March Madness

And no I am not talking about basket ball!

The month started off strong with a great race at Youngstown but a week later at Malachi the start of a sinus infection brought me way down. I struggled to train (stubbornly) through it for a week before finally caving, going to ER, and getting some antibiotics. The runny nose and clogged sinuses were really nothing to the energy drain everything caused. I felt like a complete zombie at home, at work, and on the run for two weeks straight.

Two weeks later I am starting to come around (Thankfully!) but I am disappointed that what looked to be a promising month really was more of a struggle leaving me feeling lackluster about my build up to Boston since I am now moving onto my taper. I had really hoped to have 12 consistent weeks leading up to Boston and my mileage took a bit of a nosedive the past two weeks. Not awful, but just not where I wanted it to be.

Obviously I needed to back it down to get better, and should have backed it off sooner. Between the sinus infection and being stubborn I was definitely showing signs of over training, hopefully I have learned my lesson.

I had a semi promising 21 miler Saturday and a nice 3 mile tempo run yesterday that have me feeling a bit better about my fitness level. Hopefully this Saturday will go well at the Martian Meteor 10k. I would like to run a minute faster than last year to give my confidence about my fitness a bit of a boost before Boston.

Month Training Rundown:

March 2nd through the 8th- 69 miles

Monday- 6 miles AM, 4 miles PM
Tuesday-Indoor Track workout at Kent. Pace not consistent, lots of traffic on the track. 11 miles with 5*1200
Wednesday- Rest
Thursday- 15 miles
Friday-10 miles
Saturday-6 miles with 6*25 seconds strides
Sunday- 17 miles, 13.1 Raced at Youngstown, PR 1:32:31

March 9th through March 15th- 68 miles

Monday- Rest
Tuesday- Track 9 miles with 5*600 2:17, 2:16, 2:18, 2:17, 2:17
Wednesday- AM 12 miles, Lunch 3.5 miles ez
Thursday-7 miles
Friday-6 miles with 6*25 second strides
Saturday- 10 miles, 5 mile race at Malachi, PR 33:13
Sunday-20 miles easy (Really sick, nose running like crazy) 8:37 pace

March 16th through 22nd- 58 miles


Tuesday-Stubbornly went to track, runny nose trouble breathing, but workout actually went well, 8 miles total
warm up, 4*100 strides, 3*800, 3*400, 6*100 strides, 1 mile tempo, cool down
800s-2:58, 3:00, 3:04
400s-1:27, 1:26,1:31
mile- 6:57

Wednesday-14 miles, not feeling stellar

Thursday-5 miles trails easy, dead on the hills

Friday-Attempted tempo, felt off, tired, and stomach was queasy
12 miles, 4 at tempo effort, 1 mile easy then 1 more mile at tempo effort (supposed to run 7 miles at tempo), pace was not even close to where I wanted it to be

Saturday-6 miles trails easy, really dead on the hills

Sunday-13 miles 7:54 pace (supposed to run 21), felt pretty zombified and cut the run short to head to the doc and get on antibiotics

March 23rd through the 29th-59 miles

Tuesday- 8 mles with Fartlek, 4* 1 minute, 1 minute, 2 minute with half rests, ran with LP, pace felt fine, calfs cramped up pretty badly after second set though so I backed off the effort.
Wednesday-2.5 miles easy, pretty much an extra rest day for the week
Thursday-15 miles after work with GP, starting to feel better, 8:46 pace
Friday-8 miles lunch, still feeling pretty dead on the hills
Saturday-21 miles solo in Chagrin Falls, lots of hills. 8:19 pace, exactly the same pace as when I ran 22 miles on this route last fall. Still feeling dead on the hills but starting to come around

Sunday- Indoor Triathlon, 20 minute swim, 20 minute spin, 20 minute run

Just tried to have a consistent swim (successful) swimming 12 laps every 5 minutes with a small push for an extra lap at the end to get 49 (Oddly this is exactly the same number of laps I swam the first time I did an indoor tri in 2005, and about 1 lap more than what I did in December 2005, the pace was slightly slower than what I did in my last official tri way back in August 2006 (Steelhead HIM), so I guess I can't totally wing it with no training and expect to be where I left off, but I was pretty darn close!)

Tried not to kill myself on the bike (successful) although the "climbs" were definitely felt by my quads

Aimed to treat the run like a tempo, aimed for 25 laps which would have been 5k, came up just short at 24.25, just got a little complacent on the last two miles, very happy with the effort though, the pace felt good and I felt like I could have kept it up for at least another 3 miles. Odd how my only good tempo this build up to Boston came the day after a hilly 21 miler and during an indoor tri following a swim and bike neither of which I have done in forever. I'll still take it though!

Followed up the tri with a short cool down run and some light stretching.

Three weeks to Boston, and while I am not feeling nearly as prepared as I would like to be, I feel much better about this years prep than last years for Boston and I am hoping for a good day there. After tomorrow I should end up with around 285 miles for the month which will be my biggest month ever. Happy about that, just wish I would have felt a little better and gotten in a few better tempo runs.


So one of the fun perks of being a blogger, pacer, and running editor for OS&F is on occasion I get to try out cool running products for free! Not a bad gig since I love free stuff, and I especially love free running stuff!

I was approached by ProWash a few months ago and they sent me a free bottle of their detergent. The detergent is designed specifically for technical gear in the hopes to lengthen the life of your technical goods and keep them from smelling after use. Theory being most regular detergents attach on a microscopic level to your clothes and you never really get rid of the smell because the soap clings holding bad smells in, not too mention the clinging soap particles cause your technical gear to stop functioning as it should (i.e. no more wicking sweat away from your skin).

I obviously use tons of technical gear and unfortunately I am a sweater so my stuff stinks! (Just ask my husband!) Well I'm happy to report that I love the mild scent of ProWash and it has done an excellent job keeping my technical gear smelling great. There were only two items ProWash was not able to revive from their smelly state, and one is a sports bra I have had since high school, the other a shirt I wear constantly so no big surprise they have a permanent funk.

Everything else however smells great, and I even tried it out on a few combo loads with technical and regular clothes (don't tell my husband!) and the regular clothes came out smelling great too, whereas normally I risk my workout funk getting on the regular stuff if I wash them together. Since I am an environmental freak we do all of our loads on cold and I hang dry all of my technical gear so I think that is a testament that I do not have to wash my stuff on high heat to get out the smell using ProWash.

I am not sure how the cost compares to regular detergent or where this may be locally available but I am definitely a new fan. Added bonus their packaging is a pouch rather than a bottle so it uses less plastic and is more environmentally friendly! Bottom line I was pleased with the detergent and I give the company props to reaching out via the blog community to test their wares and get the word out.

If you are so inclined you can find out more about the product here:

Also you can see a few other blogger reviews here:, here:, here: and here:

St. Malachi Race Report

Yep that's right another race report!

With no local races falling this coming weekend I decided to partake in the St. Malachi 5 mile Race last Saturday. Tons of friends were there and ready to party afterwards. The race is pretty competitive and I was hoping that would drive me to a nice quick time. My goal going in was to run between 32 and 33 (6:20ish to 6:37 pace) based on my recent half and my past 10k races. Thursday night at yoga I noticed that I couldn't breathe out of my right nostril and by Saturday morning my nose was a runny mess. Not sure if I just didn't give my body enough time to recover from the rainy hard effort at Youngstown or if I was bound to catch a cold anyways since it seems like everyone is coming down with something, but I wasn't feeling stellar for this race.

Carpooled with GP over to the race and for once was super early so had plenty of time for a relaxed warm up with GP and Risko. Stripped down last second and forgot to take off my ear warmers. Temps were in the low 40s and I felt good in my Capri's and VR tank. Found two of my VR teammates at the start and lined up with them. Both gals are super quick short course gals and I was hoping I could hold my own and stay close to them. I had been told the first mile was downhill and super fast so my game plan was to have a blazing fast first mile, then try to run pace for the next 3, and hopefully not slow down too much on the final finishing uphill.

Well after the initial downhill the course was not to my liking one bit. Lots of 90 degrees turns in the first mile, an ice patch, a small incline, and a bridge with grated footing. Between that and my stupid heart rate monitor conitnually migrating to my belly I wasn't mentally in the right state to hear 6:04 for the first mile. Yes that is quick, but not nearly as quick as what I had assumed based on others description of the course.

I was running with TM at this point but she quickly surged ahead and I was soon passed by two more gals as we crossed another grated bridge. Now we we running on streets I am familiar with since I run them at lunch all the time so I tried to up the effort on the flats. Around mile 2 Eva passed me and looked good. I tried to go with her but didn't have the steam. I eventually got a grip and started to reel in one of the girls who passed me only to lose everything I had gained on her at a patch of ice (not willing to risk slipping in a tune up race). Heading into mile 3 there is a nice little climb for most of the mile which didn't help my pace any and I slowly fell back from Eva and the gal in blue. I tried to make it up on the downhill but once again lost my groove at the ice patch.

I was basically just in survival mode knowing I needed to push hard through mile 4 because the last mile split would be slow. In the last mile Durno caught me and made some crack about me running marathon pace and I told him I was dying out there. He said something about keeping my eyes on the prize but promptly rolled his ankle, and decided he better keep his eyes on the road and pulled ahead of me.

Thankfully no girls were around me as I trudged up the final hill because I had no steam left in me. Someone shouted that this was where all the hill training paid off and all I could think was this was proving my hill training hasn't helped at all :)

Finished in 33:13 which is a 6:39 pace and about a 2 minute PR for me. I'm happy I did so well despite feeling so bad, but since my current 10k and 5.3 mile (Blossom) PR paces are faster than this I know I can do better. Managed to snag 2nd in my age group and was about 8th gal overall. All the VR gals did great, TM placing 3rd overall and Eva finishing first in our age group. JC also placed in her age group and was on my heels.

Having been on the wagon for 7 weeks I decided to treat myself to a few post race brews which in retrospect was probably a bad idea since I still haven't kicked this sinus infection almost a week after it started.

It was good to get out and get in a hard effort and party after with friends even if the race didn't go quite as well as I would have hoped for.

If they take enough photos apparently I can look good while racing ;)

Youngstown Mill Creek Classic Half Marathon Race Report

What's that, a race?

Same question my legs were pondering as I warmed up Sunday for my first race since the Detroit Turkey Trot and Richmond Marathon in November.

While I had some great races in 08 the focus of my training was for Boston and Richmond and underachieving my goals at those races definitely left a sour taste in my mouth. A month or so of slackerdom and I finally got back at it and have been getting in some consistent mileage to get ready for Boston in hopes of finally achieving some of last years marathon goals. The speed and tempo workouts haven't been pretty so my original goal for Youngstown was to run the race at goal marathon pace to get a feel for it again. This fit with my cookie cutter Pfitzinger training plan, and I figured if anything this would be pretty tough given that Youngstown is a relentless half with rolling hills the entire way up through the final uphill finish.

Well my trusty SERC pals were having none of it. They recommended I race the half. Only 7 weeks to Boston and I need to get a long race in to get my race mojo back. After lots of poo pooing I gave into their logic and agreed it would be good for me to approach the race like a race. The past two marathons despite running great 10ks leading up to the race I have felt that something wasn't quite right, so maybe for me I need to race a slightly longer distance to prep mentally for racing the full marathon. With that in mind the goal was to try and average 7 minute miles for as long as I could. In an ideal flat world I would have targeted 6:50, but Youngstown is not that world :) Even if I ran target marathon pace it would have been a PR day for me. This was only my 10th half marathon ever, 4 of which were here the previous 4 years and which I have always treated like a training day, sand bagging and hammering the last few miles. So needless to say I was ready to clear my 1:36:56 from River Run (downhill!) in 2006 from my list of PRs and get a new reasonable PR for the half. The question was just how much would I be able to shave off?

DST had me off the couch early (slept at the inlaws downstairs as to not wake anyone) and on my way to Solon to carpool with Frank and BB to the race. This is always a nice part of the day chatting with my SERC peeps and wondering what horrible conditions we will have to run in next. Youngstown is not only famous for its hills but it it's notoriously crappy weather outside every year, lack of footing, sight etc is pretty normal. This year for a change it was not snowing, but raining and mid 40s. Others may have been chilly but to be quite honest I race well in these sort of conditions so I wasn't too worried. I'd definitely take the weather we had over the 60s and humid it was the day before, I am just not acclimated to that yet!

Out of the car and off to packet pick up it was a bit chilly. Bathroom stops, outfit assessment then it was off to warm up. I set out with BB to get in 2 easy miles before stripping down. I am so grateful I did a thorough warm up because initially I was pretty chilly but after a mile I realized I would be fine in a tank and shorts. Wasn't feeling to peppy on the hills in the warm up, but just hoped for some race day magic to occur once I hit the line.

Into my racing flats and a pair of cheap gloves and I was ready to toe the line with everyone else. Last year was unusual in that not many super fast chicks showed up. This year things were back to the norm with a few speedsters to keep you honest. I lined up near the front next to CG. I assumed she would be around my pace in this race, but obviously stronger on the hills since strength is not my forte.

Took it out at a good effort knowing that the first two miles would be fast since they are a net downhill. I knew a few of the guys around me would finish close to me and my effort felt good so I went with the flow. The ground was wet and it was rainy but my temperature felt good and I managed to avoid most of the major puddles. (6:29, 7:07)

Around mile 2 CG caught me on the uphill and went by as well as a second young chick. I held my effort knowing that I couldn't waste energy trying to race these gals up hills that I am not strong on. Each stretch of flat or downhill I would slowly close the gap only to lose it all back at the next set of inclines. I was pretty happy to keep the gap where it was and my pace was going well (6:43).

Mile 3 to 4 is where you hit the first significant hill. I definitely could feel it and watched as the group around me pulled away (7:24). My Garmin was a bit off from the markers but my average pace was just under 7 and after climbing "Bear" hill I was able to enjoy a few quick miles where there are only some false flats and a few rollers (7:04, 6:49, 6:51). Mile 6 was marked way short so I was definitely grateful for the Garmin since mile 7 was right on. In the past I have always had company during this stretch and have never realized how secluded it is. It is mostly a false flat winding section and if you lose your focus it would be easy to let the pace slip. Thankfully I was clipping along at my target pace still and was remembering why I love racing.

A small climb before mile 8 then one more friendly mile before the second monster hill during mile 9. Around 8 I saw Frank pull over to the side and got my glimpse of some of the runners who had surged past me on the hills earlier. I couldn't tell what Frank was up to but assumed cramping and felt bad for him, but before I knew it he was zipping away past everyone again and was gone from my sight. I hadn't taken any aid on the course but after seeing Frank pull over I decided to take a bit of Gatorade at the next two stops.

The whole race I was behind CG who was wearing the Nike Lunar Trainers which have neon yellow bottoms. All I saw most of the day was these bright yellow feet grinding their way over the hills. Mile 9 I heard someone coming up on me fast and wondered what the heck was going on. I made a comment about sandbagging and the guy said he had been trying to catch me forever. He had been taking it easy and was ready to start taking names. I ran with him for a little bit until we got to the horrible hill before mile 10 where I watched him float away. (7:17, 6:58, 7:28)

After mile 10 there are two miles of mostly runnable terrain. In past years this is where I have upped the effort and started running people down. This year I was content to up the effort and try to hold onto pace. I finally reeled in two guys who had passed me around mile 4 and thought maybe I could close some of the gap on CG but the last miles rollers and finishing up hill were waiting to do me in. The only mile I don't think I ran as well was mile 12. This is where you start to see other runners behind you as they are heading towards mile 10. Got some encouragement from Berk and a gentleman who I slowly passed, but I mostly just watched the other runners and offered encouragement when I could. I probably got a little complacent here and could have pushed harder to take advantage of the flats (7:08, 6:56).

I thought I would be ready to tackle that last mile and maybe catch KM but it was apparent as I hit the first set of rollers that I was toast. My pace quickly dropped and despite my best efforts I just had to hold on through the (horrible uphill) finish (7:50) for a final time of 1:32:31 (7:04 pace). (4th female, 1st age group) As I walked through the chutes my quads and calves gave a not so quiet protest and I could tell that had I pushed any harder serious cramping would have occurred. Got in a quick 2 mile cool down (that initial downhill was quite painful!) and cheered on my SERC gals to their strong finishes before finally getting a change of clothes. Of course it started pouring after I changed and made my way to the post race party area so I was still a drowned rat and now that I was no longer racing I was cold! Two cups of coffee and post race chatting with friends seemed to help though.

I was super ecstatic to run a PR and get my soft Half marathon PR off the books for sure. I was also very pleased that my fitness level is where I want it to be. This was a great affirmation that my hard work is indeed paying off. Some days things just seem to click right where you expect and want them to be, and I am so glad that Sunday was one of those days. Hopefully with a proper taper and 6 weeks more training Boston will also be one of those days! (Maybe even a day that exceeds rather than just meets expectations! Wouldn't that be a nice bonus?)

Pre Race Carb Loading Paid Off!

Post Race Coffee and Apple!

SERC Chicks Rule!

Kurt edged me out by 6 seconds!

SERC Runners of the year after a great race!

Patriotic and Prideful!

Frank and BB Chatting by the fire

Berk and Daisy

February 2009 Training Rundown

After Richmond last November I decided it was time for a few back off months. Time to regroup and refocus my efforts and try to determine what my running goals would be for 2009 and the future. I did a lot of high mileage weeks last year topping out with a 90 miler, but my consistency wasn't great, my average weekly mileage during Richmond training was around 65 because I would have two huge weeks followed up by a dismal week due to either life or exhaustion. So my focus this month has been on consistency. I want to keep my average mileage the same as it was for Richmond, but peak weeks will be around 70 miles rather than 90 and low weeks will be 45-50 rather than 30-40.

Well that training started the last week of January and other than that first week has gone as planned. The week I started my 12 week program for Boston I was definitely lacking motivation, just feeling sluggish and unsure of my goals. I planned out Pfitzingers low mileage plan which peaks around 50 miles and decided I was going to take it easy and just run Boston for fun. Well about half way through that week I sucked it up and got back on top of my training motivation and wrote out Pfitzingers middle mileage plan which peaks at 70 miles twice, telling myself I would run somewhere in between the two plans every week depending on what life is throwing at me and on how my body is responding to the training.

Since the first training block is mostly endurance and building mileage I have actually been hitting the higher mileage weeks with no issues the past few weeks. I haven't been strictly following the plan on easy days, doing whatever mileage I feel like rather than what is planned, but I have been getting in the key medium long runs, tempos, and long runs. I've backed off my pace on the easy runs and the medium long runs this time around, and I have upped my effort on the long runs. Tempos have been okay, not great due to weather and the fact that I haven't run anything fast since November. The wind has just been nuts in Cleveland this month and too many of my routes end into the wind, but if it is windy in Boston I will not have any excuses! This week starts in on speed workouts, and I have three races before Boston starting with Youngstown half this weekend to figure out what kind of speed I have in me. So far I am feeling confident about my endurance but since I haven't raced since November my speed is a big question mark, and if my tempo runs are any indicator I don't like what I see and likely have some really hard workouts and races coming up the next few weeks to get to where I want to be.

Last year I paced Tampa in early February and did a few recovery weeks so mileage was low. I think that killed me a bit at Boston so I am hoping that having a more consistent February this year will prove useful at Boston. I know the 12 week training plan is minimal, but I think I really needed the mental and physical recharge after Richmond in November. Not to mention that anything more than the 12 week plan has you training in really shitty Cleveland winter weather for over 2 months and I am not sure anyone can take that :)

I have purposely not been tracking workouts on here, trying to keep my motivation to get the miles internal rather than logging them just to beef up my training log. But for those that are wondering I have been training and so SH doesn't think I am logging secret miles here is how the month of February played out.

February 2nd to the 8th-11 weeks to Boston-55 miles
Tuesday-10 miles with 4 at LT effort. Tempo was slow, 7:23, 7:23, 7:09, 6:54, took almost a week to recover from the effort, legs just felt hammered, was pretty disappointed
10 minutes stretching and some quick abs
Wednesday-6 miles easy with Daisy 9minute pace
Thursday-5.5 miles easy with Daisy and BM 9:30s
Friday-11.6 miles with GP 9 minute pace
Saturday-4.5 miles easy 9 minute pace
Sunday-17 miles with Daisy and Solar, felt strong 8:20 pace. 60 minutes yoga

February 9th to the 15th-10 weeks to Boston-64 miles
Tuesday-9 miles with 10*25 second strides 8:20 pace
Wednesday-6.5 miles easy with a couple short hill sprints at the end 8:50 pace
30 minutes strength-3*10 push up/side planks, 3*20 abs, side leg lifts, lunges, single leg squats, plank 90 seconds
Thursday-4.65 mile run easy 8:50 pace
Friday-AM 12.6 miles with GP, 9:10s, Lunch 6.6 miles with Daisy Easy, 8:40s
Saturday-4.3 miles easy 9:20s
Sunday-20 miles with Frank, PR, and SG, 7:25 pace

February 16th to 22nd-9 weeks to Boston-64 miles
Monday-20 minutes strength 3*10 push up planks, 60 sec plank, 2*30 second planks, 2*20 abs
Tuesday-8 miles easy with Salty 8:45 pace
Wednesday-8 miles easy with Salty 9 minute pace
Thursday-AM: 9.5 mile. second LT attempt. Did not go well. Too windy outside (45 mph gusts) so did a 4 mile warm up outside with Daisy then took to the treadmills. 3 miles at 6:53 pace, took a small breather for water and heart rate skyrocketed when I ratcheted it back up. So did one mile at 7:00 pace and called it quits.
Lunch: 4.5 miles easy with Daisy, Salty, and JC, 9:45 pace
PM: 60 minutes yoga
Friday-11.6 miles with GP, 9:40 pace
Saturday-5.25 miles easy, 9:30 pace
Sunday-17.25 miles with MN, DP, and Frank, 7:50 pace

February 23rd to March 1st-8 weeks to Boston-75 miles
Tuesday-8 miles easy with Salty and Daisy, 10*30 second strides. 8:20s
Wednesday-AM 12.5 miles with 6 miles at LT effort. Windy day on marginal, ran from home to work: 7:03, 6:57, 6:48,7:08,7:01,7:05, struggled with the wind and stupid contact rolling up in my eye
Lunch: 4.35 miles easy with Daisy, Salty and JC 9:40s
Thursday-7 miles easy with Daisy and Salty, 9 minute pace
PM 60 minutes Yoga
Friday-15.4 miles with GP, 9:10s
Saturday-7 miles easy with 6*30 second strides, 8:50s
Sunday-20 miles with Frank, PR, and KM, 7:34 pace