Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Pictures

2012 was a year filled with running and swimming (and, thankfully, not a single minute on the bike). More importantly, very few of these athletic adventures were solo. This year reminded me how great it is to have friends who share these interests and are always up for another crazy workout or race.



Lots of time in PT rehabbing a lazy glute.
You can understand why I felt no need to take a single picture.


Spectating National with Dash



Lots of swimming (and the discovery that I was anemic)

10 year college reunion
(with a trip to the pool to swim with my old teammates)


More swimming and a track mile


New half PR in Philly

5k PR in a marathon tune up race



Monday, December 24, 2012

Rehoboth Beach Seashore Marathon race report

The morning after the Richmond marathon, I woke up feeling sorry for myself. I knew that dropping out was the right decision and that there was probably nothing I could have done to prevented my bad day, but it still hurt. I had just spent fourteen weeks training and knew that I had been ready to run a huge PR.

I didn't know if I really wanted to try again, but by mid-morning I was on browsing December and January marathons. Turns out there aren't all that many. Or at least that many that don't require a flight. I ran the Rehoboth Beach Seashore Marathon two years ago (also after another bad marathon), so I knew it was probably the best option. But that time I had eight weeks to prepare and after Richmond there were only four. I wasn't feeling too strongly about it until I noticed that there were only three spots left. I talked it over with Lauren and realized that I would probably be disappointed if I waited because I wanted to think about it and the race sold out. So after a quick call to my coach, I registered, booked a hotel and committed myself to four more weeks of training.

I spent most of that first week "recovering" by driving across the country. When I got back, I jumped back into training and it wasn't easy. My motivation was all over the place, but I told myself to push through the next few weeks. Shortly after I registered, I learned that a teammate of mine, John, was also running. John is a marathon machine who tends to run one or two marathons a weekend (he's done all 50 states and is almost to marathon #100). I knew that he had paced other teammates at races during the fall, so I asked if he had any pacing plans for the race or if he was planning to attempt a PR. The answer to both of these questions was no and he said he would be happy to run with me. With this plan in place, it was just up to me to decide the goal time.

Taper brain left me feeling less than confident about my abilities at the beginning of race week, but on Wednesday I suddenly became strangely calm about the whole thing. I ended up telling John to pace me to a 3:45 (the original Richmond goal) and decided to wear my watch, but not look at it at all. I wanted to have the data afterwards, but wanted to let John set the pace. So I set my display screen to show distance and heart rate (and I wasn't wearing a monitor). While I know that I am capable of running a 3:45, this decision was mistake #1 of the day (more on this later).

I was more nervous about this race than I've been for a marathon in a while. I slept very poorly on Friday night and had trouble eating my normal pre-race breakfast. I think my biggest fear was a complete Richmond repeat. If it was another really bad day would I stop again? Or would I finish regardless? To me, one DNF was a fluke, but two was a pattern.

Fortunately the race day logistics were a breeze and didn't add any stress to my day. My hotel was just two blocks from the start and I had no problems meeting up with John. After a few minutes of chatting with our amazing spectators, we were off and running.

The first few miles went by quickly. I had been hoping for a lot colder day, but at least it appeared that it would remain overcast and there wasn't much wind, so I tried to be thankful for what we had. John and I chatted for a while and he would periodically check in with me and try to assess how I was feeling. I was relaxed early on and hoped that I had a good day ahead of me. Around mile five I ate for the first time. In Richmond, I had first known that things were going wrong when I started burping up my first gu. I've always had a somewhat difficult time getting gus down, and with that memory still fresh in my mind, I made the decision to stick with Honey Stinger chews during this race. I would eat on the same schedule, but three chews instead of a gu. Mistake #2. For some reason, I had it in my head that three chews was about the same number of calories as a gu. I would learn after the race that it is actually about half.

My stomach was not perfect on this day either, but certainly much better than it had been in Richmond. All of the nerves before the race meant my stomach was churning. I was burping a bit, but it wasn't awful and I could get the chews down. I got to see my spectators around mile 4 and it was nice to wave and give them the thumbs up as I went by.

Miles 1-6: 8:48, 8:40, 8:39, 8:39, 8:37, 8:32

Around mile 7 we headed onto a crushed gravel trail that we would stay on for the next few miles and we picked up the pace slightly, as per the plan. I remembered really enjoying this portion of the race when I ran it back in 2010, but recent rain made it a bit more challenging this time. There were a lot of giant puddles which required weaving around and a lot of concentration on foot placement. It was also somewhere in this section that I started to feel like it was going to be a tough day. In theory, we weren't yet running at marathon pace and I was definitely working hard. I said as much to John, but tried not to focus on it, and kept pushing along. He pointed out that I wasn't drinking enough and told me I needed to finish the bottle I was carrying before we saw our spectators again, which would be somewhere in the 11-12 range. So I ate my chews again and focused on drinking.

Miles 7-11: 8:38, 8:36, 17:20 (8:40 pace, missed the mile 9 sign), 8:32

I swapped out water bottles when we passed our cheering squad and got a big energy boost from seeing them. However, when Jess asked how I was feeling, the best response I could come up with was, "Eh." It was already harder than I would have liked and I knew it was only going to get worse.

I got a bit of a second wind in miles 12-13 and started to feel more positive about the fact that I could hold this pace and maybe even pick it up a bit. At halfway we passed the only clock on the course and it read 1:53 (turns out our actual split was 1:52:05). Since up until this point I had no idea how I was doing, seeing the clock was an encouraging sign. If I could just stay steady in the second half, my goal was certainly within reach.

However, as we wound our way through the state park and took on the only "hills" on the course, I really started to struggle. John was encouraging, telling me to just stay steady up the hills, and take advantage of the brief downhills. Still, I knew that I was in trouble and was slowing down. It wasn't particularly warm (50s), but it was incredibly humid so I started dumping cups of water on my head at every water stop. This seemed to help a bit. John told me to make sure I finished my water bottle before we got back to our friends (around 20) and encouraged me to eat more. I listened to the water advice, but stubbornly insisted that I was eating enough. Hey, I was on my regular schedule! I was also still burping and eat more frequently sounded extremely unappealing. He could tell how much I was dragging and perhaps if I had listened, things would have been better.

Miles 12-19: 8:36, 8:37, 8:47, 8:40, 8:52, 9:02, 9:10, 9:10

We came back over the bridge to our cheering spectators and I swapped out water bottles again. They were so encouraging, which was good to counteract the dread in the pit of my stomach. I was feeling pretty terrible and I still had 10k to go.

To be honest, I don't remember a whole lot about the next few miles, other than the fact that I was miserable. John was running slightly ahead, trying to get me back towards marathon goal pace. I didn't work (at least in terms of picking up the pace), but I just focused on his back and told myself to keep moving. He would ask me how I was doing or encourage me to eat and drink more and my only response was a death stare. Sorry about that John! You're the best, really! I was wondering why in the world I had ever thought marathons were fun. Why did I need to prove myself and finish one this fall?

Somewhere right before mile 24 John had pulled ahead again and I just couldn't will myself to keep moving. I slowed to a walk. I could see the mile 24 sign in the ground ahead and told myself I would run again when I got there. John turned around to see me walking and got really concerned. I managed to grunt out that I would run again at the mile marker and he walked with me to that point. I did start running again, though it was not at all quickly. There was a water stop around mile 25 and going into it I told John that I was going to get a Gatorade, walk to drink it and then I would run all the way to the finish.

When we started running again, John asked me if I wanted to know our overall time. I immediately said no. I knew that my 3:45 goal was far out of reach at this point and I was afraid that I wasn't going to break 4:00. I knew that if John told me I needed to run a fast last mile to get there, I would feel totally defeated. I think that even if he had told me I needed to run a 10:00 mile, I would have been worried that I couldn't do it. It was better not to know and just get myself to the finish line. He was encouraging me to pick up the pace for the last mile, but I really just didn't have it in me.

Miles 20-26: 9:08, 9:08, 9:36, 9:47, 10:33, 10:18, 9:30

Finally after passing the 26 mile sign, I managed to muster some sort of kick. I couldn't wait to stop running, but I was also dreading seeing the clock at the finish line, as I had convinced myself that it was going to show a time starting with a 4. So it was actually a pleasant surprise to turn the corner to run the last 200 feet and see 3:55. I was so ready to be done that upon crossing the first set of timing mats, I almost came to a complete stop. Fortunately, John yelled at me that I needed to cross the second set and I managed to keep moving.

Last .2: 1:46 (7:56 pace)
Final time: 3:55:45
(second half: 2:03:41)

I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that my initial reaction was disappointment (well, after the absolute bliss of standing still and NOT RUNNING ANYMORE). I know that I should have been thrilled to run my first sub 4:00 marathon, but I knew I was capable of so much faster than 3:55. I think that it wasn't the time I was disappointed in as much as the way that I ran the race. I had blown up in the second half and I should have run a smarter race than that. I also completely gave up in the last 10k and without John there with me, I don't know what would have happened.

Fortunately after a hot shower and lunch (and beer!) with friends, I was in a much better mood.

Given the extended season, and my motivation issues for those last four weeks, and the weather (so humid!), I ran the race that I had in me that day. 3:45 was always the goal and I gave it my best shot. I may have fallen short, but I still PR'ed (by six minutes!). And, most importantly, my marathon time no longer starts with a 4!

Now, two weeks later, I know that a six minute PR on a day that I made several big mistakes is a big achievement. The most debilitating mistake was my fueling. Normally I will eat five times during a marathon and one of those times will be chews. This time I only ate chews, essentially cutting my calories in half. No wonder I was dragging in the second half! I need to figure out a gel solution and maybe it is not Gu. Let the fueling experiments begin! I also think I would have been better off telling John the goal was 3:50. He was spot on with his first half pacing for a 3:45, but think that a few minutes slower to start would have made a big difference for me in the second half. However, that's one of those decisions that easy to second guess post-race and going into the race I didn't want to sell myself short.

I can say with confidence that I have come nowhere close to my marathon potential. I can't wait to give it another shot, though I'll be waiting until the fall to do so. Spring 2013 is going to be all about teaching myself to race and figuring out how to stay in that uncomfortable zone when my brain is screaming to ease up. Bring on the 5ks!

I would be remiss if I didn't end this recap without expressing my thanks to everyone who made race weekend as great as it was. Thank you to John for pacing me to a new PR and putting up with my horrible attitude (and death stares) for the last 90 minutes+ of the race. Thank you to Amy, Jess, Steph, Lauren and Lauren for being the most amazing spectators ever. Knowing I was going to see you (and then seeing you), made such a big difference. The end of the year always leads to reflection and I feel so thankful to have such great friends and to be a part of such a great team.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Spring 2013 plans?

On Monday I took a step towards determining my spring 2013 race plans, by throwing my name in the hat for a race lottery.

It's not as much of a commitment as it seems since no credit card was involved. If I'm selected in early January, I'll have 48 hours to handle over my money and register. I'm not quite sure if 2013 is the year to do this race, but I do know that I want to do at least once in my life. It's been in the back on of my mind since high school, when a girl from my club swim team did it. So, for now, I'm leaving the door to 2013 open.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Post "marathon" fun

In anticipation of enjoying the off-season to the fullest, I had a lot of things planned for after the Richmond marathon. Of course the race didn't go quite as planned, but I didn't let that stop me from enjoying myself!

I spent two fun days with Lauren, celebrating her birthday and doing lots of BIG THINGS.

BIG THINGS like chopping off all my hair.

probably should have stopped here because this is a great look

Then I headed on a three day road trip with friends, to help someone move to Colorado
 self timer focus fail

I spent the weekend in Boulder, and reaped the benefits of 48 hours at altitude. I figure I'm looking at least a minute per mile off all my times.

I made it back East just in time for a short work week and Thanksgiving, which is my favorite holiday. Lots of eating and no need to go shopping. What more could you want? It was good to spend time with family and friends that I don't see often enough.

Isn't this how you would want to spend the day after Thanksgiving?

Now it's back to life as "normal," but the past two weeks were just what I needed. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Richmond Marathon race report

Sometimes you have the day that you've been dreaming of, the one that's always in the back of your mind during every track workout and long run. The one where running at goal pace is hard, but manageable, and you execute the race plan just the way that you laid it out beforehand.  And other times you find yourself someplace you hoped you'd never be.

I did not finish the Richmond Marathon on Saturday. My legs just felt a little off from the start and I started burping up my first gel shortly after taking it at mile five. I was still right where I wanted to be at that point, holding a nice relaxed pace for the first 10k. So I tried not to be worried and hoped I would settle in soon.  There was a nice long downhill shortly after the 10k mark that made it pretty easy to pick up the pace. But when I reached the flatter and rolling sections after that, my pace started creeping up. I tried Honey Stinger chews at mile 10 when the thought of another gel made we want to gag and barely managed to get them down. I felt like I was working significantly harder, but was running slower than I had in the first 10k. It's one thing to feel that way in the 20s, but at 10 it was rather concerning. I spent the next few miles debating my options and trying to pull myself out of what I hoped was just a rough patch. But by the time I hit halfway, I was pretty sure that I was done. I decided to get to George and the CAR cheering squad at 17 before making any final decisions, but I more or less knew what I was going to do.  An excruciatingly long mile 16 on the Lee Bridge only further cemented my decision and dropped out just after mile 17 when I reached George.

Obviously I was extremely disappointed, but I know that continuing on for those last nine miles would have been even worse than stopping. I've done that before in a race I knew that was over at halfway (in Baltimore in 2010) and run/walking the second half, while watching my pace get slower and slower, was not an experience I wanted to repeat.  I didn't cry and while watching the rest of my teammates finish I never once wished that I was finishing too. Dropping out was the right decision on that day.

I could spend hours trying to figure out what happened or if there was anything I could have done to have prevented this, but in the end that's not worth my time or energy. It was simply a bad day with extremely unfortunate timing. We all have them during every training cycle and it just so happened that this one fell on race day. I know that it says nothing about how I trained this fall or my abilities. Nor does it make me a quitter. Sometimes things just don't break your way.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Richmond Marathon Training - Week 13

Monday October 29
Elliptical - 60 minutes
The rain from Hurricane Sandy had already started on Monday morning and the pools were closed, so I opted to take advantage of the fact that the gym was open to get in an hour of cross training. It was nothing special, but I was glad to be able to do something.

Tuesday October 30
Run 7.4 mi
1600 (7:00), 1200 (5:05), 800 (3:24), 400 (1:35)
An impromptu afternoon track workout. We were lucky that Hurricane Sandy didn't cause major damage in the DC area and by Tuesday afternoon it was still raining but the wind had died down. Since many of us ended up with the day off, a group got together mid-afternoon to do the interval workout for the week. The 1200 was a bit fast, but other than that I was happy with how I executed the workout.

Wednesday October 31
Run 8.0 mi - AM
I've really enjoyed running with the CAR morning group this training cycle and I headed out for one last run with them. It was also nice to cut it a bit short and turn around early.

Yoga - 75 min - PM

Thursday November 1
Run 5.15 mi
I fit in the run commute that I would have normally done on Monday. It had been so long since I'd taken the shorter five mile route to work that I almost forgot what it was!

Friday November 2
Run 6.2 mi
5k tempo - 22:36 (7:21/7:14/7:09)
This was exactly the tempo workout I needed to end this training cycle. It was dark and cold the entire time, but I just focused on putting in a hard effort and slowing picking up the pace.
Saturday November 3
Run 9.5 mi (avg pace - 8:50)
Last "long" run before the marathon!

Sunday November 4

Week 13 - 36.25 mi
Ah, the second week of taper. The time when my brain finally realizes that it isn't getting enough workout time and the crazies begin. All in all, I think I held it together pretty well. I'm hoping that my legs are busy recovering and will be fresh and ready to go on race day!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

October Recap

Miles: 234.7 (+ ~6 miles in the pool)

X-Training: 10 (1 pool runs, 1 swim, 2 elliptical sessions, 6 yoga classes)

Rest Days: 4

Race(s): There's No Place Like Home 5k - 22:02

Ice cream flavor of the month: Peanut Butter Caramel Brownie (for some reason this one has been forgotten in recent recaps. I'm bringing it back!)

New gear: A new pair of Brooks Ghosts for the marathon and a pair of neon orange Nike Pegasus for feeling fast.

Workout goals:
Run a lot - Done! October ended up beating out September as my highest mileage month ever.

Recover well - After feeling some tightness towards the end of September, I made sure that I did my PT stretches almost every day in October. I only skipped them when I went to yoga since I figured that gives me plenty of stretching time. I did a good job getting 64 (or more) oz of water a day and for the most part got enough sleep. Swimming suffered a bit, but it will be back post-marathon.

I feel confident that I did what I needed to do in October. I put in lots of miles, started taper and set a new 5k PR. I managed to keep up with my PT stretches, yoga, hydration and sleep, so hopefully I've done everything necessary to get myself to the start line on November 10 ready to race. I still find it hard to believe that the training is done and race week is here, but I'm working on getting my mind in the right place.

November Preview

Workout goals:
Marathon PR - I know that I've put in all the work I need to run a PR in Richmond. Now I just need to rest, believe and execute.

Yoga, swimming, and anything that isn't running - I plan to take some time to be completely lazy after the marathon, but after that I want to do whatever I feel like doing on a given day. I'm hoping to get to yoga more than once a week and get myself back into the pool on a more regular basis.

Races: Richmond Marathon - November 10

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

There's No Place Like Home 5k race report

Last year I raced an 8k two weeks before the Philadelphia Marathon and I thought it worked out very well. So I had it in my head that I would probably do a race last weekend from the beginning of the training cycle. Saturday happened to be my brother's wedding day, so it was also appealing to only have to fit in a 5k in the morning, rather than 14-15 miles. I found a two different options and as wedding weekend plans came together and I knew I'd be heading up to the Frederick MD area on Friday afternoon, I signed up for the There's No Place Like Home 5k in downtown Frederick.

This was the third annual race, so I checked out the results from 2010 and 2011 and knew that it was a relatively small race and I would most likely have a shot at being one of the top women, assuming the race wasn't crashed by a high school cross country team. The race wasn't chip timed, so I started right on the line.

When the race started a handful of guys took off ahead of me, as well as one woman (in green to the right of me in both pictures). I debated trying to match her early pace, but I could tell it would require picking up the pace more than I was ready to do at the beginning of the race. I hoped that I could keep her lead to a reasonable distance and reel her in later on.

When I warmed up I previewed miles 1 and 3 of the course, so I knew that the first mile was flat or downhill and so I tried not to worry about being too fast at the beginning. Within about a half mile I passed one or two guys who had clearly gotten sucked into starting out too fast. I could see the first place woman about a 100 meters ahead of me, but I wasn't making any progress. I left my watch on auto lap because I wasn't sure how well a small race would be marked and my Garmin actually beeped after I had passed the mile 1 sign. 6:52

The second mile was a loop that I'd cut out of my warm up and involved some rolling hills through a pleasant neighborhood. Definitely a lot more up than mile one and lots of speed bumps, which occasionally made for some awkward stepping. I could still see the first woman, but she was getting slightly farther ahead. The road was pretty windy and after I few minutes I realized I shouldn't be following the road as much as I was and should be at least trying to run the tangents. I avoided looking at my Garmin as much as possible and focused more on running at a hard effort. This time my Garmin beeped well ahead of the mile 2 sign. 7:07

By this point I was pretty sure that my goal of reeling in the first woman in the third mile was probably not happening. She was gaining ground on me and not showing any signs of faltering. So I just tried to pick up my pace and get back to sub 7:00. I knew that there was a longer hill in the middle of the mile, so I had it in my head that once I crested that I would really go for it. I'm not sure how successful I was, but I tried! I never saw a mile 3 marker, but once I heard that Garmin beep I tried to pick up my turnover even more. 6:58

I could see the clock for the last long straight away and watched the seconds in 21 minutes ticking away. I was trying my hardest and thought I might make it, but I saw 22 right before I crossed the line. 1:08 (.17 - 6:51 pace)

Final time: 22:02
2nd woman
6th overall

When I finished the race I felt like it had been relatively hilly. Not steep hills, but lots of rollers. I will note that when chatting with the winner afterwards, I kept my mouth shut when she mentioned how hilly it is running in Frederick and that it was nice to run on such a flat course. Garmin data backs her up and shows I totally distorted reality. Total elevation gain was 33 feet.

I talked with the winner and her friend for a while after the race and they tried to convince me to run another 5k that was being held a few blocks over at 2pm. When I mentioned the wedding at 3:00, they told me the faster I ran, the sooner I could get there! While this was tempting, I didn't see my brother or new sister-in-law being too thrilled with that idea. Perhaps if I had raced in my bridesmaid dress...

The other highlight of this race was breaking out my new neon orange Nikes. They just look speedy and I have never gotten so many compliments on a pair of running shoes. Big round of applause for Nike for making the Pegasus in so many fun colors. I wish other shoe companies would follow their lead.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Richmond Marathon Training - Weeks 11 & 12

Monday October 15
Run 9.0 mi
My regular run commute to start the week. Tacked on an extra mile at the end, just because it was peak week.

Tuesday October 16
Run 8.5 mi
1600 (7:06), 1200 (5:20), 2x800 (3:23/3:20), 400 (1:35)
A solid track workout. It's always nice to show up and know that you are "only" doing three miles of intervals.  I was right on target with the pace chart, so I'm happy.

Yoga - 75 min

Wednesday October 17
Run 10.0 mi - AM
Run 5.15 mi - PM
Perhaps the last double run day of this training cycle. This was the first time I've tried this and it will definitely be a regular feature in the future. It makes it easy to get in some extra miles and I find this so much more manageable mentally than trying to do 15 at once mid-week.

Thursday October 18

Friday October 19
Run 8.2 mi
5k tempo - 22:47 (7:26/7:18/7:11)
I showed up planning to do a longer tempo (perhaps even five miles for the first time ever), but was told to stick with 5k and so that I could really focus on the long run the next day. I ended up with my faster ever 5k tempo (by a second or two).

Saturday October 20
Run 20.75 mi (avg pace - 8:52)
Our normal long run start was inaccessible because of a charity bike ride, so we met at what is normally the 7 mile point of the 21 mile loop. We decided to run the loop in reverse, because that would allow us to still have a downhill finish. What I didn't realize when I suggested this was that running that way would result in a several mile climb in the middle.
I felt like I didn't have my normal energy for the last few miles and didn't pick up the pace like I normally do. I was disappointed by this, but am blaming the long climb and the fact that I was at the end of my last big week. I'm not going to worry that this has any significance for the marathon. My tapered legs will be ready!

Sunday October 21
Elliptical - 45 min
For some reason I have just not been motivated to hit the pool for the last few weeks. So after I got home from cheering for teammates and family members running the Army Ten Miler, I went to the gym for the first time in ages. The elliptical was just as fun and exciting as I remembered!

Week 11 - 61.6 miles

Monday October 22
Run 8.5 mi
Run commute to kick off the week. I ran into two teammates while I was out (one running, one cycling), which was a pleasant surprise.

Tuesday October 23
Run 10.25 mi
10x800 (3:34/3:24/3:22/3:21/3:21/3:21/3:20/3:19/3:17/3:19)
I was a bit nervous heading into this workout because I knew that I wouldn't have company for all ten repeats and because I had struggled at the end of the long run a few days before. We were told to aim for eight and only do ten if we were feeling really great. As soon as I started I knew it was going to be a good day. I felt so much better than when I had done this same workout two weeks before and was able to hold the pace I wanted with relative ease. So even though most people stopped at eight, I decided to get in those last two. I left the workout on a huge high and felt like I was finally ready to start tapering.

Yoga - 75 min

Wednesday October 24
Run 5.15 mi
I was planning to keep with my normal schedule and make this my last double day of the training cycle, but when my coach heard that I had a massage on Tuesday morning, he told me not to run in the morning. I was a bit worried about dropping my miles too much in this first taper week, but I quickly realized I should just listen to him and not stress about it. Losing 8-10 miles this week isn't going to ruin 14 weeks of training.

Thursday October 25
Run 8.5 w/1 mile pickup (7:36)
Most of this run was done at a very easy pace, but I mile five was a hard effort, to prep my legs for Saturday's race.

Friday October 26
Yoga - 60 min
I don't like running the day before a race, so I opted for a yoga class instead. My legs felt nice and loose when I left.

Saturday October 27
Run 7.5 mi
There's No Place Like Home 5k - 22:02
A full race report is coming, but the short story is that this was a great race. I PR'ed by a large amount and was the second woman, my highest ever race finish! Post race I rushed off to get cleaned up and spent the afternoon and evening celebrating at my brother's wedding.

Sunday October 28

Week 12 - 39.9 miles

I finished out my last peak week feeling strong and started off the first taper week with a great workout. I tapered a bit more than planned in week 12, but at this point it is better to err on the side of extra rest. I'm looking forward to two more easy weeks that will give my legs a chance to recover and get ready to race. I can hardly believe that twelve weeks of this training cycle are done.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Weather Wordless Wednesday

I discovered yesterday that the AccuWeather extended forecast is even more extended than I realized. Yes, that's right, AccuWeather is now predicting the weather for November 10. Even though it means absolutely nothing at this point, let the race weather obsessing begin!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Richmond Marathon Training - Week 10

Monday October 8
Run 8.5 mi
Since I work for a company that doesn't recognize the somewhat questionable holiday of Columbus Day, it was a typical Monday morning run commute. Until, that is, I got about a block away from my office and was prevented from crossing Pennsylvania Ave by fencing set up for Taste of DC. A half mile and one or two rude security guards later, I was finally across the street and done with my run.

Tuesday October 9
Run 10.25 mi
10x800 (3:34/3:34/3:27/3:26/3:24/3:24/3:24/3:21/3:24/3:22/3:21)
I definitely wasn't feeling quite as energetic as the last time that I did this workout and the times were slightly slower. Still, I was right in the range where I need to be and I was able to get faster as I went along, so I have no complaints. It's hard to believe that I'll only be doing this workout one more time before race day!

Yoga - 75 min
I checked out a new studio and really enjoyed the pace of the class. It was an all levels class and was just speed and difficulty that I really enjoy. I'll definitely be heading back.

Wednesday October 10
Run 9.75 mi - AM
Run 5.15 mi - PM
Another mid-week double run day. I'm really glad I decided to give this a try during this training cycle. The timing of it works out well with the rest of my week and it let's me give my legs two days off from running while still getting in (for me) a lot of miles.

Thursday October 11
Run 7.8 mi
2 mi tempo (7:08/7:04)
1 mi tempo (6:55)
I'm not really sure what got into me during this workout. Maybe it was running on the trail at night, with no good visual sense of pace (or a coach yelling splits every 400), but I went a lot faster than I've been doing at tempos recently.

Friday October 12
Pool run 60 min
For some reason I wasn't feeling much like swimming this week and I knew a teammate would be pool running, so I opted to join her instead. I knew that some kind of aquatic activity would help loosen up my legs before Saturday's marathon pace long run.

Saturday October 13
15.0 mi w/marathon pace pickups
4 mi (8:20/8:11/8:19/8:17)
3 mi (8:20/8:25/8:17)
There were supposed to be two more of those marathon pace sections to this run (2 miles and 1 mile), but I was hit with a massive calf cramp in my right leg shortly after starting mile two of the three mile set. I immediately took two Saltstick pills and chugged some water and hoped that I could somehow run through it. I could, but not quite as quickly as I was moving before! It went away with about a quarter mile left in the third mile, but I was advised by my coach to take it easy for the rest of the run. Fortunately there was not even the slightest twinge in the last five miles and I finished feeling pretty good. I've been doing a good job with hydration so I'm pretty sure that it has to be an electrolyte issue. I have a 16 oz cup that I use at work, so I'm going to start alternating water and Gu Brew or Nuun. I'll probably also start taking a Saltstick pill prior to starting, in addition to my normal one an hour on the run. I've always been on the opinion that you need a couple of bad runs every training cycle to get the potential problems to the surface or just get that general "bad but I can't figure out why" run out of the way before race day. I've never had this issue before, but now I will be doing everything necessary to prevent it from happening on race day!

Sunday October 14

Week 10 - 56.45 mi
Another solid week with lots of miles. I would have liked to complete the entire workout on Saturday, but it's really not a big deal. Three extra marathon pace miles are not going to hurt my marathon performance in any way and I learned a valuable lesson about not neglecting electrolytes.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Richmond Marathon training - Week 9

Monday October 1
Run 8.15 mi
Run commute to kick of the week.

Tuesday October 2
Run 8.5 mi
3x1200 (5:13/5:11/5:11)
3x400 (1:39/1:38/1:35)
This was a bit of a cutback week at the track, after week 8's five miles of intervals. I welcomed the break and really focused on hitting the exact times on the interval chart. Unfortunately I never hit it exactly on the nose, for either the 1200s (5:12) or 400s (1:37), but trying to do that made things a bit more fun. And I came pretty close. Clearly I have my new goal for the rest of this training cycle!

Yoga - 75 min (PM)

Wednesday October 3
Run 10 mi (AM)
Run 5.5 mi (PM)
Another solid double day, followed by an early bedtime. By the time I get to Wednesday night, I am very happy that Thursday is my rest day.

Thursday October 4

Friday October 5
Run 8.2 mi
4 mi tempo - 29:23 (7:38/7:28/7:17/7:00)
I wasn't sure how I would feel, but my legs were in pretty good shape. I got tasked with pacing duties by my regular pack and I think I did a pretty good job. Incremental, but steady improvement for each mile.

Saturday October 6
Run 20.9 mi (avg pace - 8:46)
This run did not feel nearly as good as the 20 two weeks before, but the time was more or less the same, so I can't complain. It was really the last five miles or so, when I was trying to run at marathon pace, where I felt the biggest difference. My legs were tired and I couldn't quite stay with my teammates when they picked up the pace. If I think about all of the miles I've been running recently this makes total sense, so it's not something that concerns me.

Sunday October 7
Swim 2800 yds
A pretty lazy swim, but I knew I needed to do some type of recovery activity. My body was definitely feeling the effects of a big week.

Week 9 - 61.25 mi
My first 60+ mile week! These miles are definitely making me tired (and ever so appreciative of rest days and cross training days), but that is to be expected. No strange aches or pains so I'm going to try keep up the miles for the next two weeks and the final push until the last 20 miler. This is the part of the training cycle when I start to long for taper. Of course, when it gets here I will hate it, but right now it sounds like the best thing ever.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

September Recap

Miles: 220.45 (+ ~13 miles in the pool)

X-Training: 9 (2 pool runs, 3 swims, 4 yoga classes)

Rest Days: 4

Race(s): Philadelphia Rock n' Roll Half Marathon - 1:45:49

Workout goals:
Keep going to yoga - I kept going to yoga once a week. The first week I went to a new studio in my neighborhood and then signed up for a four week workshop at another new to me studio that focused on hips and low back. It has been a great learning experience and has reinforced how important it is for me to keep stretching and strengthening my hips and core.

Focus on progression in long runs - I did alright with this during my 18 miler earlier in the month, but totally died in the last two miles. With the half marathon and long run with marathon pace segments, the only other progression long run was my first 20 miler. I must say that I totally nailed the progression on that one, perhaps even going a bit too fast at the end (added by a long downhill). I'm hoping that I can do the same thing for my next two 20s.

Smart recovery - I finished September feeling good, but this could still use improvement. I'm just not as regular about the foam rolling and stretching as I should be.
September was a great running month and I can only hope that October goes just as well. I not only completed my first ever 200 mile month, but I blew past that total. I also had my highest mileage week ever (56) and my first ever back to back 50 mile weeks. I can feel my solid summer of running paying off now. That base I laid down in July and August is definitely making these high mileage weeks much more manageable. Yes, I'm tired, but I've been surprised at how decent I've felt. (Hopefully I haven't just jinxed myself by saying that with 2.5 big weeks left to go)  Throw a big half marathon PR into the September mix and I really couldn't ask for much more. I made it to yoga every Tuesday and almost fit in a swim every week. And if not swimming quite enough was the only negative to training this month, I'll take it. I know swimming is a good break for my legs, but missed pool time is not going to kill this training cycle.

October Preview

Workout goals:
Run a lot - After I get through this weekend, there are only two big weeks left. I'm not planning anything crazy like doubling my weekly mileage, but I do want to keep trying to get in as many easy miles outside of workouts as I can.
Recover well - Include in here all the stuff that I should be doing to get through all of that running and come out healthy in November. Foam rolling, stretching, swimming and yoga, eating healthy foods, hydrating and getting enough sleep.
Races: None (I might try to do a short race at the end of the month, but I haven't decided yet. My main focus is these last big training weeks before taper.)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Richmond Marathon Training - Week 8

Monday September 24
Run 8.15 mi
A relaxed, easy run commute to start the week. This is consistently my slowest run of the week and that is totally intentional. I don't look at my watch and just let my legs loosen up and work out all the tightness built up after the tempo and long run combo at the end of the previous week.

Tuesday September
Run 10.25 mi - AM
10x800 (3:36/3:30/3:26/3:26/3:24/3:19/3:20/3:20/3:19/3:18)
I was definitely intimidated heading into this workout and couldn't be happier about how it turned out. My goal was to at least get to eight repeats, with the hope that I would feel fine and could get through all ten. I knew that the mileage was much more important that speed, so I really focused on staying controlled and cruising along. I finished feeling like I had worked hard, but like I could have managed a few more repeats at the same pace. I'm really proud of how I executed this workout.

Yoga - 75 mins - PM

Wednesday September 26
Run 8.95 mi - AM
Run 5.15 mi - PM
My biggest double day to date. I met up with the CAR morning run group and then went to the fun run at night. It helps so much to have people to run with on what ends up being a pretty long day.

Thursday September 27
Run 7.8 mi
2 mi tempo (7:22/7:18) and 1 mi tempo (7:25)
I much prefer the morning workouts, but was told not to do a Friday tempo and Saturday long run with marathon pace intervals. So instead I headed to my first night workout in a long time. We couldn't use the track, so these were done out on the trail. The goal was 10k race pace, a bit slower than a normal tempo. I was aiming for something around 7:30, so these were a bit quick. The two miler was aided by a long, subtle downhill, while the mile was run coming back up that slight hill.

Friday September 28
Swim 3000 yards
I was tempted to stay in bed and move this workout to Sunday, but I'm glad I got myself to the pool. I felt pretty tired and achey when I first got up and a long relaxed swim really helped loosen things up and made me feel so much better.

Saturday September 29
Run 16.2 mi with marathon pace pickups
4 mi (8:18/8:03/8:07/8:13)
3 mi (8:16/8:16/8:11)
2 mi (8:18/8:18)
1 mi (8:06)
In comparison to Tuesday's workout, this run was not that well executed, at least at the start. The goal was to run 8:15-8:20 pace on marathon pace sections. I went too fast on the four mile section. And even though I knew it was too fast, I got sucked into the "this pace feels totally comfortable so I should keep going" mentality. And while it wasn't all that much faster than planned, I really think that it made the other three repeats harder than they would have been. The main reason it concerns me is that I have ruined many a race (including one marathon) by starting out faster than planned because it seemed fine at the time. This is not something I can afford to do in Richmond. If I feel better than planned at mile 15 or 16, sure I'll pick up the pace. But in the early miles I have to force myself to stick to the planned pace.

Sunday September 30

Week 8 - 56.5 mi
This was week two of my five really big weeks of training and I think it went really well. I hit my highest weekly mileage ever, while still feeling strong during key workouts. Now I just have to focus on keeping this up for the next three weeks. I know it is becoming even more important to make sure I am sleeping well, eating right, and staying hydrated.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Richmond Marathon Training - Week 7

Monday September 17
Pool run - 70 min (~7 mi)
I knew my legs needed a day off after the race so I headed to the pool instead of doing my normal Monday morning recovery run. There was a nice group there so the time flew by.

Tuesday September 18
Run 7.15 mi - AM
Yoga - 75 min - PM
I was banned from the track (and most definitely in no shape to be there), so I started Tuesday with a nice easy run commute. Then after work I went to a hips/low back yoga class.

Wednesday September 19
Run 9.75 mi
I couldn't make it to the evening fun run because I had a much needed sports massage scheduled, so I finally met up with the CAR morning group. I've been wanting to join them for a while, but I wanted to get in a number of doubles in before upping my morning mileage. Since I wouldn't be doubling this week, it seemed like the perfect time to jump in with them. I ran to and from the meeting point and then did eight with the group to end up with almost ten for the day.

Thursday September 20

Friday September 21
Run 8.0 mi w/4 mi tempo - 29:32 (7:38/15/22/18)
I had no idea how this workout would go since it was only a few days post-race and I also hadn't been to a tempo workout in over a month due to various scheduling issues. I was definitely still warming up during the first mile, but then I felt absolutely AMAZING during the first 1200 of mile two. You know that feeling when you feel like you're flying and it takes no effort? It was that times a million. This meant that mile two was definitely too fast. And then when that feeling didn't last, miles three and four were a lot of work. But even though it seemed like a whole lot more work, I didn't slow down all that much. So I'm proud of that and of the overall time, which is my fastest four mile tempo so far.

Saturday September 22
Run 21 mi (avg pace - 8:50)
I'm very encouraged by how this run went. The last third was hard, but twenty miles never feels easy. And I finally did a good job of progressive thirds, even holding slightly faster than I hoped at the end. Sure it was aided by a downhill, but mile 20 was my fastest of the day. I'd call that proper execution.

Sunday September 23
Run 6.5 mi
Normally I don't run on Sundays, but since I'd swapped in a pool run on Monday, I opted for some easy miles. It was a beautiful morning to be out running and was made even more enjoyable by the company. Chatty recovery miles almost always beat solo ones.

Week 7 - 52.4 mi
I can hardly believe that I've made it halfway and I'm sure that I'll be wishing for more time towards the end! This week brought the first twenty and, to me, that always marks the beginning of true marathon training. My mileage is right where I want it to be and I'm looking to keep increasing it over the next few weeks. This is new territory for me (previous high was 51), but I feel like I'm responding well.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Philadelphia Rock n' Roll Half Marathon race report

I was excited to head up to Philly to race, but it was the most relaxed I'd been about a race in a very long time. In some ways it snuck up on me and I found myself juggling my schedule around at the beginning of the week to get in what I felt like was "enough" miles for marathon training, but to also give myself a little bit of break in the second half of the week. I chatted with my teammates Crystal and Julie on Tuesday at the track and confirmed that they had similar goals in mind. We decided to start off together and hopefully end the day together with three new PRs. I haven't run many races with other people, but have really seen how it has benefited me in workouts and long runs. I was excited to have a pack to work with during this race.

I carpooled up to Philly with some teammates on Saturday. We had reserved a block of hotel rooms, so after checking in and meeting up with everyone else we headed out to lunch. Then it was over to the expo to pick up numbers, shirts and free samples before heading back to the hotel to rest for a bit. Then there was a big CAR team dinner (we filled the entire 50 seat restaurant), before an early bedtime. It was a really fun day and reminded me how lucky I am to have found this team and met so many great people.

With the 8:00 race start and a hotel that was only a mile away, we didn't even have to get up all that early.  A group of us met in the lobby at 7:00 for the jog over to the start. I had brought a throwaway shirt in anticipation of temperatures in the high 50s, but realized it was unnecessary as soon as I stepped outside. I think it was slightly warmer than predicted and also seemed a bit humid. Still a great running day for mid-September, but I wouldn't have complained if it was cooler.

We got to the start area with what seemed like plenty of time to hit the porta potties and hang out in the corrals, but after 25+ minutes in line, I decided I didn't have to go enough to risk missing the start. The corral was jammed by the time we got there but Crystal, Julie and I managed to squeeze our way in at the back before the race started.

I knew that I wanted to keep it nice and easy on the loop through downtown that made up the first 4.5 miles. I had been warned that there were a lot of turns, so it seemed like a good opportunity to practice restraint and just settle in. There would be plenty of time to push the pace later on. I was feeling strong as we came back past the start area and saw several different teammates in the crowd. Miles 1-5: 8:23, 8:11, 8:04, 8:07, 8:13

Once we got past the crowds around the art museum and headed out onto Kelly Drive, it was time to start picking it up. I remembered how this had been one of my favorite stretches of the marathon last November. I had made it halfway right on pace and was cruising along. I hoped to recreate that feeling, but it wasn't quite there. 8:00 pace felt a lot harder than I thought it should and I had some random aches and pains that would pop up and nag me for a mile or two. I tried to stay relaxed and remind myself that I didn't need to push the pace just yet. It was somewhere in this stretch that Julie and I got separated from Crystal. Miles 6-8: 7:55, 8:07, 8:00

As we approached the bridge that marked the turnaround point, my stomach started to feel kind of sloshy. I opted to skip the 8.5 mile water stop and hoped that it would be enough to get things settled down and absorbed. In my head, the bridge had been the point where I would drop the pace to sub-8:00 and really hammer it for the last four miles back to the art museum and the finish line. Unfortunately, I was finding it hard just to keep going at my current pace. A significant portion of my brain was telling me that it really would be fine to back off the pace a bit, that I wouldn't regret it later. Fortunately, the competitor in me would not let that happen. It also really helped to be running with Julie at this point. I just kept telling myself to stay with her and focusing on that, instead of on pace or my legs, really got me through a rough patch. A double caffeine Clif Shot just before mile 10, also helped when it finally kicked in somewhere around mile 11. At this point I was doing whatever it took to stay motivated, reminding myself that it was less than a tempo at the track left, counting down the remaining minutes, etc. Miles 9-12: 8:05, 8:03, 8:01, 8:04

As, I passed the mile 12 sign, I knew it was time to go for it, regardless of how little I thought I had left. I tried to pick up my turn over rate and focused on passing people ahead of me. At some point I got slightly ahead of Julie and hoped that she was right behind me. I really didn't think I could go any faster, but when I heard George yelling at me right at the 13 mile mark I somehow found another gear. More teammates were cheering on the sidelines in the last .1 and that really helped me kick it in to the finish. Mile 13, .1: 7:50, 47.6 (7:01 pace)

Final time: 1:45:49

During the race I had my Garmin displaying current mile pace and time only, so I wasn't really sure what my final time would be. My pre-race pacing strategy had assumed several more sub-8:00 miles in the final stretch to get to 1:45:00, so I figured I probably hadn't made it. Needless to say, I was thrilled to switch the display on my watch and see a 1:45:xx!

I'm obviously extremely happy to achieve my goal and I think the fact that it was more of a struggle than I expected is a not a negative. I had hoped that I would feel a lot more comfortable running at 8:00 pace than I did. But I actually take that as a good sign for the state of my running. I didn't do a full taper for this race, nor has it been my main focus. It's a huge positive step on the way to the main race of the fall, Richmond. And I know that on a day when everything comes together, I will go a lot faster.

All in all it was a fun weekend and I hope to do it again next year.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Richmond Marathon Training - Week 6

Monday September 10
Run 8.25 mi
Easy run to start the week.

Tuesday September 11
Run 9.25 mi
5x1200 (5:20/5:14/5:04/5:05/4:55)
I had a good day at the track and it was a good confidence boosting workout before Sunday's half.  The workout was 4-6 1200s and I opted to go with five to get myself over the three mile speed work plateau where I've been hanging out for a while. I know one of the keys to marathon training is more reps

Yoga - 75 min
Jess and I signed up for a a four week workshop focusing on hips and back and this was the first class. My hips are always a super tight mess, so I'm looking forward to really spending some time on stretching them out and figuring out how to stay loose.

Wednesday September 12
Run 4.7 mi
Run 5.15 mi
Morning run commute and CAR fun run in the evening. I'm trying to slowly build up the length on the morning run, but opted to hold steady this week since I was racing on Sunday.

Thursday September 13
Swim 3000 yds
Halloween suit swim with Beth!

Friday September 14
Run 6.0 mi w/1 mile pickup (7:56)
The one mile pickup was supposed to be done at 10k pace and I couldn't quite get there. The 7:56 felt a lot harder than I hoped it would. Fortunately I knew that I often feel sluggish in this kind of "last bit of speed before a race" workout, so I wasn't really concerned that it meant Sunday was going to be a difficult day.

Saturday September 15
A busy day that included driving up to Philadelphia, visiting the race expo and carbo loading. I had lots of fun hanging out with my CAR teammates.

Sunday September 16
Philadelphia Rock n' Roll Half Marathon - 1:45:49
Mid-race I wasn't sure if I was going to get there, but I'm very happy that I just managed to make my 1:45 goal! I'm even happier about the way I did it:
Full race report to come.

Week 6 - 46.45 mi
Another solid week that ended in the best way possible, with a new PR! The first few weeks of this cycle have gone about as well as could be expected and the next few weeks are what I always consider to be true marathon training. The first of three twenty milers is next weekend. It's time to focus on quality training and high quantity miles.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Four

1. This suit has been hanging out in a drawer for a while, but finally made it's somewhat seasonally appropriate debut yesterday.

I met up with Beth who showed up in this suit, so it was a bit of a themed swim.

2. As a part of a relatively new healthy living initiative, my office has health challenges throughout the year. Participation in various events helps you to get discounts on insurance premiums. In the spring I wore a pedometer for eight weeks and this week kicked off an eight week hydration challenge. The only goal? Drink at least eight 8 oz glasses of water a day. We're on teams and while I don't think there will be an actual winner, we do get bonus points if the team as a whole averages 64 oz a day. Obviously I can't turn down a competition, so I signed up as soon as it was announced. Only later was I suspicious about how well it lines up with the restof my marathon training cycle. And check out the color of the cups they passed out.

A nice CAR red

Could someone have an in with our HR department?

3. I have the giant Garmin 305 and I always wear it over a sweatband because otherwise it slides around and chafes my wrist. The ones I bought a few years ago have finally stretched out to the point of uselessness, so it was time for some new ones. Now that I almost always race in a CAR top, I decided it was time to match.

4. On Sunday I'll be running in what may end up being my only tune up race before the Richmond Marathon. I'm headed out of town for the Philadelphia Rock n' Roll half marathon. Although I've never run this race before, it covers a lot of the Philadelphia marathon course, so I have a good idea what to expect. It's a flat, fast course and the weather is expected to as close to perfect as you could ask for in mid-September (lows in the high 50s, highs in the mid 70s). While I haven't done any sort of taper for this race, I have taken it pretty easy since I finished the track workout on Tuesday. I'm feeling excited about racing and looking forward to seeing what I can do in a half when I'm not severely anemic. So I'll be gunning for that 1:45 that I was hoping for last spring, before health issues got in the way. I think it's a realistic goal and I'm going to do my best to execute the way that I know I can and run a smart, strong race. Obviously not every race day goes quite as planned, so my B goal is to PR and break 1:50.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Richmond Marathon Training - Week 5

Monday September 3
Run 8.25 mi
Since it was Labor Day, I allowed myself to sleep in a bit and got a later than average start at 8:30. I was definitely feeling the heat and humidity towards the end of the run.

Tuesday September 4
Run 8.7 mi - AM
Yoga 75 min - PM
This week's workout was descending sets of 1200/800/400. Since it was my first workout back after Hood to Coast, I was told to do three sets only if I "felt 100%." I would argue that it is extremely rare to feel 100%, ever, but I did feel a bit off so I stuck with two times through. It definitely took me a long time to warm up and that is reflected in the first set times. (5:28/3:26/1:41)  Not all that bad, but I felt sluggish when I was running. Finally my legs woke up on the second 1200 and it felt easier to run significantly faster (5:06/3:17/1:32). I've noticed this "slow to warm up" phenomenon before and I think that as my weekly mileage increases it becomes more of an issue. I may need to start thinking about playing around with how I warm up.

At night I tried out a new yoga studio near my apartment and really enjoyed the class. I left feeling relaxed and a lot looser than when I went it. My new goal is to make Tuesday night yoga a regular event.

Wednesday September 5
Run 5.0 mi - AM
Run 5.15 mi - PM

Easy morning run commute, followed by the CAR fun run after work. Strange small world moment at the fun run when a new person showed up and we discovered by the end that we had been in the same yoga class the night before. I think he was even right in front of me.

Thursday September 6
Pool run - 60 min (~6 mi)
I wasn't feeling like swimming, but I knew my legs could use some pool time, so I decided to pool run instead.

Friday September 7
Run 18.0 mi (avg pace - 8:55)
I was headed to the beach to celebrate WALD (weekend after Labor Day) with my college friends and I knew that realistically there was no way I was going to run 18 miles while I was there. So I ran on Friday morning before I left instead. Strangely I could find no one who wanted to join me, so I charged up my iPod and headed out alone. I purposely hit some hills in the first few miles and then finished with a long flat stretch. I felt really great for about 16 miles and then the last two were a struggle. I was severely tempted to stop at 17, but after stopping at 15 in the week before (instead of 16), I forced myself to tack on another out and back to make it to 18. My average pace ended up being a bit slower than recent weeks, but I'll take it given the hills at the beginning and that I was running alone.

Saturday September 8
Run 5.0 mi
The first half was a nice relaxing recovery run along the boardwalks of Seaside Park and Seaside Heights, NJ. The second half was a fight against a ridiculous headwind. Funny how you don't seem to notice those when they are at your back.

Sunday September 9

Week 5 - 50.1 mi
It felt great to get the mileage back up after Hood to Coast racing and recovery. Although sometimes it's a bit of a struggle to get going, I know I benefit so much from higher mileage. I'm very excited to get to 50 miles, which I only did once during marathon training last fall. There should be several more weeks in the 50s before it's time to taper.