Thursday, September 30, 2010

September 2010 Recap

Welcome to the last day of September, I can't believe how fast the last few months have flown by! I have quite a lot lined up for the month of October, I feel like it is the month I have been waiting for almost all year!

To Recap September:

I ran 166 total miles in September, a little less than August (175.2), but I was forced to take a few rest days so I am still really happy with how that turned out, huge leaps from where I was a year ago!

My longest run was 22 miles which you can read about here. It was challenging but such a confidence boost, and despite a rocky end to this month, I still feel prepared for my race.

No races this month- LAME! Don't worry, I will more than make up for it in the next 3 months.

Injury- So I have pretty much avoided this word for the last week or so because if I said it then it was true, but I have gone and pissed off my leg enough that is in full on rebellion mode. Since last week, my left inner calf/shin/ankle has been super tight and painful to run on, and even more painful to the touch. I have tried to back off as much as my competitive brain would allow, I have tried every pair of shoes I own (just in case it was the shoes, it's not) I have tried every different running surface, I ordered compression socks that I have practically lived in for the last week, and nothing has seemed to offer any relief except rest. It was bearable at first, and would only hurt while running or touching, but on Monday it went from pain while running to pain while sitting and doing nothing and a swollen ankle, it was time to bring in the professionals. After my run Tuesday which sucked most because I was slow and struggling not from lack of running ability, but from extreme inside shin pain, I knew I had to back off if I had hopes of hitting some of the race goals I have.

I have not run in 2 days, and have done spin class on top of cross training, mostly because I can't sit still. My leg already feels a little better, and went to see my fav NP this morning who confirmed what I suspected. She is a fellow runner with a similar build and similar training patterns, so I really trust her opinion. She confirmed it is not a stress fracture or all walking would hurt just as bad as running- this is most likely a posterior tendon/ligament strain on top of posterior shin splints.

The inside little orange area that says posterior shin splints is spot on with my pain, and the uber-tight muscle feeling she said is probably a stressed/inflammed tendon and/or ligament, most likely caused from the motion below

That's right, posterior injuries are apparently more common among runners who pronate- me! So there you have it, I can run, but I have to rest even more over the next 3 weeks than I had planned. She also recommended avoiding hills (which apparently aggrevate it more- who knew). I am supposed to ice twice a day (once after I run, and once at night) and stretch a lot lot lot more than I have been- seems easy enough.
I am good to do my race on Saturday, but cannot run until then. I have modified my plans from now until race day to ensure I am getting in a few quality runs, but not overly stressing my leg with unnecesary mileage. I really am glad that this is nothing too serious- it could be a lot worse, especially since I have been ignoring it, and I am optimistic that I will make it to the starting line just as confident in the training I put in and my abilities to finish my race the way I want to.

So September, a big month, but I am ready for the next best thing. Fall has officially set in thanks to a wave of non-stop rain this week. We now have highs of only 80* and a low the last few days of 70*, it makes me jealous not to run outside:( BUT... Saturday for my race the temperature at the start time is projected at 64* and overcast- DAMN, that's lucky, I am SUPER excited, and might actually have to wear a shirt for my race, we'll see!!!!!!

Now onto October, like I said there is a lot to look forward to:

Oct. 2nd- Half Marathon & My Daddy's Birthday!
Oct. 3rd- Jags vs. Colts get together
Oct. 6th- Richar'd Birthday
Oct. 9th- UF/LSU Football + family weekend
Oct. 16th- UF Homecoming
Oct. 23rd- Marathon!!!!!!
Oct. 25th- Granny's Birthday
Oct. 28th- Michele's Birthday
Oct. 29th-31st- Florida/Georgia Debauchery

As you can see I have a jam packed October- it is always the busiest month, made even better and busier by 2 races! I read today that is the most popular marathon month! Anyone else have any big plans for October?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Looking Ahead

I trust everyone had a nice weekend. Mine was fabulous and jam packed per the usual. Friday after work we headed south to start our football weekend. Saturday morning we were up and out the door early to head to campus to occupy prime tailgating real estate. I took advantage of the early hour and new scenery to get in a nice easy run.

I had planned out a nice route that ran all through campus, all the fun exciting parts that reminded me how much I miss being in college. There have been so many updates and renovations in the almost 3 years I have been gone, especially the addition of an indoor track at the campus gym makes me very jealous!

So Saturday was 6 Miles - 57:41 or 9:38 average pace.
There were some serious hills that I really never noticed before, but having to run up them was not easy, but good prep for my upcoming races. The rest of the day was spent visiting with family and tailgating with friends. The Gators finally came away with a respectable win, and we barely made it back to the house before I passed out after an exhausting day.

Sunday = lazy/errands/cleaning/ etc. Not much to report

Monday: today was supposed to be 9 mile tempo (1 easy, 3 @8:30, 1 easy, 3 @8:20, 1 easy) but as I am looking ahead to my race this weekend, I decided that I wanted to get in a "tempo" at my hopeful pace for this weekend, just to get my legs used to that pace since I very rarely hit it. I am usually running a little faster or slower, so the 9:00 minute range has somewhat fallen by the wayside during marathon training which honestly seems silly, I feel like I have slow/easy pace or super fast tempo pace, and nothing in between.

Since the pace was uber- comfortable, I didn't need the easy mile in the middle so this became an 8 mile goal pace run.

8 miles-  1:13:06, 9:08 average pace
Mile 1-  9:44
Mile 2-  9:05
Mile 3-  9:03
Mile 4-  9:01
Mile 5-  8:57
Mile 6-  8:55
Mile 7-  8:52
Mile 8-  9:29

This run was comfortable, and leaves me really feeling ready for my race this weekend. Even though I have done multiple long runs well over 13 miles, this is only my 2nd half marathon, and I am dying to see the effects of all the hard work I have been putting in over the last several months. Despite the fact that I have a race this weekend, I am really looking ahead to the marathon. The website is finally updated with all the final details and I find that I have a serious case of race brain, it is sure making it hard to finish this test that I have due this week.

PS.. Kara Goucher had her baby yesterday!!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Epic 16

Another long run down and only 3 more to go before the race. I think this long run was without a doubt the best one I have ever had! It was 16 miles of flawless perfection, it is actually a shame that this was not the race because I think I could have done some pretty epic things- hopefully whatever was going on returns on race day.

After many ridiculous fueling episodes that have taken place over the past few runs, I decided I needed to really isolate what was working and what wasn't. I decided I would drink no Gatorade while running and see if that has been the problem or if it has been the gu. I also used some old clif shot blocks I had laying around and they worked great, I may go back to more solid fuel like gu chomps or sport beans, these seem to work the best for me for whatever reason.
End Result: Mixing gu and Gatorade = disastrous. The gu on its own sat ok in my stomach, it gave me a cramp once or twice as it was being absorbed/digested, but I think I just took it too fast. I feel a lot better knowing I have resolved most of my fueling issues. I took my shot blocks at mile 6 and a gu at mile 11, that seemed to be the perfect timing too, so I think that is what I will continue to play off of.

So the run: I had 16 miles to do, and I wanted 12 at goal pace (9:30 or less) and I was hoping to get an insight as to how that felt so I could nail down a race plan for my half next weekend. The run went Flawlessly- literally, I would not change one thing, and ended with 14 miles at/under goal pace.

I did the first 2 miles easy before picking it up to goal pace. Despite a super hard track workout on Wednesday, my legs felt fresh and ready to go, they actually fell easier into my goal pace than the first 2 slower miles. I hadn't planned to pick it up much during my goal miles, I figured 9:20-9:30 max, but I kept wanting to do more and more, I kept it conservative though as to really see how well or long I could hold it.

The first11 Miles flew by with not a stop for anything, I fueled while running, and found I didn't use much water, so with no refill needed  I just kept going, my legs felt waaay too good to break my stride. Finally at mile 11, I stopped to grab a 2nd gu and more water. I was surprisingly also not as sweaty during those first 11 miles as I normally would be- fall perhaps?

I was SO ready to get back out for the last 5 miles after a great first 11, and to only have 5 miles left to do seemed like cake, especially after insanely long runs the last 2 weekends. The last 5 fell right back into the rhythm I had originally, and I finished, quick and strong, making sure I sped up a little for the last mile.

16 Miles- 2:30:31, 9:24 pace
Mile 1-  9:50
Mile 2-  9:48
Mile 3-  9:28
Mile 4-  9:23
Mile 5-  9:20
Mile 6-  9:18
Mile 7-  9:19
Mile 8-  9:26
Mile 9-  9:21
Mile 10-  9:17
Mile 11-  9:19
Mile 12-  9:30
Mile 13-  9:20
Mile 14-  9:22
Mile 15-  9:17
Mile 16-  9:13

It was such an amazing feeling to see under goal pace just rolling in with little thought behind it, I am feeling ready for this marathon finally, and with just 29 days to go!  Another football filled weekend on deck here, but I have another epic (hopefully) run planned as well! Hope everyone has a nice weekend!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

T-Minus 30 Days

That is right my friends, in exactly 30 days I will be somewhere in the middle of my marathon, Holy Shit! I am excited, anxious, nervous, and terrified all at the same time, and I think it is safe to say, all I really have been thinking about is running. Luckily I have a half marathon next weekend, and I think it is doing a good job of taking some of the focus off the big race and keeping me calm. All of the logistical details I have been putting off are now becoming priorities, yikes!

There are really only 2 weeks of real training left, and I have intentions of making those 2 really strong weeks. I am already getting a little paranoid about sick people. There have been several around the office and in class, and I have been super tired and a little stuffy which makes me nervous, because this is NOT a time when I can afford to be getting sick, so please keep your germs to yourself :)

So after Tuesday's run and leg pain, I decided to order a pair of the dorky looking recovery socks that I have seen so many runner's rave about

If the UPS man decides to be friendly, these babies will be waiting for me when I get home tonight, and I am excited to wear them post long run to see if they really do anything.

Back to Wednesday- track day. I had put in what I felt were some really fun looking track workouts for the last few weeks of training, and today brought some fun looking ladders.

1600, 1200, 800, 400, 400, 800, 1200, 1600, all with 400RI and making for a total of 7 miles.

Considering that my legs were questionable going into this run, I decided to drop 1 interval in favor of a longer an stronger warm-up to see how my leg felt before I took off doing something crazy. Despite my hatred for 800s, I actually dropped the last 1200, so the final workout looked like this:

1 Mile warm-up, 1600, 1200, 800, 400, 400, 800, 1600, w/ 400RI

1 Mile warm-up - 9:42, decent pace for a warm-up mile and my leg felt fine, so I decided to go for it

6 Miles of intervals- 49:02, 8:11 pace (Damn that looks fast, I'm not sure I have ever run that fast, but it sure does make my current 10k PR look like a joke, I might need to sign up for another race)

1600-  7:53
1200-  5:46   (7:45 pace)
800-    3:45   (7:30 pace)
400-    1:50   (7:18 pace)
400-    1:48   (7:14 pace)
800-    3:45   (7:30 pace)
1600-  7:50  

I was so happy after this run, like positively glowing. My goal was to hit the 2nd repeat equal to or faster than the first, and while I was tired, I just felt so focused, it was miraculous.

No leg pain whatsoever, it feels a little tight today, but nothing bad. I will actually be doing my run today after class tonight, and I am super excited for the rest of my week that I have planned, lots of fun stuff, including some really fun runs in my not so normal places- I'm excited!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Opinions Needed

So I'm back, I trust everyone had a nice weekend. I woke up Sunday feeling pretty much normal despite my long run on Saturday, and John and I even went and did a 4.5 mile walk up at Little Talbot Island. I definitely feel like I needed more sleep, which I made sure I got plenty of last night.

Monday I woke up with some strange tightness in my left calf/shin. It was super tight, and it hurt to touch, like really hurt, umm not cool! I honestly kept looking for a bruise that should have been there, but there wasn't one. With no idea what this was, and the fact that it didn't like to even stand, I called it a rest day, stretched, iced, you get the picture.

This morning I woke up with the goal of making up yesterday's missed tempo, but after my warm-up when I tried to increase my pace, the same spot on my left shin/calf started to hurt, so I backed off a bit. I told myself I would rather run the 8 miles a little slower than only be able to do 4 fast ones. So I slowed it down a bit and actually ending up feeling fine by the end, I think it was just something that needed to be worked out.

8 Miles- 1:15:13, 9:24 pace
Mile 1-  9:47
Mile 2-  9:36
Mile 3-  8:57
Mile 4-  9:14
Mile 5-  9:26
Mile 6-  9:17
Mile 7-  9:22
Mile 8-  9:34

In other news, I am looking for some opinions! Normally I have plenty to go around, but on this sensitive subject, all opinions are appreciated :)  Race Day Attire.

So let me start by saying that I am without a doubt the sweatiest female on the face of the planet, seriously...I soak through a dry-fit sports bra and shorts after just 8 miles. I am not talking about, "Oh there is some sweat on my clothes" type sweaty, like "Hi, I can ring out my shorts after just 8 miles and refil my entire waterbottle with the sweat from my shorts alone." It is a quite unfortunate problem to have, and it is really really disgusting. As you can guess, if I am that gross after 8 miles, I am like a fountain splashing sweat everywhere when we get up over the 15 mile mark, and it pretty much makes the idea of clothes annoying.

Although we are seeing small traces of this thing called fall, it is really no where in the neighborhood, so I am not at all banking on nice weather for my marathon. I have tried 2 different outfits for my long runs, and each have their pros and cons, and at this point I Honestly cannot decided which is the lesser of 2 evils. I want to do my last 2 long runs in what I plan to race in, so I can be used to it, so that is where the opinions come in.

I know there are very few people who actually sweat this much, but imagine the sweatiest you have ever been, then have someone dump a bucket of water over your head and think about what you would like to run in at that point:

Option 1:   Nike Pro Sports Bra + Nike Road Race Shorts

So this is my favorite outfit, and in some variation through the summer this is what I have run in every day.

Pro:  There is the benefit of just wearing a sports bra and not having to worry about sweating through a shirt within 10 minutes (which I easily do).
Con:   These shorts(or any non-spandex shorts) will be completey saturated by the 12 mile mark, maybe 15 if it is actually less than 70 degrees still. Once these shorts are soaked, they start sticking to my legs like wet paper towels which if you have never experienced is Very annoying! These are the shortest "loose fit" shorts I have, so they don't stick as bad as my tempos, but they still stick just fine. This has not caused any chaffing, so that is why I feel ok about this choice, but I wore these for my 22M this weekend, and the random suctioning to my leg was a little annoying.

Option 2:   Nike Pro Core Sleeveless Top + Nike Pro Shorts

This outfit was what I had originally thought I would run in, but with 80* temps still lingering, I'm not sure I can take it for 26.2 miles.

Pros: The shorts are stuck to you from the minute you put them on, so you don't have to worry about random sweaty shorts suctioning themselved to you at any given point during the last 10 miles. No chafing, no moving, these things stay put.

Cons: I do not have the rock hard physique of Kara Goucher, nor the confidence to wear teeny tiny spandex with just a sports bra in front of hundreds of strangers for 4 hours, so this option does require an actual shirt. The shirt being the problem. It will be completely drenched within 7-8 miles (and this is being conservative) and then it will be suctioned to me for the rest of the race. Being that I do sweat so much, I am pretty much used to that, but anytime you move the shirt, it peels off of you, and then re-suctions. While this shirt actually does a really good job of styaing put, I am afraid that every time I reach for a gu it will come un-suctioned and again be annoying. Not to mention, a super soaked shirt is more likely to cause under-arm chafing than a pair of shorts.

So I leave you with my conflict, what do you think will be the lesser of 2 evils???

Saturday, September 18, 2010

22 Miles

So today was the first of the 22 Milers that had been taunting me from the start of training. 22 Miles had really seems so abstract in my head, thats like running from Jacksonville to St. Augustine, how is that feasible? Well I am here it is feasible, but damn is it far!

When I was planning for this run yesterday, I had decided that it had been a big 2 weeks and I ran yesterday, so I would not be forcing any pace miles today, I would make sure I kept everything under 9:59 and just ran what felt comfortable to ensure that I could finish the entire run- mission accomplished. I was actually really surprised how easy some of my times felt, it left me feeling very good about this race.

Due to the fact that I did not want to literally run across Jacksonville, nor did I want to hassle with my Camelbak, I opted for several shorter loops. I also decided I would do something I haven't done since the spring: I would do the majority of this run in the daylight. There will be sun on marathon day, and as much as I like getting out early to beat the heat, I need to be ready for the sun, and I figured what better run for a dress rehearsal. I started at 5:30, which was amazing to get a full night sleep before a long run, and I didn't finish until 9am, so I had 2 quality hours of running during daylight, and I certainly feel prepared now.

The first 7 miles were in the dark, I wasn't really focused or super into the run yet, but I cranked them out flawlessly for the first easy miles. I made sure I didn't start too fast and just let my speed naturally increase as I got warm, I was pleased that it did naturally get a little faster and still felt easy, I think that is evidence that I have been focusing on the right goal pace.

Mile 1-  9:50
Mile 2-  9:48
Mile 3-  9:45
Mile 4-  9:42
Mile 5-  9:44
Mile 6-  9:29
Mile 7-  9:26

Something that was very different about today's run compared to the last few is that I did not have to stop, I was able to run miles upon miles before I took a break. There was no stopping to refil water, get gu, stretch, change, etc. I think that has a lot to do with why this run was so great, I really felt like it was a perfect dress rehearsal because it felt like exactly what I will be doing on race day. I was able to transition seamlessly from Loop 1 to Loop 2 with another already prepared water bottle that was waiting for me with gu already attached.  I took off with the 2nd 7 and felt amazing, the sun was just starting to rise slowly and I wasn't miserably hot yet as I was anticipating, I kept seeing quicker and super consistent splits, and it just left me feeling so optimistic that I hadn't gone and pushed my pace that I was just finding it on my own.

Mile 8-  9:37
Mile 9-  9:38
Mile 10-  9:38
Mile 11-  9:33
Mile 12-  9:31
Mile 13-  9:33
Mile 14-  9:37

Super consistent splits behind me, and I finally had to stop to refill my water and get more gu. I also opted to grab the ipod at this point, I thought I might need it with the sun out in full force at this point, and it would be a nice distraction, I ended up being right on this one. Starting back after a break was tough, it definitely took the first mile to loosen them back up, and then magically they fell right into their rhythm as soon as my Garmin beeped at 1 mile.

I felt fine in the sun, and it really didn't start to annoy me until the last mile and that is mostly because it was in my eyes as I was trying to finish. However at about mile 19 I started to hit a small wall, more like a partition. I hadn't taken the extra gu I grabbed, and I know full well that was why I started to fade, I just felt so silly taking a gu with only 3 miles to go, so I kept sucking on my water/gatorade mix and dealt with it. I think if I had taken the gu somewhere during mile 18 I would have finished much stronger than I did, but as I was wanting to stop I promised myself that on race day there will be no exceptions, gu every 6 miles no matter what mile marker we are at.

Mile 15-  9:51
Mile 16-  9:28
Mile 17-  9:24
Mile 18-  9:35
Mile 19-  9:38
Mile 20-  9:38
Mile 21-  9:39
Mile 22-  9:46

Total: 22 Miles- 3:31:50, 9:37 average pace

This run was exactly what I needed and what I wanted it to be. I hit goal pace without trying, I finished 22 miles and didn't hate it, I survived 2 hours in the sun, and my average pace for the entire run is still below my max pace needed to hit my goal, so I am thrilled!

An ice bath and breakfast later I am still stiff, but feeling good, and hopefully I recover quickly, I felt the 20 I did last week really wiped me out. I have only 3 true long runs left, and only one is in the 20s (another 22), and I feel really good about how the rest of my schedule is layed out. I am off to enjoy the rest of my Saturday which involves A LOT of football, have a good weekend!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pre- Long Run Run

Happy Friday All! I am so ready for the weekend it is not even funny! This a long post, so beware!

After my post yesterday, I got slammed at work, made it to class just in time, and proceeded to watch my brain turn to mush in the hour and 15 minutes I was there. I was so brain dead by the time I left to head home, that I knew no matter where I tried I was not going to have a decent run, so I went home, had dinner and went to bed at such a ridiculous hour I am even too ashamed to mention it.

Obviously that means I got up and did yesterday's run today- so much better! I am so glad I didn't push it last night, I had a good run today, and I really do prefer to run in the morning, especially now that it is not obscenely hot at 5am!

I needed to do 7 easy miles, and I really focused on keeping them slow and easy since I have a long run looming for tomorrow morning. I have pretty much avoided running at all costs on the day before my long run up until recently, but as much running as I have done at this point, I know when I need to keep it easy, and I have found myself needing fewer and fewer rest days for physical reasons, mostly from mental colapse do I find myself skipping a run- like yesterday. I made sure I took the time to stretch really well after my run so as to not have any lingering tightness tomorrow, but I almost feel more excited now.

7 Miles-  1:07:04, 9:34 pace
Mile 1-  9:44
Mile 2-  9:40
Mile 3-  9:35
Mile 4-  9:38
Mile 5-  9:30
Mile 6-  9:26
Mile 7-  9:31

Today's run went really well, like really well. It was slow, but it was supposed to be. I still hung in my goal marathon pace range for most of the run, and I found it feeling so easy, I was actually questioning if I was even accomplishing anything since my heart rate was so low. Again, some race confidence building here, which is alwasy welcomed. It was nice to have a run where I could just go, and not have to stop once for water, at the end of an itnerval, to stretch, or even to turn around. I feel like so many of my runs have been choppy lately, all broken up into parts for one reason or another, and it was nice to just go, and keep going.

I did a lot of thinking about the marathon this morning. About how close it is (5 weeks now), what all I still need to do, what I need to stop doing, how its almost that time to lay out my final race plan, how my taper is starting really soon, and what I would do differently the next time. It has been really fun following all the other bloggers training for the 10/10 race weekend this week, and that this is their final long run weekend, it leaves me excited to get to that point.

After tomorrow, I will be 1 run closer to the race, and over a pretty big hurdle that has been staring me in the face since training began...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Track on the Treadmill

So I guess today is Thursday, and thakfully so, I am in much need of this weekend.

Yesterday I was supposed to get up and hit the track for my speed workout, well due to some craziness and unexpected things I needed to attend to, I ended up not running in the morning, being detered after work and having to get my intervals in on the treadmill.

For no other reason than I was running tight on time, I had to drop the workout from 7 miles to 5 and swap that 7 to today's run, not ideal for a Thursday. Since I was cutting mileage I also had to cut two 400s out of the plan, so the final product ended up looking like this:

1/2 mile warm up, 1600, 4x400, 1600 (400RI after each)
My goal for the 1600s was 7:55, and 1:51, 1:50, 1:49, 1:48 for the 400s, getting 1 second faster with each.

1600 - 7:53
4x400s - 1:51, 1:48, 1:49, 1:47
1600-  7:52

5 Miles Total - 41:53 (seeing this makes me feel so fast, I wish I could run a straight 5 miles that fast)

This workout felw by, and while it was challenging, I never felt exhausted or defeated with it, I think because I was really running on adreneline, I always get that feeling when my running plans have be changed/altered/ amost didn't happen, and it makes me just soar through the run.

I was SUPER pleased with how this went, I thought it would be tough since I haven't executed some serious intervals in 2 weeks, but it was good. I could really feel the extra push in my abs from running so quick, but it was good, I am already looking forward to next weeks:)

Due to again all said craziness, I will have to run after work tonight. I just have 7 miles easy on deck, and a rest day tomorrow. I am toying with running outside vs at the gym tonight in anticipation of delays again tonight and weather, or more specifically...sun. I am not thrilled about 2 gym days in a row, but at least there would be football on to majorly distract me, and I feel like I could/would get a better quality run in rather than in the late afternoon sun. 

What do we think Inside or Outside tonight???

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ten Things Tuesday - New Goals

Before we get to the fun stuff, lets start with the morning run! Today I had 5 easy miles on the schedule, that seemed so small to me, considering I had only seen a few 6s recently and mostly 7+. I decided when looking at my training plan that the last few weeks would probably be the hardest and most exhausting, so I set it up to have either longer runs or shorter runs, not all medium length runs like I had been having. So they will typically be in the 8-11 range or 5-6 from here on out, I think it breaks it up nicely not to have a big number to tackle every day.

My legs felt tired when I first started out, but seemed to be running just fine. I was really excited that the weather people told me it was 74* when I was walking out the door to run, but they lied, it was definitely still at least 79* with 80% humidity- oh well, better than where we were, and I will take that.

5 Miles - 47:00, 9:24 pace
Mile 1-  9:29
Mile 2-  9:31
Mile 3-  9:31
Mile 4-  9:16
Mile 5-  9:13

I started this run by ignoring my Garmin, and I waited until 2 miles to check it. I wanted to run what my body felt was easy, and then try to stay really even and consistent in the last 3 miles. I was suprised I had been running at my race pace so comfortably for the first 2 miles, so I worked on keeping my times even and making it a nice easy run. It worked great during mile 3 (the hills kept me honest) but I just kept speeding up during the last 2. A couple times I tried to back it off a bit, since I wanted to keep this run easy, but it never dropped my pace more than a second or two, I guess my legs were just up for it, so I let them do their own thing. A quicker than expected easy run has certainly put me in a good mood today, and leaves me excited for my track workout tomrrow.

So as I mentioned yesterday I have been doing some goal searching, and I have started to get in a little over my head! I have so many things I want to accomplish, but I managed to pick what I think are the 10 best, and most immediate goals. Thinking about it, this was supposed to be an update to my 2010 goals, but my brain just kept thinking, so I already have a pretty hefty list started for 2011;) Big Surprise!
Some of these are obvious, but some really got me thinking about what I want to do, so here they are:

1.  Complete my first Marathon (with a smile on my face preferably, and still standing)
2.  Complete a sub-2:00 half marathon
3.  Beat my sub 2:00 half marathon time:) (remember I am doing 4 half's this fall)
4.  Race 5k in under 25:00 (current PR 25:59)
5.  Get down to my goal race weight (8 lbs)
6.  Finish a marathon in under 4:15:00
7.  Run 1,500 miles in 2010
8.  Improve my speed over longer distances

9.  Win my age group again before I get bumped up to the really huge and really fast (F25-29)
10. Complete 3 Marathons before my 25th Birthday
These are all pretty ambitious which I think is good. I felt my original plan for the year was a bit weak and a little vague because I was too afraid to be specific for fear of not completing something, so here they are, risky and scary, and possibly a stretch, but I am super excited!

What are some of your goals for the rest of this year?

Monday, September 13, 2010

An Unmentioned Goal

Happy Monday All! I fell off the face of the planet this weekend, but another jam packed weekend will do that to you. We attended 2 football games this weekend, which is absolutely exhausting assuming you are doing things correctly:)

We starte our Saturday here in The Swamp...

From what I have read we set the record temperature for a game, some rediculous heat index like 108* or something. Needless to say it was disgustingly hot, and I am praying for all night games until at least November. I opted to wear gator running attire since I knew from last week I would be sweating buckets (which I did) but the dry fit made me not want to kill myself.

Problem became that since I had on something different before the game, my sunscreen was put on in different places and left me with a result looking something like this...

Needless to say, I was not real happy about this new tan/burn lines, but at least the will line up with my sports bra when I run so I don't look like too much of a freak. Sunday we hit the Jags game, and it was hot, but thanks to a fan and some access to the A/C I felt it was a much more bearable game. 2 Games, and 2 wins in the books, both looking much prettier than the week before.

Sunday after Game 2, was spent doing a lot of this...

And getting ready for our week. As much as I liked having a short 4 day work week last week, I like the routine of a normal week, and went to bed last night excited about all the things I would be getting done this week.

I ended up doing something this weekend that I have not done in I can't remember how long- I took 2 days off in a row!!!! It felt nice to have a little break, and especially after the long 20 miler, but this morning I was more than ready to get back to my running!

This morning I was to do 7-9 miles, I was shocked I had given myself a choice in the matter, but I remember when and why I did that, because I knew I would be coming off of 2 insanely busy weeks. After a lower than desired mileage week last week, and a few schedule tweeks, I knew this would be a high mileage week for me, so I opted to do the 9. I was really exctied for it to, normally I stick with 8 or 10, so 9 seemed like fun.
Monday = tempo, and after several missing tempos the last few weeks, I decided I really needed to nail this one. The schedule showed 5 @8:25 pace, but since I had been slacking I knew 8:30 was probably more realistic, so it went like this:

9 Miles- 1:20:19, 8:55 average pace
Mile 1-  9:44
Mile 2-  9:39
Mile 3-  8:33
Mile 4-  8:28
Mile 5-  8:31
Mile 6-  8:26
Mile 7-  8:23
Mile 8-  9:17
Mile 9-  9:18

Per usual, it took 2 to warm-up, but I actually started feeling better the more miles I went, the faster miles got easier and easier, and I almost added one more in for good measure, but decided that would be enough miles for today. Great run to start off the week, I am hoping for a stellar running week, to get the confidence back up, we are less than 6 weeks until race day, and I really feel the biggest thing missing now is the confidence.

When the end of 2009 came, and I was making note of goals I wanted to hit this year, one that came to mind was that I wanted to run more than 1,000 miles in 2010. It seemed reasonable enough, but the more I thought about it, it seemed like such a huge number, especially to someone who was hitting 20- 25 miles/week during the peak of half marathon training. I had no set plans of a full marathon at that time, so I just kept that goal in the back of my brain, and made sure I kept track of my miles this year, just to see if I could hit it. Well today my run put me comfortably over the 1,000 mile mark for the year and we still have 3+ months to go. I am really proud to have hit that number, especially because I was so afraid I couldn't that I didn't even write about it in my 2010 Goals Post. After revisting that post this morning, I actually had another realization: I have smashed every goal I had listed in that post, and then some! Since I have some how exceeded my own expectations well before the year end, and am in a completely differnet place with my running, I feel it necessary to update my life (and blog) with some new goals I am working towards before the end of this year. Those will be coming at ya tomorrow!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The First Time

They say you will never forget the first time, well last night I did my first ever 20 mile run. I'm not sure there was anything especially memorable about it, but it will always be the first one I suppose.

Physically this has been a really rough week for me, I have felt sluggish and stiff since we got back from Atlanta on Monday, I don't know if it was just from a non-stop 3 day weekend or if it was running the monstrous hills last Sunday, but I have pretty much sucked it up ever since. I started Thursday morning with a 2 mile walk while John ran, I thought I would run, but my calves were so tight I didn't even bother.

My only options for my long run this weekend were Thursday night or Friday morning. In order to get 20 miles in on Friday morning before work I would have had to start about 3:30am or so. And while I am lucky enough to have a 24 hour gym membership, I didn't want to be stuck doing 2 hours of this run on the treadmill when there would be not a thing on tv to keep me entertained, so I opted to do it Thursday night.

I have had hits and misses with evening long runs, my most recent being a major miss, so I was a little nervous how my body would react, but it held up pretty well considering. I started as soon as I got home from class, and had a plan to hit at least 10 goal pace miles (9:30 or less) and I didn't care how/when/in what order they came, as long as there was at least 10 by the time I finished. I also consider miles in the 9:30-9:40 range to be quality, just not goal pace anymore.

I started my goal pace miles a little earlier than I usually do on purpose, because I had been thinking about how I always start almost 20 seconds slower and don't pick it up until I am thoroughly warmed up. I felt like I was making it easy for myself to hit my goal miles by building them into the middle when I warm but not yet tired, and then doing a "cool-down" so to speak. When marathon day comes, I will likely not be starting out slow for 5-6 miles and then hoping to make up ground and hit times below goal pace, so I figured I might as well get used to running near goal pace from the start, or at least sooner, and more at the end to make sure I could get near it when tired.

20 miles- 3:11:00 (9:33 average pace)
Mile 1-  9:50
Mile 2-  9:48
Mile 3-  9:45
Mile 4-  9:28
Mile 5-  9:23
Mile 6-  9:12
Mile 7-  9:13
Mile 8-  9:28
Mile 9-  9:42
Mile 10-  9:40
Mile 11-  9:22
Mile 12-  9:26
Mile 13-  9:21
Mile 14-  9:45
Mile 15-  9:39
Mile 16-  9:42
Mile 17-  9:31
Mile 18-  9:29
Mile 19-  9:40
Mile 20-  9:35

When I finally pulled up my stats this morning I was actually really surprised. I knew I had hit exactly 10 goal pace miles, with 4 more in the 9:30-9:40 range, but this run was nothing stellar, it just felt average- not slow, or quality, just decent, but I was so surprised to see my average pace so close to goal pace over the entirety of the run.

I am not going to sugar coat it, this run was tough, certainly not the toughest ever by any means, but I definitely felt more worn out than I have for any other long run, and it wasn't even in the last few miles that I was dragging, more so in the middle. I actually got a 2nd wind about mile 16 (maybe it was the gatorade), but after I was finished, and especially this morning, I can feel a major difference in my recovery than other long runs, I feel like it's already moving slower, normally 12 hours later I am fine, maybe a little stiff or sore, but fine, and never hungry. Today my joints are so stiff I would swear I had arthritus, and forgotten to eat yesterday because my stomach will not stop begging for more food.

Mentally I thought I held up well, I zoned out quite a bit and was thinking about all the other things that I have going on and need to get done, I actually only used my ipod for the first 5 miles to get into it, and after that I went solo. I thought a lot about the remainder of my training, and to be honest I think I may have had the training bar set a little too high for my first marathon. This was supposed to be my first 50 mile week, and my body just revolted, depending on how I feel the rest of the weekend I still could hit 50, but I am not going to force it. I feel like the quality of my runs has been slipping as my mileage has increased. When I was at my base mileage, almost every was intense and of high quality. I know I am training for a major distance and at this point being built up to the distance is more important that speed, but both are important and with 3-4 weeks to go, I find myself thinking about making sure I have the right balance, and I'm just not sure what I think that is. I know by now I have the distance built up, but I guess getting more comfortable with doing it faster is going to be the key.

Doing the math, if I replicate this run for the first 20 miles during the race, then I could actually drop to a 10:00 pace for the last 6.2 miles and still finish just under my goal. That leaved me feeling much more confident about my capabilities for this race, knowing that I am pretty darn close to my goal times during training means I have at least been doing something right, I think the biggest question is what will be the right balance to make sure I stay healthy and finish training strong.

Ok enough reflective running babble...This is a football filled weekend I have ahead of me, so I am glad to have my run out of the way. Gator game Saturday and Jags game on Sunday, this will be my first Jags game since I was kid, and the first since I moved to Jacksonville in 2007, so I am really excited! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A whole lot of thinking

Happy Hump day all! I love that we are already pretty much just sliding into the weekend!

First a running update:

Last night, once home from class, I went out with John to do a short run. He is planning to do his first race since February in a few weeks, and I am doing most of his runs with him, because it is more fun to not do it alone.

Last night I did 3 miles, I ran the first mile with John, but he said he was going to do 2.5, and we all know I don't do x.5 miles ever, so I picked it up after mile 1 to get in 3 miles and try to make sure we finished at the same time.

3 Miles- 27:44, 9:15 pace
Mile 1-  10:11
Mile 2-  8:45
Mile 3-  8:48

The last 2 miles, picking it up felt pretty effortless, and if I had been doing a longer run I feel confident I could have maintained that pace as well. I finished feeling refreshed, especially after the blah-ness of my morning run.
I went to stretch and foam roll after to find that Ms. Peach has been using the end of my foam roller as a chew toy! There is only a few little bite marks and one small chunk taken out, but still, not cool little doggie!

This morning I had 9 miles easy on the schedule, but since yesterday was easy I wanted to throw in some faster miles this morning. I ended up only getting in 7 miles, I got some shooting pain in my right foot around mile 6, and since it wasn't subsiding I cut it short. It seems fine now, but better to be safe. I am planning to run with John again tonight assuming it is fine, so if I get out, I will make sure those miles are fast also.

7 Miles-  1:05:36, 9:22 pace
Mile 1-  9:45
Mile 2-  9:38
Mile 3-  9:31
Mile 4-  9:07
Mile 5-  9:19
Mile 6-  9:13
Mile 7-  9:03

So there you go 2 more runs since I last left you! I have also been doing lots of running-related thinking. I am working on making the final adjustments to my taper schedule which is approaching pretty quick now. There is a half marathon on my schedule exactly 2 weeks before the marathon, and my original goal was to go out, hit it hard and ensure myself a nice sub-2:00 PR, the more I think about it, its really not a good idea.

The course for this half is not super hard, but there are 2 steep bridges, 2 normal ones, and a few other spots that make it not the easiest course out there. I know I will be in pretty peak shape by this race, and if I am not careful could go out waaay too hard, and end up needing a full week to recover, not the best idea. So I think I am going to play it conservative, and try to do the whole race at my "aggressive marathon pace". It will make a really quality long run to round out marathon training plus it still ensures a PR by about 10 minutes. I have 3 other halfs scheduled post-marathon, and I can go balls to the walls for my sub-2:00 then, when I have to time to recover from it. I did not spend all these weeks training for a marathon to go destroy those goals on my first of 4 fall half marathons.

I have also been doing a lot of thinking about Marathons #2 and #3. There is one already on my calendar, and 2 more than I am debating between. Even though I haven't done the race yet, going through this training cycle has been more than enough to know that I do want to do this again. Anyone have any tips on 2nd/3rd marathons? Is it better to just stay in marathon shape or put in a longer waiting period and start from scratch???

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

10 Things Tuesday- Long Weekend Recap

1.  I hope everyone had a fantastic long weekend, I know we did, it was crazy super busy, but so fun!

2. Saturday John and I headed to Gainesville for the first Florida football game of the season. It actually started as a beautiful morning weather wise, but the 90+ temps quickly set in leaving me sweating as if I had just run 20 miles. The Gators managed a very ugly win, but I suppose a win is a win. The highlight of our Gainesville trip was a stop at my Beloved Pita Pit for lunch, Heavenly!

3. After the game we said goodbye to Ms. Peach, grabbed our third passenger and hit the road for Atlanta. We managed to make great time, and made it up there about 45 minutes earlier than anticipated. Once there we grabbed some pizza, watched more football and hung out with everyone before calling it a night after midnight- waaay past my bedtime!

4.  Sunday morning I woke up to set out for a run on my all time favorite route. There is a big 5 mile loop through my parents neighborhood, and despite the ample amount of HUGE hills, I was so excited to run this route again. Even better, it was 58* when I started my run just a little after 7am, I was so happy to be getting real fall weather after dying in the summer heat the day before.

5.  I assume it was my great mood and the weather, but I absolutely rocked my run on Sunday! I beat my 5 mile PR time and that was including running all the hills- I credit the perfect weather, but it seriously made me want to move back to ATL and set up shop running there permanently. While the hills definitely got my heart rate way up, it never felt torturous like it did when I did the same loop about 3 months ago.
5.04 Miles- 43:48, avg pace 8:42, average HR 178 (you can see where the hills took their toll)
Mile 1-  8:50
Mile 2-  8:51
Mile 3-  8:49
Mile 4-  8:36 <---- This is where the biggest of the 7 hills was, and I just kept pushing even as my HR hit 190, I knew there would be a nice downhill on the other side.
Mile 5-  8:19
Last .01-  :20  (7:57 pace)

So maybe this is a sign that I am supposed to be running in hills and cooler weather, something to think about

6.  After the run John and I grabbed breakfast and a Pumpkin Spice Latte to celebrate the beautiful fall weather and headed up the road to meet up with everyone else. We managed to get some errands done and had lunch before heading back to house to relax and get ready for the evening.

7. Sunday night was the wedding we went up to ATL for, and you really could not have asked for a more perfect evening. The weather was great, low humidity, plenty of sunshine, and it made the outdoor ceremony and reception very enjoyable. The ceremony seemed to go by super quick, and we headed upstairs for the reception. I spent most of the night chatting, but managed to sneak in some food, wine, and wedding cake. We left earlier than the rest of the family, but John and I were both tired and ready to head home.

8.  After what was not nearly enough sleep we woke up Sunday, packed up, and headed home. I had hoped to squeeze in one more run before we left, but I was sleep deprived, dehydrated, and starving, and I knew the run would have not been great, so we grabbed breakfast and hit the road. I thought the drive went pretty quick since John and I each drove half, and before I knew it we were back to pick up Peachie. She was so happy to see us, and immediately jumped in the car.

9.  Once we were home, the dog got a bath, I hit the grocery store, cleaned, unpacked, did all those things you do when you get back from being gone for 3 days. I kept telling myself I would go up to the gym to run on the treadmill, but by the time I finally stopped and got ready it was 8pm. I knew it would be a pretty sucky run, and I had to run this morning so I opted out and got in bed early in attempts to make today great and feel well rested.

10. So today, Tuesday, I wake up and go out to run- I had 7 miles to do, I decided to start easy and would pick it up once I woke up...yeah, that never happened. I felt like a zombie running this morning. At first my legs were not working right, well they woke up after 2 miles- my brain did not. I did manage to make it a "progression run" but the progress was so MINIMAL that it really doesn't count.

7 Miles-  1:06:53, 9:33 pace
Mile 1-  9:45
Mile 2-  9:38
Mile 3-  9:34
Mile 4-  9:31
Mile 5-  9:29
Mile 6-  9:30
Mile 7-  9:26

I am pretty pissed at myself for starting what was to be a very important running week, off really crappy. I am actually planning to do doubles both today and tomorrow to get my legs and brain back to functioning and make sure I get some intensity into my runs. I have my first 20 to run on Friday, so I better pick it up.

Friday, September 3, 2010

15 miles for Cofidence

Happy Friday!!!! I am so excited for my long weekend, only a few more hours of catch up and I will be out the door to start the madness. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, my training schedule would be changing this week, and my long runs being moved to Fridays. I had never done a true long run before a full day of work, but I wasn't too stressed, Friday's are normally pretty easy right?

I felt lucky that my first pre-work long run fell on a cut back week, so I wasn't trying to tackle some new distance while getting into a new routine too. I have planned all my step-down long runs to be done quicker than step-up weeks since I am obviously comfortable with the distances. Today was scheduled 15 miles, and since my last 15 miler sucked, I wanted another chance at this distance, and it seems like a good number. Will a half marathon coming up in 4 weeks, I also wanted to take the opportunity to get in some pace miles there and push for the first 13 to really see what will be feasible for that race.  My goal was 5 miles @ MP and 5 miles @ HMP for 10/15 under marathon pace. For safety purposes since 4:20am is kind of shady on a Friday, alone, I again decided on the 6 mile route so it was broken into 6/6/3.

The first 6 miles absolutely flew by, kind of like during lsat week's 18 miler. I found myself oblivious to the fact that I would have more miles to do after 6, but that was the idea behind it, to push the whole time, I wanted to know I left everything out there today, I hate finishing my long run and thinking "well I could keep going". When I got to then end of mile 6, I was actually kind of annoyed that I had to refil my water and grab gu, but within 2 minutes I was back to it. Those were some of the best 6 miles I think I have had, I didn't care too much about time, and I knew I was moving quick enough to get some goal pace miles in so I just went with it, thinking about football and my upcoming weekend:)

Mile 1-  9:48
Mile 2-  9:42
Mile 3-  9:26
Mile 4-  9:33
Mile 5-  9:18
Mile 6-  8:57

As I quickly headed back out for the next 6 I was nervous I got to excited/pushy in the first 6 and maybe this would end badly, but I got right back into my stride and found a similar pace right away. These 6 were where I planned to get in my really quality miles both @mp and @hmp so I made sure I didn't let up. After the first 2 miles where I saw comfortable negative splits, I knew I would be fine, and I was so surprised how great I felt as I kept seeing all these great times pop up after each mile. These 6 miles were almost as good as the first, they went by fast, I felt great, so great I opted to not stop for the gatorade I had at the end of mile 6, and just keep going, I took the other half of my gu, and the little sip of water I had left.

Mile 7-  9:26
Mile 8-  9:20
Mile 9-  9:07
Mile 10-  9:11
Mile 11-  9:03
Mile 12-  8:55

When my mind cleared away the 6 and I started to think about the 3 miles left I kind of let up a little bit, my legs certainly couldn't keep up 3 more sub-9:00s and I didn't want to see some ugly positive split, so I tempered the first mile a bit and took it from there. I still felt good during the first 2/3, they went quick and I didn't find myself counting down the 1/2 miles until I could stop. As soon as I started the last mile I felt myself just crash, I should have probably gotten the gatorade at mile 12, but I knew it wasn't just that. I really put all my energy into this run, and I could see it in my times, they are so much faster than normal!

Mile 13-  9:25
Mile 14-  9:13
Mile 15-  9:27

15 Miles- 2:19:51, 9:19 average pace!
12 miles under goal marathon pace

This was the fastet long run I have ever had, ever! I always feel like I play it pretty conservative for long runs since I am tackling a brand new distance every time that I don't want to go too quick and not have anything left to finish, but with my next 3 longer step-up runs all being pretty much the same distance, I am hoping I can focus on speeding up more on the 2nd and 3rd one. This run though gave me so much confidence for everything, for my marathon, my half, my running in general. I feel like I have spent so much time building up my distances that my paces have kind of suffered, I almost felt like all I ever saw was a 9:30-9:40 pace or something waaay faster in a much shorter distance I was really beginning to believe I would not be able to really increase my pace for longer distances. The other part that I think is SO helpful is breaking the run into parts. I don't even think about the other part or remaining miles when I do that, all I think about is that piece (i.e just 6 miles) and it is so much easier to push yourself harder when you are only thinking in terms of 6 miles instead of 15, I think when I think of it that way is when I get too conservative. Any tips for completely ignoring the rest of the marathon and only focusing on each 5-6 mile segment?

I actually found the pre-work long run to actually work pretty well, my brain tends to operate much more efficiently on a work day, so I was all business this morning, and I think that mentality really helped. I was smart to pick out my clothes, and pack all food last night so all I had to do once I got home from running was shower, get ready, and walk out the door. I am liking having the run done so I can enjoy the rest of my weekend, it should be a crazy busy one, stay tuned for details of all the traveling adventures!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Double Wednesday

So I got home last night bursting with energy and dying to run, so I did! My legs felt great despite a solid tempo effort 12 hours earlier, and I decided since it would really be my only chance this week, I wanted to try to get in my missed track workout, or at least part of it.

I didn't want to do a ton of miles, and I didn't want to go run on the treadmill, so I actually attempted my first ever track workout on the road, albeit a pretty straight road, but still something totally strange for me.

I programmed my workout into my Garmin, with a short 1/2 mile warm up and cool-down and would 4x400 with 400 recovery. This week had originally called for 10x400, but with all my schedule mishaps it got lost in there somewhere. So When the siren went off on Garmie that my first interval was about to start I just started to haul ass. At the end of each interval I literally died, but I started so fast each time that it really didn't matter.

3 Miles- 26:01, 8:40 average pace
4x400 with 400 RI
1:32 (6:11)
1:44 (6:57)
1:39 (6:39)
1:44 (6:58)

These were without a doubt the fastest 400s I have ever run. Though, I normally do 6-10 rather than just 4, and I also normally make my recovery my goal marathon pace rather than 15-20 seconds slower, but I was floored by those times. I always shoot for low 7:00s when doing 400s, but I suppose after my 1 mile performace I should have know I could push harder, and I guess it just took a random mini "track workout" to see that. Track workouts are becoming less and less frequent as I am hoping to get in a tempo and progression run at goal pace each week until the race, so I guess a few random intervals will start becoming more the norm.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fall Tastes so Good

So I found it, the first indicator of fall...

 Pumpkin spice lattes are back, which means fall is in full swing. It was even a tad less hot this morning just to mark the occasion.

There are so many things I look forward to about fall: college football, cooler weather, sweaters, Pumpkin anything, Florida/Georgia weekend, soups and chili being acceptable to eat again, apple cider, all my fall races (there are a lot), especially the marathon! This is my absolute favorite season, so hopefully it sets in a bit more in the next week or two.

So...I have learned that I have to run before work on days I have class because I have no motivation to do anything once I get home after a full day of work and class, so needless to say I did no running last night. I will not be taking a rest day now tomorrow as planned, but I will take it easy before my long run on Friday.

This morning I got up and was super motivated for my run. A rest day always leaves me really motivated which is why I usually like them the day before my long run:) I did a tempo run, it was pretty tough, I realized I hadn't done a real tempo in 3 weeks and used my races as "tempos" too, but that doesn't count because of course it's easier to run faster when you are racing. I was originally hoping for 4 miles at 8:25-8:30ish, but I knew there was no way, so I just hit it as hard as I could.

7 Miles- 1:02:28, 8:55 average pace
Mile 1-  9:45
Mile 2-  9:26
Mile 3-  8:30
Mile 4-  8:34
Mile 5-  8:29
Mile 6-  8:27
Mile 7-  9:17

The tempo miles hurt, but it was a good thing to get them in, I am hoping it makes next weeks tempo a stellar one. I am also unusually energetic at the moment so I think I will be doing something this evening with the extra time on my hands, but in the past few days that has not been the case so we will see.