Wednesday, August 20, 2014

2014 Parkersburg Half-Marathon Race Recap

This race was so embarrassing that I don't really want to do a recap, but I think I need to.

Goal: 16 miles with 13.1 miles at 9 to 9:05 pace
Reality: 16 miles with 13.1 miles at 9:48 pace (which was also the overall pace of the run)

GIANT FAIL. But let's backtrack.

6am: Alarm goes off, and I get up. Between 6 and 7, I get ready, eat a Clif bar and have some water.

7am-ish: Aaron and I head to the start, which is about 1.5 miles away. This is perfect because I am supposed to cover 16 miles. I bring a small bottle of Gatorade with me with the intention of drinking it before the run.

8am: The race starts, and I am carrying the Gatorade with a few drinks taken out of it. The first couple of miles are just under 9 minutes, so I'm on track. Right before Mile 3 at a water stop, I took a drink of the Gatorade and tossed the bottle; it was nearly full.

Mile 3 is essentially a long hill. My pace dropped substantially, and I was over 9:40, I think. Mile 4 was back to 8:50, so I was still close to being on track. Sometime after 3, I took Gatorade at a water stop, and that was the only time I took Gatorade instead of water.

At the 10k mark, my overall pace had dropped to 9:23, which is still okay. It was unlikely that I could recover and sub-2 the race, but I could still have a good race. I took a gel around mile 6, I think. I should have taken it earlier.

After the 10k mark, I really fell apart though. There were a few times where I was almost crying, and it felt like I was going to have a panic attack. My pace kept slowing, and I couldn't pick it up, even on downhills. My legs were spasming during this time too.

I was trying to figure out how I could run off the course, still get in my 16 miles and get back to the house. I don't know the area nearly well enough to do that, so I kept trucking.

Mile 12 is a pretty big hill, and I took a second gel right before the hill. It was too late. I stopped and walked for about 30 seconds, maybe 45 seconds. Then I felt really bad about myself and started running again. It was pathetic, and that mile clocked in around 11 minutes.

The last mile is basically downhill, and I couldn't get my legs to turn over at all. It was almost 10:30. I saw a sign that said "Pain is temporary, but internet results are forever." I wanted to cry. I finally got to the finish where Aaron was waiting, and I burst into tears. It was awful.

I drank a bottle of water, ate a banana and then headed back to Ali's. I ran faster uphill back to her place than I did the last mile.

One thing I know I did wrong was forgetting it was a 16-mile run, not just the race. For a half, two gels and Gatorade is enough. That said, I only took Gatorade once and that was, what?, an ounce or two. Aaron thinks I don't eat enough beforehand and that the Clif bar isn't quick enough energy. Maybe he's right.

But the biggest thing is that I gave up, and I don't really know what to do about that one.

Monday, August 18, 2014

NFIM Training - Week 6

I'm a little nervous about this week. I am doing the Parkersburg half-marathon on Saturday, and I have a very ambitious time goal of sub-2ing that bitch. We'll see! (I'm doing this recap as I go. Clearly the half should deserve its own post.)

Goal: 41 miles, 9-mile workout w/ 3 miles 60 on/60 float, 16-mile long run
Reality: 37.25 miles, 9-mile workout w/ 3 miles 60 on/60 float, 16-mile long run

Monday: Easy Run
Distance: 4 TM miles
Time & Pace: 40 minutes, 10 pace
Shoes: Brooks PureFlow 2

It was raining and awful, so I just did this run in the basement on the treadmill. I'm watching The Secret Circle on Netflix, and it was the perfect length. The treadmill is getting a little iffy though.

Tuesday: 60 On/60 Float Workout
Distance: 9 miles
Time & Pace: 1:29:30, 9:56 pace
Shoes: Adidas Glide Boost

The pace isn't important for this run, obviously. I ran on the Towpath near the house, so I warmed up by going out 1.5 miles past downtown and back. Then the workout started! For 3 miles, I basically ran hard for 60 seconds and then "floated" for 60 seconds. I didn't have any time goals for those intervals, so I don't really know if I did okay or not. I think my range was too wide, and I was beat by the end of the 3 miles. Those 3 miles back to my car were not good.

60 seconds on: ranged from 7:43 to 8:57, averaged 8:23
60 seconds float: ranged from 9:58 to 10:54, averaged 10:31

Wednesday: off (well, 1.25-mile walk)

After Tuesday's workout, I was feeling pretty tired. I talked with J (boss and "coach"), and he told me to take Wednesday off. I had planned to run 8 miles or so in order to get my 41 miles for the week. I will be short of 41 miles, and that's okay. (I keep telling myself that!)

But it was weird to not run with the half-marathon training group. I took a walk and socialized while they were running their 5 miles. Everyone did so well, and I was a little jealous not to be part of it.

Thursday: Easy Neighborhood Run
Distance: 3.5 miles
Time & Pace: 10:30 pace
Shoes: Hoka Bondi

This run didn't feel good at all. J told me to do 4 on Thursday and maybe 4 on Friday. I ran before work, and I was back at the house at 3.5 and didn't see a point in slogging along for another half-mile. I'm not sure if I'll run on Friday. If I do, it'll likely be 3.

Friday: Easy Neighborhood Run
Distance: 3.5 miles
Time & Pace: 10:04 pace
Shoes: Adidas Glide Boost

This run felt better and required less effort than Thursday's run, so that's good!

Saturday: Long Run
Distance: 16 miles
Time & Pace: 2:21, 9:48 pace
Shoes: Saucony Kinvara

This looks like an acceptable long run, except that there was the Parkersburg half-marathon in there, and I totally crashed and burned. Clearly, I did not sub-2 that bitch or get anywhere close to that. I sincerely almost quit, but I wasn't sure how to get back to Ali's if I did so. It was awful. I feel like I've already talked about it a lot, but I should probably do a race recap to help identify where things went wrong.

Sunday: Off

I took Sunday off even though I was supposed to do a 3-miler. I needed the day to recharge.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

NFIM Training - Week 5

This is a bit of a down week and also my first week with any sort of workout. Here goes!

(I'm drafting this post and updating it periodically throughout the week instead of recapping everything at once. I'm hoping I'll include more info that will be useful to future me.)

Goal: 39 miles, ins & outs workout (7 miles), 14-mile long run
Reality: 39.83 miles, workout and long run accomplished as prescribed

Distance: 5 miles
Time & Pace: 56 minutes, 11:12 pace
Shoes: Nike Terra Kigers

Monday was the last night of our summer trail mixers. Most of the group planned to go longer, so I turned around with another woman at the 2.5-mile mark. I knew I had a workout to do the next morning, so I didn't want to kill myself. It was an easy trail run. The bridle trail at Bedford Reservation is pretty kind, very runnable, although there is a new mountain bike trail that is more difficult. There were a lot of bikers out so it didn't seem wise to do a group run on the trail.

Tuesday: Workout
Distance: 7 miles
Time & Pace: 1:09:47, 9:58 pace
Shoes: Saucony Kinvara 5

This was my first workout for this training cycle! It's called an "in & out," and the purpose is to train you to recover at your marathon pace. Because I don't really have a time goal, we're using 9:40 as my marathon pace (sub-4:15). This was my first one so it wasn't too long.

Miles 1-3: warmup in 31-something. Funny thing. I started on the Towpath at Mustill Store. I started with 1 mile south and planned to go 3 down to Big Bend and then back. Unfortunately the Towpath is closed between Mustill and Memorial, so after my first mile, I had to hop in the car and go to Memorial Parkway. Glad it was in the middle of the warmup and not during the workout.

Mile 4: 9:07 (goal 9:10)
Mile 5: 9:39 (goal 9:40)
Mile 6: 9:09 (goal 9:10)

Mile 7: 9:55 cooldown

I can only say that the workout was a success, right? I had a lot of trouble finding the paces, and I just let my watch tell me what to do. I hope that gets easier. The Akron portion of the Towpath isn't quite as flat as Brecksville, but it's fine (it's a little hilly going toward downtown).

Tuesday: 5k Group
Distance: 1.5 miles
Time & Pace: doesn't really matter
Shoes: New Balance 890

Wednesday: HM Group
Distance: 6 miles (2 before group, 4 w/ group on the hill)
Time & Pace: 58 minutes, 9:58 pace)
Shoes: Newton Distance III

I felt pretty good during this run, but I didn't push the pace at all.

Thursday: off

Friday: Easy Run
Distance: 3.25 miles
Time & Pace: 32:50, 10:06 pace
Shoes: Adidas Glide Boosts

I was definitely sluggish on this run, but I warmed up and finished feeling okay.

Saturday: 5k Group
Distance: 3 miles
Time & Pace: 33 minutes, 11 pace
Shoes: New Balance 890

I ran the turnaround sign out for the half group beforehand, and then I ran with the 5k group. All was well.

Sunday: Long Run
Distance: 14 miles
Time & Pace: 2:19, 9:55 pace
Shoes: Saucony Kinvara

It was a little humid that morning, but I felt okay. I stayed under 10-minute pace for the last 5 miles, so that's good. I wasn't trying to do much but finish the run feeling okay. Mission accomplished.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

NFIM Training - Week 4

There's not a whole lot to say about last week's training. I did what I was supposed to -- 41 miles with no workouts and a 16-mile long run -- and I ran six days and hit the gym twice. But for consistency's sake, here goes:

5.25-mile trail run with Aaron at Sand Run Metro Park. I led us on my usual loop that starts with a quarter-mile or so on the Towpath and hits both Dogwood and Mingo trails. It's nice, it wasn't speedy (1:05 for a 12:22 pace).

I ran to and from the gym before work, which is 4 miles, and it took me about 38:30. I did some strength-training at the gym (duh). Later on, I did 1.5 miles with the 5k group.

The half-marathon group had 5 miles, but I wanted to do 6. I ran out 2.5 with the group and then continued on so I was solo for 3.5 miles. I caught the tail of the group, so that made me happy. It was quick for me -- 54:25 -- and I was happy that I held the 9ish pace throughout.


My long run day! I had 16 on the schedule, and I managed to find some company.

  • Miles 1-3 with K at a 10:35ish pace
  • Miles 4-7 solo at a 10ish pace
  • Miles 8-10.5 with A at a mid-9 pace
  • Miles 11-16 solo at mostly a mid to high 9s pace (last mile at 9:10)

I ended up just barely coming in with a 10-minute pace. I'm pretty happy with that. I wore my Adidas Glides, which may have been a mistake. Or maybe not. Still testing those babies out. I ate an English muffin with butter and cinnamon sugar for breakfast; I also took a gel at miles 4, 8 and 12. I don't know if it was too often, but I felt okay -- I may stick with every 4 miles for a while.

I started with 2 miles with the 5k training group and finished up with 5.25 miles for the day.

To get to 41, I had to do 3 miles. I ended up doing them at the gym; I followed that with a strength session.

Overall, I hit my training for Week 4, and I am happy with that. I'm feeling okay, although I'm starting to feel tired. I'm trying to stretch and foam-roll and use my Addaday more regularly. I've also had some plantar faschiitis twinges, but I think they might be related to my New Balance 890s breaking down. I wear those with the 5k training group, and I think I need to start bringing shoes to swap for my Saturday post-5k group runs. Or get some new ones. In any case, I have iced a little (the frozen water bottle for the left foot and also a little on my left knee).

I keep track of my shoes' mileage on my spreadsheet, but I wonder if I should do so here as well (with more details) in case I ever come back to this...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

NFIM Training - Week 3

Week 3 was another success!

Goal: 39 miles, no workouts, 14-mile long run
Reality: 39 miles, no workouts, 14-mile long run

  • Monday: off. After rally times and running Sunday evening (even though it was a paltry 3.5 miles), I was tired Monday. I got lazy.
  • Tuesday: 8-mile easy run in the morning (1:20); 1.5-mile NoBo run. I didn't exactly intend to run 8 miles on Tuesday morning, but I ran around. Once I got to the park, I felt better so I decided to do the 2-mile trail loop in the park and then head home. Given 2 miles on trails, a 10-minute pace is good.
  • Wednesday: strength-training in the morning; 4-mile hill run w/ HM group (35:15). That's definitely the fastest I have run the hill. Now I want to do it under 35. 
  • Thursday: off. I planned it. 
  • Friday: 8-mile easy run (1:19). Originally I didn't intend to do another 8-mile run, but one of the girls in the HM group couldn't run on Saturday so I told her I'd join her. It was a perfect morning for running.
  • Saturday: 3.5-mile run (2 miles in 19 + NoBo). With 14 on the schedule for Sunday, I just wanted to do enough mileage to get my 39 miles for the week. So I did.
  • Sunday: 14-mile long run (2:21). A few people from the HM group couldn't run on Saturday, so they planned to do 8 or 9 on Sunday. I planned ahead for that and did 5 beforehand and then 9 with them. It was HUMID. I swear, it was the sweatiest I've ever been, but overall, this was successful. I ran the last 5 miles under a 10-minute pace, so overall, win. 
Ideally, I would have run six days, but with two 8-mile runs, five was the magic number. This week will be similar for the week, but I'm doing my 16-mile long run on Friday. By myself. Entirely by myself. I'm nervous. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


I can't believe that I haven't introduced Duncan!

We don't know his story before we got him, but I'm happy we did. He hasn't warmed up to us completely, although he's friendly and sweet, just not really cuddly yet. But he LOVES Valentino. He's like Tino's little brother. He follows him around, likes to be right next to him ALL THE TIME. 

After Winston died, Valentino was clearly lonely. He and Dubs were besties, and Tino had never been without him. Aaron and I started talking about bringing on a friend. I ended up at Petsmart by myself one day. BIG mistake. Well, not really -- that's how we ended up with Duncan. Valentino was NOT happy with the new cat at first. We learned that he indeed can hiss and growl. Luckily after a week, he was okay with Duncan. Now they play and wrestle, although sometimes I think Tino isn't playing.

Duncan is still jumpy around us (more Aaron than me though), and he doesn't 100% trust us yet. It appears he was a stray/feral and abused in some manner, but he's relaxing. He has Tino so he's happy. He's starting to seek out attention from us more, which is appreciated. (And yes, he clearly eats his feelings.)

There are a couple of odd things about Duncan. One is that his ear was cropped to identify him as neutered. That's common in trap-neuter-release programs, less common for shelters and rescues, but not uncommon. There's also this "bad leg." We're not sure if there's nerve damage or what. When I took him to the vet, the nail was super-long, so that was part of it. He still doesn't seem to have as much control over it. That is getting better, though, so we're just keeping an eye on it for now. It doesn't affect his ability to run, jump and play; he just slides and slips occasionally.

We've had him for just over five weeks now, and we're all settling in. Duncan still doesn't feel like OUR cat yet, but he will! I'm enjoying getting to know him.

NFIM Training - Week 2

I was closer to a model student this week!

Goal: 37 miles, no workouts, 12-mile long run
Reality: 37.13 miles, no workouts, 12-mile long run

I was a little overzealous at the beginning of the week because of the rally last weekend. I intended to get in all 37 miles in five straight days. That involved a couple of double days, and Coach was getting a little concerned. I reworked my week:

Monday: 5-mile trail run (58:45)
Tuesday: 5-mile run split between neighborhood and trail (51:50); 2.63 w/ 5k training group
Wednesday: 5 miles to/from the gym (48:40) + strength-training; 4 miles w/ FF HM group (38:53)
Thursday: off
Friday: 12-mile long run (2:02)
Saturday: off Sunday: 3.5-mile run (36:20)

Friday's long run was tough! We ran from the house to Kent and around campus. Hilly! But we were rewarded with grilled cheese sandwiches so that's good. Then we headed out for rally times. Sunday's post-rally run was tough and slow, but ultimately a good idea.

I am aiming to be on target again this week, but I might end up a little over with my mileage. Not too much though (depends on Friday and Saturday and how much I run with the half-marathon group). I'm slightly concerned about Sunday's 14 miles, but I know I'll be okay. I'm running that from the Towpath so I'll get a break from hills during my long run.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

NFIM Training - Week 1

I have a marathon training plan! And last week was my first week "following" it. I use quotes because I technically overdid it.

Week 1

Goal: 35 miles, no workouts, 10-mile long run
Reality: 38.5 miles, 1 workout and 1 race, 13.1-mile long run

On Tuesday, I did six quarter-mile repeats (1:57, 1:55, 1:56, 1:55, 1:57, 1:50 -- pretty consistent, eh?), and I did a 5k on Sunday (25:48, which is a new PR). Friday's long run ended up being a little longer than prescribed, partly because I wanted to run to the end of the Freedom Trail.

My long run was slow (13.1 in 2:14). I felt okay, but I couldn't seem to push through and drop the pace much. I think it was a negative-split, though, and I know the last few miles were a little quicker. I ran in the neighborhood to the Bike & Hike/Freedom Trail, which I took to the Portage County line. And then I turned around and went home. It's a much hillier route than I usually do for long runs, so it's not surprising that I was tired.

I promised my coach I'd be on point this week. I didn't tell him that I'd already considered doing a longer run than scheduled. Since he kind of almost reprimanded me (I got a pass because this is Week 1), I'll do my best not to screw up this week.

Week 2's goals are 37 miles with a 12-mile long run. We're going to a scooter rally on Friday, so hitting 37 miles seems rather tricky. Lots of miles in five days. I did a 5-mile trail run last night and then another 5 miles (2.25 on trails) this morning. I have my 5k training group tonight, so I'll get a mile there. I might try to get some extra as well. I'm planning 8 miles tomorrow (4 before work and 4 at the pub run). That leaves me with 6 on Thursday (ugh -- probably should aim to get in a few extra miles tonight) and 12 on Friday with Saturday and Sunday off.

This week is VOLUME, I guess. I am feeling tired though. Over 77 miles in July thus far.

Review: Summer House with Swimming Pool

Summer House with Swimming Pool
Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

My rating: 0 of 5 stars

I tried to read this book, but the protagonist is utterly unlikable. I don't need to read about how much doctors don't care, and the idea of moving forward with this book is painful. I am an adult, and I read for fun, not punishment.

View all my reviews

Monday, July 07, 2014

Almost Time...

I officially have less than 16 weeks until that silly marathon. My "coach" wants me doing a 14-week plan because my base is pretty solid. I'm not going to go through some boring recaps, but I barely 100 miles each for May and June (but I *did* hit 100). And I've been back in the gym a little more regularly. It's a good start.

Last week's training:

Monday: 4-mile trail run w/ a friend
Tuesday: 6 miles at the track (four 800s w/ 4:30 recovery)
Wednesday: upper body & abs + 1-mile walk; 3-mile run w/ group
Thursday: lower body; 3 quick miles before training group
Friday: off
Saturday: 13.4 miles
Sunday: 3.1 miles to the gym; full-body strength; 1-mile walk

So 34.5 miles for the week with a long run. I'm probably doing too many 3-milers, but I do kinda like them.

This week's tentative plan (for at least 30 miles):

Monday: trail run (4 miles)
Tuesday: track workout (6ish miles)
Wednesday: strength + easy run (3 miles)
Thursday: off
Friday: long run (10-12 miles)
Saturday: easy run (distance TBD)
Sunday: 5k race

Looking at that, I should probably boost the distance on Wednesday and really aim for at least 5 on Saturday. We have the half-marathon and 5k training groups that morning, and I know I'll be coaching the 5k group. Plus I want to be relatively rested for the 5k because my friend thinks I could place in my age group, so I don't want to screw that up :)