Sunday, December 7, 2014

Week in Review

76 Miles
6 x 1000m repeats @ 327, 325, 321, 327, 325, 322 with 1-2-3 rest between
11.6 MLR
18 miles EZ in 7:15 pace
4 days in CLT

I'm really pleased with this week. Between studying for finals and furiously planning for next year's projects at work, it was a busy week!  Fortunately, I have great running friends and amazing co-workers that made this long work week more manageable.  Even though there were a couple of long nights in the office for some last minute fire-drills, I enjoyed a night out for Michelle's birthday dinner.  I caught up with little D, Alice, Billy and several other folks I hadn't seen in quite some time.  I had a slew of guys to work out with during the week and, despite the early morning workout, had a great time running fast on the barely-lit roads.  After enjoying several runs in Charlotte with 8+ people for easy runs, it was a stark contrast to return to Durham for a practically solo long run (thank god for Amanda who joined me for 9 miles).  I really wish that the Triangle was closer together so that I could more easily run with folks in Raleigh and Cary.  At least I've got reliable buddies Amanda and Billy to keep me sane and my motivation up!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week in Review

78 Miles
11.5 MLR
12 miles with down Ladder workout of 10-5-3-1-:30 on and 3-2-1-:30 min off at increasingly faster paces
1 Double
20 mile long run in 6:51 average
3 days in Greenville, NC

So it was Thanksgiving this week and I have a track record of running low mileage over holiday weeks because I get so consumed with the holiday spirit and lose all motivation.  This year was a bit different because I was able to get in a decent amount of miles in Durham before I headed to my in-laws' house in Greenville.  I had a lot of solo workouts and runs this week, which is definitely not ideal, but I still pulled my butt out of bed and out the door to get these runs in.  The workout on Wednesday was particularly difficult because it was like 40 degrees and raining and, to make matters worse, I didn't have any company to do this workout.  I managed to hit the target goals, but felt like crap the rest of the day because my body was still thawing out from the cold.

In Greenville, I spent my time hanging out with family, running and doing some last minute work for Duke MBA projects that are due in less than two weeks.  After enjoying some quality time with the new puppy, Greta, it was particularly hard to leave Greenville, but we ultimately did.  After all, we had a Wake Forest v. Duke football game that we could not miss!  For the first time ever, Garrett and I wore our Varsity Letterman jackets as well as our class rings that we received for being varsity athletes at Wake.  I'm actually quite sad that I had not busted out my Letterman jacket until now because, damn, that jacket is warm!

I topped the week off with a point-to-point 20 mile long run with 10 miles at steady state.  Billy joined me for the first six miles, then I ran solo for six miles and Garrett graciously biked alongside me for the last eight miles.  My stomach really ached this whole run, which made it pretty miserable and, afterwards, I was totally wrecked. I had high hopes of studying for my finals for several hours , but instead I was in bed for about 3 hours before finally mustering the strength to move.  My motivation to get out of bed was strictly driven by my insatiable hunger that I could suddenly no longer ignore.  Even though it may not have gone like my last 20 miler back in September, I was proud of myself for not quitting and for getting in the miles when every ounce of my body was telling me to stop.  If I do end up racing LA marathon, I'm beginning to lay the foundation that will help me be successful.  Up next, finals!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Week in Review

67 Miles
400m workout
14 mile EZ long run
0 days off
3 Days in CLT
1 Football tailgate

After a successful race in Richmond last weekend, the focus for this week was to facilitate a quick recovery and to begin building the foundation for a successful winter campaign.  I started the week in Charlotte and enjoyed some easy runs in the freezing cold weather with Michelle, Danielle and Caleb.  After I got back home, I went to my first Duke football game tailgate, but failed to venture into the stadium for the game because it was cold and I wanted to go grocery shopping. Yes, I am that lame.  I realized that going to Trader Joe's during a UNC/Duke game is the equivalent of going grocery shopping at 8AM, because no one is there.

On Friday, Billy and I headed to the stadium/track, and did some 400m repeats together while also dodging frozen water and gatorade that was leftover from the football game.  I was surprised to feel so springy in the legs during the workout, especially on such a cold morning.  I spent the weekend attending class, doing homework, going bowling with my #teamFuqua friends and running.  Today, I did my first long run at Umstead and really enjoyed the 14 mile loop, except for the hills.  The second half of the loop was so hilly that it seemed to cancel out the whole "easy run" part.  My labored breathing on the 15 steep climbs prevented me from blabbering my mouth the entire time.

Over the next 4-6 weeks, I plan to post some good workouts and mileage since Term 2 of my MBA ends on December 8th and then it's Christmas time, meaning no work and no classes!  I hope to take advantage of the free time to train hard, be with family and dream about LA Marathon 2015.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

(Richmond Half Marathon) Week in Review

60 Miles
10 miles with 2 x 1.5 miles followed by 4x200m
Half marathon race in 1:16:02
0 days off

This was the first weekend that I missed the live webex sessions for my MBA courses. Admittedly, the nerd in me was really freaking out about this, but I got in a lot of work early in the week so that I wouldn't let my teammates down before heading to Richmond for the marathon and half marathon weekend.  My race recap is below:

5:50 Place and 3rd place because from past results there seems to typically be 2 africans

2.5 miles warmup solo with strides
Race in 1:16:02 for 3rd place, 1st American female via
540, 554, 543, 544, 552, 551, 550, 559, 559, 549, 551, 547, 528, :29 (splits from the race markers)
2 miles cool down ish cheering for Michelle and Meagan

For those that may not know, I was in China for two weeks and then I was sick for an entire week after China and didn't recover until just under two weeks left for the half marathon race. Thus, I wanted to set realistic goals so I felt like 5:50 pace (or low 1:16) would be a good fit for me.

I warmed up solo in the cold conditions and came back to the hotel feeling like the conditions truly weren't that bad, especially compared to Cal International Marathon 2013. I immediately told Meagan and Michelle this to make them feel a little bit better about the cold.

Our hotel was so close to the start that I didn't meander over there until like 7:20, just ten minutes before, and it was perfect timing. On the line, I saw two Africans and a blonde chick in pink tights who I thought could definitely not be a legit runner. Well, I was wrong.

The race went off with an anti-climatic "go" and I found myself in the lead and thought WTF? The pace was crawling (or so I thought. I thought the Garmin said 555 pace, but I misread it and it actually read 535 pace). So then I saw the actual pace at 800 meters in, where the Kenyans had conveniently situated themselves right behind me. I naturally decided to slow down because I knew I wasn't in shape to run 1:14 and didn't want to do work for them to later win easily while I would later die drastically. So I slowed up and let the Kenyans go by and suddenly I was leading the pink tights girl and another chick who would later fall back.

After the mile split I decided to slow up a bit to force the Pink girl to take the lead along with four guys. That mile split was slow, so then the guys and I all picked it up again so that suddenly we were on the Kenyans again at mile 3. The Africans said something in a different tongue and took off again, taking the guys with them.  It was clear to me that they were trying to run the slowest pace possible to still win.

Over the next couple of miles, I was alone until the Pink chick came back on me and passed me on a slight uphill. I said good job and then tried to latch on. The rest of the race was spent yo-yoing back and forth with this Russian pink chick. Sometimes she would get me on the downhill; sometimes I would get her on the uphill. It wasn't that I battling with her, it was just that we each had different strengths. I didn't feel like I was wasting energy, but I wanted to maintain my pace and sometimes doing that meant passing her and then having her pass me back.

Quite honestly, during those miles I really wanted to quit (you can tell by the two mile splits at 559 pace), but having Pink chick there helped tremendously. In fairness, those slower splits were through a rolling terrain in a park with several turns so it was probably the slowest point on the course.

Around mile 9-10, I had settled for fourth place because I just felt so darn tired, but then I realized I could probably still beat her. However, I wasn't full confident of winning this battle for third until we rounded the turn at 12.5 miles and faced the massive downhill to the finish. She was side by side with me at that point, but I unleashed it and ended up beating her by 8 seconds in the final 600 meters and just missing breaking 1:16.

In the end, I was really pleased with my result, especially considering that in just March of this year, running 1:17 was a good day for me. Now I run 1:16:03 off minimal training, and it's a bad day. My fitness has come so far and I'm so grateful that I've been able to maintain training while in my MBA program...and to brag a little, Duke's Fuqua MBA program was recently ranked number one, beating out Penn, Chicago and Harvard.

I ran uphill all the way back to the hotel and then ran to the 16.5 mile marker of the marathon to try to catch Meagan and Michelle. I missed Meagan but saw Michelle. Then I raced back to the hotel to get a Starbucks for Meagan and Michelle and cheered for Meagan at 25.5. It was a good day!  Meagan qualified for the Trials with a time of 2:40:48 and then Michelle ran 3:02.  

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Week in Review

70 Miles
12M with 7 x 1000m repeats @ 3:35 with 1:00 jog rest on Dilworth Speed Loop
12.5M with 6k of 400m @ 80 /400m @ 1:35, 6:00 jog rest, 6k at 556, 557, 555, 5:49 pace

As you can tell, I finally was able to get a normal mileage this week! I felt like myself, I felt like I had control of my legs again and I felt ready for Richomnd.  The biggest struggle last week was trusting that I had enough fitness to still run a respectable race in Richmond.  I have been focusing a lot this week on mental strategies that will help me believe that I'm still in shape and have put in the right amount of work to race well.  The workouts that I posted this week helped tremendously in my mental outlook and confidence in myself. I was able to run 1000m repeats basically solo at my target half pace with a very short jog rest.  I followed that up with a great track / tempo workout on Saturday with Billy as my pacemaker.  I'm feeling really good about the next six weeks of training and am really excited to toe the line at Richmond!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

(Sick) Week in Review

47 Miles
2 Day off
14 mile long run

I got a little overzealous on Monday, my first full day back in the states after 16 hours of time travel across the world.  I felt just great: I got 8 hours of sleep Sunday night, worked a full day and was totally ready to hit 70 miles for the week.  With my grand plans to hop right back into training, I was smacked right in the face with my own ignorance.  Tuesday's run came and went, along with my pride and energy.  I spent the rest of the week with a stomach bug, without a voice, and sleeping like a cat from 12PM-5PM.  I struggled through every run and decided finally to take Wednesday off. I didn't go to the doctor, but instead waited until Thursday to finally pop a miracle pill Passport Health had given to me before my international travel.  Expecting the pill to work miraculously in hours, it didn't.  I almost had a meltdown on Friday, swearing to myself that there was no way I could run Richmond in just two weeks.  It's funny how quickly your mindset can go from being in the total dumps to being right back to normal. Saturday morning, I woke up and I just knew that today would be the day I would be normal again.  Despite my refusal to go to a doctor, I do sometimes make intelligent decisions.  I took my second day off from running even though I felt 100 times better. I wanted to let my body finally recover, without the additional stress piled on my garbage legs with a run.  I was able to close out the week with a 14 mile medium long run with Billy and George.  While it wasn't amazing, I got the job done and closed the week feeling good about my prospects for Richmond.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

(China) Weeks in Review

Shanghai Skyline - Captured on my first run along the Bund River

Week of October 13th
14 hour flight to China
Nick and I ran through Beijing!
3 Days in Beijing
1 Day at the Great Wall
Term 2 Kick-off in Shanghai
42 miles
1 Day off

This week started off with a run with Jilane and Meagan in DC and hopping on a plane to Beijing soon after that.
 I landed in Beijing on Tuesday, feeling excited to be on a continent I had never been to.  I got in several runs with Nick in the pollution-laced air and even ran a light minuters workout on Saturday in Shanghai along the Bund.  All in all, I'm really happy to be here and am so excited to get in some more runs!

Week of October 20th
47 miles
1 Day off
7 miles @ 630 pace on the treadmill

Llama temple (photo courtesy of Nick Alcantara)
This week was full of classes daily from 8AM - 6PM but it's a totally different vibe than the MBA residency in Durham.  There is actually time in the evening to go out and explore Shanghai and to get to know the city.  Because of this, it's been much easier for me to run around the city, my own way of exploring around.  One day the smog was too thick for my taste, so I hopped on the treadmill to get some miles in and closed the last 3 miles in sub-6:00 pace to get in some work. After a night singing my lungs out at karaoke, I forgot to set my alarm and woke up at 750am and had to frantically get dressed so I wasn't late for class that started at 8AM.  Somehow I made it to class with 2 minutes to spare and was so relieved, but obviously bummed that I didn't get to run. On the last day of residency, I organized a group of classmates to run with two of our professors, one of which was leading us through some cool places in the city since he lives in Shanghai.  It was a great way to get to know our professors and the city. On Sunday, it was time for me to go home and I boarded a plane at 4PM and was home at 10PM in Durham on the same day. Time travel rocks!

In the end, this residency helped me realize that I can't use these residencies as an excuse to just totally ignore running.  I was hoping to get 60 miles in during this stay, but didn't reach that because I missed my alarm.  I think that going forward, if I buckle down, I will definitely be able to still hit a good mileage and continue to achieve my running goals without sacrificing my performance at Duke.

Shanghai Skyline on my run

My classmates Brenda, Sam and I during our last night in Shanghai

Organized a CCMBA running tour of Shanghai with our professor

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Army Ten Miler Recap

Top 5

2.5 mile warmup
57:12, 3rd place overall female splits of 539, 542, 547, 532, 540, 552, 547, 547, 540, 542
1.5 cool down for about 14 miles total

After spending a week preparing for my second term of my MBA, it was a nice relief to hang out with Liz, Garrett and Meagan in the district the day before this race. I had been questioning how sound my rationale was to do a race right before heading out to China to kick off my second term, but after getting to DC, I knew that I had put in the work to post a decent time.  

Since I'm a whole month behind on my blog, I'm going to keep this short and just copy from what I posted in athleticore.  I felt really good about this race considering my lifestyle and lack of doing half marathon specific workouts. In the race, I had the pleasure of running with Meagan for about 2.5-3 miles and then after that I was solo, except for some of the men that either passed me or that I passed along the way.

I passed two Africans around 4-6 miles and then I passed another girl around mile 8. I had stomach cramps starting after mile 5, so that was a real struggle and a part of me really wanted to drop off and walk to the Lincoln Memorial instead. I really had to focus on not bargaining with myself to get a slower time, although I still fell victim to my own mind. For instance, after mile 6, I told myself "okay, you just have to keep running sub 6:00s to run sub 58." I should have told myself instead: "keep running sub 550", but I didn't want to hurt too bad. Fortunately, my body was somehow able to ignore my mind and push through to a pace faster than 5:50.  

Overall, I was very pleased with my effort and am impressed that I've been able to maintain a decent amount of fitness during my first term of my masters program.  Tomorrow, I head to China!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Broken Mile Repeats

3-4 x (1000m-200m rest-400m) and 400m jog between sets:

3.5 ish warmup in 27 min
1000m, 200m rest, 400m hard, 400m rest x 3
325 (54) 79 (1:53) 1 mile in 5:40
323 (59) 77 (1:56) 1 mile in 539
322 (59) 76 1 mile in 537
2.5 mile cool down on al buehler for 10 miles total

I love when Coach T-Bone gives me the option for how many intervals to complete.  Typically, if he gives me this option for a race-week workout, I definitely go on the lower end.  Out of habit, I did that today and opted for only 3.  As you can tell from the splits above, Billy and I definitely went out a little too hard on all of the 1000m repeats, so I felt like I had earned the right to only do 3 intervals.  At this point, there's not much more work I can do to affect the result of my race this Sunday.  I'm really excited to put my "MBA" fitness to the test and see what I'm able to accomplish while juggling a rigorous schedule of run, work, MBA homework, sleep, repeat.  I don't know if my fitness is where it was in June when i ran 56:46 en route to my half marathon PR, but I don't feel like it's out of reach to run 5:45-5:40 pace for the majority of this race.  The goal for me is to have fun and enjoy the beautiful scenery of DC as I run by all of the Capitol's monuments.  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Week in Review

60 miles
1 day off
1 workout fail
90 Min MLR with tempo and fast mixed in

I went ahead and took my first day off in a while on Monday of this week. I drove to Charlotte to be in the office for three days this week and it was nice to sleep in.  I did have one of my first workout fails of this training cycle.  Quite honestly, I'm surprised it hadn't happened sooner.  In all fairness to me, some stuff is going on with my family and I had a solid 10 days of training leading up to this workout fail, so it's totally understandable.

I made up for my fall from grace by having a great workout on Saturday with Billy. I'm just one week out from my goal race of Army Ten Miler and I feel like I'm as ready as I can be.  I depart for Beijing the day following Army Ten Miler, so it's been a nice way to deter focus from pre-race jitters to pre-MBA residency jitters.  I'm excited to begin my first international residency and to run around the streets of Shanghai!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

(Finals) Week in Review

67 miles
10k Tempo on track at alternating paces
15 miles with 5 mile tempo at 600, 551, 500, 557, 547
13 Hours for Accounting Final
2 Hours for Managerial effectiveness final

I was really proud to have hit 67 during my first finals week of the Fuqua MBA.  This week featured the much-hyped accounting final, where I had heard stories and rumors that the test would take up to 18 hours.  For those that don't know, when I was at Wake, I had never gotten a B in my life, and suddenly I got a C- in my first Financial Accounting course.  I skipped right over the B's and plopped right on the low end of C.  It was devastating.  In order to seal my admission to the undergraduate Calloway School of Business, I had to retake the class in the Summer term.  So, yes, this was my THIRD time taking this subject, and unfortunately I don't remember much from either of those two course.  So I completed the final on Friday and it "only" took me about 12 hours.  After that, all I wanted to do was watch an episode of New Girl and eat chocolate.  I decided to sleep in the next day and do all the things that I don't typically get to do, like go to the farmer's market and take a field trip to Umstead to run easy with Amanda.  It was a great way to just take a mini-break before I begin to prepare for Term 2.

It's clear from the above that workouts this week were secondary to my finals, but I still got them in.  My long run wasn't perfect, but I somehow still hit most of the splits prescribed by Coach T-bone.  It was my first "meh" workout in a while, so I was definitely due for one.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Week in Review

77 miles
12 mile MLR
6 x mile on track
20 Miles Long Run

This week I nailed all of my workouts.  Leading up to my finals, I worried that the heavy workload from accounting and managerial effectiveness would take a toll on my fitness and affect my ability to successfully complete workouts.  In fact, running still seems to be an outlet for stress relief, rather than building more stress.  If it becomes a stressor, then that means I need to take a day off.   This week I had Billy's company for a mile repeat workout on Duke's track and then Amanda and George joined me for a long run on the ATT.

Mile Repeats:
Splits (Rest)
556 (56)
547 (1:26)
542 (1:59)
533 (2:25)
528 (2:59)
The goal here was to get faster each mile and to increase the rest after each interval. I was told to stop whenever I could no longer hit the split at 8 seconds faster than the previous.  This workout was great because it gave me an option to stop whenever my body told me enough was enough.  I really wanted to hit sub 5:20 but I think that another part of me just wanted to workout to be done.  Billy stepped out for a couple of laps on this one and, when I was solo, my pace faltered on that last interval, preventing me from hitting my goal of sub-520.

Point-to-Point 20 miler in 2:15
The goal for this workout was to run a 10 mile progression steady (620-640) at some point during the run. Since Matt graciously decided to pick us up at the end of the Tobacco Trail, Billy, Amanda and I set off from her house, with the only way to get home literally 20 miles away.  It was a great way to make a long run fun.  Fortunately, my legs felt fantastic, so after coming through 10 miles in 70 minutes, I hit the accelerator and began cruising.  From 10-15 miles, we were hitting about 630-640 pace. From miles 16-20, I felt really good and began hitting 610-620 pace and closed the final, 20th mile in 5:59 pace.

I was really excited about this workout.  Not only did it tell me that I've still got a lot of strength and endurance, it told me that I hadn't lost my marathon touch.  After this long run, I am a bit bummed that I couldn't work it out to do a full marathon this fall, but I just keep reminding myself that I truly do have the rest of my life to continue pursuing my marathon dreams and chipping away at my PRs.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Week in Review

70 Miles
tempo Workout
200m on / off workout
15.5 mile long run easy

I'm super behind on my blog because finals week took over my life from the week of September 23 - 29.  I honestly don't remember what happened this week except that all of my workouts were really great.  Things are definitely moving in the right direction!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Solo 200m on / off

10 miles with 20 minutes of 200m on/off at 40s/50s

3 miles warmup
4 miles in 23:17 of 200m on/off on the track with slow laps 48-49 and fast laps around 38-40 with last one @ 36
3 miles cool down for 10 miles total

I waited until after my MBA classes today to do this workout.  Since there's a mile race tomorrow in Raleigh, that meant that I had no company for this one, and it wasn't as bad as I had expected. I knocked out 16 laps on the track with purely my own motivation preventing me from quitting.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tempo in CLT

2.5m @ 600, 800m jog, 1m @ 540 or faster, 800m jog, 2.5m @ 600

3 miles warmup at 530am
2.5 miles via 557, 602, 251 for 14:50 total
800m jog in 3:43
1 mile in 531
800m jog in 412 includes quick water stop
2.5 miles via 551, 552, 251 for 14:34 total
2 miles cool down for 12 total

It definitely doesn't feel like September yet! The humidity this morning in Charlotte was strong and I could tell by the amount of sweat drenched in my shorts after just ten minutes of running.  Further solidifying my belief that Charlotte is quite possibly one of the best cities for "urban running," a group of about 8 people headed over to the Dilworth Speed Loop to knock out a variety of workouts.  For this one, I had the company of David Willis and Billy Shue and we are all in about the same shape, so it worked perfectly.  While it was not as easy as I would have liked for the last 2.5 miles, I felt really great on the fast mile. Slowly getting into half marathon shape again!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Week in Review

70 Miles
0 Doubles
Workout 1: 10 miles @ 644 average
Workout 2: 12 miles with 10 x 1000m @ 334 average with 1:00 rest on Duke track
Long Run:  15 miles with 6.5 miles in 613 average via 624, 627, 619, 614, 608, 601, 2:55 last 800m

Overall, after just three weeks of having real half marathon workouts since my two down weeks during my MBA, I'm finally beginning to feel like I'm in shape!  I feel pretty strong in my workouts and I have a lot of confidence that I can maintain my fitness throughout my MBA.  It seems fairly manageable to run about 70 miles a week without sacrificing the quality of my school work.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Rest of August in Review

Week of August 18:
78 Miles
1 Double
2 Days in CLT
Workout 1:  6 x 800m @ 239-240 with 2:30 jog on Speed Loop with Caleb
Workout 2:  12 miles MLR with 4 miles in 612, 555, 606, 550
Long Run:  16 miles in sub 7:00 pace

Fresh out of Term 1 Fuqua MBA residency, I headed to Charlotte for some face time in the Digital headquarters at Bank of America.  In the meantime, I ran 26 miles in two days there, which almost hit the same mileage I had run the week before at Duke.  Meagan was in town for the weekend, so it helped tremendously to just have her around to step out the door and get running.

Week of August 25
70 Miles
1 Double
Workout 1:  13.1 miles with 6 miles in 633, 627, 622, 612, 611, 544 with Meagan
Workout 2:  12M with 4 x 1.5M @ 602/258 (1:47), 550/257 (2:00), 557/256 (1:59), 553/255
Long Run:  13.5 miles at sub 700 average

I spent the majority of this week in my hometown of Carbondale, Illinois for my parents' 40th anniversary and my HS hall of fame induction.  I was especially humbled to be inducted into my high school hall of fame because I was the youngest by 14 years compared to any other inductee.  It was tough to get motivated to run because it was so hot when I was Illinois, but I was happy with my weekly mileage here.  

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Duke Fuqua MBA Residency Week(s) in Review

Week of August 4th:
43 miles
1 day off
200m on / off @ duke track
8.5 mile "long" run

Week of August 11th:
36 miles
1 day off
8 mile "long" run
1 Accounting Midterm

I was hoping that once my MBA started I would be able to keep up with my blog, but I think that is going to be really tough over the next 1.5 years.  I stepped into my Fuqua Cross Continent MBA residency feeling bright eyed and confident.  I stepped out of it feeling dreary eyed and dejected.  But even with those feelings, I absolutely love it!  The program is set up like this:  each term starts off with a reading period, where we have to read materials to prepare for three classes.  Then we head off to an intense "residency" in another country (or, in this case, at Duke) where we go to class, eat, go to class, eat, go to a speaker, eat, talk with a career coach, go to sleep, repeat.  After that, we have 6-8 weeks of classes at a distance and we must rely heavily on our teams to get assignments done.  During residency, there is literally no break; it's nonstop.  There are 15 minute breaks between classes and speaker events and the only down time you really get is when you eat in the cafeteria with your classmates.  It's challenging both intellectually and emotionally, but totally worth it.  I became a marathon runner for a reason - because I love a good challenge and the journey it takes to properly prepare for the challenge.  Similarly, I am approaching the journey to achieving my MBA in the same spirit.

Somehow in all of the madness of residency, I was able to get in some runs every morning.  Quite frankly, these runs were what kept me sane! I managed about 4-8 miles most days and finally caved on the 7th day of residency after I went to bed at 12:30 and decided that sleep was more important than a run.  The hardest adjustment during residency was getting five hours of sleep instead of eight or even ten hours.  All in all, I know that I will eventually adjust to this new routine that is called my crazy, busy life.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Week in Review

60 miles
8 x 200m with 200m jog workout
Lifetime mile PR at Sir Walter Miler - 4th place in 4:52
13 mile MLR
1 Day at Duke

I can't believe that it's finally the week where the first term of my Duke Fuqua MBA starts with a residency in Durham.  Running was again in the 60 mile range for the week, which was just fine by me as I began working through the accounting problems due for my first class.  I'm excited, nervous, scared and intimidated but I know that I was admitted to this program for a reason!   Starting Saturday night, I'll be staying at the R. David Thomas Center on Duke's campus for the next two weeks.  Hopefully I will be able to get some runs done on campus with my new classmates!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Week in Review

60 Miles
200m Workout
5k Race in 16:42
10 mile long run

This was a bit of a down week with the race and shorter workout.  Not much else to report except that I'm still in shape despite the lower mileage.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Beat the Heat 5k

#1 - Run sub 16:40
#2 - Be in the top 2
#3 - Win

3 mile warmup
5k race in 16:42, 1st place, $1000
Splits of 510, 534, 525
3 mile cool down

4 weeks behind on my blog, so here it is:

  • Really proud to win on Wake Forest turf
  • Really happy to finally break 17:00 on this course. 
  • I didn't have a road 5k PR today but I was really pleased to run that time with not many people in front of me to push me
  • Was really happy to have Amanda finish 2nd in a final kick
  • Nice to see I still can run a 5:10 mile ha
  • Video Interview

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Duke Track with Amanda and Billy

10 miles total with 3 x (600m @ 155-56 (200m jog) - 400m @ 76 (200m jog) - 200m @ 35 (200m jog) 400m rest between sets

3 + miles warmup
600m-400m-200m times with (rest)
155 (69) 76 (65) 35 (2:07)
154 (67) 76 (68) 35 (2:21)
154 (73) 74 (76) 35
2.7 mile cool down for ~ 9.8 miles total

Today Billy, Amanda and I laced up our flats for some more fun on the (squishy) Duke track.  A deep fog spanned across the track, covering us with a blanket of thick, wet air.  Maybe that's why I felt so terrible today.  Billy and I had a different workout than Amanda so we got going before she started her 1000m repeats.  The workout today was short and I thought that I would nail it effortlessly.  Instead, both Billy and I felt pretty tired.  Even though we hit the times, it felt like I was trying for a much faster time.  I was glad that I was able to push through even when my legs felt like lead weights in the water.  

Fortunately, I have Beat the Heat in just three days, which allows plenty of time for the legs to start feeling a bit more frisky.  I am really excited for this race since it's at Wake Forest and the start line is literally right outside the football stadium and where we had several student-athlete semi-formals.  As always, there's a solid group of women coming to compete and I hope some fast times can be posted.  Not going to lie though, I'd love to stand on the top of the podium as a proud Demon Deacon!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Week in Review

67 Miles
2 Track Workouts
14M Long Run
0 Days Off
1 Double

My mileage is finally getting up into digits that are more respectable for a runner who's not even injured. What's been most remarkable this week is that I had company for every single run.  I ran with Amanda three out of the seven days, which is pretty amazing considering I was in Charlotte for three of those days!  It is beginning to look like Amanda is my Laurie replacement as she lives almost the exact same distance away from me as Laurie did in Charlotte.

Right now, the most social parts of my day are during my runs.  Outside of that, I don't have much social interaction.  I went from having constant interaction with my Charlotte roommates, friends and co-workers to having practically none!  To make matters worse, Garrett just left on Friday morning for a three-week trek on the John Muir Trail, where he won't have access to the outside world for that entire period.  That first night of solitude was great.  After 24 hours, however, I was totally over it.  If I were working in the Charlotte office, I wouldn't feel nearly as lonely because of the social interaction that comes from office banter.  But, I'm not in Charlotte.  I'm in either my home office or on the 9th floor of University Tower, where I sit in a secretary's desk from 1985 and people ask me if I know when the printer is getting fixed.  Regardless, it's been a great learning experience for me and I'm glad that I have lots of Duke homework to keep me plenty and my hopes up.  As a side note, I know understand why people have kids. It keeps you going all the time, that's for sure!

Next week, I've got Beat the Heat on tap, followed by the Sir Walter Miler in Raleigh.  I'm hoping to run side-by-side with Amanda for both of those for as long as possible.  I am really excited to return to Wake Forest next weekend to represent my school in the local race!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

200m Repeats with Amanda and Billy

10-12 miles with track workout of 3200m cutdown tempo, cutting down each 800 (3:00, 2:56, 2:52, 2:48) - easy 3:30 jog - 8 x 200 @ 36-37 with 200m float (no slower than 60s).

34 minutes warmup for ~4.6 miles
3200m in 11:36 via 90, 90, 85, 90, (mile in 5:56) 85, 86, 83, 83,
3:34 jog rest for ~ 600m
200s w/ 200m jog via 36 (55), 36 (55), 34 (57), 36 (56), 35 (59), 35 (58), 35, (56), 36
~3.3 cool down for ~ 12 miles total

Remember how last week I said that Billy was going to be a recurring character in my training life?  Well, I've just added another one to the mix!  Amanda LoPiccolo just so happens to live less than 2 miles away from me and also has the exact same two races next on her schedule (AND she's a chiropractor!).  We've teamed up to push each other and run faster!  I really lucked out in my location for living here because of that.

Even though I've only been here for three weeks, somehow I found myself at the track introducing two Durhamites to each other.  After Billy and Amanda officially knew each on a first name basis, we went about our business to do the workout.  

Billy and I worked together by alternating leads every 800m during the 3200m interval.  It didn't feel hard, which is no surprise, since it was slower than my half marathon pace.  However, once we hit the track with Amanda to do the 200s, I immediately knew why Terry had said the focus of the workout was the 200s and not the 3200m.  Amanda and I took the lead for the first couple and I realized that I had forgotten how you're supposed to run on the tucking in and letting the leader do the work.  Then you rotate, and repeat.  I promise I used to be good at that (just ask my Wake teammates!) but somehow it felt awkward and unnatural.  Not because I didn't trust Billy or Amanda to do a perfect pace, but because it felt like we suddenly weren't helping each other as much.  I guess on roads, training for a marathon, I'm used to running side-by-side next to Laurie in a workout, not sitting on her ass waiting to kick.  If I'm doing this whole speed thing for the next couple of weeks (or months) then I better get used to it!

All that being said, it was a good workout.  It was great to have Amanda there to push me as she definitely has some wheels.  All three of us are doing Beat the Heat next weekend so I'm hoping that we can all work together to pound out a 5k at a quick pace.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Track Reunion in Charlotte

1600 (3:30 rest) - 4 x 400 (60s rest, 3:00 after #4) - 1200* (3:00 rest) - 2 x 200 (60s rest). targets: 1600 in 5:15-5:20, 400s in 76, 1200 in 3:51-3:55, 200s in 36-37 

20 min warmup
5:15 (600m in 3:31)
75 (200m in 66)
77 (59)
76 (60)
76 (400m jog plus water 2:49)
3:54 (400m jog plus water 2:52)
36 (200m in 62)
1.3 mile cool down for ~8 miles total

pm: 3.6 miles for 11.6 miles total for day 

This week I headed to Charlotte for a couple of days to help lead an all-day planning session at work. Laurie and Nathan were kind enough to host both Garrett and me during our stay, so it was no surprise that Laurie and I decided to do this workout together.  We went to Providence Day's newly remodeled track and had the extra company of Billy and Caleb for this.

Everything went as planned and I felt really smooth on all the intervals.  Caleb stayed right with me through most of this, which helped tremendously.  Since Laurie has the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon this week, she held back a tad.  I am really excited to put all this speed to the test at the Beat the Heath 5k! 

In the evening, I did a nice social double with Aaron, Michelle, Nick and Garrett biking.  It's tough coming to Charlotte since I still feel like it's home, even though I don't have a physical home there.  

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Week in Review

62 Miles
1 Track Workout
13 mile long run with 2 miles @ 555 pace
0 Doubles
0 Days Off

This is my second week in Durham and I'm beginning to see more of the DRM running scene.  Billy and I did the majority of our runs together this week and I know that he'll have a strong impact on my performances this fall.  I really appreciate his company.

This also marked the first week where my shoulder and neck finally were pain free so I was able to run over 60 miles this week.  I feel pretty good about where things are going, even though I have absolutely no plan for the fall yet.  I know the next three weeks but after that, it's all a gray area.

At this point, I'm looking at either the Philly RNR Half, the USA 5k Champs, or the Chicago marathon.  I need to email those folks, but we shall see.  I would like to do NYC marathon with Laurie, but I have an MBA residency in China from October 16-27 or something like that so it wouldn't fit well with the date.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Duke Track Workout

9-12 total with track workout: 1200, 3x400, 3x300, 3x200

1200m @5k pace (shoot for a few seconds faster than 4:00)
4:00 rest (can jog or do whatever you need to cool off / stay loose, etc..
3 x 400 @ 79-80 with 200m jog. Take 400m after the 3rd 400
3 x 300 @ 57 or faster with 100m jog between and 400m jog after the 3rd 300
3 x 200 @ 37 or faster with 200m jog.

3.2 mile warmup at Duke Sally Meyerhoff Trail with Billy
1200m in 3:55 via 81, 77, 77  (3:28 600m jog)
77 (67 200m jog)
77 (64 jog)
77 (2:45 400m jog)
55 (32 100m jog)
56 (32 jog)
56 (2:34 400m jog)
35 (59 200m jog)
36 (57)
2.5 mile cool down for almost 10 miles.

At 6AM, I met my new best friend Billy Askey at the gravel lot near the Duke Track and Al Beuhler trail.  I didn't think I'd have anyone for this workout and he came out of the woodwork to join me.  I was in luck!  

Today was a stark contrast to last week, where I felt tired and stiff and ultimately had to call the workout short due to a jacked up shoulder.  While the shoulder isn't 100% quite yet, it's at that point where it's not as debilitating.   With the clouds looming over and the muggy air smothering our lungs, we began the descent down the stairs into the Duke stadium, ready to hit the start line.

At the start line, I doubted whether I'd be able to hit the times that Terry had prescribed. It's funny how quickly things can change.  After 400m, I knew that the workout was going to go well and that I would hit times faster than that.  Sure enough we did.  I took charge on leading the pace and Billy set in directly behind me on my right shoulder.  We made circles around the track in perfect cadence and finished feeling satisfied with our effort. 

I also know that Billy and I will likely get in a lot of miles over the next several weeks...up until he has his first baby!  So happy to have found someone to do some workouts with.  

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Week in Review

39 Miles
5 Runs
2 Days Off
1 Workout
1 Jacked up Shoulder / Neck

I'm an official resident of Durham.  The US Postal Service sent my official "change of address" correspondence to my new house, situated perfectly in the middle of Hope Valley Country Club.  So nothing was about to stop me from jumping right into the Triangle Running scene.  I created a Facebook group for us to post impromptu runs and networked.

I started the week off with a run with Kyle Feldman, a mutual friend of Liz and Meagan's.  Then I ran again with Billy Askey on Tuesday.  I ended my social running streak on Wednesday, when I decided to take my parents to Duke for a run while I knocked out some 200s on the Duke track.  Everything went as planned (running 36-40 with 200m jog rest) until the 12th interval, when a nagging pain that I had been easily ignoring at night turned into a full blow strain (or something) and I had to stop.  I wish that I could say that I had to stop due to a running related injury, but, no, it wasn't.  I had to stop, almost reduced to tears the pain was so bad (which is rare for me as my husband has only seen me cry three times in the last seven years).  I asked my dad to massage it for me, hoping that I could at least finish out another set of four.  But after attempting a stride, I knew that getting a cool down in would be futile.
The rest of week was spent trying to get my shoulder to calm down while enjoying the beautiful weather in Hendersonville with my family.  We got in several great hikes and ate lots of fabulous food.  In the end, my shoulder pain appeared to be getting better before regressing again on Saturday night.  I was able to get a massage from Joel Tull on the way back from Asheville, so that seemed to help a good amount but I know it won't be enough.  I'll try to get in with a PT or  chiro tomorrow, but where's Dr. Greenapple when I need him? The hardest part about moving to a new town is not knowing your medical practitioners well enough to get in quick.  I hope this goes away in the next couple of days so that I get some good speed work in before Beat the Heat 5k.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

(Farewell) Week in Review

44 Miles
6 Runs
1 Day Off
6 Farewells

This week was difficult on many levels.  Instead of taking some time off to recover from Grandma's Half Marathon, I decided to run every morning from the Dowd YMCA.  This ensured I had a chance to say goodbye to everyone that has helped me achieve my goals over the last six years.  At first it was a chore as I crawled out of bed each morning very early and I questioned why I wasn't sleeping in like a normal person after  a big PR.  But after I set out the door each morning and was greeted by multiple friends giving me a high five, I knew exactly why I had listened to my alarm clock.  All my Charlotte friends are freaking awesome and it took months, if not years, to build these relationships.  So every morning I ran and every morning I knew that Danielle and Billy would be there, and even Michelle most days.  Others joined as they could and I enjoyed my easy recovery runs with these folks.  However, as the week drew closer to my moving day (Friday), I began to wish it was just over.  I felt like I was at this weird transition point where I was no longer a part of Charlotte but I also wasn't a part of Durham yet.  I was ready to say goodbye to my friends here so that I could begin building relationships with those folks in Durham.

And so with that, I watched All My Sons Moving pack up my entire house into a van and unpack it all again in Durham.  Within just 8 hours, I was no longer a part of Charlotte.  The focus for this week wasn't about running, it was about getting in those last final runs with friends before saying farewell.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

2014 Grandma's Half Marathon Recap

Goal #1: PR 1:17:45 5:52 pace = 1:17:01
Goal #2: 1:16:xx 5:50 pace = 1:16:28
Goal #3: 1:15:xx 5:47 pace = 1:15:48 (5:44 pace = 1:15:10)

All 3 Goals
1:14:249th place female, $400

Some stats:
5 minutes and 56 seconds faster than last year's race (28s faster per mile)
3 minutes and 21 seconds faster than my previous PR (16s faster per mile)
Every 5k in 17:34-17:38

Important Splits:  5k @ 17:34, 10k @ 35:09, 10 miles @ 56:46 (new PR by almost 2 minutes)

Mile by mile splits by race markers:
5:36 (16:59) and 5k in 17:35 ish
5:46 (22:45)
5:47 (28:32)
5:29 (34:02) 10k in 35:10 ish
5:40 (39:43)
5:28 (45:22)
11:24 (56:46) with Lemon Drop Hill
5:39 (1:02:25)
5:39 (1:08:05)
6:19 (1:14:24)  last 5k in 17:38

A perfect race rarely happens. They are few and far between, kind of like those important life moments you're "supposed" to cross off your list in the right order: go to college, marry someone special, have a kid. Prior to today, I truly only had experienced a perfect race once: at the 2010 Twin Cities Marathon. Under the tutelage of Coach Mark Hadley, I negative split and ran the fastest miles in the final 10k to qualify for the Olympic Trials Marathon in my debut race. 

Four years later, I am a different runner and, honestly, I am a different person.  I'm married...I've got a different coach Terry Shea.  In terms of running, I've been through a lot: mostly a lot of great moments, interspersed with very few bad moments that have greatly shaped who I am today and the path I'm about to embark on. I'm more serious, a bit tougher, and I know how to dream bigger, but more realistically. 

I'm about to move to a new city for my husband.  I'm about to begin an incredibly challenging executive MBA program while continuing working full time for Bank of America, albeit without my co workers just a cubicle away. I am about to say goodbye to all of my friends and co workers who have been there for me countless times.  

I'm about to change everything I've known for the past six years and it's flipping scary. 

But it's also very good. Change is good. A new start is good. I'm not saying goodbye to my friends, I'm just saying see you soon.  Eventually I'll find a community in Durham and I'll laugh at how big of a deal I thought this was. I will be just fine and that's what I am focusing on over these next few transition weeks and months. 

I keep telling myself all these things, but I'm still dreading Sunday, June 29th because it means it has happened...that my new life chapter has begun but the pages haven't been written yet.  And yet that unknown is exactly what keeps life interesting.  

Similarly, before the Grandmas Half Marathon this weekend, the chapter hadn't been written yet. I had a vague idea of what could likely happen, but I didn't know for sure. 

I never do.  

There are so many uncontrollables in races of this distance. You could have bathroom issues.  There could be a headwind, intense heat or torrential downpours.  You could get injured.  Or, you could just have a really bad day for no real good reason. 

Yet you can't focus on the things you can't control. Just like I can't change the fact that I am moving to Durham, I can control my outlook on what's to come and focus on the positive. And so I did the same for this race. I focused on what I could control: my attitude. 

I knew I had put in the work necessary to achieve a nice PR. I knew I was physically and mentally prepared to run 1:15. But I didn't know that I could run 1:14. Frankly, I thought running low-1:15  would be best case scenario and most realistic. I don't even know if Coach T-Bone knew!  Today, I surprised myself. 

And it's fan-freaking-tastic to surprise yourself!

Granted, things didn't go exactly smoothly leading up to the race. Southwest lost Michelle's luggage and so on Friday we embarked on a grand tour to go to (1) Target for clothes, (2) Gear Running for Newton shoes and (3) Lululemon for a race outfit. It literally was going to be a tour of the entire Twin Cities metropolitan area. Selfishly,  I was probably more stressed than Michelle because I was anxious to get on the road to Duluth because I'm an anal-retentive selfish friend. Miraculously, Michelle got a call from Southwest right before we checked out at Target...the first leg of our grand tour. I let out an internal sigh of relief. Problem solved and everyone happy, (mainly me because Michelle and Eric didn't give a crap about our arrival time to Duluth) we hopped in the car, sped to baggage claim and retrieved Michelle's coveted luggage. 

When we arrived in Duluth, it was 40 degrees...a whole 50 degrees cooler than it had been in Charlotte.  A shock to my system, I was glad packed my jeans last minute.  As uncomfortable as the temperature was to casually walk around in, it was perfect racing weather.    

Things got a little hectic the morning of the race.  A throbbing headache was threatening to tear away all motivation as I stepped off the shuttle that dropped us off just a mere 30 minutes before the start.  I was a little nervous and anxious as I walked through a sea of 5,000 runners to make it to the elite area, but I kept my emotions in check and reminded myself about how prepared I was.  I also remembered what Meagan had told me about her breakthrough performance at ATM - how the quick pace just felt right and wasn't even hard.  I prepared myself for that feeling and it was my inspiration for the day. After a short warmup with Alex Cadicamo, I finally stepped up to the start line feeling mentally prepared to kill it. 

Five rows back from the start line, the bull horn went off and my legs began moving at what felt like a pedestrian pace.  I positioned myself behind a group of about four women and forced myself not to look at my Garmin for pace quite yet. After about 1000 meters, I finally decided to look and was surprised to find 5:34 pace because it felt that easy and natural.  That was the story for the next 11.5 miles.  I wasn't even breathing hard and was entirely relaxed.  I tried to count the number of women in front of me and lost count after 15, so I decided to forget about place for the moment.

Up until mile five, I was either leading our small pack of women or tucking in behind some helpful guys that had the same goal as me.  There was one minor hitch in my race plan, when I got a bad ab cramp in the middle of my stomach. It wasn't a side stitch.  Rather it felt like the exact same cramp I got just 10 days ago in a workout.  A guy sped past me as I tried to ignore the pain and so I tucked in behind him so I wouldn't falter.  This strategy worked and by the 10k mark, the feeling passed.  After I hit the halfway point, I started  passing women.  Four girls down and I thought maybe I had a chance of being in the top ten, but I still didn't know for sure. 

At mile 9, Lemon Drop Hill came and went as if it wasn't really there.  I didn't feel like I had slowed much and I passed another girl here which gave me some extra speed.  My body still wasn't going into survival mode and my legs were still carrying my body downhill as if they had a mind of their own.  The climax of the race - that moment when I knew I was going to run really, really fast for me - was when I finally looked at the cumulative time on my Timex watch at the 10 miler marker.  

It said 56:46.  

I couldn't help but let a huge smile spread across my entire face.  At the same time, a tingling sensation passed through my entire body because it was in that moment that I knew.  I knew that I was going to achieve a big goal that had eluded me for the past two years.  At the same moment, a spectator spotted me and informed me that I was in 9th place.  I told myself: You've so got this.  

I kept expecting the slow, painful death march to the finish to come, but it never really did.  The worst I felt was in the last mile but not because my body was dying, but more because I was so annoyed with the sharp turns and the change in momentum they caused.  Since I had seen my 10 mile split, I knew that I was going to break 1:15 by a fair amount and stopped caring as much to kick it in and hurt the most.  And so you'll see that basically I ran a completely even race, with most of my 5k splits ranging from 17:34-17:38 at the slowest.  In the final straightaway to the finish, I broke into a smile again because damnit was I going to look happy as I crossed that finish line.  

After I crossed the finish line, it was somewhat anti-climatic.  I didn't know anyone in the chute and I didn't have anyone there to cheer me in.  And then I saw Billy, Alice's dad, who had convinced a group of fans next to him to cheer me in to the finish line while he took a sweet video of my final strides.  After I gave him a quick hug of thanks, I scanned the chute to find any women I may know.  When I didn't, I grabbed my bag and fished out my phone with frozen hands and called my coach.  Terry was the first person I wanted to talk to.  Not my husband, not my parents, but my coach.  I couldn't have done this without his guidance (and also probably not without Laurie's help on all my workouts).  We had a quick chat before I met Alex to cool down back to the hotel.  

As I settled into my warm hotel room, I thought about how drastically different this race experience was than the previous two here had been.  In fact, my average time at this race from the past two years had been 1:19:04 (1:17:50 in '12 and 1:20:19 in '13). Both of those years, I never noticed the downhill miles and I only noticed the seemingly uphill miles or the sharp turns. This year it felt like a whole new race course.  I saw downhills that I didn't even know existed before.  I charged up a hill that I previously had thought was a mountain.  It's all about attitude, I swear!

I spent the rest of the morning tracking my marathon friends - Michelle, Eric and Alice - before heading down to the 25 mile marker to give them some final cheers of encouragement. This weekend was a great way to spend an intimate weekend with some close friends before making the final move to Durham.  At the very least, I know that I'll always have people to call upon for a quick getaway weekend for a fun race trip.  And for that, I'm grateful!

Below are my raw notes that I wrote after the race on my iPad so I wouldn't forget.  For those that may care (but mainly for my own record):
Mile 1 (5:36) - snuck in behind a solid pack of women. 
Mile 2 (5:45) - tried to count how many women were ahead of me and in my pack. By my own estimations, I was in 15th or higher.  I couldn't help but notice the small headwind. It was annoying. Tried to tuck into a girl in front of me. 
Mile 3 (5:36) - another fast mile but coach terry had told me miles 1,3 and 6 were fast
Mile 4 (5:46) - the pack of girls had tucked in behind me or fallen off. A man pulled along side to help me do the work and I asked him what he was aiming for. He said mid -:15. I said me too. He said we are ahead. I reassured him that miles 1 and 3 are fast so it was okay. I never saw him again.  
Mile 5 (5;47) - intense stomach / ab cramp, similar to one I got in a workout toe weeks ago.  At this point all the ladies from the pack had fallen back so some guys passed by me and I tucked in with them so I wouldn't lose my chance of a pr because of a stomach cramp. No matter what I was going to make my mind believe it wasn't there. 
Mile 6 (5:29) - 10k 34:10 obviously the stomach cramp went away and I was rolling down the hill with the guys. I tucked in behind them with another flanked by my side. It was fun.  One of the guys asked when we were going to catch the people ahed of us and I said soon.  He said we are maintaining pace. I said they will come back to us
Mile 7 (5:40) - started passing more women here. Women who I've looked up to and thing I could never beat. 
Mile 8 (5:38) - passed two more girls and encouraged them to come with me 
Mile 9-10 (11:24) - lemon drop hill was mile 9 and I didn't even notice the split. I didn't even feel bad yet. A man barreled past me and I told myself that didn't mean I was slowing down.  At mile 10, I finally paid attention to my cumulative time and saw 56:46 and got a huge tingling sensation all across my body and my face erupted into a ginormous smile because I just KNEW it was going to happen today and that no matter what I was going to break 1:15.  I had just broken my 10 miler PR en route to a half marathon by almost two minutes. I also still wasn't hurting yet and I was finally noticing that this course can be fast. All the downhills seemed to be placed there just for me.  Such a contrast to the prior years where my average time was 1:19. The course didn't seem fast then but not suddenly it did. 
Mile 11 - 5:39 still rolling with some guys. Not many had passed me and I just tucked in.  A man who sounded like a monster pulled alongside me and annoyed the crap out of me with his outrageous breathing noises. 
Mile 12 - 539 at 11.5 I started to hurt but not bad enough that I was going to slow down. 

Mile 31.1 - 6:19 in the last moments of the race I stopped caring about trying to kick because I knew that I was going to be sub 1:14:30 so I didn't kick as hard as I should have. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

(Taper) Week in Review

58 Miles
6 Runs
1 Day off
0 Doubles
2 Workouts

This week can best be summed up with a countdown:

  • 6 Days until Grandma's Half Marathon
  • 12 Days until the movers come
  • 12 Days until my Accounting pre-homework is due
So basically all I've been doing is working, running, packing, and studying.  It's been good to keep busy before the race!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

MLR with 4M Progression

11-13 miles with 4-5 miles at 630m 620, 610, 600 and optional 5th mile at 550 or faster

7.4 mile warmup
4 miles in 24:19 via 6:21, 6:13, 5:56, 5:49
2.1 mile cool down for 13.5 miles total

Just seven days until Grandma's and the hard work is done. One final tempo was checked off the list today and so now all I need to do is get to the starting line! This morning, we had a large group from the Dowd for this one and it was nice to just put in some miles without even thinking about it.  Fortunately, the new guy from Illinois showed up and even though I can't remember if his name is Ryan or Brian, he still worked out with me.  I didn't even have to convince him!   There really isn't much else to report except that the quicker miles didn't even feel that hard.  Fitness is moving in the right direction.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

One Last Tempo with Laurie and Eric

12-14 miles with 7 miles wave tempo starting at 548 (target range 546-555) and alternating with 615-625

3.7 mile warmup
7 mile wave tempo in 41:05 @ 540, 608, 543, 604, 535, 615, 540
2.7 mile cool down for 13.4 miles total

My last big workout before Grandma's Half was a success.  After Saturday's bomb of workout, I needed that!  It was quite possibly my last tempo as a permanent resident of Charlotte and with Laurie, so I'm glad I can leave on a positive note.  At 5:50AM, I warmed up with Michelle and Phill before dropping them off and continuing on my way to get Laurie and Eric.  We decided to do two loops of the 2-Mile Dilworth Speed Loop before heading down to the Sugar Creek Greenway for the remaining miles.

Laurie and I started it off a little quick, but the pace felt reasonable so I went with it.  After that one, Eric told us that we "weren't being disciplined," but he was wrong.  Whenever I go out too hard, I calculate what are the odds that I can continue at that pace or faster and if the odds are in my favor, I continue pushing forward.  Today was one of those days where the odds were good and I ignored Eric.  Oddly enough, I felt pretty terrible on mile 5 because I had a weird breathing issue / stomach cramp that was making it very difficult for me to maintain my composure.  I told myself to just ignore it and it would go away.  Sure enough, it did.  It's these sort of tactics I need to employ in the race should something go terribly wrong.

I felt really good about this tempo and it shows that running 5:48 pace or faster for the half in just 10 days is completely within reason.  As Terry told me a couple weeks ago, running sub 5:50s should feel quite manageable in the first hour at Grandma's and the last 15 minutes or so will just have to come from racing tough.  I am ready.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Week in Review

72 Miles
7 Runs
0 Days Off
1 Great Workout
1 Bad Workout
16 Mile Long Run

Just two weeks left until the Grandma's Half Marathon and I feel ready to go...or ready for the taper.  A lot of happening over the next couple of weeks...I'm moving my entire house over two hours away, I'm finishing my pre-MBA homework, and I'm saying goodbye to lots of great friends.  I will focus the next two weeks on the mental prep for this race so that I am as prepared as I can be and so that I can keep the noise out.  I'm so excited.  It will be a great way to spend my last free weekend with some great people - Laurie, Alice, Michelle and Eric.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

2 x 4 Miles Fail

15-16 miles with 2 x 4 miles @ 5:47 pace with 4-5 min rest between

4 mile warmup starting at 545am
4 miles in 540,544,547,548 (downhill first 2 miles)
5 min jog rest for maybe half a mile
2 miles in 550,610 and then I jogged
5.5 miles cool down super slow

I went out too fast today.  I even had the luxury of Bert's company for this, but clearly I was just exhausted.  I wish I could have finished this workout, but it just wasn't in the cards.  After I bailed on the second set, I could barely muster sub-8:00 pace for the cool down, which rarely happens these days.  I had squishy shoes from the ridiculous amount of sweat that had accumulated in my socks and my soles, but I don't think that there needs to be an explanation for a crappy workout.  They happen.  I think this is only my third bad workout in the entire cycle, which is actually pretty great for me.

Just because I didn't finish this workout doesn't mean that I can't run 5:47 pace in two weeks.  It just means that my body is ready for taper and once I give it that, my legs will likely feel fresh and ready to roll. I also absolutely MUST not go out faster than 545 pace at the race. I will not feel good. I race better if I negative split so I want to try my damnedest to do just that. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

3 x Broken 1.5 Mile Repeats

3x1.5M with each 800m at a different pace @ 254, 300-307, 240-245 with 3:00 rest.  Option to do one mile of 30s on / off if I feel good

2.7 mile warmup
3 x 1.5 mile with 3 min rest for 5.3 miles in 31:12 minutes for 5:53 pace
2:51, 2:57, 2:37 (3:02 for .4 mile of rest)
2:45, 2:59, 2:39 (3:04 for .4 mile of rest)
2:44, 2:58, 2:36
4.4 mile cool down in 34:00

This workout was awesome! It was really fun to break the 1.5 mile into 3 different segments with different target paces.  It also helped tremendously that at 530AM Laurie, Aaron and Eric joined me.  We did this on the 2 mile speed loop but went on the turnaround at Park Road so we didn't have to do a sharp turn on the faster 800m. This worked out perfectly as the jog back to the start was about 3 minutes exactly. 

We took out the pace too fast on the first 800m and Eric stated frankly after 400m this fact.  Aaron said "okay."  We continued on our way.  I was feeling good and it appeared Laurie was too so I didn't really want to hold back any and I vowed I would hit the same paces (or roughly around them) for the remainder of the workout.  On the last set, Aaron took off with just 400m to go and I already knew we were rather quick. Although I finished last by a couple of meters, I felt really pleased with what I had accomplished.  Granted, it wasn't many miles of work because the focus is on my big workout on Saturday, but these paces were fairly easy to hit.  

I think the average pace without the rest for the 4.5 miles of intervals was 5:34, which is exactly what I ran in the 8k this past weekend.

At this point in my training cycle, I feel like things are just really falling into place. It's nice to be able to run 5:53 pace with 3:00 jog rest for over 5 miles and not feel like it was anything crazy. I felt really strong out there today and knew that even if we went out a little fast in the first 800m that I would be able to run just as fast for the remaining 2 intervals.   Now I just hope I can do the same on Saturday.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Week in Review

82.5 Miles
8 Runs
0 Days Off
1 Workout
8k race in 27:45
16 mile long run easy

I continued the positive progression from my Wednesday workout to my 8k race in Durham on Saturday.  While the win and $500 were quite nice, the best part of the race was meeting lots of new people that I hope to run with in just a couple weeks' time.  I can't believe that there are only three weeks until the Grandma's Half Marathon!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

NC 8k USATF Champs

8k course PR (sub-28:09)

3 mile warmup with Stevven
8k race in 27:46 with splits of 5:34, 5:44 (some uphill), 5:23, 5:49 (uphill), 5:15
4 mile cool down for 12 miles total

The main purpose for this race was to come away with some cash and to introduce myself to some triangle runners that can hopefully be my future running partners and friends.   I did exactly that.  I met Tim Meigs - a 47-year-old who beat me by 18 seconds - and met a couple of ladies that live in Durham...And I came home with $500.  

At the start line, I didn't spot any of the familiar faces that typically come out to the NC USATF championships, so I figured it would be a fight with some men near me.  Tim asked me at the start line what I was aiming for, so we decided to work together.  After the gun went off, I found myself sprinting up the 200m hill and gasping for air.  I wondered, what the hell is going on? I felt like my lungs had been punched and the pipe to get air was getting smaller and smaller.  Then I just realized that this is what going out in a sprint start uphill does to makes you feel like you're going to collapse over.  

So after I gathered my breathing into a respectable rhythm, I kept my eyes ahead for guys that had gone out too fast and were already dropping off.  After that, it was mainly a group of 10 or so guys that were competing for the top 5 cash spots.  At the 1 mile marker, Tim commented that I had gone out a little faster than I had told him I wanted to run...And then we surged past me. I was weary about what I thought were the upcoming hills on the course.  Little did I know that they had changed the course to make it a bit faster this year so the hills I had been anticipating in mile 2 were actually not until mile 4. Go figure!

Any way, long story short, Tim maintained a reasonable distance ahead of me and I passed a couple of guys, but one guy did pass me on the long uphill in mile 4.  Then I cruised into the old Durham Bulls stadium and finished faster than I ever have on this course.  It was a good day!

Immediately after the start, a group of ladies had formed and we all decided to cool down together.  Loring lives in Winston-Salem and is trying to better her 2:44 for the Olypmic Trials B Standard.

After a long wait for the awards, I beelined it for the local farmer's market, bought a dozen eggs, and hopped in the car to eat brunch with my in-laws.  I'm excited to move to Durham! Looks like there are lots of great runners that I can train with.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Solo Pyramid Workout

2k @ 547 (75 sec) - 1k @525 (2min) - 600m @ 520 or faster (2min) - 600 (2min) - 600 ( 2-3min) - 1k (75sec) - 2k

3 mile warmup
2k in 5:38, 1:20 (1:15)
1k in 3:21 (2:01)
600m in 1:58 (2:03)
600m in 1:58 (1:52)
600m in 1:58 (3:01)
1k in 3:20 (1:16)
2k in 5:35, 1:19
6 miles total with rest in 38:00
3.25 mile cool down for 12.25 miles in am

4.5 miles in pm for 16.9 miles total for day

I forgot how much I absolutely LOVE speed workouts.  Somehow, even without my standard entourage of workout buddies, I was able to absolutely crush this workout...and enjoy mostly every second of it.  I love when a plan falls together.  

My paces were faster for the 2k and 1k segments at the beginning and I realized that since I had taken it out hard in the beginning that I would have to match that pace in the end.  I did just that.  I actually was quite thrilled with this workout and hope that it bodes well for my 8k this weekend in Durham.  I didn't say much on my cool down to Michelle because I don't want to jinx anything.  Plus, I need to be killing the endurance workouts at this point, so hopefully it all means a good half marathon is to come. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Week in Review

81 Miles
8 runs, 1 double, 0 days off
1 Workout Fail
20 laps on the track
16.7 miles @ 6:45 average with last 4 miles @ 625, 615, 600, 550

After a slight down week during my travels in Arizona, it was fun to get into the 80s again for my weekly mileage.  Everything seems to be coming along quite nicely, even if I did have a bomb of a workout on Wednesday.  Sometimes the bad ones just happen.  I'm confident that I'm doing the right things to position myself for a PR in just 4 weeks at the Grandma's Half Marathon.

Friday, May 23, 2014

20 x 400m Wave Tempo on the Track

20 laps alternating every 400m at 1:20 and 1:40.  Pace should roughly come out to 30:00 for 8,000m

2.5 mile warmup
20 lap in 29:30 total with fast laps typically at 1:19-1:20 (had one slow one at 1:23) and the slow laps at 1:35-1:40.  Did the last 400m that was supposed to be slow in a 200m slow and 200m fast (:38)
2.5 cool down for 10 miles total

After a crappy workout on Wednesday, I really wanted to crush this workout and run faster than what Terry had prescribed.  Unfortunately, on the warmup, my legs felt like garbage.  I began creating certain mental tactics that would help me tackle the workout successfully.  Mainly, I told myself that it really was only 10 hard 400s at 80, which isn't a hard workout for me at all.  I also told myself that I can run 26:45 in the 8k on the roads with competition, so all I was asking was for my body to do that three minutes slower on the track.

I came to the track and a guy I had never met, Austin, was there ready to help me out and also get in a good workout himself.  The next 20 laps with Austin went by without a hitch and that terrible feeling in my legs eventually went away and I was able to run faster than what Terry had asked.  Despite the humidity, I powered through and had a decent workout.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Workout Fail

4x 2 Mile @ 5:48 with 2:00 rest or less

3 mile warmup
2x2 Miles @ 5:49, 5:46 (1:46 rest) and 5:44, 5:55
6.5 miles cool down in 46:00 for 13.5 miles

PM:  5.5 miles with Laurie easy for 19 miles total on the day

After I bailed on this workout on Tuesday because I was still recovering from only 4 hours of sleep on a plane, I went for take two on Wednesday.  I failed miserably.  I just didn't have the mental capacity to handle this workout today and decided to do a longer cool down instead and to focus on the rest of the week.  Typically I have about 2-3 bad workouts a month, and this training cycle I can think of only one other bad workout, so my record is actually going quite strong.  I'm not too worried about the fact that I had difficulty finding the motivation to finish this workout and am happy to run hard in the 400m workout and long run tempo that I've got outlined for the rest of the week.  Sometimes life catches up with me and affects my workout and I just have to move on to the next one! That's what today was all about.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Week in Review

70 miles
1 workout
15 mile long run
4 days in Arizona
3 Cities in Arizona - Flagstaff, Phoenix and Tucson
1 Red Eye Flight

With three runs completed in Charlotte, I hopped on a plane Wednesday night to see my brother in Phoenix and to reunite with Merry in Tucson.  While the air was thin, the temperatures were scorching, with highs in the 100s.  I wanted a little bit of a down week, so while I got in 70 miles, it still felt like my legs were getting some sort of rest since I had a long run on the shorter side and ran only five miles on Sunday.  Reuniting with Merry felt oh so good!  We ran together at 7000+ feet in Flagstaff, did a long run touring the streets of her new city Tucson, and ate lots of delicious Mexican food that one must do when so close to the border.  My brother was kind enough to get us a night for free at the Hilton Conquistador Resort so we spent ample time at the pool before heading up to Mount Lemmon for a hike in the cooler temperatures.  The ultimate reward for finishing our hike was stopping by the Cookie Cabin, which sells only gigantic cookies, cobbler, and pizza.  Talk about an athlete's dream!  We split the brownie cookie that was the size of a small personal pizza.  It was more than enough for all of us.  Five weeks until Grandma's Half!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


14-16 miles with 5k @600, 4k @555, 3k @550, 2k @545,  1k @540 all with 2:00-3:00 min jog.

2.25M warmup
5k (3.1M) @ 556 ave - 18:28 via 559, 559, 553 (uphill), :35 (2:24)
4k (2.48M) @ 547 ave - 14:23 via 548, 557 (uphill), 2:38 (2:51)
3k (1.86M) @ 543 ave - 10:40 via 543, 453 (3:00)
2k (1.24M) @ 541 ave- 7:05 via 540, 1:25 (3:00) bathroom break
1k (.62M) - 3:28
10 miles total in 1:02:47
3.1 mile cool down in 23:52

Another humid, early morning here in Charlotte!  Thank goodness for having Aaron on this one because the thick air made it tough to be out there.  I'm a little behind on my blog so I don't really remember this one much.  I was really happy that I hit the times that coach had prescribed, despite having some GI issues along the way.  This workout was a sign that things are moving in the right direction to have a nice PR at Grandma's half marathon.