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Training: Easy Runs and Windy 10ks

Training: Easy Runs and Windy 10ks

Last week was a blur.  I actually had a hard time remembering what I even ran last week!  Some weeks I’m on top of writing a training log, other weeks I’m not.  Thank goodness for looking back at Instagram I guess.

me running

Monday: 60 minutes easy
Tuesday: 8-mile hike at Hartshorne Park
Wednesday: 60 minutes easy
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 60 minutes easy
Saturday: Cape May 10k (41:07)
Sunday: 13 mile easy run

All of my easy runs were just that, easy.  To be honest, I felt good in the beginning of the week and then by Friday I felt like Broad Street hit me!  There wasn’t enough time to do any workouts between Broad Street and the Cape May 10k, so I didn’t.

Cape May 10k: 41:07

I’ll have a full recap of the race, but it wasn’t my day.  My legs were tired, it was windy, and to add to my list of issues, I accidentally ran in old trainers.  Around mile 5, my feet started burning.  Not in a broken bone way, but in a “something is weird way”.  After the race, I realized I never changed into my racing shoes and was wearing old trainers.  These were trainers I retired from running altogether but decided they could still be ok for walking around.  No wonder my feet hurt, I was basically running a 10k on concrete.

I ran the April Fools half marathon 10k split as well as Broad Street in low 38, so racing a 10k in 41 isn’t a great time for me right now.  A 41 minute 10k is fantastic for many people, but it’s not awesome for me right now. Not a big deal, and I still had a lot of fun down the shore.  Do bad races stink? Of course, we all do but I’m already over it.

On Sunday, I had planned to run about 10 but literally ran into a few friends during my run.  I ended up running about 5 miles with them, which caused me to be out longer than I anticipated.  I’m glad I decided to run with my friends, and I can’t remember the last time I ran 13 miles straight through at a relaxed, comfortable pace.  It was nice to change it up.

Thoughts from the Week:

In all, I had a good week. The 10k didn’t go as I had hoped (My “C” goal was to break 40), but running is funny like that.  You’ll never feel good at every race.  If you do, you are probably going to test positive for something…

My plan for the remainder of May is just to have fun.  I have a lot going on the next few weeks, and I’ll still run, but I’m not going crazy.  My races might slower than the Spring, but it’s okay.

Posts from the Week:

Broad Street 10 Miler (1:02.51)

Exploring Cattus Island Park in Toms River

Recovering with Collagen Protein

Questions for you:

Do you have any 10k wisdom?

How was your week of training?

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Recovering with Collagen Protein

Recovering with Collagen Protein

In February, I wrote a post about Vital Proteins and my experience with them.  At the time, I was not an ambassador.  Vital Proteins sent me samples to try, and I liked them so much I continued to buy them.

As I mentioned on Instagram on Friday, I was invited to become a Vital Proteins Ambassador.  I’ve already been using Vital Proteins for months now, and I find I genuinely recover faster and feel better than if I don’t.  Usually, I have one serving twice a day.  Before becoming an ambassador, I purchased the dark chocolate and blackberry peptides which is my current favorite!

As part of my partnership with Vital Proteins, I’ll write a couple of posts per month about different benefits or recipes I’m using. I’m not being paid to do so, but I do receive products.  Thinking out loud, since I use the products already, it’s a good fit for me.

So What is Collagen? 

Collagen is a protein found in the connective tissue in the body. Since it’s a structure protein, it’s an essential component of muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments.  It was best explained to me as the glue that holds everything together.  Our bodies already produce collagen from amino acids, but it is beneficial to supplement.

What Makes Collagen Peptides Different?

Vital Protein Collagen Peptides have the added benefit of providing 18 g of collagen protein.  I’ve personally found my body recovers much better when I have protein after a run or workout.

How Can Collagen Help Running Performance? 

Since this is a “running focused” blog, the first post will focus on running and working out. New research shows collagen can help decrease joint pain that is often associated with high impact exercise.

Long-term strenuous exercise like running leads to collagen degradation in the body. We naturally lose collagen as we age but running and other high impact sports can quicken this.  It’s not an overnight occurrence and the degradation of collagen is a slow process.  It usually takes years.  Like a stress fracture, it takes time and isn’t an issue that just ‘pops up”.  That is why anyone running for years may have the same collagen issues.

Collagens Promotes a Healthy Response to Natural Inflammation:

Running stresses your body, which causes inflammation. Taking Collagen or any protein directly after a workout helps to promote inflammation and speed up the repair of connective tissues that are damaged.  I personally do feel and recover better on days I do have collagen within 30 minutes of working out.

Promoting Joint Health:

In the running world, it’s not uncommon to hear runners and athletes talk about “bone on bone.”  This means they’ve lost the cartilage in their knees.  Losing all of the cartilage in your knees is from years of wear and tear on your body and joints.

How does Collagen Help Joints?
  • Increases lubrication around joints to make more mobile
  • Helps to increase bone density (A BIG ONE FOR RUNNERS!)
  • Reduces inflammation around joints and improves healing of connective tissues

Throughout the upcoming months, I’ll be sharing more about my experience with collagen I’ve personally had including benefits in my skin, nails, and hair.  I’ll also share recipes I have been using and my favorite products.  If you have questions feel free to ask!  I am so excited to be an ambassador for Vital Proteins because I stand behind each of their products and company. 

Questions for you:

Do you take any supplements?

Have you ever tried a collagen supplement?

April Fools Half Marathon (1:26.08)

April Fools Half Marathon (1:26.08)

The April Fools Half race is typically one of my favorite races of the year. I PRed in 2014, won in 2015, and as most people know last year wasn’t my day.  Even though last year wasn’t my day, I enjoyed how well the race was put together and seeing friends.

Moving forward, not running well in 2017 meant I was hoping to run better in 2018. I wanted redemption (for myself).  As the race drew closer, I found myself having similar burn out symptoms as 2017.  A few weeks ago, I took several days off and focused on rest and recovery.  It was what I needed, and when the race drew closer, I felt more ready.

Like many racers this past weekend (People that ran Boston are awesome!), the conditions were not pleasant. It was spitting rain, and extremely windy. For me, I would rather it rain or not rain.  The change in weather made it difficult to prepare for.

Racing in torrential downpours is different than running in a dry 45 degree.  While driving down, I noticed we were going to deal with direct headwind and tailwind.  In 2016, it year it was Gail force winds, but crosswinds.  You never got a direct headwind, just sidewind down the shore.  It wasn’t pleasant, but it was better than racing through a headwind. This year it looked like you would run fast going out, then get your face smacked with the wind coming back.

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

And that’s exactly what happened.

I was between 5 different outfits depending on if the rain held off but ultimately decided to wear my Goretex jacket and shorts. I was happy I did.  Between my half marathon and Boston, it’s amazing to me, how many people are embarrassed to race in a jacket.  Race smart, and put some clothes on.

We got to the start around 6:45, chatted with friends, then lined up at 8.  By the time I knew it, we were off!  When the race started, I immediately found myself running alone. I remained alone for the entire race. I was within 15 seconds of one male, but for the most part, I ran alone.

The first few miles went by quickly. We had a significant tailwind.  I ran between 6:15-6:17 and hit the first 5k in 19:26. I felt good and better than I have in a while. Of course, the wind helped, but mentally I felt good.

The next few miles left the boardwalk.  I began counting down the miles.  It’s never good when you start counting down the miles at mile 5.

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

I hit the 10k in a wind-aided 38:13. It was just under PR pace.  I’m not one to take my races out fast, and the pace was faster than my PR at Phoenix.  I didn’t suddenly think, today I would PR because I knew the headwind would be nasty.  I did, however, feel good. ]

At 6.55 miles in, we turned around, and that is pretty much where all of the “race action” happened.

Immediately, into hitting the wind, I thought omg this will be rough.  We were running into an unblocked 35 mph headwind.  Which we did for the remainder of the race.  You could see the waves crashing on the shore and birds basically going backward.  At some points, I would stop dead in my tracks.  I had no one to draft off of, no one to commiserate with, just me and my thoughts (which mostly consisted of 4 letter words).

I knew it was important to run for the conditions and forget about pace. I ran mile 7 in 6:27.  The next two miles were two of the hardest miles I’ve run in my life (behind mile 16 of the New York City Marathon).  The wind was blowing straight in your face.

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

We were tucked along the shore, and the buildings didn’t provide a lot of protection.  I began passing racers going the opposite direction who were cheering.  I recognized many and tried to cheer, but it was difficult to hear anything over the wind blasting in your face.  I ran mile 8 in 7:15 and mile 9 in 6:58.  Two of my slowest half marathon miles in a long time, but I didn’t care.  I knew what the conditions were.

At mile 9, I told myself okay 4 miles to go.  We entered the unprotected boardwalk.  The shore was right there, and along the coast it gets windy.  I’ve never run in 35 mph headwind for a race, let alone along the waterfront.  Before the race, I had thought maybe a jacket was too much, but at mile 9 I was happy with it.  I had purposely only put 2 pins on my bib in case I wanted to delayer, but I was cold the last 4 miles.

I kept plugging along, and the miles slowly started ticking away.  My legs felt great, but the headwind was still there.  The miles went by without a lot of excitement.

Around mile 12, a woman darted across the boardwalk.  The boardwalk is wooden, and with the rain the boardwalk was slick.  The slickness is what caused me to wear the more cushioned Nike Zoom Fly, versus a racing flat.  Coincidently, I chose the shoe so I wouldn’t slip and fall.

When the cyclist saw the women, he told her to get off the course.  I, not as nicely, said to move. She didn’t, and within a second we collided and were both on the ground.  I fell directly onto my tailbone.  There was nothing more the cyclist or myself could have done to prevent that. It stunk, but it happened.

I layed there, on the ground at mile 12 of the race I desperately wanted to finish strong. The adrenaline kicked in, and before I knew it, I was up again. My adrenaline was pumping, just telling myself I had 7 more minutes of running.  At that point, nothing hurt.  The cyclist asked me if I was okay and I said yes.  All I could think about was finishing the race.

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

The last mile was tough, to begin with.  It’s a straight line, down the boardwalk.  It was windy, I had just fallen, and wanted the race to be done.  Finally, I saw the finish.

Like 2015, they weren’t able to inflate the blow up this year due to the wind.  Then I saw  I was going to break the tape.

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

Every emotion came out.  The previous night’s makeup was running from the rain, I was smiling, and I crossed the finish line in 1:26.08.

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

After the race, I was asked about my back.  I chose not to cool down, because of my tailbone. I talked with friends, including my good friend and local runner Erin.

I did get an X-ray which didn’t find anything broken.  In my personal experience, x-rays have never shown small fractures but if anything, I know it’s not shattered.  I’ve never hurt my tailbone before! That being said, I’m still cautious.  Due to where I hit, I got a few other tests done including a spinal tap to make sure nothing around my brain was bleeding (which it isn’t).

While 1:26.08 is “only” 9 seconds faster than the previous year: the weather was much more difficult (the weather was almost ideal last year), but most importantly, I crossed mentally feeling good.

Questions for you:
Did you race last weekend?  How was it?
Have you ever fallen during a race?

Training: Good Weather and Bad Weather

Training: Good Weather and Bad Weather

Last week went moderately well.  The goal was to finish the April Fools half marathon on Sunday.  As most people know from last year, it’s the race that broke me mentally.  It wasn’t the race, or one reason, but a series of events that you can read more here.

Anyway, the week itself was good.  Going into the race, the weather didn’t look great.  It wasn’t as bad as the Shamrock in 2016 or the Broad Street Run, but it wasn’t great weather.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: 12x400s averaging 88 seconds
Thursday: Easy run with Skip
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Easy run
Sunday: April Fools Half (1:26.08)

12x400s averaging 88 seconds with 400 easy jog in between

I haven’t been doing a lot of workouts, lately, but that was one of the better workouts I’ve had.  The weather was good, and I felt strong.  Not much more to say.  I felt as though I finally started to feel “good”.

April Fools Half Marathon (1:26.08)

On paper, it looks as if I ran 9 seconds faster than last year and 4 minutes slower than my recent PR.  The race had a headwind and tailwind.  Since the race is on the Oceanfront, the wind is magnitude. It was the hardest headwind I’ve ever battled.  There were so many times I wanted to give up from the wind but didn’t.  Some of the miles in the wind were around 7:15.  My effort was there, and it was a strong race for me.

As many people know, a pedestrian darted across the boardwalk around mile 12.  The cyclist told her to get out of the way, I (not as nicely) yelled to get out of the way, but she ignored everything.  The wind and slick boardwalk made it impossible for me to move that quickly out of her way.

We collided.

I fell completely on my butt and laid there for a few seconds.  In a matter of 5 seconds, I decided I was going to finish, got up, and ran.  it was a race that broke me mentally last year, and I wanted to finish. When I first got up, my adrenaline was pumping.  I wasn’t in any noticeable pain and I ran normally to the finish.   After I finished, and let my body cool down (I didn’t run at all…cool down meaning awkwardly stand and talk, and change clothing).  I also took a few minutes to process what happened.  To be honest, I’m not 100% proud that I wasn’t more cautious about finishing the race.  Looking back, I think I still would have got up and finished but I am not going to say it was the smartest thing to do.

Later in the day, my tailbone hurt.  It’s bruised and hurts more to sit.  It doesn’t radiate anywhere and only hurts in one location.  If I don’t have any noticeable improvement by Wednesday, I’ll get an Xray.

Other then that, I feel good about the week.  I’ve been focusing on rest and recovery.  I’ve been working on “doing the little things” such as sleep and resting, and I do believe it’s helping.

Posts from the Week:

Three Years of Marriage

ON Cloud Shoe Review

Questions for you:

How has the weather been around you?  

Training: Rest is also Training

Training: Rest is also Training

I had all of the intentions to run through the week, but then I felt like garbage.  On Monday I woke up sore, burned out, and not wanting to run.

So I didn’t.  I had the day off, and I decided to make a quick trip up to North Jersey and go hiking outside.  It was a beautiful day, and I wanted to be outside, but I didn’t want to run.  The hike was challenging but fun and I’m glad I enjoyed that.  While yes, running is my “primary workout activity,” it’s not the only thing I enjoy.  I enjoy hiking every bit as much as running.

hiking the palisades

The rest of the week I had no interest to run.  Each morning, I woke up and felt blah.  By Friday I thought I might go for a run but gave it another day.  My college coach once said: days off, saves months off.  I do believe if I hadn’t given myself a few days off, nothing would have changed.  My mentality is completely different from last week.

On Saturday, I ran a short run and I felt good.  It was the first time I actually wanted to get out there.  Things are not perfect, and I do feel as though my muscles need a lot of care.  I don’t feel bad, or sore, but my legs are tight.

Monday: Hiking the Palisades
Tuesday; Rest
Wednesday; Rest
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday; Easy 30 minutes
Sunday: Easy 30 minutes

The goal until the April Fools Half marathon is to focus on recovery and rest.  I would love to get a workout that makes me confident in running again, but I don’t want to overdo anything.  Making it to the start and finish line is the most important to me.

I feel as though I’m progressing in the right direction with running, but I still have longer to go.

Posts of the Week:

Hiking the Palisades

Phillies 5k (19:07) 

Questions for you:

Have you ever felt burned out with running?  How do you get through it?

How was your Easter?

8 years ago…I ran a race

8 years ago…I ran a race

Since 2010 St. Patrick’s day has held a much 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!  Eight years ago, I ran a 5k on my college campus that would change the path and direction of my life.

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 that said if 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 college roommates always appreciated my hoarding.  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.

Keep in mind my running history previous to March of 2010 was lackluster.  I barely passed the mile countless times in both middle and high school…Passing was 12:30 and my mile PR was 12:12.

At my high school, you didn’t have to take gym after 10th grade.  So after 10th-grade gym class, I avoided running like the plague.  Thinking out loud, the only two times I had run was to “impress” upperclassman on the swim team.  It wasn’t impressive, and I made a goober out of myself both times.

I wasn’t terribly athletic and certainly wasn’t coordinated through high school.  I did swim competitively and did enjoy that.  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 but I never (not once) used running as cross training.  Long story short I had no idea what I was getting myself with a trivial campus 5k into but the phrase “if it’s free, it’s for me” comes to mind with this race.

The race itself was a blur, and I finished around 24 minutes.  I don’t remember the exact time, but I remember not dying, texting my shocked marathon running dad, and picking up my t-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.

Of course, I didn’t tell my parents about this 5k, I didn’t want the embarrassment their daughter couldn’t finish a 5k.

After the race, I wore the t-shirt all around campus the following day.  I beamed with pride, smiling at random strangers also wearing our cheap cotton long sleeve shirts.

After the race, it wasn’t as if I magically became engrossed with running.  The race did make me realize running wasn’t all that bad.  I ran when it was nice out which ended up being 10-20 miles a week for a good portion of the spring.  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 at 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 didn’t sign up for another race until the following July over break.  My dad had asked me if I wanted to run both an 8k, and 10k but I turned him down because it was too far.  From there, I slowly ran more and even walked on to my college D3 cross country team.  I never had a “stand out season” there, however it was what I needed at the time.  You can read my entire running story here.

One of my first collegiate cross country races.

After that, 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 the cold, windy or not perfect weather.
I had no desires to run with anyone or at a specific time…
I didn’t run any more races until July.
But I ran…and when I did I enjoyed it.

You’re a runner if you say you are and that is all that matters.

Questions for you:
When did you get your (workout) start?
How was your St. Patricks Day weekend?

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler (24:30)

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler (24:30)

This is my third year running and also my slowest time yet!  The wind played a role, and I think my body caught up to me after trying to assimilate back into the real world from vacation.

I woke up on Sunday feeling exhausted.  I had gotten a deep tissue massage a few days prior, and while my legs had recovered well my half PR, I don’t think they did from the massage.

My in-laws, husband, and I got to the race around 9 am.  I did and quick warmup, realized how windy it was, and made it to the start.  By the time I knew it, we were off.

The first mile got out extremely slow.  It loops around the park and you go back under the start line before heading to down the canal.  My husband and a pack of four men was shortly ahead, followed by me.  My byline of racing lately is always chasing someone but never running with anyone.  I hit the first mile in 6:13 and wasn’t all that pleased.  I knew I was sore and it was windy but it’s always hard not to compare to what you have run before.

During the second mile, my husband and the lead pack separated.  I found myself running with another male chasing them down.  The towpath is on soft dirt/gravel and runs along the canal.  It was windy but not headwind or tailwind.  It was a crosswind where I somewhat worried I would be blown into the canal.  I hit the second mile in 6:08.

We made a 180 during mile 3 and headed back the way we came.  I enjoy mile 3 of the race because you see everyone else running and seeing other racers always motivates me.  I hit the third mile in 6:08.

The last mile was just trucking back to the start.  I felt better than the start but not great by any means.  I separated myself and was running alone.  I could see the finish and I saw my husband had pulled away and was going to win which was motivating.

I finished in 24:30 and it’s my slowest time yet, but the wind was definitely a factor.  This is only the second time both my husband and I have won a race together.  There are plenty of grilled cheeses and tomato soup at the end of the race (instead of the traditional banana), which makes it more fun.

grilled cheese and tomato soup 4 miler sick

Questions for you:

Have you done a unique race recently?

Where is the best grilled cheese you’ve gotten?

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