Friday, December 9, 2016

Race Recap: Thanksgiving Day race

Ugh. I can't believe I am more than a whole week removed from this race and I am just now having a moment to sit down and write about it. In reality, I am going to be in and out writing throughout the day, because I want to be able to recap this race, but I also know that I am going to have a fairly busy day at the office... But I would like to hit publish on this before I leave for the day...

So two weeks ago was the 107th (!!!) Thanksgiving Day Race in downtown Cincinnati. I have run this race several times in the past. My PB 10K was run on this course, last year, only about 2 weeks after I ran the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. So obviously, I have more to give the 10K than what I was able to do on that day, even on that difficult course.

I set my alarm for 6 am, with plans to leave just after 7 am for the 9 am race. I had prepped my pot of coffee before I went to bed, so all I had to do was turn on the pot when I woke up. I was still semi-undecided on what to wear, because I was not sure how cold I was going to feel that day. But when morning came, I decided to go for it, and ended up in shorts, ProCompression socks (I went Snowflakes), my singlet, arm warmers and a trucker. I threw a layer on top that was sitting in my goodwill bag in the closet.

I drank my coffee and ate a superhero muffin (my current go to long run breakfast). And went to say goodbye to J before heading downtown. Unfortunately, I think I was down there too early. I had planned to park in J's parking garage (where he has a parking pass) but the gates were down. So that sucked (I think they opened around 8 am. Which is super lame, they definitely should open earlier than that). I ended up parking in a different garage and finding a real bathroom to use before heading out for my 2 mile + strides warm up.

I finished my strides leading right into Paul Brown Stadium, which was open specifically for the race. I used a bathroom in there (pro tip: don't go to the bathroom closest to the entrance. It is a football stadium, just walk around the circle a little bit, and you will find another one - likely with a shorter line!) and then headed over to the start line to see if I could find Caroline. I was starting to get a little chilly because I ran in my top layer and sweat a smidge. So now, because I was a little bit wet, I was feeling cold. It was not long before the race started.

I had talked to Jen beforehand, and she gave me a little plan, since it was a goal race. She suggested 7:05s the first 5K and then kick it up with whatever I had left.

I took off, up the hill away from the river and up toward Over the Rhine. The entire first mile was uphill. It clicked off at 7:05, right on schedule, but it felt much harder than it should. Damn hill. None the less, I was not ready or willing to throw in the towel. I continued to charge, up Liberty, knowing that was the biggest climb of the race. After reaching the top of that hill, I had a great reprieve where I was able to really stride out on a downhill which took us past the casino. Mile 2: 7:17. Yuck.

We cruised back toward the river then, planning on heading back to the river and to spend time on the Kentucky side of the river. This was a relatively flat mile, looping us back toward US Bank Arena and Great American Ballpark. Mile 3 was back on pace. 7:05.

We headed up over the Taylor Southgate bridge into Newport. This is also the bridge that you start on for the Flying Pig marathon - to give others a frame of reference. I was feeling tired and climbing up hill over the bridge was not a lot of fun. Coming down off the bridge, I had to convince myself to keep pushing, because my legs were definitely feeling it at that point. Mile 4: 7:12.

During the next mile, we crossed two more bridges, the Veteran's Memorial (over the Licking River into Covington), and the Clyde Wade Bailey bridge that took us back to Ohio with right around 1 mile to go. Mile 5: 7:24. These last two bridges were the the death of me. I knew that going uphill to get to the top of the bridge was going to be tough. But I thought I would still have enough in my legs to cruise the downs. Nope. No go. My legs were so over it. Mile 6: 7:32. (Yep. SUPER positive splits).

After coming down from the last bridge, there was a slight uphill to Paul Brown and Second Street and cruise to the finish. I gave it everything I had...


The pain face is strong... And thanks to TQL for the free pics!

I hit the finish line in 45:25. A big PR but definitely not the race that I know I am capable of running. But I also know that some days my legs feel good running, and some days they don't. And it is ok. I am still super happy with the race and ready to get to work on the BIG spring goal. Boston.

Here we go!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Race - Tomorrow I will FLY

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, tomorrow is race day. I am not entirely sure how it will go at this point. I am kind of tired, a little bit sore, etc, but I am going to go out there and give it everything I have. I should definitely be better off than I was a year ago for several reasons.
1. My Fall marathon was back in September. Last year it was just 2.5 weeks prior.
2. I am just FASTER than I was a year ago.
3. I am forcing myself (ok, Coach's orders!) to run a 2 mile warm up before, so I am hopeful that will help my legs to be rolling right away.

I have been rolling out my hamstrings and IT bands with shocking (for me) consistency.
I have been up early in the morning, drinking coffee to make sure I can nail my runs.
And I think I am as ready to run fast (for me) as I can be. Jason is picking up my packet at the office today. (His company sponsors the race, so I register through them, therefore he has to pick up my packet.)

So... LET'S RACE!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Training Update: Week of 11/14

And just like that, it is race week again.
Strange to be goal racing a 10K, but I am hoping that a great shorter distance race will leave me motivated to train super hard through a cold Ohio winter? Fingers crossed?

Ok, let's look at the last week of running.

Monday: 8 miles, 4x 30s strides for 8.53 total. Pure Barre. Core.
Tuesday: 6 miles easy, 8:53 pace with Karen. Pure Barre. Core.
Wednesday: 57:30 fartlek ladder. 7.43 total miles.
Thursday: 6 miles easy in Asheville, 9:00 pace.
Friday: Walking around Asheville for XT
Saturday: OFF (travel day)
Sunday: 9 miles. 7:55 avg. 3x1 miles (4, 6, and 8) with a 7:00 goal. Actuals were 7:05, 6:58, 7:09

So it was a good week. Less Pure barre than I like, but you will have that when vacationing. :) On to the race!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A day off, handling stuff

I am posting this in the future...  Ok, really I am writing Thursday's post on Tuesday. Hopefully when this goes live, I am in Asheville, NC, on vacation. Gosh, I HOPE I am in NC, but as of Tuesday morning, J has not yet booked us a place to stay. He is planning this trip, so I am letting him handle it. :)

So instead, let's talk about something else, something that has already happened.

Monday, I took the day off work to just... be off work. I didn't have any real plans, nothing super specific to do, so I decided that I was going to do all of the things that I needed to do. So I started the day at the normal time, my alarm went off at 5:30 am.

I got dressed, got Addie dressed and we headed over to Blue Ash for our regular days work. I dropped Addie at school and then headed over to Panera to get to work. I started writing, hammered through a blog post or two (ok, just one, I think?) and just relaxed for a little while. I didn't have any commitments until 9 am. Granted, I could have gone for a run right away, but I decided to skip it. Not skip the run, but skip the run at that time.

At around quarter to 9, I left Panera and headed over to Addie's daycare. Today was the first "real" conference I have had with one of her teachers. I went to a conference when she was in the two year old room, but now she is truly in preschool and so I felt like a conference was probably a good plan. So I drove myself over to the school, entered my code to let myself into the building, and went to Addie's classroom. When she saw me she wanted to come charging over to me, but I held her back, told her to go sit on the "green carpet" with her classmates while I observed until it was time for my conference. I watched Addie and her friends review months of the year, days of the week, letters, numbers, the weather, etc. I think that is all stuff that they do daily.

Addie's teacher told me a lot of things that I already could have suspected. She struggles with her emotions. She is extremely empathetic of her classmates when they are sad, but when she is sad, watch out! I know that when she gets upset she mostly just cries rather than "using her words" which is something we have been working on for a long time. I guess we have to keep working on it. In addition, when she was quizzed on her letter recognition, she gets flustered quickly and then doesn't want to do it anymore. :( That makes me feel pretty sad, and I know it is something that J and I want to work on, as we know that she is very smart.

Following her conference, I immediately headed out for my run. I had to do 8 miles with strides. I only had just over an hour to do it because I had signed up for the 11 am Pure Barre class. I just ran right from the school, leaving my car in the parking lot. Because her school is in Blue Ash, I knew it would be pretty easy to plan a run around there because I have spent so much time running there, even though it is not typically from daycare.

I finished my run at 18 minutes before 11, giving me just enough time to drive over to Kenwood for my class. And the best part? I finished the PBStrong challenge.
20 classes in 31 days (there are still a few days left) along with 5 bonus points (mine were all earned via social media posts). Hooray!

After class, I headed to Trader Joe's to buy snacks for our vacation. I walked away with $100 worth of groceries (the majority of this was spent on our Thanksgiving turkey - oops - and beef jerky). But I know that I was going to have to buy the turkey eventually, and I am happy to have the jerky for the trip.

I also went to Mitchell's to get a haircut.
I told the woman who was cutting my hair "it is long enough to put in a ponytail, so I am putting it in a ponytail." So she took care of that problem for me! It definitely cannot go into a ponytail anymore. I love it, and am so happy to have it taken care of. I feel like sometimes hairdressers are not set on chopping all of your hair off, they are hesitant because what if you hate it? But not Tanya, she went for it. Thank goodness. I will definitely go to see her again.

I picked up Addie after that, and our evening was business as usual with dinner and a dance party.
We had a good day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Workout that was HARD

Last Thursday... Ugh...  I had a super tough workout. Probably the toughest that I have done since running a marathon. I mean... Definitely the toughest that I have done since then and for some reason, maybe even harder?

So, the workout was scheduled to be the following:
1 mile warm up
5x 1 mile, paces and recoveries as follows:
7:20, 30s
7:10, 40s
6:55, 50s
6:45, 1:00
whatever I have left, 1:00
1 mile cool down.

So, because last Thursday was "Pure Barre for Runners", and I had PB at night instead of the afternoon, I was able to run during the day. It honestly was tough for me to mentally make myself do that workout outside. Doing it on the treadmill, while semi-mentally difficult, is easier because if I do not keep up with the pace, I fly off the end of the treadmill. But at the same time, forcing myself to get my legs rolling so fast that early in the morning (4:15 am-ish) is probably not the greatest plan.

So I decided to run at lunch. I decided to get myself set up at Summit Park, which used to be a small local airport. Now that it is the park, they have not pulled up the runway or anything, and out and back on the runway is 1 mile. So I figured it would guarantee flat surface, and also be a little more interesting than the track. 1 loop per mile is WAY better than 4.

It was tough. Everything about this workout was tough. I don't know why I was in so much of a strugglefest, but I was. Obviously these are not super easy paces, and that is super short rest, but ugh. I am more than capable of the workout.

Some things that I think might have affected the level of difficulty of this workout:
1. Up late watching election coverage
2. Up late watching WestWorld (side note: have you watched this show? If you are into Sci-Fi stuff AT ALL - WATCH IT)
3. Overall lack of sleep because I try and spend some time with J in the evening even when we get the Roo to bed and I am still getting my rear end up at 4:15.
4. Coach JG says I am still recovering and while some days feel awesome, some days will feel like crap because my body just isn't 100% yet.

I actually LAID DOWN in the middle of my 6:45 mile. I completed it, at that pace, but I actually laid down in the grass in the middle.

Hopefully this week's workouts go better.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Motivation when you aren't training

Sometimes expectations and motivations are working against each other. Like me... right now I am SUPER motivated to run Boston, however... well, base training is just not where my heart is right now. Balance is a tough thing to find when you have been training hard all year, but now is when the training is REALLY beginning.

Not to mention rolling into the holiday season.
Cold weather is coming here in Ohio.
You would much rather sit on the couch watching SouthPark, eating an iced sugar cookie, and drinking coffee (oh? Just me?) than go out for an easy run.
And everyone is still focused on the election results. Some are thrilled. Some are devastated, and some are neutral, but all are thinking/talking about it.

But, obviously, you have set yourself some BIG BIG goals (what? PR in Boston?) and so you need to be able to focus and get your work done.

So here are the things that I have been doing to try and keep myself motivated during this time when it has been extra trying.

1. Run in a new place. I am typically a road runner who runs loops and out/back courses in my own neighborhood with very little change. A few weeks ago, I headed over to the trails for the first time. I have driven past this little park ALL THE TIME and never went there. It looked like they had a more cross country style course, and I wanted to see it.
Once I got about a half mile away from the road, I found a single track trail with some rollers through the woods. It was beautiful back there. While the total trail was only around 1.5 miles, it was great, and I have been back a few times. My pace is not as quick, but it should not be!

2. Do something DIFFERENT other than run. Make your cross training interesting! Go to Barre class, spinning, just a long walk with your dogs, lift HEAVY, etc. As you know, I am partial to Pure Barre  (if you are in Cincinnati and want to try it, let me know!)

3. New gear. There is nothing like new stuff to motivate you to get out the door. I recently retired my shoes that I ran my BQ in, and while that was a little emotional, I am excited to wear my new "ninja shoes" - the all black and white Launch 3! And of course, as I shared on Instagram, my new jacket.
4. Or just take a break. If heavy training has not started yet and you really are not motivated to get out there and log big miles, maybe you just need a rest. Take a day or two (or even a week!) and re-evaluate.

Let me know how you get yourself motivated to get back on the running horse and keep training!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Training Update: Week of 11/7

A tough week of training last week! But another week closer to the next goal, and I am only about a week and a half out from the race!
So let's take a look at last week!

Monday: 7 miles, convo pace, 4x30s strides (7.51 miles). Pure Barre. Core.
Tuesday: 60 minute walk. Pure Barre. Core.
Wednesday: 6 miles easy. (9:01 pace) Pure Barre. Core.
Thursday: 7 miles w/5x1mile repeats starting at half marathon pace and cutting back to 5K pace. HARD AS HELL. Pure Barre with the O ladies. Core.
Friday: 6 miles easy. Pure Barre. Core.
Saturday: 10 miles with 5x1:00 surges.
Sunday: OFF

36.51 miles
5x Pure Barre
5x Core
1x XT

And another killer week. :)