April 30, 2011

Back in your head

I'm racing the New Prague Half Marathon next Saturday and  I am torn between feeling ill-prepared and, well, like a wuss that needs to suck it up and stop making excuses.

The past few weeks have been really up and down training-wise. I've had some really great workouts, like two amazing interval runs last week (yes, intervals!). Then I got hit with the Cold to End All Colds during a hellacious work-week (web redesign in full swing, 12 hour days, you know the drill). Four days, no running.

According to the McMillan Running Calculator, my 5K time from a few weeks ago puts me on track to run a sub 1:35, which was my original goal for this race. That's encouraging. Physically I think I am more than capable to run my goal time. The problem is my head.

The thing that I love- and loathe- about running is that so much of it is mental. Mental strength is so valuable in our sport- we have no team to fall back on, to carry us through tough moments. It's just us and the road. But on the days when things are just hard for no real reason, when I can't settle into a pace, when things just feel off, it's easy to become complacent and to stop pushing.

That's what I'm worried about with the Half. I already have a million reasons why this might be not a great race for me: sub-par training weeks, I've been sick, the course is hard, the weather could be bad, it might be windy... And I only have one reason why this might be the best race ever, why I might exceed the expectations I have of myself: because I want it.

So in the week before this race, I'm acknowledging that things might go bad. Hell, there's plenty of reasons for them to. But I'm also taking these seven days to focus and to train smart.

Off for a run.

April 27, 2011

The Best Medicine

Topsail Island, 2011

The cure for everything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea.
- Isak Dinesen

April 15, 2011

It's offish...

I am officially registered for the SunTrust Richmond Marathon on Saturday, November 12. 

This is where I hope to realize my hopes and dreams of becoming a sub 3:10er. Let the fun begin.

Has anyone run this? Any advice, tips or insights?

Image via

April 11, 2011

race recap: Run the Valley 5K

It feels weird to write a race recap because it's been MONTHS! Racing a 5K definitely wasn't in my plans but after last Tuesday's speedwork with Shawn from MN RED, I was persuaded to test my fitness level in preparation for my upcoming half marathon.

I'm not going to lie- I was super nervous. I hate running fast and feeling that uncomfortable for that long. I was also worried that I would end up with a way slower time than I wanted and become really discouraged. As the saying goes, 90% of the things we worry about never happen...

On Friday night I drove the course so I could see what I was getting myself into. Shawn told me (and Matt confirmed) that the first mile had some decent climbs and it did. After that, though, it was a gentle descent the second mile and then a long, straight, flat third mile before turning to head to the finish. After psyching myself up (and out) with the course, I drove to Target to bribe myself with candy.

After a fitful night of sleep, I woke up and downed a cup of coffee and some almond butter toast. Thankfully the weather was warm enough to wear shorts and I settled on a long sleeve because I'm still recovering from my two years spent down South.

The start of the 5K

I saw Shawn as soon as I walked in to register and he waited for me so we could run a warm up together with the rest of the MN RED crew. After two miles, some drills and strides, we were minutes away from the race. We lined up near the front and took off.

There was a fairly substantial hill right away, which is why I had planned my first mile to be my slowest (around 6:40). The pace felt so slow when we started that I was scared to look at my watch for fear of seeing that I was running 8 minute miles. You can imagine my surprise, then, when I saw 6:22(!) for my first mile. I totally freaked out and slowed down, as evidenced by my second mile (6:34) even though that mile was mostly downhill. 

By the time I reached the no man's land of the third mile, I was running alone, it was windy, and I could see how far I had to go. I still wasn't looking at my watch but didn't think that I had slowed down that much. When I saw my mile split (6:46) I freaked out again at how slow I was moving and picked it up. I had a little too much gas left in the tank because I ran the last tenth of a mile in 5:41. 

20:25, a new 5k PR.

I was definitely hurting when I finished but was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I recovered. We ran out to the 10k course to cheer on some of the other MN RED runners. After everyone had finished, we all grabbed some breakfast and coffee before heading off for the rest of our weekend. I love runners.

While this was a PR for me, I'm disappointed in how I ran. I think that had I not let my mind get the better of me, I could have run around 20 minutes. However, after coming off a really high mileage week and virtually no speedwork, I can't really complain too much. I have to say that I'm excited to race my next 5k... 

April 9, 2011

A 5K PR and how I suck at pacing

Ran the 5K in 20:25, setting a new PR, so I should be happy,  but this was a pretty awful race. Case in point:

Mile 1: 6:22 and the hardest part of the course, mind you
Mile 2: 6:34 and a lot of it was sloping downhill
Mile 3: 6:46 on a long, straight, flat- albeit windy- section
last .1: 5:41 because I'm apparently capable running this fast (news to me)

Full race recap to follow.

April 8, 2011


I just committed to racing a 5K... tomorrow morning. I wasn't planning on racing anything until the New Prague Half in a couple weeks but I was prompted by a running buddy. I also bribed myself with this:

Cravings like this are what I get for reading HungryRunnerGirl...

I don't know what to expect tomorrow. The course is tough, I haven't been doing focused speedwork of any kind, and I just carbo loaded by demolishing a bag of gummie bears and a bowl chocolate ice cream. But I'll run as best I can tomorrow to give myself an honest evaluation of where my fitness is.

Secretly I'm hoping for a PR. Realistically I'm hoping to not die.

I'll be the girl puking up gummie bears at the finish line.