Friday, January 19, 2018

F^3 Lake Half Marathon Race Goals

Toni and I are making our way to Chicago today to take on the F3 Lake Half Marathon tomorrow morning. Lucky for us, the race is late morning, as it is January in the Midwest. When I finished my half in November, I knew that my goal for this race was sub 2. And I wanted to be in good enough shape that a sub 2 would be a guarantee, so I could just focus on how far below sub 2 I could be.

The last 10 weeks of training have gone really well, so instead of our original ORIGINAL goal of "hey let's do this half marathon to make sure we continue to train through the midwest winter because it'd be so much easier NOT TO" that sub 2 knock it out of the park is looking more and more feasible.

A goal: If I have a super de duper day, I think I can run a 1:57-1:58. The course is an out and back which should help keep me from running a 13.3 or further.

B goal: Sub 2, even by the skin of my teeth. 1:59:59? Cool. I'm game. (Although I really hope it doesn't come down to being that close!)

C goal: Faster than my November time... 2:04:17. This race was a 9:23 pace, on a course that I zig and zagged back and forth across the road to dodge traffic on ALL THE FREAKIN' HILLS.

Tomorrow I *will* run my fastest half marathon since 2012. Can't wait!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Reigning in the Focus

Over the last several weeks, there have been a ton of discussions about goals for the upcoming year. I love goals. They keep me on task, they keep me motivated, and hitting the goals helps keep me going toward the next big goal. While chatting with some running friends lately, I was reminded about the importance of looking at the big picture when setting goals.

It's so easy to just cast a big list of goals out there for the year. I want a marathon PR this year. I want a half marathon PR this year. I want to run all the miles. I want to be fast. I want to have fun. But I also know that the older I get, and the longer I'm a runner, the harder I have to work to run a personal best.

In 2017 I had a few time goals: sub 2:05 half and sub 25 5k time. My ultimate goal was to build back consistent mileage so I could tackle another marathon in 2018. Whoa. Who thinks about and prepares for a marathon almost two years in advance? Well, me I guess.

I know that my best years of running (time/performance wise) was in 2010 and 2011. My most consistent years of running were 2009, 2010, and 2011. So I've tried to put myself in a position to emulate my mileage with a smarter understanding of the sport of 2009. Check and check!

I PR'd my half marathon while training for a marathon in 2011. I have gone back and forth about running a half marathon in August leading up to Twin Cities Marathon. It's 6 or 7 weeks out from TCM and is a slightly downhill course, and a really great race time would give me all the confidence in the world toward my marathon. BUT, a downhill course could piss of my IT bands and cause me to not be able to train very hard the final 4-6 weeks. Looking back at my marathon in 2011, I may have sacrificed my chance for a PR because I focused on a half PR and 10k PR as well.

So to reign in my focus for 2018, I'm excited to focus on a speedy half marathon this spring. Higher mileage, 3 races 3-4 weeks apart from April to June. I don't think I'll snag a PR this spring, although never say never, but I do think I can run a really strong fast half. So that's my goal for the first half of the year. After the half in Duluth, the focus shifts 100% to a marathon PR. Because that is *the* goal for 2018. I hope to be able to ask myself the question "does this help or hurt your chances for a marathon PR?" and answer it honestly anytime I get a hair brained idea about a new race/adventure throughout the year (as I'm apt to do).

What's your focus for 2018??

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

F^3 Lake Half Marathon Training Week 8

Week of January 8-14

Monday PlannedGA + Speed 6 miles 6x100
Monday Actual: 6 recovery miles. My legs felt like garbage all day so I told Toni I really wanted to skip the run but wouldn't because it was nice out. I did tell her that I needed to go slow. Luckily after the first 1.25 miles my legs loosened up and it felt great. My heart rate was super low, so that was exactly what I needed.

Tuesday PlannedRecovery 4 mile
Tuesday Actual: Rest. Grumble grumble. It was beautiful out, and I couldn't get myself outside for a run. I'm still annoyed at myself.

Wednesday Planned: VO2 Max 9 miles 2x1200, 2x1000, 2x800 @ 3k-5k pace
Wednesday Actual: Toni and I did 4 miles before the group run, planning to go to the track after yoga, but Toni had to leave unexpectedly and I was too scared to run on the track solo that late at night. Also we didn't get a picture. It was a weird night.

Thursday Planned: Rest

Thursday Actual: One hour of POWER. I would've made up some miles but it was cold as hell out. No thanks.

Friday Planned
Recovery 3 miles 
Friday Actual: We had planned 4 miles at the coffee run but the -24 degrees convinced us otherwise. I'm sick of winter.

Saturday PlannedEndurance 10 miles
Saturday Actual: After I taught yoga, we went out for 5 miles, opting to push our long run to Sunday since it was going to be almost double digits. HEAT WAVE YOU GUYS!!

Sunday Planned: Rest
Sunday Actual: 10 mile long run with Toni.

Total Mileage Planned: 32 Miles
Total Mileage Actual: 25.17 miles

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Weekly Reads: Little and Lion

Little & Lion is another book that has popped up on my Printz radar and was one that sounded really interesting. I've never read anything by Brandy Colbert, so I was excited to dive into this one. The story itself was really fast paced and had serious moments of sweetness, and I really appreciated a main character who is bisexual. I love that more and more books are featuring lesbian and gay characters; that did not exist when I was a teen, but I love even more when different populations are represented, in this case bisexual/questioning. I just know that the more teens who can get their hands on books that make them feel like weird/strange, and more okay, the better off we'll be. That's the librarian in me talking, obvs. Anyway, I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. 
My rating 4.5 stars

summary from goodreads:  

When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she isn't sure if she'll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (along with her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.

But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new...the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel's disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself--or worse.

Monday, January 15, 2018

New Years Eve Celebration

Early in December, one of my favorite local wineries posted an event on Facebook for a New Years Eve celebration called "but first... Champagne". Excuse me, where do I sign up?? It took some convincing to get Kyle on board, but it happened! He didn't want to enjoy any of the champagne (and technically it's not since the grapes are made here, but close enough, sparkling wine doesn't sound as fun, right?) but I made the executive decision to get him the champagne ticket as well because if he didn't like it I could think of someone who would drink it for him. ME.

There were six sparkling wines/champagnes that they paired with individual tastings. Roughly at the top of every half hour a new drink was poured and more food served.

Somewhere along the way, Kyle and I learned to take a picture with his head a ways away from the camera and mine closer so it doesn't look like his head is 3x larger than mine (it is). Photo win!

The decor in the winery for the event is probably what it'll look like in heaven: chandeliers, glittery signs and cutouts, all the sparkle.

The winery owner also demonstrated his sabering skills throughout the night. At one point a couple of guests tried their hand at it, and I actually thought they were going to leave in an ambulance with a thumb on ice. Don't drink and saber you guys.

There's some blueberry cheese on this plate below and if you haven't had any before, what are you waiting for?! My new favorite thing.

Kyle and I purchased two bottles of the champagne at the end of the evening and this is one of them. It tasted like summer in a flute. 

This is the second one we purchased. yum yum.

Fun night with a fun guy. And the best part is that it went from 4-8pm, we counted down to the new year in France as well as Ireland, and I very well could've gone to bed when it was all said and done, but instead I was a trooper and we went out to one of Kyle's friends after. When I say I was a trooper, I mean, I drank more Champagne and we were still in bed by 11:30pm. Whatever, we're adults. We can do what we want. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

New Local Race Announcement

My favorite local running store, 605 Running Co. recently announced a brand new spring half marathon for Sioux Falls, SD! I'm so excited because we *need* a spring half around here. Even more excited is that it fits really well into my training program, so I get 3 shots at running a fast half marathon this spring. YESSSS!

It sounds like the race field will be limited since it's the first time doing the half, so make sure you sign up ASAP! I'll be there!

More information about the race and an option to sign up can be found here:

**I'm not getting paid to promote this event, but I'm an avid supporter of all things running in Sioux Falls, and especially 605 Running Co.**

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Reflecting on the Training Cycle

Leading up to the Brookings half marathon, I really thought our training cycle had been an A+. When I was weeks from the Twin Cities 10 mile, I started doing some comparisons of that cycle vs this one to get my brain to that place mentally to prove I could hit my goal times. I was astounded to see so many missed runs, especially early on in training. Essentially I did an 8 week base building schedule followed by a 12 week training plan, so it makes sense that some runs would be missed over a 5 month span :P but still. The 4-5 weeks leading up to Brookings were stellar so maybe that's where the skewed perception came from.

From January to race day in Brookings, I ran about 359 miles. In those miles, I ran 7 long runs (10+ miles consecutively), including 2 half marathon races. One raced, one done as a long run. I had three 20-24 mileage weeks, three 25-29 mileage weeks, and two 30-34 mile weeks. In these weeks I averaged 18.73 miles/week. I ran just over 100 miles during the month of April with 104 miles, otherwise my monthly mileage ranged from 41-90. I averaged 77 miles/month.

Our TC10 training started mid-July. From July until race day, I ran about 378 miles. Slightly more mileage, but in 2.5 months less time! I ran 11 long runs (including 8 milers as our plan had us starting with 8's for a ten mile training cycle). Additionally I ran another 8 runs of 8-10 miles for mid-week distances, for 19 long runs over that period of time! I had five 20-24 mile weeks, one 25-29 mile weeks, four 30-34 mile weeks, two 35-39 mile weeks, and one 40+ week. I averaged almost 32 miles/week.
I ran over 100 miles for July, August, and September ranging from 112-141 miles for those hot and sweaty months. Barf. I averaged 125.68 miles per month.

Brookings TC10
20-24/week 3 6
25-29/week 3 1
30-34/week 2 4
35-39/week 0 2
40+/week 0 1

Leading up to the half in Massachusetts in November, I didn't really follow a plan; I raced a lot of 3 miles and a 5k, so there was a lot of speed work, and just one long run of 11 miles. Despite not really training specifically for the half marathon distance, and just getting in miles, I still ran 10 seconds per mile faster than I did for the Brookings race in May.

Looking back at these training cycles, it's clear that the more mileage I do, on as consistent basis as possible is what sets me up best for success on race day. One of my big goals for 2018 is to not skip long runs! It's the one run a week that I can find 100 excuses for. But as 2017 was wrapping up, I really found myself looking forward to them. Perhaps I'm turning over a new leaf. Stay tuned!