Category Archives: fitness

Week in Review 11.19.18 to 11.25.18

All aboard the HalloweenThanksgivingChristmasValentine’s Day Express…

Monday: 7-mile tempo run. 4 by 5 minutes at tempo with 1 minute between.

(I love this workout because the benefit is the same as a 20-minute continuous tempo but somehow is mentally much more approachable)

Tuesday: 4-mile recovery run. Found a decent option for dark winter nights that isn’t the treadmill. Carrier Park has lights on until 10 pm and I fashioned a 13-minute loop. Not glamorous, but I suspect I’ll be there a lot to save myself from death by treadmill.

Wednesday: Intended to do a shakeout run but unfortunately, operated until 8 pm. Came home and crashed instead.

Thursday: Greenville Turkey Trot 8K. Full race report on Instagram.

Friday: 4 easy miles. Felt pretty darn good after the race, which was encouraging.

Saturday: First real efficiency run back! Jogged to the track then 5 by 200 at R pace. I’m SURE I wasn’t moving as fast as I thought in my head, but I worked hard. Total 5.25 miles.

Sunday: Slow paced 10 miles at the Biltmore. With two workouts and a race in a week, thought I’d better entice myself to take this very slowly so opted for the Biltmore where the gravel roads naturally slow me down.

Total Miles: 38.3. 

Starting to get into a rhythm, which is reassuring. I’m also starting to notice that my stride feels more like my stride than it has in a while. Still struggling a bit with frustration that things aren’t coming back as fast as I want them to, but working to remind myself that I haven’t been fast (for me) since 2015 so I need to be patient in this build up.

One more week up at my current normal workload then a cutback week and another crack at the 8K!

Race Report: Rock’n’Roll Savannah

Short Version

9th female (what?!?!) (also was 10th until they finalized results)
1:32:56

Long Version

This race was one of those great ideas I had about ten minutes after tearing my MCL. I am blessed to have three incredible girlfriends that I met in Chapel Hill and we have worked tirelessly to maintain our friendship over the past decade. I ran my first marathon because of these women and have done countless half and full marathons since then with them. So with half a knee, I convinced KC to register for the half with me. Emily and Lindsey were, as always, up to spectate and come play in Savannah for the weekend.

The last month before this race was really fantastic. My knee started to feel almost 100%, my stride felt normal for me again and I finally experienced a glimpse of past fitness. Despite this, I was nervous about any kind of race because I’d done only early season workouts and my longest long run was 10 miles. Going in, my goal was to be under 1:35 and to run a smart, smooth race.

Travel to Savannah was a breeze. Lindsey flew into Asheville on Thursday night and then we started our journey to Savannah on Friday morning after a Trader Joes stop. The drive flew by as we solved all the world’s problems AND listened to Dirty John. We grabbed KC at the airport, picked up the keys to our rental house and unpacked all our groceries and clothes. KC and I had initially planned to run to the expo but it was raining HARD so we drove instead and did our shakeout run after. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my legs felt amazing. Forgot about the sea level effect!

Before and After.

As luck would have it, our house was a quick jog from the start line so we got up at 6, ate breakfast and had some caffeine then jogged over a little before 7. The weather was PERFECT. I wore a throwaway jacket and gloves and jogged around the corrals until about 7:10. This was the first place I noticed that Competitor has done a LOT to improve their starts. If you remember my Las Vegas experience where I couldn’t warm up OR get to my corral without crying to an official, this was the complete opposite. The start was a BREEZE and next year, I would leave our house even later.

The first mile of the race was mentally hard. People went out fast and I felt like half the field passed me. I was resolute to not go out too fast and just kept backing off. Even with a bridge and fairly significant climb, my first mile was a 7:24. Despite this, it felt like a jog so I didn’t fight it. Once we were over the bridge, I just tried to settle in until mile 6. The course was mostly flat but I did try to pay attention to not pressing too hard over the back of hills or getting caught up in racing.

At about mile 6, we got back into town and the crowds picked up. I started to use some tactics here as there were some windy stretches and I didn’t want to just work alone on this. There were also people coming back to me here so I started picking off people ahead of me one by one. I took my first gel a little before 8 and despite some awkwardness at the water stop, got the gel down without too much of a mess.

After 8, we wound our way out of the historic district towards a neighborhood to the east. With 5 miles to go, I wanted to pick it up and see how fast I could close but this is exactly where my knee started to smart. I don’t know if it was just the time on my feet or trying to push my pace, but it definitely didn’t seem worth it to get injured for 10 seconds a mile in a non-goal race. I was frustrated but focused on just holding on to my pace for the last few miles.

I actually found the last mile the hardest of all of them from a topographic perspective. The previous 12 miles had been reasonably flat but the last mile had some legitimate rollers back to the turn towards the fitness and it was hard to keep momentum. I did pass a woman during this mile, which apparently took me from 10th to 9th. We rounded the corner towards the finish and I saw the clock at about 1:32 and pushed enough to get in under 1:33 by a hair.

Splits:

1: 724
2: 717
3: 708
4: 705
5: 705
6: 705
7: 655
8: 702
9: 658
10: 704
11: 709
12: 701
13: 711
0.1: 630

Overall, I couldn’t ask for more from this race. The organization and course was incredible, the weather was optimal and I had an even and solid performance as my first race back from my MCL. In comparison to other Rock N Roll events, this one was a very reasonable size and was easy to navigate as a runner and as a spectator. I had such a good experience that I already registered for 2019! I registered for the full marathon because I think the course is that fast, but we’ll see what the next few months bring.

Weeks in Review 10.23.18 to 11.4.18

Last two weeks going into Savannah…

10/23: Fartlek workout. 5 by 2 minutes on, 2 minutes off plus stabilizer legs. 7 miles total.

10/24: Early AM 3 mile recovery run.

10/25: 5-mile regular run plus PT.

10/26: AM tempo run with 2 miles continuous at tempo effort. 6 miles total.

10/27: No run, romping around the State Meet.

10/28: Last long run on the Thermal Rail Trail. 65 minutes. Very excited to find this resource. It will definitely feature prominently in my build-up for Grandma’s!

10/29: 2 miles easy with core.

10/30: Last workout. 1 mile at half marathon pace then 5 by 1 minute on, 1 minute off. 4 miles total.

10/31: Off day.

11/1: 2 miles in the pouring rain with striders built in.

11/2: 2.5 mile run through Savannah with KC.

11/3: RockNRoll Savannah Half Marathon. Full race report coming, but Gun 1:33:00, Chip 1:32:56 good enough for 10th overall.

11/4: Core and stretching only.

Training definitely kicked up over the last couple of weeks and in the week before my mini-taper, I was starting to feel like my old self. Now that I see what my race effort came out to be and the equivalent VDot (49), I have some paces to aim for as I move forward through my transition season and onto the San Diego Half.

 

Week in Review 10.15.18 to 10.21.18

Monday: 4 early am recovery miles plus back strength training.

Tuesday: Interval workout in the rain (for which I was totally unprepared). 10 by 1 on, 1 off for 5.25 miles total.

Wednesday: 5 miles easy plus PT.

Thursday: Much needed rest day with some core.

Friday: Early am tempo run. 4 by 5 minutes at tempo pace. 6-mile tempo. Arms strength training.

Saturday: Easy 5 miles run plus core.

Sunday: 11-mile long run in absolutely perfect running weather.

Total Miles: 36.3

Grateful to have another good week of running in the bank. Both of my workouts and long run went well and I did a reasonable job of getting my strength workouts in. Best of all, I’m starting to feel a tiny bit like my old self when I’m running. The beginning of this next week will be the same volume and intensity and then it’s on to taper for the ten days before RockNRoll Savannah.

Filling the Balloon

I saw an Instagram post by Kyle Merber the other day that talked about regaining fitness being akin to blowing up a balloon. The first time you do it, it’s extremely difficult but after a balloon has been inflated the first time, the subsequent efforts aren’t as hard. His point was that if you’ve been fit once, getting back there the second, third and tenth times aren’t as bad.

While I don’t entirely agree (aging, for example, makes for a worn out balloon more prone to pop than expand), I found his analogy comforting. It has been extremely humbling over the past couple of years to find myself considerably slower than before. Thinking of this as a temporary situation rather than a new normal has helped enormously. Overall, I would say that my acceptance of this setback has been way better than in years past. I have been generally positive and although I’ve had runs where I’ve wished to be back at my normal fitness level, I haven’t really given into beating myself up for slower paces. For this, I am incredibly proud. I don’t know if it’s age or experience, but I’ll take it!

Continuing with the balloon imagery, I feel like the last few weeks have been a proverbial exhale and expansion of the balloon. I’ve had workouts that, although slow, have been smooth and strong. This morning, for example, I floated through 4 by 5 minutes at tempo with 1 minute rest at paces that were difficult two weeks ago.

What do you think about the balloon analogy? How else do you conceptualize the return to fitness?

Race Report: RDC Marathon

First and foremost, I just have to give credit to the organizers of the RDC Marathon for a fantastic first year event. It’s not easy to pull off a race and they did an amazing job from start to finish with planning. If you are looking for a PR race or a race with super easy logistics, check out RDC for next fall.

My buildup to RDC was…unconventional. I got my long runs in but my workouts were severely lacking. I did a couple of tempo efforts here and there and a couple of small scale marathon pace workouts, but all I carried in with me was general fitness and experience. Dave’s plan was for me to capitalize on this and go out slowly and stay very, very comfortable until 20 miles.

Two days before the race (Friday), I stood in the OR for 16 hours. Friday is usually a pretty mellow OR day for us with a couple of elective cases but last Friday was NUTS and I was in the OR until 10 pm. Not optimal pre-race preparation. I got my rounds done on Saturday morning then headed to Chapel Hill to post up in my hotel room for the evening. Chatted with Dave for final race stuff, walked to the grocery store to find some palatable snacks and fell asleep around 9.

On Sunday morning, I woke up at about 4:45 and fumbled around trying to get ready. It was below freezing in Chapel Hill and the valet didn’t plan on having to defrost my car so I left a little later than my plan of 5:30. It was no matter as the race was only an exit down 40 and right off the highway. I pulled into the mall and found the start line and grabbed a spot approximately 20 feet from the Start/Finish. I donned my winter layers and went for my first 5 minute shakeout run, followed by a good stretch. There was nowhere indoors to be so after this, I got back in my car, turned it off and flipped through Instagram mindlessly until about 6:25 when I headed out for my second 5 minute shuffle and stretch. By now, the sun was up and people were beginning to mill about. I swapped my warmup clothes for throwaway clothes and headed for the start area. After some announcements and the Anthem, we were off!

The first two miles of the course loop around the mall and are relatively flat with a couple of rollers. My plan was to run the first two miles in about 7:30 pace so my mantra for these was “easy girl, easy.” I tried to find a comfortable pace and not push at all, which was not entirely easy given that I was freezing in my shorts.

At mile 2, we turned north onto the Tobacco Trail for the first half out and back, which went out 6.5 miles before turning. This was my old stomping ground from when I lived in Chapel Hill so I knew many of our landmarks on this half. My plan for the remainder of the first half was no faster than 7:15 so I just tried to settle in and relax. Although the course is relatively flat, the “out” section is actually gradually downhill so I had to be careful not to go too fast. Toward the turnaround, I started passing runners and felt smooth, strong and happy. At the turnaround, I was able to see all the other people ahead of me and figured that I was in first place for women in the full with a woman about 4 minutes back from me. More on this assumption later…

We made the turn and begin to climb back up the incline we’d just come down for a couple of miles. I forced myself to relax and not fight the hill and just focused on reeling people in as a means to staying entertained. Somewhere around 8, I passed two women who I assumed were in the half. I initially tucked in behind them just to have company but they were slowing down a bit too much so I went on alone. I should note that by this time, the weather was PERFECT in the high 30s and still. We rolled towards the Start/Finish area again where the half would turn off which took me up a bit of a hill and then down the other side.

Once we headed south onto the second out and back, there was a fairly significant downhill and I saw 5:40 pace on my watch and had to put the brakes on. I was feeling great but also knew that mile 13 is a long way from mile 26. Right around here, a biker pulled up and said “I think you’re my first woman, I’m your lead biker.” Jess ended up being an awesome companion for the next 13 miles. He’s a multisport athlete but has done a couple of marathons and nailed the balance of conversation and quiet. We headed out towards the turnaround at ~20 and I felt amazing through mile 19. This is where I made a tactical error (obviously realized after) in reading the course. I started to feel more clunky during 18 and kept pressing without realizing that I was on a pretty significant uphill false flat. As soon as we turned, I realized it was downhill and my pace dropped again. I had wasted energy, however, and paid for it on the run home. At the turnaround, I was also able to see my competition. Much to my surprise, the woman I had passed around mile 8 was only about 4 minutes behind me and looked strong. She had a shirt on still but I had assumed she was a half marathoner, not a full runner. This spooked me as I wasn’t feeling awesome and didn’t want to give my win up over the last 6 miles.

Miles 20 through 23 were just less fun and I was over running although I took advantage of the downhill slope of 22 to drop one of my fastest miles of the day. Around 24, Jess said “Put your head down and win this race,” which was just the kick in the rear I needed to hear. I got up the last set of hills (seriously?!?!? Flat course and the only hill is at 25?!?!?!?!) and turned into the finish area and gave the last 400 meters whatever I had left. I crossed just over 3:10 as the overall women’s winner, 6 minutes ahead of second.

All in all, it was the perfect day for running a marathon with incredible weather and a fast course. My nutrition was excellent and I was able to take gels and hydration throughout the race without trouble. My only regret is that I wasn’t able to get there in better shape because this is definitely a PR course. Obviously 3:10 is far, far off my PR but I’m extremely proud of this race for a few reasons. First, I respected my body and executed my race plan. Second, my splits were very even and I squeezed every second out of the course. Third, I did this on crummy training as a General Surgery Intern. Finally, this is my first overall marathon win which accomplishes one of my bucket list goals!!

Not only did Jess bike with me for 13 miles and help me open my post race beer, he also snapped this photo. Full service, I tell ya.

Mile 1: 7:25

Mile 2: 7:24

Mile 3: 7:13

Mile 4: 7:10

Mile 5: 7:12

Mile 6: 7:10

Mile 7: 7:10

Mile 8: 7:10

Mile 9: 7:18

Mile 10: 7:09

Mile 11: 7:06

Mile 12: 7:13

Mile 13: 7:09

Mile 14: 7:01

Mile 15: 7:09

Mile 16: 7:10

Mile 17: 7:08

Mile 18: 7:16

Mile 19: 7:12

Mile 20: 7:21

Mile 21: 7:24

Mile 22: 7:04

Mile 23: 7:42 (Hissy fit, not hill…)

Mile 24: 7:19

Mile 25: 7:19

Mile 26: 7:40 (Hill back to the start area)

Mile 26.2: 6:46

3:10:18 Gun, 3:10:16 Chip.

Still (Mostly) Alive

It’s hard to believe that only 11 weeks have passed since starting Intern Year and in the same breath, 11 weeks has flown by. I am almost done with my first rotation of this year (Acute Care Surgery) and with it, done with the bulk of my training for RDC! As expected, my running has had to take a bit of a back seat to everything else but I’ve done a reasonable job of continuing to train and build and finally have some long term goals in mind!

July: My only real goal for July was to survive and figure out what my running schedule might look like when the reality of 80+ hours of work hit. We had a relatively mild summer here and since I ran in the early morning for most of it, I really didn’t struggle too much with heat and humidity. I ran a very reasonable 181 miles and my long runs progressed to 16 miles. Workouts were non-specific (long trail runs, fartleks and easy tempos) and focused on general fitness acquisition.

August: I started to figure out what work was all about and finally managed to get through my days more efficiently. I hit the wall a bit energy wise in the middle of the month and finished up with only 165 miles. I did, however, get my first 20 miler in for the cycle and my workouts started to get more specific. I also started going to Orange Theory, which has been very interesting in terms of my perception of effort versus my heart rate.

September: After a relatively disappointing August, I have been trying to refocus more on my running in September. I am about as fatigued as I’ve ever been right now and my body is showing it with lots of general aches and leg heaviness. I did get another 20 miler in and my workouts have become even more focused (more on this later). I restarted my iron to make sure I’m tuned up from that perspective and have been focusing on sleep and stretching as much as I can to combat 80+ hours of standing/interrupted sleep/weird positions in the OR. I’m doing a check in half marathon in Johnson City this weekend and interested to see where I’m at as compared to both Unplugged and the Asheville Half. I don’t know what the topography of the course will be and the weather looks hot but it will be nice to have a supported “up-effort.”

I realized in August is that I have to become more flexible with training and with that, workouts have to become more intentional. I don’t have the recovery ability to do multiple workouts a week and instead, have to make do with a couple of quality efforts each week. Because of this and because I have been so frustrated with my stagnation, I finally decided to hire/bring on a coach. I say ‘bring on’ because I am working with Dave Ames, who is a friend beyond being a coach, and the decision was about as collaborative as it gets. As many people know, Will has been my coach forever but with intern year for him and an intentional shift in our marriage to be as focused on just being married and not being co-workers, co-coaches, athlete-coaches, it was time to make a different plan.

One of the amazing things about having a coach is that all I have to do is workout. One of the terrifying things about having a coach ARE those workouts. For example, I had a medium long run on Sunday with a workout built in that didn’t seem that difficult on paper but was EXTREMELY difficult. Similarly, I have a mile repeat workout today that I am convinced is all but impossible so I have the difficult task of convincing myself first that I can do it and second, getting through it. Dave gets incredible results from his athletes and furthermore, has a lot of experience with the sports psychology aspect of racing which I need almost as much as the physiologic piece.

My race schedule has evolved as well, with a new focus on the US 50K Road Championships (hoping to podium) in March and CIM 2018 for my (hopeful) OTQ attempt. This takes a little pressure off RDC where my main goal is to just get back into marathon running and hopefully undo some of the emotional baggage I am (still) carrying from Philly.

But first, the Bluegrass Half in Johnson City on Sunday!

Race Report: Asheville Half Marathon 2017

Short Version: 1:36:10 for 6th place overall, 1st in Age Group

Easily one of the best parts of the day was running into a friend from graduate school and enjoying post race beers!

Long Version:

One of my running partners used to say “The process is the goal” all the time and while I theoretically appreciated what he meant, I didn’t practically start to appreciate it until this Spring when I had to take a hard look at who I am and who I want to be as a runner. 2016 and early 2017 are probably my least successful 18 months of training and racing since I came back to this a decade ago but improving on that isn’t going to come automatically, so I’ve had to be humble and race even though I’m nowhere near my old form. As challenging as that’s been in some respects, it’s also allowed me to focus on different race outcomes than a PR or a win and the Asheville Half was a perfect example of that.

It was a very early start and they asked us to be at the start line at 6:30, a full half hour before the gun. Thankfully, they just meant in the start area and I was able to do some jogging, drills and strides before the race started. Because I knew the course and knew it had two significant hilly sections, I started conservatively which wasn’t entirely easy because the first two miles of the course are essentially downhill. I didn’t wear a watch but my first mile split was 6:36 and my second was 13:00, so my first two miles were relatively quick for my goals. I just focused on effort, however, and hoped that everything would come out okay.

Right after mile 2, the first hill section starts and winds its way around the community college campus. You go up steep hills only to turn around and go down their backsides. My goal through this section was to float on the uphills and cruise the downhills and just keep my effort and legs intact. The group I was running with passed me here but I let them go because I was dedicated to executing my race plan. Towards the top of the campus, we went around a turn that let me see the field in front of me and I noted two women about 2 minutes up who seemed to have fallen off the front pack.* There was another woman (in bright orange shorts, I might add) just a few steps ahead of me but I sensed that she was in over her head so opted to focus on pulling towards the other two. The first hill section finally ended just after the Mile 5 marker and we got onto Meadow Road/Riverside drive for the 4ish mile flat section that this race features.

As we got onto the flats, I finally found my rhythm and worked at a steady state effort as I pulled forward. I passed orange shorts and her running partner, as well as a few other people from the group who’d passed me in the hills and felt cautiously optimistic. As we approached mile 8, I opened my gel on the first try and took it just before I got to the aid station where I actually slowed to a walk-jog and got a full cup of water with which to wash it down. This move was EXCELLENT. Usually aid stations catch me off guard and I can’t get my gel open or I try to move through quickly and choke on water. I lost maybe 10 seconds here and actually had a great fuel stop.

Shortly after the mile 8 aid station, one of the women in front of me was within striking distance.** She had gone out hard and from the looks of it, was paying for it in a place where she should have been cruising. I set my eyes on her and pulled forward. We passed the mile 9 marker and I knew the biggest hill was coming.

And holy shit was it a hill. I’m no stranger to hills but this was a BEAST to put in a race. It climbs all the way up the back of UNCA’s campus and I would estimate that it’s almost a mile long. It has a brutal curve at the top just when you think you’re done and then almost worse, a screaming downhill that will take your quads off right into another uphill. I passed the woman on the hill but she tried to catch me on the downhill. I didn’t react and just pulled away as we hit the second uphill and never saw her again. Finally, we turned to go down the hill in the front of campus, passed the mile 11 sign and turned onto WT Weaver. The other woman was about a minute ahead of me here but I was pretty sure I was out of real estate to make that up.

My proudest part of the day, however, came on the last two miles on Broadway. This is an insidious f*cker of a hill, climbing just enough that you can’t turn your legs over well. I found my tempo effort and pushed the whole way home. We rolled up Broadway, got a tiny reprieve coming into downtown then I gritted my teeth and pushed up Lexington and made the left onto Walnut. I didn’t have much left for a kick but was thrilled that I actually changed gears and held it for the last two miles rather than falling back, out of fitness.

I finished at a hair over 1:36 and although this is my slowest half marathon time by three minutes, it was also the hardest course I’ve ever encountered and I am really proud of the time. I feel like a totally different runner than I did at Unplugged and had the fitness and mindset to attack the course appropriately. I’m going back into base building phase now but would love to do another flatter half to see where I’m at.

Just a few changes in elevation.

There were two super shitty things that happened today that I witnessed. *The first was witnessing my very first course cutting. He passed me early on in the race like his pants were on fire. He was young, so I figured maybe he just didn’t know how to pace well. At Mile 4ish, however, there was a hill and turn that doubled back on itself on two sides of the road with a porto-potty between. I caught him just before this and he was struggling. He stepped off to the side of the road and looked around, then went in the porto-potty. When I came back around 45 seconds later, he came out of the porto-potty, looked around again and jumped back in behind me like nothing happened!

**The second one was almost as annoying. USATF is extremely clear that racers cannot have escorts or pacers, especially if they are competing for money. The formerly mentioned woman that I passed at mile 10 was also young but her dad had been biking with her for at least 6 miles. Not biking around the course to cheer, but actively biking right.next.to.her. Mind you, she was in 6th until I passed her so arguably racing for money and she had started the race in the lead pack. This was a totally empty course; the race happened early and there were not that many spectators so having a friend or family member on a bike was a definite advantage. Not to mention, when I was getting close, he was telling her how far back I was. Anyway, having watched this for a bunch of miles, I decided I would be nice but say something because perhaps they didn’t know that this wasn’t allowed. As I caught her, I said “hey bike guy, you may not know this but USATF prohibits bike escorts or pacers.” And he flipped out. “She’s not competing, that only counts if we’re watching paces and we’re not even timing her, this is just for fun!” I responded (mind you, I’m passing her going up a huge hill), “well, we’re in the running for the money so I would argue that we’re competing.” He sputtered away at me and I (okay, this was not my best moment) said “You seem pretty defensive” and moved on. I passed her and as I said, I never saw her again but a few minutes later, he biked away from her and she completely fell apart. I beat her by more than 3 minutes in the last miles. Maybe I’m oversensitive in light of all the cheating scandals but both of these incidents made me so mad. Play by the rules or don’t play at all…

Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

My first selfie as Dr. Waterman Manning!

I won’t even attempt to recap the past few weeks of training (or life), but the very short version is that I graduated (wooohooo!), celebrated with family and friends and managed to get two very anxious doggies back home to North Carolina. We are now getting settled in Asheville and the dogs look like little kids complete with tons of mud, scratches and sunburns. They love the new backyard and are only happy when they are outside. I’m feeling similarly and have spent countless (uncharacteristic) hours just quietly rocking on the porch and dreaming up home improvement projects. I know the storm is coming but for now, I’m enjoying 9 hours of sleep a night and no real “to-dos.”

Hard to describe the bond between classmates but it’s a bit like leaving the best teammates ever.

Running is going well and I must admit that I’m relieved to feel reinvigorated now that I’m in Asheville. It is getting hot and humid here so runs are slowing down but I’m happy to get out the door every day and enjoying slow progress with my fitness. I’ve started the process of exploring running spots around the area and was blown away by Bent Creek and the new sections of the Mountains-to-Sea trail that I’ve discovered so far. I tried to join in on a group run the other night in an attempt to make some friends but it was a pretty horrible experience (still debating if I want to write about it…). Despite that, I’ve had tempo runs, steady state runs and interval workouts that have demonstrated slow but forward progress.

The Asheville half is this coming weekend and the weather looks…not great. As much as I would like to taper down in hopes of having a great peaked result, my training hasn’t been consistent enough to warrant a taper. Instead, I’m going to train normally this week but add a rest day and extra easy day on Friday and use this as a jump off point for summer training in preparation for my fall marathon. My only goal is to have a strong last three miles, which has eluded me lately in half marathons. I haven’t chosen a race yet (waiting on vacation approval) but am excited to think about starting the (long) journey towards my Trials attempt.

Week in Review 3.27.17 to 4.2.17

What?! A real week of training?

Monday: 5 hilly miles in Asheville. Made a dog friend on my run who followed me for 2 miles. His name was Finn and he was a sweet old guy who loved to run. Happy to reunite him with his dad, however!

Tuesday: 6.4 miles with striders. Super slushy out.

Wednesday: Humbling 7 mile progression run. Legs after.

Thursday: 6.2 mile recovery run. As I thought for 90% of this run, getting back in shape is the pits!

Friday: 4.5 mile run.

Saturday: Another snowstorm! 12 miles on the treadmill. Mind numbing but happy to get a longer run in.

Sunday: 3.4 miles plus this arm workout which was a killer. I can barely type.

Total Miles: 44.5

This week was humbling with a capital H. Almost every run (except my long run thank goodness) felt like a total slog and I spent most of the week being grumpy about being out of shape. That said, I am beyond grateful to be able to run and lift almost at a normal level (and for friends who reassure me that my out of shape isn’t that bad). I was also extremely diligent about my pre-run mobility drills and glute activation exercises, so it’s not surprising that I was sore and tired all week.

The week ahead has the Unplugged Half Marathon and I am looking forward to it! As I’ve said, I’m going to treat it like a workout. My plan is to warm up, ease into the first 2 miles then run at steady state pace until Mile 10. At Mile 10, I’ll try to pick it up if I can. I will be wearing my Garmin to make sure I don’t get over excited and to get a sense of where my fitness is. In my dream world, I would come in under 1:30. In a more realistic world, I’d like to be under 1:32 and feel like I executed a great workout and felt comfortable cruising along.

For the rest of the week, things will be as normal. I start in the SICU tomorrow morning (my last requirement EVER in medical school) and will be back to running at an inhumane hour until I figure out what my schedule looks like.