2014 Monumental Marathon: RACE RECAP 3:11:07

I spent 12 weeks of training worrying, obsessing, and wondering whether or not I’d be able to run a PR in Indy last Saturday. I’m exceptionally good at thinking about these things. I do it so often that it’s a surprise to me when I am able to turn off my brain.

That happened on race day. I didn’t think. I just RAN.

2014-11-05 15.37.06

My sister asked me last night to tell her all about the race, about every single mile. And I couldn’t. I don’t have a lot to say about each mile of Monumental because I didn’t obsess over the details, I didn’t question my pace, I didn’t get ahead of myself, and I didn’t calculate my finish time early on. I had a conservative plan going into it, but ended up running closer to feel than by pace than I ever have before.

I ran a 3 min, 30 second PR with a time of 3:11:07. IT WAS THE BEST DAY EVAHHHHHH! 

The big headline: I ran my 5th marathon, with a 3 + min PR, peed my shorts for the 2nd time in a marathon (it was awesome) and totally surprised myself on Saturday. 

TerryOrlick

I’m so happy I showed up with a “ok, let’s just see what happens!” kind of attitude because it took the pressure of a PR out of my mind. Manny and I drove down to Indy on Friday morning after dropping Barklee off. I hydrated like crazy before and during the drive and we had to take 2 pit stops in the 3 hr drive. Somehow I managed to get 50 oz of water in before 11 AM. I also came dangerously close to finishing an entire large bag of pretzels on the drive. Hey, salt content, people! The drive down was cold, wet, and windy. We even saw snow come down during one of our pit stops. I was nervous about the race day forecast, but kept telling myself that I could deal with the cold – there was no rain in the forecast, thank goodness!

We drove straight to the expo at the Convention Center to meet Scott and Meghan. (Note: I first met Scott at Twin Cities 2012 and he’s raced every marathon I’ve raced since: Boston 2013, Boston 2014, and now Monumental 2014! Let’s keep this streak alive, dude! #TRWU for the win!) The expo is no-fuss, so we were in and out within 15-20 minutes. And the only reason we were there that long was because of an orange sticker on my bib that read “Seeding Group 3. My bib number was #519 so that didn’t sound right. Scott didn’t even have a seeding sticker on his bib so we walked over to Solutions to ask them about it. I asked them what my sticker meant and the woman said “you entered a time when you registered that said you’d run a 3:30 marathon”, to which I replied, “Oh no, that’s definitely wrong.” She was willing to help but she said “That’s ok. You can just move back if that’s not right”. {uhhhhhhh….}. I responded, “No, I’ll be running a much faster time than that tomorrow.” So she gave me a different seeding sticker. In hindsight, I may have sounded like a brat but there was no way I was going to let a silly sticker have an affect on my race (mentally, mostly). We made a plan to meet up in the morning & left the expo.

Manny and I met my brother for a beer and some lunch at Upland that afternoon. I had a beer because a) you shouldn’t change your routine, even on race weekend and 2) it was my brother’s birthday. It was delicious and oh so worth it. After relaxing for a bit, we stopped at Target for some throw-away items and oatmeal for my pre-race breakfast. I had a small headache and started to feel pretty tired from the drive so we went home to watch a movie and eat dinner. Pro tip: find a movie that will hold 100% of your attention the night before a race. I watched Divergent and didn’t really think about the race at all!

I went to bed at 10:30 after laying out my things. The forecast didn’t change much during the day on Friday, so I decided to wear shorts, compression socks, a long sleeve shirt, a hat, and gloves. After tossing and turning for 30 minutes or so, I fell asleep. And then it was 5 AM and it was go time! I slept well and felt really rested. I slept a LOT in the weeks leading up to the race, especially after peak week knocked me on my butt – I know that extra sleep helped prepare me for the race.

Side note: I didn’t even get a pre-race shakeout in on Friday! I thought I’d be able to fit in 2-3 miles after the drive down (because running before the drive would be pointless), but it was cold and windy and gross out. By the time I had an opportunity to run on a treadmill, it was already 4 pm – pretty pointless to shake out that late. Instead of stressing out about fitting it in, I just rested. I’m glad I did! I ran Mon, Tues, and Wed but Thurs and Fri were total rest days.

So, snuggle up with your favorite beverage and get comfortable, folks! This recap turned out to be 275% longer than I originally thought! 

I thought I’d be able to squeak by with a small PR. My plan was to run 1:36-37 through the half and then see if I could negative split. I divide the marathon into 5-mile segments, so I thought I’d run 7:35/mile pace in the first section and target 7:30, 7:25, 7:20, etc for each section after that. This plan would get me to 3:13 and change – if it all went according to plan. We found parking just south of the convention center and start line by 6:45 am. I’m so happy they had the Convention Center open so I could stay warm and do some dynamic stretches before walking 1 block to the start. Gotta love that about small races! Scott, Meghan, and Jeff met up with me and Manny and we chatted for a few minutes while we got ready. The nerves kicked in about 15 min from the start. I said goodbye to Man 5 min from the start, took off my throwaway clothes, and got ready!

2014-11-01 07.49.23

(Likely the closest Jeff will ever come to smiling in a picture.)

It was 30 degrees with a strong headwind from the north, which meant that we’d deal with the majority of the wind in the first half. I wasn’t that worried about the wind considering that’s my normal in Chi, but I knew I should try to tuck in to a pack and draft a bit off some big dudes if I could find them. From the start, it wasn’t crowded (again, small races ftw!). I’m used to jostling and dodging a bit in the first few miles of most races, so this was a welcome relief.

Miles 1-5 

Mile1-5

So, that 7:35 initial pace I mentioned? Yeah, that never materialized. I was definitely excited to be racing in the first mile and tried to focusing on letting my legs warm up. My quads were the most exposed part of my body; they didn’t really warm up until toward Mile 4 or 5. I felt comfortable running closer to 7:20. By mile 3, I realized that I was running a wee bit too fast and that I needed to let the 3:10 pace group pass me. They did at Mile 3.5 and I put my head down and focused on my own race. The pace group would be within my view until about Mile 8. I took my first Gu at Mile 5. Mmmmmm….root beer flavor!

Miles 6-10

Mile6-10

The plan targeted 7:30s here, but every single time I looked down at my watch, I realized how comfortable 7:20-7:25s felt. The half marathon splits from the full course at Mile 7. I looked ahead where they had a sign directing the marathoners to the right side of the course and remember thinking, “welp, I’m going to be all alone now!”. It seemed like 1 runner for every 10 in the half were moving to the right. I knew the wind would be a factor in these miles and that I should find a small group to draft off of but it never materialized. It was likely strung out a bit between the 3:10 and 3:15 pace group. Every time I felt like I found a big dude to draft off of, I felt like they were just going slightly faster or slower than I wanted to. It would be pointless to spend energy surging to catch a small group of runners and I wanted to run my own race. Around Mile 8, a small group formed. These two women were talking pace strategy and I could tell that the leading woman was pacing the other. She looked incredibly fit (and *freezing*, judging by her decision to wear just a sports bra & capris in 30 degrees) and they told me to tuck in behind them. It was nice to have something to focus on for a few miles; I kept my eye on the pacer’s heels and dodged sketchy potholes when I could (ahem…no falling on my knee this time around!). They were running even 7:20-25 so right where I wanted to be. And the men in our group seemed to be the ones trailing so that was also also a confidence boost. You could tell they were letting the women do the hard work. The wind seemed more manageable for these miles, but we still had a few gusts that felt strong. I ended up running with them through Mile 15-16. (Fun fact, I looked one of the women up and it turns out she also lives in Chicago!) I took my 2nd Gu and waved to Lindsey Hein (AKA spectator extraordinaire!) near Mile 10.

2014-11-01 09.17.27

Photo credit: Lindsey H.

Miles 11-15

Mile11-15

I just kept moving through the half. My mom, sister, and Manny were planning on spectating at 13.1 and I started to worry when I didn’t see them there (There was no way I’d miss them.) I looked at the clock as we ran across the timing mat at 13.1. I was right on pace-  It read 1:36:30. I remember thinking, “Just keep this rhythm going”. Every time I started to tense my shoulders or hands, I’d take a deep breath and relax. My form felt really strong. I saw my mom and my sister here at Mile 14 — no Manny! They were loud and obnoxious on a quiet part of the course, which was exactly what I needed. The only thing I said to them was, “where is Manny?!?!” Turns out he got stuck behind traffic related to the 5k after the start. Derp!

At this point,  I started to get annoyed by the two women – the pacer and her friend. They were talking a lot (too much!) and they were completely obsessing about the pace. The one racing told the pacer, “Ok, next mile I just need 2 seconds back.” Yeah, 2 seconds won’t make a difference. I knew I was having a good day and I didn’t want to get stuck depending on them for 7:20-7:25s so I left them around Mile 15. There’s a slight uphill there, the only noticeable one on the entire course. It was shorter than I thought it would be. Short, quick steps up the hill and onward! I took my next (3rd) Gu just after 15.5 along with a few swigs of water. (I’m really proud of how easily I got each Gu down, along with water every 5 miles.)

Monumental2014-11

Out of 26 race pics, this is the only one that looks somewhat attractive. You’re welcome.

Miles 16-20

Miles16-20

My legs TURNED ON in this section. The sun was out so I started to feel more warmed up and we had an ever so slight tail wind (although it really wasn’t that noticeable). People were starting to string out even more and I felt like I would be running by myself for the rest of the race– and that’s pretty much what happened. At 18, near the IMA, I saw my mom, my sister, and (surprise!) Manny. It was so nice to see them one more time before the miles really became lonely. I gave Manny a side-5 and a thumbs up to all three of them – my legs were rolling and I knew the next time I would see them would be at the finish line.

2014-11-01 09.59.382014-11-01 10.15.53

Monumental2014-15

Happy after running through the IMA :)

Mile 18 was fast for two completely unrelated reasons:

1) It’s a long downhill section.

2) I purposely peed my shorts and IT WAS COMPLETELY EXHILARATING. Don’t worry, folks. I’ve done this before. Been there, done that. And this time was just as hilarious as the first time. There was no way I was stopping just to go to the bathroom. And once you make that decision to pee your shorts, there’s no going back. I was gliding on this downhill section, the sun came out from behind some clouds, I looked down and practically snorted at myself. It was heavenly. I can only imagine the view that that dude running behind me had. It was glorious, until it was cold. Even then, it was worth it. I remember thinking “oh no, what if my calfs cramp because of all the pee in my socks?!”. Thankfully, that didn’t happen (and I finished the race with zero blisters!).

If you’d like proof that I was thoroughly hydrated and my pee was essentially water, here you go:

2014-11-01 18.54.42

See that? White compression socks are STILL WHITE, post-pee at the finish. And yes, I’m keeping those socks.

Despite the obvious adrenaline rush, I started to feel like the last 10k would get really interesting once I passed Mile 20, where I took my 4th and final Gu (mmmm Caramel Macchiato- just as delicious as Espresso Love). I wanted to stay close to 7:10s and hopefully dip under in the last section of the race.

Miles 21-26.2

Miles21-Finish

At 21, I couldn’t believe how empty the course was. During race week, I watched the time lapse video of the course several times and realized this section would be tough without spectators. I wasn’t running with others at this point. This one dude and I went back and forth a few times between Miles 17-20 but he likely saw me pee my shorts at Mile 18.5 and decided not to get near my kind of crazy. There.was.no.one.near.me. Just me and the road. This section is a parkway and close enough to the finish that spectators are few and far between. Once you make the turn onto Meridian at Mile 23, the energy starts to pick up a bit again. The run-walkers in the half marathon were clustered in groups on the left side of the street. Marathoners were running on the right but I honestly only remember seeing 3 or 4 others. I stopped after 23 to take a few more swigs of water before continuing on because I knew it would be my last one (I never really felt thirsty the entire race – proper pre-race hydration and regular sips of water the entire time helped, of course). I really had to pull myself together in Mile 23.

ENTER: 100% pain face.

I didn’t know my face could do that, but I’m willing to bet I looked like this for the better part of the last 3 miles. (These are in the finish chute.)

Monumental2014-2 Monumental2014-3 Monumental2014-4

By the time I reached Mile 24, I was entirely ready to be finished. I didn’t have much, if any, kick left. I wanted to dip closer to 7:00 min/mile but that wasn’t really happening. I was just trying to keep it together. I stopped to walk for 5-10 seconds and immediately thought, “no, Jenny. That’s not happening.” (Low point- so close!) With 2.5 miles to go, I started to calculate my finish time. That’s always a dangerous game to play, but, after some tough math with a brain that didn’t really want to function, I knew that I’d PR even if I just had to keep up with 8:00 minute miles. I still had 7 min miles in my legs; I just had to keep telling myself that.

I WAS GOING TO PR. PR! Peeeeeeeee (your shorts) -RRRRRRRRRR! 

Ok, hold it together. It’s happening. Just keep the legs going. Come onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn, Jenny.

We made a right hand turn, I looked off to my left, and realized the finish line was in sight. This dude on my left yelled, “YOU’VE JUST GOT TWO TURNS LEFT. TWO TURNS LEFT UNTIL YOU FINISH!”. I was like shit, I can’t make it two turns! I literally had 0.2 miles left and I felt like I was going to fall over. I made the first left and tried to focus on the second.

2014-11-01 11.11.15

Pic credit: Lindsey H.

I made the final turn and somehow there was a tiny kick left in my legs. I don’t even remember seeing people run near me but knew they were there. It’s amazing I didn’t run into anyone through the finish chute. I heard the announcer say  “and we’ve got Jenny Poore from Chicagoooooooo coming through!”.

As usual, cue the water works, folks! I crossed the finish line, stopped my watched, and looked down. It read 3:11:07. 

THREE ELEVEN OH SEVEN! Like, what?! That couldn’t be right! My pie-in-the-sky goal was 3:13. That’s the time that I thought I was capable of on Saturday.

2014-11-03 08.49.06

I put my hands on my knees, fought to stand with shaking legs, and volunteers asked me if I was okay. I said yes and started to cry. It was all worth it. I didn’t know how badly I wanted to PR until I did. And I didn’t know how fit I was until I raced. All that worrying, all that agonizing about the short training cycle and silly knee issues from a ridiculous fall in July. I made it. I fucking made it.

2014-11-01 11.55.38

Unreal.

Monumental2014-1

I couldn’t even manage a smile for the post-finish line photo. Water.works.

5 days later and I still don’t think it’s quite sunk in. All I know is that I’ve got the fire back. I want that sub 3:10 now — you know, because I’m addicted to running and racing and what the finish line feels like when you conquer that distance. I’ve run 3:17, 3:14, and now 3:11 in the marathon. I can’t help but think, “why not just keep the pattern going and run sub 3:08 next year?”.

My favorite two photos of the day are these two. I’ll never get sick of the “I can’t believe I just did that” feeling and happy hugs at the finish line.

2014-11-01 18.55.07

2014-11-01 18.55.25

IT WAS THE BEST DAY.

-J

Monumental Marathon: Training Weeks 3 & 4 of 12

Playing major catch up over here, folks! It’s been hectic the past few weeks to say the least. The week of August 25th, I spent packing up my apartment and preparing for a move that weekend (no Labor Day relaxation for me). As if moving wasn’t stressful enough already, I had a trip to DC for work that’s been part of a big year-long project Monday- Thursday of the following week. I literally unpacked my apartment for 4 hours before heading to the airport and didn’t have a chance to even sleep in my new apartment until Thursday night. It’s like I don’t even live there….yet. :)

Pro tip: If you ever try to squeeze moving, work travel, and marathon training into a condensed time frame, you will need way more coffee than you ever thought you would need in a lifetime. Also, you will be hungry and tired for approximately 2 weeks. But hey, that’s just normal marathon training right?

So, here’s my attempt to recap two weeks of training!

Week 3 – August 25th Training Recap:

Week3

Monday: [Easy 6, 8:01 avg] Just an easy 6 around the neighborhood. Nice and cool-ish evening after the rain came through today.

Tuesday: [Speedwork 8.3 miles, 7:24 average] 1 mi, 4 x 400, 1 mi

This was a big reminder that I’m not in shape yet. Annnnd I’m in that phase where I’m trying to run paces I feel like I should be able to run, but I’m definitely not there yet. These paces are misleading due to stops to tell myself to “woah nellllyyyyyy”. (reverse pep talk? Is that what you would call self-talk to slow down?)

~3 mi up (bathroom stop)
1mi- 6:19 (wayyyy too fast)
4 x 400 with 2 min RI – 1:29, 1:33, 1:27, 1:30
1 mi- 6:25 (again too fast, but convinced myself to cruise a bit)
~1 mi down

Wednesday: [Easy 9 mi, 7:56 avg] 

Gorgeous, peaceful morning out there on the lakefront. I stopped a few times just to take pics (carried my phone so I could track bus home). It was especially calm and quiet because I ran without music. The legs are starting to notice higher mileage weeks.

2014-08-27 09.34.35

Thursday: [Steady state 9.44 mi, 7:27 avg]

Wahooo! Either my legs are coming back or the low temp & humidity really helped me tonight (hopefully both?!). Last week I struggled with a short tempo run and tonight, a steady state felt relatively easy. It actually turned into an impromptu progressive tempo because I was feeling so good – and I clearly celebrated in those last two miles. :)

2.4 up
Steady splits: 7:11, 7:05, 7:04, 7:00, 6:46, 6:46
1 down

Friday: “REST” 

Rest is relative. Packing and everything that goes along with it is exhausting. I’m so glad we started packing on Monday and gradually put everything into boxes.

Saturday: [15 mi long, 7:53 avg]

This just felt like a slog. My legs didn’t really bounce back after Thursday’s workout (and especially Wednesday’s hip strength session). I stopped a few times today just to stretch my hip flexors out – each time, it helped. It was unexpectedly hot today too. Probably should have hydrated more last night. Just a mentally and physically hard week I guess- but solid mileage! Gu at Mile 6 and 11 – plenty of water stops.

I was incredibly stressed and tired the rest of the day. The little odds and ends always take the most time when you’re packing. I thought we’d be done packing have time to relax by 7 or 8 pm but I was still packing at 10 pm. Still, packing beers helped. :)

Sunday: MOVING

The movers were on time and everything was loaded into the new place by 11:30 AM. It’s a long story, but we didn’t have a place to stay that night so Corey and Brad were very kind to host us. After a super hectic week, it was so nice to spend time with friends playing Would You Rather, drinking beer, and eating a delicious dinner.

2014-08-31 19.59.24-2

Unplanned dress coordination.

Week 4 – September 1 Training Recap:

Week4

Monday: 4 hours unpacking + flight to DC.

Monday-Thursday: work + flight home Thursday evening

Friday: work + near nervous breakdown + family arrives!

Saturday-Sunday: fun in Chicago + Chi Half Marathon as workout

(next Monday: flight out to DC for the week again)

This week was really tough. I had to shift around a few runs and do a double to get some easy miles in. I tried to get as much sleep as possible and still fit in plenty of training. I was super stressed out trying to manage some of the logistics after moving apartments – probably more difficult to do that long-distance than it would have been at home.

Monday: REST 

Tuesday: [Easy 6, 8:09 average]

I had about an hour between finishing the work day and meeting my sister for dinner. It’s HOT here this week – heat index was over 100 degrees today – so I ran on the treadmill for the first time in months. It’s a crappy hotel treadmill but it was likely better than running outside. I didn’t run from Saturday until today, so any kind of movement made me happy.

2014-09-02 21.37.29-2

Look what my sister showed up with! First time seeing it in person!

Wednesday: [4 easy miles in AM + 10 easy on Rock Creek Parkway in PM]

4 mi easy (around 9 min/mi pace?) Led some clients on a monument tour this morning. I’ve led a few runs with this client before and haven’t had that great of a turnout. I had 5 people come this morning! I’m sure it didn’t have anything to do with me and more to do with how close the hotel is to the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. We ran up the steps to Lincoln in a giant herd of folks at November Project. :) (crossing my fingers and toes that I can do a workout tonight)

2014-09-03 06.54.35-1

10 mi on Rock Creek Parkway: 7:32 avg. All hope is not lost on this week’s training! As much as I really did not want to go running tonight, I’m so glad I did. I’ve never run the Rock Creek Parkway before, but it’s absolutely gorgeous. I sort of knew where I was going and planned an out-and-back route to be safe. I had about an hour of sunlight left so that helped me churn out these 10 (I got back to my hotel at 9 miles once the sun set and went to the hotel gym for the last one – anything to get those miles in!) I had a fartlek planned with 10k pace surges but that was thrown out the window when I realized how hilly the parkway is. Basically just ran by effort up and down the hills and tried to keep an even pace. Will definitely run through there again.

2014-09-03 19.02.02-1

Big hill = moment to stop and take in the view

I’ve never done doubles as part of my training. Running 14 mi in one day wasn’t the easiest way to get the miles in but I enjoyed getting out there for the sunrise AND sunset today.

rock creek

Thursday: [Easy 5.4, 7:46 avg]

I was most definitely tired today, but when I woke up and checked the weather for Chicago for this evening, I figured I should get out there for an easy run before I fly home. It wasn’t even 70 degrees but still fairly humid. I did loopty loops around the mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol. Lots of runners out there this morning! I really love running in DC. I’d always heard that Washington D.C. is a runner’s city but I didn’t really believe it until this week. It’s nice to have different options – the Rock Creek Parkway is a completely different run than the National Mall. As much as I love the Chicago Lakefront, it would be nice to have more options.

2014-09-04 10.24.54

Friday: REST 

I had planned to run today but I was a) super tired and b) super f*&^%ing stressed out from unpacking and setting up the apartment. I probably wasted a good 15-18 hours of my life talking to Comcast within 4 days and I nearly reached my breaking point on Friday morning. It’s not worth sharing here, but I’m sure 90% of Comcast customers have similar stories to mine. The good news? I finally talked to someone that could help me and our service was restored by 1 pm.

I had family visiting this weekend so I wanted to make sure the apartment was at least a bit like home before they arrived. We went to Piece for dinner and drank entirely too much beer at the Emporium Arcade Bar that night.

Saturday: OFF 

Shakeout was planned before Sunday’s half but spending time with the fam won out.

Sunday: [18 mi total- 13 mi steady state (close to GMP) at Chicago Half + 5 w/up & c/down] 

Manny signed up for the Chicago Half months ago and I realized this fit into my training plan really well. My schedule had 13-14 at GMP to GMP + 20 sec and I did a total of 5 mi as warmup and cool down. First 18 miler of this super short training cycle! I didn’t get my tempo workout in this week, so I guess this steady state replaced it! I felt pretty flat the entire 13 but that’s to be expected with no shakeout yesterday and poor sleep all week. My goal was to start out closer to 7:30 but I got caught up in the race atmosphere and ran 7:10-7:20 for the first few miles (definitely felt that later on!) I took my time at water stops (1 min) and made sure to pour water over my head in the later miles when it started to get hot. I’ve run this course once before as a training run and remember it being more fun- seemed boring to me this year. Still, it’s a well run race. Met up with Lynton K. and Pete afterward for a “delicious” Mich Ultra. After 4 shakeout miles, it actually did taste good but I’m convinced anything would at that point.

2014-09-07 11.18.53-1

A 12-week training cycle isn’t ideal but I think I’m making progress.

Phew! Tough cookies the past two weeks. I’m a bit disappointed that my training didn’t have as much quality as planned, but I was probably a bit naive to think that I would be able to fit it all in this week and still have plenty of energy for that small thing we call work. I really enjoyed running in DC and knew that I would be able to stick to more of a routine the following week. I have to keep reminding myself that 4 weeks ago, I wasn’t even sure if I could train for a fall marathon. I’m so happy that the bursitis subsided and I’m beginning to feel like myself again. I figure this cycle is just one big experiment anyway. 4 weeks ago, running an easy 13 miles felt like a 19 or 20 miler. I knocked out 18 with a solid workout on Sunday – progress! #realitycheck

Spoiler alert: my legs started to come back this week!

- J

Monumental Marathon: Training Week 2 of 12

Week2

 

Look at that! Week 1 wasn’t a fluke after all! Just as with most injuries, I think it’s hard not to hold your breath when you get back to running. You keep waiting for something to hurt because you were in a decent amount of pain just a few short weeks ago. But nope! I think it’s safe to say I’m in the clear and now it’s just time to get down to business. Week 2 was definitely tough, especially because breathing the soupy air that made its way to Chicago made running somewhat miserable. Perfect week to get back to workouts, huh?

Monday: Full REST

I was still in Michigan for a long weekend and I ran 13 miles the day before, so resting was necessary. I spent the day working in a coffee shop (that ironically used beans roasted in Chicago), having lunch with Man, and thrifting for decorations and new furniture to fill the new apartment.

Tuesday: [Fartlek 8.03 miles, 7:37 avg]

I call this one the ‘hairdryer fartlek’. It was so hot and muggy and gross that I felt like someone was blowing a hairdryer into my face the entire time. I ran 2 to lake, 4 lakefront miles with 30 sec @ 5k pace every 3 minutes, and 2 home. The legs had a decent amount of pep today after yesterday’s rest so that’s good! 

Wednesday: [Easy 7, 7:56 avg]

Easy 7 around the neighborhood this morning. I ran such a random route that I don’t think I could have even explained to someone familiar with the area. It was hot and humid out again this morning so I was happy to run on some shady streets. I stopped in a park halfway for a sip of water & it was glorious. 

I’ve been thinking about routine lately – welp, basically my lack of routine. I used to be really good about getting up around 5 or 5:30 AM to run before work each day. It’s likely because I have a flexible schedule these days, but I just haven’t been able to find the motivation to do that again. I normally wake up around 6:30 AM and then it takes me a while to get going before I even think about running (especially if it’s a workout). The weather has been motivating me to get it done early-ish, but I’m hoping to get back to the routine of starting my run by 7 AM on mornings when I don’t have meetings.

Thursday: [3 x 1 mi tempo/ 8.59 mi, 7:24 avg]

Annnnd speaking of a morning running routine, the rain thwarted my plans of getting this done by 7:30 AM. I sat around in my running clothes basically from 6:30 AM until I left just after 9 AM when the rain cleared. Woof. Humidity x 1000000 out there today. (temp 76, with 88% humidity = swimming). I didn’t really know what kind of tempo I would run today until I started. I settled for 3 x 1 mi at tempo pace. Considering I did 6 x 3 min tempo surges last week and I haven’t run a tempo in … I don’t know how long … this was a solid effort. Splits: 6:46, 6:52, 6:37 (with 1-2 min walk break between) It felt more difficult that I expected it to but I likely should have adjusted for the conditions. On to the next!

Friday: [Easy 5, 8:10 avg]

Woof. Humidity is here to stay, huh? Went out around 9 after doing some work early this morning. Knew it would be sticky out, but that doesn’t make it any easier. My glasses fogged up when I stopped at a stoplight. EVERYONE IS DOING THE SWAMPY SHUFFLE these days!

Saturday: [Long 15 mi, 7:45 avg]

I was dreading this one the moment I saw the forecast on Friday night – 71 degrees and 96% humidity expected.

2014-08-22 21.45.48

The lakefront was definitely cooler than inland and the fog/cloud cover kept the sun from peeking out too much. This is the best run I’ve had in a while — I actually felt like myself again! I ran 2 to the lake with The Man and then settled in to 7:30-7:40 really easily. My legs felt like they could have run 7:45s all day. I normally don’t run so well in the heat and humidity, but it didn’t bother me that much. I stopped at plenty of water fountains to douse my head and neck with water and I think that helped a lot. Gu at miles 6 and 11 (gotta love that salted watermelon!) I’m really happy this went well. I was shocked that out of the hundreds of people out on the lakefront that I only saw TWO people I know! 

We had plans to have people over on our rooftop in the afternoon, but the weather ruined those plans! So we went to “brunch” at 1 pm and bar-hopped afterward. I mean, if you’re not brunching at 1 pm and hanging out with the same crowd at 9 pm the same day, you’re doing it wrong.

2014-08-23 20.15.02

We absolutely love our rooftop and wanted to have people over to enjoy it one last time – before MOVING! We found a nice place nearby with more space so this next week is absolute INSANITY between preparing for a big work event (involving travel next week), packing up the apartment, moving, and trying to fit training (and sleeping) in there somewhere. I know it will be worth it, but it’s definitely going to be a crazy couple of weeks.

Sunday: REST

Lazy Sunday morning with puppy cuddles and a day full of worrying about packing…and then actually packing. 

2014-08-24 20.50.26

Look what I found! A training plan that I apparently printed in 2011 – when my ‘projected’ marathon finish time was 4:01. I must have printed it that spring before training ramped up and I’m 75% sure it was based on a recent 5k time. Just when you begin to think that you won’t have enough time to get fit for the next 26.2, the universe shows you just how far you’ve come. 

Anyone have some superwoman powers I can borrow this week…and the next?

-J 

Monumental Marathon: Training Week 1 of 12

Annnnnd we’re back to weekly updates! I know, I know…you all missed them so much. I mean, I know I missed the miles!

Last Monday was my first day back to running after 3 full weeks off. And I’m happy to report that the return was glorious and happy, albeit sluggish and awkward. This was totally expected and I had to remind myself that getting back into shape isn’t going to be easy and it certainly isn’t ideal leading into such a short cycle for 26.2. I’m going to keep plugging along and putting in the miles and will see what happens.

In Week 1, I scheduled some light speed and tempo surges to ease back into training. Neither one felt great but I’m happy to report that the only thing that really hurt were my lungs, not my knee or my atrophied muscles. :)

This is what 3 weeks off looks like. I LIKE SEEING THOSE BLUE BARS!

3weeksoff

Monday: [5 easy, 7:37 avg] 

I missed the lakefront so much and this run was so relieving. Despite not being in pain following the cortisone shot (and not in too much pain even before the injection), I still didn’t know how this would go. I was so happy to be able to say “I RAN TODAY!”. I’m sure I looked like an uncoordinated baby giraffe out there on the lakefront path but damn, this felt good. And despite the cloud cover, it was anything but gloomy.

2014-08-11 13.27.04-1

Tuesday: [8.19 easy with 8 x 30 sec surges, 7:53 avg] 

Second run – and again, absolutely no pain or discomfort! I think letting the bursitis do its thing worked. Back at it. Manuel A C. and I ran to the lakefront after work. The waves were huge today! (almost wish I brought my phone to snap a pic) I helped pace Manny through 2 mi of his tempo (which were comfortable for him and not so comfortable for me!) and then ran a few miles solo. I ran 8 x 30 sec surges in the last two miles just by feel with 1 min easy jog between. I started around 6:25 pace and was surprised to see a 6:07 pace for the last one once I finished.

It appears that I also lost the necessary callouses on my feet because I did not enjoy running in the Ride 7’s tonight. I even stopped to tie the laces to skip a loop so that I had more room in the forefoot. It helped a bit but I likely won’t wear the Rides for anything over 5-6 miles…or at least until my callouses return. :)

Wednesday: OFF 

As much as I wanted to run today, I knew I’d just be STOOPID for running 3 days in a row after taking 3 freaking weeks off.

Thursday: [9.5 mi with 6 x 3 min tempo surges, 7:44 avg]

Woof. Getting back into shape is painful. If there were ever a day to bring my phone to snap a pic/video, it was today. The Blue Angels were soaring over the lake to practice for the Air & Water Show this weekend. Really cool to watch & it kept me somewhat distracted from my pace through the workout.

I was clearly not ready for solid tempos yet (Week 1! ha!) so I decided to do 6 x 3 min tempo segments with 3 min jog recovery. First 2 felt like crap, next 2 felt tough but smoother, and last two felt like “weeeeeeeeeeeee!”.

0.43/6:54
0.44/6:51
0.44/6:48
0.45/6:41
0.45/6:40
0.47/6:28

Friday: OFF

Enjoyed my Friday night with a beer on the rooftop after work and a few beers with Manny that night. It appears that Friday nights without a Saturday long run can go pretty late.

Saturday: [Easy 6.1 mi, 8:05 avg] 

I ran off a mild hangover slightly after 9 am. After running and a few glasses of Nuun, I felt like a normal human being. I hopped in the car that afternoon for an impromptu trip to Holland, MI with The Man. The drive was nice, especially because Barklee wanted to cuddle.

2014-08-16 14.05.21

Sunday: [13 mi, 8:13 avg]

Long run in Holland. I originally planned on running anywhere between 12-14 miles. Considering how good the legs handled training earlier in the week, I figured 13 miles was perfect.  I ran the first 7 miles really easy with Manny to the beach between 8:40-8:50 and the last 6 between 7:40-7:55. My legs were happy to run in a faster gear at the end and I felt like myself again. It was 67 degrees with 91% humidity so the first few miles felt surprisingly sluggish. I took a (salted watermleon!) Gu at mile 7 and water at miles 4, 7, and 10. I didn’t feel wiped out after that and I wasn’t sore on Sunday. All good signs that easing into the long run and training was the smart thing to do!

2014-08-17 12.58.45-1

Guys. This stuff exists. Go buy it now.

Week 1:

5 runs

0 core (ha)

0 tragic pothole falls (haHA)

42 miles

BACK AT IT!

- J

Bum Knee Be Gone! Back To Regularly Scheduled Programming

3 weeks post-fall and everyone (including myself) is likely sick of me talking about the bum knee. The good news is that it’s run its course and I’ve been pain-free for about a week now.

The last update chronicled the progress I made within two weeks of falling. I was pretty optimistic about the inflammation in the bursa going down on its own and doubted that I would need the doc to give me a cortisone shot. After resting through the two-week mark (with a fair amount of pain-free cycling to keep me from going absolutely insane), I went for a 20-minute test run with Corey last Sunday. It’s tough to describe what it felt like but it didn’t really feel good and it didn’t really feel bad. Just “meh”. That’s not really the feeling I was hoping for. So, I emailed my doc that afternoon to let her know how the knee was doing and this was her response:

I think it would be good to get an MRI of the knee to confirm that there is nothing else going on. I would hate to do a steroid injection if there was an underlying fracture or tear.

I was a bit disappointed about it but knew the MRI was the right thing to do. And she heard my message about wanting to clear this up ASAP loud and clear because we were able to schedule an MRI for the next day and she just happened to have an available appointment on Tuesday. So, fingers crossed– all would be resolved (or at least we would know more) by Tuesday at 9 am.

Fast forward to the appointment. (cue nervous jitters in the waiting room) Prepatellar Bursitis was the correct diagnosis. I was so relieved. The doc showed me basically every image of the MRI and said that my knee looks really strong (no damage to ACL, MCL, etc). Apparently I fell squarely on my bursa and that cushioned the fall for my patella. Two minutes later she gave me a cortisone shot to reduce the inflammation and five minutes later I was sauntering out of the doc’s office with a goofy smile on my face.

2014-08-05 09.19.35-1

And then. I bought a white chocolate passion fruit donut to celebrate. Necessary.

The “bad” news? She prescribed more rest through the end of the week. So that would total 3 weeks of no running and a heck of a lot of frustration. The GREAT NEWS?! I was 95% pain-free by the next afternoon and I was finally able to sweat on the bike last week. I did 5 hours of cross-training and even did a two-hour session on Sunday to replicate a long run (1 hr spin bike, 1 hr open stride machine). For anyone that’s ever used the Open Stride machine, can we talk about how tough of a workout that can be?!

2014-08-08 10.59.37

Missing the lakefront path like crazy, but happy just to be able to SWEAT!

So, this is all to say, that TODAY I get to run! My right knee cap looks identical to my left knee cap (gasp!) and I feel like my normal self again. Like any injury, I’m still really paranoid that the pain will return. I find myself doing normal things throughout the day and wondering if my knee will hurt if I ____(fill in the blank)_____.  This injury has been anything but normal–and I may never live down what a clumsy fall that was. I’m going to stay patient the next few weeks and just see how running goes. As of today, I have 12 weeks to Monumental. And while I know I would be well on my way to a strong training cycle had I not taken this bad fall three weeks ago, I think I’ll give this cycle a shot.

Tell me your ‘falling while running’ stories!

- J

The Beginning of a New Cycle – Monumental 2014

I’ve debated a bit about whether or not I want to post training updates this time around. This seems to be a normal part of a new cycle for me – do I want to share how my workouts are going, even (and especially) on the days when they’re not going well? Am I posting for myself? I’ve certainly had different answers to these questions in the past. And just as before, I’m a bit conflicted. For now, I’ll update when I feel like it. I like being able to look back on past training cycles. It helps put things in perspective, especially when you consider the training-LIFE balance that anyone training for a marathon has to deal with. I’m toying with the idea of posting monthly updates – surely, few people (if anyone) would read them but at least I’d be able to process what the heck is happening running-wise.

Thoughts? Do you read training updates or do you scroll them? What do you think are the advantages or disadvantages of sharing?

So, the weekly update!

Last week was a transition week into my training for Monumental. I’ve been ramping up my mileage a bit in the past 6-7 weeks and I am happy that I was mentally ready to start a new cycle.

Monday: REST + taking care of those sniffles

Day 1 of training (although 16 weeks out was officially Monday, July 14) and I woke up feeling like absolute crap. I fought a cold/cough/sore throat over the holiday weekend but thought it had run its course. Turns out Monday was the worst of it and I spent half the day working in bed. I spent the rest of the day being lazy. But hey! I spent 30 full minutes foam rolling and using the roll recovery that night!

Tuesday: [8 easy with 8 x 20 sec surges (7:44 avg) – paced between 5:50-6:10 min/mile] 

After 10 hours of sleep, I woke up feeling human! I took plenty of meds and hydrated on Monday so I’m sure that helped a lot as well. The only time I had to run was during lunch so I ran 8 easy in a nearby park and ran straight to Potbelly for lunch. I took the long way there :). The surges felt great (turnover seems strong lately) and it was a good ‘light speed’ workout, considering the lingering congestion I was dealing with.

Wednesday: [10 miles easy (7:40 avg)]

Easy 10 on the lakefront this morning. It was a “cool” 72 degrees out, so it was pretty enjoyable. Seen on my run: Mr. Bean’s doppelgänger. I’m curious to see how these longer mid-week runs impact my training. Still a bit of lingering congestion, but much better than Monday!

Thursday: [Bastille Day 5k! 20:32 + 1.67 mi warm-up]

One word describes this race experience: woof. I jumped into a 5k just to see where my fitness is at before officially beginning the training cycle. I thought I could get to low 20s without blowing up. I’ve PR’d at this race the past two years and have liked racing it. This year, the congestion was terrible. The 8k starts 15 minutes before the 5k and they finish together on an out-and-back course. I was on target through 2-3k & felt pretty good – just starting to hurt but knew I could push for another 2k. After the 3k mark though, staying on pace was pretty much impossible. They didn’t put a race official at the turnaround to even let people know that a race was happening. There was plenty of traffic on the lakefront because it was such a beautiful evening. (The course is never blocked off but it’s never been a big problem in the past. In fact, I don’t even really remember any congestion last year.) This time around, there were cyclists on both sides and down the middle of the path – I was basically surrounded by bikes on both sides. And then, you run into the 8k runners that were running a much slower pace by the time the 5k runners were at the turnaround. There were more people running in the grass during a 5k than I’ve ever seen before and you could tell some people were frustrated. At that point, I literally had to stop and walk for a few seconds because it was so bad. Total of two stops probably totaled 15-20 seconds.

Soooooo yeah, it didn’t go well. But I guess it was a decent workout. I haven’t done any structured speedwork since before Boston so at least I know I have a little bit of pep in my legs these days. I doubt I’ll be able to squeeze in another 5k in the next few months, but damn I really want that sub 20 goal knocked down this year. I know I can run a sub-20. I ran 20:05 at the same race last year. It’s gotta happen!

The highlight was definitely hearing some familiar voices with 200 meters to go. Corey, Chanthana, and Manny were definitely the loudest spectators at the finish. We grabbed some burgers and beer after the race. NOMS!

2014-07-10 19.15.00-2

 

Pre-race optimism 

Splits: 3:52, 4:03, 4:07, 4:18 (darn traffic), 4:09
9th female
4/113 age group
32/861 overall

Friday: [5 easy + 5 x 8 sec hill sprints, (8:11 avg)]

My legs weren’t sore or tired from the 5k at all. Derp. It felt good to move at the end of the work day.

Saturday: [Long Run – 14 mi (7:52 avg)]

What a backwards Saturday. I woke up to a crazy downpour (think monsoon) at 6:30 AM and the rain didn’t stop until 11 AM. At that point, I was already preparing a late breakfast and debating delaying ’til tomorrow. After the rain cleared, Man and I headed out for our long run at 1 PM. Annnnnd it was sticky. And hotter than expected. If there wasn’t an annoying crosswind the entire time, I’m sure it would have felt much hotter. Ran easy 2 to the lake with Man and then ran 7:40-7:50 for the remaining 12. Stopped at plenty of water fountains and just took it mile by mile. Didn’t have much energy today despite 9-10 hrs sleep. Just happy to get it done and relax the rest of the weekend!

Sunday: [3 recovery (8:10 avg)]

Just a quick jaunt around the neighborhood in the evening. We drove down to 3 Floyd’s in the afternoon to pick up some friends that had biked the 35 miles there. We had a few beers and ate lunch – annnnd watched the World Cup on my iPhone. It turns out 3 Floyd’s has a policy against playing sports on their TVs (they always play movies?).

Totals: 

6 runs, 45 miles

Core x 2

1 “race”

& 1 cough/cold that went away! 

- J

Fall Training & Racing Plans

Fall racing plans are finally coming together. After a disappointing Boston race, I knew I wanted redemption in the fall (despite my best attempts at telling myself I would “only” train for a half marathon). I’m still chasing that sub-3:10 goal that I set for the year and I have a feeling I’ve found the perfect place to do it.

Today is Day 1 of training for…. the Monumental Marathon in Indy!

MonumentalMarathon

There are a lot of reasons why I think Indy is going to be a good race for me. I grew up in the Indy area and there’s a certain hometown advantage that I’m banking on. Having family members on the course will mean a lot and I am familiar with the streets (especially after pacing my friend through the first half last year). Plus, the perks of sleeping in a familiar bed and enjoying a home-cooked meal by my mom are pretty irresistible. Also, the weather tends to cooperate. It’s several weeks after the Chicago Marathon during the first weekend of November. I’m hoping for race conditions just like last year – cool and calm from start to finish. I like cool temps. :) Annnnnd, the course is flat. Helloooooo pancake-flat course! I think we’ll get along well.

I’m planning on racing a 5k and 10k as part of my training for Monumental. I hope I can make both races hurt and PR, but I’ll be happy with a solid effort. The focus is on the marathon. As of right now, I don’t think I’ll race a half marathon this cycle. I normally like to race a half as part of my training but I don’t want to squeeze too much racing into a 16-week cycle. The half can be a confidence boost especially when I really feel like I’m in shape, but I’m going to try to be patient and enjoy the process of training again.

So, 16 weeks to race day and today is the day that I woke up with a horrible summer cold. (cue: whining) A sore throat and a stuffy nose aren’t exactly ideal when your motivation to run is high. I think I’ll spend a few days blowing my nose and consuming Nyquil before doing any tough workouts. (I can only imagine how much snot would flow out of my nose if I attempted to do speedwork today.) Let’s hope this cold goes away soon!

… The excitement doesn’t stop there, folks!

Honolulu_Marathon

I’m helping my sister to train for her first maraton this fall with Saucony 26 Strong. Our original plan was to run the California International Marathon in December. We were really excited about it! And then!… Saucony asked each team if they were interested in switching their goal race to the…. Honolulu Marathon. (I feel like I’m kidding, but I’m not.)

We considered Honolulu a few months ago, but thought we’d go with a race that typically has cooler weather. I wanted to find ideal racing conditions, especially for her first. Welp! It didn’t take much convincing to switch to Honolulu considering several other teams will be there with us and we’ll have some fun pre- and post-race activities. My sister has been building up her base for almost 2 months now and her training will officially begin the first week of August. I think we’re both still in denial that her first marathon is going to be in Honolulu.

Between the two of us (and the Man running his first 26.2 at Chicago!), we have a lot of miles to run this summer! I think the rest of 2014 is going to be pretty fabulous. I think today may be the one and only time I register for two marathons within ten minutes — but don’t quote me on that.

2014-07-07 11.16.23

-J