Saturday, September 1, 2018

August is like the Sunday of summer - August in review!

August 2018 in review

Total mileage for the month:  357.7 (in comparison:  January - 207, February - 254, March - 298, April - 307, May - 355, June - 232, July - 290).  This was my highest mileage month ever!  What's funny, though, is that I only beat May's total because I ran my long run a day early, on August 31 instead of September 1.  I never look at my mileage total until after my last run of the month (that should be clear from my March mileage, hah!), but I had to laugh when I realized my PR month only happened because of moving that long run.  Cheers!
  • July 30-August 5:  74.0
  • August 5-12:  77.1
  • August 13-19:  80.3
  • August 20-26:  85.1 (second highest mileage week ever!)
  • August 27-Sep. 2:  75.8
My goal is to pick her up for first day of school
photos through college!
  • Nada...August seems to be a training month for me!  I have races planned for September 3, 9 (C goal race - 10K), and 29 (B goal race - half marathon), October 6 and 20, November 4, and December 2 (A goal race - marathon), and am excited to roll into those!
  • August 1:  4 mile tempo in 24:10 (6:02 average via 6:07, 6:07, 6:00, 5:54), 3.1 warm up, 3.1 cool down.  It was 56* for this run, which is quite unlike August in Missouri!  My prescribed pace range was 6:00-6:18, and if it had been a more typical hot and humid August morning I'd have probably needed the top of it.  I felt strong throughout this one and was happy with how it went, although not surprisingly I wished I'd have averaged 3 seconds/mile faster.  I wish I could find someone to run tempos with me, because I will always run faster with someone pushing.
  • August 4:  13 miles with 3 miles progressive fast finish (6:54 for all 13; final 3 in 6:37, 6:27, 6:23).  I felt great on this run, except for during the last half mile up an incline that left me gasping for air.  I've fast finished runs on this route many times, and sometimes I can rock it up that hill, but this run was not one of those times!  I ran with Claudio and Paul for 10, but they didn't pick it up with me at the end.  Claudio was supposed to run 15, but he was tired and was going to stop with me at 13, so I volunteered to run 2 extra miles so he would get it done, therefore I ended up running 15 miles total this day, but the final 2 were slower (7:29 pace) and we stopped for water at 13.
  • August 8:  3 x 2 mile repeats in 11:44 (5:50, 5:53), 11:54 (5:56, 5:58), 11:51 (5:57, 5:54), with 0.5 jog recoveries and 2.6 warm up and 1.8 cool down.  My goal pace range for this workout was 5:45-6:00, which I thought was completely unrealistic (particularly given that it was 69* with a dew point of 68*), but I decided I would try to hang onto 5:59 pace and see what happened.  Lucky for me, Ben volunteered to run with me for portions of each rep as a way to ease himself back into speed work.  He did from 0.0-1.0 of the first rep, from about 0.3-1.3 of the second rep, and from about 0.4-1.9 of the final rep (his plan was 1 mile of each rep, but on the last one while I was dying I told him it would be super helpful if he'd do 1.5 miles with me, and he was gracious enough to do so).  I would not have hit these times running by myself, especially on the final rep.  I read somewhere that running with someone or in a group helps you run 5-10 seconds/mile faster, and I think that is certainly accurate.  I had to dig really deep at the end and I was proud of myself for keeping the pedal on the gas when it got very uncomfortable.
  • August  13:  Mini-speed of 30"/30" during mile 4 of my second run of the day.  I managed to screw up this workout in my Garmin, so it was rotating 30 seconds/30 seconds/cool down to lap press instead of 30 seconds/30 seconds.  My first 2 pushes got messed up because of this, but then the remainder of them were 5:48, 5:49, 5:36, 5:24, 5:30 paces, which isn't very fast for such short pushes, but I can barely get going in 30 seconds I guess!  I think the main objective of this workout is getting in a little faster running on tired legs (I ran 10.3 miles in the morning then ran this at lunch).
  • August 15:  6 mile tempo in 36:33 (6:05 average via 6:09, 6:09, 6:05, 6:06, 6:05, 5:57), 2.2 warm up, 2.4 cool down.  I woke up to a torrential downpour this morning, Ben decided not to join me due to that monsoon, and my weather app told me that there were lightening strikes within 0.6-1.8 miles of my house at 5:20 a.m.  I mostly resigned myself to pushing this workout back a day and just getting out for easy miles in the pouring rain once the lightning moved away, but by 5:50 a.m. the storm had almost completely passed, just leaving heavy air in it's place (a dew point of 70*, air temp of 71*, meaning 98% humidity).  I knew it would be difficult to run as strong in these conditions as I'd done in my August 1 tempo, but I'd also had a really good workout the previous week in heavy humidity, so I held out hope that there was a chance.  Although this wasn't the fastest 6 mile tempo I've done, I was happy with my even pacing and ability to push through the humidity and uncertainty about whether or not the workout would happen that morning (uncertainty is certainly not my strong suit!).  As per every tempo I ever run, for the first 2 miles I felt like I could never sustain the pace for much more than 2 miles, then I got into a groove for the remainder, felt fatigue in the second to last mile, then found a little kick in the final mile.  This is pretty much my goal pace for my fall half marathon (it takes 6:06 to break 1:20), and on one hand I was happy to hit it alone in humidity, but it also made me wonder how I am ever supposed to run that pace for over twice as far!
  • No workouts the week of August 20-26, but I had a solid midweek long run (11.2 miles at 6:52 average).  Ben joined me for the final 6 miles and we ended up running faster than I'd planned (6:36 average for those 6), which was a nice confidence boost because while I would certainly not call that pace easy, it was conversational.  I guess since I'm training to run a marathon 19 seconds/mile faster than that, I should hope it doesn't feel too hard, but in my head I think 6:30 pace is much harder than it actually is, if that makes sense.
  • August 29:  8 mile tempo in 50:11 (6:16 average via 6:16, 6:17, 6:12, 6:16, 6:18, 6:18, 6:20, 6:11), 2.2 warm up, 2.0 cool down.  This one was a grind!  My goal pace range was 6:03-6:18, and my coach, my husband, and common sense tell me that bad weather days are what the top of the pace range is for, but I really struggle with accepting that.  It was 74* with a dew point of 72* and 92% humidity which is pretty miserable, and there were storms around, including one that rolled through mid-run, bringing some wind and moderate rain but no reprieve in the heat and humidity.  BUT, I'd also nailed a couple of workouts in conditions that were almost as bad recently (see 6 mile tempo and 2 x 3 mile repeats above), so I wanted to think I could nail this one too, ideally hitting 6:06 average pace (goal half pace).  Maybe it wasn't the weather and it was the mileage on my legs or just not my day, but I started at the top of the pace range hoping to work down, but with each passing mile it became more and more clear that I was going to have to really work just to hang on to the top of the range.  I looked at my watch far more than I typically do during tempos, because when I ran what felt like tempo pace I was at 6:20-6:30 pace, and I just kept forcing it down ("just get it to 6:18!" was my self-talk).  6:15 sure felt like 6:00 pace!  The workout ended up being really hard on my body, I think because I forced the pace so much.  When I've raced in weather like this - such as at Bass Pro Half 2017 and Dam to Dam 2017 - I have always run slower than I thought I was in shape for (and suffered more doing it!), so really 6:16+ probably is what I'd aim for in a half marathon in this weather, but I sure wanted the confidence boost of hitting a faster pace.  Plus, my marathon goal pace is 6:17, so having 6:16 feel so hard for 8 miles was not confidence-inspiring.  I feel like I missed my chance to "prove" to myself I'm ready for a half PR, but I did my best and paced evenly, so I am trying to be okay with the outcome.  Last season almost no workout I ever did indicated I could race the times I ran (I bombed a lot of workouts!), so there is also that to cling to.
  • Doubles on August 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, and 29 -- yes, doubles increased with a vengeance this month!  I ran 4 doubles in 1 week for the first time ever; they were all 3.X milers so just easing into the frequency.  I also had two weeks with 3 doubles, which I'd done before then but only twice (2 has been my usual number of doubles per week until now).  I've grown to really like running them, but sometimes they are a pain logistically, so I have mixed feelings about 4 a week.
  • Strides on August 2, 21, and 23, and a few before most workouts (those are usually fartlek-style at the end of my warm ups).
  • Full body strength workouts - I completed my full strength circuit twice per week and also did 5-10 minutes of core work more days than not.  I split up my strength work a little more than I have been; with my work schedule and increasing doubles, it became harder to fit in my weekday full strength workout, which takes about an hour total (some of it is drills).  Some weeks I'd do something like 20 minutes of it on Tuesday, 20 minutes of it on Wednesday, and 20 minutes of it on Thursday - and often those 20 minutes would be split into 10 minutes after my morning run and 10 minutes after my second run.  On a "good" week I'd do it all on Wednesdays, with half after my morning run and half after my second run, but I think that only happened once this month.  I always do the full workout on Saturdays all at once, either immediately following my long run or later in the afternoon.  I used to drop strength training when it became harder to fit in, but it's more manageable when I break it up so I'll continue to do it that way until I win the lottery and switch to working part time (I do enjoy my job, but running a lot of miles would sure be easier with 4 hour work days!).
  • Favorite workout:  It's hard to beat a solid tempo run in 56 degrees in August (the 4 miler), and since I'm still reeling from the muggy 8 mile tempo I choose that one (even though I definitely exceeded expectations on the 3 x 2 mile workout).
Long Runs:
  • August 4:  15 miles (13 at 6:54 + 2 to help a friend), described in workouts.  I was excited to see a 6:5X average!
  • August  11:  15.1 miles (6:52).  This one showed me that the previous week's 6:5X average long run wasn't just a fluke!  I ran with Marshall and Kim, which gave me a little push and made the miles fly by!  We saw a lot of people out running on the trails in Springfield; I think fall marathon training is in full force around here, which is great to see.
  • August 18:  14.3 miles (6:54).  I felt great on this one after mile 1!  Why is the first mile always so hard while also being so slow in comparision?!  I started this with Paul, Ben, and Claudio, with everyone running different distances.  We dropped Paul off at 6, Ben off at 10, and Claudio at 12.  I finished feeling strong and very hungry.  My appetite seemed to notice the increasing mileage this week!
  • August 25:  15.2 miles (7:00) with Casey and Rebecca on our favorite 15 mile rectangle of farm roads!  It was stiflingly humid and I ended up wishing I'd have carried or dropped fluids, but other than that it was a nice run with wonderful company and conversation.
  • August 31:  15.2 miles (7:11) on a Friday morning before work.  I wasn't quite as fresh as usual for this one since I didn't have my "rest day" the day before (my coach calls my 4-5 mile Fridays rest days), but I still felt really good and it felt like one of the shortest 15 milers I've ever done!  I ran 3.4 miles to meet Rebecca, ran 7.4 miles with Rebecca, then dropped her back off at her car and ran home plus a little more to get to 15.  I think splitting it up like that made it go by really quickly, and also with running higher mileage like I have been it seems like I run 10-16 miles every day, so 15 is just a normal day instead of a long run at this point.  I am clearly becoming more crazy!
  • Favorite long run:  I really don't have one this month; they were all pretty similar in distance and feel, and all with great training partners!
A beautiful humid morning on beautiful farm roads with
Ben & Casey (Missy was the photographer while running!)
  • I am still streaking - every day since January 27!  Part of me wishes I hadn't taken time off after the Houston Marathon, since without those 5 days off I'd have a streak of about 15 months at this point, but I needed that time, and I guess I can at least say I've run 360 of the past 365 days.
  • If all goes as planned, I will build to my lifetime highest mileage week and highest weekly average this marathon cycle.  
    • Before this month, I'd run weekly mileage in the 80s four times, and all of those were with 20-24 mile long runs.  August 13-19 I did it with a 14 mile long run, and August 20-26 with a 15 mile long run.
    • I set three weekly mileage PRs during my Grandma's build (the end one currently stands at 86.7, with all 3 detailed here).  I averaged 70.3 mpw in the 18 weeks prior to Grandma's 2018, and 67.4 mpw in the 18 weeks prior to CIM 2017.  The week of July 30-August 5 marked the start of the 18 weeks leading up to CIM 2018, so my average for the first 5 weeks of the build already exceeds my previous averages (coming in at 78.3), and I will be going up from here, although not drastically. 
    • The week of August 20-26 is now my second highest mileage week ever, and it was 14 weeks out from my goal marathon.  I figure this more aggressive training is either going to go really well or really poorly, haha! But taking no chances means wasting your dreams, right?!
  • I had a hard time "letting go" of building up in mileage the week of August 27-September 2, which is a cut-back week.  I can see how people get into over-training and excessive exercising, because I started feeling like I should be running in the 80s again.  This is why I don't train myself!  The week of September 3-9 will be in the 70s as well, since I am racing two 10Ks within a 6-day span (also maybe not my brightest idea, but I did it last year too).
     Life events:
    • I got a new car!  I'd been resisting the inevitable for awhile, driving my little 2006 Honda Civic more miles than my husband thought I should, but it broke down the day before we left on vacation and the needed repairs would have cost more than it was worth.  My husband has been dying to buy a Chevy Volt, and that's what we did!  I can drive to and from work every day (about 30 miles round trip) and then some without using any gas.  It will go around 55 miles on a charge and then it switches to gas.
    • We attended our local running club's yearly picnic, where Albani and I both won cute club tech shirts, and all 3 of us won nice running socks (I got all 3 pairs though, because they were my size and no one else's).
    • My parents and niece visited us for some Branson activities before school resumed.  My niece is almost 16 and just got her driver's permit, which I can't quite wrap my head around!
    • School resumed, with Albani tackling the 5th grade!  
    • We went in for a hair trim for Albani before school started, and initially she planned on just getting it shaped up, but once her stylist began cutting she decided she wanted it shorter and shorter until we returned to a bob.  I wish we'd have planned this better, because she had enough hair that it could have been donated to Locks of Love.  Her hair looks great long or short, and she takes great care of it, so I am fine with whichever style she chooses but I could tell her stylist didn't want her to cut it all off.  Albani said that her new haircut saves her 10 minutes in the morning, which is not untrue.
    • I also returned to school, teaching one class in the ABA Masters program at Missouri State, on Tuesday evenings.
    • I was published in my local running club's August newsletter - article here.
    Bidding our 2006 Honda goodbye in Alabama (Jon & Albani
    made this into a father-daughter trip)
    Hello, 2018 Chevy Volt
    Proud owners
    I won the contest for the oldest race t-shirt with this gem of
    my dad's from 1981!
    My parents, niece, and daughter loved Samson at the Sight
    and Sound Theater in Branson (they went on a Tuesday
    afternoon so I was at work)
    Cousin card game
    Our matching OMRR shirts
    Stocking up on books, showing the OMRR shirt
    & a "before" hair cut photo
    After hair cut!  This doesn't do the amount of
    hair on the floor justice
    We did some landscape shopping this month
    First day of 5th grade
    First day of school
    Bandit asks for it
    The second day of school is under-rated!
    My first day of school (teaching at MSU)
    I made a race website photo!


    1. I love Albani’s Haircut! Now you don’t have to worry about that tempo not being the pace you wanted bc you have the confidence of an awesome 10k PR!!!!

      1. Our morning routine has really benefited from that bob! You are right about that tempo; I feel much better about my half goal pace after the Plaza 10K. I kept thinking, “58 degrees is like a performance-enhancing drug!” I think we get great training gains from those miserable warm humid workouts, but it’s sure nice to see lower pace numbers and to feel better doing it.