Sunday, April 28, 2013

Week in Review

70 Miles
4 mile tempo in 5:55 + 4x400m
5 Miler Race in 28:44, 2nd place, $400
13.5 mile long run for Boston
7 runs

This week marked my third week out of four in which I headed out of town for a race with prize money.  I did not taper for this race and hit my highest mileage for 2013 with 70 miles.  For that reason, I had a fairly easy workout on tap for Wednesday, which I ended up doing alone.  By race day, the effects of the workout still hadn't cleared my system or my legs were tired from 3 consecutive weeks around 70 miles.

I got out of my car in Columbia, SC for the Women's Heart and Sole 5 Miler with high expectations to win.  It was my fourth year in a row running here and each year seemed to get better.  In 2010, I got third behind stiff competition (Janet Bawcom), in 2011 I held hands across the finish line with Meagan, and in 2012, I ran my fastest time on that course by over 45 seconds.  Hoping to best my time from last year, I came expecting to win and to push myself alone on the course.  I was so wrong!

On my warmup, I scoped out my competition and found basically no one.  However, on the start line, literally like 3 minutes before the race, the same chick that raced with me for half a mile at the Burrito Dash popped out of nowhere.  Off to the side stood her trusty coach and I knew it was going to be a good competition.  At this point, I hadn't discounted myself out yet.  After the gun went off, Joan (Burrito girl) and I took off for the $500 win.  By 1 mile, after we went through in 5:40, I knew that I was going to be out of the game.  On the downhill in mile 2, Joan took off and literally left me in the dust even though I ran a 5:20.  The hilly third mile began as I watched her gap even more distance between us.  While she probably split a 5:40, I split a 5:56.  At this point in the race, I basically just gave up. I knew that she was going to win handily and I also knew that there was no competition anywhere near me, so I settled.  I hate that I did it, but I did.  I gave in to a mental weakness and let her go and didn't try nearly as hard to catch her.  My splits are a little slower than last year, when I ran basically the same time but completely solo.  The key takeaway with this comparison is that I was able to motivate myself to go faster in those final 2 miles alone last year better than I could this year because I was "losing."  In the end, I crossed the finish line in 28:44, just 1 second off last year's time.  Fortunately I still came away with $400, which was great.  In the end, I know that I can beat Joan, but I just didn't have the heart to go for it this time around.

Sunday was highlighted with the Run for Boston at McMullen.  It was great to see 200+ runners come out in the rain to support Nicole and Michael Gross as they recover from this tragedy.  We enjoyed some soggy miles, great company and delicious homemade food for a couple hours in the early morning hours and I wouldn't have changed it for anything else.

Now on to next week, where I'll focus on my prep for the USA Half Marathon Champs

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

4 mile Tempo + 400s

5 mile tempo in GHMP

3.1 mile warmup
4 mile tempo in 23:40 5:55 (5:53, 6:00, 5:56, 5:52) + 400m in 79
3 mile cool down  for 11 miles total

The plan was to do whatever tempo Laurie was doing, but she had a rough night of sleep, so I was left to hopefully run with Jay Barringer.  Well, he didn't show up at the Dilworth Speed Loop at 6AM, so I had to find my own intrinsic motivation to get the work done.  While I am very appreciative of the running club and the plethora of group runs it offers, it has made me somewhat of a baby when it comes to working out on my own.  I guess it kind of makes sense because even in college, I rarely ran alone, and even if I did, my coach was there to support me.

To ensure that I got the work done, I decided to run the 800m speed loop four times.  After my garmin clicked off 2 miles, I headed to the standard 2 mile part and stopped after 4 miles.  Then I decided to do 4x400m to give my legs a little bit of a kick since I have an 8k coming up on Saturday.  While I would have liked to had faster splits for the tempo, I was pleased with how I bounced back after a slower 2nd mile.  The 400s didn't feel spectacular, but the point was not necessarily to go fast, but rather to get the legs going at a speed faster than tempo.

My goal for the half in June is to start out at 5:55 pace and then to gradually drop down to 5:50 so that I can be poised for a PR (faster than 1:17:50).  I think that if I continue to get these tempos done with company, I'll prove to myself that my goal is realistic.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Week in Review

69 Miles
8 Runs
5k Race with a Burrito
14 Mile Long Run
1 hour Bike Ride

While I continue to barely miss hitting 70 miles for the second week in a row, I'm really happy with where my training is at.  It is interesting to note that last year at this time I was running 75-90 miles a week and I was feeling tired on a lot of my workouts.  Now I feel much fresher!  So far, my lower mileage approach has been working well for me.  I feel fresh in my workouts and fast in my races.  I am excited to see where this takes me in June, when I toe the line at the USA Half Champs in Duluth, MN.  Most of all, I'm excited that Laurie and I are continuing to get closer on each of our runs.  It's really great for me because Laurie is really tough on the longer stuff, so she can really push me there, and then I'm really tough on the shorter stuff.  So we both are helping each other with the areas we may not be as strong.  It also helps that our personalities fit perfectly.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Moe's Burrito Dash 5k

Win Prize Money

3.1 mile warmup
5k race in 19:04 with Burrito, 2nd place, $1000
3 mile cool down

PM:  6 miles with Laurie for ~14 miles total

Last year, I found this gem of a race, the Moe's Burrito Dash, with a very deep prize purse, but with a slight catch: you had to eat a burrito in the middle of the race.  Last year, only one other competitive woman showed up and it was a relatively easy win.  It helped that the race was short, that the burrito station was at mile 2, and that the burrito was about the size of a taco.  This year, the course was exactly 5 kilometers, the burrito station was at 1.5 miles, and the burrito was bigger.  To further complicate matters, there were six women with me in the burrito station.

Despite all of that, it was a blast because of two things: (1) Garrett and I got to take a mini road trip with Laurie down to the race, one of my favorite people in Charlotte and (2) Laurie, Pezz and I finally all toed a start line in the same race together!  Ironically, I had told Pezz about this race a couple weeks ago, questioning her decision to do the Tar Heel Ten Miler, which was further away and featured a smaller prize purse.  On Thursday, she texted me asking permission for her to run it. Pezz is so nice that I'm pretty sure if I had said NO WAY, she would have actually not run it.  Of course, I told her that I do not own the Burrito Dash and that she should definitely do it.  Knowing that both Pezz and Laurie have PRs that are minutes faster than mine, I didn't want to discount either of them before the race because I had done a decent job of eating my burrito last year.  Well, not this time around....

After a nice warmup with Laurie and Pezz, we all toed the line and waited for the signal.  Pezz effectively false started, but it didn't matter as we all followed a couple seconds later.  Pezz shot off to the front and another tiny girl went with her, but then fell back to where Laurie and I were.  After 1000m, Pezz was about 15m ahead of me and I was in second. I knew that Laurie, the tiny girl and a couple others were close, but I kept chugging through.  I didn't catch my splits, but I guess I went through the first mile in 5:15.  We got the burrito stand, and Pezz had taken about 2 bites.  After 10 seconds, Laurie, the tiny girl and two former college runners entered.  We were all stacked against each other and eating a burrito.  I couldn't breathe without snot shooting out of my nose, and I kept glancing at Pezz and Laurie to see where they were at.  At one point, I almost threw it all up but managed to keep it down.  Out of nowhere, Laurie downed her burrito and took off right before Pezz yelled "welcome to moe's" and I was left to follow in their dust about 10 seconds behind.  Another girl was right with me and I broke her after 400m.  Around 2.25, I caught up to Laurie (finally), told her GREAT BURRITO EATING and she told me to GET PEZZ.  I told her that another girl was close behind me and powered ahead.

At the finish, I crossed the line about 8 seconds back from Pezz and threw up as soon as I crossed.  The next girl, Christina Supino, a former Dartmouth runner, was close behind and then Laurie.  I was bummed that Laurie, Pezz, and I did not take the top three spots, but Laurie had just gotten an iron drip, so she was still recovering from that.  Fortunately, she is a great sport and was totally supportive of us and patiently waited for us to get our awards.  She did come away with 50 Moe's Bucks, but since they were only valid Columbia, she gave it to Christina, who lives there.

Overall, this year's experience wasn't nearly as positive as last year since I threw up and had a much more difficult time eating the burrito, but I had a lot of fun with some of Charlotte's fastest women!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

13x400m on Speed Loop

5 Mile Wave

3 mile warmup
13x400m with 1:00 rest at 76-79
2.5 cool down for ~9 miles total

I was going to do a 5 mile wave tempo, but I hadn't done speed in a while and I had the Moe's Burrito Dash coming up on Saturday.  So I switched things up and opted to do a tempo next week.   Phil came out with me for the first 5 intervals, but then the top of his foot began to hurt and so he dropped out.  Later he sent me a snapchat with a picture of him in a boot -- stress reaction.  With him out, I changed my strategy because my motivation was wavering.  I relaxed as much as possible going through the first half and then once I passed the 200m mark, I changed gears to push really hard.  This method seemed to work really well for me because all of my times began to drop.  I was running 1-2 seconds faster than I had with Phil!  After I completed 13 400s, I called it a day and ran home, feeling satisfied with the effort.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Week in Review

69 Miles
8 runs
1 Workout Fail
16 mile Long run w/ tempo
2 Light lift sessions
1 Massage

My goal this week was to run 70+ miles for the first time since October 2012, but I got sick last Sunday, which put a hamper on my plans.  Fortunately, my cold (or allergies?) is slowly leaving my system as of today, so I'm confident that a solid week of workouts will get back into full swing!  Midweek, I was a little bummed that my workout basically didn't happen, but I bounced back quickly on Saturday with a solid long run.  Running side by side with Laurie and David, we traversed the McAlpine trails in 645 pace, gradually dropping the pace down as each mile passed.  It helped that the short spell of summer weather had dissipated after a night rain washed away all of the pollen and blew the humidity into the ocean.  The weekend weather was the perfect crisp, cool spring weather that is just too short here in North Carolina, but savored nonetheless.

Next up, Laurie and I are headed to Columbia for the race of intestinal fortitude!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Massive Workout Fail

2x3mile with 2 min rest @ 600-550

3 mile warmup
1.25 mile in 608 pace
1 mile in 600 pace
4x400m in 80
10 miles total

Because I was sick (or allergic to all this damn pollen) this whole week, it resulted in lots of missed morning runs.  This morning was no exception, so I opted for a workout at McAlpine in the early evening with Garrett biking alongside.  I was completely unprepared for the 86 degree heat, with air heavy not only with moisture but also pollen.   I headed into the workout with the intention of just running at what felt "hard" and not looking at splits.

With the sun beating down on my pale, abino-ish skin, I set off for a hard pace at the start line of the XC course.  As I passed the 800m mark, I opted to run on the paved portion, so I turned on the bridge.  A woman happened to be sitting on the bridge with her dog on a leash.  As I cruised by, the dog jumped out and bit my hip.  I didn't stop, but Garrett yelled from the bike, "Did he get you..." and I pulled up my shorts to check.  Sure enough, I had bloody mark on my leg, albeit small.  I was so pissed that I didn't stop to check if her dog had rabies shots.  I just kept going but then I was so flustered I didn't want to go anymore, so I stopped after 1.25 miles.  There isn't much to report about the rest of the workout, except that I tried to run hard for some other portions and ultimately decided to end it with some 400m repeats on the course.

In hindsight, I wish I had just scrapped a workout for this week and just focused on resting and recovering.  I learned that if I'm sick, I need to listen to my body and just run easy as opposed to plowing through workouts that will just make me feel less confident in my fitness.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Week in Review

58 Miles
8k Race in 28:40 for 1st place
7 Runs, 0 Doubles
1 Massage

This was definitely a good week of training. with decreased mileage due to the first race in the NC USATF Endurance Series.  I enjoyed a mini vacation in Greensboro with Garrett, got to catch up with some old Wake Forest buddies, and, best yet, got a massage from Joel Tull!  While I am sad that I missed the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, the opportunity at the Gate City 8k was much better and hard to pass up! Looking ahead, my goal next week is to hit over 70 miles for the first time since October 2012 and log some quality workouts before racing again the last two weekends in April.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

NC USATF 8K Champs

Run strategically to win

3 mile warmup with Marley
8k Race in 28:40 w/ splits of (5:32, 5:42, 5:47, 5:45, 5:49)
1st place, $1000
2.3 miles warmup for 10.3 total

Garrett and I headed to Greensboro on Friday afternoon for my first road race in Greensboro ever.  I've basically run in all the other major cities of North Carolina, but for some odd reason Greensboro never came onto my radar for other races.  The Gate City 8k event director is trying to create North Carolina's premier race here in the heart of the Gate City, and they did not fail to impress.  The race provided all the elites several perks besides just a deep prize purse:  Garrett and I shared a king size room on the 23rd floor of the Sheraton.  We attended a dinner banquet at the Sedgefield Country Club, where the ACC was founded.  They cooked us made-to-order spaghetti with all the vegetables and sauces you could imagine. The best part was the three-tiered dessert table with an assortment of sweets including, but not limited to:  chocolate chip cookie bars, cheesecake, key lime pie, boston creme pie, pecan pie and more cookies. Finally, they gave us picture books from a famous NC water color artist for awards.

After conversing with USATF LDR Chairs, Andrew Allden and Molly Nunn at the country club lobby, Garrett and I seated ourselves with Marley, Brock and his girlfriend, and Joel Tull, my former massage therapist from WFU.  We ate the delicious food and had too much of the delectable desserts  while the Mayor of Greensboro, an accomplished runner himself, talked to us about the event.

Race morning came and went without a hitch, with my trusty sidekick Garrett along for the ride and for general assistance.  He waited in the car while Marley and I warmed up for the race together, discussing our race plans and just catching up.  After putting on my race flats (I opted for my Nike Marathoners instead of the Flyknits so that my legs wouldn't feel so fatigued like they did two weeks ago), I headed to the start line.  I ran into John Hinton and asked him what pace he was looking for because he typically beats me at these things, but he said he wasn't in as good of shape.  Then, I spotted Bill and asked him the same thing.  He said quite frankly that he just didn't know.  Well, he did just run a 2:46 marathon a couple weeks ago!

The Mayor of Greensboro said "Ready, Set..." and then a girl sprinted off for what they would call a false start in track..and then he fired the gun, where everyone else took after the girl.  One of the elite women took off hard, and I settled in a safe distance of about 10 feet behind her.  Marley and two other girls were on my shoulder, as well as John Hinton and Bill.  The first mile was entirely downhill and after I passed the first mile mark, I made a slight move to drop my female counterparts and continued on the rest of the exceptionally hilly course, side by side with Bill.  I pushed on the first big uphill, and on the corresponding downhill, let out an audible sigh of relief, to which Bill responded, "Don't give up and Don't give in."  I grunted in response.

Bill and I continued to play cat and mouse for basically the rest of the course.  I would push on the uphill, settle on the downhills, as he pushed past me on the downhills.  The whole race I felt rather terrible and by mile 3 I just kept repeating to myself: Race hard and race fast.  Mile 3 passed by and I wished we didn't have another loop before heading back downtown.  I could already see the big buildings and wanted to take the direct route rather than the loop around a small park.  During the fourth mile, we went up yet another large, steep hill and Bill really gapped me here.  I truly thought I was going to die here, but I think my repetitive mantra inspired me to speed up and tuck in right behind him.  With less than a half mile to go, it was all uphill to the finish.  Somehow I powered past Bill even though I felt awful.  My stomach was hurting bad and I just felt tired.  I crossed the finish line a mere 2 seconds ahead of him and was so grateful for the finish.  Had Bill not been there, I definitely would have been hard pressed to run sub 29:00.

The next female racer, Ginny Cronley, wasn't too far behind in 28:56 and then 3-5 were very close together at around 30:xx.  It will be exciting to compete with Ginny at other NC USATF races as she may be inclined to participate in the Endurance Series, like I am.  What I really love about this series is that it brings out new talent that I can compete with.  Sometimes I'll lose, sometimes I'll win, but either way, I know that there will always be incentive for younger talent to come out and compete hard.

Overall, I'm pleased that I executed a race strategy that allowed me to win and bring home $1000 for the family slush fund.  I am not thrilled with my mentality during the race, which was rather negative through miles 2-4.  Hills are definitely not my strength right now, which is understandable, but I need to be tougher on those types of courses.  Looking forward to my next one!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

6x800m with Caleb

Pre race workout

5k Warmup
6x800m with 2:00 rest at 2:35, 2:38, 2:37, 2:37, 2:38, 2:38
3.3 mile cool down for 10 miles total

Caleb and I opted to sleep in and do this workout in the afternoon instead.  I was open to workout options as it was pre-race and really just wanted company. Caleb had an 800m workout prescribed as one of his last workouts leading up to the Boston Marathon, so I said yes and headed to the Dilworth Speed Loop with him to get this done.

There isn't too much to report for the intervals except that we went out too fast on the first interval and I felt like my legs paid for it on the others.  I felt really good and strong, but I would have rather finished in a 2:35 than begun with one.  Caleb and I were together for the first 4 intervals, but on the final two, he fell back a little bit and I was left to push hard on my own terms.

I'm ready for a nice 8k in Greensboro on Saturday, but I'm definitely not looking forward to the hills around the course.