Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Project 4:20

I Fartlek'd today! (Ha! I just really wanted to say that!)
I can't beat you?!? Argghhhhh!!!!

So as most of you who follow me know, Oprah Winfrey is my running nemesis.  I have tried & tried, over the course of 3 marathons to beat her 4:29 marathon time to no avail.  That is not to say my running has completely sucked.  2013 saw me run my 2 fastest marathons: a PR of 4:37 on a very hilly Pocono Marathon course in the spring, & a 4:38 in crazy heat at Wineglass in the fall.  I can't be disappointed in those performances but I just know inside me there is a marathoner that is faster than Oprah! I don't know why I am so obsessed with this.  When I first tackled the marathon I used the standard Runner's World plan generator from their website.  There's nothing inherently wrong with it.  It got me to the finish the 1st time under my 5 hour goal.  It got me a 9 minute PR in my 2nd marathon.  And it helped me stay steady for marathon #3.  Then came marathon #4.  I took another approach.  I asked for help from Thing 1.  He took my RW plan and tweaked it into the Torture my Mum Plan.  Marathon #4 had me doing some speedwork and hills.  Actually trying to hit tempo paces instead of running to get the mileage in.  My fitness was increasing.  I ran my PR race at Poconos in May.  I was on pace but just couldn't put it in the bag.  Still, though, I was faster by 6 minutes.  Big PR.  Happy Days! I thought FOR SURE I'd break 4:30 at Wineglass.  Nope.  Felt the best I've ever felt during a marathon but just couldn't close the deal.

So here I stand 16 weeks out from the Goodlife Toronto Marathon.  I decided after finally hitting a sub-2 half that I really DO have what's in me to go under 4:30.  After hitting 1:56 @ the Red Baron Half a runner friend of mine jokingly said that I should consider 4:20.  It got me thinking.  Got me thinking that what I've been doing hasn't been working like I want it. Time to change things up.  I am not a coach. I don't have a background in running competitively at all.  I needed help. So here I go: I have a Coach! My runner friend just got her RRCA coaching certification and is a certified BadA$$ runner! She's run Boston & won the Vermont Shires Marathon last year! You can follow her on Twitter @fitmomstrongmom


Coach Heather asked me a TON of questions to figure out what works best for me so she could make a training plan for me! I received the first 2 weeks of it on Friday and it is amazing so far! Not only do I have a training schedule made into 2 week Sunday-Saturday blocks to accommodate my weird work schedule, but it also takes into account my desire to do considerable cross training so I have a good winter base built for triathlon season! Honestly, I am excited too that I don't have to THINK about my workouts! I just have to look at what it is and execute.  To get ready for this I have taken the last 2 months to not only take it easy...mostly very little cross training and really cutting back on mileage...but to try to make 10min miles feel 'easy'.  I am pretty much there.  I am mostly at a point where I can run by feel and lay down anywhere from a 10 flat to 10:35.  I did my last off season long run on Friday of 10 miles @ 10:07 pace.  I think I am ready to get serious.

I put a lot of thought into which race I wanted to target.  I decided on Toronto because:

  • I've run it before and liked the course
  • The course is a little downhill at the beginning but not quad busting. Mostly flat for the remainder,
  • May 4th is early enough to not conflict too badly with my other goal, which is a summer 70.3 (more on that in another post!)
  • Usually ok weather.
  • I have family in town, therefore a place to stay and people to cheer me on! 

So while I will be ecstatic with anything under 4:30, I am going all in and going to train for the 4:20. Go big or go home, right???

And yes, I DID Fartlek today & I loved every minute of it!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 Year In Review

Goodbye 2013...it's been quite an adventure!

Swim: 19.1 Miles (Definitely more consistant and solid training for the tri season)
Bike: 613 Miles (This a new high for me on the bike.  Loved getting to know my new bike! Hopefully will have many more miles on it next year!)
Run: 1110.5 Miles (Less miles that last year, but completely on purpose.  I have a new philosophy for marathon training and long runs.  The Hanson-esque mileage just works for me.) This year it is going to be all about quality running.
Cross Training: (Core/Strength Training/HIT Classes): 24 hours 51 minutes

Marathons: 2
Half-Marathons: 2
Duathlon: 1
Sprint Triathlon: 1
Olympic Triathlon: 1 
5K: 2
1500M Indoor Track race: 1
Mile: 1
DNF's: 1 (Finger Lakes Fifties)
Ragnar Relay: 1 (Niagara)

Marathon: 4:37:17 (Pocono Mountains)
Half Marathon: 1:56:39 (Red Baron)
5K: 26:12 (Pie & Glove)
10K: 55:XX (While running Red Baron)
1500M on Indoor Track: 7:17 (Beaten by a race walker!)
Olympic Distance Triathlon: 3:20:41 (Tri Dunkirk)

Overall, a pretty good year.  I had 3 big goals this year:

  1. Go under 4:30 in the marathon. PR'd big at Poconos with 6 minute PR on crazy hills & ran well at Wineglass in crazy heat, but just couldn't get under my "Oprah" goal.  I guess I can't be disappointed in a PR, but I KNOW I can run better.  I have a plan to change things up so I can achieve this this spring.  Stay Tuned.....
  2. Complete an Olympic Distance Triathlon.  CHECK! Did the Dunkirk Tri at the end of August and I have to say I definitely have my tri mojo back.  I loved the training...even the bricks.  I discovered that my body thrives in doing more than one discipline a day.  And I got my big girl tri bike, learned to use clipless pedals (only 1 cracked rib to show for it ;)) and learned to love the bike! I can even change a flat by the side of the road now!  I need a trainer for the winter now.  Any suggestions that won't break the bank?
  3. And here's the biggie: Go Sub-2 in the Half.  BIG CHECK!  Red Baron Half was the highlight of my entire year.  Not only did I do what I thought was impossible, but I did it in killer style, really racing and giving it every ounce of what I had.  This is the kind of performance that I know lies inside of me for the marathon. I just need to figure out how to bring it out on race day.

The DNF at Finger Lakes Fifties doesn't bother me.  Honestly, my heart wasn't in me for another ultra this year...especially at the cost of a much planned for triathlon.

Thank you all for all the positive support this year!  I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read and respond on my blog! You are all great!