One step at a time

I took this evening off from the gym. It was glorious. There is something about a well deserved rest day after a tough run that I really enjoy. I iced my finicky shins and rested my tired legs yesterday, but there was one thing I forgot to do: spend some quality time with my foam roller.


When I awoke this morning, my calves were happily tucked inside their compression sleeves but my quads were neglected and pissed. They hadn’t received nearly enough love yesterday and continued to remind me of that fact all. day. long. I spent some time with Mr. Red after work today, and have another session scheduled before bed.

On the weekly workout goals front, the best way for me to be held accountable is to sing them loud for all to hear:


Too soon for Christmas references? No such thing! Apparently Macy’s has the same thought process – they already had their decorations up this weekend when I was there.

Anyway, here’s my workout plan for the week:


Rest Day


3 mile run + Austin Trash Run


XT (elliptical or bike)


3 mile run + Yoga


XT or Rest Day


8 mile run


XT + IM 70.3 Austin volunteering

Proper tapering? I think so. I’ll recap my progress on Sunday evening.

Is it weird that I’m already thinking about training for a second marathon? I know the first will be tough, but I’m most worried because it’s uncharted territory. I won’t bat an eye or think twice about registering for a half marathon because I’ve completed five. I was even registered for my second before I ran my first. I know the distance, and I know I can finish successfully. I feel like once I cover 26.2, it will feel a tiny bit less daunting. It’s still a marathon after all.

I’ve got my eye on a spring marathon and I’m contemplating throwing my name into the lottery for ING NYC. The only thing drawback to New York is training in the Texas summer again. Ugh. But that race is definitely on my to-do list.

Of course, I still have another goal to accomplish before then: smashing my half marathon PR.

One step at a time.

12 miles & 13 days

Uh yeah, so about that taper


Up until this morning I logged zero miles this week. Oops.

I decided to take Monday off to recover from my 20 miler, then Tuesday because I still hadn’t caught up on sleep from my awkward wake-up time over the weekend, etc. Before I knew it, Friday rolled around and I hadn’t set foot in Gold’s or on a running trail all week.

I wish I could say I felt guilty about it. But honestly? It was refreshing. I covered 75 miles in July, 103 in August, 100 in September, and I’m well on my way (62) to another 100+ month. I’ve clearly been putting in the work, and a few days off isn’t going to kill me in the long run.

My alarm went off at 5:20 this morning but I didn’t manage to drag myself out of bed until 6:30. I seriously considered getting the miles in on the treadmill later or bagging the run altogether. However, I’ve only missed one long during this training cycle and I had no desire to make it two.


My ultimate goal was to run 12 at MGP, and finish at 2:30.


Miles 1-3 were a struggle as usual. It takes me a few miles to regulate my breathing and find my stride. At the beginning of a run I leave the music off so I can really focus on settling in at a comfortable pace.

After that, the miles ticked away fairly easily. I aimed to run each mile between a 12:00-12:30 pace. With the exception of miles 7 & 12, I nailed my pace goals. I was able to turn out a few sub-12 minute miles, which helped offset the other longer ones.

FUEL: I started my morning with a glass of fruit punch Nuun and a biscuit with some blackberry jam. Throughout the run I consumed 20oz of strawberry lemonade Nuun, 20 oz of Gatorade, and 10oz of water. I also ate 5 black cherry Clif ShotBloks.


Final stats: 12 miles in 2:26, 12:12 pace

I’m thrilled my final double digit run of marathon training is DONE. I plan on actually tapering properly this week, followed by an eight mile run on Saturday morning and volunteering at Ironman 70.3 Austin on Sunday.

Less than two weeks left!


Confessions: Part Deux

It’s been awhile since my last confessions post, and Michelle’s post yesterday inspired me, so I bring you: part deux!

I am terrible at quitting things.

  • Quitting drinking (had to, while I quit smoking – clearly NOT a long term goal), quitting smoking, quitting coffee. It doesn’t matter what the vice is – I will inevitably be terrible at kicking it. I eliminated coffee back in May, ramped up my workouts, and I had more energy than I had seen in a LONG time. I fell asleep at reasonable hours and was able to get up early with ease. I must quit (or scale way back, at the very least) again. I MUST. 

I haven’t cut/colored my hair since March 4th.

  • Clearly that whole ombre look is coming to me for free, but unintentionally. Holy rats nest. Hair maintenance frequently gets overlooked because I RARELY (as in, once every 3 months) do my hair. My mornings are all about the ‘wake up & go’ mentality. I wash it everyday after the gym, and it’s naturally curly. Blowdrying & straightening would be a serious waste of time, since I’d ruin it with sweat less than 24 hours later. Does my hair need some TLC? Hell yes. Do I want to put out the cash for it? Hell no.

I haven’t ran since last Tuesday.

  • Yup, my shin pain has returned. I’m not sure when it happened, since I was fine post-13 miles on 8/20. But when I tried to make it through my 4 miler two days later, I had to stop at 3 and even that was a struggle. I skipped my Thursday tempo run, Sunday long run, and Tuesday speedwork session. I’ve been filling those days with RPM, which may be my new favorite workout.

photo source

  • Low-impact and you can give it every last ounce of energy you’ve got, leaving on an incredible endorphin high. I felt euphoric on my way home Tuesday night. Kind of how I feel after consuming an entire bottle of wine.

I am having doubts about next month’s marathon.

  • This feeds off the previous confession: injury. I’m trying to take off as many days as possible to heal, without setting myself back endurance-wise. Since the calendar switched over to September today, I’m less than 60 days out from my first 26.2 and I am feeling nervous, anxious, excited, worried. What if I can’t make a comeback? To make it through two months of training and have to come to a screeching halt and defer to 2012 is heartbreaking. I suppose only time will tell.

I bought another pair of running shoes.

  • I announced this on Twitter last week, with a desperate plea for an intervention. Twittervention?  Turns out I’m not the only one with a shoe problem. Anyway, yes, I invested in yet another pair of Brooks.
    photo source
  • I have a 30-day window to return them if they don’t make my shins feel like a million bucks. And just to clarify: I didn’t buy them just because I wanted a new pair. I bought them because my shins suck and I need a pair to make them happy and allow me to run a marathon next month.

What do you need to get off your chest today? Confess!

Race Pace

While I’ve been following a fairly structured training plan for Marine Corps, my projected marathon pace has still yet to be determined. Yes, this is something I probably should have nailed down a couple months ago, but I wanted to see how my favorite injury (shin splints) responded to the training.


My training plan was developed as a mix of FIRST, for the number of days running, and Higdon, for the actual mileage. Small tweaks were made here and there for traveling, upcoming races, and the like. For example, my 20-miler didn’t seem to want to be wedged into the plan AT ALL. The week I had scheduled it on was the day of the See Jane Run 1/2.


Initially I had planned on sneaking in 7 miles pre-race, but the more I thought about it, the more I hated the idea. So I moved it a month out from marathon day, rather than three weeks out. No problem.

That is, until Carly & I started planning for our upcoming race season. The IBM Uptown Classic 10k falls on the same day as the 20-miler.


Of course. I shouldn’t have been surprised. I had been anticipating this race for quite some time now, eager to beat my time from last year. After much debating, I moved the long run back to the See Jane Run day. Overall, I think this is the best option for me because I will be motivated to finish the last 13 of 20 miles if I am in a race atmosphere. Especially with the promise of champagne, chocolate, and a race medal at the finish.


So back to the marathon pace situation. I’ve been doing my speed & tempo runs during the week at an average pace of 10:45-11:10.



The longer runs consist of 3:1 intervals, which average out to about a 13:15 pace. (With the exception of a 7 mile run done on the treadmill at 11:25 pace, which hardly counts as a “long” run)



Do I anticipate using those intervals during the marathon? I’m not sure. For now, this is what works best when we’re dealing with 86 degrees at 5am for the START of our run. Our goal on Sundays is NOT TO DIE.


Do I think I could maintain a faster pace in October temps in the Northeast? Why yes, yes I do. With my half PR at 2:38, this would be an approximate (ambitious?) 5:16 finish for a full (12:03 pace). The McMillan calculator predicts a 5:33 finish (12:42 pace). Do I think I can I maintain either of these paces? Yes and no. The only reason I say no is because, obviously, I’ve never done the distance before. And since I haven’t been running my LRs at goal pace, it’s really hard to say. However, this is the first time I have been properly training for a race. Ever.

Yes, I have completed five half marathons in a less than a year. But for my first, my longest training run was 9 miles and I didn’t run for nearly two months prior to race day. For my second (one month after the first), the only time I ran was a 10k two weeks out. And to achieve half-fanatic status, I got in a few 3-milers and 6-milers, but there was no training. I’m surprised I even PRed in Dallas after being absent from the running scene.

I’ve been religiously nailing my speedwork on Tuesdays, tempo runs on Thursdays, and long runs on Sundays. I am finally training for a race the way I am supposed to be, which is why I say that I have the ability to maintain those paces 26.2 miles.

Ideally, the only goal for your first marathon should be simply to finish. But I want to have a ballpark time of when I will finish. I think I should start conservatively at a 12:30 pace, to keep some gas in the tank for the second half, and kick it up later in the race if possible. Negative splits? Yes please. But what do I know? I’m new to 26.2.

Do you know what your (half) marathon goal pace is? How did you determine it? Do you run that pace on your long runs?

Back in Action

My Garmin breathed a sigh of relief this morning. I can FINALLY dust him off, because … marathon training started today!

I didn’t wake up at the crack of dawn before the Austin sauna-like temperatures set in this morning, so my Garmin stayed in the drawer. I headed to the gym for my first run in two months.

After a ten minute walk, I upped the speed and began running. I ran a mile, then transitioned to a walk/run combo for the remainder of my workout. I desperately wanted to run the entire 2.5 miles planned for the day, but held back since it’s only day one. I need to take a it slow. Running too much, too soon = injury. No freakin’ thank you.

I finished 3.23 miles in 45 minutes. Yes, slow. But it felt amazing to be running again, and I’d rather finish slow than not run at all.

First training run = SUCCESS!

In other news…


Tomorrow marks the end of the 100 Miles in May challenge. Thankfully I came to my senses a couple weeks ago and kicked things up a notch. Although there is still one more day for mileage to be entered, I’m proud to say I reached the 100 mile goal yesterday!



With June just around the corner, I’m contemplating another 100 mile month. Hmmm to challenge or not to challenge…

And then this happened

Yesterday morning before work I zipped up and buttoned my crazy pants. I even added a belt for good measure; there was no way I was getting out of this. I spent the first few hours at the office letting the insanity build up. And then this happened:


It’s official – I am now registered for my first marathon. Holy effing crap.

Today after work I slowly began to realize what I got myself into. And then this happened:


Out came the wine and my “I mean business” glass. I am absolutely obsessed with training plans, and there’s no better time like the present to get to work on one for October. So what if the plan begins in July? I don’t care – I’m going to be ready.

My legs still aren’t fully recovered from Sunday, and I’ve already registered for a race twice the distance AND started drafting a training plan.

Clearly I have issues.

2011 Race Calendar

I’ve been working on my tentative race schedule for 2011, and here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

January: 3m Half Marathon

February: Austin Half Marathon

March: Champion 5k; Rock n Roll Dallas Half Marathon

April: ZOOMA Austin 5k or Half Marathon



July: El Scorcho 25k



October: IBM Uptown Classic; Marine Corps Marathon

November: Rock n Roll San Antonio Half Marathon


January 2012: Goofy Challenge

I’m thinking a half marathon in April (4 in 4 months) may be overkill, but I feel if I run the 5k I’m going to wish I did the half. So I’m still on the fence for that one. El Scorcho is in Ft. Worth, so that would require some traveling. I might be willing to suck it up though since there isn’t much going on in the 100+ degree summer in Texas. We’ll see what happens.

I’ve also set a goal to run 1,111 miles in 2011. With all of the training I’ll be doing, I feel this is an attainable goal. I’ll be tracking my mileage on Daily Mile.

Do you have your race schedule planned out or will you be deciding as the year progresses?

Race Fanatic

Now, if you have been reading for awhile, you know I already have two races coming up in the next two months. With the Rock n Roll Dallas 1/2, that means I am shooting to run three (3) 1/2 marathons in 90 days. If I can successfully complete the challenge, I will be considered a Half Fanatic. Are you a Half Fanatic? Check out the criteria to see if you qualify! It’s not quite a Marathon Maniac, but baby steps. I have to actually RUN A MARATHON before achieving Maniac status.

Which brings me to my next piece of news: I have finally decided on what marathon I will be running in 2011.

My original plan to run San Diego was foiled when we were invited to a wedding in March in Florida. Those two vacations would be too close together, so I scratched San Diego. I switched my focus to NYC, but I didn’t want to have to rely on getting in through the lottery (and I’m terrible at fundraising), so I scratched that idea. I could do the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio full … but in case you missed the memo – Carly is moving to Austin, so we’ll be running the half together. After much research and deliberation, I decided on MCM. My family would be able to come and see me race for the first time EVER, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about that marathon. Registration opens February 23rd, and I can’t wait!

What marathons (half or full) are you planning on running this year?

Upcoming Races

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about running. My shin splints have been more manageable than usual, and I’m not sure if it’s the different pair of shoes or just the fact I’m not pounding the pavement 4 days a week. I’m nervous once I start training more diligently for the next half that they will make a horrific comeback. And there’s always that one thought in the back of my mind: what if it’s a stress fracture? It pains me to even type those two words. The idea of taking 6-8 weeks off from running makes me sad.

Let’s take a look at what Carly and I have coming up on our race schedule:

Carly Melissa
November 14, 2010 13.1 Ft Lauderdale Rock n Roll San Antonio Half
January 30, 2011 Florida Challenge Half 3m Half Marathon
February 20, 2011 A1A Half Marathon Austin Half Marathon

Since I’ve been nursing this nagging injury, my training has suffered. My training plan is buried in a list of Google Docs and hasn’t been opened in over a month. Honestly, I’m ready to get RNRSA over and done with. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very excited for it and I’m hoping to PR. But I’m more excited to get a training plan drawn up in preparation for the two races at the beginning of 2011!

Depending on how this weekend’s race goes will determine what step I take next. Next? Yes, next. I’m looking forward into the future, a little bit further than February. If all goes well on Sunday, I’ve got my eye on this guy:

This isn’t a huge decision, considering initially I was committed to running the full in San Antonio. A couple weeks ago I had been tossing the idea of a marathon around, and I narrowed my choices down to RnR San Diego and RnR Las Vegas (2011). I think I have pretty much ruled out Vegas because it’s close to Christmas, and I’m sure we would turn that into a mini vacation which screams dollar $ign$. Who knows, at this point anything can happen!

So my questions for you are…

What race did you choose for your first full marathon? If you could do it all over again, would you choose the same race?