Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Recovery Week

Monday: Rest, doctor's appointment to try to sort out the gallbladder annoyance. Epsom bath....ahhhh.

Tuesday: Foam rolling + another doctor's appointment to try to sort out the gallbladder annoyance.

Wednesday: First run! 3 miles at the group run with Toni. Legs felt good, heart rate was crazy whackadoodle for the beginning but then it settled in.

Yes, she did follow me into a parking lot on our drive home to make me take a post-run post-yoga selfie with her. Next to a pawn shop. As one does.

Thursday: Rest + another doctor's appointment to try to sort out the gallbladder annoyance. A 3.5 hour doctor's appointment. I could've gotten in a good long run and drank a couple of beers in that time!

Friday: Coffee run with Toni! 4 miles.

Find out that my stomach issues are *not* my gallbladder. WTF.

This is my face both when I got the news and also when the barista was continually rude all through out our short stay at the coffee shop post-run. Woof.

Saturday: It was the first meet up for the 605 Race Crew, and I had wanted to run between 5-7 miles. Even though my gallbladder is supposedly fine, I still continue to have pain WHERE MY GALLBLADDER EXISTS. My stomach was super upset before the run, but managed to behave for 5 miles.

Toni was out of town and my replacement running buddy showed up with a matching shirt on! And I failed to take a picture. Probably for the best, I wouldn't want Toni to feel like she was being replaced.

There were donuts. God bless you 605 Running Co.

Sunday: Rest. I did some foam rolling and myofascial release balls during yoga. Bliss.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Weekly Reads: Bang

Bang is the newest teen novel from Barry Lyga. It had showed up on a couple of my Printz lists, so I knew I needed to read it before the awards in February. Our library had it on audiobook, so even better! Gun control, guns, accidental shootings, etc seem to be a very common theme in teen lit right now, and rightly so with our current ongoings. This book tackled a few different angles of guns, and in a really impactful way. It took me awhile to connect with the main character, but once I was in, I was all in. Really great book, and an excellent listen if you're an audio gal like me!

My rating: 4 stars

Summary from goodreads:

One shot ruined his life. Another one could end it.

Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one—not even Sebastian himself—can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father’s gun.

Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend—Aneesa—to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past. 

It took a gun to get him into this.

Now he needs a gun to get out

Monday, January 29, 2018

Race Report: F^3 Lake Half Marathon

Toni and I got in pretty late Friday night, maybe 10 or 10:15pm, so I was very thankful that we had a late race start at 10am. Except I tossed and turned the whole night because some idiot forgot her ear plugs and hotels are loud AF. I also felt super overheated the whole night.

When we got up, I was pretty thankful that my stomach felt pretty good. During my race in Boston, I was shocked at how normal my stomach was pre-race. It was SO NICE. I still had to use the bathroom a million times more than a normal person, but so far so good! My stomach had been killing me on the last 3 hours of the trip, so I was so thankful it was being normal.

We had time to get to the stadium early, do some stretching, pick up our bib, wait in some more bathroom lines, and take some pictures by the field. I was just ready to GO.

We finally made our way outside and to the race start. We were some of the first people out there, so we hopped in at the 9 minute pace sign. Don't ask why Toni jumped in there, because there was no way in hell she was running a 9 pace. We hung out for a bit, and as people started filling in around us I told her we needed to snag a pic and she needed to get up closer to the 1:50 pacer. Going in to race day, I *knew* she was going to beat my half PR and I was so freaking excited for her. I thought she'd hit a really low 1:50, and maybe, just maybe if she was feeling ready to work super hard that last 5k, she could run under 1:50. And now I'm sure you know just how wrong I was about that prediction! #shesabeast

My race plan was to stick around 9:15 for the first 5 miles, speed up to sub 9 for the second 5 miles, and run as hard as humanly possible for the final 5k (8:30 pace was my A+ sort of day, final 5k hopes). This executed perfectly would have me at a 1:57. Perfect. Plenty of room to wiggle if necessary. It was sunny, 39 and a wind from the south, so we'd run into it for the first half, and it'd push us to the end. 

Let's go! We started out and I was surprised at how congested it was, but I was still able to run my own pace and settle in. I wasn't thrilled at how my legs felt, but after being in a car for 10+ hours just ten hours prior, I didn't blame them. But I figured they'd loosen up. Mile 2 I hit my intended pace pretty spot on and was feeling good. Mile 3 clicked off exactly as planned as well. The 2 hour pacer was in front of me from the start. They had 2 hours and 9:00 pace written on their sign. Within the first 5k I determined that they were definitely abiding by the 9:00 pace. This was good mentally as they were pulling away slightly but I was staying nice and even.

1. 9:23
2. 9:05
3. 9:12

It was around mile 3 that I thought of Toni's strategy of 5k, 5k, 5k, mystery mile, 5k and laughed because so far so good. My average pace was almost exactly 9:15! But I was a little concerned as to how high my heart rate was already..... 169-174 was.....high. Especially for the beginning of a race. But if it stayed right there, that just meant I was working hard, and it was okay that I was feeling labored! Onward!

I took a GU around mile 3 or 4 I think, I already can't remember, and was snagging a glass of water at each of the aid stations. Looking back, I should've been mindful that at 39 degrees it was MUCH warmer than what I had been training in, and probably should've drank a couple of glasses early on. The next "5k" felt much harder than it should've and my heart rate continued to just creep up and up.

4. 9:01
5. 9:17
6. 9:15

During mile 6 my heart rate averaged 176, hitting 179 as a maximum. For frame of reference, I do all of my training by heart rate. My maximum heart rate is 187. I do my long runs in the 150s, occasionally it'll hit 160 if we do a fast finish for a long run. Intervals might have me in the 160s-170s, I've raced 5ks recently where I didn't hit 170 for a heart rate. So this was.... alarming with 7 miles to go. Gulp. I took my salt pill around 6.5 miles.

Sidenote: prior to the race, I was looking at my heart rate data from my previous half. I had spent 4 or 5 minutes in zone 4 aka the threshold zone. I told Toni that I vowed to spend more time in zone 5 meaning I planned to really push and give it my all to fight for that sub 2. Lolz, foreshadowing you guys.

I saw Toni sometime during this stretch and she looked great, super strong, and definitely within striking distance of the 1:50 pacer. I also didn't know that she started in my corral, so I panicked a bit thinking that she was not having her best day either, as I expected to see her a bit sooner. Now it makes total sense that I saw her where I did.

Shortly after I saw Toni I let up on the pace a bit to see if that would trigger my heart to chill the eff out. Nope. We hit the turnaround shortly after mile 7 and I thought I was going to die. My stomach started cramping, and I was dry heaving. Woof. Mile 7's heart rate was 178 with a max of 181. Seeing this now, no wonder my body was like, peace out I'm DONE. I finished the  final .11 of the TC 10 mile race with the exact same stats and dry heaved my little face out when I was done. So I had hit my breaking point, and it sucked.

I started to walk, trying to get my heart rate to come down. And started to drink two cups of water at the aid stations. I walked for minutes (which felt like decades) and my heart rate was still crazy high and I felt really crappy. I convinced myself that I could slow down and because the first half was pretty speed, I could still run a faster time that I did in Boston. Which lasted for about 5 minutes until my heart rate was back to scary high and I was feeling nauseous. UGH.

After the second aid station of drinking 2 glasses of water, I did start to feel a bit better, or at the very least I was able to run for longer stretches of time, so maybe I was just really dehydrated? Regardless my pace was around 10 while I was running, and obviously much slower than that with the walk breaks. Just keep swimming.

7. 9:23
8. 11:06
9. 10:38

Even with all the walk breaks and slowed down pace, my heart rate data is still some of the highest for the day. Craziness.

I stopped even looking at my watch, my pace, zero calculating my finish time, just putting one foot in front of the other. I don't really remember much of the last part of the race with the exception of the finishing stretch. With a half mile to go, I tried to run as hard as my body would allow me, knowing that if I felt like crap at least I'd be done soon. Logic makes sense, right?

Toni's caption: “just keep smiling. This is fine. My intestines are on fire. My body is shutting down one system at a time, but it’s fine”

10. 10:12
11. 10:13
12. 10:18 
13. 9:59

.2 at 8:08 pace

For a time of 2:08:45 for 13.2 miles, 9:45 pace.

To say that I was bummed and upset was an understatement. This was the first half in a long time that I went into with all the confidence and strong training in the world, and to have my body revolt sucked. I thought I was struggling with gallbladder issues all week long, and blamed the poor race on that, but after a lot of time at the doctors last week, that's not what's ailing me. But after a week of reflection, I am choosing to see the positive in the race failure.

  • This race was 6 minutes faster than my half a year ago. A half in which I ran my exact goal pace.
  • This race was just 3 minutes slower than my half in May, where I had a really darn good day and ran my fastest time in YEARS!
  • In the past, I've had a tendency to undertrain and be over confident on race day and be shocked when I don't hit my race goal, and come up with excuses as to why it didn't happen. On this day, I am super proud when I look at my race data and see that I kept pushing even when my body was like da fuq?!?!

I'm so proud of this girl, and her monster PR, and I can't wait until we both have a most excellent race day together so we can have DOUBLE THE CELEBRATION!!!

Half marathon #33 is done!

Friday, January 26, 2018

BRF Race Report: F^3 Lake Half Marathon

My BRF and I trekked to Chicago last weekend to run the F^3 Lake Half Marathon. I'm sure you've seen her face around this blog and my instagram account a million times, so prior to the race I asked if she'd be interested in writing a race report. She said YES. I suspected she'd run a PR, so I was excited for her to chronicle her race to share for all of us. [I may or may not make editorial comments throughout.....]
Please Enjoy!! -Jerbear
5k, 5k, Mystery Mile (!), 5k, 5k.
Makes perfect sense.
We started the morning easy-going, we “woke up” (we both slept so soundly insert sarcasm font here please) around 6:30 and made a leisurely morning of it. After the quickest of trips to Walgreens for Vaseline to ward off chafing (Spoiler Alert: it did not work I have the pictures as proof), we got in the vehicle and headed to the stadium. Parking cost approximately $5,928.00, lies, it was $20.00 but that still made me gag, I did NOT remember it costing that much!
We got inside, stretched, dropped our stuff off, stretched, meandered closer to the exit, stretched, and decided to just go outside and wait there. We got outside aaaannnnd stretched. Not nervous at all. Fast forward a bit, the corrals are full; we both notice that we were dressed significantly less than most people there. Long sleeve and shorts seemed entirely appropriate for sunny and 39*, it ended up being exactly perfect, but many runners were MUCH more bundled than that.
So, it’s probably 9:53 and I am still standing right next to Jeri, “Go further up” she says, so I pick and poke and sneak my way up… about five feet. I turn around, and she narrows her eyes, “further!” So I continue on, preparing for the race in my usual way: talking to All the strangers. The nice woman next to me was glad she ran this half marathon instead of the one the week before because the weather was SO much worse the week before. The gal behind me once ran the Casper half marathon and she was so excited to meet a person from Wyoming. People tell me things, what can I say?
A few minutes later, corral #3 took off, and there I was, running in perfect race conditions, around awesome people, with my BRF/unofficial coach behind me.
On our trip out, Jeri asked me how I was planning to run this race. I semi-jokingly answered her with: “a 5k, another 5k, MYSTERY MILE (well, less than a mile), 5k, last 5k.” Because seriously, who runs like that?!
Apparently I do.
First 5k: I assumed this portion of the race would probably be throw-away. When I say that, I mean I didn’t think I would regulate my pace well because I really struggle starting a race out properly. Also there’s a significant incline at the beginning.  I covered my watch up for this, which took all the mental strength in the world, and told myself to run until it felt like I was racing one of my nieces up the block. It seemed that would put me at a good difficult pace. Around mile two a man with a blue kilt appeared and I decided it was in my best interest to keep him in my sights. Naturally.

  1. 8:17
  2. 8:11
  3. 8:08
Relatively consistent, faster than I had intended, but again, I had no idea how fast I was going because I refused to look at my watch.
Second 5k: My original idea for this, was to make 5k #2 harder effort and then do a little recovery on “Mystery Mile” but game-time decision changed my mind. I was feeling good, the people around me were very consistent, so I decided to just keep going at that pace. I was still by the man with the kilt, so that was good. This course is very flat, but there were some areas that narrowed because of construction and they were a little muddy. Aside from that the sun was shining, and boy was it shining! (SO BRIGHT) and the lake was beautifully frozen in chunks.

  1. 8:11
  2. 8:11
  3. 8:12
Mystery Mile: Ok, so, I don’t need the recovery mile I thought I did, and I don’t want to speed up for just a mile…. Stay the course. Also, it was so warm at this point that I uncovered my watch and then could NOT stop looking at it. During the mystery mile I also saw Jeri, and I had a very profound thought occur to me. “She is not having a good time, this is not a fun race for her. I can see it all over her face, it is going downhill… MUST RUN WELL TO MAKE THE NINE HOUR ONE-WAY DRIVE WORTH IT”
  1. 8:13
Third 5k: This feels like it’s getting a little ridiculous doesn’t it? Who runs three 5k’s in a day? At the beginning of 5k #3 I saw the 1:50 pacer ahead of me. I was mediumly concerned by this because my absolute “A” goal for this race was a 1:49:40. That felt like a reach, but something that I could maybe pull off because of these perfect conditions and all my hard training. So why does it seem like they are so eternally, difficultly far ahead of me? Catch them.
  1. 8:14
  2. 8:13
  3. 8:22 (I caught them on mile 9, and then drifted back from them a bit on mile 10)
Last 5k: Whose idea was this?! Four 5k’s in a day… asinine. So, originally the plan was this: Last 5k, run it hard, REALLY hard, it’s only a 5k so you can go max effort on that. There was a slight, tiny baby, little itty-bitty flaw with this plan though; I was real tired. Like, Forrest Gump style, “I’m kinda tired, I think I’ll go home now” tired. On mile 11 I made a real effort to get back with the pace group. There were also LOTS of high-fiving people at this point who helped more than they realized, so thank you high-fivers! During mile 12 I floated around a few feet behind the 1:50 pace group, then Mile 13 they got quite a ways ahead of me and then I dead-sprinted to pass them at the finish, maybe not my best moment, but it worked.
  1. 8:15
  2. 8:19
  3. 8:24
.21: 1:35.

Total of 13.21 miles – 1:48:50 per my Garmin.

The only thing that's almost as good as a PR is a PR for your BRF that you do 99.9% of your training with. Toni, 
I'm so proud of all of your hard work, your A+ attitude, and your ability to put up with me even when I'm whiny on a run. I can't wait to see where 2018 takes you!!
<3 Your BRF

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

F^3 Lake Half Marathon Training Week 9

Week of January 15-21

Monday Planned: Race pace+speed 7 miles, 4x100 strides, 2 miles at HM pace
Monday Actual: It was -20 to -35 windchill throughout the day, so I went ice skating indoors with Emily. Somehow I forgot to take a picture. So this is one of me in my car, solo. Womp. I also got a massage. And did core work. Whoa.

Tuesday PlannedRecovery 5 mile
Tuesday Actual: See above -24 to -34 temps.

Wednesday PlannedRecovery 4 mile
Wednesday Actual: 4 Miles at the group run.

Thursday Planned
Recovery 3 miles 
Thursday Actual: Rest

Friday Planned
Recovery 3 miles 
Friday Actual: 3 mile recovery run with a couple of strides at the coffee run.

Saturday Planned:  F^3 Lake Half Marathon
Saturday Actual: Half marathon number 33!

Sunday Planned: Rest
Sunday Actual: Rest and a long ass drive home.

Total Mileage Planned: 35 Miles
Total Mileage Actual: 16.2 miles

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Weekly Reads: Sidetracked

Sidetracked made its way on to my TBR pile based on the cover alone. A track book? Sign me up! But it was even more than that,  for one it was about cross country, and for two it shows how great and terrible youth can be, but that good can usually always prevail. Quick great read.

My rating: 5 stars

Summary from goodreads:

To Joseph Friedman, middle school might as well be the Running of the Bulls. He’s friendless and puny, with ADD to boot, so he spends most of his time avoiding class bully Charlie Kastner and hiding out in the Resource Room, a safe place for misfit kids like him. But then, on the first day of seventh grade, two important things happen. First, his Resource Room teacher Mrs. T encourages (i.e., practically forces) him to join the school track team, and second, he meets Heather, a tough, athletic new girl who isn’t going to be pushed around by Charlie Kastner—or anybody else.

At first, track is as much of a disaster as everything else in Joseph’s life. But slowly Joseph hits his stride, and instead of running from the bulls . . . he’s just running.

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.