Monday, October 16, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Race Report: Macklemore, Phlegm, Wind and a new PR

Prep for this race was not what I wanted, and this was entirely my fault for saving too much of it for the night before.  I got the kids to bed and THEN started to think about all the stuff for the race.  I knew what my outfit was going to be, so I got that all squared away.  I made my Gen Ucan and Nuun bottles for the next morning, and pre-set the coffee maker.  I downloaded Macklemore onto my iPod for the car because I was obsessed with the Glorious song, which after yesterday, I am even more obsessed with.

And then I started freaking out about parking because I fell down the rabbit hole of social media.

I had planned on getting up at 5 and moved it back to 4:30AM after that.  The race start was 6:30.

I had wanted to go back through my running journal and do some of the mental exercises like I did for my marathon but I was tired.

I wanted to hydrate a lot more on Saturday but I didn't.

My legs felt tired Saturday night which also put me into a bit of a panic.  I realized that I didn't really ever sit down on Saturday because I was busy with the kids.  I foam rolled and used the R8 roller and did legs up the wall to Jasyoga's race day meditation.  They still didn't feel great.

So I took a shower and went to bed.

I was glad that I had a week of good sleep because Saturday night's sleep was not great.  My son woke up a bunch so when I fell back asleep it was that light, dream-filled sleep.  I had set two alarms for 4:30 because I was nervous about not hearing one, which translated to this horrible dream where I woke up at 6:10 and had to have my husband drive me to the start.

BUT.  I did wake up at my first alarm at 4:30.

I was tired.  And groggy.  And did not feel like running a race.


Like if I had had to do a workout that morning, I would have shut the alarm off, rolled over and went back to sleep.

But I had a race.  A GOAL RACE.  Suck it up buttercup.

I put my clothes on, my contacts in, brushed my teeth and started to french braid my hair.

I went downstairs and was grateful that I had at least set everything out on the table before I went to bed. I loaded my GUs in the back pocket of my shorts, packed a few plastic bags because it was raining, poured my coffee and grabbed a banana.  The wind was howling and it was pouring so I wrote my family a note:  "If the weather is still terrible please don't worry about coming to the race!" Then I went out to the car.  I hooked my iPod up and started listening to FloRida, which is usually my pump up song.

Then, only then was I like, "Let's do this."

As I was driving to the race, drinking my coffee and eating my banana, I started get super emotional, which has become a theme on races where I do well.  I took this as a very good sign.

Listened to Macklemore's Glorious a few times.  More tears to my eyes.  (Seriously.  You do not want to drive to races with me.)

After all my freaking out about the parking situation, I found a (free) street spot right near the start.  It was maybe 5:10 AM.  Race start was 6:30.  It was drizzly out so I stayed in my car for a bit and then I grabbed my umbrella and started walking over to the start area.  I had brought along a Picky Bar and an RX Bar for breakfast but I did not feel hungry at all.  

It was very dark out and they had some lighting available at the start and tons of porta potties.  I took advantage of the fact that NO ONE was there yet and used the porta potty.  I was checking my phone about meeting up with some of the Oiselle WI people and sat down on the curb.   I chugged my Gen U Can and started sipping on my Nuun.

I asked several people about the start line because it seemed odd that they finish tables were being set up in the start area.  I knew from the map and course description that the start and finish were at the same point but were they really going to have all of us line up with water tables, banana tables, etc?!  Yes.  Yes they were.  

I went to the bathroom again. 

Then I met up with Amanda, a Oiselle WI team member, who had planned on running the half but got sick and was there to support her husband who ran his first marathon!  We met up with our Oiselle WI leader, Sheila, and took a picture.  

I changed my shoes and socks and gear checked my stuff.  I left a long sleeve on as a throwaway with my crop top underneath and my shorts.  After some indecision, I decided to wear my Boco Gear BibRave visor because I do love it.  I also wrapped my BibRave Buff around my wrist to use as a snot rag if I had to because I was still dealing with snot and phlegm.  This is the first time I have tried doing this and it worked VERY well.

Anyways, back to the start.  I felt like I needed to use the bathroom again so Sheila and I got into the long line and used the bathroom again.  

It was 6:25 AM when I got out of the porta potty.

Thus, I started to snake my way through the starting area to try to get closer to the front but the narrow fencing and all of those finish chute tables were not making it easy.  I resigned myself to just starting in the back.  I was behind the 2:30 half marathon pacer group.

I never heard a starting gun or anything but I did see runners ahead of me starting to run.  It seemed to take forever and then finally I was at the start line and hit start on my watch.

I knew I would want to gun it around all of these people but I kept my wits about me and tried to run easy.  Luckily after the start line the streets widened so it was not difficult to stay to the edge and pass.  That is basically all I did for the first mile.  My first mile beeped in at 6:45.  I was pleased with this because it felt easy.

I passed the first water spot and grabbed a cup because I did feel thirsty.  Shortly past the first stop there was a brass band which also made me smile.

Then we made our way from streets to the paved trail through Veteran's Park.  I passed a man with a visual impairment who had a guide and the guide was providing these very rich descriptions of the scene for him.  They were beautiful.  It helped put the day in perspective for me.  How lucky we were to be running along beautiful Lake Michigan!

My watch beeped in again and I was a little fast.  6:40 for mile 2. I was hot in my LS so I took it off and carried it because it seemed weird to throw it in the middle of a park.  6:45 for mile 3.  I hocked the first of many lugies.  (I was cursing phlegm the whole race.)

At this point we were back onto the street and I knew I was going to see some Oiselle WI women around mile 4.  I was still carrying my shirt so I said "Can you guys take my shirt?!"  I was really excited to see them and their cowbells.

Mile 4 was 6:31.  

The big hill in the course was coming up.  There was a woman on the side who was providing this awesome narrative for me about crushing the hill.  "Girl you are showing that hill who is BOSS."  I mean I can't even begin to thank her for getting me up that thing because this was when the dark thoughts were coming in.

Mile 5 was 6:45.

At the top of the hill I saw my sister and her dogs.  She was confused because I had arrived there later than I told her I would be there because I hadn't anticipated starting in the way back.  I didn't feel great there so I barely talked to her but she ran on the sidewalk with her dogs for a bit and then said SEE YA!

Mile 6 was 6:48.

We then ran through the east side.  There were a few people out cheering which was fun.  I particularly remember a dad with his toddler-aged daughter who he was coaching to say "Go Runners!" So cute.

Mile 7 was 6:36.

We turned onto Brady street which is a good part of the course.  I remembered this part from last year and that really helped get me going.  We turned to go onto the pedestrian when I saw Amanda waiting for her husband! That was fun and a spectator I wasn't anticipating seeing.  At that point I was running with another woman.  We had to turn on this hairpin turn at the bottom of a hill and I passed her.  Given the fact that I started so far back, it was impossible to know where I was place-wise.  My focus was not at all on place - I was all about the time.

Mile 8 was 6:42.

We ran through downtown and on Old World Third.  I don't really remember these miles very well.  I know I was hurting and telling myself just keep going.

Mile 9 was 6:48.  
Mile 10 was 6:43.

And then we turned onto WI Ave.  We were dealing with windy spots all throughout the course but none compared to Wisconsin Avenue.  I was tired and almost crying because I felt like I was getting nowhere running into that wind.  Add onto that I was having a hard time getting rid of a ton of phlegm.  I am fairly certain that the guy in blue who I was running next to/behind thought I was vomiting.  I just tried staying behind him to block some of the wind.  I was very grateful to the racer in the wheelchair and the woman biking with him because she was a CHEERLEADER.  I was counting down to 16th street where I knew we would turn and get a break from the wind.  

Mile 11 was 7:01.  THE WIND SUCKED.

Then we were on 16th street and I was just trying to stay with the guy in blue.  I was bringing to mind all of those strength workouts - 3 x 2 miles in particular. 

Mile 12 was 6:31.

Ok.  At this point, I knew I was going to be close to 1:28 because of the time elapsed on my watch.  This was enough to keep me going, although I was checking my watch every 0.2 miles.  I was so tired.  I kept telling myself that I was not really tired - it was only my brain.  

Mile 13 was 6:36.

As I was rounding the corner to the finish, I heard "GO MAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!".  I recognized that voice and began scanning the crowd when I saw my family!  They made it!!!  I gave my son a high five, turned the corner and joined all the 10K runners and tried to propel myself through the finish line.  I stopped my watch.

My watch read 1:28:37 for 13.25 miles. (6:41 pace)

The finish clock said 1:31:XX.  

I got my medal and worked my way through the finish chute.  

I was really cold as the temperature had plummeted during the race.  I saw my family and they were cold and wanting to bail.   They took my post-race snacks and then said they were going to get donuts and meet me at home.

Then I saw another Oiselle person, Rachel, and talked to her for a bit so that was fun.

Then I saw two people I worked with who ran the 10K!  More sweaty hugs.

I still was freezing and finally got to gear check to get my clothes.  

I got in the beer line and ended up being right behind Jonathan, another BibRave Pro who did the trail race that I ran earlier this summer.

I wanted confirmation of my PR so I stopped at the results tent.  "The half-marathon results will not be available until early afternoon."

WHAT?  I specifically remember there being printouts at the race last year with a variety of stats.  These were available immediately at the finish.  I was SO annoyed at this.

I started to work my way through the mud pit that was the finish area to my car when SURPRISE. They had that area blocked off.  I had to work my way back through the finish area around to the other side of the LONG finish chute and make my way through another giant mud field to get to my car.  So much for my amazing parking spot!  

I was freezing by the time I got to my car and caked with mud.  

So, I blasted the heat and Macklemore all the way home.  

"I feel glorious, glorious!"

Then began the process of clicking refresh on the "half marathon results" link on my phone for the next 4 hours.

Finally, in the Costco parking lot, I had my answer:

HOLY SHIT! I got second place (out of 723), an official time of 1:28:35 (6:46 pace) and a NEW HALF MARATHON PR!

Other stats:

I was 17th overall (combined genders) and first in my age group.

5 mile: 33:52 (6:46 pace)
10 mile: 1:08:53 (6:53 pace)
Last 5K: 19:43 (6:21 pace.  Also, 19:43?!  That is only 10 seconds slower than the only 5K I ran this year.) 

Here is my Strava chart of paces and elevation:

Overall, I am very pleased with this race.  Besides being a PR, I overcame some mental challenges.  However, as with every race, I am left with the fact that mental hurdles are something I still need work on.  I mean, I was definitely tired at the end but not all out spent.  My legs didn't even really hurt after I stopped running.  This is somewhat frustrating to me because in the moment of the race, I definitely felt physically spent. 


And I entered my pace into a pace calculator for a marathon.  Yep.  Foreshadowing some 2018 goals here:

"The world is up for grabs.  I feel glorious glorious."

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training Week 18: THE TAPER + Race Goals

Another Mother Runner just sent me an e-newsletter with "tips for the taper" or something to that nature, and I was happy to see that I have been following most of them for this taper.  My number one priority for the week was to get sleep.  I am happy to report that my sleep so far this week has been all "green circles" (best rating in the Sense sleep system) and that my average amount of sleep was over 8 hours.

My goal for running was follow the plan and no run under 8:00 avg.  I did ok with this.  My throat has been feeling better with each passing day.  I'm still snot rockets and loogies, but hopefully that won't be too much of an issue.

Here is my taper week in review:

Monday, October 9
Plan says: 5 miles

What I do:  Given that sleep was a priority for me this week, I had no qualms about shutting off my 5 AM alarm and getting this done after work before the bus arrived.  It was one of those taper runs where you feel so tired and your mind starts going, "How am I going to run 13 miles at a much faster pace than this in less than week?"  Luckily for me, I have at least one of these types of runs with every taper so I know better.

5 miles, 38:51 (7:46 avg pace)

Tuesday, October 10
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  Another day where I shut off the early morning alarm and then drove home from work in pouring rain.  Sometimes I will gut it out and get the run in, other times, I will take the break. I was really tired all day on Tuesday so I made the switch to make Tuesday my rest day.

0 miles.

Wednesday, October 11
Plan says: Rest

What I do:   Actually get out of bed with the 5 AM alarm.  I went to bed early on Tuesday night because I was so tired so it wasn't too difficult to get out of bed.  It was lightly raining but as I mentioned last week, if I don't run on Wednesday morning, I won't get the opportunity for the rest of the day.

5.07 miles, 41:07 (8:07 avg pace)

Thursday, October 12
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do:  My son woke up at 3:30.  So I tossed and turned for almost an hour and a half and fell back asleep right before my 5 AM alarm so I don't even remember shutting it off.   I ended up going for a run after the kids were in bed, which is something I have not done in a LOOOOOONG time.  It was actually really fun and I had to reign the pace in because I kept thinking that it was go time!  Getting excited!!!!

6.2 miles, 49:17 (7:57 avg)

Friday, October 13
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do: 5 miles in the rain (again).

5 miles, 38:05 (7:37 avg pace)

Saturday, October 14
Plan says: 3 miles easy

What I do:  3 miles, in the rain (again).

3 miles, 23:43 (7:53 average)

Plan Miles: 24
Total Weekly Miles: 24.27

I have logged 614.47 miles in the past 18 weeks. That is almost double what I ran last year in the 18 weeks leading up to my last half marathon, where I set a PR.  A PR that I am hoping to break on Sunday!  Though I am running the same event as last year, the race went through a makeover and new management since last year and while the course is largely the same, it is slightly different.  

The weather looks to be ok.  The temps look great - high 40s/low 50s.  The one thing we all will have to contend with is wind and probably more rain, but the course doesn't go in any one direction for too long so there will be breaks.

So goals.  If I am feeling good:

A goal: Ideally, I want to run in 1:28 land.

B goal:   PR.  I need to run faster than 1:29:22 to do this. 

C goal:  Break 1:30

I realize these goals leave the space wide open for disappointment because they are SO close together time-wise AND they are all times.  Ideally I would have a process goal in there...but I don't.

I plan on running the first one to three miles in the 6:50 zone to test it out and go from there.  I ran the first seven in the 6:50-7:00 range last year, kicked it into around 6:30s for the next 4 and then tried to hold on until the end.   I want to test out pace in the first few miles on the conservative side but don't want to get stuck there.

I plan on using Gen UCan before the race and then fueling with Gu on mile 5 and 10.  I used no Gu last year, but this is mostly mental for me as I did every 5 miles in my spring marathon and really liked that plan.

I am really tired while writing this. I was with my kids all day and we did a lot, which was dumb of me but I had them by myself so I wanted to wear them out so they would go to bed good and sleep through the night!  I am off to foam roll and hydrate!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training: Week 17 Recap! One more week!!!!

''Twas the last true week of my 18 week training plan and I was pleased.  I had to squeeze in two long runs since I missed last weekend's which lead to cutting out a tempo run.  I had another strong strength workout though with mile repeats so I still got some quick running in.

I had a decent week of sleep, score-wise, however, I am typing this with another sore throat.  Midway through the week I thought I had finally kicked my allergy/cold thing and then on Saturday my throat was on fire and it remains.  ARGH.  I have definitely pumped up the fluids and am hopeful that with a week of taper ahead, I will be fine by race day.

By this time next week, I hope to be writing up my race recap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 2
Plan says: Rest

What I do: Run 12 miles.  I really wanted to get in my missed long run from last weekend so I was up at 4:30 am to do so.  This felt good - I didn't push the pace and it was rather monotonous since I was doing 1 mile loops in the dark.  That is what builds the mental muscle though, right?

12.01 miles, 1:37:59 (8:10 avg pace)

Tuesday, October 3
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 4 x 1.5 miles at 10K pace (0.5 mile jog in-between), 1.5 miles cool down

What I do:  I slept in.  My crappy week of sleep last week was catching up with me.  I was able to get in a run after work/before bus.

5 miles, 40:16 (8:03 avg pace)

Wednesday, October 4
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do: Spent 2:45a-3:30a in my son's twin bed so yeah.  Alarm was shut off.  Unfortunately Wednesdays are a DAY from now until Christmas because I am taking a class and my daughter has play practice so there is no making up a workout if I don't get my butt out of bed in the AM.

0 miles.

Thursday, October 5
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  The time has come to get the mile repeats DONE.  4:45 AM alarm here we go.

The air was so cool - 45 degrees at 5 AM - felt great.  Goal pace for mile repeats was 6:34.

1.5 miles warm up, 12:32 (8:21 avg pace)

1 mile, 6:19.1 / 0.25 mile 2:21.7 (9:24 avg pace)
1 mile, 6:25.6 / 0.25 mile 2:19.4 (9:22 avg pace)
1 mile, 6:16.6 / 0.25 mile 2:15.8 (9:01 avg pace)
1 mile, 6:20.1 / 0.25 mile 2:22.5 (9:33 avg pace)
1 mile, 6:22.1 / 0.25 mile 2:24.8 (9:40 avg pace)
1 mile, 6:21.6

1.55 mile cool down, 13:25 (8:39 avg pace)

The first mile felt hard, as it always does.  I was surprised to see how fast it was and told myself to slow it down to be more in line with goal pace.  I slowed a bit for the 2nd and then the 3rd happened.  The last 0.25 miles of these first three miles felt hard but otherwise I was feeling good physically.  Mentally, I wanted to quit after the 3rd.  I took my long sleeve off to change it up and told myself I could quit after 5 since the first time I did this workout this cycle, I only did 5.  I got through 4 and 5 and then told myself that I could do the 6th.  The 6th was hard, and I felt like I was not getting great leg turnover so when the mile beeped I was very pleasantly surprised at the time.  I know these were too fast, but mentally I needed this workout so badly.

These were not as fast as my mile repeats that I did in August but they were more consistent and all done on my hilly neighborhood mile loop.

Friday, October 6
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  I was definitely tired for this run.

5.1 miles, 41:53 (8:13 avg pace)

Saturday, October 7
Plan says: 8 miles easy

What I do:  I did this in the afternoon since my kids were going to my mom's for the night, I spent the morning with them.  Consequently it was windy and rainy during the run, which actually felt quite good.  My throat was very sore during this though.

8.21 miles, 1:01:47 (7:32 avg pace)

Sunday, October 8
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  We went to see Rent on Saturday night so we were out late...BUT we didn't have the kids so I slept in until 8:17 AM!!!!!!!!!!!  That is the latest I have slept in in months...maybe years.  I did my run in the hot afternoon which was beautiful because of the gorgeous trees.  The only drawback is that my throat is still killing me and I still have so many snot rockets.  ARGH.

5.05 miles, 40:12 (7:58 avg pace).

Plan Miles: 42
Total Weekly Miles: 45.70!  

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Product Review: Skins A400 Women's Compression 3/4 Tight

Product Review:  Skins Compression A400 Women's Compression 3/4 Tights

Disclaimer:  I received a pair of the Skins Compression A400 3/4 Tights to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRavePro (ambassador) and check out to review, find and write race reviews.

AHH!  I love these tights so much.  The end.

Ok, just kidding.

Skins has two handy tools to help you with sizing, both use your height and weight.  First there is the chart:

The other tool is the Size Calculator where you enter your exact height (in centimeters or inches) and your exact weight (in kilograms or pounds) and they tell you what size to order.  

My height and weight landed me in the size "small" camp using either tool.  I was impressed with the fit!

My three favorite features of these tights are:

I have been wearing these tights on runs for the last six weeks and I always love how smooth they look and feel.  NOTHING is jiggling around when you have them on, they don't move at all while running, and they are so so soft and buttery.  And on that note, they don't feel super tight while wearing them either. 

Call me a mom but the high rise pant is my sweet spot, particularly for running.  I cannot stand the feeling of things falling down.  These come up to just under my belly button which offers lumbar and core support.  I feel like my posture is amazing while running in these.  I also don't experience "crotch sag" in these either!

I am 5'10" and I liked how these do not land right at the knee.  Here we go with the mom talk again, but every since my pregnancies, I have a tender vein cluster in my inner left knee and some "capri" length tights (or high socks, for that matter) irritate this area.  I have no problems with these tights.

Other features include ADAPTIVE technology fabric which adjusts to temperatures.  We have had quite the temperature adjustments over the last six weeks.  First it was cool.  Then it was almost 100 degrees.  Now it is cool again.  I like how I could wear these and not feel super overheated at any point.

The dynamic gradient compression is designed to optimize your muscles for activity.  For this reason, I really enjoy wearing mine on recovery days for a little extra help on my recovery miles.

IF I COULD CHANGE ONE TINY THING about these it would be adding a small key pocket somewhere on them.  They have zero pockets.

Now for the fun part!  You can get 20% off your order of any Skins Compression gear using the code BIBRAVE20.  This code is good until the end of October 2017.

You can also join #BibChat on Tuesday October 10 at 8 PM on Twitter.  Follow @BibRave and @skins_usa for more details.

September 2017 Mileage


This should have been a lot bigger.

That is what I think when I look at this number, despite the fact that I can't go back and change how September rolled out.  It was a bit of a shit storm.  After many months of being able to prioritize running, I wasn't able to do that.  Don't worry - I tell myself all the things.  Still stings a bit though.

On a positive note, it is well above my 100 miles/month goal and not too out of whack for the last couple months (July = 157.36, August =153.14).

My annual mileage at the end of September was 1381.53 miles, 
  • a 52.8% increase from what my 2016 mileage was at the end of September of that year, and 
  • a 79.6% increase from what my 2015 mileage was at the end of September at that year.  
So I'm still building and remaining consistent.  Keep on truckin'.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training: Week 16 Recap

Last week was going to be a hectic one, I knew it from the outset.  It lived up to its billing and I had a terrible mileage week.  On top of that, my throat started to hurt last Sunday (Sept 24) and thus I was on a combo of Flonase, Sudafed, Zyrtec all week. I am still battling all the sinus things today.

We also were going to be out of town Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon for the Hall of Fame activities which threw a bit of a wrench in things.  Hall of Fame activities = I was inducted into my high school's athletic hall of fame over the weekend which included a dinner/ceremony Friday evening and a football game Saturday.  Here's my wave from the field:

I also wanted to cheer for peeps running the Lakefront Marathon on Sunday morning so by the time the weekend was over, I was so run down that I just skipped all running all weekend and got up super early this morning to get a long run in.  If I counted my long run today in last week's mileage, it would look a little more respectable, but I won't cheat the stats for you :)

Monday, September 25
Plan says: Rest

What I do:  Rest.  I had a night of sporadic sleep due to post-nasal drip.

Tuesday, September 26
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 4 x 1.5 miles at 10K pace (0.5 mile jog in-between), 1.5 miles cool down

What I do:  My son woke up....(I just wondered how many days of training begin with this phrase!) at 4 AM.  Luckily this was a rare occasion where he went back to sleep.   I did not and thus was dressed and out the door.  It was another warm morning and I told myself to enjoy it because soon enough it will be FREEZING for months on end.  63 degrees and 77% humidity.

Once again, goal pace for my strength workouts is 6:34.

1.5 mile warm up, 12:50 (8:33 avg pace)

1.5 miles, 9:48.6 (6:32 avg pace) / 0.5 miles, 4:33.4 (9:08 avg pace)
1.5 miles, 9:45.1 (6:30 avg pace) / 0.53 miles, 4:48.4 (9:04 avg pace)
1.5 miles, 9:45.6 (6:30 avg pace) / 0.5 miles, 4:26.4 (8:53 avg pace)
1.5 miles, 9:46.3 (6:31 avg pace)

1.5 mile cool down, 13:01 (8:37 avg pace)

Total: 10.54 miles

The first rep of this workout was tough.  I was huffing and puffing and my throat was on fire.  Thankfully once I got the first one out of the way and a chance to feel the pace, the other three fell into place.  I did these slightly faster than the first time I did this workout on 9/5:

1.5 miles, 10:01 (6:40 pace) / 0.5 miles, 4:25.7 (8:50 pace)
1.5 miles, 9:46.3 (6:30 pace) / 0.5 miles, 4:21.4 (8:43 pace)
1.5 miles, 9:50.3 (6:33 pace) / 0.5 miles, 4:23.1 (8:48 pace)
1.5 miles, 9:48.2 (6:32 pace)

So funny that my second rep is the fastest in both cases.

Wednesday, September 27
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do: 6.2 miles in my new supernovas.  I love them!  51:27 (8:17/mi avg pace).

Thursday, September 28
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  Squeezed in 5 miles at the end of the day.  It was a glorious fall day.

5 miles, 38:11.4 (7:38/mi avg pace).

Friday, September 29
Plan says: 1.5 mi warm up, 7 miles tempo, 1.5 mi cool down

What I do:  Half that.  I was wrangling children in the early morning hours so I got out of the house late.  I was only going to be able to get this done in the morning so I had to get out and get what I could done.  I figured some was better than none.  I ended up being way late for work but oh well.  I had so much snot during this run.  The snot rockets were epic.  Gross.

1 mile warm up (8:07), 3 miles tempo (6:47, 6:40, 6:42), 1 mile cool down (7:49).

5 miles, 36:09 (7:13/mi avg pace).

Saturday, September 30
Plan says: 14 miles long

What I do:  0 miles

Sunday, October 1
Plan says: 7 miles easy

What I do:  0 miles

Plan Miles: 53
Total Weekly Miles: 26.76  YIKES  That is the worst total miles/plan miles ratio I have had all year.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Fun times! I got not one, but TWO new pairs of running shoes! 

First pair:  Hoka Clifton 4

I went to a local running store on Saturday afternoon to get a new pair of shoes (Performance Running Outfitters in case there are any local readers!).  I had a $25 gift card for taking 2nd in the Race for Bacon.  I have had consistent good luck with Adidas running shoes, but I have been very curious about Hokas for a while, as well as some other brands, so I asked to try on a variety.  It has been a while since I have done that!

Generally I look for a neutral shoe, with a good responsive/cushion mix.  Most of the time the drop  of shoes that I like is between 8 and 12 mm. 

I first tried on a Brooks Glycerine 15.  Years ago, I ran in the Glycerine 12 and liked it, but didn't like the 13 when I tried it on.  I didn't like the 15 either.  Nothing specific, just didn't love it.

Next I tried on a New Balance 1080.  I liked this better than the Glycerine but felt a little wide in the toebox for me.

I tried on the Hoka Clifton 4 next.  I was surprised at how light they felt given the ENORMOUS sole.  I liked them particularly how they fit around my whole foot.  I don't think I have a particularly narrow foot but many times I find toeboxes too wide.  They were very comfy.

I tried on a new pair of Adidas Ultraboost for comparison and I still love those shoes.  So much bounce!  The ONLY problem I have with the Ultraboost is that I don't foresee them lasting as long as other shoes have lasted for me.  I just crossed the 200 mile mark with them and they have significant wear on them already.  I feel like I will be lucky if they get to 300 miles.

Finally, I tried on a pair of Adidas Supernovas.  I had no intention of buying these because I knew a pair was going to be coming in the mail (more later) but was curious.  Upon try on, I liked them a lot, although not as much as the Ultraboost.

I decided to go for it on the Hokas.  Having gift cards always makes me in the "treat yo self" mindset so I did.  I ran 3.25 miles in them on Sunday and liked them a lot.  They have a smaller drop in them (5 mm) so I'm planning on slowly easing into them lest I end up in the land of calf pain like I did after trying Brooks Pure Flows.

Second Pair: Adidas Supernova

I entered the Jack Rabbit #BoostGameStrong contest...and won!  I was one of five winners of a new pair of Adidas running shoes.  HUGE SCORE since I am a big fan of this brand and Boost technology.  I was able to choose between the Adios, Supernova, Energy Boost, and Supernova ST lines.  OH the agony.  I have had three previous pairs of Energy Boost and loved all of them BUT have been very curious about the Supernova after Anna Weber posted on Facebook that she got almost 800 miles out of a pair.  WHAT?!

I ended up going with the unknown, since it was a contest and I wasn't paying for them anyways.  They showed up on my doorstep last night and I plan on taking them for a spin tomorrow!

As a side note, I am really impressed with the running shoe descriptions on the Jack Rabbit website!  So so informative!

Now my shoe rotation looks like:

Asics GT 2000 5 (current mileage = 267.64 miles)
Adidas Ultraboost X (current mileage = 207.32)
Hoka Clifton 4 (current mileage = 3.25)
Adidas Supernova (current mileage = 0)

I love talking shoes!  What are you currently running in?

Monday, September 25, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training: Week 15 Recap

Last week had some curveballs, personally and professionally, so running was not able to be at the top of the priority list.  I only logged runs 5 of the 7 days, and our weather has been CRAZY.  Temps the last three days were in the mid-90s.  So we celebrated the arrival of autumn by sweating like crazy. 

Monday, September 18
Plan says: Rest

What I do:  Rest.

Tuesday, September 19
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 3 x 2 miles at 10K pace (0.5 mile jog in-between), 1.5 miles cool down

What I do:  My son woke up at 5 just as my alarm was going off and insisted I lay with him.  Unfortunately this early morning rising behavior has been a consistent trend that is annoying to say the least when you are trying to get up and get out of the house before waking anyone up.  My morning workout was therefore shot.  Maybe I could leave work early and get some portion of this in before the bus arrives...

...except that I had been waiting to get in to my primary care doctor and they had an afternoon appointment so I took it.  Maybe I could switch up the plan and get some miles in on the treadmill after the kids are in bed...

...except by that point I was done in.  I went to bed at 8:15.

0 miles

Wednesday, September 20
Plan says: 7 mi tempo with 1.5 mile warm up & cool down

What I do: Wake up to my daughter's tapping at 4:30 AM.  Go with her and lay in her bed for a bit until she falls back asleep and then get dressed to do Tuesday's strength workout that did not get done.  I was anticipating it to be a typical cool fall morning and boy was I wrong.  The humidity as disgusting as I opened the door to outside.  And it was FOGGY.

Goal pace: 6:34 or 13:08 for 2 mi repeats.

1.55 mile warm up, 12:33 (8:05 avg pace)

2 miles, 13:13 (6:36 avg pace)  / 0.51 miles, 4:40.5 (9:12 avg pace)
2 miles, 13:01 (6:30 avg pace)  / 0.5 miles, 4:39.0 (9:15 avg pace)
2.01 miles, 13:01 (6:29 avg pace)

1.55 mile cool down, 13:07 (8:28 avg pace)

I was soaking wet by the time this was done, including my hair.  GROSS.  At times I felt like I was running through one of those rockstar smoke machines!

Thursday, September 21
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do: Unfortunately/Fortunately I woke up at 4 this morning because guessed it, one of the kids and never fell back asleep.  This meant I was up and on the roads.  Again it was 83% humidity and 68 degrees.  AT 5 AM.  IN WISCONSIN.  In mid-September.  ?????  Easy 10K this morning.

6.2 miles, 51:19 (8:17 avg pace)

Friday, September 22
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  I ran after work and it was, no joke, 96 degrees and full sun outside.  I was miserable.  I was never so excited to see a school bus in my life.

3.55 miles, 27:51 (7:50 avg pace)

Saturday, September 23
Plan says: 10 miles long

What I do:  I got out early because it was going to be another scorcher.  I actually probably ran another 0.25 miles than what my Garmin logged because I stopped to quick change my iPod from podcast to song and, duh, forgot to restart my watch for a bit.  I was excited to see that my fastest pace during this run was 6:44.

10.06 miles, 1:17:06 (7:40 avg pace)

Sunday, September 24
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  Set my alarm for another early morning to beat the heat.  I bought new running shoes on Saturday afternoon that I was excited to test out so I ran the first part of this in my new Hoka Cliftons, leaving my Asics on the porch to change into for the second part.

3.25 miles, 26:52 (8:16 avg pace) - Hokas
3.75 miles, 30:17 (8:04 avg pace) - Asics

Total - 7 miles

Plan Miles: 46
Total Weekly Miles: 36.94 (womp womp)

THREE MORE WEEKS UNTIL RACE DAY! (Let's hope the weather cools down a ton before then!)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Consistency in Mileage

I recently listened to a Real Talk Radio with Nicole Antoinette with Jason Fitzpatrick.  This is from the first season of the podcast, which I am trying to get through all of the episodes that are out, having become familiar with it during Season 10. 

It was fun to listen to a running coach talk about, you guessed it, running.  One takeaway I had from listening to this is the importance of consistency.  This was not the first time that I have heard of the importance of consistency in running but given that I am trying to improve my consistency this year, it was a message I was open to hearing.

Consistency is what I am banking on to get me through the half marathon in a 1:28:xx this year.  I have NOT followed my 18 week training plan to a T and when I get down on that, I think of how much more running I have been doing this year than last.  This led me to wondering, I wonder how many more miles have I run leading up to this race than last year?

Last year I ran the PNC Milwaukee Running Festival Half Marathon on Nov 7.  I used Kara Goucher's 10 week training plan for Oiselle, which I started on August 29.  I logged 250.66 miles using that plan prior to the 13.1 which I ran in 1:29:22 (6:49 avg pace), significantly under my 7:00/mile goal pace that I trained for.  The day of the race was PERFECT for running.

This year, I planned on running the same half marathon which went through a name change and a management change, and thus, a course change.  So while it won't be perfectly correlated with last year, it will be similar.  The race this year is also 3 weeks earlier - so greater chance of being warmer.  I picked an 18 week, Hanson plan to train this year.

July 4 would have been day 1 of an 18 week training plan for the race last year.  I logged 340.95 total miles for the 18 weeks leading up to my half last year.  At this point, I am 15.5 weeks into an 18 week training plan.  15.5 weeks in last year would be Oct 13, 2016.   During July 4 - Oct 13 2016,  I logged 254.91 miles. 

I began training on June 13 this year for my 18 week training plan.  During June 13 - September 21 2017, I have logged 497.14 miles which is already more than I did in the total 18 weeks prior to last year's race.  Day for day, I am 242.23 miles ahead of last year.  That is pretty incredible! 

I plotted my monthly mileage totals for the last 3 years (through August) below.  Purple is 2017, Red is 2016, Blue is 2015.  You can see peaks in spring for all three years because I have trained for and ran a marathon all 3 years.   I anticipate that the purple line will have a similar peak as the red line once I get through the remainder of training.  My goal for 2017 is to hit 100 miles every month (dashed black line below) and so far (*knock on wood*), I have met that goal.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training Week 14 Recap

Last week was decent.  I had a race on Saturday so I moved things around and that meant I was doing long run the day after a race, which isn't ideal but I made it through.  And honestly, my house was a shit storm yesterday so it was much better being out there slogging through a long run. 

I have been retiring shoes like crazy lately so I'm down to rotating between two pairs - my Adidas Ultraboost X and my Asics GT2000.  Good thing I won ANOTHER pair of running shoes!  Just waiting for a pair of Adidas Supernovas to show up at my doorstep.  I do have to get to our local running store to get another new pair though to beef my rotation up because my Asics are what I ran my spring marathon in so they are getting up there and I generally save my Ultraboosts for speed/tempos.  In the past I have noticed that I get around 400 miles out of a pair of shoes, but the last several pairs haven't made it that far before I've noticed weird things.  Are shoes not as well made? Do you get harder on shoes with age?  I dunno but annoying nonetheless.

Ok - here's the long form recap:

Monday, September 11
Plan says: Rest

What I do:  Rest.  Ok, so really Tuesday was supposed to be the rest day but I slept through my alarm.  In writing this recap, I switched the plan says portion of Monday and Tuesday to make it easier to read :)

Tuesday, September 5
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 2 x 3 miles at 10K pace (1 mile jog in-between), 1.5 miles cool down

What I do:  My alarm went off at 5 AM and I lagged in getting out of bed.  I finally got out of bed and hit the road to do this.  I had pre-ordered a new Oiselle crop top which arrived over the weekend.  I wanted to wear it for the race on Saturday so I tested it out on this workout.  Two thumbs up (even though I like how my old Oiselle crop fits better).

This workout is the top of the strength workout ladder in the Hanson plan.  After 2 x 3 miles, you work back down the ladder and do all the workouts you already did.  It is a hard workout and I was nervous going into it.

Goal pace was 6:34.

1.5 mile warm up 12:37 (8:24 avg pace)

3 miles, 19:45 [6:45, 6:35, 6:23] (6:34 avg pace)

1 mile jog, 8:38

3 miles, 19:36 [6:40, 6:31, 6:24] (6:32 avg pace)

0.6 mile cool down, 5:17 (8:52 avg pace)

SHAZAM!  I was pumped after this workout.  I had executed it perfectly according to how I wanted to - start each 3 mile segment slower and gradually get faster.

During marathon training, my 3 mile segments for this workout (goal 7:05) on April 17 were:

3 miles, 20:36 (6:51 avg pace) (Mile splits: 6:57, 6:45, 6:52)

3 miles, 20:30 (6:49 avg pace) (Mile splits: 6:48, 6:51, 6:49)

Wednesday, September 6
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do: 5 miles easy.  Nothing else to say about that one.

5 miles, 42:44 (8:32 avg pace)

Thursday, September 7
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do: Overslept so had to do this after work/before bus dropoff, which usually means I get in around 4.5 miles.  So...I knew once my watch beeped 5 miles that something was off.  Turns out the bus totally skipped our neighborhood so I had to SPRINT after it.  Hilarious, in hindsight.  In the moment, I was an adrenaline fueled mom on a mission.

5.06 miles, 39:13 (7:45 avg pace)

Friday, September 8
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  Another post-work run.  Getting lots of hot weather running in this week. The bus did NOT miss our neighborhood this time.

4.33 miles, 32:55 (7:44 avg pace)

Saturday, September 9
Plan says: 8K RACE

What I do:  My race report is here.

Garmin: 5.03 miles, 32:20 (6:26 avg pace)

Sunday, September 10
Plan says: long 12

What I do:  OMG.  This was a DAY.  My plan was to get up at 5 and get this in before church.  Then at 4:30 AM my son woke up and threw a fit that I only could lay with him.  He never ended up going back to sleep.  Then we moved on to my daughter who threw a L-O-N-G tantrum over having to do a piano lesson worksheet.  This was all before 7 AM.  ARGH.  The day could only get better, right?  Nope.  45 minute scream tantrum from my son at naptime.  After he FINALLY fell asleep, I went downstairs and said, "I'M OUT."

11 miles, 1:26:09 (7:50 avg pace).

Amended Plan Miles: 43

Total Weekly Miles: 39.53

Saturday, September 16, 2017

40th Annual Briggs and Al's Run for Children's Hospital Race Recap

Today I had the annual Al's Run, which I have ran for the past 4 years.  I spent some time last night filling out the race prep sheet in the Believe Training Journal.  In there I wrote the following goals:

1.  Pace myself in the first one-two miles.  I always GO OUT TOO FAST in this race.  The crowd and the downhill get too exciting.  (Long story short - I did not meet this goal.)

2. Try to do a progression run, or a steady state.  No positive split.  (Long story short - I did not meet this goal.)

3.  6:30 avg pace is the goal.  If shit hits the fan, try to make it a tempo run (6:44 pace).  (Long story short - my avg pace was 6:30! BAM!)

The race start is 10:30 AM which is late.  Like last year, it was a hot one.  As we were driving to the race at 9, the car temperature gauge indicated it was 77 degrees.

I had a great week of sleep and outside of the 2x3mi speed workout I did on Tuesday, my runs on Wed, Thurs, Fri were all easy paced.  I did try something new - the sample of Picky Bars oatmeal I received with my Picky Bars shipment this month.  It didn't seem too out of the norm so I ate it. (Side note: DELICIOUS.)  I drank too much coffee and not enough water.

We did our usual park in the middle of the start and finish area and walk.   I earned a fundraising prize so I ran to the far end of the start area for a warm up to claim it and I realized that I didn't have any timing strip on my bib.  I stopped by the registration tent and they gave me a timing chip strip.  Phew! Glad I realized that!

This race allows you to get an "elite" number if you think your finishing time will be under 35 minutes, which is generous.  Because of this, I always get an elite number.  Hey - it's the only race where I can claim to be an elite - I'm going to take it!

I did a porta potty stop and grabbed a cup of water from the volunteer table.  My mouth was so dry.  Upon reading my race recaps from previous years, this is a common theme.  I am terrible at hydration.

I made my way to the starting line.  I opted to wear my new Oiselle ombre crop and a pair of Oiselle distance shorts, along with my Boco Gear visor and Goodr sunglasses with my Adidas Ultraboost shoes.  I felt these were great choices.

The gun went off and I felt like I was holding back while running that first mile so I didn't bother checking my pace, which, of course, when one of your goals and tendencies is that you start this race too fast, was a poor choice.  My first mile was 6:04.  YIKES.

I approached the first aid station and dumped a cup of water on my head.  I really wanted to drink it.  My mouth was DRY.  I reigned it in on mile 2 which came in on my Garmin at 6:36.  A little slow but closer to goal pace than the first mile.

We then got to go down a big hill and round a corner onto Lake Shore Drive.  I hate this part of the race.  It seems to go on forever and the sun just beats down on you.  In my race-day plan, I wrote down "focus on lake stretch".  I was so determined to just keep running.  Stay Strong. Smile.  Don't let that stroller-pushing dad beat you.  Mile 3 beeped in at 6:29.  Phew.  Just keep going.

I have felt, in years past, totally spent by mile 4 in this race.   I was happy that although I was hot and thirsty at mile 4, I didn't feel totally done.  Pace beeped in at 6:38.  Another slow one. Time to pick it up.

JUST KEEPING GOING.  Get to the end of Lake Shore Drive.  Turn on Clybourn.


Ok, checked the watch and was at 4.5 miles.  Thinking, "I can eek out another 0.5 miles".  Pretend you are chasing that bus.

I rounded the corner and saw the finish clock just turn over to 32:00.  Woah!  I could maybe pull this off.  I tried to go as fast as I could, and crossed the finish in 32:18, which is 6 seconds shy of my PR.

My official pace was 6:30 on the money.  YEAH!

My Garmin had this a little over 5 miles, so my time was 6:26 avg on there. Mile splits were 6:04, 6:36, 6:29, 6:38, 6:23.

My finish was good for #1 in my age group, #6 female, #53 overall (and I beat stroller-pushing dad  - phew!).  The leading woman was 31:16 or 6:17 avg pace.

I have to think that if it were not 82 degrees and sunny during this race, I would have been faster.  Another highlight - last year I ran a 32:50 and weeks later had a half marathon PR. Let's hope that trend holds this year too!

I was curious about my history with this race so I looked back.  I haven't come very far in 8K land in 4 years, AND I haven't lost very much either.

2014     32:12     2nd place AG, 13 woman, 105 total (6:29 avg)
2015     32:17     2nd place AG, 9 woman, 87 total (6:30 avg)
2016     32:50     1st place AG, 5 woman, 58 total (6:36 avg)
2017     32:18     1st place, AG, 6 woman, 53 total (6:30 avg)

In other news, my mom who is self-proclaims she is #notarunner broke an hour in the race!  Woohoo!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training Week 13 Recap

Once again, I was coming off a weekend of being sick.  Two weeks in a row!  Instead of diving right back into the plan, I amended my plan to ease back into the toughest weeks of training. I opted to do the strength workout instead of the tempo, which admittedly I decided solely because I like the strength workouts and I hate the tempos.  I tried pushing my long run a bit towards the fastest end of my prescribed long run window (7:30 - 9:00).  Other than that, I just tried to run easy.  I also ended up running 5 days instead of 6.   I have been toying with cutting out a day of running for a few weeks.  I decided to do 5 days this week because it worked well with my busy schedule this week AND I figured my body could use an extra day of rest after the last two weeks!

I look back at this week and it makes me smile.  Right now (Sunday night), I feel pretty good.  My legs are tired but I don't feel like I'm on the verge of sleep like I have been in the weeks prior.

Monday, September 4
Plan says: Rest

What I do:  I had a dull headache on Monday still and just felt off still from the weekend migraine so I took the day off.

Tuesday, September 5
Plan says: Easy 6

What I do:  It felt really really good to run, even though I felt a little off and still had a bit of a headache.  Managed to get an easy paced 10K in.

6.2 miles, 51:22 (8:17 avg pace).

Wednesday, September 6
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 3 x 2 miles at 10K pace (0.5 miles jog in-between), 1.5 miles cool down

What I do:  Alright it was go time.  Time to do the one fast workout I was going to do this week.  This felt AMAZING.  Seriously.  I was flying and feeling good.  I zoomed past the high school cross country team on their practice.  "Old Lady on your left!"

Goal pace is 6:34.

1.5 mile warm up 11:44 (7:49 avg pace)

2 miles, 13:03 [6:25, 6:30] (6:30 avg pace) / 0.5 miles 4:11.5 (8:25 avg pace)
2 miles, 13:08 [6:36, 6:28] (6:33 avg pace) / 0.5 miles 4:20.3 (8:42 avg pace)
2 miles, 12:45 [6:20, 6:24] (6:22 avg pace)

1.5 mile cool down, 12:19 (8:13 avg pace)

I had to do this same workout twice during my marathon training, so you KNOW I was curious.

Two mile repeats on April 10:

Two mile repeats on April 24

Granted, my goal pace for the 2 mile repeats during marathon training was 7:05, not 6:34.  Just typing that seems insane.

Thursday, September 7
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do:  I slept in on Thursday, which meant I was running after work before the bus, which meant that unless I sprinted, I wasn't getting 6 miles in.  I did log 4.52 miles.

4.52 miles 36:41.2 (8:07 avg pace).

Friday, September 8
Plan says: Off

What I do:  This day was my daughter's birthday and she wanted doughnuts for breakfast.  I was up early but not to run - to go get doughnuts! We went to see Wicked right after work/school so no run, and I was out until after midnight.  SO TIRED!

1.5 mile warm up 12:53 (8:36)
4 miles, 27:33 (6:53 avg, mile splits = 7:03, 6:59, 6:45, 6:44)
1.5 mile cool down 11:44 (7:49)

Saturday, September 9
Plan says: 10-12 miles

What I do:  The official plan said 10 miles, but I wanted to see if I could do a bit more if I was feeling good.  My husband let me sleep in until 8 AM which was awesome.  I ended up doing this run after lunch.  I didn't want to do this too fast, but I did want to be closer to the 7:30 end of my long run pace since I skipped a tempo run this week.  I was happy with this run.  After the first mile, I was in 7:30 range for the remainder of the miles and it felt decent.

11.02 miles, 1:23:14 (7:33 avg pace)

Sunday, September 10
Plan says: easy 6

What I do:  I got up early and headed out the door.  First run of fall where I needed a long sleeve shirt for the entire run.  (Funny because I did Saturday's run in a crop top and shorts.)  My legs definitely felt tired, even with my compression socks.  I finally started loosening up around mile 6 (!) so I decided to go the extra mile, literally.

7.2 miles, 1:00:37 (8:25 avg pace)

Amended Plan Miles: 38

Total Weekly Miles: 38.94 (seriously wish I would have calculated that before hand so I would have ran an extra 0.06 miles!)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Guess who the current Athlinks Athlete Profile is?

I am happy to report I have zero headache today for the first time since Saturday AND I'm starving.  Yep, back to my version of "normal" here.

I am excited to be featured on the Athlinks blog today!  You can read the feature here.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training: Week 12 Recap

Sigh.  Last week started off really well.  I was getting workouts done and feeling ok.

Monday, August 28
Plan says: Easy 5 miles

What I do:  You may recall that I was coming off of family sick-fest last weekend so I didn't set a morning alarm.  I also reworked my workouts a little bit so that I wasn't coming off sick-fest and doing speed. My daughter started school that morning so I was going to try to squeeze in a run between work and when she got off the bus.   Due to school restructuring, she was going to be on the bus 10 extra minutes this year and I was going to use them!  I ended up logging 4.4 miles.  I still felt tired.

4.4 miles, 36:12 (8:09 average).

Tuesday, August 29
Plan says: Rest

What I do:  Yes! I had FINALLY gotten back to having Tuesday as a rest day.

Wednesday, August 30
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 4 x 1.5 miles (0.5 miles jog in-between), 1.5 miles cool down

What I do:  I woke up early, did this workout and slayed.  Honestly, my goals for this were (1) to be around 6:30 pace; and (2) to ease into the workout.  I accomplished both.

1.51 mile warm up, 12:45 (8:27 avg pace)

1.5 miles, 10:01 (6:40 pace) / 0.5 miles, 4:25.7 (8:50 pace)
1.5 miles, 9:46.3 (6:30 pace) / 0.5 miles, 4:21.4 (8:43 pace)
1.5 miles, 9:50.3 (6:33 pace) / 0.5 miles, 4:23.1 (8:48 pace)
1.5 miles, 9:48.2 (6:32 pace)

1.1 mile cool down, 8:50 (8:02 avg pace)

Thursday, August 31
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do:  6.2 miles easy.  Two days in a row with the morning alarm!

6.2 miles, 51:19 (8:17 avg pace)

Friday, September 1
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 6 miles at half-marathon pace (6:44), 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  So tempo run.  I haven't had a good tempo run in weeks.  I decided that I was going to start over with these and work myself up physically and mentally rather than beat myself up over them.  My goal was to do a 4 mile tempo, easing into it and negative splitting.  It was still slower than what I wanted, but the progression of my miles was good.

1.5 mile warm up 12:53 (8:36)
4 miles, 27:33 (6:53 avg, mile splits = 7:03, 6:59, 6:45, 6:44)
1.5 mile cool down 11:44 (7:49)

AND NOW IT'S TIME FOR THE PLOT TWIST! (As I alluded to in my Instagram post this morning, I stole that from Devon Yanko's Leadville 100 race recap. It's a good one.)

I woke up Saturday morning at 1 AM with a throbbing, vice grip headache that was out of control.  What the hell was going on?!?!  I thought I was going to puke so I crawled (yes, crawled) into our bathroom.  No puke but man I could not shake the jolts of pain going through my head.  I thankfully fell asleep and then proceeded to rot in bed, in and out of sleep, for the remainder of the day, clutching my head.  My husband thought I was on the verge of death.  "I've never seen you like that!".  (He wins some award because he did all of the cooking for my daughter's birthday party AND yard work AND house cleaning AND wrangled our monkeys that day.)

He was Googling symptoms and diagnosed me with a migraine.  I was chugging ibuprofen and it was doing absolutely nothing so he went and got me some Excedrin migraine.  That at least took some of the edge off but I was not able to be upright at all.  

I felt better on Sunday - "better" meaning I was able to get up, shower, and stay upright while Maggie's party was going on.  I wasn't feeling hungry (I hadn't eaten anything since Friday night outside of a small bowl of oatmeal) and still had a headache.

Yesterday I felt a bit better as well.  I still had a headache, but no zingers.  I didn't feel as though I was on the edge of vomiting.  I ate some food, despite not really being hungry.

And here we are this morning.  Still feeling "eh".  Trying not to freak out that I missed two long run weeks in a row and, rather than being back up, like I was anticipating at the beginning of last week, my weekly mileage plummeted below 30 for the first time since the week of June 12.  I have 5 weeks and 5 days until race day.

Plan Miles: 51
Total Weekly Miles: 27.75

Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 2017 Recap

Happy end of August!

I ran this morning (that's two mornings in a row!) so I have officially logged all the miles I am going to log for the month.

Total August 2017 miles = 153.14

I am ok with this number.  I can't change it, obviously, but I also know that it should have been higher.  August was a rough month.

Focusing on the positives:

1. I logged at least 100 miles this month, making 8 months in a row of 100+ mile months.

2. I was only 4.22 miles short of the total mileage for July, so although I didn't increase, I maintained.

3. My August 2017 mileage was a 129.1% increase over August 2016 mileage.

My goal is still to PR the half in October.  I PRed the half (and broke 1:30) last fall after a less than stellar summer of mileage so while this training cycle hasn't been as tight as my marathon training cycle was, I still think it is an improvement upon last year and that my consistent mileage this year is a big benefit to the race.  I want to be in 1:28:xx land for the half.  Strava says my best half-marathon effort right now is 1:28:23.  I'll take it!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training: Week 11 Recap

Let's start with some positive news.  With Friday's run, I officially logged more miles in 2017 than I did in all of 2016!

2016 total mileage: 1206.42
2017 total mileage: 1211.61


Friday was the last time I ran.  Yep.  Two unplanned days off.   My body feels better today than it did in the past several days.  I am hoping to lace up the shoes this afternoon.

Monday, August 21
Plan says: Rest

What I do:  Rest

Tuesday, August 22
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 6 x 1 mile at 10k pace with 400 m recovery in between, 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  I work up with a very stiff and sore neck, likely from sleeping on my side with my arm at a weird angle underneath my head.  I started running after work and it felt like knives were digging into my neck with every step.  This feeling gradually lessened but it became apparent that I was not going to be doing mile repeats.  My goal was to make it 5 miles and I did it.

5.24 miles,  40:57 (7:49 avg pace)

Wednesday, August 23
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  MILE REPEATS.  My neck and shoulder were still very sore.  The warm up was uncomfortable but not as awful as Tuesday so I decided that I was going for it.  I again was doing this after work so my time was limited. Six seemed like SO MANY so I again did the trick of "Just start with 1". I opted to do 5 repeats instead of 6 so I could get a cool down in.  By that time, my body felt shot anyways.  I ran these too fast.  My 10K pace is not in the 6:15 range.  I haven't been happy with the two 10Ks I ran this summer.  My best 10K this summer (also my PR) was 6:46 pace, which is slower than I hope to run this half marathon.  Maybe not a good sign?!  Anyways, my goal for these mile repeats was 6:30.  Totally overshot that.  Probably not the smartest.  I ran two different mile-long loops in my neighborhood and the adjacent neighborhood.  Loop A is hillier than Loop B, which is reflected in the time.  I also stopped during the last two for a breath.  I need to not do that.

1.5 mile warm up, 12:23 (8:15 avg pace)

LOOP A: 1 mile, 6:14.0 / 0.25 mile, 2:10 (8:36 avg pace)
LOOP B: 1 mile, 6:09.9 / 0.25 mile, 2:16 (9:05)
LOOP A: 1 mile, 6:16.9 / 0.25 mile, 2:16 (9:08)
LOOP B: 1 mile, 6:06.6 / 0.25 mile, 2:20 (9:20)
LOOP A: 1 mile, 6:23.6 /

2.05 mile cool down, 17:24 (8:30 avg pace)

I took a epsom salt bath to hopefully help the neck and shoulders.  This was awesome and made me very sleepy.  I still went to bed later than I should have.

Thursday, August 17
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 6 miles at half-marathon pace (6:44), 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  5 miles easy.  I actually got up with a morning alarm!!!!  Neck and shoulders were still feeling off, but better than the previous two days.  I AM GETTING OLD!

5.1 miles, 42:46 (8:23)

Friday, August 18
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do:  I wanted to get in my tempo run but wasn't feeling that great.  My neck and shoulders still felt sore and generally I didn't feel great.  I went out for a run and tried to push several miles.  It was inconsistent but I logged a few tempo miles.

7.15 miles, 52:02 (7:17 avg pace)

Saturday, August 19
Plan says: 10 miles at long run pace (7:30-9:00)

What I do:  Oh man.  Our house was hit over the weekend.  My son started feeling ill Friday during the day and was puking every 3 hours on Friday night.  Luckily he woke up feeling ok on Saturday morning.  I, on the other hand, now had a neck, shoulder and back thing going on that was horrible.  I felt crummy, and had no appetite (unusual for me!).  I took a bunch of Advil and we had a family thing to attend.  We returned home and kids fell asleep at 6PM.  I was not far behind at 8PM.  Then my daughter woke up with fever + headache + body aches.  Luckily she never went the puke route.

0 miles

Sunday, August 20
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  Again woke up feeling like junk.  My back felt miserable. I still wasn't very hungry. We had a chill day relaxing.  By the end of the day, I felt like I had gotten hit by a bus.  Kids went to bed and I again went to bed at 8PM with chills and body aches.  Luckily I woke up on the other side of the curve this morning so I think we are all back on the mend!

0 miles

Plan Miles: 45
Total Weekly Miles: 32.06

Monday, August 21, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training: Week 10 Recap

Spoiler alert: I did not hit the mileage goal for the week.  In fact, I was not even close.  I took an extra unplanned rest day and cut a few workouts short.  

Mario Fraioli retweeted something by @jcissik : "You cannot out train a bad diet, lack of sleep, lack of studying, and a poor attitude."  It was basically a sign from God.  Like DUH.  I have been complaining for weeks about the lack of sleep I have gotten.  My diet has been terrible lately.  I have skipped breakfast a ton.  (SUPER BAD IDEA....just in case you were wondering.)

I tried to get more sleep over the weekend.  There were some successes (nap on Sunday!) and some fails (daughter up several times last night because of bad dreams!).  I definitely paid more attention to eating this weekend - as in I ate really amazing food and I ate very hearty breakfasts both days.

I'm going to keep on keeping on with my plan and *try* to not be so down on myself.  It's always a work in progress for us type-A, overachiever types, right?

Here is my recap:

Monday, August 14
Plan says: Rest

What I do:  Rest

Tuesday, August 15
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 12 x 400m at 5k/10k pace with 400 m recovery in between, 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  This was the last speed workout on the plan!  (The remaining weeks focus on "strength" workouts which are longer repeats (1+ miles).) My kids had a rough night of sleep Monday night so I did not get up early.  I left work to do these before piano lessons and managed to get the repeats done but had to skip out on the cool down.  It was a nice sunny day, temperatures were in the upper 70s.  I again did these in my neighborhood (0.25 mi) on a quasi hilly stretch.  My goal was NOT to blow them out of the water - try to stay consistent and close to goal pace (1:33).  I didn't want to kill my legs for the tempo run later this week like I did last week.

1.6 miles warm up, 12:43 (7:55 avg pace)

0.25 miles, 1:30.0 (5:57 avg pace) / 0.25 miles, 2:01.0 (7:59 avg pace)
0.25 miles, 1:28.7 (5:57) / 0.25 miles, 1:56.1 (7:46)
0.25 miles, 1:30.8 (6:07) / 0.25 miles, 1:57.2 (7:48)
0.25 miles, 1:30.8 (6:05) / 0.25 miles, 1:59.2 (7:45)

0.25 miles, 1:28.7 (5:54) / 0.25 miles, 2:05.3 (8:01)
0.25 miles, 1:30.6 (6:02) / 0.25 miles, 1:58.8 (7:57)
0.25 miles, 1:28.5 (5:58) / 0.25 miles, 2:01.4 (7:55)
0.25 miles, 1:30.6 (6:03) / 0.25 miles, 2:06.7 (8:17)

0.25 miles, 1:30.2 (5:56) / 0.25 miles, 2:02.3 (7:58)
0.25 miles, 1:28.6 (5:54) / 0.25 miles, 2:03.4 (8:08)
0.25 miles, 1:29.8 (6:01) / 0.25 miles, 2:04.5 (8:04)
0.25 miles, 1:28.5 (5:57) / 0.30 miles, 2:26.1 (8:07)

The last time I did 400s was during week 2 (6/20/17).  I ran those on a track, and they were much faster.

1 - 1:24 / 1:55  (5:33 avg pace / 7:43 avg pace)
2 - 1:26 / 1:50  (5:36 / 7:23)
3 - 1:25 / 1:58  (5:40 / 7:53)
4 - 1:25 / 1:54  (5:31 / 7:39)
5 - 1:26 / 1:59  (5:38 / 7:59)
6 - 1:22 / 1:56  (5:22 / 7:47)
7 - 1:27 / 1:59  (5:39 / 8:03)
8 - 1:25 / 1:54  (5:27 / 7:36)
9 - 1:25 / 1:57  (5:31 / 7:43)
10 - 1:24 / 1:59  (5:23 / 7:49)
11 - 1:23 / 1:57  (5:20 / 7:45)
12 - 1:25 (5:33)

Wednesday, August 16
Plan says: 5 miles

What I do:  I stayed up late on Tuesday night (10 pm) to read my book which made it hard to get up at 5 AM but I did eventually roll out of bed.  These were easy paced miles, although I felt tired.  It is always harder to have a hard afternoon workout and then an early morning workout the next day!  I added some on to make up for reduced cool down the day before.

5.70 miles, 49:27 (8:41 avg pace)

Thursday, August 17
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 5 miles at half-marathon pace (6:44), 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  Nothing.  Nada.  I was spent and slept terribly because my husband and I were kid-free on Wednesday night so we went out to dinner and wine was had.  I have noticed that whenever I have a DROP of wine, any sort, my sleep is awful.  I had several million drops (ok, half a bottle) with dinner and thus, I was up all night long and did not get a workout in before work.  The day sort of spiraled from there.  I ended up having to leave work early to go get the kids and then we had back to school night and by the time all was said and done, there was no way I was running.

Friday, August 18
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do:  Tried to get the tempo run in.  It was an epic fail, as I wrote about at the end of last week.

2.27 miles, 19:14 (8:29 avg pace)
1.35 miles, 9:23 (6:56 avg pace)
0.18 miles, 1:31 (8:38) and walk.

I felt like death and abandoned ship.  3.8 miles total.

Saturday, August 19
Plan says: 12 miles at long run pace (7:30-9:00)

What I do:  I was up early so I decided to get a long run in.  I was not in a good place mentally but thought, "Try to get to 6".  Six came and it became, "Try to get an hour of running in".  An hour came and then it was "Try to get 10 in" and then I hit 10!  I had hit my max allowable run time (we had to get to an event that morning) so I stopped there.

10.06 miles, 1:20:28 (8:00 avg pace)

Sunday, August 20
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  I inadvertently napped on Sunday after getting the BEST night of sleep ever on Saturday night.  I slept through the ENTIRE NIGHT.  Hallelujah.  I laid down with my son to help him relax for his nap and ended up falling asleep myself! I did this run after the kids were in bed and the first two miles felt heavy.  I switched off of podcast mode and fired up some music and voila.  Hit some fast miles.  Of course this was off plan, but it felt good after the crappy week to show myself that I could get some fast miles done.

5 miles, 36:42, (7:20 avg pace)

Plan Miles: 45
Total Weekly Miles: 32.27

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Struggle is Real

This was the Runner's World quote today.  Ugh.  Sometimes these drive me bonkers.

The last few weeks have been busy.  We had a lot of social commitments, family commitments, and of course, gearing up for school.  In our house, August is a rough month of anxiety for my daughter.  I have struggled with sleep.

I still was getting runs in, as you know if you follow my weekly training recaps or my Instagram. They weren't ideal, and my legs always felt tired, but I was having some punctuation of a good runs. Good runs are becoming the anomaly in my training instead of the norm.  That seems strange.

There are many ways to define a "good" run.  For me, a "good" run is one that first and foremost feels good.  It may not be easy but my body responds to the push I give it.  They have nothing to do with pace.  I can have a good run running 8:45/mile pace and one at 6:30/mile pace.

I keep pushing and pushing and my body is just not having it.  Everything hurts and feels very sluggish.  On every run.

I skipped running yesterday because I was so tired.  So tired that I went to bed at 6:30.  My kids barely fell asleep before I did.  I tried reading my book for a while, but the words were swirling together on the page so I reluctantly gave up and promptly fell asleep.

I woke at 3AM to the sound of my son getting out of bed, walking to our bathroom, turning on the light, and peeing.

Then I tossed and turned.  Tried deep breathing but could not get my breath to be slow and even and deep.  Eventually I fell back asleep.

This morning I got out of bed at my 5 AM alarm not because I wanted to but because I felt guilty that I had missed my run yesterday.

I started running and my legs were just screaming.  I chalked it up to mile 1, always a toughie.  My mile one beeped in at just over 8 min/mile.  I continued on and it was taking so much effort to run "easy".  My second mile beeped in at 8:47/mile.  I didn't feel great.  I decided that I needed to make up for the tempo run that I missed yesterday, come hell or high water.

I started running, fast, and immediately was huffing and puffing.  I got to the 0.75 mile mark and stopped.  I was at a 6:49/mile pace.  5 second slower than my goal half marathon pace.  I regained my breath and continued.  UGH.  Such a struggle.  My mile beeped in at 7:00.

I continued the fight for another 0.25 miles and then just gave up.  Clearly my body wasn't having this.

I tried to continue the shuffle/slow pace run and yet it was so so hard.  I ended up shutting my Garmin off and walking the rest of the way home (~0.6 miles).

I don't think I can keep pushing myself for 9 more weeks on this plan.  I know that I am supposed to be tired - that cumulative fatigue is the hallmark of the Hanson plan.  At some point I think I crossed a line into just fatigue.  I never felt like this during my marathon training.

I don't have any next steps.  I am just at a point where I am thinking long and hard about them.

Product Review: BUFF (R) Pack Run Cap

PRODUCT: BUFF (R) Pack Run Cap

Disclaimer:  I received a BUFF ® Pack Run Cap to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRavePro (ambassador) and check out to review, find and write race reviews.

Are you a hat person?  I have amassed quite a collection of running hats over the years and am partial to a few.  I'm adding this BUFF ® Pack Run Cap to that short list after getting to test it for a few weeks.

My favorite feature of the cap is the adjustable drawstring cord in the back which allows you to customize the fit.  I have a big head, so many of the "running hats" out there, specifically for women, do not fit my noggin.  I have a few hats that I like that have a velcro closure in the back, but my hair always gets stuck in the velcro.

 I love getting mail so when I got this cap in the mail, I put it on my head to see if it would fit and then I went about getting stuff done and realized I never even removed the tag!

Another feature of the cap that I like is that it is very packable.  It is designed to be able to roll up and stash into a pocket and take up as little space as possible.  I tested this out when I took my kids to Lapham Peak State Park for a hike.  Much of our first route was in the shade but the second half was in the sun so I was able to stash this in my pack and get it out later.  Because it is designed to do this, the cap didn't have any weird creases or anything.
I also like this stash-and-go feature in packing a bag for "runch" (lunch run).

Some other nice features of the cap are the reflective details, which is nice when you start your run in the dark and then gradually the sun comes up.  The material on the upper panel gives you UPF 50 protection from the sun too!  That wide brim is protecting my forehead from wrinkles!! ha ha ha

The moisture wicking properties are similar to other BUFF ® products - awesome!  The inner lining of the cap is a sweatband so sweat doesn't roll in your eyes.

Overall, a big thumbs up to the BUFF ® pack run cap.

Here are some reviews from Meredith and Janelle if you are interested in more opinions.

I have the cap in the "Interference" color.  There are several more designs to choose from as well as plain black.