Last Saturday, I ran the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. It was my fourth marathon, but first in about 18 months. And probably – no, definitely – the one for which I’ve trained the hardest. With a previous marathon best of 4:09, I was focused and ready to kill the 4 hour barrier at the very least. As I shared with Salty and just a few others, my real goal was 3:55. Read more >>
Southern transplant who loves 90s boy bands, outdoor adventures and college basketball, although not necessarily in that order. Recovering running perfectionist.
Race week. Boom. I felt surprisingly calm, and like all I had to do was not mess it up. Things that would normally send me into an Anxiety Girl tailspin were no big, just dirt off my shoulder, Jay-Z style.
Nothing could phase me. My iPod broke twice? Oh well, I could just sing in my head. The forecast fluctuated dramatically all week long? I decided that those formative years spent running in Ohio, land of snow during outdoor track, may just come in handy. It was going to be 20-30 degrees colder than originally forecast? Hmm, I should probably get some running tights that fit. (I lost 20 lbs. in the spring/summer of 2012, so I haven’t quite replaced some of my cold weather gear yet.) My friends were dropping out of the race right and left? I didn’t need them, I’d trained hundreds of miles alone. I was focused and ready to get it done. Or, more appropriately, Own It.
As you know if you follow Salty Running on Facebook, I did it! I broke 4 hours. A full report will follow, but here’s the wrap up of my final training week.
Monday – My plan called for 4 miles, with the last 2 at race pace. I ran with my dog for the first 2 (taper had been making her a little crazy!), and then hit the last 2 in splits of 9:03 and 9:02. This worried me a smidge… race pace for a 3:55 is an 8:58 mile, but I hoped that the race day energy could put me over the top.
Tuesday – Sooo windy! We were feeling the impact of Hurricane Sandy, with gusts up to 38 mph. I got in 3 miles at 10:01 pace with my friend and our dogs.
Wednesday – Rest.
Thursday – 3 miles at 9:32 pace, with 3 strides at the end. I tested out my new tights that I planned to wear on Saturday.
Friday – Rest and travel to Indy!
Saturday – RACE DAY! 26.2 miles in 3:56:54 (9:02 pace). Race recap coming soon!
Sunday – Rest 🙂 Oh, and some post-race indulgence.
Total – 36.5 miles
Marathon season isn’t over just yet. If you’re running a late fall race, chances are you’re tapering right about now. Ah, the taper. Runners have such a love/hate relationship with taper time, the reduced mileage week or weeks right before your big day. On the one hand, you’re giving your body a break from training so you can rest up and be fresh and ready to rock on the starting line. On the other hand, it can be hard to know what to do with yourself when you’re not running!
With all that extra time on your hands, many runners amp up the nerves. Some nerves are understandable, but during this time, you may develop something commonly known as the taper crazies. You imagine worst case scenarios, panic about the smallest thing and obsess over the smallest details. Don’t worry, Salties, we’ve got a guide to tell if you have the taper crazies! (As if you needed something else to self-diagnose, right? Read more >>
Well, here we are. This time next week, the Monumental Marathon will be behind me. Part of me wants to say “Yikes!”, but I mainly feel ready to do this thing. The Own It! plan from TLAM has really been a great fit for me. This is the first marathon training cycle (out of my four) where I’ve stuck with the speedwork. Now I just wish it would hurry up and get here!
I’ve been following Mint’s advice about the taper to clean up my eating, get lots of sleep, and generally try to prevent illness and freak injuries. Oh, and I’m also checking the weather for next weekend approximately 525,600 times a day!
Monday – Long walk
Tuesday – 4 miles at tempo, 8 miles total on the day.
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – An easy 6 miles at 9:38 pace, with 4 strides at the end.
Friday – 3 miles at 10:14 pace. Legs were very heavy and full of taper aches.
Saturday – Last long run, baby. I met a friend at 7 a.m., but we sat in her car trying to wait out the rainstorm and watching the radar before bailing an hour later. After keeping an eye on the weather all day, I finally ran around 2:30 p.m. The later run meant that I only had my dog and my iPod for company – they did 3 and 9, respectively. Despite the wintry conditions, it was a relatively good run, and I got in 12 at 9:02 pace. I’m feeling good about next weekend! The hay is in the barn.
Sunday – Some light yoga at home, raking leaves… but mostly just rest!
Total – 29 miles
To the uninitiated, watching a running race doesn’t sound very exciting. And really, just watching – standing there with your coffee as people run by – isn’t fun. But spectating, well, that’s a whole ‘nother ball game!
Spectating involves cheering for everyone you see, traveling from point to point to watch your runners and generally acting like a fool. Can you have a marathon without spectators? Sure, and plenty of smaller races do. The spectators really help make the experience, though, in this spice girl’s opinion. So whether you’re injured (we hope not!) or feeling supportive, or whether you’re the one racing and want to share this with your crew, check out our Salty guide to spectating like a rockstar!
I had to mix up my schedule this week, donning my headlamp to fit in my Monday and Tuesday runs after work. That just reinforced how much of a morning runner I’ve become! I am going to try to stick to mornings until it gets super cold. The cooler temps did make for perfect dog running weather, though; my canine friend is able to push it a little bit more when it’s cool, both on pace and distance.
After this week, it’s all downhill in terms of mileage. Woohoo – the taper is here!
Monday – 7 p.m. run, 5 miles at 9:30 pace. Over the last two miles, I did 6 repeats of 20 seconds at 95% effort, with a 10 second recovery.
Tuesday – 6:45 p.m. run, 7 miles at 9:28 pace.
Wednesday – Rest. I was glad for this, so I could re-set my schedule and get back to mornings!
Thursday – 8 miles at 9:54 pace, the first 3 with my dog and the last 3 with my buddy Em. It had rained overnight, so I was dodging wet leaves and I rolled my ankle on a walnut a couple miles in. I felt kinda tight during the run, so I did an hour of stretching and rolling with my Tiger Tail in the evening while watching my new guilty pleasure TV show, Nashville.
Friday – 4 miles at 9:45 pace
Saturday – My last long run before taper time! I road-tested my marathon outfit and nutrition plan on this 16 miler. (Although I may swap out my bottoms, based on race day temps.) I am getting a little sick of all of my routes, to be honest, but for simplicity’s sake, I ran from the local run shop. I met one friend who just started training for a January full for the first 8-ish, did a little on my own, then finished up with 6 miles with Em. And some delicious coffee! I had an overall 9:15 pace.
Sunday – Walking (my dog and the lawn mower) and some yoga.
Total – 40 miles
Three weeks to go. This was a good training week, but I didn’t quite hit the mileage. On days when my schedule said “8-10”, I did 8, and so on. Still, I got it done. I had a couple of less-than-stellar days in there, but I felt like the week ended on a high note with solid runs on Friday and Saturday.
Monday– 2.5 at 10:38 pace. I was struggling with heinous stomach cramps the whole time and had to cut this one short.
Tuesday – 5 miles at 9:30 pace with my friend E. Very chilly – this was the first tights run of the year!
Wednesday – rest
Thursday– Tempo Thursday! I did a two mile warm up (with my pup), 5 miles at tempo, and a 1 mile cooldown. 8 miles total on the day. The tempo miles were pretty uneven, but I did manage to make my last one the fastest!
Friday – 4.1 miles at 9:28 pace. My legs felt a little heavy the first two miles, but then they got their snappiness back towards the end. (Sidenote: the fall temps are absolutely perfect dog running weather!)
Saturday – 17 miles at 9:39 overall, with a 15-minute strong finish. (Last mile was the fastest of the day at 8:30 – woohoo!) This was a fab run. It’s getting harder for me to find company for my long runs as most of my buds did their A race earlier in the season, and in fact, many were racing this weekend. But I got to run with a new-ish running buddy for the first 13 or so, and we just easily clicked away those miles! We even mixed it up with a few trail miles in the middle. Nothing too technical, just a grassy loop around a park. I warned her I was afraid of breaking myself right before my race!
Sunday – Plenty of walking as I spectated and cheered on my friends at the Iron Horse Half Marathon! I also did a little yoga on my own.
Total – 36.6 miles
As my marathon gets closer (22 days left – not that I’m counting!), I’ve been spending some time revisiting my race goals. I have read so many different bits of advice that I need help choosing a goal – and that’s where you come in, Salty readers! I need some fresh eyes and brains to weigh in here.
I have read and re-read the post about Choosing a Marathon Goal, and I still feel stuck! I don’t think the simple approach would be very accurate in my case; the last half I ran was in May, and my training and fitness are very different these days. Read more >>
This was a good training week. No, this was a great training week. For the past month, one thing or another has thrown a kink in my planned runs – first work, then being sick, then my back, then my relay race. This week, I finally managed to hit everything on my schedule. Good thing, too, since the marathon countdown is on! My runs this week had me feeling pretty confident in my training, especially my long run. If only I could fast forward to race day!
Monday – So, funny thing. I spent Sunday saying that I wasn’t that sore from the Bourbon Chase. That it wasn’t that much harder than a regular long run. My quads reminded me on this run that, actually, yes I was! I did 5 miles at 10:11 pace. The first 3 were pretty awful and featured quite a few expletives. I did get it together enough at the end to do 6 repeats of 15 seconds at a 90% effort.
Tuesday – Due to a work function, I had to push this run to the evening. My schedule called for 8 miles with the middle 6 at race pace. Based on my original marathon goal, race pace would be 9:03. What I actually did was 8 miles at 8:47 pace! To break this run up, I ran 2.5 miles to my BRF’s house, 3 miles with her and her kiddo in the stroller, then 2.5 home.
Wednesday – I went to yoga with my running buddy. We opted for a free class offered by someone who is training to get their yoga teacher certification since the timing of our regular class didn’t work out with other stuff we had going on. Sadly, it was kind of a miss, but at least it was free, right?
Thursday – Today was a “fun workout” day on my training schedule, so a pal and I went to Zumba! It was a blast and definitely a harder workout than I remembered.
Friday – 3 miles easy at 10:25 pace.
Saturday – 21 miles at 9:33 pace. The lead up to this run had me really nervous since I’d never run this far before in training, I didn’t really have a route, my dinner the night before wasn’t the greatest…. I could go on and on, but really, it was that big 2-1 that scared me. I basically told myself to just suck it up and do it. I met a friend at 6 a.m. for the first 9 or so miles. When I dropped him off, I grabbed my iPod and spent the rest of the time concentrating on ignoring my watch and having a positive mental attitude. I smiled at passers-by and said “good morning” to dogs. I chatted with some early tailgaters over near the football stadium. I counted political signs instead of miles. I inhaled the smells of donuts and pancake breakfasts. All the while, reminding myself how much I love running and what a lovely day this was. I know it’s cheesy sounding in the retelling, but it really made for a great run. When I heard that beep for “21”, I did a little fist pump on the corner and perhaps a dance (yes, definitely a dance) before heading off to get that salted caramel mocha I’d been thinking about for over 3 hours!
Sunday – Rest.
Total – 37 miles, 1 hour yoga, 1 hour Zumba.
Twenty-four-year-old Jenny Scherer is what you might call an unlikely professional runner. The Wisconsin native was first and foremost a basketball player, even walking onto the hoops team at Division III St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. She didn’t give track a try until college, but when she did, she made a splash! Jenny went on to set school records and win All-American honors nine times during her collegiate cross country and track career. After graduating in 2010, she became one of the youngest members of the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project, winning her professional debut. She has since left the Hansons team and moved to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
As she begins the next phase of her running career living and training in the Twin Cities, Jenny gave Salty Running a glimpse into her running, motivators and more!
This week was all about the Bourbon Chase overnight relay. (If you have no idea what that means, check out my Overnight Relays 101 post.) I didn’t think it was possible, but I had more fun this year than last. Lots of beautiful scenery, good runs and just randomness with friends all meant for some great memories! Now it’s time to focus 100% on the marathon with just over a month remaining until race day.
Monday – 4.1 miles at 9:23 pace. A chilly day – my idea of nice fall running weather!
Tuesday – 5 miles at 10:02 pace
Wednesday – off
Thursday – 3.1 miles, 9:44 pace.
Friday – Bourbon Chase day! We had pouring rain for the first few legs, but by the time I ran Leg 5 at 2:30, it was sunny and humid. This was my shortest leg (4.5 miles), but most challenging in terms of elevation. I had to walk one downhill because it was so steep and slick from the earlier rain! 4.5 miles at 9:03 pace.
Saturday – Leg 17 of the Chase started at 1:15 a.m. for me, and the run consisted of rolling hills and LOTS of fog. Initially it was a little creepy, but then it was oddly comforting to just see the glow of runners’ tail lights ahead. Lots of farms along this route where I cranked out 8.6 miles at 8:43 pace.
I ran again at 11:30 a.m. and got lucky enough that a friend on another team started just a minute or so behind me. We decided to stay together as long as we could, which ended up being the whole way. We pushed each other to 8:15 pace for 4.9 miles and high-fived as we crossed the exchange zone. Total mileage for the day was 13.5.
Sunday – Rest and recovery.
Total – 30.3 miles
Last October, a group of 13 other people – some friends and some soon to be – and I set off on the Bourbon Chase. No, it’s not what you’re thinking; we weren’t doing a bar crawl. The Bourbon Chase is a 200-mile overnight running relay, stretching across Kentucky and, as its name implies, using many bourbon distilleries as exchange points. Overnight relays are close cousins to stage races (see Pepper’s Great Lakes Relay recap), but they differ in that, like the name implies, you keep running all night long.
Tell any non-runner that you spent your weekend running and sleeping in a van and they look at you like you’ve lost it, but it was one of the best weekends of my life! I’m excited to be running the Chase again this year. Think an overnight relay is in your future or just want to learn more? I’m here to tell you the basics about these wacky races and how they work. Read more >>
Whew – what a difference a week makes! After my issue last week (diagnosis: torn fascia in my lower back) and taking some time off, I was so grateful to be able to resume running this week.
I did so very carefully and gingerly, lest I make things worse. I can say with certainty that I have learned a lesson about how important regular stretching, cross training and foam rolling are to my training. I promise I’ll be good – no, great! – at these things from now on.
Monday – Rest. I decided to take one more day off running to make it a full week, especially considering that I’d been pretty active on Sunday. (Well, active for my injured state = mowing the yard + grocery shopping.)
Tuesday – 3 miles at 9:50 pace. Yay, running! I wasn’t in pain, but this run still felt a little awkward, for lack of a better word. I definitely was favoring my hurting body parts, and thus my form was just kinda whack.
Wednesday – Decided to take the day off running since I didn’t want to push it. I did walk about 3.6 miles, which seemed to help loosen things up. Wednesday night, I really felt like I turned a corner. I was still sore, but it wasn’t this constant achy tension I had been experiencing.
Thursday – 4.1 miles at 9:55 pace. I felt great! Definitely a chilly morning… fall has arrived. Walked 3.5 miles in the afternoon and got a post-work massage. I felt slightly ridiculous getting two massages in such a short time span, but justified it by reminding myself that these were more of the therapeutic variety than “spa day”-type massages. It really seemed to help, and the therapist told me a few tricks I could do to prevent this issue in the future.
Friday – I chose sleep over running in the morning. First time in a long time that I’ve done that, but it felt so nice! As a result, I got my 4.1 miles in in the evening, hitting 10:04 pace.
Saturday – I wasn’t sure what kind of mileage to do today. The training plan called for 17, but I didn’t want to overdo it, especially since I’d run my Friday miles so late in the day. While I was feeling better, I thought that heading out for a 17’er would just be asking for a relapse! So I settled for 10 miles at 9:14 pace. I got in the first 1.5 early, then met friends for the other 8.5. A beautiful fall morning, and I was so grateful for this run! Hitting double digits was definitely reassuring that things are getting back to normal.
Sunday – Yoga!
Total – 21.2 miles and one very happy Sassy.
I think everyone has a running super power. Mine happens to be planning and analyzing just about everything. Researching race reviews? Check. Figuring out my goal pace and my ideal splits? Check. Helping to plan a 5K, be in charge of making tutus for a 12 person relay team and making information packets for my spectators? Check, check and check. (I will admit that the information packet may have been a tad overkill, but I like to think it’s part of my charm.) This crazy over-planning trait of mine means that I’m frequently in positions like group organizer, captain or aid station coordinator.
But just like in the comics sometimes super powers can turn against us, and our greatest strengths can become our greatest weaknesses. In most scenarios my planning every detail is great, but in matters of injury my over-thinking gene goes into overdrive! It feels like my inner superhero has turned against me… She becomes my evil alter ego, Anxiety Girl, who comes up with worst-case scenarios everywhere she goes! Let me offer you a little peek into this warped, anxiety-filled part of my brain. Read more >>
This was a hard week, both physically and mentally. I had 34 miles on the schedule, but due to a weird muscle thing, ended up only running 10 of them. I took most of the week either off or with light exercise in an attempt to nip this thing in the bud. I have such a hard time mentally with even the idea of injury, but am trying to not freak out. Here’s hoping that with seven weeks to go until race day, I’ll be okay.
Monday – 3.1 miles at 10:20 pace. I did this one with my friend Em and our doggies. Definitely a recovery run! I was feeling all 20 miles from the day before in my shoulders and butt.
Tuesday – 5 miles at tempo. 7 miles total.
Wednesday – This was already a scheduled rest day, but I took it EXTRA easy after feeling like I’d strained/pulled something in my lower back region on Tuesday afternoon.
Thursday – Rest. Light yoga. Feeling much better. Decided a run was still not in the cards, but a pedicure was. That logic makes sense to you, right?
Friday – Massage, light yoga, short dog walk. I learned that it was actually torn/damaged fascia, not the the muscle itself.
Saturday – Light yoga.
Sunday – I mowed the yard!! Normally not a cause for celebration, but the fact that I felt up for this was super exciting.
Total– 10.1 miles
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