2014: Year Two in Review!

2014 in review

Stats

Number of runs: 209
Total distance ran: 801.4 miles
– on pavement: 647.7 miles
– on treadmill: 129.7 miles
– on trails: 12.3 miles
– on track: 8.8 miles
– on beach: 3.0 miles
Total time ran: 160:43
Total elevation gained: 19,760 ft

January

Total mileage: 53.6 miles
Best week: 15.0 miles
Best mile: 11:21
Best 5 km: 38:42
I started out the year running my first half marathon, the Walt Disney World Half Marathon! I was ill prepared, but I had a lot of fun. After that, I began training for the Country Music Half Marathon in April.

February

Total mileage: 77.8 miles
Best week: 20.5 miles
Best mile: 9:55
Best 5 km: 32:41
Training for the Country Music Half continued, and I continued to get stronger. I ran the Hot Chocolate 15k in the middle of the month in 1:46:48, which estimated I was on track to run the half marathon in a little over 2:30:00.

March

Total mileage: 101.7 miles
Best week: 28.1 miles
Best mile: 9:01
Best 5 km: 31:25
My first 100+ mile month! To put this in perspective, I had only run about 600 miles total (counting both this year and last!) so one sixth of my entire running mileage was done in this month. I ran the Fangtastic 5k mid-month to a new 5k PR of 31:25 and continued training for the Country Music Half.

April

Total mileage: 84.2 miles
Best week: 24.1 miles
Best mile: 10:01
Best 5 km: 32:05
Shoes Purchased: Skechers GoRun3
I started out the month with my first five mile race, where I performed better than my expectations. Half marathon training continued until the end of the month when I ran the Country Music Half Marathon and achieved a 40 minute PR with a time of 2:27:43!

May

Total mileage: 39.2 miles
Best week: 12.2 miles
Best mile: 10:39
Best 5 km: 34:08
Shoes Purchased: Saucony Kinvara 5
May started off relaxing, but soon geared up to train for a sub-30 5k! Unfortunately, my right knee started hurting early in the month, so my training was derailed to take care of it.

June

Total mileage: 46.5 miles
Best week: 13.9 miles
Best mile: 9:39
Best 5 km: 31:44 (treadmill)
This month started off with the Barrel Fest 5 Miler, but I was still having knee issues, so I was happy just to finish! Due to my ongoing injury and events like Bonnaroo, it turned out to be a lower mileage month. I decided to postpone my sub-30 5k training until later in the year.

July

Total mileage: 62.6 miles
Best week: 16.6 miles
Best mile: 9:29
Best 5 km: 31:29 (treadmill)
My knee was feeling better, so my mileage started to go back up this month. The Music City July 4th 5k kicked off July, but it was hot and I was dehydrated, so I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped. After some ups and downs in training, I decided to start low heart rate training at the end of the month to start gearing up for next year’s half marathons.

August

Total mileage: 54.8 miles
Best week: 18.9 miles
Best mile: 8:53
Best 5 km: 29:15
After the fantastic sub-30 PR I got at the Smyrna Parks 5k at the beginning of the month, I focused on low heart rate training. No speed work. No tempo runs. Nothing with a heart rate about 148. It didn’t last long, as it drove me crazy to run that slow. It also seemed to really mess with my speed and endurance, which I struggled with at the end of the month.

September

Total mileage: 68.3 miles
Best week: 21.2 miles
Best mile: 9:22
Best 5 km: 32:56
The month started with a disappointing race at the Franklin Classic 10k. For most of this month, I was doing the 21 Day Fix program, so I tried to keep my runs a little slower. However, once I got to the beach in Florida for vacation, my feet took off, and I posted some of my speediest times for the entire month. I also got to run barefoot on the beach for the first time!

October

Total mileage: 69.3 miles
Best week: 22.5 miles
Best mile: 9:07
Best 5 km: 30:05
October started with a tweaked ankle. I rested it a week, but soon started on a 33-day running streak to celebrate my birthday. I had two races this month: Go Commando 5k and Halloween Hunt 5 Miler. While no PRs were achieved, both races were a lot of fun!

November

Total mileage: 80.9 miles
Best week: 22.0 miles
Best mile: 8:46
Best 5 km: 29:33
My running streak continued through the first half of November. In the middle of the month, I had a fantastic race at the Hammer Down 10k, where I got a PR of 1:01:49! After that, I began half marathon training for my goal race next March. I hit a bit of a snag at the end of the month, when a sharp pain started in my left foot on a routine 5 miler.

December

Total mileage: 59.7 miles
Best week: 22.2 miles
Best mile: 9:06 (treadmill)
Best 5 km: 31:02 (treadmill)
Due to my foot pain, I skipped out on the 5k I was signed up for at the beginning of the month (my first DNS). After the doctor confirmed there was nothing seriously wrong with my foot, I continued training for my spring half marathons.

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Week of 12/22/14 – 12/28/14: Tom King Half Training, Week 6

I hope everyone had a good holiday month! I will do a post later detailing the running-related gifts I received!

week of 12/22/14 to 12/28/14

Monday: 2.0 miles (10:52 avg pace)
Tuesday: 12x400m – 7.0 miles total (11:17 avg pace)
Wednesday: Christmas Eve, rest day!
Thursday: Christmas Day, rest day!
Friday: 4mi goal pace – 5.0 miles total (10:34 avg pace)
Saturday: rest day
Sunday: 8.0 miles (10:59 avg pace)

This week was a little complicated because it was the first week I was supposed to run five days, but I didn’t get a choice on when my rest days were due to the holidays. (I felt like I was rushing around enough as it is!)

I knew I needed to recover from last Sunday’s long run (I was sore!), so I planned to do one of my two easy runs on Monday. Tuesday was my first speed workout (ugh, seven miles on a treadmill…).

After two days of (much needed) recovery, I did my goal pace run on Friday. I ended up taking Saturday as a rest day, instead of doing an easy run, because that goal pace run was pretty rough (confession: I took one brief walk break during my goal pace miles…I still averaged 10:17 min/mi). Then I had my long run on Sunday.

This week is going to be just as hectic (Preds game and New Years’ Eve), so I’ll probably only end up doing four runs this week as well. Maybe next week I can get back on my actual schedule!

Week of 12/15/14 – 12/21/14: Tom King Half Training, Week 5

week of 12/15/14 to 12/21/14

Monday: rest day
Tuesday: rest day
Wednesday: 4mi steady – 5.0 miles total (11:15 avg pace)
Thursday: 3.3 miles (11:44 avg pace)
Friday: rest day
Saturday: 2.5 miles (10:51 avg pace)
Sunday: 7.0 miles (10:51 avg pace)

I got in all my runs this week, though some were a little shorter than what my training plan says as I recover from that weird foot thing that happened.

My steady paced run on Wednesday was pretty mentally tough. No walk breaks for the four miles (took one briefly after my warmup before I started the steady pace) on the treadmill. My steady pace is 10:45-11:15 min/mi and my average for those four was 10:59 min/mi, so looks like I did it perfectly. I am, however, now absolutely terrified of my goal pace four mile run next week, which is the exact same thing but faster.

I really wish I could do these specific pace runs outside, to make sure I really can feel the pace. I’m thinking I might start heading out to the group run before the rest of the group shows up, getting in a mile or two and then finishing up with them (they typically do 3-4 miles).

My long run went pretty well, albeit a little fast. I felt so amazing at the halfway point, that I decided to pick up the pace on the last 3.5 miles and ended up with beautifully perfect negative splits:

negative splits

I’m a little apprehensive about this week. This is the first week with speed work AND running five days a week. Not sure whose great idea it was to plan that for the week of Christmas, so we’ll see what I can actually fit in.

Week of 12/8/14 – 12/14/14: Tom King Half Training, Week 4

week of 12/8/14 to 12/14/14

Monday: rest day
Tuesday: 2.6 miles (10:38 avg pace)
Wednesday: strength – core (pilates)
Thursday: 4x1mi tempo – 5.4 miles total (10:36 avg pace)
Friday: rest day
Saturday: rest day
Sunday: 5.6 miles (11:23 avg pace)

After the doctor told me there was nothing wrong with my foot on Tuesday, I joined up with the group that evening to test it out. Yes, it was too speedy. I will eventually learn.

We had a meeting with some therapists from Star Physical Therapy after our run, which was informative. They answered a lot of questions about injuries and stretches and exercises you can do. (Clamshells…I should start doing those again.) They did put a little fear in me that I could still have a stress fracture even though the pain is intermittent and even though the x-ray didn’t show anything.

On Thursday, I thought I’d stick to my training plan and attempt my tempo run even though it scared the bejesus out of me. Funny how even when you know you can do something, having run faster/farther before, and it can still terrify you. Maybe because I had to do it on a treadmill. It always seems harder on a treadmill. AND I’d only done 5 miles on a treadmill three times before. But it was no problem. I’m not going to go as far as to say it was easy, but I never felt like I really wanted to stop and walk or anything.

According to my doctor, I shouldn’t run two days in a row for a week or two, hence why I only did three runs this week. He also told me not to do a long run this weekend. I did manage to do some core work on Wednesday, so that’s something. I need to get back in a good routine after taking last week off; I can feel the holiday calories creeping onto my hips!

Race Report: Hammer Down 10k – November 15, 2014

I was originally planning on running the Rockin’ Marathon Relay again this year, which was scheduled for this weekend. However, a month or so before the race, they cancelled it due to lack of participation. Thus, I scrambled to find another birthday weekend race.

It’s a popular weekend for races because of the cooler weather, but, ultimately, I chose the Hammer Down because the charity they were supporting was Our Kids, who provide counseling and medical evaluations for victims of child sexual abuse.

They also had an appealing downtown 10k option. After my disappointing 10k in September, I decided I would try again. I didn’t plan on racing as hard as I had planned to race that one, but I did want to attempt a PR at the very least.

Race Day

This race happened right as our first cold snap of the season came through. It had been in the 60s earlier in the week, but was below freezing the morning of the race. Brr! I bundled up with a half-zip, jacket, tights, and some fun birthday socks that I had bought for the race.

birthday socks

I got to the race fairly early so I could get a parking spot before they closed down the streets for the kids’ 1k race that started at 7am. It was freezing out, but they nicely had some portable heaters out so we could try to keep warm before the start. Tearing myself away from that heater to head to start line was the hardest thing ever.

Mile 1: 10:03
This wasn’t a big race, so there was a pretty small group at the start (only 129 finishers between both the 5k and 10k). Most of them were faster than me, so, of course, I started too fast. Meaning, I was running at an 8-9 min pace before a hill finally slowed me down to a more reasonable speed. Also, my car key fell out of my pocket right after the start of the race. (I had unzipped my pocket to put my hand in to keep warm and forgot to zip it back.) I heard someone say something about a key, but by the time I realized it was my key, I was like, “Eh, someone will pick it up and turn it in. I don’t want to stop running to look for it.” Yes, I am that trusting of people.

Mile 2: 10:41
I don’t remember anything remarkable about this mile. I just tried to maintain a steady, comfortable pace. I wasn’t pushing at all. We passed the first water station, so I took a quick walk break. My fingers, which had been frozen the entire first mile, started to thaw out towards the end of this mile.

Mile 3: 10:20
Another comfortable mile. The people at the second water station wished me a happy birthday. While I had been grumbling to myself the first two miles about not wearing gloves, by this mile I was happy that I hadn’t.

Mile 4: 10:05
Around the halfway point, I finally looked at my watch and started doing calculations in my head. Yep, I was probably going to PR. I decided to push a little to see what I could do. There was a guy who had been running about a quarter mile ahead of me the entire time. I made it my goal to catch up with him.

Mile 5: 9:48
I passed him on a hill at the start of the fifth mile. He said, “Wow, you’re just floating up the hill!” and I thanked him for making me run faster so I could catch him. I continued on and passed another guy.

Mile 6: 9:02
I decided to give my all on the last mile. I passed two more guys, and I was trying to catch up with a woman who was ahead of me (just in case she was in my age group), but she turned her speed on as well, so I never did.

Final 0.2 (0.22 to my Garmin): 1:48 (8:19 pace)
I had been so steadily increasing my speed over the last mile that my sprint in didn’t even really feel like a sprint. As I got near to the finish line, I was in complete shock to see the time posted was an hour and one minute. I really hadn’t been paying close attention to my watch at all. I gave one final push to get in before the minute clicked over to two.

Official Time: 1:01:49

I cannot believe that I ran a 10k that fast. It surpassed all goals that I had set out for my September 10k. I had no idea I could, and I definitely wasn’t really trying to starting out. I ran pretty much the whole thing, only taking four brief water station walk breaks to make sure I stayed hydrated, and I felt strong the entire time.

After crossing the finish line, I grabbed a water, some chocolate milk, and a banana. I ate my banana, then found some official looking ladies. I asked who I need to talk to if I had lost something. One of the ladies said she could handle it, so I told her about my car key. She went and asked around and came back with it! See, I knew someone would find it.

The guy who I passed after mile four came up to me to tell me good job. He said he tried to catch back up to me but couldn’t.

hammer down 10k

Post-race and beaming!

Race Review

This was the inaugural year for this race, and I think they did a good job! The course was well marked with lots of volunteers and well spaced-out water stations. There wasn’t a plethora of goodies at the end of the race, but that’s not something I expect of such a small race. The goodie bags had some nice things in them like Mary Kay hand cream and Chapstick. The shirt was a long-sleeved tech shirt, which was nice, but I don’t think they were gender-specific, as the small was enormous on me, unfortunately. I don’t see myself running in it.

There was a finish line video posted to the website, which I thought was cool, until I saw that it cut off 10 seconds before I crossed the finish line. What’s up with that?? They did announce your name as you crossed, which is always a nice bonus.

Photo posting has been a little slow. (I delayed this since I thought they were going to post them soon after, but it’s been nearly a month, and I haven’t seen any yet.) But they are free photos, so can’t complain too much.

The age groups were a little larger than normal, so I fell into the 25-34 group. So despite it being a pretty small race, I still finished 10th in my group. It was a speedy group! (Meanwhile, if I had run the 5k instead, I would have gotten the 3rd place age group award!)

Race Analysis

I was generally happy with what I chose to wear that morning. Yes, a pair of gloves would have been nice for the first two miles, but I didn’t need them after that. I may look into investing in a few pairs of cheap gloves I can toss in situations like this.

I need to remember to check my pockets and make sure they are sealed at the start line. (I clearly did not remember this in subsequent weeks when I lost both a glove and my keys again in two separate occasions from the same pocket. Maybe now I will.)

As for my performance, I couldn’t be happier! Check out these charts. This one shows the percentage of time I spent running at certain paces. Note that I spent over 40% of my time at 5k pace. This may mean I need to shift my pace zones down a bit, which means I’m getting faster!

hammer down 10k pace zones

I’m waiting for the day when something appears in the “I can’t run this fast!” zone.

This one shows my 5k splits. I ran the second half sub-30! My 5k PR is 29:14, and I was only 18 seconds off of that in the second half of a 10k, which is crazy. I also ran my fastest mile ever in 8:46.

hammer down 10k - 5k splits

This begs the question, should I actually try to race the Rudolph 5k in December or just wrap myself in Christmas lights and run it for fun? (Oops, I wrote this right after the race in November. We all know what happened with that now.)