Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Kara Goucher Half Marathon Training Plan Review

How's that for a long, wordy, title?

For the first time in years I used a pre-made training plan. Previously, after a few HM's under my belt I was taking bits and pieces of different plan and piecing them together to make my own. Take it all with a grain of salt, since I am in no way a qualified professional, just an avid runner, who can't seem to just follow recipes training plans.

I had already mis-mashed together a plan to train for the Boston Trail Half Marathon - which isn't really a trail, but rather an old RR bed turned into a crushed limestone path. But, then I found Kara's plan and tossed mine right out the window.


You can find Kara Goucher's Half Marathon Training Plan here. It's 10 weeks long, with options for higher or lower mileage each week. As we all know, I can't leave well enough alone, so I actually cut this plan down to 3 days of running each week, leaving the heart of the plan intact, with 1 easy run, 1 speed workout and 1 long run.

I can truly say, that even though I did not hit my goal, I know I have it in me. This is far and away the most physically ready I've felt to run a PR race in a long time, and I attribute it all to this plan. I want to talk a little bit about the positives in this plan, and of course, a bit about the negatives as well.


PROs :

Shorter training cycle : In training cycles past, I have felt burned out by the end, after 12+ weeks of training, I am ready to be finished, and I am ready to take a break from structured running. Kara's plan is only 10 weeks long, which is the perfect length of time. I started the plan with a good base of running (for me) and I do believe that is necessary in order to succeed with her plan, however, the unstructured mileage and days of the week kept me from feeling burned out.

Speed workout done at HM pace : I'm going to be running a half marathon. That's 13.1 miles at or around a specific pace, why would I want to focus on paces that aren't that pace? Speed workouts often seem to focus on fast paces and short distances, 400's & 800's. And that's nice, but a half marathon is 26 x 800, and I really don't want to break my race down that way. Instead, Kara's plan focuses on spending time at your goal pace, as well as slightly faster and slightly slower paces per mile to get you comfortable with the inevitable variation race day paces will bring.


Variety of speed work : The speed work in this plan is done at or around race pace - but don't let that fool you, you won't spend each week running just one more mile at race pace. The workouts in this plan are varied, including the distance, the pace, and the rest (or lack thereof) in between sets. In plans past I've felt like each week I just increased the number of 400's or 800's I was doing, and for what purpose? Each workout this go-round felt like it made me stronger.

CONs :

Long runs not long enough : This may just be me, but I feel more comfortable with one or two 12 mile runs under my belt, but the highest this training plan gets is 1 x 10 mile + 1 x 11 mile. When I use this plan next time I'll tweak it to up my long run distances slightly to include a few longer runs.

Does not include cross training : While the plan does give an option to add strength training in one day per week, I've found that is not enough for me. Hence why I had to tinker with the plan. Many folks who know I only run 3 days per week think that I take 4 rest days. Quite the contrary, I'm actively strength training and cross training, I'm not doing nothing, I'm simply not running.


Overall, I think this plan was a good fit for me, and I think with a few more tweaks it will be the perfect plan for me. I'll definitely be using this while training for my fall half, and for other, future HM's.

I was all set to talk about my plans for the next few weeks and whether or not I plan to race Pittsburgh, but I'm just not quite ready, and still not quite sure what my plans are. I'm writing this Tuesday, and haven't run yet post race, but do think I'll venture to the gym tomorrow, maybe for a run, maybe not. But at least some activity since I've pretty much been a toad since Saturday.

Anyone else used this plan before?
What's your favorite training plan to use for a HM - or do you make your own?

Linking with Amanda to share.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Boston Trail Half Marathon 2017 Race Recap

I'm not even sure where to start this post. Boston Trail Half Marathon was supposed to be my race. Flat, crushed limestone course, semi - late start time, small field, pace groups, cool weather, and a solid training cycle. But Saturday was not my day. I still firmly believe I have a 1:52.XX race in me, but that goal will have to be crushed another day.

My race day outfit was the same as Just a Short Run. Compression shorts, compression socks, tank and sunglasses. No Flat Jessie picture because it all slipped my brain until I was entirely dressed. Oops.

Mr. Sass tagged along & Ciara met us at the race to be my personal cheerleader. We made good time (and a few wrong turns) on our way to the start line - but were there just a few minutes after packet pickup began. We snagged a spot within 100 yards of the start line & I snagged my packet, race shirt and bib number.

We chatted, and I took a few port-o-potty breaks, and soon it was time to strip down and get in line to start. Race start was right on time, 8:59 AM start time per my Garmin.


Mile 1 // 8:29, Mile 2 // 8:17, Mile 3 // 8:19

I set off just behind the 1:50 pacer - who I knew from races past. I like his style. The pace felt comfortable. The pace group was a little large for my liking, and made it hard to see the posts in the middle of the trail before road crossings.

We were told that water stops would be every 2 miles, so I was surprised when the first water stop appeared at mile 1.4. I tried to grab a cup, but two folks cut in front of me, and the volunteers only had one cup each in hand. Rather than stop and wait, I skipped the stop and pressed on.

I felt good, but felt like I wasn't quite warmed up yet. Though I was starting to sweat, even in my tank and shorts, and even though the temp was only in the upper 40's.

Mile 4 // 8:24, Mile 5 // 8:26, Mile 6 // 8:40

After my snafu at the first water stop, I started to get myself in position for the second stop. Off to the right side of the trail and a few steps back from the group. When I got to the stop, my plan worked, and I was able to grab a water. Only to find it contained only one sip of water.

I pressed on and kept up with the pace group, but I was starting to feel thirsty, and was ready for the next water stop.

While I knew Mr. Sass and Ciara were there to cheer me on, but since we hadn't talked about a plan, I didn't expect to see them at the turn-around. However, as I approached, I saw them there cheering for me. I had just passed a water stop, and had managed to get a whole cup of water, but instead of feeling quenched, I just felt it sloshing around in my belly. I started to slip behind the 1:50 pacer, but they were still well within my sights.


Mile 7 // 9:05, Mile 8 // 9:16, Mile 9 // 9:42

After the turn I got ready to take my fuel, I had brought a Salt Cap, and a Gu Stroopwafel, that I had cut in half to make it easier to handle. As I approached the waterstop I had one half in my hand and was ready to take. Seeing two volunteers holding cups on the right side of the trail I drifted to the right and called out to see who had water. Both volunteers looked confused and told me they didn't have any water, only Gatorade. I've taken Gatorade in races before and typically don't respond well. When my mouth is dry it makes my throat sort of close up and get sticky. Not the best explanation, but the best I can give.


I passed on the Gatorade, and tried to take my fuel, but my mouth was bone dry, and I couldn't swallow. So I spit out my bite, and carried on. At this point, my legs felt fine, but my mind did not. I was thirsty. I needed to take in fuel. I went to shake out my arms during mile 8 and noticed my skin was an odd red // purple hue.  When I looked closer I noticed that while my skin was an odd color, there was a white, clammy patch around the inside of each elbow. I went to wipe my brow, that frequently drips sweat during races, and found it was bone dry. And that's when my brain gave out.

For all the miles I put on my legs, and all the hard workouts I finished, my brain was not prepared for this.

Mile 10 // 10:08, Mile 11 // 10:40, Mile 12 // 11:18

Then the wheels fell (further) off. I considered walking. I considered stopping. Then I considered walking again. But I knew how mad Future Jessie would be if I walked. So I focused on getting to that next water stop.

In this time I ended up in no-man's land. Behind the 1:50 pacer, behind the 1:55 pacer, but in front of the 2:00 pacer. The trail was desolate, and there was no one around. I had to get to that next water stop.

I had given up on taking fuel at this point. Instead I walked through the water stop and took 2 cups. Walking a few steps before I picked it back up.

Mile 13 // 11:14, .1 // 9:35

With .6 miles to go, I saw a fellow Pro Bike & Run runner, and another 9:30 group member, Steve. He was back out on the trail completing a cool down, but I called out and asked him to turn around. I needed a distraction. He talked me in, as I kept my eye on the bridge, I knew the finish line was just past it. As we passed the marker for mile 13 I spotted my cheerleaders, and picked it up. I was so damn ready to be finished. I slapped a smile on my face, and ran across the finish line.


I grabbed 3 cups of water and immediately sat down. I had a pounding headache. And I so badly wanted to cry, but couldn't. A full 11 minutes over my goal time, a time that I know I am capable of. After a few minutes I was able to get some food, spill chocolate milk all down my hoodie, and fake another smile for a finish photo with my medal.


Official Chip Time : 2:03.22

know I have a better time in me. And I'm disappointed in myself, which is never a good place to be. I'm trying to move on, and look forward to my next race, not back at one that didn't go my way, except to evaluate what I can do better. Namely, eating breakfast closer to race time, more hydration prior to race start, and fuel that can be taken without water. Namely - Glukos. The size of the pouch is cumbersome, but worth carrying if it means I'll be able to take it sans liquid.


Overall, I think this is a great race, and I can see myself signing up again in the future.

Pros : Great weather, easy parking & race day logistics, small race field, cheap entry, nice t-shirt, & pace groups.

Cons : No gels as advertised, no water despite being at the front of the field.

I'll be reviewing my training plan, and talking a little about my plans for the next few weeks and Pittsburgh marathon on Wednesday.

Linking up with Holly & Tricia for Weekend Highlights
Linking up with Marcia x Patty x Erika for Tuesdays on the run to share.

Linking up with Steff.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Five #66

Ohh heeeyyyy there. Two weeks with no Friday Five? Yeah. And almost a third. But here I am. Checking in. I'm still alive. Per my April goals. Promise. Lot's happening this weekend. Half marathon #9 tomorrow + day date with Mr. Sass, engagement picture take #768 4-ish on Sunday & hopefully making it out in time to celebrate a friends engagement.

If you've been keeping up with my training, then you know that I totally rocked this whole training cycle. I'm running a small rails to trails race on Saturday and I can't wait to get myself that new PR. I'll be back on Monday with a training recap, but in the meantime, I'll be posting the whole weekend on Instagram.


one // Mr. Sass does the whole fish on Fridays during Lent thing. So by association, I did too. I'd forgotten how much I like fish. For whatever reason, despite my love for fish it has always been a very intimidating thing to cook. I tested the waters with a one-pan shrimp recipe and another one-pan salmon recipe. Both with great success. So, I branched out and made salmon in the cast iron, and it turned out great. So, fish once a week is here to stay.


two // Thursday was a whole lot of crazy at work. And not even just lots of general chaos, but truly out of the ordinary things, and lots of them, all needing solved. And I'm just looking around, like, do I look like I have the answer to this...? 'Cause I don't. Needless to say I was excited to end the day with a massage and then an impromptu stop at my favorite ice cream shop. 2 scoops of Cookie Butter ice cream with real chunks of Speculoos cookies. Mmm.


three // Okay, so I promise I've been doing things besides eating. Not necessarily a lot of things. Mostly running and sleeping. But I have done things. Like jump for joy when I finally finished my 10 week half marathon training. And also thank my lucky stars no one was around to witness me try to get this jump shot...


four // Okay, one more thing that's kind of food. Bourbon Slush. Kentucky women, you may know what I'm talking about. Other folks, you may not have a clue, but it's time to get one, because these puppies are delicious, easy to make in bulk, easy to keep on hand, easy to prep ahead of time, and simple. I was able to snatch a picture of the best Bourbon Slush recipe ever. I plan to make it post-wedding and post the recipe complete with pictures & more detailed instructions.



five // Funnies...





What are you up to this weekend?
What's your favorite make ahead cocktail?

linking up with Heather, Amanda, AndreaTifDella & Katie

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Boston Trail Half Marathon : The end is in sight!

Hiiiiii! Long time no "see". I had every intention of checking in on Wednesday and Friday last week as usual, and then, I just didn't. Instead, I tried to relax, tried to get a few things done, and tried to get some extra sleep. I spent the weekend enjoying the best 48 hours at home with my family and Mr. Sass. It meant another wacky week - but I made it work and squeezed my runs in.

I'm linking up with Steff to share my weekly training recap! Plus, as always I'm linking up with Holly & Tricia to share my weekend highlights!

The end is in sight! My long run today finished week 9 of half marathon training. 2 more runs and I'll be toeing the start line of the Boston Trail Half Marathon. These last 9 weeks have been a serious roller coaster. I've had some incredible runs, and I've had some runs that tested every bit of my mental strength.

Monday // Rest
After bachelorette shenanigans last weekend, I hadn't managed to get much sleep for a few days in a row, so no easy Monday miles for me, instead, I slept in, took a walk with a friend at lunch, and enjoyed the mid-day vitamin D.

Tuesday // 4.4 easy miles
The weather was crisp and cool this morning. By all accounts it should have been a great run, but I didn't enjoy a single step.


My legs felt fine, my pace was good, but I spent every step wishing I was finished. While I've wished to be finished on other runs this training cycle, it was because it was hard, this run, however, I genuinely did not want to be running. I finished this run out - but, blah.


Wednesday //  7 miles continuous - 1 @ HM pace, 5 at HMP + 20 seconds, 1 @ HM pace.
This workout was tough. I'm not sure if my 4.4 miles from Tuesday did me in, or if this was just a killer workout on its own. After my first mile (that was too quick, because I can't seem to slow down), my next 4 were also way too quick. And then death. My 5th mile at HMP + 20 was right on target, because my legs were lead. I stopped just before the end of the mile when I found a working water fountain - I was elated. My 7th, and final mile was right on target, but it took everything out of me. I woke up sore on Thursday for the first time following speedwork this go-round.


Thursday // Strength Training
No leg day for me. I woke up sore from my speed work, so I knew it couldn't be leg day. Instead it was arms and back.

Friday - Saturday // Rest
Part of Friday was spent driving to KY to see my family, and Saturday was spent celebrating Easter a tad bit early so Mr. Sass could be back in Pittsburgh for work Sunday afternoon.

Sunday // 8 mile long run
I considered doing my 8 miles Thursday morning, or Thursday evening, or Saturday morning. Mostly because the Sunday forecast called for thunderstorms. In the end, I decided to take my chances and leave my long run for Sunday. I lucked out, that while it was warm and muggy, the skies were clear. I headed to nearby North Park to get my miles in. With no pace in mind, I started my run. My main goal was to keep my route as flat as possible. It took me the first 5 miles to warm up. My shins and calves felt incredibly tight, and I just couldn't go any faster. By the time I finish mile 5, I finally start to feel normal, and like I could keep going. I finished out my muggy miles and headed home. Shortly after, the storms started.


No profound thoughts on this training cycle for now. I'm excited to recap it all post- race, and in the meantime just check the weather every 5 minutes and hope it'll be cool and cloudy.

Who else is racing this weekend?
How was your Easter?

Monday, April 10, 2017

Weekend Highlights : Bachelorette Shenanigans

You guys. This weekend was the best. My long run went well. My friends were in town. And there was queso. Running. Friends. Food. 3 of my most favorite things. My only regret is how quickly it passed. Another weekend, hashtag style.

#ItsApril #WhyIsItSnowing #ThanksPittsburgh


#FridayDinner #SimpleAndDelicious


#SaturdayMorningLongRun #IRan12Miles #FeltGreat #ALittleChillyButTheSunshineFeltGood


#ImTheBride #ImPretty


#PeanutButterPretzelBread #ItWasDelicious #ISpilledCrumbsEverywhere #NoShameInMyGame


#MyFriendsAreTheBest #WeFancy #GetThePartyStarted


#MeanGirls #IsButterACarb #TrySears #Grool #YouGoGlenCoco


#MrsSassSangria #ThatShitWillKnockYouOnYourAss


#BigCupFullOfSangria


#AllOfMyPeopleInOnePlace #FindTheFriendWithTheFunnyFace


#OnWednesdaysWeWearPink #YouCantSitWithUs #ThisWasOnlyATenthOfTheFood


#TheseBottlesWereEmpty #WeStartedTheNightWithMimosas #ThereWerePinkFeathersEverywhere


#IsButterACarb #Yes


#SoManyFriends #SeriouslyPinkFeathersEVERYWHERE


How was your weekend?

Linking up with :Holly & Tricia for Weekend Highlights

Friday, April 7, 2017

Friday Five #65

Hi Friends. It has been a week. There's a lot going on, mostly wedding related, which means I'm a busy bee, which means things like wiping down the counter tops or stove, have made their way to the back burner. Did you catch my pun there? Back burner? Wiping the stove? GET IT!? Anyways, not getting things cleaned up is making everything feel messier than it really is. Which makes me feel overwhelmed. Which makes me feel like I just want to sit and watch 'My 600 LB Life' on TLC instead of doing anything. Not that I spent all evening Wednesday doing that...

Anyways, it is Friday, we did it! I've got a busy weekend ahead, the MacMod house will be running at full capacity tonight, 3 friends are coming to stay the night before my bachelorette party tomorrow. We're doing a giant sleepover, and I am so excited to eat queso, drink whiskey sours, and enjoy my people.


one // People who can't manage to RSVP to the wedding are high atop my shit list this week. Honestly. The deadline was last Sunday. I politely hassled everyone one week in advance to remind them to RSVP. That didn't seem to inspire anyone. Individual texts after the deadline got a few more people to respond. But there are still a few who just won't answer. QUEUE RAGE. Honestly. I finally told them if I don't hear back today I'm marking them down as a no. I actually think this is a vendetta because I said 'no kids' - but I hate to assume anyone is really that petty.

two // I've loved playing around with my phone to get some great action shots of me running. And I've actually discovered that the key is to take a video, and instead of playing it, just run through in pause mode, and screenshot anything you love. I know this works for iPhone, but no idea if Samsung can do the same thing. Either way. Game. Changer.


three // I was a lost soul on Wednesday during lunch. I have a bad habit of going to the library, and checking out more books than I could ever read in a two week period. I decided to reign it in, and only check out 2 books the last time I was there. Well, wouldn't you know, I blew through those 2 books before I could get back to the library again. I needed to get out of the office, so I wandered over to Ross. I ended up finding some fabulous dresses, including one that I think would be perfect for the rehearsal dinner!


four // And that's it, my brain is fried. So, I guess this is really more of a Friday 4.5. No shame in my game.

five // Funnies...




What are you up to this weekend?
What's the best sign you've ever seen at a race?
What would you do about the people who haven't RSVP'd?

linking up with Heather, Amanda, AndreaTifDella & Katie

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

2017 Q1 Goal Update

In 2016 I did a great job about writing out year-long goals, and then a terrible job at following up on them & making real progress. I still had monthly goals, and did well with those, but wanted to make sure that this year I didn't lose sight of my bigger goals.

There's still 9 months left of the year, and while I've come to terms with the fact that I don't think life will ever really slow down, I expect it to feel slower after Mr. Sass and I are married. And I would expect a chunk of my time that's currently devoted to table cloths and centerpieces will be freed up for things like reading, blog redesign, and interior design.

I'm combining this update to include my personal, fitness, and blogging goals for 2017. If I've made progress I've listed a + sign next to the goal, if not, I've listed a minus. I'm pleased with my progress so far in 2017.

+ Pay my library fine & read 30+ books
 I paid my fine (begrudgingly) and am 12 books deep already in 2017. If you want to follow me, or friend me (or however GoodReads works) you can find me here.

- Complete a gallery wall in the living room 
I've not hung a single new thing up.

+ Try 2 new recipes each month 
I went on a muffin frenzy in February, I made several new recipes & even created a new one for Carrot Cake Muffins.


+ Cross 2 items off my 30 before 30 
Not quite yet, but by the end of April I'll have run HM#9 and by mid-May I'll have run HM#10, so I'll cross off #22. And Switzerland will let me cross off #7. I'll inch closer to completing #2 later this year as well.

- Go to Kansas 
With all that's going on I haven't picked a date, or cities, or anything.

+ Set up a cleaning schedule 
Mr. Sass made one and I don't like it. We clean everything, every week. And some weeks are very heavy, and it's my turn to do everything, and I don't like that either. It's posted on the fridge, but he has it run by date, so week 1 is 1st - 7th, then 8th -  14th, etc versus Monday through Sunday. I don't like that either. But really, I think it comes down to the fact that I don't like cleaning. So, after the wedding Imma see if I can tweak this.

- Find a church 
NOPE.

Travel somewhere new 
I'm heavily researching this, and I've seen so many good flight deals // Groupons I've almost booked. I need a travel buddy. Not that I can't go alone. But it helps the cost, and my loved ones sanity. But people seem to either have time, but no money, or money but no time. If you have both, holla at your girl. Wrote this on Wednesday - booked a trip to China on Thursday. Bada-bing-bada-boom.

+ Intentional monthly dates 
YES. Though I can't remember where we went. I swear this has happened. | edit | January was definitely $1 taco night, and February was ice cream.


+ Take 4,000,000 steps in 2017 
I'm averaging 77,745 steps per week, which will make my 2017 total 4,042,740 steps if I stay on this path.

+ Track my 2017 running mileage 
I'm close to 200 miles deep already for the year. I have an unofficial goal of hitting 500 miles, so I'm doing good!

+ PR in 2+ distances (HM & 5K)
I'm putting in hard work this HM training cycle, that I think truly will yield me both an HM PR, and a 5K PR if I can find a 5K race to test my theory on. I snatched an automatic PR when I ran an 8.1 mile race for the first time. :) As well as a 10 mile PR when I raced Spring Thaw.


+ Race another TRI 
I'm registered for the Keystone Tri, sprint distance on August 20th!

- Give The Sass a facelift
My enthusiasm for this has definitely faded. Maybe it'll come back come June or July, but I'm not going to push it just because I wrote it down.

- Consider buying .COM 
See above. Just not excited about this right now, so no point in forcing it.

- Hit 5,000 monthly pageviews (or 15,000 on blogger) 
Actually, my page views have dropped each month since I made this goal. I've been a little lackluster (even in my own opinion), on one hand, it's hard not to get bogged down by that. On the other hand, pretty busy getting my life on over here, so, not exactly a lot of time to care.

+ Reach out to 3 brands for collaboration
I reached out to Pacific Mountain Outdoor after they liked one of my photos on Instagram. I asked them to let me know if they ever had any campaigns they thought I would be a good fit for, and to my surprise they offered to send me a pair of their boots to review. I'll be posting that in the next few weeks, but I was floored by what a simple sentence can do.

+ Grow my Instagram 
I started the year with 445 Instagram followers, and am excited to say I'm right around 550 right now. :) For a while I was really great about being active, commenting on random posts, following new accounts, etc. But I've died off on that. I went through an unfollowed accounts that weren't making me happy, to leave space in my feed for new ones that do. I've come to love Instagram as a little mini blog, so I hope to keep growing this space. If somehow you still don't follow me, you probably should.
          
How are you doing on your year-long goals?
What has been your best Instagram growth technique?
What's your favorite Instagram hashtag?

Linking up with Amanda + Gretchen & Kristen