Saturday, December 31, 2011

Lessons learned. Don't stop doing the little things when it comes to training.

Wednesday: 8X 2:35 hard w/ 90 seconds recovery jog (5:58-5:38 mile pace) 2 mile w/u, 1/2 mile c/d
Thursday: 50 min @ 7min pace, 20 min elliptical
Friday: 45 minutes easy
Saturday: 15 miles in 1:39:40 (6:38 avg) 7:09, 6:39, 6:32, 6:44, 6:43, 6:44, 6:36, 6:33, 6:39, 6:32, 6:28, 6:30, 6:34, 6:25, 6:43 + 1 mile jog around the loop (legs stiff)
Sunday: whatever I feel like, up to 8 miles

Well that's over.

Saturday's run finished off one of my least enjoyable running weeks in a while. Something I did (maybe the crazy 18 miler in Athabasca) caused my calves to remain extremely tight for days. After jogging Tuesday, I asked Houston to run an easy workout with me Wednesday. Normally, I would run 800's in about 2:35-2:45, this time we did them in -12C in winter gear on a trail neighboring the Bow River. Because neither of us wore enough clothing, it took a while for us to get warmed up. I'm not completely sure because I cleared my Garmin out yesterday, but I doubt the first two intervals were much faster than 6:00, and we were working to get that. On the third interval I finally found my legs, and the workout improved a great deal from then on.

Bike path along the Bow River, imagine snow and ice.
Thursday brought another treadmill run in a hotel near the Edmonton International Airport. I was running along at just under 7min pace when my calves seemed to cramp up right at mile 7. I jumped on the elliptical to see if I could loosen them back up but the tightness remained. Worried that I was going to end up with another calf strain, I stopped my run early and traded Friday's 10 mile for a 45 min jog.

There are a number of reasons of why my calves are so tight. First, I wore calf sleeves almost the whole time in Canada because my legs were always cold. Second, were were running on ice which means we were constantly sliding backwards which puts a great deal of stress on your calves. Third, I am toe runner which makes #1 and #2 that much harder for me to recover from.
View of Calgary Skyline
The next few weeks I am going to get back to training. If my schedule calls for 5X 1 mile at 5:25, I am going to try and average 5:30. If I want to run a tempo at 6:00, I am going to aim for 6:10. My long runs have also gotten way out of hand, so I am going to slow those down a bit also.

One thing that I also noticed is that I completely ditched the 1/2 a bag of chocolate habit while I was in Canada. I have convinced myself that this is the reason my running has been so poor this week, thus I have been very good about increasing my chocolate intake over the last 48 hours.

Yay, me.

Happy New Year, all.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Long run grind

Friday: 82 minutes relaxed (11 miles)

Saturday: 2hr 5 minute long run (17.7 mile) in 30mph winds (Athabasca)

Sunday: 56 minutes recovery in downtown Calgary

Monday: 82 minutes in Calgary (10.5 miles) legs dead, hard time adjusting to the altitude

Tuesday: 35 minutes (basically off, legs dead/done/trashed)

Saturday’s long run was one of those runs you will talk about for 20 years. “Remember the day we did that 18 miler in Athabasca on Christmas Eve? Remember how FREAKIN AWFUL that was? That run made me want to quit running.”

I had a plan all week for Saturday and was excited about it. The original plan was 2 hours progressive, starting at 6:45 getting down to marathon pace (6:20). I felt like the run was something I could easily accomplish on a treadmill with an MP3 player and a water bottle within grabbing distance. However, it was Christmas Eve in Athabasca, where there was only one gym and, you guessed it, it was closed.

Houston presenting me with a number of different options of “wait until tomorrow or the next day” which I stubbornly refused, and in the end we decided to “man up” and grind it out. We suited up and headed out into what may have been the worst running conditions ever- 30-35 mph winds, cold, icy, and at an altitude we were not accustomed too.

We started out running around a 6:30 pace and barely a word was said in the first 4 miles before we stopped for water. My sister had kindly placed 3 bottles out for us on her way to town and we hit every single one on our out and back loop. Most of the tree lines along the highway had been cleared away which made the wind especially strong. To avoid having to run directly into it as much as possible, we picked a loop that would have us fighting it from the side for the most part.

Having a goal of just going out and banging out two hours of HARD running, I went a little too quick in the first hour. 6:30 miles felt like 6:10 effort, and by the time I was half way I was already completely spent. At just shy of 90 minutes heading back along the highway, I stopped running, shut off my garmin and walked of the shoulder of the road and cried. Literally, I cried. This was by far the worst run ever, and at this point I was so physically exhausted that I could barely put one foot in front of the other.

Houston had to pick me back up and say, “Let’s just run, no more pace, just get the work in.” We finished to final 35 minutes at about a 7:30 pace, which was really all I had left in the tank. The last 2.5 miles was pretty much up hill, but wind at our backs which I was very thankful for. If not, I may have walked home.

At least we got it in.

After two helpings of apple pie, a piece of cake, yogurt, coffee, and a nice warm shower, I finally felt better as Houston and I packed up Maddy and set out on a quick 5 hour drive to Calgary to celebrate Christmas with my Father, Maddy’s Grandpa.

Over the next few days, I would realize just how hard I really did run that day. After 3 “easy” days my legs still have not recovered and I feel that I will spend the next few days doing more of the same…jogging at a snail like pace until I feel somewhat normal. If there is anything I am good at, it is digging a hole for myself when it comes to training. I can’t be bothered being tired now.

I have a marathon in 10 weeks.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas in Canada and a marathon training update (in the snow)

Just in case you don't know, my family is from the north...way north. Right now we are in Athabasca, Alberta Canada, visiting my family. The roads are like running on a hockey rink and the temps are pretty chilly. Being that I grew up here, I'm used to it but its always a little shocking on the body the first time out the door.
The Athabasca River in Athabasca, Alberta, Canada

My legs are seriously trashed from calling a 90 minute run recovery for the past two weeks, so I basically took an off day on Wednesday (the day we flew out of Birmingham). Besides, I didn't want a repeat from Atlanta...some of you may know what I am talking about (that is a story for another day).

Monday: 90 minutes
Tuesday: 3 mile w/u, 3 mile c/d, 3X2 mile on campus 5 mile loop w/ 2:30 jog rest
11:35 (into the wind), 11:15, 11:10 on measured loop (garmin measured 1.95 miles, 1.95 miles, 1.97 miles)
Wednesday: 25 min jog at 4AM (travel all day to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
Thursday: 80 minutes w/ 10X1 min hard (5:00-5:15 mile pace), 1 min easy in the middle (10.5+)

Tuesday's workout was not executed properly, and therefore I only ran 3X2 mile versus the 4X2 mile that I had planned. I was impatient into the wind and it cost me part of the workout. I am not strong into the wind, I fold like a cheap tent every time. Instead of staying relaxed I tried running too fast too quickly and suffered late. I figure I will make up for it on Saturday. We will see.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday with their friends or family and avoiding desserts and wine as much as possible (haha, right). Just a reminder to all, your health never takes a holiday.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Stepping up my game & sharing motivation from "the coach".

In an attempt to step up my mileage, I was successful in making myself really tired this week.

Monday: 58 minutes (Maddy cut my run short) (8 miles)
Tuesday: 3 mile w/u 50min progressive tempo, starting at 6:18 working down to 5:39. (6:07 avg pace) 2.5 mile c/d (13.5 miles)
Wednesday: 90 minutes relaxed
Thursday: AM: 45 minutes PM: 45 minutes w/ 6X30 seconds hard. (12 miles)
Friday: 10 miles w/ M. (reg loop + sherwood when I got home)
Saturday: 14.5 miles w/ 9 miles @6:25 pace
Sunday: 70-80 minutes recovery

Even though I'm going to hit 80 this week, this morning during my long run I convinced myself its not about the miles. Once again, I'm going to try and stop counting and focus more on how I feel. After all, I'm still getting better.
Most people can deal with knowing the numbers and not obsess over them, I cannot.

How the week went.
Monday I wanted to go about 12 miles or so, but 8 miles into my treadmill run (Houston has been out of town) Maddy woke up screaming. So run=over.

Therefore I woke up early on Tuesday to get a good medium run/tempo combo completed before work. Because it was just after 4:00AM, it took me a few miles to get the legs moving. Starting off conservative (at just a few seconds faster than goal marathon pace) I tried to stay relaxed as I increased the pace every few minutes (or when I felt tired or bored). It was surprisingly easy, but then again, I was running on the treadmill. Regardless, I was pleased with this workout.

Thursday I had planned on running 30 minutes of speed fartlek, but my Achilles had been really bothering me, so (being safe) I skipped it and just ran easy instead. Probably a smart move as I was able to run normally Saturday.

Saturday's run started off great. After a brief warm-up we started rolling along at just a few seconds slower than goal marathon pace. However, after about 9 miles at just over a 6:20 avg, my calves cramped up completely. I jogged the last few miles in to log just under 15 for the day.

Just some INSPIRATION from  my husband, the coach.

He recently made a post of the distance training page that I wanted to share with you all. He is king of motivational talks. Even though it is directed at the team, I hope you all can get something out of it also. Names have been edited as requested by the husband.

"This is a critical time of the year,  each and everyone of you is responsible for doing your work and keeping each other accountable. It doesn't matter if your hill was 562m long, or 611m long. What does matter is that you are putting the work in and getting stronger, fitter, tougher, and meaner. Each one of you has a decision each day. Do I go out and do today what it is going to take to make me better, or do I let everyone that I am expected to compete against be better than me today. Because guess what? RIVAL TEAM A, RIVAL TEAM B, RIVAL TEAM C, ETC. and even the " RIVAL NAME X" are getting out the door and putting it in. They want to keep you down. They want you to have have excuses why you didn't work today. They want the weather to be tougher than you. They want you thinking, "Oh, I can put this workout off til tomorrow, or I will do some of my stretches, but maybe skip a few." Cowardice has no place in the (INSERT SCHOOL MASCOT) Nation. Get it done......NO EXCUSES! Train hard, train smart, and soon......kick some @$$."


I wanted to share a video with you all from"V02 Max productions". A Brooks-Hanson video of Ms. Desiree Davila running a 3X3 mile workout to prepare for the USA Olympic Trials.

Watch more video of Desiree Davila on



Thursday, December 15, 2011

Brooks I.D. 2012

And here it goes, another year with my most favorite running company EVER. I love the shoes (Brooks Launch, Brooks Green Silence) I love the clothes, the sports bras...heck I even own a running skirt from Brooks!

Tis the season for Brooks arm warmers, infiniti tights, gossamer gloves, with matching tops, hats, and socks.

Thank you, Brooks for another year. Much appreciated. Let's go run some PRs.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chasing numbers (miles)

It started in college, although it wasn't always miles I was counting.

I like numbers, I have always enjoyed them. When I was just learning math I could add and subtract in my head from the beginning, I imagined the numbers as shapes, it worked every time. I was very good at math.

In college it started with schedules. I would start out at 6:30AM (run), 7:15AM (shower), 7:25AM (dress for class), 7:30AM (breakfast), 7:45AM (bike to class) 7:55AM (class). For the most part it was healthy, but then I needed something else, scheduling my day out in 15 minute increments just wasn't enough.

Next it was counting calories. First in estimated amounts, then in exact amounts. I am honest about this if people ask, this is nothing new. I did this for about two years until I started running an event where I was encouraged to be STRONG versus invisible.
In an effort to be "strong" I started counting numbers, miles per day..week...month. I wanted to run 65, then 70, then more than 70. Unfortunately I paid more attention to the numbers than the way I felt and spent most of my time on the elliptical machine with an injury.

Post college I was able to run as much as I wanted- there were no limits. I had some small successes but was usually hurt by April every year, spending 5-7 months in a water-jogging belt strapped to the wall of a pool, sweating through intervals until I felt like passing out. Injured. Chasing numbers has always left me sitting in the same place: on the bench.

Since coming back from pregnancy last fall I have really stayed away from counting, mostly just estimating, and have stayed virtually injury free except for some small flare-ups here and there.

So what the heck am I chasing numbers for now?

Confidence...I think.

Not getting confident, lack of. See standards are much higher than last year, and as much as I could care less about being considered anything more than the athlete/jogger I am today, in order to remain where I am, I need to get better...and not slowly, either.

Honestly, most of those around me are putting in 85-100 mile weeks, I'm lucky to hit 75. There are odd times when I think I hit 80 miles...but I don't know, I stopped counting.

Last week I was determined to hit 80 miles, working my way up to 90...but my daughter was sick and I simply said to heck with it...not important.

This week I am back on it. I can get 3X13-14 mile days in a row and be OK, I can get 90+ minutes on my recovery days, I can maximize singles... I can run at lunch...I can be a psycho.

And is it really all worth it?

I don't know. To be honest, every time I run faster, I spend a few hours totally excited about the fast time, then spend the next few days/weeks/months..coming up with reasons of why I am not good enough. And really, who is? Truthfully, 2:52 was fine for me. I am a mother first and foremost so....awesome. BUT when I realized that 2:52 was not the goals/standards that others had for me, everything changed.
I wasn't good enough for me anymore.

I hope that the number craze doesn't make me crazy. I can find time to fit an extra 10-15miles in here and there without sacrificing family time. However, is it worth it? Is it really worth it? 

I guess its time to find out.

Happy running, all.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Snickers Marathon Training wk 1: Putting on my Mom Jeans

Not literally but "hat" just didn't cut it......

My daughter was very sick this week so I missed a bunch of miles as well as some precious ZZs.  As important as this 12 weeks of training is leading up to the Snickers Marathon in Albany Georgia (or NOLA…not sure) when Maddy is not feeling well, miles are going to be missed.

Monday: 1hr 39 minute run (13-14 miles)
Tuesday: 60 minutes w/ strides
Wednesday: 3 mile w/u, 5X1 mile on treadmill w/ 2min recovery jog in between: 5:46, 5:39, 5:33, 5:30, 5:20, 3 mile c/d (11-12 miles)
Thursday: AM: 45 minutes recovery, PM: 30 min recovery
Friday: 72 minutes (10 miles- treadmill)
Saturday: 17.37 miles in 1:54:30 (6:35 pace) at Boardtown  - Browning Creek loop-  7:08, 6:33, 6:39, 6:19, 6:23, 6:37, 6:38, 6:23, 5:58, 6:39, 7:11, 6:32, 6:38, 6:27, 6:43, 6:35, 6:29, 2:25 for .37
Sunday: 50 minutes

The night before my scheduled long run, I was up with Maddy for almost 3 hours.  Because I was exhausted when my alarm went off at 5:00AM Saturday morning, I ended up sleeping right through it and woke up at 6:04 instead.  By the time I finally got out to Boardtown, the group was just turning the corner onto South Montgomery, which left no time for warm up miles.

Browning Creek is my least favorite route.  This loop takes you around the sharp rolling hills of the lake at B.C. and is dreadful on the legs (dreadful meaning good for you).  Typically, I struggle running 6:50s on this loop, we got down under 6:00 for a while to give you an idea of how the morning unfolded.
Running back towards home we took the scenic route and ended up with what felt like a million miles with wind dead in the face.  At around 15 miles, I saw M. stop in front of me and we took about 20 seconds to collect ourselves “I want to vomit.”  …”  I’m hyperventilating.”  …“my face hurts.”
Once we were done complaining we set off to finish the last two miles as best we could to clock just under 17.5 miles for the day in 30 degrees with wind in every direction (ok, not really but it felt like it).  I am not sure if it was the hard running or the lack of warm clothes, but after this my chest hurt the entire weekend.

Sometimes it takes weeks like this to put everything back into perspective. Though I hate to see my daughter under the weather, I did enjoy the hugs, cuddles, and “Mamas”.  There is no better feeling. Makes everything we do so worth it. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Finding my inspiration. Two falls from the training wagon

When I was in high school I used to hang pictures of pro athletes all over my bedroom walls. My Dad hated it because I would use tape that would peal the paint away.  I don’t even think I knew who all the athletes were, but the pictures looked cool so I hung them up. Most of them were pullouts from running magazines - I can think of think of at least two of them that have been busted for performance enhancing drugs.  What a great example for a young athlete.

All those posters ended up in the trash once I left for college. Thanks, Dad... really, I mean it.

Lately I have been really thinking about what/who inspires me. I am not inspired by professional athletes like I used to be when I was younger- unless they are Mom’s/Dad’s, doing something amazing outside of the sport (which many are nowadays). Don’t get me wrong, I would love an autograph from an awesome pro, but if their job is to do a particular sport, then…well…are they not just doing their job WELL?  I do my job well too, do you want my autograph?


I recently learned that a running acquaintance of mine turned 80. Eighty years old.  Yep.  This person runs,  is very independent, intelligent, knowledgeable.  It never would have occurred  to me that he was eighty, until someone finally mentioned it.  Wow.  An athlete at 80 years old? That’s what I want to be.

That’s inspiring.

Most of the people I follow (blogs) do amazing things outside of running,  all kinds of people…some Mom’s, some Dad’s, some working, some not but they are real people chasing very different dreams…running marathons, running 5ks, 10ks, ultras, triathlons, everyone has a very different LIFE and a very different GOAL.

In the end, I don’t think it matters if you are a 2ish hour marathon, or a 6 hour marathon.  As long as you are living your dreams…one day you may just be the fittest 80 year old in the state, country, world….and I may just want your autograph.

Back to training…………….

Monday: 90 minutes
Tuesday: 45 minutes
Wednesday: 2 mile w/u, 8X800m on road– 2:35, 2:44, 2:32, 2:36, 2:43, 2:42, 2:42, 2:36) 2 mile jog, 10 minutes at goal marathon pace on t-mill (6:20), c/d (10.5 miles)
Thursday: 50 minutes
Friday: 10 miles
Saturday: 15 miles w/ 6 miles at HM goal pace (4 miles, 6 miles at 6:05, 5 miles)
Sunday: Planned distance run 70ish minutes

So I have a confession to make, I stayed up late watching TV with my husband Monday and Wednesday night so I didn’t get up early enough Tues/Thurs morning.  Afternoons are for family so I didn’t get out and run again either of those days.  Oh well, if this is my way of getting the laziness out before my new training cycle starts, I don’t think I have too much to worry about.

Wednesday’s workout total rocked.  I felt so good I jumped on the treadmill and added a ten minute tempo on the end.  The times were not my fastest but they were good enough for the “in-between”.

Saturday’s workout did not rock, it was the exact opposite. The plan was to go out for a 15 mile run and drop down to half marathon pace for about 7 miles. About a mile into the tempo portion, my hip had already started cramping and I could feel my back tightening up.  I stopped for about 20 seconds about half way to stretch my back…and at one point during the run, I hit my garmin and screamed, “I can do long runs faster than this!”  I have to say sorry to Houston for having to witness my ridiculous breakdown.

And actually, no..I can’t do long runs faster than 6:00ish. It just happened that when I looked down at the ticker on my Garmin it read a 6:23, which was wrong as I actually clocked 6:02 for that mile. I’m not sure why this workout was so important to me. I guess I still can’t get over the fact that my goal half marathon pace is right around 6:00….for 13 miles. And I guess I expect 6:08, my PR pace to be easy. It’s not. I’ve got to work my way back up there. Missing distance runs wont help.

SO the plan is to have a REAL plan…one of paper that I can look at and check off the days/weeks knowing I am doing everything it asks. This plan will be put together today, with the help of my husband/coach/better half.  

It will be up to me to execute the training.  I’m sure I can/will.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

New goals for the new year

I have been running....obviously! I took 3 weeks after the marathon to get my legs under me before I resumed any sort of real training. The last two weeks I have started to feel like my old self again.

I'm still feeling tired. Like I squeezed 18 weeks of marathon training into 12. But I just HAD TO run Niagara Falls. I hope I don't pay for this later. My legs are stronger than they have ever been, but I'm not ready to return to the racing scene just yet.

Nov 14-20
Mon: 67 minutes (8.5-9 miles)
Tues:  68 minutes w/ 12* 1 min at hard, 1 min easy
Weds: felt sick all day Tuesday, so no running
Thurs: 11 miles
Fri: 7 miles
Sat: 15 miles w/ Houston w/ 10 miles @ 6:35 avg (legs starting to come back a bit) @boardtown
Sun: Recovery run, 8 miles @ 7:19 pace

Nov 21-27
Mon: 85 minutes, 11+ miles
Tues: w/o, 30 min w/u, 3X1.5 miles on hilly loop, 5:55/5:50/5:45 (garmin) avg. pace, felt nice and relaxed, 15 min cool down.
Weds: Recovery run of 45 minutes + 30 minute jog with the neighbor
Thurs: 10 miles w/ 4X(1min, 45 sec, 30 sec, 15 sec hard) w/ 30-60 sec recovery between each rep, 2 min between sets, ran on a half mile hilly paved loop, pace between 4:45 mile pace and 5:15 mile pace depending on up or down
Fri: recovery run of 67 minutes
Sat:15.5 miles in 1:41:53 (w/ 14.5 miles @ 6:30 avg) @ boardtown
Sun: 58 minutes recovery

Happy Thanksgiving

The other Baby. He would argue that he was the first!

Marathon training.. while not racing a marathon?
Running with my husband on Friday, I asked him why in the world can I do workouts like I used to in college yet I train nothing like I did in college. He explained to me that, "You can approach training from two ways, you can training to run fast or you can get fast by getting strong, this time you are getting fast by getting strong." He said a lot more than this, but I will spare you the details. Training for marathons works for me, and though I am looking at running a 5K and 10K PR in the spring, I am still going to keep a lot of the same key workouts from my marathon training.

Saturday's long run
Saturday I woke up feeling absolutely didn't seem to matter. Having Houston to chase for almost 16 miles always makes for a good run. Once I hit the first water stop, I knew I was about to have a good day, 6:30 pace came and went, I started clicking off 6:19...6:08...I made myself slow down for fear that I would burn out later.
At the half way point I put on my rally cap and did my best to chase my husband down the rest of the way. I was unsuccessful. I knew I would be. I did have a fabulous run and am looking forward to this next cycle of training.

GOALS for 2012...
Wow, I guess I have some. Let me say that I have no aspirations of being a running super-star. I like my life, my family, my home, my 40 hour work week, my 10 minute commute, my evenings with my family free of running. I don't want to change any of that. I simply like to run, and I like to run fast. If I can be a good/great runner, well then that is totally awesome bonus.

We all should have goals in everything we do, and I for sure have some for next year if I continue to stay healthy. My 5k PR, it is just not something I am proud of, so in the spring and early summer I am looking to try and improve on that. My 10K PR is truly non-existent, I don't really even know what it is, 36:45 or so that I split once in an 8 mile time trial...does that even count? No. I would like to run a good 10K. Something worth posting.

And of course, running 1:18 for the half marathon and chasing 2:45 again for the full marathon. After I accomplish all these things I hope I will be content and maybe take up another sport.. (curling?)...but I doubt it.

I will come up with something else to chase...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Running marathons is bad for your health.

Didn't you hear??? I sure did. Last week someone let me know.


I should have taken up smoking. Or competitive eating. What am I doing running? I could be indulging in cheese burgers and fried chicken every night.

I was talking to someone the other day about my recent love of marathons when they just felt the need to inform me that running marathons was actually bad for you.

"It's a fact."

Really? How totally uniformed I am. Its not like over 30% of Mississippians are OBESE that is the problem, it is, IN FACT, the marathoners that are living the unhealthy lifestyles.

What a total let down.

Did you know that running is actually bad for you?

It reminds me of an infomercial I was watching a few months ago. I love infomercials. I think this one was for some sort of non-impact walking machine.You see, walking is a high impact activity that most intelligent people should really avoid. Instead, there is a cool machine that makes you feel like you are walking on a cloud, and its only $2000. What do you save by purchasing this item? Your joints, of course!

I do have difficulty accepting this though. I USED TO feel like the human body was made for motion. Only because we have legs and we walk upright. We have butts for sitting, yes. But we have legs for walking, too. Just not lots of running, that will put to much stress on your joints.

Actually, I think walking may be too high of an impact activity for those that are over weight or obese. This typically happens as a results of too much eating and not enough running.

Taking up running as a hobby early on:   +3.5 to 3.7 years added to your life

Taking up extreme eating and living in obesity: -12 years taken away

By the way, heart disease is still the number one killer of people in America. Marathon running doesn't seem to be on the list, maybe we should all inform the list makers?

I guess I will keep running.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

NCAA Div. I South Region XC Championships: link to public photo gallery & results

I went to Tuscaloosa today for the NCAA Division I South Region Cross Country Championships. Snapped a good bit of photos from the men's and women's race. The link to the public gallery is below:

MSU's Renee Masterson

Results (courtesy of
Women's 6KTeam Scores: 1. Florida State, (34), 2. Vanderbilt (54), 3. Florida (62) 4. Mississippi (185), 5. Georgia (208), 6. Alabama (217), 7. Lipscomb (258), 8. Mississippi State (283), 9. North Florida (284), 10. Belmont (303)

Medalist: Amanda Winslow, Florida State, 20:33.4

Men's 10KTeam Scores: 1. Florida State (40), 2. Florida (68), 3. Georgia (94), 4. Auburn (194), 5. Middle Tennessee State (200), 6. Georgia Tech (232), 7. Kennesaw State (258), 8. Mississippi (258), 9. Chattanooga (263), 10. Belmont (281), 11. Mississippi State (330)

Medalist: David Forrester, Florida State, 30:43.3

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Niagara Falls International Marathon Recap

Niagara Falls Marathon Results: 2:52:16 for 1st female ($1,500)

(results from Garmin: 2:52:17 for 26.33 miles ~ 6:32 pace)

Wow, can't believe that was already a week ago! So after celebrating Maddy's birthday for the 4th time with my father, Sunday brought us to race morning.

At 10:00 AM on the dot  I toed the line with about 1500 others in Buffalo, NY for the start of the Niagara Falls International Marathon.

Maddy being funny...putting her cups on her head opening presents on Friday night.

Start (Miles 1-4) Albright-Knox Art Gallery to downtown Buffalo
6:31, 6:33, 6:34, 6:33

Once the gun went off right outside the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, I quickly looked around to find out who I would be running with. I counted two females, one of which seemed quite content running 6:30s (not the goal, but it would do). By the time we reached 2 miles, we had already caught up with the (then) leader, as we continued downtown buffalo towards the beautiful Peace Bridge (USA/Canada boarder) at this point the pace felt slow, and though we were running with a large group of men, no one had really committed to leading. It was windy and I was getting impatient so I thus began pace setting for the group.
Niagara Falls Marathon Course Map
Miles 5-13
6:36, 6:31, 6:37, 6:29, 6:36, 6:39, 6:31, 6:31, 6:31 (1:26:20 for the first half)

SO yes I started getting impatient early (not good, really). The pace was not consistent and I needed it to be. I took the wind early and led our group across the bridge and into Ontario. Here the wind was strong and the air felt cooler. By mile 7 I felt terrible and by mile 9 my back started cramping up. I did not think I was going to have a good race.

Mile 12 I took a chance and broke away from the rest of the group with two other men. My watch started registering 6:25, and from the words from the guy running next to me in the blue shirt, "We are locked in."
The Start

6:36, 6:25, 6:29, 6:25, 6:25, 6:31, 6:24 (miles 14-20)

We hit a water stop around mile 14 and the two men I was running with disappeared once again. From here on I ran completely solo with the exception of a few that had been broken by a too early fast pace (or perhaps they hit the wall?). So as beautiful and quiet it was running along Niagara River Parkway, it was also one of the most loneliest of any race for me this year. In order to not burn out later on, I just tried to maintain pace because it turns out that I could...possibly(gasp) win this damn marathon after all. Winning became more important than a sub-2:50 effort, as bad as that is to admit. I wanted to cross the tape first.

Besides being very quiet, there was not a hill to speak of, which made it very easy for me to see water stops and clusters of fans ahead of me. Around mile 18 I passed my Father's girlfriend holding Maddy. When I passed by them my Maddy immediately started screaming and crying. It hurt more than I thought it would, I still had an hour or so left before I could get to her.
Along Niagara River

Niagara Falls

Around the finish

Miles 21-26.33 
6:37, 6:28, 6:36, 6:37, 6:47, 6:36, 2:00 (6:08 pace)
My legs were really heavy and tight from mile 16 on, so every time I hit a water stop and slowed down to get fluids I had a hard time picking the pace back up. About the time I hit 20 miles, I saw a crazy man in a white t-shirt sprint by me on the side walk, hurdle a road barrier and jump out right in front of me holding a bottle of gatorade. This crazy man turned out to be super supportive husband. He asked me how I was feeling: fine, I can maintain this. He was relieved. I could tell he wanted this win just as bad as I did. I mean, being a coach and all.

It was around this time that a few negative thoughts started to creep in, so I was really thankful of my bike support trying to keep me positive. At one point a man on an ellipti-go bike (I really want one of these) came up on us and asked our bike support how far second was behind me. He said "Like a mile, she broke away at 12.) Well, that was good news! Wanted to see if there was going to be any challenge for the tape, ellipti-go bike went back to time the distance between me and number 2. When he came back he told me "2 minutes". This got me going again, if I was going to win this race I needed to stay focused and positive as I was still not in the clear.

At mile 24 the bikers started coaching me on. I was not sure if that was because 2nd was coming up behind me, or if they could sense I was struggling. I had dropped my salt at about mile 15 and I started to get a cramp in my chest. It slowed me a little and they sensed it. I started to worry as we battled walkers from the 10k/half marathon (the half started at the same time as the marathon at the 13.1 mile mark) I really wanted to win this race, who cares about pace, just take me to the finish first!

Coming up towards the finish. Beautiful day for a marathon
That is a Canada sticker on my shorts. To bad you can't see it :(
 Once the finish came into view I started to really drive home and my legs responded nicely. I was smiling and hyperventilating a little bit....I couldn't believe it.
I think I got it now...

OMG, I'm actually going to win this.

Not sure where that came from....

Cross the tape. Couldn't help it, I was fired up...and my first marathon win!

Right after the finish I was pushed along into the VIP tent where we would wait until awards. This time I made sure I ate something (mostly because I could barely walk!) as I waited impatiently for my Maddy and family to join me! What an AWESOME DAY!

As far as the race went, I really have to hand it to the Niagara Falls International Marathon crew for their wonderful hospitality! My family and I were treated like royalty all week, and if I get the chance to come back in a year or so, I would really look forward to it. I also want to thank Brooks for all the support this year, I am so thankful to be a part of the Inspire Daily program! It has been a major part of my success this year!

If you are looking for a neat marathon on an extremely flat course with great weather and a nice calm...BEAUTIFUL...route, I recommend this one. Just be warned! Passports are required, and it is very much Fall in Niagara Falls.

Even though 2:52 was not what I wanted to run, it was a huge PR done almost completely alone through half way. I am going to take it, recover and move on. It looks like there will be another marathon in my future, another chance to run 2:49, and I am looking forward to it.

Thank you to everyone for the good luck and the congrats, I am behind on seeing how everyone has been do with training/racing. I have noticed a few PRs! I will say that after I get caught up, I will be taking a short break from the blog as I recover from the marathon. Good luck to everyone in their Fall races and I look forward to reading the recaps!



Monday, October 24, 2011

That hurt.

Niagara falls marathon results: 2:52:16 for 1st!
Led the last 24 miles...the last 11 miles solo. That wore me out. Great recap coming soon! Thanks for all the support!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Training for the week..7 days out from 26.2

Monday: 9.7 miles
Tuesday: AM: 30 minutes PM: 2 miles with the neighbour
Wednesday: 2 mile w/u, 4X 1 mile on the track, 5:29, 5:22, 5:16, 5:13 (rest of 3-3.5) 10 min c/d
Thursday: 9.16 miles
Friday: 45 minutes easy
Saturday: 12.7 miles in 1:27 (relaxed and easy, 6:50 avg with some 6:10's thrown in just to make the legs feel good)
Sunday: planned 50-60 minutes

The workout on Wednesday confirmed that the track IS much fast than mugshots. I felt great the whole time, actually looking forward to doing a few more of those sessions after the marathon. This was a very much needed week of taper. 7 days...26.2 chances for the race to go badly...1 chance for it to go well :)

Miss Maddy turned 1 yesterday. We had a great time playing with balloons and stuffing our faces with cake.





Being funny with Mom.

After a good nap

Happy Birthday to my sweet little girl!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

This past weeks log.

Monday: 60 minutes
Tuesday: AM: 20 minutes PM: 8.25 miles (treadmill)
Wednesday: 2.5 mile w/u, 7X800m w/ 90sec rest on Sanderson Center loop (2:43, 2:42, 2:39, 2:43, 2:37, 2:39, 2:30)- no c/d, ran out of time
Thursday: 65 minutes
Friday: 70 minutes
Saturday:16.00 miles in 1:46:33 (6:38 avg)
-7:37, 7:02,  6:41, 6:30, 6:32, 6:04, 6:38, 6:36, 6:27, 6:22, 6:56, 6:40, 6:31, 6:12, 6:41, 6:52
Sunday:47 minutes easy

1st week of the taper. 14 days until 26.2
In a bad mood. I have not had enough chocolate today.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Atlanta 13.1 Race Recap

Better late than never!
Last Sunday: 2.5 m w/u, Half Marathon in 1:20:37, 2 m c/d (17+)

Top 5 Results:

Emmanuel Ngatunyi  1:03:59

Reuben Mwei 1:04:33

Jynocel Basweti 1:07:30

Devon Berkness 1:09:49

Nathan O'Connell 1:10:22

Lilian Mariita 1:17:28
Justyna Mudy 1:17:46
Meggan Franks 1:20:37
Jill Horst 1:21:16
Tamara Karrh 1:23:39

Maddy in her Jammy's getting ready race morning!
My Mom flew into GTR late Friday night so we waited until Saturday morning to finally leave for Atlanta. The drive is always difficult for me with passengers as I have no patience driving in traffic, so by the time we picked Houston up at ATL (he was getting off the plane from the Paul Short meet) I was pretty stressed! After picking up the packet, we went to a nice pasta restaurant for dinner (HA! Pasta, of course I never ate it, filled my face with bread instead,) Maddy had had enough by 8:30PM so we all ended up with a pretty good night's sleep.

After gulping down a cup of some of the most highly unpleasant ( nasty)  hotel coffee ever, Houston drove me to the start line about 15 minutes away and then drove back to pick up Mom and Mad. The air felt good and so did my legs, I tried my best to keep warm and relaxed before the gun went off exactly at 7:00AM
Mad and Dad cheering around mile 6
Miles 1-4 - Running in the dark
6:18, 6:06, 5:55, 5:44
The first 4 miles felt like we were running in circles up and down a freakin mountain. I could feel my hip and calves slowly tighten up but my breathing was controlled. The pace was fast even though Meagan and I had planned running about 6:10 pace, but the effort was the same being that the first 4 miles seemed more down hill than up. Still, once we hit mile 4 the tightness in my hip caused me to slowdown and relax.
Somewhere around the second half
Miles 5-8
6:08, 6:12, 6:16, 6:06
Once we hit mile 5 on Peach Tree Rd, the lady that would eventually finish second had already gaped by a respectable 20 seconds. The pack I had been running in broke up completely (Meagan finished her very respectable 5 mile tempo run before heading back to work the "after run party") and I found myself in no-mans-land. It was about this time I discovered I had a biker companion and he did everything he could to shower me with positive comments. It was around mile 7 that I was passed by a male runner (AKA "Taste The Win" is what I called him, that is what his singlet said) and instead of getting discouraged  I convinced myself that if I didn't catch up to him I would end up fourth and out of the money (literally).

Miles 9-13.1
6:17, 6:16, 6:29, 5:55, 6:05, 49 (5:20 pace for .15)
Heading into the hilliest section, I passed "Taste The Win" and really started to get after it. I heard a little rumor (from Meagan) that the second half was harder than the first- heck, YES! miles 8,9,10 were filled with sharp uphill and downhill climbs. Even though I really FELT like I started moving, my garmin said otherwise. I split 10 miles in 1:01:30 and felt I still had a chance to run 1:19 high. This goal disappeared quickly when we headed into a windy, paved, trail and split a 6:29 (groan).
Atlanta 13.1 Elevation Chart
My friend the biker told me that 4th was 40 seonds back, so if I wanted to end up third I really needed to get after it. Once I got my legs turning over I was surprised how good I felt, and almost disappointed that I didn't pick it up sooner. About 11 miles I passed me Husband screaming at the top of his lungs and my Mom and Maddy playing paparazzi. Houston would later catch up with me (on his feet) to which I would scream at him "That's illegal pacing you know." (Not really but funny at the time) I will say that if he caught up to me when I was running 5:55 going up, he must have been running 5:20 effort in jeans and boots. Got to love an overly dedicated Coach and Husband!!!

Half mile to go....
Typically when I run half marathons I feel sorta like I am running on the verge of passing out. I guess I was "waiting" to finally get tired or die. When I heard my biker yell "half a mile" I was almost in disbelief, "Am I really doing this?"
After a quick downhill my biker and I finally parted ways and I ran the last 250 meters or so to the finish (at 5:20 pace with the help of the hill). I watched the clock tick 1:20 and I couldn't help it, I was smiling and fist pumping! I had done it, skipped the 1:22's, 1:21's completely!
Feeling good coming into the finish!

Huge PR= Fist pump!

1:20:37 ranks me 14th on Canada's 2011 best list. Not as good as the marathon, but Atlanta 13.1 is not what you would call a "flat and fast" course! The goal is to run NOLA in the spring for a 1:19 or better.

Thanks for all the support and congrats! Was a well deserved PR! Look forward to reading everyone's updates! Niagara falls only 15 days away!!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Good day for a PR.

Atlanta 13.1 half marathon results: 1:20:37 for 3rd female
PR, hilly as heck, perfect weather!
Recap coming soon!

Maddy- cheering me on, even though I am HER biggest fan :)
Mom took this just after 11 miles where I split a 5:55!

I wanted Maddy to get a picture with the bear. Maddy did not enjoy it. Yes my pants are falling down.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Just for Fun

Emergency purchase for Atlanta 13.1 Sunday:
New pair of Brooks Green Silence

This makes me smile :)
Niagara Falls Marathon Elevation Chart

And last, but certainly not least:

For those of you racing this weekend, GOOD LUCK! I'm certainly going to need it :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tapering for Niagara. 5 miles at "Hard".

Monday: 80 minutes w/ M & D
Tuesday: 60 minutes
Wednesday: 2.5mile w/u, 2.5 mile c/d, 5X 1 mile in 5:30, 5:29, 5:18, 5:35, 5:29 (5:28 avg. on road course)
Thursday: 60 minutes
Friday: 70 minutes
Saturday: 3 mile w/u, 5 mile "tempo" on " new campus 5" in 28:14, 50 minute cool down (14+ miles)

Course mile splits: 5:35, 5:42, 5:36, 5:42, 5:39 for 5 miles in 28:14
Results from garmin: 4.9 miles at 5:45 pace for 28:14

Today's workout was supposed to be 5 miles at hard tempo. I think it just ended up being 5 miles at hard. For those of you that don't know, "new campus 5" is the old campus 5 with just a bit extra added on. However, the loop and garmin still did not agree completely.

I started this run with the men's team. The plan was to stay in contact and try to pick off someone that starts having a bad day. That didn't happen.

By the first mile I was already 10 seconds back, and the gap just got bigger from there. After about 2 miles I basically couldn't see a single soul, trying to run sub 5:40s by myself is not something I am used to. Still, I went through 5k in 17:30 or so. Good but not true tempo, more like REALLY HARD.

Mile 3 I started having a little bit of a melt down, I had a side stitch and my hip was a little tight, I tried to slow down and maintain effort. By the time I hit 800m to go, I was kicking hard but felt like I was running terrible...the goal was originally 28:45 and I felt like I was slower than that. 28:14 was a huge surprise.

I am 4 weeks out from Niagara falls and I am starting to feel a little tired, I took my miles down this week to make up for it. On Saturday we will travel to Atlanta and run the Atlanta 13.1 against Ms. Meagan Nedlo. I am so excited to have some super studs to race against, my half marathon PR is pathetic in comparision to what I have been training at... I really hope to run a good race.

As for Maddy, she took 4 steps on Wednesday night. How fast she grows, it amazes me. We are practicing her "cowbell" skills. She's a natural, probably because her Daddy and Mommy are both bulldogs. It's in the gene pool. She will go to her first football game tonight.

I apologize for my lack of "blogging" lately. I'm just tired.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

This past week's log.

Monday: 90 minutes w/ D & M
Tuesday: 50 minutes
Wednesday: 3 mile w/u 7X1000m on the CC course, 3:25 (solo bottom loop), 3:45 (up the hill), 3:21, 3:28, 3:19, 3:23, 3:21
(the loop was actually 1070 meters, so times were converted)
Thursday: 76 minutes w/ K
Friday: 70 minutes w/ M
Saturday: 21.43 miles w/ M & K, 2hrs 26min
7:35, 6:51, 7:15, 7:22, 7:13, 6:59, 6:38, 6:32, 6:37, 6:40, 7:01 (trail), 6:23, 6:30, 6:31, 6:34, 6:54, 6:44, 6:56, 6:43, 6:58, 6:38, 2:47 (.43)
Sunday: 40 minutes like a snail.

2 weeks until Atlanta 13.1, 5 weeks until Niagara 26.2. Lets hope I don't do anything stupid from now until then. Like, agree to play a game of super competitive (haha) wiffle ball and make the ONLY slide (into first base) that causes my hamstring to cry in pain all day long....

Wednesday's workout was with the team on the CC course. I was quickly reminded why I hate VO2 max workouts. I know these workouts will become more frequent from now until the marathon and beyond. Unfortunately, my calves were not too pleased with me afterwards and I was left with a huge knot in my left calf that caused me to miss out on a few extra miles Thursday and Friday. Obviously, I made up for it on Saturday. Even though the run went well, I felt tired after about ten miles. The last 4 or so were ran on the cross country course during the MSU XC invite, in which we won BOTH the men's and the women's!

Had a great weekend with Mad and Dad. In less than a month our little girl will be a year old....a year! I can't believe it. Trying to cherish every minute..she grows soo fast!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Week training recap: 6 weeks out from Niagara Falls Marathon

Monday: 15.3 miles on treadmill w/
30 min @ 7:03
10 min @ 6:53
30 min @ 6:44
35 min @ 6:40

Tuesday: 60 minutes
Wednesday: 10 min w/u, 20+ min c/d, 4X2mile on road course w/Garmin, 2-2:30 recovery
5:56, 5:48 = 11:44
5:48, 5:58 = 11:46
5:56, 5:43 = 11:39
5:52, 5:55 = 11:47
Thursday: 4 miles easy (slept in, ran out of time)
Friday: 72 minutes (62+10 on treadmill)
Saturday: 2.5 mile w/u @ 7:00, 2.5 mile c/d
16 mile marathon simulator in 1:39:56 (course was short)
Results from Garmin: 15.5 miles in 1:39:56 (6:26 mile pace or 2:48:30 marathon pace)
6:41, 6:35, 6:22, 6:30, 6:19, 6:27, 6:22, 6:19, 6:32, 6:25, 6:38, 6:29, 6:29, 6:28, 6:10, 2:59 (5:59 pace for .5) - hilly road course
Sunday: 65 min run

Miles for the week: 78+

Good week of training. If I would take the time to figure it out, I may have PR'd for the half marathon in the middle of my marathon simulator. No complaints.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Nine things to do on Labor Day when its pouring rain.

1.) Strut around the house in your birthday suit.

2.) Drink a few extra cups of coffee.

3.) Play on the internet for a bit.

4.) Get a good run in on the treadmill.

5.) Catch up on some quality reading.

6.) Dig in the fridge for some good eats.

7.) Do some online shopping.

8.) Indulge in some sweets.

9.) Get in a good snack or two.

Happy Labor Day y'all!