Thursday, September 27, 2012


Everyone loves redeeming themselves.  This morning was my chance to redeem myself after cutting my 6x1mile to 5x1mile.  And, boy, did I redeem myself.

Today's workout was 3x3miles at Marathon Pace (6:20ish).  I felt a little sore still last night, even in my arms.  I had been planning on getting my massage from Dave Davis at 2pm, but some wedding stuff came up and I lost that opportunity.  I was pretty upset as those mile repeats destroyed my quads and hamstrings....and lifting demolished my arms/upper body.  Heck, even my CORE was sore!!  This 4:30am wakeup to run thing was NOT sounding appealing.

And then I remembered I had a soccer game after school (PS we won in a shoot out:)), had to buy my dress for my bachelorette party this weekend, had to finish the wedding ceremony programs and had to do some school work all before heading to bed tonight.  Those things made getting out of bed at 4:20 seem logical again.

After a mile warmup, I figured it was go time.  I always do the same loop by Ryan's house (the Target loop, which I'm sure I've referenced before).  Basically it's a 2.88mile loop, so for 3x3miles, it was a pretty good choice.  Coach Cari said to run without my Garmin, but since it was still dark out, I used it and just looked at it when it would split for the mile (since it was dark, I felt kind of disoriented and couldn't remember where the mile splits were since the course is just shy of 3 miles).

I always make the first mile be the "downhill" section, which I, of course, pay for during the last mile, but I at least get a good start!  To recap, this is what I sent to Cari and Earl...

Anyway, I wore my Garmin but only looked at it when it would split a mile since I knew I'd make the route too long (I just needed to add 0.12 each time, but it's 4:30am, I don't know what 0.12 miles is!).  WOW.  Check out my splits.  I am still shocked writing this because I felt DEAD after my 5x1mile the other day.

6:19, 6:09, 6:11
6:06, 6:13, 6:14
6:13, 6:14, 6:11

The great thing was that I didn't even have any hamstring tightness like I did on the treadmill when I did this workout a few weeks ago.  I think I do a good job of maintaining good form when I run so early in the morning because it's just me and no real distractions.  As much as it stinks that I'm ready for bed at 9pm, I LOVE LOVE LOVE my 4:30am runs--just super peaceful and relaxed.  Plus, when I do well on a morning workout, I treat myself to some Dunkin coffee on the way to work;)

I'm still feeling that "high" and think that I really am ready to tackle this marathon thing again.

I do plan on seeing Dave before the marathon as I believe massage is SUCH a good component that aides in recovery.  I think that every runner should experience a TRUE massage (not from one of those foo-foo places/spas) as I really believe I can recover faster when I have massage as part of my running regimen.  Hey, if the elites do it and it helps them out, we might as well try to gain from it too:)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Post Hard Race (semi-failed) Workout

Being a math teacher, I'm pretty good with numbers.  So why this didn't make sense to me earlier when I was getting mad at myself is still a mystery to me.

Today was my first real workout back after my half marathon 10 days ago.  Yeah, I did a fartlek and a "fast finish" 16miler (basically the last 4 miles are faster, like marathon pace), but no real "make me sore and hurt real bad during" kind of workouts.

Today's workout consisted of 6x1mile at 10k pace with 90sec jog recovery.  Based on my 1:20 half, my 10k pace is now 5:57....yeah, that freaked me out a bit too when I read Cari's training.

I knew this would be hard.  I had planned to run it in the morning before school, but was just too tired... plus, we don't have school today (thus this early morning post) as it's Yom Kippur, so soccer was canceled last night which meant I could actually do a workout AFTER school and still be home at a decent hour.  [For those of you who don't know, I live anywhere from 30-75 minutes from my school depending on if I stay with Ryan's parents or my parents and how bad traffic is, so doing my workout at 5:30 when soccer is over has me getting home no earlier than 8pm]

So here I am at LifeTime Athletic in Vernon Hills, which is SUPER nice.  As I'm heading up to my treadmill, I see one of my students, who of course says, "Hi Ms Aubert!" because I teach the best and nicest kids ever:).  Anyway, I find my treadmill, do my warmup 2 miles and drills and turn on some Pandora.  My left earbud dies.  This normally would not be a problem; however, the two guys on the treadmills on my left side are talking politics.

Yeah, you read that right.  Talking politics.  I am not into politics at all so didn't necessarily disagree with them, but OH MY GOSH find something else better to talk about.  I would have rather had them talking about the Packers' bad ref call for the whole time. Ugh.

So I get done with my first mile repeat and immediately switch to a treadmill furthest away from them.  MUCH BETTER.  The guys on either side of me are looking at me like I'm crazy, which is probably true at this point.  The treadmill was set on 10.1 (5:56 pace) the entire time, but by the third repeat, I started feeling fatigued.

I told myself what Earl always tells me, "focus on your form," and the fourth one was better.  The fifth one felt extra long and I could tell my hamstring was really more fatigued than the last two so decided to call it.

It's not smart to get that "last one in" when it could jeopardize my marathon.  Just not worth it.  I looked up the last time I did this workout...and I cut it short by 1 mile again then, too.  The pace wasn't as fast, but it was the hamstring that limited me then as well.  I'd rather err on the side of caution than tear it again, but it is pretty frustrating pulling the plug on a workout early.

I can only hope that all of this is getting me ready to be smart and rock my marathon.  Only time will tell!

Monday, September 17, 2012

(un)Jolly Jacqui = perfect PR? (and lots of unreal pictures)

Saturday, I did not feel like racing.  I semi-tapered and everything.  And by semi-tapered, I mean that I didn't lift quite as much this week.  Instead of doing two days full load, I lifted two days but only 2 sets of 10 for my second day.

I planned all week on waking up ready to go PR big in the 1/2 marathon Saturday morning.  Instead, I woke up feeling sore all over, even in my arms (which generally only stay sore for a day after my lifting sessions).  Picture McKayla Maroney's face, because that's about how I looked walking out to the PowerBar mobile at 5:30am Saturday morning.

We arrived at the race and I helped Ryan set up before doing a simple 5 minute jog warmup with some drills and a single stride.  By then, it was time to race.  We all toed the line and took off.  I told myself I'd start conservatively and work my way down to my goal pace.

By the time we hit mile 1, I was second place overall (one guy, I believe a fellow Saucony Hurricane) with a 6:20 first mile.

I told myself I'd go completely on feel and only look at my watch when the mile split occurred.  As tempting as it was to just glance down, I only allowed myself to look at the time elapsed for each lap (each lap on my watch is one mile).  Most of the time, I looked down to see 4:xx, which was great as I knew it meant I had less than 2 minutes until my next mile split.

Mile 2 was a 6:03, mile 3 a 6:08.  Mile 4 was primarily on crushed limestone, which would normally excite me....except that we were zig-zagging on the path, making what I thought would for sure be a 6:30 mile.  At this point, I told myself a new goal...

"You just ran 6:11 pace in the HyVee triathlon two weeks ago after swimming almost a mile and biking 21.2miles for 25miles.  Just DOUBLE the 10k you did at 6:11 pace and you'll get a huge PR."

I surprised myself with a 6:06.  Mile 5 was looping throughout a neighborhood in a 6:02, which about gave me a hear attack.  Mile 6 was right before the overpass that we went up (and then down) at mile 3.  6:05.  I knew mile 7 would be a bit rough with the overpass, but was excited to glance down and see a 6:17 split.

My legs felt a bit tired from the overpass, so I told myself at mile 8 I could have my gel...6:18.  Yes, I need that gel.  Like now.  I decided to drink half of it at mile 8, go through with a faster mile 9 (which I did, 6:16) and "treat myself" to the rest at mile 10.

Those mental thoughts helped me get my groove back for mile 10...6:11.  At this point, we were mixed in with the 10k runners, so there was a bit of weaving in and out of people (and cars), but a 6:16 was still close to what I wanted, and a time I knew I needed to break 1:22.

Mile 12 was a 6:19, so I KNEW I needed to pick it up if I wanted to be on pace to PR still.  I kept looking and looking for the 6 mile mark for the 10k runners (it was 0.1miles before the 13 mile mark for me), but never found it.  Instead, I saw the clock...

1:20.  I SPRINTED.  I mean all out sprinted.  Ryan said he never saw me run so fast.  My Garmin showed I did the last 0.1 at 4:59 pace!

1:20:58.  6:11 pace.  1:48 PR.  Guess negativity works for me...but only because I turn it into positive energy in my run!

On a semi-related note, Ryan and I had a photo shoot the next day.  While running and biking Ryan's pace probably made me more sore than the 1/2 the day before, it was 100% worth it as the pictures are PHENOMENAL.  Check them out on my/Ryan's profile (and some below):

Both feet off the ground!

Check out this stud. 

This is how our Sunday morning began.

This is what our Sunday morning produced.

Almost keeping up with Ryan!

And finally, CONGRATS to all those who PR'd this weekend.  I know a lot of people rocked their 1/2 or full marathon at the Fox Valley Marathon.  THIS is the time of year I live for--fall marathon season.  GOOD LUCK and STAY POSITIVE :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Importance of Listening to Your Body...even if you're stubborn...

I've learned this lesson too many times.  So many times, in fact, that I was smart this morning and went back to bed.

I've been waking up around 4:30/4:45 most mornings since school started so that I could get my workouts in before school since standing on my feet all day can make for some tired legs (as I'm sure most of you can relate).

This week I've had a lot of students come in to retake their quizzes (they have to have their parent sign it, do the corrections, then come in for a retake), so instead of arriving at school around 7:05/7:10, I've been having to get there before 7 every morning.  Doesn't seem like 5-10minutes is that big of a difference, but Lake Cook Road gets full of delays at specific times.  Why, I'm not sure, but am thinking because of the lights spaced about 5 feet apart from one another.

Anyway, my workout was 3x3miles at marathon pace (which is 6:18-22, or 9.5-9.6 on the treadmill for those treadmill folks).  I woke up at 4:10am and was out the door, starting my warmup at 4:25.  Generally, the first mile of my run is an 8:15-8:20.  Today it was an 8:48.  I knew I was tired going into this, but I just figured it was the 30minutes earlier wakeup that caused it.  I started my workout to see if my legs would respond.  At 1/2 a mile, I was running slower than 6:30 pace.

I threw in the towel and went back to bed.

And guess what???

After teaching, coaching, and a new teacher meeting, I went and did this workout on the treadmill at my school gym (I'm surrounded by busy roads so wouldn't be able to get in a full 3 mile stretch without stopping for at least 5 stoplights).  Even better--the workout ROCKED.

Part of the reason I did the workout on the treadmill is because I will not be using my Garmin for the marathon (USATF rules).  I really wanted to make my body feel the 6:18 pace.  My hamstring did flare up for a few minutes during the second set, but I focused on my form like Earl told me to do when this happens and I felt better than ever on the third and final set.

Funny how the little things like FORM can make such a difference and have such an impact on running.  There are a lot of things we as runners can control, so we really need to take advantage of those things so that when the uncontrollable ones (weather, for example) come up, we are ready and prepared.

As my dad would say

"Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance"
(in case you are wondering how this ties in to the title, if I had gone to bed 30-60minutes earlier as I had planned, my morning attempt might not have suffered. BUT I'm still glad I stuck with my decision to listen to my body)

Speaking of, time for bed to promote recovery....although I don't think I'll need an alarm to wake me up tomorrow:  tomorrow is the ONE MONTH TIL I MARRY RYAN day :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Gels are like drugs...let me explain

Alright, I'll be honest here... I've never actually done any drugs before, so the title statement probably isn't accurate.  However, I do know people who have and I have heard what they "experience" and I'm pretty sure I had a similar experience on today's 18miler.

My bff

So I decided to go to church before heading out on this lovely little 18mile adventure.  I figured I'd eat my Cookies'n'Cream PowerBar, go to church, and then go run as to simulate the amount of time I'll be eating my PowerBar before a real race.  Boy, did that work perfectly.

I tried out my *new* Saucony Fastwitch...I know, pretty bold. But, the pink and black that match my uniform were sold out and purple was my grandmother's favorite color, so these are close to my heart now.  Anyway, WOW, were they awesome.  I also wore what I plan to wear for the marathon to truly test out every aspect.

I wasn't expecting to set any records on this run, but I'm pretty sure I finished in my fastest long-run speed ever (besides in a tempo or a race) just based on feel.  The first 5 miles just FLEW by and I left thinking, "I'm almost 1/3 of the way done with this thing!"  I decided to take a gel at mile 10 or 11 because that's where I knew I'd be able to find a garbage can to dispose of the wrapper.  This also happened to be right before my "lake loop" (a 4.4 mile loop around Main Beach/Crystal dad's Hillstriders running club does this loop every Tuesday night in the summer, so I grew up LOVING it).

The next four miles got faster and faster.  Every time I'd look at my watch, I did a reality check as I truly did not think I had just split that time.  The gel was making me run so fast that I felt like how people do when they describe being on drugs.  That was the only relatable thing I could come up with then and even now.

My last seven mile splits (after taking the gel) were 7:07, 7:01, 7:01, 6:58, 6:55, 6:48, 6:45.

I'm just going to throw it out there...PowerBar Gels work.  If you need further proof, look below at my splits.

7:34, 7:19, 7:25, 7:22, 7:12, 7:14, 7:24, 7:14, 7:13, 7:09, 7:06, 7:07, 7:01, 7:01, 6:58, 6:55, 6:48, 6:45.

On another note, as I was finishing my "lake loop," I passed by a runner doing the CL 1/2... HUGE shout out to Megan Hode, who ROCKED her 25th birthday by PRing by 6 freaking minutes. What a STUD!:)

Monday, September 3, 2012

UNreal race--HyVee Triathlon Recap

The past few posts, I've been debating about racing HyVee or not (mainly due to transportation issues).

Let's just say I'm pretty glad I decided to suck it up, ride the Megabus and race.

This weekend was pretty unreal.  I raced out of my mind, truly.  

Race Results. Age Group Hy Vee Triathlon.

The HyVee Triathlon had a bunch of races going on.  First, there was the IronKids race on Saturday.  One of the kids I was lucky enough to "train with" this summer (as in me swimming in the same pool as the kids) got SECOND place!  Hearing that made me pretty excited to do well myself, despite claiming all day that I didn't care how the race went.

Truth be told, I didn't care too much about this race going into it.  Back when I was swimming 3-5times a week in the summer, I cared a lot about this race and really wanted to win it.  Like overall (for the Age Group category).  Then school started and I stopped swimming, and started biking less and running more.  My focus shifted to the marathon and HyVee was just a fun excuse to race on my bike.

Ryan was working the expo (thus my Megabus transportation), so I was on my own without a car and stuck at the expo.  I did some school work until a PowerBar Team Elite member (working the PowerBar booth with Ryan) told me there was a Farmer's Market going on.  Um, you can guess what took priority.  I sampled a bit of wine, ate some local food and fresh produce.  Then I walked the 0.6miles back to the expo.  A few hours later (and after watching the Professional Panels interviews!), I realized I needed the off to Amici's coffee shop I went, another 0.6mile walk.  All in all, I walked about 3 miles, sooooo decided not to workout.  COMPLETELY unlike me, but like I said, I didn't have many expectations coming into this race.

After a PHENOMENAL steak dinner with above mentioned second place kid (and her parents), I came up with a few goals:

1. swim under 30 minutes (yes, I realize that is a joke to a lot of people, but that's HARD for me!!!)
2. bike average 20mph (at the Batavia Du, I averaged 21.2, so even though this race was longer, I felt stronger on the bike now and wanted to prove it)
3. run sub-40, maybe even sub-39minutes, for the 10k
4. break 2:30 for my overall time (a goal that Ryan told me would be hard....but that just gave me MORE motivation)

Race morning, we woke up wondering why we do these thing as per usual.  I put on my tri-tats, packed my stuff and off we went.  The great thing about HyVee is that you get to leave your bike there hassle with it in the morning.  Ryan helped me switch out my wheels and there I sat for about 1.5 hours until my race.

HyVee has four separate races:
-US 5150 Championship race for Elites (requires qualification at prior 5150 race)
-US 5150 Championship race for Age Groupers (requires qualification at prior 5150 race)
-Elite Age Group (must submit proof of a sub-2:30 Olympic distance triathlon for women, 2:15 men)
-Age Group (the category I fell into as I did not meet any above requirements)

I'm not going to lie....I looked up last year's results and was a little upset I couldn't be in the Elite Age Group race.  I was signed up to do the Kansas City 5150 in May, but that was when I banged my knee against the metal door frame and was out of running for 3 weeks.  My own fault, but I was still frustrated.

It was finally my turn to go off in the swim.  This is my new bff that I made--I asked her to help zip my wetsuit and we talked until we went in the water!

It was frustrating swimming.  The Relay teams were the group to go right before us (females 15-34) and I passed a LOT of people.  Yeah, you read that right.  ME, Jacqui Aubert, a NONswimmer, PASSED A LOT OF PEOPLE.  Usually I catch a few of the slower ones from the previous wave, but I easily passed 20 people, even getting kicked by a few and losing my goggles at one point.  There was also a part in the swim where the water was so shallow that my hand scraped the ground, so I had to stand and run through it.  

30:12.  Dang.  SO close to my goal.

Time for the bike.....I was READY for this.  I immediately started passing people and told myself that I would GO with anyone that could pass me.  This held true for quite a few bikers.  In the beginning, one girl and I kept passing each other, but I was getting so annoyed with the constant back and forth that I made a real strong go for it and just surged ahead.  It was the exact motivation I needed.

Off to bike!

I made sure to look at my Garmin at the half way point.  36minutes.  Even if I took 40 minutes to do the second half, 2 minute transition (which would be slow), and ran a 40minute 10k, I would STILL break 2:30.  I was a pretty happy girl upon this discovery.

With about a mile remaining, one girl passed me and yelled something to me (not sure what).  All I could think about was keeping her in my sight and just blowing by her on the run.  Who has the energy to yell something at another competitor during a race?? I was not impressed.  After a quick transition, I was off on the run.

The first two miles were out and back on a split lane bike path.  Aka a crowded bike path.  So, I just weaved in and out of people and was AMAZED to see my Garmin split a 6:12 at the first mile!  Mile two was even better with a 6:02.  At this point Ryan was practically running next to me screaming at me that there was just one girl ahead of me, about 95 seconds.  I knew I had to catch her.  Mile 3 was a 6:03.  I HAD to be gaining!  Sure enough, right before mile 4 (6:07), I caught her and Ryan and his dad's friend Ken thought I had 1st overall Age Group female locked in.  Mile 5 was a 6:08 and mile 6 ended with a 6:20....thanks to a fun (*sarcasm*) giant uphill.  

My 10k overall was a 38:30, which placed me 2nd fastest 10k out of EVERY SINGLE FEMALE (5150 Championships, 5150 Elites, and Age Group Elites).  UNREAL.  

Ryan and me at the finish!

Unfortunately, the race did end with me in the medical tent as a giant rock found its way into one of the "holes" in my shoe (triathlon shoes sometimes have holes in them to drain the water).  Yeah, from mile 3 on, that rock was scraping my foot and I have now popped that lovely blister 4 times since yesterday. But, small price to pay for one of my best races ever!

The scoring for overall finishers included the elites, so I ended up placing 4th overall.  Two Elite females beat me (2:14 and 2:16) and another lady in a later wave beat me just by a minute.  Ryan and Ken obviously weren't able to see these three ladies, so in their minds (and mine), I had won.  

While hearing that was disappointing, it was incredible to see that my bike split was only 2 minutes off the 2nd place girl and 5 minutes off most 5150 Elites.  My bike used to be what held me back BIG TIME and now it's just my swim!  My swim of 30minutes was anywhere from 6-9 minutes off of the 3 ahead of me and also the 5150 Elites.

Guess who's starting Masters Swimming after her wedding?  This girl.  

BUT, until's MARATHON TRAINING TIME!!!!! Woo hoo, my kind of training!  I'll still be incorporating the biking and strength stuff as that's what keeps me (and many others) injury free, but MAN am I excited to be back to 60mile weeks:)