five weeks to half marathon something or other: week 4

Last week was the closest I got to following the PLAN. I still took some liberties but I don’t think they’ll hurt me on race day and…may even help.

Monday: Strength + stretching. I did my core routine and then cycled 10 miles at level 10 hill intervals on the stationary bike at the gym. My right quad was really tight after last Sunday’s long run in Missouri but I actually felt better after cycling. I also did some stretching and foam rolling.
Tuesday: Easy 5. I was really tired on Tuesday and ran super slow. That’s about all I can remember.
Wednesday: Ladder instead of the 10×400 my plan called for. I was tired (and slightly hungover after an impromptu brewery visit with friends) but I ended up, oddly, having a great workout. I ran a warmup mile, then 1×2 (8:39 and 8:43), 1×1 (8:27), 1×800 (7:50), 1×400 (7:27) and a cooldown 3/4 mile. 800m recovery jogs. Total of 7 miles. I was really please with this! I never quite know how fast I should be running these (because I have trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality), but I put forth a decent effort and didn’t hurt myself.
Thursday: 3 + strength and I broke in a new pair of kicks. Kinvara 6s. I’m not entirely thrilled with them (and haven’t even gotten around to trying the K7 yet– I always buy my shoes when they go to liquidation when they’re roughly 40-50% off). The tongue is not as comfortable as it used to be for me, but the shoes don’t cause discomfort at the distances I’m doing right now so I’m sticking with them. However I ADORE the Saucony Fastwitch. They’re light as a breeze but there’s so little cushioning that my feet get tired after 7-8 miles. I don’t think they’d work for me at greater distances than probably 10 but for speed workouts and shorter races, I love them.
Saturday: 5 @ GHMP. I’m still being vague about my goal pace (and I’m not entirely sure I’m being realistic about it), but I ran a warm-up mile at 9:27, then four more at 8:58, 9:01, 8:55, and 8:25. After my run, I immediately had to get in the shower and then whisk my kids off to a birthday party, so I didn’t stretch and I was stiff for the rest of the day.
Sunday: 10. I was still stiff from Saturday’s run and didn’t get out the door until almost 10 a.m. (the time when I’ll hopefully be FINISHED running the race) but it went a lot better than I expected. I averaged about a 10:00 pace. I’d actually planned on doing 11 miles but I saw my family out walking just when I hit mile 10 and I decided to quit and walk home with them.

Total: 30 miles! 

This week I’m tapering like fuck. An easy run, a 30 minute tempo and then Thursday and Friday completely off before the race.



Five weeks to half marathon greatness: week 3

We road tripped Thursday through Sunday last week so I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to complete all of my runs, but I think the runs I missed might have hurt more than helped anyway.

Monday: Strength day
Tuesday: 5.5 easy. I don’t know why I thought the plan called for 5.5; it was supposed to just be 5.
Wednesday: 45 minute tempo. I ran this as a progression, and skipped the cool-down mile at the end. My splits were 9:58, 9:32, 9:13, 9:14, 8:50. I felt good and was pleased with the effort.
Thursday was supposed to be 3 miles + strength and I honestly can’t remember if intentionally skipped the run or just forgot about it but I went to the gym and did a decent strength workout; no running.

Saturday: 11 and some change. I ran on the Katy Trail in Missouri from Clinton to Calhoun, which was in the direction we were going to be driving anyway. My husband hung out with the kids at his grandparents’ place and then picked me up at a gas station. The distance showed about 10 miles on the map but it ended up being closer to 12 once I ran through Clinton and actually got onto the trail. There were some tough miles in the middle when the sun was out and there was no shade, but overall I felt good. I averaged 9:50s which is way, WAY slower than my GHMP, but it wasn’t too bad for a mid-morning training run in 70+ temps. Immediately after my run, we got in the car and drove four hours to Quincy, IL to visit some cousins. I stretched quickly and kept my feet up on the dashboard most of the way so I didn’t get too stiff. I probably smelled pretty bad, but there was nothing I could do about that.


Total: 21.5 miles

I’m okay with last week even though I didn’t nail all my runs. In hind(ish)sight, this plan was pretty ambitious for me. The whole pace-run-before-long-run thing and the three miles on strength day are workouts I’m not accustomed to doing, but I think at least TRYING to keep up with a more ambitious plan is helping more than if I were to just bulldoze through a few easy runs every week. I’m still not confident in a PR but at least I’ll know I tried as hard as I could (and probably didn’t hurt myself).

The plan calls for another tough week before a race week taper, and I have to decide whether tomorrow’s 10×400 will help or hurt me. I may do a speed workout that I’m a little more comfortable with, and that’s less likely to trash my quads.

Everything else 

We’ve done this Missouri trip to visit my husband’s grandparents almost every year since we’ve lived in Indiana. I’ve blogged about it a few times. This year we celebrated Paw-Paw’s 90th birthday and although all that driving with two little kids is kind of a harrowing journey, we feel incredibly privileged to be able to visit them at all, and to give our kids a chance to know their great-grandparents. I wish I’d been able to visit my own grandparents more often when they were alive, and I wish my kids had known them.

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I’m glad that I don’t still live in the town where I grew up, because I think moving around has the potential for some experiences and opportunities you may not have otherwise, but I am incredibly envious of people who have parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins all living in the same town. Not only do they have like, BABYSITTERS out the ASS, but their children get to have close relationships with extended family. Our close friends are our family here, and I’m grateful for them, but it’d be nice if we could see our FAMILY-family more often too.



Five weeks to half marathon greatness: week 2

I should probably change the name of this series from “five weeks to half marathon greatness” to “last week didn’t go as planned.”

Monday and Tuesday: I did nothing. I can’t even remember why but I’m sure the kids had something to do with it. But I made up Tuesday’s run on Friday (plan called for rest OR easy run) so I still ended up with the right mileage, even though I skipped strength day.
Wednesday: NINEx400. A record for me! They mostly fell between 8:00 and 8:10 with a single 7:56 and two 8:14s (which happened to be the first one and the last one).
Thursday: Easy 3 + strength
Friday: Easy 5
Saturday: rest
Sunday: 15k practice race. I put off my run until mid afternoon because my MIL was in town and we wanted to take her and the kids out to breakfast and to the park. By noon, it was hot AF. The first six miles went according to plan, but then I completely fell apart and the last three miles were in the 10:00s. It didn’t exactly inspire confidence but I’m reminding myself that on race day it probably won’t be 80 degrees and I (probably) won’t have a cocktail before the start.

Total: 22.5

This weekend we’re roadtripping so again, I doubt things will go according to plan but I’m going to try as hard as I can not to skip any of my key runs. And not to get sick.

Things more important than running:

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Five weeks to half marathon greatness: week 1

So I didn’t precisely follow THE PLAN this week but I came close. Eleven minutes into my tempo Wednesday, my eldest decided to throw an hysterical fit at the gym childcare (a first for us!) and I had to go rescue her. A lot of her preschool friends go to the Y so she usually has a good time there, but in hindsight I think she was feeling crappy that day and I felt bad that I didn’t see it earlier. But I’m not gonna lie: I was IN THE ZONE so it sucked having to stop my run. #mommymartyr

Thursday was supposed to be an easy run + strength day so I compromised and ran my missed tempo and then did 20 minutes of light strength work. Thirty pushups, some tricep dips and bicep curls, a few rounds of ab exercises and some squats and lunges and then I called it a day. I’m reeeeeally trying not to skip out on the strength work this month. But it’s so boring. I hate it.

My tempo miles were 9:01. 8:36, 8:40, with a warmup and cooldown mile on each end. I’m especially pleased with the effort because it was sleeting and windy that day and I was cold and tired. The plan called for a rest day Friday but I went ahead and did 3 easy miles to make up for THAT missed run.

Saturday: 5 miles at “GHMP.” I came close to my goal pace, but didn’t quiet hit it.
Sunday: 7 miles. THE PLAN called for 10 but since I crammed all my mileage into the latter part of the week, I cut it short. (I did 10 last week though so it’s cool.)

This week

A 15k practice race. Of course there are zero 15Ks within a 50 mile radius this weekend, so I’ll be “racing” myself. (I did find about 300 5Ks though, and a marathon and half marathon…which I briefly considered running, but a last-minute entry would cost me 75 bucks and I just can’t justify that expense for a practice race.)

I may drive somewhere nice to run just for a change of scenery though. Running circles around my neighborhood gets a little tedious, especially getting into the double digits.

In summary, a survey: 

Week 1 was:

A) Kind of a failure

Five weeks to half marathon greatness

What’s up? Things are pretty much the same around here: cycling through another cough/cold. Tired. Wrinkled. Deliriously happy.

Spring doesn’t arrive in Indiana until at least May but we’ve managed to get outside a couple of times.


I drank a few beers.


I’ve sort of been training for a Spring half (Indy Mini May 7) but I didn’t actually sign up for it until this week when I knew scheduling and childcare was going to work out (and I paid more than I’ve ever paid for a race…ugh).

Even though I’m up to 10 mile long runs and still doing speed work (uh…sort of, as I mentioned, we were ALL sick again and last week kinda fell apart), I feel like I should up my game this month and really get in some quality speed work and pace runs. And it makes me feel more secure to have a spreadsheet.

I have a pretty ambitious goal, especially considering I set my PR back in 2012 (1:58:36) and haven’t raced a half since 2013, but I think it’s possible. I’m not going to tell you what it is in case I fail.

I’ve been doing easy runs of 4-6 miles three times a week (9:30-9:40s), one day of speed work (tempo or 400 or ladders) and long runs anywhere from 6 to 10 miles. So I decided I could handle the last five weeks of HH intermediate.

Sidenote: Can anyone can recommend a good free or super cheap training plan? In the past, I’ve always just used SmartCoach because the free plan still allows you to make some adjustments to your mileage and intensity, but I hate it because the adjustments are stupid and there’s not enough variety in the running. For example, the “moderate” plan had me doing three piddly 2-3 mile easy runs a week (like…I just don’t know what running two miles at 10:24 pace is going to do for me at all besides bore me to tears); one day a week of speed work (a tempo or 3×1600); and every long run was 12 miles. When I adjusted up to the “hard” plan, it basically just increased my long runs from 12 to 13 and left everything else the same.

Anyway, so training “started” yesterday with an easy 4.5 mile run. Today is a tempo. Thanks for joining me on the journey to my latest disaster!