See that. That’s my serious Ethiopian face. We just opened the Ethiopian coffee at my office last week. I might not drink coffee, but it helped get me back into the badass running spirit. Sunday is the Pittsburgh Marathon. The elite lineup was sent out on Wednesday and, well, it was exciting and terrifying. I’m seeded eleventh behind the Kenyans, Ethiopians, last year’s winner, and a bunch of women who made the olympic trials. I’m starting next to Devon Yanko, one of the elite women I’ve been stalking on Strava for a long time.
When we think of competition in running what do we think of? Tactics meant to outwit or demoralize an opponent? Elbows flying at the start of a track race? Fist pumping in triumph as a winner passes a despondent loser? Competition means one person basks in the thrill of victory, while another experiences the agony of defeat. Right?
Despite these widespread views about competition, the word itself comes from a Latin word that means “strive together.” Think about that. Strive together. Competing isn’t about pushing someone else down to raise yourself up, it’s about striving for your best alongside others. I’ve known this for a while, but I didn’t fully understand it until Saturday.
Five. That’s how many times Meb stopped to lose his lunch before he reached the storied Boylston finish line. I suppose I should be grateful, then, that my stomach never followed through on its threats to hurl my Honey Stingers. I know that Boston is a privilege–one for which so many mid-packers like me fight tremendously hard.
Here on Salty Running, our bloggers run a wide range of races. From short stuff on the track to 100 miles or more, we cover all the popular race distances! This week, as spring racing season peaks, we’ll be bringing you several race reports, prerace jitters and lots and lots of racing talk! So, naturally, our Readers Roundtable this week asks you about your race preferences.
Specifically, we want to know what your favorite race distance is and why you love it. Do you like a short burst of intensity of track races? Or the long slow burn of a half marathon? Maybe you prefer something a little in between like a 10k? Perhaps you like flirting with the wall of the marathon? Do you like to ride out the waves in an ultra?
Readers, tell us: What’s your favorite race distance? Be sure to tell us why you love it too!
Last hard week before the New Orleans 70.3! Doubts and uncertainty are starting to set in, but I’m also ready for it to be over with.
4/5: 48 miles on the bike. It was awful. I had no cadence, and I just felt off. I couldn’t wait for the ride to be over with! 6 easy miles in the evening before a big Easter dinner.
4/6: Rest day. Went to a bar with my friend, Amanda, to watch the NCAA National Championship.
4/7: Ate way too much junk food the night before, so I was a little unsure about my planned workout. 2mins/4mins/2mins/4mins by 2. 2 minute intervals sub 6:30, 4 minute intervals sub 6:50. Surprisingly, I felt great! 6.8 miles in 48:38, then 1.5 mile cooldown. Some weights later, then 5.5 as part of coaching in the evening.
4/8: 45 minutes on the bike with 10 x 1 minute faster than race pace. Took whatever rest I needed. Legs were trashed. 2,750m swim in the evening.
4/9: 30 minutes of weights, then 30 minutes on the trainer. Legs were pretty trashed, so I barely made it 9 miles. It was nice to flush out the legs and go easy. Workout at night: 4.5 miles in just over 30 minutes! Felt controlled and comfortable. Ended up with 8.3 miles in 60:00.
4/10: Up early to help with a Newton photo shoot. Who knows, maybe I’ll get famous? Ha! I was able to get in 3.5 miles after we finished. Swim of 2,250 after weights to end the day.
4/11: Subbed for a coach at my running group’s long run. Ran 8.5 miles with a woman aged 67 who ran her first half last year in just over 2 hours! The miles flew by since we chatted about all sorts of things. I wish that if I do reach that age, I can continue to be active and run. After we finished, I added on about 2 more miles to get to 10+ for the day. I had my last long swim before New Orleans, and I hit the pool that night for 3,000m.
Running: 41.75 miles
Biking: 71 miles
Swimming: 4.97 miles
Weights: 2+ hours
The mileage continues to grow and this week I got to practice pacing, fueling, and managing general jitters at a 10 mile race on Saturday. I am very pleased with my training thus far, particularly because I am remaining healthy as the mileage increases. I’ve been keeping the intensity a bit on the lower side compared to previous training programs so I think that is helping as well as continuing to do strengthening exercises every night.
Monday: 6 miles easy at night with James on the (muddy) golf course.
Tuesday: 6 miles with 4 x 1 mile repeats (1 minute rest in between). The goal was to do the first two at 7:30 pace and then pick it up a bit for the last two. I did this on the treadmill as I couldn’t find an open track and it was quite windy. I ran 7:30, 7:30, 7:22, and 7:19. This just might have been my best workout of this training cycle on the focusing front. I felt in control the entire time and felt like I could keep going. The short rest was not an issue this time. I also did weighted squats after the workout.
Wednesday: 8 miles steady on the treadmill again and core work. I was a freeze baby but I also used the run to watch the course video a few times as well as YouTube videos of women racing for inspiration.
Thursday: 6 miles easy outdoors. It was pretty cold and I was pretty cranky.
Friday: Off/rest but did some core work.
Saturday: 14 miles with 10 mile race. My instructions from coach were to run by feel, with the first half at a controlled pace and to pick things up a bit during the second half. I ran with the Garmin but realized the battery was low before the start so I just went off the clocks on the course (which seemed a bit off). This made my pacing a bit tricky but I did follow instructions and was surprised when I later found out that I negative split the workout (7:42 pace for the first half, 7:32 pace for the second half).
The first 4 miles of the race felt very easy and controlled. I was waiting patiently to make a move and I think I went just a tad too early around mile 4.5 due to excitement. Around mile 8-9, I struggled a bit but finished strong. Having a downhill finish helped but more so, I tried to recover mentally from the feeling of negativity toward the end. I ran 76:07 for the workout.
Sunday: 6 miles easy outdoors and upper body strength training.
Total: 46 miles
Nothing demonstrates the difference between my training under my old coach and training with McMillan more than a race. With a 10 mile race this past Saturday, my week’s load was light. Even better, I get to enjoy a recovery week after the race. So nice! Much better than following up a 10 mile race with a hard week and then getting injured (duh). I’m excited to rest up from a solid performance and get a little fitness bounce from it in time for my next race, a 10k in three weeks!
Anyway, I raced on Saturday! I ran a 10 mile race that I’ve run several times. I set my PR at it with the win back in 2011 in 1:04:47 and ran it last year in 1:07:48 (or 47, I forget and am too lazy to look it up). Based on my training this year and my attitude lately, I figured best case I’d match my performance from last year when I was way more motivated to prove my worth to my team. Now that I’m flying solo and still struggling with the after-effects of overtraining, I’m going to be honest and say I wasn’t sure I’d line up ready to relatively crush it. Maybe I’d line up and feel the fire, but I’m self-aware enough to know that maybe I wouldn’t. But I wanted to go and wanted to do my best with whatever self I had to work with.
This was a really interesting race for me. I ended up running almost the same time as last year, 1:07:55 and I felt much better mentally and physically, I have to say! I ran pretty even splits this year and felt strong the last few miles, although I struggled with boredom and feeling a little over it during mile 8. But I rallied and pushed myself to the end. I felt like my old old self, when I felt fresh and energized by a race and smart about my strategy rather than going out overly ambitiously and paying for it. My ability to feel pace is much closer to the way it used to be and I just felt happy to be there. And that’s just half the story!
I’ll be writing more about the other half, stay tuned. But here’s a photo teaser 🙂
Mon: 5.5 early and easy with no watch and 45:00 piyo class.
Tue: 8 x :90 at 10 mile race effort with 90 second easy in between.
Wed: 6 easy with no watch,
Thu: 6 early and easy with no watch,
Fri: 4 with 5 x :20 strides.
Sat: 14 with 10 mile race in 1:07:55
Sun: Off day! Sleeping in, baby!
Total: 42 miles and 45:00 piyo class.
Birthday week training log!!!
3/29: 55+ on the bike with my friend, Eddie. A little chilly and windy at times.
3/30: Super easy 3.7 miles at lunch. Weights in the evening.
3/31: About 7 miles in the evening with my run group. Coached a 25 minute tempo workout.
4/1: My Birthday!!! I took the day off from work to relax and have my own schedule. First, I ran 8 miles with 5 x 800 getting down to about 6:00 pace. I relaxed and went shopping. Later, I went for a swim of 3,200m– my longest in over 18 months. Ended the day with a nice sushi dinner with my husband.
4/2: Planned 70 minutes easy on the trainer, but tire issues about 30 minutes into the ride forced me to stop. Rode 10 miles, then did some core work. Rainy and cold in the evening, so I wound up on the treadmill for 40 minutes before heading to a retirement party.
4/3: 7.2 miles total with 4 x 5 minutes at goal half pace. I really wanted to do 5 x 1 minute after the main set, but I had to go really bad, so I had to stop. 2,600m swim in the evening.
4/4: Weights/core before 12 miles. Not sure of the pace because my Garmin died after 1 mile! I just happened to know the route. The weather was great! Super sunny and bright. 2,000m in the pool later that day.
Running: 42.95 miles
Biking: 65.15 miles
Swimming: 4.85 miles
Weights: 2+ hours
I’m back! An insane work schedule and “special project” led to my 4-week absence, but now it’s over! I’m back I’m back I’m back!
An abbreviated training schedule and short overview of the past four weeks is below as I know you’ve been on tenterhooks. . . (does anyone actually say that??)
3/29 – 4/4, Run: 48 miles (Bike: 23 miles)
-Workout Wednesday: 4 mile variable pace tempo run: 6:47, 6:10, 6:40, 6:02
-15 mile trail run in the pouring rain
4/5 – 4/11, Run: 25 miles
– All day training for two days followed by a trip to Dallas
-Very minimal running opportunities. . .
-Ran first 7 miles of my 50k course over the weekend, and I may be in a bit of trouble as it is SERIOUSLY hilly (for me)
4/12 – 4/18, Run: 35 miles
-Working every minute of every day. Practically literally.
-Left work at 4;15am on Thursday and was back at 7:30 for our final presentation.
-Tried a long run over the weekend and totally died. Apparently sleep and healthy work/life balance are kind of important for one’s body to function.
Sunday (4/19): Sleeping. Bike: 7 miles
Monday (4/20): Run: 7.5 miles, Bike: 18 miles
Tuesday (4/21): Run: 5.5 miles, Bike:16 miles
Wednesday (4/22): Run: 8 miles (3 mile tempo: 6:29, 6:32, 6:28)
Thursday (4/23): Took the day off of work as I was still feeling kind of off. I got to catch up on things like laundry and cleaning and making granola and it was GREAT. Run: 6 miles
Friday (4/24): Run: 7 miles
Saturday (4/25): Run: 20 miles (trail) – this was a bit rough for the last 2-3 miles, but I’m very glad it happened. And then I got donuts.
Bike: 41 miles
Run: 54 miles
Anyway, as you could tell from the beginning of this post. I’m really really happy to have my life and my schedule back. it’s probably good for me to get my PRECIOUS ROUTINE disrupted sometimes, but it’s absolutely wonderful to have it back : )
It’s the Friday after Marathon Monday and yes, we’re still talking about Boston! The inspiring final finisher. Shalane’s heartbreak. Caroline Rotich’s sprint finish and huge smile. Meb’s always charming stranger hand-holding as he made the most of his relative blow-up. How could we not still be talking about it?!
Actually, today I’m ceding the Friday 5 floor to one of our readers. Salty reader Lindi was so inspired by the Boston Marathon this year that she wrote up these 5 things she learned while watching the race. She sent them along to us to share with you. We loved it and are happy to oblige.
So Lindi, take it away! Read more >>
Marathon season recently kicked off with the granddaddy of them all, Boston. For me and many of you, watching this race is no different than watching the World Series or the Super Bowl. Come to think of it, it is our World Series and Super Bowl. So it’s hard not to feel a little down when your team comes oh so close to winning but falls off at the end.
All major sports have big dogs, the teams that are not only fan favorites but have big bucks to spend on the best players and thus consistently have winning records. In running, the United States has all the money in comparison to other countries. Think of the Nike empire and all of its high tech gadgets and facilities. Look at how many international athletes come to the US to train. Nonetheless the “big dogs” in our sport, those who dominate the competition, often come from economically less fortunate beginnings.
It’s interesting to wonder, what does that all mean? What do we, as runners, learn from those breaking the tape? Read more >>
Is breastfeeding slowing me down?
To be clear, the benefits of breastfeeding for my son and me outweigh any short term negative impact on my speed. Fortunately my livelihood does not depend upon running so I am free to make that choice.
Running is a key component of my lifestyle, however, and I have lofty personal goals! I’ve been sitting on a plateau of essentially identical 5k and 10k times from 4-14 months postpartum and I’m beginning to doubt my more ambitious goals. I’m pretty confident in saying that lactation is not performance-enhancing, but how much, if at all, does it hold me back? Read more >>
This entry shall otherwise be titled “My Twisted Spine.”
My twisted spine put a dent in things this week. Some people would say, “Star. It was the very low mileage first week of a 15-week training plan, coming off of the training that got you to a PR 100-miler.” Those people would be correct, but I would remind them that I am a super Type-A perfectionist, and that even though I know I made the best long-term choices for my body, I feel like I’m wearing a scratchy wool sweater when I don’t properly ace the week’s appointed workouts. It just bothers me. Read more >>
Well, in the face of a few crazy weeks that included a Great Gatsby scale family wedding in Florida and an intense week at my middle school, I’ve kept my commitment to my three workouts a week. Barely. The downside is that I won’t be as prepared for my trail half marathon in two weeks. On the plus side, though, is that I made the leap to a Garmin
(exciting!). Inspired by this Reader’s Roundtable, and the fact that I won some store credit to my favorite running store in my indoor triathlon, I went for a Forerunner 220. Added bonus: If you buy a 220 or 620 before May 31st, you can get a $25 or $50 rebate. (Details here.)
Week of 4.12.15
Monday – A lackluster 10 mi. Average pace 9:30, but I had to walk frequently in the second half.
Thursday – 8 mi tempo. 1.5 mi warmup, 4 mi at 8:00 (half marathon goal pace), 3 mins rest, 1 mi at 7:45 (10k pace), cool down.
Sunday – 4 mi around a Central Florida golf course. 1st run with my new Garmin!
Week of 4.19.15
Wednesday – Sprints ladder. 2 mi warmup, 2 x 200, 2 x 400, 2 x 800. Rest. 2 x 800, 2 x 400, 2 x 200. Cool down. 6 mi total.
Friday – Bike ride from Harlem to Astoria Queens, about 6 miles with some killer elevation to get over the two bridges that go across the East River.
Saturday – Bike ride back from Astoria to Harlem. 7 mi tempo run around Central Park. 2 mi warmup, 5 mi around 8:00.
Sunday – Planned for 10 mi but ran an actual 8.5. Even my favorite route up to the tip top of Manhattan was no match to combat the chilly, windy, tired day. At least I got out there.
In my dream world, I would be strutting around today in a purple and orange jacket of questionable taste. This jacket would not be the sort of thing I usually wear, it certainly isn’t something I’d ever choose for myself, and I would have paid way too much money for it.
You know what I’m talking about.
I mean, it’s okay that I didn’t make it to Boston this year…I’ll make it someday! Until then I’ll have to make do with a homemade knockoff that’s even less stylish than the real deal.
Learn how to make your own Boston Marathon jacket (for less than five bucks!) after the jump! Read more >>
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