Category Archives: weather

Race Report: Unplugged Half Marathon 2017

First race of 2017 done!

When I came into 2017, I had planned on making Unplugged a focus event for the spring but then life got in the way and it ended up being a workout/rust buster/engine check. My A goal was to break 1:30, my B goal was to be under 1:32. My (unstated) C goal was to finish and not get injured, which was not a forgone conclusion. I came in at 1:31:54 and felt pretty good, so mission mostly accomplished!

Despite living and training in Burlington for many years, this was my first year really running Unplugged. Until recently, it fell on Boston Marathon weekend and I was either running or going down to spectate or in the midst of VCM training. The race is truly unplugged; no awards, just water on the course, few spectators. All of this sets up for an awesome opportunity to get a good workout in without too much stress.

I was excited to have a chance to get a marker for moving forward for the Asheville Half and a fall full, but I was even more excited to see my dear friend Abbey who is my running buddy/confidante extraordinaire who was coming back to Burlington to race. Warming up with her and standing on the start line was enough to make the whole day worth it. She went on to kick ass and I can’t wait to work towards our next running (and life) goals together.

On race morning, the only piece I was worried about was the weather. The forecast called for snow, rain, windy and high 30s which is a tough temperature to dress for. While the mountains got anywhere from 4 to 9 inches of snow, Burlington was relatively dry but the start was COLD. I warmed up in two pairs of pants and two coats and for the first time ever, planned to race in full tights. Will tried to convince me to do a singlet and arm warmers but since he wasn’t at the start and I was being wimpy, I put a long sleeve on under my singlet which would ultimately turn out to be a big mistake.

The gun went off and we had a mile of out and back. I eased into the race and tried to resist the urge to chase after people. The first mile was distinctly uphill and conversely, when we turned, the second mile was downhill. I tried to stay in control but ended up running 7:03 and 6:49. I’m not sure if this second mile ultimately bit me in the butt but I did have to remind myself that I didn’t have the fitness to run that whole race in the 6:40s. The first few miles of the race had multiple turns and full circles through neighborhoods and it was hard to get into a rhythm. Miles 3, 4 and 5 were 6:50, 6:54 and 6:57. The 6:57 was the mile where I had to strip off my undershirt, a feat I accomplished without losing a step or falling down.

After mile 5, we turned onto the bike path and I was able to cruise a bit. Since the race started at 11, I was pretty hungry by the time we started and took my gel shortly after 6 in hopes that it would stave off a bonk. This seemed to work and Miles 6 and 7 were 7:02 and 7:03. I threw my gloves at another friend at mile 7 and was collected but definitely starting to feel some quad fatigue and quickly shed the idea of pushing the last 3 miles in favor of just staying consistent.

Mile 8 passed quickly in 7:03 and mile 9 was the downhill mile in 6:54. I was starting to get some confidence back after this but when we crossed into Waterfront Park, I came to what felt like a complete stop with stomach cramping and the worst GI distress of my life. I can generally tolerate gels without too much water but since I went into the day a tad dehydrated, I expect it sat like a brick in my stomach. I limped through mile 10 in 7:04 (no WAY was this race worth a GI disaster) and just hoped I could hang on for 3 more miles. Mile 11 passed in 7:07 with waves over the Causeway ala VCM 2013.  At least this time, the wind was at our back! Mile 12 was a mess and I alternated between smooth running and stomach saving pace, ending up with my slowest mile of 7:16. I was able to collect myself and ran mile 13 in 7:06 pace. I failed to stop my watch after crossing so have no idea what the last .1 was but I just tried to stay smooth and didn’t do much of a kick.

Is it easy to be excited about my second slowest half ever? Not really. Am I thrilled for the effort it took to accomplish my B goal? Yes! I have had a tough season of training and to be able to run a 1:32 comfortably off essentially no training is something even I have to begrudgingly be proud of. The best part, however, is that it left me hungry for more. I want to get back to being 10 minutes faster, to chasing that sub 1:20 and my Olympic Trials qualifier. I want to push my fitness forward. Onward and upward!

Week in Review 3.13.17 to 3.19.17

Monday: 2 miles easy. Downhill skied.

Tuesday: 2.5 miles easy. Downhill skied again as Stella rolled in. Shoveled the first foot of snow in the evening.

Wednesday: Shoveled the second foot of snow (and the next 6 inches). Downhill skied in the most amazing powder ever.

Thursday: 3 mile run easy.

Friday: Match Day!

Saturday: 45 minute nordic ski at Catamount.

Sunday: 5.75 mile run outdoors.

Total Miles: 13.2

The first big news is that we Matched!!! We will be heading to Asheville NC and Greenville SC for our General Surgery and Emergency Medicine residencies respectively. We were incredibly lucky to interview at a whole host of amazing institutions and are looking forward to starting our careers in the Blue Ridge.

To see just how excited I was, here’s a great video my friend Jack got of the whole shebang:

We also got an INCREDIBLE snowstorm on Tuesday and Wednesday that dropped 30 inches on Burlington and an insane 58 inches at Bolton Valley, which is where I am lucky enough to have my pass. I spent the first three days of the week bombing around on my skis and Wednesday was easily the best day of skiing of my entire life.

I was also able to start doing some easy running this week. I was doing well and excited to get back to normal running…and then my steri-strips fell off which leaves my incision in direct contact with my sports bra. I did finally get 6 miles outdoors in today and although I felt 100% out of shape, it was good to get out there.

One of the nicest things about knowing where I’ll be for residency is being able to plan upcoming races! I now have my schedule set through June and have even been doing some longer range planning for my fall sub 2:50 marathon.

For this week, I’m trying to get back into regular training while also listening to my body. At this point, it’s clear that Unplugged is going to be a training run but I’m hoping to set myself up such that it can be a great workout as well.

Product Review: Powerlift Tight

I was recently at an interview where the Program Director commented that I was not the person he expected to be the tallest based on our pictures. At 5’10” in flat feet, I am way over 6′ when I’m in my interview shoes and am almost always the tallest woman in the room. All of that height, however, is in my limbs. My torso is short and in a chair, you can never tell how tall I am. As great as long legs are for running, skiing and hiking however, finding running tights that fit is a perpetual pain. If they are long enough to reach my ankle bone, they are falling off the top and if they fit the top, well, I’m on trend for the 7/8th tight.

Regardless, I have a closet full of “close enough” tights but really wanted a pair that was long enough AND warm enough for most winter running days. I don’t run outside below zero because of my hands but I’m generally happy outside otherwise. I checked out Athleta*** because I heard that they made tall tights. Imagine my happiness, however, when I found out that even their regular tights are long! (29″ inseam versus 26 to 27 on most normal tights). I tried on their Powerlift Tight and was instantly impressed. The small regular was both long enough, incredibly comfortable and warm. I think the small long would have been slightly better but they didn’t carry it in store and I was completely happy with the fit of the regular.

To be clear, not me. Just the tights that I bought.

I put them to the test almost immediately in Kalamazoo but they are WAY too warm for 30 degree temperatures. When I was in Minneapolis and it was barely above zero, however, I was warm and happy in just one layer of tights. I have worn them for many runs here, regularly nordic ski in them and also have them on under my downhill ski pants. They hold their shape through many days of activity, are extremely warm and best of all, actually hit my ankle bones. I also bought a pair for my six foot tall aunt who lives up in Northern Maine and she is raving about them as well.

The bonus of these tights are that they come with two well-made pockets on the side of the tights that hold keys, phone or anything else bounce free. They also feature a thick waistband so that you can tuck a shirt in for winter-proofing. Unlike some tights, they also allow for almost unrestricted movement which makes them useful for outdoor winter workouts.

At $98 (although now on sale for $78), these are not a small investment but if you are a cold weather sports person, I can’t recommend them enough. I plan to invest in another pair of lighter tights from them for mid-range temperatures and toss out the rest of my “almost” tights.

***All on my own, I received no compensation of any sort for this review.

Week in Review 1.23.17 to 1.29.17

Monday am: Thanks to odd January weather, actually made it to the outdoor track for 5 by 800 at interval pace. Enormously humbling to be struggling along just a bit faster than what I consider my usual tempo pace but felt great to get it done. Legs after.

Monday pm: 45 minute skate ski with the team.

Tuesday: 4.7 mile run in the snow/sleet/ice storm. Stayed upright, which is all a girl can ask for.

Wednesday: 5.65 miles while the car was getting inspected. Sidewalks still a little hairy but trail shoes did the trick. Skied with the team in the afternoon, probably 20 minutes or so of real skiing and a lot of coach standing.

Thursday: No run. Had I known how busy the end of the week would get, I would have run on Thursday instead of taking it as a scheduled rest day but I was trying to be good. I downhill skied all day and the conditions were INCREDIBLE.

Friday: 7 mile progression run on the treadmill. Massage in the afternoon.

Saturday: All of the activities day. 3 mile recovery run, 30 minutes of nordic skiing plus coaching then 5 hours of downhill skiing then three rounds of bowling.

Sunday: Got slammed by my schedule (and my own bad planning) and didn’t get any run in, let alone my long run. Disappointed but trying to view my accessory activities as deposits into the fitness bank.

Total Miles: 33.1

The good? I got two solid workouts in, lifted a lot and got a massage which did wonders for my glutes, hamstrings and back. The not so good? I didn’t do a good job managing my schedule and messed up my long run. My senior research abstract is due on Friday and I’m still scrambling to review charts. Interview season and HIPAA made it impossible to do this project on the road so I’ve been working hard to get through it since my travel wrapped up.

I still didn’t manage to get 20 minutes of yoga in this week, which is more a reflection of my prioritization than schedule. I need to make this investment, period. My DQS was > 15 on 5/7 days and even the days it wasn’t, I was making good food choices. Planning meals on Sunday makes a huge difference for me and surrounding myself with good choices for fueling makes it easy to get to 15.

This week brings my LAST interview. Wahooo!!! I’m headed to the Windy City where I’ll get my long run in on Friday, hopefully along the Lakefront Trail if there’s not too much snow. Will has shoulder surgery on Thursday and will be out of commission for 12 weeks so I’ll also be trying to pick up more of our household stuff that he usually manages. Finally, this is my last weekend before I go back on service on Monday for my Medicine Acting Internship. My AI will be a great test for my workout plan during Residency and my goal is to just get my workouts in (including that long run!!) and be at least at 40 miles a week. Everything else is gravy!

Race Report: Halloween Hustle 5K 2016

For better or worse, I’m getting good at racing in the pouring rain and high 30s! Saturday morning was gray with moderate drizzle…until I started my warm-up when I got totally soaked. Since this was a Halloween race, I tried to get in the spirit without ruining my stride and had the unfortunate idea to rock a cotton Superman shirt. Red bunhuggers topped off my look and yes onlookers, I was cold.

Me and Pre, prerace. Yes, he always makes that face.

Me and Pre, prerace. Yes, he always makes that face.

I didn’t get back from Asheville until 11 pm and when my alarm went off at 7:30, I almost scrapped the idea but since I was registered and awake, I dragged my butt out of bed and got dressed. I was at the race site by 8:30 and the race went off at 9 am, leaving my with just enough time to jog a couple of miles and do a strider up the sidewalk. Right before the race, I asked Joe was his plans were and he said he was hoping for a 5:40 first mile. This comes into play shortly…

The start was a bit hilarious as the airhorn misfired and we took a step out, then came back to start again. We rolled out in the pouring rain and I was a few steps behind Joe and Adam and with Tim, Francis and Todd. We quickly separated from the rest of the group and headed out into the neighborhood loop. Since I thought Joe was running a 5:40 mile, I settled in behind him and felt super comfortable which probably should have been a sign that something was amiss. There were no mile markers, so I just went on time and assumed that I’d crossed mile 1 around 6 minute pace given where I was off Joe and Adam.

The first mile rolls uphill but each hill is followed by either a downhill or a flat for recovery, making it a great course to move on. Tim and I separated from Francis and Todd but worked together for the rest of the race, a needed boost in the pouring rain. Once we got to the top of the hills, we picked up the pace and started to hammer down the hills and float on the flats. I focused on keeping Adam in sight until we took a series of tight course turns and there weren’t any straight stretches to get back in contact. Around this time, I also stepped in a river running down the street and soaked myself up to my shins.

For the second two miles (again, no markers, so I was just guessing on time), I just focused on pressing the pace. When I got to 12 minutes, I picked it up again and worked on convincing myself that I had the fitness to do so. Unlike last week, I found it a lot easier to find that next gear and hold it. My only big mistake was that I didn’t know the course so I wasn’t sure when we were getting near the final turn. Tim did, however, and shot by me with 200 meters to go. I crossed the line at 19:22, very happy to no longer need to drag my cotton shirt along with me!

After the race, I was a tiny bit disappointed that my time wasn’t faster but then found out our splits from Tim. Mile 1 was 6:39, Mile 2 was 6:06 and Mile 3 was 5:49. Turns out, Joe had decided to run the first mile on heartrate and ran a 6:16 instead of a 5:40. We all gave him considerable grief about this! The upside is that I felt so good in the second two miles and was able to push hard. I do think I could have had a similar progression with a slightly faster first mile so that’s a lesson for me to be attuned to BOTH my perceived effort and what others are doing.

Not a lot of female company out there.

Not a lot of female company out there.

Overall, I was happy with a race well executed in crummy conditions and feel like I’m starting to remember how to race again. I also cannot recommend the course enough. It is a certified 5K course and has an awesome combination of hills, downhills and straightaways. I would LOVE to race it again when a) I’m in better shape and b) the weather is a little more favorable because I think it is definitely a PR course.

Race Report: Victory 5K

Also known as, find a starting point. 

To be blunt, running has just not been that fun lately. My schedule is totally unpredictable and I kept trying to find ways to fit a marathon training schedule around TAing, coaching and traveling for a bazillion interviews literally across the country. It just wasn’t working. I didn’t want to run, let alone do a workout and most days, I just wanted to pitch my running shoes across the room. I let go of the idea of a winter marathon a few weeks ago but then found myself in a new predicament: aimless running. With no goal race, what was the point of going out the door to run? After a couple of weeks with no goal, it became evident that I needed something to focus on and I decided to jump back in with a surprise 5K last weekend.

I went in with no goal; I just wanted to go through the motions and get a starting point. I also wanted to support Karen Newman, the beneficiary of the Victory 5K. Karen was one of my first athletic heroes when I started racing again. She would dominate local races with her Olympic singlet on and I remember just being in awe that I got to share the road with someone of her talent. She has recently been battling a return of her breast cancer and the race was a fundraiser to help defray some of her healthcare costs.

Saturday morning was a great day for ducks in Antarctica. It was a chilly 40 degrees and during our warm-up, it started POURING and gusting. We got warm enough while we were jogging around but when I stepped outside for the start, my singlet was instantly glued to me. In fact, I had a few moments during the race where my shorts were so soaked, I wasn’t sure I was wearing any.

The start went off and I just tried to remember how to race. The first mile is essentially downhill and I aimed for a pace that was a click above tempo. During this mile, the rain was dumping down and I mentally kicked myself for not wearing a hat as water was streaming down my face. I went through the first mile in 6:06 (18:57 pace) and although I knew it was above my fitness, hoped that I could still hang on for a respectable finish. The second mile is half slight uphill and half slight downhill on gravel; the turnaround is in the middle of this mile. Although the footing wasn’t too bad, the turnaround was ridiculously tight and I came to a complete stop as I tried to figure out how to turn without falling. On the first part of the return trip, the puddles had started to accumulate and it was getting slippery. I went through Mile 2 at approximately 12:30 (19:31 pace) and realized I needed to stay focused to not totally fall off. The last mile wasn’t as bad as the last mile usually is in a 5K, probably because I was just running on aerobic fitness and not actually redlining. I worked on reeling in the guy ahead of me and just tried to stay upright in the puddles. I rounded the corner for home and pushed it in in 19:28 (6:15 pace).

My initial reaction was to be frustrated (19:28 is slower than my half marathon pace when I’m in decent shape) but I followed that up by being happy that I got through my first race back and cared enough to be frustrated! The nice thing about the 5K is that I can try it again this coming weekend. The Halloween Hustle is all on pavement (I think), so I’m hoping to improve on my time and keep turning my wheels over. My ultimate goal from this training cycle is to break 18 minutes at the First Run 5K (provided we don’t have a massive snowstorm or Arctic blast).

Week in Review 10.17.16 to 10.23.16

Monday: 3 mile run with the dogs and a mini-lift at 4:30 am before TA extravaganza.

Tuesday: 7.5 mile run with the team with 8 by 400 at various speeds on grass. Hip core after.

Wednesday: 6 mile trail run. Amazing fall day out.

Thursday am: 5 miles with 10 minutes at T pace effort.

Thursday pm: 2 miles easy with the team.

Friday: 5.5 miles easy with 4 by 100 meter striders.

Saturday: Decided I had to pull the bandaid off and find out where I am. Victory 5K in the pouring rain and 40 degree weather, 19:28. Not pretty but not that ugly either. 7.1 miles for the day.

Sunday: Skied for 90 minutes in the am!!! 4.5 mile run and Body Pump in the evening.

Total Miles: 40.8

In a moment of realism, I decided that trying to train for a half or full marathon is lunacy right now. I’m traveling all over this fall for interviews and it just sets me up for frustration and failure to be trying to fit 70 miles a week of training in. What I do have time for, however, are a bunch of 5Ks and 10Ks and to try to regain some speed. Despite having almost no real workouts on my legs, I hopped in a 5K this weekend and was happy to run a 19:28. It felt easy, probably because I come with one gear right now, but I’m happy to have a starting place. I’ll race every weekend over the next four weeks and then focus in on the New Years Day 5K, which I’ve won the past two years. It’s hard to watch everyone else run goal fall races but it’s a huge relief to have a realistic training plan for my schedule right now.

I’ve also decided to scrap my 9 day cycle for now. Although I think it’s ultimately the right fit for me, it is not the right fit for my life right now where my schedule is different from week to week. I also want to be able to explore all of these new cities that I’m visiting and not be tied to a workout or distance when I’m there. For example, I’m headed back to Asheville on Thursday (yay!!) and am looking forward to doing an easy hour and change of one of my favorite loops now that the weather has calmed down. Friday morning, interviews start early so I’ll probably just squeeze something easy in on the treadmill.

Week in Review: 9.12.16 to 9.18.16

Monday: Workout on the Eastern Trail. 10 by 1 minute hard, 1 minute easy in an 8 mile run. Actually felt pretty strong; relatively cool day, so I think that helped a lot.

Tuesday: Off day, prorated at 7 miles.

Wednesday: 5 mile easy run plus core.

Thursday: 8 mile tempo run with 4 by mile at tempo pace (6:24, 6:20, 6:20, 6:16). Body Pump at noon, easy run with the team in the afternoon.

Friday: 6 mile recovery run that was much needed.

Saturday: 7 miles around the U-32 Invitational. Double wins for the JV and Varsity girls! Such a proud day as a coach; they executed the race plan perfectly and didn’t get pulled out in fast starts.

Sunday: 12.5 mile long run. Thought dew points of 65 were gone but I was wrong. Total grind in the sun and humidity for this one.

Total Miles: 53.5

A bit of a weird week of running. I had two good workouts on Monday and Thursday but spent the rest of the week a little stressed out about trying to continue to train well with my other commitments. Although my schedule is relatively flexible right now, I sometimes struggle to fit in quality mileage for myself around the team schedule. I know the best thing is to get up and do my own run in the morning but then I end up doubling and that seems to grind me down as well. Hoping to firm up my racing schedule in the next week which should help me be more grounded in terms of workouts and motivation.

I’m happy that I went back to Body Pump and am looking forward to getting a couple more classes in this week. It’s so fun to do something a little different than running and challenge muscles that I used to have! My biceps, however, seem less excited about this particular plan.

Week in Review 9.5.16 to 9.11.16

Monday: 7 mile run with 3.5 at tempo-ish with the team then mini-legs.

Tuesday: 6 mile recovery run around the home course. The heat is really hanging around!

Wednesday am: 8.2 mile run on the Causeway.

Wednesday pm: 5 mile run with the team. Both runs SO hot and humid.

Thursday: 4.5 mile normal run and Body Pump!!

Friday: 13 mile long run with Erin.

Saturday: 5 mile easy run with Will in Maine on the Eastern Trail

Sunday: 8 mile regular run around Old Orchard Beach with striders at the end.

Total Miles: 56.7

Another decent week of training. One would think that after 6 years of coaching, I would know the best way to get my own workout or run in around the team, but it’s still a struggle. I occasionally trip myself up because I think “well if the team is running 7 and I only need 8, I can just add on.” If I’m organized and no one needs anything, it works well. If I’m less organized or an athlete needs something, I wind up short on miles.

I am SO excited that I got to Body Pump this week. I forgot how much I love that class and am going to keep working on going to as many as I can fit in a week. My next hurdle is convincing myself to 1) try a yoga class at Campus Rec and 2) try a totally out of my comfort zone class to mix things up.

It’s still incredibly hot for September in Vermont up here; our home race last Friday was 86 degrees and humid. It’s finally starting to cool off in the forecast so I’m looking forward to feeling better as that happens. Still looking for some fall races to test fitness and have some experiences but it seems like most races are falling on Saturdays which makes it hard with Invitationals.

Week in Review: 8.8.16 to 8.14.16

Monday: 7.5 mile fartlek. Poured rain until I got back.

Tuesday: 7.5 miles with 4 by 50 meter striders.

Wednesday: 6 miles with 8 by 30 seconds hard uphill.

Thursday: Tough day. Used what I had left of the light to scramble up Craggy Pinnacle and breathe in some air.

Mountains

Friday: Jetted out for 4 miles before the trip to Chapel Hill.

Saturday: DYING with KC in the 95 degree weather but we were running in Chapel Hill, so we didn’t care. 4.5 miles. Did real arms with weights!

Sunday: 5 miles on the treadmill watching the Women’s Marathon. Still heated about the clueless announcer lambasting Desi…core after.

Total Miles: Oddly, 34.5 just like last week.

Just accepting that running cannot be priority one right now; learning to operate is. I have an amazing opportunity out here to get a ton of case hours and although it means I’m barely running, it’s a sacrifice worth making. I did get two decent efforts in last week and will aim to do the same again this week before I get to head home on Thursday!! Well, not home, but to training camp with the girls, which is just as good.

So excited for cross country to officially start and to get my own training locked and loaded (and maybe under slightly less humid conditions).