{Race Recap} St. Luke’s Half Marathon

On Sunday, while running the St. Luke’s Half Marathon (one of my goal races this spring), I almost had my first DNF.

The week leading up to the half was a bit hectic but I woke up on race morning feeling really good despite being filled with pre-race nerves. My legs felt rested. I wasn’t sleepy or exhausted. I felt ready to go after a sub-1:50 finish at the race.

Prerace photo with Team St. Luke's. (Photo credit: St. Luke's University Health Network FB page)

Prerace photo with Team St. Luke’s. (Photo credit: St. Luke’s University Health Network FB page)

We got to the start in time to take a team picture with Team St. Luke’s (since Adam works at the hospital) and had enough time to see our friends, take care of all the prerace necessities and get into the corrals. I had decided I would run with the pacer to at least the halfway point to try to keep my pace controlled. I found him in the corral and was happy to see one of my coworkers (who went on to absolutely crush his previous PR) in the pace group too.

We were aiming to average 8:24/mile for the race. The first few miles were a little quicker but I was actually shocked at how good I felt. Everyone had been telling me all week that I would crush the 1:50 time goal but as always self-doubt sunk in. However, after we ticked off about 6 miles around 8:17/mile I was surprised to find that my legs still felt fresh.

Around 6.5 miles into the race, the pacer told us, if we were feeling good, now would be the time to pick it up to get closer to 1:45. I decided at this point to not necessarily pick up my pace but to try to keep the pace group behind me. Just stay ahead of them and keep at a comfortably hard pace.

I managed to do this until mile 8 when everything suddenly fell apart. My legs still felt great and my energy was up but all of a sudden I started to experience a sharp pain in my chest and tightness. My heart rate was racing and my breathing was becoming increasingly labored.

This had never happened to me before. I mean, in speed workouts I’ve had some difficulty breathing but I’ve always just assumed that was because I was pushing myself. Never had I experienced the tightness in my chest or sharp pains. I decided at this point to stop and walk a little to try to get my heart rate down. After walking about 10 meters or so I started running again but much slower.

I walked once more during this mile up a hill and saw mile 8 tick off at 9:42/mile. There goes my sub-1:50 I thought. A man wearing an orange shirt ran up behind me and tried to give me words of encouragement, “Come one, you’ve got this,” he said. So I tried to pick up the pace again and work the downhills to see if I could at least get close to my goal. Just after passing the man who was trying to cheer me on my heart rate jacked up again. I started to walk and a volunteer asked me if I was ok. I really, really wanted to quit at this point. I was fighting back tears when orange-shirt-man passed me again and I decided to take some water and just try to finish.

I don’t remember how many more times I walked the rest of the race but it was a lot. There are a lot of hills in the last miles of this course and I wasn’t prepared for them. I came up the final hill right before entering the high school stadium where you run about 200 meters around the track before finishing and I saw Adam there cheering me on but I’m pretty sure my face said it all.

Usually in races I can give a good final surge into the finish but I just didn’t have it in me on Sunday. I came through the finish in 1:53:32, met Adam, and just wanted to sit down and cry in the bleachers. I felt so defeated and pissed off that something so out of my control had ruined my race.

It wasn’t until later on that I really was able to put it into perspective. My dad has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, “a disease in which the heart muscle (myocardium) becomes abnormally thick (hypertrophied). The thickened heart muscle can make it harder for the heart to pump blood,” according to the Mayo Clinic. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is also the leading cause of sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes – it’s no joke. When I told my parents what happened they were pretty concerned. I haven’t gone to see a doctor yet but hopefully I don’t have my dad’s condition and it was just a fluke thing that happened.

Either way it was a scary experience and it made me realize that no matter how hard you train, sometimes the outcome is completely out of your control. I think I did the right thing on Sunday by reining it in but in all honesty it probably would have been smarter to take the DNF and get checked out at the medical tent immediately.

Besides my awful race, it was a great day overall. Adam ran the half (just six days after PRing in Boston!) and set a new half marathon PR. We also saw three of our friends run their first ever half marathon, which was really exciting. Other friends and coworkers set some really awesome PRs as well and I’m so happy for them! I’ll take another stab at running a sub-1:50 in three weeks at the Brooklyn Half Marathon. Hopefully it’ll go better!

Celebrating with friends postrace.

Celebrating with friends postrace.

{Monday Motivation} Failure is Part of the Process

Yesterday I almost DNFed my first race. I’ve been training really hard to PR in the half marathon but yesterday, due to things totally out of my control, was just not my day. I was really disappointed. I even cried. But after a good night’s sleep I’m realizing, when you dream big, failure is sometimes part of the process of success.

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

St. Luke’s Half Training: Weeks Nine and Ten

Celebrating post-marathon at Fenway!

Celebrating post-marathon at Fenway!

I’ve been majorly slacking on posting my workouts the past two weeks because I’ve been traveling for work. We all went up to Boston this past weekend to cover the marathon and it was an incredible day. The day was made even more incredible by my boyfriend who ran a 2:56:02 (p.s. this was his first Boston and just his third marathon)! I am so incredibly proud! Anyway, it’s now race week for me and although my goals have changed a bit I’m really hoping to run sub-1:50 at the half marathon this weekend. I had two really good workouts in the last two weeks so I’m hoping I can ride that post-workout confidence into race day.

Monday, April 14 – 45:00 of Vinyasa Flow Yoga

Tuesday, April 15 – 5 miles with 3 miles at HMP

I felt really, really good on this run tonight. The weather was kinda crazy today so I opted to run on the treadmill instead of outside. I felt like I could run forever at my goal HMP which is a really good feeling and hopefully means I’ll do well at the half in two weeks!

Plan: 5 miles with 3 miles at goal half marathon pace (8:13/mile)
Actual: 5 miles with 3 miles at 8:06-8:13/mile

Shoes: Saucony Mirage 3

Wednesday, April 16 – 6 mile, easy

It was so much colder outside today than it has been but it doesn’t look like the cold is going to stick around for too long. I just had to do an easy 6 today. Felt pretty good.

Plan: 6 miles, easy (9:06/mile)
Actual: 6 miles in 53:17 at 8:52/mile

Shoes: Saucony Mirage 3
Conditions: 43 degrees, sunny, gusty wind

Thursday, April 17 – REST

Unexpected rest day due to traveling up to Boston.

Friday, April 18 – Hill Workout with November Project in the a.m. + Shakeout run in the p.m.

Did the Summit Hill Ave hill workout (and stairs) with the November Project… so awesome! Then in the evening I went to the RW Heartbreak Hill Half shakeout run.

Total: 4.5 miles

Shoes: Saucony Mirage 4

Saturday, April 19 – B.A.A. 5K (5 miles total for the day)

Not a PR due to really packed crowds (hello, 10,000 runners!) but had a ton of run!

Time: 25:37

(Plus 1-mile warmup and 1-mile cool down walk)

Sunday, April 20 – 10 miles, LSD

I got to run around my hometown which is always fun!

Actual: 9.58 miles in 1:27:00 at 9:04/mile

Shoes: Saucony Mirage 4

Week 10

Monday, April 21 – Boston Marathon Monday!

I didn’t run because I was working and obsessively checking the runner tracking to follow my boyfriend!

Tuesday, April 22 – REST

Another unexpected rest day due to travel/life. But Adam and I did take about a 1-mile walk around my neighborhood before heading back to PA.

Wednesday, April 23 – 4 miles, easy

It was CRAZY windy out today, which seems to be a pattern lately, so I was glad to have just 4 easy miles.

Plan: 4 miles, easy (9:18/mile)

Actual: 4 miles in 33:51 at 8:27/mile

Shoes: Saucony Mirage 4

Thursday, April 24 – 5 miles with 4×800 

It was a nice day out today but the wind was terrible. This is my last workout before the St. Luke’s Half Marathon on Sunday and my 800 times left me feeling pretty confident.

Plan: 5 miles with 4×800 at 3:36
1-mile warm up at 7:56/mile (What?? Yes, that’s right.)
4×800 with 400 recovery jog
(1) 3:26.6 – 7:02/pace
(2) 3:28.2 – 7:05/pace
(3) 3:27.5 – 6:55/pace
(4) 3:18.7 – 6:46/pace
1-mile cool down at 8:28/mile

Shoes: Saucony Fastwitch 6
Conditions: 52 degrees, sunny, 15mph winds with gusts of 35mph

Friday, April 25 – 4 miles, easy

Last training run before the St. Luke’s Half on Sunday! I ran it a little too fast but it was really gorgeous out. Feeling good for Sunday, now it’s time to rest.

Plan: 4 miles easy
Actual: 4.12 miles in 33:51 (8:12/mile)

Shoes: Saucony Mirage 4
Conditions: 60 degrees, sunny

See all training recaps here.

St. Luke’s Half Training: Week Eight + 2014 Chicago Marathon

ChicagoScreen Shot 2014-04-14 at 2.08.14 PMTraining last week went really well. I ran my tempo faster than planned and it felt incredible. Also, on Monday I found out I was accepted into the 2014 Chicago Marathon through the lottery! I’m really excited to start training for another marathon. I think the break from marathon training was just what I needed to spark that 26.2-mile fire again. Training starts June 23rd!

Monday, April 7 – 45:00 of Vinyasa Flow Yoga

Tuesday, April 8 – 6 miles, easy

Well it was quite a windy one out there today! I felt pretty good but the wind was rough. At one point I nearly lost my hat and fell over. I ran solo today during the lunch run which was really what I needed.

Plan: 6 miles, easy (9:12/mile)
Actual: 6 miles in 51:12 at 8:32/mile

Shoes: Saucony Mirage 3
Conditions: 59 degrees, overcast and windy

Wednesday, April 9 – 6 mile, easy

I took it a little easier today and ran on the trails by work. It was really nice to mix up my terrain and I hadn’t been on the trails in a long time.

Plan: 6 miles, easy (9:12/mile)
Actual: 6 miles in 52:00 at 8:45/mile

Shoes: Saucony Mirage 3
Conditions: 58, sunny and windy

Thursday, April 10 – 6 miles with 3 miles at tempo

So I’m not the best at pacing temp runs. I was a little all over the place with this one but it felt AMAZING to run fast (much faster than tempo, too!).

Plan: 6 miles with 3 miles at tempo (7:45/mile)
Actual: 6 miles in 46:50 (7:48/mile avg)
1-mile warmup: 8:40
Tempo: (1) 7:16 (2) 7:33 (3) 7:32
1-mile cool down: 8:20

Shoes: Saucony Kinvara 4
Conditions: BEAUTIFUL

Friday, April 11 – 40:00 strength training

Arms- 3×10 
Rotating overhead press with 10lb dumbbells 
Rows with 15lb dumbbells 
Tricep pulls with 15lb dumbbells 
21’s with 8lb dumbbells 
Kettlebell swings 
Kettlebell squats 
Clam shells 
Abs- 2x 
0:45 plank 
0:30 side plank 
0:45 supine plank 
0:45 bicycles 
10 Russian twists with kettlebell

Saturday, April 12 – 6 miles, easy

I ran twice today because I had a 5K fun run at night. My morning run was much speedier than “easy” but it felt easy so who cares, right?!

Sunday, April 13 – 12 miles, LSD

I ran earlier in the morning than I had planned but I’m so happy I did because it got pretty toasty during the day. The run went really well, it was actually the best I’ve felt in a long time.

Actual: 12.2 miles in 1:48:00 at 8:51/mile

Shoes: Asics Gel Flux
Conditions: 65 degrees, humid and sunny

Weekly Mileage Total: 36 miles

See all training recaps here.


{Monday Motivation} The Marathon

I can’t believe Marathon Monday is already a week away. It certainly doesn’t feel like an entire years has passed since I spent 9+ hours in the press room following the horrific tragedy at the finish line. I still can’t really put into words how I feel about what happened that day. I joke that it feels like I’m giving an elevator speech every time I talk about it. But what I do know is that next Monday will be a great day for a race. It will be a great day for healing. And, it will be a great day for Boston. I want to wish the very best of luck to everyone in their final week of training (and tapering). I’m sending positive and calming vibes your way! Watch A Marathon

St. Luke’s Half Marathon Training: Week Seven

great_thingsAnother solid week of training in the books! Overall, I felt pretty good this week. The mystery calf/achilles pain I had been having subsided by Thursday and I haven’t had it since (knock on wood!). Also, I ran some really fast 800m repeats which is always a good confidence booster!

Monday, March 31 – 40:00 of IronStrength

3×15 plyometric squats with 3×10 plank twists
3×10 weighted rows from plank, Russian twists with kettlebells, and pushups
3×10 plyometric lunges with 5x front, side, back hamstring reach
3×10 mountain climbers and 3×10 legs down
3×5 high pulls, bicep curls, and overhead press
3x 0:45 planks- front, both sides
Ring of Fire squats/lunges (10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1)

Tuesday, April 1 – 5 miles, easy

It was absolutely gorgeous out today on my lunch run! It was also a really great run with some awesome coworkers. We kept it at what felt like an easy pace but I think we were all just so happy it was nice out that we picked it up a bit.

Plan: 5 miles, easy
Actual: 5.25 miles in 45(ish) minutes (no watch!)

Shoes: Saucony Mirage 3
Conditions: 57 degrees (real feel of 70!) and sunny

Wednesday, April 2 – 6 mile recovery ride

It felt good out there today- a little bit colder than yesterday and drizzly. I had a minor mishap about 2.8 miles in when my calf cramped up on a hill. I stopped and stretched it out and it felt a little better then. I also didn’t really time this run with GPS but made note of how long I was out there.

Plan: 6 miles, easy

Actual: 6.02 miles in 52:00 (8:32/mile)

Shoes: Asics Gel Flux
Conditions: 44 degrees, overcast, light rain

Thursday, April 3 – 8 miles with 6x800m repeats

Another surprising workout happened today. I ran 6x800m repeats and felt really good. They were all between 3:30-3:40 which is what I was aiming for. I find it’s better to give yourself a range to hit instead of a very specific time.

Run 1: 6.25 miles (Ran 5 miles in 39 minutes!)
1-mile warmup (8:50/mile)
3 miles of 6×800 (with 400m recovery jog in between)- 7:25, 7:12, 7:10
1-mile cool down (8:40/mile)

Run 2: 1.75 miles (to round out the 8 miles for the day)

Shoes: Fastwitch

Friday, April 4 – Yoga

Saturday, April 5 – 5 miles, easy

I really, really didn’t want to go on this run. The windy was super gusty and strong and my couch was so much more comfortable but I’m so glad I did. I was supposed to run 5 miles easy but I actually felt pretty good and it turned into a progression run.

Plan: 5 miles, easy (9:12/mile)
Actual: 5 miles at 8:26/mile avg
Splits: 8:56, 8:33, 8:32, 8:23, 7:49

Shoes: Asics Gel Flux
Conditions: 50 degrees with sun and wind

Sunday, April 6 – 13 miles, LSD

My run went pretty well today. It was warmer than I expected but the warmth felt amazing. I decided to run on one of the rail trails we have since it’s been covered all winter and it felt really good to run on some flat, soft ground. There were also TONS of people out walking, running, and biking. I got pretty dehydrated though in the final miles of the run and had very little energy left at the end.

Plan: 13 miles, easy
Actual: 13 miles in 1:58:00 at 9:04/mile

Shoes: Asics Gel Flux
Conditions: 60 degrees and sunny

Weekly Mileage Total: 38 miles

See all training recaps here.


St. Luke’s Half Marathon Training: Week Six

rainy_runWell, spring definitely arrived last week and brought the rain with it! I had some speedy runs (and some really soggy runs) last week. Overall it was a really solid training week but I’m getting a little concerned about what I think is a bit of tendonitis in my achilles/calf. I’m continuing to ice/compress/stretch in hopes it gets better!

Monday, March 24 – Rest

I decided to take Monday off completely (no XT or anything) to rest after the 5K I ran the day before… also, I had errands to run.

Tuesday, March 25 – 7 miles with 3 miles at HMP

I really surprised myself on this run, like REALLY surprised myself. I haven’t been feeling too great on a lot of my runs lately, mostly because of the weather and my runny nose. But for some reason I felt great on this run! The plan was to run 7 miles with 3 miles at half marathon pace. I’ve gone back and forth about what my HMP should be and adjusted my goal to run a sub-1:50 half in April instead of sub-1:45 but after this run I may have to reconsider again!

Plan: 7 miles with 3 miles at HMP (8:23/mile for sub-1:50 half)
Actual: 7 miles with 3 miles at 7:30/mile (what?!)
2-mile warmup- 9:09/mile, 8:35/mile
3-miles at HMP- 7:35, 7:28, 7:24
2-mile cool down- 8:57, 8:40

Shoes: Saucony Mirage 3
Conditions: 34 degrees, overcast, light snow
Fuel: Nuun energy 30 minutes before the run

Wednesday, March 26 – 6 mile recovery ride

My left calf muscle was feeling very tight after my Tuesday workout so I decided to switch out a 6-mile recovery run for a 6-mile easy spin- same thing, right? Not really but oh well.

Plan: 6 miles, easy
Actual: 6-mile spin, easy

Ab Workout- 20:00

2 x 0:45 plank
2 x 0:30 side plank, both sides
2 x 0:45 supine plank
2 x 0:45 bicycles
2 x 10 leg raises

Thursday, March 27 – 8 miles with 4×1-mile repeats

I majorly shocked myself on this run. The last time I did mile repeats it didn’t go so well. I felt like death and was on the verge of throwing up almost the entire time. Not today. Today I channeled my inner Shalane Flanagan and busted out some solid repeats (Ok, she would have run them MUCH faster).

Plan: 6 miles with 4×1-mile at 7:17/mile
Actual: 6 miles in 46:18
1-mile warmup: 9:04
4×1-mile repeats (with 800m recovery in between): 7:26, 7:01, 7:04, 7:14
1-mile cool down: 8:24

Shoes: Saucony Fastwitch 6
Conditions: 34 degrees, slight wind, overcast

I had to run 8 miles today so I split it up and finished my mileage after work on the dreadmill with some solid postrun foam rolling.

Plan: 2 miles, easy

Friday, March 28 – Strength Training – 45 minutes

Arms- 3×10
Rotating overhead press with 10lb dumbbells
Rows with 15lb dumbbells
Tricep pulls with 15lb dumbbells
21’s with 8lb dumbbells

Kettlebell swings
Kettlebell squats
Clam shells

Abs- 2x
0:45 plank
0:30 side plank
0:45 supine plank
0:45 bicycles
10 Russian twists with kettlebell

Saturday, March 29 – 6 miles, easy

Just ran an easy shakeout run before my long run tomorrow. I was trying to beat the rain and it was drizzling a little but not too bad.

Plan: 6 miles, easy
Actual: 6 miles in 52:24 at 8:44/mile
(1) 8:55 (2) 8:44 (3) 8:48 (4) 9:06 (5) 8:52 (6) 7:58

Shoes: Asics Gel Flux
Conditions: 48 degrees, rainy and wind

Sunday, March 30 – 11 miles, LSD

I was not super motivated to get out the door for this long run because of the weather. For most of my run the rain wasn’t too bad but during the last two miles the skies opened up and it absolutely downpoured. My shoes were so soaked through it felt like I was running through water. I ended up cutting it short because the torrential downpours and wind were just too much, and honestly if I kept going, the small blister that was forming on my foot would have been much, much worse.

Plan: 13 miles, easy
Actual: 11.25 miles in 1:40 (8:53/mile)

Shoes: Asics Gel Flux
Conditions: Rain to heavy rain, wind

Weekly Mileage Total: 38 miles

See all training recaps here.