Monday, March 27, 2017

March Madness Half Marathon 2017 {race recap}

Last Sunday (3/19), I ran the March Madness half in Cary, IL. Ive never ran it before, because why would I put myself through the torture of a hilly course just for fun? In all reality, I decided to do it this year as a training/see where I'm at for Boston run. I was excited as I could be on race morning to wake up early to drive more than I have in the past 6 years combined.

I woke up early, had an applesauce and nutrigrain bar for breakfast- the store I went to the day before didn't have any Belvita Biscuits. {sad face} I took the Churro Dog out and then got the zipcar for the hourish long ride out to Cary.

In thinking about race goals, I decided if I ran around a 1:45, that would be great! I figured a more realistic time would be 1:47 due to the hills and because I didn't know what I would be capable of.

Bib pickup was quick so I just sat in the car for a while before the race started. I also had another nutrigrain bar an hour before the start. About 20 min before the start, I left the warm cocoon of the car, hit the portalets one last time and then walked over to the start.

It was low 30's and calm for the morning. I struggled a lot with what to wear and decided on wearing my Nike hyperwarm under my singlet- because I had worn something similar for a half last year and felt ok. In hindsight, I should have ditched the long sleeve. I just really hate being cold for any amount of time.

Without fanfare, the race started on time with a "GO!" And we were off. Half a mile into the race I look at my watch and am shocked to see 7:30's- and also shocked to see so many people ahead of me and continuing to pass me. (This is a very competitive field) since I felt good, I just went with it and continued cruising. The first few miles are net downhill- I kept this in mind so that I wouldn't push too hard and blow out my quads.

Around mile 4.5, I took a gu. I carried expired Osmo drink with me too. (Expired as of January, but still tastes fine, whatever) I felt really good the first 5 miles and decided once I got to mile 8 that I would start pushing the pace a bit more.

Going into this race I didn't know how the hills would be- I looked at the elevation profile, but that didn't mean much to me. I kept thinking they would be like the hills in my Mom's hood in TN- which are so steep I have to walk up them. I was pleasantly surprised that they were nothing like those heinous hills and that I could run up these without too much discomfort. I really enjoyed the names of the hills- sneaky hill and substantial hill were my favs.

At mile 8 my iPod died. I hadn't used it since the Carmel Marathon a year ago, and while it was charged, apparently doesn't hold much of a charge anymore. It had a good life of 7+ years but I was all F*CK!}*~%}!+|€~+{~ because the later miles of a race is when I need music most. I kept singing something in my head on repeat as I ran down the road. Mile 9+ I took my other gu. Around mile 12, I tossed my bottle of Osmo. It was somewhere around mile 9 that I realized I could PR, so I decided to keep flying on the downhills and pushing hard on the ups.

I crossed the finish in 1:42:34, and was so happy! I didn't expect to PR in this race since it was hilly and I was treating it as a training run. I'm just over the moon to know my Training is going in the right direction for Boston.

Post race, I met up with Eric and Lauren for a little bit before heading to Wildberry to meet Kim. Brunch with Kim at Wildberry was the perfect end to the day!

My calves were pretty sore for a few days post race, likely due to the hills and also wearing my newtons which I hadn't worn much lately for training.

I was just so happy that I executed this race so well.

Housekeeping/final thoughts:

•Ate Gardein Mandarin Chicken the night before the race.

•Had a salt tab 20 min pre race

•Gu at mile 4.5/9

•Sipped the bottle of Osmo until mile 12

•Completely overdressed. I shouldn't have worn the long sleeve. The runners world clothing calculator thing said I should wear shorts and a tank, I should have listened.

•I now know a sub 1:40 should be relatively easy to achieve now. Yay.

I would definitely do this race again! It was so well organized and I had a lot of fun. The course was pretty- and it was super challenging (compared to the pancake flat lakefront).

See you next year, maybe.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Boston Marathon Training {Week 14}

Another week full of being stressed out at work and super busy. There's a light at the end of the tunnel, but it might be a train.


On Sunday I ran the March Madness Half marathon. Spoiler alert: I got a PR by 2 minutes. It was completely unexpected and awesome and wow. More on that in another post.

crappy "photo of my medal in the parking lot because I didn't have my squad with me" selfie


Despite being swamped at work again due to changes, I had one of my highest mileage weeks (running wise) again.

One of the things Ive been working on the past few weeks is to take my easy runs much easier. After reading Pete's blog about 80/20 running, I decided to be more mindful about my pace during runs. Sometimes "easy" is 8:30's for me, yet that's only 35 seconds slower than my marathon PR pace. Lately Ive been taking easy runs at 9:00+ a mile and find I'm more rested and have more energy.

I just ordered the book 80/20 by Matt Fitzgerald and look forward to reading it in my limited spare time.

The highlight of this week of workouts was my speed sesh consisting of a fartlek where I alternated each song at a fast pace 7:20-30 followed with a song at a slow pace of 8:30. The other highlight was my new half PR.

Training Plan

Monday- easy 6 miles @ 9:13 pace

Tuesday- Fartlek every other song @ 7:30-20, with 2x400's @ 6:30 pace

Wednesday- 3.25 miles @ 9:30 pace

Thursday- 7 miles @ 9:18 pace

Friday- 3 miles with the pup (11:33), 3.75 miles @ 9:25 pace

Saturday- 10 miles progressive avg 8:20 pace

Sunday- 13.1 miles 1:42.34 avg 7:49

Goals and Stuff

After Sunday's half, I'm much more confident that I can run a sub 3:30 in Boston. I felt good enough on the hills and will continue doing body weight exercises and stairs post hard efforts.


I ran outside with CBdog on Friday after work. Runs like these make me super happy- I remember the days we used to run 18 miles in Alameda, CA together when he was 6. Now 3 miles is our limit since he is 12 and it takes a toll on his body.

I really need to run outside more. When I'm outside, I love running along the lakefront. But sometimes (most days) it's hard for me to get out there. I hate the cold and how it makes my hands hurt despite having some really nice gloves. I also can't get all the crime I read about out of my head. But on the other hand, running inside my hot gym is great Heat acclimatization in case Boston is a sauna.

Looking Forward

I'm going to make an effort to run outside this week.

I also need to be more mindful of what I'm eating. Ive cut back on alcohol, but need to stop binging on food. I'm much better than I was, but need to stick with proper portion sizes and drink more water.

13 Days to go until Shamrock Shuffle

28 Days to go until BOSTON!


Monday, March 13, 2017

Boston Marathon Training {Weeks 12 & 13}

These past 2 weeks have been a blur. Some major changes at work brought stress and added hours- but looking back, it was good to keep working out so I wouldn't focus too much on work or obsess about running.


I posted this pic on my IG last week and ended up winning a pink ticket to Mikkeller Beer Celebration. As a result, we started looking into flights to CPH, And now we are headed back to Copenhagen for the 3rd time. I'm really excited to see all of our friends and eat good Danish foods, and drink amazing beer.


Week 12 was better than week 13. I just felt more put together. Week 13 had a lot more stress + early AM meetings so working out before work was limited. (And I have no desire to work out when I get home)

The highlight of week 12 was 7x800's @ 3:20 (6:40 pace). I felt great. Another highlight was 6x1200's @ 7:30 pace in the middle of my 12 mile long run on Saturday.

Week 13 was ok. I didn't cycle at all. I took 2 rest days- which is unusual for me. Monday I was tired, and had a 7am meeting- so Morning workout was out. Friday I felt kind of sick in the morning so I decided to wait until the afternoon for a workout. During the course of the day on Friday, my left foot started hurting pretty bad- it came out of nowhere. I was convinced the side of it was swollen, and each step hurt pretty bad. Saturday morning, I woke up and was fine. Dafuq.

The highlight of week 13 was 4x1.5 miles @ 7:30 pace. I felt really strong during this workout. The low light of this week? How about low lights: Feeling sick on Friday, my foot hurting randomly, and cutting my 16 miler to 11 because I didn't feel good. Oh well.

Goals and Stuff

I still feel on track for a sub 3:30 finish. I also need to run outside again some time soon so I can have additional confidence. (At the minimum I'll run outside on Sunday) I should probably do more with hill type stuff, but for now the squats and jumping squats and squat press with 25lb weights and all the stairs I take seem enough.

I also need to buy a fresh pair of kicks for the marathon. My neon Newton Distance shoes only have 180 miles on them, but I'd prefer to have a newer pair for Boston and beyond.


I cooked posole soup in the slow cooker this week and it came out really good! Pic didn't do it justice so you'll have to imagine a rich broth with hominy and a little spice.

Looking Forward

Ive got my first race of the year this Sunday- the March Madness Half. I don't plan on "racing" it for a time due to the crazy elevation profile, but I do plan to give a good effort to see where I'm at.

My Daad won a pair of glasses at a 5k recently and sent them to me. The dog promptly called dibs and loves them.

6 Days to go until March Madness Half

20 Days to go until Shamrock Shuffle

35 Days to go until BOSTON!