ODDyssey Half Marathon Recap

I ran the ODDyssey Half Marathon for the second time on Sunday.  Last year I was 10 weeks pregnant.  This year I’m 5 months postpartum.  Same race but 2 very different experiences.

ODDysseyI love Fiona’s arm rolls

I’ll cut right to the chase – it sucked.  I ran a 1:57:42 – a far cry from my 1:53:08 in March.  And I try not to think too much about how far off it is from my PR.

I have only 1 excuse for my poor performance – utter exhaustion.  In hindsight I should have never attempted to “race” this race.  I should have kept the pace nice and slow – inline with my 50K training.  Matt was away for 2 weeks and came home the day before the race.  I had some babysitting help from my parents and niece but I was still exhausted.  Fiona is a good sleeper but likes an early start to her day (between 4:00 and 5:00AM in the days leading up to the race).  By the time Matt got home I was hurting.

My goal, as with the LOVE Run and Broad Street, was to hide the pace field on my Garmin and run HM effort.  I was struggling right from the start.  I thought it was the heat so I plugged forward.  By mile 5 I wanted to DNF or take a nap under a tree (preferably both).  I couldn’t get over how tired and worn out I felt.  I knew I had to slow my pace in order to finish.  I’d like to say I consciously slowed my pace down but, let’s not kid ourselves, my body shut down at mile 5 and my pace came to a halt.

Splits:  8:18 / 8:12 / 8:09 / 8:13 / 8:52 / 9:23 / 9:00 / 9:05 / 9:18 / 9:18 / 9:16 / 9:01 / 9:23 (hill climb to the finish)

Lesson learned?  I’ll never make it through 50K training (or the 50K) if I don’t make sleep a priority.  I felt like 5 months of not-so-sound sleep finally caught up to me.  Totally caught me off guard too.  If Fiona gets up at 5AM (her wake-up time this week), I need to be in bed (asleep) no later than 9PM.  (And if you’re wondering, that’s her wake-up time regardless of when she goes to bed…6PM or 8PM.)

On the plus side:  my pacing was pretty consistent, I kicked off 50K training, and was able to run a fun race which included a tasty beer at the finish (missed out on that one last year!).






happenings and training

This is the longest stretch I ever went without blogging.  Every time I sat down to write a post over the past 2 weeks, I ended up just deleting it.  Quasi-training doesn’t lead to the most fascinating posts.  Some people can make the mundane sound interesting.  I’m not one of them.

Quasi-training is going really well though.  For right now, it’s just what I need.  I have no interest in racing a marathon this Spring.  Running a 50K or a trail marathon?  Maybe.  But I enjoy being noncommittal at the moment.

I’ve fallen into a pattern with training.  3 weeks of 40-50 miles and then a big drop back week.  That’s good enough to maintain my base until I decide to be committal again.

Wk of 2/4:  40 miles with 13 miles long
Wk of 2/11: 43 miles with 17 miles long
Wk of 2/18: 46 miles with 20 miles long (first 20 of 2013!)
Wk of 2/25: 30 miles with 10 miles long

Besides running, we celebrated a very important birthday.


And I laughed till I cried, drank too much, and chatted until 3AM with these ladies.

5 of 8 Mains

All is good.

a good year

Happy New Year, folks!

I am thoroughly enjoying my time off and perfecting my “lady who lunches” routine.  Next Wednesday is going to be cruel and painful.

First things first – RTLR turned 2 this week!  For those of you who have been reading from the beginning – (1) kudos, (2) thank you, and (3) you deserve a tall cup of coffee or a stiff drink (your choice).

I wouldn’t be a proper blogger if I didn’t reflect back on 2012 (in terms of running, of course).  If I could sum it up in one word?  WOW.

What could be better than kicking off the year with the Boston Marathon?!   90 degrees or not, it was an amazing ‘experience’ (due to the heat, the B.A.A. refused to call it a race but instead an ‘experience’).

finish_race photo
this picture says it all…

My Christmas ornament from Matt this year…


After Boston, I ran my first “ultra” (50K) and discovered that running on grass isn’t as fun as it was when you were a kid.  But…ultras ARE fun!


After that came a 5K, 2 HMs, and the Rehoboth Beach Marathon – all PRs (thank you, ultra training).  Some were surprise PRs and others (err, RBM) were I-could-have-done-better-PRs.

I also learned some things along the way:  (1) when in a rut, run an ultra and (2) drop waaay back on mileage during drop back weeks.  In the past I don’t think I was cutting my mileage back enough to really absorb the benefits of my training.

Your turn to brag!  Tell me about your best (or favorite) 2012 race or maybe something you learned about running in 2012?

18 miles of thoughts

What I love about long runs is the uninterrupted time to think and sort through “stuff”.  I took Friday off from work (the key to the best day ever) and started off my day with a 18-miler.  I got to “sleep” in, not run in the dark, and had the trail all to myself.  Perfection.

I thought a lot about my running “progress” over the past year.  I can pretty much divide the past year into pre-50K and post-50K training.

I was extremely discouraged while training for Boston.  Dropping my MP from 8:30 to 8:20 seemed impossible and so did that sub-3:40.  Turns out, it didn’t matter much come race day.

finish_race photo
so happy.  so hot.

Then I spent the summer running lots of long, slow miles.  I ran myself silly and loved every mile of it.  A month after my 50K, I shaved 2 minutes off my half marathon PR.  It was a mix of ultra training “magic” and having absolutely no expectations.

It occurred to me on Friday that my lack of (speedy) progress while training for Boston was because my endurance plateaued.  It didn’t matter how many mile repeats I did or how many MP long runs I ran.  Your speed is limited by your aerobic capacity. 

Training for a 50K unlocked speed I never thought I had.  I will run a 3:30 marathon some day.  I just need to keep running ultras too Winking smile

It’s difficult to analyze your training and progress when you are nose deep in it.  It’s hard to be objective when you are consumed with training.  That’s why running coaches are so great (shameless plug)!

Do you sort through thoughts during long runs?

Ever had an epiphany about your training that would otherwise be obvious if you weren’t so consumed with your own running?  Did that question make any sense?!

Live Greater

It’s race week!

My 50K is Sunday and I’m more excited for this than anything…

payback for a hot Boston Marathon

My legs feel fresh and my mental state is sound with only minor fits of taper crazies.

My list of items to pack is made and I’ve been prepping Matt about what he’ll need to do for 5+ hours.  He’s a lucky guy. 

I’m excited at the prospect of running further than I ever have before.  I feel silly calling it an “ultra” even though it technically is.  In my mind (and from what I’ve heard) real “ultras” are 50-milers and beyond.   

I’m not discounting the toughness of those last 5 miles (more like 5+ miles, since the course historically measures long).  No matter how many marathons I run, I’m constantly humbled by how far 26.2 miles really is.

I have some new inspiration though, something to repeat when the going gets tough…”live greater”. 

I have mentioned numerous times how much I love my college, St. Joseph’s University.  Love may not even be a strong enough word.  Obsessed?

Anyway, SJU launched their “live greater” campaign – during the Olympics no less – and the commercials are brilliant.

I love the title — “When Good Enough Simply Isn’t”

I have never been more proud to be a SJU alum. 

To an outsider the commercial may seem cheesy and a little Brady Bunch-esque but it’s an accurate representation of my 4 years there. 

So now I have the prefect mantra to help propel me during those last 5 miles. 

See you on the other side, folks!