Tag Archives: half marathon

Run the Bluegrass + April Plans

March was a great running month and April kicked off in a similar fashion.  I tackled state number 24, Kentucky, with Run the Bluegrass on 1 April.  I hadn’t been doing much training for it after One City on 11 March but headed to the Start with plans to just have fun.

After a shorter than usual warm-up, I was ready to tackle the very hilly course.  My legs were fresh but I could tell I wasn’t in peak performance shape.  My goal was to run around a 1:48, taking things easy and enjoying the scenery.  Things started with an almost immediate climb and I knew I was in for a tough workout.  The hills kept on coming, up-down-up-down, without any flat stretches in sight.  I stuck with the 1:45 pacers until walking leisurely through a water stop around Mile 5.

After falling back from the 1:45 pacers, I decided to take things easy.  I actually looked around at the beautiful scenery and enjoyed the beat down I was getting.  It’s clear I don’t live somewhere that can adequately prepare you for big, hilly courses.  By Mile 8 my hamstrings and glutes were grumpy which was great since Mile 9 is the course’s toughest.  I took a walk breaks at all second half water stops and slowed down to check to out a few overlooks. 

I powered up and down more hills in the last 5k.  Aside from a little moaning and groaning from my glutes and hamstrings my body felt great as I run the bluegrasscollected my big medal.  It was by far my inconsistent half marathon ever but I had a great time and felt good crossing the finish in 1:47.11, 12 in my age group.  I was really happy with my performance on out of race shape legs on a very challenging course.

The rest of April is full of training.  I have one more race, the ODU Big Blue 5k, on the 15th but otherwise I’ll just be grinding away.  With lots of time before my next goal race, Smuttynose Half, I’m looking forward to a few weeks of 30-35 miles with loads of play time.

Meredith

Is Run the Bluegrass on your list?  What’s on tap for April?

Monumental Half Marathon

This weekend I checked off State #24 by finishing the Monumental Half Marathon.  With no idea how my run would go, I went out to have fun and check in on my fitness.  I arrived Thursday to hit the expo, explored the city Friday and was ready to go by Saturday morning.

Monumental Half Marathon race morning was crisp and clear if a little chilly at the start.  Since my hotel was only about a half mile from the Start/Finish area, I skipped gear check and lined up next to my corral after a one mile warm up.  I say ‘next to my corral’ because I was.  They were extremely crowded and I couldn’t get inside the fence until the runners in front of me started moving forward.

That traffic continued for a little more than the first mile.  I was seeded in Corral B, 1:45 and under expected finish times but found that at 1:38 pace I was passing an awful lot of people very quickly.  Including walkers and joggers.  Hopefully there will be bigger divisions or more corrals to eliminate this in following years.  Several other runners and I spent time running on monumental half marathonsidewalks until the roads opened up after the Mile 2 marker.

There was no timing mat at 5k (22:40) but I felt OK.  My pace had been all over the place due to the traffic and I still had no rhythm.  My legs and lungs felt good with a finally steady pace after a quick walk for water at Mile 7.  Shortly after that my calves starting getting grumpy.  I’ve been spending a lot of time working on stretching both them and my Achilles and I think the longer fibers aren’t strong enough to handle that much work for over 90 minutes yet.

With chatty calves I came through another water stop just past Mile 10 in about 1:15 and I set my goal to come in under 1:40.  I needed those two minutes of breathing room with less than 5k to go when I took a break to shake my calves out.  The last three miles I tried to slow my pace down.  Unfortunately, I was stuck in a move fast groove.  I took a final calf shake out walk at the Mile 11 mark.  An easy jog through that mile lead to a strong Mile 12.  I crossed the finish in 1:39.49/13.2 with very touchy calves.

I was happy with my race and to learn my fitness is still solid.  My walk was a bit ginger while picking up my medal, bottled water, chocolate milk, a new cap and lots of snacks.  The morning had turned out perfectly for my short cruise back to the hotel.  The Monumental Half Marathon was a great experience.  It’s a flat and fast course with good organization, course support and swag.

Meredith

How many states have you run in?  What’s the next one?

Goal Race Half Marathon Weekend

Well, it’s here.  My fall goal race in State #22, New York, the Wineglass Half Marathon.  The last week hasn’t been ideal for prepping but I’ve done all I can and am hoping for the best.  After a messy 10k last Saturday I’ve been getting plenty of rest, fluids and salt water air.  As a result, the congestion in my chest has clearly up considerably.goal race

Thanks to stronger lungs, my final workouts were solid.  I had legs that were fresh and fast for a track session Monday and a short tempo run Wednesday.  Both left me feeling as ready to race as I can and I’m ready to go.

My only concern is Race Day weather.  It’s looking cool (40s) with potential rain.  I haven’t had the chance to run in any temperatures under 60 since last spring and am curious if the sudden influx of cold, damp air will play a part in my performance.  Luckily I typically do much better in cooler temperatures.

My goal is to run an even split though ideally I’d like to finish strong with a negative one.  My perfect finish time would be somewhere between 1:35 and 1:35.30, averaging 7:16 miles.  With my nerves about the weather, some lingering sinus issues and an unfamiliar course, I’ll be ecstatic just to beat my current 1:37 PR.

Meredith

What’s your goal race this fall?  Are you hoping to PR?

Morgantown Marathon/Thirteener (State 21)

This weekend I made my way up to Morgantown, West Virginia to take part in their second annual Morgantown Marathon and half marathon, the Morgantown Thirteener.

It was a pretty drive through the mountains to get there and I went directly to the expo.  It was small but nice with friendly and helpful volunteers.  I picked up my number, a race themed long sleeve tech shirt along with a few other race themed goodies including West Virginia Lottery scratchers off of which I won $1!  Free money!  Thanks, Morgantown.  After the expo, I was off to my hotel for a nap before dinner.

After dinner I got ready for race day, checked the forecast one more time and settled in with a little college football.  The weather guessers had been calling for 100% rain all day Saturday and Sunday but no rain happened until about 2am Sunday morning.  It was quite the downpour as I steeled myself for a wet race and fell back asleep.morgantown marathon

I woke up race morning to find the day had broken dry.  Yay!  There was no parking at the Start so I took breakfast with me to the shuttle.  A short ride later we arrived at the race.  I picked up my pace sign, easily checked my gear and warmed up.  There was plenty of room to run in the Coliseum parking lot which was great for those of us who didn’t know the area.  A quick moving line had me through the Port-a-Potties and lined up in no time.

We went off right as scheduled at 7am on the cloudy, slightly humid morning.  After a little bit of traffic I settled right in with a small group.  We hit the first three miles right on track, walked through a well stocked water stop and rolled on.  A few runners dropped back as the hills started to take a toll around the halfway point.  A big out-and-back loop, the course is great for spectators.  I had some new runners with me as we covered the hills in reverse toward the finish.  At Mile 9 a few with me were aiming for PRs and two were first time half marathoners.  I walked through the next water stop where the group broke up.

At Mile 11 I was running alone as I had been most of the race.  Some of my buddies had fallen back while two others had taken off.  I hit the Mile 12 mark with 12.05 and 1:49.30 on my watch and was shocked when I saw the Mile 13 marker.  There was still a ways to go.  I thought I had morgantown marathonplenty of time to hit my goal of 1:59.50 but I was wrong.  Since I thought I had time to spare, I slowed to encourage a struggling runner in those last 800M and felt bad that by no fault of our own she wouldn’t break that 2 hour mark.  I crossed the line at 2:00.22 with 13.31 on my watch.  It was disheartening.

I still managed to help several people hit PRs and was very proud of the first timers who came through shortly after I did.  The Morgantown Marathon and Thirteener were well organized with solid swag.  Rolling hills accounted for roughly 511 feet of elevation gain over the 13.1+ mile course.  They weren’t too much of a factor for the half though they’re supposed to be bigger and meaner over the 26.2 mile course.  It was a solid last long run before my goal race and I definitely had a good time.

Meredith

Would you run the Morgantown Marathon?  Where are you racing this fall?

Getting Ready for My Races

My Races are here!  For the next three weekends I will be in racing in three different states at two distances and hoping for a pair of PRs.  Things kick off Sunday with the Morgantown Thirteener, continue the following Saturday in Norfolk at the Heart of Ghent 10k and wrap up Sunday October 2 with my goal half marathon in New York.  I’ve worked hard all summer and my racesam definitely ready to taper into a solid two weeks.

This weekend’s half marathon knocks off State #21.  It also features ‘mountainous’ terrain and plenty of scenery.  I’ll be pacing the two hour group, looking for an easy last long run before a two week taper into my goal race.  I’m hoping for a scenic drive and good weather.  Unfortunately, it looks like rain.  Oh well, I’ve been wet before.  Stay tuned for a recap and review next week!

After that hilly run, it’s back to the flat for a PR attempt at the Heart of Ghent 10k.  The second of my races, I had an age group win here two years ago but missed the event last year after it rescheduled due to a severe storm.  Even though I haven’t been training specifically for the 10k distance, my 5k racing and half training should be very helpful.  I’ll also be taking the week easy after Sunday’s half marathon to be ready.  Counting as my first week of taper, the second starts when I cross the Finish Line in Norfolk.

I’ll be wrapping up my races with State #22 at the Wineglass Half Marathon the very next weekend.  It’s the race I’ve been working towards all summer.  Another light week will follow that PR attempt at the 10k distance.  I’m expecting it to provide the perfect distance and difficulty to keep me tuned up without being unable to recover for the big one.  I’m looking forward to Wineglass’s net downhill course and cool weather.  And, of course, a new half marathon PR!

Meredith

What are you racing this fall?  Looking for a new PR at a distance?  Which one?

East Coast Run Project + More

The days are getting shorter as fall head in and I’m busy busy with training, working and, most importantly, getting East Coast Run Project going.  We had out first group workout Saturday with another warm day, plenty of sun and a tasty team breakfast afterwards.  It’s exciting to be launching the team because it took me a long east coast run projecttime to figure out what I wanted it to stand for beyond successful athletes.

ECRP is focused on creating better athletes in any sport that requires running based movements.  We are dedicated to improvement and building durable participants.  Our team is filled with resilient, passionate runners who look forward to working hard every single day.

I’m writing blog posts, improving my photo skills for better Instagram pictures and continue to refine the Project’s mission every day.  It’s hard work getting off the ground but I know it’s worth it.  Building happy, healthy athletes that experience fewer injuries and have successful race days is the most rewarding experience I can ask for.

In addition to building East Coast Run Project this fall, I’ll be kicking off my fall race season with the Rock n Roll Virginia Beach 5k on Labor Day weekend.  With a goal to PR at that distance I’m hoping this week’s cooler, less humid weather sticks around or makes a comeback Sunday morning.  Next up after rocking through a solid 5k is pacing the 2:00 group at the Morgantown Thirteener.  West Virginia will be my 21st state and with ‘mountainous’ terrain, the easy pace should make a solid last long run before my 10k race/taper the next week at Heart of Ghent 10k.  Then, before I know it, I’ll be heading into the Wineglass Half Marathon to attempt a new half marathon PR.

Meredith

Please give East Coast Run Project a follow on Twitter and Instagram!

Moving Forward from Base Phase

I wrapped up my 8 weeks of base phase training last weekend, finishing July with an easy 13 miler for my second 50 mile week and a month total of 185 miles.  It seems like a long time to go until my target fall race, the Wineglass Half Marathon, rolls around but I know my next two training segments will fly by.  I have four week of prep followed by four weeks of peak training to look forward to and I’m excited to see what I can do this fall.base phase

With base phase behind me I’m feeling solid about my fitness level.  I did a good job of building up my weekly mileage without draining myself.  Racing the 5ks I did during base phase helped me stay on track with weekly speed work and kept my confidence up while I logged some slower miles.  Even though I ran both short and long intervals while continuing to spend time in the gym, my performance in each decreased slightly.  It was likely a combination of my focus being on something else and the hot, humid weather.

Now that I’m out of base phase and into prep phase I’m excited to see what a more intense, fewer miles load can do for me.  Hopefully some cooler weather will help, too.  The eight weeks I have before my goal half marathon perfectly work out with the months.  August is will be all prep phase and September all peak work.  This first week of August week features a 14 mile long run, more time in the gym and harder interval work.  Prep phase finishes with the Rock n Roll Virginia Beach 5k.  It’s a goal race for me and I might push up some hard, fast interval work a week early to get ready for it.  I’m confident the down week I have planned leading into race day will be all I need to feel fresh.

Meredith

Do you have a base phase?  How do you organize your training?

East Coast Run Project + Goal Setting

In the first week of Unbeatable Mind training I filled out a form that featured both three month and eighteen month goals along with the steps I would take to accomplish them.  One of those goals was to launch my new running enterprise, East Coast Run Project.  I’m really excited about it and can’t wait to help more runners reach their goals each year.

Here’s a little more about what East Coast Run Project is:

East Coast Run Project is the ideal training program for any athlete looking to improve their running skills.  Whether you’re working towards a BQ or running the bases more efficiently, ECRP will help you achieve your dreams.  Using a completely customized individual plan based east coast run projecton your specific goals East Coast Run Project will guide you to success.  Key elements of each plan include sport specific training, strength training, mobility work and building mental toughness.  With a focus on hard work and understanding the value of each workout session, ECRP is the guidance you need to reach any running goal you have.

That’s what I’m excited about.  Supporting people who are willing to work hard and know that not every day is what you expect but continue to fight for their dreams.  Getting the Project launched was a challenge for me.  I am a list person.  I make a list each morning of what I need to accomplish for the day and love seeing all the things I’ve crossed off by dinner.  East Coast Run Project was on my list for quite a while.  I struggled with getting organized, figuring out what I wanted the brand to look like and how I would balance it with my personal training clients and blogging.  Something as simple as writing down the specific steps I would take to launch ECRP got me quickly to where I felt comfortable putting this new brand out in the world.

Meredith

I’d love for you to check out the East Coast Run Project website, follow on Twitter and ‘like’ on Facebook.  Thanks!!!

Red White and Boom Half Marathon

I checked off State #20, Minnesota, with July 4th’s Red White and Boom Half Marathon in Minneapolis.  It was my first visit to the city and I really had a good time.  This was a check-in race with no goal other than to push it a little bit here and there while having a good time.  After receiving an email with a heat warning Doug, who was running the 5k, and I were greatly relieved to see it was issued for a morning expected to be 64 degrees and 75% humid.  Temperatures 10-25 degrees below our current normal running weather were a welcome sight.  The humidity would be easy to handle and I knew I could stick with my plan.red white and boom half marathon

We arrived mid-morning on Sunday and went straight to the hotel gym for a shakeout session before checking out the Twins at Target Field.  The city was quiet, clean, friendly and had a park full of fun red white and boom half marathoncharacters to hang with.  After the game we had dinner at the hotel and hit the hay early.  Race start was 6:30 local time so it was nice to get up at what felt like a regular weekend time (7:30) to go for a run.  I downed a plain bagel and water breakfast then walked the short distance to race day packet pick-up.

The cool-ish morning was indeed humid but nothing unmanageable.  I quickly and easily nabbed my packet, checked my gear and set off for a warm up.  After my mile, I knew Red White and Boom would be the big improvement over last year’s summer half in Chicago I expected.  The weather was better, my training was more on track and I felt positive about it.

The start corrals were fairly crowded on a narrow road but after a solid national anthem for America’s birthday we were off right on time.  Things stayed traffic filled for a few minutes and around the 2k mark I started wondering when it would loosen up.  The course started to loosen in to the Mile 3 mark and by 8k there was plenty of running room for the rest of the race.  At that point I was glad to be able to take tangents and play with my pacing more after walking through a water stop around Mile 5.

I expected a climb before Mile 6 that had been on the course map but I didn’t notice anything too serious before 10k.  There were a few short, steep climbs and some longer slow ones but as a whole the race didn’t feel very hilly when I was on it.  Apparently it was because my Garmin told me I picked up 300 feet of elevation gain over the Red White and Boom Half Marathon.  In spite of the hills a large portion of the course was covered with shade and very peaceful.  I spent most of the race’s first half telling myself to slow down without actually doing it.  I tired to use uphills to really back off and was somewhat successful at doing that.  I wanted to come in somewhere between 1:40 and 1:45, more towards the latter, without leaving too much out red white and boom half marathonthere.  I hit the Mile 10 timer at 1:18+ knowing I was about a minute behind the official clock.  Perfect!

My legs were feeling good and my time was right around where I wanted to be, if not a bit fast.  My skin, however, was not so hot.  Around Mile 9 I had started to notice a less than lovely feeling around the chest band of my sports bra.  By the time I found medical at Mile 10, I was having some serious chaffing action and since I wasn’t in any kind of hurry stopped to get some tape.  After struggling to find the end of the roll, I stuck on a big strip and took off for the final Red, White and Boom 5k about 90 seconds later.  A few more slightly rolling hills sent me through the final water stop past Mile 11 then into an easy long down hill finish across Stone Arch Bridge.

I finished in 1:43.37 feeling good.  I ran for the most part right on plan and hit my goal range in spite of walking through three water stops and taking a 90 second break to tape myself up.  The race had great red white and boom half marathonswag including logoed pint glasses and Brooks brand tech t-shirts at packet pick-up for all runners then nice Red, White and Boom finisher medals along with red, white and blue ice pops, bottled water, chocolate milk, snacks and Cliff Bars in the finisher chute.

The race left me feeling really good about where my training is heading into the end of my base phase.  It was a solid run at a great event on a humid morning with more hills than I’ll face for a while.  If you have the chance to tackle the Red White and Boom Half Marathon, I’d take it!

Meredith

Summer Half Race Week

It’s my Summer Half Race Week and I have no idea what’s coming my way.  Training has been going well but I’m only in my base phase so I haven’t logged many race pace miles.  Definitely not anything over five in a row.  While I won’t be looking to PR or even come close, I am summer halfexpecting to out do last years summer half, Rock n Roll Chicago, which wasn’t pretty.  The weather was warm and humid, the course threw me a big curve towards the end and I hadn’t tapered at all.

That’s how I know my 2016 Summer Half will be different.  It’s off to Minnesota for the Red, White and Boom Half Marathon in Minneapolis with a better attitude on hopefully fresher legs and ‘a here goes nothing, let’s just get some miles in’ approach.  It will be state #20 and half number five for this year.  Since the race is next Monday I planned a down week for this week (25 miles) so I could kick off next week’s heavy training load with a nice long run to get a bunch of miles checked off.  That means I’ll be toeing the line after a seven day ‘taper’ and should signal a decent performance.

That is, of course, assuming the weather is friendly.  Humidity won’t serve me well and after three straight days of travel before race morning (five in the car Friday to Philly for a baseball game, five in the car Saturday home, an early flight Sunday), I hope I’ll be hydrated and rested enough to give my summer half the best I can.  No matter what, this race will be a good test of where my training is and needs to go moving towards my goal races in the fall.

Meredith

Do you have a favorite summer half marathon?  Which one and why?