Monday, May 21, 2018

Toni's Race Report: 605 Running Co. Half Marathon

Today we have another guest post from BRF extraordinaire, Toni. Leading up to the half, I suspected that she would run under 1:45, but I told her I thought she could run a 1:46. Mind games, man. In the half in January, her goal was to break 1:50 and without realizing what she was doing, she ran a 1:48. I wanted to see if lightning would strike twice on this race which only became a goal race as the weather was pretty darn perfect as we crept up on it. Spoiler alert: she smashed her PR by another 4 minutes in just 3 short months. INSANE!

Without further adieu, here's Toni's race report:

605. The Glorious Race.
Race morning started out great and I felt really good, I kept looking outside thinking, “Oh! It’s going to be so cold in these shorts!” but as soon as I opened the car door when we got parked and I wasn’t shocked by the cold, I really started to get amped up! We’re totally prepared for this race, the weather is beautiful. It’s going to be a great day!
There wasn’t much for a warm-up for this race and we cut it pretty close getting to the actual start line, but I wasn’t nervous for this race and I didn’t really have a plan. I was totally winging it, to be honest. When I took off, I figured I would run comfortably hard and at one mile see what time that put me at.
The first mile always goes so fast –
7:57 – At this point I thought maybe I would just see how many sub 8 miles I could manage before feeling like I needed to slow down.
Mile 2 - 7:53
Between these two miles I was supposed to see my husband – I was concerned about not seeing him, but I thought to myself “maybe I’m just SO fast he’ll barely miss me,” as it turns out, he thought the race started a half an hour later than it actually did, so there’s that.

Mile 3 - 7:54
Mile 4 - 7:56
Mile 5 - 7:52
Mile 6 - 7:58- This is where I took my first GU and that ended up being way too late, you will see.

At the turn around I saw Benson, and he said to me, “You’re killing it! Way to go!” and I was so proud of myself, it made me feel awesome, in all honesty I think it was his encouragement that kept the next two miles under 8 because I was really starting to feel the sluggish effects of lack of nutrition. (I’m not going to say I was bonking because I refuse to believe I was careless enough to bonk)

Mile 7 - 7:49
Mile 8 - 7:57
Mile 9 – 8:17 – This is the part where my body is giving me the middle finger for starving it, so I took my second GU.
Mile 10 – 8:18
Mile 11 – 8:08
Mile 12 – 8:12 – By this point I have given up all hope of ever running a sub 8 again for the rest of my life.
Mile 13 – 7:54. – ONLY because it was downhill.

Total time: 1:44:24 – This is surely a mistake because there’s no way I can run under 1:45. Except that I did, and I still can’t believe my legs did it.

The best part about running fast, is that I get to see more people cross the finish line, that is easily my favorite part. 605 put on such a wonderful half and I was so excited to be a part of the inaugural running.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Race Report: Brookings Half Marathon

I woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed at 3:45am on Saturday ready to go for race day. For once, I slept well. And my stomach didn't seem to be too terribly angry for once. Wins! Toni and her husband picked me up at 4:50 and we were off! Driving through such terrible fog that I couldn't look at the window without getting dizzy from the lack of visibility. Woof.

We got to the race start with plenty of time to pick up our bibs, hit the restrooms, do my glute drills, and do a short warm up with strides. My legs felt a lot better than they had all week, and the temps were cool. I was pretty psyched to get going! My race plan was to take the first 3 miles easy at 9:15, followed by 5 at 8:45, and the last 5 as hard as I could. The temps were good and I was ready to run hard and see if I could run a time in the mid 1:50s.

We lined up near-ish the front, and I used my knowledge of the race course to know which side of the street to be on for the many many turns throughout the course. I'm always at least .1 over on this race, so I try to run tangents like a beast to minimize that. I checked in with my Garmin shortly into mile 1 and saw that I was running an 8:45 so I settled in a bit, ready to stick to the plan not to go out too fast so I could really take advantage of those later miles. Later in the mile I felt like I was running a peppy 9:15 and was closer to a 9:35. I knew that mile two was a gradual downhill and mile three was gradual uphill so I opted to try to run closer to "feel" than spot on pace. Note to future Jeri: planning to run this race in pace sections doesn't work as almost every other mile is slight uphill followed by slight downhill. Additional side note: running by feel is hard.

The first few miles felt okay, but I was surprised that I didn't feel like I was holding back. Which made me feel nervous. My heart rate was higher than it typically would be at these paces, and the humidity was having me breathe much harder than my effort was necessitating. Ugh, and the snot. It just wouldn't be the Brookings half without an obnoxious cold to be snotting my way through. 

1. 9:25
2. 9:14
3. 9:39

I was excited to dig into the quicker miles starting with mile 4. I was also excited to be running on mostly flat for the next few miles before we had some more gradual inclines coming up. I passed a few people during the pick up of pace and then shortly there after was a relay exchange and people started flying by me.

4. 9:11
5. 9:22
6. 9:08

There was a long gradual uphill that started during mile 6 at 6.67 (yes I did go through my previous race profiles and notate the length of the uphills to study prior to the race so I couldn't convince myself DURING the race that "this incline is going to last forever!!" nope, it will stop, eventually :P). I tried to pick it up in the small decline leading up to that, and was still fairly pleased with where I was at during the halfway mark of the race. My average pace was 9:20, and while I knew I didn't have 8:40s in me to finish out the race at a 9 pace, I didn't feel terrible and thought I could run 9s to the finish. Somehow that math in my head had me running about the same time as the 605 half. That math is wrong, btw.

After the mile uphill from 6.6-7.6 I was feeling a bit tired but still ready to turn it up the final five miles of the race. I knew that there was just 1.25 of uphill running left and I was ready to run hard for the final five miles. 

7. 9:01
8. 9:31

I kept pushing harder, but my times were staying the same, and my heart rate was just climbing and climbing. Somewhere after the big uphill through the park at mile 9 I recalculated my finishing time and discovered I would need to run insanely fast, all out, 120% to finish the race in 2:02. Ugh. It was around this time that I decided to pull back the effort level to a long run pace. My justification, at the time, and one I'm still ok with several days out from the race, is that I have another half in 5 weeks and if I didn't care whether I got a 2:02 or a 2:08, why not set myself up for less recovery time leading up to the next one.

Ok then. 

For the last 4 miles I tried to pretend that Toni was running along side me on a bad long run day. I tried to imagine all the complaints I would throw her way and all the fun stories she'd tell me to take my mind off of how bad the run was sucking. Despite slowing down, my heart rate really wasn't coming down much, so I still felt like I was working really hard, which was even more annoying!

9. 9:39
10. 10:12

I knew miles 11 and 13 were downhill and mile 12 was an uphill, so I just enjoyed the reprieve on mile 11. When the half and full split off I felt really alone, especially with the uphill of mile 12 staring me in the face. I took a tiny walk break at the start of mile 12 and another at the top to take a water and a Powerade. My hands and fingers were so swollen, I was really wishing I had brought more than one salt pill with, and I rarely drink anything but water during a race but I thought my body was probably needing it. I was drenched in sweat and could taste the salt on my face. Yum. :P

When we got to 1.5 miles to go, mostly downhill, I couldn't even convince myself to pick it up. I was really just ready to be done. Luckily a couple of SFWR pulled past me during mile 13 and I let them pull me along a little bit. I did pick it up with .4 to go, convincing myself it was less than an 800 meter on the track.

11. 9:59
12. 10:21
13. 8:53

.21 1:41 8:02 pace

I finished the 13.21 miles (possibly my worst tangents on this course) in 2:05:21, for a pace of 9:29. Which is somehow 20 some seconds faster than last years race, with a couple of walk breaks. oops.
Being the type of person that likes to analyze everything, I'm really okay with this performance. I'm someone who thinks that we put in the work from day to day to get that one perfect unicorn day in which everything aligns the body+the mind+the course+the weather, to that magical performance day. And we get a LOT of not perfect days along the way. This was a not perfect day for me. And that's totally okay.

I think that under normal circumstances, my legs would be healed up from a half marathon in three weeks to race another. I think based on the issues I had with my glutes not working at all during the 605 half, my quads were forced to pick up the slack, BIG TIME and are taking much longer than normal to recover. I had to stop several times during our long run the previous weekend to stop and stretch my "quarter" (the joke I kept making because one of my quads was seriously so tight still from the race). I also had to stop to stretch extra during our speed session. And was spending extra time foam rolling and sticking my quads. I was so gungho about running a better race at Brookings, that I may have neglected to listen to my body 100% and fully recover. 

I also think that the humidity effected me pretty significantly. Up until mile 9.5 when I threw in the towel a bit, my effort levels for the race matched my pace plan. Yet the paces were starkly different than the planned paces. To keep pushing that long, was a bit of a mental win with me. If Brookings had been my last race of the spring, I definitely would've gutted it out to work for that 2:02.

Grandma's might be worse weather, it could be hot AND humid. But maybe it won't be. So we'll see what June brings up nort' for one less stab at a fast half marathon time this "spring"!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Brookings Half Marathon Training Race Week

Monday Planned: Race pace+speed 7 miles 4x100 strides, 2 miles @ HM pace
Monday Actual: Sick day.

Tuesday Planned:
 Recovery 5 miles
Tuesday Actual
A truly horrendous 3.61 mile run where I felt like death, had to stop several times to cough and hack up stuff, and ended up take excessive walk breaks to catch my breath from all the coughing. Basically that run race week to get you amped to hit your goals. :P

Wednesday Planned Recovery 4 miles
Wednesday Actual: Recovery 3.26 miles. My legs felt like death. Still gahhhh!!!

Thursday Planned
 Recovery 3 Miles
Thursday Actual: I opted for a rest day from running since my legs felt so terrible and I was starting to panic about it. POWER in the morning with a little less weight on the leg portions.

Friday Planned: Recovery+speed 3 miles 4x100
Friday Actual: 3.62 miles with strides and COFFEE!!

Saturday Planned: Brookings Half Marathon
Saturday Actual: Warm up followed by the Brookings Half Marathon

Sunday Planned: Rest
Sunday Actual: Rest

Total Mileage Planned: 35 Miles
Total Mileage Actual:  24.28 miles

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Weekly Reads: Violent Ends

I volunteered to read this book for a young adult book committee that I serve on. And then the subject matter continued to be too real, on too regular of a basis, so I kept putting it off and putting it off. Until finally the deadline to have our books read and reviewed was *here* and I had to dive in. Unlike This is Where it Ends, this book is more about the before and after the school shooting that give little glimpses about the shooter from many different perspectives. It was really interesting, and I was hooked.

My rating: 4 stars

Summary from goodreads:

In a one-of-a-kind collaboration, seventeen of the most recognizable YA writers—including Shaun David Hutchinson, Neal and Brendan Shusterman, and Beth Revis—come together to share the viewpoints of a group of students affected by a school shooting. 

It took only twenty-two minutes for Kirby Matheson to exit his car, march onto the school grounds, enter the gymnasium, and open fire, killing six and injuring five others. 

But this isn’t a story about the shooting itself. This isn’t about recounting that one unforgettable day. 

This is about one boy—who had friends, enjoyed reading, playing saxophone in the band, and had never been in trouble before—became a monster capable of entering his school with a loaded gun and firing bullets at his classmates. 

Each chapter is told from a different victim’s viewpoint, giving insight into who Kirby was and who he’d become. Some are sweet, some are dark; some are seemingly unrelated, about fights or first kisses or late-night parties. This is a book told from multiple perspectives—with one character and one event drawing them all together—by some of YA’s most recognizable names.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Late Fall Race Plans

A couple of weeks ago, it was my favorite Ft. Worth running buddies birthday. In wishing her a happy birthday I was reminded that we had tentatively made plans for me to come visit in the late fall. Her birthday got my wheels turning again, and I checked to see the date of the Dallas half marathon. And then I checked on flights for that weekend. When I saw that flights were $180 (!!!!) we started making plans immediately. So I signed up for my 6th half marathon of 2018, and will run one more just prior to moving into a new age group in late December. 
Plus I get to have a fun race weekend with Dominique. I can't wait!!!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Race Goals: Brookings Half Marathon

Leading up to the 605 Running Co. Half marathon, I had thought if everything went perfectly that day, I could maybe come in just under 1:55. I knew my training was there prior to my knee getting pissed off, and I wasn't sure how much my endurance had been effected by some significant time off, especially from the long run, which is typically my weakness.

It just so happens that a 1:55 also corresponds nicely with my Brookings half course PR of 1:55:07. So my absolute A goal for the day is to run my course PR, ideally sub 1:55.

If this doesn't happen, my B goal would be to run under a 9 minute pace. It would be a huge thing mentally for my average pace to be an 8:xx.
My C goal, would be to run faster than the 605 half.
I love this race, so I just want to enjoy it and work hard. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Brookings Half Marathon Training Week

Monday Planned: GA+speed 6 miles 2 sets 6x100 strides
Monday Actual: 605 Strength + 
GA+speed 6 miles 2 sets 6x100 strides. So many strides. SO MUCH WIND. So much degrees (80, wtf).

Tuesday Planned:
 Recovery 4 miles
Tuesday Actual: Rest.

Wednesday Planned VO2 Max 9 miles 2x1200, 2x1000, 2x800 @ 3k-5k pace
Wednesday Actual
Recovery 4 miles with the 605 Group Run. I got to run with so many new friends! 

Thursday Planned
Thursday Actual
VO2 Max 9 miles 2x1200, 2x1000, 2x800 @ 3k-5k pace. Round and round and round we went. So many laps at the track. 

Also I'm obsessed with my new watch face.

Friday Planned: Recovery 3 miles
Friday Actual
Recovery 3 miles at the coffee run, just 10 hours after our speed workout. Woof. 

Saturday Planned: Endurance 10 Miles
Saturday Actual
Endurance 10 Miles, followed by ALL OF THE BEVERAGES.

Then we spectated the Howard Wood Relays. And my legs felt so horrendous after running and then sitting on bleachers for hours called for legs up the wall before bed.

Sunday Planned: Rest
Sunday Actual: Rest and ALL THE YOGA CLASSES.  Vinyasa, myofascial release, and restorative teaching. Woop!

Total Mileage Planned: 32 Miles
Total Mileage Actual:  32.15 miles