Thursday, March 31, 2016

2016 Is Where It is At!

It's the last day of March.

165.99 total miles logged.  
(Seriously - I wish I would have ran an extra 0.01 to even that out!)

That is 72.1 miles MORE than I ran last March.  The third month in a row of a big increase comparing spring 2016 marathon training to spring 2015 marathon training:

Monthly Totals 2015 2016 Difference % change
Jan 121.69 148.38 26.69 21.9%
Feb 111.59 148.73 37.14 33.3%
Mar 93.89 165.99 72.1 76.8%

I attribute this in large part to my coach and having accountability.  More on that soon!

Monday, March 28, 2016


"Acknowledge all of your small victories. They will add up to something great." – via @oiselle tweet

Last week was the hardest, longest week of my entire plan and I CRUSHED IT.

The first workout was 14 (FOURTEEN) 800s.  I think my coach has a diabolical side.  He also said that if at all possible, do these on a track.  Most of my speed work has been done on a treadmill, however, the last few weeks I was doing the workouts outdoors, albeit not on a track.

OK.  Time to start researching tracks.

There is a track near our house, 1.6 miles away to be exact, which served as the reference point for my warm up and cool down distances for my speed workouts.  Unfortunately, the times that I do my workouts (EARLY morning or post 7 PM), the track is not open.

So my solution was to get to work early, leave early and do my workout at 3:00/3:30 on that track.

I didn't think about the fact that it is the high school's track and therefore not open during track practice.

Next plan - there is a track 1.5 miles away from my office.  I took a late lunch/flex time to get the workout done there.  It ended up being a beautiful day to run, a little windy.   I had the track mostly to myself.  14 x 800: DONE.  My goal for these was to run them in the 3:15-3:20 pace zone.  My slowest 800 was 3:17; my fastest was 3:05.  I felt good during this whole workout.

The workout that had me anxious was my long run, the longest run of my plan, scheduled for Saturday.  I was to run two hours, 45 minutes following the same principle of all my long runs - run the first chunk easy, next chunk medium, final 20-30 minutes hard.

I had been in conversations with B, the woman who I ran two previous long runs with, all week to make a plan for the run.   We made a plan to start at her house at 6:30 AM as it is a mile from the Bugline trail and we wanted a trail pic for a Oiselle contest.  (#truth).

Friday night I had really bad stomach cramps which had me worried.  I ended up falling asleep on our couch around 8 PM while my husband watched the basketball game.  When I woke up an hour later, I felt a little better and made my way into bed with the 5:30 alarm.

I have mentioned my dislike of early morning runs often in this space.  I was going to try to counter act that by:

a) Getting up earlier than I absolutely had to in order to give my body time to wake up - thus the 5:30 alarm

b) Making coffee and drinking some on the drive over to B's house (15 minute drive).

c) Eating a real breakfast - not a Picky Bar, which is what I was eating before other early morning runs.  I have been having cinnamon quinoa for breakfast and liking it so I made a ton of quinoa the night before so I just had to reheat it.

My other concern was clothing.  We had a brief snowstorm Thursday evening that made for some cooler weather.  However, the last two long runs, I have felt too hot with the amount of clothing I had.  I made the decision to do a lighter weight tight (Oiselle Juno), a short sleeve, and my favorite long sleeve tee to run in (Oiselle Lux) and a light vented jacket on top of that.  I wore a baseball style hat and gloves.

I arrived at B's house with a belly full of quinoa and a cup of coffee.  I peed quick and we were off.  Our mantra was start slow...start slow...start slow.  My read on our partnership is that we are both competitive people and so it is easy to feed off of that and go out faster than intended.  We paced ourselves beautifully in my opinion in those early miles - 8:04, 7:48, 7:51, 7:39.

We ditched our water bottles early on as we were planning on doing a partial loop course.  It felt so good to not be carrying that damn water bottle!  Unfortunately for me, I could feel the coffee working.  I was going to need a bathroom.  We re-routed course to make a gas station stop. PHEW.  After that we made our way back via the trail, tackling a few hills.

Once we got on the trail, we noticed that the storm had knocked over a tree blocking the entire path.  We had to quasi-climb the tree to keep going on the path.   LIGHT BULB! This would be a great photo entry for the contest.  Mental note made.  We did some quick math to figure out how to go back to the house, grab a phone and get back to the tree in our time allotment.  This entire time felt so natural and easy.  I was excited and still trying to reign it in as we had over an hour to go.

I ate a gu around the 2 hour mark and we started picking up the pace, both commenting on how good we felt.  Two women passed us going the opposite direction on the trail and I overheard one of them say, "They are FLYING".  I felt so badass.  YES! We are flying and are strong!

Once we hit the 20 mile mark we were on it.  We climbed the tree for the final time, having a walker take our picture quick and then back at it.  I had unintenionally slowed the pace and B looked at her watch which was displaying pace and yelled (and I mean YELLED) for us to finish strong.  I felt like a horse that just got whipped and was bolting out of flight or fight.  After my initial startle, I realized that I still felt really strong and was mentally picturing myself at that point in the race just going AFTER it.

I passed the 2:45 time mark and realized I was 0.1 miles away from the 22 mile mark and wanted to close it out at that point.  I heard the beep indicating I had hit the mile and I hit stop.

22 miles, 2:45:43.  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!  I AM STILL riding the wave of that run, and it is 2 days and several hours later.

I like how Strava displays splits for long runs so I am including a screen shot of my mile splits:
 The 22 miler was amazing.  What gives me great confidence though is my 3 mile recovery mile run that I did on Sunday, the day after.

I typically do not do any running on Sunday; however, the combination of the snow storm and our schedules last week did not allow for my 3 mile easy run to take place on Friday as scheduled.  So I had to make up yesterday.  My legs were tired, but 3 miles was not as difficult as I was anticipating it might be. STRONG!

Total miles last week: 39.75 (Wish I would have looked at that before doing all my running - would have made my 3 miler yesterday 3.25 miles to get to an even 40!)
Total miles per plan: 38.25

I have officially made it to the taper period.  I am celebrating a great 16 week block of training and looking forward to the final 3 weeks!   I don't know if I can accurately convey how much excitement I have about the race via this blog but in the coming weeks, I will try!

Heard on the run - 
I did not listen to any podcasts last week while running!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Last Week Recap

Nothing real crazy happened last week.  I was again able to do all of my workouts outside, which is always great.

First up was Tuesday Speed. On paper, this one looked daunting.  Add to it that I did it after work, after kids in bed and it was dark the entire time.

1.6 mile warm up, strides, 7x1mile @ following paces: 7:05, 7:00, 6:50, 6:45, 6:35, 6:30, 6:20 with 2-3 minute walk rest in between and 1.6 mile cool down.

Overall, I was surprised at how easy this felt.  Note - This was not easy, but it felt easier than I was expecting it to.  My mile paces were 6:59 / 7:01 / 6:52 / 6:41 / 6:36 / 6:31 / 6:20.  I was happy that I stuck to the pace, especially early on when I wanted to run faster than I was.  Slowly, but surely I am becoming somewhat disciplined! ha ha ha.  It helps that I figured out that my Garmin has a feature where I can see the pace as I am running.  I never moved it off the default setting which displays time and mileage and beeps with mile pace only at the mile mark.

My hamstring still felt a little off during this workout.  Not pain per se, just there.  Lots of foam rolling!

My recovery runs continue to be 4 miles, easy pace with stride outs after.

Then came Saturday and the 17 mile marathon pace run as 4 miles easy, 6 miles @ 7:15-25 pace, 1 mile easy, 6 miles @ 7:20-7:00 pace. Again, training me to pace myself - start too slow and it will payoff.  I think I am finally getting it that it does pay off.  I always have anxiety about starting slow - that I will never catch up.  By doing these workouts, I am finally starting to get it.  (Thanks, Coach!)

So the 17 miler.  It was a little disjointed in the beginning.  It was COLD here Saturday - in the low 30s.  These temps are not foreign to me, although they were a little below what it has been here since returning from FL.  I suited up in my fleece tights and a long sleeve and a jacket.  I started running, and I got a mile away from home and I was HOT.  I knew that I would be thinking about how hot I was for the rest of the run so I ran until I hit the 2 mile mark, turned around and went home.  Luckily all my running clothes were on the drying rack right inside the door so I stripped down and changed into shorts, threw my coat off and ran back out.  It was a little chilly but felt good once I started running again.  My hands were the part that suffered most since I was carrying cold drinks in them without wearing gloves.  duh.

First 4 miles were 7:53, 7:59, 7:55, 7:48 - right in the 7:45-8:00 pace that EH wants me to be at for first 3-4 miles of the actual race.

Anyways.  Here we go:

6 miles at 7:15-7:25 was 7:12, 7:44, 7:21, 7:19, 7:04, 7:07.  A little all over the place.  I felt so light running after ditching all those clothes!

Slowed down for Mile 11 @ 7:38 and then ramped back up for final 6: 7:12, 7:15, 7:03, 7:02, 7:04, 6:54.  I was so happy with that second progression.

I was definitely tired after this run, but not sore.  However, I have discovered (painfully) that I am going to need to wear a more supportive sports bra under my Oiselle 3/4 crop top.

Got 21 miles in on my new shoes and they felt great.

Total miles last week: 35.52
Total miles per plan: 35.25

Looking forward - 4 more weeks until Race Day! This week is my last hard week before TAPER!!!!  I normally look forward to the taper - which is unlike most runners I follow.  I am curious if things will be different this time since this is the most consistent marathon training I have done.  4 more weeks!!!

Heard on the Run:
I only listened to iPod during my long run last week and finished up a ROO podcast and started another one.  The ROO podcasts are generally 90 minutes long so great for long runs!

1.  Running On Om Episode #181 with Stephanie Howe:  I started this a few weeks ago and just had to finish it up. Overall, very interesting listening to how ultrarunning is.  Seems so strange to be sipping on coke while running!

2.  Running Om Om Episode #185 with Andrea Duke.  I enjoyed the interview Another Mother Runner had with Duke so I was looking forward to this one.  It did not disappoint  It was recorded the day before the Olympic Trials, so also a little heartbreaking to listen to.

Friday, March 18, 2016

2015 vs. 2016

I was updating my running spreadsheet, which is basically a mileage log that I have kept since 2014, after my son was born, when I started looking back to years past.  It is fun to see progress in numbers.  My first big jump was in total annual mileage.  I ran 566.59 miles in 2014 and 1042.59 miles in 2015, an 84% increase!

I also have been reflecting on my marathon prep this year compared to last since both are spring marathons.  Without a doubt I have been 1000% more consistent with running this year. I was curious how that translated to mileage.

Monthly Totals 2015 2016 Difference % change
Jan 121.69 148.38 26.69 21.9%
Feb 111.59 148.73 37.14 33.3%

March was a very low mileage month in 2015 so I'm sure that this March will be at least 33% higher as well. To date, I have logged 108.33 more miles in 2016 than 2015.

Here's hoping this translates to taking almost 11 minutes off my marathon time!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Boston Marathon Bib Number!

Participants in the 2016 Boston Marathon have been numbered!


My bib number is 14,233!

My qualifying time (3:25:50) seeded me in Wave 2, Corral 7.  The Wave 2 times were 3:09:50 - 3:28:17.



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

What to Wear on Race Day

As race day approaches, I have been thinking about what I am going to wear.  Unless it is suppossed to be FREEZING, my plan is a 3/4 crop top and shorts, although I likely will start with a throwaway long sleeve.  

I still haven't altered my Oiselle Volee singlet.  I am (still) slightly nervous that I will ruin it by trying to take it in.  Oiselle made some new top options for the Volee and released an order around Thanksgiving.  The options included a 3/4 crop top, a bra top and a long sleeve.  I kinda wanted the 3/4 crop top, but didn't know if I would be brave enough to wear it and $75 seemed like a lot for a top I wasn't sure I would I passed.  Fast forward to a few weeks ago when everyone else got their tops and I was REALLY bummed that I didn't order the 3/4 top. 

I posted on the Volee Facebook wall a couple of times to see if anyone wanted to sell theirs via our gear swap.  No bites. I contacted Oiselle to see if they had extra in my size.  They did not, but encouraged me to continue asking them as more people got theirs and potentially returned them.

Then, because the universe liked me, one of the WI teammates was selling hers and emailed me to see if I wanted to buy it.  YES!

It was due to arrive last week and when it did, I came home from work, ripped off my shirt and tried it on.

It felt really comfy and great, but I wasn't sure how it would be to run with.  AND it isn't really 3/4 on me.  It is basically a sports bra.  

I wore it under my shirt during my long run on Saturday and it felt great.  I had some redness around my collarbone so I will have to lube that up before wearing it again just to be safe.

I would like to try running in just that top before the marathon to see how I feel just wearing that. Hello Bare Midriff.  I also have to figure out what shorts to wear with it!

Right now, I am planning on either wearing my stride shorts or my Roga shorts, both by Oiselle.  I am kind of tempted to get some distance shorts since every one loves those.  I ran in the Rogas for my last marathon, but that was before I embraced the booty shorts.  I don't know that I can do the Stride shorts AND the 3/4 top together.  That may be a little too much for me.

I recently retired one of the three pairs of shoes in my rotation (Farewell Brooks Glycerin 12).  The shoes that I have been doing my long runs in are the Adidas Energy Boost and I love them.  They are also getting up there in miles though.  EH advised me to get new shoes before the marathon and get some miles on the new pair beforehand.  Last weekend, I went to my favorite running store, handed the clerk my current Boosts and said, "I need these exact shoes".  I was excited that they had a fun color in stock!  

I also bought new SuperFeet berry insoles as I am fairly certain I have long worn out my current pair, purchased last March.  I tried running without these for a while but my foot started bothering me so back in they went!

I have been doing all of my long runs in CEP compression calf sleeves, gifted to me by Erica Finds.  I will be wearing these on the course!

I need to get more of these, but I have one pair of Balega socks from the Another Mother Runner event gift bag.  I plan on wearing the pair I have.  (Fun story - the woman who sold me the 3/4 top is also one of the essayists that was at this event!  Small world!)

I am still in bangs/hair grow out mode and thus, hoping I can braid my own hair for the race and wear a race hat over it.  I typically use a blue Moving Comfort hat (also gifted to me by Erica Finds!) but have an Oiselle Fast Cap coming from gear swap that I may use, provided it fits my large head!  

I will also be sporting my trusty Tifosi running sunglasses and my Garmin that day!

After finishing this post, I had to laugh because my husband always makes fun of the fact that running is an "Easy, low-cost sport.  All you need are shoes!".    

Monday, March 14, 2016

Another 20 miler, DONE!

The weather in Wisco dramatically improved last week.  The day we returned from FL (Tuesday) reached 70 degrees in WI!  I did not have to do my speed workout on a treadmill!  My first non-treadmill speed workout since December 22!  WOOT WOOT!

Tuesday's workout was: 1.6 mi warm up followed by strides and then 5 x 1.5 miles at 6:50-6:55 pace and a 1.6 mi cool down.

I stuck around my neighborhood for a lot of this workout because I was hoping the mail was going to bring my Oiselle 3/4 crop top and I was going to rip open the package and change my shirt right there because I wanted to test it out SO BADLY.  Unfortunately it didn't arrive on Tuesday, but I did get my 1.5 mi reps done on hills, which is a bonus.  (The 3/4 top DID arrive later in the week.  More on that in another post.)

Paces for my reps were 6:51, 6:47, 6:39, 6:51 and 6:43.  I was hot and sweaty at the end - felt great!

My easy recovery runs were a little more difficult than usual.  I think the loss of a recovery day between my long run and speed workout affected me since I did my long run Sunday last week.  Hashtag Getting Older.  

Which brings me to THIS week's long run.  My niece had her last hockey game at a rink near our house at noon on Saturday, which meant that in order for us to go to it, I was going to have to get up early and get my long run done in the morning.  My two year old still has swim lessons at 9 AM on Saturdays and it was my turn to be in the pool with him.  I had 2 hours and 40 minutes of running on my plan for Saturday, which meant I was getting up EARLY.

Fortunately BH contacted me and asked if I wanted to run with her for the long run.  I ran the Icebreaker Marathon Relay with her and one of my long runs with her previously.  I was excited to have company and a change of scenery.  Unfortunately, my son was having a rough night of sleep, which meant that I had a rough night of sleep.  I dragged myself out of bed at five to hopefully get some food in me before making the drive to her house.  I needed to leave there no later than 8:30 to get to the pool for swim lessons.

BH lives a mile from the Bugline Trail, so we did all but 3 miles of our run on it.  Unfortunately for me, I could not get into this run.  My hamstring was bothering me for whatever reason and it turns out that a lukewarm slice of Rocky Rococco pizza at a high school gym the night before is NOT great running fuel.  (DUH).  

My plan called for 80 minutes of easy running, followed by 60 minutes of medium and 20 minutes of hard - continuing to work on progressively getting faster over time.  We started out slower but BH was pushing the pace and I was not able to keep up so she ran ahead of me for a bit.  I just tried to hang on and wasn't really looking at my pace.  

I checked the time and realized that I wasn't going to be able to finish 2:40 of running AND be on time for swim lessons.  I switched the plan to "just finish 20 miles" (although I was hoping to get 21 and some change in for 2:40).  We finished the last mile in her subdivision at 6:56 pace.  My final running time was 2:31:04, which is 7:33 average pace.

1 minute and 5 seconds slower than my 20 miler two weeks ago.  I felt a whole lot worse during this second run, though!  Still, I am happy that even feeling crappy, my pace did not suffer too much. And while comparison is the thief of something, I HAD to look back to the 2nd 20 miler I did last year during winter marathon training: 20.3 miles in 2:36:23 (7:42 avg pace).  WOOT WOOT FOR IMPROVEMENT!

Overall, I am having a great time training for this race.  Usually, I am OVER IT by this point in the plan, so this in and of itself is exciting.  

And that brought a close to the highest mileage week of my plan! 

Total miles last week: 38.84
Miles per plan: 38.75

FIVE (FIVE!) weeks until Boston!

Heard on the run:
Since I didn't run on a treadmill at all this week AND I had a partner for my long run, I didn't use my iPod once!  No podcast reviews for you this week!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Vacation Running: CHECK

Sorry for the delay in last week's training recap.  We were in sunny FL from 3/1 until yesterday which meant I had a week of training in SUN!

I almost think that running while on vacation is MORE difficult to plan for which is why I wanted to get my Tuesday speed workout done before we left.  This mean a 4:45 AM wake up call and a trip to the gym.

I am ok with running first thing in the morning if it is an easy/recovery run.  Not so ok when it is a tough workout, but so it goes.  I like having the opportunity to eat a full meal before a workout.   I shoved a Picky Bar in my face while driving and hopped on the dreadmill.  The workout:

1.6m warm up 

3m @ 6:55
400m SLOW jog rest
2m @ 6:48
400m SLOW jog rest
1m @ 6:38
400m SLOW jog rest
400 @ 1:35
400m SLOW jog rest
400 @ 1:35
1.6m cool down

I got it done (although I cut the cool down short to get home to get kids ready) and then drove home. The kids were going to school for a half day, and I was working from home before our 2:30 PM flight to Orlando.

That left 2 short (4 m) recovery runs and a 16 mi long run to do while in FL.  I was able to get the 4 mile runs in very easily.

The long run presented a bit of logistical maneuvering.  We had planned to go to the parks over the weekend with my brother-in-law, who lives in FL and works for Disney.  I had set my alarm to get up EARLY Saturday morning to get the run in.  I learned that vibration for alarms does not work for me. I overslept.  

So instead I got up early on Sunday morning to get it done.  The air was cool, it was still a bit dark, and my legs were tired after 2 twelve hour plus days of walking around the parks.  We stayed at Saratoga Springs this year so I was able to run a route that went from Saratoga to nearby Disney Springs, back through Saratoga, through the golf course nature path to Old Key West resort and back to Saratoga.  I did that 3 times to get in the 16 miles and was able to hide water bottles in bushes along the way.

The workout was:
16 miles run as 8m easy and then 8m @ 7:10-7:20 (making sure to finish faster than you start the faster section ex. 7:25/20/15/10/05/00/655/650 or similar;  if you feel really good, you can push the last 2-3m)

After talking with EH after last week's 20 miler, the plan is to start long runs with the first three miles in the 7:45-8:00 window.  My first mile of this 16 miler was 8:32.  I was TIRED.  It took me a full hour to get into the swing of this run, but managed to finish in 1:59:32 with these splits:

First 8 Miles:

Second 8 Miles:

While I felt tired, I wasn't dying. I was pleased with the run.

More so, I was pumped that I still got the full week of training in while on vacation!!!!!!!

Total Miles Last Week: 34.18
Total Miles Per Plan: 34.75 


Heard on the Run:
I intentionally left my iPod at home so all of my FL runs were done without podcasts.  Thus, this week's list is fairly short:

I didn't completely finish this because I had to pull out music to get me through #TreadmillTuesday.   Howe talks about her dissertation research on hormones and appetite suppression in the female runner. The one takeaway I have from this is forcing myself to eat in the 30 minute window post-workout.  I never do this because I am not hungry and now I know why!