Total mileage for the month: 275, effectively making this my biggest month of the year so far (January - 261, February - 212, March - 203, April - 219, May - 249, June - 205). I am essentially starting my 20-week marathon training build for CIM at about the mileage I peaked at before the Phoenix marathon, which is a combination of exciting and scary!
- June 26-July 2: 58.2
- July 3-9: 60.8
- July 10-16: 62.4
- July 17-23: 64.0
- July 24-30: 65.0
- July 22 - Access to Health "5K"...just maintaining the trend of racing occasional 5Ks off of no 5K training! I averaged 5:57 pace (or a tad faster since my Garmin is usually slow), but my official time was 18:48 because the course was a bit long. The course was also hilly and the temperature was in the 80s, so while this was not my fastest performance of the month, I was happy with it and I ran 50 seconds faster than I did at the same race last year!
- July 4 - 10 mile progression run with splits of 7:30, 7:24, 7:14, 7:03, 6:55, 6:40, 6:37, 6:20, 6:08, 6:01 (6:48 average) on a rolling road course with 345 ft gain; this was prescribed to start at 7:40 and drop 10 seconds/mile, therefore finishing at 6:10. My splits were consistently 3-10 seconds under goal pace, and this run was a great way to transition back to workouts after running only two tiny ones in June. Jessi (MSU's top distance runner) ran this with me, which was very helpful -- and her Garmin had our splits 2-3 seconds faster/mile than mine did, so I want to go with her's that gave us a 5:59 final mile and 6:45 average across the board!
- July 8 - hodge podge progression long run that was not officially on my schedule, with an inpromptu fast finish mile (described in the long run section below).
- July 11 - 4 mile tempo at 5:53 average via 5:57, 5:55, 5:50, 5:47 (2 warm-up and 2.6 cool down). I wrote a bit more about this workout, which was my first ever sub-6:00 4 mile tempo, here. This was done on a fairly flat course (most of my runs are done on rolling roads, but I need flatness to hit these tempo times!).
- July 18 - 4 mile fartlek of 2 minutes on/2 minutes off (2 warm-up and 2.5 cool-down). I ran this on a rolling road course (192 ft elevation gain in the 4 mile fartlek section), because it's good for me to run some hard efforts on hills, but like I mentioned above, I need flatter areas to hit my tempo paces so I do not run them on hills. Even though fartleks are effort-based, I always look at my paces after the workouts for the ons! My pushes ranged from 5:49-6:09 pace, and all but two were sub-6:00 -- and I'm of course blaming the elevation for that.
- July 25 - 6 mile tempo at 5:55 average via 5:59, 6:00, 5:55, 5:55, 5:54, 5:47 (2 warm-up and 2 cool down). Like my 4 mile tempo two weeks before, this was done on a fast course, and I wrote some more about it here. My last 6 mile tempo run was done in 36:03, so breaking 36 was my clear goal and I executed that with Jessi's help!
- July 28 - fast finish 15 mile long run (described in the long run section below)
- Doubles on July 4, 6, 11, 13, 18, 19, 25, and 26 (scheduled every Tuesday and Thursday; moved a couple to Wednesday due to non-running life).
- Strides on July 6, 13, 20, and pre-race on July 22.
- Bootcamp/full body strength on: July 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31 (i.e., every Monday) -- also 5-15 minutes of strength training many days right after running or at a random point during the day. My goal was a minimum of 90 minutes total strength training each week, and I hit that every week, generally landing around 100 minutes total, but how I got there wasn't very structured/scheduled, which I did not love. This new routine has allowed me to have a truly very easy day on Fridays (by not doing a full class on Fridays and only running 3 miles), and I think that's helping me recover better and feel stronger overall.
- July 1 - 13.1 miles base pace (7:11). Hello humidity! This was a great run with Missy, Jackie, and Jessi. Since it wasn't that long of a run I didn't even think about needing a drink, but about 8 miles in I started feeling like one of those cartoon characters hallucinating about water in the desert, and Missy saved me with some ice cold goodness from her vehicle around mile 9. It's been a long time since water tasted that good, and I could not stop drinking once I started!
- July 8 - 13.1 miles hodge podge (7:20 for all/6:09 final mile). This was scheduled as a base pace long run for me (meaning 7:10-8:00 pace, but ideally towards the faster end), and Amy R. had a workout that I agreed to run with her: 6 miles at 7:50ish pace, then a 6 mile progression run ending at 7:00. I figured I'd tack on another slight progression mile (6:50sih) at the end to get to my 13 total and to keep my average pace under 7:30. I wore a fuel belt to carry water for Amy; I don't mind wearing one on base runs but won't wear it on my workouts. Jessi, Jeff, and Claudio also ran the workout or something similar, and due to all kinds of various events (e.g., me distributing water bottles, someone taking a bathroom stop, someone speeding up, someone slowing down, etc.), I ended up with 5 miles between 7:41-7:58, then a nice progression down via 7:34, 7:29, 7:23, 7:15, 7:04, 6:54, 6:43 (this was Amy's last mile), 6:09. During Amy's last mile I decided I'd go ahead and try to hit my final mile at my goal marathon pace, and to do that I took off my fuel belt and tossed it into the ditch, planning to pick it up on my drive home. The final mile of the course we were on includes a half mile incline that we typically avoid when we have planned fast finish runs (the reason Amy finished before that portion of road). I'd fast finished a long run up that incline once before, and our group made it into a Strava segment, so I knew the fastest fast finish mile I'd ever done on that stretch was 6:22. I figured 6:17 might be a stretch, but I went for it and came away with a 6:09! Once I finished, I realized that my car key was in the fuel belt I'd thrown into the ditch -- oops! Jessi ended up driving me back to get it, and initially I couldn't find the belt in the high grass, causing some panic, but it was finally located. Lesson learned: keep my car key in my shorts pocket even if I wear the belt, in case an impulsive fast finish occurs!
- July 15 - 14.2 miles base pace (7:24). Hello humidity: The sequel! I ran some of this with Missy, Jackie, Amy R., and Amy P., and Amy P. said it best with, "Why does 7:30 pace feel like 7:00 pace today??!" I drank 72 oz. of fluids upon finishing and was thankful it wasn't a workout day!
- July 23 - 12.6 miles base pace (7:10). Surprise -- hot and humid again, even at 5:15 a.m.! I ran some of this with Amy R. to help pace her workout. I was glad I did not have a workout!
- July 28 - 15 miles with 3 progressive fast finish (6:59 for all 15; final 3 in 6:41, 6:26, 6:05). Guess what...it was 74* with 99% humidity for this run. I ran this one day early, on Friday before a 3-day weekend out of town, but luckily I still had the company of Jessi, Zach, and Ben. I set out water bottles for everyone on top of a brick sign at the church we regularly run from, and also on top of my mailbox. We ran an 8 mile loop first, then dropped Ben off, and I drank 8 oz of nuun while running a little out and back. We then ran a 7 mile course that passed by my house, and I did the same there. It was good for me to practice drinking while running (grabbing the bottles on the go with no watch stopping), and I could tell I'm not used to it because my stomach felt super full, so I'm going to start incorporating it more often. I felt strong the whole run, and my goal for the cut-down was to progressively drop from base pace down to 6:17 (MGP) for the last mile. I figured I would aim for 6:45, 6:30, 6:15, so I was right under where I wanted to be. The 6:05 was a fast finish long run PR, and I can only hope I can finish my marathon with a mile like that! I'm targeting hitting a sub-6:00 long run fast finish mile before this training cycle is over. I guess after the descriptions of the previous two long runs, I should add: I'm glad this had a little workout. Hah. I'm also not sure it was really necessary for me to point out that it was hot and humid for every long run...it was July in Missouri after all! But it was actually cool (in the 60s) and not sticky for my runs on July 29-31, so it can happen!
- I had NO days off running this month -- the first time for that! This means that I'm on a running streak that started on June 20, although I have no plans to maintain it (i.e., I will take days completely off running whenever my coach tells me to). I am still on my workout streak that started 1/1/14, but that just means I do at least 10 minutes of cross-training on a day off.
- My official CIM (goal marathon) 20 week training block started on July 17. A lot of marathon training blocks are 16 weeks, but my coach likes to do 20 if possible.
- Our running group made a new rule this month: Whichever Garmin shows the fastest pace for the day is the correct one. We know we are crazy when we analyze pace discrepancies of 2-3 seconds when we all start and finish together.
- I spoke for a high school cross-country camp, along with two of the awesome ladies I train with. Hopefully the young runners found us informative and somewhat interesting! I envisioned conversations starting with, "Those three old women who talked to us..."
- I volunteered at the OMRR #sweatfest races this month, and got to see some state records get broken there!
- July included several road trips! We went to Cherryvale and Yates Center, Kansas for a few days for the 4th, to Eureka Springs, Arkansas for a power-packed 2 day/1 night weekend, and to Benton, Kansas for a 3-day weekend with my parents. Some highlight photos are below! While all of the traveling and activities were amazing, they didn't necessarily do my training any favors. It's hard to work full-time, mom full-time, train, and have non-stop weekends. I'll sleep more when school resumes (I hope)!
- Garden goodness also continued this month, with fresh beets, bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, blackberries, raspberries, zucchini, yellow squash, and multiple varieties of tomatoes. Don't worry, I still had room for multiple jars of peanut butter. I am also currently very into protein shakes/smoothies, especially to replenish after warm runs. I got away from my June sugar phase and back on the healthy eating train this month.
|My parents & daughter on the 4th|
|My niece is almost taller than me!|
|Beautiful 4th of July sky|
|Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge near Eureka Springs|
|"Mama, it's only $150!" We did not purchase it, hah.|
|Just like a big house cat|
|Downtown Eureka Springs|
|We went to the county fair this month on our one weekend home|
|Some of my best smoothie work ever, with beets|
|Great Plains Wildlife area in Wichita|
|Sedgwick County Zoo|
|Candy factory in Dexter, Kansas|
|Blackberry patch near Wichita, Kansas|
|Boating at El Dorado Lake|
|My favorite lake day photo!|
|Eggplant & tomatoes|
|Bandit showing off some beets|