Thursday, July 20, 2017

Next Race: Big10K!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the BTN Big10K race 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!

Tomorrow we leave for a long weekend in Chicago because I am running the Ram Racing BTN BIG10K!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am very excited about this race as it has been one I have wanted to do for a while.  Thankfully this year the timing worked out where we could combine our annual long weekend trip in Chicago with the kids and this race.  The course looks great. We start and end in Grant park and get to have some lakeside running as well.  When I lived in Chicago, oh TEN YEARS AGO, I loved running along Lake Michigan.

The BTN Big10K has a lot of perks:

1.  Preferred start corrals:  I was excited to qualify for a preferred start corral!

2. Early start time - 7 AM.  Hopefully it won't be too hot!

3. Post Race Party featuring Big10 mascots!  As a University of Wisconsin alum, my heart belongs to Bucky Badger.  This was a big draw in getting my husband and kids to come as well!  

4. Beer Me - Runners get a complimentary beer from Revolution Brewing and a free AmyLu sausage at the finish.

5.  Live runner tracking - Live runner tracking is always SUPER helpful when you have people joining you to cheer you on.   It is DOUBLE SUPER helpful when the spectators include children who may not always be into watching the race (ahem, my kids).  

6.  Lots of other runners!  I know there is a Oiselle WI contingent, there are other BibRave Pros and my friend Erica is running with me!  Erica and I met while training for the 2007 Boston Marathon.

I am running this after 6 weeks of the Hanson's Advanced Half Marathon training plan.  Thus, I am TIRED.  I adjusted a lot of my workouts this week to accomodate this race, but I still don't think I'll be running on fresh legs.  This workout is replacing my 4 mile tempo run so I am hoping to at minimum run it at a 6:44 pace (my tempo pace).

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training: Week 5 Recap

Monday, July 10
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 5 x 1000 at 5k/10k pace with 600 m recovery in between, 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  REST.  I switched up this week as I was still very tired from the weekend and knew it would not be in my best interest to do a speed workout today.

Tuesday, July 11
Plan says: 0 miles

What I do:  Speed work! Unfortunately I had a 7 AM meeting at work so that meant 4:30 AM alarm to get this done.  Ooh I laid in bed for ten extra minutes.  I was so not prepared for that alarm, despite my 8:30pm bedtime the night before. Eventually, I rolled out and got dressed.  It was still kinda dark so I wasn't sure if the track was open so I did this on the road (which Hanson's prefers to track anyways).  This was struggle bus for me.  I definitely could have used another rest day, or at least an easy workout today.  The barometer for this is my recovery jogs - faster 1Ks were slower recoveries!

1.63 mile warm up, 14:07 (8:40 avg pace)

5 x 1000m with 600m recovery  (Goal pace for 1000m = 3:48)
Road conversions = 1000m = 0.62 miles, 600m = 0.38 miles)

1 - 3:51.6 / 3:15  (6:12 avg pace / 8:48 avg pace)
2 - 3:47.2 / 3:10  (6:06 / 8:23)
3 - 3:38.6 / 3:27  (5:50 / 9:04)
4 - 3:46.3 / 3:22  (6:04 / 8:49)
5 - 3:40.7 / (5:54)

1.6 mile cool down, 13:22 (8:22 avg pace)

Even though I know I am probably setting myself up for disappointment in doing this dumb comparison game, I can't help myself.  The comparison this week isn't great.  Back in March, I did this workout on a treadmill so I could basically guarantee hitting my goal pace of 3:48.  These were my 5 1Ks on 3/19.

1- 3:48
2- 3:48
3- 3:47
4- 3:46
5- 3:47

Wednesday, July 12
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 4 miles at half-marathon pace (6:44), 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  I planned to do tempo on Thursday this week to have a day in between the two hard workouts of the week.  Since I had taken Monday off, this meant that 5 miles easy was up.

Wednesday was one of those days, beginning at 2 AM when the severe weather alert on my phone went off warning me of the possibilities of flash flooding.  Trust me when I say, I did not care.  We were having crazy storms, complete with downpour, and in between the loud thunder and drip drip drip on my windowsill that my brain refused to ignore and my kids waking up, I did not get much sleep.  Thus, when the alarm went off at 5 AM and it was still pouring, I said "F it and went back to sleep".

This led to all of us OVERSLEEPING and me getting to work 30 minutes later than usual, translating to me getting home later than usual.  It was so hot and muggy out, but I did have time to squeeze in 5 miles.

I started running and it was so hard.  I was listening to a podcast trying to distract myself but it wasn't working.  Then the few routes that I tried to take were underwater.  I stopped several times and at around 3.5 miles I said that I was quitting at 4.

4 miles, 31:32 (7:53 avg pace)

Thursday, July 13
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  It was time to tempo.  Again, I overslept.  I think my sh**ty sleep from last week just caught up with me.  (I know scientifically they say that this doesn't happen, but I truly think it does for me.)  SOOOOOOOOOO....again I was running after work in the heat.  The good news was that the humidity was not as bad as Wednesday afternoon.  The bad news was that this run still felt so hard.  My legs were dead, with no zip in them at all.  I made multiple stops along the route for water.

1.51 mile warm up, 11:49 (7:50 avg pace)
4.0 miles tempo, 26:52 (6:43 avg pace)
1.5 mile cool down, 12:17 (8:11 avg pace)

7.01 miles total

Friday, July 14
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do:  I was up around 3/4 AM because my son woke up.  I tossed and turned, but never went back to sleep so it was not too difficult to get up at 5 to go run.  Reflecting on my week of running, I had the duh moment that I got caught up in pace and again was in a place where I was trying to force the run.  This lead to feeling like junk, being extra tired and really not enjoying myself.

My goal for this run was to run EASY.

6.1 miles, 53:39 (8:47 avg pace)

Saturday, July 15
Plan says: 10 miles at long run pace (7:30-9:00)

What I do:  I wanted to get this done early, but slept through my alarm.  (That is basically the theme of my summer running.)  Thus, I was running in the heat in the early afternoon for my son's nap.  This run was fine.  I was excited to run over a newly constructed bridge over the river.  I was excited to be able to fill up my handheld several times along my route.

10 miles, 1:17:36 (7:45 avg pace)

Sunday, July 16
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  We stayed at my husband's family lake house on Saturday night and I was in charge of making breakfast so I wasn't able to get up and run early.  I again headed out when my son was napping and it was a breezy, partly cloudy day and scenic.  When I returned to the cottage, my son was awake, but CRABBY.  I did a few cannonballs off the pier in my running clothes to cheer him up.  They felt AMAZING!

Additionally I got some more stand up paddle boarding in AND a long kayak ride.  I LOVE SUMMER!

Plan Miles: 41
Total Weekly Miles: 39.96 (FOR REALZ.  I should have checked the weekly mileage before heading out to at least get that up to 40).

And with that, I've cleared the 1000 mile mark for the year!!!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Still trying to slow down

One of the biggest lessons that I took away from my first go at Hanson's Marathon Method was the benefit of slowing the eff down.

You've seen some version of this diagram, right:

This week I have found myself somewhere in that scribbled mess on the right.   The "run your recovery runs at a recovery pace" lesson somehow escaped my brain.  I have been trucking along with the advanced half marathon plan AND doing some races AND not really running a recovery pace for my recovery runs.  Every run that I have done this week (with the exception of this morning's run) has been so hard.  Even my "easy" run on Wednesday.  My legs have not been turning over, they have no zip and I have really had to force the run.  Consequently, I have not had much fun running this week.

I was looking at all my paces and noticing that my 4 mile "easy" run on Wednesday was still in the 7s for pace.  My "recovery pace" for my goal half marathon finish time is 8:30-9:30.  My warm ups and cool downs have been in the 7s, or low 8s if I am lucky.  TOO FAST.  No wonder I am tired as all get out.

This morning I forced myself to SLOW down.  My first mile clocked in at 8:45.  My next was the same (8:47).  I noticed so much more on my run and I wasn't caring about the pace.  I stopped to take a picture of a waterfall and forgot to pause my watch so my 3rd mile was at 10:32.  I wish I could tell you that I didn't care.  Nope.  I picked it up slightly on the way back home (next 3 miles were 8:13, 8:16, 8:11) so that the 3rd mile would not mess up my overall avg too much.


Needless to say, pace is something that I still struggle with.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Fun Fact

On July 9 (yesterday), I officially surpassed my July 2016 mileage!

Ok, I was in a boot for a half of July and just easing into running during the second half, but during July 2016, I ran 34.55 miles.

To date, I have run 42.82 miles in July.

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training: Week 4 Recap

This was a bit of a crazy week!  I got all the workouts in but switched around a lot of them to accommodate the duathlon.  I was happy that I still got all the miles in.  This week was all about getting it done.  CHECK!  Additionally I was able to enjoy some other sports - I waterskied, tried stand-up paddleboarding for the first time and cycling!

Monday, July 3
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 6 x 800 at 5k/10k pace with 400 m recovery in between, 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  Set my alarm for 4:45 AM.  Even though I was in bed by 9 the night before, it was a struggle to get out of bed.  I eventually did, got dressed and made it out the door by 5:10.  I ran to the track, per usual, and it was locked!  I hadn't thought about the fact that our village launches fireworks from the track the night of July 3.  RATS.  I was going to have to do the 800s on the road (aka 0.5 miles).  Not a deal breaker, but I had carried some hydration and my phone (to take a track pic!) and so I was 1.8 miles from home and not really in a place where I felt comfortable ditching my phone.  Thus, I was carrying my huge phone in my left hand and my Nathan hydration handheld bottle in my left hand for the first three 800s.  It was annoying to say the least but the last 3 felt so easy after ditching my phone at my house and finishing up in my neighborhood.

While I was bummed to miss out on 800s on the track, this workout felt great.  I was VERY likely reaping the benefits of having an off day the day before.

1.81 mile warm up, 14:22 (7:56 avg pace)

6 x 800m with 400m recovery  (Goal pace for 800m = 3:05, although I wanted to try to push it to 3:00)

1 - 3:03 / 2:01  (6:02 avg pace / 8:03 avg pace)
2 - 2:59 / 2:09  (5:57 / 8:42)
3 - 3:01 / 2:25  (6:03 / 9:42)
4 - 2:53 / 2:09  (5:43 / 8:35)
5 - 2:55 / 2:10  (5:48 / 8:43)
6 - 2:54 / (5:51)

1.75 mile cool down, 13:43 (7:49 avg pace)

I've made it a habit to check back on where I was with these speed workouts earlier this year.  This same workout on March 13 was in the cold and on the road and my post about it reflects that I felt great during them.  Here were my 6 800s on 3/6/17:

1- 3:04
2- 3:04
3- 3:06
4- 3:07
5- 3:02
6- 3:04

So this is a big improvement (I think) in the 800s land and I think a fair comparison since both were "road" 800s, both were early morning workouts, and by all accounts, I felt good for both workouts.

Tuesday, July 4
Plan says: 0 miles

What I do:  No running.  My family and I were at the lake for the 4th so I got in some waterskiing and I tried stand up paddleboarding for the first time! It was fun! I look forward to going on a longer trek some upcoming weekend.

Wednesday, July 5
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 3 miles at half-marathon pace (6:44), 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  Thankfully my son woke me up at 4:50 to get out of bed, otherwise I may have slept in.  This was a tough one for me.  My legs were really tired, likely from the previous day's activities.

1.51 mile warm up, 12:25 (8:14 avg pace)
3.01 miles tempo, 19:53 (6:37 avg pace)
1.51 mile cool down, 11:31 (7:37 avg pace)

6.03 miles total

Thursday, July 6
Plan says: 4 miles easy

What I do:  I stayed up late to read so didn't turn my light out until 10PM and then randomly woke up to go to the bathroom around 2 AM and tossed and turned for a bit.  Point being, I did NOT want to get up for this workout.  BUT I had bought a Wonder Woman top the night before and was excited to wear it and legitimately THAT is what got me out of bed.  I switched Thursday and Friday workouts around since I had the duathlon on Saturday.

6 miles, 47:39 (7:56 avg pace)

My calf had been bothering me all day so I did the Jasyoga Calf Reset and Post LR Reset videos as well as used my R8 roller and foam roller to try to loosen it up.  It didn't seem to help so I put some biofreeze on before bed.

Friday, July 7
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do:  4 easy miles in the morning.  Again, my children to the rescue.  My alarm went off and I was like "UGH".  And then my daughter came in needing some itch cream for mosquito bites so I had to get out of bed.  Since I was up, I got out there.

4.03 miles, 32:32 (8:05 avg pace)

After the run, I did the hip flexor reset video from Jasyoga on my deck.  It was so nice.  I really should do more of these 5 minute resets post-run.  Again, my calf was bothering me.

Saturday, July 8
Plan says: 8 miles easy

What I do:  I switched Saturday and Sunday because I had the Pewaukee Duathlon on my calendar.  I know this sort of messes up a lot of the philosophy of Hansen's but at this point (week 4 of 18), I think the half marathon is far enough into the future that it shouldn't matter that much.

I ran 4 miles total as part of the race, broken down into two 2-mile segments.  Race report here.

Sunday, July 9
Plan says: 4 miles easy

What I do:  The only run left for the week was the 8 mile long run.  I had 4 days of really bad sleep in a row so I did not set an alarm for Sunday morning and was happy I didn't because I had very restful sleep and slept in a bit.  Because of that, I got my run in after kids were in bed.  My legs didn't feel very tired all day but when I started running, I knew I was going to have to slog it out.  My lower back was bothering me a bit but I finished all 8 miles.  WOOHOO!!  I also felt that I didn't really mess too much of the plan up because this was supposed to be done on tired legs and it indeed was.

8 miles, 1:03:53 (7:59 avg pace)

Plan Miles: 35
Total Weekly Miles: 35.89 miles running, 14.7 miles biking!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Pewaukee Duathlon Recap!

I finished a Duathlon!

The race began at 4 PM on Saturday.  I was sort of grateful for this start time because my book club had it annual summer social on Friday night and some wine was involved.  Several people in my book club do triathlons and cycling though so I was getting some tips and encouragement from them! We ended up being out so late (for me) and I only got 6 hours of sleep.  I spent Saturday drinking lots of Nuun since it was warm out.

We made sure that the bike tires were pumped up and that it would fit in the back of our vehicle.  Phew! It did.  I dusted off my bike helmet.

Then I had to decide what to wear.  I have no "bike" shorts.  I decided to wear a pair of longer running shorts that I hate and my Oiselle jersey.  I opened a new pair of Balega socks that had some ankle length to them (I generally prefer no-shows for running) and my oldest pair of running shoes.  I had decided that this was going to be their last hurray before I retire them from running.

We left our house around 2:30 for the event.  It was only a twenty five minute drive from our house.  We easily found parking and walked over to packet pickup.  I had to wear a bib, an ankle strap timing device and put a sticker on my bike.  Then we went to the transition area to rack my bike.  We were on the early side so I had my pick of placement (not that I really knew the difference).  I intentionally took an end so that I would be less likely to wreck someone else's bike in the process of removing mine!

Then we had an hour to start.  We walked to the nearby beach which was really cute and pretty!  Definitely a new-for-us area.  My husband was going to have the kids play at the beach while I was racing.  At about 3:30, I left the beach and jogged over to the start and continued jogging to get a warm up in.  I double checked items in the transition area and then I saw a sign - MOUNT BIKE HERE.  I went over and asked a course official to confirm that during the event, I push my bike out of transition and cannot get on it until that sign, right?  She looked at me like I was an idiot but did answer.  I quickly said, "I've never done one of these before, obviously."

At the start, a woman came up to me and said, "Are you Amy? I follow you on Instagram"  It was another WI member of the Oiselle team!  That was fun.  She was doing the relay with her husband - so she would do the two runs and he was biking.  She told me that they pre-rode the course and it was hilly and beautiful. 

At 4:00 the elite men and women started.  All the rest of us started about a minute after that.  Even though I was sure my cycling was not going to be strong, I knew I would do well in the run so I lined up near the start of the group.  The air horn went off and we were off.

I was running fast, but not all out, and I was PASSING people all over the place.  I had a moment when I thought that perhaps I was underestimating the bike and that I should be more conservative so I backed off a little.  In hindsight, I wish I wouldn't have done that.  Regardless, I was one of the first women in the transition area.  My time was 12:18.  Garmin had my mile splits at 6:10 and 6:21.

Then I entered the transition area and went to my bike.  I chugged a cup of water that they gave me, and really stumbled trying to get my bike helmet on because my hands were shaking so badly.  I had placed a Gu by my bike and didn't think about how I was going to carry it (my shorts had no pockets) so I kept in in my hand and pushed my bike out of transition.  Then I had to get on it.  It was really pathetic how NOT streamlined I was compared to some of these people but I managed to get on and ride off.  There was a photographer right there and I gave him a big smile, mentioning that I would likely not be smiling at the end.  The bike course was an open course so we would be riding with traffic and could not ride two abreast or draft on others. 

I struggled with my gears right off the bat.  And then people started WHIZZING by me right off the bat.  Any lead that I had on people from the run was gone in the first two miles of the bike.  So much passing.  I grew to not really like hearing, "ON YOUR LEFT".  My first mile on the bike was so slow - 4:55.  (Upon looking at my mile splits with my husband he was like, "Um, you could probably have ran that, ha ha ha").  I kept on trucking, getting passed, and realizing that I was not in the right gear.  I kept messing up which clicks added resistance and which made it easier.  My second mile was a bit better 3:39.  At this point I felt like I was really moving my legs fast but not getting anywhere.  Again - a bit of experience with my bike probably would have alleviated it.  I glanced at my watch 15 minutes in and I was not even to 4 miles.  I quickly calculated at the pace I was going, I would not finish in an hour.

The course was beautiful and interesting.  There were a lot of hills.  I could chug up the hills fine but the downhills were terrifying.  I kept picturing that I would hit a crack or a pothole and go flying.  So most of the downhills I braked going down.  Not exactly great strategy!  Towards the end, I did gain some more confidence so that I was not using my brakes, but I was also not pedaling down them either. 

I continually was trying to get the front gears to move and they were sticking.  I opted to not change them for most of the course because, again, I was afraid my chain would fall off or something.  By mile 10 though, I gave it another attempt and it successfully moved.  OMG.  It was like night and day.  So much more movement with every pedal.  Suddenly my mile times were dropping.  My last five miles were 3:35, 3:21, 3:17, 3:11, 3:32.  So had I figured that out earlier, I am sure my bike would have been better.

At about mile 13 of the bike, I knew I would finish and I was really really excited.  I also saw that I would finish in under an hour which I was also happy about. My official bike time was 56:27. As I approached the transition area, I saw that I had to dismount at a line.  Thankfully my friend Steph had warned me about this the night before.  My legs did not really feel tired as I was cycling but trying to dismount my bike was pretty funny.  I felt as if they would give out on me as I was pushing my bike to the rack.

I removed my helmet and grabbed my bike bottle of nuun.  I opted to carry it with me when running. In hindsight, I wish I would have not done this as the bottle was long and awkward. 

I don't even know how to explain running after cycling.  I felt like my legs were giving out and that I was running bowlegged.  I saw my family and my husband cheered, "YOU SURVIVED THE BIKE!" and I started laughing.  I kept on running, feeling like I was crawling.  But I was passing people. I got to the turnaround at one mile and my watch beeped at 6:40.  I WAS SHOCKED.   I truly thought it would be in the 9s - that is how slowly I felt I was running.

At that point, I just tried hauling as fast as I could.  My legs still felt weird but I knew there were some women ahead.  I ended up passing two women and crossing the finish at 1:23:27.  My second run was 12:46 (Mile splits 6:40/6:13).

The time I spent in transition - first transition was 1:09, second transition was 0:55.

All in all, I finished 11th woman out of 82 and 3rd in my age group (out of 16) which gets me a prize! (They mail it to me so I don't know what it is.)

I thought the experience was fun.  I would definitely do it again.  My husband said he wished that I had gone out for at least one ride to get used to the gears because he thought my bike would have been so much better had I had that experience beforehand.  I don't disagree, but going in blind let me truly have no expectation and really "have fun". 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Pewaukee Duathlon, Here I Come!

Tomorrow is race day, although a race of a different sort!  I will be participating in the Pewaukee Duathlon.  Last fall, I won a Facebook Contest sponsored by Lighthouse Events and Endurance House Milwaukee.  As part of this contest, I won a pair of Asics running shoes, an Endurance House shirt and hat, and entry into the Duathlon.  At the time that I won this, I was excited to branch out into a new activity for the summer, because, historically, I back off running so much in the summer.

Fast forward to now.  I decided to try to continue training with Hanson's plans for the fall half marathon and thus those workouts have taken priority.  I have done NO CYCLING.  Most of this is due to time. I don't have a desire to cut into the time I spend running each week to do cycling.  I am enjoying the benefits of staying consistent in running.  Also, cycling is way more time intensive than running.

Still, it will be fun to try something new and WAY out of my comfort zone tomorrow. The race is at 4 PM so I am expecting a hot, humid mess.  I have to run 2 miles, transition to the bike for 14.7 miles, then transition back to running 2 miles.  Per the website, this is a good course for newbies like myself as they will have supports along the bike course in case something happens to your bike (which is what I am mostly afraid of).  When I say I have no idea what I am doing on a bike, believe me.  I have no idea what I am doing.  I asked a competitive triathlete friend of mine, "So...when you're biking, are you pedaling the entire time?"  She was very nice in responding, "Yes."

This is going to be a far cry from biking with my kids, though part of me thinks if I can bike while pulling 50 lbs of kid in a bike trailer, or bike while pushing my daughter up a hill on her bike, I can bike 14.7 miles by myself. :)

Wish me luck!  I'll try to recap the event by the end of the weekend for you.