3 Weeks to Boston

Another fantastic training week in the bank. Not quite as zippy as last week, but coach instructed me to cool it a bit, no need to be breaking speed records on the long run every week. Much to say about how I feel (Great!) and preparing for taper and race day, but I need to go watch the Cavs play so that will have to wait. Until then here's a quick stats report!

March 22nd-28th-80 miles

Monday-8 miles 8 minute pace
Tuesday-10.5 miles with track workout
Wednesday-AM 4.4 miles 7:27 pace, Lunch 8 miles 8 minute pace
Thursday- 9 miles 7:00 pace including 5 mile tempo
Friday-Lunch Run 8.4 miles 8:00 pace, PM Recovery Run 4 miles 9 minute pace
Saturday- 8 miles at 7:24 pace
Sunday- 20 miles at 7:05 pace

Key Workouts:

Tuesday Track

4*100 strides, 4*1200 with 3 min rest, 1600 stride straights, jog curves, 4:23,4:21,4:20,4:17,6:37

Thursday Tempo

Coach instructed me to do whatever I could hold even but try and get it between 5 mile race pace effort and my normal tempo since we don't have any more races before Boston. He wanted me to feel good about it and know that I could go even faster in a race. Got myself a little PR on the tempo and felt nice and controlled so I was really happy with this workout (even though it was in the snow!)


Sunday Long Run

Coach said to cool it on the 6:50s and keep it closer to 7:10 today. Between 7 and 7:10 was fine as long as it was easy and conversational. Legs felt great and although stomach was a little iffy (Mexican Fiesta party last night) the run went great. My training friend NC joined in for the fun and it was her first 20, it was nice to help her get in her first 20 while getting my last long workout accomplished before Boston. The weather gods once again smiled down upon my long run this week and the rain held off until we finished. Next week it is looking to warm up around here, so that should be interesting for my marathon paced effort!

On a side note after 5 straight days of ice baths the hamstring and psoas feel great! (knock on wood) So mission get healthy is accomplished and mission stay healthy has begun!

4 weeks to Boston...

and feeling fine :) Training is still going swimmingly and yesterday I hit my target race weight so now it is all about healing a few little twinges and maintaining weight and fitness for the next 1-2 weeks of hard training and then staying fresh mentally and physically through taper.

Bought my race shoes this morning and they feel fast, getting super stoked!

March 15th-21st 77 miles. Goal for the week was to get in track, tempo, long run sub 7 pace, two easy days, one high 7 day, and one low 7 day totalling 70-75 miles.

Monday- 8.25 miles easy 8:20 pace
Tuesday-10 miles with track workout
Wednesday-AM 5 miles 7:48 pace, Lunch 8 miles 7:58 pace
Thursday- 9 miles with 6 mile tempo 7:00 pace
Friday- AM 4.5 miles easy 8:36 pace, Lunch 8 miles with 6*25 second hill sprints at end 8:00 pace
Saturday- 8 miles 7:14 pace
Sunday- 16 miles 6:46 pace

Key workouts:

Tuesday track mile warm up 7:40-7:50 target, 4*100 strides, 4*800 with 2:30 rest, 2*400 with 90 second rest, 2*200 jog/200 stride, 5 minutes rest, 1600 aiming for even pace effort whatever you can hold even

First night back out on the track, and man did it feel good! I was a little conservative with the paces because I hadn't been running that fast on the roads, but the effort just felt really good/steady and I had one of my fastest track workouts, and definitely my best closing mile on a track workout ever.


Thursday Tempo: Targeting 6 miles at 6:30 or faster. Solo on Marginal miles 0-2.5 with wind, 2.5 to 5 into wind, last mile with the wind


Sunday Long Run: Targeting 16 miles at 7 or faster.

Given we were up late last night, ate party food all day, and stayed at our friends I was not expecting much from this run, surprise surprise I really felt great and easily was running 6:45s for most of the run and was still able to run the last few miles the fastest by myself after my company shot off to get to church.

Only glitch is yesterday climbing hills in n.chagrin my left psoas started to act up, and I could feel it again today. I would have liked to have done an ice bath yesterday but just didn't have time, so today I will get in the ice bath and do some self massage on that and my left hamstring which acted up the last 3 miles today, I think from dodging traffic with a little jump (I know idiot!), so hopefully nothing severe, and just one of those little niggles I can fix with ice and massage.


You know there is something wrong with you when you are so pumped to get out on the track and thrash your legs. First track workout of the year tonight!

Weekly Rundown 5 weeks to Boston

Just another fantastic week, I really have no clue how I am pulling it off. Weight loss has tapered and I am sitting within my target 4 lb range and happy with that. If I can get it to the bottom of my goal that would be great but with how good I am feeling I am not going to worry about that. Just focusing on maintaining this light feeling and high energy level I have going. Had a massage Friday and the therapist said my legs felt way better than normal, crazy considering I have just been piling it on the past few weeks. Only trouble areas were my shoulders (as usual) and my lower back and hips. Working on keeping them stretched and happy the next few weeks leading into Boston!

March 8th-14th-81 miles

Monday- 8.5 miles easy with 4*100 strides 8:51 pace
Tuesday- 10.72 miles with fartlek workout 6:55 pace
Wednesday- AM 5.16 easy miles 8:35, Lunch 8.43 miles 7:50 pace
Thursday- 9.42 miles 6:58 pace with 6 mile tempo
Friday- AM 5 miles easy 8:42 pace, Lunch 7.4 miles easy 8:35 pace
Saturday- ~3.75 miles sporadic pace cheering and running around at St Malachi
Sunday- 22 miles 6:53 pace and half mile cool down 8:10 pace

Key Workouts Summary:

Tuesday Fartlek- Goal 2 miles 6:30 pace, 4*400 1:30-1:32 with 2 minute rest, 1600 6:15 or faster, 4*400 with 2 min rests at 1:30-1:32, 2 miles 6:30. Legs just felt stellar and only the last 2 miles were a struggle.

0.45 mile warm up 8:16 pace
2 min rest 7:48 pace
2 min rest 7:42 pace
2 min rest 7:39 pace
2 min rest 7:48 pace
2 min rest 8:04 pace
2 min rest 8:32 pace
2 min rest 7:58 pace
2 min rest 7:51 pace
2 min rest 8:06 pace
2 min rest 8:04 pace
.76 mile cool down 8:43 pace

Thursday Tempo- Goal 6 miles at 6:30 or faster. Ran this with NC, upper body felt relaxed and the pace was doable, mental focus was a little off, and it felt like time had just stopped, not the best "feeling" workout but obviously hitting the target paces so I am happy with it.


Sunday Long Run-

Hands down best long run so far. Took it out easy aiming for 7:10 or faster for 22 miles today and felt comfortable at 6:50 for most miles including much of the uphill work. Last 4 miles were the fastest of the day. Hoping this is a good sign leading into Boston!

All the little things

So on top of all the hard running I am getting in I have added a lot of significant small changes to my days. Since everything is going swimmingly I have no idea if they are all helping to contribute to feeling stellar each day and running better than ever before, but I am just going to have to keep on doing them all because I definitely want to keep the ball rolling! Perhaps these little extras are what it takes to really make a giant leap in training.

1) Hip exercises. I have always had a "wonky" left hip. I am sure this has caused some of my minor injuries in the past from different small compensations made during running. I am guessing that leg is slightly shorter or something. When I do leg lifts or scissors etc that hip is always a question mark for this popping uncomfortable noise. On top of that after long runs, especially marathons and 50ks my hips tend to lock up if I try to lift my knee to 90 degrees. So every night I am trying to get in a minimum of 10 lying down side leg lifts for each leg, 10 bridges, 10 Superman's on each leg, 10 standing side leg lifts, 10 "knee drives" not sure what these are called but I exaggerate running motion in place by lifting my leg with a 90 degree angle at the knee along with the opposite arm.

2) Light Strength Training. I don't want to bulk up but I have been doing 10 push ups, 20-30 bicycle crunches, assorted tricep and bicep lifts with 5 lb weights, and planks and side planks most evenings.

3) Stretching. Along with the hip exercises and light strength training each evening I have been getting in a minimum of down dog, cat/cow, and pigeon yoga poses on top of touching my toes and stretching my side and hips

4) Ice baths. Minimum of once a week for 20 minutes, up to 3-4 times a week for 10-20 minutes. (Also get in epsom salt baths when I feel achy)

5) Massage. Once a month full body massage.

6) Compression Socks. I have been wearing these things like they are a part of my body. I have them on pretty much whenever I am not running.

7) Breakfast before leaving for work. Before I used to sometimes wait and have something when I got in, but I have been making an effort to wake up early enough to get in a bowl of cereal, oj, and a banana each morning.

8) More Sleep. I already get more than most folks, but I was still struggling to drag my butt out of bed in the morning so I have been going to bed an hour earlier with the target of getting in 9 hours each night. And surprise surprise, I am doing a much better job of waking up ready to start the day.

9) Eating Better. Obviously I am targeting a bit of weight loss right now, but I have been watching to make sure I get in the right amount of carbs, fat, and protein and I think this has really helped with consistent energy levels. I plan to keep tracking what I eat and keep hitting the right target ratio of nutrients once I hit race weight to hopefully ensure I keep up this energy high I have been on the past few weeks.

10) Getting stuff done. This isn't directly running related, but in the past I tend to put things off when I get home at the end of a long work day and everything piles up. I am now getting the dishes done and laundry started first thing when I get home, and I think this has lowered my overall stress level which can only help me to feel better all day, especially when running.

Weekly Rundown and Weight Loss Progress

Another stellar week of training definitely has me in high spirits. My legs feel pretty fresh. I have a bit of soreness in the left side of my lower back near the pelvic bone, but it didn’t affect my running today at all. I am figuring just residual soreness from the Youngstown Hills. But I am definitely keeping up the religious stretching and pilates type efforts to make sure everything stays happy and mixing in ice baths and Epsom salt baths as needed, oh and a much deserved massage is scheduled for Friday!

I’m officially half a pound away from my pre college weight. But man is my body composition quite different than it was 11 years ago! I’ve lost my boobs and my upper body definitely looks a lot leaner than I am used too (unless we go way back to pre puberty!). I’m a big believer that if you feel good about yourself you run better. I can’t lie I don’t find this really lean look attractive at all (and I don’t like the toll it is going to take on my pocket book, new jeans, new bras, resized rings, it adds up!), but it is what I need to do to move my running to the next level. And I can’t lie my energy levels have been awesome and I feel so light on all my runs. I have a feeling it is even helping with my poor posture.

I looked up some elite marathoner stats to make sure I wasn’t getting scary skinny and Deena Kastor who is obviously a fantastic marathoner is my height and weighs 6.5 pounds less than I do. Now that I am almost at target weight my goal is to stay there while reducing body fat a bit more and strengthening my core muscles and triceps. I don’t want to get bulky but I definitely think there is room for a bit more strength in this body!

I am not a proponent of being an unhealthy weight at all and it saddens me to see so many anorexic runners out there. So I want to make it clear that I am not going to go under a weight that falls in the BMI healthy range for my weight, even if science has shown most successful marathoners are 10 to 15% below the average healthy weight for their height. I am targeting 8-10% below the average healthy weight for my height which is pretty reasonable considering I have an extremely small frame (we’re talking tiny ass wrists folks) and am probably meant to be a bit under average weight normally.

So with that note, my training last week has me super stoked! I am definitely sitting right on that cusp of sub 3 fitness. Here’s hoping 3-4 more weeks of good training will have me ready for taper and marathon racing so I can meet the sub 3 goal!

I was supposed to target 65 miles but went a little high. Also supposed to be getting in 2 8:30 or slower days and 2 low to mid 7 days which I have not been good at doing. I am struggling with where to put the second low 7 day in my week (on top of Saturday) usually and the group I like to run with at lunch is more of a 8-8:20 group so not quite as slow as I should be going on my recovery days. Squeezing the extra 7 minute day around a Sunday long run, Tuesday interval, and Thursday tempo has been a struggle. But I am thinking that will change because to be honest 7:30s are starting to feel like a joke most days.

Monday March 1st through March 7th- 70 miles

Monday-8.09 miles 7:58 pace with 6*25 second hill strides
Tuesday-10.68 miles 7:18 pace with intervals
Wednesday- AM run 4.75 miles 7:18 pace
Lunch Run 7.75 miles 8:12 pace
Thursday-9.34 miles 6:59 pace with tempo
Friday-6 miles easy 8:40 pace
Saturday-6 miles easy 8:10 pace with 4*100 strides
Sunday- 2.5 mile warm up 8:19 pace, 13.1 mile race 6:44 pace, 2 mile cool down 9:30 pace

Tuesday Intervals- Aiming for 2 miles at 6:30 followed by 2*1 mile repeats at 6:10 or better with 3 minute rests, then 2 miles at 6:25 pace, followed by 6*200/200 jog

6:29.95, 6:32.32, 6:08.46, 6:07.71, 6:26.20, 6:24.17, 41.56, 42.09, 43.41, 44.01, 42.46, 42.79

Thursday Tempo- Aiming for 5 miles at 6:30 or better. Did this with NC after work and it was just a great workout.

6:23.75, 6:22.99, 6:23.59, 6:22.09, 6:21.55

Sunday Race- Goal sub 1:25 or close to best tempo pace, came up a bit short but given the hard weeks work and the effort given I was more than pleased. 1:28:17, 6:44 pace, 4th female. It’s just too bad the previous two weeks workouts probably won’t show up in my race fitness until this week :)

Mill Creek Classic 2010 Race Report

Went into this race with high expectations and no excuses since weather was absolutely perfect. mid 30s and sunshine, only a bit of snow during a couple miles. I ran in shorts, singlet, arm warmers, and throw away gloves and only got chilly for a few miles, had to strip the head band almost immediately.

Goal for the race was to run hard up the hills and try for 6:29 pace. Everyone I talked to before this race said that was aggressive, but I didn't care that was the time I wanted so I was going to go for it. Figured I would try to run that pace for 10 miles and if I blew up, oh well. This race is mostly a key workout for Boston, but it is always nice to hit certain times to get that for sure 100% indicator that you are where you want to be. On top of the time goals I decided as long as the top women were running a pace reasonably close to my goal pace I would try to stick to them like glue.

Per the norm we carpooled out to Youngstown for this. I had cereal, a banana, and oj 3 hours before the race, coffee and a small bit of brown rice 2 hours before on the way. It's always nice to be able to relax on the way and this year NC tagged along so it really felt like we were back in college, loaded up for a meet.

Got to the race with about an hour to spare and hit the restrooms then picked up bibs. Got in about a 2 mile warm up with NC easy, wasn't feeling too perky, but hamstrings weren't barking which was a good sign the previous days ice baths had paid off. Changed shoes and got in a few striders up the finishing hill. Had a photographer shooting photos of me, so I must have looked speedy. EM told him I would be first but I assured him I would be happy to be top 4 given who was at the race. I should have seen what paper he wrote for because it turns out there weren't any finishing photos of me, so I would have liked to get one of these photos of me looking fresh!

Said hellos to a few new racing friends and lined up at the start. Before we knew it we were off and I eased into pace alongside NC and SAS (another VR runner). Pace felt comfortable and we were even a bit chatty but in retrospect I probably should have done my own thing and eased into the race a bit slower. First downhill mile flew by in 6:09 and the second including quite a bit of uphill was 6:34. Mile 3 we hit some more downhill and I was still near NC and SAS for another 6:09. Terrain flattens out here for about a half mile and NC was still pushing 6:15s or faster so I decided to ease back a hair.

The first monster hill comes during mile 3 to 4 and I focused on not letting SAS pull away from me and really working the hill. From here on out I really didn't pay too much attention to my splits. I focused on trying to eat up the ground and feel smooth. This mile was surprisingly sub 7 in 6:52. The next set of miles you twist and turn back and forth through a series of false flats. I was never right with anyone but I kept SAS in my sights and just tried to focus on form. I had miles where I felt stellar and like I was really cruising and then miles were I felt like the effort was way too high. Ironically the next four miles were all pretty steady pace wise in 6:44, 6:38, 6:38, 6:38.

I was struggling to keep my effort up as we ran around the bottom of the park near the river, I just couldn't get that perky feeling back when I got caught by a guy moving up in the pack. He asked my name and asked if I wanted to catch up to SAS, I responded that I sure did, and he pulled me for the next half mile or so and got me out of my slow groove (6:54), alas then we hit the second monster hill and I was just not up to the task of chugging along at his pace. I was super grateful for the boost he gave me though and once I crested the hill I dug in and upped the effort (6:57).

The next few miles I would work on really trying to eat up ground, and caught a few guys, but every time I got the pace back where I wanted it I would hit an uphill and give everything back plus more (6:50). Around my 11 SF caught me (on a training run! girl is sick fast!) and gave me some encouragement as we careened down Bear hill. I would have liked to have used her to get going, but the legs just wouldn't pick it up. My stride felt smooth, but I just had no juice (6:48). Even with the boost of seeing my friends coming the other way and cheering I couldn't get back into a groove pace wise.

Then the nail was put in the coffin the last mile with a short series of rollers that just killed me. (7:19) I caught a few runners here who were in a bad place but just couldn't make up any ground on SAS. Last finishing hill SG was cheering for me to go, and I told myself to dig in and move but still only came up with 7 minute pace to close out at 1:28:17 and 4th female overall.

Lungs were burning at the finish and I was tired, but my legs actually felt pretty good. We headed out for an easy cool down and had fun cheering on friends and chatting marathon prospects with NC.

I was super pleased with the effort I put forth on the course, I don't think I could have worked any harder. My heart rate was insanely high and I never let up even though I was not in direct contact with any other runners for much of the race. Seeing as NC and SAS both have half PRs 3-4 minutes faster than me and neither ran the goal time I had set for myself, I was probably dreaming a little bit on the goal time :) I know I probably could have run a bit faster and had more in the tank at the end if I had gone out at 6:30 like I intended instead of 6:09 but I was proud of my effort and super stoked about how good I felt post race. Base training is paying off!

There was one mile where my mind started to drift and I had to remind myself to focus on myself and not other outside issues. I'll have to work on focus before Boston. I want to be able to coast for the first 13 but the second half of the race I definitely don't want my mind (and the pace!) drifting.

Super stoked for my training buddy NC winning her third half marathon and I think she has been convinced to get on the marathon training board, which would be ideal so I will have someone to work with towards some of my more aggressive marathon goals.

SERC runners as usual kicked butt and took names. Especially proud of FD coming back so quickly from PE. The man is a machine. Always an honor to roll to a race with this crowd! And the Vertical Runner gals didn't do too shabby coming in 3rd and 4th. Next time NC better watch out (she runs for Second Sole) because VR is hungry for a win! ;)

Breakdown to Breakthrough

Well it's been two weeks since my less than stellar 5k and what a difference 2 weeks can make! Last night headed out and got in a 5 mile tempo run at 6:23 pace, yep just 3 seconds slower per mile than the pace I averaged for the 5k. I think that is a pretty good testament to the fact that I just didn't race to my abilities, not a note on my current fitness.

So what's changed in the past two weeks? Actually a TON, and I think all for the better.

1) I got my head on straight with my attitude towards training. Working harder every day when it calls for it and sucking it up to get it done. Running with others when I can to help in this effort.

2) Weight loss. Only 2 lbs from my starting college weight and I definitely feel lighter, no doubt this is helping with the speed, despite not being a huge drop in weight. (And don't worry I am still in the healthy range for my weight! No crazy goals on that front, just finally got realistic about what is an ideal weight for a female runner of my height.)

3) Pushing the hills. Getting rid of the attitude that I can coast hills and hammer down. I am making a commitment to push the hills in training and will do the same racing this weekend.

4) Sunshine! The improved weather is definitely a mood lifter.

5) Focusing on relaxation and mental confidence. I am making more of an effort to take time and relax and go over my goals and what is realistic for me right now and I am feeling very confident about everything. This also includes making time to mentally go through my races beforehand. I've done this once for Youngstown and will do it once more tonight, then moving on and no worries until race day. If this works well I plan to start doing mental prep for Boston soon. Visualizing how I want the day to go, how I want to feel, and what I will do to ensure everything I can control goes my way. Given I have raced Boston and Youngstown several times this mental prep will be easier than it would be for say an indoor track meet where I feel out of my element.

6) Work stress is down with a new computer that actually works, I have no doubt this has been a big contributor to my better attitude.

7) An additional hour of sleep each night. I have always been an advocate of getting plenty of sleep and I am getting more than my fair share right now, and it feels so good!

Actually pretty glad I had that poor race and mental breakdown because it has made me tougher and has me focused even more on achieving this years goals and beyond.