Upcoming Races

Phoenix Half Marathon

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 Year in Review

3010 miles
12 races (some used as workouts)
4 PR's
 Highest weekly mileage - 77 (had several weeks at 75)

The Good:
What a great year it was for me and my running this year. I was very fortunate to PR in the half marathon twice this year. The first time was in April where I ran a 1:16:10 to shave a couple seconds off my prior PR of 1:16:26 (at the same race the year prior - Rock the Parkway). Then about 2-2.5 months later, I had a surprisingly high finish in Duluth, MN where I finished 3rd and ran a 1:15:43 (Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon)!!

Most surprisingly though, was that I had two really awesome 10k's this fall. I even beat my track time from college, (where I finished 4th at NCAA Division II Championships in 2010). Even if it was only by a second. I never thought I would beat my track time, but thought I could come close. Ended up with a 34:51 at Plaza 10k. This makes me wonder what I could do if I got back on a track?

The Not So Good:
I had a good marathon last year, and was planning on running a stellar PR in Los Angeles at the trials early in 2016, which would have left 10 months geared toward running faster at the shorter distances. Unfortunately, the trials didn't go as planned, but I proceeded forward with my plan of nailing some 10k's this past fall.

My favorites of 2016:

  • Best Race Experience - Seems like every year it always goes back to Duluth, MN and Grandma's Marathon/Gary Bjorklund half. This event is the kick-off to summer up there, and the entire town makes runners feel welcome and are genuinely excited for everyone to be there. Plus, the race is amazing: great course, great crowd support, usually great weather! Marshall ran a PR up there this year and finally broke 6:00/mile pace for his marathon (His recap here). 
  • Most Memorable Race - Olympic Marathon Trials. Enough said. 



  • Best Run/Workout - There were two I couldn't choose between. The first was 10 x 800 (w/2.5-3 min recovery). All were 2:37 or faster (okay. . . one was a 2:38) PLUS I ended with a 2:32. This was 2 weeks before the trials, and why I thought I would nail that race. 
The second was 5 x mile repeats on the track before Gary Bjorklund Half. Splits were 5:28, 5:25, 5:24, 5:25, 5:21. This was a weekday morning before work. . . really didn't see those splits coming!

  • Best New Piece of Gear - Saucony Kinvara 7. First shoe to run a marathon in with no blisters!
  • Most Inspirational Runner of 2016 - I'm gonna go with Meb Keflezighi. He's 41 years old and still made our Olympic team in the marathon. While I'm sure he would have liked to finish higher at the Rio Olympics, he has the heart of a champion. He even finished in true Meb fashion (doing push-ups after he slipped/fell right at the finish)

Goals for 2017:
  • Run a good half/possible PR. I'm going to have 2 really good opportunities for this. In 8 weeks I'm going to be in Phoenix. Then in April, I'm hoping to qualify for the USA Half marathon Championships in Ohio. I should be well under the qualifications with my 1:15 (I think it only requires sub 1:18 for an entry)
  • Run another Olympic Trials qualifying time in the marathon. Standards haven't been released yet, but I'm hoping they get released before we head to Chicago in October. Otherwise, I will have to run a standard next year. I'm guessing the B standard will remain somewhere around the 2:43-45 ish area. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Winter Break Is Over

I'm back at it. . . just in time for it to get really cold! This past week I front loaded my miles so that I wouldn't have go very far once the morning temps dropped into the teens. We even saw some wintry mix Wednesday evening for a few hours.

Sweet Penelope
There is 11 weeks until the Phoenix Half marathon. I'm going to begin workouts next week. I did get a small head start on some uptempo work. The last two weeks I met with Ashley and ran some of her workouts with her. This was fun and more motivation to actually get up when it's cold and go run.

Penny-aided last mile - she doesn't know how to pace. 

Week in Review:
49 miles (projected)
1 workout
4 miles w/Penelope
10 mile long run

New racing flats for next year
I hit a double digit run for the first time since the marathon this week :) I'm glad to have the time off because I feel so much better than I had for the last 2-3 months. Marshall (coaching info) and I finally got my schedule finished for Phoenix and I'm looking forward to some of the longer up-tempos. It's bringing back memories of training for the trials this time last year ;)

I got some new flats for next year, they feel pretty sweet so far. They are orange and red, but I'm calling them the Runner's version of Ruby Slippers - maybe they'll be magical next year!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

First Marathon win

Bass Pro Marathon:
1st female
tied Marshall for 5th overall
2:44:57
RESULTS

Last Sunday, I capped off 2016 with my final race. I completed my 6th marathon and got my first ever marathon win! For November, we really couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. I've been participating in a Bass Pro race since 2011, but have yet to run the marathon until this year.

I always liked running local events. It's nice to sleep in your own bed, be able to cook myself a nice dinner, and have home course advantage. My parents and Marshall's parents were able to come watch us run, and it being an open course, we saw them several times. This really helped because for some reason, this race doesn't have very good crowd support. Yes, the aid stations were awesome (especially the one near mile 24), but considering probably over half this race is through residential neighborhoods, it was rather lonely. Many times when Marshall and I run in Springfield it becomes somewhat of a tempo effort because it ends up being just the two of us working together.  Those that know me best, know I thrive off competition. Nearly all my PR's have come in races that I don't win.

However, this race was some-what out of the norm. Thankfully we did have company through mile 19, but rather than working with us, this runner was more content to just let us pull him through the miles (so still felt like a tempo). Either way, it was nice to have a small group of three for most of the race. By the time we split up, we had already run into some half marathoners anyways. Usually with a race this long and grueling you build some comradery and everyone works together.

Excited to see all 4 parents
 The first half of the race was boring, and mostly it was just me trying to be patient and not get carried away. We ran the uphills through Southern Hills fairly conservatively and used the down hills when we could. I've been fighting a small hip/gluteal annoyance (been REHABBING) and I didn't start to notice it until mile 13-14, so that a plus. Wind hadn't been an issue until we reached the downtown area.


Unfortunately, it was my own fatigue that let our little pack break up at mile 19. I had fought some ups/downs through the downtown area with just enough of a head wind to make me tired. It wasn't so much that he sped up that much, but that I had dropped off a couple seconds per mile. Marshall (having run a 2:36 earlier this year and several sub 2:40 marathons. . . click HERE for his blog) could have easily left me and probably taken 4th place overall, stayed and helped me keep the pace honest the last 10k. The race had gone off without a hitch up to this point. We came through half way at 1:22:xx (low) and had every intention of a negative split. Didn't quite happen, but we had nearly even split (1:22 high for second half).

Once we made it to the top of Jefferson, I could start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We had about a 5k to go were already running into half marathoners that hadn't finished yet. Thankfully we had Dale as a lead bicyclist to clear the way for us. We managed to finish just under 2:45, so we were happy for that. Our goal was to be somewhere between 2:43-2:45 and we were right there in the mix.

First ever marathon win :)
While I didn't PR and was about 6 minutes off, I'm happy and content. I went into this race knowing that I wouldn't PR because the course/atmosphere simply isn't designed for a that kind of a race. However, being a low-key race, this allowed me to really enjoy just running, seeing my parents and in-laws, and enjoy the local atmosphere and the pride I feel when I race in Springfield.

2:44:57
 What's next you ask? Well I took 5 days completely off running. Next week is very low-key and low mileage as well. I can always tell when I'm getting fatigued because instead of "I get to go run" it becomes "I have to go run". I'm going to get some much needed rest and recovery so I can bounce back into2017 with lots of energy and motivation!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Fall Recap

September and October shaped up to be a good racing season for me. Just a quick re-cap:

1. September started out with the Plaza 10k. This race wasn't as competitive as it has been in the past, but I managed to find myself in a pack with a great group of guys that I had met when I was living up in KC for school (Marshall was with us as well!). We all apparently had similar goals and I managed to dip under 35 minutes and run a new PR (road AND even beat my track time)!

Goal: Top 2 finish, and new road PR (sub 35:15)
Actual: First female, 34:50
4 miles in, 2 to go - right before the pack broke up
Almost to the finish - knew it was going to be close to a sub 35
2. On 10/1 - headed to Columbia, MO for my second 10k. 
Goal: 1st place; 35:xx
Actual: 2nd place; 35:32

As much as I would have loved to finally win this race. . . I can't be upset with another 10k sub 36. This is a fairly challenging course as it's on a local trail and park with really only enough room to run side by side or single file when passing on-coming runners. I was stoked to be so far under 36 because I think last time I ran this race I was over 36 minutes. It sucked to be out-kicked after leading 6 of the 6.2 mile race, but no shame in losing to Diane. She cooled down with Marshall and I and has an out-standing resume. 

3. On 10/9 - headed to Minneapolis to run the USATF 10 mile championships
Goal 1: Top 20 finish
Goal 2: sub 57
Goal 3: Sub 58

I think I'm just not a cold weather runner. This race did go significantly better for me than last year. I ran a 57:30, which is 30 seconds faster than last year. However, I'm pretty sure this is about what I come through 10 miles in for my half marathons, and that's still with a 5k to go. I did squeeze into the top 20, finished 19th :) I know I have it in me to run a sub 57 and break into the 56's. This distance is a hard race to come by in the mid-west though. So I'll get another crack at it in a couple years. 

The legs just never felt loose from the start. I was working way to hard to run some of those miles, at a pace that I should be able to run for almost a full marathon (even had one creep up over 6:00). Luckily, the men had caught me near mile 6, and I was slowly reeling in 2 other women, which lead me to a respectable finish with the last 3 miles or so near 5:40 and a super fast last mile since it was a down hill last half mile or so (5:25). 
Busting out some 800's. Sun's out guns out.
 This brings me to my last big race of the season. . . Bass Pro marathon. I'm usually a "one marathon per year" kind of girl, but decided that I've never run the local marathon and wanted to give it a-go. My last marathon was in February at the Olympic Trials, but it sort of left a bad taste in my mouth. I had one of my best winters of training and was totally ready to PR (my current PR is 2:38). However, with it being almost 80 degrees, I wasn't able to run according to plan and actually ended up running one of my slowest marathons ever (2:52, I think). I'm not in PR shape, but still feel very prepared to take on this distance and redeem myself. Now if the weather can finally cool down. I'm all for tank tops and sports bra weather, but it still got to 80 degrees several times this past week. I'm ready for lows in the 40's and highs in the 50's. 
Last hard workout done before the marathon - post run drills


Sunday, August 28, 2016

It's too hot this summer

It's been a long, hot summer so far - with high dew points and lows only in the 70's. I think it's really taken a toll on my daily running and energy levels. Marshall and I have been logging runs averaging 20-30 seconds slower per mile than usual. Workout have been okay, but definitely taking more effort to run normal paces.

I've tried something new the past month. I've upped my workouts to 3 per week, with one being a fairly short workout and keeping the workout on the weekend a longer one. It's fairly similar to what I did in college when training for much shorter and quicker races. So far, it's been an exhausting month!! Marshall and I were both surprised to find that we could get some turn-over on tired legs, but then the regular runs suffered a bit - which is OK, allowing us to recover and run fast when planned.

Last week totals (8/15-8/21):
65 miles
2 doubles
3 workouts
1 day off
14 mile long run (workout included)

This week we did our workouts on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Tuesday - fartlek (2 x 90 sec; 4 x 60 sec; 4 x 30 sec, 4 x 15 sec) equal recovery
This was harder than it sounded. It's only 10 minutes of hard running. It was HOT and this was our second run of the day. We had an 8 mile run in the morning, and this was a total of 6 miles (w/warm-up and cool-down) - making 14 total miles for the day.

Thursday - 5 mile tempo in the morning @ 29:30 and an average of 5:54. I finally talked Marshall into letting me do my workouts up at Frisco trail like I'm used to. . . and I loved it! :) We had been trying to do some workouts around our house so we wouldn't have to drive anywhere (and get some rolling terrain, as Frisco is pretty easy route), but it's hard to find a 5+ mile route where we don't have to cross any major roads and risk getting stopped at a stop light (in the middle of a workout!!).

Saturday - The first really long workout of the training cycle so far!! 3 x 3 mile
Splits of:
17:50
17:36
17:30
w/one mile jog recovery between each one.
It was finally cool for this one!! This was one of the days were the low actually got into the mid 60's

This week's totals:
72 miles
2 workouts
15 mile long run
2 doubles
0 days off

While it warmed back up, and times unfortunately slowed again. . . I'm pleased that I actually followed my training plan "to a T".

Workout 1 - Monday: 6 mile tempo. This started off rough, but managed to get rolling after the second mile. Ended up with a final time of 35:44 after a VERY slow start, which is an average of 5:57. . . really not a testament of how good this workout ended up being.

Workout 2 - Wednesday: fartlek of 3 miles with 2 minutes on/2 minutes off. Nothing really spectacular happened here, just put in the work.


It's been 9 weeks since I last raced at Grandma's, the half marathon. I'm getting anxious to get back at it. Only 2 weeks, then we're heading up to Kansas City for a 10k!!

Throw back to last year''s Plaza 10k, where I took 2nd place



Sunday, July 17, 2016

Another PR in Duluth, MN

What a weekend! Marshall and I headed north to our beloved Grandma's Marathon. This was the fourth year in a row for us to participate in this event, and it seems like every time I race there I come home with a new PR :)

Having run a marathon in February, I opted to run the half marathon this year. I've been wanting to roll a fast half for quite some time, but with the trials (and a marathon last June) I had been doing more marathon training and less speed work. So it felt good to start working on some foot speed again.

2 mile w/u
Goal: 13.1 at sub 1:16:00
Actual: 13.1 @ 1:15:43
1 mile c/d

I was up before 4:00 am race day, as my race started at 6:15 am! I was going to be finished with my entire race before Marshall and the others even started the full marathon. One good thing about starting so early was that we beat the heat. It was quite humid, but at least temps were still in the 60's when I started. But what a beautiful sight it was to watch the sun rise over Lake Superior.

Well, I must admit it was a bit unexpected to finish 3rd at this large of a race. I knew I was in shape to run a sizable PR and thought I had a good shot at top 10, and maybe top 5 on a good day. The funny thing was, I didn't even realize I was in the top three until 10 miles in when a spectator informed me that I was 3rd female. At first I thought I heard wrong and he said 13th, but low and behold another spectator confirmed 3rd place about a half mile later.

Around the boat
Around 5k to go
There were so many elite men in the race, that I couldn't figure out how many elite women took off and were actually in front of me. I quickly found a group that was running low 5:40's mile splits and settled in with them for about 4 miles. I'm not 100% sure, but I believe we came through 5k in 17:35-40ish. I was in the back, really just trying to hold on. At one point before the 5k, the group had started to pull a few strides a head, but I fought through and caught back up. Shortly after 5k, my pack had picked off one of the Kenyan ladies. Still not realizing how close we were to the leaders, we kept trucking along. By mile 5, the group was starting to string out a little bit, and I happened to be setting pace for another mile or so.

Mile to go!
Home stretch
Lucky for me, as the pack started to thin out, I could spot another female maybe about 10 seconds up. I slowly gained on her for 2 miles, and by mile 7 we were stride for stride, but I could tell she was laboring harder than myself. I slowly pulled away, willing myself to be patient until 5k to go. I didn't want to crash and burn when I knew I was for sure on pace to PR. Somehow I accidentally slipped up to a 5:54 for mile 8 or 9 and had just a little bit of panic because I knew that if I maintained this pace, my hopes for breaking 1:16 would not happen. At this point, I had been running behind the same guy for the past 1-2 miles and probably just got content, so I made a conscious effort to push pace.

I finally got to 10 miles (57:40ish), found out I was in 3rd, and then started to get an adrenaline rush. I didn't want to look behind me to see how close the next female was, so I ran scared thinking she could come back on me at any moment. Eventually, I could tell by the crowds reaction that I had a sizable gap, so I let the excitement of breaking 1:16 pull me through to the finish. It was a fairly lonely last 1.5 miles, but there was some crowd support to bring the runners home.

Finish with a new PR
Finisher




















Overall, it was a great trip! Now that it's four weeks post race, I'm looking forward to the fall racing season. Next up. . . trying to get some foot speed for a possible PR in the 10k on the roads. Then back to Minnesota for a fast 10 miler. Let's keep our fingers crossed that Marshall gets in as well (he had to do the lottery)!!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Two Weeks To Go!

Week in Review:
73 miles
15 mile long run
2 doubles
2 track workouts
2 runs with SHORTS (in January!)
1 Nailed the Yasso's

It's hard to believe that last week we had two snow days and this week we were wearing shorts all weekend! There's only two weeks until the big LA trip and if the snow could hold off until we return, that would be great.

Last week was supposed to be one of my highest mileage weeks, but I fell short of 80 miles. On Tuesday, the roads were super icy. My commute took about triple the usual amount of time and I did slide off into the ditch once, but was able to just drive back up to the road. The truck really sucks with those kind of conditions. And dummy me, didn't bring treadmill clothes to run at work.

So I got up early the next day and put in 6 miles on the treadmill on Wednesday morning. Then later that evening, the roads were pretty much clear so Marshall and I put in 10 miles in the Hood (short for our neighborHOOD). I did notice from the very first step of this run that my right calf was feeling unusually tight. I pushed it to the back of my mind, but by the last mile it was really starting to bug me.

Snow run!
Thursday morning came and we woke to about 2 inches of snow. No biggie, it slowed us down but we made it out for a 5 mile run with hopes of another run later that evening. Again, the calf was feeling odd and about half way through we hit a sharp little uphill which pain seared through my calf. I thought about it all day and we decided to nix our evening run that day. Instead Marshall started treating me with ART (ART is awesome. . . check it out!) for about a week and each day I started to feel significantly better.

Finished our longest run of the training cycle - calf didn't feel the
best, but made it through









24 miles

So, to summarize. . . I dropped two days off this week and still made it to 75 miles, so I'll take it :)

This brings us up to this past week. We had hill repeats scheduled, but decided to do the track workout we had scheduled the day it iced. I really wanted to get on the track before our Yasso's on Saturday. The workout was mediocre, but we managed to get most of the work done before it got too dark. Next up . . . Yasso's.

2+ warm-up
Goal: 10 x 800 @ sub 2:40 w/2:40-3:00 recovery
Actual: above - all 2:38 and faster
1+ c/d
11 total miles

We nailed our Yasso's!! Yay :) It's been a month or more since I've felt that I'd really nailed a workout. Don't get me wrong, I haven't had bad workouts, just none that I've walked away from feeling like a Bad A. . . until now!

Saturday morning was beautiful! After the warm-up it was warm enough to wear shorts and a t-shirt. Almost perfect track weather, better than anything I could have imagined for January. It almost felt awkward wearing shorts; no tights or gloves needed.

With the Drury men's soccer team as our audience, this workout went off without a hitch. It felt good to really run fast. I kept the recovery honest as well, which is really hard to do with this workout. We even surprised ourselves with the last one. As usual got carried away with only one to go ;) Last one fast one, right?

Enjoying our morning at the track
Now only two weeks to go! Mileage will start to drop this week, but intensity picks up. I'm ready to head to sunny and warmer weather :) Now off to plan our trip festivities.