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Today is the Day…

18 Jun

Day one of the next sixteen weeks of my life…

16 weeks that will probably have you sick of hearing the words “Chicago” and “Marathon”

16 weeks of torturing running with Kevin because he told me he’d run my training plan with me (if only the race wasn’t sold out…*evil laugh*)

16 weeks of kicking ass and taking names because I plan on owning this race come October.

Week 1 is an easy week:

Monday: Upper body/core workout

Tuesday: 4 miles @ 9:55 pace

Wednesday: Upper body/core workout (a.m.) 4 miles of hills (p.m.)

Thursday: 4 miles @ 9:55 pace (a.m.), yoga (p.m.)

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 4 miles @ 9:55 pace

Sunday: 9 miles @ 10 pace

Aside from a quick treadmill mile with my very first personal training client on Saturday morning, and some yardwork, I took the entire weekend off in preparation. My legs are really happy right now, I’m completely healed from my injury, and I’m ready to run.

We have 4 weeks until the Jamestown Half Marathon – the first race of the summer! That week will also be the beginning of the high mileage weeks involved in the plan I’m following – it tops out at 48 miles a week toward the end of the plan. I’m a tad nervous about that, since it typically takes me two weeks to run that many miles, but I trust in this plan and my body, I’m ready for it!

Is anyone else training for a fall marathon? What type of plan are you following?

A Perfect Run

14 Jun

Tonight, rather than set a number in my mind and run for it, I set a destination. I told myself I’d run to the reservoir and back. I’ve run this route a few times before and I knew I was in for a hill challenge.

I wasn’t really feeling like any kind of push tonight – just an easygoing fun run. I threw on my headphones, started up Pandora, and away I went.

I think I looked at my Garmin maybe 4 times. If that. I let myself get lost in the music and in the feeling of running without exertion.

Running without exertion.

That’s something even a year ago I didn’t feel comfortable saying. But tonight was different.

Tonight I felt on.

Tonight I felt like I could’ve run forever (if only I had water and fuel…and my fave running partner).

Tonight reminded me of why I run. It’s not just for the PR’s and medals (although, those are pretty sweet), but it’s for *that* feeling.

It’s not about speed or distance but just living in the run, loving the run, and taking it all in.

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Every last breathtaking bit of beauty.

Have you had a run or workout like this lately?

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More Exciting News!

9 Jun

Good morning and HAPPY SATURDAY my friends!

I woke up this morning to a very exciting e-mail from Tricia, the Social Media Director for the ZOOMA Women’s Race Series, asking me if I’d like to be an Ambassador for the Half Marathon that takes place in Falmouth, MA (On Cape Cod) on September 22nd.

After consulting my training plan, my answer was a no brainer:

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15 miles or 1/2 marathon on the exact same day as the ZOOMA Cape Cod Half Marathon? I’m IN!

Jess is also an ambassador for this race, which makes it even MORE exciting!

Local ladies, you should register for this race and join us on what is sure to be a fun and fantastic day in September!

Have you ever run a women’s only event? I haven’t – I’m very excited for this event and opportunity!Signature

 

You Say It’s National Running Day?!

6 Jun

That’s a “holiday” I can get on board with! After taking a week off of running because of the shin thing I’ve been talking about – Kevin and I set out for some speed intervals last night.

He’s never run intervals in a training run before so we agreed on a few 400m intervals. He kicked my ass. That’s what I get for telling him to run 400’s “balls to the wall.” I did say not so hard that the next intervals were too hard – oops. Oh wait, that was just my DAMN LUNGS.

K's First Speedwork

6:44?! That’s a 400m PR for me! My lungs were SCREAMING – Hence the slow down on the 3rd interval by a minute, and then the walk break.

Once my lungs (and stomach) returned to normal we started running again, and agreed to just work toward a constant speed increase for the final mile.

Not to be outdone by a boy (he may kill me for this) I pushed the last 1/4 mile or so and ended with a killer kick, and I won (were we racing? Yes, I’m always racing…)! I’m really enjoying having someone to run with that can kick my butt in the short distance speed department, while I whip him into half marathon shape for his FIRST half marathon (I feel like I told you guys this already? yes? no? Am I losing my mind?).

Then tonight I got home from work and somehow pulled this off:

National Run Day Run

The day after intervals with a fast finish? I have no idea where this run came from but it felt great! I’m feeling it now – but I stretched, I’m hydrating, I drank my protein smoothie, and I’m swaddled in compression.

Now I’m off to write up some fitness questionnaires for a new project I’m working with another blogger on – more on that soon!

Did you celebrate National Running Day?!

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Taking it Easy

3 Jun

Good morning and Happy Sunday! It’s a beautiful day here!

I think one of the reasons I haven’t been writing much is because I haven’t been running much. I still managed 71 miles in May, which is great considering I wasn’t really trying for that. A couple of 8 milers in there, plus a half marathon, certainly helped with that number!

So remember how I told you guys that I fell down the stairs? Something tells me that is what contributed to my sore shin – I think I may have hit my right shin with my left heel during the fall.

Last Monday Kevin and I ran 8 miles, then went out for a 5k loop the very next night.  A 5k loop that started with an 8:05 first mile, which left me incredibly sore afterwards (the rest of the run was slower – leaving us with a 9:12 average over the 3.1).

Ice, rest, yoga, more rest – my shin feels great today, especially since I haven’t run since Tuesday.

I’ve made the decision that between now and June 18th, when I start my Chicago training, will be easy, short runs, totally based around how my legs feel. That’s 16 days of simple, no stress, easy runs that should leave me feeling 100% healthy for the start of the 16 week Runner’s World program I told you guys I was following the other night.

We’ll be headed out for one of those easy runs later on tonight. I like this free and easy feeling between races, because as soon as June 18th rolls around I’m going to be all marathon business again!

I hope everyone’s having a fabulous weekend!

XOXO

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P.S. We’ll be back to regularly scheduled Sunday programming (aka Sweat to Street) next Sunday. I purchased one item yesterday that can be both sweat and street that I’m wicked excited about!

AMAZING Memorial Day Weekend Recap

29 May

Hey everyone! Sorry for the unexpected 4 day blogging hiatus – I last minute decided to unplug for the weekend, and it was well worth it.

It all started Friday morning when I took my NASM Certified Personal Trainer Exam and I PASSED! Stay tuned for MUCH, MUCH more on that in the very near future.

Then, Friday night  I went out with someone who is going to be an integral part of my life going forward. Someone who I ran 8 miles with last weekend and had an amazing time (followed by an almost as amazing breakfast). Someone who I ran 8 miles with yesterday as well – and took great care of me as I suffered in the heat of the day. Someone who fit right in with my friends on Saturday night as if he’s known them as long as I have.

I know, I know, I’m being vague, but I’m not sure how much I want to divulge right now. Perhaps more later? We shall see.

Speaking of that party – more amazingness. Jess really is the hostess with the mostest, I am not joking. She threw a party for her hubby’s birthday Saturday night and it was a fantastic time. I sure do love these gals (and their boys, and all of their other friends/family that I got to meet!):

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Thanks for the pic, Jo!

Things are really falling into place for me right now. I changed positions at my company – I’m still not sure how  I feel about staying there while I build up my fitness career, but this new position is WAY better than my old one. I have to think, trouble shoot, problem solve, and prioritize. All of that without having to answer phones, DOUBLE BONUS!

So, back to that 8 miles yesterday for a minute. OMG. That is all. It is way over average temperatures for this time of year right now – it was 83 during our run yesterday. Mostly in the sun. I am so not used to that!

It got me to thinking though – in the past couple of years it has been HOT in Chicago in October. How am I going to meet my goal if I run early morning’s all the time, not in the heat of the day? So, I decided it’s time to start heat acclimating. I’m going to run after work from now on, and get used to this weather!

Starting tonight…it’s going to be about 80 by the time I head out for my run. I’ve drank 75 oz. of water, 16 oz. of Nuun, and 11 oz. of Coconut Water throughout the day. I’d say I’m hydrated! Wish me luck!

I hope everyone had as amazing of a weekend as I did!

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The Day I (Didn’t) DNF

10 May

Hey guys! Sorry I’ve been MIA – Something about Sunday’s race kicked the life out of me. After going to bed at 9 last night and a massage tonight I’m feeling a bit more human.

So, let’s back up, shall we?

Sunday morning I woke with the alarm at 6 a.m. And, I didn’t want to get up, so I snoozed. Luckily I stayed in Providence the night before, so I didn’t have to rush. I got up at 6:10 and meandered my way down to the ever so convenient Starbucks located in the hotel. Damn good thing I did – it was already chock full of runners, being that it was about 2 blocks from the start.

I got myself an iced coffee, a bagel, and a banana. I nervously munched and sipped as I got ready. As I was wrapping up my preparation, I reached into my bag for my Garmin, and *GASP* IT WAS DEAD! It must’ve turned on when I tossed it into my bag!

I was panicking because I had hopeful big plans (big plans that didn’t come to fruition – but really, I only ran twice a week for the past 7 weeks so…’nuf said) and I really wanted my Garmin. I was convinced it was going to be a bad day.

When I met up with Coachy and our friend Don, I told them about my Garmin. Coachy and Don were running together anyway, so (being the wondaful person that he is) Coachy gave me his Garmin to wear (thank you thank you THANK YOU AGAIN!). It’s the same as mine but the boy version.

We then met up with Jess, Scott, and Christine, right by the start line. After a long drive from northern MA to RI the girls had to find a bathroom, so while they did that I saw the marathoners off (aka Coachy and Don).

Me, Jess, Scott, and Christine lined up around the 10 minute pace and chatted a bit, took a few pics, and tried to keep our minds off of what was about to go down. Next thing we knew we were off.

About half a mile in I remarked to Jess that we had already lost Christine – but Christine had decided she was going to start slow (smooth move – you can read all about it in her recap). I’m totally doing that next time.

I really never felt great during this race. I’d talk to Jess for a bit – Scott would gesture for us to catch up to him – we’d go silent and just run.

I slowed around Mile 4 water stop, but caught back up to Jess and Scott. They were moving at a pretty good clip, and my confidence was slipping. It was humid, the clouds burned off and the sun was fully out. Between the humidity and the very high levels of tree pollen in the air, I couldn’t breathe.

I told Jess around Mile 5 that I was dropping back, to go ahead without me.

That’s when the mind games started. I knew I was holding a pace well enough to PR, but not get my ultimate goal (which you guys all know what that is by now so I’m not speaking about it).

I finished Mile 5 and 6 strong, and even Mile 7 considering the biggest hill on the course (100ish foot climb) exists between 6.5 and 7.5 miles.

But during Mile 6 and 7 I hyperventilated. I cried. I convinced myself that I was not going to finish this race.

I said it quite a few times. “What if you just quit?” “You can DNF, save your leg, save your knee, just stop running.”

You see, my knee was wigging out on all the up and down. I didn’t do any real good pre-race stretching and I spent hours walking around on Saturday.

Oops.

I knew there was a medic around Mile 8ish, because we passed the ambulance around Mile 4. I stopped there and got some tape for my knee.

I had started the race with my knee strap on but it just wasn’t cutting it.

I then realized that I was being a complete fool for even thinking I was going to quit this race. There was nothing wrong with me other than a bitchy knee. I knew how to control it, and I did. I powered on and even managed to save my pace after the unplanned knee repair stop.

Then Mile 9 started. Also known as the mile with “that damn downhill”. You guys know I love running downhill, but this is ridiculous. You drop from 93 feet to 10 feet in about half a mile. It’s a steepy.

But I managed to really pick up my pace and have an awesome Mile 10.

Then another UPHILL. I talked about this last year too – some really evil person decided it was a good idea to put a long steady uphill in between Mile 10 and 11. It’s also on the Rock N Roll Providence course, almost at the same mileage, in case you’re planning on running that one.

I walked. I cursed. I cried. I ran (if you can call it that). Relief came in the form of another super but not so steep downhill. I looked at my Garmin though, and I knew if I could just stay strong a little while longer that I’d have a PR that I’ve been working for – FOR A YEAR!

Then suddenly I heard a voice from behind me.

IT WAS CHRISTINE! Oh she could not have come at a better time. I told her about my knee, and she was really rocking it – the slower start and steady pace really kept her strong.

We ran, and chatted. I warned her about the Team in Training signs in the park (all about people who have passed from cancer – so sad, but so inspirational – they make me cry. Last year I hyperventilated from crying).

We pushed each other almost to the end. We cursed out the fact that Mile 12 was DEFINITELY long and we couldn’t find “the damn sign.”

We saw (RI) Jess at the Whiskey Republic, cheering for us! That gave me another bit of energy!

Somewhere right before Mile 13 I dropped back from Christine. She told me if I lost her she’d cry (thank you for that, BTW – I didn’t want to make you cry) – so I made sure I stayed in sight, even if behind her.

The final stretch came and I somehow got the burst of energy I needed to power across the finish line.

Official Time: 2:10:10 – a 3 second PR.

This was, mentally, my hardest race ever.

I truly wanted to quit.

I wanted nothing more than to walk off the course and lay in the grass.

I had myself convinced that I was coming back to this computer to write to you guys about an extremely disappointing race.

Instead I came back with a PR.

I came back with a new respect for the training plan.

I came back PROUD of my friends for their amazing times – Jess and Scott with a 2:03:10 (a 2-ish minute PR) and Christine with a 2:09:44 (also a 2-3ish minute PR!).

I EVEN came back to the course and ran a mile or so with Coachy and Don when they came through on their way to finish the marathon.

As I reflect upon Sunday and write this post I’ve learned a lot. How to trust that my body will get me there – even if I wasn’t as trained as I would have liked to be.

Super props to Jess for removing the words “undertrained” from my race day speak. It was all I had to say for a while post-race. But she corrected me.

I learned that quitting is not the answer (unless, of course, you are actually doing more harm to your body – in that case, please quit. I knew I wasn’t harming myself. I was just pissed off and frustrated by the fact that sub-2 had slipped from my grasp yet again. On my 4th try.)

I learned that I am going to train my ASS off all of June and July and when the times comes in July and August to run my next two 13.1 races – I WILL own them, and I will get that sub-2. No questions asked. It helps that by then I’ll be running longer than 13 miles as I train for Chicago.

There ya have it folks. My extremely long winded, at times sad, at times educational, race report.

I hope you enjoyed it!

Thanks to everyone on Facebook, Twitter, and Daily Mile for all of the congrats for my finish and PR. Your words mean more to me than I can ever describe.

And thank you to Coachy, Don, Jess, Scott, Christine, (RI) Jess, Martha, & Kevin for being there for me. I love you guys!

XOXO

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P.S. The pics in here were totally stolen (with permission) from Jess and Christine. Thanks girls!

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