Monday, April 30, 2018

April in review: Just keep showing up!

April 2018

Total mileage for the month:  306.8 (in comparison:  January - 207, February - 254, March - 298).  Wahoo, made it over 300!  This is my third time ever for that in a month, although last month was very close.
  • March 26-April 1:  71.1
  • April 2-8: 70.3
  • April 9-15:  63.7
  • April 16-22:  71.9
  • April 23-29:  70.5
  • April 30-May 6:  76.2
  • April 14:  Rock the Parkway Half Marathon in 1:22:42 (6:18 average) for 3rd overall female and a new single age Missouri state record for age 37.  Although this finishing time was 1:52 slower than my half PR of 1:20:50, the optimist in me felt like it rivaled my PR performance based on the weather (crazy headwind for the final 5.5ish miles) and course (over 500 ft of elevation gain), which was shocking (in a good way!) because my workouts haven't been as nearly strong as I was running last season plus I did not taper.  I also accomplished something I've been striving for for about a year, which was running the final mile of a half under 6:00.  My last mile was 5:52 (then 5:18 pace for the last 0.1), which I was so pumped about that I wasn't even upset that I got out-kicked for 2nd place (actually, kicking in trying for 2nd place is exactly what got me that fast of a final mile!).
  • April 28:  Illinois Half Marathon in 1:22:00 (6:15 average) for 1st in age group 35-39 and 11th overall female (this one had a stacked field!).  Like Rock the Parkway, this was no PR, but it was only 1:10 off and under the circumstances I was pumped about it.  The course was flat (215 ft elevation gain; felt like less), but it had too many turns and curvy running paths for my taste, and the wind was just as terrible as two weeks before.  I am still waiting for Strava to add WAP (wind-adjusted pace)!  I raced this without a taper as well, and ran a nice negative split, including finishing with a 6:02 mile.  I also had a great time traveling to this race with my parents!
  • Do I want to run a goal race half and nail a PR?  Yes; I am dying to try to break 1:20.  Do I want to run a marathon PR more?  Absolutely; that took priority when planning this season...and marathons are going to take priority for me until I either run one in 2:45:00 or reach January 2020 without doing so.
Every time I run a 1:22 I have a double
chin in my finishing photos
Less of a double chin here because it was
really 1:21:59.9, right?
  • April 4:  Medium long run of 11 miles, with 2 fast finish miles (6:32, 6:29).  I would have liked to run these at or under 6:15, but my legs said noooooo in regards to going any faster.  I had a big week March 26-April 1 (2 workouts, a race, and a long run), and I think I was feeling that plus my double and strength workout on April 3.  One thing I'm learning this training cycle is to not be too upset about less than ideal paces during higher mileage; if the effort is there on tired legs, the benefit is there and our bodies know effort, not pace.  I ran this one with Jessi, and always appreciate her pulling me along on the Wednesday double digits ones.
  • April 8:  2 x 4 mile + 2 x 2 mile tempos within a 20.5 mile long run (3.5 warm up, 3.5 cool down, me over-achieving by a half mile on a 20 mile day, and 0.5 recovery jogs between tempo efforts).  My goal pace range for the 12 tempo miles was 6:03-6:26, which is a huge range with the lower end being far too ambitious for 12 miles worth of work.  I secretly hoped that I could average 6:17, ultimate goal marathon pace, but I hadn't run anything recently that made that a realistic goal.  I ended up averaging 6:18 for the 12 tempo miles!  My splits were:  6:25, 6:25, 6:21, 6:19 / 6:25, 6:16, 6:23, 6:15 / 6:17, 6:08 / 6:19, 6:04.  As with every split tempo I ever run and as evidenced by my splits, it was always hard to get re-started after the recovery jogs, and I would have rather just run the whole thing straight.  I practiced drinking and took a gel during the run (half of it after each 4 mile tempo) without any stopping, so that was a perk of the recovery jogs.  I wrote more about this workout here, because it was a Big Deal to me.
  • April 10:  4 mile fartlek of 90'/90' (2 warm up, 2 cool down).  My leggies were tired for this one coming 2 days off of the big 20 mile workout.  I should have had an additional day between those two workouts, but since I'd had to push the long run workout back a day due to sleet and snow (!!!) I didn't.  I also had a double the day between the runs, so this workout was more about running hard on tired legs than anything.  I ended up with 9 pushes within the 4 miles, and my paces on them were 5:56, 5:59, 5:49, 5:59, 5:42, 6:10, 5:35, 5:53, 5:40.  I think the 6:10 one was up incline and the 5:35 one was down incline.  I always like to keep all of my fartlek pushes in the 5's, but I will blame the incline for the one that wasn't.
  • April 17:  Flippin' Fartlek (2.2 warm up, 2.3 cool down for 10 miles total).  This one is pushes of 6', 5', 4', 3', 2', 1' with recoveries of 1', 2', 3', 4', 5'.  It's always an interesting workout, because early your recoveries are so short (especially the 1' between the 6' and 5' pushes) and then later they are so long (that 5' between the 2' and 1' pushes takes forever!), and I have complaints about both too short and too long recoveries, haha.  My push paces were:  5:59, 5:58, 5:57, 5:52, 5:47, 5:36 and I felt good about that - especially because the first 3 were almost like running sub-6:00 pace for 15 minutes straight (actually I think it was slightly harder than running it for 15 minutes straight because the recoveries disrupt my rhythm).
  • April 24:  10 x 400 m. with 200 m recoveries (3 warm up, 1.6 cool down).  After I bombed this working last month, I wasn't particularly looking forward to heading back to the track, but the bar was also set very low on my season best 400 times!  I was hoping to average 1:25 or under, but couldn't pull that off (guess I didn't want to set the bar too high for next time!).  I was like clock-work on 1:27 though, with 8 of the repeats being 1:27, 1 being 1:25, and 1 at 1:28 - for 1:27 average.  The best I've averaged on this workout is 1:21, so this was grossly off that, but that was also on relatively fresh legs and with a guy friend pacing me.  I typically run slower on my workouts coming off weekend 20+ milers, and on my cool-down I realized that I'd run 55 miles in 4 days (4/21 - 21 miles, 4/22 - 8 miles, 4/23 - 14 miles, and 4/24 - 12 miles), so that may not have helped me.  I thought about how my friend Kris said that she never ran anything sub-6:00 in her training for CIM, and most of her tempos on marathon-training legs were in the 6:20s, but at CIM she averaged 6:13 pace for 26.2 miles!  With my marathon goals, running fast-ish on tired legs is better than running faster on fresh legs, for sure...but geez, why am I so slow at speed work this season?!  400s are so short that I never feel like I really get rolling.  I could definitely hold the same pace for 800s and 1600s (probably even 3200 - we will find out in May!), but I just can't go any faster.  I can finish half marathon races with 5:52-6:02 miles but my 400 m. repeat pace is barely faster.  Oy.
  • Doubles on April 3, 5, 9, 10, 17, 23, 24, and 30.
  • Strides on April 5, 13, 27, and at least a few before all workouts and races. 
  • Full body strength workouts on April 3, 8 (the afternoon of 20.5 mile workout!), 10, 14 (8 hours after racing a half), 17 (during a work conference call), 21 (immediately after a 21 miler), 24, and 29, and 5-10 minutes of core work nearly every day. When I first started lifting on my hardest running days I thought it was terrible, but I've gotten much more used to it.  The only one I bumped was April 28 after the Illinois Half, because after the race/20 mile morning, 5.5 hours in the car, and a 7:00 p.m. return home, it just wasn't going to happen.  I was going to skip that one altogether since I got no taper for or recovery from that race, but I ended up rallying to get it done on Sunday evening, while my family ate pizza nonetheless!
  • Favorite workout:  Obviously it was the 20.5 miler with 12 miles of split tempo!
Long Runs/Medium Long Runs:
  • April 1:  16.2 miles (7:24).  This was 3 miles of uuuugh, followed by 13 miles of good!  It took some time to loosen up since I'd run the Easter Sun Run "10K" and 10.6 miles total the day before, and since the wind chill was 22 degrees.  I ran 5 miles solo then 11 miles with my friend Kim who lives near my parents.  Happy Easter - by His wounds we are healed!
  • April 4:  11.3 miles (7:27), more details above in workouts.
  • April 8:  20.5 miles with a workout (more details above and here - clearly this was the highlight of this month aside from the two races!), and I am not sure on the average pace for the entire run because I split off the warm up and cool down on my watch.  If you want to do the math it was 3.5 warm up (7:39), 13.5 miles that was 12 miles of split tempo and 1.5 miles of recovery jogs (6:28), 3.5 cool down (7:37).  I ran this solo and the weather was ideal, around 30* with light wind.  It sleeted and snowed enough to make the roads hazardous on April 7, so I ran this a day late, and then about 2 hours after I finished this run it sleeted/freezing rained, so I certainly hit the weather sweet spot.
  • April 14:  18.3 miles total with the Rock the Parkway Half, 2.8 miles warm up, and 2.3 miles cool down.
  • April 18:  11 miles (7:39) - holy wind tunnel!  I have no idea how Boston Marathoners ran 26.2 miles into crazy winds, and thinking about that made me feel bad for complaining about it, but I complained anyway.
  • April 21:  21 miles (7:18).  Since I'd run a 20 mile workout two weeks prior, 20 miles didn't seem as intimating, but I was also pretty tired going into this run.  I never looked at my watch because the goal was just to get the mileage in, and I didn't want to get upset with myself if I was running 7:45 pace (I keep growing fonder and fonder of not looking at my watch this training cycle, which really is a switch after living and dying by it last cycle).  I ran a 15 mile loop with Daniel, Claudio, and Rebecca, and then I needed 5 more miles on my own to round off the 20 miles I had scheduled (I couldn't talk anyone else into running farther!).  For some reason I couldn't mentally bring myself to run a 2.5 mile out-and-back after they stopped, so I ran a 6 mile loop instead and ended up with 21 miles instead of 20.  I guess you know you're in the depths of marathon training when 6 miles seems easier than 5!  I finished the run feeling really, really good (definitely could have continued to 26.2).  After I finished this run, I drove the 5 minutes back to my house and did my 45 minute strength workout immediately, which I'd told myself I didn't have to do (immediately or at all that day), but I felt completely up for.  Although my long runs haven't been as fast as I was doing last cycle, I could have never done a full strength session after my 20+ mile runs or half marathon races last cycle, so I hope that counts for something!
  • April 28:  20 miles total with the Illinois Half plus 3.1 warm-up and 3.8 cool-down...I did not run a step over 20! 
  • Favorite long run:  I'm double dipping by selecting the same run as I selected as my favorite workout - April 8's 20.5 miler with a workout!  Apparently I am also seeing how many times I can refer to that run in this post, haha!  The half marathon race/long run combos were pretty sweet too, but I threw them out of contention since they were races.  I make the rules up as I go here.  
  • Boston!
    • My friend and coach's wife Kimi Reed placed 8th female in the Boston Marathon!  She was 16 seconds behind Shalane Flanagan and a place ahead of Edna Kiplagat (Edna ran exact time at CIM).  I was in awe!  Training through the terrible Missouri winter sure served her well.  I was so impressed with her performance in a field of professionals.  Times meant nothing in the horrible race day weather, and Kim gritted it out with the best marathoners in the world.  
    • I loved that the second place female, behind Desi, was a non-professional full-time nurse.  
    • Of course I loved that Desi won!  I love her secret to success:  Just keep showing up.  I loved it so much I used it as a title more than once. 
    • I loved that the 5th place woman didn't even start with the elite women, entering the race with a 2:53 PR that she blew away on Marathon Monday.  Simply amazing!  
    • For the first time ever, I've got the itch to run Boston...  My first BQ marathon was in 2004, so I've had 14 years of having no desire to run it (call me crazy, I know, but I hate large cities and crowds).  I have a friend who got on the elite women's start 3 times with a 2:47 marathon PR, so that would eliminate the running in a crowd thing...I am pretty sure I want to run it at some point, but not sure when due to my 2:45:00 obsession preoccupation compulsion neurosis mania craze goal.
  • My friend Jamie ran right on the OTQ standard at CIM in December: 2:45:02 gun time and 2:44:57 chip time.  USATF goes by gun time for the Trials, but they also note that they will accept appeals when it's close and chip time is under.  Finally Jamie found out that she got into the 2020 Trials - actually because I saw her on the list after randomly clicking a link to it that I saw on an article, because I was curious how many women had qualified.  She'd appealed but never heard anything back, but now she's on the official list!  Read more about it on her blog.  I was so happy for her, although I also sure wish she'd have received a much faster answer!  She has been training for Grandma's on the assumption that her CIM time would not be accepted...but I suppose she will just have to go get the A standard there!  Although, at this point the A vs. B standards seem to be a moot point since Atlanta was selected as the Trials host city and plans to pay expenses for all athletes who've qualified!
  • Atlanta was selected to host the 2020 Marathon Trials!  I've never wanted to go to Atlanta until now.  The Trials will also be on Leap Day, 2/29/20 - how fun is that?!
  • No days off again this month; I've run every day since 1/27/18.
  • My Garmin glitched and was out of commission for a mere couple of hours, which sent me into much more of a panic than it should have!  I had to re-set it, and then after every run I did for awhile it told me I'd set new records, since all of my old data was erased (this was a non-issue because I'd uploaded it all; it's on my Garmin Connect account, just not the actual device).  I will say, it was a good boost to be told I was setting records every day for awhile.
  • Since historically I've run un-rested halves in my training builds at about the same pace as my tapered-for full marathons at peak (see Bass Pro Half Marathon 2017 and Kansas City Half Marathon 2017; this also occurred at the Johnston's half marathon when I ran a 1:28 prior to a 2:58), and since I averaged 6:18 for my tempo miles in my recent workout 20 miler, after Rock the Parkway I told my husband that at the rate I'm going if Grandma's goes uber-well I will average 6:18 pace...which would be a 2:45:10.  It probably goes without saying that this would be extremely exciting, but of course I'd then agonize over those 10 seconds until the end of time.  If I were forced to pick a goal pace for Grandma's right now, though, I'd say 6:30ish.  But hopefully someday I can string my performances at Rock the Parkway and the Illinois Half Marathon together (1:22:42 + 1:22:00 = OTQ!), and I think racing those halves with mileage on my legs was helpful towards that goal!
Non-running life events:
  • Easter - He has risen!  Pretty amazing that Jesus died to heal us, mind, body, and soul.
  • It snowed on Saturday, April 7, after sleeting for awhile, so the roads were quite slippery and the wind chill was 8*!  I bumped my long run to Sunday since footing was bad, and ran Sunday's mileage on Saturday very slowly wearing screw shoes.  It snowed again on April 15, but not enough to stick.  I ran in a sports bra on April 30.
  • Albani competed in the Awana Grand Prix after she and Jon dedicated a lot of time to making The Yellow Speeder a fast car.
  • Albani was in a pirate-themed school musical.
  • My parents spent the last weekend of the month with us.  After our Illinois trip, we spent Sunday at church, eating out, and hiking.
  • Work continued to provide additional stress in my life this month.  If I hadn't worked late so many evenings, I'd definitely have written full posts about Boston and about Atlanta hosting the 2020 Trials!
Matching Easter dresses with my little!
My mom loves the grandkids in rabbit ears
We now have a year's supply of Easter candy
(this was 1 of 4 hunts she did!)
My sweet parents
My sister's family
More nieces & nephews + more egg hunting
I love seeing my dad as a grandpa
Cousin love
It snowed twice in April, which is not normal for Missouri
We love our winter weather library trips
The Yellow Speeder

My adorable pirate

I look about as tired as I was this evening!
Race weight isn't everything!
Church pose (Jon hated this photo of him
so I had to crop us out to publish it)
Hiking on our land out in the boonies
I think we should host a trail race here!


  1. April weather is nuts! I ran my half in 16 degree weather and then 3 weeks later ran a race in 60 degree weather! During the 2nd race I kept thinking, I’ll take 16 over 60 degrees for a race any day!!!!

    I love your matching Easter dresses!

    1. I'm with you on that! Where was the nice in between weather? It seems like our morning lows went straight from 30 to 70!

      I keep dreading the day that Albani refuses to wear matching clothing with me, but it hasn't come yet! I wouldn't have done it with my mom at her age - but I'd do it with my mom again now. :-)

  2. I LOVE Desi's quote, I have been saying it to myself a lot lately :). Also, I definitely think you should run Boston, especially since you would run in the elite corral-how cool would that be?! That marathon was definitely an inspiration for all of us working full time and training before, after, and during work. It definitely makes me want to embrace running in all weather conditions even more...

    1. It also makes me feel bad about complaining about any race weather ever! I'm tossing around the idea of Boston 2020, in part because the U.S. field will be sparse due to the Trials being 6 weeks prior. If I don't make the Trials, it could be my consolation, and if I do I could do both off of one training cycle.

      Have you decided on Prairie Fire for sure in the fall? :-)