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Marathon Training Week #6

I started this blog on August 21st…..and finished it today. OOps.

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The last time I blogged about running was the day before I attempted 20 miles. Funny that I am in the same position today!

Let’s catch up:

Sure enough- I did get through all 20 miles two Saturdays ago. I started at 7am and ran 3 miles by myself before meeting a large crew of people. We then ran a back and forth, north and south route so that those who wanted to run 7 could, while others ran 12 miles, 17 miles and me – 20. My overall pace for 20 miles was a 9:26 which I was really happy with. The first three by myself were pretty fast, and the last 7 were all around 9-9:10min/mile. There is something about turning around, running south toward our cars that speeds us up. We were smart this time and once we hit the turnaround point, we put in our headphones so we could focus on finishing rather than trying to talk and breathe at the same time. Dana and Kate pulled ahead, I ran middle and Adam was clean-up. My first 20 miler of 2014 = done!

2-0!

2-0!

week64The next week, I took a couple of days off to let my body recover and then went to Crossfit Endurance. We ran an 800m time trial (holy hell, I hate racing an 800 and barely squeaked out with a 3:33 time) and then sprinted 4 x 100 at an all-out speed. The next day, I met Jess, Adam, Kelly and Chad for speed training on the canal. Our plan called for mile repeats so after a 1-mile warmup, we took off. The goal was to keep them under an 8:18/mile pace and we did: 7:47, 8:04 and 8:02. They were exhausting! Which then brings me to my long run for the week. After an exhausting day of work (8 hours for my day job and another 5 as I worked a project for a friend), I didn’t really think through my running strategy for the following morning. I woke up, I got dressed, I showed up and that was about it. Within the first 6 miles, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do 18 miles that day. My legs were just so tired and had no energy in them. We decided to run a total of 10 miles and then call it quits in exchange for breakfast and mimosas together. We “listened to our body” even if it was my head doing most of the convincing. I just didn’t have it.

This week has started off great! I ran 3.1 miles on Monday before work.

week61

Then Tuesday, I did personal training with JD at Crossfit Naptown and then followed immediately by Crossfit Endurance. We did 1000m repeats….sound familiar? I had done 5 of these with the Wednesday morning crew just a couple of weeks ago. At CFE, the workout was 4 x 1000m repeats with about 4 minutes of rest. My first two were dead on consistent at 4:30 time. The 3rd slowed way down to 4:45 and the last was at 4:38. Though I didn’t do the math to see how this compared to the weeks before, I think it may be a tad bit faster. I hope so – I am definitely eager to see the results of this consistent speed training.

The next day (yesterday), I woke up early to meet the crew on the canal for another interval session. It had rained the night before so I was secretly hoping for thunderstorms. I’d easily convince myself to stay in bed if it was storming. But when I checked my weather app, it was almost cruel. Not only was it perfectly clear, the background photo for Indy was the Canal. It was a sign – I was going to do my speed training.

week62This workout called for a mile warmup, and then .75 miles, .75 miles, .5 miles, .5 miles. The times were supposed to be at 7:58 and 8:03 respectively. Adam, Kelly and I ran these at even faster! We did the following paces: 7:52, 7:44, 7:40 and 7:35. Though I hate getting out of bed, there is no better feeling than getting home at 7:30am and knowing I just ran with everything I had next to two inspiring runners.

Today is a rest day – although I may end up going to Crossfit later as it’s mostly arms. Then tomorrow, I am attempting 20 miles for the 2nd time. I would have no concerns about this since my first went so well, but last week was just so disappointing. I know everyone has bad days but my legs were just so fatigued there was no getting around it. Fingers crossed that tomorrow will be great and I’ll knock out 20 miles before most people have had their second cup of coffee. Luckily, I have 3 friends joining me – Jess, JR and Dana.

I’ll publish this after the run….to make sure that I actually did it :)

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Well here we are….September 15th, almost a month later. WHOOPS. So the above story ends like this: I woke up to 75 degrees and 100% humidity at 5:30am and it was miserable and hot and thick and rainy and I did 14 very painful miles and stopped. 20-mile-fail. But the next week…even though the humidity was just as high, the temps were better. And though it took me awhile (9:59/mile pace), I got through all 20 miles and the last few were right at 9:15/mile. Last week was ALSO hot and humid but we did 14 and felt pretty darn good about it. And this past weekend, I was in the most fabulous wedding of all time and therefore didn’t get a long run in.

In between the long runs, I have been doing crossfit endurance every week as well as my speed training. My hip still hurts but I’m seeing a physical therapist which is helping. I am averaging right around 30 miles a week and when I am running my normal 3-5 milers, I am sub-9 each time. Yesterday, I knocked out 4 miles, two of which were around 8:10/mile pace!

So though I haven’t been blogging about it….I have still been training. And just like the last two times, I am gearing up for another 20-miler this weekend. I am hoping to run it alone….to give myself a chance to run my pace and to break when I need to. I know it will be lonely and more boring and I will have to rely on my own inner strength to keep moving. But it will be as much mental training as it will be physical. Hopefully it won’t take me 3+ weeks to recap it for you :)

Until next time…here are some training pics!

 

Monday morning run.

Monday morning run.

b

14 miles instead of 20.

c

Just a Sunday afternoon jog

d

early morning speed training

e

My favorite running view in Indy? At least top 3.

f

Chad coming in at his longest run ever – 15 miles!

g

A bit slower the 2nd time around.

h

Adam’s first 20-miler of the year!

i

2nd-20 of the season

j

14 sweaty miles

k

Paying homage to the namesake. #bemonumental

 

The Ice Bucket Challenge

For those that are finding negative in the ice bucket challenge, you’re really chapping my hide.

People that bitch about this challenge need to find a hobby. For heaven’s sake –it’s for a good cause. It’s mobilized people to do something, to talk about something and to donate for a cause that many people knew nothing about. I guarantee every charity out there would love nothing more than to get people talking about their cause. “Oh wait,” you say….”people aren’t talking about the cause. They are just throwing water over their heads to get attention” Sure, there may be people who have done this and have no idea about the cause behind it. Or who have forgotten to talk about ALS in their pre-drenching speech. Or who haven’t donated the recommended $10 when they post their video. But what about the percentage of people who have? I don’t have the facts but from what I understand, ALS is seeing a massive spike in donations year over year. So it’s working.

And for those that say we shouldn’t be concerned with ice buckets and ALS when people are fighting for their lives and religious freedom in Iraq and shop owners are losing thousands of dollars in Ferguson and have we already forgotten the importance of mental illness? Oddly enough, talking about one thing doesn’t mean we can’t also care about another. Causes aren’t mutually exclusive.

If you don’t like watching the videos, then don’t. If you don’t want to donate, then don’t. But to call people narcissistic because they posted a video? To shame someone’s charitable donation because it also came with a silly video? Get over yourselves. People talk about their giving to inspire others to do the same. And if you think the only way to be truly generous is to do it anonymously, then talk to the families that benefit from that public donation.

I was nominated twice for the ice bucket challenge and quite frankly, I really just don’t want to have freezing water poured on my head. So I donated to ALS in honor of both nominations, and then I posted about it on Facebook. My intention in sharing this was not so people would commend me for my actions, but because 1) I wanted my nominators to know that I heard their call to action and 2) I hope that someone else sees that link, clicks on it and is inspired to open up their pockets. So wait….the chain letter effect worked? I felt compelled to donate because someone else got drenched while saying my name? YUP. Sure did.

ice

Let’s let something that has a whole lot of positive to it be just that: Positive.

 

Marathon Training update – Week 4 #bemonumental

I am in my 4th week of marathon training and though I intended to blog every week throughout, I am clearly behind. Whoops.

Week two was a solid week – I ran a total of 30 miles which included speed training and a 15 miler! For speed training, the week called for 4 x 800m at an 8:03/mile pace. I did this on my lunch break and the weather was cool, but insanely humid. The pavement was wet and I was soaking sweaty by the first interval. As you can see in the below picture, my eye makeup was everywhere including my tank. But! I knocked out the segments at the mile pace of: 7:26, 7:50, 7:44, and 7:48 pace for each 800.

Rocking my "Run to Be" Tiffanys finisher "medal" from the San Fran Women's Marathon in 2010

Rocking my “Run to Be” Tiffanys finisher “medal” from the San Fran Women’s Marathon in 2010

Also that week, I met my friends Cindy and Chad at 6am to run 4 miles together. I can’t tell you the last time I got my bum up to run that early but having accountability partners made all the difference. I convinced them both that talking would be better than music and as a result, the miles flew by.

downtown stretchin'

downtown stretchin’

That Saturday, I met with JR, Cindy, Dana, Chad and Adam to run 15 miles. JR and Cindy are much faster so they pulled away easily within the first 3 miles. The group spread out based on pace which left  just me and Adam cruising in for our first break at 6 miles. I made him pick up the pace to a 9 min/mile on mile 6 as I knew we would take a bio break and stretch our legs. But as we approached Broadripple, the sky opened up and let out a massive thunderstorm. Huge rain drops, lightning, thunder. There was no safe or sane way to keep running, so after a little pow-wow under the Brugge Deck, we all called it quits.

Rain selfie!

Rain selfie!

I was disappointed because not only had I geared myself up for 15, I was wearing new shorts and a new tank from my favorite online Running gear store (Runningwarehouse.com) They only lasted 6 miles due to the drenching.

photo 3 photo 4

As I drove back home, I noticed that the storm had already passed through downtown. I texted Cindy, hoping she’d want to finish this run with me. Within 25 minutes, she and I were back on the pavement, ready to knock out the remaining 9 miles. I did mention that Cindy is faster than me, right? She kept me at a 9:30 pace for the next 6 miles but they seemed very labored for me. When we took our final break before completing the last 3 miles, we decided not to talk and just listen to music. It made ALL the difference. I have been doing so much solo running that I am just not used to keeping up faster speeds while talking. We clocked our last 3 miles right at 9 minute miles which is impressive to me considering it was the end of a 15-miler! I couldn’t have done it without her.

Week 3: Last week I only ran 27.5 miles but it was also vacation week! The Perfect Strangers took our 3rd annual girls trip to Nashville last weekend. Though I had all intentions to try to do my long run (17 miles) while in Nashville….we all know how that went. I hate “finding miles” while in a new city and just didn’t have the motivation. But… there were still some runs of note last week.

Crossfit Endurance: JD and I love this class so much. It’s an amazing community of fit people that get together at our gym every Tuesday at 6pm. Our coach warms us up with various drills and then we do an interval workout of their choosing. Last week, Zane (coach) had us do 15 x 200m sprints with 30 seconds of rest. Let me tell you how brutal this was! Though 200m isn’t very long, that 30 second rest isn’t’ either. I’d have just about enough time to open my water bottle before having to run again. But it was an absolute blast! It is fun to run fast.

speed

The next morning, I met with Kelly and Adam to run another speed training session. This one was prescribed by my training program and so is a little more long-distance focused. We warmed up with a mile jog and then ran the following:

.75 miles

.625 miles

.5 miles

.325 miles

.25 miles

.125 miles

Between each, we walked for about 300 meters before starting up again. Though the distance of each segment decreases, your pace is supposed to increase. And ours did! We started under an 8 minute pace and never went over. By the end, we were sub 7 for those little sprints. It was so fantastic to have company and though we didn’t talk while we were running, having both of them next to me pushed me to run harder!

Over the weekend in Nashville (by the way, if you want a full recap of the trip, read my friend Bri’s blog here!), some girls dropped in at the local Crossfit gym while five of us went for a run! We wanted to do 7 miles and we didn’t care about pace. So we made our very own Nashville #runsploration! Running down Broadway, we headed to the river, thinking we could run alongside of it. But we found ourselves on what may be their “Monon” trail but it was surrounded by industrial businesses and construction. We headed back to the strip and double backed long enough to get to our goal distance, take some great pictures and find some brutal hills.

7 6

84

 

The rest of the weekend was just an amazing time with some of my favorite people.  I took my first “rest” day of the week that Saturday and then came home on Sunday and ran a very easy 5 miles.

2

 

Week 4: (This week!) So far, it’s been a solid week. Monday was crossfit. Tuesday is Crossfit Endurance Day! Typically, we average about 2-2.5 miles during CFE so I decided to do a 2-miler before the class so I could get more miles in. Silly Meggie. When I got there, Coach Peter told us we were going to do 3 x 1 mile repeats. After a warm up, we all took off. My first mile was at 7:49 and man did I feel it! We took 3 minute breaks between each mile so when I took off for mile 2, I slowed down a little. This one clocked in at 8:06 (which also included about a 5-8 second delay due to a stoplight). The last one was right at 8 minutes. My legs were fatigued but I was happy with my times!

Then the following morning (yesterday), I met up with Kelly, Adam and Chad on the canal for another 6:30am speed sesh. We warmed up with a 1000m jog and then took off. Whereas the previous week we ran the full circle of the canal a couple of times, this time we ran back and forth the same strip so we could mark distance and be near each other. The workout called for 5 x 1000m sprints. Though it also had us jogging in between for .25 miles, we opted for just a full resting break of 2 minutes in between. Our splits were very consistent: 7:48 pace, 7:47, 7:41, 7:51, 7:48. Though in the beginning, I always dread these days, it feels so amazing to know that we ran with everything we had and were done for the day by 7:30am!

early morning runnin'

early morning runnin’

Last night I played two games of soccer and can definitely feel the toll of this new speed training. My hips hurt – but not in the places they normally hurt. This pain is higher up on my body, like right around my hip bones vs my groin. I assume that when I am running fast, I am twisting my torso and therefore stretching this area? I don’t know. I just know it feels uncomfortable. I have a 4-6 easy miler either today or tomorrow and then the big run on Saturday. My plan calls for 20 miles which seems very aggressive in week 4 of training. No promises, but I am going to go for it!

Also, I bought new shoes online today and cannot wait for them to arrive. Whether my shoes actually need replaced or not, my brain has convinced myself that these puppies have met their D Day. They definitely have 400+ miles on them so I think it’s time.

3

More updates after this weekend! Hope everyone who is training is sticking with it and enjoying this nice summer weather we are having!

Marathon Training: Week 1 #bemonumental

This past week, I started training for my 12th marathon! For the past three years, I have done the Chicago Marathon in the fall but this year, I opted for a more familiar course: The Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. I have done this race twice before and both were great runs for me. The course is flat, it’s a great time of year and I love that I can see friends and family members throughout the course.

I have two training plans I am operating from and can’t figure out which one to fully commit to. One is a hybrid of a bunch of old training programs that involves 4 days of running per week, including Crossfit endurance (speed training). The other is the FAST program which is 3 days of running and is pretty aggressive. As for now, I am kind of doing both! As long as I stick to an overall mileage target, a long run target and do some sort of speed training each week, I will be happy.

Monday kicked off with Crossfit.

Tuesday morning, I woke up ready to run and then saw the Crossfit WOD and was torn. I love long chippers and this one was right up my alley. So I ran from my house to crossfit, did the WOD and then ran home for a total of 3 miles. That night, I went to Crossfit Endurance which was a ladder: 1 min on, 1 min off, 2 on, 1 off, 3 on, 4 on, 3, 2, 1. A total of 2.3 miles of sprinting and a 600m warm up. Total mileage for the day: 5.7.

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: I got up early to do the speed training work out FAST recommends. Based on a predicted marathon time, I was to do 1 mile warm up, then three mile repeats at 8:18/mile, then 1 mile cool down. I started from my house and ran to the canal for a total of 1.5 miles at a 9 min/mile pace. Then, I took off. My first mile was 7:54.

week1I took a 2 minute break and then knocked out the second one at 8:01.

2 down

2 down

Then finished my last mile repeat at 8:09…happily under my 8:18 target and feeling exhausted, yet strong.

I jogged home for a total of 5.5 miles. (Also, check my amazing peacock tights!)

week3

Friday: I woke up and did an easy run to shake out the legs…. 3.3 miles.

week6

Saturday: Long run day! The goal was 13 miles and I met Adam, Jess and Dana at the Monon at 7:30am. We didn’t have much of a plan other than to hover in the 9:30-9:45/mile range and to break infrequently. We ran north of the Monon and I loved being back on the red line. I have been doing so much downtown running that I have missed the familiar feeling of the Monon Trail. I saw plenty of people I knew and have so many good memories out there. Saturday was just like old times! We didn’t break until 5.5 miles and it was a longer rest. We fueled, stretched and went to the bathroom. At 6.5, we turned around and headed back to the cars. Because we were up by 106th, there were plenty of trees and Dana’s GPS wasn’t registering real-time pace very well. We kept speeding up and at one point I asked “Why are we sprinting right now?!” Dana’s watch read 9:55/mile so she kept speeding up. Finally when it caught up with her, we were doing closer to an 8:50 which is a little aggressive for a long run! But we kept powering through and kept running fast for the next 2 miles. We knew we’d have a natural break at 86th to cross the street so we sprinted there. And when we got to the other side, we slowed down to a 9:20 pace which felt amazing in comparison to the previous miles. Maybe this is a new running tactic: run fast in the middle of your long run and when you slow down it will feel easy!

From there we coasted into Broadripple and took our 2nd break at mile 11.5. Only 1.5 miles to go but we needed water and Gatorade. Adam, who hadn’t run more than 5 miles total in the past 2-3 weeks was feeling it a little and he caught up to us at our break. The four of us took off and finished around 2:04 for the ladies and 2:06 for Adam. Overall pace: 9:30! It felt awesome and I was really happy with our finish.

photo

week4Sunday: JD and I went to Crossfit together. I made him run there with me as I needed 2.4 miles to get to 30 overall miles for the week. We then did 2 crossfit workouts and walk/ran home.

Week one complete!!! Thirty miles, 9 total workouts and a great start to training. Only 15 more weeks to go!!

#bemonumental

#dozenmarathons

 

 

Firecracker 6 – 2014

Running on the 4th of July has been a Dials Family tradition for the past few years. We used to always do the Carmel Freedom Run, but last year, we changed it up and ran the Firecracker 6 for the first time. Located downtown, it’s an awesome course with great energy, and much closer to home.

I have been putting in quite a few miles lately and though I haven’t done anything over 7-10 miles since the Mini Marathon, I have been steadily running 4-5 miles often. I know I am getting faster, but I wasn’t sure how fast I could go if I pushed myself for all 6 miles of this race. My goal, however, was to race it. I talked with my friend Lilly and we planned to go side-by-side throughout the race, headphones in – no talking, just running. But the day before, she got hit by a car!!! Luckily it was just minor bruising but understandably, she didn’t race come Friday morning.

I told JD that my game plan was to finish at 54 minutes or better. My last 7 miler was at an 8:52 pace so I figured I could maintain something similar for this race. All decked out in my flag tights and trusty old American flag hat, I was ready. (Sidenote: This hat was purchased for $1 in Chicago when watching the World Cup 2010….and has been with me for every 4th of July Run since!)

photo 1

JD and I rode our bikes down to the start and visited with other friends and runners we found. The race kicked off at 8am and so JD made his way up to the front of the start while I hung back somewhere along the middle edge of the corral. I ran into a couple of friends from Crossfit and we chatted before the official gun start. With Pandora’s “pop and hip hop hits” playing in my ears, my GPS watch on one arm and my MapMyRun app in the other, I was off.

official patriotic race photo

official patriotic race photo

The first couple of miles wind through downtown and though I occasionally checked my GPS watch to determine pace, I never quite trusted it among the tall buildings and what I assumed to be poor satellite reception. But low and behold, when that first mile hit, I was right at an 8 min/mile pace. My legs felt good, my breathing was steady and yet I had clocked a very fast mile for my typical speed. I told myself to slow down as there was no way to maintain that for 6 miles. But in the back of my mind, then and throughout the entire race, was the goal of RACING this course. That meant feeling more uncomfortable than normal, pushing myself harder, breathing more rapidly. It wasn’t supposed to be easy peasy.

And so the race went…8:20s for the next two miles and then 8:38 for mile 4. By this point, we were fully in Fountain Square and going up a gradual, yet very long, uphill. I kept doing the math in my head about how much time I had banked to reach my goal, yet never allowing myself to coast in. It was also around this time that I realized I had the potential to run my fastest run on the books. I know that I have run an 8:35/mile pace for the Drumstick Dash at some point in the past, but never anything under 8:30. If I kept myself focused and moving, I could do it.

Around mile 5 it dawned on me that JD was probably well done with this race and just lounging around waiting for me. That man is a beast. And true to form, he killed it. Beating his last year’s time, he came in 28th overall pace!

jd

 

The last mile was pretty rough….my legs and lungs were feeling it and my GPS watch was definitely not working in real-time once back among the buildings. I felt like I was booking, but yet my watch told me I was running a 9:48 pace. At about .4 miles to go, I spotted JD. He had come back to run the last bit with me! I had been mentally tough this entire race – never letting a single negative thought in my head or listening to any of the voices that told me to walk through even a water stop. I hadn’t stopped once and yet when I saw JD, I could feel my will power turn a little soft. I told him I couldn’t talk and so he did all the talking. He told me I was coming up on the finish and he would meet me at the end.

With that encouragement, I cranked my legs up as much as possible and crossed the line at 50:19….which is an 8:23/mile pace. I beat my goal by almost 4 minutes and was 11 minutes faster than last year’s time! (Now I realize I am not running Kenyan speeds here…so all of this is in perspective to my pace, not in comparison to all you fasties out there) :)

meg

 

 

My friend Jason snapped this pic at the end.

My friend Jason snapped this pic at the end.

JD and I watched a couple friends cross the finish line before making our journey home, stopping by Crossfit for a few minutes to roll out our legs. I had clocked my fastest time ever and was on cloud 9. Who knew that a 6-mile race would give me such a sense of accomplishment, but indeed it did.

I think back to April when I stood at the Boston Marathon finish line and was inspired to start running more seriously. I started the 24 day/100 mile challenge, and then kept running. I know that in crossfit, if you want to get stronger, you lift heavier, so during most runs, my rally cry was “if you want to get faster, you must run faster.” I pushed myself each time I laced up my trainers and though I could feel myself getting better, it wasn’t until this race that I actually believed it. When I look back at my MapMyRun stats, almost all of them are averaging sub-9, and it’s crazy to me to think that it was just 2+ months of work that got me back to a solid running pace.

Last fall and winter, all I wanted to do was crossfit. This spring, I started shifting back to running and right now, though I am doing crossift 3x/week, it’s running that has my heart. I have no doubt that as the seasons turn, so will my passion, so this isn’t a major declaration about which one I prefer or which is better for me. I just hope that when I do swing the pendulum back after taking a break from one or the other, and consequently feel like I am out of peak crossfit or running shape, I remember that with some intense dedication over a short period of time, I can get it back  fast. It didn’t take 6 months or even a marathon to do it. It was just focused energy in one direction consistently.

I have long thought that a marathon PR wasn’t in my world anymore. How was I supposed to beat a 4:15:01 marathon (a 9:44 pace) when running just a few miles at that pace felt taxing? But now, with marathon training for the Monumental starting next week and with a little speed behind me, I’ve got hope that maybe this is the year I’ll do it!

Drive to run.

photo 5

Last month, I ran 100 miles in 24 days.

And on mile 101….I kept running.

Last week, I totaled 30.5 miles!

Last week, I totaled 30.5 miles!

I am not training for any race, yet seem to be more dedicated to running than I have in a long time.

For the first time in months (years?), I have run every day for the past 9 days.

photo 3

After getting caught in a massive downpour

 Maybe it’s the long hiatus I took from running that has me feeling refreshed.

Maybe that 24-day challenge keyed into my old, yet trusty passion for running.

Maybe it’s that I am getting faster.

8:34/mile!

8:34/mile!

Maybe it’s that I love that post-run feeling.

photo 4

So humid!

Maybe it’s because the stress of this new job melts away when I am hitting feet to pavement.

Maybe it’s because I can fit into a dress that I couldn’t last summer (Can I get a hell yeah?!)

my favorite trail these days...

my favorite trail these days…

I feel incredible, and in those moments when I am not running, I want to be. I’m not sure the reason for this surprising yet tenacious drive to run….

….but I hope it stays with me.

6

100 miles, 24 days.

 

On April 23rd, I started the 24-day challenge. The idea came to me while flying back from Boston and witnessing such an incredible spectacle of athleticism. I always feel inspired when at a race and after watching JD and his friends run the Boston Marathon, I knew I wanted to do something that motivated me to run more than I had been. So thus, the 24 Day, 100 Mile Challenge began.

If you break down the numbers, I needed to average about 4.1 miles a day for 24 days to reach my goal. That really doesn’t sound terrible, but as I got started, I realized how easy it was to get myself in the hole. In the beginning, even by just running 3 miles a day instead of 4, I’d find myself worried about how to catch up. I relied on a longer run on the weekend to get back on track but then I’d take a rest day and be right back in the red.

Regardless, this was the perfect challenge for me. When I had a long day at work and just wanted to curl up on the couch with a glass of wine, I’d at least put in a few miles. On the days I got to crossfit early, instead of just gossiping with friends before class, I’d run a mile instead. I found ways to get in miles every chance I could – whether that be on my lunch hour, before work, after crossfit, on the way to crossfit. Every meter counted and trust me, I counted every meter.

I know a lot of you use fancy apps and websites to track your miles, but me? I stick with my tried and true method of marking my calendar at work. The “x” represents the days I did crossfit and the numbers are miles. Through this challenge, I also used the notes section of my phone to tally the miles on the weekends so I wouldn’t miss any.


calendar 2

 

calendar 1

 

I also relied heavily on the MapMyRun app on my phone. Though JD and I have two GPS watches, I don’t always remember to pack them in my gym bag, so this app helped track distance and speed. I don’t know if any of you readers use MapMyRun, but it doesn’t seem quite accurate. I have run a couple of times with both it and my GPS watch and it seems to be a little liberal on the distance, which then also makes my splits faster. Though the difference is pretty negligible on the length of run, it can make a difference of about 10-15 seconds/mile on pace. For this challenge, it didn’t bother me, but I am such a stickler on exact reporting that I like to know how fast I really went and precisely how far.

6

 

The run above is a good example. Though I know I was going pretty fast in the 3rd and 4th mile, I do question if I was going *that* fast. I would guess it was about 10 seconds off. Regardless, those numbers are still pretty speedy for me and I have to credit these past 24 days for getting me there. This challenge had quite a few benefits but the two main ones are: 1) It got me back into the habit of running and 2) speed.

Habit - Malcolm Gladwell says you have to spend 10,000 hours on something to become an expert. So I am certainly no expert in running. But 100 miles in 24 days definitely made running habitual again for me. Whereas, prior to this challenge, I hadn’t gotten out of bed early enough to run before work in months, I have made it more of a regularity. And when I would come home from crossfit hungry and ready to relax, I would often change out my shirt and go run a couple of miles. Each day, I’d look at my calendar and schedule time to run. It’s what I had to do to hit my goal. But now, a few days later, it’s what I want to do. I love that I am not following a strict schedule with distance and paces and intervals. I love the flexibility this challenge provided me where I could run 2 miles or 7 miles, and every one of them counted. And I love that after taking just one day off post goal, I have put in another 11 miles in the last 3 days. It’s because I don’t dread running anymore….I actually crave it.

Speed - Before I started this challenge, all of my runs – both short and longer – ranged in the 9:45/mile to 10/mile pace. But after 100 miles in a short period, I am getting faster! Now when I head out for a run, it’s rare that I go above 9:30 and have been pushing myself to get even faster. Monday morning, I used my GPS watch to ensure accuracy and ran the following:

Mile 1: 9:29

Mile 2: 8:49

Mile 3: 8:18

Mile 4: 8:23

BOOM! Though running faster is a heckuva lot harder than a leisurely stroll, there is nothing better than “finishing strong.” My legs, lungs and body just feel awesome when I push myself. I also have been to Crossfit Endurance the past 2 weeks and hope to keep that up so I am actually working interval training into my weeks. It’s a little discouraging to run alongside girls that are so fast, but I have to just keep telling myself that to run faster, you have to run fast.

3

This past Sunday, two days post-challenge, I told myself I needed another challenge to keep this string of workouts going. I have ran each day (4, 4, and 3 respectively) but need to determine what the challenge will be. I have considered 100 miles in 30 days  (to make it a little easier on myself). But what do you think? What should my next goal be to keep me running over the next month+. I am all ears!

While you all noodle on that….here are some pics from the challenge.

Bri and I running the Mini Marathon together!

Bri and I running the Mini Marathon together!

The mini helped me get back on track after the first couple of weeks of missing my daily target!

The mini helped me get back on track after the first couple of weeks of missing my daily target!

photo 2 photo 3

I realize I haven't recapped the Mini yet, but here are some cute pics of us girls that morning. It was a fabulous day!

I realize I haven’t recapped the Mini yet, but here are some cute pics of us girls that morning. It was a fabulous day!

One of my favorite views of the city - from the downtown Canal path

One of my favorite views of the city – from the downtown Canal path

JD and I on a Saturday morning jog around downtown #teamorange

JD and I on a Saturday morning jog around downtown #teamorange

 

sporting my Crossfit Naptown tank the day our team qualified for the Crossfit Games!

sporting my Crossfit Naptown tank the day our team qualified for the Crossfit Games!

The exact moment I hit 100 miles!

The exact moment I hit 100 miles!

 

 

 

 

24 day challenge and GLOC

Last week, after returning from watching my husband run the Boston Marathon (and yes, I realize I owe a Boston recap!), I decided to embark on a running 24-day challenge. Starting last Wednesday, I challenged myself to run 100 miles in 24 days. If you do the math, that’s a little over 4 miles/day. I figured with a few longer runs mixed in and amping up my mileage each week, I would be able to accomplish this. Currently, I am on day 5 and am 17 miles in!

On Wednesday, I ran 4 miles. On Thursday, I ran 3. On Friday, I ran a very rough 3 miles. And on Sunday, I ran 7 miles. This weekend is the Mini Marathon which will definitely help make up for some of the shorter runs. The idea behind this was to give me a reason to lace up those sneakers when I don’t want to. Each day I tell myself that I need to run – whether it be 2 miles or more…every mile counts. And so far, it’s been pretty fun! There is no pace to keep nor route to run. Just miles. And you know I have miles to go before I sleep…. :)

Yesterday, I tossed on my favorite running skirt and did a little #runsploration around my neighborhood. I ran 3 miles, picked up my friend Meghan for another 3 miles, and then ran home for a total of 7. There is a Fall Creek Path that I have driven by tons of times, but have never once ran on and I have to say, it’s awesome! It’s quiet and smaller than the Monon. The scenery is a busy street to one side and the river to the other. For some reason, the combination of the the windy trail, the bright blue line, the juxtaposition of nature and city just works. Meghan and I both fell in love with it!

bum ruffle (and an incredibly skinny angle. Can I start walking around sideways?)

bum ruffle (and a misleading skinny angle. Can I start walking around sideways?)

Chicago marathon 2011 outfit

Chicago marathon 2011 outfit

Bridge from Meridian to Central by the White River

Bridge from Meridian to Central by the White River

Who knew this little gem was just a mile+ from my house?

Who knew this little gem was just a mile+ from my house?

The Fall Creek Path!

The Fall Creek Path!

Gorgeous day for running

Gorgeous day for running

 

It was awesome running with Meghan again. She has gotten super serious (and good!) at crossfit so isn’t running as much. We used to put so many miles together that it was great to catch up on the little stories of life. Both of us were pretty sore, however, because the day before (Saturday), was Project GLOC! This is an annual crossfit competition for just females (Gorgeous Ladies of Crossfit is the full title of the event). It was my first official individual competition and I was definitely not looking forward to it.

They announced the WODS earlier in the week and had you asked me what my worst movements are, I would have responded with: Wall Balls, Rowing, Snatch and Box Jumps. Guess what was in this competition? ALL OF THOSE THINGS.

After almost dropping out in a preemptive strike to not feel like a failure, I convinced myself that doing it and not doing well was still better than quitting. So come Saturday morning, I picked up my fierce friends, Caitlin and Meghan, and up to Carmel we went.

WOD 1: FOR TIME

75 wall balls, 14# at 9 foot line

2000 meter row

600 meter run carrying a 60# sandbag

600 meter run

I was in the second heat and so was my good friend Jaime. I joked with her earlier that if she was a good friend, she wouldn’t get off the rower before me. :) KIDDING! So off I go on the wall balls and just am horrid. I am not kidding – I literally got no-repped maybe 10 times because I threw them straight up and down, never touching the wall. I know I am short and these aren’t easy for shorties, but there is no excuse for my wretched technique. FINALLY I got through the 75 and jumped on the rower. Shockingly enough, I did pretty well on the 2000m. My overall time was 9:05 and that was a good 55 seconds faster than the 2000m I rowed earlier in the week. Right as I got off the rower, so did Jaime. We looked at each other and agreed we would do the rest of this workout side by side. We hitched that 60# sandbag over our shoulders and walked the first 600 (running wasn’t happening) and then ran the last 600m together. It was amazing to have her next to me. Both of us could have taken our intensity up a notch but doing it together was way more fun.

me on the erg

me on the erg

Kelly with the sandbag

Kelly with the sandbag

Caitlin on the rower

Caitlin on the rower

WOD 2: They just used your rowing score for this

WOD 3: 8 MINUTE TIME CAP

Find one rep max in strict press

Find one rep max in deadlift

Strict press is one of those limiting movements so it took a very quick 90 seconds for me to hit my max, 75#. I then moved on to deadlift. I picked a judge who would help me with the math and JD was there helping as well. My previous one rep max was 210# and no lie, when I hit that the last time, I was sure I had internal bleeding. It was so unbelievably hard I wasn’t sure I’d get that again. But with a lot of encouragement and wearing Meghan’s amazing magical lifting belt, I knocked out 235! That’s a 25# PR!!!!

235# deadlift!

235# deadlift!

WOD 4:  6 MINUTE TIME CAP

3 box jumps at 24″, 3 kettlebell snatches at 35#

6, 6

9,9 etc…

Let me tell you how much I love 24 inch box jumps? The last one I did was when I gashed my leg and I haven’t done one since. So here I am, with all the crowd watching, doing 24″ box jumps. Every single one of them was calculated and slow. I got confidence as I went but definitely wasn’t speeding through them. My overall score in this WOD was 69 reps and I was happy. Not because of my score – trust me, that wasn’t a great finish. But because I didn’t miss a box jump!

My overall place was 70th out of 84 people. So you know, obviously world domination. Our friend and fellow Naptown athlete, Margaret, got 2nd overall! Meghan got 17th and Caitlin got 3rd in the Modified division.

It was an awesome day – great weather, lots of friends and tons of people cheering for the athletes. I am so glad I didn’t quit. :)

 

 

7

 

Next up? The Mini Marathon and 83 more miles to run in 19 days!

 

 

 

 

 

Run or crossfit today? Hmm….

I have been in London for the past 5 days. Before that, I was in team meetings for 3 days. As a result, I haven’t been able to go to crossfit much. (And by much, I mean I have gone 2x since March 31st.) That’s pretty rare for me and since that place is like a second home, I miss it.

When I woke up and saw that today’s workout was snatches and rowing, I groaned. (I hate snatches! I hate rowing!) The crossfit community tells you to “work on your suck list” and “embrace the pain.” So all day I planned to go to CF at 6pm and do those things and get back into the gym I missed.

But then this afternoon I went for a 3 mile run during my lunch break. It was glorious– sunny and warm and perfect. In fact, too perfect for snatching and rowing.

So today, I am going to run more, because though I haven’t been doing much CF, I have been at least keeping active since March 31st.

 

3/31 - 3.6 miles

First time wearing a tank in Indiana in 2014: March 31st – 3.6 miles

And when I was able to wear this long lost running skirt - 4/4 for 4.2 miles

Wearing this long lost running skirt:  April 4th- 4.2 miles

Regent's Park - 4/7 for 3 miles

My favorite place in the world, Regent’s Park: April 7th -3 miles

Hyde Park - 4/8 2 miles

Runsploring a new spot, Hyde Park: April 8th – 2 miles

Obviously, I haven’t put in long miles. But man do I love being back outside and moving. So if you’ll excuse me, I am headed to the IUPUI track for a short little happy run. Because this weather says so.

 

 

Weekend workout mania

This past weekend was one full of memories, friends and sweat. It all started on Friday with the Crossfit Open 14.3 workout. For those that aren’t familiar, the Crossfit Games start off with the Open which lasts for 5 weeks and is “open” to the entire crossfit community. Each week a workout is announced on Thursday night and athletes have until Monday night to complete it and submit their scores. From those scores, regional athletes are determined. At regionals, the top elite athletes from each territory compete and the winners attend the Games which takes place this summer. I am an average crossfitter so will not be going to regionals, but it’s still a blast to be part of such a massive crossfit community doing the same workout each week and to compare scores. The first workout (14.1) didn’t go as well as I had hoped. The second workout included chest-to-bar pullups and so I knew I wasn’t going to do great. BUT, much to my surprise, I did my very first chest-to-bar pullup that weekend and ended up getting 6 in the workout! Then came 14.3 which was box jumps and heavy deadlifts. On Thursday night, JD and I watched two Games athletes go head-to-head after just minutes before finding out what the WOD would be.

Watching the elites go head to head on Thursday night, completing 14.3

Watching the elites go head to head on Thursday night, completing 14.3

Then on Friday, I mapped out my weight strategy. I didn’t want to waste time messing with pulling off and putting on weights, so tried to find the most efficient strategy. set up cf All Friday I was pretty excited about this one because they are movements I can do. But knowing how I flopped 14.1 when I put so much pressure on myself, I decided I was going to make this one fun. So to keep it light-hearted, I showed up to crossfit that afternoon to do the workout in my Scottie Pippen jersey. JD, in solidarity, chose to wear his Pacers jersey. These heavy, awkward jerseys are definitely not the most conducive to workouts, but I hoped that the silliness of it would keep my head calm and to remember that I crossfit for a great workout and for the fun it provides. There was no need to have any additional pressure. And it worked! Cindy was my partner and she cheered me on and coached me through every rep (Even when I dropped the bar on the bottom of a rack, it popped up and hit my shin in the exact same spot where I missed a box jump a few weeks ago. So as I was cursing in pain and my bar was rolling away from me, weights falling off the side, Cindy said “Get back on the bar and get mad. Do this.” And I did. My score was 110 which means I got to the 185# of deadlifts and knocked out 20 of them! I was thrilled.

Though my box jump injury was almost healed, I managed to open it all back up in 14.3

Though my box jump injury was almost healed, I managed to open it all back up in 14.3

I texted my friends Kelly and Jaime right after. Though they work out in different gyms, they too are doing the open which allows us to chat about our successes and failures each week! Jaime called me right away to hear all about it and JD took a pic of us in our jerseys, whilst I was talking with her. :) jd and i jerseysAthletes have the opportunity to redo each workout as long as scores are in by Monday. I knew I was just going to hold tight to that score and let my back muscles rest. After all, I had a full weekend of working out ahead of me.

On Saturday, my friends and I came up with the brilliant idea that we would run both Shamrock races downtown. So we woke up, put our green on and headed to Monument Circle to meet Ted, Adam, Chris, and Rory. JD planned to run the first race at his pace, as did Rory and Chris. But Ted, Adam and I were sticking together all day. We joked that if one person had to stop to walk, we all walked. If one person vomited because of a hangover, we all waited. Luckily, we had to do neither in the first race. pre racesThe Shamrock Run was a 4-miler from downtown to Fountain Square and back. We planned to do 10 minute miles and ended up at an overall pace of 9:37/mile. That was just fine by me! Once we finished, we met up with a larger group of friends for outdoor fun, green beer, and Irish music. green beer josh and i at race(If you are wondering why I would run in my glasses, it’s because I have to. I am getting LASIK this week and have to wear my glasses 2.5 weeks prior!)

We checked out Georgia Street which wasn’t quite open yet so we decided to go to lunch at Harry and Izzys. Eight of us waltzed in there in spandex and green running shirts which seemed a little out of place. But after a long lunch and a lot of laughter, we went back out to Georgia Street for the festivities. We picked up our shirts and running packets, grabbed a beer and found our friends before lining up for the race. By this point, we had definitely drank a few beers and committed to running the 5K together as a 5some. I told Adam “I have a really bad idea. What if we turned this into a Navy Seal run and we have to carry one of us the entire time as a team.” He said “Nope.” So then I told the rest of the guys my idea and JD said “I am in as long as I am the one being carried.” Apparently these guys were not up for the challenge.

Yates and Ted pre-5K

Yates and Ted pre-5K

Waiting for the start with Adam and Ted!

Waiting for the start with Adam and Ted!

The dudes

The dudes

 

The race started and it was a blast. In fact, I doubt I have ever run a 5K that was this much fun. The running crowd was amazing – lots of walkers, some runners. Lots of people who were out there just to get the beer! (Upland sponsored this race so every 1K, we each got a shot glass full of beer.) And you better believe at least a couple of times, we tried the Navy Seal run.

The times w hen you have seen only one set of footprints is when I carried you.

The times when you have seen only one set of footprints is when I carried you.

The course was an area of town I had never been before – south of the zoo and right along the river. It was actually a pretty awesome view of the city.

JD posing in front of the skyline

JD posing in front of the skyline – wearing 4 shirts

At one point, Ted and Adam jumped on the Handlebar and managed to chug a solo cup full of boxed wine. As you can imagine, that didn’t go so well. Pretty soon after, one of our comrades was off to the side, emptying his stomach. And true to our mission statement at the beginning of the day, we waited for him. When we finished the 3.1 miles, we got an awesome medal and a pint of beer. We had the most fun day together – gorgeous weather, 7.1 miles of running and a lot of memories. I think this will become a tradition.

post 5kBut the weekend of workouts wasn’t complete. Because on Sunday, I traveled to Cincinnati for a crossfit competition.

It was a 6-person, co-ed competition that happened to be outside at a High School football stadium. The concept was awesome – hard workouts outside that included running around the track, climbing bleacher stairs and doing wall balls on the field goal. But the problem was, it was 30 degrees with 20mph winds. In a word: freezing.

We caravaned up that morning and had enough clothes to outfit a track team. We had blankets and hand warmers, snacks and water. When we arrived, we set up camp at the far end of the track. We thought we had found cover by posting up against a high jump mat, but the wind seemed to suck all life and motivation out of us. We knew the workouts in advance and had prepped for them. We expected to do at least 4 WODs and if we advanced to the semi-finals, a 5th.  As we waited for the fun to begin, we cuddled together.

Wearing my yacht hat and being miserable

Wearing my yacht hat and being miserable

Cuddling with Sloane and using a high jump mat as a wind cover

Cuddling with Sloane and using a high jump mat as a wind cover

Cindy and Meghan hunkering down

Cindy and Meghan hunkering down

JD, Sloane and Tyler snuggled up

JD, Sloane and Tyler snuggled up

Of the team, I am probably the weakest. Meghan is the strongest in lifting. Cindy is the best at body-weight movements and I am decent at both. JD is our fasty, Tyler our ringer and Sloane is consistently good at everything. But what mattered most is that we supported each other 100%. We coached each other, advised each other and had fun together. It was an awesome team regardless of the shitty day.

The first WOD was pretty awesome. It was a relay: each person had to do 15 Overhead squats (girls at 65# and guys at 95#) and then run a 600m course. Essentially that was one lap around the track but halfway around, you ascended up and then descended down the bleachers twice. I went first and though I was the 2nd to finish the squats, I was the fourth of 6 to finish my lap. Then came Meghan, Cindy, Sloane, JD and Tyler. We finished the WOD with only 200m left in the course under the time limit. We were pretty darn happy with that. And immediately after, we packed on all of our clothes again and headed back to camp. The wind was howling and even though I had hand warmers in both my shoes and my mittens (I even did my OHS in mittens!), it was so so so cold. Finally, we made the decision to move our camp to a place with less wind. And that was a game changer for my attitude. It was still cold, but without the bitter wind, I felt rejuvenated.

Our second WOD was also a blast. The girls took turns pulling a rope with 90# at the end of it 50 feet. We did this by essentially pulling hand over hand until the weight got to us. Then, the guys followed by hoisting a 50# slosh tube (think a tube filled with water) overhead and doing 10 lunges. Then we repeated this alternating process until we had gone 150 yards. We felt really strong at this WOD. The girls pulled that thing fast and furious and the guys did a great job of balancing the tube and getting through the lunges quickly.

meg pulling rope josh slosh

Though we felt really strong, we were in 15th place after this WOD. This meant we were paired head to head against the 4th place team for the 3rd WOD. When we watched the first couple of heats go, it became glaringly obvious that the organizers did not trial this WOD with the timeline they gave. It was a 25 minute cap and we operated in pairs. The first F/M pair had to do 100 toes to bar (on a freezing cold rig), 100 Wall balls on the goal posts (girls 16#, guys 20#), 100 burpee box jump overs and 100 KB (1 and 1.5 pd). Then the second pair would go through the same, then the third. And finally, we’d all end at 100 pullups. Except that the first pair took anywhere from 16-20 minutes. Which only left the second team enough time to get through the toes-to-bar and maybe get some wall balls in. The third pair, did nothing and there was definitely no opportunity for pullups. I was in the third pair.

Tyler and Cindy went first because they are the best at toes to bar which was the hardest part of the WOD. Not only was the quantity high, but the rig was set so tall that girls had to climb up using a weight rack each time. And the bar was freezing so they wore gloves but had a hard time gripping the bar. Regardless, these two killed it. They busted their asses and got through the first round in less than 18 minutes.

cindy t2b tyler t2b cindy box tyler box jump tyler kbThen JD and Meghan went. They got through the T2B and got a few wall balls up before the time ran out. They had a great rhythm with toes to bar and managed somehow, now to rip their hands! They were awesome.

meg t2b josh t2bSloane and I were responsible for cheering and counting. Nailed it. :)

After the WOD we knew we weren’t going forward in the competition as the 4th place team beat us. We were fine with that. Being able to get out of the cold was well worth it. That being said, we were really frustrated. We spent $300 to attend this competition. We drove 3 total hours. We froze our asses off for 6 hours. And yet, Sloane and I got maybe 10 minutes of Crossfit in. The rest of the team didn’t get a whole lot more. We came to compete but whether it was lack of judges (They were short on those) or lack of planning, we didn’t get much of a workout. I sent a message to CINNCity crossfit via Facebook and have yet to hear a response. But it was very disappointing.

The positive is that we had an amazing time as a team. We had awesome cheerleaders (Cade and Jake). I got to compete with JD for the first time. We made a new great friend (Tyler) and we made some chilly memories.

Let’s hope there is another competition on the horizon as we’d love another shot. And the idea of an outdoor competition would be awesome, if only 30 degrees warmer!

yacht club post

So that wraps up the weekend of working out. Next up: a week of normal crossfitting and running, 14.4, and an 8 mile long run!