Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Jubilant June

June 2021 in review!  

Total mileage for the month: 332.4 (for 2093 miles for 2021 so far!)
  • May 31-June 6:  68.8
  • June 7-13:  73.1
  • June 14-20:  82.4
  • June 21-27:  93.9
  • June 28-July 4:  65.9
Fast friends!
Trevor is the master of on-the-run pics
  • June 8:  4 x 6:00 at tempo (paces of 5:54, 5:56, 5:58, 5:54) with 1:00 jog recoveries + 4 x 3:00 at 5k pace (paces of 5:38, 5:40, 5:42, 5:42) with 2:00 jogs recoveries.  My only complaint about this workout was that I'd rather it have been 4 x 1 mile at tempo because with the 6:00 my watch autolapped at 1 mile then lapped again a few seconds later at the 6:00 mark...or in other words, the workout went well!  Colin paced me on it, which is probably the only reason I was able to hit my coach's ambitious paces when the dew point was 69* (humidity 100%). I'm sure it comes as a surprise to no one that I would rather run 4 miles at tempo than run 3 minutes at 5k pace, hah!  My running group warmed up together then had 3 different workout groups going this morning with 2-3 people in each group, and as always it was better together!
  • June 12:  16.2 miles that included 2 x (20:00 at MP + 5:00 at tempo) with 5:00 jog between. I went to Christian's and Colin's race in Branson and ran the lakefront path for this workout while they were racing.  The weather was pretty miserable, at 76-79* with a 72* dew point.  I was close on the marathon pace miles, which had a heat adjusted goal of 6:25, but I couldn't drop my pace below 6:15 for the life of me, so the 6:05 tempo heat adjusted pace did not happen (goal paces would have been 6:15 and 5:55 in good weather).  This time-based workout came out to about 8 miles of work, and my paces for the hard miles were: 6:24, 6:29, 6:31, 6:16 / 6:23, 6:35, 6:32, 6:21.  The course wasn't wonderful, with hills and on a curvy path, but the heat got me the most.  The weather was similar to the previous week's conditions at Hospital Hill, so I don't know why it bothered me a lot more on this run than at that race, but I have found that my performance is less predictable in humidity, so I'll credit that (also the air by the lake really smelled like fish so maybe that counts for something, hah!). But the effort was there and I know I'll get the benefits!
  • June 15:  7 x 1,000 m at 10k pace with 2:00 recoveries in 3:34, 3:34, 3:36, 3:36, 3:36, 3:35, 3:33 (5:42-5:47 pace - goal is 5:45), (3 warm up, 3 cool down). On the recoveries I walked for a few seconds until the rest of my group finished, jogged 200 m, then stood for about 30 seconds before starting the next rep. Track workouts really intimidate me, but this one felt smooth and amazing, which was a nice way to start my speed block!  My coach texted me "We want this to be a good burn workout, not a balls to the wall workout", but beforehand I wasn't even sure I could hit it going balls to the wall (hahaha!).  Once I got started, it actually felt like 10k pace and not death, which was really, really nice.  It was 68* with 64* dew point, which certainly helped (as compared to the June 12 workout!), and I had 4 running buddies on the track with me, which definitely helped.
  • June 22:  8 x 800 m at 5k pace with 200 m jog/2:00 recoveries in 2:47, 2:47, 2:47, 2:49, 2:50, 2:50, 2:50, 2:47 (2.3 warm up, 3 cool down).  This was definitely The Best 800 m Workout Of My Life, at age 40.  Enough said!  The unseasonably cool temps (56 degrees) and group workout helped, but I averaged 2:48 on my own (other group members were doing 2:40ish or 3:00+).  I know I "should" be able to run a workout like this based on my race times, but I sure never have, so a lot of yay here!
  • June 26:  17.6 miles with a descending fartlek of 3 x 4' on/4' off, 4 x 3' on/3' off, 5 x 2' on/2' off, 6 x 1' on/1' off.  Colin and I ran this on a hilly course with 906 ft gain, so our paces varied based on the elevation, but my Garmin 745 tells me that on the ons (which added up to 40:00 total) I covered 6.63 miles and my average pace was 6:02.  The on paces ranged from 5:22-6:26 depending on if we were going up or downhill, but the 4:00 and 3:00 pushes were at half effort, the 2:00 at 10k effort, and the 1:00 at 5k effort.  After my June 12 long run workout was a struggle in the heat, I wasn't the most optimistic about this one in 75*/70* dew point (at 5 a.m.!), but it was cloudy and rained on us, which really helped (except for a couple of reps when it rained intensely).
  • June 29:  3 x 1,000 m at 5k pace with 3:00 recoveries in 3:30, 3:31, 3:35, for a lighter race week workout!  My pace goal was 3:31-3:35, so I should have run these in the opposite order, but I am pretty good at positive splitting when the dew point is over 70*. I was good with this workout for what it was, and I tested my new race shoes, Adidas Audizero Pros, but they slipped on my heel so I need to re-lace them using a different set of holes (they have multiple lacing options). I don't think that necessarily slowed me down but it sure didn't help.  I was solo on these because Colin was blazing his at 3:15ish and the others were doing 3:45ish.
  • Strides: June 3, 4, 7, 11, 14, 21, 25, 28, and a few before most workouts.
  • Doubles: June 7, 10, 15, 16, 18, 21, 22, 24, 27, 29
  • Strength Training:  weekly totals of 1:55, 2:22, 2:55, 3:00
Track crew
Another track day
Long Runs:
  • June 5:  18 miles total with 2.8 warm up, the Hospital Hill Half, and 2 cool down.  The warm up and cool down were also hilly...
  • June 12:  16.2 miles with a workout, described above.
  • June 19:  16.5 miles (7:44) that started at 5 a.m.! Summer is here and my husband wanted me to help him at the Farmer's Market as soon as I could get there after 7 a.m., so I started this run at the Farmer's Market location then immediately ran over to help when I finished.  Colin and Brad were kind enough to also start at 5 a.m., even though they knew I was going to talk excessively about the Shelby Houlihan doping conviction which I followed far too closely.
  • June 26:  17.6 miles (7:10) with a workout, described above.
  • I did 10 miles each Sunday this month, and I don't count 10 as a long run so didn't note those (trust me, you do not want me to note every day I run 10 miles), but as I work into more marathon-specific training it should be easy to up those to 12-14 milers if my coach so chooses.  I told her how much I loved back-to-back long runs during 50k training and how much I thought they helped my strength, but I trust whatever she writes for me.
Sponsored by Ibbetson Farms
Running Highlights:
  • I was selected for the 2021-2022 rabbitELITE squad! Their pink crop hop is my absolute favorite race top, their community is awesome, and I am honored to represent.  It's my first time being selected for anything like this and I'm so excited for all of the rabbit gear.
  • I made it over 2000 miles YTD this month.  I don't typically keep an eye on this but saw others posting that they were over 2000 and on track to exceed 4000 for the year, so I checked on mine.  It is best for me not to check my yearly mileage until December 31, though I think I've been doing much better recently about not being crazy about stuff like that and could handle it now.
  • I started working with my awesome coach Nichole again on June 7.  I think I did really well self-coaching the last 6 months (miracles can happen!), but I can never be completely objective about my own training and believe I will run better with her guidance than without.  I wouldn't have taken a break from coaching if I hadn't had that hip issue in 2020, but I felt uncertain about my trajectory for awhile.
  • I accompanied my friends Christian and Colin to a steamy half marathon on June 12, and they took home overall male and female wins so that was fun!

Find friends who will get in Table
Rock Lake with you after long runs!
Life Highlights:
  • I attended my niece's high school graduation on June 2.
  • Ibbetson Family Farm started back in full swing - please like and share our Facebook page if you have a moment! Jon and Albani are producing a plethora of fresh produce along with several sweet treat options this year.
  • I met up with a group of my grad school friends in Pittsburg (my college town) on June 19, and it was wonderful to see everyone in person.
My mom, niece, and sister

It's pretty clear what year this graduation

Beyond cuteness

No one has aged since grad school, correct?
Making sure to be an embarrassing
mother at the fireworks stand
  • Love Story (The Baxter Family #1) by Karen Kingsbury
  • Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell
  • The Explosive Child by Ross W. Greene
  • The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V. E. Schwab
  • Fly Away (Firefly Lane #2) by Kristin Hannah
  • The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  • It looks as if my reading was down this month, but I think it's because most of these were pretty lengthy.
Theme for the month:
Summer of Speed - as much as faster, shorter stuff intimidates me, it's been fun to get on the track for some work!  I've hit speed workout PRs, so I am going to use the hashtag #fasterasamaster now.  I have had big goals for many years, and this year it's not that I don't have ambitions, but that I'm enjoying whatever my best is versus trying to force anything specific or reach too far.  I have never felt so good about my running physically or emotionally - I love being 40 and the masters running opportunities it has opened for me.  I am running the 10,000 m in the USATF Masters Outdoor Track and Field National Championships in Ames, Iowa next month and could not be more excited about that! 

Friday, June 11, 2021

Hospital Hill Half: Hot Hilly Happiness

The short:
I kept saying “it’s not a real race” before the Hospital Hill Half Marathon, but I am also well-aware that when I get into a race I will not run easy! Now, when it’s a sunny 74-80 degrees, the course is very hilly, I'm 3 weeks off a marathon, I am just off a rest phase, and I am 3 days off of a major vacation, that doesn't mean I am going to knock it out of the park, but I'll give it all I've got on the day.  That is exactly what I did at Hospital Hill, and I was very happy with my result all-considering.  I was first overall female in 1:25:27 and set a new women's course record (it's a relatively new course).  I also had a ton of fun in the process; running a race with no time expectations can be very freeing!  I came home with a great finishing banner, a lot of joy, and a tan.

Overall female results are here.

My activity on Strava is here - check out that split variation based on the elevation, hah!

My dad's video of the start is here.

My dad's video of me breaking the tape at the finish is here.

I love when races have & let you keep
these finishing banners!

Athlinks says it was 87*...maybe in direct sun?

The long:
I had no desire to run Hospital Hill this year until my friend Andrew started talking about pacing their 1:25 pace group.  We both thought that it was odd to offer a 1:25 group because anyone who could run that kind of time on that course in typical Missouri June weather probably didn't need any pacing assistance, and we also agreed that it would be about max for both of us to do it, but if we could get a free entry to pace then we should do it (follow this logic at all?).  I knew I could combine the race with a work trip, and my niece's high school graduation ceremony was 36 hours before the race in the same town, so it seemed like a no-brainer that I'd run it if I had a free entry.  Andrew ended up getting me that free entry, but with no pacing duties (the 1:25 group was axed), and although I briefly retracted my willingness to run it when we scheduled our family vacation right before the race, I felt fine enough when the time came so I lined up on race morning.

Missouri summers are very humid, and I was not yet heat adapted, so I knew race day with temperatures starting at 74 degrees and quickly rising was going to be uncomfortable.  The course is very hilly, including the infamous Hospital Hill climb, so I had zero expectations for time; I just wanted to work with Andrew and compete with the other women in the field.  My friend Laura was running the race, and I suspected she'd be my main competition (she'd won the race several times before).  I knew I'd have to have a good day to beat her, but also figured we could work together.  I wasn't in the mindset to throw down an extremely hard effort, but I knew I would if that's what it took.

I started off very conservatively, running easier than marathon effort for the first 5k, which included the 160ish ft Hospital Hill Climb.  I was with Andrew, his friend Josh, my friend Laura, and a man who wanted to break 1:30.  There were a couple of women ahead of us, and it was hard for me not to try to chase them down, but I kept it easy through the 5k then upped the effort a little, thinking, "it's just a 10 mile race".  Laura and I moved into the top two female positions around mile 4, and our group of 4 (Andrew, Josh, Laura, me) stayed pretty close, although we approached hills a bit differently.  I just aimed to maintain equal effort.  I don't race by my watch anymore regardless, but this race is definitely not one to run by split times because the elevation varies so much.  Our group chatted and laughed quite a bit and everyone seemed to be enjoying the race.  Laura and I got a lot of "go ladies" cheers, and Josh kept chiming in, "and men!" after them.  Andrew was very familiar with the course and kept narrating it for us, particularly emphasizing how sucky miles 11-12 were going to be.

Josh, Andrew, me

The saving grace on the hot sunny day was the amount of shade from large trees on the course.  If it had all been in open sun I am pretty sure I would have died!  I felt really good and like I was holding back, and around miles 7-8 I felt like others were easing off a little, so around mile 9 I started pushing more, then Josh and I gapped Andrew and Laura.  I knew that miles 11-12 were all uphill, then the last mile was downhill, so I gave effort accordingly.  I passed several men between mile 10 and the finish, which kept my momentum going.  At mile 11 I was definitely ready to get to mile 12 and the downhill, and Josh told me that I had a significant lead so I didn't plan to hammer the end, but the downhill propelled me to a 5:58 final mile.  I never felt like I was running that hard during the race, but the heat snuck up on me so I also don't think I could have run really any faster, so I'm glad I didn't try to early on (though mindset probably played into this)!  Overall I felt strong but not sharp, which is what I'd expect based on where I'm at right now.

Smiling as the announcer stated first female

I had a lead cyclist with and around me from when Laura and I took the female lead to the end, and he was great.  We kept joking with him that he had to make sure I didn't cut the course.  As I was coming down the final stretch I saw him waving frantically at the finish line staff to hold up the overall female finishing banner.  It's always so fun to break a tape; I did so with a huge smile on my face and I even remembered not to stop my watch until I was through the line and stopped.  The only disadvantage to that was that I didn't capture how fast my finishing sprint was, but we all know I'm not setting any speed records in anything, so...  My parents said they announced that I set the female course record (the course has been changed since they used to give prize money), but I haven't found anything official about that anywhere yet.  I also completely forgot to pick up my overall award, but I'm pretty happy with the banner.
Professional finishing photo sequence

Post-finish photos from race officials

After I finished some of the race staff took my photo, my parents took pictures, and a race official asked me about the event and how easy the course was to follow (answer: it was great, except the runners behind us who were going out when we were coming back moved over to the shorter route lane of the road, so we ran the longer route going both out and back, which added a little distance).  I met back up with Josh and Andrew, who both finished right behind me.  Andrew was pleased to hit the 1:25 goal - pre-race we'd hypothesized that 1:25 on that course in the heat was like 1:20 on a good course in good weather, then post-race he determined that temperature calculators like this one give us 14-18 seconds/mile, and the course (based on Strava GAP) gives us 4 seconds/mile, so our performance probably is equivalent to a 1:19-1:20.  This premium Strava user finished not far behind me, so you can look at his grade adjusted paces.  I have enjoyed running races that I know I won't run super fast in this season though!  I love PR-chasing, but it's also a joy to just go compete and do my best given the conditions, without worrying about seconds here and there.  I also seem to also be doing well on long races with climbs towards the end (e.g., every single race I have run in 2021 aside from the Squirrel 5k), although I will not select courses like this for PR-chasing.

The last mile was nice!

My parents took a bunch of pics with
this banner while I ran my cool down

Aren't they the cutest?

This summer I will be doing a little less mileage and a little more speed work before transitioning into marathon training.  Speed stuff is not my forte but it will be good for me, and I am hoping to challenge my 5k PR.  My next long race (another half) will be August 28, which seems really far away even though it's not, so I'm extra glad I got this one in.  I continue to be amazed at the blessings God gives me through running, especially considering that a year ago I was highly skeptical that I would ever run well again.  That was probably dramatic, but us runners are likely to defer to that when off running or not performing well, so if you are in that situation, don't stop believing!  That time period has made me far less obsessive about times and finding "perfect" races, so I imagine that was part of the blessing in disguise.  I've loved every race I've run this year, but a few years ago I don't think I'd have selected any of them!
I bought this great top for a 4th of July
race, but since I'm not running one I
decided to wear it for Hospital Hill!

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Summer Vacation 2021

We had a narrow window to take our family vacation this summer, between Albani finishing 7th grade and the Ibbetson Farms farmers market produce sales starting full swing, so our trip started not long after my Tobacco Road Marathon race-cation.  We left home on May 28 and returned on June 2.  Below is what we did, including what I ran each morning.  I included a few photo highlights in this post, but a photo documentary can be viewed here.  

May 28:
  • The Drive
  • Lunch from Steak & Shake on the road (Albani’s choice earned by good grades)
  • Wickliffe Mounds
  • American Archaeology (the American Pickers Store)
  • Marathon Mercantile 
  • Dinner at Greek Gyros, which was across the street from our hotel 
  • Ran 16 miles with a couple of faster miles at 5 a.m. in Missouri before we left 

May 29:
  • Cheekwood Mansion
  • The Nashville Parthenon, in Centennial Park
  • Lunch at Pho Ann Vietnamese
  • Belle Meade Plantation
  • Dinner at Greek Gyros again (very convenient and delicious!) 
  • Ran 9.2 easy hilly miles in Nashville  

May 30:
  • Nashville Farmers Market
  • Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
  • Andrew Jackson's Hermitage
  • Lunch at El Toro Loco 
  • Dukes of Hazzard Museum
  • Willie Nelson's General Store
  • Albani had McDonalds for dinner, Jon was too full from our huge late lunch, and I ate some food from our food bags/snacks stashes
  • Ran 8.3 easy hilly miles in Nashville 

May 31:
  • Lost River Cave Boat Tour, hiking, and butterfly habitat exhibit 
  • Hidden River Cave walking tour
  • Lunch at Bucky Bee’s BBQ
  • Hotel pool time
  • Dinner at Drury Inn (so convenient - we will stay at this hotel chain again!)
  • Ran 10.1 miles (3 warm up, 3 x 3’, 2’, 1’ fartlek, 3 cool down) in Nashville 

June 1:
  • Dinosaur World 
  • Onyx Cave walking tour
  • Lunch at Mammoth Cave National Park
  • Mammoth Cave walking tour
  • Ran 10.2 easy miles in Bowling Greene, KY

June 2:
  • Drive home (by far the least interesting day, hah!)
  • Ran 8 miles easy in Paducah, Kentucky
Then on June 3 I went to Kansas City for work, plus to my niece's graduation in the evening on June 3 and to the Hospital Hill Half Marathon the morning of June 5.  Whew!