Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August 2010 Recap

Well August is now officially over, and tomorrow is September, which in my head marks the start of fall!

August has been a pretty busy/crazy month, in terms of running:
-I ran a 3 race series in 24 hours and earned 3 new PRs!
-Marathon Training really picked up and I hit mu highest mileage week ever at 47mpw
-I earned extended my longest ever distance 3 times this month with 16,17, and 18 milers
-I got a new pair of shoes that are seeming to help my foot issues and of course are bright pink!

August Total Miles: 175 miles

Slightly higher than my July total, which is nice, I felt like I handled the mileage increases pretty well actually, and am excited for the next 8 weeks to tick off until the race, I am feeling more and more ready for it. At this point in marathon training I feel that it is becoming more of the mental obstacles than the physcial, and that is eally something I am trying to fine tune over the next month.

With the non-running, there was a lot going on too:
-Jacksonville celebrated setting a new record in most consecutive days over 90* (51 days in a row with temps over 90*) that certainly made for some interesting running!
-I started back to work at a new job at the beginning of the month after having most of July be like my own little summer vacation.
-Celebrated John's birthday
-Started Grad school at the end of the month
-Picked up tickets and finalized all of our football season plans

Hope everyone else had a great August, I am looking forward to fall, and hopefully the cooler weather that will start coming with it!

Speed Bumps

Well my expectedly hectic week has already taken a toll on my meticulously planned schedule, I don't even know why I bother.

Last night I was planning 4 lovely miles of hill repeats when my phone beeped with a reminder for my 5:15 hair appointment. It's no secret, I love my hair dresser, and even if I didn't need the cut (which I did) I would still go see her. She just had her 2nd baby and this is her 2nd week back to work, so I was excited to catch up with her.

John and I actually changed to head out to run once I got home from there, but Peachie went crazy and got so upset when we were leaving to run that we decided on a 2 mile walk with her instead. I wasn't super bummed about not finishing out my miles for the day, they will get tacked on some where else, and since this is a cut back week, I am more concerned with quality miles than quantity.

This morning I woke up with the alarm and headed out for 7 miles with 3 @hmp. I made it maybe a 1/4 mile before I turned around, went home, and curled up with Peachie for some more sleep, a leisurely morning, and a big breakfast. I have no idea what happened, but as I started running I just didn't have it, I didn't care about my paces and didn't have the excitement to be out for an hour, and again, I would rather change my plans, wait until tonight and have a quality run that I will feel good about rather than suck it up this morning and feel disappointed all day.
Today is the last day of August and I refuse to let it end without a stellar run, so I have something to accomplish tonight.

Fun Fact:  I have been seeing lots of rumors that Pumpkin Spice Lattes are out at starbucks- this is my absolute favorite and really the only kind of coffee I will drink! I am really excited to hit up SBux tomorrow AM and see if these rumors are true! Are you a pumpkin spice fan? Does your starbucks have the heavenly drink out yet?

Monday, August 30, 2010

2 weeks of Insanity

Happy Monday y'all! It's the start of a new week (and almost a new month) and things are about to get a little crazy around here.

Today marks the start of 2 full weeks of absolute insanity. For the next 2 weeks, there isn't a single day (maybe 1) that I don't have something else to do (besides the normal run, school, work). I have been prepared for this little stint, and am more than ready for it, should be a fun one and good preparation for my 2 weeks of absolute insanity that will be coming at the end of October.

Onto running, that's why we are all here, right? With this being a cut-back week, I am hoping to slah my mileage to about 75%-80% of what it has been the last 2 weeks, which means cutting my runs even shorter than originally planned- we will see if that happens.

I had an 8 mile tempo on the schedule this morning, but had another plan in mind. I REALLY need to do some hill training before I go into a race with bridges, so I decided to cut this run in half so I could do the bridges loop tonight after work. This is will get me 4 serious climbs in plus the other 4 miles this morning to give me a solid 8 miles for the day.

So I hit the snooze a few times this morning since I was only doing 4 miles and compared to my usual morning run, that was so short. I definitely needed the first mile to get warmed up, my legs felt heavy and I felt like I was on autopilot and not fully awake. After the first mile I woke right up and focused on negative splits so I get in a decent 4 miles.

4 Miles- 37:52, 9:28 pace
Mile 1-  9:45
Mile 2-  9:33
Mile 3-  9:23
Mile 4-  9:11

Good run, negative splits, and it was mentally refreshing to have a shorter run, I was finished before my mind had a chance to wander. A solid run, nothing spectacular, but hopefully some hill sprints can end the day with a stellar recap and hit the tempo hard tomorrow!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Recovery Running

I hope everyone else is out enjoying a beautiful and fabulous weekend as the summer draws to a close. We are sitting at home catching up on all those things you were too busy for all summer because it is raining again for the 2nd day in a row! I got all the fun errands done yesterday, so today is just kind of creeping by.

After my 3:30am wake up call yesterday, I went to bed early last night and woke up at 6am with no alarm feeling great- no evidence of 18 miles yesterday. Since I felt so good, and we were going to have to skip our bike ride today, I decided to join John on a short recovery run. My legs felt great the whole time, I kept it easy most of the time, but picked it up the last 1/4 mile to a 7:30 pace, make sure my legs don't get used to slow running. I did 2.5 miles in 24:43.

So now that the week is officially over, I have sat down to update my training log for the week, and I was quite happy with how it turned out:

Monday- 8 miles- 1:12:11; 9:01 pace- 4M @ tempo
Tuesday- 8 Miles-  1:14:56, 9:22 pace, 5 @gmp, 3 @ghmp
Wednesday-  6 Miles easy- 58:23, 9:43 pace
Thursday-  5 Miles w/ 3x400 - 45:13, 9:02 pace
Saturday- 18 Miles- 2:53:08, 9:37 pace
Sunday-  2.5 miles 24:43, 9:53 pace

Total Miles = 47

This has been my highest mileage week to date. I started the week a little weary of my 2nd step up week, but I felt the last few runs were strong and effective. I am off to prepare for a speedy cut back week, have to get in the intensity somewhere!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Marathon Training - 18 Miles

Hope everyone is having a nice Saturday, we all know what I did today. Just like last week, everyone had 18 miles on the schedule today, me included this week.

Today I was starting at 4:30am as opposed to by typical 5a. Due to a monsoon we have had the last few days, the weather was wonderful and then sun never came out, but it was so nice to be done nice and early and have a full day ahead of me.

As I was getting ready to head out and run, I found myself today more than ever wishing I had a training partner. 18 miles seemed so long and tedious especially all in the dark with no music and no distractions. John was nice enough to be up with me at 4am, and offered up a suggestion, 3x6=18. As repepitive as it would be, I would do 3 mile loops, I actually really don't mind doing this, it really lets me focus on just that one loop, and not get so overwhelmed by the huge number off miles I am counting down. Also I had no desire to go out with camelbak, ipod, gu, phone, etc that would be required for a 15+ mile run.

The first 6 miles absolutely flew by, before I knew it I was back at the car to refil my water/gatorade and take 1/2 of a gu. I planned to do the first 6 easy, but they were a tad faster than my normal easy miles I think because I was really only focusing on those 6 miles, this ended up being beautifully strategic for what could have otherwise been a very long and challenging run.

Mile 1-  9:55
Mile 2-  9:48
Mile 3-  9:52
Mile 4-  9:45
Mile 5-  9:41
Mile 6-  9:36

After what was a super quick refueling, I was back out, and on a mission to hit the next 6 miles at goal pace. I have really been shooting for 9:30-9:40 range for goal pace miles, but I since I had already seen some of that in the first 6 miles I tried to push a few a little harder than that. For some reason, my goal pace miles did not come easily and I felt like I had to fight for those splits today which was a tad discouraging, but to be honest, having my average pace for the whole run within my goal pace range keeps me happy.

Mile 7-  9:38
Mile 8-  9:29
Mile 9-  9:33
Mile 10-  9:21
Mile 11-  9:25
Mile 12-  9:23

6 Miles at/under goal pace done, and I felt pretty good with 6 still to go, I wanted to try to get in at least 2-3 more in that range as well. I did one more refuel with more Gatorade, the other half of my gu, and a dry shirt, just because the heat is fading, doesn't mean the humidity is. When I first started back out I was stiff and slow in the first mile, what else is new. I got back into my groove at some point, but lost it again when my left foot pain returned during mile 16. I was able to finish respectably and not even close to as stiff/sore/tired as I was after 17 last week.

Mile 13-  9:48
Mile 14-  9:42
Mile 15-  9:37
Mile 16-  9:33
Mile 17-  9:35
Mile 18-  9:27

18 Miles- 2:53:08, 9:37 average pace

18 miles went well, I always feel like the 2nd long run of a step up goes better than the first. I was pleased that 18 miles felt so comfortable, and I actually felt I could have done 8 more after if I needed to. Hopefully 3 more really long runs and I will be ready, or as ready as you can really be. Next week is a step back week, and after a mentally and physically tired week, I am ready for it.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I have so many running related things swirling around in my head today, my brain is in Overload!

So here it goes: This morning I was supposed to run 7 miles and I wanted to get in my intervals that I skipped over yesterday. Well I woke up late and had time for 4 maybe 5 miles if I was quick, I managed to sneak in 5, with about 2 minutes to spare.

I started with a warm-up and then was going to do a yucky reverse ladder since I knew I would have to cut the run short, might as well make it hard. I was going to do  400, 800, 1200, 1600 and 1 more 400 if I had time left. Well during the 1st 400 I got this shooting pain up my left foot, think through the big toe bone back up towards my ankle. I never have any issues with my left foot, ever! The right one hates me, and frequently reminds me of that fact, but lefty has always been kind and reserved, until today. I finished the 400 and during the recovery interval it felt better so I thought I might have landed weird and started up for the 800...Pain again, I think you see where this is going. I made it through 3 -400s before deciding I would need to dial it down for the rest of the workout. I did a mile at tempo pace and a mile at half marathon pace, I needed to get some sort of speed in. All in all a respectable 5 miles, I had planned to get in my remaining miles once I got home tonight since I ran out of time this morning, hopefully get a few more intervals in, but we will see what the foot says. I am wearing sandals today so nothing is touching or pressing on the part of my foot that hurts- hopefully it likes that :)

5 Miles-  45:14, 9:02 average pace
Mile 1 warm-up-  9:43
Miles 2-5- 35:31, 8:52 average pace
With all the craziness I didn't get an idea of actual mile splits here- oh well!

On to the mini-meltdown I had last night. Jaime, Penny, and I have been exchanging emails about the marathon and its fast approach, and while I have read and participated in these conversations, it wasn't until I went to update my training plan last night that it really hit me- There is only 6 weeks left until the Taper!!!!! All my step up long runs will now be starting with the number 2 instead of a 1. I actually have written down that I will run 50 mpw 2 different times- oh yeah, and I have a half marathon I am supposed to run in 5 weeks! I knew it was all eventually going to come, but it's pretty much here. I have a step back next week and then the insanity begins. This all seemed like a good idea when I started it, I am beginning to wonder what I was thinking!?!?!?!?!?!?

Races:  I am getting ready to sign up for my next buch of races- be prepared it is a little insane! The one I cannot make up my mind about is in Atlanta on Labor Day. We will be up there for a wedding, and while I have run in the ATL before, there are some serious hills and about an 1,100 ft elevation difference which makes for not usually the world's fastest runs. The race I am looking at is a 10k, and I just don't know if I would be able to go out and set a PR. My last 10k was not too long ago and actually in Atlanta. I set a very narrow PR then, but the conditions made it tough. This race falls on a Monday so I wouldn't lose a long run from it, it would actually act as tempo run which is what I normally do on Mondays. After my race series 2 weeks ago, I felt it took me at least a solid week to truly feel 100% recovered from all of those hard efforts and to be honest, with that race falling on the week of my first 20 miler, I don't have another week at this point to be 'recovering' and sucking it up, especially for a race I may not do well in, that 20 miler 5 days later is more important. This would not be a final tune-up race before the marathon, I already have that scheduled, so the big question is...is this race a good idea? Should I do it? Should I race it? Should I just use it as a tempo run?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Zen Run

Half Way through the work week, is a big excitement for me! I had my first class last night, I thought it went really well, and am excited for the semester. I was also by far the youngest person in the room, I was so suprised! Only 2 of the 15 students had been in college in the last 10 years- just to give you some persepective, I am used to being the young one, so per usual I will play it to my advantage.

Now onto the running! My legs continued to be so sore all through the day yesterday that I knew I needed to stretch/roll again once I got home. I did and it made a world of difference last night, my legs finally loosened up for the first time all day. This morning when I got up, they were still tight, but nothing compared to what they had been.

I opted out of the speedwork, I would have had to do it on the treadmill today, and I was just not feeling that. We are having another good weather morning of a cool 77* with a good breeze and it left me yearning to just run outside. I went out with no ipod and ignored my garmin because to be honest I really didn't care. I was treating this as a true easy run, and did not push at all, I wanted to see what my body would do all on its own. I zoned out pretty quickly and before I knew it, it was time to turn around.

Once on the way back, I was passing certain points and thought to myself "I don't remember running through here on the way out" which is whoa strange because I never zone out like that and I didn't feel especially tired either. Once I finished, I checked my Garmin and my times were decent considering I wasn't putting any push into it.

6 Miles- 58:23, 9:43 average pace
Mile 1-  9:49
Mile 2-  9:43
Mile 3-  9:42
Mile 4-  9:46
Mile 5-  9:38
Mile 6-  9:45

It was really nice to just run with no thoughts or cares, I think my body and mind both needed a break from the push today. As we creap towards the peak of marathon training I am really starting to feel the increased efforts: more fatigue, lots of twinges and aches, and my appetite has finally returned. We are certainly on the downhill of this training cycle, and while it has been lots of fun, it is nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the taper is getting closer, and as each week ticks off, I find myself getting more and more ready for the couple weeks of decreased mileage I have coming my way.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Running Love and Hamstring Hatred

Tuesday! Today has been crazy busy, and it's just now 10am, yikes!

So after thinking yesterday morning about how fun my next 8M run would be, I decided I needed to do it today! Already going against my schedule reform, and it left me cutting it very close this morning.

I woke up to another fall weather-hinting morning. It was 78 again, with comparable humidity and a nice breeze, I could not have asked for nicer weather. Sure it will be a million degrees by 2pm, but if I can run before it gets disgusting then I don't really care.

With dead legs, tight hamstrings, and lots of plans this week, I knew it was best to take advantage of being awake early with the nice weather and do the 8 today. As mentioned, I planned to do 5 miles at marathon pace (9:40) and then 3 miles at goal half marathon pace (9:05), and I wanted negative splits the whole way. Since I almost always do a warm-up mile, I made sure I played the first 2 miles today more conservatively since I didn't have the time to do a true warm-up and would have to stop running at 8 miles. I figured this was a pretty adventerous run for an easy day, but to be honest my marathon pace is easy so I figured I would be safe.

8 Miles- 1:14:43, 9:20 average pace
Mile 1-  9:40
Mile 2-  9:38
Mile 3-  9:35
Mile 4-  9:33
Mile 5-  9:29
Mile 6-  9:03
Mile 7-  9:01
Mile 8-  8:58

I loved this run, I felt like I could have kept going for hours. I felt good starting out even without a true slow warm-up mile, maybe that's a hint. The hardest mile was the 1st one at half marathon pace, I struggled with the jump up a bit, but once I got adjusted the last 2 were easy. Despite feeling great while running, my legs once again got tight as soon as I stopped. My hamstrings, especially at the top are SO tight, and tons of stretching has given no improvement. I am glad I rearranged my schedule to have my mileage drop the next 2 days, I hope that will help relieve some of the pain before my next long run. The ususal stretches and foam rolling have not really been of much help, and I am not sure what else I should be doing, thoughts?

My calves and foot had been bothering me a bit the last few days, but I wore the new shoes today and I attribute that to such a great run, both felt great once I got started. I am trying to use the new shoes once this week, twice next week, 3x the week after, etc, until I am up to every day in them. I am also trying to wear out my other shoes that I don't love, but might as well get some use out of them and save the loveliness of the new ones as long as possible.

Monday, August 23, 2010

60 Days

So Today is exactly 2 months until the marathon, I can't believe it is getting so close! That means I actually have to start thinking about logisitcal things-yikes!

After my 17 miles on Saturday I came home to take and ice bath. I normally get a 20lb bag of ice and use that plus, anything in my freezer to try and make the ice slushie in my bathtub. Well the last few ice baths I have taken the ice seems to melt pretty quickly and I never feel there is enough. So I opted for another bag of ice- well that did the trick. I now understand why some people loathe ice baths- I literally felt my body going into shock as I sat down in the frigid water and started hyperventilating- I think I lasted very close to the full 15 minutes, and there was still a little ice left at the end. Normally I am very tight/stiff/sore the rest of the day after my long run, but I actually felt really good. A little stiff if I sat too long, but nothing like what it normally is, so I decided that 30-40 lbs will be the minmium for all future baths.

I spent the rest of Saturday not doing too much, running some errands, a little cleaning, groceries, etc. Sunday was pretty much the same, I had wanted to get in a short recovery-style run to get used to it, but I ran out of time, Oops!

So Monday morning, I slept pretty off and on last night, but woke up determined to fall naturally into my nice pre-built routine. Something was different this morning, dare I say, there was almost a chill in the air. It was 78 degrees ( I haven't seen a 7X* in at least 6 weeks) and there was a nice breeze- we have MORE rain coming today. It really felt like a well planned change, all the schools started back today and it seemed to be marking a slow decent into fall weather. I am sure now that I've talked about it, I have scared away the bearable temps, and they will scurry off and tell their hot, nasty, humid friends to return in their place.

Monday= Tempo, and today was supposed to be 8M with 5 @8:25. As soon as I looked at that this morning, I thought no way. Depsite how good my legs recovered over the weekend, my uber-tight calves has returned, and I have been having some Right ITB issues. Not wanting to anger either of them too much I decided I was going to have to play this run by feel, pick it up when I had it, and back off when I didn't.

8 Miles- 1:12:11, avg pace 9:01
Mile 1-  9:47
Mile 2-  8:25
Mile 3-  9:32
Mile 4-  8:24
Mile 5-  9:27
Mile 6-  8:24
Mile 7-  8:53
Mile 8-  9:19

So only 3 miles at the tempo pace I wanted, but I still another sub-9:00 minute mile and it kept my average pace in the range I wanted it in- solid effort. This was one of those cases where I just had to listen to my legs and do what was best for me/them this morning and now what I had written down sounded good when making my training schedule.

I have another 8 this week where I am hoping to do it with the first 5 at goal marathon pace and the last 3 at goal half marathon pace. I thought of this of course while running this morning, since this run wasn't as hard as I had originally planned it to be, and I thought that sounded like fun! Gives me a chance to get used to pacing naturally at both times!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

17 miles

So I didn't have a clever title, but you get the message: I ran 17 miles today.

Most fall Marathoners racing between 10/10 and 11/7 had 18 miles on the schedule today, but I rock and built my own plan so I did 17M. This was again, my longest run ever, as most remaining long runs will be, and it was what should be called a middle of the road run.

When I woke up today, I was not super into my long run, it had been 2 weeks siince my last "long run" and with nothing to prove, I felt a little under-whelmed. I wanted to hit minimum 7 miles @ or under goal pace (9:40) and make the entire run look respectable. I almost always wake up at 4a and start my runs at 5a and usually have been around the 2:30 range for my long runs. Well today I was sluggish and started closer to 5:15 and was looking at a 2:45ish run so that meant I was doing AT LEAST 1 hour in some serious sun. John has told me I need to get used to running long in the sun since my marathon will be in the sun, and doubtfully any cooler, but at this point, the dark is SO much more appealing!

For all new longer distance long runs, I will be starting between 4 and 4:30a to minimize sun effects. Despite how non-enthused and sluggish I started off my 17 miler this morning, I will spoil and say that it ended up being a solid effort.

In the first 4 miles my calves were SO tight, that I truly doubted my ability to make it past 8 miles. I was convinced that I would die from calf pain and end at 8 and half to finish on the dreaded TM later. But something amazing happened at mile 4.5.....I ate a bug! I seriously did, but that isn't what really happened, my calves finally loosened up, and I decided that I would make it work.  I know many many runners who have accidentily inhaled a bug, today was my day. It was gross and I almost vomitted 19720345792 times because of it, but I did survive.

I did the first 12 miles with only a minor stop for gu at mile 6, and at mile 8 when John left me (he was on the bike) I was able to pick it up for the final 3 miles of my favorite route, and finally hit some gmp miles.

Since the Weather Channel and local news were calling for rain at 7am, I planned to only do a 12 out and back...just in case it did start to rain, and then finish the last 5 however depending on circumstances. Well after the first 12 when I made it back to the apartment to refuel, I knew the rain would hold off, so I swapped the CamelBak for my hand-held and put on a dry shirt for the last 5. The first mile back out was slow- per usual, but was able to hit gmp for the remaining for to give me my 7gmp total I was looking for- but barely.

This run was tough, I did over an hour in some sun, but it was a respectable run, not bad, and all miles under 9:59, so I can't complain.

17 miles - 2:45:09, 9:42 average pace
Mile 1-  9:58
Mile 2-  9:59
Mile 3-  9:58
Mile 4-  9:49
Mile 5-  9:56 (where the bug was inhaled- GROSS!!!!!!!)
Mile 6-  9:56
Mile 7-  9:59
Mile 8-  9:52
Mile 9-  9:29
Mile 10-  9:09
Mile 11-  9:28
Mile 12-  9:26
Mile 13-  9:59
Mile 14-  9:39
Mile 15-  9:37
Mile 16-  9:30
Mile 17-  9:25

I would consider this a successful run. It wasn't fabulous, but it didn't suck, and I think it is a strong building week towards my next step up. I have my first 20M in 3 weeks, and I am really not so nervous anymore. I would like to get in 24M before the race, but we will see how it goes.

How was everyone else's long run this weekend????? Good, bad, how far did you go?????

Friday, August 20, 2010

The One where Everything Changes

So as I have obviously mentioned details of in previous posts, there have been some changes going on behind the scenes down here in Jville, and it has all come together to the point where I can throw it all out there!

As I have mentioned a time or 2 now I took a new job recently at the big private college here in town. I love it, it's great and exactly what I needed/wanted at this point in my life/job path and to get my foot in the door. Going back to my very first ever blog post here I had mentioned all my life plans and while some changed, some have not. The biggest change which is the cause for all the other changes officially commences Monday... I am officially a Grad Student!

I feel like everything has fallen into place the way I had hoped it would: getting out of an awful job, finding one I really like, and getting to go back to school and be the math dork that I am. My masters should take me 2 years to finish, and I get to work full time in the next building over while I do it, doesn't get much sweeter than that. Obviously the job brought about a few minor schedule changes (mostly for the better) but with school now thrown in AND football season starting, my marathon training is about to be overhauled.

Fall seems to be the time of year when everything fun happens: race season, football, weddings, trips, etc. Speaking of, everyone needs to go tell Penny that she needs to come with us to the wedding we are attending Labor day weekend! And if she does I will reward her with a 10k and a Coffee Spiked Varsity Milkshake at the finish line ;)

Running Changes:  With all these new things being added to my schedule I had to address the conflicts with my training plan. I have typically had Monday's and Tuesday's as "longer-ish"  weekday runs, Wednesday as track workouts which are usually shorter, and then Thursdays with whatever was left. Saturdays have always been long run days since I could move it to Sunday if something happened and I couldn't run Saturday for some reason.

So now I will have class on Tuesdays/Thursdays and Football on Saturdays meaning I will have much less time on all 3 of those days to run. So here is what I am going for the next 9 weeks

-Mondays will remain tempo days
-Tuesdays are becoming track day- yes I am nervous about 2 hard days in a row, but track days are much shorter and can be done on the treadmill (aka earlier or later if needed) the flexibility of this workout is why it is earning itself a new day:)
-Wednesdays will be my mid-week "longer-ish" easy run (7-10 miles) easy easy since I will have done 2 hard days in a row
-Thursdays are becoming rest/ cross training days depending on how I feel
-Fridays = Long Run Day! My work schedule is more flexible on Fridays so I can run before or after work, and it frees up my Saturdays as well.

-Saturday and Sunday- there will still be 2 Saturday long runs (races) before the marathon, and I left those 2 on Saturdays because they are A) races those days and the races either are my long run or at least part of my long run. and B) Those are away game Saturdays ;) Priorities People
All other non-race weekends will have a recovery run either Saturday or Sunday depending on what fits my schedule best that week.

So there you have it, my major plan changes! This week and next week will remain on the normal schedule, but the week of 8/30 will be the switcheroo, here's hoping it doesn't throw me off my game too much!

Not always Perfect

So I have put off posting about my last 2 runs because quite frankly, they suckded! I know that not every run can be perfect, or even good for that matter, but it was best I worked through these I think to get the funk out.

With my races last weekend I feel like my body was in shick, it had been way longer than usual since I had raced, and at paces I had never done before. I am used to running long, not fast, and I think my body wanted a few days to recover from it- oops.

Sunday I went to the gym to do weights which I hadn't done the week before. Normally I take it pretty easy on any leg weights because being sore and trying to run the following day is never a good plan, but my legs were already sore from the race, so I figured a little light weight lifting would still be helpful- wrong! My legs felt SO dead all week and I attribute a lot of ti to a missed week of weights and then starting again when I was already sore and tired. I then decided to do my 2 harder workouts this week on Monday and Tuesday, back to back AND not a long recovery after the races/lifting- by the time Wednesday came my legs were so tired I didn't even think I could run.

Wednesday I decided to go to spinning first and then I would run afterwards, it ended up being a good plan since my legs would be warm and loose, but since I was sitting and using different muscles they weren't too exhausted to run. So I headed out rigth after spinning, and dare I say it was almost pleasant out, it was overcast, only about 82 and there was a nice breeze. I was cranking right along making good time, when it started to rain.

Now I like to run in the rain, especially here in the heat capital of the world, it cools it off and makes the run usually down right fabulous, well the light rain got heavier, and heavier and heavier, when finally close to 2.5 miles I knew I needed to turn back, it was pouring and thundering (so lightning was somewhere) and it was just time to head back- you need to know when to call it, and it was time. I was supposed to be doing 6 miles, but due to the stupid rainstorm I only managed to get in 5 :(

So Thursday morning I got up and decided that no matter how awful my legs felt I was running in the morning because I did not want to be doing 8 miles after work. So I was out the door at my usual time, and I had 1 very strong motivator keeping me going

I have had these shoes sitting at home in the box for a couple of weeks now. Since I am really not enjoying my current pair I already had my next ones waiting in the wings, but figured since I paid for the bad pair I might as well get some use out of them. But Thursday morning my normal shoes were still soaking wet from my Wendesday night puddle run so I got a chance to pull out the new babies! I was hoping to save them for another 2 weeks but I figured 1 run wouldn't be a bad thing.

These shoes felt AMAZING! I have always had Asics but after the fiasco with my current pair, I was going for what I knew, and I had worn Mizuno's for volleyball and leisure my entire life so I was confident going back to this brand. I stayed away a bit when I first started running because they seemed a bit small and not very supportive, and as a slower, heavier, biomechanically retarded beginning runner I decided I needed more cushioning which is where the Asics came in.

If it was not for my new shoes I doubt I would have made it far on this run. I was planning to do 8 miles, but my legs were so tight/hateful that I never got warm/loose or comfortable, each mile felt like a battle against my legs and it was very frustrating. I made it to the 3 mile mark and had to take a break to stretch. I decided then that adding 2 more junky slow miles was not going to accomplish anything at this point, and took "quality" over quanity and ended it with 6 miles. I wouldn't call them 6 quality miles by any means, but adding 2 more would have made this an even less-quality run. Even though my legs felt like death, my feet felt great and it leaves me super excited to start rotating these shoes is in a couple of weeks.

So there you go, the running update, the good, bad, and ugly. I took today to rest/stretch/foam roll and it was painful to stretch/roll this morning so I figure I needed it. I am hoping to make up the missed miles + some in a recovery run on Sunday, but we will see how the long run treats us:)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I loathe 800s

Happy Hump Day everyone! I am finding that morning blogging fits best into my new schedule, and yet again morning running is not, boo:(

Heading back to last night, I decided to do today's track workout last night since Monday was easier than usual and because I knew I would be doing spinning today and Sprints + spinning within 12 hours is pretty tough and I feel like 1 or both workouts start to suffer.

It worked out well to move up the track workout, I was feeling pretty ADD and the constant change of speeds kept me interested. 6x800 was on the schedule, 800s are my least favorite, but I knew I needed to do them, since I always find some way to replace it with other distances. I really do hate them, they are not short enough to just sprint until its over and you die, and they aren't quite long enough to slow it down and focus on pacing yourself, its such a wierd balance!

I made sure to get in a decent warm-up before I started, and also knew I would be increasing my paces. Since my race this past weekend I have come to realize that I can run faster than I thought, and especially during these workouts I should really be pushing myself more. Previously my goal times were 1:51 for 400s, 3:55 for 800s and about 8:00 for 1200 and 1600s. Clearly I can do more than this, and the closeness of times from 800 to 1600 was too close, so a change was made.

At first I went a little crazy thinking I could/should hit 3:40 for all 6, well after 1 I knew that was not going to happen, so I backed it off a little and found a happy medium: 3:48, going forward that will be my goal time for all 800s.

Tonight I did  6 Miles- 51:35 (8:36 avg pace- those sprints make me look fast, ha!)
1 mile warm-up= 9:40
6x800 with 400RI:
-3:40 (too fast to keep up for 5 more)
1/2 mile cool down

These definitely wore me out, but I think with more accurate pacing on the next try I can do 3:47-3:48 which would be nice. In a few weeks I will be built up and doing 10x800 or the Yasso 800 recipe for prediction of my marathon finish time. I am beginning the think based on my times that he is crazy, or that maybe he forgot to say add 10 minutes to what this time tells you.

I also took some of my race times from this past weekend and plugged them into McMillan Running Calculator to see what it spit out for me for a marathon finish time- pretty interesting I will say.

Off to be productive for the day, I have some big plan changes to discuss later!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ten Things Tuesday

Happy Tuesday Y'all, I am back from my little blog hiatus! It has been a super busy week so far, and it's only Tuesday!

1.  I  first want to thank everyone for all the congrats and kind words on my race this weekend, it was a really exciting weekend for me!

2.  For all runners out there, I just want to throw out my two-cents: Speedwork really works! Getting in 2 sessions a week (usually a tempo and a track workout) has made a HUGE difference in my race times! I am hoping the benefits will also emerge as we head into fall race season and all of my longer distance races.

3.  Now that this race series is behind me, it has finally hit how close it is getting to the marathon. At the end of this week, I will be half way through my training for Marathon #1, crazy! I feel like it all just started!

4.  Going into this week, with 10 weeks to go, I was on a major mission to focus on cleaning up my eating. I don't really eat bad, but have had more than my fair share of indulgences the last month or so, and it is certainly not conducive to helping me run and run faster, so operation stop eating crap started this week.

5. Ideally I would like to lose 6-8lbs by race day, that should (might) give me a couple extra minutes to work with too. And with all the mileage that is about to occur I see no reason why I can't do this, I feel like everyone is so carefree during the summer (myself included) its about time for it to be fall, and get back to my more disciplined self.

6. Onto Running, yesterday (Monday) I woke up sore, mostly from doing weights on Sunday, not the race. I was supposed to do 7M with 4 @8:30. BOOOOO! I did not want to get out of bed, so I slept in and decided to run after work. I scratched the tempo instantly, my body was no where near fresh enough to do it, and I figured I got in 2 tempo runs over the weekend so it would be ok. I decided to make it a progression run, I didn't do as nice as I would have liked with the whole negative splits this weekend so, time to get back to it.

7. Monday Night = 7 Miles- 1:03:48, 9:06 average pace.
Once I started with the progression I decided that I wanted the last 3 miles to be at my goal half marathon pace (9:05)
Mile 1-  9:40
Mile 2-  9:25
Mile 3-  9:18
Mile 4-  9:06
Mile 5-  9:01
Mile 6-  8:51
Mile 7-  8:29

8.  It took me until mile 4 to finally wake up and feel like I was in control rather than on auto-pilot. The last 3 miles felt great, and made sure to put in a little extra effort, and hit the last 2 well below my half marathon pace. I felt like the last few miles really took it from being an easy or average run to a more quality one, adn I was happy to get that in considering I didn't think I would.

9.  Today = 8 miles, to be done again after work, I am not sure how I want to break this one up yet, but do something at least moderately challenging and interesting, any ideas?

10.  For all you Cold Weather Runners out there: We are planning a trip this winter to somewhere very cold, and I will need to obtain some warmer running attire soon. The coldest I have ever run in is maybe 35*, we are looking at colder than that. What is your favorite cold-weather running garmet that I probably need to go buy????? And also where to buy because you know I can't find it down here in the State of the constant inferno!!!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tour de Pain- Part 3

So onto part 3, the final leg of the Tour de Pain series! In all honesty, I was absolutely terrified about the 1 Mile porion of this race. I have never just run 1 mile, and certainly never raced 1 mile, so I was nervous about my abilty to hold a decent pace for a mile.

John went with me and we headed downtown early to watch each of the 4 heats go off and see the finishers of each as I warmed up. My only goal was to finish 1 mile in uner 8 minutes. When I do 1600s during my track workouts I work to make it around 7:55 so I was hopeful that I would make it, but despite, my fresh legs for the first 2 races, I was starting to feel it by the time race #3 rolled around.

When I lined up at the start line, I got as close to the front as I could, only about 2 rows back, and I vowed to hold on to that group for dear life, and if I could this would be the fastest, most painful 7:xx minutes of my life.

I started off really quick, and kept waiting to crash, but when I hit the 1/2 mile point and I was still alive, I finally let myself look at my Garmin and I saw 6:xx, OMG! I never in my wildest dreams thought I had a shot at a sub-7:00 minute mile, before the start I was doubting a sub-8:00, but my watch was saying otherwise. I pushed with what I had at the time, with about .2 to go, I realized I could make it in under 7 minutes. I worked hard the whole race to channel my inner Penny and beat 7 minutes which seemed more and more possible with each passing second.

By the skin of my teeth (again) I finished in under 7:00 minutes and I have never been so proud of anything in my life! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I could run a mile in under 7 minutes, and now I am already plotting to break 6:00 the next time I try this. Races like this are what leave me yearning more and coming back through all the pain (which there was plenty of today).

So to recap the Tour de Pain race series- it was Awesome! I finished all 3 races (8.1 Miles) in 1:08:19 or an 8:26 pace, pretty impressive. I really enjoyed this challenge, and was able to set a PR and beat my goals for all 3 parts of this race. I have a bit more confidence going into the last 10 weeks of this training cycle, and I am certain my pain threashold is a bit higher now.

Despite finishing 5th in the first 2 parts of the race, I finished 3rd in my age group for the overall race seried, I was floored to see this, and even skipped the awards ceremony last night for a movie because I was convinced I had finished no higher than 4th. I was pleasantly surprised to learn I had finished 3/38, that is the not me at all, but I was SO happy to see that! This morning I also got a text that their was a picture of me in the paper from the race! There is a shot of me stopping my Garmin at the end of my 1 mile race in today's paper titled " Run 'Til it Hurts" it was a good close up shot, and it pretty much made my day! So for those out there looking for a fun race series, this was it- 3 Races, 90 degrees, in 24 hours- Awesome!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tour de Pain- Part 2

The 5k which was part two of the Tour de Pain is finished, and another PR is had!

This piece of the race was the part I was most nervous about for sure. The other 2 distances were automatic PR's and while I have time goals for them, I feel the 4M and 1M races held a little less pressure. I would be coming off of tired legs this morning with less than a 12 hour turn-around, and hoping all my marathon training would be enough to help me set a PR.

My alarm went off at 5am, I got up, ate my new favorite pre-run breakfast: a peanut butter and banana waffle-wich. As I was getting all my things together and getting ready I was suprised how good my legs felt, it was as if I hadn't even raced last night. I think the stretch+foam roll+ ice combo did wonders- I can only imagine the benefit if I actually did that after every run.

I headed over to Mandarin where this race was, and arrived at 7am, it was already packed and people were out in full force warming-up. I quickly scrambled to finish putting myself together and did a solid 2 mile warm-up, my legs felt good, I threw in some pick ups to get in some turnover, and headed over to the start with about 5 minutes to go. I was super sweaty already, and the sun was starting to get higher. I am normally done with my long runs by 7:30, so starting at 7:30 was a little less than thrilling, but it wasn't as hot as it has been some mornings.

The gun went off, and I started off not looking at my watch and settling in to what felt like a good pace, I looked down a bit before the mile mark and saw it was at 8:17, a little faster than I had expected, but I was not going to slow down, I was laying it all out for this race.
Mile 1- 8:19

They actually had 2 water stations within mile 2, one was just after the 1 mile mark, and the other right before the 2 mile mark. I grabbed water only from the 2nd one, but the 1st one caused a traffic jam, and I lost my 8:15 pace, boo :( Somewhere in the middle of this mile my lungs started to burn again, but my legs felt great, they were handling the pace just fine. I told myself that if I could PR (beat 26:41) then I didn't have to do my cool-down miles since increasing my lactate threashold would be more valuable than junk miles at this point. So I kept going, hanging around an 8:30 pace, listening to my legs and not my lungs.

Mile 2- 8:30

The last mile there were several turns, and the road way narrowed causing some congestion, I found myself bobbing and weaving and hopping up on curbs and such to get around some people who were crashing. It felt good to be able to pass so many people in the last mile, and especially within the last half mile. I felt good going into the last .1 and knew I would have my PR, now I was going for sub-26:00

Mile 3- 8:28

As we made the left turn right past the 3 mile mark, towards the finish line, I saw 2 guys right in front of me and mission #1 was to pass them. The first guy was easy, but dude #2 put up a fight, he seemed to have some ego issues getting passed by a chick. I had no patience for ego this morning, so I just kicked it up, lengthened my stride and left dude #2 behind.

.11- :40 (6:12 pace) Garmin Lies! It felt more like 7:20ish pace

3.11 Miles - 25:59, 8:23 avg pace. I made the sub-26:00 goal by the skin of my teeth, but it counts!

Today they used chip timing, and my official time matched Garmin at 25:59, I love it when I do it right! IT feels great to have a new 5k PR and 2 PR's in 2 days, I had been on the hunt for that 25:xx 5k for months so it's nice to see the work pay off. I came home, stretched, rolled, iced, and then took Peachie out for a 2.5 mile run/walk. Even though I didn't need the cool-down, I was itching to run more, my legs felt that good! We kept it easy since it was hot by this point and did the 2.5 miles in about 35 minutes- pretty good for her short little legs.

I am off to keep my feet up and do this again this afternoon! I am hoping for anything sub-8:00 tonight, please pray for me!

Tour de Pain- Part 1

1 Race down 2 to go! Last night was the first part of my 24 hour race series this weekend. I haven't raced in 2 MONTHS so it felt to get out there again, I feel like I will have gotten my racing quota in once this weekend is over.

This first race was a 4 miler scheduled for 7:30pm, at the beach. I have only run on the beach once, and it was so much better than I had expected that I wasn't super worried about this race. John went with me out to Jax beach, and I did a 2 miles warm-up.

While it was warm, it was not nearly as hot as I expected since some early afternoon rain had cooled it off a tad and left us with some clouds and a nice breeze :)

The 4Miler would be based off of gun time, not chip time since they didn't want to lug all the mats out onto the sand, so I squished as far forward as I could, and only ended up with a 3 second difference between my Garmin and the clock, I thought I did pretty good. The course was 2 miles out, 2 miles back which was great because for most of the middle you always have someone running opposite you.

I have never done a 4 mile race, so a guaranteed PR was there, but I wanted to finish at 35 minutes, that would be an 8:45 average pace. So I started a little fast (what else is new) but was able to pull it back under control and stay focused, after all I have 2 more races, and hopefully 2 more PR's to hit today.

Mile 1- 8:43

I was pleasantly surprised how much the softer surface helped my legs, they felt great the whole time, I should probably consider running on the sand more often, except its messy. At about mile 1.4 the leaders flew by, and gave me a nice push of adreneline to make sure I was keeping my pace where it needed to be. They had the water station set-up right at the turn-around point making for a HUGE mess and some serious slow-downs, I ended up running wide just to try and avoid it- no such luck, it hurt my pace a little, but still hit where I needed to be.

Mile 2- 8:45

I told myself mile 3 should be right at 8:45 pace, I needed to hold back a bit here to make sure I had enough to finish strong. This mile ended up being my fastest to that point, it just started to come more naturally, and I was thinking about all the people still going out that I was passing and what were they out there running for. Before I knew it, we were on to mile 4.

Mile 3- 8:38

From mile 3-3.5 I started to tire a little bit, my lungs were starting to talk about how done they were, and the finish seemed quite far away. However my pace was looking good, so I just reminded myself a mile was nothing compared to what I have been doing, and I started to pick people off. It was pretty easy, and I passed 6 people before finally catching sight of the finish line, and my final victim. I pick people usually based on clothes, something bright or noticeable, and tonight it was pink skirt girl. I was a bit behind her and managed to catch her as Garmin beeped at 4 miles

Mile 4- 8:27

The course was long, big suprise! If it had been right on, I would have finished in 34:35,(8:38 pace) oh well, such is life.
Pink skirt obviously saw that I was trying to pass her and she tried to push ahead, we got to the point where she and I changed the lead at least 6 times. In the end I think she beat me by about 3 seconds, oh well, she definitely made me run faster :)

.1 - 43 seconds (7:07 pace) really???

4.1 Miles- 35:18, avg pace 8:36
So my final finish time was 35:18, a little over what I wanted, but not bad considering the long course, and something I think I can beat with my next 4 miler (Sept. 18th) especially since I won't be holding back either.

After the race, we immediately headed home where I stretched, rolled, iced, and could not sleep- SO unlike me! I woke up this morning to suprisingly fresh seeming legs, we will see.

Now I am off for the 5k- probably what will be the toughest part- I am REALLY wanting a PR here, so we will see if it's possible on a 12 hour turn around.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Christmas Week

Happy Hump Day! I have been mixing it up all over the place this week, but it has been like Christmas for me, and there is nothing better than Christmas in the summer. I have had 3 packages come in for me this week, it has been so fun! Several running related things, a fun new lunch bag, and this huge beauty...

That's right, almost 3 years after I graduated from college I finally have my diploma framed! I have been begging everyone for a diploma frame for every holiday since my graduation, and John bought it for me for my birthday this year! It came today and was sitting waiting for me when I came home! It is a lot bigger than I thought it would be, but it is beautiful and continued with my Christmas-like week of presents!

Now onto the running portion of the program! Since this is a cut-back week, and a race week, My schedule was to run Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and then race Friday and Saturday. Well with my new daily schedule and a decent amount of time on my hands, plus my need for constant activity I knew I would not be ok with just sitting still on a Thursday- no way! So I decided to split my easy Tuesday run in half and do half on Tuesday and half on Thursday.

Tuesday - 4 miles in 37:14, 9:18 average pace, I found it easy to start out quick when I knew I didn't need to pace myself for over an hour.

Wednesday- 7 miles in 1:02:37, 8:56 average pace.
I was just not feeling the track, so I headed to the gym to get in some speedwork on the treadmill. Once I started my warm-up I had this overwhelming desire to do some pick-up miles instead of the 800s on my schedule so I figured why not, since I wasn't taking a full rest day, it was probably best not go balls to the walls with 6x800.

Instead of the 6 miles I ended up doing 7, it just felt great at that point I was working with a new plan. I really wanted to a medium distance today and run consistently not all the stop and start of normal speedwork. I decided I would alternate a quicker mile and then a recovery mile, with the first pick-up at 5k pace and then getting faster with each one.

Mile 1-  9:44
Mile 2-  8:29
Mile 3-  9:28
Mile 4-  8:16
Mile 5-  9:16
Mile 6-  8:05
Mile 7-  9:19

I really enjoyed this run, after the short distance yesterday I was ready to get back to my 60+ minutes of running, I am actually kind of nervous about these short races this weekend, I don't really like running short anymore- never thought I would say that!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Wonderful Monday

Happy Monday y'all! My week has started off wonderfully, so hopefully we can carry these positive vibes through the rest of the week. We picked up our season football tickets this morning, and I am sooo excited for this upcoming football (and race) season!

I got up for my run this morning and it was H-O-T even more so than usual, the heat index was already at 90 at 5am. It was the usual tempo Monday, but today's tempo looked a little different
8 miles- 2 easy, 2 @8:30, 2 easy, 2 @8:25

I was really amped up for this run, I knew it would fly by since it was broken down into such small parts, and I was right!

8 Miles- 1:11:20, avg pace 8:55
Mile 1-  9:46
Mile 2-  9:31
Mile 3-  8:30
Mile 4-  8:29
Mile 5-  9:24
Mile 6-  8:24
Mile 7-  8:22
Mile 8-  9:14

I didn't do so well with the whole slow down and take a break in the middle thing, so I only did 1 mile before picking it up again. The 2 miles at 8:25 were tougher than I thought they would be, but I got them done. I enjoyed this run, and it was nice to crank out 8 miles before work and have it feel natural, much better than my start to last week.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Hi y'all! I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend, mine started this morning with only 1 goal in mind...
Redmeption, I was going to own this run today and show last weeks 15 who is boss. Mission Accomplished.

In hopes of avoiding the major catastrophe that occured last weekend, I decided that a few changes needed to be made to help ensure a strong run. I opted for a little differnt pre-run meal in hopes of getting a little more energy, I have been doing a poor job of fueling the last few weeks, and I really need to get it corrected. Also, instead of using the new route I did last weekend, I stuck with my old faithfuls: 10 mile out-and-back and a 6 mile loop. I love these routes, I know them well, I run them all the time, I don't crash on these routes, so I hoped the familiarity would help keep me strong.

So per usual I was up at 4 and out by 5. The run was already broken down into 3 parts, 5/5/6, and I needed to do at least 6 miles at 9:30 pace or lower. The first 5 were easy, I worked to keep them as easy as possible, and slowed myself down once or twice to try and keep some energy to finish strong unlike last week. These five were good, steady, and conservative, a perfect run thus far.

Mile 1-  9:58
Mile 2-  9:58
Mile 3-  9:58
Mile 4-  9:57
Mile 5-  9:51

I had decided to have a bottle of gatorade interspearsed with my water this morning. I felt myself needing to drink less to feel hydrated and the gatorade kept my energy level high, it was wonderful, and I will be using it every long run from now on. I was able to pick up the pace for the next 5 miles back to the starting point, and it was the confidence I needed at that point.

Mile 6-  9:38
Mile 7-  9:40
Mile 8-  9:24
Mile 9-  8:58 --> Not quite sure what happened here, but it came naturally
Mile 10-  9:15

After Mile 10 I stopped to refill my water and take a gu, I was worried it was what caused last weekend's stomach issues, but no problems today. It definitely gave me the energy for the last 6 and I actually noticed it starting to fade at about 5.5, good to know it was working and help give me a good time parameter as to how frequently I should actually be taking them.

I actually did the first 10 miles with no ipod- too dark and scary, so I was excited to actually get a distraction for the last 6 miles. Since I ideally want my goal pace miles to be at 9:30 or less I told myself I needed to get 3 more in under 9:30 pace to have a true success. Despite tired legs at this point, I nailed the last 6, once I got started it took a few minutes to get back to speed, but I just kept going, because I knew once I stopped I would not be able to start again.

Mile 11-  9:42
Mile 12-  9:34
Mile 13-  9:20
Mile 14-  9:31
Mile 15-  9:27
Mile 16-  9:13

16 Miles- 2:33:24, 9:35 avg pace
This 16 mile run was literally only 1 minute slower than my 15 mile run last weekend- the difference between success and failure, and I consider today to be a huge success. This has been my longest run ever, and I managed to hit all miles at the times I wanted and finished with 11 miles at/below my hopeful marathon pace.

Sweet Redemption is mine, I feel a small bout of confidence now for my next step up in 2 weeks. Now time to start focusing on my race for next weekend.

Friday, August 6, 2010

1 Year Ago Today...

This morning when I pulled up the calendar and noticed today's date, it was a day that reminded me of what is now a milestone in my life, and after today, that date will probably fade from memory, but for those who don't know, this is really the day that changed my whole life.

A year ago to the day (August 6, 2009) John and I headed out on our first "training run" trying to build up some experience so we didn't look like Losers doing our first 5k in October 2009. The goal that day was to do 3 miles- It didn't all have to be running, but we had to do it, and we had to survive.

That week we were in OBA with my family on our only vacation of the year and for the Kenny Chesney concert that same night. I remember that morning when we woke up John immediately got dressed and headed out to run, I on the other hand stayed in bed until finally giving in that I was awake and I was going to have to do this. I put on some sneakers, not even running shoes, and all cotton clothes and headed out the door into the heat of summer in an attempt to prove something to everyone, and most of all, to myself.

Since John was ahead of me, I got on the main road and attempted to catch up, or at least do something productive until he found me. It was August: it was hot, humid, sunny, muggy and everything else that you would never want to run in. I was dripping sweat within a half mile, and shortly after stopped to walk and cathc my breath before pushing on. But something changed during this almost 45 minute outing, I learned to push myself in hopes of achieving something I had never done before. To this day I can tell you without a doubt, that was the most miserable run of my life, but it left me craving more.

That run made we want to train for my first race, to show that I could commit to something and see it through. To do something that I had wanted to do, and decided to do all on my own. It wasn't going to be pretty or easy (it was neither) but it was going to be mine, and for the first time in almost 2 years I felt like I had found something that could be just mine again.

I ran that first 5k in just under 36 minutes, I was hooked, and have not looked back since. Fast forward now to 365 days later: this journey has been an amazing one, and it is no where near over. That one little run changed my life in so many ways. Sure I am healthier, faster, and have found myself a new hobby, but I am happier and more confident in myself and my goals than I ever have been, and I give all the credit to my new friend running!

Somewhere in those first few months of starting out I learned to work through the things that were bothering me, and the time alone gave me what I needed to think through all the things I wanted to do and wanted to change. I have made A LOT of changes in the past year, too many to even remember, but I am in such a better place for it. I know this is kind of sappy and heavy, especially for a Friday blog post, but certain things (or dates) just make you think.

So to my new running self, Happy 1 year anniversary! It has been a whirlwind of (mostly) fun, and to many more years out on the roads! See you Saturday after my 16 miler...

Spoke Too Soon

It's Friday, I am super excited for the weekend here, and mine starts in just a few hours! On Wednesday I had a great day, fell naturally into my new schedule, and began to thing that the whole 'changing my life around' process was going to be easy, well clearly I spoke too soon!

Yesterday (Thursday) I could not drag my butt out of bed to make it out to the track before the sun came up, boo! When I finally did get up at about 5:30 I was left to do my speedwork on good old TM. It actually was a nice visit, and considering my energy level was low, it was nice to have something forcing me to do the interval when I probably would have sucked it up on my own.

I had 8x400 on the schedule- hoping to get my legs nice and perky for my race series next weekend. Also to stay on track for the week I needed to get in at least 5 miles, no biggie there, I did 6 :)
Goal times for the 400s were

6 Miles - 52:10, 8:41 average pace (don't let this fool you, those 400s make me look fast)

1 Mile Warm-up- 9:45
8x400 - (1:53, 1:52, 1:51, 1:51, 1:49, 1:48, 1:48, 1:46), 400 RI between each
1 Mile - 8:50

Originally I figured I would do a nice easy cool down last mile, then I thought since I had some energy (finally) I would do a hard 1600 to see what I had. As I was getting ready to adjust the speed neither sounded appealing so I settled on doing 1 mile at my goal half marathon pace- beat it by 10 seconds, and probably could have done the 1600, oh well. I am happy with a hmp mile, I need to get used to that too!

So that brings us to today, Friday. I woke up wanting to run, I had nothing on the schedule, normally Friday's are a rest day, but I went with it. I decided a short and easy recovery run would be fine, and I decided to do something I haven't done since Garmie came into my life, I ran without my watch!!! I didn't really need to keep any pace, and actually it was probably best if I went slow since I have a redemption long run planned for tomorrow after last weeks Major FAIL! I decided that 30 minutes or so of leg loosening would be perfect so I set out on my go-to neighborhood route to do about 3miles. It was freeing to run without Garmie, but certainly not anything I would want to do regularly. It was nice to go with my mood today and just run because I wanted to, the little ones like this keep me rejuvenated for all the rest of my training.

Because I know this route like the back of my hand, I know that I ran about 3.2 miles so a nice short recovery run, I don't remember the last time I just ran 3 miles, it felt so quick I was just getting warmed up! Off to get ready for the weekend, lots to do around here!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Back in the swing of things

Happy Hump Day!!! So three days into a new routine, and I already feel like it is second nature. I thrive with routine and structure (lame, I know) but having an irregular one the last couple of weeks was kind of wearing on me, and made the start of this week a little rough, I am happy to feel back to normal.

The alarm went off at the usual 5am, and I was wide awake, my legs felt a bit tired, but I don't remember the last time they didn't feel at least a little sluggish. The hardest part of morning running for me is the whole getting up part, so the fact that I was awake so easily made it cake to get out the door this morning.

Today I opted to the the 7 easy, and it ended up being another progression run, and went pretty well.

7 Miles- 1:05:22, average 9:20 pace
Mile 1-  9:48
Mile 2-  9:39
Mile 3-  9:27
Mile 4-  9:20
Mile 5-  9:11
Mile 6-  9:03
Mile 4-  8:53

I felt great after the first 2 miles, it seems to be my obligatory warm-up now, and just felt myself wanting to push more and more with each mile. I probably could have handled the speedwork today if I had done a solid warm-up, but I will remember that for tomorrow!

Off to catch up on my dvr with some fresh baked cookies!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Monday Rewind and 10 Things (miles) Tuesday

Hello all it's Tuesday, and I have plenty to say! I went MIA yesterday with lots else going on: I started my new job yesterday, and it was John's birthday, that was really all I had time for yesterday.

Monday morning I woke up with my 5am alarm and made the powerful decision to skip my run, AH! I didn't even try, I knew I would fail, my hip was hurting and my legs were fried, plus I wanted to sleep. I did not stretch at all after my 15 miler on Saturday- HUGE mistake. While I felt fine all day Sunday, waking up on Monday was not good. It really reinforced how important the whole stretch, foam roll, ice process is a quick recovery and continuing to build my mileage.

My planned week-day runs for the week were 8-7-6-5, a really nice step down going through the week, so I decided that rather than run 5 days in a row this week, I would try something a little crazy and attempt to hit all 26 miles in just 3 days instead of 4- might be a bit adventurous, and I may end up getting the rest in Friday, but I figured why not play around with it.

So that brings us to Tuesday, and another birthday, Happy Birthday to my little sister Brookie! I woke up this morning knowing I was needing to get a minimum of 8 miles in. Well with my new schedule, it has me waking up early and moving immediately with the alarm, the last few weeks I have actually been at home while waiting for my start date at this new job, so I would get up leisurely, eat a little something and then go, I forgot how taxing it can be to just get up and go with no down time. I was seriously lacking in the energy department when I started this morning, and even though it's Tuesday, I was planning to do yesterday's 8 mile progression, starting at 9:30 pace and dropping 10 seconds each mile.

I made the decision within the first mile when I saw I wasn't going to hit 9:30 in the first mile, that I would still do a progression dropping 10 seconds per mile from wherever I started, and also decided I wanted more mileage today, and I would do a double.
So today was 10 Miles Tuesday!

AM Run: 6 miles- 56:15, avg pace 9:22; easy progression run
 Mile 1-  9:55
 Mile 2-  9:42
 Mile 3-  9:31
 Mile 4-  9:20
 Mile 5-  9:08
 Mile 6-  8:59

After I finally got warmed up about mile 4, I contemplated going for the full 8, but decided I would stick with the original plan. I did the job of dropping 10+ seconds per mile, and more than likely could have done the full workout, but I was lacking energy, hungry, and worried I would be late so I left the rest for tonight.

Even though I managed to get in a decent 'speedier' run this morning, it still felt like an easy run to me, so I decided this evening I would do a mini tempo run to make today a really strong day from all aspects, and get some quality miles in not just running miles for the sake of miles. It felt great to have an evening run again, I haven't done too many recently, and especially after a busy day at work, it was great just to get out and clear my head, this really has me tempted to be running doubles every day, it felt so good!

PM Run: 4 Miles- 36:22, 9:05 avg pace;  mini tempo run
 Mile 7-  9:45
 Mile 8-  8:50
 Mile 9-  8:28
 Mile 10- 9:19

If my legs feel good, and the energy is there I will do my planned speedworkout tomorrow as usual, if not I will do an easy run of 7 miles and do the speedwork on Thursday. I am excited to see how this week plans out, despite opting out of a run, it has turned out pretty fabulous!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Questionable Decision + July Stats Recap

So I had 15 miles on my schedule for Saturday, I had been really excited about this run too, it was venturing into new distance territory for me, and I really felt it would start differentiating true marathon training from anything I had done up until this point.
Well the alarm went off at 4am on Saturday, per ususal, and I kind of stumbled out of bed. Sometimes it takes me 10-15 minutes while I eat to fully wake up, but I was never able to get to the point where I felt ready. I felt exhausted physically and did not have any mental energy to pump myself up for this task.

When the clock rolled over to 4:30a I knew I didn't have it, and if I did get myself out the door, I knew I would be back home before I ever saw 5 miles. I made the decision right then to do what I knew I needed and go back to bed. I slept for another 3 hours!!!! Clearly my body knew what it was talking about and needed the extra rest. Once I woke up again, and John and I got to our plans for the day, it occured to me that I would actually have the opportunity to run later Saturday night rather than wait until Sunday, so I made the plan in my head that I would run once we got home.

I attempted to fuel and hydrate as best as possible, but hindsight being 20/20 I did not do a good job AT ALL. At first I was thinking that moving my run back by about 14 hours was a brilliant decision, it rained all afternoon and cooled it off to 79 degrees (even cooler than it was at 4am) and it was late enough after the rain storm that the humidity had broken up and made the weather actually quite nice. While there came some perks from moving this run, it is still questionable if it was really a good decision, and things pretty much fell apart the further I went.

I started this run right as 8pm as the sun was starting to go down, and was really exited to try my new route that I skipped last weekend. I was hoping to do the 15 miles as 5M easy, 5 @ goal pace, 5M easy, and I was pumped and ready to go when I set out.

The first 5 miles flew by, there were some hills on this new route, but I easily kept about a 9:55 pace for the first 5 miles with no thought or notice, it left me pumped for the next 5 as I was feeling primed and ready to hit them. Well I did the first of the 5 miles at goal pace in 9:26 so a little under, but right before Garmie beeped at mile 6 I started to get a nasty stomach cramp, it was painful, and I thought I needed some Gu, it had been a while since I had eaten and I was planning to push it pretty hard.

Well after mile 6 finished, John had come to find me and test out his new bike light. We stopped briefly while I contemplated Gu and let the cramp fade and then I took off again deciding I would wait until mile 10 to take the gu. Miles 6-10 were decent, not at goal pace but not far off of it. 9:35, 9:42,9:51, 9:37 for the next 4 miles. I still felt capable at this point, but knew I was not going to have strong splits like the last 2 runs I have had, so I vowed to stay strong, push when I could and keep it under 9:59.

My favorite shell station was just past mile 10 where I took my gu and refilled my water. I felt SO dehydrated at this point, probably because I was dumb and didnt hydrate much at all during the day, so I inhaled probably 20-30 ounces of water during this break- Huge mistake, but it all happened so fast.

Once I started moving again for the last 5 I felt like death: my legs hurt, I was tired, my stomach felt off, and I just plain wanted to be finished. John stayed with me the whole way, and I told him, I was doing this run 1 mile at a time, and truly focusing on just that 1 miles, if I thought about what I had left I knew I would fall apart.

I made it to mile 11 pretty respectably, still under 9:59, but as soon as I got past there, my stomach cramp returned, and even worse then before. I knew it was not going to end well, but I just had to keep going, I had to get home. Somewhere during the next mile I stopped to puke in the bushes in front of the fancy Country Club, I'm sure they appreciated it. I tried really hard to make it up to the Walgreens at our final turn, but you don't really get to chose when the gu just ate wants to come back up- not cool!

At the turn at the Walgreens I caught up to John and told him I had ruined my time when I had to stop, but I was over time at that point. He offered up a short cut that would have us stopping at about 13.5 rather than 15, but I figured since the quality of this run had gone to shit, the only thing I had left going for me was to hit the full distance, so I made the right at the Walgreens and vowed to make it the full 15.

Well with abotu 1.5 miles to go and back on my normal everyday route, I started to pick it up again in hopes of finishing strong and at goal pace. Well I made myself puke again, at least this time into a ditch, and finished the last mile at 9:52 about where I started.

This run sucked, just flat out kept getting worse the further I went. It started good, then was fine, and ended on a pretty sour note. The stomach issues definitely ruined this run, I think I would have been great had those not flared up, and I think the change in schedule and eating/drinking routine pre-run is what really contributed to that. I am content that I did the full 15 miles despite all that happened, and leaves me optimistic going into next weeks 16M that it truly can only get better. After so many good runs, this very much humbled me that I have to work to make every run good because it certainly will not always be the case.

Onwards and Upwards, going into week 7 next week, and 12 weeks to go! My legs felt stiff when I first got up today, but otherwise have been fine all day, good to know they could handle the work. With that being said, this was my last run of July, it turned out to be an impressive month for me, I had a lot of great runs (this last one not included)

July 2010 Stats Recap

Total Miles Run: 162

This is my highest monthly mileage to date, and it has felt pretty good. Sure I have had my fair share of tiredness from it, but it has been a good building up for the next 2 months.

Highest Mileage week: 40 mpw- that would be this week, and it went pretty well. I hit all my paces and my legs handled the next big step pretty well.

Races: This is the first month in almost a year that I did not race :( I am making up for it I suppose by doing 3 races in August, actually 3 in one weekend, so I guess it will balance it out.

July has been a really solid month for me, I felt I got a lot of quality runs in, and I have felt the quality help tremendously! Now onto August and less than 90 days til the Marathon!!!!