Thursday, June 28, 2012


16x400m with 1:00 rest at 77-78

3.4 mile warmup
79 (60)
76 (60)
79 (53)
77 (60)
77 (58)
76 (58)
77 (59)
77 (119)
76 (57)
78 (59)
76 (58)
77 (58)
78 (58)
77 (59)
76 (56)
2.5-ish cool down for 11 miles total

I performed this workout on Thursday instead of Friday because I am driving to Nashville, TN tonight after work to begin my epic trek to Indiana to visit Garrett for the first and only time this season.  Fortunately, I was still able to recruit some guys for company on this one: Matt, Brad, Caleb and David.    We all met at the Wilmore Welcome Center and jogged over to JCSU at 5:40am for some early repeats on the track. Since I had just completed a 3x2 mile workout only 2 days prior, I wasn't entirely sure if I could hit my target paces.  Fortunately, the company of the boys pulled me along to hit the goal for the most part.  In fact, this was the first track workout in a while where I really just ran, without looking at splits or anything.  I just cruised along, trusting in what my legs were doing.  After 8 laps, we took a 2 min break to grab some much needed water before beginning the second half of the quarters.  I don't think I've actually completed the full 16x400m workout in the last three times I've done this, so I was pleased that I powered through to actually complete the entire workout for once.  Another new goal for this season--complete all of my #1 and #2 most important workouts for that week, which Mark has conveniently prioritized for me.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

3x2 Mile

3x2 mile with 2:00 rest at 5:50-5:55 pace

3.4 mile warmup
3x2 mile with 2:00 rest at 5:47 pace
11:36 (5:48, 5:48), 11:35 (5:47, 5:45), 11:36 (5:47, 5:48)
2 mile cool down

This was an early morning run at the Dilworth Speed Loop with Chad, Mike, Spada, Caleb and Danielle.  In the past, I've approached this workout with the goal to run faster than I ever have on this course.  However, now that I've received my new training plan from Coach Mark Hadley, I knew that this wasn't the goal.  My new focus is to make 5:50-6:05 pace feel as controlled, relaxed and easy as possible.  This means that I really won't be going "all out" in workouts so much any more as I prepare for Philly.

With this goal nestled into my mind, I set off behind the boys for the first interval.  I could tell that everyone else was trying not to just leave me in the dust in the first 800m, but they held back just enough.  Caleb was a trusty sidekick the entire way as we ran side-by-side for all intervals.  Just like clockwork, I ticked off 5:47s like it was no big deal.  I was surprised at how perfectly I could hit those splits and make it feel relatively easy.  For the third interval, I felt a little bit more fatigued, but I could account that to the humid weather that has finally made its way to North Carolina.

In the end, I definitely achieved the goals of this workout. I really do think that Mark would be proud of how I executed the workout strategy to perfection, even if the splits were a little faster than the original goal pace he had outlined. I'm looking forward to working on my pacing throughout the next six months.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Week in Review

34 Miles
4 Days of running
3 Days off
3 Dance Classes
60 hours at work

So, this week I ran fewer miles than I would have liked, but I had some work priorities that invaded my normal running activities.  I stayed at work until 9PM on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The other days I stayed until 6:30PM which wasn't too bad. Surprisingly, when I went for my first run since the half, my legs felt awesome.  Every run this week was quite enjoyable and my legs felt like brand new.  After the work week was over, I hung out a lot with John and Matt and took advantage of the South End neighborhood association's planned events.  We went to the food truck celebration on Friday and ate some delicious vegan tacos.  On Saturday, John and I picked blueberries, tanned at the pool, and enjoyed socializing with friends at the CRC cookout at Latta Park.  All in all, the hectic work week was capped off with a relaxing weekend spent with friends. I couldn't be happier!

In baseball news, Garrett may or may not have hurt his hand pretty bad in a fluke accident.  We are hoping to find out good news on his prognosis tomorrow!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Week in Review

63 miles
2 Doubles
Half Marathon in 1:17:50
4 days in Minnesota

Much of this week was already documented in other posts.  I would like to thank Mark Hadley for allowing Meagan and I to jump in his car for a ride back to Minneapolis early on Sunday in hopes of catching an earlier flight.  I literally was the last standby passenger allowed onto the 12PM flight back to Charlotte, which meant I landed five hours earlier than I had expected.  I also am especially grateful to Ariana Hilborn and her husband for letting us catch a ride with them to Duluth from Minneapolis!

Even if I didn't achieve the time goal that I was hoping for in the race yesterday, I had a great time socializing with Meagan and taking in the beautiful scenery of Duluth and Lake Superior.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

USA Half Marathon Championships

#1 - PR (faster than 1:18:49)
#2 - 1:17:00
#3 - Have fun!

#1 - PR - 1:17:49
5:40, 5:49, 5:42, 5:55, 6:03, 5:58, 5:58, 6:05, 6:02, 6:04, 6:03, 5:54, 6:00, :36

I'm over a week behind on my blog, so I'll keep this recap uncharacteristically short.

Meagan and I were surprised to discover we each were provided a free room, courtesy of the USATF Athlete Development Program.  Like normal people, we opted to stay in just one room together.  That being said, we woke up at 4AM to catch our ride to the start line.  With a quiet calm (or sleepiness?) we both put on our race gear and headed out the door to load the bus at 4:30am.  The bus ride was filled by sharing one earphone with Meagan to listen to "Call me Maybe" ten different times.  Never gets old.

By the time we made it to the elite athlete area, the sun was already rising and we just used the bathroom a lot and talked to other girls.  The highlight for me during this time was when I took my last pee break.  I walked up to the porta john line, where Kara Goucher had positioned herself kind of in the line and kind of out of the line.  I asked her if she was in line, and let's just say her response was pretty classic.  Probably my first and only time interacting with a running celebrity, and I'll cherish it for the rest of my life...and Kara will never even remember it. In the end, America's sweetheart runners are just like us!

We were corralled to the start line, and Meagan and I situated ourselves in the third row back.  Knowing that we would likely be a full seven minutes behind the leaders, we didn't want to get in anyone's way.  The gun went off and Meagan and I just tucked in behind a group that seemed to be going around the pace we wanted.  Mile 1 passed by -- whoops, not on pace at all.  5:40.  Allison and Alana were just a couple of meters ahead of me, as I was positioned in the back of a pack that they were leading.  By mile 2, I didn't feel Meagan near me anymore, and I glanced back and didn't see her. I had a sinking feeling that it was just going to be me today because of the issues she'd been battling with her leg.  By mile 3, even with another fast mile at 5:42, the pack had already dropped me.  There were a few girls surrounding me, but eventually they gradually pulled away from me or fell back.  Soon, it was just me on the course (or so it seemed).

For miles 4-8, the course stretched endlessly ahead of me and I could see Allison and Alana in the distance ahead of me the entire time.  No one passed me, but I passed a couple of girls--maybe 3-4 at most.  I didn't bother looking at any splits after mile 5 because it was just too discouraging.  At mile 9, one girl passed me, but then I passed her back on one of the few uphills right before the 9 mile marker.  At this point, I didn't feel like I was aerobically pushing it, but I just didn't have any motivation whatsoever to try to push a little bit harder, to dig deep and to hurt.  I wanted so desperately to have Meagan running alongside me, providing me that extra drive, but I didn't have that and I was racing ike a baby.  By mile 10, I could tell I was gaining on some more people and passed a couple more girls, but I knew that the race wasn't long enough for me to catch any others after that.  I winded through the streets of downtown Duluth and was just mentally ready to be done.  I realized with 1 mile left that I might actually PR so I picked it up a tad, but not by much.  Instead of crossing the line in triump, I passed it in relief.  I had achieved a PR, but I didn't feel as physically worn down as I felt like I should have.

After the race, I spent some time looking for Meagan at the finish line, gave up, and grabbed some water in the elite tent.  I hung out with Mark, Alana, Allison, and Pezz.  I learned that almost no one PRed that day and everyone seemed a little disappointed with their performance.  Although Pezz didn't PR, she did place 9th and came away with some prize money.  Allison was a solid minute off her PR time and Alana was 15 seconds away from hers.  I know that all of these women are in shape to run a lot faster, so it was a bit of a relief to realize that several people ran slower than they had anticipated.

Eventually, Meagan found us and informed us that her leg hurt too much to push it to the finish.  Meagan and I slowly walked our way back to our hotel that was just a block away.  After a couple of hours of lounging around in the hotel room, we finally made our way to breakfast, where I ordered 4 eggs + 2 egg whites, 1 blueberry pancake, and 1 yogurt with granola.  Surprisingly, afterwards I didn't even feel full or bloated. I must have been hungry!

Prior to the post-race party at an old train depot, Allison, Meagan and I enjoyed our Sutter Home individual wine bottle that was provided in our goodie bag.  We then made our way to a delicious dinner and dessert bar at an old museum with lots of old train cars.  It was great to hang out with Meagan, Pezz, Allison, Alana and Mark.

I gotta say -- Duluth is pretty darn awesome.  I would definitely love to come here to vacation. Perhaps if I run this race next year, I'll stay a couple extra days and check out some of the other natural beauties in the area.  Also, the Grandma's marathon staff really stepped up their A-game for the competitors in the USA championship race.  The goodie bag, the flower and four-pack of Red Bull all added a personal touch to the race that I've never experienced before...not even at the Trials!

Additionally, I have decided that the USA championship series races aren't the best for me at this point in my fitness. I am in between the B and the C groups at these types of races, which usually means that I end up running a race by myself.  I'm better off going to NYC or Washington DC to race against several men that are right in my target pace.  I might finish as the tenth woman overall at Army ten Miler, but I'll have a much higher probability of achieving a PR.  I'll probably do the half champs again next year, assuming that I'm in shape to run 1:15.  Even Pezz, who ran 1:13, said she was alone for the majority of the race. For me, a race solo isn't nearly as fun as a race with tons of guys around me to push me.

What's Next?
I'm going to take a couple of days off before I start my training cycle to prepare for Philly Marathon. I've got Beat the Heat 5k in July and the OrthoCarolina 10k in August. The Olympics are in August, and I'll be there for four days to catch the women's 10,000m final and the women's Marathon.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pre-Race workout

3 mile tempo at 5:50 pace + 3x400m

3 miles warmup to Speed Loop
3 miles in 17:04 (5:44, 5:40, 5:39) then 4x400m in 77-78
2 miles cool down for ~10 miles total

I am very far behind on my blog...Did this workout in the morning with Mike and Spada.  It was hot and humid, and I ran the tempo faster than what Mark Hadley had prescribed for me the week before.  I was just running to keep up with the boys, but I really needed to stick around 5:50 pace.  I felt really good on the tempo and feel ready for the Half Champs on Saturday.  The 400s were rather effortless and I just stuck to Spada's rear since he was taking the lead.  This was the first time that I felt like the old Spada was back because he nailed this workout.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Week in Review

80 Miles
2 Workouts
3 Hours of Dance
3 Doubles

This week was exactly what it was supposed to be, even if I had a terrible workout on Saturday.  What was supposed to be a glorious, climactic last big workout prior to the Half Champs, turned out to be a dismal cut down workout with a less than impressive first mile split of 5:50.  Even though I could hear my coach Mark's voice in the back of my head...just keep doing mile repeats and adjust the pace, I didn't feel like doing that exactly.  Honestly, it was quite depressing that it felt harder to run 5:50 pace for 1 mile than it did to run 5:40 in my wave workout on Wednesday.  Regardless, I decided to do a ladder and after that, I felt much better.  I ran mile-1200m-1000m-800m-600m-400m-200m-400m-200m all with about 1:00-1:45 jog rest as I did repetitive circles around the Dilworth 800m loop.  After the mile repeat, I was able to maintain 5:20 pace until the 400s and 200s, where I cranked up the speed a bit.  It felt really great to get the wheels moving a bit faster than I'm used to in a while.  I'm pretty much guaranteed to have a bad workout out of every three tries, so this wasn't any surprise.  I've had my fair share of tempos this training cycle that have given me the confidence to go into the half next week, knowing that I can PR.  Even if workouts don't always go as planned, you can still mentally plan based on a couple of key workout indicators. 

I'm ready to hurt at the Half Champs.  Most importantly, I'm ready to see Meagan for the first time since March!!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Long Run + 8 Mile Wave Tempo

16 Miles + 8-10 Mile Wave

4 miles warmup
8 miles wave in 47:44 (5:52, 6:14, 5:50, 6:06, 5:44, 6:01, 5:43, 6:10)
4 miles cool down

Caleb and I continued our tradition of doing long tempos at McMullen together today.  This time he drove us down to the McMullen entrance, where the skies seemed to be holding out just long enough for us to get the majority of our run in without a torrential downpour.  Going into this, my legs felt a little heavy still (potentially from my wimpy hike on Sunday?), but I figured I would still be able to hit my times.  The plan was to start on the easy interval, but Caleb and I took it out a little hard in the first 400m, so we had a change of plans and swapped it for the fast interval.  We ran to the four mile mark and back for the tempo portion, and the rain held off until mile 3.  I am surprised we were able to maintain our paces because the wooden pathways got a little slippery and I could tell that I was running more tentatively and timidly with each step forward. Fortunately, it wasn't too bad and didn't affect my workout.  Upon the turn around, we had turned up the heat on the paces.  Our "easy" pace inched closer and closer to 6:00 and I felt grand...until the last mile.  It wasn't like the wheels came off, but they unraveled a little bit.  My legs just couldn't pick up and move as quickly (and as easily) as they had before.  I could tell that Caleb was holding back and that he could have easily finished in a 6:00 flat mile, but he was a gentleman and stayed back with me as I willed the starting line to magically appear in front of my path.  We finished up the run just as it stopped raining as hard, so for our cool down we didn't have to worry about pouring rain dripping into our eyes again.

Since this is my last big workout before the USA half champs, I am very pleased with this effort.  I believe that I can run 5:50 pace for a half marathon and this workout as cemented that belief for me.  If I can run 5:50 pace for a 10 miler, then I should be able to add on a 5k at the same pace.  The most important piece to the puzzle now is to mentally prepare for my goals.  I haven't been injured (knock on wood) in the last three years, and all of that hard work is going to pay off in Duluth.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Running of the Bulls 8k Recap

Goal #1:  8k PR (sub-28:09)
Goal #2:  $500 race earnings

3 mile warmup
Goal #2 Achieved
8k race in 28:32 with splits of 5:52, 5:24, 5:44, 6:00, 5:29
2+ miles cool down for 10 miles total

I can't complain too much because I walked away from this race with an extra $500 in my pocket.  However, I went into this race feeling like I was fit and wanting to PR.  Little did I know that the competition this year would be pathetic compared to last year.  Laura Paulsen, who beat me by almost a full minute at the NC 4 Mile Champs in March, proved to be my closest competition, finish in 28:54.  Last year, the top five women were all under 28:45.  The weather was even much better this year than last year!  You can see the evolution of my splits below, but what I'd like to highlight is the fact that my splits slid considerably during miles 4 and 5 as compared to last year.  I can tell you exactly what happened...After I discovered that the win was handily in the bag, I decided to slow it down and just cruise in.  I hate doing this.  I really wish I had committed to sticking on John Hinton's butt the entire race (who finished in 28:05).  Instead, I knew I was going to win $500, so I didn't push as hard.

2012 | 2011 | 2010
5:52  | 5:49   | 5:48
5:24  | 5:23   | 5:37
5:44  | 5:51   | 5:59
6:00  | 5:49   | 6:01
5:29  | 5:14   | 5:34

The race went out comfortable and controlled, and I made sure that Laura was in sights.  After all, she had beaten me by so much just a couple months ago.  John Hinton situated himself behind us as well and Laura and I charged ahead.  Our first mile was slow and so I decided to pick it up and use the downhill to my advantage. I gapped Laura a little here, but John was still on my shoulder.  After we passed the two mile mark, there is a steep hill.  John passed me some on this portion, but he was still within sight.  By three miles, John had gained a sizable gap on me, but I had gained a sizable gap on Laura.  The dreaded fourth mile, which is pretty much all uphill, came and went.  Instead of charging up the hill with command, like I did last year in an attempt to shake Jackie Kirby and Meagan, I succumbed to the gravity pulling me back down the hill and slowed down quite too much.  As I rounded one of the turns to make the way back towards the Durham Bull stadium, I could tell by the cheers that Laura was far back.  Instead of pushing it in as hard as possible, I cruised in relaxed and didn't even try to kick in the finish.

After the race, I introduced myself to Laura and convinced her to come cool down with John and I.  Laura was a fifth year at Duke this past year and is moving to Minnesota for some sort of medical program.  It was great to get to know her better and I knew that if she had been training more over the past couple of weeks, she would have been an even match for me.  Regardless, I'm happy with the money that I'll hopefully be receiving in the mail soon, but dissatisfied with my reasoning to slow down.  A race is a race, and I toed that line to run the best that I could that day, and I didn't give it my all.  My motivation to give it everything I've got will definitely be there at the USA Half Champs in just two weeks!

Week in Review

83 Miles
3 Doubles
12 Mile Long Run
3 Days with my brother
Hike to the top of Crowder's Mountain

I'm a week behind on my blog, so this will be a quick one.  This week was a lower mileage than I would have liked, but work got in the way and so did my social schedule.  I went to the La Cage the musical one night and absolutely loved every moment of it.  I didn't go to a single dance class, and I didn't do that many doubles.  Not sure what I did with my time, to be honest.  I enjoyed a short, but sweet visit from my brother Joey, who got to experience one of the first (of many more) Wilmore cookouts.  All in all, I could tell my body was recovering from the tough week before and from being sick.  Looking forward to the half champs in just two weeks!