State 22: B.A.A. Half Marathon

When I was looking for a race to choose for Massachusetts, I knew I wanted it to be in Boston.  I stumbled across the B.A.A. Half Marathon in 2015 but had missed registration for it.  As I read about the race, I learned that it’s part of a distance challenge and the best way to guarantee entry is to sign up for the medley of a 5k, 10k and half spread across the year.   In 2016 I paid special attention to registration deadlines, set an alarm on my phone and registered for the medley right on time.  I never had any intention of doing the first two races, just wanted a guaranteed entry to the half.

When I learned the 5k race shared weekends with THE Boston Marathon, I decided to run that as well.  Chap and I used my companion pass to both get out there, and made a weekend of the 5k race, my first trip to Boston and spectating the marathon.  (Side note: Before we left for this trip, I had just signed up for the Jack and Jill Marathon with Michelle.  This is the trip that inspired me to train to qualify. )  This post isn’t about that weekend so I’m not going to write much about it here, but enjoy the pictures!

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State 22: Massachusetts

I loved Boston so much in April and was thrilled to revisit it this fall.  I was looking forward to colored leaves and crisp temperatures.  Unfortunately we didn’t get either of those.  Chap has been a reliable and wonderful travel and race companion but he didn’t get invited on this trip.   I wanted to share my companion pass with a long time soul sister and so invited one of my very oldest and best friends Katie (also the one who got me to Tulsa!) to come run with me.

We had a mediocre training cycle.  Honestly the summer and early fall just kind of disappeared in front of our eyes.  We’re both small business owners, Katie has a two year old and while we managed to stay very committed to working out, we just didn’t get the weekend long runs in.  We made it up to 8 miles in training and I knew that would be enough to get us across the line so we called it good.

It also helped us to enjoy our trip – alleviating the pressure of going for a particular time on an unfamiliar course.  I try to plan two or three runs a year where I’ll really go for it and the others are just meant to be enjoyable.  Because of this we were able to eat and drink and walk all over Boston without worrying about it affecting our performance on Sunday.

You can read a play by play of our tour of Boston on the Studio blog here.

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Carb loading.  Not totally justified but still delicious.

I want to recap three pros and three cons of the race on this blog today, more of a review of the event than the trip.

Pros

  1. Boston.  Boston is a historic city on its own.  But there is so much running history too.  One morning Katie and I went to the river to do a few shakeout miles and on our way back to the train stop, I saw a group of girls running through Boston Common who I recognized but couldn’t quite pinpoint.  I later recognized them as the women behind my favorite planner – Believe Training Journal.
  2. Race organization.  Our bibs were mailed to us.  We picked up our shirts at the finish line.  There was no waiting around or messing with an expo and it was awesome.
  3. Race course.  The course was scenic and beautiful.  We ran through the Emerald Necklace park system.  It was pretty full of rolling hills which I wasn’t really prepared for but we handled them (thanks, Tulsa).

Cons

  1. The Weather.  This was out of anyone’s control of course but our plans to just run and then dry shampoo our hair when we got back to the Air BnB (when we thought it would be in the 50s) went out the window in the first mile.  No one’s fault but still.
  2. Race organization.  There were over 6,000 runners and a single start!  On narrow park trails.  That is crazy to me.  Maybe because they’re Boston and they can get away with it.
  3. Race course. Though scenic, it was crowded because of the single start.  Parts of it had us running against later miles of the course and it was especially tight then.  And smelly.  Lots of humid, sweaty runners.

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    Crowded

This was definitely just a checkmark state and more of an excuse to go back to Boston with a best girlfriend.  It’s always better with some company, and not always about setting PRs, breaking 2 hours or running the whole way.

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Pre Race (we’re as tired as we look)

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If you want to be coached to your first or fastest race, email me!  coachsprenkel@gmail.com.  Customized plans, including run workouts, strength workouts and stretching.

 

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The New Road to Boston

This past week was the final acceptance of official qualifications for the 2018 Boston Marathon.  I was not anxiously waiting to see if my time allowed me to participate because I knew my 3:39:36 in July didn’t make the Female 18-35 year old age group cut-off of 3:35:00.  This year participants had to beat the cutoff by over 3 minutes to qualify.  Which is why I’m training to target a 3:30 next year.

Seeing all of this for the past few weeks on Instagram Runners’ feeds (people I don’t know but still follow through the IG running community) has really inspired me to think again about qualifying and to make a formal strategic plan.  I want to try again next year and I want to do it at the same race.  I’ll be familiar with the course, where to stay and the time of year spent in training.  July is a long way off so it gives me time to mentally and physically prepare, too.

Big Picture Boston Plan

There are three phases of this training – 5k, half and final.  The first 12 weeks, I will follow a 5k training plan to help me build my anaerobic and aerobic bases back up, and get me back down to some paces I haven’t seen in a while.  For the first two or three weeks of September I was trying to hop back in on a half marathon plan and those distances were just too intimidating.  I was excited to start the 5k workouts so that’s what I picked.  The target race is the Rudolph Run on December 16 in Broken Arrow.  It’s the last of my 4 Seasons challenge and I’ll have completed 3 of the 4.

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One step at a time.

The second phase rolls in right behind the 5k, with maybe a week off for pulling back a little bit.  I’ll jump up to the half marathon distances in training to target the Aquarium Run at the start of April next year.  This is the course I PRd on this year and I’m ready to do it again.  A sub 1:40 would have me really feeling good about starting marathon training.

After the half race, I’ll start the training cycle for the 3:30 marathon.  It’ll be just like last year except I’ll have snuck that half marathon training in the middle.  When I decided to go for the full this past time, I was only training for 5k distances so really had to make a big jump in miles.

The cool thing is, if I stick with it in all areas of the training (strength, runs, yoga, maintenance, nutrition), I know I can do it.  I know it.  And it can be next year.

But it starts with right now.  It starts with a daily commitment to some kind of progress.  I ordered another Believe Training Journal so I could start fresh and enjoyed keeping track of runs this week.

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Graduated to “Compete” this year

 

12 weeks to Rudolph 5k

This first week of training went really well.  I have a renewed spirit towards running after a long rest in August and a tough few weeks trying to get miles back under my feet in early September.  I changed my plan to shorter distances and have enjoyed getting back out there.  The temps are dropping too which is beautiful and amazing.  I got three runs in this week:

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Week 1 of Cycle 1 complete!  Almost 100% compliance (no yoga)

  • Track: 8 sets of 400.  I love 400s and the quick turnover of the feet.  I managed to get a few sub 6:30s and the rest sub 7:30.
  • Tempo:  I was planning to do a 1,2,1 tempo but got a 1.5 warmup in because of friends, 2 hard miles and about a half mile cooldown.  Those 2 miles in the middle were my first sub-8 miles since marathon training.  #celebratethelittlethings.
  • Long: I ran long with my friend Katie this morning.  We’re doing a half marathon in Boston next weekend so went a little farther than I would normally for a 5k this weekend.  We made it to 8.8, taking it from the Studio to the west side of the river just past the soccer fields.  It was a beautiful perfect morning.

Total miles: 25.94

That’s more than half the miles I ran all of September combined!  Good turnaround at the end of the month!

I should have done more yoga this week but have been busy planning a running program here for the studio.  I will do more yoga next week than I did this week and that will be an improvement!

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100% days in October so far! 1/1 days I made progress to my goals.

If you want help making an attainable plan for you, reach out to me and I can help you hit your goals!  Whether you want to get faster or go farther – I’ve got the tools and experience to get you there!