Tuesday, December 31, 2013

RNR Raleigh Training: Weeks 2 & 3

These past two weeks have been a whirlwind of Christmas, road trips and running.

My devil elf.

Week 2: This was a crazy week between work and the kids' holiday events at school. The result in terms of running was nothing very impressive, just some more base building. A last minute trip to South Carolina cut out a 4th day of running for the week. But snuggles with my 7 week old nephew made up for it.

  • Wednesday: 3.1 mile progression run with strides on the treadmill at the gym. Rush home so the hubs could get to work early
  • Thursday: 5 miles on my go-to trail for hill training. Pretty chilly, but nice to be outside
  • Sunday: 10 miles in South Carolina
Total miles: 18.1

We drove to South Carolina on a whim to visit my husband's sister and her 7 week old baby. I was able to find a rail trail in Greenville, which I was pretty excited about. I figured a rail trail would be a perfect place to run my long miles and not get lost. Famous last words. The first three miles wove through the downtown area with quite a few twists and turns. The trail was usually clearly marked, but there were times where I made a wrong turn, stopped and stared for a while before finding my way. When I was finally out of downtown the trail straightened out but I was almost immediately halted by a freight train stopped across the the trail. I waited for a while trying to figure out a way around and almost gave up and headed back when it finally started moving.  Just as I turned around at 5 miles the skies opened up and I spent the rest of the run in a torrential downpour with no rain gear. It was quite the experience, but I was grateful for the new scenery.


Week 3: Finally my schedule allowed me to add a 4th day of running to the mix, even with our second road trip within a week. 

  • Tuesday: 3 treadmill miles
  • Thursday: 6 miles on hills. This was a great run for me because it was the first time I made it all the way around a challenging 3 mile loop twice. It's been a goal of mine for a while now but I always manage to talk myself out of it.
  • Saturday: 11 miles through Lancaster County, PA. This was definitely one of my favorite runs in recent memory. It was sunny, yet chilly and the scenery was just amazing.
  • Sunday: 3 easy treadmill miles at the hotel
Total miles: 23

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Best of 2013

As per usual, I am a little late to the party, but I  sure do love Miss Zippy's Year in Review. 2012 was a pretty good year for me and I am psyched to say that 2013 was even better!  So let's get to it.

Best race experience?
This year was pretty stellar when it comes to racing. I PR'ed in the 8k, 10k, 10 mile and half marathon distances. It's too hard to pick just one race so I'm going to break the rules on the very first question and pick 2 races.  For the spring, my favorite memory is definitely the Cherry Blossom 10 miler. I have wanted to run this race forever and it did not disappoint. I had a really strong run and had so much fun running through the streets of DC.

Without a doubt the Philadelphia half marathon will always be one of my favorite running memories. I have had the goal of a sub 2:30 marathon for 3 years now and I finally achieved it in my hometown. Coming off of a foot injury I worked hard all summer and it paid off this November!

Best run?
I had to think hard about this one but definitely my 12 miler in Boston wins the title this year. I love Boston so much and miss living there, so it was awesome to have the chance to go back this past September and run along the Charles and on paths where I first found my love of running. Everything came together perfectly and I had a really strong run that day.

I will always love that dirty water

Best new piece of gear?
I'd have to say my Garmin 10. This year I committed to the Galloway method of training and like having my GPS and interval timer all in one.

Best piece of running advice you received?
This comes from my amazing partner in crime running, Bang: "Stop running like an a$$hole". It might seem a little rough but, not only is it our sense of humor, but it came from a place of love. This year I've learned that pacing myself results in better overall times because I don't go balls to the wall in the beginning of a run only to blow up in the end because I wasted all of my energy in the beginning. I'm pretty sure this is the underlying reason for PRing in nearly every distance I raced this year.

Most inspirational runner?
This is easy for me. After years of running and training solo, I found an awesome running partner and friend. It is so much nicer and easier having someone by your side through all of the ups and downs of training, a cheerleader at races and a therapist when you are injured. This year has been great for my running and I owe a lot of it to her. (Now if only her own foot would get better, I miss her terribly)


If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? So much fun! I feel like I progressed so much this year and just had a great time doing it. Reeling from the confidence I've gained, I am so motivated for 2014 where I will attempt even bigger goals!

Monday, December 16, 2013

RNR Raleigh Marathon Training Week 1

Last week was the first week of my 18 week training cycle for my first full marathon!  I had the thought to keep up with the training on my blog so I can look back on it afterwards and remember what I've done and how far I've come. I'm not sure how interesting and entertaining it will be for others, but I'm going to give it a go anyways!

As far as a training plan goes, I have my running group's plan for the long runs, but the mid-week runs are up to me to figure out. I wish I had enough extra cash for a coach, but I don't so I am going to do my best to figure out on my own what works best for me and my family's schedule. I've been checking out a few different sources like Hal Higdon and the New York Times Run Well Blog (Thanks Courtney for sharing this with me!). I'll have to compare them and figure out something that will work. But for the early weeks of training I am going to try to get in definitely 2 and maybe 3 mid-week runs. Add that to 2 runs on the weekends for 4-5 days of running per week.

I have a modest time goal (5:30) so I won't necessarily be focusing on speed during my training, but rather time on my feet. And hills. Lots of hills to prepare myself for running in Raleigh.

For week 1 I was happy just to have some structure back into my running. I didn't have quite the week I planned, but overall I am happy with how it went.

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - 3 easy miles on the teadmill + Core work

Wednesday - Sleep (after 3 nights of not being able to sleep, I slept right through the alarm. I needed it and didn't beat myself up over missing this run)

Thursday - 4.3 miles on the treadmill with the 2 middle miles at HMP. This run was just plain fun.

Friday - Rest

Saturday - 10 miles. 4 miles with my running group + 6 solo miles. Felt great to be out there for a long run since this was my first double digit run since the Philly half.

Sunday - I had planned for 3 easy miles but when this face is begging you to bake Christmas goodies with her you don't say no. Christmas memories >>> easy miles.

She's a goober.
We set a family PR in rice krispy treat eating.

Total miles: 17.3

Overall, there's definitely room for improvement. Missing 2 runs in my first week does not bode well, but it was a nice gentle transition back into training after 3 weeks off.

Monday, December 9, 2013

What's Next?

Ever since Philly my running has been a pretty rare phenomenon.

 I've been training since July, so I think both mentally and physically I was really needing to have a few weeks off. I really tried to get out there more, but I've found that I'm pretty good at talking myself out of things when the alternative is a warm down comforter and a hot cup of coffee in the morning.

But I know it can't last much longer because I have plans for the spring. Big big plans of the 26.2 mile variety.

On April 13th I'll be at the start line of my very first marathon!

I used to say I would never have the desire to run one. Then this summer I ran a 16 mile training run. It wasn't easy by any stretch of the imagination, but when I was done I started feeling like maybe training for 26.2 wasn't as far out of reach as I thought.

Once the seed was planted, I couldn't get it out of my head and I knew it wasn't a matter of if but when. One thing I knew for certain was a that I didn't want to wait for fall of 2014, so I started researching for the spring. I decided on Rock 'n Roll Raleigh as the best choice. Actually pulling the trigger to register was no easy task. I put more thought into my decision than almost anything I've done before. In the end, with the encouragement of my husband and my running partner, I decided to take the leap.

I'm excited and scared and every emotion in between. I know that I will have some obstacles along the way between juggling my family's schedule and training through the winter, but I really feel like I'm up for the challenge.

This past weekend my running group started its winter season. I decided to sign up again with the a Raleigh Galloway group again. To be honest this was another big decision for me because I had a hard time trusting the method towards the end of my training cycle for Philly. However, with my 5+ min PR and achieving a goal that had been eluding me for 2 years, I became convinced that this method is right for me at this point in my running. 

I have a modest time goal but right now I think I am better served with just finishing my first full marathon strong and healthy. I'll be keeping tabs of my training here to both keep me accountable and to have a record of my journey. I'm pretty dang excited! 

This weekend my running partner surprised me with this Endorphin Warrior bracelet I've had my eye on. During the later stages of training for Philly the word "Courage" became my little mantra. The courage to push my limits, to venture out of my comfort zone and do what was needed to achieve my goals.  I repeated it to myself when things started getting hard during the race. Now I'm using it to psych myself up for this huge goal I've laid out for myself. Here we go....

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Ridgewood Turkey Trot 8k

Thanksgiving weekend is winding down and I would seriously argue that every weekend needs to consist of 4 days of family, friends and all of the food.

On Thanksgiving morning, I met Bang bright and early for the Ridgewood Turkey Trot 8k in Raleigh. I love me a good old Turkey Trot and was excited to run this one since it was my first time for this particular race.

I was not, however, excited for a temperature of 27 degrees at the start. I've been in the South long enough now to not be ok with that.

Being friggen cold is better when your BRF is suffering along with you.

I really didn't know what to expect from this race. I know that Turkey Trots are supposed to be fun low key races, but my early splits in the Philly half had me thinking that I could PR this race so that's what I set out to do. Besides the faster I ran, the sooner I'd be warm again.

My goal was 55 minutes and I was excited to see my first 3 splits in the low 10's. Which, for me running 4:1 intervals, was a nice pace. I was psyched to be passing people on the hills and felt good running at a faster than normal pace. Mile 4 was my slowest thanks to a long gradual uphill, but I was able to recover for the last mile (my Garmin measured at 5.03) and finish strong.

In the end I got my PR (53:09) and a picture with this giant turkey...

The rest of the day was spent basking in my runner's high and eating everything that was put in front of me. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!!