Week in Review 4/13/15 to 4/19/15

Monday: 7.4 miles plus striders. Thrilled to sneak this in. Right hip a total mess.

Tuesday: 3 miles just before dark.

Wednesday: Found out that Thorncrag is NOT for runners…7 miles after work.

Thursday: Off day. Too tired to function.

Friday: 5 miles on the new bikepath. Legs felt horrible but grateful to get out.

Saturday: 4 miles before my 24.

Sunday: The best laid plans…3 miles before projectile vomiting and spending the rest of my run on the bathroom floor.

Total Miles: 30

Not the best week, but not the worst considering I worked 84 hours and was on my feet for most of them. Bummed I ended up sick by the end because I really needed a nice long run but trying to be grateful for any miles given what I saw all week. I’m also super inspired by Boston today and of course pondering racing it next year. I vowed that I wouldn’t go back until I earned my elite bib but now I’m rethinking that.

For this week, I’m back to clinic and back to training. Hoping to heal up quickly and tackle some monster workouts in preparation for a redemption 5K when I get back to Vermont.

Week in Review: 4/6/15 to 4/12/15

Monday: Woke up with another bout of vertigo so did my run on the treadmill for safety. Just did 4 plus arms.

Tuesday: 3.5 plus striders before night call.

All smiles to be in my call room, headed to bed by 1:30 am!

Wednesday: Post-Call zombie. Hit the track for my last workout. 2 by 1200 (4:19, 4:16) then 5 by 200 “pretty darn quick.” The 1200s felt great, the 200s felt a little awkward. Total of 7.25 miles.

Thursday: Off Day in Prep for Saturday. Tried to spend as much time as possible with my legs up.

Friday: Shakeout run plus strides!

Saturday: Falmouth 4 Miler

Sunday: Inexplicably, an excellent 12 miles after a less than excellent Saturday. I don’t understand my legs sometimes…

Total: 36.4

I’m on Teaching Service this week, which means I’m in the hospital by 5:30 am all week and on call next Saturday from 6 am to 6 am Sunday. The weather looks great this week so I’m hoping to be able to get runs in after work most days. If I’m out too late, I’ll be on the treadmill or just doing the best I can to maintain muscle memory.

Race Report: Falmouth 4 Miler 2015

Long story short, this was not one of my favorite race experiences. From a very stressful pre-race experience to a course that was anything but flat, I didn’t leave yesterday with a lot of good feelings about racing or my progress.

I left Lewiston at 7:00 am, plenty of time to make the trip to Falmouth, collect my bib and warm up. When I arrived in Falmouth, however, there was no signage for the race near the address provided and I spent 25 minutes driving around deserted neighborhoods and Falmouth High School trying to find the start. Finally, I saw runners warming up and followed them back to the well-hidden community park. Granted, this was more of a community event, but any signage would have been much appreciated. I finally parked and got my bib at 8:15 for an 8:30 start. Suffice to say, I was not calm, cool and collected as planned.

I jogged a mile in some serious wind to warm up, then stripped off my layers just before the start. The air temperature was great but the gusts of 30+ mph made standing at the start uncomfortable. Thankfully we started only a little bit late so I didn’t have time to fully freeze.

I wouldn't necessarily call this flat and fast...

I wouldn’t necessarily call this flat and fast…

Mile 1: Not warmed up, at all. This was also a visibly hilly mile and I struggled to get comfortable. Because of my lack of warmup and the hill, I was prepared for a slow first mile but was still frustrated to run a 6:21.

Mile 2: Finally up the first incline and into some rollers. Starting to feel a little smoother here and passed a few people as I found a sort of groove. 6:14.

Mile 3: The mile began with a 360 on a side street to turn around and headed back up the hill I had just cruised down. We also started to face the tailwind we’d enjoyed on the way out. I was in no man’s land but started working my way up through the few guys ahead of me to get some protection from the wind. Started to feel much smoother in this mile. 6:19.

Mile 4: Downhill! Legs were feeling great here but unfortunately, we were headfirst into seriously strong wind. Despite my best efforts, my hands and arms were flailing just trying to go forward. When we turned into the home stretch, the wind faded some and I started to kick. I was surprised to find a ton of acceleration and disappointed that we didn’t have much race left. The chute wasn’t marked, like at all, so I had a bit of an odd finish as I hooked left after crossing what I thought was the finish line. 6:05.

Finish Time: 25:04

7th Overall, 2nd Woman.

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What I’m Happy About: Despite a bad pre-race routine, I managed to keep my wits about me and not just flip out during the race. I am working on not getting frustrated in the wind and give myself a B+ for not fighting it today. I was really happy to feel like I had a lot of gears left at the end (just wish I’d had them earlier) and to find that I’m not tired or sore at all today. Incidentally, yesterday was also a 4 mile PR of over two minutes. That being said, my only prior 4 miler was a 27:11 in 2008.

What I’m Frustrated About: I’ve had some really good workouts recently even with my legs being exhausted from third year and I don’t feel like yesterday was reflective of where I’m at. Even on Wednesday when I was post-call, I cranked out 1200s faster than I did when I ran my half marathon PR (which is faster than I ran yesterday…) I feel like I’m slowing down despite more speed work but Will assures me that he’s not worried so I’m trying to believe him.

Where I Go From Here: We’re working on finding another fitness test soon, which will probably be the weekend I head back to Vermont (May 2nd/3rd). I’m going to keep focusing on short stuff and speed into the summer, both because my schedule just doesn’t accommodate longer training right now and because I need to figure out how to move faster. In the interim, I need to facilitate recovery to the best of my ability and take opportunities to get off my feet and get as much sleep as possible. I also need to keep working on strength training and remember to drink even during the busiest clinic days.

Another race experience done!

Another race experience done!

Week in Review 3/30/15 to 4/5/15

I survived my first week in Lewiston and on “the wards.” The schedule has taken some getting used to and my legs are thrashed from a week of a lot more walking and standing than normal but I made it. I also somehow made it to taper for the 4 miler, so I’m excited to see how that goes next Saturday.

Monday: 7 miles of loops around Bates Campus plus striders.

As seen on my run...the benefits of running with my phone?

As seen on my run…the benefits of running with my phone?

Tuesday: Gear Changing workout. Added bonus of trying to find somewhere 1) safe 2) flat enough 3) long enough. 5 minutes at T pace, 1 minute rest, 2 by 800 at I pace with 3:00 rest, 400, 300, 300, 200 at R pace with full recovery. 8 miles total. Lifted legs after at the hospital gym.

Wednesday: Insane, insane day at the clinic. Went for a walk while on the phone with my mom instead.

Thursday: 8 mile run with legs that felt just plain horrible. Didn’t realize how hilly it is around here until this run.

Friday: 6 by 300 at R pace for a total of 7 miles. Feeling clunky. Arms after.

Saturday: 5 mile recovery run.

Sunday: 7.2 mile “long run.” Thanks taper! Actually found a lovely place to run north of town so that was nice. Legs feeling a little better.

Total Miles 42.2

Total Miles for March: 217

For this week, I’m going to try to get my runs in before clinic and see how my legs feel. I do have a night shift this week which will mess everything up but I’m hoping I can get my legs to feel a little better before Saturday.

Running Communities

I’ve been extremely lucky throughout my life to live in true running communities where there are plenty of places to run and people to run with. From Austin to Chapel Hill to Burlington, I’ve never struggled to find a place to run and clearly took that for granted. Over the last week, I’ve realized that having a place to run is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

Lewiston is definitely not a running town. Until today (when it was 65), I didn’t see a single runner. Zero. I’ve run on the bike path in town. I’ve run on the track. I’ve run through a ton of neighborhoods. And I’ve been completely alone. Cars aren’t exactly hostile, but not unlike Findlay, OH where I went for a disaster of a run a couple of years ago, they are certainly surprised to see the runner girl in neon with her ponytail swishing back and forth. The Hokas probably aren’t helping me. The roads and sidewalks here aren’t so great either. Even in the safe neighborhoods, sidewalks are broken up and uneven. Because it’s a rough town, I’ve also started running with pepper spray and my phone which significantly diminishes my zen of running. Better than not running, though.

Today, however, the Bates track was clear enough to run on and there were a few people out. I even had a “friend” who was doing 200s near where I was doing 300s. After I finished, he ran up to me and asked if I was “that 3K girl from Bates.” Flattering, but I am a long call from college and I hate the 3K. Regardless, we jogged some laps together and it turns out he was a sub4 miler back in the day from Mexico who ran for Cal State. Work brings him to Maine too and like me, his first act was to find his places to run. We complained about the sidewalks for a bit and then went our separate ways and on the way home, I found myself grateful for just a little runner connection.

The running community really is everywhere…

Week in Review 3.23.15 to 3.29.15

This week in one picture:

3rd Year in a nutshell.

3rd Year in a nutshell.

Monday: 4.75 easy plus arms after in crazy wind.

Tuesday: 2 by (400, 300, 200) at R pace for a total of 7.5 miles. Legs after. Felt a little awkward on these but saw 4:41 pace on the watch!

Wednesday: 4.76 mile recovery run with Will. Less than impressed with the sideways rain but neither of us cared because WE PASSED OUR BOARDS! Most anxiety inducing email, maybe ever, followed by a lot of screaming and jumping around our house.

Thursday: 4.5 miles in the pouring rain. Finally gave up and started stomping through puddles which must have made me look insane.

Friday: Not the best workout given that the track still has snow on one corner so I had to jump over the rail and more shitty wind but 5 by 1K at 3:42, 3:44, 3:43, 3:43, 3:43 for a total of 8.5 miles.

Saturday: Last long run (or any run) in Burlington; 11.5 windy cold miles with Annie.

Sunday: First run in Lewiston. A little sketchy, even for me. Definitely going to be rocking the pepper spray and cell phone on any outdoor runs here. Made some friends on my run, though, so I won’t be totally friendless for the next 5 weeks. Wore my new Hokas on the run and it felt like I was running on a pillow. No breaking in needed though!

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Total Miles: 47

Besides the total and utter panic that gripped me and the rest of my classmates as we all realized we’d been shoved out of a plane with only a parachute, a pretty good week of running. I anticipate that this coming week will be tricky for running, both because I need to figure out where I can run safely and figure out when running fits into my schedule. Optimally, I’d like to run in the morning but since it’s still dark then and I’ve made myself a rule to never be out after dark here, it’ll take a little trial and error.

Insanity

There’s a quote that states that insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result. A similar sentiment is captured by if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. I got to thinking about these two quotes when I was running around the track on Tuesday, dreading my next 200 meter repeat. I’ve been training for marathons so long that speed is almost theoretical at this point. I am still adjusting to running fast enough that I have to bend over at the finish to catch my breath.

This Spring has been/will be a marked deviation from my normal training. I’m happy with my progress in the marathon thus far, but also frustrated. I’m an endurance monster, I always have been. But it’s taken me 6 years to go from 3:17 to 2:54 and I recently had to admit that much of that is attributable to the fact that I haven’t developed my speed. With two surgeries and an almost annual marathon on the schedule, I’ve gotten really good at running moderately fast for long periods of time. The fact remains, however, that my 5K and 10K PR are way slower than my marathons would predict. It’s not I’m not capable of running fast; I can dummy Will in a 200. I just haven’t used those systems in a very long time.

In the past few weeks, my workouts have been a total deviation from normal. Instead of 2 hours at marathon pace or tempo miles, I’ve had workouts like 5 by 300 meters or 2 by 200, 200, 400. When I get my workout assignments, my reaction is almost always WHOA, that will be easy. Halfway through, however, my quads and lungs are burning and I temporarily miss tempo pace. All of my races for the first part of this season will be (relatively) short, with nothing over 15K on the schedule. The hope is that by working on my speed now, marathon pace will feel significantly easier (and get faster) come this fall.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be racing a 4 miler. After that, it’s a collection of track and road 5Ks, a 10K and a 15K. And as much as these workouts hurt, I’m really enjoying the change of pace both literally and figuratively.

Have you done a training cycle that focuses on something completely different from your normal? What’s your reaction to short, fast stuff?

Week in Review 3.16.15 to 3.22.15

Monday: The first day of third year did not go quite as planned. Woke up with another allergic reaction and spent most of my morning waiting to get more prednisone so I could open my eyes. 6.8 miles with striders at the end.

Really face, again?

Really face, again?

Tuesday am: 5 by 300 meters hard for a total of 6.3 miles. Loving this fast stuff!

Tuesday pm: 4 miles easy with legs afterward.

3 crockpots of corned beef for St. Paddy's Day.

3 crockpots of corned beef for St. Paddy’s Day.

Wednesday: 7.5 mile run, feeling great.

Thursday: Off day, prorate 6.2 miles.

Friday: Easy 5.5 plus striders.

Saturday: 10 by 400 meters in Lane 8 of the actual track! 80, 82, 81, 81, 82, 81, 83, 81, 82, 83. Psyched to see these times early in the Spring and in the crazy Burlington wind! 8.6 miles total with legs after.

There's little I love more than March Madness sadface. Just gonna play my piccolo as my team ruins brackets...

There’s little I love more than March Madness sadface. Just gonna play my piccolo as my team ruins brackets…

Sunday: I try never to be ungrateful for a run but this one just plain sucked. 10.3 miles in 10 degree temps and negative windchill. Again.

Total Miles: 55.2

Besides a miserable long run, this week went really well. I did lots of hip flexor stretching and am feeling almost 100% on that front, my workouts were both fast and efficient and I’m starting to feel really good. I have an adaptation week coming up and am looking forward to feeling the effects of a little rest on my speed. Maybe I’m not just a marathon runner after all!

This also kicks off my last week in Burlington until May. Next weekend I’ll be shoving off for Family Medicine in Lewiston, Maine. I’m anxious about most of that experience but spent a lot of time this week planning runs and finding places for workouts. I’m also excited to be able to do my long runs on the Eastern Trail, one of the most incredible places I’ve ever run. Well worth the hour drive to Portland!

Thanks to a lot of time in orientation this week, I also read the entire internet. Twice. Three articles made it into my bookmarks to share:

Western Mass Distance Project makes a statement: I’m not crazy about USATF in general right now and I share some of WMDP’s criticisms of USATF-NE. I’m a member of Olde Bones and we are members of USATF-NE right now because we need to be able to compete in some of their races, but it will be interesting to see if there’s any response.

Blake Russell: My fricken hero. She gives me hope that just because I’m 31, my career isn’t over next year. I hope I’m flying like her at 39.

Little heartstrings read from New Bedford. I love that race and loved this story too.

Guest Post: El Cajon St. Patrick’s Day Half Marathon

(You first met Suzanne a year ago. Since then, she moved across the country and kept spreading the #runlove. Lexy and Suzanne were scheduled to run the San Diego Half two weekends ago but as you’ll read below, sometimes you don’t even make it to the starting line. They ran a half this past weekend in the same heat that affected the L.A. Marathon and did an excellent job adjusting their goals to be safe and still have fun.)

Back in November my friend Lexy and I were chatting about what she wanted to do while her husband was deployed. This was his first deployment and we figured we should have a “deployment bucket list” of sorts. We decided we would sign up and train for the San Diego Half Marathon in March. We paid the race entry and dedicated ourselves to shorter weekday runs and a long run every Saturday. We ran every single weekend. We ran when I had a terrible cold, we ran when Lex could barely put weight on her foot, we even ran when we were on different coasts over Christmas break (Lexy wins the prize for that one – seven lonely miles around a snow covered track in Buffalo, NY). We prepped, we planned, we played around with meals and hydration strategies, we were 100% ready for race day and it was finally here. We had anticipated every obstacle and discussed anything that could go wrong during the race. What we didn’t predict was that we wouldn’t even get to start.

We woke up early on race day excited and nervous for the day ahead. We were on time (for the first time ever) to our friend’s house who so graciously rolled out of bed at 6am on a Sunday and drove us. Everything was going well – we were hydrating, we had our bag ready for gear check, and we were on the road in plenty of time. As we crested the top of the Coronado Bridge, we saw brake lights and came to a stop. Our first thought was that it must be some race traffic – we were only a few miles away from the start so maybe it was backing up a little. It quickly became clear that we weren’t moving at all. The clock said 6:09 when we stopped. At 6:30 we called 911 in case no one had. The dispatcher told us that highway patrol had both sides of the bridge closed due to a possible jumper. Unfortunately, this isn’t all that abnormal of an occurrence on this bridge but it never occurred to us to go the long way off the island just in case. An hour later we hadn’t completely lost hope; we were in a late wave and could still make it into the final wave if we moved in the next couple minutes. We didn’t move. As every minute passed we became more and more aware that we weren’t going to get to the race. We tried to keep everything in perspective; that the reason we were stopped on the bridge was for a far more significant crisis than missing a race. Even though we tried to think this way, we were still completely devastated. At 8:30 a highway patrolman helped all the cars make terrifying three point turns and head back to the island (Google the Coronado Bridge: not a place you want to be in reverse). Lex and I looked at the clock and knew we most likely wouldn’t be allowed to start if we got to the start line, but decided that if we didn’t try we would regret it. We arrived at the start line at 8:45 and there was not a person in sight. As we drove away defeated, we passed the party going on at the Finish Line a block away and started to cry. It was final. We weren’t going to finish our half; we weren’t even going to start it.

Driving over this when we arrived in San Diego remains one of the scariest moments of my life.

Driving over this when we arrived in San Diego remains one of the scariest moments of my life.

What happened that Sunday was so far out of our control that we never could have planned for it. The bridge didn’t re-open until 11am that morning. By that time, Lex and I were out running on the bike path near our house. As we ran we talked about how disappointed we were, how much we could never have predicted this, and how we go forward. We decided that we had to sign up for another half – as soon as possible, regardless of the cost. We signed up for the El Cajon St. Patrick’s Day Half Marathon scheduled for just a week later.

We approached this race a little differently. Our goal was no longer to finish the race, but to start it! We did start it (although there was an incident on the course that delayed the start for 15 minutes) and we finished it! It was not an easy race day. San Diego County saw record-breaking heat for March (El Cajon was in the 90s) and the course was very hilly with no shade. We had driven the course the day before and knew there was a hill from mile eight to mile ten. Around mile six we were really starting to feel the heat and knew we still had a huge hill ahead of us. We slowed way down to make sure we could make it the rest of the way and tried to keep our bodies cool by dumping water over our heads at every water stop. We crossed the finish line a little later than planned but it didn’t matter, we were still proud! Although it wasn’t the best introduction to the half marathon for Lexy, she was already strategizing for “the next one” before the race was over.

Looking great!

Looking great!

The El Cajon St. Patrick’s Day Half Marathon was much smaller than the San Diego Half Marathon but it was still well run. The course was hilly and hot but well staffed and there were lots of water stations. There were almost no spectators which made for a lonely stretch but the finish line had lots of people and live entertainment cheering us through the last mile.

It certainly wasn’t the easiest way to run a half marathon but the best news of the last two weeks was that the San Diego Half Marathon deferred our entry to 2016 so we will get to race next year! In the meantime, we’ll keep running here in beautiful San Diego!

Two happy finishers.

Two happy finishers.

Great New Gear: Night Runner 270 Shoe Lights

This article showed up in Runner’s World last week and was sent to me yesterday. I am not really a gear head but got so excited to see this product, both because it helps me get closer to my goal of being a human Christmas tree but also because it fills a need that anyone who runs outdoors year round absolutely encounters. I can’t count how many stutter steps, trips and staggers I take during night time runs but the ability to see where my feet are landing is a welcome improvement. Especially as I head into the clinical years when 3 am (eewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww) runs are going to be a reality, I’m excited to try out these attachments!

I’m making the Marathoner pledge ($50) for one pair of Night Runners and highly encourage you to do the same! Supports a running couple and gets you a product that can really improve safety for you and drivers.

(Not at all sponsored, just an awesome product I found out about and wanted to share with my little blogging world.)