Sunday, March 30, 2014

Week in Review and a Blog Nomination

60 Miles
1 Workout
10 mile MLR
12.5M Long Run + Workout
1 Blog Nomination

This week in running was the beginning of my taper for the Cooper River 10k.  Everything of importance is recapped in the workout posts, so I’ll focus on the surprise of this week!

Miraculously, other people (besides my parents and Meagan Nedlo) read my blog.  Shocker, I know.

I was nominated for Salty Running’s Greatest Women’s Running Blog by an anonymous fan.  Admittedly, I do not have time to frequent many running blogs besides Meagan’s, but I had been on Salty Running’s page before when they wrote an article on Alana Hadley last summer.  They seem to have a great page that promotes women’s running.  Thanks Salty for creating this awesome competition!

So, somehow someone told Salty about my blog, and viola, the underdog blog was in!  Paul Mainwaring found my nomination in the first round and sent it to me via a FaceBook message.  Needless to say, I should probably pay Paul for the recent agent services he’s provided as he promoted the first round vote via the Charlotte Running Club’s private “Seven Minute Milers” FB group.  I’m very humbled by the support for my blog...which features a writing style that I describe as very factual, frank and to-the-point.  I hope that I can continue to provide motivation to those post-collegiate runners out there who aspire to better their college PRs.  It is completely possible!

Next year, I hope to nominate Meagan’s blog so she can compete.  I am very shocked that Meagan Nedlo was not on the list because her blog offers wit, sarcasm and fun in every single post.  Heck, there is even another blogger out there that steals paragraphs from Meagan’s blog and makes a few wordsmith changes and pastes into her own blog posts.  I guess plagiarism is a form of flattery?  Stay tuned for results!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

2 x Broken-Two-Mile

2 x 2m via 550-600 pace through 1.5 miles, then fast (245 or faster) last 1/2 mile. 3:00-4:00 jog between. If no worse for the wear after, then prior to cooldown do 6-8 x ~100m strides at a fast but controlled effort (e.g. anywhere from mile to 3k race pace).

4 mile warmup in 30:00
2x2 mile at 11:23 - 550, 533 (2:48/2:44), 3:21 jog rest, 11:12 - 539, 533 (2:51/2:42)
4 mile cool down in 29:00 with 6x ~100m stride for 12.5 miles total

It’s always a huge confidence booster to nail the workout one week prior to a goal race!  Around 8AM on Saturday, I headed out the door to meet Phil and Eric at the Speed Loop for some two mile repeats with a faster last half mile.  I knew that this workout would be mostly solo after the first mile since I had prescribed a different workout for Eric as he preps for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.  Sure enough, after 1 mile into my first set, I felt really good and was already a couple steps ahead of Eric.  I barreled ahead, with my own will and determination propelling me forward.  I pushed through a little too hard on that last mile, but my legs felt absolutely great. During my jog rest, I mentally prepared to ensure the same speed was maintained in the second set.

Fortunately for me, I did just that and came through 1.5 miles in a solid 5:40 pace and picked it up to a 2:42 last half mile.  I was really thrilled to hit these paces without much effort.  Especially after such a dismal mid-week workout, I was happy I didn’t have any stomach issues on this one.  I’ve really enjoyed the workouts that Terry has given me over the past couple of weeks.  They’ve really zoned in on my goal 10k pace (5:30-5:35) and have allowed me to come out feeling strong and confident for Cooper River in just 7 days.

After the workout, I hopped in the car for a quick day trip to Durham to make our final decision on housing.  Within 8 hours, I saw two houses, ate lunch with my in-laws and determined that the carriage house truly is the perfect fit for Garrett and me to live in during our time in Durham.  Basically, we will live in Hope Valley Country Club, which is nestled only half a mile from established greenways, but also filled with several road loops that I’m sure I can turn into my own new “Speed Loop.”  I am excited!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Workout Success + Fail

3x1k @ 3:20-24 with 2:30 rest
2k @ 535-530, 3:30 rest
3x1k @ 3:20-24 with 2:30 rest

2.5M mile warmup
3x1k in 3:23, 3:21, 3:03 (stopped early for pit stop)
3:30 rest
2k in 5:36/1:2, 3:30 rest
3x1k in 3:24, 3:24, 1:20 for 400m (all w 2:30 rest)

Put simply, I had stomach problems in today’s workout.  In the early morning hours on the speed loop with Eric and David, I started off feeling great in the first two intervals and then things began to very quickly unravel.  At first I was pushing the pace on the first two and after that I was barely surviving...not because I was tired, but because I couldn’t control that I had caught some sort of mini stomach bug (which I didn’t realize until after the workout).  That being said, I’m actually pretty happy about the splits I was able to hit.  Obviously I would have preferred to run faster for the last set of 1k’s but that just wasn’t in the cards for me today. A mini stomach bug is going around work, so I think that I caught that and worked from home the rest of the day.  Sometimes you just can’t control everything!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Week in Review

70 Miles
200m on off wave workout
5k Burrito race in 18:20 with 2:05 burrito split
16 mile easy long run

I only have three more months in Charlotte, so I am making the most of it by hanging out with my friends as much as possible.  After a fun road trip to Columbia with Adrienne and Nick, I enjoyed an easy pace 16 miles with ten people before having breakfast at John Fillette’s house for our weekly runners' brunch. Always the highlight of my week, we get to sit around in our stinky, sweaty running clothes and stuff our faces with lots of yummy breakfast foods.  It’s the best ever!

Garrett and I are getting very close to making our final decision on housing in Durham, and after that is checked off the list, I think that my stress level will decrease dramatically. I can’t help but get anxious about not knowing where I’ll be living in this new city, so I’m excited to get all of the planning for the move completed so I can focus on just having fun and enjoying my friends before we have to leave this wonderful city!

Cooper River is in just two weeks and I am already excited about competing in this race with Meagan at my side, but also for the debauchery that is to happen afterwards with Michelle, Dalena, Danielle, Sommer, Adrienne, Nick and Matt.  Most of my friends already know this, but I very rarely drink (and by rarely I mean less than three times a year).  This may be one of those fun weekends where I do participate in one of America’s favorite pastimes and I am so looking forward to it!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Moe’s Burrito Dash

Win $1000

3 miles warmup easy
5k (ish?) race in 18:20 with 2:05 burrito split
3 miles cool down for 9 miles total
Cool video recap here

In the last 3 years, I have won a total of $4000 at the Moe’s Burrito Dash.  I am very lucky to live close to Columbia, SC, a town that really supports sub-elite runners like myself.  I love how the Moe’s team here has built up a unique race that forces us to go outside of comfort zone and stomach a burrito in the middle of a 5k race.

This year the awesome race director decided to distribute the wealth:  he reduced the prizes for the top three overall (from $2k for the W to $1k for the W) and provided $100 cash to the age group winners.  I told him afterwards that I loved how he did that and he told me that he wanted to provide incentive for all levels of runners to come out and enjoy a burrito in the middle of a race.

Since my friend Nick won his age group, I saw firsthand how great it made him feel.  When he got his check, his smile was so big and he said giddily: “Something like this has never happened to me before!”  That moment itself was absolutely priceless.
Nick’s SnapChat to his friends
So - about the race itself.  I left my house at 6:40AM with Adrienne and Nick in my car and we made the short trip to Columbia in no time.  We registered for the race and I scoped out the competition...At that point I hadn’t seen any familiar faces from the years past (2012 and 2013) and I was feeling hopeful about my chances of success.  

After a relaxed warmup with Nick and Adrienne, some solo strides and drills, Nick and I toed the line together, ready for the burrito.  At this point, I had scoped out two women who run in Columbia, SC. I recognized one of them (Kenzie) from the Heart and Sole Women’s 5 Miler and I introduced myself to the other (Caroline).  I discovered that she ran at Arkansas when I was at Wake.  She is on her own journey to achieving PRs in the post-collegiate race setting, so it was fun to chat with her and tell her that it’s totally possible!

My strategy to get the win was to go out as hard as possible so I could have a good cushion coming into the burrito eating competition.   At the start line, I knew that my race strategy was still the right way to approach the race.  The gun went off, and a pack of all the elite men took off, leaving a large gap between them and me.  Corey Tretskey realized he went out too fast and after 800 meters had conveniently tucked himself in behind me, making me do all the work.  Since I was all pissed that he was totally drafting off me, I completely forgot to catch the first mile split. 
The start
Corey and I both came into the burrito stand at the exact same time and he went to the right as I went to the left.  I started walking as soon as I entered.  I grabbed a burrito, unwrapped it and began taking bites while simultaneously walking down the line to grab a water bottle and then finally ending at the judge’s station.  Adrienne was there taking some pics and offering some nice words of wisdom :“Caitlin, remember your strategy!” while I stood there, taking the race entirely too seriously and stealing furtive glances towards the stand to see where my closest female competitor was…all while scarfing down the burrito.  I gagged once, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as last  year when I was rushing because Laurie finished her burrito in like 45 seconds.  The two Columbia girls came in when I had just two bites left, so I calmed down a bit. 

However, I caught Corey stealing a glance at what remained of my burrito and he knew he was out to beat me.  This made me mad and excessively competitive again, and I watched as he took off when I still had one more bite to go.  I finally finished, about ten seconds later, and yelled “welcome to moe’s” and took off in a mad sprint.  I spit out a couple leftover bits of rice and beans as I exited the eating station and hoped I wouldn’t throw up.  

The next 1.5 miles were not as miserable as I thought they would be.  I actually felt pretty darn good and had a feeling that the win was in the bag, so as I rounded the final straightway into the finish, I let up a little.  I stopped trying to catch Corey and I started to feel a little vomit come up.  I really didn’t want to throw up across the finish line like last year.  I normally would not let up in the final 100m of a 5k race, but vomiting is never fun, even if you win $1000 in the process. I crossed the finish line and did not puke - SUCCESS!

The next two girls came in sprinting against each other around 20:00 and it was really fun to see them battle it out as friends and training partners.  Nick came through just a couple minutes later, looking fresh. 

Afterwards, we got in 3 miles of cool down and Nick convinced himself that since his mouth is so big, he obviously had a faster burrito split than me, even though he didn’t time it.  He probably did eat the burrito faster than me.

For the third year in a row, I had an absolutely blast at this race and met some new ladies in the process.  I was extremely happy that Adrienne and Nick came because eating a burrito without an audience just isn’t as fun.  Adrienne got to see both Nick and I chomp away at our burritos and had fun comparing our strategies (namely, my serious demeanor versus Nick’s laid back, fun approach).  I’ll probably drive all the way from Durham to do this for the fourth time in a row next year, assuming I don’t have any Duke MBA commitments. :)

Adrienne, me and Nick post-race

Thursday, March 20, 2014

200m Wave with Aaron

3-4 miles of 200m on / off @ 40s / 50s

5.8 miles warmup
3 miles @ 52-51 / 42-41 in 18:36 total
3 miles cool down in 23:30

This was little mini workout to get the legs moving again after the half marathon and before the Moe’s Burrito Dash.  At 5:30AM, Aaron and I ran around uptown for a bit with a large group of Laurie, Ashley, and Phil before heading down to the JCSU track.  It was still dark, so I decided to just run the 200s based on feel and not look at splits. It would have been a total pain in the butt anyways to check out my splits every 200m because I would have had to turn on my indiglo.  Turns out that I didn’t quite hit the times that Terry had prescribed, but I wasn’t that far off. It was tons of fun to run with Aaron because I hadn’t worked out with him in quite some time. He’s always so energetic and it was great to catch up with him.  We talked the entire time and I walked off the blue JCSU track feeling accomplished and excited about the third Annual Moe’s Burrito Dash 5k.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Tobacco Road HM Race Recap + Week in Review

Goal #1:  1st or 2nd place for prize $$
Goal #2:  Negative Split

2 miles warmup
1:17:55, 2nd place, Huge Positive Split (38:19/39:36)
3 miles cool down for 18 miles total
70 miles on the week
1 workout

I got my butt kicked today.  It’s definitely not what I wanted, but I still got $600.  My race came be summed up in three words: I wimped out.  I’m not being hard on myself, I’m just being honest.

Tomorrow I’ll run on my tired legs and the half will already be behind me, and I’ll be thinking of the big PR that I hope to get at the Grandma’s Half in like 15+ weeks.  So, I am okay with it.  It was one of those races that I just didn’t prepare for mentally whatsoever.  I was hoping I could come in and race it as somewhat of a tempo and squeak in a PR and a win.  Well, neither of those things happened, and I learned my lesson:  I need to prepare mentally for all races, not just the ones I deem really important.

Basically, I went out in my marathon pace - 607 - for the first mile and felt great.  Then I picked it up to tuck in behind a group of guys that were running around 5:50 -- perfect!  Then mile 4 happened, where I blindly followed the guys and dropped a 531.  While I wish that I could say that 5:40 is my goal half marathon pace, I knew that I wasn’t ready for that kind of pacing today.  So I had just split faster than my overall 10k pace a couple weekends ago.  I relaxed, and let the boys go, and ran another 5:42 in no mans land.  Respectable.

By the halfway point turnaround, I arrogantly thought I had a nice cushion over the second place girl.  I was wrong. Kimberlie Meeker (hopefully my new training partner when I move) was merely 15-20 meters back...if I was lucky!  So, I told myself that all I had to do was maintain 5:50s and that I could probably hold her off.  By mile 9, she had made her way to me because I ran 6:01, and by mile 10, when she passed me, you can tell exactly where I mentally fell apart and stopped caring and started rationalized and doing all the things I tell myself never to do.  I ran a 6:19 split for mile 10.  It’s basically where she got 19 seconds on me that were maintained through the finish, because after that I tried my damnedest to get the pace back down to below 6:00.  Eventually I did, but the damage was already done...Kimberlie finished in 1:17:35 and I followed 20 seconds later.

I definitely wasn’t thrilled with my race execution - with almost a 1:17 positive split for the second half of the race, but I was only 5 seconds off of my half marathon PR.  I’ve really been enjoying the shorter distances, and I didn’t enjoy this one too much at all.  This race just affirms that the half marathon is a really tough distance for me to wrap my mind around but also that a marathon is not something I want to do anytime soon.  I really want to focus April and May on doing what I need to do to run a 1:15:xx half marathon, because I know it’s in my wheel house, I just haven’t put all the pieces of the puzzle together yet.

Other news from the race - Kimberlie got a PR and is trying to qualify for the Olympic Trials.  I reassured her that, given her recent performance, she should definitely be able to do that.  Michelle got third and brought home both $450 and a PR.  Aaron pulled in some masters cash, so all of the Charlotte people left richer, which is always fun!

Also, Garrett and I checked out basically all the neighborhoods in Durham and tried to narrow down our house rental search to just a couple of hoods.  We are thinking now Hope Valley or downtown, but it’s looking like suburbia is calling our name because of the safety and accessibility to running trails.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Evening workout on the DSL

1.5M @ 5:50 pace, 2-2:30 rest, 4x800m @ 2:50, :47, :43, :40, 1.5M @ 5:50 pace

3.8 miles warmup
1.5M in 5:44, 2:51 (2:20 rest)
4x800m in 249, 247, 244, 240 with 1:54-2:20 jog rest
1.5M in 5:49, 2:54
2.3M cool down for 12+ miles

This workout was done on the speed loop at 6PM with Phil, Caleb, Michelle, Dalena, Sommer and Tim.  However, each of us did a different workout, so I really only had company on the first section of this workout.  It felt neither hard nor easy, so basically I was never comfortable.  I blame this on the unnecessary heat (75+ degrees) and the late time in the evening.  I’m not used to working out in the evening and while it is nice to sleep in every now and then, my body just is accustomed to doing workouts in the evening anymore.  I didn’t particularly enjoy the last 1.5 mile segment by myself, but I got in the work and finished on an uphill, so I was happy to still hit the times that Terry had prescribed. In general, this whole week my legs have felt really heavy, so I’m hoping that they feel much lighter come this weekend for the Tobacco Road Half.  Quite candidly, I am going into this half with very little mental training and I’m hoping that I can run it as a semi tempo effort and still place in the top 2 for either $750 or $600.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Week in Review

70 Miles
13 mile MLR
4x2 Mile workout Success
14 miles with 6 miles in 650, 640, 610, 605, 609, 552
7 Runs
0 Off Days
2 Light Lift Days

I was battling a cold for most of this week, so my motivation was lacking but I got all the workouts in and actually hit the times.  Despite the sickness, I really enjoyed the workouts this week because I walked away feeling confident and like I had experienced a sort of breakthrough in my own performance.  I’m hoping these feelings of greatness and fitness carry into next week’s half!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

4 x 2 Miles on DSL

4x2 Miles @ 6:00-5:50 with 2:00 jog rest...Stick with 6:00 to ensure you can hit 4 repeats

3+ miles warmup
4x2 miles with 2:00 rest 8M total in 46:43
600 / 556 (11:56) 1:59 rest
552 / 552 (11:44) 2:06 rest
548 / 547 (11:35) 2:01 rest
544 / 544 (11:28)
2.4 miles cool down for ~14 miles total

This is exactly the workout I needed to boost my confidence.  Considering that just four weeks ago, I struggled to hit 555s for three repeats, running the same workout but with an addition rep seemed almost impossible to me.  I’ve been battling a cold and just ran a good 10k on Saturday, so I felt like the odds were not in my favor.  However, in the early pre-dawn hours, Eric and I hit the Dilworth Speed Loop and surprised each other.  Running side by side down Worthington and Tremont Avenues, we found a rhythm that helped push the other along and bested our own expectations.  Before the third set, I told Eric that I wanted to slow it up in the beginning.  We did, but after 600 meters, I knew I felt good so I kept rolling the pace to drop it down.  I was not glancing at my watch, but Eric dropped back and said “we are too fast” and I said “okay” and kept rolling.  When we came through our mile split in 5:48, he told me “remember now that I warned you to slow down.”  When we finished that one, we both put it out in the open that sometimes our workout strategies make it difficult for the other.  I like going on feel and ignoring my watch (and sometimes my own workout time goals) whereas he likes to conserve energy and check his garmin constantly and wait to open up until the last interval.

After we got that out there, we agreed to try to hit the same pace for the fourth and final set. We came in a hair faster through the mile and then Eric really opened up on the last mile to beast out a 5:3x mile while I came in perfectly even.

I’m thrilled about this workout and where it indicates my fitness lies.  The times weren’t blazing fast, but I wasn’t uncomfortable until maybe the last mile.  Even so, I was completely relaxed and never felt like I was completely ruining my body.  It’s great to see that things are finally coming together after a long break over Christmas.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Week in Review

55 Miles
10k race in 34:56, 4th place, $300
6 Runs
1 Day Off
1 Bum Knee

A lot happened this week.  Garrett decided that out of the three schools he got into that Duke Physical Therapy was the right fit for him.  This means that on July 1, we will be relocating to Durham to be close to the Duke campus as Garrett pursues his DPT for three years there.  I will keep my job at Bank of America, but work remotely from my house and come into the office every couple of days.  In my spare time, I’ve been doing my Duke MBA pre-homework and also looking up houses to rent in Durham.

Between all of that, after a great workout on Tuesday and an easy run on Wednesday night with Jordan, my knee randomly started hurting.  I went out to eat at Bad Daddy’s with Jordan and the Wilmore crew, and when I got up from the booth, the top of my knee was throbbing with pain when I stood up, went down stairs, or sat down.  The next day, Thursday, I felt it with every step I took at work, so I iced the heck out of it and hoped that I had just hit it on a chair and was not an overuse injury.  Fortunately, Friday came along and I was able to run without any feeling of the knee whatsoever, so I knew that the 10k race plan in Greenville, SC with my crew was still on.

On Saturday, Laurie, Eric and I all drove to Greenville for the Reedy River 10k, where we eventually met Aaron, Dalena and Michelle who were also racing with us.  Long story short, Laurie, Eric and I ran together through 4.75 miles (along with a Clemson girl who had two male escorts).  By 4.75 miles, Laurie fell off a bit, and by 5 miles, I fell off the Clemson girl while Eric charged ahead of all of us to destroy the entirely uphill 6th mile.  I finished in 34:56, which is the exact same time I ran in October at the HFFA 10k race with John.  Charlotte swept 5 of the top 7 prize money spots.  Pezz was 1st, I was 4th, Laurie 5th, Dalena 6th, and Michelle 7th.  We all left with money in our pocket and most of us had PRs or were really close to them.

Sunday was highlighted with the runners’ sunday brunch at Eric’s house.  Since I’ve got four more months left in this city that I’ve come to call home, I’ve vowed to spend as much time with my close friends as possible...hence why I started the runners’s brunch.  Plus, I do love anything that has to do with food.