It’s Marathon Week! I’m ready to run and have had some solid workouts through my two week taper, including a great Big Wish 5k. Currently the One City weather is looking less than ideal with temperatures in the high 30s, 20 mph winds and an 80% chance of 1-3 inches of snow. Ugh. I’m really hoping that changes as the forecast so often does around Hampton Roads and I’ll stay dry. If not, oh well, there’s nothing I can do anyway.
My training is behind me. It went extremely well and I feel 100% ready for race day after two weeks of taper. I wrapped Taper Week 2 with a easy eight mile long run Friday then stepped the intensity up with the Big Wish 5k Saturday morning. It was a brisk and breezy but sunny morning. My plan was to to keep my legs firing without taking too much off the table for this weekend’s marathon. During my two mile warm-up I felt really good. We went off right on time as I focused on not getting swept up with the fast starters.
I expected to run comfortably around half marathon pace (7:15/mile) but settled in faster. The first mile ran by in 6:58. Slow down, I told myself. My legs and lungs both felt great as I made the u-turn at halfway. Mile 2 registered as a 6:56. Since I was feeling so good and picked it up a hair for Mile 3 in 6:45. I crossed the finish line in 21:19 as first female.
I was bummed I hadn’t looked at the time on my watch after my warm up. If I had, I would have known coming through those last few hundred meters I was only 5 seconds away from a new 5k PR. A faster 5k is definitely in my near future and I look forward to seeing what I can do.
The rest of Marathon Week includes yesterday’s 12 x 400M, another short workout Wednesday and a 20 minute shake out Saturday.
What does your Marathon Week look like?
My last long run before next week’s One City Marathon is in the can. It was 8 miles of fun with 10k at marathon pace. It felt short for a long run but refreshing at the same time. I like to do my last one eight to ten days out from race day and opted for this morning for a few reasons. One was that I didn’t want to push it to Sunday. The second was that I didn’t want to tack it on to another workout.
The third is that In my infinite wisdom I also opted run a 5k this weekend. I’ll be ‘racing’ the Big Wish 5k Saturday morning with no goal other than something to keep the intensity up heading into marathon week. It definitely won’t be a PR but that’s fine with me. I’ve saving it for next weekend. Plus, with all this tapering, it’ll be nice to get out there with some other runners for a little laughter.
I do have a a little worry sneaking in that with three pure rest days and one shake out day I might go a stir crazy next week. Recently I’ve used my Run Fast, Eat Slow cookbook to fill some of my non-running hours with great success. These Superhero Muffins are delicious! I guess my next move is to put some extra reading time and maybe a nap or two on the schedule.
So other than worrying about going taper bonkers, I’m feeling ready. My legs are itching for a longer workout and my brain is ready for some discomfort. This has been a successful training cycle no matter what and I can’t complain. I learned a lot, pushed myself to more miles than ever before and stayed injury free. All I can ask for now is some really nice weather on race day.
How long is your last long run before a marathon or half? Does it ever change?
Even though this was technically the third time I’ve run this event, it was the first time it was monikered Norfolk Harbor 5k instead of Harbor Lights 5k. I paced the half marathon in its inaugural year then finished third female overall at the 5k in 2015.
My last race of 2016 and the end of my between training cycle down time, I knew my performance wouldn’t be as fast as last year. I was OK with that and just wanted to get out there and have some serious fun before the long miles of marathon training took over my schedule for sixteen weeks. That’s exactly what I did.
The morning was cool with a little wind that was barely noticeable once you were between the city’s buildings. I felt OK warming up and shed a layer before the start. I lined up right in front to avoid traffic at the beginning. We went off right on time and I focused on running my own race instead of getting caught up with the faster runners around me. Mile 1 featured a few turns and a tiny climb (6:54). During Mile 2 I passed a lot of runners but knew I was still sitting 7th or 8th female. One woman was within striking distance and I planned on going after her with 1k left. I wanted to run an even effort but weaving through the city made it hard. Especially the two sections we traversed some cobblestones. Mile 2 clocked in at 7:00.
Another very sharp turn slowed me down with 800M to go but I was able to move up the spot I planned on. More twists and turns (see braking/heel strike) kept my pace a bit slower than it could have been but I finished decently with Mile 3 at 6:56. The final 200M were straight and fast. I crossed the line at 21:50/3.16, winning my age group as 6th overall female.
Through the chute I picked up a bottled opener medal, banana, bottled water, chips and Norfolk Harbor 5k mason jar. My legs felt good as I cheered Team ECRP runners on and enjoyed my complimentary stew and beer. As always, J&A Racing put on a stellar event with great swag and a kicking after party.
What makes a good race in your book? Swag? Course? Free photos?
This past Saturday I ran the Virginia Beach edition of Joggin For Frogmen. I participated last year when the 5k race was held on conjunction with Crossfit’s 31 Heroes workout and had a blast. Exclusively benefiting the Navy SEAL Foundation, it’s a great cause I was happy to support again. The 2016 event was slightly different, held later in the year and on its own but still fabulous.
The location and running surface were also different than in 2015. The race took place at the Military Aviation Museum, a really amazing museum, and over a cross country course covered in grass. I race on dirt/grass once a year and rarely train on it so I knew I’d be facing a challenge. To make things even more fun, there was a little bit of rain Friday night to wet the grass and 20+ mile an hour winds to battle.
The turnout was great with roughly 500 runners supporting the Joggin for Frogmen cause on a chilly and windy morning. After the opening ceremonies, including a rendition of the nation anthem during no one knelt, the race was off at 9am. I planned to run hard without pushing too much since this was my first serious workout in three weeks. Especially over the uncertain surface, injury was not tops on my list. I settled into the headwind for the first half mile taking it easy at about a 7:30 pace. The second half mile had a tailwind and I picked up to right around 7:10 pace. I was feeling good starting Mile 2 when I saw the very long stretch I’d be running into that 20mph wind. I hunkered down, repeatedly pulling my visor back onto my head against gusts and just kept my feet moving.
My pace dropped to way over 8 minutes as I tried to take it easy fighting the wind. I’d have that friendly tailwind back for the last 1200M and hoped to be able to take advantage of it. As expected the tailwind wasn’t quite as helpful as the headwind was harmful but I did have a strong finish with the last 800M at 7:02 pace. Crossing the line in 24:15 after loosing that minute fighting the wind was fine with me. I got in a really good workout on strange turf in rough weather. I also managed to finish 3rd in my age group.
It might not have been one of my fastest 5k times ever but it was one of the most fun. I performed decently and did actually manage to enjoy the entire run.
How do you get back into harder workouts after a break?
When I started running again last week, I didn’t actually do much. I jogged and played without ever even thinking about accelerating. But this week, this week I decided to go back to work. Nothing too crazy. I wasn’t aiming to prevent tired legs since I do have a race this weekend, the Joggin’ for Frogmen 5k, and I’d like to finish in a reasonable time.
Do I really think I lost that much fitness after 18 days without a workout that got my heart rate above 60% of max? No. My head and attitude are doing just fine. I do have tired legs, however. Maybe I dove back in with too much enthusiasm? Probably. I hit deadlifts Monday and might have gone a little too hard on Tuesday’s long intervals. A very easy thirty minute run filled Wednesday’s schedule since my hamstrings were not happy to be back at work. There was more light lifting on Thursday and an easy 4 x 400M Friday morning.
Definitely not my usual 5k race week plan and my tired legs prove it. I’m rolling and resting tonight then just going to get out and have fun tomorrow. I’ll be with my Team RWB friends and racing on wet grass (assuming it rains tonight like the weather guessers say it will). It will also be 55 degrees with 20+ mile an hour winds on a course that covers an airport runway and large grassy fields after a week spent training on roads with temps in the 70s. Definitely focusing on the fun this time.
I have a few more weeks before marathon training kicks off and I hope this event is a highlight. Tired legs are expected when I step up my miles, intensity and strength training so I’ll try to enjoy them while they’re fresh.
How do you bounce back from tired legs?
Rock n Roll Virginia Beach is in the can. It wasn’t the race I was hoping for but I did finish as first female and get a solid workout in. Even though I missed my goal of hitting a new PR, I did accomplish one thing I had set out to do: get an RnRVB win!
Race morning was cool, humid and windy. Still feeling not so great about the chance to PR, I ran a solid warm up and felt decent heading into my corral. It seemed like I stood there for a long time feeling my body slow back down when we ended up going off four minutes late. Starting with a crosswind I felt good. I was on pace through the first 1200M and into the first corner. Turning into the headwind I kept pushing to maintain my goal pace.
I rolled my ankle on some broken pavement shortly after a mile and it definitely took my mind off track. While I knew I wasn’t injured it distracted me enough to lose my rhythm. The course turned back south at 1.5 miles but the next 1.4 miles of tailwind weren’t enough. I couldn’t find my pace again and slowed. I kept fighting until I saw the final turn ahead and tried to accelerate. There was nothing. I definitely gave the course all I had and hoped for the best as I headed for the Finish.
After rounding the final turn I wasn’t sure if there was another woman in front of me. Since the 5k breaks off from the half at a u-turn around a building in the opposite direction with roughly 500M to go there definitely could have been someone up there. Coming out of that turn onto the boardwalk I got a nasty face full of wind and a calf cramp. I also didn’t see any women running in front me of. I tried to kick again but it didn’t happen. When race staff stretched a Rock n Roll Finish line tape out I cruised through the final meters to break it for the first time. Having never run through a finish line tape, it was a fun way to wrap up a difficult run.
While I didn’t get the PR I wanted or a big fat trophy and giant check, my RnRVB win did get me in the paper with this photo. Goober alert!
Do you have multiple goals for races? How do you choose them?
*If you want to know more about the actual race, check out my review on BibRave*
It’s my first race week of the Fall 2016 season! Rock n Roll Virginia Beach 5k, here I come.
I decided to do the 5k this year instead of pacing the half like I did in 2014 and 2015 because I wanted to get a good feeling of what I might need to work on with a month to go before my goal half marathon. With this being an actual goal race I’m tapering, taking things fairly easy and, to be honest, my biggest concern at the moment is that I might go crazy without nine workouts to do this week. I’m also mildly concerned about the weather, which is usually hot and humid, cooperating. It would be nice to have a cool morning with low humidity. I’d even take rain.
Heat and humidity aside, I’m planning on a successful under 21 minute race. I set my current 5k PR on an unfamiliar twisty course but that won’t be the case Sunday. I’m very comfortable with the route and have run each part of it multiple times. It is supposed to be windy, with headwind for the first 2k and again coming out of the last turn with roughly 320 meters to the Finish line. I’ll lean on my Unbeatable Mind training for that last 90-100 seconds and give the straightaway all I’ve got. Barring injury, course problems or natural disaster, I’m going to get out there, work hard, have fun and set a new PR!
No matter what happens at RnRVB my Fall 2016 training this summer has gone well. I’m really looking forward to my upcoming race schedule. Some cool weather will be welcome, too, so I get a good opportunity to see what I’ve accomplished by training in the hard to breathe air and heat.
What’s on your Fall 2016 calendar? Any PR goals?
Another race recap on a Wednesday? Yup! This time the race wasn’t Tuesday night, however. It was Wednesday morning. J&A Racing’s Summer Series 5k takes place on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk at 8am Wednesday mornings all summer long.
In its inaugural year, the series is made up of 8 events. Registration is available the morning of the race for those who are waiting to see what the usually hot and humid Virginia Beach weather might dish out for $30 or in advance online for $25. There is garage parking at the race site with a discount for locals but the start is also easily accessible by walking, jogging or biking. Hotels abound and are also easy to get to.
Featuring an out and back course from 31st Street on the boardwalk, the Summer Series 5k is a great opportunity to see how your training is going. It’s very flat with at least one direction providing a tailwind. There’s a water stop and cheerleading at the halfway point with a nice wide coned off u-turn zone. Here Team FitNice is having some fun at the turnaround with Ryan from J&A. Erin in the lead, Heather and I picking up the back half with smiles on our faces. Boardwalk races can get crowded with people but they also usually take place on the weekend. Since this one is during the week, there’s much less traffic out there and there’s plenty of room to run.
Swag includes a beach towel, a massive medal, bananas, bottled waters and eucalyptus ice water soaked towels across the finish line. The back of your race number also features discounts to three tasty local restaurants for your post-race refueling pleasure.
Taking part in one of the Summer Series 5k events is a must do for those runners who visit between June and August. It’s a fabulous way to kick off the morning while enjoying the boardwalk before it gets too crowded.
Do you race on vacation? During the summer at all?
Race recap on a Wednesday? Yup! The Tidewater Strider’s Memorial Scholarship 5k is held on the fourth Tuesday of July at 6:30pm. It was in 2016 and has been each year in 1982. Since this would be my second workout of the day there wasn’t any sort of goal. I planned on having some fun and supporting a great organization while getting my legs moving again after a tough morning on the track.
The Memorial Scholarship 5k course runs through the gorgeous Norfolk Botanical Garden to complete the group’s Summer Series. The series is a group run at the garden each Tuesday evening in July featuring a poker run, a relay and a guess your finish outing. On this year’s very hot and very humid evening over 200 people came out to run the annual event, including a bunch of my Team RWB buddies. It was great to catch up with them as the sky clouded up (yay!) and it started to feel like rain. Everyone was rooting for some to cool things off. Unfortunately, we never got it.
On the bright side, I did get to warm up on some nicely shaded paths. With five miles to rack up between a warm up, the race and a cool down I was happy to jog a bit extra before racing to enjoy the scenery. The start lined up around 6:25 and we took off right on time. Things were a bit crowded for the first half mile then loosened up nicely. My legs were grumpy grumpy from a hard morning workout and the humidity didn’t help but I felt surprisingly good past Mile 1. Not concerned about my time, I was running all of the curves wide to pick up as much mileage as possible to credit towards my five mile goal.
There were a few non-racers strolling through the beautiful gardens along with Pokemon Go hunters sharing the paths with us as the course wove through the park’s paved trails. Two bridge crossing and one teeny tiny hill greeted us on the otherwise flat course and before I knew it I had passed the Mile 2 marker. My legs were moving decently but lacked the power and turnover I had left on the track. I took the final 1000M on cruise with plenty of running room, crossing the finish line in 22:32. Not a great time for me but decent considering it was a second workout of the day on a hot and muggy one with my heavy shoes on. I did win my Memorial Scholarship 5k age group! Post race there were tons of raffles, pizzas, watermelons and beers. I won zero raffles. I did enjoy the food and drink while hanging out with a ton of run buddies to make up for it.
Racing in the evening was tough for me, especially after working out hard in the morning, but definitely effective. It left me feeling positive about my training and made me realize I can push harder than I think I can. I might even be figuring out how to race the 5k distance!
Have you ever raced in the evening? Did you like it?
Saturday morning I raced the 17th Annual Allen Stone Memorial 5k. I blogged about how excited I was to race in my new shoes last week and I was happy with how things turned out.
I could tell the second I walked out the door into a humid morning it wasn’t going to be a banner day. I hadn’t had a full recovery day in 10 days and my legs were pretty tired. My new shoes settled right onto my feet as I jogged an easy mile to get moving. One of the things that didn’t help my performance was that between the portions of my warm up I had a big break. This race is full of tradition, including a reading of the names of special operations service men who have died in the line of duty, the national anthem, and three parachuters floating down with the flag. After stretching and relaxing through that I finished with 800M of pick-ups to get my turnover and heart rate going.
Soaked in sweat with my heart pumping and legs feeling lighter but not fresh we snapped a Team RWB photo. Then I was off to the Allen Stone Memorial 5k start line. I knew the crowd was competitive and settled into the third row of runners figuring that would be roughly my speed. I went out of the gate too fast for the first 400M, especially on the humid morning, but was thankful the sun stayed hidden as I ran through the first mile. I had a girl right next to me through the turn around then pulled away in the second mile.
Coming into the final kilometer I choked. Not crapped out on performing but actually choked. Some sticky spit got stuck in my throat with no water in sight and I slowed to attempt clearing my throat without making things worse. It kind of worked so I picked it back up for the last half mile. Set on cruise, the girl who had been neck-in-neck with me at the race’s start came on strong in the final 20M and we finished with a sprint over the line.
I ended up finishing in 21:40, averaging 6:59 miles. Not the time I thought I had run when I crossed the Allen Stone Memorial 5k finish line, it was actually a few seconds faster. I immediately grabbed some water to finally get my throat clear, collected my medal and waited for results with a bunch of friends. I found out I had won my age group then jogged a cool down mile that took long enough to miss my award being presented. I got a fancy handled mason jar with the Allen Stone Memorial 5k logo on it to match my medal and then called it a day.
I was happy to get a solid workout in, have success with my new shoes and still have something left for the next day’s long run. With two more weeks in my base phase, I’m excited to see what I can do when the weather’s cooler, my legs are fresher and my weeks aren’t packed with miles this fall.
How do you decide if a race was successful? What training phase are you in right now?