Friday, September 23, 2011

TRIP TO SPAIN!!! Training week Sept 18-24

worked locally all week
Ryan's BIG RACE (Duathlon World Championships) in Spain

Sunday, September 18: 20miles as a pace group leader with Jill for the CARA 20miler
Monday, September 19: 3miles easy, KRISTINA's 20th birthday!
Tuesday, September 20: 6x2000 workout
Wednesday, September 21: 6miles easy in MADRID, Spain!
Thursday, September 22: 2x4mile at Marathon Pace in GIJON, Spain!
Friday, September 23: easy 6miles in Gijon
Saturday, September 24: planned 10-15mile run during Ryan's race

Well, this week was a little crazy to say the least.

For the CARA/Newton Ready to Run 20miler, I had signed up to be a pace group leader. Long story short, I got to the race with only 8 minutes to spare...and without wearing my pace group leader shirt (Nic had to pick up my packet since I was in Milwaukee all week for work and asked the worker if there was anything he needed to tell me; he was told no, so when he showed me the shirt (front side only) I said, "Aw, it's purple, Grandma's favorite color" and forgot about it... yeah, it said Pace Group Leader on the back and I was supposed to wear it). Oh well, at least I showed up and did my job.

Jill and I (Rickster too, but he blew past us at like mile 14) totally rocked our pace group and finished just under the 7:30 pace (7:28 to be exact). It's amazing how easy that felt! It was nice to run with Jill as we had only ever really talked via Facebook and random races we'd see each other at. My only "problem" was my hamstring feeling a little fatigued at mile 15 for just a bit. I did take mental note though, as you'll see this week...

After the 20 and showering, Nic and I went to church where the priest ironically was talking about remembering the anniversary of those who passed (um, Grandma Swift passed away a year ago on Monday the 19th, so that REALLY hit home and brought the tears). I definitely felt Grandma looking down on me and Nic and the rest of the many lives she had touched through her time spent on Earth.

While I was pacing, Ryan was racing (kind of) the Malibu triathlon on his Nestle Powerbar team. He was the runner, the team ahead had a mile long lead for Ryan to make up and he actually got to run past the Goo Goo Dolls' drummer to win the race! I told him he should have asked for tickets since he beat's only fair, right?;) And then, he got to meet pretty much the entire cast of The Office and even talked with Oscar for awhile. So jealous.

Unfortunately, his flight ended up getting SUPER delayed. I was staying up so that I would go get him at 10:35pm and then still get my 8-9hours of sleep after a long run.... and then his plane got in at 1am instead. So let's just say I knew Monday and Tuesday would be rough.

Again, I pleasantly surprised myself. Tuesdays 6x2000 with 2min recovery went really well. These were supposed to be at 10k pace which I believe is right around 6flat (I haven't run a 10k since my triathlon days!).

Cari had told me after my long run on Sunday to be smart as that is what prevents people from getting their PRs at their big race, so I knew I'd be monitoring my hamstring all week (despite having Dave Davis rub the crap out of it on Sunday).

5:55/1:30 (7:25)
5:58/1:28 (7:26)
5:58/1:28 (7:26)
6:00, hamstring

I did this on a 1.85mile loop with a few inclines just to get my body used to it in case. I did the first three one direction and was planning on doing the next three in the opposite direction. It was a good plan, until my hamstring started actually feeling a little tight (not just fatigued like Sunday). Knowing a few friends with injuries lately, I decided to call it. Right now, it HAS to be quality over quantity and I need to be smart.


Wednesday, Ryan and I arrived in Madrid, Spain! We got to our hotel, really just wanted to sleep, but decided to run 6miles easy together instead. Weird thing is, in Spain, drivers don't stop. If they have a stop/yield sign and pedestrians are walking across the street, it's almost like they speed up. And, pedestrians don't move out of your way. At all. We were literally zigging and zagging throughout town until we finally got onto a little path that we could run on. SO different.

Our run felt awful. Like, "OMG, that marathon I did yesterday took a lot out of my legs" awful. Except we didn't do a marathon the day before. So I guess that's the whole "jet-lagged" thing. We didn't let it bother us and went into town and explored downtown Madrid: the Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor and of course, a recommended ice cream shop:)

Thursday morning, we woke up and went to get Ryan's dad from the airport. He arrived ahead of schedule, but we opted to take a (more expensive) taxi than the subway to ensure we would get to the train station (to take us to Gijon, Ryan's race site) on time. GOOD THING. We stood in line for what seemed like an hour and finally got tickets. If we wouldn't have gotten tickets, the next train was sold out and we'd have to wait around for 7 hours. We were also VERY lucky as duathletes who had bike cases were not allowed on the train. Ryan uses his own custom box that is decorated in Toy Story wrapping paper, so it's a lot smaller, he doesn't get charged for it on airplanes, and got on the train just fine. On the train, I did eat a ham sandwich....but the ham was more like bacon/prosciutto than ham--not bad!

We got to Gijon and started walking toward the apartment that Ryan and the Team USA Pros were sharing. We were super lucky as the guy who arranged it all was literally coming out of it as we were heading into it! We relaxed for a bit and the I decided I needed to get my run done.

2x4miles seems a lot easier when you're in a familiar area. I knew there was a track at the race site so tried to find my way there. In Europe, street signs are on the corners of buildings as opposed to having actual signs on the corners, so that made things a little more difficult. I shocked myself when I found it! I did some drills and strides and then started my run on the track....until I got yelled at 1.54miles in ("You can't be on here! You got an email about it last week!" Um, yeah, I'm not competing in Worlds this year so would have no idea what you're talking about). So, I rushed off and continued on this crushed limestone/sand path. I figured I'd probably slow upon hitting the path, so just told myself to stay under 6:30s. I think I did a little better than that:

6:22, 6:21 (on the track, not even really looking at Garmin!), 6:17, 6:23.

6:15, 6:12, 6:10, 6;06.

I wasn't even trying to run fast for the last four, but honestly thought I was going between 6:20-6:30 pace. It's nice that I can run those splits despite feeling like I'm going a lot slower. I'm hoping this is a sign of good things to come..... :)

Ryan's race is tomorrow. I truly believe he could be a top 10 finisher (yes, in the WORLD). If you get a chance, please say a prayer that he mentally stays tough, physically gets proper nutrition, and mechanically has no problems on the bike. Thanks in advance, and I'll post on Facebook ASAP!

1/2 marathon disaster: September 11-17, 2011

13.1 race
62mile week
Weds-Sat in Milwaukee

Sunday, September 11: Crystal Lake 1/2 marathon
Monday, September 12: 7miles easy
Tuesday, September 13: 5mile doubles (run with mom:))
Wednesday, September 14: 6x800
Thursday, September 15: 6miles easy
Friday, September 16: 8miles
Saturday, September 17: 5miles, drills and strides

Well, a win's a win, right?

That's what people kept telling me after my performance in the Crystal Lake 1/2 marathon on Sunday. I was supposed to run it as a 26.2km simulator....yeah, that wasn't quite how it worked.

I truly felt awesome going into it and had the plan all ready to execute: 2miles at 6:30, 2miles at 6:25, 2miles at 6:20 and then GO. The first two miles of this course are on the crushed limestone path in Lippold Park. Dad told me that it started there, but I was thinking something different in my head, so running on loose limestone for the first two miles definitely fatigued my legs a little (it isn't something I'm used to unfortunately). I went 6:27/6:30. The next two were right on as well in 6:24/6:25 and I still felt okay. Then the hills came in.

My dad had told me the night before that there was just the Ballard/Haligus hill and then the one on Haligus before where you turn for Turnberry. In my head that was four hills total. Apparently they changed the course from when my dad did it, because he was even surprised at the hills. GREAT. I definitely would have had a different strategy going into the race had I known, but oh well.

I just couldn't get into a rhythm. I went 6:31, 6:41 (Ballard hill), 6:28, 6:41 (Haligus hill), 6:51 (slowed down at mile 6 to rest for a bit and told myself that I'd treat it like Batavia and just run a great second half--major fail), 6:43 (asked dad how close the next girl was, because coming in 1st was now the only goal), 6:37 (thank GOD the race is almost over), 6:16 (made it!).

On the bright side, Cari told me that another of her athlete's Garmins showed the course as 13.29 miles, so my 1:25:17 was really a 1:24/high 1:23. My Garmin lost signal in Lippold for some reason, annoying. What I did take away from this race is that I really need to know the course. Know if it's hilly, know if it has inclines, know where fuel stops are, etc.

The best part of the race was for sure Nic's performance. He ran a 1:15, shattering his former (debut) PR of 1:17ish, so I have to give him a shout-out. I'm so excited for him to run Chicago this year and crush that 2:40 barrier!

This week I was also fortunate enough to be able to split my 10mile run on Tuesday into two 5s and run with Mom:) It was so nice to catch up with her since I don't see her very often these days!

On Wednesday, I had to run my 6x800s in the morning as I was leaving for Milwaukee for an install (usually 9a-9p type days Weds-Sat) and didn't want to do it after being in a dealership for 12 hours. Unfortunately, we stayed out until almost midnight hanging out with Jerry, Katie and Carter (Ryan's brother, sister-in-law and nephew). Oh well, I've done plenty of workouts tired before, I can handle 6 800s.

I ran these on the Alexandria-Woodscreek school street.


My last 800 workout went better, but I also had sleep the night before and did them on the track. The only thing that I don't like about this course is the inclines at the end. I'm usually on sub-2:40 pace, but going either direction, I end with a slight incline that just always gets me a little tired and slows my overall average. But, I still averaged total under goal marathon pace:) :) :)

A pretty good "down" week of 62 miles. The install went really well and the manager asked me to be their Rep (give monthly visits and such), so I'm pretty happy with life professionally as well right now.

Life. Is. Good:)

Longest Long Run EVER: Sept 4-10 weekly recap

Sunday, September 4: 22miles
Monday, September 5: easy 7
Tuesday, September 6: AM 4, 30tempo
Wednesday, September 7: 4miles easy (travel day)
Thursday, September 8: 9miles
Friday, September 9: 8miles
Saturday, September 10: 6miles with LTF group

I did it!!! A long run over 20 miles!!! Sunday, September 4th was the Buffalo Grove Stampede 5k/10k race that I've done since high school (on and off). This year, it was a Saucony Dick Pond Fast Track team race, so I knew a lot of my teammates would be there. I convinced Ryan (who was taking some time off of running as his legs were super sore) that we should go and support our team and personally planned to be running on the course literally encouraging them. Part of the plan worked.

I read on the website that the race started at 8am, so I planned to do one full 10k loop before the race started. Success. Everyone was ready to start and at the line when I got back....too bad it was for the 5k and I didn't know it. Turns out, they now do the 5k and 10k with separate starts. So, I got to run some with the 5kers until they turned left and I turned right about 1.5miles in. Oops. Game plan changed as I saw the first few male 10k runners and I decided to make it my goal (hey, when you're running 22 miles, you need something to think about) to not let them pass me. It worked. Even though I knew I had one 10k loop and one 5k loop waiting for me when I finished, mentally I was set to go.

A lot of the volunteers and police out on the course thought it was funny that I was running the course so many times and were amused that I had a smile on my face every time they saw me... well, duh, it's something I love to do:) Anyway, finished with an overall 2:35 for a 7:05 pace. Pretty darn happy with it and felt good throughout.

The tempo on Tuesday I anticipated would be a little rough since I didn't see Dave Davis after the 22. I wanted to, but also wanted my legs to be okay for the tempo. However, I was pleasantly surprised that I felt AMAZING. I went 6:14 (oops, too fast), 6:15 (I thought I slowed down?), 6:12 (how is this feeling so easy?!), 6:09 (whooooa) and 6:12. I just did a full 5miles instead of 30 minutes since I was at like 4.88 anyway. 31minutes total for the 5... super happy!

The rest of the week was pretty easy. Wednesday morning's run was a little exhausting at 4am, but those type of runs usually are. I was off to Rochester, NY for Wednesday and Thursday for work. Just holding back and getting ready for the Crystal Lake 1/2 on Sunday!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Training week (almost 2) in review: August 22-Sept 3

Sorry for the delay in recap! I traveled all week for work so forgot!

Sun 8/21: 2x4mile simulator (next Sunday is Batavia 1/2 2x6mile simulator)
Mon 8/22: easy 4
Tues 8/23: 10miles (supposed to be my long run of 15)
Weds 8/24: 6x800 track workout
Thurs 8/25: 9miles--5in AM and 4in PM with the LTF Run Club
Fri 8/26: 9miles easy
Sat 8/27: 5miles super easy with LTF Run Club, 4strides after

SUN 8/28: BATAVIA 1/2 MARATHON (see recap on previous post), 20miles total
Mon 8/29: 4mile easy run
Tues 8/30: 8miles easy
Weds 8/31: 6x1600 with 1:30 rest
Thurs 9/1: 9miles on MN River Trail that I finally found!
Fri 9/2: 10miles
Sat 9/3: 5miles planned with LTF Run Club

Well, the week of August 22-August 27 wasn't what I had planned going into a half marathon, but everything went well. My 2x4mile run was AWFUL. I slept in with Ryan because we hadn't seen each other in such a long time again. I felt great for the first three miles (6:10, 6:10, 6:15) and then had a long stretch of uphill on Weathersfield Way that killed my split in 6:28. I took a gel but felt like I needed water too so stopped at Deerfield's Bakery on Roselle Road to ask for a cup of water....the cashier said, "Take the biggest one in the frig" Um, what? I don't have any money. "yeah, it's on me, take the biggest one in the frig." I couldn't even believe it. SO appreciated! The second set I slowed down on the first mile and finished with 6:28, 6:23, 6:23 6:25, so more consistent like I was supposed to be, but just frustrated and I ended the workout just hoping that it taught me the "don't go out too fast" lesson (which it did).

On Wednesday, I was NOT expecting the 6x800s to go well as my legs were pretty fatigued still from the 2x4mile then 10miler. I was wrong. The last time I did this workout, I went 2:52, 2:48, 2:46, 2:49, 2:46, 2:46 (around a mall in Jersey). This time I went 2:41, 2:41, 2:44, 2:45, 2:44, 2:42. When I did the first two in 2:41, I almost had a heart attack--it was 88degrees and very humid! VERY pleased with the workout.

The half marathon is recapped in the post below. So happy!

THIS past Wednesday, I had 6x1600. This workout has progressed from 4x1600 in March (5:58, 6:01, 6:03, 6:08), to 5x1600 in May (5:57, 5:56, 5:59, 6:02, 6:03) to the 6x1600s this week.

WOW. I chose to do this workout after work as I woke up very stuffed up (Wednesday after the Sunday 1/2). It was over 90degrees out in MN, so I decided to do the repeats on the treadmill instead. I went 5:56, 5:55, 5:53, 5:52, 5:48, 5:46. I was very happy with this workout considering the TERRIBLE calluses I have on the outsides of my big toes (could possibly be bunions is the verdict). I decided to start off the workout a little easier so that the pain would slowly decrease, and my theory worked! Overall a great workout and I'm getting anxious for the marathon!!

The rest of this week is easy as I have a 22miler on Sunday. This will be my longest run EVER (well, of course besides the marathon) so wish me luck!

Batavia 1/2 Marathon Results

When Coach Cari told me that "when you PR, you'll PR big," she wasn't joking.

The purpose of this half marathon was for it to be used as a simulator workout: 2x6miles at Marathon Pace (6:22) with 5 minute recovery between sets.

I felt AMAZING from the beginning. Splits and recap below:

6:29 even though they changed the course, we still went up a big hill. eh, relaxed first mile.
6:18 (12:48) much better. averaging 6:24 now, good.
6:24 (19:12) well, still on target for the 6:22 goal pace, just a few measly seconds off.
6:19 (25:31) YES! back on track here. Gel time!
6:19 (31:51) only one more mile for the first half here!
6:25 (38:16) tried sticking with the pack around me too long. time for a rest!

6:34 (44:51) this was my 5 minute rest plus the rest of the mile. caught back up to the group! can't slow down too much as there is a lady right behind me, but it's okay because I feel good!

6:22 (51:13) perfect start
6:12 (57:26) woah, gaining some speed here, let's have a gel
6:29 (1:03:56) much better controlling the pace
6:12 (1:10:08) well, there was a little bit of a downhill-ish
5:59 (1:16:07) no excuse, I just was feeling really good! another gel to get through the 20 total
6:14 (1:22:22) did the volunteers really not tell me to turn on the bridge? that could cost time!
:25 for a 1:22:46

2:10 PR... holy cow!

1st place female!

I honestly can't believe how this turned out considering the 2x4mile I did last Monday was AWFUL. I guess it is true that we learn from our mistakes: I started off too fast in the first 4miler and that killed me for the second one (that and not hydrating properly I believe).

I truly felt that I could hold that pace for another 13.1, which is great to feel at the end of a 2:10 PR! I ended today's race by running with one of the guys in the group I was with for the first 6 miles and Jen, another real good female Chicago-area runner. We all had 20-milers, so it was PERFECT.

Thanks to all of my friends and family for their constant support and belief in me. HUGE thanks to my wonderful mother who spent the night at the hotel (that Ryan won a gift card for--thanks!) with me and took me to a GREAT dinner the night before. See the picture of my OSTRICH BURGER at the top of this post!

I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by two newspapers: