need to come through about four seconds faster.  In the distance, the Kenyan woman was slowly coming back to me and I set my sights on her for the next mile.  

As I charged through the downhill last 800m, I continued making ground on the first place woman but I knew that the 5k distance wouldn't be enough for me to pass her.  My face contorted into strained expressions as I watch the clock tick off the seconds...16:56...16:57...16:58...16:59, until it finally ticked over 17:00 and I still had a couple of steps to go.  I crossed the finish line feeling defeated and watched as Heather and Meagan followed close behind. 
The group at 800m (Photo courtesy of Thomas Eggar)

Around 1.75 Miles
Of course, there are plenty of positive things that happened during and after the race that bring a smile to my face.  All of the women - Heather Magill, Meagan Nedlo, Emily Potter and I all stood next to each other on the starting line.  While we are all competing against one another, we are all also friends running a race together.  We chatted and joked on the line and then stuck together in a pack for the first mile, pushing the other to run a fast and honest pace.  As the race unfolded and we all began to separate, we were competing but helping each other at the same time.   I love that feeling!  I also snagged some good cash that is going to my long-distance-relationship-fund.  I also got to catch up with all the other usual suspects at the NC USATF Championship races like Devin and Ryan, as well as some familiar Wake Forest teammates.  Finally, I got to race at Wake Forest, which always will hold a special place in my heart.

The rest of the night was filled with fun as a large group of us gathered at Foothills Brewery to enjoy brews and food.  I bought three of my friends a shot, enjoyed a mini-cousin-renunion with Garrett's sister and cousin, caught up with Eric Mack, and bar hopped with the Charlotte crew of Matt, John and Thomas.  The night ended on a good note as I was surrounded by so many great people who share the same passion for running and food that I do.

Some of the CLT crew. Meagan and I have not showered

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Week in Review

~75 Miles
8 Runs
2 Days in Albany
Hottest Temps this summer
14 mile long run

Welp, I wanted to hit 80 miles this week, but that just didn't happen.  I hate doing doubles in the summer so I guess if I had just pulled myself out into the suffocating NC heat and humidity one afternoon, I would have come closer to that number, but I didn't.  Oh well! 

I started the week off right with a fantastic 12x400m with Meagan and the boys.  I closed the week of with a bad tempo before heading off to Albany, New York to see Garrett for the last time before his season ends in September.  Bittersweet, yes I know.

Fortunately the weather here in New York has been a great escape from the Charlotte humidity.  I've been able to sleep in and run at odd hours during the day without risking passing out from overheating.  The trails here are amazing and I really would like to run BoilerMaker 15k next year.  I'm struggling a little bit with a shoulder and neck muscle strain or something.  It hurts like hell and the pain runs from my shoulder to my neck. I'm assuming it's from sitting at a computer all day for work and that I should probably do shoulder exercises that Mark Kane showed me to help prevent this from happening again.

Beat the Heat is less than 6 days away and I am ready to rock that race.  Good competition, free pizza, prize money, and a day floating the Dan River is enough incentive for me to come.

Friday, July 8, 2011

5 Mile Tempo Fail

5 miles at 545 pace

3 miles warmup
4 miles at 600 pace (609, 555, 557, 600)
~3 miles cooldown for 10 miles total

right now I'm visiting Garrett in NY so this post will be short.  This was another early McAlpine 6am run with Billy, John, Eric, and Mike Kahn.  I got a deep tissue massage the night before from Byran Bullock of Zenriffic Massage and could definitely feel the effects of it in my legs.  During the warmup I felt flat and the humidity seemed to be the worst it's been the entire summer.  Suffice it to say, I took the lead for the first mile of this tempo and we came through in a crawling pace of 609.  I pushed the pace to drop it below 600 for the next two miles, but during mile 4, I felt too labored for such a short tempo.  In fact, I felt much better the previous week, when I did a 9 mile progression tempo with last four miles under 600 and my last mile under 550.  This week, that was not going to happen.  Instead of coming away feeling terrible about running a mile over 600 for my last mile, I decided to pull the plug and jogged to meet the guys as they finished up.

I probably shouldn't have gotten such a deep massage the night before a workout, but it was the only time I could squeeze in before Albany and Beat the Heat 5k.  I allow myself 1 bad workout about every 3 weeks, so this is my first one.  I'm ready for Beat the Heat, just need to do some easy running over the next couple of days. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

12x400m with 200m Rest

12x400m with 400m jog rest

2.5 mile warmup
12x400m with 200m jog rest 75, 75, 75, 79, 74, 74, 73, 73, 71, 74, 72, 71
2.5 mile cool down for 9.5 miles total

Last night before this workout, I texted Mark to make sure that I was really only supposed to do 12 400m repeats. That number seemed rather low and I was expecting to do at least 16x400m.  He texted me back and said that 12 was the correct number and that the goal would be to try to run as close to 75 seconds but with a full 400m jog rest.  I like to go above and beyond...or I just don't like to take 400m jog rests because then I have to wake up earlier, so I decided to only do 200m jog rest with the group. 

Meagan, Billy, and Eric all met at my place at 615am to jog to the JCSU track for an early workout.  We all agreed that a 400m rest sounded way too long so we decided to stick with a 200m jog and, if it felt too taxing on our bodies, to adjust accordingly.  Turns out we didn't need to adjust our jog distance, but we did adjust our jog pace. 

After we arrived at the track, a stray dog kept us company as he followed us around.  He did seem like a pretty happy dog despite not having a home and he provided a feeling of comfort to me in an odd way.  Paul and Stephen were doing an 800m workout while Jason and another guy were just finishing up their 400m repeats.  For our first one, we jumped in with Spada to help him on his last lap of an 800m. That was fun because we ran fast without even knowing it. 

The plan was to run in two pairs - Meagan and I and then Billy and Eric.  We would alternate inside/outside of lane 1 as well as alternate leading with the boys.  It worked out quite well because it broke up the monotony of running 4.5 miles around the track.

I am guessing that Meagan and I did a good job of pacing us through the the first 2 400s because we cruised through in 75 for both of those.  However, I wasn't checking the 200m split, so it's all speculation.  You can ask Eric what our splits were because he was glancing at his Garmin to make sure we were in check.  On the fourth interval, Meagan whispered we were too fast in the first 100m, so the boys in the lead slowed down a tad too much after the 200m mark.  That's why we ran a 79.  It's funny because that seemed rather effortless and pedestrian compared to what we had been running.

After having about 75 seconds of rest between each interval, we decided to take a 2 min rest after the 8th 400m and to splash some lukewarm water over ourselves.; This must have bode well for us because Meagan and I lead us through a 71 second quarter for the 9th one.  It was a lot of fun to go fast but it definitely hurt.

Toward the last 4 intervals, I was starting to feel some fatigue in my hamstrings and quads, but I still felt really strong and confident that I could keep posting some solid times. It was especially helpful to have Meagan alongside me the entire time. I felt like we were on a college team together and working out for some big race. It's always fun to run with the guys because undoubtedly they help make us stronger runners, right?

Again, I walk away pleased with this workout. While wearing my trainers, Nike Pegasus, I was able to post some fast times on the track. I'm hoping these faster times will help me maintain a faster pace on my longer tempos so that a PR is realistic for me in the marathon next January.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Week in Review

75 Miles
7 Runs
2 Days in Asheville
15 mile long run
1 run at Biltmore Estate

This was another high quality week with two solid workouts - 1000m repeats and a 9 mile tempo.  My legs are tired but it helped to break up the monotony of uptown by running in Asheville.  My parents and I ran in the Biltmore estate as well as in the Asheville Arboretum.  While we didn't do any hiking, we ran over lots of really beautiful trails in Asheville.  I'd say they got a good tour of the city from me.  Aside from running, we ate lots of good vegan food at the Laughing Seed Cafe as well as the Green Sage.  We tried Salsa's but we weren't very impressed with it for vegetarian options.  It was great to spend time with my parents in Asheville and I might have sold them on getting a cabin in the fall. :)

The best part about this week is that I didn't log any doubles.  I like avoiding doubles for some odd reason...I think it has to do with showering twice in one day. If I just add one double in, I'll be in the 80s, so hopefully I'll post that kind of mileage next week.

Dad and I at Biltmore

At some music festival

Biltmore in the morning

Mom and I running at Biltmore Estate

Friday, July 1, 2011

9 Mile Tempo at McAlpine

9 mile progression tempo starting at 630 and getting faster

2 miles warmup
9 mile tempo in 54:45 with splits of 6:20, 6:17, 6:13, 6:11, 5:55, 5:58, 6:02, 5:58, 5:48
2 miles cool down

I've woken up early every single day for the past three weeks, and this morning was no different.  In fact, I've gotten on this new kick where I want to wake up every day at 5:20am and be out the door by 5:45 for whatever run I've got on tap.  This means that I should be getting to bed earlier, but my boyfriend is just too endearing for me to pass up a conversation with after his baseball games.  Even with a later bedtime, I've been getting 7-8 hours of sleep regularly and sleeping like a baby for every single second of those hours.  This morning, I woke up to the sound of my alarm and put my running clothes on in the dark and performed my normal morning rituals before heading out to the Old Bell entrance of McAlpine.

I had a nice crew of company this morning for the tempo:  Adrian Stewart, Jason Martin, Aaron Linz, and Billy Shue.  We only did a two mile warmup with a bigger group that was doing an easy run and started from the Old Bell mark, ran to the 4 mile mark, turned around, jumped on the last mile of the course, and headed back to where we started from.

The whole crew of us worked together through 3 miles before Aaron split off to catch us on the back end and Billy and I continued to pick up the pace so eventually AJ and Jason slowly slipped behind us, but not by much!  Billy and I ran side by side for miles 3-6 and it was fun to work together with him as we both maintained a solid pace.  Since I am Billy's coach, I was paying attention to his breathing because he's been ordered to take a down week to give his body a rest from all the racing he's been doing.  I could tell that he was fine, but didn't want him to over do it so I determined he would only do 6 miles.

On my end, everything felt fantastic except for my legs.  They just felt heavier than usual. All other components felt absolutely fantastic though! My form, my breathing, and my confidence were all right there and I knew that I could power through the tempo with some solid times with my tired legs.

After 6 miles, Billy stopped as I had instructed him to do so, and Aaron picked me up to join me for the last third of the work out.  Aaron had all sorts of energy and although my breathing wasn't very labored, I wasn't ready to expend my energy talking.  We exchanged some words and his energy helped motivate me.  I really wanted to run sub-6 in those final three miles so I utilized Jordan Kinley's tactics by telling myself that I only had 18 minutes left of running and kept counting down.  Before I knew it, the mile marker was suddenly there and I told Aaron "UNA MAS" and we powered it in.  I closed in a 5:48 which is really great considering it's mid-summer.

Overall, I'm very pleased with this workout because I was able to progressively get faster on a pair of tired legs.  I love how even though everyone had varying types of a tempo today we were able to make it work so that we would be able to help push each other at varying points of the work out.  I love running tempos with other people because it makes the time go by faster and it's always fun to hear how everyone else did.  Jason and AJ had a really solid 6 mile tempo and Aaron helped me out for my latter part.  I could get used to him just running for fun because I keep getting him all to myself in workouts.  It's definitely very nice of him to keep my company.

I'm hoping that I can keep this momentum moving forward until August, when I'm racing the 13.1 Minneapolis with Meagan Nedlo.   The key through this month of July is to maintain my mileage in the upper-70s and to listen to my body as the weather begins to get hotter and more humid.

Fortunately, I get to spend the weekend in Asheville with my parents this weekend.  The following weekend I'll escape some of the NC heat and head to upstate New York to see Garrett for the last time this summer.  Just a short week later, I'll head to California to visit my sister. Obviously July is a month filled with travel for me, but it will be well worth it as I'm spending it with my favorite boy and my family! I am looking forward to running in new places!