Race Recap: RNR NOLA

Hey friends!

I hope your week is off to a good start! If you’ve been following along for a little bit, you know that I ran the Rock N Roll half marathon in New Orleans this past weekend. The race didn’t go exactly as I hoped that it would, but we had a great trip regardless!

After dropping Brooks off at the Dog Ranch mid-morning on Saturday, we met up with Jessica and Wes and headed to NOLA. Lower Alabama was VERY well represented in New Orleans this weekend! Everywhere we went (i.e., the expo and the race), we ran into so many people that we knew.

We stayed at the InterContinental on St. Charles. We were less than a mile from the expo and just a few blocks from the race start. The location couldn’t have been much better. Once we got to town, we decided to go ahead and hit the expo to get our bibs.

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Kenny, Young Daniel, Daniel, me and Jess!

We walked around the expo for a little bit, but I didn’t really see anything that I had to have. I usually LOVE expos, but this one was just really crowded and not as exciting as usual. I also managed to sign up for a women’s XL tee-shirt somehow. They told me I could exchange it, but the line was really long, so I decided to just roll with it. As the lady handed me the shirt, she said, “they run small …” (the ellipsis here represents an actual trail off of her words and isn’t just my typical overuse of this grammatical punctuation) and I was kind of like, “well cool, thanks (I think).” I do love a big shirt to sleep in.

We walked around a little bit more and stopped at a CVS to get some water and snacks for the room. At this point everyone was really hungry, so we decided to do an early dinner at Trenasse, which was the restaurant in our hotel. It was very good and so convenient (insert K Mart “ship my pants” joke here). After dinner I was so tired! Saturday started off fairly early with my half marathon training group and I missed my usual Saturday afternoon nap (yes, I am 31, going on 80!). We ended up walking over 5 miles around NOLA over the course of the afternoon too (which made for some tired legs and feet). Jessica and I decided to call it a night and the rest of the crew headed down to the French Quarter for beignets.

I got a pretty good night’s sleep. I woke up a few more times than I typically do at home though. One time I woke up and realized I was sleeping on my stomach with my arms above my head (which is not a normal sleep position for me). I tried to push up and roll over and my shoulder came out of socket! Argh. That hasn’t happened in so long. Have I told y’all that story? I don’t think I have because I don’t think it has dislocated at any point in the last few years.

I’ll try to keep this part brief … about 10 years ago, someone dared me to do a flip on my cousin’s trampoline (my cousin was about 3 or 4 years old at the time and I was 21 or 22). It was one of those really small, kid-sized trampolines with a net around it. I spent A LOT of time on the trampoline growing up (we never had one with a net though) and I thought for sure I would be able to do a flip on the little one too and so, of course, I took the dare. I flipped, got tangled in the netting and landed on my shoulder, causing it to dislocate. I thought my arm was broken for a hot minute, but luckily it popped back into place on its own. It hurt like the dickens though.

After that “incident” my shoulder would come out of place off an on randomly (think opening the refrigerator, trying to get something in the backseat of the car, drying off with a towel, wrapping Christmas presents (so very random), etc.). It happened so many times that I started to not even think anything about it. It would usually go back into place without much problem (except one time when my friend’s uncle who was a veterinarian had to pop it back in for me … that also hurt like the dickens).

That “usually” ended one fateful day in the middle of Mobile Bay as Daniel and I were sailing (which is also a funny story, but I’m already chasing tangents here). I was crawling to the front of the boat to let the jib out and my shoulder came out. This time it was serious and we were pretty much stuck in the middle of the bay. It was out of place for HOURS that day and by the time we made it to land I had to go to the ER to get it put back in place. I was given the option of surgery or physical therapy and I chose to do the PT and hope for the best. I rarely have issues with it now, but apparently it does still happen.

Whew. Keeping things brief is not my forte. Back to the race …

We woke up at 6 for a 7:30 race start and made some coffee in the room. I brought some UCAN to drink before the race. I don’t always take something before a half, but I thought this was going to be a good decision. I took a few sips of it and thought that it really didn’t taste very good, but it was a flavor that I don’t typically drink, so I didn’t think much about it. I choked down a few more sips and decided I was good to go. We left our hotel at about 7:15 and got in a quick one mile warm up before the race started.

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My plan for this race was very similar to First Light. In case you don’t have my race plans memorized (sarcasm), it was to start at 6:30 – 6:35, hold 6:23 – 6:28 for miles 2 through 10 and then under 6:25 for miles 11 – 13.1.

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In the words of Weird Al Yankovic, “I’m just too white & nerdy.”

I felt really good about the plan going into the race. I was confident in my fitness and I wasn’t nervous or anxious or anything like that about the race.

The first 5 miles went beautifully. I ran 6:30, 6:27, 6:26, 6:25, 6:24. All of those were exactly within the planned range. I felt good … until all of a sudden, I didn’t. I started to struggle during the sixth mile and from there it just got progressively worse. Miles 8 through 13 felt like the last six miles of a marathon after you have hit the wall. I just tried my best to do some damage control and not let it get too ugly out there. I was riding the struggle bus and I was just praying that the bus would make it to the finish line without breaking down!

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Eek.

I finished in 1:31 and haven’t been that happy to see a finish line in quite some time. This was a goal race for me and I’ve been pretty open about sharing my goal of 1:23 – 1:24. While the race didn’t go exactly as planned time-wise, I am still thankful that I was able to run and enjoy a weekend with friends. I don’t ever want the number on the clock to dictate my feelings.

I’m not going to lie and say that I wasn’t disappointed for a little bit, because I was. I have worked hard and put a lot of energy (mental and physical) into my training and I don’t feel like my race reflected this. I gave myself a little bit time to feel frustrated about it and then it was time to move on.

During my “frustration time,” I came up with a host of excuses or reasons that I don’t think this one went as well as I wanted it to. Just to name a few: I’m tired (the further into tax season I get, the more run down my body gets), I was out of my regular routine and likely didn’t get enough carbs in the day before the race, I ran 8 miles with my training group and then we walked all over NOLA the day before the race (which is NOT recommended … do as I say, not as I do), my UCAN was expired (kind of foreshadowing that I wrote about not thinking twice about food being passed its expiration date in my last post (ha)) and the list goes on …

None of that really matters though. It was not my day, but it was a good day to run! Any day that we are healthy enough to be able to run is a good day and I don’t want to ever lose sight of that fact.

My devotion is morning was just what I needed to hear, so I want to share it here in case it speaks to you too:

Offer God your willingness. Even if you feel small … even if you feel unlikely … even if everything in you is screaming you’re not someone who can be used by God … simply offer Him your willingness.

Use what God has given you. What’s in your hand, sweet friend? What gift, what talent, what ability? Whatever it is, take time to sharpen it. And choose to believe that God can use it when you humbly offer it up to Him.

Stay true to who you are. God isn’t asking you to be anyone other than you either. You do you, and then watch with humble amazement as God uses your willing, obedient, ordinary life to accomplish extraordinary things in His name.

Running in New Orleans this weekend was kind of bittersweet because I will always have the memory of winning that race. As cliché as it may sound, I truly feel like that was a life changing moment and now sometimes I feel like I will never be able to recreate that moment. This devotion reminds me that it is in the midst of the ordinary (i.e., non-life changing moments) that God can use us the most. Running is a truly gift and I always want to be ready and willing to run whatever (figurative) race that God is calling me to run.

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Have a great week! See ya soon!

RNR NOLA: Week 4 (RACE WEEK)

Hey there!

Race week is here and I wanted to go ahead and do the typical weekly training run-down post before the weekend gets too busy. Unfortunately this week was not super exciting from a training perspective, as I had to be a good (well behaved) runner and take it easy to get rested up for the half.

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Monday: 2 mi. WU, 3 mi. tempo (6:34 avg.), 1 mi. recovery, 3 X 1:00 (5:50 – 6:00 ish), 2 mi. CD 

Monday was the only official workout of the week. This was actually supposed to be done Tuesday (since the half is Sunday, that would’ve still given me four days of easy runs), but my schedule on Tuesday is super hectic with strength training in the morning and coaching in the evening, so my options were Monday or Wednesday. Wednesday probably would’ve been fine as far as having time to properly recover, but I’ve settled into a good routine of Monday being a workout day and it’s nice to go ahead and kick the week off with a workout, so Monday was the winner!

I ran into Jill at the grocery store Sunday afternoon and she said that she was up for a “Move It Monday” workout too, so that worked out really well. It is always nice to have a friend to run with! We met at the track Monday morning, but Jill was less than thrilled about the idea of running a 3 mile tempo around the track (I think we just met there more out of habit than anything else) and I was less than thrilled about the idea of doing a tempo run on the sidewalks in the dark, so we came up with a decent solution and decided to take our tempo to the streets. We had to bail or cross to the other side of the road a couple of times because of cars, but otherwise it was great!

The plan for the tempo portion of the workout was a 6:40, 6:30, 6:20 progression. What we actually did was 6:47, 6:24, 6:28. Our route had a few hills (up and down), which made the progression aspect of the workout difficult, but overall our average was pretty much spot on. We got a one mile recovery and then we did three 1 minute “pick ups.” The pick up portion was hilly as well, so we got a bonus hill repeat or two thrown in there.

The workout flew by and I really enjoy workouts that have a little tempo followed by some speed. It keeps things interesting and you get in some solid work!

Tuesday: 4.5 miles (8:32 pace) + strength training

Tuesday morning was 4.5 easy miles with Rebecca and Jessica followed by 45 minutes of BACK exercises. Holy moly. I never knew there were so many different muscles in my back or that there were so many different ways that you could work them out.

Wednesday AM: 8 miles (9:06 pace)

Daniel, Jessica and I ran 8 easy miles Wednesday morning. Nothing super exciting to note, but it was definitely a good run.

Wednesday PM: 4 miles (7:35 pace) + strength training

We got our second strength training session in on Wednesday this week, which worked well. I got off work in time to do a few miles before our session started. I ran a little bit quicker than I typically would have because it was starting to get a little dark and I was by myself. I had my phone and taser on me, but still …

We did lower body and core Wednesday evening (lots of squats, donkey kicks and planks).

Thursday: 5 miles (8:26 pace)

Daniel and I got in 5 easy miles before work Thursday morning.

Friday: 5 miles (7:53 pace)

Friday morning was basically just a repeat of Thursday morning.

Saturday: 8 miles (8:32 pace)

My training group had 8 miles on the schedule this morning. We woke up to chilly temperatures (that seemed to come out of nowhere) in the 30s! I really wasn’t expecting that, but everyone bundled up and did great. This was their longest run so far!

Hopefully the temperature will be good for the race tomorrow … fingers crossed! It looks like it’s going to be mid 50s, which would be really nice.

Enjoy your weekend! Talk to you soon!

January Recap

Well guys, January is done! You should all have your 1099s and W-2s at this point, so it’s time to get those tax returns filed. Fun times! Ha. BUT … only 2 and 1/2 more months of craziness remains! It is probably too early for a countdown.

Since we are at the end of the first month of 2017, I figured it was time for a monthly recap post. I tweaked my “monthly recap” template for 2017 to keep things a little more interesting around here. We’ll start with running (because … running … duh) and then we’ll move on to the miscellaneous randomness portion of the post. There is not much that I love more than running and miscellaneous randomness, so I’m excited to report on both of these things at the end of each month.

Here we go!

RECAP: January 2017

Workouts: 8 workouts this month. From an overview perspective, I had one week of taper for the First Light Half, followed by a week of recovery (so just one workout at the end of that week) and then two pretty solid weeks of training for Rock N Roll New Orleans with 3 workouts per week.

2 mi. WU, 4 mi. brisk (6:49, 6:45, 6:40, 6:40), 1 mi. recovery, 6 X 30 seconds (6:00, 5:56, 5:52, 5:48, 5:44, 5:40), 2 mi. CD

16 mile moderate pace LR (7:30)

2 mi. WU, 12 X 400 w/ 200 rec. (85, 87, 85, 85, 84, 85, 86, 85, 87, 86, 89, 86), 2 mi. CD

2 mi. WU, 3 X 2 miles (13:00, 12:54, 12:44), 2 mi. CD

14 mile LR w/ last 5: 7:02, 6:44, 6:42, 6:45, 6:55

2 mi. WU, 4 X 800 (3:00, 3:00 2:56, 2:54), 2 X 1 mi. (5:56, 5:52), 1.5 mi. CD

15 mi. moderate pace LR (7:38)

2 mi. WU, 3 mi. tempo (6:34 avg.), 1 mi. recovery, 3 X 1:00 (5:50 – 6:00), 2 mi. CD

Favorite workout: I really enjoyed what I am going to call “the race week workout,” which has been some sort of tempo combined with some quicker pickups towards the end (to get you used to pushing hard on tired legs). My first and last workout in January are both examples of this.

Races: 2 races this month. I ran the First Light Half on January 8th & the Charity Chase 5K on January 28th. I mentioned it in my last post, but I’m still contemplating the idea of doing a half marathon each month in 2017. July and August are actually the only two months that there isn’t a half somewhere in the state of Alabama, so I think it’s doable from a travel perspective. The half is my favorite distance too, so it just makes sense … right? Right.

Favorite Race: First Light Half! I rarely order race photos (in my 10+ years of running, I think I’ve ordered race photos maybe 5 times), but I really liked this one from First Light this year. I like that the clock is prominently displayed and I LOVE that my dad is in the background (on the left side in the blue jacket).

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Paces: My paces this month ranged from 5:52 to 10:34! That’s a pretty wide range. The 5:52 mile was in one of my workouts (definitely not an everyday pace by any means) and the runs that I do with the half marathon training group that I am coaching are usually closer to the 9:30 to 10:30 range.

Total miles: 290

Distances: The distances I ran ranged from 3 miles to 16 miles this month.

Strength work: Y’all. Please be super impressed by this stat. I did 4.5 hours of strength training in January (in the form of six 45 minute sessions). WHAT?! That is a big deal from someone who formerly disregarded any and all strength training. I can now pick things up and put them down with the best of ’em.

Current book: I am still working on Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight. At the rate I am going, I will likely still be working on this one until April. I’m not saying that it isn’t interesting, because it is really good so far, but I am just SO TIRED at the end of the day that I only make it through one or two pages before my eyes close and the Kindle hits me in the face (which oddly doesn’t even wake me up).

Current music: I’ve really been digging the song Just Like Fire by P!nk lately. We can get ’em running, running, running.

Current guilty pleasure: Afternoon coffee. You know it’s tax season when afternoon coffee comes back into your life. We have a fresh batch of iced coffee at the office, which is just plain irresistible sometimes.

Current drink: I placed my first official Nuun “ambassador” order and so I’m well stocked on Nuun for a ‘lil while. It will be interesting to see how long the 12 tubes will actually last me. I drink two tabs at a time and sometimes I drink two or three cups per day, so it might not last too long!

Current food: Breakfast has been the most popular meal that we have been eating out lately. My favorite breakfast meal that I’ve had recently was the Bananas Foster French Toast that I got from Brick & Spoon. It was every bit as delicious as it sounds.

Current obsession: Okay, so I’ve got two obsessions (I’m a slightly obsessive person anyway, so the fact that I only have two is probably a step in the right direction). One is Wayfair! They’ve got “Just What I Need!” Daniel and I have been browsing and saving lots of things! The second one is ChapStick (just realized that this is one of those things that what you call it is actually just a brand (like Q-Tips or Coke)). Santa put several things of “lip balm” in my stocking this year and I can’t get enough!

Current need: I need to pack for New Orleans!

Current indulgence: This is more of a “contemplated” indulgence at this point, but I am thinking about getting a standing desk converter for my computer at work. Unfortunately my computer is so heavy (#fourmonitorproblems) that the one I would need is quite expensive. I can’t decide if the cost is justified or not. I know sitting all day is not good and I really like the idea of having the option to stand, but I can also see it being one of those things that sounds way cooler than it actually is. Anyone out there have a standing desk converter? I need some feedback before I decide whether or not to splurge on this!

Current bane of my existence: My phone is about to drive me bonkers. Something is wrong with the volume settings and sometimes it rings even when I have it on silent and other times my alarm makes ZERO noise even when I have the volume on. So strange.

Current procrastination: My windshield has a huge crack in it and I have definitely been putting off getting that replaced. Did you know that you can actually get a ticket for having a cracked windshield (obstruction of view)? Daniel got a ticket for that once. For right now it is a risk I’m worth dealing with.

Current confession: I sometimes eat foods that are passed their expiration date. Daniel thinks that this is horrific and I usually don’t even think twice about it.

Current quote: In the spirit of getting prepared to be uncomfortable in New Orleans … 

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Current excitement: Rock N Roll New Orleans! It’s ALMOST HERE. I can’t wait!

Tell me something that you are currently excited about!

RNR NOLA: Week 3

Hey y’all! Happy Monday!

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Week 3 of RNR NOLA training is in the books and the race is THIS WEEK. What?! When you just have 4 weeks in between races, it seems like the training cycle FLIES by! Haha. I’m really excited to ROCK and ROLL this weekend!

Here is what last week looked like (from a running perspective):

Monday: 2 mi. WU, 4 X 800 (3:00, 3:00 2:56, 2:54), 2 X 1 mi. (5:56, 5:52), 1.5 mi. CD

Monday’s workout looked a little different. Instead of hitting the track like we typically do, I decided to take my speed work to the treadmill. We had winds gusting up to 40 mph Monday morning. I knew that if I tried to run in that I would only end up feeling defeated and I wanted to at least attempt to set myself up for success.

While 800s on the TM is not really ideal, I made it work. The workout was supposed to be 8 X 800s w/ a 400 recovery and the goal range for the 800s was 2:54 to 2:58. I managed to hit snooze a few times (gotta love that Monday morning reality check) and I ended up altering the workout and cutting the cool down slightly so that I could get it done a little quicker. I ended up with 4 X 800 and 2 X 1 mile. The fast portion of the workout was the same as it would’ve been, but I just cut out a little bit of the recovery time in between sets.

I decided to start the first two at 6:00 pace and since I was on the treadmill, I was able to do exactly that. I didn’t want to do the first ones too fast and then crash. If you’ve been there and done that, you know it isn’t fun. Whether it is a race or a workout, it is always best to start conservatively and finish strong! Overall I was very pleased with this workout!

We went back to the chiro Monday evening and Daniel got his turn on the Alter G. He loved it! Also in case you were wondering, my backside is feeling MUCH better. Woo to the hoo!

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Tuesday AM: 4.5 miles + strength training

We kicked off Tuesday morning with a few miles and some chest and core work. My chest was sore for days after this workout!

Tuesday PM: RW Group Run

My training group had their first interval workout Tuesday evening. They did 10 X 30 second pickups w/ 1 minute in between. We met at the store and ran over to a local park with a 600 meter “track” (it’s really just a sidewalk around some tennis courts, but it is well-lit, so I am not complaining) to do the repeats. They did awesome! We ended up with exactly 4 miles.

Wednesday: 4 miles (8:59 pace)

This new Tuesday routine really seems to do me in and I was definitely not feeling the run on Wednesday. I got 4 miles in and called it a day.

Thursday: 15 miles (7:38 pace)

I was technically supposed to do my long run on Wednesday, but I put it off until Thursday since I was so worn out Wednesday morning. This actually ended up working out really well because Rebecca was able to come run with me Thursday morning! I was SO thankful to have company for my long run.

Solo long runs or treadmill long runs are TOUGH. Rebecca and I were able to get in 10 miles before she had to leave to get ready for work. I was thinking that I might have to end up doing the rest of my run on the treadmill once she left, but when I came inside Daniel was up, dressed and ready to run! Sweet! He did the last 5 miles with me.

I got 15 miles in before 6 a.m. Thursday morning. Boom. If that doesn’t make you feel accomplished, I don’t know what will. Thursday was a great day! All those endorphins really helped me out.

Friday: 8 miles (9:07 pace)

Jess and I got in an easy 8 miles Friday morning before work.

Saturday: 10 miles (including the Charity Chase 5K)

I did a separate post for this race, so I won’t rehash it here. To summarize: we did a 4 mile warm up, ran the 5K and did a 3 mile cool down.

One thing I don’t think I mentioned in the recap is that I tried out my new “fast shoes.” I’ve been needing some new kicks for speed work and races and I decided to go with the Nike Free. I wore them for the race and they seemed good. I’ve only run 3 miles in them though, so I don’t want to form any concrete opinions about them just yet. I do NOT typically run in Nike shoes, so I was a bit hesitant at first. I had a pair of Nike tennis shoes back in the day (like for playing tennis). They actually had an interchangeable outer “shell” and you could wear them in multiple colors (to match your outfit that day, obviously). I still have some reservations about the quality of these shoes, but they sure were cute! True story.

Here are my new ones (they are cute too) …

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Sunday: 9 miles (9:05 pace)

The Big Beach Marathon was Sunday in Gulf Shores. Rebecca paced the 3:40 group and Jessica, Lizzie and I decided to go down and surprise her the morning of the race. We even threw her off with some sneaky text messages, like “Good luck! We’ll be thinking about you. Let us know how it goes!” She had no idea we were coming and it was SO FUN to see her reaction!

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We watched the start of the race and then Jessica, Lizzie and I went for a run. We did 9 easy miles and followed that up with a quick breakfast before heading out on the course to see Rebecca. We caught her just before mile 24 and then again at the finish. Per usual, her pacing was spot on. She finished in 3:39:22. It was a beautiful day for a run, but the winds were brutal.

Side note: I’ve been thinking about it and I’m wondering if I could do a half marathon each month of 2017. The first four are lined up. June, July and August might be tricky (i.e., I’d have to travel a little bit), but I’m thinking this might be a fun goal. Thoughts?

Race Recap: Charity Chase 5K

Hey guys! Yesterday morning I ran the Charity Chase in Mobile, AL.

The Charity Run is an organization that raises funds and increases awareness for nonprofit organizations across the United States. They partner with charities to help them achieve their fundraising goals through our 5K race series, The Charity Chase.

Runners choose the local charity of their choice and compete to win money for their charity. The selected charity receives part of your registration fee and the charity that the overall male and female winners run for got 10% of all of the registration fees. Such a neat concept!

This race was kind of a last-minute addition to my schedule. A week or so ago my friend Jill (who works for Ransom Ministries) asked if I would be interested in running for them. Of course! I loved the idea and I had one goal … to WIN.

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Jessica ran the race too, so we met and rode across the bay together. We got to the race around 7 and had plenty of time to get in a good warm up and hit the (nice, warm, indoor) bathrooms (twice). The race took place in Mobile on the campus of the University of South AL. The 5K started at 8:20 a.m. There was also a fun run that started at 8:00 a.m.

It was a pretty chilly morning (mid-40s) and I had a hard time figuring out the proper layering. I went back and forth between my singlet and arm warmers or the long sleeve shirt under the singlet (which is what I went with). I probably would’ve been fine even with just the singlet, but sometimes it’s just hard to decide! Running should be so simple and yet, somehow it gets complicated sometimes. ‘Tis life.

It was fun to run a 5K without any specific time goals. Usually I have some sort of goal range in mind going into a race, but I didn’t for this race. I just wanted to do whatever it took to win and bring home the monies for Ransom! Rock N Roll New Orleans half is NEXT WEEKEND and I did my regular workouts this week. We made a slight adjustment to my schedule to change my long run to mid-week and replaced the tempo run that was supposed to be mid-week with this 5K.

The course had a few rolling hills, but was otherwise wonderful! After the first quarter to half mile or so I was leading for the females. I came through mile 1 in 6:08. There were probably about 10 or so guys in front of me through the first mile. I was happy with 6:08 and felt good. I started slowly picking guys off during the second mile. I came through mile 2 in 5:58. At this point, I was in 5th overall, which is where I stayed for the rest of the race.

The last mile was definitely the toughest mile. Those rolling hills that I mentioned happened to all be placed in mile 3 (at least it seemed that way). I was in no man’s land the entire mile, which also made it tougher. I could see Young Daniel and Brandon ahead of me, but there was no way I was going to catch them (b-t-dubs Young Daniel ran a PR! (18:39)). I came through mile 3 in 6:17 and finished with a time of 19:17.

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Jessica, Daniel and I ran the course again as a cool down after the race and we actually missed the awards. They were super efficient! I guess having the fun run before the 5K made it easier to get the awards done quickly.

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All in all, it was a fun race and one that I would definitely do again. I am so happy to help raise a little bit of money for Ransom Ministries. I’ve said it many times, but our primary goal is to glorify God with our running. The Charity Chase was an awesome opportunity to do just that! Every day that I run I am thankful for the opportunity and ability to run.

RNR NOLA: Week 2

HI! How’s it going?

Week 2 of training for the Rock N Roll New Orleans half is done. I want to start with sharing this little excerpt from Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight. Daniel just finished reading this book and said it was really good. It’s up next on my list!

For that matter, few ideas are as crazy as my favorite thing, running. It’s hard. It’s painful. It’s risky. The rewards are few and far from guaranteed. When you run around an oval track, or down an empty road, you have no real destination. At least, none that can fully justify the effort. The act itself becomes the destination. It’s not just that there’s no finish line; it’s that you define the finish line. Whatever pleasures or gains you derive from the act of running, you must find them from within. It’s all in how you frame it, how you sell it to yourself.

Isn’t that perfect?! The joy is definitely in the journey and that definitely applies to so many different aspects of our lives. Let’s talk about what the journey looked like this week!

Monday: 2 mi. WU, 12 X 400 w/ 200 recovery, 2 mi. CD

Move it Monday is starting to catch on! Nothing like spending a little time at the oval office before heading to the regular office on a Monday morning. Everyone did 400s this week, which was great! I did 12 400s w/ a 200 recovery and most everyone else did 10 400s w/ a 400 recovery. This worked out well because we all finished about the same time. There were no #yakattacks this week either, although Sasser did point out that if you take the E out of MOVE IT, you have an anagram for VOMIT. Move it Monday has a much better ring to it than Vomit Monday. LOL!

My schedule called for the 400s to be run at 82 to 84 seconds per quarter, which would be 5:28 to 5:36 pace. My actual splits were 85, 87, 85, 85, 84, 85, 86, 85, 87, 86, 89 and 86. Even though I wasn’t exactly able to hit the prescribed paces, I still feel good about this workout overall.

Miscellaneous thoughts from my brain during a track workout:

  • A 200 recovery is SO SHORT.
  • At least I only have to do 10 of these things. Aww, DANG IT. I have to do 12! I don’t know how I manage to lose count of how my repeats I am supposed to be doing every time, but I do.
  • I really hope I don’t fall while I am running fast and bust my face open again (the fear is real).
  • When does daylight saving time start? Why is the sun not up yet? I wish I was not up yet.
  • I *need* to get some new shoes for speed workouts and races.
  • This is the worst. Why am I doing this to myself?!
  • This is the best. I LOVE RUNNING.

Tuesday AM: 4.5 miles + strength training

Wouldn’t you know it that Greg decided to “beat our legs up a little bit” again on Tuesday this week. Man oh man. These strength workouts are killer.

Tuesday PM: RW Group Run

Tuesday afternoon my group ran 4 miles. It was crazy humid for January, but such is life and running in Alabama.

Tuesday afternoon we got some cool news! Rebecca, Jessica and I all applied to be a Nuun ambassadors this year and we ALL were accepted. Wahoo! I 100% LOVE this product and am super excited to be an ambassador (which basically just means that we do free marketing work for Nuun and spread our love for their product all over the interwebs). You’re welcome.

Wednesday AM: 9 miles w/ Rebecca (8:10 pace)

Wednesday PM: 6.5 miles on the ALTER G treadmill (6:55 pace)

Oh em gee guys. This was SO COOL! If you aren’t familiar w/ an anti-gravity treadmill, here is how it works: You slip into some [not so] sexy little shorts like this …

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You get zipped into the machine and then you run at 60 – 70% of your total body weight. Here is what the contraption looks like (this is not me (LOL)).

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When you are running, it really just feels like you are floating. There are three cameras on the treadmill so that you can see you foot strike and your stride from three different views (front, side and back).

Let’s backup for a second … I’ve been having this random pain (perhaps random is not the accurate adjective seeing as how I run A LOT) in my glutes and hamstrings when I SIT. Sitting at work, sitting in the car … very uncomfortable. I can’t exactly get by without sitting (especially this time of year) and so I’m trying to get to the bottom of it (pun intended).

It seems that I’ve got some pelvic alignment issues that are causing the pain in my glutes and hips, but in order to fix the problem we have to get to the root of the actual alignment problem. Spoiler alert: it’s my running form. I know (and have known for years) that my form is not the best. My arms swing across my body like I am doing the chicken dance on repeat. I really haven’t been all that concerned with it as it seems to work just fine, but I definitely think that correcting it will be beneficial (both from an efficiency standpoint and to get rid of this nagging pain).

The Alter G made it very apparent that not only are my arms swinging, but also my entire torso is twisting. My lower body was zipped into the machine and I literally couldn’t move like I typically would. I felt like a super awkward, trainwreck of a runner. Basically this …

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According to this article, “Most running related injuries are non-traumatic and arise either from biomechanical inefficiencies in a runner’s stride, training error, or underlying musculoskeletal impairments such as a muscular imbalance. One such biomechanical problem area is in a runner’s stride, which we have found this is often attributed to improper arm swing.”

Also according to the same article, “To maximize efficiency while running, keep your arms from swinging across your torso and crossing this sagittal plane. Unnecessary tri-planar movement (movement in planes that are outside the sagittal plane) increases the amount of torque and stress on the body while running.”

So basically running with a normal arm swing burns less energy and significantly reduces shoulder and pelvis rotation. Hashtag goals. I will keep you posted on how this goes!

Thursday AM: 2 mi. WU, 3 X 2 mile LT repeats, 2 mi. CD

The dreaded 3 X 2 mile workout. I am kind of just over this workout. It shows up time and time again (because LT repeats are super beneficial) and it’s just tough (both mentally and physically).

My goal range was 6:15 – 6:20 pace. As soon as I started the warm up, I realized that pace was not going to happen. I felt so heavy (the Alter G spoiled me!) and just tired overall. I told myself to just give it a shot and if I didn’t feel good, I could always quit stop at any point. During the first mile of the workout I thought about stopping approximately 10 times. I was definitely on the struggle bus. Somewhat miraculously, I made it all the way through the first repeat. I had a quarter-mile to recover. During that quarter I convinced myself to at least *attempt* the second repeat as well. Again, I could always quit stop at any point.

I had to tackle one repeat at a time, but the good news is that I never decided to quit! I settled into a groove eventually. Once you find your groove, it’s so much easier to keep going. I reminded myself that I only have about 5 workouts left before the RNR NOLA half (!!!) and I definitely want to make the most of the workouts that I have.

It’s easy to post a picture of your Garmin (or of yourself … whatever floats your boat) and say that you #nailedit #crushedit #smashedit (you get the idea), but that isn’t how it always goes down. Workouts are hard. They aren’t always fun. This one was such a struggle for me and I didn’t hit the paces that I was supposed to. My paces were 6:30, 6:27 and 6:22. Not horrible by any means, but still not where I wanted to be. I’m just glad I didn’t quit.

Friday AM: 8 miles w/ Jessica (9:20 pace)

Friday PM: Strength Training

We got some upper body and core work in on Friday evening.

Saturday: 14 mile fast finish long run

The weather was very iffy Saturday morning and we woke up to tornado watches and the potential for some very bad weather. It wasn’t supposed to get here until after 7 so the RW group still met. The half marathon folks had 6 miles (I say folks, but really I only had one runner show up). Everyone else was smart and decided to skip it. Haha! Luckily we made it back to the store before the bottom dropped out.

I was originally planning to run 6 with the RW group and afterwards I was going to run a little more by myself and hop in a local 5K for the fast finish part of my run. Since the weather was so bad, the race got postponed and I ended up just doing the remainder of my run on the treadmill. I did 8 miles on the treadmill and it flew by! The last 5 miles were 7:02, 6:44, 6:42, 6:45, 6:55, which were all right within the range that I was supposed to do for the “fast finish.” Woo hoo! I felt great and was really happy to hit the pace that I was supposed to for the end this run.

Sunday: 9 miles w/ Rebecca (8:14 pace)

Rebecca is pacing the 3:40 marathoners at Big Beach next weekend and so we set out in an attempt to practice that pace (8:20 – 8:25 (depending on if the course is long again this year)). It was dark when we started so we didn’t worry about it as much during the first few miles, but we were able to nail it down fairly well the last 3 or so miles.

That wraps up this week’s training. I’ve got some 800s, a moderate pace long run and a 5K on tap next week.

What workouts do you have next week?

RNR NOLA: Week 1

Hi guys!

Whew. What a week. Tax season is officially in full swing. I think Rihanna says it best:

And gimme me all the work, work, work, work, work, work
You see me I be work, work, work, work, work, work
You see me do me dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt
There’s something ’bout that work, work, work, work, work, work
When you a gon’ learn, learn, learn, learn, learn, learn
Me na care if me tired, tired, tired, tired, tired, tired

So yeah. A little bit tired over here this week. It’s been a tough transition going from part-time to full-time (plus some). I’m not complaining. My work schedule is pretty fantastic. I just have to remind myself of that when things get a little hectic! For a split second I thought about posting something here that just said, “See ya after tax season!” and calling it a day, week, month, season (that still might happen, but for now, I’m still here :)).

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As far as training goes, I had a relatively easy week and now we are officially gearing up for the Rock N Roll New Orleans half on February 5th. Daniel is running this one too (several of our running friends are actually, so I’m pretty excited about it)!

Since I just finished up a little mini training cycle for First Light, I’ll just be jumping right into another little mini build up for NOLA. This cycle will be pretty much the same from a big-picture perspective: primarily aerobic and lactate threshold (i.e., stamina) workouts, long runs (i.e., endurance) and a few V02 max (i.e., speed) workouts. Here is an overview of the workouts by category for the next few weeks:

Week 1: RECOVERY + Endurance
Week 2: Speed + Stamina + Endurance
Week 3: Speed + Stamina + Endurance
Week 4: Stamina + RACE

Here’s how Week 1 went down …

Monday: 8 miles easy (9:10 pace)

I assumed that Monday morning my legs were going to be very sore since I decided to forgo the cool down after my half marathon Sunday. I planned to go ahead and get a few miles in (nice and easy) Monday morning to work out the soreness.

It was still really cold Monday and some of the buttons on the treadmill were actually frozen! Pure craziness. The start button worked, as well as most of the buttons on the dash-board, but the speed up and speed down buttons weren’t working, which meant that I had to decide between 10:00 pace (6 mph) and 7:30 pace (8 mph). I totally went with 10 minute pace! Somewhere along the way I decided to try 7:30 pace, but that only lasted for a mile or so.

My legs felt so much better than I expected. They actually weren’t sore at all that morning. I thought I had dodged a bullet, but no, the soreness definitely set in by Monday evening.

Tuesday AM: 4.5 miles + strength training

Tuesday was the longest. day. ever. with a wake up alarm in the 3 o’clock hour, a morning workout, work all day and then coaching that evening (see below).

We got a few miles in before our session, which was great. When we got to the gym to start “lifting,” Greg kinda rubbed his hands together and said, “We’re gonna really beat your legs up today.” Oh great. How lovely.

This was the first session we’ve done where we didn’t do a single upper body exercise. It was ALL LEGS. My poor legs were not super happy with me Tuesday.

Tuesday PM: RW Group Run

I am coaching the half marathon training group at RW this spring and Tuesday evening was my group’s first official group run. I am excited to be coaching at the store again, but I think it might take a couple of weeks to adjust to my new routine. We started off with 3 miles Tuesday evening.

Wednesday: 5 miles easy (8:57 pace)

After a long day Tuesday I was pretty tired and wasn’t feeling super motivated on Wednesday. I called it a day after 5 miles.

Thursday: 8.5 miles easy (8:49 pace)

The first few days of the week were all about easy miles and recovery.  Thursday morning was another nice, easy run with friends.

Friday: 16 moderate pace miles w/ 10 X 30 second pickups (7:30 pace)

I realized this week that I am likely going to need to get my long runs in on Friday mornings since the half training group meets on Saturday morning. I don’t want to push the LR until Sunday because then my workouts for the next week would be off schedule. This makes for a fairly early wake up, but I’m getting pretty used to that at this point. I got up at 4 a.m. Friday morning and got 6 miles in on the treadmill before Daniel was up and as soon as he got up and ready to go, I hopped off the treadmill and did the rest of the run outside with him. It worked really well!

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He was such a trooper with the “moderate pace.” He hasn’t done much speed work and so he was breathing pretty heavy by mile 4 or 5. I asked him if he was okay and he grunted something to the effect of “Yes … this is just what an all-out race effort sounds like [honey].” Ha. I was really, really thankful that he ran with me!

Saturday: 10 miles easy (8:59 pace)

The half marathon training group meets at the store on Saturday mornings for their long run. They started with  5 miles this week and they did great! I ran the 5 mile route with them and then Jessica and I went back out for another 5 miles after the group was done.

My mom and I also managed to get in a walk Saturday afternoon. The weather was gorgeous and the bay was super low, so we decided to do an out and back route where we walked out on the road and back on the beach. Time spent outside on the water is just what I needed. Vitamin D is good for the soul.

Sunday: 8 miles easy (8:56 pace)

Sunday morning was 8 easy miles followed by breakfast with friends (it was Baja bowls all around … also good for the soul).

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That’s a wrap on this week’s training. I hope you all had a great weekend and have a wonderful week!