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Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring, if only in our step!

I am happy spring is here! Not so thrilled about snow that is still falling outside, especially not with a tempo looming this afternoon. But I will just be thankful for tights, and wind proof gloves! The past few weeks have seen some fun running for my teammates and I! I will try to recap some of that for you guys to read!
We have been hitting right around 75-80 miles a week for a few months, and it seems just normal for most days to be 10-12 miles at this point. Our long runs have ranged from 14-19 and we have been enjoying a lot of time chatting during them. I think I have had a running partner more days in the past 2 months, than I have had in 2 years combined! With Ryan, Lizzie, Nicole, Jennie, Kaitlin, Heidi, Aubrey, Heather and Shanna around I hardly ever have to run 2 days in a row solo! It has been a lot of fun getting to know these ladies better and hearing about their goals and aspirations only further fuels my fire to chase down my own dreams!

Nicole and I primarily do workouts together on Tuesday, but as of recent we have had Aubrey and Heather are up there with us as well and it is fun to have a larger group! Splits in workouts are feeling more and more comfortable at faster paces. There was a week where we ran a mile at the end of the workout suppose to be hard @5:24. I ran 5:30 to close that workout in February. This past week we did something similar, only we weren't suppose to run hard, it was just another interval and we were 5:16 after 4 other miles worth of work (1200-1600m intervals) under 5:20 pace. So I see progress!

We laced up our racing flats on March 16th to celebrate St. Patty's day and we came away with one hell of a day! St. Malachi 5 miler in downtown Cleveland was easily the scariest conditions I have ever raced in. It was cold, sleeting, snowing, and just plain SLIPPERY! My goals went from running fast, to not falling during the 5 miles before the race ever started. But thanks to my speedy training partner Nicole, we went out hard and survived the race in true NEO Runner fashion! Our training group went 26:07 Jessica-1st, 26:14 Nicole-2nd, 26:54 me-3rd 30:16 Aubrey-4th, and 30:48 Lizzie-6th. Not a bad day at all! We raced pretty fast, and managed to walk away injury free. Ryan ran his first race since Thanksgiving, and came away with a 3rd place finish in 25:16! We are getting fit!

Our group has some races coming up and we are looking forward to them! We will be in action next friday in Raleigh at the Raleigh relays where Aubrey, Heidi (not formally part of the group, but we claim her), and I will race 5k and Nicole with bring down her 10k PR! Then we are off to Chicago the following week to race USA Club 8k Championships where we hope to challenge for the win! Two weeks later we will be in Columbus to race at the Jesse Owens Classic! So look up results and cheer us on if you see us!

I hope everyone is having as much fun this spring so far as I am! Stay warm out there!

Friday, March 1, 2013

3 years later

It is hard to believe March is already here! I think many of us are looking forward to the mild weather we have been praying for over the past few months. A lot has happened in February for me, and this may be the most exciting blog aside from the 2011 Akron Marathon recap I have written in a few YEARS!
I know, it is hard to believe it has been that long. While I may have a generally upbeat outlook, that doesn't mean things are always going my way! I mean if I had it my way I would have a shoe contract, be an Olympian, rarely if ever loose a race (only to make me tougher and fight harder), and oh yea, be a MILER not a MARATHONER! haha! But, we can't all have everything! So I will take what I have as a blessing (or like a million blessings since I may be one of the luckiest people ever).

February FINALLY saw a big turnaround. In January I raced 5k in 17:31. I felt I had raced to my fitness level and was on the right path back to fitness, primarily because I raced free of the nagging pain I had been experiencing for nearly 3 years. So on February 16th as I laced up my spikes I felt nervous and reminded myself that baby steps were all I needed. The goal today race hard and give it all I have. So the gun went off and I was quickly in 4th. I stayed on the back of my teammate Nicole, along with Paige for nearly a mile. We were 5:23 and I was still feeling pretty good. Paige soon fell off and I made the gap up to race Nicole. Shortly after 10:47 though 2 miles I began to fade a bit, but remembered my goal. I tried to stay relaxed and focus on not allowing the gap to grow. I felt strong! I continued to push and did all I could, but came up a few seconds short of catching Nicole. 17:04, 27 seconds faster than a month ago and I felt significantly stronger. It was my fastest 5k in almost 3 years! I was thrilled. I know 17:04 isn't anything to write home about, but it was a huge step in becoming the athlete I want to be!

Since the race our training has progressed nicely and I am eager to see what we can do on the roads and outdoor track in the upcoming months. The entire CED women's group ran a mile time trial and while I thought I could break 5 minutes I was happy with running 5:01, knowing I did all I could. Like I said, while I wish I was, I am not a miler! I am finally consistent with my tempo runs and really feeling very comfortable around 6:00 pace again. Like most things with running, I haven't felt like that in nearly 3 years.

I know I have made the right decision to join the CED group and I am excited for the upcoming years to see what I am capable of. I believe Glenn Andrews (our coach) knows what it takes to get us to the next level and I am excited to be a part of something bigger than me!

So I welcome Spring with open arms! 2013 will be an incredible year no matter what. I am getting married in May and with the incredible group I have surrounding me, there is always something to be excited about!