Running Scared: The Failed Training Plan

After the craziness of rehabbing my hip after falling during the NYC Half, I can finally run long and start my training for what I call the Coast-to-Coast-to-Coast challenge.

I am not quite sure what I was thinking when I decided to run the Walt Disney World Half and then the Star Wars Half a week later. At the time I thought taking some time off would heal my hip injury and then I could go back to running like it was no big deal. Then I got the opportunity to register for the Princess Half Marathon a few months ago. Again, my hip was doing great and I thought no worries, I am running two halves in January so I will have a good fitness base. Let’s just say, I am freaking out!

When I realized I would have to ease myself back into running I didn’t keep in mind I would have to ‘race’ in less than six months. I decided to use the Jeff Galloway runDisney training plan created specifically for the Walt Disney Word Half Marathon. In theory, the Time Improvement plan would help me since I don’t like to run more than 4 times a week but I am failing. Between the rainy weather, subbing for an ultimate frisbee team and some discomfort in my hip, I haven’t been running.

Running in SF last week, I felt good enough to jump!
Running in SF last week, I felt good enough to jump!

But, in less than five days I will be running the Seattle Half Marathon to get my butt in shape to run these three races. Yes, I am forcing myself to run the longest run I’ve run since March. I. am. terrified.

I’ve run the course before so I know I can finish, but it’s still scary. My goal is to break 2:28 on Sunday. It probably won’t be pretty but I will finish 13.1 soggy miles.

Here goes nothing!

Race Recap: 2016 Beat the Blerch 10k 

Oh Beat the Blerch! This is one of my favorite races. First, I love The Oatmeal. His comics are great and his book and comic The Terrible & Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances is the best.

This year packet pickup was a breeze! I found street parking and got in and out in less than 30 minutes. This year’s swag bag was pretty good: Saucony cotton tech t-shit, playing cards, candy, some tattoos and sticker. I even had The Oatmeal autograph my coloring book I bought that day. He even told me I was one of the first people to have it autographed since it was a pre-release for the race only! I also got some Sriracha socks to wear on race day. (I know, nothing new before race day but I had to wear them!)

Saturday came and it was unfortunately pouring down rain. We got there early to secure a prime parking spot in the paid parking lot. I ended up tromping around exploring the booths and got a bunch of sweet soy and dairy free Clif Bar products. My new favorite post workout or race fuel is their new Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Organic Energy Food. As I was exploring the booth I realized Zappos was giving away free ponchos so we could stay dry! They even had a doughnut bar with every topping imaginable. I got skittles and gummy bears… Yes, I ate a free doughnut beforehand because it is Beat the Blerch after all!


My main goal for this race was to break an hour for the 10k. I haven’t been running because of
a nagging hip injury that’s turned into IT band and calf problems. My second goal was to run walk as little as possible, so the middle 3 miles give or take.

Right before the 10am start the rain finally let up and it was even warm. I decided to wear one of my favorite Blerch shirt ‘I do not believe in the wall’, my Oiselle Gilman Vest,  and blue sparkle skirt. The start was pretty disorganized this year compared to last so I had to bob and weave through all the walkers at the beginning. The aid station at mile 2.75ish and 3.5ish was the same way. But I still had fun running through the crowds and seeing all of the happy people running and walking out on the course. There was a couple dressed up as Bobcats! One of my favorite comics by The Oatmeal.

Overall, I ran a pretty decent time, got some sweet free race photos, and made my goals while running in the rain.


Race Recap: 2016 United NYC Half Marathon

New York City, oh how I’ve missed you!

I decided to put my name into the NYC Half lottery for work in October. I have a startup that counts running shoes and apparel during major races. I didn’t think I would get in and sure enough I did! This was my goal race to try to break 2:00. Well ok the far A goal was to break 2:00 and the B goal was 2:05. Let’s just say it was a pretty eventful race.

My trip to New York started off rocky. After the flights from hell. Yes, my first flight was an hour-ish late and then United ‘lost’ my airplane from DC to Newark. I ended up arriving at 2am. My uncle graciously picked me up and then I took the train into the city the next morning.

The packet pickup was super-efficient. I walked in and all of the United NYC Half branding was up which was fun. Handed over my race sheet got my bib and shirt and was ready to go! I waited for my dad and his friend to get their bibs saw them then went on my way to explore the city.

Since I had extra time in the city, I got to catch up with a bunch of my good friends from college, saw tons of art, went for a shakeout run in Central Park, and even saw the NCAA Wrestling finals at Madison Square Garden! It was a pretty jammed pack weekend.

Race day morning was pretty interesting. It was a lovely freezing 32 degrees. My dad met me at my hotel at 5:30am and then we walked to the gear check at the south end of Central Park. It was so cold and windy. I’ve been in cold weather before but man it was cold. After dropping my stuff off I said goodbye to my dad, he was in a later corral, and then went through security.

The walk to the corrals was pretty uneventful just long and cold. I did see a pack of elite runners warming up which was crazy. They were bundled but I had a feeling they would be running in half of the clothes I was wearing. I found my corral quickly and huddled with a few other runners until the corrals closed. The start was super organized and it wasn’t too crowded.

The first six miles of the race are in Central Park. They are beautiful and not very hilly. The only issue I ran into some clogging was at the small out and back in Harlem but it was very manageable. The only issue I ran into for the first half of the race was staying warm. I ran with my throwaway sweatshirt on for two miles.

I was feeling pretty good and at mile six started to pick up the pace since I knew everything was all downhill until the finish at Wall Street. At this point I knew I could break 2:05 if I kept running a negative split and then settle at a 9 or 8:50/mile for the last three miles. Miles 4 to 7 were 10:08, 10:02, 9:46, and 9:06.

I got to Time’s Square and there were tons of people cheering in the freezing cold. It was amazing! I was feeling great at mile 7 as I made the turn on to 42nd Street. Less than a second later and BAM– I fell in a pothole and then someone tripped over me in the middle of the course. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I fell in a pothole. All I remember is running and then hitting the deck. I was lucky that a person behind me stopped and helped me get up and I continued to run. It was so cold and I was so shocked that I had no clue that I was bleeding and in a massive amount of pain in until a Mile 9. My dream of 2:05 was ended, just like that.

The last five miles of the course are on the West Side Highway and it’s a pretty long and windy stretch of the race. I knew I needed a new game plan. I walked slowly through the water stop at mile 9ish and realized that yes, my knee was heavily bleeding, (thankfully my Oiselle Moto Lesley tights didn’t rip!), and I had shooting pain in my right hip and IT band. Since there were a few spectators out there and I didn’t want to look like a quitter, I decided the only way to finish the race was to run/walk.

That’s what I did, run/walk about a minute on minute off. I head more strange comments of support than ever before. Things like- “Hey you’re almost there stop walking” and “Oh sh*t, she fell!”. Thanks New York, I really needed that.

I finally made it to the tunnel and my watch decided to freak out. I then realized that I would PR even though I completely failed the last six miles of the race. I looked like a mess, I was sprinting and crying around that last turn and across the finish line. My finish photo is me with my hands over my face. I was greeted by a high-five from Peter Ciaccia, NYRR’s President. In all of the chaos I really didn’t know what was going. I somehow got my finisher medal around my neck, managed to take a photo with the NYRR backdrop, and got all of my finisher food before I got to the medical tent. The doctor who cleaned me up said I was lucky that I didn’t bruise my hands, arms or shoulders when I fell and that I finished without hypothermia (there were a lot hypothermia cases this year because of the cold) cleaned me up and sent me on my way.

As I waited for my dad to finish I realized that I did bruise my right hand and that something wasn’t right in my right leg. But staying warm was the most important part so I wrapped myself in space blankets and my extra clothes and waited. Once I found my dad we hopped in a cab and back to the hotel then saw a few friends for brunch.

I am very proud of myself for toughing it out and finishing the race. I don’t think the fall tarnished my PR, if anything it makes me want to race the NYC Half again and get that sub 2:00. If you ever get a chance to run a NYRR race do it! They do a great job organizing and putting on an un-forgetful experience.

Race Recap: 2016 Kirkland Shamrock Run

First things first- I love this race! Ran it for the second year in a row and had a blast.

First getting to this race is easy as is finding parking! There is plenty of parking in Kirkland and it’s even free or $5 (Win!). It also started later, around 8am. I ran with two of my Oiselle Volee teammates, one of their husbands and their dog. We even had time to go to Starbucks to keep warm before the start of the race in Marina Park.

First things first, this course is HILLY! Yes, the first part of the race is pretty much straight up hill. But after the first half mile the course is a bunch of rolling hills and then a steep downhill to the finish. Overall I did not find this hard since I knew what I was getting into and I live on a hill so I’m somewhat used to it. I ran the first two miles pretty consistently but I did get a bit tired right before the downhill so my sprint to the finish was a bit of a mess.  I tired to out sprint another runner in the end but it didn’t go so well. But it make for some good finish line commentary!

I was the first to finish so I waited for everyone before I explored the the finish chute swag. Each finisher received a medal and commemorative car magnet! Even my teammate’s dog got a finisher medal. There was a photo backdrop for photos and tons of free swag from local companies. Overall it was a fun race and a great way for me to get some faster miles in before I head to New York for the NYC Half next week!

Thoughts on hills- yay or nay?

Race Recap: 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon

Here’s part two of my Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Weekend trip!

So the morning of the half marathon arrived and it was FREEZING. Yes, it was windy and cold. So my first goal was to find warm clothes for running and walking around. I found the closest mall to my hotel was The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace but it was still quite a walk. I ate quick breakfast and walked over. Found a few things at Gap and H&M that would keep me warm and hoped for the best.

Getting to the start line was also quite a process. I took the monorail as far south as I could, think it’s MGM Grand, then walked in and out of all the hotels to get to Mandalay Bay. Since it was gusting winds up to 40mph I waited with Kristie in the casino until it was time to get into our corral. We met a very nice British man who was running the marathon as a Boston qualifier. I think he ran a BQ (!!) I wish I was that fast!

Here we go! #rnrlv #runchat #remixchallenge #oiselleteam

A photo posted by amanda lee (@amandakl) on

We got into the corral and realized that this was not the race to run fast, it would be a feat of running smart because of the severe headwind and rain we would have on the last 4 miles toward the finish. The race started and we south toward the Las Vegas sign and then made our way to the center of the strip. In years past I’ve heard there are lots of spectators. This year not so much because of the wind. All of the neon was flashing and the music was blasting, it was super fun. As we made our way to Old Vegas and the Pawn Stars Pawn Shop it started to get dark. There weren’t many lights. As we made a turn we saw a few people almost wipe out on manhole covers because of the rain earlier in the day. I was so happy to see the Clif Bar fuel station with lights and music. I can’t imagine how lonely the marathon would be if it were that dark the majority of the race.

We then turned on the rest of the strip and has a massive headwind. It was pretty much buckle down and do work to get to the finish line. I am not a huge fan of straight-a-ways but the Las Vegas Strip is an exception. There was so much going on with the lights and people around I didn’t have to think about the horrible wind. As we got close to the finish Kristie and I both picked it up and made it in a respectable time. I was so happy I ran with Kristie otherwise I don’t know how I would have made it!

The finish chute was super organized compared to other Rock ‘n’ Roll Races. Even the remix and other medals line was quick. (My medal is defective, the little slots are not on the right way but I could care less!) Kristie got her sweet roadie medal and we went to the Bellagio fountain for photos. I was so cold we snapped a few quick photos, said goodbye and went on our separate ways. Side note: Kristie and I are now facebook friends and hope to meet up at RnR Las Vegas next year!

I went back to the hotel showed then set out to find food. I got a seat at the bar at Yard House. I’ve never been so hungry after a race! I ate a full burger, two orders of fries, and at least two beers. Gotta stay hydrated!

Overall I enjoyed my trip to Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas weekend. I wish the weather held up but overall it was super fun and I can’t wait to do it again!

Have you ever been to Las Vegas? What was your favorite part?