Hello Fitness...

How nice of you to arrived right on time.

Well the stars are starting to align on my training right now, coincidence the same happened last year around this time, probably not. I'm guessing the attitude adjustment is somewhat seasonal in nature. It is just too easy to get dragged down in these Midwest winters.

That said I still need to keep upping the effort in my speed work and start really pushing the hills, but this week was a fantastic training week, got my head on straight, worked hard, lost a few pounds, and despite being sick ran my best week ever.

February 22-28th-75 miles this week.

Monday-8 miles easy 8:22 pace with 6*25 second hill sprints
Tuesday-10 miles with interval work
Wednesday-8 miles at lunch 8 minute pace, 6 miles PM 8:40 pace
Thursday-8.5 miles including 5 mile tempo
Friday-7.5 miles easy 9:20 pace (including stops)
Saturday- 10 miles 7:19 pace, pushing the hills
Sunday- 18 miles including 16 miles at 6:53 pace

Key Workouts:

Intervals: goal was 2 miles at 6:30 pace, 4*800 at 6:00 pace or better, 2 miles at 6:20 pace, and 6*100 in 22 seconds.

Well the paces weren't quite up to where I'd like them to be, but I felt like it was a really good work out. I had to work hard and was engaged/focused the entire workout. Did this on roads, so some of this was into the wind and that 6:38 mile included some uphill. splits below.


Tempo Run: I convinced a running friend to let me tag along with him so I could up my effort on these. Goal was 6:25 pace for as long as I could hold on to it, if I fell too far off run 2 minutes easy then finish out the 5 mile tempo as close to 6:25 as possible. We started with the wind at our backs or crosswind, the footing was marginal for some of these two miles but for the most part okay. After the 2nd mile the course heads uphill for about a half mile to .75 and then turns into a wind tunnel for the last two miles. I let my running friend pull ahead at the hill and never quite caught back up but decided not to do 2 minutes rest because for the next two miles I was still faster than my fastest average tempo pace and the last mile was into some rough wind and I ran all out the last quarter of it, I was extremely pleased with the effort and this is my best tempo average to date in marginal conditions.

32:43.0 Total
06:32.6 Average Pace

Long Run: Goal this morning was to get in 16 at 7 or better pace. I wanted to get in a warm up so we did a little less than 2 miles easy then started in on the 7 minute effort. Took a slightly different course than normal which takes out the long grinding hill but adds in one long steep hill and a few tiny steep hills. Then we headed back in and did a few tack ons out and back, so a flatter course than normal. By the time we reached 16 with the warm up we were at an average of 6:59, but I was feeling good so I decided to stick to the goal of running 16 straight at 7 or better average and got in 16 at 6:53. My best average pace ever for that long of a distance.

I am definitely feeling pumped up for Youngstown next week and prospects for Boston are starting to look really good from my vantage. Now this snow needs to melt so I can get on the track and fine tune my speed and form, and this sore throat and running nose need to go so I am running on 100% for the next 7 weeks.

Weekly Run Down- 8 weeks to Boston

The Good News about last week is I got in 75 good miles. Other than the less than stellar race I hit most of my targets and really felt great. My 20 miler was the fastest ever other than the Columbus Marathon and I am fired up to get my act in gear for Youngstown in 2 weeks. My tempo's have not improved over last fall and it is time to suck it up and get it done. I talked with coach and this weeks training will be more aggressive. I need to get my tempos in the 6:20s (going to partner up with another local runner looking to do the same) and we need to start getting my speed back up to par (come on daylight savings I want to hit the track!). But what I am feeling good about is my aerobic fitness. I really felt relaxed all week and I have no nagging injuries right now so I am in great shape to red line it a bit for the next 6 weeks leading up to my Boston taper.

In addition to upping the intensity of my training I am focusing on my diet for the first time in a long time and making a goal of getting down to my starting college weight. This is still a bit higher than the bottom level of healthy for my height, so definitely not excessive weight loss, but will hopefully make a significant difference in how light I feel. I am also hoping getting in the right amount of carbs, proteins, and fat will level out my energy levels. I already have high energy and get plenty of sleep, but if I can even out the highs and lows of energy on a daily basis and during my runs it can't hurt. In addition to eating the proper amount of calories to meet my goal weight I am also cutting out desserts and alcohol until Boston, and trying to keep junk to a minimum. Obviously will still be having sugar in gels and my Sunday coffee, but cutting way back on indulgences will only make the weight goals that much easier to achieve. Goal is to lose 1 lb a week and so far so good! I am down to the same weight I was in July 2008 which was my lowest adult weight while running.

February 15th-21st 74.6 miles

Monday- AM Massage, 6 miles super easy in the PM with NB

Tuesday- 8 mile track workout on the treadmill. Went pretty well until the last two miles. I was supposed to follow the intervals up with 2 miles at 7:00 pace but just ran out of steam.

6*.25 at 9.6 mph
1 mile at 9.2 mph
4* .13 at 10.4-10.6 mph

Wednesday- AM 5 mile run with GP at 8:01 pace
Lunch 8 mile run at 8:13 pace

Thursday- 9 miles with 5 miles at 7 minute pace

Friday- 6 miles easy at 8:06 pace with 4*20 second strides

Saturday- 21 minute warm up
19:40 5k
17 minute cool down

PM 4 miles easy 8:21 pace

Sunday- 5 minute easy warm up

20 miles at 7:08 pace

An Emotional wrap up to the week...

...to put it lightly for sure. The poor race performance followed by some constructive criticism of my training Sunday on top of some ridiculous drama and work stress resulted in an emotional break down on my part. I just completely lost my cool and likely terrified a few of my running club members yesterday.

Trying to turn it into a positive spin I think the fact that I got so emotional about the discussion is an indicator that I do still passionately care about my running goals, whereas some days in the winter it is easy to wonder if you still are driven enough. It's easy to get lost in logging the miles and repeating the same efforts each week without physical results you can put on paper (or worse negative results you cringe at putting on paper). In my last post I don't think I accurately captured how I am feeling right now, and barring hiring a shrink I am not sure I can even really figure out the root of everything I am feeling right now.

I have always been highly emotional, and since college I have done my best to crack down on my time bomb like displays of emotion. Unfortunately some times that backfires. I don't think I've had an episode like this in a few years, but in high school it was common for me to lose my cool over the smallest of things on a daily basis. Talk about dramatic. So to say it caught me off guard yesterday is an understatement. You think you have everything under control and all of a sudden you realize this emotional tornado has been whipping around inside you waiting to strike. Add a hard 20 mile effort, a bad race into the mix, and poorly timed criticism and BOOM, explosion.

I also have the unfortunate habit of crying when I am really mad, it's like I have no outlet for my anger and my body responds by just letting everything flow through my tears. This worked out great on our honeymoon when I got pissed at them for wasting our time, tears get results for sure, but it is beyond embarrassing when this happens in front of those that you want to think that you are this bad ass runner ready to commit everything to your goals. Yesterday just left me feeling extremely vulnerable and raw.


So I am struggling with the new responsibility running faster has put on my shoulders. Obviously my goals are to become the fastest runner I can be, but sometimes I wish there wasn't so much that comes along with that. For example when you aren't so fast and you have a bad race, nobody really notices, and you don't have to feel like you let down anyone but yourself, but when you start getting onto the radar screen a bad race is very noticeable and you feel like you let everyone down.

I don't think I can accurately describe my feelings about this in one post but that's a short summary of it.

All of this leading up to the fact that I just didn't follow through on my race plans today. Despite feeling energized, confident, and calm when the gun went off, by the middle of the race I was just detached and struggling through another personally mediocre run. First mile went perfectly in 5:52 and from there the wheels just slowly slipped off and then flatted by the end for a 19:39 finish.

Confidence is an issue. Lack of speed training is an issue. But at the end of the day I have no one to blame for the poor performance but my mental demons. As coach says my strength alone should give me 18:30 right now. I wanted to work harder than I did today, and I just didn't. Other than tight calves at the end of the race I didn't even feel that bad, I just couldn't put it into that next gear. I feel like I could go run 20 miles right now no problem. Obviously there is a big difference between 20 miles at 7-7:15 pace and 3.1 miles at sub 6. I need to tune into my speed demons and let them loose next short race. If I want to run a fast marathon I need to get these legs to pick up the pace considerably in this short stuff. No excuses, just run faster and work harder.

The good thing about a bad performance is I can take this and use it as a driver to perform that much better next race. Youngstown Half I'm hoping for good weather because I have some redemption waiting for me on those hills this year. I need to step up my game the next few weeks in training and get ready for a 100% effort there.

Now I am off for a recovery run in the sun, not because my legs are tight and need it, but because it is so beautiful out and the sun has made me feel so much better this week it definitely will lift my spirits for my 20 mile run tomorrow.

Next Up

Another indoor track meet.

Tomorrow I am going to race in the 5k at the Kent Tune Up race. This will be a lot more competitive than the Case event was so of course I am a bit nervous, but after some scolding by coach for seeding myself too slow I upped the ante a bit and I am feeling confident about working hard tomorrow to hopefully improve my 5k PR.

Looking at last years results I will be lucky to place top 15 at this race so I am taking a different approach than I would at a road race. I am going into this with the mindset that I am working with the other runners to achieve a personal goal, rather than the goal of racing other women. It is very likely I'll be running in a decent size pack for much of the race which will be a new experience for me, so I'm hoping this approach will help me keep my cool before and during the race. I'll let you know how it works out!

Another Week...

Another weekly rundown.

The weather this week was a huge downer in Cleveland 2 out of 3 key workouts were accompanied by at least minimal snow covered ground, Tuesday my speed workout got pretty slick pretty quickly. Thankfully the roads were mostly clear for my long run yesterday, other than Hawthorne hill, nothing like climbing basically heart break hill in slippery footing to get your heart rate up. I'm definitely to the point of fed up with the winter and all week it seemed like meeting mileage goals was not going to happen, but somehow I managed to eek out 70 miles. Add to the weather a distressed stomach during my tempo and two mornings of racing to the corner only to miss the bus by mere seconds, and at least I have a reason for my crankiness this past week, if not really any justified excuse.

February 8th-10th 70 miles

Monday- 7.5 miles 7:52 pace

Tuesday- 8 miles with 2*0.50 miles (3:15, 3:09) followed by 6* .13 miles (all 45-46), followed by 3 miles around 7:10 pace (aiming for 7, but the slop just did me in)

Wednesday - 6 miles treadmill super slow

Thursday- Lunch 8 miles in slop, 9:07 pace, PM Treadmill miles 3.5 8:50 pace

Friday- 10 miles with tempo interval effort (1 miles, 1 min 7:30 pace, 2 miles, 1 min 7:30 pace, 1 mile, 1 min 7:30 pace, 2 miles), stomach issues and being mental caused my pace to be slow (6:58, 13:58, 6:49, 6:42, 6:42)

Saturday- 10 miles 7:45 pace

Sunday- 15 miles 7:07 pace with last 4 miles sub 7, then 2 mile cool down

On a positive note after a little more achilles soreness Monday it seems fine. I've been wearing compression socks and just leaving it alone and it seems to have healed itself!

New 'Do

As someone said the other night at $2 cheeseburger night hairstyle is kind of an extension of our personalities. I think that's true to some extent. The first few nights with the dark hair it definitely didn't feel like "me". But it is growing on me and I am thinking for Boston I'll go completely black and get some red tints on the ends, that sounds like a fast marathon 'do to me :) Typically I am in pigtails, and right now the intention is to grow the hair to at least shoulder length, when it will likely end up in a pony tail most of the time, but I have been making an effort to be more 'girlie' the past few years and do try to style my hair a few times a week. This is an awkward length but it has it's days where it almost feels like a reflection of me :)

Hopefully This is Not a Trend

Training for Boston in Ohio is a pain in the rear. Almost everyone I run with has dealt with some sort of small or debilitating injury this winter. Sometimes it doesn't seem like it is worth it. But then you remember all the amazing race weekend experiences at Boston and you lace up your shoes (and possibly yak traks, tights, upper layers, headband, and gloves) and head out the door.

Of course I take a week to go somewhere sunny and manage to irritate my Achilles on a perfectly beautiful morning long run. I took two days off following the problem, and it seemed to be getting better. Managed to do my speed work and tempo without it griping, after the tempo it was a little tender, but seemed fine on my Saturday run. Then yesterday headed out for my 18 miler and in the first two miles the same pain occurred. It feels like someone is slapping my calf with a stick or poking me with needles, it comes and goes, but the pain doesn't increase. We stopped at the top of Hawthorne hill and starting up again mid run definitely irritated it. At one point during the run it was a definite exaggerated pain, that dulled quickly. I am assuming this is the first stages of Achilles tendinitis (or whatever they call it now) but I'm hoping it is just a little calf soreness.

It was pretty cold yesterday and I am hoping if I stretch and heat before my runs this week it will heal while I continue to train, but I am overly aware this may mean more time off. It is extremely frustrating.

What is more frustrating is not knowing the cause. The long run it started on was a horrible run (in extremely nice weather), my quads were wrecked and I was running slow, just getting in the miles. Pain started around mile 12, 4 miles from my destination. It was a 75 mile week so the question is, do I have a limit of 70 mpw before I start getting injured, were the shoes I wore no good for long runs anymore (as I precaution I threw them out after the run), too much cement out west?

So I am sending healing vibes to my Achilles, icing, wearing compression socks, and contemplating some calf strengthening, and hoping I can run through this.

On that note a weekly summary, other than the two days off it really was a great week, good fartlek training, good tempo, and good long run, if you just ignore the fact that my Achilles is angry I'm really pleased with the way things are going.

February 1st-7th 51 miles

Monday- Off (Phoenix Zoo)

Tuesday- Off (Traveling)

Wednesday- 8 miles including fartlek 4*0.25 miles (1:34-1:36) w/ 2 minute rest, 4* .13 miles (44-46) with .13 mile rests, 3 miles <= 7:00 min pace

Thursday- 8 miles 7:57 pace, PM Yoga

Friday- 9.5 miles including 6 mile tempo in 39:37 (6:36 pace)

Saturday- 8 miles 7:47 pace

Sunday- 18 miles 7:04 pace

Sunny Weekly Rundown

The weather was pretty kind to my running while we were in Houston and Phoenix, too bad my achilles had to act up and spoil the last two days of what should have included some sunny runs. Running went relatively well. Speed work and tempo went perfectly as planned, but the long run dragged and my stomach was not nice most of the week, then to top it off the last 4 miles of the long run my left achilles started to "twang" and was sore afterwords. It was a little sore today but survived a speed workout last night so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Jan 25th-Jan 31st 76 miles

Monday-8.5 miles 8:03 pace lunch, 5 miles 7:36 pace pm
Tuesday-8 miles 8:20 pace
Wednesday-9 miles 7:23 pace including: 8*.13 mi in 42-44 seconds with .13 jogged rest, 1 mile 6:22 then 4 miles ranging from 7:11 to 7:24
Thursday-AM 6 miles 8:29 pace, PM 4.5 miles including 2 miles with cousins easy
Friday- 9 miles with 6 miles tempo at Memorial Park 6:44.63, 6:44.90, 6:45.48, 6:44.09, 6:43.97, 6:43.06
Saturday- 10 miles easy including ~4 miles on trails near Camelback 8:40 pace
Sunday- 16 miles 7:54 pace, quads felt like absolute crap, just couldn't up the effort at all

I miss the sun already

Side note: Did you know on average Cleveland has 66 sunny days a year? Phoenix has 211, and Houston has 90. This doesn't include partly sunny or party cloudy days...