Friday 5 Linkup: My FIVE Half Marathons

I’ve never done a Friday 5, but I figured I’d give it a shot this week. Mar on the Run, Eat Pray Run, and You Signed Up for What?! host a weekly linkup that anyone can join in on. This week is a freebe, so I can post on a topic of my choosing.


My FIVE Half Marathons

1. A1A Half Marathon

I am from Fort Lauderdale, Fl and grew up in Coral Springs. I’ve been living elsewhere for the last 10 years, but I wanted my first half marathon to be in my hometown and on my home beach. It couldn’t have been a better experience! My parents (and in laws) were there to see me cross that finish line on the beautiful beaches of Fort Lauderdale. It was an automatic PR (1:56:46) and it was the race that made me fall in love with the half marathon.

photo 2

I’ll be running this race again on Feb. 14, 2016!!

2. Holy Half Marathon

Running the Holy Half is a bit of a right of passage at Notre Dame. I knew I’d be moving in the summer, so I needed to check that off my bucket list. It was crazy cold out… like in the teens. The race became my next PR (1:56:44), but the cold wore me out a lot. Despite the cold, I still had TONS of fun. Lizzy ran the race with me, and it was tons of fun to race with a friend.

Lizzy and I at the finish of the Holy Half with our medals!
Lizzy and I at the finish of the Holy Half with our medals!

3. Hospital Hill Half Marathon

This was a TOUGH race. There was about 1000 feet of elevation gain throughout the race AND the biggest hill was at mile 10. By the time I got to it, I was beat! I had a ton of fun though. I felt pretty accomplished having completed such a tough course in under 2 hours.


4. Rocky Mountain Half Marathon

This race was a gem! There were crazy amounts of elevation gain, but I was on that day. The course was the most scenic I’ve ever been on, with the beautiful Rocky Mountains as my backdrop. I plugged in, hunkered down and kicked serious butt to get my new PR of 1:51:46. After the race, I hiked up Hallet Peak and to Chasm Lake to be in the Continental Divide Club and the Chasm Lake Club.

Hallett Autumn Classic

I couldn’t have had a better race and I can’t wait to run it again in 2016!

You may have noticed that I have only run 4 half marathons, but this post says 5. Well… that’s because I am running the Kansas City Half Marathon on October 17!

5. Kansas City Half Marathon

This race will be a dry run for the Route 66 Marathon. I’ll be running it right around marathon pace. I’ll be taking it pretty easy, since I don’t want to risk injury before my big day in November. A lot of people from my social running group will be there and it’s relatively close to Manhattan. Should be a fun day to run!

What is your favorite half marathon?

Race Recap: Holy Half Marathon!


After finishing the Holy Half Marathon, I think I can confidently say that I really love the half marathon distance. I was a little worried that A1A was a fluke, in both performance and enjoyment, but I ran almost the exact same time at the Holy Half AND I had fun doing it. And plus I eeked out a tiny PR too!

Lizzy and I picked up our packets the day before and attended the spaghetti dinner with all you can eat carbs to get us ready for the race. It was pretty nice and relaxing. Honestly, after having such a terrible workweek, I really needed some chill time to think about anything else but work.

I managed to get to bed pretty early, but I wasn’t feeling quite right. …and then I remembered why this race couldn’t be a goal race. I was supposed to get my period on race day. Ugh. I was ok with it when I signed up, but now that it was happening, I was a little less happy.

I woke up the next morning, and sure enough, I had my period. I felt pretty icky and really didn’t feel like running. I had some coffee, ate some breakfast, and tried to get myself jazzed about race day. Lizzy, Frank, and I took off to get to the race a little early and meet up with a friend of mine who was running her first half marathon. It was crazy cold, so everyone was huddled up in the Stepan Center, an awkwardly shaped building used for tennis practice in the winter. It took quite a bit of coercing for the announcers to get the runners to brave the cold at the start line. Luckily blue skies and sun kinda helped the situation. The start line was crammed, and there were way too many people for such a tiny race. They capped it at 1500, but most of the course ran through sidewalks and trails causing there to be a lot of bobbing and weaving around people.

The course had a crazy amount of turns, but it was really pretty!
The course had a crazy amount of turns, but it was really pretty!

I didn’t even hear the start announced, but people started moving, so I did too. The first mile or so was so crammed that I was running pretty slow just to avoid tripping. The course was two loops with an out and back at the end. Everyone, and I mean everyone, I saw on the course was under 30, and Lizzy and I were probably some of the oldest people there. From the very beginning, we could see that the students were definitely struggling. People were walking by mile 4 and it was clear that a lot of the people on the course were just young students who figured they could run 13 miles without training.

The first loop went great. Lizzy and I ran together and we took a pretty conservative pace. We were passing lots of people and I just generally felt strong. Lots of people were saying dumb things like, “you’re almost there”, when we had only run 4 miles, but I was cheery enough to not want to kill them (that was not the case later in the race). We got to mile 8, and I was starting to fade a little. My cramps were getting bad. I rallied for a bit, but Lizzy ended up taking off while I tried to keep it slow. I had a random mile at 9:11, but besides that, I kept it at around 8:40-8:50.

Lizzy and I running around the lake. I think I was starting to hurt a little at this point.
Lizzy and I running around the lake. I think I was starting to hurt a little at this point.

At the end of the second loop, there was a rather demoralizing out and back section. People were trying to take it way too fast, since we couldn’t see the end of it until the turn around. Even though I was feeling a little sick, I was still passing people like crazy. The students were pretty much dropping like flies. Lizzy said someone even had to be taken by parametics at the end. Finally I could see the finish line, and I sprinted to the end. I was just happy to be done with it. I got my medal, sat down and tried to chill for a bit. Honestly, I hadn’t even thought about my time. I figured I had majorly biffed it, so I even forgot to turn off my Garmin. We looked over at the results sheet and I was pleasantly surprised. I ran the course (which was around 13.5 according to my watch) in 1:56:46, two seconds faster than A1A. I had run 13.1 in 1:54:44, which was under my top goal, to break 1:55:00! I had been worried that A1A had been a fluke, but I can set that aside now. I think this race really helped with my confidence. At least I know I can be consistent!

I had a smile because I could see the finish line! Haha!
I had a smile because I could see the finish line! Haha!

After the race, I chilled for like an hour and then Frank dragged me out on a 10-mile mountain bike ride. It was pretty tough, I was tired, but there were tacos at the end, so I was pretty ok with the situation.

Lizzy and I at the finish with our medals!
Lizzy and I at the finish with our medals!

Even though I didn’t feel great during the race, I am pretty happy with how it went. I think I can enter future half marathons with more confidence and I feel pretty ready to crack 1:55:00 on the next course I run. Thanks everyone for your support! It was a bit of a rough week, but I am so glad I did this race! Now that I ran the Holy Half, I think I can go to Kansas without having any races in Indiana on my bucket list.

Training Update: Race Week!

I didn’t really do a whole lot of running this week besides the race. Frank and I spent a lot of the week going through our stuff. We’ve already brought two carloads to Goodwill! It feels great to be cleaning stuff out, and I can’t wait to move. I know, Kansas might not sound like the best place ever, but I am excited to have a new place with new trails to explore. We still have a lot of clearing out to do. We are leaving with only what we can fit in our small Kia Soul (along with us and two cats). I’ve already found running clubs and nice trails to check out. It should be pretty great.

Oh and this too…

The Hospital Hill Half Marathon! I better do some hill work!
The Hospital Hill Half Marathon! I better do some hill work!

I’m signed up for a half marathon in Kansas City! It’ll be my first race in the area and I’m pretty excited. The Hospital Hill Half is one of the oldest Half Marathons in the country. There are also like five hills. I have some work to do to prepare. Haha!

I’m sure you’re all wondering how I did at the Holy Half this weekend. It went… ok. Certainly not bad. Just ok. A few hours after posting my goals, I realized why I had never intended for this to be my goal race. I’ll talk more about in my race recap, but I did PR. I ran the course two seconds faster than I did A1A’s course AND I ran the whole thing at a pace that was 9 seconds faster than the A1A Half. The Holy Half was about 13.5, so I had a little extra to run. Since I did a lot of resting, I’ll go ahead and talk about the days I ran.

Wednesday: 3.6 miles at 8:35 pace

I ran with my usual run group, but tacked on about a half mile more by running from my house to our meet up. We had a pretty good time running our 5K route around Notre Dame. I was running with Lizzy, and I think she was feeling quite a bit better in her recovery. She was keeping us at a pretty good clip for a lot of it. Haha.

We're a cute bunch!
We’re a cute bunch!

Saturday: 13.5 miles at 8:46 – Holy Half Marathon!

I won’t give too much detail, since I’ll be writing a whole post about this. I had a good time, but unfortunately had my period the morning of the race. I felt pretty icky and pooped out a little at the end. I finished the 13.1 faster than A1A by about two minutes, and finished the course two seconds faster than A1A. Having Lizzy there helped immensely, especially since I was not doing well with the mental game. She took off from me around mile 9, but I came in not too far behind. So I guess we can call this a PR. Afterwards, my husband wanted to go mountain biking, so I tacked on 10 miles of that too. I feel like that was worth mentioning.

Lizzy and I at the finish!
Lizzy and I at the finish!

Overall, I didn’t do much running this week, but I’m feeling a little better. I was getting stressed and burnt out about running and work. These next two weeks are really just going to be chill out weeks before I start my training for the Hospital Hill Half. I’m going to just finish my milage and run by feel, no speed work. I’ll start that up again soon. I think I just need a little break from structured workouts.

Thanks everyone for your support this past week. I know I’ve been a little negative and down. Work has been a bit better and your support really helped me get through the race.

Race Jitters and Goals


‘Tis the night before race day… and I still have no idea what I want out of it. I guess that’s becoming a trend with me. I think I’ll just wake up tomorrow and see how I feel, and that will kinda determine the time that I go for.

Unfortunately, this is going to be the weather:

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 9.13.17 AM

I don’t run too well in the cold, and I still haven’t even figured out what I’m wearing. I feel pretty unprepared. Lizzy will be running this as well, so I was thinking I’d run the first half with her (she’s planning on taking it slow since she’s still recovering from LA), then reassess, and either stay with her or pick it up (or slow it down if I need to).

These are my goals for the race:

If it’s a great day – Go for a sub 1:55 (8:40ish pace)

If it’s an good day – Try to hit around what I did for A1A (8:55ish pace)

If it’s just a day – Just have fun!

These goals seem reasonable, and I think I could certainly go for the sub-1:55, if my mind is in the game. Unfortunately, my mind has not really been with it. Work is driving me crazy and I have been having troubles sleeping. Hopefully some race day excitement will help calm my mind of my work problems…

Elly has been taking great care of me, though!

I really have the best cat in the world.
I really have the best cat in the world.

I should have a pretty good cheering squad out there (my husband and a few friends), so I am excited about that. Also, a bunch of my bio students are banditing the race (I know, banditing is bad, but I think it is expected at this race and I was pretty excited that they would be there). It’s also going to be a big help to have Lizzy at the starting line with me. Wish me luck!

So, seriously, what should I wear? 

Training Update: Well… not the best of weeks…

I know, I know… I still have not posted my race recap from last week. Things have been very stressful and I’ve been going through some ups and downs in my personal life. Actually, my personal life has been all ups. My work life has really been the downs. I think the stress of these last few weeks has really gotten to me and my training. Last week just didn’t feel right. I was hesitant to get out the door to go for my runs and when I did, I was having trouble keeping the paces I was trying to hit. Stress in one aspect of my life has a way of seeping into all of the other parts.

Also, yesterday, this happened:

Uh.... I thought it was spring. Where did this snow come from?
Uh…. I thought it was spring. Where did this snow come from?

Anyways, I am only 4 days out from the Holy Half… last week was peak training, but I don’t think my body got the memo on that.

Monday: Rest + Yoga
Felt pretty good and was excited for some speed work the next day. I was feeling fresh after my race during the weekend and was ready to run.

Tuesday: Speed work… only did 2.25 miles + yoga
I went out to do some intervals and was feeling pretty great. I had my headphones in and after I had finished with my 10 minute warm up, Frank called me to tell me that he had gotten a job with NEON (National Ecological Observatory Network). His current job runs out of funding soon (being a scientist sucks… our lives are based on government funding cycles). He had been applying for stuff all over for a while and he had finally gotten one. I tried to continue running, but I had a ton of questions, so I just went home.

Wednesday: 5ish miles
My run group meets on wednesdays to do a 5k, but I decided to get a few extra miles in. I left the house, but my Garmin was acting up. It didn’t connect until I was at least a half mile into the run, and even then, it was telling me I was going 11 minute miles, which I was most certainly not. I think I ran about 5 miles…

Thursday: 0 miles… unintentional rest day
I was just really unmotivated. I was anxious about telling my boss about Frank’s job, since it means relocation for us. I was supposed to do yoga and core work. I did nothing.

Friday: Another unintentional rest day + yoga
This unmotivated day, I was supposed to do a Tempo run. I just didn’t. At least I did some yoga…

Saturday: 4.5 miles Tempo
I did a 10 minute warm up, then ran 20 minutes at tempo, which felt pretty terrible, and then a 10 minute warm down. I kept getting a persistent stomach cramps. I felt pretty discouraged after this run and hoped for a better long run the next day.

I always love my long runs. The city is just so much prettier when you are on foot.
I always love my long runs. The city is just so much prettier when you are on foot.

Sunday: 12 miles long run + Yoga
My long run went much better. I had some trouble getting out the door, but once out, I was good. I listened to podcasts and kinda cleared my mind a bit. I kept a 9:35 pace, which felt really comfortable and good. I was pretty happy that I hadn’t talked myself out of the run once I was out.

Total milage: 23.75 – not really what I was hoping for…

Oh well. I guess bad weeks happen. I just don’t like that it happened the week before a race. I’m hoping that I can refocus and have a good taper week, although things have been pretty stressful around here thus far. 😦

The good news is that Frank got a really awesome permanent job, which means no grant cycles, no feverishly looking for a job because the last one is about to run out. He can keep this one for as long as he wants to. We will be moving to Manhattan, KS (The Little Apple) in May. I’ll be coming back and forth a lot as I finish my PhD, but home base will be there. Kansas wasn’t really where I dreamed of moving, but it’s actually really pretty.

This is the Konza prairie, which is only 10 miles south of town.
This is the Konza prairie, which is only 10 miles south of town.

And it’s only 7 hours from the Rocky Mountains. I can feel some serious trail running in my future!

How do you run when you’re stressed out? Have you ever had a terrible week in the peak of your training? How do you stop stress from taking over?

It’s cold here in the midwest!

Wow… This week has really been a wonderful experience. I really can’t believe A1A is over AND that I totally crushed my A goal with a time of 1:56:45 for my half marathon debut. On top of all of that… I signed up for the A1A Half Marathon again next year. It was an extremely positive experience and I can’t wait to do it again. But now I’m back in the midwest and hitting the training hard.

Uh... why do people live here?!
Uh… why do people live here?!

I have a few running related things up on my to do list over the next few months. The DINO trail series starts up again in less than a month and I am planning to do a few of their races again this year. The season begins with a 15K at Mounds State Park on March 14, about 2 hours south of town. I never really plan a real time goal for trail races because every race is so different. Depending on how they make the course, there can be sections of bush whacking and river crossings that really slow you down. Trail running is really just a fun experience and pretty scenery. But I gotta say, I love doing it.

My next big goal is the Holy Half Marathon. I have no idea what to expect and I am sure a lot of it depends on weather. I am not very good at running in the cold, which may have been the reason I over-estimated my pace so much before A1A. If the temperatures are reasonable, I’ll probably shoot for getting into the 1:55’s. If the weather is bad, I’ll just aim to finish.

Elly has done a good job of keeping me warm despite the temperatures.
Elly has done a good job of keeping me warm despite the temperatures.

So, how did training go this week? I was tired and it was SO COLD! I had to take a few of my runs inside even though I hate treadmills. My long run was with a few of the professors in my department, so not only was I intimidated by running 10 miles one week after a half, but I was also intimidated by the people. There was certainly some suffering, but less than I would expect given the conditions.

Monday: Rest Rest Rest
Tuesday: 3 very slow miles on treadmill
Wednesday: Yoga
Thursday: 4 very slow miles outside + yoga
Friday: 4 miles + yoga
Saturday: Cross country ski
Sunday: 10 mile long run

Total: 21 miles

I was a little worried about doing 10 miles after my half, but I was so intimidated by running with the professors in my department that I kept it together. Peer pressure I guess.
I was a little worried about doing 10 miles after my half, but I was so intimidated by running with the professors in my department that I kept it together. Peer pressure I guess.

This next week I am switching over to Matt Fitzgerald’s half marathon training plan. His method is to run by time and heart rate, not by milage, which is what I am used to. I’ve heard good things about his plan, but my main reason for making the switch is that he has some pretty good speed word in his plan, which is what I am really looking to add to my training. He also has some pretty strict nutrition plans, but I’ll see if I stick to that.

Next week training:

Monday: Rest Rest Rest
Tuesday: Intervals
Wednesday: 40 minutes easy + yoga
Thursday: Figure out max heart rate (20 min run) + yoga
Friday: Tempo run + yoga
Saturday: Hiking?
Sunday: 12 mile long run

What are your upcoming plans? Have you ever tried to train by time instead of milage?

And the training continues…

This week has been awesome! I’m still on a PR high and I am looking forward to all of the training and craziness of my next Half Marathon.

If by training, I mean partying, then yes. I did some of that this week.
If by training, I mean partying, then yes. I did some of that this week.

It’s only 38 days away…

This half is quite a bit smaller, so I wont have the crowd of people to lean on mentally when the going gets tough. However, Lizzy (from Run Hare Run) will also be running the race. I am sure having her there will help me tons. I have a lot of confidence issues about running, so having someone at a race that I regularly run with will be good for my head. Frank (my husband) will also be there to cheer me on. He was greatly missed at my last race.

Also, this race photo from A1A might be the worst pic of me ever taken…

Haha! This is me when I'm working hard. Hard work isn't pretty. lol
Haha! This is me when I’m working hard at the finish line. Hard work isn’t pretty.

My training for this week:

Tuesday: Treadmill 3 mile run
Wednesday: 4 mile easy run + yoga
Thursday: Yoga
Friday: 6 miles + yoga
Saturday: Cross Country Ski
Sunday: 10 mile long run

How do you celebrate a big race? How long do you usually take to recover?

Training Update: Keeping up the Intensity!

Here we are, two weeks out from the A1A Half Marathon. And, I gotta say, this week was great! It was exactly what I needed to get myself back on track after being so sick. I am certainly not quite 100%, though. My husband says that I have been snoring sometimes at night, which is very unusual for me, and likely it’s due to still being a bit congested. I’m also definitely not as quick as I was before I had the flu, but that’s ok. I’m sure it’ll come back. In good news, I have also had absolutely no IT band pain, so I have concluded the pain last Wednesday was a fluke.

Beautiful view for my tuesday night run! It was a little chilly out, but worth it.
Beautiful view for my tuesday night run! It was a little chilly out, but worth it.

Tuesday’s run was especially awesome. I went along the river after work while my husband biked along side. It was really beautiful watching the sun set along the river. I went caving Saturday in Southern Indiana with the South Bend Adventure Club. We went into a wild cave (meaning no guided tours, you just get a key to the cave and go in) and spent about 4 hours underground. Caving has a way of showing you muscles you never knew you had, but it’s pretty freaking fun.

The caving group from the South Bend Adventure Club. Pretty awesome time!
The caving group from the South Bend Adventure Club. Pretty awesome time!

That brings us to Sunday… Sunday’s long run (attempt) was a bit of a fiasco. I woke up in the morning and decided that no blizzard was going to stop my long run (haha, I’m a native Floridian, what was I thinking?). Well, I only made it 5.5 miles AND I was miserable the whole time. I was nearly plowed over and ran through some white out conditions. I cut things short, so I am going to go out for my long run tomorrow after the snow settles (and if it doesn’t, I’ll be running at the gym).

See South Bend there tucked in the middle of that wonderful splash of blue? Yeah, I tried to do a long run through that. Didn't happen.
See South Bend there tucked in the middle of that wonderful splash of blue? Yeah, I tried to do a long run through that. Didn’t happen.

Training Summary for this week:

Monday: rest
Tuesday: Ran 5 miles at 9:30 pace along river + teaching hot yoga
Wednesday: Ran 3 miles at 10:00 pace with run group + yoga
Thursday: Yoga + rest
Friday: Tempo run: 1 mile warm up, 3 miles at 8:45 with 1 min break between each mile, 1 mile warm down + yoga
Saturday: Caving!
Sunday: Ran/walked/stomped through snow for 5.5 miles through a blizzard + yoga
Monday: Run ~11 miles for long run (either in the gym or outside if the weather is better)

Total: ~27 miles

Overall, despite the blizzard, I had a wonderful training week. My goals for next week are really to keep up the intensity from this past week. I can’t wait to finish up my training and get to the race!

Training for next week:

Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 3-4 miles with running group + yoga
Thursday: Yoga + Bike (or rest)
Friday: Tempo run + yoga
Saturday: Cross Country Ski
Sunday: Run 9-10 miles for long run

Hope you had a great week too! And all you midwesterners, stay warm! 🙂

Finally Back to the Training

Apparently the A1A Marathon and Half Marathon has a race poster.
Apparently the A1A Marathon and Half Marathon has a race poster. This runner is a real heal striker.

Here we are, less than one month from my first Half Marathon. I am starting to get a little nervous about the whole thing, especially since my training got pretty messed up after having the flu. But with two weeks of illness behind me, I am back in the game and ready to take the A1A Half Marathon on. Having the layoff gave my legs some nice time off, but also forced me to reevaluate my goals a little. I went into this thinking that I’d kick some butt and break two hours, and that’s still what I want to do, however, I am realizing that I will have to be happy with simply finishing. Northern Indiana is still deep in winter’s grips, so my runs will be a mix of indoors and outdoors to accommodate for weather. Here is my training for the rest of the week:

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 5 miles indoors slow + yoga

Wednesday: 3-4 miles with run group + yoga

Thursday: Biking + yoga

Friday: 5 Miles + yoga

Saturday: Biking + yoga

Sunday: 8 miles

Total: ~22 miles

It’s also important to remember that I am 10 weeks out from the Holy Half. With the kinks worked out at the A1A Half, I should be ready to go come March. To increase speed a bit, next week I am going to start incorporating some speed work into my training schedule.

training update with very little training

The A1A Half Marathon is 33 days away and for the past week, I have not been training. I came down with the flu and was too sick to be awake, no less to run. This certainly causes some hiccups in the training plan, but I am more concerned about getting over the flu than breaking 2 hours on my first half marathon. I am not sure when I’ll be back to my usual intensity, but if all goes well, I’ll try for a (slow) 30 minute run on wednesday to kind of shake it all out. Send me lots of positive and healthy vibes while my immune system finishes up this battle.

Pretty excited for my half marathon line up!
I am committed to the Holy Half in March. Pretty excited for my half marathon line up! Isn’t their logo cute?

In the mean time, I signed up for my next half marathon of the season, the Holy Half at the University of Notre Dame. This is where I go to grad school and many of my friends have ran the race. It is student run, and isn’t particularly fast (there are a lot of turns to keep it on campus), but it is the race that goes through my usual running grounds, so I gotta do it! I am not sure what my goals will be, which will likely be very dependent on how well the A1A half goes. As we get closer, I’ll update you on all of that.

Last summer, I participated in a race series called DINO (Do INdiana Outdoors), which has trail races, triathlons and mountain bike races. This year, I am hoping to do a few more of their races. March 14th kicks off their series with a 15K trail run not too far from my house. They have a few other trail races that I have my eye on. Here is my plan for races over the next few months.

Feb 15 – A1A Half Marathon

March 14 – DINO Mounds State Park Trail 15K

March 28 – Holy Half Marathon

April 25 – DINO Town Trail Run 15K

So, as I try to get better, I am signing up for races. It is a good motivator to eat well and sleep a lot so that I am ready to kick some serious butt. I’ll keep you updated on how my training goes over these next few weeks, but any advice on getting back after you’ve been pretty sick is very much appreciated!