2018 Fairy Tale Challenge Training Week 10: The Sunshine Returns to Morning Runs

Weekly Mileage: 28 mi


Another Monday morning meant the usual debate: Orange Theory or Yoga after work? Usually this decision is simplified by Emily, who heads to yoga with me, but since she was unavailable I questioned my routine. After what was probably too much consideration, I decided to go to Yoga since my IT band was bothering me after the weekend's runs. The class focused on shoulder opening, but of course opened with a loooong knee pile, which is basically my arch nemesis. It was as if the instructor somehow knew I had complained about that pose to Em over the weekend.

The regular routine was back on Tuesday, and the day started with Kasey's arrival at my house. We griped about the return of cold weather after a mild weekend, but at least the sun is starting to rise earlier in the morning so we are less in the dark. Kasey and I got in about 2.5 miles together before her morning deadlines called, and then I kept running solo. I felt like i was dragging myself through mile 4, struggling to find joy in my run. My mental game was poor, and I started to question why I run - lately I feel slow, and like I have  lost so much work. But then a flip switched - why was I treating myself like this? I would never beat a friend up like that, when there were up early, running, and putting in work! So I challenged myself to pick up the pace for the last mile, fight when it got hard, and to finish my run strong. I looked at my watch - I was averaging a 10:07 pace. If I could drop the pace down to 9:30 for my last mile, I could bring the run down to a sub-10 pace. So I dug in and got going - that last mile was a challenge, but it was the breath of fresh air that I needed. I managed to run it in 8:27, bringing my average pace down to a 9:47, and it was just the pick me up that I needed. When I got home I squeezed in a quick Nike Training Club workout. I just set up a new program to follow in the app, so I got the "benchmark" workout done. I felt good going into the day ahead of me, and thank goodness I had that positive attitude because it was a busy day at work. So busy that I wound up leaving late, and just barely made it to swim on time.


It was a big night of laps at swim, and after a quick warm-up we started with 6x50m repeats. Once we finished those, we started the main set of the night, and it was a big one: 5x300m repeats - 300 m in the pool that I swim in is 12 laps. Twelve! That is super far for me! Each repeat had about 30 seconds of rest between sets, but it was still a challenge for me, and I was proud that I got through it. We got to take it easy for the rest of the session, wearing fins as we worked on drills. 

The weather warmed up a little for our Wednesday morning run, and I even got to break out my light jacket - imagine that! Kasey wasn't feeling great, but managed to make it though two miles, and was only a little dramatic with her poses at the end of her run. I appreciated it. I had plans for another five-mile morning, and picked up the pace as I ran off from Kasey's house. The workout turned into an unintentional progressive run, which I was really pleased about, and I even managed to get that last mile into the 8s again, which made me happy. I had planned to get in a quick strength routine when I got home, but I somehow totally forgot that part of the plan, and didn't remember until I was already dressed and ready for the day... whoops. There was no workout for me on Wednesday night, as Dennis and I had big Valentines day plans: to watch a movie (Mulan) and eat nachos. If that's not love then I don't know what love is.


There was some error on Thursday morning - as I waited in the kitchen watching for Kasey to arrive, the minutes ticked by. I had been texting Emily in a group chat that her, Kasey and I share, and there had been no answers from Kasey that morning - an uncommon occurrence. As it got later, I started to wonder if Kasey was awake. So, I texted her brother who I figured would be up and getting ready for school to see if she was up, and moments later got a text from Kasey - she had accidentally set her alarm for 6:55 instead of 5:55 - Whoops! By this time it was already around 6:40, and since Kasey needed to be home by 6:50, her run was lost for the morning. Lucky for me, it was above 40 degrees, so Dad agreed to come out on his bike for the first time this year. Since I knew it was going to be a shorter than usual run, and I had been feeling up to challenging myself this week, I decided my goal for this run was to finish it with an average below a 9 minute mile - and somehow pulled it off! I was pretty pleased with myself, and excited that I completed my self-imposed challenge. 

Thursday night did not go as well as Thursday morning - while I was at work my throat started bothering me. So I checked it out and after looking at it was concerned that I might have strep - it was not pretty. For fear of passing sickness on to other athletes at swim, I stayed home for the night and made a doctors appointment for Friday morning. It was a bummer, but now I will have the push to get to the Monday morning swim session that I keep telling myself I am going to get to, but have yet to attend. 


I considered going for a run when I work up earlier than I needed to on Friday, but my IT band has felt tight lately so I decided not to push things. Instead, I did one of the longer workouts that Nike Training club offers – crunch and burn 2.0. The explosive movements in that one kill me, and I hate but love the side plank leg lifts.

After my workout was done I headed to the doctor’s office before work to get my sore throat checked out – I was relieved that it wasn’t anything serious, just Thrush, which is a common side effect from one of the inhalers I take, and can easily be cured with a prescribed mouthwash.

Saturday was my big mileage day for this week. Kasey and I had plans to run 10 miles, and it would be the first time that she ever hit double digits on a run! In addition to my run with Kasey I had agreed to meet up with a few friends from the tri team for some shared miles, so it was going to be a busy day. Before my run with Kasey, I started my packing list for the Princess half weekend, and extracted my suitcase from the closet, which was way harder than it sounds.

I had most of my race outfits together, but still needed to pack standard vacation Disney clothes (yes, this consists of things adorning mickey’s face). Piles of clothing were established, and I packed them all into my luggage cubes (yes, everything goes into a bag before it goes into my suitcase – it makes it much easier to find things in the hotel room! I use these bags). I made my list of what needed to be replenished in my first aid bag, and packed up everything that I could think of. By the time Kasey texted me that she was ready to run, I had most of my packing complete – I just needed to put some finishing touches on my race outfits.

It was a nice day considering it's February in New York, and I was able to head out for my run without having to swaddle myself first. I just wore a long sleeve running shirt and my light running jacket, along with some leggings and my momentum jewelry trucker hat – it was bright out! I pushed the pace a little in the first few miles, before thinking logically and realizing that I should be a little more conservative with the pace if I wanted Kasey to agree to join me on future long runs. About 4 miles in we stopped for water and sport beans before continuing onward. The weather was beautiful, and the miles just slipped away on the sunny afternoon. It was odd to see so many people out and about in the neighborhood, when I am so used to running in the morning when we see the same four people out walking their dogs every day. We made one more quick fuel stop at mile 7, then pushed through to the end. Guys, believe it or not, Kasey survived her first 10 mile run – hell, I would even say she was pretty damn successful at it, managing to keep an average pace of 10:07 min/mi. So yes, I will be continuing to rope her into long runs (**cough** Disney marathon 2019 **cough**).

After Kasey and I finished up I ate a quick snack (consisting of a tortilla shell with peanut butter smeared on it) and then started heading to Norman J. Levy Preserve – or “Garbage Mountain” as my dad likes to call it, since it was once an actual garbage dump. I somehow always manage to forget that running there makes for a hilly run, as you gain elevation as you go along the path. I added another layer to my running outfit, as the preserve is right on the water, and it was likely a few degrees colder there.


I met up with Tara and Allison, and we got going. The miles always slip away too quickly when I run with these ladies, as we always have what feels like a million things to catch up on. When I was training for my first marathon Tara helped me through so many of my long runs, and then after the Long Island Marathon Alison helped me to find running inspiration again as we ran together as she trained for her first half iron man. We headed up and down the mountain, and looped around it a few times, went out and back on the dock, and even had to dodge a gender reveal photo shoot that was happening, as to not photo bomb them. We wound up logging just over 4 miles, and then decided to take a jumpshot before parting ways, which had us all cracking up.

I had planned to finish up the rest of my costumes on Saturday night, but I was just too tired after all the, literal, running around. Instead, I spent the night hanging out with Emily and my brother, Tommy, catching up on a new Netflix series.

Sunday somehow slipped through my fingers, with all of the errands that I had to get done. But on the upside, all of the dresses have now been picked out for the wedding in October, as we managed to find Jr. Bridesmaids dresses that everyone was happy with!


Now, since this is the last recap before the Princess half marathon weekend, I’m going to bring you up to date through Wednesday, since that was when I left for Florida. Then, the next posts will be all about the race weekend!

I managed to get things back on track Monday morning, when I headed to swim at 6 A.M. to make up for the class I missed Thursday night. I had off from work for president’s day, so I felt a little crazy setting an alarm for 5:30 when I went to bed Sunday night. The class consisted entirely of laps, starting with alternating between sets of 25m repeats and 75m repeats, eventually bringing us to the big set of 4x250 m repeats, before a quick cooldown at the end of class. There was a hard end to the class at 7:30, as there was an event going on at the pool. After swim I got breakfast with my parents, and then finally found the time to finish up all of my race outfits and get them packed away. I even managed to put together a few pairs of mouse ears, following a tutorial that Laura Bowers, from Joyful Miles, put together.


Emily and I still wanted to head to our usual Monday night yoga class, and I felt like that was a great idea, to take some time to slow down and stretch after the busy three-day weekend and before the traveling that would occur this week. Did I fall asleep in class? Yes. But can you really fault me for that - and I woke myself up before the class progressed too far without me!

We had a foggy morning on Tuesday, but Kasey and I didn’t let it get in the way of our run. I made sure that I was well-lit before heading out. I was more asleep than usual when the run started, but the mild temperature, despite the fog, had me in a good mood by the end of the run. Plus, Kasey felt that this run finally broke her streak of mediocre-to-bad runs that she’s had going lately! I only ran three miles, since race day is quickly approaching, and then did a few pop-pilates videos before heading to work.


The evening was busy, starting with a session at the yoga studio that I almost forgot about. At Emerge, they offer some therapeutic services in addition to yoga classes, one of these being the “biomat.” Emily had raved to me about it, so when she offered me one of her sessions that would expire before she had the chance to use it, I jumped at the opportunity. I had to use the session before leaving for Florida, but naturally managed to forget about it all weekend. Luckily, when I asked about availability after Monday night’s yoga class, there was a time slot open Tuesday night, so I could squeeze in a session between work and swim. I headed right from work to the yoga studio, and they brought me into the room with the biomat, which is basically a squishy, body sized heating pad, paired with an essential oil diffusor. It was a 30-minute session, but I set an alarm on my Garmin for 6:09 incase they let me run over, because I needed to check into my flight at 6:10 – and thank goodness I did, or I would have missed it! But the experience itself was great, and very relaxing. Plus, the heat of the mat felt great on my sore hip.

I went right from Emerge to Swim, and it was another night of mostly laps. For the most part we alternated between 100 and 200m repeats, focusing on consistency and making sure that the pace for the 200m repeats was the same as the pace for the shorter repeats. The last 20 minutes or so of class we spent doing drills, and then I headed home to triple check that I had everything packed for my trip to Florida (I didn’t… it took me 30 minutes to find my headphones, which turned out to be in my knitting bag…. Which was of course, in my carry-on bag for the plane. So I guess technically they were packed?).


I had one last run before vacation began, and it was again a foggy morning on Wednesday. Kasey wasn’t as happy with this run as she had been with Tuesdays, but we quickly ticked away the miles. After she finished her run I got another half mile or so in, and dropped my pace so that I could bring my average below a 10 min/mi. With the run done, my training for the princess half weekend was complete. All that was left to do was bring my luggage downstairs, so that my Dad could load it into the car- my parents were picking me up from work so we could head right to the airport, and begin our vacation.

All in all, I am happy with how training for this challenge went. I feel prepared to complete back to back races, and my biggest concern is the heat, which at the end of the day I have no control over. Training was derailed in January when I caught a nasty cold and dealt with asthma issues for almost a month, but now I'm back to 100%, and ready to hit the road in Disney!