Tag Archives: half-marathon training

Operation: Sloth Week

Hey, friends—how’s it going?  First, thanks for your kind comments on my previous post.  Although that half-marathon went from really good to really bad in a matter of seconds, I probably spoke too soon when I swore off the distance.


Shout out to my mom for the picture.  Even though my stomach was down for the count, it looks like my form is somewhat decent, ha.

I will not let 13.1 miles get the best of me!  But before I make a rash decision and sign up for another race, I’ve been taking advantage of some much needed downtime—which I’ve deemed Operation: Sloth Week.

The premise is simple: no training, no exercising, and eating whatever I want.

Let’s start with eating because that’s easy.  My dad is visiting this week, so we’ve been enjoying meals out.  As you saw on Sunday, we hit up Madison Square Eats, and on Monday, we went to a neighborhood favorite, Markt, a Belgian restaurant.


Boo for poor lighting.

This meal isn’t incredibly slothy: red snapper with mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts.  Unpictured, however, are two glasses of wine and coffee heath bar ice cream.

Tuesday evening, we went to see Kinky Boots on Broadway.


It won the 2013 Tony for Best Musical, and it was a great show!  Plus, how can any form of entertainment that centers on shoes (shoes, shoes, shoes, OMG, shoes) be a bad thing?  We grabbed some pizza after, and I inhaled it so quickly that I forgot “proper blogger technique” and didn’t take a picture.

It’s also highly possible I had pizza for lunch yesterday.

We also had a store meeting last night, and since I’m working on being a real person, the 8:30 p.m. start time didn’t phase me as much as it would’ve last week.  And no swimming at 5:45 a.m. this morning meant I could actually have a beer.  I know—I’m going crazy.

So yeah, the food has been great, but honestly, not working out has been challenging.  I relished in doing absolutely nothing Monday and Tuesday, but I really wanted to run yesterday.  And today. (Victoria, you were so right; it’s Thursday, and I’m dying to do something!) On the bright side, I have an outreach “meeting” tomorrow morning at a cycling studio, and the instructor invited me to try out her class. (Have I mentioned how much I love my job?) So slothing—in terms of not exercising—will end shortly.

One aspect of Sloth Week I didn’t anticipate included how going from regular training to absolutely nothing would affect me mentally.  Monday was OK because it seemed like a normal rest day, but by Tuesday, I felt ancy; I didn’t have as much energy, I didn’t feel sharp mentally, and I basically didn’t feel like myself.  And I’ve also felt like a poser this week at the store.  I mean, when customers ask how often you run, what do you say?  ‘Usually four times a week except when I’m being a sloth’ doesn’t sound legit.

Anyway, yes, I’ve taken advantage of this unstructured downtime, but I’m definitely ready to start sprinkling in some swimming, biking, running, and strength training again.

How often to you take a break from training and/or exercising?  How does working out affect you mentally?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of October 13

Greetings!  So, let’s start with the good news:  I survived that half-marathon yesterday.


The bad news:  I suffered from some major GI issues that started at mile eight. (TMI?  We’re on that level now, right?) Not sure if I’ll write an official recap; it would most likely be filled with details you won’t want to hear, ha.  Long story short, it was not that race I wanted, and I have sworn off the distance (again) for the time being.


On a bittersweet note, my 2013 racing season has officially ended, and in an effort to transform from triathlete to real person, I celebrated with a glass of sangria and a lobster BLT from The Red Hook Lobster Pound at Madison Square Eats.


And I slept in until 7 a.m. this morning–progress.

Before the season ended, though, I did log some quality training last week.

Monday – a.m. swim and run with Full Throttle Endurance (FTE)

Light 3,000-yard swim, plus a five-mile easy run.  In preparation for the half-marathon, my coach instructed me hold a certain pace, and then proceeded to test me by telling other teammates to speed up and see if I would bite.  I didn’t.

Tuesday – off

I originally planned to bike, but my coach suggested sleeping in and taking the day off to ensure my legs were fresh for Sunday.  If you twist my arm …

Wednesday – a.m. run

Easy 3.5 miles in Central Park.

Thursday – a.m. swim with FTE

Another easy 3,000-yard swim in the long course pool.

Friday – a.m. easy shake-out run

No Garmin, no electronics.  Just an easy two-ish miler.

Saturday – off

Sunday3rd Annual Fall Foliage Half-Marathon

So, I hesitate to call this next part Write It Down, Do It Up.  Since I’ve been getting after it since January, the week I plan to do nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  Let Operation:  Sloth Week begin.

Who raced this weekend—how did it go?  How do you bounce back from a tough event?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of October 6

Hiya, friends—happy Sunday!  I planned to pop in earlier this week because I have some 2014 racing updates to share.  First, on a whim, I threw my name into the lottery for Escape From Alcatraz—and got in!


Held in San Francisco, this event is one of my bucketlist races that consists of a 1.5-mile swim (from Alcatraz Island to the shoreline—how sweet is that?!), 18-mile bike, and 8-mile trail run.  I told myself not to hold my breath since it’s a popular race, but I kept my fingers crossed.  Now, I just need to figure out if there’s room in my travel budget … because I have another out-of-state race on the horizon.


Let the road back to Milwaukee begin!  I qualified for the 2014 Age Group National Championships at Darien; it’s nice to have that ticket punched before the 2014 season officially starts.

And speaking of races, it’s race week!


Hopefully by this time next Sunday, I will have successfully completed my second half-marathon.  I still haven’t decided whether I’m going to truly “race” it; most likely, it will be a game-time decision, and even then, I’ll probably just chill out for the first eight or nine miles and see how I feel.  Last week’s workouts went pretty well, so I’m looking forward to next weekend.  Here’s what I did:

Monday – a.m. swim and run with Full Throttle Endurance (FTE)

Light 2,500-yard swim with plenty of tech work followed by an eight-mile run with three miles of intervals (aka serious negative splitting).

Tuesday – a.m. bike with FTE

No more tris this season means no more bike-run bricks.  I wrote about how the bike workouts have been challenging, and this one was no exception.  Somehow, I got sucked in to the fast group and basically chased the guys up hills for 18 miles. (Although they did slow down, soft pedal, and wait for me on the flats.  Thanks, guys!)

Wednesday – a.m. run with FTE

Like last Wednesday’s run, we did a little more than eight miles along the Bridle Path and Reservoir in Central Park.

Thursday – a.m. swim and run with FTE

Another easy 2,500-yard swim in the long course pool with hypoxic sets.  The workout schedule also included speedwork, but I ended up cleaning and mostly napping instead.  Hey, a 4 a.m. wakeup call will do that to you.

Friday – a.m. bike with FTE

Three easy loops in Central Park to flush out the legs.

Saturday – a.m. long run

This 10 miler served as my last “long” run before next Sunday’s race.

Sunday – off

Since a bunch of my teammates are doing the Hartford Half-Marathon this coming Saturday, we’ll be tapering this week.  Here’s my workout docket.  Let’s Write It Down, Do It Up!

(If you’re new to WIDDIU, here’s how it works:  Every Sunday, I post my workout schedule for the week, and I invite you to do the same.  This way, we can motivate each other and hold ourselves accountable.  Sounds like a win-win, right?)

Monday – a.m. swim and run with FTE

Tuesday – a.m. bike with FTE

Wednesday – a.m. run with FTE

Thursday – a.m. swim with FTE

Friday – off

Saturday – a.m. shake-out run

Sunday3rd Annual Fall Foliage Half-Marathon

Did you have a good week of workouts?  When’s your next race?

Humble Pie

Hey, hey—happy October!  Yikes, September sure flew by.  Even though this means no more triathlons until 2014,  I am doing a half-marathon soon (in less than two weeks!); and aside from running, I’ve been logging lots of swimming and biking time too, which is a direct result of getting “called up” to the racing team. (This group trains five days each week.) Throughout the past few weeks, I’ve experienced a new level of training intensity—and I love it.

But it isn’t without its frustrations and growing pains.

Sometimes, I can hang—like during last Thursday’s long-course pool swim.  Sometimes, I fail to execute the workout properly and crash—like during last Thursday’s speedwork.  And sometimes, I push, get dropped, but fight my way back—like during last Friday’s bike ride in Central Park. (Actually, the same series of events happened this morning too.) Basically, this is the hardest I’ve ever trained.  And it needless to say, it’s been one reality check after another.  But since food metaphors are irrefutably better, let’s say there have been several servings of humble pie. (And that’s also the phrase my coach used, so I’m accurately reporting the details, ha!)



My first serving of humble pie was consumed on Thursday when a few teammates and I made the drive from New York City to Stamford, CT for a swim workout in the long-course pool at Chelsea Piers Connecticut.  Even though my swim is at a good spot now, I’ve noticed improvements thanks to new-to-me drills this training group does regularly. (For the swimmers and those curious, we’ve been doing a lot of sculling and hypoxic breathing sets.) And during this workout, I tried to “punk out” of a hypoxic nine breathing set (or breathing once every nine stroke).  My coach called me out, yelled at me a bit, and said there’s no reason I couldn’t do it.  So I womaned up and did it.  Sweet!

However, after a quick rinse and gear change, a few teammates went out to do some speedwork on the Darien Triathlon run course, and I royally blew up.  The game plan was to do a 10-minute warm-up, then alternate between two minutes at lactate threshold and one minute off for five miles.  Long story short, I took the first three intervals too fast, then crashed and paid the price during the remaining sets.  It was frustrating because I knew the pace that I should hit, but I pushed too hard in an effort to keep up with the fast people.  Train and learn, right?

And last Friday’s ride in Central Park was solid, yet mildly frustrating as well.  When it became my turn to pull (or take the lead) the paceline, I struggled to maintain the speed, which usually isn’t an issue.  Later, I fell behind the group as we climbed Harlem Hill, but I somehow fought back and regained contact with the pack. (Shout out to the friendly cyclist who gave me gearing and climbing tips!)

When my coach asked me how I felt after the ride, I simply said frustrated.  And he put things into perspective:  Triathletes in this training group have been doing the sport longer than I’ve been alive.  Triathletes in this training group continually win their age groups—and win races overall.  Triathletes in this training group went to London for the World Championships.  Overall, the triathletes in this training group will make me better, but they will push, challenge, and humble me first.

Let the feast begin.

How do you deal with adversity?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of September 29

Hey, friends—happy Sunday?  How’s your weekend been so far?  Yesterday, I had a great 10-mile run before work; it went much better than the one I did last week.  Who knew what a difference running with “friends” makes!


Along with my trusty SPIbelt and iPod shuffle, I also carried this FuelBelt handheld water bottle and slammed this Honey Stinger gel at the halfway point.  It tasted like pure honey, so I’m a fan!  And after this outing, I feel much better about my ability to string together 13 solid miles for my half-marathon. (Is it really two weeks away?  Yikes!)

Aside from this run, I had a good week of workouts as well.  Since being “called up” and training with the racing team, I’ve had my butt handed to me on more than one occasion.  I actually wrote a post about this transition that will go live later this week, but for now, I’ll say my training has reached a new level of intensity—which is awesome.  Here’s a quick look at what I did last week:

Monday – a.m. swim and run with Full Throttle Endurance (FTE)

Even though we’re starting to back off a bit, we aren’t quite shutting down the intensity yet:  3,000-yard swim followed by a five-mile run.

Tuesday – a.m. brick with FTE—outdoor ride and run

Since most Full Throttlers are done racing tris for the season, we’re shortening our bricks:  12 miles in the saddle followed by a two-mile run.

Wednesday – a.m. run with FTE

A little bit more than eight miles in Central Park and along the West Side Highway.  This was a really, really good run.  Instead of doing our normal loop through the park on concrete, we stuck to the Bridle Path and broke off to the Reservoir too.  I felt like I was in The Hunger Games!


Thursday – a.m. swim and run with FTE

This was a roller coaster of a training day:  a solid swim workout in the long-course pool, and then I made a rookie mistake during speedwork (aka went out too fast), which resulted in a huge crash and burn.  Train and learn, right?

Friday – a.m. bike with FTE

This was another toughie:  three loops in Central Park during which I “broed out” and rode with the boys—and nearly got dropped, but somehow managed to hang on.  Progress?

Saturday – a.m. long run

Great 10 miler, and I’m already looking forward to next week’s outing!

Sunday – off

And here’s this week’s edition of Write It Down, Do It Up, which looks fairly similar:

(If you’re new to WIDDIU, here’s how it works:  Every Sunday, I post my workout schedule for the week, and I invite you to do the same.  This way, we can motivate each other and hold ourselves accountable.  Sounds like a win-win, right?)

Monday – a.m. swim and run with FTE

Tuesday – a.m. brick with FTE—outdoor ride and run

Wednesday – a.m. run with FTE

Thursday – a.m. swim and run with FTE

Friday – a.m. bike with FTE

Saturday – a.m. long run

Sunday – off

How did your workouts go this week?

My Next ‘Race’

So as you know, my triathlon racing season concluded last Saturday with a sprint in Darien, CT.  After a humbling yet motivating experience at Age Group Nationals, the ITPMAN served as an ideal last race; it reminded me why I love swimming, biking, and running—and training, racing, and hanging out with my teammates.


Even though there won’t be any more swim-bike-run races until 2014 (boo!), I still plan to SBR with Full Throttle Endurance through mid-October.  A few weeks ago, I got “called up” to train with the five-day-a-week group. (I trained with the three-day-a-week group this season.)  Obviously, I don’t want to turn down this opportunity—oh, no, that’s OK; I’ll just see you guys in January!—and plus, this gives me a chance to work out with new teammates and develop a solid relationship with the head coach.

Anyway, so why am I sharing this information?  Well, I’ve been entertaining the idea of doing a half-marathon for a few weeks, and most of my five-day-a-week teammates are training for marathons (mainly New York City in November) or doing a few half-marathons.  And since I embarked on Operation: Go Long—and since I’m prone to succumbing to peer pressure—I officially registered for the 3rd Annual Fall Foliage Half-Marathon when I got home from Darien.


The race takes place in four weeks, so there’s plenty of time to log some longer runs.  On Saturday, I completed a 10 miler sans music, which was a huge confidence booster, even though it didn’t go as well as I would’ve liked.


Coach Pat to the rescue!  This epitomizes “do as I say, not as I do”:  At the running store, I always tell half- and full-marathoners to carry water or make sure there will be water available on their route, practice their nutrition strategy, etc.  But during my run, I had zero water and zero nutrition.  Yes, I should—and do—know better.

Anyway, I’m locked into doing this 13.1, but I haven’t decided whether I want to truly race it.  Honestly, staying positive, running strong, and crossing the finish line will be a huge victory after last summer’s half from hell.  I’ve definitely matured and developed as a runner this year, but spending so much time in my head still makes me nervous.  And I know that sounds ridiculous because Olympic triathlons last longer than half-marathons, but switching sports breaks up the race.  Basically, I’m not used to spending so much interrupted time in my head.

How do you stay positive during longer workouts and when the going gets tough?

Full-On Tapering

Happy Monday, everyone!  It’s been a busy day here, and on the workout front, I’m now entering my final half-marathon training stage—full-on tapering.

Workout #1 – Open-Water Swimming

This morning kicked off with a short, 10-minute open-water swim (OWS).  Although I wanted to swim longer, I knew my body would appreciate an abbreviated workout come Thursday.  In terms of general swimming, I feel like I’m finally starting to turn a corner.  At the YMCA yesterday morning, I completed three-quarters of a mile using the front crawl for 85 percent of the laps (without stopping, too!); and while swimming in my wetsuit this morning, I freestyled exclusively.  I’m excited to see how this progress translates on Sunday—I’m sure hoping it translates!—but I also wish I had more time to continue to improve. (I could always sign up for another triathlon, right?)

Workout #2 – Running

After drying off and changing into my running clothes, I hit the road for a two-mile run.  As my last workout before my half-marathon, this run served as an opportunity to hit and hold my goal pace without racking up high mileage.  Since I had only two miles to cover, I found myself speeding up, and I had to force myself to back off.  Overall, though, it was a good “last run.”  Now it’s time to rest up!


I needed a cold meal after my run, and cereal sounded perfect.

The mix included 1/2 cup of Kashi Go Lean, 1/2 cup of Fiber One, frozen blueberries, and almond milk.  Yummy!


I snacked on some raw hazelnuts while I prepped my midday meal.

In the spirit of Meatless Monday, lunch took the form of an egg and cheese sandwich with S&P and Tabasco.  I used half of a whole-wheat English muffin as a bun and spread some crunchy PB on the other half.

I also had some cherries for dessert.

Fleet Feet

After lunch, I ran some errands with my mom and sister, and one of our stop included Fleet Feet.  I had to pick up a few things for my upcoming races, and here’s a look at my loot.

An extra pair of triathlon goggles—a strap could break or a lens could crack—and I stocked up on GU energy gels.


Keeping with the Meatless Monday theme, I had black bean burgers for dinner.

I had this combo times two–delicious!

I’m off to watch the Olympics for a bit.  Have a great night!

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of August 5

Hi, friends!  How was your weekend?  I just realized today’s my half-birthday, so I am officially 22.5 years old, aka almost 23.  Wowsha!  Anyway, I drove by this sign on my way to the YMCA this morning.

Triathlon (T-Day) day is only seven days away!  Oh, and there’s also that half-marathon on Thursday.  On that note, here’s this week’s edition of Write It Down, Do It Up!

(If you’re new to WIDDIU, here’s how it works:  Every Sunday evening, I will post my workout schedule for the week, and I invite you to do the same.  This way, we can motivate each other and hold ourselves accountable.  Sounds like a win-win, right?)

Monday – OWS with wetsuit; 2-mile run @ half-marathon pace

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – Rest (and volunteer at CNY Triathlon Club training)

Thursday – 35th Annual Tromptown Half-Marathon

Friday – Rest (?)

Saturday – Rest (?)

Sunday – Cazenovia Triathlon

Have you ever run an evening race?  How/what did you eat that day?  The half-marathon starts at 6:15 p.m., and since I’ve never run a night race, I’m not sure how to approach nutrition on Thursday.  Looking forward, I’ll most likely rest on Friday and maybe do something low-key on Saturday depending on how my body feels.

What’s your workout schedule for this week?

How To Taper For a Half-Marathon

Hi, everyone!  Happy Thursday!  Between yesterday and today—and the day before that, and the day before that, etc.—my Olympic fever continues to run rampant.


Khatuna Lorig did some serious work this morning.  Did you know she taught Jennifer Lawrence how to shoot for The Hunger Games?  Can’t complain if your teacher is a four-time archery Olympian, right?


I set my alarm for 6 a.m. this morning and headed out for my last pre-half-marathon long run at 6:30 a.m.  At 12.2 miles, this is the longest distance I’ve covered, but this will obviously change on Aug. 9.

Minus the challenging incline between miles three and five, I felt pretty good, so I feel prepared for next Thursday.  And with seven days to go, it’s taper time.  I’ll come back to this in a minute.


Like yesterday morning, I multitasked during breakfast—Olympics and overnight oats for the win!

Today’s bowl contained two scoops of PB, lemon Chobani yogurt, 1/3 cup of old fashioned oats, 1/3 cup of almond milk, cinnamon, and chia seeds.  Sorry I’ve been boring with my breakfasts lately—I just love overnight oats!

How To Taper

So, my first half-marathon is one week away!  Gulp.

Because I will be running 13.1 miles in seven days, I’m beginning to taper.  What exactly does this mean?  Active.com calls it a period of training at decreased mileage before race day:

“Taper is a time of rest and reduced workouts prior to a race.  During this time, your body rebuilds, refuels, and recovers from the weeks of hard training you have completed.  Research has found that reducing training before competition allows muscle tissue damage to heal and the body’s energy reserves to replenish.”

Experts say you won’t lose fitness during this period of R&R; in fact, it will ensure you have fresh legs on race-day.  For a half-marathon, Runner’s World recommends a taper length of 10-14 days.  However, since I’ve been training for a half-marathon and sprint triathlon simultaneously—and the events actually occur within a four-day span—I wanted to delay my taper.  Here’s a look at the final four weeks of Hal Higdon’s intermediate half-marathon plan I’ve been following.

Up to this point, I’ve been logging 20-25 miles per week, but from now until Thursday, I might run around 10 miles.  Runner’s World says my final running workout, a two-mile run, is especially important—I should run these miles at race pace, and then taking the following two days completely off.

How do you taper before a race?  What’s your tapering progression?  Do you do anything different when you taper?

Olympic Fever

Hey, everyone!  How’s your Tuesday shaping up?  I’ve been glued to the TV all day, and I just finished watching the U.S. Women’s Soccer team beat North Korea by a score of 1-0.


I’m not exactly a “football” (American or European) enthusiast, but I have tremendous respect for those ladies—strong, fast, and coordinated beyond belief.  Go Team USA!

Workout #1 – Open-Water Swimming

Today’s first sweat session took the form of an open-water swim (OWS).  The Cazenovia Triathlon is less than two weeks away, and I want to feel as comfortable as possible swimming in a wetsuit.  I hit the lake a little after 7 a.m., and my mom spotted me for about 20 minutes.  One of the neighbors has a white buoy in their area of the lake, so I swam out and back to it three times.  As I swam, I discovered the sleeved neoprene suit helps front crawling and hinders breaststroking; forward arm movements, like pulling and grabbing, felt natural while lateral movements, like those associated with the breaststroke, seemed forced.  I used my breathe three strokes, breathe two strokes, breaststroke progression, and the breaststroke movements felt more taxing.  That’s good, though, because it will keep me using the freestyle more.  Overall, the wetsuit felt more “normal,” but I’m still not 100 percent used to it.

Workout #2 – Running

After I practiced part of my transition 1 process—removing my goggles, cap, and wetsuit while jogging—I quickly changed clothes and headed out for a 5-mile run.  Again, since the Caz Tri is right around the corner, I decided to incorporate its 5-K course into today’s mileage.

First, I ran to the high school and completed three laps around the track, and then followed the triathlon route.  I’ve run part of the course previously—during last year’s 4th of July 5-K and January’s Chilly Chili 5-K—but it’s been about six months since my latest run.  Overall, I’m not too concerned about the route, but it does have some hills, including one killer incline on Sullivan Street.


This morning’s meal came in the form of overnight oats in a jar.

I prepped plain Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup of old fashioned oats, 1/3 cup of almond milk, cinnamon, and chia seeds.  I forgot to add a mashed banana last night, and I sure missed it this morning.


A few hours later—during halftime of the women’s soccer game, actually—I made a turkey panini for lunch.

On the side, I microwaved some leftover peppers from last night’s kabobs.  Frozen grapes might have happened as well.

I’m off to Women on Wheels in a bit!

PS – I have another cool triathlon story to pass along:  A local blind athlete will compete in Iron Girl Triathlon this weekend, her first swim-bike-run event.  You go, girl!