Wednesday, August 31, 2016

I did the right thing

This past Saturday, I skipped a scheduled long hard workout in favor of easy mileage because I was sick with a cold, and I lamented a lot about whether or not that was the right thing to do (see Saturday's notes in this post).  It was a hard call because I wasn't that ill, but was feeling puny enough that I worried that a hard run could make me quite sick.  On Sunday and Monday, I began feeling much better and now I am pretty much completely recovered from my cold.  I still ran 18 miles on Saturday, split 15 and 3, but it was slower than usual and I felt weak.

Today I had 22 miles on tap, and wow what a difference a few days made!  I felt SO much stronger today than on Saturday's run, and I really had to hold back to not speed up early on.  You can see on my splits some early miles, like mile 9, that made me say "oops!" when I saw my split.  I did 18 relaxed then 4 miles at marathon goal pace (the final mile was closer to half pace, though).  And it felt amazing!  Missy ran miles 2-8 with me, then Casey ran 8-13 and about 15.5-16.5 then 18-19 with me (it's complicated!). 

Feeling sub-par for a bit really made me appreciate feeling good more, and I know that I did the right thing with skipping the workout when I felt puny because a) I probably wouldn't have hit my paces anyway, and then I would have been discouraged, and b) I would have delayed my recovery from being sick and not had this run today, and c) I would have risked the illness going into my lungs and really jeopardized my goal races.  The tempo workout was rescheduled for September 11, so I get to run it then!

Today was also a work day mileage PR, although I did go into work an hour and a half late (flex time is a beautiful thing!).  I could have made it just one hour late, but it was nice to have time to foam roll, take an ice bath, and eat before leaving!

What did you start at 4:59 this morning?


Sunday, August 28, 2016


Training week of August 22-28, 2016

Mileage: 61.1 - wheeee!  First week in the 60s, after 10 weeks in the 50s.  Keep in mind that I peaked in the low 50s in my 2015 marathon training cycle and most weeks were in the 40s, so I am hoping that the extra mileage will pay the bills this time around.  Increasing my mileage makes me nervous since I'm injury-prone, but I know it is probably what I need to go from being able to run 23 miles (almost 24) at 6:50 pace to 26.2 miles at that pace.  Well, that and optimal weather might do it as well! My coach thought I could handle it, and the way he's set it up I have been able to and have felt good.  I only have one more week at 60, along with a few more high 50s. I am only 6 weeks out now - both exciting and scary!

This was in one of my devotions this week - my favorite verse!
Monday - Cross-training Monday with 30 minutes on the elliptical to warm up then 60 minutes of HIIT bootcamp.  I was able to stay for the entire bootcamp class this time because I had to take an hour off work on Monday morning to take my car into the insurance adjuster/repair shop for an 8:30 a.m. appointment after we were hit on Saturday evening.  Being in a car accident always sucks, but this all went as smoothly as a bad situation can, because no one was hurt, it was not our fault, the other driver had insurance, the car was still driveable, and the insurance company had a one stop shop for assessment, repair, and rental car pick up.  And I guess the other benefit was that I got to do the entire bootcamp class, haha!

Tuesday - 11.3 miles total with 8.2 a.m. (7:19) and 3.1 p.m. (7:19) - I couldn't have done that exact same pace across runs if I tried, it was just a coincidence!  I caught Albani's back to school cold, and it really reared it's head overnight Monday (drainage and sore throat from the drainage).  I produced a lot of snot on these runs, but I felt fine enough. 

This was also my first day of adjunct teaching, but luckily my class is from 3:30-6:00 p.m. (not 5:30-8:00 p.m. as in the past), so the second run wasn't too late.  I wouldn't have taught this semester had my 8-5 gig at The Arc not been okay with me leaving a little early on Tuesdays in order to do so, because it's just too much. But me teaching benefits The Arc as well because we have some agency collaborations with Missouri State, plus we can recruit the top students for practicum experience and to work for us when they obtain their BCBA certifications and licenses!  I enjoyed the first class, and the best part was one guy who came in at the beginning then when I mentioned "ABA Masters program" said, "wait, what class is this?" then left.  I told him I hoped he had great semester!

Wednesday - 12 miles base pace on my Highland Springs/Millwood loop (7:31), with 6 strides in the last mile.  I don't run this course often because of the monster hills in the middle, and I've justified that this season with the ole "my goal marathon is flat so I should run flatter routes" excuse, but I decide to venture onto it for this run and I'm sure it was good for me.  I've been mixing up my courses a lot lately, mainly due to running everything solo (this should be my last week of that for awhile though - yay!).  I felt a bit puny on this run - not awful, but not strong like I had been - and I blame the cold.  Thanks a lot, back to school germs!

Thursday - 10.6 base miles, with 7.5 a.m. (7:48) and 3.1 runch (7:14).  I wanted to take it easier on the morning run to reduce the stress on my body while I was  getting over my cold.  It was supposed to be 7 miles, but I had to add a little out and back on the partial loop course, and my math was off on that so it became a little farther.  I had an evening work appointment so ran my second run at lunch, after signing some closing documents on a piece of land we are buying as investment property at a closing company conveniently located close to the Y (it's too hot to run at lunch without a rinse off shower still!).  I think I was just kind of in a hurry to get this done and get back to work, plus I was hoping I'd be able to pick up my car from the repair shop on my way back to work from this run (that did not work out, as it wasn't finished as expected).  I also think I didn't eat enough between runs, along with the cold, because I felt like crap after my second run and barely made it until 6:30 p.m. at work. 

Friday - 3 (7:45) - threasy for a nice little recovery day.  Typically I go to bootcamp on Fridays also, but after feeling so yucky on Thursday afternoon I decided I needed to take it easier on Friday to try to get over the darn cold.  I also didn't set an alarm for the sake of more rest, and slept until 6:15 a.m. - giving me basically just enough time to do this run and still get to work on time.  I kind of felt like I ran this run in my sleep though!

Saturday - 18.1 miles with 15.1 a.m. (7:45, final mile 6:37) and 3 p.m. (7:26).  This was the first time in my life that I've run 3 doubles in a week (earlier in this training cycle was the first time I'd done 2 doubles in a week!)!  This was not what was planned today, but after much debate it was what I decided to run.  After base miles all week, I had a workout scheduled:  3 miles warm-up, 10 mile tempo at 6:20-6:30 pace, 1 mile recovery, 1 mile in 6:08-6:12, 3 miles cool-down.  But I still had the cold and was feeling puny - not bad enough to not run, but off enough that I knew that pace goal would be tricky to hit and that the run would take a lot out of me and likely delay my recovery from being sick. 

There was a lot of debate and back-and-forth on what I should or shouldn't run.  I've always trained through pretty much any illness, but back in January I got pretty sick, including wheezing, and it took me quite awhile to shake it and to get back to full strength with my training.  The nail in the coffin at that time, that seemed to turn a more minor illness into a more serious one, was a 10 mile tempo run.  Cue paranoia!  I knew if I got that sick again, my training would be jeopardized for over a month, Prairie Fire would be out as a goal race and Bass Pro would be questionable.

With the input of my husband and my coach, I decided that the risk of running this workout outweighed the benefits - especially because my 20 mile workout last week had shown me that I was in top shape so possibly I had more to lose than to gain from trying the workout.  I decided to still run the mileage, but not the intensity, and to split it up into 2 runs so it would be a little bit easier on me.  I also carried fluids and gels on the 15 miler in hopes that if I stayed in front of things on my hydration and fueling, it would take less out of me.  I didn't set an alarm so I could sleep a little extra, but woke up around 5:50 a.m. on my own.  I started around 8:00 pace and feeling kind of blah, but as the run progressed I felt better and my easy pace sped up.  I didn't push until the last mile, which I was trying to run at marathon goal pace but ended up a little faster.

I felt great on the second run, which was a pleasant surprise.  I'm sure it helped that I laid around in compression socks and didn't do much between the runs!  It's hard to know if I did the right thing with skipping the workout; I think it was probably better to err on the side of being conservative, but that is not my usual M.O. so it feels odd!  I figured out 3 other dates in September that I can incorporate this workout instead, my preferred date being in 2 weeks during a scheduled base pace 17 miler, so I will ask my coach what he wants me to do and hopefully still get a crack at this confidence-boosting workout.  I ran this same one before Dallas, so I plan to run it on the same course and see if I can run faster this time.

Sunday - 6 miles base pace (7:21) with Casey to round off the week.  This was my only run this week that I felt strong on!  I was probably 90% - not quite perfect, but stronger than I had been feeling.  I think training makes me really in-tune to my body so I notice when I'm a little off.  I still questioned whether or not I did the right thing with skipping Saturday's tempo, and I guess I'll never know for sure, but I walked away improving from my illness and am happy to be feeling well.  I will likely feel fine about that workout once I get it rescheduled!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Nothin' to see here

Week in Review for August 15-21, 2016

Mileage: 56, with a meaningful course PR, one double, "the hardest workout ever", and two bootcamp strength workouts

Monday - Cross-training Monday!  Elliptical warm-up + bootcamp for strength (30 min. + 45 min.).  We did a lot of single-leg squats, curtsy lunges, and dead lifts during class, which I appreciated.

This is from last Saturday's ABA gathering, but I wanted to share - Haley's dog Duke
looking at us is the best part! Also I got that dress for $7.99.
Tuesday - 8.2 mostly base pace miles, with 1 mile speed test (7:19 average for the whole run).  Inspired by the Olympics and feeling great through the beginning miles of this run, I decided to try to break 6:00 on a rolling 1 mile straight near my house towards the end of this run (my "Southernview mile" stretch). I've run a lot of repeats on this specific mile straight, but I had never broken 6:00 on it, even when I could run 3-4 x 1 mile at 5:50 on faster courses, and going sub-6:00 on it has been a goal of mine.  I haven't been running speed work lately, as my training is marathon-focused and more strength and endurance-building at this point; but my speed tends to improve as my mileage increases even without any track work, and I am racing a 10K on Labor Day without really knowing where I'm at speed-wise, so I thought this was a good idea for a lot of reasons (my coach will probably say it was a bad idea, since it was not on my schedule; but I also had no hard workouts this week aside from Saturday since that one was SO hard).

I ended up running a 5:57 mile on my Southernview stretch!  I was really happy about this, and I looked back at my training logs to confirm that this was an 8-second PR on this course (I ran a 6:05 on it in May, detailed here, and prior to that had done 6:08).  That's huge for a mile!  I finished feeling like I'd run a hard mile (Captain Obvious!), but not entirely spent and like I could run another repeat or maybe even two at or close to that pace if it was a hard run day.  I had 6 strides scheduled at the end of this scheduled base pace run, but just did 2 since I'd run the hard mile - almost evens out, eh?

See split 7 - my other easy mile splits sure
reflect the elevation changes on the route too
Wednesday - 14.3 miles with 11.1 a.m. (7:18) and 3.2 p.m. (7:16). My runs felt so good!  I don't think I've ever had a double-digit easy run where all of my mile splits were in the 7:20's or under (at the very least my first mile is always slower), and I kind of just kept looking at my splits when my watch beeped in surprise: "How did 7:16 feel that easy?!".  After my morning run I told my husband that I thought I'd had some nice fitness gains since my base pace was dropping, and he informed me, "That's because it's been 65 degrees instead of 80 degress in the mornings this week."  Hah!  Well, that kind of burst my bubble, but I felt great nonetheless (and it was in the high 80s for my second run and it was similarly paced, so maybe that counts for something!).  I don't feel horrible on warmer runs and I think I handle the heat better than most, so I don't realize that it does still affect me.  If 66 degrees feels this good, I can't wait for 46!

I heart cooler temps
Thursday - 8.2 miles base pace (7:24).  I was a little tired getting going on this one, as I typically am on my Thursday morning runs, but then fell into a rhythm and had a nice run.  I explored different routes on my runs this week since I was running alone while Missy was off doing her Ironman!

Friday - Bootcamp with an elliptical warm-up.  It was just a 5-day running week, which felt odd after three 6-day running weeks in a row.  I felt like slacked a bit during this workout because I was preparing for Saturday's intensity, but I got in plenty of lunges and plyos nonetheless!

SaturdayThis.  Definitely the best 20 training miles of my life, with a 6:52 average for the whole run, 6:34 average for the hard 15 miles, and the following averages for the each the tempo portions:  5 miles at 6:45, 4 miles at 6:37, 3 miles at 6:30, 2 miles at 6:18, 1 mile at 6:04.9 (2 miles warm-up, 0.5 mile recoveries between tempos, 1 mile cool-down).  This was a key marathon workout and it went swimmingly!

Sunday -5.3 recovery miles (7:45).  I was tired from yesterday but I definitely felt better as the miles went on.  I didn't have any soreness or pain so that was a win!  It was 55 degrees - the coolest morning this week, and amazing for late August!  I certainly can't complain about any mornings this week at all though; most were around 65, and Saturday was 70 when I started and still 70 when I finished with cloud cover.  Here's hoping we don't have 80 in October!

Today after church I have the men's Olympic marathon DVRed, and will be tracking my amazing friend and training partner Missy as she competes in her second full Ironman triathlon in Idaho!!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

"Hardest workout ever"

This workout was titled “Hardest workout ever!” when it came to me in my August training schedule.  My first thought after reading it was something along the lines of, “You’ve got to be kidding me!!”, but as workout day drew near I actually got pretty excited about it.
The workout:
20 miles total
2 miles warm-up
5 miles at 6:39-6:50
4 miles at 6:35-6:45
3 miles at 6:30-6:40
2 miles at 6:20-6:30
1 mile under 6:20
(with 0.5 mile recovery jogs between tempos)
1 mile cool-down
My cat was concerned about these goal paces
I’d once read about a workout that included 5-4-3-2-1 miles all at goal marathon pace (6:50ish for me - 6:51.9 will get a sub-3:00) with half mile recoveries within a 20 miler, and I thought that would be challenging, but this was Intense with a capital I.  I figured that I would aim for the high end of the pace range on each repeat, but if that wasn’t happening I would just try to keep all repeats between 6:45-6:50.  Either way, it would be 15 miles total at goal marathon pace or faster, within a 20 mile long run!  In my book, any day you finish 20 miles is a good day!  Even though I've done enough 20+ mile long runs in the past 13 years that I'm not intimidated by the distance, I still feel accomplished after each one.
I planned ahead to practice pre-race and during race nutrition during this workout, something I’ve done really poorly at because when I’m starting runs at 5:00 a.m. I like to get up at 4:40 a.m.!  The Saturday this workout fell on, I had no time constraints and I was also running it alone, so the main consideration was weather.  With it being mid-August in the Midwest, I still wanted to start early and began this one at 5:53 a.m. after waking up at 5:00 a.m.  I prepared my nutrition the night before, and it included a scoop of vanilla cream Generation Ucan blended with almond milk pre-workout, then a PowerAde gel (all carbs + caffiene), an Accel gel (mostly carbs with 5 g protein), and Osmo electrolyte drink during the workout.  I don't like to fuel very heavily and find that I don't need to - probably because I do 99% of my morning runs fasted so my body has adapted - but I need to dial in my nutrition plans before race day unlike in 2015!  In retrospect, I should have bought some Gatorade or PowerAde to drink during the workout, since that is what will be served during my marathons, but I generally do fine with various drinks; it's solids that kill me right before/during running, hence the fluid nutrition pre-workout.  I am planning to work up to 2-3 scoops of Ucan pre-long run/pre-marathon (and probably 3-4 gels during).  One of the benefits of training with an Ironman triathlete is that I've gotten started with Ucan and Osmo because of Missy, both of which I love but probably wouldn't have tried without her recommendation.

I planned to run loops in order to run past my yard to pick up my bottles and gels, on my recoveries particularly.  I took a lawn chair out to the corner of our lot before I started and stocked it with my 2 water bottles, 2 gels, a pair of sunglasses in case the sun came out, a visor in case in rained, and some Vaseline.  My neighbors must think I'm a freak! I didn't end up needing the sunglasses, visor, or Vaseline. 

After 2 miles of warming up, I was off on my 5 mile tempo.  6:50 pace is an awkward pace for me - I find I want to either slow down to 7:00+ or speed up to 6:40, so I ended up watching my watch more on this repeat than on any other.  I stayed in the mid to high-6:40's through this, and that wasn't taxing so that was good (it also wasn't easy, just awkward is the best way to describe this pace for me right now)!

5 miles:  6:46, 6:49, 6:44, 6:41, 6:46 - average 6:45

I took my half mile recovery, including drinking while running, picking up my PowerAde gel, and peeing by the road (I stopped my watch while peeing - probably 20 seconds). I love living in the country!

Then I was off on the 4 mile.  I took my gel gradually during the first 1.5 miles of it, as I wanted to practice taking it while running marathon-ish pace.  I also picked up an Osmo bottle around mile 2 in order to wash down the gel (I did this while running, no watch stopping), then dropped it in another part of my yard after sipping on it.  I felt better dropping the pace a bit on this one because I was out of that awkward pace range, and towards the end of this repeat I started feeling confident that I could run closer to the lower range of my goal splits.  I started thinking about how I had run 8 continuous miles at 6:24 a couple of weeks ago, so shouldn't I be able to do the 3-2-1 miles with recoveries at the lower end of the prescribed pace ranges?

4 miles:  6:37, 6:41, 6:33, 6:37 - average 6:37

I took my half mile recovery, including picking up my water bottle out of my ditch to sip on (stopped my watch to climb into the ditch - less than 10 seconds), and was ready for my 3.  I told myself that I "only" had 6 more miles total hard, and I felt good about that.  I wasn't looking at my total mileage, but focusing in the segment in front of me.

Then came the 3 mile.  When I was less than a mile in, my husband and daughter came out of the house to cheer for me.  They knew I was running loops and knew how hard and potentially significant this workout was (my husband is a runner so especially appreciated how hard this would be).  My daughter even made a sign.  I told them I was on the 3 hard and that next time I came by I'd want my drink on my recovery.  I loved seeing them out there!

3 miles:  6:31, 6:32, 6:28 - average 6:30

On this half mile recovery, I picked up my drink and second gel from my daughter who was holding them out for me in true aid station form.  I told her she was the best aid station ever!  I ran out and back a bit so I could drop the bottle back off before my 2 mile repeat (I also ended up dropping off half of the gel, couldn't quite handle all of it, so I had the second half of it right after I finished to start recovery).  This was the first recovery jog I felt like I really needed - after the 5 and 4 mile hard portions I thought it would be easier to just keep running than to slow down and speed back up, but after this one I was breathing harder and knew the recovery would bring that down, which it did.

Then the 2 mile!  I decided I would definitely push for the lower end of my pace range on this one, which was 6:20. My daughter was still cheering for me, but my husband was explaining to our neighbor who had come out of his house (to get the newspaper I think) the weirdness that was happening with our family at 7:30 a.m.

2 miles:  6:20, 6:15 - average 6:18

I was definitely ready for this half mile recovery!  I hoped I could run my final mile in at least 6:15 since I'd just done that in the 2 mile, but I was getting pretty tired at this point.  I decided to go all in and see what happened.  For most of the repeat, my watch was running around 6:08 pace, and then for the final 0.2 I pretended like I was passing the mile 26 mark of a marathon and kicking it in. 

1 mile:  6:04.9

Any day a 20 miler includes a mile under 6:05 is sure a good day in my book (not that I have ever done that before!)!  It was HARD, but I wouldn't expect it to be any different.  I grabbed my water bottle and went off for my 1 mile cool-down.  Then my watch beeped 20 and I stopped to walk a bit to my sweet family!  Weather note - it was 70 degrees when I started and still 70 degrees when I finished, and cloudy with pretty much no wind the whole way.

The whole 20 ended up being at 6:52 pace, which is by far the fastest I've ever done 20 in training (average for the 15 total hard miles was 6:34; my PR half pace is 6:27 in comparison).  It was almost marathon goal pace for 20, the hard way (uneven pacing), which was super exciting!  In my actual marathon, I'll need to keep my Gamin average at 6:48 or so due to Garmin error (I plan on 0.01 per mile), but this was closer than I realized it would be!  I liked having the 5-4-3-2-1 segments because I was always focusing on the segment I was on, or even just the mile pace I was on, and I think I should work on doing that during my marathon.  When I saw this workout on paper I was intimidated, but I also thought - "How could a person hit this workout and NOT run a sub-3:00 marathon?!"  I hope that is the case!  The only time I have run 20 miles faster than this was in my PR marathon at the Dallas Marathon, with a 2:16:25 20 mile split (also my only recent marathon that I crashed in the final 3 miles, hence the 3:01:44 finish - but I learned from it and am ready to give sub-3:00 another go!).  7 weeks until Prairie Fire and 11 weeks until Bass Pro!

Best aid station ever!

Splits part 1

Splits part 2

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Garden Goodness

My husband has quite the green thumb!  I missed far too many garden veggie photo opportunities in my haste to eat all of the food, but here is a glimpse of our crops.

Carrots, summer squash, & beets ready for roasting

Beets & beet greens

Summer squash


Beets are so healthy for athletes!

Butternut squash & red onions

Roasted beets, summer squash, potatoes/sweet potatoes, & tilapia (potatoes & tilapia are store-bought)

We have several varieties of tomatoes

Bell peppers & jalapenos

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Back to reality!

Week of August 8-14, 2016

Mileage:  57.2

Monday - Monday was back to a 5:00 a.m. alarm, work, and burpees at bootcamp!  None of this was quite as hard as expected, thankfully.  The worst part of returning to work after a week off was having to look professional/presentable (i.e., not being able to wear running shoes at all times and having to wear a little make-up).  Cross-training Monday consisted of a 30 minute elliptical warm-up and 45 minute bootcamp.

Tuesday - 9.4 miles with 2 miles warm-up, a fartlek of 7 x 3 minutes on/3 minutes off, and 2 miles cool-down (7:13 average for the whole 9.4, with the ons ranging from 5:54-6:33 pace) - back to workouts.  I ran this on a rolling course so my paces on the hards varied based on the elevation changes in any given 3 minutes, but I like to do fartleks this way since they are effort-based and rolling hills are good for me, as is being less obsessive (for half mile time-based repeats I would have run a flat course).  6 of the hards were under 6:15 pace; the 6:33 one was up a long incline the whole way.  My right quad was a little sore from bootcamp, which I expected because it "seized" up a bit when we were going back and forth between lunges and lateral jumps, but I didn't feel it during this run, just afterward when I foam rolled.

Wednesday - 12.1 miles base pace (7:25).  This run didn't feel like reality for the first 5-6 miles; those miles felt like running aimlessly into a dark abyss!  It's getting light later now (boo!), and I started this run a little earlier than most since it was a little longer than my typical weekday morning distances, plus it was super foggy!  My headlamp is great in normal dark conditions, but doesn't do much for me in the fog, plus it needs new batteries (we are out of AAA but they are now on the grocery list!).  Stepping outside for this run was like stepping into a sauna, and I was dripping when I finished, but otherwise it was an enjoyable run!

Thursday - It was back to school day for Albani!  I ran 12.5 miles total:  8.5 recovery miles (8:04) with Missy in the morning, with 6 strides in mile 8, and 4 miles (7:37) in the evening.  It was 7000% humidity for all of this!  The heat index was 105 for my evening run, and it wasn't as bad as I expected, but I was drenched in sweat and ready for bed at 8:30 p.m. (I blame vacation hang-over for this more than running, though).

My 3rd grader!

Some were more awake than others

Albani selected the dresses for us; she still likes to match me so I am taking
advantage of this as long as I can!

Bandit was stoked too

So grown up!
Friday - 3 mile shake-out (7:34) followed by 40 minutes of bootcamp.  I was so tired when I went to bed on Thursday night that I contemplated running the easy 3 only and skipping bootcamp (my coach gives me running workouts only and bootcamp is something I add because I find it very beneficial for strength and injury-prevention; he approves of it but it's not written on my schedule, because you know I wouldn't skip anything written on the schedule!).  But I set my alarm for early enough to do both and once I was awake I figured I might as well try, and I could always leave bootcamp early if I was too dead.  My body felt tired at the beginning of this run but good at the end, and bootcamp was fine.  Often times starting is the hardest part!  It's always a pretty good day when you use heavier weights than the man next to you who outweighs you by probably 50 lbs!

Saturday - 14 mile long run (7:19 average for all) with 10 miles base pace followed by 4 cut-down miles (drop 5-10 seconds per mile).  I love fast finish long runs, and as this workout was written my last 4 miles should have been 7:20, 7:10, 7:00, 6:50 at the fastest, but I've found that paces between 6:50-7:15ish are kind of weird gears for me and I always end up wanting to go a little faster or a little slower on those miles in this workout.  I felt great on this run and it felt short after having 20 last weekend!  I ran this one alone, and had to get up at 4:30 a.m. for it because I had Missouri State University adjunct professor orientation on Saturday morning (I am teaching a class in their ABA Masters program this fall for the second time).  I was happy to feel great at the end and to finish with a 6:27 mile! I often feel better finishing long runs at 6:30ish than 6:50ish, I guess because the 6:30ish push is truly hard and the 6:50ish push is faster but not throw down (technically it is marathon goal pace, which is still a weird pace for me). My overall pace average was exactly the same as the last time I ran this workout in July, but this time I ran from home by myself and the course had over 400 feet of elevation gain - last time I ran in Wichita with Kim on a course with 0 feet elevation gain!  And my final mile was 6:27 this time on an uphill finish compared with 6:28 last time on pancake flat.  Yay.

Long run splits

Sunday - 6.2 miles base pace (7:25), with the 4 middle miles with Casey.  The 14 mile long run didn't take much out of me so I felt good on this one.  I was pretty tempted to run 9 in order to hit 60 miles for the week, but I will be there soon enough!

I'm really enjoying the Olympics track and field and can't wait to watch the women's marathon! I DVRed it this morning when it aired and have been avoiding the Internet for any spoilers. I saw the men's 10K results on Facebook before I got to watch that one - boo! But I am watching both this afternoon. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Vacation week

Week of August 1-6, 2016, a.k.a. Vacation week

Mileage: 52 with a hill repeat workout, a set of strides, and a 20 miler - no doubles this week as I requested!  I also did 2 strength workouts and ran in 6 different states (if you count my July 31 run in South Dakota).

Monday: Cross-training Monday in Gillette, Wyoming with the hotel fitness center all to myself! I did 60 minutes on the elliptical and 40 minutes of strength training. I felt surprisingly good during this workout considering how exhausted I was when I went to bed Sunday night after touring Wind Cave, Crazy Horse, and Mount Rushmore along with driving about 4 hours!

Crazy Horse

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Wind Cave

Entering Wyoming
Tuesday - 8.5 miles, including 8 x 0.25 mile hill repeats in Cody, Wyoming (7:29 for the whole run, quarter mile incline repeat splits were 1:25-1:29). There was a very long incline in view from our hotel balcony so I had no excuse to skip these repeats! However, the incline was very tame compared to the hill I usually run repeats on (on my usual hill, 7:15 pace is HARD). We were at over 5,000 feet elevation, so that counts for something, right? It took me a bit to get warmed up on this run, but I didn't feel that the elevation bothered me

Hill repeats

View from our hotel balcony where you can kind of see the incline

Wyoming wilderness
Wednesday - 10.1 miles base pace (7:32) in Livingston, Montana. I definitely toured the entire town on this run (it was about 2.2 miles from one end to the other)! I found a little trail by the river, but unfortunately it wasn't very long. I felt better than expected considering we spent all of Tuesday at Yellowstone, with many miles of walking/hiking and climbing stairs and hills in the heat. Yellowstone is beautiful and sure makes me appreciate God's creation even more!

Riverside path in Livingston

Livingston run views

We didn't pass a Montana state sign, so this had to do

Entering Yellowstone

Mudpot geyser

Upper falls, I think

Mammoth Hot Springs
Thursday - 6.1 miles base pace with 6 strides in the last mile (7:49) in Dubios, Wyoming. It was 41 degrees/feels like 34 for this run at 7,000 ft elevation! This followed another full day at Yellowstone, several hours in the car, a night at what we called The Bates Motel, dinner at a gas station, and not nearly enough sleep, so I wasn't sure if my base pace was a little slower from all of that or from the elevation (or a combination). This town of 971 had a dirt trail that ran for miles along the highway - although I'm not sure if it was actually a running trail or for farm equipment or something, but I ran it!

Yellowstone day 2 - Morning Glory pool maybe?

Fearless geyser with my nephew

I should've taken pictures of all of the names, because I don't remember many!

Someone got tired!

Old Faithful - Albani was really done for the day by this point (so was I!)
Friday - Threasy: 3.2 at 7:26 in Ogallala, Nebraska, plus a 30 minute hotel strength workout. This was my 5th state to run in this week! Our hotel didn't have a fitness center, because we chose it based in the indoor pool for the kids, but I got my strength day in with a lot of body weight and jump moves (lunge variations, plank variations, squat variations, calf raises, tuck jumps, jumping jacks, skaters, push-ups, dips, etc.). Jon was still sleeping when I did this workout in the room - miraculously. Albani stayed in her uncle and cousins' room this night. 

The kids would have been happy if we stayed in
a local hotel with a pool for our "vacation"!
Saturday - 20 miles (7:26) - because marathon training long runs know no vacation week! I ran this in Wichita (after spending Friday night at my parents' house), which I think was good for me since my next marathon is there and it's so flat compared to my routes in the Ozarks. As crazy as it sounds, I've been worried this marathon could be too flat!

I ran 8 miles solo then met Kim for 12. I felt great on this run up to mile 18, then the last 2 miles hurt, mainly because I was super hungry and my blood sugar felt wonky. They were still my fastest miles, really only thanks to Kim who I was hanging on! Overall I was very pleased with this run and my negative split, particularly coming off of vacation. When we finished, I immediately started eating the fruit I brought, and felt better quickly. I also made a recovery drink in a shaker cup (protein powder, Nuun, and water - not the tastiest but it was what I had with me), which I set on the top of my car so the Nuun could dissolve while I walked and stretched a bit. I was so zonked, I drove off and heard a crunch, then looked back and saw a cup in the road. I chalked it up to running over someone's litter, and then when I was a couple of miles down the road I reached for my recovery drink and it wasn't there - and then I connected the dots! So now I need a new shaker cup, although I was most upset that I lost my drink!  The effects of low blood sugar...

20 done

20 done 2
Sunday - 4.1 miles back at home (7:43).  I felt far better than I expected to on this run (no soreness or even stiffness), possibly because it was so short and probably because I slept 10 blissful hours the previous night.  I ran the first bit with Jon and then sped up.  It was really hard for me not to go farther, but I followed my schedule...  I have some really intense workouts coming this month so I figure I'd better take these short easy days as I have them.  I'm pretty sure I've never run over 50 miles during a vacation week, so I am pretty happy with that!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Let's lose our minds and go crazy crazy

Week in review for July 25-31, 2016

This week I felt like I was losing my mind for various reasons, and one day "Cake by the Ocean" came on the radio and that line became my theme for the week.  I also rearranged my Thursday through Sunday running schedule, which I am sure my coach loved, but there was no way I was going to run my long run on Saturday morning before getting in the car for 12 hours starting at 7:00 a.m.!

Mileage: 52.8, with one fartlek, one tempo in a long run, one strength workout, one set of strides, and a whole lot of tired!

Monday - After last weekend, which included a Saturday race and Sunday 18 miler in an extreme heat advisory, I woke up feeling like I got hit by a train!  Sunday night I was exhausted but couldn't fall asleep, and slept only in short spurts separated with very startled wakings - something that happens occasionally when I'm depleted (especially after marathons) - so that did not help.  I did the elliptical to warm up and an easier than usual full-body strength workout with weights but no plyos or jumping moves (single leg squats, calf raises, hip adduction and abduction, lat pull down, squats with overhead press, lumberjack swings, wall sits, rows, planks, side planks, glute bridges, dead lifts).  I felt better after this workout than before it, despite almost skipping it all together - and you know I am going crazy when I nearly skip workouts.

Tuesday - 8.2 base pace miles (7:29), including numerous gnat attacks.  I was so over this run.  I didn't feel very good going in (residual fatigue from the weekend and missed sleep), I got gnats in my eyes and mouth, and when I finished I literally had to wipe hundreds of gnats off of all parts of my body with a towel.  So gross, and surely enough to drive anyone crazy.

Wednesday - 13.2 miles with 9.1 a.m. (7:26 average for the whole thing) and 4.1 p.m. (7:19, oops). The morning run was a fartlek:  2 miles warm-up, 3 miles of 3 minutes on/3 minutes off, 2 miles of 2 minutes on/2 minutes off, and 2 miles cool-down.  I was glad I didn't have a tempo run or pace-based repeat workout for this run, as I wasn't up for that physically or mentally.  I felt like I was going crazy when my watch would beep to run hard when I would come to an uphill and then beep to run easy when I would come to a downhill, and when I saw my paces were only 6:30-6:45ish on the hards.  The evening run was attack of the gnats part 2 and because of those crazy bugs I nearly called it early. I felt better on the second run than the first, though.  Overall I wasn't too happy with this day, but I got it done. 

I can't handle it!!
Thursday - Threesy:  3.1 miles (7:35), plus 10 minutes of core work (mostly plank variations). This was scheduled for Friday as my tiny run on a day I used to not run.  Since my body was hating me, it was nice to have such a short run.  And there were no gnats!!

Friday -  15.4 miles: 2.3 miles warm-up (7:43), 8 miles tempo (6:24), 5.1 miles cool-down (7:57).  Description here.  "Let's lose our minds and go crazy crazy" is a good way to describe this whole thing, but I was very happy with it and felt much better than on Wednesday!  I was also very glad that I ran this a day early, even though I had to get up at 4:30 a.m. to do it!

Saturday - 5.5 mile shake out (8:05) in Benton, Kansas. This was supposed to be run on Sunday, making it a cut back in distance of my Sunday recovery run.  It was scheduled to follow the 15 miler with 8 miles tempo as it did, and I can see why it was what it was - I was tired. I felt better when I finished than when I started so it served its purpose!

Sunday - 7.3 miles base pace plus 6 strides in final mile (average 7:39) in Hot Springs, South Dakota; this was scheduled for Thursday. I picked a direction to run by looking at a map of my hotel, and it was not a good choice because mile 1 had about 200 feet of elevation gain and was therefore a difficult way to start and very slow (although coming down was easy and fast!). Around mile 2 I came upon a nice trail by the river, but it wasn't made for marathon runners and was less than 1.5 miles. I then ran on some highway (no traffic at 6 a.m. on a Sunday) to get my distance before doubling back to the hotel. It was a pretty run!

Short trail in Hot Springs, SD

It's hard to beat running by a waterfall

Looking down from less than half the hill I ran up in mile 1