Posted in Marathon

New shoes and marathon training plan

There’s nothing like new shoes to breathe life into your training.  Meet the new girls:

Mizuno Wave Inspire 9: blue.
Mizuno Wave Inspire 9: blue.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 9: $115 from Marathon Sports, Cambridge, MA.

In contrast to my old pair (Mizuno Wave Precision 13) these are more … blue.  More technically, the new shoes have some different features on the sole – they certainly feel a bit different to wear; I most notice it as different pressure points on my sole.  Hopefully this is a Good Thing.

Wave Precision 13 on the left, Wave Inspire 9 on the right.
Wave Precision 13 on the left, Wave Inspire 9 on the right.

Also I’ve gone half a size up (8.5!) for some reason – but let’s face it, more space in the toe can’t be a bad thing.  I did try on a pair of Brooks and they were really nice too, but there was something strange going on at the front (it felt like the shoe stopped before my toes did?).  So I decided to stick with what I know.

Training Plan

My training plan for the Marathon in October is the Hal Higdon Novice 2 plan.  The equivalent half-marathon plan worked for me so again, I’m sticking with what I know.  (PS sticking with what I know is highly unusual for me in general).  Tomorrow I finish week 6 (of 18) and it’s going pretty well so far:

T = treadmill, J = run with husband, I = injury. The numbers are my average pace.

I’ve skipped a 3 mile run this week because my left arch is giving me trouble, but I’m going to go out tomorrow for 9 miles.  I also haven’t done any cross training. Is that bad?

The weather has been disgusting recently (warning: normal East Coast USA whinge about humidity follows): when you come home from a run when it was “only” 78F, stand under the A/C vent for 10 minutes and you’re still dripping with sweat afterwards, you are entitled to think it’s a bit warm for running. Just saying.

While we’re talking about the heat can I just point something out regarding running etiquette?  Boys, I’m looking at you: personally, when I pass someone who is going slower than me I do a 10 second pick-up to dash past them and get well in front.  On my last long run (74F and 78% humidity), on several occasions, men, mostly of a certain age, came slowly puffing past me, basically rubbing elbows with me, flicking great globs of sweat and snot in my direction.  DISGUSTING, BOYS.   Please leave a wide birth when passing, and, get on with it!

On Thursday I ran in the rain, and it was great: aside from getting soaked and my ponytail looking like a rats nest by the end, obviously.  Pace of 8.41 over 6 miles.

Speaking of pace, I should mention my goal(s) for the marathon:

1. get to the start line (i.e. don’t get injured in training), and

2. finish in 4hrs or less.

The other day I read about this website which, I’m sure among many other things, tells you your likely finish times for different distances based on a previous race time.  So I put in my half-marathon time and discovered it predicts a 4:07 marathon for me.

From McMillan Running Calculator
From McMillan Running Calculator – click to make bigger!

So I have some work to do. Luckily I have my Sweaty Band to help me go faster.  And of course, new shoes.  Which I’ve just realized are in Boston colors.  Duh.

Sweaty Band keeping Boston Strong.
Sweaty Bands keeping Boston Strong.

See you out there!

Posted in Half-marathon, Resolutions

Race Recap – Boston’s Run to Remember

I’ve been training for the Run to Remember to fulfill one of my 2013 Resolutions… here’s what happened!

My alarm woke me at 5.10am and I saw the day had dawned rainy and cold.

Great - rainy and cold

Google weather
Google weather

At 5.55am I jogged to the train station to catch the first Red Line train of the morning and pretty much the only people I saw were runners.  It was drizzling a bit but the rain wasn’t too heavy.

I met Hélène on the train and we walked together to the start – and immediately found Helen and Geoff.  Score.

We lined up for the abundant portapotties then went to drop off Helen’s bag.  The hall of the World Trade Center was completely packed and we could barely move.  When we finally emerged we saw we were at the 10.30/mile pacing point and couldn’t do anything about it.

While the drizzle continued there were speeches, a minute’s silence and the national anthem, then at 7.10am the horn sounded and we were off.

The route as per my Garmin (from
The route as per my Garmin (from

Of course, when I say “we were off” I mean, we shuffled forward for a few minutes before it was possible to break into a walk, and then into a ‘run’ – I did the first four km of the race at 7:24/km, 6:26/km, 5:48/km and 6.07/km.  I was getting really angry at this point because the runner traffic was so heavy – my goal of a sub-two hour half seemed impossible and now I was just going for a slow run in the rain.  It was at this point that Helen caught me up – we were just crossing Longfellow Bridge.  She told me Geoff was way ahead and this gave me hope – maybe it would be possible to fight my way through the crowd and make some progress.

So after that 30 minute warm up I decided to get on with the race.  We ran along Memorial Drive – we gave hi-fives to the police officers at MIT, I tried my first ever water stop and managed to inhale half of the cup and spill the other half on my shoes and down my leg.  (By the third water stop I’d go the hang of it).

At the turn-around point at Harvard (and please note, about half a km from my house) my husband was waiting for me and snapped this great picture! This was at about 10km.

At the half-way point.
At the half-way point.

Then it started to rain quite heavily.  I didn’t mind too much though – I had a fantastic view of the city across the river (it reminded my a lot of certain parts of the Brisbane skyline (circa 2002)).  I broke out the GU I had brought with me – just as well as it turns out: the GU table that was supposed to be at mile 8 was nowhere to be seen (it turned up at mile 11).

My splits for this section (5km – 15km) were mostly in the 5.20/km area. I honestly thought there was no way I could keep that up for the rest of the race, but I kept pushing, telling myself to “go hard or go home” (corny, I know).

As we got back into the city – crossing Longfellow again – we passed the 10 mile marker and I looked at the gun-time clock – 1hr 33 mins – and I realised I was in with a chance of a sub-2hr race. All I had to do (ha!) was pull out a 27 minute 5km and I’d be there. My pace for 16km-19km slowed a bit to more like 5.30/km, but I only needed about 5.40/km to make it inside the goal.

As we reached Downtown Crossing T station and I was on very familiar ground, I just started flying. I did the 19th km at 5.01/km and the 20th at 4.39/km. And as I approached the finish line I saw the gun-time was 2:00:30 or so and I knew I’d done it.

Immediately after the finish line we were funnelled into the World Trade Center hall which was completely full again and all I wanted to do was faint/throw up/lie down. The crowd pressed me forward and I got water, a medal and a bagel.  I fought my way outside and ran into Hélène who had finished about 1 minute before me.

Medal and T-shirt.
Medal and T-shirt.

We walked to our meeting point where my husband (bearing the most important post-race food product) and two friends were waiting:

mmmm donuts.
mmmm donuts.

When Helen and Geoff arrived – they had done a 2hr 6min – we discussed what we thought of the race.  We decided:

1. It seemed poorly organized (too many people for the size of the streets, missing GU stand to name but two problems).

2. The race packet was just plain weird  (a single advil, some cereal, and some athlete’s foot powder?)

3. The race t-shirt was pretty crappy – cotton and essentially see-through.

4. The entrance fee was very expensive but the medal was excellent.

BUT we were all extremely happy to have met our goals and run the race so overall we really didn’t care.

Final result:

Place      Div /Tot  Div     Nettime   Pace
2544/6389  383/1286  F3039   1:57:17   8:57
Helen, Geoff, Hélène and me.
Helen, Geoff, Hélène and me – victorious!

[The training plan I used is this one, and my training updates are here].

Posted in Half-marathon, Resolutions

Half Training Update – weeks 9-11

Yes, I’ve abandoned the blog for almost a month – sorry about that!  My excuse is I was working flat out and I put actually running ahead of writing about running.  I know, crazy.

Training update week 11

It’s now less than a week to go before the Run to Remember half marathon and I did my last long run on Sunday (12 miles – 19.3 km).  I averaged 5.46 min/km in 18C sunshine.  I hope that Sunday 7am will be a bit cooler than this – and if so, and if everything goes to plan I might be able to get around in 2 hours. I’m going to need to average 5.41 min/km to do that though…..

I practiced with GU fuel on this run…. and can I just say “yuck”!  As per instructions I had the strawberry banana flavour before I started running and it was pretty revolting.  I had the chocolate outrage flavour on the run and it was much tastier but then it gave me stomach ache. Doh.


Annnyway, since this is the fuel that will be provided during the race I’ll just have to cope. I’m thinking about packing a few Shot Bloks in case I screw up getting to the fuel table.

I also tried a new route at the weekend and it was excellent – so many water fountains!  I ran along the southern bank of the Charles from Harvard to the Museum of Science and back. It was a pretty nice run – a few tourists, dogs, kids, cyclists and other runners but it wasn’t ridiculous.  Also there were lots of wildlife…


The rest of week 11 was 3/5/3 miles – not much to report except I felt quite slow.

Training update week 10

It was 3/5/3/11 miles.   Not much to report except I finally got sick of the Minuteman trail with its worlds-supply of dads taking their kids for bike rides and getting in the way.

Training update week 9

This was a taper week so I did 3/5/3/6 miles.  I did my fastest 1 km this week – 5.01 minutes, and fastest 10 km – 55.11 mins.  Mind you, my Garmin was playing up on the 10 km run so I’m not 100% confident of the PR.  It reckoned I started in the middle of a house – also nowhere near where I actually started….


So I’ve got an easy week this week – 3/2/2 miles. I’ll try to drink lots of water, not eat too much crap (she says while munching on caramel popcorn…) and get enough sleep…

Finally, my thoughts are with everyone in Moore, OK after the insane tornado this afternoon.


Posted in Half-marathon

Half training week 8

I tried a bit harder this week to eat properly, get enough sleep and drink enough water – and actually complete the training plan.  Here’s how it turned out:


8km in 46:02 at 5:46/km


4.92km in 27:58 at 5:41/km


5km in 28:15 at 5:39/km


16.15km (10 miles) in 1:33:26  at 5.47/km

Also PR’d 10km again during the long run: 57.23.  My Achilles were pretty sore after Sunday’s run but they seem to have recovered today. Also I discovered that there is not a single working water fountain on that entire 10 mile route!  I may have to find a new route.

This week it’s 3/5/3 miles with a 10km race at the weekend…. but since there are no races nearby for me to enter I might just have my own personal race – I think I could knock a couple of minutes off my time.

I’m really enjoying the spring weather right now – if only it could be this beautiful all year round!

Posted in Half-marathon, Resolutions

Half training week 7

Last week was a bit of a wash-out for obvious reasons.  I was also given some new classes last week so I’ve been at work every day (but let’s face it, hardly “full-time”).

Anyway, I was supposed to do 3 ,5, 3, 9 miles this week and I nearly managed it. Here’s how it panned out:


5 miles (8 km) : 47.08 : 5.52 min/km

I felt extremely leaden doing this run.  Diagnosis: not enough water during the week, and not enough sleep (at least compared to my lady-of-leisure levels of sleep!).


4.31km : 25.01 : 5.48 min/km

Ooops, picked a route that wasn’t quite 5km…!


9 miles (14.6km) : 1:25:45 : 5.51 min/km

I was quite happy with the pace on this run but my legs were pretty sore at the end!  I trialled two new things on this run – sunglasses and shot bloks – both obtained from City Sports.

My new purchases!
My new purchases!

The sunnies worked extremely well – they are very light and there was no sliding, no soreness – just perfect.  Excellent result for $25.

I’ve never tried any running fuel before but I figured since I was running for more than an hour I should probably look into it.  The good news is Shot Bloks are cheap ($2 each?), tasty and light.  But they do say “always follow consumption with water” – and unfortunately the MinuteMan trail seems to be completely devoid of water fountains (bubblers in Boston-speak).  Grr.  So I just bit off small portions and sucked them. I used 2 bloks (as opposed to the recommended 3-6) on the run and they seemed to work ok but I think I’ll continue to experiment.  The half marathon supplies GU apparently.

In other running news I signed up for Garmin Connect on Lockdown Friday (as I couldn’t go out for a run).  I haven’t begun to explore all the features of this site but so far I’m liking it a lot more than mapmyrun.

This week (I know it’s nearly over) I’m due to do 3, 5, 3, 10 miles. I did 5 miles today: so-far-so-good.

Should I be concerned that it’s only a month til the half?