LAKE MTKA HALF RECAP

HALF MARATHON # 7 IS IN THE BOOKS!

The first time I ran the LMH was my first half marathon, I got a PR (which has since been crushed) and runners high than I rode for MONTHS. It is such a beautiful run! It weaves around Lake Minnetonka and through neighborhoods with gorgeous houses. There is crowd support everywhere on the course. The weather was nearly perfect. It was supposed to rain but luckily we made it through the course dry! It was mostly overcast during the race, but the sun did come out here and there which made it HOT.

Before the race, I wasn’t sure how my body would react since this is the weekend with back to back HMs. You don’t realize how much that takes a toll on your body until after the fact. I had a great run the weekend before and always get nervous if I’ll be able to maintain the same level of physicality the following race.

I had a rushed morning and felt really out of sorts. I didn’t feel like I had a lot of time to think about the race. A high school friend found me in the start corral and we decided to run together. This saved me! I wasn’t particularly excited to run so it was nice to have some company and conversation. It was smooth sailing for the first 8 miles of the race; 817, 746, 752, 745, 753, 752, 749, 745! Great conversation, great company- we ran into another one of my friends. It was so nice and it kept my mind off of running because I was not really invested in this race mentally. I felt pretty good physically during these miles. I could feel a blister forming on my right foot though. I haven’t gotten this level of blisters since I started running many moons ago. They’re sooo annoying.

I’ve ran this course 3 times and every time it has surprised me how hilly it is! I could really start to feel it around mile 9. I remember thinking that I was ready to be done. We were running fairly close to a pacer who did and AMAZING job of keeping everyone on track. We slogged out an 808 mile, woof!

The last couple miles were FLUID; 746, 749, 744 and 752. I was in my zone during this segment! I was really feeling strong. I was able to block out everything around me and just focus on my running. I love when that happens-it really is a feeling of accomplishment and praise for my body.

I finished in 1:43:03. Which was surprisingly about 20 seconds than the weekend prior!  I didn’t really take any time to rest. I ran 16 miles in-between races..yikes!!

After the Lake Minnetonka Half, I took off 3 days of working out. It felt great to relax! Towards the end of the week, I have been slowly getting back into running and some tone up! My next race is in 21 days-Lola’s Half Marathon!

There is still time to donate to the Lung Cancer Alliance!!!!!!! We have raised nearly 1000$ in honor of Uncle J!

 

While lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, only 6% of federal research dollars spent on cancer research are spent on lung cancer. Uncle J always said that good things will come from his cancer. This is my small contribution to that something good!

Lung Cancer Alliance is the leading and highest rated nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting lung cancer in the nation. Since 1995, we have played a critical role in every major advance – changing how we support, talk about, detect and treat the disease – and turning those impacted into survivors. Our mission is saving lives and advancing research by empowering those living with and at risk for lung cancer.

“Cancer is not the worst thing that can happen to you. In fact, other than having cancer, my life is better than it was before. … It’s taught me that there’s no amount of love that you can’t give, there’s no amount of relationships that you can’t build.” -Jeff Yue

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Get In Gear Half Recap!

Welcome back to my blog!

I recently started a fundraising page via Facebook for my late uncle Jeff who passed of lung cancer in January. So as I run in these next couple months my goals are different than fast times and PRs. I had signed up for this race on a whim. My work signs up for the corporate challenge so I got a free race entry. The weather for the morning was supposed to be 36 with rain/snow..but to my surprise it was 44, overcast and dry! I had some anxiety on the drive to the race but I surprised myself with how calm I was once I was in the corral.

Going into this race my goal was a steady 8 min pace. I knew that I wasn’t going to PR so I decided to just run and have some fun. This race is really beautiful (like most races in Minneapolis). It runs right along the river into downtown and back again.

I started my pace fairly slow at a 812 pace. It was a comfortable first mile! I decided that the pace group I started with wasn’t gonna work so I picked it up a bit to finish mile 2 in 750. I warmed up fast and luckily Paul was at mile 2 to take my jacket and give me an extra boost (and to take some pictures).instasize_190427112733

From there on out it was pretty smooth sailing; 744, 742, 746, 754. There was a climb at mile 6, right before the turn around. UFFDAH, that hill goes on forever! It was a fun grind. I was running alone for most of the race. In that instance, I like to pick people off one by one..its a little extra motivation to not get left behind! At the turn around I felt pretty good. No knee aches, breathing was easy and my shoulders were relaxed. I was surprised at how much the wind was blowing though. I thought, “Oh that’s why the first half was so easy.” Mile 7 was all downhill my pace was a 736. The rest of the race was pretty much uphill. 802, 759, 801, 802, 749, 746. My back half was a bit slower BUT I still felt good throughout the whole race! My form went to shit climbing a lot of hills so I did my best to focus on that and consistent breathing. I spent a majority of the last 6 miles trying to catch the 145 pacer (I passed him right at mile 12). It was such a quiet run on the way back..not a lot of spectators. I was in my own zone and just focusing on running.

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I was surprised at how well my body held up! This is my longest run since Grandmas which I ran last June. My unofficial time is 1:43:24. I finished 139/ 821 overall, 30/403 females and 5/86 in my age group!

I was reminded every step of this run that life is short! I promise to never take my healthy, strong body for granted. Thanks for the encouragement Uncle J! We’ve raised nearly 1000$ for the Lung Cancer Alliance!

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GOLDY’S RECAP!

Good morning! (Or afternoon/evening depending on where you are and when you’re reading this.)

I absolutely loved this race, ya’ll! I never thought that I would say that but I truly had such a great time the whole morning and felt that I raced really well. (Reminder that I ran this race in 2017 and hated my running self for 2 years because of it).

Going into this race I was a little unsure of how I would preform since I had only ran outside a handful of times prior to this race, peaked at 7 miles and hadn’t really trained on any hills. I’m happy to report that my treadmill runs simulated road running as best they could! Screenshot_20190408-080419_Connect

The week before this race, I focused on nutrition, H2O intake and stretching. I logged a 20 mile week with some cycling and strength thrown in- my legs felt fresh!

The morning started out slow. I was so sleepy and only got out of bed about 30 mins before we were due to leave. Normally on race day mornings I have an overwhelming amount of anxiety that I can’t even eat and pace around for an hour. Not on Sunday-I was extremely relaxed (and not fully awake). I had my usual half cup of coffee (anymore will make me 💩), half a granola bar and a handful of sport beans. I carpooled with my 3 best friends (2 were running, 1 is our #1 spectator). We had so many good laughs on the way downtown!

The weather was absolutely perfect!! A bit overcast, about 50 degrees and no wind. It was forecasted to thunderstorm all morning so..we got very lucky! The sun even came out to play (which was actually dreadful for running).

The race started promptly at 820AM. I started with the 830 pace group but very quickly decided that wasn’t gonna work for me. My race strategy was easy miles to start and to finish fast. However, right out of the gate I felt really strong and totally in control of my body so I stopped doubting myself and brought the pace up. I felt so relaxed from the beginning.

My first three miles were 744, 744,743. Right on goal pace! In any long distance race, I break it down into sections. 10 miles are broken down by: 5k, 5 miles, 7miles, get to 9… then its home free! After my 5k I settled comfortably. I focused on the road ahead of me as it was quite a familiar section of road.. mile 19.5-21ish for the marathon and miles 3-4.5 of the TC 10. A solid reminder of how far I can push my body. At this point of the race, runners cross the Marshall Avenue Bridge, its a long, slow but beautiful climb! The mighty Mississippi was a beaut in the sunshine. There are also a lot of spectators at this section which is always fun! After the bridge, the race gets long.

The end of the bridge is mile 4 and you run a mile down to 5…then turn around and run the longest 4 miles of the course. Even though it sucks, the stretch from 4 to 5 and 5 back to 6 is funbecause its two way traffic. There are SO many runners on this section of the course. Its a great feeling. I passed my friends somewhere in this section..a familiar face is always nice. The miles from 6 to 9 were the biggest grind of the race. Not only because your body is getting tired but because this is the hilliest part of the course.

I was running behind 2 fairly tall guys who were holding a very steady 750 pace (S/O to you guys!!) I thought, “get comfortable, Meredith. Let them do the work. Just keep your feet moving.” I was in a great spot mentally. I was so focused on my stride, my form, my breathing. I forgot I was ‘racing’. I felt some blisters forming on the arches of both my feet. It was SO uncomfortable but I thought to myself, “I’ve ran through worse. Hang onto your pace.” After a nice stretch of downhill, the battle began. This is the part of the race in years past, that I totally lost my composure mentally. I gave up. There is a little stretch of flat along the river. I took in the view, felt the sun and the breeze from the river. I relaxed myself and foc

used on that exact moment of the race. About a quarter mile climb, at a fairly steep incline. I slowed my pace and focused on one foot in front of the other. Left, right, left, right. Right when you think its over it keeps going. At one point I said, “UFFDAH, WHAT A CLIMB!” I relaxed my shoulders and focused on my breathing. I took a lot of pride in this stretch, I passed a lot of people and kept my composure. I’m almost 95% sure I said, “Holy shit” as I reached the top. Sorry to the children swinging on the swings :/

It wasn’t over yet, though. I knew what was coming. The steepest climb I’ve ever raced. Its not only hard because its steep but because your legs are TRASHED and you still have one more mile after it. I took one deep breath and looked at my feet. Left, right, left, right. I thought, “whatever you do, do not loose your pace.” 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4. I had terrible form running up this slope but I didn’t care, I just wanted to get up it (without walking). I took many deep breaths in and relaxed my shoulders and legs. Before I knew it, I was at the top! At that point, I felt like I had won the race. It feels so unbelievably good to replace a bad race memory with a good one. I felt so proud of myself in that moment. 

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But the race wasn’t over..one more mile! EASY PEASY. Nice and flat and the sun was shining!! I Wanna Dance with Somebody by Whitney Houston came on and I thought, “HELL YA, LETS RUN!” I picked up my pace to a comfortable 730. This finish of this race is so much fun! You run a straight shot down University Avenue, around TCF Stadium and finish on the 50 yard line! Its packed with people. Such a cool experience. I felt really great (composed, relaxed, proud) rounding the corner into the stadium.

I finished in 1:18:20 something, 48th female and 201st overall. NOT TOO SHABBY.

FINALLY I have gotten over my bitter feelings about Goldy’s 2017 and replaced them with these moments from Goldy’s 2019! 

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March Round Up ! 5 days until Goldy’s

Life is busy.

I thought I would be able to get back to bi weekly posts but..I guess not.

I ended March is 97.2 miles, AHHH! Its my highest month since AUGUST. I’ve had some knee pain creep up on me that has been rather intense. I have taken precautions to hopefully ease the pain: ice, Advil, compression. On top of healthy knees, I also have a wedding dress I need to look ripped in so I have been incorporating all sorts of strength! My body feels fairly strong. As far as runs go, I have increased my mileage, slowed my pace and increased the incline. I had 2 really big weeks  this month. Last week I topped out at 28.4 miles and this week I hit 24 miles. Prior to that I have barley been hitting 20!

Goldy’s 10miler is in 5 days, yikes.  Its such a challenging race-very hilly! It also feels much longer than what it is. My goal for the race is to maintain a steady pace. I have a tendency to fluctuate my pace (especially on hilly courses) and its so obnoxious to me.

The last time I ran this race was in 2017 and I hated it (lol). I got the biggest blister ever on the inside of my foot. My average pace was a 746. Which is actually the pace I’m hoping for next Sunday. I’m slightly nervous for the race because the majority of my training has taken place on the treadmill and I topped out at 7 miles…..

This week I’ll be taking it easy and making sure to stretch and drink lots of water. I’ll also be doing cycling twice this week instead of running so I’m sure that’ll help relax my body.

Stay tuned for a race recap!!!

February Recap (lol) and March happenings!

I have no idea how to spell ‘February’ so okay. I’m also aware its the middle of March but better late than never!

January was a HARD month.  I’m happy to report that February was much better! I ran 64ish miles and did a lot of strength work outs with a focus on abs and legs. I can really feel the difference in my running. I didn’t get in many long runs- I think I topped out at 6. I did feel strong during all my runs during the month and had very minimal knee pain! I skied only a couple of times this past month! There was either not enough snow, way too cold, or way too warm..or too much snow. Oh well, the two times I went were fun at least!

Towards the end of Feb and into March, I started to incorporate some incline variations to my runs. It was really challenging at first but now that I’ve been doing it, my body has gotten use to it and I can feel more power in my legs on the uphills. Flowing into March, I have also started to listen to podcasts on the treadmill versus music. I’m undecided if I like it more or less. It helps me run further distances ( I get really into the story line and want to hear the ending!) HOWEVER it messes with my cadence aka I’ve been running slower. That being said, I’m running a bit further! I’ve gotten in a couple 7 milers and a lot of 5 milers! I have a 10 miler coming up the first week of April (PRAY4ME). After today’s run though, I feel really confident in the distance physically..mentally it may be a trip.

My plan for the rest of the month is to keep doing what I’m doing. Focus on those incline variations and speed increases, longer distances (aka build endurance) and strength training

After being cooped up at the gym for the MN winter, the treadmill is slowly becoming my friend and the transition to outside running will be tough but I’m looking forward to the fresh air and vitamin D!
Stay tuned for more updates on my training-I’m going to try to do biweekly posts again!

Happy *almost* spring!

January Recap

Welcome back! I know that January isn’t quite over yet, but the state of Minnesota is in a polar vortex so I thought blogging would be a good activity on this chilly day.

January was a great month in terms of work outs! Simultaneously, it was a tough month in terms of life. January is that “fresh start”, a chance reset your mind and body, a time to feel revitalized..new year, new you! Well, 10 days in, our family suffered the loss of a loved one. My uncle passed of lung cancer at the age of 59. Coping with this death was particularly hard for me and it made me think about a lot (I mean a lot) of things.  Uncle J always said that something good will come from his cancer. One good thing I have witnessed first hand is the growth of our family bond through strength, love, support and laughter.

I also have been struggling with my mental health. I intended to write a post about “running through depression” and highlight the importance of acknowledging your mental health and creating (and maintaining) healthy coping mechanisms. Here’s the jist of that post:

Early last spring, I noticed a lot of changes in myself; extreme mood swings, crying ALL THE TIME about EVERYTHING, excessive fatigue, lack of motivation and some pretty dark thoughts. I felt vulnerable and weak. I would have these huge emotional outbursts that I knew were irrational but I felt like I couldn’t control. There was a time in the spring that lasted for about a week were I don’t think I talked to anyone. I went to work, I went to the gym, I watched TV then I went to bed. The best way I can describe it is this: I felt like I jumped off a cliff into nothing and kept falling and falling..but I never hit the bottom and I could always see the top of the cliff. I was able to identify and admit to myself that I was depressed and that I needed help. It took me months (years, even) to ask for help. I started to take meds and my life was changed. I was able to think clearly, I was able to sleep, I was able to laugh, I stopped crying about everything, I could wake up in the morning, I felt motivated to go to work. I felt completely within myself. Which is something I often feel when I’m running. That’s when I realized that running was my medication (for real, my serotonin boost) for years to cope with my depression..and not to be dramatic but running, in a way, saved my life. Looking back now, I think without running i would have kept falling off that cliff and eventually loose sight of the top. Looking at patterns of my depression and trends in running, I have noticed that at the times I can identify that I was most depressed were the times that I ran my best.

SO coming back to January, I feel like I have been a bit unstable in my mental health (nothing compared to last spring) but I attribute this to the loss of Uncle J, the stress of wedding planning and the lack of sunshine. I do, however, feel hopeful for February.

OKAY, NOW LETS CHAT ABOUT THE GOOD.

I think I mentioned in a previous post that I do not have any 2019 goals and it feels GREAT. I’m running because I want to, not because I have to. I feel healthy! I have been doing a lot of strength training and short easy runs. I have noticed that my knees don’t hurt nearly as much as they used to and that I have all 10 toe nails!! So far this month, I have logged 57 miles. There are 3 days left in the month so I imagine that number will increase a bit! My next race is in April (a 10 miler) so I will start to train for that in February (I think). I do wish that I could get out and ski a bit more but we haven’t had a lot of snow! Maybe after this polar vortex it’ll snow a bit!

Another good thing for January is that I finally like my hair length. I chopped in in June and hated it (I cried). I am starting to do my hair almost every day..its the little things in life. OK.

ALSO in January, I have been reading like CRAZY. I have read 5 books (going to start book 6 after this post!)  My favorite has been The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. The book is about a  bored young boy named Milo who unexpectedly receives a magic tollbooth one afternoon and drives through it in his toy car, transporting him to the Kingdom of Wisdom, once prosperous but now troubled. There he acquires two companions and goes on a quest to find two exiled princesses, Rhyme and Reason, from the Castle in the Air and bring them back to the kingdom. The book is FULL of life lessons. I’m obsessed with it and recommend it to everyone.

Thanks for reading everyone!! Stay warm, Minnesota!

 

“I’m sorry you can’t stay longer,” said Alec sadly. “There’s so much more to see in the Forest of Sight. Bu I suppose there’s a lot to see everywhere, if only you keep your eyes open.”

-Norton Juster (The Phantom Tollbooth)

Goodbye 2018!

Hey y’all! Sorry this post comes a handful of days after the new year but I have been BUSY and trying to get back into the routine of life. This will just be a quick post updating people on how I finished 2018 and what my plans are for 2019!

Dec 24: 3.1 @ 754 with a progression to 640/mile. I usually bump the speed every .3 or so.

Dec 26: 5 @ 8. I hit 1000 miles for the year!

Dec 28: 3 @ 823. Early AM run, EZ

Dec 29: 6 @ 806. I was only going to do 3-4 but..once you pop you can’t stop! I felt pretty good.

Dec 31: 5 @ 839. Very EZ

2018 was a fun year in terms of running. I ran my second marathon, ran a total distance of 1,117 miles, discovered Team Triumph (aka how to run for others) and rediscovered the joy of running!

In 2019, I don’t have any running goals! I am signed up for a couple races this spring but the plan is to just keep running and staying in shape. I have much bigger things to plan for in the year 2019!!

Stay tuned for biweekly updates!!