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Rock the Parkway

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Februrary 2017 in Review

Kimi - 259 miles
Penny - 5 miles
Longest run - 17 miles
Highest week - 67 miles
Day's off - 0 days

February turned out to be quite a good month. My tempo runs are up to 4 miles, and I'm trying to run my shorter stuff at paces faster than last year. So far, this has been a success. I also had a good track workout last week.

This was my first time on track this year, and I haven't been on it since early November. Felt good to get some turn-over. I busted out some 400's, 300's, and 200's. It was harder than I thought it was going to be simply because I kept recovery to a minimum (between 30-60 seconds depending on the distance of which repeat I was on). It was meant to be a good workout though - because it was raining an yucky all day until I headed to Drury track after work. Then the sun was shining and weather was warm for February :)

Unfortunately, February is ending on a low note. I got sick AGAIN. I'm usually a pretty healthy person - never miss work, sick once per year, etc. Well, if you remember January's recap (Click Here) I was sick about 4 weeks ago. However, at that time I had to take off 3 days of running. This time I've been able to push through, but did drop a workout this past weekend. It was short lived because I'm really feeling a lot better only 4 days later. Apparently everybody has been sick off and on the past couple months.

Much to our surprise, this past Sunday Marshall and I got to run in a snow shower! Really big flakes also. And to think I was wearing shorts 3 days before this happened! This may be the only snow we get, so it definitely brought a smile to our faces. Marshall enjoyed it so much that he even decided to run an extra 2 miles and finish up with me :) Penny wasn't as thrilled with the snow as I was. She went out and turned right back around to come back inside.

Picture doesn't do it justice - it was beautiful
In other news, we are still working on the room above the garage. This past weekend, we took down the railing and are in the process of staining and painting. We also did a lot of other odds-n-ends and felt like we made good progress. We still have a long list of tasks, but most can be done in only a couple hours or so :)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

January in Review

The year started off great for me. I was rocking and rolling. The first three weeks I ran over 60 miles. Unfortunately, I got a cold and ended up taking 3 days off. I took a Monday off, tried to run Tuesday and felt fine, but then woke up the next morning with a scratchy throat again.

Luckily, these days off didn't hinder me too much. Our plans to run in Phoenix at the end of February fell through. I'm looking on the bright side though, this gave me a few weeks to simply put in some solid mileage with no workouts. It also gives Marshall time to ramp back up in his running. This is going to allow me to focus on the Half Marathon Championships at the end of April! I've only finished in the top 20 at a Championship race once, so I'm hoping to peak at this race and come away with a new PR! I think it is going to be very competitive, you have to run sub 1:18 just for a comped entry.

Cold and rain can't stop me!
January Review:
Kimi - 245 miles
Penny - 11 miles
Day's off - 4
0 races yet - Although, I did volunteer at Cabin Fever Reliever. I had the very important job of making sure all the 20k runners added on a little out/back section of the race. I got several comments that this was the worst part of the race ;) but mark my words. . . every runner ran down that stretch :) It was a good time and everyone was upbeat. Marshall even got some great pictures of everyone (click here to see pics).

In other news, we are STILL working on the attic. The boys got all the drywall up and sanded. Marshall and Dad textured all the walls and ceiling. Now the walls are painted a very pretty Beige. . . and I also talked Marshall into re-painting three of the walls in our bedroom!!! The master bedroom turned out nothing like what the picture/inspiration looked like. We have hated it for nearly 3 years, now I'm SO glad I talked him into changing it!! :)

I think she has been digging. . .

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

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.

 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:
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