Medina Half Marathon Recap

Last Saturday I ran the Medina Half Marathon, and honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect. After the HOF half, I had high expectations to continue on with a strong training period between then and the beginning of Akron training. But unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned. Between a week and a half with vertigo and finding myself in a running rut, my mileage was pretty low. Thankfully, Mallory, who was also in a running rut, agreed to run with me and we decided to turn the race into a fun run.

I got up around 4:45 Saturday morning, ate, got dressed and prepared for the race. The start time was moved back to 6:45 this year, which was nice. I left my house around 6:15, found parking and was on the square by 6:30. The 5 minute drive to the race, and multiple parking lots is always a huge plus in my book.

I met up with Mallory, we lined up and we were ready to take it easy on a 13.1 mile jog around town. Once the race started, we were off and tried to stay with a 10:00 minute pace. Neither of us had run any long runs since April, but we figured we could handle the pace for the distance we had ahead of us.

We stayed behind the 2:10 pace group as they started a bit fast, easy to do when the first two miles have some declines in them. We noticed right away that the air was thick with humidity and I was already sweating heavily by mile two. We kept an easy pace, talked and eventually were joined by Amy.

Mile 1-9:38

Mile 2-9:42

The course was a little different this year, so we ended up with more time winding through developments in the beginning of the course. It was a good way to keep my mind off the miles and rather the company I had while running.

Between mile 2 and 3, we ended up with Christy, who decided to join us for our easy run. We chatted for a while, and she kept reminding us how “cold and snowy” it was. Her positive outlook helped to keep my mind off the heat and humidity for a bit.

Mile 3-9:51

Mile 4-9:43

Our first rollers came on Reagan and just like always, slowed me down a bit. From here we headed toward Lake Medina, but unfortunately couldn’t use the new path, so we took to the roads and onto the grass path at the top of the lake. It was starting to heat up, and it was around mile 5 that I took my first Sport Beans. I took two, hoping that it keep me full for a longer amount of time than just one.

Mile 5-9:56

Mile 6-10:06

As we were leaving the lake, I stopped for a quick porta potty stop. There was a short line, so it slowed me down a bit. I was a little concerned I was dehydrated so early into the race because my mouth was so dry just 6 miles in. Thankfully I was hydrated, but instead, I was feeling the side effects of new medication.

From here we went up 18, giant hill included and back into another development before heading to Smith. I was starting to feel a little tired, but figured it was just leftover from the hill. Mallory was working on encouraging me to keep going and reminding me that we were more than half way there. It helped, but I was starting to hit a wall.

Mile 7-13:48 (potty stop)

Mile 8-10:35

From Smith we turned into some more developments, which was a new part of the course this year. I actually enjoyed this section, despite the rollers. The twists and turns kept it interesting and kept my mind off checking my watch. I took two more Sport Beans around mile 8.

Mile 9-11:27

Mile 10-12:58

I’m not sure when, but Heather joined Mallory and I between mile 8-10. It was also during this time that I really started to break down. My legs were feeling ok, but I felt hot, dehydrated, and sick to my stomach. I started to feel so guilty about bringing Mallory down with my negative thoughts and bad attitude. I told her to go ahead and I’d make my way to the finish line, but she refused to leave.

From then on, we walked the water stops and hills and would run the flat sections. I shuffled behind Mallory and Heather, going through moments of feeling fine to feeling sick to my stomach. I started to think I had too many Sport Beans, or maybe I should take a salt tab. Nothing was helping and the miles seemed to drag on.

Mile 11-12:33

Mile 12-12:50

We finally made it to mile 12 as we headed down South Court and back towards the square. I continued to shuffle along, dreading the finish line. We made our way closer and with about a half mile to go,we ran down the brick road. I always loved this part because it reminded me of Muskingum. But I also knew that after the brick finished, the uphill finish line was waiting.

Mile 13-12:49

Last .1 -11:33 pace

And then suddenly with about 400 feet to go, I started to feel light headed, and sick. I told Mallory and Heather to go ahead and I started to walk, getting a hold of my bearings. I slowly began to jog and made my way toward the finish. And as quickly as I felt miserable, I felt normal again.

Making my way to the finish

Making my way to the finish

I crossed the line of my 22nd half marathon, and regretted letting myself run so under trained. I felt like I had let myself down, the Medina Road Runners down, and of course Mallory. But I finished, and that was good enough for me that day.

Wouldn't have finished without her!

Wouldn’t have finished without her!

Thoughts-

Despite my less than spectacular attempt at running, I still love this race. The community support and cheering sections along the course are fantastic. The water stops were easy to navigate and each had their own personality. The new course is much better than last year, and even though I don’t think we’ll ever get rid of that hill on 18, it seemed to be a bit flatter. Well, as flat as you can get in Medina. And of course, the finish line support is the best. There are always so many people lined up along the hill, that you can’t help but dig deep for some kind of sprint.

Hills, hills, and hills!

Hills, hills, and hills!

I know exactly what went wrong to cause my horrible race, and I have only myself to blame. I slacked off a bunch in the past month, and was no way ready to run a half marathon, at least one that I’d be proud of. I also didn’t fuel as well as I had hoped.I need to take a break from Sport Beans because I still can’t figure out how to chew and run at the same time. I’m ready to try something new and I’m going to start incorporating Honey Stinger back into my training. But I’m also open to other options.

As far as hydration, I was a mess. I was not ready to run in the heat and humidity, so I second guessed everything. Combine that with the constant dry mouth due to a new medication, I had no idea if I was actually hydrated or not. I need to go back to drinking water at every mile marker, taking a salt tab every six miles, and throwing some Nuun into my water after mile 10. I know better, I just didn’t execute this properly.

After running this race three years in a row, I still love it. It’s a challenging course, but the crowd support and 5 minute drive are worth it all. I know I’ll be back next year!

Race swag

Race swag

 

Results

Official Time: 2:27:36

Age Group 25-29: 46/72

Female: 325/537

Overall: 607/886

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Medina Half Marathon Recap

I wasn’t sure how to begin this recap. I spent 16 weeks training for Saturday, and a whole year counting down for the day to arrive. But after just 6 miles, my whole race fell apart, and it was as though all of that training was for nothing.

The week leading up to Medina wasn’t a normal week for me. My legs were still tired from Cleveland, I had the brilliant idea of starting a run streak during taper, I experimented with morning runs, and I ran hard 400s the Tuesday before a Saturday race. That right there was enough to know I was in for a troublesome race.

Saturday morning I woke up at 5, got ready and ate some breakfast before heading down to the square. I took a moment to reflect on my training, read last year’s recap, and think of those who helped along the way with Team JDRF. I wasn’t nervous, I was ready to run, I was excited to run what I had spent the last 112 days training for.

I found great parking in a near empty lot right off the square with about 5 port-a-pottys just about to myself. I made a quick stop, headed up to the square and made sure to take in the moment before taking my place in line. I saw many familiar faces of MCRR and we all wished each other good luck. I hopped in between the 2:00 and 2:10 pace groups, put in one ear bud and was ready to go.

The calm before the race

The calm before the race

We were off and I quickly got myself up next to the 2:00 pacers. I knew the first three miles would be the easiest and I wanted to take advantage of them. I tried to keep my pace as comfortable as possible, but I also didn’t want to pass the pacers. A lot of people were going out quickly and there was no clear group of people sticking with us yet.

We made our way away from the square and out towards some of the housing developments. It was all so familiar after running the course runs I was able to focus more on my breathing than running. We passed a few groups cheering and so far the temperature wasn’t too bad. Our pace was a little quick, but I knew we’d slow down once we made it to the first hill.

Mile 1- 8:47
Mile 2-9:06

Out of the developments, we made our way on Reagan. With the rolling hills, I tried to use the momentum from the downhill to push myself up, and not focus on how much effort I was using. I was still keeping a steady pace with the pacers, and while others spent time talking and joking around, I kept my silence and focused on the run.

We made our way on Granger and I looked forward to a bit of shade.  It was starting to warm up a bit, but not too much where I was uncomfortable yet. About 3.5 miles in we turned towards Lake Medina, and I mentally prepared myself for the small hill up towards the lake. My pace was still quick, and definitely a lot quicker than I had normally run around the lake. I tried to keep my focus and let the pacers lead me through instead of worrying about the run. The slight breeze over the lake helped to keep us cool and the views were gorgeous. I easily could have stayed there for an hour to sit back and relax.

Halfway through the lake, we made our way back down on the grass and out to the parking lot. I knew that the giant hill was coming and told myself not to worry, just take it a step at a time.
Mile 3-9:00
Mile 4-9:05

As I made my way up on the hill I started to fade back from the pacers. I wasn’t too concerned because this hill was tough. I tried to take advantage of the slight downhill afterward, but it wasn’t quite enough to get me back on their pace. I was ok with that, I wasn’t trying to break 2 today. So I kept a bit behind them and tried not to let the gap get too large. I could feel my body start to get a little tight from the hill and the slight inclines that followed, but knew that around the 10k mark I’d had a bit of relief.

I kept going, keeping the pacers slightly in front of me, every so calmly keeping an eye on my pace. I had been drinking sips of water after every mile, but it was around this point that I realized I had never taken my sport bean at mile 4. Now feeling a little tired, it made sense. I hurried up and fueled, hoping I’d feel better shortly.
Mile 5-9:14
Mile 6-9:33

Leaving the development, we started on Smith.  Having run these roads so many times last year, I knew the route like the back of my hand and that I’d be in for some decent shade within the next mile. But right before mile 7, I stopped to stretch. My hips were getting tight and I knew I had some more inclines that would need somewhat of fresh legs to tackle.

As I stood back up, a gentleman passing me asked if I felt ok. I was getting hot and tired, slightly faint, but overall, I didn’t feel horrible, just not myself. But I suppose I looked worse than I felt. I continued on my way and ran down the biggest decline of the race. We were in full sun now, and for the first time in a long time, I walked the water stop.

I started to run again, but I was starting to struggle. I slowed down a bit, hoping that maybe going out too quick was catching up with me. I knew these next few miles would be tough. Every time I ran the course, I mentally blocked myself from running as well as I could. Knowing we were over half way done, I started to countdown the miles, hoping they’d go by quick.

We made our way towards Sturbridge and I finally reached a breaking point. I started to walk. My legs were screaming and I was so tired that I just didn’t want to go any further. So I stretched and decided I’d run a half mile, then walk a tenth of mile, just until my body felt back to normal.
Mile 7-9:49
Mile 8-11:10

Still counting down the miles, I continued my plan of walking/running. I walked the water stops as well, trying to soak up as much hydration as I could. There were many times that I wanted to text Darren and tell  him I was done, to come pick me up on the course, but I thought of Team JDRF, and I knew I’d do whatever I could to cross that finish line.

Once I hit the 10 mile mark, I knew I had a 5k left, a very long 5k. The temperature was getting hotter and I was getting warmer. I took a sport bean hoping it would help, and starting drink water about every quarter mile. I continued my walk/jog, disappointed in myself that I had to walk, but I couldn’t keep up enough energy to run.

Knowing I had saved time in the first 6 miles, I knew I wasn’t too far behind where I wanted to end up. But just as I was trying to do math, the 2:10 pace group showed up next to me. I stayed with them until I found a port-a-potty. I stood in line for a good 3-4 minutes, second guessing if I really needed to use it. I was in and out as quick as I could, but I know that it added time onto my race.

Mile 9-11:19
Mile 10-14:52 (Bathroom stop)

With two miles to go, I knew I was falling way behind any goal time. I started questioning myself, only two weeks ago I was running a sub 2 half, and now I’d be lucky if I made it in under 2:20. I also started to feel sick, and started to worry if I’d spend the last part of my run throwing up again.

Turning on Oak to West Park, I was on roads I hadn’t run much, and they seemed to go on forever. I was getting closer and I could feel that every time I ran my pace was good, but I just couldn’t hold it without being in pain. By this point, everything hurt. My feet and legs were toast and I wondered how I’d ran those first six miles so perfectly.
Mile 11-11:47
Mile 12-11:41

The last mile was tough. I started to become anxious knowing I was getting so close. I made my way down the bricks and thought of last year, how happy I was finishing with Melissa, and this year, how I was letting my personal cheering section down.

As I approached the square I started to feel sick again, this time from nerves. I tried to pick up my speed but it didn’t help, instead I ended up on the side of the course coughing and gagging. A gentleman asked if I was ok, and helped me get back on course.

I moved as slow as I could with tears in my eyes. My race that I spent so much time and miles training for was finally over.
Mile 13-11:38
Last .12-13:25

Almost finished

Almost finished

After I finished, I grabbed my medal and met up with Darren, his cousin and my mom. The first thing I did was apologize. I felt so bad they came out to watch me, and I failed, miserably. We took some time for me to stretch, listen to awards and then walked the Farmers Market. I finally felt a little better, but I was still struggling with the heat.

This race was definitely a tale of two halves. The first half was amazing and I was running exactly where I wanted to be. But the second half, I fell apart. I know I have no one to blame but myself, and I’m still disappointed in how I ran the second part of the course. But know that I’ve had time to dwell on it, I know it was a combination of things that really led to my destruction. My legs were toast and my feet were sore as can be. I pushed my legs too hard in the week before, and my shoes were on their last miles. Even though I carried water, the heat and my lack of properly fueling led me to wear down way to early.

 

Half number 16

Half Marathon #16, by far my favorite medal

The course, the support, the volunteers, everything else was amazing. I absolutely love this race and I know it will be in my race schedule for years to come. And although I had a bad race, I know so many who had amazing races. Everything I did wrong was all on me, and sometimes we just have bad races. Not every race will be perfect, so I need to let go, move on, and prepare myself for the next one.

 

Race swag

Race swag

Results

Time: 2:18:37

AG 25-29: 31/69

Female: 271/581

Overall: 546/942

 

*Registration is already open for the 2015 Medina Half Marathon. With the current cost at just $45, I’d definitely recommend signing up for it now. I’ll see you out there!

 

Medina Half Training: Prep & Goals

Well, here we are. Race day is three days away, and I’m pretty excited. Despite hitting my goal two weeks early, I still can’t wait to see what will happen this weekend. I’ve spent the last sixteen weeks working hard to get here, and I plan to enjoy every moment of the Medina Half.

This training cycle was a tough one, mostly due to the weather, but I stuck it out and pushed myself more than any other training plan in the past. I have to say that I have no regrets about training, and although it varied from the norm, it got me right where I needed to be.

Over the last sixteen weeks, I ran 246 miles, ran nine races, PR’d in four distances and raised $250 for Team JDRF. It all seems like a blur now, and even though I’ve trained for the half before, this cycle was such a great learning experience.

What I learned:

  • Cross training really does help. This cycle was the first time I stuck to a consistent lifting plan, and I noticed results quickly! I felt stronger than ever and plan on keeping this in rotation for future training cycles.
  • Stretching and foam rolling are necessary. In the past, I was horrible at stretching, and would pass on it right away. I made a point to stretch after every run and use the foam roller whenever I felt any tightness in my body. Both of these were definitely key to keeping me injury free this time.
  • Diet is everything. To prevent stomach issues during training runs and races, I really wanted to focus in on what worked and what didn’t with my diet. I completely mostly cut out alcohol during the week, ramped up my water intake and nailed down the perfect pre run foods.
  • I pushed myself beyond a comfortable pace. The first half of training was rough because of all the snow, ice and cold, but the second half I pushed myself beyond my limits. I pushed myself to run a little quicker each run and race to see just how far I could go. This definitely helped in achieving sub 2 so quickly.
  • I used races as training runs. When I couldn’t get to the track, I used 5k’s as mile repeats, and I pushed myself on a few longer races to see if I could get used to the pace I needed to achieve sub 2. I also ran back to back races to see how much I could push myself on tired legs.
  • I had the best support and help. I really opened myself up this year and started running more with MCRR. And honestly, it was the best things I could have done. I’ve met so many great runners, many who helped me this cycle and helped me achieve my goal. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without their help.

So what does Medina Bring?  A strong race. This course is harder than Cleveland and has two big hills in the first five miles. There is also a ton of gradual incline that is deceiving to the eye, but you feel it in your legs. It’s going to  be harder, but I want to make sure I give it my all.

But I’ll be honest. I don’t think I’ll run sub 2. My legs aren’t prepared as they could be for the inclines and I think it will slow me down some. However, I still want to run a strong race and leave it all on the course. So I plan on lining up between the 2:00 group, and hopefully shoot for a 2:02-2:04. Really, we’ll just see what happens on race day and I won’t be disappointed if I don’t hit that time.

Training review and goals covered, but what do you need to know if you’re running? Well, here’s all the details:

Expo – Friday, May 30th at the Medina Hospital, entrance A, from 12:00pm-6:30pm.

The expo features 2015 registration, packet pick up, over 14 vendors, and registration for the 5k.

Race Day – Saturday, May 31st, Packet pick up will be available at Cools Beans Cafe from 5:45-6:45.

The half marathon starts at 7:00am, and the 5k starts shortly after. But the fun doesn’t stop after the races are complete. The Medina Farmers Market is back for the summer and will be on the square all morning.

There is also an after party at Johnny Malloy’s which will benefit Stand Up for Downs. With kegs, pizza and a DJ starting at 8pm, it’s sure to be a good time.

And so, after 15 and a half weeks, training is winding down. The only thing left is to do a few shake out runs and line up on Saturday. Here we go!

The best moments of Medina Half Training!

The best moments of Medina Half Training!

 

 

 

 

Medina Half Training: Week Fifteen

We’re officially in taper mode, but really this week was more about recovering than anything. After the Cleveland Half, I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to feel. Monday I was feeling a little sore, so I took the day off from everything and made sure to relax, feet up, once I got home from work.

Tuesday I didn’t have any real plan, just wanted to get a few miles in and see if my legs were recovered. I headed over to Roscoe and ran the two mile out in back. I felt stiff at first, but my legs started to loosen up. The path has a great combination of flat and hills so I was able to mix it up and get a little bit of hill training in.

After I finished up my run, I walked another 3/4 mile of the path and hung out with some deer while the sun set. It was the perfect way to kick off the week.

Beautiful Tuesday night

Beautiful Tuesday night

Wednesday I ended up running Mastick with Elayna. It’d been a while since we had a chance to run together so it was great to catch up. We took her puppy Ella with us and hit the trails with no plan, but to have fun. We ended up with a little over 4 miles and some great views along the way. I definitely miss running Mastick, and hope to get up there a few times a month this summer if I can.

Wednesday night trails

Wednesday night trails

Thursday and Friday I took off and caught up with some friends and housework. The only time I ran over the weekend was Sunday morning. It was pretty hot so I wasn’t feeling too quick, but wanted to get some miles. The rest of the weekend was spent working on our yard and spending as much time outside as I could.

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 2 Miles

Wednesday: 4 Miles

Thursday: Off

Friday: Off

Saturday: Off

Sunday: 2.6 Miles

Total Miles: 8.6 Miles

This week is race week, and after 16 weeks, the training cycle will finally come to an end. It’s hard to believe how quickly it’s gone by but it’s been such a great experience.

I’ve also decided I’m going to attempt the Runner’s World Run Streak. I usually don’t participate because I’m either injured or in the middle of time off. I’m not sure if I’ll last the entire time, but I think it would be fun to try. Plus, with the timing, it’s a perfect way to kick off marathon training, which starts next Monday!

So here we go, the final week of training for the Medina Half Marathon…..

 

Have you ever run the Runner’s World Run Streak? How do you celebrate the last week of a training cycle?

Medina Half Training: Week Fourteen

This week was relatively easy and laid back because of the Cleveland Half Marathon on Sunday. I didn’t know if I’d run it this year, but after winning an entry to the distance of my choice, I figured it’d be the perfect tune up for Medina. Plus with the new course, how could I say no!

Monday night I was at the dealership instead of Body Fusion, but luckily made it home before spending a few hours in the basement for tornado warnings. I should have done some yoga, but I couldn’t relax with the storm. Thankfully we didn’t have any damage, but other parts of town and our neighborhood were badly flooded.

Tuesday I debated running at the rec because it was just so hot and humid. But once I saw my neighbor kids handing out cold drinks, I decided to do a short run outside and reward myself after I finished up. I headed to the trails for maximum shade and ran a short out and back. I was a hot sweaty mess, but still managed to keep my pace under 9:00 somehow. Unfortunately when I got back, the neighborhood kids had run out of drinks, but about 5 minutes after my run, they came over and made sure I was hydrated.

Too kind.

Too kind.

Wednesday I headed up to the square and worked on a few things for the Medina Half. Since I was already up there, I decided to get a few miles in and run some of the streets I ran last year. It was a little chilly, but humid, but it felt great to get back on the streets I really enjoyed running. I ran an out and back and had some hills thrown in for good measure.

I took the rest of the week off to make sure my body could rest up for Sunday’s race. I did a short, slow shake out run Saturday and hoped I’d be ready for Cleveland!

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 2 Miles

Wednesday: 3.5 Miles

Thursday: Off

Friday: Off

Saturday: 1.5 Miles

Sunday: Cleveland Half Marathon

Total Miles: 20 Miles

Sunday was a long day, and the recap will come this week, but I wanted to touch on it shortly as I’m suddenly at a cross roads. My goal for Medina was to run sub 2. After last week’s course run, I wasn’t sure I could do it, but I did it, just not at Medina.

So here I am, two weeks before race day, already met my goal, and preparing myself for the next half. Lucky for me it’s official taper time, and I can reevaluate what I want to do for Medina. It’s a tougher course, so breaking 2 will still be difficult, but not out of the question.

I’m also 20 weeks out from Wineglass Marathon, which means I need to start working on a training plan, and decide if I want to do 16 weeks or 18 weeks. Experienced marathoners, this is where I need your help….

All in all, week 14 was a good one, and honestly unexpected. I’m going to take the next two weeks easy, work on hills and come up with a new plan for Medina.

Have you ever reached your goal time earlier than your goal race? How many weeks do you use in your marathon training cycle?

 

 

 

There’s still two weeks left to get your donations in for Team JDRF. If you’re interested in donating, you can do so here.

Medina Half Training: Week Thirteen

This was not a normal week of training, but I did what was best for me. I knew going into this week that I wouldn’t be able to attend Body Fusion, and most likely won’t be able to go all month. But the rest of the week was a little unexpected.

Tuesday I went out for my run and was a little tight, but the further along I got, the worse I started to feel. I hoped in the second mile I would start to loosen up, but I was still just as tight and felt like I was running for the first time in months. So I cut it short and tried to stretch everything out.

I woke up Wednesday with a bit of pain in my arch and hoped it was just my imagination. The pain was random throughout the day and I decided to take the night off from running and roll it out. Knowing I had the course run on Saturday, I decided to take the rest of the week off and monitor my arch to make sure I kept injury at bay.

Saturday was a humbling experience. We had one final course run before the race. There were at least 20 runners and plenty of paces to choose from. I didn’t really have a set pace or time I wanted to complete the course in, I just wanted to get the whole course completed, and hopefully without pain.

We started off together and quickly we separated into little groups. I ended up running with Denise. The first two miles felt relatively easy, and we kept it to a 9:30 pace. Somewhere between mile two and three, humidity smacked me in the face.

Once we made it to the Lake, the breeze helped to cool things down, but I was sweating up a storm, I was also started to struggle with the humidity. Not how you want to feel this early into the course. Everything else felt fine, so Denise spoke most of the time to get my mind off the run and so I could focus on my breathing. I took a sport bean around this time, and continued to drink some water after each mile.

Once we left the lake, we headed up on Rt. 18 and conquered the big hill. From there on it was a gradual incline until mile 7.25. Since I lived in this area last year, I was used to the incline, but now that I’m on the other side of town, I forgot just how much it can wear down your legs. Once we reached the turn on Guilford, I was looking forward to the short downhill and welcomed a quick break to stretch out my legs.

From here we ran through a bunch of neighborhoods, some I’m familiar with and some I’m not. Thankfully I wasn’t alone or else I probably would have been stuck in the developments for hours. We were still working with a gradual incline that lasted until about mile 10. My legs were started to get sore, especially in the hips and I was losing some energy. I took some more sport beans, tried to drink more water and focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

Once we got to mile 10, I switched my brain to thinking just a 5k left. Our pace was slower than what we started with, but we were still chugging along. There were a few moments that we got stuck by traffic or stopped to check the directions, but we kept going.

We made our way through the last three miles and picked up two more runners along the way. You could tell that everyone was tired, and ready to be done. I kept chugging along, taking advantage of any downhill I could find. And as we approached the square I could feel my legs getting lighter, so I quickened my pace to finish at the gazebo.

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 2 Miles

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Off

Friday: Off

Saturday: 13.1 Miles

Sunday: Off

Total Miles: 15 Miles

The course run was tough. With the humidity, slight pain in my knees and a feeling of never ended inclines, I forgot that it isn’t an easy course. If anything, the course run reminded me of how few hill repeats I’ve done this year. So clearly, that’s what I need to work on in these next few weeks.

Three weeks out, and I’m not quite sure what to expect from the Medina Half. With a few changes on the course, it has a lot of gradual inclines that I’m not sure I’m ready for. During the rest of the training cycle, I plan on running parts of the course and running hill repeats to get me mentally prepared. I don’t know if I’ll be able to run sub 2, but I do know that I want to leave that course knowing I gave it all I had.

This week brings Cleveland Half on Sunday and I’m excited to run the new course. I’m crossing my fingers for perfect weather and can’t wait to see what my legs are capable of!

 

Do you prefer gradual inclines or short steep ones? Who else is running Cleveland this weekend?

Medina Half Training: Week Twelve

Well, here we are, one month left of training! I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone by, pretty soon race day will be here. It’s usually this time of training that I start to become sad that all the work and miles will be coming to an end soon. Four months of training, and hopefully it will lead to a sub 2 half marathon.

Monday started off the week with the usual way, Body Fusion class. We used kettle bells for our weights this time, and I upped my weight yet again. I surprisingly felt pretty comfortable with the higher weight and got a great workout in.

Tuesday I went for an easy run, but my legs were still feeling pretty tight from the hard runs over the weekend and some heavy legs lifts on Monday night. I took to some trails, but even then my legs felt like lead. Fortunately I did get some speed work in when a cyclist and runner came up behind me and scared me. I think the only positive from this run was the views of the sun going down before the storm.

Calm before the storm

Calm before the storm

Wednesday night I was busy, but was thankful for an extra day to make sure my legs were ready for the weekend. Thursday I did an easy run, that actually felt easy compared to Tuesday’s run. I kept it light, and actually had to slow myself down so I wouldn’t use all my energy. I even found a fun little library along the way. I almost stopped to check out the books, but knew I wouldn’t be able to carry them home.

Free books!

Free books!

Friday and Saturday were big days for me. Friday night I ran a local 5k in town that supported Medina schools. Even though we don’t in the Medina school district (go Bucks!), I still wanted to see how my legs would do at a 5k when they were well rested. I’ll have my recap later on this week.

Saturday I ran the Jack & Jill 15k. Originally I wanted to run it to get the miles in. But the race ended up to be more of a trial run of race pace when my legs were tired. I’ll have more on this race too later this week.

Overall this week went really well. I had originally planned to do a much longer run over the weekend, but that plan changed by mile 8 of the 15k. But it’s ok, because I still have this weekend to get my longest long run in before I run the Cleveland Half and begin to taper. It’s hard to believe that there’s less than a month!

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

Tuesday: 3 Miles

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: 3 Miles

Friday: Run.4.Fun 5k

Saturday: Flap Jack & Jill 15k + 1 Mile

Sunday: Off

Total Miles: 19.5 Miles

With one month left to go, let’s recap on how training has been going.

Mileage: 80 miles in 4 weeks, 196 miles total. Mileage was definitely more consistent these past four weeks and I’m sure it helped that all long runs were in the double digits. Long runs have begun to feel easier, I’m pushing harder, and now it’s about fueling properly and working on pace.

Diet: It’s still a work in progress, but I’ve managed to stay pretty healthy. I’m still figuring out what works and what doesn’t, but I’m in a much better place than where I started. I’ve also gained between 3-4 pounds since February, which I assume is hopefully muscle.

Workouts: I definitely improved on hitting the workouts I needed these past four weeks, but I’m still missing on my speed workouts. Luckily I’ve been able to throw in some 5k’s and hills as mini speed sessions to work on my turnover. Now I just have to work on cutting down splits and making sure I stay injury free until May 31st.

Overall: I’m really pleased with where my training is right now. Even though I run less often than others, and my weekly mileage isn’t too high, it’s what works for me and my body. My biggest goal is running a sub 2 half marathon, but I need to be healthy and injury free to get there.

I’m at a point with my running where I couldn’t be happier. These past four weeks have shown me just how strong I am, and what I’m capable of. I’m continuously on a runner’s high. This training cycle has been probably my best yet, and I don’t think I’ve felt this great about my running since college.

What’s your focus in the last four weeks of training? What’s your goal workout to prepare you for race day?

 

Medina Half Training: Week Eleven

This week was a little different than the normal week of training. Knowing that I had two big and important races this weekend, I wanted to make sure my legs were fresh and that I’d be ready to give it my all. So I gave myself a mini taper.

Monday I started off the week like normal with body fusion. I’m continuing to use the heavier weights and they’re becoming more comfortable for me. I just need to start lifting more on my own at home.

Before, After 2 months, After 4 months

Before, After 2 months, After 4 months

Tuesday I took a vacation day for my birthday and took the day to spoil myself. I originally wanted to run in the morning, but after hearing rain, I decided to move my run to the afternoon. Instead I got a massage and was able to hopefully get all the kinks out of my body. I really need to make a habit of getting a massage every couple of months because I felt so much better afterward.

After an afternoon of sun, clouds, hail and rain, the weather finally leveled out and started to warm back up again. Around 4:30 I headed out to Buckeye Woods to get some miles in. I started in the woods and kept it pretty easy, dodging puddles and roots, just trying to enjoy the trails.

Trail love

Trail love

At about 1.60 miles in I started seeing more people on the trail so I picked up my pace and headed over to the marsh. I had some headwind, but I was feeling pretty good. I stopped at an overlook just as my Garmin beeped 3 miles and took in the amazing views of the day.

Take it in.

Take a breath.

I’m not sure if it was the views, the perfect weather, or the massage, but once I jumped back on the path my legs were ready to go and they weren’t stopping anytime soon. I looked down at the Garmin and saw I was running an 8:13 pace. I kept going, and kept checking my watch, but it didn’t change. I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I kept running, and it actually felt comfortable. I went back through the woods and up and around to the paved path, slowing a little, but never felt like I was struggling. The Garmin beeped and I kept going until I got to my car at an even faster pace. I don’t know how, but I felt great, never feeling like I couldn’t hold on. The run itself was the perfect gift.

Mile 1 – 9:35
Mile 2 – 9:11
Mile 3 – 9:05
Mile 4 – 8:18
Last .33 – 7:44 pace

Wednesday and Thursday I took off, but Friday I did a short run around the neighborhood to check on my legs. They were a little tight at first, but they loosened up. I finished up and felt like I was prepared for the weekend’s races.

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

Tuesday: 4.33 Miles

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Off

Friday: 1.64 Miles

Saturday: Hermes 10 Miler

Sunday: Love-A-Stray Fur Fun 5k

Total Miles: 19 Miles

I’m saving my race recaps for later this week, but they were a big eye opener, and in a good way. Hermes 10 Miler was my B race for this spring. It was the race where I’d have a better guess at how my training was and what to expect come May 31st. I couldn’t be happier with how the weekend played out, and surprised at how well everything is coming together. I left it all on the courses this weekend, and sub 2:00 has never felt closer.

 

Weekly Fact about Type 1 Diabetes: If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, know that you’re not alone. And more importantly, that Diabetes won’t stop you from doing things you love. You can live a full life with Diabetes, it didn’t stop these people:

  • Halle Berry – Actress
  • Mary Tyler Moore -Actress
  • Bret Michaels – Musician
  • Jay Cutler – Chicago Bears Quarterback
  • Jackie Robinson – Former Dodger’s player
  • Gary Hall, Jr. –  Olympic Swimmer
  • Ryan Reed – Nascar driver
  • Scott Verplank – Professional Golfer
  • Sonia Sotomayer – Associate Justice of the Supreme Court

If you’d like to help cure Type 1 Diabetes, you can donate here.

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.

 

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?