Race Recap: Batavia Half Marathon 8.26.2012

I’ve seriously been slacking on writing race recaps within a few days of the actual race. After getting a text from my sister saying, “You haven’t blogged about the race yet!”, I thought I’d sit down and do it tonight. (Because apparently SOMEONE is reading this!)

This past Sunday was a really good indication of how well my training is progressing this cycle. The goal was not to PR, but if it happened then I would be a happy girl. Coach and I chose this race because of its hills, which are seriously lacking during my runs along Chicago’s lakefront (as beautiful as it is). Because I can’t usually get out west to train on the weekends, I was looking forward to challenging myself in Batavia.

And challenging it was! As all of my runs are on flatland, the elevation chart below definitely got my heart rate going:

 

Despite the elevation changes, the goal was to run the entire race as a progressive and run the last 6 miles at 7:00 min/mile (or as close to 7:00 as I could manage!). I was a bit nervous about hitting that mark because that’s my tempo pace and those have been no easy feat in a normal training week.

Miles 1-5 went by really fast and I knew I was running too fast. I was supposed to target a 7:50 first mile and progress to a faster pace each consecutive mile afterward. Instead, this is how I started:

 

 

Definitely too fast. The last half of the race would likely have been much easier if I had given myself the time and distance to relax and enjoy myself a bit. Once I worked through miles 5-6, the elevation began more of a challenge.

 

Miles 9-10 were not part of the plan, but I’m proud of myself for keeping such a strong pace despite the hills that I was climbing. It was the first race in a long time where I saw people walking up the hills, especially considering they looked like people that would dominate the course. After mile 10, my legs fired up again (in a good way). I felt like my legs were moving smoothly and I was keeping up my momentum. My lungs weren’t especially tired from the pace I was holding and I knew I just had to hold it through mile 12 before trying to push the pace even more toward the finish line. About 800 meters from the finish line, the course crosses the river and you run over two arched bridges (I didn’t appreciate that!) and then it’s the last 150-200 meters to the home stretch. This is really the first time in awhile that I felt like I really had a kick at the end of a half marathon. There was one dude ahead of me and I knew I could catch him before crossing the line. It felt good to run through that chute giving everything I had.

I finished with an official time of 1:36:21, which is 13 seconds from my PR at the Carmel Half this past April (1:36:08). My last three half marathons have been within 13 seconds of each other (Rock ‘n Roll: 1:36:18). Consistency isn’t really what I was going for, but hey–I can’t complain.

I won 2nd place in my age group. Check out this awesome beer glass award! (Beer tastes especially nice out of a glass like that)

But, the greatest award of all was seeing my race photos and submitting one really beautiful one to Ugly Race Pics. Here it is in all its glory:

See? I told you it’s special!

Luckily, there were a few more redeeming ones in the bunch:

Running my 2nd 20-miler tomorrow morning before seeing family for the holiday weekend. Feeling great and looking forward to the next few weeks of training!

-J

Race Recap PREVIEW: Batavia Half Madness

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Another half under my belt this morning. I ran Batavia as a training run with some necessary hills before TCM in October. I didn’t PR today but I’m really happy with how today turned out. Official time 1:36:21 and 2nd place in my age group. I’ll be enjoying a beer (or two) this week in this new award glass. Feels good to have a strong race and a free evening to relax before the week begins. I’ll post a full race recap tomorrow once I’ve fully digested the day. šŸ™‚

-J

Snack Obsession

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I’m currently obsessed with green apples and carmel dip. It’s like dessert… But better. (Kind of like pretzel sticks and Nutella)

Twin Cities 2012 Marathon Training: Week 8 Recap

 

 

Ba da bing, ba da boom! TCM is now less than 50 days away. Count ’em – 5, 0! While I can’t help but think that it’s not a long time, I am really happy with these week’s training. Lately I just feel like my body is reacting the way it’s supposed to. Each of my key workouts lately have been really challenging, but I have been consistently running the paces that Coach lays out for me —actually a bit faster because I run my workouts like I’m scared of seeing a slow pace pop up on my Garmin. (It’s my own mental, virtual trainer, I suppose).

Last year, as part of my training for my first marathon, I was pretty nervous about my first 20-miler. Eighteen miles left me feeling a bit rusty and each consecutive week I was running personal record distances. Each week was a challenge and a milestone. I now run my tempo workouts at 7:00 min/mile as opposed to 8:10 min/mile at the same point in my training last year. (Looking back at those posts make me realize just how much I’ve improved in one year.) But this year, I’m attacking the training from the perspective of a marathoner. I’m not about to convince myself that I’m an experienced veteran of 26.2 miles (having run one marathon), but I think having ‘been there, done that’ gives me a mental edge this year at least. I can be really good at letting the pressure get to my head when I don’t keep my thoughts ‘in check’. A few weeks ago, I went through a mental hamster wheel of thoughts like, “oh my gosh, what if I run a slower time this year?, what if I get injured?, should I even have a time goal for Twin Cities?”. Of course, these kinds of thoughts do nothing for me, either mentally OR physically. I’m leaving those questions behind and powering through the next 7 weeks just like I have the past few weeks, because there’s no one stopping me but ME.

Monday: REST

Tuesday:

Speed Session Total 8.75 miles

1 mile- Goal: 6:36/ Actual: 6:28
2 miles- Goal: 6:45/ Actual: 6:39
2 x 800- Goal: 3:15/ Actual: 3:17, 3:16

Wednesday: 3 Easy Miles + Myrtl & Foam Rolling

Thursday: Tempo 6.29 miles (4 TempoĀ Splits: 6:58, 6:57, 6:56, 6:54)

Friday: REST

Saturday: 4 miles easy around the neighborhood “anticipation run”

Sunday: 20 miles Target 8:15 pace, Actual 8:12 overall pace

I think running lately for me really has been about patience. I can get really caught up in paces and whatnot, but lately I’ve tried to put that out of my mind and let my body just do the work. My thoughts are positive when I let my body carry me first. Then my mind can do the work. My mind will always be there to push me through to the end if I need it to.

20 miles yesterday felt surprisingly easy yesterday. I can’t tell you how happy I am that it went so well, considering I’ll have a few more of them before the marathon arrives in October. One fantastic 20-miler is under my belt and I’m ready to tackle what lies ahead. Next stop, the Peapod Batavia Half this Sunday in the ‘burbs! Coach and I still need to chat about my goal for this race, but I’m assuming I’ll tack on pre and post-race miles to consider it another long run on the calendar. I’m really looking forward to a full weekend out of the city exploring some place new šŸ™‚

-J

Air & Water

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Yesterday, I spent 4 hours on the rooftop enjoying mild temps and ample sunshine. I put my feet up on a chair after my 20-miler and watched the Blue Angels fly over the city as part of the Chicago Air & Water show. I didn’t think about anything important and relaxed. Unplugged and happy. Must do this more often and as long as this nice weather sticks around!

Twin Cities 2012 Marathon Training: Week 9 Recap

Alright, people! 2 months until the marathon! It’s officially 8 weeks out and I’m feeling strong and healthy.

This past week, running was therapy in more ways than one.

I left for vacation to Montana with my family on Saturday afternoon. And on Sunday morning, I woke up at 4 am to watch the badass female marathoners competing in the Olympics. I sat in a pitch black hotel room on the floor with a sad pillow with my eyes glued to the screen (except for those frequent commercial breaks!). It may have been 4 in the morning, but I was wide awake just hoping to catch every second of it. (It’s always nice when you have plenty of Tweeps to chat with simultaneously.)

 

After going back to sleep for a few short hours, I went down to the hotel treadmill and ran 4 miles. How could I NOT run after watching those ladies run hard?

I didn’t go to Montana expecting to stick to a workout plan because I knew that the elevation would be a factor. I would only be out of town through Wednesday evening so I figured I could fit my key workouts in through the end of the training week. I’m happy I was able to take it easy for a few days. I made my mind up and decided that I wouldn’t feel anxious or angry about not having the time to work out. Sometimes the hardest thing for me to do is to be okay with doing nothing.

OnĀ Monday we adventured into Yellowstone. The pictures can probably do it justice more than my words can:

 

If you ever get the chance to go to Yellowstone, GO! And for all you beer-drinkers out there, you will rejoice when you taste all of those delicious craft beers that you’ve never heard of. (Plus, you won’t even see a Budweiser or Miller sign anywhere!). For real, I did a fair share of taste testing from a few different menus. Plus, Moose Drool is just delicious.

Tuesday was a bit more active, as our mission was to hike. My sister, Lindsey, had scoped out a 6 mile trail up to Mount Washburn. And, turns out, she’s a great tour guide because it has gorgeous 360 degree views of the park. We ended up hiking closer to 7 miles, eating Subway sandwiches at the summit, and seeing tons of animals (my favorite was the chipmunk, but Mr. Fox was also a close second).

 

I travelled home back to Chi on Wednesday after relaxing in Bozeman before my flight. (I also fit in a short treadmill run at the hotel in the morning!) I was very tired from the trip, especially after realizing the effect of high elevation. I’ve done a fair amount of skiing in Canada and Colorado in my life, but I’ve never taken such a short trip that didn’t allow me to fully acclimate. The short 5-miler I ran that morning proved VERY challenging.

Thursday. Ahhhhh back home. And back to reality. On the trip, my mom received a phone call from my uncle saying that my grandma wasn’t doing well and had potentially had a stroke. On Thursday morning, my mom told me that my grandma had passed overnight. Needless to say, this week has been tough. Thursday was a sad, lonely day. All I wanted to do was hop back on a plane and go to Montana to reunite with my mom and sisters and stay through the end of the week.

My grandma Eleanor was a spitfire. She always says what she needed to say. She never held back. And she always made us laugh (even if it was unintentional). She was spunky and she wanted everyone to know it. She was 93 and she lived through things that I can only imagine. I have a feeling that inner strength runs in my family — Eleanor was strong.

Thursday afternoon, I went out into the fresh air and RAN. I laced up and let my legs carry me. I didn’t know how far I’d run. I didn’t even know where I was going to run. I just ran. I ended up at the lake, and after 4 miles I turned around. I smiled. I laughed. I cried. I became angry. I was confused. And then, I smiled again. The lake was calming and my body wouldn’t let me stop. Running felt effortless compared to how my heart felt. I ran 8 miles for my grandma that day. I’ll be running many more for her in my lifetime. Because I know she’d want me to.

Monday: REST

Tuesday: 7 mile hike in Yellowstone

Wednesday: 5 mile progressive

Thursday: Tears ‘n Sprinkles – 8 miles

Friday: 400 m repeats at <1:40

Saturday: Shakeout + Strength Routine

Sunday: 18 miles with 3 min pick-ups every 3rd mile

-J

 

 

Twin Cities 2012 Marathon Training: Week 10 Recap

Note: This is a delayed post!

After a much-needed stepback week, I got my sea legs back in Week 10. The miles were enjoyable; I didn’t dread that early alarm and I treated myself for accomplishing each run. Coach says I’m technically still in a base-building mode, so mileage still isn’t as high as I thought it would be at this point. He’s right when he says that I need to keep in mind how much I accomplished last year by running just three or four times a week—tops!

I took off on vacation to Montana with my mom and sisters on Saturday afternoon so I decided to move my long run to Friday morning. It was a hot, sticky morning but it was a great feeling to come back home, grab a humongous cup of coffee, and know that I didn’t have to worry about fitting the miles in on the weekend.

Monday: Shakeout

Tuesday: 6 miles, 1 mile repeats

Wednesday: REST

Thursday: Fartlek run 8 miles

Friday: 16.27 long run

Saturday: REST

Sunday: Shakeout 4 miles

It was so nice to have a fartlek run on the schedule this week instead of a tempo. A recovery run can only do so much to clear your mind and the regimented tempo runs of the previous weeks made me feel like a robot (I guess, a speedy robot!). It’s funny how the workout can totally change your state of mind. I likely challenged myself with the fartlek just as much as I do with a fast tempo run–it’s all in how your mind frames it, I guess.

I arrived home from vacation late last night and only managed to fit in one short progressive run on the hotel treadmill this week. I hope to find the rain showers this afternoon and get a run in to clear my head.

-J