Hartford Marathon Training and Indy Women’s Half recap

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So, I tried. I really did. But, I don’t think I’m going to ever catch up on these weekly recaps before the actual race (since it’s NEXT WEEK, y’all). Here’s a run down of the last five weeks and then I’ll recap the Indy Women’s Half.

Week 10 (Week of 9/4 *recovery week*)

M 8 miles easy

T 8 miles easy

W 9 miles with strides

T 8 miles easy

F 8 miles easy

Sat 3 warm up, 5k race at 17:14 (5:30/mile), 3 at 6:45/mile, 2 cool down

Sun REST

(49.5 miles)

Week 11 (Week of 9/11)

M 8 miles easy

T 3 x 3 miles at MGP w/ 1 mile jog recovery (15 miles)

W 10.2 miles easy

T 10.2 miles easy

F 10 miles easy

Sat REST

Sun (Palio half) 13.1 miles at 6:15/mile! 2 miles warm up, 5 miles cool down (20)

(74.8 miles)

Week 12 (Week of 9/18)

M 10 miles easy

T 10.2 miles easy

W 8 miles easy

T 24 miles with no carbs, had eggs + coffee for breakfast and only water during the run

F REST

Sat 10.3 miles easy

Sun 8.2 miles easy with the girls in double stroller

(70.7 miles)

Week 13 (Week of 9/25)

M 10 miles easy

T 3 mile warm up, 6 mile easy fartlek, 3 miles cool down (12 miles)

W 10 miles easy

T 12 miles easy

F REST (travel to Indy)

Sat 2 miles warm up, Indy Women’s Half 1:18:59, 1 mile cool down (16 miles)

Sun REST (travel home)

(60.2 miles)

Week 14 (Week of 10/2)

M 8 miles easy

T 10 miles easy

W REST

T Fartlek 10 X 3 mins with 2 mins recovery, 2 warm up, 1 cool down (10)

F 8 miles easy

Sat 12 miles easy

Sun REST

(48 miles)

Training really has been going well. I went into my race last weekend hoping to just break 1:20, and surprised myself running 1:18:59 feeling in control and relaxed for most of the race. When I got to 10 miles I tried to drop down the pace and immediately felt  bad, so I just concentrated on getting to the finish and staying as relaxed as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to see the finish line, but I did feel pretty good. My recovery has been good as well, body-wise. And I have a massage scheduled for later today, a luxury I almost never afford myself, but I figured it would be a nice treat with my race coming up in just a week! Lindsey’s live show for her podcast was later that evening. Tons of fun. Too much wine. That flight home was ROUGH.

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If I’m being honest, I am starting to feel a little nervous about Hartford. In my mind I’ve had the idea of just running my goal pace of 6:30. At the beginning of this training cycle that felt like a lofty goal, but now that I’m feeling fit and race day is approaching, my anxiety is starting to creep in. And I’m feeling tired, and ready for that post-marathon break. But I always try to remind myself that it’s just running, and there’s nothing to be nervous about.

A few other quick notes: I recently won a high performance blood test with Inside Tracker. I just got the blood test results back this morning, and although I was initially skeptical, I think the results give me some concrete goals to work on to optimize my health. I may go into a little more detail on this in the future. We’ll see.

I’m currently reading this book, Present Over Perfect (not an affiliate link). So many people have recommended it to me, and after hearing the author on a few podcast interviews I decided it was time to start reading it. I can’t even begin to describe how much I love this book, and how much I feel like the author in some ways. She talks about the concept of “fake resting”, where you’re in your pajamas and appear to  be in chill mode, but in reality you’re running laps around your house checking off things on an endless to-do list. And I love this passage, “The very thing that makes you you, that makes you great, that makes you different from everyone else is also the thing that, unchecked, will ruin you.”

I don’t really want to end on a super serious note, so enough of that talk for now.

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Good vibes appreciated for next weekend! I’m out!

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Hartford Marathon Training: Week One

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Week One: Week of 7/3

About 8 weeks ago, I made a [relatively] scary decision. It was something I had been avoiding for months. But, I sucked it up and ignored the 99% of my brain that was telling me “this is a bad idea”.

I emailed the elite coordinator and asked to be included in the field for the Hartford Marathon. Then I waited. Part of me was hoping I wouldn’t get in, but a few days later I got an email back that I was accepted!

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My last attempt at a marathon was a disaster, and it took me a long time to get over that.

But, here we are, and this is happening. I’m determined to make this one count. So let’s catch up on how training has been going.

I took May and June pretty easy so I knew I needed a few base mileage weeks before diving into marathon training. My first week of base training started with a local 4th of July race. Besides the race, the rest of the week was fairly easy. I felt pretty accomplished for getting over 35 miles.

Base Week #1:

M REST 

T 6.5 miles with 4 mile race (Firecracker 4 23:23)

W 6.1 miles “easy” (8:27/mile… double stroller runs are never actually easy)

Th 6 miles on the treadmill (7:55/mile) + Pilates mat class

F 10 miles (7:02/mile)

Sat REST 

Sun 8.2 miles easy (8:05/mile)

(36.7 miles) 

I’m going to end each of these posts with an inspirational quote. Just kidding.

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But, I will give you an insight into my thoughts each week. I felt pretty defeated after my long run. Or, more like out of shape. I have to constantly remind myself not to make comparisons to my past workouts and races.

I spent most of this weekend at a USATF coaching clinic, and there were a few moments that stuck with me. I was reminded to take easy days easy. Like actually EASY. Logically I know this, but it’s something you have to like, actually do.

The other was a sports psych tip, something that initially made me laugh: the circle of allowed thoughts. If you have negative thoughts, you just have to tell yourself that those thoughts aren’t allowed in your circle. It’s so simple that it just works. Supposedly. I haven’t put that into practice yet, but it sounds good in theory.

Do you have any tips or tricks to help turn negative thoughts around? I really like counting because it helps me disassociate from the pain that I’m feeling. Sometimes I close my eyes in races, and it usually works, but that’s probably not great advice for normal people.

I have a few weeks of posts to get caught up with the present, so look for those in the next few days. Hey, I know it’s just putting one foot in front of the other, but with everything going on right now in our country I welcome a healthy amount of distraction in the form of reading, looking at pictures on Instagram and listening to/watching things that make me laugh.

Hannaford Half Marathon (1:24:19)

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I’m going to try to not sound like a brat… because for any of the runners I coach or have coached, I always say that if you set a PB you really can’t complain. It’s easy to take that kind of thing for granted when you’re used to improving and setting personal records often. I’ve been on the other side many times (the side where you run through 2 miles of a 5k and think hmm I’m used to seeing that time on the clock at the finish line). I did a little bitching and moaning and feeling sorry for myself after the race, but then I remembered my mantra, that Teddy Roosevelt quote “comparison is the thief of joy”. I have it written on the chalkboard by the front door as a reminder to be grateful for where I am and not compare myself to other people or to myself at age 25 (or whatever).

So I’ll talk about the positives. First, I was able to actually run and finish the race after a few days off (some weird glute/hip injury). Second, I ran my fastest half marathon time ever, always a good thing to be able to say. And third, I was able to practice some key mental strategies that I know I’ll be able to draw on in the future. So, now let’s get to the dirty details.

The race started at 8:00- as usual I was running late and barely got to the start line before the gun went off, but that’s nothing new. I settled in with a good group of speedy women and just told myself to relax and zone out, expend as little energy as possible, and run the tangents. About a half mile into the race one of the women in our group made an abrupt stop and turned off to the left. A few seconds later we heard shouting from behind us, which I couldn’t decipher, but one of the other women in our group realized that we had been following the lead men who had turned the wrong way (following arrows for another race that ran through the same park) and alerted us. Shit.

The group of the three of us turned around and started to weave our way back through the main pack. Logically I knew there was no reason to panic, but I was pissed (I think we all were) and the pack of us probably ran faster than we should have. My thoughts were all negative at this point: well, there goes the race… also why didn’t the other woman say something when she turned around? Did she say something and we didn’t hear it? (and if not, that’s bad race karma). We hit the “mile” in 6:35 (s0meone was calling out splits). There were some F bombs. In reality my first mile was 6:13, but the manner in which that was run (running downhill, an abrupt stop, turning around and getting back on track, then traversing the only real uphill in the race) was not ideal.

During the second mile the pack completely split up and I was running alone. This was the only mile that I checked my split (6:09 on my Garmin) and realized I needed to relax. I was still aggravated about running that extra distance, something I was reminded of each mile when my stupid watch beeped well before the mile marker. I managed to zone out a little and just run- this section of the course is on the Mohawk River bike path with only a few random spectators. Splits for miles 3 and 4 (6:15 and 6:08).

Mile 5 is where we emerge from the path and run a steep downhill mile (5:56 and that was holding back). I saw my family and got an instant boost from their cheers, which is needed along this part of the course. Miles 6, 7, and 8 were pretty tough. I had a few thoughts of dropping out. I had to remind myself to run one mile at a time, especially when I realized I was hurting a lot sooner than I had expected. I intentionally backed off the pace a little in these miles because I knew I was going to run into trouble if I started “racing” before 8 miles (6:22, 6:22, 6:31).

Right around mile 9 we start running along the Hudson River bike path, and this is where things got ugly for a few minutes. Mile 9 was my slowest split of the race (6:43). I was feeling sorry for myself. I even started thinking, well if I run 7 minute miles from now until the finish I’ll still probably PR… but somehow I snapped out of that negative thought pattern and just sucked it up. I did the only thing I could think of, which was to start counting. I instantly felt better and got into a rhythm. So for the entire length of the Hudson bike path I counted from 1 to 100, then started over again. Miles 10- 12 (6:24, 6:38, 6:34).

The last mile was tough, but knowing I was close to the finish I tried my best to pick it up. My legs were dead. That last mile was a 6:38 and I ran my last 0.24 in 1:22. Official time was 1:24:19, my fastest half by over a minute.

I had told my family beforehand that I would run 1:22- 1:23 (although secretly I hoped I could pull off something faster) and I know without the extra distance I would have run 1:23. But there will be many opportunities ahead to run faster, and I think ultimately it was a good learning experience. I ran as fast as I could on that day given the circumstances, and I’d rather learn these lessons at a smaller local race. The situation could have been much worse.

Okay… no racing for a few weeks. I promise. Next one will most likely be a cross country race with my Willow Street AC teammates at the end of this month. I don’t really ever know how to end blog posts, so… what are you watching on Netflix these days? I keep falling asleep in the middle of watching a show, so I need something that will hold my attention 😉

Arsenal 5k (17:20)

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If you read my recap of my most recent half marathon, you might remember I said something about trying to not look at my watch during my races. Basically, I have it there for insurance and so I can look at my data afterwards, but during the race I’m there in the moment and not worrying about mile splits. I’ve been working a lot on my focus during races and figuring out how to turn negative thoughts into positive affirmations.

None of this was purposeful. I’ve been listening to podcasts during my treadmill runs and I’ve found a few really useful bits of info that have stuck with me for some reason. One podcast in particular that I loved was this one from Runner’s Connect: How to Make Sure You Condition Your Mind the Way You Condition Your Body. It’s definitely worth a listen. Another piece of advice that I heard recently was to seek pleasure, not pain, with your training (I think this was from another Runner’s Connect podcast but I can’t remember which one). I like to run (obviously) and I love to race, so I’ve been listening to my body and trying not to put too much pressure on myself to hit a certain number of miles per week.

Back to race day… I started my warm up with my teammates but had to turn around early to make it back for the kids race (which we thought was a half mile but ended up being a full mile). Emmaline did great- she ran the whole way and was so happy when people on the streets cheered for her. By the time her race finished we only had 15 minutes until the 5k, so I dashed into the McDonalds to take off my warm up clothes and use the restroom. Then when I got back out, Emma had to go to the bathroom, and by the time we were finished it was 9:55… and my race was set to go off at 10 am. I looked off into the distance and saw everyone lined up, so I booked it there and made it with a minute to spare.

The race started and I was feeling pretty good, just trying to stay relaxed and run tangents as best as possible. Then as we approached the first mile, I saw the clock and it read 6:19 and my watch beeped a second later. I didn’t bother to look at my watch since because I thought the clock was accurate, I just figured I must have misjudged my effort. So I picked up the pace and immediately felt terrible- in my head I was reasoning that I must not be recovered from that half marathon last weekend. I tried to maintain my pace and just kept talking myself through the discomfort. My watch beeped as we crossed the 2 mile marker (and that clock wasn’t working) and I figured I’d rather not know my splits anyway so I just rode the pain train home in the last mile. Imagine my surprise when I saw the finish line, and then the finish clock just turning to 17:00. I was expecting to see 19:00 based upon my first split, so that was a complete shock.

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Finish of the 2016 Arsenal 5k

Afterwards, I looked at my splits on Strava– that first mile which I thought was a 6:19 was actually a 5:35 (seriously?!) and then I somehow managed to run almost completely even splits for the next two miles (5:36 and 5:36) with a final time of 17:20.

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High fives. mom!

So, I guess the takeaway from this race is that the mental side of racing is even more of a factor than we probably think- maybe if I had seen my real splits I would have backed off. I am going to keep working on conditioning my mind, especially because I think I’ve gotten a little lazy over the years. Sometimes I fall into the pattern of thinking that I’m getting older and that a certain time is beyond my capability, but I know better now from the research I’ve read recently and the podcasts I’ve been listening to.

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Post-race cool down with my girl.

Also, I got a lot of compliments on my Pro Compression socks (and no, that’s not an affiliate link, I just like them… and PS they are always on sale so just do a quick google search for a discount code). Thanks for the photos, husband!

Saratoga Palio half marathon recap

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So, I’ve been running a lot of races lately.

I haven’t written many recaps because most of them have been low-key trail races or 5ks and there isn’t much to recap.  But this past weekend I ran the Saratoga Palio Melanie Merola O’Donnell Memorial Race, a half marathon in Saratoga Springs, NY.

The conditions weren’t ideal, but I wasn’t thinking about that too much, especially considering how awful the weather was at the Shamrock half marathon this past spring. It was pouring when I woke up, but the rain stopped while I was driving up to Saratoga, and it didn’t start up again until midway during the race itself.

So I got to the race hotel about an hour before the start, jogged in to grab my number, and then got in a warm up-slash-shuffle. I was planning to meet up with one of my Willow St. teammates, but she was running late (kids… always making their moms late for races) so I slogged through the two miles by myself. I had planned to wear a hat since it was supposed to rain, but I realized that wasn’t necessary since it would just retain heat. Thankfully I had remembered to bring hairspray and a brush so I was able to pull my hair back. I felt like I was getting some judgemental stares from the other racers for the amount of hairspray I was using, but it was necessary.

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Start of the 2016 Palio half marathon running next to my teammate Erin

My plan was to try to run 6:30s for this race, but I wasn’t going to look at my watch. I was aiming to make the first 8-9 miles feel like a tempo, and the last 4-5 feel like a race. When the race went off I felt good, but I also felt like I might be running too fast. Then when I saw the clock at the first mile marker it was still at 5:50-something, but by the time I ran through it the clock had turned to 6:06… but then my Garmin didn’t beep for the first mile for a few more seconds, and the mile split showed up 6:22.

(Does anyone else get extreme rage when their Garmin acts weird? Is it because it was raining and cloudy, or there were a lot of trees? I don’t get how my watch could be that far off when we ran in a straight line from the starting line up to that point. Okay, end rant.)

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Somewhere in the early miles of the race… hair bun looking nice thanks to extra hairspray

From that point on, I just ran and tried not to think. I ended up running a few miles with my teammate Erin (who is super fast and badass), but she was having an off day. As we crested the top of the only real hill in the race at mile 8.5, I started to feel the first signs of fatigue. I kept telling myself that it would get better soon but it took me awhile to get my legs back. At 10 miles I briefly had the thought “I wish this was a 10 mile race” but I managed to push that negativity out and recover. The last 5k I was just grinding it out, practicing some positive self-talk, and getting to the finish.

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Looking up for some inspiration late in the race.

Mile splits according to Strava/Garmin:6:22, 6:31, 6:27, 6:35, 6:33, 6:18, 6:38, 6:33, 6:40, 6:52, 6:55, 6:29, 6:29 (total time 1:25:25)

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Just a few steps from the finish…

 

So, I have a few more weeks until my next half marathon and until then I’ll be plugging away on the treadmill at the YMCA and pushing the stroller around town. Hoping for some cooler weather (but not too cold yet) like every other runner. Also hoping this post makes sense since I’ve been writing it during the nap time for the past three days, and it’s been kind of a funky week with naps.

I never know how to end blog posts. What’s your favorite pizza topping?

Colonie track mile (5:08) and a ShowerPill giveaway!

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Last night I spiked up for the first time in probably 4 years for my last race on the oval this summer. I hadn’t been nervous for my past two attempts, but something about lacing up the spikes got my adrenaline going. I was a little annoyed that I missed the start button on my watch, but luckily Pete was able to take lap splits for me (I accidentally left my Garmin at home too)… my splits were 77-77-77-75, not bad! I wasn’t feeling all that confident that I could dip under 5:10, but I somehow pulled it off!

The kids races were entertaining as usual. It was ribbon night (they actually handed out 1st- 6th place ribbons after each race, from 50 meters up to 400 meters). It was adorable.

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After these late night track meets I’m usually disgusting (combo of sweat and dirt) so I always do a quick clean up with ShowerPill wipes. They really are perfect for after a race when you can’t get to a shower and need to look and/or smell presentable. I also use them after the gym, on camping trips, and on those days when I just don’t have time to shower.

I’ve been an ambassador for ShowerPill for the past year, and I wanted to do a giveaway for you guys so you can see why I love them so much. It’s not just a glorified baby wipe- these wipes use witch hazel, Vitamin E, and Aloe Vera to clean and hydrate your skin and never leave a sticky residue. I also like that they are antibacterial (with an FDA-approved formula that kills 99.99% of germs) and hypoallergenic and paraben-free.

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So, here are the giveaway rules and details:

  • Head on over to my Instagram page here (@molliedeturner) and tag a friend in the comments who you think would love to try ShowerPill. Make sure you follow me and Shower Pill on Instagram (@showerpill)!
  • You can tag more than one friend, but please leave a separate comment for each tag
  • The giveaway starts now (Wednesday 7/27) and ends Thursday 7/28 at 8 pm EDT.
  • The winner and their friend will each receive a free box of ShowerPill wipes (10 wipes)
  • I’ll announce the winner on Friday!

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One more thing! I’m excited to offer you guys 30% off ShowerPill when you use this link: ShowerPill and the discount code SPSHARE30

Disclosure: The above link is an affiliate link- I receive a small kickback from each ShowerPill purchase. You can also go to the ShowerPill website directly and use the code if you prefer. I was not compensated to write this post and all opinions are my own!

 

July Races and Places

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This July has been all about treadmill runs at the YMCA (thank you free child care) and racing my way back into shape. Since the Firecracker 4 on July 4th I’ve done 3 races: 2 track miles and the Roller Coaster Race 10k.

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Roller Coaster Race 10k

Our local running club, HMRRC, hosts free track meets on Tuesday evenings in July. I hadn’t been to one since I was in high school, but I wanted to take Emma to run in the kids race and figured I’d hop into a race while I was there too. I surprised myself by running a 5:23 for the full mile. Emma ran the 50 meter kids race, although she kept running through the finish line and didn’t want to stop.

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That weekend we took a quick trip up to Lake George, where we stayed at the Great Escape Lodge (the host hotel for the Roller Coaster Race). It was a nice hotel, and the kids loved the indoor water park. It was convenient for race morning too because we were able to just jog from the hotel to the start line, and then run back after the race to shower. The race itself went pretty well- I’m not usually a fan of 10ks because they just seem so long but this course had a lot of twists and turns, so you really had to pay attention and couldn’t zone out. I ended up running 39:58, which wasn’t bad considering my lack of workouts lately. We spent the rest of the day at Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom (tickets were free with the race entry). Emma had the time of her life on those rides!

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This past Tuesday I hit the track again for another mile, this time a few seconds faster (5:16). Emma and her cousin Mia ran the kids races again. We’ll be in town for one more track meet next Tuesday, so I might break out the spikes and see if I can get under 5:10!

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We’ll be in Lake Placid this weekend for IMLP to cheer on my brother-in-law for his first Ironman! I’ve never spectated an Ironman race, so this will be a fun new experience. I’m not sure what to expect of an all-day endurance event (what do we do? will there be beer? where will my kids take naps?)… I’m still at a loss trying to figure out how anyone could swim and bike for hours BEFORE running a marathon. Badass.