Breaking 2 at Naperville Half

FINALLY!  After Fox Valley (and the heat, and the missing sub 2 hour by just a couple minutes), I noticed the Naperville Half Marathon was a short 5 weeks away and just might work for Plan B.   I took a rest week after Fox Valley, taking a few walks and short runs before doing a 6 mile “long” run at the end of the week.  The next week I re-started the last 4 weeks of my Project 1:59 training plan.

The weather starting getting a little cooler and the runs starting getting a little bit easier without the heat.  I even got to do a 3 hour training “walk” as one of my long runs by pacing Ann Trason at Hennepin 100.  She was speed-walking the full 100 (had a blast, may just be back to race it myself).

With Ann at Hennepin Hundred

Race day (October 21st) was about 30 degrees at the start – about 50 degrees cooler than my 1st attempt at Fox Valley.  50 degrees apparently makes all the difference.  Instead of carrying a handheld water bottle, I pre-hydrated with Nuun, got water at aid stations and carried a Nuun tab to use after the race.  I felt much better having my hands free.  The Naperville Half is a well marked course with aid stations spaced very well.  I never felt like I was crazy thirsty, but then again it was cold.

I started out easy at 9:30 and then stayed in the 8:50-9s for majority of the next 9 miles.  Even when I kicked it up to 8:49 for miles 11-12 and 8:36 for mile 13 the pace felt good.  Unlike last time, I never felt like a walk break was necessary.  I probably could have run faster but I was reminding myself not to get too greedy and focus on the goal for Sub 2.  I didn’t want to go fast early and then get burned out.   

I caught up to and ran behind the 2 Hour pace group for about the last 2 miles until I kicked it up after hitting 13.  It felt pretty good to pass that group!  I worked hard for this goal all summer so coming through the finish line under 2 hours, at 1:58:12, was pretty much the best feeling.  

2nd PR in just over a month!

RNR Chicago – More Cowbell

Cowbell in the rain!

Photo: @alijsch

The Rock n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon is held in July every year, so not surprisingly is notorious for being a very hot race.  I’ve run it once and have always passed on it after that because of the heat.  Of course, this year when we show up to cowbell it was a rain year.  Not so great for cheering, but if I was running it would have been a welcome cooling drizzle.

Rainbow of flyte. Photo: @jenhawleyprice

Rock n’ Roll is all about the music and we lucked out in our first location with a speaker directly across the street.  We cheered at about the halfway point until all the runners had passed, ducking under a viaduct when mother nature decided to let it rip for a little while.  We moved closer to the finish line to cheer some more and were treated to a live band doing a very good tribute to No Doubt.  I went in to the day just planning on cheering on some of our volee team mates and ended up seeing several others I knew running towards the finish – a nice surprise (and small world)!

One of my goals in recent years has been to give back more to the community of running instead of just running races, which is where the cowbell comes in.  Our local Volee group does a fantastic job of showing up for one another, whether volunteering, organized cheer squads at races, or just showing up casually to cheer someone on.  Since joining Volee I’ve volunteered at a couple races and showed up to our cowbell corner to cheer on our runners.  There’s something about that sense of TEAM that makes you want see everyone succeed.

In other news, I took my shoe question (fast shoe v. mid/long run shoe) to Facebook/Instagram and now have the Saucony Type A, Fastwich, and Nike Zoom Vaporfly on my watch list for sales.  I’m going to have to dig up my Runner’s World shoe articles to check that I’m going in the right direction (the recommendations have always worked for me).  I just need to find a good trainer as well for workouts so I’m not wasting wear on my running shoes when I go to the gym. I may need a little shelving room for shoes…

Goals: Sub 2:00 (Half) Marathon

After Kettle 100k, I was thinking about long runs in the heat of the summer and getting up at the crack of dawn to beat the heat.  I was also listening to Desi Linden on a recent podcast talking about how sometimes you have to work on what you suck at.  Getting up before 5am every Saturday makes me want to cringe, so I decided this is the perfect time to work on speed.  My new goal – to run a sub 2:00 (hour) half marathon.  My current PR is 2:07:57, set all the way back in 2015, which goes to show you how long it’s been since I’ve really focused on a road half.  I raced a local 5k on a whim a couple weeks after Kettle and ended up setting a 1:04 minute PR.  Here’s to keeping the PRs comin’!

PR

Shiny new PR!

Kara Goucher developed a sub 2:00 half marathon plan in conjunction with Strava, called Project 1:59. The plan is very customizable for the easy run/rest days so it works with my early-morning-before-work running needs.  The overall pace would end up between 9:04-9:09, depending on if you are going for 1:59:00 or 1:59:59.  I haven’t started the plan yet, but have done a couple of the workouts to get a feel for it.  After lots of long, easy runs and much slower RP runs given the type of race I was going to be doing, it feels good to push the pace.

I chose the Fox Valley Half Marathon in September as my goal race – relatively flat, close by, and early enough in the fall where I can still fit in some longer races this year.  My training officially starts on Monday!

56 degrees v. last week’s 76 makes for a happy long run

I was reading Hungry Runner Girl’s post from the other day and she mentioned wearing different shoes for her warm up and the workout.  This got me thinking about whether or not I should be using different types of shoes for my training and racing.  I started out way back when in much more cushy stability shoes before I figured out that I actually need a neutral and like to feel closer to the ground.  I have been wearing the same shoes, with the exception of trail v. road, for all of my runs – long run, short run, workout, and racing.  For the past year or two I’ve been wearing the Saucony Freedom ISO.  The shoe feels very light but cushy at the same time.  Lately though my right arch is bothering me a bit so maybe I need more cushion for all this time on my feet?  My husband will definitely roll his eyes at the suggestion that I need even more shoes so I’m going to take this inquiry to Instagram and my Volee team to see where this goes.

Banana Teff Pancakes

Banana Teff Pancakes

The weekend after Kettle I was still resting, so I didn’t do a long run.  This left me with lots of time for breakfast, plus we had my niece and nephew over making it 5 kids in the house, so of course I made pancakes!

I wanted to use my Teff flour and make the Run Fast Eat Slow recipe.  Being summer though I wasn’t really in the mood for pumpkin (plus I didn’t have any!), so I made a revised version with bananas.  We practically always have bananas in this house.  These turned out great – same texture as traditional pancakes.  The kids loved them too, which we all know is the real test.

the ingredients

First mix teff flour (make sure it’s flour and not plan ‘ol teff), cinnamon, salt, and baking powder ( all the dry ingredients) together in a smaller bowl until well combined.

mix dry ingredients

In a larger bowl, lightly beat the eggs, like you would if you were making scrambed eggs.  I used two types of coconut milk in this recipe to add a little bit of creaminess from the canned coconut milk (and yogurt) without making it too heavy by balancing with plain Silk coconut milk.  Use the full fat version of the canned version and the plain – no sugar – Silk coconut milk.

For the yogurt I used Siggi’s whole milk yogurt with a touch of honey, which is why I only added 1 tablespoon of honey to the recipe.  If you’re using plain yogurt, then you may want to add an extra tablespoon of honey.

Add in the two coconut milks, yogurt, honey, and vanilla extract.

wet ingredients

Whisk all the wet ingredients until well combined.

whisk wet ingredients

Nevermind my thumb. I know I need a manicure.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk to combine.   In the same, small bowl used for the dry ingredients mash enough bananas to make 1 cup ~ about 2 bananas.  Mix well.

all mixed

Cooking pancakes is pretty basic, just make sure to use a nonstick pan.  Heat the pan up a bit and for good measure I spray with nonstick olive oil cooking spray.  For the kids I usually make 4 small pancakes.  Wait until the pancakes are good and bubbly before turning over.

ready to turn over

Enjoy!  (recommended with bacon :D)

This recipe makes about 30 or so depending on the size you make, plenty for freezing for later during the week. See the recipe below [modified from Run Fast, Eat Slow].

the recipe

 

Race Report: Kettle Moraine100 – First 100k!

100k!

Kettle Moraine 100k.  I have been thinking about this race as a pie in the sky goal on my way to another pie in the sky goal of eventually running 100 miles.  My first 100k seemed achievable yet unachievable at the same time.  I posted about it as soon as I registered because if the goal was out there in public I would be more likely to have to work towards it.  As I got closer to the race and I told more people about it I started to get a little nervous.  “What if I DNF and then have to explain to people that I didn’t actually run 100k?”.  Silly, I know. Read more »

Race Report: The North Face Endurance Challenge NY Bear Mountain

finisher photo

The North Face Endurance Challenge (ECS Series) New York was not my goal race.  I have wanted to try a more technical trail race and run the 50 mile, but I wasn’t sure about how I would do with the cutoff times since I am not used to that kind of elevation here in flatland midwest.  The stars aligned and #ECSNY happened to be the weekend of my big long run in my training plan to prepare for the Kettle 100k: 5-6 hours, so I signed up for the marathon distance.  My goal was to get in my training run, take it easy, and see how I would perfrom on the technical trail without it being my goal race.  Perfect, right?  This course is no joke, though.  Maybe I have foggy brain over how difficult it felt in the thick of it, but the verdit is that I’d race it again.  50k next time? Read more »

Running on Vacation – Puerto Vallarta

pv-beach

We typically go somewhere south for spring break.  In past years it’s been Florida, South or North Carolina, Georgia.  This year we decided to finally get the kids their passports and go to Mexico.  Running on vacation is kind of the norm for me.  My family already knows that I look for every opportunity to make our vacation a “runcation.”  I’ve generally been in taper mode for a race – half or marathon – during this time.  This year however I happened to be training for the Kettle Moraine 100k, and not on a cut back week.  It wasn’t until we were a couple weeks out that it hit me that deciding where to go for 2-3hour long runs was not going to be as easy as it is back home.

Packing

I feel like I had about 1/4 to 1/2 of my suitcase dedicated to running clothes and gear.  I wore my running shoes on the flight so I’d have more room in my suitcase.  The fact that I planned to be in a swimsuit or shorts the remainder of the time helped make room!  Here’s what I brought that helped me sail through: Read more »

NordicTrack Treadmill – the Worst Customer Service

Are you looking to upgrade your old treadmill or finally giving up your gym membership to buy your first treadmill?  If you’re looking at NordicTrack, buyer beware.  Though I purchased my NordicTrack Commercial 2950 two years ago, I have only gotten just about 1 year of use.  When it actually works it has great features, like the iFit routes of trails and the Boston course or the ability to work on tough inclines (up to 15%).  If you end up needing to call their 800# however you will be in for a ride.  Here’s why NordicTrack has the worst customer service ~ Read more »