Half Marathon Training 

I got a little creative with my last few posts but I think it’s time to get back to the real business of this blog, my running life.

I’m signed up for the Half Merrython on December 4th in Gloucester, MA. Last year this race was the last of three half marathons I completed, and it was by far my favorite. I’m really looking forward to this gorgeous race along the coast. Since I didn’t run any serious distance races this summer and fall, I decided I needed a training plan to get my ass in gear over the next 2 months.  I’ve jumped into week three of a twelve week Hal Higdon plan that I found online. Tri Friend is also on board!

Here’s a little recap of training week three:

Sunday Sept 25th: Following an EPIC 5 mile trail run on Saturday with Rich and Monica in the Fells, I opted for 3 easy miles with the pupper around Lake Quannapowit in Wakefield.  The loop around the lake is completely flat with no crosswalks. It was a beautiful afternoon, too.

Look how proud Stanley runs! He knows he’s “made it” now. We outfitted him at the REI before the run with a new harness and waist leash. Terriers like to forage, and to Stan, the new gear signals that mama means business. It seems to be working. There is a lot less marking and sniffing with this set up.

Monday. Hit the gym HARD before picking up the littles from day care and pre-school. I strength trained with weights and body resistance for 60 minutes. Lots of dips, push-ups, ab work, and different kinds of planks… Worked those glutes… It was a good sesh.

Tuesday. Rest day.

Wednesday. As much as I love running with my own dog, his little legs only carry him so far and so fast. My bachelor brother Dan lives about a mile away with his 6 year old golden retriever Bailey.  I arranged to start training with her for a couple reasons. One, it’s safer. Two, I need a reason to get up in the morning and I am such a softie for a big lovable dog. It’s the little push I need to resist the snooze button. Running mid-week is otherwise not happening. My afternoons and nights are not mine. Work, kids. There’s no flexibility anymore. It is what it is, so if I never get my ass in gear in the mornings, I am toast.

Here we are on our inaugural run this Wednesday morning. Isn’t she pretty?  Can’t you just see how sweet she is? We did 3.5 miles around her neighborhood. Sadly, Bailey is very out of shape. I didn’t realize how out of shape. She was going along at about a 10 mile pace until she tuckered out about 1.7 miles into the run. It was more of a trot/walk the rest of the way. Here I was, thinking Bailey was my ticket to half marathon readiness, but surprise, surprise, she needs me more than I need her. But I’m sold. There’s no going back now. Like I said, I’m a sucker for a sweet dog. And hopefully she’ll get in shape quickly.

Thursday. Rest.

Friday. Another morning run with Bailey!  This is very good sign. Two AM runs in one week without too much griping and groaning from me is really out of character. I don’t know if it’s my fitness level, the golden retriever, or Prozac, but I’m not going to over-think it for once. I had the bright idea of running the mile to Dan’s house, picking up Bailey, doing about two miles with her, drop her back off, and then finishing my run strong, for a total of 4.8 miles. Here are my splits:

Friday morning after run with

9:03; 10:09; 11:22; 9:12; 9:09. You can see where I had Bailey with me for miles two and three…


Saturday. Pouring rain. I tried to get a new/old mom friend to run with me in the AM, but I think the rain kept her in. By new/old friend, I mean someone I’ve connected with recently because our kids are in the same day care, only to find that we actually went to middle school together, but I would never have known that if she hadn’t told me.  Yup, that’s what raising kids in the town you grew up in is like. Constantly being bombarded with obscure people, stories, and memories from childhood that you would have no cause to recall or relive if you were like most normal people and stayed the fuck away after moving away.  But I came back a few years ago and this is my life. So maybe day-care -mom-that-I-kind-of-knew-in-middle-school and I will become good friends? Or maybe not. Either way, it’s OK. I’m doing OK.

The Y treadmill beckoned in the rain, and that’s what I did on Saturday morning, dropping H and H at the child watch on the first floor for an hour. I did some ab work and lower body strengthening before 4 X 800 meters @ 8 min/mile pace with .25 – .5 mile recovery @ 10 min/mile pace. I did a 1o minute warm up to start but no time for a cool down. All in all, I covered 4.2 miles. Oh, and I am embarrassed to admit that I was supposed to do 6 X 400 meters, and not 4 X 800, but seriously – I am no Kara Goucher. Let’s get real. Just the fact that I did  speed work at all is a miracle.  I’ll take it.

Sunday. 5K in the woods with Shane, Stanley (my dog), and another trail runner from the Friends of the Fells Running Club. It was a damp and rainy morning. We did the 5K course for the Friends of the Fells Trail Run coming up in November. That should be a lot of fun. And Stanley ran like a champ! I am just so proud of him. What a good trail dog. This was perfect, because the training plan called for a 5K race anyway. It probably didn’t mean trail run with 16 lb terrier, but it was more fun this way.

So that’s my week in running.  Not to shabby. Looking forward to week 4!

Here are some other shots of me messing around with my kids on the Saugus River Trail in the Breakheart Reservation on Friday afternoon. We really like the woods in my family.


Do you religiously follow your training plans or do you cherry-pick your workouts?

How do you know if a dog is just out of shape or if something more serious is going on, like arthritis or hip dysplasia? Is this just my anxiety acting up?

Any recommendations on a water-proof outer layer for fall/winter? Preferably with some reflector strips for nights and mornings?





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