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Back At It, Slowly.

June 21st, 2012 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (14 Comments)

Last time I posted about the importance of taking a break, I suppose I needed one from blogging as well as running. Let’s be honest: without much running happening around these parts lately, I haven’t felt inclined to write, nor have I had the time. And if I don’t want to write it, trust me, you don’t want to read it.

But with <4 months until the Chicago Marathon, I’ve slowly but surely started easing back into training. I had been running on and off in late May, never more than 30 minutes or so. I gave myself until Memorial Day weekend to run only when I wanted to, and then started keeping track of my mileage and forcing myself out the door more diligently.

Running in Seattle. Easy to rise early with a view like this!

Getting back in shape is …humbling. It’s extremely frustrating to struggle through easy runs, and tempting to just sleep in when a few miles at a sluggishly slow pace doesn’t seem worth lacing up for. Most days, I don’t even bother to wear my Garmin because I don’t care to compare my pace or distance.

But I’m used to this period, and know that being diligent and getting in a base will pay off. Soon enough, runs will become easier and my pace will get faster. I’ll dive right back into workouts and feel strong instead of wiped out. Getting back into shape can be discouraging but I just try to push those thoughts aside and continue to put in the miles, no matter how slow. Consistency and working through this tough phase is key. I think this is where newer runners get discouraged and quit. And I totally get it, running really sucks when you’re not in shape!

I’ve started to build out my Chicago Marathon training plan loosely, but still need to work out a few details. Here are the nuts & bolts:

  • One rest day: Running 6 days a week, with 1 total rest day, works well to give my legs & mind a break
  • Cut-back weeks: I found that cut-back weeks every 3/4 weeks really help build up mileage without becoming too fatigued or overwhelmed. I am going to try to time these around busy work/travel weeks, if it’s possible to sync up.
  • Peaking at 75+ miles: Slowly but surely, I’m increasing my mileage loads. In college, it was 50-55 or so. For NYC 2010, I peaked at 66.5. For NYC 2011, I peaked at 70.5; For Boston, 72. I am hoping to get in a good solid weeks at 65-70 and then cap it out at 75. While this isn’t a lot compared to other marathoners, honestly, it comes down to not having enough time (& energy!) to do much more.
  • Structured Mon-Sun weeks: I used to always chart my weekly milage like a traditional calendar, Sun-Sat. This made swapping long runs between Saturday and Sunday each week tricky, as the weekly totals would be wacky. Adding my weeks Mon-Sun just makes it simpler. Rocket science.
  • Strength Training: I know I say this every training cycle, but I am going to make a more concentrated effort at strength training and core work. I know it makes me feel (and look!) better but it’s the first thing to go through the window when my mileage increases. I need to stop making excuses and just do it. Thanks, Nike.

Honestly, I’m a little nervous about squeezing in a solid block of marathon training amidst a busy summer. My weeks and weekends are just about booked up until mid-August. Whoa. Work is incredibly excitingly busy (thanks, Ali) and most days I’m extremely overwhelmed and overtired and stressed. But I’m finally doing something I love and am so passionate about, the long hours, insane travel, and demands are so worth it. I’m someone who does not function well on little sleep, and I’m already feeling the effects. Something has to give.

And that something can’t be my job. I recently got an exciting promotion (yay!) and will be slowly transitioning onto more of a PR role versus straight digital communications. Of course, the two will always be intertwined but I’m excited to start to handle more day to day media relations. There’s so much opportunity to grow in my role which is tremendously exciting and terribly overwhelming at the same time. I have faith that I’ll figure it out and still have time to pursue other goals of mine: like running and maintaining a good life balance.

So I hope you’ll keep coming back and checking in, even though posting might get a little less frequent. I barely have time to do laundry most weeks, let alone write a substantial post. But I enjoy writing as an outlet and way to track my training and connect with others, so I’ll still be here!

Next week, I’m headed to Houston for about 24 hours and then straight to Eugene the 27th-2nd– that’s right, a perk of my job is being lucky enough to get to work at the Track & Field Trials. A runnerds dream. I’m excited since it’s my first trip to Eugene, and while I’ll be tied up with work most days, I hope I can catch a race or two, or at least get to hang with some college friends who are racing. Stay tuned as I make it my goal to stalk some Olympians. Kidding. Kind of…

I love running, but sometimes, I love not running even more. It’s hard to believe it’s been just about a month since the Boston “Speed Can Kill” Marathon, and about 2 weeks since I trudged through the Big Sur Marathon to complete the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge. In effect, besides those two days of running 26.2 miles, I’ve run exactly 6 times, only 15-30 minutes each, in the last month. Yay!

Less running, more drinking with friends!

I am a strong believer in periodization of training cycles. Part of this has to do with competing through high school and college. The seasons were clearly defined: Cross Country, Indoor Track, and Outdoor Track. We always took about two weeks of rest in between, give or take depending on practices. Breaks were natural, built-in, and welcome after a hard season or race.

After my LAST college race. I took a whole 3 months of NO exercise after that, and it was glorious.

It’s a little more difficult in the ‘real’ world of running, where there are fun races just about every weekend to sign up for, and no coach setting your competition schedule or telling you when to work out and when to rest. Unfortunately, I think too many runners get caught up in racing and training year-round without a break in between cycles and no real concept of periodization, and ultimately end up burnt out or injured. I get it, there are so many awesome races and marathons to sign up for…it’s easy to want to do them all and do them all right now.

But that’s also the awesome thing about the ‘real’ world. YOU control your training! YOU control your rest! YOU control your goal races. I know everyone is different, so I’m not saying you’re doing it wrong if you don’t split your training into cycles. Everyone’s bodies handle training differently, and everyone has different motivations for running and racing.

However, I really don’t think most people benefit from racing week after week, almost entirely year round, never allowing themselves to peak for a smaller handful of goal races. Instead, it’s just a steady stream of mediocre races at less-than-your-full-potential. I don’t think it’s physiologically or psychologically possible to be in your prime racing shape year-round. Of course, the type of races you do will influence this: training cycles differ in duration if you’re running 5Ks versus running marathons. I do firmly believe that periodization allows me to perform at a high level, while keeping enjoyable and injury-free. I love to race, but I love to race fast more. That means being patient and having 1 or 2 kickass races a year, over dozens of mediocre races.

I’m not a coach, so I’m not going to tell you how to structure your training. Again, it depends on the timing and length of what you’re racing. Google “training periodization” for a better guide than I’d give you. But from my personal experience over the past 3 years of post-collegiate racing, I select a goal race and build my schedule leading up to that. For a marathon, I start to focus on building my base about 4+ months out from the race. As the weeks pass, I steadily increase my mileage. I might schedule in a few races during training, but I use these races as workouts or fitness indicators, not goal races. About ~3 weeks from the marathon, I begin to taper. After the goal race, I take as much time off as I feel I need to recover: physically and mentally. Entirely ‘off’ is key: no physical exercise of any type (besides walking, that’s kinda inevitable..) Sometimes I need a little less than two weeks, sometimes it’s a month.

If you’re not longing for a break after a really hard few months of training or an awesome PR in a race, you’re probably not training and racing hard enough. If you’re back rocking workouts and long runs a week or two after a goal race, I don’t understand you. I’ll be chilling on the couch, not lacing up my running shoes until I’m fully longing to run.

I wouldn’t still be head over heels in love with running after 11 years of competing, chasing PR after PR, if I didn’t rest. It’s one of the most important pieces of the puzzle, and an often neglected one. If I trained hard, all year round, I’d never be able to peak accordingly to run a 3:03 (and soon, sub-3:00) marathon.

Another great part about not running? You get to focus on other areas of your life that got a little less love during your hard training. Like friends, family, and work! Lucky for me, my busy work season just started to kick in after Big Sur. Between personal and work trips, I am traveling every. single. weekend. in May and June. Bring it on, and see ya never, friends!

Sun Valley, Idaho for the Idaho Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics Association Conference

Boulder, Colorado as a sponsor of the Blend Retreat. Gorgeous view from our hike!

After Boulder, I was lucky enough to hang out in Denver for about 2 hours with my college roomie Emily before jetting back home!

And then I went to Dallas for the Team USA Olympic Media Summit

...Where I got to meet Bernard Lagat and was a HUGE runnerd.

And get to hear the First Lady Michelle Obama speak!

Yeah, it’s been busy, and I’ve come to appreciate my bed at home more than ever, but I wouldn’t have it any other way right now. I’m in a very exciting place in my career, and though traveling to events primarily on the weekends isn’t the most awesome way to maintain a normal social life, I absolutely love my job. I’m working more than ever, traveling more than ever, and sometimes I can barely keep my head on straight, but it’s so rewarding to feel so challenged and get the opportunity to do some very cool things.

I’m traveling to San Francisco the next two weekend, but for FUN! This weekend is my sister’s college graduation (wahhhh how do they grow up so quickly?!), so I’m looking forward to a weekend of celebrating with the family. Then I’ll return to CA for Memorial Day Weekend with three friends for a little Napa Valley getaway. At least there’s a bit of fun squeezed into my schedule. And maybe some running, too….maybe.

What’s your viewpoint on periodization in your training? Do you like taking breaks after races, or are you more of a year-round racer? Favorite place you’ve been lately?

Never, ever, did I think the day on which I ran my slowest marathon would be one of the happiest.

But Monday was exactly that: a new personal worst time and a new favorite marathon experience. I can honestly say I have never been as happy during or after a marathon as I was on Monday. In fact, I don’t think I’ve been this purely happy at a race since college. I think I’m still glowing from it (but more likely, it’s the sunburn).

Ignore my awful form & lack of abs. Pay attention to my smiling, happy face!

It’s no secret: I like to run fast. I am internally competitive and incredibly driven by time goals. Sometimes I think a bit too much of my happiness depends on my running goals, but that’s a story for a different day. You all know Boston was my big race to break 3:00…believe I mentioned it in just about every post for the past two months. I thought I’d be heartbroken if I didn’t; what could possibly be wrong with me if I couldn’t pull it off in a race? For the 2nd time?

On Sunday before the race, I readjusted my expectations. Well shit, I likely wasn’t going to run under 3:00 or close to it. I didn’t want to be an idiot in this heat, run too fast, and suffer for it. Quite simply, I had to respect the weather and accept the fact I couldn’t control anything but my mindset. I could choose to soak in the experience and remain positive, or dwell in the disappointment and frustration. I chose the former.

We have to run the whole way back?

I met Alex and her friend Neal to board the buses to Hopkinton around 6:20 in the morning. My hotel was a quick 2 minute walk to Boston Common so I didn’t have to travel far. The bus ride was long, and I realized we’d soon be retracing our route by foot. The entire pre-race experience was so much more mellow than my experiences the last 2 years at NYC– the village was calm and non-herd-like, bag check was in close proximity to the waiting area, porta potties weren’t crazy, and we were just fine getting into our starting corral with 10 minutes ’til race time. The relaxed atmosphere certainly soothed any nerves pre-race.

Once we left our shady resting area in the starting village and hit the sun, I started getting hot and nervous. Before bag check, I made the last minute decision to race in a sports bra vs. my CPTC singlet. I’m aware that this sounds really vain, but I didn’t feel comfortable racing in sports bra. Despite being in my best marathon shape running-wise, I’ve gained about 8 pounds since I started this training cycle..and it’s not all muscle. I don’t worry about my weight too much as I always tend to gain during marathon training, and I’d rather be faster & stronger but a few lbs heavier, but this is the highest weight I’ve ever been at in my life. I’m not sure what’s going on (or it could simply be more drinking..ha), but probably warrants a separate post. Anyways, a soggy, heavy singlet felt like it’d be a burden so sports bra it was. And now, I hate every one of my race pictures but will post them on the Internet anyways.

I’m currently without the USB to plug in my watch to get all of my splits, so we’ll just have to go off the official race splits & pace at each of them for now. I’m also too lazy to calculate each individual 5K split so the paces are cumulative.

“Welcome to Hopkinton, It All Starts Here!”

  • 5K- 21:36 (6:57 pace)
  • 10K- 43:23 (6:59 pace overall)

The gun went off and as soon as we crossed the starting line, I started smiling. This was so cool. Seeing the packed crowd of runners ahead trail down the narrow street was so surreal. The streets/bridges are so much wider in New York City, I hadn’t ever witnessed anything like it. I was running the BOSTON MARATHON! Everything about it was so novel.

Alex and I decided to keep the early splits steady– with a few under 7. We clicked off mile after mile and I felt comfortable aerobically. It took a bit to shake dullness from my legs, and I noticed sweat starting to pour down very early on. We ran through Ashland and Framingham, simply taking in the sights and grabbing fluids at just about every stop. When people are already walking at mile 4, you know it’s going to be a long day.

We're running a marathon in 86 degree weather! This is so much fun!!!

“Entering Natick”

  • 15K- 1:05:30 (7:01 pace overall)

At mile 10, Alex told me she wasn’t feeling great and needed to back off a bit. I didn’t want to leave her since I wanted my running buddy, but she urged me to go ahead. So into the sun and heat I went solo: comfortable, confident, and happy. I knew I could continue to click off that pace easily, since we never really ‘red-lined’ the pace early. I wasn’t in the hole, I was cruising. My pace at 15K was pretty on par with the 5K and 10K marks.

Around mile 11, my stomach really started to bother me. I kinda had to pee when I started and the feeling hadn’t dissipated like it usually does. And the sugary Gatorade was not sitting well. I’m not used to taking in so much Gatorade and sugars while running, but I knew I needed the extra electrolytes to keep hydrated. I started to notice there weren’t very many portapotties along the course and hoped the feeling would pass.

“Kiss me I’m  ________”

  • 20K- 1:27:39 (7:03 pace overall)
  • Half-Marathon- 1:32:59 (7:05 pace overall) – bathroom stop @ mile 13

As we approached the shady streets of Wellesley, someone said, “Can you hear it?” I tuned in and took in the deafening sounds from ahead. It was incredible. As we approached, I drew right and stuck out my hand, high-fiving the entire throng of girls with a ridiculous grin on my face. I actually think I was laughing at this point– were the signs really funny, was I having a blast, or was I already delirious? All three, probably.

After the deafening screams, I still couldn’t shake the uncomfortable feeling and had to stop to go to the bathroom right before mile 13. I have never stopped during a race before- it’s always been my biggest fear. I was a bit bummed that I lost around 45 seconds, but better to have a happier stomach on a non-PR day than one where time mattered.

Quads, meet hills.

  • 25K- 1:53:33 (7:07 pace overall)
  • 30K- 2:13:37 (7:10 pace overall)

As we wound through the downhills, my quads started to feel a bit off. I knew it was only going to be a matter of time until the steady pace started feeling a bit harder to maintain. I tried to stay controlled on the downhill to keep my quads intact, but my pace was slowing to around 7:15. I wanted so badly to cruise down the hills, but I knew it was smarter to hold back. There were hills ahead!

My mom was supposed to be stationed at mile 16, but we completely missed each other! I looked for her on the sidelines, but it was so packed and we had pretty poor planning. Once I hit the gel stations at 17, I knew I definitely missed her. My pace slowed as we climbed the Newton Hills, but I just focused on making it up and staying as relaxed as possible.

Hills are not my strength and never have been. Maybe it was the slower pace, but I didn’t think they were too bad. Yeah, they come at a sucky time in the race right after some steep downhills that kinda rip up your quads, but they’re relatively spaced out to allow enough recovery between. I was expecting more back-to-back hellacious climbs.

And all of the sudden, we were on Heartbreak Hill. People were stopping. Spectators shuffling alongside runners, offering water and ice. I just focused on powering up and passing people. Suddenly, I reached the top and broke into the BC crowds and instantly felt a wave of relief! The worst was over.

Almost home, rockstar.
  • 35K- 2:36:28 (7:11 pace overall)
  • 40K- 2:59:22 (7:13 pace overall)

The crowds at BC were my absolute favorite. Heartbreak Hill was over and I powered down a sweet, steep downhill. The college kids made you feel like a rockstar. I high-fived and smiled this entire mile and recall clocking a 6:55 down it. I had a second wind!

But that spurt was a bit short-lived, as I continued to coast until I finally hit the wall around mile 23. My quads had been fading bit by bit up until that point, but 23 was where my body really started to shut down and feel the heat. My run felt like more of a shuffle. 7:20 and 7:30 pace was harder to maintain. I tried to grab a gel from my pocket, but my hands & shorts were all wet and it slipped from my hands…and I was too tired to stop and pick it up. I kept pushing forward bit by bit. I saw my CPTC teammates around mile 25 which gave me a boost. I felt myself trying to push the pace, but struggling in frustration to do so. I actually made the conscious decision to stop trying to push faster and simply relax and get to the finish. Time was out the window, so why make it stressful? Relax. Breathe. Enjoy the sights.

Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston…

The turn onto Hereford felt like an eternity, but I started smiling the moment I hit Boylston Street and saw the finish line– there’s my silly grin in the first picture up top. I did it. Here I was. I could still break 3:10? What’s happening? Why do we have to move to the left side? Why can’t I run in a straight line? Should I throw my hands up when I finish? How many guys can I outkick? Why is this the longest .2 miles ever?!

Finish. 3:09:28, 7:14 pace overall. 58th female finisher, 994th overall finisher.

My slowest marathon by 5 minutes. Off my PR by 6, and off my goal time by 10+. I know it could have gone much worse. Even now, I don’t know how I still managed to run this pace in the conditions. Without the stupid bathroom stop, it would have been in the 3:08s. I am proud to say that I ran a smart race. I started conservatively and kept my head on straight, focusing and soaking in the experience: something I don’t always do when I’m gunning for a PR. I’m also proud that my hard training paid off in some capacity.

In 2011, the 58th female finisher ran 2:54; In 2010, 2:56. I realize this comparison is unsubstantiated, but I wanted to see how my performance, relatively, would have fared on an average day. I am confident that a 3:09 in Monday’s conditions is easily a 2:59 or under. While it is a bit frustrating to not have been able to cash in my training and hit that time on Monday, it’s simultaneously very comforting. It confirms that I’m right there, just like I knew I was. I am fit now, and I can be fit again for Chicago in October. My confidence is actually boosted, given what I was able to achieve on Monday and what could have been achieved, speculatively, on a cooler day.

See ya in two weeks, Big Sur Marathon! Love, Lindsay & Alex.

I suppose I only have my two experiences at NYC to compare to, but the crowds in Boston were incredible. Like no other.  I preferred the atmosphere of Boston over NYC. Maybe it was the heat of the day, but I loved the throngs of supporters- from little kids with ice pops to the fire department’s cooling tunnels. Everyone came together to make it a race I’ll never forget. I couldn’t have done it without the incredible spectator support, offering ice cubes to stick down my sports bra and cold sponges to soak over my head. Their water was colder than the sun-soaked cups at the aid stations. For a really well-written description of the race atmosphere on Monday, check out this article on Boston.com that sums it up beautifully.

Thank you to those who cheered on Monday & spotted me, including Susan (who wins best spectator as she saw me in 3!!! spots!), KellyLizzy, Lauren, Brenda, the CPTC gang, coworkers Kara and Emily, Erica, and I’m probably forgetting more. And reader Freddie who spotted me at the finish! I could not have done it without your support on the course. And everyone for tracking from afar, and texting, calling, Facebooking, Tweeting, Instagramming and any other method of communication. I felt very, very, very loved and supported before, during and especially after.

On Monday, I reminded my overly stubborn self that running is about so more than PRs; I run because I love it. That pure love and sheer enjoyment drew me into the sport and has kept me here for 11 years. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. I hope I haven’t become too robotic and numbers-driven to forget that. I am so proud of my 3:09, and happy to say it’s not always about the numbers. Sometimes, it’s simply about enjoying the run. 

And of course, celebrating with drinks & friends after.

And now, decompressing for a week before jetting out to CA for the Big Sur Marathon as part of the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge. Big Sur’s hilly course is not conducive to a PR, so I won’t be gunning for sub-3 there as a redemption/’B’ race as a few friends suggested. Even if it was a flat, fast course, I’d still just run it relaxed. My body needs a break and I don’t care how slowly we run it. I probably won’t even run more than once or twice before the 29th. If I can steal a memorable quote from the BAA, “this is not a race, it is an experience.”

Thank you again for continuing to follow me along on this journey! While for a different reason than originally planned, Boston 2012 will have an incredibly special place in my heart.

Less than 2 weeks to go, and the taper is on! Except my legs feel like lead and I’m exhausted. Not surprisingly, given a busy work trip, 10k race, and late nights this weekend. I’m going to try to make sleep a priority this week, lay low this weekend and hopefully I’ll be a bit more refreshed leading into race week.

About Saturday’s 10k race. All things considered, 40:38 is pretty good. It’s only 2 seconds off my (very weak) PR. I didn’t exactly have the best race prep, but since I was down in Charleston for a work trip (Chobani was a sponsor of the race), I had to make sure work was a priority. Racing was simply a nice perk.

Here’s a link to the full stats for the race, using the Polar RCX5 I’m wear-testing for Boston.com. If you know anything about heart rate training, I’d love your insight! Is an avg. of 181, max of 190, right for a 10K race?

Can you tell where the bridge was? Ha.

I hate to play the ‘excuses’ or ‘what if’s game, but bear with me. Under the right conditions I really believe I could have broken 40 minutes. Here we go:

  • My pre-race prep sucked. I spent Thursday & Friday entirely on my feet, shuttling & lifting cases of yogurt, and eating samples from booths at the expo for lunch and dinner (Muscle Milk, Blue Moon, fruit snacks, ice cream, and Atkins bars…)  Gross. Except all the Chobani, of course :)
  • Since I was offsite during the day, I had to catch up on work when I got back to my hotel each night after 9 at night. Combined with early wake ups, I slept about 5-6 hours each night– which is not enough for someone who needs 8-9 on average!
  • I had to get blood drawn on Friday (long story), so since I didn’t have a car, I ended up running to and from my blood test, while trying not to pass out, cry, or die on the 3 miles home. I felt really drained the rest of the day and into Saturday, unsurprisingly.
  • The race was delayed by an hour (!!!!) due to issues clearing the bridge, so it was even hotter. We stood around on our feet, not knowing when the gun would really go off, as the sun rose. Pretty sure it was over 80 degrees and this little Northerner was dying.
  • There was a massive, never-ending bridge for about 1.25+ miles, up which I hit blazing splits of 6:45 (started at the end of this mile) and 7:18. Combined with a whipping headwind, WTF. I shouldn’t run those splits in a 10K…
  • My legs weren’t exactly rested, nor trained to run a 10K. It doesn’t make sense that my 10K pace should be the same as my half-marathon pace, but it is. I’ll definitely drop time once I kick the high mileage & focus on ‘speed’.

Ok! Excuses, excuses. I know it’s like saying “well I definitely could have PRed if I was half-Kenyan/on a bike/magically had a tailwind/stopped a mile early!”, but I’m simply trying to put it in context of things I could and could not control. End complaint session.

On my 2nd Boston.com post this week, I wrote a bit about the race and loosening up a bit. After I finished and reflected on last year’s NYC Marathon, I made it a goal to become more flexible in training & racing. I was so ingrained in my routine, getting super stressed out when I had to stray from it. Everything about Saturday’s pre-race prep typically would have made me crazy anxious and defeated. “But I didn’t get 8 hours sleep the night before the night before the race! I didn’t eat my favorite oatmeal for breakfast! We’ve been waiting on the start line for an hour and I have to pee!” But this time, I just rolled with the punches and did the best I could, given the day. It was what it was. And obviously, the situation will be much different for Boston.

This training cycle, I’ve worked hard to let go, stress a lot less, and still live life. Through this, I’ve maintained a better running/life balance, and while everything hasn’t been perfect, I’ve been so much happier with myself, my running, job, friendships, life, everything. My post on working hard & playing hard just about sums it up. I firmly believe that keeping it fun and balanced will ensure a long love affair with running…and hopefully snag a few PRs along the way.

The remainder of my Saturday is a good example. Despite being exhausted from the race (and working the finish line event for about 2 hours post-race…in my sweaty glory), I still had time to grab some burgers and margaritas along the water with some coworkers before boarding my flight back to NYC. I passed out for a quick hour on the flight, got home around 7:30 p.m., pulled myself together (and threw back a 5 Hour Energy), went out to dinner with Terence as I missed his surprise birthday party while down in SC, and then went to Gian’s birthday where I drank (too much) and danced until 3:30 in the morning.

Again, it’s no surprise why I’m tired. While breaking 3:00 is THE goal and will make me feel incredibly happy and accomplished, spending time with friends and going out is a priority, too. Again, it’s about balance. I’ll just reel it in these next two weeks and hope I can “have my cake and eat it too.” Wishful thinking? We’ll see.

And now, sleep. sleep. sleep. And a little bit of running thrown in there, too.

Greetings from Charleston, South Carolina! Yup, traveling again. No surprise, this week has been busy and I am TIRED. Last week, I hit my peak mileage week before Boston and spent the weekend celebrating (and recovering from) 25th birthday festivities. I think my body is just now catching up and telling me to sloooooow down. My quads are incredibly sore and tired, but I’d attribute that to dancing in heels until after 4 am, not running. Ouch.

Not one of my finer moments.

Last week I hit 72 miles for the week! This is a new weekly high for me, as I only capped out at 70 before NYC. Go, Lindsay! I’m also extremely happy that I did it with 1 day total rest, a hard workout, long run, and without doubling (with the exception of one short easy morning shakeout).

To some marathoners 72 miles is nothing, and to others it’s a ton! For me, it was a perfect peak. Maybe, just maybe, one day I’ll get to 75-80+ miles per week, but only if i can stay healthy and sane while doing it. I’d also like more hours in the day…still working on that one. How do you people do it?!

And now, I’m ready to taper. Honestly, I looooove the taper. I am NOT one of those people that gets antsy on rest days or wishes I was running longer and harder during this time. No thanks, I got my fix of that over the last 4 months. To you people who hate the taper: I’m sorry, I just don’t understand you. Aren’t you utterly exhausted, both physically and mentally, and begging for a break? Or, am I just a lazy runner who wants my legs to feel normal again? Give me rest now.

Besides a final long run, the highlight of last week was Thursday night’s workout: a simple 5 miles (well, 5.17..) at half-marathon pace. I don’t know what it is about half-marathon pace, but it freaks me out. It seems fast (because it is!) especially compared to marathon pace.

Workout, 3/22

But we had a good group and nice weather, and most of my splits were under 6:20. I fell off the group a little on the last mile, but I need to do more of these workouts to get comfortable going faster. And then I refueled with 16 Handles.

Speaking of going faster, have I mentioned I’m racing a 10K on Saturday while I’m down here in Charleston? Yup, I am! I’m down here for the Cooper River Bridge Run, as Chobani is a sponsor at the expo and finish line of the race. As sponsors, we received a few entries so I figured I’d wake up even earlier and race….because that’s what normal people do, right? I don’t know much about the course except that it’s up and over a bridge so it’s probably got a steep incline. And that world-class runners race this, so I probably won’t win. Darn you, 33 minute 10k runners!

I’m not creating any pressure for this race, but a PR would be pretty nice. Considering I’ve run two 10ks in my life and my 10k pace was slower than my half marathon pace, I’d say there’s a good chance I should break 40. Standing on my feet at the expo for two days straight and eating 7484926 cups of yogurt is perfect race prep, right?

And, don’t forget to check out my first post on Boston.com! I’ve got mixed feelings on the Polar RCX5 GPS/heart rate system, but I need to use it more to give it a fair analysis. Of course, I’ll be wearing it during Saturday’s race and can’t wait to see my heart rate go through the roof as I die for 6.2 miles in 80 degree humidity.

And now, shutting down and SLEEP!

What’s the most you’ve run in a week? Do you love or hate the taper? Things to do in Charleston during my brief stay here?!

Ever feel there’s not enough hours in the day or days in the week? Yeah, me too. It’s been a busy week around here, but with a little flexibility and a little compromise on sleep, I hit 67.5 miles last week, a new high for this training cycle. This last week I’ll aim to hit 70 and then it’s taper time!

But it’s been an exciting week so far, so here’s the highlights. Spoiler: it includes delicious birthday food and a cool announcement.

I ran 20 miles in the middle of the day last Wednesday. Some at marathon pace!

Have I mentioned how thankful I am that my job promotes a bit of flexibility? Very thankful. To offset the 2.5 hours of ‘me’ time I took to do this long run in the early afternoon, I simply started my work day a bit earlier and ended it a bit later. Since I was traveling Thursday-Saturday for work, I knew I wouldn’t find the time to squeeze in 20 miles over the weekend. Gotta make it work.

I’ve missed bridge running, so decided to head down the WSH, over the Brooklyn and back over the Manhattan bridges, and back up the WSH to my apartment. Despite eating a substantial breakfast, my stomach felt empty about 3 miles in so I stopped to buy a water and a Kind bar. I never eat ‘real’ food while running, but knew I needed something other than a Gu to stop the hunger. Luckily it sat well.

Long run, 3/14

20 miles of splits are pretty boring, I know. But, I was feeling good after coming back over the Manhattan Bridge and decided today would be a good day to attempt marathon pace at the end of a long run. I was bored around mile 13 so decided to pick it up then to make the time go faster. After 4 miles, I started feeling extremely light headed and dehydrated but spotted a vending machine and chugged a water while jogging easy again. It was the 1st 70 degree day in a while and I was hot. I figured I’d just jog easy to cool down home, but felt 10x better after the water so attempted another marathon pace mile. And it was quick!

I went to Atlanta!

As I mentioned, I went to Atlanta for work Thursday through Saturday. The Chobani CHOmobile was at the Georgia Marathon expo, and part of my job is to go to these events to interact with consumers, media and capture content to share online. I didn’t get to see much of the city, but did wake up extra early both mornings to get in my run before the expo started. Including a nice little run to Piedmont Park!

I spectated the NYC Half-Marathon!

The NYC Half-Marathon is one of my FAVORITE races. I don’t care how ridiculously overpriced the entry fee is. It holds a special place in my heart as it was my first post-collegiate race in 2010 and where I set my PR in 2011 on my 24th birthday. I really, really wanted to race it again this year, but I knew I wouldn’t be getting back from Atlanta until late Saturday night and after being on my feet all day, likely wouldn’t be a successful race. So I dragged my overtired self out of bed early to spectate while getting in some miles with other CPTC peeps along the course. It was a blast, though part of me was a bit bummed since I think I would have had a good shot at a PR. Oh well. I got to see two of my other friends from college who ran the race, too. And then I drank pretty much all day on Sunday.

I turned 25!

Yep, Tuesday was my birthday! And the first day of Spring! So, pretty much the happiest day of the year. On Monday night I started the celebrations early with a trip to the new 16 Handles near my apartment with Terence. Having froyo within a 4 block radius is going to be dangerous this summer, I already know.

I kicked off the actual birthday with a sweaty 10 mile run and a doctor’s appointment…fun? After work, I enjoyed fancy cocktails outside at Public with my coworker Emily, followed by a late dinner at Gentleman Farmer with my cute guy friend :)

Gentleman Farmer is such a quaint restaurant! It only seats 20 people in the cozy space, and we ordered really unique dishes like bison tartar with quail egg, prosciutto and fig stuffed quail with risotto, ostrich steak, and creme brule- complete with a birthday candle! Highly, highly recommended for a special occasion dinner. Everything, including the wine, was extremely delicious. We cleaned our plates!

The birthday celebrations continued over a work lunch complete with wine & dessert yesterday at Il Buco Alimentari and Vineria, and I arrived home to cupcakes from my old college roommate Emily. I’m not a huge birthday person, but I do appreciate getting to feel a bit special for a day (or two…or a week). Thanks, everyone :) I wonder why my jeans are a bit tight today.

I also realized I’ll never again race in the 20-24 age group. 25-29 is hard! Goodbye, age group awards.

I was chosen as one of Boston.com/Polar Gear’s wear-tester for the Boston Marathon!

Guys, I never win anything. When my cute guy friend told me about the call for entries on Boston.com to apply to wear-test Polar gear (RCX5 watch/system) in the month leading up to the Boston Marathon and on race day, get to guest blog about it, and then keep the gear, I immediately applied. But I really didn’t think I’d have a chance. I don’t have a super compelling backstory, personal ties to the Boston Marathon, or anything. I just like to run and blog about it. But, both he and I were selected and the introductory post went up today. I should get the watch any day now and will be posting at Boston.com every Monday! I’m honored and really, really excited to see what the watch & system can do compared to my dinky Garmin 110.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to the past week or so. All good stuff. What’s the highlight of your week so far?