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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Solid AM run

I got to bed early last night, and even managed to get my gear laid out so it would be quick to get on for the morning speed work session. My stomach had other ideas.

I was up at 5:30, which should have been enough time to get dressed and out the door and to the Armory (which is less than five minutes from my house.) However, three trips to the bathroom later, I called it.

Between the time constraint (I was most likely going to be late at that point,) and the likelihood of another necessary bathroom trip, I decided to do the distance option on the treadmill. It was five miles, so I set my pace to what felt easy, set up the next episode of Fringe, and just chugged along.

Side note: Chase scenes in Fringe are great for making you unconsciously run faster.

Around mile 1.5 I had to jump off the treadmill for a quick pit stop. I was very happy with my choice to use the treadmill at that point.

Towards the end of my run, I realized I was running out of time, I still had to shower and get dressed for work, and it was getting awfully close to 7:00 (I have to be at work by 8, but I can usually make it if I leave the house by 7:30, yay for short commutes!) So I pushed the speed a bit, cranking it out to hit five miles.

It felt good to get the run in before work, and even though I was horrifically sweaty (still need to find a fan to put in there,) the run felt comfortable. Not easy like I should have been pushing harder, but a comfortable level of effort.

My knee felt good on this run, but since I didn't really have enough time to stretch, my calves are not happy with me now. I'm going to spend some quality time with my foam roller tonight.

In other news, I got an email back from the Trainer for the training group and She basically told me that it was awesome that I was listening to my body and not trying to push it too hard. She said she wanted to discuss it with me in person before she switched up my training plan.

Thursday is the monthly Pub Run, and I'm going to try to get to that. If I do, I'll talk to her then, if not I'll have to track her down on Saturday at the Long Run. Either way I'll have a plan to move forward with after this week, which feels good.

After last weeks Whine Fest, this week is bringing the positive back!

Monday, July 21, 2014

An Awful, No Good, Very Bad Week.

Last week was kind of a non-starter. I missed two runs entirely, and only managed three short runs all week.

Tuesdays speed work crashed and burned after the tempo repeats. My leg started bothering me during the last repeat so I cut out the "hill" section (sprinting for 20 seconds). Which left me with a short 2.86 mile run in the books.

Saturday, I was really busy so decided to move my long run to Sunday. I did a solid 5 miles. Nothing to write home about, but I did average 11'14" a mile. Unfortunately, there seems to be something wrong with my Nike+ app, so the splits are all messed up.

Sunday the weather was nasty rainy out, so I opted for a treadmill run again. I was going to try for the full long run distance on my calendar (13.1 miles), but figured I might have to cut it short due to time. (I could only really run until the munchkin woke up from her nap.) I settled into a nice 11 min/mile pace for the first 3 miles, just kinda crusin' and watching Fringe (I decided to start watching that from the beginning since I never really got into it before, I'm only on episode two right now.) Then my left knee (the bad knee) started bothering me. Not too badly, but just feeling kinda wonky.  So I slowed it down a bit, and kept chugging on. By mile five my knee was starting to complain loudly, so I made the call to finish out the hour and then stop (I was right around 50 something minutes at the time.) I ended up with an hour long run and 5.37 miles in the books.

I'm trying not to feel too defeated by my runs this past week, to just write it off as a bad week and move on.

Two weird things about the week, one is that I honestly think running on the treadmill is what's bugging my knee. I haven't had issues with it all season, and now it's acted up on two out of three treadmill runs. Also, I sweat a lot on the treadmill. I'm not sure if it's just because it's hotter in my house, or if I'm running faster, or the sweat evaporates better outside, but by the time I'm done on the treadmill, I'm drenched.

Ok, putting this behind me and moving on.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A long run, and some sore shoulders

My long run this weekend was supposed to be an 11 miler. Spoiler alert, it wasn't. However, it was an awesome run.

I stayed with the 13 minute pace group for this run, both because I feel more comfortable at that pace, and because I really enjoyed the group when I ran with them a couple weeks ago.

I had made the decision to wear my camelback for this run. There was no way I was risking running out of water again! This is the first time I've run serious distance with the pack on, and I was a little worried about it.

I told the pacer that I was supposed to do an extra three miles (the base run for the majority of the group was eight miles.) When we took off, I settled in right behind the pacer to talk to a woman I'd talked with a bunch the last time I ran with the group.

At first, like before, the pace felt super slow. I spent a lot of time keeping myself from speeding past the pacer. Eventually I ended up running right next to her and talking with her. She is a beast! She was telling me about all the races she's run, including 50k races and mountain races.

A little less than half way, we had a "photo Op" stop, where they had all the pace groups taking photos for the Fleet Feet 10th Anniversary. The 14 min mile pace leader (who had no one in her group today!) had been trailing right behind us (running much faster than her pace I'm guessing,) and took the picture for us. I took the opportunity to start "sippin" my Gu that I had brought for the run.

This was the first time I used Gu while running somewhere other than the treadmill. I actually had a lot of trouble "eating" it fast enough. I did find myself needing to take a drink of water with each "sip" from the packet, and found my mouth felt really dry while I was taking the Gu. I ended up only having half the packet. Which presented a problem, as I had to cary the half full packet of Gu as we ran, looking for somewhere to throw it out. I'm still not completely sold on the Gu, but I'm not ruling it out yet. Next week I'm going to go with the Honey Stinger Chews and see how those work out.

A little past the half way point (so about a mile after the photo op) one of the Coaches had set up a water stop. She was almost out of water (the sucky part of being in the "slow" group I guess.) But had enough for a few people to fill up their water bottles. The Camel Back was still pretty full, so I didn't bother trying to fight for water.

When we started running again, my legs felt awful. For the next quarter mile I felt like I had lead in my shoes. It was a really odd feeling. Luckily, it wore off relatively quickly and I was able to get into a nice rhythm again.

The second part of the run had some serious uphills, but I was still feeling strong. I stayed right with the pacer and was still able to have a conversation, even while powering up a few hills. The only hill I really had a problem with came around the six and a half mile mark. It was an underpass along East ave, going under the highway. It was really sunny and warm at that point and after we passed under the highway, the road went up sharply, for a really long time (it seemed.) By the time we crested the hill, I was more than grateful for the brief stop we had to make because of a red light.

After that hill, I was feeling it, but I was still able to hang right with the pace leader. I wasn't quite as talkative, but I was still keeping up. The last hill, over an overpass, took a lot out of me, and I really had to push to crest it, falling a little behind the pacer. She thought we were short on distance (although my map says we weren't) so she lead us on a tour around the parking lots to make up the 0.2 mile distance.

Unfortunately, this tour lead us right past a rank dumpster.

As soon as we got next to the dumpster, I gagged. The smell totally did me in, and I had to stop, almost dead in my tracks, and put my head down to keep from puking. It was awful.

So I stopped my run right there and walked my way across the parking lot to the store. My legs were pretty spent at that point, so I called it, and did not go back out for the additional three miles. I felt good about the eight miles, but I wasn't ready to push it any further.


I'm actually really glad I didn't, because there was an unexpected side effect of wearing the camelback. My shoulder started aching later that night, and by Sunday morning were so bad off they were sore to the touch. So I canned my planned run for Sunday in favor of some light yoga and rest.

Unfortunately I have a toddler, so there wasn't much rest, and the shoulders made sleeping Sunday night problematic. However, I'm feeling much better this morning, so I'm going to try to do a makeup run tonight.

After chatting with some of the other people in the pace group, and evaluating how burt out I've been feeling, I have come to the conclusion that I may have signed up for the wrong training plan. There are two half marathon training plans, Beginner and Advanced. I signed up for Advanced based on the description (for people with one or more half marathons under their belt and 20 miles a week base milage.) I met both of those requirements at the time, however I now believe that I belong in the beginners group. I've emailed the coach about it, and am waiting to see what they say.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Time Trail, take two

Last night was the second two mile time trial for the training group I joined. This time I was better prepared for the one mile out warm up, and took it slow, hanging out with another slower runner and just chatting it up on the way out.

When we started the time trial I pushed it a little too hard, like I always do, and flew through the first loop (we do four half mile loops.)

By loop two I wasn't feeling so hot, so I slowed up a little, concentrating on just keeping my cadence up and my form good.

By loop three I was concentrating on my breathing, since it didn't seem to want to sync smoothly. I kept feeling like I wasn't getting deep enough breaths.

Somewhere in the fourth loop I got my first side stitch in a long time. I concentrated on my foot strikes (making sure they were mid foot), and tried changing up my breathing.

I didn't feel awesome about how I was running, and most of the run I kept thinking that I was sucking at this. Especially when the faster runners looped me...twice.

When I finished the coach called out my time: 21:53. I had shaved almost two whole minutes off my time.

So that was awesome.

On the run back, I fell in with another runner, and got caught up chatting with her. I wasn't paying attention to my pace at all.

I had mapmyrun running the entire time (with auto pause for when we stood around at the start and end of the two mile loops.)

Apparently I did that last mile faster than my time trial loops. Weird.

I feel a little better about my running, and my progress after this. I had a good time actually talking to some of the other runners.

I am still however questioning my ability to stick with this program. While it is doing amazing things for my running (and my waistline...can't forget that) I've been finding that running is now a source of stress for me, instead of a respite from it. I worry about getting runs in, about missing runs, about spending too much time running and not with my daughter, about how much energy I'm spending on the runs, about how zonked I am after a long run. I worry about the additional stress it's putting on the Hubs as he has to be the parent on duty (or POD) so often when I'm either out running or recovering after a run, sometimes while managing to cook dinner, feed the Toddler and sometimes handle bedtime or nap time duties.

This program is supposed to be for a half marathon. My target Half is in October. This weekend our long run is scheduled to be 11 miles, next week it's a full 13.1. I know the coaches know what they're doing, but I'm looking at that number with doubt. That's my target distance right there. I'm going to run it now, one third of the way through my training plan? Where are they going with this? Can I really keep up with the time commitment as the miles increase?

Yeah, a whole lot of negativity after such a positive run, I know. Right now my plan is to stick it out for a few more weeks, and then reevaluate.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Feeling a bit negative this week.

Well, here I am being a terrible blogger. I'm finding that by the time I have the time to blog, I don't have the energy. I need to change that.

I'm starting to doubt my training plan. Or, rather, to doubt my ability to commit as much time as the training plan requires. It's a five, sometimes six, day a week plan, with runs lasting, on average, an hour. The milage on the long run feels like it's skyrocketing. I have an 11 mile run on my schedule this week. I struggled with 7 last week. I feel like I'm taking too much time away from my family, when I'm already gone from home for 40 hours a week.

All these doubts, and tonight is a time trial.

On Tuesday, I did not get up for my AM run. I still had a bit of a migraine from the night before, so I played it safe and stayed in bed. I was supposed to be doing speed work and hill repeats, but by the time I got home a massively epic storm was raging outside.

So I hopped on the treadmill and did as close an approximation of the workout as I could. 10 minute warm up, followed by 5x3 minute repeats at Tempo pace, and then 5x20 second sprints. I had my nike plus app working to try to get an idea of how my pace went. It didn't really work super well, I think it had a hard time, especially with the sprints, since it took a minute to figure out i'd changed pace. Also, sprints on the treadmill are hard, since it takes a minute to speed up and a while to slow back down.

It was a good workout though, I pushed hard, running faster than my target tempo pace I think by quite a bit, and burning it up for the sprints. I felt like I was really able to push myself on the run, which was nice after Sunday's Bonk.

By the end of my run, I was soaked. I kept thinking that I would have stayed drier if I had decided to run in the storm. I blame the sprints, but I seriously haven't been that sweaty since the long run in Mendon (the awful hot one with the hills.)

I had a run on the schedule for wednesday, but I skipped it, since I really do not have any time on wednesdays to run.

Tonight, like I said earlier, is a two mile time trial. It'll be interesting to see how (and if) i've improved, since lately, I feel like every run is harder than the last.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Long Weekend Recap

There's a lot of ground to cover (ha!) from this weekend. Seeing as my last update was...tuesday...I suppose it's more than a weekend recap.

Thursday, I headed out for a "Tune up" run for the race I was running on the Fourth. I decided to run my new route that starts near my house and goes down along the river. I needed four miles on my training schedule, so I figured I'd go out for 2.5, and back for 1.5, and then have a little bit of walk to cool down. I felt good during the run, and just kinda let it ride. I was surprised by my splits when I got home. Even though I slowed up a bit in the second half of the run, I think this was my fastest four miles to date. And it felt good.



Friday was the Firecracker Four Mile (formerly five mile) race. I'll save the details for a separate race recap. In short, it went well, and I feel good about my time. I was kinda bummed they shortened the race, and didn't talk it up at all because this was the race that nearly killed me last year (I stopped running for a good long chunk of time after it.)

Saturday, I was supposed to do a long run (8-10 miles) but ended up not doing anything. I was at my parents with family just relaxing, swimming, and recovering from Friday's festivities. I stand by my decision to skip the run.

Sunday, I had a short three miles on the schedule, but decided to try for the long run I'd missed on Saturday. I had the idea to run my route along the river, both to save time (I'd be leaving directly from my house) and because while the day was not supposed to be overly hot, it was warm and sunny.

I wore one of my nathan hydration belts.The Trail Mix Hydration Belt that I got for my birthday. I filled both bottles with waters with half a tab of Nuun in them. And stashed a Gu in the belt for good measure.

Right off the bat, I screwed up my app, so the first split was way off. I started it, and accidentally immediately paused it. I didn't realize it was paused for almost a mile, and when I restarted the app, it assumed I'd run the entire distance very, very quickly.

The run was going well at first, although I was running careful, since my right calf (on the inside down by the ankle) had been bothering me after the race on friday. I was really tuned into every little twinge from my legs, which definitely did not feel fresh.

I hit the 2.5 mile point, where I usually turn around on this route, and kept going. I hadn't decided how far I was going to go, but I was aiming for between 8 and 10 miles. Not to long after I passed the 2.5 mile mark, I got....lost I suppose is the best way to put it. The trail I follow splits a bunch of different ways, and I wasn't sure how to stay along the river where I was.

I took the branch that said "river trail" which went over a huge arching bridge to the other side of the river. Not long after getting to the other side of the river, I started to feel uncomfortable running on the trail alone. I don't know how to explain it, I just felt unsafe. The area was less well maintained, and there wasn't anyone but me on the trail. So I turned back, and crossed back to the other side of the river, and turned down the Canal Trail.

Unfortunately the Canal Trail at this point was kinda not awesome. There were a few taxing uphills and then a lot of sun. I started to feel super burt out, and was having to stop for walk breaks occasionally as I started feeling overheated. I had already drained one of my bottles at this point and had started in on the second one. I kind of arbitrarily decided to turn around and go back along the river trail, figuring I could add distance along the trail going further past where I'd joined the trail.

And then I ran out of water. You can see it in my splits. I ran out of water somewhere just into the fifth mile. I started desperately searching for a water fountain. I was running through parks, with pavilions, but there were no water fountains to be found. I got into that struggle again, trying to keep myself moving, but feeling like this might not be such an awesome idea. I started into a run/walk, walking any uphills, and actively seeking out shade.  To be honest, I don't really remember a lot of the last mile other than the desperate search for a water fountain.

As soon as the app told me I'd hit seven miles I called it quits. I knew that pushing it any further was going to be supremely bad idea. I still had to walk the mile back to my house. By the time I dragged myself up my front steps, I felt completely defeated. Any feelings of progress I'd had after the Race on Friday were gone.


I kinda collapsed into my living room with a giant glass of water with some Nuun in it and started stretching out and digesting the run. I know it was a case of dehydration, again. Somehow the two bottles were not enough. I think it was partly because I was not fully hydrated to begin with at the start of the run.
Also, after taking a look at the splits, even with the bonk at the end, I was doing relatively well. At least I think I was. I'm not entirely sure how accurate those numbers are, given all the app issues I was having. But I'm gonna go with it. That route had a bunch of hills (small ones, but still) built into it, so keeping between a 12 and 12:30 minute mile for over half the run is an improvement for me.
Today is a rest day, and I'm looking forward to seeing how my legs do over the rest of the week. I'm hoping for a few nice redemptive runs!






Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A successful morning run!

We'll start with the fact that moving my sunday run to monday was a big fail. By the time I got home, made dinner and got the munchkin fed, bathed, and in bed, I had nothing left. It was also almost 9:00, and about a bazillion degrees outside.

I wrote off the run with the promise that I would make myself get up in the morning for the morning
Proof!
group "workout" run.

And I actually did it.

I woke up at five freaking o'clock in the morning to go running.

No one that knew me prior to my running would believe this fact without proof, I'm sure. I was never a runner, and was never (and still am not) a morning person. The fact that I voluntarily got myself out of bed before the sun came up, in the summer, to go running, seems improbable at best. But I did it!

As soon as I got there I started thinking I didn't belong there. The group at this session is a much smaller group than what shows up for the Saturday long runs. And they are in so much better shape.

I was super nervous, and was having trouble adjusting my new hydration belt to fit properly. I really do not like wearing a belt around my waist. It makes me feel really self conscious of the belly chub. However, after the disaster of running out of water on my run on Saturday, I wasn't going to take any chances.

One of the coaches went over the planned work out, and I started to get really scared. We were going to run an "easy" 10 minutes up to the top of cobbs hill (including what I call the hill of doom), then once up there, we were going to do 5 repeats of 2 minutes at tempo pace followed by 1 minute rest. When we were done with that, we were going to do hill repeats. 20 seconds up the hill as fast as we could, then walk back down. Repeat 5 times. Then an easy run back to the store.

Hills do not equal an easy run to me. In any way. For some reason, no matter how slow and "easy" I take it, hills just sap my strength. I know it's most likely just a lack of training, but having the "easy" bit contain a hill scared me.

It wasn't a group run so much as, there were a bunch of people running around doing the same thing I was. Right off the bat, most of the runners were off and way ahead of me. I managed to not loose the pack until the hill of doom, then I fell in with another "slow" runner. She had a garmin on her wrist, and after talking for a bit, I told her I was just going to keep my eye on her so I knew when to walk for the repeats.

Turns out she teaches exercise classes, so she was the perfect person for me to fall in with. She'd count down each interval "One minute!" "30 Seconds!" "10 Seconds!" "And WALK!" It was kinda awesome.

The intervals went really fast, having someone to talk to during the walk breaks really helped the time fly.

Then it was on to the hill repeats. I actually didn't do too badly on these. I was able to just kind of dig in and power up the hill for a count of 20. I would usually be just about out of steam by the end of the count, and really enjoyed the walk break going back down the hill. I was really starting to feel it by the last repeat though, so me and my new friend started the "run" back to the store as a walk.

After recovering for a bit, we kicked it back up into a run, just as one of the trainers caught up to us. We were able to chat with her a bit, and I was able to ask her about my calves. She watched me for a bit as I ran, and told me I run entirely on my toes. My heels almost never hit the ground. No wonder my calves hurt. Any increase in milage is putting strain almost entirely on my calves. She suggested I try to work on midfoot striking, just to roll me back a bit off my toes. She did say the rest of my form looked good though :)

I took off right after we finished the run, since I had to get home, shower and get dressed for work. It actually worked out well. I was amused when I got home that my daughter was still asleep (I had woken the Hubs up when I was getting up and mobile.) I even got to work a little early this morning!

I'm really happy I got my run in early this morning too, because the heat is supposed to be killer later today (in the 90's with high humidity.) I'm still not a fan of waking up in the morning, but I may be a morning run convert now...I can totally see why Meg likes them so much!