Chicago Marathon Training: Week 3

Monday: 5 miles  6.5 miles

I had 5 miles on the schedule to start week 3 of training. Just as I was getting back to our condo my brother, Jonathan, asked me if I wanted to run a little bit more with him. I never have company on my runs so of course I said yes! We did 1.5 miles together to make it a total of 6.5 for the day!

We didn’t take a post run selfie so I made him take a picture with me after dinner

 

Half of this week’s training is being done in Florida on vacation, but surprisingly I am still feeling semi-motivated. Getting up in the morning has been the hardest part!

Tuesday: 5 miles

Nothing too special about this morning’s run. It was 81 degrees & 90% humidity, but I love running at the beach with a change of scenery!

Wednesday: 6.5 miles

[ 1 Mile warm up, 2 x 2 mile progression w/ 0.25 recovery, 1 mile cool down ]

Goal: 1st repeat at 8:10-8:20 pace and 2nd repeat at 8:00-8:10 pace

Even though I hit my pace goals for this, it was definitely one of the hardest runs I have done in quite some time. Last run at the beach before I head back home to Arkansas!

Thursday: Rest & Recovery

I drove 10 hours home from the beach with my sister-in-law and niece! My niece is not even two years old yet and she did so well on our road trip!

Nora Layne makes life so fun! I enjoyed a week at the beach with her!

Friday: 4 miles

Friday morning I woke up incredibly tired after traveling and made the mistake of sleeping in. I didn’t start my run until almost 11:00 am and it was already in the mid 80s. I actually only made it to 3.5 miles and walked the last half mile. The heat made me so sick. This is the first time I think I have stopped to walk on a training run in over a year.


I waited a few hours and was bound and determined to finish 4 miles for the day so I took my dog on a quick half mile run! That’s about as far as he can run in this heat anyway.


Sunday: 10 miles

[10 easy paced miles w/ 10 x 1:00 pick-ups  at 6:45 pace]

This run was technically supposed to be done on Saturday, but it was storming most of the morning so I pushed it back a day! Unplanned rest day yesterday, but it was just what I needed!

I’m so excited that I negative split this run! I had to stay super focused because the humidity was awful!!!! For the first 6 miles I was running through super dense fog and almost got hit by multiple cyclists, however, I had several moments where I wondered if that would have been better than finishing my run. We will never know! (For those of you that don’t know me well, I am totally kidding about the previous statement)


Weekly Mileage: 32 miles

Week 3 of Chicago Marathon training is in the books! 18 of my miles were done at the beach and 14 of them were completed here at home. All 32 of them were humid, hot, and difficult! 

“There is magic in misery. Just ask any runner.”   -Dean Karnazes


Chicago Marathon Training: Week 2

Monday: 5 miles

Happy Monday! Easy paced 5 miles this morning surprisingly felt good. It still feels like I’m working harder than normal to finish easy runs, but I know that is to be expected with the heat & humidity. I got a little carried away in that last mile, but that’s what happens when I start dreaming of the Chicago finish line!

Tuesday: 8 miles

2 mile warm up, 4 x 1 mile repeats w/ 0.25 recovery between sets, 1 mile cool down

[mile repeats @ 7:15-7:20 pace]


On Friday when I viewed my run schedule for the week I was with one of my best friends and when I saw Tuesday’s “mile repeats” I immediately told her “I can’t do that, my coach is crazy”…. Okay, so obviously my coach isn’t crazy, but I DEFINITELY questioned myself on this one. I have never done mile repeats, but I have heard about how hard they are. Naturally, I went into this workout pretty intimidated. I texted my coach Monday afternoon and asked for any tips or tricks to get through them successfully. (I was actually hoping she would look at my goal pace for them and tell me she made a mistake and I didn’t have to run them that fast) She recommended going early in the morning. Okay, check. Doing them on a track. Okay, check. And to start conservative. Okay, got it. I can do all that.

4:30 a.m. came rather quickly. When I do track workouts I always make the 30 minute drive to Conway and do them at UCA. I could find a track here in Little Rock, but running at UCA brings back memories of college and I enjoy reminiscing every now and then. I did my 2 mile warm up through the campus and made it back to the track for my mile repeats. When my watch said 7:37 for my first mile, I cringed. This was no where close to my goal range, however, this is fast for me and I decided I would try and get a little faster each mile even if it wasn’t the “goal pace.” Mile 2 displayed on my watch at 7:36. Okay, I am on my way to negative splitting this workout, I can’t give up now. Mile 3 is where things got challenging. I had to stay super focused and snap out of my day dreaming that was going on. 7:34. Yes! I can do this I thought to myself. At this point I was ready to be done, hurried through my 0.25 recovery jog, and finished my 4th repeat. Mile 4 repeat hit right at 7:31.

Even though I didn’t hit my “goal pace” for these I AM SO HAPPY, mainly because its over, but also because 2 months ago, I couldn’t have done this. Thankful for my coach who pushes me to be my best and believes in me more than I do myself.  Tia, my coach and friend, you’re the real MVP. I couldn’t do any of this without you! 

Wednesday: Cross Training

18.5 miles on the road bike

Bike rides are better with friends

Thursday: 5 miles

I originally had 4 easy paced miles on my schedule for today, but I ended up doing 5 so I could join Lori on her speed workout.

[ 1 mile warm up, 4 x 800 w/ 0.25 recovery, 1 mile cool down]

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Squinty eyes
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We should start taking our pictures BEFORE we almost die in the heat

 

Friday: 10 miles

[ 10 easy paced miles w/ last two @ 8:30-8:50 pace]

Long runs are normally on Saturday, but coach worked it out this week for it to be on Friday because I am traveling tomorrow. I don’t normally WANT a rest day, but I AM READY for my rest day tomorrow. It was 77 degrees with 100% humidity for this morning’s ten miles. It took everything I had to finish and stay focused during every mile.

Today marks 100 days until the big CHICAGO MARATHON!!

 

Saturday: Rest & Recovery

After a couple long days of traveling my back really started bothering me. I was so thankful that today was a rest day! Keeping my fingers crossed that this lower back issue will pass soon.

Made it to the beach just in time to relax and get some sun

Sunday: 4 miles

Finishing week 2 with a run at the beach! It was hot, humid, and windy, but relaxing too! Thankful that my back didn’t bother me while running, but it is definitely not 100%. Sleeping and getting comfortable has not been easy, but hoping some stretching and foam rolling will help.

Weekly Mileage:  32 miles

In addition to the excitement of marathon training, this week I am so excited to be spending the week with my family! Training on vacation isn’t going to be easy, but it’s really not that much different than the Arkansas heat & humidity.

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 1

Monday: 5 Miles

I kicked off official marathon training with 5 easy paced miles in 70 degree weather & 100% humidity. I’d be lying if I said I don’t question how I’m going to be able to train for Chicago in this Arkansas heat. I’m going to try and remain positive and hope my body will adjust. After all, it is only DAY 1!

Tuesday: 30-45 min Cross Training

I normally lack quite a bit of motivation on cross training days. I would much rather be running instead of biking or swimming, but I figured since this is week one I couldn’t start slacking this early in my training cycle!

Road bike: 10 miles (16.3 mph)

Wednesday: 7 Miles

Easy run with 8 x 30 sec pick-ups; started pick-ups after mile 3

Even though this is slower than I would like it to be, I am super proud of negative splitting in this humidity. It’s becoming clear I am going to have to take training one day at a time! I think I can, I think I can.

Watching the sunrise always reminds me of God’s goodness

Friday: 4 miles

Woke up late, per my usual, and I definitely wasn’t feeling this one. Glad I got it done, but the 75 degrees and 100% humidity (again) had me feeling so annoyed.

Saturday: 10 miles

I had the grand idea to run through my new neighborhood that I will be moving into in August and the hills were out. of. this. world. I regretted this decision in mile 1. After mile 5-6 I just quit looking at my watch because I was literally running at a snail’s pace and it wasn’t getting any better the longer I ran. Even though it was not my best run, I am thankful for: lower humidity, cloudy skies, and good health.

 

Weekly Mileage:  26 miles

Now that marathon training is in full swing, I discussed with my coach what realistic goals would be for my finish time at Chicago. As most of you runners know, its best to have several attainable goals in case “Goal A” doesn’t go as planned. We know that the Chicago course is a great one, but we obviously have no way of knowing what the weather is going to be like. With that being said… Here are my A,B, & C goals for Chicago 2017:

Goal A: sub 3:50:00 

Goal B: sub 4:00:00

Goal C: sub 4:04:35 (current PR)

Here’s to another great week of training… Next week things get a bit more challenging, but I’m ready! 

Break My Heart for What Breaks Yours

Go! Mile- Little Rock, AR

Saturday morning I attended the Go! Mile race here in Little Rock. Its a local race sponsored by the local running store, Go! Running. The race starts and finishes at the Clinton Presidential Library. To be honest, I was completely dreading this one. The race is broken into different heats based on age, gender, and elite status. I signed up to run in the Female 39 and under heat, which was definitely the best decision. I toyed with the idea of running in the elite heat. The required pace for women was a sub 6:30 mile and that was my goal, but the idea of running with all the elite runners really intimidated me. Maybe next year.

My friend, Lori, and I have a routine for race days. We normally meet and ride together and then warm up together. For this particular race, my coach had me do a 2 mile warmup with the last 90 seconds up tempo.

As we were warming up we decided to run across the Clinton Presidential bridge. As we were running down the bridge we came up on something. I asked Lori “What is THAT?” We got closer and it dawned on me. THAT was a homeless man sleeping on the bridge. We continued running for another 50-100 meters and I had to stop. I completely lost it. It took me a couple minutes to get it together and we continued running.  I instantly knew the Lord was telling me to go back and pray for that man.  To be fully transparent, my initial reaction was not what it should have been. I had this race, I was nervous, there were people running and biking across the bridge, it’s not always comfortable to pray aloud for someone that you don’t  even know,  and the list of excuses goes on. We had to cross back over the very same bridge to get back to where we were going. I expressed to Lori what the Lord was prompting me to do and as we approached the homeless man for the second time, we stopped.  I realized the man was in a deep sleep, so much so, he was snoring. For safety reasons, I decided it was best to not wake the man. Perhaps this might have startled him and made him feel more uncomfortable than he already felt.

It took me a few moments to collect myself to be able to speak words, let alone pray words out loud. Lori and I linked arms and began to pray. I remember my specific words being “Lord, we know that it is not our job to judge this man nor is it our role to question how he got himself into this position.”

Ever since this encounter, God has continuously reminded me of the phrase “break my heart for what breaks yours.” I think too often, we (myself included) become numb to the lost and hurting people that are around us every day. We drive by people on the street corners and we are quick to question their intentions or their REAL situation. We pass up people every single day because we are too busy on our cellphones, iPads, and computers to even notice the need around us. My prayer is that I don’t become so selfish and complacent that I am blinded to the real world around me. Often times, I find it easier to travel to foreign countries to spread the gospel and tell others about Christ than it is to do right here at home. Why? I think for me, I am too distracted here with worldly things. I am too comfortable. I am too self-absorbed. When I’m in a foreign country with no cell phone service, no wi-fi, no social media, I am much more open to letting the Lord use me in the lives of other people.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” –– Matthew 28:19

My hope and prayer is that I will start living this scripture out right here at home in my everyday life. I don’t want to miss the next opportunity that the Lord has for me because I am too busy, too self-centered, and too distracted.

Lord, break my heart for what breaks yours

It’s Not that Complicated

Do you ever find yourself stuck in a stagnant position, unable to make a decision about something because you over-complicated and overthought the situation at hand? Yeah, me neither. (Kidding, I do this all the time)

Let me give you a couple of  examples of things that I have made entirely more complicated than they had to be.

Dating: Does he like me? Is he interested? Will he text me? Should I text him?  Maybe he’s just shy? Maybe I’m too good for him? (don’t judge me for that one) Maybe he’s nervous? Maybe I’m too nervous? No. Maybe he just isn’t that interested. When someone likes you, no matter how shy or nervous, they will make you a priority. It’s not that complicated!

This blog: I have wanted to start writing a blog for a very long time and am just now finally typing my very first blog post. Why? Well, I couldn’t come up with the right blog title, the right theme, the best font, and I definitely couldn’t decide on the best image to put on the front page. The “About Me” section stayed blank for several months. I just couldn’t think of the right thing to say. I’m sure you’re thinking…. its the About Me section, it shouldn’t be that complicated.  You’re right. It shouldn’t be, but it was.

This evening, I decided I was going to drive to Starbucks so I could sit outside and attempt to have some alone time with the Lord. I say attempt because I often desire to spend  time with the Lord, but what actually happens is I find myself on my phone, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Snapchat, researching running related things,  and the list goes on. Surely I’m not the only one that this happens to, right? Last week, I started a new bible study at church so tonight I wanted to read the first chapter and dive into the scripture and questions that go along with it. After I got done reading, I had so much on my mind, but I was just staring at blank pages in my journal not knowing where to even start. I’ve never been one that can just sit still and write for hours in a journal. As I began praying, I was so distracted. There were people outside socializing. There were kids skateboarding. There were loud trucks driving by. Helllloooo??? Don’t these people know I’m trying to have my quiet time with God.

As I sat there with my blank journal pages, my Christian music, and my Starbucks coffee, I felt something telling me to get up and go run. I can’t go run. It’s 9 pm. I don’t have my good running shoes on, I don’t have the right shorts and shirt, I don’t have my watch. If I don’t have my watch and I can’t record my run, will my run even count? This felt crazy, but I proceeded. I put my things in my car and off I went. Running aimlessly. I had no clue how fast or how far I was going.

As soon as I quit over-analyzing the situation, the Lord spoke very clearly to me. Amy, spending time with me is not this complicated.

I often make spending time with God more of a chore than a desire. I make it an ordeal that it shouldn’t be.