weekly stats April 19

The end of another week.  Technically it is my first week training for the Echo Half marathon.  However, I knew coming into this week that I wouldn’t be very focused on hitting my training runs.  It was more about prepping and executing my 5k on Thursday.  So, I thought it would be interesting to compare my “training plan” week to my actual week of running.  You can see that I did not execute my plan at all…

  Planned Pace Executed Pace
Sunday     4.7  Intervals
Tuesday 3 9:57 3 8:08
Wednesday 2 9:57 3 8:36
Thursday 6 4 @ 8:29 3.12 7:28
Friday 2 9:57    
Saturday     4 10:01
Total 13   17.82  

The only thing that I’m not happy about is that I didn’t get in my 6 mile run.  The one on the schedule was supposed to be a mini-tempo run, and I figure the 5k was enough speed work for the week, but I didn’t like that I missed logging the miles.  That’s why I decided to put in 4 miles this morning.  Here’s how my workouts were the rest of the week:

Sunday: Jazzercise & 4 miles interval work
Monday: Jazzercise & walking
Tuesday: Jazzercise & 3 quick miles around the neighborhood.  It was my pre-5k test run.
Wednesday: 3 miles with the stroller
Thursday: 5k PR!!!
Friday: Jazzercise & walking
Saturday: 4 miles with the stroller and the Little Running Diva

Total Mileage: 17
Total Steps: 118,263

I’m pretty happy with this week.  Anytime I can make it to three Jazzercise classes I feel accomplished, and this week I somehow sneaked in 4!

I’ll probably go for a walk this afternoon to help this chart look a little better :)

fitbit april 13 copy

2014 IOA Corporate 5k

Normally, I am a long-distance-or-no-distance kind of runner.  I’ve always considered running slow and steady extremely more enjoyable that running fast and in pain.  While I may not be a complete 5k convert, I will admit that I had more fun that I expected to last night.

It may have a little something to do with this:

IMG_20140418_101718Yes.  That my friends is a PR and it tastes sooo good!  I haven’t had a PR run in any distance since October 2010.  But let’s back up a bit….

The race was scheduled to start at 7:15 (not like 7:00 like I foolishly thought).  My good friend KRSTFR offered to come and pick me up at my house just after 5, so that we would get there in plenty of time to park, and meet up for our group picture at 6:30.  I got all my gear together and started getting ready while Little G was down for his afternoon nap.

Our company had about 350+ participants, so I went with my brightest shorts so I could stand out at least a little :).

Surprisingly we didn’t run into too much traffic on the way downtown.  Luckily KRSTFR has done this race three years in a row so he has the whole thing down to a science.  We parked in a garage and started out to find our crew.

Apparently this was the 20th year of this race and it was bananas.  There were so many people!  We eventually found our tent and immediately started taking pictures with friends.

My friend who is 39 weeks pregnant and looking FABULOUS!

photo by Dave Mari

Then they gathered us together for a group photo.  Here’s what it looked like from my perspective:

Then our CEO said a word of prayer for the race.

photo by Dave Mari

There was some group stretching.

photo by Dave Mari

And it was time to head to corals.

Here’s where I had a hard time both following rules and paying attention.  You see, people are allowed to project their finish time and get a special wristband that lets them start in the first coral.  Somehow I ended up with one, even though I didn’t enter in a fast time.  However, by the time race day came, I was actually pretty thankful I would be in the first coral because I had decided that I wanted to push for a PR and see how things went.

Well….it got very confusing.  There were lots of people and fences…I ended up just following the largest group of people.  And thats when I realized that I was boxed in, not with the seeded runners, but in a coral of everyone else.  I wan’t sure what to do.

Remember how I thought the race started at 7? Yea, this is where it came back to bite me.  I though the race would be starting very soon, so I figured that I’d just wait in the coral and try to get ahead of the slower people as soon as I could.  So I just waited.  And waited.  By the time I figured out that the race wasn’t going to start until 7:15, there was actually I line down the side of the coral for people waiting and hoping to get into the seeded area.  I just gave up, put in my headphones and waited.

After what seemed like forever (that’s what I get for not paying attention) and a LOT of talking from different people.  They sang the national anthem and we were OFF!

Mile 1: 7:20
This was my fastest mile mainly because I was determined to get out in front of the non-runners.  It was really tricky because the street here was all cobblestones and very uneven.  I spent most of my time looking down and trying to not trip.  There was lots of weaving around.  I remember thinking about an article I read YEARS ago about how in a 5k it’s OK to go out “too fast” because the race just isn’t long enough to hold back.  I kept thinking about just getting out it front and running a strong first mile.

Somewhere along the way I past a friend that is training for a marathon, said hello, and kept trucking.

Mile 2: 7:36
I knew I was slowing down a little during this mile.  I kept checking my Garmin cause I wanted to keep my pace under 8.  For whatever reason my strategy became, run even during mile 2, so that I have something to give at the end.  Half way through the mile, I saw my CEO running ahead of me.  That may have caused me to speed up some.  He and I often discuss running and I figured that if I caught up I could chat for a few minutes to keep my mind off the pain.  Just before my Garmin beeped the 2nd mile I got to him and checked in.  He then said, “Don’t wait for me, keep going!”

Mile 3: 7:36
I knew I was getting tired.  My breathing was pretty heavy and I started obsessively checking my watch to make sure that I wasn’t just standing still.  It helped to know that there were people that knew be just over my shoulder, that gave me the gumption to keep forging ahead.

About half way through this mile, I caught a glimpse of an acquaintance at work.  You know, the person you always say hi to, but don’t necessarily go to lunch with?  Anyway I decided right then that I would pass him before the end.

I kept wondering when/if I should push it.  I knew that I had saved just a little for the end and I started wondering, can I sprint for half a mile? A quarter mile? A tenth?  I turned the last corner and saw that the finish line was RIGHT there!

Last 0.12 mile: 0:46
I totally chicked* him at the end! (*to chick* is when a female runner passes a male runner in a race)

By then I was curious if there were any other ladies from our team that had finished before me.  I started scanning the crowd walking through the finishers chute to see if I saw any of our shirts.

We had been instructed to go right to our tent and report our time, so I headed over.  I didn’t see any girls standing around and when I reported my finishing time of 23:18 the team captain had to start the list for the girls!  Say WHA?!?!  Now…I was by no means the fastest girl on the course…just the fastest from our company.

I’ll admit…I am super happy with the race.  I had so much fun!  I loved being with all of my work people in a completely different environment.  It was a decent course without too many distractions.  And I’ll admit, shaving a minute and twenty-two seconds off my 5k PR didn’t hurt.  Well, I mean, it hurt. But all 5k’s hurt, right?

The night ended with fireworks to celebrate 20 years of hosting the Corporate 5k.


Liebster Award



A great-big shout out to Angela @ Love the Running for nominating me for the Liebster Award.  It’s a great way to learn more about bloggers and connect with new people.

Liebster Award Facts:
The Liebster Award is an online award for bloggers, given by bloggers. It’s a great way to find new blogs to follow as well as promote new bloggers.

The general rules are:

  • Thank the blogger who presented the award and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 10 questions the blogger asked of you.
  • Nominate 10 different bloggers.
  • Ask 10 different questions to the nominees.
  • Notify nominees that they are nominated.

Here are my 10 answers:

1. Would you rather workout in the heat or the cold?
COLD all day.  Every day.  So…that’s a fun little joke since I live in Florida.  I used to live in Michigan and I would run through the winters.  Here…I always go into hiding in the summer…

run 9 miles with the Gazelle

2. Do you exercise in the morning or at night?
I vary…whenever I can sneak it in.  I used to run in the morning (hence the name of the blog…) but being a mom has taken over and I just try to go whenever I can.

3. Why did you decide to start blogging?
I started finding running blog when I was trying to decide on which training plan to follow.  After consuming from the blogging community, I took the plunge and decided to become a part of it.

4. Who’s your favorite celebrity?
Ryan Hall.  :)

joy of running indeed!

5. Where do you live and what’s something you love about it?
I live in Central Florida.  I love the people always volunteer to come visit me.  It makes seeing friends/family way easier!

6. Do you have any pets?
No.  I’ve wanted a dog for about 5 years….someday I’ll talk Mr. Dawn into getting me one…

7. What’s your favorite thing to cook?
Soup.  YUM! And it’s fairly hard to mess up.

8. How do you stay motivated?
By setting goals and then telling people about them.  It helps to hold me accountable.

9. Favorite vacation destination?


10. Link to your favorite blog post that you’ve written!
My favorite three posts (all about my BQ)
Grand Rapids Marathon

Here are the Bloggers I’m nominating:

CryseeD @ Little Running Diva
Matt @ Go Smitty Go!! 
Erin @ Efo Runner
Michelle @ The Runner’s Plate
Raina @ Small Town Runner
Katie @ Run This Amazing Day
Ashley @ Redonk Runner
Ann @ Anntics
Marlene @ Mission to A(nother) Marathon
GBA @ Neurosis of the Stay At Home Marathoner of 3

These are all amazing blogs!  Some may not be the most up today, but I bet if you go and give them some love they will wake right up :).

Here are the 10 questions for them:

  1. Are you more Daring or Careful?
  2. Are you more Softspoken or Forceful?
  3. Are you more Calm or Energetic?
  4. Are you more Tactful or Frank?
  5. Are you more Skeptical or Accepting?
  6. Are you more Accommodating or Strong-willed?
  7. Are you more Patient or Driven?
  8. Are you more Private or Outgoing?
  9. Are you more Lively or Reserved?
  10. Link to your favorite blog posts!

8 week half marathon training

I’m pretty sure this is the shortest training cycle that I’ve ever attempted.  This doesn’t necessarily worry me because

  1. I’m running a half marathon in June, in Florida.  So, I’m a little crazy and asking for trouble.  The average temperature is 89 degrees, with an average low of 73 degrees.  Which means that even if the run is early, it’s going to be miserable.
  2. This is NOT a goal race.  This is a “I need to run a race to remember who I am” race.  Incidentally, it’s also cheapest-half-I-could-find and only-race-in-Florida-in-June.
  3. I’m excited to run with friends and hopefully meet some of the ladies in my MRTT (Moms Run This Town).

Whenever I’m shopping around for a training plan, I think that it’s important to consider  both the goals and the variables such as time available, time of year, length of training, and my current fitness level.

For this training:
Goal: To enjoy the run, not die, and have enough energy to smile and chat with friends
Time: Limited. I’ll have to do most of my runs with Little G in the stroller, so that won’t leave much opportunity for speed work or tempo runs.
Season: Summer.  Heat. Florida. Miserable.
Length: Eight Weeks
Fitness: Low.  I’ve done one long run in the past year.

After looking around a bit, I didn’t find anything that really felt right.  So I decided to give Smart Coach on runnersworld.com a try to see if it would come up with something that would work.

I like the plan because most of the miles are put in at a pace that I feel confident I can hit while pushing a stroller.  I also like that all the long runs are 13 miles.  That is completely different than anything I’ve ever done before.  I’m intrigued by it.  I’m a little doubtful about the outcome…the plan claims that I’ll be able to finish the race in under 1:50.  I just find that really hard to imagine.  I’ll be surprised if I’m able to get in under 2 hours…I guess we’ll see :).

Here’s what it looks like (I put it in a spreadsheet so I can hang it up on the fridge):

Echo Half training plan copy

What do you look for in a training plan?



let’s talk 5k

Tomorrow I will be running a legit 5k.  For the first time in 6 years.  Sure, I ran that one a few weeks ago with a stroller and a pregnant friend…but that didn’t really count.

In the spirit of 5k’s I decided to look up all the 5k races that I have ever run.  (Did you know about the site Athlink? You just type in your name and find all of your finishing times in one place.  I love it!)  Let me be real.  I’ve never raced a 5k.  I’m pretty sure that every time I have run this distance it’s been with a friend or group of people.  Never have I specifically trained for one or even run one while I was training for something else.  It’s always a, “sure I’ll fun with you guys tomorrow, sounds fun!” kind of a deal.

With that out of the way here’s my 5k history:

Groundhog Festival 5k, 25:55
This was while I was working at a summer camp in Pennsylvania.  I don’t remember anything about the run except it was blazing hot and we kept running under water hoses that people had turned on in their front yards.  Oh, and that there were hills.

Groundhog Festival 5k, 24:40
To be honest…I found this on Athlinks…But I’m pretty sure that I got sick this year and gave my bib to someone else to run.  I can’t remember running that same race two years in a row…

Crossroads 5k, 24:51
I ran this with a friend from work.  It was the first race that I ran as a married woman.  Mr. Dawn was less than thrilled with me waking up at o-dark-thirty to get ready and eat breakfast.  He threw on a hoodie and was grumpy all morning until we took him somewhere to eat hashbrowns for breakfast.

Crossroads 5k, 27:31
So, I don’t remember this run either.  I don’t know how I would have run it because we had moved up to Michigan by then….hmmmm….

Miriam Kittrell Race for Christian Education 5K, 38:36
Yep…that brings us to the end of the list.

Needless to say, I don’t do 5k’s.  But I’m running one tomorrow.  After looking through my past performances, I’m inspired to see if I can set a PR.  Now, that won’t be easy.  I’ve established that I am horrible at running fast and I don’t like running short.  In order to run faster than the above times, I’ll have to run sub-8:00 per mile.  Honestly, that doesn’t feel very practical or even possible right now.

But like I said yesterday, I’m ready to stretch myself and see what I am capable of.  So, let’s do this.

memory lane

There’s been so much that has captured my attention and turned it back to times gone by.  This weekend, I was reading Janae’s post about her 20 miler with marathon pace miles in the middle.  And I thought to myself… “marathon paced miles…huh, when was the last time I ran marathon paced miles?”  Which immediately led me to look it up – the joy of recording every run!

It was September 8, 2010.  A lifetime ago.  I was in full-on marathon mode.  I was training for what would be my 3rd marathon in just over 6 months.  My goal was to qualify for Boston.  As a mediocre runner, it was taking all of my time, attention, and energy to reach for that goal, but I was making progress.  I had started doing all my long runs with a friend who was much faster than me.  I was also faithfully following a training plan from the book Advanced Marathoning including speed work, lactate threshold runs (basically a tempo run), and – yes – marathon pace miles.

So, today I had a flashback.  Even though it’s been almost 4 years since that 15 mile run, I can still remember exactly which route I used, and exactly how it felt.  There’s one stretch, on the return loop, where there are some rolling hills and every time I glanced down at my watch I was at least 10 seconds under my goal pace.

I still believe that it was the confidence during that run that carried me all the was to my BQ.  It was the first time I had run that fast, for that long, on my own.  There still are no words to express how I felt that day.

And with that…I am snapped back to today.  Four years older.  Four years slower.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am in no way sad about my current life.  I love my husband, we have an adorable (albeit active) one year old, my job is the perfect fit for me, and I love the community that we have found here.  I’m not sad that I spend the last four years the way I did, and I wouldn’t trade them for a hundred BQ races.

It does awaken in me a small fire.  And a few questions.  The fire is the hunger to be pushing my limits and challenging myself.  I long to see the pace times going down.  The questions revolve around wondering if my fastest days are behind me.  Is it time to shift into recreational running and stop trying to get faster?  And even if I put in the time and energy to be faster… will I be faster than my former-self or just my current-self?

The truth is, I’m just overwhelmed with joy and gratitude that I am able to run.  It was this time last year that I was slowly going down a road toward surgery.  There was part of me that believed I would never run again.  Thank goodness I’ve come this far!

the need for speed

Sunday morning after I went to Jazzercise class I decided to do my first track workout since moving here.  *almost* Three. Years. Ago.  I can’t believe that it’s been that long since I set foot on a track.  I have to admit, I’ve missed it a little.  I’ve done the odd speed session, but it’s been based off my Garmin and out on a trail.  For some reason it feels completely different when I’m on an actual track.

Part of the problem has been I don’t live within walking/running distance to a track.  I can’t believe how lucky I was up in Michigan to live almost exactly one mile from the local high school and the track that they kept snow-free year round.  [sniff.]  Moving on…I just recently found a group called Moms Run This Town.  My local chapter stays in contact through a facebook group and I just recently joined them.  I haven’t been able to actually go to a group run or race to meet the other ladies, but I’ve already gotten so much great information!  It just reaffirms how much I love the running community.

So, yesterday I asked them for advice on public-access tracks and got lots of good suggestions.  Which lead me out to face what I consider to be my hardest workout in almost two years.

I decided to do a ladder workout mainly because I’ve never done one and I thought it would be the best use of my newly discovered track.  My plan was to do 200-400-600-800-600-400-200 with a 10 minute warm up and cool down.

I had no idea how challenging this was going to be.  The first 200 I felt like I was flying.  I felt strong and confident.  The problem was the rest of the intervals were going to get longer and harder.  It was so hard to figure out which pace to fall into because the distance kept changing.  I had to run by feel and push through wanting to quit.

Now…I will admit that I slowed down throughout the workout, which I know is a big NO-NO.  I’ll chalk that up to this being my first time in three years.  That works, right?  Here’s how it went:

200m – 0:43 (5:49 per mile)
400m – 1:29 (6:01 per mile)
600m – 2:26 (6:33 per mile)
800m – 3:32 (7:08 per mile)
600m – 2:32 (6:49 per mile)
400m – 1:35 (6:25 per mile)
200m – 0:47 (6:24 per mile)

I know I could have run that last one faster!  Grrr.

Another first-in-forever accomplishment: I wore my racing flats for the first time since this run in 2010.  I bought them not exactly sure if I was going to use them for racing or for speedwork.  After one 12 miler I decided to play it safe and reserve them for track days.  I’ll admit…lacing them up today was incredible.  Not only did it remind me of the last run in them but it felt like rediscovering an old friend.  The kind where you pick up right where you left off without the awkward small talk.  They are so light and airy.  I felt like I could conquer the world.  So I went out and did my own version of that.

weekly stats April 11

This week has been a series of hit and miss.  Every time I think that I have figured out a schedule that will keep me active all week long something goes wrong with it.  Sometimes work gets in the way, other times I don’t have someone to watch Little G, but this week I’m pretty sure that traffic conspired to keep me sedentary.  Two days in a row I was in my car heading to a Jazzercise class and got stuck in the middle of rush hour.

So, technically,  since I forked over some money this week, I finally have a few races to be training for…but I have yet to put together a training plan.  In fact I hadn’t even looked up how many weeks until the Echo Half until I started writing this paragraph.

I’m back, I just checked Echohalf.com and discovered that the race is actually the day after my birthday!!!!  June 8.  I love how I didn’t even know that til now.  Turns out, running is my favorite way to celebrate pretty much anything.  And maybe I’ll get some new running gear that I can use at the race (hint, hint, wink, wink, love you mom!).

So, I have 8 weeks to prepare.  Since this is my first time “training” as a mom, I’m not even sure how to go about setting weekly goals or even how often I’ll get to run.  It feels very different.  Before, I would draw up a plan and then know that I would execute it.  I never followed the plans perfectly and I was constantly shifting my workouts around depending on how I felt on any given day.  But this is so different.  Once I come up with something I’ll share it and then we’ll see how I do :).

Here’s what I was up to this week:

Saturday: lots of walking…not sure how much.  Fitbit estimates it at 8 miles…
Sunday: 4 miles running w/2 pick-up miles (not sure what my pace was cause my garmin is in the hospital); Jazzercise
Monday: nothing.  I packed my clothes for Jazzercise and took them with me to work.  I was caught in traffic and didn’t make it to class in time.  UGH.
Tuesday: nothing.  Same as Monday.  I even tried to go to the earlier class to avoid the traffic, but there was an accident.  Unacceptable.
Wednesday: 6 miles (no garmin); Jazzercise; 3 miles walking
Thursday: 2 miles walking
Friday: 3 miles running

Anyone else use a Fitbit?  If you don’t this will mean nothing.  If you do you should totally add me to your friends list.  Cause I need motivation.  And…I may or may not check my leaderboard obsessively.

Weekly steps: 102,537

You can see that I was 100% not consistent this week.  I’ll have to work on that…

fitbit april 11 copy



It’s official.  I’m getting re-certified as a Jazzercise Instructor.  Yes, I’ve been wanting to do that since we moved down south almost three years ago…first my always-on-the-road job got in the way, then I had a baby, and back surgery.  But I’ve officially paid my money and scheduled my workshop for August.

I’m not sure what happened, but shortly after I had my surgery I started really missing being an instructor.  It got worse once I was allowed to start attending class again.  I always found that I would work harder and burn more calories as an instructor.  It’s like the difference between training runs and race day.  You go through the same motions both days, but when it’s race day you have the added adrenaline and it just takes your performance to a whole new level.  Instructing is like that.  I’m always so nervous that I’m going to forget the routines or not remember to cue correctly that I have so much extra energy.

August still seems like a long time off….I wish it was sooner because I’m itching to get back to it.

I’m also really excited to see what affect being an instructor has on my running.  Actually, the first time I broke 2:00 in the half marathon was shortly after I started teaching Jazzercise.  I wasn’t able to run as much as I would have liked.  I was teaching 3+ times a week and going to night school, it didn’t allow for any serious training.  At that time, I had never run intervals or tempo runs.  I didn’t own a garmin.  I had never looked up the qualifying times for Boston.  I just knew that I liked running.  I had run a couple fulls, the fastest one being 4:28…I had no idea that I was capable of running that fast.

I attribute the huge gains in my speed to the cross training that Jazzercise gave me.  It allowed me to strengthen my core, hips, legs and glutes in addition to getting more cardio work without the repetitive motion of running.

I don’t expect the same dramatic transformation, but I know that it will have a positive influence on my running and I can’t wait!

Christmas in April

Finally!  It’s like Christmas!  I have signed up for my first real race in almost two years.

And on the same day, I was gifted two subscriptions to running magazines.

RT gift copy RW gift copy

And I decided to run a virtual race in support of Boston.

I’m so excited that I have an actual race on my calendar.  It’s like someone has breathed new life into me.  I ended up signing up super late on Sunday night.  I found a coupon code that was expiring at midnight, so at 11:46 I pulled the trigger.  And Monday I had a smile on my face and a spring in my step.

I had no idea how left out I had been feeling.  In some weird way, the past 2 years I have felt like a “former” runner.  Someone that used to be in a really cool club but that isn’t anymore.  I would nod and smile when someone was telling me about their training.  I stopped reading a lot of the running blogs that I love so much just because it didn’t feel like it was relevant to me anymore.

And now?  I’m totally geeking out on having a “calendar” and stalking Desiree’s Boston training…you know…totally normal running things.  It feels so good! Like coming home.  At Christmas time.