Monday, September 29, 2014

Marathon Training: Weeks 16 & 17 of 20

Well, we have now reached taper, officially. It is hard to believe that 3 weeks from today I will be done with the marathon. All of the training that I have put myself through since the beginning of June will be over. Training has had its ups and downs, and I have definitely had some motivational issues, but I got through the two big runs.

So let's talk about the last 2 weeks. I didn't log last week's training, simply because I got caught up in other things. But here is what I did the last two weeks.

Monday 9/15 - 6 miles - speedwork 6x400m with 2 miles at 8:19
Tuesday 9/16 - rest
Wednesday 9/17 - 1 mile walk, 1 mile run, strength training
Thursday 9/18 - 5 miles easy pace
Friday 9/19 - rest
Saturday 9/20 - 14K race at 8/mile, walk to and from race, 10 miles total
Sunday 9/21 - walk with Addie - 2.36 miles

25.36 total miles

Monday 9/22 - off
Tuesday 9/23 - 4 miles @ 8:07 average pace with Greg
Wednesday 9/24 - 6.25 miles easy 8:30 pace
Thursday 9/25 - 4.5 miles, 3.75 run and 0.75 walk with Greg
Friday 9/26 - 2.6 mile walk with Addie
Saturday 9/27 - 20 mile run, 1.5 mile cooldown walk 8:35 average pace
Sunday 9/28 - off

38.85 miles

Overall, it was a great two weeks. Not as high mileage as I originally planned, but still nailed that second 20, and I have to be happy with that.
So, here's to the taper!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Running Book to create the plan

So, about a year or a year and a half ago, I was pulled into a book when I was at the nearby Half Price Books. I typically look for random things, but since I kind of dove headfirst into running, I always stop in the sports section to see what kind of running books are available. I found one that looked interesting to me on this particular trip and bought it. Since then, it has been sitting on the bookshelf. In all honesty, since we moved into our new house and got these new bookshelves, there is an entire shelf of running books, and this one is just sitting there, unread. I have been trying to read more regularly though, so I have been making my way through some of the books on the shelf this year, including finally getting through the first book in the Game of Thrones series (I am about 250 pages into the second).

But then Karen got this same book from a bookstore by her. We started talking training. What are we going to do AFTER Columbus. Right now, we are trying not to focus on the after too much yet, since we have some pretty big goals for this race. Obviously. But at the same time, the plan for after this, hinges on this race. But we both know we are going to be training for some goal races, even though whether it will be a full marathon or a half will be determined by our qualification (or not) to Boston for 2016.

So she read the book first. She passed it along to another girl who we run with on Saturdays. Soon enough, they were both talking about it and talking about how we should be thinking about it for AFTER Columbus. In fact, Chelsa started doing a few workouts from it immediately. (She ran a 20 on pace with what would be recommended here.

So, the book?
Yep. Run Less, Run Faster. Recommending just three (effective) workouts per week to meet your goals. I have read it, have some training paces in mind, and will likely be attempting this plan for my spring full (or half) depending on where the cards land after Columbus.

Wish us all luck trying something new!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hudepohl 14K Brewery Run: Race Recap

So this past Saturday was the final race of the Christian Moerlein Beer Series, served up by the Flying Pig Marathon. You can see the 2013 recap, the 2012 recap, and the photo of my garmin from the 2011 race on my about me page. It is crazy that I have run this race all 4 times that it was offered (although last year we just ran the 7K because it was so soon after Addie was born, and I STRUGGLED).
It was a 14K, which I know is a weird distance, but it is named after the actual beer! Luckily gold and kilometers have a similar marking.
Yep. Classy. :) This is like Natty Ice for those of you who had Natty as your college beer. Slightly higher ABV, and slightly more disgusting. :)

So this is a difficult and hilly course. I had forgotten about it since I didn't run last year, but it pretty much encompasses all of downtown, You do not actually run through downtown, but all around it. He started on Mehring Way, right next to Great American Ballpark (where the Reds play) and head west. In Cincinnati, there is the east side, and there is the west side and to me (an east sider) I consider I-75 to be the border between East and West. So we did cross over into the West side right away, splitting from the 7-K runners about 1 mile into the course, and immediately heading up a hill. We ran through a tunnel which goes in front of Union Terminal, the former train station which is now a fun museum with a great kids area and traveling exhibits.

After running down that road for a good while, we turned down Harrison Ave and under 75 to be back in the northern part of downtown.

Mile 1: 8:22 (warming up, getting settled in)
Mile 2: 8:09 (there)
Mile 3: 8:05
Mile 4: 8:00

Here is where we kind of hit a loop, we run down a road and you can see at the intersection the runners that are about 3/4 a mile ahead of you, and they have already looped back, getting ready to take on the steepest hill of the course (not the longest or the most climb, but the sharpest incline). There were a few dads and little kids downtown at this point, likely cheering mom on in her run. and then we made the turn and headed up a hill, greeted by the Parrotheads of Cincinnati, manning the water station. After reaching the summit, we headed down McMicken for a quite awhile before running by Bockfest Hall and up Liberty. On Liberty, I started chatting with an older guy, who I ended up sticking with for the remainder of the race.

We ran past the casino and out Central Pkwy before making a u-turn and then heading down Eggleston for a very familiar section of running that nearly every downtown race covers before coming out onto Pete Rose Way (he may not be allowed in the MLB Hall of Fame, but he is in ours here in Cincinnati!) and turning behind US Bank Arena to come up on the finish, which was directly behind Great American.

Mile 5: 8:04 (BIG uphill)
Mile 6: 7:47
Mile 7: 8:02
Mile 8: 7:39
Mile 0.78 (per garmin): 5:45

Total 8.78 miles in 1:09:54 for a 9+ minute PR.

Upon meeting up with Aunt Laurie, Addie, and Megan, Megan and I grabbed a beer from the giant ice buckets that they had for the runners (you got 2 beers with your race entry.)
Overall, it was a fun race, even though I forgot about the hills. Plus, I felt great running at an 8:00/mile average pace, which was a good boost of confidence for the marathon!

Anyone want to join me for the beer series next year? Registration is now open!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Purpose & Passion

Have you heard this saying before? I feel like it describes me to a T. Lately, even moreso than it has in the past.

I honestly feel like sometimes I am ok at a lot of things, but great at zero things. And while that should not matter too much, it does matter to me. I feel like not being great at anything (or not having discovered what it is that I am great at) makes it more difficult to discover where my passions lie. Karen said to me this morning, "you can be passionate about something you aren't great at." And I agree with her, for sure. But it is more difficult to envision yourself creating your life around something you aren't great at.

That is kind of where I am in my life right now. I want to find my passions. Find my purpose.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Finding and Following you Passion

Do you feel unfilled? Ever? Frequently? Every single moment?

I would not say that I feel like that every moment, but it certainly is more than twice per week. I have certainly found myself in a career that is not necessarily fueling my passions in any way, and it is way more draining than I would like it to be. I usually start dragging when I set my foot in the door. I love the people I work with. And as far as jobs in my field go, this one is about as good as I could get! 

But I definitely spend time questioning whether or not it is something that I really feel good about. I sometimes feel sad, like I am missing something important. 

Let's talk about that for a second. Someone, ok, it is Addie, is nearly ready to walk. Yes, she is more than 13 months now, and she honestly has not been walking because she is a spoiled little nugget. She sticks out that lower lip and holds up her arms and no one can resist that! And if someone is going to carry you, why would you walk? But every now and again, she would surprise me. And she would just appear somewhere after I turn my back for one second.
Yesterday I went to kill a bug and when I turned back around she was in a box. Not just in a box, but under a table in a box. Weirdo.

Regardless, because I am working all day and she is at school, there is a very good chance that today is the day and she is going to take her first steps, and I am not going to be there. And I am definitely feeling down about that today. 

I think it is time to figure out how to follow my passions.
I guess not only do I need to follow them, but I need to figure out what they are.

Are you passionate about what you do?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Columbus Marathon: Goals

I think it is time to address my training for the marathon. I have been suffering a little bit from some burn out, and it has been quite difficult for me right now. I have approximately 5 weeks to go until the marathon, and since I am feeling a little bit overwhelmed with the runs that I am supposed to be doing, I know that I need something to get me back over the hump to get excited about the race and meeting my goals.
Today I am watching some FloTrack videos in hope of being inspired a little bit, and trying to work on my goals for this upcoming marathon. With some inspiration, hopefully I will be able to get back into my Brooks (FYI - marathon shoe selection is complete!) feeling good about the race, feeling good about training, and ready to tackle this marathon.

In the spirit of preparation, I have spent a lot of time thinking about my goals. The original plan was sub-4 or bust. I have modified these goals a little to reflect the training that I have been doing over the last several weeks to make goals that are a little bit more stretch, but still attainable.

Original A/B/C goals for Columbus:
A: Sub-4 or Bust
B: PR (currently is 4:26:35)
C: finish

I was running my long runs at a much faster pace than needed based on all of the running calculators for a sub-4 finish. In addition, all of my speedwork was feeling effortless. My tempo runs were feeling easy overall. That is not how I wanted to run the marathon. I did not have any race performances to line me up with what I COULD do, with the proper training. My training paces, based off of recent races, based off of recent races, were showing that. So, I fudged it. I ran a 5K time trial on the treadmill. And because it was on the treadmill, I knew what pace I wanted to get, and it was TOUGH, but I did it none-the less. I ran a treadmill 5K in 21:59. Obviously this is not a real PR, I am going for that in November, but it is a good start and something solid to use to plan my race.

With that, I have set some new HUGE goals for Columbus. Including one additional goal (I now have A-D goals). The easiest way to look at it is to shift the 3 above down one notch.

Current Columbus DREAM BIG goals:
A: 3:34:59 (BQ)
B: Sub-4 or Bust
D: finish

So there you go. I am all in, going for the glory. A Boston Qualifying time.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Fitness Games: A Review

This post was sponsored by The Fitness Games through my partnership with Fit Approach as a Sweat Pink Ambassador. I was not compensated monetarily, but was provided the Platinum Version of the application for review. As always, all opinions are my own.

Through my #sweatpink ambassadorship, I was given the opportunity to review the Fitness Games, an app available for iPhone, and recently it was made available to android users as well.

The app itself is pretty straightforward and simple, it has some built in workouts, cardio, strength, crosstraining (which is a lot of body weight workouts, and what I have enjoyed the most!) and full body.
The above pic is the home screen of the app, and you can select the workout you want to do, add a selfie (sweat is highly encouraged), start a challenge (more on that in a minute), and the workout tracker is a calendar where you can see what days you worked out on!

As I mentioned, I have been enjoying the crosstraining workouts, since marathon training has been my big goal, but trying to stay strong and even continue to strengthen those muscles that I need for running, and keep on top of my September goal of doing 4 strength workouts. I decided to try one of them.
The above is a screenshot from the "Bodyweight Madness" workout, which was the workout I decided to try first. As you can see, there is a timer, and you have a list of the moves that you are supposed to do, along with the reps. You track the time that it takes you to do all of these moves, and that is what can generate your score (after all, the are the Fitness Games, right? You need to earn points!)
In addition, you can find your friends who are on the app and challenge them!

Overall, it is a pretty neat app, and is a great way to get in short bursts of fitness with no equipment necessary, or more involved workouts that require weights or treadmills! Let me know if you check it out.