Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Shamrock Sprint 5K {race recap}

Over the weekend prior to St. Patrick's Day, the City of Bath holds their Blarney Days celebration. There are many festivities that occur to celebrate our Irish heritage and one of those is the Shamrock Sprint 5K. I also ran in this event last year and plan to in the foreseeable future.

Ian dropped me off at the start on his way to work and I planned on walking back home after the race. Yet another benefit to living in the city. I was all decked out in my best green, white, and orange which, of course, included Spandits!

They held a best dressed contest beforehand, but the cuteness of the little girl in the blue jacket won over the crowd. Maybe next year!

It's been a long time since I've run in town due to the vast amounts of snow this winter. It just hasn't been safe to run with the sizable snowbanks blocking visibility at the intersections and shrinking the width of the roadways. Because of that it has also been a long time since I've done any sort of hill training. And Bath is all hills.

This race was planned as a fun run and I knew that I would be hard pressed to PR, so that wasn't even a goal. The race started and I got caught up in the crowd and ran the first quarter mile at a sub-7 pace. I quickly slowed it down to just under 8 minutes per mile, but then I kept getting slower as the hills kept coming. Mile one beeped over at 7:46. Mile two came in at 8:21 which was only a little slower than where I was in 2014. I managed to pick up the pace a little in mile three with an 8:07 and then the awesome, super fast finish down Centre Street! My Garmin registered a 5:48 pace for the last .1!

photo courtesy Don Penta - Maine Running Photos

Final stats:
24:40, 8:01 pace
38/126 overall
12/72 women
3/9 AG 30-39

Even though I was over a minute slower then my 5K PR, I was only 16 seconds off my time from 2014 on the same course. Considering the lack of hill work, speed work, or overall miles, I'm happy with how things turned out. This was the second year in a row of placing 3rd in my age group and out of awards...I plan on changing that next year!

photo courtesy Don Penta - Maine Running Photos

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Solo Long Run

The first 18-miler of our marathon training plan was this past weekend and was the longest run I would complete since the MDI Marathon in October of 2013. I was scheduled to work during the morning on Saturday when we usually do our long run, so Jen and I would have to do this run apart. She had an insanely great run and did all 18 miles on the treadmill. Amazing! I scheduled my run for Monday and I was actually really looking forward to it. 

Don't I look excited?

One great thing about having a training partner to go on long runs with is you have someone to talk to which makes the time and miles go by a lot quicker than when running alone. I don't run with music, mostly because I can't help but run with the pace of the song and find it distracting. I suppose the distraction is one reason that people run with music, but I rather be a little more in tune to how I'm feeling and breathing than having my brain struggle with matching my pace to a song. I did download some podcasts to my phone so I could have someone "talking" to me to pass the time.

It was pretty busy at work in Sunday night and that left my legs feeling a bit dead feeling come Monday morning, but I was still positive that this would be a good run. The sun was shining and although the temperature was still in the teens, it was going to warm up to the 40s throughout the day.

Two of my favorites - Spandits! and Mizuno Wave Rider 18s

I headed to the bike path where I would be breaking the run into three six-mile out-and-back legs. The path is only 2.63 miles long, so I had to run past the trailhead for a bit (which also added on another little hill) to reach 3 miles one way.

I started without my headphones, wanting instead just to warm up and enjoy the run. There were a few icy spots where the snow along the sides had melted, run on to the path and then froze overnight, but overall it wasn't too terrible.

A few more days like this, the river will no longer be frozen!

My hope was to keep the pace in the mid-9s and if I felt able, run the last 3 faster. I kept with my fueling plan of a GU every 5 miles and would stop at the end of each leg to grab some water out of the car. I could certainly feel my energy lagging in the miles leading up to miles 5, 10, and 15 and this was evident when analyzing my paces after. I also practiced taking on fuel while running and it usually takes me a good .75 miles to finish one. I did get really thirsty after my third GU, but mostly because I was a full three miles from my car at that point. I had run with a water bottle in my hand the week prior for 16 miles, but I really hate carrying something in my hands. I suppose it is time to get out my Camelbak.

My legs really started hurting around mile 14, but once I reached that point I could really start counting down the miles. Once I reached 14, the next step meant I only had 3+ miles to go. At mile 15, I got to turn around one last time and then had 2+ miles to go. 

I decided not to listen to anything on the second leg and even the third. I figured that I got this far without it, I didn't want to mess around with headphones and just focused on getting the run done. I really don't know what I thought about for nearly 3 hours, but I got through it and not once, even when my legs were close to giving out, did I not want to be out there. I did wonder what the walkers thought of the crazy girl in bright tights running back and forth umpteen times!

Take Me Away Spandits! 3/4 tights just shout spring!

With the exception of mile 16 when I had to stop to use the bathroom along the route, I kept all the miles under a 10 minute pace...just where I was trying to be.

My only "injury" occurred at 17.75 miles in. Apparently I had blister forming between my big and second toes on my left foot. For whatever reason, I occasionally get a blister in this same spot. Anyway, with a quarter mile to go, it decided to pop (sorry, gross) and was crazy painful. I was sure I was gushing blood. When I finally took off my sock it wasn't too bad, but I actually have two small blisters on top of the bigger blister. Crazy. I'm just hoping that this doesn't happen during the marathon, because it felt like I had stepped on a nail or something!

My quads are a little sore today, but I did an easy 7.5 miles on the bike this morning to get them moving. I also wore some awesome new compression socks all day yesterday that were delivered just as I got home from the run. I'll be doing a full length review on those in a bit. 

Leg savers!

I've got the Shamrock Sprint 5K in Bath coming up this Saturday. I'm not thinking PR at all, but it will be fun to get dressed up for this St. Patrick's Day themed race. I also don't want to go all out because I will still need to get a 16-miler in next weekend for a drop down week before Jen and I tackle our first 20-miler of this training cycle. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What's the Skinny?

Oh, you know. 

The usual. 

Been running a little (yes, still running a marathon in less than 10 weeks...AHHH!), but it is still insanely cold. 

We woke up to this last Tuesday...
But, it is supposed to reach 40 tomorrow! 40? That is like bathing suit weather...well, at least shorts. 

After nearly two weeks of a run slump after a crappy treadmill run (feeling sick, stressful crap going on, not used to running in one place in a warm room, definitely didn't hydrate enough, blah, blah, blah)... 

I'm crawling back.

For February I ran 55.15 miles (1 race...the Mid-Winter Classic...perhaps I'll get around to recapping that before summer hits) and biked 124 miles. I've got to get that run total higher, but I'm very happy with my cross-training!

My recumbent bike has been my new best friend. Last week I did 90 biking miles! Then Jen and I ran our 16-mile long run on Saturday...OUTSIDE!  

It was a little chilly, but most of all it was a big confidence booster. Sure it was a little tough and I petered out a bit at the end due to a fueling snafu, but we did it and I'm again believing that I can do this crazy marathon thing. 

Following the run I took the boys ice skating. They have never been. I haven't been in at least 20 years. 

I don't recommend ice skating after a long run, but it was fun and the boys had a blast. 

It shredded my legs though. Basically skating in a squat position to hold the boys up for an hour mixed with my own balance challenges meant it felt like I had run a downhill marathon afterward. I could barely walk down stairs for two days. 

I'm feeling a bit better today and have been doing some recovery miles on the bike. 

I just finished reading Lauryn Evarts new book, The Skinny Confidential. She's the voice behind the fitness and lifestyle blog of the same name. 

I found the book to be full of great little tips on how to better your life and touched on many topics including healthy recipes, tightening and toning exercises, skin and hair care, and more.

The book is written in a conversational style. It was more like talking about it over coffee rather than your standard how-to book. I'm really looking forward to incorporating some of her exercises into my routine and trying out some of her recipes. 

There is a big focus on eating simply with whole ingredients, but she also doesn't hesitate to mention that it is okay to cheat every once in a while. The cravings that we have are natural, but completely shutting them out isn't necessarily the healthiest either. It's about moderation. 

And Lauryn doesn't shove all this down your throat. She's honest and approachable and not the least bit preachy when sharing her experiences. 

I definitely recommend checking out The Skinny Confidential, there is a little bit in there for everyone. I know I'll be revisiting it again and again.

It's also available both in paperback or e-book versions on Amazon and from Barnes and Noble.

Until next time...