Hot Chocolate 15K Recap

On April 6, I ran the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15K race. I wasn’t super ready for the race, but I was as ready as I was going to be! My only goals were to have fun and enjoy the run. I figured I’d run a 10:30-10:50 mile pace since that was a little faster than my long run pace had been. I had struggled even on short runs at less than a 10:15 pace, so I wasn’t expecting too much.

I took a short 2.5 mile run on Friday before happy hour. Then on Saturday, I took a rest day. Saturday night, a few friends got together to make homemade pizza. I took a couple of beers with me (just 2!), and we chowed down and hung out. I went home about 10PM, and I was up early at 6:30AM.

I walked to my meet friend Rob, and we walked to the art museum just in time to see the 5K race start at 7:15. It was CHILLY – like 38 degrees, but it was sunny. It took me a little while to figure out what to wear, since it was over 50 when we finished. I ended up checking my coat and wearing an old sweatshirt to throw away right before we started. Otherwise, I wore my super cute new Ellie leggings, a tank top, and one of my trust black Under Armor long sleeve tops. I was warm at the end, but otherwise – I was okay. Rob and I waited around for the race to start, trying to stand in any sliver of sun light we could get.

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We started running down the Parkway towards Logan Square, around the circle and back to the museum. Then, it was an out and back on West River Drive.  I’m not sure what I did when I registered, but I was corralled almost at the back. I ended up starting up several corals with Rob, which was a little fast for me,  but I think it was a really good idea. I was certainly passed by people at the beginning, but I wasn’t running that much slower than them, and quickly fell into pace with people around me. I even passed quite a few people in the last few miles.

At mile 4, I paid attention to the mile clock for the first time, and I checked my RunKeeper. I was running slightly over a 10 minute mile pace! I felt good, so I made my goal at that point to finish under 95 minutes. It was a little ambitious, but I thought that I could do it. I only let myself look at RunKeeper every 2 miles, but was able to keep my pace on track with the mile clocks.. I thought I’d hate the out and back thing, but turn around was actually about mile 5.5, so well over half way. Mile 5 was actually my slowest mile, but I picked up the pace and mile 6 was my fastest!  My pace for the whole race was pretty consistent, and the last 3 miles were all right around 10:05.

During mile 7, I was so tired. I wanted to slow down, but I pushed through. That’s the point where I really think that my Sgt Nate training really started to help. I kept telling myself that I had pushed through the last 20 minutes of class so many times. By then, I was pretty warm and was getting sun burnt, and I’m so proud of myself for pushing through and not slowing down at all.

When I was in sight of the finish line, I heard Megan cheering, which helped me get across that finish line! My official finish time was 1:34:13, a 10:08 pace, though my RunKeeper had my a little faster than that.

Rob also did an awesome job – he finished in 1:26:31 at a 9:18 pace! I’m so proud of us both! Megan met us at the finish line with some Fireball for our hot chocolate (stellar idea by the way. Mummers, anyone?), and then we trekked over to Silk City for some delicious and well earned brunch.  I’d definitely run this race again next year!

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On Running Fast in the Wind

I’ve been basically following my 15K training plan, I’m happy to report.

Last week, I ran 4 miles on Monday at an overall 10:30 min/mile pace, an easy 3 miles on Tuesday at an 11:00 min/mile pace, and 6 miles over the Ben Franklin Bridge on Saturday at an 11:00 min/mile pace. If you have never run over the bridge, it’s sort of killer. It’s basically 3/4 of mile uphill, then 3/4 of a mile downhill. Then you turn around and do it over. The first time up going towards Camden, I always think “This isn’t so bad! Why don’t I do this all the time?” Then, I get to the NJ side and have to turn around and part way up think “Oh, right. This sucks.” When I finally get back to Philadelphia, I’m always *so* happy to be on flat terrain. The runs weren’t fast, but felt strong.

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I never get tired of this view.

This past week, I also ran a few times- following my training schedule. This past week, it was freezing at the beginning of the week, so I ran Thursday and Friday. Both runs were SO. HARD. MUCH harder than they should have been. Without any super good reason for it. I ran 3 miles on Thursday at a 9:40 pace (my splits were not even – 9:20, 10:12, and 9:34.) That’s fast for me. Especially with the amount of running I’ve been doing over the past few months. I was short on time and trying to run fast, but I guess I started out TOO fast – because my splits are usually not that all over the place. It was windy too, which didn’t help. Friday, another super windy day – I ran 3.5 miles at a 10:19 pace. My splits were MUCH better and more even – but it felt SO. HARD. Like, the I-want-to-stop-and-walk-home kind of hard.  (I didn’t though, don’t worry). My friend Matt insists that it was the wind, but I don’t know.  I’m running 7 miles on Sunday, so hopefully it won’t feel so freakin’ hard. I guess everyone has off weeks, but these *definitely* didn’t feel strong like last week’s runs.

Have you run across the bridge? I think it’s probably my favorite view of the city, which always makes up for the heart pounding climb back up from Camden.  Any other favorite views from a running path?

4 Week 15K Training Plan!

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Last week, I realized that the 15K Hot Chocolate Run was in a month. A quick glance at RunKeeper confirmed my suspicions that I had not exactly been running enough. Uhm, I had only run 11 miles in February. Total. And not a single mile in January.

I had been working out – at least 5 days a week: Lithe, Power Yoga, Ranger Training, and some random spin classes.  But not running. A polar vortex took over Philadelphia for most of the winter, and I did not want to be outside in it. I certainly didn’t want to be running. I love running, but not when it’s so cold that my face feels like it’s going to burn off.

Finally March 8th looked like a pleasant Saturday, so I made running plans with Matt, dragged myself to the neighborhood Sweat Fitness for a dreaded treadmill speed workout, and started looking up 4 week 15K training plans. There are a couple ones out there, but I didn’t find one that would work for me. So, I decided to make my own.

I do want to say that if you do not have experience with distance running, you need more time to prepare. A lot of distance running is the mental game. 4 weeks isn’t enough time to develop that. Also, if you haven’t been working out at all, you should NOT try to prepare for a distance race in 4 weeks.  [On the other hand, I have been working out all winter, and I have run 3 half marathons and 3 10-mile races.] Also, keep expectations realistic. You will likely not run a PR, and that is OKAY. [Technically, I’ve never run a 15K, so it will be a PR anyway. :)]

Here is my plan. Last Saturday (pre-4 week plan), I ran a little over 4 miles on the Ben Franklin Bridge. On Monday (birthday run!), I did 4 miles tempo. Tuesday, I did an easy 3 mile run with Matt.  Tomorrow morning is my 6 mile run, also on the Ben Franklin Bridge.

4 Week 15K Training Plan! 

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Week 1 3-4 miles easy 3-4 miles tempo or hills 6 miles
Week 2 3-4 miles easy 4-5 miles tempo or hills 7 miles
Week 3 3-4 miles easy 4-5 miles tempo or hills 8 miles
Week 4 3-4 miles tempo 3 miles easy 15K Race

What’s the shortest amount of time you have spent training for a distance race? How did the race go for you?

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Looking Back

I’ve been thinking about this post for the past few days. I have been trying to figure out exactly what kind of year 2013 was, and I think that I’ve come to the conclusion that it was a fine year. Nothing life changing, just a good, solid year.

Highlights:

  • Travel: In the spring, I went to Savannah with my sister to visit Ingela. I had the pleasure of doing a road trip with Ingela a few months later from Savannah through Atlanta, camping and white water rafting in Tennessee, to Nashville (LOVED), and ending in Asheville, NC. Then in July, I traveled to the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State with my friend Elisa to go to Emily and Aaron’s wedding. It is truly an amazing place. You should all go there.
  • Fitness: Still was trucking along with Sgt Nate, and I started regularly taking classes at Lithe Method when I got a part time job there in JuneI ran 3 5Ks (Cupid 5K, Manayunk 5K, Turkey Trot 5K), a 4 mile race, a 10K, a 6.55 mile trail race, and a half marathon. I got a PR on the 10K (1:00:11!), and I got 4th place in my division in the trail race! Started incorporating a little hill and speed work into my runs with Matt, and I got back to some regular-ish yoga classes after I injured my IT band. And I almost forgot that I joined an ultimate frisbee team!
  • Food: I did a 10 day real food challenge in September with no wheat, dairy, or alcohol and felt great. I have cut back on dairy, since I feel a lot better without it. Started “eating normally” and not obsessing about the scale. I am so much happier this way, let me tell you!
  • Personal: One of the biggest things I tried to work on since the summer of 2013 was to focus on building more meaningful relationships with my friends. I am very lucky to have such a wonderful, wide friend circle in Philly. In the past, I had been focusing a lot of attention on “being friends with everyone” and not enough attention on actually trying to build deeper relationships with people. I haven’t stopped being friends with people, just have refocused my energies a bit. It’s always a balance, but determining when to give a little more and when to let go is an important skill in life, especially pertaining to relationships.
  • Resolutions Revisit: 
    • 1.) Do something new every month: I kept up with this for the most part, but I did miss a month or two. Some things I did: tried new restaurants and new fitness studios, made pad thai, took a swim class,  Savannah Slow Ride, Burlesque class, trussed a chicken, sea kayaked, rode a Scoute Coup, went to Nashville and the San Juan Islands (and lot of other new places), hiked the Rickett’s Glen loop, played on an ultimate frisbee team with PSN, volunteered at Blocktoberfest, and sang live band karaoke.
    • 2.) Stop weighing myself so much: Took me almost all year, but I was eventually successful with just a couple of hiccups (when my scale broke!)
    • 3.) Drink less!: Okay, so I didn’t *really* manage to do this one, but I have at least made peace with it.

 

Looking Forward 

  • Resolutions:
    • When I eat meals at restaurants, try to always include a fruit or vegetable with the meal.
    • Include a mentally/physically restorative workout into my routine at least once a week (yoga, tai-chi, etc) – even if I do this at home.
    • Keep in better touch with my friends who live outside of Philly. This means that I will email/call them once a month.
  • Goals: [not really resolutions, but things I’d like to accomplish]
    • Run a half marathon trail race
    • Run a the 15K Hot Chocolate Run in April
    • Save money for my trip to SE Asia this summer
    • Sgt Nate’s 2 week nutrition challenge in January with no cheats!
    • Take more trips to Baltimore to visit college friends.

 

I may update and add to my goals list, but I think this is a solid start.

What are your resolutions/goals for 2014?

Article of the Week (and Marathon signs)

“Enjoy good wine. Drink beer from local craft breweries. Sleep. Pray. Meditate. Let go.”

The above quote is from my Article of the Week, “Women: EAT LIKE A MAN!” that discusses the daily battle women have with food.  Seriously – retraining myself to just eat (and not stress about eating) is a challenging task. I had a grilled cheese and french fries for lunch yesterday. And today I had a quesadilla and french fries. Well, for lunches this week, I made a big delicious pork and veggie stir fry and packed a green smoothie and oatmeal. It all balances out.

 

Also, my friends who ran in the Philadelphia Half and full Marathon ROCK! Seriously, you guys rock. And my non-running friends and I kind of rock too, because we got up early and made fun signs. I got quite a few “You’re sexy too” comments. Maybe I’ll add my phone number for next year.

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Oktoberfest Half Recap

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Ready to run!

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And we’re off!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, another half marathon is in the books. I ran it with my running partner, Matt. Even though he didn’t PR , we had a great race and it was a perfect day. Better yet, my knee help up!

For those of you that aren’t up to date – I ran the Oktoberfest Half in Pennypack Park in the Northeast. If you live in Philly and have a car, you should go to Pennypack Park immediately.

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The course looped around the entire park. We ran up the main bike path for about 6.5 miles, and then onto a flat trail for 2.5 miles which looped back to the bike path at mile 9 and we retraced our steps (and hills) for the last 4 miles.

 

The first 6.5 miles were super smooth sailing. We kept between an 11:00 and 11:30 pace, trying to be pretty conservative and tackling the hills in the first 3 miles without any major difficulty. My sister came to see us at mile 6 also, since that was the only other place you could drive to besides the beginning. It was good to see her there, and she took a couple great shots!!

 

 

 

Half way point!

Half way point!

At mile 6.5, we got onto a trail section that lasted 2.5 miles. It was flat and relatively easy to run. Not a ton of rocks of branches. There was one big tree down in the middle of the path at one point, but nothing crazy. It was absolutely gorgeous! I lost Matt a bit on this part. It was hard to run together, so I went ahead and then stopped to stretch to my knee while he caught up.

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The trail portion

 

 

At mile 9, we reached the trail back where we had started. We managed to make it back up and down all of the hills (those hills from the beginning seemed a lot harder the second time around.) We ended up walking a good portion of the last 2 miles. Matt was flagging and having some weird numbness stuff. I think he felt bad, but I set out to run the whole thing with him, and I didn’t really mind. At this point, my knee hurt. Not unbearably, but it hurt. So walking wasn’t so bad.

Most of the race, there was a couple from Virginia doing a run 3, walk 1 method right in front or behind us. When we rounded the last corner, the guy from that couple had come back (after he finished) to finish running the race with us! It was something that would never have happened in a large race – but when there’s only 450 people racing 13.1 miles with you, the atmosphere and camaraderie is different. His energy certainly helped get Matt across that finish line looking strong.

Of course, after the race you get german potato salad, brats, and sauerkraut. And we had plenty of Oktoberfest beers back at Matt’s to celebrate.

 

This week I have taken off from all intense exercise. I went to yoga on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and will go to a yoga class this evening. Next week, I’m going to attempt to get back to Ranger Training and do a run or two, but I want to be sure to give my knee/IT Band enough time to heal. I am trying to be kind to my body, and to give it time to heal and rest when necessary. It’s sort of a new thing for me.

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Finishers with our cheerleaders – Morgan and Jess\

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Half Marathon Training

So, I’ve mentioned it a few times, I guess, but I certainly haven’t talked about it too much.  I’m running a half marathon in 4 DAYS. No big deal, right?  This isn’t my first long distance race. I’ve run the Broad St Run 3 times and have run 2 half marathons – the Philly Half in 2008 and the Oktoberfest Half in 2012. I’m doing the Oktoberfest Half again this year. It’s a great little race, like 500 people – all run in Pennypack Park in the Northeast. Most of the race is on a paved bike/running path, with 2 miles on a flat trail in the middle. I’m excited for the race. My training has been fine, but certainly not stellar. I kept up with a couple shorter runs during the week, in addition to my other strength/bootcamp workouts. I got long runs in on most weekends, with a few exceptions. My long runs felt strong, and things were going awesome. It certainly wasn’t the hardest training I’ve ever done, but I never really had a goal for the race other than just wanting to have fun. Can I tell you that just training for something to have fun is the most refreshing experience?!?! Since when does running have to be so freakin’ serious?

Then, a few weeks ago (during Week 9 below), my IT band starting bothering me. I foam rolled, stretched, and it seemed okay. Until it wasn’t. I rested a few days, and I was planning on a long run that weekend. Well, I woke up that day about two weeks ago, and I realized that I most definitely could not run 9 miles that day. So, I continued to rest. That’s what everyone says you should do. But I could not go two weeks without running!  At that point, my longest run had been 8.6 miles. Yikes.

I took almost a week off from running (Week 10-11), and ran 2 miles last Wednesday. I followed it immediately by a yoga class. There was no pain but definite tightness. The next day, I ran 3 miles and followed that by a yoga class. Similar feelings – not pain, but not great. Saturday, I ran 10 miles (after I took 3 ibuprofen). It actually went really well. It wasn’t fast, but a good steady pace. I had some tightness on the inside and back of my knee. (It seems that IT problems usually present themselves on the outside of the knee). I went to yoga the next day. Monday, I ran 4 miles. It was a good run, with a little more tightness than before but still okay. Tuesday I rested. Yesterday, I ran 3 miles – my last run until Sunday. By the end, my knee hurt. Not a lot of pain but not just tightness like before. Today, I fit in 40 minutes of yoga and am getting ready to do a little foam rolling. My IT Band is a little achy right now. My half is on Sunday. I just have to hold it together until then. Between now and Sunday, I am going to do a little swimming, a gentle yoga class, some other yoga on my own, and a lot of rest.

Wish me luck.

 

If you are interested, here was my *actual* training. Real runs, not planned runs. You can see that my mileage never got crazy high. However, those low-ish numbers can be pretty deceiving. So, I added in how many cross training workouts I did as well, since I do a lot of those. They range from Ranger Cross Training (Strength), Ranger Training Bootcamp, Lithe Method, and yoga.

Week 1 (7): Wed – 4 miles, Thurs – 3 miles +  (5 Cross)

Week 2 (12.5): Mon – 4.5 miles, Wed – 3 miles, Sun – 5 miles + (3 Cross)

Week 3 (12.5): Wed – 3 miles, Sat – 2.5 miles, Sun – 7 miles + (3 Cross)

Week 4 (3): Wed – 3 miles + (5 Cross)

Week 5 (14): Tues-  3 miles, Thurs – 3 miles, Sat – 8 miles + (4 Cross)

Week 6 (14): Tues – 2 miles, Fri – 4 miles, Sun – 8 miles + (3 Cross)

Week 7 (12): Tues – 2.5 miles, Wed – 3 miles, Sun – 6.5 miles + (3 Cross)

Week 8 (7): Fri – 3 miles, Sun – 4 miles + (4 Cross)

Week 9 (16.5): Tues – 4 miles, Thurs – 4 miles, Sun – 8.5 miles + (2 Cross)

Week 10 (3): Tues – 3 miles + (4 Cross)

Week 11 (15): Wed – 2 miles, Thurs – 3 miles, Sat – 10 miles + (4 Cross – 3 were yoga!)

Week 12: Mon – 4 miles, Wed – 3 miles, SUN – 13.1!

 

Be sure to go to my running partner’s blog and wish him luck! I’m going to run with him and pace him – and he’s going to *KILL* his last year’s record!