Sunday, February 22, 2015

Week 4

This week has been a real study in flexibility. The predicted winter weather on Monday became a reality. I had already decided that a 13 mile run would be a bit much after a 5k and then an 18 miler so it didn’t bother me to break it up. I actually had Monday off due to Presidents Day and was really looking forward to a day to myself. No such luck. Daycare was closed but Brian had to work. I got up at 6 and hit the treadmill for 6 miles. I watched The Maze Runner while I ran to help pass the time. I read the series and figured I might as well watch the movie. I always run slow on the treadmill. It is a mental thing but there was no need to set the world on fire anyway so I did 8:20 pace, took a shower and tucked in with the kids on the couch. When Brian got home, I did the last 7 of the 13 miles and finished The Maze Runner. I did 8:14 pace and was glad to get all the mileage in, treadmill and all. Daycare was delayed on Tuesday and I was supposed to go to work. I stayed home with the kids until I took them to school at 10am. My co-worker called to say that every single patient had cancelled and there was no reason for any of us to go in. If the roads and trails weren’t covered in ice, snow and slush, this would have been great. I ran a few errands and then literally waited for the snow to melt. The sun was out but it was only a few degrees above freezing. Around 1:30, I couldn’t take it anymore and I drove to the river trail. My run was supposed to be 10 miles with 5 at 15k to half marathon pace. I parked at the Big Dam Bridge (this is a .75 mile pedestrian bridge that spans the Arkansas River connecting the NLR and LR side of our river trail). I went out for a mile and back on the NLR side and then headed up the bridge. The trail was clear but the bridge was snow covered. It had started to melt but not much so it was a little slick but it was runable. It was deep so it was sort of like running in sand. When I hit the other side I started the tempo work. For 2 miles I was good but in the 3rd mile I had to start and stop several times to go across patches of ice. It was so annoying. The last 2 miles were free and clear and then I finished up by heading back across the bridge and running the NLR trails. Other than the start and stop middle mile, it went really well. The tempo section was 7:08, 6:53, 6:49, 6:51 & 6:53 for 6:55 on average. Perfect! It felt great too. The overall 10 miles was 7:35. On Wednesday it snowed again! GAH!!! Daycare was delayed to 9am but I did actually go to work and was really busy. I left work early to do my 15 miler once I was done with patients. I ran in my neighborhood. Most areas had melted but the shaded places were still really icy so I had to get creative and do lots of clear sections over and over again. It was cold and the wind cut right through you. I got it done but it was pretty miserable. The pace was 8:10 though so not bad. Even when I’m mentally not in the run, I’m still able to hang on to a pretty decent pace. On Thursday, I just couldn’t bear a 5 am run. It was going to be in the low teens and I was tired of being miserably cold for every run. I do the early Thursday run so I can go to yoga on Thursday night. My gym was having a “yogathon” on Friday so I figured I’d skip my usual class and go to it instead which freed up my Thursday afternoon for my 5 mile recovery run. Once again, it was bitter cold and the wind was like a knife. I was miserable and 5 miles seemed so hard. I did it in 8:03 and couldn’t have been happier to be done. The weather was supposed to get warmer but it was also supposed to storm. Brian had to work the weekend so my sister agreed to babysit the boys while I did my long run. Instead of taking Friday off, I decided I’d do another recovery run and go to “yogathon”, rest on Saturday while it stormed and do the long run on Sunday. The 5 miler on Friday was so much better than Thursday’s. It was still cold and windy but it was better. I did 7:57 pace and then got cleaned up and drove the gym for 2 solid hours of yoga. Unfortunately, they cancelled it because of the cold, wet weather. I was pretty disappointed but what can you do. I never get to do yoga on Saturday because I’m always doing my long run so I hit the 8am class. It was perfect. We really worked on hips and also did warrior III to exhaustion which is exactly what my left hamstring needs. It didn’t completely make up for no “yogathon” but it was pretty good. On Sunday my sister came to watch the kids around 1030 so I could do the long run. Boston will start around 1030 for me so I’ve been trying to do some of my longer runs later in the day instead of first thing in the morning so I’m used to the time. I woke up sore in the upper body and deep in the glutes from yoga. Once again, it was cold and the wind was blowing around 13-14 mph. As soon as I got started, I could tell right away that I just wanted this run over with. Every time the wind gusted in my face I cursed the weather. My attitude was extremely poor and I didn’t even stop for Gu because I just wanted to finish. The bright side was that I did 8:03 pace. Even when I’m not feeling it, the pace is good.

Overall, I feel ok. Just the usual aches and pains, nothing new. My left foot is a blistered mess though. When I took my foot out of my sock after my long run, the entire tip was stained with blood. My lack of pronation leads to my toes on that side getting squished together which makes very weird shaped callouses that have been a real problem for me lately. I've been trying to ignore them but I guess I'll have to start wearing blister pads or something as coating everything with Glide isn't cutting it. There is the possibility of winter weather again tonight which I’m annoyed by of course. I also have a race next week, the Little Rock Half Marathon but I’ll be using it as a training run. My plan called for a 16 miler with 12 miles at marathon pace. This is a mentally grueling run normally so it will almost feel like cheating doing it in a race setting. I’m ok with that though.

Next week the plan is 68 miles.
M-General Aerobic 10mi
T-VO2max 11mi w/5x1200m@5k race pace
W-Med Long Run 15mi
R-Recovery 6mi am 4mi pm
F-Recovery 6mi
S-Little Rock Half Marathon-16 total miles with 12 at marathon race pace

This week I finished Eleanor & Park which I liked. I also read The House Girl by Tara Conklin which I felt neutral about and I started Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan. So far it is reminding me of a more detailed, written version of the show Mystery Diagnosis and it is freaking me out a little bit. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Week 3 and a Race Recap

3 weeks in already! This is going by really quickly. I feel so busy since I leave work early Monday through Wednesday, run and then start the usual nightly routines as soon as I’m done running. Life is a blur right now but it is a good blur. The mileage went up into the 60s this week so I feel like the buildup is over and now I’m in the thick of it all. With a race on Saturday, I decided that I would do whatever I could to keep the first of the week runs in check as they have really been a little fast. I did a hilly route on Monday. It was a 12 miler and it felt pretty good and still came in at 8:10. Tuesday was strides. I decided to do them on the river trail on an old route I used for tempo runs when I was training for Chicago. I loved that route because those tempo runs were the big breakthrough in that training cycle. The training was in the dead of the summer and that particular route offered a lot of shade. The tree cover also makes for inaccurate Garmin readings. In the summer that is a fair trade off but not in winter. Seriously, I’m never running that route again unless I actually NEED the shade. The 9 miles with strides was fine. I did it in 7:57 pace but mentally, it just dragged and dragged and the Garmin jumping from sub 8 minute miles to 10 plus minute miles only added to the annoyance. The Wednesday 14 miler was tough but I managed it in 8:09 pace. I was getting a little loopy at the end and may need to start taking a Gu with me on those mid week long runs. The Thursday morning run is getting better! Even after the exhausting 14 miler less than 12 hours earlier, I managed 8:16 pace for the 5 mile recovery run at 5 in the morning. This is a good sign. It shows I’m adapting to the mileage and I’m recovering faster now. I took it easy the rest of Thursday and all day Friday and got ready for the Valentine’s Day 5k.

This race is a favorite of mine. It has been around for a long time and is run on a system of trails. It is flat and the temps are usually cold so it is a good chance to PR or at least run a good time. My 5k PR is from 2008 and is 19:42. I thought I might have a chance to take it down but only if I had a GREAT day. I really wanted to break 20 minutes which seemed doable. I only needed to run a total of 5 miles so I did a one mile warm up. My legs felt good but my feet were like blocks of ice. Oh well, they’d thaw out in the race. Like my river trail route, the Garmin has trouble keeping up on this course because the trail is winding and tree covered. I know this so I kept telling myself that whatever the Garmin said, I needed to remember I was actually going faster. When the race started, everyone went out too fast. The girl that eventually won the race is horrible at this and lots of people went with her. I had a hard time pulling myself back but managed to get down to 6:20 pace about a quarter mile in (according to the Garmin anyway). It took me more than half a mile to pass all the kids that went out too fast and finally, I was on my own with two Arkansas Tech Cross Country girls about 10 seconds in front of me and the leader completely out of sight. I passed the one mile marker and my Garmin didn’t go off for at least 5 seconds and it said 6:20. I wanted to run 6:20-6:25 pace so that seemed ok but since my Garmin was behind, I probably ran more like 6:10-6:15 pace which was too fast. As I started the 2nd mile, the Garmin was saying I was running 6:35-6:40 pace which I knew was wrong but it was so discouraging. I pushed on and closed the gap on the college girls. I passed them a little before the 2nd mile marker. When I went through it, I checked my actual time so I would have a better idea of what pace I was really running. It said 12:49. This should have calmed me down because that is 6:25 pace, exactly what I wanted to run. After 2 miles in a 5k though, I’m not exactly rational. I did the math and knew what it meant but then looked at my Garmin and saw 6:47 pace and got discouraged again. For the entire 3rd mile, I went back and forth between getting excited and thinking I was going to do it and then complete discouragement and giving up. At one point, I caught a glimpse of the leader. She was too far ahead to catch but I saw her. She usually runs a low 18 something and ran a 17 something this summer so I shouldn’t be able to see her at all when I’m 2.5 miles into a 5k. This gave me a little jolt for a while and I picked up the pace. As I came closer to the finish, I tried to pick it up but I was spent. I came out of the woods and realized the finish line was right there. My Garmin didn’t even have me at 3 miles yet. I tried to kick as hard as I could and was watching the clock tick down. It was probably around 19:45 when I first could read it. I pushed so hard but it clicked over 20 minutes as I crossed the finish mat. My official time was 20:00. Seriously, exactly 20 minutes. I was disappointed at first but the more I thought about it, I’m pretty happy. It is my fastest 5k since having kids and I’m not even training for that distance. Considering that I went out too fast and let the Garmin get the best of me, even when I knew better, I’m pretty lucky that I did as well as I did. I was 2nd in my heat and 3rd overall (one of the masters women ran a faster time than I did in an earlier heat). Brian did great. He ran 16:37 which was only about 6 seconds slower than his PR. He was 2nd overall and two of us won the married “Sweetheart” division.

I was a little worried about my long run. I had to do 18 and I was scared my legs wouldn't hold up since I did a race the day before. I met up with a running buddy and did 9 miles of it with her and that really helped mentally. I ended up running it at 8:07 pace. I would have been happy with that any day but it was even better because the route was hilly and I wasn’t expecting much on my tired race legs.

Next week’s plan:
M-Med Long Run 13mi
T-Lactate Threshold 10mi w/5@ 15k to half marathon race pace
W-Med Long Run 15mi
R-Recovery 5mi
S-Long Run 17mi
S-Recovery 5mi

My only real worry is weather. I'm off work for the holiday on Monday but we are supposed to get freezing rain so I'm worried about daycare closing. I can always run on our treadmill but not if I'm home alone with the boys. Brian is an inpatient physical therapist so he can't miss work for weather. I'm pretty tired after today's long run so I think I'll probably break the Monday run up into 2 runs and do one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Hopefully, it will work out. Another snag may come next weekend as the weather may be bad again and Brian has to work the weekend.

I'm feeling pretty good. My left hamstring is feeling pretty tight after the race but it isn't anything I haven't dealt with before. I really am shocked at how well my body is responding to the training and how much easier it has been this time around with a different schedule. Books wise, I finished Attachments by Rainbow Rowell and then listened to The Diviners by Libba Bray and have started Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. Loved Attachments. It was light and fun and easy to listen to. The Diviners is a series and it was fun too. It deals with paranormal stuff and is set in the 1920s. It is YA so nothing too serious but certainly a fun read and I'd like to read the other books in the series (which I don't think are out yet). I'm probably about half way through Eleanor and Park (hard to tell since I'm listening and not actually reading) and I like it so far. I can't believe how much reading I'm able to get in with all this running!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Week 2

Week 2 is done and I feel like I’m settling in well. Once again, I was able to run all the planned mileage. Being off earlier in the day is making this so much easier! Even on the long mid week runs, I’m done before the sun goes down and I’m usually home about the same time as Brian and the boys. When I trained for Lincoln, I ran so many miles in the dark and it felt like I got home so late. I’ve also noticed patterns in the training that are helping me break things down mentally and not get so overwhelmed with all the mileage.

Pace wise, things went well. I started out quick again on Monday with an 8:00 11 miler. No idea why I tend to run that one so fast but it is unnecessary. I’m not pushing the pace on purpose and the rest of the week went fine so I guess it is harmless. The tempo run on Tuesday started shaky. The first mile was 7:13. I was hoping to do more like 7:00 or 6:59. I was heading into the wind so I just kept pushing on. The next miles were 7:05, 7:03 and 6:51 so the overall tempo section was 7:03. The run was 9 miles and the overall pace was 7:37. Not setting the world on fire but a very good effort. The Wednesday medium long run was 12 miles and I did the hilly route again and ended up with 8:13 pace. Getting up on Thursday was hard, as usual, but it did feel better than week one and I ran 8:36 pace for 5 miles. I do love having the rest of Thursday and all day Friday off before hitting it again. I felt really good for the long run and ended up with 8:05 overall. I ran on the river trail because I had to meet Brian and the kids so that he could run a 15k. Our timing could not have been better. I set my alarm for 5 am. Seriously, getting up that early on Saturday was the hardest thing about this run. I drove his car to the spot on the river trail that I wanted to start at and got going around 5:45. I finished the run at the race course and he met me there with the kids in my car. I was in the last mile and I saw them drive in. My 17 miles finished right at their parking spot! Couldn’t have been more perfect. He left to warm up and the kids and I went for bagels. After the race, he ran to his car which was a little less than 2 miles from the course. Kid juggling at its best and sitter avoided! The river trail is really flat and wide open so I tend to run fast times out there. I just stayed comfortable and didn’t push the pace. It was tough (every long run is) but I was shocked at how good I felt during and after. I got tired but the pace didn’t slow and afterward, I could tell I’d worked hard but didn’t have the usually beaten up feeling that often comes after a long run. My 5 mile recovery run on Sunday was uneventful and came in a 8:13 pace. (BTW-Brian got 3rd place overall at his race and ran exactly what he had planned to run so kudos to him!)

Body is feeling pretty good. I do have a weird sensation on the outside of my left ankle. I call it sensation because it isn’t really painful. It just feels weird, almost like a weakness. The more I think about it, it is probably some sort of tendonosis/tendonopathy type thing. I’ve been icing it and it isn’t really a problem...yet. I actually felt less run down and tired this week so I seem to be adjusting well to the mileage!

Next week will be slightly different as I’m going to do a 5k on Saturday. Here is the plan:
M-Med Long Run 12 miles
T-General Aerobic + Speed 9mi w/10 x 100m strides
W-Med Long Run 14m
R-Recovery 5mi
S-Valentine’s Day 5k 5mi total
S-Long Run 18mi

The 5k is The Valentine’s Day 5k. It is a longstanding race here in Arkansas. It has a couples division and Brian and I have won the married couples division every year we’ve entered. It has become a tradition of ours and I feel ready to race a short distance. I haven’t done much speed work lately but what I did do a few weeks ago was faster than I would have expected. Depending upon conditions, I think I might be able to break 20 minutes so that is the plan. My PR is 19:42. If I have a great day, I think I could beat it but we’ll have to see. That PR is from 2008-pre kids. It is the only PR I didn’t set after Darwin was born. I’ve yet to PR at anything since Leo was born.

This weeks books were the last two of the Big Stone Gap series, Milk Glass Moon and Return to Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani. This was a really sweet series that was emotional without leaving me absolutely heart broken. I also got started on Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. It is entertaining so far. Seriously, audiobooks are the best thing ever to help pass all the miles!

Oh and one more random thing! I’ve added a training widget on here that always displays my latest run. It is on the right side of the screen so even if I don’t post, you can see what I’ve been up to running wise.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Week 1

Week one is done! The plan was 55 total miles and I did manage to run everything planned without too much trouble. The first few days were hard. I’m not used to double digit runs at the beginning of the week and by Tuesday afternoon, I was feeling exhausted. I did the 11 mile run on Monday at 8:07 pace which was a little too fast probably but it seemed comfortable at the time. On Tuesday, I tried to take it easier but there is something about those strides thrown in that seem to bring the overall pace down. I ended up at 8:00 pace overall. On Wednesday, I made sure to go out easy and I did a hilly route to ensure that I would go slower. I need the hills for Boston anyway. I ended up at 8:24 pace for that 11 miles. The real hard part was getting up on Thursday morning at 5 am and running a 5 mile recovery run. I really need to get my Thursday run done early so I can get to yoga by 6:30 pm and I don’t want to leave work early 4 days a week. It is tougher for me to leave early from the North Little Rock hospital (where I am on Thursday and Friday) than it is in Conway (where I am Monday through Wednesday). Anyway, I ran 8:43 pace and was a bit shocked. Especially since it was so hard. My husband assured me that a recovery run isn’t supposed to be fast and I agree but the 8:43 does kinda hurt my ego. The best part about getting it done early though was having nearly 48 hours to recover for my long run since Friday is my day off. On Saturday, I got up early to do my 15 miler. I did a lot of 15 milers to prepare for this training so I was ready for the distance. I decided on a route that took me up and down a big hill in the 12th mile. This will be good for Boston since the big climbs are in the last half and then there is a punishing downhill section for the the last 10k. I cramped up and fell apart with a mile to go when I ran Boston in 2008 and I’m scared it will happen again. I managed 8:08 pace for the run. I honestly didn’t feel that great for the run. I didn’t feel terrible but I can feel the added mileage. The good thing was that the hills didn’t slow me down much. I did the mile with the big climb in 8:11 which wasn’t anywhere near the slowest mile of the run. I recovered quickly too and was able to run the downhill at 7:42 and the last mile of the run, which was flat, came in at 8:02. It was a good effort. On Sunday I did a 5 mile recovery run at 8:04 pace which felt good.

Here is next week’s schedule:
M-Med Long Run 11mi
T-Lactate Threshold 9mi w/4@ 15k to half marathon race pace
W-Med Long Run 12mi
R-Recovery 5mi
S-Long Run 17mi
S-Recovery 5mi
Total-59 miles

Not too different from last week. The tempo run will be tough but I’m not too scared of it since I’ve been doing some with 6 miles on pace. This will be my first long run since training for Go!STL so that will be a milestone. Brian is running the 15k that morning so there will be some kid juggling but it should work out well.

After the first week, I feel pretty good. The hardest part is the middle of the week just due to sheer exhaustion but that is expected. Aches and pains wise I feel ok. I had kind of a weird catch in my left knee on Thursday morning but it was gone by Saturday. My left hamstring tendon continues to be sore but I think it is getting better. I haven’t done the therapy I promised myself I would do so I’ll try to get some of that in next week. In yoga, the instructor has us do Warrior III to exhaustion on each leg which is similar to the single leg deadlifts I’m supposed to be doing to strengthen that side. I think it is really helping but I’m sure I could speed things up if I did the PT exercises I’m supposed to be doing as well. Weight and nutrition wise I’m doing good. I probably need to lose about 5 lbs before the race to be in top form. I’ve dropped a couple of lbs in the last few weeks and I feel healthy so I don’t think it will be a problem. I need to be as light as possible when I am trying to carry myself up those Newton Hills on the Boston course.

One random thing that I’ve decided to include on here is books read. I am almost always listening to a book while running. I loved to read in high school but all the text book reading in college and grad school turned me off of reading for years. Once I wanted to start again I was busy with work, running and family. My husband turned me on to audiobooks which I can get free from the library so I’m able to get lots of reading in every week. This week I read Big Stone Gap and Big Cherry Holler by Adriana Trigiani. They are part of a series and are pretty entertaining. They deal with a mining town in the mountains of Virginia and have some funny characters. They are quick and easy reads.