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!