Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Recap

2014 was a great running year! With races spanning from 5ks to a 50k and a little of everything in between, I managed to hit all of my goals for the year and had a great time in the process. Let's take a look back at the highlights.
How in heavens name did I run so many 5ks?? They are my least favorite!

January: A month of marathon training and one very memorable 5k. I set a new PR for the 5k while consuming a box of donuts. Currently contemplating trying to break this PR. Donut training is going well.
If you only knew how much glaze was on my mittens/sleeves/face.
February: I got to experience all thing DONNA! I ventured down to Jacksonville for a fun and pink filled weekend at 26.2 with DONNA. It was so much fun, I'm doing it again in 2015.
 
March: I went on vacation! My job restricts when I can take breaks and I usually work through the holidays etc. It always makes me enjoy it that much more when I escape. We headed to the DR for a friend's wedding and I accidently took a chunk out of my foot while frolicking on the beach, but I found a way to enjoy the Georgia Publix Half Marathon anyway.
April: Had an awesome time on Team Electrolit at Ragnar Trails Atlanta. It was fun to meet to meet all the ladies and dominate the women's division.
Everybody let's jump, jump.
May: I ran a 5k, mainly because it was at a brewery we like. I still don't like 5ks, but beer makes them much more enjoyable. I also officially started 50k training.
June: A busy month involving travel for work and family visit. I was able to race on both trips and they were both very memorable (one unexpected PR and one stunning course). We also managed to hit 5 breweries between the two trips. In all, an excellent month.
July: Enjoyed the Atlanta heat with two races: The ever popular Peachtree Road Race and my longest trail run to date, the Troop Trot 39k where I learned that I needed new trail shoes. Oh, and I met Meb!
August: Only one race in August, but it was my longest. Had a wonderful time running my first ultra, learned a lot, and am very excited to run another!

September: A month of recovery, recovery, and more recovery.
October: No races but I did get in a nice long bike ride (which I failed to recap), visited a new state, and wore a whole lot of pink. Oh, and I turned 33!
November: My return to racing since the 50k. Two races in 36 hours, both with fun results. It's good to be back.

December: I didn't run any races, but I thoroughly enjoyed volunteering at one. Always good to help out and be on the other side of the water stop once in a while. The month consisted of catching up with lots of running friends, and an unplanned rest period.

Goals:
When I developed my 2014 goals, I wanted them to be challenging and it to be a stretch to complete all of them. Without a PR-able half marathon on my schedule (I ran 3 hilly ones), I thought it was the long shot on the list. When I unexpectedly achieved that goal in June, my competitive fire was lit. By the time November rolled around, I'll be honest, I was tired but I still wanted to make a good effort at the sub 4. With all the training I'd done all summer for the 50k, I knew there was a shot I could still break 4 just from the endurance training. I was more than a little shocked with the result of the marathon, both with my time but also because it checked off my last goal for the year. Now to figure out what challenges I can create for myself next year.
4 for 4. A pretty awesome year.
 
How was your 2014? Do you enjoy reflecting on your year?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December Recap

Miles: 87.55 (Not bad considering my last run was on the 18th)

Races: None! But I volunteered at one and it was a blast.
Highpoint: Running parties! Hanging out with the 26.2 with DONNA ladies and catching up with fellow Atlanta running bloggers at Elizabeth's party.

Not so Highpoint: I tweaked my shin and decided to take a week off. By the time the week was over, I had a pretty bad head cold that kept me in bed through the holidays. So one week quickly became 2 weeks off. I was not able to see a Doc during this time because of the holidays and work, but I'm hoping to get squeezed in after the holidays.

How I did on my month challenges:
Balance training: Needs work. I didn't do very well on this item.
Stick to the plan: I stuck to the plan very well until the shin trouble hitting 17 out of 18 days. Perhaps I stuck to it too well. Either way, I am proud of how I committed to it and didn't allow excuses.
Handstands: Rocked it. It was lots of silly funny, but I could see a difference in my balance and core as the month progressed. Still not ready for a Cirque du Soleil audition, but maybe one more month will do it.
Field Trips: I went 1/3 on this one, but in my defense I had 2 of them planned for after the shin issue. I was pretty bummed to miss out on them.
New: I went 2 for 3 on this one. I went to a bloggers party and bought new shoes. My other new item was scratched due to a vicious head cold.

What's new in brew: I've decided to add a beer section to my month recap for new beers that I've enjoyed and remembered to take a picture of.
I really enjoyed this small batch beer and was bummed to find it sold out when I returned to the store.
I was worried the Pomegranate would make it too fruity, but it actually balanced nicely with the strong malt flavor. Thumbs up.

What I am looking forward to next month: I have no races on the calendar, so January will be focused on making sure I am healthy and training. I am going to try to fit in some of my missed field trips from this month if I can. Also, we will be celebrating Christmas in January. The Jayhawks worktrip kept him away until the 31st, so we just went ahead and rescheduled the holidays. I hope people don't mind getting holiday cards in January! :)

How was your December? Did you find time to run during the holidays?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

26.2 with DONNA Training Week 4

After the past few weeks of runs that were faster and harder than needed, I tried to focus on slowing down and cutting back the mileage a bit this week. My legs have felt fatigued and tight so I decided to slow it down before any problems cropped up.

Monday: Quick cross training workout at home before heading over to Elizabeth's for her Running Bloggers holiday party! I missed it last year, so I was determined to make it this year. It was so nice to catch up with some of my Ragnar Trails Atlanta teammates, see some friendly faces that had helped out at the DONNA water stop on Sunday, and meet some new friends in real life for the first time.
Planned: XT  Actual: XT

Tuesday: New shoes day! About a week or two ago, my blue Ride 6s started to feel flat and dead. They only have about 300 miles on them, but they feel as dead as the purple mile eaters which have over 450 on them (I still periodically run in them). I decided to order new shoes because I would need them soon anyway and I got a good deal on them. I typically don't like to run more than about 3 miles on new shoes just to see how the feel and if they need breaking in but I didn't want to lug 2 pairs of shoes to the treadmill with me, so I compromised and ran 4. Loving my new shoes, my 3rd pair of Ride 6s. I definitely noticed a difference (cushion!) and they didn't feel as stiff as the blue ones did when I broke them in.
Planned: 5 miles  Actual: 4 miles (8:55/mile pace)
Wednesday: Aiming for a slight cutback week I decided to keep this one to 8 miles. On top of that I didn't get to start it until after 6pm and I've noticed I don't sleep well if I don't have enough time to rehydrate before going to bed.
Planned: 10 miles  Actual: 8 miles (8:53/mile pace)
Loving my new mug that I got at the blogger party gift swap.
Thursday: I had an odd feeling in my shin for a split second during the first couple miles. I thought I just stepped wrong, but later in the run it happened two more times. It freaked me out a bit and I think it's potentially shin splints from my eternally tight calves. I decided to take a week off from running to let my legs rest, the tightness dissolve, and hopefully be no worse for the wear. I'm treating it as shin splints with hope that it's not anything worse like a stress fracture. I hope I am just overreacting, but this might be a bigger challenge than any of my planned December challenges. First test run will be on Christmas day.
Planned: 6 miles  Actual: 5 miles (8:55/mile)

Friday: First day of rest was actually a planned rest day so it didn't feel to weird.
Planned: Rest  Actual: Rest

Saturday: Thank you Mother Nature for respecting my need for rest and producing a weekend full of clouds, rain, and 40 degree weather. It really helped minimize my desire to run.
Planned: 10 miles  Actual: Rest
Captain of the Naughty list is anxiously awaiting Santa Paws arrival.
Sunday: My third rest day in a row. The Jayhawk is probably excited he is out of town for this. I'm a little bummed to be resting because I had a lot of fun runs planned, but here's to hoping for a Christmas miracle and being back on the streets next week.
Planned: 6 miles  Actual: Rest

Gift Giving
I didn't write a gift guide because there seemed to only be 4 million of them in the blogosphere, but for anyone still searching for the perfect Festivus present for me, this would be perfect: 6 day, 100 mile running adventure with Scott Jurek or Jenn Shelton. I can't think of a better gift.

Clip of the week:
Great little (and motivating) clip this week from Competitor: A Marathon finish line in slow motion! If you've never stood at the finish line of a big race and watched the joy, elation, hard work, tears, pain, frustration, and just about every other emotion you can imagine on runner's faces, I highly recommend it.

Thank You!
Huge Thank you to everyone who donated last week to 26.2 with DONNA! Now I've got 116.20 miles to run! I racked off 17 of them this week and hopefully will start trimming down that number next week!

Happiest of Holidays to everyone! I hope you have a great holiday season and enjoy whatever holidays you celebrate.

Are you traveling for the holidays? Do you ever force yourself to rest?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Miles for Dollars

Last night I had this crazy idea to challenge my friends on Facebook to donate to 26.2 with DONNA.
And they responded. In the first 12 hours they donated $45. Yes, mathletes, that means I have 45 miles to run(not all at once because that would be even crazier than the post itself).
The running ribbon was still out on my Sunday run here in Atlanta.
Now I'm including you in the challenge. For every dollar donated by midnight on Sunday December 21 EST, I will dedicate a training mile in honor of you and your awesomeness*. As a donor you will get a warm feeling in your heart from doing something good, a tax deduction, a personal note from me about your miles, and a shout out here when your miles are in my weekly recap.

Click here to donate (or just watch the miles stack up).

So let's see what you got folks. How many miles can you make me train?

*I know the original facebook post says run, but I reserve the right to include crosstraining miles if you all get crazy generous and donate big.

Monday, December 15, 2014

26.2 with DONNA Training Week 3

Monday: My legs were a bit tired from Sunday. No major aches or pains, just tired. But I got some awesome mail, so I was motivated.
Planned: XT  Actual: 8.85 miles biking

Tuesday: Oh, look, this pace feels nice.
Planned: 6 miles  Actual: 6 miles (8:43/mile pace)

Wednesday: Felt really good again today.
Planned: 8 miles  Actual: 8 miles (8:43/mile pace)

Thursday: Is it Groundhog Day, because I can only seem to run one pace these days.
Planned: 4 miles  Actual: 4 miles (8:44/mile pace)

Friday: I didn't run, but I wouldn't say I rested. I met up with the DONNA crew for the Galloway VIP party (not sure how we got on the list for this one). I was lucky enough to meet both Bill Rogers and Bart Yasso, who is amused by southern accents. Fun fact: Bill Rogers and Jeff Galloway were on the same running team in college at a tiny school in New England. Talk about a powerhouse. Second Fun fact: My Brother went to the same college, but he was a hockey player.
Planned: Rest  Actual: Rest
 The DONNA Ambassadors: Marcia, Katie, and some girl you rarely see without her running clothes.
Boston Billy Rogers, Jeff Galloway, and Bart Yasso. 
Saturday: Ever have one of those days where you sleep horribly and wake up sore and achy? I did. My legs were so sore when I woke up, I couldn't imagine forcing them into a 20 miler. When I set up my training plan for this cycle, I put in three 20 milers knowing well that one of them probably wouldn't happen and this was the one. After quickly ramping up the miles after Chickamauga I knew that this one could get the ax.
Planned: 20 miles  Actual: Lots of rolling.

Sunday: Spent the morning cheering along the runners at the inaugural Galloway 13.1. 26.2 with DONNA sponsored a dance party water stop and though we were small in number, we were big in spirit! It was a very chilly morning for cheering (34 at the start) and I nearly lost a few fingers due to the cold, but I did see Frank who was cruising through his first half marathon! All apologies Frank if I screamed at you cheered too loudly. The music was a bit loud at our stop. :) You looked strong when you came by and I'm looking forward to reading your recap! Also, huge THANK YOU to all the Ladies who came out to help! Atlanta runners are the best!
Myself, Jen, and Katie. FYI, Katie plays a mean air guitar. We took our cheering seriously.
Cheering and volunteering was so inspiring (or maybe it was all the donuts and coffee we drank?), that after I returned home and thawed out, I headed out for my own miles. I decided to mix up my normal route (Emory area) and head down to the location of our water stop and Piedmont park. It was a perfect day for a run, but I quickly remembered why I don't usually run this direction: many long, slow hills. I swear I tried to slow my pace down, but apparently I only run one pace these days (see all paces for the week). This was by far one of the harder workouts I've done lately and I was very pleased with how it turned out.

Piedmont Park is in the heart of Atlanta.
Planned: 4 miles  Actual: 15.25 miles (8:40/mile pace)
All in all, another good week. I am happy that I listened to my body and it worked out for a good long run, but I still need to work on pacing. I had a blast volunteering with all the wonderful ladies at the Galloway race and encourage you all to volunteer once in awhile. Bring friends, it's much more fun that way!

How was your week? Do like volunteering at races?

Monday, December 8, 2014

26.2 with DONNA Training Weeks#1 and #2

I did a few work outs the week after the race (cycling, short runs of two miles or less), but nothing that really taxed my body in any way. Overall, I felt really good. I did have some mild soreness, but nothing really out of the ordinary for marathon recovery. I let myself have a really relaxed two weeks and if I couldn't fit in a work out or didn't feel like it, I didn't stress at all. If I wanted an extra beer with dinner, I had it. A good two weeks overall, but I'm ready to run again.

WEEK#1

Monday:
Planned: XT Actual: 10.2 miles biking (17:49 mph)
Tuesday:
Planned: 4 miles Actual: 4 miles (8:41/mile)
Wednesday:
Planned: 8 miles Actual: None, oops. :)
Thursday: I'm not sure if I was excited for Thanksgiving dinner or just loving the beautiful weather, but I thoroughly enjoyed this run and the pace shocked me a little. Proceeded to go home and eat for the rest of the day.
Planned: 5 miles Actual: 5.5 miles (7:59/mile pace)
Friday: Sent the Jayhawk on his super long work trip. :(
Planned: Rest Actual: Rest
Saturday:
Planned: 10 miles Actual: 5 miles (8:46/mile pace)
Sunday:
Planned: 6 miles Actual: None.

WEEK#2

Monday: I like cross training on the bike because A. I like to ride my bicycle (Any Queen fans?) and B. There are personal TVs on the stationary bikes so I can watch old sitcoms and zone out. Today's workout was brought to you by old episodes of Friends.
Planned: XT  Actual: 7.7 miles Bike (18:48 mph ave)

Tuesday: Nothing too special. Trying to keep my easy run pace below 8:50, but not too far below. So far, it feels comfortable.
Planned: 5 miles Actual: 5 miles (8:40/mile pace)

Wednesday: I was a little worried about how I was going to handle my mid-week longish runs now that it gets dark so early. I didn't get to start this one until 6pm, but managed to knock it out on the treadmill without complaining any trouble. I celebrated by watching the Beer Mile with a good beer which seconds after this photo was knocked off the coffee table, landing upside down on the carpet and turned into an absolute beer fountain. I then had to wrestle the Monster because she is an avid beer fan and was eagerly trying to help clean up and I didn't want her having that much. So in conclusion, I missed most of the beer mile.
Planned: 8 miles Actual: 8 miles (8:40/mile pace)

Thursday: This was one I my harder workouts for the week. I really had trouble mentally staying with it on this run. I was just tired after a long workday. But I put on my big girl pants and got it done.
Planned: 4 miles Actual: 4 miles (8:41/mile pace)
I wore my awesome new DONNA Ambassador shirt to cheer myself up!
Friday: And rest I did. With my first official 6 day a week workout schedule, I was happy to enjoy a rest day. I rested so hard, my big toenail fell off. That's right folks, there was a quitter on the team. Can I paint skin?
Planned: Rest  Actual: Rest

Saturday: Awoke to find it raining cats and dogs style. Since I wasn't in the mood for 16 miles on the treadmill, I made the executive decision to flip-flop my weekend workouts.
Planned: 16 miles  Actual: 5 miles (8:49/mile pace)

Sunday: Unfortunately by flip-flopping my workouts, I ended up with a really busy Sunday. So busy that I didn't have time for 16 consecutive miles unless I started at 5am (not happening) or 5pm. I decided to split it into two runs with 9 in the morning and 6.3 in the evening. In between I met up with fellow 26.2 with DONNA ambassador Katie to do a little curb service for the mile we are sponsoring in this weekend's Galloway 13.1. We stopped by every house on mile 9 to give them a packet with maracas, poster, and info about the race to encourage them to come out and cheer. If you are running, keep an eye out for us at the 8/9 water stop! It should be pinktastic!
Katie and I enjoying a beautiful Atlanta day and pinking out the mile!
After finishing up the rest of my day, I hit the streets again for the end of my run. It was faster than expected due to a few things: 1. I was hungry. 2. After chicking a 17year old boy twice over the course of my run, he caught up with me at a long red light and immediately dropped down and started doing push-ups (Not kidding) and then followed it up with lunges. Just to keep him in check, I went quick off the line and left him in my dust. Yes, I am a bit competitive especially when you give me a reason to put you in your place. This led to very quick last 1.25 miles. 3. I was really hungry.
Proper long run refueling.
Planned: 5 miles Actual: 15.3 miles (8:48/mile for the first 9; 8:13/mile for the last 6.3)

How was your week?  What do you do with less daylight? Do you hit the treadmill?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday Five: December Challenges

With the Jayhawk away for a long time, I'm using December as a way to challenge myself in new ways. I'll keep you updated on my progress throughout the month. Feel free to join me!

1. Balance Training. A good way to sneak in both strength training and some flexibility work. I plan on combining yoga moves, general stability moves, and core work. This should be good for my over all running, trail running, and general clumsiness.
This will be an important part of the challenge.
2. Stick to the plan. This fall I was pretty streaky in terms of sticking to my training plan. There would good weeks when I hit every workout and weeks that were not so good. For December I'm going to try to stick exactly to my plan with the only excuse being injury or sickness. This will give me the best base heading into to peak training and the craziness that is January.
Checking 'em off one at a time.
3. Handstand a day. As a fun way to work on my strength and balance, I've started doing a handstand each day and holding it for as long as I can. I got the idea after seeing the daughters of some friends be able to both hold them for a minute and be able to pull off a press up to handstand (they are gymnasts). I don't think I'm ready for the press handstand, but working on my handstand is great for the core, upper body, and balance. Plus it's just fun. I'll work on getting a picture.
My upper body is already super strong, but handstands are just fun.
4. Field Trips. With a slightly more flexible weekend schedule, I've decided to take my long runs on the road with a goal of 3 long runs not on my usual turf (i.e. not running from home). It will give me a chance to mix it up and hopefully explore some new routes.
Good chance this will be one of the field trips.
5. New. I'm going to do 3 new things that are running/fitness related. Whether it be try a fitness class, run with a new buddy, or something I haven't even thought of yet, I'm going to challenge myself to get out of my typical day to day.

Do you like month long challenges? What was the last new thing you challenged yourself to try?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Back to Marathon Training

After taking a two lazy weeks after Chickamauga, I'm back at it. Actually, my plan started on 24th, but I never got around to posting my training recap and with the holiday I lost track of time. Look forward to a supersized recap next week.

So, what's the plan.  Here's the cliffs notes version:

Race: 26.2 with Donna, but you already knew that because I don't stop talking about it.
Goals: To do better than I did last year at this race. I never 'hit my stride' at this race last year and I always thought of it as a missed opportunity. This year, I get another shot at this course and I plan on taking a good one.
Yep, it's still funny.
Plan: Very similar to the plan I used for Chickamauga with a focus on spreading the miles across the week and back to backs (or varying lengths on the weekends). If it ain't broke.....
Updates: Substituting one rest day with a cross training day and making a significant effort to add in strength training.  And I mean more than just my usual, "I did 2 sets of this and 2 sets of that so I can go home and eat dinner now". The struggle I face because I workout after work.

Wildcard: January into Mid-February is my busiest time of year at work. That makes peak marathon training extra challenging, but I did it last year, so I can do it again this year.

Flare: I will also be running the 5k the day before the race again this year. It's on Valentine's Day, so you can bet that a silly costume will be involved. Oh the possibilities...

What are you currently training for? Do you have plans that you use over and over again or do you like to try new ones?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

#GivingTuesday

With the hustle and bustle of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and crazy deals weekend behind us, it's time to celebrate #GivingTuesday!

There are numerous deserving charities out there. The best way to get involved is to find one that is important to you and support them in some way today whether it be with a donation, publicizing their cause, volunteering your time or even your miles.
This year I'm supporting the DONNA Foundation by running 26.2 with DONNA Breast Cancer Marathon again this February. As well as being tax deductible, 100% of donations go to bench top research and patient advocacy.

So if you are looking for a way to pay it forward today, I would  love to have you join me in February running 26.2 with Donna, donate to the cause, or spread the
word.
Help us save second base.


Monday, December 1, 2014

November Recap

Miles: 60.9 miles

Races: 2 (in 36 hours, way to spread out the joy over the month)

Highpoint: Ummm, I'd have to go with Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon. It's one of my top running moments of the year!
 Goofy and awkward at the cannon.
Not so highpoint: It was a busy month in the non-running world. The Jayhawk left on a very long work trip, so I prioritized hanging out with him over logging lots of miles and I got a little behind on posting. I missed you all too.

Inspiration of the month: Not sure if you caught this video about Sally McRae's experience at Western States this year, but I love it. It's a little long, but worth every second. Really gives you an idea of the mind set of an amazing ultrarunner.

What I'm looking forward to in December: So many things. I'm jumping back into marathon training (more about that this week). I've also got a few challenges for myself to keep me out of trouble while the Jayhawk is away. Though I am not running the inaugural Jeff Galloway 13.1 here in Atlanta, 26.2 with DONNA is sponsoring a water stop.  If you are around Atlanta, would like to help out and hang out with me at 7am on a Sunday, drop me a note. Our spot is in the Highlands and it should be very pinktastic! :D

How was your November? What are you excited for in December?
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