Indianapolis Monumental Half Training {Week Two}

I’m a firm believer in practice makes perfect and if it ain’t (I cringe at that non-word) broke, don’t fix it. That’s been my philosophy with my training for a few years now. I’m consistent. I found the marathon training plan that worked for me. While I deviate a tiny bit, I’ve stuck with it. It’s helped me go from a 5+ hour marathon to Boston. One thing this modified training cycle is giving me is an opportunity to do a little experimenting.

Here’s what I’ve been toying with:

  1. Warming up longer for short, fast intervals. I have always done a standard warm-up and cool down of one mile. I think adding the additional mile helps my legs loosen up a bit more and the 400 and 800 m intervals don’t feel so damn hard.
  2. The tempo run. Yeah, apparently I’d been selling myself short, which I learned in my class. Now I don’t include my warm-up/cool down in the total tempo mileage. So a four mile tempo is a legit four miles at tempo pace (not a half mile warm up/cool down and three miles at tempo), six miles total if I include my warm-up and cool down.
  3. Adding an easy paced run the day after my long run. My long runs are not what they usually are, but this week I really enjoyed my slow miles. I got on the treadmill to keep my pace in check. Come Monday morning, my legs felt good. I’m going to try to keep this up and see how it goes. Maybe I’ll keep them during my Boston training cycle.

You run and you learn right? Two more days until I get to register for Boston!

Monday -Rest
Tuesday – 1 mile WU + 4 mile tempo + 1 mile CD
Wednesday – Orangetheory
Thursday – Rest
Friday – 2 mile WU + 4×800 @ 6:27 + 2 mile CD
Saturday – 9 mile run
Sunday – 3.35 mile easy run

Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon Training {Week One}

This reset was just what I needed! You know how long my long run was this week? Seven miles. SEVEN! It was so amazing not to have to wake up at 4 am to get ready to go for a double digit run. Could I go out and run 13-16 miles? Sure, did I want to or have to? Nope! Gah, I should train for half marathons more often. Lightbulb: Maybe that’s what I’ll focus on after Boston.

Anyway, this week was the start of getting myself back in gear. It was also the last week before I send my baby off to kindergarten. What? How did that happen? Tear. More like lots of them. She’s so ready, but I’m just having a hard time believe it’s almost here. Back to running. There was not much of note this week, other than my weird knee burning flared up during my tempo run. I just slowed a bit and was good.

From my coaching class (more on that later), I realized I hadn’t been warming up or cooling down enough for my intervals. So this week because my intervals were really short and fast, I added an extra mile to both warm-up and cool-down. When I was done I felt great and fully recovered, rather than feeling like I may keel over.

Here’s how it went:

Monday – Rest (not really planned, but that’s how the cookie crumbles)

Tuesday – 2 mile WU + 4×400 @ 6:07 min/miles (first one was actually at 5:59) + 2 mile CD

Wednesday – Orangetheory

Thursday – Rest

Friday – 1 mile WU + 3 mile tempo + 1 mile CD

Saturday – 7 miles + 2.5 mile hike with the fam

Sunday – 30 min elliptical + 20 mins weights

The Burnout & Remedy

After Wobegon I was ecstatic. I had qualified for Boston which meant two things, I achieved a running goal I never thought possible back when I was struggling to run a sub-5 hour marathon, and I had a summer free of required training! Though I was already registered for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon which is the first week in November. With a pretty comfortable cushion under my qualifying time, I decided I’d switch to the half. Even doing that I wouldn’t really have to start training until later summer/early fall. But then I seemed to lose my marbles.

Somewhere along the line, I started doubting whether my 5:32 cushion under my qualifying time was going to be enough to get me in. I starting thinking, oh shit, I need to start training for the full even if I do get into Boston. After all, registration isn’t until September and if I fail to gain entry, I’d be so behind in training for a full, I’d hate myself come race day. So I started training for a full as if I was going to run it in November. I even ran a 16 miler with my BRF.

I put on a good front while on those long runs but the truth is, I was feeling burnt out. I was putting off my weekday runs as long as I could and often cutting them short or opting out of my tempos or intervals in favor of a ladder or just a nice easy run. I wasn’t sleeping well, was irritable, getting achy and sore, and other that loving the company, I dreaded the long run. Nothing about my running felt good, easy or satisfying. Deep down I knew that even if I don’t get into Boston (which I’m sure I will), there is no way I WANT to run a full in November. So why was I forcing myself to training as if I was? It was putting me in a funk that may be the worst running downer I’ve ever had.

So last week I decided to make a change. I had to re-examine my motivations. First was not getting into Boston leaving me with no spring full on my calendar. I will get into Boston when I register on the 16th. I get to register the first week and I don’t think the minutes under qualifying times are going to double. Second was feeling like I had to do a fall marathon. When did I start feeling like I needed to do two marathons a year? That’s just silly. Since we moved to Minnesota just over two years ago I’ve done four marathons. FOUR. While that’s not a lot to some, that’s a lot to me. I just needed to give myself permission not to feel like I have to do two a year.

Starting this week I’m starting my new training plan, for the half that I’m going to run. No more extraneous long runs or 10+ mile tempos. It’s unnecessary and was making me unhappy. And after Boston…I think I’ll take a break from marathoning all together, at least for a little while.

The End of My Streak [Race Recap}

Four years. For four years straight, I set a new personal record at every single race I did. Regardless of distance, I was on a roll. Sometimes they were small, sometimes they were big, but they were always a PR. Last night, that ended and I’m not going to lie, it stings a little bit. It’s not nearly as fun to write about but as I share my triumphs, I should also share my disappointments.

Last night was the annual Maple Grove Esprit de She. You might remember last year the course was significantly short. Well this year, they got rid of the 10k option and changed the course which was actually the right distance, if not ever so slightly long. While I loath 5ks, I’m not one to pass up a race minutes from my house that always ends with booze and great company from my amazing running group friends.

Just after 5 pm I drove over to the Town Green where the race was starting. Unlike in previous years, the course was not a loop. We were now finishing at the newly completed Central Park. We hung around for a while sweating before taking our group picture. Unfortunately, thanks to bag drop being at the finish line, we were missing more than a couple members.


After the picture I tried to stay in the shade as long as I could. I was dehydrated and it was HOT and HUMID (it was nearly 80 degrees still). Blah. You’d think I’d be use to it by now, but no. Does anyone get use to humidity? I was silently cursing them for moving the race from late September to early August. Anyway, I made my way to the front of the corrals with some friends and sweated it out for 10ish minutes until the race started.

I crossed the starting line quickly, going out a bit fast as I chased after a ton of high school girls that were ahead of me. I knew it was going to bite me in the ass. I finished the first mile in 6:50. Bad decision. After that first mile I was looking for the water stop. It was about 1.5ish miles in. I stopped, drank one cup, poured one over my head and continued on. The second mile was 7:13. Already positive splitting.

Once I hit 2.5 miles, I’m pretty sure I stopped sweating. I don’t think I had enough fluid in my body to keep it going. I was overheating bad. I posed for a picture.

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When I thought I’d safely passed the photographer, this is what I was feeling.


I was done. I just wanted it to be over. I looked at my watch and new that my chance to PR was gone. My third mile was 7:39…ouch. That is a HUGE positive split. The finish line was setup really poorly. We had two tight turns to make a U and had to run on uneven patchy grass.



I tripped a little bit, but was just so damn happy to be done, I didn’t care. I honestly was so hot I thought I was going to vomit.

Official time: 22:41      Avg. Pace: 7:19 min/mile

I was 22nd overall of 1430 runners and 5th in my age group of 501.

I missed beating my 5k PR by 26 seconds.I was really bummed. I hadn’t really expected it. Yes it was hot and yes I was dehydrated and sore from Orangetheory the previous night, but I’ve gotten so much faster since November. I was kicking myself for the walk break I took to drink the water I needed so badly. Honestly, if I hadn’t walked then, my streak would probably be in tact.

It had to end sometime right? I’m trying not to be too hard on myself, it’s not like I totally crashed and burned, and no one PRs every single race forever. I’m trying to tell myself that one race that broke my streak, doesn’t mean I’ll never PR again. It’s silly to think that right?

After the race I got some free food (which by the way, has gotten worse every year) and even better, free booze while I hung out with the girls.


Not a total failure of an evening. It evened cooled off nicely after the race. Maybe next year, if it’s in August again, they can start it an hour later.


Chicago Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon {Race Recap}

I did everything I could do blow this race for myself. I ate like crap, drank a ton and spent hours and hours walking around Chicago. So obviously, I went into the race expecting a horrible race. While it was definitely not my strongest performance, it could have been worse.

We walked over to the starting line with plenty of time to drop our gear bags, hit the porta potties and find our ways to our corrals. With a whole four hours of sleep and an upset stomach, I was not at all looking forward to running. It was also about 70 degrees and humid. Blah.


The race started on time and about four minutes after the start I crossed the starting line. The first mile cruised by. I obviously didn’t look too closely at the course map, because I mistakenly thought that we’d be running much of the same course as the marathon. Not so much. We ran maybe a few blocks of the same course.

My watch distance was off by the second mile likely due to going under lots of overpasses and the buildings of downtown. I realized I should just not look at my watch because it wasn’t reliable as far as distance or pace. With no goals in mind for the race, other than to finish, I just trucked along.

The course was boring but the music, when there was actually a band, was nice. It was pretty warm out, but I was doing my best to re-hydrate. I carried my fuel belt with my water bottles filled with Nuuns and took water at every water stop. A few sips in my mouth and the rest of the water over my head.

I was doing a pretty decent job of holding a steady pace. According to my results I was averaging about a 7:45 min/mile pace. As I got to the 10k mark, I started wondering how many more miles I was going to be able to go before I had to make a pit stop. Turns out two. At mile eight I veered off course to the lone porta-potty. Much to my dismay it was occupied. I took a gel and anxiously waited for the person in it to leave. Finally they did, I popped in and ran out as quickly as I could.

I got in two more miles before I had to stop again. Luckily there was one available and it was the last time I had to stop. The last few miles felt long. We went through a really dark tunnel under the Solider Field (I think) that was filled with potholes and so dark I was worried about tripping and face planting. They definitely needed more light there. When I came out of the tunnel we were near the lake as we approached the finish line.

I was so glad to be done when I finally crossed the finish line.

Official Time: 1:45:29       Avg. Pace: 8:03 min/mile

For a standalone half marathon, I set a new personal record. But this was about a minute slower than the second half of Lake Wobegon. I’ll take it as my streak continuing.


Those two bathroom stops really slowed me down. All things considered, little sleep, bathroom stops, warm/humid weather, lack of training, boozing and eating like crap, I did pretty well.

Shortly after I finished, my girls finished just as it started pouring rain with some crazy thunder and lightning. With a small break in the rain we went back to the hotel for a little R&R before the Cubs game.

Would I do this race again? Not so much. Will I consider doing the Brooklyn Rock N’ Roll Half next fall as an excuse for another girls weekend? Absolutely.