6 weeks until NYCM

Hello friends! Thank you all for the kind replies on my last post. In that write up I mentioned being in the throes of marathon training. Everyday feels a bit like climbing up a small segment of a mountain and every step closer brings more excitement. I still have tons of climb left (6 weeks and a little ole 26.2 mile race called NYCM) but I’m at the point where I can vaguely see it all coming together and the work is exhausting but fulfilling. Four weeks ago, I wasn’t quite sure of myself but now that confidence is coming out. I truly love this point and it is just in time for a down week and a Half Marathon this weekend.  Here is what last week (7 weeks until marathon race day) looked like-

Monday-  10 miles with 10 Striders. Core/Strength

Tuesday- 2 by 4 miles @ 6:06 pace. Dry Needling session to loosen up.

Wednesday- 12 miles easy. Core/Strength

Thursday- 8 by 800’s averaging 2:45.

Friday- 20 Miles averaging 6:56 pace (last 8 at Marathon Effort). 

Saturday- 10 miles of Trails with Friends. Easy pace. Core/Stregth

Sunday- Off Day.  Stretching, hydrating, resting.

Originally Tuesdays workout was supposed to be the Thursday workout, and vice versa, but a horrendous rain storm with flooding changed that up a bit. To give you an idea, the weather was so bad that my kids had off of school for two days. Normally tempo work would be the day before the long run. Also Tuesday was done on the treadmill (because of weather).  I know many people hate the treadmill but I find it to be a huge training advantage. I’m too stubborn to slow the pace so I sometimes accomplish workouts that I may not have been able to mentally do outside.

Friday is my biggest day of the training week. Every long run is treated as a race day rehearsal. I eat the same breakfast before hand and make sure I’ve slept well. I purposely do these runs alone in anticipation of possible running a majority of  the New York City marathon solo. The first 12 miles were done around 7:30 pace and the last 8 were done at Marathon Pace Effort, which for Friday ended up being 6:26 pace. This was a huge workout for me.  People always surprise me when they throw around running marathon pace in workouts like its not a big deal. Marathon pace for 8 plus miles is a STRUGGLE for me.  It always has been and so if you are like me, don’t stress it, you’ll be amazed what your legs can do on race day with consistent training and taper.

Sundays are always my off day. I can’t tell you how nice it is to have a day where I can wear normal clothes and not worry about when/where I’ll squeeze in some miles. Last weekend especially I was thankful to have the day off because the family and I went on our first real camping trip.  Remember one of my resolutions was to go camping?! We did it! We went to False Cape State Park and I cannot recommend this place enough.  The Mr. and I went in with low expectations. Camping with three kids couldn’t possibly go smoothly right? Then we found out we had to bike in 7 miles to the beach camp site with all our things because no cars are allowed in. Surely that would end in a few tantrums right? There will be awful horse flies attacking us right? Nope. The kids had so much fun and our only regret was that we did not book our site for two days instead of just the one. Here are some photos in case anyone is interested. Our site was $16 to rent and was 100% private with a drinkable water spout and shockingly clean outhouses.

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              Easy peasy soft and safe bike path to the camp site.

You can camp directly on the beach but we chose the site 100 meters away near the fresh water and restrooms.

You can camp directly on the beach but we chose the site 100 meters away near the fresh water and restrooms.

Entire beach to ourselves!

     Entire beach to ourselves!

Crawled out of the tent to watch the sunrise.

                          Crawled out of the tent to watch the sunrise.

Beautiful beach sunrise.

                                        Beautiful beach sunrise.

Have a great training week friends! I’ll update next week on how my half marathon went. Looking back I found this photo below of  my bestie and I at this same race last year. Look how fun the post party is! It’s not too late to sign up for Crawlin Crab, hope to see many friends there!

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It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure. -Joseph Campbell

Rock & Roll Half Marathon Recap

 

Yesterday morning I put my kids on the bus for their first day of school and just like that, Summer is over. Not according to the calendar but according to my heart that loves to have the kids home all day, hanging on the sofa, by the pool, or roaming the neighborhood with friends. We had an amazing summer, that went by way too fast. The good news is my running always improves as Fall swings in. I have more time to rest and no one begging me to ride bikes or play soccer when my legs are already exhausted from a workout. I’d still trade the recovery for more kid time though😉

With 9 weeks until my goal Fall race (NYCM) the mileage has reached into the 70’s and will continue to climb slowly. About a month ago, my phone blew up with messages.  Turns out the pro field for NYCM was released HERE and I’m on it.  omg.  Even still, this was not a surprise to me. I was kindly offered a spot months ago but the truth is, just like in the case of Boston, I didn’t really believe it and kept thinking I would politely be booted out. I mean, there are professional runners there and I’m a stay at home mom.  Needless to say, I am incredibly excited and grateful. Add in a huge amount of little  fear and the announcement was another kick in the tail that I need to keep up the hard work. I don’t think I’ve ever been more motivated to train well.

I am in my favorite stage of marathon training, where every day is a grind and every night I crash, falling asleep during the last half of an episode of Narcos. It’s okay, I read the book, I know what happens. Since I last wrote I have raced twice.  The first being a great execution on a 4 mile hilly course in Pennsylvania. I finished 3rd overall and first female and was really proud of myself. I never gave up trying to beat the guys leading. Not a PR but a great effort.

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The second race I have mixed feelings about. I went into Rock ‘n Roll Virginia Beach with a big training week and no taper. There was a hurricane on the way so I was worried the race would be cancelled as the 1 mile race was. My coach and I had talked about making this race a dress rehearsal for the second half of the New York City Marathon, using tired legs to simulate that final 13.1.  Here is what I did the 6 days prior-

Monday- 11 miles at an easy pace with 8 Striders. Core work.

Tuesday- 11 miles total averaging 6:50 pace with 8 by 3 mins hard (5:45-50 pace)/5 mins easy. Strength Work

Wednesday- 15 miles, low 7’s pace. Core Work

Thursday-  8 miles with 8 by 20 seconds hard after. Strength Work

Friday- 2 mile warm up, 20 X 2 minutes hard (5:40-45 pace), 2 minute easy, 2 mile cool down.

Saturday- Rest, Stretch, Hydrate.

Sunday was race day. The good news is weather was perfect.  Many deferred thinking it would be a mess but it was actually a beautiful day. My coach told me if I ran around 1:25 we should be pleased and it would mean I am on track to have a good day at NYCM (considering we have 9 weeks left and no taper). I was a little more stubborn and wanted to run 1:22-23.  I ended up running a 1:24:48 proving what we already knew, that my coach is much wiser than I. The effort was exactly how a second half of a marathon goes. Both the good and bad.  I felt confident and smooth up until I had 5 miles left even chatting a small bit with our great little group which included the top 3 ladies and a few guys I run with occasionally, then I mentally started falling into a negative place.  Our pack had split up and I was all alone on the back roads with hardly any spectators around. While my breathing was great my legs were so heavy that I started to feel sorry for myself. My pity party told myself that I had banked enough time in the beginning and that I was fine. Two things- 1.) Don’t listen to your pity party. 2.) Marathon Math never works! (or half marathon math in this case😉  ) When people ask me for marathon advice I always say, you are going to fall into a dark place, take a gel, remind yourself that you love this sport, and pull yourself out of it.  I did  just that and was able to pick up the pace but still it’s hard not to kick myself for that complacency and lost time. I finished 2nd female feeling “Meh”. Mr. Law and my youngest surprised me at the finish line. I didn’t realize they would come because of other obligations and seeing them was fantastic, putting all meh feelings behind and replacing them with mimosas at brunch. It’s easy to say onward and upward with a belly full of bacon.

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I have another half marathon in 4 weeks and I am hoping that this past Sunday was my rust-buster  back into longer distance racing and that I will be ready to chase a PR (sub 1:20) at the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon. The training intensity is climbing for the next three weeks and then the timing could not be more perfect for a combined down week and taper.  Then just a few more weeks of pushing until taper for my marathon.

Now with the kids back in school, I hope to blog more often. Thanks to those of you who have stuck by me when I choose to only update once every two months.  Leaving you with  a gorgeous photo I took at a 5 am track workout earlier this month.  Wishing you an equally beautiful September!

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July Adventures

I hope everyone is having a fantastic July!  Ours started off with fireworks, literally. The Mr. and I dropped the kids off with the inlaws and headed to Vegas…alone for the 4th of July weekend. (No kids = FREEDOM!) Right before we left I had a strange hip flair up, so the timing of the trip could not have been any better. I had no pressure to run and only laced up my shoes once to run to the classic Vegas sign with a friend.

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Other than that one run, we hung out by the pool daily (Bar service with a DJ by the pool is my dream world), saw Britney Spear (omg omg omg), saw White and Bengal Tigers (my spirit animal), met new friends, and maybe the best part…surprised my 91 year old grandfather. He had no idea my husband and I would be there and we met him (along with family he was traveling with) for dinner at Prime Bellagio (located right behind the Bellagio fountains) for the perfect dinner & views. Britney Spears was absolutely amazing but surprising my Pop-Pop will be something I’ll never forget!

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After our Vegas trip I took a few days to ease back into training. The hip pain had miraculously disappeared. Maybe dancing till 3 am is the cure? Actually I think it was the new Nike Pegasus from Running, Etc. Then I had to dive back into the next mini adventure which would be my first ever Run-Swim-Run race. The Allen Stone Braveheart Memorial races take place at the oceanfront of Virginia Beach. There is a 5K race and a combined 1k sand run, 1 k ocean swim, and 5K Run-Swim-Run race that benefits the Navy Seal Foundation and Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad. I have run the 5K event in the past and always admired the Swimmers, thinking one day I might be brave enough to try it. This was the year! Look at how the race begins, with parachuters carrying in an American flag. Beautiful.

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Before the race with Kristy, myself, Megan, and Jess. Kirsty and Megan ran the 5K while Jess and I did the Run-Swim-Run.

Race day was better than I could have imagined. I had been swimming in my pool often but we all know that is not the same as ocean swimming. Luckily a few friends took me swimming in the bay to ease my fears and although I was slow as can be, I loved it. Race day came and I made quite a few beginner mistakes (goggles kept filling with water, bad positioning at start, etc) but it didn’t matter.  We started on the beach and ran 1 kilometer down the shore, then swam that same 1K back up the shore before beginning the 5K run portion. I tried to set out fast that first 1K to get in a good spot but that didn’t go as planned. It was a bit too crowded.  I wish I had been able to get ahead because I needed all the advantage I could get in the water.  The water portion was my favorite but IT WAS SO HARD. I felt like a tiny fish in a huge school of them….and the slowest at that.  Every time I took a glance around me, I was being passed by 5-6 people. I had to laugh to myself. I was like Nemo though and just kept swimming.  At one point my friend Jess Horton passed me and it made me feel great to have a close friend there even if she was flying by me like a jet boat.🙂 Here is my coming out of the water.  I’d guess I was in the top 25 to get in the water and one of the last to get out but so darn happy that I didn’t drown! It may sound silly but I felt exhilarated, like I had conquered 1 kilometer of the ocean.

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The boardwalk run portion was obviously my best section and came easiest to me. I ran it with a smile on my face and tried to cheer for all the females I could (sorry guys, there were too many of you!) My run portion was around 20 minutes and I felt great considering how much ocean water I had swallowed.  Here I am coming into the finish line at 16th female.  This sport is not in my competitive future but I had an amazing time and truly loved the experience. I wouldn’t hesitate to sign up for this one again.

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Since the Run-Swim-Run was a fun event, there was no downtime afterwards. There is a point in training where you feel so tired almost every run. That has been me lately. I know it will all click in a few weeks though and my body will adjust and start running faster. It always does. So anyone else feeling tired, just hang in there and keep grinding away.   As part of training, yesterday I raced the J&A Racing Summer 5K Series as a workout. These races are weekly casual, low cost races at the Virginia Beach boardwalk that take place on Wednesday mornings throughout the summer.  Perfect for beach visitors (and stay at home parents like myself😉  ) I wish more cities would start events like these. Every time we travel, one of the first things I do is search for races in the area, so this idea is one of my favorites.

Friends and I got down there early but bib pickup was so organized that we had plenty of extra time to warm up and chat with friends. The actual race went well for me. My coach said afterwards he predicted that with the heat, my tired legs, and no taper that I would run around 19:05.  I ran 18:39, so I can’t complain! Afterwards we were given a medal and towel with the same bib design (below) of runners on the beach that I love.  Here are some photos that I snagged from friends and the race facebook page because I didn’t bring my phone for pics.

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Thank you @WilliamandMindy for this photo!

We went 1 & 2 which felt amazing because we have run so many miles together lately and have been working so hard! It was a nice payoff.

Megan and I went 1 & 2 which felt amazing because we have run so many miles together lately and have been working so hard! It was the first time this happened and a nice payoff. Also, I get MANY questions about these shoes. They are the Nike Steaks lt 3’s. I got them from Running, Etc. here in Virginia Beach and Norfolk.

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Alright friends, I think I have rambled enough. I won’t be blogging as much during the summer months (tough with the kids home) but I am on snapchat. It’s a great mini-blogging platform, I am krislawrence8 for those interested. Wishing you all a great training season and as always, thank you for reading!!

Hello beautiful Summer & a 5K recap

Hello Summer!  We are one week away from school break and I cannot wait. The end of the school year with three little ones is a bit maddening but with a glimpse of lounging, lazy days (overly hopeful on my part?) on the horizon, we are grinding through. It has not been without hiccups. People think I am crazy when I say I can’t wait for the kids to get out of school but with ours at the brink of almost having less summers left with us than they’ve had, I’m trying to soak up every bit I can get with them….even if they do argue over the silliest things, like who gets the “good” goggles when they are all the same.

Since this is a running blog after all, where does Summer leave me? It’s a challenge for sure. The running part is easy. I wake up early and knock that out. I eliminated run doubles over a year and a half ago when I started working with a new coach. I no longer have to drag three kids to a park or put on a tv show in the afternoon to squeeze in an extra three miles.  Those three miles were something we determined wasn’t worth the stress (both time constraining & injury concerns) that accompanied. It’s SO easy to fall into the “So and So runs this many miles, I should too” trap. I am very guilty of this! Luckily I’ve felt like my training in the past year has proven that I can do well on less. Instead of extra miles I supplement with cross training in my own home, either strength work or swimming (I realize how lucky I am to have a pool available to me). This won’t be easy to maintain with kids home but doable with some advanced planning. Also, for the parents- Picking a late Fall marathon is a huge help. I won’t need to start most of my 20+ milers until after summer break. Here is a quick glimpse of what my typical training weeks have been like lately.

Monday-  Easy paced 8 miles followed by 45 minutes of Strength work.

Tuesday- AM- Speed day. 2 mile warm up stretching & drills, 3 by 1 mile (as much rest as needed), 2 mile cool down. PM- 45 minutes of Swim .

Wednesday-  5 miles easy. 45 minutes of Strength work.

Thursday- AM- 2 mile warm up, drills & strides, 5 mile time trial, 2 mile cool down.

PM- 45 of Swim Intervals.

Friday- 45 minutes of Strength work. No running.

Saturday- 10 miles, negative splitting the run.

Sunday- Off Day. 

 

Yes, you read that right. I’ve had two days off a week.  It won’t last much longer but I’ve been loving it. With 140ish (?) days until my goal race, there is no rush. Rushing leads to injury for me. I’d also like to note that I am stretching constantly.  I’ve been really pushing the short speed lately in hopes of getting my times down before marathon training begins in another month or so and with my body, I MUST stay on top of things to stay healthy. Stretching, hydrating, and sleeping are huge priorities for me on a daily basis.

Speaking of short speed, I raced a 5K this past weekend.  It was the Low Rent 5K in Chic’s Beach, only a few miles from my house. The event was awesome with gorgeous views, post race party at Commonwealth Brewery, and lots of free race photos.  I highly recommend it to any friends thinking about signing up next year. Here are some photos and a quick recap.

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New PR!   Honestly this was the first race in ages that I only looked at my watch twice (a huge improvement for me), once at about .75 miles in and then right at the end. At the finish line I was shocked to see I had run just about a minute faster than my last 5K at Big Blue. I’ve been coming back slowly, mileage is still very low, and low interval reps for speed days, so I didn’t feel 5K ready. The first mile I went out with a small group of friends. I told myself to hold back until atleast the halfway point but I got a bit antsy and picked up the effort at .75 miles in. Funny how during the warm up I commented to my friends that I felt horrendous, then miraculously I felt great during the race. The final mile was tough but I felt strong and smooth the whole time and had enough left to pick it up the final stretch.

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Strollered  by my great friend Thomas and his daughter Amya. No big deal they came in 3rd overall on a turn filled hot course.  

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If you are wondering why I’m in my race outfit for all the post race festivities, it’s because we had to take a bus to the start (closed roads) and without a bag check, I didn’t bring anything, not even my phone. I don’t usually hang out at a brewery in my sports bra for hours.

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With The Fit Petite! I didn’t get the memo that the donut smile was supposed to actually look like a smile.  oops. 

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Post race beer & smiles.

Thanks for reading friends!  Have a wonderful week! If you will PRETTY PLEASE click on this link and vote for our amazing friend Ryan to get on the cover of Runners World, I will be thankful to you for life. Ryan has been an amazing local runner, mentor, training team leader, training partner, and friend to so many of us here in Virginia Beach. I’m so proud of everything he has done for our local running community and cannot think of a more deserving person. It only takes 3 seconds so please click HERE.  I promise Runners World won’t send you spam unless you click that box that says they can😉  Xoxo!!