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?

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Friday  Five – Running Tips for Newbies

TGIF!  And I mean that!  The first week back at work after vacation was a doozy.

It’s been a minute since I last joined in on a Friday Five.  I’m happy to have found a few extra minutes to join in on the fun today!  Thanks to the DC Trifecta, Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia, for hosting every week.

Friday Five

So what are my five running tips?  These are just a few things I’ve learned over the past 18 months of running – hopefully any newbie runners out there can benefit.

Stretch!  (and cross train) – I can’t stress stretching and rolling enough.  It definitely makes such a difference in how you feel and how a long run can make you feel the day after.  I have a stick roller and a foam roller that I use.  A rolling pin can come in handy too, there just isn’t any texture to it.  Cross training is just as important because it adds variety and can help keep your entire body strong for the repetitive motion of running (i.e. your core.)  One of my favorite forms of cross training is yoga, it can be as hard or as easy as you want it to be, you can do it virtually anywhere, and it helps out with the stretching.

Embrace your pace.  No matter what your comfortable pace is, embrace it.  I’m slow.  There I said it.  But I’m still running.  I’d like to be faster, but it’s not going to happen overnight.  Most of my other running friends are faster than me, and I’m not trying to keep up.  The one thing I’ve learned, this summer especially, is to run your slow easy runs, just that – slow and easy.   Last summer I was always trying to run everything as fast as I could, or at least at a faster pace than I was truly capable of, which resulted in a lot of walk breaks and not so fun runs.  So I’m taking my paces seriously, running slow when I need to and running faster when I’m supposed to.  It’s made everything seem much more manageable this training cycle.

Carry Water.  Even if I’m just going out for a few miles, I carry water (especially in the summer).  Even at races, I carry water (see above, in snow even!).  Some people rely on aid stations, but if I’m carrying water, I don’t need to stop.  It’s really just the comfort of knowing I can have water when I want it and not be thirsting until the next aid station.  When I’m out running in my neighborhood, there are no water stops.  There is a Dunkin Donuts, but I only step foot in there during a run if I need the loo.  (After my run is a different story – large iced coffee please!).  If you carry water no other time, at least carry it in the summer.  It’s so humid around here in MD that even at 60 degrees, I’m schvitzing more than a sinner in church.

If it hurts, stop. Period.  Running shouldn’t hurt.  I’m not talking the heavy legs, soreness from yesterday’s yoga class.  I’m talking pain.  Don’t run through pain.  Get it checked out.  You don’t want to make things worse.  Last summer when I hurt my knee, I rested a bit and then tried to run again and it was excrutiating.  I knew it wasn’t right.  I ended up having 6 weeks of no running, but had I continued to try and run through the pain, it could have turned into months of no running.  No bueno.  Get checked out, take some prescribed rest, and then get back out there (when you are given the go ahead!)

Don’t Beat Yourself Up.  Over your pace, over a missed workout, over your bad run, over your bad race.  Just don’t.  You are out there and doing more than someone who’s sitting at home with a bag of cheetos – so pat yourself on the back.  If you have a bad run, think about what you could have done better and aim to improve on that next time.  In the HR world we call those “areas of opportunity”.  If you are just too tired to get up and run or workout – it’s okay!  Sleep in and get up early tomorrow!  Just yesterday I had to miss my tempo run because I had to get up early for work and got home too late to fit in the run.  So you know what, I got up and did a couple miles today – it wasn’t a tempo run, but I got up and did something.  Running should be fun and if you are constantly beating  yourself up over mistakes or how slow you are, the fun isn’t going to last.  Then you’ll be asking your buddy on the couch to pass the cheetos.
Cheetos

So those are my tips.  I can’t wait to read everyone else’s!

 

Anything fun planned for your weekend?  If it wasn’t Cheetos on the couch, what would you be passing around?

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Workouts 6/23 – 6/28

Good Morning!  I haven’t seen you guys on a Monday morning in quite a while!  I’m blogging today from sunny and blazing hot Las Vegas!  And by hot, I mean freakin’ hot.  I’m allowed to complain about the heat when it’s over 100.  

I’m here for the SHRM Conference (Society for Human Resources for those of you wondering what a SHRM was).  I flew in on Saturday and it was probably my worst travel day ever.

I skipped my AM run on Saturday since it was raining and I was going to fly out that afternoon.  I wanted one last AM snuggle session with Charlotte.  My flight was scheduled to leave at 5:30 that afternoon.  I figured I’d just go to bed as soon as I got there and then I could get up early to get a run in.  Well, flight was delayed 2 hours.  We didn’t take off until about 7:30.  And by the time I got a cab and got to my hotel, my body was feeling like it was 1:30 AM.  I’m usually in bed by 10…so this was the worst.

Then when I get to my hotel and start unpacking, they apparently left my suitcase out in the rain and some of my clothes were drenched.  No bueno!  Thankfully I overpack, so I’ll be okay, but c’mon!

So a long run just didn’t happen this weekend, I’ll live.

Here is how the rest of the week went though:

6/23 – Run 3.24 – I did a new route this morning to add some length.  If I can get up earlier, I’d like to make this easyish run a 4 miler.

6/24 – Plank Challenge D27

6/25 – Hill Repeats 2.58. I replicated last week’s workout and did one more repeat.

6/26 – Final Plank – 2:33, Yoga With Adrienne – Energizing Morning Yoga

Plank Challenge is done!  I skipped the last workout and went straight to the final test since I’m headed out of town.  I’m happy I did it. I can definitely notice a difference in how I “hold my gut” in.  When I catch it “relaxed” it’s not as much effort to pull it back in (if that makes sense).  While I don’t think I’ll necessarily plank every day, the challenge introduced me to several plank variations which when combined make a great core workout which I will add to my weekly routine.

6/27 – Rest and travel.  Since it was raining and I was leaving later in the day, I decided to rest and get one last AM snuggle with my girl before going out of town.  Since it was raining I would have probably run on the treadmill anyway, so why not put off the run til Sunday at my hotel?

6/28 – Rest – I didn’t officially workout, but I did walk about 4 miles over the course of the day.  

Total Miles – 5.82

This week I’m just going to try and survive this conference.  The days start early and will be long.  I’m not going to beat myself up though if I can’t figure it out between my body clock and the real clock.  I’ll just have to do my best to eat well this week and do what I can.

Hope you all have a great week!

Weekly Workout Review – 6/2-6/8

Another week goes by and I had another week of workouts.  I already told you about my weekend race, I’ve got lots to think about while gearing up for half training next month.  My plans for this month are to just keep up with cross training, keep up my base miles, run for fun, and maybe do a few runs without the Garmin, or put it in my pocket or something where I can’t look at it every 5 seconds.

Tuesday – Day 7 of the Plank Challenge!  Today I had to hold a standard plank for as long as I could and I made it 1:49.  Baseline was 1:33.  Next Tuesday will be the next Plank Test.  I also did 4 circuits from Jillian Michael’s DVD “No More Trouble Zones”  It’s a strength training DVD that is about 55 minutes total.  I didn’t have time to do the whole workout, but this DVD allows you to select each of the circuits individually.  Which I like so I can customize a shorter workout when I need to.  I chose Shoulders & Legs, Chest & Core, Biceps & Butt, Triceps & Thighs.  Additional circuits were: Core, Upper Body & Core, & Lower Body & Core.

Wednesday – Happy National Running Day!  I got up in the AM and did PT exercises and Plank Challenge D8

Thursday – 3 Miles – I wanted to take an easy run, but also wanted to run a little faster than usual, so the plan was to try for negative splits.  My legs did not want to run they were very heavy.  I went after work, because I was too tired in the morning, and I think I was still tired.  I ended up running 12:15, 12:15, and 12:05.  Not exactly what I wanted, but I felt good after not having run since Sunday.

Friday – a little yoga, a little stretching, plank challenge D9

Saturday – Baltimore 10 Miler!  Recap is posted here.

Sunday – Still sore from Saturday’s race, so I met up with my MRTT mamas to just walk.  I brought Charlotte along who wanted to run.  She was a little sad as everyone pulled ahead of us.  She turned around and told me ” They’re going to reach the finish line before us!”   She ended up tiring herself out, so I had to carry her back to the car to get our non-jogging stroller and then we headed back out.  I showed her how to eat honeysuckles and we listened music on the iPod as we walked along the trail.  I enjoyed her version of Shake It Off.  We ended up going a little over 2 miles.   It was a good morning…she enjoyed eating munchkins and spilling my coffee afterwards.

Sara Myer Lichter's photo.

Monday – Plank Challenge D12 – this was the first combo day of both regular planks & side planks.  I also did some stretching and foam rolling, my calves were still tight.

Total Miles – 13

Plank Time – 1:49

Overall it was a meh week.  I was taking it easy in preparation for the race on Saturday and with Brian out of town I was limited on what I could do on Tuesday & Wednesday.  I also missed a couple of the plank challenge days.  I missed a day, so I planked on a plan rest day, then completely skipped the plank on race day.  Monday should have been a rest day (Day 13 not Day 12), but I wanted to get the work in before my plank test this morning.  This week I’m committing to sticking to the plank schedule, getting in a few easy runs, and doing some PT & strength training.

What are your goals for the week?  What do you focus on in between training cycles?

Baltimore 10 Miler Recap

This was a great race.  Corrigan Sports, in my opinion, always does an excellent job with their events.  The course is great.  It’s a lake to lake tour of nothern Baltimore, starting by Druid Park Lake and going over to Lake Montebello and back.  Not the most scenic course, but definitely a good tour of the city.  All that being said, this was not a great race for me for a couple of different reasons, which I’ll get into later.

Race day weather was good.  Temperatures were in the sixties, but there was some humidity in the air.  It was also overcast for first half of the race, which always helps.  They started the race at 7:30 and had 4 waves.  I hung out in the 3rd wave behind the 2 hour pace group knowing that I wanted to be within 10 minutes of them.

Getting ready to cross the starting line.

I had previewed the course and had run part of it during the Baltimore Half in the fall, so I knew where the hills were going to be.  Right away, we started on a flat that led to a long downhill run, nearly a mile.  The first few miles wound through Druid Hill Park, over to Johns Hopkins University, and then eastbound on 28th street.  Back in 2003, I actually worked at an Enterprise Rent A Car down the street, so I was very familiar with these streets.  The 2nd & 3rd miles went from 28th Street, to north on Greenmount, then east on 33rd.  There were rolling hills and by the 3 mile mark, it was pretty much a downhill until Lake Montebello where it flattens out for the 4th & 5th miles.  What comes down must go back up though.

I pushed through the sixth mile, which was primarily back uphill and I think it took a lot out of me because the 7th mile was my worst mile in a long time.  Mentally I was torn between “I can’t run anymore” and “Damnit Sara you can do this!”  The sun had made its way out from behind the clouds at this point, so it was a little warmer and my legs were tired.  By the 8th mile I had redeemed myself a bit but then we reached the dreaded hill at mile 9.  What was a delightful downhill in the beginning was a monster at the end.  I thought that final hill at the Frederick Half was a dream crusher…that was until I met this one.  Mile 9 of the Baltimore 10 Miler is officially my worst mile EVER!

I miraculously made it to the top – I didn’t bother running any of it.  I wanted to save my energy for the 10th and final mile.  The last mile actually approaches the finish, but you have to loop around another part of the park to finish the mile.  It’s such a tease to see the finish line and have to see it from afar.  I did make it though – high fived Blue the Crab as I crossed, and enjoyed the fact that I did finish.

On the other side of the finish line, there was a cold wet towel waiting for me (whoever thought of providing this deserves sainthood.)  There was also water, chips, orange wedges, bananas, and watermelon.

I couldn’t wait.

After cooling off and eating my snacks I got in line for my medal and premium.  Not everyone got a medal though.  As a King Crab Challenger, there was a medal offered only to King Crab Challenge participants (to go on the awesome medal display that I will pick up at the Baltimore Half in October.)  The Baltimore 10 was the second leg of the King Crab Challenge, just one more race to go!  The premium is really nice too – a red heathered pullover, with thumbholes AND zippered pockets!  Oh the things that get us runners excited.

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I also ran into this lovely lady.  Amber from PB & PRs!  If any of you other bloggers out there are signed up for Charles Street 12 – we need to have a blogger after party!

Overall this is a great race.  I want to do it again.  I love running in Baltimore.  Even though it is not my hometown, I’ve basically lived here since I started college in 1998 and it’s my hometown now.  Corrigan Sports Enterprises also organizes the Frederick Half and the Baltimore Running Festival and I’ve had nothing but great experiences at all their races.  This race is no exception, from the communication before the race, the packet pick up, to the Race Village & post race festival.  I’ll be back for you Baltimore 10 Miler!!!

After the race, I raced back home because is was show week at Charlotte’s Little Gym class.  She got to show off her favorite skills and they showed us what skills they were working on.  She just switched from the Mommy & Me class a few months ago and it has made a world of difference.  She’s doing so much more on the balance beam and her donkey kicks are insane.  I’m so proud of her.  She even got a medal too.

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Now to cover something a little less exciting, my flaws in running this race.  Hills.  You cannot run in Baltimore if you do not train on hills.  My neighborhood loop is hilly, but I never run more than 5-6 miles in my neighborhood.  My long runs are typically done on the the flat NCR Trail which is minutes from my house.  It’s just more convenient.  The hilly area to run is not nearly as convenient, so unless I’m meeting a group there, I never go there.  This summer I signed up for the half marathon training group at Charm City Run again so I will be running more hills in preparation for the Baltimore Half.

 

I also know that I am not as mentally strong as I would like to be.  This race really highlighted that for me.  Maybe it was the hills, maybe it was the heat during the second half of the race, maybe it was the “just barely enough” training I had done in my own mind.  Either way, I definitely got in my own head and allowed myself to walk too much during this race.  This is something I want to work on this summer.  I have my little mantras that I chant to myself, but I need a little more mental training.  So I’m going to work on that.  Conveniently enough, the new issue of Runners World has an article on this topic to get me started.

 

What are your pitfalls and how do you work through them?  Did you run or race this weekend?  What is your favorite finish line goody?

 

  

  

  

  

  

  

Tales from Another Mother Runner Book Party

So I mentioned last week that I was able to attend the Mother Runner book party at Fleet Feet Gaithersburg.  The Another Mother Runner book series and community is really close to my heart because I found it early on my running journey.  Before I had running friends and when I was still in the throes of couch to 5K I found this book and website that pulled me into the running community without making me feel that I wasn’t really a runner.  It wasn’t pretentious and it was really meant for someone like me.  A mother who was starting to run.

I subsequently bought Train Like a Mother and started listening to Dimity McDowell’s & Sarah Bowen Shea’s  podcasts.  Each podcast was like listening in on a couple of girlfriends talking, not elite runners getting all technical about running.  I felt like I knew them or that I could know them.  I could totally be their friend!  I listened to what they had to say – how to come back from injury, tips for running in the heat, the cold, what to wear, etc.  They were my first BRFs, and I’ll even call them the running sisters I never had.

So needless to say, when their third book was coming out and they were going to tour, I had to go.

Dimity McDowell was coming to Maryland, but she was going to be down in Gaithersburg.  I arrived to the event early.  A byproduct of making sure I avoided traffic from Baltimore to Montgomery County.  Dimity came out to greet the few of us that were there and she came right up to me and a few other ladies and immediately gave us hugs.  She said to me “You look like a hugger!”   She asked us about our running, where we were at and chatted with us about how hot and humid it was out and asked us how we ran in it.  She moved on to some other ladies and I mingled.

Eventually the “party” got started.  Everyone took a seat on the floor and  Dimity read a few excerpts from her book.

Then she did some raffles.  The items raffled off included 3 Saucony gift cards, a box of Gu, a Nuun gift pack, a Soleus watch, a Balega sock gift pack, and a pair of Smith Optics sunglasses, some Ultimate Direction products, a Hyland’s gift pack, and I’m certain there were a few other things.  I was the lucky winner of the Balega sock gift pack.  I wore them on my 8 mile run this weekend and I am sold!

A pair of socks, a running hat, and a reflective arm band.

After the reading she signed books and took pictures.  It totally looks like we were having a moment in the first pic, but I think we were discussing how hot and sweaty we were.  (That store was hot!)

I collected my goody bag and headed home.  It was a really fun event and I hope they come back again soon.  When I got home, I put a pic up on Instagram and tagged @themotherrunner to let them know what a great event they had and how great it was for me to meet them.  They reposted a thank you to me and started following me…I can die now!  Ha Ha.  Their goody bag was no joke either – take a look at all it included:

 

During the event, when I looked around, I noticed that there were women there of all ages, shapes, and sizes.  We were all brought together in that room not only by our love of the Mother Runner books but also by our love of running.  Dimity and Sarah have created a community where beginners feel at ease with “real runners” and we all share the common bond of making time for ourselves and motherhood.   Wherever I am, I am part of a larger running community that will welcome me with open arms.  We are mother runners. I am a mother runner.

          

 

Have you read the Mother Runner books?  Was there a person, group, or book  (or anything really) who helped you along the way when you first started running?  What is your preferred brand of sock?