A holiday recovery update

By | December 24, 2013

It’s almost Christmas! I still have a ton of work to do (booo) but I’m still looking forward to heading to Vermont with my family at the end of the week.

In the meantime, I had an interesting doctor’s visit last Friday.  The doc said I still have more swelling than he would like.  On Friday, I was majorly swollen and my foot would.not.stop. tingling – it felt like it had permanently fallen asleep.  I was really concerned.  The doctor suggested that wearing compression socks could help.  At first,  I was worried that compression socks would hurt to put on my *broken* foot (since they’re tight), but if I’m careful, I can get them on without too much pain.  And the results have been pretty impressive quickly.  Within a day swelling decreased pretty dramatically.

One of the things I am most surprised about is that I’ve lost quite a bit of muscle mass in my legs in the two weeks since the “incident.”  I ran two marathons this fall, and was in pretty good shape when I fell.  And yet, just two weeks later my left calf muscle is deflated, and my ankle is more skinny than I’ve ever seen it! So bizarre.  This is just making me realize how important a good PT is going to be in getting me back “on my feet.”  I’m really worried about potential running imbalance when I see this:

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Anyway, now that swelling is down,  I’m cleared to start some recovery activities.  I’ve been in the pool twice so far.  Today, I swam about 2200 meters – all with a pull buoy.  My arms are nice and tired! It felt sooooo good to get out and move a little bit.  I also invested in a Finis Neptune SwimP3 player.  It lets you listen to music underwater! I figured it’ll be nice to have since swimming is just about the only cardio I can do for the next few weeks. It’s a riot to be rocking away as I crawl up and down the lanes at my local Y.

Finally, I invested in my newest craiglist special – the Exogen bone stimulator.  I’ve read some really good things about these ultrasound devices: my younger sister was a college athlete, and she said they used “stims” all the time after practice to aid in recovery.  The exogen acts to increase blood-flow, thereby helping the 5th metatarsal heal quicker – since it’s generally in a spot with little blood flow. We’ll see if it helps!

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Happy holidays to the blogging world!

Watch your step …….. or how I broke my foot

By | December 18, 2013

So, remember my last post about looking for new challenges? I was pumped and ready to get started with the 30-week Don Fink ironman training plan.  I completed the first week and a half, and was already starting to love my early morning dates with the pool and post-work trainer sessions (watching House of Cards makes any trainer sesh pass quickly!) It was all going great.

The best laid plans, so they say…

Last week we were dog sitting.  My husband and I have two gorgeous pups – Eli and Gus. Big labs. Gus is just 12 months old, and doesn’t realize how big he is.  Eli is 7 years old, and knows exactly how big he is.  We were dog-sitting little Mookie Wilson, who is an adorable Chihuahua mix. Here they are, the three amigos:

Three amigos at the sight of the crime

Three amigos at the site of the crime

On Wednesday morning, I convinced Mark to walk the dogs because it was approximately -500 degrees outside and I didn’t want to go out.  He obliged, and I went about collecting all the dog bowls to set up breakfast.  As I was walking down the stairs, Eli (the black one on the right) rushed down the stairs behind me, knocking me off balance.  I was on the 3rd stair up, and I stepped out with my left foot.  I fell to the bottom of the stairs, where my left foot made contact with the floor.  I basically stepped with my entire body-weight on the top out-side of my foot.  I crashed to the ground, and knew immediately that I had broken a bone.  I felt the crack, and couldn’t put any weight on my foot.

We rushed off to the ER, where the break was confirmed. A fracture of the fifth metatarsal.  I was given a splint and crutches and told to get in with an orthopaedic as soon as I could.  I spent the afternoon desperately trying to find an ortho that took my insurance (Aetna! Why is it so hard to find a participating doctor?!) I found one and made an appointment for the next day.

The doctor took additional x-rays, and noted that it looked like there was a fracture on the fourth metatarsal as well.  Luckily, both breaks are “good breaks” and should heal quickly (*fingers crossed*)  He gave me a walking boot, instructions to slowly transition to walking in the boot without crutches, and scheduled a follow up appointment for this week.  He said that once the swelling goes down, I can start swimming and biking, though I’ll be stuck with the boot for at least 4 weeks.

Endurance athlete or 80 year old with cankles?

Endurance athlete or 80 year old with cankles?

So, here I am, icing as much as I can to try to get the swelling down.  Six days post-injury, and I can finally wiggle my toes.  I just want to get back in the pool. Luckily, the doctor was really excited when I asked about starting exercise again.  He said with these kinds of breaks, swimming and biking can be beneficial because it will increase blood-flow to the foot, which will promote healing.  Sounds good to me.

I think my vigilant icing is paying off already:

Cankle

It’s still too soon to say what this really means for the Paris marathon, scheduled for April 6.  I am a little nervous that I won’t be able to run at all until mid-February (8 weeks from the fall).  If that’s the case, I’ll have a month and a half in which to build up for the marathon.  I am sure cardio-wise I can be there, and I didn’t plan on racing this marathon, I just don’t want to be in a situation where I overtax the foot as its healing.  I’ve never come back from this kind of injury, so I am unsure.  I asked the doctor and he said he wanted to see how the first few weeks play out before making a recommendation.  He didn’t think that Challenge-AC will be a problem, which was encouraging.  Now I just have to get back in the pool/on the bike!

Has anyone out there ever come back from this kind of injury? Any tips on what to expect?

A new Challenge

By | November 27, 2013

Alright, so I definitely owe a race report for the Philly Marathon, which was November 17.  It was a blast, but I didn’t get the PR I was hoping for.  I actually finished in 4:06, which is about 13 minutes away from PR territory (3:53 at the 2010 Philadelphia Marathon).  That said, I had a terrific day running with fabulous friends, and I don’t regret a thing.  Not every race can be a PR, right?

My next big planned race is the Paris Marathon on April 6.  I signed up for that on a whim back in September (isn’t Paris always a whim?!).  I’m not planning on targeting that race for a PR or anything, I’m more hoping to go to Paris, visit friends, and have fun.

In early November another whim came across me and I signed up for another race.  What is it with me and my whims?! I was investigating my options for completing my first Ironman in 2014.  I’ve done 4 half ironman races (all between 6:00-6:30 – I’m nothing if not pretty consistent, haha), and I truly enjoyed each event.  I’ve been thinking of doing my first ironman for YEARS.  I even signed up for IM Louisville in 2011, but then decided to get married that summer instead! I tried to keep up training and wedding planning at the same time, but it just wasn’t happening (while trying to keep a full time – more than full time! – job).

With that goal in mind, I’ve been looking at races for a while.  I knew most of the WTC “official” ironman races were already sold out for 2014 (nature of the beast), so I was really looking at Rev3 Cedar Point.  The timing of that is a little difficult though, because I’ll be going on an Alaskan cruise with family in early August – what would typically be the peak week for training.  I was also considering Chesepeakman, since I’ve done Eagleman several times and enjoyed myself each time.

Then I saw that Challenge Triathlon is hosting its first long-course triathlon in the US in Atlantic City (Jersey Pride!) on June 29.  June is a little earlier than I would like to do an ironman – that means a loooot of trainer time for those of us in the Northeast.  BUT, I really couldn’t pass up racing in my home state, so close to home, with a clear timeline to the race (no trials scheduled for the spring!) I should even be able to go down to south jersey for a few practice rides on the actual course.  So, I signed up, and I hope this is a good idea!

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Sandy: One Year Later

By | October 29, 2013

It’s so hard for me to believe that tomorrow is the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy’s arrival in New Jersey.

A quick reminder of what those first few days looked like in our neck of the woods:

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A view of our house from the front.  Large tree taken down by wind.

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Cars destroyed and garage damaged.  Mostly just incredibly lucky that the tree fell diagonally.  If it had fallen towards the house, it would have taken out our second floor.

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A view of the trees and lines down on our street.  We were blocked onto our street by fallen trees and lines.  A few of the neighbors banded together and used chainsaws to clear a path out.

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We were eventually able to cut out my husband’s car, but my Civic (to the right) was beyond repair.

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Civic’s untimely fate.

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Electric meter stripped from the house.  We had to get it repaired and then re-apply for electric permits in order to get reconnected.  It took so long for them to come down our street that we had a new electric permit before they restored power to the street (14 days).

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We didn’t find out until almost 2 weeks later that these wires were live most of the time they were on the ground.  We did not see a single electric company representative for over 10 days.

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Our humble abode. So lucky these trees fell sideways.

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This is the tree that blocked off the street.

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Driving to my parents house the next day.  Lines still down on major roads. Terrifying drive.

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Cold and tired without power for 14 days.

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First electric trucks on our street.  Still took another two days to get power back.

And we were really the lucky ones.  Lost a car and 14 days without power? I know so many people who lost their houses and their livelihoods.  People were killed by falling trees.

I know there was a bit of a hubub in the running community in those first few days about whether the NY Marathon should have been cancelled.  I didn’t hear much about it at the time because I had.no.power.  And when I was at work, I was distracted- trying to call the power companies, charge my phones, arrange for repairs to our house and replace my car.  Trying to stay warm, find gas, take care of my dog, and help my friends rebuild. There really wasn’t any time to think about the race. If you had asked my opinion, though, in the days following the storm, I would have said I was glad they cancelled the race.  To me, running is a celebration.  A daily act of joy.  And there wasn’t much joy in those first few days after the storm. The wounds were still raw.

I was supposed to run the JFK 50 later in November 2012.  I dropped out.  I just didn’t have the heart.  My training was derailed by two weeks spent in the dark, trying to find a new car, trying to keep warm.  And beyond that? I just couldn’t bring myself to run when I knew so many people who had lost so much.

A year later, it’s amazing to see how far we’ve come.  Mark and I ran the LBI 18 Miler a few weeks ago, and it was great to see so much of the island rebuilt, or in the process of repair.  Most of the trails in our state and local parks have been cleared of downed trees, making it possible to run and hike locally again.  Sandy changed everything, and nothing, about New Jersey.  Clearly there is still more to be done, but it’s a start.

 

Detroit Marathon Weekend

By | October 27, 2013

I started running marathons 6 years ago, and since my very first race, the Detroit Marathon has been on my “bucket list.”  My mom was born in Michigan, my grandparents are from Michigan, my aunt still lives in Michigan, and I have countless cousins and other relations of various degrees clustered all over the state.  Every May, the women of our family gather in Florida for a “Girls Weekend.”  Last year, after a few bottles of wine, the plan to run Detroit was hatched.  In one night I managed to convince my sister to run her first marathon in Detroit, and my aunt and several cousins to run their first half.  We figured it would be a fun weekend with family, and my sister and I would have a free place to stay for the weekend.  When I got home, I convinced my husband to run the half at Detroit.  The timing worked well since he will be running the full at Philly next month.

Anyway, the race was fabulous.  We drove out on Friday after my husband got out of work.  We stopped in Ohio for the  night, and got to the Expo in Detroit around 2 pm on Saturday.

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The expo was great.  We shopped, tried out new gu’s and gels, and got an awesome new Trigger Point roller.  I found a Oiselle t-shirt on sale for $15, which was clutch!  Also, my sister convinced me to try out “Sweaty Bands”, so I bought one at the expo.

After the expo we went to my cousin’s house for dinner: home made mac and cheese, breadsticks, sausage and peppers.  It was perfect. One of my cousin’s daughters had prepared a few “motivational signs” for us, and hang them around the house before dinner:

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After dinner, we posed in our new “Run Detroit” gear, then split up for an early bedtime.  As you can tell, I was already obsessed with my new “Sweaty Band.” I’m currently in the process of growing out a pixie cut, which is super complicated because of all the running I’ve been up to.  This band did.not.move and kept my crazy hair in place all weekend.

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Yes, I have an amazing family.

 

The next day was the race, described below.  It was a perfect day, and I had an awesome time running with my family.

Here we all are post-race:

Seriously good looking people.

Seriously good looking people.

The next day, Mark and I drove back to New Jersey.  Since we had done the straight out I-80 trip on the way to Michigan, we decided to go home through Canada, and stop at Niagra falls for a quick chance to stretch our legs.  Neither Mark nor I had been to Niagra before, so it was a bit of a treat!

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Don’t get too close to the edge!

I was really surprised at the way the falls are situated – I always imagined that you’d be at the bottom, looking up.  Or that you’d be higher above the falls.  Not that you’d be RIGHT THERE.  When we drove through Niagra (the town on the Canadian side) and looked to our right, it looked like the falls were just a giant hole in the ground.  Like a sink hole opened up and swallowed part of a river.

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We had a great time walking around and stretching our legs (sorely necessary at that point, pun intended!).  We’ll be sure to leave time for the trip on the “Maid of the Mist” next time!

I’ll leave you with Murray the Moose, who I found in the gift shop:

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Murray & Me!

The rest of the drive home was uneventful.  We were reunited with our dogs and asleep in our bed by 10 pm :)

 

 

Detroit Marathon – 10.20.13 – Race Recap!

By | October 25, 2013

It is not an overstatement to say that I had amazing weekend in the “D”.   I’m going to follow up with a second post about the family fun we had this weekend (*including pictures from Niagra Falls!*), but in the meantime, here’s a quick race recap:

This was not my fastest marathon, nor was it my slowest.  It was, however, my *easiest*, and possibly, the race where I had the most fun.   Detroit was my sister’s first marathon. So, the goal for the day was to run with my sister and help pace her to a strong finish.  I am also planning on racing for a PR at Philly in 4 weeks, so I didn’t want to ruin my legs.  Mission accomplished!

We stayed with my Aunt and Uncle, who live about an hour outside Detroit.  We were up at 4:30 and out the door by 5:00 am.  We carpooled into the city with my Aunt (running her first half) and cousins (also running their first half!) We were dropped off near the start, and immediately hit the porta-potty line.  By the time we made it through the bathroom lines and dropped off our checked-bags, it was about 6:50 am.  I said a quick goodbye to Mark, who was running the half and seeded in Coral B.  I knew he was going to have a strong race – perfect weather and a flat course.

Kelly and I made our way back to our corral.  The corral was closed by the time we got there, so we had to slip through the fence.  It was really crowded, but that was honestly fine since it was so cold out.  I totally appreciated the human body warmth :)  Once we made it in, we only had a few minutes then we were off!

Right from the start, we had a few gadget problems.  Kelly’s iPhone wasn’t able to connect to Pandora.  I offered her my iPod, but she wanted to fiddle with hers a bit.  Within 2 miles, my iPod died too.  Eventually, Kelly’s phone started working, but I ended up running from miles 2 to the finish without music.  I haven’t run a marathon without music before, and it definitely required a bit of mental toughness that I hadn’t used before.  That said, I am glad to know that I can do it.

We ran the first few miles very conservatively.  I think this was partially because Kelly wasn’t sure exactly how she wanted to pace the race, and partly because she was annoyed at not having music! Despite being slow, the first few miles flew by: we saw the sunrise from the Ambassador Bridge, high-fived Canadian border agents, and joked about all the good signs (my favorite being: Run Faster! The Kenyans are Finished and Drinking all the Beer!”)

Around Mile 5 I dropped off for a quick bathroom break.  I had to wait in the porta-potty line for a few minutes (annoying) and told Kelly to go on ahead of me.  I spent mile 6 playing catchup- I busted out a quick 7:48 mile.  Most of the people I passed looked at me like I was insane, but it was really kind of fun to see how quickly I could catch Kelly.  After about a mile and a half I saw the familiar blonde pony-tail bouncing ahead of me.  I caught her before the tunnel.

My garmin got a little messed up in the tunnel, but it was a fun mile.  When we got out of the tunnel, we passed two cousins, who had been in an earlier wave.  We learned that our aunt was a bit ahead.  We picked up the pace a bit trying to catch her before the half-runners turned off for their finish.  We didn’t catch her, but the quicker pace seemed to stick.  We finished the first half in 2:17.

The second half was *easy.* The miles felt like they just ticked by.  Indian Village was beautiful, Belle Isle was WINDY, and suddenly we were on the Riverwalk headed into the last few miles.  As we headed back downtown, my legs were itching to go faster, but I stayed with Kelly.  When she saw the sign for Mile 26, she totally turned on the jets. I was a bit surprised she had so much left in the tank, but tried to keep up! We crossed the finish line together, in 4:24.  Our second half was 2:07, which was a half-marathon PR for Kelly.

All in all, the splits shook out like this:

Split
Time
Distance
Avg Pace
Summary 4:24:54.0 25.61 10:21
1 10:49.5 1.00 10:49
2 10:51.8 1.00 10:52
3 11:32.7 1.00 11:33
4 10:46.7 1.00 10:47
5 14:38.0 1.00 14:38
6 7:48.6 1.00 7:49
7 8:46.6 1.00 8:47
8 20:14.1 1.00 20:14
9 10:02.1 1.00 10:02
10 9:38.8 1.00 9:39
11 9:12.4 1.00 9:12
12 9:32.8 1.00 9:33
13 9:32.7 1.00 9:33
14 9:47.3 1.00 9:47
15 9:44.6 1.00 9:45
16 9:51.0 1.00 9:51
17 9:40.9 1.00 9:41
18 9:30.5 1.00 9:30
19 9:37.2 1.00 9:37
20 9:22.0 1.00 9:22
21 9:41.9 1.00 9:42
22 9:29.0 1.00 9:29
23 9:36.6 1.00 9:37
24 9:46.1 1.00 9:46
25 10:05.9 1.00 10:06
26 5:14.3 0.61 8:36

 

We got our picture taken and immediately found Mark and my Aunt.  Mark ran 1:40, a 3 minute pr! We later found out that he was in the top-5o for the Mens’ 25-29 age group (out of over 600 runners).  I am so freaking excited for him.

A quick lunch out with the family and we headed back to my Aunt’s house for a much deserved nap, pizza, and relaxation.

All in all, the race was fantastic.  We had incredible weather.  The course was well organized.  I still can’t get over how smoothly everything went, particularly for a race that involved sending 17,000 runners across an international border and back.  The t-shirt was great, medal well-designed, and post-race food was good.  I am slightly disappointed in the race pictures – Kelly and I waited in line and posed at the finish and I was really looking forward to seeing that picture.  It looks like the race picture website is missing a ton of pictures though, so who knows if we’ll ever see it.

Anyway, huge congrats to my sister, Mark, my Aunt, and everyone else who ran Detroit this weekend.  It was one of those weekends that really reminded me why I love to run, and made me so excited to race with family more often! My aunt is already trying to convince us to go out to Michigan for the Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City in May :)

Bags are packed, ready to go

By | October 18, 2013

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And this is how you pack for a weekend long marathon road trip. Headed to Detroit for the Detroit Marathon!

Ear Candy

By | October 11, 2013

So, I run a lot.  And I’m ashamed to admit it, but my musical tastes haven’t evolved that much since my high school days.  Essentially, if you ever listened to the “Lucy” station on Sirius (before they replaced it with Lithium), you’d know the extent of my iPod music collection.  And while I love the Goo Goo Dolls, I can only pump myself up on mid-90s pop rock for so long.  15 miles into a long run is the last time when I want to hear “Follow You Down” for the 7th time.  Solution? I listen to a lot of podcasts while I run.

I first started listening to podcasts during runs back when I was training for my first marathon in 2007.  I’d download an episode (or three) before hitting the towpath outside DC on Sunday mornings.  Nowadays I have a smartphone with unlimited data, so I stream my podcasts as I go depending on my mood.  Here are my go-tos:

1) This American Life: Hmmm mmm – can’t get enough Ira Glass. OK, I may be the ultimate NPR junkie, but the This American Life podcasts are perfect for running.  Each lasts about an hour, and usually has a variety of stories on a specific theme.  Those stories are short enough to keep you engaged and interested … and distracted from the task at hand.  One of my favorite episodes is Ep. 341 – How to Talk to Kids.  I love the story about the comedians who perform at summer camps.

2) Real Time with Bill Maher: Ok, even if you don’t have HBO, you can listen to the Real Time podcast downloaded from iTunes.  These podcasts are my go-to if I want to laugh and catch up a little bit with the news of the week.  The “New Rules” segment always has me in stitches.

3) Savage Love: Need straight talk? Dan Savage is gonna give it to you.  Can be a little racy at times, but who doesn’t like that? :)

4) My Brother My Brother and Me (MBMBAM): True confession: I listened to probably 25 episodes of this during our epic Tour du Mont Blanc this summer.  I had just been introduced to this podcast last spring by a few friends, and downloaded a whole bunch before our European adventure.  This podcast is an “advice show for the modern era” put out by three brothers: they answer requests for advice from listeners, and they try to answer questions posted to “Yahoo! Answers”.  It is pure comedy gold, and really makes the miles pass quickly.

So, what podcasts do you listen to while running? Any recommendations?

 

 

Weekly Training Report

By | October 6, 2013

Another week closer to Philly! Here’s how it went down:

Monday: Rest day. Delicious after a long weekend of camping and hanging out with friends.

Tuesday: Easy 8.  Treadmill before work. Felt nice and easy.

Wednesday: 8 miles total, with 5×1000 at 5k pace.  This was a TOUGH workout and I was sweating allll over the treadmill.  Sure my treadmill neighbors appreciated it.  That said, I was able to hold a 7:30 pace for the 1000m repeats, which is super solid for me.

Thursday: Rest day, so I went to a new hot yoga place that is near work.  It was a mixed experience – I’ve done hot yoga about 10 times before, and I always really like it.  This studio was incredibly beautiful – high ceilings, exposed wood and brick.  But the studio was expensive, and I felt like I was the only one there not wearing lululemon.  I was definitely the only one there who couldn’t do a headstand (without the wall supporting me) and I felt like the instructor went a little fast for me to really keep up.  I love how I feel after hot yoga, though, so I’ll probably try it at least one more time before my one-week intro pass is up.

Also on Thursday, I got the new pair of compression socks that I had ordered from Pro Compression.  I’ll do a full review later on, but I will say this – I’m in love.  From the argyle pattern to the good fit and strong compression, they really helped me feel fresh this week.

Friday: 5 miles treadmill.  Mark and I hit up the gym after work, which was tough since it was a FRIDAY NIGHT.  I’d say Friday and Thursday nights are the top two times when I am most likely to skip a workout, haha. Did the 5 miles easy though, just to get a little bit of mileage in.  The planned workout was 11 but that clearly didn’t happen.  Just happy that we made it out at all.

Saturday: 10/5 miles relatively easy.  This run was sponsored by “Orange is the New Black” – I watched 2 episodes back to back while on the treadmill.  Felt good.  Went to a wedding after, and danced my toosh off.  This was the first wedding I have been to that had a “mashed potato bar” and I definitely enjoyed that 😉

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Sunday: 15 miles with 12 miles at planned race pace (8:34).  I ran this at the gym.  I watched two episodes of OITNB and then switched it off and really focused on form and feeling the pace.  My planned race pace for Philly is 8:34.  That would get me to 3;45 – which is an 8-minute PR. It was a solid effort, though I was really tired by the end.  Between Saturday and Sunday I did 25 miles in less than 24 hours, so I definitely felt it.  Good marathon training.

Total Mileage: 46

The week coming up is a bit of a step back week for me as we head into Detroit.  Next weekend Mark and I are planning on running the LBI 18-Miler (one of our favorite races!), so I’m toning down the weekly runs a little bit.  Then a short one week taper into Detroit.

Wordless Wednesday

By | October 3, 2013

Enjoying the Tour du Mont Blanc – Summer 2013.  My husband takes good pictures :)

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