Thursday, December 31, 2009

Back to work

Monday was day 1 of my 12-week Pfitzinger training program. I'm not sure we are entirely settled on Shamrock, but it's the earliest of the options so figured I should get back on it. This will be a roughly 60-mile week, not including Sunday's 17 miles with 8 at marathon pace. Ouch.

More exciting is the inaugural midnight New Year's run here in Louisville. Titled the "2k10k" this year, it will loop around the fabulous Seneca and Cherokee parks. It's not a race -- partially because we just decided to do it on Sunday -- but could certainly turn into one in the future. Turnout probably won't be huge, but it'll be fun!

Does put me in an interesting spot for doubling, though. I'm going to run this afternoon, then again eight hours later, then again sometime Friday.

Week in summary to follow on Saturday.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Race Report: Club Cross Nationals

Every year the USATF puts on club cross country nationals, one of two championship XC races for the post-collegiate crowd. This one allows for team competition and doesn't give prize money to individuals, just teams. So the atmosphere is more like a traditional XC race -- instead of a road race being held on a cross country course. (Which is more like the other championship.)

Professional groups like ZAP Fitness, McMillan Elite, Boulder Running Company, Asics Aggies, Bowerman and others all show up. And some local teams like ours, who are just regular runners of the don't-quit-your-day-job variety.

Anyway, there were four races for the day, masters and open for both men and women. The women ran a 6k and the men 10k, on pretty much the same course at Masterson Station Park in Lexington. The day started off cold, and we had all packed lots of spandex to cram under our tiny little uniforms. Well, under the tops, because our spandex boy shorts were not going to permit layering. It was going to be one or the other, and most of us opted for shorts. Our race wasn't until 12:45 p.m., which was amazing -- we lolled around all morning taking our time getting ready. We probably should have arrived earlier, but we didn't want to stand in the cold all day. Consequently, we spent too much time organizing our gear and finding our teammates. I was also supposed to be coordinating a men's team, but only one of them showed up. Plus I threw my phone at a friend, told him to answer if anyone called, and went to warm up.

We arrived at the starting box late, still in warmups and with two girls not yet wearing their spikes. We chucked all our stuff in a pile behind the line, hoped our friends would grab it all, and lined up with the other 230-odd women in the middle of a big field. The gun went off and I, for once, didn't go out way way too fast. Just a little too fast.

My goal for the race was 24 minutes, since I ran just over 20 minutes in my first cross race, a 5k, a few weeks ago. I thought if I could maintain the same pace for an extra KM on a harder course, I'd consider it a good day. So I set my watch to tell me pace and distance in KMs, however, I didn't reset the auto-lap feature to metric. So the screen was giving me metric but it was auto-lapping every mile. Sonuvagun. The watch was pretty much useless.

The course starts with a pretty long gradual uphill; at least the first half-mile. Then it funnels into a rocky patch and down a little hill, then a tight U-turn, back up the hill, down the hill, up a short/steep/really muddy hill, back down to the start, then repeat.

The hills were all pretty sloppy, especially the steep one. I opted to wear flats instead of spikes because most of the ground was hard and the spikes hurt my lower legs last time. I think it was a good decision; the little bit of traction I lost on that uphill was probably regained by the fact my legs didn't feel absolutely terrible at mile three.

By the way, who thought up this 6k business? Thank you for the hassle.

Around the first mile, I set about sticking with the girls in my vicinity. I figured with three more miles to go, I should first try to maintain position and not get passed, then try to move ahead positions later in the race and when possible. I picked up a few on the uphills, using those to pull ahead then getting a larger lead on the downhill. A handful of friends were on the course cheering, which was great. I don't run many races where people know my name, and when I do, they're usually at one or two spots during a three-hour race. Hearing my name like 10 times in a 24-minute race was like being famous!

Nearing the second-mile marker, the girls coming into the U-turn and the girls going out of it are all pretty close to each other. At that point I was thinking about the race being half over -- in the pessimistic way -- when Tera Moody cruised past. That was cool. I probably ran a better third mile because of that. I thought to myself, "Okay, this hurts, but oh-my-god I'm running in a race with Tera Moody -- and she's not that far ahead of me!"

The finish goes in an almost-complete rectangle, so I caught a couple of girls and we came down the first short side. Several friends were yelling at me to pick it up and catch some more girls, but coming up the first long side, I didn't think I could. I wasn't sure I could take another step, really. But I made myself stay on one girl's shoulder through the second short side. Then when I rounded the turn for the last long side, looking at the finish line, those damn friends were there yelling again. So, another sonuvagun moment as I sucked it up and blasted (well, it felt like it at least) the last hundred meters to the finish.

I pulled off a 24:28, just about seven seconds per mile short of my goal. Considering the climbs (Cassidy the Garmin figured 600 feet of climb) and the mud, I'm happy. It averaged out to 6:34/mile versus 6:30/mile for the 5k XC.

It was really neat to be part of a team like that, and I really enjoyed the race overall. We stayed and watched the men's race, which was amazing -- 29:18 won the 10k ... in the same mud and up the same hills.

Later that evening, after the official awards ceremony, a lot of the teams hit the Lexington bar scene. We got to hang out with some really awesome people, including the ZAP Fitness team and their guy who ran that aforementioned 29:18.

That's all for now. Maybe more on how humbling this race was ... because notice I am not talking about my finish place in this post at all.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Treadmill intervals, ouch

Last night was my last interval workout before USATF Club Cross Nationals on Saturday. It was 40 degrees and pouring rain all day yesterday, so I decided to hit the treadmill.

I was scheduled for 6x400 at 1:32 and 4x200 at :36. Doing 200s on the treadmill is nearly impossible; you can't hit the buttons fast enough. You go through the first 100 before it's up to speed. Damn things. Plus I forgot what the split was supposed to be anyway. Went through the 400s in 91 average, then the 200s in about 44. If I could have operated the controls, I definitely could have run the 200s in at least 40.

It's always hysterical to crank the treadmill up to about 10.5 mph while other people are doing 10 minute miles next to you. The girl to my left was walking and reading a book, in pants and a long sleeve -- meanwhile, I'm flinging sweat off my elbows in a crop and split shorts.

As a nice bit of irony ... I ran inside, which I hate, to stay dry and warm. I put my warmups back on, then stood in the cold for 10 minutes waiting for the bus. Then stepped in two huge puddles walking home. End result pretty much the same.

A reminder to myself: flats do not make the leg and foot injury feel better. It hurts like hell this morning, so day off to try and heal before the race. I'll probably take Friday off as well, depending, then play it by ear once the race is over. I need to be training hard the week after Christmas for Shamrock ... Yikes.

Monday, December 7, 2009

2009 marathons: a retrospective

As 2009 wraps up, I am looking back on my two marathons from the year — a useful tool as I start planning for the next one.

I've now run five full marathons, one in 2007, two in both 2008 and 2009. While that has been pretty good for me, as far as scheduling/timing/training all go, I think I'm ready to try three. Or at least two and a really strong half marathon.

Ah, but there I go, jumping ahead of myself. If we don't learn from the past, we are doomed to repeat it, right?

Both of my races this year were alright performances. At Boston, I struggled with some GI issues but muddled on through for a race just 68 seconds slower than my time at Memphis a few months prior. On a much tougher course, I considered the day a draw.

Marshall, though, I definitely under-performed. I am chalking it up to the serious lack of proper face-stuffing the morning of the race in particular. If the car has no gas, it won't go. I was lucky to not fall apart more than I did, and I will credit hard training and general bull-headedness for that.

You can see the weekly mileage from those two races in these graphs, and here's a nice table for comparison, too.

MPWBostonMarshallPfitz Plan

I feel like my training for Marshall didn't follow the plan closely enough for me to reap all the benefits of the Pfitz mesocycles. And I think the high mileage weeks were a little too sporadic. There should have been a more consistent build-up process and better recovery weeks. Granted I had the Bourbon Chase not long before my taper, which kind of threw things off, too.

For my next marathon, I am going to try following the schedule more consistently and make myself do all the workouts. No skipping tempo, or MP runs, or strides, or anything else.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sugoi R+R Socks

I've been wearing these Sugoi R+R knee-high socks for a couple weeks and I freaking love them. The compression on the calf muscles is amazing, plus there's a little bit of arch wrap, too. They're padded in just the right spots -- heel, toe, front of ankle (where the shoe tongue hits).

Not much else to say about them except they feel great. I think they help my recovery, although I haven't worn them to run yet. I have worn them almost every day around the house for a couple of weeks though! You can buy them online through my store's online site,!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Spring Marathon Shopping

Since I neglected to register for Boston before it filled up, it looks like I will be running a spring marathon elsewhere. Standard marathon parameters apply: not too far, not too expensive, not too hilly. Enough people that I'm not by myself the whole time. If I wanted to run 26 miles by myself, I'd do it at home.

If there's any races you know of that I should consider, or if you have opinions on any of these, please let me know. Currently under consideration are: Shamrock Virginia Beach, Knoxville, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Nashville and Cleveland.

More updates on this as I start to narrow it down!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Derby City AAU Meet - race report

Okay, so I should have written this a week ago. I have no valid excuse.

Last Sunday I made my cross-country debut at the past-my-xc-prime age of 24. See, USATF club cross country nationals are down the road in Lexington next month, so it didn't take much arm-twisting to get me to participate. In fact, I got an awesome Derby City Athletic Club uniform and that was really all I needed.

The DCAC hosted the AAU regional meet on Sunday, and allowed three of us running club cross to use it as a "practice" race to tune-up. And I need a lot of tuning. More like an engine rebuild, but hey, gotta work with what I got. I really needed an opportunity to race in grass (I've done trail races, but that's not the same either), wear my spikes and figure how out of shape I was.

On the good side, I like wearing spikes even though my lower leg has been a little sore ever since. I also was correct in my early prediction of how I'd do, so at least I'm fairly in tune with what the legs are willing to do.

There's not really a bad side to this race, other than me not running 18 flat ... But that's a bad side to any 5k I've ever done -- or probably will ever run.

The course was two loops, featuring a couple of little hills and one bigger one. Steep but not long, so a fairly good course.

The other two girls and I had planned to just run this race as a tempo run, which would be 6:45 pace on the roads for us. Of course, by the time we were on the line, I was saying 6:30 pace. I think they knew where this was going. The gun went off, and the 16 assorted guys and gals -- high schoolers with four exceptions -- took off in a pack. For the first 100 yards or so, I kept saying out loud, "not 5:30 pace, not 5:30 pace." As we rounded the first turn, I went, "Damn, 5:30 pace." I started to back off, trying to settle in.

I clipped through the first mile in 6:20 but knew it wasn't going to last. My friend/semi-coach was at the marker, which seemed like a good time for me to remind him I hate 5ks. To which he replied, "Well, you're running halfway decent so just keep your head in it and relax."

Relax I did, and a little too much. I ran 6:48 for the second mile, along the way having some elementary-aged boys yell, "Go Ken Combs lady!" which I loved. There weren't any other runners close by, probably part of why I slacked so much.

But then ... I could hear one of the girls on my team and that I run with often. Former DIII all-American, this one, and I could recognize her breathing. That meant there was no slowing down and that I probably needed to pick up a bit. Now, generally this girl could slaughter me in a 5k, but she's been putting in 15 miles a week or so during her first semester of dental school. It was a little disheartening to have her damn near catch me anyway. A good reminder why I need to stick with longer distances nonetheless.

After a 6:44 third mile, I ran the last smidge at 5:22 pace and called it a day. I finished second female to a high schooler who had just placed sixth at the state meet the previous day. Fair enough. I'm recovering from a marathon and she's peaking; I'll settle for the 27-second loss.

I ran 20:13, with which I'm okay. It was fun. Now it's time to get my rear into gear for the next one.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

One week later

Having had a week to digest my marathon performance, I'm trying to not complain about it too much. I can see where I erred, have a few potential solutions and am excited to try again.

Didn't run much this week -- I hear that's what you're supposed to do after a marathon -- just 4 miles on Wednesday but 10 on Saturday. I was feeling a little antsy not running. Everything feels okay except for the top of my hamstring, but I'm going to see my wonderful massage therapist tomorrow and hopefully she can work that out.

This week will be interesting because one of my best friends is getting married Saturday (and I'm helping organize the reception) and I'm running a practice cross country 5k meet on Sunday in preparation for club cross nationals in December. It'll be a fairly light week mileage-wise, but I do have a 5x1k workout on Wednesday. Then a couple of speed/tempo workouts a week until nationals. We'll get thrashed by some of the high-caliber teams who will come to the meet, but it's in Lexington so it'll be a neat opportunity. I get to wear a sweet uniform, promote the Derby City Athletic Club and maybe meet some really amazing elite runners. What can be bad about that?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Marshall University Marathon Race Report

Mixed feelings about this race still. I should be elated with a four-minute PR and a second-place finish, but I'm somewhat disappointed that I didn't run faster. I went into this race thinking I was in 3:05 shape, and ran out of gas at about 16 miles. Apparently the 250 calories I had for breakfast were insufficient. Then again, if the biggest obstacle I need to tackle in my training right now is to eat more ... I can probably handle that.

More specifics on the race: MUM is a tiny, tiny race. About 350 people in each the full and the half. The perks of the race make it sound pretty good, which is why we went -- a full-zip fleece instead of a t-shirt, dinner the night before, lunch after the race, and a low $60 entry fee. Oh, and a copy of the "We are Marshall" DVD.

And the course is pancake flat. That aspect, at least, lived up to its name.

But, for only having a handful of entrants, it was one of the dumbest packet pickups I've ever seen. First you have to find the right building, then figure out where the hell the door to it is. Then you walk to the table and the volunteers stop talking to each other just long enough to tell you to walk across the lobby and look up your bib number and come back. Now, with 350 people in each race and a separate table for each, I kind of expect them to do that for me. Alphabetize the list by last name, give to volunteers, done. They don't offer us bags for the bibs, pins and stupid ankle chips we need ... but they do give us a poorly copied black-and-white course map from 2007 with the changes scribbled out and rewritten in pencil. Doh! The course loops back on itself in several places, so there's no way you can figure out where you're going on this map. If I can find my copy, I will post it.

Hoping with a small race I could score an appropriate-sized top, I emailed the race director over the summer -- before they ordered shirts -- asking for an XS. He said he would try to get one and to ask at check-in. I did. They had no idea what I was talking about. Even the race director looked at me blankly. I took the small, which would somehow later get mixed up with a medium and is now utterly worthless as an article of clothing for a 105-pound, 5'3" girl.

Still sans bags, we drag all this stuff to the car and head to Applebees for lunch. Not the best choice, but Huntington isn't that big and it seemed a safe option.

We check into our hotel, which is pretty nice even though the pool turned out to be closed. Alas. We probably wouldn't have gotten in it anyway. We lounge around, put in a four-mile run, head to the pre-race dinner (for free!) slightly sweaty, eat some pasta.

Here's where my nutrition starts to go awry. I don't like tomato sauce. Tomatoes make me sick. But the spaghetti doesn't look particularly good plain, so I have them put on a little bit. It doesn't help. I pick at dinner, and there's little chance I ate enough.

Back at the hotel, we reset the clocks since it's daylight savings weekend. We watch a couple of hours of the "I didn't know I was pregnant" marathon and go to sleep. I have the alarm set for 5 a.m. because I'm neurotic, pretty much, and wanted to get up early enough to know I hadn't somehow bungled the time change.

I have my meager breakfast around 5:30, have a cup of coffee, put on race gear and warmups, head to the start line. We listen to bad rap songs loudly in the car, I dance around the parking lot, etc. In a sports bra and arm warmers, a guy says, "It's time to get serious, huh?" I say, well, obviously.

I get stuck in a bathroom stall. Scratch my back coming out under the door.

Minimum of interesting stuff going on at starting line. There was an official prayer, but during that I prayed to the running gods by doing some striders. The gun went off and in the opening quarter mile I found out the girl ahead of me was planning to break 3 hours. So we let her go.

I had planned to pick up the pace at the 10k, half and 20 mile points, so I'll give you splits accordingly.

Miles 1-6: 6:56, 7:06, 7:10, 7:09, 7:10, 7:10. (Goal pace 7:10)

Not much going on to see, little bit on the riverwalk but only a half a mile or so. Mostly residential and no crowd support. Lots of police and ROTC out blocking traffic though. A couple of other guys start running with us. It feels nice and easy so far, which surprises me a little.

Miles 7-13: 7:11, 7:08, 7:07, 7:07, 7:09, 7:08, 7:08. (Goal pace 7:08)

We looped through a small park for a couple miles in here, like 9-11. The park would have been more interesting if the gravel path hadn't been covered in leaves, making it impossible to see where you were going. We did get to see some other runners as we came back out of the park. We drop the other two guys, so it's just me and Matt and the roads are getting extra lonely. There's no crowd support and I'm not sure the water stops were at regular intervals ... if they were, I couldn't figure out the pattern.

Miles 14-20: 7:09, 7:10, 7:16, 7:23, 7:24, 7:28, 7:33. (Goal pace 7:05)

CRASH!!!! I ran outta gas. You can see it happen. At 15 I told Matt to go, because I didn't want to slow him down. If I had tried to stay with him I might have stayed under 7:20 for a little while longer but maybe not. Nothing hurt, just pooped out. No juice. Around mile 15 we were running on a four-lane almost-highway, with just our lane blocked off, and the road was heavily cambered. There was no shade, no other runners, no crowd ... Barf. The only thing worth note was the Jolly Pirate Donuts store. And at that point I was pretty sure I was delirious anyway.

Miles 21-26: 7:33, 7:30, 7:49, 7:43, 7:33, 7:40, 7:20. (Goal pace 7:00)

Yikes! I was just trying to trudge home at this point. With no clocks on the race course, I actually had no idea what my time might be at the end. I had set my Garmin up to just tell me distance, current pace and lap average pace; at this point I didn't even want to know how it was going. I figured I had gone out well enough through the first 15 to still PR, but that was about all I knew and I wasn't even sure about that. But I figured if I wasn't going to PR, I didn't want to know.

Around 22 we hit the park again, going the opposite direction. On my way out of the park, going around a tight U-turn, I saw the next female runner pretty close to me. That's when the pace starts to pick back up. I remember thinking, "Damn, I have to hold her off for four miles!"

The last mile or so goes through the Marshall University campus, which I'm sure is neat for recreational runners but was kind of a pain to navigate. You had to follow arrow markers along the entire path, which veered around various plantings and statues. Sigh. Then back on to the street and down a couple blocks -- on the sidewalk, which wasn't blocked off at all and I almost trampled a few departing half-marathoners and their families. Whoops.

Into the Marshall University football stadium, where you have to run down the long side ... and then make a sharp left at the goalposts, which is much easier to do if the teenagers standing there handing out footballs would have told me to do so. I end up missing the turn (why it wasn't blocked off I have no idea) and ducking back under the caution tape.

Ta-da, a fifth marathon finish.

Matt, who ran the first 15 with me, ran 3:05 as his debut. His wife and my great friend, Diane, PR'd by 10 minutes, running a 3:28. They won their age groups!

We drank a bottle of champagne in the parking lot, showered in the rec center, checked out of the hotel and headed home.

The end. Mostly because I'm tired of typing. More thoughts later, perhaps.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


List of personal records ...

DistanceBestDate & Race
50K06:25:0007/12/08, Rattlesnake
Full marathon03:10:1103/21/10, Shamrock
Half marathon01:31:2810/11/08, Evansville
15K01:02:4003/29/09, Heart Mini
10K00:41:0403/29/09, Heart Mini
4 mi00:25:1707/31/10, Grand Slam 4 miler
5K00:19:0505/23/09, Run for the L of It

These may not all be quite accurate, as some of my bests were en route to longer race finishes. And I don't race a lot of those middle distances often anyway.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

MUM training, week 4 (of 12)

Better late than never on this post. You know, 85 mpw and a 40-hour work week doesn't leave much time for anything else.

Very solid week, I'm surprised by how good I still feel. Thursday should have been my tempo run, but with no company and little motivation, I decided to switch Thursday and Friday ... then Friday rolled around and I still didn't feel like doing it, so we did cutbacks instead. Still useful I think. Really, I just hate tempo runs. I will dodge out of them whenever I think I can.

The weather last week was incredible; several mornings were in the 50-degree range. Beeee-utiful. Now it's back to mid-60s, humid and high dewpoints. Not fun.

That's on all this week.

Monday, August 31, 2009

MUM training, week 3 (of 12)

I am 61 days from race day. I'm not sure how I feel about that. It's at that point where it seems both really freaking close and really far away.

This week was actually really outstanding, my first time hitting 80 in a week, and following that with a solid 20 miler on day eight. Of particular note was the long run, which not only had a solid average pace, but actually had the last six miles at closer to 7:30 pace, with the last mile in 6:45. Then I did my first long run day double, which didn't feel too bad.

Thursday's tempo was alright, it was hot and I wasn't really excited about it. I hit pace and ran well, though, so good effort there. Friday was the week's surprise day -- I had to go out for 12 miles by myself, which sounded awful, but then I walked outside to find it about 50 degrees and absolutely amazing. I cruised along happily at a surprisingly good clip, especially considering the mileage my legs were already carrying.

Not much else to say about the week. Other assorted updates to follow, hopefully one tomorrow about my weekend adventuring with my "manfriend" TT as he took on Ironman Louisville.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

MUM training, week 2 (of 12)

I'm in a post-long run stupor right now, sitting in bed after a nap with a bottle of sparkling italian mineral water and a box of junior mints. I think it's well-deserved.

This post probably should be done on Saturday, since that's when I end my training week ... But I work on Saturday and not on Sunday, so here we are. I knew this week's mileage ranked amongst my highest totals ever, but I thought I had gotten in more 70+ weeks in the past than I have. Digging through my log earlier shows I've only hit 70 twice, both times before Memphis in December 2008: a 73.8 in late September and a 74.5 in early November. Hmm. That makes this week -- a 74 -- the second-highest of my life. And I feel pretty good. Really good considering my very snappy pace over 18 miles today, although I will mostly attribute that to the gorgeous weather.

I hate stale junior mints.

This week -- click on the picture for the log -- included way more double-digit days than I'm used to, both in singles and doubles. My long run was in Lexington, and may have been one of my worst runs. I felt awful the entire time. It was hot, I was dehydrated, my legs were trashed from the 5k the night before ... Blah blah blah.

The rest of the week was good, though, especially after I saw my wonderful massage therapist on Tuesday. Everything felt smooth and solid all week. My heart rate and pace are both down, hooray quantifiable fitness improvements. Not a whole lot of exciting runs, just one workout with four miles of tempo, but a lot of miles.

Marshall University Marathon in 69 days.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Really, weather? WTF

That's from yesterday evening when I got in from work. I mean, seriously?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Race report - A Midsummer's Night Run 5k

This weekend was the 25th anniversary of A Midsummer's Night Run 5k in Lexington. I ran this race last year for fun, in part because one of my best friends had a broken toe and wasn't going very fast. Now the same gal is married and has moved to Lex, so it seemed a great opportunity to see their new apartment (and their first place together) and get in some good runs.

As you might guess, it's an evening race. It starts at 8:30, so you begin with the sun up and finish with it mostly down. Kinda neat. Weird for me because I rarely run in the evenings. It's a huge race, with 3,967 finishers this year.

The course is a tight loop, lapping back on itself for part of it. They're using the D-tag chip system, but the start is still packed and crazy.

I drove to Lex after work on Saturday and got there about an hour before the race. My friends actually live on top of the start line, so it was a quick elevator ride down to start our warmup. It was at least 80 degrees still, and Kentucky muggy. Several more of our Bourbon Chase relay teammates were racing, so we all hung out at the start for a few. Mostly I complained about how much I hate 5ks. I mean, really, I do.

I was dead-set on negative splitting this race, which would make it my first 5k ever where I did that. I've never been sure before how fast to go out, so I usually just floor it and hang on as long as possible. My psuedo-coach and training partner, who has been there for all my recent speedwork, recommended I go out at 6:20 pace for the first mile then start dropping it down, trying to split under 6 for the end.

I don't look around much at the start to assess the competition, because I know there will be plenty. There's a guy running barefoot, with his D-tag fastened to a rubber band; a mulleted women's masters runner in gear as old as I; etc., etc.

My friendly Garmin 405 Cassidy was pretty handy in the negative-split endeavor, but I pretty much hit 6:20 out of the gate and then it was too dark to see the damn thing and I had locked the bezel for once so I couldn't activate the backlight. Sigh.

The first mile feels easy -- that was the plan -- and I nail 6:20 on the dot. I'm trying to settle in and get comfortable, but there's so many dang 90-degree turns in this race I'm constantly running tangents and trying not to kill the soccer-cleated dude cutting every corner.

Mile 2 is an "oops," a 5:58, but it's the only mile with a net elevation loss so maybe it's not my fault. I was getting into a rhythm though, and feeling much better than I usually do at that point. I get passed in here somewhere by a woman in purple, which I don't like (that I was passed, not the color purple). Somewhere in here I'm telling myself I have to learn race strategy somewhere, and I'm sighting other women and catching them.

Mile 3 is a little more uphill, a little slower, but not bad: 6:07. I see purple lady ahead of me as we hit the final straightaway. With about a half-mile to go I ease on her shoulder and sit for a minute, then surge past and hold that pace for a few seconds. I can't tell if it's her I hear behind me or someone else, and I worry I went past too soon. I'm backing off the pace a little with a quarter to go, trying to not totally die before I kick after hearing the last mile split.

As I near the finish, I hear someone right on my heels and hope it's not her. It's not. It's some dude. I don't care about him. I cross the line totally toast, and there's a race official stopping me and getting my bib number written down. I realize this means I probably placed top ten, since that's who gets plaques that evening.

Oh yeah, I ran like 19:15 according to Cassidy (who also got the mileage at 3.16), and 19:19 according to my chip, which I think is crap because they had two chip mats placed like 10 feet apart. There's no telling which mat actually started my time. Whatever.

Moral of the story is I hate 5ks slightly less now. My Bourbon Chase teammates all did awesome (watch out!) and I got a plaque for 7th place female (out of 1,999!). Then we had greasy pizza, drank whiskey sours (made with bitters muddled in your glass), stayed out till 3 a.m., got up five hours later and ran 15 miles. We roll hard.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Here we go

Tomorrow officially begins the 12-week block for the Marshall University Marathon. Which means all you lovely people can resume reading absolute nonsense about my training. Lucky, lucky.

I hit 63 miles for each of the past two weeks, which is awesomely high for me this early in training. I've never gone over 75 mpw, and I don't think I've ever held 70+ for more than a couple weeks at a stretch. So, boys and girls, we'll see what happens. The current schedule has me at 85 mpw at the end of this month and rising, with no backing down till game time. Possible outcomes:

  • Body responds nicely, run very fast

  • Overtrain and wear myself out, run mediocre considering training

  • Implode/break something and not make it to the starting line

That's what makes running a fun game, right? Because you have no freaking idea which of the three will happen.

Today's run was 14 miles with 2x10 minute tempo, made even more delightful by 80 degree temperatures and a 74 degree dew point. Yuck. Aside from that, it wasn't too bad because I like having runs broken up into chunks like that.

Okay, that's all for now. More on training philosophy this time around to follow.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

At-Home Ab Workout

If you don't do a lot of core, here's a workout routine I developed for my S/O ... No equipment required!

All motions should be done slowly, like a four-count for most motions.

  1. Leg circles (8 each way, counter-clockwise and clockwise, big circles and little circles, right leg and left leg)

  2. 12 Mini crunches

  3. 12 Twist crunches (each side)

  4. 12 Toe Dips (each side)

  5. 12 Windshield Wipers (each side)

  6. 12 Scissors (each side)

  7. Planks - repeat this segment 3 times, 30 seconds each

    • Forward plank

    • Left side plank

    • Right side plank

    • Bridge

Then repeat the entire routine 2-3 times total.

Difficulty can be increased by adding repetitions to each step. Also, lengthening the time of the planks will make them harder. Toe Dips can be done with one foot at a time for an easier variation; dip both toes at once for a more difficult way. The intensity of windshield wipers can be increased by extending the legs after rolling on to the hip (shoulders down!), keeping them extended back to perpendicular to the floor, then returning to chair before rolling to the other hip.

Sorry for no images, I'm sure all these can be googled if you're unfamiliar with them.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Joan Benoit Samuelson wins Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon

The 1984 Olympic gold medalist, who is rewriting age group record books in her 50s, was a wire-to-wire winner with no serious challenger as she covered 13.1 miles in 1:21:57 on Sunday. She didn't break the age group American record of 1:19:40 this time.

"The victory today was nice for me personally, but more so, I am hopefully furthering the event’s inspiring message of resilience and hope," she stated.

From Runners World Racing News

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Shoot for the moon ...

ORN: 5 miles in 41:55, 73 degrees and muggy. This was Diane’s (a.k.a. Friend A) first run back since the marathon, and Eileen’s first since the half. We were slogging along.

Yesterday was 5 miles in 39:57, 82 degrees and muggy. Kelly ran the half over the weekend, too, her first.

I’m really excited for the half marathon we have coming up in June. In fact, I’m excited about running in general again. Not entirely sure why. Maybe because the weather is finally nice!

I’m following Pete Pfitzinger’s fifth mesocycle, a five-week recovery schedule I highly recommend ... so far. I’m in my 30 mile week, and it continues to step up over the next four weeks, capping at 50. That’s perfect, since then I’ll have one more week then a taper for the half. And then ... of course, right back into it.

This morning I read a brief bio about Priscilla Welch. She started running at age 34, ran her first marathon in 3:36 ... and went on to win New York at age 42, and held a PB and master’s WR at 2:26:51. Within eight years.

So the question I keep kicking around is, can I do that? I saw a friend’s dad today who made me think of it all again. He was in Boston last year when his daughter and I both ran the marathon, and all of us watched the Olympic Trials the day before. That was where I decided I wanted to qualify for the trials and was willing to work my butt off to do it.

Of course, this was one day before my second marathon. Boston kicked my butt. I sobbed over lunch, partly out of exhaustion and partly out of despair. I worked hard to get ready for Boston that year, and PR’d by a mere minute. That did not seem like enough forward progress to get where I wanted to go.

But my friend’s dad came in and congratulated me on this year’s Boston — nearly 16 full minutes faster than last year’s — and said he was happy to see I was still on track.

Can I really drop another 30 minutes — almost a minute per mile — in the next two years? Yikes. Sounds scary, but I did drop 15 minutes in one year ... So maybe?

Only one way to find out.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Derby Festival races recap

I spent a large chunk of my Saturday on various parts of the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon/miniMarathon course. I shuttled three friends to the start line -- two of them were running their first half, the other just her second. We spent 10 minutes in line for a bathroom, jogged and got them into their corral.

It was already 70 degrees and sunny when the gun went off at 7:30.

I watched for people I knew come across the start line, clapped and yelled and whatnot, then jogged/walked (I had a backpack and wasn’t in a hurry) to my next stop. The course has about a three-mile loop before coming back near the start, then catching a 5k loop through Iroquois park and going back across the start.

So I caught everyone at about mile 6 — it’s fun spectating at my hometown race, because I felt like I knew everybody! And several of them even had congratulatory words for me about Boston, since they hadn’t seen me since. Everyone was looking awesome. After that, I jogged back to my car about a half mile away, made a pit stop at my apartment, and headed for mile 16 of the marathon route.

Miles 15-18 are in Cherokee Park, which is hilly and lacking in crowd support. This year seemed better than last, at least. I had two friends to catch at 16, making sure they were doing okay and trying to boost their spirits.

The weather was about 80 at that point; I knew my friends wouldn’t be feeling too good. It was interesting to see two different tactics at play: Friend A was in 3:30 shape and decided to just go for renewing her 3:40 BQ. Friend B was in at least 3:15 shape and went out for his 3:10 BQ.

At mile 16, Friend A was gamely hanging on to her goal, and Friend B was quickly falling apart. Ran with both of them a little ways, and on the way back to my car, took a trail that resulted in a surprisingly gnarly gash on my leg. It involved a stick protruding from my calf. I mean, not a big stick, but any time something is sticking out of my leg, I worry.

Early this year, I promised Friend A I would run the bridge portion of the marathon with her, which starts at 22 miles and lasts through 24.5. Initially I planned to pull off the course around 26 and let her finish on her own, but it just wasn’t going to work today. Friends A and B actually caught each other on the bridge. Friend B had decided he was pretty much just going to walk the last four miles. Friend A was still being tough, although she started to waver.

At about 22.5, coming across the bridge, Friend A tells me she can’t do it, and stops. I pause, look at her, and say, “Oh, you’re not. You’re at least walking. It’s too late now.” She starts jogging again, albeit slowly, and only tries to throw up once, around mile 23. We’re going about 11 minute pace, not good considering she does her long runs at 7:30. Yikes. I’m babbling at her, just trying to keep her distracted -- she doesn’t remember any of the things I told her.

At about 23.5, we come past a hotel. I’m about a yard ahead of Friend A at this particular moment (this is right after the dry-heaving moment, so a yard ahead is safe territory), and a man in a Volvo is on the other side of the street about to cross into the hotel lot. Only one side of the street is blocked off, but it’s clearly blocked with cones for blocks, indicating there’s something going on. So this guy decides to turn into the hotel between me and my friend, which I figure out just as I go by his bumper.

I stop. I take two steps backward and stand in front of his car until she gets past. He’s not happy. I yell at him and give him the finger, then jog away. I mean, really? WTF.

I knew if she had to stop for this idiot, I might not get her started again. We keep going, trudging along toward our return trip on the bridge. We pass the 24 mile marker on the bridge, see the “You Go Girl” graffiti again (saw it on a training run last month), see her mom, and make our second to last turn at mile 25.

Now, here’s were things got funny. She looked so rough that I didn’t want to leave her until she was across the finish, so I was sticking through the end. With about .75 of a mile left, we were passed by a not-so-dainty older woman in flame shorts and matching sports bra. The gauntlet was down. We had dropped to about 10 minute pace after pacing the 25 mile marker, and now my poor Garmin couldn’t even keep up with my friend’s acceleration. We were down in the 7:30 range as we crossed 26 (we passed aforementioned inspiration within 200 meters), and she cranked 6:45 pace for the last two tenths. She finished in 3:50, 10 minutes off BQ and 12 minutes off her PR set on this course last year. It’s incredible what the heat can do, because I trained with her through both those marathons and know what kind of shape she’s in.

Then we sat in the med tent until she stopped feeling nauseous. And they were kind enough to clean and patch my war wound.

Friend B finished about 10 minutes later. It was 85 degrees. Some people dropped out of the marathon, a lot of people finished, and no serious injuries were reported.

Friend A and I are both going to run Sunburst Half Marathon June 6, and it’s looking like the Marshall University Marathon Nov. 1. If you’ve run either of those, would love opinions.

Post Scriptum: Congrats (again) to other finishers of these races: Justin, Kelly, Eileen, Craig, Ed, Mom, Robin, and a zillion others!

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Comeback Tour

Four days since the marathon. Tuesday I spent did some final Boston touristing since coach had never been, and spent most of the day traveling from one place to another. (Van to train. Train to North End. Train back. Van to hotel to get luggage. Van back to airport. Different van to different airport. Airport to airport to airport to home!)

Wednesday though, I took some friends on the previously mentioned labyrinth run. It was a slow four miles -- around 8:20 pace. I had a massage that morning which greatly, greatly reduced the ache in my legs. But I was definitely not spunky. I was very happy to run with my crew again!

Thursday everything started to click back into pace. I went for 5.6 miles, starting off slow and accidentally picking it up each mile. I was just easing into a pace that felt comfortable -- too slow is inefficient and my body balks. We started at 7:50 pace, then went 7:36, 7:40, 7:28, 7:25. Whoopsie-daisy.

I’m following a Pete Pfitzinger post-marathon plan. It’s five weeks long and designed to ease you back into training.

Today is a rest day, whoo-hoo. Tomorrow I’m going to get in seven miles, most of which will come from running with friends along the marathon course. Speaking of, good luck: Justin, Diane, Kelly, Eileen, Craig, Ed, and everybody else!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Labyrinth Run

I’m a pretty pragmatic person. It may just be that I’m getting cynical in my old age, but I don’t really buy into religious, ethereal, fluffy stuff.

But this isn’t a post about my own spiritual leanings and whatnot, it’s a post about a really awesome run.

In December, right before the Memphis Marathon, Coach Chad asked if I wanted to go on the “mystical mojo run.” His cross country team does this loop before the state meet, and I get the impression Chad has done it more times than that. So I agree, curiosity being a major motivating factor for me in most decisions.

The run ended up being on a really cold day, and with me, Chad and two fast Bellarmine University runners. I started getting nervous about my impending butt kicking. All I really knew was that it was a 10k loop that was intended to mentally prepare you for racing.

Turns out, unbeknownst to me even though I’ve run past it a million times, there’s a labyrinth hidden up on Alta Vista, just outside of Cherokee Park near Big Rock.

Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter how you get to it. It’s about 4 miles from the bathrooms at Seneca Park round trip.

The idea is to run up to the labyrinth and walk through it while thinking about your training and your plans for the race. You do the walk slowly, because this is reflection and preparation time. Then you run back.

It’s incredibly zen. The route includes beautiful scenery; the seminary is quiet and peaceful.

To get there: take Alta Vista or Maple to Barr Road. The labyrinth is just the left of the gate entrance.

Boston - Things I forgot

- German guy in a blond pig-tailed wig and Hooters waitress outfit. Ran past him at about 10k.
- Team Hoyt, on their way to their 1,000th race finish, at about 18 miles
- Girl to whom I’ve sold shoes, at Athlete’s Village in Hopkington
- Desiree Davila out for an easy jog on Sunday (I guess she was just to hang out)
- Bart Yasso signing autographs
- Bill Rodgers walking to his hotel
- Adidas billboard near finish: “All that’s left to do is make history.”

Boston Race Report

Alarms start going off in our hotel at 4:45 a.m. Monday. Quick showers, grab gear, head out. To get to the race start, Chad and I have to take a shuttle to the subway, then take the subway to another bus that will take us to the start. We’re out of the hotel by 6, on the second bus by 7.

The efficiency of the Boston Marathon should be noted and celebrated: hundreds of school busses lined Boylston by the commons; runners were loaded in and sent on their way in less time than seemed possible.

But the bus ride is very long. When you sit on a bus for over an hour, the idea of running all the way back starts to seem pretty daunting. And the bus was cold. The weather was holding in the low 40s that morning, but since the sun wasn’t up yet (yikes), that was okay. A 10 a.m. start time is a strange thing.

We finally make it to Hopkington at a little after 8. First stop is the bathrooms, which probably took 20 minutes. I sit down and get my chip and bib on, throw on my headphones and start mentally getting ready.

Pre-race song list: Beyonce - Diva, Ludacris - Move Bitch, DJ Unk - Walk it Out, Dashboard Confessional - Reason to Believe.

I start shedding layers -- not much fun considering the temperatures and my race outfit of sports bra and split shorts. My bag goes into the bus (crossing my fingers my iPod, phone and cash all meet me at the finish), and I head for another bathroom stop.

I make it to the start a little later than I wanted, starting with the 8000s instead of my 7000s. Figure the bathroom stop will be well worth it, since I would have had to stop during the race instead. Since it’s chip timed, going to the bathroom before and starting late doesn’t hurt my time -- but stopping in the race would.

Going across the painted start line gives me a little thrill. Here I am, in Boston, running the marathon. The weather is good, my training has gone well -- now all I have to do is run well for less than 3.5 hours and I’m finished.

My loose plan for this race was to go easy until the half, around 7:20 pace, then try to pick it up after that. I wanted to run easy through the downhills, trying to preserve my legs for the hills towards the end.

Miles 1-5: 7:39, 7:24, 7:19, 7:17, 7:29. (5k split 23:17)

The first four miles are steeply downhill, and I was packed in pretty tight. No reason to try jetting down the road shoulder to go faster, just settling in for a long trip back to Boston. I notice I’m sweating by the two mile marker. I’m pretty much on pace, or at least close enough, and I tuck in behind two girls who look about my age and speed. I don’t talk to them, but being behind them keeps me from trying to pass people ahead of me the whole time.

Miles 6-10: 7:21, 7:13, 7:21, 7:17, 7:21. (10k split 46:20)

This is still feeling okay, I’m happy with my choice of apparel. I chuck my gloves a little before the 10k point. It’s probably 50 by now, but the wind hasn’t started to pick up yet. I see Alicia Heyne, another Louisville runner. She’s a few yards ahead of me, I call hello, she waves and keeps going. “Hm, guess she doesn’t want to run together,” I think to myself. I’m loving the crowd and looking forward to the halfway point and the tunnel of sound that is Wellesley College.        

Miles 11-15: 7:31, 7:17, 7:22, 7:31, 7:33. (HM split 1:37:20)

Here we go through a couple small hills, but any hill is big in a marathon. Just past mile 12, you can here the girls of Wellesley screaming -- from a mile away. Running through there is incredible, kisses or no. The energy is amazing. But shortly after the halfway point, my stomach starts doing weird things, and I start thinking about throwing up. The internal debate is, stop and puke versus slow down and not puke. I opt for the later, not wanting to dehydrate myself by throwing up. I back off a little and brace for the hills.

Miles 16-20: 7:31, 7:56, 7:54, 7:37, 7:36.

Ouch. There’s a few little hills they don’t mention that lead into the bigger ones. Pretty big one at 17 (obviously), and I’m still thinking about throwing up. I’m pretty miserable, but I let the fans carry me along and hope my stomach settles. This is the worst section for me mentally every marathon anyway, so I’m just trying to hang in there.

I see Alicia again at 20. She’s starting to struggle. NOW she wants to chat. I talk to her for a few minutes; we relish that there’s only a 10k left. Her sister is supposed to be watching right around the area, but I don’t see her. I hope Alicia did. She was fading and I was starting to pick up steam.

The winds, by the way, are picking up. Cups are blowing all over the place at the water stations.

Miles 21-26: 7:45, 7:18, 7:27, 7:15, 7:09, 7:06.

Hello Heartbreak Hill. Long time no see. I drag myself up to the top -- I don’t walk, even though I see a lot of people doing so. I congratulate myself with a little fist pump at the top, no joke. Cresting that hill is what I needed to get back in the game.

In these miles somewhere -- I was starting to lose track of where I was -- some BU friends yell for me and so does my friend Chris, whose girlfriend was running too. I start passing people, pushing a little, trying to keep my legs from giving in. I’m dragging myself from water stop to water stop, pretty sure I won’t PR but knowing I would be pretty close to my time from Memphis.

Up one last hill at Fenway park, knowing I’m nearly finished but that there’s still a mile to go ... I try to speed up but there’s not much left, but still, I’m passing people like crazy, which is a good feeling. I hook the right-hand turn onto Hereford Street, which is a short, steep hill, then the left onto Boylston. The crowds are roaring, there’s just 400 meters between me and the arches at the finish. I got down to 6:15 pace in the final bit, but it took a lot.

Just 68 seconds slower than Memphis. Had wanted a PR but it wasn’t my day for one. I make a new friend in the finish chute, which gave me someone to talk to while we gathered our mylar blankets, gave up our chips in exchange for medals, tracked down our gear bags and in general, shuffled to our families and friends.

I find Chad at the “Q” section of the family meeting area, and I’m freezing. My teeth are chattering. I’ve pulled on pants and a sweatshirt to no avail. We head for a friend’s hotel, where the hotel security guard offers me a couple of towels to use as blankets. I find a heater to sit on eventually, but then we still have to make our way across town to our hotel. Sigh. It was nippy out, with the storms moving in.

Alright, this is getting ridiculously long. Will post separately about general thoughts on the race and the trip overall later!

Official time: 3:16:16
Female: 335/9302 (top 3.6 percent!)
Overall: 3891/22849 (top 17 percent)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Sorry I forgot to post, ah, all last week. Running isn't very exciting right now, since I'm in taper mode. Just 45 miles last week and not even that many this week.

Less than a week to go. Guess that means it's time for an obligatory reflective post. This training cycle I let somebody else design my program for the first time. Coach Chad Waggoner, a sub-3 marathoner and Trinity High School coach, put together my schedule. Not to say I followed it exactly ... but hey, I stuck to it pretty closely. He's been greatly supportive and doesn't let me get myself down.

January was so-so, a lot of good days but probably more off days than I should have taken. Especially at the end of the month when the ice storm hit, and I just couldn't find the will to slog through ice. This is also when I found out the treadmill destroys my IT band.

February was much more solid, only three days off and strong long runs on three of the four weekends. I really hit my stride in March, one day off before the 15k. Three 20+ runs and the other weekend was a 17.

I'm feeling ready. Ready for what exactly, I don't know, and like they say in "Once A Runner," "It's bad time to put your mouth on times your feet can't reach."

It's an important race -- every marathon is -- because of everything that goes into it. Running when you don't really want to, going to bed early on weekends, collapsing in your yard after a perfect 20 miler ...

Many props to my training pals, probably the best support group a gal could have: Diane, Rebekah, Eileen, Kelly, Steve and Dave. The people who don't run with me often but who I know are backing me up: Guy, Justin S., Justin B. and my family.

So going into this, I'm reminding myself this race is not "the" race. I'm already planning another marathon in the fall. Keep my eye on the prize and do the best I can.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

"It's over!"

(Please read headline in voice of Teen Girl Squad from Homestar Runner.)

Ran 18 miles today. Great run. Guess my body just wanted this week to heal up some. Nothing hurt, nothing was bad -- I have zero complaints about today's run.

If you need a visual to accompany my report, here you go.

Diane talked me into starting at 8, even though we usually start at 9 on Sundays and I was hella sleepy when I got up at 7. Our plan was to run part of her upcoming marathon course, the part that crosses over the Second Street Bridge. You get to the base of the bridge at about 22.5 miles, then it's a long uphill, back down, a little loop around the base of the bridge, then back across. N.B.: yours truly is scared of bridges. It was an interesting portion of the run. Diane said she would see me speed up, check my Garmin, slow down for a few steps then speed back up. Oops.

It was a really well-executed run -- nice and hilly in the beginning, since we went from Seneca Park through Indian Hills to River Road. Then down River Road to downtown Louisville, across the bridge, back down Main Street, then the bike path back to Cherokee Park. Then directly to Panera for sandwiches!

The weather was even compliant; sunny and 46 at the start but close to 60 at the end. It could have just stayed around 50, but oh well. And my shins don't hurt at all, knock on wood.

Taper time!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Just totally unnoteworthy

Running this week was not particularly exciting. Still dealing with some shin pain; hopefully just residual race tear. Got in a slow 9 miles on trails on Tuesday, then 11 miles Thursday with 4.5 miles of tempo -- but most of the other days were ugly. I did mostly trails trying to baby this shin, so my pace was atrocious. I did get gloriously muddy on several occasions though.

Last long run is tomorrow ... 18 miles. Then I can take a break - sort of.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Race report - Heart Mini 15k

Much to everyone in Louisville's confusion, a "mini marathon" is not necessarily a "half marathon." Sunday I headed to Cincinnati for my first race since Memphis. I decided to just drive up that morning, so that I could sleep in my own bed and save money, so I was on the road at about 7:30 a.m. ... gotta love a 10 a.m. race start! I had a coffee, a donut, some poptarts, a bottle of water and a bottle of gatorade with me. Most of those were consumed en route.

Got to the parking garage at about 9 a.m., watching everyone walk around the pickup area in tights and jackets. "Crap," I thought to myself, "I hope I'm not the only fool in shorts." My current philosophy is that if it's too cold for shorts, it's too cold to race. Granted, I wore shorts and short sleeves in Memphis and it was 35, so the bar is pretty high.

I had resigned myself to the weather; when I arrived it wasn't awful. Mid-40s, occasional drizzle. I had packed short sleeves and a singlet, plus my shorts. And gloves.

Inside, I scooped up my packet, along with a rare creature: a race shirt that fits. When they handed it to me, I was worried it would be too small. It looked tiny -- probably because it was a youth small. It fits perfectly. Go figure.

At 9:15 I was back in my car, heater running, pondering my warmup options. I had a running jacket and warmup pants, but couldn't decide if I wanted to warm up in those and come back and sit in the car for a few and change, or if I wanted to ditch everything and and warmup just before the start. I opted for the later.

I listed to a litany of obnoxious songs that make me want to run fast: Drop it like it's hott (Snoop), Walk it Out (DJ Unk), Ole Ole, etc. I put my tag on my flats, pinned my bib to my shorts, and locked up the car at about 9:40. I jogged over to the convention center, hit the bathroom, did some strides inside where it was warm, then jogged outside some more.

Had a hard time getting to the front of the start, so guess I should have warmed up earlier. They had seeded spots, but nothing about them on the website, and the female seed standard was 57 minutes anyway. Yeah right.

Mile 1: 6:20. Totally uphill through the first half mile or so. Nice overpass bridge. Weather crappy. Too fast. Pull self back under control.

Mile 2: 6:44. Right on pace. Water stop at mile 1.5, the 5k turnaround from earlier that morning. Really loud stereo. I hate running past speakers. Makes my head want to explode. Nice view of the river.

Mile 3: 6:34. Fast? Slow? These middle distances (10k/15k/HM) kill me. Trying to settle in. 5k in 20:16.

Mile 4: 6:37. Better. Nice hill thrown in here. Approaching turnaround, always fun to navigate. This race has two! Count seven girls ahead of me, so I figure I'm in the top ten, but you don't always know for sure.

Mile 5: 6:40. Back up the hill we came down as we approached turnaround. Getting to see runners still coming in.

Mile 6: 6:48. Hill from HELL. Goes up about a quarter mile so steep you can touch the ground in front of you, whips around the second turnaround at the mile marker. Wind getting nasty. 10k in 41:04 (a new PR).

Mile 7: 7:05. Then you go back down the hill, and up a really long one. At this point the wind is so hard I can't breathe or see. Catch girl in front of me who looks totally spent. Stay with her for a bit.

Mile 8: 6:46. Wind still terrible, hills still terrible, I'm starting to be miserable but it's almost over. Encouragement gained when crossing chip mat at mile 8.3 -- they give awards for the fastest final mile. It's a good reminder there's just one stupid mile left.

Mile 9: 6:57. Back up the huge hill from the race's beginning. This one hurts. My calves are screaming, the wind is blowing me backwards, and I'm ready for it to be over. 2:09 for the .3 - not much of a kick. Chip timed to 6:40 for the last mile (seventh fastest final female mile).

Finish time 62:40, 6:45 pace, ninth female overall. Somewhat encouraged that the seed time was 57 but the weather was so rough only the first-place girl ran that fast -- she ran 57:30. I'm happy, had gone in hoping to run anywhere between 6:30 and 7 pace, so I was about dead middle. Think better weather and I could have ran faster for sure. But, all things considered, for that course on that day, it was a good performance.

Flats worked out well, no owies. A little dinged up overall post-race, but that's to be expected. Other updates to come later.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Last 20+ run!

Ahhhhhh! It's nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel. As of today, I have no more over-20 milers left. A race next Sunday, then 16-18 miles, then I'm out.

Actually, it's not that bad. I really love long runs, the longer the better. For whatever reason, I do better the longer they are. I went out today planning to just do 20, but then when Diane decided to do 22, I threw down two nice last miles -- ending with a 6:44. And after about mile 16 or 17, I was really having fun. I don't think that's allowed. We ran up our last big hill, one in Cherokee park that runs from Willow Park up Alexander Road to the Cherokee Golf Course pro shop, and I was actually giggling. That hill usually kicks my butt; today I coasted up like it was no big thing.

I guess that means the training is working. Fancy that. Good because Boston is in less than a month.

No other really interesting runs this week since last post. Easy trail run Friday morning, which was great because the trails are finally all clear. Easy run with Eileen Saturday morning for about 8 miles as part of her long run -- she's going to do great at the mini.

Race next Sunday. Maybe a little bit of downtime this week?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring! Finally!

It finally feels like spring, thank goodness. Running in shorts makes me happy -- it doesn't take much, I know.

Tuesday night I went over to Waggner High for KCRS Track Tuesday, a weekly event that has gone on for over 20 years. It's an all-comers speed night, and this time of year it gets pretty busy. Many people are training for the Triple Crown or other spring races, plus the weather's nice. (There aren't so many people in mid-January when it's sleeting and 25, but we're there!)

Because I'm about to run a marathon (yikes), the interval workout planned for everyone wasn't great for me. So I went and did my own thing, and tried to just stay out of the way. I did 5x1200 with a slow lap between each repeat. It was my first chance to wear my new NBx racing flats, which is good because I plan to wear them in the 15k.

Yesterday morning was just an easy 8 miles, no heavy breathing allowed. Nothing really notable there, Rebekah and I just looped around St. Matthews -- over the Reservoir and around Seneca Park, pretty much.

Rodes City Run 10k is this weekend -- good luck to everyone who is racing!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Short shakeout run yesterday morning, just 2.25 miles. Quite a bit slower on the way out than the way back, by about 20 seconds. Something like 7:48 pace on the way out and 7:26 pace on the way back, 7:35 average. The 22 miler still had me feeling stiff, mostly in the quads, but nothing terrible. Especially considering I wasn't going slower than usual.

Then I went and got my butt kicked by Lisa Ferguson at the Louisville Athletic Club in a 30 minute abs & back class. Lisa, along with Jenny Willis, are the main reasons why I keep going to the LAC. They both teach pilates and yoga, and I love their classes. I don't like doing strength training by myself -- having an instructor keeps me focused and helps me make sure I'm doing worthwhile exercises.

Last night I put in my real run for the day, a 5.25 mile loop we do pretty much every Monday. As usual, Diane and Kelly were there, and we finally suckered our friend Adam into showing up, too. The warm weather had everyone feeling a little squirelly, and we all ended up averaging around 6:50 pace for the run. Oops again. Usually we say we're going to go slow, and end up running 7:30s anyway, but this was a little zippy even for our usual shenanigans. I never felt like I was pushing the pace, I was just running comfortably. So that's a good sign.

Tonight is speed night. I'm actually going to go hit the track for a change, and maybe throw on my flats and everything.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


What a week. It was hard to post because I was sans-computer from Saturday to Thursday ... the Mac PBg4 from 2003 finally crashed on me. Permanently.

I had a good week, running-wise. I mean, it must be good if the little log application on the left can't hold it all! I logged 66.2 for the week, including 17 last Sunday, 6x1600 on Tuesday and hills Thursday.

Today I put in a noteworthy 22 mile run with Steve. Our first loop was 13.27 miles at 7:30 pace; we went up to River Road, cut over to the bike path, through Cherokee and Seneca and back to the bathrooms. Then we did a 8.78 mile loop over to Browns Park and the reservoir. Then we sat in my front yard. I was really hungry the entire run, so I need to work on my pre-run nutrition some more. I seriously felt like my stomach was caving in and trying to eat itself.

I did get to try some of my awesome New Balance apparel the past couple of days -- since it finally warmed up! The new NBx line has some really nice gear, like the Cocona fabrics and great detailing. My only complaint is that the cuts are a little off, even the XS sizes seem big in the tops, and they're cut really long. Great if you like looser fitting, more full-coverage tops. But, in a singlet, I don't want a ton of extra fabric.

Next race is the 15k in Cincy on March 29. I may go knock out a 5k at Tom Sawyer, the Goose Creek 5k, on April 4.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Yesterday's run was great. Nice and easy for 8.5 miles, with all sorts of adventures thrown in. We decided to try some of the trails at Sawyer and see if they had been cleared (not so much). We climbed over fallen debris, ducked under branches ... And that was just the first few miles. Early on we saw two deer bounding across the path, looking disturbed by the model planes flying above.

We cut over to the Anchorage Trail (I'm trying to find a weblink for this to no avail), where we saw a dog that looked like a panda and crossed a creek via a fallen tree. Good times.

All in all, we didn't run very fast but it was a nice shakeout run after Tuesday's hard workout.

Today I'm getting a massage and putting in a hill workout before work. Usually I try to leave time between my massage and my run, but it's just not working out today.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Yesterday Eileen and I met at Sawyer for some two-mile repeats. She's training for her second half, so she did two sets; I did three. I think I may have essentially run faster than my 10k PR. (Which isn't very good, so maybe I shouldn't be too proud.)

Sawyer has a gravel loop that is almost exactly a mile (my garmin pegs it at .97 or so) -- it's also flat and not usually crowded. (Lots of people come walk from maybe 5-7 p.m. when the weather is nice.) It was pretty cold yesterday, so I did a 1.75 mile warmup to get everything loose, not to mention checking on any kinks lasting from Sunday and Monday.

After talking to a couple of guys with way more experience than I have, we estimated my VDOT at 52, which makes 6:40 a nice pace for me on this workout. Then again, my times are a little all over the place, so I range from a 48 to 52, depending on race distance.

Times: 6:28/6:40, 6:42/6:36, 6:33/6:32.


So I'm not sure what that means. My VDOT is higher for my 5k PR I ran last May than the marathon I just ran, even though I think the marathon was a much bigger accomplishment and required a lot more work. And is a much more impressive time than my 5k. Curious stuff.

The Mason-Dixon Games are this weekend at Broadbent Arena -- if you live in Louisville or nearby, it should be a fun meet to watch.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Boston countdown begins

Wow, back to blogging ... I've been thinking about getting this thing going again, and I'm finally going to do it.

Quick updates:
  • Ran Evansville HM in October, worst race of my career, 1:31:28, fifth female
  • Ran Memphis Marathon in December, good solid race, 3:15:08, 20th female
  • Boston coming up in about seven weeks, April 20!

I'm not putting in big mileage like I was before Memphis, but I'm content so far. I've gotten rid of a lot of easy miles I was doing and replaced them with more quality workouts. We'll see if that makes a difference.

My first 20 mile run of the training block was this past Sunday. I ran with a good group of people (Steve, Rebekah, Dave and Craig, plus Kelly for the first hour), and Steve and I stayed together through 5 tempo-ish miles from 13-18. It's nice to have company. After doing two 18s and a 20 in consecutive weekends, I'm excited to cutback to 15 or so this weekend.

Yesterday, for my post-20 miler recovery day, I did an hour of pilates and an hour of yoga, with a two-mile shakeout sandwiched between. In the evening I did 5.25 easy miles with Diane, which was just enough time to catch up on our weekend adventures.

Today is repeat two-milers, three of them. Will post later on that!