Karen clutters up her little corner of the internet with her love of running

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

More Half Marathon Talk

I continue to work on my make it to the finish line plan. I revealed my expected time and the goal I have in the back of mind in my last post...
Based on my training, a good half marathon day day will be 2:15, but secretly I would love to beat my time from last year 2:13:03
 I did an interval workout last night. I didn't follow the plan exactly, I did it my way.

3 min. warm up
6 min. @ 9:13 pace
1 min. easy pace
6 min. @ 8:57 pace
2 min. easy pace
6 min. @ 8:41 pace
2 min. easy pace
4 min @ 8:32 pace

I do love the treadmill for hitting an exact pace.
I need to ease into these workouts, since I have been living in easy pace land.

One of my major goals will be not stopping to tinkle at all. I know it sounds crazy, but it really bugs me that I lost a minute last year because I couldn't make it. I have struggled with this on every training run. I wanted to try to push through it, but seriously, I couldn't convince myself to feel that uncomfortable. My last two long runs I got my tinkle stops under 30 seconds, but going in a port of potty will take longer. Can you picture me in Depends race day?

Twenty three days isn't long and I can't help myself...I wonder if I've done enough, and what will benefit me most before taper week.

A look into my busy brain:

Irrational taper fear #1 - I always think my body will forget how to run. I know that's silly because I will be stronger for the rest, but I can't help it.
Irrational taper fear #2 - My legs will have the tight feeling I sometimes get after a rest day. My first run out after a rest day isn't always my best run sometimes, it's the next day...
Irrational taper fear #3 - I will gain weight and feel heavier on race day and it'll screw me up.
Irrational taper fear #4 - Thinking that one more run may give me something I need or missed during training.
Irrational fear #5 - Since I don't have a time goal (but secretly I really do), I shouldn't really taper, just treat it like every other week.

Rational fear #1 - the weather will suck
Rational fear #2 - sickness
Rational fear #3 - something will randomly hurt race day
Rational fear #4 - I will sleep through my alarm and miss the whole thing

So taper race week plan:

30 min.  run

25 min.  run

15 min.  run
Race day

The plan calls for no cross training at all. Monday or Tuesday is screaming for a good upper body work out, don't you think?

Looking back:
These are what my tapers have looked like in the past. I don't know what I was thinking before the 5K?

5k run w/floor exercises
15 min. run
10K race day PR 

10K run
1.5 mile walk
3 mile progression run hour of upper body weight training
15K race day
12 seconds off PR

4 mile run 1.5 mile walk
5k at pace
2 miles easy pace
1.5 mile walk
1 mile run hour upper body
7 mile run
5k race day
PR pace but course was short

I have been working on strong finish long runs. A few weeks it worked out great, I felt good and was able to pick up the speed the last two or three miles. However, I've had a few runs that I wanted to pick it up, but my body, no matter how hard I tried to dig, wouldn't do it.
It feels more natural for me to set a decent pace, then push when I feel good and back off when needed. This usually results in a few slower miles, but I can't always be guaranteed I will have something left for the end. Last year during my half I wanted to pick it up the last mile so bad, but I couldn't find a drop of energy, I ran my last mile at a 10:35 pace. Fast finish runs do not come natural to me, it's something I am working on.

Thoughts? - should I add my weight work outs in taper week? Does the amount of running seem right for taper week?  have you ever had to take a pit stop during a half marathon?
Are you good at finishing fast? if so what's the secret?

My plan calls for a 10K pace run a week before race day (last long run) I am good with that.

The week before that, it only calls for (hours) 1:45 run, which for me would be 10ish  miles. I am leaning toward changing that to a two hour run, so 12ish miles that week...thoughts?

Monday, October 20, 2014

All Out

I have been very accepting of my easy pace lately, honestly it hasn't bothered me. I have stayed focused on rebuilding my endurance to make sure I can run across the finish line, November 15th.

Yesterday the itch to run fast hit me, probably because it was not humid here at all (YAAAAA). I got the same itch last week, but it didn't work out nearly as well. 

Pace is very intriguing to me, it's so different for everyone. 
There are some days a very swift pace can feel invigorating, comfortable, and very sustainable. The same pace a week later may make you gasp for breath and want to hurl. 
Maybe this doesn't happen to everyone? maybe it's just me? All out can be 9:30 one day and 8:58 the next.

Of course....I love the, "Where did that come from?!" days!! Runners, live for those kind of days, don't we?!

I had one of those days for the first time in 6 months...I always think my Garmin must be broke when I see really good splits.

I set out to do a sub 30 5K Sunday evening. I figured that would exhaust me, since I haven't done any speed work lately. I saw that lovely 29:06 at 3.11 while I was breathing super hard, but I decided to keep pushing (only happens in the absence of humidity) and see if could knock out two more miles.

Avg Pace




I did not run my usual hilly loop, I picked a lower elevation gain.

I was shocked when I was done and I am kicking myself now - why didn't I finish the 10K?! I was on my PR pace, but I didn't think about it till I was in the shower.
My legs feel used up happy today, I love that feeling :)

So, one decent run and guess what?! Yes, I may do the interval workouts on my training calendar for the next few weeks. I have skipped almost every work out that involved speed and stuck to the easy pace - building endurance plan, but sometimes it feels so good to push your limits. 
Races are hard though, you never know what kind of day you are going to get, how good you are going to feel, but I need to be prepared, just in case, right. 

Based on my training, a good half marathon day day will be 2:15, but secretly I would love to beat my time from last year 2:13:03

My long runs during training:

12 miler - 2:05 avg pace 10:23 (chillly)

12 miler - 2:09 avg pace 10:43 (more humid that day)

10 miler - 10:08 avg pace (cooler)

9 miler - 10:19 avg pace (more humid)

This weekend I went to the beach and one of the gals was training for the same event, but she does Galloway method (run/walk intervals). I decided having a run buddy would be more fun, than trying to work on my pace, so I did the run/walk.

12 miler - 2:19 11:37 avg pace

Done with 12 miles

I ran the last half mile barefoot on the sand 

The water felt so refreshing after 12 miles :) 

The perfect meal after a long run - 3 egg omelet with feta and spinach - indescribably yummmy. 

So here it is 25 days to the race, and I have one good run, and I start thinking all crazy...
Seriously, I could wake up to 80 degrees with 97% humidity, you just never know in VA, but  I do want to be somewhat prepared in case it's a great day and I can do more than just finish. 

What do you think, too little time to really change my game plan?
Do you ever get the itch to just go out and run as hard as you can?

Scenes from my weekend:
walking the beach Saturday 

The house we stayed in 

Corolla, NC has very large dunes so you can't see the beach from the street 
Group pic :) 

The steps to the beach 

I missed my honey so much, I couldn't wait to get home. Girls weekends are fun, but no one can replace my honey. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Liebster Award

Marnie from Super Smart Mama was kind enough to nominate for a liebster award. Marnie is soon to be a mom for the second time, has a great running story, and loves food and travel. She always has something great to share. You can check her out here: Marnie's Liebster Post 

"Liebster" means "dearest" in German and the liebster award is handed out from one blogger to another -- primarily to newer bloggers with smaller audiences (less than 200 to 3000 followers, depending on what rules you find out there). Thank you for nominating me! 

1. How do you typically start your day?

 Hitting the snooze button multiple times! Even if I have enough sleep, I am not a morning  person. 
I have to be at work by 7 a.m. so my alarm starts going off about 5:00 a.m. everyday, earlier if I am trying to run (which rarely happens). 

Who loves their snooooze button!? 

2. What is your favorite book?

 I loved Where the Red Fern Grows as a kid, but I won't read it now, it'll make me bawl. 
 I haven't ready anything serious in a long time. I like Harlequin romance novels, Anne Perry stories,  Hunger Games,  Catherine Anderson... I don't want anything that makes me think too hard.  I usually read to unwind. Sorry, I am just not very deep, I guess. 
Cowboy romances :) 

3. What is the one piece of advice you wish your current self could give to yourself at 21?

Appreciate how good you look instead of worrywarting (probably not a real word) about what you don't like. Believe you are capable! I just couldn't find a path at that point in life because I didn't feel skilled enough to do anything. 

4. If the Internet didn't exist, how would you spend your free time?
I am so old I grew up without the internet. I read a lot of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books, and listened to records ALL the time. I loved to bike and walk all over Baltimore (where I grew up) and swing in the park.  I spent a lot of time doing word searches, I was addicted to finding and circling the word :) 
I guess if the internet went away tomorrow, it'd be back to word searches for me :) 

5. What are you most looking forward to this upcoming holiday season?
I do not love holidays...never really have, and the pressure of gift buying and decorating are not for me.  I mostly enjoy the break from work and I do look forward to more snuggle time with my hubby. 
It's hard to decorate at my house - Junior exploring the Christmas tree a few years ago. 
It's hard to get mad at that face
Baby Junior 

6. Are weekends for relaxing or living it up?
Weekend are for running and chilling mostly! 
I don't like to be overly busy, so I always avoid making lots of plans, unless it involves hiking ") 

7. What do you love most about blogging?
I love reading all the experiences folks share. I love to hear how others train, the strategies they use, and the connection to those who share a crazy common passion. 

8. What do you love least about blogging?
Sometimes I just feel blank! I often write things and I am hesitant to share them...often because they are a message more to myself, or it's something I KNOW I need to work on, so I get "nervous" about talking about it. 

9. Chocolate or fruit? Both :) separate, mixed together...yummmm

I love dark chocolate. 

I ate a handful of these before my last long run :) Maybe not the best fuel but it sure made me happy. 

10. What is one of your talents? This can be big or small.  Just something that is unique to you!
 These kind of questions always scare me a little
 Ugh...I can't sing, I have questionable rhythm, can't draw stick figures well, academics - not so  much, athleticism - no not really...I do work out and run, but catch a ball? Nope. Organizing? too tired...decorating? LOL (sigh) see why these kind of questions scare me.  

My Misty Moo - What's my talent? napping :) 

 May I have a new question?

Happy Trails,

I would like to nominate Robyn who happens to be my boss at work :) She's fun, energetic, a top notch counselor, and loves to travel. You can check her out and say hi at

Here are your questions Robyn: 

What is your proudest accomplishment?

What is your favorite way to treat or pamper yourself?

Do you have a favorite place you've traveled to?

Favorite season?

Do you have furry kids? If so, how many and what kind?

Favorite childhood memory?

Favorite sport/sports team?

Do you play a sport?

How long have you been running?

What is your “last day on earth” meal?

Saturday, October 11, 2014


I have heard so much over the years about how your inner dialogue and attitude impacts the quality of you daily life. 

My twenty year old voice was much more abrasive in comparison to my voice now. Most of my early life my inner voice focused on a list of imperfections and mistakes, and kept me thinking about them a good portion of everyday...what a waste, but the truth.

How many times have we all heard we need to reprogram past negative feelings with a conscious internal positive voice that will help you deal with yourself, your attitude, and the obstacles life throws at you.

My inner voice in relationship to running...

January 2015 will mark two full years of running for me. I began this journey at 46 years inner voice said, "Are you kidding?"

It really wanted me to quit, it told me it was tooo hard to be that uncomfortable. My hip was burning constantly. I felt too heavy, I would get overwhelmed hearing my feet hit the ground and stop and walk. While running, I would think about how much it hurt, how hard I was breathing, how ridiculous I probably looked, the voice just wouldn't give me a break the first few months.

Then I read a blog...
The woman was a little older like me, had been running a little longer, but didn't start until later in life like me, and she had this thing...she talked all kinds of happy stuff to herself about finishing the journey, etc...

Boom! I was hooked on blogs and mantras and began to use self talk, (sometimes out loud even) as a strategy to help me get over the rough patches in a run and train that little voice inside to think, yes I can

Running is tough stuff, and for me all runs seem to hold a few challenging moments, even if it's a really good run. 

Now, my running voice encourages me, will celebrate the little victories, and ease the weight when things are not going so well; so when I hit a rough patch it doesn't have to ruin the whole run. 

Thursday after work I headed out to do a trail run, mostly because it cuts down on the time I am in the sun. It wasn't overly hot and I felt ready to roll. My goal was just an easy pace 45 minutes. (should be a cinch, right?)

Mile 1 - feeling pretty good
Mile 2 - felt an unusual amount of burning in my calves (hmmph) 
Mile 3 - struggling a bit, feeling unusually thirsty

Now, a year ago my run would have ended at mile three. Glad to say that is not the case about how I handle things now.

Mile 3 - decided to walk a few of the bigger hills and have a little internal dialogue

Runs can go from good to bad and vice a versa...faster than anything. That's why I just try to keep myself moving.

Mile 4 - the walk breaks helped, I guess I didn't drink enough water today...very thirsty
I still don't carry hydration for a lot of my can be troublesome at times.

There I am lapping water like a crazy person. Luckily the Rangers leave one rest room open in the park, but I have to run four miles to get to it

...and then two more miles happened :) 

Avg Pace

After I got home, I ate and hopped on my bike for a quick 30 minute ride...I love my bike :) 

Friday, I had body aches and chills all day so I got into bed right after work. Stupid sickness is screwing up my work out schedule, but I needed the rest; a run this morning would have been too rough feeling that bad, so even though it's making me crazy...I am waiting until Sunday to do my long run

How's your inner voice? Does it need to give you a break sometimes? Or, am I just in need of an evaluation and maybe restraints :/ 
Do you experience these kind of challenges on runs, or am I just whiny? 

Hope everyone has a great weekend :)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Not So Long Ago

Not so long ago I would have freaked out over the statement I am about to make...

I am not freaking out though, I am trying to remain calm and map out a plan. I did my long run on Sunday (12 miles) so, Monday after work it was destined to be a weight session for me. I got a good one in ツ
Two hours of all my upper body stuff, plus I did the leg press and calf machines. I did a quick 7 mile bike ride when I got home from the gym.
I love my bike so much because I can eat and get on it right away. I was so hungry when I came home from the gym, I was shoveling food in my face trying to get out the door so I could ride a little before dark. Sunset is getting really early here...6:42

Not my pic...

Tuesday - my hubby was off and I had hit it hard for two days, time for an all out rest day! We went to see Gone Girl- LOVED ") I have not read the book, so I loved all the surprise twists I wasn't expecting. 

Wednesday - hubby and I biked up to a local restaurant, ate dinner, and biked home :) Just 45 minutes of biking, but it was fun. 

And so it's Thursday and I've ran one mile. Monday, I ran a mile on the treadmill as warm up to my weight session. My hope is to run today after work.  According to my training guide I missed a 45 minute run of choice (easy pace or tempo). If I knock that out today it would put me in a good place to long run Saturday morning.

I am working on visualizing myself running after work today and mapping out the rest of the week...isn't writing your goal down supposed to help you achieve it? 
Just FYI- I always start a week with Monday because my Lose it app (I log daily) runs a week beginning Monday. 

So here it is...
Planned 45 minute run
Planned upper body weight session
Planned long run
Planned easy pace run w/run buddy
core work 

I am curious how you make it all happen in your you plan your workouts ahead of time, or do you just wing it according to how life is going? 

Do you ever plan based on how your body is feeling each day?