Heard this song in the background of an Instagram video recently. OBSESSED!
What are you listening to this week?
Heard this song in the background of an Instagram video recently. OBSESSED!
What are you listening to this week?
I didn’t track too much of anything mileage wise in the month of February. Since I really started my training for Boston after the holidays, I can tell you that I’ve put in the miles and the effort but if you want to know mileage totals and paces…maybe stay tuned for next month. I had a rough time in January because it just felt so hard, but February was a turning point.
I run the Super Bowl Sunday 10K every year. this year, it fell on February 5th. I was just getting my legs back and didn’t think I could come close to the time I ran last year, which is my 10K PR. My good friend, Kathy, and her husband Darin were also running. Darin told Kathy that he wanted to beat us at the race. He even sent me a screenshot of his Strava with proof that he was averaging 6:50 pace for his own 10K time trial. I was shit talking right back, although I knew the reality of my fitness at this point. It’s a pretty hilly course, and I’m not much of a 10K runner, so I knew my PR was somewhere in the 41 minute range – only slightly faster than what he was averaging on his training runs.
My personal goal was the same as last year’s goal. Run this as a tempo run (especially good use of this race since it’s hilly and I tend to stick to flats for tempos) and average goal marathon pace, 6:45-6:50/mile. I also wanted to beat Darin, but I wasn’t willing to go out too fast and blow the workout. The race began, and I felt fantastic. I ran comfortable and relaxed, and I didn’t work too much harder than I had to. I ended up averaging 6:41/mile and running 41:34 – four seconds slower than my 10K PR. If I’d known I was that close, I would have picked it up. I’m not disappointed because I never expected to come close to a PR, let alone feel that good. Kathy finished a few seconds behind me (41:46) and Darin finished a few minutes after us 🙂 🙂 43:41! He ran a great race, but it was even better since we were able to remind him about how we beat him.
(Darin is in black, and his twin brother, Derrek, is the one in blue!)
Since last spring ended and I got burned out, I was having trouble getting out the door to run regularly. I would find excuses not to go or to just do it another day. I kept remembering how last year it didn’t matter what the situation was – I got the run done. It was like I was on autopilot. There were weeks where my shortest run was 10 miles and I never once thought, “ugh, can I just do this another day?” Once I got back on the training horse in January, I had that thought that every single time I laced up my running shoes. The week after the 10K, that changed. I was getting ready to do a tempo run. As I headed over to the trail I use for those workouts, it dawned on me that I wasn’t thinking about the tough workout ahead, or trying to figure out a way to push it off. I finally felt like I was on autopilot again. Even yesterday, when I was leaving work and totally exhausted and had a long strength/track workout to do, I just got out of my car and did it, no hesitation. I like that feeling. I missed that feeling.
Another January/February habit I developed was using the treadmill (or should I say, overusing). I started to become a real baby about going outside. We’ve had pretty much the mildest winter of my existence, and somehow I found reasons to not run outside. We got one snowstorm, so there was that – but I always found a way to say it was too cold, too windy, too cloudy, too whatever. In January and the beginning of February, I think I ran more miles on a treadmill than I’ve ever run on a treadmill. I just went with it. If it was the thing that got me motivated to run again, great.
While I don’t like to use a treadmill often, I think I relied on it because I felt like I could control my pace and force my body into working harder than I wanted (dumb idea, I’m sure). This was especially helpful with the tempo runs. I had a rough time getting started with these. I couldn’t even touch the goal pace from last year, let alone try to go faster. I found if I used the treadmill, I would at least do it and not stop – because God forbid I accidentally reset the treadmill before it hit the one hour mark. It would be like the run never happened. This past week, not only did I do my tempo run on a different trail, but it was at a different time since I had to rearrange my schedule to accommodate a work trip. It was outside, and it was my best one yet. Ahhh, finally. I think making myself force the pace on the treadmill helped get my confidence and speed back (probably not the smartest strategy, but whatever).
I gained a few pounds over the holidays (as usual, but not as much as last year) and started to get closer to my racing weight again, which feels great. I spent a lot of time training for my upcoming pole competition (Atlantic Pole Championships in DC on 4/2!) both at the pole studio and on my home pole, but that’s all I’ll say about that for now 🙂 By the time I do a March recap, I will be able to share much more about that experience because the competition will be over! But here is a picture of my new pole in my spare bedroom (we haven’t renovated that section of the house yet so it looks a little scary):
Other fun, non-fitness related things…I got my orchid new to bloom! I bought this little guy in July and I’ve never had any luck with orchids ever in my life:
My husband and I cook Valentine’s dinner together every year, and this year was wonderful:
Homemade crab cakes (I need to get that recipe out because they were freaking amazing), homemade tarter sauce, homemade mashed potatoes and seared strip steaks, asparagus, and homemade chocolate creme brulee with homemade creme anglaise. I usually do all of the cooking around our house but I love when we do a meal together, and we usually do this for Valentine’s Day. So fun.
We also finished our pantry, which is an addition off of our new kitchen! So much room for activities!!!!
How was your month? Do you ever feel like you’re on autopilot with running?
These weekly workout posts used to get a little lengthy, so I’m going to give you the abridged version this time around since basically, I’m doing what I did last year. Except instead of a color coded spreadsheet where I have everything carefully planned and then logged post workout, I just carry my Hansons Bible around and whip it out when I can’t remember what I’m supposed to be doing. Instead of worrying about, “am I running more miles than I ran last week?” I focus on running the minimum mileage on my easy days and only tack on miles if I want to, not because I feel like I have to.
This week was GREAT because of the six times I ran, five of those times WERE IN SHORTS. OUTSIDE. I live in Northeastern PA. Is this real life? It was also good because I had Monday off of work for Presidents’ Day, but challenging because I chaperoned a three day trip to Hershey. I do this every year and I’m able to get a decent number of miles in but can’t count on getting pace specific workouts in. There’s a great trail right by the hotel that I can log some long miles on if the kiddos aren’t too needy:
Monday – 10 miles, easy + pole competition training/core/MYRTLS
Tuesday – 14 miles, Track/Strength – 6×1 mile at marathon pace -10 seconds/mile + pole competition training/core/MYRTLS: Although I don’t think sub-3 is in the cards this season, I’ve been using about a 6:45-6:50 pace as my “marathon pace”, so the goal here was to hit 6:35-6:40 for these. I can’t remember what each mile was, but I remember that I kept them all under 6:35 (because I am a head case). I did a 3 mile warm up, 6×1 mile with 400 recoveries, and 3.5 mile cool down on the Saucon Trail. I felt pretty great until the last mile, when I really wanted the steak I had waiting for me in my fridge at home.
Wednesday – 6 miles am + core/MYRTLs & 5 miles pm, easy pace: I don’t usually do two-a-days but I ran before we left for the conference and when we got there and got settled, I had about two hours to kill so one of my co-workers and I hit up the trail for an easy run.
Thursday – 10 miles, easy
Friday – Rest day! I always schedule the final day of this conference as a rest day. Lack of sleep from chaperoning 172 kids for three days + travel day = no bueno. I did eat an entire bag of BIRTHDAY CAKE HERSHEY KISSES though! Did you guys know that was a thing? They taste like Funfetti icing and I’m pretty sure I’ve never been happier.
Saturday – 6 miles, easy + pole competition training/core/MYRTLS
Sunday – 14 miles w/8 @ marathon pace + pole competition training/core/MYRTLS: No long run this week so I saved my tempo run for Sunday. It was a good call. Felt great, shot for the 6:45-6:50 range. No idea what every single mile split was but I know that my slowest one was 6:51 and my fastest one was 6:27. This was the first week that my tempo run felt like it should feel. Thank GOD because I was really starting to think my legs forgot about tempo runs.
= 65 Miles
I got some new kicks on Monday – first running shoes I’ve purchased since JULY. My shoes all but had holes worn through the soles. Partially because I was on vacation from running for so long, partially because I forgot to buy new ones, and partially because I was lost since Brooks discontinued my beloved Pure Connects. HATED the Pure Flow 5, was trudging along in the Launch for most of my runs and the Hyperion for track/tempo runs. Launch just feels like too much shoe for all of the time, and the Hyperion is a glorified racing flat so not very comfortable. BUT THEN THE PURE FLOW 6 HAPPENED.
It was love at first run. If you were in the same predicament as me…get these on your feet yesterday. LOVE THEM.
In the world of farmhouse renovations, we are currently finishing up an addition off our kitchen that includes a laundry room, and my husband laid the tile while I was away. We went with cement tiles through a company called Lili Tile – their Instagram is ridiculous and a gorgeous addition to your feed if you like to drool over home renovations like I do. It’s not grouted yet, and literally took this after he laid the final tile so it isn’t even clean, but I can’t even handle how much I love it:
Everything in my house is very monochromatic and plain – lots of gray and white everywhere – so choosing a pattern was huge for me. The patina of cement tile is to die for. I will take some more pictures after it is cleaned, sealed and grouted but OMG YOU GUYS.
How was your week? What shoes are you currently running in? What’s the longest you ever went without buying new running shoes?
I didn’t really know how to start this post. Just diving right in seemed kind of lame. Like oh hey guys, sooooo, this is what I did last week…and the past eight months…
Yesterday, I posted a picture of my new running kicks, and I was overwhelmed by some comments and messages I received from some of you who missed hearing from me. It truly warmed my heart and motivated me to get a post out there. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write – I have – but I just didn’t know what to say. First of all, I am really really really sorry I left you all hanging! That was pretty shitty of me.
Usually when you get radio silence from me, it’s because I’m injured and pissed off. This is not exactly the case this time. I came off of my Kentucky race on a HUGE high. I thought I was “recovering well” because I took like a week off and then started running some “easy, low, mileage”. I signed up for “just a few short distance, local races” and jumped almost immediately back into round two of Hansons in June. A month away from structured training was enough, right?
Looking back, the months that followed don’t surprise me in the slightest. I spent two years chasing a marathon PR and doing whatever I needed to do to make it happen. I suffered through countless injuries and heartbreak. I hired a coach, and then I stopped working with him when I got slower. I tried my hand at writing my own training plan before finally finding my jam with Hansons, which was an integral part of my success last year. It not only taught me to push limits and run harder than I ever have before, but it taught me to back off and understand what it truly means to run easy. This lesson alone has become invaluable to me this time around.
The catalyst for this whole hiatus was in early July. I ran the Belmar 5 Mile, and ran a PR for the distance (I had to look it up, 32:04) but I could have run it much faster. I felt outstanding, but my stupid calf cramped. If you’ve followed my blog for long enough, you’ll know that I’ve battled calf strains before and it never usually ends well. Luckily, a cramp was as far as it went physically, but it triggered some serious mental burnout.
For the first time in who knows how long, I started skipping runs. It was too hot, too hilly, too fast, too early, too late, too busy, too <insert any excuse here>. School started and I was in a wedding in the middle of September. I didn’t feel like juggling it all, so I just…didn’t. I wasn’t logging zero mile weeks, but it was a big milestone if I racked up over 20 miles in any given week. Coming off of 85 mile weeks at the end of my previous cycle, this felt strange…and really, really nice. I didn’t miss it, even when all of my friends started posting about their fall races all over social media. I was hitting the pole studio almost every single day, so between running intermittently and frequent strength training, I felt good.
In the beginning of October, it dawned on me that I was scheduled to pace a 1:45 half marathon in early November. I spent the month of October “training” for this – running 3-5 miles a few days during the week, and a long run on the weekends. Race day came, I got the job done and had a blast. I went right back to my newfound slacker ways the next day, even though my intentions were to start ramping up my mileage in preparation for Boston training. As the weeks of minimal mileage passed by, I wondered if I would ever feel like training for a race again. The excuses to not run continued to pile up – including a bout with strep throat over Christmas week. I want to say I felt worried about my lack of running, but really I was more worried about my lack of interest in it.
But then, something happened. I still don’t know what it was. One morning, I packed my gym bag with running clothes, and somehow packed my lunch box full of healthy food, and it began. I don’t know what shifted my mentality, but since January 2nd, I’ve been “back”.
At first, it was a struggle. Every mile hurt. Every workout hurt even more. I took the focus off my pace and just focused on getting my endurance back. I started following the Hanson’s Advanced plan, but I’ve been much more casual about it. I don’t skip runs, but I’m not as neurotic as I was last year. I couldn’t tell you how many miles I ran last week – I haven’t been tallying them. I couldn’t tell you exact times from my mile repeats from last week, but last year I knew each one by heart, down to the second. I’ve been following it, taking it one day at a time. One mile at a time. One step at a time. And you know what? It seems like it’s working. I ran a 10K a few weeks ago and my time was almost exactly the same as last year (four seconds off), but I know I felt way better than I felt running that same race last year.
As far as my goal for Boston…well, of COURSE I want to nail a sub-3 marathon. Physically, my legs feel fresh and rested but my extended vacation from running left my endurance a bit shot. I mostly feel that my relaxed mentality towards my training means expecting to run a sub-3 marathon is both unrealistic and undeserved. People pour their heart, soul, sweat and tears into achieving this feat – the way I poured myself into my training last year. Physically, I am going through the motions but mentally, I haven’t been gearing up for such a big hurdle. My primary goal for Boston will be to run a PR for the course (sub 3:11), should all of the stars align that day.
So what else? In terms of our farmhouse renovations, we finished our kitchen and just finished our new pantry, and are almost finished with the laundry room. It’s been an exciting project, and having a new kitchen means I’ve been spending lots of time cooking. I’m back to my Paleo-ish ways for now, but I’ve incorporated some carbs (particularly since my recent obsession with homemade sourdough everything).
I got my very own pole for Christmas (you had to see that one coming from a mile away) and I’m currently training for the Atlantic Pole Championships. I will be competing in the “Championship Level 4 Senior Category” (apparently, being 33 is old in pole dancer years!). It’s the highest category you can compete in without competing in the professional division, which scares the absolute SHIT out of me. Compared to the little local pole-athon I participated in last year, this is a pretty big deal. My sister in laws are competing together in the doubles category. The competition is in DC on April 1-2. I compete on April 2nd! So, you know. 15 days before Boston. (What the actual fuck was I thinking.)
I probably won’t post too much on here about the competition until after it’s over because I don’t want to post too much about my routine (do you sense my competitive nature?). But I will tell you that I LOVE my song, and love what I’ve choreographed. The problem now is actually getting through the whole thing without stopping. The struggle is so real. I am really excited, and I truly hope I can do it well because it is something that I’m really proud of and excited to share.
Sooooo…what about you guys? How are you? What are you training for?! Update me on your lives!!! I missed you!
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:
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:
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?
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:
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:
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.
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:
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”.
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:
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:
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:
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?
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:
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?