Monday, March 2, 2015

Miles for Maria Training Week #1

With just 7 weeks until my first timed race, the 6 hour option at Miles for Maria, my focus is on developing endurance. I felt really good after the 32+ mile RunDONNA weekend and had no issues with recovery. I did end up taking a full week off, but that was mostly due to a head cold late in the week.  I'm holding back on developing any goals for the 6 hour until I get an idea of what my body is up for now that I am moving back into a regular training rhythm again.

Monday:  Yep. It's cookie time at our house.
Actual: Rest

Tuesday: Back at it. Trying to keep the pace a little lighter as I recover from 26.2 with DONNA and just work on moving back into a regular training schedule.
Actual: 3.1 miles running (9:16/mile pace)

Wednesday: Snow day! I took advantage of a rare 'snow day' in Atlanta to get in a midday run. I also managed some strength training (squats, lunges, and some upper body work) and foam rolling.
Actual: 4 miles running (9:27/mile pace)
Don't blink, or you may miss the snow in Atlanta.
Thursday: Some residual congestion from my post-marathon head cold was really bothering me. I decide to take an extra day off to see if it would help it clear. Happy to say I am breathing more normally now.
Actual: Rest

Friday: We went to Mellowmushroom for pizza and I was looking forward to it all day. And it was Friday. So basically, it was an awesome day.
Actual: Rest

Saturday: My goal for the weekend was to get in back to back runs and have one of them around 8-10 miles. I join the Jayhawk for an easy shake out 10k (he has a goal race next weekend). The weather was so lovely, that I headed back out for a hilly 3 miler by myself. I definitely have some work to do to get some of my strength back, but I'm making progress.
Actual: 6.2 miles (11min/mile pace); 3 miles (9:03 min/mile pace)

Sunday: I joined up with one of my regular running groups for a very soggy 6 miler. The forecast originally had the rain coming in around noon, but just for fun it surprised us and started right when we started running. Nothing like 38 and raining to wake you up! I forgot to wear my garmin, so I estimated the total time (others had us on spot of mileage). Legs felt good and made for a good strength and endurance building weekend.
Actual: 6 miles (probably 10 min/mile) and some foam rolling.

How was your week? Anyone race or run some place new?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sitting down with Joan Benoit Samuelson

Over 26.2 with DONNA weekend I had the incredible opportunity to sit down with an icon of women's running, Joan Benoit Samuelson. Winner of the first Women's Olympic Marathon gold medal, two time Boston Marathon champ, and owner of a myriad of other running accolades, Joan has been a leader in women's running for over 30 years. For an hour we sat down and discussed life, training, and what has kept her running for so long.
Holly, Joan, Myself, and Marcia at the Expo.
I'll admit, I was a little nervous heading into our chat. Growing up a town over from Joan, I've known who she is since I was very young and have even seen her out on training runs from time to time. Though I was only 3 when she won the gold medal in LA, I've always been inspired by her athletic accomplishments and she's served as a role model for this little girl growing up in a small town in Maine that anything is really possible. Fortunately for me (and my nerves), Joan is down to earth, humble, and affable. Throughout the hour in which we spoke, I was constantly impressed by the calm simplicity with which she approaches all things.
Sitting down with Holly and Joan.
When it comes to running, Joan is the embodiment of her longtime sponsor NIKE's iconic slogan. She just does it. With no training plan or schedule, she runs and trains on feel. When I asked her about weekly mileage, cross training, or events, her response was simply "It depends".  On days she is busy, she runs faster or fewer miles. She takes days off when she doesn't feel well and above all, she listens to her body. In a time where there so much emphasis on training plans and workout specifics, it's refreshing to hear an accomplished athlete not complicate the process. She cross trains and attributes her upper body strength to two of her other favorite activities: Nordic skiing and gardening. The calm, simplicity of her approach to running reinforced what I'd always suspected: she is truly a naturally gifted runner.
One thing I was most interested to talk to Joan about was her longevity. Not only has she been running competitively for 30+ years, but she has been running well, winning awards and setting records all along the way. For Joan, it's all about balance. One element of life can't dominate too much. Joan maintains a strong balance between family, training, and work and even finds ways to integrate them. In 2014, for the 30th anniversary of her Olympic win, Joan ran the Boston Marathon with her two children with the goal of all finishing within 30 minutes of each other (they did). At this point in her career she is most motivated by stories and always looks for what her story is in each race. In 2008 at the Olympic trials, her story was to run under 2:50 at age 50 (she did), and at the Chicago Marathon on 10/10/10, it was the 25th anniversary of her victory there. For her it's more than just the running, it's about the story behind the running.
Joan pulls inspiration from everyday runners. She feels that everyone who runs, from the 5k to the marathon, is a runner and doesn't like the word 'just' went talking about distances (i.e. don't discredit yourself). You aren't running 'just the half', you are running the half. When I asked if she would be running the half or full at 26.2 with DONNA, she was undecided at that point. While her current race goal is Boston in April, she was considering running the full during DONNA weekend but as an easy training pace. When I pried and asked what that pace might be, she said because of the all of the snow this year in Maine she didn't have a good gage on her fitness but would probably around 3:30 marathon.
Earlier in the day at the shake out run.
I left our chat inspired, motivated, and a bit stunned that it happened. Joan is great ambassador for the sport by being approachable, open, and honest as well as incredibly talented. Her longevity in running is enviable, her continued success is unmatched, and the easy marathon pace she ran at DONNA (3:10) something I could only dream of.

Who or what inspires you? What motivates you most about running?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

RunDONNA 5k Recap

DONNA 5k and Family Fun Run Jacksonville, FL
Field: ~1400
Spectators: Minimal on course, but there's a nice crowd at the start/finish. The participants are rather festive and encouraging throughout the race.
Start/Finish: Prime Osborn Convention Center, location of the expo
Course: Loop course through downtown Jacksonville and along the river
Schwag: T-shirt and running ribbon medal. I love the shirt logo this year. Too cute.
Other: Along with the family fun run the RunDONNA 5k is a great way to get family members and spectators involved in the weekend who might not be ready or want to run in the longer races on Sunday. It also includes a costume contest. Need I say more.
Coming into the finish with my #BreastFriends Holly B and Krissy!
Though I frequently state my dislike for the 5k, I do like races for fun with a group or a good reason to look like a complete nut and this race had both. Last year, the RunDONNA Ambassador team ran the 5k together in silly chaos and this year I expected no different. With the race taking place on Valentine's Day, I was quick to decide (like October quick) that I would dress as a large Conversation Heart if I reached my fundraising goal (last year I wore a Bridesmaid's dress when I hit it). I am also nothing if not competitive, so when I heard they'd added a costume contest, it was on. I mentioned to a few that my goal was to look like a giant, running pinata. I'm not sure if they thought I was serious or not, but it's safe to say a simple slogan on a t-shirt wasn't going to be enough for me. After that it was just a matter of designing construction and crushing my fundraising goal.
With some of my favorite running buddies, Krissy and Donna, on race day.
As race day approached, I was stressed. No, not about that whole shin splits thing and if my body was ready for 30+miles over the weekend. I was stressed about my costume. While I had smashed my fundraising goal (Thank you all again!), I was having serious issues finding a box big enough to be the base for my heart. Low and behold, mere days before the event, I found one near the shipping department at work. I hurriedly carried it out to the car and promptly found it wouldn't fit. Yes, it was that big! Cue a scene of me attempting to deconstruct it in the middle of the parking garage during the lunch break rush. A true professional moment.
Scenes from heart construction. Apparently fitting it in the car was not
considered heavily enough during the design phase.

As construction began, I emailed the Jayhawk photos for a second opinion. His main concern was that I couldn't use my arms and in the event I tripped (a solid concern with me) I would inevitably face plant. I trimmed it down a few inches (originally it was several inches bigger in every direction causing me to get stuck in a doorway at our house), and thanks to a box cutter and a whole lot of hot glue, the Conversation Heart was born.
Ending up on Joan Benoit Samuelson's Instagram? Year made.
Come race day, I was excited and a bit nervous. I never had a chance to test run the heart and was concerned about it's structural integrity. Would it make it 5k? Would I make it 5k? Would I chaffe so badly that I'd suffer the next day in the marathon? All important questions that quickly faded away when I arrived at the start. The pink. The people. The smiles. The inspiration of the survivor bibs. The buzz of race day. I was pumped to shimmy into that cardboard contraption and attempt to run my heart out (not out of my heart).
During the first mile with my fellow Ambassadors. (Thanks for the pic, Reist. Check out his site for video!)
The race started with some pre-race warm ups lead by former Jacksonville Jaguar David Gerrard. To say squats were challenging in the heart would be an understatement. I only wish there was video of my attempts! Shoulder shrugs we also unique as I couldn't lift my hands above my hips. But nonetheless, feeling adequately warmed up/concerned about my ability to move, off we headed to the starting line!
Rocking some sweet arm circles and shoulder shrugs during warm ups.
The race went well. The course winds it way through downtown Jacksonville and along the riverfront. It was a perfect morning to race (thank heavens it wasn't hot as the heart was not well ventilated) and I thoroughly enjoyed greeting my fellow runners and touring the city. I did have a few challenges on course: breezes were especially difficult, and I couldn't drink at water stops without some help (Thanks for the drink Krissy!).
Cruising by the river with Holly.
Krissy, Holly, and I finished in 32:06, a PR for running in a large cardboard costume for sure and one I'm not in a rush to break. We cheered on our fellow runners, took tons of photos, and prepped for the the long awaited announcement of the Costume Contest winners.
With Marcia, Boston Marathon Race Director Dave McGillvray, and DONNA Race Director Amanda.
Sadly, I got second place in the costume contest. For reals. Another runner dressed up as a self breast exam and she won. I won a Major Award/snappy pair of sunglasses made in Jacksonville, and I haven't taken them off since. I guess I'll have to go back next year to take the title, but maybe I can recycle the heart for the 26.2 with DONNA Marathon on Valentine's next year! 
Showing some serious game face during the Costume Contest, my major award, award in action.
 Rehydrating post race and milling about the Expo.

Have I mentioned that I love this race and weekend? Do you ever race in costume?

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