Monday, June 30, 2014

50k Training Week 7: 6/23-6/29

For the start of this week, I was still in Colorado.  I shifted around my schedule a bit to make the most out of my days at altitude and account for long travel days.

Monday: A little shake out run after Sunday's half Marathon in Estes Park. My legs and lungs felt great thanks to keeping a light pace during the race. Yay for a successful attempt at running smart!
Planned: Rest  Actual: 3.5 miles (8:50/mile pace)
Such a lovely day in Fort Collins.
Tuesday: Explored the walking/biking trails of Fort Collins a bit before work. They were incredibly well maintained and positioned throughout the city. Colorado takes it's cycling seriously and there were trails, bike lanes, and cyclists everywhere. I really could get use to that.
Planned: 5 miles  Actual: 4.75 miles (8:40/mile pace)
Always important to bring snacks on the plane.
Wednesday: After some crazy over night storms including ping-pong sized hail and over 2 inches rain, I had to head back to the south. The cool Colorado weather  and dry air spoiled me as Atlanta was even hotter than I remembered. Back to the three H's of the ATL (Heat, Humidity, and Hills).
Planned: 8 miles Actual: None (traveling)
There were drifts of hail in the morning, 7 hours later!
Thursday: I went for a run. It was good.  Nothing special to report.
Planned: 5 miles  Actual: 5 miles (8:45/mile pace)

Friday: The Monster was up most of the night sick, so I was up tending to her. Then she got stung in the face by a bug and half her face was all swollen. Good thing it was a rest day.
Planned: Rest  Actual: Rest

Saturday: First day off from work in almost 2 weeks. To celebrate, I allowed myself to sleep in and recover from tending to the Monster. This meant it was far too hot to run outside by the time I got up, so I did what this woman has never done before: I ran on the treadmill. For 18 miles. In a row. This run was definitely more challenging mentally than physically and I am really glad I did it.  If you can amuse yourself for 18 miles while staring at a wall, then you can surely keep your body moving on far more lovely courses.  The highlight was when I got home and found that the Jayhawk and little Running Buddy had bought me the big bag of Swedish fish AND they were making cupcakes from scratch. This is one of the many reasons they are awesome.
Planned: 18 miles  Actual: 18 miles (8:56/mile pace)

Sunday: I was tired and there was a lot of sweat involved, but I did it. Celebrated with more Swedish fish.
Planned:  8 miles  Actual: 8.4 miles (9:06/mile pace)

How was your week? Any fun races or runs?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Beat the Heat Contest with Island Boost

It's summer, it's hot, and we are all still trying to log our miles. The temperatures have been climbing for weeks (or months depending where you live), and it only officially became summer last weekend. I don't know about you, but I look like a cross between a drowned rat and a tomato after my runs. Everyday I'm learning new parts of my body that can sweat. So yeah, it's probably not the most attractive time of year to be a runner. But let's make the best of it. Let's show summer that we're not going to let the heat beat us but rather we are going to Beat the Heat and get it done.
50 shades of red.
Now you all know about my love for Island Boost (See my first review and my review of the Chocolate flavor).  When formulator and founder of Island Boost Laura recently sent me a massive box of packets, I knew there was only one thing to do: share it with all of you! So to celebrate the launch of the new Island Boost website and all of us working hard through the summer, it's time to celebrate. Let's Beat the Heat.
The best kind of mail.
What you can win: A randomly selected winner will receive a prize pack of Island Boost, including all three flavors and some schwag, to help them stay fueled during those hot summer workouts. But you know me, I will probably send out a few extra packs of Island Boost to particularly creative or fun entries, so don't be afraid to show a little style.

Two ways to enter:
  1. Leave a comment below with your tip or trick to Beat the Heat.
  2. Tweet me @RunningEB, Instagram me @RunningEB, or e-mail me (on the contact page) your best (or worst) sweaty selfie showing how you #BeatTheHeat. Make sure to leave a comment saying you did this.
My favorite hot weather tip.
I will put together a post including the best tips to Beat the Heat so we can all benefit from every one's great ideas. I will also include some of the best selfies (don't be surprised if your pic shows up on here), so we can all be proud of how hard we are working.  And so we can all be reassured that everyone looks crazy sweaty after a hot run.
Some of the best ways to Beat the Heat.
Please remember to stay safe and keep well hydrated in the heat. This is not a contest to see who can overheat or run in extreme temps, but rather a chance to show your genius ways of staying cool, hydrating and fueling well, and showing summer who's boss as you sweat.

Be sure to head over and check out the new Island Boost website! If you mention RunningEB in the notes when you order, you will receive two free packs with the purchase of 10!

All entries must be submitted by midnight on the Fourth of July, 2014.

Big Thanks to Island Boost for being awesome in general. The prizes were provided as part of my Ambassadorship with Island Boost. I reserve the right to make any decisions regarding the outcome.

Monday, June 23, 2014

50k Training Week 6: 6/16-6/22

Greetings from Colorado!  Though I am out here for work, I am lucky enough that work doesn't occupy 24 hours of my day and I've been able to get in a little running.  To be honest, when I found out I was coming to Colorado, I was excited for two things: altitude training and visiting some of my favorite breweries. I'm really my bosses dream employee. :P

Monday: Took the day off and watch a pretty kick-ass USA v. Ghana soccer game.  Managed to still get my heart rate up on a rest day! :D
Planned: Rest  Actual: Rest

Tuesday: Nothing too exciting to report about this treadmill run, except at one point during my run, I saw some flailing out of the corner of my eye.  At first I thought the Jayhawk was having some sort of muscle spasm while on the exercise bike, but then I remembered he was watching the Mexico v. Brazil game and  he was just cheering and getting really into it. Thank heavens I didn't have to stop my run to check on him. :P 
Planned: 5 miles  Actual: 5 miles (8:44/mile pace)

Wednesday: A lot of new things happened today. The heat has been a little crazy this week and I don't know about you, but running 8 miles (with 4 miles at tempo) in 95+ degree heat after a day of work doesn't get me excited. In fact, I'm not sure it's even medically recommended. So, in order to get some faint hint of speed work done, I did something I've never done before: I ran before work. I knew getting in 8 miles before work was reaching, so I planned out a quick 3+ miler. I also did two other new things (rather then saving them to try out during a race like I always seem to do): I tried out compression socks on the run and my new handheld. Contrary to my awesomely crabby looking smile, my morning run was a success and I am thinking about doing it again. I was still mostly asleep during the first mile (I was bed to street in under 7 minutes, which out of context sounds really bad), but the last 2+ felt like I was pushing the pace a little more. I also still got to work on time. Win-win. Picked up the other 4.5 miles after work on the treadmill.
Planned: 8 miles  Actual: 3.4 miles (8:22/mile pace) and 4.5 miles with 2 miles at tempo (8:32/mile pace; 8:16 and 8:04 for tempo miles)
I'm just a little ray of sunshine at 6am.
Thursday: Second attempt at morning running. Didn't go as well. I might need to fuel a little if I am going to run longer than 3.5 because I was absolutely dragging through it. Maybe it was also due to the fact that it was my 3rd run in 24 hours (and it wasn't even a Ragnar).  Either way, thinking of carrying liquid carbs in my bottle or having an Island Boost before my next am run.
Planned: 5 miles  Actual: 4.7 miles (9:06/mile pace)

Friday: I took a glorious 36 hours off between runs this time and then moved part of Saturday's workout to Friday to give my legs a mini rest before Sunday's race.
Planned: Rest  Actual: 5 miles (8:46/mile pace)
Carboloading on the plane and at Left Hand Brewing.
Saturday: Traveling!
Planned: 10 miles  Actual: None, but I did walk around the ATL airport a lot. It's basically a city.
Pulling into Estes at sunrise. Oh look, it's 7500+ feet up! :)
Sunday: Estes Park Half Marathon! Easily the most stunning course I've ever run. Full review coming. I felt pretty good throughout the race, and put in some extra work in the afternoon by giving a 2 hour presentation on tired feet.
Planned:  10 miles  Actual: 13.1 miles (9:38/mile pace)

Milestone of the week: The Purple Miles Eaters broke 100 miles. They grow up so quick.

Odd question for the week: Do you all get emails when I reply to your comments?  I try to reply to every one's comments, but I wondered if you received notification of them. Just checking.

Coming soon: Another contest! The theme for this one will be "Beat the Heat"!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fuelin' Up Friday: The Right Stuff

Running long miles in the Atlanta summer makes me a very sweaty girl, so in preparation for my ultramarathon, I've been paying extra close attention to how I hydrate and replace electrolytes while on the run. With my goal race being in late August, there is a solid chance of a hot and humid race, and I don't want dehydration and loss of electrolytes to be my undoing. If I don't finish, it's going to be because I was bit by a snake or got lost and ended up in Alabama. When I was recently contacted by The Right Stuff to see if I would like to give their hydration formula a whirl, it was perfectly timed. I wasn't familiar with their product, but with my avid googling skills, I quickly caught up. Turns out the product was originally developed by NASA to keep the astronauts hydrated during the extremes of re-entry (like to the planet, how cool is that).
Full disclosure: When I was a young EB, I desperately wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up. I even dressed up as and did a report on Neil Armstrong for Great American Night in the 5th grade.  I will try not to let my fascination with the space program skew my review of the product.
Little EB, back when I had high hopes of being the first woman on the moon.
Now, as you would expect, there is some serious science behind this product.  When I chatted with David from the Right Stuff about the product's development, the thing that impressed me the most, was that this exact formula had gone through clinical testing, beating out other potential formulas. Most other endurance products don't have the budget for strict clinical testing, but incorporate components that have been published in clinical studies (i.e. electrolyte concentrations, etc). Since this product was developed by some very intelligent nutrition scientists to be used by rocket scientists, you can bet their scientific method was rigorous and well thought out. Note: NASA, if you need an Average Jane for testing anytime, I'm available.

Some of the biggest differences I noticed in comparing The Right Stuff to other products is the significant increase in sodium. A person can lose between 1-3 liters of sweat per hour during exercise, and in that sweat is 1.5-3.5g of electrolytes. Most hydration formulas deliver 100-400mg of electrolytes, while the Right Stuff has over 1700mg. It contains no sugar or carbs (so it is purely for hydration, not fueling) and has three major benefits:
  1. Fights the symptoms of dehydration (cramps, nausea, etc).
  2. Stabilizes core thermoregulation (body temp)
  3. Has been shown to increase endurance up to 20% over other formulas
I am a huge science geek and a pretty big numbers girl, so all these things did impress me, but honestly, if I can't stomach a hydration solution, it doesn't matter if it's made of magically unicorn tears, I won't be using it. I decided to first use the Right Stuff on a hot and humid 8 mile outdoor run (high 80s around 4:30pm). I waited about 15-20 minutes into my run to try it out. By this point I had a good sweat going and was ready to work on hydrating. I used about 12 oz during the run, sipping every 5-10 minutes. I did notice that I felt less overheated and more comfortable during my run, both important factors when running in Atlanta in the summer.
Taste: I was sent the citrus blend (lemon/lime) flavor. I had been warned that it was very salty, but it still surprised me a little. I mixed up my first packet in the morning to use on my runcommute home that day, and took a little sip.  Immediately I thought of the ocean, not like beaches and relaxing, but when your brother dunks you in the ocean and you take a big salty gulp. For a moment I wondered if it was something I would be able to handle while running (I've been barf free for so long), but figured it was worth a shot.  I actually enjoyed it a lot more on the run than I expected. Yes, it was still salty, but every run I've tried it on has been a hot and sweaty one, so that salt has been needed. I've just sipped on it and kept on going.

Consistency: Liquid. Since the product comes as a liquid concentrate, it dilutes immediately in water. There is nothing to dissolve. The small packets make it easy to carry.

During run: It actually didn't bother me at all, and I happily sipped on it through out my runs. It sat fine in my stomach. The formula is actually buffered to help prevent GI issues.

After run: I didn't drink a ton of it post run. I actually prefer it more while running.  However, it leaves me much better hydrated and ready for other forms of post run recovery (i.e. food).

Overall: I think the Right Stuff is a great hydration option for long, hot, or extreme endurance events (i.e hot marathons, ultramarathons, summer events).  I don't think it's necessary for the casual 5k racer, but for any situation where you will have prolonged and significant sweating, it will make an important difference. The taste is unique, but it even worked for my picky palate. It's not something you want to sip at your desk (nor should you because of the high salt content), but it is drinkable especially for the purpose.

Cost: Three packets for $8.99. Each mixes with 16 oz of water. Find it on their website: http://therightstuff-usa.com/

The Right Stuff worked well for me on multiple hot, humid runs. It is definitely something that will be important for me to carry during my potentially very warm ultra coming up in August. I was not only impressed by the product, but the company itself. I am your average midpack runner. Occasionally I win age group awards, but I am not a pro by any means. Even with the long list of professional athletes and teams using their product, David took the time to not only respond to my questions by email, but talk on the phone about the benefits, the science, and what the product could do for my training. I truly appreciate a company that respects and works with all levels of athletes.

Do you pay attention to the ingredients in your hydration options? What do you look for or try to avoid?

I received samples of The Right Stuff free of charge for my own personal use. I decided to share my review and all opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Learning from your running shoes

Running shoe are really the most important piece of equipment we have as runners.  Sure, there is a lot of other equipment that makes us more comfortable, but from an essentials standpoint, sneakers are the one. Unless you are into barefoot running, but that's not really my thing.
New shoes: A blank canvas ready for miles of adventure.
I recently passed the 600 mile mark it my electric blue ASICS. The shoes have served me well over the miles and after everything they have done for me (including 2 PRs, an epic donut dash, and a variety of other races), I thought it was worth seeing what I can learn from our time together.
Forget Running on E, I've been Running on Foam.
Right off the bat, I noticed some pretty striking patterns in my tread wear. I've known a few things about my stride and foot strike tendencies, and my tread wear patterns really confirm them. Here are the 3 most noticeable items and what they tend to mean.
  1. Heel wear: Overstriding and landing with a heel strike.
  2. Edge wear: Tends to be from supinating or people who land on the outside of their feet.
  3. Upper shoe: Is actually still in great shape. No major signs of trouble or off balance wear.

Even some foam showing on the outside of my toes.

What I've been working on.

Now most of those observations are not news to me, but it's really interesting to see how obvious the pattern is. This spring I've spent a lot of time trying to work on my stride to both make it more efficient, but more importantly to protect myself from injury.
  1. Increasing my cadence: I've spent a lot of time focusing on increasing my running cadence (#footfalls/minute). By doing this, it actually helps to prevent overstriding because you end up condensing your stride with your foot landing under your body. This addresses my overstriding and heel striking issue, and helps to prevent impact injuries related to overstriding. I've noticed my joints feel a lot less beat up and my quads and hips feel a lot more engaged in my stride. I've also switch to a shoe with a lower heel to toe drop (8mm from 11mm), but overall a very similar shoe to what I've been wearing.  Though I don't think shoes were ever the cause of my problems, I do think they can accentuate my form problems. For example, I have chronically tight calves, and a high heel to toe drop isn't doing me any favors.
  2. Working on my hip and glut strength: My landing pattern is inconsistent, in that I think I land on the outside of my foot more on one side of my body than the other, probably due to a muscle imbalance. In fact, while running on a treadmill across from a mirror the other day, I noticed I tend to drift to the left while running. To correct for this, I am working on both my hip and glut strength and incorporating single leg exercises to prevent compensation by the stronger side.
  3. Posture: When analyzing their stride, runners have a tendency, myself included, to focus on everything south of the belly button, ignoring the contributions of the upper body. I tend to have a slouchy upper body when tired, especially in late miles. This leads to chicken arms (elbows sticking out all funny like wings), and resting back in my hips/pelvis. I've been focusing on strengthening my core, but also my shoulders and arms, so I have the strength in the late miles to keep my frame open, my hips forward, and my shoulders back.
My newest training partners.
Probably worth noting here that I am not a PT, Orthopedist, or Sport physician so please don't take this as official advice.  These are observations I've made about my own stride and running style and the efforts I've made to help improve them. So far I've seen a good response from my body in that I feel less beat up after hard runs, I'm engaging my core more during my runs, and I feel more comfortable running at higher speeds. I'll be curious to see if my wear patterns have changed when the Purple Mile Eaters reach 600 miles.

Additional Reading:
Blame the Runner: Shoes don't cause Injuries from Outside
What's your wear pattern from Runner's World

Do you check the wear pattern of your sneakers? Do you work specifically on your stride?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

50k Training Week 5: 6/9-6/15

Monday:  I thought about going for a run after missing Sunday's workout, but I honestly didn't think I could keep it light. I was still riding a high after Saturday's Hospital Hill Run Half and didn't think it was smart to go out and run too hard.
Planned: Rest   Actual: Rest

Tuesday: Stayed inside on the treadmill mostly because I knew I could control the pace and keep it light. Felt a little sluggish, but no aches, pains, or other issues. Yay!
Planned: 5 miles   Actual: 5 miles (8:47/mile pace)

Wednesday: Was back inside due to impending rain.  Probably best because it allowed me to control the pace for another day.  Nothing has felt off since Saturday's race, I'm just trying to take my training and recovery more seriously (i.e. not push when not needed). Rolling and compression for recovery.
Planned: 6 miles   Actual: 6 miles (8:44/mile pace)
Behold, Doc Broc!
Thursday: A 5k was held on work this morning to celebrate Men's Health week. My coworkers and I thought it was only for men, so we were a little bummed when we went down to cheer on our male coworker and found out it was coed. I did have running stuff in my office for my afternoon run, but nothing for a shower.  Next time I will be prepared. On a happy note, I did get to meet Doc Broc, a piece of Broccoli dressed up as a doctor to teach kids and adults about healthy eating.
Planned: 5 miles   Actual: 5 miles (8:42/mile pace)

Friday: Rested like a champ (but not like a few weeks ago!). I was tired and ready for a little extra rest. Sometimes I think the mental break of a rest day is just as important as the physical.
Planned: Rest   Actual: Rest
My new Hospital Hill Run backpack in action!
Saturday: First big one of the training cycle. I was tired before I started, tired during it, and tired after it. The best thing I can say about the run, is that I got it done and really that is all I had to do. The sun came out right before mile 5 and shortly afterward I realized I was not carrying enough electrolytes, so I felt very blah by the end of the run.
Planned: 16 miles  Actual: 16.25 miles (9:32/mile pace)
A labor of love.
Sunday: Legs felt a little heavy in the morning and I wasn't able to run until the afternoon because of Father's Day bowling in the morning (new favorite strength training exercise, great lunge workout for one side of you body). Due to the heat (90+), I ran inside and kept it light. Over all, feeling good after a big mileage week!
Planned: 6 miles  Actual: 5.75 (8:49/mile)
Recovery athletics at it's best.
More traveling to one of my most favorite places is on tap for next week with another half marathon.  I promise this one is only a training run because it takes place at 7000+ feet and I have no business pushing the pace at altitude or so close to last week's race. My race goal is to soak in all the pretty views.

How did your week shape up? Any excitement on tap?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hospital Hill Run Half Marathon Recap

Hospital Hill Run Kansas City, MO
Field: ~9,000
Spectators: Very enthusiastic. Probably fewer than normal because of the weather.
Start/Finish: Crown Center
Course: Loop course. They don't call it a hill run for nothing. I tried to count the hills, but I ran out of fingers.
Schwag: This year participants got a backpack as well as a pancake breakfast post race (in addition to the usual post race foods).
Other: There is a 10k as well as a half marathon. In addition, there is a 5k the night before and runners can participate in multiple events through the ReRun challenge. They also let you download your race photos for free, making them the awesomest Race Directors ever.
The awesome backpacks they gave us!
When we were planning our trip to Kansas, the Jayhawk was nice enough to pick a week that had a race I wanted to do. Having spent part of his childhood around KC, he was really excited for me to participate in one of the quintessential KC races, the Hospital Hill Run.  Now in it's 41st year, the Hospital Hill Run is the oldest race in KC and has grown to include a 5k, 10k, and half marathon, with a ReRun option for those who run the 5k and either the 10k or half. Given that the focus of our trip was to visit family, I decided to only run one race, the half marathon.
The runner-less start line; Ready to run when they gave us a thumbs up!
I really didn't know what to expect from this race going in. I knew it wasn't going to be flat considering that it had 'hill' in the name and I also found out that it wasn't even in Kansas (that whole one city in two states thing confuses the heck out me).  The Jayhawk had run the 10k years ago and warned me that it can be a hot one, making the hills even more challenging. With my increase in mileage lately, I wasn't sure how much bounce my legs would have, so I decided that it sounded like a great chance to explore the city and get in a long hilly run with no real goal in mind.
The scene when we parked at the start. Puddles on top of puddles.
And then race day arrived. Remember how I joked after the Jailhouse Brewery 5k that "with the Wizard of Oz like weather conditions, I feel ready to take on Kansas."  Well, Mother Nature must have read that one because at exactly 5:30 on race morning, the house began to pitch. Ok, not really, but the lightening and hard rain began. By the time we got to the start line, there was actually localized flooding. We stayed in the car as long as we could closely watching social media updates and weather radar. About 15 minutes prior to gun time we ventured out to the start line just as they announced that we were under a 30 minute weather delay.
Smiling out the weather delay; hanging with the other runners under a bridge
Looking at the radar, I really didn't think we were going to get the race in. It was all kinds of ugly with a big old red and yellow blob approaching. Though one band of storms had passed, another, even bigger band loomed. It was so precarious, that they announced several times over the PA system to seek shelter. These Midwesterners don't mess around when storms come in.  By 7:15ish the rain had lightened considerably and I wondered out to find a port-a-john (no lines!).  By the time I returned, they gave the official announcement that the race would go at 7:30ish and everyone quickly scurried into their corrals. This is when I realized my garmin was dead, so I tossed it to the Jayhawk and prepared to run on feel (not something I've done in a race). With a quick  warning that strong rain would return in about 30 minutes (but no more lightening), they fired the gun and off we went. The hard rain came right as planned around mile 3, so it was soggy sneaks and slippery roads the entire way.
Somewhere on the course
I decided to start the race with the 1:55 pace group and told the Jayhawk to expect me at the finish around the 2 hour mark. Even though it was hilly, I wanted to make sure I still pushed the pace a little and didn't completely relax into long run mode. I figured I'd hang with the pace group for a while and ease off if my legs didn't have it. In true EB fashion, I didn't stay with the pace group long. By 1.5 miles in, I decided I didn't like the pace, and went out on my own. My legs felt sluggish, but it was probably due to standing around so much at the start.
Totally checking out the clock as I come to the line.
A large chunk of the first half of the race is uphill and that is really where all my training in Atlanta paid off. I pushed on the uphills and relaxed into the downhills, hoping that I wouldn't pay dearly for this strategy in the later miles. The mile markers were nice and big so I always had a good idea of where I was mileage-wise, but there were no clocks on the course and I was garminless, so I was running completely on feel. I knew I was ahead of the 1:55 pace group, but I expected them to come along and catch me at some point during the race.
Coming through the finishing stretch. Smiles!
Around the halfway point, I was really feeling in the grove. I noticed I was passing more and more people, and I figured they went out a little fast or I was severely underestimating what was still in front of me. Since I still felt strong, I decided to stick with my pace, whatever it might be, and if I needed to ease off later, that was fine because I wasn't running for a time goal. Then around the 9 mile marker, I passed one of the 1:50 pacers. And then my brain turned on and I started to think: Was I going to fast? Were they running a slow 1:50? What kind of catastrophic collapse am I about to have?
It's heavy and huge. I checked it for the flight home because I was worried they would think it was a weapon.
I tried my best not to over analyze it, took another Island boost (I fueled twice at miles 5 and 10), and did my best to keep strong for the rest of the race. There were still some major climbs to contend with, a long one through the Westport area (miles 10-11ish) and a short and steep one during mile 13. After that it was all down hill to the finish. I passed the second 1:50 pacer around mile 12, and that really motivated me to get in the last 1.1 miles. Knowing that I was on track to PR, I really tried to let loose on that last downhill, enjoy it, and smile big for the cameras. My biggest worry was that the Jayhawk wouldn't be able to find me because I was far ahead of schedule. Luckily, he is a wise one, and he and his brother ventured out of their dry spot in Panera early just in case I was ahead of schedule. They were out there in plenty of time to see me cruise down the hill and into the finish. MVFs for the day (Most Valuable Fans)
All smiles at the soggy finish. Yes, the medal is so big it almost covers my bib!
Even without my garmin, I knew I had PR'd the race by my clock time alone.  I had to wait until the official results were posted to find out exactly how much I time I knocked off with my chip. The two hills splits are for their King and Queen of the Hill contest. Fastest ones up the hill got a whole basket full of goodies, including a new garmin.  I really could have used it.
Yay for negative splits and races that give details for people without garmins.

In the end, I PR'd by 2:10 (exactly 10 seconds per mile). My time was completely unexpected, and it was really fun to feel so strong and consistent during a race. The rain kept the temps cool throughout the race (60s) and running on feel allowed me to not fixate on numbers. Post race, I felt really good, and was able to have a large coffee, beer, full plate of pancakes in the finish area (I think that is probably a PR as well). It was definitely a soggy one (my sneakers were so wet I could feel my insoles sliding in my shoes on some of the downhills), and there were several moments where I didn't think we were going to get to race, but in the end, half marathon #21 was definitely one to remember.

Have you ever had a weather delay at a race? Any stories of surprise PRs?

Monday, June 9, 2014

50k Training Week 4: 6/2-6/8

Monday: I knew I would be traveling for a good chunk of Tuesday, so I switched my workouts. My legs felt tired from the quick turnaround of my weekend workouts (Saturday PM followed by Sunday AM runs), so I took it easy.
Planned: Rest  Actual: 4 miles (8:45/mile pace)

Tuesday: It was a busy travel day, but I did manage to get in some time on the swings. It might be my new favorite form of cross-training. There was also some bike riding to get to and from the swings, but I didn't wear my garmin. :P
Planned: 4 miles  Actual: Rest
Trying to swing over the rainbow.
Where birdies fly,
and I wear an emerald shirt.
Wednesday: Celebrated National Running Day with an easy run exploring a new area. Later I got in several miles of hilly walking as we explored KU (there is a reason I call him the Jayhawk). We refueled with a quick sip at Free State Brewing.
Planned: 4 miles  Actual: 3.4 miles (8:44/mile pace)
 Off to see the neighborhood.
Lions and tigers and Jayhawks, oh my!
Thursday: It was raining pretty darn hard. Since I had no gym access and wanted to have dry shoes for Saturday's race (which is funny because it poured during the race), I skipped my workout.  A little taper never hurt anyone.
Planned: 4 miles  Actual: None!

Friday: Celebrated National Donut Day with an easy dozen.  So many important holidays in one week. I also visited Boulevard Brewing. Just trying to take in all the sites.
Planned: Rest Actual: Rest
 I'll get you my pretties; My new mantra.
 Pre-race carbo loading at Boulevard Brewing.
Saturday: Woke up to a very rainy race day. Luckily after a short delay, we still got to race and I had a great, but a little soggy day! Full recap coming!
Planned: 13.1 miles Actual: 13.1 miles (Pace: You'll have to read the recap!)
Turns out I wasn't in Kansas anymore.
Sunday: More traveling! In celebration of my great race, I gave myself the day off. Even though my legs felt really good, I figured some extra rest wouldn't hurt after a hard, hilly effort. There's no place like home.
Planned: 4 miles  Actual: Rest

Sunday, June 8, 2014

May Recap

Miles: 88.1

Races: Jailhouse Brewery 5k. I really waited until the last possible moment (6pm on the 31st) to race this month.

Training plans developed: 2

Training plans implemented: 1, 50k Training plan version 2.0

Highpoint of the month: The organizers of the Snakebite 50/50 (i.e. the 50k I am running in August) announced that not only do we get a hug and a pint (or two) of craft beer at the finish, but they will be serving Frozen Pints, craft beer flavored ice cream.  Now if that doesn't get me to the finish line, I don't know what will.   My biggest race day decision might be picking a flavor.

Not so highpoint of the month: That shoulder/neck thing I had going on. I still am having odd tightness, so a trip to a sports med doc might be in order.

Thing I am excited about next month: More traveling! I'll be out and about in June for both work travel and a family visit.  Lucky for me, I've found a way to sneak in some exciting running adventures during the trips. I love exploring new places and it's even more fun to explore them on foot!

A Couple of good reads for you:
Transitioning to Ultras from NYC Running Mama
10 Easy Exercises at the Office from The Onion

How did your May turnout? Who has some fun summer plans?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Jailhouse Brewery 5k Recap

Jailhouse Brewery 5k, Hampton GA
Field: A few hundred
Spectators: Not many. There was a small, but enthusiastic crowd at the finish.
Start/Finish: 6pm start @ Jailhouse Brewery
Course: Fairly flat with only one small hill.
Schwag: T-shirt, coozie, and optional wrist band for beer tasting at the brewery post race.
Other: The race benefits Breast cancer research and is at a brewery. It really can't get any better than that.
The Jayhawk has been dying to visit Jailhouse Brewery. Newer (est 2009) on the microbrew scene, Jailhouse Brewing is a small, but quickly growing brewery about 40 minutes south of Atlanta. The brewery is in an old jailhouse, so everything about it is jail themed. We've been fans of their brew for several years now (I like the Mugshot IPA and the Jayhawk goes for the Slammer Wheat), but haven't made it down for visitation yet. When we learned they had a 5k that we didn't have to wake up early for and found a killer deal on bibs, we were in.
Pre-race smiles. No storm clouds yet.
Seeing as I don't run many 5ks, (I wore a bridesmaid's dress in my last one and ate 10 donuts during the one before that), I really wasn't sure how to prepare or pace myself for the race. On top of that, the start was at 6pm, so fueling was kind of hard to time but since I rested so hard on Friday (read: I was a little hungover), I was interested in fueling too much anyway.
Post race party at the brewery. Runners love a good craft brew!
We arrived in Hampton 40 minutes before the race. Just enough time to get our bibs and visit the port-a-johns. There were some ominous clouds approaching, but no one seemed worried as we lined up for the start. Given that it was a small charity race with a 1 mile family walk starting at the same time, there wasn't a lot of organization at the start and we got stuck somewhere in the middle of the crowd. I spent most of the first half a mile just trying to get through the crowd and find a spot I could run my pace (whatever that might be).
 All smiles because I'm done running and refueling with some tasty brews!
Just over a half a mile in, the wind began to pick up and it was clearing lightening in the distance. So there I was hungover, battling a headwind, and running into a lightening storm. Sure, probably not the highlight of my athletic career, but it was one of those moments when you realize that you really do love this sport even when you have days like this, and it was time to figure out how much pain I was willing to go through for the next 25 minutes.
Race shirt, Age Group award, and waiting out the rain.
There was one water stop on the course about half way in, a lovely site for my dehydrated self, and shortly after that I saw the Jayhawk approaching the halfway point looking strong and ahead of schedule. From that point on, I basically tucked my head down and just tried to grind it out until the finish. The last 0.2 miles or so was a long straight away, and as much as I tried to push, my dehydrated legs had nothing left to give. I finished in 24:05 (7:46/mile pace), the fastest 5k I've run in recent memory and good enough for 3rd in my age group.
Moments after finishing, the winds increased yet again and then the rain began.  Luckily the worst of the rain came after the Jayhawk finished (ahead of schedule mind you!).  We huddled in the water tent for a few minutes and then found an awning to hang out under while the storm passed.  It was a short one and in no time it was clear to visit the brewery and celebrate our unexpectedly good races.
The Jayhawk photobombing my beer, and then enjoying one himself. The glass says,
"If you believe in the little man, small towns, and big flavor, then you're one of us."
I'm sure there are a lot of lessons I could learn from this race like "Don't be a jackass the night before a race", "Respect the 5k", and "You can push a lot harder than you realize," but mostly I was just happy we both had a good time.  The Jayhawk has been battling a series of injuries for the past few months and it was great to see him have a positive experience and finish a race with a smile on his face. Also, with the Wizard of Oz like weather conditions, I feel ready to take on Kansas.

Are you a 5k fan? What is you favorite part about them?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

50k Training Week 3: 5/26-6/1

Monday: Enjoyed a nice day off from work with the Jayhawk and relaxed.
Planned: Rest  Actual: Rest

Tuesday: Introduced the Purple Mile Eaters to the treadmill. Their treads are almost too new where they feel a little slippery on the treadmill, but nothing a few more road miles won't fix. Did arms and core strengthening.
Planned: 5 miles   Actual: 5 miles (8:40/mile pace)

Wednesday: I had hoped to do a tempo style run, but it was insanely humid and by mile 3 I just didn't think it was going to happen because I was having a lot of trouble finding another gear. Around 4.75 miles into the run I started to hear thunder and then a block later the lightening began. It was rather close by, causing me to pick up the pace a bit (for some reason it's easier to do speed work when potential electrocution is on the line) and head for home. I never actually got rained on, but I could tell that it had rained in all the neighborhoods close to home so I decided not to tempt fate and called it at 7.7 when I arrived home. So, yes, I got in my tempo run. I also ate a bug during the run, but that was my only fueling. Foam rolled for recovery.
Planned: 8 miles   Actual: 7.7 miles (8:34/mile pace)
Still crazy after all these years.
Thursday: Got in some impromptu speed work in the morning when Mia Monster decided to chase a cat while out on our walk. At no point was I worried about the cat, more the potential for a car hitting my monster, so I sprinted around like a nut to make sure traffic slowed down as the she-beast finished her chase. No cats or dogs were harmed during the event. Maybe it's her new dog food, but that old girl has got some impressive speed including a very explosive start. I could learn a lot from her especially about the importance of rest. Got in a run later and well as some core work. Foam rolled and had a beer for recovery.
Planned: 5 miles  Actual: 5 miles (8:44/mile pace)

Friday: I was really happy for Friday to arrive. I may have rested a little too hard.
Planned: Rest   Actual: Rest
Beer makes everything better, right?
Saturday: Needed a recovery day after Friday's rest day (read: I was a little hungover).  Thank heavens the Jailhouse Brewery 5k that the Jayhawk and I were running wasn't until 6pm.  I'm not a big 5k runner, but the promise of craft beer at the finish gets me every time. There was a quick rainstorm at the end of the race, but it all cleared in time for the tasting. Full recap coming tomorrow.
Planned: 8 miles   Actual: 3.1 miles (7:46/mile pace)

Sunday: Moved Saturday's long run to Sunday and Sunday's run will happen on Monday.  A little shifting in the schedule to make everything work and get in all my miles. Nothing too exciting to report about this run except that it was a mere 16 hours after the brewery 5k and I felt no ill effects, but was a little tired.  Foam rolled for recovery.
Planned: 6 miles   Actual: 8.5 miles (8:58/mile pace)

How was your week? Any races, impromptu animal chases, or wildlife consumption on your runs?
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