Why I love the Half Marathon

I love half marathons because they are short enough that you can (usually) run hard and still walk the next day, and they are also long enough that if you choose to take it easy, no one will blame you.
To be frank, I haven’t really trained for a 5K or 10K specifically since 2004-2005. In 2006 I started training for my first marathon, and focus has stayed on distance primarily since then. 5Ks & 10Ks are speed work, or sprinkles into a lower key winter training period to just keep running at all.
Most half marathon training plans have you training for around 12 weeks.

This is a reasonable amount of time to dedicate to a goal, even if you’re not sure you’re going to end up as a hardcore runner.

For me, my first several half marathons took me over two and a half hours to complete.  That’s a significant chunk of time, so make sure you are comfortable running for at least 45 minutes before you decide to set your goal on 13.1 miles.  you-can-get-thru-this

If you pick the right type of race, you can have a lot of fun during the race and afterward (hello, eye candy!):



Or you can pick a more bare-bones event to work on smashing your goals & PRs:  IMG_2466

You know you’ve done things right when you are so pooped afterward you just want to lie down.


And even though I’m training for bigger, more complicated events, I still love the half marathon as my favorite running distance, and I’m stoked that I’m going to sneak a few into my training this summer!

Catch me at the Michelob 13.1 Half Marathon on June 7, and the Zooma Half Marathon on August 2!  If you want to join me at Zooma, use the code CAMB10 for 10% off of the registration fee! 

Three Things Thursday





1. The polar vortex came back.  #wtfspring?  I am on spring break and ended up having to buy a new winter jacket to stay warm enough.  At least I have a fake fur hood. And a 75% off winter coat ;)


2. Vacation is awesome.  More to come.  You can read about the triathlon post here, and I plan to post some recaps of various things from vacation soon! #remembertoplananotherweekoff




3. I’ll leave you with some photos from the N’awlins part of the vacation:

New Orleans 70.3 Relay Race Report

This weekend had the perfect start to my newest race-cation! (I’ve had a history of these:  Disney Princess, Las Vegas, Amsterdam… to name a few)  This time, New Orleans.  A warm locale was NECESSARY after the ridiculous winter we had.  And with triathlon, especially long course triathlon like the 70.3 distance, a relay was a great option.

There were a bunch of Chicago-ans from two tri clubs that I knew who were in town (go Chicago Tri Club & Trimonsters!) so this felt like a little party down south.



The Ironman NOLA 70.3 expo was what I envisioned from my experience at Racine, although I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at the smaller scale of the event.  It was a nice change of pace and a perfect way to open up the season!

Crawfish Boil


Saturday we did the normal things: Brunch, packet pickup, bike drop-off, and crawfish boil. Just the normal stuff :)  Low key and headed to bed at a reasonable hour.  Dinner:  Crawfish Boil mid-afternoon and a bowl of pasta later.  

Race Day: 

The early morning had pretty much the normal morning.  I brought my favorite cereal with me from Chicago (Panda Puffs, if you care to know!) and had that with almond milk.

I wasn’t too nervous going into the race, although I was curious to see how competitive I’d be in the swim. Our team had originally set out some ambitious, competitive, goals that we modified down as the race got closer.  No- we probably weren’t going to win the relay.  Could we get top 3? We weren’t sure about that either.  I was racing with a really good cyclist and a really good runner, so I was also feeling some of the performance anxiety of trying to keep up their competitiveness.

We got to the site and it was nice that I didn’t have to do any worrying about bike prep or transition space setup.  Just get my swim stuff together and hide my other sh** to the side in a bag.

The swim had an interesting course:



A kind of modified “M”.  Since we were doing the relay (wave 5) I decided to hang with the peeps to watch the pro’s go off.  10 feet from Andy Potts again? Uh, yes please.  I then got in line for my wave, and realized I should figure out how to look at the course and sight.  Uh, race foul by not remembering to do that before the race starts.

NOLA 70.3 is a time-trial start, so even though there were closer to 100 teams in the relay wave, they send only 8 people off every 10 seconds, jumping off of a pontoon in the harbor.  I have the same type of time-trial start at Louisville, so I was glad to have this experience before then!

RaceNOLA Race Morning

Swimming is the most static of the three sports, so here’s what you need to know on my swim:

  • I jumped into the harbor to start my first open-water swim in over 6 months.
  • Water was not as a cold as I’d thought it might be  - good
  • The harbor is a marina, and there was a good bit of gasoline in the water that you could smell and taste – bad
  • I was effective at starting my swim strategy right away (sight every 3 + breathing pattern) – good
  • I did not know how many buoys to the turnaround – bad.
  • I did not get a cramp – good
  • I could not see due to the sun in my eyes for about 600 m.  I should have worn my tinted goggles. – Bad

I finished off faster than my Racine 70.3 swim last year, but not quite as fast as I’d hoped I would .


Post-swim in a triathlon relay you sit around and wait for your teammates to finish.  Dave was out on the bike for almost 3 hours, so there was some napping and chatting with other athletes.  When Mike headed out for the run, we had to skedaddle over to the race finsih since it was not in the same location as the start & transition.
The finish line & party there at NOLA was quite nice — we enjoyed the most thorough post-race massages, red beans & rice, and beer at the end of the race!

FINAL TIME:  41:11 / 5:04:22 (Swim / Overall)

AVERAGE PACE:  1:57 /100yd

NEXT RACE:  13.1 Chicago Half , 6.7.2014