#PNGRunStreak – 5 Days In

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It may be a little bit premature to make note of the running streak I am working on, but I figured it’s a good idea to check in every few days or so to update on how it’s working, any soreness/fatigue, and how I’ve been recovering.  Including Sunday’s 10 Miler, I’ve gone five days in a row with a run and so far I’ve got 19.3 miles in the month.

The average pace and shoes worn for the runs are as follows:

Day 1 – 8:36 (Saucony Ride 7)
Day 2 – 8:45 (Saucony Kinvara 4)
Day 3 – 8:52 (Saucony Kinvara 4)
Day 4 – 8:12 (ASICS Gel Cumulus 14)
Day 5 – 8:58 (Saucony Kinvara 4)

Tuesday and Wednesday nights also had 40 min soccer games involved.  To help speed up recovery on Wednesday night, I soaked in a 60 degree bath for approximately 10 minutes (while waiting for my hair color to set, haha).  I’ve also been making sure to get in some decent stretches after runs when I feel tight focusing a lot on the hams, quads, and calves.  Going into tomorrow’s long run, I feel pretty good.  I may dial back from 12 miles, but set a minimum of 9 miles.  I know I need to at least run for an hour and a half to ensure I’ve got one last good lengthy workout in before next Sunday’s half marathon.

I’ve also got full-field soccer this Sunday to add into the running I am already doing.  I know I could probably count soccer games as part of the streak, but since many of them are not consistent paced games, I’m going to exclude them this round.  So a little after Sunday’s game I will likely go out for a slow, easy 1-2 mile shakeout then do another cold bath to recover from the weekend.

Mentally, the running streak has me feeling quite positive.  I’m pretty much over not getting a PR on Sunday and instead feel excited to just get out and move my legs for any amount of time.  I’m also really digging using Strava to track my runs.  It’s extremely simple to use and I like the format it uses to log everything you are doing.  I haven’t compared it to my Garmin for accuracy, but honestly I don’t care as much.  And it’s nice to track with the phone as I am less tempted to check the screen every few seconds.  I usually just stash the phone and enjoy whatever music I have until I’ve hit the stopping point of my run.

TL;DR the streak is young but so far doing good things.  :)

Let’s Go Streaking

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I really couldn’t come up with anything clever to title this post, so you’re just going to have to accept recycled juvenile humor.

Moving along.

I’m moving past the failure to PR the Broad Street Run and focusing ahead on the Marine Corps Historic Half.  It’s a doozy of a race and I need to get in solid final training runs in order to even have a chance to finish this race well.  The elevation of this course is no joke at all.

marinecorpshistorichalfevelRolling hills after mile 1.  The nice little challenge of Hospital Hill.  The “oh yeah I forgot about that overpass we ran down at mile 1 that we now have to run UP at mile 12.”  You get the point.

So I strapped on my new Saucony Kinvara 4s I picked up at the BSR Expo and took them out for an easy shakeout run last night.  I used the Strava Android App for the first time to see how I liked it.

run04may15_2run04may15My legs had some minor soreness, but overall I felt pretty good running.  The weather was pretty warm, but not too bad.  There was a light breeze going through the neighborhood.  The shoes themselves felt really good.  They are a lower drop than my other shoes (I think), and they felt quite comfy hitting the pavement.  I don’t have any soreness or tight feelings in my calves either.  I don’t think I have enough time to break them in before the half.  I’m going to run with them this week and see how they handle the 12 miler on Saturday.  If they’re good, they may make their first race debut this month.

While doing this run, I was thinking (duh) and decided to start a run streak.  I’ve never really attempted one of these seriously, and I want to see how it goes.  My friend Samantha is on day 127 of her run streak (holy crepes) and it has really paid off with her recent half marathon PR of 1:54.  I figure even on strugglebus days I can squeak out a slow single mile.  So, yesterday was day 1 of the #PNGRunStreak.  I’m going to set a minimum of 30 days and evaluate from there!

MC Half Training Week 13

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Also known as, the week of the bonk.

My only run this week was the Broad Street 10 Miler yesterday and I think it’s pretty obvious from that first sentence it did not go as planned.  I’m not sure what the problem was.  Heat?  Allergies?  A head cold?  Combination of all of those?  Regardless, I just couldn’t keep it together during this race and the splits show it.

bsr2015splitsMiles 1-2 were pretty good.  I felt okay, but had a lot of weaving to do.  When we got to the start I picked the wrong way to head to my corral and got stuck in a major crush of people along the school wall.  I couldn’t get over the gates because that meant starting in the gray corral, which was two pace brackets slower than I was slated.  I ended up filtering in at the back of the green corral and tried to find any open space I could.

Mile 3 I dialed back a little because I didn’t want to burn out early.  I stuck to the left side to stay in the shade as much as possible.  By the time I hit Mile 4 I kind of wished I had worn a tank top instead of a tee to have more exposed skin for cooling off.

Mile 5-6 I don’t remember anything other than feeling hot and a bit congested.  I skipped taking any medications but was starting to think maybe that was a bad idea.  I wanted to take the Gu I had with me, but the idea of having that gel in my mouth was not appealing.  I took some Gatorade instead and dumped a lot of water on my head.

I kicked it up a little at Mile 7.  I had some good tracks playing on my phone, but I knew the 1:20 goal was out the window for sure.  I adjusted to just trying to finish as best as possible.

The last three miles I was on the major struggle bus.  I walked through the water stops to douse my head and just tried to finish.  When I crossed the finish and moseyed over to the water area, I felt pretty nauseated.  I didn’t want to eat anything and just tried to find where Dan and I planned to meet.  It was a rough pill to swallow, but for a little while I thought I still managed a PR.  I didn’t.  I ran one fricken second slower than last year’s time.  The crowds were amazing, the signs were pretty hilarious, I just didn’t have a good race in me, I guess.

The last couple weeks of running have been tough on me mentally.  I don’t know if I am getting too much in my head about these races, not giving myself enough recovery time from sports and running, or just having a bit of a funk.  I have two weeks to get myself together for the Marine Corps Historic Half.  I don’t want a disappointing run of that race.  I have the benefit of it starting at 7am, but could run into the heat issue anyway.  My plan is to hit EVERY training run of my last two weeks.  Recover as much as I can manage, and try not to focus too much on the past two race disasters.

On the plus side, I jumped out of a plane Saturday morning and it was the BEST experience ever!  I can’t wait to do it again!!!  So, overall the weekend was a win!

Preppin’ for Broad Street

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I have three more days until the Broad Street Run is here!  Even though it is my third time running the race, I feel more excited/nervous about it than before.  This whole week I’ve been terribly unsure what course of action to take to make sure I am fully prepared for the run Sunday morning.  Balancing training for races and playing in sports is crucial, as I learned last week when too much soccer sidelined my hopes of a PR/Age Group win in my 5K.  I know there’s no chance I’ll place Sunday, it’s far too big of a race for an average runner girl like me, but I would love to PR.  So, here are a few things I’m doing over the next couple of days to get ready:

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  The weather is looking pretty damn good for Sunday, but sun and pavement do not mix well and even with a starting temp of mid-50, it can feel hot.  I’m making sure to stay well-hydrated over the next few days.
  • IMAG2624Supplement.  In typical fashion, it seems like I am coming down with a little bit of a head cold.  While I don’t know if taking vitamins is really going to make it go away any faster, I’m going to give it a go anyway.  My diet isn’t always the best, so supplementing with vitamins when I don’t get all my nutrients from food is a must.  And the head cold leads me to my next point.
  • REST.  Lots and lots of rest.  I planned to go to Conshohocken Running Club’s Thirsty Thursday tonight, but I think I’d benefit more from an early night in bed.  The same will go for Friday and Saturday nights.  The race starts 30 min earlier this year, which means we need to haul our butts out of the house even earlier to make it to the start on time.  Last year was a little dicey.  I may go out for an easy 3 mi in my neighborhood after work, but most of the time will be spent snoozin.’


  • Ice Baths.  I’m years late on this trend, but I finally tried it after a leg day session at the gym left me wobbly for DAYS afterwards.  I actually really enjoy them (wtf?) and my legs feel pretty good after.  You know, minus the lovely soccer bruises.
  • IMG_20150426_213417Finally, some quality time with the foam roller and Tiger Tail.  Massaging out any kinks and tight spots can be painful but so worth it.  Amazon has a ton of options ranging from $5 to $50, depending on what you fancy.  Personally, I have the one from Gaim  at $25 which came with a handy DVD I have yet to watch.  Non-DVD options obviously will be a little on the cheaper side.

I haven’t decided on my ABCD goals and I’m not 100% sure I will set any for this race.  My overall hope is to finish anywhere under 1:20:00, which I think is doable if I play out the next few days right.  I’m extremely excited to hit up the expo tomorrow and pick up my RUN215 tee to sport during the race.  If you see a chick aimlessly wandering around with blue highlights, that’s probably me!  I cannot wait for Sunday morning and sharing the road with 40K other runners in our beautiful city!  And the beer, of course.  Always the post-race beer.  ;)

MC Half Training Week 12

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Oh, I really don’t want to post about the fiasco that was this week, but even the bad training weeks can make for good races in the future.  From a physical activity perspective, this week was stellar.  From a running specific perspective, total failure.  In short, my love of soccer got in the way of my apparently too lofty race goals.  But, I really, REALLY love soccer.  So in terms of overall happiness, I’m still on top.

This is how it all went down.

Last Sunday we had our outdoor game.  Good win, then followed with indoor soccer playoffs.  Four games at 18 min a piece were completed before we got knocked out of both levels.  Still a great run and fun time.

I took off on Monday, needed to rest.  Soreness from weight training the previous week was completely gone.

Tuesday indoor happened.  We had one sub, my foot got crunched a little.  Tough loss handed to us, but again, very physical workout and I felt mostly happy.

Wednesday is where the downfall begins, but I wouldn’t know until later on.  My coworkers reformed our co-ed team and it was our first game of the spring season.  We were going to be short a girl so I emailed a teammate from outdoor to fill in.  Her game before ours was going to be short, so I filled in with her team, then we played together on my team.  80 minutes of play so far.  Following the second game, a bunch of guys approached us asking if we’d play because the girls on their team didn’t show and they didn’t want to forfeit.  It was only 8:20ish, we felt good, so we agreed to play.  I was kicking ass on defense Wednesday night.  Three games, 120 minutes, I was done after that third game.

I took off Thursday from going to run club because I figured after all that soccer a rest was needed.  I relaxed and enjoyed a night off.  Friday I was excited most of the morning.  I found out later in the afternoon an opportunity I got myself too excited about fell through (nothing job related, happy where I am) and it was hard to recover for a bit.  I still wanted to go out hard for the Out & Back Party Run to redeem my mood and bask in the happy feels of a PR.  I got to the race with about an hour to spare.  Charged my phone while trying to picture pacing myself to a fast, happy run.  I met up with a coworker and friend before the race started, talked about goals, and then we were off.

outbackrun2015splitsI never felt good during this run.  I had a pumped up playlist in my ears, and I felt like I was going fast, but my quads just felt off, then heavy and sore, then just dead.  I somehow got the first mile under 7:00 and was hopeful.  I just needed to loosen up and I’d be crushing it.  I remember looking down after that first mile and being completely confused.  I was working hard, but the pace just wasn’t showing what I felt like I was running.  The watch had to be off, I had to be moving faster than that.  But, the soreness in my legs and the heaviness they felt, I wasn’t.  I knew at the turnaround shit just wasn’t happening for me.  I wasn’t going to win my age group, and slowly but surely as I came back towards the start I saw each goal I made for this race disappear.  I felt a bit of a boost when some other friends I missed seeing at the start waved to me as I was heading back (they were on the out part).  But as I grouchily crossed the finish I knew I had blown it.  I am glad there aren’t any finisher photos, because I’m sure I looked like this:

I called Dan and had a little pity party for a bit.  I was so mad at myself and bummed out.  But, there was an after party, with lots of Harpoon beer, and I had friends to hang out with.  So, I sucked it up, put on some warm clothes and rejoined the party.  I’m glad I had friends there, because after a pint and some talk (apparently we all struggled with this race), I was feeling significantly better.  I knew where I went wrong, I played way too much soccer with not enough recovery time.  I hadn’t spent as much time on lower body lifting over the winter to keep my legs strong enough to withstand all that activity the past week.  It happens.  And I acknowledged I probably sounded like an asshole being upset about a 24:40 finish.  It’s a good time and nothing to be ashamed of.  Yeah, I had been ticking off PRs and in comparison to my recent race times it was not my best, but I did PR the race itself by 16 seconds, haha!  And being 7th in my age group is also cool, a top 10 finish is something to be happy about for sure.  I’ll get the next race and have learned balance and rest are crucial.

The weekend was an amazing recovery in my mood though.  I volunteered with Scoring Goals for Autism on Saturday and got to hang out and play soccer with the coolest, sweetest kids.  The event is an incredible and uplifting experience.  The buddy I was paired with was best friends with a buddy a friend of mine was paired with.  Together we formed our own team chant and they got the whole field to join in.  We played fun soccer drills, talked zombie apocalypses, and old school wrestling.  Those kids just warm my heart.  We then played the charity tournament which was a blast and today crushed our outdoor game (I had SO many shots on goal!!).  I’m going to be taking a lot of ice baths this week to make sure my legs are ready for Broad Street, phew!

Going For Glory, Maybe

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Well, sort of.  My next race on the calendar is a 5K this Friday evening.  The weather predictions are quite favorable, I’ve planned my work schedule out to not be delayed in getting to where I need to be on time, and the after party of the race has me legit excited.

Then, I spent part of my lunch break watching this…

Boston2015USAelitesAnd I got all the goosebumps and butterflies of excitement.  It’s funny how people who run paces you have no hope of ever hitting for distances that seem impossible (for me) can inspire you to get off your ass and run.  That’s how I’m feeling right now, inspired.

I did some research and while the 5K spread on Friday isn’t very big (it looks to be approximately 500 entrants, teeny weeny), I think I have shifted my focus from trying to just go sub-22:00 and instead go all out for my age group.  My legs have been feeling extremely strong, the last two weekends of all day soccer have demonstrated that.  I know if I play my cards right with my runs this week, it’s feasible to walk away with the top spot.  It’s a lofty goal, I know.  I think I can do it.  My BOMF 5 Miler 5K split was 21:37 with a significant hill.  This course is fairly flat, as I have stated.  So, in my favorite fashion of setting goals for a race, here are my ABCDs:
A)  Win the 30-39 F age group
B)  Run a sub-21:00 5K
C)  Run under 22:21 (my PR)
D)  Stay under 23 mins

Normally D is to just get a race over with, but I think I am seasoned enough with the 5K to know I’ll definitely finish.  That’s more for 10 milers or half marathons where the distances leave more room for epic mistakes.  Anyway…

Will I make it?  I have no fricken idea.  But as the week moves on I know I am going to get antsier and antsier to be at that starting line.  And it helps there is going to be a plethora of delicious beer to enjoy regardless of the outcome of my race.  ;)

MC Half Training Week 11

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Week 11 sort of got off on a good foot and then derailed quickly, running-wise.  However, I still managed to get some good distance covered AND enjoyed myself.

Wednesday I met up with Dan and his cousin Phil after work to do the 5 mile loop through Valley Forge Park.  I anticipated a nice, easy evening run.  My mistake was inviting the guys, because we paced a lot faster than I was hoping to do.  I did manage to stay with them for 90% of the run.

run15apr15I’ll take an 8:15 pace with decent hills any day.

Thursday is where I made the big mistake of the week.  I’ve been extremely happy having a friend like Samantha to make training plans for weight lifting for me.  I did pretty well this winter with a 12 week circuit plan, but I wanted to get back to the original 4 week plan.  My thoughts were do that plan for a month, then go back to the 12 week one.  Rotation should keep my muscles guessing and I got excited about the idea.  On Tuesday I made it to the gym during lunch to do chest/triceps work, and then Thursday is when I planned to do legs/butt/core.  I have been neglecting my legs a little at the gym and I know that’s the key to keeping my speed.  Unfortunately, spending several weeks off from squats then returning to them even with a much lower weight was not my best idea.  I got to the gym at lunch and did those, some KB swings, and a few other exercises.  I felt good.  Post-work, I felt a little sore but still went to run club for six miles.

run16apr15The run started off great, and then mile by mile my legs got increasingly heavy and unhappy with me.  I finished out the run, enjoyed a small beer with some friends, then went home.  I realized I needed to do some serious recovery or I would be hobbling for-ev-er.  So, I sucked it up and poured myself a cold bath for the first time.  I kept the water a little below 60 and stayed in for 20 min.

IMAG2593The verdict?  It wasn’t so bad after the first few minutes passed!  I am super late to the “ice bath party” but I think this is going to become a part of my routine when I do stupid things like run 11 mi and lift in a 36 hour time frame.  And also for training for the double half marathon weekend I have in July.

Sadly, the soreness was lessened but not enough for me to feel okay to do any long run this weekend.  I have outdoor soccer tomorrow morning and then indoor playoffs later in the day.  I need my legs fully healed.  So, instead of running, I took advantage of the gorgeous day and went to Lowes for a couple items…

IMAG2605It’s never just a few things, is it?  Lowes shopping is the Target shopping of your 30s where you plan to spend $10 and end up spending 10x that.  But, a few hours later the front yard area looked nicer, I threw down some wildflower seeds in a bare spot we cleaned up near the back porch, and have some other ideas brewing for the rest of the outside.  Week 11 didn’t end up quite as I planned, but I have a feeling week 12 will more than make up for it.  ;)