Thursday, June 22, 2017

Gearing up for Race Day

I'm running a race in two days!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Half Marathon Goal Pace

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


I suck at picking goal paces.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 19, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training: Week 1 Recap

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 12

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

Tuesday, Jun 13
Some late afternoon miles:

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

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

Plan says: 4 miles easy

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

Thursday, June 15
Plan says: 4 miles easy

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

Friday, June 16
Plan says: 4 miles easy

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

Saturday, June 17
Plan says: 6 miles easy

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

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

Sunday, June 18
Plan says: 4 miles easy

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

4 miles, 32:30 (8.07 avg pace)

Plan Miles: 22
Total Weekly Miles:  26 miles

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 12, 2017

Recovery Week 3 Training Recap

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

Monday, June 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total Weekly Miles:  20.4 miles

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

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

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

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Product Review: Adidas UltraboostX Running Shoes

Product Review:  Adidas UltraboostX Running Shoes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Recovery Week 2: Started Running Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 31
Rest Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total Weekly Miles:  20.47 miles

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Product Review: Buff Womens UV Arm Sleeves

Product Review:  Buff Women's UV Arm Sleeves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May Miles and Returning to Running

I took a full week off of running.

I read a whole book and got 3/4 through another one.

I read a stack of magazines.

I stayed up late too many nights watching television with my husband.

I watched a movie.  A MOVIE! In it's entirety!!!

I slept like crap, naturally waking up way too early in the morning.

I drank some beers.

I drank some wine.

I ate a lot of junk food.

I planted flowers in my yard.

I cleaned my house.

I did ZERO exercise.

While it was nice to indulge, it definitely felt like something was missing from my day and I am fairly certain going from approximately 6.5 - 7 hours of running a week to 0 hours of running probably contributed to my difficulty sleeping.

After seven days off, I was downright giddy to start running again.  My goal for this week is to get some easy 30 minute runs in, again per Hanson's recommendation.  I ran for a little over 4 miles both Monday and Tuesday and my legs felt great.  My recovery for this marathon was probably the best I have felt post-marathon ever.

I still have some long term planning to do to figure out when I need to start training for my fall half-marathon.  My next race is in 24 more days - my first 10K race in over a decade!  It is also my first trail race so I have zero expectations for time for it.  I am also running a 10K in July which is what I will probably train for.

My May mileage total came to 152.41 miles, a 49.6% increase over last year, and almost 100 miles more than 2015.  My total 2017 mileage also broke 800 this week!  I am at 804.61 miles for the year.  To date, my mileage total is 21.2% greater than last year at this time.  We shall see if I can maintain this for the remainder of the year.

Historically June is one of my all-time low mileage months.  Last year, I was in a boot for a metatarsal stress reaction for half of June.  I'm fairly confident that June's mileage will also surpass last year's!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

What's Next?

Yesterday I wanted to go for a run.  I should specify that my legs did not want to go for a run but my head did.

I did not run.  I am trying very hard to follow the recommendation in Hanson's to take at least 7-10 days off of running.  Initially that did not sound very long.  But after 18 weeks of 6 days/week running, I am already struggling.  #brainwashed :)

I still think I could make more improvements in my half and full marathon times now that I am over a big mental block in both.  My big pie in the sky dream is to sub-3 the marathon someday.  I'm not really sure the best route to set myself up to do this so I'll probably be reading a lot for the remainder of the year.  I also am at a point again where I need someone to help me figure out long term planning.  What is the best way to develop more speed and endurance to get me to sub 3?  Is it even reasonable to think that I could knock another 11:09 off my marathon time?  (For reference that is at least a 6:51/mile pace.  My marathon Sunday was 7:18.)  What is reasonable to expect for goals for next marathons?  While I made a big jump in my most recent marathon, I know that from here out improvements are going to be on a much more modest scale.

While I ponder these questions, I also have more races!  I do not have plans to do another marathon in 2017.  I plan on spending my summer doing some new things - a 10K trail race in June, a duathlon in July - in addition to some 5ks, 8ks, 10ks, leading up to another fall half marathon.

If you have books, websites, resources, etc to recommend, I'm all ears!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Cellcom Green Bay Marathon Race Report!

How do I even start this post?!

Yesterday, I ran a marathon in 3:11:09.

Yes, you read that right.  I still can't really believe it happened.

If you are interested in the events leading up to and during the race, proceed.  I will warn you that the text will be rambling, perhaps contain a lot of winding paths to nowhere, and it will be long.  Guaranteed.  So go get something to eat and drink and settle in.

We left our house at 8 AM on Saturday morning as my kids were registered to run the Kids Run.  The kids run is organized into different heats according to age and the 6 year olds were scheduled to run at 11; the three year olds at 11:45.

We arrived at Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers football team, around 10:15 which was just enough time to pick up the kids packets and get them organized.  My husband was planning on running the 0.75 mile course with each kid, but at the last minute my 6 year old wanted me to run with her.  I was fine with this except that I was not wearing my running shoes.  My Oofos OOMG shoes held up nicely, though.

I love love love watching my kids run so this was a highlight for me.

After the kids ran, we went to pick up my course packet and then went to check into our hotel.  I was starving and we ended up calling for takeout at the restaurant near the hotel.  I got a semi-gross grilled chicken sandwich and fries.  I was also really tired.  Luckily my 3 year old went down for a nap so I also was able to nap while my husband and daughter went to the arcade.

We did a little hotel waterpark and arcade before eating yummy pasta at a local restaurant (Angelina's) and then my dear husband drove around trying to find a bagel shop that was still open to get me a bagel for breakfast.

We got the kids to bed and I began laying out all of my stuff for the next day, including pre-making all of my drinks.  I had done a "weed-eating" exercise in my Believe journal on Friday night. The weed-eating exercise was to spend ten minutes writing a list of all of the negative thoughts you usually have during a race/run and then spend time writing a positive response to each of them.  In other words, detailing EXACTLY what you are going to tell yourself when the going gets rough.   I ended up getting to bed around 9:30 PM and setting an alarm for 5:15 AM.

I had a lot of difficulty sleeping.  I woke up often.  I wasn't too concerned about it though because the week leading up to the race was a week of great sleep.

My son got up to use the bathroom around 4:45 AM and so that was what time I woke up.  I ate half of a whole wheat bagel and drank some water.  I had decided that I was going to wear my 3/4 crop top from Oiselle with my Buff Arm Sleeves and shorts.  (I will be talking more about the arm sleeves during a product review post since I got them as part of the BibRave Pro ambassador program.)  It was raining so I wore my Oofos shoes so that my socks and running shoes would not get wet.

I've talked a lot about the running that I did as part of training, but not much about the race nutrition changes I was planning on making.  This also stemmed from the Hansons book.  In previous marathons, I always waited to take a gel until the later miles.  What I realized from reading the book was that this was a useless behavior and definitely not serving me.  I trained for the last several weeks taking gels early to see how my stomach would react to them and settled on flavor choices.  I then calculated how many I would need using the calculations in the book using your weight, how much you sweat, etc.  This ended up being 5 gels.  FIVE!  I built my plan around both the book advice and my experimentation.  I would carry five gels with me, 4 strawberry banana gu and 1 lemonade Gu Roctane.  I would use a strawberry banana Gu at miles 5 and 10, the roctane at 15 and a strawberry banana again at 20.  If I felt I needed the extra, I would have it.  I would also bring my 16 oz Nathan hand-held bottle with the BeachBody hydrate that I was consistently using while running.  I had tried other things but was most comfortable with that specific product.  My plan was to grab a cup of water at every hydration stop as well.  Finally, I was bringing some RunGum with me for the last miles.  

I loaded up the pockets of my distance shorts with the gels and had my handheld ready to go.  The night before I had made a disposable water bottle with one packet of Gen UCan orange and one bottle of the BeachBody energize, which I also was used to consuming prior to running.

Once I had my number pinned on, it was time to get onto the hotel shuttle to the stadium.  Our hotel was less than a mile away from the stadium, but it was raining so I opted for the shuttle.  While on the shuttle, I drank the Gen UCan.  We arrived at the stadium around 6:10 am.  Race start was scheduled for 7:00 am but due to the possibility of lightening, there was some question as to whether the race start would be pushed back.

I hit the bathroom right away and then went to sit in the atrium.  I changed into my running shoes and socks.  I made the decision to not wear the headband or the sunglasses that I had planned on wearing given the rain.  I knew having those on and wet would irritate me.  I was supposed to meet up with some other Oiselle women for a picture around 6:30.  I found the group and then we were waiting to see if other women would come and then around 6:40 found out the race would be going on as planned.  Through a combination of waiting for people and picture taking, I didn't exit the building until 6:50 which was too close for comfort for me considering I still had to gear check my stuff.

It was also pouring rain.  I had a free poncho that they handed out at the race expo on so my clothes stayed dry but my shoes and socks were soaked.  I was running - not jogging - running to the gear check buses as the national anthem was played.  Then running back towards the start and I had to go to the bathroom.  I ducked into a porta potty quick and then ran back to the starting corral, ditching my poncho on the way.  The rain had let up just as I entered Corral A and the announcer said, "90 seconds!".  My adrenaline was crazy.  "10-9-8..." BANG! Gun went off.


Mile 1:  I started the race with a throw away long sleeve shirt on over my arm sleeves and crop top.  My husband was going to try to see me right in the first mile since we would run past the hotel.  I saw him and the kids and gave them my shirt.  I felt really calm and good, despite the hectic starting situation.  I immediately noticed that I was running with all men.  I did not look at my pace while running but Garmin had me at 7:12.  My plan was to start conservatively in the 7:30s and ease into 7:15 pace but I realized at this mile that I was not giving myself enough credit with this plan.  Trusting my training would mean that I was ready to run every mile at 7:15.

Mile 2: It started pouring.  Squish, squish, squish went my shoes.  I was wiping away rain from my eyes every so often.  I was conjuring up images from high school cross country when we fed off of bad weather because every single meet was held in rain.  7:07.  A little fast.  Time to back down a bit.

Mile 3 - 5:  I was definitely grabbing water from each fluid station even though I was not thirsty.  I was running by myself with some guys just ahead of me.  It stopped raining somewhere in this chunk. At mile 5, I ripped open my first gel and took it down.   Miles were definitely more controlled at this point - 7:16 / 7:17 / 7:18  (This was the first tracking mat on the course which had me at 36:16, 7:17 pace I later found out.)

Mile 6: At this point Mr. Man ran past me and announced he was at 10,000 steps.  He immediately became buddy buddy with the guy running right ahead of me.  I can't say for certain, and I may have read way too much into his behavior, but I definitely was getting the "I'm not letting a woman beat me" vibe from him.  7:20

Miles 7-8:  I don't really remember much about these miles other than they were through neighborhoods and I felt fine.  My gels were starting to scratch my leg from the side pocket so I transferred them all into the pouch on my handheld water bottle.  7:12 / 7:14

Mile 9:  I caught up to Mr. Man who was now running by himself.  He asked me what my goal was and I said "3:15" to which he mansplained to me that I was currently running at a 3:10 pace and that I better slow down.  I just smiled and said, "I would be pumped with a 3:10" and carried on.  He immediately sped past me.  Nope.  I definitely didn't read into that one.  7:04

Mile 10-12:  We now were on a beautiful paved path through woods along the Fox River.  I was definitely all by myself at this point.  I was excited at the possibility of seeing some family members at the halfway point.  Mile 10 was a second gel and another tracking mat and I clocked in at 1:12:47 or 7:19 pace.  My Garmin splits for this chunk were 7:17 / 7:15 / 7:07.

Mile 13:  Came and went.  I did not see my family.  I clocked in at the halfway point at 1:35:11 or 7:14 pace.  My Garmin split was 7:11.

Mile 14:  Still no family.  7:11 split.  My legs were starting to feel tired.  I had a minor red flag that I was already starting to feel tired but I knew that I could still run a solid pace while tired based on my training and I started thinking about all those tempo runs.

Mile 15: A woman had come into sight and was fading.  I passed her somewhere along this mile and offered words of encouragement.  She would be the one and only woman I saw the entire race.  At this point I took my Roctane gel.  7:07 per Garmin.  I was supposed to have a timing mat time at mile 15 but nothing came through so I'm not sure what happened.

Mile 16:  Still running on the paved trail, still running by myself.  And then...up ahead....i saw my mom and aunt!  I was waving frantically at them but it took them a moment to register it was me.  They asked me how I was feeling and I said I was feeling good because although my legs were tired, I DID feel pretty good.  7:16

Mile 17-20:  I got into a flow here that I don't even know how to explain.  Just keep swimming. As I mentioned early - this is always the point of a marathon where I start breaking down.  NOT TODAY MOTHER F-ER.  (Sorry for the foul language but I was determined to stay positive during this section...and I recently listened to a C Tolle Run podcast where she and Todd Williams recapped the story of that woman who survived her attacker and that was what she said while she was hitting him.)  I saw my mom and aunt again who made me laugh so that helped.  They also told me I looked strong.   Men started falling back and I was picking them off.  Because I joined the Hansons Marathon Method Facebook group,  this "I started passing people all over the place" story was familiar to me.  It seemed very surreal that it was happening to me.  Initially I second guessed how I was running - as in, should I be passing people already?  But I just stuck with it.  Trust the training.   Mile 19 we ran on a track in City Stadium, which the hubs later told me was where the Packers first played.  I just was excited to run on a track! ha ha ha Also during the time, the bottom of my right foot, near the base of the 2nd toe started feeling strange.  I knew it was a blister.  ICK. I tried not to think about it and took another gel at Mile 20.  7:03 / 7:07 / 7:04 / 7:02   Somewhere in this section, I passed Mr. Man for good!!!!!!!!!!!  Mansplain that to me please.  (Don't worry - he did after the race....and no I am not kidding.  Keep reading!)  I was supposed to have another timing mat split at mile 20, but like mile 15, it did not work.

Mile 21:  En route to mile 21, I caught up with a Team Triumph runner.  I always get a huge inspiration boost from these runners and their passengers and today was no different.  I ended up pulling away from them and the man riding was non-verbal but making a noise and I heard the male runner say, "What? You want me to stay with her? Aw..that is not happening today.  She's going too fast."  Huge smile.  I was excited to see after the race that they BQed their race and that the passenger ended up pushing the runner across the finish.  Their story is here and it's a good one.  Here is a pic of them (and me!) that was posted on the Green Bay Gazette (thank you to Amy Bailey, WI Oiselle member, for sending it to me!):

Mile 21 pace: 7:18

Mile 22:  I saw my mom and aunt AGAIN!  They crushed the spectating.  7:13

Mile 23-24:  I again was in no man's land running by myself through some neighborhoods.  I just kept saying, "Get to mile 25 and you can have some RunGum".  The blister on my foot was becoming more and more noticeable.  People that were spectating were being so awesome telling me that I was strong and looking good and all that jazz.  People also (incorrectly) told me I was in 6th place for women.  I knew prize money went to the top 5 so I kept trying to see if there were any women ahead of me - I could see no person ahead of me.  I was really hurting and so I stopped.  Bent over took a huge breath to reset and started running again.  Pace was falling off... 7:20 / 7:26

Mile 25:  I ripped open the RunGum and shoved both pieces in my mouth.  I was trying to chomp my way through all that gum which felt like it was taking up my whole mouth.  It was grossing me out more than anything and I determined I was using way too much mental energy trying to figure out how to chew gum, however, a garbage can was no where in sight.  I could not stand that gum any longer so I spit it out on the course.  Sorry sorry sorry.  I felt terrible doing it but instantly better when it was gone.  I was still by myself and looking ahead, I could see the stadium and TONS of runners coming from a different direction than I was.  I should have immediately recongized that they were the half marathoners as they started an hour behind us and would be merging with us.  That is not what I thought though.  I immediately thought, "OH MY GOD I TOOK A WRONG TURN SOMEWHERE AND I SHORTCUT THE RACE AND NOW I AM GOING TO GET DISQUALIFIED".  I cannot underscore the sinking feeling I had, believing for several moments that this was true.    Nevermind that I saw all the mile markers and the course was impeccably marked.  I looked ahead of me:  No marathoners.  I looked behind me: No marathoners.  By this point I had gotten to the merge and a police officer congratulated me on my race.  At this point, I was also noticing the bibs on the herd of runners were a different color.  Only then did it register that these were the half marathoners.   There was a time track mat at mile 25.2  which came in at 3:04:28 - 7:16 avg pace.  Garmin had mile 25 at 7:39 for me.  We made our way into the stadium and a volunteer kept saying, "Welcome to Lambeau Field!!" in a booming announcer-type voice.  I am not a football fan but I cheered and got so so SO excited when I heard that.  Immediately upon entering the stadium I saw my husband and kids who were leaning over the side to try to get a high five.  I had an out of body experience and did my own Lambeau Leap to give them a high five.  And then I was bound and determined to finish that race.  I started sprinting (ok not really when you see my pace but it felt like I was sprinting).  Unfortunately the clog of half marathon runners meant that I was dodging around people and then had to abruptly stop for some.  I was not expecting to see my mom and aunt again but I saw them just as I was about to make the final turn out of the stadium! SO EXCITING!!!!!!!!!!

Mile 26 - Finish:  Once I exited the stadium, I tried to keep that new found energy going but it was so so hard.  Every step was excruciating and I could see the clock in the 3:10s...I really wanted to get in the 3:10 section but I could not go any faster.  I again heard my family screaming for me.  I crossed the finish line and immediately bent over, leaning/falling heavily on a volunteer who happened to be standing there.  He made sure I was ok and then I proceeded to walk through the finish chute and again saw my fam!!!  I went over to the fence to give them high fives and talk to them and then my son reminded me to ring the PR bell so I got in line for that.  I had forgotten to shut my Garmin off so that was off for the final mile but taking the difference from my finish time and the timing mat at 25.2 miles, my last mile was 6:41!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  WHAT THE HELL!!! I really cannot believe it.

I didn't negative split the race, but came very close:

First half (per timing mat time): 1:35:11
Second half (per taking the difference between my finish time and the above half time): 1:35:58

I also ended up taking 9th place for women (out of 1,026) and 4th in my age group.

Post Race

I lost my family for a bit post-race but I did see a few Oiselle runners, including Nora Bird who was tracking me and told me my official finish.  I am insane because the first few moments were of disappointment that I didn't get into the 3:10s.  WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME!  My official finish of 3:11:09 is a 14:41 PR.

I proceeded to pick up my two beers and brat.  I gave one of the beers to my mom, drank one myself and my son proceeded to eat my brat.  We walked to my mom's car and she took us back to the hotel where I confirmed the presence of a huge blister on the bottom of my foot.  My husband had arranged for a late check out so he took the kids for one last turn in the waterpark and I took the most glorious shower ever.

The kids wanted to go to Bay Beach amusement park.  I really did not want to go there, but sucked it up for them since I knew they didn't really give two craps about me running.   While waiting for my husband and daughter to get off the Scrambler, who walks up to me but Mr. Man!  I AM NOT EVEN JOKING!  He asked about my finish time and congratulated me and then proceeded to tell me about the laundry list of ailments that kept him from a 3:10 finish.

Today I feel decent.  My legs are sore, but not as sore as they have been post-race.   A few well-timed Advil have been key.

You made it through! Thanks for reading.  It still feels very surreal.   The other weird part is that I think I could go faster.  We'll save that for the next one :)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Cellcom Green Bay Marathon Training: Week 18 Recap

The Race is tomorrow!  This is my last post recapping my training.

The taper gets a bad rap.  Many people hate it but I really love it.  There are no expectations on pace and it is a wonderful physical and mental break.  That said, I do struggle feeling a bit "off" during my taper runs.

"Why does my knee hurt?"

"Oh my god my toe is rubbing.  WHY IS MY TOE RUBBING?"

Or, my biggest freak out, "Why do I have no feeling in my left leg?!"  (Has this ever happened to you? This was the second time I ever remember this happening to me - where one of my legs suddenly feels asleep and like jelly from the hip down.  It starts to almost give out with every step.)

Oh phantom pains.

Thankfully, I have had experience with the taper (reflecting on my more recent previous marathons) and follow enough runners and running blogs to know that the freak-out is normal.  My goal for the taper was to honor the plan and the work that I have put in by really running all of the runs easy.  And not, "I'm pushing myself but it is still easy" but EASY.  Like, "I feel as if I am shuffling along and barely moving" easy.  I definitely accomplished this.

I also wanted to actually complete all of the taper runs on the plan.  During my past two marathons, I skipped taper runs thinking that would do my body good and because I felt tired.  Re-reading the "taper" section of the Hanson book definitely helped me this week.  Of course I feel tired. But skipping my runs would not be the answer and I would run the risk of feeling sluggish the first few miles of the actual race from being out of routine.  HELLO Boston Marathon!  I didn't run the 4 days prior to that race and definitely felt like a slug from the moment the gun went off.

So.  Goal for the week:  Run all the runs and run them EASY.

Monday May 15
Plan Says: 5 miles easy

What I Do:  For the second week in a row, the week was off to a rocky start when my alarm failed to go off and I woke up late to start the day.  I had a crazy day at work, having a big presentation, followed by taking my daughter in to get her "real" cast on her arm that afternoon.  0 miles

Tuesday May 16
Plan Says: 5 miles easy

What I Do:  Again, no Sense alarm.  (GRRR!  I have contacting customer service on my to-do list.)  Again not having morning run put a crunch on my schedule so I left work early to get a run in before the bus came as we were traveling that night to go to my niece's choir concert.

4.58 miles, 36:01 (7:51 avg pace)

That night I did the High Mileage Reset by JasYoga.  My left ribs are still tender but not constantly so I've crossed them off the worry list.

Wednesday May 17
Plan Says: Off

What I Do:  Having used my off day on Monday, I had 5 miles to do.  Actually, 5.4 miles to make up for the shorter run on Tuesday.  I set two alarms for a morning run and Hallelujah!  I was up at 5.

5.45 miles, 45:35 (8:22 avg pace)

Thursday May 18
Plan Says: 6 miles easy

What I Do:  I kind of feel that 6 miles is a long distance so close to the race but "Trust the Plan", right?  Dual alarms = up at 5.  The nice thing about 5 agfm runs is that I no longer need to carry lights!  So fun!

6.01 miles, 49:47 (8:17 avg pace)

Friday May 19
Plan Says: 5 miles easy

What I Do:  5 miles at 5 AM.  Going very slowly.

Saturday May 20
Plan Says: 3 miles easy

What I Do:  We needed to leave our house EARLY to get to Green Bay on time for the kids runs as both my 3 year old and my 6 year old were signed up to run.  Thus, I was up early to get this 3 mile shake-out done.

3 miles, 7:51 avg pace

Sunday May 21
Plan Says: RACE DAY

What I Do:  You'll have to come back next week to read the race report!

Weekly Mileage
Plan says: 24 miles (excludes race)
What I did:  24 miles

It's officially done.  18 weeks of "official" training plan work and 761.75 miles logged since 1/1/17 leading up to the big day.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Links

1.  New article about Alberto Salazar, the Oregon Project and doping in the NY Times

2.  I love the rise above challenge articles and this one about the first amputee to scale Everest is great.  Bonus - he's from Wisconsin!

3.  It's no secret that I am a Oiselle fan but their new collection is one of my all-time faves.  I need that Be Brave Get Ugly tank!  The story behind the designs resulted in my writing down the following motivational quote:

"Bravery is an entirely different notion of strength.  First, it is the willingness to push one’s mind and body to a place it may have never gone. To the edges of ability. To reach out and feel those edges, and even push them further afield."

4. If I knew teenage female runners, I would share this letter from Lauren Fleshman.

5.  More motivation for you - What does it mean to be "strong"?

6.  I really enjoyed following the journey of Ani Weiss and her attempt at the fastest known time to complete the Ice Age Trail via Brian Frian's blog.  Unfortunately she had to cut the attempt short but she will be back.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Marathon Goals

Barring any unforeseen injury or sickness (PLEASE DEAR GOD NO!), I will be running a marathon in 5 days.



My stomach is starting to churn.

I am nervous.

And excited.

Excitedly nervous?

My main goal is not a time goal.  My main goal is not to have a breakdown at Mile 16...18...or 24, per usual.  (By usual, I am referring to my recent two marathons (2015, 2016) and not marathons before that.)

As in, "Amy, do not use the F word to refer to the race, e.g., "F*** this race"."

Do NOT proclaim to your mom that you are never doing this again.

Smile when it hurts.

Bring pain along for the ride.

Stay in the mile you're in.

I could keep going but you get the picture.

In other goals, it's no secret that I really want to PR this race.   I think I am set to do that.  I have to run faster than 3:25:50 which is a 7:51/mile.  My very-pace-specific-training-pace was 7:15 which equates to a 3:10.  If I am in the ball park of 3:10 - 3:25 I will be ecstatic.

You can track me here.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Cellcom Green Bay Marathon Training: Week 17 Recap

A reminder that I switched up to go exactly by the plan for the remaining two weeks.  Thus, my off day is now Wednesday, my speed day went from Monday to Tuesday and my tempo run went from Wednesday to Thursday.

I don't know if is just that fact that May has been sort of packed with stuff going on, if I'm getting sick of training, or some other factor, but I had a lot of moving things around this week!

This week I crossed over the 700 mile mark for my yearly mileage count.  AHHH!  That seems insane to me.

Monday May 8
Plan Says: 7 miles

What I Do:  Sleep in.  Skip running.  I mentioned that the left side of my torso was sore after my brother's wedding.  This impacted my sleep Sunday night and I really felt like crap so I opted to take my rest day today.  Nothing sets you up for a good week like taking your rest day on Day 1, right?!

Tuesday May 9
Plan Says: 1 mi warm up, 6 x 1 mile (7:05 pace) with 400 recovery, 1 mile cool down

What I Do:  4:30 Alarm!  It was really difficult getting up this early since I hadn't gotten up early to run since last Wednesday morning.  Almost a whole week off of early wake up calls!

1 mi warm up:  8:18

1 mi 6:37 / 0.25 mi recovery 2:18 (9:01 pace)
1 mi 6:33 / 0.25 mi recovery 2:17 (9:09 pace)
1 mi 6:35 / 0.25 mi recovery 2:11 (8:48 pace)
1 mi 6:29 / 0.25 mi recovery 2:07 (8:31 pace)
1 mi 6:32 / 0.25 mi recovery 2:09 (8:38 pace)
1 mi 6:25

2 mi cool down: 16:10 (8:05 avg pace)

I felt fabulous during this.  My mile splits were way too fast but I told myself not to pay attention to my watch and run by feel.

This was the last strength workout of the program!  EEK!!!!

The last time I did this workout, on March 27, my mile splits were 6:51 / 6:50 / 6:49 / 6:49 / 6:49 / 6:36.  It is fun to see improvement in just a few weeks!

Wednesday May 10
Plan Says: Off

What I Do:  I again slept through my alarm.  My ribs have not be hurting in the morning, but are fairly sore by the end of the day.  Each day seems to be a little better.  My goal was to get up early and do the miles I missed on Monday.  Instead I got miles done after work.

I did a longer than usual cool down on Tuesday to take some of the miles away from this run so that I wouldn't feel so tired on Thursday.  Throughout this plan I have had a rest day between my speed/strength day and my tempo day so throwing 7 miles in between the two wasn't going to be the greatest idea, particularly on the last "hard" week of work.

6 miles, 46:02 (7:40 avg pace)

Thursday May 11
Plan Says: 1 mile warm up, 10 miles tempo (pace: 7:15), 1 mile cool down

What I Do:  The last tempo run of the plan!  I was up at 4:30 to get out and get this done.  I felt tired but knew that was making me mentally stronger.  True to form, it also took me a few miles to feel like I was in a groove pace wise.  I wanted to be pushing myself but not too hard and not be so obsessed with pace so I intentionally did not turn my watch to display pace.  Thus, I knew what each mile came in at and that was it.  I felt strong at the end.  Once I finished the tempo portion, averaging 7:10 pace, I stopped and started crying.  I was really really proud of myself for completing this plan.  I still had 9 days of taper left but the hard work was over.  DONE.

1 mile warm up, 8:18
10 miles tempo, 1:11:42 (7:10 average)
1 mile cool down,  7:59

Let the taper begin!

Friday May 12
Plan Says: 6 miles easy

What I Do:  I came home from work Thursday to see a big box on my doorstep.  I ripped it open and it was the new Adidas UltraBoost X running shoes that I was selected to test through BibRave.  OOMG.  While this is my 4th pair of shoes in the Adidas Boost family, they are significantly different from all of my other running shoes so I was nervous to take them for the full 6 miles of this run.

I ended up running 2.4 miles in the Adidas UltraBoost X and switching to my Asics GT shoes, which right now are the leading contender for the shoes I will wear during marathon.  Except that they felt SO CLUNKY after running in the UItraBoosts.   It is highly likely that deciding which shoes I will wear for the marathon will be something I continue to agonize over.

I do not run with my phone and often when I see something just so awesome, I wish I did.  Today was one of those runs.  With a beautiful sunrise in the backdrop, I was chugging along the path by the river and out of the corner of my eye something startled me.  It was a blue heron in flight.  Blue herons frequent the river, but I only ever see them standing near the water's edge.  To see the wingspan was magical.

6.07 miles, 51:58 (8:34 avg pace)

Saturday May 13
Plan Says: 6 miles easy

What I Do:  I did more shuffling and did 8 miles easy this day.  We didn't have a lot going on for Mother's Day (Sunday) but I knew the kids wanted to make me breakfast in bed so I wasn't going to get a early morning run in then.  My daughter also fractured her arm about mid-day Saturday so that was a bit of unexpected craziness!  We got back from the urgent care center and she just wanted to chill and my son was napping so I took full advantage.

It was a hot day - almost 80 degrees.  I was glad to be able to get another hot run in...race day is trending toward the warm side this year, but we are still a week out.  I ran the entirety of this in my Asics shoes and they felt fine so I'm fairly certain those are going to be my race shoes.

8 miles, 1:01:42 (7:43 avg pace)

Sunday May 14
Plan Says: 8 miles easy

What I Do:  I didn't get out to run until after the kids were in bed.  It has been a while since I did an evening run!  I wasn't really into this run which means it was good mental practice for me. 

6.06 miles, 49:01 (8:05)

Weekly Mileage
Plan says: 48 miles
What I did: 48.4 miles

Sleep Data
I again lost 3 days of data because of not getting enough motion data.  I never move the button on my pillow so I'm not sure why some nights it works and some it doesn't.  I did not have this issue for the first 6 weeks of use of this device and now it is becoming a pattern.

Average amount of sleep:  8.0 hours
Average sleep score: 83

45% deep sleep, 47% medium, 8% light.

My deep sleep took a hit.  I can only guess this is due to my son waking more than usual at night.

I listened Real Talk Radio Nicole Antoinette interview Lauren Fleshmen and herself (recalling her hike of a section of the PCT) and an old Running On Om interview with Kate Grace.

One week until race day.


Friday, May 12, 2017

BTN Big10K

I signed up for another 10K this summer - The BTN Big10K in Chicago!

I am really excited as I have always wanted to do this race but it never fell on a good weekend for me in the summers past.

My undergraduate college, University of Wisconsin, is part of the Big10 conference which makes this race extra exciting.  Upon registration, you select what school you want to represent and both your race shirt AND your finisher's medal are custom to your school.

Here is a pic of the shirts:

And all of the medals:

I think my kids and husband will be very excited as the event promises mascots and former players as well.  Any time my kids get an opportunity for a photo op with Bucky Badger, they are excited.

This will be my second 10K of the summer.  After going over 13 years without running this distance, I now will be running it twice within a month!  If you are in the area and want to join me, comment below and I will send you a code for a bonus water bottle when you register.

"Disclaimer: I received a free entry to 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!"

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Time to Taper

The work is done.

The hay is in the barn.

I had my last hard workout this morning.  10 mile tempo with mile warm up and cool down.  From here on out, easy recovery miles are on the plan until the race in 10 days.  The only way to describe how this feels is to tell you that I broke out in tears when I clicked the "stop" button on my watch when mile 10 of my tempo came through.

I did it.

I completed every hard workout prescribed on the Hansons Marathon Method beginner plan.  A plan that made me want to throw up when I looked through the pages of it in the book I read earlier this year.  A plan that often gets described as tough.  Aggressive.  A time-suck.  (These are words taken from commenters on a FB running group I am in.)

"How the HELL am I going to run 6 days a week?  How the HELL am I going to run up to 12 miles on work days?  TWICE.  Every week.  For 17 weeks?!"

"There is no way I can run past 40 mile weeks.  Just no way."

"I refuse to get up before 5 AM.  I need my sleep."

These are all things that went through my head.  Things I told myself.  Things I wrote on this blog and told other people.


I DID run 6 days a week.   Every week (not last week!).  For months.

I DID run 10-12 miles twice a week for 16 weeks on work days.

I DID run weekly mileage past 40.  Past 45 miles/week.  Past 50 miles/week.

I DID get up at 430 AM 2-3 days a week. For many. many. weeks.

I am writing this post because no matter what happens in that marathon, if it again is a total flop, I want to come back and read this and remind myself that all this work was pretty badass of me.  I've had tough training plans before.  Last year, the custom plan I had for Boston was no.joke.  But I regret not taking time to appreciate all that work when I was doing it.   So consider this post my ode to my training.

Also I need to mention this...and perhaps write a post about it...but this was not easy.  I know that my Instagram photos probably paint a rosier picture about my running than the truth.  "I don't know how you do it" is something that I have heard more than one time.  This is how I did it - I gave up a lot of stuff to get all of this running done.  Stuff that I enjoy.  You can't run for 7+ hours a week for 4 months AND work full time AND have kids/family responsibilities without giving stuff up and making hard decisions...and getting crabby more often than you want to.  This is a large part of why I only do one marathon a year.  I also have a partner that takes on a lot more during this time to allow me to do this.  And with that comes guilt from time to time.

I think appreciating all of this work honors those trade-offs and the time that others put in so that I could train.

I am proud of it and today, feel pretty badass.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Product Review: OOFOS OOMG Shoe

Product Review:  OOFOS OOMG Shoes

You may be very familiar with OOFOS sandals.  I was introduced to the brand last summer when I complimented my mother-in-law on some cool-looking flip flops she was wearing.  They turned out to be OOFOS and she was right - they were super comfortable.

Earlier this year, word got out the the brand was releasing its first closed-toe shoe.  If you were at the Boston Marathon expo, you likely saw them.

I was SUPER EXCITED to have a pair delivered to me, as part of the BibRave Pro ambassador program, a few weeks ago.  They honestly haven't left my feet since.  I even sneakily wore them to work after one of my long tempo runs:

Mostly though, I wear them while playing outside with my kids after school:

By this time of day, I am TIRED.  After getting up early to run, working all day, my feet often are sore from cramming them into work appropriate shoes.  I always imagine they say "AHHHH", or should I say, "OOOOH", when I slide them into the OOMG shoe.

The shoe was intentionally designed to optimize recovery, which is perfect for me right now coming to the end of an intense marathon training cycle.  My absolute favorite part of the plush footbed is the arch support - which is similar to the arch support felt in the sandals if you are familiar with them.  The foam used in all OOFOS shoes is designed to absorb 37% percent MORE impact than traditional footwear foam materials.

Now let's talk about the style.  I will admit that my first thought when I saw them online was like, "Eh, they look a little strange."  Once I had them in person though, I thought they were cooler looking.  My hipper-than-me colleague called them "kickin'".  Maybe that's what all the cool kids are saying these days?!

The company advises going a half size up from your regular shoe size.  I found this to be accurate.  My normal flat shoe size is women's 9.5 and I have the OOFOS OOMG shoe in a Women's 10.  It is a perfect fit.

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

Monday, May 8, 2017

Cellcom Green Bay Marathon Training: Week 16 Recap

To call last week a "busy" week, would be an understatement.  I am not saying this in a way to brag "Oh, I'm SOOOOOOO busy" but just stating the facts:
1. The hubs was out of town for 3 days on business,
2. It was teacher appreciation week for both kids (read: lots of baking/cooking/purchasing to be done),
3. A friend had a baby shower, and
4. My brother got married! 

I ended up using some PPL on Friday afternoon to finish up place cards for the wedding and get my run in.  I also used up my "get out of jail free" card on the plan.  When I started this plan, I shifted every workout one day earlier because it was going to be easier for me to do the longest runs on Saturdays versus Sundays for the bulk of the 18 weeks plan.  The plan finishes on a Sunday with the marathon.  So in moving everything up a day, I was going to have an extra day off plan.  It ended up being a godsend for Saturday, the day of the wedding.  Now for the remaining two weeks, I will be doing the workout on the original days prescribed.

Here's the detailed recap:

Monday May 1
Plan Says: 1 mile warm up, 4 x 1.5 mile repeats (pace: 7:05), 800 recovery, 1 mile cool down

What I Do:  Hello 4:30 AM alarm.  It was not raining, but not dry.  I felt decent during this which I was happy about after feeling like such a slug last week.

1 mile warm up: 8:33

1.5 miles, 10:13 (6:48 pace) / 0.5 miles recovery, 4:28 (8:53 pace)

1.5 miles, 10:00 (6:40 pace) / 0.5 miles recovery, 4:25 (8:49 pace)

1.5 miles, 10:08 (6:45 pace) / 0.5 mile recovery, 4:21 (8:41 pace)

1.5 miles, 10:00 (6:40 pace)

1.5 miles cool down, 12:43 (8:27 pace)

Total: 10 miles

Tuesday May 2
Plan Says: 0 miles

What I Do:  I had to flip flop Tuesday and Thursday as my husband was out of town on a business trip Wednesday - Friday this week and I would be solo parenting.  I was up at 5 to do 5 easy miles.

5 miles, 42:18 (8:16 avg pace)

Wednesday May 3
Plan Says: 1 mile warm up, 10 miles tempo (pace: 7:15), 1 mile cool down

What I Do:  I had to get up at 4 to get this done because my husband needed to leave at 6 AM sharp.  I already wrote about the fall that occurred on this run.

1 mile warm up: 8:25

10 miles tempo: 1:12:39 (7:15 avg pace on the nose!)

1.05 mile cool down: 8:29

Thursday May 4
Plan Says: 5 miles easy

What I Do:  0 miles.

Friday May 5
Plan Says: 8 miles easy

What I Do:  8 miles easy in the afternoon sun.  I was happy that I got this in prior to wedding festivities kicking off.  My hip and knee felt fine, my shoulder was a little tender but that didn't affect my run.

8 miles, 1:01:18 (7:40 avg pace)

Saturday May 6
Plan Says: 10 miles, 7:54 pace

What I Do:   I knew this run wouldn't happen, but JUST IN CASE everything went perfectly, I brought running clothes along to my mom's house (where we stayed Friday night).  Unfortunately, a late bedtime + a son that didn't sleep more than 20 minutes at a time + having to be at the salon at 8 AM did not equal getting this done.  Get out of jail free card - USED. :)

Sunday May 7
Old Plan Says: 7 miles easy

What I Do:  Saturday's workout became Sunday's.  Unfortunately while taking my dress off the night before I noticed that the left side of my torso (on my rib cage) felt strained.  Thus, every left step of this run was uncomfortable and post-run was pretty terrible.  Hoping some advil + Epsom salt bath helps.

10 miles, 1:17:47 (7:46 avg)

Weekly Mileage
Plan says: 52 miles
What I did: 45.12 miles

Sleep Data
I lost 3 days of data because of being out of town for my brother's wedding and Wi-fi issues.  This is probably good because I don't even know if I would want to see the sleep data for Friday night!

Average amount of sleep:  7.3 hours
Average sleep score: 79

60% deep sleep, 36% medium, 3% light.

I listened to Carrie Tollefson interview Shalane Flanagan, Emma Coburn and Tina Muir as well as Real Talk Radio Nicole Antoinette interview Angela Dumlao.

Less than two weeks until race day!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Friday Links!

Happy Friday!  Well, my knee seems to be fine.  {Breathes sigh of relief} I have yet to get my run in today but am not anticipating any issues.  Of all things, my left shoulder is what hurts the most post-fall.

I have a big weekend ahead - my brother is getting married!  I hope you all have a great weekend.  Here are a few links for you:

1.  Nike's Breaking2 project is happening TONIGHT.  Here is the latest in-depth profile from Runner's World.  Several elite women that I follow on Instagram have asked, "When do the ladies get a turn?"

2.  I mentioned last week that WI-ultrarunner and all around badass Ani Weiss is attempting to run the entire Ice Age Trail in the FKT.  I have been enjoying the updates of her progress.  Here is the Day 3 update.

3. Amy Hastings Cragg donated her overdue prize money to Girls on the Run!  Uplifting story here.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What if I Got Hurt?

Whenever I get really close to a race, I often find myself thinking, "What if I got hurt?'

This morning, I came REALLY close to answering that.

I had my 10 mile tempo run on plan for today and my husband needed to leave the house at 6 AM for a 3 day business trip he is going on.  This translated to a 4:00 AM alarm for me if I was going to get my run in.   I can't even start getting into how insane this week has been (I'll save that for the weekly recap) but let's just say I haven't exactly been getting to bed early.  (But I have gotten all of my workouts in to date so YAY me!)

The alarm went off; I stumbled into the bathroom to get dressed.  Somehow got my contacts in despite my droopy eyes.

Took down a GU with a water bottle and headed outside.  

It was really chilly.  My phone read 30 degrees.

In my mind, I SHOULD have thought "30 degrees...after a bunch of rain.  That may indicate some slippery spots."  What I actually thought was - I need to grab my gloves.  

I got a mile warm up in and it was mid 8s.  Time to flip the switch.

I know I saw this EVERY TIME but today it was really important to me to try to run this at goal marathon pace - 7:15 - and not faster.  Luckily I was tired so I was not tempted, or seemingly able, to run faster.  I continued running my loops in my neighborhood and the sun started rising.  I took a second Gu and grabbed my water bottle.  I did another loop and was just so bored.  I pulled my iPod out of my pocket and continued to listen to Carrie Tollefson interview Emma Coburn that I had started earlier in the week.  I ditched my knuckle lights and decided to go out of the neighborhood.

Typically when I "go out of the neighborhood" in the wee hours of the morning, I stay along this one path and turn around and come back to the neighborhood.  This is a 2 mile loop.  This path connects to a park system, which is what I will run through in later hours of the day as it is a great path.  For some reason I am always weirded out in the early morning because there are no people around so I never venture into the park.

Today, I was not weirded out.

I crossed over into the park, still running my tempo pace and moved to go across this wooden bridge to cross the river and BAM.

I didn't realize what had happened until I was flat on my back.

My immediate response was to grab my knee which took all of the impact of the fall and was throbbing and I started sobbing.  Because I immediately went to the place of "I am hurt and that's it.  No race that I have spent HOURS AND HOURS FOR THE PAST 4 MONTHS training for."  (Side note - I am an emotional runner.  I can't think of a marathon that I didn't cry during/immediately after.)

It took a few minutes but I finally settled down and examined my knee.  Nothing was bleeding but it was red and scraped.  I moved to stand up and it was only then that I realized the bridge was really slippery.  I hobble/walked a bit to get moving and my senses came back.  I started back running again and despite feeling shaken, I was able to finish the 10 mile tempo and a mile cool down.  My knee felt sore - like a bruise - but not off or in pain.  (Funny enough, the average pace of my 10 miler was 7:15 ON THE DOT.)

I iced my knee when I returned home just in case.  

When I undressed for my shower, I discovered that I already had a bruise on my left hip.  I must have slipped on the bridge, fallen first on my right knee and then crashed on my left hip.  I am sure it was a sight.  Because it was so unexpected I didn't brace myself or catch myself.  After sitting in my office most of the day, I think I am fine.  I have an off day tomorrow (flip flopped my usual Tuesday and Thursday to account for my husband's business trip) and will keep icing the knee just in case.  My aunt (the massage therapist) also recommended arnica cream.

Stay tuned!  


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Cellcom Green Bay Marathon Training: Week 15 Recap

This was going to be the longest mileage week of the plan- I bumped up tempo runs to 10 miles and had my last 16 mile run.  The week was rougher than usual for me.  With the exception of Monday, most of my runs felt difficult and I was tired all week, despite getting more sleep than I have been getting.  By today, I felt like all virus had left my body. 

April was a good month.  I logged 224.18 miles!  That makes it my highest mileage month ever, a 125% increase over April 2016 and 110% increase over April 2015.  Neither of these are the most fair comparisons given that my marathon in 2016 was mid-April and my marathon in 2015 was first week of May, but I'll still take it :)

Here is my recap of the last week:

Monday April 24
Plan says: 1 mi warm up, 3 x 2 mi at 7:05 pace, 800 recovery between sets, 1 mi cool down

What I did:  For the second morning in a row, my alarm did not go off.  I have been having problems with my Sense alarm not syncing to our wireless so I thought that was the issue.  Because of this, I did not do my workout in the morning.  This was probably a blessing in disguise on many fronts.  I had a lot of trouble getting to sleep so I chugged some children's Benedryl, simply because my eyes were SO ITCHY.    I opted to wear my glasses instead of contacts all day to see if that would help.  I have been taking a daily Claritin for about 3 weeks now, in anticipation of seasonal allergies.  (Pollen and me do not mix well.)   I had to leave work early to get this done before my daughter arrived on the school bus at 4 PM.  Thus, temps were in the low 70s when I did this workout and it was SUNNY.  I was glad to have the opportunity for some practice in the heat.  (For reference, had I done this at 4:30am as intended, it would have been 35 degrees out.)

I ran out of the neighborhood, as I run enough neighborhood loops that when it is daylight, I get out of Dodge!

1 mile warm up: 8:03

2 miles, 13:24 (6:41 avg pace)

0.5 miles, 4:23 (8:47 avg pace)

2 miles, 13:10 (6:34 avg pace)

0.5 miles, 4:19 (8:33 avg pace)

2 miles, 13:27 (6:43 avg pace)

1.1 miles cool down: (9:36, 8:42 avg pace)

Total 9.1 miles

So those were way faster than they were supposed to be.  I had to do this same workout two weeks ago and was curious how the times compared.  Two weeks ago, my two mile repeats were:

I will say that 2 weeks ago, I did these as neighborhood loops and our neighborhood is fairly hilly. The 2 mile repeats today were pancake flat.  I am still experimenting with gels so after the 2nd 2-miler, I took a Huma Gel.  This did not upset my stomach in any way but the texture was kind of weird due to the chia seeds so I don't know that I will be investing in those.  Also, full disclaimer, the third two miler almost did me in...I stopped twice.   It was almost into the wind the entire way (the first two were in to the wind for only one mile) and I was pooped.

Tuesday April 25
Plan says: Off

What I Did: 0 miles, nothing else.  My brother gets married in a week and a half and I volunteered to do the place cards so I spent my night working on those.

Wednesday April 26
Plan says: 1 mi warm up, 10 miles tempo (7:15 pace), 1 mi cool down

What I Did: First, I solved my alarm clock issue...or so I thought.  I had been setting my alarms for PM times instead of AM.  DUH!  My alarm went off right at 430 so I must have been in a deep sleep.  It was a struggle to get out of bed.  It was supposed to be thunder-storming according to my weather app but it didn't sound like it.  Despite this, I was THIS close to abandoning ship.  But I didn't.  I got out of bed and got dressed.

Once outside, it was warm and humid.  I was wearing a t-shirt and shorts.  I opted to NOT do a warm up because I wanted to get in as many tempo miles as I could before it started raining figuring every tempo mile that I could get done outside and NOT on a treadmill would be awesome.

My first mile was 7:30ish and then I overcompensated with the second mile at 6:57.  My legs were really tired.  I switched over to the pace view of my watch to try to more consistently arrive at 7:15.  I had to stop several times to blow snot rockets and clear my throat because although I am feeling a bit better, I still have all the drainage plus I have been neti potting.  I took off my shirt at mile 5 and stopped to grab my water bottle and take a gel - Strawberry Banana Gu, which tasted and felt great.  I again started running and felt that I had FINALLY gotten into a good rhythm.  I looked down at my watch to check pace when I realized that I had never restarted my watch.

I almost lost it.  I again stopped and had to give myself a pep talk to not quit.  I retraced my route to try to figure out how much mileage I had lost and estimated that I had lost somewhere between 0.5 and 0.6 miles on the "official" Garmin log.  I decided that I was going to stop my tempo run at 9.5 on my Garmin since that would be my 10 mile count.  It was finally light outside so I could ditch my sweaty grimy knucklelights and go. Mile 6 came in at 8:05. I ended up finishing this feeling ok.  There was a lot of "your next mile will be better" talk going on.  My last four miles were consistent - 6:46, 6:52, 6:55, 6:50.  I did a 2 mile cool down and raced back inside to get to work.

10 miles tempo, 9.5 recorded on my Garmin in 1:07:25 (7:05 avg pace)

2.1 miles cool down, 16:45 (7:58)

I was really really tired all day and opted to go to bed by 8 PM.

Thursday April 27
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I Did: AGAIN, my alarm did not go off.  Overnight, my Sense alarm lost connectivity to our Wi-Fi.  ARGH.  Not only did I not have an alarm, I did not have any sleep data from Wednesday night, which was going to be a pretty decent night given my early bedtime.  ARGH.

So now I had to figure out when I could get this done.  I was not going to be able to leave too early from work because a) I already used that card earlier this week; and b) I had a meeting.  I got home, changed, and decided to run as far as I could before the bus came and I would have to tack on the missed mileage to Friday's run.

This run felt like a slog.  I was still really tired.  Still having a lot of throat mucus and snot.  I ended up getting 4.55 miles in.  35:33 (7:49 avg pace).  I again shot for an earlier bedtime and set TWO alarms.

Friday April 28
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I Did:  The day I set two alarms is of course the day I don't need any.  My son woke up at 4:44 AM (I set my alarm for 4:50).  I got him back to bed and then my Sense alarm went off, but again, no sleep data recorded because there was some issue with the sensor on my pillow.  ARGH.

It was 30 degrees out.  I pulled on all the winter running stuff and got outside.  Once again, it was a slogfest.  My legs felt so heavy and tired.  Still lots of throat mucus and snot.  Thankfully I could go as slow as I wanted and was able to finish 7.61 miles which took care of the 1.5 miles I missed the day before.

7.61 miles, 1:04:00 (8:25 avg pace)

Saturday April 29
Plan says: 16 miles, long (7:54 pace)

My mother-in-law invited me to a luncheon on Saturday, so I was going to be gone 10-2:30.  I opted to get this done right away in the morning since I got lucky and it wasn't raining, although cold.  I was back in tights, long sleeve, jacket, ear warmer and gloves.  I was pretty tired because we went out the night before with some of Nate's colleagues so my bedtime was late.  Again, no sleep data.  I chugged some Gen U-Can before leaving.  I had forgotten to re-stock my gels so I was going to be using blocks for fuel, which I don't really love.

I started out and again felt really tired and like my legs were not firing.  Finally, around mile 5, things started to click and I felt pretty good.   I hit a bunch of wind on my return but still was going faster than goal pace for many of these miles, with the exception of the first 4.  One mile was super fast - 7:14 - and I had to rein it in from that one.  The blocks worked okay but I still don't love how they get stuck in your teeth.

16 miles, 2:01:02 (7:34 pace)
7:48 / 7:54 / 7:47 / 8:00 / 7:30 / 7:25 / 7:28 / 7:23 / 7:23 / 7:30 / 7:14 / 7:28 / 7:30 / 7:31 / 7:44 / 7:26

I made a stop at our local running store in the afternoon and got a bunch of the strawberry banana Gu so I would be set for May.

I felt pretty dehydrated all day so I chugged a lot of Nuun before I went to bed.

Sunday April 30
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I Did: Yay! I think my sleep system is back on track.  Or, at least I logged some sleep data for Saturday night.  I woke up and my weather app said it wasn't raining so I got dressed, got my son going with breakfast, and went outside.  It was lightly raining, and I probably could have stuck it out, but I was not in the mood so I changed and jumped on the treadmill.  I was lucky that even though it rained the majority of days in April, today was the first 'mill day for me!

WOW.  It was slow.  I just had to gut this one out.  

5 miles, 45:44 (9:09 avg pace)

Lucky for me, my aunt is a massage therapist and came to our house and set up her massage table and gave me a 90+ minute massage!  It felt great.  She said my legs were strong and felt very well balanced, which I took as a compliment.  Great way to recover from a tough week!

Weekly Mileage:
Plan Says: 54
What I Did: 54.4

Sleep Data
I only logged sleep data for 4 of the 7 days.
Avg amount of sleep:  7.7 hours
Avg sleep score: 82

51% deep, 47% medium, 2% light

I am bummed that the 3 nights of missed data were three good nights of sleep.  I'm sure I really averaged over 8 hours this week.

I listened to the rest of the Real Talk Radio with Nicole Antoinette interview with Kelly Roberts, Erin Taylor and Dr. Stephanie Howe Violett.