First Gold: Marathon Inspiration

I can’t believe I hadn’t seen this video before this week! If you or someone you know is running a marathon this weekend (ahem…) or in the future, you should definitely watch this. Talk about grit, discipline, and internal motivation to GET IT DONE!


Twin Cities 2012 Marathon Training: Weeks 7 & 6 Recaps

In the excitement of last week’s half marathon in Batavia, I totally forgot to write a Week 7 Recap so this week you get to read about TWO weeks’ worth, rather than one!

Week 7:

Week 7 was essentially a mini taper to prepare for Batavia.

Monday: 1 hour Yoga –this hasn’t been part of my routine this year, but I think it should be! After the previous Sunday’s 20-miler it felt really good to loosen up muscles that I didn’t know I’d been using.

Tuesday: 9.8 miles, 1200 m repeats! Ran 3 sets of 2 x 1200 with 2 min rest after each interval and an extra 2 min between sets. Started to really hurt on the 4th 1200 and had to keep it together for the remaining 2. Target: 4:45/ Actual splits: 4:48, 4:46, 4:46, 4:50, 4:43, 4:47.

Wednesday: 4 easy miles + core workout for 40 minutes

Thursday: REST!

Friday: 5 miles with 6 x 200 meter pick-ups to loosen up before Batavia on Sunday

Saturday: CARBO LOAD!

Sunday: Batavia Half! (See Race Recap Here!) 1:36:21 and 2nd place in my age group 😀

Week 6:

This was a very different week for me. I realized early in the week that I’d need to stack workouts and run my 20-miler on Friday before leaving town to spend the weekend with family. I knew that I’d have a hard time fitting in a 20-miler and would run it on country roads that I wasn’t familiar with so I ran it Friday morning instead.

Monday: REST

Tuesday: Yasso 800s: Hot, sticky morning for a challenging workout. Started before 7, but had to stop at plenty of water fountains to beat the 86% humidity along the lake. Ran 2 mile warm-up, 8 x 800 Yassos with 3:00 recovery, followed by 2 mile cooldown. I reached my limit today, I think. Started to hurt after the 5th repeat, but shocked at the splits for the last few: 3:12, 3:13, 3:12, 3:13, 3:11, 3:13, 3:15, 3:06. I was really happy to be done with these!

Wednesday: Steady State Run:

Plan: 1 mile warm-up, 9 miles at 7:20, and 1 mile cooldown
Actual: 1 mile warm-up, 8 miles ~7:20: 7:21, 7:15, 7:10, 7:14, 7:11, 7:14, 7:16, 7:12, and 2 mile cooldown

I was pretty happy with this run considering the heat and the fact that it was a very ambitious tempo-ish pace. When I saw “9 miles at 7:20” on my plan, I thought it was a typo but decided not to question it and head out to the lakefront that morning. I didn’t think I could stick it out for 1 more mile but decided to be happy with pushing 8 at that pace. Phew!

Thursday: REST–headed to Fleet Feet to stock up on Gus for the next day’s 20-miler. I bought a new pair of Zoot compression socks and lounged around in running clothing all day. I foam rolled in front of the TV for at least 45 minutes that night just to make sure my legs were fresh for the next morning. I’m sure non-runners would think we all look so silly when we’re rolling around on our foam roller. You have to achieve some seriously awkward positions in order to reach the right muscles haha!

Friday: 2nd 20-miler of the cycle! I ran a 3:00 min pick-up every third mile around 7:20-7:30 and focused on maintaining an 8:10 pace the rest of the time. This was harder than the first 20-miler two weeks ago, but that’s probably attributed to the heat considering it only reached 70 degrees at the end of the first 20. It was 81 degrees on the lakefront when I finished at 9:15.

Overall, the past two weeks have been really good. I’m proud of myself for a strong race in Batavia and getting the 20 done before the weekend began. I’m experiencing more fatigue lately than earlier in the cycle but compared to how I felt post-long-run last year, I’ve come a long way. My 20-miler was strong even despite the hot temperatures in the last 6-7 miles. I’m really looking forward to this weekend because we only have a high of 72 or 73 on both Saturday and Sunday. Bring on the cooler temps!

I’m struggling to be confident in my training because I feel like I should be running higher mileage at this point, but I have to keep reminding myself that it’s quality over quantity and that all of my runs have been strong & consistent—nothing to complain about!


I hit a monthly mileage PR in August by a long shot. It’s amazing how my 3-4 runs a week are still allowing me to run many more miles than this time last year. I peaked at 144 miles in September 2011 before running Chicago. Here’s to one more month of miles (and likely another PR) before hammering out my 2nd marathon in Twin Cities!

The big race is only a matter of weeks away at this point. I will not freak out. I will not freak out. I will not freak…out!


Taper Thoughts: Carmel Half Edition

T-A-P-E-R! You’re finally here. And I like you. I invite you into my life. Bring on the laziness, the hydration, the stretching routine, and the weirdness of running a lower mileage this week. Sometimes I don’t like you, but you’re my friend right now. The legs agree with me. They need a little down time because they want to HAUL ASS at this weekend’s half marathon. They know they can run a personal record, but only with some rest beforehand.

In all seriousness, I am embracing the rest this week. I’ve been eating well and indulging a little bit here and there. Yesterday, I spent the entire day in a Wicker Park coffee shop working and this chocolate croissant was just calling to me.

I couldn’t resist it. Buttery-chocolatey goodness and Intellgentsia coffee? = PERFECTION.

I tend to use a taper week as a time to do things I wouldn’t normally do. Given that I’m dedicating less time to running this week, I’m finding other ways to keep myself busy. A friend asked me if I’d go with him to Fleet Feet to get some running shoes and I, of course, say YES! I love helping others decide on the right gear and the folks at Fleet Feet know their stuff. Plus, I need to stock up on some Nuun and Gu before this weekend’s race.

I’ve also been trying to be consistent in my cross-training so that I can avoid injury as much as possible. I popped in a Rodney Yee yoga DVD (yes, I’m that nerdy) the other night at home and stretched out some muscles that really needed some love. And, in the process, I worked to strengthen others that have gone unused. The Total Body routine seriously worked my back with all of those back bends (upward bow and wheel poses). My arms are even sore from holding myself up!!

Taper’s always a good time to knock some things off the To Do list too. I did 3 loads of laundry the other night, went grocery shopping, and did some other things around the apartment that I’ve been putting off. Ok, so it’s less fun and exciting than eating chocolate croissants and doing yoga, but it had to be done!

Most importantly, I’ve been working on committing my race strategy to memory. I can get pretty technical with a pace strategy, but it seems to work for me and, in general, I don’t have a tough time sticking to the plan.

My pace for the end of the half = HAUL ASS

I segment a half marathon into 5k or 3-mile increments and decide on pace according to my goal time. I’ve consistently run a PR in the half marathon by using a negative-split strategy. And the race itself feels almost like a longer version of the progressive tempo runs that I do throughout my training. Sometimes I made adjustments if the elevation presents challenges at a certain portion of the race. For example, I give myself a target pace range during a hilly part of a race course rather than a hard pace target. That way, I don’t psych myself out and get discouraged that my pace is off target.

I have to say, I get nervous just looking at the pace targets above. I wasn’t nervous for the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon because I had just flown into D.C. from Madrid and I just wanted to run a good race. I told myself that if I ran a PR, I ran a PR but that it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I didn’t meet that goal. But this time around, I’m setting my sights on a strong 1:36, which is 2 minutes faster that my current PR.

It’s easy to think about these things and bury yourself in nervous anxiety. But then I think about the hard work that I’ve put into this training cycle and how much faster I’ve been running my speed workouts–and I realize, I have it in me.

I’ve worked hard. So here goes!

How do you keep your mind and body busy during a taper week? Do you have certain rituals or superstitions that help you prepare for race day?