So about those 2014 goals………

Does anyone else feel that blogging is amazingly cathartic? Or has magic powers? In my last post I was talking about my intermittent foot pains, and wondering whether they were real or all in my head. Well, guess what? Those aches disappeared as soon as I hit publish. It’s a Christmas miracle!

And what great timing! Today I cranked up those Christmas tunes and planned out my Christmas Day grocery list. The countdown is on.

Another, less fun countdown is the closure of my pool and gym. Yes, they are both moving to an awesome, brand-spanking new facility even closer to my work, but the gym is out of use til Jan 12th and the pool is closed for 10 days starting this weekend. Not so awesome timing – especially with the amount of food and beveragesĀ  that I plan to consume in the next week. Oh well.

Mon: 1750 yd swim

Tues: 5.1 mile trail run (so awesome – raced the sunset!)

Wed: 2000 yd swim

Thurs: 4.7 mile run

This time of year is also a great time to look back at 2014 and see how those pesky goals worked out. So here’s a reminder of the running-related goals that I set myself way back in January. So, how did I do?

1. Stay injury free

This was probably my most ambitious goal for the year. The last third of 2013 was pretty much derailed by injury including a month or two with exactly zero miles. I also had some consecutive injuries from a case of the TMTSs (too much too soon). Looking back, I probably should have reworded this to something like “Minimize risk of serious injury”. Basically, I had hip pain in February that disappeared pretty quickly, but which morphed into knee pain that needed trips to the physiotherapist until August. That sounds like a total fail, right? Well, I don’t think so. Because, during this time I managed to set a half marathon PR (see below) and was able to ramp up my base mileage. At the same time the PT identified my muscle imbalances (basically my whole right leg) and improved my form. I had a brief rest in May with mild foot pain which was cured a 2 week break from running.

But most importantly I completed my 18 week marathon training program (+ the marathon itself) injury-free (I think I skipped 1 run because I was feeling a little sore). The injury that I’m currently recovering from resulted from a case of the NRAMs (not resting after a marathon). I learned the hard way that I need to take two weeks completely off from running after a marathon. Valuable lesson. I did manage to get through the whole year without a zero mileage month (November was the low at 28 miles).

Personally, I think that I learned a lot about listening to my body, being proactive about injury and understanding the importance of rest. And the by-product of all those PT exercises – my legs have never felt stronger.

2. Set a new half marathon PR

This is a definite win. I shaved 3.04 minutes off my PR at the Salt Lake City half marathon. This was a tough race for me (went out too fast and held on for the last couple of miles). I also feel that there are easier courses and would love to get lower into the 1.30s next year.

3. Complete my first full marathon

Yes! I really enjoyed the whole marathon experience. The weeks of training. Those new-to-me distances every week. There were a couple of awful runs and plenty of times I wondered if I was capable of finishing 26.2 miles but it all come together in October with a dream marathon debut at Twin Cities.

4. Run in the Hood to Coast Relay

I can’t believe I never wrote a post about this. But it was amazing! I guess I can do a 6 month look back. 24 hours – minimal sleep (I slept on a tarp for 2 hours in random place Oregon) – 40 min wait for my teammate at 2 AM in the freezing fog – and bringing the team home on the beach. Unforgettable.

5. Run 1000 miles for the year

My yearly mileage ticked over 1000 at some point during the Twin Cities marathon which I think was extra fitting. This seemed like a huge goal at the start of the year – and is more than I’ve ever run in a year by a lot. I’m hoping to tick across 11oo miles for the year. I’ll get back to you in two weeks.

6. Run a sub-7.00 min mile

This was the first goal that I crossed off my list for 2014. I somehow (and totally unexpectedly) managed a 6.36 during my first 10K race of the year! I very rarely see a 6.xx on my Garmin. I think I could count on both hands how many times it’s happened this year. Weirdly, it showed up twice during this race, and then a couple of times during some short tempo runs in marathon training. I’m hoping to become better acquainted with this number in 2015!

How was 2014 for you?

 

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Dun dun dun……………..20 miles this weekend :/

This week has been crazy – who knew that missing one night’s sleep last Saturday during Hood to Coast combined with peak marathon training would leave me so tired. I even switched a morning run to an evening run-commute because my body needed that extra hour in bed. But this is a three day weekend which should leave me plenty of time to catch up on some sleep and the weather out here has taken a definite autumnal vibe so no crack of dawn starts. Plus pumpkin everywhere……..

Monday: Rest – no way anything other than grocery shopping was happening after Hood to Coast

Tuesday: 5.3 miles at 8.57 min/mile pace

Wednesday: 9.3 miles at 7.41 min/mile pace. Great workout but was pretty wiped out that night.

Thursday: 5.9 miles at 8.20 min/mile pace. Easy (and downhill!) run home from work. Morning run was not happeningĀ  today. And only had one car not see me as they were turning right on red.

Friday: 1 hour strength workout. Back to pre-6 AM wake-ups. Felt good to get back to the gym. Think my butt might feel it tomorrow.

The plan for this weekend is a quick 5 miles tomorrow morning. And then the big one on Sunday. 20 miles. HOLY CRAP – that’s far. I remember when I first looked at my training plan (13 weeks ago now) I thought that this week seemed impossible. Twenty miles is far. Could I run it? I wasn’t sure. I put my faith in the plan and did my 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 mile long runs. It’s funny how adding a couple of miles each week suddenly made the 20 miler seem less intimidating. I mean I’m still going to be a little nervous taking my first steps out the door (does this happen to anyone else on their long runs?) but I really believe I can do it and be fine. My last long run (18 miles) went really well and left me believing for the first time that I will be able to run a full marathon.Let’s see how Sunday goes – wish me luck!

My schedule includes two 20 milers with a 12 mile cutback week in between – then taper time. Is it weird that I’m really looking forward to tapering? The main reason for this is that my taper time nicely coincides with my trip back to Ireland (wedding!) and Italy (honeymoon + carb-loading – gelato’s a carb, right?). We are flying back in one week and I am beyond excited but also incredibly busy trying to organize last minute wedding/honeymoon/visa details. But the countdown has started! Woohoo got vacation! And we finally got our wedding rings delivered yesterday so shit is getting real y’all!

I am hoping to get a post about Hood to Coast done this weekend because I really need to tell you guys about how awesome it was! Plus I’ve added a new half marathon to my race calendar (and potential PR target) and have my corral assignment for Twin Cities. So much going on – thank God for Labor Day!

Weekend in pictures

What an epic weekend! Our team managed to run 198 miles in 28.5 hours – through sunshine and mist, from sunset through sunrise, up hills, along rivers and urban trails. Not much sleep. Lots of traffic. And then we partied at the beach. Amazing!

Hat

Our team visors.

Car

Van 2!

Major Exchange1

Our first taste of the craziness at Exchange 6. 1000 teams x 12 people = big crowds.

Tunnel

Victory tunnel.

Group

Party at the beach.

Ice cream Beer

Hello calories!

Hood to Coast! Bring it on!

Things have been pretty busy out here of late. Between work, marathon training, attending weddings, planning weddings, planning a honeymoon, visa stuff – there is just no time left over to blog. I will get around to replying to comments and catching up with my favorite bloggers – but probably not this weekend. Because at 4PM today I’m heading out to Portland, OR, where I’ll be spending 27ish hours in a van with five other stinky runners. Hood to Coast, baby!

course-map

Our team will be covering 198 miles from Mount Hood all the way to Seaside. I’m running 12, which means I start last (probably at about 6-7 PM tomorrow evening) but I do get to cross the line and finish for the entire team. I think my total distance is a little under 17 miles (divided into three legs) and it’ll be a nice break from my solo long runs. I haven’t done any specific training for HTC, I’m hoping that all my marathon mileage will carry over. I’m pretty psyched about the whole thing – it’s the original relay running race and Oregon is one of my favorite statesĀ  – plus we get to hang out by the ocean and party once we’re done.

I’m almost two-thirds of the way through my marathon training plan – the race is 6 weeks from Sunday. Holy crap! But I’m finally starting to believe that I can run 26.2 miles. I did my longest run ever (18 miles) on Saturday morning and it went really well. I felt pretty comfortable the whole way around (even with 700+ ft of elevation gain – curse you Salt Lake and your unavoidable hills). By the end I was glad to be done but not completely wiped out. It was the first long run I’ve done where I’ve thought “I think I can run 26 miles”. Amazing feeling! I have two 20 milers left to do but everything else is 12 miles max and then a three week taper.

I also had a pretty good steady state run on Wednesday. I like to push my longer midweek runs to get a feel for running at a moderate pace. This was a little over 9 miles and felt pretty comfortable. This marathon thing might all be coming together.

Saturday: 18 miles at 8.53 min/mile

Sunday: 8.3 miles at 8.38 min/mile

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 5.35 miles at 9.15 min/mile

Wednesday: 9.25 miles at 7.50 min/mile

Thursday: 5.6 miles at 9.01 min/mile

August is on track to be my highest mileage month ever – and last week (at 44 miles) was my highest mileage week ever. Gotta love setting new records.

Enjoy your weekend!