Wandering with a Purpose

Tag: running (Page 1 of 3)

2021 Chicago Marathon: Training Week 14

Another training week is done, and this week marked 30 days left in the countdown and less than 1 month to go. I’m getting really nervous, but I am just trying to stay focused. I got in most of my runs but came up 4 miles short because of my Sunday long run.

Monday

This was a pretty lazy day, and I didn’t even close my rings. No strength training again…sigh.

Tuesday

My neighbor came out with me to run 5 miles. It was a really great run! We walked a few times, but I averaged an 11:34/mile pace. The weather was a bit humid but nowhere near where it was.

Wednesday

Today was supposed to be 9 miles. I went out and got in 0.5 miles before I heard thunder. I changed my mind to do another 5 until I saw lightning. I’m trying to push myself to run in the rain, but storms are a no-go. I turned around getting 1 in. Then I looked at the weather and decided to finish the remaining 4 in the evening. My average pace was slow at 12:51/mile.

Even though I finished the miles, I was reminded why I run in the morning and not the evening. It was so hard to fall asleep!

Thursday

I had to get my 9 miles in; I didn’t want to, but I’m too close to race day, and there would be a lot of regret if I didn’t. Things were going okay until I took my gel around mile 4…and it was a major malfunction! Usually, I eat a little then hold it before taking some more. Unfortunately, I must have squeezed it, and Huma apples and cinnamon was all over my hand, and watch! I tried to wash off by dumping water from my water bottle, but I was nervous about ruining my watch. I kept on going until mile 5 or something. When I looked down, I had forgotten to restart my watch from the fiasco! I was deflated. I finished the 5.5 miles but went home to clean my watch and call it a day.

Then I saw my training plan on the fridge. I NEEDED to get my 9 miles in! It was only 3.5 miles. Even though I was frustrated, I knew I would be more upset to not finish it. I would regret it later. So I went. And I finished. I’m proud of myself for sticking it out and doing so many miles on a weekday. Also, my watch seems to be okay.

Friday

It was an early morning for travel to Denver. Needless to say, there was no strength training. I did get some walking in, but nothing strenuous.

Saturday

I walked around Denver for some morning exercise. It was about 5 miles overall, and a nice way to see the city.

Sunday

I was supposed to run 14 miles. This would be my first run at altitude, so I needed to make sure to take it slowly. I wasn’t sure how I would feel, and I didn’t want to get stuck somewhere. My friend told me to make sure to drink a lot of water, which I could do because I remembered my water bottle!

The Airbnb was not far from City Park, which is a large park in the middle of Denver and where the marathon/half marathon starts and finishes. It’s also where the Denver Zoo is; this reminded me a lot of Central Park Zoo, even though I didn’t get to go inside. It’s not a large zoo, but it has smaller animals and was advertising a new penguin exhibit. I wish I could have arranged this in my itinerary.

Anyway, back to the run. Jetlag and me being an early bird had me waiting for the sun to come out so I could go out. This was around 6:30 am, and it was a beautiful morning! The sunrise appeared over the golf course, and there was a slight chill in the air. I kept to a sub-13 pace, which was feeling like a nice, gentle trot. Then I just wandered. Eventually, I came across Ferrell Lake, and wow. Just wow. “Purple mountain majesty above the fruited plain” was shown in the distance. I took a lot of pictures but had to sit with it for a while. It was just too unbelievable. Probably the prettiest sight I have seen on a run.

I felt fine, but eventually, I ran out of water. That I felt and it did not feel good. I cut my run short at 10 miles. It was a bummer and probably not the right thing to do so close to race day, but I couldn’t keep going. I really needed water. I had to walk the last mile.

Always Remember

Yesterday, several people posted a 9.11 mile run in memory of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I paused and said a prayer when I reached this distance. It’s so important for us to remember the fear that was created that day and the unity and pride that came from it. We are Americans, and we are strong.

Summary

There are only 4 weeks until race day. Next week is my peak week, and I am getting really nervous. I don’t feel like I’m in good shape, but I know I’m better than when I started. Trying to stay the course. Here’s to 4 more weeks!

Race Recap: 2021 Around the Crown 10K

This is my second time running this race. This is such a well-run race and has a cool concept. The highlight for ATC10K is that you get to run on I-277 which is Charlotte’s inner belt. The views are awesome and it is just funny to run on a big highway. 

I achieved a PR when I did this race in 2019. I knew I wanted to do it again, but I was pleased that it fell on my 18-mile training date. When I got down to thinking about logistics, I wasn’t sure how to fit 18 miles in around it. ATC10K had an 8 am start time. Ultimately, I decided to run 12 miles the day before and then do my 10K the next day. I’m not sure if this is okay for marathon training, but I decided to go with it and then just make a good effort at the 10K. 

The Expo

The race is held on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend which is a paid because the expo was Saturday and no bin pickup on Sunday. If you want to do something else that weekend, it is difficult to get your bib. I went to the expo at Camp North End towards the end on Saturday. I’m not a fan of Camp North End, so I may be biased when I say it was just annoying. They planned other activities and such, but I must have arrived at a bad time. To support some of the local restaurants there, they have everyone a token for $5, but most of the food stalls were closed. I got my bib and shirt, and after exploring for a little, decided I was just going to leave. You also get a NoDa beer with a custom can. I’m not a big beer drinker, but I love when they do this!

Course map for 2021 ATC10K

Race day was really well organized. Lots of porta-potties. Music was playing. Started at First Ward Park. The weather was lovely. Since I would be done by 9 am, I left my hat at home. This was definitely a mistake. I was really nervous but just aiming to be slow and steady. Ideally, I would run most of it, if not all, but I knew there was a killer hill around mile 4.

The Race

I listened to a Bigger Pockets podcast and just went. We ran through Uptown, past the Knights and Panthers stadiums before making our way down the ramp to 277. I was feeling really good, so I had to really watch my pace to not go too fast. I needed to save my energy to the end. Every time I looked down, I was below an 11-mile pace, which made me nervous. 

Once I was on 277, I laughed. It is so funny to run on a big road like that. Totally different perspective when you’re not in a car. You notice things you wouldn’t normally notice. The views are pretty since Charlotte has such a pretty skyline. When you make your way around the city, you start to feel the hills. I had to walk for a little after the 3-mile marker then kept going steady until the BIG hill. This hill is just awful and it’s long. Once I passed that, I resumed my run and just kept going. About 5.5 miles in, I knew I was going to finish and have a decent time. It was time to stop holding back my speed. I ran the rest well and sprinted once I saw the finish line. I felt so strong! Man, was I proud of myself!

When I looked down to stop my watch it said 1:06 something. If that was true, I thought it could be a PR. I didn’t confirm before but I thought my 10K best was 1:08 something which I earned at the 2019 Around the Crown 10K. I couldn’t wait to get home to check. (Spoiler alert, I did PR!) My official time was 1:06:51.

In Summary

The thing that makes me most excited is how good I felt. I wasn’t too tired. I felt strong. It was night and day from the Emerald City Half (which was also half the distance). I’ll continue to do this race in the future. It was such a good time and a really fun course to run. The race organizers do a wonderful job. It would be cool to see them host another race in Charlotte. 

2021 Chicago Marathon: Training Week 13

Monday

Didn’t do a strength workout…again!

Tuesday

A solid 4.5 mile run today. Average pace of 12:41/mile

Wednesday

I didn’t run today. It was raining, and I just couldn’t think about doing 9.

Thursday

9 miles on a weekday – this run was a major accomplishment! This is as much of a mental hurdle as it is a physical one. I did the run at an 11:51/mile pace.

Friday

1.5 miles. Just wasn’t feeling it…I couldn’t get myself to do the 5 miles the training plan had scheduled.

Saturday

My training plan called for an 18-mile run this weekend. I went back and forth on this a lot. I’m not sure if it was the right thing to do, but ultimately, I decided to run 12 miles today and race my 10K on Sunday. It was tricky to figure out how to get 18 miles in with the race on Sunday starting at 8 am.

I felt good about this run which I did doing a 3/1 run/walk pattern and averaged a 12:09/mile pace. Afterward, I even played 15 holes of golf before having to leave to get to the expo before it closed.

Sunday

Today was the big day! I was really excited about this race. The Around the Crown 10K is a really run event. The weather was great (even though I should have brought a hat because it was sunny!) I felt good and strong during the race which resulted in a new PR for a 10K. Read my race recap for more information.

Summary

Overall, I am proud of my performance this week. I PRed the 10K and completed my first 9-mile run on a weekday. I’d say that’s pretty good!

2021 Chicago Marathon: Training Weeks 9-12

While I continued with my training plan, these weeks really got lost for both training and blogging. I’m not going to go into a summary of all of the runs, but a few highlights are:

  • Humidity was a killer
  • I was feeling really discouraged. My runs weren’t feeling good.
  • It ended up becoming a blurr

Weekly Breakdown

  • Week 9 – August 2
    • Tuesday 3 miles
    • Wednesday 7 miles
    • Thursday 4 miles
    • Sunday 10 miles
  • Week 10 – August 9
    • Tuesday 3 miles
    • Wednesday 7 miles (only did tomorrow’s 4 because of scheduling)
    • Thurday 4 miles (only did 6 from Wednesday’s schedule)
    • Sunday 15 miles
  • Week 11 – August 16
    • Tuesday 4 miles
    • Wednesday 8 miles (I didn’t get these in)
    • Thursday 4 miles (did 6 to try to make up from yesterday)
    • Sunday 16 miles (did 3 miles in the morning before the Emerald City Half Marathon)
  • Week 12 – August 23
    • Tuesday 4 miles (I was traveling and didn’t get these in)
    • Wednesday 8 miles (I was traveling and didn’t get these in)
    • Thurdsay 5 miles (felt really good to run again!)
    • Sunday 12 miles

Race Recap: 2021 Emerald City Half Marathon

To make my long runs a little more palpable and fun, I researched and found several races that overlapped. I looked for races in NC, but we don’t have a lot of long ones in the summer because it is so hot. My brother lives in Ohio, so I looked there, and low-and-behold, I found a half marathon that fell on my 16-mile day

The Emerald City Half and Quarter Marathon and 5K are hosted in Dublin, Ohio. From what I hear, this usually falls during the Irish festival, but that wasn’t held this year because of Covid. I wasn’t really sure what to expect other than that it should be a flat race. 

Event communication was fair. They sent a few emails that had a ton of information. It was a lot to process but eventually, I took it all in. I wasn’t familiar with the city so I didn’t understand the reference points. 

The course was great. It was flat and very scenic. There were a lot of water stops which were desperately needed with the heat. 

course map of 2021 Emerald City Half Marathon

Miles 1-3

The race started out well. We ran through a cute downtown before going on some rural streets and neighborhoods. I ran with my brother (who was doing the 5K) before he split off after the first mile. Then I was on my own. I was staying at a steady pace and taking in my surroundings. 

Miles 3-7

I didn’t realize it, but we would spend the majority of the course on a trail. I really enjoyed this and thought it made for a pretty run. I was feeling okay at this point, but just trying to stay steady on my 3/1 run/walk pace. 

Miles 7-10

I really started slowing down. My walk breaks got longer here, but I kept trying to get into a run. 

Miles 10-13.1

WALL! The only way to describe the rest of my race. I hit a hard wall and couldn’t recover. It got really hot and humid. I was getting water to drink and pour in my head at every stop. I would try to run for short periods but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I always try to run over the finish line and while I feel like I tried, I’m sure it wasn’t a real run. My official time was 2:40:09, which averaged out to a 12:14/mile pace.

When I finished, I collapsed. I got my medal and a bottle of water. The volunteers handed out an ice-cold towel, which was AMAZING! I looking for a spot to sit and sat on the ground. I needed time to recover and process what happened. I felt miserable. I worked to get my water down and enjoyed the relief from my towel. After a bit, I made my way to find a banana and my brother. 

Conclusion

Even though I crashed hard, I am proud of myself. I ran this after running 3 miles earlier in the morning. If you take my first 13 of the day, I did really well. The heat/humidity has been affecting me a lot and very badly; this race was no exception. The race organizers did a great job making sure there were plenty of water stops and the cold towel at the end was such a treat! I probably would have gone faster if I knew that was waiting! 😀

2021 Chicago Marathon: Training Week 8

Much like last week, this week was a struggle. I felt frustrated and discouraged on many of my runs, but I’m just trying to focus on completing the miles on my marathon training schedule. Supposedly, I am getting stronger with every workout, but I feel like I’m getting worse. Just get in the miles…

Monday

Pure Barre on Monday night was great. Good workout and a big check on the plan to start the week.

cat stop

Tuesday

Three-mile run was the scheduled run on Tuesday. My plan was to do a heart rate run, which got thrown off because of this cat! I kept pausing my watch because it was following me and eventually I messed up and hit stop not pause! I probably did this is a 12:30-ish pace with an average HR in the 140s, which is good. Thankfully, the cat has a home.

beautiful sunrise
One of my favorite things about running in the morning is seeing the sunrise. God’s artwork.
check off the last 6 mile Wednesday run

Wednesday

My last 6-mile Wednesday run! It was a struggle, but I somehow did it an 11:56/mile pace with an average HR of 155, so I was very pleased with this. What I was NOT pleased about is forgetting my Apple Watch on the charger, so I didn’t get my stands for the day! Super bummer.

Thursday

Another 3-miler focusing on HR. Finished at 11:58/mile and an average HR of 141, which is right on target. I feel like I’m getting slower, but I’m hoping it’s just the humidity.

Friday

My standard 6 AM Pure Barre class went well. I’m not sure I’m getting any stronger though. I’m able to do some things better, but I’m just not sure how it’s impacting my running.

Saturday

I went on a short walk and then to Pure Barre. Not quite the cross-training I should do, I just wasn’t in the mood to do much else. I meant to do a workout on my Apple app, but I didn’t quite get there. I did take a non-recorded 30-minute walk with one of my Wag! dogs, which was hot but nice, and made $17 in the process. Sweet!

Sunday

Long-run day was so hard. I’ve had a chance to relax a few hours before writing this since I really needed it. It was so frustrating and gave me a lot of doubts as to whether I am going to be able to pull off this marathon. Long runs are the foundation of marathon training, and while not the singularly most important thing, a very important part of marathon training. Today was 13 miles (I made it 13.1 so I could officially call it halfway) which takes me back down to the river to start the south side of the course. I finished the route with 13.1 miles at a 13:06/mile pace and an average HR of 154 BPM.

It’s frustrating because I am sticking to my training plan. I’ve done almost every run and this week was hard. Just hard and awful. I left the house at 6 am since it was in the low 70s but the humidity was over 90%. My first 8 miles or so went well keeping my run 3 min/walk 1 min cycle. I had an Huma gel around mile 3.5. It was definitely getting warmer around mile 7 and my route wasn’t very shady. It was time for my treat of Clif Blocks around mile 7.5 and wasn’t too long after that when I couldn’t maintain my run/walk pattern.

I walked with a few run spurts before I made it back to my house around mile 9. It was necessary to refill my water bottle but had to tell myself not to sit down. The AC when I entered was glorious! Even though the pups wanted scratches, I couldn’t stay. The next mile was meh, as I did run some, but after mile 10, I was done. I kept saying “just get in the miles. It’s okay if you walk. Try to speed walk like Savannah Half Marathon.” It was miserable!

Reflection

When I got back home, I sat on my yoga mat looking like I had gone swimming. My adorable dogs just wanted some loving and snuggled even though I had to be very smelly. After a shower, protein shake (which I forced since it’s supposed to be good to have protein after a run), and catnap, I started to feel better. Online church was greatly appreciated, as I was in no mood to go anywhere.

One of my friends responded to my Instagram story to tell me good job. I told him how discouraged I felt, and he reminded me to keep going and that it will pay off. Hot, humid runs are hard. He said, “a bad workout is a trillion times better than not doing it.” It was what I needed to hear to start week 9 training.

Week 9 is my halfway point. The mileage is going to increase and things are about to get hard. Part of training s mental. I just need to stick with it and have confidence this training plan will prepare me for marathon day.

2021 Chicago Marathon: Training Week 7

Not a great week, but I got in all of my runs. There were a lot of factors that threw off my marathon schedule like watching Stubby and staying out later on Saturday night. Just proves the importance that sleep has and having a good routine. Not a lot to say other than that for this week.

Monday

Stubby (my Rover dog) and I went for a 2-mile walk to try to wear him out. I think he can go further, but I don’t want to make him sick from the humidity. I couldn’t make it to Pure Barre and didn’t do any yoga or strength training, so not a great day for marathon training.

Tuesday

After walking Stubby for a mile, I went on a 3-mile run where I averaged an 11:24/mile and average HR of 150 BPM. I walked Stubby for 1.5 miles in the evening, so I got in some good movement for the day.

success finishing 6 miles on a Wednesday!

Wednesday

I was so nervous about this run. Six miles is a big run for me anyway, let alone running it before work. To top it all off, Stubby needed to get some energy out on a walk. We probably woke up around 4 or 4:15 am and went out for a walk around 5 am. Stubby and I walked 1.5 miles (which wasn’t enough he said!) and then it was time for me to get my run on.

To make the run less daunting, I decided beforehand to run a 3/1 run/walk pattern, which really helped. The first mile was okay, but the second was really rough. After 3 miles I felt more in my groove. 11:46/mile and 155 BPM.

Thursday

It was another very early morning so I could walk Stubby for 1.5 miles again. My neighbor joined me for my 3 mile run today. I definitely run faster when I’m with someone. My Strava heart rate graph showed me in the tempo zone for most of the run, so I guess that means it was a tempo run? Regardless, I felt good and averaged 11:09/mile and 164 BPM.

Friday

Pure Barre at 6 am. That was all I did because I was exhausted from Stubby’s stay and just wanted some downtime.

Saturday

A short walk and Pure Barre was all I got into today since I had to work. I ended up going to my mom and dad’s that night for a boat ride and some fireworks. I was nervous about how it would affect me on my long-run Sunday, but it was a great show, so I’m glad I went.

Sunday

YUCK! I felt so tired after this 12-mile run. I should have slept more the night before, but the weather was just awful. Overall, I averaged a 13:02/mile pace and 145 HR. It was all I could do to finish, and there’s not much more to say than that. Not feeling good like I did last week.

sunrise over the lake
Even though the run was awful, I at least got to see this beautiful view.

2021 Chicago Marathon: Training Week 6

Between the humidity and lack of planning, this was a tough week! Sounds like the same update from last week, but week 6 was even more challenging! Thankfully, it was a down week for mileage. The humidity will be here for another two months and mileage will continue to increase, so I need to just stick to it and be patient.

One of the Instagram accounts I follow (@Run4PRs) always has really good tips and is giving a lot of hot weather tips lately.

Monday

This morning I was excited to go on a two-mile walk, but at the end of my walk, I realized I was going to stay in Greensboro tonight and wouldn’t be able to run on Tuesday! Today I should have run 3 miles! I also couldn’t go to Pure Barre since I would be driving. I didn’t eat well and just felt off all day. Sigh, I had a big work meeting on Tuesday morning, and that took most of my focus. This is why you are supposed to schedule a weekly planning session on Sunday!

Tuesday

Today was supposed to be 3 miles, but I didn’t plan. It was too hot for me to run in the evening, so I didn’t get a workout in today. Worst of all, I didn’t bring my charger Monday night to charge my Apple watch, so I didn’t get any part of any ring closed! I also got a visitor, Stubby, the Corgi that I dogsit sometimes on the Rover app. Since he is young, Stubby has a lot of energy and requires a lot of attention.

Today the Chicago Marathon team sent out our corral placement numbers! I was placed in the second to last corral group (M) which is part of Wave 3. It required some research to understand this, but it is because of my estimated finish time of 5:00. I hope I can do it in that time, if not less. Ideally, I would finish with a sub 5:00 time, but I also get nervous that I won’t finish at all! If I run an 11:00/mile pace, that is about a 4:50 finish time. It’s starting to get real!

Wednesday

A neighbor joined me for the 5 miles on my schedule today which made for a nice and faster run. I felt pretty good; I think I walked only 2 times. Unfortunately, I didn’t stick to running a heart rate plan like I was supposed to do. My average HR was 161 BPM with an average pace of 11:42/mile. Maybe I can consider this a tempo run? It was incredibly humid again, and I just felt gross. It was a good run overall; it’s just a miserable time of year. It’s funny how different it is to run with someone vs. running alone. There is a different mindset, and since I respond more to external pressure, it does help keep me going.

In the evening I ended up going to Pure Barre and was the only student because of a big rainstorm. It was a good class – I always leave there feeling stronger, so even though the dogs weren’t happy, I’m glad I went.

Thursday

As if this week couldn’t be more off, this morning’s run was awful. Since Stubby has so much energy, I tried to see if he could run with me but that was a fail. Since the humidity was uncomfortable again, we walked for almost two miles because I took him home then went out for a 1.5 mile run. I was so uncomfortable. It’s wasn’t a fun run at all. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough walking to wear out the pup!

Friday

My normal 6 am Pure Barre class felt great this morning. Stubby and I went on a short walk, but I get nervous about him with the humidity. Needless to say, he got his crazy laps in around the coffee table.

Saturday

This is my usual cross-training day, so I walked Stubby for 1.5 miles because I didn’t want to overwhelm him with the humidity, even though we woke up around 4:30 am. After that, I did my 3 mile run to make up for missing Tuesday. Still got all of my miles in! The rest of the day, I was especially lazy and just spent time with the dogs since they felt neglected during the week.

Sunday

Today was my last single-digit long run. Only 7 miles, but going off the theme of week 6, it wasn’t comfortable. I didn’t feel strong because of the humidity. I kept telling myself, the important thing is to get the miles in. Since I knew this would be a tough run from the beginning, I decided to start with a 3 minute run / 1 minute walk pattern. This saved me and made it more manageable. I couldn’t fathom going out and running 7 miles. This may be the pattern I pick for the marathon, so I need to figure out what the right run/walk should be. I kept my average heart rate to 148 BPM and performed at a 12:20/mile average pace.

An account I follow on Instagram (I forget which one!) posted about running in the heat/humidity and said 3 steps: run slower, hydrate, and swear. I thought it was really funny but totally true for this week. Not that this will change for week 7, but I should be better planned.

2021 Chicago Marathon: Training Week 4

This week absolutely flew by which must mean that running is becoming a routine. The first step needed to run a marathon! The big news this week is that RunDisney is returning with in-person events! For any RunDisney fan, this was desperately and much anticipated news. While I love seeing all of the Dopey training posts on Instagram and am very envious, I think I will try to do the Fairytale Challenge in February for the first time. I’m also going to plan costumes for the affair, so I’m quite excited. Even though I’m planning for the Chicago Marathon and that is my focus, I need to have goals lined up for afterward to keep me motivated.

But good luck to all of those training for marathon weekend and Dopey 2022! I love thinking about my 2020 Dopey experience and plan to do it again in 2023.

Monday

Monday – the dreaded yoga day. I did yoga for a hot minute before getting too bored to continue. Then I tried again, so I didn’t stop once but twice. I walked and did some other bodyweight exercises, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do a full yoga session. Why is it so challenging? So many people talk about the benefits of yoga for marathon training, and I understand there must be a huge benefit, so why can’t I just do it? Sigh…

Tuesday

Summer is in full gear, so it’s important to get out to run early. Today was my normal 3-mile run which went well. I am still focusing on heart rate since I don’t think speed work will help much until I lose weight. I had a great run in both metrics and how I felt finishing with an average pace of 11:43/mile and a heart rate of 141 bpm! Big accomplishment. I restarted my full Pure Barre membership, so I am going to get in as many workouts as I can. My schedule let me fit in an evening workout, so I finished a barre class. All on a Tuesday! At least that makes up for my lack of yoga yesterday. Getting stronger can help improve my running to make marathon day easier. Pure Barre does a lot for core strength which can also help make you a better runner.

Wednesday

Semi-long run Wednesday this week was another 4 miles. I finished with an average pace of 12:10/mile but also achieved my average heart rate goal of 141 bpm. This pattern should mean my aerobic fitness level is improving, which is my goal. I need to have the fitness level to sustain 26.2 miles. Felt really good again but was super sweaty – the humidity is awful!

This is going to get more challenging in the upcoming weeks. I have to fit in 5 miles next week, and I’m really nervous about timing for this.

Thursday

My final weekday run was another 3 miles. I felt great again finishing with a 12:04/mile average and 149 bpm heart rate. Another wickedly humid morning, but it was done! I’m really proud of how these morning runnings are becoming natural. I lay out my clothes the night before and have a morning routine that gets me out the door.

I signed up for Pure Barre again, but wasn’t sure what “Pure Empower” meant as the class name. Little did I know I was going to do burpees at Pure Barre! This version of class is a cardio version of Pure Barre. It was a fun class, but I wasn’t really expecting it. A challenge with doing strength training in this type of environment is form is really important, but it’s hard to have good form when moving so quickly. Needless to say, I was very tired that night.

Friday

After a hard workout the night before, I was at another Pure Barre session at 6 am. I like this class and enjoy it in the morning. You feel strong for the day, and I really like the teacher. Pretty low-key activity day, but then I had work and getting ready for Independence Day weekend!

Chicago Marathon also posted on Instagram is that race day is 100 days from TODAY!!

Saturday

I usually cross-train on Saturday and originally planned to swim this morning. Then I got to thinking about fireworks on Saturday night and how staying out late will make for a rough 9 miles the next morning. Using the logical side of my brain I thought, “why don’t I do my long run on Saturday morning?” For someone who doens’t like to deviate from a plan, I was pretty proud of myself for arriving at this conclusion! So, long run on Saturday!

This week I spent a lot of time reading Disney race recaps and information on running basics. Fueling is always a big topic, and I read somewhere that if you finish off a long run slower it can be because you 1. start out too fast, 2. don’t fuel properly. Hmm. I’m sure I have both of these troubles. 9 miles is a mental hurdle for me, so I wanted to make sure to eat enough to start my run, plus I brought a berry Huma and a salted caramel GU gel to take at miles 3.5/4 and 7 (if needed) and packed a plain bagel and peanut butter to eat before the run.

I hate eating before I run, but I learned training for my first half, that I have to eat if I run over 4 miles. I hate it, but it’s necessary. My usuals are toast with peanut butter or a peanut butter Cliff bar. A few weekends ago I tried to eat a banana, but that wasn’t enough. I also have to have enough time to digest my food before going out and usually try to give myself an hour.

The actual run…
Finished my 9 mile run

Well, we had AMAZING weather on Saturday. Seriously 62F in July is unreal in North Carolina. I woke at 5 am had water, Nuun, and ate my bagel. I didn’t finish eating until 5:45 am, and I wanted to get out at 6 am. I waited until 6:20 since it was so nice out. My first two miles were around an 11:40/mile pace which is strong for me, but in the third mile, I didn’t feel right. I had to walk a lot taking my pace to 15:00 minutes. Finally, all I wanted to do was throw up. I knew it was the bagel, and it wasn’t sitting with me right.

That third mile was rough. I threw up a few times which made me feel worlds better. I walked into the fourth mile forcing myself to take it slow, then incorporated more running and got stronger into miles 5 and 6. My 7th-mile split was high at 14:02 because I took the very hilly route, but I finished my ninth and final mile at a 12:04/mile pace! I felt so strong at the end and so proud of myself. My average heart rate for the run was 157 bpm, and as Hal Higdon suggests, I got my miles in regardless of pace!

Sunday

No running for me today. I slept in until 6 am and had a lazy morning snuggling with the puppies before going on a walk. I just love those kinds of relaxing mornings. More importantly, today is July 4 and Independence Day! Happy Birthday, America! The fact that we live in a society where we can be free to pursue our passions like running is a gift. I listened to podcasts about forgotten American heroes and gave thanks to all of those brave men and women. I’m so appreciative for the life I lead and the country that allows me to be me.

Schatzi and Churchill posing in their American finest

Lessons from this Week

  • I need to figure out my pre-run fueling strategy for long runs. I don’t think a piece of toast is enough, but I also don’t think I can handle any more than that. There will also be the added complication of more time between wake up and the start of the race once marathon day is here. I have several more weeks to figure this out, so I’ll keep researching ideas.
  • I’ve been really conflicted about how to structure my weekday runs. I learned in my last training session for Dopey the benefit of hill running but also what a speed workout is. For his Novice 1 training plan, Hal Higdon doesn’t recommend any of this. He stresses getting the miles in. While I’m not a complete novice and want to do more to improve, I am starting to think this approach is probably right for me. I’m going to continue focusing on heart-rate running and losing weight.
  • I started tracking my food again, so we’ll see if I can do a better job at planning my diet. This could be one of the biggest benefits for my marathon performance.

Looking forward to WEEK 5! The weeks are just flying by!

Race Recap: 2021 Charlotte Racefest 10K

Charlotte Racefest is an annual race here in town, but it was completely new to me. It supposed to be in April, so it was canceled in 2020, and they moved the 2021 date to June which was great since North Carolina’s COVID restrictions were lifted in May. The race is a half marathon and 10K.

While I hadn’t heard of the race before this year (not sure why), I came across it in my race research earlier this year. I didn’t sign up for the 10K yet because I wasn’t sure if I should do a lot of races during training, and I didn’t want to miss out on a lake weekend. Luckily, my parents went on vacation this week, so I was home. Unfortunately, when I went to register earlier this week, the 10K was sold out! I am not in shape to complete a half marathon, so I was really bummed. Then when I was surfing the interwebs on Wednesday or Thursday night, I saw it. No joke, but the registration page said “1 spot remaining” for the 10K. I jumped right on that. Not sure if it was an error or what, but I wasn’t asking any questions.

Check-In

The race and check-in were at Armored Cow Brewing Co., which was new to me. Personally, I thought this was a great location for pick-up and race start. It’s a large brewery and there is a TON of parking! Check-in was really easy. You checked in to get your bib then went to another station to pick up your shirt and bag. I think something definitely was off because I didn’t get a normal gold bib that the 10K racers received. Mine was black, so I’m thinking I snuck in. The race shirts were cute, too.

The Race

They did it for COVID protocol or because the greenway is narrow, but there were 5 waves. The half marathon started at 7 am and went off in 3 waves followed by two waves for the 10K. Most of the race was on the greenway, which was really nice. I’ve run on it before with the run club, but I don’t run there on my own so I’m not too familiar with it. The 10K (and the first half of the half) was an out-and-back past UNCC. There were two hills at the beginning which reared their ugly head about a mile from the finish. It was not pleasant!

Since it was so hot, the race team had water stations about every 1.5 miles. This was very appreciated, and I took water at the first two stops and a Gatorade at my third. I give major kudos to the half marathoners because it was HUMID!

My Goals

One of the things I’ve read is that you should plan an A, B, and C goal for races, which I think is really smart. My usual goal is usually just to finish, but I’m trying to be more structured. I really debated what my goals should be for this 10K. This was my weekend long run, so it’s supposed to be an easy pace. At the same time, it’s a race environment, so it’s a chance to kick it up a bit! What to do? Finally, around 5:40 am, I decided my goals should be:

  • Goal A: Run at 11:30/mile pace
  • Goal B: Run a heart-rate run
  • Goal C: Finish

My Performance

Well, I know I accomplished C and technically, I accomplished A, but it wasn’t because I was steady. I came out hard. It was so exciting to be part of a race and the was quick out of the gate. Isn’t that the first rule of racing – start out slow? Sigh. I looked down at my watch as I was getting onto the greenway to see I was running a sub-9 minute mile. YIKES! I tried hard to slow down and saw a mid-9 a little later. “SLOW DOWN!” I told myself, “You have 6 miles to go.” Not good to get so frustrated at the beginning, at the same time, I was enjoying the run. I just knew I couldn’t sustain it normally or in the humidity. My first-mile split was 10:03.

The rest of the run, I tried to run slow, but I really struggled. Whenever I looked at my wrist, I was running somewhere in the 10s, when I really needed to get into the 11s. I wouldn’t be able to sustain it, so I would walk (in the 14s). It went on like that for 5 miles. I want to run a steady pace; that’s what I’m worried about for Chicago. I need to focus on pace.

Well, around 5.3 there was a hill. Not just a hill but a BIG hill. So much for running the rest of the way. Almost everyone had to walk up that hill…and that was just the first one! Great course, but wow, those were two killer hills at the end. Poor half marathoners!

The Finish
me with my racefest medal

Luckily, I saved up a lot of gas to sprint at the end. Or at least I felt like I was sprinting. I felt good at the end and was very happy about the race. I was surprised to see my results – I averaged an 11:20/mile pace and finished with my second fastest time of 1:10:02!

Changes

I made a lot of changes to my normal routine, which definitely impacted my performance:

coaster
The medal was made to be a coaster. Haha!
  • Music. I normally run to podcasts or books since they are easy going. When I listen to music I want to sing or dance which wastes energy and causes me to go faster than I should. This likely contributed to my speedy take off, but I had fun listening to my songs when it was a struggle.
  • Pre-race fueling. My race didn’t start until 7:55 am, which is late for me. I have to eat something for a 6 miler, but it’s usually a piece of toast. With a finish around 9:15 am, I knew I was going to need something else. I had a waffle with peanut butter around 6:15 am and decided to have a Huma gel before the race. I think this worked well.
  • Nuun. Since I was nervous about the humidity, I had a Nuun before the race. I’m not sure if that helped at all or if it would have felt worse if I didn’t. My fingers get really big when it’s hot outside, and that still happened today. I’m not sure how to stop that, but I would like to figure it out since it uncomfortable.
  • Nerves. Even though I was just running this for fun and had to do the miles anyway, I still got really nervous before the race. Not sure how to reduce this feeling, but I need to figure it out. Even when I visualize standing at the start line for the marathon I get really nervous…and I’m not even there!
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