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.