Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My First Triathlon!

Yesterday I signed up for my very first triathlon!

tri rock

The TriRock Annapolis sprint tri. Ahhhh!!!!!

I am so nervous and excited, but mostly just nervous.

See, I've got the whole running thing down, and I'm actually not a terrible swimmer, but that whole biking thing? Yea I'm terrified.

There are so many rules, like drafting and passing and what you can and can't do, and it just seems so complicated.

Combine that with the fact that I don't own a bike, nor do I really know what to look for in a bike, and it's safe to say the bike leg has me a little overwhelmed.

I'm also nervous because I know tri's involve way more logistics than typical road races. I know nothing about setting up a transition area, how to change a flat on a bike or what to look for in a wetsuit, and it's all a lot to think about.

But the race isn't until May, so I have plenty of time to learn and there's no need to panic just yet.

I plan to start by buying a bike as a Christmas present to myself. I'm hoping I'll be able to score an older model at a slightly cheaper price at the end of the year since bike stores will want to clear them out to make room for the newer models.

If any slightly more experienced triathletes have advice on what to look for in a bike (ideally one that won't break the bank), please share in the comments!

For now I plan to enjoy the off season, while doing lots of reading about training for triathlons!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Anything But Running

That has been my motto when it's come to workouts lately.

Ever since the half marathon in Philly, I've wanted to be active, but running is the absolute last thing I've wanted to do. You'd think my running shoes had the plague or something, that's the kind of distance I've been keeping.

Luckily, while I was home in PA, I was able to hit the pool with my mom a few times for some really great workouts.


My mom swims with a masters swim group, and every morning they get to the pool and one of the ladies in the group has put together a workout everyone can follow.

On Wednesday, the workout looked something like this:

swim workout
I followed the workout in the right column.

Lots of short sprints!

That's my kind of pool workout! I get really bored swimming longer distances and lose count really easily on the number of laps I've done.

I impressed myself by being able to complete the entire workout. (Though I did bust out the fins for the 125's and 150's because I couldn't quite make the time intervals without them.)

In total, we swam about 2,775 yards.

Not too shabby for having not been in a pool for more than two years.

I was actually really bummed the pool was closed on Black Friday because I was itching to get another pool workout in.

I've been doing some research on pools in D.C. because I definitely plan to spend a lot of time this off season in the pool.

Monday, November 28, 2011

NYC & Priscella Queen of the Desert

It has been so nice being home in PA for more than week. I'm kind of sad to head back to D.C. today, but I did get to do a little bit of everything on this trip home: spend time with family, catch up with high school friends and take a nice day trip to NYC.

Bryant Park
Me and my mom in Bryant Park

My mom and I like to take day trips into New York when I'm home because it's such a short ride away from Allentown. Sometimes we go for no reason and just walk around enjoying the city, and during the holidays check out the fun window displays.


But this time we had a great reason.

We were going to see my friend Steve in his second Broadway show, Priscella Queen of the Desert!

Jess and Steve
Me and Steve after the show

Back in the day, Steve and I used to dance at the same dance academy. (Yes, I used to dance, from when I was four years old until I graduated high school.) And his family goes to my parents' church, so I guess it's safe to say, we go way back.

I was so excited to see the show. It has been getting amazing reviews, for everything from the incredibly upbeat music to the outlandish and over-the-top costumes, to the funny and sometimes touching plot line about three drag queens road tripping across Australia.

Music list
Songs from the show

Priscella set
Curtain before the show started

Steve plays the role of Young Bernadette, the much-younger version of one of the lead characters. He's also the understudy for one of the leads. I may have secretly been hoping the lead needed a day off after the holidays so we could see Steve in that role. No such luck though!

The first time Steve walked onstage wearing a ridiculous drag costume with fake eyelashes that looked like they were a mile long from my seat in 10th row, I busted out laughing. And I pretty much didn't stop laughing the remainder of the show.

Priscella doors
Yes those are three guys in drag

Steve did an amazing job. (No surprise there. He's an incredibly talented actor/singer/dancer.) The rest of the cast was phenomenal too. Those guys pulled off playing ladies surprisingly well.

After the show, Steve gave us a tour of the costume area, his dressing room and took us up on the stage. It's fun to get a sneak peek at how everything happens behind the scenes.

If you're in NYC, trying to figure out what show to see, go see Priscella (unless you have young kids, then maybe go see Mary Poppins or the Lion King.) You will laugh until you cry.

Oh and what's a trip to NYC without a ridiculous picture with the characters roaming around Time Square:

Time Square

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers from the United States! (And happy Thursday to all my international readers!)

This year, I have lots to be thankful for.

I'm thankful for good health and for great friends and family.

I'm also thankful for all my readers, especially everyone who left me a nice note about my race in Philly over the weekend. Reading your words of encouragement and support put a smile on my face and helped me remember there are lots of other races out there and sometimes bad races happen.


I'm thankful that I had a ton of extra vacation time, which let me take this whole week off to spend with my family in PA. This is the longest stretch of time I've been at home since I graduated from college. It's also the first vacation I've taken in more than a year and a half. Needless to say, I've been enjoying hanging out with my family and spending lots of time relaxing, not thinking about work.


I'm thankful for the fresh air and the lack of traffic in PA. It's so nice to not be breathing bus exhaust every day and even when it was rainy earlier this week it still only took me 20 minutes to get to where I was meeting my friends for dinner rather than the hour plus it would have taken in bad weather in DC. It's really the small things.

I'm thankful for sweatpants and ponytails. It's the look I've been rocking pretty much all week.

I'm thankful for massages. The massage I had earlier this week really helped to loosen up my legs. They're still a little bit tight, but I'm hoping I'll be back to running soon.

What are you thankful for this year?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How To Get Over a Bad Race

I'm still bummed about my less-than-stellar race performance on Sunday, but I'm trying not to dwell on it.

Instead I'm distracting myself with other things.

Retail Therapy:
My mom and I hit the outlets to do some shopping yesterday. This served two purposes. First, it got us out of the house and got our legs moving and the blood flowing to loosen everything up. Second, shopping usually cheers me up. I was on the hunt for a new sweater dress, but had no luck finding one that I loved. If you've got any suggestions on where to look, let me know.

A Massage:
I'm getting my first massage in ages today. It's going to be one of those hurts-so-good massages where I ask the therapist to work out every little kink in my IT bands and quads, but I'm also going to use the massage as a chance to relax a bit. I have one hour to think about nothing. It's been way too long since I've had time to just turn off my mind and it will be a nice treat.

Dinner with Friends:
One of the perks of being back in PA this week is that I have extra time to catch up with my friends from high school. A few of us are getting together for dinner tonight and I'm so looking forward to seeing anyone. It will be the first time in more than a year that we've all been together at once. Hanging out with non-runner friends means we'll get to talk about everything but running.

Thinking About My Next Race:
Having another race on the calendar is helpful, since I know I won't have to end my race season on such a sour note. I'm running the Hot Chocolate 15K in two weeks. I've never run a 15K before so it's an automatic PR, and it's a race I'm running just for fun, so no pressure about performance. Plus there's free chocolate at the end of the race. It's pretty much guaranteed to be a great way to end race season.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Philadelphia Half Marathon Race Recap

I put off writing this blog post all day yesterday, thinking by this morning I would have a better idea of what to say about yesterday's race.

Family and friends race morning
Some friends and family who ran the race

But I've still got nothing.

I didn't have a ton of fun (mainly because I was in pain the whole time).

I didn't break any new time goals (in fact I finished slower than my last couple of races).

I ran with a friend, which I thought would be helpful in pushing me toward breaking the two hour mark, but in the end I think screwed me over. I felt guilty the entire time because my friend is so much faster than I am and I just felt like I was slowing us down.

in corral
In the corrals, probably the last time I smiled the whole race.

At the end of the day, it's my fault. I didn't run my own race. I let me friend set the pace and I tried to keep up. We started out slower than my goal pace, but probably still too fast for me.

My legs felt like deadweight for most of the race. I took a short walk break through the water stop between miles three and four and after that my legs felt a little looser, but they tightened up again not much later.

I couldn't even enjoy the spectators standing three and four deep along Chestnut Street because I was focusing on my crappy breathing, how sore and tired my legs were and how everything about this race felt wrong.

Spectators on Chestnut St.

I passed my dad somewhere after the 10K and seeing him perked me up a little bit (he also got some shots of great signs along Chestnut Street while trying to take pictures of me and my mom).

This one was my favorite: Hurry up Caitlin, it's your move in Words With Friends.
Also my mom is the one in the pink shirt and black tights.

By the time I got to mile seven I was angry. Angry at my friend for running the race with me when I wanted to run it by myself. Angry with myself for not being able to run my own race.

After the next water stop, I finally put on my music, tuned out everything around me, friend included, and tried to have fun.

The music was definitely helpful and gave me a small pick me up. I high-fived the Drexel frat boys and pushed up the big hill from mile seven to eight without a real problem. I felt strong through mile nine, but the wheels fell off when I was going up the steep hill between miles nine and ten.

I stopped to walk and take a Gu, but at that point, mentally I was over the race. My legs hurts, my ankle hurt and I just wanted to be done. I felt so defeated.

And I think a huge part of it was that I felt like I was failing in front of a friend.

If I go out and have a bad race when I'm running by myself, no one else knows.

But in this race, I felt like my crappy failure of a run was on display for my friend to see, and failing in front of a crowd sucks so much more than failing when no one is watching.

By miles 11 and 12, both of my quads were seizing horribly and I could feel the blisters on the bottom of my feet.

I somehow managed to enjoy the race for the last .1. I smiled coming down the hill, seeing the finish line and listening to the crowds. And I was happy to cross the finish line.

Medal and bib

My final time was 2:07:51.

I wish I had a mulligan to do this race over again. I would do so many things differently. I would listen to my music from the start. I would set my own pace. I would run by myself and run my own race and be happy with whatever the outcome because I know I gave my best.

Live and learn, I guess.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Philadelphia Half Marathon Goals

The race is officially three days away and I really can't wait for it to get here. For the most part, my training has gone really well and I feel prepared for this race. I'm antsy to get out there and see what I can do.

Philly last year

But as far as goals for this race, I'm having a hard time establishing them.

I've noticed in my running that when I set goals, I tend to do a million times worse than when I just go out and run for fun without a specific goal in mind. (Remember my crazy six minute PR back in September when I did a race on a whim?)

Oh hey PR by total accident

When I've gone into a race striving for a PR, I've bonked. When I've gone into a race to have fun, I've set PRs or finished mere seconds away from my PR.

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

That all makes me really leery to set a goal for this race.

Sure I have one in the back of my mind. There's a time I'd like to beat, but I'm worried that if I focus on it too much, I'll never get anywhere close.

On the flip side, I'm worried that if I don't pay enough attention, that I'll finish a minute or two over my goal time and be annoyed at myself for not trying harder, for not pushing it more and for failing to meet my goal.

Rocky wouldn't like that

So what do I do?

Do I go out there with my eye on the prize or do I take a more laid back approach and have fun with this race and let my time fall where it will?

I've been agonizing over this situation for days and I just don't know what approach I should take on race day.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Philadelphia Half Marathon Taper

I love taper and it couldn't have come at a more perfect time! Last week and this week I have been swamped at work, I'm dealing with my Gmail account getting hacked and I feel like I'm sort of falling behind on life, so running has really taken a back seat.

But hey, that's kind of the whole point of taper, to run shorter and easier and give your legs lots of time to recover.

I've also been enjoying stuffing my face with carbs. My waistline might not like it, but come race day I will have plenty of fuel in the tank!

Training So Far:
Week One
Week Two
Week Three
Week Four
Week Five
Week Six
Week Seven
Week Eight
Week Nine

Week Ten:

Monday: 6 x 800

Last round of speed work for this training cycle. My legs sort of felt like bricks, but I pushed through and got it done.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 3 miles easy

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 4 miles easy

This was supposed to be a six miler, but I had some terrible cramping and major tightness in my calves, so I decided to cut it short. I stopped to stretch a few times on the run, but nothing really seemed to loosen my legs up. At this point in training, better to call it short and spend more time stretching than push it and mess something up.

Sunday: Football playoffs

Football playoffs were awesome. We had a double header, with a pretty impressive come from behind victory in the first game. Unfortunately we lost in the semi-finals, which ended our season. My legs took a beating in the games though. The first game we were down a player, so there was a ton of extra running around. I also got cleated in ankle and accidentally tackled a couple of times throughout the day.

Needless to say I'm sore and I'm using the early part of this week to rest and recover. I'm hoping for two nice and easy runs sometime in the remainder of this week and then I'll be good to go come race day.

Four more days! Can't wait!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Best Tailgate of the Season

Well football tailgate season has officially come to an end. I'm sad to see it go because it's my favorite time of year. Nothing beats hanging out with friends, grilling some delicious food and then watching a game.

But at least we ended on a high note.


This tailgate was extra special because not only were my Maryland friends there, but a huge part of my family was there and a friend of mine from middle/high school that went to Notre Dame.

My brother and Aunt Chris

tailgate 1
My college roommate Emily and me

We rolled up to Redskins stadium plenty early to get in line to get in the parking lots.

People pretty much parked their cars and started tailgated in the streets until the lots opened.

tailgating in the streets
Tailgating in the streets

We eventually got into the lots and all set up, and I was overwhelmed by the insane amount of food. My cousin Kenny made the best guacamole I've ever eaten in my life, my mom brought pork BBQ, I brought stuff to make smores. Everyone else brought stuff too and we easily filled three huge tables with all the food.

After hanging with my Terp friends, Emily and I made our way over to the Notre Dame tailgate to catch up with Matt and make new Notre Dame friends.

ND tailgate
Me and Matt

ND friends
New ND friends

It was dark by the time we got back to the Maryland tailgate and I was greeted by my friend Jon torching my diploma.


(Don't worry it wasn't my actual diploma....he scanned his, photoshopped in my name and then lit it on fire because I was rockin' my Notre Dame gear.)

burning diploma

Eventually we had to pack it in and head into the game.

Fam and matt
Matt, my parents and me. My poor mom cheered for UMD.

The game itself was actually not very exciting. That will happen when Maryland sucks at football. And to add insult to injury, Maryland's quarterback got hurt and is out the rest of the season. Fantastic.

As Jon said, we may have lost the game, but we won the tailgate.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Taper Goals

I have the weirdest form of taper madness ever.

Some people get all antsy that they can't run and end up squeezing in extra runs.

I however have the opposite probably. I'm antsy as heck for the race to get here, but I'm not trying to do a lot of running in the meantime. Instead, I'm doing a lot of resting.

For some reason come taper time, I look at the runs I have planned and think they're too much, that I shouldn't be pushing that hard and that I should take more rest time to let my legs recover.

The last thing I want to to show up on race day with dead legs.

So during taper I am extremely liberal with my rest. In fact, I'm probably much too liberal, so I'm setting some goals for this round of tapering.

Ideally I'd like to get two more runs in this week and then do three easier runs next week to keep my legs feeling fresh, but rested for race day. I'm not going to push it too hard in the runs. I just want to get some quality time on my feet in before the race.

I've also been noticing some major tightness in my hips and quads lately. I should probably put taper to good use and spend some quality time with the foam roller working out some of the tightness.

Just a little more than a week until race day! I wish it would hurry up and get here already.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Anaheim Ducks Movember Shave Event

Last week I was invited to attend an event at the Art of Shaving in D.C. where players from the Anaheim Ducks were getting their last shaves before the start of Movember.

Ducks post shave
NHL MVP Corey Perry, Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne post shave

Movember is a global movement to raise awareness about prostate cancer and other cancers affecting men. As part of the movement, men are encouraged to grow mustaches the entire month of November. Some people get really into it and offices have competitions to see who can grow the best facial hair and raise the most money in support of the cause.

According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2011 there were an estimated 240,890 new cases of prostate cancer and 33,720 deaths.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in men. It most often occurs in men over the age of 65, and a person's risk increases if there's a family history.

Several players from teams across the NHL get involved in the Movember movement, growing mustaches and encouraging fans to donate to their fundraising campaigns.

Movember helmet
Specially designed Movember helmet for Jonas Hiller

At the last shave event at the Art of Shaving, the players from the Ducks were excited to be getting involved. I had a fun time hanging out with some of the guys, listening to them talk about why Movember was an important cause for them and watching them get shaved....and in some cases shave each other.

George Parros pre-shave
George Parros pre-shave

Parros getting shaved by Perry

shaving 2
Mid-way through

Parros sans facial hair
And he looks totally different

I was really glad I took the time to attend the event. I feel like female cancers get a ton of attention and awareness because women are more open to talking about health issues. Male cancer awareness tends to fly more under the radar, but I think it's just as important to talk about those health issues too. Everyone has a dad, brother, male cousin or close friend who could probably benefit from the information. I was happy to see NHL players getting involved to help spread the word.

I'll wrap up with a shameless plug for my friend Jason. He's participating in Movember this year through an office competition. If you're interested, you can find his fundraising page here.

You can learn more about the Movember movement and how to get involved and check out my friend's story in the Washington Times about the Art of Shaving event. (Photos in the story courtesy of yours truly!)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Philadelphia Half Marathon Training Week Nine

After majorly slacking on my training in Week Eight, I was determined to rebound in Week Nine and hit all my workouts for my last week of heavy training before taper. Motivation was running high last week and I had no problem with any of my workouts...even my two hour long run that I ended up doing on the treadmill.

Training So Far:
Week One
Week Two
Week Three
Week Four
Week Five
Week Six
Week Seven
Week Eight

Week Nine:

Monday: 4x1600

When I initially started doing mile repeats, I didn't love them, but they are slowly but surely starting to grow on me. I still prefer shorter intervals so I can run faster, but I know longer intervals have their place too.

Tuesday: 3 miles easy

Wednesday: 6 mile tempo run

By this point, I think everyone knows how I feel about tempo runs, but hey, at least I got it done.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Two hour long run

This was my last long run before taper and I wanted it to go well so I could wrap up heavy training on a high note. Unfortunately, Thursday night I didn't sleep very well and I woke up at 3 a.m. ready to go. At that point I figured I had two choices, get up and get the run done, or try to go back to sleep and risk being exhausted when my alarm went off and it was actually time to run. I opted to get up at 3 and do the run at the gym. Definitely not ideal, but I knew it was the only way to ensure the run happened. Running on a treadmill for two hours was pretty much the most boring thing in the world, but I jammed to my tunes and played mind games with myself to make the time go faster. As a bonus, the endorphins from the run carried me pretty much all the way through the work day. I had an insanely productive Friday, and then promptly fell asleep at 5 p.m.

Saturday: Rest and tailgate

Sunday: Football

We were supposed to have a double header, but the first team forfeited, and we needed to win our second game to make the playoffs. It was a pretty closely matched game for a while, and with two minutes left we were down a touchdown. Because we are awesome at football, we executed a beautiful offensive drive and scored to take the lead. The other team had the ball with 63 seconds, when their QB threw a pick to end the game. Victory! Playoffs start next week!

Total mileage: 26.5ish

I'm so excited that taper is finally here. I am getting so antsy for this race to happen. I feel well prepared and I'm just ready to race. I know there's nothing I can do now but keep my legs loose and enjoy lots of delicious carby foods. My schedule is insanely busy the next couple of weeks, so here's hoping the time flies by and race day gets here before we know it.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Tailgate Season Coming To An End

Saturday was Maryland's last home football game of the season. Part of me is sad to see tailgate season coming to an end, but part of me is very, very glad. I can't take much more tailgating in the cold weather to watch an absolutely terrible football team. In the beginning of the season, everyone was super excited about Terps football and thought we had a chance to be somewhat decent.

Tailgate crew
From the beginning of the season when people still cared

As the season went on and the Terps became more and more of an embarrassment, people got less excited to tailgate. And people definitely stopped caring about which uniforms the Terps were wearing on game day. (Remember when that was a big deal?)

Next weekend will officially wrap up my football tailgate season. Maryland will be playing Notre Dame at Redskins Stadium and we have a pretty epic tailgate planned to end the season on a high note.

My parents and brother are coming down for the game and a bunch of my extended family will be there too.

Family tailgate
The fam at a tailgate earlier this season

Our family is pretty evenly split between Notre Dame and Maryland alums.

On the Maryland side you have me, my cousin Laura and her husband Nate.

On the Notre Dame side you have my cousin Amy and her husband Rick.

My Dad's a huge Notre Dame fan and I grew up watching Notre Dame football, so all season long, I've been pretty torn about who to cheer for. I've had friends from both schools lobby for my loyalty.

But I'm officially cheering for Notre Dame.

I don't want Maryland's coach to be able to hang his hat on a "big win on national TV." He's pretty much run our football program into the ground, taking a team with nine wins last season, and turning them into a two-win team this season and turning Danny O'Brien (last season's ACC Rookie of the Year) into a bench warmer.

Wow I don't sound bitter or anything.

End rant!

Anyway, GO IRISH!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Financial Friday: Donating to Charity

When I wrote about budgeting a few weeks ago a lot of people commented about how donating to charity should be built into every budget. Whether or not you donate to charity is up to you, but if it's something that's important to you, then you should do a little research first.

Know Where Your Money Is Going:

It's nice to think that all the money you donate is going directly to feed starving children in Africa (or whatever your cause is), but some charities spend a portion of their donations on upkeep fees, administration services or other in-house activities and only a small portion of each donation goes to help the children. Before you give any money, make sure your comfortable with how your donation is being used. If you don't know how the money will be spent, ask.

Research Charities On Charity Navigator:

Charity Navigator is a really cool tool that lets you look up a charity and get a breakdown of its accountability and transparency. You'll get an idea of where the bulk of the charity's donation money is spent as well as a glimpse at how much money the charity is bringing in. You can also read reviews from people who work with the charity, but as with all reviews, take them with a grain of salt.

Just for fun, I looked up some of the big charities that you see at race events. If you're curious you can check out the pages for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (Team in Training) and the American Cancer Society (DetermiNation).

Avoid Charity Scams:

As we get closer to the holidays, charity scams tend to increase since people tend to be a bit more generous this time of year. If you start getting calls asking for donations be a little be wary. The Federal Trade Commission actually has some really great advice on how to spot a fraudulent "charity" that is just trying to steal your money. I definitely recommend you take a look at what they say before you start donating this year.

Deciding whether or not you're going to donate to a charity is a very personal decision, and so is deciding which charity to donate to. Donating doesn't have to be a big year long commitment where you pledge to give a certain amount each month. Instead you could race for a charity and help fundraise for them, or you could give a one time donation to a cause you feel strongly about.

Whatever you decide to do, just do a little research so you know that your money is really going to a good cause.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Chris Young Concert and Songs For Your Playlists

Last night my college roommate Emily had an extra ticket to the Chris Young concert in Silver Spring and asked me to tag along with her. Since I loved watching Chris Young when he opened for Blake Shelton at the Maryland State Fair this summer, I jumped at the chance to see him again.

Chris Young Concert

Chris Young is a country artist and has some pretty amazing, not-too-twangy songs.

In fact, I have several of them on a variety of my running playlists, so I thought I'd share a few of my favorites, in case you're looking for some songs to spice up your own playlists.

Upbeat, Fun Chris Young Songs:

These songs are perfect for when you need a pick me up on your runs.

1. Save Water, Drink Beer
2. Who's Gonna Take Me Home
3. Gettin' You Home
4. I Can Take It From There
5. Lost

Slightly More Mellow Songs:

These songs are good for the middle miles of a long race, where you are just trying to cruise and not push the pace too much.

1. Voices
2. Tomorrow
3. You
4. The Man I Want To Be

His mellow songs are actually some of my favorites. I'm pretty obsessed with Voices and Tomorrow, and this summer I listened to Tomorrow on repeat all the time. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I will probably end up listening to it again all day today. It's just that good.

What's the one song that you can listen to on repeat over and over again and not get sick of?

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Philadelphia Half Marathon Training Week Eight

Week Eight was a cutback week, something I desperately needed at this point in training from both a mental and a physical standpoint. Unfortunately, I took the "cutback" part just a little too seriously and ended up slacking big time. Although, I have to admit my legs felt pretty well rested after this cutback week.

Training So Far:
Week One
Week Two
Week Three
Week Four
Week Five
Week Six
Week Seven

Week Eight:

Monday: Rest

After my doubleheader football game on Sunday, I could barely walk I was so sore. The entire back of my body hurt from my lower back down through my butt, hamstrings, calves and ankles. Getting in and out of my work chair was painful, so a rest day was definitely in order.

Tuesday: 3 miles easy

I was still sore from football, so I took this run nice and slow.

Wednesday: 5 x 800

Since I skipped my intervals on Monday, I rescheduled them for Wednesday, subbing them for my tempo run. I'd prefer intervals to a tempo run any day, and this workout went pretty well.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Unplanned Rest

I was supposed to do a long run of 6-9 miles on Friday, but in the morning I was too tired to get up. I planned to do it after work, but then I got invited to happy hour with friends, which sounded way more appealing than running.

Saturday: Tailgating and Rest

Sunday: Spectating at MCM

I'm counting spectating at MCM as time on my feet. I stood from about 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. and by the time I got back home my feet were killing me. Sure it wasn't running, but six and a half hours of standing counts for something in my book.

Total Mileage: 7.5ish miles

So yea, Week Eight was a bit more of a cutback week than it should have been. Skipping my long run was probably not the best idea ever, but I just couldn't muster up the energy and the willpower to get out of the door. But mentally the cutback week was what I needed. I'm already feeling more motivated about my workouts this week and I'm determined to get them done and finish out training on a high note. Only a little over two weeks until race day!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Ryan Hall's Advice on Motivation, Training and Preventing Burnout

This weekend at the Marine Corps Marathon, I had a chance to interview Ryan Hall as part of Rodale and Nissan's Innovation for Endurance program. Ryan was at the marathon expo and finish line festival signing autographs and sharing tips training and nutrition. He took about 15 minute out of his schedule Sunday morning to chat with me about motivation, training and how to prevent burnout.

Ryan and Sara Hall
With Ryan and Sara Hall back in 2009

This post is set up as a Q&A, but I've paraphrased the questions and answers to keep things brief.

Q: Now that you are self-coached, how to you plan your workouts and stay motivated?

RH: It's been a culmination of what I've learned from other coaches and building off that momentum. You don't want to completely throw out tradition because those things work, but at the same time you want to break new ground and try new things. If my body responds well to a work out, I'll remember that and use it. I take a lot of what I learned with coaches and change it up slightly. The easiest way to stay motivated is to make sure you're having fun and looking forward to your runs. That's the beauty of being self-coached. You can workout when you want and do workouts that sound fun.

Q: What advice to have for average self-coached runners when it comes to selecting workouts?

RH: It depends on your personality. Some people like repeating the same workouts over and over and that works for them. I like to go for it and alternate things. Think about what would be fun and experiment with that. If I only had time to do a few workouts, I'd do a tempo run one day and a long run another with a few days rest in between. Those are the most important. Time on your feet is important too. The longest I'll run is two and a half hours since my marathons take less time than that. For the average runner you might not need to go out and run four and a half hours. It's better to err on the side of going into a race slightly undertrained and fresh than fried and beaten up.

Q: How do you prevent burnout?

RH: A year ago, I started adding one day of complete rest to my schedule. I think, "Today I am not a runner." I don't wear my running watch, I don't do anything physical. It's healthy from a mental standpoint to have that break. Rest works. It keeps me fresh.

Q: What is your pre-race routine? Do you change it up at all based on the weather or the race day conditions?

RH: I follow the same routine. I've run nine marathons and I repeat the same thing. In training, I practice what to eat. I do the exact same warm up that I did in training. It becomes a routine and my body knows what's coming next.

I had such a great time chatting with Ryan. He was extremely personable and friendly and shared some really great advice. To get more great training advice from Ryan, you can check out his videos and training plans on the Innovation for Endurance Facebook page.

A big thanks to Ryan for taking the time out of his extremely busy schedule to take some time and talk to me and also a huge thanks to Rodale and Nissan for setting this up.