Training: Half Marathoning and Vacationing

Training: Half Marathoning and Vacationing

Training last week went well. While I’ve been running, each week it seems as though I have a hiccup.  This week was the first in several weeks that I haven’t had any hiccups! Whether it’s an extra rest day, missed workout, or whatever, it’s the reason fitness hasn’t come back as quickly as I hoped.

As most people know, I’ve been vacationing out in California. We didn’t come out “to race” but instead get out of New Jersey during my least favorite month, and check out north of San Diego (When we came in 2016, we stayed almost exclusively in San Diego).

So far it’s been fun and the sunshine has been welcomed.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes with Alexis
Wednesday: 3X1 mile
Thursday: Easy 60 minutes with Jen M.
Friday: Rest and Travel
Saturday: Easy 60 minutes Laguna Beach/3 mile hike
Sunday: Carlsbad Half Marathon: 1:29.47


It was nice to run with Jen and Alexis last week. Both days were bitter cold, but each run felt more accomplished to get out there.

Wednesday: 3X1 mile (6:07, 6:09, 6:08)

Boy was I running late that day. I slept through my alarm and ended up having an extra 5 minutes to spare before making it to work on time. The workout itself went well, and it’s amazing how fast you can go, when time is not on your side.

I took 1-minute full rest in between to try and push my legs as much as possible.

Carlsbad Half Marathon 1:29.47

I knew going into this race; it wouldn’t be a PR.  My trip to California wasn’t really for a race, in fact, the half was actually out of the way to where we were going (San Fransico).

That being said, I like the race because it’s beautiful and because I’ve PRed. So we decided to tac into our trip.

Due to lack of hydration, I hit a wall during the second half.  After running in 20-30 degrees, 60+ felt like a beautiful sauna, and I wasn’t hydrated appropriately. There also wasn’t a lot of electrolytes on the course which didn’t help. That being said, I’m proud of my ability to muster up some sort of leg speed to break 1:30.  I’m not estatic, nor sad about the time. It’s right in the middle of half times I’ve run in the last few months.

Next week, I’m just enjoying both running and hiking on our trip.

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Trying to catch a sunset and eating hair. Typical.

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Posts from the Week:

Saucony Triumph ISO 5 Shoe Review

A History of Injuries

One Year with Collagen

Questions for you:

What is your favorite spot for vacation?

Any recommendations for San Francisco?

A History of Injuries

A History of Injuries

One of the most requested posts is about my history with injuries.

I haven’t always stayed injury free, and I have several injuries throughout the years. Before recently, my blog could have alternative names such as fueledbyInjuries or InjuriesNlolz.

Many of my injuries were because I overtrained or ran easy runs too fast.

Over time, I’ve learned that you can’t outrun an injury. Life doesn’t work like that. If you are worried, rest. Resting a few days often saves you from resting a few weeks, months, or even years. You don’t gain fitness in a day and you definitely don’t lose it either.

When I first started running in 2010, I had many years of haphazard running.  It took a lot of trial and error and learning from experience to determine what works best for me. As with anything, I learn best when I do something and make mistakes along the way.

You can read my full running story here (or in one of the headings above).

In summary, I began running in July 2010.  I ran off and on and was still a member of on my collegiate swim team.  Swim season lasted from September until late February, so there was no running during that time.  During the off-season, we were allowed to work out as we pleased, so eventually, I picked up running.

run for the hill of it

Here is my History with Injuries:

My first serious running injury:

Tibial Stress Fracture (July 2011-September 2011)

How it happened:
I ran every day for an hour on the treadmill.  I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to train fast every single day.  I thought to race faster you must train faster.  So every day I made the goal to beat the previous day’s mileage for 1 hour.  I never ran for more than an hour, but I ran seven days a week. I was running between 7-7:15 pace for an hour.

Ultimately I was far more exhausted from running 50 miles then I am now.  My body broke at a road race on my 21st birthday. Midway through a run-swim-run race, my body broke, My tibia fractured and I was done.

I learned more about myself than any other injury.  To be honest, I needed that injury to realize that training was idiotic and not right.  My tibial stress fracture shaped my training to include a lot more easy miles. I don’t time my easy runs anymore, and I don’t GAF whether the pace is 10 minutes or 8 minutes.

Happy 21st birthday to me with my non detected tibia SF

Cyst: August 2012-October 2012:

How it happened:
During September 2012, I developed a cyst in the arch of my foot.  The doctors still don’t know exactly how it formed it could have developed anywhere in my body (I’m so thankful it wasn’t my brain).

They don’t believe it was running related, but it prevented me from running.  I was able to run with minimal pain until the cyst became large enough to rip the muscle from my bone. After tearing the muscle off my metatarsal, it halted running completely.

After recovering for two months and a shot to reduce the swelling, I came back and ran my fastest college cross country race.


Fractured Elbow (August 2013):

How it happened: 

While cooling down at a road race in August 2013, I was hit by a cyclist.  I was knocked to the ground, and it fractured my elbow.  I was devastated, but after a week, I was able to run slowly.

I decreased mileage, but it ended up being the most nonserious elbow fracture I could have.  At the time, the decline in mileage was terrifying because I was training for my first marathon, NYCM.

It taught me; you have to roll with the punches. A few days of rest does not impact fitness.

When I got my sling off

Second Metatarsal Fracture (August 2014)

How it happened:
Fast forward to moving to Texas and then New Jersey. In August of 2014, I got a second metatarsal fracture. In hindsight, I believe I upped my mileage too quickly.  Even though I was running easy, I think my mileage went up too fast.  At the time, I was training for my second marathon, Wineglass.  I healed by race day, but it would have been dumb to run a marathon on a newly recovered stress fracture.  To be honest, I don’t think my heart was ready to race another marathon, and it was a good out.

I chose this photo because I think I ran a hard track mile and then the next day ran a 20 miler for the marathon. #dumb

Bum Butt (February 2015-March 2015)

How it happened:
I tweaked something running my second marathon and kept running.  Around mile 18, my butt started to throb.  By the end of the marathon, my whole left side was in pain.  Should I have finished the race?  Probably not…Did I PR? Yes…

I didn’t heal as fast as I should have because I continued to run after the marathon.  I took two weeks off (which helped) but then I ran too hard too fast.  Looking back, I made good progress and then threw it all away running again.  This is something I’m 100% kicking myself for…even though I had an excellent time at Shamrock 2015.  If I had taken a month off, I wouldn’t have had two months to deal with the issues.

Ankle Fracture June 2016:

How it Happened:
This was the only injury I’m not entirely sure what I did. Did I tweak my ankle running on trails? Did I run too much? I don’t know. In June of 2016, something felt off. I couldn’t pinpoint it, and it almost felt like plantar fasciitis on the outside of my foot. An X-ray confirmed I had a minor fracture. The fracture healed with time off but it worried something else was not right. Test results found my calcium, vitamin D, and blood levels were fine.

One thing my ankle fracture taught me was I liked hiking. After healing, I spent a good portion of the summer hiking and enjoying the outdoors that way.

There are many times I look back at my training and think: If I had taken a few more days off, or if I had realized that ache was a minor bone pain….but each is a lesson to move on.  I have learned that running in pain isn’t worth it to me.

You cannot outrun injury, and it will catch up to you.

I tell any runner, new or old; there is no shame in rest and easy days. I am to the point in life and running that it will never be my sole purpose in life. Resting and staying healthy is more important to me than running every day.

Question for you: Have you had a running injury before?

Base Building: Rolling with the Punches

Base Building: Rolling with the Punches

I spent last week just cranking along. I did have a couple of small snafus in the week, but I adjusted as needed.

I read a tweet about how much fitness can be built in about 12 weeks.  While it was directed towards the Boston Marathon, it resonated with me in general. Many bigger races are in April, so I plan to build towards April.  I don’t have a goal in mind now, just to get back into shape.

Seeing that kept me more positive that hopefully, I will build back fitness towards 18:30 5ks.  I’ve been negative on myself and my training because fitness has come back slower.  I’m not surprised because it seems like there is 1-2 days per week, that I need to take a day off due to needing sleep more.

Monday: Easy 30 minutes/hike the Headley Overlook
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 12X400 averaging 6:01 pace, 400 jog in between
Thursday: Easy 60 minutes with Jen Miller
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: Frosted Face 5k (19:49) Total mileage: 10
Sunday: OFF


All of my easy runs were just that, easy. On Tuesday, my body was exhausted from all of the running and hiking. I knew running was not going to be productive so I opted to rest. It was the best thing I could have done for myself.  On Thursday I ran with Jen which was nice. I’ve struggled some days to get out the door, so meeting someone is motivation.

Wednesday: 12x400s with 400 jog (averaging 6:01 pace):

I realized after looking at my training log, I’ve actually done this workout a few times recently.  This was my fastest, as well as the best weather.

Saturday: Frosted 5k: 19:49

I thought it was fairly obvious that this wasn’t a sanctioned 5k, but the internet can be hard to read. As I did last month, I decided to run a hard 5k in my neighborhood. I would run more races but there aren’t too many local races now. (if any?) RIP Icicle 10 miler.

Anyway, I ran 6:30, 6:20, 6:20, which I’m pleased with. It’s close to the time I ran at the Resolution Run on January 1st.

Next Week:

Next week I’m taking a vacation and going out to California. Last time we went, we stayed in the San Diego area and made one trip to LA.  This time we are flying into LA, running the Carlsbad half marathon, then driving up to San Francisco and Sacramento area. This time, the Carlsbad half is not a goal race for me. I’m hoping to run faster than the Race 13.1 but that is about it.

As far as the vacation itself, we don’t have a lot of plans yet, but are looking forward to just hiking and seeing what we see.  So if you have some recommendations, let me know!

Posts from the Week:

Nike Streak LT Shoe Review

Why Train for Shorter Distances?

Hiking to the Headley Overlook at Mahlon Dickerson

Questions for you:

How was your week of training?

Are there races this time of year around you?

Why Train for Shorter Distances?

Why Train for Shorter Distances?

Let’s face it, we all have our favorite distance for running and racing.  For some people, that’s a 55-meter sprint, and for some, it’s an ultra-marathon.  Everyone has their favorite distance, and that is ok.  That’s the beauty of the sport.

Personally, I enjoy the half marathon the most.  In fact, I’ve run 50 now. It’s short enough not to feel the fatigue of a marathon but long enough that you’re not sprinting the entire race.

Sometimes we get stuck in the same race distance rut. We train for the same distance year round. Not only can that get repetitive on your body, but it can also cause overuse injuries or be mentally exhausting.

In 2018, I trained for Many Distances:

In the winter and early Spring, I trained and PRed in a half marathon.

Phoenix Half marathon feb me running

Mid to late Spring, I ran but didn’t actively train for anything.

In the summer, I trained for two trail races, something I had never done before.under armour copper mountain race me running

Then in the fall, I trained and PRed in a marathon.

New York City Marathon me running

Since 2016, there has been one to PR to allude me: the 5k. I wished I had an opportunity to race a 5k when I was in half marathon shape, but I didn’t.  So now as we enter 2019, I’m looking forward to just building speed and fitness for both 5ks and half marathons.

So anyway, sometimes the best thing we can do for our running is to take a break and train for another distance.

But why?

A Mental Break:

Sometimes going through countless weekend long runs can be tiring, boring, and downright unenjoyable. At the end of the NYCM training cycle, I felt exhausted from long runs and higher mileage. I felt like my life was starting to revolve around when and how I would get the long run in, and that’s not me.  I like to do other things whether it’s seeing friends, hiking, or not just not worrying about a long run.

The feeling of high mileage can be repetitive or mentally challenging.  Many people thrive on that, but many people don’t. Focusing at different distances throughout the year allows your brain a mental break.  There isn’t a need to run a 20-mile long run while training for 5ks, in fact, it’s counter-intuitive.

Sometimes lowering mileage and training for a shorter race can break you free of that training rut. Doing faster runs with more “action,” can bring excitement back to your running.  I used to hate speed work, now it’s one of my favorite workouts of the week.

Long runs also take a lot of time.  It’s not the three hours of actual running but the recovery period, as well as are the “are you going to want to be productive the rest of the day” mindset after a long run.  Most of my 20-mile-long run days were spent relaxing at home and being as lazy as humanly possible.

Running Shorter Distances Builds Different Muscles:

Obviously running any distance uses muscles in your legs but each distance affects your muscles differently.

5ks use more fast-twitch muscles while longer races use more slow twitch muscles.  Building both can benefit your running in every distance.

Aerobic Capacity

Training for short distance races has big benefits for your aerobic capacity. Recently, I’ve heard a few elite athletes talk about the marathon like “death by 1000 small papercuts”.  The marathon or any long event is a moderate effort over a long sustained, period. When you race shorter, you develop your body to utilize more oxygen in a shorter period of time. (IE: All of the pain of a long race into a shorter one). The more oxygen you can consume, the more physical work you’ll be able to do.

Leg Speed and Turnover Increase:

By running and racing shorter distances, you are able to increase turn over. You’ll become a more efficient runner at both shorter and longer distances.

When I raced my full marathon, I knew I wasn’t in the best shape of my life, because my half marathons and shorter distances were much slower than the Spring. I’ve always done better, when my shorter races are faster too.

More Racing: 

Generally, a half or full marathon costs upwards of 100 dollars.  Now you can do at least 3, sometimes many more 5ks for that same price.  So yes you are paying $25-30 per 5k, but you are racing more often.

You also recover much faster from races, so you can run more races while still recovering appropriately.  Maybe that is my favorite part!

Racing 5ks or a shorter event doesn’t have to be painful or boring. It’s a challenge to train or race for like any other event.

Questions for you:

What is your favorite distance to race?

Do you have any running goals for 2019? 

December Training

December Training

Already a week into a New Year and I have yet to sit back and look at December’s training. Usually, I even toy with writing a December log. We are already into the New Year, I’ve reflected upon 2018 in both running and blogging…who cares about December.

But I do. I use my logs to look back and see where I was so it’s important I suppose.

Miles Run: Around 200

Range of Paces: 6:26-11:30-untimed

Longest Run: 14

Shortest Run: 2

Rest Days: 7


Race 13.1 1:30.58

Christmas Classic 5 miler (32:46)

Lonely 5ks (20:00.3, 19:57.3.)*Not actual races


December was busy, and I quickly realized I was burning my candle at both ends. I chose to rest and sleep a lot more, and I don’t regret it.  While I took a few more rest days than anticipated in December, it was a busy month and I needed rest more than easy miles.


My favorite race was the Christmas Classic 5 Miler and my husband, and I had a great time in Bethlehem. The Race 13.1 in Baltimore was my 50th half marathon, but it wasn’t the best put together race and dangerous.


I ran seven workouts in December including two 5ks.

The third weekend of December, the 5k I wanted was canceled due to weather. It was raining and 40 degrees, but I think the course flooded out. I wasn’t that bummed, and I decided to make the best of it and run my 5k in my neighborhood. I surprised myself and ran a 20:00.3. The next weekend I did the same thing and ran a 19:57. I’ll probably run more in January just to give me something to stay motivated. I’ve run a lot of actual 5ks alone, so it wasn’t the “hardest thing ever” to motivate myself to run a hard 20 minutes.

Getting Back into Shape:

Getting back into shape after time off has been tough. I’m not coming back from anything and realistically I never was. I didn’t take that much time off after the marathon (2 weeks).

As I’ve told many people, I never felt as though I got into peak shape for New York. I ran a 1:27 half when my PR is 1:22. I want to get back to the 1:22 shape, as well as 18: XX shape for a 5k, but it’s coming much slower this time around. I’ve had more training bumps.  Not due to injury but due to life.  While I’m proud of 1:27, it’s still 5 minutes slower than I ran early last year.

My goal for January is to log quality miles and go from there. I want to come back strong for Spring and races like Shamrock, Atlantic City Half, and Broad Street, but I have quite a bit of work to do for that.

Anyway, it was a good December as far as life goes. I trained when I could but didn’t choose training over seeing family, friends, or even resting.

Posts from the Month:

2018 in Running

Treadmills are Ok.

50 Half Marathons Later

Fitbit Ionic Review

Why Internet Shoe Reviews are Worthless

Walking Merrill Creek Reservoir

Questions for you:

How was your training in December?

Do you have any goals for 2019? 

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