Color Changes & 3 Weeks of Training

Well, I have a few weeks of training to catch you all up on!  Work has been pretty busy lately, so this dear old blog has taken the back seat.  But now that I’m just 5 weeks (!!) away from the Anchorage Marathon, I’m sure I’ll have tons of fun to write about.

Wednesday (4/27) at lunchtime: 6 miles @ 8:20 avg pace

Wednesday (4/27) night: Orange Theory class

Friday (4/29): 6.3 miles @ 7:56 avg pace

Sunday (5/1): 6.1 miles @ 7:59 avg pace

Total: 18.4 miles + 1 Orange Theory class

I’m gonna throw in a little fun here though and show off my new blonder hair:

And the next week:

Monday (5/2): Orange Theory class

Tuesday (5/3): 7.45 miles in 1:00:45 (8:09 avg pace)

Thursday (5/5): 5.75 miles in 46:40 (8:06 avg pace)

Friday (5/6): Orange Theory class

Sunday (5/8): 19.25 miles in 2:35:20 (8:04 avg pace)

Total: 32.5 miles + 2 Orange Theory classes

And not only did my hair color change…but the walls in the downstairs of my condo have gone lighter for the summer (and beyond) too:


And last week:

Monday (5/9): Orange Theory class

Tuesday (5/10): 7.25 miles in 58:30 (8:04 avg pace)

Wednesday (5/11): 4.3 miles in 35:10 (8:10 avg pace)

Saturday (5/14): Orange Theory class

Sunday (5/15) morning: 4.15 miles in 33:10 (7:59 avg pace)

Sunday (5/15) afternoon: 6.25 miles in 49:50 (7:58 avg pace)

Total: 22 miles + 2 Orange Theory classes

I’d say the biggest things have been the increase in Orange Theory classes (so an increase in weight training.)  But with that, has come a general decrease in mileage…especially during the week.  I’ve kinda just been doing whatever during the week with how busy I’ve been at work, but have managed to get into 2 great long runs of 18.25 and 19.25 miles.

And just for more fun, here’s another interpretation of the spelling of Colleen:


Sooo that’s what my last 3 weeks has been – some running, some Orange Theory, putting some more home-y touches on my condo, and lots of coffee & working.  But that’s all OK, because unfortunately the weather still isn’t ready for summer like my hair is.

What have you been up to the past 3 weeks?

How do you get ready for summer?  New hairstyle?  New clothes?  I definitely have gotten a few new outfits too!

Eating, Reading, and Watching 4.29.2016

Happy Friday!

You know how the sub-title (is that what it is?) of this blog is “…and do other stuff with her life?”  Well, this is the “other stuff” in my life.

It’s been a rough week, physically.  I’ve felt run down after last weekend’s 18-miler.  I have barely run this week and  I have barely had an appetite all week.  So I guess let’s start with…


The whole not having an appetite thing actually worked out well Monday and Tuesday because I wasn’t working in my office those days – I was at a management training seminar.  In my office, I typically have snacks on hand and my company supplies some healthy snacking options for employees.  But I didn’t bring any snacks to the seminar.  I did get hungry around lunch time though and since I don’t usually eat out for lunch, it was a nice treat to have something other than my typical turkey sandwich & pretzels.  I had the Farmhouse Chicken Salad from Potbelly on Monday and then on Tuesday I had a half chopped salad and a half turkey on pretzel bun sandwich.  So yeah, can’t always get away from the turkey sandwich.  Corner Bakery definitely makes it better than the kitchen de Colleen though.

Hmm yeah, so I live an adventurous life of eats.  Actually, I did have a very interesting new snack yesterday afternoon – one of the healthy snacks provided by my work.


The first bite was kinda mehh, probably because I wasn’t sure what to expect.  But then I actually thought they were pretty good.  I hope to see them around the office again soon so I can grab some more!


I’m currently in the midst of a few books – Now, Discover Your Strengths and Property of a Noblewoman.  Definitely 2 different types of books.  I haven’t done the Strengths Finder yet to see what it has to say about where my strengths lie, but I’ll be sure to fill you in when I do.  But in similar types of personality tests, I took the DiSC model analysis during my management training seminar earlier this week – my personality type is Conscientious.


Behaviors of the conscientious: Enjoys independence, Objective reasoning, Wants the details, and Fears being wrong.

I’d say those are about right.

The other book, Property of a Noblewoman, is a bit of a lighter reader than the management books.  I’m actually listening via audiobook because I wanted something to listen to during my drive to Indy a few weekends ago for the Carmel Half Marathon.  It’s decent, but nothing great – extremely predictable with what’s going to happen next.  But it kept me entertained on the drive.

On the drive home from Cincinnati that weekend, I actually listened to the Ted Talks podcast most of the way.  Each was probably 15 – 30 minutes.  I’m definitely going to try to find more podcasts to listen to on future drives.


Revenge: This is really the only show I’ve watched lately it seems.  My previous roommate Lauren and I got into it for awhile, but fell out of watching it when the plot line got super twisted and confusing.  So when I told some people I was going to start watching it again, I pretty much got the same reaction: stopped watching somewhere in Season 2.

And that’s where I am right now – Season 2, Episode 5.  I’m pretty sure Lauren and I never made it this far.

I think that’s the only notable thing I’ve really watched in the past month.  If I just have the regular cable TV on, it’s usually just the news or Shark Tank or The Big Bang Theory.

Have you ever taken the disc test?  Which style do you fall into?

Have you watched Revenge?  If so, did you watch to the end?

Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon Training – 9 Weeks Out

Sup, amigos?

I haven’t done one of these weekly training recaps in a few weeks because the past few have been pretty much like this: run easy during the week + race on the weekend.  I guess I can give a quick overview of the past 3 weeks:

3/28 – 4/3: 36.2 miles, including the Shamrock Shuffle 8k

4/4 – 4/10: 26 miles, including the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon

4/11 – 4/18: 28.1 miles, including the Carmel Half Marathon

Which brings us to this week and the fact that as much as I’d like to race some shorter distances because I think I’m in sweet 5k-10k shape, I have a marathon to train for!  And train for it I did this week:

Monday – 7.6 miles in 1:01:20 (8:04 avg pace)

Tuesday – 6.9 miles in 55:30 (8:02 avg pace)

Wednesday – OFF

Thursday – 6.15 miles in 50:00 (8:07 avg pace)

Got a little wet in the rain on this one…nothing terrible, but a rather refreshing mist that actually felt pretty good.

Friday – 6 miles in 47:30 (7:55 avg pace)

Another windy night in the city, so I stayed away from the lakefront.  I considered running into Wicker Park, but that would’ve been just a tad further than I wanted to go, knowing I had a long run on the schedule for the next morning.  And it was nearing dusk anyways, so I stayed in my general hood, just running down neighborhood streets for the most part.  I tend to stick to the busier roads out of habit, but it sure is nice to run down the quieter side streets.  I also did this on Saturday’s long run.

Saturday – 18.25 miles in 2:25:00 (7:56 avg pace)

Looking back on this run (a whopping 4 days removed), I’m still pretty shocked how good I felt on it.  Obviously there were some patches of doubt during it, but nothing nearly as bad as it could have been.  The weather was perfect which helped a ton.  So here’s to hoping I can have a few more quality long runs over the next 8 weeks!

Sunday – Orange Theory class + about 7 miles rollerblading  … and painting a few walls, I’ll call that a workout.

I was holding out on becoming a member at the Orange Theory in the city because of the price.  But it’s clear that I won’t do weight training on my own and I love their classes, so I decided to do the 8x/month membership.  I’ll see how it works out this summer, but I think adding this in 2x/week to my running will help immensely.  Especially with those hills I’ll need to run in Anchorage and my dream of running a sub-20 minute 5k this summer at the 4th of July race.  #goalz

Total – 44.9 miles + 1 OTF class + rollerblading

This was a great week of training coming off a few hard races.  I still don’t feel 100% recovered from that run on Saturday, but mentally I feel pretty great about it.  After the let-down of half marathons recently, I needed a strong confidence booster going into this next training cycle.

OK, but now for some non-running stuff:

Sunday morning after Orange Theory, my mom and I had some painting to do.  I’m slowly making progress with some of the things in my condo that need to be updated and now there are only a few walls left to paint!  I’ll get some photos up of that once it’s all finished and put together.

After a few hours of painting, we hit up a local fish taco joint, Buzz Bait, for tacos, margs, and chips and salsa.


I had the shrimp taco (yay!) and the chicken taco (nay…)  Next time, I think I’ll need to just get 2 shrimp tacos because that one was amazing.  I’m just writing this here because I’ll probably go back in a few months and forget what I thought about each.  So now I have documentation that I can go back and reference.  Does that happen to anyone else?

After the tacos, I still wanted to take advantage of the nice weather, so I decided I’d rollerblade.  As I was getting ready to head out, Jocelyn texted and asked what I was up to – they were doing some day drinking over at another friend’s apartment – so I said I would blade up there and say hi for a bit.


#sunsoutbladesout I wasn’t doing a good job of getting a picture while rollerblading, so that one will have to do.

How do you make sure you get in weight training with your running?

Do you always order the same item at restaurants or switch it up each time?

When An 18 Mile Run Makes You Feel Hungover

In any marathon training plan that I’ve seen there will be at least one 18 mile run, maybe two.  But when I thought about it after my successful 18 mile run yesterday, I think there was only one other time I’ve been able to conquer the 18 miles.  And that was when I actually had a shorter run (still a long run, but a shorter long run) on the schedule, but others in my group pushed me to go longer.

For whatever reason, I’ve determined that 18 mile runs are more difficult than 20 miles.  And, obviously, more difficult than 16 mile runs.  Does anyone else operate in even-number increments when it comes to long runs?  I’ve never even considered doing a 17 mile run or a 19 mile run.

I even just checked back at my running log from Chicago Marathon training in 2013 and found 2 occasions that started with I intended to do 18 today, but…” and those resulted in 16 mile runs.  Found the posts about each here and here.  I should write another poem post again.  Stay tuned for that.

I actually thought about one of this 16 mile run from 2013 a lot on my run yesterday because I was doing a similar route from my parents house.  Here was the data from that run, just for old time’s sake:


Also with the clunkier Garmin…

I’m thinking maybe the 18 mile run is difficult because it doesn’t have the “prestige” and isn’t built up quite as much as the 20 mile run(s) during a marathon training cycle.  But an 18 mile run is still really far!  So here’s how mine went down:

I decided last minute Friday night to come home to my parents’ house in the suburbs for the weekend because my brother Patrick decided to come in town from St. Louis.  I had in my head that I wanted to do 18 miles, but said I’d also be happy with anything over 16 since my previous longest run this year so far was 15 miles.

Taking the advice of Catherine, I set my Garmin to only show the running time and not even show the mile splits.  I figured this way I could have a good measurement of distance, but not worry about pace the entire time.  I was, however, expecting that I’d be able to see mile splits after the run, but I was not.  I’ll have to figure that out.  This also allowed me to have the freedom of running anywhere I want and not needing to remember where I ran so that I could go map it later.


Sorry, spoiler alert on the picture, but had to get one in there!

I slept in until 9 and then finally set out for the run around 10:30am.  The weather was sweet and I had no plans the rest of the day, so no need to wake up early to get it in!  Actually, the weather was so sweet that I originally had on capris and a long sleeve, but stepped outside to the driveway and turned right back around to put on a short sleeve shirt.  I kept the capris on, but definitely could’ve gone for shorts, or even a tank top too.

My dad, brothers, and cousin Joe were golfing at a course nearby, so I decided I was going to run up there.  It only took be 31 minutes to run there and I didn’t immediately see them from the road and didn’t want to disturb the others golfers by running on the course.  So instead, I just used the bathroom at the starting house, and continued on my way.  The starter gave me the evil eye for this.


I continued to run up and down some residential streets, then eventually got back on a busier road to do a route I was pretty familiar with.  I hit an intersection at 1:05 into the run that I thought was about 3 miles away from my house, so I decided I would just plan to be back at that intersection at 2 hours, which would get me home around 2:24.  That should be about 18 miles, assuming I was doing an 8 minute pace.  I made sure to not push the pace, especially at the beginning and tried to just relax and enjoy the beautiful weather.

At about 1:25 into the run, I stopped at a Burger King to get a small cup of water to take my Gu with and ended up using the bathroom again really quickly too.  I expected to start up again feeling crappy, but I actually felt surprisingly great.  I just concentrated on getting back to that intersection and then I’d be homefree.

After the Burger King stop, I even thought maybe I’d try to pick up the pace for the last 3 miles.  But when I got to that intersection, I wasn’t quite ready to do so.  I kept trucking along and as I passed the YMCA, I saw mom’s car there (she was at Zumba) and figured I’d see her driving home as I was running the final stretch, but apparently she went a different way home to make another stop.  Once I hit the point that I knew it was 2 miles from home, I picked up the pace.  That didn’t end up lasting too long – maybe about half mile.  Then I just needed to hold on until I got back home.

Stopped my watch at exactly 2:25 and was super pumped to see 18.27 miles!

And then, I collapsed onto the driveway…after calling into my mom, who had just gotten home from the Y, to bring me a water bottle and towel.


Ouch.  The real pain came about an hour or so later though, when we went to Home Depot and I was fairly confident I was going to die right there in the store.  I had to sit down in the aisle for a minute and then found a pile of mulch I could sit on.

After a Gatorade, a bowl of ice cream (I couldn’t stand the thought of real food…), and a few hours of sitting around, I was finally ready to eat and socialize.  Joe, Kathleen, and Kelly were planning to cook burgers & mac ‘n cheese and watch the Hawks game, so I happily joined them.


I only had 2 beers during the game, so I obviously wasn’t drunk, but the way I felt Sunday was kind of equivalent to how I feel when I am hungover – very dehydrated and not at all on my top game.  That run took a lot out of me.  Nevertheless, I got a lot done Sunday, including working out!  More on the rest of the weekend to come though :)

What is your favorite long run distance?  The 20-miler or some other distance?  Do you also only think of long runs in even numbered increments??

You Could Say I’m Marathon Training Now

Now that those half marathons are out of the way…it’s time to shift my focus to the marathon.  I wasn’t originally planning on this a few months ago, but now I will be running the Anchorage Marathon on June 18.

I feel ready (to train, obviously not to run a marathon yet.)  But also not ready.  My longest run so far this year (and since the Boston Marathon exactly 1 year ago) is 15 miles.


I don’t have a specific plan I’m following right now, but I set what I will call “mileage guidelines.”  So what are my mileage guidelines?  Over the next 9 weeks I’d like to hit:

  • Long run distances each week of at least 14 miles.  I’d like to get in at least 2 20-mile runs (probably 2 weeks out and 4 weeks out), as well as 2 18 mile runs (probably 3 weeks out and 6 weeks out.)
  • Weekly mileage of at least 50 miles.
  • A mid-week longish run or tempo run of at least 10 miles.  If it’s a tempo, then it’d be something like 3 miles normal + 6 miles tempo + 1 mile normal or maybe some long tempo intervals.
  • A mid-week shorter speed workout like a fartlek or mile repeats.  I’d kinda like to try the Yasso 800s again too.

I will probably write up a more formal plan (and have my friend Stu help me), but at least for this week after my back-to-back half marathons, I’m going for unstructured.

These week has started off well though: Monday I ran 7.6 miles at 8:04 average pace and then Tuesday I ran 6.9 at 8:02 average pace.  Both runs felt fairly easy, but Tuesday involved some wind.

Actually, I have a few things to discuss with you about Tuesday’s run.  I’m going to try this whole run-commuting thing (I think I mentioned that previously?) to save a few buck$ and a few minutes each day.  The other 2 times I’ve done it so far – I’m waiting on the weather to get a little better – have worked out perfectly.  Besides a little bit of chaffing from my backpack straps, no major issues.

Tuesday, however, I ran into a snag.  The run-commute is all about planning.  I brought my computer to work with my regular backpack and stuffed my running clothes and run-commuting backpack into that larger backpack.  So then the plan was to not bring my computer home that night and just run commute home.  I transferred my wallet, Ventra card, and such into the running backpack and set out for my run/commute home.

Going straight home would only be 1.9 miles, so I headed to the lakefront and ran south for a bit before turning around and heading north to my condo.  The wind was rough along the lake heading north, so I switched back over to the city streets, which were better on the windy-ness front, but not on the crowded-ness front.  As I approached the intersection where my condo is, I realized I forgot my keys.  They were still in the pocket of my other backpack!  #megafail


(Sweaty Band = Fabulousity Black 1″)

But it was probably a blessing in disguise.  If you’d consider getting an extra 1.9 miles added to your run is a blessing.  I was all set to stop at my condo after exactly 5 miles, so it was like the marathon-ing gods were like “Nope, Colleen, you said you were going to run 7-8 miles today and that’s what you’re gonna do.”  I sure showed them by only running 6.9 miles.  Then I took the bus home.  So I didn’t end up saving my $2.25 that day, but I did add an extra 1.9 miles to my marathon-training bank.

Do you follow structured plans or do you just make “guidelines” to follow?

Race Recap: Carmel Half Marathon (1:41:12)

So after my “failed” half marathon PR attempt in St. Louis last weekend, I decided I wanted another chance because I thought I was in better shape and able to run a faster time.  On Wednesday, I made the decision to register for the Carmel Half Marathon and to just go by myself and try again.  The weather looked like it was going to be great, and then I made arrangements with some friends in Cincinnati to head there after the race to visit for a night.

I really can’t afford to keep racing all the time because these things are expensive, especially when you have to travel (and even more especially, traveling alone.)  However, I had a $100 Visa gift card that I won through work as part of our employee recognition program, so I thought this would be the perfect scenario to use it – on a $75 last minute race registration.  Of course, all the “official” race hotels in Carmel were booked already and even if they weren’t that’d a bit too be pricey for traveling alone.  So I scoured my Facebook friends, but couldn’t really come up with anyone in Indy that I was close enough with to ask if I could crash and such short notice.

Enter AirBnb.  I had never done it before, but figured this was the ideal scenario for why AirBnb exists.  And it was.  For $49 (+ a $6 service fee), I was able to stay at the lovely home of an empty-nester couple in a quiet, suburban Indianapolis neighborhood not far from the race.  It worked out perfectly.  Things that didn’t work out perfectly?  The race/my pacing strategy…

Let’s start at beginning with The Expo:

I drove straight from Chicago to the race expo in Carmel, arriving at about 7:10pm.  I had forgotten about the hour time difference between Chicago and Indy, but that didn’t matter much because the expo was open until 9pm.  However, when I arrived, I saw a sign for a FREE pasta dinner at the Whole Foods down the street until 7:30pm.  If I would’ve done proper research and known about this pasta dinner, I probably would’ve tried to go to save a few bucks.  However, I likely would’ve still probably neglected the time change and not made it there.

Carmel Half Marathon Expo

The expo was small, much like you’d expect from a smaller race.  It was in a large gym of a local health club/community center in Carmel.  I picked up my race packet without issue and walked up and down the 2 aisles, just stopping for a free donut sample – little munchkin-type donuts.  So I was in and out in a matter of minutes and then hit up the local Panera for dinner.  Had my (current) usual – half turkey sandwich/half chicken BBQ salad and a French baguette.  I’ve been on a big Panera kick lately, btw.


The Carmel Half Marathon was probably the easiest pre-race experience I’ve had.  I took my time getting ready in the morning and headed to Carmel from my AirBnb home, which only took about 10 minutes.  I drove straight to the start/finish area because the website said there were 2 parking locations within half mile.  Luckily once I got to the area it was easy to follow the other cars into a parking lot and then follow a few others walking to the start area.

No lines for the port-a-pottys! (Yet!)

Carmel Half Marathon Restrooms

I used the bathroom, then put together my gear check bag, checked it, and set out for an easy warm-up of 1 mile at 9 minute pace.  I didn’t even need to throw away my “throw-away” clothes because I shed them early and put them into my gear check bag since it was so warm already.  After my warm-up, I also wished I could put my arm warmers into my gear check bag, but that didn’t seem possible because they hadn’t organized the bags by number yet (wouldn’t that be a fun volunteer job while the race was going on?) so they were all just in a big mess of a pile.  But actually during the race, I never once even thought of the arm warmers and wished I could take them off, so I guess it worked out OK.

I tried to wait for a port-a-potty after my warm-up, but due to the long lines, I had to abort early and go line up at the start.  I didn’t want another issue like the St. Louis Half the prior weekend.

The Race:

I had originally decided to try to do a race plan similar to what I had done in the Virginia Beach Shamrock Half Marathon last year – a few miles easy then start alternating 2 miles hard, 1 mile easy – to make it also kind of like a workout, but also going for a fast time.  And this strategy seemed to fit in well with what I could tell of the elevation chart of the course.


Mile 1: 7:08

Within the first mile, I realized I had started a little behind a pace group.  I wasn’t sure which it was, but I focused on staying relaxed for the beginning, but also gradually began to gain on them.  My watch beeped for a mile and I realized it was a little faster than my plan – I thought I should do about 7:25 for the first 2 miles.

Mile 2: 7:08

Fast again.  But a little after the 1st mile mark, I had caught up to the pace group, realized it was for a 1:35 half marathon, and decided to change my strategy to be sticking with that pace group for the entire race.

Miles 3 & 4: 7:14, 7:02

I still felt good and was very pleased with the weather and my decision to hang out with the pace group.  I tried to convince myself it was just a casual Saturday morning running group out for a run.

Miles 5 & 6: 7:19, 7:28

I was still with the pace group for the 5th and most of the 6th mile, but by the end of the 6th mile, I could tell I was not going to be able to keep up.  There was a water station right at the 6th mile mark and I stopped for a few seconds to walk to get in water.  Of course, my watch beeped for 6 miles while I was walking, but I said “Ok, a 7:28 for just walking a few seconds is still about a 7:20 running pace, so I just need to keep that up.”

Miles 7 – 9: 7:31, 7:39, 7:41

Well, clearly I could not keep that up.  There was a timing mat at the halfway point (6.55 miles) and I came through that at 47:25, so right on pace for the 1;35 (yet I was probably 30 seconds behind the pace group.)  I tried to convince myself I could still PR even if I slowed down a tad, but it also just didn’t seem possible because I was fading fast.  There were 2 or 3 other girls that had been with the 1:35 pacer that had dropped off as well and we seemed to each be playing ping pong with each other for these few miles – passing and then being passed.  I think in the 8th mile was where I walked through another water station for a few steps to get in my Gu/water.  And then I could do no more passing.

Also, somewhere in these miles I had to hop a fence?!?!  I guess we went the wrong way and ended up on a service road NEXT to the trail we were supposed to be on.  I can’t really describe a fence well, so I found this on Google that shows what type of fence it was…easy to climb, but still not ideal.


Miles 10 – 13: 8:40, 8:52, 8:06, 8:03

These miles were just straight pain.  If I had known where I was, I probably would’ve just dropped out and found the quickest walking route back to the end.  They were filled with not being able to pick up my legs when I did try to run and a few walking breaks.  I did manage to make myself run the entire 12th mile…that’s what my goal changed into – run this entire mile without stopping.  So still not being able to squeak out under 8 minutes wasn’t too cool.

But at least my sunglasses made me look cool:

Carmel Half Marathon Finish

(Sweaty Band = Wicked Exclusive Turquoise 1″)

Last .1 Mile  – 7:12 pace

Major struggle just to push it in, but was so glad to be done.  Gives new meaning to the term “positive split” – first 6 miles in 43 minutes, next 6 in 49 minutes…  I’m in sweet shape for the 8k or 10k I guess though.  I don’t know what my long distance issue is now, but I’ll write out some thoughts on that later.

Finish Time: 1:41:12


The finish area at the Carmel Half Marathon was THE BEST.  Chocolate milk + bagels + those little munchkin donuts I had samples of at the expo.  Plus water and bags of chips and pretzels and fruit.  I took a few items, picked up my bag from gear check, then just sat on the curb about .1 mile away from the finish watching runners finish.  I had especially wanted to see the first marathoners come through, which was exciting.  I never get to see the winners of a race!  Since, you know, I’m behind them.

After awhile, I headed back to my AirBnB host’s home to shower, then hit the road to go to Cincinnati for the rest of the day/night to soak up the sun.


Lindsey almost has me convinced to tone down the running this summer to concentrate on learning to swim and bike so I do a half-Ironman with her in the fall… But first I need to get through the Anchorage Marathon!  I guess you could say I’m marathon training now…9 weeks to go.

Have you ever stayed at an AirBnB?  What was your experience like?

Any stories about going the wrong way in a race?  I can’t really say this counts because it didn’t actually seem to affect the distance at all, but it was weird.

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