I don't know when I started listening to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but I love their stuff. Maps is probably in my top ten favorite songs all time.

I Choose This

I've been meaning to post about this for months but just haven't gotten around to it. I'm an avid reader of all things, including blogs, and a few of them have really inspired me this year. A few lately have touched on the topic that blogs tend to highlight all the positive going on and ignore or disguise the "uglier" side of our running. I mean no one really wants to hear about how my foot was a little sorer than yesterday, or how some days it is a struggle to get through a run, and how some days you question whether or not all the effort is worth it. I look to be an inspiration, not debbie downer!

But the truth is I do struggle with everything. I am not sure I can count the amount of times this year I was "this close" to giving up on the OTQ. It isn't hard to convince yourself that perhaps your body isn't strong enough, perhaps you aren't willing to make all the necessary sacrifices, perhaps this pursuit is too selfish, perhaps this isn't good for you long term, perhaps you were happier before you started to chase this "reach for the stars" goal.

But the truth is every morning I wake up is a morning I want to run. Sometimes that gets lost when a workout is too hard or my body let's me down, but the reason I can't walk away is because I want this. I want to run every day, and I want to run faster. I love pushing myself and my boundaries. I want to nail every workout and I want to exceed my goals on race day.

I just need to remember to acknowledge the negative but focus on the positive. My feelings of frustration aren't going anywhere, they are real, and they stem from somewhere, but I don't have to let them be the end all. I am confident I will find a way to continue to enjoy every run while being true to my goals and being kind to my body! I chose this path and I will do everything in my power to make it happen!

Confessions of a mileage junkie

I'm feeling a bit like I need an AA for runners.

I am so diligent with training and getting in the miles that a lot of little niggles/pains/minor injuries get put up with or ignored or forgotten about while I power my way through.

And up until this year I pretty much got away with it, and this in turn has created some bad habits. Of course I was able to get away with these things in the past, in the past I took rest days at least a few times a month, I thought 50 mpw was high mileage, I wasn't afraid to modify a plan and be a little flexible, because my goals were never that intimidating and I was able to achieve them.

Somewhere along the way that has changed. Last week was a prime example of training turned ugly. Sitting at dinner with a non running friend Wednesday night trying to defend my attempt at an easy run where I had to alter my pace and gait just to get through pain free. And then trying to do a tempo the next day? What is wrong with me? So here it is out in the open a list of things I have been dealing with since Cleveland. Clearly marathon training has some bumps and there is probably not a single day where everything feels good, but I am wondering if perhaps I have been ignoring some important signs and if perhaps I need to be a little kinder to my self and erase this more is always better mentality and switch to a train smarter not harder mentality.

Plantar Fasciitis. My left heel has had some level of pain every day since the Cleveland marathon attempt. Most days aren't too bad, but I have finished more than one track workout and more than one race limping only to run the next day.

Left Hamstring. My left hamstring still "talks" to me at least once on most runs. It is worlds better than it was this spring, but it is not 100%.

Right Knee. Below my right knee has been "stiff" on and off for over a month. The past month I have avoided stairs to keep it from getting further aggravated as it was painful to put full weight bearing on it while going up and down stairs.

Right Foot. Since early spring on and off my right foot has this sharp shooting pain, I assume a pinched nerve. It goes away if I really focus on form, but I can feel it if I stretch my foot the wrong way.

Left Shin. For the past 2-3 weeks my left shin has been tight beginning runs, last week it reached it's worst pain feeling like it would explode out of my skin Wednesday AM.

In addition to that on any given day my quads, calves, hips, psoas, and lower back muscles are extremely tight or sore.

Now that's out in the open feel free to chastise, commiserate etc.

I am so close to my goal I can taste it, but I need to remember that I need to actually make it to the start line healthy to achieve it.

It seems like such a simple thing when we say "Listen to your body" but marathon training inherently is pushing our bodies close to our limits, and sometimes being stubborn is a much needed trait to put in the work, but sometimes that trait is not your best friend. I'm sure I will have to learn this lesson many more times, but hopefully this confession helps me let it set in a bit. I'm human, I struggle, I'm not perfect.

The past two days have been beautiful. I had two mostly pain free runs and relished every minute. I want to be doing this for years to come. I need to remember to keep this long term goal in mind each day I am pushing my body to it's limits and take a few steps back from that line and be careful not to go over it.

Week 5 C'Bus Training 2011

For those trying to keep up with the master plan here I hope you are faring better than me :) My body just couldn't quite get it done this week. Was it wise for me to take a few days off, most certainly yes. Am I still bummed about it, most certainly yes :) I want to be superwoman! But alas I am mortal some days.

Goals were:

Total Mileage 80 - 85.

Monday: Easy.
Tuesday: Track.
Wednesday and Friday: easy miles @ 7:20 or slower. 6 x 30 sec with
full recovery on Friday
Thursday: Tempo run: 2 miles @ 6:20, 1 miles @ 6:30, 2 miles @ 6:20, 1 mile @ 6:30,
1 mile @ 6:20
18 miles @ 7:25
12 miles (8 @ 6:50, 4 @ 6:35)

So as you know by now that didn't happen. Here is what did happen:

42 miles
5 runs
Two twelve mile bike rides to and from work on Friday (ride home on a flat, that made me a work a little harder than intended!)
Car shopping Saturday!
Rest Sunday.


6*800 goal 2:48-2:50 with 90 second rests followed by 2 minute rest then 1600 at 5:36 to 5:40

2:47.74, 2:47.62, 2:47.15, 2:46.87, 2:47.15, 2:47.13, 5:36.57

And then my foot and shin cried uncle. The cool down I pretty much was dragging my left leg. Dumb.

Then I proceeded to try and run Wednesday morning early and was rewarded with my shin feeling like it was going to explode for about 30 minutes of the 6 mile run. Then that evening I showed how stupid I really am by trying to get in the miles, having to keep the pace to about 9:15 to run "pain free." Not my brightest moments here. In my defense my husband was out of town and I really was trying to keep myself occupied, but I should know better by now.


Thursday I decided to use the NSAID cream I had from my tendonitis incident and see how the tempo would go. Well, turns out it wouldn't. The foot and shin didn't feel too bad, but the pace was overwhelming and I had to shut it down after the 4th of the 7 miles was done at 7:00 and a very high effort. My body was clearly giving me the finger.

For whatever reason my body needed, maybe still needs, some additional recovery. Clearly having just run Perfect 10 at 6:03 pace my fitness is where it needs to be, so I am not worried that I am not fit enough to attain my goals, but I am worried about my body holding up to the demands of maintaining this fitness through October 16th. Staying positive and hoping for the best while doing everything in my power to stay healthy and get in the work. Wish me luck!

If I ever Feel Better

I had a great track workout Tuesday night. Unfortunately my foot and shin did not agree. Despite my best efforts to "stay ahead" of my plantar fasciitis and the resulting shin splits things are catching up to me. I think the bad tempos should have been an indicator that I just wasn't paying enough attention to recovery and was too focused on getting all the miles in. Another bad tempo last night and my shin feeling like it might explode at any minute have me doing my best to behave for the next few days. Broke out the bike for the commute today and will try to get in some cycling/swimming to keep up the aerobic fitness while hopefully healing the foot and shin quickly. Let's hope the old 3 days off is just what it needs! And if it is more I will be doing my best to stay motivated while keeping my fitness high but letting my muscles/tendons/fascia recover.

*Edited to add* After relaying all of this to coach I have been ordered to take the weekend off. no running, no biking, etc. so after the ride home tonight it is resting up time. Healing vibes for this girl!

Weird Fishes

I absolutely adore In Rainbows and I just love this tune. The video I am not so sure about, you can be the judge!

Columbus 2011 Training Week 4

Goals for the week were:

Total Mileage 80.

Monday: Easy.
Tuesday: Track.
Wednesday and Friday: easy miles @ 7:20 or slower. 6 x 30 sec @ 5:25 pace on Friday
Thursday: Tempo run 4 miles @ 6:20, 1 mile @ 6:15, 1 mile @ 6:05
20 miles @ 7:30
12 miles @ 6:55

Well as previously logged Thursdays tempo was not the greatest and Fridays lunch run wherein I proceeded to walk back to my office seeing stars was not much better. I'm thinking I was just a tad overrun for whatever reason. So I put up my feet Friday, carbed up as best I could, and ignored the watch on the weekend runs and just ran by feel, leaving myself the option of breaking up the runs if the body said no, but thankfully I survived both long runs no worse for wear. The 12 miler was a bit slow and the long run was a bit fast. We'll call that good enough!

Oddly enough the left foot and right knee are feeling better. I didn't notice the knee at all this week, and though my left foot is tender it is worlds better. So I will continue with the daily ice massages, the shin stretches/strengthening, and I got a new pair of trainers. My left shin on the other hand has been griping the first 2-3 miles of the runs, but hopefully the shin exercises will have that in shape too here shortly.

80 miles
8 runs
One 20 minute swim

Mosquito bites, horseflys, and busted tempos, Oh My.

Hello, my name is Elizabeth, and I frequently run failed tempos.

Now that we got that out of the way ;)

Last nights tempo was another lack luster performance on my part. If I didn't have a history of these bad tempos last fall I suppose I would be worried, but the truth is I just ran arguably my second or 1st best race ever, 10 miles at 6:03 pace, and Tuesday I ran 5*1600 comfortably at 5:52ish pace. Reality is I am a better racer the longer I go, and I am good at grinding out a lot of miles at a moderately fast pace, even if for some reason that doesn't always show up for Thursdays planned attempt to do the same. So showing up last night and failing to be able to get my breathing under control, and feeling like each mile was 5 miles doesn't really have me too concerned, yet.

Last year most of the tempos that I didn't have issues were ones that I pushed back to Friday or ones where I had fallen apart at the track. I think maybe my body just needs a little more time between track and tempo to really feel good, does that mean I can't do the tempo even if I am not fully recovered, no, but it means I need to do a much better job mentally and be prepared for a much tougher effort than I think it should be. In my head last nights tempo with 4 miles at 6:20, 1 at 6:15, and 1 at 6:05 I should feel like am running between half marathon and marathon effort for the first 5 miles and the last mile should feel between 5k and 10k effort. Unfortunately I felt like I was alternating between 5k and mile race pace effort last night and the paces were bad. I typically stop looking at the watch when this happens because clearly seeing bad splits does nothing to boost your ego or to help with the effort. Despite ignoring the watch and changing over to effort I had to come to a complete stop several times last night just to get my breathing and heart rate under control.

Then starts the internal battle. Am I being stubborn? Should I quit and do this tomorrow? Is it better to get in 6 slower tempo miles now and move on or would it be better to back it off, recover another day and try again this weekend?

I go into each of these workouts assuming I will get it done. And when I start to really struggle I am always caught off guard despite this being a relatively common occurrence for me. I don't like to plan for failure so I don't go into the workout with a set plan for what to do if I just can't do the planned workout. Maybe I should change that strategy...

I do need to figure out some sort of back up plan for nights like last night where I am just killing myself but can't hit the pace. I seem to be really affected by terrain on my tempo runs, whether that is because I am still not fully recovered from Tuesdays track efforts, or if mentally I only have so much wherewithal for the week I am not sure. So I think the next few tempos I will be hitting the track, I can take out all the outside variables then and even take the Garmin out of the equation. I'm hoping having a flat surface with no worries about trusting the watch might be enough to keep the tempos on Thursday and hit the paces without issue.

We'll see!

6:36.24 (2 stops to catch my breath/regroup)
6:41.61 (one water stop)
6:23.75 (one regroup stop and one water stop)
(Time from stops not included in the mile splits, sadly!)

Staying positive. I had a great time with my running pals after the workout last night and on the way home was belting along with FF (who we are seeing in a month!!!). I am so grateful for my rocking speedy body and all the fast miles it has given to me this year.

"Getting good at starting over, Every time that I return, I'm learning to walk again, I believe I've waited long enough, where do I begin?"


I've been trying to post a video every Wednesday that I am either grooving on or captures my current mood but my video/music muse has apparently left the building this week hence a day late post. Going to just have to settle for a fun little tune and video to get me pumped for the tempo tonight.

Strength 1600 Repeats

Last night at the track focus was on strength rather than speed. Which was just fine with me given the tender left heel and having just raced on Sunday. Workout was our standby 5*1600 at 10k pace with 90 second rests. Unfortunately for me my training partner NC is just too darn fast for me now and my fitness is finally improving enough that I can't run with Salty and FD anymore, so I am on my own these days at the track and for tempos. (Hint hint if there are any 37ish minute 10k, 1:00:xx 10 mile, or 2:45ish marathoners in NE Ohio looking for a training partner let me know!!!)

But MR showed up and needed at least her first 1600 to be around my pace so I had a nice mile with her to set the tone for the rest of my solo repeats. I thought the goal was 5:56 pace, but that seems wrong now that I am doing the math so maybe it was 5:54s. I had it in my head that I needed one 88 and the rest to be 89 for the quarter splits which would be 5:54 I think. Whatever.

First one with MR we went out right on target 45 through the 200 and 88/89 through the quarter. She was supposed to pick it up as the mile went and I let her pull ahead the last two quarters thinking I had eased into pace but came through a little fast in 5:51.

Next four I was on my own but they pretty much clicked off rather effortlessly. I had a relaxing song in my head and only occasionally had to remind myself to pick my head up and focus.


5:50.8, 5:53.48, 5:52.10, 5:52.58, 5:48.30

I've run this workout faster with company, but I've also done it slower, so I was happy to get it all done below goal pace while feeling in control (no hammering) two days post race.

Weekly Rundown C'Bus Training Week 3

Goals for the week:

Total Mileage 75.

Monday: Easy.
Tuesday: Track (Mile Time Trial).
Wednesday and Friday: easy miles @ 7:20 or slower. 6 x 30 sec @ 5:30 pace on Friday
Thursday: Tempo run: 7 miles @ 6:35 pace
Saturday: 5 easy miles.
Sunday: Perfect 10 race.

How it played out:

75 miles
7 runs
massage Friday
New 10 mile PR
New 1600 meter PR

I need to really be diligent with stretching and icing from here on out. I am going to try to get in for a few more massages as that really seemed to help with the left side issues. My left foot is becoming more of a concern, but it responded well to sticking it in an air cast last night and icing a few times throughout the day. The massage therapist indicated that my calfs are getting disproportionally strong in comparison to my shins which probably isn't helping the PF, and also could lead to other issues like tibial stress fractures, so I am adding in some shin strengthening to my daily routine.


I don't know why but as I finished out the Perfect 10 miler yesterday the lyrics "Reunited and It Feels So Good" popped into my head. I've come down a bit from my post race high, and found some nitpicky things to admonish myself for, but overall I am still feeling really great about the race yesterday. Like I am finally back to racing like myself again and ready to really rock it at the marathon this fall (as long as I can kick this PF in my left foot!)

I really wish I wouldn't have reviewed my Garmin splits before writing this race report though. I looked at my watch 2 or 3 times the whole race yesterday and only went off feel, using racers around me, and the race clocks to judge my effort. Let's just say my race time perception was a much more positive one that what it would have been had I been tuned into that watch :) The Garmin miles did not line up to a single marker on the course and the total mileage was a hair short which is a bit depressing. But gladly it isn't much short so even if you handicap my finishing time the .04ish miles it may have been short this would still have put my race solidly in my "A" goal target range.

So I will do my best to give this report as I remember it, and how it felt during the race. And try not to bias anything by my post race knowledge of the splits being significantly different from one mile to another :) But for posterity's sake I'll post the Garmin splits at the end.

I've raced Perfect 10 twice. Two years ago it was probably the first race where I made a breakthrough after working with my coach. Despite that I wasn't too hyped up for this. The race course is ok, but lots of turns and some rollers, and the weather is usually hot. Add to that the field usually isn't very deep and it is hard to get amped for a breakthrough. It wasn't on my original plan, I had really wanted to run CRIM this year, but the timing on CRIM and my planned half didn't work out, so Perfect 10 was the obvious back up 10 miler. Despite, or maybe because of, that my original intentions were to just hammer the race and see if I could possibly snatch up a sub 60 10 mile or blow up trying. Before all my set-backs this winter and spring I would definitely have thought I would be running sub 6 pace for the 10 mile by now. But given how things have gone I knew it was a bit of a stretch. I asked coach after the time trial on Tuesday if he was okay with me running a bit kamikaze for this one and he didn't seem too keen about it. Suggesting I'd be better off targeting 6:0X pace. I.e. I'd be in good shape if I broke 61.

I thought about it all week, discussed it with a few pals, and decided this would be a good chance for me to practice patience in a longer race and trust that I could hold the pace or pick it up later in the race. Given my disastrous race at Boston and my less than stellar tempos where I have started fast and either faded or blown up, I decided that despite my desire to really find my limits in a race and try to find that extra gear this was not the race to run like an idiot.

So I changed my race plan to going out somewhere between 6:05 and 6:10, trying to run 6-6:05 for the first half, and see if I could bring that down to 6 the last five. I visualized myself doing this a few times, and was pretty confident it would be a good run. At some point the week prior I did have this weird fear that for some reason I would get to the race and they wouldn't have me registered and I would have to fight to get my bib, but shrugged that off as pre race nerves.

Race morning arrived and my stomach was not on board. Uggh. Despite that my legs felt really good having gotten a massage Friday night, and the weird left side sluggishness was gone. Stomach issues got me to the race a little later than planned and I hustled over to packet pick up and proceeded to wait and wait and wait in line. Got to the table and surprise surprise, my bib is nowhere to be found. Uggh. Not good. I briefly wondered if perhaps one of my friends picked it up, or maybe someone accidentally got my bib when my training friend SB was also told they didn't have her bib. They found the RD and ushered us off to get new bibs. Just after getting the new bib Salty and NC found me and announced they had my bib. Good, but now I am a bit stressed, my stomach is still sketchy, and time for the warm up is running low. They were parked on the opposite side as me so we jogged to my car, grabbed my race shoes and then headed to NCs car to get our bibs on. Realized I forgot to take pepto and went back to my car again before finally changing, deciding that despite the cooler temps and rain that I'd be happier in a sport bra because of the humidity.

Next problem was we were ten minutes from go time and I still had to go and the line was out of control. We found a lone portalet that was locked with no one in it, but that was no sweat for us, I just pried that baby open and took care of business!

Finally got in a few strides and headed to the start. Did an abbreviated dynamic warm up, a few more strides, then lined up with the rest of the crew. NC was there, she is my training buddy and local super star, so I knew I wouldn't be running her race. There were a few guys I thought I might be able to hang with, and then another local running chick who usually sticks to shorter distance races, this would be her first race longer than 5 miles, running with her husband. She is faster than me in the short stuff, but I wasn't sure if I would be able to stick with her for a slightly longer race. I tend to improve the longer I go, so as you can guess I was definitely looking forward to feeling more comfortable than I have in a race in a long time :)

Our friend Allanjel showed up at the start to cheer and take photos. We got some fun shots and NC chided me for holding up the peace sign, as apparently one should never hold up the number 2 before a race. I told her I would be more than happy to be top 3, and 2 would be A-OK with me :) But given our other speedy friend got my lucky number as her bib and has beat me in every race we've run together, I knew I'd need more than luck to place second that morning. ;) Other than that I was basically my usual cheesy start line self. They had a bit of a delay and were playing some music to entertain us, I tried to start a dance party, but no one else seemed to want to join. Oh well!

Not sure if NC is holding up a 1 here or calling me a loser ;)

Eventually things did indeed get started and I did my best to roll out behind NC and not get caught up in the quick pace. I knew she planned to run 5:50ish pace the whole way and didn't want to get pulled into that. I watched as a small pack of guys took off with her behind the 5 or so guys that took off into the lead. Then I watched as a few guys I normally race around started to inch up on her little pack that also grew to include LB and her husband. I just focused on staying comfortable and relaxed. I think I glanced at the watch at a half mile or so and it was in the 5:40s so I backed it down a hair. I decided I needed to stick to the plan and not get caught up in anyone else's pace, even if that meant running solo for awhile. I'd have to try and run some people down later in the race if they wanted to push the pace early.

My Garmin beeped a bit before the mile marker and I saw 5:50 something and knew I needed to chill a bit more. Though I crossed the race mile marker right at 6 and thought that was pretty good. I let the pack I was targeting pull ahead and settled into my own rhythm. I have been watching some old track races to get fired up and I have been visualizing myself running like Jen Rhines. I really tried to emulate that grinder/evenly paced effort since that is how I typically race. Now I had just added an extra visual of someone elite that employs a similar strategy to really force myself to stay positive about my racing experience and trust myself and trust my racing instincts.

The second mile volunteer called out somewhere around 12 minute pace for that mile and I was feeling nice and smooth. I was a bit surprised to get caught by a few guys here, and worked my way up to a pack of 3 or so local guys I knew and encouraged them to work together. Alas it seemed to be an every man for themselves day and a few pulled ahead and a few fell behind. Apparently no one was up for a pack mentality.

I just focused on whoever was ahead of me, using the mantra relax and glide to force myself to run smooth and keep the pace and breathing relaxed. I hit the third mile and the volunteer called out somewhere around 17:56 and coach was there telling me I was ahead of the pace. Upon NC's advice I had stuffed my gel in my bra and was planning to take it at mile 4 but during the pre race talk it had sounded to me like there was no water stop at 4, the gel was irritating my skin so I decided to take it just after 3 and fell back a little from the guys I was with here.

Miles 4 and 5 I did my best to use my mantra and really just focused on slowly closing the gap on the guys in front of me. I really felt relaxed and like I was nailing the effort, so I was a bit surprised to pass the 5 mile clock and see 29:56 and again hear coach telling me I was ahead of the target. These miles are on a long uphill stretch into the wind and I really was just focused on staying smooth and not wasting energy. The sub 30 was a mental boost for sure, and I had to laugh about my morning post saying I would no longer be trying to hold sub 6 for as long as possible and here I was doing just that.

As I neared the out and back turn around I got to see my speedy buddies up ahead. Kam Lee as usual was killing it and NC was far ahead of all us other ladies. Unfortunately for me LB and her hubby were also pretty far up on me. I was definitely getting geared up for a long push if I wanted to even come close.

I caught two of the guys in the 5th mile and was surprised that one of them, MB, went with me and even surged ahead of me in the 6th mile. When we hit the turn around I started to push. I felt a surge of energy and I was ready to start hammering. It was a downhill stretch and the wind was at our backs now, I was ready to see about this negative split!

MB, to his credit, stuck with me for the next 2 or so miles. I cheered a few buddies that were coming up the opposite side, but had to resort to a friendly wave when I heard some of the latter cheers as I was definitely starting to work. Allanjel was at about the 7 mile mark taking photos, I contemplated "posing" but didn't muster the energy (and was rewarded with an unflattering awful action shot) but was grateful for her cheering and reminding me to relax. I shook out my arms and started pumping them harder and really driving the next mile.

Uggh! Note to self, there is always time for smiles mid race if you don't want to look like this in your race photos! Also rain+sports bra+race effort just does not equally flattering on me, I look like I am doing some weird sort of jig!

I was by myself now and at mile 8 the volunteer called out 48:16ish. My race brain math told me I needed a 6 and a 5:45 mile if I wanted to break 60. I had been closing the gap on LB and her hubby, and one older gentleman who had pulled away from me really early in the race, but I was starting to run out of steam. I really focused on trying to close the gap that next mile, perhaps was thrown off a little bit by a van that seemed to be following the gentleman in front of me, but did my best to ignore the wind and the small rollers that were slowly juicing me. I did look at the Garmin when it beeped for mile 9 and saw a 6:12. Ouch! So I did what any sane racer does and tried to tap back into my mantra and dig deep to really push that last mile.

I had definitely closed the gap on LB and her hubby, but unfortunately I was running out of real estate. I don't remember what tune it was now, but some slow oldies tune got stuck in my head, and I had to force myself to find a better pump me up tune and dig in. A young guy passed me with about a half mile to go, but the legs just wouldn't respond, I knew if I wanted to catch LB I had to go with him, but I was just not going to be able to do it. I pumped my hand and did my best sprinter imitation as I headed into the stadium and onto the track. Crossed the line knowing I had just run a great race and feeling really happy with the effort.

According to the official results I ran 1:00:26. I always wait to stop my watch until after the line because I like to be pleasantly surprised when the results are posted rather than upset about the race saying I ran slower than my watch, plus photos of you stopping your watch on the line are lame ;) So I was admittedly a little disappointed that the official time wasn't closer to 1:00:23 given I had 1:00:25 after having waited a few seconds across the line before stopping the watch. Oh well. Still a major PR and as my watch splits below would reveal, I should not be greedy as if it was up to my Garmin I would have run closer to 1:00:39.

So I quickly found my coach and the keys as I was now freezing post race, soaking wet in my buns and sports bra, and then jogged around with my friends and got in my cool down feeling elated, and shocked that despite going against what I had said and going out sub 6 for at least 5 miles that I had come back in 30:30 and finally run a race on par with what I had done last fall at Columbus, perhaps evenly marginally better than Columbus depending on whose fitness calculator you use ;) During the race I had just gone with the flow despite hearing the fast splits because the weather was cool and I figured we were all seeing a boost in times after suffering through so many miserable hot and humid runs this year.

Post race awards!

To keep it real my garmin splits are below:

5:48, 6:10, 5:56, 6:06, 6:17, 6:24, 5:48, 6:02, 6:12, 5:44 (5:57 pace)

Meaning 5 miles according to my Garmin was closer to 30:17 and showing that I had run a bit more conservatively that first half, as promised, than what the race clocks previously indicated. And meaning the second 4.96 was in 30:10, would be around 30:23 if we decide it was short. Meaning a pretty evenly paced race, despite all those crazy splits! I guess the course is more rolling than I thought because I really think other than the first mile and the 6-8 push my effort was pretty even.

Well you can imagine I was a little less stoked after seeing the Garmin splits, and seeing my Garmins 9.96 total and not 10+ :) But like I said I am still really happy with the effort and the result. I just find it amusing that I can so wholeheartedly be fooled into thinking I am running something in a much different manner than reality. Just goes to show how much perception affects our efforts! Also meaning I really can just trust myself in these races and not worry so much about watches and clocks, I can confidently say that for the day and the conditions I nailed this one. It feels so good to run the way you know is possible deep down.

Change of Plans

Not last minute, but last minute posting about it :) I decided I am going to practice patience instead of balls today. So the new plan is to go out at a reasonable pace and see if I can't negative split this sucker in an effort to teach myself patience for the marathon!

Wish me luck! Hopefully these thunderstorms don't delay the party!

Longer Slower Tempo Night

With the time trial on Tuesday and Perfect 10 coming up on Sunday this weeks tempo was a little slower, but a little longer. Goal was 7 miles at 6:35 pace. A work meeting at lunch thwarted my plans to get the tempo done at lunch and double in the evening. The weather took a nose dive in temps this week so a lunch run actually would have been pleasant for once. Alas that didn't work out so I met up with Salty at North Chagrin and we ran the roads for our tempo. Course is rolling, and there is a lot of traffic so I was conscious of keeping aware and alert.

I decided to reset the watch this week and just focus on average pace rather than each individual mile. This worked out pretty well though with the rollers it was a bit tougher to nail things. Somewhere in the middle of mile 6 I saw the average pace had slowed from 6:32 to 6:36 and I overcompensated a bit that last mile and ended up with 7 at 6:31 for the night. (6:35,6:26,6:40,6:33,6:30,6:40,6:16)

My whole left side just felt "off" almost like the glute/hamstring/quad weren't engaging. Definitely a weird feeling. It wasn't like I was dragging the leg, but it definitely didn't feel like it had that normal bounce back after each step. Hoping the massage tonight will loosen everything up and it will feel normal for Sunday. It felt better on the cool down and this mornings super slow jog. The left foot was pretty pissy for 2 or so miles before finally loosening up. My stomach was threatening to rebel but thankfully waited until after the tempo miles were over.

Despite that got in a long cool down to get in the 16 miles for the day and got to see some buddies out racing the Twilight Trail 8k.

You Wish

Turns out some good tunes just don't have videos :) But this one is worth a listen anyways, in my opinion. Just good kick back and chill music.

1600 TT

Well last night was our annual 1600 meter time trial on the track. Being that my focus is on the marathon I wasn't particularly amped for this one. If I felt good I thought I might be able to run 5:05ish. Last year I ran 5:17 and followed that up with 5:20 at Case this spring. Dreams of sub 5 obviously dance in your head, but reality for me right now is shy of where those dreams would like it to be, for now.

The weather actually played nice last night. First workout in what seems like months that I did not end looking like I jumped in the lake. But my throat was dry, so I bummed a piece of gum off NC so I would not feel thirsty during the mile.

We warmed up, did some strides, and watched half of the group get in their time trial before starting into ours.

I just wanted to run off effort, try not to get hung up on the splits, and try to make it an honest mile. I figured if I was between 75 and 80 each split that would be a good night. We took off from the second lane, when we cut in I was shocked to see the guys in the outside lanes already far ahead of us and briefly wondered if we had cut in too early, but turns out they are just that darn fast :) First lap I managed to get around TR and came through in 74. Next lap worked my way around one more guy in 2:31. Then I was in no mans land. Definitely feeling it, but I did my best to keep my effort up. I could hear heavy breathing behind me and just tried to focus on my effort. Shortly before finishing the 3rd lap GH caught me and coach and he urged me to go with him which got me out of my third lap slump (somewhere around 3:53) and back into the game. Unfortunately GH had to pull up around 150 into the lap so I did my best to focus on NC who was far ahead of me and reel her in just a little bit. Crossed in 5:10.76. Second PR of the year for me (Ah how different things can be one year to the next, from PRs in every race to struggling to stay near your previous level!). Ironically my only PRs this year are now in the 3000 meters (admittedly still a soft PR) and now the 1600 meter. Basically two events that are not really my thing. While I have done better in each race than I did last year, I am still a bit behind my amazing fall times, so it is nice to notch a PR, even if it is in a 1600 meter time trial! Good news is this weekend I should be shattering my currently very soft 10 mile PR.

The lungs definitely felt the effort last night. I've been holding allergies or a cold at bay for a few weeks now with runny nose and sore throat, and my throat and lungs were ragged after the mile.

But with a 10 or so minute recovery I was able to follow up the time trial with our prescribed 12*200s with 200 jogs. All in 38-40. Basically just working on foot speed. Still not a fan of 200s. They take forever with the rests and for some reason to me they just don't feel like a real workout, though they usually whoop my butt.

My left foot definitely was angry about all the speed last night so I will be icing and stretching and rolling and hopefully will keep it at bay until a massage Friday night!

Columbus 2011 Training Week 2

Goals for the week

Total Mileage 75-80

Monday: Easy.
Tuesday: Track.
Wednesday and Friday: easy miles @ 7:20 or slower. 6 x 30 sec @ 5:30 pace on Friday
Thursday: Tempo run: 6 miles @ 6:15 pace
17 miles @ 7:30
12 miles (4 miles @ 7:15, 4 miles @ 7:00, 4 miles @ 6:50)

How it played out:

80 miles
9 runs/2 doubles
All workouts at or below pace for all but the tempo
Two fun relay events Friday and Saturday to get in the extra 5 miles I needed for the week.
Long runs were humid scorchers, but survived and so far seem no worse for wear (knock on wood!)
biked 4 easy miles post run today.
no swimming.

Bringing Sweaty Back

Because no one likes to read about blown workouts. A pic from after Wednesdays sweaty lunch run. Temperatures weren't even that bad, but by half way through the run my shirt had reached it's saturation point, and by the finish my shorts were so wet I might as well have jumped in the Cuyahoga. The photo doesn't do it justice but everything was clinging to me, and it was not flattering in the slightest. I am so ready for fall weather and less humidity!

Log it and forget about it tempo

One of these days I will learn to go out on pace or slower in a tempo. Duh it feels good to go fast in the early miles, but you have 6 miles total, not 3 :) Like I said, one of these days I will learn. Today was not that day.

Goal 6 at 6:15. NC had 6 at 6:10 so I decided I would just stay with her if I could. Seemed reasonable at the time...

6:11...and then things went south
6:26 and I was fighting for it. I let the watch get the better of me and I decided to take a two minute walk break to catch my breath and settle the heart rate after this one.

Started back up and just ran tempo effort the last two miles without looking at the watch. It felt like the two longest miles of my life. (Where the Hell did these hills come from? I don't remember it being that up and down at the start?)

Alas post workout revealed that I had fallen way off finishing out the last two in 6:35 and 6:38. Ouch!

Oh well. It is hot and humid around here, track workout Tuesday was hard and I neglected to have my usual endurox after. And yesterdays run was extremely sweaty. I'm chalking it up to dehydration combined with being a little too aggressive early in the run and lacking the metal tenacity to fight through when it got tough tonight.

Moving on!

Bleed it Out

A few Fridays ago I did a night 5km for fun with Salty. It was a money race so we figured best case we go out get in a hard run and come home with some money. Worst case we have fun with the track start and finishing under the lights with a bunch of HS XC kids. I figured I would go out conservative and just stay behind whoever was in first and then see how I felt towards the end and if I had a kick. But we showed up and the weather was actually cool from the storms that had just rolled through and that little spark ignited with the maybe you could actually run fast tonight thought at the back of my mind. Salty had similar thoughts, but I pretty much gave up on that during the extremely sluggish warm up that revealed though it was cooler it was still muggy as heck.

But Salty found a few pennies and insisted this was a good sign, and we returned from the warm up to a rainbow before changing into our racing flats and heading to the track.

Got in the strides and then lined up on the track with a ton of young HS runners. I had no clue what the course would be like. We started on the track and it looked to me like we would run 100 meters before making a sharp right out of the track onto the road. Turns out we actually ran a lap first and placing ourselves on the left side of the track worked out well. Went out smooth and was content to settle in with the boys around me until about 100 meters when I saw a local gal ahead of me and my competitive nature got the best of me and I decided to push to take the lead early and hopefully hold it.

Despite upping the pace I was having fun. They were playing Beyonce's Single Ladies and as we exited the track I danced a little after seeing a boy ahead jamming. I settled in with a few guys. I heard a spectator ask where all the women were as I passed. I shouted "right here" and joked with the guy next to me that I realized I had short hair but I thought the sports bra gave me away. Despite joking around a bit and being careful over the few speed bumps in the first mile we reached the mile split in 5:26. Whoa :) Not sure if they were in the right place, but I felt good so I just rolled with it.

I did my best to pull up with a few guys and pass who I could over the next mile. Early in the second mile I got boxed in by two young guys and after getting kicked a few times I finally asked for some space and they both split wide and I pulled ahead of them. Feeling bad for my "bossiness" I encouraged them to stick with me, but they fell off.

The second mile was on streets and a bike path of sorts, not perfectly flat but no real hills. I took water at the aid station and passed the second mile in 5:55. I knew based on the 2 mile split that sub 18 was possible so I focused on my form and relaxing. But clearly I had slowed way down. I did my best the next mile to pick up the effort as I knew if I ran another slow split both Salty and KG were capable of catching me.

The next mile you head into the woods on a bike path and by then it was dark. A few small rollers in here and I worked on catching some boys but was careful not to slip as it was a bit damp on the path. Somewhere in here was a turn and I risked one glance back and noted I had a pretty good gap on the ladies and felt comfortable I had first in the bag as long as I didn't let up.

As we headed back towards the track we had to cross one road and unfortunately the volunteers controlling traffic did not have much power over the antsy drivers and they shouted at me and the guy next to me to "watch out for the car", so we swerved wide and I joked with the guy next to me asking if it would be rude if I had replied "Isn't that your job?". I let the guy next to me pull ahead as we headed onto the track. I didn't notice the clock on the score board until I had a little over 100 meters to go. Poor math skills told me I might be able to eek out a PR and I hammered in, but it was a bit too far and I settled for a 17:53 win. The guy I was with at the car crossing ran 17:43. I should have gone with him! I was working hard, but I definitely did not lay everything I had out there. Granted the goal was to have fun and I did, but that little spark was saying, told you so!

Looking at the results I must have been a nice target for the few guys behind me, I don't know how I didn't notice the 3 or so guys that must have been breathing down my neck at the line.

Like Johnnycake I basically just ran my race at the effort that felt appropriate. It worked out well, but next race I need to get out of safe territory and really push some boundaries. This would have been a perfect opportunity to do that and I just didn't see that until after it was over. So I am getting amped up to really lay it on the line next race which is Perfect 10 miler. I think it will be a good race to really go for it and since Johnnycake and Friday Night Lights were solid I don't need the race to be a confirmation of fitness, I can risk a blow up. I know where I am at based on those races and my workouts. I am going to take a chance at Perfect 10 and see if I can't find that extra gear and really step it up. So screw the pace charts and predictors, Perfect 10 it is time to see what these legs are made of. Goal is to run sub 6 for as long as I can and try to break 60 or leave it all on the line trying to.

Double Ladder

Coach was out of town this week at a family reunion so we were left to our own devices. With the start of marathon training for Salty and I last week and NC building mileage to do some smoking fast halfs before ramping up for the Trials we are all at different fitness levels and we all have our own paces now, but same workout structure. It is a bit of a relief not to have to keep up with NC, but certainly the workouts are harder when I have to do them on my own. This weeks tempo will be interesting as I haven't had to run one solo since the winter.

Last night was 2 sets of 1600, 800, 400, 400 with descending quarter splits. 2 minute rests after the 1600, 1 minute after the 800 and 400 and 2:30 between the sets. Goals 5:45 (86 per quarter), 2:48 (84 per quarter), 81, and 79.

We've been trying to get in 2 miles easy (if traffic allows) before our official warm up of some knee skips, lunges, high knees, leg swings, 1 mile around 7:30, then 4*100 strides.

I forgot my contacts so the world was a blurry place and I think that made my focus a little blurry but I got everything done on pace. A little fast during the 800 to begin with and a little fast on the second mile but other than that I ran pretty consistently despite being on my own. I decided to start all the repeats with NC so I would have a target to chase a bit, so a little bit less rest but not much.


I was definitely tired after this one, but managed to get in a 3 mile cool down for a total of 11 miles for the night and finished it up with the Jay Johnson pedestal and Myrtl cool down. I definitely felt that I earned my Summer Shandy waiting for me at home in the fridge!

Columbus 2011 Training Week 1


Total Mileage 70 - 75.

Monday: Easy.
Tuesday: Track.
Wednesday and Friday: easy miles @ 7:20 or slower. 6 x 30 sec @ 5:40 pace on Friday
Thursday: Tempo run:6 miles @ 6:25 pace
18 miles @ 7:30
12 miles @ 7:15

How it played out:

75 miles
7 runs
1* 20 minute swim
weekend runs went well