Fool’s Dual Half Marathon Race Recap

My how that winter was long!  I can already tell that the spring is going to whiz by based on how eager we all were for the sun to shine and for temps to reach higher than freezing. I love this time of year because it means the start of baseball season, the start of our spring track and field program at the middle school, and two and a half short months for all of us working in public education to make it to the finish line. As always, the lack of posting is directly proportional to the amount of work I have sitting on my desk. I’m not sure there are many of you out there, but let’s jump into the review of the Fool’s Dual Half Marathon!

unnamed-1I want to first point out that I thankfully met my goal of completing a half marathon around the 1:45 mark, as I officially finished in 1:45:43! PR CITY!!!!!!!!


In the week since I’ve finished the Fool’s Dual Half Marathon, I’ve taken a number (aka the last 4 days) off from running. This course along Cape Ann and Gloucester was one of the hilliest courses I have ever participated in. My legs, with a special shout out to my IT bands, continue to ache and I’ve decided it best to take a complete rest instead of jumping back into running in order to complete the BAA 5k next weekend and continue my training cycle to include the Runners World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon in June.

If any of you readers decide to dive into your first Half Marathon experience, I highly recommend that you participate in the YuKan Run Race Series, that hosts events in the Gloucester area during April, June, August, and December. The field was even smaller than my race in December, with only 412 half marathoners finishing the event. I believe the race only holds about 1,000 runners in general, so I was surprised to see so few of us participating. Regardless, the event organizers put on a pretty good show, with amazing views and a well-supported albeit challenging course.

In the days leading up to the race, I didn’t eat well (a.k.a. pizza was the main staple) but made sure to drinks gallons of water. Race morning, I had a toasted multigrain bagel with plain cream cheese from Dunkin Donuts on the go.* I typically like to eat a banana on the side, but had completely forgotten to grab a banana on my way out that morning. When we pulled up to DD, they informed us that they were sold out. Blargh. I decided to forge ahead despite my lack of potassium intake. Chris and I trekked about 40 minutes up the Massachusetts coast and arrived at the O’Maley Middle School, where the race began and ended. Parking was a breeze, packet pickup was a breeze, and there were no porta potty lines all morning (with the exception of the last 20 minutes). The start of the race went off without a hitch at exactly 9:00 a.m.

*(and yes, gluten free was not the way to be. Stomachaches galore!)

The beginning of the event started at around 36 degrees with the wind chill making it feel around 29, the sun continued to shine throughout race morning making it a perfect temp to get out there and run. I saw way too many people suited up in layers and gloves, as I don’t think they were expecting it to heat up so quickly along the coast. I kept to an Underarmor long sleeve tech tee, my Brooks running capris, and a racing hat.

Screen shot 2014-04-10 at 5.36.05 PM

The course was very well supported, with water and gatorade (at most locations) on miles 2,4,5,6,9, and 11! I always make sure to take water or gatorade at each stop, but usually dump out half of the drink and fold the paper cup so that it is easier to drink. This was also the first time I haven’t worn a fuel belt to race a long distance event since May of 2012.

There were also packets of energy gel twice during the race as well. I can’t remember what kind it was, some kind of Clif gel, but took it anyway because I wanted to save my gu for another time without spending more money. 😛 I never worry about whether or not the gel will make my stomach sour at the taste, because nothing really upsets my stomach. Just make sure to take it with water and not gatorade. Anyway, I took a gu at mile 5 for a mental boost, and again at mile 9. I’m pretty sure that I don’t require two packets of fuel during a race. I think I do it more as a mental distraction and something to look forward to.

Screen shot 2014-04-10 at 5.33.19 PMOverall, this race was a challenge for me mentally. The rolling hills shredded my quads, hamstrings, and IT bands and I could tell that it was going to be a battle for me to finish. Within the first three miles, I almost decided to quit the event because my plan was not being executed the way I had hoped.  I honestly thought to myself…what if I just call Chris right now and have him pick me up. No harm, no foul. I would only tarnish my pride and miss out on a medal. Still, somehow I managed to push myself.

Screen shot 2014-04-10 at 5.32.45 PM

I’m surprised I finished in the time that I did, just looking back at these splits. You can tell which laps I decided to take some walking breaks, which worked as an excellent strategy for me.  I hooked onto my pacer, which was a gentleman who let me creep a little too close at times yet kept in my sights during those moments of frustration. When he and the others around me continued to trudge up the hill running, in the end, they fared no better than I did. Using those walking breaks, I was able to push out ahead of the group and continue on to meet my PR.

I was so excited to see Chris in the last .01 of the finish, knowing full well that I had met my goal. I kicked it in faster than I would have expected for the last mile of the race, but I knew I needed to push myself if I wanted to reach my goal. I can honestly say it felt so wonderful to be able to train competitively in this last cycle. Someday, I’ll beat Chris’s PR of 1:42…it’s so close, I can taste it…but also one day get into the 1:30’s range.

Lastly, I would like to finish this post by thanking the race organizers from the YuKan Run series for their finely executed event, making it one of my favorite series to compete in. I can’t help but wonder if the PR had something to do with it. 🙂


Grumpy Gus Tuesday!

This morning’s sky suggested that today was going to be a rock star of a day.  See?

A couple of meltdowns (by students, not me, although I wouldn’t have been surprised) and 2 hour meeting later, I found myself droopy eyed in the car ride home craving the couch rather than the gym. However, like I said, because I do this blog, I feel more accountable for sticking with my runs.

Even with said motivation, my speed workout Tuesday did not go as planned. It was not a total fail, but certainly a half fail.  On the docket was 6 miles, with the last 2 miles being 10 sec faster than half marathon goal pace. Instead, I ran 4 miles (with 2 of them being at half marathon goal pace) then started to overheat like woah and decided to take a break to do some strength training.  I immediately broke into a sweet exercise induced rash that covered my entire body. Pretty neat. Take a look!

I tried hopping back on the treadmill to finish the last two, but .2 miles in, I knew I was done. I sprinted down the stairs (faster than on the ol’ mill) and decided to just call it quits. 14 miles for the week thus far ain’t so bad…right? Aiming for 35 for the week, but we’ll see how that goes. I had to do some tweaking of the training schedule in order to account for the wedding I’m in on Saturday and the likelihood of getting to the gym on Sunday.  Instead the week will hopefully look like this:
Monday: 10
Tuesday: 4 (booooo)
Wednesday: 7 (good luck to me. Another snowstorm on the horizon and a stupid deadmill run is on deck).
Thursday: 5
Friday: 3 (also another good luck to me…flight leaves at 7 a.m., landing at 2, rehearsal dinner at 5 p.m.)
Saturday: Wedding DAY 3 miles before hair/makeup at 8:30
Sunday: 3
Dang, that’s 7 days of running in a row. I wish I were Hungry Runner Girl, Emily from Sweat Once a Day, or the long missed Skinny Runner….they can bang out 8-15 miles a day without a care in the world and I get frustrated after 4. Seriously, they run 50-80 miles a week.  How will I ever get there?
Instead, I’ll just dream of this weather…
Instead of this weather. I’m so over it.
Let’s Chat:
Any of you going away somewhere fun for the weekend?
Any vacation plans in the works?

The Day of ALL DAYS!

GIVEAWAY WINNER ANNOUNCED….and the lucky duck winning a Fitbit is…

Congratulations to Michele!  I will put up a shout out on Facebook to notify you of your big win!

Today also marks the first day of two other things, one of which includes the Diet Bet hosted by Jess at Blonde Ponytail.  Seriously, if you didn’t enter you are crazy because the pot is up to $12,275!! Isn’t that insane?  In order to share the honesty of my experience, I’ll let you in on the battle that lies before me.

Hot dang, my BMI of 24 is seriously only 1 point away from being considered overweight.  Yikes!  I know I carry more muscle than most others, but I wasn’t lying when I said I needed to lose weight.  In order to win a piece of the prize, I have to make sure I drop about 5 lbs by March 2nd.  Fingers crossed! My strategy is to significantly cut back on carbs, but not fat or protein. I love fat!
Today is also the start of my half marathon training, as I’m participating in the Fools Dual Half Marathon in Gloucester, MA on April 6th, 2014. I’m doing a shorter/more intense version of half marathon training, with this specific one being about 9 weeks long.  Today should have been a rest day, but because I will be in a wedding in Tampa on Saturday, I decided to call yesterday’s run off and put Saturday’s 10 miler in the slot.
The run was actually pretty tough because it was snowy and windy on the 5 mile jaunt from Cambridge to downtown Boston (I decided to run along Storrow and the Charles). On the way back, I had to deal with unplowed paths and accumulating snow, which started to hurt my ankles and left knee because I was trying to keep balanced.
 (Nice smile, Lauren.)
When all was said and done, 10 miles is in the books and I’m on my way to completing 35 miles for the week. Fingers crossed I’ll keep up with running while I’m down in Tampa from Friday to Sunday. By the way, I tried Salted Caramel Gu and it was beyond amazing. Winner winner chicken dinner.
Let’s Chat:
Have you started any training programs recently? What’s your weekly mileage?
Have you ever won anything amazing and unexpected? 
 I’m sorry you didn’t win my giveaway. I feel sad. But, if you keep reading the blog then companies will want to sponsor me by giving me free stuff to give away to you readers…and that makes me happy!

Monday’s Musings

Well first things first, and if you haven’t heard of or entered my Fitbit Giveaway yet, then you need to get your butt over there and do so right this second!  Contest ends on 2/3!

Today was your typical Monday morning with that good ol’ alarm going off at 5:20.  A funny thing though, I have been so excited about this giveaway that I woke right up and started checking to see who had left comments in the wee hours of the morning.  I was psyched to see 14 of you participate already, given that its my very first giveaway!

Anyway, at school today I was excited to receive my Christmas present from a coworker.  Why yes, it is a month after Christmas but she scrapped the present she originally got me. I was showing her some necklaces I wanted at Baublebar, and then my very good friend went right back to her office to order me the necklace I liked the most! She’s the best (and yes, I’m talking about you, Anh!).

I was also able to sign up for a race that I didn’t think I was originally going to be able to participate in! I typically go home during the first weekend of March to celebrate my sister’s birthday, but she will be in France instead, with her vocal group from college. Yes, I am jealous, but… I’m excited to be able to participate in this year’s Salem Black Cat 10-miler.

It actually works out really well, because its the same day that I had a 10-miler scheduled in my training plan.  The Black Cat race was created as a training run for all of those New Englander’s running that year’s Boston Marathon. Its a fun and motivating way in order to get in your 20 mile training run.  I will be participating in the 10 miler, created as a way to get the rest of us motivated through our training plans for the beginning of race season out here on the Northern side of the East Coast (typically races pick up in April and the majority go until the end of October/beginning of November).

The first 1000 registrants get a long-sleeve tech T, and all finishers receive a race medal (and you all know, that’s the reason I run).  Why don’t you come join me and register today!!

Lastly, friends, I’m seriously aiming for 30 miles this week. This is how I will do it:
Monday- 7
Tuesday- 5/weights
Wednesday- 7
Friday- off (all day conference)
Saturday- off (all day conference)
Sunday- …. long run day… the one that gets me every week…. all I need to do is 6 dang miles to hit 30. I CAN DO THIS!!!!

Let’s chat:
1. What did you have for lunch today OR
2. What was on your agenda for this afternoon?

I was/am/currently….walking out of the building at 3:00. THAT NEVER HAPPENS!

Thinking out loud Thursday, part dos…and a giveaway

Its that time again… a short but oh so sweet post.

1. Is it bad that I am working on this post, instead of doing work for work?
I mean, it’s 6:45 p.m. and the thought of jumping back into typing up a report sounds awful. 
Who am I kidding? Nobody uses the Woodcock anymore (and yes that really is an IQ assessment kit.)
I bet you’re wondering out there, reader, why I blog about not having time to blog? Good question. What I wouldn’t give to be a full time runner and blogger. But, for now, you have a full time school psychologist, half athlete, and quarter blogger. Maybe when I get a dog, husband, baby, BQ I’ll be more interesting.

2. My FAMILY is coming up this weekend!!!! Well, I guess just my parents, but who’s excited?? I am!
(Oooh, I just realized we all have the same shaped head.)
3. I think I have a giveaway coming…
I think and know its similar to Run Eat Repeat’s.… not exactly the same, but similar. It was just a stroke of good luck and since I’m feeling generous, I wanted to share that with my readers. I will post about it on Monday morning. All of my pseudo stalkers will have to comment on my post…and the winner will be announced the following Monday, February 3rd (in honor of the start of my half marathon training).
4. My mom…and yes, I’m seriously typing this correctly.
Which one you might ask? Oh, just the Biggest Loser Half Marathon in Killington, Vermont at the end of July.  It’s not a hundred percent and she always has the option of dropping down to the 5k, but she is definitely interested in taking part since her cousin has picked up the running bug.  The producers of the Biggest Loser are calling it a run/walk, in order to inspire men and women to take charge of their health and accomplish a goal they never thought was possible.
We are going to create a team and I’m going to stick with her the entire way.  Run, walk, or crawl…I don’t care because we are making it to the finish line.
5. I missed yoga.
Ce la vie! I guess there is always a plus to being a school psychologist, and when you get to witness it first hand, you know you done good. So what if I didn’t get to the gym on time. My heart is happy.
Let’s chat:

What are you thinking about on this Thursday? Is anyone having sushi for dinner, because I’m craving it?!?!

Why 8 slow miles are the best.

Running doesn’t make my butt look any better. I know this because I had a horrifying experience at Lululemon today. After picking up a gift card, I meandered over to the clearance rack in hopes of finding a cute little item to purchase on some kind of crazy whim.  Instead, I walked out of the dressing room in shell shock. It wasn’t a pretty sight. I simply bought a headband and called it a day.
(The scene of the crime.)
Fortunately, my experience in Lulu’s helped motivate me to get my workout done. I had a goal of completing 8 easy and slow miles. I’m proud to say to you that I did just that.
I really, REALLY, wanted to make sure that these miles were in no way effortful.  I live in a hilly area, so it was necessary for me to make a conscious effort to stay slow and steady. I’ve been reading a lot of articles about the importance of making your “easy run days” very very easy.  It helps to reduce injury and it honestly made the run that much more enjoyable. I didn’t feel tired, I wasn’t out of breath, I just plodded along having only stopped at the halfway point to make sure I got in a good IT band stretch.  
For all of you who were wondering, I’ve decided to go with the BAA intermediate runner half marathon training plan, which is a condensed 9 week program. However, I’m finding it to be much more “advanced” than intermediate, given the range of plans out there. It starts off with 35 miles, with the highest weekly mileage toping out around 41 miles (as I modified the plan slightly). Even though I’ve trained for two marathons in the past, I’ve never hit that high of a mileage before…mostly because I’ve never trained for anything perfectly. BUT, if the goal is Boston or bust, then bust my butt it is. I have to admit I’m feeling a little scared though, because the speed work Tuesdays on the schedule are looking mighty intense. 
Today felt really good and I’m proud of myself for getting in 20 miles so far this week. I have a hatha flow yoga class and a swim in the books for tomorrow and am taking a rest day on Friday in order to spend some quality time after school with some coworkers.  Saturday, I have high hopes of getting in a solid 10 miles. Sunday I’m aiming for 5, making it a total of 35 miles for the week.  For the first time since I started long-distance running, I’ve been making an effort to ease into heavy mileage instead of jumping in head first.
Let’s chat:
Have you ever successfully tackled an insane training plan? Any tips? If you’re training for a race, what’s your current goal pace?

Sir Hal makes me run distances.

Ok, here it is lovers.  I have 11 weeks to train for my half.  I could feasibly not really train at all and complete it, but I want to beat my original time of 1:58. Oh and by the way, in no way do I think I’m super awesome at running that I’m like, Heyyy, novice training is for…novices.  But I know my times in shorter distances have proved to need some tweaking and pushing to be somewhat respectable. 

Since I decided to go with the intermediate program, I’ve decided to let you know what Sir Hal has to say about trying an intermediate program:

THE ABOVE SCHEDULE IS FOR EXPERIENCED RUNNERS: individuals who have left their Novice roots behind and who want to improve their performances. You should be capable of running 30 to 60 minutes a day, five to seven days a week, have competed in at least a few 5-K and 10-K races, if not a marathon, and at least be willing to consider the possibility that some speedwork might help you improve. If that sounds like too much training, and this is your first half marathon, you might be more comfortable training using the Novice Program.

Ok, I think I can handle that.

But…Its Day One and…well… I get to stretch and strength train.  I added a widget to my side profile so that you can keep up with my training, but obviously no miles are added for today.  I’m just going to hang out at Golds Gym; lift some weights and elliptical the place UP!

You want to know more about strength training when trying to improve your running performance? Here is what Hal has to say about strength training c/o Cathy Vasto.

Go High/Low: If you’re training for a race like the Gate River Run, you don’t want to bulk up. Extra weight will slow you down. To avoid putting on pounds, keep the pounds of the weights you lift low and the repetitions high. Vasto recommends lifting 50 to 60 percent of the maximum weight you can lift in a set of 12 repetitions. Two sets of 12 work well for most of the lifts described later. For maximum benefits, without wasting a lot of time, do your strength training two or three times a week, after you run, not before.

Look Good Lifting: Keep your form—not for vanity, but to prevent injury. Think 90-degrees. Most seated lifts work best if your body parts are at right angles: legs straight, feet flat against the floor, trunk erect, chin up, eyes forward. Practice the pelvic tilt where you press your torso back against the chair, or floor, to keep your back from slumping. “Good form works in lifting as much as it does in running,” says Vasto.

Breathe Right: The worst mistake you can make while lifting is to hold your breath. That simply tightens the muscles that you want to keep loose. Inhale while you prepare to lift the weight, then exhale while lifting it, inhaling again while lowering it. “The best way to breathe is naturally,” says Vasto, “so that you’re not even aware you’re doing it.”

Rest by Stretching: When moving from exercise to exercise, don’t rush and don’t waste time chit-chatting with friends. Stay focused on your workout by stretching in between. “It’s very important while strength training to have a stretching routine,” warns Vasto. “You don’t want to lose your flexibility, which can happen if you forget to stretch. Eccentric contractions (which occur when lowering the weights) actually can tighten the muscles.” Stretching while strength training provides a double dose of conditioning in a minimum of time. (For six sensational stretching exercises, see: Stretch.)

Look what happens when you start to strength train.  You look like my DAD!


 Also, the Athletarian is doing a giveaway from her blog HERE!!