The Snow Shuffle and Boston Week 3 Recap

An alternate title:  Separating the Crazy from the Sane.

I woke up Saturday morning determined to get 17 miles in – snow, blizzard, ice storm, what have you.  I woke up at 6:50AM, checked Twitter, and was surprised by all the “I’m treadmilling it today and getting my 20 miles done” tweets.  Crap, is it that bad out?  I checked outside and was surprised we got so much snow – about 3 inches.  Usually the weather people are way off.

I couldn’t imagine running for 17 miles on the TM, so I bundled up, and prepared myself mentally for the challenge.  I got myself out the door at 7:30 into the freezing rain.  It wasn’t terribly cold but it was tough to run – even with my YakTrax on.  The snow was deep.  The paved trail that I usually run on clearly states “no winter trail maintenance” and they mean it.  It pisses me off since they mow the lawn once a week in the summer but they can’t drop a plow and remove the snow in the winter.  Running on an unplowed trail wasn’t working.  I was shuffling along and my stride was all messed up.  There was no way I could maintain this for 17 miles.

So I found a 1-mile stretch that was plowed and managed to run around it 7 times, looking like a complete ass in the process.  By now my Garmin, my tights, my jacket, my hat, and my (right) eyelid were getting icy.  My eyelid was really starting to sting too.  I waved the white flag, ran the 1/2 mile back to my house, and decided to prepare myself mentally for another challenge – 9.5 miles on the TM.

I watched Leap Year while on the TM and tried to transport myself back to Ireland.  It helped for the first 3 miles.  After that I was just antsy and miserable.  I have no idea how people run 20 miles on the TM.  I’m in complete awe of them.

7.5 miles in the snow at 9:40 pace and 9.5 miles on the TM at 8:53 pace.  Done and done!

Boston Week 3 Recap
MON:  8mi speed
TUE:  8mi tempo with 5 miles at MP (8:28, 8:11, 8:12, 8:16, 8:07).  I experimented with doing 2 hard days back-to-back and it wasn’t too bad.  Those MP miles felt easier then they did last week.
WED:  barre class
THU:  rest!
FRI:  6mi easy with 5 short hill repeats at the end
SAT:  17 loooooong miles
SUN:  6mi easy

45 miles total for the week.

How did you deal with the snow and running this weekend?  If you live in the South or San Francisco and had perfect weather, I don’t want to hear it 😉

Does your favorite running route get plowed or do you have to get creative?  


Olympic Trials, Haircut, And A Long Run

Happy Sunday!  I’m enjoying Day 2 of a 3-day weekend!  I just got back from barre class which kicked my butt, as always.  My legs were already tired from 15 miles yesterday and all the pulsing and squeezing sent them over the edge this morning.

So, the Olympic Marathon Trials?!  So exciting.  I cannot wait for London.  I just got back from my long run in enough time to catch the Twitterfest of the finish.  Meb is amazing and Shalane, Kara, and Desi are a force to be reckoned with in London.

Hawk enjoyed watching the Trials as well

I wish I could say that I channeled some of that elite energy during my LR but I didn’t.  15 miles with an average pace of 9:04.  I will call that a LSD run.  I slept 4 hours on Friday night (random insomnia) and, beginning at mile 6, I developed a blister on my right foot (while wearing my Adrenaline 11s – yes, the ones that are supposed to feel good).  I have no idea what kind of metamorphosis my right foot is undergoing but it better morph back to my old foot pronto.  I’ve never had issues with blisters before.  They suck and can really derail a run.

To be honest, my heart was not in this run.  I was tired.  It was so, so cold.  The wind kept smacking me in the forehead and pissing me off.  I wanted it to be OVER.  I came home and I was upset.  This was a slow run for me and a good 45 seconds slower than MP.  Then I took out my FIRST plan and looked at what pace I was supposed to run those 15 miles (note:  when it comes to long runs I generally “beat” whatever pace the FIRST plan calls for…so I never even bother to look at it pre-run).  9:08.  I ran 9:04 and called it a terrible run.  I stopped sulking after that.

And…I got my hair cut yesterday!  I got a good 6 inches lopped off the back.  It feels amazing to have less hair to deal with!  It was getting to the point where my hair was in a ponytail every single day.  Some pics…

it may not look like a lot from the front...

but I now have a tiny ponytail

Good luck to everyone running Houston today!

What did you think of the Trials?

Did you have a good long run this weekend?

Being Flexible and Boston Week 1 Recap

When I first started training for marathons and knew very little about myself as a runner (or really anything about marathon training), I would follow a set training plan.  All 16 weeks planned out in black and white.  This type of training is beneficial for beginners, as long as you are listening to your body and pushing when appropriate and resting when you need it.  My approach to training now is drastically different then it was back then.

Every Sunday, I plan out my running schedule for the week.  I’m using the FIRST plan so in a way those 16 weeks are planned out but I modify the plan so much it’s never set in stone.  Things I consider:

  • Am I busy this week?  Do I have stuff to do after work or during the weekend?
  • What’s the weather like (especially in the winter)?  If there is even a hint of snow, I will finagle my schedule to get all my key runs in before the snow hits.
  • What was my total mileage last week?  How much should I increase it this week or decrease if it’s a drop back week?
  • When will I strength train this week?
  • How am I feeling overall?  How did my runs go last week?  Did I hit all my key workouts?

All of these factors go into my planning.  The only things really set in stone are my track workouts and long run mileage.  Everything else I decide on the Sunday prior.  Even the days I do track, tempo, and easy runs change each week (although I try and get track work done on Mondays to get it out of the way).  I love the flexibility this gives me and my training has improved so much.

Boston Week 1 Recap
I’ll call week 1 a success!  Aside from my failed tempo run and yoga fail (I just couldn’t get my butt there on Sunday – I have no better excuse than that), I was happy with my long run on Saturday.

MON:  3 x 1-mile repeats
TUE:   7 easy
WED:  barre class
THU:  rest
FRI:  6 pseudo-tempo miles
SAT:  13 (avg pace – 8:37).  I totally under dressed for this run.  I started running at 7:30 and it was bitterly cold (it later went up to 60 degrees!).  I had a thin, long-sleeved tech shirt and cheap Target stretchy gloves.  I thought my hands were going to freeze and fall off.  I even stopped into a bathroom to use the hand dryer to warm them up (I hate stopping during long runs too but this was so necessary).
SUN:  6 easy

38 total miles for the week 🙂

Do you follow a set schedule or plan your runs weekly like me?

Ever think you were going to get frostbite during a run?  Once my hands get cold, it’s all downhill for me.  It actually gets painful and I can’t concentrate.  I do use hand warmers sometimes but apparently didn’t think it was necessary on Saturday.  

Part II is never funny and fueled by treats

Happy Monday!  Only 4 more days of work left.  I can do this.  I can do this.  I hope some of you have a short week too!

Never mind my gibberish title.  Creativity is not my strong suit and I’ve used “weekend recap” way too often.  Speaking of which, my recap can be divided into “run” and “fun”.

Friday night Matt and I tried to watch The Hangover Part II but barely made it halfway through before turning it off.  So, so bad.  It’s the same movie over again minus the laughs.  I wasn’t expecting much for a Part II but this was ridiculous.

On Saturday we hosted a Christmas party for Matt’s family.  Matt comes from a big family (youngest of 7) so we are talking lots of adults and kiddies.  Everything went very well (we also hosted last year so we had some practice).  Good food, good company and lots of delicious treats!

When I was sufficiently stuffed to the gills, Matt and I watched St. Joe’s CRUSH Villanova!  What a prefect way to end a great day!  St. Joe’s and Nova are bitter rivals and nothing made me happier then sending Nova back to the Main Line with their tails between their legs 🙂

Last week was a solid week of running (good thing, since I ate my weight in cookies and cake).  I’m still base building and won’t start officially training for Boston until Jan. 2 but I got in 35 miles.  I did 10 miles on Saturday with 6 miles at 8:30 pace.  I finally feel like I got my speed back.  8:30 pace felt good…almost as effortless as it did during the Lehigh Valley Marathon!  On Sunday I did 7 very slow, Garmin-free miles.  It was bitter cold but so refreshing.

Anyone see The Hangover Part II?  Anyone actually watch the whole movie?  

Anyone else stuff themselves with treats this weekend?  My neighbor keeps baking and bringing stuff over for Matt and I to eat (she’s an incredible baker too).  I think I may pop.  

All weekends should be 3 days long…

I used my last vacation day of the year very wisely.  Last Thursday night, I wrote out a rather ambitious to-do list for Friday.  After knocking out a 13-miler (it was on my list!), I felt energetic and powered through everything on my list.  Endorphins + crossing things off a list  = amazing!

After a productive day, I was ready to relax at Girls’ Christmas (explained here).  Amanda hosted this year and was truly the hostess with the mostess!  The spread of food was unreal and perfect for carbo-loading:  penne vodka, lasagna, meatballs, garlic bread.  All topped off with a few Miller Lites.  We chatted until nearly 2:30, way too late for this grandma, and then I collapsed into bed with a belly full of carbs.  Life is good.

On Sunday, I got up and braved the cold for a run.  Nine easy miles later I felt refreshed, energized, and really to tackle the mall.  King of Prussia is the “it” mall right outside Philly.  Venturing there in December can be stressful and suck the Christmas cheer right out of ya, but surprisingly it was OK.  I’m kinda like a maniac in the mall.  I don’t browse; I swiftly loop around for anything that catches my eye before speed walking to the next store.  It’s a workout.

Do you feel more productive after you run?  This explains why I feel so lazy on rest days.  I need my AM run to jump-start my day.

Are you a fast mall walker or more of a browser?  Slow mall walkers kill me! 

Five for Friday

Five things I’m excited about or looking forward to this weekend:

1.  I have today off from work.  Enough said.

2.  I just finished a 13-miler with absolutely no hamstring tightness.  I feel 100% back to normal, except my speed is still on vacation.  It’ll come back, eventually.

3.  I get to see Matt today.  He’s been away for work the past 2 weeks (again).  These 2-week trips are getting old.  I can’t wait to spend the weekend with him.

4.  Tonight is our annual Girls’ Christmas.  My friends and I get together every Christmas for lots of eating and drinking.  I look forward to it every year (note that the long run was done this morning so I can be hung over tomorrow 🙂 )

5.  Catching up on Dexter and The Amazing Race this weekend.  Matt and I watch these 2 shows together so, with him away, I had to refrain from watching them.  It was hard but I managed!

What are you looking forward to this weekend?  

Does your significant other travel for work often?  Matt doesn’t too much but these 2-week stints suck.   

Running On Fumes

14 miles / 2:01 / 8:39 avg pace

I’m a creature of routine.  Every night before my long run I do the following (don’t mock me):

  • check the hourly forecast on
  • lay out my running clothes near my bed
  • lay out my hair bands, headband, Body Glide, sunscreen, Aquaphor (winter only), and contacts in my bathroom
  • lay out towels, ShotBloks, water bottle, and chocolate milk in the kitchen
  • set my alarm for some ungodly early hour

This sounds involved but I’ve been doing it for so long now I can easily pull everything together in 5-10 minutes.  Then I literally roll out of bed the next morning and go.  I don’t have to think about anything nor do I forget anything.

Last night Matt and I watched a movie (Crazy, Stupid Love – it was good) and then a few episodes of House Hunters and I was feeling lazy and tired so I just went to bed – no long run prep.  I also slept in since it was freezing out (the later I go running, the warmer it is!).  After rolling out of bed at 7:30 (unheard of for me, I’m usually a few miles into my run by then), I slowly got ready and started running at 8:30.

I knew what was coming.  And cursed myself for staying in bed so long.  My stomach growled at mile 2.  Crap.  I don’t eat before any of my runs (read why here) and since I’m generally done running at 8:30 and about to eat breakfast, I never get hungry during a long run…even 22 miles.  So not good.  I ate 3 ShotBloks and felt a little bit better.  Thankfully, I brought a few extra with me just in case.

Two and a half packs of ShotBloks later, I was done and booking it back to my car for some chocolate milk.  I eat that many ShotBloks for a marathon!  Too many for such a short distance.  Ugh.

I also forgot to put on sunscreen and Body Glide.  Damn chafing and sun damage!

Moral of the story:  get your butt out of bed early and lay out everything ahead of time.

Do you have a long run routine?  Do you find yourself sleeping in a bit more now that the weather is colder?  I’m so guilty of this, especially since I’m not technically training for anything right now.

Best of luck to everyone running the NYC marathon tomorrow, especially Meggie, Kelly, Keri, Katie, and Susan!!!!!

Lehigh Valley Marathon: Week 12 Recap

7 miles speed
*10 x 400m.  The last time I did this workout (12 x 400m) I averaged 1:36 and ended with up with a sore hamstring for the remainder of the week (due to overstriding).  I held back today and averaged 1:50.  Much slower but I have a happy hamstring!  Although I did run the last repeat in 1:34 just to make sure I still had it in me 😉

Let’s recap week 12…

MON: 7 miles easy
TUE:  11 miles tempo
WED:  7 miles speed
THU:  6 3 miles easy (thunderstorm)
FRI:  9 miles easy
SAT:  rest/HLS
SUN:  15 miles long

A total of 52 miles for the week.  After Thursday’s derailed run, I was hell-bent on getting my 55 miles in.  That feeling faded quickly when life and the weekend got in the way.  So I maxed out at 52/53 miles this training cycle.  My intention was to max out at 60 but my legs had other plans.  There is a reason why the FIRST training plan focuses on low mileage.  It’s difficult to run hard 3 days, add in 2 easy 8-milers, and repeat week after week.

But my legs feel rested and ready for my 22-miler on Friday.  I can’t wait.  I always treat the last “long” run of a training cycle like a dress rehearsal for race day.  I’ll wear the same clothes…and maybe even the same socks and hair bands if I have a particularly good run.  I guess I’m superstitious?!

Question – do you treat your last long run (before the taper) like a dress rehearsal for the big day?  Or do you just go with the flow?  

A long run, HLS, and a delayed hangover

8/21/11 (Sunday)
15 miles / 2:13 / 8:52 avg pace

Let’s recap this weekend in reverse…

Long Run
My long run was supposed to be done on Friday but with all the thunderstorms we’ve been having I was terrified of getting caught in one (especially after Meggie commented that she knew 2 people that have been struck by lightning).  So I stuck close to home and did 9 easy miles.  I rested on Saturday and did the LR on Sunday.  I am so happy to begin my pseudo-taper this week (decreasing my overall mileage).  All I have is 22 miles on Friday and then I’ll be in full blown taper mode!

So this weekend I attend the Healthy Living Summit (HLS).  Don’t worry, I’m not going into a detailed description of the entire weekend.  I decided to attend since it was in Philly and I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet other bloggers, although my blog is a running blog rather than a food blog.  I do think I promote a healthy (balanced) lifestyle and I hope my blog inspires people to run but I’m definitely not a foodie.  I don’t really get excited about food and I could easily live off pizza, cereal, peanut butter, and green beans (such an odd combo, I know).  My diet is more carb heavy than most (good carbs, of course) but I’m also running a lot.  I left HLS feeling like all I eat is crap!  Ha!  I admit I could add more veggies and fruit to my diet but I just don’t think I could get on the tempeh band wagon.  It’s just not for me…and that’s OK 🙂

The sessions were very informative and I had a great time hanging out with Holly and Alli.  Am I happy that I went?  Absolutely!

Friday night was the HLS cocktail party at Reading Terminal Market.  It was so awesome to be at RTM when it’s empty and have the entire place to ourselves (it’s generally packed with people).  We were provided with 2 drink coupons which I promptly exchanged for beer.  We had 2 choices for beer (sadly no Miller Lite) and we made a wise choice and went with Kenzinger.  It was yummy.  So yummy that me, Holly, and Alli went back for many more.   Followed by a round of beers at the hotel bar.  Followed by late night pizza delivered to the lobby.  We laughed at how we made HLS unhealthy.

my partners in crime

On Saturday I woke up surprisingly not hungover and was pretty pleased with myself (remember, I drink Miller Lite, which is like drinking water).  And then around 2pm it hit me…the delayed hangover.  Ugh, I HATE the delayed hangover.  You get this false sense of phew I made it only to get slapped in the face with a hangover 10x worse.


you are evil


I came home Saturday night and went to bed at 8:30.  I was amazed I was able to get up and run 15 on Sunday morning.

Ever experience the delayed hangover?  

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Lehigh Valley Marathon: Week 11 Recap

7 miles speed
*3 x 1600m with 400m rest interval between repeats – all done at 10K pace.

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We are getting to the very end here, folks.  Last week went very well, probably because it was a drop week and my legs felt rested.

MON: 6 easy
TUE: 7 speed (and my new found love for 10K pace!)
WED:  7 easy
THU:  rest
FRI:  20 (#4 – pretty close to MP too!)
SAT:  rest
SUN:  7 tempo

47 miles for the week!

I’m taking a different approach with my taper this cycle.   I’m doing the traditional 3 week taper in terms of reducing my overall mileage but I’m doing a 2 week taper in terms of my last long run (22-miler).  This week I hope to hit 55 miles (that will be my max for this cycle) but I’ll only be running 15 miles on Friday.  Next week I’ll keep my mileage in the low to mid-40s but I’ll do a 22-miler.  I think this is going to work out way better mentally for me.  I hate the 3 week lag time between your 22-miler and the race.  I always begin to doubt myself.

Question of the day:  What’s your go-to mantra during a race?  What are you most likely to repeat over and over again to finish strong?  I’ve gotten much better but I used to battle negative thoughts all the time so I began to say “let go” (as in let go of the negativity).  Sounds so silly but it really worked.  I also like “if you think you can, you can.  If you think you can’t, you can’t”.  So true!

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