Jul 29

No Slacking – Columbus Marathon Training – Wk5

Whenever I have a vacation on the calendar during a marathon training cycle, I kind of freak-out worry about missing my runs and disrupting the flow of “the plan”. Depending on the location and duration of the trip, I could miss a whole week of training, including both weekends. Some trips are just not conducive to running such as my ski vacation to Telluride a few years ago, during another training cycle.

Last week Rich and I spent some time in Chicago for our wedding anniversary. Did I mention it was 20 years?! I think I did. :) Anyway, it was a during-the-week trip so I knew that my marathon pace runs and two long runs would be safe. In all honesty, I wasn’t terribly concerned about missing the miles in between. None the less, I ran my 3 mile run scheduled for Tuesday (our travel day) on Monday evening before we left, which ended up being 3.76 miles. Some people would go crazy with that unusual stopping point. LOL.

20140728-213320-77600707.jpgI knew I wasn’t going to run Tuesday, but checked out the fitness center upon arriving at our hotel and decided I would do a treadmill run Wednesday morning. I would have been happier running outside, but Rich was a little nervous about me running in Chicago without really knowing where I was going. Wednesday afternoon, we walked from our hotel to the Navy Pier which was about 1.5 miles from our hotel and we both decided that it was a perfectly safe and beautiful place to run Thursday morning.

So, Wednesday, I did mile repeats on the treadmill (for $12) and Thursday was a gorgeous run to the Navy Pier and back. They were short runs, but they fulfilled my prescribed mileage for the two days and I didn’t feel like a SLACKER!

20140728-214059-78059431.jpgI was back for my weekend marathon pace run (6 miles) on Saturday which went well and my long run on Sunday, which didn’t go so well. The humidity was up on Sunday and I struggled through every mile of the 10. As a matter of fact, I finished the run at 9.68 miles. I felt so bad about it, that I finished up to get to 10 when I got home. I really have a hard time breathing on those super-muggy days. Thank goodness it was a step back week and I didn’t have to go terribly far. I never would have lasted. Frank was with me again this week and he really kept me motivated to finish.


This week’s training gets a little tougher. It’ll be the first week that I run 30+ miles. I have a plan, but I’m playing around with adding a few miles here and there to make me feel better about the total miles in the end. We’ll see how early I can get myself up in the mornings. :)

  • Monday – Rest
  • Tuesday – 5 miles @ 9:00-9:15 pace
  • Wednesday – Speed 3 (400′s) in 1:50-1:55 and 3 (200′s) at a “hard” pace (Liberty Mile Prep)
  • Thursday – 4 miles @ 9:15-9:45 pace
  • Friday – Liberty Mile – goal 7:30
  • Saturday – 7 miles at marathon pace 8:45
  • Sunday – 14 miles @ 9:15-9:45 pace

After this week – 9 weeks left. It’s flying by but I’m feeling good about how it’s gong so far. My only problem right now is that I haven’t been keeping up with my routine stretching like I should and know better. As the miles build, I’ll have to be better about that.

Question: Do you run on vacation or do take a vacation from running?

Jul 28

Monday Motivation


Jul 22

Running with the Right People – Columbus Marathon Training Wk4

lionsLast winter when I started training for the Pittsburgh Marathon, I decided it might be a good idea to train with a running group. I thought it would be safer, would push me and I would be able to surround myself with people who are on the same page as me….crazy…to run through the sleet and snow for fun. :)

I joined a group and went for a couple of runs. The few people that I got to know inf the group were fantastic, however I still ran alone. Let me elaborate; the fast kids ran a little too fast and the slow kids were a little too slow. So, it didn’t quite work out. I probably could have stuck with it longer and found the right people, but through a friend got hooked up with another group. The times and places they met were a little more convenient and I stuck with them for most of my long runs throughout the winter. But, I never really found my niche.

This past Sunday, I finally understood why people like running with other people so much. I ran with Frank and his daughter Brianna. All three of us have about the same goal for Columbus. Frank and I are shooting for a 3:50 and Brianna is working to break four hours. So, our long run paces are about the same. We pushed each other, made the time go by with conversation and all three of us felt great at the end of 12 miles. I think I found my running group for the rest of the summer. I look forward to making progress with them, making conversation with them and ultimately reaching our goals together.

20140721-231127-83487778.jpgThis week’s training:

I’m going to make this short and sweet because I’m boarding a plane to Chicago to celebrate my 20th wedding anniversary! 20 years! I may not blog this week but will share pieces of my adventure on Instagram and Twitter. My running schedule is a little off this week, but I’ll fit the miles in. Luckily it’s the first “step-back” week.

  • Monday – Run 3.75 miles @ 8:56 (done!)
  • Tuesday – rest
  • Wednesday – 3 miles (some kind of speed work in Chicago)
  • Thursday – rest
  • Friday – 3 miles @ 9:15
  • Saturday – 6 miles @ marathon pace (8:35-8:45)
  • Sunday – 10 miles @ 9:15-9:45

Jul 21

Monday Motivation



Jul 16

Welcome to the Grind – Columbus Marathon Training Wk3

grindMarathon training is a roller coaster ride. A little scary, exciting, full of ups and downs and sometimes makes you feel sick. I say “makes you feel sick” because today was speed work day, which is typically my most grueling workout of the week. :)

There was a sort of lull after the Pittsburgh Marathon, followed by the anticipation of starting a new training cycle. A new goal, new paces to shoot for, a new race to daydream about.

Then, training started. Runs have purpose and meaning. Expectations are high. It’s all brand new and the 3 hour and 50 minute goal at the end of the tunnel is palpable. Two weeks goes by, all is well, but the brain knows what’s coming and whispers (more like shouts) “WELCOME TO THE GRIND”.

Ah yes, I remember the drill now and the daily reminders that yes, marathon training is in full swing:

1. The aching muscles.
2. The early morning alarms.
3. The endless pile of running laundry.
4. The need to shovel food into my mouth 24/7.
5. The anxiety I get when weekend plans may include a Friday or Saturday night with strange foods and heaven forbid, alcohol.
6. Scheduling the rest of my life around my weekly mileage.
7. Evaluating and re-evaluating the training plan (is it challenging enough?)
8. My obsession with the weather. Rain, heat and humidity become key factors to my day-to-day happiness.
9. Running is all I think about.

I’m not saying it’s not exciting anymore, it is, but at times it does become a matter of GRINDING IT OUT. The run, work, rest, repeat is enough to drain you mentally. Running is not for the weak minded individual. Yes, at times I may complain, but make no mistake, I THRIVE on this.

Last week’s training went as planned but also included a 5K and a dip in the river after my long run. Gotta mix things up. :) Unfortunately, I wasn’t as good at documenting every run with a photo, but here are a couple:

runsThis week’s training schedule:

  • Monday – Rest
  • Tuesday – 3 miles @ 9:00-9:15
  • Wednesday – 3 miles 800 repeats (800′s at 3:50)
  • Thursday – 3 miles @ 9:15-9:45
  • Friday – Rest
  • Saturday – 6 miles @ marathon pace 8:35-8:45
  • Sunday – 12 miles @ 9:15-9:45

Training for Columbus or another race? Please share your progress. Have a great week!

Jul 14

GNC Live Well Liberty Mile – FREE REGISTRATION – How fast can YOU run a mile?

2014-runner-legs-bannerMost of the time when I think of racing in the summer, I automatically think 5K or 10K races, two great race distances that keep me on top of my game while I train for the fall marathon. But this year, I’m also participating in the GNC Live Well Liberty Mile in downtown Pittsburgh. I haven’t run a mile race since I was on the track team in high school and I’m pretty excited and anxious to see what I can do. I think the mile distance is challenging because it tests your speed with a decent amount of endurance to hold that speed.

Besides the fact that I’ll be at the race to Tweet and Facebook race happenings, the other cool part about my participation is the fact the I’m not just participating as an individual, but as part of the TEAM CHALLENGE. I’ve recruited a few of my running friends for my team, but ONE spot still remains open for any This Runner’s Fuel reader to join us. More about that at the end of this post.


1. Anyone can run a mile! This race doesn’t take weeks and weeks of training. However, if you want to test your speed and challenge yourself, there are one-mile training plans available online, like the one I found on Running Competitor to help you get ready.

2. You can recruit and sign up with a co-ed, all female or all-male team in one of the following categories; corporate, neighborhood, or open. I’m excited to run with my teammates listed below. Yeah, we’re going to kick some serious butt!

  • Shawn: Currently training for the Columbus Marathon this fall. (Go Shawn!).
  • Derek: Who just crushed his first marathon, Pittsburgh, this past May.
  • Jessica: Ran and dominated her last half marathon in well under 2 hours.
  • Me (yay!)
  • Open spot: Want to join us?? Details at the end of this post

3. Even when you’re race wave is over, It’ll be fun to stick around and watch the the other runners compete in their heats.

4. A chance to see some phenomenal Elite runners compete for some serious prize money. The Elite race is by invitation only and sponsored by the American Development Program by PGH Three Rivers Marathon, Inc.

5. A chance to participate in a truly unique race in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh.

Basic Race Information (for additional information, please visit the official race site)

Date: Friday, August 1st

Time: 7:00pm

Cost: $30 for adults, $20 kids 13 and under (Yes, they have heats for kids!) SO, the whole family can participate!


liberty mileSo, there’s the information and some reasons why this race is going to rock!

Want to join the This Runners Fuel Team? Enter below by logging in with your e-mail address. Earn Bonus points for tweeting about the giveaway and/or liking my Facebook page. A winner will be chosen Friday, July 18th and notified by e-mail. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Jul 14

Monday Motivation


Jul 09

What I ate Wednesday

For a couple of weeks now I’ve started this post then in the middle of the day forget to take pictures and forget to log the food. Finally, yesterday I was on the ball. With marathon training being two weeks in, I do want to mention that I pay closer attention to what I’m eating. Seems like it should be the other way around right? When I’m not burning as many calories I should watch what I eat and during training pig out because of the activity level – LOL.

It’s almost exactly the opposite with me. It’s probably why I gained four pounds since Pittsburgh. Which actually doesn’t get an “LOL”. At any rate, I’m more careful because I have certain expectations when it comes to what I eat. I want my food to (1) keep me healthy, (2) help me recover and (3) help me perform my best. In other words, I tend to eat a little cleaner during training. I don’t want foods that will take a long time to digest, or make me sluggish.

So, on to Tuesday’s meals:

I’m still following my same morning routine; up early to run before work. Yesterday I wasn’t really in the mood to eat much, but I’m ALWAYS in the mood for almonds. They aren’t the best choice prior to a run (high in fat and fiber) but I was only going 3 miles so it wasn’t that critical.

20140708-081027-29427071.jpgPost run meal was Almond Dream non-dairy yogurt (coconut flavor) and a banana. Great mix of carbs and protein.

20140708-081027-29427446.jpgI’m still involved in Tuesday morning work sessions, so I bring my snack along with me. My co-workers are completely used to me taking pictures of my food. :) I had leftover chopped kale salad from the evening before with lemon garlic vinaigrette, which is my new favorite dressing. Of course I had to make sure my pink, glowing mouse was in the shot. Everyone always comments on it.

20140709-143729-52649333.jpgFor lunch it was more leftovers from the previous night. Tempeh and Asian vegetable stir fry over Udon noodles. I absolutely love Japanese noodles.

20140709-143730-52650036.jpgI never ate an afternoon snack because lunch had me pretty full. I didn’t have much time when I got home from work because Rich and I had plans to see my Nephew Carson swim at his meet, and I still wasn’t that hungry, so I grabbed a peach on the way out the door.

20140709-143731-52651248.jpgNeedless to say, when I got home a couple of hours later, I was starving. I was in emergency mode. Luckily I keep veggie burgers in the freezer for occasions like this. Gardein garden veggie burgers are my favorite. I had that on a whole wheat bun with sliced tomatoes and spinach. On the side I had some lentils that I cooked earlier in the week and I topped it off with a glass of Bolthouse Farms Daily Greens juice. The juice is something new I tried this week. It was on sale, so I figured what the heck. By reading the label, I know that juicing myself is way better for you, but this isn’t a complete loss as far as nutrition goes.

20140709-143731-52651968.jpgSo, I am using a new app for my food lately, MyNetDiary Pro, and I’m still trying to figure out the best way to show some type of daily summary.  This app really has some cool reports, charts and analysis, but I picked these to summarize.


 Looks like I was a touch short on calories, but lord knows I’ll make that up another day. Carb, fat and protein ratios we perfect and I managed to avoid trans fat. A good day I would say.

Hopefully, I can back on the ball with this regularly. A couple of people asked why it went away. :)


Jul 08

Persistence – Columbus Marathon Training – Wk2

Two Sundays ago, I had a horrible run. My mind wasn’t focused on the task at hand, it was hot, humid and just all around yucky. I barely got through 10 miles. I stopped, started and stopped again and again repeatedly. I thought to myself – I’ve lost my fitness level, I just don’t have the endurance I had a month ago. Seriously. But, I’m committed to finding something good and positive in EVERY run so, I thought “well, you didn’t pass out, puke or die – so ya know, it’s all good”. But I can’t lie and say I wasn’t a little disappointed or disgusted. I mean, marathon training was starting in two days.

So here I am 6 runs later looking back, knowing I should have known better. Two quotes that I previously posted here came to mind:

77coming-backOkay – so I guess I wouldn’t exactly call it a miracle, but my running really made a turn for the better this week. And the coming back and coming back was the key. Persistence is key in distance running. I’ve talked many times about bad runs, bad races, bad days, bad weeks, and how it sometimes brought me down but inevitably fueled a fire within me to work harder.

Perhaps it was the official start of marathon training. A switch flipped in my head telling me that this is business, it’s time to work if I want to qualify in October, there’s no getting around that fact. The miles have to be run, the paces have to be hit. I take it more seriously than maintenance runs. I have focus and purpose. Oh yeah, and this past Sunday it was 20 degrees cooler and less humid than the previous Sunday. That didn’t hurt. :)

20140708-210839-76119340.jpgThe two 10 mile runs were like night and day. But, I NEVER would have known that a great 10 miler was around the corner had I given up, let that bad run break my spirit and mental capacity to do better. It’s so easy to let the bad runs get you down, make you feel like less of a runner than you are or could be. It’s the going back and going back to find out what’s inside time and time again that makes not just our legs and bodies stronger, but our minds stronger. At least strong enough and smart enough to know that bad runs happen, bad days happen, bad races AND bad weeks DO happen.

If you’re having a weak moment or you’re losing confidence in your fitness level or ability, keep at it, be persistent, cause the miracle (or at least a great run) is right around the corner waiting for you to grab it.

This week’s Schedule:

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: 3 miles (9:00 – 9:15 pace)
  • Wednesday: 3 miles (mile repeats at 7:55, lap recovery) upper body strength training
  • Thursday: 3 miles easy (9:15-9:30 pace)
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: 6 miles at marathon pace (8:35 – 8:45 pace)
  • Sunday: 11-12 miles long slow day (9:15 – 9:30 pace)

Jul 07

Monday Motivation


Older posts «


Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: