MarathonMaiden's Blog

September 1, 2011

Of Ladders and Recovery and Racing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:18

First off I need to give a HUGE shoutout to my girl Lesley for hanging out/driving me to Super Target for groceries. She’s the BEST! I actually ran into her during our long runs this past Saturday (we ran by each other) and hopefully I can get together and run with her someday (and go to the zoo. Remember now, you promised 😉 )

Thanks google

I swear I’m not 5 years old and/or her 4th kid.

Back to running because I guess moving and unemployment have been the best things to happen to it.  And to my blog posting abilities.

The group I’ve linked up with WRRC decided to make their speed session workout Tuesday morning. At 5am. Now in any “normal circumstance” (because trust me I realize that getting up at 4am to haul ass around a track is not in any way shape or form normal) I’d be all for it.  But with no car, I have to take the rail.  And catching a 0432 rail after walking a mile in the dark to the station is not ideal.  I don’t live in the worst neighborhood per se, but it made me uneasy.  So I figured I’d do it on my own.

Unfortunately some upsetting dreams (and I’ve been having VIVID dreams lately) had me oversleeping and I knew that trying to do speedwork once the sun comes up is not prudent.  As it stands in my log book I ended up getting a mid-distance run in, which might not have been prudent either given the lack of water stops on the “trail” I was on.  I did 11 but based on the time and my effort I feel like it should have been more.

I suppose it serves me right for starting a run at 8am although in my defense that’s the weather I’ve been running in all summer back home (86* and home has higher humidity which makes it feel worse) so I figured I’d be okay.  My stomach by the end was all upset in its “dehydration ouchie” state.  I think on the way home I stopped a couple times to stretch it out. Lesson learned: this is Texas. Bring water. (and drink more H2O in general. Adding lemonade powder to my water has been a lifesaver lately though because I can only take so much water!)

The only saving grace to the run was that it drizzled for the whole first half.  Actually I’m not sure if this made it better or not as I felt a little more humidity about.  At least there wasn’t any true lightning like there was on Monday morning when it poured (now that felt good).

The rest of the day (and really any day) was spent recovering (aka feet up and applying to jobs) for:


The track workout that I didn’t do Tuesday was on tap.  I had set my alarm for 0530 so I could easily be out the door before 0600. I ended up getting up at 0600.  Still well before the sunrise, so it’s okay.  The temp was 88*.  Ouch.

On tap was

  • Warmup
  • 800-1200-1200-800 (with 400m recovery between)
  • Warmdown

This was created, I think, by one of the guys in the Running Coop and he’s posted on the FB group page a “Ladder Pace Chart” for what you should try and hit depending on your marathon goal.  For me, I’m not signed up for a marathon so I really had no clue what I should do.  A few weeks back I did some 800s at 7:20-30 pace which according to the pace chart below was what the group aiming for a 3:40-3:50 marathon would target.

Because I’m delusional I decided I wanted to go faster and hit paces targeting a 3:20-40 marathon (and corresponding to a 1:34-44 half, see below). Don’t forget that out of all my marathons, I’ve run 75% of them slower than 3:30 and my half PR is 1:33:something.


Because here’s the pace chart (I figured it’d be easier for y’all to see it with your own eyes rather than me confuse you by trying to explain it)

Yes I am aware it’s an oddly shaped image with a lot of space at the bottom. Deal (although the whole point was so that you guys could read it. Hopefully you can get it to enlarge, maybe by clicking on the image to open it in a new tab/window?)

In order to do this workout I needed to find a track.  This shouldn’t have been a problem.  And wouldn’t have been if I had a car at the moment.  But I don’t.  So I needed something within an appropriate warm up distance.  I found it but the one I found definitely had a sign that said “stadium for school district use only”.  Oops. I had to even walk through the school to get to the track.  Luckily I was able to get in because it was unlocked for the football team.

Side note: I grew up in MA, my high school’s football team (and football in general in the league) was, and likely still is, a joke. In college I didn’t have a team. So this was fascinating in it’s own right.

I guess I can share my speeds/what I actually hit.  As I said above I was targeting the 320-3:40 pace on the chart, but in reality I ended up hitting more of a 3:50-4:00 goal. (rest was one lap, and typically took me ~3 minutes. The recovery according to the pace chart is above but is supposed to be marathon goal in minutes:seconds).  So here are the splits, for 800s it’s broken 400+400 time, for the 1200s it’s broken 800+400 times

  • 800:   1:55 + 1:50 = 3:45 (7:30 pace)
  • 1200: 3:55 + 1:57 = 5:52 (7:52)
  • 1200: 4:00 + 2:00 = 6:00 (8:00)
  • 800:    1:58 + 1:58 = 3:56 ( 7:52)

The workout itself ( again, done mostly in the dark. Ugh late sunrises but yay to seeing the sunrise) went meeeeeeeeeeeeeeh. I mean, I hauled assMajor ass. But it just wasn’t pace wise where I thought I should be.  I was wayyyy off of the goal for me, with the second half of the ladder being much slower than the first and despite me feeling like I was pushing HARD.  Next week I’m going to haul butt to do the speed session with the group because I know that during the intervals it wasn’t a constant “on”, it was a slow down/speed up routine that made me feel like crap.

Shouldn’t have been too surprising though given how slow I’ve been running all summer but I wanted something faster to make my decision whether to run a fall / winter marathon (or even half) clearer. Only good thing about the run (well I guess just getting out there and running fast is a good thing) was that the football coach  asked me “Marathoner?” and I said yes, and told him a potential goal race to which he said “you have an excellent footfall. Wish I could teach my kids that”. That made me smile and probably put a little pep in my step for that last 800.

But I guess it’s a good/decent barometer as to where I am at the moment.

Later that night I went for a group run with the Coop.  I met up with my friend beforehand for a little over 2 miles and the loop with the group was a little over 6 so I got ~8.4 on the night.  The pace felt easy (except for some rolling hills at the end and humidity when we hit White Rock lake) and it was faster than my usual runs.  Not sure what that means.  What I do know is that it left me with 16 for the day.

I didn’t get back to my apt until close to 2200, had to eat dinner and shower AND *register for the DRC half in November before the price increased today*. After the group run, sitting around at Fuzzys Tacos, I wasn’t really talked into it per se but it just made sense.  Something to train for.  Something relatively soon. Something not a marathon. I still have marathon *ideas* but that’s all there is to them.  We’ll see how the half goes first (and if I get a job to pay for it!)

I didn’t get into bed until late and, normally not a big deal but with the Texas heat I really can’t run mid-morning anymore.  So I’m skipped  my scheduled 7 for this morning.  Maybe I’ll get it in tonight (very likely) but we’ll see. I’m babying my Achilles at the moment because, as I mentioned yesterday, Dallas “trails” are really just concrete bike paths that they call multi-use paths. Guess this is a city built on concrete.  I’m not quite sure why but I suspect asphalt would melt in the summer but that’s my theory.

Anyway, it’s September 1st, meaning I should do a “Previously on MM” post for August. I’m going to wait a bit. Lots of stuff went down in August, but I feel like in my last two or three posts you’ve gotten it all.  I’ll have to put my creative juices to work and come up with something wicked pissah to put into words my monthly total.  Hmmmmmmmmmm.  As if applying to jobs wasn’t zapping all my mental capacity!

And since you’ve read this thus far (seriously, I mean what I wrote about unemployment being good for the blog above!):

thansk google

December 1, 2010

Previously On MM….November 2010

I think when I wrote my October recap I ended the post saying “Let’s hope November is just as good, shall we?”.

Well it was. It truly was — anyone know that quote? It’s not really a memorable quote but whenever someone says that line, the scene from this movie pops into my head!

I kind of liked not breaking down the month week by week like I’ve done all year and doing a previously.  Like LOST and 24.  I consider myself as BAMF as the great men in my life 😉

And I have to only pick one LOST pic? UGHHHHHHHHH

Thanks google for both images

Anyway.  November was another great month.  While October brought about the firsts for lots of things (including baking as well as Dallas WR marathon training), November was really where the magic was made.  I put in LOTS of hard work and to go purely by the numbers, this was a colossal month.  Not as big as that crazy June I had but pretty darn big.

Since I liked the format I used last month, I’ll keep it the same.  For your sake as well as mine.


  • 454.1 miles
  • 61 hours 23  minutes 15 seconds
  • 8:54 average pace

Comparing 2009 to 2010

  • 2010: 454.1
  • 2009:  293.6
  • Percent Change:54.7 %

YTD (as of 30-November)

  • 2010:  3988
  • 2009: 2766
  • Percent Change: 44.2%


None here.  I was debating a Turkey Trot with my lil’ bro but opted out.  Oh well.  I’m sure that in a few days I can make it up to myself.  He did school me in an xbox dance off on Thanksgiving so I’m sure he’s over not running with me.

I did, however, get my official-in-the-mail acceptance to Boston which is hard to see past WR but it’s there. Waiting.

Not my image. Google images


Lots of good stuff here.  Last month I linked to all my quality workouts leading up for this WR cycle.  This month I’ve done 3 quality ones a week.  That’s a lot to link to.  So here are the memorable ones / highlights of what I was trying to accomplish (the links are mostly so I can go back and re-read if need be in the future):

I think the biggest thing of the training here was that it was all about learning. I’m slowly trying to wrap my head around how to train right.  That there are many types of workouts and each has their own place. That I’m a pretty decent runner if I put my head to it.  That I set expectation really high and can be disappointed because I expect so much from myself.

I think this month really is laying the foundation for how I approach running and training and RACING for the future.  It’s a bit weird to put it like that but I just feel like this month was special (or maybe it’s been there all fall and just now I’m starting to notice)

Oh man, sentimental much? Lots of other confidence building workouts in there this month but those above were the best of.  I also started the hundred pushups and two hundred situps challenges, of which I am in Week 4 of 6 on currently.  Plus some foam rolling.  Maybe I’m changing my bad-runner-habit ways?

I guess I can’t wait, then, for the first weekend in December.  I get to “run the rock

Preferably in that time too. Asking too much? 😉

Baking (ahem slash cooking):

  • Chocolate CheesecakeThe baking queen herself was impressed.  I’m not going to lie: the idea to do this (and to bring it to a Celtic’s game?!) was born after a glass or two of wine.  As all ideas are?
  • Sweet Potato Soup. I was a complete brat and emailed my mom (not even a phone call!) a week before Thanksgiving to request that she make this for me.  I did make it at the beginning of the month but still.  I am such a terrible daughter.

I actually also made Apple Cinnamon muffins but just haven’t yet shared the recipe.  Here’s a sneak peak? (because I’m sure y’all are tired of seeing pictures that I’ve already posted)

Trust me: better pics in the actual post. I'll try to get it up this weekend 🙂


Despite working 40+ hours a week, running 454.1 miles this month (including marathon training runs!) I maintained a really good social life as well.  The highlights include:

  • I celebrated a birthday.
  • Had the best Thanksgiving I’ve ever had.
  • Drank the most tequila I’ve ever had in one night.

All in all a very good month. I mean, we did get the first snowfall at the beginning of the month but I got a tiara.  Who can argue with that?

November 3, 2010

Previously On MM…..October 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:07

We were under another freeze warning here in the North East so it was a brisk 28* when I rolled out of bed this morning.  In some ways the temp was nice for a recovery run just because I didn’t have to go fast in such cold weather but I definitely ran faster than a normal recovery pace just because it was so cold. I wanted to get back into my warm apartment! Still shorts weather although I did break out a second pair of gloves 🙂

I typically do a week by week summary of how the previous month has gone.  I’ve been doing this for maybe 10 or 11 months now and I’m sick of it.  Mostly because I’ve been getting lazy about recording my thoughts on each week as it passes and by the time the last day of the month comes I only have numbers.  Which are good and all (I’m a numbers nerd remember) but it’s not as exciting as recapping the bet of the month.

So, at least for this month, I’m going to nix the *weekly* numbers and data and give you a brief highlight from this month.  Kind of a “previously on MM…” (in fact I like that title so much I just went an d re-did my title post from “Very Best of” to what it is now haha!) I’ve seen other bloggers recap their months this way and I like it.  Especially since I’ve been doing quality things, not just in miles and paces but RACING and TRAINING.  As well as other things.  Ummmm I apparently can add cookie baker to my resume 🙂

But just for the record, because I still love numbers and data, in October of 2010:

  • 422.1 miles
  • 61 hours 51  minutes 36 seconds
  • 8:48 average pace


  • 2010: 422.1
  • 2009: 307.8
  • Percent Change: 37.1%

YTD (as of 31-October)

  • 2010:  3533.9 (this is the running tally I keep at the top of my log book. According to my monthly total tally my miles are at 3534.4 miles. Weird.)
  • 2009: 2472.4
  • Percent Change: 42.9%


  • Sure I did more races in September (2)  than October (1) but the Tufts 10k was pretty freaking fantastic.  Where I continued my trend of smashing PRs and ran a (to me) astounding 41:20! Plus I got to run it with Lacey. Makes it even better and sweeter.

Therefore, because WR is soooooooooooo soon, I got to do some seriously hardcore


Okay, so maybe even before registering for WR I was running intensely, but within the second half of the month I got in some focused workouts (and I know these links are really recent.  So you probably remember these workouts without clicking.  Or maybe I just like to think I’m important enough that you remember haha!)

  1. 18.1 plus 2.3 mile run — when I thought that I’d be running a portion of a November marathon with a friend
  2. 10 X 800 meter repeats
  3. First tempo that I completed feeling good about — but maybe that’s because I had literally registered for WR 10 minutes before going out the door!
  4. Official first 20 miler of cycle — and on a workday too!
  5. 2 X 3..errrr 2.85 mile repeats

All of which I feel really good about. Don’t get me wrong: I did have my first aborted speed workout ever this month too — and on the FIRST DAY. Way to start off the month!)

But the rest of the month? Very confidence boosting and the hard work I’ve put in this summer and early fall translated into a GREAT month of training.  When I think back to October I’m going to think of the goodness that made me start to buy into this “I can do whatever I want in running.  I CAN DO IT” aka confidence building.

Therefore some good food must be involved.  And by good food I mean cookies.  Because that’s all I’ve really had to make that’s been blog worthy.


I channeled my inner baking queen this month with

I know that 2 cooking things isn’t a huge number but hey: I am not a cook in any way, shape, or form.  I’ve never before felt the need to cook for myself  (and hello dining hall for 4 years!) and suspect that will change now that I’m on my own.  Granted I still don’t find the time often because of my work schedule but October has taught me the satisfying nature of baking.

So two this month.  Who knows how many next 🙂


I know I don’t really blog much about my life in general (just little snippets here and there) but October was really good to me. The first few weeks after moving here were really exciting and then September was pretty painful: the excitement had worn off and I felt a bit lost. October was really good to me socially and ended with a bang on Halloween weekend.

Which, by the way, I got to give out candy to trick or treaters for the first time. I think I may have been more excited than the kids 🙂

The Girls

So a GREAT month.  Let’s hope November is just as good, shall we?

October 3, 2010

Monthly Recap: September 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 17:17

I need to do a better job about keeping this post as a draft throughout the month rather than creating it as the month is ending! I can’t remember all the stuff that went on and what I was feeling as I was doing it! In which case I’m going to talk a bit about the month first and then give give the data as I can’t give anything more than that I’m afraid.

In general September went really well. Granted both my runs on the 1st and the 30th were nasty slow blahhh runs.  But that doesn’t diminish the fact that sandwiched in between there was some good stuff and liveliness.

September truly was a transition period in LIFE as I’d been moved for a couple weeks once the month started and it was more like real life than excitement.  AKA paying *real bills* for the first time. Scary. But I settled in pretty nicely and found the time to relax and catch up on the MASSIVE reading list that accumulated over the spring semester (gasp so long ago!) and  summer.

In terms of running my miles slowly increased and my desire to train for a marathon returned.  I injected a few speed workouts before my 5k and increased my long run to 15.3.  The semblance of a training plan starting to shape up.  Regardless of what marathon I run I don’t want to go into any training plan without having some type of re-introduction to speed / distance.   Training = training.  Full throttle.  But that’s a post for another day and September started laying the foundation for it.

Racing wise it was a smashing success (said in a faux British accent).  I’ve linked below to my race reports (duh) but I dominated both races I entered.  Which was a HUGE boost for me.  I’ve slowly started to warm up to the idea that I’m not a terrible runner and I need to give myself credit.

Here’s the raw data (and some calculated data too.  I’m a numbers nerd for sure:)

He may not be a math nerd but he is running. And hot. (courtesy of google images)

Week of August 30 – September 5

  • 66.5 miles
  • 9 hours 27 minutes 1 seconds
  • 8:32 average pace
  • 0 Core, 0 Lifting, 0 XT, 0 rest day

Swanzey Half with Lacey (click on the link if you want more than just the bare bones facts listed below)

  • 1:33:57
  • 7:10 pace
  • PR by 7:59 minutes
  • AG win and 4th overall female!

I know you've seen this picture countless times. But I still love it. A lot.

Week of September 6 – September 12

  • 72.7 miles
  • 10 hours 16 minutes 57 seconds
  • 8:29 average pace
  • 0 Core, 0 Lifting, 0 XT, 0 rest day

Week of September 13 – September 19

  • 80.7 miles
  • 11 hours 31 minutes 18 seconds
  • 8:34 average pace
  • 0 Core, 0 Lifting, 0 XT, 0 rest day

Providence 5k: (click on the link if you want more than just the bare bones facts)

  • 19:59 minutes
  • 6:26 pace
  • Major pr by 93 seconds. Woot.
  • 206/5977 overall (top 3.4%) and 23/1974 in my division (top 1.2%) (Women’s Open 34 and under)

And a picture because I just got the link from the photo company:

I'm pretty sure this is at the end when I wanted to vomit.

Week of September 20 – September 26

  • 82.1 miles
  • 11 hours 47 minutes 19 seconds
  • 8:37 average pace
  • 0 Core, 0 Lifting, 0 XT, 0 rest day

Week of September 27 – October 3

  • 79.6
  • 10 hours 31 minutes 32 seconds
  • 8:49 average pace
  • 1 Core, 0 Lifting, 0 XT, 1 rest day

A high mileage week but that was due to a double on one of the days because of a friend coming into town.  And I got two quality speed workouts, although the track intervals (which I’m happy to keep reading your advice on them, pacing, recovery between!) were in October.  And you might notice that I did one core session.  I’m hoping to keep them a more frequent occurrence than they have been as of late.

Month of September

  • 328.6 miles
  • 47 hours 4 minutes 31 seconds
  • 8:36 average pace

And because I LOVED being a nerd last month and doing comparisons to last year and percent changes:

September 2010:

  • 2010 : 328.6 miles
  • 2009:  281.5 miles
  • Perfect change: 16.7%

Year to date (as of 30 – September):

  • 2010: 3111.8miles
  • 2009: 2164.6 miles
  • Percent change: 43.8%

Interesting to note that I am only 4.2 miles (as of 30-September 2010) short of hitting my yearly total last year. WOW.

Indeed a good month. Looking ahead a bit to October I’ve got the Tufts 10k coming up soon.  Not much more than that I’m afraid except for trying to decide what marathon I want to do. And then of course coming up with an appropriate training plan.

September 5, 2010

Quick Race Check-In

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 12:56

Hey all! I’m still in NH with Lacey and we just got back from the race and brunch.  I’m not going to do a full recap right now as we’re off to go apple picking.  But I’m so pumped about my race and time that I need to share something now.  And Lacey told me to haha.

I ran a 1:33:57!!

Basically a PR by exactly 8 minutes. 

My legs are going to be soooooooooore tomorrow.  But in that “I totally kicked major ass” way 8)

The race was HARD and INTENSE but we both went out hard and strong and I was able to hold onto the pace for the whole time.  My splits were between 7:00 and 7:20 the whole time.  My fastest was the very first mile at 6:56 and the slowest was 7:28 for mile 2. But overall it was a 7:10!!

4th place woman.  3rd in my age group. Hooooollllleeerrrrr.

It hasn’t hit me yet how fast I went.  Kind of surreal.  We jumped into the lake afterward and just now finished up a “Protien Pancake” breakfast where I just ate 6 pancakes with peanut butter, 4 sausages and about a quart of berries.  I think I more than deserved it.  A most excellent post-race celebratory meal 😉

I’ll be back when I get back from vacay with a full recap (and hopefully some pictures) but we’re off to go mini-golfing and APPLE PICKING.  With champagne later of course because we’re celebrating a great race.

Have a great rest of your Labor Day weekend y’all 🙂

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