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.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Marathon Training: Week 15 of 20

So apparently the Market-to-Market was a little bit more difficult that I thought. My legs were HATING me all of last week for the most part, and I was struggling to get workouts in, struggling mentally, and honestly, feeling a little bit discouraged despite the fact that I have overall had a glorious training cycle so far. It is amazing how one thing not going as planned can really change your mind about how you are feeling.

The craziest part about that, was that I executed a long run MUCH faster than planned, and I was still completely freaked out that I was not going to make it. Sigh. Freak outs are likely to happen at least once or twice more before the big day.

SO because I was feeling it for most of last week, meaning my legs were not really having running, I modified the week a bit. BUT I still managed to accomplish what the goal for the week truly was... Here is the week in workouts.

Monday: 3 mile walk
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 5 mile progressive run (final mile - sub-8)
Thursday: 5 mile run
Friday: rest
Saturday 20 MILES! 8:21 average pace, 1.5 mile cooldown walk
Sunday: rest

Seriously. 20 miles at an 8:21 average pace.
Totals: 34.5 miles, one day crosstraining, 3 runs.

Not an overall great week, but I did manage to accomplish the big goal of the week, which was the 20 miler. I mentally needed to run 20 miles this weekend to show myself that I am still on track, despite how I might feel about this race.

I definitely need to write a post on my race goals, so except that coming in the next few weeks. I have a goal to write it before the race.

Do you tend to have routine freak outs prior to your own goal races (or your hobby's equivalent)?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Upcoming Weekend

This weekend is going to be a big one, I think. Yes, we are going to be busy, but for the first time, since the very beginning of August, all of the plans that we have are just with us. We don't have plans externally with visitors or me being gone all day to run to Dayton. Just J, Addie-Roo, and I enjoying our weekend together. I mean, yes, I do have a long run this weekend (holy crap, including tomorrow there is 5 more long runs and then the longest of all of them!) but after that, I am free!

So the tentative rundown for the weekend:
Saturday - 20 mile run
home to shower and get ready while Addie naps
run errands
grab an early bird dinner as a family
home to hang out

Sunday - family photos (check out Green Fairie Productions for some of the Roo's greatest pics!)
home for lunch and football!

So yeah, it should be a pretty great weekend.

Speaking of pictures, I got the first of Addie's 1st birthday pics. She is a goof.
Carol says it is not the cutest one, but she loves it because you can see all of Addie's little teeth! (She has popped three more through since this was taken!)

Have a lovely weekend, and wish me luck on my 20!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Race Recap: Market to Market Relay

So, like I said the other day, I ran a relay over the weekend.
This was the first time this took place in Ohio, so this year they opened it up to 150 teams (likely to expand to 250 next year - we spent some time with the race director, Matt, so we got some insight into this). The Market-to-Market relay series is a little bit different than the other relays out there, as it is not overnight. The first teams started at 6 am, and our understanding was the last team crossed the finish line a little after 9 pm. Currently it is pretty much a Midwest event, with locations in Ohio, Iowa, and Nebraska, but there is definitely more to come as it has been successful.

As with the other relays that I have been a part of, there are requirements about reflective vests, headlamps, and blinky red lights, but we started at 7:40 am and the sun was up so we did not need them to start our race (we had them in the van though, just in case. The race was set up to be Cincinnati to Dayton, and had 19 legs. Unlike a Ragnar or Bourbon Chase (again) there are no 12 man teams. You can choose between a 6, 7, or 8 man team. So depending on how many people on your team you will run more or less miles.

Naturally, with our whole team training for a marathon, we had to have only a 6 man team. This offered the opportunity for the most mileage. The Ohio version of this race follows the Little Miami Scenic Trail (known to me as the Loveland Bike Trail) for the duration of the race. Yes, long bike trail runs can be boring, but the longest any of us was out there was 5.6 miles (me). So that isn't too bad, plus there is the added motivation of kills. Yes, that is kind of bad, because you are likely passing teams that are not as fast as your team (you start earlier if your average pace is slower, in order to get all teams finishing within the same window of time). But it is still one of those things that can definitely get you fired up about racing.

Team BRC Beast lined up at the start. Randy, Andrew, me, Brett, Karen, Jes.

Buckeye Running Company supplied us with shorts and singlets (we paid our own race entry), and somehow I ended up with the lone pink one? I like it anyway. Randy is the only one of us who is wearing the shorts we got, but the rest of us put them on later.

At 7:40 am, Andrew took off.

I was runner 5, after Andrew, Karen, Brett, and Randy. I had set a goal in my head of running approximately 8:30 pace throughout the relay because we didn't have any goals or anything going in. We didn't expect to win, so might as well just get the long run at an easy pace out of this.
Randy handed off the timing chip to me at the exchange point.

My first leg was short, less than 3 miles. 2.72 is what the garmin says, and after running through the grassy area seen in the picture, up and hill and over a little highway overpass, I was back on the bike trail for the duration of the run. 2.72 miles - 21:25, 7:53 average pace.

After my first leg, I hung out in the minivan of Brett's family (we were not gone overnight, no need for the 12-man van), and ate a picky bar, getting out to cheer on my teammates and take pictures at the exchanges. We found out that there was going to be a checkpoint at my next leg (marking the halfway point of the race) and they would do standings in real time as teams crossed that checkpoint. We were eager to see how things were shaping up since we could tell we were catching up to a lot of the teams that started earlier than us. However, teams started in two more waves after us as well, so we knew we would not immediately know our standings.
I took the chip from Randy and took off for my second leg, the furthest any of us would run all day. 5.6 miles. I made sure to wave the timing chip over the check point (there was not a mat like their normally is at races, but since it wasn't crowded like it normally might be at a race, it was not a big deal to do this. It might be notable to say here that the timing chip is attached to a neoprene armband that gets a little sweaty. I didn't actually wear it at all, I just carried it in my hand and switched hands when necessary.

5.66 miles in 44:55 - 7:56 average pace. This one was a bit more difficult to keep the sub-8 pace. It was a longer leg, plus I was feeling a little stiff from sitting for a little while in between. That is the more difficult part about relays I think. The total distance that you cover is not too bad, generally shorter than a long run, but you sit in between! When I got back to the car and Jes was off on her second leg, the team told me we were sitting in 5th place. The top 7 in each division got a prize. So we decided then and there that we were going no lower than 5th.

My third leg was three miles even. Our friend Alex met up with us on the bike trail and was running with us at this point. I felt pretty lucky because I was still feeling pretty good, and I knew Alex would help me to push the pace a little. 22:49 or an average of 7:41 for 3 miles. Boom.

And Jes had one more leg, followed by Andrew's final one (runner 1 had three legs) and then we finished as a team. We were the 6th team to cross the finish line, 10th overall, and 5th in our division. (we stayed put after the halfway point).
And this is how you win at relaying.
Thanks to the BRC Beast team, Buckeye Running Co and M2M Relay for a great day! We will be back!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Marathon Training: Week 14 of 20

Another week of training has come and gone, and I believe I am left with just 6 weeks to go at this point. In addition, this weekend's long run was broken up into three parts, because I ran with 5 other folks in the Market-to-Market Ohio relay.
Obviously, this relay deserves a full post in its honor. It was way too much fun to not get one, but this is not the post for that. This is the post where I review my weekly mileage and plans and see how we did for the week.

So let's take a quick peek at last week and see where I landed.

Monday: 7.5 miles, 8x400m repeats
Tuesday: strength workout, bodyweight
Wednesday: 7 easy with fast finish, 2.25 mile walk with stroller
Thursday: 5 at race pace
Friday: rest
Saturday: Market-to-market 11.38 miles run, 7:49 average pace. 13 total miles
Sunday: 3.38 mile walk with stroller

38.13 total miles.
2 walks
1 strength
1 race

Another good week of workouts, and only 6 more to go!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Strength Training - Little at a time

One of my goals for the month of September is to do a strength workout at least once per week. Now, I LOVE strength training. Unfortunately, when I am marathon training it usually is one of the earliest workouts to be eliminated from my regularly scheduled program. That absolutely makes me sad. One of the things that I have always prided myself on was my strength, and since Addie was born, I have been pretty focused on running. Granted, I have had some awesome results, and I am much faster than I was at any point before she was born, but strength training needs to be one of those things that I do regardless of my running. It is part of training, and it will be what gets me to the starting line stronger and faster. Right?

So in an effort to do a little more strength training, as I am hoping, I put together a quick 20 minute circuit that I did while Addie was watching Frozen. Yep, bad mothering, a one year old watching TV.
Obviously, she was into it.

So here was the quick 20 minutes of strength training that I got in.
Pretty easy, but hits all major muscles, and is good for core strengthening, which is what is really needed for running. So I am going to make a valiant effort in this last 6-7 weeks before Columbus. I can't redo what I have already done, but I have high hopes for improvement.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

September Goals

So... September? Not sure how we got here already, but I am glad to be through the summer. We are now entering the best time of the year, the fall. The temps should start dropping off any time now, and the weather will get more pleasant for running. My body will re-adapt to the temps that it actually enjoys running in, and hopefully my times will reflect that level of comfort that is coming on. It has been a pretty long summer, even though the weather was not too bad, considering, it still was a little bit too humid for my liking. I guess maybe I can/should set some goals for September?

Maybe if I break the goals apart into sections for various parts of my life, I will accomplish something OTHER than RUNNING ALL THE MILES. I would like to set three goals in each area of my life.

  1. Log 150 Miles
  2. Have 2 successful 20 mile runs
  3. strength train 4 times (once per week)
  1. Finish the book I am reading. 
  2. Write 10000 words
  3. schedule a hair appointment
  1. go on a date. with or without Addie to a place we don't go frequently.
  2. Send the hubby a card, just because
  3. Plan a fall trip
  1. Play at the park
  2. Go for 4 walks
  3. learn to walk (addie)
How does that look for a month? Do-able? Totally crazy? What are your goals for September?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Marathon Training: Week 13 of 20

Another week is in the books as far as hammering through runs. We do not have too much longer to go before we get to the Columbus Marathon. I have been working really hard to nail all of my runs, hit my required paces, and tack on the mileage as required. Things have been feeling pretty good, and while I am nervous, I know that I am putting in the work.
I am 13 weeks in to this training plan, and I have really been working hard to make sure that I am hitting all of the workouts that I want to get in. Some short, speedy intervals, some longer, faster than MGP intervals, all of the mileage, and really trying not to let myself come up with excuses this cycle. That has always been my biggest hurdle, mental training. I struggle when I hit double digits mentally, and I am working hard to break that habit. In fact, I am purposely pulling myself further away from my house (or wherever I am running from) in order to force myself to get the mileage. And yes, I could stop and walk, but when I just want to be DONE running is faster. It forces my mind to work in a different way. And hopefully it is going to make me stronger on race day. *fingers crossed*

So let's look at Week 13, shall we?
Monday: 3.5 mile walk
Tuesday: 7.5 miles, speedwork. 1 mile @ 7:15, 2x800m @ 7:03, 1 mile @ 7:15
Wednesday: 7 miles, easy pace, 8:32 average
Thursday: 10.2 miles
Friday: 3.25 mile walk
Saturday: 18 mile run with a half mile cooldown walk. (8:37 average for the run)
Sunday: REST

Total: 4 runs, 2 cross training (walking) for a total of 49.95 miles (D'OH!) 189.71 miles for the month of August. This MIGHT be my highest month of all time. I think I ran around 185 in September of 2012. I think.

Less than 7 weeks until GO TIME!