Tuesday, September 18, 2007

need for speed

2 mile warmup
6 x 400 @ 83-88 w/400 m jog recovery
7 x 200 @ 36-40 w/200 m jog recovery
2 mile cooldown

first speed workout in quite awhile...and it felt great! i ran with the a group with claire, natasha, jade, and kelly, and i seriously felt good - last year at this time, this workout would have annihilated me, so to be running with the top group, and at a pace faster than what we were "supposed" to be running (96 for the 400s and 48 for the 200s) was pretty awesome. and then we jumped into the lake off the crew pier, and it was glorious. it was kind of hot today, so it felt soooooo good. and now my legs are pretty much dead - it didn't feel that bad while i was doing the workout, but i'm definitely feeling it now. oh well, easy recovery day tomorrow!

xc week 1/midwest collegiate invite race report

monday - 5.5 miles on the cap city trail down past monona terrace...the weather finally cooled off, it was absolutely amazing running weather, and i felt like i was flying...a phenomenal run.
tuesday - fartlek workout (3 x 3 min hard/2 min easy, 2 min hard/1 min easy, 1 min hard/1 min easy) on lakeshore path...i ran with the front group! summer training is definitely paying off...i never would have believed that i could hang with claire and natasha in that kind of workout.
wednesday - 45 minutes easy
thursday - 8 x bascom hill...felt great!
friday - 20 minutes easy pre-race
saturday - midwest collegiate invitational @ uw-parkside!
first meet of the season, and i really am pretty happy with how it went. you couldn't have asked for a better day for a cross country meet...upper 50s and not a cloud in the sky. gorgeous. the meet was pretty big - i was so happy to finally make it there after trying the past couple of years and it never actually happening! we got there about an hour and a half early, which i liked, since i always like to wander around and stretch and chill out before races. there was a high school meet going on in the morning, and watching the last race (i think it was jv boys) really got the adrenaline going...i mean, its been quite a while since my last real cross country race. we warmed up on the course a bit, braved the immense line for the bathroom...and then it was go time!

being "open" athletes, we got a pretty shitty box on the VERY end of the field...we had to probably run an extra distance just to get to the hill, having to cut across the field after the start. i was planning on running the first mile with claire, but somehow i managed to lose her like i always do...i felt REALLY strong on the first hill...it went by faster then it ever has before. however, i paid for my 6:50 opening mile as i always do, and claire passed me not long after the mile mark. i definitely like the 5k course at parkside better than the 4k...not sure why, but it killed me less at the end. i did get a horrendous side cramp around the 1.5 mile mark, and there was a rough hill going up to 2 miles (i came through in 14:00 flat), and there were (as there always are during a cc race) times when i was thinking to myself "damnit i hate cross country...who was i kidding when i said i liked this?" etc, etc. there was a mark on the ground for the 4k, and i ran a 4k pr! (17:53, helll yeah! haha) the last 600 meters felt great...it was all on a downhill to 3 miles, and then that last 200 meters you just sprint out the life in you, and people are telling you to keep running through the chute, and you want to fall over, etc. but i passed a few girls and held off a few more, which was great. i ended up finishing in 22:11...SOOOOOOO close to my pr (22:04), but when i think about it, that was on a MUCH flatter/easier course, and it was at the end of an entire season of training. i ran this on one week of training! so overall, i was really pleased. i was the 3rd runner on our team, and 184th/255 overall (it was a really competitive meet...22 teams, including a bunch of DII, and a couple schools each from california and pennsylvania! crazy.) the guys ran awesome too...a lot of them have gotten tons better since last year, which is cool to see. and our team somehow became HUGE this year...we had 10 girls and 17 guys racing at the meet. by FAR the biggest team we've ever had when i've been there, and we were even missing a few of the usuals. overall, it was an absolutely fantastic day, and a great start to the season (and rewarding myself with a 94 cent icee afterwards didn't hurt


the giant wtc crew...awesome :)

sunday - 11.2 miles at 8:20 pace whaaaaat?! yes that's right, we ran with a girl who is training the marathon, and she took the pace out like whoa. we ran one of my favorite routes, picnic point/lake mendota trails to eagle heights and then out by blackhawk golf course, where there are some incredible houses and overall great scenery.

definitely an awesome week of training, but i am SORE from the meet/yesterday's epic run. no way could i have run that far at this point last season! i took today off, definitely needed the rest, but i really don't think i'll be taking every monday off, especially since fridays are always easy pre-meet days. also i need some new shoes soon...hard to believe there's already 500 miles on this pair since the end of june!
and thus ends week 1 of the wtc cross country season. i'm loving:
-being big enough to be more like a "real" team
-being a team leader this year!! both as far as being one of the faster people, and just as being older and more experienced...its really cool :)
-all of the awesome new people!
-being in better shape going into this season than i was at the end of last season
-having a full schedule and racing basically every weekend!!!!
9-22 concordia invite
9-29 GRIAK!
10-6 beloit old english classic
10-13 jim drews/tori neubauer @ LaX
10-20 uw-platteville? or 10-21 homecoming 5k @ madison
10-27 fall 15k
11-3 matc turkey trot
ummmm yeah. love it. :)

Monday, August 13, 2007

chicago distance classic race report!

so its hard to believe that 8 months after the idea first came to me to run a half marathon, after an entire summer of endless training towards this one end, that it finally actually happened. i actually don't even know if i've quite processed yet what an awesome accomplishment this actually was, but what i do know is everytime i think to myself "yeah, i ran a half marathon this weekend", i get just a surge of pride. so i will enlighten you with the story of the entire weekend, since it was definitely an entertaining one.

we left madison at around 10 am on saturday. our travel crew included me, zach, and nick, and we were picking up zach's girlfriend at o'hare later that afternoon. we were laughing about the fact that dallas, who was supposed to be running with us until he got hurt about 3 weeks ago, had actually signed up for a different half marathon in chicago on sept 9...kind of funny. everything was going pretty well until about an hour and 15 minutes out of madison, when a lady pulled up next to us and informed us that there was something dripping out of the car. we kind of brushed it off and kept driving...except then another man pulled up and yelled something to the effect of "i think your hose blew!" a couple minutes later, the engine started smoking, and we realized that yes, we were definitely going to have to pull over. we ended up at a gas station in rockford...where we stood for awhile trying to figure out where exactly the bright green liquid dripping out of zach's car was coming from. luckily there was a subway in the gas station, so we decided to get some food before figuring out what to do next. zach called his girlfriend's grandpa, who happens to live in rockford, and he came out to look at the car but didn't know what to do about it. we went back inside and zach started calling around to try and find a place that would fix his car on the weekend. we finally found a place run by a korean man named chang who apparently was pretty hard to understand but said he would fix the car "today...tomorrow....i fix whenever". so that situation was okay...now the question was getting to chicago. i honestly cannot BELIEVE how lucky we were...as it turns out, the van galder bus runs from rockford to downtown chicago....not only that, but the gas station we stopped at was located directly across the street from the bus stop, and we got to the bus stope like 10 minutes before the bus showed up. it was ridiculously good timing, and so we hopped on the bus for the trip into downtown.

the bus schedule had said that we weren't going to get into the city until 4, but we got there at 3 - they must have been counting on much worse traffic. we started walking through the city on our way to the hilton, where we had to pick up our packets...we must have looked ridiculous walking around with all of our luggage and pillows and stuff, but whatever. the expo was pretty crazy - i mean, i've been to plenty of dance conventions but...a running convention? crazy. and awesome. as nick said, "there aren't any fat people around here!" we got our chips, numbers, shirts, and some free wheaties, and then decided we should probably try and find the L train that would take us first to o'hare to pick up zach's girlfriend and then to logan square, where we were staying at zach's roommate's brother's apartment. this also turned into an interesting experience, because apparently they were doing some construction between the downtown stop and like 2 stops away from logan square, so we had to take a bus over there, then take the train to wherever else we had to go. we thought we were going to be super early to the airport, but all of that, plus there being a ton of traffic, meant we literally saw her plane touch down and got there like exactly on time. then we took the L back to logan square, except now we had 3 huge suitcases along with us too...which was entertaining when we finally got to our stop and had about 13 seconds to get up and get out of the train before the doors closed. by now it was about 7:30 when we finally got to logan square.

the crew in front of the sears tower

so the next task was to find the apartment where we were staying...more complicated than it sounds when all the streets go through this random central circle and no one knows which direction is which. but we eventually figured out where we were going, which ended up being like a mile and a quarter walk from the station. by the time we got the the apartment we were all pretty much dead, and we made some pasta, got things set up for the next day, and went to bed at like 9:30...after all, we had to wake up at 4 am the next day!

and it was definitely a very weird night's sleep. melanie called me at 10 and i woke up thinking it was like 2 in the morning, everyone had been drinking tons of water and gatorade so we all kept having to get up to go to the bathroom, not to mention it was insanely hot in the apartment. time definitely becomes warped when you have to get up that early. when everyone's alarms finally went off at 4 am, it was raining outside...apparently there had been a HUGE storm at like 2. we basically rolled out of bed and changed into our running gear, i ate a granola bar and some wheaties and made myself another cup of powdered gatorade, we all checked to make sure we had our chips and then headed out. it was kind of eerie walking through the streets of this neighborhood at 4:30 am...there was not a single person anywhere, except for one crazy man who yelled at us out of his car. i can't imagine what anyone must have thought if they'd looked out their window and seen us walking down the street...all wearing short shorts and running shoes at 4:30 in the morning. we finally got to the metro stop and took the 4:58 train downtown, then transferred to the bus which luckily ran a lot quicker when there was no traffic at this time of the morning. we got to our stop around 5:30 and headed over to the start.

as zach's girlfriend put it, "how did they find 12,000 freaks to run 13 miles at 6:30 in the morning?" it was pretty much chaos. insane amounts of porta-potties. people taking pictures. hardcore runners warming up. teams running for some charity or another. people with signs. people stretching. all against the backdrop of the early morning sky over chicago. pretty sweet. i honestly wasn't very nervous before the race...i mean, it honestly didn't feel so much like a race as just another distance run to get through, only with thousands of other people. and in my mind it really didn't seem like it was going to be that bad. "ah well, 12 miles wasn't so bad, 13 will be no problem!" even when nick and i jogged to the 8 minute mile start corrall with like 5 minutes to go, we were joking about the guy on the pa talking about all the milk that was waiting for us at the end of the run, and i was like wow, that's about the LAST thing i would want after running 13 miles, and nick quoted anchorman: "its so hot...milk was a bad choice!" we were packed in with thousands of other people, and then the horn sounded. it took about a minute for us to get to the actual start, and i heard that it was pretty much a stampede of people for about 10 minutes. and then....we were off!

about 5 minutes to race time in chicago

the first few miles flew by...i was right on pace at right around 8 flat, and i was feeling GREAT...like i could do it all day. the first 5 miles or so looped around in the city, and there were people on every corner ringing cowbells and cheering us on. around 4 miles we ran through a crazy tunnel right under the L line, and with the trains going overhead it seemed like it was thunder from the thousands of people running. we saw jess around that point and she yelled for us and ran trying to take a picture, and nick threw her his singlet since it was already starting to get really hot and humid, even that early in the race. somewhere around the 10k mark was when things started to become considerably more unpleasant. i guess i really hadn't expected it to start hurting that early in the race, but there was a kind of gradual uphill for awhile and i think that really started to bring the pain. its weird, because at the time every mile seemed to go on FOREVER, but yet the overall time of the run seemed to take like a minute. anyway, i had really only planned to stop at like 3 water stations, but that plan was basically shot with the humidity...i mean, you know its bad when you can feel yourself becoming dehydrated. i had to walk through a couple water stations, mainly because i can't drink when i run, and therefore my hydration basically consists of me throwing the cup at my face and hoping some of it makes it in my mouth. i started feeling a bit better through 8 and 9 (and seriously, i think i owe it to the fact that i had some gatorade right before mile 8, and they were playing some kickass techno poms song out of a car....and i was pumped haha), but after that it was horribly brutal the rest of the way. mile 11 was absolutely the WORST, and my slowest mile of the day in 8:42. i remember telling nick "oh my god, i want to die right now". i was kind of mad at myself for falling off pace, and yet there was nothing i could do to pick it up. but i am happy: i NEVER went into 9 minute mile territory, and i only had 2 miles over 8:30. and the nice thing about having 12,000 people in a race is this: you are CONSTANTLY passing people, which makes you feel awesome about yourself. and thank god nick was there, or i would have slowed down SO much more...and he kept running just a little bit in front of me being like..."yeaaah i know you want to slow down but guess what? you can't!" such strange things pop into your head when you're running for that long...i vividly remember thinking "this hill is your BITCH!" on one uphill around mile 6. anything to keep myself going haha. i'm pretty sure the humidity was what got to me most - like, around the 10th mile, i started feeling like...cold, and having goosebumps, which somehow i feel like was not a good sign. but hey, whatever, i got through it, and there was seriously no sight so beautiful as the finish banner at the end of the last straightaway. and even though i'd been killing myself for almost 2 hours, even though i was dead and having to draw up every ounce of my strength just to continue moving forward, for that last .1 mile, i kicked it in. i passed people. i vividly remember passing two people because they were wearing headphones...yeah, i was going at it. and at the same time it was like...the faster i get across that line the faster i can STOP! and i don't think stopping running has ever felt so good as it did at that moment. of course immediately went to the hands-on-knees death grip that's the only position i want to be in after running, hard, but nick dragged me up and we went through the chute. the first group of volunteers had ICE COLD SOAKED TOWELS...which let me tell you, may not sound that great, but it was absolutely the most glorious thing ever when you're overheated and have been running for what seems like forever. then there's gatorade. then there are people giving you a sweet medal. then there are people cutting off your timing chip as you almost fall over. and then there's water, and bagels, and bananas, which i had to stand around for about half an hour before wanting to eat any of haha.

once nick and i finally got through the craziness of the chute area, we realized we had to walk like 3 blocks in the other direction to where we said we were going to meet zach and jess. not the greatest choice of meeting spots when your legs feel like they're about to collapse at any moment and your hip hurts and you just want to sit down. and seriously, it felt SO GOOD to sit down. we didn't even care that we couldn't find them at first, because we didn't want to stand up and walk anywhere haha. finally we did meet up with them again. zach apparently went out waaaaay hard and practically ran an 8k pr because "i felt good!". he ended up falling off his goal pace but still ran 1:19 something and finished 70th overall! in a field of thousands? that's insane.

my final time: 1:48:46 (8:18 pace)

splits: 1- 8:00, 2- 8:01, 3- 7:59, 4-8:04, 5- 8:01, 6- 8:19, 7- 8:28 (this was where the pain really started to hit me), 8 - 8:36, 9- 8:24 (nick forced me to pick it up again), 10- 8:27, 11- 8:46 (ouch. is all i have to say.), 12 - 8:28, 13- 8:20

1538/8720 overall, 334/4475 women, 62/662 AG

representing wisco TC after the race! we're seriously awesome.

so after we had all recovered somewhat, we walked back to the train/bus station to get back to logan square. time seemed so warped at this point....like, it was only 9 am and we'd already been up for 5 hours and had run 13.1 miles! we passed a starbucks and zach was like "audrey, there you go!" because i had said the night before that the first thing i was doing after the race was going to one of the 30000 starbucks in the downtown chicago area and getting a frappuchino, but at the time i wasn't in the mood. except then, 3 blocks later, nick wanted to go to dunkin' donuts (which there are also about 3000 of in chicago) to get a donut....and when i saw iced latte things on the menu, i couldn't resist. the lady at the register was extremely impressed though when she found out we'd already run 13.1 miles that morning! we finally made it back to the bus and were pretty much comatose the entire way back to the apartment...zach fell asleep sitting up and the rest of us just kind of stared off into space. when we got to the L train, another guy who had been in the race got on the same car with us and was like "i bet no one else wants to get on this car, this is the smelly section"...which was quite true, since we'd all been sweating quite a bit over the past few hours. the walk back to the apartment seemed to take forevvver, and all we really wanted to do was sit down. i ended up taking a shower first, and came out to find everyone else passed out, so i decided to join them, and we all slept for about an hour. then everybody else started to shower...i went to get some water and found zach sitting on the floor eating cereal in the kitchen because he was actually too tired to stand up or walk anywhere else. it was pretty funny, but basically defined how we all felt: absolutely beat. buuuut unfortunately we still had to walk back to the train station to take the train back to o'hare where we could take a bus...and this time we had to drag the suitcases again. we stopped at this extremely sketchy looking but awesome/authentic mexican/salvadorian restaurant called el guanaco...we got about 5 extra of these el salvadorian things called pupusas, which are like flat breaded things with pork or cheese or beans inside, and they were pretty amazing. i also got this GIGANTIC burrito for $3.50...like, it was qdoba sized, kind of ridiculous, but delicious. the guy who rang us up was also impressed by the fact that we were runners. i can only imagine how many strange looks we got wandering around with all these huge suitcases and with running shoes hanging from our bags, but to tell you the truth, i felt pretty sweet sporting my chicago distance classic shirt.

so finally the journey home, which wasn't too exciting. we took the L back to o'hare (by now we were basically pros at getting out the doors before they closed) and took the van galder bus back to rockford, we all basically passed out as soon as we got on the bus. chang had fixed the car as promised, so we went to the sketchy little repair shop to pick it up, and then finally were headed back to madison! we made it back around 7, having seriously spent the majority of time over the past couple of days either traveling or running, and it was ridiculously good to come home and just crash. and there you have it, the exciting tale that was the WTC adventure to chicago for the chicago distance classic half marathon!

so now, to sum up my novel about this weekend, i have the philosophical part...this crazy half marathon journey. i remember thinking when i was thinking about how GOOD it felt just to be sitting down, about a quote from grey's anatomy: "maybe we like the pain. maybe we're wired that way. because without it, i don't know, maybe we just wouldn't feel real. what is that saying? why do i keep hitting myself with a hammer? because it feels so good when i stop." and really, i think that sums up why anyone would ever want to do a half marathon, or any kind of distance running in general. i mean yeah, you want to die while your doing it. there's really no escaping that. you're going to feel like crap, and your legs are going to hurt, and you're going to have to pee, and you're going to have gatorade all over yourself from when you tried to drink but splashed all over because you wanted to keep running, and you're going to be sweating out more water then you even knew you had in you, and your head is just going to be spinning with why, why, why would i put myself through this hell, why would i pay money and travel and train all that time to come out here and wear a number and kill myself for an hour and 48 minutes? its because when you're done, you can't imagine having ever felt so good in your life. that's whats so weird about racing: its like as soon as you're done, you absolutely can't for the life of you remember just how bad it felt when you were out there. which i think is the only reason you can convince 12,000 crazy people to come run 13.1 miles at 6 in the morning. i mean god, if i could still vividly feel the way i felt during that race, no way would i ever want to do anything remotely like it again. but people do. and i do. you keep racing, you keep trying to get better, you keep thinking of the little things that could make you just that much faster. and when you're done you just feel so phenomenal - not like you could go out and race again, because your legs are heavy and you feel like death - but like you are just the most kickass person on the face of the planet. there's a quote from running with the buffaloes that also sums it up well: " in many ways, a race is analogous to life itself. once it is over it cannot be recreated. all that is left are impressions in the heart, and in the mind." you can't change anything that happened out on the course, and you can never fully relive it, the good parts and the parts of it when you just wanted to die. but it was what it was, and the way you feel when you finish is really something that never leaves you.

i'm one of those people who is really weird about what t-shirts i wear to big events...races, and back in high school, dance competitions and things like that. i know its just a t-shirt, and its not like i'm superstitious where i think what i'm wearing is going to impact my race somehow, but i like the shirt i wear to have some kind of meaning to me, something that would never be obvious to an outside observer, but just a personal thing. to the start line of the half marathon, i wore a t-shirt from the 2003 tosafest run to defeat als. normally i would have worn a tosa west track shirt, or maybe the "no mercy, no limits" or orange tye dye ones that have always especially related to track for me. but the reason i wore this seemingly random, old shirt that i hardly ever wear because to be honest, its kind of an ugly color, is this: it was the FIRST distance race i ever ran. in my life. a little under 4 years ago, i stepped to the line of that 5K road race and ran 3.1 miles in 9:09 pace. yesterday, i ran 13.1 miles in 8:19 pace. and that's why i wore that shirt. because how far i've come as a runner in just 4 years is amazing to me. and 4 years ago, or even a year ago, there is no way i could have even IMAGINED doing what i did yesterday. and that to me is what running the half marathon was all about. i had made a list of people to "dedicate" each mile to - you know, think of them for a little extra inspiration, or whatever. and honestly, only a few of them actually crossed my mind during the race (though that doesn't mean the others weren't there). all of those people had some impact on my getting to that line yesterday...from a guy who made me run faster in workouts because i wanted to show off to my high school cross country team for giving me the first step into distance running, to my dad who i know would be running with me if he could. but most of all, this race was for me. it was for a 16 year old who randomly decided "hey, why not try to run a road race?" it was for a 17 year old who said "i'm going to make it to state this year if it kills me, and i think joining the cross country team is going to help me do it." it was for a 19 year old who one night in january, through the boredom of winter break, thought, "you know what would be cool to do this summer? run a half marathon...i mean, just to finish, not to race or anything....". it was for realizing i love running. for 12 milers through brookfield, mile repeats, 2-a-days, and forcing myself out there no matter how hot it was or how much i didn't want to or how many hours it took to psych myself up. and i never would have thought 8 months ago, when i randomly decided that this would be a good reason to keep running over the summer, what an absolutely incredible experience it would become. everytime i look at my bib number, or my finishers medal, or my t-shirt, or my towel from the finish, i can't help but feel a swell of pride. and yes, i've been running for 6 years now, but i think that after this, after a year of realizing my true love for the sport and training and racing not because someone told me to or because i'm on a team, but because i want to, and because i truly love it, that i can finally, and truly, call myself a runner. and let me tell you, it feels damn good.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

a semi-lazy week and cap mile race report

Monday: 6 miles on Underwood with WARP
250-200-150-100-100 [i was seriously sore for 4 days after this...its been a long time since i last sprinted]
Tuesday: 4 miles with WARP
Wednesday: off
Thursday: 5 miles tempo on underwood
2.5 easy to work PM
Friday: 8 miles to Jacobus and back
Saturday: off
Sunday: Capitol Mile!

the cap mile honestly went better than i even could have imagined. i wasn't even sure i was going to race, having gotten almost no sleep after a night out the night before. but i figured since i had been somewhat lazy the past week and my mileage wasn't that high anyway, that i might as well at least do a race. i volunteered basically the whole morning, and my race wasn't until 3:45. i did a bit of a warmup with claire but neither of us were exactly hardcore going into the race. we got to line up on the line with a former irish OLYMPIAN, which was pretty sweet. and i have to say, this was probably one of the better distance races i've run. i ran EVEN SPLITS...that never happens to me. but i went through the 400 in 90 sec, the 800 in 3:01, the 1200 in like 4:32, and then finished in 6:02...by FAR my fastest mile ever. and not to mention, i felt pretty damn good doing it! i know if i had kicked a little earlier i probably could have broken 6, but we'll save that for another day haha. i was like laughing around the half mile mark because dallas and nick were dancing around and screaming like "WTCCCCC WOOOOO!" haha. not to mention, i ended up 1st in my age group, and 3rd overall in the open women's race....and i won $50! (and i didn't even know there were cash prizes...haha) so overall, DEFINITELY glad i ended up racing. a fantastic day overall.

yesterday: 10.2 miles in the blazing heat, was not fun at all but hey, i didn't do a long run on sunday so i felt like i needed to. and its even hotter today, so i'm glad i don't need to run as far now. less thatn 2 weeks until the half marathon....eek!

Friday, July 20, 2007

doubles, humidity, and taking it easy

tuesday: 3 miles PM w/ middle schoolers
7.3 (approx. 7:45 pace) PM
i randomly stumbled across some pretty sweet trails through the woods that run on the other side of the river from the trails i usually run on along the parkway. running through the woods always makes me feel faster and the time goes by more quickly. once again i don't really have much of a grasp on the meaning of "easy" running, and with the humidity at about 75% this was pretty rough.

wednesday: AM workout with warp: hard/easy ladder going 1-2-3-4-3-2-1 for a total of about 5 miles (with warmup)
PM: 3.5 miles (lamplighter) with the track camp
the workout that j-lo gave me for the warp high schoolers was tough, even for me. but at the same time, it felt GOOD and is definitely the kind of thing i need to do to get my speed and endurance up at the same time. i feel like i definitely need to to something similar it a few more times this summer, especially as a cc base workout. i promised myself i wasn't going to do any more doubles since my legs have definitely been starting to feel it, but i just couldn't say no to getting paid to run again at track camp. so i did it. it was insanely humid again, so it wasn't exactly a breeze, but in the end i was glad.

thursday: 3 miles easy AM with middle schoolers
friday: 5 miles easy AM with warp
the nice thing about running with middle schoolers and slower high school runners the past couple of days is that it has FORCED me to run slow. like, 9 minute or above mile slow. which is actually really good, because my legs have seriously been feeling shot from all this two-a-day business, which i suppose comes with the territory of having to run with my campers in the morning and then wanting to do my own workout later. one thing is for sure: my mileage this week is going to be INSANE. i'm already at almost 35, and tomorrow i'm doing a 12 miler...so its looking pretty likely that i'm going to hit 50 miles this week. insanity.

Monday, July 16, 2007

so i lied...

about not doubling up today. i apparently have now become the distance coach for the high school track camp i work at as well, and ended up doing 3.5 miles with them at what i would definitely call tempo pace. we were cruising...and if the definition of tempo is "comfortably hard", well that was definitely what this was. didn't have a watch with me so i'm not sure of exact pace, but as far as exertion levels went it was pretty hardcore.
so, 8.5 miles on the day for monday, not too shabby. with the help of my high school coach, i've come up with something pretty brutal for my cross country camp kids on wednesday. lets just say i'm not looking forward to doing it with them...but its definitely the kind of workout i need to do.

race report, etc.

thursday: 2.5 miles am w/ middle schoolers, 8 miles easy [with a few walking breaks due to be completely lost]
friday: off
saturday: alex devinny memorial 4k, kenosha, wi.
sunday: 7.1 easy
monday: 5 easy

thursday's run taught me an important lesson: make SURE you know your route well if you're planning on running in a new place, especially the complicated twisting neighborhoods of brookfield, wi. i had planned on doing an easy 5.5 miler, partially because i still felt like crap from wednesday's speed workout, and partially because i wanted to take it easy before the race on saturday. i pretty much felt like crap from the very beginning but figured i'd be fine. as it turns out, i missed a turn completely, and then decided to take a different road that i figured would eventually take me back to the same place i wanted to go...unfortunately, whoever planned brookfield decided it would be a good idea to include lots of dead ends and circular roads, which is how i ended up running/walking in circles for about 15 minutes, only to finally come out about a mile and a half further away from my start than i had wanted to go. needless to say, i was not at all pleased with the situation...my legs were shot anyway, and so much for saving it for saturday. ah well, next time i know to memorize my route before i leave.

so race report! the alex devinny memorial 4k, held at the parkside cross country course in kenosha. this was one of the races that i absolutely was determined to do for a couple of reasons: one, because parkside was the site of my first cross country race ever, and also because the girl who the race was in honor of was a phenomenal runner [i saw her race when i was a sophomore and it was just amazing] who died very young of an eating disorder, and the money made from the race went to promote eating disorder awareness/research...which i think is a great cause, to mention it seems like a fitting tribute. anyway...digression. it was also fun because my friends nicole and claire, along with a couple others from the club were racing - nice representation of the wtc!

i got to the course at around 8:15, registered and warmed up with nicole and claire. it was really fun to have the true cross country race atmosphere as opposed to just a road race, plus wearing spikes was exciting. :) the overwhelming majority of the runners were high school and college age, which was also cool and definitely gave it more of a cross country feel. the parkside course is one of the hardest courses i've ever raced on, pretty much the entire first 800 meters are uphill, and the last 1200 meters involves going up and down hills through a back forest...not exactly fun. i immediately started feeling it within the first 200 meters of the race that it was going to be pretty painful, but once i made it up the first monster hills kind of went into cruise mode for awhile. passed a few people around the 1200 mark, and i actually have no idea what my mile split was since i forgot my watch and apparently the guy calling splits was wrong, but oh well. claire caught up to me soon after the mile mark and i managed to run with her while passing people for another 1200 or so. i was actually feeling pretty good going into the last 3/4 mile of the course, but that's where it hit the fan, just as it did 3 years ago the first time i ever raced there. the hills in the last part of the course absolutely KILLED me, and i was so frustrated as i watched claire pulling further and further away with each hill. my legs felt absolutely shot. despite that, the only people who passed me besides claire in those backwoods were a girl and a guy, who at first i was really angry because they passed me and they were talking, like having an easy conversation...except for then i realized that the girl runs for wisconsin, and i assume she was basically running the race as an easy workout. frustrating, yes, but i'm no d1 distance runner. i also had absolutely NO finishing kick, which was frustrating because that's usually where i'm pretty strong. i still finished in 17:55 or 56, which is only a couple seconds off my 4K pr, and that was run on a MUCH easier course, and at the end of a full cross country season, not in the middle of a summer of half marathon training. i ended up 6th in my age group (claire was 3rd, and was only like 20 seconds ahead of me) and 61st overall, so not too bad. and it was a lot of fun going back to the 4K distance, although seriously, i feel like every race is equally painful. 4k..5k...6k...4 miles....no matter the distance, its going to hurt. a lot. and if it doesn't...you're not really running hard enough. i guess my only complaint is that my pace was just about the same as it was for the 4 miler...which is kind of stupid...i mean, you'd think that my pace would be faster over only 2.5 miles? but i guess i have to look at the circumstances...i've been sore this entire week, and of course there are the hills to consider.

i feel like for this cross country season, i need to work on my pacing/race strategy. i seem to have this barrier, no matter the distance, that i canNOT go under 7:05/mile. i really think i'm capable of holding sub-7 pace over a 5K at least...i mean, if i can run 4 repeat miles with the slowest being 6:54, i feel like there's no reason i can't run 3 7 minute miles back to back. i think it has a lot to do with two things: my first mile, and my extreme slowdown usually in the second mile somewhere. i think if i'm going to get to where i want to be, i NEED to learn to control my first mile. yes, eventually going out in 6:45 will probably be a good idea (maybe even by the end of this cc season? i hope so.) but for now, i feel like going out a few seconds slower might help me in the long run. but maybe not...maybe i'd slow down the same amount so it wouldn't help at all. ah cross country...painful painful painful, and the only way you can fix your mistakes is by racing again.

this race got me excited about the upcoming cross season though. some of the races we're doing might be 6k, which kind of sucks because 6k is a damn long way, but having done the 4 miler i feel a bit better about being able to hold a decent pace.

and other than that, running has been going decently. i was irritated yesterday because i couldn't get in as long of a run as i wanted to because of family stuff, but oh well. i decided not to double up today just to give my legs a bit of a break, but i'll be back into it hardcore this week. racing saturday i think reignited my motivation, so hopefully the midsummer slump i've had the past couple of weeks is over. :)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

back at it

friday: 4.5 miles VERY easy with high schoolers
saturday-monday: off
tuesday: 2 miles easy in the morning with my middle schoolers, 5 miles afternoon in a torrential downpour
wednesday: 1.5 miles easy in the morning
1 mile warmup
3200 @ 14:47 (10K race pace...ish)
2 x 1600 @ 6:54, 6:59 (approx. 5K race pace)
2 x 800 @ 3:18, 3:16 (sub-5K race pace)
half mile cooldown

after 3 days completely off spent lounging by the pool, shopping my face off, and eating ridiculous amounts of incredible food in vegas, its been a little difficult getting back into the swing of training, but i think after today i'll be over the hump. tuesday i ran in a torrential downpour and was reminded of just how fantastic running in the rain is...it seriously makes me feel so free. as the song says, "everytime it rains, i know its good to be alive"

today's workout almost killed me, i have no idea exactly why i felt so bad, but i was dragging like crazy. my legs just felt like bricks, and the second mile interval especially was just downright killer. i'm hoping that its just the residual effects of taking a pretty easy week followed by a few days completely off combined with the fact that it was a pretty damn hard workout to begin with. on the positive side of things though, whatever was driving my knee insane appears to have backed off. it was still bothering me while i was in vegas, but at the moment it seems to be completely fine...keeping my fingers crossed.

up for the rest of the week is mostly some easy running leading up to a 4K race that i'm doing in kenosha on saturday. sunday will definitely be a long run day, i'm hoping to make it 12. race day is only a month away, so its time to start turning up the heat.

oh, and as a disclaimer, i hardly remember writing the last post. but apparently, even when drunk, i feel compelled to make updates on my life as a runner. :P

Friday, July 06, 2007


my running has been shitty lately, on account of various things not limited to: vacation to las vegas starting tomorrow through monday night, something seriously fucked up in my right knee that does not allow me to bend it into any position that remotely resembles twisted, and currently, alas, my state that allows alcohol to be the most prominent feature in my mind/thoughts.
anyway, this week sucks running-wise. i might get in 25 miles if i'm lucky, but we'll see about that. next week its back to hardcore training. and hopefully i'll run into this jerry character again....

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

firecracker four

hmm...what to say about this race. i didn't run quite as well as i had hoped/expected, but i think i'm still pretty happy with my performance. my time was 28:51 (although by my watch i was at 28:46), so not too far over my goal, and definitely at around my 5K PR pace. i actually guarantee that if this race had been a 5K i would have run a pr, which is thrilling! i would say my downfall was going out too fast....6:29....why would i do that for a race that's 4 miles? i mean, if i do that next week that's okay (when i'm only running 2.5 miles), but not in the longest race i've ever been in. i was frustrated because i kept getting passed, especially in the 3rd mile, which was where i slowed down a lot...it was pretty awful. it was basically all i could take just to keep going...that classic half to 3/4 point of a race where you basically just want to die. its funny how that translates to basically any race...3rd lap of the 800 indoors/back curve of the 400/back straight of the 800 outdoors/2nd mile of a 5k, etc. you can't escape the death portion of the race where the finish isn't even in sight yet, but that's really where the race is made or not. that's the part of the race i need to work on pushing through. i definitely picked it up the last mile though to stay under 29 minutes. so overall, a pretty tough race, but decent. it looped through just a lot of neighborhoods...tons of people sitting out on their lawns and turning their sprinklers on the streets which was nice since it was incredibly humid, luckily the sun didn't come out until after the race. and while i'm not overly thrilled that i didn't quite make my 7 minute mile goal, i definitely feel like that would be doable at a shorter distance [ahem....5K]. so overall, i would say today was a success.
10/33 women 18-24
23/206 women
162/632 overall

Monday, July 02, 2007


2 miles easy
hill workout downtown - 4 x short steep hill, 2 x long gradual hill
the warp girls wanted to go run hills downtown so we did - it was a pretty good workout and even though i didn't get much distance in for the day, i feel okay about slacking a bit...i really want to run well on wednesday! i have the feeling my mileage is going to suffer a bit this week what with traveling to vegas for 3 days and all, but eh, it happens. a few days off never hurt!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

firecracker four goal

first of all, after rereading the previous 2 posts i realized i re-stated basically the exact same thing in both...guess my long run left me a little out of it...
but then i decided i want to actually put a goal on paper for wednesday, so here it is: sub 7 pace. i have no idea how this will work out, since i've never managed to go sub-7 for a 5K, let alone 4 miles, but like i keep saying, i've been training harder distance-wise than i ever have and i feel like its going to pay off. so we'll see what happens!


today: 11.2 miles in 1:29:16
= average slightly under 8 minute mile pace!! i ended up with 43.5 miles total on the week, the most mileage i've run in a week ever in my life, and i'm feeling awesome. i've had 3 completely fantastic workouts this week and i definitely feel like i'm probably in the best shape i ever have been. my blister is finally mostly healed so i've been running in the new shoes again and they feel great. i'm pretty pumped for the firecracker four on wednesday - i think i might surprise myself with how i run. definitely pumped! i'm also totally right on track where i want to be for the half marathon...actually, maybe even better than i thought i'd be at this point! awesome.

and its a good thing i've been running so much with all the beer and fried cheese products i've consumed over this glorious summerfest weekend. :)

Saturday, June 30, 2007

easy pace? what's that?

friday: 4 miles easy and striders at hart park with the warp girls

saturday: 5 miles at SUB 7 PACE...what? i always do this..."easy" runs turn into tempo without me even thinking about it, it just feels so good. granted i did get stopped by a train for about 5 minutes in the middle of it, but still. after today i have the feeling that i'm definitely going to surprise myself with how i can run in the firecracker four on wednesday...i'm pumped! i definitely think i'm in a lot better shape than i expected, probably the best distance running shape i've ever been in. and that makes me so excited for the upcoming cross season...this could be my breakthrough.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

miles of trials

today was one of those workouts that you always dread going into and come out the other side feeling a whole lot better than when you started. the plan was to do 4 x 1600 @ 7:05 with 800 meter jog recovery. however as i learn more and more every year about myself, the times i want to run aren't the same as the times i'm "supposed" to run...and thus my times are almost always faster than my goal pace...its been this way since high school. i remember senior year my cc coach telling me that if i could race the way i practiced, i'd be on varsity for sure, because no matter what time i was projected to run, i basically always ran with the 5th or 6th varsity runners. yeah, i'm just weird. anyway, the actual workout of the day ended up being:
1 mile warmup
4 x 1600 @ 6:54, 6:56, 6:47, 6:31 [!!!] w/ 800 m jog recovery
1 mile cooldown
yeah, your guess is as good as mine where i pulled a 6:31 out of on the last interval. clearly i'm capable of running a lot faster miles than i think i am. and i'm amazed that my times didn't get worse at all, with the exception of the 2 second dip on the second one, but whatever, i took 9 seconds off on the third. my basic thought process was just: get into a pace, and then STEADY...that was my word of the day. it was also the first time i've run without headphones in awhile [mostly because it was my first speed workout in awhile], but as a rule i usually don't run with headphones when i'm doing track workouts. so the soundtrack of my workout was the wind blowing, birds chirping, and about 30 4 year olds playing steal the bacon on the football field haha. the weather finally broke out of the insane heat wave we've been having and was like 66 and sunny...maybe not perfect summer conditions for laying at the beach, but just about perfect for a workout. it was tough, but not overwhelming, and i was so impressed with myself for keeping my times especially when i'm running by myself on this random crappy 6 lane track that hasn't been redone in years. but i kept thinking to myself: this is where champions are made...on random tracks where no one is watching but some lady walking around the track and lifting weights and its 11:32 am on a random thursday and you're doing mile repeats at 10-30 seconds under your goal pace not because anyone is making you, but because you want to and you can. great day. :)

and now i'm off to check out a new coffee shop by my house, work my little kids track meet later tonight, and then finally head down to summerfest for the jack's mannequin concert! hoorah.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

return of the running [b]log

so obviously my idea kind of fizzled out last summer, but i'm back to give it another try. especially since i have been/will be running a LOT more miles this summer than last summer, mainly for two reasons: i've pretty much converted to a distance runner, and i'm training for a half marathon at the end of the summer! i'll be roadtripping down to chicago with a couple of guys from my club to race in the chicago distance classic half marathon. when i first came up with the idea to do a half marathon [over winter break i think it was?] i wanted to run just to finish, but my newfound distance runner mentality has changed my mind...i want to train to run well! other races on the schedule for the summer are the firecracker four in hales corners, alex devinny memorial 4k in kenosha, and the capitol mile in madison.

i have a running log that my dad got me for christmas, and i've really enjoyed keeping track of my mileage and workouts, but there's really not enough room to get into specifics about runs, so that's basically what the point of this is.

so today: 4.5 miles with my high school girls. right now it is 87 degrees, feels like 93 according to weather.com, and it is HUMID, making what would normally be a pretty easy run a death march basically. its finally supposed to cool off tomorrow and i can't wait...not to say that i don't like summer weather, but when you're trying to train i'd definitely rather it be cooler. i also have an absolutely horrendous blister on my arch from my new shoes...i guess that's what i get for breaking in a new pair of shoes by going for an 11.2 mile run in them...whoops. other than that they feel great, but i think i need to wait for this damn thing to heal before i wear them again...it hurts pretty much constantly when i run because there's always something rubbing on it. oh well....pain is temporary, pride is forever.

i might do another short workout before track camp later, maybe some 200s or 400s just to stride out a little bit, but we'll see. i think the one thing missing from my training at the moment is some longer speed work, so i think i'm going to try and get some mile repeats going tomorrow. later today i'm going to play some tennis with meghan, so if nothing else i'll get another workout in!