Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Last weeks mileage: 11.5 (1.5 over goal)

For the remaining days of this month I get to run what I feel like, when I feel like it. There will be no formal training until January.

Looking forward to a week in the cold north and some quality time with family. Run happy!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Brooks I.D. 2013

Just want to give a shout out to my favorite running company and say THANK YOU for deciding to support me through 2013. Anyone looking for the perfect Christmas gift, the Brooks Pure Project came out with a couple new looks that will leave you drooling on your computer screen. Check them out on http://www.brooksrunning.com

Monday, December 10, 2012

Rocket City Marathon Race Recap

Before I write about Huntsville... I apologize that I still haven't blogged about Vancouver yet. For those of you that don't know, I was 21st there (Vancouver) in 25:02 (7K through the mud). I was happy with the race, so happy, that I got up the next morning and ran 2.5 hours around the bay. I felt amazing...for about 2 days afterwords before things started to unravel....

I took it easy after that long run, mostly just some easy runs in the AM. Then Thursday (9 days before Rocket City) I attempted my last real hard season. Originally I had planned on 4X2 mile, which ended up being about 4x10 minutes. My legs felt heavy and tired, normally I run this workout between 5:45-5:59, that day I ran 6:05-6:15 and STRUGGLED.

I shrugged it off to tired legs and lack of sleep. Saturday I ran 12 miles at a pretty good clip but my hamstrings were still tight. I figured things were coming back around and slept most of the day Sunday. Then Monday came. I woke up and just couldn't run. Period.

My legs were toast. The days before a marathon that you usually feel fast, sharp, and light on your feet, I was shuffling along at an embarrassing slow pace. My legs ached and I was constantly yawning at work. I then decided, it was time to call it a year.
Photo by We Run Huntsville

I ran a little bit that week, but nothing faster than 7:30 mile pace (because I couldn't). I knew that Huntsville was going to be a struggle, but I wanted to do it. I had planned to do it and my friends (Kelly and David) were also running, my goal would be to finish, in a respectable time. The race had also comped my hotel and a bunch of my meals, and I have ALWAYS wanted to run this race. I really wanted to run this race.

The last time I registered for Huntsville was around the time I got pregnant with Madison. It was originally the first marathon I had ever wanted to run, and its "special". After all, the first race I ever ran (and won) as an MSU bulldog was in Huntsville.

So yeah, the place and race is special for many people. Its a place were many of my friends have ran big PRs, broken 3 hours, starting dating, and more. Rocket City Marathon is a big deal in the south. I guess you could say, dreams come true there, maybe?

Warm ups with Kelly & David.

Race Start. Me in my Brooks ID top.

We (Houston, Kelly and I) hit the road just before lunch time Friday, only to arrive late for the "technical meeting" (Houston has a little bit of a lead foot, something that can be extremely expensive and, ironically, can cause long travel delays) which left me a little bit stressed. However, once we arrived at the Holiday Inn, literally steps from the start line, things started to get better. We attended the pre-race pasta dinner, listened to the extremely humble Bill Rogers talk about his life as a runner, watched a little bit of television and went to bed early.

Brooks Green Silence has been my racing shoe for 2 years, though it is now being discontinued .
Looking forward to trying something new in the spring.

Saturday morning I woke up early, ate well, drank well, stuffed a couple of Blackberry GUs in my pockets and set out on a 15 minute jog to stretch the legs with my friends. Though I didn't feel drained, at this point I still predicted a 2:55-3:05 finish because of the state of my legs. (I know that seems crazy coming from someone that has been training for a 2:45...but I knew my body had had enough.) 55 minutes later we set off, me and 1599 other runners, to pound the pavement of Huntsville Alabama for over 3 hours.

"Maybe this wasn't such a good idea..."
I felt ok for the first few miles and stuck with the top three ladies. I figured I would probably finish forth because everyone seemed to be doing fine with the conservative 6:30ish pace. Eventually my hip locked up at around mile 7, I anticipated this, I fell off the back pretty fast. I spent the next 4 miles struggling to get one foot in front of the other as I chocked back tears. I tried to be patient and wait for things to loosen up again.

Around mile 9-10 I was caught by a running "train". A group of southern gentleman running single file, sharing the wind every 30 seconds. They offered me a position in their group and I happily accepted. The hip responded well and we continued along at about 6:30 and change. I felt fine for about a mile or two.
Brooks Infinit II shorts. My racing bottoms of choice.
They have a flat (& flattering) waistband and a  pocket in the back for gels.

After about 6 or 7-30 second bouts into the wind, I told my new friends that I wasn't feeling it today. They said their goodbyes and continued along without me. It was about this time I had serious doubts that I was going to finish this race. I had not even reached the half way point and my legs and feet were screaming at me. Even just "running" at a slow pace hurt. I was going to have to find some motivation somewhere just to continue putting one foot in front of the other.

"Just keep picking them off, one-by-one."
And then it happened. One of the race staff that I had talked to yesterday had pulled of the course early, he saw me struggling along and decided to jump in to help for a mile. He was also looking for a ride back to the stop, so as he pulled me a long he continually asked spectators "Hey, can I get a ride??" I could see the 3rd place lady just up ahead, we were gaining on her fast. I had a hard time believing she could be running slower than I was.
I pulled up beside her to say hello, she didn't turn, didn't nod, didn't say hi, instead she just quickly coughed out, "I'm going to drop." Her dropping out almost guaranteed me a third place finish. Sadly, I didn't know what 3rd place paid, I hadn't really looked. But third was better than fourth.

Four things kept me going that day.

One. I was in third place.
Two. The hospitality that I had already been shown by the race echoed in the spectators that were scattered all along the course.
Three. I told myself that if I finished, I could eat a cheeseburger (I only eat cheeseburgers after runs over 20 miles).
Four. Dropping out is hard.

I learned my lesson with #4 in Columbus. I dropped out before mile 11, then spent another hour plus trying to get back to the start line to pick up my race bag. Dropping out is hard. And, it sucks.

So I kept running. It might sound weird, but I also wanted to see if I could finish as bad as I was hurting. I have never had a truly BAD marathon (until this one). The three that I have ran have all been PRs, no matter how good or how bad I have felt, I have never crashed, fallen completely apart, or "hit the wall". Today I was about to do all these things, and I still had 13 miles to go. I wanted to have the "marathon disaster"  that everyone talks about. I wanted to make the best of a very bad day. I wanted to have a bad marathon story.

I had only one problem...I wasn't sure I could finish.

I was all alone quickly slowing down. My pace felt slower than a Sunday recovery jog and I basically surviving water stop to water stop. I felt like crying. I cursed a little bit. Every once in a while I whispered encouraging words to myself, "Come on, keep moving!" I did my best to smile at the spectators. I needed the people. I needed the funny race signs. I needed reasons to keep going forward.

"Come on...Come on!"
I tried not to pay attention to the mile markers, but they were coming really slowly and I needed to know I was getting somewhere. I started to get tired of drinking water, and therefore, didn't drink as much as I should have. I took a gel at 21 and got a serious cramp in my chest. It took my breath away. I slowed to a crawl to stretch it out, then continued on.

Then I saw Houston. I blurted out "I need some water. Where is the next stop?" (that is the edited version). Later he would tell me that there were two little boys standing beside the road that heard my profanity. Anyone else that may have been standing there, I am truly sorry. I couldn't help it. I really don't remember the last time I was that uncomfortable and hurt that bad. Obviously, having a child is a much more painful experience. Truth is, if someone asked me at mile 22 if I would have chose childbirth over the last few miles...I am not sure I would have continued running. After all, in childbirth I would have had the choice to not feel my legs. I could have used an epidural around mile 22.

From mile 22 onward I saw every marathon sign, the funny ones like, "worst parade ever" and the ones taped to trees offering encouraging words to loved ones. I saw a man in a speedo, I saw a man in front of me keel over in pain. I heard people at every corner, I heard the cheering, I started to think about the finish.

I was hungry, thirsty, tired. I had never wanted to finish a race more than this one. I plodded along, one foot in front of the other. I reached mile 25.

I was going to make it.

1 mile to go, 1200m, half-mile. I kept shuffling, moving forward. I turned another corner, I could see the finish line.

I picked up my knees. Stretched out my legs, let out a little kick that was barely faster than the pace I had been running. Reached out. First mat. Two more steps. Second mat. Done. Finished. Over.

There it was, my fourth marathon, my slowest by over 14 minutes (3:03:34) for third female overall. The one that hurt the most, never been more relieved to be finished. A volunteer offered me water, I asked her for a glass of wine. I waited for my friend Kelly to finish, barely behind me in fourth (in the money!). We laid on the ground and cried, laughed, took a deep breath. It was over.
Me, Kelly and David before the race. We all finished!
If I wasn't so proud, I would have hit the medical tent. Pain ran down my legs all the way to my toes. My body hurt and I couldn't walk. I felt so pathetic...but I couldn't help it.
Finally, Houston helped me to my feet and I walked into the hotel to take a bath. I laid there for about 20 minutes until my legs stopped hurting and I finally smiled.

Hey, I finished 3rd. My slowest marathon by 14 minutes. Was it worth it?

Of course!

Would I run Rocket City again? Absolutely. Many people talked about a hill on mile 16..I don't remember any hills. Some people complained about the weather...the weather was perfect. Some people complained about the wind...hey, its a marathon, there is always going to be SOME wind.

Rocket City Marathon was a blast. The course is great, the fans are great. The hotel is steps from the race start line, the pre-race meal, expo, all great. I had a fabulous time at this marathon and I would do it again, in a heart beat.

Later on we all ate at the Melting Pot, spent a little bit of our hard earned cash on cheap t-shirts and a few glasses of wine. I had a great time.

Every once in a while, I think its important to run a race just to run it. Whether its a marathon or something else. Struggle. Be...human. It's worth it.

Run Happy!



Thursday, November 29, 2012

Funny Marathon Signs

Still haven't blogged on my last race. It's funny that when it goes well, we take forever to write a recap.

Because I have really no idea what to expect from my body next Saturday, I thought I would share a couple of marathon sign funnies. Most of you have probably seen these...either way, enjoy!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Photos from Canadian National Cross Country Championships

It's going to take me a few days to recap, but if anyone is interested in photos from Canadian National Cross Country Championships, I took almost 500 of them. The internet at this hotel is terribly slow, so its going to take me a few days to post all them, but you can see most of the photos on a public facebook (Canadian National Cross) album at: https://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.10100478782802486.2407718.26504510&type=1


Friday, November 23, 2012

Cross-Country (Pre-Race)

I "raced" in spikes for the first time since college this past Saturday at a small cross-country race in Clinton, MS. With National Cross one week away, I ran the race as a tempo.

Still, I wasn't confident in my ability to hammer out 7k on a muddy XC course in Vancouver, Canada, so I opted for one more workout Tuesday, 4x 1 mile @ 5:36/33/33/24, it wasn't difficult but it made me feel better than running quarters.

I told myself that I would taper down a bit this week, but when I arrived in Vancouver Thursday afternoon, I realised that my "easy" week was still going to be in the neighbourhood of 80 miles. Surprisingly, my legs feel fresh and my pace has picked up. I'm not cramping near as much when I sit down for long periods of time (I've actually been taking a vitamin supplement for that). I've put on about 3-5 pounds since the summer, which is almost invisible to anyone but me...and because of this, I actually feel better. Before I felt like my tank was kinda empty, even though I was still hitting my miles and workout goals. Now, I am starting to feel like I've got a little bit left.

And just in-time, I guess. I crammed as much 5-10k training as I could in these last 3 weeks, and though I know it is not as much time as I needed, I feel like I can still hit my goal of a top 20 finish and enjoy myself throughly in the process. Then comes Rocket City!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Spiked up on the XC Course

AM: 20 mom
PM:20 min w/u,
2x400m @ 77, 84 (oops) 200m jog
1x1000m @ 3:19
2x400m @ 78, 77 w/ 200m jog
1x1000m @ 3:15
2x400m @ 77, 77 w/ 200 jog
1x1000m @ 3:15
1x400m @ 76
10 min c/d

I felt like this workout went on for ever, probably because there were so many quarters. The K's were no were near relaxed and 3:15 is a pace that is shockingly fast for my body right now. It was also pretty windy on half the loop, and Houston isn't exactly winning any awards for wind blocking.

Regardless I was satisfied with this session, so much that I called it a day before the last quarter. I felt like I was done at that point. Many thanks to my husband who paced me through it.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Long run at Boardtown

AM: 20.2 miles w/ 9 miles steady, 9 miles @6:15-6:25, 2.2 @steady

This long run/long tempo was not well planned and it was all my fault. When I checked the website to see this weeks route, I didn't notice that the whole thing was gravel and that it was going to be difficult to maintain a good pace and get accurate results.

Still, Houston paced me through it and it wasn't too bad. We had some slower miles and some faster ones when we finally hit a stretch of pavement, overall it averaged out about right. We did stop once for a hip stretch (gravel makes my hip extremely tight) and again when Houston was bit by a dog (yeah that happened) but for the most part it was a good run and I was pleased.

My next workout will be either Tuesday or Wednesday...and will be some combination of leg cramping, chest about to explode type session. Still, looking forward to it. I absolutely love this stuff.

Hope everyone had a great weekend.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Half-Miles on Mugshots

AM: 20 min w/u
8x800m on Mugshots: 2:41, 2:45, 2:32, 2:30, 2:37, 2:40, ?:??, ?:?? (these times are +/- 5 seconds always on mugshots)
20min c/d

Good workout yesterday. I ran pretty hard and got some junk in my legs early...which was the plan. I forgot the splits on the last two, probably because I was suffering so bad I forgot to stop my watch.

After number 7 I almost called it quits, but I hung on for one more interval, went out like my pants were on fire only for my legs to completely die with about 150m remaining. I was actually pleased with this....this National Cross course is no joke. If I want to be competative at all, I've got to learn to deal with a little lactic acid...and quickly.

After that....Rocket City!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

XC Workout Success

Morning Workout on the Cross-Country Course
20 min w/u, 2x2K @ fast on the flat, 10 min jog rest, 1x3K on upper loop @ whatever I could do.

2K: 6:56 (mile @ 5:34)
1000m jog, stretch,
2K: 6:37 (mile @ 5:22)
1000m+ jog, stretch,
3K~ on the upper loop in 10:54
35 min c/d

After feeling like my chest was about to explode in the 5K last Wednesday, I was a little worried about this workout. One, I have not run on the cross-country course in a while; Two, I have not run under 5:30 pace for over a couple minutes in a really long time; Three, I was running with the women's team who have been training for 6K since August. I was more than a little worried.

The plan was to run the women's workout (2x2K at fast) and then add a 3K on the end around the outer loop. The outer loop of the MSU cross-country course is a 400m flat,  500m hill, a gradual up/down hill for the majority of the course until you get the last 400ish meters were it gradually flattens out. It is beautiful, rough on the legs, and gives the advantage for downhill runners like myself.

I did my warm-up around the outer loop just to get used to the footing and the hill. I stretched well and toed the line with the others, I heard a rumor that the front ladies were running sub-5:30 pace. I wasn't confident my legs could handle it being the sub-par 5K I ran only a few days early.

Then we took off. The first 400m was way fast and rough on the legs, but soon after I found a rhythm in the front pack, surprisingly the first interval was not difficult, I hung tough and finished in 6:56, not bad for 6 months of marathon training. We took a long break and I used the time to jog a loop of the field. I needed the extra time to stretch and prepare myself mentally for what was to come.

The second interval was suppose to be faster than the first. I heard something like "77 through the quarter" and "5:15 through the mile". I doubted I could run a quarter at 77 let alone a 2k. And so we took off and once again, I found myself in the front pack through 800m in 2:42 and 1600m in 5:22. My legs gradually got tighter as the pace continued to get faster. People began to drop off rapidly as Renee jumped out to push the pace. With about 200m to go I found another gear, and closed the gap to finish in 6:37, tired but not worn out. I still had 3k to go.

I jogged another full loop and headed to the start line. The start had not been mowed, and the grass was long and thick for about the first 400m, I did my best just to keep the pace up before I hit the hill. The first 400m did a number on my legs and I proceeded to trudge my way up, trying to keep my legs moving fast. Once I got to the top I really started moving trying to make up for the slow start. My lungs were screaming but my legs felt strong, and before I knew it I only had 400m left. I finished in 10:54, ran 5 miles home for my cool down and called it a day. One more successful workout and plenty more to go. My legs seem to be adjusting well to the change of pace.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

New plans

After a number of doctors appointments and an extra week of feeling like garbage, I came to the conclusion that what sidelined me at Columbus was stomach flu, and that dropping out when I did might actually be a blessing.

The very next day coach John emailed me about National Cross Country Championships. I begged Houston to let me go, I even robbed all the piggy-banks in our house just to find enough change to pay for the flight (there are perks to being married to a change hoarder).
He agreed on one condition, that me ferritin levels come back over 30 ( actually it was  53!). So with the marathon on the back burner (maybe not completely) and a 7k through mud and snow in three short weeks, I am desperately trying to piece together workouts so that I don't get my doors blown off in the opening kilometer.

So far so good. One bad workout and two good ones. Tomorrow I have 2x3k with the women's team...in which my goal is not to cry, die, or throw up ( though one of those will likely happen)
As for training...my legs have been cramping terribly when I sit for longer than 20 minutes at a time, so I am trying not to worry about the miles. Instead, I am focusing on how I feel daily, how much I am sleeping, eating, drinking...all the things that I have convinced myself matter very little in the big scheme of things ( which I know is wrong).

This week my training suffered a little bit. At last minute, I got on a plane Thursday morning, knowing that other things were more important,  and that running would likely be pushed to the side for two days. I did manage to run both days that I was there, and even tackled the Rocky steps (a must for any Philly adventure).

The trip was neither work nor running related, it was personal. It left me caring very little about the miles I logged that week..or the races I had planned. It made me once again realize that life is so unpredictable from one day to the next...and that we all need to be grateful for our almost perfect middle-class lives and beautiful families. That life is funny and twisted at the same time. That beautiful moments become the most prized possessions that we will ever own.

Today, be thankful for who you are and what you have. Many people have just suffered great loss, and are learning to live with a lot less.

Thursday: 15min w/u, 6x3min @ 5:39, 5:36, 5:33, 5:33, 5:27, 5:27, w/ 2 min rest, 10 min c/d ( treadmill @ 0 incline)
Friday: AM: 20 min, PM: 50min
Saturday: 94minute run w/ 60 min steady (outside), 14min @ 6:15 (outside), 3min rest, 10min @ 6:15& .5 incline, 2 min, 10min @ 6:11-5:30 (progressive @ 0 incline)
Sunday: 75 min
Monday: 84min
Tuesday: AM: 20min PM: 20 min w/u, 5k for the United Way @ 1 mile too hard, 2 miles tempo (slow, legs died), 30 min c/d (1st/1st, no splits, no Garmin)
Wednesday: 64 min
Thursday:1hr57min w/ 60 min @6:40-6:55, 25 min of fartlek, 5 min jog, 15 min of fartlek, c/d
Friday: 45 min
Saturday: AM: 60 min PM: 30 min

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mom: 3, Marathon: 1

(Note: My husband is to thank for the creative title of this post.)

Columbus Marathon Results:
AM: 2 mile w/u,
6:25, 6:12, 6:20, 6:18, 6:13, 6:20, 6:35, 6:35 (threw up), 6:27, 6:46, 7:15 (threw up), DNF

I felt light headed Friday & Saturday but I blamed it on the taper. I got the sleep I needed, I ate well and drank well, I figured I was fully prepared. Sunday morning Houston dropped me off early so I could wait in the "elite holding area" until the race start. It was here that things started to go bad.

First, I couldn't find the place. I also had my water bottles with me and I had to get them to "special needs" before 6:45AM. It was 6:15, I had nearly thirty minutes, but the crazy person inside of me started to flip out. For some reason, I half convinced myself I was not going to be able to walk one block and climb one flight of stairs in 30 minutes. Once I arrived there (on time, and at least 20 minutes early) I just folded. I felt so out of place, honestly, I should have just bared the cold morning air with the other 18,000 folks instead of being up in that room with all those elites starring at one another.

The weather was perfect, maybe like 40 degrees, no wind. The course was amazing. I had a great start.

About mile 4 my back cramped up and I didn't handle it well. Normally I can just let it go, wait a few miles for it to loosen up. This time I was just too tired to wait it out. I had so much anxiety I made myself sick. I threw at mile 8, and again at mile 10.75 when I saw Houston and Maddy (and pulled off the course). It just wasn't happening today.

My lower back was so tight that it caused my legs to seize all the way down to my calves. My stomach was killing my, I was done. I had not even made it 11 miles and I knew I could not make it 15 more, no mater how slow the pace. It just wasn't going to happen.

And so I quit, hobbled my way back to the car. Houston then drove back to the finish line, where I again, threw up on my way to get my bag from the cool down area. I felt like (and still feel like) a train wreck. I have no idea why (yet).

The rest of the weekend we had fun, Houston was a champ, Maddy was AMAZING. I love my family for not caring if I finish or not, just wanting to be along for the ride. Being there when I run well, and even more when I don't. And this is one of the many reasons, that I am so very much over yesterday. I know what shape I am in, I know that something is "off" and I'm ok with it. I'm happy with the year I had, I know I can run faster, but its ok that I didn't. It's ok that things didn't work out.

In the end it is a lesson learned. If I am going to try and run 90 miles of week on 6 hours of sleep and the full life that I have, I'm going to fall apart sometimes...and that is ok. This is my life and wouldn't change any of it. Yesterday just wasn't my day...but that is totally fine. Tomorrow is another chance to try again. In the mean time, I've got work to finish up, dinner to make, laundry to fold, and a 2 year old to put to bed.

I truly hope everyone else had a better experience racing this weekend then I did. If not, I hope you learned something from it, too.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The last few days

Saturday:13.2 miles @ 6:35.
Sunday: Easy run
Monday: Easy run
Tuesday: 15min w/u, 5min c/d
1 mile@ 5:39, 20 min w/ 10@6:11, 4@6:07, 3@6:03, 3@6:00, 1 mile@5:36, (treadmill)
Wed: Easy run
Thurs: Easy run

I came to the realization 10 days ago that I failed to taper before my last marathon...so I have really been taking it easy. I figure its better to overdo than to under-do at this point...in a few days we will find out.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mini Wednesday Workout

2 mile w/u
4 miles @ marathon pace (campus loop), 60 rest,
2 X 10min hard w/ 2 rest
2 mile c/d
I had no Garmin today. I left it on the charged and this morning when I woke up it was completely dead. Because I am tapering I had planned to run by feel anyway. I met Kevin at 5:00am and we warmed up towards campus for a few minutes before rolling into the 4 mile portion.
This was suppose to be marathon effort so I didn't look at my watch and just ran relaxed and controlled. Once I hit the 4 mile mark my watch said 24:14 (which was wrong). Kevin told me we average 6:11 per mile, which sounded about right. A little faster than marathon pace, but given the taper,perfectly fine.
The 10 minute segments...there was nothing controlled about them. I ran them hard, pushing the whole way, finishing the workout feeling strong and confident. There may just be a big marathon in me yet. If not, I have sure enjoyed the training for this one. It has made me to realize I am capable of much more than I give myself credit for. So if October 21st isn't everything I have trained for it to be, there will be another one.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Last pre-marathon "long" run

AM: 15.7 miles @ 6:49 avg,
(pick-ups from 10-13 miles)
1.5 miles @sub 6min, 60 jog rest, 1200m @ 6:20, 60 rest, 800m @ 5:45 pace.

It was just Kevin and I so we didn't kill it today but we didn't run slow either. Part of the Poor House loop out at Boardtown has some good hills...and my legs felt strong...which is a good thing.

It was cooler today and we (unfortunately) picked the windy leg to run our pick-ups, so be mile 13 I felt pretty drained. I'm not sure if its lack of sleep or me just over analyzing things. Regardless, I'm planning on really tapering off these next two weeks.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Birthday workout fail

AM: 2 mile w/u, progressive tempo
5 min at each pace  6:30,6:27,6:22,6:18,6:15,6:11,6:07,6:03 ( quit, felt tired...couldn't get into it)
2*3min @5:39, 3 min c/d
(10 miles total)
Nothing exciting to report here. That last 20 mile run w/ the half marathon in the middle really knocked me on my butt. My body just hasn't recovered for some reason. Too many long runs.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Heart & Sole Half-Marathon Disaster

AM: 20 min w/u
13.?? mile race in 1:21:11 (1st**) $350 (off course)
40 min c/d, 20+ miles

1st with many ***..let me explain...

I typically like to run a half about 3 weeks out from a full, so when I found this race online and saw that it was in Jonesboro and the payout was decent, I expected I would run into Leah Thorvilson (who is coming off an injury) and Zamzam Sangau. I was right, they both showed up.

Before I go any further I would just like to clarify..I did not truly beat Leah and Zamzam. There was a whole lot of chaos around mile 6 with us all running off course...them much farther off course then myself because I had let them gap me a good bit. It was just a huge mess..one worth an explanation.

I had viewed the reviews of this race online and knew it would be difficult. It was net uphill, but the recent course modifications mentioned that they had removed a few of the hills and promised a mix of "hills and flat" (...haha...right). It also offered a cash purse, and being that Jonesboro was just a short drive from Memphis, I expected a decent amount of elites...even when the race director denied us all a waived entry because the race was for charity.

Things didn't unfold well the day before for me to race well. Friday I left work early and had got on the road just after 2pm, planning to arrive in Jonesboro around 6:00pm, but a bad accident and road construction just outside of Olive Brand left me sitting at a dead stop for 2.5 hours. By the time I finally got to my hotel room it was 9:30pm, all I had eaten for the day was a yogurt, a chicken sandwich and some gatorade. I downed a power bar and went to bed.

Warming up that morning my hamstrings were super tight from spending the better half of yesterday in the car..but my energy felt ok. When we finally got started (the start line was us standing in the middle of the road with the race director sounding an air horn) I immediately felt drained. We went through the first mile in 5:55...not fast..but I just wasn't feeling it. I made the decision to drop back for a few miles until I felt comfortable again.

Just before mile 2 we hit the hills...and they just kept coming. It wasn't just hills either, there were so many turns that I was unsure if we were running the right direction, I figured someone up front knew the way..I could see Hillary Kogo ahead of Leah and Zamzam...he seemed to be leading things. At about mile 5 I started to feel good again, but I missed a turn (through a parking lot) that undid some of the work I had done to catch up..at this point if I didn't start working I wouldn't be able to close the gap..and I wasn't closing it very fast. I could see Zamzam slip back a bit, but I couldn't tell if Leah was dropping her much or not.

It was just after mile 6 when things went sour...there was a bigger gap now. Leah was at the top of the hill, Hillary had turned around and was running back towards Leah, Zamzam was on the hill and I was at the bottom. All of a sudden a lady in a white van came screeching up behind me and shouted "Hey, you are running the Heart & Sole??!! you are going the wrong way! You need to go that way!" I stopped and turned around, she was pointed behind me to my left. I somewhat didn't believe her, there was no one standing there and no sign..but she seemed absolutely certain. I started running towards her and shouted "Ok, you need to go get them! There is three people up there...they went the wrong way too!!!" She looked puzzled and then she noticed the others and took off. I started running in the direction she told me was "the right way".

There was no one on the course.

I thought I was lost. Every once in a while I noticed an arrow on the pavement so I went in that direction. I felt like I hit a million turns...and the hills just kept coming. Every mile or so I would see someone at the side of the road and ask "Is this the right way" And they would tell me "Yes" or "No, go left/right." At one point I followed a turn right onto the edge of the highway...a suburban passed by me on my left...a big gust of wind in my face. I thought "Is this really the course? Someone is going to get hit by a car" (BTW, the third place male did get hit by a car) I just kept following the arrows...hoping that I would see someone that would assure me I was going the right way.

Then Hillary caught me and I immediately felt better. He was in 4th place when he missed the turn..I don't know how far out of third but he was pretty unhappy. I let him vent for about a minute...it was just nice to run with somebody after 9 lonely miles. We finally saw a marker for mile 10 which we passed through in just under 62 minutes. I laughed a little bit. I didn't know how far I had already ran ( I forgot my Garmin at home) but this course and this race was just funny to me...I guess. The time was irrelevant at this point.

Hillary told me he was going to try and run the last 3 miles fast...so I held on as best I could. I think he kind of got comfortable running with me so he let me tag along and I was surprised at how good I felt after we picked up the pace. The last 3 miles flew by..and once I saw the parking lot for the Malco theater I kicked it in hard...not sure why as the time didn't even matter. Hillary kind of coached me through it - which I appreciated very much. Zamzam and Leah finished shortly after.

Everyone was pretty upset, especially Leah being that she was leading when she missed the turn (she would have won). I suggested we split the pot, that way we all go home with $350. Everyone seemed to be ok with this..we all got trophy's and no one went home empty handed.

As for me, I got 80 minutes of semi-hard running in. (10 miles tempo, 3 miles hard running). The disappointing thing is I don't know how fast or how far. I guess, it is what it is...a great big mess.

On another note--the BEST pre-race food I have ever seen. After twenty miles I filled up on fruit, yogurt, granola, breakfast casserole, gatorade, frozen yogurt, quiche, diet and regular soda, bacon, sausage, homemade cookies...it almost made up for the earlier events....almost.

The rest of the weekend was family filled fun!

Good luck to everyone running/racing this weekend.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tempo Tuesday

After being sick all weekend + Monday, Tuesday morning I woke up expecting to get some kind of a workout in. I ran for about 2 min and realised it wasn't going to happen...I still felt like garbage.
Sooo...I went back to bed, woke up over an hour later to get Maddy up and ready for daycare/work.
Tuesday afternoon I wasn't feeling awesome but when I jumped on the treadmill my legs felt good (maybe because I had only cover 10 total miles in 2 days) so I decided I would try running hard and see what happened.

I'm running Heart & Sole Half so I didn't want to go crazy but I did want to run fast. I decided 30 minutes of tempo would do the trick.

20 min @ 6:45
3x1 min @ 5:20 w/ 30 rest
30min @ 5:49

No cooldown (had a program I had to get to)

Even though the treadmill gives you super powers and allows you to do crazy stuff that you can't do in real life ( 0 incline, no wind, etc. etc.) It was enough to make me feel like I worked hard, but didn't kill myself. I'm not sure what effort that is running on the road but with 13.1 miles of hard running this Saturday...and this stupid stomach flu I've been battling...its good enough for me.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Long run at Boardtown

AM: 20 miles w/ 17@6:40avg at Boardtown
Pickups at miles 16,17,19 (6:10,6:16,6:00)
Had to get this one in solo. I guess all my running friends took off on glamours vacations this weekend and forgot to invite me (jk).

I wanted to go 21-22 this morning but my stomach was upset the whole time and I'm pretty sure I'm coming down with something. After 4 trips into the bush I stopped keeping track. I had no problem pushing the pace when I needed to, but overall I knew I didn't feel quite right and had to keep myself from throwing up on multiple occasions.
Once again another 90+ miles in7 days (8 runs)

Which brings me to the end of this training cycle, and only 4 week until the Columbus Marathon. I have never worked harder than I have since the Spring when I decided to just go after it and hopefully not fall to pieces. I have done some incredible workouts, and I have also fell flat on my face multiple times dealing with dehydration, fatigue, and S.I. problems. I am excited about the next 4 weeks and seeing what I can put together. I know that its not all about this one race, if it goes well...awesome. If I fail? Then I will start focusing on the next one.

Good luck to everyone training and racing this weekend.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Great article about America's obesity trend

Just some reading for the average citizen concerned about the U.S. obesity rate
(The Huffington Post)

....and some inspiration for you to get up and do something about it.

Wednesday Tempo

4:45 AM: 2mile w/u
7 mile tempo loop in 41:37 ( first mile easy in 6:20, last 6 miles 5:53 avg)
3 mile c/d

I am extremely pleased with how this run went because I was really worried about this workout for the past week. I have been sitting pretty logging tempos at 6:15 pace (marathon pace) so I knew trying to get my legs to go sub-6 for 7 miles was going to be a challenge.

I started out easy for the sake of my hip, and after clocking a 6:20 for the first mile I really got after it. It took about 2 more miles for my legs to really respond to the pace (I won't lie, I was a little worried). By mile two I was completely alone (one friend is training for a half-iron man, the other is running a 50K in a few weeks so sub-6 was really not the goal) and by mile 3 I found my stride and didn't feel like I was about to fall out at any minute, if anything I let me legs dictate the pace while paying no attention to my Garmin.

I won't say that my hip is completely fixed, but it is almost back to where it was before the S.I. relapse. I didn't get tight until mile 6 and I was still able to maintain once I hit the last hill on South Montgomery. This loop is not flat, its got 3 really good ups and downs and some nice long stretches that make it a great loop for tempo. Last year I ran this loop in 43:01 preparing for the Atlanta 13.1 (I ran 1:20:37 there) so things are continuing to fall into place!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

This past week's log.

Monday: 12 miles on the roads at a good pace
Tuesday: 20min w/u, 15x 80sec @5:18 pace, 40 sec jog rec., 20min c/d (treadmill)
Wednesday: 80 minutes
Thursday: 80 minutes
Friday: 1.5 mile w/u, 14.56 miles at 6:16 pace on hilly road loop,1.5 mile c/d
Saturday: AM:31 min easy w/ the jogger, PM: 36 min (treadmill)
Sunday: 2 hour run @7:15avg (watched 3 episodes of 24 while on the treadmill)

Just shy of 90 miles for the week and I'm feeling pretty good about it! 

Houston traveled to Nashville with the team so I got a chance to take Maddy out in the jogger Saturday. I really enjoy the runs we get to go on together...we had a good weekend.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Marathon Simulator Run

1.5 mile w/u
3 laps of the hilly campus 5 in 1:31:24 (ended up actually being 14.56 miles at 6:16 pace w/ Garmin)
6:28, 6:21, 6:12, 6:24, 6:02, 6:23, 6:16, 6:22, 6:19, 6:05, 6:26, 6:01, 6:14, 6:22, 3:18 (.56)
~6:16 avg pace
1.5 mile c/d

Before anyone freaks out that the 5 mile loop is crazy short, I would like to confess that I cut the median 3 times before the turn in front of the coliseum. It cuts off a lot more than most people realize, and I did it today because the traffic was absolutely terrible. I didn't plan this run very well and spent about 10 miles of it battling morning traffic on campus.

Seeing as I was going to miss Boardtown Saturday morning to take a bus 40 miles outside of Starkville to glean a sweet potato field with nearly 50 MSU students (and Maddy), about the only time I could get this workout in (with someone to offer me moral support) was Friday morning. I had planned on arriving to work late and allow myself sufficient time for breakfast and warmup....but none of that happened.

I woke up late, wasted lots of time getting ready and ended up barely warming up before I toed the line in front of the Shira. I figured I would use the first few miles to warm up anyway.

Being that I was running this workout solo, almost immediately I was bored. I had planned on being conservative early but 6:28 was really slow. I felt like it was uncomfortable slow, it wasn't fast enough to be tempo and it was just slow enough to make me get too comfortable for a few miles. I really had a hard time staying consistent with the pacing (maybe it was because of the hills?), and every time I hit a nice flat/downhill section I easily ran 6:00 miles.

I guess the best way to say it is that this workout felt "blah". I don't feel like I really busted my butt, if anything I feel like my goals are mediocre compared to what I should and can be running. I know I am still battling the S.I. issues, and I am going to P.T. for that, but I just don't feel like I put the effort into this marathon simulator like I have done in the past. Part of it may be because I was running this alone. I remember one point at about mile 10-11 when Houston handed me the bottle and I said. "I'm not tired, this is not hard. I'ts just very boring." I feel like I was just waiting to run hard and I never really got after it. I guess in the end this is probably best. I'm about to hit another 90+ mile week.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Quick morning speed workout

20min w/u
15x 80sec @5:18 pace, 40 sec jog recovery (jump of treadmill and jog into the kitchen recovery)
20min c/d

Not your typical marathon prep workout, but Monday's 12 miler ended up being a pretty solid pace and my quads are still screaming from the 2:30 long run this past weekend.

I felt like I needed to do something shorter and faster.

This workout was awesome. Not too easy and not too hard either. I suppose to have a very difficult session later this week so I didn't want to over do it today. Overall, good session.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Training week worthy of a blog

Sunday: 17 miles w/ 12 miles at alternating fast/slow miles (6:16 avg) (treadmill)
Monday: 13 miles solid pace on South Farm (team's long run)
Tuesday: 8 miles easy
Wednesday: 12 miles (treadmill)
Thursday: 3 mile w/u, 6X 1 mile on hilly road loop w/ garmin, 90 sec rest (5:45, 5:40, 5:42, 5:41, 5:47, 5:19). 3 mile c/d
Friday: 74 minutes easy
Saturday 2:30 long run at Boardtown (extremely humid, really struggled at the end)

~92 miles in 7 days in 7 runs

I cramped really bad on Saturday starting at about 13 miles. It started in my lower back and ran all the way to my toes. I didn't care to much about it, I had a great week and I finished the long run regardless.

I'm not hitting triple digits but I did hit another 90, which is big for me.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Memphis Twilight & 12 miles at marathon pace

After Tuesday's failed workout I ended up getting a referral from my doctor to return to physical therapy and another dose pack. I logged an embarrassingly low mileage recover week and even got in for a one hours session with the team's massage therapist (Jack). Everything helped  and I was confident I could run the Memphis Twilight Meet on Saturday night. I had no idea what to expect....17:30...? 18:30?... I had every intention of racing yesterday.

By the time I had to start warming up it was already dark. I had Maddy with me, so I didn't get much chance to do any pre-race stuff until about 50 minutes before. Still, my legs felt good and my energy was high, I was really looking forward to getting out there with no expectations what-so-ever then just run hard.

The JV and high school races were before the college division so there was a couple thousand people lined all along the course. It was quite exciting, and very different then the low-key road races that I had been running recently (minus the whole Chicago fiasco). About 15 minutes before our 8:40PM start, I was already spiked up and running strides when I noticed that no other teams were present. After asking someone that looked like they knew what was going on, I was told that my race was delayed at least 50 minutes because of lightning. Damn.

I jogged lightly back to were Maddy was. I explained to friends that my race would not go off for another hour, and that they should probably get going. Houston had ran to get something from his truck (he had just drove from Georgia, to Starkville, and then to Memphis to watch my race - what a freakin amazing husband) so I grabbed Maddy and the jogger and started walking back to the car. It wasn't 30 seconds later and the bottom fell out of the sky catching Maddy and I along with it.

I was fine with the torrential downpour being that I had been running, but Maddy was not happy. I tried to keep the top of the jogger from blowing up and allowing the rain to soak her hair and clothes, but it was hard...the wind was blowing so bad.
After a few minutes were were completely drenched. I finally managed to make it to the car, putting a screaming Maddy nicely into her car seat, throwing the rest of our crap into the back seat, and turning on the ignition to get Maddy's DVD to start playing again. It wasn't 2 minutes after I buckled her in and wrapped her in a blanket that she was fast asleep.
The next 30 minutes or so Houston and I played phone tag, he didn't know where I was and I had no idea where he had been able to take shelter. The rain never broke so he eventually just found his way to my side of the course, and we were able to discuss our next step...which was to go home.

I was disappointed at first...then I was relieved. The course was under 6 inches of water now, and it would be crazy to try and race given the situation with my hip. Nonetheless, me needed to get our 2 year old home in her bed....it was 10PM and we still had three hours of driving ahead of us.

The ride home was very unpleasant. The rain didn't let up until Tupelo, and we heard multiple radio announcements for Tornado warning in counties that we had just recently been driving through. This just further justified that we made the right decision.

We slept late Sunday morning, and I woke up I realized we didn't have much food. Like an idiot, I ate only Gus, coffee, and sports drink before jumping on the treadmill for a quick 17 mile run. As a result, I only felt awesome for the first 30 min or so at 7min pace. I had planned on running 12 miles at up/down tempo. I would start out at 6:11 pace and working under 6:00 on the hard miles, and recover with a 6:31 miles

4.2 mile w/u, 1.2 mile c/d
6:31, 6:11, 6:31, 6:07, 6:31, 6:03, 6:31, 6:00, 6:31, 5:56, 6:31, 5:51 (6:16 avg for 12 miles)

for the first 4 miles I tried to keep the incline at .5, but when I started to tire I left it at 0. This workout was harder than I thought it would be. I feel like it would have been much easier just to run 12 miles @ 6:16 pace then to vary the pace so much. Overall, I was pleased with the workout, the effort, and even though my hip did lock up some on the harder miles, I was able to finish feeling tired but good about the whole thing.

Houston and I grabbed a hamburger before heading out to run some pre Labor Day errands. It was enough to make me feel normal again. Even though the hip is a problem, it seems like I will be able to manage just fine putting together workouts like the one above. Hope everyone had a great week.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Workout fail and S.I. problems

Because of the potential stormy weather coming in from the south because of Isaac, I ran this mornings workout with the team. Sunday and Monday I just ran easy and I figured I was on a short road of recovery.

Tuesday morning I had an expectation that I would wake up with some extra pop in my legs.

I didn't.

Tuesday morning I woke up at 2:30am to an almost two year old screaming at the top of her lungs for her "V-I-D-E-O". Unfortunately for her, she did not get it...and unfortunately for Houston and I, we didn't get what we wanted either.. which was sleep.

Warming up this morning my legs felt strange. I quickly discovered why when we jumped into the middle portion of the workout (3 miles at goal HM pace for me) and my hip locked up. Damn.

Today made it clear that the less than stellar workouts and the leg cramping is officially S.I problems on the rebound. Starting immediately I will be back in physical therapy trying to get everything back in place. I know this is something that I will continue to battle all my life...but its extremely frustrating when it decides to make a come back. Still I've now had 4 sessions that have been consistent with the symptoms.

This is the body I am given and I will need to take care of it. P.T., exercises, and massage did the trick last time. I've already got a 1 hour session with Jack tomorrow afternoon and I have requested a referral from my doctor to return to therapy.

I will follow the exact game plan and hope that it will clear up quickly. If not, I will find another marathon at a later date. Great thing about making your own schedule, you can easily adjust!

AM: 25 min w/u, 400@79, 800@2:37, 3 miles @fast tempo (goal of 5:50)
5:46, 5:57(locked up), 6:09, dropped out. 1/2 mile jog to the car.

Here we go.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Marathon paced tempo

AM: 3 mile w/u, 7.5-8 miles @ marathon pace, 3 mile c/d
6:24, 6:16, 6:13, 6:08, 6:19, 6:13, 6:23, 6:20 (.75)

This workout was a bit of a fail. I have just put in 4 solid weeks of training and higher than normal miles and my legs are pretty fried. This morning I had planned on running the Poor House loop (8.8 miles) at sub 6:20 pace, but when I finished my warm-up my legs felt tight and shaky. I told Houston that I didn't think it would be a good day for the session we had originally planned so I just decided to warm-up into it and see how things unfolded.
The positive thing I took from this workout is that the pace was not hard. My breathing was controlled and I was not working too hard to maintain pace all on my own. The negative thing...I cramped badly. Houston was nice enough to throw me a drink, a gel and some salt from the car but nothing I took made my legs feel any different.

Once I finally turned back on South Montgomery with less than 1.5 miles left, my legs just died. I cramped all the way up on my left side, thus deciding the workout was over. I jogged a few more miles and called it a day.

Next time my schedule calls for a recovery week, I'm going to take. Once again, lesson learned!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

4X2mile workout

4:45 AM: 1.2 mile w/u,  4X2 mile on rolling road loop, 2 mile c/d
6:02, 5:55
5:47, 5:58(hill)*
5:46, 5:50
5:56, 5:48(hill)*

I didn't get much sleep the night before this session which was 100% my fault. To top things off we (Micah & Kevin) barely warmed up for this session, claiming that we would just "roll into it". I was pleased with this session, I ran this workout on this same loop a year ago feeling like a million bucks and today was still better. I did, however, stop short on 2 and 4 because I was unsure of the markers, so those times are adjusted based on garmin. I may have took more recovery than I needed ( 3min versus 2 min twice) but all in all it was good. After 4 I felt like I could handle another at that pace or faster. It was a good day. All the little things are starting to work themselves out.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Long run on Oktoc

AM: 20+ miles at a very solid pace.

I was almost out the door this morning before I realized my Garmin was completely dead. Apparently we had lost power during the night and it had turned on while sitting on the charger. I was furious. I cannot stand when this happens and it happens very often!.

So I was prepared to run without any sense of pace, which shouldn't be a big deal if I was not such a slave to the GPS. In the end, I figured I covered over 20 miles in 2:15 because of the add-ons before/after during. I ran most of it pretty hard. I know the effort was there.

On the first leg I took off with Joe and Joseph only to find out that there were just running "10". By the first water we were really spread out, so I took advantage of not being the first one arriving (which means I didn't have to pour) I turned around and headed back towards the rest of the group to add another  2.5 minutes on to the total. After gu and sports drinks we were gone again.

It had rained hard the night before so it was cooler than normal but humid as ever. On the next leg I was hurting, Oktoc always makes my hip tight and I found my leg locking up more and more as the pace continued to get faster. By the time we got to the next water stop my hamstrings were completely cramped up and I had been dropped by Micah and David. I was stretching at the side of the road while they began searching for the water...finally making the observation that it had been stolen. Obviously someone needed the water and sports drink more than we did.

We laughed it off, downed a few gus and headed on our way. This time it was me that took off, only because this was my least favorite stretch of road, my hip had loosened up, and I was thirsty. Within minutes I was joined by Kevin and we continued on at a pretty quick pace before arriving at the Vet school for the second to last water. We were all quite relieved to discover than no one had stolen this one..

The rest of the run was uneventful, Micah took off and left us all shuffling along behind him. The last few miles was not as difficult as I thought they were going to be given how my legs felt after the first 12. Once this run was finally over, however, I was completely spent. I knew I had worked hard.

The next few weeks will be relatively higher mileage than I am used too, but I am looking forward to them. My body has finally come back around and I seem to be feeling a lot better during the day. Outlook is still positive at this point.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Another good session

AM: 21min w/u, 34 min c/d
4x1 mile on Mugshots loop with 3 min rest
5:31, 5:10 (short), 5:23(up hill/short), 5:25

OK so I know Mugshots is short, but its also a road loop on rolling hills. I had no idea I was running as fast as I was. I am so pleased with this session and how my training partners pushed me towards the end of every interval. This was NOT the pace I was suppose to run. I just thought it was going to take more effort to run the pace I wanted, and that did not end up being the case.

Originally, I had planned on running 5 intervals. But after I looked at my watch finishing of the hill on #4, I called it a day. The work was done.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Long run at Boardtown

AM: 17.64 miles @ boardtown (about 14miles @ 6:30avg)
(I am posting these splits mostly to boost confidence in myself right now, please just bear with me) 7:14, 6:29, 6:25, 6:32, 6:30, 6:43, 6:32, 6:26, 6:39, 6:22, 6:10, 6:19, 6:37, 6:43, (:54 for. 14) + 3.5 miles of the Rick Loop easy @ 7:35 pace

I haven't been out at Boardtown for 4 weeks and my long runs have not been near the quality as they typically are running with the group on Saturdays. Being that the loop was only 10 miles, I ran the first four miles straight from my house and then joined the group just after 6:30am.

After about 7 miles I wad a little worried about how things would go. I'm not gunna lie, I felt out of shape for a large portion of it. Thank goodness for Micah, he practically dragged me along today. At one point before the second water he dropped a 5:45 mile...only to leave me coughing and gasping behind him in about 6:10. Still, I was pleased. Two more weeks and I will be right back where I left off.

 I'm making better choices when it comes to fueling my activities, but its still hard. I still find myself going hours without eating, then just having to stuff my face with the first thing that becomes available. Convenience food is.... just that...convenient.

The group today was large and made for a very enjoyable run. Students are starting to arrive back on campus making workouts with the team right around the corner. I'm excited, we have some very talented new additions and I am looking forward to the possibility of a couple grinding sessions early this fall.

Things are looking up!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Workout Success

I received some of the best advice ever on my recent post, and I am so thankful of my blogger friends and their efforts to support each other. With some reduced running and better eatting, things are already improving. Thanks to your suggestions!!!Really appreciate the advice.

Wednesday morning: AM: 22 min w/u w/ 1X(60/45/30/15) hard running
38 min at tempo
20 min c/d

The strap on my Garmin had broke a few days before this session, and being the state of my legs, I decided to run this session on effort only...using my $9.00 walmart watch.
It turned about to be the right move. I was in Atlanta running on very busy streets, so I choice a route that would take me out and back 4 times on Emory campus (I later found a trail system a few minutes from my hotel...great). I wanted a very hilly route...and this loop was more than I needed. Running by feel only I tried to maintain a hard but controlled effort. I know I was working hard because the last 6 minutes were very challenging. They were also uphill!

Overall I considered the workout a success. I don't know what pace I ran, but I know it would have fluctuated so much over the hills, it would have been really distracting.

I think things are starting to turn around! Looking forward to finishing off the week with a great long run.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It's all gone south.

So running has went pretty south since Canada, and I do not mean just literally. Once I returned to Mississippi I was determined to get back on track. Therefore, I sandwiched my first true week of marathon training between two (2) 16 mile treadmill runs. Things did not go well towards the end.

Sunday's run ended up with my legs screaming for me to stop from 12 miles on....I struggled for a little while then  finally slowed down just so I would get the miles in. Sadly, my last two were slower than 8 minute pace. Once I finally forced myself to quit, I just stood there with shaking my head, one hand on the rail trying to keep myself from toppling over.


It was like this unsolvable puzzle that had created 24/7 worry and anxiety. YES I have a marathon in about 10 weeks time and my legs are SHOT. I have a tempo tomorrow and I don't even know if I can run 1 mile at 6min pace, let alone 8 of them.

My heavy achy legs have been bothering me for weeks! Maybe months now. Desperate for a quick solution, I asked Houston to seek out some advice for me.

"Can you ask coach what is wrong with me, or someone? Please?"
Houston- "I don't need to ask. I know what is wrong with you."

Then we got into this short , but informative, discussion about my diet (or lack of) and how I really should be more conscious of what I am consuming and if I am eating enough. I got off the phone still not completely convinced at all. I am healthy, I am not too thin and I am never hungry. That is surely not it.

Then I had a moment of clarity. The next morning, I was halfway through my second bag of vending machine pretzels while downing my 4th cup of coffee when I realized, its not the amount, its WHAT. Barely anything I shove down my throat during the day is really thought out or planned. I basically eat what is available WHEN it is available. If that is a bag of Doritos and a diet coke...well, that is lunch my friends!

You can judge all you want. In a society that is so preoccupied with food and meals, I eat to live, nothing more. However, if I am going to continue to run 80-90 miles a week while taking care of my family and working 45 hours, I've got to pay more attention to my nutrition and make sure that I am making good choices and fueling my day.

Its funny, when I finally made this "discovery" it was like "how have I been able to do this for so long??!!" In day one, things are going well. Catch me on day 21 and we will see if I have made real progress! I am banking on it.

I hope everyone has a great week! Advice on this topic is appreciated, if you have any!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Up North

My legs have been cooperating  (some what) since Monday. Unfortunately, now I am trying to continue training while running at altitudes I am not accustomed to. I have spent most days feeling pretty dehydrated and have finished most of my runs completely destroyed.
Everyone adjusts to changes in altitude differently, and I do not handle it well. Most of the time running my legs feel heavy and sluggish. I shuffle through most runs...amazed if I find myself hovering around 7:00min per miles. Most days I have just forgot the garmin and just run for time.
As for workout paces, they have needed to be adjusted. Houston and I discussed that the conversion was probably 10 seconds per mile, which is fine...on the flats. Most hills I feel myself gasping for air and barely being able to come within 30 seconds of goal pace. For those of you that follow training, my not-so-exciting log is below.

Monday: short jog, travel all day
Tuesday: 75 minutes in Edmonton (starting to get my legs back)
Wednesday: 62 minutes, hilly (Athabasca, dehydrated, tired)
Thursday: 84 minutes w/ 20 min @ progressive tempo 5:50-6:20 pace (chest cramp, had to stop to stretch it out for a few seconds) + 8X30 seconds hard (Athabasca)
Friday: 90 minutes w/ 4 X5min @ marathon pace w/ 90 sec jogs (6:15ish) after an hour (Edmonton)

Sunday, July 22, 2012


I'll spare you many of the details but obviously things didn't go very well. Oh Well!

By 800m in I already felt weak. By 3 miles I was still on pace but dizzy and light headed. By 4 miles I realised I was going to have to drop out or end up in a medical tent.

When I met my husband and Maddy at just over 10k, I was already running 6:50 pace.

I fried myself a few weeks back. Live and learn, time to get recovered and focus on the fall. Hope everyone else had a successful weekend of training and racing.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I'm still here.

I've been told I need to update my blog. I guess I was kind of surprised someone noticed. Lets just say that I have not had the best two weeks of training...my legs have had a hard time coming back after the Rez Run this past Saturday (it made Mount Schmidt look like a speed bump). Unfortunately it was not the relaxed tempo I had expected (I got to the race just before the gun went off) and definitely not in this heat.

So here we are, sitting in our over-priced hotel room in downtown Chicago waiting for Maddy to wake up from her 2 hour afternoon "nap" (must be nice). Tomorrow I race Chicago Rock 'n' Roll half,  and Monday we are attempting to fly to Canada to visit family ( that's another complicated story). I would have said three weeks ago that I was looking for a PR. However, after how the last two weeks have gone...it will be what it will be.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and good luck to anyone racing.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Lesson learned!

I would like to say that this week was the best week ever, but then I would be lying.  The awesome week I had last week was about opposite to what I had this time around. Sure I still got in some decent miles, and Saturday’s workout was acceptable, but I suffered a bad bout of dehydration and spent the whole week recovering from it. Live and learn I guess.

If anyone is wondering what the heck happened to the time trial, we rescheduled until late/early fall because of the heat. Last week we were experiencing record highs across the state and temperatures were hitting over 100 during the day and staying above 90 until late into the night. It would have been a death march. Therefore I preceded to get in some major miles…in the heat. And, like I said, probably had one of my best weeks ever.

After last Saturday’s 20 miler I started to feel like I could accomplish anything, and so I continued to run many miles and not doing the things I needed afterwards.  Honestly, when it comes to the nutrition/recovery after long runs and hard training sessions, I sometimes get lazy. I want to train like crazy and then drink coffee and eat a candy bar. I need to do better about these things. And so, I signed up to run the Watermelon Classic in Jackson, MS on July 4th on pace for another 90 mile week.

Because the drive to Jackson was a little over 2 hours, we were up around 3:00am Wednesday morning. We took Maddy because we heard there was lots of watermelon ( her favorite food ever) and a tot trot for children under 3 years old. She slept most of the way there.
 After the warm-up that morning, I knew something was wrong. My legs were heavy, my hands were shaky and I had a headache that I couldn’t shake. Standing on the start line I started to feel cold and light headed. I still thought that things would go away once the race started but I should have known better.

But things got worse after the gun went off. By the first mile I was already slow. My breathing was labored, my legs were wobbly and I felt pretty useless. And so I made the decision to throw in the towel early (and just run, not quit) knowing that I was doing more harm than good. Being that the second place female was already pretty far behind, my goal was just to win the race. I think this was best (I did end up winning, but it wasn’t pretty). When I was done I had a hard time walking, I quickly grabbed two Gatorades and drank them both before trying to cool down. I struggled there, too.
When we finally got home, I slept for two hours… but the headache and lightheadedness just stayed with me.
Then I spent the next few days trying to recover. My legs cramped badly all week so  I over consumed water, SaltStick and Gatorade, and salty foods. By Saturday morning I felt half way decent.

Being that we (Houston and I) typically run at Boardtown Saturday, I drove out there and ran a random loop with a hill in it. I didn’t expect Saturday to go amazing because I was alone for this session and it was a million degrees + humid as crap.
It went better than I expected but it wasn’t perfect. The 1st and 3rd interval took you up a nice size hill so they were typically slower towards the end. The second and last interval should have done the opposite. Things were going pretty well until the last 800m of number three. I got a stitch in my chest and started to cramp up again. I told myself that I would run as long as I could on the fourth one. I made it about a mile until the same symptoms returned.  I stopped before I really did some damage.

So “jogging” a road race and not finishing a hard session was not how I would have liked to finish this week, but it is what it is. I am not a machine, I am human…and every once and a while we are going to have rough patches. In the end, I really should have seen this week coming. (Just for the record, the few minutes it took me to type this, my legs are cramping up like crazy! Still have some ways to go!)

This week’s log:
Monday: 13 miles w/ 5X45 seconds at 5:20-5:10 pace during the last mile
Tuesday: 9.5 miles w/ 4X30 sec @ 5:13pace
Wednesday: 3 mile w/u, Watermelon Classic 5km road race, 1st (suffered dehydration before/during/after, not recovered) 4.5 mile c/d with the jogger
PM: 4 miles
Thursday: 8 miles w/ Kelly…felt terrible but got it in
Friday: AM: 20 minutes (Maddy was awake from 1:00am-5:00am so I slept in)
PM: 8.5 miles at good pace (felling bit better)
Saturday: AM: 3.5 miles, 4X 10min @ HM pace (2-3 rest) started to feel the dehydration/lightheaded on the last interval so I stopped at a mile, 4 miles (hot, humid). Not my best but still positive.
1st 10 min - 6:02, 5:58 (pace)
2nd 10 min - 5:51, 5:56 (pace)
3rd 10 min - 5:51, 5:59 (pace)
4th 10 min - 5:54 (stopped at the mile) ~14.5miles
Sunday: AM: 30 min PM: 45 min

Miles for the week: 81

Monday, July 2, 2012

This past week's log

Monday: 11 miles moderate/good pace
Tuesday: 3+ mile run to track, 6X400m @ 75-76 sec w/70 sec recovery, 3+ mile run home
PM: 3 miles easy
Wednesday: 11 miles (treadmill) 7:03-6:49 pace
Thursday: AM: 2.5 mile w/u, 42 min progressive tempo (10 min @ 5:56 pace,10 min @ 5:52 pace, 8 min @ 5:49 pace,14 min @ 5:46 pace) 2 mile c/d  
PM: 25 minutes 
Friday: 10 miles easy
Saturday: 20 miles progressive treadmill run in 2:09:40 (5 miles @ 6:53-6:40, 5 miles @ 6:31, 3 miles @ 6:15, 6 miles @ 6:11, 1 mile  @ 6:07)
Sunday: AM: 50 minutes PM: 49 minutes

90 miles for the week.

Ok so I'm not about chasing miles and typically I don't like to run more than 10 miles on Sunday....but I felt so good running this afternoon (and it was actually not 100 degrees for once) it was just too easy to keep going. Here it is, my first 90 mile week ever! If things go as planned, there will be many more of these to come!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

20 mile treadmill run.

AM: 20 miles progressive treadmill run in 2:09:40
5 miles @ 6:53-6:40
5 miles @ 6:31
3 miles @ 6:15
6 miles @ 6:11
1 mile  @ 6:07

This run didn't go as perfectly as I would have liked. I felt great the entire time, but I didn't get up early enough to get it in. By the time I reached mile 7, Maddy was already awake and demanding a "nak" (snack). I had anticipated this before I started and had already prepared two eggo waffles and had set the monitor up in the den so I could watch Maddy while she ate. It wasn't but a few minutes later we were screaming at the top of our lungs for "Addie" (aka Backyardagains). Unfortunately, each of those episodes was only 24 minutes and 17 seconds with credits...and Maddy already knows that the credits means that Addie is about to end.
So about every twenty minutes of this sweaty 20 mile run I was presented with the remote control and a very angry 21 month old. Regardless, this run went, I finished it and I felt pretty good doing it.

If your asking yourself why I would do something crazy like log over 2 hours on a treadmill with nothing but a dozen or so overplayed songs on an mp3 player, I would tell you that I didn't really have much of a choice. Our regular sitter is out of town for the weekend and we are experiencing record high temps across the state. The sun was already blaring hot when my husband jogged away at 6:00am, I figured the true Mississippian would handle the heat better than I so we didn't even bother drawing straws. I enjoyed the 70 degrees while he sweated it out in the 85-90s. We were both satisfied with our decisions and Houston ended up having a pretty good run too.

Hope everyone had a great long run this morning. Stay safe and stay hydrated.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Good Tempo

AM: 2.5 mile w/u, 42 min progressive tempo, 2 mile c/d
10 min @ 5:56 pace,10 min @ 5:52 pace, 8 min @ 5:49 pace,14 min @ 5:46 pace
PM: 25 minutes 
~14 miles

I felt good the whole time during this work out & I actually felt better as the workout went on. I was forced to take one very short break (Maddy woke up and got angry pretty quickly) plopping Maddy down on the bed with a cup full of cereal and then jumping back on the treadmill to finish up. No wind, 0 incline, but still hard.

Monday was not much of a workout, so I expected to feel pretty good today.

Last week's log

Few days behind on this. Last week was a recovery week anyway so nothing exciting to report.

Monday: 9 miles
Tuesday:  3 mile w/u @ 7:08, 7X 75-90 seconds @ 5:13 pace, 45 sec recovery.
2-3 min jog, 30 min @ 5:52 pace, 2-3 min jog, 3X 90 seconds @ 5:15 pace w/ 40 sec rec, 2 mile c/d
Wednesday: 9 miles
Thursday: AM: 50 min really really easy
PM: 1.5 mile w/u, 2x200m @38,36, 1x400m @78, 1x1200m @4:00, 2x800m @2:36, 10min c/d
Friday: 7 miles
Saturday: 16 miles @ 6:45 avg w/ 2.5 miles in the middle at 5:45 pace
Sunday: 60 minutes easy

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Why I ran today...and why you should too.

It’s summer time in Mississippi, meaning that temps during the day creep up past 90 degrees, often reaching 100 or above. Humidity is high also, some runs I even get a stitch in my chest because the moisture in the air is so thick, and I am practically gasping just to get a breath of normal air at our steady 6:50-7:15 min pace.

It’s also the time of year in college where miles and hard efforts were most important. I remember opening that long white package from the mail; finally with my trusty summer schedule in hand, crossing out 10s and penciling in 12s, trying to see how I could make sure I was working harder than everyone else.

I wasn’t immune to the fun, games and late nights that summer often brought. Going home to Canada for 2 months meant that the sun shines well after 10PM, which made it hard to go to bed anytime before midnight. Still, even up North, miles logged in the afternoon were not near the quality of miles logged in the AM. So I often slept 6 hours, ran, and napped before going out in the evening to run again.
Things changed once I got a job during the summer and decided work, summer school, and summer training was the best combination for me. Free time always brought the want to do more “fun things” and the less free time I had, the more I got done and the more I accomplished.

I am not saying that fun is something that we should avoid, but now that I have a child to take care of and a job to keep, things like “going out and having a good time” are really not a priority… they get in the way of the priorities. I would much rather stumble out of bed because I ran 26 miles as hard as I could the day before then stumble out of bed because I went out and had 3 hours of “fun”…but then who wouldn't?

I hope the few people that read this blog know that this is not just about running. I always think about the times in my life that running was going well and noticed how my life was also going well, too. I also think about the times that running was not going well, and how my life was not going well either. Having bad patches in life, running was usually bad or non-existent. At one point when I was pregnant and could barely run at all, I was forced to resign from a job and was (for a very short time) unemployed. Everything I applied for I was overqualified for, I even found myself standing in front of an employment kiosk at JC Penny I was so desperate to work. The ironic thing is that it was a relationship through running that got me in my very next career path, and the job that I still have today. Every turn in the road, it’s always in some way the running that ends up taking me there.

So before I post more about my “running” and “training” know that when I meet a major running goal, or accomplish a workout that I have never done before, that I am then turning around and tackling my day with new courage and strength. That logging miles for me is not about burning calories, or writing a number in blog post. That number signifies hard work, dedication, and the sacrifice of other stuff that stands in the way of our dreams and goals, some running related some not.

Get your runs in because they will give you the courage and strength to be great in other areas of your life. And because…I like reading about them, too.

Happy running, all.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mini track session

AM: 50 min really really easy (didn't feel the hip at all)
PM: 1.5 mile w/u
Mini track session at 5k pace or faster
2x200m @38,36
1x400m @78
1x1200m @4:00
2x800m @2:36
10min c/d

It was 90 degrees at the track last night and with a long run on Saturday I decided Thursday night's speed session would be short and sweet.
This is the first time since I can remember that I have ran intervals on the track in a pair of spikes. I enjoyed it...but one thing is for sure, I have no sense of pace.

Overall I left the track feeling positive about my time trial next week. The splits I did hit felt comfortable. I think I can do this. Now, all I have to do is prove it in 12.5 laps.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

5km pace work with some tempo

AM: 3 mile w/u @ 7:08
7X 75-90 seconds @ 5:13 pace, 45 sec recovery.
2-3 min jog
30 minutes @ 5:52 pace
2-3 min jog
3X 90 seconds @ 5:15 pace w/ 40 sec recovery
2 mile c/d

-12 miles total

Maddy woke up at around 2:00AM this morning thinking it was the perfect time to watch Backyardagains (if you are not familiar with the show, you are not missing much). Unfortunately for Houston, I was about to kick him to the  guest bedroom anyway because of my morning treadmill session. Maddy finally went back to bed around 4:45AM, about the time I turned on the trusty old Nordic Track to start my warm-up.

My hip has been fusing with me lately, and I am not sure if it is SI or the bad case of poison ivy. I am taking a steroid dose pack that has me shaky, thirst and nervous most of the day. I am about half way through (the dose pack) and I am still waking up in the middle of the night itchy. My lymph nodes are also inflamed, and it causes a little pain when my 20 month old decides that it would be fun to jump on top of Mom while she watches her nightly episode of LOST (season 3 is really slow, looking forward to season 4, yes I know that LOST ended years ago, I'm behind).

All in all, this workout went well. My body has finally caught up with the intensity at which I want to run my workouts, so I am starting to recover much fast from a hard session. Before this summer, I typically could only handle one medium long run, one interval session, and a hard long run a week. Things are changing now, I can handle much more work on a two week cycle.

Finishing this workout, I was so pleased, I did't even stop to wiep the sweat from my arm before I handed Houston my notebook. I am really starting to get (and feel) fit, hopefully these workouts can translate to some fast road running, Chicago Rock n Roll Half Marathon and then again at Toronto (or Chicago if I don't make the cut).

Unrelated, but for sure the high point of my Day: Giving Maddy a kiss goodbye before I walked out the door this morning, she mumbled to me, "Bye-bye Momma." Made my day, melted my heart.
I love being a Mom more than anything in this world.

Happy running guys.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Another log..and a blog!

I would like to apologize for my lack of blogging and only "logging" but I just can't seem to spit out a blog lately. There is to much stuff going on. My sister just had her second child, so we will be making a trip to the North country within the next month or so. Conveniently, my passport just expired and I can't seem to find a place closer than a 4 hour drive that would take a passport photo good enough to be accepted by Canada passport services. I am going to have to take a day off work just to drive to a studio outside of Memphis that claims they are the only company in the south that will take a Canadian passport photo.

This is Wonderful. ...

We are busy at work, lots of exciting new projects but also a lot of work to do for everyone. Still, wouldn't have it any other way. I thrive in work where I am constantly challenged, so I am grateful.

With work, family, and an almost 2 year old (that seems to be running the show right now), these things are just more important than updating this blog, sorry!

Monday: 12.5 miles (92 minutes) with David, Phillip, Micah
Tuesday: 5 miles (so exhausted, I opted out of the evening 4-5 miles with the baby jogger)
Wednesday: 3 mile w/u 6X1 mile @ 5:30, 5:30, 5:27, 5:27, 5:25, 5:18 w/ 2 min recovery (ok, I took 2:30 once or twice) 2 mile c/d (this was treadmill at 0 incline for those that are wondering, I don't know how accurate the treadmill is but it feels hard as #$%^)
PM: 4 miles with the baby jogger
Thursday: AM: 30 minutes PM: 8.5 miles @ 6:58
Friday: 80 minutes on south farm loop (didn't get chased by cows, seem to be getting over my fear of them)
Saturday: 2 mile w/u, 4X10 minutes with Houston on rolling down-town loop, 7.5 mile c/d
Garmin results:
1st segment: 6:08, 5:56 for 6:03 avg (2 rest)
2nd segment: 5:56, 5:47 pace for 5:51 avg (2:30 rest)
3rd segment: 5:54, 5:45 pace for 5:49 avg (3:30 rest)
4th segment: 5:44, 5:36 pace for 5:39 avg
Sunday: 10 miles planned

~Miles for the week: 83

Don't think I am complaining, but I've had a bit of bad luck lately in terms of sickness - strep and then a bad case of poison ivy. I took some antibiotics up until Tuesday, but they made me feel incapable of moving so I quit (hense the 5 mile day...). The poison Ivy had some other not so nice side effects so I am taking a steroid dose pack that has made my legs feel sluggish and heavy. In the end, I still had a pretty impressive week, 7 miles less than I was hoping but there is always another week to test the legs at 90 miles.

Race plans? Yes, I have them. Obviously there is the big marathon in the fall, I am hoping on Toronto, I sent in an elite application a while back and I hope to hear something soon. If that doesn't workout, I've got to declare for Chicago by September 1st. And seeing that Toronto/Chicago are only one week apart, its not going to make a bit of difference which one I end up running.

My next big run in Chicago Rock n Roll half marathon. Weather permitting, I hope to ROCK a huge PR in the half-marathon. Right now in Mississippi, its about 95% humidity and 90 degrees during the day. I don't think heat will be much of a factor for me, but we will see.

On another note, shout out to Meagan Nedlo and her friend Caitlin for running US Half-Marathon Champs today, Jesse Armijo running Grandma's full, my fast friend Kelly for also running the full, and (also fast) Micah and Marcie for running the half. For those of you that don't read Jesse, Meagan, or Caitlin's blogs, you should. Serious source of inspiration for me, you're missing out if you are not a reader.

Good luck everyone in there weekend of racing/training! Hope there were many PRs and miles run.