Training Tuesday Week 12 and The Homestretch

Well, here we are.

His and Her Garmins

On Sunday me, Aaron, and 4998 other people are going to duke it out over 13.1 miles.

12 weeks ago I set out  to complete a half marathon in 1 hour and 45 minutes, never having run more than 6.2 miles at once and after about 3 months of muscle atrophy.  This past Sunday, as we were cruising through mile 11, I told Aaron that I remembered that first “long” run (maybe 6 miles), and how I kind of wanted to die 15 minutes in.  I am amazed at how much has changed in just 12 short weeks.

I feel kind of silly going through this self-pep talk again since just 2 weeks ago I was preparing for another “first” half marathon, but this race is the one we signed up for in June, and the one that I’ve been looking forward to since then. 

Almost 3 and a half years ago Aaron asked  me to be his girlfriend and to run a half marathon with him.  While it is possible that he made this a requirement to keep me in shape (aka not chubby), this has become an activity that we can get excited about together.  Running has been a huge part of Aaron’s life, and he wanted me to be a part of it, and here we are running half marathons together (well, not really together since he is usually more than a mile ahead of me).  SIDENOTE: As a trade off, he now has to go to operas 3 times a year, endure Sephora on a regular basis, and he can speak intelligently about Hermes scarfs and Burberry plaid.   

So here we head into our final week of training…before our next race (have I mentioned I want to run a full marathon by April and qualify for Boston by the 2013 cut-off in September???).


Saturday: 5 mile run

Sunday: 2 hour run (we stopped at 1 hour and 53 minutes and got in 12 miles)

Monday: Easy 3 mile run, strength training

Tuesday: Interval Training: 1 mile warm-up, 5 sets of alternating quarter mile sprints/quarter mile recovery jogs, 1 mile cool down

Wednesday: Easy 3 mile run, strength training

Thursday: Tempo run: 10 minute warm-up, 10 minutes at half  marathon pace, 10 minutes cool down

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: Rest Day (LOTS of water and carb load…hello, pasta!)


Here is the rest of the training plan:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

Week 9

Week 10

Week 11

Training Tuesday Week 11 and a First Half Marathon

On Sunday, after running 13.1 miles and for a little more than 1 hour and 45 minutes, I sprinted across the Duke City Half Marathon Finish Line!

I ran without music, without any gels, and without a timing device.  I didn’t really get bored and I didn’t ever feel like I was going to die.  I was amazed at how easily my body took on the challenge and went with it.

The race itself was fairly well organized.  Parts of the trail were pretty narrow, the styrofoam cups at the water stations burst at the bottom when you squeezed them, and the 5K walkers seemed to be finishing about the same time, so both Aaron and I got stuck behind some slow people at the very end, but the experience was mostly all good. The course was beautfiul, there were plenty of water/aid stations, milage was clearly marked as was the course, other runners were polite, the volunteers were doing their jobs, and the crowd was encouraging. 

Aaron, trying to finish despite the walker people

Except for the results.

I know it happens every race.  Someone who crossed the finish line doesn’t end up on the results page. I’ve always assumed it was through some fault of their own.  For this race I was that person (and according to the DCM facebook page, there were at least 5 others).

I came off the race, feeling great and wanting to know my time.  I didn’t have a timing device, they weren’t calling out times on the course, and I didn’t see the time when I crossed the finish line, so I literally had no clue how fast I was going.  Plus, I WAS SUPER EXCITED TO KNOW HOW I DID!

It was a little discouraging not to see my name come up on the computer at the event after all the anticipation.  It was downright devastating to not find my name when the results were posted online.  I was frustrated that after working 10 weeks to get to the point where I could run a pretty decent half marathon, it might not even count.

Finally this morning (more than 48 hours after finishing and more than 36 hours after they were initially posted) the results were updated online, and my name magically appeared! As much as I want to not get all whiny and complain about something not all that important in the grand scheme of things, the results of a race, especially a Boston qualifying one, are pretty important. In fact, they are pretty much the whole point for most people! Not knowing if mine existed was kind of scary.


I ran the course in 1 hour, 45 minutes, and 38 seconds! In August I made a goal for myself of 1 hour and 45 minutes for a race at sea level, and I wasn’t sure it was going to happen. BUT I DID IT!  And it felt great! 1,196 people ran the race, and I beat 1011 of them!

Aaron did amazing as usual.  He finished in 1 hour, 30 minutes and 26 seconds, putting him in the top three in his age group (he gets a medal!), and the top 40 overall!

And seriously, this means if my poor couch potato butt that thought 3 miles was a “long” run less than a year ago can do this, I really think anyone can.

It also means that I will have to lower my goal time for the next half marathon coming up in 2 weeks since I met my goal with Duke City. The race directors just altered the course due to construction and we now have to endure a pretty substantial hill at mile 7 and a really narrow course for 2 miles, but I’m feeling ambitious and now that I know I can push myself a little harder, I want to aim for 1 hour and 40 minutes.  We’ll see if I can pull off a 6 minute reduction despite the course changes.  I’m kind of wishing I had more time to train.

Post race (my parents brought me flowers!)S

Since it is the last two weeks before our “REAL”‘ race, we are tapering.


Saturday: We rested, but should be a 5 mile run

Sunday: Half marathon race! (should be a 1 hour, 55 minute run)

Monday: Easy 3 miles, strength training

Tuesday: Hill Intervals: 1.5 mile warm-up, 6 sets of alternating hill sprints (half mile) and recovery, 1.5 mile cool down

Wednesday: Easy 3 miles, strength training

Thursday: Tempo Run: 10 minute warm-up, 20 minutes at half marathon pace, 10 minute cool down

Friday: Rest Day

Also, Giuseppe made it to the final round of Pet-a-Palooza! After this week, I won’t ever beg for votes again (until next year!)….We would appreciate if you would please vote for him HERE.  Thank you!

Training Tuesday Week 10 and a “Practice” Half Marathon

The finish line is in view.  In just a few short weeks, I’ll be running my first half marathon.

Well, that isn’t exactly true.

We’re running one on Sunday, so I guess technically that will be my first.

The Duke City Marathon just happened to fall right in the perfect weekend for a “practice half” for us.  Even though I think Duke City is supposed to be a more serious and higher regarded race than the “real” one we’re  doing, it is much cheaper and with about a fourth of the participants, so I’m ok using it as a dress rehearsal.

Even though this should be more of a training long run instead of a run-so-hard-I-want-to-die race, I’m incapable of not being competitive.  Based on my pace from Sunday’s 12 mile run (much of which was along the same course), there is no reason that I won’t finish in under 2 hours.  I would be thrilled if I ran my first (practice) half marathon in 1 hour and 55 minutes.  If I run it in 1 hour and 50 minutes I will buy myself a present (but we all know I will buy myself a present regardless). 

If I somehow by the grace of Apollo manage to do this half marathon in my overall goal time (1 hour and 45 minutes) not only could that put me in the top 3 for my age group based on last year’s results (yay medal),  but I will probably also insist that a holiday be created in my name. 

But really, the likelihood of me sustaining an 8 minute mile for 13.1 miles at this high elevation at this point in my training would be a miraculous best case scenario.  Though I never thought I’d run a 5-k in 21 minutes either.  So you never know. I’m kind of a nervous wreck already even though it isn’t until Sunday and it is a PRACTICE race.  Silly Amy. 

Aaron has run this race several times including last year.  He’ll do just fine.

Pre-race…he looks so happy!
Strong finish!

(Friend Dustin ran the 2010 race as Batman…which is pretty typical for him…)

Here is our training plan for this week (because we have a race on Sunday, we’re doing a modified taper week).


Saturday: 4 mile run (should be 5)

Sunday: 1 hour and 50 minute run (we got in 12.1 miles)

Monday: Easy 3 mile run, strength training

Tuesday: Intervals: 1 mile warm-up, 5 sets of quarter miles alternating between 5-K pace/recovery pace, half mile cool down

Wednesday: Easy 3 mile run, strength training

Thursday: 40 minute Tempo run:  10 minute warm-up, 30 minutes at 10-K pace, 10 minute cool down (should be a 50 minute run)

Friday: Rest day

Oh…and don’t forget to vote for Giuseppe today! (Please and thank you!) 

Training Tuesday Week 9 and a Marathon Baby

So I was planning on writing about how I went to Heart and Sole Running Store on Saturday and got analyzed for the proper  shoe by running on a treadmill equipped with a foot camera that recorded my movements.  I got to see how much my foot rolls in on each stride (pronation) and how the right shoe actually corrects it.  I was going to write about how I learned I was wearing the wrong size running shoe (half-size too small), and how I picked up a pair of Mizuno Wave Inspire 7’s with the hope that these shoes will magically help me run a really fast half marathon. 


I was going to write about this until I read this headline:

“Woman Gives Birth After Running Chicago Marathon.”


Turns out homegirl (27-year old Amber Miller) decided to run the Chicago Marathon a mere 8 days before her due date (this was the third marathon she ran while pregnant and 8th overall).  She did get her doctor’s approval to do a walk/run, and she finished in 6 hours and 25 minutes.  Then she realized she was having contractions and went to the hospital where she delivered a baby 7 hours later.

I don’t quite know if I should be in awe of this woman’s dedication and strength…or to think of her as completely crazy.  I’ve seen women 8 days before their due date and they are mostly sweaty, have swollen feet (that they can’t see), and just want the baby to come out already.  Why would you decide that was a good time to move 26.2 miles in a racing situation? I’m miserable if I run a few miles after ingesting a breakfast burrito.

Mostly, I feel like if this lady can run/walk 26.2 miles with a 7 pound, 9 ounce kid attached (as in umbilical cord attached), then I should pretty much not be feeling sorry for myself on mile 11 out of 13.1 when I have no 7 pound 9 ounce kid ready to pop out.  Way to make the rest of us look lazy, Running Pregnant Lady.

But congratulations! I’m glad everything turned out ok, and better you than me, my friend. 

On that happy thought….


Saturday: 4 mile run (we incorporated balloon chasing into it!)

Sunday: 1 hour, 45 minute run (we got in 11.5 miles…almost to 13.1!)

Monday: Easy 3 mile run, strength training

Tuesday: Hill intervals: 1.5 mile warm-up run, 12 uphill sprints alternating with downhill recovery, 1.5 mile cool-down run

Wednesday: Easy 3 mile run, strength training

Thursday: 50 Minute Tempo Run: 10 minute warm-up, 30 minutes at 10-K speed, 10 minute cool down

Friday: Day of Rest