Friday, September 30, 2011

3x3 Mile Repeats Success

3x3 miles at 18:00-18:15 with 3:00 rest

2 miles warmup in 16 min

3x3 mile on McAlpine 5k course (skip the hill) at:
18:07 - 608, 610, 549 (short 3rd mile) (3:40 rest)
18:14 - 602, 610, 602 (accurate 3rd mile) (3:50 rest)
17:54 - 558, 601, 554

2 mile cooldown for 13 miles total

I have been really delinquent on my blog posts.  I think this has to do with a combination of things: 
1) My boyfriend is in town and I've been spending a lot of quality time with him to make up for the 7 months that he was gone
2) I have had the CRC Newsletter to edit and publish, and it takes at least 10-15 hours to finish.
3) Work is busy!

That being said, I am finally getting around to posting about my latest workout, which was definitely a success.

David, Eric, and I decided to meet at McAlpine at 645AM for a 2 mile warmup before we began the dreaded 3x3 mile workout.  This workout requires so much mental preparation, it is exhausting!  We decided to skip the McAlpine hill and added on an extra loop around the pond.  Of course, we were wearing our Garmins, but it just so happened that we still hit all the markers, but just 400m off.  We did have to add on near the finish since the third mile is already short.  The first one was a little short, so it's more likely that we ran about 18:14 for that first one.  However, after that interval, we added on to make it a full 3 miles.

I felt pretty good on the first one and there isn't much to report from that perspective.  On the second one, my legs started to feel a bit fatigued in the last 1200 meters, but we all stuck together so the motivation to hang with the boys kept me alive.

On the third one, I could tell that David was holding back and, sure enough, after 1.5 miles, he took off to run sub-5:45s and I stayed back, thinking that I was dying.  I checked my watch at the next split and turns out I was running faster than I had on all the other repeats!  For the final mile, I focused on keeping my body tall and my thoughts positive.  It was definitely difficult as I watched the guys pull away from me, but it's days like this that help prepare me in a race, if the group I'm hanging with pulls away from me. 

After we finished the workout, we were all really pleased with how we had done and you could tell there was a feeling of amazement in the air with our accomplishment.  I definitely liked doing this workout better at McAlpine than at the Booty Loop because it provides more diverse scenery and a more tactical course. 

That morning I had terrible stomach cramps and couldn't even bring myself to eat for the first five hours afterwards.  It was pretty awful, but this feeling is pretty standard every time I do this one.  Also, this is the last time I ever have to do this workout in 2011, so that's always fun!  Soon I'll just be doing 10 mile tempos instead.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

4xMile Repeats

5xmile repeats with 2:30 rest at 5:28-5:33


32 min warmup for 4 miles

546 (230)
538 (230)
543 (235)
538 (230)

2.75 miles cool down for 11 miles total

I headed out to do this workout in the evening, which a change in my normal schedule.  Essentially I decided I didn't want to do this workout in the dark and recruited Matt to run with me.  My legs are feeling the effects of 80+ miles from last week so I knew that it would be difficult for me to hit my target times, especially since I would be on the Dilworth Speed Loop instead of a track.  For this route, we did the 2-mile speed loop, so miles 1 and 3 were on the same course and mile 2 and 4 were on the same course. Miles 1 and 3 were uphill and miles 2 and 4 were flat, with a slight downhill in the last 200 meters. 

On the warmup, I felt terrible so I was actually quite pleased to run a sub 5:50 on the first one, especially with the uphill portion that characterizes the first half of the interval.  Fortunately I was able to get my paces under 5:40 for the rest of the intervals and then I called it a day after 4.  I've got the 3 mile repeats workout on Friday and I need to mentally prepare for that.

Garrett biked along with Matt and I.  It was very helpful because Matt didn't do the last repeat with me and Garrett provided that extra motivation that I needed to maintain my speed.  He could tell I was hurting and afterwards I told him, "I'm dead." and he replied, "I know....want some water?"  That's what I call awesome.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Week in Review

84 Miles
16 Mile Steady State Long Run
2 Doubles
2 Days of Abs
2 Workouts

With only 2 doubles and a shorter long run, I'm surprised I was able to hit 84 miles.  It was a huge help to have Garrett bike alongside me for two of my runs this week as that provided the extra motivation I needed.  I had fun with my easy runs this week and struggled through my workouts.  I want to run 550-ish pace for my 10 mile race in less than 2 weeks and I am struggling to run that in a work out.  However, I tend to race a lot better than I work out, so hopefully that will help propel me forward at the Army Ten Miler.  I also had the stress of going back and forth via email between car dealers to seal the best deal for a new Honda Accord Ex-L.  Using my negotiating skills, I was able to lower my selling price to below that of the invoice price, saving me at least $5,000-$6,000 and getting some extra add-ins.  I've definitely learned how to play the car buying game but it was definitely exhausting!  Really happy I met my mileage target and look forward to another week above 80 this coming week.  I've got the dreaded 3 mile repeat workout, but to calm myself down, I'm thinking of it as a 9 mile tempo at 6:00-6:05 pace!  That doesn't sound too bad at all!

Friday, September 23, 2011

5 Wave Tempo Attempt

5 Mile Tempo alternating 245-250 adnd 300-305 every 800 meters


3 miles warmup to 3 mile marker at mcalpine

5 miles tempo from Miles 3-4 and then back to old bell in the dark with the wet soil and only one head lamp
250 (fast)
309 (slow)
251 fast
258 slow
253 fast
307 slow
258 supposed to be fast
310 slow
258 supposed to be fast
250 supposed to be slow for 29:53 total

2 miles cool down for 10 miles total

So yeah,  this work out is really hard.  Or maybe it's just that mentally I didn't want to put into work into this today.  It's been a killer of a week, but after this workout I decided on my drive home that I needed to let go of the noise that is stressing me out.  This little mental exercise worked well because I went into work with a better attitude and with the belief that everything was going to be alright and get completed.  I wish I had taken the time to calm my mind BEFORE the workout, but that's what learning is all about.  In these next couple of months leading up to the Trials, I really need to focus on what's best for me and, as my college coach always said, "get a little bit more selfish."  I don't mean this in a bad way, but it's really just another way of saying, stick to your own schedule and regime as to what works best for YOU. So - if I ditch you on a run to sleep in, it's probably because I'm recognizing my body needs that extra amount of sleep and I'm hoping it will mean I run one minute faster at the Trials.  Kidding, but you see where I'm going. 

So, back to this workout.  We ran the entire tempo in the dark, with the exception of the last mile.  The ground was soggy and soft, not conducive to running fast times.  It was hot and muggy, but fortunately there was a break in the rain system that has been plagueing NC with its presence.  It was difficult for me to hit the target times as I felt like I was aimlessly pounding my feet down onto invisible pavement and soft mud.   After 3 miles, Spada and Billy took off and I was left to think about how miserable I felt and how I would never again do this workout at McAlpine. I know that I would have gone faster if I hadn't gotten pissed that I had chosen McAlpine after a rainy night.  I need to focus on being mentally present during these work outs and to push through whatever physical pain I've dreamed up. 

Looking forward to a weekend of relaxation and then a 16 mile steady state on Sunday morning.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

1000m Repeats in Dilworth

8x1000m at 320-324 with 2 min rest

21 min warmup for 2.7 miles

3:33 (200)
3:23 (202)
3:26 (158)
3:24 (201)
3:22 (200)
3:24 (1:57)
3:22 (201)

25 min cool down for 3.3 miles for 11.3 miles total

I'm busy catching up on my blog posts.  It's been a rather crazy week as I am swamped at work, looking for a new car to buy as Redbird is dying on me, and spending time with Garrett. 

This workout was early in the morning hours and we finished the 1000m repeats before the sun had even come up.  There really isn't much to report here except that it was really humid and that I contemplated dropping out of the workout.  I didn't want the boys to completely own me so I kept at it and finished the entire planned workout.  It's always hardest to get past that mental barried of thinking that you can't do it, when in reality you can.  It's all a matter of believing in yourself and tricking your mind into thinking that your body doesn't actually hurt nearly as much as it thinks. 

It was nice to have Aaron around because he hung back with me for a couple when I really thought I was struggling, when in reality Spada and Billy were just having a great workout and I was still hitting my goal times.  With such little rest and following my first weekly mileage of 80 miles, I'm glad I finished this workout within my target range of times.  Next up I've got a 5 mile wave tempo on Friday.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Week in Review

80.5 Miles
19 Mile Long run with 3 miles at 635 pace
5 Mile Tempo
2 Doubles
6 days in Illinois

Wahoo, I hit my mileage target for the week even though I was in my hometown, without my standard Charlotte running pals.  I only ran two workouts this week, but felt great on practically every run so I feel like everything is really starting to fall into place.  I guess I'll really put everything to the test when I'm at the Army Ten Miler in a couple of weeks with Meagan.  After putting in hours on the computer for BofA, I would run in the afternoon either by myself or with the SIU girls.  I had the honor of joining them for their long run and then adding on additional miles since I'm a marathoner and they are collegiate runners aiming for a 6k cross country race.  I enjoyed my time visiting with my parents and Garrett.  Garrett and I came back to Charlotte with six watermelons, a quart of peppers, a pint of tomatoes, and bags of homemade snacks courteous of my mom.  All in all, life is good.  Running is good. Family is great!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tempo in a So Ill Monsoon

3x3 mile at 6-605 with 3 min rest

2.1 mile warmup in 15:32
5 mile tempo in 29:12 with splits of (5:51, 5:56, 5:50, 5:41, 5:53)
2 mile cool down in 15:43 for 9.1 miles total

You read that right. I was supposed to do the ever-time consuming workout of 3x3 miles solo in so ill (southern illinois).  During my warmup, dark storm clouds rolled in and I figured I should cut the warmup short to allow myself time for the 3x3 mile before the rain started to come.  Turns out the rain came much earlier...1 mile into the workout.  

I did some quick thinking on my toes and picked up the pace to turn the workout into a tempo.  I knew that I had some sort of 5 mile tempo next week or the week after and figured I could swap it out for next week when I have company and better weather.  My legs actually were feeling pretty great as I sloshed through the rain puddles around SIUC Campus Lake.  By the fourth mile, I was feeling fantastic.  Lightning was striking above my head, water was dripping into my eyes, and snot kept shooting out of my nose as I tried to inhale air, but got water instead and then had to snort it back out.  Regardless of all of this, I felt pretty awesome.  I had no idea what was going to happen when I turned back towards the SIU arena.  

I hadn't really noticed the wind yet, but then I turned north.  Immediately rain was pelting my face sideways as the wind tried to push me backwards like a middle school bully.  I thought of Forrest Gump when he described the different types of rain.  This was definitely the sideways rain he talked about, combined with terrible wind.  I went from feeling spectacular to feeling craptacular.  I didn't even want to look at my mile split as I felt like it would disappoint me.  Soon I crested a hill and saw that I had less than 400m left.  I tried to give it my all, but the wind fought hard against my every attempt.  I checked on my Weather Channel app later and saw that the wind was "N at 20-30 mph."  Figures.  Somehow I managed to still finish my last mile in my goal half marathon pace.  Hopefully with good weather conditions I can run faster.

I finished the workout right near my car, but I still had to cool down.  I was hoping to get in 3 miles so I could call it 10 for the day since I didn't double this morning.  However, right after my Garmin beeped for the 2nd mile, the sky was cut in half with a scary lightning bolt that made my arm hairs stand up, followed immediately by a thunder rumble that practically made my car bounce.  I figured that was God's way of telling me to go home and to stop worrying my parents.  Turns out he was right.  About the time that I started my tempo, my mother called me to leave a voicemail to tell me to come home.  As if.  I've got the Olympic Trials exactly 4 months from today.  Tempos are the heart and soul of my training for the next months and I need to ensure I get them in.

While I understand that the weather conditions were far from awesome, I am really trying not to get down on myself for my tempo times.  I just need to keep my head up and to keep putting in the work and the times will come.  The next four months will be critical for me as I focus on getting my abs in three times a week, lifting in twice a week, and creating a consistent training schedule in terms of my doubles and workouts.  Some changes are definitely being made, and it will most likely take my body a couple more weeks to adjust to the new schedule and way of doing things.  

In other news, since I am working remotely from Illinois, it has been rather difficult to do morning runs because of the one-hour time difference combined with the 8:30AM start time I have to be "at work."  Not to mention that the project I've been leading for the past 10 months is about to launch, which is really stressful.  I also have to buy a new car in the month so lots of life things are happening right now.  It's definitely a time where I need to focus on my inner calm to keep the stress level to a minimum.  Good thing I'm at home where my parents cook me delicious meals!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Week in Review

~78 Miles
14 Miles Long Run Steady State
2 Workouts
16+ Hours of Traveling in 36 Hours
3 Days in Illinois

Phew, am I tired after this week. Not because I ran some inordinate amount of mileage, but because of the travel that ensued in a trek to visit my family!  On Friday, after a long layover in Atlanta, I finally arrived in St. Louis to be greeted by my parents and my boyfriend!  We went to Whole Foods for dinner and then made our way from St. Louis, Missouri, to Normal, Illinois to visit my grandma.  After four hours in the car, we finally arrived at 10PM.  The next day, Garrett met my entire Dad's side of the family and fortunately he gained their approval. After that, we drove to Canton, Illinois to see my mom's sister.  I passed where I ran the Illinois State Cross Country meet four years in a row, and I got such a strong sense of nostalgia.  Oh, the glory days!

My legs were tired this week but I had the honor of running 8 miles with my 62 year old dad on Saturday.  I cherish moments like these because I know his days of keeping up with me are limited, so I take advantage of his company when I can!  I also got to run 14 miles at an average of 6:40 pace with the SIUC Cross Country Freshmen and Sophomores.  I forgot to put on suncreen and now I'm ridiculously sunburnt.  I hate when I'm so stupid I forget to put on sunscreen when I am running from 12:30-2PM in Illinois.  I lead the way and took them from campus to the hilly back country roads.  About halfway, we stopped at my parents' house to get some water and fresh watermelon juice!  The guys loved that part of the run most. 

For this next week, I'll be in Carbondale, working remotely from the SIU Coach's house while Garrett helps put a new roof on my parents' house.  In case you're wondering, my parents live outside of town so they can't get cable or wireless I have to come to town to get that sort of luxury!  I'll spend the next 6 days eating fresh food from my dad's garden, running with the SIU girls, and showing off Garrett to my hometown friends.  Although I'm still working, I already feel like I'm relaxed!  It is quite possibly because I don't really have to cook my own food and it's certainly nice. 

In terms of running, I'm doing a fartlek on Tuesday with the SIU girls and then on Friday I'm doing the 3x3 mile workout around the SIU campus lake. That should be a tough one, but at least the campus lake is flat!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

5 Mile Tempo Fail Of Sorts

5 mile tempo at 545-500 pace

3.1 mile warmup
4 mile tempo in 24:00 with splits of 600, 557, 600, 603
3.5 mile cool down

Early morning tempo runs in the darkness at McAlpine are one of my all time favorite things to do.  Not.

I typically really enjoy these sorts of runs, but after four hard workouts in six days, my body rejected the idea of doing a tempo.  In fact, my body threw the tempo right back into my face, completely repulsed by the idea of running fast.  The McAlpine trails owned me.  The boys owned me.  Heck, a deer probably owned me.

Not much to report here except that Spada took charge of this workout, which I gratefully accepted because I didn't feel like doing all the work.  I tried to react to his move after the first mile but instead found myself slipping back to Eric and David.  By the turn around, I was certain that it would only be a matter of time until the entire group passed me up.  All the guys finished the entire tempo, but I couldn't muster it within myself to run past the four mile mark.  Instead, I stopped, walked a bit, and then ran to the next 400m mark.  I stopped, walked a bit again, and ran to the next 400m mark. Then I decided it was time to just run slow and let go of my crappy workout.  I should note that all the guys absolutely awesome.  They are my training partners for a reason!

I'm ready to be off to Illinois and to get back to my normal training routine of workouts on Tuesdays and Fridays with a long run on Sunday. Mark and I met today to discuss my training plan and we both agree that consistency is the key, even down to the minute details like which days you work out on and which days you double on. I don't have other real crazy social obligations over the next four months, so I think I'm all set to go!  Head up and feet forward, tomorrow is a new day!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Week in Review

78.5 Miles
2 Doubles
2 Workouts
17+ mile Long Run
No Abs

Marking my first real week in my new training plan, I feel like I started it on the right foot.  I completed all of my planned workouts and long runs and also hit my target mileage for this week.  Now I just need to keep things going so that when it comes time for the Army Ten Miler, I'll be able to show those Army boys what running with a girl is all about.  Can't wait!

The theme of this week wasn't about running, however. It was about spending time with loved ones as we celebrated the marriage of Jay and Lauren!  I had the honor to be one of Lauren's bridesmaids and I just wanted to make sure that I helped Lauren in any way that I could.  Not sure if I really was any help, but I do hope that I gave her any sort of support and encouragement she needed on her big day.  

Side Note:  Lauren looked absolutely STUNNING in her Casablanca gown and was so perfectly  photogenic.  She had all the looks down - happy, sultry, serious, sexy - you name it and she pulled it out of her toolkit. She also happened to provide a very loving and comical toast that made all of the wedding guests chuckle at. I'm telling you...this woman is a jack of all trades and Jay is very lucky to have chosen her as his wife.

After the toasts, the food, and the cutting of the cake, people nearly trampled each other over in a mad rush to get into the photo booth room to make sure their memory snapshot was documented in their wedding day scrapbook.  Somewhere during this time, I drank a couple of glasses wine enough to be deemed as a "train wreck" by Aaron.  I wasn't the type of train wreck that crashes into things or people or falls off track.  I was more like the train wreck who talks to too many people, compliments them too much, and dances so much I sweat so profusely that even Matt Jaskot says "caitlin, even your arm is wet."  Yeah, that kind of train wreck.  A happy one celebrating a happy communion between two close friends.  I'm sure Jay is glad that I took full advantage of his wedding shenanigans.  I know I am.

A big shout out to AJ for giving me a ride home!

Cake figurines! 

Lauren, Caitlin and Jay

Friday, September 2, 2011

3x2 Mile at McAlpine

3x2 Mile at 545-600 Pace with 2:00 Jog Rest

3.1 miles warmup in 23:40
11:44 (5:59, 5:45) (2:00 rest)
11:34 (5:47, 5:47) (2:15 rest)
11:34 (5:53, 5:41)
1.6 miles cool down in 13:20

Well this workout definitely went better than the last time I ran this back in June.  As this was my most important run for this week, I really wanted to run within the specified times.  With the company of Spada and David Willis, I was able to keep my head up and finish up strong despite finishing behind the boys.  While I'm sure Spada appreciates the view of me from behind, he had nothing to look ahead towards as he finished "first" in this workout.  

With Jay Holder back in town to get hitched, he joined a whole crew of us at McAlpine - Aaron, David, Carolyn, Mike Kahn, Spada, Billy, and more that I didn't see in the dark.  At the 400m mark by Old Bell, we approached what appeared to be a dead body.  Don't panic.  It was just Billy Shue pulling a prank even though he has strep throat which he could have acquired from running the Warrior Dash...

We enjoyed a nice warmup to the 3 mile mark and then began our workout.  The course would be to the 4 mile mark, out-and-back, for the first interval.  Then we'd run onto the course and skip the hill for the 2nd.  For the third, we ran around the lake and back to Old Bell so that someone could pull a Spada and jump immediately into his car.  David originally had mile repeats but decided that running with Spada and I would be a lot cooler.  Turns out he ran exceptionally well. Expect some fast times out of him this fall!

Spada likes to let me lead the way for most of these workouts during the beginning.  Then about halfway through our workout, he bursts ahead and I get left in the dust.  It actually is quite a good partnership because it motivates me not to fall apart and forces me to employ mental tactics.  On the first one we were all together and it didn't feel easy.  

The second one I lead the way until Spada made a move at 1 mile to make a sizable gap on me.  I struggled to hang on but somehow still managed to finish with an even split.

The last split I really struggled in the first mile as Spada and David both pulled away from me in the first 400m.  I was on the verge of crumbling apart, both mentally and physically, when I suddenly had a change of heart.  What this really means is that I started cursing at myself and telling myself to stop feeling sorry for myself.  I was able to finish my last mile as one of the fastest of the day which is always a good feeling, even if you feel like crap in the process.  

The key takeaway from this work out is that I am very lucky to have people to run with, to be injury free for an extended period of time, and to have the opportunity to exercise in this beautiful weather.  I really have no excuse to crumble apart mentally.  Whenever I start feeling down or like I can't finish a workout, I need to remember these critical elements because they cannot be taken for granted.  I need to savior each and every run leading up to the Trials because it's all about the journey!

In other news, Garrett's team was eliminated from the playoffs, so he'll be driving from upstate New York and all the way to Southern Illinois starting on Monday.  I am flying home to see him and my extended family members for an entire 9 days while still working remotely for Bank of America.  Assuming I did the math correctly in my head, that means there are only 7 days left until I see him!  Ra-ra-ra!