#THS13point1 Week 6

 Posted by at 6:00 am  fitness
Aug 182014

A few months ago I registered for my first half marathon.  I decided to document the process of my training, hoping that it will help to keep me accountable to train strong.  This is week six.

Monday August 11 – Sunday August 17
Total Miles Planned: 22
Total Miles Ran: 22

Run Collage

Favorite Run: I’m so thankful I decided to do the five mile run that was on my plan on Thursday after work, rather than save it for this weekend.  Having the ability to run three easy miles the day after my long run to shake out my legs felt AWESOME, and I’m not sure that 5 miles would have felt the same. 

And Thursday’s run was AWESOME in it’s own right, as well.  I decided to run an unplanned course through The Stockade, one of my favorite neighborhoods to run in, and turned around at two and half miles to retrace my steps for a simple out and back.  My plan prescribed intervals of 8 jog 2 walk, and I followed the plan to a T.  It always feels great to hit a prescribed workout and feel awesome about it. 

Least Favorite Run: Monday’s 3 miles weren’t horrible, but it was hot and bright, with little cloud cover.  Not the most pleasant conditions, but I got it done and was happy to have checked it off the list.

Other Workouts: Two long walks and one short one. I haven’t been doing much of anything but walking for cross training thus far.  I really want to add something NEW this week! I’ll accept that self challenge ;)

I’ve also added a tiny bit of lower body strength this week, I’ve been doing sets of 10 of three leg movements a couple of times throughout the day when my legs need a break from sitting: calf raises, squats, and standing abduction

Listening Notes: During Thursday’s run I listened to an awesome episode of Doug Loves Movies featuring a panel of comedians I adore: Marc Maron, Kumail Nanjiani, Kulap Vilaysack and Howard Kremer.  They very tastefully talked about Robin Williams and his great work, as a genuine conversation about their own experiences with the comedic genius unfolds between friends who just happen to be on stage in front of an audience being recorded for all to hear. 

Other podcasts enjoyed while running this week: A collection of recent Extra Hot Great Minis, The Because Show: Jammy Vu, Joy the Baker: A Mimi Riperton, The Art of Simple: Nerd is a Good Thing, and Doug Loves Movies: Live from the Pittsburgh Improv with Tom Segura, Matt Fulchiron and Aaron Kleiber

Fueling Notes:  On days I run after work I change into my running gear and walk the 1.5 miles home, drop off my bags and enjoy starting my run after a full 25 minute walking warm-up.  Lately I’ve started to drink a serving of NUUN Energy [in cherry limeade!] while I am on my walk home.

During my 11 miler this past weekend, I tested out some more fuel for the half marathon.  As I’ve been reading about all these different products I’ve seen a lot of “15/45” references.  For intense workouts and races, the recommended usage is taking one gel 15 minutes before starting the activity and then every 45 minutes of intense activity to follow. Up until now I’ve never used these sorts of fuels pre-run, so I decided to give it a try and see if it effected my performance and energy levels.

I started with a Clif Shot Gel in Double Espresso. I LOVED this flavor and that the 100 mg of caffeine  in the shot means I can skip the coffee that I usually have before long runs.  I planned a route with the hardest climbs at the front of the run, finishing all the hardest effort points before starting the fifth mile and I think using this shot with the extra caffeine helped me kick through it.


Since I was using a product with a large caffeine content at the start of the run, I made sure to choose non-caffeinated fuel for the remainder of the run.  I went with the Clif Shot Bloks in Cran Razz but I didn’t read the package very carefully.  I took one block after the first 45 minutes, and another 45 minutes later – along with sips of Camelbak water along the way and especially while consuming the bloks. 

I’ve been trying hard to focus on listening to what my body is saying as I run to make adjustments when necessary.  When I noticed I was still feeling “on empty” fuel-wise 15 minutes after taking the second blok, I took out the package and read the directions again. “For Best Results: Eat 3 to 6 CLIF SHOT BLOKS every hour during activity. Always follow consumption with water.”

Umm…no wonder I felt so crudy.  I took two more bloks and just a few minutes later started feeling like I had more effort to give to my final miles.

After stretching when I got home, I was feeling woozy.  I sipped some water and took a cool shower to cool down, but I still felt off. I made a post-run smoothie, but after the second sip, my body decided it was time to get rid of anything in my stomach.  I felt instantly better afterwards, and spent the next hour reading articles after Googling “vomiting after long run.” I took things easy for the next several hours and started to slowly consume calories over time, making sure to keep an eye on my hydration and keep my body temperature in check.  I felt better by dinner time and am fairly certain it was just a case of going out too hard on too little fuel. [I also didn’t eat much the night before, so my “reserves” added to the feeling under-fueled.]

#THS13Point1 Reflections:  One of the reasons the Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon is my choice for my first half is the reputation it has for being both beginner AND PR friendly. [Of course, being that I live nearby doesn’t hurt either!]  The reason for this racing being such a great race for newbies [and the corresponding marathon being known as BQ-friendly, at that!] is the course elevation. Take a look at the elevation decline for the entire course of the half marathon:

Hannaford Supermarkets Half Marathon elevation

Nice, right?  I’ve been trying to make sure not to completely avoid hills during my training and have been trying my best to run up them completely. I’ve also built in some specific hill repeats to my training [I have one on the plan for this week, for instance] to help me prepare for the few climbs that are a part of race day. 

I’ve also taken to reading a bit about hill training, too.  Here’s some recommended posts if you’re interested!

Hill Training Content from Around the Web:

#THS13point1 Week 5

 Posted by at 6:00 am  fitness
Aug 112014

A few months ago I registered for my first half marathon.  I decided to document the process of my training, hoping that it will help to keep me accountable to train strong.  This is week five.

Monday August 4 – Sunday August 10
Total Miles Planned: 18
Total Miles Ran: 10


Favorite Run: Sunday’s 5 miles.  I talked myself out of completely skipping a workout by simply putting on my running clothes and telling myself I could take it easy.  I usually do my weekend running in the early morning hours and because I tackled this one mid-day, when it was most sunny and warm, I swore I’d be extra gentle on myself during my run.

I played a new interval “game” as I ran, walking during the sunshine covered stretches and jog during the shaded areas. And I LOVED it. 

Least Favorite Run: I skipped 8 total miles last week. [I shortened two runs and skipped one all together.]  Let’s just call that my “least favorite” portion of training, eh?

Other Workouts: A lot of resting, walking, and not much else.

Listening Notes: Pop Culture Happy Hour: And So Bad It’s Good and Nerdist Live at SDCC: with Evangeline Lillya nd Michael Rooker [both guests were delightfully hilarious.]

Fueling Notes: Nothing worth noting.

#THS13Point1 Reflections: Some weeks of training for a half marathon are going to seem “boring” or “normal” or “insignificant.” And that’s okay [and maybe even “good”?]

After scaling back my mileage and not hitting my “planned miles” the past two weeks, my main goal for this week is to hit 100% of my planned runs for this coming week. I’m looking for quality workouts and want to treat my body with love every step of the way.  Here’s to happy and healthy training!

#THS13point1 Week 4

 Posted by at 6:00 am  fitness
Aug 042014

A few months ago I registered for my first half marathon.  I decided to document the process of my training, hoping that it will help to keep me accountable to train strong.  This is week four.

ths13point1 week4

Monday July 28 – Sunday August 3
Total Miles Planned: 20
Total Miles Ran: 16

Favorite Run: Tuesday I ran a 5K without stopping in just under 32 minutes.  Always being a big fan of the “wog” workout [walk and jog intervals], in past training seasons it was rare for me to run more than a mile and a half or so without stopping.  This time around I’ve found a lot of power in extending the jogging portions of my wogs to 2-3 miles before walking to recover. It’s making my weekend long runs feel completely conquerable, and my weekday evening runs a bit more challenging than they have been in past years.  I can feel myself getting stronger, endurance wise, week by week.

For this run in particular, I felt like I was giving a good effort, but not race effort, which leads me to believe the sub 30 5K is near!  I suppose I shall start a hunt for fall race to #PRorbust. 

Least Favorite Run:  Thursday’s three miles weren’t awesome in the least. I got them done, and all was well, but the only thing to excite me about this run is that I was able to stop half way for water, thanks to some co-workers still being at the office, which was my turnaround point. 

Other Workouts: Other than a couple of 30 minute walks, not a thing.  No cross training, no strength workouts, no yoga.  However, I did spend 5-15 minutes stretching after each of my runs last week, which is notable, especially for me.

Listening Notes: Podcasts! Even, and especially on my 10-miler, which was filled with so many favorites: Pop Culture Happy Hour, Extra Hot Great Minis, Joy the Baker, and The Because Show.  During my weekday running I hit two other podcast favorites, Doug Loves Movies and The Nerdist.

Fueling Notes:  Between a box of goodies that arrived from Mindy [read her awesome blog: just a one girl revolution to find yourself mega-inspired!] and a few things I picked up when placing an order at EMS to hit my “free shipping” limit, I now have a great collection of mid-run fuel to test out during my weekend runs. 

Sunday’s run was filled with firsts.  It was the first time I used my Camelbak, the first time I drank NUUN, and the first time I tried a Roctane GU. 

The Camelbak took a couple of miles to get used to, but I was so happy I had it.  I told myself starting out that I would try to limit myself to sip or two each mile, because I didn’t want to drink too much and upset my stomach and that plan worked out pretty well through and through.  I took sips when I needed and was happy to have the H2O available, especially when it was time to take my GU.  

Speaking of the GU, I had originally planned to take it between miles 4 and 5, but was really struggling with mile 3. I waited until my Garmin hit 35 minutes, and then I tore into that bad boy.  The flavor wasn’t at all horrible, but I still needed to drink a sip of water with each mouthful of GU.  Miles 5-9 were my favorite and felt the best, and I know the caffeine in the Roctane Blueberry Pomegrante likely had bit to do with that.

I didn’t drink the NUUN as I was running, but instead made the 16 ounces with one tablet [Cherry Limeade NUUN Energy] and drank half of it with my banana breakfast as I was getting ready at home, and half when I got home, during my stretching.  I wanted to keep my Camelbak to just water, especially for my first time using it, but I could definitely see myself drinking NUUN during a workout, too. 

#THS13Point1 Reflections: I purposefully skipped a 4 miler that was originally on my plan after reading several articles warning of training too hard, too fast. [I’ve been binge reading old issues of Runner’s World.]  Taking an extra day of rest before my long run this weekend was crucial to my having a good run on Sunday, I’m sure of it.

My long run this week was a great learning experience.  As my mileage increases I’ve been traveling to new territories in the neighborhood and beyond, and this weekend I took myself to the most “country road” route than I have run all of 2014.  Do you know what country roads often mean to runners? HILL TRAINING!  The first 4 miles of this route were TOUGH, especially mile 3.  I thought about cutting my run short about 50 times during miles 2-3, but after taking the GU and then hitting 4 miles right as I turned onto Snake Hill Road – a portion of the route I knew would feel nice elevation-wise – things started to feel so much better [thank you slight downhill!]. 

I felt like I ended the run really strong, too.  I took a couple of walking breaks every 2-3 miles, but ran miles 9 and 10 without stopping, which is something I haven’t been able to do all summer.  I think trying to run by effort and not pace, something I read in a Runner’s World about both humidity and hill training, really helped me to save gas in the tank for the entire run.