Can we talk about that gorgeous spring (but almost fall-like) morning weather? I had to restrain myself from running every day this week. Read more >>
It has been a crazy week here! Spent nearly all of it in upstate New York (near Syracuse for a few days and in Buffalo for a few days) to visit my brother and to celebrate the wedding of a longtime friend! I did manage to get in a little bit of activity this week, despite all of the running around that was done. Well, it wasn’t all running around, there was some much needed rest and relaxation for the week also! I got a few beautiful runs in in my brother’s town. The weather was glorious, low’s in the 50’s and high’s in the upper 70’s to low 80’s. It was such a relief from the high heat and humidity that has been plaguing Central Indiana for the last few weeks. Read on for more details of my week!
For a man, being a father and a runner don’t always go together. In fact, finding time for running together with a career, partner, and social life can be as challenging for a guy as getting all their kids buckled into the minivan without anyone having to go potty — you think you’ve got it all under control, until everything comes crashing down. Ladies, do you ever wonder how these supermen do it all? In this Week in the Life, a busy #fatherrunner tells us how he balances family, work, life, and running. Read more >>
Weeks 29-30 and 30-31 of pregnancy
I’m really putting the ‘untraining’ in this training cycle! Pregnancy is a lot like a reverse training cycle: I’ve definitely become detrained (at least specific to running) along the way, and now am just kind of hanging in there to maintain my general health, fitness and sanity till delivery rolls around. (Emphasis on roll.)
Monday 5/28 – Memorial Day was a damp squib of a day, wet and rainy. Husband and his brother took the kiddos cabin camping overnight, which I declined, because I can barely sleep well in my own bed as it is, let alone in a sleeping bag on a hard platform. I ended up staying in PJs, doing chores, and reading for most of the day, and made cookies for a friend who’s solo parenting for a month. I did a couple of Aaptiv maternity workouts: one strength, one elliptical cardio. I also read this and thought about my cousins and other relatives in military service here and elsewhere.
Tuesday 5/29 – off
Wednesday 5/30 – Shuffling around the track, ~25 minutes.
Thursday 5/31 – off
Friday 6/1 – Aaptiv workout, walk ~3.5 miles
Saturday 6/2 – off
Sunday 6/3 – Cambridge 5K Freedom Run! 3.1 miles
Cambridge 5K Freedom Run: a mini race-recap
On Sunday I woke up, still not sure whether I was going to spectate or participate. The weather decided it for me – sunny most of the day and in the 50s/60s? Bring it on! We started at the back, with the strollers and the walkers (and the costumes. I spotted both Uncle Sam and a 6ft hot dog wearing the works), right where I needed to be to do a 5 minute run/ 1 minute walk ratio. I was definitely running during the run segments, but it was an easy effort – no heroics here.
The course starts outside a mall, goes through an office area with lots of biotech companies, then loops
back up to Cambridge Street and the residential neighbourhood near the local courthouse. There are maybe four or five turns, a brief climb, and a gradual downhill back to the finish. I can think of worse ways to spend a summer Sunday. I finished with a record personal worst and can definitively say the Cambridge 5K race experience is just as pleasant at the back of the pack as it is in the middle, which is not true of every race – but should be.
The afterparty featured a huge range of brews and ciders (sadly, none for me this year, but I did snag a lemonade and a couple cans of cold-brew coffee to take home), but it was loud and a little overwhelming for the stroller set – and my ice cream hopes were dashed! What kind of barbaric summer race doesn’t have ice cream or freeze pops at the end?! Otherwise, if you like beer and dancing plus a well-organised race experience, it’s worth the money.
Alas, post-race sacroiliac pain bugged me for the next couple of days. The terrible thing is that I never know when it’s going to flare up or how bad it’s going to be – sometimes I can walk for miles or run without pain, sometimes I walk a mile and the pain shoots down my leg, and sometimes it doesn’t show up until hours *after* the offending workout. This particular flare was bad enough to need a heating pad, and I made a couple of PT appointments to figure out how to quell it.
Monday 6/4 – off
Tuesday 6/5 – MYRTLs, perfunctory series of lunges and squats
Wednesday 6/6 – walk (errands)
Thursday 6/7 to Sunday 6/10 – travel. We were in New Orleans for the very sweet, very beautiful and very low-key wedding of one of my dearest friends from college. (I asked her for sitter recommendations as she’s nannied in the past and has friends with kids in town, and she said ‘oh, just bring Kiddo’! Who turned out to be all kinds of well-behaved, especially after we plied him with snacks, and was the first one to hit the dance floor at the reception before he was hustled back to our AirBnB for bedtime.)
Remarkably, despite walking (maybe much more slowly than normal? the weather was very sticky) all over the city, I had no pain. None. Zilch. My brain and body must’ve been in full-on holiday mode, so that even the sacroiliac pain took a vacation. Does dancing my feet off for hours at the wedding reception count as a workout? I think so.
Naomi Alderman, ‘The Power’;
Alex Hutchinson, ‘Endure’;
Hanya Yanagihara, ‘A Little Life’;
Thomas Pynchon, ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ (for book club…very…slowly…)
By now everyone knows about that raccoon who scaled a 25-story skyscraper in St. Paul this week. Epic! Look at that cute, furry, lean mean climbing machine! Are you not inspired?
What’s that you say? Rabies-ridden trash panda?
Total badass, more like. Move over honey badger. This raccoon is now officially my role model for training. No, not because it’s my life goal to trend on Twitter, but that wasn’t the raccoon’s fault anyway. She was just doing what daredevil raccoons do best (apart from ripping apart trash cans in large groups and scaring you when their eyes glow from your headlamp on those early a.m. runs): inspiring greatness.
Still not convinced? Here’s why stuntcoon is going to help you take your running to new heights:
I ran a 1:45:45 half marathon — a PR by seven minutes — and I am still smiling. I can hardly believe I did that! Read more >>
Here is what my training looked like the week of 06.04.18 – 06.10.18:
Monday – Off
I know “they” say #nevermissamonday, but this runner missed a Monday and lived to tell the tale. In all actuality, I planned to run after work but didn’t end up getting home until close to 7 p.m. and I had a workout scheduled for the next day, so I decided that it made more sense to just take the day off and be ready to roll in the morning.
Tuesday – Quality: 8.75 miles (7:45 pace)
Tuesday’s workout was a two mile warm up, 10 X 400 and a three mile cool down. Mr. Sesame ran this one with me and that helped me out so much! It’s really amazing how much of a difference it makes to have someone to pace off of and work with during a workout (especially at the track). My splits were 86, 84, 83, 84, 85, 83, 83, 83, 83, 81 and his were all about 2 to 3 seconds quicker. We knocked this one out before work Tuesday morning and were both really pleased with how it went!
Wednesday AM – Easy: 10 miles (8:20 pace) + PM – Easy: 5 miles (9:00 pace)
I met my RBF at dark o’clock (i.e., we were done with our run before 5:30 a.m.) on Wednesday to celebrate Global Running Day. It’s crazy how oddly satisfying it can be to have a double digit run knocked out before the rest of the world is even awake.
Thursday – Easy: 5 miles (8:55 pace)
My legs were definitely a bit tired Thursday. I did an easy loop before work.
Friday – Easy: 8 miles (8:16 pace)
Admittedly, Friday’s run was a bit of a mess. We went fishing all day Friday and I couldn’t decide whether it would be good to try to get my other workout for the week out of the way on Friday or whether I should just wait and do it on Saturday. I wanted to do it Friday because I figured I would be worn out Saturday after being out in the sun all day long. The problem was that I needed to be done with my workout by 5:30 a.m. Friday morning in order to make the fishing trip. I knew that the early wake up was possible (I mean, I did it Wednesday), but I also knew that it was going to be tough.
Sure enough, when push came to shove, I hit snooze a few times and didn’t get started as early as I needed to. I had a three mile warm up, so I planned to do that on the treadmill and then head over to the track for the workout. My husband was going to come up to the track around 5 to check on me. For whatever strange reason, the treadmill cut off on me about a mile and half into the run, so I was kind of forced to go ahead and go to the track. I don’t like running by myself in the dark, so I really didn’t want to have to go over there any earlier than absolutely necessary. It wasn’t ideal, but I knew it would be fine. By the time I finished my warm up miles, it was already 4:45 and I knew that there was no way that I was going to have time to do the workout and the cool down, so I decided to just do an easy run around the track instead.
Saturday – Quality: 9 miles (8:12 pace)
Saturday morning I did a three mile warm up, a workout of 1 X 1600 followed by 4 X 800 with two minute standing recoveries between and a three mile cool down. The workout was actually supposed to have two more 800s and another 1600 at the end, but I didn’t make it that far. I waited until a bit later than usual to run and I felt like I was cooking in the heat on the track. I ran 5:53 for the mile and 5:50 average for the 800s. I messed up the actual splits on my watch because of the standing recoveries. I should’ve just set up the workout on my Garmin and done it that way, but I decided I could figure it out on my own and that didn’t exactly work out for me.
Sunday – Easy: 8 miles (8:12 pace)
I finished up the week with an easy group run Sunday morning. My legs were definitely feeling the effects of Saturday’s speed work!
Total – 55.3 miles
Today we’re addressing a question from reader CW that she left as a comment on a post about how to run a sub-3 marathon. CW asks a very common question: how to get back to her pre-baby race times.
Can it be done? Absolutely. Two of our resident fast-as-F moms, Hops and Parsley, have been there and done that. Below, they share their top 3 tips for CW and anyone else in her situation. While the question is sub-3-specific, the advice can apply to any woman at any level looking to train seriously again after having babies.
I am 32 years old now with two kids (seven months old and a three year old) and I really want to get back to racing. My last marathon was Boston Marathon 2013 and I ran it in 2:51. I ran that by running pretty much every day — maybe one day off every two weeks. I consistently did one long run a week of 18-22 miles with some at goal marathon pace and did at least one tempo run a week. I raced a 10k and half marathon in the training period to gauge fitness. I PR’d in the 10k with a 37:37 and half marathon with a 1:23. After having my first baby, I started running three days per week 6-ish miles at a slow pace for me. Then I got pregnant with my second kid (now 7 months old). Currently I am running three days a week about six miles per run. I really want to start training for another marathon but have no idea where to begin. Any ideas or training plans? I’d love to be fast again.
Hello everyone. It’s been a while. After a long break and time away following a disappointing marathon in Houston, I started training and racing again. I seriously contemplated competitive retirement, but couldn’t make the final decision. I thought I might find clarity through racing, so I ran a few races between March and May 2018. Read more >>
This week is mostly recovery from the Iron Horse half marathon which meant lower mileage and everything a bit easier. The Incredible Mervus was out of town so I had to juggle work time and running time and kid time. The end of their school year is so close that we can all taste it. And on Saturday, I raced a crazy downhill mile. But that’s it for races until Erie except for the Boilermaker, which will likely end up more as a training run. Here’s the details from the week: Read more >>
I’ve been asked “why?” more times than I can count but surely “how” is also an important question — at least if you’re intrigued by the 50 states marathon challenge, but not sure where or how to begin.
So how does one go about running 50 marathons in 50 states? I’ve done 33 of the 50 states so far, and I have some thoughts! The answer isn’t straightforward and it’s important to be honest with yourself about your strengths and limitations before attempting a goal like this. Read more >>
Two-fer! You’d think for a part-time-freelancer-at-home mom I wouldn’t be so busy. Well I missed last week’s log update, so I must be doing something during the days. Ha! In any case, really exciting updates. So, read on. Read more >>
Sure, being pregnant and going through childbirth (and subsequent recovery) taught me a lot about what the human body is capable of. And coming back from pregnancy and childbirth forced me to get back into shape. I’d never needed to do that before. I was always in a constant state of getting more in shape, fitter. But not back into shape.
In any case, those lessons weren’t terribly surprising. What was surprising was how pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood have changed how I feel about running a race but not racing it. Read more >>
Another week of surviving the heat and humidity has come and gone (with a day of reprieve in between!). Right now as I type, we are FINALLY getting some much needed rain (and thunder and lightning). I’m hoping this gets our grass a little greener! It was also my birthday on the 9th, we spent some time celebrating my 31st trip around the sun. Here is what this week of running and workouts brought for me!
Here is what my training looked like the week of 05.28.18 – 06.03.18:
Monday – Easy: 10.25 miles (8:18 pace)
I got in a longer than usual Monday morning run on Memorial Day. It was nice to sleep in a bit longer than normal and still be able to get in a morning run with friends.
Tuesday – Easy: 5 miles (8:38 pace)
For some reason, I am having a really hard time getting out of the bed in the mornings before work. I am almost exclusively a morning runner (or well, I have been in the past), but the last few weeks it has been a different story. I think I’ve only gotten up two out of the five weekday mornings the last few weeks. It’s crazy! Tuesday evening I did an easy loop with a couple of the guys from my running group.
Wednesday – OFF
Wednesday was an unscheduled rest day. I had a workout that needed to be done, but it was storming Wednesday morning and by the evening, I just wasn’t into it and decided to take a day off instead.
Thursday AM – Quality: 8.5 miles (7:25 pace) + PM – Easy: 7.5 miles (8:06 pace)
Thursday morning I actually got up and got my workout in. I did a two mile warm up, a 15 X 1:00 hard with 1:00 easy recovery and a two mile cool down. My fastest minute was 5:27 pace (the last repeat (#lastonefastone)) and my slowest was 5:57 pace. The 15 minutes hard averaged out to a 5:41 pace and I am thrilled with that. I pushed myself hard, but didn’t feel completely depleted at the end of the workout. Don’t get me wrong, I still seized the opportunity to lay down and collect myself after the workout before getting ready for work. This has become a new post-workout tradition …
Friday – Easy: 5 miles (8:16 pace)
I did an easy loop with the hubby Friday afternoon after work.
Saturday AM – RACE: 6.2 miles (7:44 pace) + PM – Easy: 5 miles (8:19 pace)
Saturday morning I ran the running portion of a local triathlon with a friend who has a hamstring injury, leaving her unable to run. She can swim and bike without problem, but she needed a runner and I was more than happy to fill in as part of a relay team with her. I got 3 warm up miles in before the race while my teammate was out on the bike portion of the race.
She came in, passed the timing chip off to me and I was off. You climb from 1 ft (we are talking literally at sea level here) to 80 ft in the first tenth of a mile into the run. I don’t know if that sounds hard or not, but it definitely was to me. I knew that the hill was going to be the biggest obstacle of the race and I told myself to be patient and not try to run up it too quickly. I wanted to take it easy up the hill and then start to push.
Theoretically this sounds wonderful, but it is incredibly difficult not to get caught up in the heat of the moment during a race (and especially in a relay when you know your teammate just busted her butt swimming and biking and is counting on you to do the same in the run). Once I got up the hill the course flattened out a little bit, but there were still some gentle rollers to deal with.
I came through the first mile in 6:22. I didn’t really have any specific pace goals in mind, so this seemed decent enough. I was steadily catching people and picking people off throughout the run, which is usually pretty fun (especially in a pure road race setting). I actually felt bad passing people though, knowing that they had to both swim and bike before they ran. I, on the other hand, was fresh as a daisy and just had to run. I tried to encourage everyone that I passed and I hoped that they all saw the big “T” on my left calf (indicating that I was part of a team). I cannot even imagine having to run that course after swimming and biking.
The first two miles of the course are an out and back, so even though I thought the hill was tough, it isn’t really all that bad because you do at least get to come back down. You definitely get a decent amount of momentum going downhill and I kind of had to reign it in (for fear of getting completely out of control and busting my face). I’m pretty sure that if you did fall, you would continue to roll down just as quickly as you could run down. I didn’t, however, plan to test that theory. I came through the second mile in 6:19.
The last mile is a pretty flat loop around a duck pond. When I did my warm up, there were tons of geese and ducks out on the course, but thankfully when I came through during the race, they were gone (those jokers can be mean). I knew that I just had to keep pushing for one more mile. It can be really tough to hold the pace during the last mile of a race, but somehow I did manage to keep it pretty consistent this time. My last mile split was 6:20. After the third mile split you have to do a little “off roading,” through some sand and grass before making your way onto the sidewalk and around to the finish line.
My 5K time was 19:48, but the course was 3.2 miles, so my official time was 20:15. Triathlon courses aren’t always exact distances, as in this isn’t even a certified 5K course, so I’m simply including my 5K time as a reference. An extra tenth of a mile can definitely add 30 seconds or more to your 5K time. I was a little bit faster last year, but I think it was hotter and more humid this year. Either way, I am happy with the time.
I decided to forgo a cool down. I don’t think people really cool down after triathlons … at least, it doesn’t seem like they do. At a running event, you typically see lots of people cooling down after the race, but at a triathlon, not so much. Perhaps the run is the cool down? My husband wanted to run later that afternoon, so I got in fairly delayed cool down later that afternoon.
Sunday – Easy: 12 miles (8:22 pace)
Sunday morning was a long (ish) group run. A few of my friends are training for an early September marathon (trying to get a BQ or lower their BQ times) and they were doing some marathon pace miles in the long run Sunday. I tried to tag along for some of that, but I was definitely feeling the effects of Saturday’s race.
Total – 59.4 miles
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