Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Heavy heart

I know this is generally a training and racing blog, but sometimes other things take precedence.  Sadly my mother passed away on February 15, and training rightfully took a backseat to spending time with her in her last days and grieving her loss.  It has been an incredibly challenging 10 days, and I miss her so much.  Running has still come up though, with many of her friends telling me how she had been so proud to tell them about my marathons, and even more so with the unbelievable outpouring of support I have received from my friends in the running community.  Like most mothers, my mom wanted me to be healthy, happy, and surrounded by good people.  Running has contributed significantly to all of that, and the thinking of the happiness and pride that she felt because of it means a lot to me.  She had planned to travel to my half marathon in Atlanta in March and the Boston marathon in April, and though she cannot be there physically, I will carry her in my heart and that gives me even more incentive to work hard and run well.  

I love you, mom, and I hope I will continue to make you proud of me.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Massacre Marathon Relay

I was going to write a race report for this, but my fast and fabulous teammate just sent hers out to the BCTC and it so perfectly summarizes the day that I've decided to post that here as a recap of yesterday's marathon relay.  So without further ado...

"We're Just Here for Fun... And to Win." 
BCTC Women vs. Some High School Tramps in Puffy Paint Shirts

Yesterday Kara B., Bex, Sarah Swiss and I took on the Valentine's Massacre Marathon Relay in Greensboro. As Kara so eloquently put it, we were there to have fun... and to win. My personal goal was to average around 6:30 per mile for each of my legs, the first of which was 2.2 miles.  The other 3 were 1.6 miles.

Leg 1: I was the first runner up for our team. I started in the very front which I think might have been a mistake, but I relished the feeling of being the lead women for a fleeting moment. Then 1 girl caught up to me and we settled in to a reasonable-feeling 6:30 pace and chugged along together for a bit. Presently, the course headed up pretty big-ass hill, and at about that same time 2 other girls came out of nowhere and passed us. The girl I was with charged off after them, and I considered doing the same, but upon glancing down at my watch and noting my sub-6 pace I decided to let them go since I was already feeling as though I was pushing the limits of my capabilities, and oh yeah, I still had to do this 3 more times. I was maybe 10 seconds behind the lead pack of women when I handed off to Kara.

Leg 2: By the time my 2nd leg rolled around it had become evident that the battle for the #1 all women's team was between us and some high school kids wearing cotton t-shirts decorated with puffy paint. We were dressed head-to-toe in fancy pink Brooks apparel courtesy of Sarah Swiss, so there was no way we were letting some Busch League high school kids beat us... Team Puffy Paint was ever so slightly ahead of us when Bex handed off to me, but I (barely) managed to catch their runner on my leg and hold her off through my hand off, although I didn't put much space in between us.

Leg 3: The battle between Team Puffy Paint and the BCTC women is now in extra-high gear. Mad trash talk is happening on the sidelines... Once again they had pulled slightly ahead of us since my last leg, but I managed to catch their runner very early on. At this point I was feeling a little tired, so I made my goal for leg 3 to do only the amount of work it took to hold her off and nothing more. Mission accomplished as I handed off to Kara, although I instantly regretted not pushing harder as Puffy Paint pulled into the exchange zone only seconds behind me.

Leg 4: Despite the most badass kick I've ever seen in my life from Bex as she hauled in to hand off to me, Puffy Paint had finally gained some significant ground on The Mad Women of BCTC. Sigh. I knew catching them was highly unlikely at this point, but as I took the baton from Bex, I vowed to leave it all out there trying. And that is exactly what I did. Although Little Miss Puffy Paint continued to increase her lead on me in our final leg, I shaved a good 10 secs off my previous splits for the first mile and 8 secs off my total lap time vs my previous lap.

In the end Team Puffy Paint took the win, but I doubt they had as much fun as the fabulous Mad Women of BCTC, and they most certainly were not as well dressed. Had there been a post-race photo-shoot-off, we would have schooled their perky high school asses in that as well.

All things considered, I had an absolutely awesome time with Kara, Sarah, and Bex, and I couldn't have been more proud of our performance, unless of course, we had actually caught the puffy paint girls. ;)

Our final total time was 2:51:03, which comes out to 6:32 pace, and is surely the fastest marathon time my humble name will ever be associated with. My personal splits are as follows: Leg 1 (2.2 miles): 13:52 min, 6:18 pace. Leg 2 (1.6 miles): 10:13 min, 6:23 pace. Leg 3 (1.6 miles) 10:18 min, 6:26 pace. Leg 4 (1.6 miles): 10:04 min., 6:18 pace.

Cheers to a fantastically fun day of racing with a truly fast and fabulous group of ladies!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Training update - February 8

Trying to get a little speed back...

Monday:  Not feeling great and the weather was cold and drizzly, but thankfully I had Ellen to keep me motivated (5M, 39:29).  Hopefully it won't take long to feel better, or to get back into my normal routine.  

Tuesday: Morning progression run with Ellen.  I stick felt sick but managed to suck it up and make it through most of the miles as planned.  The goal was 8-7:45-7:30-7:15-7:00-6:45 and a 2 mile cool down.  I was ok through 5 but opted for a second 7 min/mile instead of the 6:45 because I just couldn't bring myself to run faster.  In the end it was 8:06-7:44-7:27-7:14-7:03-7:04, and 8 miles total in an hour flat. 
PM - Back to back cycling classes

Wednesday: Cycling at Sync

Thursday: Met Jen D and Jen L for a little speed work on the ATT. We jogged about a mile and a half warmup, then 2 x (5x100) with a minute rest in between sets, 2 miles at tempo pace, another 2 x (5x100) and a short cool down jog.  I didn't take splits on the individual 100s, but I felt like I was working hard and I think that was the point.  

Friday: Still sick... really over this stupid cough.  Converted the BCTC workout from minutes to even mileage, and ran with Ellen on the ATT.  The plan was 2M warm up, 1.5M at half marathon pace (Goal: 7-7:15, Actual: 7:01) - .5 recovery - 1M at 10K pace (Goal: sub-7, Actual: 6:48) - .5 recovery - 1.5 at half pace (Goal: 7-7:15, Actual: 7:02).  The repeats at half pace felt relatively comfortable, and given that I'm sick and have been feeling really slow lately, this workout went better than I could have expected.   

Saturday: Left the house at 3am to drive out to Uwharrie and volunteer at the Mountain Run.  After sitting outside in 20 degree weather for 5 hours, I didn't manage to get a Saturday workout in.  

Sunday: 14 mile Rise run with Bex, Lane, and Sarah.  Bex was recovering from the race at Uwharrie so the pace was a little slower than usual, but it was nice to get it done and of course to follow it up with a Rise fritter, donut, and biscuit (I couldn't decide, so I had one of each... oops).  Ended the day with a Superbowl-themed cycling class at Sync.  Overall a decent week (40 miles and 4 cycling classes), despite the bronchitis.  

Tuesday: 8 miles with Ellen, with 5 miles at 7:05 pace.  The weather was warmer than expected (40 instead of 30), and I am finally feeling better, so it actually went pretty well.  Ellen took off at the 4th working mile so I ended up doing the last two solo but stuck to the pace plan (working miles 7:03-7:03-7:05-7:08-7:02).  PM - back to back cycling classes.

Wednesday: My knee was bothering me a bit, so I decided to take the day off.  I should have gone to the pool, but I am having a really hard time motivating to swim when it's freezing outside.  I'd better get over that pretty quickly, or I am going to be in big trouble come June 2.

Thursday: My first TRX class in weeks.  It felt good to do some strength training, but I am really going to feel this one, especially in the glutes thanks to some one-legged squats, lunges, and glute bridges, among other things...

Friday: Because we are racing this weekend, we decided to try to get some longer mileage in on Friday instead of the usual Sunday long run.  The plan was to run 14 miles with Ellen, but some serious muscle soreness from yesterday's TRX class was literally a pain in the butt and I decided to call it a day early and only run 8.  Hoping the  110% compression shorts (with built-in ice packs) and foam roller have me ready to go by Sunday!  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Turks & Caicos

I had really great intentions for exercising over vacation, and though I fell a bit short on running, it wasn't the complete failure to exercise of vacations past!

Wednesday: 4 mile beach run (32:43), roughly half a mile ocean swim.  It was my first attempt at swimming in the ocean, and it was a lot harder than I'd expected!

Thursday: Quick lap swim in the pool, 3 mile walk on the beach with Monte

Friday: 4 mile beach run.  It was high tide, so the sand was really soft and tough to run in.  I averaged just under 9 minute miles, but it certainly felt a lot faster! 

Saturday: 4 mile walk on the beach with Monte

Sunday: 5 mile beach run, again at high tide.  

Grace Bay Beach is 8 miles long, and there are tons of restaurants along the beach, so there was no need to get a rental car, and we walked quite a few miles just going to lunch, dinner, the grocery store, etc.  Lots of relaxing, but not completely sedentary, so I guess that's good.  Most importantly, we had a really nice time, and Monte had a good birthday.  It was just hard to come back to the cold NC weather! 

A few pics from our trip...

Brought my camera along on a morning run

The birthday boy

Photos by Tropical Imaging

Making the most of our last day on the island