Merry (Late) Christmas!

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since last Thursday! Between the last-minute shopping and about 12 family meals in the last 5 days, I’ve barely even looked at my computer in days. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and have enjoyed spending time with your family and friends. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and didn’t let anything get in my way….not even running.

My Grandma and my Aunt Ertie. Love these little ladies!

Sadly, yesterday was my first run since last Wednesday. I had some weird flu-like symptoms (chills/headache) over the weekend and decided to skip my 7-miler on Saturday just in case. When I went out with Coach yesterday morning, I felt great until the halfway point. I still haven’t figured out this nutrition thing. Some days I can run for an hour without having eaten much before and other days I feel like I might collapse after only a mile. I had a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese and an orange before the run and it simply wasn’t enough. I had only planned to do 30 minutes but ended up stopping at 2 miles and walked the rest of the way. I was disappointed, but I’m just glad I ran. I missed it.

 

I have 2 weeks left of Winter Break and I’m planning to relax as much as possible. My days will be filled with running, writing, sleeping and playing with my new Canon Rebel t3!! Yayy for better blog photos!

via CanonUSA

I promise to get back to regular posts tomorrow! I’m not doing a recap for last week because it’s actually embarrassing how little I ran. Like less than 10 miles. During half-marathon training. Who does that? But I’m determined to end 2011 on a great running note so I’m already looking forward to Week 4’s recap. And I’m still doing the Closet Love Challenge. I hope you all are too. It’s a lot harder than I expected, but I’m making it work. Look out for an update soon.

Let’s all make this last week of 2011 a great one!

WHW: Mixing It Up.

You know those people who decide to try something new/visit a new place/take up a new hobby and literally spend hours reading about it, researching it and planning it out before they start? Yeah…that’s me. When I first started running, I spent hours reading articles on RunnersWorld.com, stalking running blogs and printing out beginner’s training plans. That’s just how I am. When I say I’m gonna do something, I’m gonna do it well.

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During that early “research” period, I read articles/blog posts about the difficulty runners have with cross-training. They know they should do it, but can’t find the time because all they do is run. I just knew that would never be me. I wanted to become a runner, but I just couldn’t see myself running 6 days a week and doing nothing else. Here I am, 13 months later and I run 5 days a week and squeeze in a yoga or Pilates class maybe twice. All I ever want to do is run. I love yoga, Pilates and Zumba, but somehow running always wins out.

But after two weeks of no weight loss (no weight gain either!) and two runs during which random pains started up in my legs, I know it’s time to get serious about cross-training. Running has done amazing things for my cardiovascular fitness and my body has definitely gotten smaller, but I don’t really see any definition besides my calves. I’ve also noticed that my core is still extremely weak and let’s not even talk about my upper body. Nothing has changed since Middle School when I could only do 1 pull-up. Except now I probably couldn’t even do one. If I want to become a well-rounded runner, and athlete, I have to start building strength.

 

I really don’t want to overdo it and run the risk of an injury or tiring my legs out too much during training for RnR USA, but I do want to make sure that I’m working my entire body and not just my legs. So the plan is to do at least 3 strength sessions each week (Pilates or a Tone It Up! workout). I’d like to do some other form of cardio as well, so I’m going to attend a Zumba class twice a week. (I know the elliptical would be good for me, but if I’m going to spend an hour on a machine, it’s gonna be a treadmill.) I’ve decided to save yoga for my rest days since it gives me a really great stretch but not enough strength work.

I’m hoping this plan will give my body the push it needs to get through this plateau and will enhance my half-marathon training. I’m going to start scheduling my cross-training the way I schedule my runs so I won’t be tempted to skip them. I know that once I get into the habit of going, I’ll love it and won’t want to stop. I’m breaking the curse of the running-only runner one Zumba class at a time!

How do you work cross-training into your schedule and how has it improved your running?

Let’s Recap: Week Two.

Week 2 of RnR USA Half training wasn’t as great as week 1. I didn’t run as many days as I had planned to, overslept for TWO group runs and I definitely didn’t do enough cross-training. Thank goodness I’m finally finished with finals tomorrow (!) and I’ll have time to get back on track.

Monday, 12/12/11 – Rest

I had plans to go to my second Power Yoga class at the gym, but I woke up with a terrible sore throat and stuffy nose. I probably could’ve pushed through it, but I figured a complete rest day wouldn’t hurt either.

Tuesday, 12/13/11 – 1.79 miles in 21:01 (11:42 avg. pace)

Tuesday morning I woke up planning to hit the gym right after my 2pm final (law school finals are usually 3 hours long) to do 35 minutes on the treadmill followed by an hour long Pilates class. Turns out we only had 1.5 hours to take the exam and I only needed 40 minutes. I was back at home by 3:30 watching the end of Crazy, Stupid, Love in bed. I took advantage of my free time and didn’t get to the gym until a little before 6 leaving me with 20 minutes of run time before my class. The Cardio Cinema was full so I grabbed my iPad and turned on Sex and the City 2 to entertain me. I started at 4.8mph, but pushed it up to 5.0 for the last 10 minutes so I wouldn’t feel so guilty for skipping 15 minutes of my run. p.s. Watching movies on the treadmill is the greatest idea ever and I want to hug whoever thought of it.

Wednesday, 12/14/11 – Track Workout: 6 x 400 at 9:30 avg. pace (2.24 miles total including rest periods)

I skipped last week’s track workout to attend a Con Law final review (which I ultimately skipped too) and the excessive rainfall. I was really nervous about this workout because I’ve never done a structured speed workout before, but it wasn’t bad at all. We were instructed to do 4-6 quarters (1 lap) at 10k pace. I didn’t know what pace to choose so I picked 10:00/mile. It seemed comfortably hard to me and I knew I could sustain it easily for a lap. I started each lap at a 10:00 pace, but couldn’t stop myself from speeding up. At some points I was running as fast as 8:35/mile and each lap ended up between a 9:19 and a 9:45 pace. Oops. Next week, I’ll focus on running much slower than I feel I should at the beginning of the lap and trying not to speed up too much.

Thursday, 12/15/11 – 2.45 miles in 30 minutes (12:15 avg. pace)

An off day. Didn’t want to run at all, but I forced myself into the basement and onto the treadmill. Had really tight calves for the first half of the run, but otherwise my body felt great. I just couldn’t get my mind into it. I started at 4.8 for mile 1 then pushed it up to 5.0 for mile 2 and then accelerated my speed by .1 every minute for the last 5 minutes. I was so frustrated after all that when I looked down and my garmin said I was only at 2.45 miles. I still don’t trust that foot pod. My Nike+ app said I did 2.53, but I always go with whichever one is lower just in case.

Friday, 12/16/11 – Rest

Saturday, 12/17/11- 6.01 miles in 1:12:16 (12:02 avg. pace)

I overslept for my =PR= group run on Saturday. I went to bed Friday night with a terrible toothache (who even gets those anymore?) and woke up 10 minutes before I was supposed to leave feeling like I hadn’t slept at all. I thought about rushing to get there, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to run well, so I decided to put it off until later in the day. It would be a welcome study break.

It was so gloomy and cold outside that I put the run off until 3pm when the sun came out for a split second. I was about 10 seconds from driving to the gym and doing it on the treadmill, but I told myself that my lungs needed the fresh air and my legs needed the extra work on the roads. Miles 1-3 were great. I felt great and my breathing was relaxed. And then I got to the turnaround point. I blame the geese who had pooped all over the sidewalk and made me hop around for the first 2 minutes of mile 4 because after this point, my legs decided to die on me. The sides of my feet started throbbing (does anyone know why this happens?), my ankles started hurting, I felt a little shin splint coming on in one of my legs (can’t even remember which one it was now) and BOTH knees started hurting. I guess I’ve been loving the treadmill a little too much lately. I finished without any walking (besides the pauses at stoplights) and I even sped up to 11:48/mile for the last mile when I was so tired I could barely see straight. I’m happy I finished, but I’m really hoping that next week’s 7-miler is much better. I definitely won’t be missing any more group runs! Lesson learned.

Sunday, 12/18/11 – Unplanned Rest

I stayed up late studying on Saturday and when I finally couldn’t take it anymore, I went to bed. 2 hours later, I was still tossing and turning trying to will myself to sleep. Needless to say, I overslept for run club this morning. I was so mad and thought about going late, but an extra hour of sleep won that battle. It ended up being a Sunday Bumday and I was ok with that.

Totals –

miles this week :: 12.49

miles this month :: 46.74

miles this year :: 315.04

Long Run ‘List: Inspiration Edition

I’m kind of ashamed to admit it but…this week of running has been extremely blah for me.  I’ve finished my runs without any major problems. I don’t have any injuries. I’ve just been on auto-pilot. Even at my first speed workout on Wednesday, my mind was somewhere else. Actually this entire week has been blah for me in general. I have a 6 mile run planned for tomorrow and I really want to enjoy it so this week’s playlist is all about inspiration. I need some songs that will wake me up and push me out of this funk. Warning: this playlist is superrrr random.

1. Paramore. Hallelujah :: One of my favorite Paramore songs. I love that it’s upbeat and mellow at the same time.

2. Flo Rida. Good Feeling :: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love this song. How can you listen to it and not move your shoulders? Try it. I dare you.

3. Lady Antebellum. Just A Kiss :: I’m not really a Country music fan, but this song is so sweet. It’s the perfect description of new love. And it’s slower so it’ll bring my pace back down after my Flo Rida jam.

4. Jessie J. Nobody’s Perfect :: Favorite Jessie J song for sure. Especially this acoustic version. I’ve watched it at least 100 times. (She starts singing at 1:00)

5. Kirk Franklin. I Smile :: There’s no room for blah feelings when this song is on. It wills you into a happy state.

6. Natalie Maines. God Only Knows :: I love the original Beach Boys version of this song, but this version is definitely my favorite.

7. BarlowGirl. Sing Me A Love Song :: I couldn’t find a good video of this song anywhere (sad face), but its a beautiful song about letting God remind you of who you are and who He created you to be in the midst of those times when you’re feeling unsure/insecure/useless/etc.

8. Kanye West feat. Adam Levine. Heard ‘Em Say :: I could listen to Adam Levine all day long. I have no idea why, I just love his voice. This is one of my favorite Kanye songs. I have about 25 favorite Kanye songs in case you hadn’t already noticed.

9. Lily Allen. The Fear :: I really miss Lily Allen. The lyrics to this song are so relevant to today’s obsessive culture.

10. Glee Cast. We Are Young :: I may have gotten a little teary-eyed when they performed this song last week. Although the verses aren’t that..uplifting…the chorus is. It makes me want to do something young and amazing. Like form a band. or write a book. or run 6 miles. Let’s all watch it again…

What’s Happening Wednesday: Resolutions.

We’re a little under 3 weeks away from 2012 which means most people are already planning their New Year’s Resolutions. For some, those resolutions might have to do with goals they have for their lives: get into grad school, become more organized, etc. For others, many others, those resolutions are health and fitness related. (In the Pilates class at my gym, we all keep joking about how we should enjoy the space now because come January, our mats will be on top of each other.)

I’m really hoping that some of my readers are planning to become runners in 2012 and today I want to encourage you to start now! I’ve never had any luck with resolutions. I always start them and give up by February 1st. But running was different. I started running in November 2011, and I’m still running 13 months later with no plans to stop. Ever. I think that starting early gives you the momentum you need to keep it going after the New Year has come and gone. Here are a few simple tips to get you going…

1. Purchase a good pair of running shoes.

Please please please. If you never listen to anything else I say, hear this: go to a running store and get fitted for the right running shoes for your foot. At a good running store (try Potomac River Running if you live in NoVa), they’ll put you in a neutral pair of shoes and have you run on a treadmill while they analyze your gait. I had lots of IT band pain before I did this, but ever since I purchased the right shoe for my foot (Asics GT-2160), I haven’t had any injuries or pain. And here’s a tip: once you find the right shoe for you, stock up. I found 2 pairs of the 2160 on sale for $60 right after I bought my first pair and scooped them right up. When it was time to switch out my old shoes (which you should do every 2 months or so when you’re training), I didn’t have to worry about buying any.

2. Purchase key winter running items.

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You don’t have to spend a ton of money on these items and you only need a few things. It’s quality over quantity when it comes to Winter running. I’d suggest purchasing a winter running jacket (wind and water resistant is a must), running tights (love my Nike tights!), running gloves (mine are from The North Face), one or two long-sleeve technical shirts (Nike and Lululemon make the best ones), and a hat or headband that covers your ears. I bought all of these items and have found that I’ve never been cold during a run and I actually enjoy running in the cold now. So weird.

3. Find a plan. 

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You’ve heard the saying a thousand times: “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” I’m not saying that if you don’t follow a plan you’ll fail as a runner, but I do think that having one will make the process a lot easier to stick with. Often, new runners lace up their shoes, head outside and try to run as fast and as far as they can. Unless they’re already in shape, and sometimes even if they are, they’ll find that after a few minutes they’re gasping for air and stopping to walk. A program like C25k (which has an iPhone app now!) will ease your body into running and will help you gain endurance. If you don’t like C25k, try the Nike+ Coach’s Walk to Run program or try Hal Higdon’s 30/30 method. You can also try searching the Runner’s World website for articles/training plans geared toward beginners (which is what I did).

4. Take it easy.

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As a beginner, you shouldn’t be running all out. I’m not a running coach or a fitness expert so I don’t know how to explain this scientifically or even eloquently, but I’m going to try. When I first started running, I would run hard during my run intervals and then walk superrrr slow during my walk intervals while I tried to catch my breath. I finally got to where I could run an entire mile, but I would have a cramp immediately after and would have to go back to my run/walk intervals for the remainder of the run. I was so frustrated because I wasn’t seeing enough progress. It wasn’t until I started running at an easy, conversational pace that I was able to run for longer periods of time. My body learned how to perform at that speed for more than just a few minutes and now I’m ready to teach it how to perform at higher speeds. If you want to grow as a runner, you have to start slowly. Focus on steadying your breath without walking, even if it means slowing way down. Trust me, it works. Try running with a friend. If you can’t finish a sentence without sounding like you’re running up stairs, you’re running too fast.

5. Enjoy the run.

So many people have told me that they want to run like me, but they just hate running. I used to hate running too. That was when I thought of it as a means to an end. Running was just a way to lose weight and get in shape. Now, running is a way to clear my mind. It’s a way to explore a new city. It’s a moment in life that belongs to only me. It gives new meaning and beauty to places and things I’ve seen a hundred times before. It makes room in my head for an epiphany. It has brought me a sense of pride and accomplishment I’ve never felt before. Burning 300 calories in 30 minutes…that’s just a bonus.

Don’t wait for January 1st. Start today. Start right now. Make yourself a runner.

Let’s Recap: Week One.

I made it through my first full week of half marathon training and I am so so so happy with the way it turned out!

Monday, 12/5/11 – Power Yoga (Vinyasa) for 1 hour

Went to my first flow yoga class. My legs were feeling really tired after the Hot Chocolate 15k and I needed a good stretch. This class gave me that plus a good sweat. I loved the challenge and can’t wait to go again. I also learned some great new stretches for my legs and hips.

Tuesday, 12/6/11 – 2.52 miles in 30:06 (11:56 avg. pace) + 1 hr Pilates class

One thing I love about my training schedule is that my weekly runs focus on time instead of distance. Over the last two weeks, I had some bad runs and races where I walked a little bit. I understand that this is a process and that will happen from time to time, but it was a definite confidence boost to hop on that treadmill and run for 30 minutes without stopping. I was tired, but I definitely could’ve kept going which is exactly how you’re supposed to feel after an easy run. I set the speed to 4.8mph which equals out to 12:30/mile, but my nike+ app says I ran 30 seconds faster than that. I felt pretty good and didn’t feel like my breathing was labored, but I’m going to wear my heart rate monitor next time to be sure that I’m keeping it easy.

After my run, I went to a Pilates Fundamentals class at my gym. I’ve been once before and loved it. The class was just what I needed. We did strength moves for our hips, legs, shoulders/arms and core. I felt challenged and sore but not to the point where my runs will suffer. I think Pilates and yoga will be the perfect cross-training for my training schedule (plus a Zumba class when I can fit it in). After the run and the class, my body felt amazing. If that’s not incentive to keep going, I don’t know what is.

Wednesday, 12/7/11 – 3.77 miles in 45:04 (11:56 avg. pace)

Thanks to the rain this was another easy day. I headed to the gym and decided to try out the Cardio Cinema for the first time. Best decision of the day! They were playing Crazy, Stupid, Love which I’ve never seen so it was the perfect distraction from the dreadmill. I did 30 minutes easy followed by 6 thirty-second strides (2 at 6.0mph and 4 at 6.5mph) with 90 seconds rest in between (at 4.5mph). The strides were comfortably hard and I probably could’ve gone faster but I wanted to test things out, focus on keeping good form at a higher speed and finish feeling like I could’ve done more. Mission accomplished.

Thursday, 12/8/11 – 2.5 miles in 30:00 (12:00 avg. pace)

First outdoor run of the week. I wanted to do the track workout I missed on Wednesday (due to rain and a finals review), but it was better for my schedule to do a 30 minute easy run. My goal was to run for 30 minutes straight and to keep my pace as close to 12:00/mile as possible. Miles one and two were 12:12 and 12:11 respectively and when I saw that I was behind, I pushed it to 11:20/mile for the last half mile. I’m really happy with that time because not only was I able to stay close to what I can do on a flat treadmill, but I was also able to push it at the end when I was getting tired. I definitely felt this run more in my legs with the little rolling hills which was good. I needed to wake them up a little after an easy first half of the week.

Friday, 12/9/11 – Rest

Finals started on Friday and I thought about taking a yoga class before or after my first one, but I figured a day of complete rest would be fine too. My body is loving this recovery/base building week in my training schedule. It was exactly what I needed after a few heavy weeks training for the 10k and 15k.

Saturday, 12/10/11 – 5 miles in 1:02:08 (12:25 avg. pace)

This was possibly my best long run to date. It was my second group run with =PR= Distance Training Program, but since last week was a recovery run for most people (after running various races last weekend) it was really the first official long run. I brought headphones with me so that I wouldn’t get caught up running with other people and fail to keep an easy pace like I did last week. As much as I love having running partners, I’ve noticed that sometimes it’s enough to know that I’m a part of the group.

My goal was to stay as close to 12:30/mile as I could the entire time…

Mission accomplished! I started dragging a little bit during mile 4 from a combination of little hills and hunger, but I pushed through it and even sped up at the end. It’s amazing what scaling back can do for your running. I ran consistently this week, but I lowered my mileage/speed and my legs really appreciated it. I’m crossing my fingers that I feel this great throughout this entire training cycle!

Sunday, 12/11/11 – 3.55 miles in 43:35 (12:16 avg. pace)

Today was my first run ever with a run club. I joined Jessica from Pace of Me at her new Lululemon/Reston Pilates run club. I can’t say enough good things about it. We started with a short beginner’s Pilates class taught by Jessica’s sister, Jodi (and assisted by Jess!), before heading out to the W&OD trail for a 40 minute out and back run. We split into groups of runners, run/walkers and walkers. I decided to go with the run/walkers since I didn’t think I’d be able to keep up with the runners. I ran the first 2 miles with a girl about my age and then ran/walked the last 1.5 with the sweetest lady who just started running and was having trouble running nonstop. I did a 3:1 run/walk interval with her and it reminded me so much of myself last year. When I told her we had hit 3 miles she got so excited and said “My husband will be so surprised!” Running with her couldn’t have come at a better time. I needed a reminder of how far I’ve come and a moment to be proud of that, before I really begin pushing myself in this training cycle. No matter what happens, I have finally become a runner and that’s all I wanted in the first place. I seriously cannot wait to go back next week!

Totals –

miles this week :: 17.34

miles this month :: 34.25

miles this year :: 302.55

Christmas Gift Guide: Winter Runner

It’s Saturday and, although I’ll be in a final exam this afternoon, I’m guessing most of you will be out Christmas shopping. I’m super behind on my shopping, and by behind I mean haven’t even started, so during my study breaks I’ve been online window shopping. You know what that means! You’re getting your very own JerrellReneeRun’s Gift Guides! Starting with (what else?) a runner’s Christmas list.

A Runner's Christmas List

 


Nike activewear
$50 – nordstrom.com
Every runner needs a pair of warm-weather running tights this season. Besides Lululemon, Nike is my go-to brand for running gear because it lasts forever and always delivers.

Nike activewear
$175 – nike.com
Nike keeps sending me emails taunting me with this jacket. It’s pricey, but it’s wind and water resistant (you’d be surprised how many running jackets aren’t), it has thumbholes and hand warmers and a thermal lining. I hope you’re reading this Mom!

It’s no secret that I love this shirt. I have it in 3 colors and I want 13 more. It keeps me so warm and this pink color will keep me looking cute even when I’m freezing.

Equipment sports activewear
$25 – lululemon.com
I just love all Lulu water bottles. This one says “I love running…it makes my calves look good in heels.” This is a cute stocking stuffer for the runner in your life.

I’ve recently fallen back in love with yoga and it has become essential to my half-marathon training. I think every runner should try a yoga class at least once a week to get a good stretch and with this mat, they’ll have no excuse not to go.

Nike shoes
$100 – nike.com
I’ve been wanting to try out a pair of barefoot running shoes for a while now, but I didn’t want to risk an injury while I was building my training base. Now that I have my training calendar and noticed that I have lots of easy mid-week runs, I think now would be a good time to test them out. These have a shield so they stay dry in rain and snow.

I already have 2 Garmin watches (remember that compulsive shopping problem), but I’m still interested in this watch. Not only does it track your runs using GPS like the Garmin watches, it syncs with Nike+. I use a Nike+ app on my phone and I’ve become obsessed with logging miles and winning challenges. It’s such a great motivation tool.

These Nike gloves were all over the Hot Chocolate 15k expo last weekend. I love that they have fleece on the inside because I’ve noticed that during long runs, my hands stay chilly through the entire run. I need these in my life as soon as possible.

First of all, this headband is super cute. Second, it covers your ears. Do I need to explain anything else? I didn’t think so.

Long Run ‘List: Easy Listening

I’m coming up on the end of my first full week of half marathon training and the thing I’m focusing on for these first few weeks is pacing. I have to learn the differences between easy and comfortably hard and how to keep my body in the pace that I need. Tomorrow’s long run must be completed at an easy pace. My goal race pace is 11:30/mile which means my easy/long runs should be run at a 12:30-12:45 pace. What does all of this have to do with my long run playlist? Easy pace = slow music for me. I’m going with all mellow, easy listening tunes this week.

1. Glee Cast. Somewhere Only We Know :: This is my favorite Keane song made even better because Darren Criss is singing it. I just love it. That’s all.

2. Beyoncé. That’s Why You’re Beautiful :: Somehow I had never heard this song before I saw the I Am…Yours dvd. Shameful superfan moment. Is there a more beautiful Bey song? I don’t believe so.

3. Ben Rector. When She Comes Around :: I fell in love with this song after watching this video. At the risk of sounding dramatic, that video changed my life. This song is sure to help me slow down because I’ll be distracted by mentally planning my future wedding.

4. Addison Road. Run :: I apologize for that video being so boring but it was literally the only one I could find. This song has gotten me through even the toughest runs. The lyrics are so simple and so true.

5. Dixie Chicks. Cowboy Take Me Away :: I loved this song in Middle School, but I was too embarrassed to admit it because it was a country song. Now that I’m older and don’t care what anyone says about my music, I play it like it just came out.

6. Anthony David feat. India.Arie. Words :: I need for these two to get married, have kids and form a family band. Their voices go so well together. The video is pretty cheesy though. Just saying…

7. Amy Winehouse. Just Friends :: I couldn’t finish that video. Knowing that we lost a talent as great as hers is just too sad. I still listen to her music every chance I get though and this is one of my favorites.

8. Beyoncé. I Miss You :: This song is in no way relevant to my life. I just love Bey. And I just like sad, breakup songs. Does anyone believe me?

9. Justin Nozuka. After Tonight :: I am in love with this guy. When this song first came out, I was so obsessed with it that I had my boyfriend’s nephew (who typically listens to artists like Lil Boosie) singing every word. Poor kid. He couldn’t even help it.

10. Coldplay. Life in Technicolor :: This is the perfect song to end an easy run. During this training cycle, each week I’ll be running an easy run with a few strides thrown in at the end. This song starts slow and speeds up at the end so it’ll be perfect for that. Life in Technicolor II is a great song for that too.

Another Month, Another Training Cycle.

Sunday marked day 1 of my RnR USA half marathon training cycle. For the next 15 weeks, I’m dedicating myself to training like an athlete. Minimal late nights, eliminating junk food and alcohol (except special occasions like New Year’s…duh), supplementing my running with strength training and yoga, icing like it’s my second job and basically marrying my foam roller.

As this training cycle gets underway, I’ve been thinking about my goals for this race and I’ve been nervous about sharing them. I’ve seen other bloggers announce their goals and then feel horrible when they fail to accomplish them, but I’ve also seen it go the other way. I’ve chosen to share them because the support I receive through this blog is so important to me and I know I’ll need it throughout the next 4 months. Having people comment/tweet/text me saying I inspire them or telling me they’re proud of me far outweighs the embarrassment I may feel if things don’t go the way I want them to go. So here goes…

Original Goal:

Run the entire way (except water stations) and finish under 3 hours (22 minute PR).

Current Goal:

Finish in 2:45 (12:35 avg pace) which is a comfortable pace for me now, but I haven’t tried to maintain it for longer than 6 miles. (37 minute PR)

Ambitious Goal:

To finish in 2:30 (11:27 avg pace) which is a pace I can currently maintain for 1-2 miles (haven’t tried to maintain it for longer than that yet). (52 minute PR)

I’m comfortable with these goals and believe that with prayer, dedication and hard work, I can accomplish even the most ambitious of the three. I’m looking forward to March 18, 2012 when I can post pictures of my shiny new medal and details of my shiny new PR!

 

Let’s Recap.

Monday, 11/28/11 – Rest

I didn’t get back from New Orleans last weekend until 1am and didn’t get to bed that night until 4. The lack of sleep plus a 10 page paper deadline meant no running for me. Which was probably best anyway since the cold I brought back with me started to get ugly.

Tuesday, 11/29/11 – 4.48 miles in 58:01 (12:57 avg. pace)

As I was typing this I rediscovered that Garmin gives you your actual time and your actual moving time, which accounts for stop lights and other breaks like that. That makes me feel a tiny bit better about this run, but not much. I was literally exhausted and walked more than I have in months. The weird thing is, my body actually felt pretty good. It was just an off day and that’s totally fine. This is a great lesson though: the amount of sleep you get 2 nights before a run or race is much more important than the sleep you get the night before. If you have a race on Saturday, make sure Wednesday and Thursday you get a full night’s rest.

Wednesday, 11/30/11 – Rest

Thursday, 12/1/11 – 3.62 miles in 52:06 (14:25 avg. pace)

Note to self: I am not a good empty stomach runner. I felt great until mile 2 and then my body literally ran out of gas. I wanted to run but I couldn’t. I was starving and all I could think about was getting back to my car and buying the biggest bagel I could find for breakfast. I called Coach during the walk back to my car so someone would know if I passed out. It was that bad.

Friday, 12/2/11 – Rest

Saturday, 12/3/11 – Hot Chocolate 15k official results: 9.3 miles in 1:54:02 (12:15 avg. pace)

Disorganized race. 1.5 hour late start time. But it ended up being one of my strongest races to date so it was a great experience for me. Read the full recap here.

Sunday, 12/4/11 – 4.01 miles in 48:56 (12:13 avg. pace)

First run of my RnR USA half marathon training cycle! I’m training with Potomac River Running’s Winter Distance Training Program and I’m so excited about it. I have big goals for this race and I know having a group to train with and coaches to supervise me will put me in the best position to achieve them. Today was our first group run and I chose to start with 4 miles because my legs (especially quads) were really tired and sore after the race. I ended up starting a little too fast and struggled a bit on the way back. My main focus for next week is pacing. I have to learn when to push and when to take it easy. I’ve got 15 weeks to get it right!

Totals –

miles this week :: 21.41

miles this month :: 74.74

miles this year :: 285.21