Peak Weeks

So I’ve been slacking on the blog writing the past few weeks. I’ve been busy with work, training and socializing and honestly just not felt like putting all my thoughts into words on the screen. I have a really awesome post with some fun gear I received but it’s just not ready yet, hopefully tomorrow night I’ll get that one up.

After running the monster dash I definitely wasn’t feeling great but it was time to get back out there and start running 20+ miles in a week. My long run was set for 12 miles. I knew this was going to be the big one for me. It was the also the last training session with Team Challenge that I was going to be able to make before the race. The group was meeting at Stone Mountain to run the 5 miles around the base. Honestly that run SUCKS, it’s super hilly and I just wasn’t ready to face hills for 12 miles. Luckily there is a flat trail that starts at Stone Mountain heading east back to Atlanta. My trusty running partner Carmen was all about running on a flat trail so she agreed to go that route with me. She was only doing 8 miles, so we ran 4 miles out and then back. Carmen and I run a similar pace and usually fall into a groove while running. Our coach Max went along with us on his bike, keeping us company and cheering us on. The 8 miles with Carmen went well, when we said bye at mile 8 and I turned around for two out and two back I knew this is when it was going to get tough. Around mile 10 I hit a wall, pretty hard. I was running low on fluids, it had gotten pretty hot. I stripped off the arm warmers I was wearing and instantly started to feel better. I put my head down and just kept pushing through. The worst part about the trail I was running on was I had to stop a couple times for red lights to cross streets. I’m fine if I can keep running but the whole stopping thing really throws me off. I was toast by the time I hit 12 miles, it took me around 2:35 with the stopping at the red lights.

The next week of training was supposed to be a recovery week, so the runs were a little bit shorter this time, my long run was only 8 miles. I had plans to head to South Carolina for homecoming weekend to watch a lil Gamecock football and hang out with my best friends. This meant the long run had to happen on Friday, I took the day off from work and just had to go in for a lunch so I did got up and headed to my favorite trail along the Chattahoochie river. Brought a new Gu to try out that had 2x the caffeine (I usually use the caffeine free Gu) since I was running in the morning and wanted to see if the caffeine would have any effect on my running. The first 4 miles went well, I took the Gu at my turnaround point and wow did I feel the caffeine. I just kind of took off. I ran around 11:20, 10:40, 10:20 and 10:04 for the last four miles. Now this is FAST for me, like really fast. I usually do long runs around 12 min miles sometimes 11:45 if I’m having a good day. I felt really great this entire time and pushed myself at the end. I know I’m not the fastest runner but times like that just make me so happy. I really like the 8 mile distance I think it’s actually my favorite. After this run was complete I was ready to enjoy my weekend and you can see the highlights below…

Brittaney, Austin and I at Flying Saucer

KT and I before the Gamecock vs. Arkansas game

My favorite place in the Fall – Williams Brice Stadium

The USC Smokestack – Head towards that to find the beautiful Horseshoe

After my fun weekend was over it was time to get back on the running grind. It was my peak week of training and 23 miles were on the schedule. My 6 mile tempo run went great I felt good and ran faster on the treadmill than I ever had before. My 5 mile easy run did not go so well. I decided it would be a good decision to eat a big piece of cake around 3 pm and then run around 6. Needless to say I almost vomited and had to take this run at a slow pace.

For my last long run of training for this half marathon I wanted to simulate race day as much as I could. Since my half marathon starts at 4:30 I wanted to see how I would feel with a set meal that I could have when I’m in Vegas. I stayed out a little late on Friday night but didn’t drink. I still woke up with a headache even after sleeping in til 8:30. I was just not feeling good most of this day, but I didn’t want to put off the run because if I have a headache on race day I won’t have a choice but to struggle through it. I picked a new trail for this run after hearing good things about the Silver Comet Trail that is over 30 miles that stretches from a Suburb of Atlanta to Alabama. I started a little after 4 and was planning on 6 miles out and 6 miles back. One thing I didn’t factor in was how effing dark it would get and that there were no lights on the trail. I made it 9.5 miles before it was pitch black. The run was going great, my legs felt awesome and the Gu’s I had taken were making a difference. The temperature was just right. Really no complaints, but as it got darker and darker, my fear of getting killed like an episode of Criminal Minds was becoming more and more real. I took my headphones out and decided I needed to be on the phone with someone the rest of the my run. No one knew where I was and I was alone in an area I didn’t know. I called my mom and made sure she knew exactly where I was and made her stay on the phone with me as I ran 2.5 miles to my car. This entire run I was going pretty fast. I kept every mile under 12 min, and I think was under 11:45 min miles most of the time. The last few miles I started flying. Fear is a great motivator and I pushed it. Fortunately my mom is a saint and kept me entertained as I ran the last few miles. I made it 12 miles in 2:19:26, cutting 15 min off my time 2 weeks prior. I’ll take it!

I know what you’re thinking, wow Amy you’re a total idiot for running in the dark, alone on a trail I didn’t know. Honestly I’m thinking that too. That was a terrible call on my part and I will never do that again. I just assumed there would be lights on the trail and I just went for it. Scary enough I was talking to a friend about it the next day and she told me she heard there has been a woman who was raped and killed on the trail a year or so ago so I’m glad I made it out safely and will stick to the trail in the day light hours only.

Overall the last 3 weeks of training have been great. There have been some ups and downs but I’m feeling ready for the half marathon. I’m also only $217.63 away from my fundraising goal for Team Challenge. If you would like to help me reach my goal please donate here.

The next two weeks leading up to the half will be like a recovery week. I’m turkey trotting with my mom on Thursday and I’m hoping to blow my 5k PR of 32:07 out of the water, at least by 2 minutes. Here’s to a great week with my family before I head out to Vegas to take down the Rock N Roll Half Marathon!

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Rebounding

So the last couple weeks were pretty bad workout wise. I really just had bad runs the entire time. It was killing my confidence. Since I joined Team Challenge I really haven’t been as concerned with the running. I know I’ll be able to do it and instead my stress/anxiety was focused on raising money. This mental lapse totally effected my training. I wasn’t concerned with fueling my body properly, I just ate whatever and didn’t think about how it would effect my runs the next day.

After my business trip last week I really needed to get back into my routine, but it wasn’t that simple I had shifted my weekly chiropractor appt to Monday night and had a massage scheduled for Tuesday night. This definitely threw off my ideal running schedule of Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday with cross training strength workouts on Wednesday and Sunday. Not to mention my BFF, Katie was coming into town on Wednesday evening with her husband, Phil (also my good friend from college) and I planned to spend all day Thursday with them.

Since I knew my routine wasn’t going to happen I made a plan of attack. I had a personal training session on Wednesday, then planned on running Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. I wanted to get my 5 mile run in on Thursday, but I kind of overslept, so I just did my 4 mile run. I had a great day with Katie and Phil so my semi decent run didn’t bother me too much.

Saturday was long run day, I had 8 miles on the plan. Since last week didn’t go so well, Tina suggested I only do 7, but I’m trying really hard to get all the long runs in no matter how difficult they are. On Friday I ate well all day and made sure to have a good dinner of shrimp and pasta. I woke up on Saturday morning a little late and wasn’t able to get ready in time to join my running group. I needed this run to go well and I was determined for it to go well. I went to my favorite flat running trail. The weather was beautiful and I beat the crowd and didn’t have to wait for a parking spot. I knew the 8 miles was going to be tough and I brought a GU to try for the first time. I started out slow, which is hard for me, I usually just take off and go fast (for me). My legs felt good and I just had a great run. I took the GU at mile 4, which tasted absolutely DISGUSTING (no more lemon lime flavor for me), but I definitely felt a boost from it. I decided to pick up the pace for the last few miles and negative split the rest of the miles, with the last mile being my fastest. I couldn’t have asked for a better confidence booster. This run came when I needed it the most and I was so proud of myself when I finished. I really wanted to high 5 someone at the end of my run but since I was solo I decided not scare the other people on the running trail with random high 5s. Luckily when I went to Katie’s house later to watch football and just hang out with her and her family, she gave me a high 5.

I wore my compression sleeves under my jeans to katie’s house to get my legs recovered for my Sunday 5 miler. The 5 miler was supposed to be a pace run, with 1 mile warm up and cool down and 3 miles at race pace. I went into thinking it would be whatever my legs decided it was going to be the day after a 8 miler. Well my legs were feeling good Sunday too and I actually went faster than race pace on all 5 miles. I don’t know what happened this weekend but I hope it happens on race day! I ran 13 miles this weekend and I feel great. I’m just proud of myself for rebounding from my rough travel week and bad runs.

I also have some great great GREAT fundraising news! I’m up to $1130 and 42% of my goal. I still have a long way to go so if you would like to donate go HERE!

Man I love Honey Boo Boo animated gifs!

I Need Your Help!

I’ve mentioned a few times that I’ve signed up for a half marathon, and actually I’ve signed up for two. Not really sure how smart it was to sign up for my 2nd half before training really began for my first, but I’ve always acted on impulse.

After my 3rd 5k, Expedition Everest.

Speaking of impulses, I also joined Team Challenge, which raises money for research and awareness for Crohn’s and Colitis. Team Challenge Georgia happens to be heading to the Las Vegas Rock N Roll Half Marathon on Dec 2nd, which is the half marathon I already signed up for. Since I’d already made the decision to run the half marathon (plus I’ve already paid for my plane ticket, race entry and hotel room deposit, which is what Team Challenge covers in expenses for you) it just seemed like a good idea to join Team Challenge.

Learn more about CCFA here

To be honest I wasn’t that familiar with Crohn’s or Colitis at first. I agreed to go to an info session for Team Challenge and had the mindset that if I had to raise more than $1000 then I wasn’t going to do it. When I saw the number was $2,700 I almost peed my pants, but then I started listening to the stories of people with the disease and talking with the coaches and mentors of the group. After that I just couldn’t say no and I wanted to help in any way I could to find a cure for this disease. I’m really not going to go into the details of Crohn’s or Colitis, but they are autoimmune irritable bowel diseases. Most people who have this disease are embarrassed to discuss the details because of the nature of the symptoms. After signing up for Team Challenge I found out that I have a family member with the disease.

So I’ve signed up for the task to raise $2,700 for Crohn’s and Colitis and I need your help to make this possible! A donation of any amount would help and I would greatly appreciate anything you can do to help! If your not able to financially support, I would love any moral support you can give me during my training and race.

You can donate online by clicking here. If you’d rather mail me check please send me an email or facebook message and I’ll get you my address. All donations are tax deductible and 82 cents of every dollar raised goes straight to the cause. It’s even more with donations to me since I’ve already paid my expenses and while I’ll be reimbursed, I’m donating all that money back into the cause.

I’m also trying to come up with fundraising ideas, so if you have any good ideas please let me know! I’m already planning to sell a YSL purse on ebay to donate all the proceeds. I may even sell some of my red velvet white chocolate chip cookies too.

Please help if you can! And look forward to updates about my training!