Boston marathon training: week 6

Man oh man, it’s hard to believe I’m already on week 6! This was a pretty textbook good training week–I completed every workout as planned and felt strong and solid as I inch up towards 50 miles. Monday morning I was up bright and early for hill repeats, which were at 5k effort up and jogging down. I really like these workouts because they force you to measure pace by effort vs. by the numbers–although I feel like my favorite hill is a little too “easy” for these workouts? Hard to tell! Either way, I’m huffing and puffing by the top 🙂

Monday night we had our official kickoff for my charity team for Boston! ICYMI, I’m running Boston for the Bowdoin Street Health Center Healthy Champions program, which brings health and wellness programming to kids in the Bowdoin/Geneva neighborhood of Dorchester. (I would LOVE for you to learn more about this amazing program and consider supporting me here!) It was really fun to meet the other runners and to hear about the incredible work our fundraising will support. Plus, I snagged my official Boston jacket–can’t wait to rock this guy after the race!

Tuesday the weather had finally cleared up so I opted for an outdoor run–it was definitely slushy and there were lots of puddles, but it felt amazing to be comfortable outside. Wednesday I stuck to the the mill and did 3 easy miles–during which I checked the clock about every 30 seconds. UGH. I did get a nice little strength circuit in with some solid corework, so that was a plus. In the evening I got a much-needed massage–I carry a lot of tension in my upper body when I run, and it was painful but great to get it worked out. Thursday was a fun tempo (outdoors again, yay!) with MGP miles. I kept the pace in check on these and was really comfortable between a 7:40 and 7:45 pace–right on track for race day. Those mid-week 9 milers are tough but necessary! Friday was a rest day (and a cocktails with friends day–hurrah).

Saturday the weather was a little crazy–starting in the 60s and ending in the 30s during a 2 hour run! It was awesome to run with my pal Denise–she’s moving to Cali and I want to get in as many long runs as possible. Luckily she’ll be back for Boston–we ran Sugarloaf together and she’s the best marathon buddy. This morning I was moving slow after we went out to a fun concert, but J and I got out for some chilly but nice recovery miles together.

Onwards to another cold week–hopefully no more snow any time super soon!

Week 5: 45.9

  • Monday: Hill workout! 10 x 60 second hill repeats for 6.5 miles total
  • Tuesday: 7 easy miles
  • Wednesday: 3 recovery dreadmill miles, mini band strength circuit
  • Thursday: Tempo! 2 up, 6 MGP, 1 down for 9 total
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 15 hilly easy-paced miles
  • Sunday: 5 easy

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Taking the Long Way Home).

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Boston marathon training: week 5

Greetings from the tundra! I am so, so glad the cold snap is ending this week–this was a tough one with temps in the single digits and a 14 inch dump of snow on Thursday. We definitely have stretches like this most winters in MA, but this one was early and it was HARSH. I was glad that I was able to stick to the plan this week and really pleased to see my first 40+ mile week since October.

Basically, this was a week of taking advantage of whatever indoor or daytime miles I could snag. On New Year’s Day J and I managed to get a run in together–I love when we can coordinate our easy runs and pass the time chatting. Tuesday I gratefully hit up my favorite morning track workout, and Wednesday I squeezed in a run commute on a busy day. Sidenote–I have a 2.5 mile run to and from work and would love to use that to my advantage more often. Does anyone have tips on run commuting? Tips on backpacks that don’t bug the heck out of you?

Thursday was the big blizzard (or the “bomb cyclone”) so I was all set to head to the gym in the morning until I discovered that it hadn’t started snowing yet! So I suited up and got my run done just as the flakes were really starting to fly. It was a little bit rough with the wind, but kind of magical to be out there in part of the storm.  Our local yoga studio was open all day, so J and I took a trudge through the snow for a nice warm class. Luckily I had Friday off anyway, but the frigid temps Saturday morning sent me indoors for my long run. I ended up taking two back-to-back classes at Heartbreak Hill Running Company’s Run Studio–it’s definitely still treadmill running, but way more entertaining than toughing it out alone. Boston folks, I highly recommend checking these guys out if you need an indoor option for your runs! I even ran into a couple of Oiselle teammates, which is always a nice surprise.

Sunday morning was freezing again, but I waited it out and managed to get my run done outdoors before J and I took advantage of the snow for a little bit of XC skiing. I even strapped on my skate skis from high school and took them for a spin–what a humbling experience! Skate skiing is super, duper hard but really fun–highly recommended for a good challenge 🙂

I can’t wait to hit the roads this week as the temps soar to the 30s and 40s–bring on the heat wave!!

Week 5: 42.4 miles

  • Monday: 6 easy miles
  • Tuesday: 1200, 800, 400 x 3 (track workout) for 8 total
  • Wednesday: 2.5 recovery miles (run commute)
  • Thursday: 6.8 easy pre-blizzard miles, 90 minute vinyasa yoga
    Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 14 treadmill miles
  • Sunday: 4.6 easy and 5 miles of XC skiing

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Taking the Long Way Home).

Boston marathon training: weeks 3 and 4

Well, I think I can sum up the past two weeks as one super solid week of training and then a black hole of Christmas plus a stomach bug plus insanely cold weather. My plan was to amp up the mileage just a bit each week this month, and all was going swimmingly for week 3! I had a really strong week of workouts and totally felt like I was getting into the groove of training–I even actually did my strength work and yoga 🙂 I also saw probably the most gorgeous sunrise I’ve seen while running! I did obviously miss my recap during the holiday craziness, but that was bound to happen.

After some Christmas festivities with J’s family we continued our Christmas tradition of going skiing on Xmas day, and we were treated to a full-on powder day–my fellow New Englanders know this is a rare treat. It’s definitely a lot more work to ski in powder–my quads were feelin’ it! When we got home I went to bed feeling a little off, and woke up to a full-blown case of norovirus. I was basically immobile for the next couple of days, and couldn’t stomach a full meal until Thursday.

I definitely beat myself up at first about missing runs, but quickly let it go–these things happen, and there literally wasn’t any way I was going to move away from the couch at that point. Luckily by Thursday I was back on my game, so I hit the treadmill to test things out and then Friday managed to get outside. Of course, the temps in Boston have been insane this week–in the single digits with crazy wind chill factors. So that wasn’t ideal. I toyed around with the idea of doing Saturday’s long run indoors but managed to convince Alexa to head out to Newton with me for a spin on the marathon course. Despite the cold temps and some super icy sidewalks, we got it done–although I was absolutely dragging by the end. It was one of the hardest runs I’ve done in a long time, but it’s worth it to make the extra effort to get out of the house.

The rest of the weekend we spent relaxing and celebrating 2018 with friends. This was a pretty phenomenal year both for me as a runner (PRs galore + my first BQ) and personally (finishing my MBA and getting married). I can’t wait to really dig into the meat of training–check back soon for a post on my 2018 goals!

Week 3: 37 miles

  • Monday: 5 easy + strides, banded strength circuit
  • Tuesday: 1600, 1200, 800, 400 (track workout) for 6 total
  • Wednesday: 3 easy + 90 minute vinyasa yoga
  • Thursday: 5 mile progression run
  • Friday: Long run workout! 6 easy, 4 MGP, 3 strong for 13 total
  • Saturday: Rest day
  • Sunday: 4 easy

Week 3: 22.6

  • Monday: Downhill skiing at Waterville–powder day!
  • Tuesday: Stomach bug–zero.
  • Wednesday: More stomach bug–zero.
  • Thursday: 5 dreadmill miles
  • Friday: 5 mile progression run
  • Saturday: 12.5 mile (hilly) long run
  • Sunday: Banded strength circuit, ankle PT, and stretching

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Miss Sippipiddlin).

Boston Marathon Training: Week 2

Woo hoo, week two! No matter how long I take off between training cycles, I’m always a little overwhelmed/super impressed with myself that I’ve been able to do as much as I have. Getting back into training during the holiday season is definitely tough–and this week was no exception. Also, this was the first week I had to contend with icy roads and truly cold temperatures. So–here we go!

Monday I kicked things off with an easy-paced run–being super careful to shuffle around the patches of black ice on the paths and sidewalks. Tuesday I was grateful to be back indoors with my track crew–local folks, you can learn more about these workouts here! Wednesday was a very welcome yoga class (I love warmer classes in the winter) and Thursday was a TOUGH hill workout. I definitely don’t do hill sprints enough and this one was a killer. I’m glad I did it though, because it warmed me right up and it was the first time I did a weekday workout over 7 miles in 6 weeks! Back at it for sure.

Friday was an unintentional rest day–the real feel was in the single digits in the morning so I planned to run home from work instead, and then promptly forgot my sports bra. Sigh. We hosted a small holiday gathering that night so it probably worked out for the best–I love hosting but it definitely stresses me out! I made a gluten free carrot cake (from this cookbook) and this mulled wine in the slow cooker. We also had candy cane brownies, chocolate mousse, and eggnog–a true treat feast! The next morning I was moving a little bit slower than usual so ended up being a little bit late for a group long run, but got to pound out a solid 12 miler with my girls. Sunday was going to be a rest day, but since I skipped Friday J and I braved the cold for a few miles together. I love when we can catch up on the run, and was glad I had company for this one.

Oh! Another exciting piece of news–I got chosen to be a 2018 Nuun ambassador! I’ve never been a brand ambassador before so this should be really fun. I love Nuun products and can’t wait to see what this new opportunity brings 🙂

Week 2: 33.6 miles

  • Monday: 4 easy + strides
  • Tuesday: 12 x 400 track workout
  • Wednesday: 90 minute vinyasa yoga
  • Thursday: hill workout! 12 x 90 second hill sprint at 10k effort, 4 x 30 second hill sprints at mile effort, easy recoveries down the hill
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 12 mile long run
  • Sunday: 5.3 easy

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Miss Sippipiddlin), with Eat Pray Run DC for her training linkup, and with the Jess’s (Jess Runs ATL and The Right Fits).

My year in running, 2017

Hey there friends! It’s mid-December and high time to do some reflecting on the past year. It’s been a wild freaking ride, and I accomplished things I didn’t think were ever possible for me. I could probably ramble on forever, but instead I’m linking up with Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC for her Year of Running 2017 linkup.

  • Best race experience: This is a hard one! I raced a ton this year, setting PRs in the 5k, 5 mile, 10k, half, and full distances (yowza). I think overall I’d have to go with the Sugarloaf Marathon–from start to finish, it was a dream race experience and I’m so proud of all of the hard work it took to nail my first BQ.
  • Best run: I’d have to say the 5k we did as part of our wedding weekend–it was incredible to have so many of my favorite people in my favorite place being good sports about participating in my favorite activity.
  • Best new piece of running gear: This is another tricky one! I didn’t invest in a ton of gear this year, but I did find a new pair of everyday running shoes I love–the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus. I was fitted for a stability shoe when I was training for my first marathon and I don’t think I actually needed that much cushion, so these are a perfect balance for me–not too heavy, and they wear like a dream. Plus they come in widths, for anyone else who has crazy teeny/narrow feet. 
  • Best running advice you’ve received this year: Take your easy runs EASY. I think this made the biggest difference in my marathon training this year.
  • Most inspirational runner: I’m going to cheat here and call out all of the amazing Oiselle ladies I’ve connected with this year–you guys inspire me every single day, and I’m so grateful to have you as my #sistersinsport.
  • Favorite picture from a run or race this year: I think I probably have to pick this one from Sugarloaf–I couldn’t wipe that shit-eating grin off my face for most of the day. It was just the best.
  • Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat: I loved the Prospect Park Turkey Trot and am 110% sure I’ll be back next year, with lots of family members in tow! Plus, it was the first time I ever placed in a race, so that was a pretty surreal accomplishment.
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be? Strong. Fast. Confident.

Boston Marathon training begins: week 1 recap!

Well, well, well–here we are, back again for a new series of weekly training recaps as I gear up for Boston 2018! I wrote these recaps during my training for Chicago and Sugarloaf, and it was a fun way to connect with other runners and to keep a journal of my training. This time, I’m starting super early since I’m being very particular about building a strong base for my training.

My goals for this first week were to run at least 30 miles across 5 days, which I did easily. I am following a generic plan from Coach Dan until my custom plan from Coach Laura starts in January (more thoughts on coaching are here–please feel free to be in touch if you have any questions at all!!) This week included two abbreviated speed sessions, one of which I did with the Heartbreak Hill Running Company crew in the South End. It was a super short workout since a lot of folks were tapering for a 5k this weekend, but it was nice to get moving around a track again. I’m generally not an evening workout person, but I like having this option on Thursdays to get through the darker days.

This weekend was a busy one! I got in a nice, relaxed 10 miler in the snowbefore heading to my local yoga studio for my initial work-study training. I’m hoping to take on a weekly shift to get more connected with the community and to save myself some $$ on my yoga habit. Then I hit up two holiday parties, spending most of the evening with the Oiselle gals! It was a lot of fun, as always–and now I’m seriously considering running CIM next December. Anyone else looking at it? It’s only $99 if you register now… crazy. Also crazy–the elite field for Boston this year is freaking STACKED. Hype hype hype!

I wrapped things up on Sunday with a much needed rest day (after one too many glasses of vino–oops) and a friend’s baby shower. I can’t wait to meet her little guy! Happy week one to anyone else running Boston–I look forward to keeping these updates going as training progresses!

Week 1: 31 miles

  • Monday: 5 easy + strides
  • Tuesday: 12 x 1 minute at 10k pace, 5.3 miles total
  • Wednesday: 90 minute vinyasa yoga
  • Thursday: Short speed workout–4×200, 4×150
  • Friday: 6.4 miles easy
  • Saturday: 10.2 mile long run
  • Sunday: Rest dayyyy

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Miss Sippipiddlin), with Eat Pray Run DC for her training linkup, and with the Jess’s (Jess Runs ATL and The Right Fits).

Winter Classic 5k Recap–new PR (so close!)

I’m back again with one last race recap of 2017 (I promise!) and I have to admit, I did not want to run this one. I definitely overbooked myself this fall on the racing front and was just feeling very blah overall this week–a little bit frustrated professionally, and annoyed I had missed a few runs/workouts due to poor planning. I was excited for a morning with the Oiselle gals but just not geared up for the 5k.

Putting my best foot forward, I started race morning with a light breakfast and then an easy warmup jog, during which I learned my speedy friend Cait and I were feeling equally ambivalent about the race. However, it was a clear and cold morning–similar to last year, which was a great race for me. As Cait and I shed our layers she asked me what I was thinking for pace, and I mentioned maybe trying to run a tempo a bit faster than my half marathon pace (7 min/mile-ish). She asked what I thought about 6:40s, and of course (as I am very susceptible to running peer pressure) I told her I’d give it a whirl.

We started up near-ish to the front of the corrals and took the announcer’s advice to “go go go!” The first mile started a little bit slow as we worked our way around some slower runners to settle into the pack. We hit the first full mile split at 6:34–right on track. I barely looked at my watch during this race, keeping the effort hard but steady and pacing along with Cait. The second mile started to feel pretty tough–there’s a slight but steady uphill at this point, and my nose was pretty stuffed up from the cold. I got a little lift from seeing a friend in the pack and getting some cheers from the girls spectating. Cait and I checked in with each other to make sure the pace was ok, and then pushed through the second mile at a 6:29. I knew at this point I was going to hang on as best I could, gutting it out to the finish. We could tell there weren’t many women ahead of us so we picked off a few in the last quarter mile or so, hitting mile 3 at a 6:22 pace and then sprinting it in at  5:20 pace for the .1.

I wasn’t quite sure where we had ended up, but was THRILLED when both of our watches both said 19:59!! It turns out my official time was 20:01, which is a little bit frustrating, but either way it’s a huge 33 second PR for me–and close enough to a sub-20. Running a 19:XX 5k has been a dream goal of mine for a long time, and considering I wasn’t even going to run hard I’m super proud of my time. I came in as 13th female (out of 934), 75th overall (out of 1766), and 3rd in my age group. Big, huge THANK YOU to Cait for pacing me to a time I didn’t think was possible!! Chase your fast friends, guys–it’s the best way to get faster yourself.

We ended the morning with a quick stop by the post-race party (it was COLD) and then a fun coffee meetup with the team. Big props to the Cambridge Classic folks for a well-organized race, as always! I like that this one brings out both the folks who want to run/race hard and the folks who want to wear funny costumes and party afterwards. And everyone in between 🙂

Back soon with a recap of the first official week of Boston training! I can’t wait to get back into the swing of things.

Support my Boston Marathon run!

Hey friends! This is going to be a short one, but in case you haven’t been bombarded yet, today is Giving Tuesday and I’m using it as an opportunity to kick off my fundraising for the Bowdoin Street Health Center. Their Healthy Champions Program is an anti-obesity, education, fitness, and community-building initiative serving children in the Bowdoin/Geneva neighborhood of Dorchester. While I secured my entry to Boston with a qualifying time, I’m honored to dedicate my run to this amazing program. To learn more or to make a gift, head over to my Crowdrise page at https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/bidmcboston2018/leahofsevit. Thank you so, so much in advance for your support!

Even better, my brother is also dedicating his Boston run to the team at Tufts Medical Center who saved his life–more on that (and of course, the chance to lend your support) is here!

Prospect Park Turkey Trot (3rd place woman + 5 mile PR!)

The view from the train!

Hey there, friends! I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Our family tradition is to spend the holiday with cousins in NYC, and for the past few years I’ve been scoping out Turkey Trot options. Most years I’ve been too late to get into the uber-popular Prospect Park Track Club’s Turkey Trot, but this year my brother and I managed to snag bibs before the race sold out! We took an easy subway ride down to Brooklyn on Thanksgiving morning and had plenty of time to grab our bibs before heading out into the chilly morning for a warmup jog.

This race was super organized and efficient, and the indoor space to stay warm + use the clean bathrooms was a major perk. This was my first time in Prospect Park and it was absolutely gorgeous. We kept our layers on as long as possible before sneaking up to the front of the start corrals. The one downside of this race was that the start wasn’t seeded at all, which made for a pretty chaotic start with 2000+ runners and walkers. Either way, Ari was off like a shot and I started out at a hard but steady clip. I did have some goals in mind for this race:

  • A goal: PR the 5 mile distance (sub 34:09, which I ran at the Harpoon 5 Miler).
  • B goal: Place in my AG (probably sub 35:00 or so)
  • C goal: Finish and have fun!

Given those goals, I figured I would try to keep the pace under 6:50, which was my previous 5 mile PR pace. The first mile was on a slight downhill, and felt fairly smooth at  6:40 pace. During mile 2 we started to climb up, so I kept my effort even and let it slip a bit to a 6:48 pace. During mile 3, we hit a fairly long and steep climb, and my pace was at a 7:02. It was at this point that the crowd had thinned considerably, but the course wasn’t closed off so there were lots of walkers and joggers in and around the racers. I was legitimately shocked when someone called out from the side of the path “You’re third woman!” I was pretty convinced they were wrong, but just in case I figured I would hold on as best I could despite some small cramps that were creeping up. I got some encouragement from J along the sidelines and then put my head down and cranked the pace up to a 6:29 for mile 4 and another 6:29 for mile 5. Before I knew it, I had crossed the finish line and was being directed over to the sidelines to pick up my prize–for the first time in my life, I had come in as the third female finisher!! I dizzily spelled my name for the guy at the finish line and happily accepted my prize–an apple crumb pie, which I proudly carried as we headed for celebratory hot chocolate and snacks at the finish.

I have to say that placing in a race has been a semi-secret goal of mine this year. Running in a city like Boston, it feels like no matter how fast I get I can’t even crack the top of my age group. I’ve considered signing up for some small local 5ks to try to place, but it feels a little bit like cheating–I don’t want to run a race just to win an award. So this was an incredibly gratifying surprise, especially given that this was a good-size race in a big city. My official time was 33:31, which was good for 3rd woman overall (out of 1,260 female finishers). Needless to say, I was on cloud nine for the rest of the day. Overall, the race was reasonably priced ($25 if you register early), had great swag and medals, and was well-organized and fun. I’m hoping to be back next year with more family members in tow!

I hope you had a fantastic holiday! Did you trot? Have you ever placed in a race?

Cambridge Half Race Recap (a “just for fun” race)

I’m going to start this race with a confession (runfession?): I am really, really susceptible to peer pressure–especially when it comes from other runners. After crushing my goals for my half last weekend, I was feeling a little bit jealous that a ton of my local runner friends were signed up for yesterday’s Cambridge Half Marathon. I ran the inaugural Cambridge Half last year absolutely loved it–and I also loved the Oktoberfest 5k organized by the same company. So when a teammate had a bib for sale for half price, I jumped on it, figuring I would pace a few friends and just run for fun.

The first warning sign came with a very strongly worded warning to pick up our bibs before race morning. Having been warned that the lines were long on Friday, I went on the later end of the Saturday pickup and was stunned to walk into the back of what was apparently a 40 minute line to pick up bibs and jackets. Luckily, I ran into a friend (thanks Chris!!) who grabbed my confirmation and picked my bib up for me, but then it took us more than 30 minutes just to get out of the mall’s parking garage.

Come race morning, I left my house planning to arrive at 6:30 am (according to my GPS), a full hour before race start. It was marginally too early to take public transit, which I would have preferred–especially because I then sat in traffic for an extra 35 minutes trying to get into the garage, missing the Oiselle team picture 😦 Things were hectic and disorganized, and I couldn’t find the bag check or the bathroom before the staff starting yelling with megaphones for everyone to get to their starting corrals. Luckily I stumbled into some teammates in the corral and we took off, keeping things conversational and comfortable. At mile 5 I popped into a porto potty and then managed to find my friend Sarah, who I had promised to pace for her marathon workout. Unfortunately, a couple of factors were working against us–the rain had picked up and the 7,000 runners were herded on and off of a narrow series of dirt paths. The crowding was made even worse as everyone tried to avoid the mud pits and puddles that were rapidly forming. With our shoes soaked and the traction not being ideal, we kept the pace under control to make sure Sarah gets to her goal race uninjured.

Finally we hit a long paved path towards the finish, where we picked it up for the last three miles, hitting splits at 8:33, 8:18, 8:06, and 7:15 for the .1. Appropriately, the race ended with a series of huge puddles mixed the red clay of the path. Dirty and soaked to the bone, I crossed the finish at 1:54:02, feeling pretty good and fresh after last weekend’s hard effort. We headed inside to change into dry clothes, and the attempted to navigate a super confusing after party with lots more long lines. There were mimosas, bloody mary’s, beer, and cider on hand–and apparently lots of food, but everything was so spread out it was hard to find. Luckily we managed to find some treats and grab a few well-deserved drinks before heading out.

While the rain definitely didn’t add anything, this race was one of the least well-organized events I’ve ever run. On top of the long lines, lack of direction, and overcrowded course, they lost a bunch of the jackets so people couldn’t get the sizes they had ordered, and the photos are all dumped into one 700-photo album instead of being searchable by bib number. Overall, this race was pretty frustrating–and would have been even more so if I had been running for time or if I had paid the full ticket price of over $100. That said, it’s always fun hanging with my birds and it was a super motivating way to get a long run in.

Back soon with a recap of the Prospect Park Turkey Trot I’ll be running with my brother on Thanksgiving! Anyone else have fun turkey trots on tap?