Vancouver Half Training – Week 3

This is coming a bit later than I planned. It’s been a busy week.

I had to make some tweaks to the training plan last week due to weather and my knee feeling “off.” Changed up the mileage a tad on a couple of runs and swapped a run for the elliptical for something low impact. Overall not too bad of a week for training.

Monday – 2.43 mile walk (40 minutes)

Just did a walk on this cross training day.

Tuesday – 3.5 miles (9:51/mile pace) 

Kate and I were planning to meet up for a run, but rain moved in, so we called for a literal rain check. I hit the workout room for an indoor run on the treadmill. Had some Olympic track & field for motivation.

treadmill

It always happens that after running outside consistently I remember how much I dislike the treadmill. I feel like my form is different or I’m not as relaxed. My knee started to hurt a tiny bit during the run. It’s been a little off lately. Not sure what’s going on there.

I made it through the run and then looked out the window to see a beautiful, epic rainbow over the river. It had stopped raining so I darted outside to snap some pictures. My camera couldn’t do this thing justice.

rainbow1

rainbow2

Wednesday – rest day

I had a Spin4 planning committee meeting after work (an upcoming CCFA event!) and then I headed straight to book club, so I embraced the rest day after my knee feeling weird the day before.

Thursday – 35 minute elliptical

The weather wasn’t fabulous again, so I opted to swap my run for an elliptical workout to give the knee an extra break.

Friday – rest day

Saturday – 3.82 miles (9:42/mile pace)

I woke up about 7:30 and checked the weather. Looked like rain was coming in and it would be rainy most of the day. I decided to get up and try to outrun the rain. I had 3 mile run on my plan, but I wanted to do closer to 4 since I skipped a run during the week.

Of course it started lightly sprinkling as soon as I walked outside. The light sprinkle lasted most of the run and then the rain picked up in the last mile. It actually felt good to run in the rain for a little bit. I stopped at 3.84 miles and felt good about it. And the knee felt good, too.

rain

That night I met up with some college friends to grab Chinese food at Village Wok one more time before it gets torn down. So sad to see a campus staple going away. All in the name of another apartment building. There’s a sign in the window that says Village Wok will be back, but I know it won’t be the same.

Sesame chicken
Sesame chicken

Sunday – 6.27 miles (9:36/mile pace) and 32 minute walk

It was a gorgeous morning, so I decided to head over to Lake Nokomis for my long run.

nokomis

I felt good running around the lake. My knee hurt a tiny bit around mile 4.5 (grrr), but then it went away. Not sure what’s up with that, but it’s annoying! I’m got a plan to start doing more consistent strength training that I’m hoping will help.

I didn’t have much going on the rest of the day, so I got to relax. I was feeling restless in the afternoon and decided to go out for a walk before dinner just to get a little more fresh air and enjoy the sunshine.

Gopher to Badger 5K Race Recap

This was a new race for me to try and kind of fun since I’m originally from Wisconsin, but now live in Minnesota (go Gophers!).

Hyedi and I met up about 6:15 a.m. to head to Hudson, WI. We parked and got over to the finish area which is where we needed to hop on a shuttle to get to the start. It’s a point-to-point course since you start in MN and run to WI — hence the name of the race!

gtob2

gtob3

The shuttles were kind of a hot mess. It was really confusing as far as what time we needed to get on them and it seemed like they almost didn’t have enough shuttles for the number of runners. The shuttles left maybe 20 minutes later than scheduled. I was getting frustrated and annoyed just wanting to get to the start so I could use the restroom and get prepped before the race started.

We finally got to the start and again the organization was a hot mess. The 5K was supposed to start at 7:40, but it was maybe 7:30 when we actually arrived, so I knew they were not going to start on time. We hopped in a restroom line (there were only 4 bathrooms at the start). I wasn’t sure if we’d get through before the race actually started, but we just made it and lined up semi near the front.

The other bad thing was the 5K start was right on the Ragnar Relay course that was happening at the same time. I felt so bad for the Ragnar runners trying to get through the crowd of people waiting at the start line.

So, the pre-race portion was a bit frustrating, but once we got running things got better. I had a 3 mile pace run on my training schedule and came into the race aiming for a 9:20-9:30 pace. The race starts on a downhill, so you get some good momentum going. Had to weave around some people, but didn’t feel as bad as some races. Hyedi and I ran together for the first mile (my Garmin said 9:06) and then she picked up her pace a bit. Near the end of mile 1 the course narrows on the sidewalks/path, but it had thinned out enough that I didn’t get stuck behind too many people.

Mile 2 was also primarily downhill as you go across the bridge over the St. Croix river and enter WI. I maintained the faster pace (9:04) through that mile. As I came into mile 3, I was still feeling good and the course remained flat, so I pushed it towards the finish (8:46).

gtob4
Photo credit: Hyedi

I crossed the finish line in 28:23! Definitely faster than I was planning to run, but it felt good.

gtobmedal

The organization at the finish line was better. I got water and a little food and walked around for a couple of minutes to cool down. We snapped a picture by Goldy before heading out.

gtob1

Overall, I’m really happy with how the run part of this race went–and I guess that’s the most important thing. I’d like to actually train for a 5K at some point and aim for a new PR.

Have you ever dealt with a poorly organized start?

Vancouver Half Training – Week 2

Week 2 of training is in the books! It was a good week. The mileage isn’t very high yet, so I’m just focusing on getting in my runs.

Monday – rest

Technically, I had 30 minutes of cross training on the plan for Monday. I had to walk to and from a meeting at work (about 10 minutes each way) and walked to dinner with my sister (about 10 minutes each way), so I used the short walks as justification for skipping a more formal workout. My body was a bit tired that day, so felt ok to take it a little easy.

Tuesday – 3.06 miles (9:37/mile pace)

Got in my run after work and spent the rest of the night watching the Olympics. I got in some foam rolling while watching the U.S. Gymnastics team finals. One of my favorite sports to watch during the Olympics! They are so amazing!

gymfoam

Wednesday – 3.03 miles (9:35/mile pace)

It was hot and humid and just plain gross out. The downside of summer running. But I got it done.

Thursday – 4.05 miles (9:24/mile pace)

This 4 mile pace run was actually on my plan for Wednesday, but I swapped it with the 3 mile run because of the weather. I went out aiming for a 9:20-9:30 pace and felt pretty good about hitting that for most of the run.

Friday – rest

Saturday – 3.1 miles (9:09/mile pace)

I had a 3 mile pace run on my plan, which worked out great because I was already registered for the Gopher to Badger 5K. A full race recap is coming, but I ended up running a bit faster than I planned, but felt good the whole way.

gtobmedal

Saturday afternoon was spent with my family. We headed to Irish Fair MN (even though we’re about 0% Irish :)). It was a gorgeous day to be outside. We listened to some music, ate some food, watched Irish dancing, and enjoyed the sunshine.

bagpipes  irishfair

Sunday – 5.03 miles (9:32/mile pace)

I got up early to cheer on a few friends who were participating in the YWCA women’s triathlon. It was the first tri for a couple of them. So great to see them out there killing it on the course! So proud of them.

tri

After cheering, I headed out to meet up with my family again for church and brunch to celebrate mom’s birthday. We wrapped up the afternoon with presents and a short walk with the dog before they headed home.

With lots of stuff going on throughout the day, I waited to do my long run until the evening. It was still a little steamy, but nowhere near as bad as earlier in the week. I tried to keep a nice, easy pace and still ended up going a little faster than planned. My legs were a little tired, but not as much as I thought they might be after a fast run the day before.

I’m looking forward to the weeks ahead of training. I actually like when mileage starts to get longer. And I’m looking forward to another week of Olympic coverage!

Thanks to Jessie for alerting me to her linkup with another Jess! Check out more weekly recap posts.

The Right Fits

What’s your favorite Olympic event to watch?

Vancouver Half Training – Week 1

Here we go again! Another training cycle, another half. This will be my third of the year. Each one has gotten better, and I’m hoping to run a sub 2:05 in Vancouver. I’m trying out a new training plan that has me running 5 days per week with one day of cross training and one rest day on most weeks. It will be a little different for me, so we’ll see how my body does. Here’s how the first week of training went…

Monday – 20 minute walk

Mondays are the cross training day on my plan. It was a nice day, so I just did an easy walk to kick things off.

Tuesday – 3.67 miles (9:09/mile)

Group run with Kate and Hyedi. We did Tuesday runs training for Garry Bjorklund Half in June and have tried to keep them going through the summer. A pretty quick, hard run for me. I was feeling it by the end.

Wednesday – 3.07 miles (9:49/mile)

It was a hot day, but I wanted to get in a run. I had 4 miles on my plan, but the weather and my knee feeling a bit “off” had me keeping it at 3.

hot run
sweaty selfie
sweaty selfie
sweaty selfie

Thursday – rest

Friday – 4.01 miles (9:37/mile)

I got in the 4 mile run that I didn’t do on Wednesday. Was nice to have Thursday off cause my knee felt better and the temps had become more comfortable.

Saturday – 30 minutes of HIIT, 30 minutes of Zumba

A friend belongs to a gym that does high intensity interval training (HIIT) and they were holding a free class at an Athleta store, so I decided to go check it out. We did 30 minutes of circuit training with a few exercises focusing on core, a few on legs and a couple on arms. It was a really good workout, but definitely tough. Proof that I need to do more strength training! My body definitely felt it the next day, so I know it was working.

The second half was a 30 minute Zumba class. I’ve never done Zumba, but had always wanted to try it. The class was fun. A bit hard to pick up on some of the moves for my first time, but it was fun.🙂

Sunday – 4.04 miles (9:39/mile)

I set my alarm to get up and do my “long run” for the week before brunch plans. Since we’re at the beginning of training, the long run was only 4 miles. I felt good, but my muscles were feeling that HIIT workout from Saturday.

After running, it was time to eat…and drink. Hyedi and I went to brunch at Saint Dinette. They make mini everything bagels to go with their Bloody Mary, so I had to try one!

bagelbloddy

We also tried the biscuits & gravy and pork carnitas tacos.  Both were absolutely delicious!

bandgravy  porktacos

We finished up the meal with something sweet–beignets with lemon curd!

beignets

Overall, a good first week of training. I’m looking forward to getting this training cycle going and seeing what I can do in Vancouver!

Looking Ahead and a Few Favorite Races

This post was inspired by Eventbrite. All opinions are my own. 

Now that the Garry Bjorklund Half is done, I’ve been looking ahead at the second half of the year and my upcoming races. My big thing will be my third half of the year at the end of October. It’s the Vancouver Half, and I’m super excited for this runcation (and hopefully another PR)! I’ll officially start training for that Aug. 1. I’ve got a 5K in August and a 10 mile and 10K  in the fall that will fit nicely in my training plan. I might keep an eye out for some other small 5Ks or fun races as well. Eventbrite’s local events page is a good place to find and sign up for races in your local area. I’ve also heard their event planning page is a great resource for organizing your own race or charity run.

Three of my four upcoming races will be new ones for me. I love trying out new races and experiencing different courses, but I also have some favorite races that I can’t help but do every year. One that I had done every year (until last year) was the Building Strength 5K. It was the first 5K I ever did, so it holds a special place in my heart. It’s a small 5K that benefits a great cause–I love those kinds of races. The energy at big races is exciting and a lot of them have charity partners, but I feel a little closer to the cause when I do the smaller community races. It feels good to do something I love while supporting organizations and people who are doing some good. I’m going to have to miss the Building Strength 5K again this year, but I really hope I can be back in 2017!

After the Building Strength 5K in 2012 - my first 5K!
After the Building Strength 5K in 2012 – my first 5K!

Another one of my favorite races I do every year is Goldy’s 10 mile. That was the first long distance race I ever did and as a Gopher alumni, I love running around campus and finishing on the 50 yard line of the football stadium. This race made me fall in love with the 10 mile distance. I’ve seen my time improve on this (hilly) course each year. It’s a great spring race to keep me running through the cold MN winters, too!

Goldy's 10 mile finish line
Goldy’s 10 mile 2013 (my first!)
Goldys2
Goldy’s 10 mile 2015

One more race favorite – the Turkey Trot in my hometown. My family and I have done this the last few years. They do the 2 mile walk and I do the 5 mile run. I love starting out Thanksgiving with a run. And you get a mini pumpkin pie!

Who needs a medal when there's pie?!
Who needs a medal when there’s pie?!

What races/events do you have for the 2nd half of 2016? What are some races you do every year? 

 

Garry Bjorklund Half Race Recap

It took me over a week, but I’m finally getting my race recap up! I’ll try not to ramble on, but I apologize ahead of time if this gets long.

Race day started off with a very early wake-up call — 3:15 a.m. That’s the downside of a race that starts at 6:15 a.m. Hyedi, John and I got ourselves ready and headed out the door at 4 a.m. to get to the shuttles. (You can’t drive to the start line.) We were plenty early and got on a shuttle right away.

We got off the shuttle and had some time to hang out at the start. One upside of a race that starts at 6:15 a.m. is we were treated to some nice sunrise views over Lake Superior.

gb_prerace1

gb_prerace2

We made our way into the very crowded corral just after 6 a.m. I found a spot between the 2:00 pacer and the 2:15 pacer. Before I knew it, we were moving and I crossed the start a couple minutes later. I was surprised that I didn’t have to do much weaving in the first mile. The road is pretty wide, which I think helped. I focused on trying to run a steady pace and aimed to not go out too fast. My watch beeped at mile 1 and it said 9:33 — right on pace.

Even though I was running the pace I wanted, I was disappointed that my legs didn’t feel very fresh. Felt like they were heavy and weren’t warming up. This was messing with me mentally early in the race. I spent a lot of the first 4 miles in my head and not as much time as I would’ve liked enjoying the pretty scenery with the lake to our left. It was peaceful and serene in these initial miles since there aren’t many spectators.

The other issue I noticed in the first third of the race was how much I was sweating. It wasn’t very hot yet, but it was HUMID. They had water stops every 2 miles initially and then every mile starting at mile 6, and I took advantage in order to keep replenishing my fluids.

Around miles 4-5, my legs were feeling a bit better, but the temperatures were increasing as the sun rose higher. I was a bit better mentally in the middle of the race, but still not my best.  The increase in crowd support as we got closer to Duluth helped a little.

At the mile 8 water stop, I ate two Chomps and grabbed some water. I also grabbed a sponge. This is an awesome thing Grandma’s Marathon/Garry Bjorklund Half offers. It’s a sponge dipped in cold water. You just grab it and dump that cold water all over yourself. Felt so good!

I knew Lemondrop Hill wasn’t far away (between miles 9-10). When I first saw it in the distance, it looked scary big. As I got closer, I saw that it was just an optical illusion, and it’s not a big, scary hill. I got through it (and one more tiny hill beyond it) and made my way into the last few miles of the race.

At this point, I was hot, tired, and ready to be done. We started into downtown Duluth where there are several turns in the course. I was back to a bad not great mental place where I just kept counting down the miles until I was done.

Around mile 12, when I was really feeling it, I got a boost when I heard friends shout my name and give me a wave and a cheer. (Thanks “runner support!”) I tried to see if I had anything left in the tank to pick up my pace near the end, but I just really didn’t. I focused on keeping my pace around 9:30 just to try and make my goal.

All of the turns near the finish are deceiving when you’re not familiar with the course (and when you’re tired). I had two moments of thinking I was approaching the finish line only to see that I still had more to run. Finally, I saw the actual finish line and gave it everything I had.

I crossed the finish and stopped my watch. When I looked down, I knew I had met my goals!

Goal 1: Finish – check! It was a tough race for me mentally, but I crossed the finish line.
Goal 2: Run a sub 2:10 – check! I finished in 2:05:21. Not only a PR, but I shaved 5 minutes off my previous PR!!
Goal 3: Run a 9:30 pace – check! (Pretty much, my official time said avg pace of 9:35, but I’ll take it!)

gb medal

I made may way through the crowd to grab water, food and get my gear bag. I found Hyedi, John and our personal cheer squad. We sat in the grass for a few minutes to relax and celebrate our races. We also had to figure out how we were going to get back to the house since it turned out my car was blocked in at the hotel we parked at until the marathon was over. We came up with a plan and headed out to relax and enjoy the rest of the day.

post race selfie
All smiles since we both PR’d!

So happy with my time, but not happy with my mental state in this race. I can’t put my finger on why this race was tougher, but I think one of my goals for my fall half will be to work on having a better mental race. And now that I’m so close, I might have to go for a sub 2:05 half.😉

Ok, that was kinda long — sorry.

Have you ever had a bad race mentally? 

Garry Bjorklund Half Training – Week 12

The final week of training was pretty relaxed and definitely fewer miles to give my legs some rest before the big day.

Monday – rest

Tuesday – 26 minute elliptical 

I usually meet up with Hyedi and Kate for our Tuesday run, but storms were headed our way in the evening, so we cancelled. Sad not to do one more training run with them, but I had been planning to do an elliptical workout in place of a run this week anyway. The rainy evening made it easier to do that on Tuesday.

The storm did pass and the sky was actually very pretty before sunset.

after storm

Wednesday – 3.02 miles (9:25/mile)

Thursday – 2.07 miles (9:42/mile)

Meh. This was not a good run. I was only planning to do 2 miles, so thankfully it was short. My legs were super tired and heavy the whole time. It was just a struggle. Sort of disconcerting a couple of days before the race, but I held out hope that a rest day in between would be enough.

Friday – rest

I took the day off of work since I’d be heading up to Duluth. I got some errands done in the morning and then headed out around noon. Hit some lovely traffic at one point — thanks summer construction. Luckily I didn’t have to be in it for too long. I made it to Duluth and headed straight for the expo to get my packet.

expo

packet

Then I met up with friends where I was staying and we ate some spaghetti to carbo-load for the day. Three of us were doing the half and one was doing the marathon. Two others were our runner support for the weekend, and they were awesome!

Saturday – Race Day!

A full race recap is coming, but the short story is I finished and PR’d!

gb medal

We spent the rest of the day relaxing and spending some time outside. We celebrated our races with a little bubbly, too!

bubbly

Sunday – 2.5 mile walk

My family and I headed to Lake Nokomis to celebrate Father’s Day, so we took a leisurely walk around the lake before firing up the grill for lunch. It was a hot day, but there was a breeze that kept it comfortable. We grabbed some ice cream later in the afternoon to help keep cool.🙂

All in all, I’d say this was a very good training cycle. I’ve already got two half marathons under my belt for the year and one more to come in the fall. I’ve got a little bit of a break from formal training right now, which I’m kind of looking forward to. I’ll still run, but won’t have to follow a plan until later in the summer. Gonna do my best to get outside an enjoy the MN summer!

What races do you have this summer? What are your summer plans?