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?  


Summer In October

5 miles / 44:10 / 8:50 avg pace
*1 mile WU, 3 miles at 8:00 pace, 1 mile CD

Happy Tuesday friends!  After a long weekend of sun and fun, it’s back to reality.

Matt and I headed to Brigantine, NJ on Saturday for a long weekend.  Saturday through Monday were perfect beach days…days you dream about during the summer…much less in October.  We could not get over how unbelievably warm it was.


Hawk thoroughly enjoyed himself.  Loved the sand, but water…not so much.

Hawk enjoyed snacking on shells

Stink eye

We sat on the beach until 5pm on Sunday.  It was too gorgeous to leave.

Miller Lite makes everything better

Oh hey...

A MUST read

Before we hit the beach on Sunday, I was glued to my computer watching live coverage of the Chicago Marathon.  It did not disappoint. Moses and Liliya were fascinating to watch but did you read about the pregnant woman (very pregnant, as in 39 weeks) that ran the marathon and gave birth later that night (article here)?  Holy crap!  She ran the first half and walked the second half, finishing in an impressive 6:25!  UNREAL!

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?  

It’s Monday Again?

7 miles easy…Garmin-free!

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  This is the second weekend in-a-row that Matt and I didn’t have to travel anywhere and it was fabulous.

I had a very early wake-up call (4:30AM) for a 20-miler.  It went well and I felt pretty good throughout the day.  That night, my friends from high school came over.  We sat out on the deck, ate pizza, drank (well, I did most of the drinking), and chatted the night away.  It was so good to see everyone.  We only get together a few times a year and I always look forward to it.

I didn’t get to bed until midnight on Friday (super late for this grandma) but, of course, woke-up at 7AM.  Normally that’s “sleeping in” but it was my rest day and I wanted to take full advantage of it.   Oh well.  Matt and I ran some exciting errands (looking for granite countertops and bathrooms floors).  By 5:00, I was a zombie.  We re-watched The Hangover and I was in bed by 9:30.  Don’t judge.

It was raining so I donned my hat (the only time I sport a hat, you can see why below) and went outside to run my 7-mile tempo.  I love to run in the rain in the summer – it’s so refreshing.  5 miles at 8:00 pace with a mile WU and a mile CD:  8:19, 8:00, 8:02, 7:54, 8:20.  I dodged puddles and ran in the grass for the first and last tempo miles.

This is a familiar site – soaking wet shorts.  See why I don’t wear a hat?  I think some people have a good head for hats and I do not.  My head is rather large and so is my hair.  And I look like a boy.

hello there, sir

On Sunday afternoon, Hawk had a very special play date!  My friend Michelle brought her daughter, Charlotte, over for a visit.  Charlotte loves dogs so we thought it would be cute to get them together.

the initial introduction

hawk is OK but posing for the camera is way more fun

2 Hawks

who is this small human?


Question of the day:  did anyone run in the rain yesterday or did you stick to the TM?  Do you like to run in the rain?  I like to run in the mud too.  I need to sign up for one of those mud races.  

Lehigh Valley Marathon: Week 9 Recap

8 miles speed
*3 x (2 x 1200 in 5:18):  1st set (5:10, 5:05); 2nd set (5:04, 5:09); 3rd set (5:13, 5:16).  Not great in terms of consistency but I did beat 5:18 on each interval.

MON:  7 speed — total fail.  I think I eeked out 3 miserable mile repeats and called it a day.  My legs were so tired.
TUE:  12 total — 8 tempo AM (ended up being a decent run) + 4 easy PM
WED:  7 easy
THU:  easy unplanned rest day
FRI:  20 long — very happy about this run!
SAT:  4 easy
SUN:  rest

So 50 miles for the week.  I wanted to do more but my legs would not cooperate.  I was going to force the easy run on Thursday but I’m glad I didn’t.  I think Friday’s 20-miler would have suffered.

I’ll end with a funny story.  Yesterday I was running and I ran into (pun intended) someone I used to coach last summer (I worked with Fleet Feet Sports to train a group of runners for the Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll Half).  We chatted about what we are training for, etc.  When I told him I was trying to BQ he asked what time I needed.

Me:  3:45.
Him:  Oh, that’s not so bad.
Me (sarcastically):  Oookaayyy.
Him:  Well I guess that’s fast for you…
Me:  (more sarcastically):  Thanks a lot.
Him (sensing my increasing sarcasm):  Well, a guy would have to run it in 3:15.
Me:  You are comparing apples to oranges.  Guys run faster.  

Apparently BQing is easy!   Don’t you love when people who never ran a marathon make comments about pace and time?!  I don’t encounter this often but I would love to tell people to go run a marathon and then come talk to me.  I’m sure they’ll change their tune!

Have you ever received any comments from the peanut gallery of non-runners?  Does it irk you?  

Lehigh Valley Marathon: Week 8 Recap

7 miles easy / 1:05 / 9:17 avg pace

I am more than halfway done this training cycle.  Makes me excited and nervous at the same time.   I hate to complain about the heat again, but it’s really starting to do a number on my confidence.  I know that I can’t do anything about my pace when the humidity is off the charts but I was moving along so well!  I was feeling good, handling more mileage, pulling through on speed work, running (near) marathon pace on long runs and then BAM.  Everything came to a halt.  So. frustrating.

Let’s review…

MON: 7 speed
TUE:  11 easy (7 AM and 4 PM)
WED:  rest
THU:  8 easy
FRI:  17 long
SAT:  10 tempo, MP, MP intervals
SUN:  rest / 20 min yoga video

Highlights ~
1.  Monday’s speed work, before the heat wave kicked in.  This was a tough workout and I was very pleased with my times.
2.  53 miles for the week!
3.  My ability to remain standing during Friday’s 17-miler.  I’m not kidding!  And Operation Hydration was a success!

And the not so good ~
1.   Sunday’s run.  Oh this sucked.  Supposed to be a tempo run (3 miles at 7:44 pace).  There was no way I could sustain that in the heat so I planned on doing a MP tempo.  Riiight, scratch that too.  Apparently MP was too much.  So instead I would run MP for a mile, then recover for a mile, then repeat.  Pathetic.  The heat was a big factor but I was incredibly exhausted from Friday’s run and my legs felt like lead.  I have never been so happy to finish a run.

Onto more positive stuff, I am so looking forward to the weekend!  We are heading to Baltimore for my friend Amanda’s wedding.  I even have Friday off.  I’m squeezing all my runs in Monday to Friday this week so I can take 2 rest (hungover) days this weekend.

Since it is hump day, what are your plans for the weekend?  Any long runs planned?

Lehigh Valley Marathon: Week 3 Recap

8 miles tempo / 1:10 / 8:45 avg pace
*2 miles easy, 4 miles at 8:00 pace, 2 miles easy 

Last week was a little rough. I was sick on Monday which threw my schedule off. As a result, I had to run Tuesday through Friday…with Friday being 17 miles. Ugh, my legs were feeling it. I generally like to take the day before a long run as a rest day, but that’s not always possible. I did manage to eek out 45 miles for the week though!

MON:  sick
TUE:  7 miles speed
WED:  8 miles easy
THU:  5 miles easy
FRI:  17 miles
SAT:  rest
SUN:  8 miles tempo

I have a similar problem this week since I’ll be down the shore over the weekend (leaving Friday!). I’ll be doing 20 miles on Friday and then recovering by dancing and drinking large amounts of beer. I’ll let you know how that goes!

Review of the FIRST Training Plan

I never mentioned the actual name of the marathon I’m running on 9/11. It’s the Leigh Valley Marathon (or Via Marathon). It’s a point-to-point course starting in Allentown, PA and ending in Easton, PA. The course was designed by the wonderful Bart Yasso! I love Bart!

I wanted to do a review of the FIRST training plan, which I used for the NJ Marathon. For a description of the plan and the modifications I made, please see this post. Overall, I really liked it and will be using it again (with modifications) for the LVM.

What I liked:
1. The FIRST program has specific Boston qualifying plans. For NJM, I used the 3:50 plan and I liked that all my workouts were focused on getting me to run a 3:50 marathon.

2. Nothing but quality workouts. There are 3 key runs per week: speed, tempo, and long. I added a 4th run each week (an easy run) to increase my overall mileage. These key runs were hard but since my overall mileage was lower, my body could handle them.

3. The speed workouts each week nearly killed me; but they absolutely without a doubt made me faster.

4. The tempo runs were manageable and I was able to do them without too much difficultly.

5. I felt the long runs were a little easy. I often ran faster than I was supposed to but I generally do that anyway (see this post for an explanation). My endurance is much greater than my speed and this training plan made that very apparent as I was sucking wind at the track!

6. I only had 1 case of “brick legs”. Usually when I train for a marathon, this happens a few times. Again, I attribute this to less overall mileage.

7. Running 4 days a week allowed more time for yoga, which I desperately needed during this training cycle.

What I did not like:

1. Even though running 4 days a week was a plus, I had to get over feeling like a lazy slug. I have always run 5 days a week, with 2 rest days. But I really wanted to make yoga a top priority so I kept to the 4-days-a-week running regime. With 3 tough runs a week and 1 easy run, I don’t think running a 5th day would have any added value.

2. My overall mileage was low. I had to get over this too. I maxed out at 43 miles per week! My body doesn’t thrive well on high mileage (I consider that to be 60s and 70s) but in previous training cycles I was getting into the 50s. It was hard to not see those numbers climb higher than 43 but I think my legs were thankful.

3. This wasn’t an issue for me but I want to give warning to anyone thinking of using this plan. There is no base building phase. Most plans have you build mileage first (slowly and safely) before you do speed work. With the FIRST plan, you literally “hit the ground running” (pun intended) with speed work. I wouldn’t recommend this plan for beginners. If you don’t have a strong base of 30 miles per week established add about 6 weeks onto this training plan to get your base building time in. You’ll be less likely to get injured.

What training plan are you currently using? Or are you winging it?  I love seeing what plans people use to train. It’s such a matter of preference.

A Steamy 10-Miler and Week 16 Recap

4/24/11 (yesterday)

10 miles


9:12 avg pace

Spring turned into full blown summer here in Philly.  It was 67 degrees when I started running on Sunday (at 8am!) with lots of sun and humidity.  Initially the weather felt great but by mile 3 I was feeling the heat.  My 9:00 pace felt hard; my breathing and heart rate were more indicative of an 8:30 pace.  The miles dragged on and on.  I wanted to end with a few miles at marathon pace but there was just no way.

I’m definitely the type of runner that needs to acclimate to hot or cold weather.  Sudden, big swings in temperature are not good.  It takes about 2 weeks to acclimate myself and then I’m fine.  Today’s run wasn’t the best confidence booster for the marathon but I know it was 100% due to the heat.  Thankfully the forecast for Sunday’s race is calling for mostly cloudy with a high of 63 and a low of 53.  I’d prefer it to be a little colder but I’ll take what I can get!

Week 16 recap of NJ Marathon training:
MON:  rest
TUE:  6 miles at marathon pace
WED: 6 miles tempo
THU:  rest
FRI:  6 miles easy
SAT:  rest
SUN:  10 miles “long”

28 miles for the week.  The taper is working because I feel lazy and sluggish 🙂

Do you need to acclimate to hot or cold weather?  

The Final Stretch of the Monster Month


8 miles tempo


8:52 avg pace

1 mile warm-up
6 miles at GMP (8:45 pace):  8:44, 8:43, 8:34, 8:32, 8:46, 8:45
1 mile cool-down

I still have some residual soreness from Sunday’s race 😦

Proof that the hourly forecast on is worthless:  it was warm and a little humid when I started running.  It started to drizzle, which I didn’t mind.  I love running in the rain and it was actually refreshing.  Then it started pouring, the temperature dropped about 15 degrees, and the wind was smacking me relentlessly in the face.  Waaaah!

This week is my last big training week before the taper.  I’m trying to rally hard since in my mind I just ran a race and race = an easy week of training afterwards.  This will be my highest mileage week of this cycle – 43 miles – which still isn’t much compared to my previous training plans.  I also have a 22-miler on schedule for Saturday.  I really want to do well in that run since (for me at least) it sets the tone for my marathon.

Week 13 recap of NJ Marathon training:
MON:  6 easy
TUE:  15 long
WED:  rest
THU:  7 easy
FRI:  yoga
SAT:  rest
SUN:  10 mile race

A total of 38 miles for the week.  I’m glad I was able to get in most of my key workouts and still manage a PR in a tune-up race.

Here are some pictures from Sunday’s race (sorry they are so small, I tried to make them as big as possible).  I want to preface these pictures by saying that 99.9% of the time, I HATE my race pics.  I always look like I’m speed walking and I have a miserable look on my face.  With that being said…

The best one of the bunch

This was taken pre-race. I don't normally stand like that, I was freezing!

How is it possible for both of my feet to be on the ground? I also appear to be in agony, while the guy next to me is having a blast.

Does anyone like race day photos?  I always think they are so unflattering!

%d bloggers like this: