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Showing posts with label training. Show all posts
Showing posts with label training. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Journey's Half Marathon Race Goals

Leaving the starting line in May of 2011
I can't believe that my next half marathon is coming up THIS WEEKEND!!  This race has such a special place in my heart and I am so excited to be heading back up there.  It was this event back in 2011 when I started getting active.  I'd lost about 75 pounds by the time race day came around and while I'd been training to walk my first 5K and I really just hoped that I'd be able to finish the race.  Oh, how things have changed since that day!

Coming in to the finish,
May 2012
Last year when I ran the 5K I finished 7th in my age group and I was really looking forward to tackling the course again and seeing if I'd improved my 5K time.  Then, after the Oshkosh Half Marathon last month my brother-in-law, Alex, asked if I was going to run Eagle River?  I immediately responded no.  Then as Dan and I were driving home I started to think about it and had commented that I thought I was 5 minutes off my PR time and Dan reminded me that I was actually under 2 minutes off my PR time and then the decision was made... I wanted another crack at running 13.1 miles.

Not only is this half marathon course brand new to me but it is also a point to point.  I'm obviously hoping for a brand new PR since I was so close last month, however, I think this course is going to be a bit hillier than Oshkosh.  The other goals I have in mind:

After the race
May 2013
  1. Start slow and maintain a good pace.  Negative splits, meaning the last half of the miles are faster than the first half, are always my goal but they've never happened.  Maybe this is the race!
  2. Fuel regularly.  In Oshkosh I fueled every 3 miles and that seemed to work well so I am going to try that again.
  3. Relax.  Drop my shoulders and breathe.  I tend to run with my shoulders all hunched up and then I hurt later so I'll spend some time every mile to evaluate my posture.
  4. Stretch post-race.  My IT band has been super cranky lately so I know I need to stretch and foam roll.
  5. Have fun.  All of the hard work is done so I just need to enjoy the scenery, my fellow runners and my time on the course.
If you'd like to show me some love perhaps you'd consider making a tax deductible donation to support my NEXT half marathon in July.  The money donated goes to support the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and is 100% tax deductible.
http://www.active.com/donate/napaIL14/ILJMcElro1





Monday, April 14, 2014

Oshkosh Half Marathon Race Recap

Nearing the finish line
It's not a pose this year
I stalked the weather, as usual, for the 10 days leading up to the Oshkosh Half Marathon.  The changes were frequent and my emotions about running in the "current" weather swung as drastically as the forecast.  I rarely sleep well the night before a race, though I have to admit that is getting better, so it was no surprise that I listened to it thunderstorm most of Saturday night.  I'd already had a conversation with Dan about whether or not I'd run the half marathon on Sunday if it was raining.  When we went out for dinner on Saturday night it was POURING.  I had on the "rain coat" I'd planned to wear the next day and when we got back to the hotel I said "if it's raining like this in the morning I'm running the 5K" because we were in the rain for about 5 minutes and I was already FREEZING.  I knew that I wouldn't last 2+ hours trying to run a half marathon in the rain.  That thought continued running through my head all night/morning until about 6:35 am.  The race started at 7 am so it was time to decide what I was going to do - I decided to put on my big girl running tights and get ready to run.

Consistency.  For most of the miles!
My plan, as I noted last week, was to hang with the 2:15 pacer.  Apparently, there was no 2:15 pacer.  Ooops!  So, I paced myself.  The races (there is a half marathon and 5K) start at the same time since there are only 1200 participants.  The beginning of the course gets crowded with runners and walkers trying to get a good start.  I tried to remind myself to just be patient because the crowd would thin as the 5Kers turned left about a mile into the course.  I wanted to really use that first mile as a warm-up and just kept reminding myself how bad I feel later on when I go out too fast!

I'd planned to fuel about every 3 miles.  So, that's why mile 4 looks a little slower because I stopped to walk while I ate a couple of dates and drank some water.  Around mile 6.15 I picked up a half of a banana from the Fruitti Tutti station and carried it until I hit mile 7 when I stopped to walk and eat/drink, again.  I had a slight slow down through the park because there were a few spots that were totally under water so I was trying to get around them without getting cold feet, again.  I wasn't able to avoid some of the water on the Wiowash trail so my feet were already wet and I wanted to avoid any additional cold footedness.  Apparently footedness isn't a word but since it's my blog I'm using it.

I really wanted to hang onto my pace through the park.  I knew that last year when I ran this race I lost my pace group sometime before I made it back to the Wisconsin Street bridge (before the park) so I knew if I could hang on to the pace through the park this year that I'd be better off but as I crossed through the park I knew I was fading.  I reminded myself that Dan was going to be somewhere between miles 11-12 and that I'd probably walk a little bit when I saw him so I tried to keep going.  I started to run with two women wearing neon green jackets.  It was fantastic to have someone to run with for a little bit because we started chatting so I stopped thinking about my hamstrings that were hurting and my fingertips that were cold.

I wore a blue ribbon to promote Colon Cancer Awareness
As if on cue when he knew I needed him -- there he was.  I swapped water bottles with Dan and walked with him for about a quarter mile.  I could feel my legs starting to get a little antsy so I knew it was time to run.  I told Dan I had to go, he gave me some knucks, I shouted that I loved him and started "running".  I could feel my legs getting heavy and felt slow but knew I needed to keep moving.  I got to about mile 12 and my calves started cramping.  So I walked a little so I could drink some more.  I knew it wouldn't help me right then but I knew that I needed to get some fluids in me.

Around mile 12.5 I saw my sister, Brenda, and her friend, Jes.  They cheered for me and I wanted to run again.  I tried, made it about a quarter mile and felt my calf muscles start to protest so I walked a little ways.  When I got to the Main Street bridge I knew I had about a quarter of a mile to go and I knew that the faster I got this over with that the sooner I could stop and stretch!  So, I mustered all the strength I had left and started running.  As I got to the top of the bridge I saw my brother-in-law, Alex, and friend, Kristi, waiting and cheering.  I smiled and rounded the last corner to the finish chute.  My legs hurt.  I wanted to stop.  Then I looked down at my shirt and saw the blue ribbon that I'd pinned to my bib and thought of Judy, a friend who was recovering from surgery.  I realized that I had nothing to complain about and pushed through the pain.  I crossed the finish line with an official time of 2:20:12.

Race bling!
I was pretty proud of my time since that's EIGHT FREAKING MINUTES faster than last year.  I was all proud of that until Dan reminded me that I was off of my half PR by less than two minutes.  I still consider it a major victory considering how difficult training through the Polar Vortexes (Vortexi?) was and finding safe places to run was much more challenging.  All in all this race was amazing.  I felt good through most of it and really enjoyed myself.  Apparently I enjoyed myself so much that I already registered for another half marathon.  In less than a month.

When I told Coach Barbara that I was going to run another half in less than a month she told me I was a bit of a loon.  Well... I did feel like I was flying through the half marathon.  HAHAHAHAHAHA!!

What'd you do this weekend?
What's your next race?


Monday, April 7, 2014

Oshkosh Half Marathon Goals

My "I'm going to pose like I'm running"
photo from last year
This year, I'm just going to run and not pose
It occurred to me a few days ago that I haven't really mentioned that I'm currently training for a half marathon.  I am!  It's in less than a week!  EEKS!  I'm running the Oshkosh Half Marathon on Sunday morning.  This training cycle has been ... well ... difficult.  Last year when I trained I was happily running my long runs on the Fox River Trail by mid-February.  This year, however, with the Polar Vortex that enveloped the region kept the trail frozen up until a couple of weeks ago.  I also spent more of my training season on the treadmill than ever before.  In short, I'll be happy when this half marathon is behind me!

However, no race would be complete without some goals, right?  So... in no particular order:

1)  I've started stalking the weather and it's changed from rain to sleet and snow.  So, my first goal is just going to be to finish.  Running in sleet or freezing rain for two hours is just not my idea of fun so finishing might be miraculous.

2)  Start with the 2:15 pace group.  This is who I started with last year but couldn't maintain the pace so I'd like to hang with them this year.  If I can't hang with them the entire race I want to at least hang with them through the park - around mile 9-10, I think.

3)  Relax.  I tend to get all worked up the night before and morning of the race so I'd like to just run and have fun.  That have fun part is going to be more difficult if there is sleet/freezing rain.

4)  Fuel appropriately.  My plan is to eat dates at the 3's (miles 3, 6, 9, 12) and drink some Nuun at this points, at least.

5)  Stretch after the race.  I usually don't feel like stretching after a half but my IT Band has been a little grumpy lately so I know that this will help me in the long run.

I know that all the hard work is done.  So, now I just have to run 13.1 miles.

If you want to show me some love how about a tax deductible donation to my NEXT half marathon?  Every single dollar helps! Donations can be made by visiting:
http://www.active.com/donate/napaIL14/ILJMcElro1

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Winning Strategies

Let's face it, when I don't get enough sleep the first thing I want is coffee and along with coffee I'd also like half of the bakery case.  This month at Weight Watchers we're talking about time saving strategies so that we can get more sleep which will help us to make healthier choices.  So I started thinking about what strategies have worked for me during weight loss and maintenance.  Then I read an article about a study by Dr. Sherry Pagoto.  The article, in a nutshell, says that we should forget about dieting and focus on lifestyle because
if we stop following the "diet" then the weight comes back.  This made me think of something my Weight Watchers leader, Karen, told me at my 2nd meeting and something that my coach, Barbara, told me again this week.

Making small changes will have a lasting impression.

Remember this half marathon?
Ugh... yeah, not so good.
When I started Weight Watchers the small changes were to increase
the number of fruit/vegetables I was eating per day or increasing the amount of water and decreasing the amount of soda I was drinking.  These things worked perfectly and became a routine for me.  I replaced my old unhealthy routines with new healthier routines to change my lifestyle.

Coach B taught me the same kind of thing when it came to activity.  At first I was terrified of being registered for a half marathon and she made me realize that I wasn't going to run a half marathon the first
After more training the next half marathon
went so much better!
See what lifestyle changes can get you?
week of training but that through smaller workouts I'd build my endurance so that I could complete it.  Now, not all of my half marathon attempts have been successful but the overall routine of being active has been tremendously successful in getting me to my goal weight and helping me maintain.  All in all I definitely want to make healthy changes that will become routine so I don't even think about them.

Are you working to make lifestyle changes?  What are your winning strategies?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Is it worth it?

I know, I know, I know.... it's been forever since I last blogged (that wasn't a product review or a recipe) but I've felt slightly off kilter lately.  I'm not sure where to go with the blog now that I've reached my goal weight and I don't want to publish something for the sake of publishing something.  However, I've had this thought rolling around in my head since Weight Watchers launched this new routine this month.  I think that the question "is it worth it?" is so universal - not just in weight loss.

This photo is totally relevant - I swear!
Most of my thinking about this subject happens when I'm running and I want to quit.  I know that I've got a race on the horizon (just over 5 weeks away) so I know how important each training session is.  There are times when I am running that there is a voice in my head that tells me it's okay to quit or to walk a little while I catch my breath.  Then I think, is it worth it?  The answer is always yes, the run is definitely worth it.

I know that completing the half marathon will not be easy.  I mean, remember this photo?  Yeah, that part of the half marathon kind of sucked despite Barbara's best efforts to keep my spirits up and my feet moving.  I know that I will get to a point where I want to quit but I also know that I won't quit.  The only thing that will get me through those moments is the training that I am doing right now.  So yes, these training runs are worth it.  No matter how much things hurt or how tired I am I just have to keep moving.

Today I had a tempo run on my plan.  This meant I would warm up by running 1 mile, run 3 miles at a defined pace (8:47/mi), then cool down.  During the warm up I realized that my legs were already tired but I was hoping that the farther I'd get that they would loosen up a bit.  Luckily they did and during the first mile of the tempo pace I felt good.  About half way through the tempo mile I felt alright and when the third tempo mile started I could feel myself fading.  My Garmin kept me on pace but I kept thinking that once the tempo miles were done that I'd pause for a few seconds to drink some water and maybe even walk a little.  Then I thought... Is that really worth it?  All I had left was the cool down and I knew that as long as I kept moving that I'd finish sooner.  I just kept thinking that I'd run the next block and then do a head-to-toe check and figure out if I wanted/could continue running.  Turns out - I could keep running and I did keep running.  The feeling at the end of the run was amazing.

I looked back at my training to find out how long it took me to run 5 miles.  The first time I ran that full distance was when I was training with Team Challenge for the Rock-n-Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon.  The run took me 56:10 and today I covered the same distance in 44:53 ... yep.  Definitely worth it.

When do you question "is it worth it"?  Was it?


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Training -- physically and mentally

Having spent the majority of my life terribly overweight trained my brain to compensate for things.  I'd try to hide under clothes or behind people in photos.  I'd convince myself that I couldn't do something before I'd even tried.  Some things in life were unavoidable (e.g. school tests, performance reviews, etc..) and my brain would immediately go to the worst case scenario.  Generally this meant I ended up in tears with Dan rolling his eyes saying "you always do this and everything works out" and he was usually right (yeah, I hate that too) but I never figured out how to change my brain so it didn't go full tilt negative.

No, this photo will NEVER get old
The reason I bring this up on the blog is because the same thing happened yesterday while I was out running with one of my favorite people in the world, Coach B.  There are some scheduling issues and I knew I wouldn't see her for over a month (gasp) so we decided to get together for a run yesterday.  As we headed out she told me to run whatever pace I felt comfortable and she'd hang with me.  We were planning on only running a little over 4 miles so I was cool with whatever.  The sun was shining with low humidity and I was running with someone who has provided me so much guidance and inspiration that I didn't really care what pace we were running.

Apparently my new shoes came with rocket boosters?
She was doing most of the talking with the occasional comment or question from me and I was having the most fabulous time.  She told me crazy stories and we joked about family vacations.  I honestly could not have been happier.  Right until I looked at my watch and noticed that we were running sub 9:XX/miles.  The only time I've run that fast was doing speed work before the Oshkosh half back in April and I was only running that speed for short bursts.  In the first mile I didn't pay much attention to my watch but I knew I was pushing hard.  I heard my Garmin beep when we'd gone a mile and briefly looked at it and thought wow - that was fast.  We kept moving along and when the second mile revealed an even faster time my brain kicked in and started to take over.

I ended up convincing myself that I needed a break.  Coach B agreed and we walked for a bit, started to run again when I complained of cramping and so we slowed our pace.  Was the cramping caused by dehydration again or was this a mind over muscle thing?  Maybe a little of both.

When we finished our run I asked Barbara what I should do next?  I had been really tempted to sign up for the Chicago half marathon in September but was worried about training over the summer.  She looked at me in that way that you know she's going to tell you something you probably don't want to hear but know you need to hear and told me I need to suck it up.  She told me that I need to push through my brain telling me that I can't do something because I can.  When I told her that my first 3 miles of the last half marathon were low 9:XX/miles and that I don't normally run that pace she looked at me and said, yes, but you can.

So during the summer I'm going to suck it up so that on September 8 I will be prepared to toe my fourth half marathon start line.  I have a training plan (and I love having a detailed plan) and a shiny new goal/PR in mind!

Are you training over the summer?  What races are on your calendar?

Monday, April 15, 2013

HALF MARATHON TRAINING UPDATE: Week 13 and 7

The weather last week was really hard on my training schedule.  So.  Much.  Rain.  Not wanting to get sick I took those rainy day work outs indoors to the bike trainer.  I definitely spent more time on the trainer than I would care to do but at least I was active.  I also went out of town late last week for a family event so I was a little out of sorts with how/where to work out.  On Friday I went to a local fitness center and ran on the treadmill.  After about 42 minutes I'd paused the treadmill to take a quick break but when I went to start it back up it reset and started from the beginning.  I took it as a sign and hopped onto an elliptical for another 20 minutes.  It was alright but I definitely prefer to run outside both for the fresh air and changing scenery.  I was thrilled to wake up on Saturday morning to sun (albeit with lots of snow on the ground) and headed out for a wintery run.  I absolutely missed running with my Team Challenge teammates since they definitely make the Saturday long runs even more enjoyable!

Oshkosh Half Marathon Training Schedule
Monday:  Run, 3 miles, easy
Tuesday:  Cross train
Wednesday:  Run, 6 miles, Tempo (w/u, 4 miles @ 9:41, c/d)
Thursday:  Strength train
Friday:  Run, 3 miles, easy
Saturday:  Run, 12 miles
Sunday:  Rest

And here's how the week actually went:
Monday:  Run, 3 miles @ 9:27/mi
Tuesday:  Bike Trainer, 35 minutes, 8.45 miles
Wednesday:  Bike Trainer, 60 minutes, 13.11 miles
Thursday:  Bike Trainer, 30 minutes, 7.10 miles
Friday:  Run, 4.25 miles @ 9:50/mi; 20 minutes on elliptical
Saturday:  Run, 4.31 miles @ 9:58/mi
Sunday:  Rest

Sunday, April 7, 2013

HALF MARATHON TRAINING UPDATE: Week 12 and 6

I'll be honest with you, I struggled a little bit to get through some of the training runs this week.  I remember feeling the same way towards the end of the training cycle for Vegas and I have to push through it.  Part of the problem has to do with my Crohn's which has been a little cranky lately and part of it has to do with the fact that I've been logging a ton of miles.  Go figure since I'm training to run a half marathon!  My run with Team Challenge on Saturday was probably the hardest.  We left as a group but the fast runners took off and I was running alone for the first mile.  At that point Coach B came and ran with me which I actually enjoyed.  Last season I had an awkward conversation with Coach B that I didn't want to run with her because I needed to focus on running instead of trying to maintain a conversation.  As I've gotten more comfortable with running I've also come to cherish the times that I run with others.  Even if it is only for short periods of time I finally feel like I can keep up, both with the conversation and with running.  However, as I was running on Saturday I realized exactly how completely exhausted my legs and arms felt.  Coach B told me that I needed to start to cut back (race day is now less than 2 weeks away) and I literally chose that moment to cut back and started to walk. I'm not sure that's exactly what she meant but I didn't care!  We chatted a bit more and then she went to run with a teammate and I continued on.  I covered the planned distance for training (which wasn't my original plan) by running and walking.  I thought it had been mostly walking until I looked at the data on my Garmin.  I ran ~4 miles and walked 1 mile.  Not terrible considering I'd done 8 really fast (for me) miles the day before.

Oshkosh Half Marathon Training Schedule
Monday:  Run, 3 miles
Tuesday:  Cross train
Wednesday:  Run, 6 miles, speed work (w/u, 3 x 1600 @ 9:41, c/d)
Thursday:  Strength train
Friday:  Run, 2 miles, easy
Saturday:  Run, 11 miles
Sunday:  Rest

And here's how the week actually went:
Monday:  Run, 3 miles @ 9:54
Tuesday:  Bike Trainer, 30 minutes, 7.71 miles
Wednesday:  Run, 5 miles (1 mi @ 10:33, 1 mi @ 8:45, 0.5 mi @ 10:22, 1 mi @ 8:45, 0.5 mi @ 10:07, 1 mi @ 10:07)
Thursday:  Fat bike ride, 57:22, 11.66 miles
Friday:  Run, 8 miles @ 10:11/mi
Saturday:  Run, 5.12 miles @ 11:28/mi
Sunday:  Rest

Do you start to feel run down towards the end of a training cycle?  How do you power through or do you take more rest days?

Monday, April 1, 2013

HALF MARATHON TRAINING UPDATE: Week 11 and 5

Hello sun & Lake Michigan!
Me, Naomi & Christine
Since I had another double digit long run on my Oshkosh half marathon training plan and an easy 3 mile run on plan I decided to switch up the days and do my long run on Friday and my short/easy/recovery run on Saturday with Team Challenge.  My long run went pretty well (though my knees seemed to be pretty sore after that run) with perfect weather (sun and very little wind) for a long run.  Originally I was planning two more double digit runs but after talking to Coach Barbara I am going to drop them back to let my legs rest/taper before my goal race.

On Saturday I met up with my Team Challenge group in Chicago for a five mile run on the lakefront path.  I was going to be happy if I made it 3 miles but ended up having such a great time running with Christine, Naomi and Michael that I just kept running after I hit 3 miles!  I wasn't paying attention to my Garmin except to check the distance a couple of times.  The first mile or so felt hard - my legs felt heavy and tired but once I got going running felt much easier.  Of course, the beautiful view of the lakefront path on a sunny morning as well as conversation with friends definitely provided nice distractions!

It seems so hard to believe that I am three weeks away from my goal race and that we are already five weeks into training for the 13.1 Chicago half marathon!  Though, if you want to join the team it is not too late!  Just let me know and I'd be happy to provide info...

Oshkosh Half Marathon Training Schedule
Monday:  Run, 3 miles, easy
Tuesday:  Cross train
Wednesday:  Run, 5 miles, tempo (w/u, 3 mi @ 9:43, c/d)
Thursday:  Strength train
Friday:  Run, 3 miles, easy
Saturday:  Run, 10 miles
Sunday:  Rest

And here's how the week actually went:
Monday:  Run, 3.22 miles @ 9:58/mi
Tuesday:  Bike trainer @ 45 minutes, strength train
Wednesday:  Run, 5 miles, tempo (1 mi @ 10:04, 3 mi @ 9:26, 1 mi @ 10:12)
Thursday:  Bike, 30 minutes, strength train
Friday:  Run, 10.68 miles @ 10:27/mi
Saturday:  Run, 4.48 miles @ 9:49/mi
Sunday:  Rest

Not interested in running?  How about making a donation to Team Challenge?

Monday, March 25, 2013

HALF MARATHON TRAINING UPDATE: Week 10 and Week 4

Last Sunday night I checked the weather for the next couple of days.  I was hoping to get out on Tuesday to attempt my 10 mile run that I couldn't finish.  The weather report for Tuesday was high winds and I figured that running 10 miles was going to be exhausting enough and I didn't need to add 20 mph winds on top of it. The report for Monday was pretty good so I laced up my Brooks Adrenalines and headed out on Monday morning.  It wasn't the prettiest or fastest 10 miles but I got them done.

Oshkosh Half Marathon Training Schedule
Funny how old race day photos keep making
it into my weekly recaps!
Monday:  Run, 4 miles, easy
Tuesday:  Cross train
Wednesday:  Run, 4 miles, easy
Thursday:  Strength train
Friday:  Run, 4 miles, easy
Saturday:  Run, 4 miles, easy
Sunday:  Rest

And here's how the week actually went:
Monday:  Run, 10 miles @ 10:27/mi
Tuesday:  Bike trainer, 30 minutes
Wednesday:  Run, 3.41 miles @ 10:26/mi
Thursday:  Bike trainer, 30 minutes & strength training
Friday:  Run, 6 miles @ 10:00/mi
Saturday:  Run, 4 miles @ 11:40 (ran the first 3 miles and walked the last mile)
Sunday:  Rest

Running with my Team Challenge teammates this weekend was amazing, as usual.  This season we have a large group from AbbVie training with us.  AbbVie is the company that makes Humira, which I take to treat my Crohn's.  I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to run with an AbbVie teammate this weekend and he told me that he spends all of his time trying to make my life (and everyone else who has Crohn's/Colitis) better (really, those were his words) and I was humbled.  Had I been running when he said that I probably would have fallen over!  I didn't think I could be more thankful for having the opportunity to train with Team Challenge and then I meet even more fabulous people.  Seriously, if you aren't training with a Team Challenge group right now - RUN (no pun intended) to get signed up.

If you're not interested in running how about donating to the cause?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

HALF MARATHON TRAINING UPDATE: Week 9 and Week 3

Oh look! A random Team Challenge
race photo!  How'd that get here?
Friday morning I woke up intending to run complete my 10 mile run before seeing the fabulous Dr. Davenport, unfortunately, my stomach was a little wonky.  I went through my usual pre-run routine... peanut butter toast with banana, coffee, bathroom, etc... I headed out in fairly good conditions (30ish degrees with very little wind) so I was kind of excited about being able to run.  Unfortunately, a couple miles in and Morty (the name I've given my Crohn's disease) started acting up.  I paused for a minute and the pain (and desire to use the bathroom) passed so I continued running.  About five miles in the pain and bathroom requiredness returned and I panicked a little bit because I wasn't near my house or a public restroom.  Thankfully, I was near my sister-in-laws house so I stopped to use her bathroom.  I continued on but about a half mile later the pain and the desire to throw up were too much.  I stopped, turned around and started walking home.  I've had good runs and bad runs before but I feel like a huge quitter when it happens.  It does, however, remind me exactly why I run and train with Team Challenge.  So, while the long run this week was hard it definitely reminded me of WHY this is so important.  There is no cure for Crohn's and Colitis but the next dollar that is raised could be the dollar that finds a huge breakthrough!  Will you please help me raise money for this great cause?  

Oshkosh Half Marathon Training Schedule
Monday:  Run, 2 miles, easy
Tuesday:  Cross train
Wednesday:  Run, 5 miles, tempo (w/u, 3 mi @ 9:47, c/d)
Thursday:  Strength train
Friday:  Run, 2 miles, easy
Saturday:  Run, 10 miles
Sunday:  Rest

And here's how the week actually went
Monday:  Run, 3 miles @ 10:02/mi
Tuesday:  Bike Trainer, 1 hour, covered 14.7 miles
Wednesday:  Run, 5.73 miles (w/u @ 10:27, 3 miles @ 9:36, c/d @ 10:07)
Thursday:  Bike Trainer, 30 minutes + strength training
Friday:  Run, 6.38 miles @ 10:34/mi
Saturday:  Run, 3 miles @ 10:09/mi
Sunday:  Rest

How do you get past the mental anxiety of having a bad run and knowing that you need to try again?

Monday, March 11, 2013

HALF MARATHON TRAINING UPDATE: Week 8 and Week 2

These are happy miles
Last Sunday I did my first long run in a couple of weeks, sort of.  The previous weeks that I had 6 miles on plan I'd missed or shortened them because of my cranky IT band but after a couple of treatments with the fabulous Dr. Davenport and some (read: more than usual) stretching before and after running I was scared out of my mind ready to try for my planned mileage.  My plan called for 8 miles but I was going to be "happy" with 7 miles if my hip started acting up.

Dan and I headed out to a nearby forest preserve that has about an 8 mile loop only to see that the paths were covered in several inches of snow.  I was NOT going to be able to safely run 8 miles like that so we headed home.  Once home I tried to map out a route that would not have me running a lot of loops (cause that makes me crazy crazier), filled up my water bottle with some nuun and headed out.  It was a fabulous day for running - little to no wind and the sun was shining.  I ran all through my subdivision, crossed the highway into the active adult community where I promptly got lost.  I looked at my watch to see that I was nearing 6.5 miles and I knew I was at least 1.5 miles away from home.  I had to actually stop and find my bearings to figure out how to get back to my side of the highway.  I finally made it back across the highway and back home.  I was so happy that my IT band cooperated for my run.  The next morning I woke up a little sore but once I got moving around things were fine.  I thought I'd ride the endorphin high from that run for the entire week.

Now to get better control over the warm-up,
cool-down and "resting" intervals
That was until I went out on Wednesday for speed work.  I had to plan another route because my usual route/paths were under several inches of snow.  Again.  So after a quick planning session I laced up my new pair of Brooks Adrenalines, grabbed my nuun water bottle and headed out.  This was going to be the fastest I've ever run for an entire mile (let alone doing it twice) so I was a little nervous that I wouldn't be able to maintain the 9:14/mi pace for a full mile.  Apparently I had nothing to worry about.  Basically I'll be riding these running highs for awhile!

Oshkosh Half Marathon Training Schedule
Monday:  Run, 3 miles, easy
Tuesday:  Cross train
Wednesday:  Run, 4 miles, speed work (w/u, 2 x 1600 @ 9:14, c/d)
Thursday:  Strength train
Friday:  Run, 2 miles, easy
Saturday:  Run, 9 miles
Sunday:  Rest

And here's how the week actually went:
Monday:  Run, 3 miles @ 10:58
Tuesday:  Rest (because I ran on Saturday with Team Challenge and Sunday for my long run I knew that I needed to give my legs a day to recover)
Wednesday:  Run, 4 miles (see stats in the above photo)
Thursday:  Fat bike ride (the weather was just too gorgeous not to ride!) 7.37 miles
Friday:  Run, 3 miles @ 10:04/mi
Saturday:  Run, 9 miles total, 2.5 miles (with Team Challenge) @ 10:00/mi, 6.7 miles (alone at home) @ 10:10/mi
Sunday:  Rest

Our Team Challenge group met at Running Away Multisport in Deerfield and then knocked out 2.5 beautiful and warm miles.  We had a great turn out and it was so nice to meet even more of the team.  When we got back to the store we did some cool-down stretching and then we were given a shoe/gear clinic by the Running Away Multisport folks.  It is always interesting to hear about the new shoe technology and and so much fun to hear ideas for how to prolong the life of your gear.  I didn't know that my running shoes needed 10-12 hours for the foam to decompress (for lack of a better word) after a run.  I did know that technical gear should not be dried in the dryer because it breaks down the synthetic fabric.  My choice for laundering all that running gear?  A little baking soda + Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin/Unscented laundry soap + cold water in the washing machine.  Once it's done washing I hang it up to dry.

How do you care for your work out wear?

There is still time to join Team Challenge if you're interested in running a half marathon!  Just leave a comment and I'll be happy to provide more information because the more the merrier.  There are some exciting destination races this year!  I'm excited to run in front of a home town crowd in Chicago in June.  I think you should join me... what are you waiting for?

If you don't want to train for a half marathon - how about donating to the cause?  You can use this secure link to make a tax deductible donation.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

HALF MARATHON TRAINING UPDATE: Week 7 and Week 1

This week is the first week where I'm officially training for two half marathons at the same time!  (What have I gotten myself into?)  I just completed week 7 of training for the Oshkosh half marathon and Saturday was our first group training for the Team Challenge summer season.  GO TEAM CHALLENGE!!  The workout schedule/actual will reflect the Oshkosh half marathon training but I will also be talking about Team Challenge (a lot because it's just that cool!)

Monday:  Run, 2 miles, easy
Tuesday:  Cross train
Wednesday:  Run, 5 miles, tempo (w/u, 3 mi @ 9:54, c/d)
Thursday:  Strength train
Friday:  Run, 2 miles, easy
Saturday:  Run, 8 miles
Sunday:  Rest

And here's how the week actually went:
Monday:  Run, 3.53 miles @ 10:23 (the weather was beautiful so I ran more than what was on my plan)
Tuesday:  Bike trainer, 60:00 (about 15.5 miles - honestly I forgot to check but that's about my average speed)
Wednesday:  Run, 5 miles, (1 mi w/u @ 11:25, 3 mi tempo @ 9:44, 1 mi c/d @ 11:04)
Thursday:  Fat bike ride, 8.33 mi (54:04)
Friday:  Run, 2.68 mi @ 10:47; Fat Bike Ride, 5.42 mi (42:15)
Saturday:  Team Challenge Group Run:  2.52 mi @ 10:04
Sunday:  Run, 8 miles @ 10:36

Team Challenge Summer Season 2013
Our first Team Challenge group run is in the books!  We have 6 coaches in 3 different locations and 8 mentors (including me!) leading over 100 participants to raise money for CCFA (Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America) and train to run a half marathon.  The first week we generally plan to run about 1-1.5 miles but I went back out and ran a little bit more to help encourage anyone still on the course.  It felt great to be able to do that because I know I appreciated it when others did it last year.  I also got to run with Coach Mark (our western suburbs coach) who I likely won't train with much (if at all) so it was nice to be able to chat a little bit with him.  After the group run we had a clinic to talk about ways to approach fundraising and there were some great questions and fantastic suggestions provided.  I hope this means that this will be a tremendously successful season!!

There is still time to join Team Challenge if you're interested in running a half marathon!  Just leave a comment and I'll be happy to provide more information because the more the merrier.  There are some exciting destination races this year!  I'm excited to run in front of a home town crowd in Chicago in June.  I think you should join me... what are you waiting for?

If you don't want to train for a half marathon - how about donating to the cause?  You can use this secure link to make a tax deductible donation.

Monday, February 25, 2013

HALF MARATHON TRAINING UPDATE: Week 6

I'm really tired of saying that I was taking it easy this week because of my cranky IT band.  Unfortunately, this was sort of one of those weeks.  I had two treatments with Dr. D and overall it feels better.  There is still some pain in the beginning of a run but once I'm fully warmed up it seems to go away and hasn't been coming back, much, throughout the rest of the day.  In addition to the shock therapy (ultrasound stimulation) that he's doing he also gave me some additional stretches to do so I've been incorporating those into my cool down routine.

The reason my Saturday run was longer than my plan called for was because I didn't do my long run last weekend.  I talked to Coach B about whether I should stick with the planned 4 miles or run the missed 6 mile run and she told me that if I felt great to run 5 miles but if I had any pain during the run to stop at 4.  As I said before once I got going and warmed up things felt fine.  It wasn't my fastest run but it definitely felt good to log the miles.

Monday:  Run, 3 miles, easy
Tuesday:  Cross train
Wednesday:  Run, 3 miles, easy
Thursday:  Strength train
Friday:  Run, 3 miles, easy
Saturday:  Run, 4 miles, easy
Sunday:  Rest

And here's how the week actually went:
Monday:  Run, 3.22 miles @ 10:45/mi
Tuesday:  Bike Trainer @ 1 hour
Wednesday:  Run, 3 miles @ 10:32/mi
Thursday:  Bike Trainer @ 30 minutes & some strength training
Friday:  Run, 3 miles @ 11:00/mi
Saturday:  Run, 5 miles @ 10:52/mi
Sunday:  Rest

How was your weekend?  Did you walk/run/race?  Are you overcoming injury?  If so, how?  Show some love in the comments and we can all learn from each other!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

HALF MARATHON TRAINING UPDATE: Week 5

Training this week was rough.  My hip has still been touchy so I tried to get some training done without making things worse.  I'm not entirely sure that I was successful.  After the tempo run on Wednesday I saw Coach B and we talked about it and she strongly encouraged me to schedule a visit to a sports medicine guy she recommended so I made an appointment for last night.  At the visit Dr. D told me that the problem is a cranky IT band and had me do some stretches... well in all honesty I laid on the table and he moved my leg to see if it'd hurt.  Then he put an electrode on the back of my thigh and used ultrasound to make my muscle contract.  I honestly didn't know if it'd work - that seemed kind of crazy to me but this morning I woke up and it felt much better.  The hip is still a little sensitive but I rode the bike trainer for an hour today with little pain during the workout.  I'm looking forward to getting out for a run tomorrow to see how it feels!

Monday:  Run, 3 miles, easy
Tuesday:  Cross train
Wednesday:  Run, 4 miles, tempo (w/u, 2 miles @ 9:52, c/d)
Thursday:  Strength train
Friday:  Run, 2 miles, easy
Saturday:  Run, 6 miles
Sunday:  Rest

And here's how the week actually went:

Monday:  Run, 3 miles, easy on the treadmill
Tuesday:  Fat Bike Ride, 6.99 miles
Wednesday:  Run, 4 miles, tempo (w/u @ 10:47, 2 miles @ 10:07, c/d @ 11:22)
Thursday:  Run, 35 minutes (approximately 3 miles)
Friday:  Rest
Saturday:  Run, 30 minutes
Sunday:  Rest

Do you have tight IT Bands?  What do you do to make them cooperate and let you run?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

HALF MARATHON TRAINING UPDATE: Week 4

My hip continued to bother me so I rested on Monday and then spent the rest of the week trying to ease back into training.  The keyword is ease!  It certainly wasn't the week of training that I wanted, nor that I was prepared for but it was the week that I had.  I'm still not sure what was causing the pain in my hip but since it seems to be getting better I'm not going to question it too much.  I suspect it may have been any one or more of the following:
  1. Riding the bike trainer
  2. Increasing the weight on the leg press machine and/or too many reps (too much, too soon)
  3. Age of running shoes (I got them before the half so they have ~250 miles on them at this point)
  4. Something unrelated that I have no idea what it is (I'm so specific, right?)
Monday:  Run, 4 miles, Easy
Tuesday:  Cross train
Wednesday:  Run, speed work, 4 miles (w/u, 2x1600 in 9:25 w/800 jogs, c/d)
Thursday:  Strength train
Friday:  Run, 30 minutes, Easy
Saturday:  Run, 6 miles
Sunday:  Rest

And here's how the week actually went:
Monday:  Rest
Tuesday:  Run, 2.15 miles easy, @ 10:51/mi
Wednesday:  Two fat bike rides for a total of 86 minutes of riding (100% fun in the snow!)
Thursday:  Run, speed work (w/u, 7 x 2:00 @ 6 mph w/1:00 @ 5 mph, c/d), Fat bike ride (45 minutes)
Friday:  Run, 35 minutes, easy; Fat bike ride (30 minutes)
Saturday:  Run, 5 miles
Sunday:  Rest

Have you been sidelined by injury?  Were you able to figure out exactly what you did so you stop doing it to yourself?

Monday, February 4, 2013

HALF MARATHON TRAINING UPDATE: Week 3

This week did not feel nearly as cold as previous weeks so running outside was actually fun.  I mean on Wednesday I ran outside wearing a t-shirt & capris!!  When reviewing my training schedule I was a little nervous about that tempo run.  Running 2 miles at 10:00/mi was going to be quick but I was determined to keep an eye on my watch for the entire run (last time I watched it during the w/u and tempo but during the c/d I just ran what felt comfortable.  This time I paid attention the entire time and adjusted appropriately (I feel like such a grown up runner sometimes!) and was proud of the results.

So I was feeling really good about my training -- right up until Wednesday night when some left hip pain started to bother me.  Not so much that I took anything but enough to be annoying.  Also, my Crohn's (which is on my right side) started bothering me too so I had equal pain on left & right side.  Anyway... on Thursday I thought I'd do yoga to hopefully stretch out whatever was bothering my hip (in my head it's my IT band) and it felt alright.  I held most of the poses as long as they did on the DVD, which is probably a first for me, and did some that I'd never done before.  However, the hip really started hurting after my treadmill run on Friday.

Monday:  Run, 4 miles, easy
Tuesday:  Cross train
Wednesday:  Run, 4 miles, Tempo (w/u, 2 mi @ 10:00, c/d)
Thursday:  Strength train
Friday:  Run, 30 minutes, easy
Saturday:  Run, 5 miles
Sunday:  Rest

And here's how the week actually went:

Monday:  Bike trainer, 60 minutes
Tuesday:  Run, 4 miles @ 9:56/mi
Wednesday:  Run, 4 miles, Tempo (w/u @ 11:01/mi, 2 miles @ 9:50/mi, c/d @ 11:04/mi)
Thursday:  Yoga (I haven't done yoga in months and it felt good)
Friday:  Run, 30 minutes, on the treadmill.  Walked an additional 30 minutes for a good cool down
Friday night I started having a lot of hip pain.  I tried foam rolling it but that actually made it worse so I ended up resting on Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday:  Rest
Sunday:  Rest

I'm hoping that the few days of rest will be enough to let me run again soon.  The bike trainer is the only "new" thing I'd been doing before the pain started so I might lay off that for awhile and see if the pain goes away.

How do you deal with injuries?  How do you get back to training?  Just pick up where you left off or do you back off training for a few days?  Please tell me so I don't hurt myself.  Again.

Monday, January 28, 2013

HALF MARATHON TRAINING UPDATE: Week 2

My eyelashes are frozen together.  No big deal, right?
With the rapidly changing weather this last week it became slightly more difficult to get motivated to lace up the Brooks so I could head out for some miles.  Case in point, on Monday when it was 7 degrees above zero but -11 with the windchill.  However, after a brief text-change (texting exchange -- yes, I'm THAT clever!) with Coach Barbara to discuss proper layering I pulled some clothes out and started to get dressed and before I knew it I was headed out for 3 miles.  I was, for the most part, comfortable during the run.  I mean, let's face it, I was cold but it wasn't really THAT bad.  That is, until the last mile when I had a full on head wind.  I'd worn sunglasses to protect my eyes from the wind (and sun) and they had been fogging up the entire run but as I was heading west the glasses wouldn't unfog (is that a word?) and they literally froze over.  With about a quarter mile to go I took off the glasses to finish running so as to avoid falling on a curb or something.  When I finished I felt pretty badass and perhaps a little more like a "real runner" after that!  Would I do it again?  Who knows?  It would definitely depend on the distance because I'm not sure I could do much more than the 3 miles I did without doing a slight wardrobe change (to swap out the wet items for dry ones).

With that... here's what my training plan called for this week:
Monday:  Run, 3 miles, easy
Tuesday:  Cross train
Wednesday:  Run, 3 miles, easy
Thursday:  Strength
Friday:  Run, 30 minutes, easy
Saturday:  Run, 4 miles, easy
Sunday:  Off

And here's what actually happened:

Monday:  Run, 3 miles @ 10:13/mi
Tuesday:  Bike trainer for 45 minutes
Wednesday:  Run, 3 miles @ 9:48/mi (not exactly easy but when I saw what pace I was running I thought I could run a 5K sub 30:00... I failed.  By thirty-three freaking seconds.  Oops.
Thursday:  Bike, 27:00 (I accidentally cleared my settings when I stopped to help someone else use a bike) so I had to restart.  Total distance was about 6.6 miles and after that I did some strength training.
Friday:  Run, 30 minutes, 3.13 miles @ 10:23/mi
Saturday:  Run, 4 miles @ 11:01/mi.  This was a new route and was REALLY hilly and I ended up walking up a couple of the hills.  I will do this route again but without walking.
Sunday:  After eleven straight days of activity I definitely rested.  Literally, I napped.  It felt glorious.

How do you manage your training when the weather doesn't necessarily cooperate?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

HALF MARATHON TRAINING UPDATE: Week 1

In the time since the half marathon in December I've tried to keep up my running and other training but some of it has fallen off my radar (like speed work and strength training to a certain degree) mostly because I was doing things to work out that I enjoyed rather than had to do.  Anyway... it's all different now that half marathon training has officially begun, again.  Last Sunday we were invited to Coach Barbara's house for a Team Challenge alumni group run/walk and breakfast.  I was excited to see folks that I trained/raced with as well as meet other Team Challengers from previous seasons and I was not disappointed.
I can't believe those are my splits!

It was a fun 4 mile run on local roads.  I ran the first 3 miles with Christine at a super fast and fairly consistent sub 10:00/mile pace.  For the last half mile or so I slowed down and ran with another alum from the 2012 Las Vegas training season.  I was super excited about the fast pace of the first ~3.5 miles but it was nice to be able to catch up a little with him so I didn't mind the slower pace!

I loved running with my Team Challenge peeps and I know that training for this half marathon is going to be different since there won't be any group runs on the schedule for awhile (13.1 Chicago training starts in March) but I am hoping to get in a few weekend runs (aka long runs) with Christine since we are both trying to maintain/continue training.

So... here's what my training was supposed to be for the week:
Monday:  Run, 3 miles easy
Tuesday:  Cross training or strength
Wednesday:  4 Mile, Tempo (w/u, 2 mi @ 11:04, c/d)
Thursday:  Cross training or strength
Friday:  Run, easy 30 minutes
Saturday:  Run, 5 miles
Sunday:  Off

And here's what I actually did:
Monday:  Run, 3 mile easy (10:02 pace - maybe not easy but I felt good with that pace)
Tuesday:  Rest, my legs felt tired and sore so I did nothing (and regretted it, of course)
Wednesday:  Tempo run (1 mile warm-up @ 11:11, 2 mi @ 10:05, 1 mile cool-down @ 10:41).  Coach B said the cool down was too fast but honestly I stopped looking at my watch and just ran what felt good.
Thursday:  Bike (indoors) 4.60 miles (20 minute warm-up) and then strength training
Friday:  Recovery run 34:12 (3.21 miles) & fat bike ride with Dan (4.95 miles in 31:48)
Saturday:  Run, 5 miles (50:48 overall time but had to walk a bit due to some phlegmy issues)
Sunday:  Bike (indoors) 15.1 miles in 60:00 (wanted to make up for the rest day that I took on Tuesday so I spent some time bonding with the bike trainer today)

Overall, it definitely felt like a week of half marathon training.  I am hoping the phlegmy issues that I dealt with on a couple of the outdoor runs will resolve quickly because having to stop when I feel like I'm choking (on myself) absolutely sucks.  I can also say that I haven't run in such strong winds since the half in Las Vegas (I think) so this was a week that really tested my will power.  It also burned my face.  Thanks a lot 30 mile per freaking hour winds!

How was your week?  Are you training?  Resting?  Undecided?