Monthly Archives: March 2014

Wind, Wind Everywhere

It was a tough winter that brought 2014 with it and we had lots of cold, lots of ice and even a hefty snowfall or two down here at the beach.  More than that, and most irritatingly, there was windalso a ton of wind.  Daily doses over the 20 mile an hour mark.  Consistently.  Gusts, OK.  This nonsense?  No, thank you.

It just hasn’t stopped.  My long run on Friday featured a 23 mile an hour head- and cross- wind that had my legs so beat up I cut it a mile short.  Wednesday’s Race Pace run?  Wind – 15 miles an hour.  Shamrock?  Wind – 17 miles an hour.  My final training run before that race?  22 miles an hour.  This kind of weather pattern has been going on for close to 10 weeks, and the current standings are:  Wind: 1,568, Meredith: 2.  Just a breeze would be lovely.  Anything under 10 miles an hour would actually be pretty nice.

windNot to be an all out whiner, I’ll admit that training in the wind is good for me.  Resistance running in a headwind, or with a chute, can help make anyone a stronger, more powerful and more technically sound runner.  That doesn’t mean I like it.  I would appreciate Mother Nature leaving my visor firmly planted on my head, rather than constantly threatening to blow it away.  As I roll into my second Race Week of 2014, I’m prepared for a windy Race Day on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean for Atlantic City’s April Fool’s Half Marathon.  I just hope it’s not.  I was able to draft for a while at the Shamrock, and know that helped a bit, but I lacked the strong kick I wanted in the final 5k because I had worked so hard fighting the wind for Miles 6 – 11.

The good news is this:  if I ever have the chance to run a race with little to no wind, I’m going to be fast.  Yes, the course in Atlantic City is an out and back, so I’ll get a tailwind to match any headwind I face (hope for something out of the South), but I just don’t think it makes up for it.  Neither does anyone else.  Check this, and this, and this out.  Plus, the weather is currently calling for a NNW wind of about 15 miles an hour, which, of course, is much less than ideal.  The silver lining to this gloom is that I met my Spring goal two weeks ago, and as much as I’d like to improve upon it, I won’t be too disappointed if I’m not successful.

Meredith

Have you run in a lot of wind lately?  How do you cope with it?

USATF Level One Coaching Course

My love of running, the running community and desire to bring it to others drive me to Tweet, Facebook and Blog all things running, and have even led me to starting the FitNicePT YouTube channel.  I want to be able to provide the best guidance and coaching I possibly can, and this motivated me to Level Oneregister for USA Track and Field’s Level One Coaching Certification Course early in the year.  As I mentioned in this post, I attended the course last weekend, March 21-23 at Villanova University, and had a wonderful experience.

The 21 hour program kicked off Friday evening and it flew by. The class was full of coaches from up and down the east coast and their faces were of every shape, size and age.  It’s amazing how accepting and diverse the running world is.  There really is a place for anyone, especially those who want to help others improve.  We covered the USATF Philosophy, basic sport Psychology, and basic running Physiology during Friday’s session and it was a good review of things I’ve learned throughout my training career.  After class, I went home and hit the hay, ready for lots of learning on Saturday.

Saturday morning kicked off around 8:30 with a valuable outline of Biomechanics then rolled right into Training Theory and Sprints/Hurdles before lunch.  I was familiar with the first two subjects, but beyond my meager attempts at crashing through a few hurdles and some not-so-fast sprints in high school, I really didn’t know much about these events, especially how to coach them.  Speed work is an important element of long distance training, and I found the things I learned in this section quite valuable.

After lunch we covered the second half of the Sprints/Hurdles curriculum, worked through the Biomotor section and wrapped up the twelve hour day with my favorite topic, the Endurance Events.  Since I’ve been off the track for quite a long time, and have been running distances of at least 5k ever since, it was a good reminder that distances as short as the 800M are considered Endurance events that require similar training techniques.  After the lecture, I had a great talk with the instructor and got lots of advice on half marathon training that will be a big help in guiding both my clients and myself through upcoming races.

It was back to finish up Sunday morning with the Throwing Events before lunch and last, but not least, close the educational experience with the Jumps Events.  Much like the Sprint and Hurdle Events, I knew a bit about the Throws and Jumps, but these two sections were definitely the most foreign to me.  Not much of a weight lifter back in the day, my upper body strength was, shall we say, lacking as I was unable to do a pull-up or more than two or three full push-ups and I steered clear of any throwing implements or surfaces as often as possible.  Similarly, I’m not much of a jumper.  I never seriously attempted any Jumps in my track days, though I did take a few leaps into the sand for fun.  Some of the technical elements of the Jumps Events are similar to the Sprint Events, which helped me understand the mechanics, and I found myself wondering how I would perform at both the Throws and Jumps (probably not very well at either).

A few minutes of closing remarks and a course survey signaled the end of the 21 hour endeavor and I walked away with a brain swimming in information I couldn’t wait to share with clients, and apply to my own training.  The instructors were great.  They were enthusiastic, incredibly knowledgeable and more than willing to answer questions and help all of us grow as coaches.  I made for the car excited to get back to coaching, and after my brain cleared out a bit during the drive home, I really started to process what I head learned.  Tons of great information that definitely helped me grow as a coach and will greatly benefit my clients and my business made every minute of my missed weekend worth it.Level OneI decided during my drive to take my 200 question Level One Coaching Exam Monday morning.  I wanted to dive into in while the information was still fresh, and even though the exam is open book, I really wanted to see what I retained.  The lengthy exam took more time than expected, but with little help from my book, I had apparently retained lots of the lecture information and knocked out a 97% on my test.  I am officially a USATF Level One Coach.  I’m proud of my accomplishment, but even more so to be a part of the running community.

Meredith

Are you a running coach?  How do you work to improve your running?

Busy Weekend and New Things!

Phew, the weekend is over.  I never thought I’d say that!  It was a busy weekend, but lots of fun and even included a few new things.  I spent three days at Villanova University taking the USATF Level One Coaching Certification Course (more on that later) and drove up to Philly on Thursday afternoon.

I got to Mom and Dad’s just in time for dinner and an 8pm Twitter chat with Lorna Jane and Fit Approach.  I was recently selected as a SweatPink Ambassador, and am excited to be a part of the community.  The ladies on the chat were all awesome, hopefully I’ll meet a few of them at some upcoming races.  A good night’s sleep to prepare my body and mind for a busy weekend followed the Twitter party, and I hit the mean streets Friday morning for an easy four mile run that I made sure included some serious hills.  Speaking of running, my post-Shamrock training has been pretty lax.  I took Monday and Tuesday off, rowed a 5K on Wednesday, lifted heavy on Thursday (first time in almost three weeks.  Hello, sore) and had a blast running four miles of big, quad burning hills that got my legs back in gear after Thursday’s work.busy weekend

Class didn’t start until 5:30 Friday evening, so Mom and I took a shopping trip (yay, new things).  I’d been looking for a replacement laptop bag for a while, knowing mine was on it’s last legs, but hadn’t had much success.  Luckily, a visit to Vera Bradley helped me find this Messenger bag, and it’s perfect.  Plenty of room for my computer, notepads and lots of pockets for cords, pens and snacks.

busy weekendI try to save my shopping dollars for trips to Pennsylvania because there isn’t (yet) any tax on clothing and it helps the pennies go a little further.  In need of a new pair of running tights, I picked out this super comfy pair of Inspire Crop II from Lululemon and can’t wait to try them out on this afternoon’s 45 minute tempo run (yes, there will be a review).

My busy weekend really kicked into gear with Friday evening’s class session, and it rolled right on with 12 hours of class Saturday and the final 8 on Sunday.  I mentioned my post-Shamrock training had been lax, and with lots of learning to do, I was off both Saturday and Sunday.  After thanking the teaching coaches, I hopped in the car and made my way back south.  With my busy weekend in the books, here’s what’s on tap for this week’s April Fool’s training:

Tempo work (and new pants) today, heavy lifting tomorrow, a Race Pace run on Wednesday, speed work and lifting on Thursday, a 14 miler on Friday then a recovery run or light cross training on Saturday.  It’ll be nice to settle back into my regular routine for the 12 days leading to my next Race Day.

Meredith

How was your weekend?  Do you get excited for new workout gear?

Guilty of Missing RunChat, Again!

I enjoy RunChat.  I love interacting with other runners and, every time I participate, I’m sure to learn something and see an incredible list of weekly accomplishments.  Doing the RunChat Hunt was a fun holiday adventure and I can’t wait for the next one.  The running community is so friendly and supportive that I feel guilty when I miss a chance to interact with another runner, whether it’s in person or online, and lately, I’ve missed a few.runchat

RunChat is a weekly, Sunday conversation held on Twitter (follow me!) during which the ring leaders (David and Scott) ask five questions based around running and anyone who can use a hashtag is welcome to join.  It lasts for about an hour and typically wraps up with an opportunity for every #RunChat participant to brag about their weekly successes.  I’ve been quite a slacker the last several weeks, and haven’t answered a question or bragged in a while.

Yes, I’m feeling a little guilty.  Two weeks ago, I had the times mixed up and showed up at 10 for an 8pm RunChat.  Last week, I over compensated and sat down with my Twitter at 8pm for 10pm chat, then fell asleep before I so much as saw a question.  This past Sunday, after a long day at the Shamrock (new PR!), I just couldn’t make the 10pm start time.  My muscles were asking for some serious rest and I hit the hay around 9, though I didn’t feel particularly guilty about it.  And this Sunday, March 23, I will again be absent.

runchatI’m headed up to Villanova for a USATF Level One Coaching Certification and with class that runs from 12 to 4 on Sunday, and a 5 hour drive right afterwards, it doesn’t look like I’ll be back in time.  Sure, I could RunChat and drive, but after what’s sure to be a mentally, and possibly physically, exhausting weekend of education, that might not be a good idea.

Even though I missed it, I’ve cruised through the #RunChat board and it motivated me to go ahead and answer last Sunday’s questions.  No promises they’ll be 160 characters or less, however.

Q1: What’s the best backdrop you’ve had for a run? Beach? Sunrise? Mountains? Share a photo if you have one!  I get a good one pretty often here in VB.runchatQ2: When picking a destination race, what are the top 2-3 things the race must include?  A state I haven’t run in before, a cool medal and music on the course.  Shooting for all 50 (45 left to go, and DC), it’s time for a new medal display and the tunes keep me going!

Q3: What’s the No. 1 must-do-sometime-in-your-life race on your bucket list?  Eek, that’s tough.  Maybe RnR Dublin or Semi de Paris, since I’m not much a 26.2 runner, it’s definitely an international half.

Q4: What’s something you now know about racing that you wish you knew before your very first race?  It’s OK to fail.  I was so scared of not hitting my goal finish time, I sold myself short and could have done much better.  There’s always another race.

Q5: The best racing distance is _____ because _____.  All of them!  Each distance is fun in its own way and shorter ones are great training for longer races.  I love to mix it up.

Brag: I PRed this week!  New HM at 1:39:09, in some unfriendly winds.  Shooting for 1:38:50 in three weeks in Atlantic City.

Meredith

What are you answers to these RunChat questions?  Do you participate each week?

2014 Shamrock Half Marathon and New PR

2014 Shamrock is in the bag and so is a brand new PR!  1:39:09!  With a goal to break 1:40:00, I’m very happy, even more so since that’s 9:32 faster than last year’s 1:48:41 and 4:23 faster than my previous PR, 1:43:32, from last fall’s Rock n Roll Philly.  Race Weekend was great, and here’s my recap:

The weekend kicked off with a fun-filled afternoon volunteering, and shoe shopping, at the Shamrock Expo on Friday and a relaxing Saturday you can 2014 Shamrockread all about in this post.  Pre-race swag included my volunteer t-shirt, my Shamrock Half Marathon technical t-shirt, a Shamrock logo emblazoned drawstring bag and, of course, my number.

Race morning began around 5am for the 7am Start with getting dressed in my race gear and eating a big bowl of cereal.  Doug and I barely hit any traffic, arriving and parking with plenty of time to spare at the bustling Oceanfront around 6am.  I threw in a pre-race foam roll and little warm up while I wrapped up my hydration strategy with a GPS E2 and enjoyed the line free restroom at work.  I made for the Start around 6:40, walked the three blocks to Corral 1 in some chilly winds and barely had time to retie my shoes before the national anthem was sung, Team Hoyt was off and, two minutes later, so was I.

Miles 1 and 2 were pretty uneventful.  I was getting a feel for the traffic around me, settling into my pace and reminding myself to run my own race and not get caught up with the people passing me.  My first two miles were 7:44 and 7:40, respectively, which is exactly where I wanted them.  Easy.  A handful of cheering fans and a mass of smiling volunteers at the Mile 1.5 Water Stop made me smile as the first 2 miles passed in a blur.  Turning onto Shore Drive just before Mile 3, we passed another full staffed Water Stop and entered the tree-lined portion of the course.  Here, there was plenty of protection from the wind, and I settled into a comfortable, 7:35/mile average pace.  Right where I wanted to be.

Back to boring for Miles 3 and 4.  I ran a course I’ve run often easily and steadily, hugging the woods and staying in the flattest part of the road, the bike lane.  A DJ, a band and another well manned Water Stop were the extent of scenery through this portion of the course, and by Mile 5, I was feeling really good.  My split was 37:44, and with an 8K PR of 37:12, I took a deep breath and actually sang along with the band at Mile 5.5, who was playing the always enjoyable Hey, Jealousy.  Just past that, I made the turn off of Shore Drive and towards Mile 6, stepping onto Fort Story.  Hello, wind.

I knew heading east and north would be heading into it, but some of the gusts were stronger than I expected.  I brought my pace down a bit, to somewhere between a 7:38 and 7:42, for Miles 6 and 7, knowing I’d get a tailwind as soon as the course turned south again and that it wasn’t worth using all of my energy at the halfway point.  Similar to those first two miles, there were small groups of fans cheering us on throughout this portion of the course and they definitely helped keep me smiling in less than ideal wind conditions.  I ran past the Water Stop at Mile 8, but did get a solid, power-up high-five from an excitable volunteer.  Fighting through gusty headwinds for 3.5 miles wasn’t very enjoyable, and sometime after Mile 8, but before Mile 9, I got a little light-headed and wished I had stopped for a gulp or two of water back at the Mile 8 marker.

As the course turned south past the Mile 9 sign, I was feeling better and bypassed the next Water Stop at 9.5 miles.  At Mile 10 I noticed a friendly tailwind, but also the slight, 1-2% grade I would be climbing for the near future.  I usually increase my pace for the final 5K, and I did a good job, with the help of that tailwind, dropping my pace down to a 7:30 until reaching the 2014 Shamrocknext Water Stop.  I took a walk break to chug down a few ounces of water at the well staffed Mile 11 Water Stop.  That did the job and I knew I could hit my goal with a little room to spare.  I maintained my faster pace, clocking Mile 11 in 7:30, with plans to kick it up a notch and run hard to the Finish once making the turn onto Atlantic.

The turn from Atlantic Avenue on the Boardwalk just past Mile 12 was awful.  A gushing wind tunnel almost blew my visor off.  Luckily, that was short-lived as I turned right onto the flat Boardwalk steps later and caught sight of the Finish.  I turned my pace up and had a smile on my face as I breezed through Miles 12 to 13.1 at 7:10, feeling surprisingly good, knowing I had exceeded my goal by at least 30 seconds.  Crossing the line, I heard my name, pressed the Stop button on my watch and took a look (1:39:09!?!) before walking on and retrieving my post-race 2014 Shamrockswag.  First was a big, heavy, shiny medal, then water, Gatorade, bananas, granola bars, Shamrock cookies, pretzels, a Finisher’s beach towel (awesome, and super handy on a windy day), a Finisher’s hat and finally a Finisher’s photo in front of the Shamrock step and repeat.

I took another look at my watch, which was 2014 Shamrockdefinitely reading 1:39:09 and was very excited.  New PR?  Time to Party!  The Shamrock Crew makes that easy.  I slid on flip flops and ate a banana as fast as I could to ease a suddenly crampy foot while Doug and I made our way to the tent.  Finishing early meant no lines for ID check, beer or stew and as we waited for Half Marathon runner friends to join us, we enjoyed the spacious, wind free tent and great tunes from The River Boyz.  I also had the opportunity to meet Hollie, which was awesome and who I’m excited to see again in three weeks at April Fool’s.  Two hours and lots of friends later, we left the now very  2014 Shamrock  crowded tent, used Port-a-Potties that had no lines, and went to have a delicious lunch at Pi-Zerria.  After lunch, I went back to the tent to congratulate a few friends who had run the full marathon (crazy kids), then called it a day and started for the car around 2:00.2014 Shamrock

2014 Shamrock was definitely Shamrockin’ and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.  Well, maybe less wind.  It was great to be in Corral 1 and I had little traffic to contend with in the first two miles.  Past Mile 2, I had open running room for the entire course, except for when I was trying to hide behind someone and have them block the wind for me.  I did an excellent job of stick with my race plan and accomplished exactly what I set out to.  My official, overall results with a finish time of 1:39:09 were 452 of 8936 overall, 116 of 5510 ladies, and out of all those women, I was 21 of 984 in the 30-34 age group.

J&A always does an incredible job putting on an event, and this year’s Shamrock was no exception.  The Start was right on time and smooth as could be, course support was wonderful, there was never a line for port-race Port-a-Potties, every volunteer was smiling, finisher swag was great, lines for beer when the tent was crowded were reasonable, the bands rocked and the only thing I’m left wondering is why we don’t do that more often.

Meredith

Did you Shamrock this year?  Have you in the past?

Shamrock Expo and Restaurant Redemption

It’s Shamrock Week 12 and all that’s left is Race Day.  Week 12 was home to a dose of restaurant redemption Wednesday night after a not-so-great experience kicking the week off at Metropolitan Oyster Exchange, a good last training run Thursday and a fun filled afternoon volunteering at the Shamrock Expo yesterday.  I’m now in total Race Day mode as I rest my legs for tomorrow morning’s adventure.

Let’s start with Wednesday evening’s restaurant redemption.  Doug and I had a planning committee meeting for the Oceanfront Spring Crawl and afterwards made our way to Tempt Restaurant and Lounge for a later dinner.  We had great service, the food was delicious and the atmosphere was much more enjoyable than it had been at M.O.E.  After a wonderful experience at Tempt, it was home to bed and Thursday morning’s final training run.  My last pre-race run was a windy, but solid, 2 mile Race Pace run Thursday morning and I kicked off Race Weekend by picking up my number yesterday afternoon while simultaneously exploring and volunteering at the Shamrock Expo.

I arrived at the Convention Center just before 11:30am for the Shamrock Expo doors to open at noon and passed a long line of runners itching to get in as I headed to the volunteer station.  I was given bottled water, a food ticket and a comfy t-shirt, which I slipped on when I arrived at my station, Final Mile numbers 30,000-31,000.  I checked in with 2014 Shamrock Expovolunteer coordinator Butch, then picked up my own number (5694) and swag bag before the doors opened and the rush was on.  Time flew by handing out numbers and directions to excited children and their parents, and before I knew it I was hungry.  I checked with my great station mate, Melissa, then took my food ticket to the Deli and munched on a salty soft pretzel before the final 2.5 hours flew by and my time was up.  Wanting to take another swing through the expo, I met up with my fellow runner friend Lauren and we picked up numbers for friends before going shopping.  I found the last pair on the earth of my current runners (Saucony Pro Grid Ride 5) and grabbed them up while Lauren went headband hunting.  We walked around the expo a bit more, ran into a few other friends then made for the exit.  A great kick off to Race Weekend!

A big bowl of spaghetti last night got my body loaded with carbs, and I’ll be noshing on a big juicy burger with steamed broccoli this evening.  I spent this morning at work and got a little bit more excited for Race Day tomorrow as I watched many of the Shamrock 8K runners head to their race.  Hopefully, the weather tomorrow morning will be as nice as today.  The Race Day weather report looks pretty decent, with temperatures in the high 40s and wind hanging around the 10 mph per mark and no forecasted rain.  I’m pulling for the wind to come in gusts, rather than being constant, but that’s probably not what I’ll get.  Either way, the winds and weather shouldn’t be strong enough to stand in the way of getting a good shot at reaching that new PR I’ve been working so hard for.

shamrock expoI’ll spend the rest of today resting up (definitely a nap, maybe a movie, hopefully finishing Lone Survivor), foam rolling once (maybe twice) and getting plenty of fluids (water only).  My Garmin is on the charger, and it’ll stay there until the morning, right next to my shoes.  Now that I have a good handle on what I think the weather will be, I packed my race bag (that I’ll be leaving at work or entrusting to Doug) with a clean (not sweaty) shirt, a big comfy hoodie, a pair of get-me-out-of-these-shoes flip flops, my famous beach phone bag (for protection from water, beer, you name it), my ID and debit card while pulling out my bright green long sleeve half zip top and black compression capris for Starting Line fashions.

Race Morning will kick off dark and early, with a breakfast I haven’t picked out yet (bagel or cereal?) and 1.5 of my usual long run GPS E2 for a little extra Race Day spark.  The plan is to park at work then head inside for an easy access restroom and a pre-race round of foam rolling.  A three block walk to the Start will serve as a short, easy warm up before the gun goes off and the Race is on.

Meredith

Are you racing this weekend?  What’s your goal?

Metropolitan Oyster Exchange

Doug and I went to dinner at Metropolitan Oyster Exchange (M.O.E) to kick off my Shamrock Race Week.  We were looking forward to trying a new place and had heard good things about the food and drink, which made our choice an easy one.  Located near the Virginia Beach Oceanfront in Linkhorn Shoppes (the former location of Prime 103), the restaurant is easily accessible from 264 and the Hilltop area.

Noted for their eclectic cocktail selections, I attempted to get a look at the menu online before leaving home, only to find, on 9 March, a website that announced the location’s 14 January 2014 opening and let me know the website would be up soon.  That was slightly disheartening, but forgivable.  We arrived around just before 7pm Sunday evening and found plenty of parking.  We made the short walk from the car to the door and were metropolitan oyster exchangeimmediately greeted by a friendly hostess who sat us at a high top table between the bar and booth lined wall.  The restaurant was clean, bright and upscale.

As we settled into our seats, a server walked by and said he’s be with us momentarily.  When he eventually returned, more than momentarily later, he failed to introduce himself, but took our drink orders as we perused the small menu, which he let us know, twice, was new.  I had a general idea of what to expect on the menu from reviews on Yelp and from experience at the owner’s other establishment, Coastal Grill, but no website content left me wondering what I’d find.  The majority of shrimp items were served with grits, which doesn’t give a very Metropolitan feel to the establishment and seemed out of place.  Chicken and waffles further this confused feeling on the menu since, again, it’s not a very Metropolitan dish.  Although the menu’s offerings were limited, they were finely crafted and assuredly delectable.

Upon his return to deliver our beverages and take dinner orders, we had to ask if there were any specials because we had not been told about any, but safely assumed there would be at least one.  I was surprised they weren’t written on the massive chalkboard hanging above the raw bar.  My wine selection, the Dry Creek Chenin Blanc, I couldn’t tell you the year because it wasn’t listed on the menu and I never saw a bottle, was delightful.  metropolitan oyster exchangeFresh and crisp, without the butteriness I dislike so much in most chardonnays.

I ordered seared scallops and Doug chose a blackened steak.  The entrees came out of the kitchen quickly and were placed on the table still warm.  Though the menu made no mention, my scallops were served with petite fingerling potatoes and mixed bacon infused baby spinach and kale salad.  A single, fresh cherry tomato, also made its home on my plate, and seemed out of place.  The scallops themselves, drizzled with fresh lemon, were excellent and paired very well with the Chenin Blanc.  Doug’s steak was likewise served with the bacon infused spinach and kale salad as well as a hand full of the fresh cherry tomatoes and a side of horseradish.  The steak itself was well cooked, but fatty, making it only slightly above average.  As expected, the seafood was superior to the steak, but somewhere cocktails hover between $10 and $15 a piece that isn’t New York, LA or Philadelphia, I expect more.

After our plates had been cleared, we were sipping our drinks when our check was delivered.  Unexpectedly.  We hadn’t asked for it, we hadn’t been asked if we might be interested in dessert, and I, honestly, would have liked another glass of wine and something sweet.  At that point, I made for the restrooms, which were located down a long, narrow hallway in the rear of the restaurant.  Not only was the passageway narrow, arriving at either of the restrooms requires the patron to walk directly by the food pick up window (but at first blush, it appears to possibly be the dirty dish drop window.  Either way, I don’t want to walk by it).  That explained why all evening I had seen both empty and overflowing bus pans being carried from behind the raw and regular bars and through the dining area to reach their destination.  Not my idea of fine dining.

Unfortunately, we probably won’t make any return visits to Metropolitan Oyster Exchange.  The owners of Metropolitan Oyster Exchange also have Coastal Grill in their charge, and we have always had fantastic experiences there.  When comparing the two restaurants, the food is comparably good, but the service and atmosphere at M.O.E was quite a let down.

Shamrock Week 11 Wrap Up

Shamrock Week 11 is complete and Race Week has arrived!  It’s hard to believe that just two weeks ago I was feeling burned out and found myself questioning whether or not training would ever end.  Four months is a long time to go without a single race after a season that included seven races in four months.shamrock week 11  In this post, I said I was ready for some play time after Fall 2013, but maybe I took things a little too far with 14 weeks of it.

Regardless of how long it’s been, I’m back in race mode and ready to go.  Shamrock Week 11 was full of cruddy weather that sent me inside for two of my runs (a 50 minute tempo on Monday and 800M repeats on Thursday) and gusts of 40 mph winds that made running outdoors out of the question on Friday.  I did a light cross training of bodyweight exercises Friday instead, and pushed my last long(ish) one to yesterday.  Both of my last two long runs, yesterday’s 10 miler and last week’s 14 miler, were excellent and I’m feeling really good about the my chances of hitting a new PR on Race Day.  The weather report, as of this morning, looks much friendlier than what’s been going on lately, which should also help.  Temperatures at the Start will be in the 40s with breezes hovering around 9 mph.  Hopefully, this prediction won’t change in the next six days.

I’ll keep my regular Sunday Race Week schedule this week, including an afternoon volunteering at the Shamrock Expo on Friday.  My Race Week plan looks like this, and also includes lots of extra daily foam rolling:

Monday: 30 minute Tempo Runshamrock week 11
Tuesday: Light/bodyweight/long distance row, cross training
Wednesday: Speed Work
Thursday: Two Race Pace Miles
Friday: Rest and Expo Volunteer
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Race Day!

This schedule has worked for me in the past, and I’m sticking with it.  I have three full weeks, and one full week of recovery time, post Shamrock to get ready for April Fool’s and I’m pumped to get into race season.  Doug and I are heading to Metropolitan Oyster Exchange for a Shamrock Week 11 Wrap up and Race Week Kickoff Dinner tonight and I’m excited to try something new.  I’ve heard good things about it, and it’s hard to go wrong when you opt for fresh seafood (stay tuned for my review this week).

Meredith

Will I see you at the Shamrock Expo?  How much do you miss racing when you take a break from it?

Weather, Wine and Reading

I posted on Tuesday about a dream I had last Friday night, and since I’m posting a few days after the fact this week, I’ll tell you about my Monday even though it’s Thursday 🙂  Monday brought plain old nasty weather with sleet and about an inch of snow creating some slippery conditions that forced me to do some at home crosstraining instead of getting a run in.  After the workout, it was time to throw some salt outside, make dinner and relax.

wineAll evening long, snow came down, school closings were announced and work report times delayed.  I made a brand new beef stir fry (you can find it here, on the FitNicePT blog when it’s published), and Doug and I decided to open one of the bottles of wine we had picked up last week.  I did promise to review each of them, and after scanning the wine rack, our winner was the 2011 Running with Scissors Cabernet Sauvignon.  At only $10.99, we weren’t exactly expecting very much, but it wasn’t a total disappointment.  It was an easy drinking, light bodied, not very fragrant California red wine that tastes grapey and has little aroma.  Another year or two in the bottle might do it some good, but for a crowd or an everyday, house wine, it’s a great value.  We partnered it with a beef stir fry, and I expect it would pair well with just about anything since the wine isn’t too powerful, but have to say a hearty, flavorful food will easy overtake it.wine

While sipping on a glass of wine, I settled into the couch with my latest book, Lone Survivor.  I had been to see the movie, and since I’ve found in most cases where a book has been translated into a screenplay, the book is superior, figured I needed to give this one a try.  So far, it’s been excellent.  Well written, fast moving and incredibly engaging, I can’t wait to dive back in.

Before turning another page, I’ll knock out my final long training run before the Shamrock.  It looks to be wet and windy tomorrow, but at least it’s only 10 miles!  I can’t believe how fast it’s approaching.  I was just feeling like training was dragging on forever and the race would never arrive, but lucky for me, it’s almost here.

Meredith

Do you have a favorite everyday red wine?  What are you reading right now?

A Dream, A Goal and A GPS Watch

On 16 March, I’ll be running the Shamrock Half Marathon, my first race in 2014.  I haven’t raced since the Surf n Santa in early December 2013 and I’m itching to get back at it.  My training has been going well, I’m feeling stronger, faster and fresher than I did at the end of Fall 2013 Race Season, all of which is good news.  I set a big goal to not only PR at this race, that’s definitely within reach, but to break the 1:40:00 mark as well.  A little bit more of a challenge, I had a really good last long training run in Week 10, and as long as I run the race I want to, I think my chances are good.

It’s true I think I have a shot to break 1:40:00 if I run a clean, traffic free race in two weeks, but there’s something I don’t think will happen.  I had a dream last Friday night I crossed the Shamrock Finish Line with 1:37:46 on my watch.  Well, that would be nice, but dreamunfortunately, while looking at my watch, I was wearing a cotton tank top, a non-sports bra and a leather belt with my running tights and shoes.  So, even though it was a nice dream, it’s probably not any indication of the future.

An additional 2:14 off of my goal of 1:40:00 is a big stretch, but is something I plan on doing.  Ultimately, I want to run a sub 1:30:00 half marathon, and the 1:37:46 I saw in my dream is certainly a step I’ll need to take along the way.  If I don’t hit my 1:40:00 goal at the Shamrock, I’ll have another chance on a flat, straight course at the April Fool’s Half three weeks later.  Miss it there and I’m in trouble.  Nashville at the end of April is a hilly course and a race where I’m just looking to stay under 1:45:00, meaning I’ll have to wait until Myrtle Beach in October for another serious shot.

Here’s hoping my dream comes true and I hit my new PR goal of crossing the Shamrock Finish line with something under 1:40:00 on my watch face.

Meredith

Are you looking to PR this Spring?  Do you ever dream about racing?