Tag Archives: half marathon

Race Recap: Platte River Half Marathon

15 Apr

Welp, third fourth time’s the charm. I finally beat my previous PR of 2:30:52 by coming across the finish line at 2:24:34 (unofficial), an average pace of 11:03!

I am beyond thrilled that I achieved my goal and am surprised at how well this race went mentally, but it was a tough race. I think my mental game is what saved me and turned this into my new PR. But I’ll start at the beginning.

And by beginning, I mean last night, because I think my dinner might have had something to do with how things went today. I got home from the Women of Faith conference around 6:30 (I’ll post about that later) and was starving. Travis was too and of course, his first suggestion was Mexican (always is!). After my less than enthusiastic reception of that idea, he mentioned that he’d like a steak so we went to Texas Roadhouse. Except everyone and their grandma was there, so we ventured over to Lonestar Steakhouse, which was much less crowded.

We ordered their 2 for $25 deal, which included an appetizer, 2 entrees + 1 side each, and a dessert. In short, a lot of food. The appetizer was spinach and artichoke dip (delicious!), I ordered the Bourbon salmon for my entree with a baked sweet potato (Travis got steak with green beans), and cheesecake for dessert. Everything was delicious… as was my $4 GIANT margarita. It was pretty weak as far as margaritas go (which was good because I’m totally a lightweight) but I left the restaurant feeling a bit more full than I wanted to (and I even took 1/2 of my meal home with me!).

When we got home, I checked the weather report and it said 40 degrees, rain and 25 mph winds from the NW. We would be running north so this was simply perfect weather (ha, not!). I was trying to stay positive as I grabbed my winter and spring running jackets, my 2XU compression tights, a long-sleeve shirt, a t-shirt, my running hat, and Smart Wool socks. I got everything else ready – race directions, course map, gels, Camelbak, coffee for the morning – and went to bed around 9:30.

Usually on race morning, I get up right when my alarm goes off because I’m nervous or I realize that I’m not going to get any more sleep anyway. Not this morning. I thought through what I had to do and calculated how long it would take me, so that I could stay in bed as long as possible. I reset my alarm clock and went back to sleep (kind of). Finally, I got up at 6:30.

I looked outside to this:

A little snow, but SUN! Maybe the weather wouldn’t be as bad as they said…

I got dressed, did my hair and makeup, packed my bag (makeup remover wipes which are great for wiping all the salt off my face after the race, flip-flops and a tangelo for post-race), and made my breakfast. I had eaten our last blueberry bagel yesterday morning so I ended up making an unconventional combination of asiago cheese bagel and peanut butter (maybe another contributor to how the race went?).

Pooches were all cute and cuddly:

We left around 7:20 and I drank my coffee as we drove down to the race. Packet pickup went very smoothly and I was in and out in about five minutes… leaving us with over an hour to kill. We used the bathroom 3 times. I ate my bagel. We observed a water spillway (Travis is always interested because that’s what he works on at his job) and a mural painting of historic Littleton.

Finally, it was time to go.

There were 3 waves, starting a minute apart – the first was for runners expecting to finish under 1:50, the second for those finishing under 2:10, and the third for the rest of us. The first 2 miles were through downtown Littleton and then we made our way to the greenway trail that follows the Platte River (the same trail that we ran on for the Snowman Stampede).

My legs felt strong and I couldn’t really tell whether or not I was running too fast or right on pace. I didn’t catch the first mile marker but I heard Garmins around me beeping, so I clicked my watch. 10:48. Maybe a little fast, but not crazy.

I felt the same for Mile 2 but then, my stomach started hurting. It didn’t go away at Mile 3 or Mile 4. At Mile 4.5, I decided to take my first gel to see if it would help. It made things worse by giving me a horrible side stitch.

This is where my mental game changed. I repeated to myself:

I refuse to walk. I have worked so hard to get here, and I will not let my stomach, my foot, the weather, or anything keep me from a PR.

My pace slowed,  but I kept running. The pain didn’t go away. So I prayed, Lord, please take away this stomach pain so that I can run this race.

He didn’t answer immediately but by Mile 6.5, the pain had subsided considerably. I picked the pace back up and passed a bunch of people.

That’s also when the wind started to pick up. By Mile 9, the wind was whipping. The mile marker signs were blown over, cups and sand were blowing everywhere, my hat almost flew off several times. But I was determined, even though my stomach was acting up again. I took my second gel and powered on.

The miles kept ticking down. My legs felt fantastic the entire race. There wasn’t any point in the race that they, or my lungs, felt like the limiting factor. It was all my stomach.

Finally, we got to the big hill. The wind was so strong that it almost blew us into the fence as we ran up and over the railroad yard. I didn’t stop running on the hill, and once I got to the top, I knew the end was near so I kicked it. We ran down and turned the corner… there was the finish. I was SO elated. I was going to make it. I was going to PR. Finally!

I kicked it a little too eagerly and felt like I was going to puke as I made my way down the finish chute. I glanced at my watch. I could even beat my unofficial PR from last weekend! So I kept running, toeing the line of running as fast as I could without puking.


That was me trying to not throw up as I waited to have my chip removed (and being thrilled that I PR’ed!)

Poor Man GPS Splits:

1 – 10:44
2 – 10:38
3 – 10:41
4 – 10:58
5 – 11:12
6 – 11:29
7 – 7:03 + 4:03 (11:06)
8 – 10:50
9 – 11:18
10 – 11:22
11 & 12 – 22:37 (11:18 avg)
13 – 11:35

1st half = 1:12:46
2nd half = 1:11:48

Unofficial Time = 2:24:34

Even though the course was a net 120 feet loss, the course has quite a few underpasses, meaning downhill and uphill. Those hills weren’t too bad, but the overpass at mile 12 was a doozy.

After I got my medal, I met up with Travis and Heidi (who also ran the race) and we went in search of food. The post-race food was spread around the block… literally. Down one street were apples, bananas, fruit strips, and mini Clif bars. Down the other was the lunch, which I heard included hamburgers, breakfast burritos, fish tacos, and other stuff.

Honestly, absolutely nothing sounded good. I didn’t feel hungry. The wind was still whipping while the temperature cooled off. And the lunch line seemed to be several hundred people long and not moving an inch (what was up with that?). Standing in line, in the cold, for a lunch that I wasn’t even sure I wanted (usually I give it to Travis but he had picked up McDonald’s…naughty) wasn’t particularly appealing. So we ended up just leaving. Part of me wanted to get the lunch just so I could say I had gotten my money’s worth for the race.

I wasn’t hungry when I got home either. I took a long, hot shower, drank an Athlete’s HoneyMilk protein drink, and knew I should eat something else, and actually felt hungry, but everything sounded unappealing. I forced myself to eat a bowl of cereal, called my mom and then finished reading The Tipping Point (great book!).

After a trip to Sports Authority, a walk with the pooches, and some other hodge-podge eating, I’m now blogging and will enjoy a glass of red wine shortly. I wish tomorrow was Sunday instead of Monday!


Overall, the Platte River Half Marathon was very well-done. They were very organized, started on time, the aid stations were well-stocked (though I didn’t use any of it), had lots of volunteers and portapoos and the t-shirt and medal are cute.

The shirt is a long-sleeve too, which I’m excited about.

The only small complaint I have is about the lunch line – I don’t know why the line was so long, or what we were waiting for, but it seemed kind of ridiculous for tired, hungry runners to have to stand in such a long line for their food. Otherwise,  I would definitely recommend this race!


Are you hungry after long runs/races? 

TGIF! and Weekend Plans

13 Apr

I’m so happy today is Friday. Not only do I not have to go to work tomorrow, I get to go to the Women of Faith One Day conference in Loveland:

The website description: You’ve seen Women of Faith before . . . but you’ve never experienced it like this! Women of Faith ONE DAY is a brand-new event unlike anything we’ve ever done before. New format, new focus, new depth . . . you’ll connect on a whole new level. This empowering event could set your life on a new course or give you additional tools to continue what God has already started. What if one day could make all the difference? Find out at Women of Faith ONE DAY.

I’ve been thinking about going to a conference like this for a while, so when my friend Sheri talked about going, I told her I was in. And it just happened to fall on the one and only Saturday in my 4.5-month-long training plan that I wasn’t planning on running (since I’m racing on Sunday) – talk about God’s providence! My other good friend, Cathy, is going too, so I’m really looking forward to having a girls’ day.

The fun continues with a celebratory dinner tomorrow night – Travis is taking his Professional Engineer exam today! We won’t find out whether he passes until the middle of June (the bureaucracy of education continues) so we’ll just be celebrating No More Studying! And hopefully we’ll get to celebrate again next weekend, since he’s planning to defend his Masters Report this coming Tuesday (I say planning because his advisor hasn’t gotten back to him – which has been a major source of frustration through this whole process). Anyway, I’m going to let Travis choose the restaurant we go to (although I would definitely prefer something not Chinese or Mexican – they’re my least favorite food to have when we eat out. I guess I just like my own Americanized version better?)

Then Sunday morning, I will be up bright and early to head down the race site, pick up my race packet and prepare for what I hope will be a new Half Marathon PR. I’m a little bummed about the weather forecast though:

Although that’s better than what I had been hearing (high in the 30s and possible rain/snow). Bah! I just might be running another race in my obnoxiously bright yellow jacket

On the bright side (no pun intended), I am feeling a lot more confident going into this half than I was before my last one – then, I felt like I had done everything wrong leading up to race day. Even though my runs this week haven’t been the best ones ever (just feeling tired and out of breath), I’m still maintaining an average pace that will let me easily PR – my 6 mile run yesterday had an average pace of 10:54 (I need to run 11:30/mile or faster to PR).

And I’ve been really thirsty this week so I’ve been drinking water like its my job (good). But I’ve been so tired that I refuse to get up and go to the bathroom during the night (bad).

Anyway, my strategy for the race is to just do exactly what I have been doing in my long runs – run comfortably but strong, stay hydrated, fuel around miles 5 and 9, and enjoy the experience.

Oh, and FYI, I discovered the secret to making coffee do its house-cleaning trick: drink it on an empty stomach. Because race mornings are generally so much different than my normal mornings, I have tended to drink my coffee with breakfast or on the way to the race instead of right away when I wake up like I normally do. Now I know better. Empty stomach = gears churning. Sorry if that’s TMI for you non-runners. Runners are kind of a gross bunch.

Just like my feet right now. I’m starting to think that my new Nikes are too narrow in the toe box because I’m getting blisters on the outsides of my big toes and balls of my feet. Does anyone have any tricks to prevent this from happening? I do wear drifit socks (Nike or Smart Wool brands) and put Body Glide on those areas to prevent rubbing so I’m kind of at a loss of what to do besides getting new shoes. And finding shoes wider than my Nikes will be a challenge, since I already tried on 15 or so pairs before I found these. Do you think using something like Nu-Skin would work?

I’ll be back on Sunday with hopefully a very positive report! Enjoy your weekend.

Training Recap: 4/2 – 4/8 & Unofficial Half PR!

9 Apr

This morning, I was so exhausted from the weekend and the past 5 days that I didn’t get up until 7:15. Picture me lying in bed with my battery-powered alarm clock resting on my chest under the comforter, my hand sitting on the snooze button, ready for the alarm that goes off every 3 minutes. Now picture that scene from 5:30 to 6:45, at which time I finally wised up and reset my alarm clock for 7:15. Apparently, even in a half comatose state, I’m stubborn and refuse to give up trying to get up early.

I was so tired because last week, I went straight from work to church functions Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (and rearranged my schedule to fit in runs). Saturday, I ran 13.1 miles with Heidi (more on that later), then proceeded to:

  • buy a salad spinner and steamer basket from Bed, Bath and Beyond
  • buy this skirt and these pants from Old Navy
  • go to Sports Authority (I had a 20% off coupon and found nothing to buy, what’s up with that? Travis is going to use it for new shorts)
  • go to the post office and grocery store
  • do laundry
  • make watergate salad for Easter lunch
  • walk the pooches

Yesterday, I walked the dogs before church, went to church, came home and got lunch stuff, went to Easter lunch, read Vogue for 2 hours (my sliver of relaxation), walked the dogs again, cleaned the house, made banana bread, and then relaxed with Travis and 2 glasses of Cab Sav. While I was walking the dogs, I realized that I still have a productivity complex – I cannot relax. Some people play now and work later. Others (like me) work now and play later. Only I never actually get to the later because the work is never done. There is always something more to do, something that catches my eye, “Oh I’ll just do this and then I’ll go relax.” Or if I go relax, I sit there bothered either mentally or visually by something that “needs to be done.”

So I’m pondering the idea of truly observing the Sabbath. Taking a day off. I’ll save the details for another post, but I’m thinking that I might need to “force” myself to relax a bit (which honestly, I never thought I would say).

Anyway, here’s what last week’s training looked like:

Monday: Rest (traveling back from Evansville)

Tuesday: 3.04 mile tempo run (30:52; 10:09/mile) + 20 min strength/physical therapy exercises

I ran the first mile in 9:42!

Wednesday: 6.09 mile hilly run (1:08:40, 11:16/mile)

Thursday: 20 min Pilates video + 3.04 mile easy-ish run (35:15; 11:35/mile)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 13.1 mile long run in 2:24:59 – an Unofficial Half Marathon PR! (personal record, for those of you who don’t speak Runner)

Sunday: Total of 4 miles walked with pooches (@ approx. 20:00/mile)

Total Miles Ran = 25.27


So about that Unofficial Half Marathon PR… it was awesome.

The wonderful Miss Heidi joined me at Cherry Creek State Park for what was planned to be 12 miles (mapped out as 12.4). But then the run went so well (and quick with someone to talk to!) that she talked me into running a full 13.1. Not going to lie, the last 4 miles or so – and especially the last 2 – were challenging. I was very much over the rolling hills and my big toes were crying out for mercy. But as always, pushing myself past those mental hurdles is in the end totally worth it. Because I ended up dominating my official half marathon PR of 2:30:52 by almost 6 minutes! Might I also mention that that PR was set on the Colorado Half Marathon course, which kindly features an elevation loss of 1353 feet. This run was most definitely not that kind:

It’s actually only a difference of 100 feet elevation either way, but it looks impressive, no?

Heidi and I met up at 8:30 and probably got running around 9:00. No clouds in the sky, the sun was shining, and there was a nice little breeze that kept things from getting too hot out there (as there was no shade where we were running).

{Thanks for the pics Heidi!}

We met this big guy around mile 4.5:

And decided it was a good time to take pics, in case we forgot like we did last time:

A little after that, I took a Triberry Gu and decided that I definitely like the consistency of Clif Shots better. The Gu is too thick (even though it was tasty!).

Since we were running on new-to-us trails, we got a little lost and ended up turning around on our dog leg a little early (sorry about that Heidi!). We had to be a little creative at the end but it worked out okay. And because Heidi brought a real Garmin, I didn’t have to use my Poor Man’s GPS (which is good because I would’ve been really off!)

Here are our splits:

1 – 10:34
2 – 10:56
3 – 11:00
4 – 11:01
5 – 11:25 (hill!)
6 – 11:09
7 – 10:55
8 – 10:51
9 – 11:08
10 – 11:37 (hill!)
11 – 11:28 (dying!)
12 – 11:01
13 – 10:44
.1 – 1:05

13.1 miles in 2:24:59, average pace of 11:04

I am completely ecstatic about this pace and it gives me hope of running an Official Half Marathon PR in the Platte River Half this coming Sunday!

Anywho, I am convinced that the best way to recover from a long run is to keep moving. I kept myself busy after this run and have had very minimal soreness and stiffness. Being productive on Saturdays, even after long runs, will also hopefully help me reserve Sundays for rest and relaxation.

Tonight I have to burn through the rest of The Tipping Point because it’s due at the library tomorrow and I can’t renew it (for a second time) because someone else has it on hold. I just might be incurring a few more library fines so that I can finish it…

So much to do and so little time. The story of my life.

Are you more prone to relaxation or productivity?

Race Recap: Ralston Creek Half Marathon

14 Feb

Since the race start was only 15 minutes away from our house, and the wave I was in didn’t go until 9:45, the alarm on race morning was pretty painless. I wanted to leave between 8:30 and 8:45 so I got up around 7:15 and ate a breakfast of 2 pieces of peanut butter toast, washed down with 1/2 cup of coffee and some water. I had done a pretty bad job of hydrating on Saturday and even woke up Sunday with a slight headache from being dehydrated. Whoops. But I also didn’t want to overcompensate by drinking a ton and then having to pee 10 times like I did during the Steamboat Springs Oly Tri. So I drank some water and hoped for the best.

After I got dressed and put my Shotbloks, phone and peanut butter sandwich into my jacket, I decided that it was too much stuff to keep in my coat. So I decided to use my Camelbak after all. I tucked the tube more into the backpack, so it didn’t hang down so low on the front and that actually worked out really well – my hand usually hits the tube and causes me to run weird but this solved that. Although in hindsight, keeping my Shotbloks in my jacket would probably have prevented them from freezing… but more on that later.

The temperature race morning was a balmy 9 degrees. Yes, nine. Nine degrees in a dry climate doesn’t feel as bad as 9 degrees in a humid one but still, 9 degrees is 9 degrees – chilly. I stuck with my plan of wearing my fluorescent yellow jacket over two long-sleeved running shirts on top; my UnderArmour ColdGear tights underneath regular running pants; wool socks on my feet; fleece gloves on my hands; and I went for the hat on my head. I didn’t buy a new one – I wore one I already that had soft fleece on the inside.

By 8:45, we were out the door. By 9:00, we were parked at the race site. By 9:10, I had my timing chip and bib, leaving me 35-40 minutes before our wave was supposed to leave. This race did things a little differently than usual – they had 2 waves, the first for those runners who anticipated finishing in 2:30 or slower, and the second for those finishing 2:30 or faster. I was on the fence when I was registering because I was hoping to do faster than 2:30 but my previous half times put me after that. I decided to go for Wave 2… which I kicked myself for later.

We killed time by going back to the car, standing in the portapotty line again (which was pretty long because there were only 6-8 of them), and I did some high knees and butt kicks. I didn’t do any running warmup – I never warm up before my long runs in training and I wanted to save my energy for the race.

Finally, it was time to go. I was actually feeling pretty nervous – not nervous that I wouldn’t finish but nervous that I would be really slow. That is often a worry of mine before long runs and races. Kind of like those nightmares when you’re running but your legs feel like they’re stuck in quicksand.

I lined up in the very, very back of the pack, knowing that there was no way I’d need to pass any of the people in front of me. And that was true. Within the first 50 feet, I was only near a few other women. Several people came up behind and passed me – they had been waiting for the bathrooms when the race gun went off. I hung with the other two women near me for the first mile. They were definitely running faster than I planned to but I just hated the thought of being dead last. I tried to keep up but when we hit mile 1 and my watch said 10:30, I knew I had to slow it down or I’d be screwed later.

So this was my reality for the first 2.5 miles of the race:

Running all by myself. But then…

My friend D joined me! And so did the course sweeper (you can see her on the bike behind us). I was pretty annoyed at the sweeper because having her ride beside me, or close behind me, made it impossible to forget that I was the last person. My legs were also not cooperating – they felt very heavy. But I’m pretty sure that was because the first 8 miles of the race were all uphill:

God bless her, D ran with me until about mile 6, even though it meant going up the first loooong hill. I couldn’t believe that the second hill could be any worse. Ha, was I wrong.

I saw Travis and D’s husband, Doug, several times throughout the course – the photo above is me throwing my sunglasses at Travis around mile 4. They kept fogging up and nothing annoys me more than foggy glasses. Shortly after, I ate 3 Shotbloks. I had been carrying them in my hand for about a half mile (you can see those and my gloves in my other hand) because they were hard as rock coming out of my backpack. I walked a little while eating them because running uphill + trying to eat frozen Shotbloks = no oxygen.

After D pulled away, the course flattened out a bit (which you can see on the elevation chart). The bike sweeper was riding right beside me again, but I was in a much better mood this time, and decided to actually talk to her. She mentioned something about having to go over the giant hill in front of us and I laughed. “Ha, no freakin’ way.” And then I looked and saw little people making their way along the switchbacks up the giant hill.

You’ve got to be kidding me. This picture doesn’t do it justice but I didn’t want to expend energy trying to take a picture with my camera.

I ended up passing an older guy right before the switchbacks started, meaning I ditched the bike sweeper (sweet!). I knew I needed some extra oopmh to get up those switchbacks so I pulled out my phone and started Pandora on the Lady Gaga station. I ran as much of those switchbacks as I could, but had to walk some. This course made me realize that what I thought were hills on my training runs, were definitely not hills.

One benefit from all the hills I guess was that I wasn’t counting down the miles or worrying about my pace at all. I was simply focusing on survival.

Finally, I made it to the top and I knew from D that the course was all downhill from there. Hallelujah. I passed mile marker 8 and got out 3 more Shotbloks but after holding them in my hand for a while, they were still pretty hard so I just decided to eat my peanut butter bread instead. I took small bites of that for the next mile while I cruised down the downhill. My legs felt great – tired but so welcoming of the downhill after 8 miles of uphill.

This shows it well – mile 8 was a 13:14 pace (killer!). Then miles 9 and 10 were 11:05 and 10:36!

D joined me again around mile 9.5 to mile 11. I realized that even though I wasn’t going to beat my PR, I could still beat my Heart and Sole half marathon time (2:33:50). But I was getting tired but trying not to think about how ready I was to be done. After D left, the wheels fell off. I wanted to turn Pandora on again for that extra motivation but my phone was running out of juice and I wanted my splits more than I wanted music. And I couldn’t get my d@mn earphones untangled. So back in the pocket they went.

I started doing run/walk intervals. My legs, specifically my hips and glutes, were just so tired and so sore. By mile 12.5, my entire body was in pain. I’d run until I couldn’t stand it and then walk until I couldn’t stand it. Doing either hurt. I just kept focusing on running to a landmark, then walking to a landmark, running, walking. Little by little, I was making my way to the finish line. I didn’t care about time anymore. I just wanted to be done.

Finally, I was. My time was 2:38:24. But I didn’t care.  I took my medal and collapsed on a chair near the finish line. Doug was there to congratulate me (Travis got lost in suburbia and was still getting back from trying to see me on the course) but I was so exhausted and delirious that I told him I couldn’t talk.

I was starving so I went over to grab some food. They had chocolate chip banana bread, which I had been looking forward to since reading about it in the pre-race email. But since I’ve had bad experiences with sweet things after races, I grabbed a piece to eat later.

Travis showed up and I handed him my banana bread while I went to get a breakfast burrito. I wasn’t a fan, so then I went and grabbed a couple of orange slices. They were absolutely amazing. I ended up going back to get about 10 more. I just couldn’t get enough.

After I had my fill of orange slices, we headed home for me to take an epsom salt bath and then meet D and Doug at Denny’s. The bath was wonderful but it used up all of our hot water. Poor Travis didn’t get a shower.

At Denny’s, I had a giant glass of chocolate milk and the Super Bird (grilled turkey, bacon, tomato and cheese) with fries. But after my milk, half the sandwich and some fries, I was so ridiculously full that I thought I might puke. It was the weirdest thing. I’m never that hungry the day of a hard workout like that but still, you’d think I’d be able to manage a bit more than that.

I was planning to take a nap but ended up watching TV for a couple of hours and then around 5:30, I decided that I needed to clean, do laundry and go grocery shopping. So I did. I was amazed that I had the energy but getting up and moving around helped me feel less sore. Today, I feel pretty good – not really that sore, just pretty tired.

Official Race Stats:

Time – 2:38:24

Age Group – 30/37

Gender – 184/228

Overall – 369/421

So that’s the story of Half Mary #4. My best time is still from Half Mary #1. I’m thinking I might just have to run the Colorado Half again next year to beat it… that is, if I don’t beat it in the Platte River Half on April 15.

I do feel good that I beat my time from the Malibu Half, which was 2:44:44. I think this course was the hardest race I’ve ever done. Holy hills batman.

Upcoming Races

9 Dec

I went on a run last night after work and the sunset was absolutely amazing. Luckily, I was running with my phone and was able to get a few good shots around the lake.

Doesn’t it look like Someone painted the sky with watercolors? Wow.


Speaking of running, in preparation for the Eugene Marathon, I have penciled in 3 races on my calendar:

A Christmas Carol 5K on December 17

Hoping to break my one-race PR of 33:40. I bought a Santa hat for Travis and an elf hat for me to wear during the race – it’s a great time to be festive!

Ralston Creek Half Marathon on February 12

This is a new race and super close to my house, so score! I will be shooting to beat my PR of 2:30:46 (11:30/mile pace). If I can run the race at my recent easy long run paces of 11:00-11:15, I will beat my PR by 5 minutes!

I had originally planned on just running the 10 mile race below but I really like the half marathon distance and as much as I would like to think I’ll be motivated to run a half after the marathon is over, I know myself. I might not even do a triathlon next year. This girl will most likely want a break from having a training schedule and striving to fit 5 workouts in a week.

Snowman Stampede 10 mile on February 18

At first, I thought doing races on back to back weekends was not smart, but then I looked at my training plan and realized that I would be scheduled for running 10 miles anyway. Why not run with other people and get a t-shirt?

The last 10 mile race I ran was back in 2006 – the first road race I ever did! I was speedy back then – my time was 1:38:41, a 9:52/mile pace. I would love to run that fast now! (I still think the altitude has a lot to do with my slower paces, but it could just be that I’m getting old! ::single tear::) Anyway, I don’t think I’ll have any time goal for this race. I just want to get out there and enjoy myself.

After the 10 mile race, it’ll be on to the marathon!

Eugene Marathon on April 29

You can read why I chose that race here.


You know what I love the most about local running races? How cheap they are. After paying $100-120 for triathlons and big races like the Denver RnR, I am more than delighted to pay $40 for a race.

Are you doing any holiday or winter races?

Getting my running mojo back!

23 Jun

When I first started running, I was fairly speedy (for me), averaging between a 9:30 and 10:00 pace. The first race I ever did, the White Bear Lake Freedom 10 Mile, I ran at a 9:30 pace for 7 miles until I got this weird blister thing under my toe. I ended up finishing right around 1:40.

Then I moved to Colorado and the altitude instantly added a minute to my per-mile pace. But the more I ran, the more I got used to the altitude. I started running shorter runs at a 10:00 pace again. I ran my first half in 2:30:46, an 11:31 pace. A week later, I ran my first and only 10K in 62:36, a 10:03 pace.

The next year, I trained for my first sprint triathlon. As I have mentioned before, I was really gung ho about training. With the weight lifting and cross-training, I was regularly running at a 9:30 or even (gasp!) 9:00 pace.

It was awesome.

But once I stopped training like a mad man, my pace went back to just a little over a 10-minute mile.

And then 2010 happened.

Any speed I had ever had completely disappeared. While I was training for my second half and what I had hoped to be my first full marathon (but ended up being my third half), I was running so slow I was practically walking. No Joke.

It was so bad that I felt good about anything faster than a 12:00/mile pace. A lot of runs, I didn’t even make that goal. My half marathon times slipped to 2:33:50 and then 2:44:44.

What was happening to me?!?!?

Maybe I’m just getting old.

But actually, I’m pretty sure the same thing that caused my IT-band injury while marathon training is the same thing causing my excessive slowness. It’s three-fold:

1. Not enough (or any) weight training.

When I was training for my first sprint triathlon, I did full-body weights 2 times a week. I am almost positive that had a lot to do with how much faster I was running.

2. Not enough (or any) speedwork.

The ladies on The Nest’s Health & Fitness board like to say, “To run faster, you have to run faster.” You’d think that it being such a simple concept, I would have adopted it when I found myself progressively getting slower. Nah. I’d rather just put the miles in and hope the speed comes magically.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from frequenting the H&F board on The Nest, it’s that a lot of speedy runners work for their speed. They aren’t just out doing joy laps. They’re doing sprints, mile repeats, tempo runs, hill workouts. They’re balls to the walls.

3. Not enough stretching.

Not stretching, specifically not stretching my IT band, is definitely what caused my injury last year. I’m pretty sure that not stretching also has an effect on how fast I can go, because it affects hip flexors, hamstrings, calves, and generally makes running more enjoyable. It’s no fun to start a run and realize that your hamstring is as tight as a fiddle string.

To put these realizations into practice, I’ve decided to incorporate one day of upper body strength and one of lower body into my training, as well as at least 2 speed workouts a week (for running), and stretching after every workout (this is still hit or miss). I’m also trying to do drills and speed work for the swim and bike portions, but that looks different.

So far, since adopting my new philosophy, I’ve done several tempo runs, intervals, and some 1/2 mile repeats. So I was super excited this morning when I went on a run and ran the fastest pace I’ve ran for over a mile since training for that first triathlon. After 1.5 miles at a steady pace with the dogs, I went out for 2 more miles alone. I felt like I was pushing it (I was very out of breath) but my legs also started feeling heavy. I’ve been disappointed before when I feel like I’m running fast and I look at my watch, only to see it’s a 11:00 pace. So I wasn’t expecting anything (though secretly hoping for a 10:00 pace). I looked at my watch at the 1 mile point –



I was totally impressed by my little legs and pathetic lungs. Aw, you guys are getting stronger from the speed work – that’s so cute!

That achievement gave me the motivation I needed to push through another mile. I felt like I was slower. A negative split would be nice, but I’d be satisfied with around a 10:10.

My breathing was very labored. I was so ready to be done being out of breath. This was one of those runs where my legs felt amazing but my lungs just couldn’t keep up.

I was about 1/10 of a mile from my house when I looked at my watch. I only had 1 minute left if I was going to break a 10:00 pace.

I punched it and just about died.

But I made it. Split time: 9:36.


That run totally made my day and reassured me: Yes, I can get faster. 

{Update: I took my bike to the bike store last night and they said the rear derailleur hanger was bent. They fixed it and I can go pick it up after work! Bike ride tomorrow, here I come!}