Grand Rapids Training 2013: 7 Week Out

GR2013TrainingWk8

This week, I ran 41 miles.
+ 2 core workouts.

Monday:

Easy 4 miles, 8:30 pace on the treadmill. Shakeout 2 days after Hood to Coast. I’m holding on tight to delusion and denial. I wore my race shirt and drank from my Nuun bottle and pretended I was running to the next exchange. Sadly, there was no white 16-passenger van waiting there for me when I finished…

Tuesday:

Easy 6 miles, 8:20 pace. Another shakeout on the treadmill in the afternoon (escaping the heat seems to be a theme this week!). Did a full warm-up + dynamic stretches along with core routine after run. I ran a “progressive” on the low end of my easy pace range, from 8:25-8:00 just for the heck of it. My legs felt heavier today than they did on Monday, so two easy runs to start the week were definitely called for (as much as I didn’t want to see them on the calendar).

Wednesday:

REST DAY! Hip flexors were noticeably sore! (Probably from sitting in a van for so many hours last weekend.) Stretched and foam-rolled for a good 30-45 minutes in the evening to loosen up while watching one of the Nine for IX ESPN films on demand. Tuesday night tradition moved to Wednesday night this week.

Thursday:

10 miles, 7:25 average pace. 5 x 1 mile workout. I made it out of bed early enough for a longish workout this morning! Had 5 x 1 mi on the schedule. Ran 2+ mi to the lakefront, did some leg swings & such to warm-up the hip flexors, and started the 1 mi repeats. I felt creaky even through the warm-up and the legs didn’t feel fresh for some reason (sitting in a van for ~18 hours was tough on those hip flexors!) 3 min recovery between repeats, followed by 1.3 mi c/d. Chanthana and I had a perfectly executed side-5 10 seconds before my 3rd repeat and I recognized Annabelle W. too late for a side-5 a half mile later (but we got a wave in!). Splits: 6:26, 6:26, 6:26, 6:21, 6:18. It started to feel pretty tough in the middle of the 4th mile but I’m happy that I was able to keep pushing and run the last 2 repeats faster than the first 3. Starting to feel like the intensity is starting to build this cycle. 🙂

The fog was super INTENSE this morning. I couldn’t see beyond 150 m in front of me and there were plenty of people out there. It also seemed like bikers were taking extra caution, which rarely happens.

Side note: I have a furball ponytail problem following super humid runs. This has happened before and yes, I know that a braid would solve this problem BUT it didn’t even occur to me that my ponytail was turning into a furry beast of knots until I finished the workout.

Furball ponytail

See? Intense. I literally gave up trying to comb it out after using 1/4 bottle of conditioner in the shower. I put it up in a bun (which actually turned out to be pretty attractive) and gave up. I wasn’t able to comb it out until I had applied The Detangler conditioner (Paul Mitchell) & argan oil a full 24 hours after this run, and even then it took me a good 30 minutes to comb it out… This should be filed under #runnerproblems. Ok, next time? Braiding or bunning it before it becomes a problem!

Friday:

Easy 5 miles, 8:10 average pace. Yet another treadmill run this week! 95 degrees outside calls for a bit of relief inside.

Saturday:

16 miles, 7:37 average pace. Side-5s galore on the long run! Started at 6:15 am after 5ish hours of sleep (derp) so I wasn’t sure how this one was going to go. Found a rhythm and happy that the cloud cover stuck around for most of the run. Mile 4: side-5 with Charlyn C. and Luis. Mile 5: awesome, refreshing downpour. Mile 6: geese crossing. Mile 7-11: rhythm! (Had to slow myself down, 7:45 felt comfortable!) Mile 11: Side-5 with Mike M. and Marla!

I saw some other friends near mile 13 before I started the fast finish 3 miles (was that you with Corey, Erin ?) . Final 3 miles: 7:03, 6:57, 6:54 <—- that was tough! The legs didn’t feel super peppy today but they had more energy than I thought they would when I first started. Stopped at the farmer’s market on my way home for fresh lilies. Now, to spend the rest of the weekend on my feet at North Coast Music Fest. (Also, I think this might be my fastest 16 ever but I’m not sure!)

Highlights o’ The Week:

  • Added to my running playlist: Roar by Katy Perry. (Come on, you know you like it!)
  • On Thursday, there was a surprise concert on the rooftop of my building. Yep, you read that correctly. A friend came to the building to see a friend’s band play and she didn’t realize it was in my building until she arrived. Does a summer night get any better than a free, live concert with a view of the skyline? I think not.
  • Pizza and beer at Homeslice with the running gals! Although we can’t really prove that we were there because we didn’t take any selfies.

Pictures o’ The Week:

Homeslice Chicago

Homeslice evidence.

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Live band on the rooftop. Summer sigh

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Because why can’t you have dessert for breakfast?

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Cloud cover is always appreciated for long runs.

-J

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Hood to Coast with Nuun Hydration: Recap 2013

It’s already Thursday and I have yet to even process what the hell happened last week. Last Wednesday, I flew out to Seattle to meet the Nuun crew and the 35 other runners they graciously hosted and ushered through the Hood to Coast Relay. We spent 2 days in Seattle. We drank coffee (Starbucks, duh), went bowling at The Garage (I’m a less than stellar bowler), ran around Green Lake (oh the jealousy!) ,met the Oiselle crew and visited their HQ (what the what?!), dance battled on two duck boats (still not sure who won that one), decorated the vans (I’m now certified in free-handing Twitter birds and cherries…), and tried to get as much sleep as we could before it took a literal backseat to running and driving to each exchange.

Before the relay even began on Friday afternoon, I knew that the experience was exactly what I pictured since I was selected for the team back in April. — It was a running LOVEFEST. It’s rare to meet so many runners from all across the country and have more than 10 minutes to talk to each one of them. Nuun threw a ton of “strangers” into 6 vans and magically (and not so surprisingly), we learned a lot about each other. It’s amazing what happens when you’re sleep-deprived, on a running high, and fueled up on ALL OF THE VAN SNACKS.

Hood to Coast Relay Nuun Hydration 2013

The most dedicated & focused, yet silly-ass Van (Van 1, Cherry Limeade):

Julia, Sara, Robyn, Dorothy, ME, and Katie

Hood to Coast was my first relay, which meant that I was nervous and a bit anxious about the ‘logistics’ part of the whole experience. I was happy to be in a van with experienced relay runners.

When Mason called and asked if I’d be willing to switch from Team Lemonade to Team Cherry Limeade (the competitive women’s open team going for the W!), I responded with “OH MY GOD I’d love to! …..BUT you have to promise to give me the easy legs because Chicago is flat as a pancake”. Having lived there for 20-ish years, he heard me loud and clear (thankfully). I was runner 4 in Van 1 for Cherry Limeade, which included 15+ miles: first leg was the longest, middle leg was easy peasey, and last leg was gradual uphill yet short.

The Good:

I averaged just under a 7:00 min/mile for the 15 miles. Considering I’m in the middle of a marathon training cycle, my focus hasn’t been on speed lately (although speed workouts are obviously still part of the marathon training recipe). My goal was to stick as close to my recent tempo paces as I could and see how far I could push it if I was feeling good. I figured my legs would be tired on the last leg no matter how hard I took the first two legs.

Leg 1:

7.18 miles with a steady gradual downhill along paved shoulder on Highway 26. —> 6:36 average pace. I was FLYIN’ dudes! Granted, gradual downhill equated to a much faster time than I thought I was capable of running and I was caught up in the adrenaline of running my first relay leg evarrrr, but I’m happy with it nonetheless. (It bodes well for an upcoming 10k!) The team stopped halfway through my leg to give me a water bottle. I tossed the water bottle like a pro, gave high-fives, and marveled at the fact that my most recent tempo was 4 miles at 6:45 pace. ….and I ran 7 at 6:35 pace. I’ll take it!

Leg 2:

3.78 miles on gently rolling highway, paved shoulder just like the first leg. —-> 7:20 average pace. Ok, let’s just preface this by saying there was a code brown involved. It was pitch black outside, few runners around, and it just had to happen. (Thanks to Holly, I’ll always use #poopthereitis to describe potential future situations.) My average pace was 6:45 until that unfortunate pit stop. DERP! Normally, this would just be a private moment that I’d keep to myself. But when you’re running as part of a  team, “TMI” doesn’t apply and I felt the need to explain myself. I hope I never have to answer this question, “how’d you do?” with a “good!….except for that poop stop” ever again. [Come on. I can’t be alone on this one!]

Leg 3:

4.20 miles, gradual uphill on paved road (narrow highway with limited shoulder). —> 7:17 average pace. “Gradual uphills” don’t really exist in Chicago unless you count overpasses and parking garages. I think I’m a pretty good hill runner but give me 4 miles of gradual incline and my legs (and lungs) tend to be confused. Not going to lie, this last leg was *tough*. I just kept thinking about how short 4 miles normally is and the fact that once I pushed through them that I’d officially be done with my first relay. It’s sure not to be my last.

The Bad:

  • Code Brown. Enough said.
  • 30 minutes of sleep. Par for the course, but I felt like a zombie. (Up for 40 hours straight — haven’t done that in years!)
  • Exchange snafus led to a 3rd place finish. Sure, third is AWESOME, but we were going for the WIN and thought we pretty much had it in the bag before logistics caught up to us. At some point, you just decide to run strong on your own legs and leave everything else behind. I’m excited to see future Nuun teams get the big win because our van wanted it and wanted it bad.

The Ugly:

Come on. Did you seriously think there was an ugly side of this experience?! I rarely think that experiences are all sunshine and rainbows, but I can honestly say that it was the closest I’ve ever come to “Skittles: Taste the Rainbow”.

PICTURES!

Green Lake, Seattle

Run around Green Lake 🙂

On A Duck Seattle

#onaduck!

#NuunHTC at Oiselle HQ

All 36 runners with the Oiselle crew

Nuun Hydration Hood to Coast Prep

Hanging at Nuun HQ before decorating the vans

Nuun Hood to Coast Team Cherry Limeade

Team Cherry Limeade, Van 1

Nuun Hood to Coast

Obligatory jumping pic at Mount Hood.

Hood to Coast Start 2013

HERE WE GO!

Legs up!

We found a hill at a van exchange and put the legs up

Nuun Team Cherry Limeade Hood to Coast

Team Cherry Limeade (Julia is running!)

Hood to Coast Julia Webb

Toilet paper finish tape. Julia’s all kinds of serious

Nuun Hood to Coast Team Cherry Limeade

If you don’t finish your relay with bloody mary’s and sides of bacon, you’re doing it wrong.

Hood to Coast Seaside

Ahhh Seaside.

Seaside Brewing Co

Beers with the lovely Robyn Hefner (AKA badass van leader!) at Seaside Brewing Co.

Final Thoughts:

I’m still having “pinch me moments” about this whole experience. When I started running 2 years ago, I never thought that my “running world” would be as big as it is now. I love being able to chat with so many runners  via social media but you take those conversations to a whole other level when you get to meet IRL and work together as a team. When you’re running for a team of 12, there’s no excuse–you run as fast as you can and leave it out there because you know that van is waiting for you at the next exchange.

I also know that I was (obviously) not the first choice for Team Cherry Limeade and there are plenty of speedy ladies out there that would kick my ass if they had the opportunity. I feel lucky to have been part of a competitive team with women that I learned a lot from. I don’t consider myself a “competitive runner”, but I do thrive on competition. But dang, these girls are on a whole other level and it’s cool to have been given the opportunity to represent Nuun with each one of them.

Meeting and exceeding goals this training cycle all comes down to hard work and, let me tell you, Robyn, Dorothy, Katie, Julia, and Sara consistently work their tails off (and most of them do it while raising a family…except me and Robyn. But it’s all good. She has a 30 lb cat and I like to think I have a pretty cute dog).

I know that I’ll be keeping in touch with the women I met last week well into the future. And we’ll be a support net for each other in future races, from near and far (there’s always someone waiting to hear how you did at a race on Twitter, after all…) . That’s pretty cool when you stop to think about it.

I’m not sure I can ever properly thank Mason, Megan, and the entire Nuun team for their hospitality last week (“hospitality” doesn’t even begin to cover it). You guys seriously thought of everything and we all felt like it was a special treat to be able to just show up and RUN. Your company and its energy is refreshing and it was just a pleasure to be around you all for an entire 5 days. I think it’s rare to find a company that feels so much like a family and it was nice to become part of yours!

Running Hood to Coast with Nuun was just what I needed to fuel me through the next 7 weeks of training for the Grand Rapids Marathon. And once I process this whole experience, I’ll likely be at that start line ready to kill it.

– J

Grand Rapids Training 2013: 8 Weeks Out

Grand Rapids Marathon Training Week 9

I ran 34 miles this week.

This week was a step-back week of sorts because I ran the Hood to Coast Relay with Nuun Hydration over the weekend. I flew out on Wednesday (my normal rest day) but didn’t have a normal long run over the weekend. I’ll have a full recap of the experience up soon but here’s how last week’s training broke down:

Monday:

Easy 6 miles, 8:01 average pace. Remember that time I thought I was becoming a morning runner? That’s funny. Haven’t been able to force myself out of bed in the mornings lately and today was no exception. Would have gone out for the run during lunch but had a lot of work to do before leaving for Hood to Coast. Legs felt sluggish for the first 2 and then they loosened up a bit.

Tuesday:

Easy 8 miles with surges, 7:56 average pace. Legs felt sluggish the entire time. Likely need a good foam roller session tonight. Included 6 x 30 sec surges just to get the legs loose.

Wednesday:

REST Day & Travel Day!

Thursday:

Easy 6 miles, 7:45 average pace. Run around Green Lake with the Nuun Hood to Coast crew before invading the Oiselle HQ. Someone pinch me, quick!

Green Lake, Seattle

Friday/Saturday: Hood to Coast Relay!

15 + miles (Recap to be published soon!)

I tried to get a decent warm-up and cool-down in before and after each one of my legs but never tracked it. Mileage likely wasn’t substantial but I hate not having the data. 🙂

Highlights of the Week:

Pics o’ The Week:

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We drove back from Michigan last Sunday with the essentials: a happy pup and beer.

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Successfully packed everything I needed for 5 days into one medium-sized duffle. Skillz.

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MOUNTAINS.

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View from inside the van on the drive up to Mount Hood

– J

Let Them Live, Let Them Breathe

The_Rumblr - Sagitarrius

I saw this horoscope on the Rumblr (Tumblr created by The Rumpus) this afternoon. Hood to Coast just might the perfect place to do just that! “Let them live, let them breathe, let them out into the sunlight sometimes”.

-J

Grand Rapids Training 2013: 9 Weeks Out

Grand Rapids Marathon Training Week 10

Like my “Photoshoppin'” skills? I had to get creative before leaving town for the weekend. 🙂

This week I ran 45 miles

+ 3 core workouts

+ 1 strength workout.

Monday:

5.47 mi, 8:39 average pace. Just an easy recovery run to start the week. My massage on Sunday helped to work out soreness that I didn’t even know I had, especially in my quads. It was nice to start the week feeling refreshed. I ran to Fleet Feet in the evening and then ran with the #RunChi team. (Charlyn’s race is so close!)

Tuesday:

9.47 mi, 7:26 average pace.

Well, this is encouraging! Plan was 2 mi w/up, 2 x 2.5 mi tempo at 6:40-6:50 (2:30 jog recovery), and 1-2 mi c/d. Left the house at 6:15 AM, always later than I plan on leaving. I knew that the wind was going to be bad northbound but I didn’t expect it to be as bad as it was. Took the first 2.5 tempo at effort and tried not to look at my watch. (20 mph winds = strength/resistance training). The 2.5 mi back southbound felt like I was flying!

Splits: 7:03, 7:00, 6:52 pace (0.5 mi)/ 6:40, 6:38, 6:35 pace (0.5 mi)

Glad I went out this morning and don’t have to worry about getting this done later on today

Wednesday:

REST + 6 week 6 pack Level 1 DVD + form drills.

Thursday:

9.21 miles, 7:49 average pace. Plan was to run 9 easy miles with 5 x 1 min surges. They were fun! I didn’t have the Garmin menu screen set up correctly to look at my lap pace so I just tried to hold whatever pace my body decided to run in the first one. (ha) The surge paces were average 5:40 pace! (5:25-5:45 span) The lakefront was already really busy with vendors setting up tents and booths for the Air & Water Show and it looked like there were already a ton of families in town to visit for the weekend. Happy to be out of town this weekend to avoid that craziness for a long run!

Friday:

4.06 miles, 7:55 average. Nice jaunt around the neighborhood mid-morning, after a call for work and before folding laundry. Working from home is all about multi-tasking sometimes ya know?

Saturday:

17.3 miles, 7:53 average.

This month is crazy busy and each weekend basically through September is busy with weddings, races, travel, and other fun stuff. A weekend away in Michigan sounded perfect among all this craziness so I went up to Holland, Michigan to spend time with my mom and sister. I ran several times while I was up there over 4th of July but my long run then was only 11-12 miles I think. I didn’t have a route planned but thought I might divide the run into several loops, especially for hydration stops.

Running solo along shaded streets is SO different than normal Chicago lakefront path runs. I woke up late because of the time change and because it seemed so early in the morning when I looked out the window. (Hard to tell what time it is back in a wooded area). The entire run was on a shady path and I circled by the house 3 times for water. I felt strong and the legs didn’t start to tire until 3 miles to go. Once I had brunch I felt human again and an ice bath in Lake Michigan later in the afternoon felt great.

Highlights o’ The Week:

  • Added to my running playlist: Tallulah by Company of Thieves & Don’t Let Me Fall Behind by Jukebox the Ghost.
  • The Man had a long run this weekend to and we had the side 5 to make all other side 5s jealous.
  • There’s nothing like ending the day with a campfire and a game of Scrabble with my family.
  • Recent obsession: Coco Coconut Popsicles.

Pics o’ The Week:

2013-08-14 06.32.23The clouds over Chicago on Wednesday morning looked like the END OF DAYS!

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Worked outside at a local coffee shop for a few hours on Thursday morning. I remember when I was so happy to be able to work wherever and whenever I wanted. Still appreciate it but forget that it’s a perk 🙂

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Wisdom from Lauren Fleshman in latest issue of Runner’s World: “You can’t dream properly in a spreadsheet”

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Oh look! It’s a puppy in an Ikea bag!

20130818-094931.jpg

How often do you get a change of scenery? Do you prefer running in the city or in the ‘wilderness’?

What other lingering tips do you have for Hood to Coast (I’LL BE ON A PLANE TO SEATTLE ON WEDNESDAY MORNING! WAHOOOO!)

-J

Hood to Coast Packing List & My Legs!

Note: this list consists of items that I would *like* to bring, but I have a feeling it will be a rude awakening when I actually try to stuff it into a medium-sized backpack.

On Wednesday morning, I’ll be on my way to Seattle to meet the Nuun teams that will be running this year’s Hood to Coast. I’ve been looking forward to this since they day I returned home from Boston. This will be my first relay and my first relay with strangers. But, let’s be real, runners usually aren’t strangers after chatting for 2 minutes and we definitely won’t be strangers after spending 20+ hours in a van together.

Tentative Packing List:

  • Face mask & ear plugs
  • Ibuprofen & Endurolytes
  • Sweatshirt and warm pants
  • Compression socks
  • Small towel
  • Body/baby wipes
  • 4 running outfits in gallon Ziploc bags
  • Water bottle
  • Gloves + HAT/warm headband
  • Garmin
  • iPod (for sleepin’ tunes)
  • Jacket/hoodie
  • Flip flops
  • 2 pairs running shoes
  • Sunglasses (running + regular)
  • Travel pillow- inflatable!
  • Small blanket
  • Car USB charger for iPhone (dual)
  • Sunscreen
  • All the snacks!
  • Colgate Wisps! (no water needed to brush teeth!)
  • Trigger Point Massage Ball (Tiger Tail will be provided)
  • Extra phone battery- JCrew
  • Safety vest + headlamp (Nuun is supplying these, but Corey was nice enough to let me borrow hers!)

*Items in bold were added to the list gradually- based on tips and suggestions from Hood to Coast veterans!

This doesn’t seem like a lot to pack to me but I know I’ll feel differently when I start putting it in a bag. I took a lot of tips from Oiselle’s and Portland Running Company‘s packing lists + many suggestions from friends that have run Hood to Coast before (thanks friends!)

2 pairs of shoes can take up a lot of space but I think it will be worth it. I’m oddly more concerned about what to pack for the 2 days that we’ll be in Seattle than the comfy running apparel I’ll spend most of my time in.

On Wednesday, we arrive, spend time exploring Seattle, and go bowling that night. On Thursday, we visit Oiselle HQ (eeeps!) and run around Green Lake, ride a duck boat (!), and decorate the vans in the evening. And, FRIDAY, we drive and start runnin’ runnin’ runnin’! And, of course, I’m excited for ALL THE BEER in Seaside on Saturday before heading back to Chicago on Sunday afternoon. Dude. It’s going to be a crazy 5 days!

My Leg Assignments:

After my switch from Team Lemonade to Team Cherry Limeade, I’m officially assigned as Runner 4 in Van 1. I will be running a total of 15+ miles which works perfectly with marathon training (especially because I’ll be running on tired legs by the end!)

Leg #1

Hood to Coast Leg 4

7.18 miles with a steady gradual downhill along paved shoulder on Highway 26. The closest thing to this that I’ve run on in the past few months is Cricket Hill in Chicago (ha.) I’m going to keep telling myself that the downhill sections of Boston prepared me for this at least a wee bit. According to our projected paces, I should be running this around 3:30 PM.

Leg #2

Hood to Coast Leg 16

3.78 miles on gently rolling highway, paved shoulder just like the first leg. I’m gonna ROCK this thing. I’ll run this leg around 11 PM so that should be fun (happy that my legs are at relatively ‘normal’ times!)

Leg #3

Hood to Coast Leg 28

4.20 miles, gradual uphill on paved road (narrow highway with limited shoulder). Considering this is my only uphill leg, I think I got lucky [or they were very wise and put the flatland runner on some of the easiest legs. More likely!) This will feel more difficult that it would on fresh legs of course but I’ll be read to bust out those 4+ miles like it’s my job. I’ll be running this leg around 6 AM, so again–normal for my schedule!

Alright, what am I missing people? What else would you pack? How would you save room in your backpack?

Any vets that have run as Runner 4 in the past? Give me all your tips! Tell me all of your stories!

-J

Grand Rapids Training 2013: 10 Weeks Out

Grand Rapids Training Week 11

This week, I ran 41 miles.

+ 4 core workouts.

+ 1 strength workout.

This was the first week in awhile when I felt like my brain and my body were working on the same thing. The workouts are starting to come together and I feel like the power is coming back. The left hip hasn’t been giving me any problems since I worked it out last week and I have a massage scheduled to take care of that sucker. I’m glad the pieces are starting to come together, considering Grand Rapids is 10 weeks away. Still a lot of work to do and a lot of miles to run to get to where I want to be!

There’s another big reason for me to be happy this week. On Friday afternoon, a Nuun employee called to ask me if I’d be willing to switch teams for Hood to Coast. Nuun has three teams for the relay: Team Lemonade, Team Watermelon, and Team Cherry Limeade. I found out that I was chosen for Team Lemonade just a few days after Boston, when I really needed some good news. Since then, I’ve been looking forward to the relay, my first! I’ve been chatting with my teammates on Twitter and on our own blogs (mostly to figure out what we’re all planning on packing haha). I’m sure by the time we get there (NINE DAYS FROM NOW!!!) that we’re going to feel like we’ve been friends for awhile. Unfortunately, injury is keeping one of the Cherry Limeade girls from running the relay and Nuun asked me to fill in for her.  The team is Nuun’s competitive women’s team with some crazy awesome goals. Needless to say, I’m still having a bit of a “pinch me moment”. I’m looking forward to experiencing my first relay with runners that I can learn a lot from. I’m excited, nervous, and thrilled about the opportunity! Nice lil’ treat in the middle of marathon training. 🙂 [If you want to follow the Nuun teams at Hood to Coast, we’ll be using #NuunHTC the entire weekend…at least when we have service. :)]

Monday:

5. 44 miles, 8:11 pace. Here comes the rain again, fallin’ on my head like a memory, falling on my head like a new emotion. Today’s easy run is brought to you by light rain and some Annie Lennox goodness.

Heh. I raced the rain on this one. Nice sprinkle for the last two miles and the storm really started when I was just a few blocks from home. Even though we’ve had plenty of storms this summer, I’ve never managed to actually run in one. Felt great! The downpour ended 10 minutes after I returned home so it was just meant to be today. (+ core & cooldown routines)

Tuesday:

7.12 miles, 7:21 average. Ran 2.12 w/up, 4 miles tempo (6:45-6:55) and 1 mi c/d.

Tempo splits were 6:50, 6:44, 6:44, & 6:44. How’s that for consistency?! This felt awesome—awesome, but difficult. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable takes a lot of work. I’m sure this is the first of many workouts that end up surprising me this cycle. I was really happy to hit those splits and start my day on a good note.

Wednesday:

REST Day! 6 week 6 pack Jillian Michaels’ DVD – LEVEL 2 YO!! Puddle o’ sweat. There doesn’t seem to be a huge difference between Level 1 and Level 2 but the sweat pouring off of me after this workout might prove otherwise.

Thursday:

9 miles, 7:56 average. Easy 9 miles on the lakefront this morning with 8 x 30 sec surges just to work on turnover. The lakefront was beautiful this morning, even with a strong crosswind. Big crashing waves were entertaining. I haven’t run in the Saucony Fastwitch since February or March. & I forgot how much I like them!

Friday:

4.53 miles, 7:56 average. This was a happy, easy run. After the awesome Nuun Hood to Coast news I received that afternoon, all I wanted to do was lace up my shoes and head out for a run. I’m still having a bit of a “pinch me moment”.

Saturday:

15 miles, 7:46 average pace. 

Legs were ready to GO this morning. Started around 6:30 and debated my route during the ‘warm-up’ to the lakefront. I didn’t check to see when the ZOOMA races were starting but took a chance on heading north. Wasn’t as crowded as I thought it would be. On the way back south, I fell into pace with the runners racing the half (got a little carried away for a few miles and ran a bit faster than I was supposed to). Wendy J of CARA had a massive 2+ min 10k lead and I was able to cheer for Annabelle TWICE during her half. Then I surprised Hillary at the water fountain before tempo-ing the last 3 miles of my run. (splits: 6:58, 7:05, 7:02) Heat started to get to me with 2 miles to go but gutted it out. I’m so ashamed of the side-5 with Hillary with a half mile to go—I should get points taken away for it. The legs had all kinds of energy today and I’m happy with how they feel at this point in the cycle!

15 Mi Long Run

Highlights o’ The Week:

  • (THIS IS FOR YOU RACHEL!!!) Added to my running playlist: Believer by American Authors, Royals by Lorde, Everything Moves by Bronze Radio Return.
  • Managed to read the Runners World and Running Times issues that have been piling up. I finished last month’s Runners World issue on Tuesday night, one week after receiving this month’s issue in the mail. Derp!
  • Dinner at Carriage House— highly recommend! Crab soup; Mushrooms and Truffle Grits; pork boudin balls, & the hangar steak. ALL DELICIOUS!
  • If you want to experience a little slice of heaven in Chicago, you need to check out Parson’s Chicken and Fish. It opened a few months ago but I finally got around to actually going (mostly to enjoy a Negroni Slushy…) Another perk: ping pong table and a ton of hipster goodness.

Pics o’ The Week:

Chicago's Lakefront PathHad to stop during Thursday’s cooldown to take a picture of the view. It never gets old!

Carriage House

Dinner at Carriage House.

Long Run Recovery

I showered, put my feet up, and couldn’t get off the floor. 🙂

– J

Grand Rapids 2013 Training: 11 Weeks Out

Grand Rapids Training Week 12

This week, I ran 45 miles.

+ 4 core workouts

+ 1 strength workout

Monday:

Easy 6, 7:54 average pace. The legs felt GREAT today, probably because they were shredded from Wed-Sat last week. Beautiful afternoon for an easy run, especially with the cool breeze. Last 2 miles were quick but didn’t feel difficult.

Tuesday:

8 x 800 workout. 9.08 miles, 7:34 average pace. 

Plan was 2 w/up, 8 x 800 at 3:05-3:10 with 2:30 rest, and 1 mi c/d. Got it done but it took every last ounce of energy to push through #7 and #8 (which is *the* point of the workout, so…). Very happy with the splits even though they felt all over the place during the workout: 3:07, 3:05, 3:08, 3:06, 3:06, 3:11 (derp), 3:04, 3:09.

After dinner I started thinking about the workout and wondering how it compared to the last 8 x 800 m workout I did in February before Boston.

February 2013:

8 x 800 m workout Feb 2013

Today’s Workout:

8 x 800 workout July 2013

Today’s workout was a WEEEEEE bit faster than in February, although I love how progressive the repeats were then. Focusing on finding the power in my hips and maintaining my form through these tough workouts.

Wednesday:

Rest Day + Strength Day. I figured it’s time to step up to Level 2 of the Jillian Michaels 6 Week 6 Pack DVD (considering I’ve been doing it for far longer than 6 weeks haha) It didn’t feel that much more difficult but the routine is more complicated. I didn’t expect it to burn as much as it did and, judging by the massive pool of sweat on my yoga mat at the end, I think I worked hard enough. (30 min core + strength)

Thursday:

9 miles, 7:45 average. Easy first 7, tempo last two. Tempo splits: 7:04 and 6:51! I was looking forward to this run. Longish weekday runs can be refreshing and the tempo miles at the end always seem to be more challenging than you think they will be during the first 7 easy miles. Didn’t expect the speed or kick to come in that last mile but I just went with it. I was *that girl* that smelled up the bus on the way home from the lake while people were making their way to work. 🙂

Friday:

4.5 miles, 8:17 pace. Ran easy around the neighborhood in mid-morning. We had some thunderstorms in the morning and once the sun came out, it was pretty muggy. My left hip has been hurting on and off in the past two weeks or so. Need to commit to a consistent warm-up and cool-down routine to prevent injury, especially since I had minor problems with the same hip last fall.

Saturday:

16.04 miles, 7:55 average pace. Ahhhh mileage increase, that’s what you feel like! I was excited for this one, especially because it’s the longest run I’ve done since March-ish. I was able to release my left hip on my own with the TP massage ball yesterday, but was still worried about it giving me problems. It loosened up after the 2 mile “warm-up” and some stretches once I reached the lake. Could have run a slower pace but the legs locked in at 7:45-8:00 and didn’t want to slow down.

I’ve been thinking more about buying some sunglasses especially for my long run. I never thought I’d be making that purchase, but I have experienced “sun headaches” in the past because of squinting through 2-3 hours of a long run. I don’t want to spend much money on them ($100 pair of sunglasses just seems outrageous to me.) Anyone have any suggestions on a brand or model that would be good? A friend suggested buying the cheap pairs they always seem to have at race expos but I’ve never really looked much at them.

Pics o’ The Week:

Needy Barklee

This is the face Barklee makes when she feels we’re not giving her enough attention. Dramatic right?

chia kombucha

Obsessed.

Hadley's Hippos

Best piece of mail this week? A shirt designed by Kristy after Coach published a blog post with a running hippo 

Runner Fuel

Get in my bellyyyyyyy!

– J