Sunday, September 26, 2010

Back to basics

This morning, I was running around the house trying to find my Garmin.  I couldn't find it to save my life.  Then, I remembered I had the Strands app on my phone.  It's funny how I rely on a device to get through my runs, but it's like addicting to be able to know exactly how fast I'm going and how far I've gone, lol.  I decided I was going to take things nice and slow today.  I have been focusing on running my runs faster overall, even my long runs, but I don't really think this has really been helping me much.  I mean, last year I trained at much slower paces and ran the Distance Run faster.  The big difference was that I alternated speedwork with long tempo-style runs every other week.  It seemed like that one day per week of faster running was all it took.  So, I slowed it down today.  I mean, the whole point of a long run is to build endurance and to teach your body how to store glycogen.  If you run it at a fast pace, you're not reaping the benefits of what a long slow run is really supposed to do.

Because of this slow pace, I felt amazing the whole run.  That's another thing about the long slow run.  When you finish, you're not supposed to be dead.  You're supposed to feel as if you could keep going.  That's a nice feeling to have after you have just run 2 hours.  When you feel good during a run like that, you actually enjoy yourself.  You feel good about yourself and what you are doing.  You are breathing the fresh air, taking in the beautiful surroundings, and thinking about life.  I had a nice run today.  It was what a long run should be.

This is a big reason I have decided not to run a full marathon this fall.  I have had such anxiety just thinking about the very long runs that were on my training plan leading up to Nov 7.  I have had anxiety about running 26 miles, period.  I just don't have the time to or desire to run an 18 mile training run.  Right now, that just seems to take the enjoyment out of running when I think about it.  On the other hand, I really really like the half marathon distance.  It's challenging, but not too challenging, and it's not overwhelming.  I can keep my long runs under 15 miles, run about 30 miles per week, and be a happy person.

I revised my whole training plan.  I was just looking around on the RW website, and found a detailed Ryan Hall half marathon training plan.  After looking over it and various other plans, I decided to just go with it.  It gives me some speedwork once per week, and a tempo run once per week.  I really missed speedwork, so I'm actually really excited to start on this plan this week.  I would like to finish a half in 2:10, which is a 9:56 min/mile pace.  This will be my goal for the Nov 7 Marshall Half Marathon.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Here come the fall blues

It's been a while since my last post.  Lots to update!

The Charleston Distance Run was Sept 4th.  I can't believe I have not been on here to post about it.  It was the most beautiful day and weekend we have had in a long time.  The weather was super cool and it was just perfect.  I started off in the back with my friend, Mary Ellen.  I felt great.  She was running without a watch, and I was running with her, but I knew we were running too fast starting out.  I was wanting to keep a 10:15-10:30 pace the whole time, and she was running at a 9:30.  We got to Capital Punishment hill about 3.5 miles in and I was feeling good going up.  Mary Ellen needed to stop about half way, so I stopped with her to walk.  We walked a good bit, then started up again, but only for about 45 seconds, then she needed to stop again.  She got frustrated and told me to go on without her, so I did.  I managed to get through the rest of the hills without having to walk but only a few more times.  I didn't want to wear myself out on the hills, anyways.  I came down and over the bridge and still felt pretty good.  Great, 7 miles left.  I was managing about a 10:00 min/mile pace for a while, then I started to get really tired around mile 12.  I realized that I was killing my last 13.1 time by about 5 minutes, so I tried to push myself to get to 13.1 before I gave in.  I didn't quite make it, but still had a better time at this point than the Parkersburg Half.  That made me feel good, but boy was I hurting!  I ended up walking/running the last 2 miles.  I managed a slow slog the last mile or so and finished in 2:37, which reached my goal of under 2:40.  I ate a donut after I finished.

Last year, I finished in 2:28.  I had a great training year last year, it being my first time ever training for a big race.  I am still proud of my finish this year, considering the lay-off I had due to that ankle/achilles injury.  Instead of giving up on running all together, I overcame it and trained my little heart out in barely 10 weeks.  For that, I am proud.  The future of the race is still undecided, though.  We are definitely having a race next year, but they aren't sure if it's going to be a 15 miler, or a half marathon.  I'm glad I got to race this year, just in case it was the last 15 mile race we had.

So, last year after CDR, I pretty much quit running and gained weight.  I ran out of motivation and didn't want to get up and run anymore.  I even signed up for a half marathon and ended up not going!  Well, this year I am determined for that not to happen again, but I'm already suffering from the lack of motivation that I had last year.  I have read that this is common, though, going through post-race blues.  I don't think my problem is just post-race blues, though.  It's fall/winter blues.  You see, it gets so dark so early here this time of the year, and it's going to be way worse when we set the clocks back.  This means, it is very dark when I get up in the morning to head to work, and dark when I get off work at 6pm.  Do you know how depressing that is??  To lose all daylight to work??  All I want to do this time of the year is sleep because it's dark outside.  Well, I can't let that happen this year.  I have worked so hard and lost 14 pounds, and I'm not going to give that up.  I want to keep going!

I took a lazy two weeks of recovery after CDR.  I totally regret the second week.  I failed to plan for any of my runs, so a few of them didn't happen.  I tried to get back on track this week, and have almost failed again.  If I don't run about 9 miles tomorrow, I'm going to be behind.  I need to keep my mileage above 30 miles/week.  I have the Columbus Half Marathon on the schedule for Oct 17, and was thinking about running a marathon Nov 7, but I think I'm going to just do another half.  I may think about a full marathon in the spring, but i'm not sure yet.  I really enjoy the half marathon distance.  Personally, it's an easy distance to train for with my schedule, and I can keep my long runs under 15 miles.

I really think another way to keep my motivation this fall/winter is to hit the gym and lift weights.  I feel so much better about myself when I'm lifting.  It's another thing I can do to clear my head.  Instead of lying around the house on my days off, I should go to the gym and pick up some weights.  We will see how I do with that.

I have a friend, Shaun, that is weight training pretty heavy right now.  His blog is very motivational to me, and he is a rapper, so he's very good with words and inspiring people.  I'm copying this from his blog because it just gives me so much motivation:

   "i dont do this to look good, i do this because i love waking up and visualizing my goal and day by day     
   watching myself get closer to that goal... i am the competition, i am my competition, the only person who
   can stop me is me... i go to the gym when im tired, and i lift when im so sore i can barely lift my arms, i do
   squats soaked in sweat with sweat in my eyes, i deadlift until my hands bleed and i bench press until the bar
   bruises my chest (true story)... yea i love this sport... bring on the next 96 days..... "

Stay motivated, my friends!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon

Well guys, I ran a half marathon this past Saturday.  It was kind of a last minute plan.  I had thought about running it a long time ago when I was planning out my training plan for the distance run.  Well, then I forgot about it.  I really was unsure if I would have my mileage built up enough to run it, and I didn't want to plan on running it and then get injured along the way and have to lose my registration money.  So, the Sunday before last, I ran 10.4 miles in 1:50.  Thursday I decided, what the heck, it's just a few more miles, so I registered.  It was pretty last second, and my husband had other plans, so I had to make the trip by myself.  That kind of stunk because I had to work out of town, come home, pack up everything, then drive over an hour to Parkersburg.  I didn't end up getting there till 11:30PM, and didn't get to bed till about 12:30.  I had to get up early in the morning to get my race packet before the race. 

Let me just tell you about this hotel I stayed in.  Because of the race and my lack of planning, there were only 2 rooms left when I got there.  One was a smoking room and the other didn't have a key.  No key??  What do you mean??  The hotel guy told me that he could let me in, but I couldn't come and go.  Lol, no problem I'm just going to bed and leaving in the morning anyways.  This place was so gross.  It was the smallest hotel room I have ever stayed in, and the carpet was nasty.  I was so creeped out by this place and excited about the race that I could barely sleep.  Luckily, I survived through the night.

So, on to the race.  I had heard this race was a little hilly.  Nothing like the Charleston Distance Run, but still hilly.  I figured it would be a great training run for the CDR.  I also heard about a monster hill at mile 11.  I didn't think much of it.  Boy was it ridiculous.  Just at the moment you can't take one more step, you get to a giant hill.  Terrific!!

My plan was to run this as a long slow run, in place of my usual long Sunday run.  I told myself I would run it between 10:30-10:45 min/mile pace and pick it up at the end if I had anything left.  Well, I made it through the first couple of miles holding back a little, and then I couldn't hold back any longer.  I felt so good, and my competiveness got to me.  I settled in at a 10:00 min/mile pace and felt amazing.  The hills didn't phase me a bit.  My breathing was very controlled and I felt great.  I got water at every water stop, not losing a beat.  Then, around mile 8 my race bib decides to rip half off.  Great.  I'm trying to keep it from falling off, and I finally ask another runner if she could spare one of her safety pins.  She was nice enough to do so, so I pinned it back on and kept running.  I felt good till about mile 10.  I had to take a walk break.  Not necessarily because I was pooped at this point, but my stupid feet were killing me.   Seriously, my feet never hurt, so I don't know what was going on.  So, I started running again, then came to a bridge at about 10.5 miles.  Haha, yep I'm walking this one.  At this point, I'm really tired, and I'm had to start doing the running/walking thing.  Then, I got to mile 11.4.  The monster hill.  And man, they weren't kidding.  It was the steepest hill, but luckily not too long.  I laughed, as I wasn't even going to attempt to run up this thing.  I walked to the top, then saw the big downhill and started running again.  I was 1.5 miles away.  I stopped to walk a couple more times, then with about a 1/2 mile left, I could see the finish line.  This motivated me enough to keep running to the finish and to finish strong.  Boy, that last stretch of street seemed to go on forever!  I crossed under 2:19.  It averaged out to be about a 10:35 pace.  Even though I had managed about a 10:05 pace through the first 10 miles, those last 3 miles kicked my ass!

I'm actually very pleased with the race.  I mean, I have only been back training from my injury for 8 weeks.  So, I am actually very happy with how I did.  I believe had it not been for the hills, I could've maintained my 10:00 min pace.  I'm not disappointed at all that I tired the last few miles.  Considering my last long run up to that was 1:50, I think I did pretty good.  The Distance Run is in 10 days.  It's 15 miles, so I will have to push myself, especially with the 5 miles of hills in the beginning-middle, but I know I can finish.  I'm probably not going to finish in under 2:30 like last year, but I will finish nonetheless.

I will say that the Parkersburg Half was a very well put together race.  There were tons of spectators all lining the course, which was very encouraging and motivating.  They had groups of people strategically placed when you needed it, lol.  It was very cool how supportive the city was.  Also, there was a nice pizza party afterwards with Papa Johns Pizza, cookies, and ice cream.  And, the local YMCA opened its doors to allow the runners to take showers.  By the time I got there, there was no hot water, but I was thankful to take a shower and change into dry clothes.  The sucky part was having to drive home tired and feeling like I just got hit by a bus, lol.

Overall, a great experience and I will definitely run it again!

race info:
My race pic:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

20 days to go!

Wow, it has been almost a month since I have blogged!  Sorry about the long hiatus, but my life has been pretty busy lately.  I finished working in Summersville about 2 weeks ago.  Thank goodness that is over!  No more driving 90 minutes every Monday, staying in a hotel for 2 nights, and driving back home Wednesday night.  I mean, it was nice just working 3 twelve hour shifts per week, but I'm not going to say it was easy to leave my husband and pets every week.  So, I'm back home now and very happy to never have to go back there again!

I'm finishing up my 8th week of training for the Charleston Distance Run.  Things have been going very well!  My ankle and achilles are pretty much all healed up.  I run 4-5 days per week on it, and the only time it reminds me it's there is the day after a long run.  It gets a little bit stiff after the long run, but I just stretch it out and it's good to go.  I did an hour and 40 minute run last Sunday, and I'm bumping it up to 1 hour 50 minutes this Sunday.  I have really been enjoying my long runs.  I have a great downtown route I run that includes part of the CDR course.  Last year, I tried to keep my pace 11:30-12:00 min/mile because I was going off of heart rate.  This year, I ditched the HR monitor and I just run how I feel, so my long runs are faster.  Last week I ran a little over 9 miles at a 10:50-ish pace.  This Sunday will be my first 10 miler in a really long time.  It's pouring the rain now, and is supposed to rain in the morning, so I should have a nice rainy 10 miler.

I ran the CDR hills for the first time in almost a year on Thursday.  I forgot what a beast Capital Punishment is.  It's almost 1 mile at a 5% grade.  I had to walk twice up that, then a couple more times on a couple other hills.  I got a tummy cramp under my rib at the downhill.  I finished the 5.5 miles in 60 minutes.  I was pretty satisfied with the run.  I'm going to run the hills two more times before the race, which is only 20 days away!!  I'm barely going to have enough miles built up for my long run to even think about running this race, but I have to run it!  It may actually be the last year of this race :(  They keep talking about turning it into a flat half marathon to draw more people.  There's actually an article about the race in the most recent article of Runner's World.  It's towards the back and talks about how the race is in danger of being in its last year.  It's quite sad to read.  When we heard RW was doing an article about the CDR, us locals got really excited.  I thought they were going to talk about the history of the race and talk it up to try to get people interested in running it, but instead it just talked about how it's almost dead.

Anways, it's been so freaking humid and hot here, my runs have been hit or miss.  I have been doing my runs early in the morning between 6-7AM to beat the heat.  The heat index has actually reached 105 degrees a couple of times.  Some days, the morning weather is good and I have a great run, and other days the air is just so heavy and humid, I can barely run.  I'm hoping to have two weeks of really good training in before the race.  If the weather cooperates, I should be fine.  I just hope that raceday the weather isn't too bad.  Last year, it was just the perfect temperature, and I had a great race.  They start the race early at 7:30, but with this weather, they should start it at 7!  I'm not sure what my goal is, or even if I have a goal time.  With the limited time I will have had to train (10 weeks v. 16 weeks last year), I may be just happy to finish.  I have told myself that I'm going to take it easy on the hills, and take a few walk breaks, so I don't wear myself out.  I may just shoot for a 10:00 min/mile pace again and see how I feel.  Last year I finished in 2:28.  We will see how things go, though.  My training has been very different this year, so I may just surprise myself.

Oh, I ran a 5k last Saturday.  I finished in 27:37, which was a huge surprise to me!  I planned on running it as a tempo run at about a 9:15 pace, but the weather was so cool at about 65 degrees, I pushed harder.  I tried to keep it under a 9:00 min./mile pace, and I succeeded.  It was a flat 5k just minutes from my house.  I was very pleased with the results.  Considering I haven't done any speedwork or hill training, I'm very happy with that!

This week's training plan:
Monday:  off
Tuesday:  80 min medium effort run
Wednesday:  CDR hills
Thursday:  80 min medium effort run
Friday:  60 min rolling hills
Saturday:  off
Sunday:  2 hour long run

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Week 4 Training Recap

I have been training for 4 weeks now, and things are going great.  I am still experiencing some soreness/stiffness after some runs, but I am managing it very well with ice, massages, stretching, and rest when I think I need it.  I think I'm still in the healing process and it will take some time for it to completely go away.  I have changed up my stride and am trying to correct slight overpronation, so I am still adjusting.  The good thing is, I am definitely able to run 4-5 days per week!  It was so bad before, that if I ran I would hurt for 3-4 days and would be limping.  That is definitely gone!  My husband has become the best little calf massager, so it's all good!

I accidentally skipped Week 3 recap, so I will do that first.
7/5:  4.85 mi in 50 min (10:18 min/mi) also my 26th birthday!!
7/6:  off
7/7:  3.8 mi in 40 min (10:31 min/mi)
7/8:  3.62 mi in 40 min (11:04 min/mi)
7/9:  5.0 mi in 50 min (10:00 min/mi)
7/10: off
7/11: 6 mi in 66 min (11:03 min/mi)
total: 23 miles

Week 3 was a really good week for me.  I got some confidence in proving to myself that I could run faster paces.  Last year, I really held myself back training in certain heart rate zones.  Now, I just run based on how I feel, and that has put me at a faster pace.  I got in 5 good days of running and my ankle/achilles didn't bother me too much.

Week 4:
7/12:  cross training - weights/abs
7/13:  5.12 mi in 55 min (10:48)
7/14:  off
7/15:  4.07 mi in 45 min (11:03)
7/16:  4.75 min in 1:02 (13:04)
7/17:  off
7/18:  6.36 mi in 70 min (11:00)
total: 20 miles

This week was a little weird for me.  Week 3, I started running this somewhat hilly route with Becca near her house.  It's a nice quiet run, with enough small hills to transition me into hill training to come.  Plus, it's a good test for my ankle and achilles to see how they are going to react to hills.  I ran this Monday, 7/13, and it was a good run.  7/15 was a bad run.  My legs felt heavy and it was so humid outside I could barely breathe.  Still a decent run, numbers wise.  7/16 was the biggest epic fail of a run.  My mistake for trying to get a run in at 4 in the afternoon in humid/sunny weather.  By the time I realized what a mistake it was, I was more than 2 miles from my house.  I ran/walked 3 miles of it, then walked the rest back.  Saturday, my 5k got rained out, and I ended up not getting my run in at all because I had a jewelry party that lasted all evening.  Today, 7/18, was a turnaround after 2 bad runs and a missed run.  I got up early this morning to beat the sun and heat.  It was a very solid run for me. 

The rest of this week, I have two 60 min runs and two 50 minute runs scheduled.  One of the 50 min runs will be run on a hilly course of some sort.  I would like to start training on the Distance Run hills, but I don't think I'm ready for that yet.  Maybe here in a couple of weeks.  I am also going to finish remodeling my kitchen.  I took vacation from work to go to the beach this week, but we decided to finish our kitchen instead.  We bought cabinets from a warehouse a few months ago, and they have been sitting in our garage ever since.  Time to start destroying the old kitchen!  I really don't want to do it, but I will be very happy when it's done!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Weekend recap and randomness

I finished up my second week of training.  I did a couple miles less this week, 15 to be exact.  I think I ran 5 days last week and 4 this week.  I usually run every Sunday with Becca for her C25K, but with the holiday and stuff we just couldn't get together.  We normally run at 8PM so that it's not so hot and humid outside, but she went to see the new Twilight movie.  I haven't seen any of them, so I didn't go with her.  I need to catch up on these movies!  Anyways, my calf got pretty tight this week, which made my achilles a little sore, so I decided to take Saturday and Sunday off, instead of running without Becca.  I'm trying to play it smart and listen to my body!

Friday evening, I ran in the Independence 5k with Becca.  I ran the whole thing with her, as it was her first 5k.  I pushed the baby stroller most of the race, so she could focus on her running.  My goal for her was under 35 minutes, and we did it in 33!  She wasn't ready to run the entire race straight without a walk break, so we took 2 walk breaks.  She made it to the turnaround point (about 17 minutes) before taking a break, and that's the longest she has ran straight, so I was really proud of her!  We took the pace really easy till the halfway point, about an 11 min pace, then did a 10:30 pace another mile, took another walk break, then did about a 9 min pace the last half mile.  We had a great time!  I just hope Becca enjoys running as much as I do, lol, because I really want her to keep running so we can run together.  All last year I ran mostly by myself, but I have had a blast having a running partner this year!

Yesterday, I went to a spa and got a calf massage.  The lady was really nice, but she didn't work my calf out like my physical therapist does.  I mean, it felt good, but it wasn't as effective as when he does it.  Good thing I see him this coming Thursday so I can get a good massage.  I'm using that stick roller, too, but it's also not as effective as my PT.  I'm still a little tight tonight, so I'm going to stretch really good before bed.

A new 24 hour gym just opened up this Friday.  It's called Anytime Fitness, and it's the only 24 hour gym around here, so I signed up for a membership.  I hope this new gym will motivate me to get some cross training in.  I have really fallen off my ediets plan because I've been so down and out about my injury.  After a weekend of poor eating, I need to get back on track.  I guess I will wait till Tuesday to get back on track because my birthday is tomorrow, and the pharmacy is throwing me a little bday party.  One girl is making oreo bon bons, and I can't turn that down, lol.  I need to get these last few extra pounds off, then start to drop more weight.  I really need to get back into weight training.  I felt so much better when I was doing that (years ago, haha).

I think this coming week, I'm going to start the long run.  I will probably do about 55 minutes, so about 5 miles.  I have been leary of doing a long run right off the bat, but with 2 weeks of training and my achilles behaving pretty good, I think I can start doing a long run.  I'm going to increase my weekly mileage slowly, and I should have just enough time to build up to the Charleston Distance Run.  If that goes well, I'm going to run the Marshall Marathon in November.  I've never thought I would ever run a marathon, but for some reason I really want to run one now!  I just hope I can stay healthy!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I'm back beotches!

I am happy to report a whole week and a half of running with minimal complaining from my ankle and achilles.  Yep, that's right!  I'm back, bitches!! 

Last Thursday, I had another PT appointment.  We didn't really do a whole lot.  He massaged my calf for about 10 minutes, and man oh man, did it feel good!  When he was finished, it felt as if I didn't even have an injury.  No tightness whatsoever.  That lasted through to Sunday, then the tightness started to creep back up.  My injury is so weird lately.  It's healed enough so that I can run daily on it, but that stupid calf gets tight on me and puts a lot of strain on my achilles.  I bought The Stick massager, so that I could massage my calf myself, so I have been doing that since last Thursday.  It works pretty well, but it's nothing like a professional massage, lol.  It's getting me through, though.  I also discovered the ThermaCare Heat Wrap.  Wonderful product.  I have been using a wrap every other day or so after a run to keep my muscles loose.  Love the heat wrap!  I scheduled a calf massage for this coming Saturday.  My PT is on vacation this week, but I will go back to see him next Thursday.

As for my runs, I ran 17 miles last week!  I have been training my friend, Becca, on the Couch to 5k Program.  It has pretty easy runs, and I think she is on week 7 this week.  I did a couple of 35 minute runs with her last week, and two 40 min runs by myself.  The calf massage did me wonders through 3 runs.  Monday, I rested because it felt like it was getting a little tight again.  This week, I have run Tuesday and today.  Tuesday, I did a 45 minute run, and it was amazing.  It was my first real run without breaking to walk.  I had been breaking to take it easy on my ankle, but I'm barreling forward now, lol.  Today, I did a 35 min run in the sun.  I'm feeling pretty tight tonight.  I made my husband massage my calf with the stick tonight, and I'm hanging out on the couch with a heat wrap on, catching up on my shows on the DVR.  The funny thing is, I am running faster paces now than I did last year when I was training, lol.  I took 3 months off from running.  I cross-trained a little bit, but definitely thought I would struggling when I came back full force.  I guess I kept up enough cardio on my break to still be able to run a decent bit.  I'm taking the advice of local runner, Jason Pyles, who recommends I run based on how I feel, not based on a pace chart or HR zone.  Running how I feel has me running faster than before!  I ran today's 35 min run at a 10:00 min pace, and last year I would've ran an easy run like that at an 11:15 pace.  The 10:00 pace felt good, so I just went with it!

I am very optimistic that I am on the up side of this injury.  At least now, I can actually run on it regularly.  A little tightness I can deal with through massage and stretching.  As of right now, I believe that I have enough time to train for the CDR.  I don't know that I will run it any faster than last year because I'm getting a much later start, and I'm fresh off an injury.  Last year, I took 16 weeks to train, but I started from scratch.  This year, I have 10 weeks to train!!  But, I know from last year that I am capable of pushing myself harder.  I know that I can do more weekly miles, and I can do them faster.  I may just surprise myself!