Weekly Recap

Training Log – 05.27.18

Happy Memorial Day!

Here is what my training looked like the week of 05.21.18 – 05.27.18:

Monday – Easy: 5 miles (8:26 pace)

I started the week off with an easy loop after work Monday evening.

Tuesday AM – Quality: 10 miles (8:04 pace) + PM – Easy: 5 miles (8:21 pace)

My workout Tuesday was a 3 mile warm up, 3 X 800, 3 X 600, 3 X 400 and a 2 mile cool down. We (the Daniels and I) hit the track early Tuesday morning. We are getting to the time of year where you have to pick your poison with the workouts. Do you go in the morning and suffer in the humidity or do you go in the afternoon and suffer in the heat? I am apt to choose a morning workout over an evening workout regardless of conditions, so the choice isn’t really that difficult for me. Morning > evening (almost) every time.

The workout itself went pretty well. The warm up was longer than usual, but I never mind that. It takes me a little bit longer to get warmed up in the mornings anyway, so that actually worked out great. My splits for the 800s were 3:01, 2:59, 3:00 (6:00 average pace), for the 600s were 2:13, 2:15, 2:14 (5:51 average pace) and for the 400s were 1:25, 1:24, 1:23 (5:36 average pace). The Daniels did 5 X 1200, so I didn’t run with them, but it was nice to have them out there.

Wednesday – Easy: 5 miles (8:24 pace)

Wednesday was another easy loop after work. For whatever reason, I had a really hard time getting myself out of bed in the morning this week. I think part of that is due to the general fatigue that comes from getting acclimated to the heat. I’ve been feeling more worn down in the last few weeks than usual.

Thursday – OFF

In the spirit of resting when I feel like I need to, I decided to take a day off Thursday. I got dressed to run, laid down on the floor for some snuggles and didn’t get back up. Ha.

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Friday AM – Easy: 10 miles (8:46 pace) + PM – Easy: 5 miles (8:52 pace)

Friday morning I felt so much better! I did a loop with the Daniels and another loop by myself. I listed to the Ali on the Run Show interview with Sarah Clancy of Sarah Marie Design Studio. I loved hearing about all of the behind the scenes things that go into running her business.

Saturday – Easy: 10.25 miles (8:06 pace)

Saturday morning was a pretty standard group run. It sprinkled on us a little bit in the first few miles, which actually felt quite nice. Oddly enough, it didn’t seem to be nearly as humid as it has been the past few weeks. We also got to see a beautiful rainbow that looked like it ended less than 100 yards from the road we were running on. After the run, we did the typical coffee + breakfast + conversation thing at Warehouse.

Sunday – RACE: 10.75 miles (8:11 pace)

Total – 61 miles

That’s it for now! Have a great week!

Race Recap, Summer of Speed

Race Recap: Paradise Island 5K

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I ran the Paradise Island 5K this morning. The race is part of the Run the Coast Summer Series, which is comprised of the Zydeco Festival 5K (April 13th), Paradise Island 5K (Memorial Day weekend), Shark Run 4 Mile (July 4th), and Bloody Mary 5K (Labor Day weekend). The only event of the series that I had done before this weekend was the Shark Run a couple of years ago. After running this one today, I am 1) super bummed that I missed the first race of the year and 2) planning to do the rest of them this year. It was a very well-organized race, fun race!

Before the Race

Daniel made plans with Reed and Miles to ride their bikes from our house to the Orange Beach Sportsplex, where the race takes place. It was about a 45 mile ride, so he was up and at ’em pretty early to get on the road. He left the house just before 5 a.m., which is when I got up. I got to the race just after 6:30 a.m., for a 7:30 a.m. start. I got my bib and met up with Jessica and Lizzie to do a few miles before the race. Jessica was doing her long run for the week and Lizzie ran part of it with her and biked the other part.

We ran the course before the race as my warm up and as the first few miles of their run. We made it back in just enough time for me to pin my bib on and get over to the start.

The Race

The race runs on the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail (same location as the Shimp Fest 10K). The trails are all paved and it’s a great location for a race. The only minor drawbacks are that there isn’t a lot of airflow and the GPS satellites can be a little wonky in the woods. I made the executive decision to not look at my watch at all during the race. Although the temptation to glance down throughout the race can be hard to resist, somehow I have been able to do it successfully a few times now. I’ll include my splits here, but just keep in mind that I didn’t know them at the time (as if you really care :)).

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Daniel surprised me at the start of the race and captured the above picture. I thought they would be there for the finish of the race, but not for the start. That just was a real nice surprise, Clark. I wanted to run close to 6:10 ish pace for the first mile. I settled in behind several guys and tried to just hold tight for as long as I could. Eventually I got dropped and found myself running in no man or woman’s land.

The course is basically a loop with 3 left-hand turns. By the time we got to the first turn, I was running alone. I really prefer to run in a pack with other runners, but that rarely seems to work out. I could tell that there were potentially a couple of runners close behind me, but at the same time, I wasn’t able to really work with anyone. My split for mile one was 6:05.

During the second mile, I actually caught and passed two of the runners who had been in front of me from the get go. One of the guys didn’t seem to want me to pass him and he sprinted for a few seconds before conceding the pass. The other guy told me good job as I went by (which is always appreciated (I always try to reciprocate the encouragement)). After I passed those two guys, the only other runner in sight was Steve and he was a good bit ahead. I knew I wasn’t going to catch him, but it was at least nice to have someone to focus on up ahead. My split for mile two was 6:14.

The last mile was very lonely and very winding. We ran over several wooden bridges with signs indicating that they were “under construction,” which basically meant that there were lots of boards on each bridge that were being replaced. In the meantime, they had nailed some extra plywood on the top of said boards, which made for a lot of little mini speed bumps. The footing was a bit tricky and definitely not ideal for race conditions. In hindsight, I guess it gave me something to focus on instead of thinking about the fact that I was hurting, so perhaps this was actually a good thing. My split for mile three was 6:19.

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I didn’t have too much fight left to “sprint it in” to the finish. I finished with an overall time of 19:35 as first female and sixth overall. My time surprised me and not exactly in a good way. I would’ve definitely guessed that it would’ve been close to 19:00 (just based on the effort that I was giving). Also makes me wonder if I had looked at my watch, if I would’ve known that I *should’ve* been able to go faster? Who knows. The good news is that I have plenty more opportunities to try again soon!

After the Race

I got in almost four miles after the race as a cool down. I ran a couple of miles with Jessica and Lizzie again and then turned around to head back so that I wouldn’t miss the awards. My timing was pretty much spot on, I must say, as I got back less than two minutes before they started the awards. The winners (age group and overall) got sweet medals and I also got a bar of copper. So random. So unique! I love it.

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In case you are curious, this bad boy is worth approximately $6.75. Ha. The more races you run, the more you appreciate a good quirky award and this one did not disappoint.

We celebrated with breakfast at Brick and Spoon after the race. It seemed like a lot of other folks had the same idea because it was pretty busy (as to be expected on a holiday weekend (or really just every day of the week)). I got the farmers market eggs benedict (an english muffin, veggies, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce). It was delicious!

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At the beginning of the week, it looked like Tropical Storm Alberto was going to put a damper things along the Gulf Coast over the Memorial Day weekend, but (knock on wood) so far, so good. It’s tracking a little farther to the east than was originally expected, so hopefully things won’t get too crazy. It was a beautiful day for a 5K!

What is the most unusual award you’ve ever gotten at a race? Did you like it or do you prefer more traditional awards?

Weekly Recap

Training Log – 05.20.18

Hey-o!

I believe that summer is officially upon us (well not officially official until June 21st … but you know what I mean). It was very hot and humid this week. I know that will likely the broken record running report from now until approximately mid-November, but maybe in between now and then we will all get a bit more acclimated to the heat and humidity than we are right now.

Here is what my training looked like the week of 05.14.18 – 05.20.18:

Monday AM – Easy: 6.2 miles (8:38 pace) + PM – Easy: 5 miles (8:31 pace)

We started off the week off with an easy run around campus in Auburn. It was fun to run on the streets where I first starting running. At the time, I could barely keep up with my friend, Carol, who ran with me on her recovery days.  She was one of those “crazy” runners who ran 10 miles every Saturday and had run lots of marathons (including Boston!). No offense to Carol (if you are reading this), but I truly thought you were off of your rocker!

Who’s crazy now? Likely both of us!

We got back home Monday afternoon and did an easy loop with D Holley that evening. He was nice enough to stay at our house while we were gone to keep Brooks company. He sent us “(p)updates” throughout the weekend, which we loved!

Tuesday – Easy: 5 miles (8:59 pace)

I was in major procrastination mode on Tuesday (with regards to running). I pushed my workout back a day and was |thisclose| to not running at all. I needed to do some thinking about my work schedule and so I decided to run alone and without any music or a podcast. Isn’t that bananas? I got some great thinking done! I forgot how nice a run without any distractions can be sometimes.

Wednesday – Quality: 9.65 miles (7:23 pace)

My workout Wednesday was a two mile warm up, 15 X 90 seconds hard (5:56 goal pace) with 60 seconds easy in between each set and a two mile cool down. I did this workout on the treadmill. I didn’t want to run at the track because that basically would’ve been 15 X 400 and when I thought about it that way, it just seemed ridiculous. Doing the workout on the treadmill allowed me to pace my intervals evenly and to give an honest effort. Once I start a workout on the treadmill, there is rarely (knock on wood) any backing down, whereas when I run outside, I tend to be easier on myself for some reason. Anyway … inside or outside, this workout was going to be tough!

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It’s crazy how long 90 seconds can feel when you are running hard. It doesn’t sound that bad, but those 90 seconds start to feel like 90 minutes (engaging in hyperbole from dramatic effect) once you get to the end of that workout. Oddly enough, the 60 seconds easy FLY BY. Why is that?! I ran at 10.1 mph on the treadmill for each of my hard intervals and I definitely got a solid effort in!

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Thursday AM – Easy: 5 miles (8:25 pace) + PM – Easy: 8 miles (8:46 pace)

I overslept a little bit Thursday morning (actually Daniel turned my alarm off by accident and his wasn’t set until later), so I only had time for five miles. Truthfully, I didn’t really have time for five, but going to work with wet hair and no makeup can do wonders to give you extra time in the morning. I planned to do eight miles in the morning and five in the evening, so basically those runs just got flip-flopped. I was able to met Rebecca after work Thursday for part of my run, so that worked out really well. We haven’t run together much at all recently and were overdue for some catch-up time.

Friday – Easy: 7 miles (8:59 pace)

I got in an easy 7 miles Friday morning before work. I had to get out and run over to my parents’ house to take out their garbage. That really was my main motivation. Whatever works I guess! Ha. I listened to the Rambling Runner Podcast with Becky Snelson, who placed fourteenth at the Boston Marathon (based on overall time). She didn’t start with the elite women, so the BAA technically didn’t have to award her any prize money, but they ultimately decided to this year. Apparently men that don’t start with the elite men are still eligible for prize money, but women who don’t start with the elite women are not … things that make you go “hmm.”

Saturday – Easy: 5 miles (8:27 pace)

I slept in Saturday morning and ran with Daniel once he got home from work. We went around noon and it was quite toasty. 

Sunday – Quality Easy: 15 miles (8:24 pace)

I was supposed to do a workout as part of my long run Sunday, but I scrapped that as my legs felt really fatigued even during the first few miles of the run. I’m still not entirely sure why the fatigue was there, as I hadn’t done any quality work since Wednesday, but either way, it is what it is and I decided to just chill and not try to push it when I wasn’t feeling it. Sometimes it’s good to push yourself and sometimes it’s better to listen to your body and take it easy. I pushed myself Wednesday and took it easy Sunday.

Total – 65.9 miles

That’s it for now! Have a great week!

Daniel, Race Recap

Guest Post: Tri Chewacla Triathlon

I was able to convince Daniel to do a post about his triathlon last weekend! Woo hoo! It’s a good one too. Enjoy! 

I didn’t think I would do a race recap on this one, but after talking with Sam, I decided it may be nice for me to have this to refer back to down the road. We actually referenced one of my other recaps in the car on the way to the race, so I guess that proves that it may be useful to have. Let’s get to it! 

I’m still fairly new to the triathlon and biking in general, but after doing IM Augusta last year, I decided I wanted to continue biking regularly and doing a few triathlons (this has really helped with my hip injury). I looked around and found the Tri Chewacla Sprint and Olympic Distance Triathlon. I opted for the sprint distance, which was a 500 meter swim, a 12 mile bike and a 5K run. After looking at the previous year’s results, I decided my primary goal would be to compete for an overall award and my secondary goal would be to compete for an age group award. 

Swim – 500 meters (9:42)

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I hate to admit this, but I haven’t been in the water to swim since getting out of the Savannah River in Augusta last year. Despite the lack of training, I was still confident that I could cover the distance. I also didn’t really feel like there was much to gain or lose in the swim in terms of my overall time. My goal was to be close to 9 minutes for my overall time on the swim.

My training for the IM was always around 2 minutes per 100 meters, so I felt like I could keep a sub 2 minute per 100 meter pace during this race and still feel fresh. Since it was a chip timed race, they let each person start individually to avoid a big pile up. I was approximately seventh into the water (definitely in the first 10, but not the first 5). There was a serious looking old guy in front of me and I figured he was who I needed to chase. I caught him midway through the swim and was feeling like I was in a groove. As I was finishing, I heard (or thought I heard) someone yell “First out of the water!” so I was feeling REALLY good then.

The run up after the swim was VERY rocky, rooty, and rough. I elected to slip on my flip flops out of the water and run in my flip flops up to my bike (they allowed everyone to do this if we chose to). This was probably a tad slower, but my feet were happier. This long trek to the transition likely resulted in a swim time that looks a little slower than I expected.

T1 (1:11)

Prior to the race I got an email outlining several USATF rules. I never knew this, but one rule that was highlighted was if you touch anything else in transition prior to putting on your helmet and latching it, you are automatically disqualified! I heeded these rules and felt like my transition went pretty smoothly. Helmet on, socks on, shoes on, grab bike, and go. I still do a stop and mount on the bike and I fumbled a bit getting it off the rack, so this could’ve been a little cleaner, but overall everything went according to plan.

Bike – 12 miles (32:59)

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I looked at the route online and knew that there would be a few rolling hills, but I felt prepared. My bike training prior to this has been 1-2 rides per week. One ride is a Tuesday 25 mile “hammer” ride which is pretty much an all out effort with the local bike shop, ProCycle & Tri. The other has been 20-30 miles easy after my long runs. The Tuesday rides have been tough and I have averaged in the 22-23 mph range so I felt like I should’ve been in shape for a 23 mph average for 12 miles. This did not happen.

Sidenote: I did a really hard track workout on the Tuesday before the race with Sam and I think my legs were still feeling that a little bit. As soon as I got on my bike and stood to get up to speed I realized my quads were already spent. I thought I was going to fall over from my legs being so fatigued and I hadn’t even gone a mile yet! I sat back down and decided to try to get my cadence up as high as possible and go from there. After a few minutes I was averaging around 22 mph but I knew getting to 23 was going to be a stretch.

I decided to just keep the effort up as much as I could and not ease off any in anticipation of the run. The old guy from the swim passed me around mile 3 (on his superbike) and he and I proceeded to flip-flop for the next 6 miles (don’t worry, we both allowed plenty of space between us with each pass and did not draft off one another). Finally we got to a big downhill where I thought I would be able to catch and leave him, but no, he crushed it (and me). I never could get closer than about 50 meters to him until we came back to transition. According to Strava, I averaged 21.9 mph and given how bad my legs felt at mile 1, I thought this was a good time.

T2 (0:43)

This was fairly simple. Racked the bike, changed shoes, grabbed my bib and I was out.

Run – 5K (20:39)

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I knew from my pre-race research that this run would also be a hilly course. However, I underestimated just how steep it would be. The race directors and event staff kept referring to it as “running up the mountain.” I love climbing in general and I feel like it is my strength in running, but since my legs were so fatigued and my quads in particular were tired, this is the worst I’ve ever felt in a 5K. I literally had the thought of walking go through my mind at one point (I did not walk though).

After transition I was ahead of the old guy and felt like that meant I was in a spot for a podium possibly. Half a mile in, I was caught by a young guy and knew at that point he had made up time on me so unless I could find some energy to gap him on this climb, my chances of getting on the podium were getting slim. We ran together for a bit until old guy number 2 appeared. He jogged right past us and we were both scratching our heads trying to figure out where he came from. We discussed the idea that he was a relayer, but since he was wearing a tri suit, we decided he had to have done the whole thing like us.

The guy running with me tried to go catch him, and I was left alone. At this point I had no clue if I would even place at all and began to dread the thought of being passed by people during the run (what should be my strength!). We summited the mountain and I noticed there was someone running in front of me who I had not seen. I later found out I was actually second out of the water and this guy had been so far ahead the whole time that we never saw him on the bike either. I decided that I would be really mad at myself if I didn’t truly push it and give my best on this last mile and a half. I was able to negative split the race (and yes there were hills both ways so it wasn’t just the descent that helped) and ended up finishing 3rd overall!

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Even though I didn’t hit any of the specific time goals that I had in mind (and felt like I was in shape to do), I am pleased that I was able to compete and grind on a day when I didn’t have my best stuff. I like reflecting after races (especially triathlons) and trying to see what I could’ve done to improve my time. Both of the top two guys beat me in the transitions (one by over a minute and the other by 35 seconds). We were separated in the overall standings by less than a minute and a half so I know the transitions are somewhere I need to improve if I want to keep competing. I also know I will have to do more brick runs and put more miles in on my bike in general to be able to continue competing.

Next up, I want to do an Olympic distance tri and really give it a good training effort. Also, to be very open, it’s been pretty disappointing to come off of the bike and not have my legs under me. I feel like this should be where I shine. I have had several strong brick workouts, but I’m not sure what I’m missing as to why I can’t seem to replicate it in a race setting. My best guess is to just put more miles in on the bike and run after every ride.

Any tips from some seasoned vets out there?

Race Recap, Trails

Race Recap: DIITB 5K

I ran the Do it in the Bush 5K at Cottage Hill Park in Mobile Saturday morning. DIITB is one of the few trail races that we have here locally. Cottage Hill Park is actually the place where Daniel and I first met!

The main event of the weekend was Daniel’s triathlon in Auburn on Sunday, but I was able to do this race Saturday morning before we left to head up to Auburn. The race started at 7:30 a.m., which was nice, not only to beat the heat a little bit, but also so that we could go ahead and get on the road a little bit earlier.

We got to the park around 6:45 and I was able to register and go to the bathroom before warming up on the course. I was a little bit worried about getting lost in the woods and I wanted to make sure that we ran the course beforehand just to make sure I knew what I was doing. I wasn’t sure if I would have anyone to run with, as you never really know who is going to show up on any given day. We talked briefly with Aaron Freesmeier, who marked the course, before the warm up. He gave us some pointers and we set off to see what the trails were like.

We didn’t have any issues at all navigating the course at all! Every single root was marked with orange paint (that must’ve taken a lot of time) and there were lots of arrows, etc. showing you where to go. I definitely noticed that I was working harder than normal to run my “easy” pace on the trails.

The race started off in the parking lot at Cottage Hill Park. It used to start on a soccer field, but apparently there were some “issues” with the course measuring long in the past and they decided to change that up this year. It’s a trail race though, so accuracy really shouldn’t be a huge concern. We were only in the parking lot for the first tenth of a mile or so and then it was to the grass around the baseball field (same as it always has been). We were on the grass for less than a half of a mile before we headed into the trails.

I was in second place overall as we entered the trails. The first place runner almost turned off course not too long after we got on the trails and I passed him briefly as he got his bearings back. I really didn’t want to be leading this thing through the trails, but here we were. At least I knew where I was going! I knew that was going to come in handy.

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I led the race through the first mile. The mile split was 6:29. The course winds in and out of the woods a few times during the second mile, but you are primarily on the trails the entire time. I love being in the woods and running on trails! I really wish that we had more trails and more trail races. I can totally see myself turning into one of those crazy ultra trail runners at some point down the road. Ha.

I likely need to invest in a pair of trail shoes though. I wore the Brooks Launch for this race (definitely not a trail shoe) and it worked out fine for a 5K, but if the race had been any longer, I likely would’ve wanted some better shoes. I love the Brooks Launch for road running though (I don’t want them (them being my shoes) to get their feelings hurt, so that seeemed worth mentioning).

I got passed back by the lead runner right around mile two. The mile split was 7:19. I didn’t know the split at the time. I decided during the warm up that I wouldn’t look at the splits since I knew I would likely feel like I was giving more of an effort than the splits showed.

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After he passed me, he almost ran off course two more miles in the last mile, but I was able to yell at him and tell him where to go. The last mile took us back into the parking lot for a brief moment, back into the woods and then back on the grass. Lots of varied terrain! I finished a few seconds behind the leader with a time of 20:02.

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It should be noted that the course was a tad short, but with a cross country style race, that is to be expected. My watch read 2.95 miles and my pace for the last mile was 6:37.

I LOVED everything about this race! It was such a laid back, fun approach to “racing.” I stayed upright, which is always good. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of my easy run on the trails Sunday in Auburn, but … it happens. I’m already looking for another trail race to do!

Have you ever raced on trails? What was your experience like? If you have any good race recommendations, send them my way!

Weekly Recap

Training Log – 05.13.18

Hey-o!

Here is what my training looked like the week of 05.07.18 – 05.13.18:

Monday AM – Easy: 5 miles (8:42 pace) + PM – Easy: 5 miles (8:26 pace)

I started the week off with a solo easy run and followed it up with a group easy run that afternoon.

Tuesday AM – Easy: 3 miles (9:11 pace) + PM – Quality: 9.8 miles (7:41 pace)

My workout Tuesday was a 2 mile warm up, 3 X 800, 6 X 400, 3 X 800 and a 2 mile cool down. I had a two minute walking rest between the 800s and a one minute walking rest between the 400s. I knew this workout was going to be quite challenging just looking at it, especially because the 400s were going to be done all out (my goal pace per 400 was 74 (4:58 per mile)). I’ve definitely never done any sort of repeats that fast before and, spoiler alert, I didn’t this time either. The 800s were at a much more manageable pace (my goal pace per 800 was 2:57 (5:56 per mile)).

Daniel and I did this workout together Tuesday evening and we had lots of company at the track! Kenny, Daniel Holley and Cody did 12 X 400 and Brad, Larry, Tracey and Mike were out there as well, doing some 1000s and 200s. The first few 800s were peachy. We hit those in 2:58, 2:57 and 2:57. Once we got to the 400s, *things* got real. We tried to jump in with the guys that were doing 400 repeats, but I couldn’t hang at their paces. They were also doing a 400 recovery and I was supposed to be doing a 1 minute walking recovery, so after running two or three repeats with the group, Daniel and I finished the 400s on our own. His paces were faster than mine, but mine were 80, 83, 84, 83, 86 and 86. All in all, not terrible. Nothing in the 70s, but still respectable.

The problem was that we still had three 800s left. I was huffing and puffing like I was about to blow down three little piggy houses. I actually can’t remember the last time I was breathing that hard! My last three 800s were 3:01, 3:07 and 2:59. I’m glad that I stuck with it, even if I couldn’t get my time back down to where they should’ve been. The reality is that all of our workouts are about putting in the effort to produce the desired adaptations that we are seeking and I know without a doubt that my effort was on point with this workout!

Wednesday – Easy: 5 miles (9:04 pace)

I kept it indoors Wednesday with an easy treadmill run. Tuesday’s track session was quite intense and I just needed to chill on Wednesday. I did a 20 minute “run your core” Jasyoga video. The focus of this video was on building core strength to stabilize your structure for functional (running!) movement, so that you can gain and sustain power when you get tired. Most of the poses mimic common running movement patterns, which makes sense.

I also got a deep tissue massage Wednesday evening! I spent more time on recovery than on actually running on Wednesday and it was much needed.

Thursday – Easy: 5 miles (8:58 pace)

I was still feeling a little tired and sore (likely from both the track workout and the massage) Thursday, so I kept it to another easy five mile run. I ran outside before work and listened to the Man Bun Run podcast interview with Sarah Sellers. This was the third interview with Sarah that I have listened to and it was just as interesting as the first.

Friday – Easy: 8 miles (8:59 pace)

Friday morning I did some climbing. I didn’t really plan this, but once I got out there, I decided that it would be fun to see how many hills I could run within about a mile of my house. I didn’t even get all of them and I ended up with 8 miles and 700 feet of elevation gain. Not too shabby! But also likely not anywhere near what I will need to do to prepare for the mountains of Colorado (side note: we are doing a Ragnar in Colorado in August!).

Saturday – RACE: 7.8 miles (8:06 pace)

Race recap is here! The TL;DR version will be this: I ran a trail race. It was not a goal race, but just a for fun race. I love running on trails! The end.

Sunday – Easy: 7 miles (10:28 pace)

Sunday morning we were in Auburn for Daniel to race the Tri Auburn sprint triathlon at Chewacla State Park. I’m hoping that I can twist his arm to do a race recap post! I was thrilled to be able to spend some more quality time on the trails Sunday morning. The trails at Chewacla are absolutely beautiful! I saw several deer, a few snakes and lots of other various wildlife out there. I also tripped on a rock and busted my butt (actually I busted my knee, shoulder and elbow (but hey, way better than busting my face)) at one point, but I think that pretty much comes with the territory of trail running. I’m definitely wearing my battle wounds proudly.

Chewacla

I spent more time on trails this weekend than I have in the past two years probably and it was AWESOME! Daniel had a GREAT race and it was fun spectating, cheering for him and catching up with some of our good friends from Auburn.

DG & me

Total – 55.7 miles

That’s it for now! Have a great week!

Uncategorized

How to Race Your Best Half Marathon

We’ve talked one mile, 5K and 10K race strategies, so it only makes sense to move it on up to the half marathon, right? Right!

If you’ve read all three posts, you will definitely notice some common themes. I think it’s best, from a big picture perspective, to keep your overall race strategies fairly similar across these distances. As the race gets longer, there is more room for variation within each phase of the race plan, and there is more potential for outside variables to affect your race. These strategy posts can serve as fundamental building blocks for your race plan. You can easily tweak these strategies as needed based on any weather or course specific issues that you encounter on race day.

Fueling: Fueling needs vary from person-to-person, so I hesitate to give a fueling “strategy.” Fueling wasn’t specifically mentioned in the one mile, 5k or 10k race strategy posts, so adding it here should serve as a reminder that fueling needs to be addressed, at least on some level, during a half marathon.

The important thing is to test whatever you are going to do during the race during your key workouts and long runs. I try to eat a light, simple, and easily digestible breakfast an hour or two before the race starts (definitely nothing new!). If I get thirsty during the race, I will drink whatever water or sports drinks are provided along the course, but that is all I take in during the race itself. Personally, I find that I don’t really need an elaborate fueling plan for a half marathon, but others may disagree. Nailing down a half-marathon fueling strategy will likely involve practicing your fueling during your training and learning via trial and error at races.

Warmup: For a goal half marathon, I typically do a one mile warmup. Remember: you do you! Try to pick the pace up a notch or two to a tempo type effort during the last minute or two or the warmup to stir those aerobic enzymes and prime your engine for the race. Try to stay warm and loose while you stand at the start.

First 10%: As usual, try to avoid the early sprint out and ease into the pace. You’ll want to start off as smooth as possible and use the first mile to gradually settle into your rhythm and goal pace.

Speaking of goal pace, you may be wondering how you know what this should be. I recommend racing a shorter distance race (a 5K or 10K) during your half marathon training and using a running calculator to predict your goal half marathon pace based on that result. Take your predicted pace and create a goal pace range of about 10 to 15 seconds per mile around it. By easing into your goal pace over the course of the first mile, you will not only increase your chances of feeling good later in the race, but you will also be setting yourself up for a nice little negative split. Patience is a virtue that we want to possess during our longer distance races for sure!

Middle 70%: Once you settle into your goal pace range it’s time to relax, get comfy and plan to stay here awhile. The “middle” section of the half marathon is going to take us from the start of the second mile to mile 10. You will want to be running as strong, as smooth and as sustainable as possible (after all, this is a half marathon, not a sprint).

The goal during this middle section is to stay within the targeted pace range and use as little energy as possible to do so. Try to stay in the moment and engaged in the race, executing one mile at a time. If you think it is better mentally to break the race up into other manageable “chunks” then, by all means, do that. I have tried this in the past, with some success, but I end up coming back to the whole “run the mile you are in” philosophy most of the time.

Last 20%: You ran the first part of the race with your head, by easing into it and then staying mentally focused, holding a good strong rhythm through mile 10. Now it is time to race it home (the last 5K) with your heart, by competing and pushing yourself to give the very best effort possible on this day. Depending on how you are feeling at this point, you will likely still be within your goal pace range or hopefully even a little quicker if you can manage it. This is often the point in the race where, if you paced correctly, you will catch up with and pass a lot of people who didn’t have as much success with their pacing strategy and are slowing down.

Cooldown: After the race, get in an easy mile jog to flush out the system and jump-start the recovery process. It’s a good idea to take an ice bath or warm Epsom salt bath in the afternoon for recovery. It can be difficult to make yourself do anything else after the race, but it is always worth it to do a proper cooldown and pay attention to your recovery needs. We take our races seriously and we should take our recovery seriously as well!

What races do you have coming up?