How do you measure a year in the life?

Hey-o! Happy Friday! We made it!

Yesterday was the end of another fiscal year for me (i.e., my birthday), so I figured that it might be fun to look back and remember what all went on during the last year. I’m using Seasons of Love as my inspiration.

How do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
525,600 minutes. How do you measure a year in the life?
How about love? Measure in love. Seasons of love.

B-t-dubs … I used to be straight OBSESSED with this song. I’m pretty sure I listened to it on repeat until my brain exploded and I couldn’t handle it anymore. If I was going to measure a year in the life, I would definitely choose everything in the chorus above except for maybe midnights and strife, because let’s face it, I don’t see very many midnights per year and I don’t particularly care for controversy and conflict. Daylights (which I’m assuming to sunrises), sunsets, cups of coffee, miles, laughter and love seem like perfect measurements to me though. Let’s see how it stacked up!

Here are a few of my favorite daylights from the year …

Sunrises

I wish that I had more sunrise pictures to share. I love soaking in the stillness and peacefulness each morning in the moments before the sunrise and watching the sun come up as we run. Unfortunately, I don’t always have my phone at that time.

Here are a few of my favorite sunsets from the year ….

Sunset 1 Sunset 2

I have a slightly embarrassing number of pictures of coffee as well, but I’ll spare you the actual details there. I’m estimating 730 cups of coffee for the year. Most days I have two cups of coffee, some days it’s three and some days it’s only one, so I think an average of two is fairly accurate.

I ran 218,845,444 inches while I was 31. Ha. In case you don’t feel like doing the math on that, it’s 3,454 miles [feel free to insert the whole “I don’t put that many miles on my car in a year” joke here]. I also ran 21 races while I was 31. Hmm … I am sensing a new goal. Run your age in races per year. Who’s with me?!

Here’s what the race breakdown looked like (in case you are curious) …

1 mile: 1, 2 mile: 1, 5K: 8, 10K: 2, 12K: 1, 10 mile: 1, Half Marathon: 6 and 50K: 1

I won 16 of the 21 races, placed 2nd in one, 3rd in 3 and didn’t place in one. The majority of the races were very small, local races, so just take that with a grain of salt. I likely wouldn’t be winning any races if I lived … well probably anywhere else. Haha.

I don’t know how to objectively measure the rest of these things, but I do know that 31 was a year filled with lots of joy, laughter and love!

Misc 2Misc 1
Misc 3

I won’t say that the year was without struggles by any means. We’ve had several people close to us go through some rough stuff this year, which has been hard (especially when you don’t live in the same town). I would pretty much classify my career as a hot mess at this point as well, but ehh … it is what it is. It’s just a job and it’s not my life. One thing that I’ve been thinking about recently is that our struggles don’t define us, they refine us. If you are going through something hard, just keep your head up and know that you will be a stronger, wiser and more compassionate human once you get to other side.

To wrap up this “year in the life” post, let’s talk about how I celebrated turning 32 …

If you’ve been following along for a little while, you probably know about my birthday tradition. In the last few years, I started running my age in miles to celebrate my birthday. It’s become something that I really look forward to each year (strange, I know). For 30 and 31 I did the miles on the weekend (either right before or right after my birthday), but this year I decided to make things a little more interesting (i.e., challenging) and do the miles on my actual birthday, which fell on a Thursday.

I woke up at 3:30 a.m. (well … I think I snoozed once) and was running by 4! I did the first 8.5 miles on the treadmill. Brookser kept me company. Just after 5 a.m., I hopped off of the treadmill and ran 9.5 miles outside with the Daniels. They actually did 8 of the 9.5 with me and I decided to go ahead and squeeze in another mile and half just because I had a few extra minutes and I knew that any miles I could get done in the morning would only help to make the evening run a little easier. I ended the morning with 18 miles and I’m not going to lie, running 18 miles before work was oddly satisfying (like really satisfying … I kind of loved it).

I rehydrated and fueled like a champ during the day at work. I also wore compression shorts and socks under my regular clothes [I feel like that makes for a good “you might be a runner if” moments]. No one at work knew what I was doing (or that it was my birthday for that matter), so I felt like I was carrying out a covert mission and they were none the wiser. Side note: the spy shows might have gone to my head a little bit. I also pretty regularly check for tails in my rear-view mirror as I drive around town these days.

Rebecca met me after work Thursday afternoon and did the remaining 14 miles with me. I am so thankful that she was willing to do that because I really don’t know that I would’ve done it otherwise. We didn’t get started until close to 6:30 p.m. because the weather was terrible. We’re talking storms and torrential downpours. We tried to wait it out a little bit, but it became pretty evident that we were just going to have to suck it up and run in the rain, which is exactly what we did. 14 glorious, soggy, puddle-jumping miles later and it was done. 32 miles for 32 years! Phew.

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Thanks for following along! My blogging has been sporadic (at best), but it’s still a fun, creative outlet for me.

Talk to you soon!

Race Recap: Chickasabogue Park 2 Miler

Hey friends! The third and final race of my “summer of speed” training cycle was yesterday evening and it was a good one!

The Chickasabogue Park 2 mile race takes place the second Tuesday in August each year at Chickasabogue Park in Mobile County. This is the only local 2 mile race that I am aware of and there is usually a pretty decent turnout. It seems like several people go home with age group state records each year. This year was no exception!

Pre-Race

Daniel and I left around 5:15 p.m. to head to the race, which started at 6:30 p.m. It was pouring rain as we drove across the bay, which was not fun. My motivation level was fairly low and the rain definitely wasn’t helping anything. I’m fairly certain that it rains right before this race almost every year (err well … I know it has rained at least 3 out of the 5 years that I’ve run it … so 60% of the time, it rains every time).

We were lucky enough to avoid a major traffic backup on the Bayway and we made it to the park around 6 p.m. This is one of those bare bones, no frills races. The registration is $10 and there are no awards or shirts or anything like that, which is totally cool with me. I got registered and headed out to do a 2 mile warm up with some of our training buddies.

The rain cleared out just as the race was about to start, which was nice, but it also left us with some think, muggy air. As we lined up on the start line, I was completely drenched (partially with rain and partially with sweat). I knew that I needed to run just under 5:50 pace to get the state record for my age group and that was my main focus. Going into the race, I was fairly confident that I would be able to do that, but my confidence dwindled a little bit pre-race. Given the conditions, I knew I was really going to have to work really hard if I wanted to get that record.

The Race

The course is an out and back with one turn (well, two turns if you count one on the way out and one on the way back). There is a very slight net downhill on the way out, you hit the turnaround just before the one mile mark (the start and finish are about a tenth of a mile apart, so you don’t hit the turnaround at exactly one mile) and then you have a slight uphill on the way back to the finish.

Strava

I didn’t look at my watch much during the race. I’ve found that the constant feedback doesn’t tend to actually help me in the moment. If I look down and see a pace that I think is too fast, I slow down (even if I physically feel okay) and if I look down and see a pace that is slower than I am expecting, I feel defeated and probably end up slowing down then as well. I still like to wear my watch during the races though, because … Strava … and data …

After the first half mile, I was in fifth place overall. I was about 10 – 15 seconds behind the leaders. I came through the first mile in 5:44. I knew that the second mile would be the real test, so I tried to focus on holding the pace as much as possible. This is where I definitely decided NOT to look at the watch. I felt like I was probably slowing down a little bit, but I didn’t really want to know for sure. Ignorance works best sometimes.

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With half a mile to go, the biggest blessing of the day came. I got passed! This may seem weird, but it helped me SO MUCH. I was starting to struggle and when this runner passed me, he actually encouraged me to pick it up and to run with him. We encouraged each other the rest of the way (he did more encouraging than I did … I think he was feeling GOOD and I was feeling *okay*). I am so thankful for his sportsmanship! I feel like most guys would’ve just passed me and tried to leave me in their dust, but this young lad (16 years old) decided to help me out.

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My second mile was 5:47 and somehow I managed to not run the tangents very well and I ended up with an additional 5 seconds before we got to the finish line. The 16-year-old out kicked me in the end (which I am totes okay with) and so I ended up as the 1st girl and 6th overall. I also got my age group state record by 3 seconds! Phew. Cut it a little close there. I actually missed the age group record last year by exactly 3 seconds, so it’s pretty cool to get it by 3 seconds this year. Several other runners got age group records as well (I know there were at least 4 of us)! Yay!

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Post-Race

We ran the course again after the race as a cool down. There is an after-party celebration where they do the Port City Pacer awards from the previous year, but we didn’t stick around for that. It was getting close to 8 p.m. at this point and because of my #mawmawstatus, I was ready to get home, eat dinner and go to sleep!

I celebrated with some state record fudge brownies when I got home. I started a new celebratory fudge tradition after my one mile record a few weeks ago and I’m planning to keep that tradition alive and strong (it’s a delicious tradition :)). I was also actually able to sleep really soundly after the race, which was AMAZING. The past two weeks, I have not been able to sleep at all after the evening races, so that was just a real nice surprise, Clark … a real nice surprise.

That wraps up the summer of speed! I enjoyed pushing myself this summer and training for races that I usually wouldn’t have specifically focused on. I’m planning to take a little break from workouts in the next week or two and search my soul to figure out what it is that I truly want to do next (in a slightly less dramatic fashion than that makes it sound). Stay tuned!

Race Recap: Crime Prevention 5K

Hey guys!

Tuesday evening I ran the Crime Prevention 5K in downtown Mobile. Don’t ever expect me to do a workout in the evening, but if you ask me to do a race … that’s a different story. I can totally get beside that. Evening races present some different challenges than the typical Saturday morning race, especially when they are in the middle of the week. I’m always up for a good challenge!

This race is always the first Tuesday in August and of course, is always a HOT one. According to Garmin Connect, the temperature was 90 degrees at 6:30 p.m. That’s toasty.

Pre-Race

Rebecca picked me up around 5:15 and we headed across the bay. Thankfully we didn’t run into any traffic issues and we were able to find a place to park downtown without any issues as well. Neither one of us had registered, so the first thing we did was head over to get signed up. For the low, low price of $20, you get to run through the streets of downtown Mobile AND you get a race tee-shirt. There is also a “no shirt” option for $17, which is nice. I usually don’t get the shirt at this race, as it is typically one of the more unfashionable race shirts, but this year I went for it. I really like the color and the material of the shirt.

I did a mile and half or so warm up with some strides at the end and before we knew it, it was time to race!

The Race

In typical 5K fashion, everyone went out blazing fast. See if you can find me below (it’s like Where’s Waldo minus the outfit).


I focused on reigning it in and staying relaxed during the first half mile. I steadily caught up to pretty much everyone that sprinted out like a cannon by about half a mile in. I checked my watch around the half mile mark to make sure I was on track. I saw 6:00 pace as my current pace and was satisfied that I was right where I needed to be. In hindsight, the current pace was probably off because of all of the tall buildings downtown.

My first mile split was 5:47. Alrighty then. I knew that was too fast, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it at that point. I just tried to focus on keeping it consistent and decided not to look at my pace anymore except for at the mile splits. By the time we got to the one mile mark, I was in 4th overall, which is where I would stay for the rest of the race. I could see the guys just ahead of me and I was able to pretend like I was chasing them down, but I never really made up any ground on them. I feel like I always end up in no man’s land during races and I wish that wasn’t the case.

Here’s me, hanging out in no man’s land without any friends to race with. I seemed happy about it at the time. It’s always good to see Tim (who comes out to a lot of the local races and takes pictures) out on the course. There were several other friendly faces out and about cheering as well, which was nice.


My second mile split was 5:57, which is more in line with where I probably should’ve been to begin with. Unfortunately, I really started to feel the effects of that first mile and the monkey jumped on my back (actually it felt more like an elephant jumped on my back) during the last mile. You basically run past the finish at around mile two and half and have to do another little out and back stretch, which is tough mentally. At that point, I was really feeling the heat and I was so ready to be done. Well, I say I was ready to be done, but I was not ready enough to pick the pace up and attempt to get there more quickly. The last mile felt like the longest mile of. my. life.

My last mile split was 6:23. Woof. If I hadn’t had to carry that elephant around with me, I guess I would’ve gone faster. I was actually able to kick it in a little bit when I realized that I still had a chance to get under 19:00. My pace for the last tenth was 5:46, which put me finishing in 18:50. Overall, I’m happy with my time, but the execution could definitely use some work. In fact, I would dare to even say that this is textbook example of how NOT to race a 5K (so basically you don’t want a 35+ second difference in your pace between mile one and mile 3).

Post-Race

I was absolutely gassed at the end of the race and I decided that from here on out, I just want to stick to one mile races. Kidding … kind of. After I collected myself and talked to friends at the finish for a few minutes, I did another mile and a half or so to cool down.

We waited a little while for the awards. Rebecca and I were first and third overall for the girls. She pushed Savannah in the stroller and even got a nice little stroller PR! The overall winners get gift cards to McCoy Outdoor Company ($100 for overall, $75 for second and $50 for third), which is amazing! I can’t wait to go see Mr. Joe and pick out something with my gift card.

The guys racked up too! My Daniel didn’t run (it was hammer ride night at Pro Cycle and he’s all about that biking right now), but Brandon, Young Daniel and Cody went 1, 2 and 3!

We got home from the race just before 9 p.m., which is basically past my bedtime these days. I still had to eat dinner and it took me forever to wind down. For whatever reason, easy runs in the evening don’t bother me, but apparently races leave me WIRED and unable to sleep. So. Many. Endorphins. So. Little. Sleep.

The rest of the week seems to be crawling by. I definitely feel like it is taking me a bit longer than it should to recover from these hard efforts. I’m going to get my blood work done again with Inside Tracker to make sure that all of my vitamin and nutrient levels are where they need to be.

Two races down and one to go in the summer race trifecta! I’m looking forward to the 2 mile race next week and to some down time afterwards. I hope everyone is having a great week! Talk to you soon!

July Recap

Hey-o! Happy August!

Month Recap: July 2017

The Running

Workouts: Every single workout that I did during July took place on the track. I hadn’t really realized this until I looked back and I would say that this might be the first month that I have done only track work. The month of July wrapped up what I coined the ‘summer of speed.’ Let’s face it, it’s much more realistic to train for a one and two mile race during the months of June & July than it is to train for a marathon. I enjoyed pushing myself and the challenging workouts, but I am also glad that this training cycle is wrapping up.

2 mi. WU, 6 X 1000 (3:48, 3:48, 3:44, 3:48, 3:55, 4:00), 2 mi. CD

2 mi. WU, 6 X 1 mile LT repeats (6:54, 6:46, 6:44, 6:36, 6:34, 6:28), 1.5 mi. CD

2 mi. WU, 12 X 300 (61, 60, 62, 61, 63, 63, 60, 62, 62, 62, 61, 61), 2 mi. CD

1 mi. WU, 800 (2:41), 400 (75), Milk Mile (6:40), 1 mi. CD

2 mi. WU, 4 X 1 mile repeats (6:01, 6:03, 6:00, 6:09), 2 mi. CD

2 mi. WU, 12 X 400 (80, 80, 81, 85, 85, 86, 87, 86, 90, 89, 91, 88), 2 mi. CD

Favorite workout: I really enjoyed the 12 X 300 meter repeat workout. 300s allow you to run pretty quickly and not feel completely destroyed at the end.

Races: The only official race that I did this month was the Fairground Road Mile Race. I also did a milk mile, but that was more just for fun than anything else (I realize that most people might not consider drinking 32 oz. of milk and running around in circles to be fun).

Favorite Race: The Fairground Road Mile was by far the best race of the month, if not of the year! I think this is my first PR of 2017. Whew! It was about time.

Paces: The paces ranged from 5:23 (one mile race pace) to 9:37 (recovery run pace).

Total miles: 279!

Distances: My shortest run was 3 miles and my longest run was 15.5 miles.

Strength work: I should likely just remove this category, although my coach mentioned that he might design a quick, easy strength program for me. I know that this is important and it’s just a matter of me making time for it! If left to my own devices, I will choose 10 to 15 more minutes of running over strength training every. single. time.

The Other Stuff

Please note: I came up with a new little A-Z template of random things to share each month. I was getting a little bit tired of the one I was using and wanted to step it up a notch. I might have stepped it up too many notches though.

Anticipating: Baby Olivia’s arrival! Any day now!

Buying: lots of Brooks running shoes! I got a couple of Launches for everyday wear and a pair of Flows for short workouts and races.

Considering: riding a bike. All this biking that Daniel is doing has me contemplating the idea myself. We’ll see.


Discovering: that it is okay to just say no if I don’t have time or don’t truly *want* to do something. No clue why it took me 31 (almost 32) years to figure this out.

Enjoying: the drier air. The humidity has been less than 100% in the last few days and it feels so good.

Feeling: a little sleepy and a little anxious, but for the most part, pretty happy.

Going: to work here shortly and to Mobile for a 5K this evening after work.

Hoping: to get some technology issues solved at work this week.

Inhaling: my first cup of coffee for the day.

Loving: the latest Little Big Town album.

Missing: there is about a 95% chance that my phone will go missing at some point during the day. I feel like I am losing my mind sometimes because I can lose just about anything in about 10 seconds flat.

Noticing: that I am so much more willing and likely to speak up when something is on my mind these days. Again, no clue why it took me 31 (almost 32) years to figure this out.

Obsessing: about finding balance. The irony is real.

Planning: some big life goals. Super vague. Sorry.

Questioning: how it is that the IAAF can conduct retroactive drug tests 10 YEARS after the fact. This is so bizarre to me. Don’t get me wrong, I am totally against cheating. I just have so many questions about this. How long do they keep the samples? How do they decide when to retroactively test?

Reading: Eligible by Curtis Littenfeld. If you’ve been reading along for a little bit, you’ve likely heard me talk about the I’ll Have Another Podcast. The host, Lindsey, has put together a book club and I’m planning to follow along as best as I can. I’m excited to dig into this modern-day Pride and Prejudice, which is one of my all-time favorites.

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Saving: so much money on gas! There is definitely something to be said for living and working within a mile of each other.

Thinking: that maybe 26 things was a lot to try to come up with.

Using: my mouse and keyboard. Lame, I know.

Visiting: Destin, FL this weekend!

Watching: Covert Affairs. We got into this series shortly after I asked for suggestions last month. It’s about a CIA operative and her missions. We’ve really enjoyed it.

Xeroxing: So yeah, hard to come up with an X word. I think they made a copy of my insurance card the last time I went to the doctor … cool story bro.

Yearning: for fall! I love summer, but it’s about time say peace out. I love the memories that come with the changing seasons.

Zeroing: Again, hard to come up with an Z word, so … zeroing means “closing out” for purposes of this post. Speaking of closing out, I think we are done here!

Have a great day! See you soon!

Race Recap: Fairground Road 1 Mile (PR!)

HAPPY FRIDAY! I’ve got a race recap to share with you today! AHH!

Thursday evening I ran in the inaugural Fairground Road one mile race. This race was the final installment of the “summer track series” that Rebecca puts on to raise money for her cross country team each year. Typically the series ends with the milk mile on the track, but she switched things up a little bit this year and added a certified one mile road race! How awesome, right?!

Background

There are very few certified one mile races around here and I was so excited when Rebecca first mentioned the idea of doing this. We actually kind of built my summer training with this and another two mile race in mind.

I’ve done one other one mile race before and it was 5 years ago. I really can’t believe that it’s been that long ago! Seems like it was just yesterday. Every now and then I can find an age group record that is somewhat doable. Usually it is an uncommon distance (1 mile, 4 mile, 10 mile, etc.) that people don’t race very often, but still … it’s cool to try! This is a picture from the finish line of the race in 2012 and it is one of my favorite running photos and memories of all time. Daniel paced me to my first state record!

Weeks Bay 1 Mile

The Plan

My coach sent me an awesome effort-based pacing strategy. I don’t know what I was expecting … I mean, it’s just one mile, how much strategy do you really need? Ha. Well, apparently strategy helps, as does thinking about said strategy pre-race (i.e., not winging it).

He divided the race up into 4 segments, but not necessarily the 4 quarter-mile segments (which is what you would likely expect). The plan was to take off fairly quickly on the first 200 meters (but not sprinting to the point of distress) and establish some space and position among the other runners. From 200 meters to 800 meters (the half way point), I wanted to stay strong, smooth and controlled. This gave me lots of good one-word mantras to focus on as I was suffering (suffer wasn’t one of the go-to words).

The stretch from the 800 back to the 200 would be the toughest section. Since I knew that going in, the plan was to focus on leg turnover and maintaining the pace. The last 200 meters would be time to get aggressive and really use whatever finishing kick I had. One thing that I found fascinating that my coach shared with me was that you actually tap into new glycogen stores when you transition into an all-out sprint. Say what?! Perhaps I should’ve known this or have heard it before, but I don’t all-out sprint enough (or ever for that matter) to actually experience this first-hand.

Pre-Race

The race took place at 6:30 p.m. at Robertsdale High School. I’m pretty sure the feels like temperature was in the triple digits! I actually took a few hours off from work Thursday evening to rest before the race. I know that not everyone has this luxury (I just worked longer hours the rest of the week to make up the time) or cares that much, but I do. I trained hard for this race, so why not give myself the best opportunity to be as successful as possible?

Daniel got home from work just before 5:30 p.m. and we headed to the race. At registration we got to pick our numbers, which was a nice touch. I chose #5 because numbers that end and 5 and 0 are the bestest, most even numbers (not literally, obviously). We did a two mile warm-up with some strides at the end and then it was go time!

The Race

The course was an out and back. It was flat and fast! The turnaround slowed you down a tad, but in order for the course to be state record eligible, it can’t be a point to point race (I’m not entirely sure what the actual rule is, but the start and finish have to be within a third of a mile of each other or something like that). I lined up on the second row behind the guys that I knew would be faster than me, Rebecca blew the fog horn and we were off.

I debated on whether to lap my watch at each 400 split in order to have the data afterwards, but ultimately decided against that as I didn’t want to have to fool with it during the race … so, I can’t give you a play-by-play of each 400 split. I do have this handy-dandy pace analysis from Strava though!

Pace Crop

The graph makes it look like my pace was all over the place, but I feel like I ran fairly consistently. The first 100-200 meters were likely a hair too fast, but … it happens. It felt like all of the guys were just leaving me in the dust and I wanted to at least try to keep a reasonable distance behind them. Thankfully everyone’s pace kind of evened out after that and I settled right into the 5:20 – 5:25 range until the turnaround.

I know I lost a few seconds at the turaround, but I think I made them up pretty quickly. I really focused on pushing hard during this stretch (since my coach told me this would be the toughest part of the race). After I got back up to speed (plus some), I steadily eased it back into the 5:20 – 5:25 range where I had been earlier. With 400 to go, I made a bit of an effort to pick it up and touch.

By this point in a one mile race, everything is ON FIRE. Your legs, your lungs and possibly even your heart. They say when your legs can’t run anymore, run with your heart. As cheesy as that may sound, I think I used the fire in my heart to kick it in over those last 200 meters. The fact that my coach had told me that I would tap into some new glycogen stores definitely helped me. In my head, I thought, “Okay, Sam … just run faster and you’ll feel better. It’s science.” In my head, I could also hear my dad telling me to GROWL. This was always his way of telling me to dig deep and be aggressive and he always made me make a growling sound back to him. GRR!

I hadn’t looked at my watch very much during the race. I mean, sure, I glanced down at it a few times and looked at the current pace just to make sure I was on track, but I didn’t know what my overall time was until I saw the clock at the finish line. I finished in 5:23! Holy cow! I was over the moon excited (and still am)! I took 10 seconds off of my previous mile time and got the Alabama 31 yr. old state record in the process. Missions accomplished.

Post-Race

We did a two mile cool down after the race to flush out the junk in our legs. I felt way better than I expected to post-race. Give me a day or two and I might be singing a different tune though.

The overall male and female winners of the one mile race got these AWESOME medal hangers that a local runner made. This is one of my favorite prizes to date. I love it!

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There were also awesome door prizes and prizes for the overall winners of the entire track series. This was a wonderful event (thanks to Rebecca) and I really hope that it becomes an annual thing!

Several of us went out for pizza after we left the race. We sat around and swapped war stories and Strava data because we are cool like that. Ha. When we got home I remembered that I had picked up some fudge at the store just in case I had a reason to celebrate (good reasons being either A) it’s almost Friday or B) I ran a PR). I think that chocolate fudge might be one of my favorite desserts at this point. It was delicious and then of course, I was WIRED and was up until WAY past my normal bedtime. Apparently I am still wired because I am up before 5 a.m. talking to you lovely people.

One last thing and I promise I will wrap it up. I wrote my pace on my hand before the race. I do this for most races where I have a specific goal or pace in mind. As you can see below, the goal was 5:30.

Daniel writes Bible verses on his hand before his races and so I was curious if there were any 5:30 verses that we applicable and of course there was. John 5:30 says, “By myself I can do nothing.” Theologically speaking, there is more to it than it appears, but I thought this was a wonderful reminder that we truly cannot do anything with God. I am so thankful for the ability to run and the gift of running. I never want to lose sight of using that gift for His glory.

I hope you guys have a wonderful Friday and a lovely weekend!

Pace Crop

Week #9: SOS

‘Ello mates!

Whew. The final week of training is done and now I get a break from workouts for a few weeks and I get to run some races. Woo to the hoo. I haven’t done nearly as many races yet this year as I typically do, so I’m pretty excited about it.

With that being said, this week wore. me. out. Working, training and doing life felt like a lot this week. This summer my work schedule quickly escalated from part-time to full-time to over-time and I’m not exactly thrilled about it. I’ve been trying to focus on being intentional about how I am spending my time and making sure that I am spending it wisely.

There are 168 hours in a week. I am spending ~ 50 of them working, ~ 60 of them sleeping (assuming 8 hours a night and a couple of bonus hours for naps on the weekends) and ~ 10 of them running, so that still leaves ~ 50 hours for whatever else life has in store. For some reason, thinking about it in terms of hours helps. I can do a lot of things in the 50 hours that I have that aren’t dedicated to anything in particular!

Monday: 5 miles (8:45 pace)

I was tired Monday morning and was pretty much dreading the week. I’m not proud of my attitude, but it is what it is. I basically wanted to curl up in a ball and cry when my alarm went off. Instead of doing that, I went out for an easy run with Daniel and that definitely was more productive than they curl up in a ball and cry alternative.

Tuesday: 2 mi. WU, 4 X 1 mile repeats (6:01, 6:03, 6:00, 6:09), 2 mi. CD

We hit the track first thing Tuesday morning for my first big workout of the week … mile repeats. These were supposed to be done at close to 5K pace. Daniel ran the warm up and the first two repeats with me, which of course was a huge help. He was planning to do a bike workout Tuesday evening, so he didn’t want to completely trash his legs.

Side note: He didn’t actually make it to the group ride because he got tied up in court. A month or so ago, we had just gotten home from a run and we witnessed a bit of an altercation between two ladies in our neighborhood. There were verbal threats and harsh words exchanged and then one of the ladies decided to use her mail to beat the other lady up.  It was truly bizarre. Daniel and I pretty much saw the whole thing and Daniel got in the middle of them and broke up the fight. He later get subpoenaed to appear in court regarding the case.

Anywho … I finished up the last two repeats by myself and was just proud that I got it done. My pace faded on the last one, but I’m not too worried about that. I know that I put in adequate work to get the benefits from the workout.

Wednesday: 7 miles (8:51 pace) + 4 miles (8:52 pace)

Wednesday was an easy treadmill run before work and another easy treadmill run after work. So exciting, I know.

Thursday: 9 miles (8:37 pace) + 5 miles (8:20 pace)

Thursday morning I was *supposed to* do my second track workout of the week, but that didn’t happen. I was in major procrastination mode by this point in the week and the idea of doing another track workout was really daunting. I did an easy run with Daniel that morning instead.

Rebecca and I went to a new group run from a local coffee shop after work Thursday evening. They were only doing 2 to 3 miles, so we pretty much just ended up doing our own thing, which worked just fine.

Friday: 7 miles (9:09 pace)

In the spirit digging myself further into the hole of procrastination with the track workout, I ran easy on the treadmill again Friday morning.

Saturday: 10.3 miles (8:42 pace)

Ran with the typical group Saturday morning, but kept it a little shorter than my typical long run mileage (since I still had that darn track workout looming over me). After a good run and coffee conversations with friends, I was feeling much better.

Sunday: 2 mi. WU, 12 X 400 w/ 1:30 recovery jog (80, 80, 81, 85, 85, 86, 87, 86, 90, 89, 91, 88), 2 mi. CD

Clearly I had a mental block against this lovely little workout, so it shouldn’t come as a complete shock that its execution was a bit of a mess. My goal pace was 80 to 83 seconds per lap, which I was able to do for exactly 3 of the 12 repeats. When my fourth repeat went over goal pace and felt incredibly difficult, I *almost* pulled the plug on the workout altogether (as in I clicked stop on my watch and had my finger on the button ready to hit “save,” which would’ve meant that the workout was over).

I had to give myself a bit of a pep talk. If this was a race and I was struggling, I absolutely wouldn’t quit. I only wanted to quit because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to hit the paces that I was supposed to and that made the workout a complete bust (in my head).  Sometimes training is as much of a mental struggle as a physical challenge. Today was one of those days for me for sure. The good news is that I finished the workout and I am counting that as a major mental victory.

My biggest takeaway from this week is that I am more than ready for a break from hard workouts. I’m really looking forward to the races that I have coming up. Even so, I am trying to stay in touch with where I am and to make sure that I don’t end up with a major case of burnout (like I did last summer). I recognize that it is really hard for me to work 50+ hours per week and keep a balanced, happy life. I feel kind of stuck with the choices that I made that got me into this position to begin with though and right now, I don’t really have a short-term solution.

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Sorry for the downer of a post. Tomorrow brings a new week. Hopefully we can all make it a good one!

Week #8: SOS + Milk Mile Race Recap

Hi!

I can’t believe that it’s already been two months of the ‘summer of speed-work’ training cycle. I mean, I guess I kind of can believe it and can’t believe it at the same time. On one hand I feel like I have been spending A LOT of quality time at the track and that I have already done so. many. workouts. On the other hand though, I guess it just doesn’t seem like we should be over halfway through July. That just seems crazy.

I have one more big week of training and then a trifecta of evening races the next three weeks. My summer training has, for the most part, been in preparation for these races … a one mile race (July 27), a 5K (August 1) and a two mile race (August 8). What will come after that is still somewhat TBD.

I did most of my running on the treadmill this week. For whatever reason, it just seemed to happen that way. I ran at the track a couple of times and did the usual long run with our training buddies though, so hopefully this recap won’t be a total snoozefest.

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Monday: 9 miles (8:37 pace)

Started off the week by doing 5 miles with Daniel and 4 more on my own.

Tuesday: 3 miles (8:24 pace) + 8.5 miles (8:16 pace)

I had an early day Tuesday and didn’t have time for anything more than 3 miles. I intended to do my workout Tuesday evening, but my motivation for running hard is usually about a 1 out of 10 around 5 p.m. and I settled on an easy run instead.

Wednesday: 2 mi. WU, 12 X 300 (61, 60, 62, 61, 63, 63, 60, 62, 62, 62, 61, 61), 2 mi. CD

The workout this week was 300 meter repeats, which is not a typical distance. It seems like 200s and 400s are fairly standard, but 300s definitely aren’t. I know I have done a 300 workout one other time, but I can’t recall when exactly that was. A quick search of my training spreadsheet didn’t reveal that any 300 meter repeats have been done since January of 2015 though, so I guess it was likely 2014 and I don’t feel like digging through my paper training logs from that year to see what my times were. Nerd fail. Darn.

The workout ended up being pretty similar to a 1:00 on, 1:00 off workout, as my goal range for the 300s was 60 – 62 seconds (5:20 to 5:32 pace) and the recovery was a one minute jogging recovery. These faster workouts have been really challenging, but in a fun way! I rarely see paces like that when I run and it gives you a bit of a confidence boost, just knowing that your legs can do it (even though it may feel like death).

Daniel came to the track with me, but wasn’t doing a workout (he had done a hard bike ride the evening before). This was the first workout that I’ve done completely solo in a while. I missed having someone to push with. It really makes a huge difference! Overall, I was happy with how the workout went. I think it may have even been a tad cooler than it has been, which was helpful and I was able to stay pretty close to the target range. I happily carried my endorphins around with me the rest of the day.

Thursday: 7 miles (8:50) + Summer Track Series (800, 4 X 400 relay and Milk Mile)

I did an easy treadmill run Thursday morning before work. Thursday evening we went to a fundraiser for the Robertsdale High School XC team (Rebecca’s team). The three events at this meet were an 800, the 4 X 400 relay and the grand finale … the milk mile!

We got to the track around 6:15 and did a one mile warm up. The weather was iffy, but thankfully it moved out just in time for the meet to get going at 6:30. In hindsight, I probably should’ve done more than a one mile warm up, because I don’t think my legs or lungs were ready for the pain of the 800! Wowza. I sometimes forget how badly it hurts to race an 800. I think my official time was 2:41. I likely positive split the heck out of those two laps. I didn’t think to lap my watch when I came through the first 400 though, so I don’t really know. I know that my legs and lungs were ON FIRE about midway through the second lap and that when I was done all of my extremities were tingly. I’ll take a marathon over an 800 next time, please and thank you.

The 400 wasn’t nearly as painful as the 800, but left my feet and hands similarly tingly. I ran the 400 in 75 seconds which is exactly what I thought I would do. Sweet!

The big event at this meet by far though is the MILK MILE! It’s every bit as disgusting and awesome as it sounds. You drink 8 oz. of milk, run a lap around the track and repeat 4 times for a total of 32 oz. of milk and one mile of running. The time doesn’t start until after you drink the first cup of milk, but after that the time you spend drinking the milk counts towards your overall time. If you vomit, you have to run an extra “penalty” lap. No one has actually gotten sick and I think Rebecca said this was the 6th year of the milk mile. That is pretty incredible in and of itself. Also the pressure is on because no one wants to be *that person* that ruins the streak. Haha.

The worst part of the whole thing is actually just standing on the starting line holding that first cup of milk in anticipation of what you are about to (willingly) do to yourself. Okay, so maybe that isn’t as bad as the milky regurgitation in the back of your throat as you run or even as bad as the post-run milk baby that grows in your unsettled tummy. So lovely.

For me, the actual running part wasn’t that bad. I had a hard time getting the milk down each lap, just in a sense that it took me a good 15 seconds to drink each cup whereas a few of the guys were throwing them back in less than 5 seconds! It was so crazy! After carefully studying the footage and pictures (sarcasm), I think my cup tilt is part of the problem.

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You can see from the picture above that Young Daniel has his cup parallel to the ground, which makes for optimal drinking capability, whereas mine is barely even tilted upwards at all. I don’t think I really *wanted* another cup of milk at this point.

I was the first female finisher with a time of 6:40! I think there were 3 girls total that ran. I’m sure you’ll find that hard to believe that this was a predominantly male event. After the race, we set out to do a one mile cool down, but that didn’t happen. We decided to just call it a day and let our milk babies continue to hang out in our tummies.

Daniel and Jessica. I adore this picture. I think she’s got him beat by just a smidge.

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Friday: 5 miles (9:04 pace) + 6.2 miles (8:38 pace)

I was surprisingly sore Friday morning! I decided to do a double only because I realized that my favorite podcaster had a wonderful guest (Tia!) and I didn’t want to wait a single day to listen.

Saturday: 15.5 miles (8:08 pace)

Saturday was my longest run of the summer! Rebecca did 19 miles and I met her a little earlier than the rest of the group, so I ended up with a couple more miles than usual. It was a good, sweaty run.

Sunday: 7.25 miles (8:19 pace)

Rebecca and I got in a good run together Sunday evening. We somehow both managed to not run Sunday morning (unplanned and not on purpose), which rarely happens, but I’m so glad that it did. There’s nothing like a good run with a better friend to finish off the week on a good note.

I hope everyone has a great week!