Sunday, March 31, 2013

Week in Review

67 Miles
7 Runs
16 Miles w/ 4 miles tempo
2 Lift Sessions

My spirits after setting a PR last weekend were immediately dashed after dealing with tight calves that resulted in a bagged workout on Wednesday and several shortened runs.  I maintained my composure and set my sights instead on a Saturday long run with a large group of people on the South Park Race Fest Half Marathon course.  I crossed my fingers that my calves would be recovered by then, and, sure enough, they were.  At 715AM, I set off on the hilly course with Caleb, Charlie, Aaron, Paul, David, Mike, Adam, Pete, Billy Adrienne, and several others.  After clicking off several miles around 6:45 pace, we stopped at the 6.5 mile mark on the course for some water before beginning an uptempo portion.  Unfortunately, we started the tempo at the bottom of a hill that climbs for over a mile.  My splits on the hilly parts were 6:08, 6:06, 6:08, 6:15.  I did only 3.5 miles of tempo, hence why the last mile split is slower.  Then I cooled down for 3 miles at 6:20 pace by myself as Charlie kept going further to catch Paul and David.  Overall, I was very pleased with this effort as we averaged about 6:46 for the entire run.  It was a great way to close off a week that had a very rocky start.  

The highlight of the week was getting a massage from Adrienne Anetrini at Carolina Sports Massage.  After 90 minutes of pain and sweat as she dug into my very, very tight legs, I finally felt normal again.  Easter Sunday was celebrated with a night at the Wicked musical, which lived up to my expectations!  It was a phenomenal show and I left feeling very cultured.  Looking forward to the NC USATF 8k Championships in Greensboro next weekend, 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Workout Fail

3x2 Mile w/ 2 min rest @ 5:45, 5:40, 5:35

3 mile warmup, 1 mile at 6:30, 2.5 miles cool down

Tonight's workout was going to be a normal one on the Dilworth Speed Loop that called for 3x2 miles with 2 min rest.  My arch, calves, achilles--well, basically every single muscle in my lower leg--had been fickle. On Sunday and Monday, I had to cut both runs 3-5 miles short because my legs just couldn't handle it.  Tuesday, I felt nothing.  Today, well, I was hoping for the same as yesterday.  On the warmup down East Blvd, I felt ready to put in a good workout, but as soon as I began my first interval, everything was out of whack. My breathing was heavy and my legs still felt like lead weights.  After 1000m, I slowed it down, bringing in a 6:30 mile split.  Then I resorted to walking, finally stopping at the tennis courts in Freedom Park, debating going to Laurie's house to call Garrett so that he could pick my wounded self up.  I gathered myself and was able to muster enough strength to run the 2.5 miles back to my house instead.

After today's workout and seeing how long it has taken my calves to recover from my 8k race this past weekend, I am just going to do a tempo in my long run on Saturday.  My body is telling me it's not ready for a workout, so I'm not going to push it.  I wonder if wearing the Nike Flyknits had a negative effect on my legs, or if it was just the first time I've raced fast in a long time.  Who knows!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Week in Review

54 miles
8k race in 27:45
7 Runs
2 Days with the in-laws!

From a work perspective, this was a very tiring week for me as I had three 8AM meetings that were in person.  For any normal person, this probably isn't a big deal, but trying to fit in runs and workouts before an early meeting is very difficult for me to handle, especially by the time that 3PM rolls around, when I really just want to take a long nap instead of continue to work.  Fortunately, the lack of sleep and increased work load didn't affect my race outcome on Saturday, as I walked away with my first PR as Caitlin Bullock.  Saturday continued to be a great day as I attended a fundraising event with the Bullocks, which really meant that I got to stuff my face with top notch food and cupcakes at the Hilton. While I would hope that my run today would have gone better, it didn't.  My left calf and arch were exceptionally tight and I'm pretty sure it's a sign that I need to use some of the prize money this weekend on a nice massage.  The tightness could be since I wore the Nike Flyknit racers for the first time in a race and my feet are unhappy with the change from the Nike Marathoners.  Who knows!
Enjoying the Fundraising Event!

Love my new Nike Flyknits!

My First Race as Caitlin Bullock

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Kinston 8000m Race

8k race in sub 28:09 + win prize money

3 miles warmup + race drills
8k race in 27:45 w/ course marker splits of 5:33, 5:56, 5:34, 5:22, 5:16
1st place, $500
3 miles cool down with Kris Vegh for ~11 miles total

The small field of sub-elite runners in the state of NC take care of each other and make sure that we know where the prize money races are throughout the state.  A couple years ago, Devin Swann informed me of a fast race, the Kinston 8000m, in Eastern NC that paid three deep.  My friend and former NC resident, Heather Magill, had won the Kinston 8000m three times in a row and so had Devin, so I figured that I would finally take a stab at running it as well.  After all, Garrett's parents only live 40 minutes outside of Kinston and I needed a flat course to help boost my confidence.  I was in!

Garrett and I got on the road in the early afternoon in hopes of beating some of the traffic so that we could make an early dinner in Raleigh with Michelle, Thomas, and (surprise) Meagan!  We made it to Raleigh in time to enjoy about 10 different 8-piece sushi rolls split between basically four adults.  Somehow we spent over $150 on sushi and, more importantly, consumed 95% of it.  It's always a special treat to catch up with Meagan and Michelle and I couldn't help but keep thinking of what they looked like in red wigs (flashback to my bachelorette weekend in Raleigh).   After a couple of laughs and a couple of glasses of wine for Meagan, Garrett and I got on the road again.  We arrived at Garrett's parent's house and I basically went directly to bed.

Flash forward to race morning, where Ann and Scott drove me to the race in Kinston in time for a nice warmup.  Immediately, I surveyed my competition.  First, I saw Kris Vegh get out of her car and was both happy and dismayed at the sight of her because I like her very much as a person, but I also knew that she'd beaten me at the USA Half Champs.  I immediately went up to her and asked if we could warmup together, where I discovered that she had just run a 1:16 at Shamrock half six days prior and that she had basically the same race plan as me -- that is, to go out conservatively in 5:40 and gradually get faster.  She also told me that a Kenyan was there and I immediately recognized her name, Divina Jepkogei.  I felt certain that she had beaten me, albeit by very small margins, in past races, and immediately resolved to beat her.  

I finally toed the line next to Kris, and the director yelled "Go!" and we were off on the perfectly flat course.  I settled into a nice rhythm in the middle of Kri and Divina.  We were running three abreast on the wide street, and I just relaxed next to them.  My Garmin had our lap pace as 5:40, so I felt very good about our start.  Then, of course, we came through the course marker in 5:33.  The next mile, we turned down the main street of Kinston, and the three of us were still running side by side.  After I saw the 2 mile split of 5:56, I told myself that I didn't come here to tempo, and immediately began to push the pace.  Kris and Divina stayed with me through about 2.5 miles We rounded a left turn through a neighborhood, and I put on another surge through the turn.  I couldn't help but think that all the practice for a proper u-turn technique for the Olympic Trials Marathon course finally was coming in handy!  I could sense that Divina was falling slightly off and kept going. After that dismal 2 mile split, I stopped looking at my watch.  I did listen for my 4 mile split - 22:27 - which was a 4 miler PR.  I still had no idea if I was going to break 28:00 and honestly, after the 2 mile split, I thought there was no chance.  By the final mile, I could tell that no one was within reaching distance to me unless they unleashed a killer kick, so I tried to use my own motivation to keep me powering through.  There weren't any men within distance that I could use as bait, so I just pushed hard.  Right before the finish, I passed Mother Earth Brewery, and silently thanked them for providing beer for my wedding.  I crossed the finish line in 27:45, with a 24 second PR and earning $500.  

Considering that I've reduced my mileage by about 25%, I am absolutely thrilled that I was able to PR in basically my first real race back since the Army Ten Miler.  For the first time in over 9 months, I felt hungry for competition and enjoyed fighting for a top place.  I'm also very pleased with the faster splits in the last half of the race.  I basically ran some of the fastest mile splits I've seen in a race in a couple of years.  Now I really want to jump into a 5k so that I can break 17:00!!!

Finally - my Garmin splits were a bit more accurate than my manual splits...They were 5:40, 5:42, 5:32, 5:18, 5:16  - which shows a nice progression.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Some 400s on the DSL

14x400m with 1:00 rest

3.7 mile warmup
4x600m (157, 200, 159, 200 w/ 1:45 rest)+ 6x400m (77, 77, 77, 77, 75, 75 w/ 75 sec rest)
3 mile cool down for 10 miles total

I had 14x400m on the schedule for today, but I really want to set myself up for a PR on Saturday, so I decided to switch it up a bit for only 3 miles of quality.  I had the pleasure of working out with Laurie for the first time in 2013 and it was a tremendous help!  All the guys that I typically work out with were all recovering from PRs from the weekend, so it was basically just the two of us on the Dilworth Speed Loop in the dark, early morning hours.

There really isn't much to report here except that I came away feeling like I got some good turnover in the legs without overly taxing myself physically.  I'm looking forward to more workouts with Laurie as we both continue to get into better shape than we are now!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Week in Review

68 miles
7 Runs
2 Lift Sessions
15 Mile Long Run
1 Workout

Just one more week until I toe the line for my first serious race of 2013! I am looking forward to putting my fitness to the test in Kinston in just 6 days.  I feel fit, now I just need to validate it!  While I hit my mileage this week, my legs were fairly tired from probably not taking enough really easy days.  My long runs have all been serious quality, but I'm paying for it on all my other rest days.  The time change seemed to make me and everyone around me feel like a zombie, so I'm glad that were 7 days into finally adjusting to the darkness in the morning...again.

In other news, the big goal for the summer is the USA Half Championship.  Meagan and I decided on this race again because they do just such a darn good job of putting on a great race...And they offer people like me who haven't broken 1:17 pretty sweet packages like three nights of a paid hotel room.  You really can't beat something like that, and, let's be honest, it would be really hard to pass up an opportunity to snuggle with Meagan in a room overlooking Lake Superior.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Minuters on the DSL

3x2 Mile

3 mile warmup
12x Min (@ 4:50-5:15 pace)+ 400m in 74
3 mile cool down for ~ 10 miles total

I felt like I had done 2 mile repeats only a couple weeks ago and I realized that I hadn't done any speedwork lower than 800m in a while, so I decided to keep Billy company on a pre-race workout.  I've also felt a little run down, so I figured this switch would be a good move.  We ran really fast for the first 6 intervals, around 4:50 pace and then slowed up a little bit towards the end.  However, the average for the total run, with rest, came out around 6:06 pace, so it shows that we basically ran a decent tempo for 4 miles.  After we finished 12 minuters, we did a 400m with Caleb and the guys flew past me, making me feel like I was for sure running an 80 sec quarter.  Instead, I came through in a surprising 74, even after slowing up considerably as I neared the finished line.  In all honesty, this workout felt ridiculously hard.  It was nice to get some speed in the legs because I am focusing on some of the shorter distances in the upcoming month.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Week in Review

67 Miles
7 Runs
15 Mile Long Run
Mile Repeats
2 Weight Sessions

Not much to report here except that I managed to run my target mileage even after getting assigned to a new team at the Bank.  My long run on Saturday with Caleb, Laurie and Aaron was especially enjoyable, at a should-be-expected faster than normal pace.   Laurie's little legs tend to shuffle very quickly and I merely follow in her lead.  None of my attention was focused on the pace, so it was a solid long run that went by without much thought.

On Saturday night,  the lights were off at our house at joke.  I welcomed the time change with 11+ hours of sleep.  Garrett and I ended our weekend by getting up early enough to enjoy a breakfast at Terrace Cafe in SouthPark, which definitely lives up to its award for Best Breakfast in the QC.  I enjoyed a lemon waffle with lemon drizzle and a YMCA-approved egg white veggie omelette.

Coming up next week, I've got another solid week of training around 65-70 miles and then an 8k in Kinston.  I'm hoping to improve upon the time that I ran 7 weeks ago at the CRC Winter Classic 8k.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

4xMile Repeats on DSL

4-5xmile with 2:30 rest

3.4 Mile Warmup
4xmile with 2:30 rest @ 5:31, 5:29, 5:30, 5;31
2 mile cool down for 10 miles total

My trusty sidekick Caleb joined me for probably the fourth week in a row for this early morning workout, yet again on the Dilworth Speed Loop.  Phil and Aaron joined us for the specific mile repeats while Jason and Paul did their own thing.  From the start, I felt great.  My legs felt light and my feet bounced easily off the pavement.  My breathing was definitely heavy, but mentally I didn't let it get to me.  After the third one, I could tell that everyone was feeling a little sluggish and down on the workout, and Phil and Caleb said they were done.  I made a deal with them that we would just do one more 800m and then be done.  Secretly, it was my way to get them to do at least half of the next interval with me so that I could have some company.  At the 800m mark for the 4th interval, they all stopped and I kept on going.  Aaron had been pulling away from us and when he saw that I was still powering on, he slowed up to push me along for the final half.  His company was very helpful because I was finally starting to feel a little tired.  I was very pleased to run all of these at basically the same pace.  Back in October, I ran 6xmile in ~5:47 average and was totally smoked by everyone I was running with.  My fitness continues to get better with each passing week!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

(Down) Week in Review

53 Miles
6 Runs
1 Day Off
0 Lift Sessions
16 Mile Long Run w/ 4 mile Tempo

After 4 weeks at an average of 60 miles, it was time for a down week! It wasn't much of a down week (oops), but that is mainly due to the fact that I did a long run instead of running a race.  I took a day off because I worked 12 hours on Tuesday, so that helped keep my mileage low.  I'm following the philosophy of, if you feel like taking a day off, then take it off!  It's helping me maintain my mental sanity and also keeping my passion for running consistent.  We all know that it's easy to get caught up in overtraining, where running just takes over your life in a bad way, both physically and mentally. I think that this new philosophy will help me stay away from symptoms of overtraining!

Overall, I'm confident in where I'm at in my fitness and excited to start the racing season! I've got the Run for the River 8k on March 23 and then three different races in April.  I am really looking forward to the NC USATF 8k Championships located in Greensboro because they are giving Garrett and I a hotel room and Garrett gets a massage from our favorite Joel Tull!  I just need to put in a couple more weeks of solid training and I'll be poised to do well in the spring races.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

16 Mile Long Run w/ Tempo

5k Race Rumba on the Lumber

No race
16 miles with 4 miles at 607 pace

So as of last night, I was supposed to do the Rumba on the Lumber 5k in Lumberton, NC.  In fact, we were even going to get a hotel for Friday night and stay over so that we could sleep in.  Well, by Thursday night, I had already nixed the idea of getting a hotel room because it was too much for my taste.  Then, by Friday night, I had nixed the idea of going to the race altogether because of two main things:  (1) the prize money was not $500 for the win as I thought and was instead $250 and (2) because of the reduced prize money, the cost / benefit analysis came out negative, when factoring in time lost to drive there.  So, we scrapped the plan to go to the race, and instead I made plans with Matt to run with a group at McMullen.

Now back to this morning, it was 8AM and I still had two hours before our run with Caleb and Danielle. I looked out the window, and it was snowing. No big deal.  An hour later, the snow flakes had tripled in size and were coming down in larger numbers.  I made a point on our Facebook thread that the wooden pathways at McMullen would be very slick for a tempo, and Caleb immediately made fun of me for being a weakling.  Once we got to McMullen though, Caleb realized that I had been right and we had to make a change to the tempo course to avoid the slick boards.

Going easy on the boards was just fine, just a little slick, but no big deal.  However, when picking up the pace, it definitely would have been difficult, so instead we did two loops around the church for a total of four miles before Caleb kept going straight on Pineville Matthews.  We hit splits of 6:15, 5:58, 6:15, 5:58 for each uphill/downhill mile. After the long run was over, I realized that we had averaged 7:05 pace for the easy portion of the run, which was definitely satisfying to see as that did not feel hard at all.  Unconsciously, I was pushing the pace so that I could warm my legs up which seemed to be absolutely freezing the entire time the snow was falling.

Although I scrapped a race, I was happier with the long run because it will prepare me for a solid half in the summer.