Ending On A Win!

This morning, I ran what is my final competitive race of the season. It was a 10k, I had trained hard all season, and I knew from last year’s stats that I could win my division. I drove there, 25 miles away, in the dark and alone. I was in the zone. I got on the bus that would take me to the start, and I barely uttered a word to anyone. In the zone. I lined up with a very fast runner friend of mine and we discussed our goals and moved to the front of the group. Zoned in. I took off quickly and never slowed down, only getting faster each mile. ” YOU ARE IN THE ZONE.”

I kept a close eye on my pace and could not believe what was happening, but just kept doing what I was doing. It felt good and I never wavered, I never felt tired. I repeated my chant to myself in my head over and over again. “You are prepared. You are trained. You are ready.” I passed more people than passed me, which is always a goal of mine, and… I won my age division and came in 8th of all women. Right now, I don’t know how many women finished, but 8th is good. And winning?!?! I’ve never won my division! I was so excited to tell my husband!!!

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My 2016 race season is complete! I don’t think I will ever have another year like this… And that’s OK

 

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Distance Running Season is CLOSED

I ran my final half marathon of the season yesterday. I tend to sign up for “just one more” long distance race upon finishing a big race – racing is addictive. But at mile 9 yesterday, as I was tracking to set another PR/PB, I told myself, “this is it – no more this year.” It felt good to say it. It felt good to repeat it to myself. The decision was made.

This half was a real struggle, probably because I was running pretty fast (for me). The first mile was slow due to the sheer number of runners (6,000+), but miles 2+ picked up pace and I was decreasing my average pace every mile. The course was pretty flat and wide, so it was easy to set your own pace and go. I passed the 2:00:00 pacer in mile 4 so I knew I’d come in under 2 hours (the pacers will bring their group in a couple/few minutes before target time). I was tracking a solid 8:50 pace for MILES, and as I told my friend, once I get to mile 8 or 9, it’s downhill from there.

But it wasn’t. 😉

There was a NASTY hill at mile 11 (see elevation map) and I did what I never do…. I walked. I ALWAYS walk the water stops but besides those, I do.not.walk. But I had to. And I walked a few times between miles 11 and 12.6. Yes, I walked in the final mile. I was BEAT. I wasn’t sure where my husband and kids would be, so I felt shamed while walking and would never walk for long – I didn’t want my kids to see me walking! At 12.6 miles, I told myself I needed to run for, “no more than 5 minutes” and I’d be done. So…. That’s what I did.

I crossed the finish in 1:56:44 with an average pace of 8:55! All I wanted from this race was “to finish in the 8’s,” even if that meant 8:59. I did it, even though I was convinced all weekend that it wouldn’t happen (I’ve been fighting a cold AND I haven’t run a long run longer than 7.11 miles in the last 3 weeks).  I did set a new PR/PB from my prior best (June 4th) by 2:09 – that’s a whopper of an improvement  and I’m thrilled!!!! I took 9 seconds off my average pace (was 9:04 on June 4) putting me safely “in the 8’s.”

My division and overall stats were the best they’ve ever been, (I think):
40/350 division (W40-44) = top 11.42%
328/2737 all women = top 11.98%
916/4378 overall = top 20.92%

This race had timing mats at the halfway mark (finally!!!) and I had another negative split by a long shot:

6.5 mile split 1:00:36 = 8:59 pace
6.5 mile rank = 43 (passed 3 in my division in second half of race)

The BEST part of this race is that my kids and husband watched me cross the finish, which hasn’t happened all year for my distance races because of complexity in getting there. I didn’t see them, but they saw me (I’m told I was hobbling in at the finish – I believe it!)… And that makes me happy!

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Running for Three

We ran a family 5k this past Saturday evening. I borrowed a friend’s double BOB and pushed both kids for the first time ever.

93 pounds of kids + a rather heavy stroller = a LOT of work!

One guy I passed said, “look at you – you’re running for three!” Yep!

Bryson fell asleep, Matthew enjoyed every moment, including the water stop. They’ve requested that we do it again but, alas, the stroller was a loaner! 😉

We made the paper:

Courtney Donaldson, 40, Bryson Donaldson, 5, and Matthew Donaldson, 3, right after completing their run at the 2016 Food Truck 5K

What To Do…

My running and race schedule is winding down. I have a half marathon on 10/16 and a 10k trail race on 10/29, with two 5Ks sprinkled in, but mid-October after that last half is looking to be when I’ll start transitioning to a more cross-training mode. The winter always encourages me to ramp down the running and ramp up the weights and guided cardio classes. There is an 8-mile trail race on 12/3 that I’d like to do, but that won’t require much training and it will really be a game-time decision based on weather.

Problem is, I’m not feeling ready to ramp the running down in a month. Maybe I will feel better about it as it gets colder, buy I’m not digging the idea of it right now. I’ve found a half on 11/5 and I’m this close to signing up for it. I mean, there is still room on my race wall for a few more bibs and medals.

What to do, what to do….???

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Medal #4, PR #4

I ran a 10-mile race this morning. I knew there would be one nasty hill lasting two miles before it flattened out but I didn’t let it bother me because I figured this would not be a PR race for me.

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My kids slept like crap last night. My youngest was in our bed by 12:45 followed by my oldest an hour later. My husband went to sleep with our big kid but he left his dad alone in his bed at 2:00 and returned to me. Whatever, just go to sleep. That started a cycle of being woken up every 40 minutes by my kids and it was truly terrible. Imagine fully waking up every 40 minutes between 12:45 and 6:45 the night before a 10-mile race. At 4:45, my big kid and I were both in tears over the situation (my lack of sleep caused my tears, my yelling caused his).

It.was.a.shit.show.

Come 6:45, I was up and getting ready to go and I was seriously considering dropping into the 5k race group. I could hardly even think, I was so tired. I got my husband up (who had slept alone from 2:00-7:00 what the hell?!?!) and told him I was probably running the 5k.

“You don’t need to decide until the split. Don’t decide now.”

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I found my old friend who is a crazy fast runner (sub-8:00 pace for 15 miles) and I told her I was considering the 5k.

“Courtney, come on. You know you can do the 10. So It’s not going to be a PR, just run it.”

Yeah, ok. I think so. God, I’m so tired.

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I was pacing fast with an average of 8:33 on my fitness band (which was off the mile markers by 0.06 miles) through mile 5 where I sat at 43:20 with a real 8:40 pace (adjusted to compensate the distance discrepancy).  Not at ALL what I expected. I didn’t think I could keep that pace but the group, overall, was so fast that I just kept with them. I passed some people but I was always in a group (key!). With 1 mile left, my band showed an average pace of 8:31 (not adjusted). Shit! I was picking up speed in the second half of the race… A SOLID negative split!

So, I took it home. I crossed the finish at 1:26:13 (second half of the race timed in at 42:53 with an 8:34.6 pace) with an average pace of 8:37… My fastest distance pace ever. A new distance PR by a long shot (last one was 9:04). Even if I’d had to do a half marathon (13.1 miles) today, I would have finished under my prior half PR because I was cruising and easily could have done 3.1 more miles at a 9:00 pace.

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I have no idea how I did it… I’m still so damn tired. Maybe that’s my secret weapon?

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Stats:

18/51 Women 40-44 (35.29%)
172/334 Overall Men and Women (51.5%)
62/175 Women (35.43%)

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Fabulous Fall Finish – Week 3

Week 3 Statistics (Ending 09/07/16)

  • Weight (148.2 last week):  147.6 pounds
    • Lost 0.6 pounds
    • Down 2.2 pounds from start
  • Body Fat % (24.4% last week):  24.4%
    • Lost/gained 0%
    • Down 0.2% from start
  • BMI (23.2 last week):  23.1
    • Lost/gained 0.1 points
    • Down 0.4 points from start
  • Time Spent Being Active (>= 6 hours): 6 Hours 4 Minutes
    • Miles Run (23.08 last week):  25.78 Miles
    • Number of Runs (>=4 runs a week):  5 Runs
  • Days within Calorie Goals per MFP (1390): 6 days
  • Exercise: 
    • Thursday – Mowing and yard work (1:06)
    • Friday – Ran 3.1 miles in 26:44; Ran 1.4 miles in 13:08; Walked (4:39)
    • Saturday – Ran 3.25 miles in 33:33; Walked 0.45 miles (7:29)
    • Sunday – Rest
    • Monday – Ran 7.5 miles in 1:14:43; Jogged 0.67 miles in 7:58; Walked 0.23 (5:22)
    • Tuesday – Power incline walked 4.0 miles in 53:04; Walked 0.53 (9:10)
    • Wednesday – Ran 4.32 miles in 42:52; Ran 1.01 miles in 9:58; Walked 0.4 miles (8:38); Abs (12:40)
  • Notes: 
    • Nothing to say…. I did not do a good job keeping focused.  No weights, only abs once, blah blah blah
  • Picture of the Week
"Don't touch me, you're soaked, MOM."
“Don’t touch me, you’re soaked, MOM.”
  • The Week’s Workouts:

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  • Starting Statistics on 08/11/2016
    • Weight:  149.8 pounds
    • Body Fat %:  24.6% with the handheld
    • BMI:  23.5

Ab Progress – 2 Weeks In

I like to keep track of all of my progress, but one of my favorite ways is to photograph my abs along the way.  Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and we all have our own areas that respond to fitness differently than they do on other people.  My weaknesses are my legs and ass – no matter what I do, there is little visible change.  My legs definitely have more shape than they did a year ago, but muscle definition does not happen in my lower half.  My strengths are my shoulders/back and abs.  If I put any amount of work into those areas, they reward me by responding quickly to my efforts.

I took my “before photos” on 8/16, two weeks ago.  Since then, I’ve ramped up my ab workouts but not by a crazy amount.  I definitely am making sure I get the ab workouts in now that they’re on my schedule, and I do think I’m working a bit harder when I do them.  “Before photos” motivate the heck out of me and when my abs looked the way they did back in February, I know I can work harder than I am now.

The lighting and positioning is a little different in these, but they still tell the story.  I took the second photos a couple of days ago, so these photos are exactly 2 weeks apart.  “Before” on the left, and “Now” (because I can’t say “after” until I’m done!) on the right.  Both flexed.

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I’m excited to keep working them.  Now, if I could just motivate myself to lift weights as often as I do abs!

Fabulous Fall Finish – Week 2

Week 2 Statistics (Ending 08/31/16)

  • Weight (148.6 last week):  148.2 pounds
    • Lost 0.4 pounds
    • Down 1.6 pounds from start (averaging 0.53 pounds a week which is close to target of 0.58 or more per week)
  • Body Fat % (xx% last week):  24.4%
    • GAINED 0.3%
    • Down 0.2% from start
  • BMI (23.3 last week):  23.2
    • Lost/gained 0.1 points
    • Down 0.3 points from start
  • Time Spent Being Active (>= 6 hours): 7 Hours 19 Minutes
    • Miles Run (21.85 last week):  23.08 Miles
    • Number of Runs (>=4 runs a week):  5 Runs
  • Days within Calorie Goals per MFP (1390): 6 days
  • Exercise: 
    • Thursday – PiYo (38:00); 12 Days of Fitmas (18:00)
    • Friday – Ran 6.0 miles in 59:21; Walked to cooldown (6:00); Abs (12:00)
    • Saturday – Ran 4.0 miles in 41:25; Walked to cooldown (8:00)
    • Sunday – Abs (20:00); Mowing/yardwork (57:00)
    • Monday – Ran 4.5 miles in 44:26; Walked to cooldown (6:00); Abs and pushups (13:00)
    • Tuesday – Ran 4.32 miles in 44:20; Walked to cooldown (6:40); Abs (13:00)
    • Wednesday – Ran 4.25 miles in 42:20; Walked to cooldown (4:00); Abs and pushups (7:00)
  • Notes: 
    • Being perfectly honest, I’m disappointed that I only dropped 0.4 pounds this week given the very strict focus on food
    • I attribute the body fat gain to not lifting weights like I should be
    • If I’d lift more, I’d lose more – plain and simple
    • It was a good week of stabilizing the efforts from last week, but I’d like to see a pound drop this coming week to get my average to where it needs to be
  • Picture of the Week:
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It amazes me how quickly the abs appear if you just take care of them properly.
  • The Week’s Workouts:

Week 2

  • Starting Statistics on 08/11/2016
    • Weight:  149.8 pounds
    • Body Fat %:  24.6% with the handheld
    • BMI:  23.5

Fabulous Fall Finish – Week 1

Week 1 Statistics (Ending 08/24/16)

  • Weight (149.0 last week):  148.6 pounds
    • Lost 0.4 pounds
    • Down 1.2 pounds from start
  • Body Fat % (24.4% last week):  24.1%
    • Lost 0.3%
    • Down 0.5% from start
  • BMI (23.3 last week):  23.3
    • Lost/Gained 0 points
  • Time Spent Being Active (>= 6 hours): 6 Hours 23 Minutes
    • Miles Run (21.13 last week):  21.85 Miles
    • Number of Runs (>=4 runs a week):  6 Runs
  • Days within Calorie Goals per MFP (1390): 6 days
  • Notes: 
    • I have a minor stress point on the top of my right foot that I’m watching and trying to be careful with
    • I may have been in my calorie goal zone every day, I’m not sure since I didn’t log on Monday but I ate really healthy
    • I admit to a hashbrown at McDonalds  😉
    • I had a white cupcake on Wednesday, while planning a very light dinner, and then my husband came home early and we went out to eat.  GAH!  Damn cupcake!
    • So far I’m at 1.2 pounds lost and 0.5% loss in body fat, which is on par with my goals.  I was hoping for more this week, but this is good.
  • Exercise: 
    • Thursday – Ran 3.35 miles in 33:26; Walk (6:34); PiYo Sweat (26:00); Abs (10:00)
    • Friday – Abs (10:00) (needed to rest my right foot)
    • Saturday – Ran 6.2 miles in 58:53; walked 0.28 miles in 4:36; jogged 1.02 miles in 11:23
    • Sunday – Mowed the lawn and other yard work (44:00)
    • Monday – Rest
    • Tuesday – Ran 3.25 miles in 31:27; Ran 3.75 miles in 36:45; Abs (10:00); Weights (9:00) Walking cool-downs (7:37); Abs (10:00)
    • Wednesday – Ran 4.0 miles in 38:39; Walking cool-down (11:00); Abs (15:00); Strength (8:00)
  • The Week’s Workouts:

Week 1

  • Starting Statistics on 08/11/2016
    • Weight:  149.8 pounds
    • Body Fat %:  24.6% with the handheld
    • BMI:  23.5

 

Running Buddy

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I’ve been at this running thing for a long time now and really understand the importance of having running buddies. I have an online FB group of about 35 people who like running and we provide support to one another daily. They’re my running buddies. They motivate me. My husband is another running buddy, but one who is physically present. We’ve run a couple of times together and he’s always encouraging me to get out there. He’s terrific! I ran with a good friend in Colorado and like any good running buddy, she was up for anything and forced me to talk as we ran (so good for breathing control). I have lots of running buddies, IRL and URL, and I count myself lucky.

But there is one running buddy who is the best. He’s the most motivating, encouraging, and positive running buddy I know. He, too, forces me to talk as we run. He tells me to run faster. He reminds me of weather coming our way. He shares his water with me. And he’s as cute as a button!

My little guy has been asking to run with me for a week and I kept saying, “this weekend, when it’s time for a long run.”. The time came and it took 20 minutes for us to properly get out the door, but once we did, it was pure bliss. We talked, we laughed, we sang, he ate, we drank, we had a great time!

My youngest son is the best running buddy around!