Sunday, September 30, 2012

September summary

Total time: 34:52:50
2 Swim workouts
4 Cycling classes
4 TRX classes

Running time: 26:41:16
Distance: 198.35
Calories: 20,587
Average pace: 8:04

Mile PR (5:52) at the Magnificent Mile

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tales from the back of the pack

So tonight I ran in my first ever cross country race as part of the Bull City Track Club women's team.  I knew going in that I would most likely finish last on my team, and just hoped I wouldn't be last overall (the other teams included college cross country B/JV teams, small college varsity teams, and a few other clubs).  

Long story short, I went out too fast and just didn't have the mental or physical strength to power through the tough parts. The course was (as expected) more challenging than the average road race, but really wasn't terrible.  I just couldn't will myself to keep pushing my pace when I felt bad/tired/winded.  My watch was a bit off because I didn't reset it after the warmup, but I finished in 21-something, and I think the average was somewhere close to a 7-minute mile but I'm really not sure.  So for me that is certainly not a terrible 5k, but it was frustrating to feel like I didn't represent my team with the best effort possible.   And to be honest, in comparison to my teammates I feel slow, fat, and lacking in mental toughness, and that is not an awesome feeling.  Yes, I know that in the grand scheme of things I am probably none of those things, and my teammates (and everyone I've met through the BCTC) are always very positive and supportive, but I am just a bit discouraged.  I am really thankful to Jason for giving me the opportunity to run this race and with the team in general, am grateful to my incredibly talented teammates for sharing their experiences, training tips, advice, etc; and I know that running with the BCTC has contributed to me becoming a better runner... but I really walked away from this one thinking "What the hell, why am I not getting faster?!" (though less polite language was used when talking to myself). UGH.  I am just hoping to have a solid 20 miler on Sunday, stay on track with the training, and come away from my next race (the ING Hartford Half Marathon) feeling much better than I do now. 

On a more positive note... We won!  

Huge congrats to Jennifer for the win, and to Rachel, Kristina, Bex, Alicia, and Ellen for great races.  Maybe one year I'll be able to contribute more to the team... I guess that will be yet another thing to work for!

Update: Official time 21:48; finished 29th/56. *sigh*

Sunday, September 23, 2012

16.67% Ironman

Finish Strong Half Iron Relay
13.1M in 1:38:54 (7:33)

After withdrawing from the 70.3, my friend Crit asked me if I'd take her spot on a relay team since she hasn't been able to run lately.  Not one to turn down an opportunity to race, I obviously said yes!  I went out to Vista Point at 6am to get body marked, chatted with some friends who were racing, watched a beautiful sunrise, and watched the race get underway at 7:10.  

Danielle and Trine did great on the swim and bike, and I headed out on the run at 10:50.  My plan was to try to stay a little under goal marathon pace, so I set out shooting for 7:30-7:40s.  The race was a double out and back, basically up and over a hill, turn around, go back, and then do it again.  I am not a fan of hills and rarely run them, so I knew it would be really tough for me.  I always feel a little bad in relays, passing people who've been working hard while I was just sitting around waiting, so I was sure to offer encouragement to everyone I saw and point out that I was just starting.  

After a fairly flat first mile (on target at 7:30), the second mile was all uphill and I slowed a bit deciding even effort might be a better strategy than even pace given the course.  Made it up and over around 2.4, and then turned onto a gravel road for the much-anticipated downhill section.  Hit the turnaround and then had to go back up the gravel hill, and this was about as fun as I expected.  At mile 4.7 I started going back down toward the start/finish, and tried to make up some time with the help of gravity.  I ran by Monte and my teammates and felt pretty good as I made the second turnaround, so I decided I should try to run a bit faster this time around.  That was pretty short-lived, and my pace slowed considerably when I hit the first hill.  Though I did luck out with the weather, by this point it was almost noon and temps in the 70s felt a lot warmer when running uphill with full sun on my face.  The second lap was much like the first, and just what you'd expect... slower up, faster down, slower up, faster down, and a little sprint at the finish.  

Checking the garmin, the uphill splits were mostly in the 7:40s, with an 8:07 at mile 11, which was entirely uphill and on gravel.  On the bright side (and only good side of hills), the downhills ranged from 7:05-7:19 even though I took them as an opportunity to run easy, get my heart rate and breathing under control, and remind myself why I enjoy running... 

This race was a good wake-up call for a number of reasons.  First, while reminding me how much I hate hills, I also realize I need to work on hill running more.  Second, the June half ironman is going to be incredibly hard.  The run today was tough, and I hadn't even done anything yet!  Despite marathon training, 13.1 is still a pretty long way to run, and mid-day sun is probably unavoidable so in addition to tired legs there is heat to contend with.  Seeing miserable looking people walking up hills did not make me super excited!  Finally, I think it was a good indicator of where I am fitness-wise.  I would like to run closer to 7:20 pace in the Hartford half next month.  Hopefully cooler temps and a flatter course will make this feasible, but it's going to be tough.  As for the marathon, I am not sure if 7:45 is a reasonable pace goal... I have a lot of work to do over the next 6 weeks!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

10 miles a day to keep the doctor away?

A decent amount of fast-ish running this week.  Hopefully it will pay off in November!

Monday: 10M in 1:18:46 (7:53)
Some goal-pace running with Sara on the ATT.  First 3 easy (8:10) and 7 at 7:45.

Wednesday: 10M in 1:18:15 (7:50)
Met Sara for a little speed work at the UNC track.  Once again we put our two workouts together - she was scheduled to run 10x800 and I was supposed to do 20x400 so we decided on 5x400-5x800-5x400.  2M warmup, 5 400s @ 95 seconds (6:20 pace), 5 800s @ 3:25 (6:50 pace), 4 800s @ 93-97.
It didn't feel as easy as last week's track workout and my legs felt really heavy despite taking a rest day on Tuesday, but we stayed on target pace-wise and the last 400 was the fastest of all (93s) so at least it ended on a good note!

Thursday: TRX, Sync Cycling

Friday: 9M in 1:09:25 (7:43)
What was supposed to be a progression run turned into another all-over-the-place tempo-ish run.  Hit the ATT bright and early with Ellen and Laura, and the chatting once again got the best of us and we didn't really pace according to plan.  A couple of miles easy, then 7:30, 7:05, and a few more in the 7:30s.  My foot started bothering me during cycling on Thursday, and was still pretty tight and painful.  Hopefully nothing that will persist...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Magnificent Mile

I ran this race for the first time last year, and it was the first mile I'd raced since high school.  I thought it was really fun and definitely wanted to do it again, but I was a little apprehensive because I haven't been doing much fast running lately and was doubtful that I could run as fast.  Getting slower just seemed like it would be discouraging, even though I know full marathon training is much different than half marathon training.  But I decided to go ahead anyway, and told myself that I could just do my best and attribute my slower time on yesterday's 20-miler.  

The Magnificent Mile is an afternoon race in downtown Raleigh.  I really love the setup of the course - about a quarter mile up Hillsborough St, counter-clockwise around the Capitol, then back down to the finish.  It's basically flat, with a slight incline right at the start and corresponding awesome decline on the way in to the finish.

Monte and I arrived at the race around 1:30.  Packet pickup was quick and easy, but I was really disappointed that despite registering way ahead of time, they did not have a shirt in the size I'd selected.  Oh well.  We walked around and chatted with a few friends, watched the men's race at 2:00, and then I did a very short warm-up before heading to the start line around 2:15.  

I found Alicia and Caren near the 5-6 minute/mile sign, and hoped to at least keep them in eyesight.  Last year they seemed to do a very good job of making sure that people were in the correct corrals, but this year there wasn't much organization and there were at least a dozen little girls in a group right in front of us.  This made for a lot of swerving and dodging for the first bit of the race, and I didn't want to go out too fast so before I knew it Caren and Alicia were well ahead of me.  Tried to run was felt fast but relaxed, and hit the first quarter in 1:28.  By first turn, I'd cleared most of the kids, focused on Caren, and settled in for the middle half (1:30-1:32).  

I tried to pick it up through the last quarter mile and felt like I was gaining a little, but could't close the gap on my Bull City Track Club teammates, though I was able to pass the one woman in between us and put some distance on the runner who'd been on my heels for a while.  I felt tired but not completely exhausted when I crossed the line, despite running the last quarter in 1:22, so I am a bit disappointed that I didn't run the my best possible race... In fear of going out too fast, I ended up leaving too much in the tank.  But... official time - 5:52, and first in my age group!  I was shocked to break 6 minutes last year, and I was just as surprised to PR this time around!  It was pretty exciting to finish right behind Caren and Alicia, who are awesome and super-fast!

Big congratulations to Caren, who finished in 5:47 and is now the NC USATF masters champion in the mile!  


When I first started running 5 years ago, I thought finishing the 10 mile race near my house was a pretty crazy goal, and couldn't believe that I actually did it.  At that point, running under 8 minute miles or finishing a marathon had never crossed my mind, so registering for the Boston marathon this week was a really exciting event for me, and a good reminder of all the progress I've made over these last few years.  It shows that anything really is possible if you're willing to work for it!  My calendar is now marked for April 15 :)

I also registered for my first 50K - the Frosty 50 in Winston-Salem on January 5.  Combined with the Raleigh Ironman 70.3, it looks like the first half of 2013 will be very busy!

In more current news... the cooler temps are amazing!  The same distance and pace that we were doing a couple of weeks ago feels exponentially easier without the 90 degree temps and 98 percent humidity, so it's been a great week!

Monday: Sync Cycling

Tuesday: 8.5M in 1:06:20 (7:48)
Legs were feeling a little heavy from last weeks relatively high mileage, so I was dreading speedwork.  My schedule called for 7x1000s and Sara's was for 2x800 and 4x1M, so we decided to mash them together into 2x800-3x1000-2x1600.  All of the 800s and 1000s were in the 6:40-6:50 pace range and both mile repeats were just under 7 minutes.  Surprisingly, we were able to chat for almost the entire time, with the exception the last 200m or so of each repeat, and I felt pretty spry and energetic when we finished the workout.  I am certain the much-improved weather (mid-50s) is responsible for this, but regardless I am still shocked by how "not miserable" it felt to be running at a pace that started with a 6!

Wednesday: 5.5M in 43:41 (7:57)
First solo run in a long time... definitely not as enjoyable as it is with company!  It was a nice cool morning though, and I bought some new music for my ipod so it wasn't that bad. For each big race I try to find one song that to play over and over in my head.  By the end of a half or full marathon, I am pretty sick of it, but is does seem to help me stick to my even pace plan.  For this marathon, it looks like the go-to song will be "Let's Go" (Calvin Harris).  The tempo seems to put me around my goal pace, and the lyrics are certainly race-appropriate:
It's not about what you've done, it's about what you're doing
It's all about where you're going no matter where you've been
Let's go!

Thursday: TRX, 7M in 57:30 (8:13)
Averaged 8:08 from the three hilly (mostly uphill) miles from my house to the West 94th St Pub and then did an easy 4 with Rachel on the Third Fork Creek trail.  The plan was to run home as well, but after standing around talking for a bit I decided to take a friend up on her offer of a ride.  

Friday: Sync Cycling

Saturday: 20M in 2:51:06 (8:33)
It was supposed to be a step-back week for my long run, but since I have a half marathon next weekend I switched next week's 20 and the 15 I had on the schedule for today.  Lora met up with me for the middle 16 miles and we did a nice leisurely out and back on the southern sections of the ATT.  They have made a lot of progress on the Durham section of the trail, and I'm really hopeful that at least the section from my house to Chatham will be finished soon!

Sunday: Magnificent Mile in 5:52
I didn't think I'd be able to run faster than I did last year, especially not after Saturday's 20-mile run, but I set a new PR!  More details in the full race report to come later...

Weekly Total: 42 Miles in 5:44:32

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Two months until the NYC marathon!

Marathon training: so far so good!  My training week is Monday to Sunday, and with the holiday last week my long run was moved to Monday, giving me 2 long runs this week and my first 60 mile week ever (61.25 to be exact)!  Yes, it may be 'cheating' a bit since Monday's 18 would normally have been completed on the weekend, but I am counting it!

Monday: 18M in 2:32 (8:26), Sync cycling
Nice long run on the southern section of the ATT with Bex and Ellen.  A little slower than usual thanks to the crazy humidity and our ladies night on Sunday, but overall I felt really good.

Later that evening I took a cycling class at Sync, complete with black lights and cupcakes in honor of our fabulous instructor Matty's birthday.  I do think spin helps with run recovery, and am hoping to work a PM class into my schedule on long run days.

Wednesday: 8.25M in 1:03:21 (7:41) and recovery swim
Followed the BCTC workout for the week with Ellen and Bex on the ATT - 2 mile warmup, 4x800 (3:20-3:30s), 2M at half pace (7:20/mile), 4x400 (1:30-1:40s)

Easy 30 minute swim with Jeannelle.  I am going to be sad when my neighborhood pool closes in a few weeks!

Thursday: TRX, 6.5M in 54:23 (8:22)
Only Caren was crazy enough to join me for the City Beverage social run in a thunderstorm.  Fortunately there was no lightning, and the pouring rain slowed to a drizzle once we got out there.  A section of the trail was flooded, and after running in ankle-deep water for a bit we decided to just turn around a little early.  A couple of pints of double chocolate stout pretty much negated any calorie burn from the run, but it was worth it.

Friday: 10.5M in 1:23:32 (7:57)
Met Bex and Ellen for what was supposed to be a progression run on the ATT, but our pacing ended up all over the place.  Though not particularly progression-like, we got in a few good miles in the middle (7:51-7:39-7:47-7:32-7:45) and it felt like a good workout (not terribly hard but just challenging enough) going into the weekend.

Sunday: 18M in 2:25:52 (8:06)
Great long run with Alicia, Ellen, Bex, Caren, and Lora. It was actually pleasant out for a change, with temps in the 60s and far less humidity than we've had to deal with throughout the summer.  The plan was to run 9 easy and 9 at goal pace (7:40), and the average for the second half was 7:39 - right on target!  Whether or not I will be able to sustain that for 26.2 miles remains to be seen, but it really felt good out there today!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

August Summary

Another month has come and gone!  Now that triathlon season is over and I'm focusing on training for the NYC marathon, I've increased my running volume considerably and am only cross-training on my off days.  It's amazing how much more free time I have without the daily two-a-days... total time for this month was just under 30 hours vs the 47+ done in July!  

Olympic triathlon in 2:34:43
12 miler at goal marathon pace (7:45)
Hood to Coast (20 miles)

Running stats:
Distance: 170 miles (up from 126 in July)
Time:  23:16:17
Average pace: 8:12 / mile
Elevation gain: 3,852 ft
Calories: 18,872 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hood to Coast Relay

Hood to Coast was my first long relay, and I have to say it was even more fun than I expected (despite the sleep deprivation)!  

The short version:

Leg 1: 6.96 miles, 49:24, 7:04 pace
Leg 2: 5.00 miles, 35:03, 6:59 pace (last mile in 6:52, yeah!)
Leg 3: 7.72 miles, 59:03, 7:40 pace
Team finish: 28:05:21, 8:25 average pace, 49/362 mixed open division, 238/1070 overall

More details after the jump!