Yep. I bought a Peloton. I had every intention of getting a cheaper bike and just using the app…but I did the research and decided I wanted the actual bike. It had everything I wanted in a spin bike. And, let’s face it…I missed my spin classes.
I am, most definitely, a runner first and foremost. But this season of Covid-19 has brought about a lot of downtime for me. While I was certainly not over training or doing too much…some old niggles and injuries reared their ugly heads. This meant a trip to physical therapy…up to the point my insurance company refused to pay for anymore. UGH. But, I got back to the road and soon…my body was starting to feel itself again. I was starting to get stronger. My speed was coming back (when I opted to push it…which hasn’t been much since the start of the pandemic, to be honest). I wasn’t training for races…and I never all-out push a virtual race because there are no closed courses and things are just…different.
But then, one early morning when…I headed out for a run and my headlamp wasn’t charged. It had been the week prior (which I hadn’t had to use it much due to having time off work for a staycation (because Berlin was no longer happening). Not having to be in the office at a certain time meant that I could run in the daylight. I love doing that now. But the following week, I was back to my office and back to dark runs. When the headlamp wasn’t working I figured I’d be fine. I run these roads all the time. But less than 2 miles into my run, on a dark side road nearby…my foot hit a rock I didn’t see in the road, twisted, and down I went. I didn’t get too scraped up…but my ankle sure was sore. When I got home, my ankle was pretty shads of purple and swollen. Ice, compression, and time off…and a call to my orthopedic doctor. They put me in with their podiatrist…and sure enough…Grade 2 sprain in my left ankle. Good times.
It was that week that my roommate finally agreed to get the bike I had been asking for…every day…for over a year. That’s not a joke. Every. Day. With the pandemic still going, and the likelihood that we will be going back to the gym not looking promising…she couldn’t find a reason to not go ahead and get the Peloton. With winter coming…we’d need something to do in the cardio department if the roads and temperatures were not good for running. We are already doing strength training…but now we also have that option on the Peloton app as well.
Peloton had just put out the new Bike+, which meant they discounted the cost of the regular model. We also figured out that if we got it with the accessory pack that came with shoes, headphones, and weights…without the mat…and bought the mat separately…we’d save another $40. And, my friend had a referral code that got me another $100 off. (I now have a referral code so if you’ve been considering a Peloton…I got your back and will put it at the bottom of this blog). Because we opted for the older model, we also had the bike delivered within 11 days of ordering. No long wait at all. LOVE IT.
So, the bike delivered and we got it placed behind the couch (where it may or may not stay…we’re still playing around with it). My friend, Deana, who has been praising the Peloton bikes for awhile, texted me and wanted to do my first ride with me. She had a Prince ride picked out and I was here for that! So, I got home, got changed, and hopped on the bike for the first time. Clipping in was difficult at first, but I now have that figured out. I still struggle a little with clipping out, but I’ve managed to do it successfully twice. While we did the Prince ride (Warm-Up, Ride, Cool Down, & Stretch)…Deana was texting me with tips, and lots of information about different instructors and rides that she really enjoys. Immediately…I was hooked. I couldn’t run at the moment…but now…now I could at least ride.
I have done over 50 rides since October 13 when I got the bike (the warm up and cool down rides are counted in that…and I do one of those anytime I get on the bike). With so many different types of classes and instructors…you really don’t ever get bored. I even got talked into doing the October PeloFondo with some friends of mine…and so one day I rode 50 miles…only 5 days after getting the bike. If I haven’t been a regular at spin classes 2-3 times a week since 2014…this would probably seem excessive. But…I’ve been using indoor cycling as cross training for A LONG time now. Just this week, I went ahead and did my FTP Test so that I could work within specific power zones should I so choose. And I will retest in a couple of months to see if my fitness has improved any.
Honestly, I don’t know where I would be without my Peloton bike right now. I am going to be easing back into running, but I have no intentions of letting that bike sit. Nope. I am still going to use it…and the app. The app, by the way, has a huge selection of workouts that go beyond cycling. There is running, yoga, walking, boot camp, strength training, meditation, outdoor guided runs and walks (I have done a few of those), etc. I even have started doing 5-10 minute meditations before bed…which has really helped me settle in and get some restful, deep sleep.
Why did I wait so long to do this?! Peloton really is a lifestyle…and I’m so happy to be a member of the Peloton Family. While I have only had the bike almost three weeks, I already feel like I have gotten my money’s worth. I even have started to put together my favorite classes and instructors (but I’m still working through them). That will be for another blog.
So, my Peloton is named Flynn…that IS a TRON reference for all you 80s nerds out there (I am obviously one, HA!). And if you have been wanting to pull the trigger on an indoor bike…you might as well get the Cadillac of indoor bikes, right? No buyers remorse here…I’m one happy girl.
If you have been wanting to pull the trigger on getting a Peloton for yourself…please get yourself $100 off by using my code:
Disclaimer: I received a pair of Knockaround Sunglasses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!
If you know me well, you know that I am very particular about my sunglasses. I have a head that, sadly, doesn’t play nice with hats and eye wear all the time. So, I am not one to dive in and blindly try something that I haven’t had a chance to put on my face to see if I like it or not.
But…this time…I did.
I was given the opportunity to try out a pair of Knockaround Fast Lane Sunglasses. And, in doing so, I was taking a chance that I would look like a complete dweeb in the process. But, hey, these are crazy times…might as well live a little, right? I made a point of selecting the brightest, most colorful pair I could find in the Fast Lane selection: Neon Summer.
These came into my possession JUST before the world shut down. Literally. I opened up the tiniest shipping box I had ever received and inside were these beautiful, bright glasses, staring right back at me. Literally. As the lenses are mirrored. Not just mirrored, but mirrored in this gorgeous aqua color. I was a fan of the bright neon pink frames with the loud and proud yellow arms that screamed “CHILD OF THE 80’s” like you’ve never imagined.
As someone who is a child of the 80’s for real (like…born in 1980), this made me beyond happy. And…I immediately had to put them on. I was already getting that nervous feeling…because I didn’t want to fall in love with a product that didn’t look good with my face shape.
BUT…they looked great!! The felt great. I wore them home that day from the office. And then the following day…I was stoked to take them out on a run to see how they held up to my road running adventures.
Here’s what I love about Knockaround Fast Lane Sunglasses…
They are lightweight. Honestly, you can barely tell they’re on when you’re out running or walking or even when you have them resting on top of your head while dashing into the office for a moment or whatever the case may be.
They won’t give you a headache. These glasses will fit your head without squeezing the daylights out of it. If you’re in them for 10 minutes or all day, they have yet to a headache. I love it when things fit properly!
The lenses aren’t coated in the cheap stuff that flakes off. I have had people invest in a different brand of sunglasses for running in, only to have the lens coating start to chip away. I’ve been pretty rough and tumble with these, and they still look like the did the day I pulled them out of the box.
They won’t fog up. How many of you have started out on a run, early enough to not need the sunglasses, but then moved them down only to have the lenses foggy. It’s not easy to run when you can’t see where you are going. I have gone out on cold mornings, hot mornings, rainy mornings, and never have had to pause my run to wipe away foggy lenses.
As you can tell, I went into this wanting to hate the sunglasses…but quite the opposite happened. Instead…I found a brand of sunglasses that I love to wear. In fast, I have already ordered two more pairs. One was in their big (Stay) Home (You’re Not) Alone 40% of sale…which also included the option of using the BibRave Discount as well. So, I bought a pair with the colors of my local professional soccer team.
And then I customized another pair…and those are going to be on their way to me in no time. The moral of the story is…big things come in little packages. If you’ve been searching for a good pair of sunglasses for your runs, walks, hikes, or maybe a future trip somewhere…you can’t go wrong with Knockarounds.
And if the Fast Lane style doesn’t speak to you, they have numerous other shapes and designs…and an option to design your own!! WHAT?! Yep…customize your own pair of sunnies!! Now we’re cooking with gas!
Head on over to Knockaround‘s Web site and go find your perfect pair…or design your own. But…I’m a forever fan of living my sunniest days…in the Fast Lane.
Want to hear what other people are saying about the Fast Lane’s? Let a few other BRP’s shed some (sun)light on the subject:
I won’t lie…that was how I felt at the very, very end of this race. I felt so strong and amazing, and at the very end…I felt like everything I worked hard for was taken from me.
Does this sound dramatic? I’m sure it does.
But it is the honest truth. And I’ll get to why as I give a little run-down of this race.
So, a big shout-out to my amazing friends, Melissa & Paul Nolan, for not only paying for my registration for this race, but for telling me about it last year and really peaking my interest in it. For one thing, the proceeds of this race go toward a really good cause – The Crossroads Pregnancy Resource Center. They were even kind enough to pick up my bib and sweatshirt the night before the race and bring it with them on race morning.
The night before the race I should have had my “magic sushi” that has worked for me in the past when training for a marathon and racing. But I didn’t. I cooked up a homemade Mushroom Masala, serving it over rice. I have to get used to that though. I can’t have my sushi before a few races I am traveling for this coming year – the biggest of which is the Berlin Marathon.
I might just be making excuses. HA!
I woke up to give myself time to figure out what I wanted to wear that morning (it was pretty dang cold), stretch, eat something, prep a bottle of Maurten 160 Drink Mix to bring with me for 30 minutes before the race, and…make the drive to LaGrange, Kentucky.
We got there with lots of time to kill. Per usual. So, after parking the car, my roomie and I wandered inside to stay warm. I made use of the indoor bathroom (twice…lots of water that morning because hydration!) and Cathy went exploring or something. That being said, as I wandered out, I was greeted by some members of the Louisville She Runs This Town Group, and we all sort of gathered together, admiring festive attire, talking about race strategy, possible races coming up, and how bright my pants were. That really was a thing. We all admired the cute Christmas tree awards that would be handed out to the Top 2 overall for the 6K and the 12K. They were truly stunning. Then, with 10 minutes to go until race time…we took the group photo.
Melissa arrived soon after the photo was taken, bringing my bib and her cute little bundle of joy (and her husband, for good measure, LOL!). I got pinned up and with 3 minutes to go finally headed outside. At this point, Lynn Riedling, a local runner, wandered past and I looked at Cathy and said, “Well…I won’t take overall here anyway!” I stepped out into the cold morning air. No one was really out there yet. It was weird. A lady asked which way we were heading out on the run, and I said, “I guess this way…because that’s how everyone is facing. Usually I don’t have to worry about it because I’m not really speedy enough to lead a race.” She said that was the same with her.
With just seconds to go, there was a countdown to the start of the race. People didn’t really line up right on the line…but we all took off when we told to go. My legs felt fast to start, but I didn’t know how fast they were as we took off from the church and headed down to Commerce Parkway. We were given instructions at the start of the race to return on the path, not the road when we turned around. Noted. I was feeling pretty strong as we made our way to the first turn and hit Mile 1. It was my fastest mile of the day…around a 6:50.
But here is where I now get why my LaGrange friends always talking about the hills. Because after that turn, the hills definitely started. Immediately. We climbed the first one on New Moody Lane. I wasn’t sure who I was running with was doing the 6K or the 12K, but I knew that I would continue to run straight down a road. Anyone doing the 6K would turn at Mile 1.86.
My second mile was around a 7:44. Hills. They get me every time. I had a few people pass me, but they were either men or dogs at this point. I did reach the turn around point and only a few turned. I stayed the course with the rest and just really was feeling strong at the moment. And I knew all I had to do was run straight down LaGrange Parkway to the turnaround at KY 53. But, in all cases, I just turn around when everyone else does.
Soon after the 2.5 mile point…Lynn passed me. I knew that was coming. She’s stealth and fast and an amazing runner. I expected it. But I knew I’d now be working for that 2nd overall female position. I was able to push a little more and sped up for the rollers on the road, reaching the turnaround point a little sooner than I should have. After I turned and started back, the next female behind me was coming toward the turnaround. I had a bit of a buffer, but not much.
Time to dial it in.
Miles 4 and 5 went by quickly, and I was able to maintain that pickup I had once Lynn passed me. That made me feel pretty good. But coming into Mile 6, we had to make another hill climb, and that definitely slowed me down more than I wish it had. But we were nearing the end of the race, so I knew my legs were not feeling as peppy. It was my slowest mile of the race, and it ended on a downhill, so that was a bit of a surprise. I made the dash across the road to continue on the path. That did mean some running on some grass, but it was only for a few strides. Someone said they heard jingle bells and turned to see me coming up behind them so they moved out of the way. Oh yeah…decided it would be fun to wear socks with bells on them for this run. HA! Someone else a bit further up the path was blocking the way while walking, and they turned as I was coming up behind them and stepped right in front of me. I had to hit the brakes and dodge around them. They did apologize. But I was in the homestretch. I could also tell at this point that the course was definitely going to be short.
I made the turn into the church parking lot to come up the hill. I had 0.05 miles to go to the finish line when…right there a woman sprinted right past me and up the hill. I tried to go with her, but she pressed on and I saw her round to the finish line. The fight I had left and I really slowed down because I just felt disappointed. It was the last race of the year for my mom and I got outkicked fight at the end after being 1st or 2nd overall for ALL of the race. I felt so much anger when I crossed the finish line that I paused my Garmin, said a few not safe for church words, and might have fought off tears.
It felt like I had been cheated right at the end. And I won’t lie. I was mad. I was also mad that the course was about .30 miles short. Looking back at the course, the original one had us doing this little duck into a parking lot thing and doing a loop in the first mile…and that didn’t happen. I guess that’s where it all went wrong. The good part was that I crossed just after my friends Melissa, Paul and their baby Carrick (in a stroller) crossed for the 6K. But Melissa wasn’t happy with her finish either, and she tried really, really hard to lift my spirits. I wasn’t having it as much as she wasn’t having my words of praise for her run. Cathy made a point of telling me that I was coming off a week that included two 10 milers before this race whereas the other woman was probably on better rested legs. It almost made me feel better.
At this point, a child walked an ornament over to me for finishing. Just as I was handed it, I just passed it off to Cathy. But then Lynn Riedling (the overall female winner) came over to me and said such nice things to me. I think she could tell I was upset. She told me that I really pushed her and that I ran really well that day. Honestly, that was such a show of sportsmanship that it really warmed my heart.
Cathy noticed people weren’t coming up the path the right way so she went to direct them and I wen to go add on to my distance to get the proper 12K. I kept it really easy. Cried a little from anger, disappointment, and just feeling like I let my mom down on the last race of the year.
And then…my mom called. I had just finished my cool down and my phone rang. I told her about the race and she said someone should have tripped that woman. My mom has a dry sense of humor. She told me she was proud of me for being 3rd female or 1st in my age group. And I told her…that didn’t matter at this race, because no one got awards for that. Now, I know awards and accolades aren’t everything, but I literally thought I had it for the ENTIRE race until that finish.
I finished talking to her and all of us went inside for the awards. I was nice and applauded everyone, including the lady who outkicked me (she was also the one I spoke with at the start of the race) right at the end. I’m not unsporting. She earned it. I just am still a bit bitter. HA! I’ll get over it…eventually. Although, I did find out that if I had opted for the 6K option, I would have crushed the competition going away. Let that be a lesson…there is sometimes more magic in that shorter distance. Hindsight is 20/20.
Afterwards, the Nolans, Cathy and I went out for brunch at Wild Eggs. I then had to finish up some shopping and head home to pack because I was heading to Alabama early on Sunday morning for Christmas with the family.
So, my official results of the 12Ks of Christmas are that I finished in I finished in 53:53. That’s a good baseline to work on should I run this again next year…unless I opt for the 6K option. We’ll see. Also…maybe not…because the course was short, as I mentioned before. I was 8/54 finishers overall. I was the 3/29 female finishers. And I was 1/3 in my age division. So, it might not have been the finish I thought I had earned, but in the end, it was a good race (next time I hope the course is more accurate), and the proceeds definitely went to a good cause. And, honestly, when all was said and done…I had fun, even on the challenging hills. And that wrapped up a year of racing…so in 2020, I’m going to work on that finishing kick. Getting passed at the finish line is really getting old.
Tis the season to be busy…fa la la la la la la la la.
I have been trying to squeeze in time to blog on here about a few things that have come up since my last race…and it life just hasn’t slowed down very much. In fact, I figured I’d have a bit more time these days without the grind of marathon training. But the fact of the matter is…now I’m getting caught up on everything that had to wait until I wasn’t marathon training. Work has been insane. And pile the holidays on right after and it’s a recipe for chaos and stress.
BUT…some pretty exciting stuff has happened since my last race update…and I have a few goals that are non-running related that I want to keep up with this year on THIS blog even. Because I started this blog to not just cover my running (training & races), but also my life as I navigate a gluten-free life in a gluten-filled world, my passion for baking and cooking, and everything in between.
That being said…this post is definitely running related…but also travel related…because…
I GOT INTO THE BERLIN MARATHON!!
That’s right. This girl is heading to Germany this coming September. Not long after my 40th birthday. So, honestly, I can’t think of any better race to use to ring in 40th year on Earth. The last time I went to Germany was 2003…so its been awhile. And I have never been to Berlin or a few other places that I’ve looked at visiting while there (hello Munich in October…because Octoberfest!). So, do expect a lot more of that as far as planning, travel, and all that goes on in Germany to be documented here.
It’s awhile off, but this is my first overseas race of the Abbott World Marathon Majors (I have done Chicago (x2 – 2013; 2018); NYC (2014), and Boston 2015) already. Hopefully I can get into the remaining two in the near future as well.
I found out about this on the day before Thanksgiving. I was just clearing out my e-mails that morning, and thought it was spam, but opened it anyway (I live dangerously, I guess?) and gasped, went “OH MY GOD!” and threw my phone. It freaked out my roommate. Especially when I started going, “HOLY SHIT BALLS!” She kept going, “WHAT?! WHAT?!” And, honestly while crying I said, “I GOT INTO BERLIN!” (I am using Caps Lock here because it was all the screams). Her response was classic: “FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK.” HAHA!
Honestly, we already have places where we are staying. Our hotel in Berlin is 5 star hotel (because…PRINCESS) and have started to lay out a general schedule (because we needed places to stay in the other cities we wanted to travel to as well). And, of course, since we’re there, we will probably hop over to Austria for an afternoon.
The best part of this, though, was talking with my Grandpa about it. He has run the Berlin Marathon twice (he lived in Germany for 3 years back in the 80s) and he went over race strategies with me and told me about his experiences. Of course, the big difference is that when he ran the race, Berlin was still divided by a wall. Seriously, I couldn’t stop smiling as we chatted on the phone.
So, there is my first round of exciting news. Stay tuned for more in the next couple of days (I promise…I’ll post it before I head home for the holidays).
Okay…the way I had been racing prior to my Monumental Marathon, I was hoping for some Thanksgiving magic when I set out to run Fast Freddie’s this year. I wasn’t expecting anything great. I wasn’t quite 3 weeks off my BQ finish, and the legs had only a little punch in them at this point. So…let’s just say I felt like I had been racing well, so a PR wasn’t out of the question, but it was going to be up to the legs.
But I digress.
You guys already know the history of this tradition. I have run it every year since I started running (except in 2015 when I was injured from the hip labrum tear, but we don’t talk about that year). When I moved into my apartments, I had no idea a Thanksgiving race happened just across the street. My parents found out that year though (prior to me even becoming a runner), when they were visiting for Thanksgiving and were caught on a street that was semi-closed to traffic for this race in question. They showed up a little late going, “Are you aware a race is happening outside on the street.” Little did they know that a few years later, they’d be spectating while I ran it.
But yes. I do this one…EVERY YEAR!
And why shouldn’t I? It’s the least stressful, most convenient race on my race calendar every year. The later start time sort of messes with my hosting responsibilities, but with my mom and dad around, we make it work. My mom is a HUGE help in my tiny kitchen on this holiday! I give major props to her every year. And since I wasn’t sure they would make the trip this year with her treatments and all, it was even more special this year when they said they were coming.
They arrived right around dinner time on Wednesday…bearing gifts (not really, it was a lot of my stuff that I had left with them in their attic, but they are downsizing their house (and it makes me sad, because the house they currently have is STUNNING) and the new house doesn’t have an attic (what kind of house doesn’t have an attic!?) so they needed to offload it…but news flash…I live in apartment with NO storage space that is free). I had already stopped by the Floyd County 4-H Fairgrounds on the way home from work (we got out early at 3:30 pm) to pick up my race bib and shirt. This year, the shirt was this gorgeous pumpkin color. I’m in love with it. I also delivered some gluten free stuffing I made for my friend Melissa to her husband, who we ran into at the packet pickup. Go figure.
The most difficult decision that night was where we were going to grab dinner. We finally decided on Core Life. Perfect. A great, healthy dinner before the holiday feast. I had my usual: the Siracha Ginger Tofu + Ancient Grains Bowl. So yummy! We ate, got caught up, and drove home, where my mom and I did some major meal prep…making the dessert (pink salad), and then chopped the veggies for the Shrimp Creole (What? You expect us to have turkey on Thanksgiving? Not in my family!) and the stuffing that would cook up in the crockpot while we were at the race. We also hardboiled the eggs for the Deviled Eggs (which she whipped up while we were waiting on awards at the race). We were pretty set for a less-stressful Thanksgiving. We put on pajamas and settled in to an episode of Holiday Nailed It on Netflix. My parents don’t have Netflix and had never seen Nailed It. I think they’re hooked now.
We all turned in that night. I set an early alarm that would give me time to do my stretches and work on some Thanksgiving things prior to the race itself. And when everyone was up and had their coffee (not me…I had that post-race)…I went to go change, opting for some shorts because it was right on the cusp of it being too cold for shorts. But I went with it. I also had on a short-sleeve shirt (pink, of course) with arm warmers. It was going to have to be enough to keep me warm that morning. And it was cold and windy this Thanksgiving. Oh, to have the year where it was 60 degrees back.
We were all bundled up and I realized we almost did what we did last year…forget to put my bib on. HA! Just before walking out the door, I realized it. My roommate played it off like she was about to pin me up…but we all know better. We almost forgot. Again. But, crisis averted. Got pinned up, zipped back up, and we headed out into the cold Thanksgiving morning air.
I knew that the local MRTT/SRTT chapter was doing their pictures at 8:45…and as we got over to the 4-H Fairgrounds, I spotted Leah…and soon more people followed. We did get our photo taken, but then we all went our separate ways to get lined up at the start. This year they did something a little different (which I personally appreciated)…if you were bib 1-99…you got to start in a green box at the start line. I was Bib 90…and I took advantage of this. I knew this wasn’t going to be an astounding race for me, but I appreciated not having to bob and weave through the kids (admittedly, a lot of them are pretty fast…but some are not) this year.
We took over the road and somehow I ended up right by the front. Oh well…I planned to run this one has hard as I could that day. And we were off. The first part of this first mile felt…okay. I got passed by a lot of people, but I was just going to see what I had. We went up the hill leading to the overpass and I felt spritely enough to push a bit through that hill. It isn’t one of the bad ones. And the downhill on the other side was a nice way to balance it out. The course flattened out as we hit the turn onto Mt. Tabor Road. I ran past Mile 1 and soon after my watch beeped. This is the first time EVER that my watch has been off on this course. I didn’t look at it…I just kept going. They had repaved the road earlier in the year, so maybe the mark was off when they went through to put up the mile markers. I pressed on, but as I headed up a bit of a hill to turn onto Grant Line Road, I started to feel the inkling of a side stich.
I haven’t had a side stitch on this course since the first year I ran it, I think. And I train a lot using this course, so…what the hell? I tried to just slowly breathe through it, and I passed Mile 2…my watch beeping soon after that. Just as I was coming up on the rail road tracks, someone sprinted past me really fast. All I could think in my head was, “And the coffee apparently just kicked in…”
I made the turn into Sam Peden Community Park, which I felt was wrong this year…and we turned too early from where we usually do on the course. But, I mean, you go where you’re directed. And I could be wrong. Needless to say, the hardest parts were here…and I started up that damn hill. I hate that hill because it literally goes on for about a half a mile. UGH! I told myself I had run this hill so many times this year…and I pushed myself to keep my legs churning up it. It felt like an eternity, but I got to where it leveled out for a moment. And my side stitch went away too, so BONUS! As I ran past the Mile 3 marker I waited for my watch to hit it too. It came a moment later (again). BUT…this is also where my Wednesday spin teacher spotted me in the park and gave me a shoutout. I sort of needed it after that hill, and knowing one of the hardest parts of the race, the hilly Schell Lane, was just ahead.
I exited the park and headed down a hill. I have a love/hate relationship with this stretch of road. I hate the hills. I love that the people who live along this stretch come out and cheer, play music, whatever. I made it up the first hill and started back down…crossed that 3 1/2 mile marker…and then headed up the short, but steep hill at the very end of that road. Made the turn onto Daisy Lane…and enjoyed my favorite part of this race…the downhill.
Mile 4 was in sight, and I could tell I was behind where I had been years previously, when I saw the 29 minute mark. I usually hit this around 28 minutes in this race. That being said, Mile 4 was my fastest mile of the race. Even with all those hills. Go figure. When that part of the course levels off from that downhill though, the legs really have to fight to get that momentum again. I knew this wasn’t going to be a spectacular last mile, but I went all in, as much as I could.
I made the turn onto Green Valley Road and immediately got hit with the headwind. UGH. I could feel my body just tense up because me and cold winds are not BFFs. Not at all. I put my head down and just fought it the best I could. I was tired. My legs felt tired. But I really wanted to put in a good time. I really wanted to have a great finish for my mom. I have run EVERY race this year for her (always wearing pink to honor her battle against breast cancer), and when my legs were slowing down, I was literally getting mad at myself.
I could see the fairgrounds and focused on that. My dad was down near the road, and I heard him cheer me in. I made the final turn, where my mom and Cathy were cheering and just ran it as hard as I could at that point…across the finish. I slowed down and a few seconds later, my watch clicked to Mile 5. I stopped it then.
I snagged a couple of water bottles and made my way to the other side of Newlin Hall, meeting up with my mom, dad, and Cathy. Cathy was kind enough to take a photo of me with them, before we headed over to the road to cheer in some of my friends. My dad wasn’t feeling well, so my mom ended up taking him back to the apartment, where she got to work on the Deviled Eggs and a few other things, while I cheered people in. Cathy kept going in to check official results, but none of them posted at that point. Once I saw my friends Paul and Melissa come in (with Melissa pushing the stroller), I went to head inside and find them for the awards ceremony. Before I got in there, though, I was spotted by the pacer from the Monumental Marathon. I once again took a moment to thank him for helping me hit my goal, and he said 15 people in the 3:35 group got that BQ time that day. It was awesome. I also got to introduce him to Cathy. We all headed inside together. Paul found me and Cathy and we went over to see Melissa and the baby as the awards were starting up. My age group came up…and my name wasn’t announced. Knowing my parents were back at the apartment, we ducked out before the raffle tickets were drawn and headed home. Cathy checked the results as we left…and I was 4th. Again. Getting outkicked by A LOT. Again.
I went inside and took a quick shower before hopping back into the kitchen to work on more of the feast for Thanksgiving. Our friend and neighbor, Laura, stopped over with her boyfriend for a moment to say HI and give hugs. She didn’t get to spend the day with us this year, but I was so glad she stopped by. Soon after…we set up the table and feasted, thankful for a lot this year. But, as always, I was thankful to have my parents with me this year.
SO…here it is. My official results of the Fast Freddie’s Festive Five Mile Foot Feast this year is that I finished in 36:57…three seconds slower than my 2013 and 2018 finish times. No new PR. No age group award (again!). But, let’s remember that I had run a BQ qualifying time at a marathon on November 9th…so these legs were peppier than I expected. Will I ever beat my 2017 time? I bet I can. Just not this year. I was 118/692 finishers this year. There were 100 fewer finishers this year. That is surprising. I was the 19th female to cross the finish line. And I was 4th in my age division. To be fair…those who came in ahead of me kicked my ass time-wise once again. Like…2 minutes faster than me ass kicking. I’m definitely hoping to kick it next year and maybe get a new PR on this course. I incorporate it so often into my runs, that I figure my body would just be used to those hills. Next year, no side stiches or wind, please!
I don’t know how I made it through these last 20 weeks, but with that said…race week has arrived. I’m both nervous, excited, anxious, and calm. How is it possible to feel all the thingsand remain sane? Well, the vote is still out on that whole remaining sane thing. HA!
This was definitely a week to turn it down. And my coach gave me specific instructions that he didn’t want me to take a complete back seat this week, but I could move or change whatever I needed to going into it. I didn’t change a damn thing. I did, however, knock my recovery runs down one mile and made sure to keep that pace nice…and…easy. The last thing I wanted was to go into race morning with lactic acid hanging around in these legs. NOPE NOPE NOPE!
As I mentioned previously, my coach does an untraditional taper. He does lower mileage (although I was in the 60s, 50s, 40s for the last three weeks)…kinda. He makes a lot of it all about that speed work. Getting those legs to fire…right at the end of a run…when they are the most exhausted. But this week really didn’t have too much on it. My longest run was 7 miles, and that was the ONLY one that really had a speed element to it. And it was a 4 mile fast finish. Other than that…strides on the last day I ran before the race. But I’ll cover all of that in this week recap.
It’s race week…let’s go!
Monday: INSTRUCTIONS: NO WATCH ALLOWED! FOCUS ON THE GOAL OF THE RUN = RECOVERY! GO AS FAR OR SHORT AS YOU NEED, AS FAST OR SLOW AS YOU NEED, WALK OR RUN AS YOU NEED.
I love that even in taper, my coach trusts me with “Choose Your Own Adventure” runs. Knowing that this is race week, I really wanted to make my primary focus recovery. I want to hit that start line feeling fresh and ready. I was stressing over the forecast a little too much, because it looks like this will be my coldest marathon I have run. Thanks to Canada and this arctic blast that is attacking our nation. HA! Anyway, I woke up to weather JUST above freezing. So it was a long sleeve, capris kind of a run. I didn’t wear my Dunkin’ Donuts hat…don’t know why. I just didn’t. And the legs did a little shakeout. They felt good for a Monday. I opted to do 4 instead of my usual 5 miles…and somehow snagged some negative splits in the process. I called it a day. No personal training. Just my normal PT stretches. I didn’t even do the additional hip strengtheners this week, not wanting to accidentally tweak something. Simple. Basic. Got it done.
Tuesday: INSTRUCTIONS: 5-8 MILES WITH 3-5 MILE FINISH AT MARATHON PACE – GOAL 6.5 MILES – EASY DOES IT UNTIL THE FAST FINISH AT THE END
I woke up on Tuesday morning to 50 degree weather. Yep. From 33 degrees Monday morning to 50 degrees on Tuesday. Fun times. I knew he gave me the option of 8 miles…and if this was training on a normal week and I was feeling good…I might have pushed for it. BUT…it’s taper. It’s race week. I don’t like half miles…so I rounded up to 7…and I opted to go right in the middle with that fast finish, doing 3 easy miles and pushing pace on those last 4. It felt hard. It shouldn’t have felt hard. But, I did at least get it done. My sinuses were having a fun reaction to the yo-yo temperatures, so that was fun. Other than that…I took it for what it was. Finished as strong as I could for the day, then went inside to shower and just do my usual stretching. Keeping it nice and easy. Oh, and I went and voted. Because that needed to happen!
Wednesday: INSTRUCTIONS: NO WATCH ALLOWED! FOCUS ON THE GOAL OF THE RUN = RECOVERY! GO AS FAR OR SHORT AS YOU NEED, AS FAST OR SLOW AS YOU NEED, WALK OR RUN AS YOU NEED.
Second verse, same as the first. My only other “Choose Your Own Adventure” run for the week. Happy to have had 2 of these. I opted to do 4 again, unless I just wasn’t feeling it. That’s the glory about these…I control them. I did make a note to back off on pace and just let the legs work a little less. My last 2 miles were much quicker than my first 2 miles, but that’s because it took me 2 miles to feel warm. Isn’t that fun. OH…did I not mention that the temperature dipped back down to just above freezing again? Another morning with 33 degrees. Oh…joy. And the fact that I went from a warm apartment to run and it took me 2 miles to get my legs going was a bit of a concern. I just tried very hard not to let it get into my head. I did my stretches twice that morning. And I foam rolled before work. After work, I had a sports massage and I was so thankful for that. Basically all that is holding me back right now is the weather.
Thursday: BASE FUN 4-8 MILES + 4-6 STRIDES – GOAL 6 MILES – EASY OVERALL EFFORT
It was another rainy Thursday morning. Just like last week. UGH. MEH. BLAH. I originally had thought about just doing the run on the treadmill, but I can’t do strides on the tready. Nope. So…I opted to just go and get it done. It never stopped raining on me…but thankfully, we were back up to 50 degrees. WHAT THE HELL WEATHER?! So, I definitely didn’t want to push anything. Not even the hills I go up and down. This was one of my slowest training runs to date. And some of it might have been fear of slipping on the wet pavement and falling. I won’t lie. But I really just wanted it all to feel super easy. It didn’t. I blame the rain. But, I did get in 6 miles. See…I was given the option of going up to 8…but I really am doing JUST what needs to be done this week. I reset for strides and pushed those legs on some short sprints…then went inside to take a hot shower, stretch, and get to work. I met my friend, Melissa, for coffee after work…and she gave me my start line pep talk just in case she couldn’t get that out at my start line. I appreciated it. Went home to eat dinner. Was supposed to pack. Didn’t pack. Went to bed by 8:30…because I really wanted to get some quality sleep knowing that I probably won’t sleep much on Friday night.
Friday: REST/RECOVERY DAY!
Thank God for small miracles. I woke up at normal time…of course. I didn’t set an alarm. I just woke up. So I lounged and dozed and finally got up at 5 am. I showered. I stretched. I was thankful to not have to do one single mile today. I was thankful that it was 26 degrees outside and I got to stay inside, stretch, hydrate, and sit under my snuggie, working on this blog. That’s what I did. I eventually made breakfast and my roommate and I got to packing…pretty much every option for any scenario on race day. I still don’t know what I should or want to wear during the race. We haven’t had weather this cold yet here…so I am at a total loss. Not to mention, I have never run a marathon or a long distance run in temperatures like this. It doesn’t sound fun. It’s producing a lot of anxiety…but we’re working through it. We had to wait for Dragon King’s Daughter to open so I could order my “magic sushi” to take with me to Indianapolis. Then we hit the road to get up to Indy, check into the hotel, and hit the expo. The rest of the time, I was going to spend in the hotel…rolling, stretching, and keeping myself off my feet. I wanted to feel good Saturday morning.
Saturday: CNO FINANCIAL GROUP INDIANAPOLIS MONUMENTAL MARATHON
Goal: Qualify for Boston – needed 3:40 time.
Finished in 3:35:13.
More to come in actual post race recap! This girl is going back to Boston in 2021! This is my second fastest marathon…EVER. This beats out my 2nd marathon, the Marshall Marathon, by about 42 seconds. Super proud. Super sore. But my day didn’t end with that finish line. Then I went and sat outside in Indianapolis for the USL Eastern Conference Finals between the Indy Eleven and…Louisville City FC. We won. In overtime. It was a long day of being cold.
Sunday: REST/RECOVERY DAY!
I just can’t sleep the night after I run a marathon. I was up until after midnight, watching Mindhunter (finished Season 2) and was still NOT tired. I tossed and turned all night. Finally got up and decided to finish this blog. Will take a short 20 minute walk on the hotel treadmill this morning before grabbing breakfast, packing, loading up the car, and heading out for some shopping and lunch (you know I’m going to Woody’s). Then, the long car ride home to Louisville, where I still need to buy groceries, meal prep, and all the usual stuff. This coming week will bring my 20-30 minute walks (just like I did post Glass City Marathon in April). I want to get back to spin classes…all the stuff I stopped doing when marathon training took over my life. Looking forward to this recovery time while I make plans for 2020, which now doesn’t need to include a marathon!
Guys…we have 19 weeks of hard training down…and only one more to go until the big day. Am I nervous? Of course. There’s something scary about putting your goals out there for people to see…for putting your training out there for people to read. Setting big goals in and of themselves can be a scary ordeal.
But there is no turning back now. We’re in the homestretch. That start line and that finish line are waiting…
So let’s do this thing.
Monday: INSTRUCTIONS: NO WATCH ALLOWED! FOCUS ON THE GOAL OF THE RUN = RECOVERY! GO AS FAR OR SHORT AS YOU NEED, AS FAST OR SLOW AS YOU NEED, WALK OR RUN AS YOU NEED.
I was so thankful to have another Monday as a “Choose Your Own Adventure” kind of run. After moving my long run last week to Sunday, it was nice to not have to worry about hitting paces or doing some sort of workout. I didn’t know this, however, until the morning when I woke up. My coach sends through my plan after his children go to bed…and I had already gone to bed ahead of that. What can I say? Rest and sleep have been a priority this entire training cycle and it has made a world of difference. So…I went out there, watch covered, and put in some miles. I kept it easy and relaxed and just let my legs do what they needed and wanted to do that day. No pressure. No anxiety. Just a simple run to shake out the legs. I finished up with 5 miles for the morning, because my legs felt that good. I did my additional hip strengthening exercises with my morning round of stretches this morning. Then, at noon, at met with my personal trainer, Corey, who put me through a leg day workout, targeting some muscles that don’t get a lot of love. I stretched and foam rolled that evening and went to bed early (as always)
Tuesday: INSTRUCTIONS: SPEED WORK – MONA FARTLEKS W/ 1 MILE HARD EFFORT
I didn’t want to incorporate speed during my taper…but it’s important to keep that rolling. And my coach, thankfully, handed me my favorite of the speed workouts to do. The Mona Fartleks. If you haven’t tried these yet…DO IT! You’ll see what I mean. Mona Fartleks work like this: 2 mile warm up, 2 x 90 sec, 4 x 60 sec, 4 x 30 sec, 4 x 15 sec (with equal recovery after each at a pace faster than base pace), 1 mile hard effort, 2 mile cool down. Simple. Basic. FUN! It was a cool morning…and I felt fast. I really did. I kept my warm up nice and easy then really hit those intervals. I even managed a mile in the 6s for pace at the end. My cool down…faster than my warm up, but it usually is. I mean…I wasn’t expecting my legs to respond like that, but they felt ready to go. They felt strong. It worked out to be 8 miles for the day. I went inside and did my second day of additional hip strengtheners with my morning stretches. Went to work. Came home and did those evening stretches before hitting the sack for some sleep.
Wednesday: INSTRUCTIONS: NO WATCH ALLOWED! FOCUS ON THE GOAL OF THE RUN = RECOVERY! GO AS FAR OR SHORT AS YOU NEED, AS FAST OR SLOW AS YOU NEED, WALK OR RUN AS YOU NEED.
It was the perfect morning for another easy “Choose Your Own Adventure Day.” When I have those in the middle of the week, it always means another bit of speed is coming the following day. With that in mind, my watch was covered and I went out and ran comfortably. And apparently comfortably that day was…faster than anticipated. I felt amazing the entire time. Rested. Strong. Capable. This is what you need to be feeling this week of training…and I’m hitting it. I did another 5 miles this morning, surprised with the average pace at the end. I hoped it wouldn’t hinder my run the following day. I stretched. I went to work. And I met with Corey at lunch for personal training, focusing on triceps. We kept the session shorter than usual because he wanted to make sure I had no lactic acid built up as I go into race week. He’s a runner. He’s an athlete. He gets these things. That evening I had a great sports massage and all felt right with the world. Except for…the rain.
Thursday: 8-10 MILES WITH A 3-5 MILE FINISH AT MARATHON PACE – GOAL 9 MILES – EASY DOES IT UNTIL FAST FINISH AT END
I didn’t casually mention rain yesterday for no reason. When I woke up early to fit in this run (knowing I wasn’t going to do anything over the goal distance)…it was pouring rain. Fun fact…if it starts to rain on me after I’m out running, I’m okay with it. I don’t like starting in the rain. At all. And…if this wasn’t as long of a run, I probably would have gone to the gym and done it on the treadmill. My plan was to go out and do 5 easy and 4 at marathon pace. When the rain picked up that morning…I hit four miles and chose to just hit 5 at marathon pace instead. So…off I went. And even in the pouring rain (thankfully it was 58 degrees outside)…which I always fret over slipping…I nailed it. Completely nailed it. I even felt like I could have pushed harder, but the purpose of the exercise was to hit marathon pace, not half marathon pace. This was also the first time since July that I have run with my watch uncovered. And it didn’t stress me out at all. That being said, I was very happy to finish up this run and get out of the rain. 9 miles for the day…5 of them fast. It was a HUGE confidence boost to do that in rain. I did my stretches in the morning and night. Oh…and by the time I left work, winter had arrived. We legit had snowflakes in the air. NOPE!
Friday: REST/RECOVERY DAY!
I didn’t sleep in much for some reason this Friday. I kept waking up. So, eventually, I just got myself out of bed and went to be a little productive. I erased my whiteboard art and went and did up something new for the month of November. I used Simba from The Lion King (the original animated one) with his mane of leaves. Because it’s fall. Leaves mean fall. And I love drawing Disney characters. I showered. I stretched. I finished filling out my paper work for my podiatrist. My appointment got moved to just before lunch today. I don’t anticipate this being a long visit…but hoping he can do something about some of my nails (marathon training for 2 years = ugly feet). And…after work, we hit up Dragon King’s Daughter for “magic sushi” as I prepare for my long run on Saturday.
Saturday: 11-13 MILES WITH 5 MILE FINISH AT MARATHON PACE – GOAL 12 MILES – EASY DOES IT UNTIL FAST FINISH AT END
Woke up to weather in the 20s. No joke. It was 28° and I was not happy! Not one bit. I don’t do well in temperatures below freezing. It’s part of having Raynaud’s. It sucks to try to run when you can’t feel your feet. So, I admit…I was in a bad mood at the start of this run. Not even going to lie. I didn’t even plan out a route or think it through the night before. I just was determined that this run was going to be awful. It wasn’t too bad. It was just cold. But guess what…I warmed up. The sky was crystal clear. The sun came out. And while I wouldn’t call it warm by any means, my movement did finally give me some feeling in my extremities. YAY! The same could not be said for my iPhone 7. The battery died 30 minutes into my run. Guys…I can’t have my phone battery dying when the weather is cold. It’s a safety issue for ME. Against my will, I ended up turning the phone off and finishing up the run, with the last 5 miles being along my super-hilly Thanksgiving course. WHY do I do this? Why do I forget (I run this course all the time) how hard those hills are? But I pushed my fast finish at marathon pace. It was a bit of a struggle today, but my last long run was done. I took a warm shower. I put on real (warm) clothes. I watched Mindhunter with my breakfast gluten-free bagel. I went grocery shopping (all day). I came home and put away groceries. Stretched. Watched Top Chef. Watched Mindhunter. Then watched Louisville City FC win (on the road) the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Guess what? The Eastern Conference Finals are being held in Indianapolis…the afternoon of my marathon. Guess what we’re getting tickets to go watch!! It was a late night (for me) but worth staying up for.
Sunday: BASE RUN 5-8 MILES + 4-6 STIDES – GOAL 7 MILES – EASY OVERALL EFFORT
The time change messed with me. I always panic when we have to fall back or jump forward. Especially when I am meeting with friends to go running. I set my alarm clock (which I needed to adjust the time, but in hindsight didn’t actually move it when we jumped forward in the spring…so I totally had the time wrong. But I also set my phone alarm. Then I woke up, not trusting it. And my alarm clock (was wrong) said one time. My phone and Garmin said another. The clock in the living room said the same time as my phone, and the clock in the kitchen had the same time as my alarm clock. I was driving myself crazy. I finally asked Siri what time it was…and my phone was correct. I just don’t trust technology to actually fall back. Deep breath. So, I snuggled down for another hour…but didn’t really sleep. Finally got up to stretch, hydrate, fuel, and get my stuff together. I figured, with it being another below freezing morning, I’d have to give myself time to scrape the windows of my car before driving to meet my friend Ron for my last weekend run before the marathon. Murder fog rolled in as I arrived. He had gone to do his additional 2 miles ahead of our meeting. And we ran through it for a mile before it started to lift and the sun came back out. We kept it easy and talked a lot about race strategy and the weather (he’s a meteorologist) and how to dress. It’s all confusing to me. Aside from the weather (which is an uncontrollable), I do feel confident and good and better than ever as this training cycle wraps up. We threw in the strides at the end of the run. Walked it back to the cars. Stretched. And that was it. The last long run before the big day. 8 miles total.
So, yeah…a part of me is internally freaking out because I have put this HUGE goal out there for everyone to see, read about, and follow along with. But, it honestly doesn’t feel like any pressure to perform has been put on me. I trust my coach…his plan…my training…and I know I am capable of having a great race. Now…I need the day to go well. You never know on race day what can happen. But…honestly, I have never felt more ready to run 26.2 miles.
Six days to go. And, let me tell you, my friends running the NYC Marathon have been quite the inspiration! Here’s to staying focused, healthy, and strong in these final days before the start line.
It’s taper…but sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. I’m still around 50 miles this week. Not unusual, to be honest. This was about what happened when I ran Glass City Marathon back in April. I told you…my coach is very untraditional when it comes to the actual taper leading into a marathon. That being said, mileage did go DOWN from last week…so it is technically a taper, right?
This week was crazy. Lots of rearranging due to events and/or weather. Tuesday night I was out late at the KFC Yum! Center seeing Celine Dion perform. So I flipped speed work to Thursday. Saturday’s weather was calling for TONS of rains (up to 3 inches) and some strong wind gusts…so I flipped my long run to Sunday. So, structure isn’t a thing this week. This week, it was all about fitting it all in. October has been a crazy month and we are now two weeks out from the big day. I need things to slow down a little.
Let’s take a look at the week, shall we?
Monday: INSTRUCTIONS: NO WATCH ALLOWED! FOCUS ON THE GOAL OF THE RUN = RECOVERY! GO AS FAR OR SHORT AS YOU NEED, AS FAST OR SLOW AS YOU NEED, WALK OR RUN AS YOU NEED.
After last week’s hellish week of speed, I was thankful that Monday showed up as a choose your own adventure run. That is…I choose the distance and the pace…depending on how I feel and what I want to do. I always appreciate these runs. No pressure to put in any sort of long run. I could stop at 1 mile…I never go over 5. I was thankful for the recovery day and just let me legs do what the wanted and needed that day. Kept my watch covered and just paid attention to if/when I was struggling with hills or feeling like I needed to stop. It was just what I needed and I was happy that this turned, allowing me to not have to think about my run. Just plug in and go. I ended up with 5 that morning, as I felt good and the temperatures seemed just perfect. Low to mid 50s…that’s a happy place for me. I did my additional hip strengtheners with my stretches this morning as well. AND…I had a personal training session with Corey, focusing on legs. It was a busy and full day, but thankfully the run felt good.
Tuesday: INSTRUCTIONS: BASE RUN 6-8 MILES – GOAL 7 MILES + 4-6 STRIDES – EASY EFFORT – TRY NO WATCH AGAIN
Tuesday morning brought one of the speed elements I was given this week, but thankfully, it’s the least intimidating. Strides. My run was to be kept at my base pace, not really pushing it but keeping it where my rhythm naturally falls. It was almost 60 degrees this morning, so I was back in a tank top and loving it. I ran 7.5 miles without issue, keeping it around my usual base pace (sometimes faster, it just depends on hills). And I felt amazing. I added on the strides at the end, and my legs felt fast and strong as I pushed through 6 of them. That was 8 miles total for the morning. And after my shower, I went ahead and did my next round of hip strengtheners with my stretches. Got through the work day, ate dinner, and headed out to the Celine Dion concert in Louisville. The show was great…and I got home late. That being said, it wasn’t yet midnight (I got in bed at 11 pm), so I didn’t have to get out and run my miles before bed for Wednesday. And I set a later alarm, knowing that I didn’t have my big (and high mileage) speed work that following day anymore. Thank God for a flexible coach and schedule. I slept really well, surprisingly…just not enough despite a later (by about an hour) alarm.
Wednesday: INSTRUCTIONS: NO WATCH ALLOWED! FOCUS ON THE GOAL OF THE RUN = RECOVERY! GO AS FAR OR SHORT AS YOU NEED, AS FAST OR SLOW AS YOU NEED, WALK OR RUN AS YOU NEED.
From tank top to sleeves. Wednesday morning, I headed out to run just after 4:30 am. Thankful for the change to an easy, recovery run, I was hoping to at least get 3 miles in. I would let my legs and body tell me what I had in me. It was 41 degrees, but felt like 39. That was a big change from the 60 degrees the previous morning. I started off nice and easy and, while I felt tired this morning, my legs apparently felt good. I was a little surprised by the overall pace when I uncovered my watch at the end of my run. I never pushed pace, or even worked hard on the hills. Recovery is very important and even I take recovery runs seriously. Since it all felt so fluid and good that morning, I went ahead and did 5 miles. After a shower, I did my stretches twice…and then later that evening, after work and dinner, I went and got a sports massage…which I felt I really needed! I went right to bed when I got home because the second speed element was in my track workout (that I don’t do on a track) the following morning.
Thursday: TRACK WORKOUT: 1 MILE WU; 10X800M (GOAL: 3:30 OR ~7 MIN PACE) W/ EQUAL RECOVERY (AT A JOG, NOT WALKING), 1 MILE CD
It had been a full two days since I had an actual foam rolling session. Granted, I did get a sports massage the night before, but when I stepped out (back in short sleeves because the temperature was in the mid-40s), I really knew I needed to get some good foam rolling in after this. I won’t lie, 800s are my LEAST favorite speed workout. Seriously. I feel like they take forever to actually run (even though, for me, it’s close to 3:30 minutes…but that’s an eternity, honestly). I don’t have a track nearby or open to the public…so I use a stretch of road and just run up and down it. My warmup was nice and easy, followed by some dynamic stretches (high knees and butt kicks) before I launched into all TEN…TEN!! of my 800s that morning. I could feel how each one was becoming harder and harder to hit, but I actually managed to keep the prescribed pace and never was slower than Daniel wanted me to aim for. So, that was good. In fact, before I could even fill in the comments on the training app we use, he was already commenting on how I nailed this one. It was a good feeling. So was finishing this up. Because I really was not loving the speed work. The cool down mile gave me 12 total for the day, 10 of which were the run/jog intervals. I really made sure I kept it at a light jog, so I could feel recovered enough to push on every interval that followed. I succeeded. I stretched that morning and later that night went on a 5 mile run (doing the Thanksgiving route) with my friend Melissa. It had been forever since we had run together and, she really wanted to do this route WITH me. I don’t get invited to run with people often, and I don’t care if you run slower than me or not, I love running with people. We kept this at a very, very easy pace because we both needed it that way. After I downed a bagel for dinner, I stretched again and FINALLY got in some foam rolling. I went to bed, setting a late alarm because my rest day was coming.
Friday: REST/RECOVERY DAY!
I was definitely sleeping better this week than I had been in the previous weeks. So, that’s an improvement. That being said, I woke up a full hour before my alarm. I tried to lounge in bed and doze, but I was awake. So…I got up, showered, did my stretches, got ready for work, ate breakfast, had coffee, survived the workday, came home for dinner. My coach and my training partner opted to move my long run to Sunday due to the weather on Saturday…so I wasn’t feeling pressed for time. I started a new season of Top Chef (I’m on the season in Boston, ironically), went to bed, setting a later alarm once again because I knew I was either going to do a short run in a gentle rain, or head to the gym to use the treadmill if it was a harder rain. At this point in the game, I’m 2 weeks out from my goal race…why risk slipping on wet leaves or pavement, twisting an ankle in a pothole that I thought was a puddle, or putting my immune system to the test in inclement weather? Not worth it. I’d make the call in the morning.
Saturday: INSTRUCTIONS: NO WATCH ALLOWED! FOCUS ON THE GOAL OF THE RUN = RECOVERY! GO AS FAR OR SHORT AS YOU NEED, AS FAST OR SLOW AS YOU NEED, WALK OR RUN AS YOU NEED.
Well, it was pouring when I woke up. It was. But I still had some time to make the decision. I got over 9 hours of sleep, so I was feeling rested and ready, regardless. I went ahead and did my stretches and hydrated. I stepped outside, and it was still a steady rain, so I decided that, the best thing for ME to do, was to do this easy, recovery run inside. On the treadmill. You guys know I’m not a fan of the treadmill, but this was definitely the right choice. I know a lot of people who were training and/or racing out in the weather, and that’s fine. I don’t risk anything this close to race day. And while it is possible it could rain on November 9…I have run and raced in the rain before. And the training ground is NOT my proving ground and never will be. I went to the gym and did a very easy pace (with a 1% incline) for 5 miles. I forgot to set the incline at first, and my shins were killing me. I was really confused and then I figured that out. Sometimes a flat treadmill works best, sometimes that additional incline works magic. I needed it today. Honestly, I really kept an easy pace…probably easier than I would have done if I had been outside. And that was the entire purpose of this run. I went home afterwards, ate a big breakfast that my roommate prepared for me. Then went grocery shopping. Came home, prepared my breakfast to eat before my long run on Sunday…watched some soccer and rugby…and then went out to Dragon King’s Daughter for my “magic sushi” as my long run was tomorrow. The playoffs for the Eastern Conference Finals were happening at Slugger Field tonight, but with the rain, despite having paid for the tickets, we bowed out. Sitting in the rain and strong winds just didn’t sound appealing at all. I went to bed early…hoping our soccer team pulled off a win…and preparing for my long run, most of which, thankfully, I’d have some company for.
Sunday: 14-18 MILE LONG RUN – GOAL 16 MILES – WITH 3 MILE RACE PACE FINISH: EASY PACE – DON’T PUSH IT! AND PRACTICE RACE DAY FUELING STRATEGY. AT THE END, CLIMB DOWN TO RACE PACE FOR 3-4 MILES.
With the whole intention of tapering down, I could have easily have gone on the higher end and pushed 18 miles. But I honestly felt the goal of 16 was enough for this week. And, thankfully, my training partner was free both days this weekend, so when we flipped to the better weather of Sunday from Saturday’s lousy weather…he was still able to join me and help me with my last push at the end. I ended up getting up at 5 am. This gave me time to stretch, do my pushups, eat breakfast, foam roll, get dressed, put on sunscreen, fuel, pack up my hydration vest, put on reflective gear, and head out the door at 7:20 am…without feeling rushed. And I still had over 8 hours of sleep the night before. I ran from my apartment down to the YMCA, where Ron was going to meet me. I had 4 miles down there, and Ron showed up (a little late thanks to crazy road closures and traffic) and we headed out. We kept the pace pretty easy on the 6 miles down the Greenway…which felt fast because we had this great tailwind. BUT…this also meant when we turned around to head back (and do the fast finish) we’d have a headwind. We eased into it…and both decided to just do the 3 miles fast at the end. We hit it and Ron was amazing at keeping me on pace and making sure I didn’t push too much when I didn’t need to. It felt easy having someone worry about the pace for me…and he’s really good at it. We needed to beat a train, so the last .1 of our run was up a hill, but we were at or just slightly faster than my marathon pace. Spirits lifted. Feeling so good. He was kind enough to give me a lift home afterwards.
So…we’re 13 days away from the official start of the Monumental Marathon…and with every run I’m growing in confidence and feeling more and more ready. That’s the whole point of taper.
And, to be honest, I’m hoping that the miles go down a lot more this week…but we shall see what my coach has in store. I trust him. It trust the process. And for the first time in a long time…I trust my training.
I can’t miss a race when it happens on my training grounds, right? RIGHT?! Also, it totally coincided with my marathon training and worked as my weekend long run. Also, as I have never ran a 30K, it would be an automatic PR for me too. Can’t argue with any of that!
Welcome to my past Sunday morning!
Treating this as I have all my long runs leading into my marathon thus far, I went to get my “magic sushi,” at Dragon King’s Daughter the night before, because it’s been working as night-before-a-long-run fuel. And why mess with something when it’s working, right? Also, I got up as if it were a usual long run morning, giving myself plenty of time to hydrate, eat a small bowl of overnight oats, get dressed, slather on sunscreen, fuel with my Maurten 320 Drink Mix, and get to the start of the actual run. I had 40 oz of water (and 2 Nuun tablets) in my Nathan Hydration vest, and was carrying a Maurten 100 Gel for when I felt I might need it. Other than that, I was wearing the new Newton Distance 8 and all the pink I could find in honor of my mom! I had actually slept really well after going to bed early the night before, so I felt good. Not even nervous. Not even with the change from “using this as a training run” to having to throw down about 7/9 of the race at Marathon Pace. THAT…I was NOT excited about.
But I had a plan. Use the first 2 miles as a warm-up. Then hit it at my marathon pace for the next 10-14 miles (whatever my legs were feeling that day). Use the last 2.6 as a cool down, perhaps kicking it back in for that 0.6 at the end (although I usually don’t have a kick).
Did that happen? Ehhhhhh…
As I stated previously, I arrived to the start of the race about 30 minutes prior to the actual start. I met up with my friends Laura and Michael, and we decided to make use of the flushing toilets while there weren’t any lines. They went to warm up, and I met up with Christine and the rest of the MRTT/SRTT group that was in attendance at the race. A group pictures was taken and we all started to make our way to the start line to line up.
I was originally going to run this with Christine, but with my marathon paces now having to be a thing, it wasn’t happening. Dang it. We did meander to the start line together though, her laying out her plan to execute in the race. Our other running partner, Ron, was doing the 15K and was going to start with us.
We were given the basics on the course. Turn around at the cone. And 15K come in to the finish on the right side…30K, stay to the left and make the turn to head back out. It was a 2 loop course for those of us doing the 30K. And in my head, I was thinking how smart the 15K people were. HA! After that…the horn sounded and we were off!
I took off and ended up running with Ron down the stretch leading into the first mile. I could tell we were going fast. Faster than a warm up would have been. And when we hit the first mile he shouted that we were at 7:28. He said he was going to race, I told him to go on, but opted to just run the first 10-14 miles fast and back off and cruise in at the end instead of my initial plan. I mean…I just did a 7:28…might as well keep with the momentum. I remained about what I figured was about 1/10 of a mile behind him on pace through the first 4 miles. At the turn around point, he grabbed water and I skimmed past him. He caught up with me and as we were coming into the 7th mile, he said, “At this pace…slow it down at Mile 10.” I promised I would. We headed up the hill, and after crossing the flood wall, I went down the hill and remained just slightly ahead of him at this point. I took the rest of my Maurten at Mile 8 and headed to the turn-around point to make the loop and head back out.
At Mile 10, I still felt good, but I did ease off the accelerator. Slightly. Ron was right…I didn’t want to work up a recipe for injury, but my miles were still really fast. Apparently he said told Cathy that I was going too fast. But, as promised, I did ease back a little. With the looped route, I did get to see my friends at different points on the course, and cheer in the leaders as they passed me as I was heading into the turnaround point. It was fun. And, as I said, I’ve run the Greenway so much, my legs knew when the hills hit and when the wooden bridges would slow me down…all the things. When I did turn around at Mile 14, I did ease it back even more. I knew that Daniel didn’t want me racing the whole thing, because that would mean a lot more recovery time. So, I went to my base pace speed and started to make my way back to the finish line.
Here is where I want to give a HUGE shout-out…
…to the Urban Bourbon people at the water stop were AWESOME. They called everyone out by name and cheered them on. And that was AMAZING. I loved it. And since we 30K peeps saw them 4 times, it was nice to always have someone cheering you on on what would have been a lonely course otherwise.
At Mile 16, I went ahead and took my Maurten 100 Gel to give me a little push to the finish line. I had to run up the last of the hills heading over the flood wall again, and my legs fought it a little bit here. But I just eased up it and rode the downhill on the other end. I knew I was heading into my last 1.6 miles…and technically, my watch was a bit behind where the mile markers were placed. I was running with my watch covered, so I wasn’t sure how much it was off…I just knew it was. Whatever. It happens.
I knew the finish line was close though, so for that last half mile, I found myself picking the pace back up. I felt amazing, mind you. I fueled properly…I hydrated every mile…I felt like I could have kept going. And as I headed into the finish line, I had friends there holding out hands for some high fives. I gladly gave them. And I was shouted out at the finish line, and they even said I looked like I could have kept going. It was a good morning for me and I was thankful to have the strength, endurance, and speed to carry me through the miles.
The course was 18.52 miles according to my watch…so I did a cool down, easy jog, to get me to the 18.6 miles total. I received my medal and then had to wait around for official results to post to see if I placed at all in my age division. It took a little bit of time, but that was okay…because I got to cheer in quite a few of my friends while we waited.
Turns out that I came in 2nd in my Age Group. I was surprised (my age division is pretty competitive). That was a nice bonus for sure. After cheering in more people, Cathy, Ron, Shawn and I decided we would head up to Heine Bros. for coffee. So, up the stairs (that sucked, BTW) we went to head over the tracks. And I heard the train. And then the train stopped. And then the train didn’t move for 30 minutes. I sat on the stairs and just waited it out, but some people climbed up onto the cars (and some ducked under the train) to get to their cars. It wasn’t worth the risk of death, honestly. I called it the “Darwin” test and really got pissed when a guy with a toddler did it.
The train did clear out and we all met up for coffee and some chatting. Then I went home to shower, grocery shop, shop for last minute trip stuff, and await my schedule from my coach for the following week. I had a good race.
My official results of the Downtown Doubler 30K are that I finished in 2:26:39…which is now my standing 30K PR. This world needs more 30K races, for real. I did look at my 15K split and I was only 3 seconds behind my 15K PR (set at The Boilermaker 15K in Utica, NY back in 2013)…so that’s a win, right? I was 28/108 finishers overall. I was 9/51 female finishers. And I was 2/11 in my age division. I had a great time at this race. There was so much support from the other runners, the water stops, the finish line, and the turn-around point. This was definitely a confidence boost I needed in my training. I will take those because they have been few and far between.
Ever feel like a week was out to get you? I felt that way the moment my coach sent through this week’s plan. It was stacked. It was asking a lot on my speed work days. It was challenging me. I knew it would require earlier bedtimes and early wakeup alarms. And I was prepared for it. But…it seemed the universe had other plans for me…
Let’s dive in…
Monday: INSTRUCTIONS: BASE RUN – 6-8 MILES – GOAL 7 MILES – EASY EFFORT – TRY NO WATCH AGAIN
After spending so much time last weekend in the heat and humidity, the last thing I wanted to do on Monday morning was get up and head out into the heat and humidity. I was happy to have the easy, recovery run. I got up and got dressed to head out on my run and…thunder and lightning started. I was NOT happy with that. I was prepared to head to the gym if needed, but it seemed to pass as I started my stretches. Without the sound of thunder or lightning flashes, I headed back out and just took it easy. My watch was covered…and I started to concern myself a little more with a strange white truck that would just pull around and park and sit…and it kept doing this. I ended up looping my mace over my hand just in case, but it ended up driving off and didn’t return as I finished up. Despite the late start, I got in an easy 7 miles. I was soaked because it was SUPER humid outside, so I went inside to shower and finish up my stretches with the additional hip strengtheners. I also met with Corey that afternoon for my personal training session. He had some fresh hell in store for me. Plyometrics. Box jumps. Push ups. LOTS. My knees and, strangely, my ribs felt those box jumps the rest of the week.
Tuesday:INSTRUCTIONS: MARATHON PACE – 1-2 MILES WU; 6-8 MILES MP; 1-2 MILES CD
What can I say? I really, really wanted to push myself on this and test my endurance. It was HUMID and close to 80 degrees at the start of this run…which happened to start prior to 3 am. No joke. I did go inside to get extra water and electrolytes and stopped just a few times to utilize them. But this run went better than I anticipated. Considering my legs were really feeling my personal training session, I was a bit nervous about how this would go. That being said, the longer warmup did help and once I got loosened up, I started to feel better and better. I did use my Aftershokz headphones again…and loved that when it started to get hard, John Parr’s “Man in Motion (St. Elmo’s Fire)” came on, followed immediately by this year’s theme song, Panic At The Disco’s “High Hopes.” It was enough to keep me going and pushing a little more. My iPod keeps dying though on some of these hotter runs, and at first I thought it was the headphones, but now I’m pretty certain it’s the iPod. Probably from the amount of sweat my body is producing. Can’t help that. But I got in just over 12 miles on a Tuesday morning. Went inside to shower and stretch.
Wednesday:INSTRUCTIONS: NO WATCH ALLOWED! FOCUS ON THE GOAL OF THE RUN = RECOVERY! GO AS FAR OR SHORT AS YOU NEED, AS FAST OR SLOW AS YOU NEED, WALK OR RUN AS YOU NEED.
Same run as last week. Same instructions. One month of it now. This time, however, I didn’t opt to go to spin class. I really wanted to go, but I needed to fit in a second round of my hip strengtheners AND…I had a major speed workout on Thursday, so I needed refreshed legs. My personal training session was cancelled because Corey comes over from Kentucky and…Trump was in town and shutting down roads. This is also why I didn’t get a soft pretzel. MEH! So, I put in 4 miles, just like the weeks before, and then showered, did my PT exercises and stretches with the additional hip strengthening stuff and called it a day. I was still sore in my knees (weird for me…my knees never bother me). I hope to get back to spin this coming week.
Thursday: TEMPO RUN – 1 MILE WU; 3X2 MILES AT TEMPO (7:20-7:50); 0.5 MILES RECOVERY; 1 MILE CD
If there was any doubt that this wasn’t my week…try waking up for the second time to thunder, lightning, strong winds, and heavy rain. It was insane. It was loud and violent enough that my friend, Melissa, texted me to make sure I wasn’t outside in the storm and if I was if she needed to come get me and take me home. Do I have amazing friends, or what? I kept hoping that the storms would pass, but they hung around all morning. So, I did my morning stretches and then got my stuff together and…drove through light rain, but the lightning and thunder, to the gym. Where I did my speed work…on the treadmill. This was a huge step for me. Running fast on a treadmill gives me A LOT of anxiety. But, my friend, Jim wasn’t able to swim due to the storms, so he came up and ran on the treadmill next to me and kept me company. I started off with an easy run and when that first mile was done, I pushed the speed up to 7:47. It was all I dared to do on the treadmill. In hindsight, I could have pushed it more, because I did get comfortable with this pace in the 2 mile pushes. When I started the first one, I really, really wanted to stop…but Jim was there…and that would be really stupid to stop so soon into the push. So, thanks to Jim…I actually did the workout as I should have. YAY! I was happy to have it done, and started to get some confidence back about working some speed and distance on the treadmill.
Friday: Per the usual…complete rest day. Sleep in. Shower. Stretch. Read. Drink coffee. Head into work. Get magical sushi. Prepare for Saturday long run. This is how I rest day. I take it super seriously. I used to think I could ignore actual rest. Do that “active recovery.” Let’s face it, friends…active recovery is basically not resting. IT. IS. OKAY. TO. TAKE. A. DAY. OR. TWO. OFF. I promise, you’ll actually be fitter for it. So, I kept it lowkey. I got my sushi. I stretched. I did it all…and I went to bed early so that I could get up early and head out for my long run. Alone. Again.
Saturday: INSTRUCTIONS: 17-20 MILE LONG RUN – EASY PACE – DON’T PUSH IT! AND PRACTIVE RACE-DAY FUELING STRATEGY.
Okay, first of all…this run was pretty much done at or under my marathon pace for MOST of the miles. But I honestly wasn’t pushing the pace at all. Not one bit. I wanted to be super careful because my left hip flexor is acting up after pushing some speed work for 9.5 miles on a treadmill during Thursday’s thunderstorms. The important takeaway from today was that I felt good. The temperature was perfect. The sun was out and the sky was clear, and yet it didn’t really wear me out or kill me on the run. I hit hills, because they make you stronger, right…with the hardest hills coming in the final three miles of this particular route. I felt good. I did practice my fueling and really think I have it nailed down. I am really thankful for finding Maurten and having something work SO WELL for me. I seriously have endless energy…even at the end of a run. I never crash. I never feel like I’m dragging. I can’t say enough good things about it. So, my pace might not look like I didn’t push it, but I honestly didn’t. I feel good about this. I am starting to have a phenomenal feeling about Monumental. Then I went and sat out in the sun to watch Louisville City FC win against North Carolina at Slugger Field. WOOT!
Sunday: INSTRUCTIONS: 3-4 MILES EASY, RECOVERY RUN. SLOW!!
I, surprisingly, felt pretty good on Sunday morning. I woke up, did my stretches and got ready to head out to chase my Sunday morning sunrise. I didn’t push any pace. I just took in the beautiful sky and headed up to the park to watch the sun come up over the lake. It’s my favorite Sunday summer tradition. It keeps happening later and later as the summer draws to a close. It makes me sad, because I used to be able to get it in before there was much traffic or people milling about. But not these days. I did get to wave and say good morning to three very attractive firefighters on my way into the park, so I count that as a win! I focused on the purpose of this run: recovery. The hip flexor was still slightly sore…but it felt way better today than yesterday. Will definitely do a couple rounds of rolling again today.
And with that…this week of training draws to a close. I’m proud of the effort I put in this week, and the miles that I managed to log. This was a stacked and really tough week. Again, I think that my coach is getting this out of the way now…so that when I’m on vacation, on a cruise, at Disney World…I can be a bit more relaxed with the training. Crossing my fingers anyway. Because a long run around a cruise ship is doable…but not my idea of a relaxing vacation.
Now I sit here and wait for what fresh hell this week brings. I hope you all are having a good training cycle this time around!