gait: training to pace

I bet you’ve been wondering what I was training for now. Sorry to keep you waiting. The truth is I don’t have a race on the calendar, but I have been training. My sister Kristen the Crafty Runner is running the Never Summer 100K in Colorado and has invited me to tag along. While I won’t be running 64.2 miles through 14,000ft of vertical gain and descent, I have agreed to help pace her for the final 14 miles of the race. These final miles will not only be on a trail in the Never Summer Mountains on the Northern border of the Rocky Mountain National Park and the Medicine Bow Mountains, but also most likely in the dark.

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Here is what I’ve been doing to prepare:

Running a weekly long run on the trails of DC– Discovering some new trails have been fun. Predicting how long it will take me to run the new trails has been challenging. The trails range from wide and very runnable to rocky and rooty and from well marked to questionable. But overall DC has some great trails in the middle of the city. Certain areas of the trail are pretty empty while other areas near parking lots have a lot more people. This morning I was cautioned that there was a naked man running ahead… luckily I never found him.

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Running hills– Running hill repeats and some running incline on the treadmill.

Running with a water backpack- I’ll have to carry my own supplies so I bought a Nathan’s  water backpack and have been running with it to practice. Its less annoying than I expected and there are so many pockets! Quick tip on eliminating sloshing- hold the water bag upside down and suck out all the excess air!

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Running around my apartment with a headlamp on- I’m not about to try trail running in DC by myself in the dark, so I haven’t found a good way to practice running in the dark. But the headlamp seemed pretty comfortable to wear so thats a good start.

Running in humidity- We don’t have a lot of altitude in DC. Often my minimum elevation for a run is zero. But I heard that running in humidity is actually a good proxy for running at altitude and DC has a lot of humidity.  I’m not sure how much science is behind this, but I’m rolling with it.

Running trail races- Twice I’ve travelled outside DC to do a trail race. The first was 10 miles and the second a 10K. While these shorter races will be a lot different from an Ultra, they gave me a little insight on sharing a trail with others and race atmosphere.

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Cross training- I’ve been doing some weights and just took my first FlyWheel class.

Talking while running or not talking- What I’ve read on pacing is that they might want you to talk to them or may want you to be quiet. So during my weekly group run I’ve been trying to read what others want… haha just kidding on this one. I’m not sure how to prepare for this.

Have you ever paced someone or ran a mountain trail race? What else should I be preparing for?

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gait: Cville training week 11

Taper week! I never really got tired of the long weekend runs this time around. Probably because the last race I trained for was a Marathon and the long runs were all so long and time consuming that a few runs nearing two hours were no big deal. A few of the midweek runs didn’t happen again this week. Running after work each day is too much for me, it helps to mix in some morning and midday runs, but then sleep and weather sometimes get in the way.

Monday: 4 miles. Cold again, 4 miles on the treadmill. 3 at an even pace, final mile faster.

Tuesday: 30 minutes of yoga (then a beer and food pairing event at the Washington Post)

Wednesday: 5 miles. Easy with pauses for photos.

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Thursday: Cross training day. Brian and I walked down to the Tidal Basin for a picnic. This may not sound like cross training, but it was about 2.5 miles down and 2.5 miles back and both of our legs were tired.

Friday: Rest day

Saturday: 8 mile long run. Felt good and fairly fast and smooth. I witnessed some bicycle rage on the rock creek trail. A girl wearing headphones was passing me as a guy on a bicycle was trying to pass her. She didn’t hear him honking at her, and was taking her time to get back in front of me after passing. He starting yelling. I wanted to just say “Isn’t there room for all of us” but I didn’t want to be yelled at and well the girl never heard him so his anger was wasted.

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Total Miles: 17

Now its Race Week! The weather forecast has been all over the place with rain, now it looks clear so I hope it stays that way! Time to pick out my race outfit and pack for the weekend.

gait: Cville training week 10

PEAK WEEK! AHHH! I didn’t end up running as many miles as my plan called for, but I did run more than the last few weeks so… it counts!

Monday: 5 miles, 4 easy with a fast 1 mile finish. I ran on the treadmill. All the lovely weather of last week is gone and I just wanted to get it done. We have three treadmills in my apartment gym. I was running on the right one and another girl on the left one. During my run three people came in to use the middle one and couldn’t get it to work and left. SO of course this was bothering me. It looked like it should work! So when I got done I flipped the on/off switch. nope. I got on and tugged on the safety rope… yep. Someone had tied the safety rope so tightly around the handle that it was constantly telling the machine to stop.

Tuesday: Yoga, an hour flow class.

Wednesday: 3 miles, planned on 5, felt awful the whole time and then it started raining.

Thursday: 3.75 miles, I ran during lunch, down to the National Mall. I stopped by the tidal basin to check on the cherry blossoms. There were a few trees blooming, but nothing spectacular going on. My legs were tired. I don’t know why.

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Friday: Rest day, cause my legs were tired.

Saturday: 13 miles. I got up early to run so I could avoid the rain. The first half of my run was a bit choppy and I had trouble getting in gear. I ran down to the National Mall first to loop around the Capitol and check on the blossoms again. Thursday in my office’s locker room a fellow runner recommended running behind the Smithsonian castle and checking out the magnolia trees, so I took her advice and she was right, it was pretty. But it was such a cold morning I couldn’t fully enjoy any beauty. Then I headed to the Tidal basin, there were a few more blooms and a random stranger told me I was wearing the wrong running shoes and needed to wear Brooks. Thanks random guy who knows nothing about my feet or running! I carried water with me for the first time this training cycle, which lead me to needing to stop at the Lincoln bathrooms. Then I headed up rock creek and without having to stop at lights I got a good rhythm going and actually achieved a negative split on my run, which doesn’t usually happen.

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Sunday: Rest day!

Total miles: 25

gait: Cville training week 9

Monday: 5 miles. It is finally warmer around DC now and I was able to sneak this run in outside before it got too dark.

Tuesday: 0 miles. Race recovery?

Wednesday: 4 miles. Running around the neighborhood. IN SHORTS AND A TANK TOP!

Thursday: 1 mile and weights.

Friday: 0 miles. Unintended rest day. This wasn’t my week.

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Saturday: 12 miles. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon was running through town on Saturday morning. I planned to run on the C&O canal towpath to avoid running into the race. However by the time I got out the door at 9:30 and got over to where my route crossed the race’s course there were only the very last runners going by. It was interesting seeing the end of the race. I felt for the people walking at mile 6 with over half of the race to go, with the sag wagon right behind them and the street sweepers not far behind them.

The C&O towpath was a great run. You are kind of in the wilderness, but can still hear the traffic, which is disappointing. The crushed gravel is a good run, but you have to watch out for a few bigger rocks and some washed out areas. I did an out and back, which I didn’t mind about going back the same way, but I didn’t notice there was a pretty good wind until I turned around and it hit me. Luckily the wind was only bad for the first mile back towards home.

The 12 miles didn’t feel too bad, but then I walked another two miles to eat and then another mile to a festival and then stood and walked the rest of the day… my legs were tired.

Sunday: Rest day!

Total miles: 22

gait: Cville training week 8

Monday: rest day since I did my long run on Sunday

Tuesday: 3.8 mile interval workout. Flew to Seattle Tuesday and was looking to do some run exploring. Seattle weather has other plans, rain and high winds made it hard to walk so I decided to run inside the hotel.

Wednesday: 3 easy miles. I knew the time difference in Seattle would help me wake up earlier, but it didn’t help the sun come up any earlier. I still managed to fit in three miles before sitting in meetings from 8 to 5:30. I ran from my hotel to the space needle and on the paths around the space needle and Key arena. Seattle has a lot of interesting architecture, new and old. There were lots of fun signs and sites to look at and I wished I had more time.

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Thursday: all day airplane ride rest.

Friday: 4 miles. Three easy with a faster final mile. I bought trail shoes in preparation for this weekend’s trail race and to prepare to run in Colorado this summer. I hadn’t had a chance to try them out, but didn’t want to wear them for the first time in a race so I wore them on the treadmill. They felt great so I think I’m good to go.

Saturday: rest day to prepare for the race Sunday.

Sunday: 9.79 miles at the Backyard Burn Spring Series Laurel Hill race in Lorton, VA. It was rough, I started too fast. I’ll write a full post on the race once they post the official times.

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Total Miles: 21 miles, I missed one day of running and cut two runs shorter than my training plan called for, but I still did a long run and a workout run so with all of my traveling this week I still call it a success.

gait: Cville training week 6

Monday: 4 miles on the treadmill. 3 at an easy pace, with a little speed on the final mile. Today is President’s Day! And more snow, but a little bit warmer. I watched a cross country skier go by while running on the treadmill today.

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Tuesday: 7 miles, 1 mile warm up then 5 miles of 3 minutes faster/2 minutes slower then 1 mile cool-down. Again on the treadmill, we had a three hour delay due to icy roads and sidewalks so I was able to do the workout in the morning, which was awesome. I don’t think I could do 7 miles on a winter weeknight.

I also did an hour of flow yoga with my coworkers.

Wednesday: 3 easy miles around the Capitol Building at lunch time.

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Thursday: Soulcycle. I like free classes and cross promotional classes. So awhile back I saw Soulcycle and Target were doing free classes I signed up to go, but then the snow storm came and they were postponed. For my trouble, Soulcycle let me take another class for free at one of their DC studios. I did a lunchtime class at the Mount Vernon studio. They keep their studio pretty warm and we were going pretty hard the whole time, although my heart rate stayed in the aerobic zone almost the whole time. The class was a good workout, but I could only hear about 30% of what the instructor was saying so I just watched other people to see what I should be doing.

Friday: 4 miles. Three easy miles followed by one a little bit faster on the treadmill.

Saturday: 9 miles. The weather was beautiful on Saturday, which meant everyone was on the rock creek trail. I ran one of my usual routes backwards to increase the elevation gain and really felt the hills compared to the eight mile run I did the week before on the treadmill. But hopefully hills now means an easier race come April.

Sunday: Total rest day. I needed it.

Total miles: 27 miles, 1 hour of yoga, 1 hour of spin

gait: Cville training week 5

This week the training has started to actually feel like training. My midweek runs increased over three miles and the weather isn’t cooperating.

Monday: 3.3 miles, The plan called for 3 miles at an easy pace and one mile at a faster pace. My stomach was not cooperating and when I got to the faster pace I had to stop.

Tuesday: 6 miles, 2 warm up, 3 with increasing speed (peak pace of 8:30 for the middle mile) and 1 mile cool down. I got dressed to head outside for a midday run (working from home today) and then I looked out to see snow/rain mix coming down. So I chickened out and put on shorts and a tank top and went down to the treadmill. Which wasn’t so bad.

Wednesday: 3 easy miles on the treadmill. My headphones died after mile one but had a surprisingly large amount of energy to finish the run. Then I did one round of the Crafty Runner’s arm workout.

Thursday: Schedule called for cross training… but I didn’t really. A little stretching in the morning is all I achieved.

Friday: 3 miles around the neighborhood. It was pretty cold, but I knew it would be worse on Saturday so I decided to brave it so I don’t have all of my runs on the treadmill.

Saturday: 8 miles bright and early on the treadmill. It was in the single digits and we had some snow overnight.

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Sunday: Rest day but we did get a few miles in walking around the city.

gait: Cville training week 4

Monday: 3 miles on the treadmill

Tuesday: 3.8 miles. I ran during my lunch break down on the National Mall. There were some puddles and a huge mountain of snow in front of the Capitol Building, but overall good running. I did a mile warm up and a mile cool down, with two .75 mile speed sessions and a .25 recovery in between them. I aimed to run under an 8:30 pace, but ended up at 8:48 and 8:49… clearly some work to do there.

I also did an hour of flow yoga after work. My abs are sore today, not sure if it is from the running or the yoga.

Wednesday: 3 mile easy run on the treadmill

Thursday: Crafty Runner weight lifting plan. My legs didn’t feel near as tired this time. I am either getting stronger or I did lift enough… or both.

Friday: 3 slow miles in the morning. Loosening up the sore muscles from lifting.

Saturday: 8 mile long run. I finally made it back to rock creek park. Its always fun when you see black bears on your run (that are at a safe distance behind a fence). I had around 300 ft elevation gain during my run, the race has 800 ft elevation gain, so some work to do there. As I was running through Dupont circle towards the end of the run a random man called me Stephanie Prefontaine. Now I know I didn’t look anywhere as fast or smooth as Prefontaine, but it still made me smile and gave me a boost for the final mile of my run.

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Sunday: Rest day

Total miles: 21

gait: Cville training week 3

I meant to take some interesting photos this week… but failed. Probably because most of my workouts were in my apartment building’s tiny gym and I don’t know what happened Saturday. I broke down and bought a new Garmin watch last week. My old Nike watch wasn’t working and although the Apps work well, I like being able to just look at my wrist at any time and see my milage and pace. I’m still figuring out all the functions…

Monday: 3 miles, 2 at an easy pace with a mile faster finish. A lot of the sidewalks are clear, but each intersection is a massive snow bank you have to climb over in order to cross the street so this was another treadmill run.

Tuesday: 5 miles, 1 mile warm up and cool down with some speed intervals in the middle. I stuck to the treadmill again as the sidewalks were still a mess.

Wednesday: Cross train day, did some Nike Training Club workouts, core and yoga

Thursday: Rest day, I really like the two days of rest right now, but starting next week I bump down to one.

Friday: 3 miles, 2 easy with a fast finish

Saturday: 6 mile long run. I finally ran outside again. It was a little cool but very sunny and most of the sidewalks were clear. I ran up Massachusetts Avenue to the Observatory clock and back, I clearly need to continue to work on running hills.

Sunday: Rest

gait: Cville training week 2

Monday: 3 miles: 2 @ easy pace, 1 @ faster pace

Tuesday: 5 miles: 1 warm up, 3 miles of intervals (3 min fast, 2 min recovery), 1 cool down

Wednesday: Cross training day, I did a weight lifting plan designed by my sister, I lifted a little heavier than my usual 5-10 lb dumbbells and felt plenty sore the following two days.

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: 3 miles outside before the Blizzard started, it was a cold run on very salty surfaces. It was supposed to be two at easy pace, with a faster finish, which I think I did just because I was cold and wanted to get home.

Saturday: 5 miles at an easy pace. I ran them on the treadmill due to the blizzard going on outside. The first time I went down to the gym there were three women looking rather comfortable on the only treadmills in our building. I did some ab work while I waited, but as it seemed they were getting in their long run I left and came back in the afternoon. Five miles go by fast when you are watching people and animals try to brave a snowstorm out the window.

Sunday: Sunday was a scheduled rest day, but with 22 inches of fresh snow on the ground I had to get out and check it out and visit some friends. We ended up walking about 9 miles in the snow, which turns out it is rather exhausting. I woke up with slightly sore legs today.

Total miles: 16