Weekly workout logs are one thing but reflecting upon a month of no real “training” is weird. Am I a runner? Am I a running blogger? Do I just Instagram?
In June, I had all of the intentions to start running again. Life happens and that went on the backburner. Am I cool with that? Yes, my body is just resting from heavy training a lot longer than I ever imagined.
At this point, I’m barely able to keep record of my own training log. My running might be like a bad train wreck you may or may not be able to look away. That’s cool though, I’ll get back to serious training and crushing PRs at some point soon in my life. While I said this last month, I do anticipate August to be busy and September, not as much.
Moving forward, the month of July was laid back as far as training went. I ran when I could. I was able to run more outside than I previous ly anticipated but nothing more than 5 miles. In fact, I think the last time I ran more than 8 miles in a row was before April.
First and foremost, I am happy. Life is going fine and I’m enjoying everything that has kept me busy.
Something I did not anticipate, is it is hard to explain not wanting to run. When I tell someone I’m not running, they immadiately ask if I’m injured. Followed with am I pregnant. I’m not injured, pregnant, or whatever else. I
I’m not injured, pregnant, or whatever else. I prioritize other things and when I’m not busy volunteering and working, I’m living life.
I could wake up at 4, go for a run and be out my door between 5-6. Be gone for anywhere between 10-14 hours. Then come home and do it again. But honestly, that doesn’t sound pleasent and I still wouldn’t be training well. So I choose not to.
I posted on twitter but I want to jump into a local 5k this month. I haven’t picked one out and I don’t expect any miracles but I would like to just run a race and get my feet back in the water. Now, that I’m more aware of my schedule I also plan to consistently run. I’m hoping I can begin to build a base. My goal is to run 45 minutes/5 miles most days.
Questions for you: How was your training in July? Are you getting ready for anything?
I’ve mentioned countless times I’ve been stuck in a plateau since October. The April Fools half marathon was supposed to be “the redemption race”. As you can see, that didn’t happen.
That being said, I have no regrets about the race, and I raced as hard as I could for the day. It just wasn’t my day. Which is also unfortunate because the weather was also ideal. I have a lengthy post about training hard and not meeting your goals, but today is just a post about a girl running her heart out in Atlantic City.
I was back and forth with getting a hotel room down the shore but ultimately chose to sleep in my own bed. I left my house at 6 am and arrived at the race around 7:15. Somehow I managed to get the very last parking spot in the Resorts Casino Hotel which is a parking lot that fits at least 1000 cars. I’m always pushing the limits when I go to races, and of course, this was no exception.
I got to the race start and was able to use one of the dozens of nice casino bathrooms. I always think Atlantic City races are underrated. There is plenty of parking, nice bathrooms and they are well put together.
Not much of note happened before the race. I chatted to a few local friends beforehand but nothing crazy. The race started at 8 and off we went.
Immediately I noticed a woman take off ahead. I knew she would win.
Win the race I won last year. After about a minute of letting that sink in, I focused on my own race. You can’t control who shows up.
With that, I focused on the first mile. I’ve run the race twice before (in 2014 and 2016), and I know the course well. The first mile went down the wooden boardwalk. I was running in a pack, and we hit the first mile in 6:20. I was surprised, and honestly, I didn’t feel that bad.
The next two miles were uneventful. I ran with the pack, and we logged an exact 20 minute 5k. I felt extremely stiff when running. Throughout the entire race, I never felt like I loosened up.
Around mile 3.5 we got off the boardwalk and headed onto the paved street. As we crossed down, someone was on their cell phone texting, and I had to shout please look up. Otherwise, I would have run smack into him! At that point, I began feeling stale, and I suppose that would have given me an excuse to drop out. Other than that the fourth mile was uneventful.
During the next two miles, I focused on getting to the halfway point. I knew we would be turning around and I wanted to get my bearings. I knew my friend Erin was gaining behind me and I knew the elite woman was several minutes in front. Other than that, I was running alone and knew nothing. Around 5.5, I saw the leaders turning around, and the elite lady was second overall for both and female. That was amazing to see (because she had also run the 11k the day before).
I crossed the turnaround in 42:30 and found myself side by side with Erin. She looked strong and was on target for a PR. It was super motivating because despite feeling like garbage, seeing friends succeed still motivates me. As we started running the opposite direction, I saw several local runners cheering.
I felt terrible was just trying to put it behind me. I hit the 7th and 8th mile in 6:48. There was a surprisingly strong headwind during the two miles, and it crushed me both mentally and physically.
There have been a handful of races I was one thought away from dropping out. Atlantic City was one of them. I didn’t have anyone expecting me at the finish line. There were no friends or family to look in the eyes for me to say why I quit. I never need anyone at the finish line, but it made it easy to justify just stopping. I wasn’t injured, but mentally I was destroyed.
For some reason, I kept going. I remembered both marathons with 3 miles to go that I felt the same way: like I would never get there. I just remembered the race was probably 30 minutes more of my life and I was done.
We ran back onto the wooden Boardwalk could see the Resorts hotel and the finish several miles in the distance. My friend Erin, myself and another male were running down the boardwalk side by side.
By mile 10, I just gave it everything I had and surged. I didn’t have much left in the tank but ran 11 and 12 in 6:30.
As I remembered, the last mile of Atlantic City races feels never ending. You see the casino where the race ends but don’t see the actual finish line until a quarter mile to go. I had broken up the pack and was running alone.
I finally saw the finish line and gave it everything I had, but it was not enough. Erin passed me in the final stride and won out second place. Our chip times were identical but overall goes by gun and she finished one second faster. I finished bittersweet. I fell short of my training cycle goals, and I placed third in a race I had won last year.
Even though I finished with my slowest time on the best weather day, I’ve had for that race I was happy to finish healthy.
It’s been nearly a week since I finished and had time to reflect. My goal for the last 6 months was to PR at the April Fools half marathon, and I missed that goal by about 4 minutes. As I mentioned in my last training post. 1:26 is a respectable half marathon time, but it’s not the time I trained for. When you don’t meet goals, it stinks. I’ve accepted it and moved on. While running is what I choose to post about on social media, it does not define my life. I finished the training cycle healthy, and while I didn’t meet any goals or expectations, there are many more years and training cycles left in my life.
I won’t lie and say I’m happy with the race because I’m not. I will not, however, let it define me and I’ll continue to move forward.
I do have Broad Street 10 miler next weekend, which will be more of a fun race for me than anything. Last year, I surprised myself and ran a 1:01.57. This year I’m excited to spend time with my family. Of course, I would love to run well, but I’ve removed expectations from the race, and my only goal is to have fun.
I’m still formulating plans and goals for the summer, but the summer is the time for enjoying local races in the community.
Questions for you:
Have you ever not met expectations for a training cycle?
I thrive on the excitement of races. While every race is not a PR, I have found I thrive on racing frequently. I also enjoy it. I like meeting new people, pushing myself to the finish line and getting a good workout in. Thinking out loud, I decided to compile a few tips and tricks that help me in any of my races.
How to Race Well:
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT:
I believe that to run a goal race well; you should have a few practice races.
It is good to practice your nutrition, gels, CLOTHING, and pace goals beforehand. Of course, you can do this in a training run, but nothing beats the real deal. I know it took me 30+ 5ks to execute and PR at the Flower Show last year. I highly doubt it takes most people that long.
Remember you’ve been preparing for the race. You’ve put in the work, and all that is left is the actual race.
Good nerves are not a bad thing but don’t let them get the best of you. A while back, I was interviewed on Lindsey Hein’s podcast, I’ll have another. She asked if I got nervous during races and the answer was not really. I race so much that while I do have a few nerves and butterflies, it’s never overwhelming because I’ve been in that situation before!
(Race) Confidence is key!
REMEMBER YOUR TRAINING:
Between racing and training, the majority of time is spent training. Don’t forget about how you’ve prepared for the race. Focus on the good aspects of training. Let’s be honest, a bad run sticks in our head longer than a good one. Try not to forget about the good training runs too! Those are what build your confidence!
Before a major race, I like to scroll through my training log and look at the runs I crushed and felt confident!
I feel a lot better going into a race knowing I crushed goal workouts.
CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN:
After the weather in 2016, I learned to toughen up in bad weather. Before 2016, I had never really raced in bad weather. The first five years, I had always lucked out, but very few races ever go smoothly. It’s important to realize there will always be uncontrollables at a race and how you handle them will define your race! This is a lesson I’ve learned with running and life. You cannot control everything.
Uncontrollables can be many things:
the race start is late
the weather is awful
or the course is changed
You can’t control every variable of a race, but you can control how you react. Every racer deals with the same uncontrollables. Remember, every racer is dealing with the same issues and we are all making the best of it!
ENJOY THE RACE:
Every race has both high points and low points. Embrace the good points as much as you complain about the low points. Even in 5ks, you can have amazing moments and moments you want to forget.
REMEMBER THE END PROCESS AND MEETING YOUR GOALS IS WORTH IT.
Last week was supposed to be a taper week, but the 10k I was going to race was canceled due to the thunderstorms and tornado warnings. It stinks when you adapt your training, but the things happens.
However, I would always choose safe than sorry. In fact by Saturday morning, I committed to not running before the race officially canceled. I didn’t show up.
Easy 7 miles
Workout 6X4 minute intervals
Easy 7 miles
Easy 7 miles
Easy 5 miles
Canceled Race: 2X2 treadmill (6:40, 6:18)
Workout: 6×4 Minutes (average 6:50 pace)
This workout was done in one of the most unideal situations (for me). I had to start the run at 5 am. I’m not a 5am runner and I don’t enjoy doing workouts in the dark. After warming up, I noticed the track was being used, and it wasn’t an option to use a lit track. I found a quiet piece of road and did the workout there, but I did not feel great at all. I finished the workout feeling discouraged. My goal was for 6:23 pace to feel easy and 6:40 pace felt like I was working hard. I’ve run much faster tempo runs, so it was more disappointing than anything. Like any bad workout, I put it in my rearview mirror and moved on with the day.
Taper: Runs during taper didn’t feel great either. Throughout the week, my legs progressively got heavier and I felt more like garbage. Friday logs one of the worst runs I’ve had in a very long time. It was 100% humidity, my legs felt heavy, and I was tired. I felt like I had run an ultramarathon not 5 miles.
Throughout the week, I was also monitoring the weather for the 10k I was tapering for. Not only was it scheduled to rain but it was scheduled to thunderstorm and we also had tornado watches. Parts of the state were under a tornado warning.
To be fair, I was excited to race hard for a 10k but not in miserable conditions. On Friday night, they hadn’t officially canceled, but I was convinced they would. I woke up Sunday morning to thunderstorms at 5am, nothing from 6-7 and a downpour followed by a tornado touchdown about 5 miles away.
My coach had given me a backup treadmill workout instead, just incase. Instead of having the mentality of tapering for nothing, I had the mindset of taking a recovery week which I needed. Am I sad I tapered and paid for a race that didn’t happen? Of course, but that is the risk of the sport and running isn’t everything.
Treadmill Workout: 2X2 Mile (6:40), (6:18)
After my race was canceled, I waited out the storm and went to the gym. I struggle with running fast on the treadmill, and I am able to run faster outdoors. Personally, running workouts on the treadmill is not ideal, but it’s more ideal than running in tornados. In fact, since it’s located in a concrete basement, the gym on base is actually a designated safe zone tornado shelter.
The first 2 miles started at 6:50 and worked down to 6:27 and the second 200, I started at 6:40 and worked down to a 5:42. It didn’t feel comfortable, and I felt like I was working hard. It was a solid workout for me and I made the best of the situation.
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, and I feel as if there is so much to catch up on.
In late December, I decided to get Insidetracker done again. While it is cheaper than getting several tests done through insurance, it’s not inexpensive by any means.
Since I’m a healthy adult and nothing is “life or death”, blood tests are not covered by Insurance. I chose to get InsideTracker again because I knew it would help. I did receive a discount from Insidetracker which was helpful. I got results done in July and ultimately found my iron was too high as well as a few other things. (Detailed post here).
So What Happened in the Last Few Months?
After receiving my results in July, I did start taking a probiotic as recommended. I gave the probiotic 3 months, but I didn’t notice a change in anything. At an extra $90 ($30 per bottle at the recommended 3X per day), I couldn’t justify the cost and not noticing a difference.
Since July, I’ve also worked to lower my iron, but it seems I worked too hard and it plummeted almost to the “too low” category. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever had too such low iron. The fact that it dropped that quickly is alarming.
But it would explain why I’ve been more tired.
How did I lower it?
Since July, I went off my multivitamin which had 100% iron in it. While I prefer dark chocolate, I ate a lot more milk chocolate with less iron.
I already consumed (and still do) red meat 2-3X per week as well as leafy greens. That’s probably why it didn’t lower anymore.
Now that my iron is too low, I think I’ll go back on my multivitamin with iron in it and dark chocolate.
Since getting my previous results, my liver enzymes have stayed “at risk.” They need work and to be honest, I’m not surprised. They took a backburner while I worked towards everything else, so I didn’t do much with them.
This time, I am going to add both wheat germ and an extra serving of almond, sunflower or peanut butter to my diet each day. I’m actually not a huge peanut butter fan. I don’t hate it, I just don’t have it often.
So what’s the Plan?
I’m spending the next 6 weeks focusing on making these small changes because it’s perfect timing. While I do have responsibilities and things to do, I’m not working full-time. I have access to cooking, preparing and eating foods that would work for me. If I cannot make these changes now, there probably won’t be an easier time.
For the next six weeks, I plan to watch and monitor my diet. I’m not going to make a lot of extreme changes, and I don’t plan to change the caloric intake, however, I do plan to eat more nutritionally dense food for me.
What I like about InsideTracker is they make recommendations for foods that can help optimize your personal results. While I could spend hours researching, how to increase iron levels or decrease liver enzymes, it’s right on my dashboard. For me, it means including a lot more wheat germ or nut products. I can’t make any promises, but I’m sure I’ll be sharing my experiences along the way in the food and diet world too. Although I like to read other people’s posts, nutritional posts haven’t been on the forefront of my blog for a while.
I would definitely recommend InsiderTracker as it’s a great tool to help you figure out what nutrition your body needs. You cannot get more of an awakening than learning your blood results.
Short Version: In summary last week, I recovered from the Philadelphia half and had a quality week of training.
Easy 75 minutes/Deep Tissue Massage
Easy 75 minutes
Easy 80 minutes
Medford Lakes Turkey Trot (18:30)
Easy 75 minutes
All of my easy runs were easy and I enjoyed Monday-Wednesday better than I enjoyed racing the Philadelphia half. I bounced back mentally and physically from the race. My friend, Montana, was back in town for Thanksgiving so I was able to run with her on Saturday.
Medford Lakes Turkey Trot (18:30):
I didn’t feel 100% during the race. My legs still had the Philadelphia half on them but they didn’t feel bad either. My mile splits were a consistent 5:56, 6:02, 6:00. My hopeful goal was to be under 19 but my dream goal was to run 18:35 (6 min pace). I’m happy I achieved that and it was a great race for me.
I didn’t know how the race would go. Last year, I ran an 18:48 and was ecstatic (also after running Philly). My hopeful goal was to be under 19 but my dream goal was to run 18:35 (6 min pace). I’m happy I achieved that and it was a great race for me. It’s actually my third fastest 5k ever (behind the Resolution Run 18:22 and the Flower Show 5k)
I’m happy with how the week went. With the exception of the Turkey Trot, it was a boring week.
I blog about running; I work at a running store, and I run myself. Heck, I’m not even an elite runner, but a good portion of my life is influenced by running. Of course, a good portion is not but that is not what I choose to blog about :).
So perhaps you’re walking around the world and you see someone you think you could share your hobby of running. How do you know? How can you tell? Those bright speciality running shoes? That vintage race t-shirt?
You know You’re a Runner When:
You’re Shoes May Cost $120+, but a single pair of socks costs about $12+…hey, blister free running is worth it?
You Pay $30 for half an hour of fun…but watching a movie in theaters…no thanks.
Your wall décor are medal holders, race awards and finishers trophies.
You’ve taken a vacation that revolves around a race or 3…
Your laundry consists of 95% running clothes, 5% other clothes.
You’ve purchased plenty of liquid sugar (GU) but whine when regular food has added sugar.
You wear compression underneath everything. Work clothes, date night, wedding?
You wake up earlier on the weekends for long runs or races.
You must finish a run on an even number. 5.89 miles is not the same as 6 miles…as a 10k…as half a marathon…as 7 miles…
Your coworkers stopped asking if you wanted to go out for lunch because they know you’re going for a run.
Your significant other used to try and change your mind about running but has since given up an even joined you for runs or races.
Question for you: What are some runner’s quirks you have?