Friday, June 1, 2018

Hitting my Stride: May in Review!

May 2018

Total mileage for the month:  355 (in comparison:  January - 207, February - 254, March - 298, April - 307).  I guess this is peak month -- also a monthly mileage personal record!  Before this month I'd only run one week of mileage in the 80s ever (CIM peak mileage week), and the most I'd run in a month was 323 in October 2017.
  • April 30-May 6: 76.2
  • May 7-13:  81.0 (all time weekly mileage PR)
  • May 14-20:  82.2 (all time weekly mileage PR, the sequel)
  • May 21-27:  86.7 (all time weekly mileage PR, part 3 in this trilogy!)
  • May 28-June 3:  projected at 72
We start many runs from this church & loved this sign!
  • May 19:  The Bill Snyder Highway Half Marathon in 1:21:41 for 2nd overall female.  I was thrilled with this outcome with the mileage I had on my legs for this race (which I intended to run as a workout).  Running a 1:21 during an 82 mile week has to be good for marathon training, right?
My May 19 race time was the second fastest half a woman
ages 35-39 has ever run on a certified course in Kansas
  • May 2:  3 x 2 mile split tempos in 6:07, 6:05 / 6:09, 6:05 / 6:12, 6:02 (6:06 average) with 0.5 recovery jogs (2.2 warm up, 2.3 cool down).  This was a pretty big workout a few days off of the Illinois Half, but so goes marathon training!  My goal pace range was 5:55-6:10, and as per always I'd prefer to hit the lower end, especially at the end of the workout, but my legs were tired the entire run so I was happy to mostly hang on to the range.  I  had a hard time getting rolling on the final rep, and at about a half mile in I was averaging 6:23 pace, so I had to fight to bring the second to last mile down to 6:12.  This was my first warmer workout, at 66* and 75% humidity...which is not bad, but was an abrupt change from the 30s-40s!
  • May 9:  Flippin' Fartlek (2.3 warm up, 2.3 cool down).  This workout is pushes of 6', 5', 4', 3', 2', 1' with recoveries of 1', 2', 3', 4', 5'.  My push paces were 5:56, 6:01, 5:57, 5:48, 5:42, 5:18.  I also ran this workout last month, so the obvious objective was to beat last month's paces, and I am happy to report that I mostly did that even at a humid 71 degrees.  The 6', 3', 2', and 1' were faster this time; the 5' was 2 sec. slower and the 4' was exactly the same pace.  I am pretty sure the 1' push is the fastest pace I've hit all year, although in full disclosure it included some decline and Strava grade-adjusted it to 5:30, whomp whomp.  But on the flip side, Strava grade-adjusted the 6:01 5' push with some incline to 5:58.  All in all I was perfectly happy with all of this on marathon training legs.
  • May 16:  Medium long 12.3 miler with 0.15 (1:00ish) pick-ups in the final 5 miles.  My push paces were 5:40, 5:27 (downhill), 6:07 (uphill), 5:40, 5:40 (average for the whole run was 7:13).  The last time I ran a similar workout (March 27) I struggled to hit 6:30 paces on the pick-ups for whatever reason, so it was nice to not repeat that!  It was fun to have a little work within the run instead of just a straight base one, and between the pick-ups my pace stayed faster than it had been before they started, I think because they opened up my stride. 
  • May 19:  13.1 miles at tempo (6:13 average), with 2.2 warm-up and 5 cool-down.  This wasn't the 3 x 4 mile split tempo workout I had planned, but hitting my goal tempo pace for those for 13.1 miles continuously instead was sure a confidence boost that I could use!  Details are here.
  • May 23:  12 miles with 4 progressive fast finish in 6:48, 6:34, 6:21, 6:17 (7:01 average for all 12.3 miles).  My goal splits for the progressive fast finish were 6:45, 6:35, 6:25, 6:15, so I was right on, but this type of workout always makes me wonder how in the world I ever ran a marathon at about the same pace as those final 2 miles, and even more so how I just ran 13.1 miles straight at 6:13 pace 4 days prior to this workout.  In other words, that last mile was really hard!  It was an uphill finish (our infamous Mentor Hill) and I was solo, but whew. 
  • May 29:  8 x 0.25 hill repeats (3 warm up, 3 cool down).  Hill repeats always make me feel like I'm going to go into cardiac arrest, but I'd chose this workout over 8 x 400 m on the track any day. This workout was extra challenging since I started it on tired legs (it usually takes me nearly a week to really come back from 24 milers)...I feel like I'm a broken record mentioning running everything on tired legs, but that pretty much covers my month!  I got them done with grade-adjusted paces between 5:30-5:53.  Actual paces were all over 7:00, showing how challenging the hills I run these on are.  Climbing 97+ ft in 0.25 mile is no joke!
  • Doubles on May 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, and 28.
  • Strides on May 3, 14, 27, 31, and at least a few before all workouts. 
  • Full body strength workouts on May 2, 5, 9, 12, 15, 20, 23, 26 (after 24.5 miles!), 30, and 5-10 minutes of core work nearly every day. 
  • Favorite workout:  Definitely the tempo turned race at the Bill Snyder Half on May 19, but if I can't count that then the split tempos on May 2.  None of my workouts were bad this month, so that also feels like a big victory (refer to earlier this season when all of my workouts went poorly)!
Long Runs:
  • May 5:  18.3 miles base pace (6:57).  I celebrated this one!  I am pretty good at pacing by effort level on runs, so when I saw a sub-7:00 mile split on mile 3 when my effort was low, I had a flashback to the relaxed long runs that I did leading up to CIM when I was averaging 6:5X.  This season I've often wondered how I did those and how they seemed so easy!  But on this run I felt back to my fall self, and clipped off the miles on rolling farm roads (608 ft elevation gain).  My final 8 miles were all 6:39-6:50 (except for one 6:56), and they felt amazing!  I was very thankful for this run.  Rebecca joined me for about 6 middle miles (from about 3.5-9.5...we have a meeting up system because no one else is currently doing marathon long runs), but otherwise I was solo enjoying God's creation.
  • May 12: 22.7 miles (7:03).  Hello summer!  I was pleased to get this big one done and to finish feeling strong!  Apparently over-dressing on cooler runs really helped (more details below), because I usually suffer on my first few long runs in warmer temps, and even though I went straight from 47 degrees on May 5 to 71 degrees and 80% humidity for this run, it didn't phase me aside from needing more fluids.  I ran 3.5 miles to meet Rebecca, ran about 9 miles with her, ran to a spot Amy had dropped water, then ran a course that Amy and Jeff were running in the opposite direction so I could say hi to them on the way back to my house.  I dropped bottles with nuun in two spots, carrying 2 bottles for 0.3 then 1 bottle for 1.1 farther to place them at spots I'd be passing again later in the run.  I drank at approximately 6.5, 12 (also a gel), and 18.  I didn't stop my watch for any bottle pick ups, but grabbed them while on the run (also no bathroom stops).  I did have to stop twice to safely cross a highway, so my elapsed time was 25 seconds longer than my moving time, whomp whomp (I try not to stop my watch on these runs since race clocks don't stop)!  The course I ran had 696 ft elevation gain, and when I had to choose from 2 routes that would get me back home from mile 17.5ish, I chose the more difficult course over the easier one that I knew would give me faster splits.  I want to be prepared for Lemondrop hill around mile 22 of Grandma's!  My 22 miler before CIM was 9 second/mile faster average, but it was also in 28 degrees (I love that Garmin Connect saves weather data), so I think this was comparable.
  • May 19:  20.4 miles (2.2 warm-up, 13.1 at 6:13, 5 cool-down), described above and extensively here.
  • May 26:  24.5 miles (7:00), The Big One!  I hoped to run around 7:00 pace, so I was happy to hit that right on, although of course 6:59 would have been better!  Always thankful, never satisfied, right?!  It was warm (72*), sunny (no shade on the route), and humid (90% humidity) for this, and I wanted to finish it faster/stronger than I did, but based on how I felt during the final few miles I was happy just to hold my pace steady.  It pretty much felt like the end of a marathon, and I kept telling myself "This is making you stronger, this is good practice for the marathon, just run the mile you're in" and also "Just get in and don't walk!", which is something I've told myself in the final miles of many marathons.  The course had almost 800 ft of elevation gain, which is almost double what Grandma's has.  I took one gel during the run and that was not enough (my blood sugar got really low towards the end), so lesson learned to at least carry two, but again probably good practice.  I ran 6 with Rebecca, 6 alone, then 12 with Daniel.  A big thanks to him for pulling me along at a consistent pace towards the end when I was struggling!  I again did all of my drinking on the run and had no stops.  My 24 before CIM was a little faster, but it was 42* for that one so I feel this was comparable.  When I got in from the run, my husband went outside for a bit then came back in and said, "It's jungle humid; 7:00 pace is like 6:45 today!"  I hope he was right!  This run was also a good reminder that although overall I'm dying less in the warmer temps this season, they do still affect me so if Grandma's is warm I need to go out more conservatively.  Around 70* and sunny feels way warmer than 70* and cloudy too!
  • My Wednesday medium long runs all morphed into workouts this month, so are described above.  It also seemed like I ran double-digit mileage more days than not, making there no real distinction between medium long runs and every day runs this month.
  • Favorite long run:  I'm going with the 22.7, because I felt stronger at the end than I did on the 24.5!
Amy, Jeff, and I are all Grandma's bound!
  • While I sure hope it's not hot and humid for Grandma's Marathon, I'm training as if it will be.  I suffered hard in the Dam to Dam Half last year, when we were hit with temperature and humidity levels much higher than anything I'd trained in during our relatively cool spring, and I don't want to repeat that.  I did a lot of over-dressing in training this month, wearing more clothing than I needed on most easy morning runs I did.  I never imagined how much I'd sweat wearing a stocking hat at 65*!  Of course, I also never thought I'd wear a stocking cap running at 65*...  My friend Liz and I used to call runners who over-dressed at races "Arctic Runners", and every time I'd put on too much clothing I'd think about that term!  Not dying in or even feeling bothered by the warmer humid temperatures during my 22.7 miler and at The Bill Snyder Highway Half made me confident this strategy works.  Dying a little on my 24 miler made me confident that sunny is more difficult than cloudy at the same temperature!
  • I had blood work done in April that showed some irregularities that may have explained my running slump in February and March.  Since I was already feeling much better when I had it completed, my doctor wasn't too worried and had me re-test about a month later, and I am happy to report that everything is back to normal in May!  The high values in my April test indicated that I had a virus, possibly mono, which is crazy but would certainly explain why I had many runs where I was grossly off the paces I should have been able to run.
    • I feel like female runners are constantly told that we are likely to be low on iron, so I'd started taking an iron supplement back in February when I was feeling bad, thinking that was perhaps why.  My blood work came back high on iron, indicating that I didn't need a supplement!  I stopped taking it as soon as I got those results, but learn from my mistake and don't supplement unless your physician has approved it, even if society tells you that you probably need it.  I'm lucky I was only taking it for a short time period; too much iron over a long period can damage your liver and kidneys.
  • I logged into my Athlinks account for the first time since turns out I had a lot of unclaimed race results, but now it's mostly updated.  I'm not sure why some races are on there while others aren't, but my only one missing that really mattered was my half marathon PR race.  As I was going through to claim my results, it really reminded me just how many races I've run that were the wrong distance over the years, with results including a 10K in the 35s (short!) and a mile that was 6:08 (long!).
  • No days off again this month; I've run every day since 1/27/18...if all goes according to plan my next day off may be June 17, the day after Grandma's (or I may run a little that day to promote recovery, we shall see...but I will take the week after mostly off).
Heat adaptation
Photo bombing Amy's daily Lululemon photo after heat adapting
My fast young training partner left for med school, but I'm
going to convince her to run a marathon with me soon
Life events:
  • Albani had Awana awards night.
  • Albani ran her second ever 5K at the Girls on the Run 5K on May 5.  It was warm, and before the race she said she was worried the weather would hurt her race time.  She really does listen to things I say!  After the race we went to Artsfest (a lot of walking outside), and that afternoon Albani ran all around playing with a neighbor.  We all slept well that night! 
  • Mother's Day!  Albani gave me a sweet card that she and Jon bought when I was present (they tried to be sneaky but were very bad at it) and a bird feeder she made at school.  After church that day I got a nap and we watched the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials from YouTube, hah. 
  • Albani's art was chosen out of over 3,000 pieces created at her elementary school this year to be exhibited in Missouri State's art education department, and we got to attend a special young artist's reception.  
  • We did a family fun weekend in Manhattan following the Bill Snyder Highway Half Marathon! I am so thankful to be able to incorporate races into activities like this, and that my family supports my racing.
  • May 24 was the last day of school!  Albani will go to summer school in June, because our district offers it for everyone and she enjoys it, plus I like keeping her in the routine and getting some extra learning in.  They will do a unit on inventions and get to make their own creation!  I cannot believe I have a 5th grader...
  • We took Albani to the drive-in movie theater for the first time over Memorial Day weekend.  I hurt for about 36 hours afterward from staying up until 1:00 a.m.!
  • We do a lot more outdoor and weekend activities when the weather is nice!  Related: I didn't read as many books this month.
Awana awards
Excited for her second ever 5K!
Proud but hot!
Some were more capable of holding frames
than others...Jon took this without even telling
me all of the problems with my pose!
Lightsaber at Artsfest
Sucker Days in Nixa (named after the sucker
fish, not the candy, haha!)
Bubbles at Sucker Days
Baby ducks at Orsclens
This was on Mother's Day
The title was "Sunflower Weave"
Proud Mom moment
Outside the MSU art building
Last day of school!
What she did after school on the last day
Drive-in movies


  1. I love your heat adaptation picture, you arctic runner! Haha

    1. Now that I've been over-dressing all the time, I TRULY don't understand how all of those people do it for races!