Baltimore Half Race Recap & Life Update

Again with the long gaps between posts!  Get it together Sara!  I’ve just been so busy with work, training, and raising a threenager that by the time I get some time to myself, I need to veg.  Some of you other bloggers with multiple children and crazy schedules that post daily?  I tip my hat to you.

Since I last checked in, I went to Disney World, I went to Cancun, and yes, fit a half marathon in there.  The weeks since the Chuck 12 were pretty standard, track night, tempo runs, long runs, and yoga.  However, during an 11 miler, right before the Chuck 12 actually, I had a horrible pain run down my butt and hamstring.  I stretched it and it seemed to go away.  I had a PT look at it and it turns out my left hip was out of alignment, causing piriformis issues.  Nothing serious, I could work on it at home, but at least I had an explanation for the pain in my butt.

Durning the taper, late September & early October, is when I went to Disney and Cancun.  I had intentions to get at least one run in while in Disney, but the Florida humidity did nothing for me.  Plus, I’m fairly certain I walked enough miles pushing a stroller to make up for it.  Besides, this made it all worth it.  #allthefeels


  
Cancun was the following week (and the week before the Baltimore Half) and basically recovery from Disney since it was just Brian and I.  Despite the timing it was a trip we couldn’t pass up for the price we paid.  It was beautiful and I’m determined to take more trips to all inclusive resorts.

On to the Baltimore Running Festival!  I went to the Expo on Thursday, 10/15, for packet pickup.  It was held at the Raven’s Stadium this year as opposed to the convention center like last year.  I was able to get my bib and shirt pretty easily, but the layout left a little to be desired.  I had bought some cute shirts from Charm City Run earlier in the week, so I wasn’t really in need of any new gear.  Of course I stopped by the Sweaty Bands booth and added to my collection.  I think I have a problem.

Flat Sara ready to go!

Race morning was expected to be cold.  That made me evaluate my goal for race day.  Being as burnt on running as I was, I just wanted to finish under 3 hours, and was okay without a PR.  I had been slacking and just not feeling it for the month prior.

When I saw the forecast, though, I thought I could try and PR.  I did 2:49:59 in Frederick in the spring, when had it not been for the heat, I could have done better.  I thought I could pull off getting close to that, so a PR was my going to be my goal.

On race morning, I took the light rail downtown to meet up with the others in my training group and to watch the marathon start.  The half started later than I’m used to running, 9:45, but that gave me plenty of time to hit the potty before the race started.  If you read my recap last year I was afraid of waiting and had to pee badly for the first 6 miles then waited in a crazy long line mid race.

I finished up in the porta potty line as my wave started walking towards the start, so I hopped right in and started my walk to the start.  As I crossed the starting line, I started my watch, started my Another Mother Runner podcast and got to work. About a 10th of a mile in I remembered that my watch was not set to Autolap and freaked out a bit.  Then I thought it might be a good thing, I decided to just run each mile, click the lap when I passed a mile marker and just not worry about it.

My plan was to take the first 9 miles conservatively (the uphill part) and then pick it up for the last 4.  I was afraid of working too hard on the hills and not being able to finish strong.  The first half of the race was uneventful, other than feeling good.  I passed the time by counting rats.  (Hello, I’m in Baltimore!)  I counted 10 up until about mile 7, when we hit Lake Montebello.  And those are just the 10 that I saw.  🙂

Brian and Charlotte we’re going to meet me at mile 9 by the YMCA, so I was really looking forward to that.  However, once I got there,  Brian asked me to watch Charlotte so he could go to the bathroom.  WTF?!  I kinda didn’t know what to say and agreed.  I thought it would be a quick in and out but it turned out to be about 3 minutes now that I’m looking at my splits.  Charlotte wasn’t even paying attention to me, so it wasn’t even worth it.  As soon as he came out, I took off again.

This is where in my plan I wanted to speed it up and so I did.  The last 4 miles (with the exception of mile 12 when I hit the Howard Street Bridge) were my fastest miles.  I had looked at my watch at some point during mile 10 or mile 11 and realized a PR was going to be out of reach – not that I slowed down or anything.  I still had some hope that maybe my chip start time was later or something that might make it work.  I’d be cutting it really close.  Once I hit the downhill on Eutaw street I was full steam ahead and ran strong all the way across the finish.  The clock time at the finish line was 3:08 and change.  My official time was 2:53:59 exactly 4 minutes over my Frederick PR.

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Now back to that bathroom break.  When I look at my “non moving time” it’s about 3 minutes, nothing scientific.  But the time was close enough to a potential PR that I kindly let Brian know how pissed off I was about his bathroom break.  While I understand he’s with Charlotte and taking her to the bathroom with him can be awkward – I told him I would have rather missed him on the course than had to stop.  He didn’t seem to understand that even though I wasn’t going to “win” I still didn’t want to stop.  When I told him how close I was to beating the other time, he felt really bad.  I’m okay with it now – I still had a course PR by about 15 minutes, so there’s that.  I’m headed to Cleveland in the spring for a flatter half, so that’s where I’ll get my next PR.

This was probably my best race ever.  I felt strong the whole time, I went into it with a plan and followed through.  Sometimes I think maybe I took the first 9 miles too conservatively, but I got my strong finish and that’s all that matters.

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So am I done for 2015?  I might have one more race in me – a 5 miler or something.  I’ll be traveling a lot in November, so I’m planning to spend some time on the treadmill, and come December come up with another plan like last year to get in some cross training and keep up my fitness.  Also – I’m going to the PT again to get the hip checked out and make sure the piriformis issue doesn’t become something bigger.

How has your training been going?  What’s next on your race agenda?  Have you ever been stopped in the middle of a race?

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I’ve Missed You Guys!

WARNING LONG POST AHEAD!  Yes, yes, it’s been awhile.  But I warned you in my last post.  Work is just insane right now.  All good things, but I’ve had to prioritize my time a little.  Hopefully it will settle down in a couple of weeks.

So what exactly have I been up to?  Well besides work, I have been continuing to train for the Baltimore Half, I ran the Charles Street 12, and I got a few new pieces of gear.

Lets start with Baltimore training.  When we last spoke, I had just wrapped up week 5.  I’m now about to start week 10.  I just realized I have 4 more long runs until the race.  Wow, time sure does fly doesn’t it?  Training has been going well, except for the fact that I have unfortunately missed the last few weeks of tempo runs.  First it was due to work, then weather, then just pure exhaustion.  This past week it was raining in the morning, so I planned to go after work, then I got out of work an hour later than I wanted, it was still rainy and I just bailed (it’s a step back week anyway.)  Or so I reasoned.  I’m recommitting this week, so it will get done, come hell or high water.

Mileage counts have been:

Week 6 – 13.3
Week 7 – 15
Week 8 – 16.2
Week 9 – 10

This week I’ve got a track workout Tuesday, tempo on Thursday, and 12 on Saturday.  I have to be honest though, I’m so sick of training.  I’ve been training for races since February.  In May it was the Frederick Half, then in June it was the Baltimore 10, and then last weekend it was the Charles Street 12.  The Baltimore Half will be my last long distance race and I’m so glad that I’ll be done with it for a while.  I need a break from long distances.  If I was just running for fun, maybe I’d feel differently.  There is just pressure (self-imposed) to perform and run well, so it’s just been a bit draining.

Next on my adventures over the past month was the Charles Street 12.

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Facebook followers got this last week. At mile 11.9 I found a small droplet of energy I didn’t know was left and booked it to the finish.

I won’t bore you with a full on race recap, because you can read a nice recap over on Salt’s, Lisa’s, and Amber’s (who placed 3rd in her age group wahoo!) pages.  But I will share my tale.  This was the FINAL installment of Charm City Run’s B3 race series.  It started north of Baltimore City and for 8 of the 12 miles took Charles Street all the way down into the city.  It was my first time running and this race was a doozy.  It is net downhill, but that doesn’t mean downhill.  It was a typical Baltimore City run loaded with rolling hills, awesome city views.  The weather was overcast, but HUMID!  I was running it as a training run, so I wasn’t trying to race it (but I did have a super secret time goal – spoiler alert, I didn’t make it).  The humidity got to me as did the need for the bathroom at mile 6.  I waited much longer than I would have liked.  There were several downhills that I took way too fast and then at mile 10 when it flattened out, I was just dragging.  The last two miles were a real struggle for me – the sun had made its way out at that point and there were no more downhills to ride to the finish.  Oh well, I made it to the finish in one piece and collected my bling.  I felt pretty beat up last week following the race, so I took it easy (step back week as I mentioned).

This race was really fun and challenging.  Not sure if I will do it next year or not, but I would definitely run it again – I love my Charm City Run races.  The premium was nice, it was an Under Armour waffle long sleeve shirt.  It was kinda odd, but I have so many tech shirts it was a nice change of pace.  I Will (see what I did there Under Armour?) definitely be sporting it once he weather cools a bit.  The B3 premium was a really nice Under Armour gym bag.  I think it was originally advertised as a vest so this was a really nice surprise.  The color is a weird reddish brown, but whatevs, it’s still a really nice bag.   I’ve already used it on an overnight trip Labor Day weekend.

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Next on my adventures…new gear!  Everyone loves new gear…but not new gear they really weren’t in the market for.  Like a new Garmin.  In my last post I mentioned how my Garmin 110 was acting funky, well Garmin support couldn’t help, so a new 220 it was.  I haven’t used all the features yet, but I’m loving the wireless syncing.  That is just amazing and so worth it.  I’m actually really excited to use the Workout function and download some workouts to try on my own.
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Next on the gear list is new shoes, no pic yet as I just ordered them today.  I’ve been rotating between a pair of Saucony Triumph 11s and ASICS Nimbuses for the better part of the year.  I was starting to feel the pavement towards the end my long runs.  I actually had been looking for a while, just trying to find a deal.  Since I need a wide shoe, its hard to find my size in stock, so I bit the bullet and just got the Nimbus 17s.   Now was the time to get them so I can break them in before the half.  So I’ll wear these Nimbuses exclusively until I can get a deal on a second pair.

Then yesterday there was this:

   

Charlotte ran the first race of the Charm City Run Kids Cross Country Series.  To say she was excited was an understatement.  She was in the 4 and under age group and they ran one loop around the track.  It was so cute.  I ran with her and she did such a good job.  Before the race I told her that if she gets tired to just slow down, but don’t stop running.  Well during the race she stopped a time or two but I encouraged her and we ran holding hands.  When she made it to the finish – she had the biggest smile on her face.  She kept saying “I did it!”  It’s not her first kids race, but it was the longest.  Our next one is in two weeks.

Anyone with the Garmin 220, what’s your favorite feature?  How do you break in new shoes?  How is your training going?

Baltimore Half – Week 5

Good morning and happy Monday!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend.  Mine was pretty good…a step back long run, a low key Saturday, and a pool day on Sunday.  We also had some great running weather last week.  After the storms passed through on Tuesday or Wednesday, the mornings were really cool.  It was almost a sin to NOT run on Thursday or Friday.  The negative from this weekend?  My Garmin erased it’s history – I’m 100% sure I didn’t do it.  It’s not that big of a deal since I literally had just synced it on Tuesday and I double track everything on Map My Run, but I hadn’t uploaded my long run to Garmin Connect yet and I like looking at my routes and splits.  My long run Saturday was faster than I’ve been running and I really wanted to look at my splits (stomping foot).

My Garmin has been acting wonky a bit lately, sometimes freezing when I go to look at the history, so I have to get it on a charger before I can do anything with it.  I’ve only had it about 18 months, it shouldn’t be doing that right?  I’ve got a 110.  Is it time for an upgrade?  (I’d love some wireless syncing action and step tracking.)

I had a good week of workouts including the brutal track work out on Tuesday.

8/9 – Rest Day

8/10 – PT exercises, foam rolling, & stretching – I was still feeling Saturday’s run.

8/11 – 4.83 Miles of Speed Work – This was a crazy ladder workout that had us doing 4x200s, 3x400s, 2x800s, and 1×1600.  I did most of the 200s and 400s a touch too fast so the 800s and the 1600 were just about finishing.  Last year, I might not have finished, so there’s victory in that.

8/12 – Yoga with Adrienne – This one was called Strengthen & Lengthen, I wanted some lengthening after Tuesday night’s workout.  I can’t recommend her videos enough.  She has a great personality and describes yoga as feeling “yummy”.  I want to be her friend!

8/13 – Unintentional Rest Day – had to travel for work

8/14 – 2.2 easyish miles – Because I missed my Tempo Run on Thursday, I wanted to get a few easy miles in.  I ended up running the last 1.2 miles much faster than I wanted only because I hit a nice downhill during the second mile and rode the momentum until I got back to my house.  I’d love to know what my splits were (see Garmin drama above.)

8/15 – 7 Miles – This was a step back week, so I only had to go 7.  I ended up running this faster than usual, I’ll attribute it to the downhills in the beginning.  I definitely started out faster than I wanted.  Like I mentioned earlier, I wish I could review my splits, but that damn Garmin (shaking fist).

Total Miles – 14.03

So what’s on the schedule this week?  More of the same, with 10 miles planned on Saturday.  Although I still need to get in some strength work, so I have Jillian Michael’s on standby.  Work is about to get super busy for about 6 weeks, so I’m not sure how regular my posts will be, not that I’m posting a ton right now anyway.  But in case I disappear, you’ll know why.

How long should my Garmin last?  Any recs on an upgrade?  How is your training going?

Baltimore Half Training – Week 2

Good Morning!  What a beautiful weekend!  I spent my Saturday doing a hilly long run (more on that below) and my Sunday was spent at Dutch Wonderland with the lovely Miss Charlotte and my college friend and her daughter (our girls are only 4 months apart – which is awesome).

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Last night I also tried a new coffee.  Yes, a coffee at night.  It’s called Counting Sheep and it’s an enhanced decaf coffee.  It’s blended with valerian root, which is an herbal sedative, to help coffee lovers end their day.  I’m always looking for an alternative to snacking at night and this was a great solution.  Since I like flavored creamers, it’s like a nice dessert at night.  So I tried it and I was OUT at 9:30 when I turned off my light.  I’m not sure if it was the coffee or my long day, but it didn’t keep me up so I’ll be trying it again.

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I was traveling last week, so I did my best with workouts. I was thankful to be in Cleveland and escaping the 90s and humidity in Baltimore.

7/20 – I was tight on time due to travel, but I got a little bit of yoga and stretching in before I went to bed.  Plus, now I have this baby to take with me wherever I go.

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So I did a little bit of foam rolling too.

7/21 – 2 mile time trial with 1 mile warm up.  This is where I joined in with an existing track workout run by Second Sole in Cleveland (Rocky River to be exact.)  While their group did their workout (which looked brutal) I went to town on my two miles.  On the track.  Completely mind numbing.  I’m ecstatic to say that I shaved 2 minutes off of last year’s time!  This will be plugged in to McMillan Running to get my training paces for the season.  After the track workout was done, we did a core workout on the field.  Overall it was a great workout.  I’m excited to join up with them again next time I’m in town.

7/22 – Unintentional Rest Day – I had wanted to get a little yoga in in the morning, but due to the late night at the track, I was too tired to get up.  I did get in some stretching in the morning though.

7/24Yoga!  Should have done a tempo run, but I just couldn’t get out of my bed.

7/25 – 1 Mile, stretching, and foam rolling

7/26 – 7 Miles – This run was at Loch Raven Reservoir in Baltimore County.  This is a hilly place to run.  Well it’s not really hilly, but has a major hill right in the middle.  It’s a tough run.  It’s a very beautiful place to run though, and lots of shade.

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Since I’m embracing my inner turtle this year, it wasn’t so bad. I even had a decent fast finish mile.  Splits were:

Mile 1 – 13:39
Mile 2 – 13:15
Mile 3 – 13:01
Mile 4 – 13:53
Mile 5 – 14:02  (coming back up the hill, ugh!)
Mile 6 – 13:58
Mile 7 – 12:07

After the run, I took Charlotte to her gym class and we enjoyed a nice Mommy / Daughter lunch date and took a ride through the car wash before heading home to relax at home for the day.

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A nice chicken tostada salad from Baja Fresh. Next time I’ll need them to go light on the cheese. And I only ate a few pieces of the shell – victory!

7/27 – Recovery / Rest Day – As mentioned above, I took Charlotte to an amusement park and spent most of the day walking around.  Not exactly rest, but a decent active recovery.

Total Miles – 11

This week I need to get some strength work done or some more challenging yoga – it’s been a while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baltimore Half Training – Week 1

 

Wowza!  That was one hot weekend!!!!  I hope you all stayed hydrated!  I read a lot of posts from people who cut their runs short or just had a miserable time.  I spent Saturday at Hershey Park!  For those of you not on the East Coast, Hershey Park is an amusement park based in Hershey, PA, AKA Chocolate Town!  It was my first time there in a bajillion years and Charlotte’s first trip.  We told her all about the chocolate tour that shows how they make chocolate so all week she was asking about riding through the oven.  (There is a part of the ride that goes through a “roasting chamber”.)  It was crazy hot so we only rode a few rides, Charlotte got to drive the old timey cars, meet a Hershey Kiss, and met a “super tall man”.

HP 1

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She was really into the characters, so that makes me super excited for Disney World in September.

So lets get on to the workouts…

7/13 – PT, core work, foam rolling

7/14 – 2.67 Miles – This was supposed to be our 2-mile time trial to set paces for the season.  Unbeknownst to any of the coaches (half or marathon) the college where we do track work had some lacrosse camp or something going on on the field and said there would be too many people on the track.  So after running to the track, we ran another two loops around the campus.

7/15 – Rest Day – I was just tired this morning.

7/16 – Tempo Run – 2.12 Miles – I totally nailed my tempo run!  Kinda sorta.  I was on cloud 9 after the run.  I was supposed to run 5 mins easy, 20 at tempo pace, then 5 mins easy cool down.  I ran 5, then my mathematical skills were challenged and instead of running the tempo pace until my watch hit 25 minutes, I stopped at 20 minutes.  Soooo, I only ran tempo pace for 15 minutes.  Although, my tempo portion was at 11:31.  Prior in the week someone said to focus on time during the tempo run, don’t worry about the miles and that’s what I did – not sure why I get it now, but I do and I’m excited to do it for the full length this week.

7/17 – PT, core work, foam rolling

7/18 – Hershey Park – lotsa walking

7/19 – 6 Miles – This long run had all the makings of disaster.  It was humid, my Garmin was dead, and my legs were so tired from the day before.  But, since I am choosing to embrace my “easy” pace this season, I figured I would just take it easy and get through it.  I started up Map My Run and went to town. My splits were:

Mile 1 – 12:44
Mile 2 – 13.51
Mile 3 – 12:18
Mile 4 – 14.15 (pee break)
Mile 5 – 12:27
Mile 6 – 11:53

So my goal in addition to running long runs easy is to at least have a strong finish mile – which I was happy to have done here.  I also ran into Lisa out on the trail.  I saw her running towards me and though could that be her?  I called out her name and sure enough.  I also came across these guys:

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So I’m giving this run an A.  I felt great the entire time and even though it was off to a rough start, it never felt like a struggle.

Total Miles – 10.79

This week I’m traveling again – but I’m meeting up with the Second Sole training group here in Cleveland to get my 2 mile time trial done on a track.  Now that I’ll have my first drop in out of the way, I won’t be so intimidated to drop in again when I come into town.

Hope you all have a good week!  If I can get another post in this week I will.

Do you have trouble slowing your pace for long runs?