A New PR! Race Recap!

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Wow! What a race. I had a lot of firsts with this race even though I’ve done countless half marathons, this one was full of surprises with the pace I was able to hold and also with how my body reacted and felt. I finished in 1:43 a new PR that I’m so happy about! With the way I was racing before some stomach issues at mile 9, I think I could have had a 1:40 finish, which gives me a lot of hope and excitement for this year’s racing season.

The race had a later start (9am) due to the chilly weather lingering here in Vermont. I took a bus to the start and arrived about 20 minutes before the start time. That gave me just enough time to get myself sorted, say hi to some friends, and mentally prep for the task ahead without too much time to overthink things.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect or what I was capable of at this point as far as time since my training really hasn’t been steady over the winter months due to snow and ice, a knee injury, and I had only done a few runs at race pace. I decided that morning though that I was going to push it as hard as I could and see what happened.

I, of course, started out too fast like I always do and was doing 7 minute miles which I gradually increased to 7:15-7:30. Since the first few miles were in neighborhoods, there was a lot of crowd support and my race excitement fueled a faster pace. By mile 4 though I knew I needed to be careful with the energy I was expending in the first miles and slowed it down between 7:30-7:40.

My biggest struggles were with miles 4.5-6.5 and then 9-11. Generally mile 9 or 10 is my rough point in races, but this time it wasn’t because I was running on empty. It was because my stomach started hurting. It was bothering me starting around mile 7, but I could work through it. Right past the mile 9 marker I couldn’t push through it anymore – I thought I was going to be sick my stomach hurt so bad. So I had to stop on the side of the bike path and lost a couple of minutes of time. I was crushed because I was on pace to hit a 1:40 until that point. I practiced deep breathing and soon felt okay enough to push through. Mentally I refused to let it get me down. Sure, a 1:40 would have been awesome, but I wanted to get under 1:45 which was still a very real possibility. My next mile was slower, but then I picked up the pace again around mile 10.5-11. I knew that it was all or nothing at this point and decided to go for it.

Mile 12 had a couple of hills that are a struggle at the end of a race! Once I saw the mile 12 marker though I just pushed it as hard as I possibly could knowing that I can handle anything for one mile no matter how much it hurts. As soon as I turned the corner and saw the finish I bolted as fast as I could. When I saw the race clock was almost at 1:43, pure happiness and excitement filled me. I think I had the biggest goofiest smile on my face and just felt all this hard work I’ve been doing for over a year to break 1:45 had finally paid off. It’s a pretty incredible feeling. There’s nothing  like the feeling of accomplishing something you’ve been putting so much work in for. That’s probably one of the reasons I love running races – it let’s me push myself to extremes and gives me so much confidence.

I will say though that even though it was well worth it, every mile of this race hurt. I didn’t have one moment where I thought I had extra energy to spare and it makes the finish that much more worth it. I tried to distract myself with the “well…what doesn’t currently hurt” game, but all I could think of was my fingers so that quickly ended that game. Instead, my method to mentally get through was just accepting that it was uncomfortable and that’s okay!

Sunday left me feeling less than stellar as my body was just feeling a little worse for the wear between sore muscles and my stomach not feeling great. I’ve actually never had a race where I’ve encountered so many stomach issues the day of and after so I’m trying to pinpoint what’s going on with that so there’s not a repeat of that in the future.

I am so excited though and ready to dive back into training with sunshine and warmer temps predicted as spring makes an appearance here. The next half marathon is in a month! I have my eyes set on a certain time, but I’m going to keep that to myself for now and see how training goes for the next month!

And with all this being said, here’s my training plan for the week!

Weekly Fitness Plan

Sunday Funday

Oh my goodness, is there anything nature can’t cure? Sunday funday was absolutely the best.

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We spent half the day on a winter hike with the sun shining on us and spectacular views.

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Finn bounced around, wagging his cute little nub of a tail, and having a blast listening to all the sounds in nature.

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One thing I know I can count on when I’m sad or stressed is the fact that nature makes me feel like me again. It brings me back to a calm, centered, and mindful state. This Sunday wasn’t necessarily a “No Phone Sunday” which we’ve done in the past, but it was a Sunday Funday for sure – only thinking happy good thoughts and staying in the moment instead of focusing on work, school, and everything else.

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It’s the last few weeks before my first race of the year. As you may know my training has been all over the place with the winter weather and long work days, but I’m going into it to have fun and get back into my groove with racing. I’m officially signed up for 2 other races after this, but that will likely turn to 3..maybe 4 or 5… You know how it goes if you’re a runner! Here’s the training plan for this week!

Fitness Plan

Now that Spring is officially here and it’s lighter in the evenings, it feels a little easier to have running goals in mind. Sunshine is a magical thing, is it not?

 

 

A Spring Weekend

40 degree weather two days in a row this weekend? Oh my goodness, running was such a blast in the warm weather. After feeling frustrated with winter training that’s exactly what I needed to feel confident again with my training. Annnnnd then today it was back to the cold and ice. 🙂 Oh Vermont….

This week is looking promising weather wise and I’m feeling good about the training plan this week. My first race of the year is always a hit or miss. Sometimes I’m unstoppable and sometimes it’s a learning experience and a way to ease into racing season. I think once I get closer to the race, I’ll have a better idea of realistic time goals, but for now I’m just enjoying getting the miles in.

Here’s the training plan for this week!

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As for the rest of the weekend, I’d love to say I was productive. I cleaned the house quite a bit, ran errands, made some yummy food, and tried to catch up on mountains of school work. To be honest my long run left me exhausted and once I sat on the couch it was game over. Once I start getting to 12+ milers after taking a break from those distances, it takes awhile for my body to adjust and it takes me awhile to remember how to fuel and refuel properly. Finn loved the cuddle couch time though so all is good!

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I’m hoping to catch up today OR maybe just enjoy the sunshine and forget about being an adult for awhile. 🙂

Happy Monday. If you have it off go enjoy it! The sunshine is definitely calling my name.

Weekly Fitness Plan: January 29

You probably (or maybe you didn’t and that’s cool too) notice that I’ve started running my hill running group again. It’s such a difficult running group, but keeps me in shape and helps improve my speed. For some reason it never gets easier. Ever. I can’t quite figure out how that works. If someone figures this one out, please let me know!

In case you’re wondering how the hill running group works (and also the majority of the hill runs I do on my own) – we pick a very steep 1 mile hill. The first loop we run 1/3 of the way up, the second loop we run 2/3 of the way up, the third loop we run all the way up. After this, we run to another steep hill that’s about 1/4 mile and run a few repeats. I always total about 7.5ish miles for this run (I run to and from my car as well) and it always takes it out of me. This group has been incredible with helping me improve my speed though! My hope that is by incorporating this group every week and pushing myself to be comfortable with uncomfortable, I’ll be able to crush my half marathon PR this year.

Here’s the fitness plan for the week!

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Happy Monday!

 

Should You Run Through a Cold?

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Homemade orange, carrot, lemon juice to knock this cold out. 

Part of training for races or even just having a fitness plan is sticking with the plan, but also accepting and being open to changes in the plan. This week has already been a bit of a bust with running as my Sunday run just couldn’t happen. I came down with a nasty head cold on Saturday and any weekend running was just out of the picture. I rescheduled Sunday’s run for Tuesday, tonight’s run will likely be Friday or just taken out of the calendar completely, and hopefully then I will be back on track ASAP!

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I generally run through colds if I don’t have a fever or if it’s not in my chest. This weekend unfortunately, I was barely moving off the couch so I made an executive decision that running would harm my training rather than do any good. A hard lesson learned for me over the years is – it’s always good to figure out if the miles you’re going to run will be beneficial or if they’ll just be junk miles. Pushing yourself to run can be good especially if the lack of motivation is mental, from slight fatigue, or a slight cold. However, if you’re really sick and exhausted, running or pushing yourself through a tough workout could make you much worse.

This week marks the first week of training (ha! – off to a good start with the first two days out of commission)- I’ve just been maintaining/building mileage up until this point, however, now I will start increasing mileage and adding tougher workouts. It’s crazy that it’s time to train again – this winter flew by pretty quickly!

For reference, if you’re paying attention to my training plans – I’m running half marathons through May and then a half ultra in June. Likely July and August will be for recovering and then maybe a couple more races in the fall.