Monday, August 31, 2009

Refreshed and ready to run

I cut the end of my training week last week a little short mileage wise and am on my taper this week.  The race is this coming Saturday!  I'm getting really excited, especially for the race packet pickup/pasta dinner on Friday.  I was starting to get burned out pretty bad, like I didn't even want to run, but the rest I have been getting lately and the awesome support you guys have been giving me have made me feel much better!  I only ran 4 days last week, mostly easy runs aside from my 14 miler and short 6 mile tempo run, and took Saturday and Sunday off.  I feel much better today and am giddy to get outside and run after work.  I am running three miles today at a nice easy pace.  Who wouldn't look forward to a little enjoyable run like that?  After all these weeks of training, I feel like I have a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.  You guys have reminded me that I have put in the hard work and am ready for the race, and that makes me feel really good!  Maybe that is what taper week is all about, relaxing before the race and looking back at all the work you've done.  I have let my diet slip up quite a bit the last few weeks.  I haven't really gained any weight, but am stuck at 150 pounds.  I'm ok with this right now.  After my race Saturday, I will be able to sit down and reflect upon my training and what I want to change.  I will be making a new training plan for my half marathon that is on November 1st.  I vow to stick with cross training, and hopefully a structured diet.  I am in a way baffled that I didn't lose much weight (3 pounds is all) during these 16 weeks, but in a way I'm not surprised.  A lot of the time I cheated on eating nutritiously (daily) and I know I was consuming too many calories.  My new plan will hopefully identify that, and I can come up with a diet I can stick to.  My goal for the next training period is not going to be to run a fast half marathon, but to improve my basic health, and this starts with a solid nutritious foundation.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Let the tapering begin!!

So, I had been contemplating on my big 10 mile tempo run.  I was supposed to run it Thursday, but it got pushed back because I was lazy on Tuesday and didn't run.  I got an email from a local running club wishing us good luck and reminding us to "tank up and start tapering."  It said "You can not make any more gains and can only hurt your chances for a good race".  I have read this type of advice before, but it was a reminder I didn't expect.  I began to wonder if a 10 mile tempo run would be too much a week out from the race.  I've never run a race like this before and have no experience tapering.  With that advice, on top of being a little burned out, I decided I would still do the tempo run, but not 10 miles.  I settled for 6 miles.  I'm glad I did that because at the end, my knees were rather sore.  The weather was nice out, just a little humid.  I forgot my iPod, so that stunk.  Overall, I wasn't really feeling the run, but I got it in.  So, now I'm going to sit back and enjoy my taper.  I have three small runs scheduled before Saturday's race.  I have two easy 3 mile runs and a 5 mile tempo run scheduled next week, followed by 2 days of rest and then the race.  That sounds pretty good to me!  My legs feel a little sore from all these weeks of training.  I should be fresh and ready to go come next Saturday!  I'm going to enjoy eating pasta this week, hahah.  Mmmm, Olive Garden!

Running stats:
Distance: 6 miles
Time: 59:48
Ave pace: 9:58; tempo splits: 9:33, 9:24, 9:22, 9:16
Ave HR:  166

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Somebody give me some motivation!

I don't know what's wrong with me lately!  I have been coming home and sitting my butt down in the recliner and taking a nap after work.  That means I have to force myself to get up and go run.  Then, I come back home after my run and go back to sleep!  I think I'm getting burned out all of a sudden, and it's scaring me!  Good thing my race is next Saturday.  I mean, I'm really excited and proud that I've come this far, but I think my body may be telling me it's time for a little rest.  After my 14 mile run Sunday, I took Monday off and was supposed to run Tuesday, but didn't.  I pushed that workout to Wednesday, then waited till 8:00PM to do it.  I ran 5 miles on the treadmill.  Tonight, I ran 4 miles outside in my neighborhood.  I didn't want to do that, I wanted to stay in my chair and watch a movie, lol.  I think I'm tired of having a structured running schedule with big 14 mile long runs and 10 mile tempo runs in the same week.  After my race next Saturday, I'm going to take a couple of weeks off from serious training.  I'm still going to run, maybe 15-20 miles each week, then jump back into a training plan again.  I have another half marathon on November 1st in Pittsburgh.  As long as I keep my mileage up between now and then, I should be fine.  I'm just going for the experience.  So, somebody please motivate me!!  My last big run before the race is tomorrow.  It is a 10 mile tempo run.  I'm not excited about it!  But, then I start taper for the race.  I'm almost done!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

A glorious 14 mile run

Yesterday, I went out for my highly anticipated 14 mile run.  If you remember last week's long run was a complete fail, as I was having stomach issues and was running a quicker pace than I normally do.  I couldn't run up any of the hills and by the last two miles, I was walking mostly.  This run was a complete 180 from last week's run.  I felt amazing and killed those hills!  The temperature was unlike anything we have had here lately.  I woke up early as usual to beat the heat, and realized it was only 62 degrees outside.  I checked the and found out it was going to be in the 60's all morning and early afternoon, so I went back to sleep for a while.  I ended up running at 9:30, and on top of the cool temperature it was overcast, so there was no sun beating down on me.  It was the absolute PERFECT running situation and I thrived.  Now, if only the weather could do a repeat of yesterday for the day of my actual race!

I started off at the Capitol where the race will begin.  I was having some dificulty with the first mile, as I normally do, but I quickly settled into a groove and was fine after that.  There were several people out running the CDR course yesterday.  I wondered where these people have been because I have been religiously training on this route for weeks and weeks and weeks....14 to be exact.  I didn't encounter anybody on the hills, just on the flat.  My goal was to take it easy and keep between an 11-11:30 min/mile pace, even on the hills.  I think during the actual race I'm going to keep that pace on the hills so I don't wear myself out and run out of steam.  I was able to run that with ease, so I know I can push myself a little harder on race day if I want to.  I made it up the huge mile long hill with no problems and my heart rate teetering in the high 170's-low 180's.  I even had enough in me that I didn't have to stop at the top like usual, and I just kept going!  Woohoo, victory #1.  I did have to stop at the top of the next hill because it's just ridiculous.  It's an uphill that curves onto another uphill road, and it's just too steep.  But, I only walked for about 15 seconds, then I was back at it.  I stopped after the third hill for about 10 seconds, as I know this is going to be a crucial water stop for me.  At this water stop, the long downhill starts, which I just breeze through.  I don't mind having a slow pace on the hills because I can more than make up for it on the downhill. 

Once I got off the mountain, I ate some raisins and about 3 ounces of water and kept going.  I felt so great!  So great, in fact, that I found myself running about a 10:30 pace the whole rest of the way!  I wanted to slow down and take it easy, but I just felt so good, I kept on with the faster pace.  This is awesome because my goal pace is 10:00 min/mile.  If the conditions are similar temperature wise, I will definitely be able to bust out the 10:00 minute pace.  My legs started to feel heavy at mile 13, but I think it was mostly mental.  What a time to start having mental problems during a run, lol.  I just had 1 mile left, 2 if I were running the full course.  My husband was waiting for me at mile 14 to take me back to my car.  As soon as I saw his truck, I got a burst of energy and picked up my pace immediately.  That stupid mental block that was telling me I was tired was just a bunch of crap.  I had plenty left in me. 

This run gave me so much confidence, which I had lost from last week's run.  I proved to myself that I could manage the hills and the long distance together.  If the sun peeks its head on race day, I may struggle a little, but the race starts at 7:30 so I should be fine.

My splits:  11:19, 10:53, 10:53, 10:51, (hills-11:13, 11:16, 9:56, 9:22), 10:35, 10:38, 10:33, 10:33, 10:33, 10:30

Total miles: 14
Time: 2:29:12
Ave pace: 10:39
Ave HR: 163
Calories burned: 1688

Next run: Tuesday 5 miler

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Speedwork, oih!

Wednesday I ran an easy 3 miles on the treadmill. I put it off till the absolute last second, till it was too dark to run outside, and the gym was closing in 30 minutes, lol. I got to the gym just in time and put in my baby run. I ran it in 31:11.

Thursday, I took an off day, in anticipation of a 10 MILE SPEED WORKOUT!!!!! For some reason, I was not looking forward to this one! I had to be at work at 12:30, so I planned on running in the morning. I woke up and it was pouring outside. I started to panic! I was like I HAVE to get this run in TODAY!!!! I contemplated running the darn thing on the treadmill. Yikes! Then, I called Andrew to ask him what he would do. "Run it in the rain". He said that without even thinking about it. Ok, I'm going to run it in the rain. I'm just that hardcore, lol. Then, when I got to the boulevard, it completely stopped raining, not a drop the entire run. And I almost did this on the treadmill!

Enough about me being a weenie about running in the rain. I mean, I was going to be soaked with sweat head to toe anyways, so what's a little rain? On the plan was a 1.5 mile warmup, then 5 x 1 mi @ 9:05 with 1/2 mile recoveries, followed by a 1 mile cooldown. The run ended up being pretty good, except that I had to pee really really really bad from the get-go. I stopped at a park-type place to use the restroom, but they had the doors locked. I guess they only unlock them when there are true events going on. So, I ran half of the run thinking how badly I needed to pee the entire time. I stopped at our lovely State Capitol Complex to use the bathroom there. Such relief! The first three speed intervals weren't too bad, but the last two I had to fight for. I guess it's not speedwork unless it's at least a little difficult. I started getting side stitches under my left ribs again. Not sure why that's been happening lately. I stopped to walk and that calmed down, so I was fine after that. My Garmin was actually working properly this time, and let me hit the lap button, so I was able to get true feedback for each speed interval. Last time it wouldn't let me hit the lap button, so I had no idea during the run. The last speed interval mile was a tough one, as it always is because there's this stupid (small) bridge on the way back, as well as 3 streets to cross, that seem to slow me down at the end. Just as I'm typing this, I realize my Garmin is dead, so I have to post my splits from memory: 8:58, 9:05, 9:03, 9:02, 9:18. Not bad at all! I remember it took 1:43 to run the 10 miles, so I think my average pace was around 10:13 or so. I will update this post once my Garmin is charged.

So, I'm taking the day off today. I had another baby 3 miler scheduled, but I have to run 14 miles tomorrow, and I just don't want to run today! By the way, tomorrow's 14 miler is my LAST LONG RUN on my training plan before the race. Wow, I just realized that my race is exactly 2 weeks away!! Holy crap, I am going to be like a hyper 10 year old ADHD child that whole week before the race. I'm already starting to get really really excited! Next Sunday, I start my taper. It's what all the big boys do, so I'm going to do it too. I guess you don't lose much during taper time. I'm just kind of nervous not having a long run in there for 2 weeks. During my taper week, the longest run I have is a 5 mile tempo run. My legs will sure be fresh for the race!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Progressive 5 miler

I ran a moderately tough 5 miler this evening near my house. This guy, Andy, on dailymile, does these progressive runs where each mile he runs is faster than the last. He's an awesome runner and puts in a lot of miles each week. I accidentally did a progressive run last week, and I realized it after I looked at my splits. I just felt very strong during that run and found myself picking up the pace each mile. Today, I did it again. I didn't set out with the goal of a progressive run, but after the second mile I felt like I could do it. It actually makes the run a lot more interesting, as you compete against yourself to beat your last mile. The last mile you run is your fastest, so you end up pushing pretty hard. Here are my splits: 10:31, 10:21, 10:11, 9:59, 9:34.

Total miles: 5.01
Time: 50:41
Ave pace: 10:07
Ave HR: 166
Calories burned: 598

It was hot and muggy outside. I sweat a lot anyways. After the run, I came home and ate a homemade chicken and dumpling crockpot recipe I made. It was quite yummy, but I definitely ate too much. My tummy is very full right now :(

Next run: Wednesday - easy 3 miler and strength training
Total miles this week: 18

Saturday, August 15, 2009

New car and a few runs

Wow, I haven't made a post in over a week! I have been out of town a few days, away from blogger world, and I have missed a couple of runs this week. Not important training runs, but the mileage runs.

Sunday was my long run. I hit a new distance, 12 miles, woohoo! This was actually a pretty significant run for me, which should have its own blog post, but I just didn't have the time to do it. I decided that I was going to run the CDR course, complete with the 5 miles of hills. Until this run, I had done all my long runs on flat ground, and I had done the 5 mile hill portion by itself on a separate day, usually running it with Andrew. So, I needed to incorporate them both together in one run. With the race being less than 4 weeks away at that point, I needed to see if I could manage the distance and the hills. I had to work that day too, so I decided to run the 12 miles before work, at 5:30AM. I have never gotten up that early to run before, I mean it was still dark for the first 3 miles! It was actually kind of scary, running all alone out there in the dark in the wee hours of the morning. The sun finally came up when I started up the first hill, and I felt a lot better. I was running at an 11-12 minute pace from the start, and surprised myself by keeping an 11:30-ish pace on the hills. I will be happy if I run the hills at that pace even during the race. I don't want to wear myself out on the hills and not be able to finish. I handled the hills well and ended up back on flat ground. At about mile 9 I was wishing it was over, lol, but I kept going. Every muscle and bone in my legs hurt when I finished. I stretched my legs a little when I finished and they felt much better. At work, I was fine and my legs didn't bother me at all.
Running stats:
Total miles: 12 miles
Time: 2:15:35
Ave pace: 11:15 min/mile
Ave HR: 164
Calories burned: 1435

Monday and Tuesday I didn't run at all. Eric and I were on the road, looking for a car to buy. We actually ended up in Lancaster, PA, which is 6.5 hours away from home. I had planned on running Tuesday, I even took my running clothes with me. I woke up Tuesday morning and started getting dressed, then realized I forgot my running shoes. I was soooo mad! So, I missed a 4 mile run that day. Wednesday, I got up early to run a quick 4 miles, then we went to Ashland, KY all day. I ran it in 42:38 with an average pace of 10:37 min/mile.
Thursday I ran a 9 mile tempo run. I ran a 1 mile warm-up, 7 miles at a 9:35 min/mile pace, and a 1 mile cooldown. I ended up keeping a quicker pace, which surprised me. I ran each mile a little faster, with the exception of the last tempo mile. It got really dark and I had to come back over the bridge again. I just didn't have the strength in me to run it any faster. My splits: 10:42, 9:35, 9:32, 9:32, 9:27, 9:24, 9:23, 9:38, 11:26.
Thursday's running stats:
Distance: 9 miles
Time: 1:28:44
Ave pace: 9:51
Ave HR: 172
Calories burned: 1064

I had another steady state run scheduled for yesterday, just 3 miles. But, I had to work about an hour and a half away and didn't get home till 9:00. So, I missed another run for the week. I'm planning on running this evening, probably about 5 miles. I have 13 miles scheduled for tomorrow, so I don't want to wear myself out this evening.
So, you guys are up to date on what happened with me last week. Sorry to be away for so long!


This is what I missed my run for.  My 2006 Subaru WRX STI.  I love this car :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Healthy pancake recipe

I ran 6 miles today at the gym on the treadmill. I usually don't like the treadmill, but I've been off from work a few days and wanted to get my runs out of the way in the middle of the day (sans the heat and humidity). Today I had some great songs playing on my iPod Shuffle, and I was lip singing the whole time, lol. The people at the gym probably thought I was crazy, running for over an hour and lip singing. I ran at about an 11:15 pace, so it took 1:07 to run.  After my run, I ate a Clif Bar and started in on some strength training.  I did well this week sticking to my strength training commitment.  I planned on going twice, as I knew I would be sore jumping back into it.  I did some upper body and lower body again.  Two sets of 12 of each exercise, including eights, lying dumbbell extensions, lat pulldowns, pushups, bench step-ups, good mornings, squats, and lunges.  No core workout today.

I have this cookbook that I bought about 2 months ago, The Eat Clean Diet Cookbook by Tosca Reno.  I have read the Eat Clean Diet, but never really tried it fully committed.  It completely eliminates all added sugars, and focuses on fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein.  It doesn't even let you eat light flavored yogurt.  At the time, I thought it was way too strict for me, but it still had very good nutrition information that any healthy diet should be based on.  I may consider trying this diet again soon.  I highly recommend this cookbook.  There are lots of recipes using healthy foods such as quinoa and lentils.  Since I don't get to cook a lot, I haven't tried many of the recipes.  But, this morning I was craving some pancakes - healthy pancakes.  Sure enough, Tosca has a recipe for Power Oatmeal Pancakes.  I'm going to share this recipe with you because I think it's a great alternative to the unhealthy pancakes we typically eat.

Power Oatmeal Pancakes
6 egg whites, beaten until fluffy
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 scoop protein powder
1/2 cup oatmeal, uncooked
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup flax seed
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Cooking spray

1. Place all ingredients except beaten egg whites in a food processor and pulse or blend until mixture is uniform (when I did this it formed a big ball, I think because of the oil)

2. Pour blended ingredients into a bowl and add the egg whites.  Fold until just blended. (I suggest leaving the ingredients in the food processor and adding the egg whites to the food processor, blending until mixed).

3. Prepare a griddle with cooking spray.  Ladle pancake mixture onto griddle and cook until both sides are browned.

Nutrition Value (Makes 6 total, serving size 2 pancakes)
Calories 283|Fat 10.5g|Carbs 24g|Protein 21g|Dietary Fiber 4.5g|Sugars 0.3g|

After making these, I think I will change a couple things for next time.  I may try adding more cinnamon or add some raisins to the batter for some sweetness.  Tosca recommends eating these with unsweetened applesauce.  I topped them with bananas and applesauce when I ate them today.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Recovery Week and Strength Training

Sunday I took the day off, having just run the 10k on Saturday. I had to work anyways. Yuck. I usually don't have to work on Sundays, but it was my turn. I'm taking one for the team and am working next Sunday, too. Luckily the hours are 10-6, so I can fit my 12 mile run in before work if I wake up early enough.

Monday I ran an easy 6 miles in Saint Albans. It was very nice out, about 78 degrees and felt rather cool. My tummy started playing tricks on me and I stopped to use the bathroom halfway through, but other than that it was a nice run.

Run stats:
Distance: 6.01 miles
Time: 1:07
Ave pace: 11:16 min/mile
Ave HR: 145
Calories: 731

Tuesday, I woke up early to go to the gym and STRENGTH TRAIN. I got there about 6:45 and warmed up on the treadmill for 5 minutes. Then, I hit some core training on the bosu ball. I love that thing. I moved onto upper body. I hate my arms. I mean, they are somewhat toned and when I flex, I have big muscles, but when they aren't flexed they are just fat, lol. I need to really work on my upper body. For lower body, I focused on my hamstrings and some single legged movements. My thighs are big, so I'm looking forward to leaning them out a little and sculpting them. Anyways, here is what I did:

2 sets of 14 - standing biceps curl 2 sets of 15 - good morning
2 sets of 12 - dumbbell flye 2 sets of 12 - bench step-up
2 sets of 12 - lat pulldown 2 sets of 12 - single legged squat
2 sets of 12 - bench dip 2 sets of 12 - reverse lunge
2 sets of 12 - lying overhead bar press

I didn't want to start off too difficult because I didn't want to be sore all week. I'm a little sore today, but I should be fine to go back for the same workout on Friday. I'm doing two days of strength training this week, then next week I'm going to bump it up to three days.

So, B.o.B, where is your strength training workout?? (a little friendly motivation)

By the way, as you know I'm always trying to eat better. I was checking out this blog called Chocolate Shoestrings. She is having a giveaway on her blog for the book Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes. Check it out!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Saturday's brutal 10k

So, Saturday morning I ran a 10k. It's only the second 10k I have ever raced. The first one I ran was back in February, and I finished it in about 1:02. It was a very flat easy course. At that time, the longest run I had completed in preparation for that 10k was 8 miles, and I had only run that once. So, obviously I am in better running shape now than I was back in February. I set a goal for this 10k to finish in under an hour. I thought that would be pretty easy considering all the speedwork and tempo runs I have been doing.

What I didn't realize was that this 10k was at Coonskin Park and that there would be some hills involved. Lots of hills actually. Once I realized what was in store for me, I really started to doubt the under one hour goal I had set. The first mile was decently flat, and I started off at about a 9:30 pace. The first lengthy hill slowed me down a little bit, but nothing major. The second hill started separating people a little. I started passing some people, yay! Then, there was this huge downhill. We ran to the entrance of the park, then turned around and headed back. Realizing I would have to run up that huge hill I just ran down, I slowed my pace a little. Then, the most annoying thing happened. These stupid cars were trying to get by us. We had runners on both sides of the road, and some of the runners had stupid iPods in their ears and couldn't hear us yelling at them to let the cars by. I am guilty of running with my iPod, but I always keep the volume low where I can hear things going on around me. I could tell the driver's of the cars weren't very happy. I don't think the race organizers did a very good job of trying to control traffic. There were only a couple signs up that said watch for runners. I mean, it's a state park with little to no traffic, but still.

Anways, back to the race. At the top of this hill, there was a flagger person waiving the 10k people to the right, up this crazy steep hill. I look up and my heart sinks. This is probably the steepest hill I have ever seen, much less attempted to run up! I saw 3 people ahead of me, and they were walking the hill. Very smart idea. I decided I would walk the hill too. That was even really difficult! It was not just a steep hill, but it was long. My calves weren't used to that at all and were aching. I got to the top, huffing and puffing, my strength drained. The people ahead of me were still walking, so I walked a little more to get my strength. The rest of the course on the hill wasn't bad, just small rolling hills. The 4 of us started running again. There were 2 guys and a girl in a bright pink shirt. It took me a good 1/2-3/4 of a mile to get all my strength back. But once I did, I was right back to it. I passed one of the guys. Then I passed the other guy. It was down to me and this chick in the pink shirt. I'm actually very glad this girl was in front of me because she really seriously motivated me to run harder. I was determined to catch her!

So I'm on this hill loop, which is a good 2 miles, trying to pass this girl. GOSH, I can't catch her! I'm picking up my pace in the straight, flat areas. I actually felt a lot stronger on the second half of this race, particularly the last 2 miles. We are starting to get close to heading back down this steep hill. I'm still trailing this girl by about 200 yards. I start down the giant steep hill, half afraid I'm going to fall down because it's a little wet, and half afraid I'm going to hurt my knees if I run too fast down it. I made it to the base of the hill and the flagger is cheering me and tells me it's all flat from here. I have 1 mile left. I know this, and from somewhere deep within me, I start running this incredible pace. I don't know where it came from, but here it was. I was running so fast, and it felt amazing. It didn't feel like anything could stop me. I'm glancing down at my watch and I'm in the low 8's. I couldn't believe it! I'm running faster than my 5k pace, and all that after running that damn hill! I see this guy ahead of me, and I pass him. I have my eye on the pink shirt. She's tired, drained, and I am on a mission. I surge past her, and keep going, speeding up a little. I hit the 7's. WTF?? I've never run under an 8 min pace! I'm huffing and puffing and feel like I'm going to die, but the finish line is just ahead. I make it. They didn't have a time clock, so I looked at my watch and it was 58:41. I couldn't believe I finished in under an hour! I thought the hills definitely ruined my chances for that. I walked for at least a minute. I felt so victorious. I'm not sure how I finished in my class because they haven't posted the results or official times. I know I didn't get 1st or 2nd, though. It didn't matter to me. I passed the girl in the pink shirt, and found this speed locked away deep inside me.

I guess those 12 mile long runs and 8 mile tempo runs really help out. When those other people were struggling at the end, I was running the fastest times I have ever run. I'm posting the splits, but these aren't accurate because my Garmin only read 6.01 miles, not 6.2.


After looking at my HR during the run, I realized I didn't push myself hard enough. I think I was being very reserved at the beginning because I was afraid I was going to lose steam and not be able to finish. I actually really psyched myself out before the race, thinking to myself that I couldn't do it, couldn't finish, couldn't do it in under an hour. The mind can really screw with you. Now I know that I had plenty more in me and I could've finished even faster. Next time, I'm going to go into a race telling myself that I'm a running machine (lol) and I'm going to give it all I got from the beginning. I'm well trained, I've put in the speedwork, I've put in the tempo runs, and I've put in the long runs. Why did I doubt my ability?