Friday, October 13, 2017

Newport Marathon Race Recap

Oh Heyyyy! Sorry for being MIA forever. Only I'm not that sorry and I'm not promising that I'll post again anytime soon, but I wrote this post up for my training forum and thought I would share it here too.

I ran the Newport Marathon in Rhode Island on Sunday. It was my 3rd marathon.

The weather was not ideal on race day. It was 68-70 during the race, with ridiculously high humidity. When we left the hotel in the morning, my weather app said the humidity was at 100%!

I had been training for my marathon pace to be 8:45 based on the workouts in my training plan, but with the weather I knew that probably wasn’t in the cards. My main goal for the day was to keep my pace in check for the first half and hopefully break 4 hours. My first mile was my slowest at 9:25, and my fastest was 8:34 (in my defense, it was a downhill mile and I work those downhills for all they’re worth), so I was a little all over the place depending on the hills and the headwinds.

The course is beautiful; a lot of it is right on the coast, which also leaves you open to some intense winds. There were several areas with serious headwinds, and one out and back section where the gusts were so strong it was knocking my legs into each other as I was running. It was also a fairly hilly course, especially the second half.

I felt really good during the first half, other than being much too warm. The water stations all filled their cups super full, so I was drinking some and dumping the rest on my head – which definitely saved me. I also started drinking Gatorade much earlier in the race than I usually do because of the weather.

There was a half marathon that started at the same time as the full, and it was really hard to not speed up with everyone as we neared the halfway point. I had to remind myself that I was only halfway, but the finish line energy was pretty infectious. There were three times as many people running the half, so it really thinned out when we headed into the second half.

The first half of the course has pretty decent crowd support (all the people cheering for the half marathoners), but the second half gets pretty quiet. I think there ended up being less than 800 marathon finishers, though I know over 1000 were registered.

The second half of the course is hillier, lonelier, and miles 18-21 felt like they might never end. My right calf was just on the edge of cramping starting around mile 18 (through the finish), but I stubbornly refused to acknowledge it and just kept going. It was sore for several days afterwards.

Smiling at mile 25

I definitely used Coach Jay’s 3, 2, 1.2 chunking for the final 10k (you focus on miles 21-23, then tell yourself to speed up a notch for miles 24 and 25, and then you just grind out the last 1.2 miles), which really helped give me something to focus on. I also knew from studying the course map that it was downhill from mile 25 to the finish, so I had that to look forward to. I passed a lot of people in the last few miles, and while I was obviously tired, I still felt strong (thanks to the strength and mobility work in the Simple Marathon Training plan). There was a clock at mile 25 and at that point I knew I was going to break 4 hours. I sped up and I’m pretty sure I smiled the entire rest of the race (mile 26 was 8:41 pace). I was even able to do the marathon runner version of a sprint at the finish and passed a guy right at the end!

My previous PR was 4:11:23, and on Sunday I ran a chip time of 3:56:54! I am so excited with my time, especially since I know in better weather I could have run even faster! I ran a very slight positive split (1:57:59 for the first half, 1:58:55 for the second half), but that’s still a huge improvement on my previous marathons. It also started raining right after I finished – like a complete downpour – it was an interesting weather day!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


So, we might have gotten another dog.

This is Batman.

Buddy, Scout, and Batman are still getting used to each other, but it's only been a couple of days.

Road trip to meet/pick up Batman

Batman is a good runner, and is very well trained. He already joined me for an easy 4 miles, and was completely unfazed.

I gave Scout and Buddy peanut butter jars to clean out while Batman went to the vet yesterday, Scout is a brat and stole Buddy's jar.

One of my girls decided to decorate me during Girls on the Run today. They were keeping track of their laps by putting tally marks on their hands, and somehow it turned into a game to decorate me after each lap.

I went to the grocery store like this. Fortunately, almost all of it washed off in the shower.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Random Thursday Thoughts

If I blogged half as often as I think about sitting down to write a post, you would be so sick of me.

We're having a freak week of summer this week. My car said it was 94 this afternoon, which I am definitely not ready for. Fortunately it is only supposed to be in the upper 70s tomorrow, so at least it isn't sticking around.

I signed up for Jay Johnson's semi-personal coaching for my fall marathon. I'm so determined to feel good about my race this year.

Unless I can't count (which is entirely possible), marathon training starts up next week! It feels really early to be starting, but my training plan is 20 weeks long, so it makes sense.

The pooches have been joining me for some long walks lately. They love it. Scout doesn't know what to do if I stop to let them take a break and I end up tangled in leashes.

He's also super helpful when I try to stretch.

This is the floor of what will eventually be the hall/guest bathroom. We've kind of been ignoring it for a while.

I decided to pretend I know what I'm doing and made a little progress last weekend.

I ran out of thinset, and needed a break, so I didn't get it finished. Once we get all the little squares filled in it will be ready for tile!

Let's not talk about the fact that we also have the area around the tub/shower to tile, or the fact that we haven't even started on the master bathroom floor...

Have you used Thredup? I have bought a few things from them, and today I sent in my first "cleanup bag." It's basically an online consignment store. It got a bunch of clothes out of the house and may bring in a few dollars. Feels like winning to me!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Baby Trees!

You can't really see anything in this picture, but we got some new plants for the yard!

Our county had a seedling sale with native plants, so we decided to order some. Then we let them sit in the garage for a week after Tom picked them up...oops!

To add to the apple trees we planted last year (we have a honeycrisp, a red delicious and a granny smith) we added two baby pear trees today. 

Tom put tomato cages around the baby trees to keep Scout from playing with and/or destroying them.  Sticks are Scout's favorite thing in the yard.

The apple trees survived the winter and losing several limbs to Scout. They even have blossoms!

There are also baby eastern white pine trees which will one day form a wind break for the yard.

It's going to be a few years though, they're pretty tiny!

The dogs were sad they couldn't be outside while Tom mowed the lawn this afternoon, so they found the sunniest spot in the house to nap. Please ignore the piles of Scout hair on the floor. The second I vacuum it up it just comes right back. He's been shedding like crazy and I can't figure out how he's not completely hairless at this point. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Marathon Musings and Pooch Pictures

I'm using a new training plan for my marathon this year. It is going to take some getting used to. Easy run days are all time (not distance) based, and only long runs and some workout days actually have mileage attached to them.  It's also a 20 week plan and has four 18 milers, two 20s and a 22 mile long run. And there's walking. A brisk walk every week the day after the long run.

I have been getting newsletters from Coach Jay Johnson for a while now, and was excited when he announced the release of his book Simple Marathon Training last fall. I have read the book cover to cover and have already added some of his techniques to my running.

I started doing the lunge matrix and leg swings before every run since the new year, and have been doing SAM (strength and mobility) work afterwards. I just made the switch up to phase 2 of SAM work last week.

After last year's disappointing finish at Steamtown, I decided I needed to do something different. Coach Jay's plan really emphasizes staying injury free and running your best race.

It has been a bit of a challenge to alter my mindset on easy days to not worry about my pace. I am fine during my runs (I don't look at my watch), and have been feeling pretty good, but when I upload my watch data I find I am disappointed by my pace. I keep telling myself I am rebuilding, and the fact that I am running pain-free is the most important thing, but there's still that little part of me that hates to see those slower splits.

It is also a bit of an adjustment to get used to doing SAM work after every run. I have to plan that extra time into my workout.

I don't officially start marathon training for another 3 weeks or so, but at least I am starting healthy this year!

And for those of you who don't care about marathon training - here are some recent dog pictures ;)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Last Weekend in Pictures

I just can't seem to get back into the groove of posting regularly. I don't even have a good reason, it's not like I'm incredibly busy or anything.

Last weekend I made the drive up to Boston to visit one of my friends from college. (side note: what's the deal with the traffic in Connecticut?) We had a great time walking, eating and drinking all over Boston on Saturday.

The Boston Marathon finish line before repainting

And on Sunday we went wine tasting and sightseeing in Newport, RI (which is where my marathon is later this year).

It was a really fun weekend! - nice to catch up in person and explore some new (to me) places at the same time.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Girls on the Run

I don't know if I've mentioned it here yet, but I'm helping coach a Girls on the Run team this spring!

Haven't heard of it? It's awesome!

Here's the description from the website:

Meeting twice a week in small teams of 8-15 girls, we teach life skills through dynamic, conversation-based lessons and running games. The 20-lesson curriculum is taught by certified Girls on the Run coaches and includes three parts: understanding ourselves, valuing relationships and teamwork and understanding how we connect with and shape the world at large.

Running is used to inspire and motivate girls, encourage lifelong health and fitness, and build confidence through accomplishment. At each season's conclusion, the girls and their running buddies complete a 5k running event. Completing a 5k gives the girls a tangible sense of achievement as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals. The result—making the seemingly impossible, possible and teaching girls that they can.

The girls picked my adjective for the name game

We had our first practice this afternoon. Our group is made up of 12 third and fourth graders and 4 coaches. 

It was a little disorganized since we're all new to the program, but it was a lot of fun! We were stuck inside because of the weather, but the girls thought it was the coolest thing ever because we got permission to run through the school hallways. I'm sure they will be telling all of their friends at school tomorrow how they were allowed to run in the halls. It was probably the highlight of practice for some of them. 

They are a fun group and I'm really excited for the rest of the season! 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon 2017 Race Recap

I ran my 3rd Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon this morning. It was a little different this year, because I missed about 3 weeks of training due to various illnesses.

I was smart for a change, and decided not to have a time goal. It's been a while since I didn't have some time at the back of my mind during a race, and I have to say, it was almost relaxing.

Earlier this week I stubbed/skinned a toe on a dog toy, and yesterday I hit my achilles tendon with enough force that it was pretty instantly purple.

Excellent timing.

Fortunately, the toe was fine, and the achilles only complained on the hills. It's pretty sore now, but I'm glad it let me run.

I hate worrying about parking at races, so I arrived freakishly early.

I probably could have left a little later.

After hanging out in my car for a while, I went down to pick up my bib and visit with people. Sleepy Hollow is always a fun race, because it's put on by my weekend running group, Rivertown Runners.

It was supposed to be fairly warm today, but the weather missed that memo and we had a decent amount of wind and some rain. It sprinkled on and off throughout the race.

I don't really have any exciting mile-by-mile stories from today. I mostly enjoyed the people watching and listening to my new race playlist.

I did not enjoy the hills. It's not the hilliest race I have run, but since I haven't been running many hills lately, they were pretty tough today. I kill it on the downhill though. I'm always surprised by how many people I pass on downhills. Take advantage of gravity people!

The worst hill is the last one. Every race in Sleepy Hollow ends at the top of this hill, and it's brutal. It is relatively short, but it makes a strong finish a little difficult.

So, not my fastest race, but I did it. Considering how much training I missed, I'm happy with how it turned out. My chip time was 2:06:02.

Sometimes I forget that it's an accomplishment every time I cross a finish line. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Happy Birthday Scout!

Since Scout and his brothers and sisters were owner surrendered, we actually have a birthdate for him.

Remember when we got him?


Scout is one year old today, and he's still a crazy puppy. He's just a lot bigger now. He's excellent at destroying toys, loves eating snow, and is fairly indifferent about eating his actual food. He also still drives Buddy insane, trying to get him to play when all Buddy wants to do is sleep.

Happy birthday, you crazy pup!
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