Monday, May 25, 2015

Charlevoix Half Training - Week 2

Note: While I am referring to this as half marathon training, this is actually the start of marathon training. It is just easier for me to break it up into smaller segments: 7 weeks until Charleviox Half Marathon, 8 weeks until Crim 10 miler, 8 weeks until Grand Rapids Marathon.

Supplemental training: Core + Strength Training

rest day (taken from Wednesday)

Midway through work, my husband texted me to let me know that our friends from Duluth, MN were in town for the day and wanted to know if we wanted to meet up for drinks. Which, of course, yes! So that ruined my plans for an after work eight miler. Can't complain too much since they are going to let us stay with them when we run Grandma's Marathon in 2017 (we are planning on crossing New York and Oregon off of our list in 2016, so Minnesota will have to wait).

Distance: 8.03
Pace: 9:17 average pace with 10 strides
Supplemental training: Flexibility 

Wow, this run sucked. My legs felt like lead the entire run, my headphones refused to stay in my ears, and my allergies made it difficult to breathe. Bleh. I was so glad when this run was finished.

Distance: 10.0
Pace: 8:53

I was prepared for this run to be a miserable continuation of Wednesday's run, but it actually ended up feeling great! I'm not sure how my legs felt better after an 8 mile run than they felt after 2 rest days, but they did.

Supplemental training: core

Distance: 5.0
Pace: 10:03
Supplemental Training: Flexibility 

Distance: 13.1
Pace: 9:00

This was my first run ever with a GPS watch. Since the Garmin 220 can now be had for just $175, I couldn't resist. So now I can look at the mile splits for this run and think, what the hell is up with my pacing!? Which, really, it isn't so bad. Most of the weirdness can be explained away with water stops, steep hill climbs, etc.

The last 3.1 miles of the run I picked the pace up: 8:33, 8:24, 8:00, 7:48 (0.1). It feels good to know that I can get the pace down to actual half marathon pace at the end of a 13.1 training run.

Distance: 36.13
Speed work: strides + fast finish long run
Supplemental Training: 2 flex, 2 core, 1 strength

I feel really good about this week. I was able to move Tuesday's run to Wednesday without creating any issues. I picked up a second day of core work without any issues. The only workout that didn't go quite as planned was Sunday's long run.

I was supposed to do 13 miles with 8 at marathon pace. However, I still am not quite sure which pace to use for MP and I didn't want my first run with my Garmin to be spent getting yelled at by my watch for running too slow. So I ran by feel and let myself pick up the pace whenever I wanted. I actually had 6 miles that were sub 9:00 and another 2 miles that were just a touch over. So probably close enough.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Charlevoix Half Training - Week 1

Cross training: Core + Strength Training

Distance: 8.17
Pace: 2 miles easy, 4 miles at HMP (7:55), 2 miles easy
Cross training: Flexibility 

I only timed the middle 4 miles of my run, so I am not sure what the pace was for the other 4 miles. I don't think it matters. I did this exact same run last Tuesday and it felt more difficult this week. Probably due to racing on Saturday.


Distance: 9.09 miles
Pace: 9:14
Cross Training: flexibility

Apart from a mid-run bathroom break, this was a pretty easy run.


The husband and I kicked off our weekend with some beer sampling at the World Expo of Beer. We have been going to this event every year for the past 6-7 years. I was so grateful that Saturday's run was a short one, because I knew I was going to be in rough shape the next day. 

Distance: 4.1
Pace: 9:38

Distance: 12.18
Pace: 9:30

It was in the upper 60s when I started this run and mid 70s by the time I finished. Plus humidity. The last couple miles I could really feel the heat, but I was able to maintain my pace.

Distance: 33.54 miles
Speed work: 1 tempo run
Cross Training: 2 flex, 1 core, 1 strength

I'm really pleased with how this week turned out. 33 miles is a pretty normal week for me, but this week had the mileage spread across just 4 days instead of my usual 5. In another week or so I will pick back up that 5th day of running. The speed work was comfortably hard, which was a nice change of pace (pun intended) from 5k training. In terms of cross training, I need to add at least one more day per week of core work.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

So...what's next?

In January I posted a tentative race schedule for 2015, but I never actually finalized it. Honestly, apart from my marathon (entry deferred from 2014), I haven't signed up for any races. I registered for Shanty 2 Short's about 5 days before the race. I think I was worried that I would get injured again and not be able to run. Last year was the first year that I DNS a race, and I think that has been playing mental games with me ever since.

But now that I have the first race of the season under my belt and it was a huge PR...well, I'm ready to start thinking about what comes next. My big, number 1 goal of the year is the Grand Rapids Marathon. I want to do everything that I can to ensure that this race is awesome.

One thing that I learned during this training cycle, is that I just can't plan for every eventuality. For example, losing one week to an illness was rough, but I was able to adjust my training plan accordingly. Losing a second week to a minor injury left a lot of training on the table (which I've actually decided is a good thing, but more on this later!). I don't want to run into a similar situation during my peak weeks of marathon training, so I am letting myself get started with my training a bit earlier than originally planned.

For my marathon training, I will be using the 18/55 plan found in Pete Pfitzinger's Advanced Marathoning (not an affiliate link). This plan is 18 weeks long and peaks at 55 miles, hence the name. The 18 week plan is divided into 4 meso-cycles, the first of which is 6 weeks long. Which works almost perfectly with training for my next goal race, the Charlevoix Half Marathon on June 27 (7 weeks away). I will be adding a week to this first meso-cycle to accommodate my race schedule.

To get read for the half marathon, I will be focusing on extending my weekly long run distance by 1-2 miles per week and shift my speed work from 5k effort intervals to longer tempo runs and strides. It worked out perfectly that this is also the exact start of the 18/55 plan. While 7 weeks is really not long enough to be a true half marathon training plan, I am hoping that the past 10 weeks of 5k training plus the seven additional weeks of training will be enough to get me a new PR.

    Monday, May 11, 2015

    Shanty 2 Shorts 5k recap

    I'm still on cloud nine from absolutely crushing my 5k goals.

    Goal: 21:41 (6:59 avg pace)
    Stretch goal: 21:09 (70% age graded)
    Actual result: 21:02.7  (6:47 avg pace)

    Shanty 2 Shorts trophies
    Leading up to the race I was really nervous that I was not going to see any improvement. I still have a number of half finished posts worrying about how the 5k effort intervals absolutely killed me or lamenting the fact that I missed two weeks of training in April. There was a whole lot of doubt swirling around my head. I decided not to post anything, because, in spite of the worrying, I occasionally would have a moment of clarity and realize that my training, while not perfect, was leaps and bounds ahead of where I was last spring. I wanted to toe the line feeling confident, not anxious, so I forced myself to focus on the positive. Reading and rereading the comments left on my blog was the perfect confidence boost leading up to the race. Thank you all so much!

    Shanty 2 Short's is a small race in northern Michigan that runs from Shanty Creek Resort to Short's Brewing Company. There is a 5k and 10k option. This was the 4th annual race and the race has been growing each year (though it is still a very small race, ~200 runners). This is the third year that Mr. Shoe and I ran the 5k. This was also the third year that I set a new 5k PR with this race. I'm including an elevation chart for the race, you'll see why it is very PR friendly.

    Gravity enhanced.
    The race did not start until 10:00 AM which meant we were able to sleep in before the race. Due to the size of the race, we did not head to packet pickup until 9:00. There was plenty of time to get our bibs, warm up, and stretch before the race started. The temperature was perfect for a race - low 50s and overcast, almost no wind and no humidity.

    After a quick course overview from the race director we were off and running! I tried to focus on running my own race and not blowing it by starting way too fast. Once my pace settled in, there were only a handful of men in front of me. I won the race last year, so I was hoping this was a sign that I would be able to defend my title.

    I was running along next to a guy who was setting the perfect pace (red shirt guy) when I felt something flopping around on my right foot. I looked down and swore. My shoe was untied. I forgot to double knot them. It was less than a mile into the race and I had to stop on the shoulder of the road to tie my shoe. So much anger! About 8 people flew past me, but I was relieved to see that they were all men. 

    When I started running again I tried to slowly work my way up through that group of men. I didn't want to sprint to catch up, but I didn't want to lose the group either. At the one mile point, a glance at my watch confirmed that I was on track for keeping the pace sub 7. During the downhill (the first 1.8 miles of the race) I managed to pass all but 1 of the guys (blue shirt guy) who had passed me.

    When the course leveled out, my goal was to hold my pace steady AND hold my place. One guy (grey shirt) passed me shortly after the course leveled out, but I held on and did not let him get too far ahead. At the two mile point I was still on track for sub 7 miles. Once you round the final turn in the race, there is only 0.55 miles remaining. I knew when I rounded this corner that I was on track for my 21:30 goal. I didn't want my pace to fall during this final stretch, so my goal was so start reeling in the two guys in front of me. 

    My final kick felt pretty strong and I reclaimed my position in front of grey shirt guy. At this point everything was starting to hurt, even my arms wanted to give out. But I pressed on, trying to catch blue shirt guy. I actually got pretty close, but when he saw me gaining on him, he really kicked the pace up. He ended up finishing just 2 seconds ahead of me. When I crossed the line, I could not believe that I had taken a minute off of my PR and I was stoked to be the top woman finisher! Including men, I was the 4th finisher overall. 

    I don't know how I look so relaxed.
    Mr. Shoe was running this race as well, but he hasn't been doing much running this spring. I knew it wouldn't be a PR attempt for him, but I figured he would be finishing around 28 minutes. I had just told my father in law (who was taking photos for us) this, when I looked down the straightaway and saw him coming. He ended up finishing in 25:10, just about 2 minutes slower than his PR. Which is quite impressive considering he has run maybe 10 times since the Disney Princess Half Marathon.

    We headed into Short's Brewing Company for the awards ceremony, lunch, and a few celebratory beers (excellent Michigan craft beer!). The atmosphere in the brewery after the race was awesome. We ended up seeing a few runners that we had sat next to last year at the after party, and they congratulated me on my repeat win. This is such a fun race that I am already thinking about running it again next year. Small race, PR friendly, beer at the finish, what's not to love?

    I have so many thoughts about what did/didn't work in my training, what I might try differently next time, and what this means for my up coming races this season, but I am going to save it for a different post (this one is already long enough for a pretty short race!).

    Friday, May 8, 2015

    5k training = DONE!

    Here's hoping the 2015 Shanty 2 Short's is also a success!

    1.88 warm up, 4.07 @ 15k-half pace, 1.88 cool down
    7.83 miles total

    I'm very happy with how this run turned out! The weather was great for a hard workout, mid-50s with light rain. My half PR pace is 8:06, so my goal was to run right around 7:50-8:00. Average pace for the tempo section was 7:48, the last mile was a bit fast. During the run I could tell I was running harder than usual, but it was never felt like I was struggling to maintain the pace or even breathing. What was surprising was how tired I felt about half way through my cool down.

    At seven miles I would have loved to just call it and walk the rest of the way home, but that is when the rain really picked up. I was cold and wet when I got home and ended up skipping stretching/foam rolling in favor of a hot shower. I was rewarded with some really tight hamstrings on Wednesday, so I won't be making that mistake again.

    4.7 miles easy

    It was 70+ degrees with direct sun for this entire run. I knew between the heat and the tightness from Tuesday that this run was not going to awesome. I didn't want to cut the run short, so I resorted to running 5 minutes and walking 1 minute. Not a great run, but I got it done.

    5.2 miles easy (9:56 avg pace)

    I met up with Ty at 4:00 for an easy 5 miler. This run would have been a lot easier if it hadn't been 80-some degrees. We ended up running much slower than usual. I was hoping to throw in a few strides at the end of this run, but I was just too tired.

    I know heat acclimation is not something that just happens overnight, but it is so frustrating to go from running normal one week to completely feeling out of shape on the next run. It looks like the temps are going to drop back into the 60s next week, which will offer some temporary relief from the heat. But, in the long run, it is just going to slow down my heat acclimation. If anyone else is struggling as the temps start to rise, I recommend reading this article on acclimating to heat.


    And that is it! 10 weeks of training complete (or 8 if you take into consideration illness/injury). I'm not sure if I will be able to hit my original goal for Shanty 2 Shorts, but I am fairly confident that I can grab a PR, even if it is just a couple seconds.

    And one last thing, best of luck to my sister who is running a 10k tomorrow AND a half marathon on Sunday! Her training has been awesome and she is going to rock both races!

    Monday, May 4, 2015

    S2S - Week 9

    3.76 miles (8:53 avg pace)

    After taking yet another week off, I was so glad to be running again. I didn't want to wait until Tuesday, so I ran on Monday instead. Yay running!!


    I started the workout with my strength training routine, which includes a bit of upper body and a bit of legs. Since I have actually been following through with my plan to strength train once per week, I decided it was time to increase my reps. I could tell that I put in a harder workout than usual; I tried to do some planks after and my arms were complete jello. For my core routine I ended up doing ab ripper x (part of the P90X videos) since it doesn't involve my arms. I finished up the workout by spending about 20 minutes stretching.

    4.7 mile progression run (8:46 avg pace)

    My run started nice and slow, my first mile was around 9:30. I closed out the run at about 8:10. This run felt great!

    5.29 miles (9:12 avg pace)

    This was kind of a strange day for me. I had a tiring day at work and did not have any motivation to run when I got home. I ended up watching a couple hours of tv and then taking a short nap. When I woke up I decided I would feel better if I at least got in a few miles. I ran to the park close to my house and then hit the trails for a relaxing run through the woods.

    Unfortunately my run was interrupted my some stomach issues. Running was making it worse so I stopped my watch and walked back to the entrance of the park. I was so grateful to discover that the bathrooms had finally been opened up for the summer!

    2 miles (not timed)

    It was so sunny and gorgeous outside that I absolutely had to go for a run. Mr. Shoe has just started running again (winter running was not his thing!) so I ran part of his run with him. I knew I would be running Saturday and Sunday and didn't want to over do it.

    10.13 miles (8:49 avg pace)

    I was invited by my friend Ty to do a supported group run leaving from a local running store. After the first mile, we kept every mile under 9:00 and managed a solid fast finish. Our last few miles were in the 7:30 range. For a longer run, I usually wouldn't run quite this fast, but even with the faster pace I was able to chat during the run.

    5.27 miles (9:10 avg pace)

    Another run on the trails (this time with no stomach issues!). Mr. Shoe and I drove to the park, ran 3 miles worth of trails, and then I ran 2 miles home while Mr. Shoe drove back. It was 80 degrees and sunny, even though we waited until 6pm to start our run. It's definitely going to take me a while to get used to the hot temperatures again.

    Total miles: 31.15

    I'm happy with my mileage for the week and the fact that I managed to sneak in a couple of fast miles. After missing so many days in April, I decided it would be smarter to keep the pace easy this week. So no real speed work, just an accidental progression run on Wednesday and fast finish on Saturday.

    Next week is race week. I think I'm ready!