What I’m Working Out to Wednesday

“Gunshot”
Lykke Li

I loved so many of Lykke Li’s past hits (Get Some, I Follow Rivers, Love Out of Lust, etc) but her new album might be my favorite yet. I originally planned to share No Rest for the Wicked, another superb beat off her new album. But I’ve been loving Gunshot, so here you go! Really you should listen to the whole album. She is fantastic!

What’s on your playlist these days?

Race Recap: Coopersburg 5K

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Full disclosure: I signed up for this race for the t-shirt and sadly, I was disappointed. I ran this race several years ago – it’s a super hilly course and not at all conducive to a PR, but I got this great long sleeved cotton t-shirt. Usually, I prefer tech tees but I love this shirt. It’s seen better days, so I thought it was time for an update. It was also perfect timing to “test” my fitness and see how much work I needed to do once Hansons Round 2 begins. I showed up to packet pick only to find they switched to cheap, ill fitting tech tees. The logo is the same, but this was one time I was really hoping for cotton. Silver lining: it will make a good throw away shirt for the fall!

My speedy friend, Megan, decided to join me. She ran a 1:23 at the St. Luke’s Half Marathon, but also spent much of May recovering and running easy. We both thought this would be a fun, low key event. I know it isn’t reasonable to stay in peak fitness all year round, and I’m not one of those people who can do minimal work and bust out a PR. Although I’d been running consistently over the past few weeks, I knew the lower volume and lack of intensity would rear it’s head in a 5K.

We arrived early and did a 2-ish mile warm up. By the end of the warm up, we were drenched in sweat and the sun was beating down on us. It was very hot and humid, and I knew the heat and the hills might make this a tough morning. I felt decent enough, but certainly not prepared to break my 5K PR (18:48) from the St. Pat’s 5K in March. My goal to treat this like my first tempo run for Hansons and do a solid “speed” workout. I wanted to warm up, run the 5K at my goal marathon pace, and cool down. This meant I needed to average 6:45 pace, or a 20:58 overall. If I began the race and felt amazing and effortless, of course I’d try for a PR (because why not) – but that was unlikely and not my focus for this race.

We lined up at the front and the race went off on time. It begins downhill, but after that it feels like the course just climbs for the duration of the race. In reality, it’s probably about equal but the climbs felt like they lasted forever:

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I went out fast, and a whole bunch of younger girls (think high school aged) blew past Megan and I. Within the first mile, I’d passed all but one of them. The first climb hit and I was sucking wind for sure, but I didn’t feel terrible. Mile 1- 6:09.

The second mile was mostly uphill.Megan glided past me and I hung on her heels for a little while. She gained some distance on me, but I could still see her and I wasn’t that far behind her. The last race we ran together was the Superbowl Sunday 10K (very early in Hansons Round 1), and I lost sight of her in the first mile. At that moment, I made it my goal to stay as close to her as possible and not let the gap get any bigger. Mile 2- 6:38.

The final mile had a little more of a downhill grade, and I kept the distance between us the same. I wasn’t winded or tired, but my legs didn’t have that peppiness they had during any of my spring races. And why should they? The last time I did any sort of speed workout was before Boston – the first week in April, and that wasn’t 5K pace. It was marathon pace minus 10 seconds per mile. The last time I ran 5K pace was in my last 5K – in March. I was pretty happy that I was feeling good, just not peppy. My heart rate really confirms what I felt:

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So my heart was there, but my legs didn’t seem to understand WTF was happening to them. Mile 3 – 6:31.

We turned the corner and I saw the finish line. I knew I couldn’t pass Megan, but I wasn’t too far behind her. Final .1 – 5:29 pace. Oh hey legs, you are awake. Nice to see you.

My time was 19:56, and Megan’s was 19:47, and I feel really good about it. I exceeded my expectation of holding marathon pace. It was a great way to coax my legs out of hibernation and prepare them for Hansons Round 2.

We cooled down for another two-ish miles, and then came back for awards. The first place female was a high school student and finished in 19:30, Megan got second and I got third overall, or first in the 30-34 age group. We got medals and I know from running this in a previous year that we usually get a gift certificate or prize money in the mail a few weeks later.

Most of all, even though the time on the clock was over a minute slower than my PR, this race was a good measure of physical and mental progress. Two years ago (2014, what I previously referred to as my golden year), I was just breaking 20 minutes in a 5K when I was in peak fitness, and now I was able to do it at the end of a recovery period. In 2015, I was constantly injured and couldn’t run even one 5K, let alone break 20 minutes – the speed would have destroyed my Achilles and my calves. Mentally, I never would have been able to show up at a race, run slower than my PR, and be okay with it before this year. I crossed the finish line and felt happy and proud of the race I ran. Even though the t-shirt didn’t meet my expectations, I’m sure I’ll run this one again!

Ever sign up for a race during recovery to test your fitness? Do struggle with the mental aspect of racing when you know a PR is unlikely?

Recovery Week 5: 5/30-6/5

Final week of recovery!! Next week’s post will be all about Hansons Round 2, marathon training, and summer break! I got some posts out and scheduled last week but I still have to catch up on comments and see what everyone else has going on! That was my game plan for the weekend, but we ended up having quite the situation (read: disaster) at home. I’ll get to it. Thankfully, this was my final week for recovery so it didn’t matter if I missed a few miles or workouts. Bear with me, because I suck at blogging lately and I pretty much rambled on and on about everything in this post and wrote it in between grading final exams for my web design class. Totally didn’t proofread.

Monday: 8 Miles Easy w/ 6×10 Second Hill Sprints + Core/MYRTLs

I had off of work and slept in, and ended up running closer to noon. I thought it was going to suck since it was pretty warm and humid, but I enjoyed the run. I ran 8 miles easy, about 8:14 pace and then decided to do some hill sprints. I want to try to do those weekly, but really the problem is having a hill to do them on. They are quick and fun, but you need a short, steep hill. I did six of them, and then headed home for abs and MYRTLs.

Tuesday: 8 Miles Easy w/12×1 minute @ “5K” pace + Core/Strength/MYRTLs +Pole Fitness

I got up before work and got my “speed” work in for the week. I almost skipped it because I was planning to run a 5 mile race on Saturday, but I decided to do it anyway. Last week, I did some 45 second intervals so I thought I would do a similar workout but bump the time up to one minute. My first track workout for Hansons is the week of 6/13 and it’s 400s. I think my goal for 400s is 1:28, and I still will have two more Tuesdays of easy runs before I head to the track, so I think you can see where I’m going with these little sprints.

My goal was to do 12 pickups at “5K” pace. I use “5K” loosely because I know what Hanson’s says my 5K pace should be for my marathon goal (5:47-5:57), but I also know what my last 5K pace actually was (6:03/mile). Also, you’ll get to read a race report on the Coopersburg 5K very soon and I definitely was WAY off of my 5K “pace”. It’s still the “recovery” season, so I just picked up the pace and looked at the numbers later. My pace for each one minute interval:

  • 5:46, 5:43, 5:58, 5:59, 5:50, 5:54, 5:45, 5:43, 5:41, 6:09, 5:40, 5:50

I guess if I were paying more attention I might have picked it up on the earlier ones to be in my zone, but again – these are just informal pick ups. It’s funny to see this because the repeat that was a 6:09 this week was the only one that was off pace last week, and was a 6:08. Maybe that one has more of an uphill grade or something…although I always feel like that part of the road is more downhill. I honestly didn’t feel great on this run, but I’m glad I picked up the pace and did it anyway. I averaged a 7:44 pace overall.

I did some core, legs and MYRTLs after work and then headed to pole. The studio was closed for Memorial Day on Monday, so a few of us decided to go to the Tuesday class. I also made this delicious salmon with roasted carrot “noodles” for dinner, and it was reallllly good:

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Wednesday: 3 Miles Easy +Core/Strength/MYRTLs + Pole Fitness 

Wasn’t planning to run but realized it was Global Running Day, so I headed out for three recovery paced miles before work. I averaged about 8:37 pace and felt great.

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After work, I did my core/MYRTLs and went to pole.

Thursday: 8 Miles Easy 

Ran before work in Saucon Valley and did a mix of roads and trail. I was tired but felt pretty good towards the end. Averaged about an 8:12 pace.

Friday: Pole Fitness

I decided not to run because I was signed up to run the Fun 5 Miler on Saturday. I was pretty excited but didn’t expect any sort of amazing time, I was just doing it for fun and for the cool swag:

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I went home and had some pizza with my husband and some of his friends that were over, and then wanted to spend the night relaxing. Little did I know, a shit storm was actually about to begin. My husband and his friends were out back messing around with these little dirt bikes. Over dinner, my husband mentioned that he hurt his foot when he went to kick the dirt bike to start it, and that it just felt bruised. When he was done outside, he asked me to look at his foot and tell him if I saw anything. I looked where he pointed – no bruise, nothing. We fell asleep on the couch and I thought nothing more of his “bruise”.

Saturday: Rest

We’d passed out at on the couch and woke up to go to bed and my husband couldn’t even walk. He said it felt like something was in his foot. I looked at it again under better light and I still couldn’t see anything, but I did see a teeeny puncture wound. I tried to poke at it and see if I could get anything out, but it was super painful. We headed to the ER at 2 am, and 10 HOURS LATER, he was discharged. YES. 10 HOURS. We went to St. Luke’s in Bethlehem, which is usually a GREAT hospital. Unfortunately, the beginning of our stay was not so great.

The visit began with x-rays, which confirmed that they could see SOMETHING in there. The doctor that was on that night was TERRIBLE. He couldn’t get it out (we still didn’t know what “it” was) and he and made a MESS of my husband’s foot. We got lucky that the an attending podiatric surgeon was coming in to round on a few patients. The podiatry resident that came down (AFTER the incompetent ER doctor mutilated the bottom of my husband’s foot) to look at it was able to get the attending surgeon to help my poor husband. The surgeon was amazing, and within a half an hour HE PULLED A BROKEN NAIL OUT OF MY HUSBAND’S FOOT. We think it was stuck in the sole of his shoe and when he went to kick the dirt bike to start it, it rifled into his foot. I should also mention that while my husband is a wonderful, intelligent man, he was wearing Crocs to ride the dirt bike. Lesson learned.

Two sets of x-rays, an ultrasound, a tetanus shot, two rounds of lidocaine, three different prescriptions (Cipro, prescription ibuprofen, and painkillers), stitches (I don’t know how many because we aren’t allowed to unwrap the dressing until his follow up appointment) and 10 hours later, we were able to leave. We were starving so the first stop was to get some food. His lidocaine started to wear off and he was in a lot of pain, so instead of going to the race (it was weird – a 2pm start), I went to CVS and got his prescriptions filled and spent the afternoon with my husband. And napping. We sort of pulled an all nighter, except for the few hours we slept on the couch.

I wish I would have taken a picture of the nail or even kept it but we were so exhausted when it finally came out that when the doctor showed it to us, it was in the medical waste area before I had a chance to say “wait!”. But it was a broken nail. We think it was in his shoe from when he was demolishing our old kitchen last summer. What a nightmare! He’s supposed to be non-weight bearing for three weeks, but of course he’s at work today. He’s limping and walking on his toes. I actually called about a follow up appointment for my husband, and apparently this podiatrist is really amazing and popular and it’s crazy that he even happened to be at the hospital that day. So on the bright side, if I ever need a podiatrist, I think I found one!

Sunday: 11 Miles, Hills

It was my final day of recovery and I already bailed on abs/strength the past few days, so I spent the morning on the hills near my house and called it a day after that. I felt really good running, and actually averaged an 8:24 for this run. Last week it was a 9:01. It’s 1,409 feet of climbing and looks like this:

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I really love this run and want to keep doing it each week during marathon training in some capacity. It ends a half mile from my house, and last week I did a cool down walk instead of running extra. This week, since I missed the race the day before, I added a half mile to make it 11 total miles.

So, our kitchen is ALMOST done (just waiting on the faucet for over our stove and part of the hood to come in) and I spent the afternoon cooking up a STORM to celebrate! Here’s the kitchen:

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So to celebrate, I made shrimp tempura with a dipping sauce, pan seared NY strip steaks with a red wine mushroom reduction, roasted cauliflower, homemade buttermilk biscuits and free form summer berry tartlets. I didn’t take pictures of everything but I was pretty proud of my tempura and the tartlets:

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I definitely need marathon training to start ASAP. It’s almost summer break, and with my new kitchen I fear for my diet. I love to cook, and now I have so much room for activities!

♥ Run: 38.5 Miles ♥  

How was your week? When do you start race training?

Race Recap: Jacobsburg 10 Mile Trail Run

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It took three weeks before I did another race post marathon. Honestly, I woke up on the day of this race with zero desire to do this race. I was tired, and felt pretty out of shape and not in the mood to race. I promised my friend, Leigh, I would do it with her. I talked previously about her traumatic accident last year and I wanted to support her. There was a five and ten mile option for the race. She wanted me to run it, but not with her. She likes to run alone and signed up for the five miler. Since I would have gone for about a 10 mile run that day anyway, I signed up for the 10.

Except the days before this race were a little crazy. We had some really crappy stuff happening at work with negotiating a new teacher contract. I ended up having a long, exhausting day on Friday that resulted in a migraine, lots of sushi and my couch. Saturday was my first ever pole competition, and it was a looong day (I left my house at 8am and didn’t get home until 11pm). I woke up on Sunday morning feeling quite rough. Mentally, I just didn’t feel like running a race. Both my mind and body were just not there.

I grabbed a coffee and perked up when I arrived at the race. I saw a bunch of local runners – some that I know, others that I was friends with on Facebook and never met before. Being around the running community and my friend, Leigh, made me happier about my decision to run. I was also excited to run the trails of Jacobsburg since I’d never run there before. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew this was a legitimate trail run – not the flat, cinder paths I run on frequently.

We lined up at the start and the race began promptly at 9am. The five and ten miler began together, so after the national anthem we were off. As usual, I shot out quickly to avoid the crowds. I like to do this on trail runs because if it becomes a single track situation, I don’t like being stuck behind people. Less than a mile into the run, the five miler went right and ten miler went to the left. As the course split and we settled into the 10 mile route, a woman surged past me. I didn’t follow her. I don’t know if I could have caught her, but I decided I just wanted to go for a 10 mile run in the woods. I found myself as second place female and just tried to get my footing. I haven’t been on any technical trails since last summer and I certainly didn’t want to turn an ankle now.

Miles 1-4 featured a lot of climbing. The whole race was really quite hilly:

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The climbs were certainly not as steep as the game preserve (my usual local trail run of choice) The first mile began straight up a hill, and the climbs pretty much kept coming until mile four. By the second mile of the race, I was running completely alone. I was concerned because I don’t know this area at all, and there were lots of little trails and intersections. I had no idea where I was and I have a terrible sense of direction. I paused at several intersections to question where I was supposed to go.

I want to say this course was well marked and poorly marked all at the same time. I’m not quite sure how to describe it. There were many confusing intersections, and the race directors did a good job of having a lot of markings on the course. It would be impossible to mark everything, and they hit the main areas of confusion. The problem was, though they spray painted arrows and had little signs in most places I often had no idea exactly where the arrows or signs were pointing. Sometimes, there were several different trails merging in one area and it got confusing. Honestly, the organizers marked it the best that they could and I probably just second guessed myself since I have zero sense of direction.

I hit mile four and it was probably one of my favorite parts of the course. We finally got a long, gradual descent and the scenery was beautiful. Here in the Lehigh Valley, there are these purple and white wildflowers that bloom everywhere and they were lining this section of the course. It was so pretty. I didn’t feel awesome, but I felt like I was out for a Sunday morning run on some trails. I was happy to see that I was averaging about an eight minute mile, but I don’t really look at my watch much while trail racing. The numbers never mean too much to me in a trail race because every trail is so different – it’s tough to compare.

Miles 5-10 were pretty equal in terms of uphill and downhill. Some of the uphills were long and I could tell that I need to do focus on some hill training this summer. Much of the run had sections with huge roots, rocks, and just tough terrain. I stopped a few times to make sure I was going the right way. I was completely alone and saw no one else during these miles and I was concerned that I made a wrong turn. Occasionally there would be a water stop or a road crossing with a volunteer directing traffic, and that would reassure me that I was on course. I was happy to run the 10 miles, but I was tired and didn’t want to run much further.

My watch beeped to indicate I’d reached mile 10, but I knew I was nowhere near the finish. SHITTTTT. Am I lost? Did I miss a turn? The trail dumped me out onto a road, and there was no one there to cross us. Any time the trail hit a road during the course, there was a volunteer or a cop there to cross you so I didn’t think I should cross the road. I stopped and looked around to try to see something – an arrow, a sign, a person. After a few minutes (well, it felt like a few minutes – probably more like one minute) of looking down each of the trails at this intersection, I spotted people in the far distance. I had no idea if it was the right direction, so I just took off towards them. Thankfully, it was. I finally found the finish line and my Garmin measured 10.5 miles. I heard other people saying their watches told them the course was 10.8-11 miles, so I got lucky.

I ended up finishing in something like 1:24:30. I was the second overall female, and I won the 30-39 age group. They gave the first overall winners awards, and an award to the top finisher in each 10 year age group. The prizes were all different types of running “items” that you could choose from, and I chose an LED flashlight. Figured I had plenty of socks (the other option) and could use something like that to keep in my car. I think the first place female ran something like 1:16. I think if I’d been more into the race, felt a little better, and didn’t stop so often because I thought I was lost, I could have probably broken 1:20 but I’m not so sure about running a 1:16. If I were in better shape and not in the middle of recovering from Kentucky, perhaps a 1:16 on that course would have been possible. I actually looked up the winner on Athinks out of curiosity, and we have the same PR for the 10 mile distance in a road race (1:05) and similar 5K PRs.

I wasn’t upset that the course was long or I got a little turned around. I was really happy with this run in general because I was able to participate in a race during recovery and not race it. Part of this was due to the nature of the race. I find it very easy to sign up for a trail race and just go for a run rather than race it. It’s really hard to compare mile splits and data from trail race to trail race since they are all so different. Other than the fact that I was fatigued in general that morning, my legs felt decent. I thought this race was a good way to gauge how my recovery was going, and to run on some new trails. I would do this one again next year!

Do you enjoy trail racing?