#THS13point1 Week 8

 Posted by at 6:00 am  fitness
Sep 012014

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 eight.

Monday August 25 – Sunday August 31
Total Miles Planned: 22
Total Miles Ran: 32 total miles: 19 ran // 13 walked


Favorite Run: Totally a tie between the shortest and the longest.
A timed 1 mile in which I broke 9:00 – a 41 second PR from my fastest mile prior.
My 12-mile long run turned into a half marathon when I missed a turn and added about a mile onto my route.  Major OOPS, but I now have no doubt that I will cross that finish line in October.

Least Favorite Run: Super hot and sweat 5 miles wog on Wednesday.  I loved the run when it was over [averaged 10:37 while wogging 4:1 intervals,] but it was a STUGGLE to get out there and stay out there after a hard day at the office.

Other Workouts: LOTS more stretching than my normal. I’ve been trying to remember to spend a “distance-ratio” amount of time after each run stretching out and rolling with my Tiger Tail.  This just means that I spend more time stretching and rolling after my mid-distance and long runs than I do with my short little zippy runs. 

Listening Notes: I found a new podcast to run to, and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to find it. Put Your Hands Together is a comedy show that takes place immediately following Doug Loves Movies at UCB each week, ergo I was very familiar with the name. I’ve also recently seen/heard PYHT host Cameron Esposito on a handful of shows and really dug her style.  I added two recent episodes to my long run playlist and loved the experience of running while listening.  Each show includes a collection of comedy sets and conversations, so it really helped break up the run into smaller chunks – always appreciated.

Fueling Notes: Can I get a “booyah!” for not vomiting after my long run? This seriously felt like a major victory after my last two post long-run experiences.

I believe the success came from fueling correctly before, during and after the run.  I started with a piece of toast with Earth Balance coconut & peanut spread [the best!] with a glass of water about an hour before my run.

While running, I took a fuel break every 38 minutes.  First: Honey Stinger Gold.  Not bad at all – it’s what you would expect from honey, but less gooey. Second: GU CherryLime Roctane. I definitely prefer the Blueberry Pomegrante flavor – the CherryLime did not go down easy. Third: Gatorade Prime Sports Fuel Drink in Fierce Grape. This was surprisingly my favorite fuel experience to date.  Both of the gels were a bit hard for me to swallow, so a pouch of liquid was a welcomed break from what often feels like run-snacking. I don’t know if I would be able to run on only Gatorade pouches, but I think a Gatorade and GU/Gel combo may be the way I go on race day.  I also really like that I can get the Gatorade products at my local grocery store – super easy.

After the run I sipped some water and then poured myself a coffee-mug of chocolate milk which I enjoyed while stretching.  After a shower, I drank half of a Post-Game Recovery Gatorade, but wasn’t crazy about the Mixed Berry flavor.  

Also – a bunch of runner friends shared their favorite mid-run fuel while I was out running, and I’m going to be finding a few of their suggestions to try ASAP.


I’ve added a count down sign in my eyesight line at my office.  It’s a visual reminder to HYDRATE for my evening runs and a queue to my co-workers why I’ll be walking slowly come October 13.

#THS13Point1 Reflections: I was asked for the first time last week if I had a time goal for the half marathon.  I hadn’t thought about it before being asked, but I’ve been thinking about it during each run since. 

Last weekends accidental half marathon rounded out at 2:33:16.  I was running intervals according to my queues from my Gymboss timer, which I had set for an 18:2 run:walk, and was feeling pretty good throughout.  [Also – holly cow! The Gymboss has really upgraded since I first bought mine. There are SO many colors and a MAX option!]

In running discussions before, I’ve admitted that I often feel a little lost when setting race goals.  I don’t want to set unattainable goals and I also know I often have a hard time pushing myself to my limits.  When it comes to clocking a specific time for a new race distance, I honestly feel a little fearful to call out numbers that I want to chase.  While Rational Heather knows this is f-ing stupid, Self-Doubting Heather disagrees.

The truth is, goals like “crossing the finish line” are wonderful goals.  But for me, at this time, after just clocking a 13.1 mile training run 42 days before race-day, that seems like it would also be a really wonderful SAFE goal.  And I want to push myself to go after goals that take hard work – hard work is good for you!

I have been reading a little about setting A-B-C race goals, and I think this is a great fit for me – especially when facing a new race distance. ““A” is an achievable goal, “B” is a stretch and “C” would be essentially kicking butt and taking a few names.” – from Prairie Princess Runners.  Setting ABG goals is on my to-do list for this week.

[This post from Monica is a good chat on Race Day vs Ultimate Goals, too: RunEatRepeat on Running Goal Setting

How do you set goals for races?

#THS13point1 Week 7

 Posted by at 6:00 am  fitness
Aug 252014

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 seven.

Monday August 18 – Sunday August 24
Total Miles Planned: 21
Total Miles Ran: 16


Favorite Run: Friday I ran a very speedy 2.5 miles after getting out of a rough week of work.  I originally had 3 slow miles on the plan, but instead went a bit fast for my normal self and kept well under 10:00 minutes for the entire 2.5 mile loop I logged.  I finished it off in just over 24 minutes – a 9:40 per mile pace. It felt good to leave some emotions out on the road.

Least Favorite Run: For the first time during this training cycle, my long run was the worst of the week. I had originally planned on tackling my 11 miler bright and early Saturday morning, as the sun was rising and the temperature was still low.  Instead, after one mishap after another, I finally decided to put the run off until later in the day.

I started my run a little after 4:00 PM and though the temperature wasn’t deadly [it was only in the mid-70’s] the humidity was less than fun to deal with.  I got it done though, and that was good enough for me.  I finished this run five minutes slower than the last 11 miler I ran and I’m honestly in shock that I didn’t call it quits early and head home at one of the 12 points I thought “I could just cut through there and head back.”

Other Workouts: I did two short upper body workouts at home this week, along with taking several walks. I’ve also been adding squats and calf raises to my daily life when waiting for the microwave, at the copy machine, or during commercial breaks.

Listening Notes: Podcasts for the win! This week: Nerdist with Carol Leifer, The JV Club with the Sklar Brothers, Ask Me Another Live in Central Park, and a for Saturday’s long run a pop culture podcast playlist filled with full length and mini episodes of both Extra Hot Great and Pop Culture Happy Hour.

I haven’t listened to music while running in a darn long time.  I think I’ll create some running playlists and try something new this week on my evening runs, especially.

Fueling Notes:  This was the second long run in a row that left me feeling really sick afterwards and eventually ending with me feeling better after I ran to bathroom to vomit.  I really don’t want this to continue and am trying to figure out what I can do better to help my body respond better.

Because I ran in the afternoon this go round, I didn’t take any GU before I started running [for intense endurance workouts, the company suggests taking 1 GU 15 minutes before activity and then 1 every 45 minutes of activity to follow] and instead took my first fuel, a vanilla bean GU, at about 30 minutes in.  I then took two Clif Shot Bloks in Cran Razz about 45 minutes later, and a few Honey Stinger Pink Lemonade Energy Chews about 45 minutes after that.

I think my biggest failure so far is not taking in more fuel shortly after I get done with my run.  After a 10-20 minute cool down walk, I usually take a few sips of water, do some stretching and take a shower before even thinking about putting anything else in my body.  Next week I will try to refuel more quickly after my long run – maybe with some chocolate milk or this Strawberry Chocolate Long Run Recovery Milkshake I totally forgot about until now when searching to see if I ever wrote about the nutritional benefits of chocolate milk after a hard workout. Guess what…I did.

I also recently heard about Core Power protein drink from my RD friend, Melissa. I’d seen Core Power on blogs and IG accounts of people I follow for a while now, but I never gave it a second thought because I always imaged those drinks being for muscle-men and SERIOUS athletes, not me.  That is, I never gave it a second thought until I was talking to Melissa about protein and training and she listed off all that she loved about this product. [You can read all about the nutrition behind it here: What is Core Power?]  I’ve seen Core Power at some local stores and I plan to give it a try very soon. Keeping my fingers crossed there is no chalky aftertaste which seems to be the common case with most “protein” drinks I try.

#THS13Point1 Reflections: This week was a rough one in term of self-motivation and getting myself pumped up to run.  I skipped one run and shortened two, being 5 miles away from my planned miles for the week.

I’m cutting myself a break and accepting the extra rest as a gift from myself before I get back to dominating my training this week.

#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: