Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: Year in Review

2016 has come to a close and what an amazing running year it was for me!  I set PRs in the 5K and Half-Marathon and did a lot of self-reflection and work on mindset which has helped in running and in life.  Here is a recap of my year:


In January, my goals for 2016 were:

1. Run 3:15 in the Boston Marathon
2. Run a sub 19:00 5K
3. Incorporate core work 2x a week.

I poured everything into that first goal for the first 3.5 months of this year.  When that was a flop, I revised my goal list:

1.  Consistency

I am really proud of my consistency this year.  Even with an injury that led to no running for a month, I logged more miles than 2015.  I would like to continue to build on this in 2017.  I also transitioned to becoming a morning runner for several months, which ended up gelling BEAUTIFULLY with my schedule.  (Until ice and tons of snow messed it up this month!)

2. Strength training

Like core work, strength training is haphazard at best.  Still have not incorporated either core/strength in a routine way, although have some momentum to build on from my participation in the #AMRStride plan

3. Break 19:00 in the 5K

CHECK!  I ran 18:53 in the Run Tosa Run in May.  Sadly, I did not run anymore sub 19 5Ks as I had a foot injury right before all my 5K races hit the calendar.

4. PR in the 8K

Womp Womp.  My 8K time this year was 32:50, far off my 32:12 PR.

5. Do a half marathon and attempt a PR

CHECK and CHECK.  My half marathon PR went from 1:33:23 to 1:29:14 !!!!

I ran 10 races this year, which is 2 more races than 2015.

January: Icebreaker Marathon Relay
My team came in first place!  This was my first Oiselle Volee meet up and it was so much fun that I signed up for it in 2017.

April:  Boston Marathon
1,497 in my age group
1,899 female finisher
8,240 overall finisher
Read my recap here.

May: Run Tosa Run 5K
18:53 (NEW PR!)
1st female
1st age group
8th overall
Recap here

June: Silver Lining for Kids 5K
2nd female
2nd age group
13th overall
Recap here.

July: Acuity Health Challenge 5K
4th female
1st age group
13th overall
Recap here.

July: Race for the Bacon 5K
2nd female
2nd age group
15th overall
Recap here.

August: Hank Aaron State Trail 5K
1st female
1st age group
31st overall
Recap here

September: Briggs and Als 8K
5th female
1st age group
58th overall
Recap here

October: Pink Pumpkin Run 5K
1st female
1st age group
1st overall
Recap here

November: PNC Milwaukee Running Festival Half Marathon
1:29:14  (NEW PR!)
7th female
1st age group
42nd overall
Recap here

Thank you to Athlinks for all of this data!

Official 2016 mileage count:  1,206.37

I recognize that this is actually on the low end of annual mileage, but it is what it is.   Mileage for 2016 was 15.7% higher than 2015 total mileage.  I was happy with the amount, considering I had 5 weeks of 0 miles this year, four due to injury and one post-half-marathon.

I retired 4 pairs of shoes this year!  (This sounds like a lot because I carried 3 of those over from 2015 with varying amounts of mileage).

Brooks Glycerine
Mizuno Wave Rider
Adidas Boost 2s (Navy)
and finally, my pink Adidas Boost 3s (December 2016 goal acheived!)

I will be carrying 2 pairs of shoes into 2017 with me : Adidas Boost 2s (Magenta) and Mizuno Sayonara 3s.  I really like both of these shoes and have just under 300 miles left on each!

I have a new pair of Saucony ISOs to start using and I won a pair of Asics running shoes in a local running contest.  I have yet to pick those out.

2016 was also a year that I stepped up my nutrition game.  I did a Whole 30 in May which helped form some new habits - namely eating more fats, eating eggs + veggies for breakfast, and decreasing sugar (which admittedly TOTALLY went out the window in December - hello Christmas cookies!).  Another good habit that I picked up was eating something immediately after a run - either a Picky Bar or a Rx Bar.   I am still trying to hydrate more.  I don't know why this is so difficult for me!

I stuck with Nuun for the majority of my sports drink and did gu packs for my marathon.  I switched to Gen UCan for my half marathon and had a lot of success with this so stockpiled for spring 2017 marathon training.

I replaced the majority of my running wardrobe this year.  I still had running clothes from early college!  I also had a lot of running clothes that I didn't really love.  I donated all of my shorts and bought several pairs of Oiselle Distance Shorts, which are my favorite.  I also beefed up my winter running gear by buying several pairs of new tights and a few new lightweight jackets and long sleeve shirts.

2016 was the year I tried, and loved, compression sleeves/socks, trucker hats, and a gaiter!  I do not know how I got through winter running last year without a gaiter!

I read A LOT about running during 2016.  Yes, there are my Friday links, but I also read several running books:

Boston Bound
Running:  A Love Story
Mile Markers
Hanson's Marathon Method
Ready to Run
The Runner's Brain

I renewed my Oiselle Volee team membership this year and participated in the Nuun and Momentum Jewelry ambassador programs.  I also had fun helping out a friend by serving as the runner in some photos taken for his business, Serpentijn Art & Athletics.

Best Prizes
I won some fun race awards this year!  Run Tosa Run always has an amazing prize pack full of gift cards to Wauwatosa businesses.  I won a COOLER FULL OF BACON at the Race for the Bacon and a Bartolotta Restaurant gift card at the Hank Aaron State Trail race.

Best Contests
I enter a LOT of contests.  As my friends like to point out, I also win a fair number of contests!  This year I won some fun running items through contests:

Entrance to a 2017 race via Facebook contest hosted by Lighthouse Events
Asics running shoes via Facebook contest hosted by Lighthouse Events
Oiselle Flyte LS via #rungiving contest hosted by Oiselle
CEP Compression socks via IG contest hosted by CEP
Nuun + Nuun water bottle via Nuun Twitter contest
Nathan water bottle from @divasrunning on Instagram

Point being - ENTER THOSE CONTESTS!  (My friend Erica hosts a lot of running/fitness related giveaways on her blog!)

Enjoy your New Year's Eve!

Friday, December 30, 2016

My Answers to Three Questions to Ask Yourself Before the New Year

This week's Friday Links pointed to the article outlining three questions to ask yourself before the new year.  Here goes!

1.  What were my three favorite athletic moments of 2016?

First, running the PNC Milwaukee Half Marathon.  It was a textbook great race for me and culminated in shaving over 4 minutes off my half-marathon PR AND my first half under 1:30! Hands down my favorite race of 2016.  I was proud of pushing through pain for the last few miles of this and not backing off the pace.

Second, FINALLY breaking 19:00 in the 5K at Run Tosa Run.  I loved the competition of this race. Without the woman who finished second, I don't know that I would have ran this as fast as I did.

Third, my sometimes training partner Bettina and I had the most amazing 22 mile run leading up to the Boston Marathon.   You can read about it at the end of this post.

2.  What were my challenges this year?

Same challenge I always have - staying consistent.  I think I made a lot of progress with this but December was a hot mess.

I also was challenged with a stress reaction in my metatarsal which threw off my 5K training for summer.

My biggest challenge that I started working on is mindset.  The biggest example of this was the Boston Marathon where I physically felt off from the beginning and let my mind get sucked down as well.  In several other races, I gave up or backed off when the onset of pain came.

3. What inspires me now?  Write down three goals for 2017.

First, I want to PR in the marathon.

Second, I want to challenge myself with something new.  To that end, I have signed up for a duathlon in July 2017.  (Run 2 miles, bike 14.7 miles, run 2 miles.)

Third, I want to incorporate more yoga and meditation into my routine.  I read A LOT about meditation in 2016.  This started as a task for work.  I was reading medical literature about health impact of meditation/mindfulness.  That lead to a colleague and I taking a 6 week course in mindfulness, offered by my employer.  That lead to me reading a few books on meditation:

10% Happier
Do Your Om Thing

I took a yoga for runners course earlier this year and played with some yoga out of the Hit Reset book. I took the plunge and subscribed to JasYoga (due to a free month code we were sent via Oiselle).

Last Friday Links of 2016!

One more day of 2016 left!  Today's links are a compilation of looking back on 2016!

1.  "2016 is almost over.  It's not too late to pick out a special present for yourself.  It's not too late to get off the fence if there are things you have wanted to do or say but have held back or played small.   Do it. Say no to fear, hesitation, and indecision and say yes to your life." ~ Kristin Armstrong, Mile Markers for Runner's Word, Getting Off the Fence

2. It's no secret that Sally Bergesen is one woman I want to be when I grow up.  I enjoyed her Thank You 2016 post.

3.  Coach Jenny has 3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before the New Year.  My answers are coming up!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Week in Review: Dec 19 - Dec 25

I got out for a run three days last week, which is better than zero I guess.  Two of the three runs were possible because of leaving work early and squeezing them in before my daughter got home from school.  Thankfully, last week ended on a high temperature note so a lot of the snow and ice has melted from the road.  I may be able to return to dark mornings now that I don't have to worry about slipping on ice!

Tuesday: 5.04 miles, 35:37 (7:04 avg pace)
The bus was late so I got a full 5 miles in!  Yippee!  I always end these runs by running circles near the entrance of our neighborhood so I can see when the bus comes.  This means that I am usually running back to my driveway with the bus.  My daughter told me this cute story of how the kids on her bus think I am really fast because I beat the bus to our driveway. 

Wednesday: 4.2 miles, 30:01 (7:01 avg pace)
I ran around my office this day and while the sidewalks were fairly clear, I still fell on my bum.  I did not injure myself, but still was really embarrassed since I fell into an intersection, at rush hour, so lots of people saw!  

Saturday: 8.54 miles, 1:00:01 (7:02 avg pace)
It was a glorious day for a run.  The temps were above freezing, turning all of our snow into a slushy mess.  Unfortunately there were so many uncleared sidewalks which made for some slippery steps!  

Mile 1: 6:58
Mile 2: 7:35
Mile 3: 7:10
Mile 4: 7:04
Mile 5: 6:52
Mile 6: 6:56
Mile 7: 6:46
Mile 8: 6:54
Mile 9: 6:59

Weekly Mileage Total: 17.78

In other news, I got a R8 Roll Recovery torture device for Christmas!  That thing really hurts.  I cannot do very long sessions with it yet.  I am hoping it will help my tight calves!

Six more days to accumulate 2016 mileage!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Friday Links!

Last week I missed Friday Links so some of these are "old news" by now.

1. Nike and Adidas are working on assembling teams to run a sub 2 hour marathon.  I am most interested in reading on the author of the first article (Nike hyperlink) will do with his own self-experiment to break 90 minutes in the half.

2. Recovering from an injury SUCKS.  We all know this.  Devon Yanko's best laid plans and On the 11th Day of Christmas Running Gave Me the Patience of a Saint

3. Tina Muir's CIM recap.  What struck me about this is the LONG LIST of people she thanks.  I think Tina does a great job of giving insight into the life of a pro runner.

4. Running as a Thinking Person's Sport

5.  Winter Running Hacks - some of these are new to me! yay!

6.  In a similar vein, Ten Commandments of Winter Running

7. I am also considering taking a roll of duct tape to a pair of running shoes this winter to prevent cold, wet toes - @mittenrunner on instagram did it with decorative duct tape and they look SO CUTE.

Merry Everything, whatever you celebrate.  I am looking forward to Christmas with my family celebrated multiple times over the next few days and hopefully squeezing some running in :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

In other news, I am running a marathon in 149 days!

Looking back at 2016, it was the strongest running year I have ever had.  Sure, I wanted to PR in the marathon in the worst way...being that my 2016 marathon was THE marathon (Boston) and I was already picturing the Run Ink map I would have on my wall with the PR and then that was it.  Maybe have another baby. Maybe not.  Maybe run some half marathons but that was going to be it.  No more marathons.

Except the PR didn't happen.  The desire to not do any more marathons didn't happen.  

And really my pipe dream was flawed in more ways than one.  How often do we get the PR and then just want to be done with things?  Yeah, never.  

I know I have potential to be better in the marathon than my current PR (3:25:50) reflects.  I know I have come a long way in mastering the discomfort that the marathon brings (and could still work on it).  

I wanted to end 2016 healthy, rested, and ready to go.  And so far, I am on track to do that, current laryngitis be damned!

I want to give the marathon another go in 2017.  I admire people who can do more than one marathon a year.  My limit truly is one marathon a year.  They take so much out of me and my family as saying yes to marathon training requires saying no to other things from time to time.

2015 and 2016 both were spring marathon years for me.  Both races were WARM and challenging because of it (even though my 2015 race is my current PR).  While winter training is a drag, it is much easier for me to fit my workouts in during the early months of the year than the summer/fall months when our life gets crazy.  So...I was eye-ing up the Green Bay Marathon around the time I decided that I was not going to run Boston in 2017.

As half marathon training went on, I was drawn to a fall marathon.   Fall just seems like marathon weather to me.  Race day is much more likely to be cooler.  I thought about signing up for Chicago 2017.  It was going to be the 40th anniversary race.  I have done it before and it is a great race.  Honestly, the Chicago marathon is the best I ever felt while running a marathon and my 2nd fastest marathon time.  It would be fun to give it another go! It logistically would be pretty easy given that we could drive there.  Still...I wasn't totally into it.  Something was holding me back from signing up.

Then, I got very swept up in the media coverage of the 2016 NYC marathon. The NYC marathon went on my bucket list after we were there for the 2009 race and I met Deena Kastor.  2017 was going to be the year I did it. Leading up to my half marathon in November, my goal was to at least qualify for the half-marathon cut off time so that I could make the NYC goal a reality.  My work password was built around qualifying for NYC.  I easily hit the 1:34 half-marathon qualification mark my age group requires.  Ok!  I am going to sign up for NYC!

After the feeling of being on cloud 9 post the most amazing half marathon race ever dissipated, I thought more about NYC.  I was worried about putting all this stress on myself to have a good race AND deal with so many logistics of traveling to NYC.  I knew my family would want to come and I would want them there which would mean a repeat of Boston where we spend the days leading up to the race being tourists and my legs would be tired. And the NYC course is difficult!  Did I want to go to NYC and enjoy the race or did I want to put all this pressure on myself to have a great marathon and end up with another Boston 2016?

Then there is the fact that in my life, running comes after family.  (In my mind running comes before work, but running doesn't pay the bills so in reality it is 3rd on my priority list!)   Unfortunately the big races require so much advance sign up! You practically sign up for them a year in advance! My family has some fun stuff in store for 2017 that I am planning around. Vacations! Weddings! Babies!

Eventually I came full circle back to the Green Bay Marathon on May 21, 2017.  There were lots of perks to doing this race:

1. It is 'fast and flat' course.   Setting up some good conditions for a PR!

2. It is local-ish.  At 90 minutes from our house, it logistically is easy to get to.

3. You finish on Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers.  This truly doesn't mean much to me (I know, I'm a bad Wisconsinite) but my kids and husband would totally love it.

4.  It's cheap ($85 for entry compared to the almost $300 that NYC is!).

5. It got rave reviews from the Oiselle Birds I polled.

6. It has good crowd support.

7.  I haven't done it before so it would be a new to me course for my 8th marathon.

So I registered.  Look out Green Bay! I'm coming for you!


Monday, December 19, 2016

A sub-optimal week of running

Well this last week was nothing to write home about.  But, in the interest of keeping it real, I will still write what I did run.

As I mentioned, we have been having some EXTREME cold.  In addition, I have caught some chest cold virus which has not been fun.  Taking those two together, with the fact that Christmas is around the corner, and my motivation for running has been at an all-time low.

Last week was the last week of the #AMRStride plan.  Up until this week, this plan was PERFECT for me.  It gave me some accountability, which I love; it gave me interesting workouts, including some strength-based non-running things to do, which I also enjoyed and it kept me in the 20-25 mile range for weekly mileage.  I have 5 weeks until marathon training begins so I may just repeat the five weeks of the #AMRStride plan, provided the temps get back into the land of the positive. (*Must order treadmill!)

Ok.  Here goes:

Monday:   Plan called for a 30-40 minute zen run

My son had an ENT check-up and I had a meeting at church so I didn't get outside until 8:30 pm. Thus, I did the minimum to keep the runstreak alive.

1.36 miles, 10:14 (7:31 pace).

Tuesday: Plan called for 10-15 mins of hill repeats.

This was the day I attempted to run in negative temps.  I managed 4.27 miles, 31:02 (7:16 pace) along our hilly neighborhood loop.

Wednesday:  Plan called for 20 min running warm up, 2-3 rounds of strength circuit, 20 minute cool down

This was the day I gave up the run streak.  I ended up on the couch, with some wine and a book.

Thursday:  Plan called for yoga or pilates

Again, I did nothing as far as work-outs go.

Friday:  Plan called for errand on the run.

The temps were in the teens providing a brief respite from the polar freeze.  We were set to get an epic snow storm so my boss told us to go home.  This allowed me a chunk of time to get a run in before my daughter was going to be home on the bus.  Yay!

7.14 miles, 50:17 (7:03 pace)

Saturday:  Plan called for 60-90 minute run.

We were snowed in!  I was also husband-less for two days.  My only exercise was to shovel and snow blow our driveway in between snowfall.  Which I will say, I was SWEATY and tired after!

Sunday:  Rest

I followed the plan!  Temps were scary cold today AND we had our annual cookie bake.

Total mileage: 12.77 miles.  SAD.

I have 29 miles to get in before 12/31 to retire my shoes with 2016!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

No more #RWRUNSTREAK for me

The #RWRUNSTREAK is dead.

I killed it last night.

Here's the thing.

I am ok running in the dark.

I am ok running when it is kinda cold.  (My definition of kinda cold is temps in the teens, which I feel is generous.)

I am (mostly) ok running on snow as long as I have some traction.

Where it gets a little messy is when I have to run in the dark AND cold AND snow/ice.  That is where running is no longer enjoyable to me.

We are in the middle of an unseasonable spell of super cold weather.  Temps started to plummet on Tuesday.  That day I was still optimistic.  I dug in, layered a ton of clothes and wore a gaiter over my face and got 4.25 miles done that day.  Honestly, it wasn't bad.  But it was an afternoon run (SUN!), little wind, and lots of light so I could knowingly avoid slippery spots.  I left work early to get that run in.  (AKA This is NOT A long term, sustainable solution.)

My optimism came crumbling down yesterday.  The only time I had available to go for a run last night was after kids were in bed.  It was windy, felt like -13 degrees, and dark.  I called it.  This is dumb.


The last few weeks I have been doing a lot of plotting and my spring goals are coming into alignment.  (I promise there is a post in the works on this!)  The short story is that I am considering the jump to Hanson's Marathon Method for a spring marathon which will require 6 days of running.  [I KNOW.  Huge jump for me.]

I have gotten through previous winters of marathon training by joining Planet Fitness (cancelling the membership once the weather warmed) and by having a plan that was based around 4 days of running, maybe getting 5 days in on a rare occasion.   This afforded me a lot of leeway with being able to schedule workouts on nicer weather days and when I didn't have stuff going on with the fam.  If I make the switch to try Hanson's, I will be greatly decreasing any of that flexibility.

I relied on treadmill A LOT last winter and it SUCKS to have to drive to the gym.  I realistically cannot picture myself getting six days of running in relying on myself to get to the gym.

Solution:  I convinced my husband that he could forgo buying me gifts for the next x number of years, for the x number of holidays if we could get a treadmill.  So now I am researching treadmills!

I may be romanticizing this a bit but I feel like having a treadmill in my house is going to take away a lot of my "when can I get a run in" angst.

Monday, December 12, 2016

AMR Stride Week 4 Recap

Well we have snow now!  And lots of it!

Last week I was in Boston for 2 days for business.  I am all ok running in the dark while running loops around my neighborhood, but I wasn't about to test it in an unfamiliar area so treadmill it was.  I can't even remember the last time I was on a treadmill - likely last winter for Boston training.  I still am not a fan of them, but was grateful my hotel had a good one so I could still get my runs in!

I kept up the run streak but it was a really challenging week!

Monday:  Plan called for 30-40 minute zen run.

32 minutes, 4 miles on the treadmill.  Listened to the first half of this ROO Podcast #218 with Rebecca Pachecho.  Liked the "relaxation is power" mantra that she talked about learning when she took up boxing.

Tuesday: Plan called for a stair circuit mixed in with squats, planks, tricep dips, pushups, lunges.

I was not about to run stairs in a hotel so I chose a hill workout preset on the treadmill instead.  Finished the aforementioned ROO Podcast.

15 minutes (1.74 miles) of hill workout on treadmill
10 squats
10 pushups
10 lunges
60 sec plank
10 tricep dips
15 minutes (1.76 miles) of hill workout on treadmill
10 squats
10 pushups
10 lunges
60 sec plank
10 tricep dips

Wednesday:  Plan called for Yoga + Running.

OMG.  I cannot even explain to you how sore I was from Tuesday's workout.  I only did the running part plus it was my turn in the pool for parent + child swim with my son.  I count that as a workout because lifting and swinging a 40 lb. kid in the pool is no joke.

3.1 miles, 23:49 (7:40 pace)

Thursday:  Plan called for an off day.

Yep.  I was still sore and really tired because I have been going to bed way late in an attempt to get Christmas stuff done.  SOOOOOOOOOOO  I shut off my morning run alarm.  Squeezed this run in between the office and waiting for my daughter to come home from the bus, which meant I left my son at daycare longer.  I'm not going to lie...I had some guilt.

2.42 miles, 17:33 (7:15 pace)

Friday: Plan called for 30-40 minute run.

Once again, I shut off my alarm, so I was forced to repeat the same scenario as Thursday.  Bus came a little earlier today, so didn't get quite as many minutes in!

2.1 miles, 14:25 (7:10 pace)

Saturday:  Plan called for 60-90 minute long run.

The big snow was supposed to start today.  I pushed it a bit by waiting for my son's nap to get out on the road.  I ended up running when it was sunny and beautiful and before any snow hit.  LOVED IT!  I had a great run - 9.01 miles, 1:01:31 (6:50 avg pace).  I was a little nervous when I saw my early miles that I was not going to be able to negative split my long run, but I dug down and made it happen.

Mile 1: 7:04
Mile 2: 6:59
Mile 3: 7:16
Mile 4: 6:51
Mile 5: 6:56
Mile 6: 6:44
Mile 7: 6:30
Mile 8: 6:31
Mile 9: 6:35

Sunday:  We woke up to a ton of snow!  It looked so pretty.  We had a busy day - church Christmas program + family Christmas party - so I ran in the late afternoon, amidst a lot of snow and slush.  Time to dig the yaktrax out!  I got my minimum 10 minutes in to keep the #RWRUNSTREAK alive.

10 minutes, 1.2 miles.

Total Miles: 25.33

Friday, December 9, 2016

Friday Links

Most of my running-related reading this week took place in book form:

I started this book in 2011.  I had it on my nightstand to pick up from time to time.  I finished it this week!  I really love this book and likely will still read it from time to time.  Note: This is a compilation of Kristin Armstrong's early blog posts from her Runner's World blog of the same name.

I have been increasingly intrigued by this method over the course of 2016.  I am thinking about putting it to the test in 2017.  More on this in a later post.  (Of course if you have experience with this method, please share!)

Here are some links I read and enjoyed this week:

And not running-related but as a HUGE Babysitters Club Series fan during my youth, I had to share:

Thursday, December 8, 2016

AMR Stride Week 3 Recap

My recap is a little late as I was in Boston for business the first two days of this week!

As I mentioned last week was crazy.  And still, I ran every day!  Keeping the #RWRunStreak alive!  To note, I upped the ante on the Run Streak.  Previously I mentioned that the "rules" of the streak state that you need to have at least 1 mile of running to keep the streak alive.  I changed this to 10 minutes of running, which lands me in the 1.3ish miles on "off" days.

Last week Wednesday was the end of the #RLYBalanceYourStride contest. Alas, I did not win any prizes, but it was a fun motivator regardless.

It was the 3rd week of the AMR Stride plan.  (The #RLYBalanceYourStride running workouts took precedence over any of the AMR workouts until the contest was over.)   I appreciate how this plan really has upped the amount from yoga and strength I am doing, going from, of that stuff to some is huge!

Finally, I started another streak with my friend B:  Do a plank after running every day in December to maintain the #plankstreak.  I am starting with 60 second planks, which are doable but challenging for me.

Here we go!

Monday Nov 28: Needed to do at least 15 minute tempo run.  I just aimed to hit the minimum with this one.

1.01 mile warm up 7:34
15 minute tempo = 2.24 miles (6:43 pace)
1.37 mile cool down, 10:27 (7:36 pace)

Tuesday:  10 minutes of running (1.38 miles) + reclining hero yoga workout

Wednesday: 4-6 hill repeats, focusing on glute activation

I ended up doing 6 hill repeats at the end of a 4.5 mile run so ended up with 5.41 miles, 40:39 (7:31 pace).  This was a good mental workout for me because I specifically chose a hill that I struggle to get to the top of every day.  And truly after this workout, this hill does not bother me as much! Luckily I did this in the morning dark so my neighbors couldn't hear me slightly chant "glutes, glutes, glutes" as I was working my way through some of the difficult parts.

Thursday: Strength Circuits + #plankstreak Day 1!

1.38 mile run, 10:04 (7:18 pace) followed by 2 rounds of the AMR Stride strength circuit which includes, burpees, russian twists, spiderman planks, jump rope, clamshells, glute bridges

followed by 1 minute plank.

Friday: 30-40 minute run

5.01 miles, 38:10 (7:37 pace) plus 1 minute plank

Saturday: 60-90 minute run

Somewhere in between Christmas choir show practice for kids, Breakfast with Santa, getting my son's birthday party food ready and attending my husband's office holiday party, I got out for AN HOUR RUN!!!!!!!!!  HASHTAG CHRISTMAS MIRACLE

8.39 miles, 1:00:01 (7:09 pace) + 1 minute plank

Sunday:  1.26 miles to keep the streak alive in SLUSHY SNOW!!!!  First snow run of the season! Both kids joined me for part of this one - apparently it is hard to run in snow pants and boots :) 10:51 (8:38 pace) + 1 minute plank IN THE SNOW!

Total miles: 24.2

Friday, December 2, 2016

BibRave Pro

I recently found out I was accepted as a Bib Rave Pro for 2017!!  Super excited!!!

Friday Links...On Self-Doubt

Woohoo!!!  It's Friday.  IT HAS BEEN A WEEK.  And it will be another few days.  I will be able to breathe again on Tuesday.  Just get to Tuesday...Just get to Tuesday.

Here are some links.  Crush that Self-Doubt!!

We Have to Believe - Tina Muir

Kyleanne's Guide to Speaking Out 

How a Triathlon Helped America Ferrera Defy Her Inner Critic

On Disappointment and Trust in Running and in Life

California International Marathon is this weekend!  Good luck to all who are running.  Including Steph Bruce.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

End of November!

Total Miles Ran in November: 84.36
This is a 6.4% increase over November 2015 miles.  Just squeaked in with that one - even with a full week off of running this month after my half-marathon!

This leaves one month left in 2016.  I have already surpassed my 2015 mileage so I could theoretically run 0 miles in December and still come out ahead.

BUT, I'm not going to do that!

I need to run at least 1 mile per day in the month - which comes out to 31 miles.

BUT I'm likely not going to do that either.

I have a fun goal for the last month:  I would like to retire my pink Adidas energy boost 3 shoes to end out the year.  I started running in these shoes in March and wore them for the Boston Marathon.  Admittedly, I don't love these shoes.  The Energy Boost 2 was much better in my opinion.  But, I have 72.59 miles left on them.  (I generally retire shoes after 400 miles).  I also have other shoes in my rotation so it may be a challenge but that is my goal so I can bring on a new pair come Jan 1!

Social Media Plans Update
#RWRunStreak still going strong, 1 full week in.

I also finished the #RLYBALANCEYOURSTRIDE workouts this morning.  Keep your fingers crossed that I win one of the sweet prizes!

I am halfway through the #AMRSTRIDE plan.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Last week in Review: Low Mileage, But Lots of Other Stuff!

Moving onto week 3 of the AMR Stride plan!  And My #RWRunStreak is going strong at 5 days...even though I REALLY wanted to stay in bed this morning.

Last week was a short mileage week.  I just barely cleared 20 miles for the weekly total but I did a track workout, a lot more yoga that usual, and a strength circuit (twice).  At this point, since I am not training for anything specific, I think the tradeoff in miles to gain diversity in workout was worth it.  My daughter also came out on a run and made it a mile (with a few stop breaks).  I was super excited about that.

Another thing I am trying to do more at work is use the standing desk options.  We all know sitting all day is terrible.  But it is easy for me :)  I gained a renewed motivation for interrupting my sitting ways after reading this book: Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally  I actually have colleagues remind me to go use the standing desk and peer pressure works.  :)  (For reference, we work in an open concept "Google" type office where we can rotate work stations throughout the day.)

One crazy thing I was able to participate in over the weekend was being a running model for a local organization, Serpentijn Art & Athletics.  (Yes! A model! Not gonna lie - it was super fun!) The organization was founded by a friend's husband to bring art and athletics together to support organizations that benefit kids.  They collaborate with artists to design products, and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the products benefits one of two organizations: Dreaming Zebra and Milwaukee MTB Kids Mountain Bike Team.

Their newest product is a beautiful gaiter designed by Emily Balsley.   I spent my Saturday wearing it running by Lake Michigan, running through Lake Park and running with Mags.  I also spent a lot of time wearing it while running errands, decorating our house for Christmas, playing spies with my kids.  If you are so inclined, you can check it out here (including some photos of me wearing it).  I am already anticipating that it will be one of my winter running staples.

Full disclosure - I will probably overshare more of the amazing photos taken by Darren Hauck on my Instagram account (@amyschlott) because they are AMAZEBALLS.  And how often do you get AMAZEBALLS photos taken of yourself?!

Here was my last week:

Monday: 30 minute Zen Run followed by Legs Up the Wall.
Zen Run = Basically trying to practice mindfulness while running.  Holy shitballs.  It is difficult, but rewarding.  I'm glad these are a weekly staple of the AMR Stride plan.  4.03 miles

Tuesday: off.  This was an unintentional day off, but looking back, it was appropriate since I technically will not have any off days until 2017!

Wednesday: Negative split run followed by Pigeon Yoga
First block:  2 miles, 15:39, 7:48 pace
Next block: 2.2 miles, 16:00, 7:20 pace

Thursday: Track workout!
1.78 mi warm up (run to track)
4 x 400 (1:24, 1:25, 1:26, 1:28) with jogging 400s in between (1:53, 1:54, 1:50)
1.83 mi cool down (run home)

Friday: 4 mile easy run, 30:53/7:38 pace followed by Lizard Yoga

Saturday: 1 mile run with Mags, 11:30 pace (plus "running" for photo shoot)

Sunday: 20 minute run, followed by 2 x BAMR Strength Circuit followed by Hamstring Yoga

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Black Friday Links

I am out of the turkey coma and back at work.  This morning I had a great run through my neighborhood after sleeping through the night!!!! Before you get too excited this occurred because my children spent the night at their grandparents' house.  

I have a few links for you on this Black Friday:

This list made me laugh.  I had forgotten about the chip you used to get for your shoe for races!  It is funny to think how much has changed in running over the years, and how much stays the same.  All you nostalgia nerds might also like the November issue of Runner's World which takes a look back over the history of the magazine.

4.  Some Black Friday deals for runners!!

Nuun Hydration is 20% off + Free Shipping with Code optoutside2016

Momentum Jewelry has shoe tags for only $5 through tomorrow! (And other holiday offers in the coming weeks)

Sarah Marie Design Studio has 15% off + Free Shipping their holiday shop with code blackfriday2016

Run Ink has 20% off their site with code turkey

Tailwind Nutrition is 20% off on their site and on Amazon 

Believe Training Journals are 30% off with code believers

Hashtag Collector

I just love social media running plans!  Really - no sarcasm intended.  I DO love them.  Maybe the lesson learned is that I should just give running plans hashtags?! :)  It has turned into winter here in Wisconsin so I will use all the help that I can get to get me out the door.

I started a this plan today on Instagram which combines yoga and running from Nov 23-30.  Yoga moves are provided by @runnersloveyoga and running workouts are provided by @mollyhuddle .  I have followed @runnersloveyoga for a while but this is the first challenge I have participated in.   Today was a yoga move (pigeon pose) so I presume tomorrow will be a running workout.

Tomorrow I also am going to try tackling the Runner's World Run Streak for the second year in a row! To recap, this means that I will run, at least one mile, every day from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day.  Last year, I stuck with my running plan and then on the "off" days, I ran 1 mile.  I will be doing this again this year.

I am continuing with the #AMRSTRIDE plan as my base running plan.  I may have to combine workouts from the #RLY plan for the Nov 24-30 time plan.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday Links!

This week I joined and started following the Another Mother Runner Stride Through the Holidays plan for Heart Strides.  AND WOW.  I am sore.  Not from the running - no, running is the easy part.  It is the cross-training workouts that I always say I want to do but then never do them.  This week, I did a strength circuit (twice!) with things like burpees, Russian twists and other intimidating names, AND 30 minutes of yoga targeting my hamstrings.  And I am still feeling it. I am hoping that by the end of the 5 week plan, I will be more consistent about incorporating these beneficial workouts into my weeks.

Now the links. 

Love Sarah Mac.  And my main takeaway from this article (and learning lesson from this past week) is that it might be worth dialing back on miles/running days to incorporate these workouts that I always want to get in, but then never do.  I also have learned that I need to be intentional about non-running workouts.  Having a running plan helps me stay on track with getting running in so it should come as no surprise that having a plan for things like yoga and strength training might also be helpful.  (DUH.)

I first heard about Jasyoga from Oiselle.  I bought the Hit Reset book, which I (and my daughter) like.  Having the book was not really helping me incorporate yoga in a more consistent way so I have considered purchasing a Jasyoga subscription to have access to the videos.  I have had some hesitation in doing so because I own yoga DVDs and still...I do not do yoga regularly.  I liked that Oiselle has some free Jasyoga videos hosted on their blog so that I could try them out before taking the subscription plunge.  I really liked the hamstring workout.  It was hard for me (hello! tight hamstrings) but I could feel (and am still feeling) a difference after doing it.  All I want for Christmas is a Jasyoga subscription! 

Morning running is where it is at!  The quotes in this article are spot on.  It hurt a bit to get out of bed this morning.  The hubs and I went to a neighborhood social where I had 2 glasses of wine and because I am getting old, that was enough to make me feel not so great this morning. It was time to Woman Up! 5:06 AM, I slid out of bed, scrolled through my Instagram feed for motivation, and got out there to slog (and I mean SLOG) through a 30 minute run.

I have heard this term ("sub-elite") and didn't know what it meant.  Thank you Salty Running for this series.  And...some of those half-marathon sub-elite times are NOT too scary to me. I loved my recent half-marathon experience and it was not an easy race...and yet, it wasn't god awful.  I have room to push there. (2017 goal?!)  

Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Back to Running

I took a full week off.

No Running.

The first two days post-race were easy.  My legs, specifically my quads, hurt A LOT.  Didn't even cross my mind to go for a run.

Last Monday night, I was packing for our 5-day family vacation to St. Louis and Chicago and my bag was full without running stuff.  I considered switching bags, however, at that moment I thought, "It might be good to take a full week off."  So I kept my bag and brought ZERO running clothes along.

It was fun.  I ate ALL THE FOOD.  I drank ALL THE BEER.  I took ALL THE NAPS.

While the week wasn't entirely devoid of exercise due to the fact that we did a lot of walking (and chasing kids), by yesterday I knew my running vacation was up.

I also knew that I am a little lost as to what's next for me.  I have no races on the horizon.  2017 seems a long way off and although I have some things in mind, nothing that I am ready to commit to.  I know that one of the biggest threats to consistency for me is not having a plan.  I just love checking off those little boxes of workouts!!

I want/need a plan to say consistent, and yet, I also want to be free and not have to train for anything right now.

Enter the Stride Through the Holidays training plan by Another Mother Runner.  The plan is 5 weeks long, designed solely to keep you moving. No race at the end. Just 40 check boxes of workouts to do.  Best yet, 100% of the proceeds go to Heart Strides.  For $25, I thought it was well worth it to keep up my consistency game AND the added bonus of supporting a great cause.  (Helping moms prioritize self care!)  I signed up last night and checked out what the first workout (today) was: a simple 30-40 minute run.

So I returned to setting out my clothes on the bath tub ledge...setting my knuckle lights, house key, hat on the kitchen counter...setting out my shoes by the front door...setting my alarm for 5 AM.

Old habits die hard.  Sometimes, that's a good thing.

Monday, November 7, 2016

The PNC Milwaukee Running Festival Half-Marathon Race Recap

omg.  Omg.  OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Buckle your seat belts, this is going to be a LONG post.   It was a day where every.single.thing went so right and hairy scary goals were achieved!!

To refresh - my goals for the race:

1. Time goals

A goal: Run 7:00 avg pace.  Finish in 1:31 zone.

B goal: PR - Run faster than 1:33:23

2.  Master the Discomfort.  Embrace the intensity at the end of the race.  No backing down when things get tough.

3.  Negative split the race.

Someone on the Oiselle Facebook page asked us all to write down our "hairy scary goals" (Shalene Flanagan verbage).  I hesitated, then typed "Run a sub-1:30 half-marathon".

Now. Let's recap!


I ran a 2 mile shakeout run.  Maggie decided to accompany me for the first 1/3 mile which was fun. I had to pick up my race packet at the Harley Davidson Museum.  My family decided to accompany me. (After the Boston Marathon Race Expo, they are all about them :)  I had to let them know that it was highly unlikely to be as large as the Boston Expo!)

The race expo was packed and I stood in line to get my packet.  I got my number and we tooled around the expo for a bit.  I entered a few contests.  My kids did some cool bike pedal thing which created painted spirograph-looking posters.  We decided to leave.

We were in the car, ready to leave when I pulled out my race number and saw "BILL".  WTF.  I ran back to the expo, stood in line again, and exchanged my number.  PHEW.  I was fuming the entire time I stood in line, and then realized that I should have looked at the number when I was initially handed it.

That night my husband went out with his brother and the kids were driving me slightly insane so I had a beer with dinner.  The kids went to bed early, I set all the clocks back, cleaned up the kitchen and folded some laundry.  I got all of my stuff ready to go.  I had read something on a Facebook thread about making the Gen UCan the night before so I prepped that in a blender bottle.  I was in bed, no joke, at 7:40pm.  (It was really 8:40pm).  I tried reading my book but I was zonked.


Imagine my surprise when my alarm was what woke me up at 5 AM.  After months and weeks of waking up all night long with one or both children, magically both of them slept through the entire night.  THANK YOU GOD.  I woke up feeling AWESOME.

I got dressed, went downstairs, made coffee and shoved my stuff into my gear check bag.  I had a multi-grain muffin (Runners World cookbook recipe) with cashew butter and blended my coffee with coconut oil, per usual.  I was set!  I left my house at 5:30 AM.

I was in the car, blaring some radio station.  I was belting out Aerosmith..."Tell me what it takes to let you go..." and then Katy Perry's Roar came on and I seriously started tearing up.  I was so excited to run.  At this point, I started having a minor panic attack.  I had to take a different route than I usually take downtown due to construction and I wasn't sure that the way I was going was correct.  Added on to that, I realized that I had forgotten my wallet and had no money for parking.  Then I had convinced myself that I was going to get pulled over speeding and not have a license on me.  After a few deep breaths, I realized that I had left early enough that I would likely find a street spot and if not, I thought there might have been enough change in the car to scrape up a parking fee if need be.  By this time, I realized that I had taken the right route.  Beyonce came on the radio.  Things were looking up.

I exited the freeway and no joke, there was a street spot waiting for me.  THANK YOU GOD.  It was a bit away from the start line but I took it.  I started walking to the start line, drinking my Gen UCan.   I made bathroom pit stop #1.  It was a beautiful morning.  I walked over to the spot where Oiselle Volee were to meet and talked to some people.  It is so weird when you meet people you follow on Instagram in real life.  Like, I know you, but not really.  ha ha ha

A group of us made pit stop #2.  We took a group picture and then dispersed.  I gear checked my stuff and was in shorts, a tank and a throwaway long sleeve.  I decided against wearing my calf sleeves because I hadn't been training in them and was worried I would get hot.

I had to go to the bathroom AGAIN.  By this point, the lines were really long and the marathon was about to start.  The half-marathon was scheduled to start 15 minutes later.  I took my chances and remained in line.   Of course all the lines EXCEPT for the one I was in were moving.  I finally went to the bathroom.  I was very glad I waited.  I was a little concerned that I was having so many bathroom trips but pushed those thoughts out of my mind.  It was time to get in the corral!

I made my way to near the front, threw off my long sleeve and it was time to go!

One of my goals was to be in each mile and I did so well with this during the race.  It made for a really enjoyable race!  It is also going to make for a long recap. :)

Mile 1
Run relaxed. Run relaxed. Run relaxed.  I felt really good.  I felt like I was running slow, but i knew based on my position in the crowd that I was not running slow.  There were some crowds and I remember a dog that was barking and it sounded like he was cheering.  It made me start laughing.  I approached a Team Triumph pack near the mile marker and they were playing the Try Everything song from Zootopia, which my daughter loves and again, my eyes started tearing up.  
Mile 1: 6:45

Mile 2
I was feeling good and we were approaching the big hill in the course.  I literally felt like I floated up that hill.  It did not feel like I was running up a hill - it was the weirdest feeling.  I passed a few people on the hill and appreciated the guy with the monster cowbell at the top.  Once I reached the top I knew I was going to see my sister soon.  I was approaching the intersection where she was going to meet me and I was thinking, "Is that her? Where are the dogs? That can't be her."  Then I heard her yell, "Geez.  Why are you running so slow?!"  It made me laugh.  She rode her bike a block or two next to me.  It was so fun!  At the mile marker she turned around and went back home.
Mile 2: 7:04

Mile 3
At this point, I was running in a pack of 2 men and 2 other women.  One of the guys was named Steve and he was getting a lot of cheers.  I jokingly said I was going to pretend my name was Steve. One woman said, "Are either of you (referring to me and the 3rd woman) 40 years old?" and I said, "Nope 35".  The other woman also said, "Yes, I'm 35".  The 40 year old said, "Alright then" and I said, "Yeah you're good but you on the other hand (looking to the 35 year old), are going down."  Oh the jokes at mile 3.  Seriously I still felt like I was barely moving but knew that it was too early to go crazy.  I also thought it was a little early to be planning age group awards but it was fun to have some conversation.
Mile 3: 6:54

Mile 4
I was really enjoying the course so far.  We ran over a cool bridge, along some beautiful flag poles. This was a fun mile because it was lots of turns, and seemed to go by quickly.
Mile 4: 6:53

Mile 5
At this point, I was running by myself.  I hadn't stopped at any of the water/gatorade points and began the slow grind up Wisconsin Ave.  There were a few people watching but not many cheering.  This part of the course I thought of my family because we had passed it on the way to packet pick up and it is the reverse of the Briggs & Al's run route.
Mile 5: 6:55

Mile 6
I began to see the half-marathon leaders as they were running back along the opposite side of the course.  I could not believe how many women were ahead of me.  FAST.  I reached the turn around and was relieved that the wind was finally at my back.   The Wisconsin Ave climb seemed to take a long time.  I started to have thoughts that I wasn't doing very well based on my place.  I told myself over and over again that I was not running for place - I was running for time.  I saw two Oiselle birds on my way back down Wisconsin Ave and exchanged cheers with them.  That was awesome.  I still felt really strong.
Mile 6: 6:51

Mile 7
I had a new pack that I was running with - a man and a woman.  There was no talking though.  I just tried to stick with them as I liked their pace.  I felt like they came out of nowhere.   I liked running down 16th street, except for the bridge.  The grates hurt my feet a bit.
Mile 7: 6:47

Mile 8
I was still with my pack and it felt like they had picked it up a bit.  I was still feeling good so I stuck with them.  At this point, I started thinking that I could break 1:30 if I really kept at it.
Mile 8: 6:28

Mile 9  
The mile 8 split freaked me out a bit.  Did I start running too fast? I don't think so.  I called to mind my recent 8 mile run where I ran a bunch of miles in the 6:30s.  I liked this part of the course - we were on a bike trail or something.  I saw the mile marker clock and thought, HOLY SHIT.  I really could break 1:30 today.  Today is going to be a hairy scary goal day!
Mile 9: 6:29

Mile 10
Just keep with this guy. Just keep with this guy.  My legs were feeling tired.  We had made it back to the lake.  You will master discomfort.  You can master discomfort.  You got this.  I still hadn't needed a water stop.
Mile 10: 6:33

Mile 11
At this point I had passed the man and woman that I had been packed up with and started passing various guys.  I had this single vision of breaking 1:30.  My legs hurt but I just kept thinking of previous workouts where I only had 2 mile tempos.  I had never thought of previous workouts in a race before but it was really working for me mentally.
Mile 11: 6:31

Mile 12
I was slightly confused at this point because we were staying along the lake but my memory of the race map had us circling the lagoon.  I was thinking, "There is no way we can be going around the lagoon and have a mile left."
Mile 12: 6:39

Mile 13 - 13.1
I was tired.  I just tried to keep my legs moving.  I knew I was probably slowing down but I could not make my legs go faster.  I saw my family right at the start of the finish and started waving frantically.  I tried to sprint.  I know I was not sprinting and I do not want to see video of myself at the finish because I am sure it was ugly.  I saw that the clock had just turned to 1:29 and I started freaking out.  "yes, yes yes!!!"
Mile 13: 6:50

Finish: 1:29:14.65 (chip) 1:29:22.42 (gun)

I can't wait to see the finish line photos.  In my head, I have this glorious race photo because I had lifted my arms above my head and was basically smiling unicorns.  I.WAS.PUMPED.

So many goals achieved with this race.
1.  I broke my half-marathon PR by 4 minutes and 9 seconds.  I broke my hairy scary goal of 1:30!
2.  I mastered the discomfort.  I maintained positive self-talk throughout the race.
3.  I negative split the race!  My 10K split stats were:
7:01 min/mile pace
2nd in my age group
13th woman
70th overall.

I finished with 6:49 min/mile pace
1st age group
7th woman
40th overall


Friday, November 4, 2016

Friday Links: Be Present and Shut Down Negative Thoughts

This week's Friday Links have to do with being present.

"I have only been trying to learn to pay attention to wherever on the surface of this spinning blue ball in space I happen to be."
This is a problem I have in life in general.  Be Present.  At work, we call it "BE HERE NOW".  My mind is rarely in the present, and most definitely not while running.  I am always thinking about the end.  I have really really tried to make an effort to notice what I am feeling during each mile of a run over the past training session.  I can't say that I have completely mastered this, but the practice has brought more enjoyment to my actual run, beyond the endorphin rush I get at the end of a run.

Along those lines...I read two good pieces of race day fails.  NYC: The One that Got Away and What Happens if You Train All Year for a Marathon and Fail Miserably?
"I tell you this story because we runners love to plan.  We love to be in control.  We do it better than most. Control and plan.  We have our detailed running logs and charts.  WE plan what we're going to wear on race day and what songs we're going to listen to at certain miles and what we're going to eat and where we're going to eat it.  What we don't plan for is the unexpected.  Something elites do impeccably well is run in the present."

My workouts this week felt hard.  UGH. This Tina Muir post helped me immensely.

Can I get a bouncer for my brain starting at 7:15 Sunday morning?! This Mari Andrew illustration featured on Cup of Jo today:

Monday, October 31, 2016

Week 9 Half Marathon Training Recap + End of October!

Wow, the end of another month and another week of half-marathon training!  I only did 4 workouts last week, mostly because I was tired.  I had a decent long run Saturday.  I just found out while reviewing my mileage that I set my Garmin 10K PR during it (which shows you how often I run 10Ks!).

Monday: 4.01 mi, 31:20 (7:48 avg pace) + 8 strides (0.06 mi in length) Pace for strides 5:14-4:45

Tuesday: 5.23 mi, 40:33 (7:45 avg pace)

Wednesday:  Off (should have been 7 miles continuous - 1 mi @ 7:00, 5 miles @ 7:20, 1 mi @ 7:00)

Thursday: Off

Friday: 5.25 mi, 39.41 (7:34 avg pace)

Saturday: It was in the upper 60s weather wise so I pushed back my long run to the afternoon so I could soak it up.  I had 8 miles on the plan today and instead of my usual negative split long run, I decided to do 1 mile warm up and then do the 7 mile workout I missed Wednesday.  I ran it too fast.  My second mile was 20 seconds faster than it should have been.  Miles 3-7 should have been around 7:20 and they were 6:42-7:02.  It was hard.  I didn't always "master the discomfort".

8 miles, 55:01 (6:53 avg pace)


After that run, Garmin has my 10K PR at 42:22.  The Wednesday workout that I missed was called The Reality Check - "if you cannot complete this workout as written, consider adjusting your race goal".  I think 7:00 avg pace for the half is a realistic goal based on my Saturday workout.  Sub 7:00 pace?  We will see.  I would love it.  It is my hairy scary goal but my mental game will have to be 100% on point.

Sunday:  Off.  I was going to do an easy 5 but we all slept in on Sunday and I didn't have time to get it in before church.  Then, I tackled freezer meals all afternoon and cleaning so that by the time my kids were in bed, I was pooped.  I went to bed at 8:02.

Week 9 Mileage: 22.49

This morning, I was up early and out for my run.  I found it funny that on Saturday I was hot in a tank and shorts during my run and this morning I was in capris, a short sleeve, a long sleeve, a jacket, hat and gloves.    October miles are logged.


October 2016 Total: 129.08 miles!!!!!!!!!!!
This month mileage was 79.8% higher than last October.  To date, my mileage is up 195.81 miles from last year at this point.  In fact, I am 9.45 miles from hitting my 2015 mileage total!

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

I'm So Tired...I Haven't Slept A Wink

Wow.  I have been hit by a ton of bricks the past two days.  Tired.

Sunday night and Monday night were NOT great nights of sleep.  (Thank you 2 year old!)  I was able to suck it up and get my morning run in on Monday and Tuesday morning regardless.

Tuesday night I went to bed on the late side (9:45 pm for me), and I slept like crap, woke up to POURING rain and turned off my alarm.  Woke up late (6:15 am).  Wednesday was a day of the walking dead.  I kept thinking, "Am I getting sick? Please do not let me get sick."  (My 2 year old has a cold AND is very affectionate.)

Wednesday night I went to bed as normal (9:15 pm) and I slept well until our alarm system started beeping intermittently in the middle of the night.  I struggled to go back to sleep, eventually fell asleep, slept through my alarm, slept through the 2 year old coming into our bed at some point and DRAGGED my ass out of bed at 6:30.  Make that TWO mornings in a row that I have missed my workout.

I really just want to nap.

Every so often this happens to me - crash.  I have tried to be better about listening to my body and going to bed at a reasonable hour.  However, the number of uninterrupted nights of sleep that I have gotten in the past month can be counted on three fingers.

Hoping to make up one of my workouts tonight after kids are in bed and one tomorrow morning or Sunday morning.  Race day is 10 days away!!!!!!!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Week 8 Half-Marathon Training Recap

Week 8 featured the longest run in the 10-week plan and it's done!   Overall it was a good training week.

Monday: 4.2 miles 33:23 (8:08 avg pace) + 8 strides

I was pleased with the pace of this recovery run!

Tuesday: 5.04 miles, 39:05 (7:46 avg pace)

Wednesday:  Unfortunately I had another child-sleep related incident on Wednesday and I ended up trying some Hyland's Calms Forte to get back to sleep after tossing and turning for an hour.  YIKES.  I not only slept through the alarm, but I felt pretty groggy the entire next day.  I ended up leaving work to do this run by my office.  I was supposed to do 1 mile warm up, 4 miles cutdown, 1 mile cool down but I ended up starting fast so I just went with it.  My cutdown was supposed to be 7:20/7:10/7:00/6:50.  I cut down a little farther than that and finished with a 2 mile cool down.

4 miles, 27:00 (6:44 avg pace) 7:14/6:44/6:38/6:13
2 miles, 14:46 (7:21 avg pace)

This was faster than it should have been, I think because I was nervous I wouldn't get back in time to get my kids picked up.

Thursday: 5.5 miles, 43:48 (7:58 avg pace)

Flew out to Boston, then drove to Falmouth to meet up with some girlfriends from graduate school!

Friday:  off

Saturday:  I woke up and it was misting rain.  I brought along a pack of Gen UCan to try for the first time so, prior to heading out for my run, I drank about 8 oz of the 16 oz I made.  I brought the remaining 8 oz along in my hand-held bottle.  I didn't have any expectations for this run.  I didn't really know where I was going - I had some loose directions from my friend.  I ran along the ocean for the first few miles and then turned onto a wooded bike path and turned around at Woods Hole.  I thought about continuing through Woods Hole and attempting to return to the house but got nervous that I would get lost so just double backed the way I came.  I finished the rest of my Gen UCan by the 8 mile mark.  At 10 miles, I went back to the house and ran in to get my phone to run back to the harbor for a picture.  Overall it was a decent run.  I felt tired.  I do always struggle with new food, new environment so that may have contributed to feeling a bit off.

11.01 miles, 1:21:13 (7:23 avg pace)

The Gen UCan went down well - I had no distress from drinking that.  It was a little chalkier than I expected, particularly the first half.  The second 8 oz was mixed a lot better from sloshing around during my run.  The taste was nice and light though.

Sunday: off

Total Week 8 miles: 31.64

The most exciting thing is that I broke the 1,000 mile mark for 2016 last week!  I didn't break the 1,000 mile mark until December last year.  I also have cleared 100 miles for October, which is my first 100 mile month since May (I just missed it for September).

Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Links!

It's FRI-YAY! Extra YAY as I am with some girlfriends in Cape Cod (well, I wrote this yesterday in anticipation that I would be in Cape Cod).  Looking forward to running my long run on part of the Falmouth Road Race course tomorrow!

Here are this week's links:

Secrets to Success: Dynamic Warm Up
Do you do anything like this?  I would like to start.

Fertility and False Choices
I am a big Laura Vanderkam fan, particularly of her blog, although I have read her books. I can always gain some insight/wisdom of how to make time for things from reading her work.  Her comments about "work/life balance" in this post resonated with me.

New Season, New Goals
"When I was training for Twin Cities last year, I learned there is an unbelievable amount of magic in utter belief, and when training for the Trials I learned that you can do everything perfectly for 4 months, and it might not matter.  Even though that sounds like a crappy lesson to have learned, it's actually kind of liberating."

When I read that, I thought of my Boston 2016.  She's totally right.  It is a crappy lesson and all these months later, I do feel liberated by it.  I don't need to put all this pressure on myself to have good races!

What Do You Like About Yourself?
I like that I keep showing up, dark morning after dark morning.  I like that this year, I have consistently reflected on running and have grown from that practice.  I like that I can run fast when I am not afraid.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Half Marathon Training Week 7 Recap

After two weeks of increasing mileage, week 7 was a welcome cut back week.  My focus for the week was to run the hard workouts (speed + long run) hard, but dial back the effort on the three recovery runs. I previously mentioned aiming for an 8:00 pace for my easy runs because there is no removing my Garmin from my wrist.  My goal is to recover and train my brain to be okay with a slower pace.   I would say that based on this goal, I had a successful week!

This was also a week where I wanted to try to get back on the plan of having Friday and Sunday off, which required me to run a LOT of days in a row (continuing from week 6).  I definitely could feel how tired my legs were on Monday (which was my 5th day in a row running), so the pace was not really that hard to come by!

Monday:  3.12 miles, 26:36 (avg pace 8:31) + 8 strides

Tuesday: 5 miles, 40:19 (avg pace 8:03)

Wednesday: "The Burner".  I was anxious about this because the description of this workout begins with, 'This will be a hard workout!".

Instructions:  Hard mile 20-30 sec under goal pace (6:30-6:40 for me). 3 minute rest. 15 minute tempo 10 sec over goal pace (7:10 for me). 2-3 minute rest.  Hard 800m.

1 mile warm up: 8:11 avg pace
1 mile hard: 6:22 avg pace
2.13 miles, 15:02 (7:04 avg pace).
0.5 miles, 2:56 (5:50 avg pace).
1.07 mi cool down: 7:52 avg pace

I really loved this workout.  My legs felt like jelly starting the tempo portion so it really allowed me to mentally work at sticking it out because as I got into the rhythm, it felt easy.  There wasn't a lot of direction for the 800 so my goal was to ride the pain train.  No backing down, as I am wont to do.  I was pleasantly surprised at how fast it was after the faster mile and tempo.  Perhaps the "go easy on easy days" paid off!  I also was pleased with how this workout went knowing it was my 7th day in a row running.

Thursday:  I was supposed to run this morning but my son ran interference with that plan and I ended up deciding to skip it.  My legs were happy for the off day.  BUT...

Friday:  Because I skipped Thursday, I had to run Friday, which really was no better for me in the sleep department as my son was up at 430 AND I had 2.5 beers on Thursday night with a girlfriend which also caused me to go to bed later than usual (10:30 pm).  Yeah.  SHOULD HAVE RAN THURSDAY.  BUT.  I did it.  I got my quasi-hungover ass out of bed and did 5 miles 38:52 (7:46 avg pace).

Saturday: As I mentioned this was a cut back week so my "long" run was only 7 miles.  I got this in before breakfast on Saturday and as with all my long runs, negative splitting was my goal.

7 miles/50:08 (7:10 avg pace)


It was another slow start for me - felt like a slug.  I need to research half marathon warm ups because although I am inclined to NOT do a warm up prior to the race and use the early race miles for my warm up, my long runs seem to indicate the need for a pretty slow warm up.

Sunday:  My daughter and son asked me to run with them.  We ended up maybe running 3-4 blocks with My Little Ponys in hand.  My daughter had concocted some story about how the ponies gave us powers, yadda yadda.  I really wanted my husband to take a picture of all 3 of us running through our neighborhood with a pony in each hand, but alas - the Packers game was on!  A fun way to spend an "off" day.

Total Week 7 Mileage: 25.85
Race Day Countdown: 19 days!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday Links!

First off, have you seen this list of 16 Quirky Runner Types yet?  So funny.  The one I most identify with:

I also read Sarah Mac's blog post How To Go Faux Pro.  Every day I think of how cool it would be to be a professional runner, thinking that is mostly fueled by all of the elite running blogs I read.   I assessed my current state against Mac's list.  Here goes:

Nutrition - This is an area that I am increasing interested in, fueled by completing Whole30. I have really paid more attention to getting more fats in my diet and have had great results.  I eat way less sugar than I used to (but still eat sugar!).     I am adding Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition book to me to-read list! (Let me know if you have any recommendations in this area!)

Massage Therapy - This is an area that I do really nothing in.  OCCASIONALLY (read never) I will drag out the foam roller.  I would LOVE to get a massage on a monthly basis.

Physical Therapy + Body Work - I paid to have an assessment done prior to half marathon training and I have been working on some of the stuff, but not as much as I could be. (Point me back to this the next time I get injured.)  I need to do more yoga.  This is something that I have really struggled with incorporating back into my routine since switching jobs.  (My previous job had Tuesday Power Yoga over the lunch hour.)

Recovery - As I mentioend last week, I am working on running my recovery runs slower.  I have also been eating an RxBar or a Picky Bar immediately upon walking in the door from my runs, which is new to me this training cycle.  Initially I had to force myself to eat it as I didn't feel hungry, but now I have trained my body and the tummy is waiting for it!

Sleep - I would love to get more sleep.  Currently if I am lucky enough to sleep through the night, I get about 7 - 7.5 hours of sleep.  I know I do better with at least 8.

Practice Race Day Fuel - I have not been good about this at all.  My plan was to try out Gen Ucan products during this training cycle and I haven't yet.  There is still time!

Be Your Best You - I feel that this training cycle I am doing this, something I was not doing during Boston training cycle.  The more I self-reflect on those four months, the more I am aware of how freakin' stressed out I was, particularly about pace and getting really down if I didn't hit my goal paces.

Speaking of goals, my other goal is to be Gwen Jorgensen. #lifegoals  Here are HER next life goals. (P.S.  Did you see how she CRUSHED the Twin Cities 10 miler?!

That's all for this week.  Happy Friday and Happy Reading!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Week 6 Half Marathon Training Recap

I'm having a ton of fun training for this race!  I've decided that half-marathon training is ideal for my regular schedule (provided I wake up at 5 AM).  I feel like I am pushing myself, but not overloading like marathon training.  I don't feel like I am sacrificing a ton of my "regular" life to do this.  NOW - I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I have made a total switch of getting my runs done first thing in the morning whereas my Boston marathon training was all done in the evening.

Week 6 was a good training week.  I got all five days in - yay!   I woke up at all my alarms! I did a fairly good job of taking my recovery runs easier (aiming for 8:00 pace).  I had a good long run of ten miles where my only goal was to negative split and I did it.

According to my plan, Friday and Sunday are supposed to be my off days - with long run on Saturday.  I got off this track several weeks ago and the end result is that I have a lot of running days in a row - including both of my hard workouts.  Week 7 will give me a chance to readjust so that I have more rest before and after my long runs.

Monday - off

Tuesday - 4.26 miles 33:34 (7:53 avg pace) + 8 strides

Wednesday - off

Thursday - 1.09 mi warm up 8:44 (7:59 avg pace)

[2 miles continuous with first mile goal of ten seconds over goal pace (7:10 for me) and 2nd mile 10 seconds under goal pace (6:50 for me).  2-3 min rest, repeat.]

1st switchblade: 13:53 (6:55 average pace) - 7:06 first mile, 6:44 second
2nd switchblade: 13:42 (6:50 average pace) - 7:02 first mile, 6:37 second

1.09 mi cool down 8:15 (7:34 avg pace)

Friday - 5 miles, 39:13 (7:50 avg pace)

Saturday - 10 miles

My goal for this was to negative split while running by feel.  As typical, my first miles were slow as I settled in.

Here are my splits



Goal achieved.  1:12:04 (7:12 avg pace)

Sunday - 5 miles 38:31 (7:42 avg pace)

Week Total: 30.48 miles

<4 weeks until Race Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Friday Links! RUN SLOW


Love it.

Ok - First Link: Five Bad Running Habits and How To Break Them.

I'm trying to work on improving with #4 on this list: Trying to Get Faster Every Day.  I am very tuned into what pace I am running at all times.  If I have a bad mile, I often start to panic, "Oh I am so out of shape." "What is wrong with me" yadda yadda.  Even though I try to run at a recovery pace...sometimes...I don't always follow through with it.  I would see the 8 on the pace at the mile beep and sometimes freak out.

Then I read this: Are You Running Too Many Workouts in Marathon Training

Ok, I am not training for a marathon, but I do regularly read Tina Muir's blog.  The part that stood out to me in this post was her statement,

"I still run 8-9 minute pace on my easy days, and my race pace will hopefully be 5:50-6:00 per mile ish"

WOAH.  I have always thought that 7:30/7:45ish on a recovery day is slow enough for me because it doesn't feel hard (most of the time).  AND I AM NOT RUNNING A 5:50-6:00 PER MILE PACE IN A MARATHON.

Realization:  I NEED TO SLOW the EFF down.

(Her post also linked to an earlier post: 3 Ways to Make Sure You are Running Easy on your Recovery Day)

This honestly was a turning point for me.  I have been really working to be relaxed and slow on my recovery days over the past week.  Which for me means not looking at the pace, except to help me SLOW down.  

I don't know why this message finally hit home.  "Go easy on easy days" is most certainly not a NEW concept.

And because sometimes I think my computer is spying on me, look what my Runner's World Quote of the Day was today:


Monday, October 3, 2016


Had I come across this earlier today, I would have included it with my week 5 training recap!

Week 5 Half Marathon Training Recap + A 5K!

Last week was a good training week - I ended up running 6 of the 7 days!  Things were a little off plan as I had signed up to do a 5K in my husband's hometown to support a fundraiser that friends of his were trying to develop.  It was the second year of the race, and they still are working some things out. Because of that, I did not get ANY warm up in.  (I know - bad.) The course was not chip-timed (in fact, it was timed by someone's cell phone) but still provided an opportunity to race on a new course, which I really enjoyed.  It also was fun to have so many people cheering for me (all of my husband's family).

My goal for the race was to try to run the 3rd mile faster than the previous two.  My first mile passed in 6:12 which felt comfortable, but then they always do!  Mile two was over in 6:22.  My third mile was 6:09!!!!!!  Success!  I ended up running the entire race by myself.  I was in 2nd overall and the man in front of me ended up taking a wrong turn right after mile 1 so I won the whole race.  My Garmin time was 19:19.  I was super happy with this not only for meeting my goal, but also because I feel if I had really pushed it, I MIGHT have been close to breaking 19 again!  Woo-hoo for returned fitness!

My kids each were able to participate in the kids race, even my 2 year old.  Holy cow that was the cutest thing I have seen in a long time - he was so determined and ran the WHOLE way (maybe 1 city block.)  My daughter ended up winning her age group (5-7 year olds)!

Due to the race being Saturday morning, I did not get my long run in that morning per my training plan.  SO, that left Sunday morning.  I woke up at 6 and got dressed.

I went out the door and it was drizzling rain.  UGH.

I went back in the house to check the forecast.  According to my iPhone weather app, it was supposed to rain at 7 briefly.

I went back out.  "Maybe I should do this later in the day."

Went back in the house.

Consulted weather app again and realized that the sun sets at 6:30.  WHAT?!  Ok.  I had to do this right now or it was not going to get done.  Grabbed my Boston 2016 jacket for rain protection and my knuckle lights and headed out.  Third time's a charm.

My plan was to run laps around my neighborhood and the adjoining neighborhood (which is what I always do when it is dark outside) until the sun came up.  First mile was 8:08.  I was TIRED.  Second mile was 7:49.  Mid third mile, I paused my watch and just let out a breath.  This sucked.  I was tired, my legs were not feeling it and it was raining.


One non-time related goal I have for this training cycle is to push through these moments when I can think of pretty good excuses to stop.  This was one such instance.  The sun was up.  I took off my knuckle lights and my extra long sleeve, dropped them off at my house on my run past and exited the neighborhood.

I struggled within each mile but it gave me a chance to practice working my way out of the negative mindset.  With the first three miles done in 8:08, 7:49, 7:49, I wanted to try to stay in the 7:40s for the next 3 miles and push the final 3.

My legs got used to the motion probably halfway through the run. Miles 4, 5, and 6 were 7:41, 7:43, and 7:43.  It was still raining but I started having a "I am awesome" moment as I moved into the final third of the run.  My legs still felt tired but it didn't seem so awful as the first third.  Miles 7, 8, and 9 were 7:26, 7:18, and 7:08.  I had shaved a minute off my starting pace!

This was a FANTASTIC run for me, not so much for the pace but for the mental practice of working through fatigue and negativity.  WOO-HOO!

Week 5 Mileage Total: 30.6 miles

I am excited that today (Monday) is a rest day :)