Sunday, February 28, 2016

Training recap: 2/22-2/28

Week 12:

Monday--AM: Met Jess at her place for 6 easy miles.  Neither of us really were feeling this run... that's what running 16-18 miles on Sunday will do for you on a Monday morning at 4:50 AM!  Overall pace was 9:35 and we probably couldn't have gone much faster if we had to.

PM: Spent 30 minutes on glute work (yes, they are getting stronger!) and then 25 minutes on a variety of strength exercises including planks, sit-ups, push-ups and squats.

Tuesday--skipped my normal 4:30 AM interval ride on the trainer today because a) I had speed work planned for Wednesday AM, and b) I was sleepy!  I made it to my Yoga for Runners class in the evening, though, and had a great class.  The focus was hips and glutes, and I definitely needed the stretches!

Wednesday--AM: Allison L., Tamara and I had planned on doing today's 9 mile run with tempo intervals at 4:30 AM starting in my 'hood, but Mother Nature decided to unleash a cold, steady rain starting at around 1 AM.  None of us thought that sounded like fun, so our back-up plan went into effect.  Allison met me at my gym and use a free guest pass so that we could get our miles in on the treadmills.  We were only able to fit in 7 miles, as the gym doesn't open until 5 AM and we both needed to get home to get ready for work.  I kept the treadmill at 6.4 mph (9:22 pace) for all of the miles except the 4 x 4 minute repeats at 7.7 mph (7:47 pace).  1 mile recovery between each repeat.  We were hot and sweaty and annoyed with having to do this run inside, but we got it done!  Overall pace: 8:51.  First tempo run for me in 7 weeks!  I will call it a success, although sometimes I feel like tempo runs on the treadmill are cheating, because you just have to set the 'mill at that pace and hold on (not literally--no holding onto treadmill handles while running!).

PM: Thought about a swim... nah.  Thought about a ride... nah.  Thought about strength training... nah.  Wasn't feeling any of it.  I did manage to do 20 minutes of PT stuff for my glutes, and then had fun with my foam roller for 10 minutes ;)

Thursday--The weather forecast said less than an inch of snow, so Tamara and I figured we'd be fine on our 5 mile easy run this morning.  What I didn't plan on was the pelting freezing rain/sleet that we encountered as we ran west!  Straight in our faces and poking my eyes out repeatedly.  Ugh, I was not happy!  We ran a loop, though, so after a couple of miles we turned and then headed back east.  Of course, miles 4 and 5 were a bit faster due to the ability to see without pain again. Overall pace: 9:16.

Friday--I love Friday rest days more and more each week.  I am so tired after 6 days of working out.... and knowing that I will get a day of nothing before my Saturday long run really helps me physically as well as mentally!

Saturday--I wasn't feeling this run when I woke up.  Not sure why.  Just wasn't feeling like 18 miles at 6 AM... we had to get this run in early as Joey had a 9 AM basketball game.  My running partners agreed to meet me at the rec center to do three 6-mile loops.  I was able to design 3 different loops to keep things interesting; we stopped at the cars every six miles to fuel and drink water.  I loved not having to carry anything on this run!  For the first loop, it was Amy, Allison, Jess, Carol, Megan M., Megan S., Lori, and Jennifer S. Jennifer & Megan M. left and Beth joined us for loop #2, and for the final loop it was just me, Allison, Jess, Amy and Carol.  Poor Amy was really, really sick, and the final loop was miserable for her.  I had trouble keeping everyone back for a few of the miles!  Here were the splits:
Loop #1: 9:26, 9:14 (insert me yelling at everyone to slow down!), 9:25, 9:22, 9:22, 9:33
Loop #2: 9:15, 9:13, 9:15, 9:15, 9:15, 9:13 (pretty damn perfect pacing by yours truly!)
Loop #3: 9:02, 9:11, 9:21, 9:11, 9:12, 9:16 (okay, I kind of sucked on that one)
Like everyone, I was feeling done on the last loop and wasn't able to keep my pace as slow as I'd have liked.  Overall pace was 9:17.

Sunday--Wasn't sure what this day would bring.  A bike ride?  Strength training?  A swim?  Ended up getting in an hour on the trainer.  Nice steady ride (80-84 rpm) while I watched the 2015 Ironman World Championships.  I do need to get a swim in sometime, as it's been a couple of weeks.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Training recap: 2/15-2/21

Week 11 (single digits left till the race!)

Monday--AM: Day off work today for President's Day, so I met Jess at the late hour of 5:45 AM for our run.  The freezing rain was just starting when our run began, but we didn't really realize it!  The roads still had a good coating of snow so footing wasn't an issue.  We did 6 together and then I did one more by running up and down her street for 7 miles total.  Overall pace: 9:23 (all miles were 9:15-9:30 except for one, which was 9:14).  Great recovery run!

Tuesday--a snow day from school was welcomed!  I had a bad stomach ache on Monday night and decided to skip my usual strength training.  It was great to sleep in today, and get in both my strength training AND my bike ride during the day!  I did 35 minutes of PT exercises for my glutes and calves, and then 30 minutes of work on the core, arms and legs.  Then I hopped on the trainer and cranked out 35 minutes: 5 minutes warm-up, 5 x (3 minutes at 96-100 rpm + 2 min at 80-84 rpm), 5 minutes cool down.  The 3 minute intervals were HARD... I felt like I was going to die after the 4th and almost decided to call it quits.  Learning how to work through the burn though!   

Wednesday--Headed out to New Albany to run with Allison and Meggie this morning.  It was slick out there!  We had some slow miles mixed in with some faster miles (when the roads were clear).  Only one mile was faster than 9:15; overall pace for the 7 miles was 9:31.  I got stuck in Allison's driveway after we finished and she had to shovel/push my car out!!!

Thursday--AM: Met up with Tamara, Megan M. and Lori at Tamara's house for an easy 5 miles.  I forgot my watch, but they were perfect pacers and kept all miles slower than 9:15 but faster than 9:30 :)  Overall pace: 9:21.

PM: Didn't feel like swimming tonight as I'd planned, so I stayed at home and did 30 minutes of strength work (PT stuff for my glutes and calves).  Love that I'm feeling stronger!

Friday--Rest day... 'nuff said.

Saturday--Typically my long run day, but Joe had a fishing conference at 7 AM.  I did my 30 minutes of strength work (glutes & calves), and then rode for an easy 45 minutes on the trainer (84-86 rpm).  Didn't want to ride for too long, with my long run in the morning.

Sunday--The plan called for 14-16 miles total (of course, I chose 16 LOL).  This was such a wonderful run!  I loved every aspect of it: running with several great friends, running in the sunlight for the entire run (we started at 7 AM), and running in "warm" weather (real-feel was 39 degrees!).  Megan M. joined Allison, Amy, Jess and me for the first 3.  Becky came and we all did 6 together, and then Becky did 5 more with us after Megan left.  2 more for me, 4 more for Amy, Jess and Allison.  Did you catch all that LOL?  

After 14 miles for us--11 for Becky.  Just missing Megan!

Lots of out-and-backs, which I really do prefer.  I did carry my small hand-held bottle, mostly because I GU'ed out on the trail and I hate not having water to wash it down with.  Paige wrote that miles 9, 11 and 13 were to be ran at an 8:20-8:30 pace, which is *almost* marathon pace.  I was excited to finally get to RUN again!  I told my friends that I felt like a puppy who was let off of her leash at last.  The miles were a bit faster than anticipated--8:22, 8:17, 8:15--but I was amazed to feel absolutely wonderful the entire time.  I had to hold myself back quite a bit!  I can actually say that I can see myself at least attempting to run at that pace for 26.2 miles in 9 weeks.  Overall pace for the run was 9:05.

Other miscellaneous notes:

I felt good again this week, especially after my long run.  I'm still working on what I need to eat to most effectively fuel myself for my runs, as well as keep my stomach happy.  It is defintely a work in progress!!!  I am going to try a new GU next week, Honey Stingers.  Most of my friends swear by them--they are supposed to be more "natural", so hopefully easier on my sensitive tummy!  I took two Immodium before my long run today, and they worked like a charm.  I'd rather not take them if I don't have to, though!

This coming week brings my first tempo run in 7 weeks.  I'm excited to push my legs a bit!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Training recap: 2/8-2/14

Week 10 (halfway through training!):

Monday--AM: Jess has a cold, and with the rainy, cold morning, we agreed to hit our separate treadmills versus meeting up for a run.  I set the 'mill at 6.2 for the first 3 miles (9:31 pace), then to switch it up a bit, I did a mile at 6.3 (9:17), a mile back at 6.2, and the final mile at 6.3.  It still was incredibly boring... my gym needs better things on their TV's!  Overall pace: 9:29.

PM: Home workout consisted of: 20 minutes of glute/calf strengthening plus a 15 min circuit: 4 x (25 squats, 25 lower half squats, 20 bicep curls, 20 bicep pulses, 20 pushups).

Tuesday--Early morning ride on the trainer.  After a 5 minute warm-up, I did my favorite "reverse ladder" set: 5-4-3-2-1-2-3-4-5 minutes, with increased resistance on the way "up" and increased cadence on the way "down").  This is a great way to sweat in the morning!  Ended with a 5 minute cooldown.  

Wednesday--AM: I waffled between the treadmill or running outside for this run.  It was windy with a real-feel temperature of 4 degrees, and the trail was snow-covered for most of the first 3 miles, but in the end I was glad I chose outside!  Met Meggie and Allison and we kept all of the miles slower than 9:15 except for one--not bad! Overall pace: 9:29.

PM: My first "Yoga for Runners" class!  My friend Marcy is teaching this class in Westerville.  I loved it... lots of great stretches and poses just for runners.  It's a 6 week class... definitely a great way to get in the stretching that I really need!  If you can't make it to the class, this link has several of the stretches that we did.

Thursday--AM: A catch-up run with one of my favorite mama runners, Becky!  We usually meet in Worthington, the halfway point between our houses, but I was concerned about the snow-covered sidewalk and didn't want to run on busy High Street.  I ended up heading out to her house for some neighborhood loops.   Due to the cold (a real-feel temp of -6!), we started out too fast.  So, we did what Becky coined a "regressive run", with each mile a bit slower than the previous! It was still too fast, but our excuse was the freezing cold--we wanted to get warm! Overall pace: 9:13.

PM: The twins had an 1.5-hour-long evening class at the rec center, so I took the opportunity to get a swim in!  Did a long swim/pull ladder set and then a short IM set (total of 2700 yards) before settling into the jacuzzi for 15 minutes of relaxation.  Every workout needs to end that way ;)

Friday--This rest day was much needed... I love "sleeping in" until 5:25 on Fridays!  

Saturday--The projected temperatures made me question whether or not I should take this long run (Paige had 13-16 written on the plan, although for some reason I thought it was 13-15) indoors on the treadmill, or maybe postpone it until Sunday when it would be a bit warmer.  The "real feel" temp upon waking was -8 degrees.  Yeah, that's pretty damn cold.  But I knew I could handle it. I have ran in colder temps, and I know how to dress to make it tolerable.  I met Beth and Colleen at 6 AM at the Columbus Running Company store, and we ran a 6-mile loop that I'd created around Westerville.  This was my first time running with Colleen so it was nice to get to know her!  At 7 AM, Megan, Lindsay and Karen met us for a different 7-mile loop.  I loved this route--we ran along Hoover Dam, which is one of my favorite places to run (and I do it so rarely!).  It was light by then and watching the sun rise over the frozen water was pretty awesome.  We went into the CRC store to try to warm Beth up a bit after that loop, and then headed out for 2 more miles.  

All in all, I was very happy with this run.  Our overall pace was 9:29, and I managed to keep all miles at 9:15 or slower with the exception of one.  I did 6 or 7 pick-ups as well.  The best part: my GI issues were nonexistent on this run!  I planned on taking an Immodium before we ran, but we didn't have any at home so I took a few gas pills instead.  Maybe that's all I needed... or maybe it was that I only took one GU during the run.  I will keep working on the fueling strategies so I can get the best formula for me.

Sunday--Started out with 25 minutes of PT exercises (glute and calf strengthening).  I shirked this area this week--gonna do better next week!  

Hopped on the trainer and cranked out 70 minutes!   5 minute warmup, 60 minutes at a steady cadence of 88-90 rpm in gear 7, and 5 minute cooldown.   I watched the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials, and the time really flew by! 

Other miscellaneous notes:

I'm feeling good.  Each time I run, I have to remind myself to keep it easy and not stress about my calf.  If I think about it while I'm running, I end up convincing myself that it feels odd.  As long as I'm not over analyzing things, all is good!  This coming week brings my first attempt at some quicker miles,  as my long run is incorporating some almost-marathon-pace miles towards the end.   I'm excited to see how my body handles a sub-9 pace again! 

"Everyone should have a Cragg to their Flanagan in their lives."

The quote that is the title of this blog can be attributed to my friend Lisa... she posted it after watching the US Olympic Marathon trials yesterday.  For those who haven't had the chance to watch the race yet, what follows is a SPOILER ALERT ;)  

So, Shalane Flanagan (the race favorite) and her training partner Amy Cragg (who had a shot at making the team but was not as favored as Shalane) ran the race together (like, side-by-side) for the first 24 miles.  At around mile 20, Shalane appeared to be tiring quite a bit, and it looked like Amy was talking her up, telling her she could do it.  Then at around mile 24, Amy took off and ended up winning.  Fortunately, Shalane was able to hold on to 3rd place (Desi Linden, another pre-race favorite, passed her in the final mile), so she also qualified for the Olympics. Shalane had some severe heat exhaustion issues, and she literally fell into Amy's arms at the finish line.  Amy didn't celebrate her victory at all... the second she broke the tape, she turned around to watch and wait for her friend to join her at the finish.  At the post-race interview, Amy was asked about what she said to Shalane during the race. She spoke about how on the third lap of the 4-loop course, Shalane was there for her, helping her through a rough patch.  So when Shalane started to feel bad on the fourth lap, Amy was right there for Shalane, helping her mentally as the race began to wind down.

No words...

In our local Mom's Run This Town (MRTT) Facebook group, Lisa posted that "everyone should have a Cragg to their Flanagan in their lives."  Several friends commented that they, too, wished they had a running partner like Amy Cragg.  And, at first, I was in total agreement.  After all, I have been basically searching for an Amy, a BRF (best running friend) for almost 3 years.  Shortly after my first half marathon, I started running with friends rather than solo.  It began with my first running partners, Danielle and Jeanne-Marie.  Then I started to attend more group runs through Moms Run This Town.  I met Jen in November 2013 and we quickly grew close as she trained by my side for my first marathon.  Within six months, though, she urged me to move on to faster partners so that I could achieve my goals of getting speedier.  She introduced me to her friend Andrea, who (while a bit faster than me) proved to be a perfect long run partner.  Unfortunately, injuries to me (March through September) followed by her recent severe injury in October have gotten in the way of our running time.

So here I am, still wondering where MY training partner is.  I asked myself, do I need a BRF?  An Amy to my Shalane.  And I have come to this conclusion: I do not.  But before I explain why I don't think I need a "sole sister," I want to dissect in my opinion what makes a "perfect" running mate.

1) Similar pace.  This is very important, maybe the most important thing.  If your potential running partner runs 2 minutes per mile faster than you on a regular basis, you probably aren't a good fit, at least not for most of your runs.  If one person is willing to slow down, or the other can go faster, then pace isn't an issue.  I've just found it's easier to run with someone who runs at the same pace as you do.

2) Similar running schedule.  By this, I mean the time of day that you run.  If you are an evening runner, you likely won't mesh well with someone like me who needs to get their run in at 4:30 or 5 AM.  This is something people can change, of course, but I've found that most early-morning runners dislike running at night, and vice versa.

3) Geographical proximity.  Most runners I know have a "maximum distance" that they're willing to travel for a run, especially the early morning weekday ones.  For me, it's about 20 minutes, although for most of my runs I end up driving 10-12 minutes each way.  If your running partner lives close to you, this makes meeting up all the easier.  When my neighbor moved in next door a few years ago and I saw the 26.2 sticker on her car, I did a happy dance.  However, #1, #2 and #4 don't mesh for us, so we haven't ran together despite our houses being 50 feet apart.

4) Similar goals.  This isn't a huge factor, but I will still bring it up as I think it can be important.  You can have aspirations of a Boston-qualifiying time, and your potential partner can just be running for the fun of it, and the relationship can work.  However, at some point, it's helpful if your partner is training for a race of the same distance being held around the same time as your race.  Most running partners won't join you for a 20 mile long run unless they're also training for a marathon!

If all four of the above apply to you and a fellow runner, it could very well be a match made in heaven.  (My MRTT mamas sometimes think of me as the "matchmaker" LOL!) Of course, there is also the fact that you would want to "click" with this person... if you can't stand the way they talk about their adorable cat for 5 miles, you might not want to continue to run with them.

The idea of every runner having that "one person" who they can train with and race with appears in theory to be awesome.  My friend Erin has found her "person" in our friend Stephanie.  They meet all of my criteria listed above, and run almost every single mile by each other's sides. They raced most of their fall marathon together as well.

I don't have this with anyone. I never have, to be honest.  Instead, I have what I affectionately call "my running girls".  I have no less than 20 women who I can message and ask to join me for a run.  Some I am closer with than others, of course.  Some of them I run with on a regular basis.  Others, it's once a month, or even less.  But it's easy for us to pick up right where we left off, regardless of how long it's been since we last ran together.

You may ask, what's good about having a posse versus just one friend?  Well, here are my thoughts on this...

First and foremost, I love that I don't have to worry if my partner is not feeling well and needs to cancel, as typically there are least 1 or 2 others meeting up with me.  I know I won't have to run alone.  I won't run early in the dark alone, and since 75% of my runs are done early in the dark, this is important.

Second, my "girls" all have different paces.  I seriously have good friends with pace ranges from a 6:00 mile to a 13:00 mile.  That's a gigantic range.  I have friends who can push me for speed work.  I have friends who can interval with me if I'm recovering from injury.  I have friends who will slow me down for recovery runs.  I have friends who run at my comfy pace.  I love having so many options!  A running partner might run the exact same pace as you in a race, but her training paces could vary widely from yours.  Case in point: I can race a 1:40 half marathon, and many of my closest running friends run around this time or just a touch slower.  However, I have recently realized that I need to run slower for most of my runs in order to prevent injury.  Not everyone needs to do this, but I do.  So, even though I can hang with them for a race, I need to slow down on my training runs and therefore can't run as frequently with them at what used to be our "comfy pace".

And finally, I love that I have met so many different yet amazing women.  I love meeting new runners!  My running circle is huge, and I am constantly adding to it.  When a new runner joins our local running group on Facebook and her pace/geographical location is somewhat similar to mine, I immediately reach out to her.  That's how I met Allison S. last year, and she's turned into a super-close pal  in running and in life.  I've come to realize that I am happiest when I am surrounded by many friends who love me for who I am.  A large group of running friends who are supportive and caring... this is my ideal BRF, not just one single person.

Some of my favorite running partners!

So, while I think the Amy Cragg-Shalane Flanagan relationship is phenomenal, I will continue to nurture ALL of my running friendships, and be happy that I am lucky enough to have several Amy Craggs in my wanna-be-Shalane life!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Product review: SLS3 Dual Pocket Running Belt

SL3S is the company who makes my favorite compression socks (I reviewed them back in October), so when they offered me another product to review, I jumped at the chance!  This is the SLS3 Dual Pocket Running Belt.  It's a... well, it's a dual pocket running belt!  I have always used my FlipBelt to carry my keys, phone, GU, etc. when I run.  I bought it about 3 years ago when I first started to run, and it's been one of my best running purchases.  However, one thing that worries me when I wear it is that the slits on the belt don't zip up, so while they do seem to hold my things well, I always worry that my keys or something might fall out. (Note: I have the "classic" FlipBelt--I know that they now make an upgraded model with zipper pockets as well.)  In addition, my phone is just a tad bit big for my FlipBelt, so I have to put it in a ziploc bag when I put it in there (it helps it slide in and out easier).  

Not my phone--but look, the SLS3 belt can also hold an iPhone 6!

The SL3S belt boasts that it can hold my phone (Samsung Galaxy) easily, and that the zipper pockets will keep everything safe.  I ran with the belt on 4 different runs (from 4 miles all the way up to 14 miles), and twice I carried my phone with me.  The pockets on the belt are expandable, so while they may look small in the photo below, my phone slid in and out of them with total ease... way easier than my FlipBelt!  I loved this aspect of the belt.  The pockets are also water-resistant, which definitely came in handy during my 7-miler in the rain this past week. Also, today I had to put my used GU packet back in the pocket due to lack of a trash can nearby, but it was easy to rinse out the pocket after my run and hang the belt to dry.
My biggest concern when I first received the belt was if it would fit me correctly.  It's an elastic belt with an adjusting buckle.  I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get it tight enough.  The website says it can fit waist/hip size 24"-38", but I have no clue what my hips measure (FYI, I like to wear my belts on my hips, not around my waist).  It fit and stayed put perfectly though!  I completely forgot I even had it on during every single run I wore it.  I think that if I did want to wear it around my waist versus my hips, and it wasn't positioned over a layer of clothing, the belt might be too big for me.  So, if you're smaller than me (I am a women's size 3/4), or you like to wear your belt up higher on your waist, then this belt may be too big for you.  Otherwise, it should fit most runners just fine!

You can see the adjustable buckle here...
The belt comes in 4 different colors (blue, purple, black and lime green). I  chose purple and it's super cute (only the zipper is purple; otherwise the belt is black).  

Ready for the best part?  The Dual Pocket Running Belt retails for $29.90... however, if you use this link and order from, you can get it for only $12.90!  It's a limited-time introductory price, and there aren't many left, so order soon!  Even if you have a belt that you LOVE already, I highly recommend purchasing this one and giving it a try, especially for such a sweet price.  

And if you stuck with me this long, enter the raffle below to WIN one for FREE!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Training recap: 2/1-2/8

Week 9:

Monday--AM:  This was the first run of my new training plan.  My MIT gals decided it had been wayyyyy too long since we ran together, so we converged at Steph's house for our favorite loopy-route in her 'hood.  It was so awesome to run with them again!  I realized the night before that I actually had 6 miles on my schedule, so I woke up early and did a quick out-and-back mile in my own 'hood before heading over to Steph's.  Overall pace: 10:03 (my first solo mile was a 9:30 so the 5 with the girls were definitely nice and easy!).  

PM: 45 minutes of strength training at home.  Really paying attention to my glutes and hips right now.  Copied from my dailymile post: "Started out with 15 minutes of glute & calf strengthening exercises. Followed this with a new routine that I found in Runner's World to help build strength especially in the hips: (did each exercise--2 sets of 10). Finished with twice through 50 squats, a 2:00 plank, 2x20 bicep curls and 2x20 pulses. Oh and tacked on 2x20 push-ups at the end. Not a bad home workout :)"

Tuesday--I am still not starting any speed work as far as running goes, so I decided to get my sweat on while on the bike.  5 min warmup followed by 7 x (3 min hard, 2 min recovery), 5 min cool down.  I was soaked after this short ride!

Wednesday--The forecast for this morning called for storms, so I was very happy to actually get to be able to meet up with Meggie and Allison for 7 miles in New Albany.  The rain was annoying for the first couple of miles, then it settled down to a light sprinkle.  Avoiding the puddles was pretty much impossible, though, so wet socks were a given!  Overall pace: 9:21.  All miles were between 9:15-9:27 (yay for following my coach's advice!).

Thursday--AM: The monthly Westerville donut runs typically are on Tuesdays (a non-run day for me), but I lucked out when the group decided to run on Thursday this month.  Nice and easy 4 miles with several friends including both Allisons, Tamara, Meggie, Megan and Sharon.  Overall pace: 9:51 (first mile was almost 11 minutes, due to congestion on the sidewalk with the other runners, but all miles were above 9:30).

Great turnout! 

PM: Repeat of Tuesday's workout, but spent the whole time on strength training--added in some new calf strengthening exercises using a resistance band.  I'm pretty damn determined to get my hips, glutes and calves as strong as I can!

Friday--Ah, rest day.  Sweet rest day... I love them, mostly because I get to sleep in until 5:25 AM!  I am up by 4:20 AM at the latest Monday through Thursday, so it's super nice being able get that extra hour on Fridays.  

Saturday--First 14 miler since my minor calf strain/pull 4 weeks ago.  I have to admit, I was concerned about this run, for a few reasons.  1) My medial gastrocnemius felt tight on Thursday night and all day yesterday.  This isn't the muscle I injured, and I was confused as to why it felt so tight.  Lots of self-massage (and hubby-massage), rolling, gentle stretching, etc. definitely helped.  I need to stretch my calves a few times a day--gotta work that in.  2) I need to slow down, but my running partners all run faster (well, the pace I used to run).  I was worried that, even though they said they would go slower, it just wouldn't be slow enough.  Plus, it can be hard to slow down when your body says to go faster.  3) I had to stop my 12 miles short last week due to my calf feeling tight, and I was worried I might have to do the same this week. I hate stopping runs but I was prepared to do so if needed.  Fortunately, things went pretty darn perfect.  My legs held up just fine.  My friends stuck by my side just as they said they would.  And I was able to hold a respectable 9:26 overall pace for the run.  Two of the miles were under 9:15 (mile 2 was 9:13, mile 11 was 9:14), but most were 9:20-9:30 pace.  I felt relaxed the entire time.  At my coach's recommendation, I did a total of 6 "pick-ups" (every 2 miles), where I would run a bit faster for 30 seconds to change up things a bit.  Then I would slow down and my friends would eventually catch back up to me.  

Sunday--I had grandiose visions of getting in a bike,  swim AND a strength workout today.  Ummm.... yeah, that wasn't going to happen with my normal Sunday activities.  I ended up with a 30 minute strength workout and an hour on the bike.   The bike ride was a steady-state ride: 5 minute warmup followed by 50 minutes in the gear 7.  I attempted to keep my cadence between 86-88 for the entire ride.  Ended with a 5 minute cooldown. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Training recap: 1/25-1/31

(sorry for the lack of pictures--didn't have time to upload any this week!)

Week 8:

Monday--AM: Planned on meeting Jess at her house for 5@5, but her kids got in the way of that, so when I saw the message at 4:15 AM, I decided to meet my friends at PowerTrain instead.  I haven't been to boot camp in about 4 weeks, and it was great to be back!  The workout didn't seem too hard, but my glutes and core were definitely sore for the next few days!  

PM: Hit the treadmill at the gym.  Decided to keep the option of 6 miles (what was on my original plan) open, based on how I felt.  And I felt great.  I didn't tape my calf for the first time on a run in awhile, and I felt much more relaxed while I ran.  I did 4 miles at a 9:13 pace, then did two faster (8:57 and 8:41), then back to 9:13 for the final mile.  Overall pace: 9:09.

Tuesday: woke up at 4:40 and hopped on the bike for a short fast ride.  5 minute warm-up, followed by an intense reverse ladder set (4 minutes at 85% effort, 3 minutes at 90%, 2 minutes at 95%, 1 minute at 100%, and then back up again), with a 5 minute cool-down.  I love how I can totally get in an amazing workout in such a short period of time on the trainer!  Finished up with 10 minutes of glute strengthening work.

Wednesday: super-early 6 miles in Lewis Center with Erin and Steph.  I don't get out to LC much anymore, but it was great to meet these two and get in a good solid run.  Calf felt good!  Overall pace: 8:59.

Thursday: Met Tamara and Allison S. for 4 early miles followed by a quick Starbucks date.  Kept the miles super-duper easy as planned.  Overall pace: 9:37.  After work I did 20 minutes of glute and calf  strength work.  

Friday: I was off from work today, and I considered a) hopping on the trainer before starting on a day of busy-ness, or b) fitting in a short swim at the rec center between appointments.  Ended up choosing neither and letting this be my rest day.  I celebrated with a pedicure :)

Saturday: The plan was 10-12 miles.  I haven't done more than 7 since my latest injury, but I felt 12 was reasonable.  I wanted to keep it at around a 9:15 overall pace.  Started with a big group, then we got a bit smaller, then we met up with a huge group for the monthly MRTT run for the final part.  My new coach (see below) had recommended that I do some short 30-second strides/speed bursts during my long runs, to "wake up" my legs after they got into the same pattern for miles and miles.  My chiropractor has mentioned this very thing, so I figured I'd give it a shot today.  I liked how they felt, for sure!  I had about a half-mile to go and was about .2 miles from the shelter house where the group was meeting, so I knew I'd need some parking lot loops to finish up. At that point, my left calf twinged a bit more strongly than I liked to feel. I immediately stopped and told my friend Megan (she was the only one left with me by then) that I wanted to walk for the rest.  I just didn't see the point in pushing it at all today, especially after the run had gone so well.  I am happy to report that I'm in no pain at all--calf feels perfectly fine right now.  Oh, I did try out the Hammer Endurolyte capsules today after 6 miles, when I fueled.  I have/had high hopes for these.  Unfortunately, I don't think my calf issues are due to anything metabolic, which is what I assume this capsules are for.

Sunday: Rest day for personal reasons

Other miscellaneous notes:

As I referenced above, I now have a coach!  I finally decided that I just don't know enough to figure out what I should be doing, and I'm giving the power to someone who does.  My friend Paige (I've talked about her before--she's a local elite runner who I have ran with several times) is a certified running coach, and she's agreed to write me a new plan for February and see how things go.  We met on Friday for lunch and discussed her thoughts and I am super excited to start working with her!  She sent me February's plan on Sunday evening.  The biggest change: slow the *!?% down!  Nothing faster than 9:15-9:30 for now--and slower than that is even better.  Speedwork will be added in gradually later on this month.  I already feel relieved that I am not in charge anymore... it's one area of my life that I don't have to stress about anymore!

As for me, I have felt good this week.  Other than the bit of tightness I felt at the end of my long run, my runs have gone well.  My legs were tired by Friday, but with a busy work week and the increase in miles, that's to be expected.