{Monday Motivation} To Give Anything Less Than Your Best

This is a classic Pre quote but I really liked the graphic. I think it’s especially important to remember this when you’re training for a race because let’s be honest, you don’t always give your best on every run. There are a lot of miles to log during training and some days might not be your best but if you give the best you can possibly give each day of training, you won’t sacrifice the gift. Happy running!


Marine Corps Marathon Training Week 2

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

This week of training can be defined by two words: heat wave. But I’m not going to complain too much about it here because I’m honestly tired of talking about the weather. It is what it is and everyone is dealing with it, it’s just a little bit harder on us crazy marathoners because we voluntarily run and strain ourselves in this weather so we really can’t complain about it. But a hard summer makes for a strong fall, right? Anyway, besides the heat, this was a pretty solid week of training.

Monday- Cross-training at Bootcamp.

45 minutes of strength training. We did five circuits of no-repeat exercises.

Tuesday- 5 miles, easy

I did not want to wake up early for this run but I’m so glad I did. It wasn’t too hot when I left my apartment and the forecast for later on in the day would be 95-97 degrees and humid. It was pretty humid out which made breathing hard but overall it was a good run.

Plan: 5 miles, easy at 10:40/mile pace
Actual: 5 miles in 43:05 at 8:37/mile pace
(1) 9:15/mile
(2) 8:30/mile
(3) 8:29/mile
(4) 8:41/mile
(5) 8:09/mile

Shoe: Asics Gel Kayano 19

Wednesday- Speedwork – 3.5 miles total

My training plan called for 3 miles easy today but I really wanted to do speedwork. I waited until after work to head to the track and it wasn’t as bad temperature-wise as I was expecting. I felt surprisingly great and my times on these intervals were all faster than when I did this same workout three weeks ago in 15 degree cooler weather.

Plan: 3 miles, easy (10:40/mile pace)
Actual: 3.5 miles
1-mile warmup at 8:50/mile pace
(1) 1:42.0
(2) 1:39.8
(3) 1:37.7
(4) 1:36.9
(5) 1:38.0
(6) 1:36.1
(7) 1:36.5
(8) 1:32.4
0.5-mile cool down

Shoe: Saucony Fastwitch 6

Thursday- Rest Day

Did Lululemon’s Yoga for Runners

Friday- 5 miles, easy

It was really tough out there this morning. It was only 75 degrees but it was also 88 percent humidity. I had a really difficult time breathing during the entire run. At 4.3 miles I had to stop because I had a pretty bad cramp in my diaphragm and an old man driving by offered me water. That act of kindness pushed me forward to finish the run strong. My pacing was kind of all over the place during this run but oh well.

Plan: 5 miles, easy (10:40/mile pace)
Actual: 5 miles, easy (8:49/mile pace)
(1) 9:32/mile
(2) 8:37/mile
(3) 8:50/mile
(4) 8:55/mile
(5) 8:14/mile

Conditions: 75 degrees, 88 percent humidity, air quality alert
Shoe: Asice GT-1000 2 (testing for RW)

Saturday- 3 miles, easy

It was another hot one out there this morning. I slept in a little so I didn’t get out until 10ish. It wasn’t as humid as yesterday but it was still pretty muggy. I was really overheated at 2.77 miles so I decided to finish with 100m strides so it would be over faster.

Plan: 3 miles, easy (10:40/mile)
Actual: 3 miles (with 2x100m strides) in 25:52.1 (8:37/mile pace)
(1) 9:00/mile
(2) 8:50/mile
(3) 8:00/mile

Conditions: 82 degrees with 69% humidity
Shoes: Nike Vomero 8 (testing for RW)

Core- 20 minutes of two rounds of the Standard Core Routine

Sunday- 12 miles, long slow distance

I left my apartment early to get my long run in before the humidity and heat got the best of the day. My paces were more or less even which was really good. My legs felt great but even though it was a lot cooler this morning than it has been, the humidity was killing me and I had a hard time cooling my head down. I’m going to have to work on that. Maybe wear a hat with ice cubes? I also almost ran out of water so I’m going to have to keep that in mind on my longer long runs.

Plan: 12 miles, at LSD pace (10:40-12:10/mile according to my training plan)
Actual: 12 miles, in 1:51:32 (9:17/mile pace)
(1) 9:38/mile (2) 9:00/mile (3) 9:16/mile (4) 9:22/mile (5) 9:22/mile (6) 9:26/mile (7) 9:21/mile (8) 9:22/mile (9) 9:33/mile (all hills) (10) 9:17/mile (11) 9:11/mile (12) 8:43/mile

Total mileage: 29 miles

See all weekly training recaps here.

My Performance Enhancing Drug: Confidence

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

Today I had the honor of meeting Dave McGillivray, race director for the Boston Marathon. He was speaking in Bethlehem to announce that he will be the keynote speaker at our half-marathon this October. I was there to represent Runner’s World with some of my co-workers, as well as write a story about the announcement (see the story here). I also edit Dave’s blog on our site but this was the first time I was able to really meet him in person.

Dave spoke to a group of us, including kids from the local chapter of the Mighty Milers, an organization managed by the NYRR to help get kids moving. His speech was mostly directed towards the kids but his words resonated with all of us. The part that stuck with me the most however was this:

“There’s a phenomenon going on in the industry right now, the walls of intimidation have crumbled,” Dave said. “People now believe that they can do this.”

Dave was a “last pick” kid growing up, meaning he would be the remainder at gym class when it came to picking teams. He said his handicap was that he was “vertically challenged.” So, by default he took up running because anyone can run.

This resonated with me because although I played tennis and lacrosse in high school, I was far from being the team star. I played second doubles in tennis, not a great position, and was better at lacrosse but our team was new so we didn’t have varsity. My problem was I was very self-conscious. Other girls were better, faster, and stronger than me. So, instead of really pushing myself, and risking looking like an idiot, I took the easy way out and stayed back in the wings.

Dave said he loves his job as race director because he can say he raises the self-esteem and confidence levels of tens of thousands of people in America. This is what running does.

I didn’t know the power of running until I started in March 2012. But now I know the power it has over my self-confidence and will to persevere. I know that I may not be the fastest runner, but I’m strong and I can finish a race no matter how hard it may seem.

It’s been an interesting week in our running world. A survey was released noting the disparity between the haves and have-nots of elite runners. Tyson Gay tested positive for banned substances and everything coming out of the sports news world has talked about “will track ever escape the plague of doping.” (We admittedly wrote a lot about it too.) But what we lose sight of sometimes is, instead of focusing so much on those who get caught using banned substances, why don’t we shift the conversation to the clean athletes. Like Nick Symmonds who publicly tweeted his “supplement regimen” this week, which consisted of vitamins you can buy at CVS. And Lauren Fleshman who, just one month after given birth, has dropped the baby weight like a boss and is hitting training hard and clean. Or Kate Grace, the Oiselle phenom who is setting PRs and taking names. Or Stephanie Rothstein-Bruce who had the balls to take on the subject bluntly in a blog post last week.

These runners and so many other clean athletes have that confidence running gives them. They know the kind of self-esteem Dave was talking about today to the group of young runners. They know it because they are confident enough in their abilities as elite athletes to race against those who take the easy way out.

These are the runners I look up to. I’ll never be as fast as them but seeing their confidence gives me validation that I can do this. I can run and I will keep running.

A Tale of Two Races

Pain face vs. Strong face

Pain face vs. Strong face

A couple weeks ago I ran my anniversary race at the York Beach Four on the Fourth, a 4-miler. This was my very first race ever so I knew I had to go back this year and run it again.

Since it was the week before my marathon training for Marine Corps would begin, I decided not to race it but rather to have fun. I would be running it with two of my cousins, my friend, and my uncle so I just wanted to enjoy it with them. Well, that lasted all of an hour and a half because when I got to the starting line I knew I wanted to run, and run hard.

The Race

I ran the Four on the Fourth last year in 37:16, an average pace of 9:19/mile, not too bad for a newbie runner. This year I knew I wanted to set a PR but I had a secret goal of beating my cousin. She’s been my running buddy since I started but she’s always been faster than me. I’ve finally caught up to her pace so I thought I’d make a go of it.

On race day, it was already 80 degrees when we got to the starting line with 76 percent humidity. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky so I knew the final 2 miles, which run along the ocean, of the race would be tough because we’d have direct sunlight.

When I turned onto the shore road the thought of DNFing crossed my mind more than once. I swear I had a stream of curse words flowing through my mind the entire time. I couldn’t cool my head down at all. People had sprinklers set up along the road but every time I ran through the icy cold water, I felt my muscle seize up. During the quarter-mile, my mom saw me said she thought I was going to pass out, which I nearly did at the finish. I had to get out of my head and focus on the goal- the finish line.

I ended up beating my cousin, by more than a minute, and setting a 2-minute PR, so all the pain of racing in the heat was worth it. Right?

4 on the Fourth

Post-race happy faces, kind of.

The Run

A week later I ran the Lehigh Valley Summer Series 5K, a free race series in one of the local parks. I wanted to run this but since it was during the first week of MCM training I knew it would be smartest to take it easy. The conditions were less than ideal for a race, 86 degrees and super humid, so that also made the decision to just run for fun easier.

I set out running with Erica (of Erica Sara Designs, check out her stuff, it’s amazing) and was feeling pretty good. My legs felt fresh and although it was extremely hot and at the time I was just thinking about the finish line and the huge pile of watermelon waiting, I really enjoyed running the 5K.

The Point?

I didn’t set a 5K PR and I didn’t cry about it. I had fun. That’s not to say I didn’t have fun at the Four on the Fourth. That was a different kind of masochistic fun. At the same time, it probably wasn’t smart to run that hard during the heat, especially when I didn’t come close to my fastest 4-mile time (done on a training run).

What I’m saying is you don’t have to PR or beat a friend or have the best race of your life to have fun at a race. Not every race is going to a PR but that doesn’t mean you didn’t learn something from it. Sometimes too, when you take the pressure off you’ll run even better. No one can complain about setting a new PR (except maybe your legs for putting them through hell) but sometimes running a race just for fun can reaffirm your reason to run.

Have you ever run a race just for fun? 

{Monday Motivation} Convince Your Mind

Running is not a physical sport, it’s a mind game. Ok, that’s not 100 percent true but how many times have you been on a hard run and thought to yourself, I can’t do it. You barter with yourself, “Well, if I run to that mailbox, I can take a break…” or, “Maybe I just need to stretch against that street sign for a bit…” or, “I can’t finish this long run, what if I just finish a little early, that’ll count right?”

Your brain is the most important muscle to work during marathon training. Over 26.2 miles the mind can come up with all kinds of excuses to give up, throw in the towel  and just head for the massage table. But you can’t let it. I had my first long run of Marine Corps training yesterday and it was a boiling 90 degrees when I left my apartment. Believe me, I would have much rather stayed at home in air conditioned luxury but my training was more important. I wanted to quit but I didn’t. I’m sure there will be times in October when I’ll want to quit too but I won’t. I powered through my long run and ran my fastest long run average pace ever. Success like that is so much sweeter than giving in to the mind games. Happy running this week, y’all! Stay cool and hydrated!

(source: Pinterest)

(source: Pinterest)

Marine Corps Marathon Training Week 1

From the Lehigh Valley Summer Series 5K this week.

From the Lehigh Valley Summer Series 5K this week.

This week was a solid week of training. It was low mileage to kick off training but I felt pretty great on all of my runs. I truly believe the first week of any training program is telling of how the rest of the cycle will be. There’s always room for tweaking and improvements in the following months but you learn a lot in that first week. I learned I’m going to have trouble with the paces given on my training plan, not because they’re too fast, but because they are much slower than my comfortable running pace. I’m going to make some changes with this plan along the way and it’s only the beginning so we’ll see how this training plan goes.

Monday– Cross-training at Bootcamp

45 minutes of strengthening exercises. We did four circuits of no repeat exercises.

Tuesday- 5 miles, easy

Went for a pre-work run with my roommate. We wanted to take it easy, especially since we both went to boot camp last night. My legs felt surprisingly good, although breathing and sweating were an issue. Ahh, summer training.

Plan- 5 miles at easy pace (10:40/mile)
Actual- 5 miles in 43:40 (8:44/mile)
Mile Splits-
(1) 9:18/mile
(2) 8:48/mile
(3) 8:50/mile
(4) 8:48/mile
(5) 8:04/mile

Shoes: Asics Gel Flux

Wednesday- Lehigh Valley Parkway 5K

I was by no means racing this 5K. It’s a fun, free 5K put on in the Parkway the first Wednesday of each month and this was the only one I was going to be able to make this summer. It was a lot of fun, but it was extremely hot (86 degrees at the start) and incredibly humid. I was dripping by the end. I felt good though!

Planned: 3 miles easy (10:40/mile pace according to my training plan)
Actual: 3.14 miles in 27:34 (8:46/mile pace)
(1) 9:01/mile
(2) 8:27/mile (got a little excited here and had to pull in the reins)
(3) 9:03/mile

Shoe: Saucony Fastwitch 6

Thursday- FULL rest day

I was going to go to gentle flow yoga after work to stretch out a bit but it was cancelled.

Friday– 5 miles, easy

This was the first lunch run I’ve been able to do in awhile since it wasn’t 90 degrees or more. It was really relaxing and enjoyable, a nice break in the day.

Plan: 5 miles, easy (11:45/mile pace according to my training plan)
Actual: 5 miles in 44:13 at 8:50/mile average pace
(1) 8:55/mile
(2) 8:43/mile
(3) 8:52/mile
(4) 8:58/mile
(5) 8:45/mile

Shoe: Asics Gel Flux

Saturday– 3 miles, easy

Took a short run along the canal with my roommate and her friend. It was a really good run. Again, my training plan had me running 3 miles at easy pace (10:40/mile) but I ran considerably faster and it felt easy.

Plan: 3 miles, easy at 10:40/mile
Actual: 3 miles in 26:12 at 8:44/mile pace
(1) 9:04/mile
(2) 8:40/mile
(3) 8:27/mile

Shoes: Asics Gel Flux

Sunday– 10 mile long run

This was the first long run of Marine Corps training and it went pretty well. I left my apartment at 10 a.m. which was probably wayyy too late to head out for a summer long run but heat training is always good. I did my 10 miles and finished with 4x100m strides.

Plan: 10 miles, long slow distance at 10:40-11:45/mile pace (according to my plan)
Actual: 10.2 miles, LSD with 4x100m strides in 1:31:50 (9:00/mile pace)
(1) 9:28
(2) 8:47
(3) 8:56
(4) 9:12
(5) 9:21
(6) 9:22
(7) 9:02
(8) 9:35
(9) 9:02
(10) 9:00

Shoes: Asics Gel Flux

Total mileage: 26 miles

See all weekly training recaps here.

The Sweat-Fest that is Summer Marathon Training

Sweat literally dripping down my back.

Sweat literally dripping down my back.

The average temperature this week in Pennsylvania has been a warm 86 degrees. That doesn’t factor in the humidity levels, and we still have three more days to go. I know I won’t be the first runner to ever complain about the weather (or not complain about the weather) but it’s kind of what we do.

Why does it matter this week more than last week? Well, it’s the first week of Marine Corps Marathon training, so the weather this week is a bit of an indicator as to how my training is going to go the rest of the summer. Training hasn’t been too bad so far by any means, but I can already tell training for a fall marathon is much different than training for a spring marathon. In one word, training in the summer is an absolute sweat-fest.

First off, I have to wake up early to do my runs and I rather not. When I was training for Big Sur I would do my long runs as late as 11 a.m. sometimes because that’s when it would get a little warmer out. That will not be the case this summer.

I’m probably also going to be a little slower because the heat and humidity (and direct beaming sunlight) can take it’s toll during a run. I may even have to stop a few times on long runs to get some reprieve, but that’s ok. That’s what training is for.

On the other hand, maybe I’ll really like summer marathon training. I’ll get my runs done earlier and have more time for doing other things during the weekend. Maybe I’ll also get a sweat tan when I’m out there running for hours on end? Either way, this summer training is going to be a learning experience. I’ll figure out if I like training in the summer or if I prefer running like a popsicle in the winter. For now, I’ll keep up with the early wake-ups, the extreme sunscreen application, and never-ending sweating until October 27 (hopefully it’ll be cooler by then!).

Keep up with my training on the day-to-day by following me on Twitter@FitHappyGirl.

{Monday Motivation} Take Chances

I was on vacation last week and spent a few days in York, Maine, and was able to just completely relax before Marine Corps training begins (this week!). I spent some quality time with my family, friends, and loved ones and it was just what I needed to recharge. My little cousin, and basically identical twin, started running last week and decided to run the Four on the Fourth with myself and my friends. She took a chance, a leap of faith, and did an unbelievable job. I was so proud of her and she really inspired me to take a chance. Life, and running, is all about taking chances and jumping at opportunities. If you don’t go out on a limb, you’ll never know what you might be missing out on. So here’s to taking chances, I know I will. Happy running!

(source: Pinterest)

(source: Pinterest)

{Monday Motivation} Renew Your Inspiration to Run

I have a pretty concrete running schedule each week. I run five days a week, do at least one speed workout, one long run, and easy runs to fill in. I cross train on Mondays and take a rest day on Friday. This has been my running schedule every week since January. It gets old though and sometimes, especially when I’m not training for anything in particular, it gets boring. I’ll admit sometimes my runs are very un-inspiring. Yesterday I had planned to do a long-ish run, 8-10 miles. But I woke up, it was hot and very humid and I just wasn’t feeling it so I didn’t do it- and that’s OK. Sometimes it’s better to take a rest day when you’re not feeling it than to go out and slog through a run, especially when you aren’t training for something. Sometimes you need to start fresh to feel inspired again. That’s what I’m doing now and I think it’s working. Happy running!

(source: Pinterest)

(source: Pinterest)