Half Marathon Training So Far

I am currently training for InnerAct Alliance Red Ribbon Half Marathon & Run in Lakeland, Florida. It will be my fifth half marathon and the first one that I trained with a group.

InnerAct Red Ribon Half Marathon & Run Lakeland Florida

What is different during this training cycle?

  • Running with a group
  • Track workouts
  • Running hills

My mileage and days running are actually less than in past training cycles. I am really enjoying having one complete rest day and being able to fit in two days of full-body weight training.

Total mileage from weeks two through five.

Weeks 2 3 4 5 half marathon training

The mileage for last week (36) would have been higher but a massive thunder storm stopped the track workout about four miles short.

Key Workouts

Hill Repeats

Hill Repeats August 13 Lakeland

In this workout we ran up the hills and walked back down. It hurt but the Red Ribbon Half is a hilly course, running these repeats can only help.

Track Workouts

8×400 Repeats with 200 walks in between

Painful but helpful to feel speedy (which rarely if ever happens to me.)

7×800 Repeats with 200 walks in between

Painful again but the Lakeland High School marking band practices when we run, so that was fun.

Hills

Hills Sept 3 Lakeland

I didn’t even know they had hills like this in Florida. They are massive and they sure are painful. This is a route I will remember and incorporate when training for future races.

Long Runs

The group is up to nine miles and I am already feeling a difference. Just looking through runs of similar distance from the beginning of 2013, I am significantly faster. As someone who is on the slow side and my number one goal is to get faster, this is really making my day.

Running Motivation Florence Griffith-Joyner

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The Race Where I May Have Peed Myself

This is my second time running the Gasparilla Distance Classic Half Marathon (Gasparilla Distance Classic 2012). I love this race so much.I plan on clearing an annual spot on my calendar to run it every year. The weather this year was hot (even for Florida) and humid (even for Florida). I knew going into this race that it would be very difficult under those conditions for me to reach my A goal (2.14) but I paid my money and was going to enjoy it if it killed me.

Race day started off smoothly. I woke up on time, avoiding consuming any contaminated tap water, and was out the door only slightly later than I planned. I made it to the starting line with little fuss (anytime I don’t end up driving around in circles is a small victory). The police did an excellent job directing the traffic and making it easy to get into the closest parking garage.

The Gasparilla Half Marathon started in two waves, red which was for those with estimated finish times less than two hours (not me) and yellow with those estimated time above two hours (definitely me). The start was staggered by ten minutes. My not getting lost and having zero issues finding parking, I was able to get into the corral 30 minutes before the race started. I used the bathroom first and then stood around waiting. In hindsight, this was a huge mistake. I have the worlds smallest bladder. Under cooler, less humid conditions, I can drink a minimal amount of water while running a half marathon and feel fine. Sadly, the weather and my bladder were not on the same page and using the bathroom 30 minutes before the start was not a good idea.

I should have pushed my way closer to the front of the yellow corral because I was caught on the first bridge where there were so many people, it forced everyone to walk. It is a crazy sea of people where the walking pace was much slower than my normal, everyday walking pace. Not much you can do though.

The more I ran, the hotter I got, the more water I drank, the more I needed to pee. It really started to become tragic around mile seven. I started to forlornly stare at each passing porta potty (there was one at every water stop, which was every mile) and imagine myself stopping. I should have stopped but didn’t because the last time I stopped to pee in a race I lost seven minutes. At this point, I still believed I could make my goal and knew that the delay would be detrimental.

Around mile ten, the full bladder was starting to slow me down. I still did not stop and I think it may be because the pee was moving to my brain. I finally crossed the finish line, grimacing, hot, and with super wet shorts. I am a pretty heavy sweater but I was dripping. Then it hit me, did I pee myself? I still had to go when I crossed the finish line but I felt like people were staring at me. So the jury is out on whether it was actually pee but just the fact that it might have been is making me blush just typing this.

Bladder trouble aside, the Gasparilla Distance Classic Half Marathon is a great race. The volunteers were excellent (I loved the kids at the end of the race who cheered their hearts out). The spectators have the best signs and the views of the bay are amazing. Plus,  there is the medal.

Gasparilla 2013 Half Marathon Medal

I sadly did not make my goal.

Gasparilla 2013 Half Marathon Official Time

It is a half marathon PR by 34 seconds.

Gasparilla 2013 Half Marathon Splits

I am pretty sure that if the weather had proved less hot and humid, my time would have been closer to my goal. There is always next year.

Do you stop and use the bathroom while racing or try to hold it?

Half Marathon Training Week Two

If you would like to follow my other weeks of training, they can be found on my Workouts page. I break my half marathon training down by week to make it easier to follow.

This week really ramped it up! I did most of my runs on the treadmill at the gym because it has rained nearly everyday after work and the heat is still pretty killer. I am finally watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer on Netflix. Not sure why I missed this show when it originally aired because I am in the target demographic for it (female and was in High School when it originally aired.)

Week Two Half Marathon Training

As I mentioned in my first post, I am following this plan by Nike Coach Magness. It is a plan designed to get you a PR. After running two Half Marathons last year and spending the summer experimenting with speeding up, I am ready to concentrate more on time rather than just finishing.

So how did I do versus the plan?

Total Plan Miles: 36

Total Actual Miles: 29.82

Strength Training: 1

Cross Training: 0

I did pretty well based on the plan minus the missed long run. I planned on running six miles after my 5K on Saturday but decided against it. This early in my training, missing one long run is not much of an issue.

Things I learned:

  • It can take some time to get back into higher mileage
  • I need to spend more time stretching
  • Running on a treadmill can be kind of a drag but watching TV on your phone makes it much better

Next week I would like to concentrate on getting my long run done and doing more strength training.

Half Marathon Training Week One

As summer comes to a close (most places but obviously not in Florida) runners all over the country start upping their mileage in preperation for a fall marathon or half marathon. I am trying a new half marathon trainng plan this year which is from Nike Running written by Coach Magness. The plan is geared towards those looking to PR in their upcoming half marathon.

Half Marathon Training Week One Nike Running

This week is all about base building and I every run was done at a conversational pace. Most of the runs were done on the treadmill because of the intense heat. The exceptions are Friday and Saturday. Friday I intended on running at the gym but couldn’t when I opened my gym bag and realized that I had everything I needed except my running shoes. Not sure why I did not realize that my bag was very light. Saturday was fairly miserable in the last two miles. I wanted to quit and call it every two minutes but forced myself to continue.

Plan Mileage: 22 Miles

Actual Mileage: 21.2 Miles

Strength Training: Two days of full body strength training from the New Rules Of Lifting For Women. (I have four more workouts left in Stage One and cannot wait to move onto some new exercises.)

Cross Training: 0

As I start to get back into longer running, I am starting to think about what to eat before and after runs. I like to keep it quick and simple after my runs because I am typically hungry and ready to jump right into the shower.

I was recently contacted by The Hershey Company and they sent me information about the benefits of chocolate milk as a recovery drink. This is not news to me. I am not a huge milk drinker but can force myself to drink anything with chocolate in it. Besides deliciousness, chocolate milk has lots of benefits.

·         Carbohydrates to help refuel muscles

·         Protein to help rebuild and restore muscle protein

·         Fluid and electrolytes to rehydrate and replenish what is lost in sweat

·         Vitamins and minerals to help build and maintain strong bones

So quick and easy to have 8 oz. low-fat (1%) milk + 2 Tbsp. HERSHEY’S® Lite Syrup with 50% less sugar and only 150 calories per serving. Quick and tasty recovery drink that’s good for you.

Are you training for anything?

What’s your favorite recovery drink?

I was contacted by The Hershey Company to share the benefits of chocolate milk. I was not compensated and all opinions are my own. 

Gasparilla Distance Classic 2012 Race Report

Saturday night I attended a charity dinner and left super early.

Polk County DEC Obama King Fundraiser

I had a small speaking part which was scary and awesome at the same time. I really need to get better at public speaking because my heart nearly beats out of my chest at the thought of it.

Polk County Obama King Fundraiser Program

I went straight from the event to my Mom’s house which is about a 20 minute drive from the race start.

I attempted to fall asleep but it was still pretty early and couldn’t sleep until 10:30. The weather was really loud and stormy plus I kept waking up assuming I slept through my alarm. Anytime I sleep in a room where I can’t see the time, this always happens.

My alarm did go off at 3 AM and I got up for coffee and breakfast. The wind was howling so loud that my Mom got up to check if I was still going.

I got into Tampa and the parking garage with no incident. I guess I was lost enough on Saturday, so Sunday went smoothly. As soon as I got out of my car in the garage, it started to rain. It was raining really hard and in combination with the wind, it was raining sideways. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I hung back in the parking garage to see if I could wait it out. It was starting to get late and I wasn’t sure how long the walk to the start would take me, so I decided to suck it up and get wet.

After getting drenched and of course my shoes were wet because of all the puddles, I made it into the convention center where most people were waiting. I actually ran into Carissa, which was nice because I had someone to talk to while we waited. Finally, the march over to the start began but it was still rainy and windy. I had on shorts and a tank top, so I was nearly frozen. It only got colder waiting in the last corral but at least the rain stopped.

As the race started, it was pretty congested. There were also a lot of puddles that people kept avoiding. The race begins with a fairly narrow bridge over to Davis Island that was a huge bottleneck. The good part was the bridge had to prevent people from going out too fast because people were squished together and there was no way around. The bad part is that there was definitely time lost trying to get over it.

After the bridge, people started to spread out. The run through Davis Island was relatively uneventful but it was cold and pretty windy.

Gasparilla 2012 Half Marathon Course

Crossing one more bridge, this time much less crowded, onto Bayshore was a nice change. The homes and water views on this road are just beautiful. I may have been fantasizing what it would be like to live in one of those houses and wake up to Bay views everyday, through most of the race.

At around mile seven, I needed to pee. I was making good time and every porta potty had a decent line. I decided that I would not stop unless I felt like I would burst. Around mile 11, I was at bursting point but it seemed crazy to stop so close to the finish line. I assumed there would be porta potties close to the finish. Of course, I had to go through a gauntlet of food vendors to get there. I ended up going in the convention center and nearly running (hobbling) up the stairs to the bathroom.

My pace throughout the race felt comfortable minus the crazy wind whipping me in the face. I did end up walking for a minute or two around mile 10 because of a massive stomach cramp. Slowing down for a few minutes pretty much made it go away.

Gasparilla 2012 Half Marathon Splits

I am surprised with my splits. My goal pace was 12:10 with a finish time of 2:39:29. I noticed early on that it felt comfortable to run a bit faster. I think the main difference besides typical race adrenaline was the weather. I ran the vast majority of my training runs after work when it was still quite hot out. Running in the dark with massive winds felt good. I was confident that my training was solid and was really prepared. These two factors made a big difference.

My official time was 2:31:38 which is a PR by 15 minutes and beat my goal time by eight minutes. I am so happy to see such an improvement because it can feel like you are working so hard but not improving. (I get like that at the end of a training cycle. Did I do enough? What about this run I missed? So much second guessing.) It gives me confidence that even though I am on the slow side, that with the right amount of training and effort, I can get faster. Being a slow runner is difficult mentally because many of the training runs, especially long runs, can take a huge chunk of your Saturday. For me, 14 miles is a three-hour process and that can be a lot of time to dedicate regularly. (I can’t even imagine marathon training at my pace. Would need to continue to be unemployed to do it.)

The Good

Organizers did a great job with terrible weather.

We started on time even though the weather was crappy.

Water stops were plentiful and the volunteers were very prepared.

Bad ass medal.

Gasparilla Half Marathon Medal 2012 Tampa

(So freaking cool.)

Little traffic congestion entering or leaving the race. (As someone who often gets lost, I appreciate this more than I can express.)

The Bad

Need to do a staggered start. The way runners were broken down was over/under a two-hour finish time. There was supposed to be a five-minute start time difference between the first and second corral. This did not do enough to help with the slow down crossing the bridge to Davis Island.

Bathrooms closer to the finish line. I cannot be the only person who crossed the finish line feeling like they were going to pee on themselves.

I really enjoyed the Gasparilla Distance Classic and can see why it is so popular in Central Florida. Will definitely be running this one next year.

Half Marathon Training Week Ten

If you would like to follow my other weeks of training, they can be found on my Workouts page. I break my half marathon training down by week to make it easier to follow.

Half Marathon Training Week Ten

Key Workouts:

Easy Runs: 3/3

Tempo Run: 1/1 Five Miles at Tempo with one warm-up and one cool-down

Long Run: 1/1

Strength Training: 0/2

Cross Training: 0

Total Miles: 33.21

I did well with my runs minus cutting my long run short by four miles but I still did not do any strength training. This week I will do strength training on the same day as one of my easy runs.

I think one reason that I cut my long run down is because I am slow. Yes, you are supposed to run long runs quite slow to benefit from them but I am such a slow runner that my long run pace is like molasses. After this training cycle, the only thing I want to work on is getting faster. I find myself during tempo runs or speedwork, almost afraid of pushing myself. Afraid of being uncomfortable, of feeling out of breath. I need to get over it and trust that I am in good shape and feeling some discomfort is normal. Just need to get there mentally and trust in my training.

I am at the tail end of this Half Marathon training cycle and it will be interesting to see how/if I benefited from the speedwork I have done and the mileage increase.

Half Marathon Training Week Six

If you would like to follow my other weeks of training, they can be found on my Workouts page. I break my half marathon training down by week to make it easier to follow.

Half_Marathon_Training_Week_Six

Not my best week. Being sick really sidelined my workouts.

Key Workouts

Easy Runs: 1 of 3

Speed Training: 0 of 1

Long Run: 0 of 1

Strength Training: Upper Body 15 minutes

Total Miles: 5

Planed Miles: 27

Not much to say about this week but I felt it was better to rest through being sick, then to push myself and make it worse.

I planned on racing this weekend but am not sure if I should in light of being sick. It is a 10K, which is a distance I love, and for a good cause.

Polk Race For The Cure

Would you race this close to coming off of a cold?

How was your training last week? Did you reach your goals?

Half Marathon Training Week Five

If you would like to follow my other weeks of training, they can be found on my Workouts page. I break my half marathon training down by week to make it easier to follow.

I finished December, and this week of training, with my best month of training yet.

Half_Marathon_Training_Week_Five_

This week was a step-down week, filled with all easy runs and my first week running for five days. I feel like I adjusted well.

Key Workouts

Easy Runs: Five for five

Cross Training:

Dance Trance (Still awesome and still have two left feet.)

No Yoga this week but was so hung over on Sunday, I do not think I would have made it. (Or that anyone would have wanted to be in class anywhere near me.)

Total Miles:19.94

Planned Miles: 20

Must strength train is going to be my new motto. I have another week where some days are two or three miles, so fitting it in should work.

I am surprised that running five days was easier than I thought it would. The most I have done before is four days but the way this plan introduces it on an easier week, I think makes it more mentally palatable. Waiting to see how it feels when there are harder runs in the schedule but so far, so good.

How many days per week do you like to run? Is there a certain point where you burnout? Did you skip any days last week because of being hung over?

Half Marathon Training Week Four

If you would like to follow my other weeks of training, they can be found on my Workouts page. I break my half marathon training down by week to make it easier to follow. 

Another week of eating and drinking plus lots of time off work. I think my training improved greatly with the amount of time off. Maybe I can have a two day work week with the same pay?

Half_Marathon_Training_Week_Four

Key Workouts:

Easy Run: One out of two.

Tempo Run: Total of six miles with four at tempo.

Long Run: 12 Miles

Cross Training:

Dance Trace which I am still loving.

Yoga which I always love.

Total Miles: 21.06

Planned Miles: 24

I need to fit in more strength training and will need to give up having two rest days a week to do so. I run after work and before dinner during the week. Should I try strength training in the morning? I cannot push dinner back any later or we will be eating it the next day and J may file for divorce.

The reason I skipped the second easy run this week was because I was a little sore from Dance Trance and thought my long run would go better on fully rested legs. As my body gets used to Dance Trance, this may change but maybe a Yoga class the next day would work well.

How do you modify your plan to fit it all in?

Half Marathon Training Weeks Two And Three

If you would like to follow my other weeks of training, they can be found on my Workouts page.

It has been a busy past few weeks with all the shopping and pie eating. The weather cooling off is making running easier but I could do without running in the dark. I do enjoy seeing all the Christmas lights and wish my neighbors would leave them up year round. It makes the one and a half mile neighborhood loop, much more interesting.

Doing all of my runs, especially the longer ones, solo is starting to get to me. Even though I love listening to talk radio or Howard Stern, it would be nice to run with other people sometimes. The closest running club to me is the Lakeland Runners Club. I am contemplating joining in the new year.

Week 2:

Half_Marathon_Training_Week_2

I got in my speed work but my long run was a total disaster. I was supposed to run 11 miles but instead ran 4.27. At least the police were involved so I have some excuse but would have rather gotten in the mileage. There was zero cross training this week.

Key Workouts:

Easy Run: One out of two.

Speedwork: Total of six miles with 3×1600 with 800 jogs.

Long Run: 4.27 out of 11 miles.

Week 3:

Half_Marathon_Training_Week_3

This week I did every run in the plan plus three cross training workouts. I am so glad I finally tried Dance Trance but probably should not have done the class and then run 11 miles on Saturday. Everything hurt on Sunday. Luckily, I was able to make it Yoga and that helped immensely.

Key Workouts:

Easy Run: Two out of two.

Tempo Run: Six miles total with four at tempo.

Long Run: 11 miles

Do you run with a group or solo?

Any experience with joining a running club? I must admit to being a little nervous about it. (What if I’m the slowest person there and onward though my normal list of neurosis.)