Tag Archives: lake effect half marathon

Toronto Goodlife Marathon Training: Weeks 2 and 3

2 Mar

Life has been fairly hectic lately (lots of work.  lots and lots of work.) and I never got around to posting a training update last week.  Combining weeks 2 and 3 presents an opportunity for some swell juxtaposition so let’s consider it an intentional literary device rather than pure laziness.

Without further ado, weeks 2 and 3:

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 8 miles on the treadmill, 9 minute pace

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Unscheduled rest.  Legs still feeling like poo from the previous week’s long run disaster so I decided to move Thursday’s run to Friday.

Friday: 8 miles very easy on the treadmill, 10 minute pace

Saturday: 6 miles very easy on the treadmill, 10 minute pace

Sunday: #FAIL

This was supposed to be the Lake Effect Half Marathon with Britt and Laura.  I had planned on running about 2 miles as a warmup and then the race.  The race is a double out and back in a park in Syracuse, and is always a bit of a crapshoot given that it’s February.  In Syracuse.

However, no fresh snow had fallen the morning of the race and I expected the parkway to be fairly clear.


Yeah, about that.

If I had my Yaktrax with me, I would’ve run (slowly – this wouldn’t have been a day for racing).  If I hadn’t had such a disastrous run the previous week reminding me how hard it is to run on snow, ice and slush – I would’ve run.  But neither of those things were going to work in my favor (I live about 40 minutes away from the park so driving home to grab my ‘trax quickly would not have been a viable option).

I decided to not run the race.  It didn’t feel good but I knew it was the right call.  I knew that I was only risking injury by running, even slowly.

If I was a little bit more committed, I would’ve abstained from booze brunch after and hit up the gym to get my miles done on the treadmill.  But I am me, and I am not that committed.


Hanging with these ladies > running 13 on a treadmill.

Total: 22 miles (yikes.)


I thought about running on Monday and trying to make up the missed miles, but decided to just get back on track with the plan.  A lot of this had to do with the fact that my calf and hip were still tight and bothering me a bit.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 6 miles on the treadmill, 9:20 pace.

Wednesday: 8 miles on the treadmill, 9:25 pace.

Thursday: 6 miles on the treadmill, 10 minute pace.

Quick lower body strength training circuit (single leg squats, donkey kicks, wall sits, clamshells).

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 16.5 miles, 8:25 pace.

BALLER long run.  It was cold as hell (-2 real temp at the start) but for some reason, my legs were just clicking.  I had some stomach issues so it wasn’t all perfect; I couldn’t choke down any fuel on the run because of it.  That aside, everything else felt great and it was very nice to run on clear pavement and get into a good rhythm.  Very thankful for fun and fast friends to chase around for 2+ hours in the cold!

Sunday: 6 miles on the treadmill, 10 minute pace.

Strength training: bench press, biceps, triceps, fire hydrants, plank variants, single leg squats, bridges

Total: 42.5 miles

This winter has caused me to do a ton more treadmill running than I have ever done in the past, but it’s honestly working well for pace control reasons.  I have no problem setting that thing on 6.0mph while I zone out watching Netflix for 60-90 minutes.  It’s nice and comfortable, and it’s kind of fun.  If I was running outside, I would have a very tough time keeping my pace that easy.  I know I am being somewhat aggressive with my mileage increases so I feel it’s important to really keep my non-workout runs at a very easy pace to allow my body to adjust to the miles without the added load of a more aggressive pace.  So far I think it’s been helping; we’ll see how it goes as the weeks go on.

Lake Effect Half Marathon Race Recap

5 Mar

Better late than never, right?

I won’t lie – I was way more excited about getting to see Hollie and Laura again, to meet Britt, and to hang out with the rest of my local running buds than I was to actually run this thing.  Back when I registered, I thought I’d be mid-marathon training and possibly in shape to go for a PR, assuming weather played along.  The thought of running a slow (for me) half as my first race of the season didn’t exactly have my panties in a twist with pre-race nerves and enthusiasm.

However, once it was actually Sunday morning, all of those being-way-too-hard-on-myself thoughts disappeared and I was ready to just have fun.


The weather was perfect: about 35 degrees and sunny, with only a slight breeze coming off of the lake. I should’ve adjusted my wardrobe accordingly as I started to overheat in the second half of the race, but live and learn, I suppose.

The course is a double out and back which would typically drive me nuts (especially since I do about 50% of my long runs in the park where the race is held, so it’s even less of an exciting scene for me).  What saves this race is the fact that I knew probably 30% or so of the people running it, and I had a blast awkwardly cheering for people as they passed by.

A couple of friends from my running group wanted to run 8:24s and since that perfectly aligned with my hoped-for pace, I joined in with them from the get-go.  It was nice to run and chat; between the cheering, we told a bunch of embarrassing stories, I bragged on my friends a bit, all the good stuff.  The first 5 miles flew by almost perfectly on pace, albeit with a bit of weaving and dodging during the first crowded mile.

It was a lot of surging and pulling back from miles 6-10.  My friend and I were feeling good, but we were being cautious about not blowing it too soon.

Around mile 11, I started feeling somewhat fatigued.  Not awful, just tired.  I let my friend go – he was ready to push, and I know he wanted to get as much under 1:50 as he could.  At some point I caught up to and kept pace with a very friendly woman for a bit.  It’s always kind of nice when you sync up with someone when you’re not feeling great – it keeps you both in it and for me at least, keeps my head from going totally negative.  Eventually she fell off the pace again, and I just kept pushing forward.

I kicked it in for the last .1, feeling ready to be done.  As soon as I crossed the finish, I realized how much I had left in the tank and was happy that I had run a truly honest effort – not easy, but not an all-out race – and had accomplished my hopeful time goal to match that type of effort.


Obviously, this is where the fun really began.  I was 99% sure Hollie had pulled out the win since the last time I saw her, she had a decent lead on the second place female.  What I didn’t realize is that she killed it with an almost PR, and that Laura actually did pull out a PR even though she raced a 10k the day before.  After we caught up with each other, we changed quickly and waited for Britt who wasn’t too far behind me.  I was happy to see how well she did, especially given the bumpy road she’s been through over the past several months!

Super creeper pic of Hollie getting her 1st place award.  Laura and I creeped along like paparazzi weirdos.

Super creeper pic of Hollie getting her 1st place award. Laura and I creeped along like paparazzi weirdos.

We drank coffee and chatted while waiting for the awards, then headed downtown for Blues Brunch at Empire Brewing Co.  The lesson we learned there is: don’t be a shitty waitress when your table is full of starving runners because low blood sugar makes people crazy.  Service aside, the food was great, the Bloody Mary I had was even better, and hanging out with friends after a race is probably the most fun ever.  So.  Good day!

So happy I can't even open my eyes.

So happy I can’t even open my eyes.

I’m sure there are highlights I am forgetting (worst blogger ever award) but I have to say that this race was exactly what I needed to give my motivation a little oomph, but also to break up a long, cold, somewhat boring winter.  I can’t wait until the next time I get to see these guys again (Syracuse Half -> NJ Half -> Buffalo Half !!!) and I know my chance to race hard and shoot for PRs will be coming soon as well.

Spring 2014 Racing Schedule

25 Feb

As I alluded to in my last post, I’ve decided against a full marathon this spring.  Instead, I want to focus on building a strong base and work on speed a bit.  My main goal is to be comfortably running 60-75 minute base runs along with 1 speed workout and long run (in the 2h30m range) by summer.

I also want to work on racing more.  Though I do realize that racing all the time isn’t conducive to actually running to your potential, I think a lot of my issues in a race environment are mental.  The best way to overcome that is by stepping out of my comfort zone and forcing myself into being on the pain train more often.

My “race” goal is to set a new half PR by the end of the spring.  Here’s what I plan to hit along the way.


Lake Effect Half Marathon

Well, duh.  You already know about this one.  I’ll do due diligence with a legit recap later, but my goal was to run a comfortable 1:50 and I did just that.

Tipp Hill Shamrock Run (4 miler)



This race kicked my newbie running ass in 2011 and I swore I’d never do it again.  Turns out, I’d actually like a little rendezvous with those hills.  I don’t have major expectations for this race, I just want to put in a good effort and drink some green beer after.

Syracuse Half Marathon


This is a new race in Syracuse – I missed out on it last year since it was the week after Shamrock, I believe.   It fits my schedule nicely this year however, so I decided to register.  I am hoping to run anywhere between 1:40-1:45 here.

Springtime 10k



Another new race (inaugural year) but 10Ks are hard to find so I went for it.  A PR here would be nice because I feel like my 10K best is pretty weak.  But we’ll see.

Mountain Goat Run



I have run this every year since I started running, and I don’t intend to stop now.  This will be a “for fun” race.  I’m already excited.

Buffalo Half Marathon



Dun dun dun.  The goal race.  If all goes well, I’ll be in PR City on May 25th.  Running 7:20s for 13 miles sounds damn near impossible right now, but that’s what training is for, right?


There are a few other “tentatives” along the way.  I am really eyeing the New Jersey Half in April because a) it’s a chance to see Hollie and b) it’d be a nice stepping stone on my way to Buffalo.


So there you have it.  Now your turn to share.  (#properbloggingtechnique)

What races are you running this spring?  Do you have a goal race?  More importantly, will you be at any of the same races as me?!

Back from the Dead

22 Feb

I kind of can’t believe how fast time flies, but the Lake Effect Half Marathon is tomorrow.  I have been looking forward to this weekend for months now, due to these wonderful ladies coming out for the race.  It feels like a million years since I’ve seen Hollie and Laura, and it will be so great to meet Britt for the first time.  Basically, it’s about to get real obnoxious all over Twitter and IG, so I figured I should poke my head out of the hole it’s been buried in and say hi.

Update #1: Running

See: how fast time flies.  I took some time off after CIM, and quite honestly, in the month prior to CIM, I wasn’t running very much due to injury mitigation.  All in all, I was running negligible mileage for about 8-10 weeks.  So I knew when I started up again, I needed to build slowly.

I realized that a big part of my problem last year was trying to mash a bunch of different training methodologies together and never really committing to any one program.  I decided I need to go all-in with ONE training plan and see where that gets me.  I’m back running with my group and have been following the coach’s plan.  6 days/week, 1 speed, 1 long run.  My base runs started out at 15 minutes.  It’s really hard to make yourself go run for a measly 15 minutes, but I did.  Every day.  Until I had an injury-free base under me and could start increasing.

It’s hard to believe I have 6 weeks of running under my belt since I started back up and I’m happy to say that I’m comfortably at ~30 miles/week right now, with 1 speed workout and a long run of 10 miles.  I’m feeling pretty good, and I’m excited to start increasing my mileage a bit more in the upcoming weeks.

Update #2: Racing

I decided I will not be running a marathon this spring.  Between the brutal winter, and really wanting to commit to getting myself a solid base while running injury free, I felt it was counter-intuitive to try and ramp up my mileage super fast to get in any sort of marathon shape.

I do have a goal half marathon for the spring, and a pretty aggressive goal time.  I’ll talk about that a bit more in a different post.





The Lake Effect Half will be the first time I pin a bib on this year and I’m really excited – but I won’t be racing.  A couple friends from my running group are planning on running ~1:50 and I decided to run with them.  I’m hoping this effort will feel like a long tempo.  I want to be tired but not sore or wiped out at the end.  We’ll see.  A lot will depend on the weather; as of right now, it’s threatening to snow a bit and be on the windy side.  The unfortunate part about running at the parkway is that you typically deal with a pretty good breeze ripping across the lake which can make it challenging to hold a steady pace.  The more important goal for me is to finish feeling uninjured and ready for post-race shenanigans with my friends.

Update #3: Weather

Hey, guess what.  I live in Upstate New York and it’s fucking winter.  Surprise: it’s been snowy and cold and awful.  You don’t even know fun until you try to do speed work in -10 degree weather.  My lungs have threatened to jump ship on many different occasions, but what doesn’t kill you, right?

These roads are a lot of fun.  And I'm improving the safety of this situation by taking a picture while driving!

These roads are a lot of fun. And I’m improving the safety of this situation by taking a picture while driving!

Update #4: Dog

She’s still an asshole, and she still gets away with it because she’s pretty.  Typical female.

Look at me, I'm beautiful.  Forgive me for my sins of 2 seconds ago when I peed on the carpet.

Look at me, I’m beautiful. Forgive me for my sins of 2 seconds ago when I peed on the carpet.


I trust that you are so distracted by my physique that you will not notice as I slowly creep towards this Christmas present.

I trust that you are so distracted by my physique that you will not notice as I slowly creep towards this Christmas present.


Update #5: Beer

Although I am actively trying to cut back, I have been enjoying a few good brews as of late.  My recent favorite: Tröegs Perpetual IPA.  Holy YUM (<– jk, that’s my favorite overused and ridiculous HLB expression).

Put some of this in your face-hole immediately.

Put some of this in your face-hole immediately.

And there you have it.  Now that I am back in the running game, I do hope to talk at you from behind this screen more frequently.  Honestly, as corny as I feel writing here, I do like to look back on not just the hard data of my running/races but how I was thinking or feeling about a particular event.  Also, I have to say, I’ve met some absolutely amazing people over the past year of “blogging” (<- I’m sorry, I can’t say that seriously without laughing or puking.  The word just makes me want to gag, I don’t really know why.) and they have changed my life for the better (sappy moment).  Some of my best adventures last year were with people I didn’t even know the year before.  So in that spirit, as ridiculous as I feel sometimes writing here, I don’t really want to stop.  I can’t wait for another year of fun with both new and old friends.

Happy running, y’all.