Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December in Review

The month of December can best be summed up with some pictures from my adventures in Kauai and California with my family.  I spent 16 whole days with my family, which is the longest amount of time we've been together since we all lived under one roof.  The focus for this month after the marathon was to rest and recover in the company of my family members in some of the best December weather I could ever ask for.  I am very happy that I got to spend such quality time with my family. In Kauai, I did four different day hikes, went scuba diving for the first time ever, went paddle boarding for the first time ever, and snorkeled multiple times.  The time in Kauai was all about being active in other ways than just running.  The time in LA was all about relaxing and recovering by basically running very little and sleeping a lot.  It was a great way to close out the year and I'm excited to get back to real training once 2014 arrives.

Week of December 2nd:
65 Miles
3xmile @ MP w/ 60s rest
CIM in 2:40:28, 9th, $1000

Week of December 9th:
3 Miles
3 Days in Kauai
5 Hours Hiking

Week of December 16:
14 Miles
5 Days in Kauai
2 Days in Cali
10+ hours of hiking

Week of December 23:
38 Miles
1 Day Off
11 mile "Long Run"
5 Days in Cali

Week of December 30:
59 Miles
13.2M "Long Run"
0 Days off
7 Day in CLT

Napali Coast hike
Waimea Canyon Hike
The Whole Family at Birthday din
My 28th Birthday dinner with Garrett
Our resort was right on the water


One of the hikes we did
Thrilled to be hiking

Lookout from the Swamp Trail

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cal International Marathon Recap

Goal #1: Run the B Standard for 2016 Trials (Sub-2:43)
Goal #2: Run a PR (Sub-2:41:52)
Goal #3: Run sub-2:40

Actual: 2:40:28, 9th female, $1000, splits at bottom of post

As I got out of the car at the Charlotte airport on Friday, Garrett yelled at me "Get the A-standard!" before closing the door and zipping away. I shook my head at him, both for his unwavering confidence in my abilities, but also for shooting for the stars. Despite his vote of confidence, my goals were a little different. I knew that on a great day with perfect conditions, I was ready to run around 2:38-2:39. Given the fact that I Gallo-walked at the Olympic Trials Marathon in January 2012 and also failed to make it to the start line of Philly Marathon 2012, running that fast was somewhat daunting. I hadn't run a marathon in almost two years. However, my workouts and races over the past two months indicated that I was primed and ready to achieve my goals.

Sunday definitely wasn't perfect, but I still achieved a substantial PR, punched my second ticket to the Olympic Trials and earned $1000 for my efforts. I'm pretty damn happy!

The weekend unfolded on Friday with an early 6:00AM flight out to Houston and then Sacramento. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. I didn't qualify for any other benefits besides an elite entry, so I spent almost $700 on the trip here including rental car, hotel, gas and food. This just provided me extra motivation to get the Trials standard and prove the coordinators wrong.

The rest of the day went like this: I drove to the Residence Inn in my bright red rental car, went for a solo five mile run along the river, picked up my race bib before walking to a delicious restaurant for whole wheat pasta. After eating at 4PM, I went to Safeway to get some food and decorated my water bottles before going to sleep at 6:30PM. During these hours by myself, I really wished that I had bought a ticket for Garrett to come out here with me. Meagan's flight landed around the time I was changing into my pajamas, so I didn't get to hang out with her until the next morning.

Meagan and I, along with Jeannette Faber and Brett Ely, jogged together on a beautiful Saturday morning. We all noted that this weather would be perfect for a marathon, knowing that the temperatures tomorrow would be about 20 degrees cooler. My legs felt absolutely great, and I knew that tomorrow at least one of my goals would be attained. The rest was the day was spent using as little energy as possible in the elite hospitality suite, my hotel room, or at a restaurant with Meagan and Brett. For lunch, we ate at a fabulous vegan restaurant, Plum Cafe, where I easily spent $40 on lunch and baked goods for post-marathon. Brett and her husband are vegan, so I was glad she was there to encourage us to go! Our group, with Jeannette, ate dinner again at a cute Italian restaurant that evening before we all headed back to our respective hotel rooms with our goals for tomorrow looming over our shoulders.

Dinner with Jeannette, Meagan and Brett
At 7:30PM, I went to bed and at 3:30AM, I woke up, got ready, and was waiting for a bus by 4:45AM with Brett, Matt, Drew, Jeannette and Meagan. There wasn't a dedicated elite bus, so this awesome guy escorted us in front of about 300 other runners, knocked on the door of an empty bus and kindly asked: "These are professional runners, may they load your bus now?" The bus driver responded: "Well, I'm a professional bus driver, so hop right on!" We all cracked up at that, and I was very appreciative since it was 24 degrees outside with a small headwind.
Waiting for the Bus - Brett's face got cut off :(
After 45 minutes on the bus, we arrived at the elite tent that was heated for about two minutes before the generator went out, taking the lights with it. For about 15 minutes, we had heat intermittently, until they finally figured out that they were given a generator without any gas. It was damn cold. We even put our shoes in our plastic gear bags because it helped a little bit. Once that was fixed, it was already time to start getting ready. Meagan and I jogged about five minutes together before we were told to leave the comfort of our warm tent. I did some strides, went to the start line and about thirty seconds later, had started the marathon that I'd prepared for over the last three months. There wasn't even a gun to signal the start. If there was, it was lost in the moment. My best friend Meagan was at my side and it felt like any other race we've run together.

The Start - Meagan is near the bottom left and I'm a couple of meters behind
The first six miles of the marathon were my favorite because Meagan was with me. We started out at 6:04 and 6:03 before the downhills got longer and longer, and our splits got faster and faster. It didn't feel hard and I willed myself to back off the pace, but at times it felt physically impossible given the downhill. Around mile 3, unbeknownst to me, there was a patch of black ice. My foot slipped, and my arm automatically wheeled up, smacked Meagan on the shoulder, all in the same instant that I shouted out "SHIT!" Miraculously, Meagan's sturdy shoulder saved my ass and probably my entire race altogether. (Side note--I read later that other runners behind me slipped and did indeed fall on this same patch of ice, so I am very lucky to have run away without a bruise). I didn't wear a Garmin, and my average pace through 6 miles was 5:57. If I wanted to run the A standard, I was on pace for it.

After the fifth mile, I could feel that Meagan was faltering. On the uphills, she fell back a little bit and her breathing was more labored. Around the 10k mark, she fell back and I telepathically willed her to stay with me, not just for her but also, selfishly, for me. I knew we would both run better together and not on our own. From that point forward, I just kept my eyes on the few people ahead of me and focused on what I came here to accomplish, solo or not.

Up until the halfway point, I continued traversing the rollercoaster course completely alone. The downhills got steeper and the uphills got longer. Not because I was imagining it, but because they actually were. I couldn't help but think that this course was tougher than most people are led to believe. Everything still felt easy, and my slowest mile had only been a 6:10 on one of the uphill miles. My stomach was fine, my fueling had been fantastic, and I felt strong. I came through the half in 1:18:20. Perfect.

But, I was still completely alone. And this took its toll on me.

One man in a white singlet passed me and I tried to keep him within sights. There were a couple of guys 50-100 meters ahead of me and I passed a few girls that had dropped from their pace. The next seven miles were spent battling my own mental thoughts. I calculated how much more time I had running (less than 80 minutes is really comforting actually when you're solo) and kept my eyes focused on the big picture--getting to the finish in one piece. I wished that Meagan or Brett or Laurie were with me, but they weren't so I had to be a big girl.

Get it done, just get it done.

This became my new mantra, and I wasn't even hurting yet. I passed a blind man and his escort and got a burst of motivation from both their presence but also their dedication. I told him, "You're amazing" and continued on my way. Around mile 18, I could sense that my legs were getting heavier, but my splits were still at 6:10 or below. We had turned directly into the wind, and at this point in the race, I didn't need anything from Mother Earth to make my quest to the finish any more difficult. Suddenly my entire face felt frozen and raw as the wind whipped relentlessly at me.
Mile 17 - Freezing
I continued to take all my fluids to provide me motivation. I stopped trying to get my elite bottles since they were so far away on the table and I had missed half of them at this point. Instead, I took the cups of water at the normal stations. At one station, I drank the water and my throat immediately burned, like someone had put chili powder in it as a sick joke, which I believed could be entirely possible. Immediately, I panicked. I thought for sure my throat was going to tighten up and that I was going to have an allergic reaction (even though I'm not allergic to anything). Instead, it was just that the water so damn cold that it burned my freezing cold, raw throat. After a minute, the burning sensation went away and I relaxed a little.

By mile 20, however, things began to unravel. I began to notice all the little things. The 10mph winds felt like 20mph. My face was numb from the cold. My left big toe was burning--I had a blister. My quads felt like bricks were tied to them.

The final 10k of a marathon is about how well you can push those very real, very bad feelings aside and dig just a little bit deeper and hurt just a little bit more.

In order to come to an agreement with the pain I was trying so hard to push away, I started to make negotiations with myself. I told myself to maintain 6:15s through the finish and that would still put me right under 2:40. I truly thought I could do it, until mile 23, when I began to hit 6:25s and a woman passed me. I tried to go with her, but she blasted by me, probably at 6:10 pace, which felt like a sprint. I was doing all that I could to put one leg in front of the other. The only solace I could find was that I had less than 20 minutes of running left and that I most likely was still going to PR.

Mile 21 - Closing my Eyes
By mile 25, the man in the white singlet was nowhere in sight. The odd part was that I wasn't the only one dying. I passed at least three men during these final miles, which was a pleasant reminder that I wasn't dying as bad as some. Even though I had hit the wall, I was still passing people.

My hotel finally came within sight and I knew that I had less than 5 minutes of running. I heard Jordan shout out for me and was slightly embarrassed for him to see firsthand how much I had died. I rounded the final turn into the finish and unceremoniously walked across the finish line, looking and feeling depleted. I tried to smile, but it was almost impossible because of the cold.
Walking over the Finish Line

I could barely smile
I spent the next five minutes blundering around the finish line area, desperately searching for Gatorade.  I was woozy and couldn't speak coherently and really just needed some damn sugar...and a warm bath.  I glanced back at the finish line and waited until 2:43 to see if Meagan or Brett would be there, but didn't see them come through.  Now I had to take care of myself.  Volunteers almost took me to medical, but I really just wanted Gatorade and somehow escaped them.  When no one could find any Gatorade, and only Coke, I asked for the Sutter House, where the elites got some special treatment. 

I found my way there, hobbled up 12 stairs, and basically fell into Meagan's arms in both relief and sadness. Despite a sore hip, Meagan gutted out 18 miles at 6:05 pace before making the smart decision to call it quits.  Despite this, Meagan put on the biggest smile for me, gave me the biggest hug ever and helped me as though I just was the most amazing person in the room.  I knew that Meagan was disappointed and I was so grateful for her warmth and generosity in that warm room.  Unfortunately for her, I didn't really offer any consolation on her race because I was too out of it, but she didn't care.  Now, that's a great friend. 

Jeannette finished in 6th place in 2:38:32 and also struggled desperately in that final 10k.  Jordan commented that everyone slowed down a lot over the last half, which is either indicative of the wind, or poor racing tactics.  I'll go with a combination of both.  We found out later that Brett had been on pace to OTQ at 24.5 miles, but her foot broke and she spent the rest of the afternoon in the ER. 

Until I settled into a warm bath, I didn't have enough energy to look through the flood of texts, phone calls and FaceBook posts that were filled to the brim with happiness for me.  I was humbled by all the support from my friends and family, who are all truly my teammates in this journey to the Olympic Trials.

As I let my legs submerge in the hot water, I thought about the ten different ways I could have executed the race to perhaps come out with a different result.  Then I realized that it didn't matter.

It may have been ugly, but I did it!  I qualified for another Olympic Trials.

And there will be many more marathons where I can run even faster.  Some day, I will achieve the goal that Garrett shouted out to me at the airport. 

But first I must savor these next couple of weeks in Kauai and Los Angeles.
Post Race Fun with Matt, Drew Jordan and Meagan (Photo Courtesy of Jeannette)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tempo in the Cold Cold Rain

8 miles at MP with the option to run the last 3 miles at the same pace or at 5:50-6:00

3.62 miles warmup
8 miles in 49:15 (6:09 pace) with splits of 604, 606, 610, 609, 608, 608, 617, 613
2.3 miles cool down for ~14 miles total

I would have liked to have finished a bit stronger on this workout, but the terrain and the rain didn't make this easy.  In fact, I felt pretty terrible overall throughout the whole workout.  I had been in the car for 6 hours the night before, but that is no excuse.  In Greenville for Thanksgiving, I went towards ECU campus and then headed down the greenway that goes about 5 miles.  I did an out and back 4-mile course, so the last 2 miles were somewhat uphill and on very slippery wooden planks.  I felt the worst on those two final miles, and contemplated stopping about every 800 meter.  However, Garrett was there biking with me in this miserable, cold rainy day, so I felt like I had to at least make his effort worthwhile.

In the end, I don't normally feel fantastic in the last big workout leading up to the marathon, so I'm not really putting any extra thought around it.  In the end, I did hit around goal marathon pace, so that's always a plus. I will note that once I got home from the workout, my left hamstring was ridiculously tight so I rolled it and had Garrettt do some work on it.  I'm hoping it's just from the slippery boards and nothing a deep massage can't fix.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Week in Review

75 Miles
1 Workout
11.5 MLR
8K PR in 26:45
16 miles Long run
0 Days Off

This week was absolutely perfect as I ended it $750 richer and one whole minute faster in the 8k.  My workout on Wednesday was really tough, but I gutted through it and proved that I can indeed run faster than 5:25 pace for almost 5 miles.  CIM is only two weeks out and I'm feeling optimistic about the race!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Main Street Crit 8k Recap

Goal #1:  Top 3 and at least $500 cash
Goal #2:  PR (Sub-27:45)
Goal #3:  26:xx

All 3 goals
3.5 miles warmup with strides & drills
8k race in 26:45, 2nd place, $750, results
3.2 miles cool down for ~11.5 miles
Splits for each lap: :31, 2:47, 2:52, 2:55, 2:57, 2:57, 2:59, 2:58, 2:59, 2:55

I walked away from this race with a one minute PR and $750 cash, so there's a lot to be happy about. Going into the race, I knew that Joan Tangwar from the half two week's ago would most likely be here since she discovered that Columbia has some of the best prize money races around. Other than that, I really had no idea what the competition would look like.  I did know that I could control only my training and execute my race plan, which was to go out semi controlled and to try to pick off as many people as possible.

After an early Thanksgiving celebration with my parents and Garrett, we jumped in the car for the quick drive to Columbia.  I scoped out my competition, which at this point seemed to be limited to just guys.  At one point, I saw Allison Grace (former Zap Fitness member) and a couple unfamiliar faces.  After my first lap of warmup, I watched as several Africans, including Joan and three other women, climbed out of a ten-passenger van.  They all come from the Chapel Hill Marathon Guide team, and I just hoped that I could beat at least half of them.  After a longer warmup, we got escorted over the start line and I situated myself right in between Joan's posse and Allison Grace.  I exchanged a couple words with Allison before we were off.

As expected, the Chapel Hill group all took off like crazy, and Allison and I settled into a nice rhythm for the first lap (only 8 more to go!).  I had no idea what my time meant and decided to disregard it for the rest of the race.  After the first lap, I passed Allison and then set my eyes on Joan, who was up ahead.  It took me two more laps to catch up to her, and I finally passed her on the 4th lap.  She didn't even respond when I passed her, so I knew she was hurting.  After I passed Joan, there was only one more woman to pass to be in first place (or so I thought--I actually was in third place at this point, but the lead woman was so far ahead I didn't even know she was there).  After the 4th lap, I was about 6 seconds behind the next woman, and by the 8th lap, I was only 2 seconds behind.  During the 9th lap, I contemplated sitting on her shoulder for a bit, but then, after a quick battle ensued, I accelerated on one of the turns and effectively dropped her.  At the same time, I began to get lapped by the lead male runners and I fretted that it would be my female competitors, but it wasn't.  As I passed through for the bell lap, the male runners who had just finished in 4th place had collapsed right in front of me, so I had to hop over them to continue on my merry way.  I caught the time on the clock--around 23:50 something, so I realized that I had quite a good chance of breaking 27:00 for the first time.  My stomach hurt a little bit on that last lap and I wasn't sure if I needed to vomit or something else.  Fortunately, neither happened, and I was able to keep my early Thanksgiving lunch in my stomach.

As I rounded the final turn into the finish, I thought for sure that I had won and smiled very big in the final stretch, both for my "win" and my PR.  After I came through, Garrett congratulated me on $750, and I said, "NO, $1000."  That's when I found out that I was actually second and that the leader had been about 30 seconds ahead of me.  Regardless, I was still very pleased.  It's nice to start my taper on such a high note and with such a big PR in the 8k.  I know that these shorter races are much different than the marathon, but if anything, they've been an indicator that my fitness is where it should be and that I can execute a great marathon plan if everything falls together correctly.

I cooled down with Joan and learned a little bit about her life, which is very interesting. She has a degree in Biology but now lives in Chapel Hill and races practically every weekend.  Her legs were very tired today, which is why she couldn't respond to me today. Her whole family is still in Kenya, except for her sister.  I definitely couldn't race every weekend and left feeling very fortunate that I have a job that allows me to pay the bills and to selectively choose which races I want to peak at.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Solo Mile Repeats

2 miles @ 613-600 with 2:00 rest 3xmile @ 545-550 (1:00), 535-40 (2:00), 525-30 (3:00) 2 miles @ 613-600

2.6 mile warmup in 19:35
2 miles in 608, 605 (2:01)
5:47 (1:00) 5:36 (2:00) 5:32 (3;00)
2 miles in 559, 603
Total fast part with rest = 7.9 miles in 49:27
 2 miles cooldown in 15:00
Garmin Link

I really struggled to get out of bed for this workout this morning.  I didn't have any company, even though I fought so hard to recruit buddies.  Somehow, I woke up at 5:10AM without my alarm and spent the next 50 minutes trying to convince myself that I could work out in the afternoon.  As I contemplated if I could feasibly get the workout done before our runner girls' night out, Cicero began to knock stuff off my dresser to get some attention.  So, I begrudgingly pulled myself out of bed and ran my way over the Dilworth Two Mile Speed Loop for some marathon and fast pace mile repeats.

This was definitely harder than the 2x5 miles last week, probably because of the lack of company. I saw Anne Marie and Joey so that motivated me because I knew I couldn't look like a wimp in front of them. The first MP miles were uneventful, easy and tedious. For the faster mile repeats, I wanted to get 10 seconds faster per mile after the first repeat. I  achieved my goal for the 2nd repeat, quite honestly, it felt hard.  I fretted about the third and final fast repeat, but decided to choose a different route so that I had other things to focus on.  I took at least 6 turns in the last interval because I wanted to mirror the Crit race on Saturday, that will have 36 turns in the whole race.   If I hadn't chosen a course full of turns, I probably would have run sub 5:30, but I just didn't have that speed in me today. After the 3rd fast mile, I felt like I had just raced a 5k and stopped for 40 seconds and walked. Phew, that was a tough one, and I couldn't help but wonder how the hell I would be able to run sub-5:30 at the 8k race on Saturday.

The best part of the workout though was running the final two miles at marathon pace and feeling like it was a walk in the park.   After a 5:32 mile, running 600 flat felt like a piece of cake. That's not to say that I wasn't thrilled when I was finally done with the entire workout. I was very thrilled to be done, got water at Rebecca's porch and ran home.

What I learned in this workout is that it is MUCH easier to run with other people and that, for my own mental sanity, I really need to find a good group at Cal to run with so that they help me stay motivated and excited throughout the whole race.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Week in Review

87+ miles
13.5 miles MLR
2x5 miles workout @ 603 average
22 Mile Prog. Run @ 6:40 average
8 Runs
0 Days Off
1 Lift Session

After a much needed down time last week, I came into this week feeling fresh and excited for the workouts.  I took advantage of the federal holiday on Monday and got in almost 14 miles with Laurie and Pezz at a brisk pace before setting my sights on the rest of the week. I felt good on my workouts and strong on my progression long run, gradually decreasing the pace from 712--6:51--6:31--6:13 for each five mile segment before enjoying a nice two mile cool down.  All of my achilles issues have gone away as I continued to ice, get massaged and perform my own ART on my tight calves.  I'm just three short weeks out from CIM and my excitement is just as strong as it was eight weeks ago.  Now, I'm really working on what I want my race strategy to be and focusing on the mental tenacity that is going to be needed to achieve my goals.  Visualization is key and my focus will be on relentessly positive energy throughout these next couple of weeks and during the race.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

2x5 Miles on Sugar Creek

15-ish miles with 2x5 miles @  (1st set) 6:05-6:13 and (2nd set) either same as 1st set or as fast as 5:58-6:03 average

2.2 mile warmup in 23 min
2x5 Mile @ 30:32 - 615, 607, 610, 558, 602 (1 mile jog rest @ 7:30) and 29:51 - 601, 558, 602, 602, 548
2.5 mile cool down for 15.7 miles total

I finally turned on the heat in my house last night.  This makes it extremely difficult to get out of bed in the morning, even if I went to sleep at 8:30PM last night.  I woke up at 5:05AM to get in this workout with Laurie and Aaron, starting at the Dilworth Speed Loop and heading down towards the Sugar Creek Greenway.  With 8+ hours of sleep, I was hoping that my legs would feel pretty darn awesome this morning.  While I hit my times prescribed and even closed my last mile as the fastest of the day, the first part of the workout didn't feel easy. 

I was very grateful for the company from Aaron and Laurie.  For the first set, we all talked the whole time and I didn't notice the cold much.  Laurie and I both commented on how relaxed Aaron looked during the hard miles.  He just ran a marathon three weeks ago and has bounced back quickly.  After the first set, both Laurie and I commented that the 6:00s we were running really felt like 5:50.  It could very well have been the combination of the half last week, the cold and the dark that made us feel like poo.  Instead of taking the 800m rest, I grabbed a quick swig of water and then ran a slow mile for the recovery.

We began our assault on the last set with Aaron leading the charge again.  Laurie headed back home after 2 miles, so I was left with Aaron.  The temperatures seemed to drop at least five degrees during the second set and my entire lower half of my face was numb. I felt absolutely ridiculous because I could not enunciate my words, which effectively stopped any and all conversation.  Admittedly, I was pretty happy I didn't have to talk any more because it didn't feel easy.  I stopped looking at my splits during this half because I realized that Aaron was doing most of the work for me, so I could just trust him to help me hit the times.  On the last mile, he made 5-10M gap on me, but I didn't really try to close it because I felt that we were already faster than what I should be at. 

I'm obviously very pleased with hitting my goal time splits, but I can tell that I'm getting to that point in my training cycle where my body is ready for the marathon to come.  This is a great sign, because I think that I am going to peak at exactly the right time.  With a couple weeks of taper and in a competitive setting, I will be primed and ready!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Week in Review

75 Miles
1 Speek Workout
~12 Mile MLR
HM race in 1:18:45
8 Runs
0 Days Off
1 Massage
1 Greenapple ART Session

This was a little bit of a down week since I had a sore Achilles coming into the week.  Fortunately, all worries dissolved away after I completed a speed workout and a half marathon race without a ruptured Achilles.  I got in an extra run for the week by jumping in the Noda Brewing run in support of the 2014 CRC Board Candidates.  Just when I thought that I wouldn't have any running partners for my workouts or long runs any more, Laurie jumped right in.  She helped me with my workout on Tuesday and also the half marathon.  I know that next week she's planning on being my trusty sidekick as I grind out these last couple weeks of marathon specific training.  All in all, I am very pleased with where my fitness lies and am excited to toe the starting line of Cal International Marathon in just four short weeks (and very excited to bask in the Hawaiian sun shortly thereafter)!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Governor's Cup Half Race Recap

Goal #1: Prize money
Goal #2: Race pace simulation (6:00-6:13)

3+ miles warmup
Half Marathon in 1:18:45, 4th place (3rd place tie with Laurie)
3.5 miles cool down for 20 miles total
Splits: 5:59, 608 (hill), 549, 604, 551, 601, 559, 555, 621 (uphill), 559, 600, 546 (nice downhill), 623 (uphill), :37

Laurie and I knew going into the race that the goal was to either (1) try to win if it meant we didn't have to go balls to the wall or (2) run a good tempo at goal marathon pace. We found out on Thursday before the race that Joan Tangwar was going to be there.  Joan beat me at the Heart and Sole Women's 5 Miler back in April.  She beat me by 20+  seconds in that race, but I also gave up.  On a good day, I know that Laurie and I could beat Joan. To complicate matters, another African was added on Friday night before the race.  We didn't find out until we got to the start line on Saturday morning.  Laurie is four weeks out from her lifetime marathon PR and I am four weeks from my goal marathon.  Personally, I do not like doing a half marathon all out in the middle of a marathon training cycle, so Laurie and I agreed at the start line to run together at a comfortable tempo pace.

With temps in the 50s, the gun sounded and the runners were off!  For the first mile, I wanted to force Joan to lead because she sat on me for the first two miles at the April race.  To my pleasure, Joan and her friend took the lead through a flat first half and then a nice downhill for the second half. I felt like we were absolutely crawling on that downhill, and I could tell that they wanted Laurie and I to take the lead.  We finally acquiesced after we passed the mile marker right on pace for 6:00.  Laurie and I led together, chatting away, until about 2.5 miles when the two took off to effectively drop us.  I thought it was kind of cool that obviously the two Kenyans were working together and so were the two Charlotteans.  I was happy that both groups had a buddy.  As they passed us, Laurie told me I could "go for it," but I laughed off her offer. 

For the next 10.5 miles, Laurie and I ran side-by-side at a comfortable clip with conversation at every mile, except up miles 9 and 13.  The course was actually pretty great through 9 miles, with a gently rolling, net downhill, and small steep uphills interspersed between.  Coincidentally, this is very similar to how Cal will look in the first 9 miles.  And that's where the similarities stop.  In our race, mile 9 was entirely uphill.  Suddenly all that fun I'd been having was thrown on the street along with the water cup I took a swig from.   My legs felt zapped and the conversation stopped...although I think Laurie could have continued a conversation if I had initiated it.  After the hill, I caught a second wind as the course evened out and offered a couple of downhills.  Life came back to my legs and I felt good again.  We were still hitting 6:00 splits for the flat portions of miles 10 and 11.  There was a very nice downhill on mile 12, but my appreciation for the downhill was short lived.  Mile 13 had a killer uphill that was very steep and positioned in quite possibly the worst place in a half marathon.  Laurie and I climbed and climbed, made a right turn...and continued to climb.  Soon, the terrain leveled out and we could see the finish.  In the final straightaway, Laurie asked, "Hands?" and I said, "oh, YEAH!"... And so we held hands for our 3rd and 4th place finish.

Overall, I am very happy with this race because it was a challenging course with those two big hills.  As a great comparison point, I ran the Kiawah Half a couple weeks before the Trials, and ran a 1:18:50, with the help of Aaron as a pacer.  That race felt MUCH harder than this one today, so I know that my strength and endurance are at a higher level.  Given that Laurie and I talked the entire time, it's indicative that the pace wasn't laboring for me (or her).  Also, my Achilles felt fantastic, but I still wore my compression sock as a precautionary measure.  In fact, both Laurie and I agreed that our legs felt better AFTER the half than before.  I guess the hills helped stretch our our legs a little bit?! 

For my own personal journal, I didn't take any gels so I really need to practice fueling in my next long run.  I also tried out my marathon outfit, which I absolutely love.  Can't wait to rock it at CIM in just four weeks!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

5x(1000m-400m) on the Speed Loop

5-6x(1000m @ 3:29-3:34-200m rest-400m @ 78-80 -400m rest) for 12 miles total

3 mile warmup
5xabove with splits of:
1000m-(200m rest)-400m-(400m rest)
3:34-(69)-79-(2:06) mile in 602
3:34-(62)-79-2:15 mile in 5:55
3:34-(66)-79-2:11 mile in 5:59
3:34-(68)-79-2:08 mile in 6:01
3:33-(69)-79- mile in 6:01
6 miles total in 38:51 with the rest included
3 mile cool down for 12 miles total

With a sore achilles on Saturday, I was a littler nervous going into this workout because I wasn't sure how it would hold up in the cold and with a little bit of speed.  However, I hadn't felt anything on my runs on Sunday and Monday, so I crossed my fingers that the sore achilles was just a temporary ache that cropped up in the peak of my marathon training cycle.

At 530AM this morning, I ran to the speed loop to meet Laurie and Mike.  The plan was to run the 1200m Dilworth Speed loop for the 1000m-200m part and then to run straight into the 400m fast, turn around and jog right back to the start...and repeat five times.  For each 1000m interval, I started out pretty slower (~88s for 400m) and then made a move to pick it up to hit the slowest end of my pace target. Laurie commented on my tactics, which I hadn't really noticed at first.  Laurie would drop after 800m since she still is recovering from Chicago.

The 400s I was hoping to be faster, but right now my 5k pace is technically around 80s based on my 5k time from August, so I was pleased with my ability to hit right below that.  Admittedly, it was definitely a shock to the system to run 5:20 pace, but I felt very strong and held perfect form. Laurie also commented on my form...Maybe she's trying to boost my ego?

Overall this workout felt really good and I purposely chose not to run a 6th interval, not because I was tired, but rather because I want to truly take a down week.  I didn't have any achilles issues, but I still want to be smart and take it easy during this week when I have the chance.  Laurie and I have the Governor's Cup Half Marathon on Saturday in Columbia, SC, where we hope to tie and take home a nice prize purse so I know I'll get in some good work there.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Week in Review

85 Miles
7 Runs
0 Doubles
3x3 Miles Success
23.6 mile long run in 2:45:00 @ 7:00 pace
1 Lift Session

This wraps up a five-week streak of 80+ mile weeks for me.  Last week I wasn't really feeling the full effects of marathon training on my body, but this week was definitely different.  My left calf and achilles are tight, and, albeit minor, I want to monitor it appropriately so that it does not lead to anything more serious.  I got a massage with Adrienne on Friday and had Garrett scrape me on Saturday...and on today's run, I didn't feel tight any more.

All my workouts were completed within the target pace ranges that Terry had suggested, so I'm really happy about where things are progressing.  My "time-on-the-feet" long run was a little bit quicker than Terry had outlined, but I still completed 2 hours and 45 minutes on my feet, almost enough to get 24 miles.  I didn't care enough to run the extra two minutes to get a full 24 miles.  I figured the faster pace outweighed the need to round out to an even number.

Looking forward to a half marathon race next weekend in Columbia, SC with Laurie before one final week of hardcore training.  Cal International Marathon is just five weeks away, and I feel ready!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

3x3 Miles on the Sugar Creek

3x3 mile at 608,613, 600-605, 550-610 with 800m rest @ 3:30-3:40

2.3 miles warmup
3 miles in 18:32 (615, 608, 609) 800m rest ~3:15 (6:30 pace)
3 miles in 17:45 (5:54, 5:55, 5:55) 800m jog in ~3:30 (7:00 pace)
3 miles in 17:39 (5:52, 5:56, 5:55)
2.7 mile cool down for ~15 miles total

It's mornings like these that I am really proud of what Aaron, Jay and I started with the Charlotte Running Club. Even as everyone's fall marathoning season comes to a close, I somehow am able to find multiple people to work out with me.  I feel like I'm in college when my alarm goes off at 5AM; it's as if I'm going to meet up with my teammates for an early practice.  In so many ways, Paul, Billy and Caleb are my teammates.  After all, I've been running with these guys for years.  All the boys met me at 530AM at my house and we headed to the speed loop to start our first set of fun on the same course that I've been doing for all my long marathon workouts.

First set:
We ran right into the first set and started out at a comfortable 615 pace and then hovered around 610. We were all in our comfort zone and talked the whole time. After we completed the first set, I purposely kept the rest a little brisk because I wanted to "cheat" a little so that I could get a faster overall time for the whole 10 mile distance.

Second set:
Here, I still felt really comfortable even though we went out fast and had to slow it down considerably after 800m. I was slightly worried that I would be hurting on the third set since we were hitting sub-600s instead of 605, but I felt really relaxed and positioned myself right behind Billy and Paul so I didn't have to do that much work. Caleb stayed by my side so we had a nice pack going. Our last mile was perfectly on 558-556 pace the entire split so I liked how we kept that pace even throughout.

Third set:
During our rest, I told Paul and Billy that I wanted to go out around 555 and just see where we ended up but no faster than 550. We went through perfectly for first mile and then settled a little bit on the second mile so I pushed it up a notched so we could still hit sub-600. On the last mile Billy and Paul made a small 5-10m gap on me so I just maintained my pace and got a little faster at the end to close with my fastest set of the day.  This last set didn't feel too taxing physically, but more from a mental perspective to keep my confidence as the boys pulled slightly away.

I am very pleased with this workout because I mostly followed the paces that Terry prescribed.  Even though I was a tad quick on the second set, I was still able to make my third and final set the fastest for the day. At the end of the workout, my left calf and hamstring felt a little tight.  I need to focus on these things over the course of the next couple of weeks as I still have about three solid weeks of training before I begin the taper.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Week in Review

80 Miles
4-3-2-1 Mile Workout
10k PR in 34:56
17 mile EZ long run
12 Mile MLR
7 runs
0 Days off

With just six more weeks to go until CIM, I continue to feel very strong.  I can tell that I'm used to marathon training now because after the Tuesday 16 mile workout, I didn't have sore legs that required a recovery run at a slower pace.  I achieved a new 10k PR this weekend without even tapering and really only felt crappy on my long run today.  Frankly, I'm most amazed at my mindset right now.  With each new workout or race, I am filled with a new confidence and a belief that my goals are realistic.  I am having fun and enjoying every step on this journey to qualify for my second Olympic Trials.  Just four more weeks of solid training before I get to go into taper mode and really focus on my mental training for the marathon.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

HFFA 10k Redemption

10k @ Half Marathon Pace Tempo effort

~3 mile warmup with strides and drills
10k race in 34:56, 1st female, 3rd overall to John and an Army guy
3 mile cool down for 12 miles total

In 2010, after Twin Cities Marathon, I ran this race in 38:13.  I remember feeling like total crap and hating all of the hills that crop up in the second half of the course.  I also remember coming with the expectation of prize money and getting a blanket instead.  This year, I knew that there would actually be prize money because of the big stink that Allen started last year.  Opting to not race the Runway 5k, which features a $500 voucher for two US Airways tickets, I wanted a good 10k effort and headed to the race with my roomie John (see, I don't ALWAYS run the races with the best prize money).

John and I headed up to the race all bundled up in an assortment of running clothes since the temperatures were the coldest we've seen this year--32 degrees.  After registering for the race, we grabbed our packet and embarked on our cold warmup, for which I wore: Lululemon mittens and headband, Lululemon rulu long sleeve, GORE running jacket, and my new Duke sweatshirt that Garrett's mom gave me.  I wanted to be as toasty as possible before I had to strip off all of my layers at the start.

With 5 minutes to go, I pulled off the multiple layers of clothing, changed into my Nike Flyknit Racers and headed to the start line with John, where we hung out with Allen.  Quickly, John and I scoped out our competition and right before the gun went off, I half-joked:  "Shoot, John, maybe you should just run with me." I figured he was thinking, "yeah, right" but when the gun went off and one guy took off in front of us, John hung with me.  After the steep downhill, the guy in front, who I'll call Army dude, settled back behind us a couple of meters.  John and I exchanged some words through the first two miles and then we stopped talking.  I had no idea what our splits were like because I had missed the 1st mile marker and didn't care to look at what our two mile split was.  Around 2.75 miles, John made a small move on an uphill because Army dude was still drafting behind us.  I watched them pull very slowly away from me and continued to just push myself.  In the entire race, I only saw my third mile split, so I guessed I was running a little fast in the first half to make up for the uphills in the second half. Turns out the first 2 downhill miles were run in 5:25/5:26 and then I came back with a 5:34 for the third mile uphill and when I got dropped.

For the second half of the race, I watched the battle for first take place from behind and tried to maintain my composure on the hills from mile 4 to mile 6.  Most of these markers were completely off, so I'm not sure what the splits actually were. After I passed the fourth mile marker, I started to pass the 5k racers who started after us. It was actually quite helpful to have them there to pass and provide some extra motivation since the boys up front were beginning to get a little further out of my range.  Soon, I realized that I was about to pass the 5k leader, so I sped up just to demoralize them and to boost my own confidence.  The 6th mile marker was completely off because apparently I ran .2 miles in 1:40, which is entirely not true since the last 600m of the race are all on a gradual downhill leading to the finish. I did, however, glance down at my watch when I thought I had about .1 to go, and saw that I was around low 34:00.  I realized that I had a pretty realistic shot of breaking 35:00 if I really busted my butt in the final 400m.  I'm really glad I checked my watch time because otherwise I probably would have not tried as hard since I knew there was no one close to me whatsoever.

As soon as I crossed the line, I met John, who was also happy with his race, given where his fitness lies right now.  I was pretty happy too, but it took me until half way through our cool down to realize that I ran within 4 seconds of my college track 10k PR.  I also cut off ~50 seconds from my road PR from back in 2011 at the Ukrop's 10k.  For a race where I came in with no expectations and no time goal, I am very pleased that I ran so tough on a hilly course.  I continue to be amazed at how well this year has been going.  For the first time ever, I feel strong in both the short and the long distances.  Now, I just want to prove that strength is real at CIM!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Down Ladder (4-3-2-1)

4m (@610-615)-3m(@600-605)-2m(@550-555)-1m(@540-545) with 800m rest at 3:30-3:45

1.7 mile warmup at 5:20AM
4 miles in 24:42: 6:11, 6:13, 6:08, 6:10 (3:32)
3 miles in 18:01: 6:01, 6:01, 5:59 (3:34)
2 miles in 11:30: 5:45, 5:45
1 mile: 5:41
2.7 mile cool down for 15.9 miles total with jog rest

Eric and I nailed this workout together.  With a 5:05AM wakeup call, we both trudged out of our respective beds to prepare for a monster of a workout during pre-dawn hours.  Fortunately for me, I fell asleep at 9PM so I was fresh off 8+ hours of sleep.  It was going to be a dark one the entire time, so I brought my headlamp (that I hate) and held it in my hand until I met Eric at the Speed Loop for our workout.  I chose a course the went from the 2 mile speed loop and then back down into the Sugar Creek Greenway, mainly because it's flat and fairly well lit.  Because of this, I turned off my head lamp after a while because it really was not necessary.

For the first four miles, both Eric and I could talk and I felt entirely relaxed.  There really wasn't much to report except that both of our Garmins were spitting out different times, so I'm going with my splits.  For the next set of three miles, my legs continued to feel great and the conversation continued without any issues.  We stopped to get some water during the rest after this one mainly because I was feeling a little dehydrated since the workout was so early and I didn't get to drink much water.  For the next 2 miles, I felt really great and took it out entirely too fast in the first 400m (about 5:35 pace) and then immediately put on the brakes to hit a more respectable time.  In hindsight, I think that this quick pace out of the gate affected my ability to run any faster on the final mile, but at least I was very consistent in my pacing after I noticed it.  For the last mile, Eric took off and I knew that my legs weren't going to respond in the way I wanted them too, so I let him maintain about a 15 meter lead on me, while I maintained around 5:40 pace, which was right where Terry wanted me to be. 

All in all, I am exceptionally grateful for Eric's company because he helped make those first seven miles of the workout go by quickly.  Physically and mentally, there was never a point where I thought that I couldn't do the workout.  I felt strong coming into the workout and left feeling confident and prepared.  My training is really coming together right now, and it's getting me very excited for the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Week in Review

83 Miles
20+ mile long run with 10 miles @ 6:05 pace
15+ miles with 3 miles @ 6:15 pace
7 Runs
0 Doubles
1 Lift Day

This week I didn't have a traditional workout day, so it kind of felt like a "down" week.  However, I also don't feel like I sacrificed any quality or quantity by doing so.  Instead, I hit a solid week of mileage without any doubles and, even better, my legs feel great.  I'm honestly surprised I was able to hit above 80 miles this week since I was in Asheville from Friday to Sunday, but I've got my eyes on the big picture (CIM and OT '16) so I have some extra motivation to get work done.  Also, I got accepted into the Duke Cross Continent MBA Program, which starts in July 2014, and ultimately means that I will lose some precious weekends to race, so I need to get all of my athletic goals accomplished before my schedule becomes a lot more hectic.  I'm excited for the challenge of fitting in my running with the 20 hours a week that I will need to dedicate to my studies on top of my job at Bank of America.  Until the program starts, I am going to continue hitting my mileage targets and watching as many television series as possible.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Long Run with MP Miles

8 miles easy, 8-10 miles @ 6:13-6:07, 2 miles cool down

8.2 miles warmup ~1:00:00
10 miles in 1:00:45 with splits of
557 (downhill)
603 (30:28 half split)
608 (u turn)
558 (30:12 half split)
2.3 mile cool down for 20.5 miles

This was my first straight up marathon pace tempo in a really, really long time. I would be lying if I said that I wasn't nervous.  I was.  But I also knew that my training over the last two months had gone really well.  Last Tuesday, I ran a solid 10 mile wave tempo at 6:12 average, and I wanted to beat that average time this turn around.  I did a very similar course as I did last week, starting at the Dilworth Speed Loop and heading down to the Greenway through the neighborhood streets.

For the first 8 miles, Matt and Phil joined Billy, Chris and I, and then after the first hour, the three of us continued with the tempo.  Chris stayed with us for the first two miles and then peeled off to do his own thing.  I was very grateful to have Billy there for moral support, because after the first mile's effort felt hard, I questioned if I could hit my goal pace for this tempo.  In some ways, I'm glad I felt this in the workout because it helped me prepare for the same scenario should it happen on marathon race day.  Even if I feel terrible the first couple of miles in the marathon, it doesn't mean that the story has already been written.  If I trust that they will begin to feel better, then it's a better mental approach.  Sure enough, after that tough first mile. my legs started to feel stronger and hitting sub-6:10 felt easy.  I knew that Terry wanted me to hit 10 miles if I felt good, and I paced myself well so that I wouldn't feel tired and quit at 8 miles. After we coursed through the streets near the greenway, our final two miles were an out-and-back on the greenway from Freedom to the dunkin donuts and back.  I like ending my tempo here because the tight turns and the u-turn force me out of my rhythm and I really have to focus on keeping the pace.   I also asked Billy to go ahead and run a bit faster so that he could simulate his own marathon pace.

Overall, I'm very pleased with this workout as it shows that the work that I've put in over the last two months is really beginning to pay off.  I only have a little over 7 weeks until the Cal International Marathon and I'm really excited to punch my ticket to the Olympic Trials 2016.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Salem Lake Run

15 miles with 3-4 miles at 6:30-6:10

15.5 miles with 3 miles at 6:20-6:07

I had scheduled my final portion of the Wake Forest TRAILS study for today so I figured a trip to my old stomping grounds at Salem Lake was in order.  To make things more exciting, Aaron called me the day before and asked if I wanted to go on a field trip since we both had the day off from work.  He was down with going to Salem with me and then hanging out at Wake while I finished the study.

At Salem, a light drizzle and overcast sky greeted us as we pulled into the parking lot.  Thomas rolled up and we all got on our way, with Aaron starting first on the bike.  Straight out of the gate, we were rolling sub-7:00s easily, hitting 6:50 like it was easy.  I guess the cooler temperatures are helping my paces feel easier and easier.  After one lake loop, we headed out for an out-and-back portion to the 3.75 mark and back.  With Thomas on the bike, and Aaron now pacing me, I quietly picked up the pace after we passed the 3 mile mark and continued pushing until the turn around point.  Since I didn't wear my Garmin, I just guessed on our pace and was only able to get one of our splits (6:07) through the 3 miles.  After we "finished" the tempo portion, we still ran 6:30 and 6:38 for our "cool down." My guess is that my estimated pace for the tempo is a little slower than it actually was.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Week in Review

80 Miles
10 mile wave in 6:12 average
12 mile MLR
22 Mile LR in 7:05 average
8 runs
0 Days off
18 miles biked down hill

Given this is my highest mileage since last October, I'm very pleased with this week.  At this time last year, I was already beginning to feel burnt out and was about to run one of the worst races of my post-collegiate career at the Army Ten Miler.  This year is a complete 180 compared to then.   I feel motivated, energized and completely excited to keep doing the work each week.  In fact, tracking Laurie for the Chicago Marathon was particularly inspiring because we run together all of the time and I couldn't help but wonder, if she can run the A standard, can I?  After all, we have run so many workouts together through September.  I am so proud of her and pumped that it provided me such inspiration for Cal.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

10 Mile Wave

10 miles at 6:30/no faster than 6:00

2 mile warmup
2.3 mile cool down for 14.3 miles total (6:12 average)

What a confidence booster this was!  Without the luxury of Laurie's company as she is prepping for Chicago this weekend, I hit snooze on my alarm and opted for a pm run.  I knew that I could at least have Garrett's company on the bike if I went in the evening, so it worked out quite well for me.  We headed out the door around 5PM and the weather was a perfect temperature, but with about 15 mph winds.  I was more worried about the potential traffic around the Dilworth Speed Loop than the wind.

On my warmup, I twisted my ankle really bad on a pine cone hidden under a leaf, but fortunately it turned out to be something that I could literally just walk (and then jog) out.  After checking out the speed loop, I saw that a portion of the road was under construction, so I made a quick u-turn to head away from the loop and towards the greenway.  I completed the first 2 miles with a downhill advantage and then ran back and forth on portions on the greenway that are on the road.  I felt okay through the first intervals, but really began to feel good towards the middle. I was focusing on my form and making it feel as easy as possible during the 6:30 segments.  Towards the last three miles, I really had to fight hard to keep up a solid pace for the fast portions, which really just reminded how mentally zoned in I truly have to be in order to run a great marathon.  The whole time, Garrett really just rode next to me, silently providing me enough motivation to not quit after eight miles.

This was truly my first marathon workout in this training cycle, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Historically, I struggle on longer workouts when I don't have a running buddy with me, so I exhibited a mental tenacity that I don't normally possess.  I hope to keep putting in workouts like this over the next six weeks before I begin the official taper period.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Week in Review

78 Miles
8 Runs
6x1000m workout
12 mile MLR
20 mile LR with 10 miles @ 6:23 average
3 hours hiking

The first two days of this week started out in taper mode, but then the last half of the week culminated with my first 20 miler since October 27, 2012.  With the Woodrow Wilson Half being cancelled on Wednesday, I switched gears and the focus was suddenly solely on Cal International Marathon.  After a couple emails back and forth with Terry, we both decided that there were not any fast half courses within a reasonable distance from me and that it would just be better to train through October.  I'm obviously pretty bummed that I was not able to race the half this weekend, but in the grand scheme of things, it's really not that big of a deal.  Instead, I had the luxury of tracking my friends at the Twin Cities Marathon, which got me even more excited for my own marathon in just nine weeks.  Things are really starting to fall into place. I'm feeling strong on my long runs and gaining confidence in my strength for the longer distance.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pre-Race 1000s

10-12 miles total with 5x1000m, odds at 5:50 pace (1:00 rest), evens at 5:30 pace (2:00 rest). 6th one 30 sec on / off

2.6 mile warmup
3:37 (1:02)
3:26 (1:58)
3:35 (1:05)
3:26 (1:55)
3:34 (2:06)
30 sec on/off 1000m in 3:39
3 mile cool down for 10 miles total

I ran this solo, except for the first interval where I briefly had Phil and Tim running with me.  After that, I was pretty lonely, but I figured it didn't really matter since I have a half marathon this Saturday.  Not much to report, except that I came away feeling prepped and ready for hopefully a great half on Sunday in DC.  About mid-morning, Meagan texted me:  "So, your half is cancelled?"  I had no idea what she was talking about, but after some facebook stalking, I discovered that the Woodrow Wilson Half course went right through a national park, which was closed due to the government shutdown.  The half was cancelled, but I didn't know that during the workout.  If I had, I definitely would have done a couple more repeats.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Week in Review

60 Miles
3x2 Mile Workout
14 miles with 2x4 miles @ 5:50-6:08
1 Day Off
0 Doubles

I'm really behind on my blog, so here's the recap in three sentences.  I took an unexpected day off due to an Open House at Duke for their Cross Continent MBA Program, forcing my mileage to be a bit lower.  Then I hopped on a plane for a 36-hour weekend in NYC for Jay's birthday bash.   I got to cuddle (and run) with Meagan, drink wine with Jay (and Meagan) and eat delicious homemade birthday cake.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

2x4 Miles in NYC

2x4 Miles...First set at 6:10, 1 mile moderate rest, 2nd set at 6:00-6:05

4.5 mile warmup
4 miles in 609, 602, 555, 558
1 mile slow rest
4 miles in 556, 556, 549, 549
.65 mile cool down for 14 miles total

My goal half in DC is next weekend, but even despite that, both Terry and I agreed that the big picture goal is Cal International.  So, we had two pretty big workouts on tap, with 3x2 Mile on Wednesday, and then this workout on Saturday.  Somehow Jay thought it would be fun to pace three girls to a long workout (which is the exact same workout he paced Sarah in last weekend). Mind you, the whole reason why I'm in NYC is to celebrate his 30 years of life.  Regardless, we went to the WSH and ran along the path, which of course was ridiculously crowded.  The first 4 miles was just Meagan and me with Jay, and it felt pretty easy.  We didn't have any collisions with other pedestrians or cyclists.  On the second set, Sarah jumped in for her final marathon workout and she not only man-handled a pedestrian by literally grabbing his backpack and moving him, but she also almost (with full intention) ran straight into an 18-wheeler that had inconveniently gotten in our way.  On the fourth set, I just tucked in behind Sarah and Jay and let them do the work while I waited for my legs to get tired.  They didn't really get too tired and I was surprised at how great they felt, especially since I had taken the day off on Friday.

I went to the Duke MBA Open House yesterday and absolutely loved it. I can't wait to get my interview completed so that I can find out if I was accepted...Just three more weeks and I should know!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

3x2 Mile in Dilworth

3x2 Mile with 2:00 Rest at 5:55-5:50

2.8 warmup
3x2 with 2:00 rest in 5:55, 5:54, and 5:47 averages
3 mile cool down for 12 miles total

Just like last week, I had Laurie and Eric for company again on the Dilworth speed loop. My legs felt pretty sluggish, but the company made it easy to get it done.  Laurie took off on the last mile, and I hung back again because my legs just didn't have that extra gear to go any faster.  It was just one of those workouts where I got it done for the sake of getting in the work, but I didn't have any real pleasure while doing it.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Week in Review

76 Miles
4x1.5 mile with 800m rest @ 5:55 ave
12 mile MLR
17.6 miles with 4 miles @ 615-608, 2 miles @ 6:00
7 Runs, 0 Days off

This was a very solid week.  I hit a slightly higher mileage while also nailing all of my respective workouts that Terry gave me.  I was hoping to go a bit faster on the long run tempo, but my legs just didn't have it. I'm not surprised given that I'm only six days from my mile race last weekend.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

4x1.5 Mile in Dilworth

4x(800m rest @ 3:30-3:45, 1.5 miles @ 5:50...8 mile average should be ~6:10

8 miles in 47:21 with splits of 605, 544, 510, 542, 605, 544, 605, 546
13.2 miles total

This workout went great.  Thank goodness for Laurie and Eric because they really pulled me along. This was just one of those days when everything just clicked. I felt good and the rest seemed way too easy, so we of course didn't maintain that pace.  Most of our rest times were between 3:15-3:25 and then we had a pretty quick first .5 mile of our "on" portion.  Laurie pulled away from me on the last interval, but my legs could still feel some of the lingering effects from the mile race so I let her go.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

NC One Mile Championships

Goal #1: Top 3
Goal #2: sub 5:05

3+ mile warmup
1 mile race in 4:53, 1st place, $350
~6 mile cool down for 10.5 miles total

As you can see from my goals above, I had no idea what kind of mile shape I was in. I have not been doing any workouts remotely close to mile speed, let along 5k speed.  I knew that I had run a 5:09 opening mile at the Hot Summer Night's 5k back in August, so I figured low 5:00 would be within a reasonable window.  After a nice afternoon hanging out with Garrett, Michelle and Thomas at their house, we drove to the race together and warmed up.  I scoped out my competition comprised mainly of former NC State runners Kris Vegh and Andi Cozzarelli.  Of course, a mile race is a total gamble because someone that isn't typically a factor in a longer race could totally blow my wheels off in this short of a race.  I dediced the best bet was to just run as hard as I could since it was only going to be five minutes of pain.

The gun went off and I took off to tuck in behind the leaders.  We formed somewhat of a goose V formation, and I was off the right shoulder of the leader.  After 500m in, we rounded the first of six turns, and without any extra effort from me, I was suddenly ahead of the pack.  I guess that practice of taking turns hard for the Olympic Trials Marathon really helped me out in this race.  I was stunned actually that it was that easy to take the lead. I  eased up even a little bit after the second turn to see if anyone would try to pull up alongside me.  No one did, so I just kept accelerating as much as possible through the turns, and taking them kind of wide to allow for that.  With my in-laws, Garrett, Thomas and Michelle cheering, I had a lot of motivation to finish hard.  With 500m to go, I secretly thought that someone had to be unleashing a killer kick that would knock me of the pedestal.  As if Thomas was reading my mind, he told me that I had at least 15 meters on the next girl.  My finish definitely wasn't pretty, but I finished in a solid time, a PR of 4:53.

After getting interviewed by the news, I gathered some of the other girls and we all cooled down together with Michelle and Thomas.  The awards took forever but afterwards I enjoyed a nice dinner at Whole Foods with G and his parents.  I was one happy lady.

Week in Review

69 Miles
3x(2k-1k) workout
12.5 MLR
1 Mile Road Race PR
7 Runs
0 Days off

I'm so far behind on my blog that I really don't have much else to say.  I ran a mile PR in the middle of half marathon training and with little taper.  That's all I have to say.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

3x(2k-1k) on the Speed Loop

3x(2k @ 5:50, 60-70 sec rest, 1k @ 535-540, 3:30 rest)

2.8 mile warmup
2k in 7:30, 65s rest
1k in 3:31, 3:30 rest
2k in 7:14, 65s rest
1k in 3:31, 3:30 rest
2k in 7:13, 65s rest
1k or 25s fast and 35s slow with Laurie in 3:40
1.7 mile cool down for ~ 12 miles total

You can expect to always find me on the two mile speed loop on Wednesday mornings.  It's been my standard workout place for the past couple of weeks and will continue to be so until December. 

I was slow on the first 2k because I wanted to run with Pezz and Laurie for at least a portion of their wave tempo, so I hung with them until my Garmin beeped at me to slow down for my short rest.  This workout was easy for me aerobically, but I was a little disappointed that I wasn't able to go much faster on the 1k.  I still hit the target pace that Terry had prescribed, but I wanted at least one of them to be under 3:30.  I also felt like the rest after the 1k was too long.  If I ever do this workout again, I'd love to do with 2:30-3:00 rest just to put a true test to my fitness gains.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

(Down) Week in Review

63 Miles
6 Runs
1 day off
12x1 min
Tempo Fail
17 Mile Long Run @ 6:45 average

It's funny how sometimes the down weeks feel the worst.  Perhaps the reason is two-fold:  the combination of the heat and humidity and the return of my husband to Charlotte.  This week definitely wasn't what I had hoped for from a running perspective.  I ditched a tempo run that was scheduled for Thursday, attempted it again on Friday evening, and stopped after one mile at 6:30 pace.  I even had Garrett alongside me on the bike for added motivation, but that didn't help me.  My legs have felt lethargic and heavy ever since I arrived in DC last weekend, and I just urged them to come back to life. It took them basically six whole days!

My run on Saturday was a glimmer of hope--the legs finally felt light again--and I sensed that my long run would go well the next day.  I topped off an otherwise crappy week with a long run with Laurie and Pezz with five miles at 620-605 pace and a final average of 6:45.  Overall, it's always a hard adjustment for me upon Garrett's return because my sleep schedule is all off (he reads in bed with the light on which keeps me awake).  I'm confident that next week will be different and that my legs will continue to feel better, especially as the fall season blows the humidity away!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Week in Review

70 Miles
4x2 Mile workout
16 mile long run in 6:50 pace
11 mile Medium Long Run
40 Hours in DC

Not much to report here except that I was supposed to do a medium long run or a long run with 8 miles at 6:20-6:40 pace.  That didn't happen because I felt terrible on my long run Friday morning with Laurie and then because it was really hot in DC on Sunday when I ran with a hungover Merry.  I had wanted to get in a good effort on one of the longer runs, but it just didn't work out that way this week, so I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.  Sometimes it's most important to enjoy time with some of your closest friends in Washington, DC than to fret over the workout you didn't get in.  After all, I'm still putting in good work on my workouts and getting the efforts in that I need to achieve a PR in the fall.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

4x2 Mile with 2:00 Rest

4x2mile with 2 min rest @ 6:00, 6:00, 5:50, 5:50

2.5 mile warmup
4x2 mile with 2:00 rest in 47:36
5:58 / 6:00 - 11:58 (2:01)
5:53 / 5:58 - 11:51 (2:00)
5:52 / 5:58 - 11:49 (2:15)
5:58 / 6:00 - 11:58
1.8 mile cool down for ~13 miles

Honestly, if it weren't for Billy and Phil, I definitely wouldn't have done this workout.  I went to bed last night with a sore ab, and I just thought it was a tummy ache at that point.  Little did I know that the pike ab exercise I did on Tuesday morning would such a negative effect on my pathetically weak ab muscles.

On the warmup, it felt like someone was stabbing my lower ab with a knife.  My form was all messed up and I felt like I was hunching over to accommodate for the pain.  I decided to do the warmup and try one interval and assess the odds of my workout success after that.  Before starting, I performed a little self massage on my lower right ab and reluctantly toed the line with the boys.  Surprisingly, the ab wasn't too bad on the first one, so I decided to go for another one.  On the second, it still wasn't great, but not noticeably terrible like it was on the warmup.  Somehow I was able to finish all four of the intervals without pulling any ab or fainting from pain.  These weren't at the times that I had been hoping for, but given the circumstances, I was really pleased with this effort.