Tuesday, May 31, 2022

MAYbe (May 2022 Recap)

May 2022 in review!

Total mileage for the month:  340.6
  • May 2-8:  81.5
  • May 9-15:  80.5
  • May 16-22:  75.5
  • May 23-29:  75.7
  • May 30-June 4: 75.0
  • May 21: Bill Snyder Highway Half in 1:30:40 for 1st masters female, 5th OAF, and a wonderful mini-racecation. The situation was that I could run my hardest and get 1st masters/5th OAF or I could run 1:30 and get 1st masters/5th OAF and potentially help a friend, and I chose the latter.
    It was hilarious if you were there
  •  May 3: Track work of 600 m (2:04), 500 m (1:44), 400 m (1:21), 300 m (1:01), 200 m (0:37), 100 m (0:17) with 300 m jog recoveries. This was a huge departure from recent workouts and seemed like it was good for me! I probably didn't have the strength back I would have needed to do a threshold workout or anything much longer at this point post-Boston. I usually struggle with speed work but I enjoyed this one. Four of my running buddies did the same workout, and we staggered our starts so we would all finish the rep at about the same time (e.g., starting in descending projected time order).
  • May 6: 16.1 miles with 9 x 0:45 pick ups to ~5:45 in the second half. I love putting little pick ups in long runs; it seems to help me biomechanically but isn't tiring.
  • May 10: 4 x 1 mile at threshold effort with 1:30 recoveries in 5:59, 5:59, 6:07, 6:12, with my annual reminder that it's very difficult to negative split anything in 72 degrees and 90% humidity! I kind of expected I'd run them all in 6:10-6:15, so I was still happy with this workout despite the regression. I gave myself 4-6 reps because I wasn't sure how I'd feel, with this being my first real workout post-Boston and not feeling full strength yet, and I was ready to stop at 4 but I think I'd have done 5-6 had it been 50 degrees. I'll get more used to it soon (though I'll definitely still complain about it!) but the first couple of warm humid workouts are really a shock to the system!
  • May 13: 3 mile fartlek of 3:00 on/1:30 off/2:00 on/1:00 off/1:00 on/0:30 off within a 9 mile run. I just ran the ons hard and didn't look at my paces - I ran a hilly route and it was warm and humid, and I am learning that I sometimes feel better about workouts when I don't know exactly what I did.
  • May 16: 2 x 1 mile at threshold + 2 x 0.5 faster in 5:56, 5:57, 2:54, 2:52 with 1:30 recovery jogs. I had great weather for this one so I looked at my splits afterward. My confidence is still wrecked from Boston but this one gave me a smidge of hope.
  • I also did 4-6 x 0:20 strides, 4-6 x 150 m, and light unstructured pick ups several times this month, but didn't note those here.
  • Doubles: May 2, 3, 5, 10, 12, 16, 17, 26.
  • Favorite workout: Probably May 16 because it was relatively short, felt smooth, and went well.
#marvelousmay post-workout
Long Runs:
  • May 6:  16.1 miles (7:31) for #fifteenonfriday plus one!
  • May 14:  14 miles (7:57) with a great group on farm roads. I gave myself 12-15 for the day and amazingly stopped at 14 instead of the farthest option (I blame the humidity). Ironically I'd also given myself 12-15 on May 6.
  • May 21:  18.2 miles, including the Bill Snyder Half Marathon. I didn't realize I ran this far until I uploaded my runs when I got home that evening.
  • May 28: 17.3 miles (7:44) that felt really good with the group.
  • Favorite long run: None of them were particularly noteworthy, but I'll go with May 28 because the weather was super nice for May 28 and I felt like I could run all day.
"I don't know how to be marvelous" -
Sean on #marvelousmay
Running Highlights:
  • Planning my races for the rest of 2022 has been fun!
  • Mini-racecation to Manhattan with a couple of running buddies, plus my parents met us there.
Miles from Mentor bonfire (occurred on 4/30 but
didn't make it in my April post!)
I found myself on the Hospital
Hill Instagram ad
Life Highlights:
  • I got to spend Mother's Day weekend with both my mom and mother-in-law in southeast Kansas. We also did Ibbetson family photos, which required coordinating a lot of people.
  • Albani graduated from 8th grade, meaning I have a high schooler.
  • I wrapped up another semester of adjunct teaching at MSU, and have a little break before rolling into summer teaching.
  • We took a mini-family vacation to Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas over Memorial Day weekend.
Family photos
Last day of junior high
Crater of Diamonds State Park

Ka-do-ha Indian Village

Wet sifting
  • Cold Wind (Alaska Wild #2) by Paige Shelton
  • Dark Roads by Chevy Stevens
  • Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner
  • Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
  • Book Lover by Emily Henry
  • Under the Tulip Tree by Michelle Shocklee
Theme for the month:

Friday, May 27, 2022

Bill Snyder Highway Half

Have you ever run 12 miles into gale force winds? Because I now have!

Only a slight exaggeration. 😉

Miles from Mentor colors work well at K-State

This may be my shortest race recap in history - it's been a busy time and I don't have much to report on this one. Based on the women on the starting line and my non-peak state, I knew that winning masters was likely going to be the best I could come away with, and after mile 1 I felt my choices were to run all out and get 5th OAF and win masters, or to take it easier and potentially help a friend break 1:30, while still getting 5th OAF and winning masters. I chose the latter, also based on the 25 mph headwind and my residual fatigue from my sickly Boston.

Sarah (purple) and me (green & black rabbit) - she
came close to her PR even in that wind!

I was definitely trying to draft

Towards the end

Running 1:30:40 was harder than I expected, but having a significant headwind on a point-to-point course probably accounts for that! I love this race but even if I'd have run all-out I think I'd have come away with my slowest time on it (I was expecting 1:25ish without the wind). 

Finish in the stadium

My main reason for doing this race was a to take a little racecation, and I greatly enjoyed it with my friends Sarah and Sean - also kind of a going away party for Sean before he moves to St. Louis. My parents ending up meeting us in Manhattan, and there were a lot of memories and laughs for the weekend.

Awards with Coach Bill Snyder

Post-race with teammates

I raced in my rabbit gear but put on the
MfM singlet for post-race pics

I want to get back to where I'm confident I can compete when I'm on a starting line, instead of resigning to being unable to keep up with the other women who show up, but this wasn't the day for that. 

Results are here - I'm listed at 2nd masters but the OAF was also first masters so I got to move up.

K-State Insect Zoo

K-State Botanical Gardens

Manhattan Running Co.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

That was April

April 2022 in review!

Total mileage for the month: 259.7
  • March 28-April 3: 80.0
  • April 4-10:  81.1
  • April 11-17:  45.5
  • April 18-24:  33.6
  • April 25-May 1: 71.7
I brought everyone rabbit ez tees back from Boston
but forgot to bring mine for the post-run photo!
  • April 18: Boston Marathon in 3:13:01. When my choices were DNS, DNF, or a sickly struggle to finish almost a half hour slower than planned, I chose the latter and even though I'm sad about it I don't regret it.
The Boston singlet that didn't pass
uniform checks
  • April 3: 6 miles pacing Amy's MP workout (7:35-7:40) then 4 x 1 MP/1 easy. My MP miles were 6:42, 6:38, 6:04, 5:58 (average 6:20) - which appears to be total crap pacing and kind of was. But! The first two miles were more uphill and the second two more downhill, though it all rolled. I've run the course we were on enough to know I'm usually ~10 seconds slow on the miles the first two reps were on and ~10 seconds fast on the miles the last two were on - so 6:30 and 6:10 would have been more normal. I think residual fatigued from the 50k made the uphill harder than usual, or maybe I just needed some time to get going. The first two felt awful and the last two felt great, so who knows! Better to start slower and finish faster than the opposite. Colin and I ran this together, showing me that one scenario when I can actually keep up with him on workouts is when he has run a 50k 8 days prior. I am better than average at recovering from long races!
  • April 6:  Wave tempo of 10 x 4:00 at 6:25-6:30 / 2:00 at sub-6:00 continuously. The time-based workout ended up being 9.72 miles at 6:10 pace total, with 4.3 warm up and 2.4 cool down for 16.5 total. My paces were: 6:20, 5:54, 6:25, 5:42, 6:27, 5:41, 6:17, 5:47, 6:24, 5:57, 6:15, 6:09, 6:24, 5:48, 6:32, 5:51, 6:30, 5:55, 6:24, 5:46. I planned the workout as 8-10 sets, so me choosing to do 10 shows that I was feeling really good! It was a weird workout because it started out fine for the first 2 rotations, then at 3-4 I was questioning if I was going to be able to hold pace for even 8 (and decided if I fell off I'd stop at 6), then once I got to about 6 I felt fantastic. I really felt stronger as the workout went on and finished feeling like I could do a few more rotations. I definitely could have finish a half marathon at 6:10 pace this day - or of course faster with even pacing.
  • April 9: Light fartlek of 4 x 2:00, 1:30, 1:00 on with equal offs in an 11 mile run. I ran the ons moderate, which ended up averaging around MP, because I needed to do something besides slogging but not a hard workout.
  • April 11: 4 miles at MP in the middle of a 12.2 mile run, in rain and wind on hills in 6:27, 6:33, 6:33, 6:15. My plan was to start at 6:30 and work down, but the first 2.5 miles of it felt terrible and I told Colin I was just staying at 6:30! The last 1.5 felt better but still a lot harder than it should have, which is pretty much always what happens to me a week out from marathon day, so now it's just expected and not discouraging...though in hindsight this was the start of me getting sick!
  • April 14: While sick I attempted to run 3 miles turned 3 x 1 mile turned 1 single mile at MP instead of the scheduled workout, but could only manage a 6:40 and it killed me...which did not inspire confidence for Boston.
  • Doubles: April 2, 5, 6, 10, 29.
I'm in the lovely rabbit Boston long
sleeve & Amy is in her Boston outfit

Long Runs:
  • April 3:  14.2 miles (7:18) with a workout, described above.
  • April 6: 16.5 miles with a workout, my main long run between the Prairie Spirit 50k and Boston Marathon. I couldn't decide whether to run 16 or 17 for this one so I split the difference!
  • April 11: 12.2 miles (7:14) via 4 easy, 4 MP, 4.2 easy, a.k.a., The Last Long Run Workout That Always Feels Much Harder Than It Should, which felt even harder than usual.
  • April 18: Boston Marathon (27.5 total for the day)!
  • April 29: 14.2 miles (7:48), which was the first run post-Boston that I felt nearly normal on! I did 8 x 0:30 pick ups to sub-6, one about every mile, starting at mile 6, to put some pop back in my legs.
Miles from Mentor fuels with UCAN!

Girls' run

Running Highlights:
  • My first Boston Marathon, in the professional field, though it wasn't exactly what I'd dreamed of.
My running group welcomed me back with
champagne-less mimosas (yes, plain OJ) 
Life Highlights:
  • Boston-related travel and friends, which included Easter in Boston.
  • Albani completed 8th grade ROTC.
ROTC awards

Best buds looking at the garden
  • The Music of Bees by Eileen Garvin
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  • Thin Ice (Alaska Wild #1) by Paige Shelton
  • Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • The Whispers by Heidi Perks
  • The Words We Keep by Erin Stewart
Theme for the month:
  • No guarantees.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Boston: The Aftermath

Boston wrecked me, body and mind. I didn't get as sick after the race as I did after Houston 2020, but the difference was that when I ran Houston sick I was at the very beginning of the illness (became sick the day before the race) whereas with this one I was in the middle of it. I keep coming back to beating myself up about running so much worse this time being sick than I did in Houston, especially because I wasn't wheezing this time and I was in Houston, but I think it was just timing. In Houston I hadn't lost my strength yet and this time I had. I took 5 days off running post-marathon, tying my PR for days off that I set after Houston. On day 6 I woke up itching to run so I did - though slowly. Right now I feel like it's going to take me forever to feel normal again, but that is probably dramatic and I am vowing to be patient.

I had a great training cycle and I know the fitness will help me in the future, though currently I feel too weak to believe it. I am thankful that I had two solid [but not perfect] races this season with my 50k and 20k, plus five for-fun training races that were really enjoyable. I wish I could celebrate my performance in Boston, but I can still celebrate the training cycle. Pre-race someone said something like, "You don't have to wait to celebrate your race; celebrate the successful training that brought you here!" That is hard for someone who is performance-oriented to swallow but I really did love the training, every crap weather bit of it!

It's also hard to swallow the end of my sub-3 streak; I hadn't run over 3 hours since I broke it for the first time in 2016. I am sure no one but me cares that I've run 14 (and counting, hopefully!) sub-3s instead of 14 consecutive sub-3s, but it saddens me. However, the streak was not worth a Boston DNF to me so I don't regret that part. [Although this solved my dilemma on whether or not to count my 50k marathon splits as sub-3s, with Frisco being sub-3 but Prairie Spirit being 3:00. I can say they both go into the count without changing the streak, meaning that the streak actually ended at Prairie Spirit and that Frisco counts into the 14 total!

It's going to take awhile for me to come back from this, but I really do love running every day, so I will focus on that privilege. During the race I heard the song "The Dance" playing, which is an odd song to be playing at a race, but it really resonated with me. I could have missed the pain of a sickly much-slower-than-goal marathon, but then I'd had to miss the thrills of the training cycle and the racecation memories that will last forever.

“There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.” - G.K. Chesterton

Boston: Touristy Things, Other Escapades, & Travel

After the Monday race, Amy and I had two more days to be tourists! I worked at the rabbit pop up on Tuesday morning, which was really good timing because it was raining. Amy dragged Colin to two Lululemon stores, and they came by rabbit while I was there. rabbit had some insane deals on their last day being open and I bought 14 shirts to give to my running group.

rabbit pop up on Newbury

Colin headed to the airport after we all ate lunch at Which Wich (which I love but we no longer have in Springfield), and Amy and I headed to the Freedom Trail. It passes nearly all of the major historic sites in Boston, so we got to see it and shake out our legs with over 7 miles of walking. The downside was that it was cold and sporadically rainy. We had to tuck in under awnings and into coffee shops a few times, and by the time we finished seeing the U.S. Constitution we were pretty much frozen and done. We had dinner at Joe's on the Waterfront, missed going to Mike's Pasteries, and took the subway back to our hotel (my first subway experience, not recommended).

Freedom Trail

Boston Common

Paul Revere

We walked through 3 historic cemetaries

The North End, as seen on TV

Old North Church

U.S. Constitution

Scary subway

Back in our room, I cut off the top part of the sign to take home with scissors from the front desk of the hotel. On Wednesday we enjoyed touring Newbury Street, including the Tracksmith Track House. We looked into doing a trolley tour but we'd already seen nearly every site on it during our other touring trips. I also looked at going to the Boston Tea Party Museum but it was closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. We went to Marathon Sports and Eataly before heading to our 4:50 p.m. flight. Travel home went much smoother than travel to Boston, and we actually got to eat dinner in the Chicago airport instead of running through it. We were both exhausted on the final day of trip, but I didn't want to it end!

Beautiful church on Newbury

Marathon Sports

Signs like this were everywhere

Things I left Boston with that I didn't bring:
the large sign, 14 rabbit shirts, 16 Maurten gels, a
pair of Vaporflys, marathon shirt/medal/bag/elite pass

My biggest athletic feat of the trip
was closing this suitcase

Although the race itself was very much not what I wanted, the trip as a whole was amazing. I'm thankful that I felt well enough to enjoy every other aspect (if I'd have felt like I did on the Tuesday and Wednesday before we left, I'd have had to lay in my hotel room the entire trip). I felt free of responsibilities and laughed more than I have in a long time. We made countless inside jokes, and I have memories that will last a lifetime. Hopefully the disappointment of the race will fade and I will pointedly remember the rest of the racecation fondly. I am already dreaming of my next!

Nugget enjoying Boston smells

The story concludes here.

Boston: Professional Post-Race Area

After I crossed the line, I walked on my jello-like legs through the chute. Before I made it very far, I was pulled into the VIP area. I hadn't received my finisher's medal yet, so when I was diverted all I could manage was, "Do I get a medal?" haha! I had not nearly killed myself to finish my worst marathon in years to walk away without a Boston medal. They had me continue walking to a medal and space blanket area, then grab a bag of food and head into the pro area we'd started the day in.

Someone gave me my bag after I walked in, and I reunited with Jen, who had also had a rough day (3:08) and was sitting on the floor. I am currently in a clinical study for a performance glucose monitor, so I had a glucose monitor on my arm and one of the medics started asking me about my blood sugar levels and telling me I needed to eat right away. I tried to explain that I wasn't diabetic but he never seemed to believe me. I also connected with Nick, who was in the room with Mary who he currently coaches, and the medic kept yelling at him to make me eat my sandwich. The medic then wouldn't let me leave the room to change so I had to go behind this half partition thing to get into dry clothes. Later he went on to give me and Jen lectures about how you should drop out if you're having such a bad day and find another marathon to nail [facepalm].

Nick was the first person I said more than a sentence to, and I ended up bursting into tears while talking to him. I've had marathons that I thought were bad before, but nothing compared to this one! It made laugh at 2015 Sara ("You thought 3:01 was terrible when you were aiming for 2:59?!"), 2020 Sara (2:58 with bronchitis), and really at the Sara who ran 2:46-2:47 thinking it was terrible - and sometimes you do just have to laugh so you don't cry! I know it was because my body was wrecked and weak from being sick, but it's still quite heartbreaking, especially on this stage (although if it would have been a local race I would have DNSed).

There were a few pros left in the room, including Steph Bruce getting a massage. Since Jen was also getting one, I had a short one before we walked back to our hotel together. The masseuse tried to get me to see their podiatrist if I had blisters, and when I declined she tried to pull my socks off to check but couldn't manage to remove the compression socks (I had on pants at this time too). The medical staff were pushy! They didn't have Ibuprofen either, so I had to grab some at Walgreens since I'd forgotten to pack it.

Jen and I met Colin back at our hotel, and celebrated his 2:48 PR! I definitely need to keep running the same goal races as athletes I coach, because it gives me something to be proud of if my own race is crap. Jen was flying out that evening, so she rushed to shower and pack up. Amy eventually returned from her post-race Unicorn Club area and we celebrated her 10th consecutive Boston and 3:32 finish - she was hoping to slide under 3:30 but was overall happy. Then I pretty much just laid in bed while chatting and answering messages until we decided to go buy some wine before heading to dinner at Atlantic Fish! 

I wore my pro athlete lanyard around
instead of my medal and jacket

We got lost and walked what felt like miles to find the restaurant, then service took forever but we enjoyed ourselves. We then had some wine, told a lot of stories, Colin headed back to his hotel, and Amy tried to go to sleep while I was still wide awake. I typically struggle with sleeping after marathons, and wine seems to help (post-marathon is the only time I drink anything alcoholic) but I think I was just so wrecked from this one that nothing really helped. I managed about 2 hours worth of sleep but chalked it up to better than zero!

Wine & spirits

The story continues here.