Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yes, I am still running

I haven't been very active lately on my blog or in general.  I try to take time out daily so I can read everybody's blogs and leave comments, but I just haven't had the time to.  So, I'm sorry if I haven't commented or read your blogs lately.  I'm struggling with my running.  I simply don't feel like doing hard tempo or speed workouts or doing the long 10 mile runs.  I signed up for a half marathon at the end of October, but some things have come up (things that I could put off if I wanted to) and I don't feel like training for it.  I am still running and will continue to run, but not on specific schedule.  I am still going to keep my mileage around 20-25 miles per week.  I enjoy my little 5-6 mile easy runs, so I will probably do a lot of those, and I'm still going to have a long run day, but I'm going to keep those about 8 miles.

I really want to lose weight.  I'm so horrible at it.  I don't know why.  The biggest barrier that most people have is exercising, and I don't have that problem at all.  I love to run and exercise, so that's not a barrier for me.  My barrier is eating anything and everything I want to.  I just have to teach myself (again) that I don't have to eat all the time.  It's so hard for me, because I'm hungry all the freaking time, and I can't stand to have hunger pains.  I have talked and talked and talked about how I need to calorie count.  I'm going to try to do it.  I'm also going to try that 30 Day Shred with Jillian Michaels.  We finally got our rec room finished, so I'm going to give it a try.  I figure I can do that in the evenings and days that I'm not running.  I feel like I'm letting everybody down, especially myself.  I jumped right into that half marathon, not really thinking, not knowing how I would feel after the Distance Run.  On a positive note, I am doing the local Winter Series, a 5k, 8k, and 10k from December-February.  I did it last year, and that kept me moving during the winter.

I ran 5 miles early this morning on the treadmill at my local gym.  I hadn't run in 5 days.  I had to work Friday thru Monday, had a dinner with my sister and a birthday dinner to go to this weekend, so running didn't happen.  Bad Tammy!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The speed blues

Speed!  Where are you, speed?  Come out come out wherever you are!  Speed!!!!

Has somebody found my speed?  If so, I desparately need it back.  I lost it a few weeks ago and can't seem to find it. 

I complained a few posts back about losing my mojo and how I've had nothing but bad runs lately.  Well, I had an awesomely amazing long 10 mile run on Sunday and have had some 5-6 mile runs here and there as well.  Distance doesn't seem to be a problem a bit.  I was afraid I had lost that, but I haven't.  However, whenever I attempt a tempo run or a speed workout, I fall on my face.  I just can't maintain anything remotely "fast" by my standards.  By fast, for me at least, I mean keeping a 9-ish pace during speed or tempo runs.  My pace for the long run is about 11:30-12 min/mile, and regular easy runs about an 11:00 min/mile pace.  I am fine with those paces, but faster is not going so well.  For example, I went out yesterday evening for a speed session, 7 miles total with a 1.5 mile warmup, 3x 1mi @ 9:00 min/mile with 1/2 mile recoveries, and a 1 mile cooldown.  I barely made it through the first speed mile (aka, I had to stop and walk a few times), then I gave up on the speedwork and ran the rest of the way at a slow 11:30-ish pace.  I don't usually give up on things, but I knew I wasn't going to be able to finish the speedwork for that run at least. 

Maybe I'm wrong for thinking I could jump back into the same paces for my tempo and speed workouts that I ran the last month before my race.  Ok, after typing that, I really realize that I am wrong for jumping back into the same paces.  I did taper for a couple weeks before the race and I took a week off after the race.  So, in 3 weeks time, I lost my speed.  How ridiculous is that?  So, I'm not a genetically gifted runner, and maybe getting to a slow 9:00 min/mile pace takes a lot of work and lots of weeks of training for me.  I'm ok with that.  At least I still have my distance.  I just need to slow down my pace on these tempo runs and speed workouts.  Maybe I will regain some confidence if I just slow down the pace.  Maybe a 10:00 min/mile pace instead of a 9:30.  That's what I will do. 

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A redeeming long run

So, I had some crap runs last week.  I am still new to this racing thing, so I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel tapering before a race, running the race, then jumping back into training again.  My race was September 5th, then I took a week off with some recovery runs, then started back with a training plan this past week.  Every run this past week felt pretty bad.  Well, not too bad till I got to my tempo run Friday.  I felt like I had lost my endurance and speed.  But, I think maybe I was just having a bad run/ a bad week.  I had a 10 mile run scheduled for yesterday, which I ran today instead.  Considering my bad runs last week, I thought there was no way I could do a 10 miler, but I set out to do it anyways.  I secretly told myself I could stop at 8 if I needed to.  Well, I ended up having a great run!  To my surprise, my endurance/stamina was there and I was able to complete the run just fine and even pick it up a little in the middle.  That makes me so happy, and gives me some confidence.  My last post I was talking about how I felt like I didn't want to run anymore sometimes, but I think it's because I was getting burned out before my race and then had some bad runs afterward.  Honestly, long run days are my favorite.  I get to run at a nice, slow, comfortable pace and just enjoy my surroundings.  It definitely makes me feel a lot better when I have a good long run, and that carries me into the week on my next runs.

Running stats
Total miles: 10
Time: 2:02
Ave pace: 11:50 min/mile

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Case of the Lazies

Do you ever just feel like you don't want to run anymore?  I mean, I know this is something I shouldn't talk about, lol, but lately I have had this lazy feeling like that.  Like, sometimes I feel like running takes up a lot of my free time, when I could be doing "funner" things like hanging out with friends, watching football games, going to the mall, etc.  I'm sure most all of you who run regularly have to frequently tell friends/family you can't do something because you "have" to run.  They just don't understand, then I get asked why I just don't run tomorrow.  Haha!  I am running tomorrow, too!  Sorry.  I run 5 days per week, if I take an extra day off, I'm screwed and can't get my mileage in.  They just don't understand.  Anyways, I have been forcing myself out the door lately, against my will.  I have a half marathon to run November 1st, and I'm not just laying down and giving up because I don't "feel" like running.  I need to tough it out.  I know I will get out of this rut, it just really sucks while you're in it.  I'm so incredibly lucky to have friends on here and on dailymile to keep me going.  Thanks guys!

I ran a tempo run yesterday evening.  It was terrible.  Maybe I wouldn't have this "I don't want to run: feeling if my runs were good.  I was to run a 1 mile warmup, 4 miles at 9:35, and a 1 mile cooldown.  I could only manage 3 miles at tempo pace.  I think I took too much time off and ran too many lower mileage weeks since I tapered before the race the last week of August.  That pace seemed much too difficult yesterday, when just 3 weeks ago, I would've killed that!  My confidence definitely dropped yesterday.  I'm hoping that I bounce back pretty quick.  I'm sure I will after a few speed/tempo runs.  I'm supposed to run 10 miles today, but my Mountaineers are playing an evening game and it's hot and humid outside.  I might run it tomorrow morning.  If the sun goes away, I will TRY to get outside by 6:00 this evening so I can run and watch the game.  This chair is just so comfy!

Running stats:
Total miles: 6
Time: 1:02
Ave pace: 10:15

Monday, September 14, 2009

Back to the grind

Today was my first day back on a rigid training schedule.  I feel well-rested after some lower mileage weeks.  The week of the race, I had about 24 miles and last week I only had 13.  I think I really needed a break.  I'm not sure how to describe this, but I noticed that last few weeks of hard training that my tibias felt sore.  I'm pretty flexible and generally sit in chairs or on the floor in weird positions (I will sit with my legs folded underneath me).  I noticed that when I put pressure on my tibias they felt sore/bruised.  It's really hard to explain, but I know that they didn't feel right.  Now they feel pretty good.  Hopefully I can jump back into 30-ish miles per week without that feeling coming back. 

Today I ran an easy 5 miler.  I meant to run before the sun came out and heated things up, but I didn't.  It was about noon when I got outside.  It got pretty warm out, about 86 degrees.  I ran it in 55:55.  I thought that was funny.  Heart rate averaged around 157.

I'm supposed to run 5 miles tomorrow, but tomorrow is the one day per month I work out of town and will be gone from 7AM to 8PM.  So, I won't be running tomorrow.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Reflections on my training

So, my big race is over and done with.  I reached my goal time and survived.  I was really fatigued the last 3 miles, and I keep wondering if this was because I exerted myself too much from the start and on the hills, or because I tapered a little too much, or both.  I guess I will never know!  Overall, it was a successful finish to 16 weeks of training.  I have built a good base of mileage at 30 miles per week, from nothing just 4 months ago.  I have a half marathon on November 1st in Pittsburgh.  I was sure to sign up for something quickly so I wouldn't completely stop running, lol.  I don't think I will ever completely stop running, but I was getting burned out of the intense training runs.  I think after this half marathon, I will relax my training in the winter to shorter distance races.  I plan to run a winter series of a 5k in December, an 8k in January, and a 10k in February.  That will keep me moving at least.

So, what changes am I going to make to my training plan?  I would like to work on speed.  I think I'm going to incorporate more speedwork into my plan, but nothing high mileage wise.  Going to the track to run a few miles of speedwork once per week should help with that without being too taxing.  That's all I think I will change running wise.

I would like to make serious changes to my diet.  My original goal for starting this whole running expedition wasn't to become a good runner, but to lose weight.  And guess what?  After 16 weeks, I lost like 2 pounds.  How ridiculous is that?  I simply eat too much.  I eat all the time.  And it's not really that I eat bad stuff, I just eat around the clock.  I have no will power.  My stomach tells me I'm hungry all the time, and I respond.  I really think I have a problem, lol.  And I don't want to hear, 'oh, but you gained muscle and muscle weighs more than fat,' or 'you lost inches, and that's what counts'.  No, no, and no.  I weigh 150 pounds, and I'm 5'3.  I am overweight.  I can plainly see that I have plenty of excess body fat on me.  Rubbish about muscle mass and such...the muscle is hidden under fat and I want it gone!

I think there are a couple of reasons that contributed to my failure to lost weight.  One is the obvious thinking that I can eat what I want because I will just run it off.  I get that all the time from my husband and friends.  If I eat something "bad", they always tell me it's ok I will run it off.  Another reason is that I overcompensate.  I think I need a pre-run energy bar or mini meal and a post-run recovery bar, when I really don't.  I eat enough for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks to more than give me enough energy to run.  I don't need to eat that darn Zone Bar before my run.  I have to calorie count.  Period.  I tried to blog my food log and failed miserably at that.  It's difficult enough to write down what I eat, much less go to the trouble to format it in a blog.  I need to keep a personal journal of my food intake.  I did it 2 years ago successfully, why can't I do it again??!?!?

Cross training.  Period.  I need to do it.  On the days I don't run, I need to cross train, not sit on my lazy butt in the evil comfy recliner.  There for a while, I did a good job of going to Zumba and doing the Wii Active, then I just stopped.  I also tried to make weight training a priority (Sorry I failed at this, too, B.o.B) but that didn't work out.  I gave my friend Barbie the advice to schedule her runs in her calendar like an appointment.  I need to take my own advice and schedule my cross training in my calendar.  Weight training is going to make a huge difference in my effort to lose weight and shed some body fat.  I just need to do it!

So, those are the things I'm going to change.  Getting faster, eating better, and cross training.  Fingers are crossed.  If I fall off the wagon, I need you guys to send me a cyber smack in the face!  I know I can count on B.o.B. for this one, lol. 

Training for my November 1st half marathon starts Monday.  I switched my long runs to Saturday because I have been neglecting my husband with Sunday long runs for many weeks.  Sundays used to be our day to sleep in together and have a big breakfast.  Then, I started jumping out of bed at 7 or 8 AM on Sunday for my run.  He misses me, and I really miss our Sundays too.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Official Race Results!

Sorry I haven't posted up all week.  I tapered all this week, with a 3 miler on Monday, a 3 miler on Tuesday, and a 5 mile hilly run on Wednesday.  I worried that I didn't get enough miles in and that I tapered too much, but I felt really strong on my hilly 5 miler.  I managed a 9:30 pace on that course, which involved lots of rolling hills.  So, on to the race!

I woke up about 4:50AM to eat a bagel with PB.  I thought I would stick with what has worked for me.  I drank a PureSport electrolyte drink at about 6:30, an hour before the race.  I had tried this drink before my hilly 5 miler this week and felt great, so I thought I would do it again.  My stomach felt a little full for the race, and this worried me, but ended up not really being a problem.  Of course, I had the "race runs" this morning.  I get them every time I race.  I still felt like I needed to use the bathroom one more time at the start line, but obviously couldn't.  By the time I got to the hills, the feeling was gone.

My goal was to keep a 10:00 min/mile pace and finish in 2:30.  The weather was perfect again, starting off in the high 50's.  It was actually kind of chilly.  I felt really good.  I had a fully charged Garmin and iPod and my heart rate monitor, so I was all set.  I immediately settled into a very comfortable stride and felt great cardiovascularly.  I looked down and was running a 9:30 pace, which felt very comfortable, so I decided I would go with that and see what happened.  At the 3.5 mile point, the hill started.  I knew this would be my test because when you're having a bad day, the hills will kick your ass and send you home crying, but when you're having a good day, they aren't a problem.  Luckily, I was having a great day!  I originally planned on running an 11:00-ish pace on the hills, but again I felt pretty good.  I think I ended up having a 10:30-ish pace up the big hill.  I was actually passing people on the hills because I had been training on them for months, which gave me a lot of confidence.  I flew down the hill, trying to make up some time.  On this portion, I started to get a side stitch under my left rib, but it went away after about two miles.  When I hit the halfway point, I looked at my watch and it was exactly 1:15, so I was perfectly on pace for my 2:30 goal if I could just keep a 10:00 pace or faster.

Once I was back on the flat, I was relieved.  I tried to keep a 9:30 pace, but I was getting tired from starting out a little too fast combined with the hills.  I started slipping into the 9:45-ish pace.  Surprisingly, my daddy came out to cheer me on.  He showed up at 3 different points on the course, which was nice.  My husband, Eric, and a couple of friends were at mile 13 to cheer me on as well.  I seriously needed it because at mile 12 I really started to fatigue.  The idea that I had to run 30 more minutes seemed impossible.  At this point, I was stopping at every water station to take a 10 second breather and drink some water.  I was really struggling to keep my pace under 10:00.  At mile 14 I was so tired!  Fourteen miles was the longest I had ever run before, so I was ready for it to be over.  At this point, I had slowed to a 10:15 pace.  I just didn't have the strength left to muster up anything faster.  My heart rate was off the charts.  It had been in the 170's for most of the race, except the hills, but the last four miles on the flat it was in the mid 180's, reaching 190 when I hit the track to finish.  I reached Hansford Street and saw the entrance to Laidley Field.  I was so happy, yet so tired.  Seeing the end gave me some strength, and as soon as I hit the track, I found the strength to run a 9:00 min/mile pace.  My husband, dad, and four other friends were standing on the fence cheering me on, so I couldn't disappoint.  I rounded the track and saw the time clock.  It was still on 2:27.  Holy crap, I was going to break my goal of 2:30!  I held my pace and kicked it in in 2:28:05 (a 9:53 pace).  It was finally over!!!!!

Official race results (till the complete results are posted)
I finished 334 out of 482.  For those wondering, my running friend Andrew, who I train with sometimes, finished in 1:46, placing 47th.  You can see my splits here.

My legs, my chest, my ribs all hurt.  My legs are still hurting as I type this, lol.  The race was difficult, but I did it.  There was no way in my life I would have ever thought I could run anything more than a mile, and here I finished a 15 mile race, beating my goal.  Sixteen weeks of hard training and I did it.  When I decided to take on this race, I had no idea what I was getting myself into or what I would learn along the way.  Yes, I ran 15 miles, but I learned that I can accomplish something if I put my mind to it and have a good plan.

Thank you to all of my runner friends out there in the blog world and on dailymile.  I know for a fact that I couldn't have done any of this without the support of all of you each and every day.  This has been the best thing I have ever done for myself in my life, and I hope to continue running and taking on new goals.

I have one question: now that I have tackled the Charleston Distance Run, what should I change the name of my blog to?