Boston marathon training: week 11

This was a huge and hugely successful week of training! First, this will be my last weekly update until mid-March–J and I are heading to New Zealand for our honeymoon on Wednesday and I’ll be mostly offline while I’m there. Follow me over on Instagram to see live updates from our adventures. I’ll definitely be running and hiking, but with no particular mileage goals. I want to fully embrace the experience 🙂

Back to week 11–I started the week off with 7 easy, creaky miles. Having switched my rest day from Sunday to Friday, I find Mondays are a little tough since I’m dealing with some residual soreness from my long runs. All the more reason to keep things nice and easy. Tuesday was my one big workout of the week and I was excited to be able to save it for the evening–I have trained myself to be a morning runner, but I definitely can dig deeper when I’m not running on empty. The first set of the 3×2 mile workout felt a little rough at a 7:09 pace, but the second one was steadier at 7:06 and the third I felt like I really locked onto the pace, and averaged a 6:54 🙂 The sunset didn’t hurt either!

Wednesday was recovery, and then Thursday I had a longer easy run (and another gorgeous view of the city). I did my core and strength work and really focused on form–man it was tough! It’s not fun but so good to get it done.

Friday was a much-needed rest day while Alexa and I hit the road to the Cape before Saturday’s Martha’s Vineyard 2o miler. I’ll have a recap up in the next couple of days, but we had a blast! It was an incredibly well-organized event on a gorgeous day (mid-30s and sunny). Despite a hilly second half, it was a perfect way to get my first 20 miler of this cycle done. Today I enjoyed the gorgeous snow from an overnight storm and J and I did a morning yoga class–a great start to working out the kinks. This afternoon once most of the snow had melted away I did my recovery run. Onto two more days of work before we jet off–can’t wait!!!

Week 11: 52.2 miles

  • Monday: 7 easy
  • Tuesday: 3×2 miles at HMGP for 9 total
  • Wednesday: 3.6 recovery miles
  • Thursday: 8.3 easy miles, mini band work + core
  • Friday: Rest day!
  • Saturday: 20 mile race
  • Sunday: 60 minute yoga, 4.1 recovery miles

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

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Race recap: Super Sunday 5 miler

Throwing it back to a few weeks ago, I had a fun morning at the Super Sunday 5 miler! I ran this race last year and struggled through it, but ended up with a time I was really proud of. I then had an amazing 5 miler over Thanksgiving, so I didn’t set a time goal, but figured as per usual that I would take it hard but keep the pace under control.

I got to the race nice and early with J, since we knew we had a big Oiselle group meeting up with us. The check-in was smooth and we shivered our way to our “VIP” team tent–which was way colder than the big heated tent where check-in was. I did a quick warmup with Kate, Sarah, and Alexa before grabbing the girls we could find for a team picture. Things had gotten a bit chaotic at that point–turns out the computer systems were down so all check-in was being done by hand. This actually ended up delaying the race start by close to 20 minutes, which wasn’t super fun on a windy, cold day. By the time we lined up in the corrals I was ready to run fast and be done.

I started out pushing past some of the slower runners before settling into the pack. I ran by feel as I didn’t have my mile splits on and barely looked at my watch this whole race–which definitely worked for me! The first mile felt fairly strong so I held steady through the second and third miles, trying to be really true to how I felt versus basing my pace on anyone else. I kept my sights on Sarah, one of my speedy teammates (in the shorts), and by mile 4 or so I had her and another Oiselle gal, Katie, in my sights (red capris).

Around then a spectator yelled “you’re almost there–empty the tank!” and I hit it! Unfortunately we still had a mile to go and the finishing chute for the race is super long, so getting through to the finish was a slog, but I managed to hit a 6:31 pace. Overall, my splits were 6:40, 6:37, 6:31, 6:37, and 6:31–nice and steady! And I managed a 20 second PR with a 33:12 finish, which got me 27th woman and 5th in my AG. It was a competitive field out there.

After the race we hit up the after party, which was a bit of a mess–a couple of the beer tents weren’t open, and there wasn’t any cider or any food for a gluten free lady. And only one of the heaters in the tent was working… and my results came out wrong, so I had to get them fixed.

However, there was an AMAZING cover band so we stayed for a bit before scooting off to eat and change into dry clothes. Despite the hiccups before and after, the race itself was spot-on–the course was fast, well-marked and staffed, and 5 miles on the nose. It’s a great way to spend the morning of Superbowl Sunday, and we’ll definitely be back next year!

Boston marathon training: week 10

What a fun sports and running-filled week!! Any other Olympics fans out there? I definitely miss the running and gymnastics from the summer games, but I love watching the winter sports, especially the figure skating. We had people over to watch the Opening Ceremonies for the 4th Olympics in a row! Fun fact–Jeremy has actually been at all four of these parties, although for the first one we weren’t dating and he was just some cute kid from my kickball team 🙂 You’re welcome for the photo below. This year we repped Japan because we were gifted these amazing kimonos for our wedding from cousins who live there–pretty cool, right?

I kicked off this week super sore from the long run followed by a hard race, so I kept Monday really easy and backed off the pace for true recovery miles. Honestly Tuesday I was still feeling some DOMS and should have taken another easy day, but I hit the track for a mixed workout of 1000s and 200s. The last 1000 hurt but the 200s went ok. They’re over so fast!

Wednesday I treated myself to a rest day and did a bunch of foam rolling along with my core and mini-band work. Thursday dawned super icy so I hit the treadmill for my tempo run. I had some technical issues with the interface on the mill at the gym, and as usual, it went by slowly, but I got it done. Friday was a super easy recovery run before a huge day of running fun on Saturday! I met up with some of the Oiselle gals for an 18 miler. It got up to 50 degrees and I felt pretty good the whole time! We ran on the Boston course and ended up with 852 feet of elevation gain. My fueling was on point and we even finished with a couple of strong fast miles at the end. As always, happy to have great company 🙂

After some recovery chilling I was out the door for more running fun! A big group of the O girls met up for the New Balance Grand Prix event. It was my first time attending a professional track meet and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was SO much fun and so exciting! The big stars of the night were Jenny Simpson and Emma Coburn–Jenny took home the W in the 3000 in an amazing performance! I also loved watching some of the other less familiar runners and events. Like the 60 meters, where the runners are going so fast they hit a crash pad at the end. Wild! Also, I run on this track every Tuesday so that’s pretty cool.

I wrapped up the weekend with another Oiselle brunch gathering (we had a fun bird weekend in MA) and some more house hunting with J, followed by a wet and wild rainy run. And some more Olympics, because of course 🙂 Another 50+ mile week is DONE!

Week 10: 51.1 miles

  • Monday: 7.6 super easy recovery miles
  • Tuesday: Track! 4 x 1000, 8 x 200 for 7 total
  • Wednesday: No running–20 minutes of mini band work + core
  • Thursday: 1 up, 7 MGP on the ‘mill
  • Friday: 3.7 easy
  • Saturday: 18 mile long run
  • Sunday: 6.5 easy

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

Boston marathon training: week 9

Well well well, another week of training and my first time hitting 50 miles since last spring–woot woot! Mentally I’m feeling good but I definitely overdid it a bit this weekend with a 17 mile long run followed by a hard 5 mile race. My knees are still creaky and sore, so it’s been a little bit rough getting back into training this week (hence my late recap!) Lesson learned–adjust your training accordingly if you are planning to race hard! Secondary lesson learned–I’m really bad at not racing hard 🙂

Rewinding a bit, I started last week with a hill workout that felt tough (as always) but fairly good. I do question if I should be working hill repeats somewhere steeper–the hill I run on is fairly gradual, but I definitely feel the work. Let me know if you have insight on this! I’m all ears. Tuesday I geared up for 7 early miles in a fairly steady snowfall. This was my first time running in the snow with my headlamp, and it was really disorienting to see the flakes really brightly in front of/into my eyes. The footing was actually pretty good, though, and it felt peaceful to be out there by myself. I did stop at 7 instead of 8 when the snow really started to pile up. I was pretty much the abominable snowlady after this one.

Wednesday I did my first workout at the Y near my house–it’s cheapest gym option that’s close to both home and work. They supposedly have fancy treadmills that can connect to TV streaming services but I couldn’t figure them out, so I made do with an episode of The Crown on my phone. Things to work on for next time!

Thursday I decided to do my strength work in the morning and save my run for after work, when the temps were going to be in the mid 40s. I had a half marathon pace tempo workout and brought my headphones to make the time pass. Of course, I plugged them in and realized my music player was dead–so I was on my own. I gave myself a little pep talk and settled into a hard but comfortable pace. I was so in the zone I barely recognized a running buddy whizzing by me! It turned out to be one of the best workouts of training so far–5 super steady miles at a 7:06 average pace. A confidence builder for sure!

Friday I took completely off, which was super necessary, and Saturday I ran 5 before meeting up with the girls for a chilly spin around the river. We were all dragging a bit but I felt pretty good, managing to nail my fueling (toast + pb + banana pre-run, 2 gels during the run with water, carb-y breakfast and Nuun after). My knees were feeling it a bit by the end but we got it done! I spent the rest of the day at a super fun Chili Cook-Off in Cambridge and a night in watching Where to Invade Next with J.

Sunday J and I ran the Super Sunday 5 Miler! Despite some logistical hiccoughs, we had a fantastic turnout from the Oiselle gang and I managed a 20 second 5 mile PR. I have a recap of this race coming shortly, so stay tuned for that.

Week 9: 50.8 miles

  • Monday: 2 up, 8×90 second hills at 5k/10k effort, 1.5 down for 7 total
  • Tuesday: 7 miles in the snow
  • Wednesday: 5 easy treadmill miles
  • Thursday: 2 up, 5 HMGP, 1 down for 8 total, mini band work + core
  • Friday: Rest day!
  • Saturday: 17 mile long run
  • Sunday: Race day! 6 total with warmup and new 5 mile PR of 33:12

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

Running Goals for 2018 (and beyond)

Does anyone else LOVE setting goals? I am a list-maker and goal-lover for sure. But sometimes, it can be scary to put goals down on paper. I also find that with running, it’s hard to put my finger on goals that don’t involve picking a distance and running it faster than last time. However, I have some big exciting things coming up so without further ado, here are the running goals that are on the horizon for me:

  1. Run a strong, smart Boston: I worked my butt off to BQ and my #1 goal for Boston is to enjoy the experience. I am going to train hard for a 3:25 marathon, but if I don’t get good weather (and given the past couple of years in Boston, I don’t expect to) or my training gets thrown off when I’m on my honeymoon, then I’m going to run for fun and just enjoy the experience. More here!
  2. Complete my first 50k: I’ve been toying around with the idea of a 50k for the past couple of years, and am signed up for my first in May. Similar to my “plan B” for Boston, my goal for this is to complete the race feeling strong and happy. I’m so excited to have a crew of buddies to run with for this one!
  3. Break 20 minutes in the 5k: After coming SO close to hitting a sub-20 a few weeks back, I know for sure I’m ready for this one. Pacer friends, please text me to apply.
  4. Set a big marathon PR: While I’m incredibly proud of my BQ at Sugarloaf this year, I think I’m capable of running a fair amount faster than 3:28 at the full marathon distance. When I put my half marathon PR (1:34:19) into a pace calculator (I like this one), my predicted marathon time is in the 3:16 range–and this nets out anecdotally as well in terms of what I’ve seen others run. I am by no means an experienced marathoner and I have yet to run 26.2 in the cooler weather my body loves, but I think I owe it to myself to really work for a big PR. As I mentioned, Boston isn’t going to be the right race for this, but I’m considering running CIM this coming December! My marathon buddy Denise is off to Cali, so it seems like the perfect reason to head out there for a visit. Plus, I’ve heard a million and one amazing things about the race.
  5. Break 1:32 in the half: I’ve mentioned this a bunch, but I freaking love the half marathon!! It’s just the best race distance. I brought my PR down from 1:36:55 to 1:34:19 this fall and while it was a fantastic race, I do think I have more in me. If I can run a sub-1:32, I can time qualify into the NYC marathon. I don’t for sure know if this will happen in 2018, but I think this is a realistic goal for me. Plus, I loved the NYC marathon, although since it was my first, it would be nice to run it again now that I know what the heck I’m doing.
  6. Run as a pacer: I would love to be a pace group leader for a half marathon–I think it would be such a cool experience and way to give back to the running community. I applied to be a pacer for the Old Port Half Marathon in June, and I’m crossing my fingers and toes I am chosen!

Some of these will definitely happen in 2018 and some may not, but they’re all super exciting! What big running goals do you have for 2018 and beyond?

Boston marathon training: week 8

The theme of this week was: hooray for the cutback!! I definitely was feeling the accumulated stress of 3 weeks in a row at close to 50 miles, so was glad to be taking it a bit easier. I had some residual tightness in my right hip after last week’s 16 miler, so this couldn’t have been better timing. Monday I kicked things off with 6 really easy miles at 9:30 pace, keeping it light so my hip could loosen up. After some quality time with my foam roller Tuesday’s marathon pace run felt pretty good. I haven’t been running with headphones much recently, but I was definitely glad to have a little music to pump me up for this one! Tuesday was also the hubby’s birthday so we celebrated with delicious tacos and this amazing flourless chocolate cake. SO good.

Wednesday was a bonus “rest” day, so I put in a couple of sets of strength work but avoided the temptation to sneak in an extra easy run. I think these cutback weeks are super valuable and I’m trying to trust the plan as much as possible. Wednesday night we had a team event with a dietetic intern at the hospital–definitely covering the basics, but she did an awesome job and it was cool to be reminded about how much diet affects training. I really like this graphic as a simple way to think about fueling (more info here!)Thursday was a beautiful 6 miles, the first 3 with a colleague who’s also training for Boston. Friday J and I went to a yoga class together and did some nice shoulder opening work–definitely something I don’t focus on enough!

Saturday was the big day of the week–it was a tough workout, and it was Denise’s last long run in Boston before she leaves us for Cali. She’s an awesome training buddy and I’m going to miss her but am so excited for her (she got a job at Facebook) and can’t wait to have her back for Boston! ICYMI, we qualified together at the Sugarloaf Marathon. And I’m thinking pretty seriously about heading out for CIM in December… anyone have tips??

Anywho, Saturday we hit the Boston course for a tough long run/workout–4 easy miles, 4 miles of 90 second intervals at 10k pace (6:50-7:00) with 90 second jog recoveries, 2 miles easy, 2 MGP to finish up. It was a doozy, especially with 627 feet of elevation gain, but great to suffer through it together. And today I got my easy run in with J to wrap up the week.

I’m excited to get back into the hard stuff this week–it’s gonna be a big one!!

Week 7: 37.4 miles

  • Monday: 6.6 super easy miles
  • Tuesday: 1 up, 6 at MGP (7:33, 7:33, 7:37, 7:41, 7:36, 7:31), 1 down for 8 total
  • Wednesday: Mini band + core exercises
  • Thursday: 6 easy
  • Friday: 75 minute vinyasa yoga
  • Saturday: 4 up, 10 x 90 seconds at 10k, 2 easy, 2 MGP for 12.5 total
  • Sunday: 4.2 easy

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

Boston marathon training: week 7

Week 7–here we go! This one had some off moments but overall I made all of my training happen and ran outside every day, which makes me super happy. Monday was 7 miles with some snow flurries I wasn’t expecting, but it made for pretty scenery. Tuesday I had a track workout on the books so was excited to join the HHRC crew. This was a fun one–400s with 5 minute tempos alternating HMGP and MGP in between. It definitely kicked my butt but I was happy I went, as always. It’s really motivating to have pacers to chase and buddies to run with.

Wednesday a storm had been predicted but it wasn’t nearly as bad as they made it out to be. I kept it really slow and easy for a morning 4 miler and headed to the yoga studio after work for some much-needed hip opening. Thursday the roads were fairly icy and I had a rough start to my run, ending up on a slippery path and having to dive inside for a bathroom stop after the first mile. I picked it back up though and found a better spot, and ended up running some paces that made me really happy (7:08 for the first 2 miles and 7:07 for the second set, goal was between 7:05 and 7:15). Friday was a much-needed rest day before Saturday’s 16 miler.

Friday night I didn’t sleep super well, but I got up and managed to meet up with my run crew for a spin along the Charles River. It was nice and warm–high 30s to low 40s–but windy, and I was SO glad to have my girls with me. We were having such a good time running and chatting we didn’t even realize nobody had brought a phone for our post-run selfie! Luckily we were reconvening later on for game night and drinks, so we got our shot in then. Next week is Denise’s last long run before she moves to Cali, so we’re getting as much quality time in as possible.

The rest of the weekend was filled with the women’s march, brunch, and house hunting–J and I are saving our pennies and hope to buy something in the next year or so. Today was warm enough for short sleeves, so I had to head out for a 5 mile easy run. I totally overdressed but loved being out in the sun. This January thaw is a-ok by me!

Week 7: 46.8

  • Monday: 7 easy miles
  • Tuesday: Track! 4×400 at 10k, 5 min tempo, 3×400 at 5k, 5 min tempo, 2×400 at mile for 7 total
  • Wednesday: 4 snowy recovery miles, 75 minute vinyasa yoga
  • Thursday: Tempo! 2 up, 2×2 at HMGP, 1 down for 7.4 total
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 16 miles
  • Sunday: 5 easy

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

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).

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).