Tuesday, August 30, 2011

8x1000m with 2:00 Rest

8x1000m at 3:21-3:25 with 2min jog

2.5 mile warmup in 20:00 to Dilworth 800m Speed Loop
8x1000m at:
3:30 (1:55)
3:27 (1:59)
3:24 (1:58)
3:22 (1:57)
3:22 (2:00)
3:22 (2:01)
3:22 (2:05)
2.5 miles cool down in 20:00

With another early morning workout on tap, I woke up at 5:30AM from a peaceful slumber to get out the door on time to meet Stephen Spada and Lat Purser at the Dilworth Speed Loop.  After 20 minutes of running, Spada was ready to get rolling so I gave up the extra five minutes of warmup that I wanted to get in to compromise with Spada's daddy schedule.  After all, he drove all the way up from south Charlotte to join me in the workout, so it was the least I could do. 

Lat decided to only do 5 intervals with us since he has a long bike ride tonight.  It was great to have him join Stephen and I because he lead the way and took some weight off our shoulders.  When we completed the first one, I thought it felt much faster than we actually ran, so it was a little disheartening to see my split.  In fact, I had a brief moment of panic that I would have difficulty finishing up the rest of the 7 intervals, but I knew thinking like that would not help matters improve.  So, I decided to just work with Stephen and use him to hold me accountable. 

After the third interval, I finally began to get into the groove.  I felt fairly smooth and relaxed and the fact that the sun wasn't up yet made the 1000 meters fly by since I couldn't see key landmarks that indicated my location.  I didn't even bother catching my splits at the 400m or 800m marks and just ran on feel, basing my effort on where I was in relation to Spada.  We really are a good team because we don't really talk much and just get the job done.  We are just running, and just having that presence of a training partner is all that is needed to keep me motivated to keep pushing forward.

In the end, even though I felt really tired and exhausted at the conclusion, I'm pleased with this effort.  I finished all 8 intervals that were on my schedule and ran within the goal time frame.  However, I hope that when I revisit this workout again in a couple of months, I won't feel as rundown afterwards.  I would like to see fitness gains in that my recovery time is reduced. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Week in Review

~72 Miles
16 mile long run
2 Doubles
1 Wedding

Well, just one week after a half marathon PR in Minneapolis, I was able to still post a respectable mileage for this week, even with only a 5 mile run today!  The first five days of the week, I trudged through runs and felt terrible on each one.  I finally started to feel good again on Saturday as I enjoyed a long run with M-squared (Meagan and Megan).  Sunday only got better as I ran around the Booty Loop with Jordan and Brad and felt great.  I stopped after 5 miles and figured I would let myself get ready for next week.  Next week I've got two solid workouts - 8x1000m and 3x2miles - and an 18 mile long run.   To top it all off, my bestie in NYC is coming down for a wedding!  Should be a fun-filled week as we celebrated Jay and Lauren's new life together!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

400m Repeats

16x400m at 75-77 with 1:00 jog

3 miles warmup
12x400m at 74-77 with 1:00 jog
3.2 miles cool down

This a fairly delayed post because it's been a pretty busy week with work and errands.  I did this workout  just two days after my 13.1 Minneapolis race, and my legs were not cooperating.  I felt heavy and lethargic and could feel the lactic acid build up in my hamstrings after only 3 intervals.  Fortunately I had the company of Thomas, David, and Aaron to pull me along.  Had I been alone I probably would have walked right off the JCSU track and headed straight to the cemetery instead.  To run slow, of course.

There really isn't much to report except that I was able to maintain a decent speed with little rest for 12 intervals.  Mission accomplished, and time to move on to the long run for the weekend.  Next time I'll probably just do minters as my first workout after a half marathon.

Monday, August 22, 2011

13.1 Minneapolis Race Recap

Go out relaxed, finish the strongest in the last 5k

~2.5 miles warmup, strides, drills. 
Race in 1:18:52
with splits of:  1- 607, 2 - 604, 3 - 600, 4 - 600, 5 - 549 (downhill), 6 - 606 (hilll), 7 - 603, 8 - 555, 9 - 602, 10- 602, 11 - 608 (hill), 12 - 559, 13 - 554, 38
4th place, Results

I think this is the first half marathon that did not own me.  Let's take a look at my past two half marathons.  I've always faded, and faded BAD, in the last four miles of the race.  Take, for instance, the Half Marathon Champs this past January.  I ran a couple of 6:11s and a few 6:14s in those last four miles.  Even the half marathon in OBX 2009, I ran a 6:33 and a 6:20!   The only half marathon that went well for me was the second half of my marathon at Twin Cities. 

This brings me to my goal for 13.1 Minneapolis.  I really just wanted to have fun and finish feeling pretty good about myself and I accomplished just that.

Going into this race, I really had not researched much about the race besides how to get to the hotel from the airport and the course map.  I did not know how many people had registered or who my competition was.  All I knew was that I was staying with Meagan (for free!) and that I would figure the rest out once I got to Minneapolis.  I approached this race with a laid back attitude to help me keep the race plan in sights - to have fun!

With a sore shin, Meagan was out as my fellow comrade during this race, so I was left to compete on my own.  Meagan was probably more bummed than me that she couldn't race, but it would have been very hard for her logistically to have made the race fit in since she has to set up at the event as well.  Perhaps another time we'll toe the line together at a 13.1 Race to push each other to a nice half marathon PR...like at Miami in 2012 where the 13.1 Series Championship will be held.

With Meagan out the door to set up the Craft tent before 5AM, I eventually pulled myself out from under the covers and got myself race ready.  With Body Glide and water bottle in my plastic race bag, I ran 3/4 of a mile to the start line.  Feeling like a normal runner again, I waited in line for the rest room and to check my bag.  The biggest perk of getting an elite entry typically is the private rest rooms, which wasn't necessary at this race because they had TONS of porta johns so the lines weren't bad at all. 

Beforehand, Meagan had informed me that some Team USA Minnesota girls would be running, so I knew immediately that winning money was no longer a reality.  Once the gun went off, I settled into my own rhythm as the pack of lead men took off immediately and a pack of 3 accomplished women including Katie McGregor and Michelle Frey follwed as the second lead pack.  Within 800m, they already had a sizeable 50 meter gap on me, and they would continue to gradually pull away from me until mile 5, when I would no longer even see them. 

Needless to say, it was definitely going to be a lonely one.  To prove how lonely it was out there, you can examine the results.  In the results, you'll notice that the closest person behind me was about 2 minutes back (1:20:45) and the closest person in front of me was about 90 seconds ahead (1:17:11).  I am not counting the guy that I finally caught in the last mile of the race because he was only motivation for about 2 miles.  Now, you might ask why I didn't try to run with the person who ran 1:17:11.  Because she went out like a bat out of hell in the first five miles with that second pack of women!  Not to mention that running with her would not have aligned to my race strategy, which was to go out at marathon pace.

Good thing I incorporated some mental tactics into this race to keep myself focused.

Through the first 5 miles, things were going great.  I felt smooth, relaxed, strong.  I really thought that I was going to run a 1:17:5x half marathon.  Then a hill came in mile 6 and I started to become painfully aware of the fact that there was no one in front of me nor behind me and that there were practically no spectators on the course.  After 5 miles, I decided not to look at my watch splits any more and to just focus on the overall time.  Admittedly, I am a smart cookie sometimes was still able to determine when I was running 6 min pace and when I wasn't...but it helped mentally not knowing exactly what pace I had just hit. 

I came through the 6 mile mark in 34:04 which is almost 6:00 pace - perfect.  Through miles 7-10 I decided to really focus on running the shortest tangents as possible (side note - I did run them pretty good because my garmin had 13.15 for my distance!).  I smiled at a group of little girls in a cheerleading uniform and waved.  That resulted in a burst of giggles and screams - quite possibly the highlight of my race.  The hardest part about this section was trying to make myself feel like I was competing.  Really, I felt like I was just competing against myself. It felt like a tempo and that it was really all just up to me to keep the pace honest and strong.  No one else was there to help or to motivate me; all the power was within me.  Yes, this should always be the case, but it's much easier to compete when you have people around to beat! 

The final 5k was the toughest mentally, not just because it's the final 5k of a half marathon, but because mile 11 was all uphill like Morehead Street in Charlotte.  On miles 12 and 13, all the racers had to turn around at the 12 mile mark, awarding you with the agonizing opportunity to view all the people who are ahead of you! 

The finish seemed like forever, but fortunately I had finally caught this guy who had fallen back to me.  I passed him and gained a sizeable lead on him in the final 800 meters.  Then he saw the finish and got all macho on me and passed me.  Probably because I am a girl.  I finished with Meagan standing right in the finish chute.  That was really cool and fun to see a familiar face in a city that I'm entirely not from. 

I chatted it up some with Meagan and hung out for a little while at the Craft booth before heading to the shuttles to attempt to make it to the amazing and free breakfast the Residence Inn has to offer.  On the bus, I was able to reflect on the 13.1 Series and the organization of the event. 

From my experience with one 13.1 Series race, I can now conclude with confidence that they do a great job creating a successful event.  The course was very scenic and rolling just enough to keep it interesting but not too challenging as we traversed along the Mississippi River and then into one of the 10,000 lakes in Minnesota.  The race medals are really cool - so cool, in fact, that I'm going to keep it.  The announcer said my name and the city where I'm from when I crossed the finish line.  There was free beer (not that I drank any because I didn't have my ID).  They started on time and the results were posted in lightning quick speed.  Best of all, my race t-shirt is Craft so that automatically means it's better than any other race t-shirt I've ever received. 

When analyzing my own performance, I come away feeling positive about my mental tenacity and the ability to stay focused throughout the entire half.  For both of my two slowest mile splits, I was running up a significant hill so the times are reasonable considering the incline and the lack of competition to movitate me to push it harder.  I didn't ever feel the desire to drop out, which has come over my mind in the last two halfs I've done. 

On a final note, I am grateful that Meagan was kind enough to let me take over part of her hotel room for two nights.  It was fun to hang out with her and observe her as she did her job...which she's quite good at I might add.  She definitely has a knack for selling Craft gear and Karhu shoes.  Shoot, I even ordered a pair via email to Melissa Bell at Inside Out Sports after she gave me the Fast to try on!

Some highlighted mental tactics utilized throughout the race.  Exclamation points infer the level of excitement I was trying to create in my mind. 

Mile 1:  Great start!  This is easy.  Easy peasy.   Meagan might not be here, but this will still be a lot of fun!!!!
Mile 3:  Three miles in!  Only 60 minutes (or less) remaining - that's NOTHING!!!!!
Mile 4:  Wow, there's a person in front of me.  Let's get him! You are going to run sub-1:18!!
Mile 5:   Okay maybe this isn't as much fun without Meagan here.  Focus on the tangents instead.
Mile 6:   This hill is shorter and less steep than the Twin Cities hills...or is it?  I can't remember.  Either way, pretend like you feel as awesome on this hill as you did at Twin Cities. 
Mile 7:  I'm over halfway.
Mile 8:  Maybe I'm not going to break 1:18...no one to compete with.  Okay, run like you are competing. 
Mile 11:  Are my legs tired right now because I played golf for the first time in my life on Thursday?  My fingers are sore.  Probably not, you're making up excuses Caitlin!
Mile 13:  This is the longest last mile EVER.  At least I caught that guy!!!!

Yeah - that's not me.  It's Katie McGregor winning the race. 
But we're both redheads so I thought I'd give her tribute! Go Gingers!
And Meagan is in the picture on the right. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Got the Plan!

Taken by Andy Chen of Indigo Photography

In this picture above, I'm contemplating what my new training plan looks like!  With just under five months until the Trials, my coach Mark Hadley already has put a lot of thought into my plan leading up to January, 14 2011.  I received it today and I felt like a little kid on Christmas.  The focus for this training cycle will be to boost both my lactate and aerobic thresholds so that I can enter the race feeling strong and fit.

What does that mean exactly?

Well, one example is that I want to be able to run more repeats but with shorter rest than I had last year.  For instance, let's say that in 2010 before Twin Cities I ran 6x1000m at 3:25 with 2:30 rest.  This year I want to be able to run 8x1000m at 3:25 with 2:00 rest.

There were two new additions to my training plan this time around that added a lot of value.  Given my work schedule and travel to visit family and friends, Mark has prioritized my three workouts in order of importance.  That way if a workout needs to be tweaked or dropped because of a travel mishap or tired legs, I'll know which workout I should really focus on that week.

The other enhancement Mark made to my plan was to include a new type of work out.  It seems like the 3x3 mile workout is out and that the "wave" work out is in.  I'll be doing two types of wave work outs - a 5 mile and a 9-10 mile.  In the 5 mile wave, I'll alternate paces every 800 meters with a faster pace and a slower pace.  During the 9 mile wave, I'll alternate paces every mile between 615 and then 545.  These two workouts sound like they will really help me increase my focus throughout the entire workout instead of just a boring 9 mile tempo.

When it gets within 10 weeks of the Trials, I'll be doing lots of mile repeats, tempos, and long runs.  I'm excited to put in lots of miles with my friends over the next coming months as the training plan unfolds and the journey continues.

Pre-13.1 Minneapolis Workout

2-3 Miles at HMP and 4x400m

3 miles warmup
2 miles in 11:54 (6:07, 5:47)
.7 mile jog
4x400m in 74, 73, 73, 71 with 400m jog
2 miles cool down for ~10 miles total

Thomas joined me for this one at the Dilworth Speed Loop.  We met in front of Rebecca's beautiful Dilworth home and did a two mile tempo.  Then the plan was to do 4x400m to get the legs moving.  On the two mile portion, I really just wanted to run the first mile like how I plan to at the Half Marathon this weekend.  I executed that exactly by running 607 and then 547.  To be honest, my legs felt terrible on the first mile and then they started to feel a lot better on the second mile.  I was hoping they would feel much better on the speedy 400m portion, and fortunately the legs cooperated.

There really isn't that much to report here because it's a pre-race workout.  I typically use these as a mental tune up and try to envision the race plan I want to execute.  While doing my two mile, I determined that I really want to run my strongest portion of my half marathon in that final 5k.  I also realized that in the three other half marathons I've completed, I've never once felt good in the final five miles.  I would like to change that.  To do so, I've determined a race plan that has the highest likelihood of success.  I'd like to run the first 5 miles of the race at 6:00-6:10 pace (Marathon Pace), the second 5 miles at 5:50-6:00 Pace, and the final 5k in 5:45-5:55 Pace.  The key is to be patience in the first half of this race.  I know that I can run sub 6 pace for 10 miles, but I need to ensure that I don't dip below 6 minutes until it feels right - later in the race...not in the first 2 miles.

I'm excited to make the short trip to Minneapolis and reunite with Meagan at the Residence Inn.  She practically puts on the 13.1 Race series for Karhu, so it should be cool to watch her do her job.  I'm assuming we'll be sharing a bed and that she'll try to snuggle up on me like she did when we ran the Heart & Sole Women's Five Miler in Columbia, SC.  HA!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Week in Review

~72 Miles
2 workouts
13.1 mile long run
3 Days in Michigan

What a fun week!  Great workout Tuesday, terrible workout Thursday, fun, solo long run Sunday...definitely a roller coaster!  Continuing my jet-setting trend, this week I was able to fit my running schedule into my travel schedule as I flew to Detroit early Friday morning for my cousin Michelle's wedding.  Jordan was kind enough to even run with me at 5:30AM and then drive me to the airport.  Once in Michigan, I reunited with so many of my family members, watched my cousin say her wedding vows, and danced the night away with my Tuveson cousins and family.  The dancing must have warmed my legs up for the next morning when I ran 13.1 miles as my last long run before the half next weekend.  On the second half, I picked it up to 620-640 pace just for fun and felt great.  It broke up the monotony to do a steady state run all on my own and made the time go by faster on the River Trail that snaked through Michigan State's campus and the city of East Lansing.

The highlight of the week was definitely playing with my second cousins at their house on Friday and Sunday!  Daphne, Sophia, and Veronica were all so adorable and cuddly.   After playing hide and go seek and Tickle Monster, I had to get out my mom's iPad with children's games on it to take a break from running around the house.  I can't upload pictures yet as I'm still in Michigan but I'll get them up here eventually. 

I should also note that the Trials are exactly five months from this date!  Every thing that I do now is all a part of the journey!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tempo Fail

5 Miles at Half Marathon Pace or Faster

~4 miles warmup
3.5 miles at 604 pace
~3 miles cool down for ~11.3 miles total

I think I was being a bit too aggressive with my goals for this workout given my schedule this week.  I had a good long run with a tempo on Sunday, a great mile repeats workout on Tuesday, and expected to continue the upward trend this Thursday.  Instead, I found that my legs were tired and that they just didn't have the energy to keep treking up and down the Booty Loop's hills.  Even with the solid pack of Spada, Bilbrey, Carolyn, and Shue, I was just tired.  Plain and simple. Spada and Billy rocked it and Carolyn kept up with us for the first 800m and then did her own thing.  It was exciting to see her face out there with us.  I like her spirit!

With just 9 days until the 13.1 Minneapolis, all I can do is wipe this one off the slate and trust that the miles that I've put in over the summer have indeed kept my fitness at a level that will help me achieve my goals. 

Perhaps I would have run better if I had done this work out on Friday, but family is more important.  I leave tomorrow morning early to head to Michigan for a cousin's wedding.  I will be seeing family members that I haven't seen in over five years on Friday, which leaves me no time to workout.  I also will be meeting my little second cousins.  Playing with them will probably be a work out in itself!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mile Repeats at McAlpine

5 x 1600 w 400m jog

29 minute warmup for ~3.7 miles
5xmile at 5:47, 5:34, 5:33, 5:29, 5:31
18 minute cool down for ~2.3 miles for 11.75 miles total
This was definitely an early morning workout at McAlpine..5:40AM.  I pulled up to the Old Bell Parking lot to find Billy and Stephen Spada already waiting for me.  All pride in what I thought was my early arrival was immediately dashed.  After an attempt to parallel park in a tight spot, I decided it was too early to try to master that one.  I found out as I jogged up to the guys that Billy did the exact same thing and failed as well.  Spada didn't miss a beat and took a moment to make fun of our poor early morning driving abilities. 

Without any head lamps, we made our way through the washed out trail and stumbled over the ruts and divets that the torrential downpour caused.  Around the lake, we were able to link up with the miner's runners but we soon bid them farewall as we made our way to the starting line of the XC course.  Since the three of us had come to ill prepared for the darkness, we had to do our first interval on the first mile of the course.  Then we jogged over to the 3rd mile of the course to finish the rest of the intervals since the sun was finally starting to peak through the trees.

We started off our first mile repeat super relaxed - we went through the first 400m in a 96, which would be 6:24 pace.  By the 800m mark, we had picked it up to 3:00 and negative split by 13 seconds in the second half to finish in 5:47.  I didn't want to run all of my mile repeats at 5:47, but it was a good way to open up the work out so that I felt smooth and relaxed at that pace. 

When we ran the last four intervals, we added on 5-10 meters past the 3 mile mark since this mile is the short one.  I think this should account for whatever distance that mile is short, but who knows.  Regardless, when I saw my time for the second repeat (5:34), I was thrilled. I felt relaxed in the first 800m, and with the uneven footing, I was able to run a decent split.  We ran 5:29-5:34 for these intervals on the back loop and on each repeat, we were faster through the 1200m mark than we had been on the one prior.  Billy pulled away from me on the 4th and 5th ones, and Spada on the 5th. 

Overall, I'm really pleased with this workout because I completed all of the intervals, posted good times on difficult terrain, and battled through it when I really wanted to stop on the fifth one.  On Thursday, I've got a 5 mile tempo that I'm hoping to knock out on the Booty Loop to provide some challenge with the uphill and downhill.

interval: time (jog rest time)
1: 5:47 (3:10)
2: 5:34 (2:51)
3: 5:33 (2:52)
4: 5:29 (2:46)
5: 5:31

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Week in Review

~81 Miles
16 Mile Long Run
2 Doubles
3 Ab Sessions
1 Massage

In an effort to account for my crazy schedule that started on Wednesday, I kept things early in the week light and just focused on getting my runs in before my social life got the best of me.  The week started off with a solid 1000m workout and I had over 35 miles after 3 days of running.  On Wednesday, I traveled to Atlanta to visit my best friend Merry as she connected over night in Atlanta for her first trip back to the US in over a year after being in the Peace Corps.  We exchanged updates about our lives, reminisced about memories and people from Wake, and laughed about some of the oddities of Dominican Republic culture.  All of this took place into late hours in the night, and I had to wake up at 5:00AM to drive back to Charlotte in time for work.

Needless to say that the trip was well worth whatever lack of sleep I may have gotten, and I made it to work on time.  Combining the lack of sleep with the humidity made my body feel absolutely terrible, so I called off a tempo workout on Friday and decided to run hard for a 5k in my long run on Sunday.

On Friday night, my former massage therapist from Wake Forest, Joel Tull, was able to get us some free tickets to Cirque du Soleil since he is their massage therapist whenever they tour through the Carolinas.  The show was great!!  I still liked Totem better, but Cirque always will hold a special place in my heart because of the amazing feats of strength, agility and skill that are demonstrated by the athletes!

I topped out the week with a long run that was shared with about 20 other Charlotte runners on the Davidson campus and trails.  Afterwards, a group of 10 of us enjoyed the delicious food over at Toast before we made our way over to the Hepp-Hovis training facility for a quick dip in the pool.

I've got two more weekends of travel, and then I'll be staying put in Charlotte for a couple of weeks.  What's next?  Next weekend I'll be in Michigan for my cousin's wedding and the following week Meagan and I will be making an appearance at the 13.1 Minneapolis race.  Another wedding in Raleigh will keep me occupied in the final days of August.  Soon Jay and Lauren will be married too!  By the beginning of September, Garrett's baseball season will be wrapping up, but he won't be coming straight back to North Carolina.  Instead, he is opting to go straight to my parent's house to get to know them better and to also earn some money by working for their real estate business.  By that time, it will have been over 9 weeks since the last time I saw him.  I'm sure a trip home to Carbondale to visit Garrett while he's there will be something that comes to fruition.  After that, it's time to buckle down and focus on training, proper recovery, nutrition and all the other little things that build up to become really important!  (Not that I haven't been focusing on that, but travel does make it much harder to!)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

7x1000m Repeats in Dilworth...Again

8x1000m at sub-3:20 with 300m jog rest

3+ mile warmup
7x1000m at interval (rest)
3:24 (2:17)
3:19 (2:35)
3:19 (2:22)
3:19 (2:35)
3:18 (2:34)
3:18 (2:54)
3+ mile cool down for ~11 miles

After making Meagan get up way earlier than she would have liked, I wanted to make it up to her somehow.  I decided to drive over to the start of the Dilworth Speed Loop to place three bottles of ice cold water waiting for us at every interval.  Turns out we had five people doing this workout, so I figured three bottles would be sufficient for the lot of us.  I did this workout back on June 28th, so I had high hopes to run just as well as I did then.  Turns out we ran almost exactly identical to how we did then, except that I didn't drop a 3:14 for the last two.  Regardless, I am pleased with this work out because I ran under 3:20 which is always a great time for me.

Fortunately I had the company of Spada, Billy, Eric, and Meagan to help push me. Unfortunately, Meagan had to drop off after a couple because it just wasn't her day.  Since she disappeared in such a stealth mode, the boys had to listen to me between intervals as I worried out loud about her whereabouts and also her gimp shin. For the intervals 1-5, Eric and I really worked together as we ran side-by-side and pushed each other to run decent times.  It was fun even if we had to yell at Billy for staying in the middle of the road on one occasion!

After the fifth interval, I was tired of taking the lead, so I told Billy to lead.  This was a good learning lesson for him as he typically just runs side by side with me.  I was hoping he would realize that he can execute his own strategy by taking the lead.  Sure enough, he felt great and ran some really fast times.  This helped me maintain my pace as I watched Billy pull away from me.  Spada and I ran together for all of these and it seemed like we both weren't feeling as great as we had the month earlier.

At the end of the work out, Spada jumped into his car and I was left to listen to Billy and Eric analyze their work outs.  It's funny how everyone handles their post-workout.  Spada jumps into his car without a cool down, Billy talks about the last time he did 1000s (February 2010) and his latest Grand Prix race, Eric analyzes his final striders and form, and I just listen to them all and maybe say a word or two but then keep the rest of my own analysis in my head.  I'm probably just creating a rough draft in my head about what I'm going to write about in my blog. 

Needless to say, the difference amongst all of us is what keeps these work outs exciting.  It definitely breaks up the monotony of just running solo.