Friday, November 20, 2015

I'm Racing a Half Marathon this Weekend *Gulp*

It's scarier for me to say I am running a half marathon this weekend than it would a marathon. I've run 20+ halves and still don't feel like I know how to race them. I haven't trained specifically for a half in a few years, they have all been in the middle of marathon training. I don't regret that, and it probably won't change for a while. I like my marathons, sue me. 

I've run a few halves this year, none of them stellar. Lake Effect was a snowy bad attitude disaster. Syracuse was a strong effort and good course PR, but still not an all out race for me. Pacing Buffalo was fun half, but again not a race effort. With that, my last half was really Empire last year (still my current official PR). Right now my half marathon PR pace and marathon PR pace are only 2 seconds/mile apart. Needless to say I have some room to move with that half time. We will see.

The last 8 weeks have been a roller coaster of training, with a marathon thrown in the middle and a bunch of random 5k's surrounding that. Most importantly though, it's been FUN. I've not stressed about training for the most part, and haven't been following a strict plan. Mentally I have needed the break after go-go-going on a training plan for well...a really long time.

With that said, I am taking Philly semi-seriously because I KNOW I can PR. But, I'm also going into it knowing this won't be the best I can do (ever) but it will be the best I can give on that day. Reality is, I believe I have far faster times in me but that isn't the point of my running right now. This is my "I'm not following a training plan and if I don't wanna run I won't- Season".

A look at the weeks leading up to this weekends race....

Race week: "Head Cold + PMS= Rage week"
Workouts: Track session: (2 x 1 mile @ T, 2 x 800, 1 x 400, 4 x 100 strides) Cut-down workout
Long Run/Race: -Philly Half Marathon-

2 Weeks out: "Where'd my motivation go week"
Workouts: 60 Minute treadmill tempo (about 45 minutes of "work")
Long Run:  12 Miles with Heather

3 weeks out: "weeeeee training again feels awesome"
Workouts: 9 mile tempo (1 up, 2 Steady State [6:55], 5 Tempo [6:30 avg.], 1 down),
Track workout (4x200m, 2x400m, 4x200m) + Strides
Races: East Ave Grocery Run 5k
Long Run: 16 Miles

4 weeks out: "go with the flow and get it done week"
Workouts: 6ish mile fartlek, 7 mile tempo (1 up, 5 @ 6:28 avg., 1 down)
Long Run: 16 Miles
Races: Pumpkins in the Park 5k (costume race)

5 weeks out: "Getting back into a groove week"
Workouts: Track (1 mile @ T, 2x800m, 2x400m, 4x200m)
Long Run: 14.5 Miles
Races: Scare Away Brain Cancer 5k

6 weeks out: "Recovery week from Chicago Marathon"
Workouts: -none-
Long Run: -none-
Race: Courage Run 5k

7 weeks out: "Chicago Marathon week"
Workouts: -none-
Long Run/Race: Chicago Marathon with Brittany

8 weeks out: "First time doing anything fast since Erie week"
Workouts: Track (10x200)
Long Run: -none-
Race: Photo Finish 5k

9 &10 weeks out: Erie Marathon/Recovery Weeks

I admit looking over this made me feel better about Philly, I have done a few workouts and the races help too.  This race was not on my 'goal race radar' until maybe 5 weeks out. I wasn't sure how I'd feel with back to back marathons, but knew that a half PR would be good way to end the season. I was already planning on spectating the marathon so it worked out to run the half and then play cheerleader after. Win-win.

If I use my most recent 5k time/PR (18:46), that converts to 1:26:53
If I use my marathon PR time (2:58:13), that converts to 1:24:41

I have problems with both of these conversions. My 5k times have never matched my marathon times, I always fair faster on the distance end (which is so strange to me based on my short distance experience being stronger). On the other end of things, using my marathon time seems illogical since that was 10+ weeks ago and I don't have that same fitness right now.

So I guess that leaves me somewhere in the middle, which is conveniently where my goal lies. I think based on training, and where I am currently at (not in peak shape, but not a couch potato) a 1:26:XX is a reasonable goal.

Throwing that out there for a little public accountability.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

East Ave Grocery Run 2015

Oh look it's another race recap! Sixth weekend in a row of racing to be exact, so not the norm for me but it's been fun! I knew this would be my last race before Philly half in two weeks though, and also know it would be a good confidence booster if it went well. I didn't go in planning on a PR, but I also didn't rule it out. I have been consistently between 18:55-19:07 for a while now so I was hoping to be somewhere around there.

B got up in the morning with me and drove me to the race, which is an easy drive. I warmed up solo and zoned out to some music (I may not listen to it while racing anymore, but I still love it for pumping myself up during pre-race!). I couldn't gauge how I was feeling, but finished with some strides and checked out the field anyways. Based on who I saw, I told B I could have a tough time cracking the top 10 but that I would try. A quick shoe change and last minute hug and it was about go time. I high fived and said hi to a few friends and other Bergen teammates (was nice to have a few of us there!)

I was on the line off to the side, but near some people that I knew would be good to chase once we took off. I was near a girl who I bobbled back and forth with two weeks ago at the 5k so I decided to just hang with her for at least the first mile. It gave me something to focus on and we were holding a good pace. The first mile is 95% straight, the marker was shortly after the first course turn. This mile also slight elevation loss. 5:55

After we made turn two, I pulled ahead and started picking others off as I could. I wasn't paying attention to my watch, just focusing on form and pushing forward. The second mile had two turns, and finished on a slight grade. I did see B shortly before the end of the second mile which made me smile. 6:06

The third mile of this course (new course this year) definitely was the most challenging of the three. First off it's the third mile of a 5k, it's supposed to be a grind at the end. Secondly this mile has FIVE turns and a short steep incline right between two of those turns. It was just enough to take the wind out of my sails, and admittedly I didn't pace it well. I continued to pick people off without looking at my watch, I had no clue when I needed to kick. I unfortunately waited until the final turn onto East which left me with very little room to make up ground. Live and learn.

No, that is NOT a lot of elevation change but damn I let it get to me more than I should have!
I pushed as hard as I could and was running 5:02 pace for the last 30 seconds. In my head I was a little mad at myself for not tackling the last mile better and kicking too late, but then I saw the clock and knew I was about to PR. 18:46 was the official time, and gave me a 3rd place finish. Anger went away pretty darn quick, I can't help but be my own worst critic but I'll also celebrate my success just the same.

Basically opposite pacing of the 5k two weeks prior, but I was faster overall this time so I can't be TOO mad.
Overall I am happy with how my times have been with shorter distances this fall since Erie Marathon. I still need serious work on short distance pacing but I know that I can fix that in time. This was a good confidence booster for Philly half, and was very pleased to end up in top 3 ($50 was a nice unexpected thing to walk away with). A few of the women I thought were racing ended up not, but this was still a solid field- I definitely ran knowing that I had quite a few women right on my heels (good motivation to push though!).

This week will be a bigger training week for Philly and next week I plan to do a small taper for the half. If you want to know about the previous two weeks of training you can check that out ----> here.

2014 Grocery Run Recap (Old Course)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Ten things Thursday: Catching up on Life

Admittedly, for a good chunk of time I was rolling with the punches but also expecting the punches regularly. I kind of felt like I was in the ring with Ronda Rousey a bit, but somehow managed to come out alive and relatively unscathed. 
Lets file the last few years under 'Chaos' and current state as 'great changes'
Life lately has been much less of a boxing match, and much more of a zip line ride down a mountain. All of a sudden I look around and things are just....amazing. Life has been changing at a rapid pace, complete with all of the emotions. It's exciting, fun, a little scary but as a whole just a damn good experience. Sure, it's not always easy and I find my grip slipping here and there but you adjust and hold on like hell. 

A few things to talk about, so in true Laura fashion we will go with the list....

1. I have a secret to share. My alter ego is published! You can now call me Barley, read more about that right here --->Introducing Barley!<--- on Salty Running. I am really excited to start writing over on SR, I will be posting my training logs as well as other running/training/racing posts. This little corner of the web isn't going anywhere though. I will be sharing the writing between sites, and created a tab up top for links to all my Salty posts as they are done! So I guess that really wasn't a secret but I just hadn't gotten around to talking about it because I was busy with....

2. Moving. This fall has been pretty darn busy (but in so many good ways!). The decision was made towards the end of September, even though we knew that October was going to be nuts. B was gone the first 2 weeks of the month, and I spent 5 days partying and running my way through Chicago. When we both got back it was time to just make things happen. A few evening trips with the truck (followed by food and beer at Tap & Mallet), and a few more day trips and a large trailer load and we were done. The house is full: 2 people, 2 dogs, 2 sets of adults belongings....and many jokes about needing a room for my books and my running shoes. Many adventures in cohabitation to come :)

3. Speaking of moving, I didn't realize how attached I was to my regular running routes until I didn't have them! I moved out of the city, but am in a pretty busy area with less convenient access to my go to running spots. Not a huge deal, in fact it's been fun finding new routes. Sometimes I get home and say I will NEVER run on THAT road again, and other times I come back all excited to return to a road for a certain type of workout. I do miss some of my old routes though, luckily it's not THAT far away.

4. Training has been, slowly becoming training again if that makes sense. Between Erie and Chicago I basically just ran if I wanted and didn't otherwise. After Chicago it's been a mish mash of runs, races, and whatever I could fit in. I finally feel like I have some structure back which is a good feeling. I also have a new gym membership which is 2 miles from my new home- convenient for getting workouts in, and for running (treadmill time is imminent, it's November). This is Upstate, NY. It may have been 78 yesterday, but I'm a realist and I know I'll be grumbling over white crap in no time. I'm sticking with a pretty loose training plan for the time being though- after a big year of training and racing, the stress free and fun is a great distraction.

5. Bibs Galore! I used to race a LOT, like a lot lot. Over the past few years it's dwindled a bit, although I still race a decent amount. Somehow, fall fun running turned into racing a ton! Since I'm not high volume training right now, and have gone into all but one (Erie) of these with no expectations/pressure/stress- I don't think it's a bad thing to spend my weekends poking myself with safety pins at ungodly hours.
9/20 Recovery Week
9/27 More Recovery running

6. Racing. While we are on the topic, there are two more to add for upcoming races. I am running a 5k this weekend (I'd like to be around where I have been, but also have been training more this week so who knows), and then racing Philly half in two and a half weeks! Admittedly, I do have some bigger goals for Philly but that we can talk about another day.

7. I know I already did a race recap- but um, yeah. You gotta see this again. because...jorts.

8. Can we talk about the weather? No, seriously...the weather has been awesome! We had a cold snap for a bit but then this week has been 70's! Yesterday Rochester reached 78 which broke a 70+ year temperature record. Usually we are breaking cold or snow records this time of year, so cheers to something new! Buffalo Bills also won a new title, drunkest fans. Admittedly this shocked me far less than a record breaking 78 degrees on November 4th.

9. We all know I love my Zensah compression. What you may not know is they have wool sleeves now! I know I was just talking about it being 70 degrees outside, but it's NY and that could change in 5 seconds. I love the wool sleeves and can see myself using them a LOT this winter. They are super warm/cozy but still offer great compression without being crazy itchy! Check those out here---->Wool Compression sleeves

10. Apparently my life isn't changing as much as I thought if I can't come up with 10 things without talking about the weather. Obviously there are other things in life going on. I still work (ONE job for the time being, WHATTTTTT?!). I still run. I still drink beer. Basically, I'm the same person but I smile a hell of a lot more and my zip code is different.

What's new?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Pumpkins in the Park 2015: Lumberladies!

Every year, on the Saturday closest to Halloween (or this year, on Halloween!) I run the Pumpkins in the Park 5k here in Rochester. This race in 2009 was one of my first 5k's ever! My sister and I ran it together, and it became a tradition. She has run 3 of the last 6 years with me, and this year was year 7. I did the other 3 years solo, but this year had Heather with me! Basically I told her to come dress up like an idiot with me and spend a night in Rochester, she obliged :)

We tossed around a few ideas but settled on Lumberjacks, we actually had most of the things we needed without going to the store. When she got into town on Friday we hit up Party City for the remaining few things (beards and suspenders).

After that it was time to get out and unwind (both had hectic weeks), which involved good people at a friends Halloween party (and beer). After the party we headed to a bar where my boyfriends friends band was playing, which turned into a fun filled evening of drinks and dancing and putting stress behind us.

Saturday morning was standard, coffee and bumming around the house trimming our beards. Wait, okay not so standard. But it was amusing, and we got a huge kick out of it.

We got to the race at Cobb's hill a bit early and did about a mile and a half warm-up. Even though we weren't racing the actual race, we wanted a little more daily mileage. Running in jorts and suspenders was oddly not as uncomfortable as expected, although we did have compression shorts underneath. No time for chaffing.

Honestly I don't have a ton to say about the race. We laughed a ton. We made others laugh. We pretended to chop wood. We commented on everyone's costumes. Most importantly, I got to spend a night and  a fun morning with Heather (which hasn't happened since AUGUST). We naturally went for coffee and breakfast after the race....still in costume. 

I'll let the photos do the rest of the talking. 

Photo courtesy Fleet Feet Rochester
Photo courtesy Fleet Feet Rochester

Previous Pumpkins in the Park Costumes
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