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We are excited to announce…

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…the re-launch of Piece of Cake Running, our training plans and personalized coaching services.

Last year we took a purposeful step back from Piece of Cake Running. With the birth of our daughter in August 2013, we knew it would be difficult to devote our time and attention to anything besides our little tiny human. Let’s be honest, just taking a shower required a complicated choreography of each of our schedules.

Now that the past year has flown by, we’ve decided it’s time to get things up and running again. So, here’s the deal:

Who are we?

Mollie Turner (AKA “the coach”)- MS in Exercise Physiology, 3-time All-American at James Madison University in Virginia, 7 years of combined coaching experience (high school, college, and everyone else)… I also run for Oiselle (I joined the Elite team in 2011 and am currently a Volée member)

Pete Turner (AKA “the webmaster”)- in charge of all things pertaining to the internets… also the one to blame if anything goes wrong (just kidding)

"The coach" and "the webmaster"

“The coach” and “the webmaster”

Emmaline Turner (AKA “the bug”)- assistant coach with 10 and a half months of life experience

Assistant coach Emma (in training, of course)

Assistant coach Emma (in training, of course)

Do you guys really like cake or something?

Who doesn’t like cake? It’s delicious. But our nom de guerre comes from the desire to spread the movement of running in it’s simplest form. It doesn’t have to be complicated by fancy gadgets and special diets. It’s putting one foot in front of the other. Anyone can do it. 

We’re not into cookie-cutter training programs. Your training plan is developed just for you, based upon your experience, and your personal goals.

So, if you’re in the market for a coach or need a training plan for an upcoming race, we would love to help, whether you’re new to the running game or a seasoned veteran. And if you know anyone who might be interested, please let them know about us. We offer a free month of online coaching if you refer a friend. Sharing is caring!

Boilermaker 15k Recap

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Ah, Boilermaker. It’s been 11 years since I last saw you, and you were just as awful as I remembered.

Let’s start with the course:

The Boilermaker 15k course elevation map. It's even more painful than it looks.

The Boilermaker 15k course elevation map. It’s even more painful than it looks.

It’s a point to point course with four miles generally uphill, and five miles generally downhill. There are two major (steep) hills in the first four miles, and one steep/ mile-long hill after the 10k point. There is also a smaller hill in the last mile (which feels worse than it looks). But the last 0.3 is downhill. Yipee!

My race plan was to run the first four miles conservatively (around 6:30 pace), and the last 5.3 miles aggressively (around 6:10 pace). My recent workouts indicated that I would be able to run about 6:15 average on a flat course, so I figured anything between 6:15 and 6:30 would be okay. I really wanted to get under 60 minutes, which is a 6:26 average.

And now… my splits. Get ready for it.

Mile 1 6:33
Mile 2 6:39
Mile 3 6:37
Mile 4 7:06
Mile 5 5:48
Mile 6 6:13
Mile 7 7:08
Mile 8 6:24
Mile 9 6:48
Last .3 1:40

Total: 1:01:09

boilermaker 2

boilermaker 3

When I saw my fourth mile split, I was worried that the heat might have been getting to me, but we had just reached the top of the biggest hill, so I just figured I could get that time back on the downhill. Unfortunately I completely blew my load on the fifth mile. I felt really good until we started running that very mile-long uphill (just after 10k). I went from feeling very positive about my race to suddenly feeling like I wanted to walk, but I quickly shoved that thought out of my mind and trudged up the hill.

The last 5k was really rough. My only saving grace was seeing everyone else around me looking pretty beat up as well. On the last uphill I was passed by two women, but I saw one woman ahead that I was able to catch. I was in survival mode at this point, but I hate being passed so close to the end. One more woman passed me near the ninth mile marker, but I was able to catch her before the finish line. I actually think I should have started my sprint for the finish line sooner, but I guess I’ll have to remember that for next time.

Pain face during the last 5k. I was really wishing it was a 10k at this point.

Pain face during the last 5k. I was really wishing it was a 10k at this point.

I have run hundreds of 3k/5k/6k races but only a handful of 10k/15k/half marathon and above, and my inexperience with these distances is apparent. I have so much trouble pacing, expecially when it isn’t a flat course. I keep thinking that if I had stayed a little more relaxed in the middle, maybe I would have been able to run closer to 60 minutes, but I’m not really upset over it. I’m definitely looking forward to some shorter races for the rest of the summer. I have a 5k coming up in July, a mile in August, and a 4k cross country race in the beginning of September.

I do want to mention that the entertainment and spectators along the course were fantastic. There were 20 water stations, which was incredibly helpful on such a hot day. And the post-race party was one of the best I’ve been to, especially for such a large race. There are no beer tickets- you just walk up to the table and take whatever you want. It made for a very fun cool down.

Have you ever run the Boilermaker? What is your favorite race distance? Are there any distances you’ve really struggled with?

About that Runner’s World (Oiselle) article…

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Oh my goodness.

Yesterday I read this article in Runner’s World (Oiselle Wants to Be a Different Kind of Apparel Brand) which led to then reading this very long thread of complaints on the site Get Off My Internets.

I’m all for venting your frustrations in an anonymous online forum if it makes you feel better. I’m embarrassed to admit that I used to spend way too much time reading threads on the Letsrun messageboards. The problem is, there are a lot of things written on these boards that are entertaining, but many of them are false.

For example, every year since the freaking beginning of the internet, Letsrun puts out an April Fools page. One of the stories was this gem, about Leo Manzano turning down a deal with Oiselle for a sponsorship with Hanes. Someone on the GOMI thread posted a link to this story and everyone thought it was real. Eventually someone with some sense alerted them that it was an April Fools joke.

Another criticism I read (and one that was frequently repeated) was that Oiselle clothes fall apart in the wash. I’ve never had something from any company fall apart in the wash. I’m not saying it can’t happen, but I’m also not dumb enough to believe something written anonymously on the internet. You wouldn’t believe the things my students used to “write” in their “papers” that were copied and pasted from something a random person wrote on Ask.com. Anyone can write anything on the internet. I’m doing it right now.

I’ve been on the team for three years. There have been a lot of changes in those three years. Some people have left and a lot more have been added to the team. And some of those people are probably annoying in their own unique way. Maybe I’m one of them. I post a lot of photos of my kid, I know this. At least I don’t post photos of my kid’s poop on Facebook. I don’t understand grown adults who are obsessed with Disney, but I’m sure they have their reasons. There are some people who are reeeally into taking selfies in their new outfits every day. Or close up photos of their GPS watches. Or photos of their watches while looking down at their legs and feet. I don’t think it’s fair to lump everyone on the team together and say we’re all the same. In fact, the point of the team is to bring people together- fast runners, slower runners, ultra runners and 800 meter runners. I like that part of the team.

Lastly, about the Flock memberships… unless you’ve ever been in the position of being an emerging elite athlete, you really don’t know what it’s like. It’s difficult to get a sponsorship unless you’re already an NCAA champion. I was in that position ten years ago and it was very stressful. I ended up on a great team with a great coach, and I had a lot of things taken care of for me (free shoes, uniform, coaching, travel, access to facilities, massage, sports medicine, etc) but I also had to balance that with working to pay rent. I wasn’t working full time, and couldn’t afford health insurance. Even if you are working full time and have health insurance, there are a lot of expenses that come with training and racing at a high level. It’s tough to stay with it year after year, and I’ve seen a lot of talented runners quit because they couldn’t make ends meet. That Flock membership money could help someone pay for their health insurance. Or it might help with travel to a big meet. I think it’s impressive that the first round of memberships sold out so fast, and I hope that money gives someone the push they need to stay with it for another year.

I could go on and on, but I won’t. I’ve had some of these thoughts on my mind today and felt compelled to share them. If you have any questions about the team or want to know more about the Flock memberships, I’ll be happy to answer.

All opinions are definitely my own.

A little (long) race coming up… and SportRx

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I don’t know what I was thinking when I signed up for the Boilermaker. First, it’s a 15K. Second, it’s in July. And third, it’s in Utica, NY.

I’ll tell you what part of the problem is… peer pressure. Also, it was one of those “the race is about to sell out” moments, which makes you feel like you have to have something you didn’t even care about a few seconds ago. I never took an economics course, but I think it’s one of those supply and demand deals.

I was standing outside of DSW (yes, DSW) typing furiously on my phone while contending with frantic texts from my sister. My husband was giving me one of those looks, like, what the hell are you doing? but also trying to pretend like he didn’t notice. Let’s just say he was thrilled to find that I had signed us both up for a 15k race in the middle of summer.

Sigh.

So, I’m running a 15k this weekend!!! I would love a PR, but I’m going with a more conservative race plan so we’ll just have to see how I’m feeling on race day.

sportrx

I have been testing a new pair of running sunglasses from SportRx for the past two months.

I have to say, I am a big fan. I’ve always preferred Oakleys for running, and in college I wore a lucky pair of purple Oakleys in my biggest races, until they were tragically stomped on at the track one day (RIP, purple Oakleys). Luckily, with help from Rob at SportRx, I was able to find a pair that suits me.

sportrx2

So, here’s the deal. I usually wear contacts, but my eyes get dry (especially in the summer) and sometimes I prefer glasses. Well, that doesn’t work for running, particularly in the bright summer sun (hello, July). Your regular eye doctor probably doesn’t have a huge selection of stylish, comfortable running shades. This is where SportRx steps in to take the guesswork out of finding prescription eyewear.

You can browse their website by sport, by brand, or by category (they have sunglasses, goggles, and regular glasses) to find the style you like best. They have a huge selection, with multiple frame colors and lense colors. The ones I am wearing are the Oakley Fives Squared in grey smoke with green polarized lenses.

This is not my best modeling moment, but we needed a close-up. I blame the photographer.

This is not my best modeling moment, but we needed a close-up. I blame the photographer.

How do you smize while wearing sunglasses? It’s impossible.

Disclaimer: SportRx gave me this product to review. Regardless, I only recommend products I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Hurricane Arthur [a drinking game]

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July Fourth racing plans have been thwarted. I’ve attempted running a race in a hurricane (the Patrick Henry half marathon during Hurricane Irene in 2011), and it was not pleasurable.

In its place, I imagine I’ll probably spend part of the holiday playing some version of a hurricane drinking game. Our neighborhood is one that experiences major tidal flooding during these types of storms, so we try to make the best of the situation. The following is an example, although there are endless possibilities.

If a news anchor or meteorologist says any of the following terms, you drink:

Hunker down
Storm surge
Rip current
Hurricane
Sustained winds
Angry seas
State of emergency
Mandatory evacuation
Board up
Ride the storm out

You could always add some more obvious words to the list (wind, rain, surf, etc.). Most big storms have their own buzz words (like “Frankenstorm” for Hurricane Sandy), so you can of course call an audible and add words to your list as you go.

This post is intended to be light-hearted. In reality, I’ll probably just be chasing Emma around on the floor, but maybe I’ll have time for a mimosa. Or two.

Training update

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Eight weeks of training and rehab are almost complete. Here’s what my injury comeback looks like so far:

Week 1: 1 day elliptical, 4 days running, 31 miles all at an easy pace
Week 2: 2 days elliptical, 3 days running, 22 miles (first “speed” workout, 4 x mile in 6:57, 6:57, 6:49, 6:36 with 0.2 jog pushing the stroller)
Week 3: 1 day elliptical, 5 days running, 36 miles (first race, 5k 18:53)
Week 4: 1 day elliptical, 4 days running, 35 miles
Week 5: 5 days running, 45 miles (5k tempo in 20:22)
Week 6: 3 days running, 23 miles (5k race 18:23)
Week 7: 1 day elliptical, 5 days running, 41 miles (8k race 30:49)
And this week…
Week 8: 1 day elliptical, 5 days running planned for 45 miles

Yesterday I did my longest run since my injury, 11 miles on the treadmill. Although that run averaged a little under 7:30 pace, most of my runs are 8- 8:30 on flat ground pushing the stroller. When I was in NY for two weeks, 9 minute pace was a struggle running up all of those hills. Just as a point of reference, I did a 9 mile hilly run solo and averaged 7:32 feeling relaxed. A few days later I did the same run with my sister while pushing the stroller and felt like I was tempo-ing to run 8:40s. Besides the workouts mentioned above, the only other workout I did (twice) was an 8 mile run where I sprinted the sunny areas of the route and jogged the shaded areas.

Last week was (sort of) the beginning of my marathon buildup… I’m not doing anything marathon specific yet, but have increased my mileage and am starting to add in a longer mid-week run.

Here are some upcoming races:

July 4th Independence Day 5k Virginia Beach, VA
July 13th Boilermaker 15k Utica, NY
July 29th Memorial Scholarship 5k Norfolk, VA
August 16th Strider Mile Virginia Beach, VA
October 12th Mohawk Hudson River Marathon Albany, NY

I probably won’t add any more races to my schedule this summer because Emmaline has swim class on Saturdays, but I would like to find a half marathon in September.

Not much going on around here, besides tomorrow being my five year wedding anniversary!

image

That went by fast.

Any summer running tips you’d like to share? Do you have anything fun planned this summer?

CHKD 8k Recap

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I have mostly good things to say about the CHKD 8k. It was a nearly perfect weekend here in southeast Virginia, which always makes it a little easier to get up and out the door. The race started early (7:35 am), so I had planned to wake up at 5:30, get dressed and eat, and then wake up Emmaline just before we were ready to take off. I had meticulously packed everything we would need the night before (after doing such a terrible job of this the weekend before) so we managed to leave by 6:15 am and make it to Norfolk 20 minutes later.

So, CHKD is a children’s hospital in Norfolk (which adjoins the hospital where I had Emmaline), and this race serves as one of their many fundraisers. The race organizers encourage groups and teams to run together and raise money together (the winning team had over 400 members). I registered for this race at the last minute, so I didn’t get a chance to fundraise, but if I am able to race next year I plan to help raise money for CHKD. I know that the money will be able to help families who are unable to pay for their child’s medical bills.

Parking and getting to the start of the race was logistically… interesting. There were a multitude of strollers and wagons, and getting from the 4th floor of the parking deck to the street required carrying our stroller down the narrow stairway because the elevator was already full (we weren’t the only ones). I was able to warm up for about 2 miles, stretch, and get to the starting line with a few minutes to spare. I lined up near Hollie and Kris, which I think was the second row. The gun went off, and I immediately wished I had paid more attention to whom I lined up behind (ahem, children). I patiently waited until they finished bobbing and weaving their little uncoordinated (but cute) limbs, and found myself a few seconds back from a pack of four women.

I came through the mile in 6:09 feeling relaxed and pleased that I had so far stuck with my race plan. After the mile I started to push the pace a little, aiming to run closer to 6:00. Somewhere in the second mile I passed two women, and found myself alone with the other two women in view but pretty far ahead. I didn’t see a second or third mile marker, so I’m not sure what my exact pace was for those two miles. I did see a 5k marker, which I came through in 19:03. I wasn’t happy with that number, as I was aiming to come through in about 18:45- 18:55. I also heard a runner and her coach running behind me, and they passed me right after 5k. I wasn’t too thrilled about being passed at this stage of the race, but I tried to stay close to them.

The last 2 miles of the race were not very pleasant. I didn’t see any more course markers, and I had a hard time determining where we were on the course and how much we had left. At one point we started running towards the finish line but then unexpectedly turned right and made a few more turns onto city streets before entering the harbor area where the finish line was located. I started kicking once we got into the harbor area, but it was too late to catch the third place woman (although we ended up with the same chip time). My official time was 30:49, and I was happy to be done.

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Post-race with Hollie and Kris

Post-race with Hollie and Kris

I cooled down about 2 miles with Hollie, and we both lamented about our races. I wasn’t completely happy with my time, as I was aiming for closer to 30 minutes flat. However, I am happy to have a new 8k PR and I’m glad I did the race. I’m looking forward to increasing my training volume in the coming weeks, and am excited for marathon training to begin.

The race gave out gift certificates to Running, Etc. for the top three places and age group winners

The race gave out gift certificates to Running, Etc. for the top three places and age group winners

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It’s summertime, and it’s hot. How do you protect yourself from the sun? Do you use sunscreen, shades, a hat, or all three? Any brands you would recommend?

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