Friday Faves and a Giveaway!

April happens to be my favorite month, mostly because it’s my birthday month, so I wanted to do something a little different this time. This month, I wanted to share a list of my favorite things, and as a little bonus, a giveaway!

Favorite Shoes: Asics GT 2000 - These shoes, they are heavenly. I first tried them on at the Columbus Marathon expo in 2012, and I’ve never looked back. I’ve gone through a couple pairs, and I’ve never been more satisfied with a shoe. I’ve always been an Asics’ girl, but these are hands down my favorite. They recently released the GT 2000-2 which are currently sitting in my closet waiting for their first run!

Asics GT-2000, Heaven for your feet

Asics GT-2000, Heaven for your feet

Favorite Half Marathon: Sandy Ridge Half Marathon - No longer around, this half marathon will always have a place in my heart. This course ran on my street and surrounding roads I grew up running on, the roads where I fell in love with running. My favorite moment of this race was running by my parent’s house, hearing them cheer and seeing words of encouragement sprayed onto the road.

Run!

Run!

Favorite 5k: Love-A-Stray 5k - I’ve run this race every year it’s been around, and will be running it for the third straight year next weekend. I grew up volunteering at the Love-A-Stray shelter and adopted two cats from them as well, so this race has always held a special place in my heart. Registration is still open if you’re interested in running, pups can join too!

Mile 2-3

On course last year

Favorite Place to Run - I will always love running in the Cleveland Metro Parks. There are so many opportunities and trails to discover, it’s hard to have a bad day running there. I don’t get there as often as I used to, so my second favorite has become Buckeye Woods and slowly creeping up to my number one spot.

Welcome to my happy place.

Welcome to my happy place.

Favorite Band on my iPod - Anberlin has been a favorite for a long time. Whether it’s a long run, or a race, they pump me up and remind me of how far I’ve come. They’re finishing up their last year together, but listening to them will always be a good reminder of the many, many miles I’ve run.

Favorite Run Fuel – Sport Beans are without a doubt my favorite thing to snack on during long runs and races. With such a sweet tooth, I’m not sure how I keep these in stock at home. I did a review last year, and naturally my favorite was and still is Lemon Lime. Best packet for long runs? That definitely has to be the assorted pack. This year they’ve introduced Extreme Pomegranate and Extreme Assorted.

Sport Bean Flavors

Sport Bean Flavors

Favorite Nuun - It’s no surprise that my favorite Nuun is Lemon Lime. Lemon Lime has always been my thing, and Nuun does it perfectly. They recently came out with Nuun Energy, which keeps the refreshing taste of the lemon lime flavor, but adds caffeine to stay hydrated and awake all day. Can you say perfection?

How do you make Lemon Lime better? Add caffeine!

How do you make Lemon Lime better? Add caffeine!

So here’s my chance to share the love of one of my favorite things. The awesome folks at Nuun are joining in on my birthday month and letting one lucky winner pick their favorite Nuun 4 pack for themselves! Here are the rules:

  • The contest will run from Friday, April 18th to Thursday April 24th, ending at 9:00 EST.
  • A winner will be randomly picked and announced on the blog on Friday, April 25th.
  • You may enter one time per option, leave a comment telling me which options you choose.

Here’s how to enter!

Good luck and stay hydrated!

Spring Gear Up

Even though there is a little bit of snow on the ground, it’s finally spring! Like many of you, as soon as the temperature hit 40 I was out running in shorts and long sleeves. Looking back, it probably wasn’t the best gear to wear, but after the brutal winter we’ve had, anything above 40 felt amazing! But just as quickly as the temperate rose to 70, then back down to 20, perfect running weather will be an every day occurrence. I wanted to share my go to outfits for spring/summer weather, with the hope that maybe we’re completely done with the snow for this year.

Tops

Long Sleeve

  • Nike’s Long Sleeve Miler Shirt – A great shirt for in between temps or pre race warm up. They’ve changed the design a little over the years, but this shirt is always in rotation for me.
  • OIselle’s Flyte Long Sleeve – Breathable, and stylish, the flight texture keeps your warm and cool. The material hugs you, but stretches for comfort. Added bonus, birds and a motivational “fly” on the back.

Short Sleeve

Tanks

  • Oiselle’s Winona Tank – New to me, but oh so comfortable. The feel of this shirt is heavenly. It’s perfect for layering or mixing with arms sleeves.
  • Nike’s G87 Tank – This tank, it’s just so light that I forget I’m wearing it. Long run tested and approved.
  • Nike’s Sport V-Neck Tank – Light and non form fitting, these are perfect for the most humid days when you don’t want anything sticking to you.
  • C9 by Champion Racer Back Tanks – No link, but over the years Target has had a great selection of racer back tanks. I have at least 5 I keep in constant rotation and are perfect for layering.

Bottoms

  • Oiselle’s Lesley Knicker – Being so short, I’ve struggled with capris turning into leggings, but these hit me just right. They hug me just right and are perfect for in between temps.
  • Nike’s Rival Shorts – Short, comfortable and breathable, these shorts entered rotation last year. They’re perfect for hiding sweat during humid, long runs.
  • Nike’s Tempo Short – My old faithful shorts. I have way too many pairs of these, but the colors and patterns are too fun to pass up on. They can seem a bit puffy and the length varies, but they’ve been with me for years, it’s hard to give them up.
  • Oiselle’s Rogas – These came into rotation last summer and are by far my favorite. Comfort and coverage, I can live in these for days.

Socks

Clearly I have enough clothes to keep me covered no matter what the weather, but you really need to have options. Or at least that’s what I tell myself. I buy a few new items each year, but mostly keep everything I own in rotation. More options, means less time doing laundry!

I also wanted to touch on a few important tips as the weather transitions from 40 and comfortable to 80 and miserable.

Stay hydrated – One of the hardest things during changing seasons is staying hydrated. As the temperature rises, along with humidity, you need to make sure you’re taking in the proper amount of fluids. Invest in a fuel belt or water bottle that you can carry. It may seem obnoxious at first, but you’ll definitely need it as the weather warms up.

Cover Up – The sun will showing up a lot more during your runs, so you need to stay covered if you can. Start applying sun screen before your run, invest in some shades and keep your head covered with a hat.

Check for Spots – I’m a sucker for wanting to get tan during the summer, but it can be hazardous as well. Skin cancer is unfortunately on the rise and can happen at any age. Do yourself a favor and get a skin cancer screening once a year. Your body will thank you.

 

What are your go to spring outfits? What’s your tip for spring training?

Medina Half Training: Week Nine

This week was pretty much perfect. I got everything in that I needed to do, and I felt great the entire week. I’ve been waiting for a week like this for such a long time, I’m still feeling the runner’s high. Or maybe it’s the allergy medicine….

Body Fusion was the perfect way to start the week. I actually wanted to skip it, and lounge on the couch all night, but forced myself to get out the door and I definitely didn’t regret it. It was probably the hardest, but most rewarding class yet. I was sweating within two seconds of lifting, and my body was taking a beating, but I was lifting heavier weights than normal and I could feel myself getting stronger. By the time we got to yoga, I was ready to relax, and somehow I managed to hit every pose on point.

Tuesday’s run was everything I hoped it would be. I was a little nervous about the possibility of pain in my knee, but I had fresh legs and kept dipping well under a 9:00 pace. I was able to get four miles in and enjoyed the beautiful weather. I even got to run a few hills while watching the sun set, talk about a perfect run.

photo

This view never gets old.

Wednesday I took off to work on a spring project, but Thursday I was right back out there. I headed over to Buckeye Woods to work on a tempo run. I needed to make sure that I focused on staying consistent and wouldn’t get interrupted by traffic or too many distractions. But really my biggest distraction was the wind.

I headed out on the Chippewa Inlet trail and had a goal of getting to Chippewa Lake and turning around. I made my way out and was a little thrown off by the cross wind. I was supposed to stay at a 9:16 pace, but I just couldn’t do it, I’m horrible at being consistent. So I stuck with what I could, and tried not to get blown over. I managed to keep an ok pace despite the winds, and found some amazing views. Unfortunately the path was completely flooded about a half mile from the lake, so I had to turn around. But that gave me a chance to take this video, which pretty much sums up my love for the country. After I got back to the park, I finished up my cool down on the limestone trail and felt pretty satisfied on how my run went.

This is perfection.

This is perfection.

Monday: Body Fusion Class – 30 minutes of lifting/abs/squats & 30 minutes of yoga

Tuesday: 4 Miles

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: 5 Miles Tempo, 1 Mile w/u-9:20, 3 Miles at 9:20, 9:10, 9:15, 1 Mile c/d-9:45

Friday: Off

Saturday: 12 Miles, 9:22, 9:49, 10:06, 10:00, 9:46, 9:49, 10:09, 9:55, 9:52, 10:01, 9:57, 10:26

Sunday: 3 Miles, 8:45, 8:58, 9:03

Total Miles: 24 Miles

Saturday was my long run day, and I was a little nervous. It would be my longest run in 6 months, and after last week’s struggle to get 11, I had my doubts. I met up with Mike, a member of MCRR and we decided on an out and back route. The plan was to run a 10:00 minute pace and see how we felt from there. Our pace started out a little too quick, but by mile two we were able to slow down. We headed out through town and onto Lester Trail, hoping the soft ground wouldn’t be too harsh on our legs. We talked most of the way, and stopped every four miles to stretch and take in fuel and water.

We hit the 6 mile mark a little under 1 hour, so we knew we could slow down a bit on the way back. By this point, it was starting to warm up and more people were out on the trail. Around mile 7 my hips started to get a little tight, but once I stretched at mile 8, I felt fine. My biggest concern was making sure my knee didn’t have any pain, which at this point was feeling fine. Despite setting the goal of a 10:00 minute pace, there were numerous times that we kept dipping under to 9:52. Better to be a few seconds fast, than way too slow.

When we got back towards town, we had about 2 miles left, and naturally those were the hardest miles of the day. Our pace started to pick up until we were faced with the last mile, which was about 95% gradual incline. Our pace slowed way down, but we managed to make it back to the square and finished in under 2 hours. I felt great afterward and although I was pretty worn out, I felt like I could have put in a few more miles. But instead, I headed home for some food and relaxation, and spent the rest of the day recovering on the back deck enjoying the beautiful weather.

Perfect post run hydration

Perfect post run hydration

I woke up Sunday struggling to breathe from allergies, but when I noticed how warm it was and how fresh my legs felt, I couldn’t help but get a short recovery run in. I didn’t have a plan for how far or how fast I would run, I just wanted to go by how my legs felt.

I headed out towards the back roads, and ran 1.3 miles before even checking my watch. Even with the rolling hills, I felt amazing and my pace was well under 9:00. I turned around before I got too far in case my legs decided to stop working and was hit with some strong head wind. I definitely had a tough time coming back, but my legs kept going. I finished up and felt stronger than ever. After Saturday’s long run I was able to run a speedy 3 miler with rolling hills and a strong wind.

Recovery run done right

Recovery run done right

I’m still not quite sure how, but every run this week was exactly where it needed to be. I enjoyed every single run and honestly feel the strongest I have all training. So maybe I’m not running as long or as often as others, but there is a method to my training madness, and I’d say it’s working.

 

Facts about Type 1 Diabetes: This week I wanted to focus on two major events that occur each year to help find a cure for Diabetes.

Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes: The signature fundraising walk of the American Diabetes Association, which has raised more than $175,000,000 to stop Diabetes. 120 walk events are around the US each year to help cure Diabetes. More information can be found here.

Tour de Cure: A series of cycling events that are held in 44 states to benefit the American Diabetes Association. The tour has multiple lengths for riders and has raised more than $89,000,000. More information can be found here.

If  you’d like to donate to Team JRDF and help find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes, check out my page here.

 

Love of the Half

It’s almost mid April, which means that half marathon racing season is upon us. It’s hard to believe but just about three years ago, I ran my first half marathon in Cleveland. With 14 half marathons under my belt and my 13.1 anniversary right around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to share why I love the half so much. Here are my 13 reasons why I think the half marathon is the best race!

  1. It’s the perfect race distance, just long enough to get a solid workout in, but not too long that you can still function for the rest of the day.
  2. New running routes. Training for the half requires long runs to be over 8 miles, so when you cover that many miles you have to be creative, and step outside your neighborhood.
  3. It’s a gateway race. The half can easily lead you to other races, such as the 10 Miler, and then the marathon.
  4. The mission to break 2:00. Plain and simple.
  5. Fun race swag. You usually don’t get anything except for a shirt when running a 5k, but with a half marathon, you usually get a shiny new medal to wear.
  6. Training can fit into a busy schedule and won’t ruin your weeknights/weekends.
  7. It’s an excuse to eat all the pasta! And then eat more when you’re done running.
  8. Runcations. Although I’ve only done a few, it’s nice to run a race and then explore a new city or state.
  9. Meeting new runners. I’ve met some amazing people from training through the online race community and my own MCRR group.
  10. The views. I’ve seen some amazing views while training and racing the half. My favorite still has to be the Rocky Mountains in the background while running Platte River Half.
  11. New clothes. Lots of sweaty morning/evening runs mean I always need new running gear, especially for race day.
  12. You learn about yourself. Every training run or race you discover something new about yourself. It’s my time for just me.
  13. Training for the half means I usually end up racing a half. I tend to run a few half marathon races, while training for my goal half. It gives me confidence on race day, and I earn a few medals along the way.

13.1

What’s your favorite race distance? What’s your favorite thing about the half marathon?

Medina Half Marathon: Week Eight

We’ve made it to the half way point! Eight weeks are done, and just eight weeks separate me from hopefully a sub 2:00 half marathon. This is where the number crunching begins! I’m getting really excited, and this week was the perfect way to track my progress.

This week was a pretty good week despite for one little issue. Ever since the hill repeats I’ve had some knee discomfort. Nothing extreme, and not all the time, but enough to notice. I’m almost 100% sure the discomfort is from throwing my form out the window when I was going downhill during hill repeats. It’s nothing to be too worried about, but I’m being cautious.

I noticed the pain the most during Body Fusion this week. We did a lot of leg work and lunges, which irritated it slightly. So to be sure I wasn’t hurting it worse, I tried to stretch as much as I could through the week, kept my leg elevated, took lots of ibuprofen and tried not to cross my legs when sitting. ( My poor habit, and biggest pain point)

Tuesday’s run was fueled mostly by the weather. Harsh winds tore down some siding and our gate, so I let my frustrations out on my run. It definitely helped! I ran a negative split 5k, and ended up with my best time in over a year. I ran 26:34 on my own, which fuels the motivation I can run quicker in a race!

Wednesday I ran the Cleveland Metro Parks with Elayna, and it was the perfect recovery from the quick  miles the day before. The weather was a little chilly, but it was great to be back in the park. I forgot how much I love the Metro Parks, and plan on running there a couple times a month after work if I can.

Beautiful no matter what the weather

Beautiful no matter what the weather

Monday: Body Fusion Class – 30 minutes of lifting/abs/squats & 30 minutes of yoga

Tuesday: 3.1 Miles

Wednesday: 3.3 Miles

Thursday: Off

Friday: Off

Saturday: 11 Miles

Sunday: Off

Total Miles: 16.4 Miles

Saturday’s run was a very humbling experience. Instead of running the Towpath Half, I decided to run the Medina Half course event, and I’m so glad I did. Not only did I save myself some money, but I realized how far I am and how far I still need to go to reach sub 2:00. I only had 11 miles on the schedule, but wanted to run the entire course to refresh my memory. Knowing I couldn’t run a 9:07 pace for the entire time, I wanted to stay around a 9:30 pace.

We started out and everyone was bunched up for the first mile. As I made my way to my 9:30 pace, I was feeling pretty good, and more importantly, I had no pain in my knee. Over the next three miles I kept my 9:30 pace, but the group was getting more and more spread out.  I was somewhere in between groups, but close enough I could still see where they were turning along the course. By the time we reached Lake Medina (Mile 3.5ish) I was wishing I had my music, because I had no one else going my pace.

We got up to the lake and the wind kicked up a lot. I always forget how strong the wind can be coming off the lake, so I’ll need to remember this on race day. My pace definitely slowed down for a bit, and as we left the lake, we were greeted with the giant hill on Rt. 18. I did what I could, but I could tell my pace would be a lot slower. We continued through our old development and on our way out to Smith Rd. It was such an odd feeling being this far into a run at this point in town, considering most of my runs started in the area. It did help to get my mind off the miles, and we were already at 6.5 by no time.

My pace had slowed down to around 10:00 minutes, and I was feeling a bit worn. Right around mile 7 I started to get an odd pulling feeling in the back of my knee. Luckily I was coming to an intersection that was about 1.5 miles from the square, so I decided to turn off on a path and head back. The next mile and a half I felt drained, then energized, then aching and then pain free, over and over again. I felt silly for turning off, but also glad I didn’t head out for the last 6 miles if I’d be in major pain.

I got back to my car, stretched and felt great, so I decided I would attempt my required 11 miles, but keep them close in case I was in any major pain. I did what felt like one hundred tiny loops around the square and finally reached 11 miles. Knowing I could have probably pushed myself for another two, I was glad I played it safe and focused on what my knee could do, rather than what I wanted it to do.

Rough but rewarding

Rough but rewarding

Afterward I did what I do best, laid on the couch, ate the best post run meal and wore my compression socks for probably too long of time. But I woke up Sunday feeling great, with no pain at all. I analyzed the run over and over again, because I wasn’t sure what to feel. Pace wise, I was on track to be 2:10-2:15 for 13.1, but that’s not where I want to be on race day. I still have a long way to go, but the every long run is practice for the big day.

Since we’re half way through training, I’m stepping back from Type 1 Diabetes facts and checking up on my goals, and what I need to work on during the second half of training.

Mileage: 58 in 4 weeks, 115 total. Lower than it should be still, but I’m scared of running too much and getting injured. All long runs are now in double digits, so hopefully that should help me get the mileage I need to. Plus with the nice weather, I’ll be more motivated to run a few more days a week.

Diet: It’s getting there. I’m still drinking a ton of water, but I should probably drink more on weekends. And I still have a soft spot for pasta and cheese that probably isn’t going away any time soon.

Workouts: There are two workouts I definitely need to work on. Long runs and tempo runs. I finished my run this weekend, but it wasn’t anything like I had planned. Because I was so focused on staying on pace and not losing sight of the next runner, I completely abandoned my fueling strategy. I was drained and worn down by the second half, when I know exactly how I should have fueled. Let this be a lesson to run my own run, and not focus on others.

Since I didn’t really excel at last time’s goals, I’ll be focusing on them again. I should hopefully accomplish all of them this time around.

Last 4 week goals/next four week goals:

  • Run an additional 75 miles
  • Run 4 days a week, each week
  • 1 hour of yoga, either at home or at class, each week
  • Get back to cycling
  • Hit 8:00 mile repeats
  • Raise $250 for Team JDRF

What are your biggest lesson from training? What’s your biggest challenge?

 

365 Project-March Photos

Two months down in my 365 day project and I have to say, I was really satisfied with my pictures from March. Here’s a look back at my favorite pictures from March. If you’d like to see all of them, you can follow along here.

Perfect paw prints in the snow. 30/365

Perfect paw prints in the snow. 30/365

Caught the sun just on the edge of the road. 32/365

Caught the sun just on the edge of the road. 32/365

Gifts from India, such a unique arrangement. 38/365

Gifts from India, such a unique arrangement. 38/365

Layers of colors. 44/365

Layers of colors. 44/365

Sunrise over the back yard. 49/365

Sunrise over the back yard. 49/365

The red building, full of stories. 59/365

The red building, full of stories. 59/365

 What images are your favorites?

March Rewind

March is finally over and we are on to my favorite month, April! I’m officially done with snow, and ready for sun and 70 degree temps. Actually I’ll be happy with anything over 40 degrees at this point. Let’s take a look back and see how the month went.

Miles run: 63

Races run: 3 (St. Malachi 5 Mile, Strongsville Super 5k, Spring TRAINing 10 Miler)

Miles biked: 0

Favorite Workout: 3/27- Hill Repeats

Books read: 0

Places traveled: 0

New recipes: 0

March was productive in running, and that’s about it. I didn’t travel, didn’t do much reading outside of magazines, and cooking was the same thing every week. But I did a lot of running and racing, and I’m so glad to see my numbers are up.

I ran more in March than I did in January and February (not combined) and I have no doubt that I’ll be able to reach 80 miles in April. High hopes here. I haven’t run that much in a month since last August. I can tell that the miles I’m putting in are paying off, my pace is quicker and my times are dropping. I’m also feeling a lot stronger than I thought I could.

I checked on my yearly mileage, and after the first three months I’m at 161 miles. With a goal of 600 for the year, I only have 439 miles left. If I keep up my mileage, I will easily beat that before the marathon this fall.

March was also full of racing. I ran three races, one with a friend, one as a training run, and one to test out my speedy legs. I enjoyed all of them and will most likely keep them on my race schedule for next year.

And my favorite workout from March was my hill repeats from last week. I’ve been craving hills for a while, but with the snow, conditions just haven’t been right. I finally got the chance and had a blast. I’m definitely looking forward to hill repeats this summer.

So there we go, March was pretty much just filled with running….and a ton of snow. I’m excited for April and will hopefully have a lot more miles, races and break out of cabin fever!

How was your month of March? Hill repeats, love them or hate them?

Medina Half Training: Week Seven

This week turned into an unintentional cut back week. The schedule originally planned for a some hills, some shorter runs and a long run this weekend, with next week as a recovery cut back week. I knew I’d be doing 13 miles next weekend instead of a shorter 6 miles, so I debated all week if I should switch my weekend runs. Ultimately that was decided for me when we took a little trip to Columbus and I had a little bit too much wine.

I started the week with Body Fusion, still pretty sore from the Spring TRAINing 10 Miler. Class was good, but it left even more sore on Tuesday. So I settled for a short run around the neighborhood to losen up my legs. Sometimes all you need is a little shake out run…but this time it wasn’t enough.

Wednesday I was supposed to run hills, but with my body still pretty sore I opted on an hour of yoga. It was exactly what I needed and I felt pretty strong despite how I was feeling all week.

Perfect combination

Perfect combination

Finally Thursday my body felt brand new and I headed to my favorite hill to do some repeats. Considering that I haven’t done hills since August, I had no idea what to expect, but I pulled off 6 hill repeats, each a half mile long. I felt really strong (for the most part) and my last repeat was my strongest. The only issue I had was coming down the hill, the weather was starting to cool off and I was concerned about black ice. Needless to say, my pace slowed way down and my form went out the window. Once the weather decides to cooperate full time, I can focus on my form and throw in more repeats.

Don't let it fool you, it's a steep and gradual hill!

Don’t let it fool you, it’s a steep and gradual hill!

Monday: Body Fusion Class – 30 minutes of lifting/abs/squats & 30 minutes of yoga

Tuesday: 2.6 Miles

Wednesday: 1 Hour Yoga

Thursday: 5 Miles – .6 mile w/u, 6x Hill Repeats (.5 mile each), 1.4 mile c/d

Friday: Off

Saturday: Off

Sunday: Off

Total Miles: 7.6 Miles

Clearly it was a bad week, and I can only blame myself. But I’m also a little relieved. My body struggled last week and I was beyond exhausted. I also hit 60+ miles for the month, something I haven’t done since August. I can sit here and compare my training to others, feel like I’m slacking or not giving it my all, but I’m being careful. I’m so injury prone, I don’t remember one full year of running that I haven’t gotten hurt. I may not be running enough days a week, or hitting the mileage that others are, but I’m listening to my body. I have a lot left on the schedule this year, and I’ll eventually get there, but I don’t want to get injured along the way.

This next week should be a high mileage week, with some hopefully longer runs during the week and 13 over the weekend. I still need to choose between running the Towpath Half or the Medina Half course run. So if someone wants to pick for me, that’d be great….

 

Weekly Fact about Type 1 Diabetes: Complications. Living with Diabetes can be tough, and it can damage more than you know. These are some of the long term complications that can happen from Type 1 Diabetes. The more you take care of yourself when you’re younger, the better chance you have of staying away from these.

  • Heart and blood vessel disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Diabetic Retinopathy (Eye damage or blindness)
  • Foot damage or amputation
  • Skin and mouth conditions
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Hearing impairments

If you want to help cure Type 1 Diabetes, you can donate to Team JDRF here!

A Little Bit of Housekeeping

You may have noticed a few changes over here on my blog. I finally took the plunge and bought my own URL, http://masherruns.com/. I wanted to make sure I put some heart into my blog, so I took a step back and tried to figure out just what I wanted to accomplish with it. Being a running blog, I wanted to make sure that I kept my passion within my limits. I’m not getting paid to blog, so it had to be manageable, but also still me.

Here’s what I added:

  • A new look and layout
  • Run It List-A list of all my running bucket list items
  • Product Reviews- Older link, but good to know
  • Contact- Ways to contact me, with some additional links
  • A Facebook Page – For photos, articles and whatever else I find interesting in between blog posts
  • A Pinterest Page – A place for all things running related: recaps, gear, motivation, and tips

It’s not much, but it’s an upgrade from what I have been doing. Who knows how long I’ll continue to blog, but for the next couple of years, I want to make sure it’s my best!

Also, don’t forget that there’s still time to make a donation to Team JDRF in the quest of sub 2:00 for the Medina Half Marathon. You can donate here!

 

 

Spring TRAINing 10 Mile Recap

A few weeks ago I came across the Western Reserve Racing website and found the Spring TRAINing 5 Mile/10 Mile race. The object of the race was to beat the train to the 5 mile finish. Those who ran the 10 mile would turn around after the 5 mile mark and run back to the starting line. Knowing that I had 10 miles scheduled for this weekend, I figured it would be a great way to get my miles in, and I was pretty excited for what you received once you finished.

Outside of the Yeti Set Go 10k last year, I’ve never really done any trail running. Even though I ran cross country in high school/college, the terrain would change from grass to dirt to pavement. I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I decided to treat it as a training run.

I woke up Sunday morning to find much colder weather and light flakes of snow. Nothing was sticking, so I hoped they would go away and it would warm up a bit. I left for the race around 8:45 to get there by 9:45 for bib pick up and a restroom break. The drive was relatively short, but all back roads. By the time I was about 10 minutes from the race, the roads were covered in snow and the temperature wasn’t getting any warmer. I finally parked, and got in the long line to grab my bib. Before running not only did you get your bib, but you got a cinch bag (green or orange) and a coffee mug. The coffee mug may have been the only reason I signed up, I can’t resist them.

Anyway, I ended up running into a few MCRR members who were mostly running the 5 mile. Luck would have it, Jeanne and her husband ended up behind me in line while waiting for the porta pottys. We talked about how we had both run the Super 5k the day before and what our paces would be for today’s race. We decided to start together, working on a 9:30 pace and go from there.

We lined up on the road and the race director gave a short talk about what to do when we got to the 5 mile mark and how the 10 milers would come back. The train was supposed to  be a 10:00 minute pace, so as long as you made it to the 5 mile mark in 50 minutes, you beat the train.

Everyone started out pretty close together, and you had to weave in and out to find enough room. We hit the trail, and well, it was certainly less than ideal. Because of the cold weather, it was still frozen, along with grooves of shoes and bike treads. It was also covered with snow so it was pretty slippery in most parts. A half mile in and I knew this would be tough on my legs.

Let's go!

Starting off

The first mile was a little rough. We kept trying to get solid footing without slipping or running into others, while trying to find a 9:30 pace. We eventually got there and kept it steady for the next couple of miles, passing groups and watching for roots. I was feeling ok, but it felt like I was running a lot quicker than I actually was. I was also a little concerned that my legs wouldn’t be able to carry me the entire way and hopefully I wouldn’t regret running the 5k the day before.

Over the next couple of miles, Jeanne and I kept the pace pretty even, focusing on running the first half quicker than the second. We stayed pretty chatty talking about training and races and making sure we were on time to beat the train. I’ve never run the towpath before, so I wasn’t familiar at all with the path or the surroundings, but because the path was so unforgiving, my eyes stayed glued to the ground, rather than up to take in the views. I  made a note to come back when it gets warmer to really enjoy the towpath, rather than stare at the ground the entire time.

Once we got to mile four we started to hear the train whistle. Thinking it was still pretty far behind, we ignored it. But the noise was getting louder and eventually the train came speeding past. Checking our watches, we were only at 41 minutes, this train was definitely on a different pace than us. We started to speed up and our pace dropped to about 9:00 minutes, running as fast as we could to get to the half way point. We started to see more runners coming back towards so we knew we were close. Following a few twists and turns on the path we finally made it to the half way mark at 47:50.

Pure focus

Pure focus

We turned around, got some water, took in some fuel and started back on our last five miles. There was something a little daunting knowing that most people were done, and we still had to run back to the start, but knowing we made it 10 instead of 5 would be well worth it.

We decided on a slower pace on the way back because by now our legs were starting to get a little sore. I couldn’t tell if it was the hill from Saturday’s 5k, the hard surface or the lack of miles that week, but my legs were definitely telling me they would need stretched out afterward. Our pace ranged anywhere from 9:30-10:15. Miles 5-6 weren’t as tough, but by mile 7 I had hit a small wall. We kept chugging along, with the goal of reaching 10 miles at 1:35. The closer we got, the more my body tried to break down. I mentally wanted to keep going, but my hips and knees were starting to ache.

We finally reached the last mile, and knew were we almost done. We went off the trail a bit and on to the road, of course with a hill leading us the way to the finish. At this point any incline was brutal and all I could think of was the giant cinnamon roll from Panera I was going to devour once I finished.

Almost done!

Almost done!

We came off the road, rounded out a small path and came across the grassy area of the finish. By this point we sprinted and gave everything we had left in us, beyond excited to see the finish line. We crossed the line at 1:36:32, just 1 minute and 32 seconds off our goal.

Once we finished we stood in line to get our post race goodies and hopefully our medals. They announced that the train was indeed 7 minutes early, and that as long as you hit the 5 mile mark in 50 minutes or less you would receive your medal. Along with the medal, there was ice cream, bagels, hot chocolate and a few other little things. By this time I was freezing, so I packed up and headed home.

Overall I really enjoyed this race. I went in using it as a training run, but I think it’s a good course to use for a PR. It’s mostly flat and as long as the ground isn’t too slippery, it’s pretty quick. I honestly don’t think I would have done as well if Jeanne wasn’t running with me. She pushed me to keep a consistent pace even when my legs were starting to give out.

The thing I got most out of this race, was a good test to see where I am with my training. I’m right where I need to be time was to knock off a few more minutes to reach sub 2:00. With over 8 weeks left, there isn’t a doubt that I can do it.

The event was well run and the race swag was definitely not your typical t shirt. Despite the cold and snow, I’ll keep this as an option for a spring race next year. And considering this is my first 10 mile race, I ran a PR! Now I have something to look forward to when I run the Hermes 10 Miler next month!

Race swag

Race swag

Official Time: 1:36:32

Overall: 61/94

Gender: 28/52

AG 25-29: 5/8