MDI Week One

In just 16 weeks I’ll be up in Maine, enjoying the coast, checking out lighthouses, eating lots of seafood and running my second out of state half marathon. I’m so excited for this race, not only because it’s in Maine, but because it goes through Acadia National Park, right where my favorite lighthouse is. This is seriously a dream race, so I had to get it done in the first year of the 25 challenge. The Mount Desert Island YMCA Half Marathon has been a race I’ve had my eye on for the past year. It’s limited to 400 people, park limit, and has been closed out for months. Unfortunately MDI training will be overshadowed by marathon training after the first month, so this is my time to really put in the miles and get ready for what fall brings.

After taking a week off post Cleveland, I was certainly ready to get back into my shoes. Mentally and physically I feel better, I’m ready for my next training cycle. I had plans to rack up the miles this week, but I had to scale it back a bit. I’m still a bit nervous my knee will start to ache if I run too much too quickly. Luckily, I was able to break in my Asics 1140. The first couple days I tried them after Colorado I had major shin pains. This time around, the pain only lasted a few feet, sounds like a solid start to me!


Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 2 Miles

Wednesday: 3 Miles

Thursday: 6 Miles

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 3 Miles

Sunday: Rest Day

So what do I expect for the month of June? I’m hoping to get a lot of miles in, ramp up my training and prepare myself for those long runs that are right around the corner. I don’t have as many races on the schedule, but I’m hoping the half later on this month will be my best one yet.

This week I’ll be in Wisconsin for work, so getting miles in may be a bit tricky. I already have a packed schedule, and will be on the move constantly. Here’s to a new training cycle and some marathon prep!


The In-betweens

I seem to be stuck in between training plans. I still have at least a month until Columbus training begins, I honestly can’t believe it’s that close! However, I am just about 16 weeks away from MDI Half Marathon in Maine, my second destination race. And while I could use this time to recoup  and take a break, I don’t want to. I’m so close to sub 2:00 and after looking back at my last two half marathons, I know I can find ways to break this. June will be my last shot at a PR until August, so I can’t give up yet.

I’ve come up with a few things to keep me motivated, but also keep me in shape through October. I may not be taking a break, but I’m up for new challenges.

I’m going to run lots of races. I’ve picked a few races to run throughout the next couple of months to keep my legs fresh, but also to keep up the high energy for Saturday runs. I have a few half marathons, a few 5k’s and an obsession of wanting to find more.

I’m running with a group. A way to keep my motivation up will be running with Second Sole. It should be a good tool to get me on pace to breaking more PR’s and a support system to help me in my super long runs.

I’m trying new things. I kept the same pre race ritual throughout all of my races so far, and they’ve worked. But I’m hoping I can find new things to help me exceed in my running. I want to run more with water, I’m sure I’ll need it on most runs this summer. I’m also hoping to change up my Gu flavors, sometimes I just can’t have strawberry banana first thing in the morning.

I’m setting goals. I normally don’t set a number of goals for a race, or for training, but with a little over 5 months until the big show, I’ve to set some goals along the way. My first one is *hopefully* the most obtainable, going sub 2:00 in the half.

I’ve come up with my training schedule for June, essential my base for marathon training:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Week One 4 5 6 6 0 10 0
Week Two 4 5 5 7 0 8 0
Week Three 6 6 6 6 0 11 0
Week Four 6 3 5 4 0 3.1 13.1
Week Five 0 4 5 6 0 11 0

Second Home

Back in high school I ran with the Second Sole group from Rocky River twice a week. Our coach was heavily involved with Second Sole and offered this as an optional training day during the summer. This became a tradition throughout high school and we spent Tuesdays and Thursdays running in the metro parks, followed by Mitchell’s for a little post run snack. After I left for college, and took some time off from running, I stopped running with the group. Lately I’ve been thinking about going back, but was always afraid they’d smoke me.

So  yesterday I finally decided I would run with the group again. I had no idea if I would know anyone, what distance they were interested in or how fast they’d be running. I showed up early and there were just a few guys. First thought, can I still back out, I can’t keep up with them, they look way too fast. Eventually more people started showing up, and they mentioned only 3 miles were on the schedule for tonight, no one wanted to over do things before Sunday. They also broke off to pace groups, and I fit comfortably in with a group of 6.

We started off, and the group asked a few questions, they wanted to know if I was running Sunday and what my goal time was. They also wanted to make sure I was in the right pace group and if I was hoping for more miles. We ran a short three miles, 10 minute pace on the way out and negative split on the way back. As soon as we started, I felt comfortable, I felt home. I normally don’t like running in groups, but running with a group that cares just as much as you do is amazing. There was no competitiveness, just the path and the runners.

I loved every moment of running with SS and made a promise to myself that I would join them as much as I could. I may not realize it now, but these runners could very well help me when I’m struggling to do 20 miles later on this summer.

Cleveland training may be over for many, but if you have other races coming up or the motivation to keep running, then Second Sole running group is a great opportunity. To find out which days work best for you, check out their site. I’ll be there Thursdays!

Lucky Number Seven

A year ago today, I ran my first half marathon. On Sunday I’ll be running my 7th, right back where it started, in Cleveland. This time around is a lot different. I’m not terrified or concerned I won’t make it to the finish. I’m relaxed, in control of my running, and most importantly, running it for a reason.

A lot has changed in the past year. I find that running 13.1 miles is comforting, almost the perfect distance. I’ve learned how to better pace myself throughout a race and how to control my breathing. I’ve tried new things, like Gu and Nuun, wearing a race belt, and using compression gear. I’ve gotten the hang of running a half marathon, and now I’m on my way to getting better and faster. So what do I expect come Sunday?

No goals. This race isn’t for me, I’m not trying to get a PR or take revenge on last year’s race. I’m running it for Team JDRF and everyone affected by Type 1 Diabetes. I just want to go out there and run. I ran about 3 days in the past two weeks to let my body recover and get over the nagging pain in my knee. I’m not expecting to wow myself out there. I want to enjoy it, I want to take it all in. I want to have fun.

But… I can’t help but have a competitive side, so of course I want to beat last year’s time of 2:15:47. And it would be even better if I got down to my current PR or better. However, the weather isn’t looking ideal for Sunday and I’m not ready for heat just yet. But overall, I’m ready to run Cleveland again. I love this city and everything about it.

Hey Colorado!

Tomorrow I leave for the great state of Colorado! After 15.5 weeks I’m ready to take on 13.1 miles of high altitudes and a new adventure. I’ve been looking forward to this for months, as if my blog didn’t already show it. I’ve got my list of everything to pack, iPod is ready, and I’ve checked the weather about a hundred times.

I’ve had ups and downs in training, but I’ve come a long way. In no way am I expecting a PR on Sunday, but I don’t plan on just coasting through it. I’ll be running in altitudes that I can’t even imagine, and although the course is rumored to be flat, I guarantee it will be a challenge.

I’m excited to explore Denver and see this amazing city that so many people rave about. I’m even more excited to see things through a runner’s eye, find out why so many runners go out there to train. More importantly, how running in Denver will hopefully make running in Ohio much easier.

I’ve come so far, cutting down my mile pace by at least two minutes. I’ve used Gu on more than one occasion, and I’ve spent many nights with my foam roller. I’m back to the point in my running where I can just feel where a mile is. I’ve already run two PR’s this year and I haven’t even hit the peak of race season.

The greatest thing…

After running this weekend, I’ll be mentally ready to start training for my marathon. Every race this year is a challenge, and training for those wonderful 26.2 miles that await me in October.

I can tell myself to be cautious, to make sure I pace myself, drink lots of water and Nuun all weekend. But honestly, I’m going to enjoy it, soak up every single moment, and just do what feels right. I’m ready.

Platte River Training: Week 15

This is it! The final countdown. This time next week I will be in Colorado for the Platte River Half Marathon. Words can’t even describe how I feel right now, excited, nervous, scared, anxious…the list could go on. I felt pretty good this week, and by good, I mean 3 of my 4 runs were sub nine pace! Despite the ups and downs of pains, I think I’m in the best shape of my life, post college, and I’m ready to kick off half marathon season.

This week I kept the mileage short again, hoping to work out all aches and pains. I actually think I did better in the colder weather, so I was glad it wasn’t 70+ degrees. I even had a little 5k action to look forward to, so I knew I had to get some decent workouts in.

Monday: 3.61 Miles

Tuesday: 4.18 Miles

Wednesday: 2.21 Miles

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 3.1 Miles-Go the Distance 5k

Sunday: Rest

The goal for this coming week is just to enjoy myself. I’ve got to prepare physically and mentally for the weekend. Here we go, final training week!

Platte River Training: Week 14

It all comes down to this. Week 14, which means now I’m counting down days to the race, not weeks. 14 days. I’ve come so far in the past weeks and months, but there is so much that can happen in the next 14 days. This is where I need to be careful about what I put in my body and how I treat it. Every single pain or twinge I need to think twice about. All liquids will now be water, so wine glasses, I’ll see you after a few weeks. And all pasta is welcome back in my body. I may be going to the extreme, but I’ve put so much time and effort into this race since December 26th. Outside of Maine and the marathon, this is one of the most important races of the year. Not to mention I’ll be running in altitudes I’m not used to at all.

So let’s take a look at the past week.

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 3.22 Miles

Wednesday: 3.41 Miles

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 6.19 Miles

Sunday: Rest Day

I let my legs decide on the mileage this week. I didn’t want to push myself too hard, or get down on myself if I didn’t make it to a certain mile. The first mile of my runs is probably the hardest now. My knee just doesn’t want to give in, and makes for a very uncomfortable couple of minutes. I’ll be picking up a brace for the next couple of weeks, hoping that will help by race day.

Speaking of race day, I didn’t run the Sole to Soul 5k. We had a change of plans and I ended up in Wooster for the weekend. I’ve quickly learned I need to have an alternate race schedule for when I’m not up in Cleveland. However, I did find a race for this coming Saturday down in Marion, so I’ll be able to get in one more race before the half!

How to train for Colorado running…

That’s the question I ask myself everyday. I have just under three weeks until I hit high altitudes and give my best shot at running in the mountains. To admit I’m nervous and scared to run is an understatement. I have no idea how my body will react, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be running a PR. So I need your help. What have you heard or what do you know about making sure I don’t drop out in the first mile?

This is actually happening…

I appreciate any advice, but if all you can think of is joining me, there’s still time to register here…

Also, any suggestions on what to do in Denver for a weekend?

Platte River Training: Week 13

Three weeks to go! The race is within a month and the nerves and excitement are knocking on the door. This past week I kept the miles short and easy. I didn’t plan it this way, but it appears that the pain in my arch has made its way up to my knee. It’s been a little sore since St. Malachi, and I don’t think it plans on leaving anytime soon. I’m hoping that as long as I take it easy this next week I can avoid doing any other damage.

I did however have a little fun this week when I took Elayna out for a 3 mile run. I was pretty proud of her for making it the whole way. I have a secret plan of making all of my non-runner friends into runners.

Runner in the making

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 3 Miles

Wednesday: 3 Miles

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 3 Miles

Sunday: Rest

Plan for the next three weeks? Run at least 2 more long runs and just take the rest by how I feel. This Saturday is the Sole to Soul 5k in Avon, not sure how it will go, but I’m hoping for around 9 minute miles, hopefully a little quicker!

Platte River Training: Week 12

Week 12. I can’t even believe how quick training has gone by. It’s hard to believe that I only have 4 more weeks until my first half of the year. And even after that point, it is a continuous roll of half after half!

This week was a little tougher than I anticipated. My legs felt tight during my first two shorter runs, but I’m pretty sure it was because they were still in shock from the hills of St. Malachi. Needless to say, I was able to stay around a 9 minute pace for both runs, I’m glad my body is adjusting to running faster. My weekend runs were both in Wooster this weekend, so I was able to change up the view and try my legs on even more hills.

Saturday I had my first uneasy encounter during a run. Wooster, as far as I’ve known has been pretty safe. I had no set pace or distance that I wanted to do, just wanted to shake out my legs and make sure they were ok with Sunday’s long run. I started down a country road across from Darren’s apartment. I felt great, managed some small hills and took in the beautiful views. On my way back in, I went through some housing developments, and this is where it turned weird. Every time I turned a corner, I had a car full of high school boys either following me or passing me. My guess was that this happened about 4-5 times, in two different developments. While I’m sure it was just a bunch of boys up to no good on a Saturday morning, it still bothered me, so I booked it home.

Sunday  I was ready for my long run, but more nervous for the hills, lots of hills, so 12 miles would be tough. I decided to split up my run so it wouldn’t be as over whelming. The goal was a 4 mile loop, refuel, 4 mile loop, refuel, 4 mile loop.  Well while this seemed like a great idea, no matter where I turned I had hills, so after mile 8, I split the last 4 in two so I could stretch and refuel. Unfortunately I didn’t quite make it to 12, just short of 11. But after all the hills, I knew my legs got a workout, they were begging for forgiveness a long time before I was finished. Overall it was a 9:43 pace, not bad for my first real hill experience of the year.

Hills anyone?

 2.68 Miles

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 4.25 Miles

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 3.06 Miles

Sunday: 10.75 Miles

Hills and high school boys may have been my biggest obstacles this week, but overall I’m pretty pleased with how the week went. I know I should be doing more miles during the week, but I think what I’m doing is paying off.  I also made a decision on the Cleveland 10 Miler….and this year I’m going to pass. I’m pretty confident my legs will be exhausted after Colorado and Earth Day Half and I’ll end up not enjoying the race. But it is definitely on the calendar for 2013!

Four more weeks to go!