Friday, September 30, 2016

September Mileage Recap + Friday Links!

I'm so tired, I mistakenly ran on a rest day.  HA!  True story.

My alarm went off this morning at 5 and I hazily thought, "I'm going to sleep in today."  Then my mind got going and I was like, "I can't skip today or I won't hit 5 days this week!"

So out of bed I popped.

Once I was fully awake, I realized that today was my 4th day running this week.  I have a race tomorrow and a long run Sunday which puts me on track to run SIX days this week! WOAH NELLY!

Today is also the last day of September which means it's time for a monthly mileage check-in.

September Mileage Total: 96.1

This is 41.03% MORE miles than September of last year!!!! After 3 months of falling short of my 2015 mileage, I am back on the positive side!  I also hit the 900 miles mark for year-to-date mileage this month, putting me 138.53 miles ahead of last year at this time!  Celebrate good times, COME ON!  (Sorry if you have that song stuck in your head for the rest of the day!)

Friday Links!

I read a lot of stuff this week...and I didn't keep track of the links as I usually do. DAMN!  Here is a sprinkling of what I read and what I was inspired by this week.  TGIF!

25 Famous Women on Overcoming Rejection

The Real Running Photoshoot
I love the new Oiselle #realrunning campaign!  Search the hashtag on Instagram!

Steph Bruce's Long Awaited Return to the Marathon
"The marathon is like a machine. It doesn’t give, it doesn’t break. You have to beat the marathon, and in order to do that you have to stand in front of it and say you’re willing to go through a lot of pain to achieve your goals."

Mile Markers: Choosing Your Hat
Kristin Armstrong always has powerful words, in my opinion.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

In Running and In Life...

I tend to silo my running into something I do for roughly 30-60 minutes each outing and that is it. Check it off the list.  Move onto the next thing.  Of course my ability to go for a run often depends on several things, mainly that my children are cared for by someone that isn't me for that period of time.  Over the last few years, I have worked hard to limit that list of dependencies (some might call them excuses) and make running more of a priority.

One excuse that I am working on getting rid of is, "I'm skipping this morning run because I didn't get a full night of sleep last night."

Despite the fact that my children are 2 and 6, we still deal with one (or both) waking in the middle of the night once in a while...or in the case of a few weeks ago, every.single.night for a week.  Anyhoo, I noticed that if my kids did not sleep through the night, and hence, I would not sleep through the night, I took full license to shut off my early morning alarm and skip running in the morning which would consequently throw off my whole day because I would have this underlying anxiety of "when am I going to get my run in".  And, because I have a really difficult time falling back asleep once I wake up, It wasn't like that extra hour was always affording me an extra hour of sleep.

At about 1:30 this morning, my son woke up.  My husband went to figure out what he needed and I stayed in bed.  Unfortunately I didn't fall back asleep right away but eventually I did and thus when my 5:00 alarm went off, I was SO TEMPTED to shut it off and stay in bed.  I willed myself out of that bed...stumbled into the bathroom and almost went to the bathroom without removing articles of clothing first.  Thankfully, I did rise out of my stupor enough to get dressed and out the door.

My plan called for a speed workout today...and I debated actually doing that workout and getting an easy run in instead.

"I can do the speed work tomorrow.  I am sooo tired today."

I set off for my first few steps and settled into the first mile and you know what, I felt pretty good!  At  the point that my Garmin beeped, I had a sudden change of heart and was like, "Let's do this!"

The speed workout was named the "pace checker workout" in my plan.  It is defined as, "8x800m at goal half marathon pace with 1 minute rest.  This workout should get you comfortable with your race pace.  This is a good check-in point with your half goal.  If this workout is not doable as written, consider altering your half goal."

The different (time-based)* levels of my half goal are

A: Run 7:00 mile average pace.  Which leaves me in 1:31 land.

B.  PR in this event, which leaves me running faster than a 1:33:23 or 7:07 pace.

A 7:00 pace translates to a 3:30 800.  This seems really slow to me as the last time I was doing 800s, they were at 3:15-3:20 pace for marathon training.  Trust the process though, right? 

My first 800 was a 3:28.  It felt good - not too fast.  I wanted to maintain that for the next several.  Do not run not run faster. 

It started drizzling at some point during the dark morning, which felt pretty good. 

[I should mention that because it was still dark, I was doing these on a 1/2 mi course in the adjacent neighborhood, not on the track, which doesn't open until dawn.] 

A bunch of dogs started barking at me, scaring the crap out of me, during #5.

I finished number 8 feeling strong and still relaxed at a 3:18.  

During this workout, with every 800 that I crossed off the list, I was more and more confident in my half marathon goal but also with my upcoming day.  I had a big presentation this morning that I was going through in my head.  Yesterday, I made it through a practice round, "murder-board" style, which was a confidence boost.  But you know what was the biggest confidence boost?  Finishing those 800s slightly below my goal pace, feeling awesome.  Crushing that workout just set up my day in such a positive light.  I thought, "Aha! THIS is why people do morning workouts."

And now...I need coffee.  STAT.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Week 4 Half Marathon Training Recap

4 weeks of half-marathon training down!

Last week was still difficult in terms of figuring out when to get my weekday runs in because my body was not firing to get up in the early part of the week.  Monday did not happen because I shut off my alarm and stayed in bed a minute too long and fell back asleep.  Tuesday I also slept through my alarm but was able to squeeze in a 5 mile tempo run in during the work day.  I used shower wipes for the first time before going back to the office.  I don't think that I smelled but I didn't really feel fresh and clean!  I really like the "runch" but the shower situation is not ideal.

Wednesday I woke up on time but it was lightning outside.  I opted to try to get my workout in at night...when you guessed it - still lightning.  Perhaps I was being overly cautious about this?

Thursday and Friday I rebounded nicely getting 5 mile runs in at 5 AM both days.

The real winner of the week was my 8 mile long run on Saturday morning.  My goal for this run was to negative split.  Do not start fast!  I felt in control and a little squeaky for the first few miles and then magic happened.  I felt amazing for the second half and my last mile was faster than 3 of my 8K miles in my race last weekend.

Mile splits:

Huge smile on my face after that run.

I had one more 5 miler to get in for the week...and I skipped it.  The hubs and I did a staycation to celebrate our anniversary and while I did bring running stuff along, I opted to lounge in our amazing suite with coffee rather than running.

Bring on Week 5!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Links: Adjusting to new routines


Friday comes around again, after yet another challenging week.  So many 'new' things for our family this month (new school/routine for my 6yo, new daycare room for my 2 yo, new car, new swim lessons, new sunday school).  September is a really exciting month because of all of the "new" starts...and all that new at once can be challenging to adjust to.  Lots of adjusting going on at my house, for the big and the little people.

Today I had two things hit my Facebook feed - a poem by Lauren Fleshman and a blog post by a fellow Oiselle Volee member.  Both were right place, right time reads for me.  With all of the adjusting, I have been clinging to old ways of doing things that used to work for our family, and finding myself sliding into this multitasking train wreck.  Time to breathe.  BREATHE.  And investigate how to re-structure life so that I am not feeling so scattered and out of sorts.

I made it back to morning runs yesterday and today.  Ahhhh.  Have to keep this going.  While night runs worked so well at the beginning of this year during marathon training, they do not work right now.  Get up get out of bed! If I can get out of bed in the morning, I can get the run in.

Which leads me to my next habit I need to change:



BREATHE. Return from freak out.

Part of my trouble right now is that with this schedule change, my kids are complete fucking disasters in the afternoon when I pick them up. (i try to keep the language clean here, but that word is too appropriate for the situation.)  As long as I can remember, I have been cooking dinner right away after I get home from work/picking them up, while they play in the late afternoon/early evening (of course having to duck in to mediate now and then).  Then we play together AFTER dinner.  This plan has totally fallen apart lately as both my kids need me a lot more when they get home, particularly my son who wants to read, do puzzles, WITH ME, NOW.   I love this and love doing these things with him...AND I also need to make dinner.  Which means we have been eating a lot of junk lately (and cue face full of lovely acne...again).  I thought some of these were good ideas for quick weeknight dinner ideas.  I may try weekend prep as I already meal plan and grocery shop for the week on the weekend.

Looking forward to my long run tomorrow!!!!!!

Monday, September 19, 2016

8K Race Recap + 3 Weeks of Half-Marathon Training DONE!

I am proud to report that even though last week was a bit of a doozy, I still met my goal and ran 5 / 7 days, including a race!

This was my 3rd consecutive year running the Briggs' and Al's Run for Children's Hospital.  The race is an 8K, which is an uncommon race distance.  It is the only 8K I ever race, thus I am always trying to get a PR.  My goal for this year was no different.  I don't know that this was a very realistic goal, given that my speed work has mainly consisted of half-marathon prep (fartlek, tempo, mile repeats), but it was my goal nonetheless.  My best time for this course was 32:12, which I ran in 2014.  Last year I ran a 32:17.  This year, a 32:50.  Womp womp.  It was much hotter this year than other years, and the race had a delayed start - gun went off at 10:45.

Even though I want to run well at this race, logistics are difficult.  I organize a team for the race, including my husband, mom and two kids.  My husband and kids do the walk portion of the event and we meet up at the finish.  The start line and finish line are not at all in the same area, which means we park near the finish and walk a ways to the start (1.3 miles).  Then there are lots of activities going on which my kids want to do  In a crowd of 15,000 people. Thus, no "proper" warm up.

I felt ok running.  The week of horrible sleep definitely had an impact.  I ended up running a lot of the race on my own.  It was hot so I was dumping water cups on my head.  I also started the race with a dry mouth - never a good sign!  One of my goals for this race was to try to stay positive mentally throughout the whole thing.  I always seem to want to die by mile 4 of the course and this year was no different.  At that point, I stopped for a half-second, exhaled loudly, and continued on.

Because I was by myself, I didn't really know where I was place wise until the end when spectators were telling me I was the 4th woman (not true).  My fastest time, in 2014, was good for 105th overall, 13th woman and 2nd in my age group.  Last year, I was 5 seconds slower than 2014 but 87th overall, 9th woman and 2nd in my age group.  This year, my slowest year by time, I was 58th overall, 5th woman and 1st in my age group.  The 4th woman was almost a minute ahead of me, and the 6th woman was the same amount of time behind me.

My splits for the race were 6:20, 6:44, 6:17, 6:45, 6:41.  Not exactly stellar race strategy, but the job got done.

The race concluded my 3rd week of half marathon training.  Last week consisted of several easy paced runs in addition to a 3 mile tempo run that I ran too fast (again) and the 8K race.  My workouts bump up slightly in mileage this week so I'm hoping for lots of sleep and 5 more check-marks for the week!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Passing On the "Boston" part of the "Boston Marathon"

I posted in July about my growing conundrum about whether or not I was going to register for Boston 2017.  After posting about it, I didn't really give it much thought until a few weeks ago when the Instagram posts started counting down to this week, registration week.  At that point, I had ALMOST made up my mind that I was NOT going to do it.  There was a blip earlier this week where I thought "Maybe????" when last year's training partner Facebook message harassed me about joining her :)

But I'm sticking with my original decision which is NOT running Boston in 2017.


Reason 1: My heart is not in it
At first blush, this may seem crazy, but this is not the first time where I have qualified for, and subsequently passed on, running the Boston Marathon.  Of the 7 marathons I have run, 5 were BQs. The first time I qualified for Boston, I ran it.  That first BQ was a major goal of mine after moving to a new city (Chicago) in my 20s and wanting to get back into running after a long on again, off again relationship with it through college and grad school.

I toyed with the marathon after Boston 2007 and gave that distance up for several years because I would under train and be dissatisfied with my performance.

Then, after my second child was born, I was in my mid-30s and dying to do it again.  Could I do it? YES I COULD! My 4th BQ led to running my 2nd Boston Marathon last year - two major goals of mine from the last two years checked off the list.

To me, qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon has been a challenge that I have given myself during some points of transition in my life.  I don't really have a big transition that I'm facing right now, and maybe that is why the Boston Marathon just isn't making my heart sing this year.  Last year I was in full countdown mode for registration, I was planning my life around this marathon.  This year...meh.

The Boston Marathon is amazing.  In so many ways. I don't know if this will make sense but I sort of want to save it for times when I really NEED it.

Reason 2: Time
Guess what.  It takes a ton of freakin' time to train for a marathon. For this reason, I only really can mentally handle about one marathon a year at this point in my life.  My husband can really only mentally handle about one marathon a year, and he is a critical key to getting training in with two kids.  Would I like to be one of those runners that is tackling marathons all the time? Sometimes.  But that is not my current life.  So if I am going to do one marathon next year (which is still a goal of mine), I want it to be a new one.  A new course.  A new experience.  Who knows how long I will be running marathons?  I might as well tackle some other ones on my to-run list while I can.  Also, I have to be cognizant of my PPL bank at work, which unfortunately for me, is not endless :(

Reason 3: Expense
Boston is really expensive, particularly when you take your family. Of course, plenty of other marathons that I want to run are still expensive so if I'm going to drop a lot of dough, I'd rather go to a new destination.

When it came down to it, I think the only reason I wanted to run it was to join in the hullabaloo of this week on social media.  Which is a dumb freakin' reason.

So, no Boston for me next year.  HOWEVER, I have goals people.  And the 3:15 (or faster) marathon is at the top of that list.  Stay tuned.

Friday Links: Wake Up Early: How You Can Do It

This has been A WEEK.

I have not gotten a full night's sleep all week.  For Real.  Last night before going to bed, I prayed to the gods and heavens above that neither of my children would wake up in the middle of the night as seems to be our current routine.  Turns out none of the gods or heavens like me - at 2:30 my son was awake.

Despite the fact that my eye is twitching (does that happen to anyone else when you are tired?!), I haven't missed a run yet!  I ran 4 of the 5 days so far this week.

I missed 2 of the 4 early morning alarms because I was so tired.  Luckily my afternoons this week have been dedicated to a SAS training, and two of the afternoons we were done early so I could sneak my run in during that suddenly free time. PHEW.  I took Thursday as a day off this week, which was much needed. Which left this morning, when I forced myself to get out of bed.

I still struggle with the early morning run, but it has been getting easier.  I agree with many of the tips in this week's Friday Link:  Wake Up Early: How You Can Do It.

I started trying to ease into morning runs by wearing my running clothes to bed.  While this proved useful to getting out of bed and going, it wasn't very comfortable, mainly due to the compressive sports bra.  As long as I set out EVERYTHING I will need for a run the night before, in convenient spaces, I have been doing ok.

The routine that has been working for me is:

5:00 Wake Up Alarm/stretch in bed and say mantras like nobody's business to motivate myself to not go back to bed

5:05 Get out of bed.  Stumble into bathroom and turn on shower light so as not to wake husband.  Put contacts in, change in running clothes that I have laid out night before, go downstairs.

5:10 Turn on porch light.  Go into kitchen and turn on a bunch of lights.  Get water bottle out and fill with water + 1 Nuun for after run.  Check phone to scroll through Instagram for more motivation.  Grab knucklights and watch which I also put out the night before.  Go back to front door and put on shoes which I set by door the night before.

5:15 Get out of the house and run loops around my neighborhood.  1 loop ~ 1.15 miles

5:50-6 (Depending on how far I had to go) Return back to house, grab water bottle of Nuun and RxBar, sit out on front porch admiring the quiet for a bit (unless I hear that the kids are awake, which then I usually go up and greet them).

6-6:45 Shower, dress, makeup, hair for myself.  Help kids get dressed, hair, teeth.  Breakfast for kids, make lunches for myself + kids and breakfast for myself which I take to work and eat.

6:45-7:00 Commute to work (Hubs finishes up with breakfast with kids and transports them to school & daycare)

One of the ways that I have been able to motivate myself to do morning runs is that I feel more calm during our night routine if I don't have to run after kids are in bed.  I am not nearly as annoyed with them for DRAAAAAGING out bed time if I am not itching to get out the door at 7 PM stat.  Also, I get to enjoy some time with my husband (usually watching tv) every night when I run in the morning. I think these more relaxed evenings are the biggest motivator for me embracing the morning routine.

I try to get to bed between 9/9:30 to accommodate waking up an hour before I was used to, but that doesn't always happen.  Usually I figure, if I get to sleep through the night, I am getting 7 - 7.5 hours a sleep on a week night.  I do not get up at 5 on weekends which grabs me an extra hour or so of sleep on Saturdays and Sundays.

So that's my trying-to-be-habitual-morning routine!  Anyone else an early bird?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Half-Marathon Training Week 2: NAILED IT

If you follow me on Instagram (@amyschlott) you know that last week, the second week of half-marathon training, I ran FIVE days.  Well, I have an important update: I actually ran SIX days and crossed off all of the workouts on my plan.

Monday: Labor Day

I had a beautiful 5 mile run along Big Cedar Lake in the early morning hours.  I love running along the lake when we are there with family.  36:47.8 (7:21 avg pace).


3.25 easy morning miles (24:30, 7:32 avg pace) with 6 strides after.




1 mi warm up, followed by 3 mile repeats, followed by 1 mile cool down, again in the morning.  The goal pace for my mile repeats was to be half-marathon goal pace plus 10-20 seconds. I am working with the half-marathon goal pace of 7:00 miles. I ran these mile repeats way too fast: 6:48, 6:43, 6:31.


4.03 easy morning miles, 30:41 (7:37 avg pace)


6.24 miles, 43:31.7 (6:59 avg pace).


Was supposed to be off, but my six-year old daughter asked me to go on a run with her.  We did 1.5 miles of a run/walk AND then our family did a 6 mile bike ride.

Total Miles (excludes Sunday): 23.65

Four of these runs were done in the morning - three of them in the DARK.  I am finding that 5 AM runs are almost becoming essential with our schedule, and I am not minding.  It does take a lot of mental convincing to get out of bed when my alarm first goes off though!  Bring on Week 3!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Friday Link: Easy on Easy Days


Yesterday, I read this post on Salty Running: When It Comes to Running, What Is Easy?

I definitely do not take it "easy" on my "easy" days.  I think it has a lot to do with anxiety I feel to get the run done, mostly because I am fitting runs into small windows of time.  With the start of school, my day has much more structure in place in terms of logistics of picking my kids up at the end of the day, getting to work by 7 so that I can leave at 3 to get kids.  Thus, I am trying to get my week day runs done in the early morning, prior to work.  I also like to sleep.  So I have calculated that if I set my alarm at 5, I can be back, shower, help get kids ready, lunches, etc before I am out the door to get to the office.  Phew.  Just typing that made me anxious.

Today I had an "easy" 4 miler on my schedule and I tried so hard to go easy easy easy.  According to the article, my "easy" pace could be anywhere in the 1:30 - 3:00 slower than my 5K pace.  My last 5K pace was 6:18 so that leaves me with a 7:48 - 9:18 window.

I got up at 5 and thus was in the dark, save for my knucklelights and neighborhood lighting, chugging along.  In addition to the aforementioned anxiety of having enough time, it is hard for me to fully relax during an early morning run because a small part of my brain thinks, "What if some creepy guy is chilling out waiting to pounce on me?".  For this reason, I stick to running laps around my quasi-closed neighborhood.

My first mile was 7:55.  YES.  Definitely felt easy and definitely was working to slow down.  It felt really unnatural.  I let go of working so hard to think about "going slower" during my other miles and the result:  7:27, 7:30, 7:24.  My average pace for my 4.03 run was 7:37.  A little faster than my optimal window, but not terrible.

Anyone else not go easy enough on easy days?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Half Marathon Training Week 1: Done

I survived my first week of half marathon training.  Hooray!  It was a little rough getting back into a training plan particularly because last week was also busy with my oldest's first day of school and her 6th birthday party.

The training plan that I am following is one that Kara Goucher made for Oiselle Volee members. It is 10 weeks long and there are 5 running days, 1 cross train or off day and 1 day fully off.  I am aiming to do all 5 running days, with two days off, to see if I can swing this (previously I have done 4 running days).

The plan isn't very different from other plans I have followed:  Saturday is long run, Wednesday is a speed workout and all other runs are 3-6 miles.  Some days also have strides and core. I was able to get the speed workout done (fartlek), the long run (5 miles) and two of the 3-6 miles days last week.  That is 4 days out of the 5 I am aiming to do.  On a super busy week, I'll take it.

I can tell I am out of shape.  Most of the workouts feel hard - or maybe that is just because I am doing most of them at 5 AM in the dark.  Womp womp.

1 week down, 9 to go!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Friday Links! (Er,...Link)

Happy Friday.

I have not read very many things online this week as I have been trying to use all of my free time to work on props for my daughter's Wizard of Oz themed birthday party occurring tomorrow.  I leave you with this one link:

A Long Run Back: How English Gardner Overcame Depression, Anxiety On Road to Rio

Thursday, September 1, 2016

August Mileage Recap

AHHH! It's September!  My oldest started kindergarten today!

My total mileage for August was: 66.85 miles.

Still on the low end.  This was 7.6% lower than August 2015 mileage, so for the past three months, I have been in the negative in terms of percent change.  Good thing I had a strong first 5 months of the year because I am still 97.5 miles ahead of last year at this time.  I think 10 weeks of half marathon training will secure the notion that 2016 mileage > 2015 mileage (barring any injuries, of course).

However, on the plus side, August's mileage was more than double that of July!  So we are heading in the right direction, folks!

I rebounded nicely from Tuesday's debacle.   I went to bed at 7:45 PM on Tuesday night and slept until 6:15 Wednesday morning.  Yesterday my kids were at their grandma's house so I had an hour in between when I got home from work and when they got home which allowed me to do my fartlek workout in some nice sunny skies.  It was a difficult one - I felt so sluggish from the first step to the last, but it was done.

This morning I got up and did an easy recovery run in the dark with my knuckle lights.  The air was nice and cool but I am not ready to have most of my runs occurring in the dark.  The good news is that with school schedule, I HAVE to get my run in in the morning.  I have lost a bit of the flexibility I once had.  So far, I have been doing great with getting up and heading out the door in the wee hours of the morning. Time will tell!

How was your August mileage?