Friday, November 16, 2012

Remediation Plan

1. Get over it.

2. Keep up with speed work and tempo runs.

  • Check.
  • Tuesday: 6x800 in 3:38-3:43
  • Thursday: 5 mile tempo run at 8:25 avg pace

3. Add some core work into the  mix again.

  • I haven’t devoted any time to abs in…many months. It can’t hurt.

4. Run this race for fun tomorrow morning (and for free, thanks to Pavement Runner and INKnBURN)

…where I will get to try out my new Dirty Girl gaiters:

000_0003  000_0002 


I may need them not only to keep stones and dirt out of my shoes, but maybe mud, too:

gpth forecast

At least it won’t be too cold?

5.  Do some more long [road] runs. Like maybe, a 14 and an 11-12 miler.

6. Perhaps try for a PR again at this race in 3 weeks. Worst case, it’s a fun Christmas-themed run.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Day of Disappointment

Let’s start with some things that went right:
  • Got to the race on time.
  • Nearly perfect weather (it rained the last 2 years)
  • Found friends before race.
  • Didn’t start too fast!
  • Had an amazing first 7-8 miles.
  • Found friends after the race.
  • Got to cheer in a lot of running group friends!
I was sure to hydrate in the days leading up to the half. I had a nice little pasta dinner Saturday night.  I was a ball of nerves and I (needlessly), obsessively looked at the pace ranges within my goal range.
Sunday I woke at 5:45am (old-6:45, thanks Daylight Savings Time). I got all my stuff together and got out the door by 6:15. I parked by 6:35 (it’s amazing how fast you can get around early in the morning when there’s no traffic) and was texted with a meeting place to find some friends I would be running with.
7am start.

First goal: Don’t start off too fast. Goal accomplished. A congested start (no corrals) and an uphill first mile will help keep your pace in check.

schmsplits - 1
schm elev

Mini hill out of the way, time to pick up the pace and get closer to goal pace.  During the second mile I felt great! Like I could definitely sustain the pace. I enjoyed the following several miles of the race. There were some good cheering sections and some familiar faces in the crowds from the running group.  I have two Honey Stinger Chews at about mile 4.25.

schmsplits - 2_6                                                  
Hooray! Running is fun!

                                                     schm1group     schm1magicmtn

Random Timing mat at 5.5 miles had me at 47:11 or an 8:35 pace. Perfect!! On target for a 1:53-ish.

Next came the beginning of slight discomfort, also the beginning of a slight incline which lasts for about 2 miles.  I start to slip back from a few friends, but another running buddy felt more comfortable at my pace.  I hadn’t given up though, and said I was still going to try to keep up.
schmsplits - 78

Had 1 more energy chew around mile 6.2 and another at mile 7.2

Enter side stitch. Something I have rarely had before, and never for more than a minute or two.  I decided I would grab some Gatorade at the next aid station, which was a little after mile 8.

Mile 9. This is where it’s supposed to get easy, as the course becomes a slight downhill from this point for the next 3 miles.  Hoping side stitch issue resolves itself.  Side stitch feels no better. I walk a little around 9.5.  I begin thinking about running the tangents of the course along the curvy bike path because I need something to think about other than my left side and my non-relaxed breathing.

schmsplits - 9_11

Mile 10.2 ish. I’m walking again, trying to breathe deeply and I get a pat on the back and a “come on, Amanda” from a running club friend leading the 4 hour marathon pace group. Bummed… I’m supposed to be ahead of them.  Happy for the encouragement, though; I feel like crap. He asks if I drank too much water; I say I don’t think so (only had a few ounces from my handheld plus a few sips of Gatorade).  I start running again with him, he tries to coach me how to relax my breathing. I focus on my diaphragm but still can’t relax my breathing.  Below my rib cage feels like a giant knot.  He asks me if I’m feeling better and I abruptly find myself stepping to the right and stop myself from yakking. I realize everyone and their brother behind me will see it. I am beyond the point of “I hope I don’t have to” and I am instead trying to find a spot where I can do this where it will be slightly less obvious.

Mile 10.6 Found a spot to the left where there was a cut out in some grass. Blech. I swish some water in my mouth and I begin running again.

Mile 11-12: Amazingly I’m running a sub-9 pace again! Maybe I can turn this around a little!

Mile 12-13:  I came up from an underpass to see some familiar faces cheering me on from the running store where I worked but despite the pleasant surprise, I felt like butt. They were yelling things like “looking strong” (They were lying).

schm2 mouthbreatherschm3schm3 painschm3a

I took a couple quick walk breaks only after I was out of sight trying to feel better.

I heard my 4-hour pace group friends just ahead, directing the 2-hour half people where to branch off, and I really want to catch up to see them again but I wasn’t quite fast enough.

The half marathon splits off and it’s a slight uphill that I was not prepared for. I walk a little more so I have some energy left for the final stretch. Once I could hear cheering from the finish area I picked up the pace until the finish line (last nubbin is .19 miles...clearly I did not run the tangents).

schmsplits - 12_13.19


Chip Time: 2:00:09

I know 2 hours would have been a glorious half marathon time back in June, and it wasn’t that awful of a time considering how the last five miles went, but: meh.  95% of my training runs felt better than this race; it just wasn’t my day for a PR.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Mountain Run Half Marathon Prep

This Sunday, I shall find out whether my recently adopted training method of long mountain trail runs has adequately prepared me for a faster flat half marathon.

Exhibit A:

On October 20th, I did a lovely 12 mile out-and-back run on the Pacific Crest Trail where 2540’ of elevation gain rewards you with views like these:


Exhibit B:

On the 27th I ran up a local mountain aptly nicknamed “The Beast” then continued on to a fire station at the top of a different peak before turning around, for a total of 15 miles with 2879 feet of elevation gain:


In contrast, Sunday will involve running the first half of this:


The day after my 12 mile mountain run, we did a 5 mile hike with a friend with a a mere 1100’ of elevation gain. Just to make sure I totally killed my legs.

The other runs:

Week of the 22nd

Wednesday AM: Crappy 5 miles of speed work on a hotel treadmill while out of town for work again.
Thursday PM: Running club’s Halloween run, 5.72 miles. I skipped on the costume but did wear orange and black. Pace started at a comfortable 9:47, but crept into the 8s and there was even a 7:36 mile. Avg pace: 8:39.
Saturday AM: 15 Mountain Miles (above).

Week of the 29th

Tuesday PM: Short speed work at the track. 6x[400m, 200Rest] in 1:41-1:47,  for a total of 3.65 miles.
Friday AM: It didn’t even happen yet, but I’m predicting the future… 3-4 miles at goal race pace.

And what’s goal race pace?

Well. I don’t know for sure. I haven’t run any real races in a few months but my unofficial-5k-at-the-end-of-a-5-mile-run in 23:54 and my 10 mi tempo run at a 8:30 pace from a few weeks ago point to an equivalent performance of a 1:51ish half marathon. 

That sounds kind of scary and my taper crazies lead me to strongly doubt that kind of speed.  So here’s a range, based on my beloved Run Less Run Faster book:

Equivalent 5k Performance HM time HM pace
23:50 1:50:33 8:26
24:00 1:51:13 8:29
24:10 1:52:05 8:33
24:20 1:52:44 8:36
24:30 1:53:37 8:40

Really, my last half marathon in June was a 1:57:13 (8:57 pace) so I will be happy to run anything faster than that.  8:30 or 8:40 make for easy math along the way (17 min/2 miles or 26 min/3 miles). But I could make another one of these pace cheat sheets like I did for Philly last November:

Thanks to Kristy for this brilliant idea. 

Last fall I used my lofty goal of 2:07, which Kristy and Kara said I was capable of (but I was skeptical); then I ran a 2:06:48.  So maybe this Sunday’s pace chart should be geared toward the faster end of my goal again.

Other items to consider:

Daylight Savings! And it’s the good one, where you get 1 extra hour of sleep tossing and turning and waking up at 1am and 2am and 2am (<—DST bonus) and 3am and 4am… in a panic worried that I overslept my alarm.

Warm. Today was comfortable with a high temperature around 70. But no worries, it will warm up again for this weekend.  And because of Daylight Savings, the start time at New-7am will be the Old-8am; so I’ll be running until Old-10am, which will probably easily get into the mid 70s.  At least there is no rain in the forecast; last year it poured.


Is there a “home field advantage” in running? I have run parts of the race course fairly regularly since moving here in February.  Previously my halfs have been new territory.  Either I’ll be able to tell myself “you’ve run this section before, you’ve got this!” or I may poke my eyes out on some of the more familiar sections.

One of said “more familiar” sections:

Now pretend you are standing on this path and I am running toward you. 
That will be me at mile 7 or 8. I can’t tell because that stretch kinda looks the same.

Here’s hoping for something in the low to mid 1:50s…

PS, Good luck to anyone running in NYC this weekend!

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