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Running For More…

The personal blog and website of Kristen Cincotta

Archive for the ‘DetermiNation’ Category

Half Marathon Training Weeks 8 and 9

Monday, September 16th, 2013

This is part of my weekly series tracking my training for the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon. To read the rest of my training posts, please click here.

Whoops! Somehow, I missed posting about my training last week, so I’m going to cover the last two weeks in one post.13.1 Atlanta Logo

Week 8 was a FANTASTIC week of running and training for me where I really got to see how my hard work is paying off. I ran a strong set of intervals at the park on Wednesday that were actually FUN, I again ran a pretty speedy three miles with the Phidippides running group on Thursday night, Mike & I had our best (and fastest!) long run to date on Saturday, and I ended it all by running a pace in my opening leg of the ATC Run Around the Park Relay (formerly the Ekiden Relay) that would have sliced 11 seconds off of my 5k PR (and that was the day after the long run!). I can tell that pushing through all of these miles and balancing it out with strength training and yoga is really making me stronger. What a great feeling!

On to the details…

Monday

Rest day!

Tuesday

4.95 miles before work

Pretty standard file miler to start the week!

Wednesday

10 x 400m intervals at the track with 200m active recovery intervals and 0.85 mile warm-up and cool down easy runs for 5.50 miles before work

It’s taken me a while to get to this point, but I’m starting to love interval days. This was my peak for intervals for this training cycle and I could not have had more fun doing them. I felt strong through the first eight or so repeats and then had to dig deep for the last couple. It helped that it was an absolutely beautiful morning with a stunning sunrise!

I also went to Core Fusion yoga at Atlantic Station after work. Nothing special about this class. Just a nice, stretchy way to unwind after work.

Week 8 001

Feeling happy and proud post-intervals!

Week 8 002

Gorgeous sunrise over the track!

Thursday

Core AND Upper Body strength before work + 3.39 miles with the Phidippides running group

Because I wasn’t running in the morning and I skipped it earlier in the week, I doubled up on my strength training to get it all in. I was tired when I was done, but it was worth it.

As for the run, it was another super hot evening run where I surprised myself with a pretty quick average pace of 9:32 minutes per mile. I was also the third girl to finish for the night (and maybe 10th overall, I lost count), which still seems hard to wrap my brain around – I’m usually somewhere in the middle of the pack, not up near the front!

After our group run, Phidippides hosted Matt Fitzgerald, an author and runner who writes and talks about the connections between the mental and physical sides of running. His talk, which was titled “Brain Training” was fascinating to listen to (even if it did run a little long!), especially to this brain geek!

Week 8 003

Friday

Much needed rest!

Saturday

11.94 miles with Mike

We again moved our long run to Saturday because we were racing on Sunday. However, Mike had a haircut scheduled for 10:45am and a dental cleaning right after that, which meant we had to get up and out the door earlier than usual. The upside of that was that it was another absolutely perfect morning outside, with nice cool temps for most of our run. We were able to average our fastest pace yet on a long run, and even though we added on a mile from our previous long run, it added less than two minutes onto our total running time. I think the most encouraging thing about this long run, though, was that of the whole 12 miles, our fastest mile was the last mile and our second fastest mile was Mile 10. It was a total winner of a run, from start to finish and I couldn’t have been happier!

Sunday

3.5 miles as the first runner of the ATC Run Around the Park Relay

After lots of intervals on Wednesday, a fast run on Thursday, and a long run on Saturday, I had NO idea what my legs would give me for this race. But it was my first ever relay and I wanted to do well for my team. After convincing my much faster teammates (including Mike) to let me go first, I stunned myself by finishing my lap around Piedmont Park (each team has five members and each does a 3.5 mile lap) in 31:59, for a 9:09 pace. If the course had been a 5k instead of 3.5, I would have set my fourth 5k PR this year. It definitely helped that this was basically my home court and I knew every hill and turn like the back of my hand – the course even went past our condo. I was psyched to have really brought my best for my team. Talk about ending a great week on a high note!

Oh, and our team finished 19th out of 56 teams in the Open/Mixed division with a total time of 2:17:41 (I told you they were fast!). Our companion team also ran really well and finished with a total time of 2:27:57. More importantly, we all enjoyed mimosas and post-race snacks and just generally had a great, relaxing morning in the park. It was so much fun that I’m already looking forward to next year!

Team Cancer Sucks!

Team Cancer Sucks! (Me, Mike, Laura, Tim, and Crugar)

Team Will Run for Burgers and Brew (minus Robbie, who I didn't get a picture of because he was running when I was running. Sorry Robbie!)

Team Will Run for Burgers and Brew (minus Robbie, who I didn’t get a picture of. Sorry Robbie!)

You can see the rest of my pictures from the Run Around the Park Relay here.

Total Planned Miles: 29

Total Completed Miles: 29.28 

Total Cross Training workouts: 3/3 – Actually only two, although one was a double session, so it counts twice! 

 

After my awesome week in Week 8, I was ready to blast myself right into Week 9. However, a few unexpected (and some expected) things cropped up so I had to get creative to get all of my planned miles in. I did, however, end up skipping both of my strength workouts. I purposely decided not to do my planned lower body workout once I realized this was my highest mileage week of the training cycle. It just seemed silly to wear my legs out doing weights while also wearing them out running. I also unintentionally skipped my planned whole body strength workout because my parents came into town on Friday and I didn’t leave enough time that day for my dental cleaning, a work conference call, cleaning the house, AND my workout. Oh well!

Monday

Rest day! This is when I was supposed to my lower body strength workout and decided to bag it.

Tuesday

50 minute tempo run for 4.93 miles before work

When I realized I had both a five miler AND a 50 minute tempo planned back to back, I decided to swap them so I could do my speed workout on fresher legs. Didn’t quite hit the tempo pace I was aiming for, but that’s ok. I’m still getting faster over longer miles and that’s what counts.

Wednesday

3.06 miles before work 

Mixed things up again. My legs felt a little heavy after my tempo, so I moved my usual Thursday 3 miler to Wednesday as a recovery run. Ended up running a bit faster than planned for a recovery but that’s ok. The effort felt easy and that’s what counts!

I also went to Core Fusion yoga at Atlantic Station after work as usual, which was a great place to quietly reflect on the anniversary of 9/11. A very mellow but refeshing class.

Thursday

Rest day, by accident. I got home from yoga on Wednesday night only to discover that the gas company had come for routine maintenance during the day and never turned our gas back on. Mike and I both thought our hot water heater was gas-powered, which meant we were both looking at cold showers in the morning. Not wanting to spend any more time in the cold shower than necessary (meaning I didn’t want to have to wash my hair), I decided to skip my run on Thursday morning and make it up on Friday since I had a planned vacation day from work. As it turned out, our hot water heater is actually electric, so I could have run on Thursday morning, but it was too late by the time we figured that out.

Friday

4.97 miles

Nice and easy run before my parents arrived to kick off my four day weekend.

Saturday

11.77 miles with Mike

My parents requested some sleep in time on Saturday morning which gave us plenty of time for our usual long run. With the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon just over three weeks away, we had planned to run 13 miles as our longest run of the training cycle. However, the powers that be had already begun setting up for Music Midtown in Piedmont Park and there were fences blocking our planned route everywhere. We even had to run across a wet field at one point. There was also yet another Arts Festival going on that further limited where we could run. Making our way through all of that slowed us down so much that we decided not to run back through the park again on this run like we had planned and to reroute ourselves. That meant we ended up just over a mile short of our planned run which we decided to just tack on to our Sunday run. Flexibility!

Post-long run, we spent the afternoon exploring the Atlanta Botanical Gardens with my parents and then went to the Braves game that night. It turned out that it was both Father-Daughter Day AND Breast Cancer Awareness Night at The Ted – could not have been more perfect. It was also gorgeous all day long, making for a really wonderful day. After all of the rain we had this summer, these last two weeks or so of cool mornings and sunny, warm afternoons have just been fabulous.

Me, Mom, and Dad at the game!

Me, Mom, and Dad at the game!

Breast Cancer Awareness Night!

Breast Cancer Awareness Night!

Sunday

5.58 miles on the Beltline with Mike

Our training plan called for four miles, and then we tacked on a little extra to make up for the previous day’s shortened run. We have run south on the Beltline a number of times as part of our longer routes but have always routed ourselves out through Freedom Park and up through the VA-Highlands to run in a loop. This time, though, we decided on an out-and-back route which meant we just turned ourselves around and enjoyed the Beltline in the opposite direction. It is SO nice to have this greenway to run on when Piedmont Park gets taken over by big events!

Total Planned Miles: 30

Total Completed Miles: 30.31 – highest running mileage week to date and peak of the training cycle! 

Total Cross Training workouts: 1/3 – just yoga this week.

 

Finally, just a quick reminder that I am doing all of this training to prepare for the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon. In conjunction with this training, I am also raising money for the American Cancer Society as part of the DetermiNation program. If you would like to read more about my #Run4Results fundraiser, please click here and if you would like to make a donation, please click on the image below. Thanks!!

ACS Determination Logo 2

 

Fundraising Lessons Learned from my #Run4Research

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Early in the year, I decided that in 2013, I would try to raise $1000 for three different cancer organizations in conjunction with my three biggest races of theTime for Research Alarm Clock year. First, I ran for the ROC  at the Publix Georgia Half Marathon back in March and had AMAZING success with that fundraiser, ultimately raising $1513. Coming off of that high, I thought that my second fundraiser, my #Run4Results for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) in conjunction with the Peachtree Road Race 10k would be just as successful. However, that fundraiser just never took off the way I had hoped that it would. In the end, I was only able to raise $205. For my third fundraiser of the year, the #Run4Results, which I launched a week ago and which benefits the American Cancer Society, I wanted to make sure that I do everything I can to recreate the magic of my #Run4ROC rather than repeating my less than successful #Run4Research. To that end, I’m going to take some time here to hash through what I think were the major lessons of the #Run4Research fundraiser that kind of wasn’t.

Lesson 1 – It Takes Time, Time, Time

I launched the #Run4Research on June 17th. The Peachtree Road Race was on July 4th. That means that even though I planned to continue the fundraiser for a few weeks post-race (and, in fact, you can still make a donation here if you’d like!), I really only gave myself three weeks before the race to generate awareness of my fundraiser and pull in donations. Then I went and developed a killer infected tooth that required an emergency root canal about a week before the Peachtree. Honestly, with as much pain as I was in, I was just not in the right mental state to be promoting my fundraiser. At that point, I was hurting so much, I wasn’t even sure how well I was going to run. Ultimately, I promoted my fundraiser for about a week, let it falter for a week and a half, tried to pump it again right before the race, and then kind of gave up when the donations just weren’t there.

So the lessons here? Give myself more time, both before AND after the race. I know from my years with the Breast Cancer 3 Day that people need time to hear about your effort and decide to donate. Sometimes they want to save more to make a bigger donation. Some people like to wait for pay day or the next time they pay bills. Some people just plain forget. Plus, things are going to come up on my end (like that toothache) and I need to be prepared for that. So this time around, I gave myself a full month before the race to raise awareness of my #Run4Results (which is probably still not quite enough) and I’m committing myself to continuing to promote this cause for a full two weeks post-race as well. With the #Run4ROC, I got the majority of my donations in the week after my big race because seeing my tweets and Facebooks posts and Instagrams from the race reminded them to donate. I’m sure if I hadn’t gotten discouraged and basically given up, I could’ve pulled in some more donations immediately after the Peachtree as well. So – more time pre-race to raise awareness and more time post-race to let people make their donations.

Lesson 2 – Just Like Training, Consistency is Key!

I already touched on this, but I was just NOT consistent in promoting my #Run4Research. I would tweet and Facebook about it regularly for a few days, and then completely go silent for days. In this era of social media, you have to say something repeatedly and then say it again if you want it to stick. There are just too many other things vying for people’s attention. If I don’t mention my fundraiser in some capacity on a regular-to-constant basis, people who have every intention of donating will forget. I’m guilty of this as well – I see fundraisers that others are doing and think “I should donate to so-and-so’s fundraiser!” and then completely forget when I don’t see constant reminders. So – consistency, consistency, consistency. Look for lots of posts, tweets, Facebooks, Instagrams, emails, whatever. It’s coming!

Lesson 3 – Move Beyond Social Media

All of my most successful fundraisers have included one key element – I sent out fundraising letters through both email and snail mail. Heck, my parents used to make me write a letter about why their co-workers should buy my Girl Scout cookies before they would take the order form in to work. I have been writing fundraising letters and distributing them in any way I could think of since I was a tiny person. So, what did I NOT make time to do for the #Run4Research? Yeah, I never sent any fundraising letters. No emails and definitely no snail mail. I tried to do everything through social media and it didn’t work. I also didn’t bother to try to plan any other type of fundraiser either. No raffles, no contests, no events. I can’t say that I will have time to plan any big fundraising events for my #Run4Results, but I AM going to get back to what I know works the best for me – those fundraising letters. I just can’t expect everyone to come to my social media sites and make donations. I need to bring my cause to them. If I want my friends and family to go to the extra effort to support me, I need to go the extra mile to ask them directly.

Lesson 4 – Connect the Dots

And by connect the dots, I mean two things: I need to draw the connection between what I’m doing (running until my legs feel like spaghetti) and what I’m asking them to do (donate, donate, DONATE!) and I need to highlight my connection to the organization that I’m fundraising for. Let’s take each of these in pieces, starting with the second one.

When I set out to accomplish my three big races/three big fundraisers plan, I spent a lot of time deciding which organizations I wanted to fundraise for. I knew that I wanted my organizations of choice to be cancer organizations, and I wanted at least one of them to be explicitly a breast cancer organization. I wanted reputable organizations with solid track records of doing good work. I wanted at least one organization to focus primarily on research because I’m a research scientist and I wholeheartedly believe that research is our silver bullet to ending cancer forever. I wanted there to be some structure for running a fundraiser on behalf of each organization to already be in place. And I wanted to stay away from Komen, not because I don’t support them (because I obviously do) but because I’ve focused almost exclusively on them in the past and knowing the growing public fatigue towards Komen, I wanted to use my efforts to spotlight other organizations. So that is how I landed on my three organizations: the ROC (my mom’s oncology center), BCRF (a breast cancer foundation focused primarily on research), and the American Cancer Society (highly effective and diverse organization with a great structure in place for the fundraiser).

For the #Run4ROC, I had to put in a little extra effort to get the fundraiser itself set up since there wasn’t really a model already in place. However, my connection to the organization I was fundraising for was readily apparent. My mom has been getting her treatments at the ROC since 2007 and they have been tremendous to us. Many of my potential donors also had friends and/or family who had been treated there and those that didn’t wanted to extend their gratitude to the staff there for taking such excellent care of my mom. I didn’t have to work very hard to sell people on why donating to their capital campaign was a great thing to do.

For the #Run4Research, though, I over-estimated both the general awareness of BCRF AND the trust that folks had in them. A lot of the big breast cancer organizations have been hit pretty hard in the press lately and they are all feeling the pinch because of it. While I know that BCRF isn’t perfect, they are a VERY good organization. And they do put their money where their mouths are – in 2012, they donated 91 cents of every dollar raised to breast cancer research. In promoting my fundraiser, though, I never really made it clear why I had chosen them. This should have been an easy sell – I was a biomedical research scientist and I’m currently a public health research scientist. If I can’t sell people on the importance of funding research (especially under sequestration when federal funding for research is super tight!), then no one can. And somehow, I failed to make that connection. I can’t expect my potential donors to do the leg work to research an organization they’re not familiar with. I need to be the one to do the leg work and bring the facts to them if I want them to donate, especially since this was my second fundraiser of the year.

And speaking of leg work – I also think I need to draw the connection between my running and my fundraising a little better. With the 3 Day, it was fairly easy to draw that line – if I didn’t reach my fundraising minimum, I didn’t get to walk. I had skin in the game to make my fundraising successful, as it were. With the fundraisers I’m doing this year, that isn’t the case. I was running the Publix Half Marathon whether my #Run4ROC fundraiser was a success or not and I was running the Peachtree regardless of what happened with my #Run4Research. I tried to connect my fundraiser to my running by suggesting amounts for people to donate (like donations per mile or per minute of time), but I’m not sure that worked as well as I’d have liked.

For me, the connection between my running and my fundraising is this: I’m working HARD to prepare for this race. Because of social media and email and all of that, I can draw as much attention to my training efforts as I want (Hey! I ran 12 miles on Saturday!). And in drawing attention to my training efforts (Did I mention it was HOT when I ran 12 miles?!), I hope that I can take that little spotlight I’ve claimed for myself (TWELVE MILES!), and redirect it onto a cause that needs as much of a spotlight as it can get (How about a $12 donation for my twelve miles?). I’m not delusional here – I know that I don’t have the clout (or even Klout) of a celebrity when it comes to drawing attention to a cause or an organization that I care about. But through this blog, my many years volunteering for breast cancer organizations, and my personal experience as a researcher, I think I’ve built a little bit of credibility when it comes to highlighting organizations worth supporting. And, well, I’m really good at being loud. If I can use my loud voice and my legs to draw attention to a cause that matters deeply to me, I’m going to do it. I think I just need to make that more clear in my fundraising efforts!

Translating the Lessons to Action

So given all that, here’s what I’m going to do differently to make my #Run4Results just as successful as my #Run4ROC:

1. Start earlier and stick it out longer. The AllState 13.1 Half Marathon is on October 6th. I’ve already started raising awareness for my #Run4Results and I’m committed to keep it up for at least six weeks – four weeks pre-race and two weeks post-race.

2. Promote my fundraiser and highlight my efforts towards it more consistently. I’ve already been highlighting all of the training that I’m doing to prepare for this race in my weekly training posts. I’m also going to start including a brief fundraising update in each of those posts as well as dedicated fundraising updates every two weeks. I’ve also got at least three posts planned over the next four weeks highlighting the great work of the American Cancer Society. Which brings me to action item #3….

3. Highlight the great work of the American Cancer Society. I chose them for my third fundraiser for a reason. I’m going to use this blog to tell you why.

4. Send out fundraising letters. I’m planning to send out one set in the next week or so and one set in the week immediately following the race. I’m going to send primarily emails but I’m also going to use snail mail to reach some family members who aren’t as comfortable navigating the online world (aka: my grandmother!).

It’s going to take a bit more commitment to make this fundraiser a success than in the past but I’m ready to give it the same time and effort that I’m giving to my training. After all, while all this sweaty running might draw some eyeballs, it’s the donations that will ultimately lead us to a cure (or cures!) for cancer.

ACS Determination Logo 2

Please consider supporting me in my #Run4Results at the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon to benefit the American Cancer Society by making a donation today!

Running Month in Review: August + Half Marathon Training Week 7

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

This post is part of my regular monthly running recap series. You can find the rest of my month-in-review posts here. This post is also part of my weekly series tracking my training for the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon. To read the rest of my training posts, please click here.

It genuinely feels like just yesterday that August was beginning, and now it’s already September. Here in the South, school starts sometime in early August, so by the time September rolls around, the kids are well into their routines already. For me, though, having grown up in Upstate New York, the Wednesday after Labor Day will ALWAYS be the first day of school. A day to refocus, set new goals (or reaffirm old ones), establish new habits, and kick things off with a new attitude. After my mentally tough training week last week, this reboot could NOT have come at a better time. I took last Thursday and Friday off from work (my first vacation days since starting my job at the CDC just after Thanksgiving!) and used my time to refocus myself and to get back on top of things. I took care of some errands that had been languishing for far too long, I got back on top of some things around the house, and I recommitted myself to my training for the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon in early October. When I woke up this morning, I was more than ready to kick start this fall with an eye towards making it one of my best ever. Don’t you just love back to school time??

Training

If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you know that for the most part, my training in August went really well (you can find my weekly training recaps here). My ankles are still chronically achey and beg to be iced after most of my runs. However, other than some mental gremlins last week, that’s been the only real challenge that I’ve faced in this training cycle. The miles will keep getting longer though as the weeks push on and I’ve got a low-key 10 mile race coming up soon that will serve as my dress rehearsal for the half, so I definitely need to keep my eye on the ball through each of these runs and workouts!

Rather than inundate you all with back-to-back posts, I figured I’d just quickly run through week 7 (SEVEN! ALREADY!) of my half marathon training here:

Half Marathon Training Week 7

Monday

Full body weight workout, after work. Same as usual.

Tuesday

4.97 easy miles before work

My five mile route is pretty easily my favorite, so I love how often my training plans calls for five milers. It starts with a tough 1.5-2 miles of hills followed by a relatively easy three miles of flats and downhills. I always try to hit negative splits on this route and this run was particularly great for that.

Wednesday

4.51 miles as part of a 45 minute tempo run + Core Fusion yoga after work

I really would’ve liked to get down to a slightly faster pace for this tempo run, but at least I managed sub-10 min per mile. That’s still a big benchmark for me to get under, so I’ll take it.

I also hit up Wellness Wednesday Core Fusion yoga after work, which was a particularly great way for me to kick off my five day vacation. Almost immediately after the class ended, the girl next to me turned to me and said “You are REALLY flexible!” which was an excellent morale boost as well (years of gymnastics and dance classes have left me quite bendy!). It turns out she runs regularly with the Phidippides running group as well, so hopefully we’ll cross paths again soon!

Thursday

Enjoying my hard-earned popsicle!

Enjoying my hard-earned popsicle!

Core strength session + 3.01 miles with the Phidippides running group

Going into this run, I expected THE WORST. First of all, I had been running errands all day and I had mall food for lunch. Not especially ideal. Then I came home and did my core strength session since I decided that morning snuggles in bed with Shenanigans took precedent over an early morning workout on my vacation. I also did some ankle strengthening exercises that my Mom’s PT recommended that I’ve been trying to do a few times per week. So my legs were pretty tired. Plus it was approximately 300 degrees outside. So I figured these three miles with the running group would be some of my slowest ever. And then I averaged a 9.39 pace, which was faster than my tempo run the previous day. Guys, I apparently have NO idea how pacing works or what my legs can do when they’re tired. But I got a popsicle AND a beer after my run, so I guess it doesn’t really matter. Hurrah for vacation running!

Friday

Rest!

By which I mean, I spent most of the day cleaning out my closet, climbing up and down on a step stool, lifting heavy piles of clothes, and hovering around in random squat positions. So basically a whole body workout.

Saturday

11.06 miles with Mike

Usually, we do our long runs on Sundays. However, we have some “traditions” that we like to observe on Labor Day weekend, so we decided to get this one out of the way on Saturday. It was hot and sweaty, but we got it done. It was Mike’s longest/farthest run ever!

Post-run, we met up with my friend Julie to explore the Decatur BookFest and then spent a few hours wandering around downtown and taking in all the great people-watching. For you non-Atlantans, our city hosts a number of “events” over Labor Day weekend – BookFest, Dragon*Con (Comic*Con’s southern cousin!), Black Gay Pride, a big NASCAR race, and some major college football kick off games. It’s so nuts in our city Labor Day weekend has been dubbed “ClusterFest”. Mike and I can’t get enough of all the crazy things going on, so we make it a point to do some serious people-watching every year. By the time we finally stumbled home on Saturday night, I’m pretty sure we logged an extra 5-6 miles of walking on top of our long run. Our legs were DEAD.

Sunday

4.93 hot, sweaty miles with Mike

Since we had a late night on Saturday, we weren’t in a rush to get in our run on Sunday. That meant we ended up running in some of the hottest temps of the day. We also were both still dealing with some seriously tired legs. Given all that, I’ll settle for an 11 min/mile pace on this “recovery” run. It was a victory just to get it done!

Total Planned Miles: 28.5

Total Completed Miles: 28.48 (Seriously? I missed it by 0.02??)

Total Cross Training workouts: 3/3 

So those are my stats from my training last week. As for the rest of August…

Training Stats for August

  • Total miles run in August: 108.38 (Almost twice as many as in July and my first 100+ mileage month EVER!!)
  • Total runs in August: 22
  • Total cross-training sessions: 6 strength sessions + 3 yoga classes

Racing

At the beginning of the year, I told myself I wasn’t going to race in August. It’s always hot and I always hate it. So, of course, we raced three times in August, all 5ks. Because I am a race-aholic.

Atlanta’s Finest 5k (ATC Grand Prix #5)

I won my entry into this race way back in January at the Atlanta Track Club’s annual Member’s Party, so that’s how this one ended up back on the race calendar. This course is downtown and is relatively flat, save for two ENORMOUS hills. I ran decently last year and was optimistic going into this one for a strong race. Ultimately started a little too fast and didn’t have as much left as I wanted for the later hills, but overall felt good about this effort. Really was striving for my first sub-29 minute time since April but just missed it. Final time of 29:03.

Jog Days of Summer 5k (ATC Grand Prix #6) 

I hate this race. This course is REALLY tough, with a lot of big hills that just don’t quit. It seems like everyone who runs these two back to back Grand Prixes loses at least a minute off their time on this harder course and I was no exception. Admittedly, I went into this race with a pretty negative attitude, which is probably why I ran so poorly. Final time of 30:58 which broke my streak this year of sub-30 min 5ks but WAS a course PR by over a minute.

Adam’s Reality Run for the Park 5k (our 4th “festival” race of the year) 

This was a total last minute entry for us. At the beginning of the year, we decided to try to run in as many of the festival-associated races around town as we could. The Grant Park Summer Shade Fest is one of our favorites and we’ve really been enjoying that neighborhood this year. We didn’t actually know about this race until the week before when we spotted some information on it at the weekly Grant Park farmer’s market. So we decided to just go for it. Unlike the Atlanta’s Finest race, I started out on a slow side for this race and then was able to build my speed over the course of the race. I logged some picture perfect negative splits (I listed them in this post) and finished in 29:41. Solid rebound from the Jog Days race!

Fundraising

No fundraising in August. I took some time to think through what happened with my BCRF fundraiser in June/July, though, which really helped me feel prepared to launch my #Run4Results to benefit the American Cancer Society this past weekend. Please click here to read all about this fundraiser which I am doing in conjunction with my training for the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon!

 So that was my August of charity running. Now, it’s time time to move onward into fall, where I will face cooler temps (I hope!), three double-digit races (including my second ever half marathon!), and a lot of fun events. Stay tuned!

Running for Results with the American Cancer Society!

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

This is it – my third and final running fundraiser of 2013. I’ve run for the ROC. I’ve run for research. This time, I’m running for RESULTS.13.1 Atlanta Logo

Not my results, of course, although those will be on my mind throughout this process. Instead, I will be running for the results that have been and will continue to be achieved by the American Cancer Society. ACS has been a stalwart in the universal fight against cancer and I am thrilled to be running for them at the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon here in Atlanta as part of their DetermiNation program.

The American Cancer Society is truly fighting the fight against cancer on all fronts. They fund critical research on the causes of cancer, how best to prevent it, and better and more effective cures. They provide helpful information for newly diagnosed individuals and their friends and family about exactly what cancer is and what they can expect throughout treatment. They provide additional patient support including rides to treatment, the phenomenal Hope Lodges, and connections to support groups around the country. Through their ACS CAN advocacy branch, they work to promote local and national policies designed to eliminate cancer as a national health problem. Like I said, ACS does a little bit of everything. And ACS gets RESULTS.

This October, I will be running my second half marathon. I’ve been training for this race since mid-July, dodging summer thunderstorms and persevering through the steamy temps here in Atlanta. As I put in the miles, I am asking once again for your support. Please consider  sponsoring my Run for Results by making a donation to the American Cancer Society via my personal fundraising page today.  As with my previous two big races this year, I have set my goal for this race at $1000. This is a big goal, but one that I think we can achieve, together. I’ll do the running. You just need to make a donation. You don’t even need to put on your sneakers and you can be part of my team!

For my previous races, I’ve given suggestions of amounts for you to consider donating. This time around, I’m just asking that you give whatever amount feels right to you. As I have written before, the ultimate victory against cancer will not be funded by one person with deep pockets. That victory will come because each of us, in our own way, came together and gave what we could, no matter how small. So that is what I am asking for from you – a donation, no matter how small. Together, we will help the American Cancer Society achieve the results they strive for every day – a world with less cancer and more birthdays.

To support me in my Run4Results, please click on the link below to visit my personal fundraising page on the DetermiNation website and follow the instructions to make an online donation:

http://main.acsevents.org/goto/Run4Results

The American Cancer Society also accepts donations via snail mail. If you would prefer to make your donation this way, please email me for additional instructions.

After you have made your donation, and over the next few weeks, please be sure to come back here regularly to check in on my progress. I have been documenting my training through weekly training posts, which can be found here. I am also going to try to write a few posts highlighting some of the great work that the American Cancer Society is doing. So please, be sure to come back!

As I said above, please donate whatever amount is right for you. This is my third fundraiser of the year. I would not be coming to you again if I did not believe in this cause and this organization. While I will be striving for my best possible results in the 13.1 Half Marathon this October, it is more important to me to achieve success with this fundraiser. Please consider donating today and being a part of this effort. In October, as I cross that finish line, we can celebrate all of our results together – results that will help turn the tide against cancer forever.


Thank you for your support!

Thank you for your support!


Thank you for your continued support of me and my fundraising efforts – together, we will end breast cancer forever!

Half Marathon Training – Week 6

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

This is part of my weekly series tracking my training for the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon. To read the rest of my training posts, please click here.

I’ve officially reached the halfway point of this training cycle – Week 6 is done!

Week 6 was not an easy week for me. Most of my runs were what I call “just get it done” runs. My heart wasn’t really in it and I didn’t necessarily enjoy my runs this week. Physically, I was fine, save for what are turning into chronically achy ankles. But mentally, I was a mess, for two separate reasons.

Selfie with Mike before the Run for the Park 5k!

Selfie with Mike before the Run for the Park 5k!

First, I have been stressed out and cranky for over a week and it didn’t really click with me until Wednesday night after yoga why (all that deep breathing DOES clear the mind!). What I finally figured out while I was laying in Shavasana at the end of class was that I’m currently feeling very frustrated with my lack of ability to control my own time and to use it the way that I want to.  I’m enjoying a relatively quiet stretch at work after completing two enormous tasks that have been consuming me for the last six months. In my past life as a graduate student, slow time at work always meant that I had more free time to do the things I want to do outside of work – run, blog, fundraise, etc. I would bang out my work in lab and then head home. But now with this whole “real” job thing, I don’t have that freedom anymore. I’m at my desk for eight hours every day, whether I have eight hours of things that need to be done that day or not. It’s a whole new thing for me to adjust to. I’m honestly surprised this hasn’t been a frustration for me before this, but like I said, I’ve been REALLY busy at work almost since I started. I’m still not over the stress of not being able to use every hour in my day the way I would prefer to use it, but at least I can recognize that that’s the reason I feel tense and try to let it go. Oooooooohhhhhmmmmmm.

Second, I did something this weekend that I almost never let myself do – I compared myself to other runners. And of course, I immediately became discouraged. The truth is I’m not a strong runner. I don’t have the right body type for it, I have weak hips, and I’ve never been an endurance athlete. My sports growing up were gymnastics and softball, coupled with decades of dance classes. Strength, muscle control, agility, and quickness were and are my bread and butter. But endurance? Never my thing. Running isn’t a thing that will ever be easy for me.  But I LOVE my self image when I think of myself as a runner. I love taking part in races and I love seeing that even though I’m not great at running, I AM getting better. I just have to work extra hard for it. So, as I followed the #NuunHTC ladies as they tackled the Hood 2 Coast 200-mile relay, I couldn’t help but want to be them one day. And when I realized that my average paces are almost two minutes per mile slower than all of them, I was a little heartbroken. I had a decent little 5k race on Saturday morning (with PERFECT negative splits to boot) and yet all I could think was how hard I had to work just to run a 29:41. I lost sight of my own successes this year (Lots of PRs! Lots of sub-30 min 5ks!) because I was too focused on what other people were accomplishing. So I was in a mental funk for a good part of this past week from that too.

So that was what I was thinking about as trained this week. I was stressed and down on myself and questioning if it was even worth to get up before dawn to get in my runs before work. Truthfully, I brought a little bit of that with me into this new week that started yesterday. And then I read this fabulous post from Jes at rUnladylike.com who just took part in the Hood to Coast relay and I was forcefully reminded that even though I may not finish my miles as quickly as others, my miles are the same as everyone else’s miles. My ten mile long run this past week was still TEN MILES. I also bring something else unique to my running that many others don’t – a cause that I care about., deeply. So going forward this week, not only am I re-embracing my training for the Allstate 13.1 Atlanta Half, I’m going to focus on the truly valuable parts of running that make me happy. That includes FINALLY kicking off my American Cancer Society fundraiser. I signed up for the DetermiNation mini-team yesterday and as soon as I have my fundraising page set up, I’ll post the link here. My commitment to this fundraiser is going to be the motivation that propels me through the second half of this training cycle and all the way to the starting line in October!

Oh right, I’m supposed to be telling you about the actual miles that I ran and all of that. Let’s do this relatively quickly, since that I was a pretty lengthy “intro”!

Monday

Rest day!

Tuesday

4.57 miles before work + lower body weights after work

Same recorded mileage as last Tuesday, but not because I’m a consistency machine. The rain and drizzle from the previous weekend was still sticking around and I didn’t want to ruin my new phone so this is the mapped mileage of my 4.5 mile route. Also, I know it helps, but I hate the jelly legs feeling the day after lower body strength day.

Wednesday

3.96 miles before work

This was supposed to be a 40 minute tempo, which is usually about 4 miles for me. However, it was STILL rainy in the morning, so I couldn’t take my phone. Without my RunKeeper app, I didn’t have any way to track my pace, so I didn’t really worry about giving it that extra effort that a true tempo demands. I was also SUPER grumpy during this run in particular and somehow felt worse post-run than I did before it started. In fact, I felt so grouchy that I decided to wear one of my Sparkly Soul headbands to work in an attempt to cheer myself up. It only partly worked.

I also went to Core Fusion yoga at Atlantic Station after work, which was where I had my “revelation” that I mentioned above. Unrelated yoga thing: during said Shavasana, the instructor gave me a posture correction. I didn’t think that was a posture you could actually do wrong, but I apparently it is.

[For the non-yogis, Shavasana is the last pose of every yoga class where you just lay quietly on your mat. It is VERY relaxing.]

Thursday

5.03 miles before work

Five miles is A LOT for me to get in before work. This was the peak of my “is this really worth it???” mental funk. At least I still finished my planned miles!

Friday

Much needed rest!

Saturday

Raced in the Adams Realty Run for the Park 5k, the race associated with the Grant Park Summer Shade Festival

This was a last minute addition to our “festival race series”. Grant Park is one of our favorite parks in Atlanta and we ultimately decided that we just couldn’t skip this one, especially since it benefitted the park conservancy. Plus, we got tickets for free beers for finishing. Can’t argue with that!

As for the race itself, it went well. As I said, I finished in 29:41, which is a little slower than I’d like but a great improvement from the ATC Jog Days 5k two weeks ago. I started this race on the slow side and I’m not really sure why. I kept pushing through though and was able to log progressively faster miles. As I mentioned above, I ended up with perfect negative splits, something I don’t do often:

Mile 1: 9:47

Mile 2: 9:27

Mile 3: 9:08

Mile 0.1: 8:44

I need to remember how to do that for future races!

Sunday

9.93 miles with Mike

Sunday Long Run Day! I felt great through the first six miles or so and then my leg muscles started to reflect my mental state – they felt heavy. But I trudged on and, with some excellent motivating from Mike, was able to finish all ten miles.

So that was my week. It wasn’t easy, but I got through it. Thankfully, I have vacation days I have to use by the end of September so I have some free days coming up this week. In fact, I don’t have to work another five day week for the next FOUR weeks. Hopefully I’ll be able to use that time to catch up on some things outside of the office and get back on top of my game, both mentally and physically. Plus, I’ve got that new fundraiser to focus on starting this week. Things are looking up again!

Total Planned Miles: 26.5

Total Completed Miles: 26.59 

Total Cross Training workouts: 2/3 – never got around to my second strength workout. Planning to make it up this week though! 

 

Half Marathon Training – Week 5

Monday, August 19th, 2013

This is part of my weekly series tracking my training for the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon. To read the rest of my training posts, please click here.

Happy Rainy Week 5!

From my morning at the track!

From my morning at the track!

Normally, I’m a sunshine weather kind of girl. I get cold when it’s 73 degrees outside. I like it hot. There’s a reason I moved south after growing up in Upstate New York. I almost always prefer sunshine and hot temps. Almost. The big honking exception to that rule is when I’m running. When I’m running, I want it to be gray, cool, and usually a little wet. Running in the rain makes me feel like a true #RunningBadass. Running just feels easier when it’s cool and wet outside. Normally, that is not a forecast one gets down here in Atlanta in mid-August. But lo and behold! This weekend, Mother Nature decided to give us southern runners a treat. From late afternoon on Thursday until noon on Sunday, our temps didn’t get above 70 degrees. And it was a perfect drizzly gray all weekend. It was like March up in these parts. Not great for normal summer weekend activities, but oh! The running! It was wonderful.

Monday

Core Training for Runners at Phidippides. We were supposed to have class outside, but a pop up thunderstorm forced us all inside. I think I found my next pair of running shorts while I was doing some Superman holds!

[Unrelated: I’m looking for new running shorts. I’ve been running in Nike tempos FOREVER and I am O.V.E.R. them. I want something more streamlined and less puffy. Anyone have any favorites they’d like to recommend?]

Tuesday

4.57 miles before work

Nothing exciting to report about this run except that it was cool and refreshing outside. A great first run of the week!

Wednesday

8 x 400m intervals at the track with 200m walk intervals in between and an approximately 0.85 mile warm-up and cool down jog back and forth from the track. 4.61 total miles, all before work.

Some of my strongest intervals to date. The weather was cool again and I was able to nail my goal paces. Really, really stoked about this run.

I also FINALLY made it back to Core Fusion yoga at Atlantic Station after work, even though I was bugged by some soreness/inflammation in my first two toe joints of my left foot all day. It felt wonderful to stretch out again, although those toes were really aching and it was really apparent that my ankle stability has weakened. Time to do some targeted ankle strengtheners again!

  

A couple pics from yoga on Wednesday night, courtesy of the Atlantic Station twitter feed

Thursday

2.77 easy miles with Shenanigans before work

Took it easy and was pleasantly surprised that my toes didn’t hurt at all when I ran, even though they were super sore in bare feet or in ballet flats. Shenanigans, however, had some GI issues during our run and we ended up slowing WAY down in the middle mile or so. I think it was the lack of fuel before our run. I’ll need to remember that she needs some quick carbs before morning runs too. Dogs – they really are just like us!

Friday

Rest!

Saturday

3.92 miles with Mike and Shenanigans in the wonderful drizzle

Fantastic family run! We only ran four miles, but in that short distance, we ran through an arts festival, a farmer’s market, a race course for a local 5k, a wedding being set up for later in the day, and a Soccer in the Streets event. Shenanigans did particularly great. Normally, that many distractions would be too much for her to handle, but she was a little running machine on Saturday. I think she wanted to make up for having two bad runs in a row. Also, due to a serious planning failure, we ran out of dog food the night before, so she had a mix of rice and peanut butter before this run instead. Apparently, that’s her power breakfast!

Sunday

9.13 miles with Mike

Sunday Long Run Day was back with a vengeance! For the first eight miles, the cool temps had me feeling invincible. I felt like I could go on forever. On that last mile, though, my legs started to feel it. I guess that’s the point of the long run, though – push one mile past what your legs think they can do.

Oh, and I tacked on an upper body weights session after we finished because I was feeling like a beast. And also I didn’t due to it earlier in the week when I should have and I really wanted to get in all eight planned workouts.

All in all, a great week. If only I could dial up this running weather when I strap on my sneakers and then switch it to bright sunshine once I’m done!

Total Planned Miles: 25.1

Total Completed Miles: 25 (just missed!)

Total Cross Training workouts: 3/3 

My view during my intervals on Wednesday morning. Loving the panoramic function on my new phone!

My view during my intervals on Wednesday morning. Loving the panoramic function on my new phone!

Half Marathon Training – Week 4

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

This is part of my weekly series tracking my training for the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon. To read the rest of my training posts, please click here.

While my half marathon training went pretty well in Week 4, this week was also marked by one unlucky thing after another. But in the end, I mostly completed all of the workouts that I had planned. It helped that this was a “step back” week in my training where I get a bit of a break, mileage-wise. That reduction in mileage allowed me to move some things around and still get in all my workouts, despite some weird bad luck, as you’ll see.

Monday

Rest day!

Tuesday

2.03 easy miles before work with Shenanigans + core strength session

I had planned to go four miles, which is about Shenanigans’ max. However, on this particular morning, despite it being 6am, it was a bit warmer than I had anticipated and definitely warmer than Shenanigans is used to. Not completely surprisingly, after about a mile and half, Shenanigans decided she was done. As in, she refused to go in any direction but back to our house. So I headed back home earlier than planned and got in a quick core strength session too.

Wednesday

4.24 miles as part of a 40 minute tempo run

I was able to average a 9:09 pace on this run which is pretty darn fast for me. I was STOKED with this effort. Then I got home and realized I stepped in dog poop at some point near the end of my run (NOT from Shenanigans). Yes, in my new, blue shoes. SUPER unimpressed. I also had planned to attend Core Fusion yoga at Atlantic Station after work, but it was canceled due to rain for the umpteenth time in a row.

Thursday

Busted Phone

The saddest sight in the world to a social media junkie like me. Cue the sad trombone.

2.1 easy miles after work to make up for Tuesday + a whole body strength session

Heading into this week, my plan was to run my 40 min tempo during the Phidippides Thursday night group run (I find running with the group helps me push/sustain my pace) and not run at all on Wednesday. However, when Shenanigans aborted our run on Tuesday, I planned to make up these two miles at Phidippides instead. Then it looked like it was going rain when I got home after work. Not wanting to miss out my last two miles, I attempted to dash back out the door and bang out these two miles. Of course, being “unlucky running week”, something else had to go wrong. As I was rushing to put my phone in my armband and get out the door, I dropped it on the floor and absolutely SMASHED the screen. UGH. Luckily, we were due to replace our phones anyways, so I only have to be “broken phone girl” for a few more days. Anyways, back to my training – I did still finish those two stinking miles, albeit faster than I intended. I channeled my frustration over my phone into my legs, I suppose. After I got home, I also did a whole body strength session. More frustration channeling. There are worse ways to work through a bad mood, I suppose.

Friday

Rest! I probably should have made up my yoga session after work, but, well… Friday. [Yeah, basically the same as last week… ]

Saturday

5k race; finished in 30:58

Raced in the ATC Jog Days of Summer 5k, my sixth Grand Prix of 2013. Jog Days is widely acknowledged to be one of the hardest courses in the Grand Prix and my time reflected it, breaking my streak of sub-30min 5ks this year. Oh well. It was still a course PR by over a minute and it still counts as a Grand Prix finish!

Sunday

6.21 hot, sweaty miles with Mike

It was SUPER humid on Sunday morning. My legs were “all trot, no pop”. I think dealing with all of the annoying little things this week took a toll, especially combined with that tough race on Saturday. Next week, things WILL be better.

As you can see, there were some annoying things that I had to deal with this week. Nothing really bad about my running, just a lot of annoying things surrounding my runs. After all my bad luck earlier in the week, I was fully expecting to have to race in a downpour on Saturday and to fall on my face during our long run on Sunday. Seeings as neither of those things happened, I suppose you could say my luck is turning around. Now I just have to take advantage of that and make this week the best I can!

Oh, and I HAVE to be better about getting in some yoga. I’m starting to feel the lack of stretching in my joints and muscles. You guys will hold me to that, right?

Total Planned Miles: 17

Total Completed Miles: 17.68

Total Cross Training workouts: 2/3 — no yoga this week, again. 

Half Marathon Training – Week 3

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Welcome to the first dedicated weekly training post for this half marathon training cycle!

For those who are trying to keep track, I’m currently training for the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon, which takes place on October 6th. I’m following a 12 week training plan, which makes this past week (July 29th – August 4th) the third week of this cycle. However, if you read my July recap, then you know that my first two weeks of training were pretty minimal due to a lingering ankle injury from the beginning of July. Thankfully, my ankle seems to be getting stronger every week, making this my first week back in full training mode.

First run in my new shoes!

However – before I jump into a run down of my training from last week, I thought I’d give a quick run down of what a typical training week looks like for me so that all of you following along have something to compare to. Generally speaking, I try to follow a modified version of a Hal Higdon training plan (I skipped the first two weeks to give myself something of a taper at the end) which I honestly plot out months in advance. I find that I’m less likely to skip runs or other workouts if I made the commitment to myself a long time ago to do them. I always tell myself that even though I don’t want to do a given workout on a given day, I must’ve had some good reason for putting it on the calendar, which makes me more likely to stick with it. Mental tricks!

As for the training itself, I try to run 4-5 times a week. I usually only run four times if I’m between training cycles and five times when I’m training for a longer race like I am now. I aim for one long run (usually on Sundays), one short easy run (often with my dog Shenanigans!), one or two medium distance/medium effort runs (one of which I’ll sometimes replace with a weekend race), and one day of speedwork. For speedwork, I alternate between intervals at the track (I run on the packed dirt/gravel track at Piedmont Park) or tempo runs (-ish. I’m not great at managing pace.). I don’t do hill workouts because, well, all of my runs are pretty hilly here in Midtown Atlanta. I also try to get in two strength training sessions per week (mostly using free weights here at home), with the goal of completing two core workouts, two full body strength workouts, one lower body and one upper body workout in a three week period. And finally, I try to squeeze in at least an hour of yoga per week. I find that when I start skipping yoga, my knees and ankles really start to ache from all that running. So yoga is a must-do for me! Altogether, that means that if I’m really on the ball, I will complete eight workouts in seven days. As you’ll probably see over the coming weeks, that doesn’t always happen. But I always try!

So, how did this past week measure up? Actually, pretty decently! For the first full week of half marathon training (which was actually the third week in my plan), it went really well!

  • Monday – Core Strength for Runners class at Phidippides. This is a new class that Phidippides has starting offering in addition to their weekly group runs and I really wanted to check it out. It was a great workout (especially for free!) but it was a little more focused on the lower body than I’d like for a core workou. I’ll definitely be back though!
  • Tuesday – 4.15 miles in the morning before work. First run in my new blue shoes!
  • Wednesday – I had planned to run intervals in the morning and then head to Core Fusion yoga at Atlantic Station after work. However, it was absolutely pouring rain when I woke up. So instead, I hit the treadmill after work (my office has a gym) and skipped yoga. I ended up doing 7 x 0.25 mile repeats with a 0.1-0.15 mile active recovery in between plus a 0.75 mile warm up jog and a 0.6 mile cool down jog for 4.01 total miles. Running on the treadmill was actually a blessing in disguise since I could really control my pace on the intervals (something I desperately need practice at!). I felt so great post run that I also did my standard core strengthening workout after my run. I had planned to do lower body conditioning for my second strength workout this week but because the Core class had already worked my legs pretty hard on Monday, I did a more targeted core strengthening workout instead. For a day that started with rain, Wednesday was a great success!
  • Thursday – 3.28 easy miles in the morning with Shenanigans before work
  • Friday – Rest! I probably should have made up my yoga session after work, but, well… Friday.
  • Saturday – Raced in the ATC Atlanta’s Finest 5k! Ended up finishing with a 29:03 time which I was really happy with.
  • Sunday – 8.19 miles with Mike, followed by an afternoon playing in the pool with my friend Julie’s daughter. Nice to be back in the Sunday Long Run Day groove!

All in all, it felt great to push through a real week of training. I mixed in a new class, some treadmill running, and runs with both Shenanigans and Mike. I LOVE when I can mix things up like that!

Total Planned Miles: 22

Total Completed Miles: 22.73

Total Cross Training workouts: 2/3 — no yoga this week. 

How was your training this week? Are you training for any big fall races?

Running Month in Review: July

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Back when I posted my goals for 2013, I mentioned that I wanted to write monthly running recaps as a way of keeping myself accountable and maybe, just maybe, enticing a few people to make donations to some of my ongoing fundraisers after seeing how hard I’m working to prepare for my big races. A few weeks ago, I covered the first six months of 2013 all in one post. This post is the first of my shorter monthly recaps!

With my friend Cliff, my race date for the Dekalb-Decatur 4 Miler

July in Atlanta is usually hot. Super, crazy hot. And also humid. This year, though, it has also been insanely rainy. At one point, I read that it had rained something like 21 out of the first 23 days of the month. Unreal. However, all that rain wasn’t completely unwelcome. First, it made the usually unbearable summer temps much more tolerable. Sure, we missed the sun, but for running, you really can’t beat an overcast day. Second, both Mike and I spent a good chunk of the month rehabbing injuries. In Mike’s case, he tweaked his knee shortly before the Peachtree and ended up taking three complete weeks off from running to let it recover after that race. In my case, a week after the Peachtree, I was finishing up a short training run and rolled my ankle right across the street from my house. I think my initial ankle injury was pretty mild, but after racing on it at the Atlanta Track Club’s Dekalb-Decatur 4 Miler just two days later, I was really hurting. After “internet-diagnosing” myself with a mild high ankle sprain (and possibly a regular ankle sprain as well), I took a complete week off to recover and then slowly eased back into running over the following week, aided by a lot of ice and KT Tape. My ankle still isn’t 100% back to normal, but it’s strong enough to finally start training for my next half marathon – the AllState 13.1 half in early October!

Training

As you can tell from my little intro, there wasn’t much actual “training” that took place this past month. For the first week, I was tapering leading into the Peachtree. Then I had one week of light running in between the Peachtree and the D-D 4 Miler which ended with my ankle injury. The following week was supposed to be Week 1 of a new half marathon training cycle and was instead spent with my ankle on an ice pack. And the last full week of July was spent easing back into running, following a modified half marathon training plan. Starting tomorrow with Week 3, I’m going to do a weekly post focused on my half marathon training. However, because those first two weeks were pretty minimal, I’m just going to quickly run down the details here.

Half Marathon Training Week 1 (July 15th – 21st)

Planned workouts:

  • Monday – Core strength
  • Tuesday – 3.5 mile easy run
  • Wednesday – 6 x 400s at the track + Core Fusion yoga (1 hour)
  • Thursday – 3 mile easy run + whole body strength
  • Friday – Rest!
  • Saturday – Rest!
  • Sunday – 3 miles

Actual workouts:

  • Sunday – 3 miles, which were not entirely ankle-pain free

Summary: Ran 3/9.5 planned miles, plus I skipped my speed work, two strength sessions, and yoga. Boo.

Half Marathon Training Week 2 (July 22nd – 28th)

Planned/Actual workouts:

  • Monday – Rest! Not a typical rest day, but my ankle needed it after my short run on Sunday
  • Tuesday – 3.5 miles before work + upper body strength after work, both of which got done
  • Wednesday – Planned to go to Core Fusion yoga (an Exhale gym here in Atlanta offers free classes outdoors at Atlantic Station on Wednesday nights). However, it was raining, I had a work presentation the next day that I needed to finish, and I was pretty nervous about all that twisting and balancing on my bum ankle. Ended up deciding to skip yoga for another week. I also usually do speed work on Wednesdays but I decided after my Sunday run to wait another week before adding that back in. So I didn’t technically skip that run.
  • Thursday – 3 miles before work + core strength after work. I finished the run but bailed on the core strength for no very good reason.
  • Friday – Rest! I like to leave Fridays for rest days both as a treat at the end of the week and to have a back up day in case I have to skip any workouts at the beginning of the week. I also race a lot on Saturday mornings, so a built in rest day on Friday makes planning around races a bit easier.
  • Saturday – 3 easy miles with Mike and Shenanigans. Mike’s first run in three weeks!
  • Sunday – 7 miles. My ankle was finally starting to feel strong at the end of the week, so I decided to push it with a Sunday Long Run Day. Happily, this was mostly ankle pain-free.

Summary: Ran 16.5 miles (all planned) and completed one strength session. Skipped one planned strength session and yoga, and chose not to do speed work.

Training Stats for July

  • Total miles run in July: 55.8
  • Total runs in July: 15
  • Total cross-training sessions: 5 strength sessions

Racing

I raced twice in July – the Peachtree Road Race on July 4th where I set a big 10k PR and the ATC Dekalb-Decatur 4 Miler on July 10th, my fourth ATC Grand Prix race of the year. You can read my recap of the Peachtree here and you can read my quick blurb about the D-D 4 Miler in my mid-year running recap post, here.

And that wraps up July!


Ending the month on a high note - colorful, new running shoes!

Ending the month on a high note – colorful, new running shoes!

How was your training in July? What races did you complete? Do you have any go to moves for strengthening ankles post-injury?

2013 Mid-Year Check In Part 2: Goals Update

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

While you’re here, please click over and read the first part of my mid-year update on my running!

Back at the beginning of the year, I set a number of goals for myself for my running, my fundraising, and breast cancer advocacy in general. Then I finally got around to blogging about those goals at the beginning of March. Today, in the interest of public accountability, I’m going to write a bit about my progress (or lack thereof) on each of my goals.

Celebrating after completing my first half marathon in March!

Running Goals

  • Sub-30 minutes 5K – DONE. Seven times. Because I’m an overachiever, apparently.
  • 10K PR – DONE. After three years of progressively slower Peachtrees and one promising 10k last fall, I shattered my 10k PR at this year’s Peachtree, dropping my 10k PR from a 1:05:29 to a 1:01:02!
  • Complete two half-marathons – Halfway there! I ran the Publix Georgia Half Marathon on March 17th, a race that is still on my agenda to recap. I’m also still planning to run the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon in October.
  • Complete eight SEVEN Atlanta Track Club Grand Prix races – To date, I’ve finished four ATC Grand Prixes: the Peachtree City 5k in January, the Hearts and Soles 5k in February, the Spring has Sprung 8k in April, and the Dekalb-Decatur 4 Miler in July. I also had every intention of running the Women’s 5k in March that was called off due to lightening at start time. Because the ATC had to cancel that race, the magic number for “completing” the series is now seven races, which means I need to finish three more. Right now, it’s looking like that will be two 5ks in August and the Singleton 10 Miler in September.
  • Volunteer ten times for the Atlanta Track Club – Back in March, I was able to volunteer for the ATC four times in the span of about three weeks. However, due to my work schedule, I haven’t been able to fit in any volunteer opportunities since then. I was hoping to pick up a few more during the Peachtree Expo, but alas, all of the Expo volunteer ops that weren’t during my work hours were taken before I was able to sign up. With two big race expos in the fall (for the Atlanta Marathon and the Thanksgiving Half Marathon), I SHOULD still be able to complete this goal. I just need to be more proactive about signing up early before the shifts I can work get filled by others!
  • Total annual mileage of > 750 miles – I’m doing GREAT with this goal so far. As of July 13th, I was at 420 miles – 56% of the way to 750 miles. Provided my ankle doesn’t act up (it’s feeling much better after a week of rest!), half marathon training starts again tomorrow. 750 miles is easily within reach!

Fundraising Goals

  • Publix GA Half Marathon: Raise at least $1000 for the Upstate Medical University Capital Campaign by March 31st. – DONE. Thanks to the generosity of my friends and family, I actually raised over $1500 during this fundraiser. Details coming in my race recap later this week!
  • Race for the Cure: Raise at least $500 for Komen Atlanta between April 1st and May 31st. – FAIL. I didn’t actually do any fundraising for the Race for the Cure. I wish that I had. I was VERY busy in April and just never made the time. However, I had a great experience as Safety Chair, which I’ll ALSO be recapping later this week, time permitting.
  • Peachtree Road Race: Raise at least $1000 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation between June 1st and July 31st. – This fundraiser is technically still ongoing, so I can’t say that I missed my goal yet. However, I’ve only raised $155 thus far and I’ve pretty much stopped promoting this fundraiser. If you would still like to donate (which I would greatly appreciate), you can do so here. Otherwise, stay tuned for a “lessons learned” post in early August about why this fundraiser fell apart and what I’m going to do differently the next time around.
  • AllState 13.1 Half Marathon: Raise at least $1000 for the American Cancer Society between September 1st and October 31st. – I’m still planning to do this fundraiser and have high hopes about reaching my goal. In fact, I’m actually hoping to reach at least $1500 to make up for dropping the ball on my BCRF fundraiser.

Advocacy Goals

  • Weekly fundraising updates and monthly training updates here on my blog – Obviously, this hasn’t happened. But hey! Two posts in one week this week. Hopefully, this will be the start of some more regular updates. Regular blogging will also probably help with some of my fundraising goals as well!
  • At least two blog posts per month not related to my races or fundraising to continue to spread the word about the need for more cancer research funding and how everyone can get involved. – Again, this hasn’t happened. See above.
  • Volunteer with Komen Atlanta or other local cancer not-for-profits at least six times this year (beyond my Race for the Cure and Community Grants commitments). – In all honesty, I kind of forgot I set this goal for myself. So far, I’ve only been able to volunteer with Komen Atlanta once outside of my Race for the Cure and Community Grants committee work. However, there are a lot of “cancer awareness” observances and events in September and October, so you can expect to hear about some more volunteer work then.

So that wraps up where I’m at with my goals for 2013 – still plugging away and relentlessly optimistic, as always!

How are you doing with your goals for 2013? Do you have any tips for successfully sticking with your goals?