Sunday, June 18, 2017

Post-Marathon week

By Wednesday, my legs didn't feel sore anymore.  Seems like all my training really paid off for that marathon, my body was ready to handle it and recover quickly!  Now, I know my body is probably still recovering, even though it feels fine.  It certainly wasn't ready to run a stellar half marathon on Saturday, but I still was able to run a strong race, if not a super-fast one.  I want to jump straight into training for the half marathon PR I hope to get in the fall, but hopefully I will be able to convince myself to take it easy for at least another week.

This week : 
M : walk 3.2 
T : group 4.1 / 8:25 / 167 ft
W : 30 minute ab workout 
R : group 4.2 / 7:44 / 240 ft
F : off
Sa : race 13.2 / 7:24 / 449 ft
Su : jog w/Lex 4.3 / 10:36 / 397 ft
total miles : 25.8

I was itching to run on Monday, but felt like it was probably a better idea to wait another day.  I did need to go to the post office though, I decided to walk instead of drive.  It was pretty hot out for a walk, but it still felt good to move my legs.  The walk also helped to loosen up my hips, which were pretty tight post-marathon.  On Tuesday I went to run club, but kept the pace nice and easy.  Thursday I was pushing the pace, because my legs were sick of slow paces, and I wanted to let them stretch out before Saturday's race!  The race was really humid, and I wasn't able to run quite as fast as I had hoped, but I still put in a solid run for 1 week post-marathon.  Today I drove to Lewisburg, and had a nice recovery jog with a friend.  

This coming week, I hope to enjoy some runs around town as well as a bike ride or two.  I'll also go to at least one TRX class at the gym while I'm here.  And of course spend some quality time with my horse!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hatfield McCoy Marathon 6/10/17

Friday evening : my "flat runner" is ready, I've picked up my bib, eaten a small but free pasta dinner, and am on my way to find a second dinner because I'm still hungry. 

Saturday morning : waiting around for the race to start.  Got our picture taken with McCoy(left) and Hatfield (right).  

I took 1st place around mile 10 or 11 and held it til the end.  I never had any idea how far behind me 2nd place was, and never let myself turn around to look.  Not knowing helped me keep pushing myself whenever I started to slow down.  I crossed the line with a watch time of 3:25:36 and chip time of 3:25:30, and in addition to my finisher's medal I received the Kentucky State marathon championship medal.  (This race just happened to be the Kentucky State championship this year)

Race Recap/Review 
Packet Pickup and the Race Expo were held at the Belfry, KY high school.  It was easy to find, and the packet pickup went very smoothly.  The expo had a selection of running clothes, shoes, and books about the Hatfield-McCoy feud.  I didn't pay too much attention to all the stuff because I didn't want to spend any money, but it looked like it had some good deals.  The expo let out into the cafeteria, where there was a free pasta dinner for the racers.  I appreciated the free meal, but I needed about 3 times that amount of pasta, and ended up having to stop at a Subway on the way back to the hotel to get a sandwich and chips because I was so hungry it felt like I hadn't had dinner at all. 

The hotel/motel situation around Williamson is not great. There were only a few choices right in Williamson, and none of them were affordable for me.  The fire departments do offer cots for anyone who wants to stay there, and next time I would probably try that instead.  As it was, we stayed in the Daniel Boone Motor Inn 30 minutes away.  Wasn't the nicest motel I've stayed in, but it was cheap and the beds weren't bad.  (also, they still use metal keys instead of plastic key cards!)

On Saturday morning, we got to Williamson around 5:15 and didn't have any trouble finding parking, although I didn't think the parking map was particularly clear, and think it would have been really nice if they had put up signs in the designated parking areas so that it would be more clear where we were allowed to park.  We ended up just parking in a lot and hoping it was ok.  After we parked, we wandered for a bit until a bus drove by and picked us up.  We weren't super clear on where exactly the bus stops were, but were thankful that the bus driver picked us up where we were standing when she drove by.  The bus took us to the starting line a few miles away at the Food City.  We still had about an hour to kill until the race start, and thankfully the Food City was open and we got to sit in the nice warm food court until it was closer to go time. 

The race started right around 7:00, and we headed up the road with our police escort, as well as several local cyclists.  I stayed with the 8:00 pacer for the first mile or so.  I believe that was the fastest pacer they had.  The course was beautiful, there was very little traffic, and any cars that did pass us gave plenty of room.  There were water/gatorade stops every mile with friendly volunteers.  This race is unique in that if you want to run a half marathon, you can choose to run either the first half of the marathon course, or the second half.  You can also choose to run a "double half" instead of the marathon if you are a 50 stater and want to get a medal for each state (WV and KY).  This means that when I crossed the finish line for the first half marathon I had the benefit of a nice crowd of cheering people telling me I was in first place for the marathon so far.  It was nice to have that little pick-me-up of a cheering crowd halfway through, and gave me a little boost of energy as I started on my second half.  Up until that point, the whole course had been on paved roads.  The second half started out on a vary narrow one lane back road that turned into gravel/dirt after awhile.  There were a few muddy spots, but not too deep thankfully.  The dirt road eventually spit us out onto a golf course, where we ran over a swinging bridge (not suggested for people who are afraid of heights...) and then back onto a road for the remainder of the run.  

The course was rolling for most of the race.  There was a long hill about halfway through the first half, and there were some mostly flat sections.  The second longest hill was in mile 24.  I was hurting by that point, but thanks to the ballcap I was wearing, I was able to use the brim to block my gaze, as I just put one foot in front of the other until I reached the top.  Coming back down the other side was probably the hardest part of the whole race for me.  My hips were hurting pretty bad by that point, and if you have ever had to run down a hill with hip know how bad it is.  I almost cried as I limped my way down the hill, but I made it to the bottom.  I struggled along for a bit longer, and then the pain dulled, I rallied, and made my final 1.5 mile strong push to the finish line.  

At the finish line, there were buckets filled with ice cold water and gatorade, as well as some snacks.  Each finisher received a mason jar in addition to their finisher medal.  

photo taken at a water stop around mile 24
I had Tailwind in my camelbak : about 5 scoops of powder in 50 ounces of water.  I started sucking air out of the pack around mile 21, so I got sips of cold water off the water tables at each mile after that, along with the little sips of tailwind I was still able to draw out of my pack.  

Marathon Week!

This week : 
M : 4 / 8:05 / 194 ft
T : track 4.4 / 7:34 / 184 ft
16 x 100m striders
W : 3.2 / 7:20 / 240 ft
R : 20 minute ab workout
20 minute yoga
walk 0.8 miles x2
F : rest
Sa : race 26.2 / 7:51 / 1873 ft
Su : walk 0.8 miles x2
total miles run : 37.8

What a week!  Tried to take it easy leading up to the race, but after the last week or two of taking it easy, restless leg pain was starting to set in.  Monday I did pretty well with keeping it easy, and for Track Tuesday I did striders on the straights and marathon pace on the curves, 1 mile in each direction.  I had planned on running M-T-R this week, but Wednesday was Global Running Day and I couldn't not run!  My legs had been unhappy with the slower paces I'd been inflicting on them, so for Global Running Day I let them pick the pace.  It felt really good to run those short miles at a nice faster pace!  On Thursday, the restless leg pain really set in and was driving me crazy. Usually compression socks help, but they weren't helping this time. I walked back and forth to a friend's house, but the walk hardly helped either.  When I got home I attacked my leg with the roller until it stopped hurting long enough for me to go to bed.  Thankfully on Friday the pain stayed away.  

I was ready when the starting gun finally went off on Saturday, and I had a great race!  Tough for sure, and it was pretty hot out, but I was really proud of my run.  Race recap coming soon! 

I could barely walk on Sunday morning because my hips were so tight and sore, but it loosened a bit after some rolling.  And then I walked back and forth to the brewery for celebratory drinks with my friends, and the walking helped some.  They are still stiff today, and some delayed cramping is setting into my calves, but I'm attacking them with the roller periodically and as long as I can grit my teeth through that extra pain, it helps!  Contemplating a recovery jog today...decisions, decisions.  

In other news, I was looking at my previous marathon stats to compare to this one...

November 2011, Charlotte, NC -- 3:16:11 / 164 ft
November 2013, Richmond, VA -- 3:21: 39 / 245 ft
June 2017, Williamson, WV -- 3:25:36 / 1873 ft

This may have been my slowest of my 3 marathons, but I was more prepared for this one, and ran a much stronger race.  I didn't even hit the "wall" in this one.  Also...check out that huge elevation difference between this one and the previous two!  

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Marathon Countdown...T-6 days!

I'm playing all sorts of mental mind games as marathon day approaches.  The bad run on the 27th really messed with my head, and runs have been hit or miss since then.  I'm trying to do the taper thing, but I feel like there's a very fine line for me between tapering being beneficial, and tapering being detrimental.  I've been taking a lot of days off, and have reduced the my mileage, but my legs feel dead on about every other run.  I'm now spending a lot of time reminding myself to trust the training, but also that this race is not the end goal, it's just a step on the way, and as long as I finish it will be a good run.

This week : 
M : 
T : morning shakeout 3.2 / 8:38 / 151
hill repeats  5 / 8:02 / 466 ft
(3 x 0.5 mile uphill) 
W : workout 12 minutes
yoga 20 minutes
R : off
F : run 5.5 / 7:48 / 299 ft
Sa : 5.5 / 8:04 / 374 ft
Su : bike 17.1 / 17.6 mph / 935 ft
total run miles : 19.2
total bike miles : 17.1

Wednesday Workout x3
10 squats
10 pushups
10 lunges
10 leg raises
10 burpees
10 sec side plank, each side

I've got 3 teacher work days this week, and then I'm on summer vacation!  My brain is apparently already on vacation though, because I feel asleep on the couch around 3 this afternoon and couldn't get my eyes open until about 7.  Thankfully there was enough daylight time left for me to get in the bike ride I had planned to do today!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Belated post...but now it's T-11 days til Hatfield McCoy!

Last week : 
M : hill fun 7 / 7:49 / 505 ft
T : yoga class 1 hour
track 8 / 7:54 / 98 ft
(3200, 1600, 800, 400)
W : TRX circuit 30 x 45/15
R : group 7 / 7:20 / 400 ft
F : rest
Sa : 10 / 9:08 / 856 ft
Su : rest
total miles : 32

My week started strong and was going really well.  I meant for Monday's run to be easy, but once I started up the first hill, I caught hill fever...and the rest is history.  I had to go find more hills to run hard.  It felt so good...  On Tuesday it was POURING rain but it was Track Tuesday and I wasn't going to let the stupid weather be an excuse to quit.  So I picked a short ladder, and we did 1 lap walk recovery between each run in an attempt to keep our legs warm.  My shoes were soaked and sloshing by the time I got to the 800.  For Wednesday's TRX, I did 5  warm-up exercises, a 3x8 workout, and then finished off with a plank.  On Thursday it was raining again, but at least not too hard this time.  I picked a loop with a nice hill in the middle, and set out with Ben & Corey.  I intended for it to be marathon-ish pace.  It ended up being a bit faster for me, but it felt really good to be able to keep up with the guys, even with some conversation.  A few months ago, I couldn't do that, so this was huge for me!  My lungs are definitely a lot stronger now, and of course all my dedicated training is paying off and I am getting faster as well!

Sadly, my strong week crashed about 3 miles into my run on Saturday.  I was in Lewisburg, and had planned a 12 mile run on all my favorite mountain-y hills. I planned to get all or most of it at marathon pace.  But 3 miles in my legs decided they were done for the week.  They just didn't want to move.  So, I jogged the loop instead, and finished out the bare minimum loop at 10 miles, instead of adding on at the end to get 12.  I was disappointed to feel so bad on this run, but I've been really lucky to have so many good runs lately, and am hoping that tired legs was the only thing wrong.  I'm counting on not feeling like that on marathon day as long as I am super careful for the next 11 days!  

Monday, May 22, 2017

Meal Prep : 5/22-5/26 One Pot Meal


Ingredients : 
1/3 onion, chopped 
2 B/S chicken breasts, chopped
1 c chicken broth
honey mustard
3/4 c quinoa
12 oz frozen broccoli
12 oz frozen cauliflower
garlic powder
corn starch

Brown the onion in a large skillet on medium heat with some olive oil.    Next add the chicken, garlic powder, and salt, and cook til most of the pink is gone.    Then add all remaining ingredients except the corn starch.  Cover and simmer until the quinoa is done.  (10-15 minutes).  If there is too much liquid left, mix a teaspoon of corn starch with a bit of cold water, then add to the skillet and stir til thickened, then remove from heat.  

Notes : The broccoli had lost it's bright green color by the time the quinoa was done, so I know I overcooked the veggies.  They should probably be added a bit later.  

Sunday, May 21, 2017

post-long run

This week: 
M : bike w/Chuck 20.3 / 16.2 mph / 1385 ft
T : bike w/Chuck & Joe 20.4 / 14.7 mph / 1207 ft
W : TRX 3 x 10 @ 45/15
shakeout 1 / 7:54 / 0 ft
R : yoga class 1 hour
group run 4.7 / 7:53 / 253 ft
F : rest
Sa : run w/ Mollie 7.1 / 8:39 / 154 ft
Su : workout 15 minutes
total run miles : 12.8
total bike miles : 40.7

It was hard not to run for so many days in a row...but I managed!  I tried to wait til Thursday, but after Wednesday's TRX in an 80 degree apartment I really wanted to feel a breeze.  Also, I went overkill on the squats and lunges and I wanted to shake out my legs.  At least I only did a mile, and I skipped the inhaler so that I couldn't go too far or fast anyway.  It felt good though, and so Thursday I felt good about going for a good 4-5 mile run.  In the meantime, my bike got some good use while I was resting my foot!  

On Thursday I started with the guys.  They were running faster than I wanted to go, but I let them carry me for a few miles, and then I split off to jog back to the brewery while they continued on, since they wanted more miles than me anyway.  My foot hurt a little bit, but it's unavoidable as the roads I was running on had the same camber that hurt it to begin with!  

On Saturday, Mollie and I headed to Damascus where we ran around town and up and down the Creeper Trail while people-watching at the Trail Days Festival.  We ran the first 4.5 ish miles together, then she stopped and I picked up the pace and got a few more miles in.  It was hot and sunny, but I felt pretty good.  
Creeper Trail on a gorgeous day.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

I ran 30 miles and it was amazing

Jumping for Joy at the conclusion of my 30 mile run!

I am in awe of how well my 30 mile run went!  I knew I was in shape for it, and I didn't really have any doubts about my ability to finish it, but I didn't expect to feel good during it.  I'm not saying the whole thing felt like a jaunt in the park, but it almost did.  And for how far I went and how many hours I spent running, it basically did feel like a jaunt in the park.  I have felt a lot worse than that on runs that were a lot shorter!

This week : 
M : run 4.2 / 8:04 / 161 ft
T : run 4.5 / 7:20 / 85 ft
8 x 400 (90, 88, 88, 89, 87, 88, 86, 85)
W : bike 12.4 / 18.1 mph / 768 ft
R : 60 min yoga class
run 5 / 7:14 / 203 ft
3 @ goal hm pace (6:38, 6:41, 6:39)
F : rest
Sa : run 30 / 8:27 / 1299 ft
Su : 35 min yoga stretching
total run miles : 43.7
total bike miles : 12.4

Recap of long run : 

Mentally, I felt great for the entire run.  I was cheerful, I was enjoying the experience, and I never hit a wall of any kind.  I had Tailwind Nutrition in my camelbak, sipped frequently, and never got calorie depleted or thirsty.  I had brought a gel and some chews just in case, but never used them or felt like I needed them.  Ben ran the first 23.7 with me, and then handed me off to Mollie and Joe who ran to the finish with me, joined by Jim at mile 27.5.  I am grateful to all the friends who supported me in this run, it was definitely nice to have the company out there!

The weather was overcast, high 50s, and extremely humid.

The first loop of the run went really smoothly.  Ben and I cruised along up and down the hills and kept a good steady pace averaging around 8 minute miles.  The second loop sent us down a very muddy rail trail, and then back onto the road.  We continued to keep a really good pace, with uphill miles a bit slower and downhill miles a bit faster.

I started having intermittent knee pain sometime around mile 13, but it never got too bad, and it never lasted too long, so it wasn't worrying.  Sometime around mile 22 I could no longer ignore the fact that my feet were hurting, but it was just normal been-on-my-feet-for-hours pain.  Around mile 27, I got a sharper pain along the outside of my left foot, that got persistently worse.  By mile 28 it hurt a lot.  It hurt less if I bounced along on my toes instead of keeping my normal running stride, so that's what I did.  It hurt bad enough to be worrying, but there was no way I was going to quit with less than 2 miles left to my goal!  It didn't take me long to figure out the cause of the foot pain.  The roads around here are all cambered at the edge.  For almost the entire run, I was running with my left foot on the lower side of the camber.  There were 4 miles of rail trail from 13-17, and sidewalk from 28-30, but other than that, the run was entirely on cambered roads.

I posted updates to my instagram account (@wvhillrunner) throughout my they are.

This one was called : Time to get this party started.  
Taken at 6 AM. 

Shortly after I started down the Creeper Trail. 
Stopped about a mile later to top off my camelbak at a water fountain and take off my shirt.

Less than 4 miles to go and still smiling!

Other photos taken along the way:

And a photo of everyone who ran with me at one time or another!  
Ben was waiting for us at my house when we finished, 
along with Mollie's husband who took the photo.  

Now, I will have to take it easy until the foot recovers.  I desperately do NOT want this to turn into a lasting injury.  My marathon is now less than 4 weeks away!  I plan to bike until the foot pain is gone.  

Friday, May 12, 2017

Meal Prep 5/8 - 5/12

Last weekend, I made my lunches AND dinners for the week.  And it made my week so easy! I am already used to grabbing my ready-made lunch in the morning, but having dinner also ready made my evenings so much smoother and allowed me to eat earlier than 8 every night!  Bliss.

black beans
crock pot pulled pork
sauteed carrots

Black beans simmered in water until soft, then sauteed in bacon grease with garlic powder, onion, and mushrooms.
Small pork tenderloin placed in the crockpot, sprinkled with garlic powder, top covered in some barbecue sauce, and then enough chicken broth added to cover the bottom of the pot and about halfway up the tenderloin.  Cooked on low until done and then shredded with forks. 
Carrots sauteed in olive oil and garlic powder.  

I also added snacks this week, since I needed to gain a bit of weight back that I lost from my increased mileage and workouts.  I brought cashews and triscuits to work and munched a bit whenever I got hungry.  

angel hair pasta
broccoli-cauliflower pesto
veggies (not pictured)

My basil plant desperately needed to be trimmed back, so I cut off many of the leaves to make some pesto.  First, I dumped a bag each of frozen broccoli and frozen cauliflower into a pot and steamed them til almost done, then sauteed them the rest of the way.  I then put them in a blender with olive oil, garlic powder, and the fresh basil, and pureed it.  Finally, I tossed the pesto with some angel hair pasta.  Deliciousness.  I supplemented with fresh veggies on top each night, and sometimes a pouch of salmon for some protein.  

grab & go meals ready in the fridge

Sunday, May 7, 2017

I have missed running alone

I love my running group and running friends, of course!  But after running alone for so many years, sometimes I really miss it.  And it is hard to figure out where I am race-pace wise when I am always running someone else's pace.  Also, running has always been something I do for me and it is really nice to put in headphones and just go!  Nothing but the pavement, my thoughts, and the music to keep me company if my thoughts shut up for a minute or two. This week I was feeling burned out on running with people and definitely enjoyed all my solo runs!

This week : 
M : TRX @ GVF 45 minutes
horseback ride 35 minutes
hill run 4 / 7:38 / 315 ft
Pub Run 3.1 / 9:09 / 0ft
T : solo track ladder 8.5 / 9:01 / 98 ft
200,400,600,800,1000,1000,800,600,400,200, walk recoveries 200-400
W : 6 / 8:10 / 282 ft
R : 7 / 7:26 / 338 ft
5 miles tempo alternating goal marathon/half marathon paces 
F : yoga 20 minutes
Sa : 12.5 / 8:14 / 650 ft
Su: TRX 30 x 45/15
total miles : 41.1

I was still in Lewisburg on Monday, as I used my 2 personal days for the year on Monday and Tuesday and spent a long weekend there.  It was nice to do a TRX class at the gym where my friend is an instructor, and then I relaxed for awhile before going to ride horses with her.  That evening,  I enjoyed running some quick hills before the Pub Run, despite the crazy wind storm that was going on, and then had a nice easy 5k with a friend for the Pub Run.  

On Tuesday, the guys backed out of the track workout since they had done their long run on Sunday instead of Saturday, but I was determined to stick to my plan so I went to the track alone.  I ran my intervals by feel rather than by the watch, and was happy to be within 3 seconds on each pair of intervals especially since all but 600s were faster the second time.
200s : 40, 38
400s : 1:29, 1:27
600s : 2:15, 2:18
800s : 3:10, 3:07
1000s : 4:01, 4:00

Wednesday is normally a workout or rest day, but it was absolutely gorgeous and warm out, so I couldn't resist going for a nice easy jog.  (Especially since there was no usual faculty meeting and so I got home on time)

On Thursday I decided I wanted to run alone instead of with the group, so that I could really focus on my own pace.  The idea was to alternate goal marathon/half marathon pace, but I am really bad at running my planned paces... I would like to blame the hills for that, as they make it hard to stick to a pace, but I know it is also due to me not being quite disciplined enough.  My goal marathon pace doesn't tend to feel very fast, so it's hard to consider it a "real" workout.  Currently, goal marathon pace is 7:30, and goal half marathon pace is 6:40.  My marathon pace miles were too fast and my half marathon pace miles were too slow, but the hills were different for every mile, and definitely played a role in the pacing.  In the end, I'm just going to say the marathon/half marathon "efforts" were being exerted and call it good enough.  

Friday is usually my complete rest day, but I hadn't done yoga all week.  I really wasn't in the mood for it on Friday either though, so I did about 10-15 minutes of yoga and then did a bit of stretching, and decided it was all close enough.  

My plan for Saturday changed many times, both while planning it and during the actual run.  I believe I had originally planned 12, but at some point decided to do 14 instead.  I then played with the idea of doing 5-7 tempo miles in the middle of it.  However, at some point in the middle of the week I discovered that I was about 5 lbs under my ideal weight.  (Apparently all the extra miles + a reduction in the already-small bit of weekly alcohol I was drinking finally took their toll).  I did not want to carry water/fuel for a run of 14 miles or less.  I started out my run thinking I was going to do 14.  But then I got to thinking about how big a difference 5 lbs underweight is for me.  And about how I had run 18.5 last weekend and was doing 30 next weekend.  And how all those factors meant I should not be overdoing it this weekend.  First, I dropped the idea of tempo miles because I didn't think I could do them efficiently while underweight without fuel.  Then I dropped the 14 mile idea thinking 12 was plenty in between last weekend's and next weekend's miles.  The one goal I stuck to was wanting to keep the average pace between 8 and 8:30.  I was doing pretty well for most of the run, but the last 4 miles were really windy.  In my face wind.  I thought for sure I was going to completely lose the pace, but somehow it appears I did a good job of fighting the wind!  And I suspect I am also just stronger than I want to give myself credit for....  I have done so few long runs alone in the last few months, it is hard to know what pace I am really capable of.  I was really happy with my average pace for this run.  It was less than half of the marathon distance, but I was not trying to race it either.  It was a great solo mid-distance training run to see where I am.  

It was chilly on Saturday (it felt so weird to wear long sleeves),
but it was gorgeous out!

Next weekend I am doing a very belated 30 miles for 30 years (which might end up being an early 31 for 31...  I was not in shape to run 30 miles on my 30th birthday, but had thought I would either bike 30 miles or run 30 minutes.  Instead, I started celebrating the end of the school year at noon with my coworkers, and then went straight to my birthday party at 6.  Now, I am actually capable of running 30 miles, and I am determined to do it before I turn 31.  I had originally planned it for the 20th, but then I decided I should move it up a week to give myself more time to recover before my June 10 marathon.  

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Summer in April

It has been either raining or 80+ degrees every day this week...I have been loving the 80 degree days!

This week : 
M : 4.1 / 7:48 / 246 ft
T : 6.1 / 10:10/ 167 ft
(10 x 200 @ 38-40 seconds)
W : workout 5 x 5 @30/10
R : group 6.3 / 7:52 / 236 ft
F : rest
Sa : 18.5 / 8:34 / 1024 ft (11.5 w/Kenny)
horseback ride 1:30
Su : rest
total miles : 35

I was pretty pleased with Saturday's long run in Lewisburg.  It was already over 70 degrees when I started, but I do want to make sure I am acclimated to heat before my marathon on June 10!  I had about 5 scoops of Tailwind powder mixed with 1.5L of water in my camelbak, and when I finished the run I had about 5 sips of water left, so I was glad I hadn't tried to push for 20 miles like I had considered.  The route I chose was very hilly and there wasn't a whole lot of shade, but I felt remarkably good anyway, especially considering it was near 85 degrees by the time I finished!  I was a little worried about how it would feel to start with someone and then have to finish the last 6+ miles alone, but it ended up being fine.  

track tuesday

heading up big hill 1 of 4 during Saturday's long run

long run done!

Tomorrow will be a TRX class at the Lewisburg gym in the morning, and the Pub Run in the evening.  I'm enjoying a long weekend in the 'burg while taking advantage of my 2 personal days for the year.  Half the school is out on week-long field trips this week so it was the perfect time to take my days off!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Blue Ridge Week

 This week : 
M : run w/Mollie 8.2 / 8:35 / 269 ft
T : group 6.6 / 7:32 / 102 ft
4 x 1600 (6:40, 6:30, 3:30, 6:17)
W : run 4.2 / 7:36 / 230 ft
R : 20 minute yoga for hip flexibility
F : off
Sa : race Blue Ridge 13.1 / 7:33 / 1864 ft
cool down 1 / 9:23 / 0 ft
Su : 40 minute recovery yoga
total miles : 33.2

It's been a good week!  Also, a very rainy week.  Monday Mollie and I were both out of school for Easter, so we got to go for a nice midday run around town.  It felt good for my legs to get some long-er miles in without working too hard.  Tuesday was Track Tuesday of course, and raining, since it does almost every Track Tuesday.  Corey wanted 1600 repeats, and I had been trying to decide between repeats and doing 4 fast miles in a row, so I decided to repeats as well.  I did not try to do them at a normal 1600 repeat pace.  I opted to start slower, and try to make each one a bit faster.  And then of course I did work harder on the last one on purpose... But either way, I was not depleted at the end, which was good.  Didn't want to wear myself out too hard before Blue Ridge!

                                        Monday                                                      Tuesday 

I wanted to do yoga on Wednesday and jog on Thursday, but Spring Program at school was on Thursday evening, and I knew I wouldn't get home til 8 at the earliest.  I thought about running first thing in the morning, but I wasn't sleeping well this week and sleep seemed more important than running.  So, I went for a jog Wednesday and did yoga in my classroom on Thursday in between school and the performance.  Friday was a rest day because I almost always take off the day before a race, but also because there was no time for exercise!  I was at school til 5:30 because my student council was hosting a fundraiser dance so of course I had to be there.  

On Saturday it took me too long to choke down my breakfast so I didn't get to the race in time to do a proper warm up, but in the end I figured that was a good thing since it would force me to use the first mile as a warm up and help keep me from starting too fast.  The race ended up going really well, I didn't let the competition effect my race, and I ran exactly the race I needed to.  I didn't quite negative-split it, but my second half was less than a minute longer than my first half, so I will take it! I feel like the rules for negative-splitting have to be effected by elevation change anyway.  I didn't die until the last mile, and if I'm not dead in the last mile, I'm not working hard enough!  I finished 2 minutes faster than the last year, but still a minute slower than my course PR.   Maybe next year will be my year!  I have very high hopes for improvement in my running as long as I stay injury free!  

I wanted a shake out jog today, but it has been cold and raining all. day. long. My legs are stiff and sore because I was stupid and didn't stretch after the race, and I figured running in the wet cold would not help.  So I just did yoga.  

Blue Ridge 1/2 Marathon 2017

Another fabulous Blue Ridge race experience!  The Blue Ridge team really knows how to put on a good race, from the volunteers, to aid stations, to finish line festival, to the prizes.  And of course the's unbeatable for beautiful scenery and a tough challenge.

It was a gray and rainy morning, but thankfully in the high 50s/low 60s, so I didn't have to worry about staying warm.  I had actually bought arm warmers with this race in mind, but ended up not needing them at all.
pre-race photo

I was very grateful to have my friend Mollie along for this trip!  I had to stay at school late on Friday, and didn't get home til about 6, at which point I still needed to shower, eat, and finish packing.  I didn't hit the road until almost 7:30, but when I picked up Mollie 20 minutes later, she was able to do the rest of the driving for me, which was much appreciated as I was exhausted, and don't feel comfortable driving in the rain or dark on a good day!  

Saturday morning I was slow getting ready and just barely made it to packet pickup before they closed at 7 am, but thankfully I was able to jump out of the car to get there and leave Mollie to go park!  I ended up not really having time to warm up, and ended up jogging for about a minute before standing on the starting line waiting for the start.  I wasn't worried about the lack of warmup however, because I knew I needed to start slow, and figured it would be good for me to use the first mile as a warmup.  

I did my best to keep my pace relaxed during that first downhill mile, not concerning myself with who was ahead of me or passing me.  When we reached the bottom of Mill Mountain, I picked up the effort a little bit, but still made sure I stayed focused on keeping my breathing deep and relaxed.  I knew that I could make or break this race with my lung power, and was determined not to break it.  I often notice that I am not fully expanding my lungs when I breathe in, unless I really concentrate on my breathing and force it.  I tend to concentrate for awhile, and then time will pass and I realize I am not breathing deeply anymore.  During this race, I was focused enough to think about my breathing almost the entire way, and it really helped!  

So, the whole way up Mill Mountain, I was running only as fast as I could run without tiring my lungs.  I kept the same effort going back down.  I used to really push the uphill, and then try to fly down the other side to make up as much time as possible.  Now I know it is smarter not to coast down the hill so that I have plenty of energy to pick up the pace at the bottom.  I also wanted to make sure I saved plenty of drive for the later climbs.  On Mill Mountain, I knew there was at least one woman in front of me.  I got passed by 2 more as we neared the bottom of the hill, but I let them go.  Shortly after reaching the flat, I was told I was in 6th place.  Now that I was almost 6 miles into the race, I was ready to start pushing harder.  I gradually picked up the pace, and passed the 2 who had passed me on the downhill.  

Almost off of Mill Mountain. 
Feeling relaxed and running strong.

At mile 7, the course started going uphill again.  I used my inhaler shortly afterwards, on a flat spot, when it was easier to control my breathing and make sure I would get the full benefit from it.  At that point I knew I was running a really strong and smart race, and wasn't going to risk losing it because of lung trouble.  I know from past races that if I wait til I'm sure I need the inhaler, it's too late for my legs to recover from the oxygen debt.  I kept myself strong up the long steep climbs to the top of Peakwood.  It's a brutal climb, and a few people ahead of my were walking.  At some point on that hill, I passed 3rd place.  2nd place was within sight as I reached the top.  There was a turn around, and we were close enough that we were both on the turnaround at the same time, so that we didn't actually face each other going up or down.  I passed her a minute or two later, as I opened up and pounded out the downhill.  There was less than 4 miles to go, I was done holding back.  I gave that downhill as much as I could give it without getting hurt, as everything was slick from the rain.  There were a few smaller uphills after that, which hurt since I was now running as hard as I could, but every time I started to slow I dug deep and surged forward again.  The hardest part was the last two small inclines.  There was at least one bridge, (my memory is getting fuzzy on this part) there may have been 2, and those short inclines were hard!  But I made it up them and down the other side.  With less than a mile to go, I gave everything I had until I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 1:39:27.  2nd place female and 10th overall.  

last quarter mile sprint to the finish

The photographer stopped me as I was gasping for air and trying to keep moving to bring my heart rate down slowly.  Having to stand still and attempt to smile for a photo was possibly more painful than the run had been, but I managed!  

I love the addition of the sparkly blue letters this year!

I waited to catch my breath and find Mollie, and then did my cooldown.  I could feel my right calf starting to cramp before I started, but I hoped the cooldown would fix it.  It didn't, and as I was jogging I realized that the thing I forgot in my hurried packing was my stick. But lucky me, there was a massage tent set up in the finish line area, so after my cooldown I headed straight there and let someone roll out my calf for me.  

The race organizers and sponsors outdid themselves on the prizes this year!  I got a goodie bag full of stuff from Fleet Feet Roanoke (pictured below), I got my feet scanned for a custom pair of orthotics from Foot Levelers (they won't be designed with my tendonitis issues in mind though, so I may or may not be able to use them for running...either way they'll be useful in non-running shoes though!), and I got a $150 gift card to WalkAbout Outfitters.  I usually spend the gift card on a bunch of stuff, but this year I decided what I really needed was a good rain jacket with a hood, so I got one of those and a t-shirt.  (Few things make me feel old quite like my new-found acceptance of hats and hoods.  I've always hated wearing both hats and hoods, but now being warm and dry is so much more important...I almost enjoy wearing hats now! I still hate how hoods rob me of my peripheral vision, but having a dry head in the rain is nice.)

Now I'll have to learn to like trucker hats, so I can show off this one!

While getting my feet scanned for the orthotics from Foot Levelers, I enjoyed talking to the 1st place female runner, and to the 3rd place male runner, who I met at the Hill Challenge race back in August.  I wish I could get to Roanoke more often to spend more time with all these great people and train with them!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Meal Prep : 4/18-21

Rosemary-Garlic Pork Tenderloin
Carrot-Mushroom Risotto
Green Beans

The meat : Sprinkle crushed rosemary and garlic powder over a 2.5 lb pork tenderloin and bake at 400 for approximately 60 minutes.  (Until internal temperature reaches 145 F)  My thermometer is broken (because I left it in the oven and it melted...) so I had to overcook this one a bit to be safe.  I need to buy a new thermometer.

The grain : Saute chopped green onion in olive oil until soft, then add 1 cup arborio rice.  Stir to coat rice with oil, then add 1 cup of white wine.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed.  Add garlic powder and salt to taste. Add chicken stock one cup at a time, cooking until liquid is absorbed after each cup, until rice reaches desired texture.  Add 1 grated carrot after 2nd or 3rd cup of stock.  Add chopped mushrooms in last few minutes of cooking.

The vegetable : Snap ends off of fresh green beans.  Steam for a few minutes with a little bit of water (barely enough to cover the bottom of the pan), olive oil, and garlic powder.  Remove lid after a few minutes, and cook another minute or two.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Last minute 5k...because, hills!

I came across a race called Hike the Hill 5k, in Abingdon, scheduled for April 15.  I thought that was the date of Blue Ridge, so I figured it was not an option for me.  Then I found out that Blue Ridge was a week later than I thought it was...and I couldn't find a good excuse not to run the Abingdon race.  (I mean, resting for Blue Ridge was an excuse, but not a good enough one to keep me away from a hill challenge!)  I'll post my race recap tomorrow or sometime this week.  I'm waiting to see if any race photos come out...

This week : 
M : run 10 / 7:33 / 561
T : group 4.3 / 7:51 / 151 ft
W : rest
R : run 8 / 7:34 / 581 ft
F : 45 minute Power Yoga
Sa : warm up 1.6 / 7:22 / 79 ft
race 2.76 / 7:34 / 414 ft
cool down 0.7 / 9:51 / 89
Su : bike 21.2 / 17.3 mph / 1286 ft
total run miles : 27.4
total bike miles : 21.2

On Monday I decided I needed another long hill workout since I still had almost two weeks til Blue Ridge.  So I went out to the closest hill from home that most closely resembles the Mill Mountain climb at Blue Ridge - White's Mill Road.

I ran down to the bottom at a moderately hard pace, and then really pushed the uphill coming back.  My pace was close to 7:00 and I was feeling really strong, until I reached the steep part towards the end, and then I completely died.  I dug deep and found every bit of grit in my body to keep pushing for the top, but it was a major struggle, and I fell way off my pace as I gasped for air and my legs slowed from lack of oxygen.  Needless to say, I will be running that hill again, and trying to make strategize better so as to make it to the top without dying.  But it will have to wait until after Blue Ridge at this point.

Heading down the hill...sporting some nice blue argyle compression socks!

On Thursdays run, I again decided to push some hills.  I ran a moderate pace in between the hills, and pushed the uphills.  And I sought out as many uphills as I could during the 8 miles...some long, some short.  The last one looks tiny, but it was really steep and definitely hurt that late in the run!

Today's bike ride was supposed to be pretty easy, but the wind had other ideas.  I still managed not to quite overdo it out there, but I had to work harder than I wanted to with the wind in my face for the last 7+ miles!  It was a gorgeous day though, I rode out to the Emory & Henry campus and back.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Calendar Fail

I found out today that the Blue Ridge race is not in fact on the 15th, but on the 22nd.  It's usually the 3rd Saturday, so I guess that's just what I put in my calendar and never actually remembered to verify it.  So...I just wasted 2 weeks that I could have been still doing long marathon-training runs.  And now I'm going to lose another 2 weeks or so. And I could have run the Bristol half marathon with my friends yesterday!  But on the bright side...I have more time to work on speed and lung strength for Blue Ridge.  I'm trying to look on the bright side and not just be really mad about my inability to verify a date.

This week : 
M : 6.1 / 7:12 / 82 ft
the plan : warm up, 4 miles @7:00, cool down
4 mile actual splits : 6:49, 6:56, 6:46, 6:36

T : 4.8 / 828 / 568 ft
hill repeats x5 
(0.2 miles, 112 ft of gain, average time 1:55)

W : 20 minutes of yoga

R : TRX 30 x 45/15
group run 5.1 / 8:17 / 312 ft

F : off

Sa : walk/jog 3.3 while spectating the Bristol 1/2

Su : 8.2 / 7:35 / 466 ft

total miles : 27.6

hill repeats

view from 1/3 of the way up the hill

Monday, April 3, 2017

Meal Prep Monday : 4/3 - 4/7

Lunch This Week 
Leek-Mushroom-Swiss Mac
Baked Chicken Thighs
Mixed Veggies

The Mac : 1/2 lb rotini pasta, boiled and drained.  2 large leeks, stalk portion only, chopped, and rings separated. 4 mushrooms, rough chopped. Leeks were steamed til tender, then I threw the mushrooms in and cooked for another few minutes.  Cheese sauce : 1.5 tbsp butter, 2 oz cream cheese, big handful of shredded colby jack, 2 slices of swiss cheese, 1/2 c milk, 1/4 c flour, garlic powder.  I mixed it all together and poured into a glass baking dish, then I spread 4 slices of swiss cheese on top.  Baked at 425 for 30 minutes (til brown on top)

The Chicken : 4 chicken thighs, baked at 425 for 1 hour.  I didn't season them at all. 

Mixed Veggies : 4 small carrots, sauteed in olive oil until they started to brown.  Then I chopped and added the  leaves from the leeks, 6 mushrooms, and 3 small yellow squash.  

The meal : ...Not the healthiest one I have made, but leek mac n cheese is so delicious!  Gouda is usually my go-to fancy cheese for mac, but I've been on a swiss kick lately so I decided to use that instead.  I won't be eating this every day anyway, I still have some lunches left over from last week because it was a hectic week and I ended up not needing my lunches every day.  (Tuesday was provided by a coworker, and I was out of town Thursday-Sunday)