Thursday, June 22, 2017

Gearing up for Race Day

I'm running a race in two days!


On Saturday, I am running the Bigfoot Trail 10K in Lake Geneva, WI.  I was given the opportunity to run this race as part of the BibRave Pro Ambassador program (which is accepting applications right now, by the way).  As I wrote before, I was excited to do the race for two reasons:

1) It is a 10K.  I had thought my last 10K was the 2004 Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta. (My time was 52:08 (8:23 avg pace)...let's just say I was not very consistent about running when I lived in Atlanta!).  But I had forgotten about a 10K that I did shortly after we moved to Menomonee Falls in 2012.  My time at that race was 45:03 (7:15).  I have not participated in a 10K since 2012 as I was pretty enamored with 5ks for a while.

2) It is a trail run.  I was deep into marathon training on the road when I registered for this race and I thought a trail race would be a fun change of pace.

All in all, this race is somewhat out of my comfort zone on both accounts - distance and terrain - and for that reason, I have zero expectations for it.  I have no idea how fast I can run a 10K on a trail.  No idea. I will be going into the race on tired legs.  I had two tough workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and judging by how my legs felt on my run this morning, they will likely still be tired on race day.  I signed up for the fun of trying something new and am trying to take that mindset into race day, which is altogether very different from my usual course of action, and honestly, somewhat refreshing.

It will be fun to see what the result is and fun to see how the whole experience is.  I AM expecting the course to be beautiful as it runs through Big Foot Beach State Park.

Race start is 8:30 and packet pick up is available morning of, so I plan to leave my house at 6/6:30.  Wish me luck!

You can still register for this race!  Use code 'BibRaveBF17' for bonus water bottle when you register...and let me know that you will be there!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Half Marathon Goal Pace

I had a fantastic track workout this morning and it occurred to me that I needed to figure out my half marathon goal pace before tomorrow's tempo workout.  (In the Hanson plans, your tempo run pace is the same as your goal race pace.)


I suck at picking goal paces.

I think I did a good job picking my goal pace of 7:15 for marathon training, but that was a chart reading error.  I was aiming for a 3:15 marathon.  7:15 per mile is equivalent to a 3:10 marathon and I ran a 3:11:09.

The last half-marathon I ran was in November 2016 and I set a PR of 1:29:22.  This was a large PR for me at the time (4:09).  I used Kara Goucher's half marathon training plan for Oiselle and had a goal pace of 7:00 mile (1:31 finish).  1:29:22 is a 6:49 pace average.  I haven't analyzed my training extensively for that race, BUT my highest mileage week for that training was 35 miles.  I will hit that in week 2 (of 18) for this half marathon.

My half-marathon is October 15 and is the same course (unless they change it) as last November's race.

I would like to believe that I will see a significant time drop in my half time if all goes well with the Hanson plan this time around.  I put in my 5K time (from March) into a race equivalency calculator and came up with a half-marathon goal pace of 6:44.  This is 5 seconds per mile faster than last fall, and would translate to a 1:28:16 finish.


I think I'm selling myself short with a 6:44 / 1:28:16.  It doesn't excite me. (I do realize at some point I will not have huge PR gains!)

Hanson race equivalency to my 5K PR of 18:53 is a 1:26:52 or 6:38 pace.  My 5K PR was set in May of 2016, which is over a year ago.  However, this morning my fastest 400 (of 12) was at 5:20 avg pace and my slowest was 5:40 average pace and the majority in 5:30. And I felt AMAZING during this workout.

A 5:30 mile pace 5K is a 17:05.  I'm not saying that I could run a 17:05 5K, but I feel like I have gotten a major fitness boost from last year.  (And....after this morning, I really want to run a 5K!) This is all to say that I don't think that a 6:38 half marathon pace is that crazy.

If we want to get into crazy land, I would have to run 6:29 to break 1:25.

So that was fun.  I think I will start with a 6:44 as my goal pace and see how that feels.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training: Week 1 Recap

I'm back on a training plan.  Half-marathon training started last week and it was a tough week.  I was not/am not mentally prepared to start a grueling training plan yet.  I may have mentioned this before, but when I signed up for the 10/15/17 half marathon, it seemed so far away.  It still does.  After the marathon, I was so excited to kick ass at the half marathon.  The Hanson's book mentions that working on your half marathon is a good way to lower your marathon time.  My experience thus far has shown that to be true - I PRed in the half marathon last fall...then PRed in the marathon in spring.
I wanted to try doing the Hanson's Advanced half-marathon training program, which is 18 weeks in length and thus, needed to start last week.  It is a strange thing doing a training program for the second time.  I made the mistake of looking at all the workouts and freaked out.  The speed workouts are the exact same as the marathon speed workouts.  Now, I LOVED the speed workouts, but felt like, "Oh man! Don't I get a break on these - I'm only training for half the distance!".  Then I looked at the long runs and there are several long runs that are over 13 miles.  WTF.  Finally, while the Hanson's beginner marathon plan featured 6 weeks of EASY running (therefore, only 12 of the 19 weeks were "hard"), this advanced half-marathon plan only gives you one week of easy running, and I have now done it.  Time to shift into high gear.  This is what it means to be "advanced" I guess.  All in all - these thoughts are not helping me, I know.

Last week was the lone "easy" week in the plan and it felt hard.  There were several things that I didn't do.  While I had gotten better at running slower paces on easy runs during marathon training, I seemed to have forgotten that.  Many of my runs last week were me pushing myself to beat the clock and telling myself that I wasn't in shape if I couldn't hit that for an easy run.  NOT HELPFUL.  I pulled my head out of my ass for yesterday's run and it was enjoyable.  It is hell running in heat and humidity.  This I know.  However, this knowledge wasn't enough to pull me out of bed most mornings.  I am having a really hard time getting to bed before 10 pm lately!  During marathon training, I was a machine.  Clock strikes 9 PM, I'm in bed.

Just typing this I realized how much I am comparing this half marathon training to my recent marathon training experience.  Comparison is the thief of joy, or something like that, right?  I have to stop.

While I work on that, here is my recap of last week:

Monday, June 12

I slept through my alarm.  There was no time to make up for the missed miles later in the day because my daughter had her cast removed, my son had an ENT appointment and I had a meeting a church in addition to work.  Bleck.

Tuesday, Jun 13
Some late afternoon miles:

4 miles, 32:13 (8:00 avg pace)

Wednesday, June 14
First official day on the plan.  I again moved the plan back a day so that I could do long runs on Saturdays instead of Sundays.

Plan says: 4 miles easy

What I do: 4.65 miles, 36:44 (7:54 avg pace)

Thursday, June 15
Plan says: 4 miles easy

4 miles, 29:59 (7:29 avg pace)

Friday, June 16
Plan says: 4 miles easy

What I do: 4.1 miles 32:26 (7:54 avg pace)

Saturday, June 17
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do: HOLY HOTNESS.  I avoided running early morning and instead went out mid-afternoon.  It was a shit storm.  I was relentless in trying to keep this at a 7:30 pace, regardless of the heat, humidity and how I was feeling.  That was dumb.  Then I had a sunscreen fail which turned into a contacts issue which lead to a detour to a Dairy Queen bathroom to fix my eye.

6.0 miles, 44:57 (7:29 avg pace)

Sunday, June 18
Plan says: 4 miles easy

What I do: It was Father's Day so I was up early not to run but to make my husband's favorite breakfast.  I ended up running after the kids were in bed and it was much cooler outside so it was fine.

4 miles, 32:30 (8.07 avg pace)

Plan Miles: 22
Total Weekly Miles:  26 miles

Sleep Data
Sense told me today that during the last 10 nights, I moved 43% less than the average person using Sense.  About 6% of my sleep consists of agitated sleep.  This is interesting because last week I had more agitated sleep than I typically do - I spent a few nights tossing and turning between the hours of 1 and 3 pm.  Thus, the percentage of my "deep" sleep is lower than what it typically is, but apparently I am still getting better sleep than the average Sense user.  One could argue that people with sleep issues are more likely to invest in a system like Sense.

My take on this is that I personally feel like I need a lot of quality sleep to feel good, no matter what other people need.  In other words, it is not useful to me to compare myself to others (hmmm....I can reach this insight here but not always with running...hmmmm....) Yes, I get a lot of deep sleep and yes, I am hovering around the 7.5 hour range.  But I still feel tired.  I think the "magic" of a system like this is that it tracks things for you and allows you to see patterns. (Laura Vanderkam would be so proud of me right now.) I do not feel "tired" on days when I am closer to 8 hours of sleep, the majority of that being deep.  Lucky for me, if I go to bed early, I can usually make this happen.

Average sleep score: 79 (out of 100)
Average sleep duration: 7.5 hours (7.4 hours weekday, 7.7 hours weekend)

Sleep quality: 4% light, 52% medium, 44% deep

Monday, June 12, 2017

Recovery Week 3 Training Recap

Another recovery week in the books.  My goal was to do about the same amount of miles as last week - 20ish.  I just hit the 20 mile mark.

Monday, June 5

I slept through my alarm so no running that morning.  I went to see Sheryl Sandburg on her Option B book tour with my mom that evening so it ended up being a rest day.

Tuesday, Jun 6
Again, slept through alarm so did some miles before my daughter got off the bus.  This was my last "bus run" until the next school year!

3.52 miles, 26:54 (7:38 avg pace)

Wednesday, June 7
No morning run...again.  Wednesday I have after-school care for the kids so I did my run after work.  I ended up ALMOST stepping on a turtle on the run path near a pond.  I was so excited that I picked up the kids and we stopped by the pond on the way home to see if she was still there - my son caught her bustin' a move from the path into the water. Score!

5.01 miles, 37:21 (7:28 avg pace)

Thursday, June 8
EARLY RUN! Success.  My only early run of the week.  The cool air felt so good.  AGAIN, I encountered a turtle on my run, albeit a MUCH larger one.

4.6 miles, 36:20 (7:54 avg pace)

Friday, June 9
Off day.  I had an early morning eye doctor appointment and it was the last day of school!

Saturday, June 10
My kids participated in the Walleye Run in my hometown.  They had a blast and my daughter ended up getting in the top 10 for girls.  My son just missed last place.  :)  It was a hot weekend here in Wisco - temps were in the 90s both days.   I ended up doing a short run after the kids were in bed.

3.26 miles, 24:28 (7:30 avg pace)

Sunday, June 11
My kids ended up sleeping in and so did we.  It was glorious.  (Sleeping in for us is 6:45am).  I again ran when they were in bed.  While I haven't really pushed the pace during these recovery weeks, I wanted to see if I could run fast so after a mile, I pushed to get 2 sub-7 miles in before a mile cool down.  I think I might be ready to move out of the recovery zone.

4 miles, 28:07 (7:01 avg pace)

Total Weekly Miles:  20.4 miles

Sleep Data
I am still getting to bed way too late.  As evidence by the fact that I am sleeping through all of my alarms.  I am a little shy of the 8 hour mark, although I made some improvements from last week.

Average sleep score: 81 (out of 100)
Average sleep duration: 7.7 hours (7.8 hours weekday, 7.0 hours weekend)

Sleep quality: 4% light, 41% medium, 55% deep

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Product Review: Adidas UltraboostX Running Shoes

Product Review:  Adidas UltraboostX Running Shoes

I cannot explain how EXCITED I was to get selected to review the Adidas UltraboostX running shoes.  I bought my first Adidas Boost running shoes a few years ago and loved them so much I bought them again and again.  The UltraboostX features Boost technology (read: really responsive foam) and is less of a structured shoe than I am used to. The arch is an adaptive arch which is designed to conform to your foot to give you more of a customized feel.  You can see the space under the arch in the side profile shot below - there really is no "shoe" there!  The upper part of the shoe is made of Primeknit fabric which wraps around your whole foot.  When you pull on the shoe, it feels like you are pulling on a sock - that is how clingy the upper part is.  They hug my feet nicely and almost feel like an extension of my foot and not like I am wearing a "shoe".

 I prefer to wear them with as "no-show" of a sock as you can get:

The shoes came in the mail just as I had entered the taper portion of my marathon training.  I was nervous to try anything new during taper AND I was eager to test them out so I decided I would run one mile in them and then change into my other training shoes.  They were so springy and comfy that I ended up running 2.4 miles in them before changing.  My training shoes felt so clunky and heavy running in them right after the UltraboostX.  I ran a few more easy training runs in the UltraboostX before the marathon.

The UltraboostX have been the star of my marathon recovery miles during the past several weeks. I have been wearing them every other run (normally I have a rotation of 3 to 4 shoes) and love how responsive they are.  Next week starts my half-marathon training and I expect that they will be getting of play time in my shoe rotation. 

You can buy the UltraboostX at Dick's Sporting Goods here.

The color I selected was blue/black/orange.  Perfect complement to the beautiful WI lake above :)

Disclaimer: I received the Adidas UltraBoostX running shoes to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!  All opinions are my own and the links within this post do not provide any incentive to me personally, nor does your purchase of the product benefit me personally.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Recovery Week 2: Started Running Again

The focus of my week last week was to continue recovery and start running again.

My legs felt decent and I just ran.  I didn't look at my watch and just tried to log 30 minutes of running each time, with the exception of the day I had to run after work/before bus drop.

Monday, May 29
Memorial day!  Traditionally we are at my in-laws lake house for Memorial Day weekend and this was no exception.  It was the perfect place to kick start running after a week off.  The morning was cool and sunny and I logged 4 miles and some change along the lake.

4.12 miles, 32:42 (7:56 avg pace)

Tuesday, May 30
Surprisingly, I was able to get up early to run before work without too much issue.

4.35 miles, 34:39 (7:58 avg pace)

Wednesday, May 31
Rest Day

Thursday, June 1
Set my alarm to get up early (5:00 AM) to log some miles before work but completely overslept so logged some afternoon miles before my daughter got off the school bus.  IT WAS HOT.

3 miles, 22:36 (7:32 avg pace)

Friday, June 2
Sense alarm work me up at 4:46 AM.  ARGH.  I did get out of bed and get 4 miles in.  My legs were tired.  Needed a lot of coffee to make it through the day.

4.0 miles, 32:42 (8:10 avg pace)

Saturday, June 3
My goal was to get 5 miles in.  It was thunder storming all morning so I headed out mid-afternoon in the bright hot sun, in very humid conditions.

5.0 miles, 38:11 (7:37 avg pace)

Sunday, June 4
Earlier in the week a colleague and I were discussing training plans for our fall races.  It occurred to me that I hadn't figured out when I would need to start training for my fall half marathon.  I want to use the Hanson's half marathon plan for this race, which is 18 weeks, so for me, that means training starts JUNE 11.  SO SOON!  I also have a 10K in less than 3 weeks.  It was a big wake up call for me since I had always pushed those races out of my head since they were "so far away".

Because I was going to start training so much sooner than I had thought, I re-read the post-marathon recovery chapter in the Hansons book again on Saturday night.  They advocate for two full weeks off, followed by 2 weeks of easy running.  I took one week off so I decided that rather than push to get another run in this week, I would take Sunday off from running.

We were headed to the lake for the day and I took my son kayaking which was fun and we both enjoyed being on the water.  It was a really hot day and being outside in the son made me extra hot so I decided it was a good idea to go waterskiing as well.

Even though I didn't get any running in, my body is definitely SORE after the combination of both of those activities!

Total Weekly Miles:  20.47 miles

Sleep Data
For reasons unknown to me, my Sense sleep system is working fine again.  I have a whole week of sleep data!  Maybe it also needed a week off.

My sleep was not great last week.  I was staying up too late and attempting to get up early.  I definitely need to get back into my 9 PM bedtime routine.  My goal is to hit 8 hours as that seems to be the threshold where I don't feel so tired.

Average sleep score: 79 (out of 100)
Average sleep duration: 7.3 hours (7.2 hours weekday, 7.5 hours weekend)

Sleep quality: 4% light, 47% medium, 49% deep

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Product Review: Buff Womens UV Arm Sleeves

Product Review:  Buff Women's UV Arm Sleeves

The latest product I was sent to test was a pair of women's UV arm sleeves made by Buff - the same company that makes "the buff" headwear.  Although I own two pairs of (non-Buff) arm sleeves, I have never used them.  Prior to the arrival of the Buff arm sleeves I was thinking that it was getting too warm for these to actually be useful.

The sleeves arrived in my mailbox and it turns out these are made for warmer weather.  Not only do the sleeves offer UV protection, but the wicking material they are made of is very soft, comfortable, and helps cool you down.  They also have reflective properties which were helpful during my early morning runs.

I wore these for several of my final training runs prior to the Cellcom Green Bay marathon.  They provided a perfect amount of warmth for cooler mornings where I did not feel the need to ditch them once my body warmed up.  I also liked how they helped cool me down during a few of my warmer (70+ degrees and sunny) afternoon runs.  Once the sweat hits them, they feel insta-cool!

The real test of the sleeves came during the actual marathon.  The marathon weather was rainy, cloudy and 50 degrees at the start.  So, on the cool side, particularly since I planned on wearing my crop top.   I made the decision to wear the arm sleeves since I liked them during the training runs.  I thought that I could easily pull them off and stash them in my shorts pockets (or hand them off to a family member) if they bothered me.

I never needed to worry about taking them off.  Even though I forgot to cut out the tag on the one sleeve (visible in the photo below), nothing about them bothered me during the marathon and I would say they both kept me from being too chilly at the start, and helped me stay cool during the later miles when the rain let up and the sun came out (low 60s with sun at the finish).  A bonus feature is that they made me easy to spot during the crowded lap of Lambeau Field.

I worked hard for a marathon PR so I'm not going to give all the credit of a good race to these sleeves, but they definitely helped in the temperature regulation arena!

My upper arm measurement was in between the S/M and M/L sizes.  I ordered the M/L size and was a little nervous that the sleeves would not stay up.  They ended up working great and stayed put through all of my runs, including the marathon.  I liked that they were not super tight and clingy on my arms.  I ordered the "Akira" pattern.

You can check out my Cellcom Green Bay Marathon race review on BibRave here.

Disclaimer: I received the Buff UV arm sleeves to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!  All opinions are my own and the links within this post do not provide any incentive to me personally, nor does your purchase of the product benefit me personally.