Tempo- Goal 6 at 6:10

We're officially in taper mode mileage wise this week, but workout intensity is still the same so today's goal was 6 at 6:10. A quick mental check of the log books told me this would be my fastest 6 mile tempo ever (turns out my memory is a sand bagger, I actually averaged 6:06 on a step down tempo earlier this year), but still obviously not the fastest 6 miles I have ever run having run faster in a few 10ks and the Akron relay. I've also run several 5 mile tempos between 6:10 and 6:16, so it didn't seem like it would be any harder than any of the tempos I have done before. I got it in my head that if I could I would like to average closer to 6:03.

I also noticed during a few workouts last week that while I am more relaxed about workout goals than I used to be, I still tend to micromanage pace, trying to control each mile. So today I decided to go more by feel, no mile splits, just an average for the run displayed on the garmin as well as the total distance. I wanted to try and look at the watch as minimally as possible. I obviously didn't want to go out at some ridiculous pace I couldn't hold, and I didn't want to go out slower than 6:10 so I decided I would look at the watch every 1.5 miles or so (I know the markers approximately on the route).

This approach resulted in a bit of a quick start, around 5:49 at the half mile, 5:59 pace through 3 miles, 6:02 through around 4.25, and 6:05.5 for the whole run in 36:33. I was definitely working the last 2 miles which were into a bit of cross-wind, but I felt really good the first 4 miles and in control. My legs felt really good on the warm up so I had a feeling it would be a good workout.

I decided to start at Browns stadium instead of by the airport to finish closer to the office as I only needed 8 total miles for the run and usually do closer to 12 with warm up and cool down. I got a late start due to an office meeting so I was on my own for the whole run. This allowed me to do the first 3.25 miles away from the crosswind and the last 2.75 into it with minimal warm up and cool down. I didn't worry too much about that first half mile average pace, it was a bit downhill and I figured my effort would settle in and I might be slower with the same effort when I turned around. Pretty confident this is my fastest tempo ever of any distance which is a nice confidence booster considering I want to race faster than I ever have before at Boston :)


This workout seems to be becoming a staple. Goal is always 10k pace with 90-120 sec rests. This week it was 2 minute rests targeting 87 per quarter or 5:48s. The workout felt pretty good. My right hamstring and calf felt fine. Left hamstring was a tad tight, but much less than normal and did not affect my gait or pace. It was still cold and windy but the sun was out so it felt warmer than the past 3 weeks of rain.

Tried to sit behind my training partner on the 1st, 2nd, and 4th repeats and not look at the watch and just trust her pacing. Then I paced the 3rd and 5th miles.

This workout felt a bit easier than the last time we did it at the indoor track, and paces were slightly faster despite a pretty nasty wind. Everything felt controlled and only the 4th repeat felt a little difficult.


Marathon Training Week 5

Well no rest for those on the recovery road to Boston. Following is what was on tap for the week:

Total Mileage - 75

Monday: Easy.
Tuesday: Track.
Wednesday and Friday: easy miles @ 7:20 or slower. 6 x 30 sec @ 5:30 pace with full recovery on Friday
Thursday: Tempo run; 7 miles @ 6:20 (Later advised to try and keep this under target marathon pace)
12 miles @ 6:40
20 miles (15 @ 6:50, 5 miles @ 6:30)

How it played out:
75 miles
7 runs
4 swims totaling 5300 meters
2 yoga classes
1 ART session
1 massage/torture session

My training partner and I decided to head out to Youngstown on Saturday to get in our 20 miler with another running friend who had a similar workout. Not quite the same, but in the same vein. So we changed the plan from the 15/5 to 10 miles at 7:15 followed by 8 at 6:20 and then a 2 mile cool down. It seems like we tend to do our long runs at a slightly faster pace than many friends training with similar goals, but it seems to work for us so we don't really question it. But I can't lie it was pretty nice running so easy for the first 10 miles, 6:50 isn't that hard, but 7:15 allows us to chat the whole time without any cares to what pace we're at. We had a great group, three of us gals and two guys. The weather was predicted to be pretty cold, 20 degrees, not exactly ideal for pushing the pace on iffy hamstrings, but I was hopeful the clear skies, sunshine, and good company would leave me feeling great and that the body would cooperate. And it did! Run was a huge success. We averaged just under 6:15 for the up tempo part of the run and while it wasn't easy it was definitely doable. Everyone seemed to get something they needed out of the workout and it was just a really positive run.

I need to work on relaxing a bit and sitting back into the group and not pushing the pace so much. I am clearly not comfortable when I am not in control, and I am clearly working harder than I need to be when I try to set the pace. There's a good chance at Boston I will have a decent group to work with, 69 women in the start with at least 19 between 2:46 and 2:50 BQs tells me that there will be some other gals looking to go 2:45 too, I need to be able to settle in and work with the group when I can to take the pressure off and conserve energy while I can.

While this run obviously wasn't a perfect simulator workout I do think it was a very good Boston prep. The long drive to the run simulates the bus ride before the race. The course we ran wasn't perfectly flat and we dealt with some wind. I have decided I am going to likely race in compression socks, so I tried those out, and my legs felt phenomenal after the run. Likely a combination of the easier early pace, the massage/torture session the day before, and the compression socks. Now if I could just get a little warmer weather to try them out that would be grand!

This morning my legs felt surprisingly good. Plan was 12 miles at 6:40. Tentatively I wanted to run more of a negative split type run really pushing the 8th and 9th miles that are uphill to try and see how I would feel going closer to marathon pace up Heartbreak. Wore my racing flats to try and get a feel for if they had any influence on my trashed quads last year, but the quads seemed to handle the hills ok in them today, though my right big toe callous definitely was indicating it might blister...

Another cold day so once again in tights. One of the guys ended up joining us around the 2nd mile so we had him pace us so we could just run and I could practice letting go of the pace setting mindset. We were a hair fast but with the slow first mile we actually had eased into our average pace before we hit the hills. Did my best to keep an honest effort up the hills and managed to pick up the pace the last few miles. A definite confidence boosting workout. Finished out at 6:33 pace for the run.

The calf problem seems to be ancient history. The hamstrings are still a little tender when I push the pace, I am sure the cold weather is not helping things. It's hard to keep your legs warm and loose when they are freezing! The pool workouts, yoga, ART, and masso therapy seem to be helping keep things in line though. Another ART session tomorrow and I am hoping I will make it through the Tuesday workout with no tightening up.


Sounds like a lucky number to me! 23 Days to Boston!!!

Also it looks like there are just under 70 women planing to run in the EWS including masters and at least 15 Americans who have run between 2:46 and 2:50 so fingers crossed I may have a good group to work with towards my goal time!

Tempo 7 Miles at 6:15

Went and got ART therapy on the hamstrings and my calf below the knee last night. He definitely worked out some serious knots, and I felt a lot looser, but it also obviously made things a bit tender so I was a little gun shy on todays tempo between that and the cold windy weather. Added bonus weather.com informed me that on my east bound miles I would be running into an 18 to 19 mph crosswind coming from the NNE and then around the time I turned back west the wind would change to a NNW crosswind. Flipping brilliant :) Given the pace is marathon pace though I decided I was going to suck it up and get it done no matter how the wind felt.

Warmed up with Salty and stopped in the airport to do some dynamic stretches and really make sure my hamstrings were warm and loose before starting the tempo. Mission achieved as they really felt smooth the first few miles into the wind. The third mile was rough with half of it into the wind and a glance at the Garmin showing my pace 10 seconds too slow. Not what I wanted to see based on the effort, but just shut off the freak out part of my brain, looked away from the watch and upped the effort. Nice surprise as the watch beeped for the mile and I had managed to get the pace down to 6:11 now aided by the wind at my back. Kept the effort up just in case the wind did decide to swirl around at some point on my return trip so I would have a little cushion the last few miles to stay at an average of 6:15. I definitely had to work to keep focused and keep my effort high. I am getting much better at mentally just getting it done on these workouts whereas in the past when I began to struggle I would lose focus and fall apart. Averaged 6:14 for the workout. The hamstrings, lower back, and my left quad/hip were definitely tight the last few miles, so stretching lightly and going to ice ice ice. Heading in for more massage/torture tomorrow morning! Very optimistic that with the therapy I will get all this junk worked out before Boston!


6*1000, 1200

With two pain free easy runs on Sunday and Monday, yesterdays track workout would be the true test of whether I was officially on the mend.

Of course mother nature didn't want to play nice and warm things up ensuring looser hamstrings, but we made do. Wore tights to try and help keep things warm despite the cooler temps, wind, and a light drizzle. Did a thorough warm up with some light dynamic stretches before throwing in a few strides to see how everything felt. No pain so it was time for a workout.

Goal was 6*1000 at 3:32.5 (85 quarters) with 2 minute rests. Then we'd follow up the workout with something else depending on how the set went. I think coach wanted to do 200s, but I was nervous about pushing the speed and expressed that.

I let my training partner take the inside lane and be the pacer as I was unsure how I would feel having done no workouts in over a week. First one felt rough and we were a hair fast. Things seemed to loosen up a bit for the next 3 sets and we kept it even or better. The 5th and 6th repeats were definitely work and my training partner decided to pick up the pace but I held steady. The last 200 meters of the last 1000 I could feel my left hamstring start to get a little tight with the effort.

3:45 rest and we followed the set up with a 1200. My training partner blazed through this, but I decided to exercise caution targeting 86 for each quarter, came up a bit short running 87s but felt steady and no pain. Unfortunately had to leap over an incoming lacrosse ball the first lap, which during the cool down appeared to have tightened up the right hamstring too.

Training on the track while lacrosse players errant balls come flying at you definitely adds a new element to the workout. Thinking next week I should wear a helmet and pads.

I was really pleased with the workout, it was a solid effort and it felt good to mentally push through again after a week off the track. Had a feeling this wasn't my best set of 1000s though and looking at the logs I was right. 1000s must be our overachiever workout as last summer we did a set of 6*1000 with 2:20 rest, goal 3:35 and we ran them all under 3:32 with the last two at 3:26 and 3:21. Given how I felt yesterday it makes me wonder how on earth I did some of those workouts last summer! I feel so much stronger now. But I guess strength doesn't always equal speedy track legs.



Followed the workout up with an ice bath and then a swim this morning and hamstrings are feeling looser. Knee has no pain! Heading in to see Tim Keyes today for some Active Release Therapy and hoping he can help get my hamstrings ready for tomorrows tempo!

Marathon Training Week 4

Obviously the plan got thrown out the window but here is what the goal would have been:

Total Mileage 75

Monday: Easy
Tuesday: Track. 4*1200 at 5:42 pace with 2:30 rests followed by 2*1600 at 5:55 and 5:45 with 3 minute rests
Wednesday and Friday: easy miles @ 7:20 or slower. 6 x 30 sec @ 5:30 pace with full recovery on Friday
Thursday: Tempo run; 7 miles @ 6:20
6 miles easy

If not racing:
12 miles @ 6:55
16 miles (8 @ 6:40, 5 miles @ 6:25, 3 miles @ 6:15)

Actual Weeks Work:
No workouts
35 miles
3 days no running
3 swims totaling 5000 meters
1 Vinyasa yoga class
1 Ab ripper X DVD workout
1 torture session with a massage therapist

Sunday I bailed on the race and ran a slightly higher effort than easy and got in 12 pain free miles at 7:11 pace. I am hopeful that I can resume normal training this week, but will be supplementing it with some easy swims and a few yoga classes as well as some more massage/torture. And obviously lots of ice and stretching.

The only residual pain seems to be when I bend my knee really deep, and it seems to be getting less intense so I am hoping something was just tight and out of alignment and the yoga, swimming, etc. has loosened things up and it is on the mend.

Cautiously Optimistic

The leg felt better when I woke up yesterday morning, still stiff, but less pain.

I went to get a massage with the new therapist and when I told her my problems she said a massage would do me no good, so instead she tortured me for a bit over an hour. The work seemed pretty similar to ART. So now I am not sure if I should cancel my appointment with him next week or keep it. I set up an appointment to see this therapist again on the 25th, 1st, and 15th to hopefully be 100% for Boston. She was obviously committed to getting my body to 100% as she went over the time with me that I paid for. She went to town on my shins and calf and my tight hips, diaphragm and lower back. She said it felt like whatever was going on in my hamstrings had subsided. She didn't feel anything torn, just a lot of tightness everywhere. My calfs feel like jello now so obviously there was a lot of tightness in there that may have been the start of my hamstring problems etc.

The doc looked me over. Couldn't say for sure what caused the pain, but that he didn't believe it was anything serious and he thinks I can train through it, but should avoid hills, and be sure to make sure my muscles are really warmed up and loose before speed work. He said if the pain gets worse or swelling occurs I should go in for an MRI. If it doesn't get better he said I could try a knee strap to alleviate the pressure on the muscles. Obviously if Boston wasn't just over 4 weeks away he probably would have told me to avoid speed work and hard running and just run easy until it works itself out, but he is also a runner and knows that isn't really my desired option right now.

I swam again yesterday for 1800 meters. Not quite the same as a run, but it did engage my hips and at least was aerobic.

I am going to try running with Daisy at lunch today. I can walk normally pain free now whereas Tuesday and Wednesday I was limping severely. There is still some pain if I bend my knee really deep and it seems to be linked to when I lift my leg from the ground, so we will see how I handle the run. It may be that I have to live with some inflammation and won't be able to do any doubles for awhile. Since Tuesday it didn't hurt that badly during the lunch jog, but was searing pain that evening, it may be that each run I am going to irritate it, and I will just have to be vigilant with icing after so that I can run the next day.

I am planning to still go to Maumee this Sunday for the half I signed up for since I already paid for it, but probably will just be a training run unless my legs feel spectacular. We'll see how I feel today.

Debating if I should stick with an easy 6 miles tomorrow or just join my training partner for her planned 12 miler to make sure I don't overdo it Sunday.

I decided this was a wake up call that I shouldn't ignore. I am going to start swimming easy 3 days a week to supplement the running and get back to yoga once or twice a week. My body is obviously out of whack and running alone isn't going to fix it. Sitting at a desk 40+ hours a week and the drives to and from aren't helping things either. I can already feel the hips tightening up from being seated after they felt so loose after yesterdays therapy.

On the DL

Well after a fabulous week of running I found myself with some new pain the last 4 or so miles on our 22 mile run Sunday morning. I noted the pain, and didn't think much of it. It's 22 miles, things hurt when you run 22 miles. I took Monday off for some extra insurance and iced like a mad woman and even got in an ice bath Monday night.

Yesterday I decided to get in an easy lunch run to test things out and make sure everything was go for our track workout. I survived just over 7 easy miles, but the pain was still there. Mild, but a little worrisome.

Got to the track last night and hoped things would loosen up and allow me to do the workout. Unfortunately the lunch run, or perhaps the walk downstairs to the car, had left my leg more than mildly irritated and I decided I was not helping myself any by trying to force a track workout when I couldn't run 1.5 miles easy with any semblance of a normal gait. It was hard to pin point the pain, but I definitely felt searing pain at the top of the calf below the knee and I believe there is also pain in the tendon connecting the hamstring to the knee.

It hurts to walk and to touch. I took another ice bath and it did not feel like it responded to that at all. It was stiff this morning and painful getting up and down the stairs in the house. I decided last night that if I couldn't run I better at least try to swim to get in some sort of aerobic workout today. I dug out all my swim toys and called up Daisy to see if I could join her for her swim this morning. I figured worst case scenario I should be able to get in a pull workout, best case I'd be able to kick without it irritating the leg.

I was not exactly happy as I packed up all my swim stuff and woke up early and drove in a haze to the pool. I imagined that the swimming would not be any kind of substitute for my daily run and that it would be a chore that I would have to muster my way through when I would rather be doing something else. To my surprise it didn't feel any harder than it used to when I was swimming regularly, and I actually enjoyed getting in a mile with my friend. We did mostly pull, but I was able to swim normally without irritating the leg much for about half the workout. I would feel it the first kick off the wall, but otherwise not much. Unfortunately the swim did not seem to loosen things up as I had hoped it might and I was still hobbling around when we finished the workout to head into work on dry land.

I am sure that this injury did not come about randomly. My hamstrings have been barking at me the past month or so, and I have been willing my way through workouts hoping they would miraculously get better. I kept telling myself as long as they weren't getting worse it was ok. I have been tight on money so I have been putting off a massage, though the signs were there for weeks that I should be getting something done. I assumed my daily foam roller and stretching was enough. Clearly it was not.

I've got a massage scheduled for tomorrow. Hopefully she can help me loosen everything up and work with me to get my lower body back into alignment. Then in the afternoon I have a doctors appointment to hopefully diagnose whatever I did to my leg. I set up an ART appointment for next Wednesday (the earliest I could get in) and in the meantime I will be icing/stretching (or whatever the doc tells me to do) and hopefully swimming (going to need a gym membership) and doing some core work to keep some sort of fitness while I am not running. Hopefully I can get better fast, but the pain definitely has me nervous this might not be a quick fixer.

Not exactly where I pictured myself being this week. But obviously it could be much worse. Going to keep my head up, try and enjoy the swimming, and try to forget about the $27 I sent in to race on Sunday, and really try not to think about the possibility of not racing April 18th. But if it comes to that I have plenty of options left still this year. I am sure there is some lesson here that I should be learning. Probably that I should have been listening to my body all along and shouldn't have been pushing quite so hard. I am really so excited about racing Boston and about achieving my goals, so this is a bummer, but possibly it was an avoidable bummer and hopefully I won't put myself in this position again further down the line.

Marathon Training Week 3

Goals for the week:

Total Mileage: 80 - 85

Monday: Easy
Tuesday: Track
Wednesday: easy miles @ 7:20* or slower
Thursday: Tempo run
Friday: easy miles @ 7:20 or slower. 6 x 30 sec @ 5:30 pace with full recovery
12 miles @ 6:25
20 miles @ 6:50

How it played out:

87 miles
8 runs
1 treadmill run, strides at 10 mph due to treadmill limitations

*Note about easy runs, I never run my easy runs at 7:20 (I take "or slower" very seriously), most days they are 7:50-8:20. And occasionally I do as slow as 9:20 if my legs feel really bad and I want to be recovered for the next days hard workout.

Weekend Long Runs

Since my training partner and I both have full time jobs during the week coach tries to have us make the most of our weekend runs. This marathon build up that has meant two relatively hard "long" runs or a race followed by a long run. This weekend it meant 12 miles at 6:25 and 20 miles at 6:50. If my hamstrings were 100% I wouldn't have been very nervous about it, but they definitely aren't, and I was :)

Yesterday we met up with some of our Second Sole teammates who can handle our 6:25 like it is a warm up so we figured they could help us get it done and have some entertainment along the way. We did a few miles as a group starting out right on pace and quickly settling into 6:20s before 2 of our pack of five had to head back having already put in an hour before meeting us.

That left the two of us with our Second Sole friend VW, and we had a really solid run. The last half of the run was into the wind and felt like it was a false flat uphill. I definitely had to dig in and my hamstring protested a bit, but I wanted to make it a good honest effort, this just felt like a good day to get in a nice "indicator" workout. We finished the 12 miles with our fastest mile of the day at 6:07 and averaged 6:19 for the run. Incidentally, 6:19 pace is what I need to run a 2:46 marathon. So this was a good mental boost 5 weeks out from Boston.

Usually I would follow up an effort like that with some good nutrition and carb loading in expectation of running a solid 20 miler the next morning, but instead I went into work to make up for missing Friday due to snow covered roads, then headed out and had a few beers with friends who had raced Malachi. Followed that up with a very small snack before a late dinner where I inhaled two root beer floats and a pub burger at Red Robin. Not exactly an ideal prep for today's long run. Alarm went off early thanks to daylight savings and I dragged my butt down to Solon to get in what is probably my last 20 miler before Boston.

At the start my stomach was acting fishing, my hamstring was angry, and my ankles and feet were sore from yesterdays run. Not exactly motivational conditions :) I told NC I was not paying attention to the watch and just wanted to have a solid 20 and not worry about pace. I felt pretty bad for the first 10-15 miles, but surprisingly despite some slow uphill miles where my quads burned like they were going to fail from mile 9 to 12, we were actually right at 6:50 pace at mile 15. At that point my second gel or the water must have kicked in and we actually picked up the pace through mile 20 and decided to add on 2 easy miles to the end finishing 22 miles at 6:45 pace. This was a solid run for me, and mentally it was good to be able to push the last 5 miles when I felt so bad the whole run. But this was really a nice long run effort for NC who normally struggles the last few miles and was feeling so good today she wanted to go longer. I'm so excited to see how she does at Cleveland.

Thursday Tempo Set 2*3 miles

Thursday my usual tempo partner had to bail due to some injury problems so I decided to postpone the run until after work and do the workout with my training partner NC. Weather wasn't ideal, rain turning to snow, fog, and just a bit windy and cold. Workout was 2*3 miles with 2 at 6:15 followed by 1 at 5:55 with an 800 meter recovery at 7:00. First set went well in 6:12.86, 6:15.08, then 5:56.22. NC had stomach problems and had to bail so I did the rest of the workout solo. 3:32 for the recovery.

Not sure if the Garmin went crazy with the trees and fog or if the difference in wind affected me or what but the next set I had to really hold back the first mile then the second I practically had to sprint the last half to get it down to 6:15 from 6:30. The last mile I didn't look at the watch and just ran as hard as I could, an uphill finish didn't help the pace. My hamstrings were pretty angry and everything was sore afterwards. I was two pounds down when I got home so I am sure some of the last sets "crazy" was just dehydration.


Despite missing the target the last mile it was a solid effort and I am sure I am tougher because of it.

Tuesday Shake Out Track Workout

Tuesday the track was clear of snow and day time temps were above 40 so we headed to the outdoor track! My hamstrings have been a bit angry the past 4 weeks and I was nervous that it wasn't warm enough for running fast on the track without making them angrier.

Coach wanted us recovered from Sundays race and able to successfully run Thursdays tempo so we just had to do 12*400 with 60 second rests at 88-90 per quarter followed by a 3 minute rest then a 1600 at 10k pace (5:50). My legs actually felt great during the sets but each recovery my right hamstring started to bark. It didn't feel like it was getting worse so I just went with it. My training partner NC and I ran with another local runner MB who usually does his track workouts at a different track. It was nice to have a "pack" to run with and everything felt pretty casual, we were joking most sets and had a hard time running slower than 88. Other than the right hamstring it really felt good.

All quarters were between 81 and 88 (most 85-86), other than having to dodge some lacrosse balls and one lacrosse player it was good, we traded leads pacing and it was a good group effort. The mile we paced better the first two laps but then picked it up to finish out in 5:42.

Youngstown Mill Creek Classic 2011

It has been an annual tradition for me since I started racing again in 2004/2005 to compete in the Youngstown Mill Creek Classic Half Marathon. The race promises 19 hills over 13.1 miles, and usually bad weather to boot. But it is a good fitness test when training for a hilly spring marathon like Boston, and seeing as our annual running club banquet is always the same day I feel like I earn my grub if I make the trek to Youngstown and run hard. In most past years I have treated the race as more of a training run, the footing is usually poor, and weather is usually cold so I haven't really raced the event besides the past two years. Last year we had perfect weather, but alas, this year we woke up to snow snow and more snow that had followed rain so we were expecting icy conditions.

Once again had a stress free carpool to the race, but there is where the smooth sailing for the day ended. Arrived to the race site to guys shoveling ice off of the start. Not a good sign. Coach gave orders that we should do nothing that would get us injured, so just a hard training run. Got a late start to the warm up and checked out about a mile of the course, half clear, and half covered in slick snow. Still not looking so good. Realized as I warmed up that the tights I had on were going to be too warm. Had to rush to the car, struggled to find the keys, finally found them just as I was going to give up, stripped the tights and threw on capris. Rushed back to the start and realized I had left my gel in my tights pocket. Oh well.

My training partner and I decided to take it out a bit conservatively and see how it looked. Can't lie though, I intended to run hard for any sections that were clear. I came to race! In an ideal world I was hoping to get under 1:22, but wasn't really sure what would be realistic for the course. The first half mile we joked around a bit with the guys around us and I noted that there weren't many of them. Apparently most of the fast guys had decided to make it a training day or stay home. First mile is repeated twice and half of it had decent footing while the big dip and climb that we ran twice were covered in snow. After that the course wasn't too bad.

During mile 4 my partner realized her shoe was untied. We had just pulled away from a small group of guys and could still see the lead 3 runners. There was a big climb coming up so I told her I would take it easy on the climb until she caught up. Can't say I was too upset about being able to back off the effort up the hill :) She caught up near the top with the pack of guys and we pulled away again. The mile markers all morning had been off by one mile, indicating we were one less mile in than we really were. Thankfully I knew the course and realized the error. The markers for this race are typically off so I had planned on using the Garmin anyways.

Miles 5 through 7 wind around through the park and for some reason those miles are always colder, which meant the snow was back, but there were tire treads that were clear so other than sacrificing tangents we didn't slow much. These miles I struggled a bit mentally with whether or not I was "racing." Running next to my training partner it is hard to say if I would be doing something different if she wasn't there. But I did a gut check and while I can't say I was running at 100% effort it was definitely over 90% effort. I just kept waiting for her to decide she was going to pick it up and dust me :) The next aid station I tried to get gatorade, but instead ended up dousing myself and the road missing the pass off. Nice. We headed downhill and soon two young guys decided to pick up the pace and blow by us.

At some point the second male must have decided to pick it up as we had lost sight of him. But the gentleman in fourth had been "taunting" us the whole race, staying the same distance ahead of us from about 1 mile on and we decided we would have to pass him before the end. Around mile 9 there is a long slow climb and I fell behind my training partner but tried to stay close. As we went through the aid station I again struggled with the gatorade managing to get about a sip in my mouth and the rest all over me, this time victim to plastic cups that I couldn't squeeze shut. But the aid station allowed me to catch up with my partner and as we rolled towards mile 10 and 2 miles of rolling downhill we started to step it up and reel in the now 6th place runner. Another small incline and my training partner once again pulled ahead passing into 6th place. I followed shortly thereafter moving into 7th and careening down Bear Hill.

The next mile as we run towards the finish many other runners are going the other direction to make the loop from mile 8 back to 11. We saw a few friends who cheered for my training partner then me. Lot's of cheers for first and second woman and a few encouraging me that I could catch her. Ha. Unfortunately for me the last mile of the course is the hardest with 3 big rolling uphills that just juice you and despite my best attempts at upping my strength my training partner just seems to have more steam on uphills than me. I tried my best to keep it honest though and was able to hold the gap where it was coming in 7 seconds behind her for 2nd female in 1:23:59. Not quite the sub 1:22 I was hoping for, but given all the mishaps I think it was a really good effort. To top off the race mishaps I got back to my car after the cool down and found that the gel I had forgotten had exploded all over my tights. Gross!

I was happy with how I handled some of my mental demons on the course. It definitely made it a good mental effort forcing ourselves to push while most of the field that should have been with us ran more conservatively. I am sure we made it look easy running together most of the way, but I am not sure we could have gone much faster if conditions had been better and we had raced from the gun. I'm thinking we probably ran a better more even effort than we would have if roads were clear from the gun. Other than missing the tangents and slowing down up Bear Hill I don't think I would have run much different other than a faster first mile. Perhaps could have shaved 30-45 seconds, but not sure I could have broken 1:22 even with warmer weather and better footing.

Did some number crunching and while it isn't exactly the predictor I was hoping for, for Boston, the time does put my Boston goals in the realm of possible based on past Youngstown vs. Boston performances for myself and a few other women in my training group. I'll take it :)

As usual SERC had lots of great runs with most members placing overall or in their age groups. Always a good time, even though a challenge.

Boston Marathon Week 2 Rundown


Total Mileage 70.

Monday: easy
Tuesday: 8 x 800 @ 2:50 with 2 mins recovery,3 mins recovery, mile @ 5:45
Wednesday and Friday: easy miles @ 7:20 or slower. 6 x 30 sec @ 5:30 pace
Thursday: 7 miles @ 6:20
6 Miles Easy
13.1 Race

How it played out:

71 miles
7 runs (strides on Wed and Sat)
1 blown tempo
Solid 13.1 race (Report to follow)
1 bootcamp class

Solid week despite the bad tempo and two days spent mostly in bed. Hopefully I am done with illness this training cycle!

Know when to fold em' Tempo

Something just wasn't right for todays tempo. I overslept this morning, never hearing my first two alarms, yet still feeling tired after a full nights sleep. Between that, sweating like a crazy woman Tuesday, and the runny nose the past few days I should have realized something was off. But I didn't, and I had no idea today would be a rough workout. The plan was 7 miles at 6:20 pace, the wind would be in our faces on the way out for once, so I really thought it would be a nice warm up run for this weekends race. After running 12 miles at 6:24 pace this weekend after a 20 miler I really thought today would be a cruiser of a workout. Shows what I know :)

Just didn't feel right from the get go. Pace was there, but my breathing was awfully heavy. I told myself it was fine, after 3.5 miles we'd turn around and with the wind at our backs I would perk up. But 1.5 miles into the turn around things were feeling worse and I decided today was just not my day, better back it off and preserve myself for this weekends race. My hamstring was a little sore after Tuesdays track workout, my nose was running, I felt a bit weak and dizzy, and I was sweating like crazy again. The last time I felt this bad is when I pulled the hammy so I decided I better be smart and jog it in. I sent my training partner on her way and did my best to just get back to the office. Decided to pick it up a bit for the last mile after a 1.5 mile jog, mostly to just get done without doing any more damage (and perhaps because I am a bit stubborn).

I'm sucking down an airborne and going to pack it up and take a half day and catch some extra z's and hope I can bag whatever is ailing me quick. Bit of a bummer after nailing so many workouts the past few weeks, but better to happen today than Sunday!

.51 at 6:27 pace
.51 at 7:32 pace

8*800, 1600

Last night we ran what is hopefully one of our last indoor workouts this winter. Goal was 8*800 with 2 minute rests at 2:50 followed by a 3 minute rest than 1600 at 5:45.

We've done similar workouts in the past so I was eager to see how my fitness felt compared to those workouts last fall.

Last week was pretty heavy and I think my body was still recovering a bit as was my partners, but we managed to get the workout done and hit the goal paces.



I certainly wasn't feeling like this flowed easily, but what I was happy about was my mental wherewithal to focus in on one lap/one repeat at a time and just get it done. We've done 5 miles of intervals before, but it was always sprinkled in, now this will become the norm. I am excited that my strength is at a level that I can do 5 miles of intervals at the same paces that I was doing 3-4 miles of intervals at last fall.

Boston EWS

Pumped from my fabulous break through race at Columbus back in October I signed up for Boston the next morning and was one of the lucky 20,000+ that got in before things shut down 8 hours later. I wasn't sure what that would mean for the race, but after some friendly prodding from friends it convinced me to send a note to the BAA asking about their Elite Women's Start (EWS) process. I received a form letter back stating that entrants with qualifying times under 2:49:00 would have the opportunity to start at 9:32 AM with the elite women. Uggh 53 seconds too many! My hopes were still up as there was a contingency that if your qualifier projected you to be top 30 you would also get the opportunity to join the EWS. On February 10th John Hancock announced their elite field for Boston which included 21 females with PRs under 2:30. I thought to myself (and a few friends), what are the odds that only 8 other women had signed up with times faster than mine. Knowing at least two of them personally from Ohio, I thought: not likely.

I knew they were supposed to contact women accepted into the EWS on March 1st. I emailed my friend who was automatically in with her 2:44 win at Wineglass and told her to let me know when she heard something so I could stop wondering if I might have gotten in. I had resolved that I would be starting in coral one with the mass start, but since I have two friends in the EWS I was still holding out a tiny bit of hope that I might join them.

I was actually so busy at work yesterday I had completely forgotten about my note to her and it being March 1st. At 2:00 pm I received an email titled "2011 Boston Marathon - EWS" and wondered what on earth is that? I opened it up and read the first few lines before it "clicked" and I realized I will be lining up at Boston with their elite field along with around 54 other top open and masters women (There will be approximately 40 open women and 15 masters women competing in the EWS). Holy smokes! Excited would be an understatement.

Initially I thought if I got the start I might have to weigh the pros and cons before deciding. But as soon as I comprehended what that email meant I knew I would take the opportunity. Even if it means I am running alone from the gun until the lead men catch me around mile 20.
While my goal is obviously to try and get the "B" standard for the Olympic Trials, this in itself will be an amazing experience regardless of my race outcome. I'm looking forward to the "perks" of the elite start, and I'm hoping I will have some good company in my friends from Ohio who are also in this start with me along the way, and maybe I will get lucky and a pack of masters women will be going for the "B" standard too. I had planned on this being my last Boston for awhile, so it will definitely be a nice way to close out my Boston experience with a new challenge.

Funny how one (albeit lengthy) email can completely rock your world. I was practically bouncing around the office after reading it. Just an amazing feeling that I couldn't wait to share with all my loved ones. Coming from barely being in the first wave my second Boston to getting this opportunity is just surreal. I plan to make the most of it and just soak it all up. I may never get an opportunity like this again and I am just so grateful that all the hard work and support has paid off and it is giving me the opportunity to do something I would never have even dreamt about just a few years ago.