Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October Recap

I turned in my final run of the month this morning. October is quickly coming to a close. Runners tend to love October and I am no exception. I LOVE October. The leaves. The cooler temps. The races. I love it all. This October, I stayed true to my workouts, cleared the hundred mile mark, and am just a few days away from half-marathon #4 with Meg and #8 overall!! I ran under the morning stars and watched the sun come up about a dozen times, and wound my way through the city's parks every Saturday afternoon.

# Workouts: 17
# Miles: 103.1

The most memorable of my runs was definitely the peak speed workout, a warm-up, 4x1 mi @ 8:15 with 800m recoveries, and a 1 m cool-down. It gave me a whole new appreciation for people who can hold that pace for 13.1 or 26.2.

This workout was also memorable because of an encounter I had during it. Everywhere else I've lived, runners greet each other, usually with a small head nod. Here, nothing. NOTHING. Except this old guy who I see walking in the park nearly every morning I run there. He almost always says "hi" or "good morning" and responds when I do the same. The morning of my mile repeats, he yelled, "you're fast!" as I went by in the opposite direction. It's such a small gesture, but was so appreciated. He said it again during this week's (taper version) speed word (5 miles, with 3 miles 15 seconds faster than race pace). The next time we passed, I told him that he wasn't doing so bad himself. It feels so nice to feel like I'm a "regular" at the park! I'm also slowly getting to know local races and am id'ing running groups I could meet up with. Running is one of my favorite ways to get to know a new city. :)

I fly out on Friday and the Raleigh City of Oaks Half-Marathon is Sunday. Wish us luck!!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mondays in Love: Peak Long Run

We are t-13 days until the start line of the Raleigh City of Oaks half and I am READY! This weekend was the peak long run of the training cycle. I turned in 13.0 pleasant miles on Saturday afternoon, winding through two city parks and several neighborhoods.

A few posts back I highlighted some of the aspects of running in UT that distinguish it from running in the Midwest. One was the hills. I've been building one particularly grueling hill into my long runs the past few weeks. It is not to be taken lightly! But you know, perseverance wins. I swear it's getting easier week by week. But seriously, check this chick out.

The green line is elevation. This hill climbs about 220 feet in just under a mile. Hmmm...that doesn't sound like it feels. It feels like climbing Mount freaking Everest. I feel like my own personal George Mallory when I get to the top. Aside from that whole dying-in-a-mountain-of-ice business.

All this hard work culminated in this weekend's long run. Though the taper is not pronounced, it does exist in this training plan, and we're there. High five!

In other news (read: completely not related to running) from the weekend, on Sunday we visited a nearby state park, Antelope Island. What an amazing place!! If you ever visit SLC during the spring or fall, it's totally worth seeing.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Mondays in Love: Getting Race Ready!

We are 20 days from the start line and preparations are underway! This came in the mail this week and, well, I love.

I think I've mentioned my love of pace bands (available here) before. I used them during the Cleveland Marathon, the Lincoln Half (recap here), and perhaps one other time. They take the guessing out of timing your race. They do this by customizing each pace band to the specific race and to your goal time, accounting for warming up and hills. And, shipped to your house, they are like $7.50 or something. Compared to the cost of shoes, registration, and travel, it's a drop in the bucket. And no, they did not ask me to post this review!

I'm also just really happy with how training is going so far (knock on wood). Week after week, the paces on the training schedule get easier to hit. At this point, I have only two kinda intimidating training runs left--13 miles on deck this Saturday, and a tough tempo run next Wednesday. Then, that's it--it will be time to get this show on the road! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mondays in Love: September Recap

I spent the whole month of September very happily in training mode--my first full-on month-o-training since March. It was delightful. All those moments of "oh gosh, that speed work looks speedy" and "what pace?" and "I haven't covered that distance in months" turned into moments of victory and 4 weeks of workouts crossed off the training plan.

What did it look like? It looked like 32 EZ miles, 4 miles of speed work, 13 miles at race pace, 6 miles at tempo, and 31 miles in long runs. Total: 86 miles.

I'm already 24 miles in for October and I'm slated to hit 100 if all goes according to plan. This makes me so happy. 

October has always been my favorite running month. I've gushed about it before. Why do I love October? In high school cross country, it was race season. Since then, it's still race season (see here and here). In much of the nation, it's gorgeous. I remember my old park so fondly.

Fall here is mind-blowingly beautiful, but totally different. Late last week it rained in the valley overnight but snowed in the mountains. That morning was crazy/beautiful (see below, and click on it to get the full version, if you can--totally different feeling to the picture). Fall here is dramatic, and gorgeous, but, I'm told, very short-lived. So far it's great.