Author: courtney

*courtney – MAF training log week 1

week: 1 of 16 ~ 5/4/15 – 5/10/15

total miles: 27
bike x 2
strength workouts: 2
while i am running slow i am trying to focus on my form and see how i can be more efficient. while i was half marathon training i was able to train myself to breathe at a 3 to 2 pattern so that i am exhaling on alternating feet. there is some kind of science behind it, and since i am always getting hurt on my right side i figured it couldn’t hurt 🙂 after focusing on that for a few weeks it is now second nature! surely over the next 16 weeks i can devote some time to tweaking other aspects which will help me come fall racing season.

up first are my arms! this week i began focusing on keeping my elbows bent at 90, my hands relaxed, my swing going forward and backward and not across my torso, and driving the movement from my shoulders. more form tips can be found here. i really covet katie edwards’ form in this altra video. i want to be just like her–fast, hard-working, strong and gorgeous. i noticed that when i was tensing up from a hill or my heart rate was on the upper limit my shoulders would start to hunch and i would clench my fists. in turn, by focusing on relaxing more and thinking about better form my heart rate would lower. so crazy how it is all connected!

looking back at the data i am definitely not straddling the line of 147 bpm, and i think it is because of a couple of reasons. the first being i run so damn early my body is not fully awake enough to even work that hard! the second reason being because i absolutely hate hearing my garmin scream at me when i go outside of the 137-147 range. i am afraid of authority in all aspects of life–even when it comes from a gadget on my wrist 🙂

planned workout: bike
actual workout:
rest day! too busy at work to even take a lunch. it happens!

planned workout: 4 miles and strength
actual workout: 0 miles and the core strength workout with 5# weights. 4am wakeup calls never get easier. i totally skipped out on the run 🙁

planned workout: 4 miles and 30 minutes on the bike
actual workout: 6 miles and 30 minutes on the bike
course: hilly, paved, some sidewalk
weather: 61*/humid/dark
gear: brooks purecadence 4
how did it go? i tried a new route because i wanted to get in some extra miles since i skipped the run on tuesday. i didn’t realize how hilly it would be, but i will keep it up since it was well-lit and empty.


planned workout: 4 miles and strength
actual workout: 6 miles and strength circuit
course: flat, paved, mostly sidewalk
weather: 63*/humid/dark
gear: brooks pureflow 3


planned workout: rest
actual workout: 30 minutes on the bike

planned workout: 10 miles
actual workout: 10 miles
course: sunny south carolina! hilly (450+ feet of elevation gain!) and paved
weather: 70*/windy/sunny
gear: brooks pureflow 3
nutrition: some clif shot bloks and s!caps along the run; no tummy issues
how did it go? such a beautiful running trail, but holy crap is it hilly! remind me never to run a race in greenville, south carolina unless it am doing it just for fun.


planned workout: 5 miles
actual workout: 5 miles
course: paved and flat
weather: 70*/windy/sunny
gear: brooks pureflow 3
how did it go? another awesome paved biking/running/walking trail! why doesn’t bowling green have these? this was in north carolina and i ran along side the pisgah forrest. this was my 3rd state to run in this week 🙂 over the past year i have run in 2 countries and 5 states, which isn’t a lot to some people, but makes me feel good about semi sticking to a training plan while out of town! i did have some tummy issues on this run–i will blame the chinese food from the night before!



*courtney – total fitness connection run for children minimarathon race recap

finish time: 1:56:04 (a 10 minute and 44 second PR!!!)
race: total fitness connection run for children minimarathon
location: bowling green, kentucky
swag: cotton t-shirt, goodie bag and medal
weather: 35*/windy/overcast
gear: adidas adios boost, injinji socks, lululemon pace pusher crops, lululemon swiftly racerback, lululemon swiftly short sleeve tee, arm warmers, adidas visor, lululemon run with me fleece gloves, c9 ear warmer, jaybird bluebuds, nathan quickshot
nutrition: cut out fiber gradually the week of the race and added in coconut water on thursday and friday. olive garden spaghetti with meat sauce and breadsticks for dinner. 2 imodium 2.5 hours before the start, a bagel thin with peanut butter and coffee 1.5 hours before the start, and another imodium with some gulps of water with caffeinated nuun 30 minutes prior to start. Had a salted caramel gu and s!cap at mile 4, 8 and 10 and drank water in my handheld and from the water stops.
recap: what a race! although it was windy and had some rolling hills, I honestly couldn’t ask for a better experience! I am sure that is the PR speaking, but truly it was a great race, and I hope to complete it over and over again 🙂

the plan was to average an 8:55 pace, and i programmed my watch to start at a 9:10 pace and drop 3-5 seconds every mile to end up with the last 1.1 miles ~8:30 pace.

miles 1-3 (9:09, 9:07, 9:00)
the field was very small for the half marathon, so we found ourselves near the front of pack. it was great because we didn’t have to expend a bunch of energy bobbing and weaving, we were pretty much instantly in a good position to cruise. i looked down and we were running at a 7:30 pace! it is amazing what adrenaline will do for you. we reigned it in and evened out quickly. i had on a jacket at the start since it was pretty chilly, but we saw kristen around the 1st mile marker and i threw it over to her. miles 1 and 2 flew by, and as we headed in to the 3rd mile we turned and ticked off that mile right one pace.

miles 4-6 (9:01, 8:58, 8:52)
i took my first gu in mile 4 along with an s!cap. mile 5 included a little bit of elevation, and we made our next turn on to the road that would lead us to the turnaround point. seeing all of super-fast runners on their way back was a big boost—but i tried not to use too much of my energy cheering, because i have paid for that in past races! we hit the turnaround at 6.6 and were immediately facing the wind.

miles 7-10 (8:46, 8:52, 8:48, 8:57)
not sure where the speedy mile 7 came from—maybe we were just super excited to be on the way back to the finish line! the wind was getting pretty abusive, and i think as i took my second gu in mile 8 i asked jenny if we were going to be in to the wind the entire way back, which she confirmed would be the case. i started focusing on targets that we could pass. by mile 10 my attitude really started to suck. we had been on the long stretch of road since mile 8 and didn’t have another turn until mile 11. i was getting tired, my music was skipping, and i almost quit pushing myself.

miles 11-13.1 (8:50, 8:36, 8:20, 7:08-.10)
finally at mile 11 we turned on to the main road and i knew i needed to pick up the pace if i wanted to meet my goal and leave it all on the course. i turned up my music and started pumping my arms. miles 12 and 13 seemed to tick off easily, and although the race is cruel and throws a hill in at the end i had a little bit of the finishing kick and crossed the finish line in 1:56:04! i was so elated!

i learned a lot during this race. i learned to trust my training and that i do well with progression runs and negative splitting. i also finally figured out a fueling strategy that kept me out of the bathrooms and full of energy! i realized that it is possible to come back from a bad mile–i struggled in miles 8-10 mentally, but i sucked it up and moved on to the next mile and finished with my strongest miles at the end. i also learned that i probably should have done a little more hill work. i would really like to get two hill workouts in a month when i train for the next race. i know they help with strength and form without being as stressful on the joints as intervals.

overall it was an awesome hometown race, and i cannot wait to run the tfc run for children next year!

*courtney – my 2 hour half marathon training plan

**disclaimer: i am not a coach, personal trainer, doctor, or super experienced runner! i have zero certifications to be doling out advice. i know when i was looking for a training plan to break 2 hours in the half marathon i searched and searched for something that looked hard enough to get me where i needed to be, but still easy enough on the body so i wouldn’t get injured. that is the purpose of this plan, please use it with caution and always listen to your body :)**

i probably looked at 10 different training plans for a sub-2 half marathon and finally decided to pull all of the things i liked about each of them and combine them in to one plan. there is a little run less/run faster in here, a little hal higdon, some elements of jack daniels, and also some random blogger’s plans sprinkled in.

i started this plan a month or so after recovering from my first full marathon. during marathon training i probably peaked at 35 miles per week and was averaging about 20 miles per week going in to this training cycle. if you’ve got a decent base of ~20 miles per week and a 26-27 minute 5k under your belt, i would say you’re at a good point to start this plan!

i was much better about the cross-training and the strength training the first half of the plan, and then in february when my mom got sick things kind of went downhill with that. i would highly recommend implementing the strength portion at least a couple of times a week along with the myrtl routine after as many runs as possible. i skipped the bike the most, because it bores the shit out of me.

i do believe the most important part of the training were the long progression runs. they taught me to run faster at the end of the workout when i was already tired. i usually started those at about an 11:00 pace and dropped 10-15 seconds every mile to finish us around race pace.

all of the recommended paces felt hard to me. as the plan went on the mile repeats and tempo runs started to get easier, but the intervals ALWAYS felt like i couldn’t do another set if my life depended on it. don’t let that discourage, just do the best that you can do and i promise you’ll start seeing some serious improvements!

if you do decide to give this plan a go, i wish you all the best luck and hope you’ll reach out with any questions or feedback!

grab the printable plan here: 2 Hour Half Marathon Training Plan

2 hour half marathon training plan



*courtney – MAF test # 1

so, today was my first official MAF test! in case you missed it, i have decided to dedicate this summer to the maffetone method to build a killer base and hopefully nail a huge PR in january at the louisiana marathon.

i first heard about MAF training from miss zippy and sf road warrior and figured if these super fast ladies could slow down to get more efficient and stay injury free, then why can’t i? i am not fast to begin with, so i really don’t have anything to lose speed-wise. i am also injury prone, but i want to ramp my mileage to ~40mpw for marathon training in the fall. the big half marathon goal is in the bag, so this seems like a great time to slow down and see what progress i can make!

so, what if MAF training? it is essentially low heart rate training. the theory is that training at a lower heart rate will condition you to run more efficiently and get fitter and faster at a low heart rate, and in turn you will be able to run faster at higher heart rates as well. make sense? yeah, i didn’t think so. trust the science, people. the first step in this journey is to find your MAF training heart rate with the formula of 180 – your age, and that is the heart rate you should train at or below for ~16 weeks or until you no longer see improvements during your MAF tests. you can find more info along with guidelines to getting your MAF heart rate here.

a typical cycle lasts 4 months or until you stop seeing improvements running at your MAF heart rate. every month you are supposed to perform a MAF test to gauge said improvements. today was my baseline test, and it was pretty much spot on with where i thought it would be. you can view race performance estimates based on MAF test results here, and mine matches up perfectly with my recent half marathon result.

it is important to track temperature and humidity along with your results and to try and perform the test in similar conditions on the same course every month. i chose the local high school track since it is the only flat area near me that is free of traffic.

the dreaded oval

the track is about a mile from my house, so i used that mile and one lap around as a warmup to get to the target of 147bpm before beginning the test. you should also warm up until you reach your target heart rate, or your results will be pretty skewed by that first mile.

quick sidenote… i am 100% a hobby jogger. i run because it makes me feel really good and it is a way to steal time with my best friend. i did not run track or cross country in high school, i am not athletic, hell i don’t even watch sports! so, when i showed up at the track this morning i picked a middle lane and started going at it. i was using the manual lap function on my watch in case it didn’t pick up the track correctly, so once i made it around 4 times i hit the lap button. of course, i didn’t even think that the middle lane would be more than a quarter mile point to point. it was about the middle of the 3rd mile that it occurred to me that i was running about a tenth of a mile too long on each test “mile”. i blame my flaxen skull for that one. for the last mile i moved to the inner lane, since i still couldn’t figure out what all the lines and arrows meant on the track and how to run just a quarter mile in lane 5. i am just so glad i was all alone and no one could witness my stupidity! it didn’t seem to have much of an effect, so i am keeping these test results and will know better next time (hopefully).

test #1 results
date: may 2nd, 2015
weather: 58*/sunny
location: track
gear: altra the one2 shoes, injinji socks, lululemon dart and dash shorts, moving comfort maia bra, lululemon run swiftly racerback tank, garmin 620, nathan quickshot
weight: 162.1 lbs
warmup: 1.39 miles @ 141 average heart rate
cooldown: 1.32 miles @ 146 average heart rate and 6 x 20s striders
maf test 1the cardiac drift is about what i thought it would be, and these “miles” were actually 1.11 @ 146bpm, 1.11 @ 146bpm, 1.08 @147bpm and 1.01 @ 147bpm. glad i caught my error by the last one 😉

originally i had wanted to get up even earlier to take the test while it was still in the 40s outside, but i am glad that i waited as the june, july and august weather is not likely to be any cooler than 60*. a girl can hope, though!

i am really not sure what progress i hope to see in a month. maybe 10 seconds per mile drop? less would be ok too. i do hope to see my weight drop. i am about 30 lbs heavier than i would like to be going in to the marathon in january. i am hoping to lose most of that by the mid-september training start. they say that every pound is 2 seconds off your pace. if that is true i could possibly be a minute per mile faster by the time i am at goal weight–that would be worth giving up the mexican food for a while 🙂

has anyone else done MAF training before? any tips you can share would be much appreciated!

next time i post i am going to share my sub-2 hour half marathon training plan!

*courtney – i finally ran a half marathon under 2 hours!

yes. it happened–i broke 2 hours in the half marathon on 3/28/2015 at the total fitness connection run for children miniMarathon! official results can be found here, i think the most exciting part was getting to add it to my athlinks profile 🙂


while the goal was out there for a while, the only other time i actually attempted to run sub-2 was at the kentucky derby festival miniMarathon in 2014. i came up short by close to 7 minutes, and knew by mile 7 that i had no business even attempting it. i actually had a pretty strong first half, but bathroom issues and serious lack of training led to a nasty positive split. with my hip injury in january of that year, i only ran 93 miles from february 1st to april 18th in preparation for that race–what a joke that i thought that would cut it!

sometime in the fall i decided that i was going to make the local tfc run for children half marathon my goal race. i combed the internet for all types of sub-2 training plans, and created my own frankenstein plan in google sheets. i found appropriate training paces via all of the different calculators and mapped out 16 weeks that included different types of intervals, hill repeats, progression runs, short and long tempo work, and long runs that went past the 13.1 mark. i made sure to keep my easy runs super easy by wearing my heart rate monitor and staying in zone 2, and i incorporated a recovery week of easy, decreased mileage every 4 weeks. i hovered around an average of 25 miles per week throughout the cycle. i also did quite a bit of strength training and cross-training, but i will admit i was not quite as diligent as i could have been. when i toed the line on march 28th, i felt mentally and physically prepared to meet the goal. it was an out and back course, and unfortunately there was a headwind on the way back. the toughest miles were miles 7-11, and i remember not enjoying any of the songs that were coming on, feeling cold from the wind, and thinking maybe it just wasn’t gonna be my day. finally at mile 11 it was time to turn right on to the main road to the finish line, and i just zoned in. i ended up hitting not only a half marathon PR, but i also set new 10k and 5k PRs in that second half of the race! it was exhilarating crossing that finish line!

after the race i took a week of recovery and then jumped back in to training hoping that this year’s derby miniMarathon would yield an even faster time since the course is flatter. jenny and i talked about trying to do under 1:55, and i programmed my watch for that. unfortunately we woke up to rain, humidity, and some cross-winds. jenny was sick, and i was mentally not in the game. again, i had a really strong first half, but at some point i went under a tunnel and my watch rebooted. from then on my splits and pace were erratic and i had no idea what pace i was running. i stopped and walked to eat my second gel. then i stopped and walked again. then again. and then one last time during mile 10. i kept trying to tell myself to just listen to the music and don’t worry about pace, but i couldn’t focus. i crossed that finish line in 1:57:29 and felt totally spent. although my time was still great, i felt like a failure. i am beginning to think maybe derby is just not the course for me. i don’t know if it is the crowd or if it is too flat (too flat?!?!?!), but i always really struggle during the second half.

now that this big goal has been crossed off–what’s next? of course watching the boston marathon last week has me wanting to lose 30 pounds, quit my job, and start training 60 miles per week to qualify as soon as possible. but, this is real life, and until they invent calorie-free nachos and money starts growing on trees, i need to tone my goals down. i believe jenny and i are set on spending the summer building a really great base via maffetone/low heart rate training, and then attempting to run a sub-4 hour full marathon in january. i can tell slowing my easy runs down has helped me get fitter aerobically and stay injury free. i am also hoping it will help me lose some weight. i didn’t feel like dieting during goal-race training was a good idea, but the extra weight didn’t hurt! i swear every pound i gain is a minute off my PR 🙂

so, saturday i will do my first MAF test at a heart rate of 147 and for the following 16 weeks i will keep every run under that. it will probably get super tedious, but maybe that will help me with the mental toughness that i lacked in saturday’s half marathon. i am hoping to ramp my mileage up to 30 miles per week by july, 35 in june and 40 in august. then in september i will start incorporating speedwork back in to the mix and start 16-week goal specific marathon training plan for the louisiana marathon. i’m also committed to 2 strength workouts per week. if i slack on yoga or cross-training, i won’t beat myself up over it, but i have got to get my core and butt toned up.

i will post my first MAF test results on saturday–another commitment! 🙂

*courtney – sometimes life happens… training log 2/16/15 – 3/8/15

this tumblr is the funniest thing i have seen in a long time:Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 5.30.40 PMhello? do you even remember me? i have been completely absent recently due to some life stuff. my mom was in the hospital last week, and i couldn’t find a second to breathe let alone run or blog. the good news is that she is back home now and doing fantastic! 🙂

i have actually done some running since that last time i dropped in, though. the week of the snowpocalypse of 2015 i managed to get 24 easy miles done mostly on the treadmill. it actually was not as bad as i thought it was going to be. if you have the right company (jenny) the miles kind of fly by. i would still choose the great outdoors any day of the week, but i am glad i know i can use the treadmill as a last resort. i did not do any yoga, strength, core or cross training that week. major check-minus for me on that front.

the week after that was the trip to the hospital in south carolina. sleeping in one of those half-assed attempts at a recliner from sunday-saturday does not equal proper rest for half-marathon training. i kept telling myself i would sneak away for an hour here or there, but i just never felt properly rested or in the right headspace. i wanted to spend all of my time either with my mom or doing something for her. it was a terrible reason to spend a week with my parents, but kenny and i still had a blast and it was so good to see them. i will be going back later this month, and i SWEAR this time i will honestly make time to explore some of the cool stuff here: RunFurman.

so that brings us up to speed to this week! while we got another snow dump, i did manage to get all of my runs in. getting caught up at work meant zero lunch breaks, so this is my third week in a row with zero cross training, yoga, weights, etc. i can feel my butt and core turning even mushier than they already were! i do feel like that may have been overload to do this week since i was out of the game completely last week. speaking of… how did an entire week of rest effect my training you might ask? well, i’m not really sure. i didn’t run for an entire 9 days, but i didn’t do any sort of time trial before the break. my first run back was scheduled to be 1k repeats. the two noticeable things for me were that a.) my HR seemed a little higher on my warmup than usual which tells me i may have lost a little of my aerobic base, and b.) my legs felt absolutely fantastic! haha, i know that is to be expected, and it really makes me respect the taper that is coming soon. the good news is that my repeats were considerably improved from the last time i did them in january. i don’t want to think about what they might have been if i hadn’t taken the week off, i will just be happy that i am improving and try to keep forging on. thursday’s run seemed like my HR was about where i expected it to be during the warmup and slower miles, so maybe i was just tired on tuesday. i know i was also really nervous. i honestly thought that 9 days off was going to bring me back barely able to run a mile without sucking wind. thank god that wasn’t the case.

goals for this coming week are to re-introduce my core, strength and cross training and take advantage of the beautiful weather we are supposed to be getting! i also need to start focusing on nutrition leading up to the march 28th tfc minimarathon. i am still having stomach issues, and i need to be more mindful of what i eat on thursdays and fridays leading up to my saturday long runs.

week: 3/2/15 – 3/8/15

total miles: 32
easy miles: 24
fast miles: 8
strength workouts: 0
overview: i was pretty delighted to hit my prescribed paces this week, but i will say i am definitely sore! this is the first time i have been this sore in a long time, and i blame my hiatus last week. i HAVE to get back to my cross training schedule. i definitely notice a difference when i do it and when i don’t. i also have to get my freaking gut in order. i am not sure why my stomach hates me and hates running, but it’s being way harsh.

planned workout: spin
actual workout: nada

planned workout: 6 miles with 5 x 1000m repeats @ 5:00 (8:04 pace) and 2:50 recovery + the core strength routine
actual workout: 1 mile warmup @ 11:41 (151 average HR), 1000m splits @ 4:52, 4:59, 5:02, 4:57, 5:00, and 1 mile cooldown @ 11:27 + no core routine
course: purple striders, paved and flat
weather: 37*/dark
gear: altra the one2, athleta be free tights, lululemon long sleeve swiftly, oiselle flyer jacket, lululemon run with me fleece gloves, c9 ear warmer, mace jogger, knuckle light, nathan quick shot
nutrition: i think i had burger king for dinner, but i didn’t have anything pre-run and didn’t have any gi issues
how did it go? as i mentioned earlier, my HR was running a little higher than i’d like to see, which could indicate loss of aerobic fitness. it could also be caused by the fact that i didn’t sleep well at all the week before, and i really was nervous about this run. i am happy to report that the hard work is paying off–my splits in january for this workout were 5:06, 5:07, 5:08, 5:14, 5:17–and i remember that feeling REALLY hard. i am definitely showing signs of improvement! also, these shoes are great! i am so excited to wear them again, i just don’t want to transition too fast and cause injury.

planned workout: 4 easy + spin
actual workout: zilch
how did it go? i couldn’t drag myself out of bed, i didn’t take a lunch at work, i was at the office from 7am-5:45pm, [insert another lame excuse here]

planned workout: 7 miles w/ 5 tempo @ 8:44 + strength
actual workout: 1 mile warmup @ 11:25 (140 HR), tempo splits @ 8:53, 8:50, 8:44, 8:36, 8:26 and 1 mile cooldown at 10:25
course: the treadmill due to snowpocalypse 2015 part 2 rearing it’s snowy head
weather: it was pretty cold in my garage, but i warmed up!
gear: adidas adios boost, lululemon brushed speed tights, gsx long sleeve shirt, c9 ear warmer, lululemon run with me fleece gloves
nutrition: belvita biscuits for breakfast, stouffers lasagna for lunch and a caramel gu ~30 minutes pre-run. no gi problems!
how did it go? i was a little worried about maintaining pace for 5 miles straight, so i decided to cut down from 8:55 and average out at the 8:44 prescribed pace (actual average was 8:42). cutdown/progression runs seem to work really well for me. i am thinking that is the type of plan i will implement for the half marathon. this run definitely felt hard. i was counting down the minutes during the last 2 miles. i am not sure how i would have done on the road without the belt of the treadmill helping and wind, elevation changes, etc. it definitely felt like a great workout, though, so i am not going to discount the intensity. if i have to do speedwork on the treadmill during this training cycle again i may up the pace/intensity just in case to account for those external factors.

planned workout: yoga
actual workout: none
how did it go? snowed in and lazy!

planned workout: 14 easy miles
actual workout: 14 miles @ 11:38 (average HR 148)
course: house to briarwood and back – paved and flat
weather: 30*/sunny/windy
gear: brooks pureflow 3, lululemon tech fleece speed tights, lululemon full tilt long sleeve shirt, reebok vest, lululemon fluff off mittens, c9 ear warmer, c9 sunglasses, nike feather light visor, nathon quick shot+
nutrition: firehouse subs for dinner, 2 belvita biscuits and coffee pre-run, caramel gu @ mile 4 and mile 8. bathroom stop at mile 5.5 and mile 9.5. so disappointing!!!
how did it go? i had to be really strategic about when and where i ran since the snow was still all over non-plowed roads and all sidewalks. this route was ok on the out part, but the back was a little too trafficy for my liking. experiencing stomach problems on an easy long run is so frustrating. i didn’t feel great the entire run, and i am thinking i was dehydrated (i have to start working on this on thursdays and fridays). i felt really hot and my heart rate was elevated during the first 2 miles, which is super odd. the back portion was in to the wind, so that didn’t help. i was ready for this run to be OVER. this is the longest run i have for this training cycle. we will see how running over the distance helps or hinders my performance. i have seen it recommended, but i have never actually applied it.

planned workout: 5 easy trail miles
actual workout: 5 easy miles including 1 on the trail @ 11:10 pace; 5 minute run/1 minute walk
course: keriakes and the greenways – gravel and paved, mostly flat
weather: 60*/overcast
gear: brooks puregrit 3, lululemon tracker shorts, oiselle flyte tank, under armor tee shirt
nutrition: pizza and beer for dinner, banana nut crunch cereal with honey almond milk and coffee for breakfast and zaxby’s salad for lunch. no gi issues, and this surely should have caused some issues. what gives?
how did it go? the trail still had some slush on it and was incredibly busy, so after the first loop i took to the greenways. i felt good, but i had a hard time just zoning out. i did 5 minute run/1 minute walk intervals to keep it nice and easy on my tired legs.

*courtney – my running is in a state of emergency this week…

welcome to the arctic tundra that is bowling green, ky!


we got close to 10 inches on monday! i honestly didn’t believe it would actually happen. kenny and i spent about an hour and a half monday shoveling the driveway and then another hour and a half yesterday and were finally able to break free. of course, we woke up this morning to another 2 inches that filled in our hard work. i am hoping we can just drive over that though and not have to shovel, because my arms and back are done for!

i did attempt to run an easy 6 miler yesterday, but my plans were foiled. even with yaktrax strapped to my pureflows i could not get any traction. it is just too deep and powdery. i think 1 or 2 inches would be hard but fun to run in, but 10 inches is madness. i finished up on the treadmill which is even worse, but at least i didn’t risk twisting something or falling down.

i am not sure what the weather will mean for our travel plans today. our main concern now is that we are predicted to hit record low temperatures, and i am scared to leave these guys alone in that.

IMG_0025 IMG_0026

they are just so precious! they love to look at the snow from the porch, but they are quick to run back in the kitty-door when they get chilly.

here’s hoping that wherever you are is warm and safe! if you did get snow, did you get to go sledding???

*courtney – weekly training log 02/09/15 – 02/15/15

i’m drinking a beer on a sunday, because according to the weatherman we are gearing up for the great snowpocalypse of 2015. i LOVE snow, so i am pretty pumped about this! the plus side to commuting 65 miles one way to work is that in inclement weather i get to work from home 🙂

pink has always been my favorite color!
pink has always been my favorite color!

we don’t get a lot of snow ’round these parts, so i am not sure what it will mean for my training. the good news is that this is a cutback week for me, and kenny and i are going to south carolina to visit my parents on wednesday, so i might not have to slip and slide or succumb to the treadmill too much.

i cannot wait to visit my parents in south carolina! i haven’t seen my mom since december, and i haven’t seen my dad since the wedding in july! i am hoping my mom will feel up to doing what we do best–shopping and eating.

i promise to run some easy miles in new places and post about them!

week: 02/09/15 – 02/15/15

total miles: 27
easy miles: 21
fast miles: 6
strength workouts: 2 spin and 1 strength – got off track with a work lunch and race packet pickup 🙁
overview: the week felt great, but my body is definitely asking for some rest, and i will gladly give it some. i feel super tight tonight, and i am kicking myself for not squeezing yoga in at some point. i am also having problems with my heart rate monitor(s)… i couldn’t wear my chest strap at all this week, because it cut me to pieces on saturday. the bottom of the strap cuts (not chafes) my skin, and i am not sure how to avoid that–bandaid? duct tape? on the other hand, my optical wrist strap is just not very accurate. it recorded a new high of 203 on saturday during our warmup. while i don’t doubt it got pretty high on one of those hills while we were running at race pace, i absolutely know i didn’t spike that high during the first 10 minutes 😉 so, i am currently exploring new options, because keeping my heart rate under 154 is how i know i am going easy. if you have any suggestions, please let me know!

planned workout: spin
actual workout: 7 miles on the bike

planned workout: 6 miles with 6 x hill repeats + the core strength workout
actual workout: 5.5 miles with 6 x hill repeats @ 11:35 pace + the core
course: campus – paved and has a nice and long 1/4 mile hill which gets pretty steep for ~200m
weather: 30*/dark
gear: brooks pureflow 3, athleta polartec powerstretch ii tights, lululemon run first base tank, lululemon fluff off pullover, the north face ear warmer, lululemon run with me mittens
nutrition: hot and sour soup and pork chops for dinner, water on the run
how did it go? hill repeats are just the worst in my opinion, but i really tried to push it on the sprints and fully recover on the downhills. i do feel like i am making progress on my form and power, so that is a plus!

planned workout: 4 miles easy + spin
actual workout: 4 miles easy @ 11:17 (147 HR) + 7 miles spin
course: the bypass – paved and hilly
weather: 27*/dark/windy
gear: brooks purecadence 3, athleta polartec powerstretch ii tights, lululemon run first base tank, athleta cinch popover, the north face ear warmer, lululemon run with me mittens, saucony gaiter
nutrition: turkey tacos for dinner, water on the run
how did it go? this was an easy, barely awake run

planned workout: 6 miles easy + strength
actual workout: 6 miles easy @ 11:19 (146 HR)
course: highland/campbell – paved and semi-rolling
weather: 30*/dark/windy
gear: brooks purecadence 3, athleta polartec powerstretch ii tights, lululemon run first base tank, athleta cinch popover, the north face ear warmer, lululemon run with me mittens, saucony gaiter
nutrition: chicken caesar salad for dinner, water on the run
how did it go? the run was straight in to the wind on the second half which was absolutely brutal. i think the wind chills made the real feel ~10*. i was happy to see some other runners out in the wee hours on my way home. i didn’t get to strength train on my lunch break because we had a team lunch. if i had any sense of discipline i would have made myself do the simple workout when i got home, but i suck.

planned workout: yoga
actual workout: none… because of that lack of discipline thing. jenny and i went and got our packets for the hot chocolate 15k race. i did give a man the finger when he honked at me, so i got to work that muscle.

planned workout: hot chocolate 15k race! jenny’s plan prescribed a 2 mile warmup, 4 x 1 mile @ 8:56 pace with 1 minute recovery, 8 x 200m @ 7:50 pace with 200m recovery, and a 2 mile cooldown
actual workout: 2 mile warmup @ 10:00 pace, tempo miles @ 8:52, 8:53, 8:59, 8:40, and then after that it all kinda went downhill for the 200m repeats, but we held ~9:00 pace for the last 3.3 miles
course: downtown nashville – paved and hilly as fuck
weather: 31*/sunny
gear: brooks pureconnect 3, lululemon tech fleece speed tights, lululemon swiftly racerback tank, lululemon flurry fighter pullover, lululemon run with me mittens, the north face ear warmer
nutrition: olive garden asiago tortellini with meat sauce, salad, hummus, breadsticks, wings, and dessert for dinner (so, actually typing it all out makes me realize why i had some serious tummy issues the next morning); coffee, 1 imodium and belvita soft baked biscuit for breakfast; caffeinated nuun and a couple of shot bloks during the run (1 at mile 3 and 1 at mile 6)
how did it go? thankfully jenny and i decided we would treat this as a training run and not a race. shitshow is a pretty accurate description of the second half of the run. i ran in to some major tummy problems, and i am working to figure out what the cause was, but i am thinking i should have made some better choices at the olive garden the night before. i also learned that i should have tied the drawstring of my pants before the start, because i was tugging at my waistband pretty much every mile. i was NOT prepared for the hills and 400′ of elevation gain on the course. couple that with mile and 200m repeats, and boy was that a workout. after the mile repeats jenny turned and told me the 200’s were up next. i told her i would try, but i wasn’t sure how many i could hang on for. i had no idea how many we had done, but at some point we came to another freaking hill, “turn down for what” came on, and my stomach had had enough. i tapped jenny and told her i needed to stop and to go on without me. i turned down all right, and i walked it off a little bit and then started jogging. turns out she was on her last repeat, so i was able to catch up to her when she got to the cooldown. we walked a couple of more seconds and i told her i thought i could make it the last couple of miles. we passed the porta-potty and she urged me to go, but being a dumbass i said no, i could keep going. it was painful, but i carried on. i was so over it and just wanted it to be over. jenny was such a trooper and was telling me stories to keep my mind off it. when we saw the finish line we sprinted on in and got our medals. i immediately found the ladies room, and then we went and got our delicious hot chocolate and treats. the miles at pace definitely felt hard, but we climbed 270′ in the first 6 miles, so i think we did a damn fine job and the effort was warranted. it was definitely a great training run, but i am sad that i am still playing with the fueling and gi issues. i have got to figure that out before the half. also, the pureconnects were not the best choice for this distance. i will leave them to interval runs of <6 miles.

planned workout: 5 easy trail miles
actual workout: 3 easy trail miles @ 11:01 pace via 5 minute run/1 minute walk intervals
course: keriakes – gravel and rolling path
weather: 15*/sunny
gear: brooks puregrit 3, lululemon brushed speed tights, lululemon think fast long sleeve shirt, athleta cinch popover, saucony gaiter, lululemon run with me fleece gloves, polartec mittens, lululemon run with me toque
nutrition: wendys for dinner, donut and coffee for breakfast
how did it go? i knew not to push it on this run since i was still sore from nashville’s hills, so i decided to cut it to 3 miles and throw in walk breaks every 5 minutes. i was actually faster than usual, go figure. it felt nice to shake everything out, and it was so cold i had the whole park to myself!

*courtney – diary of an injured runner

while i’ve only been running for about 3 years, i have had my fair share of injuries. i had posterior tibial tendon dysfunction in my left foot in 2012, a stress fracture of my right calcanea in 2013 and most recently there was suspicion of a labral tear on my right side in 2014. the stress fracture was definitely the worst because i was out of running for 6 weeks and wearing a freaking boot. the labral tear was the most frustrating because i went to countless doctors and had to have exams, an x-ray, mri, mr-arthrography and a steroid injection only for them to tell me it is *probably* a labral tear, but they can’t be sure, so just take it easy. right, because runners take that advice. the longest lasting was the tendonitis because i absolutely refused to stop training for my first half marathon to take care of it. that meant from about february of 2012 to may of 2014 i wore an ankle brace on my left foot every time i ran. it wasn’t until i took some time off in may to rest my hip that my tendonitis decided to go away (knock on wood!). I’ve learned a thing or two about injuries, and i have gotten pretty good at playing dr. google when needed.

i’ve done so much research on my injuries, i feel like i know what elements must be present or absent for me to not get hurt. my training is structured so that i won’t be sidelined in 2015, and i am hoping by sticking to the points below i will be able to gain some speed and stay healthy :)

if i get a wild hair, i will revisit this page to knock some sense in to me.

  • ease in to things – when i began running i was using couch to 5k, and i did all of my miles on either a treadmill or a gravel track at the park. as soon as i graduated i moved all of my miles to pavement. this was a bad idea, as i was suddenly upping my mileage as well as moving from softer, more impact-forgiving surfaces to jarring pavement. i also decided that my friends had cuter shoes than i did and i needed to toss my white and navy stability shoes and only wear new neon kinvaras that i bought based on looks alone. what a rookie mistake!!! looking back, i am not surprised at all that PTTD crippled me on my first ever 4 mile run. from here on out i will introduce things slowly including upping mileage, speedwork and shoes.
  • be consistent – at the end of 2012 i was at a really great place in my running. i had just nailed a 12 minute PR on my half marathon time, my average pace during training runs was finally dropping from the 10s to the 9s, and one of my best friends had found the joy of running and we were starting to sign up for races together. at that time i also started a new job which has quite a commute and takes up more of my free time than my previous job. my runs started to diminish from 5 times a week to 4, then quickly to 3, and soon after that i was running only on saturday and sunday. this downward spiral started in november and by april i could no longer keep up with my friends, but for some reason i thought since i could still run 7 miles i could probably run a half marathon. when i hit the wall at mile 7 and walked most of the 2nd half of the race, i vowed i would get back home and run 5 days a week again and 3 of those would be FAST. gah, what a dumbass. cue the heel stress fracture. since then i’ve learned to make time to run. if i want to be a runner, i have to run no matter if i have to do it at the ass-crack of dawn, after a long day’s work or on my lunch break. i have to make the freaking time. i’ve made it a point to be more consistent with my mileage since my marathon in november. i did a reverse taper and then slowly began building my base and have managed to hover around 20 miles per week since then.
  • easy is the opposite of hard – i used to try to run as fast as i could for every run. i had no gauge of easy or hard, and my race times were usually the same as my normal run paces. over the summer while jenny and i were marathon training, we followed a plan she downloaded to her garmin. it had us running at different intensities based on heart rate. it wasn’t until then that i realized how slowly i could truly run. i also realized that when i was forced to slow down i could complete my long runs and not be totally sore the next day! it didn’t leave me aching or tired. since then i have tried to be mindful and wear my heart rate monitor for all of my easy runs and for my warmups to my workouts. i aim to stay in heart rate zone 2 which is about 139-154 for me. sometimes it is hard for me to get in and stay in the zone at what i think is an easy pace, and other days i cannot keep my heart rate down no matter how slow i am going! i know stress, sleep, alcohol and other elements are factors and i try to keep that in mind. it is a very humbling experience when it’s 80 degrees outside and you can’t go faster than 12 minutes per mile without your heart rate monitors screaming at you to slow down. keeping my easy runs truly easy has allowed me to work really hard on my workouts and not experience too much soreness post-run. if i can get a couple of good PRs this year i think i will try MAF training because there really is something to this.
  • keep speed work at ~20% of weekly mileage – december of 2013 i decided that i wanted to run a half marathon under 2 hours and i wanted to do it now, dammit! i downloaded a super cool app that spit out a training plan for me based on previous race times, but it didn’t take in to account that i had never done any formal speedwork. the first few weeks were easy miles (which back then meant as fast as you can to me), but very quickly it added AT workouts, repetitions and tempo runs usually with 2 out of 3 of those in one week. so here i was going from zero speedwork to running about 15-20 miles per week total with 7 of those miles fast portions of my workouts. i lasted to the last week of january and felt an awful pain strike me in the middle of a 6 mile tempo run. i limped back to the car unable to complete the run and honestly haven’t been the same since. this was definitely a case of too much, too soon, too fast. keeping the speedwork at 20% of my total weekly mileage still allows me to get an interval run and a tempo or progression run in so long as i get a good warmup and cooldown and 2 easy runs each week. i am also making it a point to make my easy tuesday run at least half the distance of my weekend long run.
  • mix it up – after i kept getting injured on my right side i realized that i probably have some serious imbalances and the repetitive nature of running was bringing them out. i read an article on about the benefits of rotating between different types of shoes. i now wear different shoes for every time of run. over the past 3 years i have owned pretty much every single brand out there, but this goldilocks has finally found her match in the brooks pure line. i wear the purecadence for my easy runs, pureflow for tempo runs, pureconnect for speedwork and racing and the puregrit for trails. they are all similar, but i can notice the differences and definitely think switching my shoes up is helping my feet get stronger and taking some of the repetitive stress out of the sport. i’m also trying to mix up my routes, rolling hills vs flat terrain, and incorporate more trail running. i will admit i do not love the mountain biking trails here. luckily we have some gravel paths and cross country courses pretty close though.
  • cross training – does any runner really love to cross train? wouldn’t we all rather be running? i know i would! but, through my various injuries i have learned a thing or two about the importance of cross training and improving your weaknesses. i had physical therapy after my stress fracture on my heel. i learned a lot about my weak areas and imbalances at that time, and i am working twice a week to remedy those. i know my core is weak, my glutes are lazy and my arm muscles are non-existent, but i am working on them! i can tell that the work i’ve done in the past couple of months has helped my core and butt get a little stronger. i would like to get some more time on the bike as well. once i start running before work that will free up lunchtime to do something different. if i can run and do strength on the same day then i can ride the bike on the other days. i’ve been pretty consistent with doing a lunge matrix before every run and the myrtl routine after every run. i don’t know if it is just because my trunk is so weak, but the myrtl NEVER gets easier to me. it is a hurt so good kind of thing.

as much as i hate the saying, “listen to your body”, it really is the best way to stay healthy. i’ve gotten to the point now where i think i can honestly tell the difference between being tired or sore and being injured.

tomorrow is another day of ass-crack of dawn running. wish me luck!!!

*courtney – weekly training log 2/2/15 – 2/8/15

holy crap–this felt like the never-ending week. between things being insane at work, running 32 miles and taking care of car stuff at the beginning of the week, i am beat! and now i am super depressed because it is sunday afternoon and once i go to sleep tonight the work week starts all over again. does anyone else get really bummed on sunday afternoon? i feel like the weekend really only consists of friday night and saturday.

this week i added an extra day of running to ensure i am getting a good balance of easy miles with my speedwork. i am not sure if i will keep the extra day in there from here on out or just throw it in there every other week. i honestly think it is better for my sleep patterns if i wake up at 4am more often than not, which totally sucks, but maybe by april i will be an early riser.

thankfully jenny is a talented writer and has enough thoughts to keep this blog afloat 🙂 i promise to pick up my blogging cadence in the next couple of weeks and actually fill in some of these blank pages. i started thinking about run outfit ideas while i was doing laundry yesterday, and it made me realize i have so much shit i do not use anymore. whether it is too small, too big, has been upgraded or was a shoe-buying fail i could probably outfit an entire track team. if you are in the need for something, hit me up, because i am probably selling it super cheap or giving it away! i also figured out just how jenny came up with our name…

my lululemon and shoe rainbow… probably worth a small pot of gold.


what can i say–i like to be seen!

week: 2/2/15 – 2/8/15

total miles: 32
easy miles: 27
fast miles: 5
strength workouts: 2 spin, 2 strength and 1 yoga workout
overview: this week was great, and i didn’t feel as tired at the end of it as i did the previous week. i made it out of bed at 4am for the tuesday and wednesday runs, but i did have to postpone the thursday run until after work. i had originally planned for next week to be a cutback week, but since we are doing the hot chocolate 15k in nashville i have moved the cutback week out. i don’t feel so drained that this will hinder my training, and i am ready to keep going 🙂

planned workout: spin
actual workout: 30 minutes spin – 7 miles and myrtl routine

planned workout: 6 miles w/ 8 x 400m @ 1:52 (7:30 pace) and 400m recovery + the core strength routine
actual workout: 1 mile warmup @ 11:49 (139 HR), 400m splits @ 1:52, 1:49, 1:50, 1:53, 1:51, 1:52, 1:55, 1:52, and 1 mile cooldown @ 11:08 + the core strength routine and myrtl routine
course: purple striders and BGHS track – paved and flat for the first half and a couple of repeats on the track
weather: 20*/dark
gear: brooks pureconnect 3, lululemon tech fleece speed tights, reebok brushed long sleeved shirt, lululemon flurry fighter pullover, saucony balaclava, lululemon fluff off mittens, knuckle light, mace jogger, nathan quick shot
nutrition: navy beans and cheese sandwich for dinner, water in my handheld
how did it go? nothing like speedwork first thing in the morning to wake you up! i was absolutely dreading this. mostly because i don’t feel like my speedwork has been very strong lately, and i am REALLY hard on myself when i don’t hit my paces. the repeats felt really hard to me. i told myself after 4 i was going to stop, then i change it to after 6 i would stop, but i managed to get all 8 done. i did some of them in the parking lot and some of them on the track, but i think next time i will do them all on the track and use the lap button to ensure accuracy.

planned workout: 4 miles easy + spin
actual workout: 4 miles @ 11:35 (139 HR) + 7 miles on the bike and myrtl routine
course: cabell and the bypass – paved sidewalk and rolling hills
weather: 32*/dark
gear: brooks purecadence 3, athleta polartech ii tights, lululemon first base tank, athleta cinch popover, lululemon run with me fleece gloves, lululemon fluff off ear warmer, knuckle light, mace jogger, nathan quickshot
nutrition: firehouse subs for dinner and water in my handheld
how did it go? i don’t have time to caffeinate before these 4am runs, so this kind of felt like a dream to me. i do remember seeing a man walking, and i was a little skeered.

planned workout: 7 miles easy + strength circuit
actual workout: 7 miles easy @ 11:27 (145 HR) + strength circuit and myrtl routine
course: downtown loop – paved sidewalks and rolling hills
weather: 30*/dark
gear: brooks purecadence 3, athleta polartech ii tights, lululemon first base tank, athleta cinch popover, lululemon run with me fleece gloves, lululemon fluff off ear warmer, knuckle light, mace jogger, nathan quickshot
nutrition: ham and swiss sandwich and pretzels and hummus for lunch, water in my handheld. no gi problems, but i had to pee the entire time! i shouldn’t have chugged water on the car ride home.
how did it go? i was really cold. i was probably a bit underdressed up top and could have used a long sleeved shirt under my pullover. i was dreading having to run after work, but that’s what happens when you hit snooze too many times! those damn hills were a nightmare, but other than that i just kept it easy and kept my HR low.

planned workout: yoga
actual workout: 30 minute yoga
how did it go? i felt reallllllly tight. i probably should have aimed for 2 sessions this week.

planned workout: 10 mile progression starting at 11:00 and dropping 15s every mile
actual workout: 10 mile progression @ 10:57, 10:44, 10:29, 10:16, 9:58, 9:45, 9:23, 9:10, 8:54, 8:23
course: richpond loop – paved and mostly flat with some grade change
weather: 40*/sunny/windy
gear: brooks pureflow 3, athleta sting be free tights, lululemon swiftly racerback tank, adidas long sleeved shirt, lululemon run with me fleece gloves, c9 ear warmer, nathan quick shot
nutrition: chinese buffet for dinner, coffee and imodium for breakfast, 2 caffeinated shot bloks pre-run, 1 shot blok every mile and a half and caffeinated nuun in my handheld. no gi problems, but i did have to pee the first half of the run and finally stopped at mile 4 to do it in the bushes 🙂
how did it go? i was so nervous going in to this run. it was originally supposed to be 14 miles, but after looking at the calendar i thought that it was a little too early for such a long run and cut it back to 10 miles. i was really scared that once i hit mile 7 or 8 i wouldn’t be able to keep picking up the pace. it is AMAZING what a difference a good night’s rest and some coffee makes for my body. i found it HARD to hold back for the first 4 or 5 miles. every time my watch beeped for me to pick up the pace i would end up picking it up too much even though my HR was still low and i felt great. i wanted to go faster! i stuck to the prescribed paces for the first 9 miles and then on the last mile i gave it everything i had! i cannot explain how good it felt to end a 10 mile run with an 8:23 pace split. i had the hugest smile on my face for all of the cows to see 🙂 i love progression runs/fast finishes. they make me feel so strong!

planned workout: 5 easy on trails
actual workout: 5 easy on gravel @ 12:08
course: keriakes park – gravel and rolling hills
weather: 55*/overcast/windy
gear: brooks puregrit 3, lululemon hit your stride skirt, lululemon swiftly racerback tank, lululemon swiftly scoop short sleeve shirt, simple hydration bottle
nutrition: cheese sandwich, chili, fries and wine for dinner and water in my bottle. definitely had gi problems here @ mile 2.5. it is the price i will have to pay for one night of booze.
how did it go? other than the bathroom break it was nice to get some easy miles on my legs after yesterday’s workout. i tried out my new simple hydration bottle, and i will give a full review once i have had some more time with it.