Chicago marathon training: week 7

IMG_9721So… this update has to start off with a little bit of less than awesome news. During my run on Wednesday I felt something funny tweak in my hip, and since then I’ve been dealing with¬†some soreness in what I think is my TFL (tensor fasciae latae). I was supposed to run a local 5k today but I’m going to take today and tomorrow off in order to hopefully get things back in order in time for my long run this weekend. Here’s hoping ice, foam rolling, ibuprofen, and stretching will do the trick!!

sunset.blogIn order news, I had a lovely and relaxing long weekend in Maine with my mom. Even though she lives down the street it’s always nice to get to spend some really good quality time together, complete with reading, lake swimming, and some late season strawberry picking. She even set an early alarm on Saturday to take a bike ride while I did my long run!¬†Be sure to follow along on the insta for more on all of my adventures in Maine and beyond.

I was able to get in runs all three days we were up at the cabin, and then I got back to town in time for a tough track session. I’m having so much fun with these workouts–I even may have found a new Chicago training buddy who runs my pace! Like I’ve mentioned, getting to feel comfortable and meet new people in these big group workouts takes some time and effort, but it’s 100% worth it.track.blog

Week 7:

  • Friday: 5.6 miles at 8:42 pace
  • Saturday: 11 miles with a fast finish, 8:27 average
  • Sunday: 2.5 miles at 9:30 pace
  • Monday: 4.2 miles at 8:22 pace, 6 x strides
  • Tuesday: Track!¬†6×200 @ 5k, 4×300 @ mile, 2×400 @ 5k, 1×800 @ best, interspersed with burpees, planks, and mountain climbers
  • Wednesday: 5.5 miles at 8:47 pace
  • Thursday: 60 minute yoga/OFF

This past week was a cutback week, meaning that the mileage was a little bit lower and the long run was a little bit shorter. This weekend I have a 16 mile long run on tap, and the weather is looking pretty toasty, so it’ll be an early morning wake-up for sure. Here’s hoping my hip situation clears up quickly–anyone have any tips/advice for great frontal-outer hip stretches?

 

Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon Recap

Greetings from the great state of Maine! I’m back in action to recap the Old Port Half Marathon I ran in¬†Portland, ME last weekend. First of all, apologies are in order. I 100% lied about taking this race nice and easy and not gunning for a PR,¬†and I blame it on the weather. For spectators, it was an awful day–rainy and chilly and in the low 60s. But for us runners, this was fantastic! Just enough rain to cool us off without being too chilly.

IMG_9552We arrived Friday to pick up our bibs at the expo, which wasn’t much to speak of but it was a good chance to get a sense of where the starting line was. After a delicious dinner at the original Otto Pizza¬†(zomg the best gluten free pizza–check out this baby with pear, blue cheese, and arugula), we convened to cheer on my buddy Bry’s cousin Travis, who was running in the finals for the men’s steeplechase at the Olympic trials. It was super fun to watch¬†him run and get ourselves psyched up for our race! Bry and I ran the half with her dad, while her sister ran the 5k. Plus boyfriend spectators, we had a nice crew and it was a great pre-race evening.IMG_9553

After calling it a night and heading back to our AirBnB, we got up just before 6 the next morning to head down to the waterfront for a 7am race start. Other than a long bag check line (as per usual), the logistics were really seamless–we were able to zip right into the portopotties (no lines!) and slot ourselves into our corrals. I lined up in between the 1:40 and 1:50 signs, and we were off! The first few miles were easy warmups, and then we hit the hills. Miles 2-4 and 6-7 of this race are really hilly, so I kept my effort at a medium level, although I noticed that without working too hard I was averaging well under my 8-minute goal pace.

race_1770_photo_39029397Given the amazing conditions and the fact that I was feeling strong, I figured I might as well shoot for the moon and give a PR a whirl, especially as the showers picked up and despite the hard effort¬†I wasn’t hot or sweaty. I picked a couple of strong-looking folks to pace behind and held onto decent paces–and then started doing math in my head which led to me believe that a couple of fast final miles would lead me to PR. I dug deep and ran a 7:09 and a 7:03 for miles 12 and 13. Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 3.34.26 PMDespite my watch saying differently, I clocked¬†an official time of 1:40:29–two seconds slower than my PR, 12th in my age group and 45th woman overall. Not PR-ing was a little bit of a letdown, but this race felt relatively easy and I’m pleased to see that I was able to hold onto my time without my brother there as a pacer, like he was at the Hyannis Half Marathon.

After the race, we celebrated with coffee, lots of donuts (from the Holy Donut–the BEST both gluten free and regular donuts) and some extra gf¬†treats from Bam Bam Bakery. All told it was a lovely race in a super fun city–despite the hills and rain! And a fantastic way both to make my official race debut as a member of the Heartbreakers and to celebrate Bry’s big birthday.

Onwards and upwards to more marathon training fun. Sub-1:40 half marathon, this fall you are MINE!

Linking up with Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the run.

Chicago Marathon training: week 6

race_1770_photo_39036837Another week of training has come and gone! This one blew by after a whirlwind weekend away in Maine and New Hampshire. We drove up Friday¬†and headed¬†to bed early to sleep before the Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon. Full recap to come, but I really enjoyed the race and (spoiler alert) I kicked it to the end for a 1:40:29 finish–2 seconds slower than my previous PR. Not too shabby for a hilly course!

After the race we zipped over to NH for my dear friend Em’s gorgeous wedding on Lake Winnipesauke. Pro tip–if you ever want to feel like a million bucks, introduce two people who eventually get married and then go to the wedding and meet all of the relatives! IMG_9611Everyone was so sweet and grateful… and I was so honored to get to celebrate¬†two lovely humans and their togetherness. Despite the unseasonable cold and rain, we were able to squeeze in some outside photos before heading indoors for dinner and dancing. We stayed over Sunday night and I was thrilled to wake up to an incredible gorgeous morning for a quick lakeside run before we had to head out.

The rest of the week was back to business as usual with an appearance at my favorite track workout and some steamy runs around the neighborhood. This week is a cutback week so I’m taking some time to recover from both the race and from a hard track workout.

IMG_9610Week 6:

  • Friday: OFF (pre-race)
  • Saturday: 13.1!
  • Sunday: OFF
  • Monday: 4.5 miles at 8:27 pace, with some accidental hills
  • Tuesday: Track–300 @ 5k, 200 @ mile, 150 @ best, all x6–averaging 5:46 for the speedwork!
  • Wednesday: 4.5 miles at 8:48 pace
  • Thursday: 60 minute yoga (and maybe a few miles later…)

Off to the cabin for a relaxing girls weekend with my momma!

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap, hosted by HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin :)

 

Chicago marathon training: week 5

IMG_9529Greetings from another week of marathon training–I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend! Jeremy was out of town hiking the last of the 48 4000+ ft. mountains in NH (and he did it–YAY J!) so I had a quiet start to the weekend with a solo 14 miler. It definitely was my best¬†training run so far this season–everything really just clicked for me and I felt strong and happy the whole time. It helped that it was a gorgeous morning with temps in the 60s the whole run. I’m really loving running on the Boston marathon route, since it takes me out into my hometown and works a few hills into my training.

We had a awesome rest of the weekend complete with sunsets, fireworks, hanging out in the sunshine, and giant ice cream sundaes to celebrate our athletic achievements (after which we always try to immediately consume all of the calories we burned off, obvs.) IMG_9523

On Tuesday morning I woke up bright and early (even after staying up for the 10:30 fireworks!) all ready to go to track–and looked out the window to find it was POURING rain. Womp womp. I¬†did get my run in later in that day, but that meant I was left to do speedwork by myself for the first time this training cycle. I know this isn’t the case for everyone, but I generally enjoy running alone–except for speedwork. So this one was a bit of a mental battle, but the workout had a lot of variety and I’m happy I got through it. It definitely showed me that I need to work on being able to identify my own effort levels to learn, for example, what a 5k pace feels like vs. a 10k pace.

Here’s the full weekly recap!

IMG_9521

Red, white, and blue sunsets for the fourth!

Week 5:

  • Friday: 2 miles at 9:05 pace
  • Saturday: 14 miles at 8:13 pace
  • Sunday: 90 minute yoga class/OFF
  • Monday: 3 miles at 9:02 pace + 6 strides + core
  • Tuesday: 5 miles at 8:18 pace, 60 minute yoga class
  • Wednesday: Speedwork! Warmup,¬†2 miles @10k, 2 min rest, 1.5 min @ 5k w/ 30 sec rest x4, cooldown
  • Thursday: 4 miles + 10 strides

This weekend we’re off for a whirlwind trip to Portland for the Old Port Half Marathon¬†and then to NH for my dear friends Em and Aaron’s wedding (I originally set them up, so this is an extra special one for me!)

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap, hosted by HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin.

It’s ok NOT to PR: setting race goals

header-maine-half-marathon-logo-v3I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing holiday weekend! I was thrilled to be in town after so much traveling–and doing my 14 miler on familiar turf didn’t hurt either (more to come in the weekly recap on Thursday). I finish up my first summer course on this week, which means I have one weekend of freedom without having to worry about school before my next class starts up. Of course, we’re going to be out of town–first heading to Portland, ME for a half marathon to celebrate my OG running bestie Bry’s 30th and then to Lake Winnipesaukee in NH for another good friend’s wedding.

Dis is Bry. She's really smart.

Dis is Bry. She’s really smart.

Bry and I were chatting a couple of weeks back about our goals for this race. She has been dealing with an injury and is planning to take things nice and easy. I mentioned something about taking things¬†a little bit easy too and she said something like “Wait a minute, have you ever taken a race easy? Come to think of it, have you ever even taken a run easy??”

Whoa.

While it’s a little bit of an exaggeration, she’s pretty spot on (as usual). Running has shown me that I have a very hard time giving myself a break. Whether it’s racing, work, school, or yoga,¬†my biggest challenge is knowing when to back off and be ok with not giving 110%. For example, my past three¬†half marathon times have looked like this:

  • 1:55:45
  • 1:46:29
  • 1:40:27

Basically, I’ve been stuck in a rut where I feel like I have to PR every race that I run. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with this–it feels incredible to see what I can accomplish, and I hope all of this fast running will get me a qualifying time for Boston. But sometimes pushing myself to the limit can take just a little bit of joy out of the experience.

So this coming weekend, I’m looking at my race¬†as a joyful, extra special marathon training run. My goal? To run at my marathon goal pace and feel like I still have gas in the tank at the end of race. Will this be a PR? Nope. My 8-ish minute miles will¬†put me around a 1:45 half, which will be at least 5 minutes slower than my last race. And as it turns out, that is 100% ok.

Oh yeah–one more goal for this race: to have FUN! I can’t wait!

Linking up with Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the run!

The easiest overnight oats ever

IMG_9445I have a very, very strong belief in breakfast. Regardless of what the recent breakfast-haters say, a satisfying early meal sets me up for success–especially after a morning workout! In the winter, I like to mix things up, but in the summer I have the same thing every day: overnight oats. Even after a hard track workout, this stuff keeps me completely full until lunch. Sayonara, morning snacking! The basic gist is that you combine oats, a liquid, and some other add-ins in a jar, let it sit overnight, and the oats soften up and soak up the liquid overnight. I’ve found this is way easier on my stomach even then cooked oatmeal.

I’ve tried a bunch of different recipes and have adapted them to a foolproof, incredibly easy one that uses pantry staples and minimizes the nut milk/extra dairy milk you’ll find in other recipes. This recipe is gluten free, low in dairy (just the yogurt has it, and I’m sure you could sub for a dairy-free one), low in sugar, and DELISH.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats (not quick cooking, gluten free if needed)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4-1/3 cup Greek yogurt (I like Cabot’s full fat)
  • Half of a banana, thinly sliced
  • A sprinkle of chia seeds
  • A drizzle of maple syrup or honey
  • A good shake of salt
  • A drizzle of vanilla

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a jar or empty Talenti container. Put on the lid, shake it up, and leave in the fridge overnight. These will easily keep for a couple of days.
  • Top with whatever you like! My favorites are fresh or frozen berries and a big scoop of peanut butter.

Happy breakfasting!!

Chicago marathon training: week 4

IMG_9461Hard to believe it, but I’m recapping the first full month of Chicago Marathon training! (Click here for my recaps of weeks 1, 2, and 3). I did a quick mid-week update on this, but I am so glad I swapped my long run this past week for an earlier time on a less hilly route. I’ve definitely been feeling the summer heat/humidity this week, with average temps in the 80’s and a few rainy days. That said, it was a solid week of training–even though my paces seem to even out when I include warm-ups and cool-downs, I’ve been adding in some tempos and strides to mix things up a little bit.FullSizeRender (5)

I also got back to my favorite track workout this week! I really love the Nike+ track format–the workout this week was lots of short and fast repeats, which normally would lead me to go out way too fast, but having the pacers kept me in check. I even had some juice left for a full-on sprint at the end! It all ended with a pretty dramatic rainstorm, which just makes me feel a little bit more badass… and ready for a shower, obviously (see skeptical face).

Week 4:

  • Thursday: 5 miles at 8:36 pace
  • Friday: 10 miles at 8:20 pace
  • Saturday: OFF
  • Sunday: 3 mile recovery run with J at 9:02 pace
  • Monday: 4.7 miles with miles 3-4 at tempo, 8:14 average pace
  • Tuesday: Track! 5.2 miles total, with the workout averaging a blistering 6:08
  • Wednesday: 4 miles, 8:41 average
  • Thursday: 6.1¬†mile progression run + strides, 8:17 average

    IMG_9451

    Summer rain = pretty skies!

I can’t wait to finally be in town for the weekend! I have my¬†14 mile long run on tap, along with a bachelorette evening for one of my besties and a 30th birthday party for another. J and I are planning on¬†a low-key 4th, given all of the traveling that we’ve been doing, but we’ll definitely sneak over to watch the fireworks.

Happy 4th, everyone! I’ll be back this weekend with my favorite summer breakfast recipe. Stay tuned!

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap, hosted by HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin. Thanks, ladies!