Week 10- Pig Training Run Down

I got Money in the Bank...humming new rap tune...while imagining my big payout on May 6th.

This was a flipping fantastic running week for me. I broke 40 miles and I don't feel burned out or tired. My paces all fell into place and I have no nagging injuries for the first March since I started training for marathons in 2004. Hell Yeah!

Monday- Pilates (Abs and Buns/Thighs DVDs)
Tuesday- 7.25 miles at the track
Wednesday- 6.5 easy miles downtown with some hill repeats and stair climbing thrown into the mix
Thursday- 75 minutes of yoga
Friday- 10 miles tempo pace
Saturday- 20 minute spin on the trainer
Sunday- 19 miles, 8:04 pace!

Now that's what I am talking about!

Work was rough this week so nailing all my runs really was a good pick me up.

Tuesdays track workout was rough. 3* (2*1200) 2 minute rest before the 2nd 1200 of each set and 4 minute rest between sets. Solar Squirrel made it out to the track so she would run 800 with me and do a recovery 400 while I finished out each 1200 and my rest. I hit all of these between 4:49 and 5:01 which I was delighted with. The pace was tough to hold for all 6 but I recovered fast after each one and on the cool down I felt like I could go another round.

Wednesday the downtown runs started back up and I joined Jen for a nice romp around the city. She had hills on the schedule so I even got to work on my quad strength. Otherwise pace was easy, around 9:15-9:30. It was a nice recovery run.

Yoga Thursday night was great. Everything was feeling nice so I got cocky and attempted a head stand sans wall. Not bright, I managed to fall and knock the wind out of myself. Luckily I didn't seem to cause any damage and still left feeling limber and relaxed.

Friday's 10 mile tempo run was just awesome. After the run we headed out for some grub and large green drinks with my pal Risko. I think a night out was much needed by all and we had fun catching up and taking goofy photos.

Saturday morning we woke up bright and early and headed to Streetsboro to help our friend with her move. Lots of heavy lifting and lots of stair climbing! After the early wake up call and all the moving around I took a belated nap. We watched a few episodes of Angel and I got in a quick trainer ride to loosen up the legs. The nap and 3 cups of tea during the day were apparently a bad idea because I was wired last night. I could not get to sleep and just laid there wide awake for 3 hours, eventually resorting to (seriously) counting sheep. I think I got to about 500 before I finally lost count too many times and dozed. (This is highly unusual for me, other than prerace nights, when my head hits the pillow I am out!)

Well the lack of sleep and late morning rush around did not appear to have an affect on my run this morning. The weather was perfect. A bit chilly when we took off but warm enough for shorts and a t-shirt by the end. A gel and a handheld full of Gatorade and one water stop sustained me for a full 19 miles at my planned 15 mile pace. I was lucky enough to run with DM the first 6 and WV to finish out 19. He pulled me up the hills much quicker than i would have gone on my own and may even have been trying to break me but I didn't break and I felt great throughout the run. I really am lucky to run with such great and knowledgeable runners.

Bring on the tempo!

I was extremely nervous about my tempo run yesterday. 10 miles at planned marathon pace, gulp. Saying I am going to run a 3:25 and actually doing a semi long run at that pace are like two complete different mental blocks. You justify the 3:25 being doable because you will be tapered, and it always feels easier on race day. But when you start doing workouts with FIRST you get more than just faith in the taper. You get some real gut checks along the way.

Speaking of guts, I have been having problems with side stitches the past few weeks so before I went on the run I did some research. Turns out that most side stitches occur on your right side. This is most likely from breathing out when your right foot hits the ground and never properly letting your diaphragm muscles and the ligaments attached to your organs fully relax. So I made a pact to breathe out on my left foot the whole run and hope for no side stitches.

I didn't get any takers to join and pace me so I was extremely nervous about hitting my times. This fear that I wouldn't be able to feel 7:45 pace without the treadmill looming in my brain. The way my week worked out I planned the tempo for Friday evening. I wonder why I didn't have any takers? 10 miles at 7:45 pace at 6:30 on a Friday night? Sounds like the perfect way to kick off the weekend right?

Something about running 10 miles on a week day really had me nervous but I just told myself run 5 out and then run 5 back. Once you get out 5 there's nothing to do but get in the rest.

Well everything just clicked last night. I had to start a bit beyond the mile marker due to an intersection that I parked on the wrong side of. I decided to run to the sign and back at the end of the run rather than the beginning.

So my first "half mile" went by in 3 minutes. I thought back to the distance to the marker and figure it was possible it was a 50 second jaunt.
breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4
I hit the next half in 4 minutes.
crap. Guess that distance was more like 60 seconds and 8 minute pace is not 7:45.

But I kept it even.
10 miles at 8 is better than 3 or 4 at 7:45 and the rest dying
breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4,
breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4

Next half goes by in 3:51.
Nice. Right on pace. I can hold this for 10, I just know it.
breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4,
breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4
Second mile 7:31.33.
Whoa, reel it in.

breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4,
breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4

Next half 3:51 again.
breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4
3rd mile 7:39.55
breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4

4th mile 7:28.97
Did I really just hit that?

Saw CK driving and chatted for a few seconds while he drove alongside, wondering what I was doing in his hood.
breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4
5th mile in 7:32.66
breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4

Heading back I still felt pretty light on my feet. Breathing was slightly more labored and I had to focus a bit harder to keep the breaths on the left foot. Occasionally changing my count to 3 to get back on track.
breathe in 2,3 out 2,3,4, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4
Mile 6 came in 7:45.59
Focus in on turnover and breathing
breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4

Mile 7 7:42.69
Hmm wonder if these weren't really flat miles but slightly down on the way out
breathe in 2,3 out 2,3,4, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4

Mile 8 7:43.48
Nice. Only 2 more
At this point my right shoulder/neck got super tight and painful. Kind of a stabbing pain.
Breathe through it.
In (left strike) with the good, out (left strike) with the pain, in with the good, out with the pain
Next 800 in 3:49
In with the good, out with the pain, in with the good, out with the pain

Mile 9 7:48.05, pain starts to subside
Time to bring it home
breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4
Next 800 4:12
Yikes, move your ass
breathe in 2, out 2, breathe in 2, out 2, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4

Mile 10 7:47.50
46 seconds to go
breathe in 2, out 2, breathe in 2, out 2, breathe in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4

Total time 1:16:49- 7:41 pace

I had 4 stops for traffic lights which I thought might blow my concentration and pace but they worked out perfect as I could take in a bit of Gatorade without breaking stride, and luckily pace and concentration were not lost.

Can't explain how happy I am with the workout and my progress. Mentally this was a great workout for me. I was focused on pace and breathing for 10 straight miles with minimal mental distractions.

Added bonus I did the whole workout carrying and taking in just a small Gatorade, about 80 calories. My body is finally getting accustomed to putting out quality without having to consume so much. Come marathon day this will be good as my muscles should feel super energized with the extra fuel.

10 marathon paced miles in the piggy bank!

Got 15 at 8:05 pace planned for tomorrow, let's hope that goes well too!

Week 9- Pig Training RunDown

It was another good week.

Monday-2 mile walk with David
Tuesday-Track workout
Wednesday- Ab workout (RW), Faster in Five Strength Training, Yoga Sun Salutations, 2 mile recovery run
Thursday- 40 minute run with hills, Yoga 75 Minutes
Friday- Rest
Saturday- ~16 miles on the towpath
Sunday- ~4250 yard swim, 2 mile recovery run

The weather got real nice early in the week and Tuesday I was greeted with 70 degrees and sunshine for my track workout. Suhweet!

Wednesday was another nice night and I managed to sneak in some strength training and a recovery run just before the storms started to bring back the cold weather.

Thursdays I have been having trouble waking up early enough to run before work and this Thursday was no exception. Instead I headed out last minute with intentions of running and going to yoga. I got the run in but had to modify it for the time allotted and the location. I headed to Edgewater since it is near Yoga and not completely in the ghetto. The flat loop there is probably half a mile and I was in no mood to run loops to get in my 4 miles at tempo pace so instead I just started running and hit as many hills as I could for a nice hilly workout. I probably ran about 4.5 miles in 40 minutes. It was cold and windy so it wasn't ideal tempo weather anyways.

I wrapped up the run and headed straight to yoga. The past two weeks we have had substitute yoga instructors as our regular guy is on vacation. Both classes were still good but not quite as much hip opener exercises as I have been accustomed to.

My left hip and ITB were a little tight still on Friday so I took the day off.

Saturday I headed down to the valley to run with DaisyDuc and her bird loving pal Bob. We had a really good run despite snow all over the towpath and sloppy footing. My ITB didn't feel any worse for wear but since the loop was 16 I decided to call it a day there and not push it with a few more miles. We got in a few good hills around half way and pushed the last few miles back for a negative split run. I tried gels and water after last weeks success with Gatorade and a nun bar. Surprisingly I think I am going to stick with the Gatorade. The water just seemed to make my stomach upset, weird. I have noticed that my stomach is much stronger during my slower paced long runs. JFK I could have ate anything I think. But now that the pace is picking up I need to be more cautious.

Saturday night we headed down to Stow for DaisyDucs birthday bash. We had a good time and ate way too much. I avoided the green beer though and managed to wake up bright and early for swimming Sunday morning.

We finally got videotaped at swimming so hopefully I will have video of my swim technique in a few weeks!

The workout was pretty brutal, especially since I haven't swam in over a week.

600 Warm up (200 swim, 200 kick, 200 pull)

8*100 (50 drill/50 swim) on 1:45 I think, I can't remember the send offs on this one

3 sets of:

300 (5:00 send off), 3*100 (1:45 send off), 2*50 (55 send off), 100 easy

Cool down 3*100 with fins (50 kick, 50 swim) easy

My first set of 300, 3*100, 2*50 got all jacked up. Our leader in the lane misheard and thought we were doing 3*300 so when I finished my first 100 he was already going. I thought shit, are we going on 1:30? Holy cow. So I did my first 3*100 on 1:30 send off, not much rest to put it lightly.

But I did it and I still finished out the rest of the sets with the correct send offs.

The third set I got a "break" before the 2 50s while I got video taped. We swam 10 lengths in the diving pool while he videotaped from the side and front so I guess that was about 150. I was definitely tired at that point, but I suppose that is good because it should really highlight any weak points in my stroke.

I actually felt great when we got out of the pool so I decided to run on the way home. I stopped for a quick trail run and got in about 20 minutes (half trail/half pavement).

Pretty big numbers for the week but I feel fresher than I did last week.

Let's hope this week goes well too! Tomorrow's track workout won't be quite so lovely as it is supposed to be cold, meh.


This is what I found on my way to the showers this morning.
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(perhaps this was his way of communicating that it is time to clean the bathroom?)

Sharing the quote love

Thanks Lana for bringing this quote back into my life!

"Excellence can be attained if you Care more than others think is wise, Risk more than others think is safe, Dream more than others think is practical, and Expect more than others think is possible."


In high school this was one of my favorites. I even convinced them to put it on the back of our cross country teams t-shirts. I think it was modified to: "Champions care more than others think is wise, Risk more than others think is safe, Dream more than others think is practical, and Expect more than others think is possible."

In fact I believe I have this quote framed sitting somewhere in the attic. I will have to look for it this weekend!

On that note I am off to get in a long run!
Hope everyone has a great weekend! Don't drink too much green beer!

What's that smell in the air?

Yesterday morning I woke up with great anticipation. First Tuesday of the year with 60+ degree weather. You know what that means? It's time to head to the track!

I was looking forward to my track workout all day and I was not disappointed!

It was about 65 degrees out, sunny, with a strong wind. I got to run in my new sports tank that I got for $10 and I was still soaked in sweat by the time I finished! What a wonderful feeling!

The wind slowed me down a bit on the back end of the track but I didn't let that or my slightly slower times get me down. I was hitting almost all my 200s with the wind on my back at the right times. I had no trouble doing the math while running yesterday and I was constantly aware if I was a few seconds ahead or behind on each 200 and how that related to my goal split. With all these treadmill runs and just being able to press a button and move up to speed I was very pleased that I was hitting close to target paces on my own!

Considering I just ran a hard 20 on Sunday I am very pleased with these splits. I even had company for my first two miles of intervals! Now if I can just get some other speedster chicks out to run with me next week! (Looks like the weather won't hold though so I may be back on the dreadmill next week)

The workout (RI=Recovery/Rest Interval)

10:30 warm up
400 RI=3:20.03
3200= 14:04.52 (7:10.37,7:04.15)
800 RI= 5:49.29
400 RI=2:46.81
13 Minute cool down

You know you have made progress when you have gone from someone who used to dread 3200 meters on the track to someone looking forward to adding a 1600 and 2*800 to that!

Calling All Creative Wordsmiths

*Update* You've got till Friday (3/24) to get your suggestions up!!! Some are starting to get a bit inappropriate so if you don't see yours up keep it a bit cleaner. Thanks!

Okay I need your help.

With the vast amounts of creativity out in the blogosphere our Great Midwest Relay team still has not come up with a perfect name.

This run is all about 12 kick ass bloggers getting together and racing from Madison to Chicago over 48 hours in 2 large vans.

So here's the deal. Start making some suggestions! If your name gets picked by the team I am offering up a Wild Bill Shirt! That's right you can run around town in a sweet Wild Bill T-Shirt just like me!

So start making suggestions!

We've got some great suggestions so far! Keep em coming!

Digital Shoeprints
the something 12 (something could be RBF, Blogging, etc.)
The Dirty Dozen
RBF's 12 (like Ocean's 12 hee hee)
The RBF Dozen
12 Cracked Eggs
2 Vans and a Plan
48 Hours of Fun
kick-ass bloggers
Road Trippers
Ultra the Easy Way
Double Barrel
Lake Breeze
Dude, Where's My Van?
Bloggers Dashing Run.
Bloggers Madison to Chicago Dash.
Great Midwest Bloggers Relay.
Bloggers with Boogers
1 athlete and 11 bloggers
Powered by Blogger
Wings Beer And A Biscuit
Team Nightcrawlers
When The Fit Hits The Shan
Team Dysentery We Got The Runs
Team Rawhide
Run Or Die!!!
Masochists In Motion
Can You Smell The Love?
Nap Between Legs
Burple Haze
Ice Between Your Legs
No walkin' 'til the van passes
1 runner and 11 wannabes
24 sticky buns
Blogging Geeks and Running Freaks
12 Running Geeks and the Beers Who Love Them
the IT Band
the Foam Rollers
Malfunctioning 12
Blogger Joggers
Blogger's Dozen
Dozin' Dozen
The Bloggin' Bunch
Bloggers for Beer
Midwest Muckrakers
Radical Relay Team
RBF Relayers
12 Runners, 24 Shoes, 48 Hours
RBF meets GMR
Shin Splints and Schlitz
Blog and Run
We've got to Blog and Run
"(12+12)x2=48hours of fun" 12 Bloggers/runners times 2 vans equals 48 hours of fun
I blog to run!
Cheese and Sausage
Beer to Brauts
Da Bloggers
12 ways to Chicago
Are we there yet?
Eclectic Collective
Peace Love Relay (tie-dye shirts recommended)
Running Blogging Frenzy

Doing the Math- Marathon Style

Training is half way done for the flying pig so it is time to start thinking about my goals and race strategy. Time to start visualizing the plan and start working on those mantras that will keep me on pace!

It looks like Cincinatti's course is relatively flat most of the way. The major hills come at you early with miles 5 to 9 being up up up. After that though it is a net decline with a few short climbs mixed in.

Ideally I'd like to run an even split race. Going out too fast this time is not an option but going out too slow sends all kinds of doubts running through my mind about making up time. I can see why so many people take the "put some money in the bank" approach. But I am confident that an even or negative split race is the best plan.

The FIRST training plan I have been using was based on a 7:45 planned marathon pace. That's a 3:23 marathon. My goal is 3:25 which is a 7:49 pace. Hopefully the mental boost from hitting most of the 7:45 pace training will be enough to pull me in under 3:25.

Since there is no 3:25 pace group and I don't want to go out too fast my plan is to go out with the 3:30 group at 8 minute pace for the first 9 miles, let them pull me up the hills before I drop the hammer, so to speak. From there I will have to run 7:41 pace the rest of the way if I want to come in under 3:25.

When I think 7:41 and see it in front of me it terrifies me. It just sounds fast. But I have just had a huge confidence boosting 20 miler. My fastest long run in training ever. I have only run 20 miles faster than Sunday twice and that was in Columbus and Boston. And on race day what seems so fast in your head always feels so much easier.

To add to that mental boost I am hoping to get in a race day simulation during one of my following 20 milers. We are going to head down to Cinci to visit relatives and I am hopefully going to get out onto the course for miles 6-26. I may modify that to 5-25 in order to run all the hills. My plan is to run the same way I plan on running the marathon with miles 5-9 at 8:30 pace and 8:15 pace the last 16-17. I am toying with actually trying to do planned marathon paces instead of the paces FIRST has down for that 20, but I am worried running too fast now will burn me out.

It would be nice to get in a 10k race soon to see how I stack up against those trendy prediction calculators but I think I should just have faith in the training plan and stick with it.

These are the splits I am going to keep in mind marathon day so I am going to start memorizing them now

9 miles: 1:12
13.1 miles: 1:43:30
20 miles: 2:36:21
23 miles: 2:59:34
26.2: 3:24:09

I don't want to be a slave to the watch but if I am close to 7:41 every mile after 9 and I am close to these times I will know sub 3:25 is achieveable.

I have several longer tempo runs planned closer to race day at marathon pace so I am sure come May 6th this pacing plan will feel perfect.

Week 8- Pig Training Run Down

Today's 20 miler definitely has left me feeling much better about this week than I was yesterday afternoon!

Let's look at the numbers!

Monday- Rest Day (Tapped from Youngstown)
Tuesday- Treadmill 6.5 miles speed
Wednesday- 1800 yard swim, Pilate's-abs, faster in five strength training
Thursday- 75 minutes Yoga
Friday- 6 miles "tempo" run Euclid Creek, 25 minute dynamic warm up at Velocity Sports
Saturday- 20 minute recovery run Easy
Sunday- 20 Miles at 8:12 pace (8:51 pace if you count rest at stop lights, refueling at the top of the hill, changing clothes at 12, which I don't)

Tuesdays run went well. I hit all 12 of my 400s on the treadmill at 6:04 pace.

Fridays run was pretty brutal. I should have known better than to attempt my tempo run at Euclid Creek but it worked out best so that I could shower before heading to my CTC meeting at Velocity sports. The trail at Euclid Creek runs along the creek so basically 2.5 miles up or down hill with the stream. I started going up with a 2 mile warm up then turned around and started into my 3 mile tempo run which should have been at 7:04 pace. 1st mile blew by at 6:40, second 7:10, turned around and headed uphill for the last mile in 7:52. Not exactly what I intended. I headed back an easy mile and was off to the showers. I am not confident the half mile or mile markers there are on but even so my average was lower than I desired. My legs felt like toast even on the warm up so I wasn't too enthused.

Headed over to Velocity Sports and after listening to some club updates, and interesting talk about running methods, and an explanation on what Velocity Sports has to offer, Daisy Duc and I joined in a sample warm up. Basically lunges, sprints, jumping jacks, superman lifts, and some other dynamic stretching type things. Afterwards I toyed around on the funny slide strips where you slide back and forth like you are speed skating, let's just say it was amusing.

Being Goofy Before the Tri Meeting

What I am going to call scissor arms

The dreaded lunge

Not sure what we were doing here.

Headed out for some grub and chat then it was off to the movies to see 300. I wasn't expecting much from the movie but I was pleasantly surprised. It was incredibly well done and the imagery was amazing (if a bit gory at points). Well worth staying up several hours past my bedtime!

I slept in Saturday, then David and I headed to the mall. Our tax refunds came in and I decided to splurge on a pair of jeans that cost more than $20 for once. I had the girl at the Buckle show me pretty much every pair of jeans in the store before finally deciding on a pair of trendy torn pocket jeans that I normally wouldn't wear, but hey I figure I need to get with the times and they were the only pair that fit well and didn't need to be hemmed.

After that we went to a few gaming stores to check out the goods and I started fading fast. I was exhausted and my legs felt juiced. We got home and I laid in bed and finished re-reading the 6th Harry Potter book before I finally dragged myself out for an easy 20 minutes of running. The weather was much too nice to stay inside and spin! My legs felt horrible the whole run and I felt like crap when I got back. I ate some dinner then decided I needed a hot bath. I also poured myself a glass of wine. I decided it couldn't hurt and my body had earned a reward, it was obviously worn out!

Well you would think that the hot bath and wine would not have left me in good shape for today's 20 miler but apparently it was just what I needed!

I got up early this morning and made some breakfast. Had some Earl Greyer tea, read a few blogs, took a shower and headed out. I left early so I could stop and get gas, nutrition, and Gatorade. I planted some Gatorade at the top of the hill and headed to the bagel shop.

It was about 36 when we started and a few runners that had already been out said it felt cold so I opted for my fleece pants over shorts, two thin longs sleeves and a jacket. Way too many clothes! I stripped the jacket before we got 2 miles in. We had a big crowd today and I just felt great. My energy was high and my legs warmed up fast. The first 12 blew by. I even felt good on the hill today. It started to get hot as we closed in on the bagel shop. Both my long sleeves were drenched! We got back to the cars and I stripped the fleece and changed into a dry long sleeve shirt. I felt like I had dropped 10 pounds as we headed out for another 8!

It was windy on the last 8 but we managed to hold pace fine, if anything I think we picked it up a bit. I couldn't believe how good I felt. I can't remember doing a long run at this pace comfortably ever, except on marathon days. This may be my fastest 20 mile training run ever! If it isn't I am sure it is close!

I am feeling really good about the pig now. I am thinking my goals are sounding a bit more achievable after this 20 miler! This week coming up I think I will back off the pace and give my body a break. Hopefully in two weeks I will bounce back even stronger and with even more energy!

Hope everyone had a good weekend! Great job DaisyDuc at the Malachi 5 miler and today on our run!

Banquet Fun

In 2004 I joined a wonderful running club. I went to all the Sunday runs in hopes of surviving my first marathon and coming away with a BQ. (I did!)

This club is full of fast, hard working, and dedicated runners. At any given local race there are always SERC members coming away with hardware. I remember my first Bedford 5 miler. Literally every club member there came away with a trophy. That certainly says something about the caliber of runners I am lucky enough to run with and call friends.

When you run with so many people that are achieving amazing things on a regular basis it is easy to forget that what you are doing is also special. That most people don't enjoy training week in and week out for marathons and triathlons. It is easy to overlook your accomplishments because someone else you are close to is doing the same, but doing it farther or faster.

This year I have been taking care of the club website and have enjoyed putting up pics of everyone. I was honored to be asked to be VP this year. I am sure mostly I will still just be working on the website but it will be nice to help out with some new fresh ideas like a new race and a club newsletter. The banquet was really special for me this year and I am so honored to be a part of such a great group, and thankful that they are willing to let me take such an active role.

Youngstown Half 2007

FIRST had a 13 mile run on tap for me at 8 minute pace for Sunday. So Youngstown was timed perfectly. Friday I was feeling really good about the race. Both my workouts went well this week and I was feeling like 8 minute pace was very doable despite Youngstown being a pretty hilly course.

Saturday night I ate way more than my fair share of chicken chimichangas, had two desserts, and drank a margarita. I have only had 1 beer since January 1st so the alcohol was probably not the brightest of ideas, and I have been really good about portions lately so after that feast I felt like I was going to explode. Not exactly ideal when you plan on racing in the morning.

Despite drinking a ton of water Saturday night I still felt dehydrated all morning Sunday. I woke up at 5:30 with plans to run a quick 5 minute "pick me up" but ran short on time and settled for being up and ready with breakfast eaten and tea drank before heading out.

Of course it snowed about 2 inches Saturday night and the roads hadn't been plowed so it took me extra time to get to Solar Squirrels place and we left a bit later than planned. I made a quick call to Daisy Duc to let her know we probably would not arrive in time for a warm up. T did an excellent job driving and got us there all safe and sound with a few minutes to spare for bathroom trips and a 5 minute jog around the parking lot. Not exactly the 20-30 minute warm up I was intending!

It was still snowing and the roads were slick so I opted for trail shoes. I love my mizuno wave riders but when there is snow the heel tends to pack a ball of snow beneath my foot which is not ideal for a proper foot strike. I had planned on shorts but it was a bit colder than I anticipated and I opted to run in shorts and my fleece pants, a short sleeve shirt and two long sleeves, one thin, one thick.

We started the run with some of my ultra running pals who both planned on 8 minute pace too. We headed out easy on the first mile. Solar Squirrel, Daisy Duc, and T were still with us at this point. After two miles I gave up on keeping up with my ultra pals. They were stronger on the hills and I didn't feel like pushing pace. I wanted to feel comfortable, not out of control. But even the 8:30ish pace we were holding didn't feel good. I certainly didn't want to go slower than that though so I just ran along in discomfort.

Daisy Duc was with me and we chatted our way through about 6 miles before Solar Squirrel caught us. I thought she might so I wasn't too surprised when she came up behind us. She stayed with us for a few miles before stopping to tie her shoe. Around mile 7 I twisted my ankle in an invisible pot hole. Nice how snow tends to hide those. It stung a bit but luckily didn't slow me down. It was really impossible to run fast downhill as the footing was slippery, and the effort on the uphills was more as you were sliding backwards a bit each step. As if Youngstown isn't hard enough by itself :)

Around mile 9 Daisy Duc pulled away from me on one of the larger hills. All day she had hammered the hills and slowed to wait for me. I told her to go, there was no way I was going to keep up on the hills. My leg strength just isn't there yet. So for the last 4 miles I was on my own.

I had my eye on a girl in pink shorts who I slowly started to reel in. She had been in our sights for a long time but I had lost her around 7 so I was glad to see her again around 10. 10-11 I ran well, just like last year. I fell into a nice groove which a male runner tapped into as well. Unfortunately he fell back on a short uphill and I was by myself again. Perhaps I should have held back the kick for another mile, but at the time I really felt good.

I tryed to gain some time running down Bear Hill by running on the side of the road which seemed to be a good idea until the crunchy untouched snow became slick and I almost fell on my ass. I decided to be a bit more cautious the rest of the way down. I'd say maybe a mile or 2 total for the race had pavement that wasn't covered in slick snow. Worrying about footing is never any fun, but it seemed especially frustrating on the down hills where I normally gain on other runners.

With 1 mile to go I passed the girl in pink shorts. She promptly re passed me but I kept my pace and she ended up falling back. She was younger and placed in her age group. Always nice to see gutsy younger gals out there. I had long since lost my outer layer and gloves which I guess was amusing. I had several spectators in this area shout "Go Wild Bill! No gloves!!!" Always nice to have a few cheerleaders late in the race! I hammered the last mile and managed to take down another 3 women before the end. The last one I passed coming around the final corner, assuming I was going to have to out sprint her to the finish, not an easy feat as Youngstown ends going uphill, I prepared to dig in. But to my surprise as I passed she grumbled loudly "I Don't Care!" I was a bit taken aback but decided that was her loss and I wasn't going to feel an ounce guilty about beating her to the finish line.

Post race chats determined that most people were 3-4 minutes slower this year. Daisy Duc defied that majorly, coming in about 10 minutes faster than last year and getting herself a new half PR. I must say she has been a rock star so far this year. She's moving up to the 30-34 AG in a few weeks. She is certainly going to give those ladies a run for their money. I was about 40 seconds slower than last year. So I should be happy with that, and would be, if I had felt half as good as I felt last year. I just wasn't "on" this Sunday. My legs were dead and it took a lot of mental strength to pick it up the last 3. Last year when I got to ten I felt awesome and crushed the last 3 easily. This year I was picking off people but I was definitely working harder to do it.

This was the first half marathon that I didn't take in any fuel. I had about 4 sips of Gatorade the whole race. I suppose a gel might have helped with the last 3. Next Sunday I plan on taking some fuel with me. I have been bad about taking anything the past few weeks as I have nothing in the house and just haven't made the time to go get any Gatorade or gels. I need to get back in the habit of fueling my faster paced workouts as I am not sure how my stomach is going to react.

I know the alcohol played a part in my dead legs as well as overeating. I also realize that this wasn't an A race and that since this was a training run I shouldn't expect to feel as good as I would had I tapered for this. I felt great when I woke up at 5:30 but by about 7 AM I was ready to go back to bed. I assume that this will be different for a race that I am properly tapered for.

8:21 pace isn't too shabby though and given the conditions I really should be happy with the time. I am sure my FIRST paces are designed based on a bit more ideal conditions and a bit easier course than what I faced Sunday so 21 seconds off pace isn't so bad. And as a bonus I took 3rd in my age group. I think I was in the top 15 women but I would have to check the results. Overall times were really slow. The first woman came in at 1:36. Even for Youngstown that is a very slow day. I ran a pretty similar race to last year, just a wee bit slower. I think the big difference was in miles 8 and 9. Last year I picked it up a bit there and this year I refused to pick it up until 10.

Here's the Splits:

8:46 (I don't trust 2-4, I am sure it all evened out but my bet is all of these were around 8:25-8:30)

Week 7-Pig Training Run Down, The quick and dirty version, with pics!

The week:

Monday-1.5 mile walk with David, Pilates-Abs, Buns, and Thighs (oh my!)
Tuesday- 8 miles, 6 tempo at 7:34
Wednesday-1.5 mile walk with David, Faster in Five Strength Training, 20 minute Pilates
Thursday- Yoga- 75 minutes of restorative bliss
Friday- 5 miles treadmill, 4*800 at 3:06, 1* 1600 7:24
Sunday- Younsgtown Half 1:49:19, 3rd in AG

Post Youngstown Pics and Pics from our annual SERC Banquet! Details coming soon I promise!

Running High

Tuesday night I headed to the park for my weekly tempo run. The group had plans for a completely different workout that involved 10 miles, one easy, one half marathon pace. And that wasn't even close to what I was supposed to do so I just started right in by myself when I got to the park.

The loop is 2 miles, first mile mostly up hill in the first 800 meters and the last mile is mostly downhill in the second 800 meters. I started out with an easy mile uphill.

The tempo run called for 6 miles at 7:34 pace. For some reason I thought it was 7:36 pace so when I came through the first mile at 7:36 I was pretty pleased but realized it might be rough to keep pace since that was the downhill mile. To my surprise I came through the 800 meter uphill section faster than I had gone through the first 800 of my tempo run and hit the second mile at 7:36 too. I was pretty stoked. I was able to focus on the task and managed to actually come out with my average pace at 7:34, thanks to three miles faster than I anticipated. Miles 3-6 went by in 7:26, 7:42, 7:32, and 7:30 (uphill!). The 4th mile I started with a severe side stitch. I need to figure out what the heck is causing that. I haven't had pain like that since middle school. Any tips for taking care of this and quick would be greatly appreciated. After seizing my side with my hand and clamping down on the pain, and trying to ease my breathing it subsided a bit, but I can still feel the pain lingering a bit even today.

It seems I always see a lot of people going the other way on this loop. Tuesday was no exception. A few "hooligans" were out. They had a suspicious look about them so I kept my head down and muttered good evening as I passed. Then I got a whiff of why they were being so suspicious. And it was strong! I guess the park is as good a place as any for these youngsters to be out breaking the law, but I like to enjoy my nature sans drugs. Every time I passed them I got a whiff of the stuff, and for some reason the smell seemed to linger on the uphill my last two times around the loop. As if it isn't hard enough to keep my pace going uphill with crap for traction. Why is it that the snow and ice was only left on that hill and the rest of the path was clear?

But I did it. I ran all 6 miles at the pace I was supposed to. Without the aid of a treadmill telling me what pace to go, and without the aid of company. I am super excited. It's like seeing an old friend who you lost touch with. I am so happy my legs have decided to go back to their speedy ways!

Funny note of the night. I saw an older gentleman walking around the loop a few times and the last time I saw him I was hammering up the snow/ice filled hill on my last mile of the tempo run and he hollered at me "You're a trooper, keep going!" I thought that was cute and it made me feel good.

Oh and did I mention it was a balmy 38 degrees when I started and I ran the whole workout in shorts!!! Thank you for the warmer weather! I'm ready for spring!