50K Training: Week 11

Hi there! I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend. It’s been a good one here. This week was the last big week of 50K training. It’s officially taper time now! Before we recap this week’s runs, let’s take a step back and chat about this whole, “I’m running a 50K in less than two weeks thing.”

If you’ve been reading for a little while you might recall that I decided to “take a break” from marathons last year. My last marathon was NYC in fall of 2015, so we are coming up on two years “off.” I have been focusing on shorter distances and increasing my speed. I haven’t met all of the goals that I set for myself by any means, but I did get a couple of PRs (2 mile, 10K, 12K) and came really close to a few others (5K, 10 mile and half marathon).

While I am still not ready to tackle another marathon quite yet, I decided that what I was ready to attempt was a 50K. In my mind, the training was going to be less grueling … so basically more long, slow runs than speed workouts. To an extent this has definitely been the case. It’s also been a tad grueling as well though.

A few thoughts as to why in the world I would want to do this:

One of the reasons that I want to get this done now as well is that I ran my first marathon when I was 26 and I want to run my first 50K (31 miles) when I am 31. You know I am a numbers person.

I have been craving time in nature (being stuck working inside all day during tax season gives you a new-found appreciation for time spent outdoors and in the sunlight). Our trip to Colorado has been planned since Christmas (Daniel found some awesome $80 flights … major score). We are planning to do lots of outdoorsy things while we are there. I can’t wait! As we were browsing the interwebs of things to do, I stumbled across a 50K (by stumbled across I mean that I googled “50Ks in Colorado during May”) and I found one the weekend we were going to be there. I think it was meant to be!

The race I am doing is called the Greenland Trail 50K. The race advertises itself as “Colorado’s fastest 50K.” We will be running on dirt trails with Pikes Peak in the background. With the wide, smooth double track trails, the Greenland Trail 50K is supposed to very beginner friendly (which is great to hear). There are several shorter distance races as well and Daniel is going to run the 4 mile race.

There is about 1,900 ft. of elevation gain and also 1,900 ft. of elevation loss. I feel like that is probably “easy” to people who are used to running on steep terrain, but I don’t know how well my legs are going to handle that. The whole race is at over 7,000 ft. (2,000 ft. higher than Denver (the Mile-High City)). It says that if you are traveling from elevations below 2,000 ft., be prepared for some shortness of breath. So yeah, I’m traveling from an elevation of 100 ft. We’ll see how that goes!

A few thoughts as to what the training has looked like:

I started building my long runs up in February. I kept 16 miles as my long run even during training for shorter distances, so my base was still pretty solid. There is a big difference in running 16 miles and 20 miles though. I still remember miles 17 through 20 mile of the first 20 miler of this training cycle. Rebecca and I ran the entire run together and averaged 7:50 pace. I remember thinking to myself at the time, “this is why I don’t run marathons anymore.” It was a solid run, but a struggle nonetheless.

My long runs steadily built up from there. 26 miles was my longest training run. I ran 26 miles with Rebecca the day of her 50K race.

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You can see the other workouts that I have done on my February and March recaps. As the long runs got longer, so did the other workouts. The paces were slower, but the workouts were still tough. It wasn’t exactly the easy, breezy 50K training I envisioned in my mind, but it was very enjoyable. If given the choice I prefer the training of longer, slower miles to shorter, quicker miles (I like both … don’t get me wrong).

I like the idea of having different seasons of training. I will probably go back and focus on speed again at some point in the near future, but I’m not entirely sure when or what that will look like at this point.

Now that we’ve gotten the overview out of the way, here is what this week’s workouts looked like:

Monday: 5 miles @ 8:40 pace

This week started off similarly to last week with an easy 5 mile run recovery and again, I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t too sore and my legs felt good.

Tuesday AM: 10 miles @ 8:21 pace

Tuesday morning I ran while Daniel biked. We went opposite ways on our loops so that we could see each other every few miles. He biked 4 loops and I ran 2 loops, which worked out great for both of us.

Tuesday was tax deadline day at work. Thank goodness! One more year is in the books! Our coffee pot saw us through to the end and conked out on the day of the deadline (it has been on its last leg for quite some time, but it’s almost as if it *knew* that we needed it to pull us through to the end).

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Tuesday PM: 6 miles @ 8:06 pace

I got to leave a little bit early Tuesday afternoon and even had time to sneak in a quick nap before the group run Tuesday evening at RW.

Daniel came through with some beautiful flowers. He never forgets a deadline day! I’m pretty sure he has the flowers on auto re-order at this point, but still … sweet and smart. I think I’ll hang on to him for a while!

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Wednesday: 2 mile warm up, 8 mile aerobic threshold tempo (6:51 avg.), 2 mile cool down

Workout Wednesday struck  again and man oh man, this one was tough! Thankfully Jill joined me for the majority of this run. I don’t know if I could’ve done it without her. The goal range for the tempo portion was 6:40 to 6:50. It took us a few miles to settle into the pace, but once we did, we clicked off some steady miles. I ended up with an average of 6:51 for the 8 mile tempo, which I was definitely happy with.

I decided to stop by the track for my two mile cool down (this seemed easier than trying to come up with a 2 mile route somewhere else … when all else fails, just run in circles around a track). Our neighbors Mollie and Corey were at the track doing some intervals and I got to run my cool down with them, which made the miles fly by! P.S. Check out Mollie’s blog → here. She is training for her first marathon, which she will run in Utah on the actual day of her 26th birthday. So cool!

Thursday AM: 8 miles @ 8:25 pace

Young Daniel and I ran 3 miles while My Daniel rode the bike trainer for 30 minutes and then we all ran 5 miles together.

Friday: 8 miles @ 8:24 pace

I was off work Friday and I did a new thing! RW has a group run on Friday mornings at 9:30, so I decided to take advantage of my day off and ran mid-morning. I guess it’s not really so much that I did a new thing as I did a normal thing at a new time. Haha. I enjoyed waiting until a little bit later to run (even thought it did get a tad toasty out), especially because it meant that I got to run with Lizzie and Jill! I think we stayed at the store chatting for close to 2 hours after our run (luckily my schedule was wide open :)).

Friday evening we celebrated the end of tax season with a crawfish boil. I don’t do crawfish (it’s too much work for not enough meat (IMO)), but I do enjoy all of the sides (potatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, etc.). It was delicious!

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Saturday: 16 miles @ 7:57 (with a few “brisk” miles (7:10, 7:01, 7:00, 7:13, 7:31))

The last long run is officially DONE. I was technically supposed to do 18 miles, but I couldn’t seem to recruit anyone to join me for any additional miles. Daniel was nice enough to get to the group run a little early and bike with me for 4 miles before everyone else got there. Everyone else did 12 and so I called it a day at 16. I felt good and got a few brisk miles in at the end of the run as scheduled. No complaints here.

Of course we did the usual post-run coffee and breakfast thing and I got to spend some quality time with Rebecca and Jessica. I hadn’t seen them ALL WEEK and that is just plain unacceptable.

Daniel did his first swim of triathlon training mid-morning on Saturday. Brooks got to play fetch and swim a little before we got started. Here is our “old man of the sea.”

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We hoped that he would get nice and worn out so that he would “ride” on the paddleboard with me instead of jumping on and off while Daniel swam. He will ride with me sometimes, but turns out he does NOT like to ride when “daddy” is in the water. Swimming w/ daddy > sitting on the paddleboard w/ mommy.

He looks content in the picture below, but as soon as Daniel took off … so did Brooks (which left me in a bit of a pickle). I had our shoes, Daniel’s shirt, our camera (it’s waterproof) and Brooks’ leash as well as my paddle to keep up with. I definitely had a lot going on. Brooks got on and off the board about 10 thousand times (which is every bit as challenging as you can imagine it would be).

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Daniel had a really good swim. He will be swimming with the current in the Savannah River river during his race, so swimming in the bay is much tougher (i.e., great training). Brooks made a really good training partner too! Daniel outswam him, but Brooks stayed right on his heels (when he wasn’t taking a break on the board with me).

I’m pretty sure this will become a semi-regular thing. Daniel has biked with me A LOT over the years as I trained for various races, so this is a great way for me to return the favor … not that I mind one bit. It was a beautiful day out and there isn’t anywhere else that I’d rather be.

Sunday: 8 miles @ 8:21 pace

Sunday morning brought more quality friend time! We did an easy 8 miles and followed it up with coffee and breakfast again. I’m so glad that I got lots of quality runs with friends in this week. It made celebrating the end of tax season even sweeter.

I’m headed to play tennis this afternoon. It’ll be the first time I’ve played in well over a year, so who knows how that will go down. It might take me a minute or two to get back into the swing of it (see what I did there :)). I hope you enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

See ya soon!

50K Training: Week 10

HI! Happy Marathon Monday! Good luck to all of the runners in Boston today. I can’t wait to stalk track you guys!

Also … we are ONE DAY from tax day! Whoa. I have been waiting for this moment all of my life (or the last 3.5 months … you know … same thing).

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I figured that I would try to get back into the swing of things around here with some weekly recaps. I’m linking up with Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC for her weekly training recap.

My 50K is only 3 weeks away, which is pure craziness. I don’t really even feel like I’ve trained for it (probably just because I haven’t documented my training on the blog like usual). If you didn’t blog it, did it even really happen? Weekly recaps of weeks 1 through 9 are nonexistent, but my brain is toast and I couldn’t come up with anything more clever to call this novel of a post.

I plan to go back and write a general overview of my training, but don’t hold me to that.

Monday: The week started off with a 5 mile recovery run (recovering from the Gulf Coast Half Marathon). I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t too sore and my legs felt really good! I was able to wait a little later than normal and run once the sun started to come up, which was really nice.

Tuesday AM: Tuesday morning Daniel and I turned our covered porch into a makeshift gym and I ran on the treadmill while he rode his bike on the trainer. He is officially registered for his first half Ironman and training starts now! He will be doing Augusta 70.3 in September.

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I didn’t know it at the time, but this was my last run on our old treadmill. When we moved we couldn’t get the treadmill into the room we wanted it in without either destroying the house or dismantling the entire treadmill. Neither of these seemed like good options. We decided that it was likely time for an upgrade anyway and decided that we would try to sell the old one first. I didn’t realize it until Daniel told me someone wanted to buy it, but man, I was oddly attached to that thing. I put some serious miles on it over the years!

P.S. If you are in the market for a treadmill, Daniel found this article with a comparison of the best treadmills for runners. We are getting the NordicTrack Commercial 1750 and we had the Sole F80. I would highly recommend the Sole F80 (it lasted us 6 years and still worked well). We wanted to try something new this time around. If you are going to log lots of miles, I would definitely just recommend going with the commercial grade of whichever one you choose.

Tuesday PM: Tuesday evening we did our usual group run at Running Wild thing. I ran 6 miles with Jill & Ashley and felt good! As much as I enjoy morning runs, I also really enjoy evening runs as well. It’s a good chance to clear your head after a long day at work. I rarely do a workout in the evening, but give me an easy evening run and I’m happy as a clam.

Wednesday AM: I ran 6 miles easy with Jessica and Young Daniel Wednesday morning. My Daniel decided that sleep sounded better than running. Sometimes I think he is smarter than I am …

Wednesday PM: Daniel spent some time on the bike trainer Wednesday evening and texted me to see if I wanted to do a loop when I got home from work. He said he wanted to do a “brick run” (you bike then run and your legs feel like bricks). I told him, “Yes! Let’s tri it!” ← I couldn’t resist. The triathlon puns are out of control around here right now.

Thursday: HILLS! Holy hills.

When I saw the hill repeat workout pop up on my training plan, I knew that it would be a mental and physical struggle. I debated on whether or not to do the workout on the treadmill (remember my post about that → here), but when I came home from work Wednesday evening the treadmill was gone (sold!). That made my decision a little bit easier. Ha.

As it turns out, our new house is on a hill. I’ve gotten used to running up that thing each day as we start our run (and by gotten used to it, I mean that I have accepted the fact that it is there (insert serenity prayer here)). The thing is, I don’t really like running on hills and that’s probably because I am not a strong hill runner … which is precisely why I NEED to run on hills.

The street that we live on is exactly half a mile if you start at the bay and run up to the top. As a side note, Ron (Daniel’s running doctor friend (the one who fixed my face)), has run up and down this entire hill 15 times before when training for hilly trail ultra-marathon. Seriously! That took some extreme mental fortitude! I only needed a quarter-mile segment for my workout, so thankfully I didn’t have to run the entire hill 12 times. I only had to run up the really steep part 12 times … joy.

I actually ran up and down the entire hill twice in order to get my two mile warm up in before starting my repeats. I figured that I might as well embrace the hilliness (not a word) and get over it. I didn’t have any super specific pace goals for the repeats. They were supposed to be at a tempo effort. You run “fast” (relative) up the hill and then you “jog” back down. By the way, this is the only time is it acceptable to refer to running as jogging … “I believe it’s jogging … or yogging. It might be a soft J. I’m not sure.” Gotta love a good Anchorman quote!

So yeah, there isn’t too much to say about this except for that I ran up and down the hill 12 times at what I thought was a tempo (ish) pace. I lost count somewhere along the way as well. I had to do math in my head while running to determine what number I was on (it was 7).

At one point I thought to myself that this workout wasn’t very glamorous. I don’t know why that popped into my head (I don’t know what a glamorous workout would even look like), but it did. Then of course I started singing Fergie (in my head … at least I think it was in my head). G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S. Flossy. Flossy. Oh the random thoughts that pop into your head during a workout …

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The picture definitely doesn’t do it justice, but I promise the hill is steep. It’s actually a 7.5% grade in some places, which was a tad too steep for purposes of the hill repeats (5% is ideal).

My splits were 1:37, 1:35, 1:35, 1:34, 1:37, 1:37, 1:39, 1:39, 1:37, 1:36, 1:37, 1:38. I felt like I was pushing myself a good bit. Once the workout was done and I looked at the data on Strava I realized that my pace for the uphill parts averaged somewhere around 7:40 because the quarter mile segment I was running was closer to 0.20 instead of 0.25, which was kind of a bummer. I really felt like I was running closer to 6:40 effort! My coach reminded me that the focus was getting the work done, not the specific paces … I definitely did some work.

Friday: Daniel and I ran an easy 8 miles Friday before work. It had been a while since we have run our 8 mile route, so that was a nice change of pace. We’ve had to relearn all of our mile markers since we moved. Luckily all of our routes are pretty much the same (not gonna lie … that was definitely one of the requirements when we were house-hunting), but now we just have a different starting and stopping point.

Saturday: Saturday’s run was a logistical work of art. I ran with Daniel and his buddies and everyone had different distances in mind. I started at 5:30 with Cody. We did a 3.5 mile loop and then came back to pick up Daniel, Bowie and Ali at 6. We all did another 3.5 mile loop and then came back to pick up Kenny at 6:30. We all ran 6 after that. It was a nice, cool morning and the miles flew by (figuratively). As usual, the run was followed with coffee and breakfast. After breakfast Daniel headed out to ride his bike and Brooks and I met my mom for a walk.

Sunday: Sunday was the last long-long run of the training cycle. I still have an 18 mile run next week, but that’s only seeming like a medium-long run at this point. I wanted to make this a “dress rehearsal” for race day. I wore the socks, shoes and shorts that I am planning to wear, carried a water bottle, gel and my phone with me and practiced my fueling.

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Rebecca suggested that we could do part of the special occasion route and that sounded like a great plan to me. After all it was 1) Easter, 2) almost Marathon Monday and 3) almost the end of tax season. We had plenty of special occasions to celebrate! Being the super-supportive spouse that he is, Daniel drove us across the bay to the Battleship at 4:45 Sunday morning. He dropped us off and we started our journey back across the bay.

Our journey turned into a bit of an adventure around mile 5 when we approached Meaher State Park. We have run this route several times and this is always our go to bathroom stop. As we approached the entrance of the park, we noticed that there was a (new) very tall gated fence around the entire park. It’s almost as if they don’t want random runners off the street to come in and use their bathrooms. Crazy.

Rebecca was in “emergency mode” at this point (if you’re a runner … you get it) and so we were going to try our darndest to get inside that park. As we were about to abandon hope and almost on cue, a truck pulled up to the gate to exit the park right and the door magically swung open. We made a run for it. We briefly pondered how we would get out of the park, but figured we would cross that bridge when we got there.

After we went to the bathroom and filled up our bottles, it was time to cross the bridge of figuring out how make our exit. We quickly realized that we had the options of going up and over the 12 foot barbed wire fence (didn’t seem like a viable option), calling for help (even then, we weren’t sure that our rescuer would be able to open the gate … the sensor seemed to be on the inside to get out and not on the outside and I REALLY didn’t want to call Daniel 30 minutes after he dropped us off and tell him that we were “stuck” inside of a state park) or shimmy-ing under the 10 inch gap under the fence. Shimmy it was!

We laid on the ground and debated whether we would fit under the fence. Our heads were definitely the main problem. It was touch and go for a minute, but ultimately we escaped. Whew. We made it safely back across the bay and added on some additional miles to get to close to 17. We stopped one additional time for water and to take a gel, but that pit stop was very uneventful in comparison. After 17 miles we came back to the house and Rebecca handed off to Daniel, who ran the remainder of the run with me. I was supposed to do 24 to 25 miles and by the time Daniel and I started running together, I was contemplating stopping at 22. We did our 5 mile loop and I felt better than I expected. I knew that I was capable of 24 and I needed (mentally more than physically) to make that happen.

My two longest runs of the training cycle were somewhat broken up (one with a gap of about 4 hours and one with a gap of less than 30 minutes, but still … I took a break) and I needed to prove to myself that I could run a consecutive long run without cutting it short. We finished up with two miles on the track and mile 24 was the fastest of the day at 7:03 pace. I felt great!

After church we took a little boat ride with my dad. Brooks has been swimming a couple of times already, but this was our first boat ride of the season. Brooks says, “This is my happy place!”

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I hope you all had a wonderful Easter! I’ll see you soon!

Race Recap: Gulf Coast Half Marathon

Hey friends (and lovely internet strangers)!

I crossed my April half marathon off the list today by running the Gulf Coast Half Marathon in Pensacola Beach, FL. I also did a little bit of recon this week and I think that if I play my cards right (translation: I may have to drive to Georgia a few times this summer), I just might actually be able to pull off this whole run a half marathon every month thing.

The race today was part of the Gulf Coast half marathon series, with races in Gulf Shores, AL, Pensacola Beach, FL & Mandeville, LA. This was my second year to do the Pensacola Beach race and I’ve also done Mandeville twice, but I’ve yet to do the race in Gulf Shores (which oddly enough is the one closest to where I live). I think the Gulf Shores one is sometime in February, so I need to try to shoot for that one next year!

The race starts at 7 a.m., which meant that we had to get up fairly early (4:15) to meet friends (5:15) and carpool over to Pensacola Beach. We arrived just after 6, which left us plenty of time to warm up (2 miles), go to the bathroom (twice), freak out about random details … you know … all the typical pre-race stuff.

My plan for this race was to pace my friend Jill to her first sub 1:30 half. I don’t think she really needed me at all, but we had a blast running together! Running with friends is the best, so naturally it makes sense that racing with friends would be too!

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We needed to average less than 6:52 pace to break 1:30. Our plan was to start out at 6:50 pace and hold that for the first few miles and then check in and see how we felt. We executed those first few miles quite nicely, if I do say so myself. We ran 6:52, 6:50 and 6:50.

We settled into a little group of 4 or 5 runners, which was really nice. We tucked in behind two of the guys that we were running with and just ran their pace for a few miles. Miles 4 through 7 are the toughest of the course. The course is somewhat of an out and back. The first few miles wind through some neighborhoods and the last few do as well, but that middle stretch is just straight out (and then back). You have water on both sides of you, so the scenery is wonderful, but there is just something about running away from the finish line towards a turn around that is tough. You also have to deal with some wind along that stretch. Thankfully today it was much calmer than it was last year! You feel any wind that is in your face though.

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All that is really just to say that our pace fell off a little bit during that stretch. Mile 4 was 6:40 (whoa girl … let’s reign that in a little bit), and then the next three were 6:59, 6:59, 6:56. While these miles were a little over our goal pace, we knew that those were going to be the toughest of the day and we were prepared.

The plan was to make it to the turn around point feeling strong and pick it up some, which is exactly what we did! Miles 8, 9 and 10 were 6:38, 6:44 and 6:44. The suffering of miles 5 – 7 was well worth the reward that we got once we turned around! At that point we had a slight tailwind and we were headed home. I really enjoy out and back courses because you get to see all the other runners as you run back. We saw lots of friends and got lots of cheers, which was a great boost! When we passed the Running Wild tent we even got an extra pacer for about 100 yards as Cherie ran out to cheer us on (in her Birkenstocks and a dress). I wish someone had gotten a picture of that! She told us that if she could keep up with us in her Birkenstocks, then we weren’t running fast enough. Ha!

We told her that we were just waiting until mile 10. Mile 10 is where the fun begins! We did a training run a week or so ago that was 12 miles with the last 3 miles between 6:38 and 6:42. When we got to mile 10 we were right on pace for our 1:29:XX finish. I told her that if we kept it right where we were, we would be golden. In the same sentence, I also reminded her of that 12 mile run with the fast finish. It was time to put the fast finish into play!

Miles 11 and 12 were 6:36 and 6:29! YES! I was getting like super giddy and mushy at this point and I just kept telling her that she was doing it … she was going to be a sub 1:30 half marathoner! Mile 13 was the fastest of the day by far. I finished with a 6:02 mile and Jill finished right on my heels. I honestly don’t know if she really even believed me when I was saying that she was going to be under 1:30 until she rounded the corner of the finish line and saw 1:28 on the clock. Her face was priceless!

We stayed at the finish line for a little bit and saw some other friends finish. After lots of sweaty hugs and #allthefeels, we headed out to do a few cool down miles. We even got to see Jessica and baby Olivia on their way to the finish!

The post-race party is at Flounder’s on the water. It was a BEAUTIFUL day. We had a great time hanging out with friends and soaking up the fresh air and Vitamin D.

These are some of my favorite girls (minus Rebecca … we missed you)!

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It was a wonderful morning! I absolutely loved tackling the race from the perspective of a pacer and I ended up running what was probably my smartest half marathon of the year thus far. I have a hard time holding myself back at the beginning of a half marathon (more so than other distances for some reason). I used to have a hard time pacing myself regardless of the distance, but I like to think I am at least a little smarter than I used to be (thanks to my wonderful coach)!

There is definitely a difference between having the knowledge of how to approach a race and having the patience and persistence to actually execute the plan and make it a reality. I knew that someone else was depending on me and in turn that helped me (and now I am reminded of the Friends episode where they determine there isn’t truly a selfless good deed). I would do it all over in a heartbeat (well … after some recovery days). Who needs a pacer? Sign me up!

March Recap

APRIL IS *almost* HERE! Can I get a hallelujah?

It’s time for another month-end recap. As a side note, I just realized that these little recaps are kind of similar to the monthly updates that moms do for their kids. At 31 years and 7 months, here are some things that I like, things that I dislike and things that I did this month. Enjoy! Haha.

Recap: March 2017

Workouts: March was full of workouts! As I listed these out, I was surprised that it was so many. As a comparison, last year during March I did one workout. One! I am pleasantly surprised that I still seem to have some motivation and energy this year. Usually tax season sucks the life those things right out of me.

1.5 mi. WU, 4 X 800 (3:05, 3:06, 3:01, 3:01), 4 X 400 (1:28, 1:28, 1:29, 1:26), 2 X 200 (0:39, 0:39), 1 mi. CD

Easy run w/ 10 X 1:00 pickups (8 miles @ 7:41 avg.)

2 mi. WU, 10 mi. brisk pace run (7:01 avg.)

2 mi. WU, 3 mi. tempo (6:38, 6:32, 6:30), 1 mi. recovery, 4 X 400 (1:36, 1:35, 1:37, 1:36), 2 mi. CD

22 mile long run

1 mi. WU, 3 X 3 mi. (6:59, 6:48, 6:55), (6:54, 6:48, 6:39), (6:54, 7:17, 7:31), 1 mi. CD

Moderate pace run w/ last 3 up-tempo (6:42, 6:38, 6:40)

23 mile long run (broken up into two runs)

1 mi. WU, 3 miles (6:27, 6:20, 6:18), 2 miles (6:16, 6:10), 1 mile (6:09), 1 mi. CD

Favorite workout: I really enjoyed the brisk pace run this month. It was challenging, but doable and was definitely a confidence boosting workout.

Races: I did two races in March. I think I’ve done two races each month so far this year and I’m still going strong on the 1 half marathon per month thing. I’ve got my April one planned, but after that I’m going to need to get to work on the schedule. I ran the Seaside School Half Marathon and the Spring Fever Chase 10K in March.

Favorite Race: My favorite race this month was, hands down, Spring Fever!

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Paces: Ranged from 6:09 to 10:27. I guess it’s possible that I ran at least one mile faster than 6:09 during Spring Fever, but since I ran without my watch … we will never really know. I’ll have to admit that even though I didn’t have my own data to analyze after the race, I was able to kind of piece together what I did based on other runner’s splits on Strava. I was behind several people through mile 3 that averaged 6:15 for the first three miles and then I averaged 6:15 overall, so I know that I picked it up the second half. I finally got a nice little negative split! Woo hoo!

My 10:27 mile was with Brooks (our dog). We have been running a mile and a half or so a few times a week. Our new yard isn’t quite as conducive to fetching (his absolute favorite method of play), so we have added a few short runs. He could definitely run a faster pace if there weren’t so many distractions. All of his doggie friends leave him lots of pee-mail to check each morning.

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We were getting some sun in the picture above after a quick run. As it turns out, laying out isn’t our favorite. We only lasted about 10 minutes. I like the idea of laying out, but actually doing it isn’t fun (in my opinion).

Total miles: 323. Gotta love ultra marathon training!

Distances: Ranged from 3 miles to 23 miles. I took a rest day or two as well, so technically I guess the lowest distance could be zero and the 23 miler got broken up into two runs, so the highest consecutive distance was 22. Rebecca and Jessica came to the house to run the morning of the 23 and neither of them were doing more than 10 – 13 miles (but only because Rebecca was tapering for her 50K and Jessica is growing a human … otherwise, I know they would’ve totally joined me). I was planning to do the first part with them and then continue on by myself, but of course that didn’t happen.

I decided that breakfast and coffee with friends > running by myself. Call me crazy (or dedicated … I like that better), but I did get those other 10 in a little later in the day when Daniel was home to go with me. I told him that it felt like a birthday run. Birthday run days are the only days that I can recall doing double-digit runs twice in a day.

Strength work: I have been doing a decent job of stretching (what?!) and doing core after each run. I also have some 5 lb. weights that I use to do a few arm exercises, but I’m not entirely sure how much that is actually doing for me. It’s better that nothing I reckon.

Current book: I promise to read a book next month!

Current music: Daniel has got me branching out with my SiriusXM channels a little bit. He got a new car (long story) and has XM radio for the first time and so he’s been finding the good stations for us. One that we have been digging (so old school) is the 90s on 9. I’m pretty sure that when you start appreciating music of past decades more than current music, you are getting old (and I’m totally cool with that). We’ve also been listening to SiriusXM Fly which is Hip-Hop/R&B from the 90s & 00s. It is oh so fly (but also oh so uncensored … oh my).

Current craving: Time in nature. I have this odd desire to channel my inner Henry David Thoreau and experience life in the woods (translation: I just want to go camping for like a weekend or something).

Current drink: Ginger Lemonade Nuun. Y’all! This is SO GOOD. It’s my new favorite flavor, but I really like lemon-y things. As a side note, I also tried the Blackberry Citrus Vitamin enhanced Nuun flavor and did NOT like that one. I couldn’t even drink it.

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Current food: Avocado. I think I am late to this party, but I am putting avocado on everything right now. SO GOOD!

Current obsession: I am loving a good top knot! Just when I thought it was impossible to get any lazier with hair preparation … I have discovered buns. It is the easiest hairstyle ever and it’s perfect for runners!

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Current need: Top knots aside, I need do something with my hair. I let the lady talk me into that whole ombre thing last time I went (sometime in September) and I really am just not feeling it anymore. I don’t know that I was ever really feeling it, but whatevs. It’s just hair. I’m thinking maybe just some highlights would be nice.

Current indulgence: Shower sitting. This may sound ridiculous, but we have a little bench in our shower and if I have time, I like to take a few minutes to just sit and be. I didn’t sit down on it for the first two or three weeks that we lived there and I realized it was because I was constantly rushing around. It’s nice to take time (or make time) to relax a little bit! Plus I just love feeling the water wash over me. I like to think about my sins washing away. It’s a good way to start fresh each day!

Current bane of my existence: For whatever reason my skin has decided to become super sensitive lately. Lotions and sprays that I have used for a long time have started causing me to break out into a hive-like rash. I like vanilla and coconut scented things (basically I just want to smell like the beach) and now I just have to settle for being plain. Boo.

Current procrastination: I know that I’ve said, “I’ll do that after tax season,” in reference to lots of things recently … one of those things is taking pictures to get framed. Daniel pointed out that the frame place was about two blocks from our house and I could just drop them by there anytime … pretty sure I gave him a dirty look.

Current confession: This might get a little long-winded and I hate that I am even going to say this, but y’all, I *almost* lost it over a Facebook post last week. I made it through the entire election debacle without getting into it with anyone (heck, I didn’t even comment on anything election-related), but this post about sent me over the edge. My blood was boiling!

This person shared a video that said “women have a right to run without fear and that everyone has a right to feel safe in public” and the post itself said “these kinds of things irritate me because it perpetuates this idea that women are victims or easy targets. Almost 25 years of running solo and 10 years of riding my bike alone and I’ve been attacked by 1 dog. I’ve never been groped or chased. Don’t let the media keep you from doing what you love, […] don’t be scared of the boogeyman.”

The comments were along the lines of, “I feel sorry for anyone who messes with my wife” and “fear mongering, on many levels, is rampant.” I commented and simply said, “You should consider yourself very fortunate to have never dealt with sexual assault while running. It’s a very real thing that happens all too often and not just in the dark or in sketchy places. All runners need to be aware.”

I still just can’t shake this. It makes my livid just thinking about how ignorant people can be. Should we have the right to feel safe? Yes. Do we live in a crazy, fallen world? Yes. Should we walk around (or run in this case) with a false sense of security? NO! The comments were possibly worse that the post itself. People were basically saying that *some* women can protect themselves and would easily be able to fend off an attack. Maybe this is true, but honestly you just never know. You don’t know what could happen or how you will respond until you have someone twice your size with a gun threatening to kill you. My main thing is that I just want everyone to be aware and to have a plan (I wrote an entire post about safety tips for runners here). Please don’t think that the “media” is making a bigger deal of this than it is. The statistics speak for themselves. Be smart people!

Current quote: From Henry David Thoreau’s Walden: I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

Current excitement: I am excited about so many things! Did I mention that it is almost APRIL?! Only 18 more days of tax season! Plus it’s Friday. Also, I am running a marathon tomorrow! Okay, so not an official marathon, but I am going to do my longest run of the 50K training cycle (which I haven’t properly documented here) tomorrow morning. There is an actual 50K in Orange Beach that Rebecca is running and I am going to run 26 of the miles with her.

My 50K is just over a month away at this point and I am really getting excited about that. I’m really looking forward to seeing Colorado in the spring and spending some quality time in the woods (this seems to be a recurring theme). Fun fact: I ran my first marathon when I was 26 and am going to (Lord willing) do my first 31 miler when I am 31!

Your turn. Tell me something that you are excited about!

Race Recap: Spring Fever Chase 10K

Y’all. I did a new thing today. I ran NAKED.

I should probably clarify. By running naked I mean that I ran without my watch!

I emailed my coach last week and told him that I didn’t really have to (or want to) *race* Spring Fever, but that I would definitely be running it. I also told him that it’s a very hilly course and I never run great (relatively speaking … as in I haven’t ever run a PR here), but I love it regardless and that there were no big race plans needed (he usually sends me a very thorough race plan, so I didn’t want him to waste time on that).

He told me to go watch less and run by feel. What?! I thought about it some and told him that I simultaneously loved and was terrified of this idea. It sounded fun but what about the data?! The mere thought of stress free running was stressing me out. Ha. My little number-loving, OCD brain was blown at the thought of not be able to know (and dissect) my splits after the race.

With no pressure of the watch, the plan was to take it pretty conservative at the start and almost make it a progression run (by feel), finishing strong and fast the last couple of miles, enjoying running and having fun chasing down people during the second half. Most importantly the plan was to have fun and enjoy the race because that’s why we do this. A million times, YES! That’s why we do this. We do this because we love running, pushing ourselves to be the best that we can be on that day and being a part of something bigger than any blog post could ever adequately convey.

Spring Fever has always been one of my favorite races! I had a decent streak going at one point, until I got the flu in 2015 (i.e., the tax season from H. E. Double. L). Daniel has run it every year since we met, so he has an 8 year streak going now too. Here we are in 2010!

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The first year I ran the race was 2007. I have no clue what my time was (and trust me, I have done a decent amount of internet stalking to try to figure it out), but I know that I placed 3rd in my age group! It was my first time to ever place in my age group (and I still have the award to prove it :)). I ran again in 2008 and again, have no clue what my time was, but I do know that I got called out in the age group results for the boys. I always register as Samantha instead of Sam now for that very reason! The rest of the years went something like this: 2009: 45:39, 2010: 44:54, 2011: 42:32, 2012: 40:57, 2013: 41:04, 2014: 41:01, 2015: N/A, 2016: 40:20.

2017 was my 10th Spring Fever Chase 10K! We got to Fairhope at 7 a.m. this morning and picked up our bibs before walking down to the Running Wild tent for a team picture and a few warm up miles. We ran 2 miles before the race and then I ditched my watch and we made our way to the start line. I felt pretty calm at the start and I was excited to run!

I have no mile splits to share with you today, so I’ll do my best to describe the race in terms of how I felt (which as it turns out was good!). I knew that the Daniels (Young Daniel and husband Daniel) were going to likely start somewhere between 6:15 and 6:30 pace (they said 6:30, but I didn’t really believe them (LOL)). I figured I would just try to stay a little bit behind them for the first few miles and see how I felt. I settled in to what seemed like a comfortable, sustainable pace during the first mile and stayed about 10 – 20 yards behind the Daniels and a few other guys.

The start of this race is always a little chaotic because so many people run TOO FAST for the first half mile or so. You have to do a little bit of weaving around and dodging kiddos. I guess this is pretty true of any race. The problem is that the kids start really fast and when they run out of steam they will just flat-out STOP right in front of you. No one got trampled (that I am aware of) and I felt really good during the first mile.

My mom and dad came to the race to cheer for us and they were at the one mile mark.  Of course my dad yelled, “GO KID!” He has always called me Kid and I hope that never changes. I got a little boost from hearing them (you can also see Ali & Cody in the background) cheer for me. I love local races for that very reason. Having people out along the course cheering for you is the best!

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During the second mile I chatted with a guy from Mobile that I have seen a several local races, but haven’t every really gotten to meet, so that was nice. We came up on one of the local high school coaches riding his bike and coaching one of his athletes. He was telling him to relax, focus on his form and to stick with us to catch the pack of guys in front of him. I figured that sounded like a good plan to me, so I decided to relax, focus on my form and try to catch the pack of guys in front of me.

I caught up to husband Daniel about mile 2.5, which kind of made me sad because I knew that meant he wasn’t running the time that he hoped for. He has a labral tear in his hip, so he isn’t exactly in peak shape right now. I knew that he didn’t care if I passed him, but I was still just hoping that he would be feeling good. He encouraged me as I went by and told me to catch Young Daniel and make sure that we both finished strong. I told him that I would do my best!

The course has “gentle” rolling hills pretty much the entire way. Gentle might not be the correct adjective, but they aren’t steep … so … moderately rolling hills perhaps. The problem is that there is one in mile 2 and mile 3 and mile 4 and mile 6. I don’t consider myself to be a strong hill runner, so I was planning to just conserve on the uphills and not expend any unnecessary energy. This is where not having the watch was absolutely awesome! Normally I would’ve looked at my watch a million times and when I saw it slow down on the uphills, I would’ve thought to myself, “stick a fork in me, I’m done.”

I caught up to Young Daniel and David (one of the other Running Wild team members) somewhere around mile 3.5. I still felt really good, which was somewhat surprising. I told Young Daniel good job and to keep it up and let’s go finish this thing. He is racing the Azalea Trail 10K next weekend and so I knew he wasn’t planning on giving an all-out effort today. He told me to go on ahead. It was kind of funny because he did the same thing to me at Rock N Roll New Orleans when he caught me around half-way and I told him to go on ahead. One of these days, we’ll run together!

After I passed them and maybe one other guy, my place was pretty much set for the remainder of the race. I was in third place overall at this point (first female; third person) and I could see the first two runners ahead of me, but they weren’t getting any closer. My mom and dad (and Ali and Cody) were on the course again somewhere in between mile 4 and 4.5 cheering for all of us, so that gave me another little boost. I also knew at that point that I had a mile of flat-to-downhill running and I was pretty excited about that. Bring on the downhill!

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Someone standing on the next corner called out my time to me as I passed. It was 28 minutes and some change. I knew I was somewhere in between miles 4 and 5, probably close to 4.5, but without the watch to check my distance, I wasn’t really sure. I didn’t even attempt to do the math in my head at this point. Mathing while running is like drinking and driving … just don’t do it. It can be dangerous. I thought 28 minutes sounded pretty good and at that point, I had less than a mile and a half to go. I can do anything for a mile. Right?!

The really good news was that once you pass mile 5, you have half a mile of downhill running (before climbing back up to the finish). I was ready for that downhill and I *think* I picked the pace up some (but who knows really). I made up a little bit of ground on the second place runner, but I never could quite catch him. The last little ascent was brutal. Again, I was so thankful not to have my watch telling me how slow I was or how much I sucked (those watches … they can be mean sometimes). I just focused on getting to that finish line and holding my place.

I was absolutely floored when the clock became visible. It read 38:XX. I thought to myself, “Surely that says 39:XX, right? It has to be 39 something.” It wasn’t. It was a 38! Holy Moses. I finished in 38:52 and was ecstatic! It was over a minute and a half *course* PR (not all time PR, but just on that course).

Before I knew it, Daniel and Jill came zooming in! Jill met her goal of sub-40 and ran a 39:52, which was a big PR for her (and it was her first time running this course … it took me 10 years to do that!). She is a great training buddy and I am thrilled for her!

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Daniel finished sub-40 as well, which is great and he is ultimately happy with that. He has run a 37:19 on this course before (which is just sick), so it wasn’t a PR, but I’m pretty sure it is a broken hip PR! Ha.

We hung out at the finish line for a little bit, swapping battle stories with the other runners and got our picture taken with the Dogwood Trail Maids (at least I think these are the Dogwoods … it’s either that or the Azalea Trail Maids … and I’m sure that if I got it wrong I probably offended someone … heck, the fact that I don’t know which ones they are is likely offensive as well … sorry!).

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Jessica and baby Olivia had a great race as well! She rocked a sub-8:00 pace running for two. And of course she is wearing a black top and you can’t even tell that she is 5 months pregnant.

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We made our way back over to the Running Wild tent and I got adjusted by Ryan. It is really nice to have someone stretch you out post-race. I think it definitely helps to jump-start the recovery process. He said that when I first saw him (after First Light) my glute/hamstring/hip issue was an 8/10 on a scale of good to bad and now it is a 0.5/10. Yes! Success!

Side note: I did end up getting a standing desk at work. I have been trying to stand for an hour or two each day and I think it has really helped. I’m pretty sure that my computer is trying to take over the planet with its ginormous-ness.

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Anywho. After that we did a two mile cool down. Cooling down after a race also promotes recovery and flushes the system. It’s hard to make yourself do it sometimes, but it is always worth it. We came back in time for the awards. The race takes place during Arts & Crafts Festival, and each year the award is a print done by a local artist (sometimes kids, sometimes not). We have them sprinkled throughout our house! The overall winners also got a free pair of shoes from Running Wild! Saa-weet!

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After the awards we did brunch at Warehouse and then came back and walked around the Arts & Crafts Festival for a little while. It was a beautiful day and I was happy to soak up some Vitamin D (it’s good for the soul).

In closing (so formal), I would just like to declare my love for Spring Fever Chase one more time. It is truly one of the best local races and one of my all-time favorites! I would also like to challenge you to race without a watch sometime. I had a blast! I hadn’t realized until today how much of a head-case I am I stalk my Garmin during races and how much I let that little number dictate how I feel (kind of like the scale). Running without a watch helped me to remove any preconceived limitation that I would’ve placed on myself today (it’s tax season, I’m tired, I never run well here, etc.) and enabled me to run happy and run free!

Mission accomplished. Try it! Run naked and report back (… with pictures (KIDDING)).

Race Recap: Seaside School Half Marathon

Hey guys! I’m a little late with this race recap, but better late than never. I’ve done a race recap of all of the races I’ve done since I started blogging and I don’t want to end that streak yet.

Last weekend I ran the Seaside School Half Marathon. I’m pretty sure that I’ve wanted to do this race since I ran my first half in college. I love Seaside and the idea of running a half there in the spring sounded quite nice. Unfortunately, I decided to become a CPA and trips to Seaside in March became only a thing of my dreams. Ha. I was determined to do this race eventually and this year was the year!

We were supposed to leave Friday afternoon after work, but I ended up having to work late Friday and also had to work half a day Saturday as well, so we didn’t leave until around lunch time on Saturday. It’s not a bad drive at all though, so we made it to Seaside by around 2 or 2:30 and had plenty of time to get settled in and go by the expo to get our packets.

We stopped by the grocery store and got some things for dinner and then headed over to the beach to catch the sunset. We were a little late getting out there, but it was very pretty regardless!

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Race morning we woke up around 5:30, made coffee and got ready to leave by 6:30 for the 7 a.m. race start. We stayed in Seagrove about a mile and a half from the start of the race, so we decided to run over to the start to get a warm-up in (which was a great idea in theory, but after the race when we had to walk back home, we were definitely second guessing our decision). It was a tad chilly when we left (low to mid 50s), but we warmed up pretty quickly.

I had no idea what course was prior to the actual race (there wasn’t a course map online or at the expo). We had a general idea of where the start was and that was pretty much the extent of our knowledge pre-race. In case you are curious, the course is an out and back, starting in Seaside, running 6.55 miles out towards Grayton Beach and Blue Mountain Beach on 30A and then all the way back.

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If you’ve been following along for a little while, you probably know that I typically study the course beforehand and have a fairly set plan going into races. If you’re new, HI! I am Sam and I’m a running nerd. Anyway, I didn’t know what to expect with this course. I assumed that it would be pancake flat. It wasn’t. I wouldn’t describe it as hilly by any means, but there were several rollers in there.

I started out at 6:30 (ish) pace. I was fighting a cold (or a sinus infection … who knows really) the week before and in general was feeling tired and run down (imagine that … a CPA being tired during tax season … crazy, right). I don’t mean to sound whiny, but it is what it is I reckon. I was pleasantly surprised that 6:30 felt really comfortable! I honestly thought I might be able to hold that pace for the entire way. I passed a few girls in the first 3 or 4 miles and by the time we got to the turn around point, I was the third female.

I was really happy to finally make it to the turnaround, until we actually turned around. Apparently we had a tailwind the entire first half of the race (how is it that you never *feel* a tailwind), which meant … it was directly in our face for the entire second half. Holy moly. That wind was no joke. It slammed into me and crushed my spirit a little bit.

The wind was a steady 10-15 mph with gusts 20-25 mph. At one point (around mile 9 I think), my visor blew completely off of my head and I had to turn around and get it. I think I was kind of just *done* after that. According to this article, a “substantial” wind (i.e. one approximately equal to the pace you are running at) will set you back 12 seconds per mile with a headwind, and aid you by 6 seconds per mile with a tailwind. I’m thinking that 12 seconds actually should be closer to 30 seconds per mile. Their research must be off. Ha.

When you run a race at the beach, you take a chance on the wind. I had flashbacks to the Pensacola Beach half last spring, which is also basically an out and back course as well. At that race we battled a really intense headwind on the way out and had the tailwind to push us home the second half. For the record, I would definitely prefer that to the way we had it in Seaside. Hopefully Mother Nature can get that together for me next time. Actually, if I’m making requests, I’d like to just go ahead and request that it be between 45 and 50 with no wind and no humidity for all of my races.

I finished in 1:29 as 4th female. I was very happy to be finished! Daniel finished not too long after me in 1:32. He has been battling a mysterious injury for what seems like several years now. He had an MRI arthrogram done yesterday and found out that he has a fairly significant tear in his labrum (in case you don’t know (I didn’t) the labrum is a rim of soft tissue or fibrocartilage that surrounds the hip socket). The fact that he ran a 1:32 on that is pretty amazing!

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Please note: I tried to buy the above photo (several times), but it absolutely will not work. I will try again later. I am not trying to steal any race photos here. 

I enjoyed the race, but it really didn’t live up to what I was expecting. I think that because I have wanted to do it for so long, I had an unrealistic expectation going in that it was going to be absolutely amazing and I definitely didn’t think that it was amazing. I’m glad I did it, but it definitely won’t be a yearly thing.

The race swag was pretty great though! I don’t think I’d ever do a race just for the stuff we all get (side note: we’ve been on a kick watching The Office recently, so please feel free to  picture me as Michael telling you about his swag), but if you’re into that sort of thing, this is definitely an awesome race. The shirts are cute (kind of girly, but I’m a girl so I’m cool with that (Daniel wasn’t as thrilled)) and every finisher gets a medal and a Vera Bradley bag (again … girly). We also got a coffee cup that says Top 100 finisher, so that’s pretty cool too.

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It was a quick, but fun trip. I’m definitely glad that I finally got to do this race and I can definitely cross it off my list now. Been there. Run that.

I hope y’all are having a great week! Talk to you soon!

February Recap

I can’t even believe that February has come and gone. Pure craziness! It’s been a very busy, very exciting month here. Let’s talk about what’s been going on!

Recap: February 2017

Workouts: Not as many workouts this month as usual. The end of the first week of the month was a taper for Rock N Roll New Orleans and the second week was a recovery week. I also missed two workouts during the weekends that we were moving. Between work and moving I am just worn slap out. Sometimes life gets busy and training (and blogging) have to take the back seat for a little bit, but that’s totally understandable and is definitely as it should be.

2 mi. WU, 6 X 1 mile (6:11, 6:10, 6:07, 6:08, 6:05, 6:10), 1.5 mi. CD

12 mile medium long run (7:23 average)

2 mi. WU, 2 X 3 mi. ([6:42, 6:38, 6:33], [6:40, 6:34, 6:19]), 1.5 mi. CD

20 mile long run (7:50 average)

Favorite workout: I’m going to have to go with my 20 miler for this one. Rebecca and I did 20 miles last Saturday and kept it at a really respectable pace. This was my first 20 miler since July, which seems crazy! I took some time off from the long distance training (my last marathon was November of 2015) and I’m itching to get back at it …

Daniel and I are taking a trip out west in May and (of course) I found a race to do while we will be there. The trip had nothing to do with running initially, but I can’t pass up an opportunity to run on some beautiful trails and race in a state where I have never run.

More to come on that soon!

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Races: I ran 2 races this month … the Rock N Roll New Orleans Half Marathon & the Joe Cain Classic 5K.

Favorite Race: Rock N Roll New Orleans will always hold a special place in my heart, but I really just LOVED Joe Cain this year! It was so fun to do an impromptu race with no pressure.

Paces: The paces ranged from 6:04 to 10:23 this month.

Distances: Distances ranged from 4 miles (on the Alter G treadmill) to 20 miles.

Total miles: 298.10 miles

Strength work: 90 minutes of “lifting” plus some miscellaneous, undocumented (gasp … appalling … I know) ab work. I was really on a roll with adding strength training to the weekly routine, but it just got to be too much. I had too much on my plate and I had to decide what to cut. Unfortunately strength training was the first to go (I think blogging was a close second).

Current book: Uh … I think I may have read one page of a book (aside from my morning devotion) this entire month. I have also fallen behind and basically quit reading all of my usual blogs. So sad. So busy. So overwhelmed.

Current music: I’m really digging the Billy Joel station on Pandora lately. I added Paul Simon as the “variety” and I’m pretty pleased with the result.

Current guilty pleasure: Cookie dough. I am chuckling a little bit to myself right now because I only just realized that the package [literally] says “do not consume raw cookie dough.”

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Current drink: When we were at the grocery store last week, I noticed that they had mello yello zero and for some reason that just sounded incredible to me. Probably because I am tired, but who knows. We got a fridge pack of it. Maybe I can put a lemon-lime Nuun in it and call it a recovery beverage.

Current food: I’ve been really loving chicken salad lately (not a salad with chicken, but chicken salad). Pretty much every day for lunch I have a wrap with chicken salad. It’s delicious.

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Also, in the interest of full-disclosure (there is also a current confession category that perhaps this next little spiel would more accurately be categorized in, but that’s neither here nor there), I kind of freaked out when they started putting the calorie content on this chicken salad. I have been enjoying it for WEEKS and then all of a sudden … bam! 900+ calories?! Holy moly. I honestly thought I was in a really good place with my nutrition and overall outlook towards food and this really threw me for a loop.

I know that I can eat whatever and that I NEED calories to fuel my running, but I guess I prefer to remain somewhat blissfully unaware on certain things. I came really close to not buying the chicken salad again this week, but I bought it and I will enjoy it. I might even take a sharpie and mark out the calorie content!

Current obsession: Organizing my closet. Maybe it’s just me, but there is something very cathartic about cleaning out and organizing a closet. Just me? Okay, cool. Regardless, I was on a mission to de-clutter and organize. I got all new matching coat hangers. I have never bought coat hangers before and this was obviously not an absolutely necessary expense, but they were cheap and they make me happy, so … worth it.

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Current need: REST

Current indulgence: Taking a few minutes out of my morning to write this blog post before heading to work!

Current bane of my existence: My shoulder. For whatever reason, it has decided to start coming out of place on the regular now. It’s a tad frustrating (and painful to boot).

Current procrastination: So many things … fully cleaning out our storage unit, hanging pictures, changing my address at all of the places that has to be done, etc. My post-tax season to do list is quite lengthy!

Current confession: I am feeling very overwhelmed lately and I feel like I am not giving 100% to anything. I am usually an “all-in” type of person and I *strongly dislike* feeling like I am not doing my best. I know this about myself (self-awareness is key right) and yet somehow I can’t seem to stop it.

Current excitement: We bought a house and we are (almost) all moved in! Super fun and exciting! The moving part … not so much.

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I remember thinking how terrible moving was when we moved out of our other house and I also remember thinking that I never wanted to move again (like ever), but when we moved out of our house, we moved (what was supposed to be temporarily) into a garage apartment and that meant that we most definitely would be moving again at some point. Well … that some point came to fruition now (almost 3 years (!!!) later).

We knew the area that we wanted to be in (this was the most important factor) and we have been keeping our eyes open for new houses that became available in our price range. We were able to be fairly selective, which was really nice! After being on the lookout for 3 years, our eyes are tired and we are ready to rest them in our new home.

Current quote: Home is not a place, it’s a feeling.

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This will probably sound super cliché, but I feel like I knew from the minute that we walked into our new house and it was going to be our home. It migh’ve taken Daniel a little bit longer to get on board, but he is all in now (thank goodness)!

Our house was on the market for a little while and eventually the price dropped into our range. As soon as it did, we were on it. I called my grandmother (she is in her nineties and still works as a real estate agent … she’s incredible) and told her that we wanted to look at it. The next day we looked at it and the day after that we made an offer.

My heart lives on Mobile Bay (the sign came with the house). And yes, we are doing the whole white picket fence, living the American dream thing over here currently. Haha!

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It’s been a crazy, but incredible month!