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Sunday, April 8, 2018

March in Review

March was a great training month. I had one race early in the month in Kansas City. It was the Big 12 12k run (odd distance, I know). I managed to pull off a win for 2 years in a row. Which is awesome because I won 2 tickets to the Big 12 Championship game. What an AWESOME experience.

Big 12 Run:
1st place female
42:59 (average 5:45)
Results (Click Here)

Overall, I was very pleased with this race. My pace was nothing super impressive (I've run this pace for a half marathon before), but given the terrain I am extremely pleased. Last year I was 44:15, but it was very windy and in the middle of a snow storm. It was also during an 80+ mile week which was preceded by 2 weeks prior that were 90+, so this was raced on very tired legs.

First place!
Pretty quick into the race, I found another female and her coach that were running pretty close to the pace I wanted. It was just the 3 of us for most of the race. I opened up in 5:47, then they took the lead for the next 3 miles which were 5:44, 5:56, and 6:04. I didn't like the upward trend, so once we finally got to the top of the long climb up The Paseo, I surged and brought the pace down to a 5:35 and started to pull ahead just a bit from the other two. Then followed up with a 5:19 STEEP downhill mile. I thought the two might catch back up to me during this mile because I do not like down hill running and at this point in training I did not want to let totally loose and risk injury. Finished up with a 5:53 w/half of that up a pretty steep hill (at the end of the race too!) and a 2:38 last half mile (back down the hill) for 7.5 miles (aka 12k). This last mile, even though it was significantly slower, was where I pulled away enough to secure the win.

Can you find the weenie? I did end up ditching the head band. . . in my defense, was in the 30's at start

After breaking away, caught some of the 5k runners
I also had 3 new workouts that I wanted to try this training cycle. They were ones we had never done before and some were harder than they sounded, some where easier than they sounded.

For example, to substitute a long run we did 9 miles at marathon pace + 1 minute, then quickly changed shoes and ran 8 more miles at marathon pace. This was modified from a workout I saw Sara Hall post about.

We also nailed a 2 x 6 mile that was split up by a fast half mile to spike the heart rate. This was actually a tale of 2 tempos. One was into the wind and was about 2 seconds per mile slower than goal. Then the next 6 mile tempo was 15+ seconds faster PER MILE.

On a side note, Krissy and baby Evan came to Missouri to visit!! I can't wait to snuggle his little guy again in July.
Sweet baby

He likes Harry Potter as much as his Auntie.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

February in Review & Cuteness Overload

February has been a great month! It started out with a trip to Alabama to meet my new nephew, Evan. 

Baby Evan - so cute!
This just so happened to be my birthday weekend, and was probably the first time in about 10 years that I've spent my birthday with my twin sister. So I spent my 30th birthday morning in Pensacola, FL and on a whim signed up for a 15k. My sister mentioned it about a week before we were to leave, and we were able to work out some logistics to make it work. This means that my first race of 2018 was on my birthday, and I walked away with 1st place and a nice prize check :) 
Was colder than expected

I had looked up past results and new it was pretty competitive (with the exception of last year). I thought I'd have a good chance of top 3 though. I knew it was going to be hard because we drove 13 hours Friday, had to get up in time to catch the bus at Pensacola Beach by 5:15 am, then run hard for 9.3 miles in cold/wind. 

Boy was it windy! That was the worst part. Overall, it was an amazing experience as we started in Pensacola and crossed 2 bridges that were 3 miles and a shorted 1 mile bridge (hence Double Bridge Run) to finish right at the boardwalk in Pensacola Beach. 

I didn't want to go super hard from the beginning, not knowing how the legs would hold up after fatigue hit and 13 hour of driving the night before. There were 3 women, counting myself, for about the first 5k. After the first mile being so windy, I decided to hold back and do a little bit of drafting. So I tucked in behind some men and the other 2 women for about 2 miles. At this point, the pace has slipped to above 6:00 miles, and it was far enough in that I started feeling a little better. So Marshall and I dropped the pace and quickly shook off the other 2. With Marshall a few strides ahead, and another man that I spent running side by side for another mile or 2, we managed to get the pace closed to 5:45 ish and basically hold that the rest of the way. 
First race in the 30 year age group category
I've never felt like such a celebrity at the end of a race before. The media was super excited and I think the town loves this race. I got to give a quick video interview and made the local newspaper as well. Here is a link to the newspaper and video if anyone wants to read about the "Birthday Champion" as I'm called. Lol (Link Here)

Yes, Marshall ran away from me again. We were slowly gaining on a pack of about 5 men, and I told him I thought he could probably take that whole pack. Which he did, but in the process the pack sped up to try and stay with him, and it was just enough that I couldn't get to any of them. 

The rest of February has been going well also. With a spring marathon in the works, my year is starting off with significantly higher miles than most. I usually pick a late summer or fall marathon. However, as everyone knows (because it is basically all I talk about), we are going to run in the Boston Marathon for the first time. We can't wait, and it is only 7 weeks away!!!

Week in Review:
90 miles
20 mile long run
2 workout 
10 runs

Workouts included faster finish on the 20 miles and mile repeats on the track. They were nothing spectacular - I've actually run almost the same pace for 2 mile repeats before. However, I did 6 reps (I usually do 4-5) and still managed to have all right at or slightly under 5:30). I've also got a lot of miles on my legs right now. Race week I still managed 70+, the last 2 weeks were at 80, and now just capped off a 90 mile week. So I am fairly strong, but feeling the hills and any little breeze a bit more than I would like. But I'm at my peak, so fairly soon the weekly mileage will slowly start to decrease. 

I also just started using Instagram (I'm so behind on social media...) and would love some followers! I would also love suggestions on users that you all follow.

User name is kimi.shankreed

One more, just because he is so cute

Sunday, January 14, 2018

2017 in Review

3183 miles
10 races (some used as workouts)
Marathon PR
Highest weekly mileage - 100 (which is a life time high for me!)
29 miles for Penny

The Good:

1. I walked away with a new marathon PR and ran in my first "World Major". . . the Chicago Marathon. I was 12th female overall and the 7th American. This is where I punched my ticket to the 2020 OLYMPIC MARATHON TRIALS!! So close to the "A" standard. (Recap for Chicago - click here)

2. I also hit a triple digit week! It was hard, and I'm not sure it will be in the books for 2018. . . but we will see. I'm not sure I was recovering from the high mileage with work, summer heat, and then throwing in some really hard/long workouts. But I'm not fully ruling it out yet :) 

3. I finished 15th at the USATF Half Marathon Championships. This is the first time I haven broken into the top 20 at a championship event.( Recap for USATF Champs - click here )

29 miles for Penny this year :)
The Not So Good:
2017 was not the year for ideal race conditions:

  • The year started with snow during The Big 12 12k. 
  • 20+ mph head winds at Rock the Parkway Half Marathon 
  • Extremely humid and storms/severe weather (they pulled people out of the race!) at the USATF half champs
  • Both marathons were (fairly) hot (60 at Chicago and 80 at Bass Pro) (Recap here)
My favorites of  2017:
  • Best Race Experience - Chicago marathon - First world major, new PR, over 1 million spectators, high finish!
  • Most Memorable Race - Big 12 12k. While the race was really uneventful, it was one of the coolest prizes I've won. I got a year supply of gas cards AND 2 tickets to attend the Big 12 CHAMPIONSHIP game. They even brought out the race winners to the court at haIf time. It was extremely fun and worth battling the snow and wind (I was all-out bundled up with a jacket, full tights, and probably a pack of hot hands. . . I can't remember). Although, I was having second thoughts during the race. 
Snowy and cold!
  • Best Run/Workout - 10 x 800 (w/2.5-3 min recovery). All were 2:35 or faster. This was 2 weeks before Chicago, and why I thought I would get the "A" standard - but we are always chasing the "perfect" race conditions, which I probably need to get the "A" standard of sub 2:37.
  • Best New Piece of Gear - I tried a new brand of Shoes. The brand is 361° and the shoe was called 361 - Onyx. It is a trainer, but the bottom is foam and looks similar to a flat. So I was able to wear them for several workouts and it still felt like I had on a fast shoe. I did not get the miles I expected out of them, but I guess that is expected since the bottom is foam. 
    Decent price and held up okay
  • Most Inspirational Runner of 2017 - I'm gonna go with Jordan Hasay's breakout year for the marathon. She finished 3rd at Boston (fastest debut by an American women). Then she ran even faster and took 3rd at the Chicago marathon.
Goals for 2018:
  • Run a good half/possible PR. I'm not sure which races yet where this will be ideal. If I do well at Boston, I will probably run the half at Grandma's in Duluth again. 
  • This might be far-fetched, but I'm going for the "A" standard of sub 2:37 again. I just keep telling myself that I'm actually closer to the "A" than I am to the "B" standard. I need to take 80 seconds off my PR 2:38:19. My best chance is Boston in April. Then Marshall and I are trying to decide between Grandma's in June or CIM (California) in December as a back up. I really want to go skiing (still mad that our plans fell through. . . we were suppose to be Skiing as I am typing this), so I'm having a hard time fully committing to CIM as both these trips would be very expensive.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Bass Pro Recap and Baby Shower Fun

It's been 8 weeks since the Chicago Marathon, and running is finally starting to ramp back up. It's taking a bit longer because Marshall and I both participated in the Bass Pro Marathon 4 weeks after the Chicago Marathon. . . I know 2 marathons is 4 weeks! Yikes (Marshall must be rubbing off on me). I'm usually a 1 per year kind of girl. However, we never intended to actually full out race the Bass Pro, mostly we run this race for the convenience factor (able to sleep in our own beds, not have to get up supper early, and no travel expenses).

Overall, we did well. The weather was awful hot and humid. I was talking Marshall "back from the cliff" by mile 2. . . lol. Then, I had to talk myself off the cliff by mile 8. I managed to pull off a re-peat win, which happens to also be my second ever marathon win. Marshall and I ran together for about 10 miles, but then the 3rd place male started slowly pulling away from us. At this point, I told Marshall to leave me and see if he could stay with the 3rd place male. If Marshall happened to die in the process, it didn't really matter as there wasn't anyone within viewing distance behind us.

Finishing together; 1st for me; Marshall 4th 
So Marshall left, the cyclist escort for the lead female came back to me and it was pretty much the two of us until we hit half marathoners at about the 21 mile marker. Another mile or so I could see Marshall heading up Jefferson. He was coming back to me pretty fast, so I figured the 3rd place guy had pulled away and he was just going to finish up with me. Turns out the little stinker was trying to hold me off as long as he could :)

Didn't mean to dress like twins!
So for the 2nd year in a row, Marshall and I got to cross the finish line at the same time. Special thanks to the parents and in-law for providing hydration and taking some awesome pictures.
Harry Potter Onesies that I made; and baby house mascots

Game table

Now, I've had a pretty busy November. Two weeks after the marathon I hosted a baby shower for my sister and her very special baby boy. He is due at the end of January, but maybe he can come a week later on mine and Krissy's birthday (Feb. 3). We've shared a birthday our whole lives, so what's one more person :)

This little boy is going to have an AWESOME nursery. It's Harry Potter themed, which is our favorite book ever. I may have gotten a little carried away. . . but who doesn't like Harry Potter? I may be a procrastinator, but managed to pull off the big crafts/projects on time. I did have to have my friend, Kaleigh, come over a little early so her and her mother could help me with a few decorations and food prep. 

I'm getting pretty skilled with my diaper crafts year alone! This was the 3rd and 4th diaper craft in this ye (and other crafts really - I LOVED how the measuring stick turned out).
Dumbledore quote - gift made by me!

Husky lifting a dumbbell - how appropriate :)

I think everyone had a good time. The games were entertaining and Krissy got to keep a lot of the items associated with the games. We did a Brown Bag game, where there was a letter on each bag, and the bags spelled out BABY SHOWER. Then guests had to reach in and feel what think was in each bag. The item in each bag was a baby item that started with the letter that was on the front of the bag. For example, b = bottle, or brush, or bear, etc. 

Diaper cake that I made

Food table (can't take credit for this cake)

I might have gotten a little bit carried away with Harry Potter

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Chicago Marathon!

What a great weekend we had earlier this month in Chicago! I walked away from the Chicago Marathon with a top 15 finish and top 10 American finish. Not to mention I barely squeaked out a new PR.

First let me say, I'm super happy with the way things went down last weekend. However, there is a small part of me that thought I was going to run a little bit faster. I had nailed my Yasso workout, had solid long runs, logged more miles, and fully felt ready to run at least 2:37 low. The ultimate goal was to get the Olympic A standard (sub 2:37).

Having time to reflect, here's what I've decided. All the Chicago News stations kept calling it "hot conditions". Yes, it was about 20 degrees warmer than when I ran my old PR (upper 60's vs upper 40's at the start), but really was far from what I would consider "hot". Let's just say it was "warm". Part of me just wasn't sure I could pull off sub 6 minute pace. Let's be honest, it had been OVER 2 years since I had run a fast marathon. I forgot what it was going to feel like. Now I have it fresh in my mind and in my muscles, and am ready to tackle Boston in 6 months :) This race was a big confidence booster for me. Obviously, I had WAY to much left in the tank at the end. My last 2k was almost sub 5:40 pace.

Chicago Marathon expo - one of the 6 world major marathon
Let's start from the beginning. The elite coordinator was gracious enough to accept me into the elite field, and I was treated with more hospitality than I probably deserved. It was an AWESOME experience for me :) The only issue now, was that Marshall was starting in Corral A and I would be a little in front of him. How far, we didn't know. Luckily, once they walked us out to the front of the race, then next corral was brought up right behind us. Marshall luckily found me before we even got to the 2 mile mark.

Millennium Park - Of course it had to be rainy/cold
The Garmin was being so sporadic, being downtown. On minute it would say 5:30 pace, then is would say like 8:00 pace. I happened to be right behind Danna (we know each other from college).  She ran a very smart earlier this year at Boston, so I just tucked in behind her and her teammate hoping they would be running 6-6:05. Sure enough, like clock work we held this pace through about 14-15 miles. I was hoping to have some just under 6:00, but thought it better to work as a group and try to pick the pace up the last 10k.

I had a slight mental lapse around mile 15, where the pack started to slightly pull away from me. My feet were killing me in my racing flats. I managed to get over it and Marshall and I had slowly started to work back towards a couple of the ladies that had pulled away from us.

Obligatory picture in "The Bean/Glass Bridge"
Unfortunately, at mile 21.5, Marshall started cramping in his abdomen. He briefly said to me, "trust your legs, you got this". Next thing I know, I couldn't find him. I never looked behind me, but figured he wasn't too far. I started focusing in on the next person, and slowly (actually, rather quickly) started picking off one person at a time.

I must have looked like I was moving well, because everyone in the crowd kept telling me I was steadily gaining on some of the ladies a head of me. I might not have PR'd if I hadn't been chasing down two more ladies that last 2k. With probably about 1 mile to go, I could see two runners. One approximately 20 seconds, then next about 35 seconds. I wasn't sure if I could get them because that is a LOT of time to make up in about a mile. The one that was 35 seconds ahead, kept looking over her shoulder, so I knew she was running scared and fading fast. This fueled me even more, plus the drama of the countdown for the last 800 meters. (The race had signs at 800, 400, 300, 200, and 100 to go - I think it helped). I pulled even just past the 800 meter sign and ran with all my my might. I could see the clock and knew I was within striking range of a new PR. This was actually pleasant surprise as I didn't run the first half as fast as I would have liked, and I knew I was not running fast enough for miles 15-19 to negative split. I never looked down at my Garmin the last 2 miles and just ran competitively, so I knew that my last mile must have been REALLY fast for me to walk away with a new PR. 

My finisher's medal
All around, it was a good experience. It was the largest race I've ever been in (45,000 runners and over 1 MILLION spectators!). This was my first "World Major" race and I can't wait for my second one which will be the Boston Marathon this April :)

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Grandma's Recap - 5th year in a row

With both Marshall and I feeling down/sick prior to the big day, we thought this trip could possibly end up being a wash. It turned out to be a decent effort on my part, and Marshall still managed to break 3 hours (all though he was 15 minutes off what he usually runs) despite coughing all night the 2 days leading up to the race.

Goal 1: Top 10 finish
Goal 2 New PR (sub 1:15:43)
Goal 3: Sub 1:15 (1:14:59) - *prior to the 2 week sickness*

10th place

We both had a blast and are looking forward to next year! This was our 5th year in a row to head up there. The weekend kick started with a guest speaker at the expo. We got to listen to Kara Goucher talk about the ups/downs of her last 2 years of training. There was even a Q & A portion in which I (yours truly) got to ask my question. You are probably wondering what question that might be. . . "What was the last show you binged watched on Netflix?" 😜

The second interesting aspect was that there were quite a few Springfield peeps up for the big race. It took nearly 800 miles from home to get to know each other, but we got to spend quite a bit of time with Amy and her husband, Lance. There were 7 of us running, and I was the only one running the HALF marathon. . . the other 6 were running the FULL marathon. I'm not sure if that makes me a wimp or the only SANE one in the group 😉.

So the full marathon is the premier event, and it starts at 7:45 am. They want all/most of us running the half marathon off the course before the elite men cross the finish line, so my race started at 6:15am!!! Every year when I'm getting up at 4:00 am I start to question why I do this to myself. However, the nice thing is that I'm finished running before the marathoners even start their race. Then I have 2 hours to cool down to the hotel, shower, and take a nap (yay for naps!!) before heading out to look for the others. The hotel I get hooked up with is conveniently located at mile 25, so I have a nice spot around 24.5 miles into the race where I can look for Marshall, then can quickly cross the bridge and see him again at mile 26.

Marshall at mile 26, only .2 to go - his 5th Grandma's Marathon
My lofty expectations of a massive PR were deemed unrealistic after dropping 3-4 workouts and a long run. Overall, I'm pleased with how I did. I found a group of 2 other ladies and a guy that seemed to be the pacer for one of the ladies. He seemed to be clicking off about 5:45 the first half of the race so I assumed the goal was sub 1:16. I will refer to him a the new Marshall, and I hoped he was as good a pacer as my Marshall is. The new Marshall did well for almost the first half, but then before I knew it we had 3 miles that were 10- 15 seconds off pace. This unfortunately lost me 30-40 seconds, so I had to move on and look towards the next runner. After I left the small pack, I managed to pass 2 sketcher runners by mile 9-10. At mile 10, you start to enter Duluth. I worked my way up "lemon drop hill" and had caught another female by mile 11.5. I could then see one more lady that was possibly within reach. She had about a 20 second lead on me with 1.5 miles to go, but I could tell she was coming back to me rather quickly or at least had become content with her effort. I flew down the brick road, looped around the harbor and boot, then pulled stride to stride with her just past mile 13 (so less than .1 to go). Unfortunately, I had spent myself just to catch up (my last mile had to be 15 or so seconds faster than hers, and I dropped one that was around 5:40). When she realized it was a women that pulled up next to her, she was able to respond and finished 1 second ahead of me. I was disappointed I couldn't quite get her, but I felt great to finish strong and be competitive.

The famous lift bridge, near the finish line. View from the Enger Tower
I was a little disappointed that my time wasn't faster because I felt so much smoother than I had at the Championships in April and I was only about 10 seconds faster. I felt that I was running better than I acutally was I guess. Either way, I'm always pleased to be under 1:17 and I'm encouraged that I had a race that actually felt good. 2017 hasn't been the best year of racing. It was snowing during my first race, 20 mph winds for my second race, and humid/storms at the championships. It was a little humid at Grandma's, but nothing compared to what we've had here in Missouri the last 2 weeks.

Up next. . .hoping for a good Marathon in October. Going to run Chicago!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

I'm back!

After being sick for over 2 weeks, I've finally had a solid 2 weeks of training. I had to drop 3 workouts and 2 long runs, which really bummed me out. I've been bumming around thinking this sickness was going to ruin my run at Grandma's next weekend, but I have a little more confidence now that I've nailed some workouts. I've got fairly good speed right now, but I'm not sure if the endurance is there. It could feel like a really long 13.1 miles next weekend!

We went ahead and changed my schedule around a bit to compensate for the sickness. I haven't been on the track since before the Half champs (early April), and would usually have 2-3 more workouts on the track. I haven't done any of my "staple" workouts.

Unfortunately, I ended up with something that eventually got deep into my chest. After 9 days, I finally gave in and got some antibiotics - then it was another 5 days before I felt like I could even attempt a fast workout. However, I was able to still run some short, slow, easy miles. Call it fresh legs (or maybe I didn't loose as much fitness as I had thought) but I NAILED a 6 mile tempo last weekend. The was run solo with Marshall joining me via the bike for 5 miles of it.

Then, on Wednesday of this week, I attempted a 3 x 2 mile with Marshall in tow. It wasn't easy as I would  have liked it to feel, but managed to run all of them right at goal half pace to a couple seconds per mile faster than goal pace.

Throw back to last year when I ran my PR!!
Lastly, this morning I ran another solo workout that I call "mini (ice cream) sandwich". Basically a tempo, followed by a short fartlek, followed by another tempo. I just shortened the segments a bit since Grandma's is next week end! Again, I was gearing the tempo portion to be close to goal pace, but the last tempo ended up being a quite a bit faster (5:30 pace - oops!). Hopefully I didn't get too carried away. I did have what I now refer to as my MAGIC SHOES. They are my new racing flats, and I figured I should probably run a workout in them. I'd rather the first time I have them on my feet not be during a race. Haha :)

Now I just have a small tune-up workout early this coming week and then it's just time to get the legs fresh and hope for the best. Realistically, a PR is probably out of the question, but hopefully I can run similar to what I ran in April.