Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 2017 Recap

Happy end of August!

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

Total August 2017 miles = 153.14

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

Focusing on the positives:

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 28, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training: Week 11 Recap

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

2016 total mileage: 1206.42
2017 total mileage: 1211.61


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

Monday, August 21
Plan says: Rest

What I do:  Rest

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

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

5.24 miles,  40:57 (7:49 avg pace)

Wednesday, August 23
Plan says: 5 miles easy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5.1 miles, 42:46 (8:23)

Friday, August 18
Plan says: 6 miles easy

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

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

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

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

0 miles

Sunday, August 20
Plan says: 5 miles easy

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

0 miles

Plan Miles: 45
Total Weekly Miles: 32.06

Monday, August 21, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training: Week 10 Recap

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

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

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

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

Here is my recap:

Monday, August 14
Plan says: Rest

What I do:  Rest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 16
Plan says: 5 miles

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 18
Plan says: 6 miles easy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 20
Plan says: 5 miles easy

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

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

Plan Miles: 45
Total Weekly Miles: 32.27

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Struggle is Real

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Product Review: BUFF (R) Pack Run Cap

PRODUCT: BUFF (R) Pack Run Cap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 14, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training: Week 9 Recap (Halfway THERE!)

Week 9 is finished and boom! I am halfway done with the Hanson Advanced Half Marathon Training program.  Last week was a bit crazy - lots of switching workouts around.  My July racing messed up my typical schedule and I have yet to recover from all the switching.   I ended up cutting 3 workouts shorter than prescribed this week, but was only 2.33 miles short from the weekly total plan due to adding little bits of mileage to other workouts.

Monday, August 7
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 6 x 800m at 5k/10k pace with 400 m recovery in between, 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  I did some switching around because I did not want to do a speed workout the day after doing a long run.  Today = rest day.

Tuesday, August 8
Plan says: 0 miles

What I do:
The weekly speed work was on the plan for today.  I was planning on getting up early but my Sense alarm never went off so I didn't wake up until my husband's alarm (which is an hour later than mine).  ARGH.  I left work early to get this workout in mid-afternoon but wasn't able to complete the entire cool down because I had to pick up my daughter and take her to piano lessons.

This was a workout for the books.  I felt great.  I was shocked when I saw the first 0.5 mi split because it didn't feel that hard.  To be sure, I had to fight to get the last repeat in at that pace, but hot damn!  It's about time I had a solid speed workout where I didn't feel like death. And check out that consistency across all six 800s!!!!

Per the Hanson plan, my goal pace for 800s is 3:05. I did not do these on the track because I try to follow their advice of doing speed work on the roads since that is the surface the race will be on AND I had a limited window of time to get this done so doing it in my neighborhood would allow for the maximum amount of running.

1.5 miles warm up, 12:01 (8:01 avg pace)

0.50 miles, 2:51.6 (5:42 avg pace) / 0.25 miles, 2:06.7 (8:25 avg pace)
0.50 miles, 2:51.9 (5:44) / 0.25 miles, 2:01.5 (8:04)
0.50 miles, 2:52.8 (5:43) / 0.25 miles, 2:09.1 (8:35)
0.50 miles, 2:51.0 (5:41) / 0.25 miles, 2:10.7 (8:37)
0.50 miles, 2:51.3 (5:42) / 0.25 miles, 2:15.9 (9:01)
0.50 miles, 2:52.9 (5:44)

0.78 miles cool down, 6:40.8 (8:34 avg pace)

I will admit that 800s are among my favorite track workouts.  I just love love love them.  It is fun to see some improvement in this training cycle, and since my marathon training earlier this year.  Here are my 800s on July 10:

1 - 3:03 (6:02 avg pace)
2 - 2:59 (5:57)
3 - 3:01 (6:03)
4 - 2:53 (5:43)
5 - 2:55 (5:48)
6 - 2:54 (5:51)

My 800s on March 16:

1- 3:04
2- 3:04
3- 3:06
4- 3:07
5- 3:02
6- 3:04

Wednesday, August 9
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 5 miles at half-marathon pace (6:44), 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  Flip flopping Monday and Tuesday means that Wednesday and Thursday also have to be flip flopped in order to not have two hard days in a row.  I got up early and just went on autopilot to get the easy 6 miles done.  I added a little more to make up for my shortened cool down yesterday.

6.75 miles, 57:12 (8:29 avg pace)

Thursday, August 10
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do:  4:45 AM ALARM BABY.  Shut off.  Groan.  Roll over.  Groan some more.  Get my butt out of bed and get dressed.

I tried a Honey Stinger Stroopwafel before this run because I felt a little hungry when I woke up and it was hanging out in the cupboard, a free sample from something.  (Typically I do not eat anything before an early morning run.)  It was very sweet but went down easy and didn't seem to bother my stomach.

My first mile of warm up beeped in at 9:07.  I think next week I am going to try doing a 2 mile warm up and a 1 mile cool down versus 1.5 miles for each.  My body just does not seem ready to go after 1.5 miles in the early morning.

I switched into tempo mode and felt like I was cruising, but first mile clocked in at 7:05.  I could be checking my pace during my runs but when I do this, it seems to make me more nervous so I just am trying to only check pace during the mile beeps.  My legs were tired, I had more than 1 stop to catch my breath and then finally, 5 miles were done.  I am sure doing the 800s at faster than prescribed pace was partially to blame for how my legs felt.  I also am not very confident during my tempo runs. They totally freak me out and the pace is not comfortable which is something I am struggling with. During marathon training my tempo runs were at a 7:15 which I always could finish faster than that. I am finding that 6:44 tempos are a whole other ball of wax.

1.51 mi warm up, 13:32 (8:59 avg pace)
5.0 mi tempo, 34:16 (6:51 avg pace)
1.5 mi cool down, 12:22 (8:15 avg pace)

Friday, August 11
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  Throw my alarm clock on the floor.  Ok, not intentionally, but in an attempt to shut if off, I knocked it over. I got up 45 minutes later than I should have which meant an interception from my son, which delayed me getting out even further.  I eventually got out the door and did 4 miles, which was pushing my luck with morning timing, but my daughter has been a fan of helping to make lunches in the morning so that helped me.  One of the joys of kids growing up I guess - more and more they can do things for themselves! (...yet at the same time sobbing that they are growing up.  Motherhood in a nutshell.)

4 miles, 34:09 (8:32 avg pace)

Saturday, August 12
Plan says: 10 miles at long run pace (7:30-9:00)

What I do:  We had an insanely busy weekend.   Friday night I had dinner with girlfriends. I was home at a very reasonable hour, only about an hour past my bedtime, but my son had breathing issues all night long so we did not get a lot of sleep.  Saturday morning was thrown off by a trip to urgent care for breathing treatment and Saturday afternoon we had an outing with my husband's office.  Thus, come 8:00pm, I was outside running.  I didn't have the energy to tackle 10 or 7 miles, so I logged 5.25.

5.25 miles, 43:04 (8:12 avg pace)

Sunday, August 13
Plan says: 7 miles easy

What I do:  I slept in on Sunday because I needed sleep.  We had a Brewers game (baseball) with my family all day which was a lot of fun.  My kids were zonked and went to bed early so I again had night miles, but early bedtime meant that most of my miles were done in daylight and I was able to squeeze the long run in!

10.1 miles, 1:19:04 (7:50 avg pace)

Plan Miles: 43
Total Weekly Miles: 40.67

Friday, August 11, 2017

Product Review: OOFOS OOriginal Sandal

Product:  Oofos Women's Ooriginal Sandal

Disclaimer:  I received a pair of Oofos Women's Ooriginal Sandals to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRavePro (ambassador) and check out to review, find and write race reviews.


It's no secret that this round of Hanson's training has been kicking my butt.  Whether it is the fact that I am trying an "advanced" plan, the heat, the humidity, I am not sure but I have been tired and sore most of the summer.  After my first pair of Oofos shoes (reviewed here), I was happy to get a pair of sandals using the same amazing technology to assist recovery.

Again, I am boring, so I chose the OOriginal sandal in black.  Flip flops are not known for being very supportive but these are not just any old pair of flip flops.  The arch support is my FAVORITE.  The footbed is so cushy!  The sandals use the patented OOfoam technology to absorb 37% more impact, provide more arch support and are biomechanically designed allow your body to move more naturally.  I have found I do have a different posture and gait when I wear these which allows for some additional comfort in my low back.

These are my go-to throw on shoes for when I need to go outside with the kids in the yard, go get the mail, etc.  Easy on/easy off and some bonus recovery time.

This summer they have been a great shoe to throw in my race bag to wear after my run/race.  This saves the miles on my running shoes for actual running and gives my body an extra boost in recovery so that I am ready to go the next day.

We spend a lot of time at a family lake house during the summer and these shoes are great to wear on kayaks and boats since they are made with moisture repellent materials.  They also FLOAT in case your kid accidentally knocks them overboard :)  My mother-in-law has several pairs!

Post-run recovery staples: La Croix, Rx Bar and OOofos
Sizing advice:  Per the website, if you wear a whole size, order that whole size.  Women should size up if they wear a half size and men should size down if they wear a half size.  I have found this to be true.  I typically wear a 9 1/2 women's shoe and my sandals are a size 10 and fit perfectly.

OOFOS is sponsoring #BibChat on Tuesday August 15 at 8pm CST.  Join in and you could win a pair of your very own and #FeeltheOO.  Your feet earned it!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Product Review: Knuckle Lights Colors

Product: Knuckle Lights Colors

Disclaimer:  I received a set of Knuckle Lights Colors to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRavePro (ambassador) and check out to review, find and write race reviews.

I bought my first pair of Knuckle Lights in late 2014 and they have been a staple of my running ever since, particularly through the dark winter days and nights.  They have made numerous appearances during my training recaps over the years.  I was super excited to be able to test out an updated version as part of this BibRave Pro campaign.  I was sent the Knuckle Lights colors.  Because I am boring, I selected the black ones, but they have a fun hot pink and pretty blue to choose from as well.

So what are knuckle lights?  They are small hand-held lights that are designed to wear over your hand with minimal discomfort to help you see during dark runs.  The strap is made out of silicone and is adjustable so you don't have to focus on actually gripping them while you run.  The button to power them on/off is right where your thumb rests so you can easily click and go.  They weight less than 3 oz each.  I am someone who does not like carrying things while I run, and these do not bother me. The lights have a magnetic center which helps with storage AND also is a nice feature during morning runs where you may need them to start but not need them as the run progresses and the sun rises.  I like to switch them off, and hold them in one hand for the remainder.

Together, the lights provide 120 Lumens of light.  Don't know what a Lumen is? HA! Me either.  I know that I have used these for the mornings that aren't quite light enough recently AND have used them for training for a marathon in the dead of winter when your entire morning run is in pitch black. LOVE THEM in both situations.

Speaking of winter running, while we aren't dealing with cold right now in WI, I can also attest that the lights' claim to work in -20 Celsius weather is legit.  AND THEY ARE WATERPROOF! Each light in the Knuckle Lights Colors runs on 1 AA battery (included with the set).

Each set has a FIVE YEAR limited warranty.  FIVE YEARS.  (My original set is almost three years old and is still kicking!).

A set of Knuckle Lights colors is $39.99 on their website.  Use the code BRKL2017 to get 15% off (expires 9/1) on their website.

It sounds kind of weird, but I have gotten a lot of compliments on Knuckle Lights from people who are out in the wee hours walking around my neighborhood!  They are "hand"y. :)

*Note: Ok, I couldn't leave you hanging.  I Googled "Lumen".  Lumens equal brightness.  Watts (a term I was familiar with in regard to lighting) refer to energy use, not output.  More here.

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training: Week 8 Recap

Week 8 of half marathon training is in the books and after a few weeks of getting close, I finally crossed the 40 mile threshold, despite only logging 5 running days instead of 6.  I still struggle with motivation.  I also am dealing with a bit of fear that my goal pace is too much.  I think a lot of my motivation struggles are really just being afraid of the goal I set and not knowing if I can do it, especially after I struggled to run a 10K at the pace I want to run a half-marathon at.

Monday, July 31
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 5 x 1km at 5k/10k pace with 600 m recovery in between, 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  I went to a concert with my mom on Sunday night and thus, went to bed late, slept like crap and did not plan to get up early to get this done in the morning.  I started this workout at 3:30 in the afternoon, it was 81 degrees and sunny.

For the most part, the heat did not bother me.  Put that in the win jar.  I incorrectly thought that 1km =0.63 miles so I technically did a bit over the 1K so I was pleased that my paces were below my goal pace for this workout (3:48 / 6:07 avg pace).

1.5 miles warm up, 12:05 (8:03 avg pace)

0.64 miles, 3:51.6 (6:04 avg pace) / 0.37 miles, 3:07.9 (8:24 avg pace)
0.63 miles, 3:48.8 (6:01) / 0.36 miles, 2:58.2 (8:09)
0.63 miles, 3:43.9 (5:55) / 0.37 miles, 3:08.6 (8:25)
0.63 miles, 3:47.4 (5:59) / 0.37 miles, 3:20.1 (8:59)
0.64 miles, 3:49.7 (6:00)

1.75 miles cool down, 15:09 (8:39 avg pace)

One of the big differences with the Hanson's Advanced half marathon training plan compared to the beginner marathon training plan is that the amount of speed work is larger in the advanced plan.  In the beginner marathon plan, I had 6 weeks of mileage building (re: NO speed work), followed by 6 weeks that included speed work, followed by 6 weeks of "strength" work (1, 1.5, 2, and 3 mi repeats). The speed work weeks started with 400m repeats and ended with mile repeats.  In this advanced plan, I have 9 weeks of speed work followed by 7 weeks of strength, so the speed work is done like a ladder, from 400m repeats up to mile repeats and back down to 400 m repeats.  Thus, I had to do 1Ks a few weeks ago, during week 5 of training.   I would say my pace was more consistent this time around and I recall the first session of 1Ks being a struggle.  I was pleased that I gained some consistency and this was not as difficult as the first time around AND I did them in much hotter weather this second time!

Tuesday, August 1
Plan says: 0 miles

What I do:  Rest.

Wednesday, August 2
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 5 miles at half-marathon pace (6:44), 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  Had to set the alarm for 4:45 for this one as I had an early morning meeting at the office.  UGH.  Even though this alarm is a mere 15 minutes earlier than my standard, why does it seem so much earlier?!  My sleep was terrible.  My son fell out of bed at 3 AM and I never fell back asleep after that so the good news was that I was ready to go for this run.  I grabbed my knuckle lights and ran the warm up in my neighborhood as well as the first 2 miles.  Then I ditched the lights and grabbed my water bottle to finish it out of my hood.  My goal for this was to ease into the tempo run and not start out mile 1 of tempo at full on pace.  It went well.  It was so humid already that morning so even though my pace was a little slow, I was satisfied.

1.5 mi warm up, 12:55 (8:36 avg pace)
5.0 mi tempo, 34:00 (6:48 avg pace)
1.5 mi cool down, 12:24 (8:16 avg pace)

Thursday, August 3
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do:  We were lucky to have our friends from Calgary staying with us Wednesday night so I stayed up late talking my friend's ear off.  My alarm went off at 5 and it was raining/storming so I shut it off and went back to sleep.  I left work early to get this run done and on my way home, it started downpouring.  So I thought, "I'll do it after the kids are in bed."  Then the kids were in bed and again, it was raining.  I was zonked by that time so I just threw in the towel.

Looking back, I'm annoyed that I just didn't hop on the treadmill.  After all, this is why I got a treadmill!

0 miles

Friday, August 4
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do:  My husband has a weekend in Northern WI every year with his college buddies and this was the weekend he was going to be gone.  SO I had planned on getting up super early and knocking my long run for the week out before he left. Except then 4:30 am came and I was like, ugh.  I finally peeled myself out of bed at 5:15 which meant I wasn't doing 12 miles before work.  I ended up with 6.4.

6.4 miles, 51:51, (8:06 avg pace)

Saturday, August 5
Plan says: 12 miles at long run pace (7:30-9:00)

What I do:  I had big ideas that I might be able to get up before my kids and get on the treadmill. Unfortunately, Friday night was sort of a cluster getting them to bed. I might have fallen asleep before my son.  They definitely woke me up in the morning so I stayed in bed snoozing in and out of consciousness while they watched TV.

I had big plans of taking them hiking a few times this summer and had yet to do anything about that so we loaded up and went to a nearby state park.  They did better than I was expecting!  We did lots of climbing.  Being there actually made me want to do more trail running.

It came time for bed and again, it was a shit show.  My son would not go the f*** to sleep.  It was 8:30 and I was tired and I was about to just skip running but then I was just like, no.  I let this bedtime situation infuriate me the night before, I was not going to do it again.  I changed into my running clothes and jumped on the treadmill.  It was slow and mentally so painful but I did it.  I logged 6 miles.  Best part was when I came back upstairs, everyone was asleep.  I drank some Nuun mixed with LaCroix, read my book and crashed.

6 miles, 53:15 (8:52 avg)

Sunday, August 6
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  My husband returned from his trip mid-afternoon so I was like, SEE YA!  I went to run my long run and really had no motivation for it.  I just kept saying one more mile and did a bunch of small loops (which mentally always helps me for some reason) and before I knew it, I had 12 miles in!

12 miles, 1:32:53 (7:44 avg pace)

Plan Miles: 45
Total Weekly Miles: 40.31

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

July 2017 Recap

I ran 157.36 miles in July!

This is huge for me as July has traditionally been a very low mileage month.

2014      53.13 miles
2015      87.18 miles
2016      34.55 miles
2017    157.36 miles

July 2017 was a 355.5% increase over the previous year.  (Ok, yes, I was injured July 2016 but still!!)

I missed a handful of workouts in July as well and had two races, neither of which really were stellar performances.  I have to remind myself that my goal (and my plan) are targeted to running a stellar half marathon in October, which might mean that I am not exactly primed to have break outs in the 10K or 5K, particularly when those races come during a cumulative fatigue building portion of the training plan.  As someone who struggles with wanting to be good at all the things, this feels disappointing at times.

Luckily, I had a great workout last night which was a good confidence booster.

What else happened in July?  I retired two more pairs of running shoes!  Neither of these shoes made it to the 400 mile mark.  I started noticing that much of the tread was totally worn down on the soles so thus, retirement.

Magenta Adidas Energy Boost 2 made it 378.07 miles.  The Mizuno Sayonara 3 made it 363.11 miles.  I really liked both of these shoes and am sad to see them go.

Currently, I have three pairs left in my rotation:

Adidas Ultraboost X (current mileage: 96.8 miles)
Saucony ISO 2 Triumph (286.37 miles)
Asics GT 2000 - 5 (171.45 miles)

I am excited to go shoe shopping with the gift card I won from the Race for the Bacon.  It has been a while since I purchased shoes at a running store (my two newest pairs I got for free - one through BibRave Pro and one through winning a contest) so I am excited to potentially try something new.  I like the Ultraboost Xs a lot but the other two pairs that I am currently running in I am only lukewarm on.  What shoes do you run in?