Category: race recaps

*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 – 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 – frozen 4 mile run 2015 race recap

race: frozen 4 mile run, 1/17/15
finish time: 
36:27 / 9:07 min/mile pace; official results here
location: ephram white park, bowling green, ky
40*/breezy/sunny – really great race conditions!
gear: brooks pureconnect 3lululemon mesh speed tightslululemon swiftly tech long sleeve scoop shirtnike feather light visorjaybird bluebuds x wireless headphones and “30 minutes” playlist
swag: a nice fleece sweatshirt for participating and a mug with hot chocolate for AG award


this is my 3rd time doing the frozen 4 mile run. i knew going in to the race it was going to be tough because the course is a 2 mile gravel loop with big fat rocks and lots of divots. it isn’t fine, smooth and packed.

i woke up around 6:45 to eat blueberry belvita biscuits and some coffee. jenny picked me up at 7:30 so we could get to the start in plenty of time for her to register and run a 2 mile warmup. i wasn’t sure what to wear, so i packed a variety in case the warmup proved i’d made the wrong choice with tights and a long sleeved shirt. turns out i only needed to ditch the ear warmers and gloves.

after we warmed up we had about 10 minutes until the 9:00am start time. we took one last trip to the bathroom and i ate 1.5 clif shot bloks. i had caffeinated nuun in my handheld water bottle to keep me going along the course. once we saw people lining up we headed down to the start.

jenny’s training plan dictated 4 x 1 mile repeats @ 8:56 with 1 minute recoveries, so i let her set the pace and kept close to her.

the first loop felt good, but we definitely had to bob, weave and dart around people. i was also struggling to find my playlist. i had created the most awesome playlist and of course selected the wrong one at the start! jenny finally pulled her phone out around mile 2 and i thought it would be a good time for me to do the same since we would both be slowing down. i got it playing, but for some reason it played in shuffle mode, and that was not cool. oh well, i just let it be.

the second loop was definitely when i was just praying for it to be over. my calves and thighs were burning from the uneven surface and i kept tripping in the divots because my form was getting really sloppy. i was really hoping that jenny would turn and say, “let’s walk the next recovery”, but she didn’t haha. it was for the best, because it made me push through the pain. i know for sure i was making some horrific breathing noises during the last tenth of a mile. i could hear myself over my music–how embarrassing! we didn’t have much of a kick left, but we still finished strong.

so trax does not use a chip timing system yet. they just use the numbering system and a stopwatch. that means everyone gets the same start time no matter where they are in the pack. even though the official results are 16 seconds slower than last year, i would like to think that i met my goal of finishing faster than last year given that my garmin pace was much faster. of course, i added about a tenth of a mile to the race somewhere, because i will never learn how to run tangents–even on a gravel trail! garmin says we did an 8:56 pace for 4 miles, which is 35:44, so i’m quite content checking that goal off my list 🙂 our splits from the garmin were: 8:46, 8:58, 9:02, 8:56, 0:49 (.09). i also managed to not shit my pants or get hurt. what a great race!

we grabbed some water and chocolate milk and then started our 1 mile cooldown. after that we waited for awards since i was pretty certain we had placed. jenny and i came in 2nd and 3rd in our age group, respectively, and each got mugs with hot chocolate in them.

the only thing i would change about this race is move it to a different course 😉 i know that’s not fair, and i need to strengthen my skills on different surfaces. overall i am pleased with the performance, and eager to do it again next year! gotta work on those tangents though…


*courtney – cupid’s chase 5k 2012 race recap

race: cupid’s chase 5k, 2/11/12
finish time: 31:26 / 10:06 min/mile pace
location: bowling green, ky
weather: cold with snow flurries!
swag: t-shirt, bag and goodies
recap: awww, my first race ever! i used couch to 5k to train for this with two of my best friends, and my graduation run was the actual race. i let jenny pace us and was able to keep up with her the whole time even though i desperately wanted to quit. it felt like we were freaking flying at that 10:06 pace 🙂 i loved every minute of it!

cupid's chase 5k 2012