Wineglass Marathon Training: Week Fifteen

This was another great week, and unfortunately my last hard week of training before taper. I knew I had to make these workouts count, and I felt like I did just that. I didn’t go to Body Fusion for a number of reasons. We have so much going on this month, I’d have to miss a bunch of classes. I also want to make sure my leg muscles are completely recovered by race day, which meant cutting back on lifting until after the marathon.

Tuesday had a big workout. I had 9×800 repeats and hoped I’d have enough energy to make it through. My first one was “slow” compared to the rest, but I managed to pace myself fairly well until the end. Surprisingly I felt really great the entire time, and I’m actually looking forward to my final track workout.

Wednesday I took off, but Thursday I took advantage of the cooler weather. I ran up to the North end and had some amazing negative splits. My legs felt like they were flying and I was finally able to get rid of the heavy feeling they’ve been carrying around.

Friday was a rest day, but Saturday was my big workout. I met up with a few MCRR members and we took to the inlet at Buckeye Woods. I was definitely a little nervous, knowing this was my last long run and would determine my attitude and confidence going into the marathon.

I felt pretty good going in, and made sure to stick to my plan of taking in water at every mile. We covered the inlet, dropped a few people off, and then made our way out on the roads for short loop.

photo 1-3

The weather was just about perfect, complete cloud cover and just on the edge of sprinkling. I couldn’t help but think that the perfect weather had something to do with how great I felt, but honestly I wasn’t struggling, or sweating my entire body weight.

We made our way back and took the long way around the marsh, soaking in all of the views. At this point, there was just a few of us, and we started out on our last big loop.

photo 2-3

My beautiful, peaceful Buckeye Woods marsh 

We headed to the inlet, passed by Chippewa lake, and picked up the rail trail, hoping to dodge a huge storm that was heading our way. Luckily it passed us, and we didn’t have to worry about spending our last 8 miles drenched from the rain. Jeanne and I were the last two left at this point and we made our way back to the park with about three miles to go. By this point, I had caught a second wind, and my legs were begging to let go. I tried to hold back and pace myself, but by 18.5, I couldn’t hold back anymore. I opened my stride and let my legs lead the way, finishing up my last mile in 9:14.

Beautiful day on the rail trail

Beautiful day on the rail trail

I felt really great at the end of this 20 miler. I ran it 2 minutes slower than my last one, but I was able to drop my pace at the end and finish with a strong kick. This run certainly set the tone for the race and I finally feel like I’m ready for the race.

First time wasn't a fluke!

My new favorite training distance

As for fueling, I stuck with sport beans at every 4 miles, but this time, I wanted to try a few new things. I took my salt tab later on between mile 8-9 and tried eating peanuts at mile 14. The peanuts worked out great, and I plan to use them during the marathon.

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 6 Miles, 1 mile w/u, 9×800(4:16, 4:07, 4:06, 4:05, 4:07, 3:59, 3:59, 4:01, 3:55) .5 mile c/d

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: 3.25 Miles

Friday: Off

Saturday: 20 Miles

Sunday: Off

Total Miles: 29 Miles

And that’s it, my mornings of long runs are coming to an end. My final long run is complete, and I couldn’t help but feel a little sad. I’m finally at the point where I’m enjoying my long runs rather than dreading them. I’m feeling really strong, but looking forward to taper, and hopefully keeping my legs healthy for three more weeks.

River Run Half Marathon Recap

Sunday I ran the River Run Half Marathon for the third time. I ran it in 2011 and 2012, my second and eighth half marathon. This year would be my third time running it, and ever so slightly monumental, my 20th half marathon. I couldn’t help but be excited, considering I knew the course by heart and I was hoping for a little redemption from the Wooster Half.

I woke up at 5am Sunday morning, got ready and was out the door by 6:45. I decided to park at the start because it was closer by about 15-20 minutes. The views on the drive up were absolutely beautiful and I wish I could have taken some more pictures. Just imagine, back roads, old farms, sun rising and major spots of fog.

Beautiful start to race day!

Beautiful start to race day!

Anyway, I got to the start and was able to find a close parking spot. I got in line for the rest room and ran into a few MCRR members. We chatted for a bit, went off on our own ways and pretty soon we were ready to start.

Matchy-matchy, ready to go!

Matchy-matchy, ready to go!

Going in, I knew I wanted to finish better than Wooster, which meant aiming for a 9:30 or under pace and no bathroom stops. I started off at a good pace, weaving in and out of the crowds to find a comfortable pace. I settled into a 9:20 pace and made sure I’d have enough energy to last me the entire race. My legs felt fresh and I was in my comfort zone, running the parks I spent miles upon miles on my feet.

Within the first couple miles, I could feel my pace picking up. I made sure to keep it somewhat conservative, but I couldn’t help but be excited for how great I felt. During the second mile we passed the leaders as we made a loop in the nearby development. It was definitely a confidence booster to see so many people I knew.

Mile 1-9:10
Mile 2-8:56

Over the next couple of miles I could feel the downhill, which meant my pace was picking up. I kept bouncing between 8:35-8:50, but knew I couldn’t keep up the quicker pace. So I kept telling myself to dial it back, because I wasn’t sure how long I could keep this up. I I stuck with my normal fueling plan of taking water every mile, and a sport bean every 4 miles. So far, so good, and no stomach issues.

Mile 3-8:45
Mile 4-8:54

It was probably around mile 5 that I started to really focus on what my plan would be. I was well above my goal of 9:30, but I was also a little nervous that at any moment the adrenaline would wear off and I’d be on the struggle bus. I was still feeling strong, my legs were feeling good, and I was cruising down the course.

Mile 5-8:46
Mile 6-8:50

I could tell between mile 5 and 6, my pace was slowing just a bit, but by this point the crowd had spread out, and I was with the same group just making our way through the race. Typically I would take salt tab at mile 6, but this time I waited, curious to see if it was behind some stomach issues. I still kept an eye on my pace and at 6.3 miles, I was coming in at 53:xx, far better than I expected.

Mile 7-8:57
Mile 8-9:04

Just as I had expected, my legs started to slow down between mile 7 and 8. I took my second sport bean at mile 8 and could feel a small twinge in my hips with the little rollers on the course. I knew the hill was coming up around mile 9.5, so my goal was to give a little more until I hit the hill.

Mile 9-9:02
Mile 10-9:45

I made it about half way up the hill and my legs started to crumble. I took this as an opportunity to take my salt tab, which means I had a few moments to walk. Once I was settled I picked up my pace and focused on the fact that I had a 5k left. But just as I suspected, but stomach started to bother me, but luckily not enough that I would need to stop along the way. I made a mental note to revisit the salt tab on my last long run.

I could feel that I was starting to wear down and that I couldn’t get enough water, clearly an issue of taking my salt tab too late in the race. I took advantage of the water stop at mile 10 to fill up my hand help and continued on at a slower pace.

Some look of determination

Some look of determination

Mile 11-9:45
Mile 12-9:20

By this point in the race, I didn’t have the momentum I had earlier in the day. These last few miles were always the hardest on me, and mentally this was something that wasn’t going away. I counted down every half mile, just wanting to be done with the race.

I finally came up to the last water stop at mile 12 and made sure I stopped for water. I felt like I had just finished a 5k, I was so exhausted and run down. I mustered up what I had left and continued my way into the last mile. What felt like a half hour, I kept my eye close on my watch. At around 12.6, I was at 1:55 and knew there was a possibility I could hit sub 2 if I picked up the pace. I tried, but instead I felt a heavy pressure on the top of my stomach that just wouldn’t go away.

And so, following tradition, right before the 13 mile marker, I had to go to the side and clear my stomach. I stood there, hands on my knees for what felt like a long time. I knew I had to continue, but I wasn’t sure if I was ready. I finally was able to get going and got myself to the finish. I crossed the line of my 20th half marathon, with a time of 2:01:45.

Mile 13-10:50
Last .17-9:58 pace

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t break 2:00, but really it wasn’t my initial goal. The night before, I told Darren I wanted 2:02, and I got just that. If I hadn’t of thrown up, or stopped to walk while filling my water at stops I probably could have gotten it. But really, I’m excited about my time. My first River Run was completed in 2:21, my second in 2:08, and now 2:01.

All smiles

All smiles

Probably the best part of the race was the medal. As part of the Hermes Distance Journey, I received my medal for River Run, and the third for completing the 10 Miler earlier in the spring. It was an awesome concept, and I hope this is something that continues in the future.

Distance Challenge Bling

Distance Challenge Bling

And considering this is my third time running this race, I definitely have a soft spot for it. This has by far become one of my favorite races and no doubt my favorite fall half. I’d certainly recommend the race if you’re looking for a PR.

Half number 20!

Half number 20! 

Results

Official Time: 2:01:45

Age Group (25-29): 39/112

Female: 272/830

Overall: 684/1485

 

Wineglass Marathon Training: Week Fourteen

Another week is in the books and this was a great one! With only a few good hard runs left, I wanted to make sure that this week my runs exceeded my expectations. The rec was closed on Monday because of the holiday so no Body Fusion, but I also took it as a day to recover from the long trail run.

Tuesday was slightly delayed when our normal track was hosting a soccer game. Luckily the second track we checked was empty so we weren’t too far behind on our schedule. After getting rained out last week, I was determined to hit all 8 800’s on pace. With the cooler weather, it wasn’t a problem, and I hit all of them below the projected pace I wanted. With a goal of under 4:15, I ended up with all of them under 4:05, including the last three negative splitting under 4:00. I wasn’t the biggest fan of them in high school, but I may have a new love for 800’s. On top of perfect 800’s, we were able to witness a beautiful sunset, another reason I just can’t quick evening runs.

Chasing daylight on the track

Chasing daylight on the track

Wednesday I met up with Mallory again and we headed for a run at Blue Heron. The abandoned golf course is in the process of being cleaned up to become a park, but really it looks just the same, overgrown and unrecognizable as a golf course. Going in I knew it was going to be hilly, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be on my legs. What felt like an 8:30 pace was actually 10:30. No matter how hard we pushed it, we’d somehow get back to a slower pace. Looking back, this probably wasn’t the best “recovery” run the day after a track workout.

No easy recovery run

No easy recovery run

The elevation may have been rough on the legs, but the views were pretty good. I left my phone behind so I missed out on some gems, but I was able to capture this one after I got back to my car.

Beauty in the abandoned.

Beauty in the abandoned.

I took Thursday and Friday off because I wanted my legs to recovery and be fresh for Sunday’s half marathon. Saturday I went out for a short shake out run in my neighborhood. The weather was cool and I was able to enjoy a bit of rain. My legs felt great and hopefully they were ready for Sunday.

River Run Half Marathon was on Sunday, and I went into this race wanting redemption from Wooster. I’ll have my recap up later this week. I originally planned to run more after the race, but after I got back to my car my whole body felt beat up. I don’t feel horrible about not getting more miles in, because I know I pushed it hard in the race and I put in a lot of time on my feet the previous week.

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 6 Miles, 1 mile w/u, 8×800(4:02, 4:03, 4:01, 3:59, 4:02, 3:55, 3:52, 3:45), 1 mile c/d

Wednesday: 6 Miles

Thursday: Off

Friday: Off

Saturday: 2 Miles

Sunday: River Run Half Marathon

Total Miles: 27 Miles

Overall this was a really great week. I felt strong in all of my runs, and was finally convinced that I’ve been making progress. Not every run or week of training is going to go well, but when you finally have a good week, it really helps to bring confidence back into running.

This next week is my final long run! It’s definitely bittersweet, but I have to say that I’m excited this training cycle is almost complete. I’m excited to run Wineglass and I know I’ve grown as a runner, but it’s been a long and tiring summer to get here. And after this weekend, I’m ready to focus my training towards my true love, the half.

August Rewind

August has come and gone and it’s hard to believe how quickly summer went by! It seems like just yesterday I was breaking out my summer running clothes, and pretty soon I’ll be putting them away. August was a whirlwind, and went by much quicker than I had expected. Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Miles run: 112

Races run: 2 (Buehler’s Heart & Sole Half Marathon, Type 1 Diabetes Awareness 5k)

Miles biked: 0

Favorite Workout: 8/9 – The Perfect 20 Mile Run

My mileage for August was up and has now become my third month in a row with triple digit mileage. However, I was only one mile up from July, and  unfortunately, about 15 miles under what I had hoped to do. I’m not too disappointed, but rather surprised that my body has been able to keep up with three months of high mileage.

I ran two races in August. I continued my tradition of running in Wooster at the Heart & Sole Half. It was my third fastest half despite hills and some stomach issues. Even though I was upset about  my performance, I’ve realized that I’m a lot stronger than I think thanks to marathon training. The second race was a cross country style 5k for Type 1 Diabetes awareness. My time was much slower than I had planned, but humidity and a grass course slowed me down.

My best run of the month was my first 20 miler of the cycle. I had perfect weather, perfect fueling, the perfect route and was joined by a great group of MCRR. I averaged a 10:03 pace, something I never thought I could do for 20 miles. This run gave me the confidence that I am possible of more than I expected.

And even though I had a great 20 miler, this month was probably my hardest in terms of running. I had some really great runs, but I also had a handful of really bad runs. I definitely doubted whether I could handle a marathon or if I was wasting my time. I put so much stress and pressure on myself, that sometimes I’ve lost sight of the real reason I’m putting in these miles.

So there’s August, a roller coaster of running, and really all I’ve had time for. September is my last full week of marathon training, but will include taper, so miles won’t be in the triple digits. I want to take time this month to enjoy my workouts and hopefully enjoy cooler weather!

 

How was your August? What goals do you have for September?

 

 

Wineglass Marathon Training: Week Thirteen

Another week complete, and another week closer to race day. The goal of this week was to get out of my funk. It was definitely an interesting week, but ended up better than they have been.

Monday I passed on Body Fusion, I was beyond exhausted from Sunday’s early wake up call, so I used the time to catch up on sleep.

Tuesday I headed to the track. Mallory had already started her workout so we were on different sets, but it was still nice to have someone out there. I knew my time could be limited because of storms rolling in, but halfway through my workout, dark clouds and lightning came rolling in. The skies turned nasty quickly so there was no chance of finishing the workout. My legs and splits felt great, so I was definitely bummed I had to cut it short.

Storm clouds are coming!

Storm clouds are coming!

Wednesday I switched up my recovery run and tried out the trails of Huffman. I met up with Dan and Marsha who led me through uncharted territory. I felt really great on the single track and learned how to better run the trails. That is, until I clipped a bridge in the last quarter mile and landed straight on my face. I slammed down pretty hard on my right knee and left hand, but everyone has to fall at least once, right?

The perfect Wednesday night

The perfect Wednesday night

Thursday I took off because my knee was swollen and sore. I’m sure it was still the shock of falling on it, and probably nothing major, but I’d rather take an extra day to recover, rather than run on it and cause unnecessary pain. Friday was a scheduled rest day, so I took it, and enjoyed a much need night out.

Saturday I caught up on sleep and although I only slept in until 6:30, I felt better than I had in a long time. I took a short run around my neighborhood to test the knee and shake out my legs before Sunday’s long run.

Sunday was my long run. I’ve been trying to push them to Sundays if possible to prepare myself for race day. I decided to take new approach to my long run and focus on time on my feet rather than miles. I’ve been putting so much pressure on hitting a certain number or splits, that I stress myself out more than I need to.

I met up with a bunch of MCRR and we took to the trails of Hinckley. I’m still not as familiar with the trails as I’d like, so I bounced around within the group looking for a comfortable pace, but also spent time catching up with everyone.

MCRR takes over Hinckely!

MCRR takes over Hinckely!

We covered the bridal trails, lake loops, single track and the ledges. I focused on running with comfortable effort and actually felt great for most of the run. My legs, which have felt tired for weeks felt fantastic, and didn’t start to feel fatigued until three hours in.

Love for the ledges

Love for the ledges

The weather was humid, but it didn’t bother me as much as it usually does. Luckily we found some fountains along the run, so we were able to fill up throughout the day. I went through three fill ups and I probably could have used one more. I also stayed on my normal fueling plan of sport beans every four miles. I probably could have switched it to every forty minutes instead, but I’ll learn for next time I’m on the trails.

Hinckley Lake

Hinckley Lake

I ended up with a little over 16 miles in the time of 3.5 hours. A slower pace than road miles, but again, my focus was time on my feet, and 3.5 hours is a long time. Despite a lot of ups and downs and uneven ground my legs felt good most of the run. It was very reassuring that my legs could handle the time on my feet and not get too worn out. But the best part was that I had zero stomach issues, which is something that keeps holding me back lately. I’ll be back to road miles for my long runs again, but I needed this run to pull me out of my funk and remind me that I am capable of long runs, I just need to trust my legs and not stress so much!

Long run love is back!

Long run love is back!

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 3 Miles, 1 mile w/u, 4×800(4:11, 4:08, 4:08, 4:10)

Wednesday: 4 Miles

Thursday: Off

Friday: Off

Saturday: 2 Miles

Sunday: 16.3 Miles

Total Miles: 25 Miles

I started this week with a few let downs, but I finished it feeling great and full of confidence. Training has been tough and really a mental struggle at times. Sometimes you just need a great run to remind you that it’s possible, you just have to take it each run at a time.

This next week I want to make sure I nail every single run, including the River Run Half Marathon on Sunday. I’ve got just a little over a month left and things won’t be slowing down any time soon!

T1 Diabetes Awareness 5k Recap

A few weeks ago, a post was brought up on the MCRR page about a local 5k that would be happening in town. An eagle scout had planned his big project as a 5k for Type 1 Diabetes awareness, in honor of his sister who was diagnosed when she was 7 years old. If you remember, I’ve done fundraising for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and American Diabetes Association, so this 5k was something that I couldn’t miss.

With an 8am start, my normal Saturday morning was completely thrown off, but I did enjoy sleeping past 5am for once. I got up, got ready and was out the door by 7:15 to get to the race early for registration and a warm up. Once I got out the door, I was greeted by a thick cloud of fog and some pretty heavy humidity.

Living in the clouds

Living in the clouds

Beforehand I didn’t know much about the race or course, as it was all race day registration and no course map was available online. There was no charge for the race, but donations were appreciated. In return you received a blue wrist band from JDRF. I was pleasantly surprised with the turnout, probably around 50 people showed up to help this young man out.

After about a mile+ warm up, we met on the track at the middle school and got instructions on the race as well as information about Type 1 Diabetes. I couldn’t help but almost tear up after seeing how much had been put into this race. With final instructions done, we lined up on the track and were ready to go. Unfortunately, I don’t have my splits since my Garmin had a total meltdown and I wasn’t able to upload it in time.

We started off with a lap on the track, and I tried to find a comfortable pace knowing that it was a little hotter than what I was used to. I was hovering between 7:58-8:01 pace and was feeling great. Once we finished our lap, we made our way onto a path and back near the elementary school. From this point on we were on all grass, and the race quickly turned into a cross country course. Not expecting this, I tried to slow myself down because I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up the quick pace on the grass.

During the first mile I could feel myself slowing down, but I was still feeling ok. I tried to watch my footing, because the last thing I need is an injury from a 5k. We were in and out of the shade as we made a large loop in the grass. It wasn’t until about the first mile mark that I noticed how many people had dropped back. I was currently sitting in 4th female and probably 8th/9th overall.

I grabbed some water at the water stop and was thankful for the fluids. It was also around this point that I had a young boy right next to me that I just couldn’t shake. We made our way around the giant loop again, and just before the second mile marker, I was able to pull ahead, leaving the young kid behind.

With a mile left to go, I was starting to feel worn down. My legs felt tired from the uneven ground, and I was sweating more than I think I ever have. We came up around the front of the middle school and along the sidewalk next to the road. I was finally able to get some speed and noticed that Liz, the 3rd place female had disappeared.

I continued on my way, making it through the last section of grass before we made a final lap on the track. That lap felt like the longest lap ever, but it was nice I was able to see who was in front of me. About 200 meters in front of me, was the 1st and 2nd place female, and about two other men were finishing up on the track. I had my final kick in the last 150 meters and finished up 3rd place female with a time of 28:06.

This definitely wasn’t your normal 5k, but the meaning behind it was the most important thing to me. There was no official timing or places/awards so I can only go off the time that was yelled out as I crossed the finish line. My time was much slower than what I anticipated, but based on the fact the course was about 90-95% grass, I’m not really surprised. I’m so glad I made the time to come out for this 5k, and I’m proud of the eagle scout for accomplishing his goals with this race.

Running for a cause

Running for a cause

Wineglass Marathon Training: Week Twelve

What a week. If there is one word to describe my training lately, it’s a roller coaster. After last week’s let down, I was hoping to come back strong and nail every run. I’d say I was about 50/50 for runs this week.

I started the week with Body Fusion, and was a little disappointed with class. We used exercise bands and I felt more awkward than anything. Hopefully next week we’ll be back to normal weights and I can feel the burn rather than feel that I look ridiculous.

Tuesday we were at the track. Working my way up on 800 repeats I was able to keep all of them under 4:10 pace, and almost consistent. Motivation was lacking for all of us, and I never felt fantastic, but I got them done.

Closing down Tuesday night

Closing down Tuesday night

Wednesday I took off, but Thursday I was able to meet up with Second Sole. We had a group of 4 that stayed together and it was finally a good run. It was also the first run in over a week and a half I didn’t have stomach issues.

Friday was a rest day and my last chance to rest up before the weekend of back to back hard runs. Saturday was a local 5k for Type 1 Diabetes, the recap will come later this week.

Sunday was my long run, and I originally planned to do 20. Active Runner had a group run from Strongsville to Medina, and had both a 20 mile and 10 mile option. With a wake up call of 3:45, I managed to get myself up and ready and to Strongsville by 5:45 for a 6am start. Despite being extremely tired, I was ready….until I noticed my Garmin had a frozen screen and nothing I did fixed it. Luckily I could just count the miles with everyone else, but I knew my fueling would be a bit off.

I started with the 11:00 minute pace group because I knew it would be a hilly route. Within the first mile I was already sweating from humidity and knew it would be a rough day. Over the course of the next 6 miles, I tried to count when everyone’s Garmin beeped so I could fuel with water at every mile and Sport Beans every four. I made the mistake of waiting until mile six to take my salt tab, but it starting working a few minutes after taking it.

By this point I could feel that I wasn’t having a great day. The route was hilly and I felt so thirsty. I could also feel my knees starting to hurt and a slight pain in my arch showed up by mile 7-8. At mile 10 I knew I’d have a chance to end my run if I wanted, and well, I took it. I knew with how my body was feeling I wouldn’t have a full 20 in me. I figured I would attempt a few more miles at home.

So I got home, was extrememly tempted to go back to bed, but instead ran out on the trail. Even though I didn’t have my Garmin, I knew the trail well enough that I knew where I needed to go for 2-3 miles. Unfortunately I was only able to get 2 more miles in. I was struggling with the heat/humidity and my arch was starting to flare up again. I called it for the day, disappointed in myself.

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

Tuesday: 5 Miles, 1 mile w/u, 7×800(3:57, 4:03, 4:09, 4:10, 4:02, 4:09, 4:08) .5 mile c/d

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: 4.5 Miles

Friday: Off

Saturday: Type 1 Diabetes Awareness 5k

Sunday: 12 Miles

Total Miles: 24.5 Miles

This week was a little rough, and it didn’t end like I had hoped. But the more I look back on my long run, the better I feel. I was extremely disappointed in myself for bailing out, but I know I did it for the right reasons. PF is the reason I had to bail on Akron last year, and after running such high mileage in the past couple months, I know it’s likely to pop up again at any moment. I’m glad I played it safe and didn’t force it. I’ve hit all my long runs so far, even if I had to move a few things around. One bad long run cut short isn’t going to break my training.

I’ve got a lot of thoughts going around with this cycle, and I’ll eventually get them all together and share them. For now, I’m just going to focus on this next week and take it run by run. My spirit isn’t damaged, but it has a few dents.

Heart & Sole Half Marathon Recap

Saturday I ran the Buehler’s Heart & Sole Half Marathon down in Wooster. I ran this race last year, so I knew what to expect from the course. I also ran the race with a pretty bad case of PF, which ended my Akron training, so knowing I had healthy legs, I was excited to see what I could do.

I had an early wake up call of 4am to make sure I was ready and out the door before 6am. The weather was absolutely perfect hovering between 49-50 degrees and the morning had every intention of being the perfect race.

Sunrise on the way to Wooster

Sunrise on the way to Wooster

I was on the road by 6am, headed down the back roads, and could feel the excitement of the race. Even with a long 45 minute drive, I can’t help but sign up for races in Wooster. After spending two years running almost every other weekend around town, I can’t help but have a sense of home when I go there.

I got in town and found a parking spot by 6:45 and made my way to the start line to get my bib, shirt and get in line for the bathrooms. I met up with some MCRR ladies before the start and was ready to go!

Lovely ladies of MCRR

Lovely ladies of MCRR

I lined up between the 2:05 and 2:10 pacer, knowing that I could probably keep up with the 2:05 pace, but the hills would slow me down a bit. Just as we were about to start, my Garmin turned off. I restarted it, but unfortunately lost between .10-.20 of the course, so none of my splits or mile marks were correct. So I decided to just run by how I felt and see where that led me.

The course was exactly the same as last year, so we made our way out of downtown from Market to Bowman to Christmas Run Park. We made our way through parts of the development and out to Oak Hill Drive. I was feeling pretty good and finding a pace I felt comfortable with. I took a sip of my water at every mile (marked on the road) and tried to keep a steady effort as we started with a gradual incline.

We had a couple of hills coming up soon, so I didn’t want to use up all my energy so quickly, but also wanted to get the hills over with. At about 2.5 miles in, we turned in the hilly development. We went up and turned and continued to go up some more. We were met with some flat ground at the third mile marker, but turned another corner to face more hill. Finally on the way out we have some decline, but it was at this point I needed to use the port-a-potty that was conveniently located by the water stop.

I got back on my way and felt better, knowing I was behind, I started to pick people off one by one as we made our way up Oak Hill. The incline was ever so slight, but surprisingly my legs were still feeling great. I took Sport Beans around mile 4 and continued past Oak Hill Park.

We turned onto Oldman Road and it was about this point that the first runners started coming back. I saw a lot of MCRR and Jess and Ryan, which was a great confidence booster. The road also had the only section of flat course, so my pace started to pick up to take advantage of it.

Next we turned onto 83 and headed to the park around the soccer fields. This was our half way point and we reached 6 miles just as we headed into the park. I took some water, a salt tab and Honey Stinger Chews. I was still feeling pretty good and was navigating the rolling hills of the park pretty well. We were almost on our way out of the park, and that’s when I started to feel sick. I had almost a mile until the next water stop and port-a-potty, but luckily we were on our way back. I stopped for a bathroom break and then got back on the road.

I felt better and continued along. Most of the course would be downhill now, with the exception of the hilly development. I tried to pick up my pace and make up for lost time. Despite the hills and the stop and starts, my legs weren’t tired, which I knew would be good for the upcoming hills.

I made my way around the development, which was without a doubt harder the second time. Last year I walked a bunch, but this year I kept it steady, even if I had slowed down by some. I started to pick up speed in the final downhill of the development and made a last minute stop at the port-a-potty, more of fear for “what if”. After a waste of a stop, I was back on the road with 2.5 miles left. It was here that I started to beat myself up for the time I wasted.

I kept my pace steady, picking it up ever so slightly. I was frustrated that my legs felt so great, yet my stomach, and partially my head got in the way of my race. As we made our way back towards downtown, I took advantage of all the downhill I could. In the last mile I really tired to pick up my pace and wanted to give it all I had. With my Garmin not matching up, I really had no idea what time I’d come in. I rounded the last corner and started the finish down. I kicked in my finish and gave the last quarter mile everything that was left in me.

I crossed the line at 2:08:16. My 4th fastest half. And three minutes faster than last year.

Overall, I love this race. Both times I’ve run it, I haven’t run my best, but I still keep coming back. Wooster is hilly, and the development is the absolute hardest part of the course.

Just keep going up (2013 Elevation, same course as this year)

Just keep going up (2013 Elevation, same course as this year)

However, the course is clean, it’s well marked, and the support has been great. I also may be a little biased because I have an absolute love for Wooster. Even though I didn’t have my best race, I was impressed with how great my legs felt on course. It may not have been my day, but Saturday was a great way to see how far I’ve come this year with my training. As long as I’m available, I plan to be back at this race again next year.

Half number 19

Half number 19

Results

Official Time: 2:08:16

Age Group 20-29: 15/21

Female: 64/105

Overall: 176/233

Wineglass Marathon Training: Week Eleven

What a week. My body took a long time to recover from my 20 miler, and it took more out of my weekday runs than I expected. I took Monday off from Body Fusion to let my legs recover, they were still a little stiff from Saturday’s run.

Tuesday we were at the track and this time I focused on mile repeats. Instead of going all out like I had been, I tried to keep them as close as I could in pace. I started to loosen up the more I ran, and actually felt pretty good. I was pretty satisfied with my splits, and think that I could definitely bring my 5k time down soon.

Wednesday I headed to the trail and ran some recovery miles. I felt pretty good and thought about running even further than I originally planned, but decided to head back home after mile three after I started to feel a little sick.

Thursday I took off for a much needed girls nights and wine tasting. Stress levels have been above normal lately, so it was exactly what I needed. Sorry running shoes.

Friday was a rest day in prep for Saturday’s race. I’ll have my recap up later this week. I had originally planned on running Sunday as recovery, but after having company all weekend, spending all day Sunday in the sun, and feeling a bit sore from Saturday’s race, I decided to take it off. I felt guilty for a while, but after looking ahead to this week, I know I needed the extra rest.

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 5 Miles, 1 mile w/u, 3×1600(8:06, 8:07, 8:09), 1 mile c/d

Wednesday: 4 Miles

Thursday: Off

Friday: Off

Saturday: Buehler’s Heart & Sole Half Marathon

Sunday: Off

Total Miles: 22 Miles

My weekly mileage was low, and not where I wanted it to be, but my stomach was not on the same page as my legs this week. I’m hoping to work a few things out, and hopefully get back to some really good training runs. Not every week will be great, so I deal with it, and focus on the next.

Looking ahead to this week, I’ll have 2-3 week days runs, a local 5k on Saturday and a hilly 20 miler on Sunday. Sounds like it should be an interesting week!

Wineglass Marathon Training: Week Ten

This week was all about refocusing after last week’s cut back week, and honestly, things couldn’t have gone better. Without a doubt, this week was my strongest yet, and completely restored all confidence in my running.

I started the week with Body Fusion, and I was so glad to get back into class. Having the rec center shut down for a week really put me in a funk last week. This week we focused on maxing out our arms. I was able to go all the way up to 15lbs for free weights/kettle bells and I never felt stronger. My arms are still weak compared to what I know many other people can do, but I’m slowly getting there.

Tuesday was the real test. With some slight twinge still in my hip, I hoped I’d be able to complete my workout without stopping early. I met up with Mo and we planned on running our 800’s at a 4:15 pace. We ended up under pace for all but one, which is exactly where I wanted to be.

My perfect Tuesday night

My perfect Tuesday night

Wednesday was my recovery run and in the the first time in about three weeks, I actually had my iPod on me during my run. I stayed close to home, but I got lost in my thoughts and the music. I tried not to look at my watch and ran whatever pace my legs were comfortable with. I was all over the place from 9:04 to 8:12 to 8:48, but I felt great. It was exactly the run I needed to reassure me that I am still going strong with training.

Thursday was the group run with Second Sole. We started as a group, but by a half mile in we broke up into our smaller groups. I spent most of the run speaking with one of the employees about our old college conference and I became completely unaware of my pace. We headed out for five miles of rolling hills through town, with the last mile about 95% uphill. I averaged an 8:51 pace and felt really strong for my third run in a row.

Friday was my rest day and I took every precaution to get myself ready for Saturday’s long run. I knew that this 20 miler would be a big deal and pretty much set the tone for the rest of training. I knew I could keep my pace around 10 minutes for most of the run, but I wanted to slow down a bit. After my 18 miler a few weeks ago, I felt great for about 15 minutes, but shortly after I fell apart and was sick for most of the afternoon. I didn’t want that to happen again.

Saturday I met with a small group of MCRR and we headed out for our long run. We all had different distances, so our route was full of out and back and loops, but it worked out perfectly. We started on the inlet and headed out on the back roads before turning around. I was still warming up, and a little unsure if I could handle the full 20 miles, but I was greeted with a beautiful sunrise and forgot about the miles for a little bit.

Country roads sunrise

Spoiled by sunrises

We made our way back and dropped off a few runners. By now we were already at 6 miles, keeping steady just under a 10:00 minute pace. Next we headed out to the rail trail and I was so excited to explore a new route. The trail was heavily shaded and kept us cool as the weather started to heat up. We made a slight adjustment and took a turn near Chippewa to pick up the inlet again. We made our way back to the cars, dropped a few more runners off, and decided to make a loop around the outer roads of Buckeye Woods.

The roads had more than a few rolling hills, so our pace slowed down, but we were still right around a 10:00 pace. By now we were approaching mile 15 and I knew my legs would start to wear down a bit. I was feeling ok, but prepared for the worst. We took a few miles around the marsh and let our legs recover from the pavement. Running on crushed limestone saved my legs, but I did feel a small pain in my left knee that went away by mile 16.

As we made our way around the marsh and headed towards the woods, we lost one more runner. We were approaching mile 18, and I knew I had just 20 more minutes of running left. I couldn’t help but get excited for the final miles, knowing how great I felt and finishing up on the trails couldn’t have been more perfect. With a half mile to go, I started to pick up the pace and gave what I had until the final beep.

I couldn’t have asked for a better 20 miler, especially considering it was my first one of the training cycle. The two biggest things I wanted to focus on were pacing and fueling. I wanted to stay over a 10:00 minute pace, but spent 13/20 miles under. I ended up with a 10:03 average pace, a quicker pace than my 18 miler two weeks before.

As for fueling, I wanted to make sure I stayed on top of it, and wanted to test what would work best on race day. I was spot on, and nothing ever gave me any issues, my main concern for race day. I stuck with the following:

  • Sips of water at every mile mark, more often if needed in the later miles
  • Two-three sport beans every four miles (miles 4, 8, 12, 16)
  • Salt tabs every hour (miles 6, 12, 18)
  • Honey Stinger chews every hour (miles 6, 12, 18)

This worked out perfectly. I never felt tired, dehydrated or hungry, so I’ll be sure to keep this fueling strategy for all of my future long runs. Without a doubt fueling was key to making this the perfect 20 miler.

The perfect 20

The perfect 20

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

Tuesday: 5.5 Miles, 1 mile w/u, 7×800(4:12, 4:17, 4:10, 4:10, 4:11, 4:12, 4:06), 1 mile c/d

Wednesday: 3 Miles

Thursday: 5 Miles

Friday: Off

Saturday: 20 Miles

Sunday: Off

Total Miles: 34 Miles

This week was great. I hit every workout like I wanted and felt stronger than ever. I also hit my highest weekly mileage ever and I’m just under my goal of 600  miles for the year. I have to admit, I had my doubts about training recently, but this week was the turning point. I couldn’t have done this week without the help of the amazing MCRR members. They’ve definitely pushed me more than I know this year. Now I’m excited more than ever for Wineglass!