The Week in Miles

by Katie on March 23, 2014

One week out from the half marathon and 4 weeks to go until Boston

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I am starting to get excited.  I think a good tune up race will do that – increase the marathon excitement.  No matter how the marathon goes, I’m thrilled with the race that told me I should be in good shape for the marathon.  I’m thrilled with how I felt running that race.  Now, all I can do is keep running, keep healthy and keep working towards a marathon.  One mile at a time.  Then run.  and have fun.

Up until this point, I’ve been more terrified than excited about running Boston and all things that go with a race of that size.  The terror of it all is dissipating and the excited anticipation is setting in.  It’s going to be a good weekend.  It’s actually going to be a racing weekend.  The husband has a 50k that saturday and then marathon for me on Monday.  I have no idea what my boston weekend plans are yet, but I know come tuesday, we will be quite a pair.

I had a good week of training after the half

Here’s what it looked like:

90 miles Total

Monday: 10 miles

6 easy am, 4 easy pm

Tuesday: 9.5 miles @ 7:00

Wednesday: 11.3 @ 7:00

Thursday: 15.2 miles total

AM – 11.2 with a 3 x 2 mile tempo

LATE AM – 4 easy with the husband.  I said we were doing 8′s, he said no way.  He was right.  7:30 pace.

The early morning tempo: I have not really done a tempo by myself in quite awhile.  The last tempo I did was on a treadmill, so I don’t really count that as solo…there was a belt…making me run.  My training partner couldn’t do this one with me, and I might have freaked a little bit.  I pulled myself together and ran the darn thing.

The goal was to run a progressive tempo interval, 3 x 2 miles, 2 minute jogs:

Goal pace – 6:05 first set, 6:00 second set, 5:55 third set

6:01 first set

5:58 second set

5:49 third set

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Happy girl.  Solo tempo done.  Feeling good.

Friday: 10 miles @ 7:15 + Barre class

The Barre.  Smashed my legs to pieces.  If I actually completed half the class, that would be impressive.  By the end of this class, my legs were shot.  I usually do barre on Fridays, which is usually after 10 miles in the morning, which is the day after a tempo or some sort of longer workout and followed by a long run the day after.  Thankfully, I was doing my long run on Sunday this week, one extra day to recoup from the barre beating I got on Friday.  Every week I do this barre class, every week I’m blown away by how tough it is and how equally fantastic it is.  I have noticed improvements in my strength, although my form is flipping terrible.  I was not meant to be a ballerina.

Saturday: 10 miles @ 7:05

Sunday: 24 mile long run @ 6:55

The goal was to run 6:55 – 7:10

which reads to me as: RUN 6:55

so, I ran 6:55 average pace.  I did the first 8 with my training partner, and the last 16 solo.  I’ve been doing my long runs very hilly, but I kept this one on the not as hilly side so that I could do faster end of the pace range.  It was about 1000 feet elevation gain.

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I don’t know what kind of crazy pill I took when I planned the route, but I did the 24 miles on this one loop, around and around, back and forth, with some off-shoots.  The loop was just under 6 miles, with a couple short out and back roads off the loop.  There was a method to my madness.  I really do like loop courses for long runs, and I needed to practice fueling.  I don’t fuel on runs, but I use this one long run, the longest before the marathon, as an opportunity to try the fueling.

FUEL – I made a gel/paste out of the UCAN, by mixing just a little bit of water with 1/2 a scoop.  I ate that 30 minutes before my run.  I had a water bottle with UCAN on the corner of a road that I knew I would pass by, thanks to my ingenius loop course, and could take a quick swig of it on the way by and toss.  I had about 6 oz of that mix.  That was the extent of it today.  I know UCAN works for me.  All went well.

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There is no reason that mile 7 is highlighted.  It wasn’t a super special mile.  It was just mile 7 :-)

I’m pretty happy that run is done.  24 doesn’t seem like a heck of a lot more than the normal 20ish mile long run, but it really is.  I love long runs.  One of my favorite parts of training.  I look forward to them every week.  I was looking forward to this one, and it was definitely a workout.

That run finished my third 90 mile week.  Last year, at this time, I didn’t think I would ever be more than a 60 mile a week marathoner.  I wasn’t sure I could handle more than that because I was struggling to keep that together.  I’m pleasantly surprised with how comfortable I feel with 90 miles.  Slowly, steadily and patiently getting the miles up there.

Recovery for me is key.  I will probably do a post on recovery and my nutrition at some point.  I do credit much of my own ability to run more miles on the proper recovery and good nutrition.  It’s all a piece of the training puzzle and I’m slowly figuring out what works for me.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!


New Bedford Half Marathon 2014

by Katie on March 18, 2014

The following words came out of my husbands mouth on the way to the race on Sunday:

“WHY don’t you just run a 1:17:59.  Get in the 1:17′s”

Then, these words came out of my mouth:

“Well, my sweet love, I am just not a 1:17:xx half marathoner…yet, easier said than done.  That’s just the way it is.  But I will be.  I know that.  I will be thrilled to get a PR, coming from 1:19:55, even more thrilled to break 1:19 this winter”

“ok”, says the hubs.  ”1:18:xx is great”


because I felt like I was shooting for the stars hoping to be in the 1:18′s

So, you can imagine my surprise when I crossed the finish line at the New Bedford Half marathon



I thought I would have to bust my butt to get in the 1:18′s.

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finish line sprint

well. that was a very funny thing to happen.  especially given the conversation I just had hours prior with the hubs. I just said that would never happen.  I went as far as to calculate the pace of a 1:17:xx and say, “nope.  definitely not going to happen.  the calculator even agrees.  maybe in the fall”.  I didn’t pull a 1:17:59 as requested.  I landed squarely in the bottom half of 1:17.

for a 2.5 minute PR

and only .1 off on the tangents.  That’s what I get for running straight down the middle of the road.

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5th female out of 1100 females and

125th overall out of 2850 runners

The male winner was 1:05:xx and female winner was 1:11:xx, former olympian who probably ran it as a workout and not a race.  that’s nice.

It’s not an easy race.  It’s not a hard race.  There are hills.  It was only about 400 ft elevation gain.  There was wind.  I was told a number of times about the big hill at the finish and then decent headwind off the water in the last few miles.  However, it’s a big enough race and draws a fast crowd, which makes for good racing.  I’ll take a good crowd over an easy course any day.  Just run colchester half and any half marathon after will seem like a dream.  The best races are the ones with challenges.

I was the resident half marathon idiot who pulled up to the start line in a tank and shorts.

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even the tree was wearing a sweater

I didn’t do the arm warmers.  I wasn’t the only one, but I felt silly.  It all works out just fine.  I know that if a race is in the 30′s, I need to wear a tank and shorts.  I froze my butt off for the first 3 miles and then was happy with my decision.  It would not have been so bad if it wasn’t so windy.

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I went to bed the night before prepared to work for this half marathon.  Hadley told me to start ticking off 6 minute miles from the start.  I knew that I was physically capable of that, but the execution on race day is always an uncertainty.  I was confident I was going to be working hard to keep a 6 minute pace.  I had a really off week leading up to the race.  Overly tired and severely unmotivated, mostly thanks to the lovely perks of being female, and lots going on with kids, life, work, the usual.  I am a believer in the fact that woman are at a slight disadvantage due to the monthly hormonal shifts that take place.  It’s a real thing – they do effect energy levels and what not.  And I was not on the cooperating half of the hormonal month. I also know that I can run just as well in that latter part of the month, I just have to be smarter about it.  I go to bed obscenely early.  Dexter can wait until next week.  I did not do most of the double runs on the schedule and I ran the shorter end of the prescribed daily mileage range.  I went into this race with about 53 miles.  I may be running a tad more bloated and +5lbs, but hey, I’m trained for this.

Race Morning

I was planning on going to this race solo.  7am race morning, the hubs decides to come with the kids.  Yay!  I was so happy they decided to come.  It’s a two hour drive.  We got the kids ready and out the door by 7:45.  The race didn’t start until 11am.

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my favorite little people

They had their own fun waiting for me to finish.  It is no small task keeping them occupied for the race…like herding cats as my husband likes to call it.  It is nice when they come – to be greeted by them right at the finish…and to have them at the start.  I can just toss my layers to the hubs and be off.

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Pre-race breakfast:

Iced coffee

Gluten free muffin/bar

Generation UCAN cocktail

(1 scoop PomRaz flavor + Natural Calm magnesium + GNC puredge aminos)

I started the consumption around 7:30 and finished eating/drinking all of these things by 8:30

I had half of a gu about 20 minutes before the race, at like 10:40.  No fuel or fluid during.

I thought this was a very organized, well run race.  They were very strict about the bag policy and not allowing bags inside the YMCA where registration/bib pickup was, as well as where you could enter and exit.  There were bathrooms inside and a bunch of porta potties outside and right near the start.  I picked up my bib, then did about a 20 minute warmup jog.  I’m guessing I ran about 2.5 miles for the warmup.  I was able to warmup with a couple of speedsters who run for the BAA.  They told me how it was usually a decent headwind for the last few miles because it is right on the water.  They did not lie.  They also told me that the long hill in mile 12 would end when you see the KFC.  I’ve never been so happy to see a fast food chain.  I honestly didn’t even know KFC was still around.  I was elated when I saw that KFC sitting pretty on the corner.  Finish line was right around the corner.

Back to the pre-race…

After the warmup, I hit the bathrooms one last time and headed up to the start.

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The race started right on time.  extra bonus because I was FREEZING in my tank and shorts.

The first 3-4 miles of a half are always kind of miserable for me.  I don’t know why.  It just takes me a bit to settle in and find my groove and pace.  Get comfortable with the course, you know, get to know each other.  The first mile was fast, and the second mile was slow…my lazy mile…pick it back up.  6 minute pace all the way…don’t let it go.  hadley says so.

After mile 3 (and a couple hills), I started to feel more comfortable.  I passed a couple of girls in the first 3 miles, then that was it for the rest of the race.  I didn’t know how far behind me any girls were, but I knew I wasn’t close to any women in front.  I would go back and forth passing and getting passed with the same group of guys, through to the finish.


5:54, 6:03, 5:59 (first good hill), 5:56, 5:38, 5:43, 5:32, 5:55, 5:43, 5:55, 5:57, 6:02, 6:15 (the hill!  followed by the KFC!)

5:02 for last .2

Random facts:

- My 10k split was 36:38.  I haven’t run a 10k in 2.5 years.  This was fun to see

- My 15k split was 54:19.  I’ve never run a 15k.  I was happy they had all these splits on the course.

- My 10 mile time was 58:30.  My last 10 mile race was 1:01:xx.  I also knew at this point that I was doing pretty good.  I felt great and some quick math told me I was averaging just about 5:50.  The 10 mile mental math was manageable in my head.  58:30 = 5.83 minute mile = about 5:50 pace.  yay.  And then I double checked the math because that put me 10′ish seconds per mile ahead of “schedule” at mile 10.

By mile 10, I knew I could finish well, even with the hill coming.  The wind was going nowhere, except against me, so after about a mile of it, I just made myself feel right at home with it.  I kind of laughed to myself – that of course the wind would be rough in the last 3-4 miles of a half – when it usually gets hard without wind.  Steady and strong.

I hit 12 miles at about 1:10:30, so I knew even if I ran a horrible split for the hill (which became a 6:30 pace at one point), I could probably work for it to squeak under 1:18.  I thought I would have been seconds away from going over 1:18.  I about died when I could finally see the finish clock in sight and it was in the 1:17:teens.  I had a well deserved I told you so coming from the hubs.

Between mile 8 and 9, I thought to myself, I am either on a train wreck of a race, so help me God, or I am actually running as well as I feel, really feeling good and having a great race. I let myself have a great race.

By mile 11, I was telling myself, this is just like the fast finish long runs…keep it going…2 more miles, you are there, this is just the end of a training run.  And that’s really what it felt like.  I pretended my training partner was there making sure we were sticking close to that fast finish 6 minute pace.  That didn’t really work in mile 12/13, but whatever.  A hill is a hill.  there’s no getting around that.  The effort was there.  Ask the guy in front of me that had to listen to me coughing and choking on saliva the whole way up the darn hill.  I think I apologized to him when he turned around at one point, with a glaring look, to see what was going on in the rear.  He simply could have slowed down and let me pass to remedy the annoying situation, but he chose to press on.  Good for him.  I’m not a spitter.  That probably would have remedied the situation.  I think most guys are “spitters”.  For the sake of everyone around me, I’m not.  It was a very steady race, which was exactly what I wanted and needed to feel in a tune up.  As ready as I was for it, the “I want to die” feeling never showed up.

My husband and kids were right at the 13 mile mark.  I was so excited to see them.  they got a two thumbs up, as best I could manage.  I think he was surprised to see me, as per our earlier conversation, he was not expecting me in the 1:17 time frame.  Hearing the “mommy!!! mama!! Go mom!!” is the best.


I found out I was 5th female after I crossed the finish.  4th finished in just under 1:16.  I heard everything from “3rd female!” to “7th Female!”, even “holy legs!” on the course (to which I thought, that does NOT tell me what place I am!;-)).  My legs are long.  I am the giant runner next to all the little fasties at the start.  often the speedy female runners are tiny people.

It was a really good day.  It was great to have my husband and little chickadees there.  It was great for him to prove me wrong.  It was great to just race.  It was great to be comfortable and confident and not worry about the finish time.  Instead, to trust my training, my long runs and long tempos and run what felt good, to finish a great race and have the time reflect all of that cold winter running nonsense.  It was great to run a solid half at the end of a long winter, when it really didn’t feel like it was possible.  I’ve had fun with it for about a day, and just as quickly as it happened, it goes away, and dreams of 1:16′s are floating in my head.

I felt great Monday morning.  not sore, which is so nice.  I refuel and rehydrate like a champ post race.  I bring my Vega Recovery Accelerator and a protein drink with me.  Those babies go down the hatch asap post-race and I keep the water flowing all day.  Then I can get right back in to easy miles and continue with the workouts later this week.

Last week ended with 67 miles, 1 workout early in the week and of course the half marathon.  I didn’t get as long of a cooldown as I would have liked because we had a drive home, but I’m ok with that.  My legs were not ok with that after 2 hours of immobility.

Monday: 10 miles total with 6 on the treadmill (8:10 pace) early in the am, and another very easy 4 on the roads in the afternoon at about 7:45 pace.

Today: I got 9.5 miles in with my training partner at 7:00 average.  15 degrees.  It’s still cold out.  Why is it still so cold out?

The plan is for a 3 x 2 mile tempo interval on Thursday and a super long run on Sunday.  24 miles.  Let the good times roll

It’s less than 5 weeks until Boston.  There is work to be done.  That is approximately 4 workouts and 3 long runs.  I have one of my favorite workouts coming up next week – 10 mile wave tempo.  So fun.  At least it was fun last time.  Coach may try to kill me this time.  I hope to get in at least a couple more 90 mile weeks between now and then.  I have no other races scheduled, so that was it.  That was the tune up, and I think I feel tuned up.

Do you prefer a flat, fast, PR friendly, SMALL race, or not so flat and fast but BIG race? 



Training Update

March 15, 2014

I have not run a spring marathon in two years, for exactly the reason that we are experiencing right now – winters stinks. I think I hit my breaking point with sub 10-15 degree weather this week.  It was brutally difficult for me to get moving in the early morning hour.  6 days until spring. [...]

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Colchester Half Marathon Recap – v.2014

February 25, 2014

I ran Colchester Half marathon for the third time on Saturday. After the first time I ran it, I said never again.  I did it again. After that time, I said never again.  Then I found out what the female course record was.  I was 40 seconds off.  I ran it again, this year. Third [...]

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Winter Running

February 13, 2014

Now that February is halfway over, I can say with certainty that I have earned my “winter runner” title.  I have run in colder temps than I ever thought imaginable. I dislike winter running with a passion But, I LOVE running.  and I’ve got a little thing called Boston Marathon coming up in like fewer weeks [...]

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It Takes a Village

January 9, 2014

I have written at least 27 blog posts {in my head} and deleted them all before they made it to the computer and  the “publish” button could be hit There is certainly a lot I could write about There was a very last minute race back in early December, in which I ran 15 miles [...]

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Back on the Road

November 30, 2013

Happy Belated Thanksgiving! I hope every one had a lovely holiday.  I did.  Lots of food, family and fun.  The best part of holidays now is that my kids are not the babies anymore, which means I get to smother the baby nieces and nephews.  They steal my heart.  I have to admit, with three [...]

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Timing is Everything

November 10, 2013

Hartford Marathon was four weeks ago time flies On a beautiful, sunny day, I still find myself daydreaming about that day {final push in that last mile} {at the finish} I love that.  I love that when I don’t run for 7 days, it stinks to high heaven and I’m not a super happy camper, [...]

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Hartford Marathon – The FULL Story of a 2:48 Race

October 19, 2013

In my mind’s eye, I could see myself breaking down in a blubbering mess at the finish line   that is, if in fact I did get the number on the fridge or even the back up number to the number on the fridge. or, quite honestly, just a solid marathon race. I did not. [...]

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The Number on the Fridge

October 13, 2013

I had a goal for this marathon.  I mentioned that I wasn’t going to tell what it was, but that I put the number on my fridge, and there it stayed.  Now, I’ll tell you what that number was…. 2:48 My number on the fridge I got it It was a slightly far fetched goal [...]

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