Shamrock Half Marathon (1:29.52)

Shamrock Half Marathon (1:29.52)

This was my 8th year running Shamrock. Many long term readers know but I grew up in the greater VA Beach area. 1:29.52 is neither my fastest nor my slowest Shamrock. It’s on the slower side, but that’s okay.

Last year I had an incredible experience that would be hard to beat and ran a 1:23. This year the goal was just to finish healthy. My training over the winter was nothing to write home about, and I’ve come to terms that this Spring might be a rebuilding season for me (something I personally seem to need after every marathon?).

Anyway, I arrived at the start around 6 am. The weather was ideal. It was low 40s, some wind but not much. Most importantly, it wasn’t raining. Two years ago,it poured rain and was low 30s.

Before the race, I met up with my good friend Jen. We haven’t seen each other since we both lived in NYS. We’ve both since moved, but it was nice to catch up. She ultimately ran a 1:18 and placed 3rd.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

After that, I tooled around and got to the start about 5 minutes early. I talked with rabbit teammate, Nick, and by the time I knew it, we were off.

Since the half and full start together now, it was crowded. Right off the bat, I felt decent. Plus unlike the day prior, I remembered to start my watch. I plugged along and cruised the first mile in 6:44. I felt good and realized a sub 90 minute half was doable if I continued to feel okay through the race — a great goal to make a mile 1.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

At mile 2, I saw my dad’s friend and waved. I started getting into a rhythm.  The next three miles were relatively boring. I logged 6:44, 6:44, 6:40 (mile 4 on the gradual uphill was my fastest), 6:44. At mile 5, I was feeling good. I thought wow, this is much faster than I anticipated (I didn’t have a goal prerace, but didn’t anticipate being that fast either).

Then we entered Fort Story, and it all changed. Fort Story is a lonely part of the race. Unless you have a military ID, spectators can’t get on the base. It’s right along the water so extremely windy. In fact, one year there was a layer of sand across the entire course.

Miles 7-9 broke me both mentally and physically. I didn’t feel good, and I was running alone. There was some wind but nothing terrible. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel good because I had raced the day before, I just mentally felt disconnected and my legs felt stale. I told myself, make it to mile 10, and you’ll be heading directly home. I ran a 6:55, 6:59, 6:50, and kept it barely under 7 minutes.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

I knew the 90-minute pace group was probably catching me soon.  Around mile 10, a man started talking to me about “my form”.  I wasn’t feeling the greatest and not in the mood to chat. We kept plugging along.

Mile 11 went down with nothing major. I ran a 6:55 and we had some wind at our backs. At mile 12, the 90-minute/3 hour marathon pace group engulfed me. I thought, wow I really did slow down. I also felt my shoe beginning to come untied, and it just felt like the wheels had come off.

The group engulfed and went around me and it stung. I hit mile 12 just over 1:22 and I knew I was still at 1:30 pace. Now I was just much closer than the start of the race. It made me feel a little better the group was ahead of their goal pace.

The last mile goes to directly into the wind. When you’re close to a time goal, running into the wind the last mile is the last thing you want to do.  You can see the tent and King Neptune and it just never feels like it’s getting closer.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

Then at mile 13, I saw it click 1:29:10.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

I tried to sprint as hard as I could to the finish. I didn’t have much gas left but it was enough to get right under 1:30.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

Thoughts:

I’m pleased with the race but know I have a long way to go fitness wise. In all, another good Shamrock. It’s one of my favorite races of the year and I always enjoy seeing local friends as well as others that come from far.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach

Chilling on the beach with Nick

Questions for you:

Have you run a race for several years in a row?

What is your favorite race? 

 

Adrenaline 5k (19:26)

On Saturday I ran the Adrenaline Run 5k. The Adrenaline Run is one of the most competitive 5ks in the greater Philadelphia/New Jersey area. It sells out every year and the typically the first 150 finishers all run under 20 minutes. This year I ran 19:26 and was around 130th place.

I’m biased by RunningCo. Always does a great job putting the race together and it’s always a lot of fun. Anyway, after an exhausting and busy week, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew I wouldn’t be running 18:29 like last year, but I was hoping to be faster than the last 5k I ran.

I warmed up a few miles and got to the start line around 10 minutes early. Since I knew quite a few people there, (I would think about 1/3rd), I talked and caught up with several people. Before I knew it, we were off.

The start is jam-packed. Since I knew I would be nowhere near the front, I didn’t line up in the front. As we began running, I realized around .5 I had forgotten to start my watch. In a 5k, I thought it seemed silly to start it then, so I just didn’t. I’ve run races with GPS before, and while it’s nice to know your splits, your legs still move without a watch. I could have run 22 minutes or 18 minutes, and I would have had no clue.

The first mile was crowded. It was hard to get any rhythm. We ran straight into a headwind. It was one of the windier days and so we were just running into a headwind down Kings Highway. I saw my co-workers and friends in front of the store which is always motivating.

We rounded the corner near Saxbys and went straight into the neighborhoods. It’s a long flat, windy stretch. If it wasn’t windy, it’s easy to build speed there.

Just after mile 1, we turned the corner, went down a small downhill and hit the water stop. It was nice not to be in the wind anymore. We went up a few inclines. My husband, who hasn’t been running much, passed me around mile 2. I was happy for him and just focused on the last mile.

The last mile went straight back Kings Highway and headed towards the finish. It’s flat and fast, and this year with the tailwind it was even faster. (A perk of the headwind going out). If I were to guess, my bet is my last mile was somewhere around 6:0X because of the tailwind. With the long stretch, you can see the finish line for over a half mile away.

me running adrenaline run

I saw the clock go over 19 and I knew somewhere where I was speed wise. I had no clue until that point. I powered as much as I could and crossed in 19:26. I’m happy with my effort for where I am, fitness wise. It’s always tough not to compare yourself to a faster year, but it’s my fastest 5k in several months so I can’t complain about that.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you:

What is your favorite 5k?

Have you ever raced without a watch? I’ve done many. At my first marathon, NYCM, my watch stopped working at the start (and it never worked again).

9 Years ago I Began Running

9 Years ago I Began Running

For last the 9 years, the time around St. Patrick’s day has held a more sentimental reason to me than drinking beer, wearing green and pots of gold.

Although if you would like to send me a pot of gold that is fine too!  Nine years ago I ran a 5k in college that would change the path and direction of my life. I started this blog the summer after which means the blog is coming up on 9 years too. Wow, where did my 20s go?

You can read my entire running story here or in the tab above.

When I was a college sophomore, I saw a sign at the gym stating if you completed the annual campus 5k you would get a free long sleeve t-shirt.  As a college student, you can never have enough things to stuff in your dorm room.  My roommate appreciated my hoarding I guess.

I had plenty of short sleeve shirts but long sleeve shirts were something I was always looking for.  All I had to do was sign up for a 5k and complete it?

Okay sign me up.  Sign me up and I didn’t run an ounce beforehand.

My running history previous to March of 2010 was lackluster. I swam competitively through high school and most of college. I failed the mile countless times in both middle and high school…or passed by a couple of seconds (passing was 12:30 and my mile PR was 12:12). Since 10th-grade gym class I had avoided running like the plague.

I ran twice in the first two years of college. Both times were to “impress” upperclassman on the swim team. It wasn’t impressive and I made a fool out of myself.

During the offseason from swimming, I went to the gym and used the elliptical or lifted weights.  It was nice to keep cardio and strength when I wasn’t swimming.  I didn’t run during the offseason at all. The elliptical and I were friends. Long story short I had no idea what I was getting myself into running the 5k, but the phrase “if it’s free, it’s for me” comes to mind with this race.

The race itself is pretty much a blur.  I don’t remember much other than I didn’t really hate it.

I finished the 5k is around 24 minutes.  I don’t remember the exact time but I remember not dying, texting my shocked dad that I had run a 5k and picked up my free long sleeve shirt.

Of course, I didn’t tell my parents I was running this 5k…I didn’t want them to ask if I didn’t finish… My dad has been running far longer than I have. In fact, he had a big marathon the next week (The Shamrock Marathon). I didn’t want the embarrassment that his daughter couldn’t finish a 5k.

I wore that t-shirt all around the following day.  I was going to wear my badge of honor.

After the race, it wasn’t as if I magically became engrossed in running.  I wasn’t “hooked”. I did realize it wasn’t all that bad and I ran occasionally when it was nice out.  I ran 10-20 miles a week depending on the weather. When it was sunny I would run the same 5k loop around campus.  When it wasn’t nice out, I wouldn’t run.  I would just go to the gym.

I mark St. Patrick’s Day as the official day I got my running start because after that point I considered myself someone who didn’t hate running anymore.  When you fail the mile test multiple times in grade school, it’s hard to like it.

I began to consider myself a runner:

I didn’t run every day.

I didn’t run fast.

I didn’t log my mileage.

I didn’t run when it was cold, windy or not perfect weather.

I had no desires to run with anyone or at a certain time…

I didn’t run any more races until July.

But I ran…and when I did I enjoyed it. 

Crazy to think that was almost a decade ago!

Questions for you:

When did you get your (workout) start?

What are you up to this St. Patrick’s Day?

How to Run with your Significant Other

How to Run with your Significant Other

First, happy Valentines Day! Are you celebrating with a run?  LOL, or maybe not but anyway.

As most people know, my husband and I met through running. It’s a hobby we both share. You read the full story here. We both ran long before we knew each other. We aren’t always running together, and there are months we don’t run at all together, but there are also months we run many easy runs.

He is a faster runner, and there are very few periods that we run the same pace, but it is enjoyable to share that time with him. Running allows us to share uninterrupted time together. During the day, it’s hard to find these uninterrupted moments.

How to Run with your Significant Other

Many readers have asked: How do you run with your significant other? Or Could you share some tips to make running with a partner more enjoyable?

Keep in mind, running together is not always sunshine and butterflies. I can remember a significant moment in our running relationship. It was our first long run together. I’m a very chatty runner and if you’ve run with me (or even raced), you know I’m yapping all the way. My husband, however, is much quieter when he runs. This took us a few runs to figure out.

We started off doing a 15 mile run in San Antonio, Texas (near where we lived). All of a sudden he was running a few steps in front of me and silent. I began getting irrationally upset. Why were even running together? It was just silence. I continued to get more and more upset until finally I snapped and said:

“I’m tired of this dude running. Men just run in a single file straight line don’t talk much. Women don’t do that”.

(Yes, I called it dude running because it’s exactly how men run together. Silent, in a single line, and then they say it’s quality bonding time).

At the time, I didn’t know his life and running habits, and he didn’t fully know mine. Since then, we’ve had no more escalated running arguments, but my point is: it’s important to know any trainer partners habits.  He wasn’t angry, mad, or sad, that’s just how he ran.

So How do We Run Together?

The Short Answer:

We both put on running shoes and move one foot in front of the other.

The Long Answer:

Easy Runs:

More often than not, we run easier mileage together. I’ll speed up my pace 10-15 seconds per mile, and he slows down a bit. We agree to try and meet halfway.  That being said, my husband uses a watch even less than I do so we aren’t that numbers-oriented about paces.

Workouts:

We don’t do hard efforts together because our workout paces are not the same. He is a faster runner and also has different goals. (I like 5k-13.1 while he likes 5k-10k).

Occasionally he will do a tempo run with me, but that is the extent of workouts together.  Has he ever done a 400, mile, or hard track workout with me?  Absolutely not.  I know I go from nice to mean in 10 seconds, and so does he.

Racing:

We both like going to races. This year, my goal for racing a la Des Linden is “just show up.”   The fast, the slow, the good, and the bad, I want to be there.  Races for me, are always better workouts than workouts alone.

For us, going to races is quality time we spend together as well. We sign up for races together but the critical part here is we don’t race together.

We will warm up and cool down together, but when the clock goes off, we race to our own standards and feeling. The majority of the time, we do not stay together.

Racing for you is important because if one person is faster, it will create problems to stay on the course together. Part of being with a fellow runner is that you can’t expect to stay together or feel the same every race.

Does it stink to be dropped by your husband or a training partner during a race?

Of course, but that is the nature of the sport. We support each other, good or bad race.  I think this is important for any group running a race together. Someone will feel better, and someone will feel worse. Let them go and don’t be offended. You would want them to let you go too, and you’re still friends (or married at the finish line).

Don’t Be a Sore Winner or Loser.

There is no point to “racing” your significant other.  I remember one of my husband’s best races in 2017, the Double Bridges 15k. He ran a good amount with me and dropped me like I was standing still. I was so happy for him because he had no business lollygagging with me.  We both crossed the finish, and we were still married.

Running with a significant other can be a fun and pleasant experience. I know my husband, and I are fortunate we get to share that.

Finally, don’t force or guilt them into running with you. Don’t take anything personally; sometimes your spouse doesn’t want to run.  Some days I just want my me time and so does he.  That’s okay too!

Questions for you:

Do you workout with your significant other?

How are you spending Valentine’s Day? 

Steps to Increase Mileage and Stay Healthy

Steps to Increase Mileage and Stay Healthy

As runners, we all want to run more and stay healthy.  I used to have the firm belief of more=better.  Over the last year and a half, my personal life has gotten much busier. I don’t have the time to dedicate for more and more and more. And that’s okay!  Plus, more is not always better.  I’m doing less than many earlier years and I’ve PRed in both the half and full marathon.

When you begin running, it’s important to increase slowly. I’ve increased mileage too fast, only to pay the price with an injury.

After my post about my personal struggles with injury, a few people asked, how can you increase mileage and stay healthy?

Please remember, I’m not the “be all end all” of advice, and it’s important to remember what works for you might not work for everyone.  This is just what has worked for me.

Steps to Increase Mileage and Stay Healthy

How to Increase Mileage and Stay Healthy:

Slow and Steady Wins the Race:

If you increase your mileage too quickly, you will get injured and be sidelined.  Follow the 10% increase in mileage.  If you ran 40 miles last, adding 10% will give you 44.

I wasn’t always great with this, and I believe it’s what led to one of my fractures. After 2016, my mileage dropped, and I’ve stayed more healthy.

Decrease with your Increase

This step has multiple parts

Part 1: Recovery Week:

Every few weeks, it’s important to take a recovery week.  It’s the golden rule, but your body must rest and recover to build muscle, speed, and endurance.  Personally, I like to add 1-2 more rest days and drop 1 or both of my speed workouts.  If you continue to increase all of the time, your body will break from an overuse injury.

Over the last three months of training, I’ve had something pop up at least once a week, sometimes twice.  Sudden events have forced a rest day due to “not enough time”. By that, I mean I chose sleep so I can give 100% in other areas in my life.  Most days, it isn’t worth it to me to get 5 hours of sleep, so I can wake up for a run. I’m miserable for the rest of the day.

Part 2: Decrease Your Speed with Increased Mileage

Reducing speed is an important but overlooked fact.  You can’t run the same speed while running 10 miles a week and running 100.  Sprinting a 100-mile week will result in massive fatigue, exhaustion and ultimately injury.

While I didn’t run 100-mile weeks, too much speed is the reason for my first stress fracture.  I ran all of my runs too fast, and my body broke. I was running about 50 miles a week, and more fatigued than when I used to run 70-80.  Now, I rarely even time my easy days. I run with friends, or on a known route. I’ll run 10-minute miles, or 8…it really doesn’t matter as long as my body feels as though it’s easy.

If you are worried about pace for an easy run, remember, no one cares. Your ego shouldn’t be the deciding factor for running, but it definitely shouldn’t be your deciding factor for an easy run.  For most easy runs, I leave my GPS watch at home. Did I run 3.1 miles or 3.2?  9:04 pace or 9:06?  The world will never know…

Know your Limits

Injuries don’t typically come out of nowhere.  Know your personal weak spots. Running is a lifelong process, and it takes months to build a strong base.

You don’t build fitness in a day, and you don’t lose it either.

Don’t rush the process because you’ll be sidelined with a minor or major injury.  If you feel a small ache or pain, keep a mental note about it. Make sure it doesn’t increase or become worse.

Questions for you:
How many miles do you run weekly?
How do you stay injury free and healthy?

%d bloggers like this: