Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Track Workout Tuesday

I was on the track this morning for the first time since December!  The workout I had didn’t have to be done on the track, but since I was out of town for work I didn’t know of a flat course without potential traffic stops that I could run on, and I don’t like running fast stuff on unfamiliar courses anyhow.  Plus, I couldn’t get this workout to transfer to my Garmin watch from Garmin Connect, and with it mixing kilometer distances for the repeats and mile distances for the recoveries, it would have been a trick to do it on the road even if I was at home!

The workout was:  2 miles warm-up, 2 x 2K in 7:40-7:45, 2 x 1K in 3:35-3:40, half mile recovery jogs between all repeats, and 0.75 mile cool-down (for 8 miles total).  One of my friends who lives in the Kansas City area directed me to the Park Hill High School track, which was about 3 miles from where I was staying Monday night, and we checked it out on Monday evening to make sure it was open to the public.

No fence climbing to access the track is always a sight for sore eyes
I arrived at the track early on Tuesday morning and ran my warm-up off track, did a few leg swings and plyos, and was off.  The first 2000 went like clock-work; every single lap was 1:32.X for 7:43 total.  This pace was brisk but I could tell it was sustainable for the 2000s.  The second 2000 wasn’t quite as even, and I don’t remember my laps exactly except that I had to run a 1:30 final lap to tie my time for the first rep, and I did that for another 7:43.

While I felt good about the 1:32 laps and like I could do 1-2 more 2000s at that pace, dropping to 1:26-1:28 lap pace for the 1000s sounded really hard!  When I read this workout on paper I knew that the 1000s would be much harder for me than the 2000s; my endurance is there but I don’t have raw speed and I haven’t been doing speed work.  I knew that hitting the top of my goal range would be the best I could hope for.  I’d also looked back at last time I ran 1000s on the track (which was in September 2015), and for that workout my goal range had been 3:40-3:45 which I liked a lot better than today’s range! Not to mention it was 78 degrees even at 5:30 a.m. today.

I tried starting off the 1000s with a 1:28 lap, but came through in 1:29.  I sustained this 1:29.X for 2:59 through the 800 and a 3:44 first 1000.  I didn’t have much left and I knew I couldn’t go any faster, but I told myself just one more repeat as close to goal pace as I could, and finished up the second 1000 in a similar fashion in 3:45.

I typically don’t run my best while traveling, but I don’t necessarily think I would have run this any faster at home this morning.  I think my coach was ambitious on those 1000 paces, and that this went pretty much as well as it could have!  I’ll need to do a few more of these faster workouts before getting ambitious about any 5Ks for sure!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Doing Painful Scary Things

Week in review for June 20-26, 2016:

I guess the theme of this week could be doing painful and/or somewhat scary workouts!  It almost always "hurts so good", though!

Mileage: 54

Monday – HIIT bootcamp with elliptical warm-up (45 minutes each).  Why don’t jumping lunges ever get any easier??  We will give the painful and scary of this day to them and excessive burpees, although my triceps were what ended up sore for 3 days.

Tuesday – 12.26 miles total with a workout and double.  My morning run was 9.16 miles with 8 x 0.25 hill repeats in the middle.  Holy hill this was hard!  Relatively speaking, 2 miles total of quality is a short workout, but on repeat 1 I was already gasping for air.  The hill I used had around 100 feet of elevation gain in 0.25 mile, but it’s not evenly distributed – I would guesstimate it’s about 250 m with intense uphill, then 100 m with gentler uphill, followed by 50 m with barely there incline.  In the end, I summed this workout up as “Hill repeats:  All the work of track repeats with none of the fast splits to show for it.” 

My average pace for the whole 9.1 was 7:33, and my paces on the 0.25 uphills were between 7:22-7:42.  This was my second time running this workout on the same hill, so I compared my average splits from today with the workout I did there in November, and was pleasantly surprised that my splits from today’s workouts averaged 2.3 seconds per quarter mile repeat faster (that's over 9 seconds per mile pace)!  I don’t think I am in as good of shape now as I was then, but hopefully this means I am progressing!  Never would 7:30ish pace make me breathe so hard as running up this hill.  Luckily I had forgotten how painful this workout was so I wasn't scared of it beforehand - hopefully I don't have it again until I forget how intensely and differently hill repeats hurt.

My second run was 3.12 miles in 7:28 average in 92 degrees.  2-a-days were terrifying to me for a long time, then they were painful, and now I seem to have hit my stride with them - fingers crossed!

Wednesday - Today wasn't painful or scary, just normal (some would consider 4:50 a.m. alarms both painful and scary, though, so we will go with that!)!  10.12 base pace miles (7:31 average) with Missy.  I am so thankful to have Missy to run with!  Running friends are the best, and who else would get up at 4-something to hang out?

Thursday - 11.6 miles with 8.5 in the morning and 3.1 in the evening.  The scary of this was running 11.6 miles 2 days before a race, which I'm not sure is something I've ever done before and feels like a horrible idea.  I ran with Missy in the morning and she was really tired, so my miles with her were slower and my average was 7:55.  I was only supposed to run 8 miles, but I forgot that I also had 6 x 20 second strides (with 40 second jog recoveries) until I was at about 7.9, so ended up running a little farther to get those in.  It's easy for me to forget those - especially if I am running and talking with Missy - because it's not a workout that my whole run is based around, and is tacked on at the end of easy miles.

My second run was scary due to a heat index of 103!  However, now that I've had 4 solid second runs in a row, I am going to say that I am in a groove with them.  I think my coach also structures them better than I did when I tried them here and there on my own, so that makes a big difference!  My average pace was 7:19.  Jon ran this one "with" me (e.g., we both ran the YMCA loop while Albani was on the Kids Zone inflatables...on days like these she always tells me I need to run farther so she has longer to play...I believe this began due to her staying in for 2 hours a couple of times when I did long runs when Jon was out of town).

What was I thinking when I agreed to summer 2-a-days?!

Friday - A day off -- now that is truly scary, bahahaha!  Of course I had to do a little to keep the workout streak going (almost to 30 months or 2.5 years now!), but I kept it very minimal with 15 minutes easy on the elliptical.

Saturday - 14 miles total, split into 3.4 (7:45), 3.1 (6:18), 7.5 (7:38) - but I kept the gaps between these miles pretty short, definitely under 5 minute a pop. By definition, 5Ks are uber painful (the struggle is real). However, this one wasn't painful, even though it was in the middle of a long run and at 88 degrees "feels like" temperature (so the painful and scary for this workout goes to the summer weather and 8:00 a.m. race start). The secret to making it not painful was running the first mile at half marathon pace, bahaha! But I walked away with an overall win (men and women), a solid progressive tempo run, and my long run mileage, which were the objectives, so all was good. Details here

My mini-me doing scary things, also at the Duck Fest
Sunday - 6 mile shake out (7:40).  The beginning of a shake out run the day after a long run or race is always scary (plus I was up until 11:00 p.m. on Saturday night, which was also scary for me)!  On these 6 mile runs, I always feel better on mile 6 than on mile 1 though! 

My final painful and scary for the week goes to the amount of laundry generated from 9-10 workouts a week!  For most workouts, I'm only wearing a sports bra, shorts, and socks (occasionally a visor), so what is truly scary is how bad this would be in the winter! 

It was impossible to get a good angle; 4 days of workout clothing on the drying rack

Saturday, June 25, 2016

"Run a 5K in the middle of your long run," they said. "It will be fun," they said.

It actually was fun!  And if you know me you know I never say that about 5Ks...they are usually too short and painful!

I ran the Sertoma Duck Waddle 5K today as a last-minute race.  My parents were coming to the Duck Fest for the car show from Kansas.  I noticed the race on the festival schedule, and that the overall winners won gift cards.  I told Jon about it, but then decided that I didn't want to run it because I didn't want to modify my 54 mile training week.  He proceeded to talk me into running it to try to win (not for time), so I said I would ask my coach, who I expected to say no.  Well, he said to go for it, but also to keep my schedule as planned this week (which was what I said I would plan to do when I emailed him about this race).  So it was decided and I ran this race coming off 11.6 miles and a double on Thursday, and during a 14 mile long run.  I did skip bootcamp yesterday so my legs wouldn't be 100% shot!

When I signed up for the race, I thought it started at 7:00 a.m. (I think I just made that up or assumed it, since it is June in Missouri after all).  Yesterday I looked at the website and saw that it actually started at 8:00 a.m.  My main fear was that I was going to finish this race and then run 8ish more miles when it was really hot, so I kind of started dreading it. 

I decided I would run more miles before the race when it was less hot, but due to last minute who's riding with who debates, I only had time for 3.5 miles before the race (we were taking 2 vehicles so my family didn't have to wait around while I did my miles after the race, and initially I was going to drive there alone so they could also leave the house later, but then Albani decided she wanted to ride there with me, etc.).  Those 3.5 were at 7:45 pace and felt okay, but I was absolutely drenched in sweat and kind of wishing that I had started my long run at 5:00 a.m. and not worried about this race!  I hate racing in a sports bra without a shirt (although I train that way all of the time, it's different on deserted farm roads), but it was so hot I stopped caring.

The race started, and one woman took off around 6:10 pace, followed by one man.  I figured I'd better cover her, and I knew I could run the thing at 6:10 pace although I didn't really want to!  She faded by the half mile, and then I was running side by side with the overall male.  I could pretty much tell at this point that I wasn't going to have competition in this race.  I decided that I would just run with the overall male until the final half mile or so, and then push to try to win overall overall.  A lot of this was just me being lazy, and I kept thinking about how I had to run 7.5 more base pace miles after the race!

Running with the first male felt awfully easy, and when my Garmin beeped a 6:28 first mile, I realized that was why it felt so easy (that's about half pace for me).  I decided I would go ahead and speed up a bit, because although I didn't want to kill myself I did still want to be under 20, and he was fading a bit.  So from then on it was just me and the lead cyclist.  At the turn around I got a look at everyone behind me, and with how slowly I'd started I knew my win was pretty much locked in.

Although in the end the course was accurate (Garmin had 3.12), the course mile markers were off, with the 1 mile mark at the 1.2 point on my Garmin and the 2 mile mark around 1.9 on my Garmin.  My second Garmin split was 6:18 with some uphill, and I felt far too good for mile 2 of a 5K, but that was sure nice!  I pushed for a little faster last mile, running it in 6:12, and also kicked it in on the final 0.12 (5:21 pace) once I saw my family cheering.  I stopped my Garmin at 19:35 after I crossed, my finishing pictures show 19:33-19:34, and my official time was 19:37, so who really knows what exactly my time was (there was no chip mat at the start, and we started and finished in different places, which is always a recipe for screwy times, so I am honestly surprised it was this close).

It's always a good day when I beat all of the men and women!  I finished feeling like I'd run a solid tempo, but not an all-out race, which was good since I had 7.5 more miles to go.  I drank a 20 oz. bottle of water, wiped the sweat off my face, and headed back out.  I finished the 7.5 at 7:38 average pace and SO very sweaty!  I was glad to keep this in the 7:30s for sure.

My family picked up my awards while I was still running. I won a cute little trophy, a gift card to Academy Sports, and a gift certificate for pet-sitting (probably the most unique prize I've received!), so it was worth running this.  I also feel like I may just try for a sub-19 5K when I'm a little rested, when I have competition, when I'm not running a long run, and when it's not 88 degrees "feels like" temperature -- but, that will be painful and scary!

The moral of this story:  5Ks are not at all painful or scary when you run the first mile at half marathon pace.

Following the lead cyclist in
Finishing it up
Pretty pumped about this pet sitting gift certificate!
Quite fitting for the Duck Fest
Garmin splits

Friday, June 24, 2016

Working Smarter, Not Harder

I once read that it's better to go into a race under-trained than over-trained, and the Type A in me balked.  Who are these people going into goal races under-trained?!?  However, one of the top lessons I have learned in the past year of running is that sometimes with training, less is more.

When I decided to chase a sub-3:00 marathon in 2015, I knew I needed to go all in so I decided to work with a coach for the first time post-collegiately.  I went into it thinking that his schedule, which I started in July 2015, would be harder than what I was doing up to that point.  I was prepared for tons of hard and long workouts, and to be tired all of the time.  I expected push push push.

When I received my first month's schedule, I was surprised.  It was easier than what I would have put together myself.  The majority of my runs were at base pace, and then each week I had one workout, one long run/workout, and usually one day that included 6 x 20 second strides at the end of my run. During a couple weeks, I only had one workout total if the weekend run was intense (e.g., a 10 mile tempo within a 17 mile long run), with everything else being base miles. Putting my own schedule together, I would usually run two workouts plus a long run each week, so I started worrying that this wasn't enough!  I started questioning other runners about their number of workouts, and worrying that I was going to get slower.

I decided I would stick to the schedule, although I got antsy and asked about adding more workouts (the answer was no).  I mostly followed things to a T, although I added a tempo run here and some fast finish miles there (but this was the exception, not the norm).  For 5.5 solid months, I followed the schedule.  I peaked conservatively at 50 mpw, but I had a lot of weeks in the high-40s (peaking at 50 was my request, as I feared injury).

The one workout I had during the week was generally challenging, and often I would see the time goals on the pace-based workouts and think to myself that there was no way I could run that fast.  Once when I had a track workout that included 200s at 38-39 seconds at the end, I told my coach that there was no way I could run that fast (I have no raw speed!)...then the next day I sent him an email with the subject "It's nice to be wrong sometimes", after running them in 38s.

After a few months on the schedule, crazy things started happening.  I started running faster than I ever had before, at age 34 and on fewer workouts!  This was happening in both training and in racing.  I had a hard time giving up control of my schedule and also had a hard time not second-guessing my coach, until I ran a 1:24:33 half marathon on a challenging course, shattering my PR of 1:27:08.  I went on to run a 3:06 marathon on a training run without a taper, and to shatter my 10K PR with a 38:05, a time I never thought I'd see.  I didn't have the best day or good weather for my marathon, and while I didn't get my sub-3:00 I set a 2-minute PR with a 3:01.  I then followed that up with my second fastest ever half marathon, 6 days after my marathon in a race that I was not even going to "race."

Missing my sub-3:00 threw a wrench in my plan and cast some doubt for me, so I decided for my spring marathon I would follow the training schedule that my fast friend had shared with me.  It included two workouts a week plus a long run, and more mileage.  Hindsight is 20/20, but I sure wish I would have worked with my coach again for my February marathon instead of trying this schedule!  It worked for her but was not for me.  I ended up injured and unable to run my marathon, with about 7 weeks total off running.  I guess that's what they mean about it being better to get to your race a little under-trained!  I missed my goal race being over-trained.

Going through all of that, I can now say that I trust my coach and his schedule, and will follow it during this marathon build-up without second-guessing.  He taught me that training smarter will get me farther than throwing down all of the time.  I learned that I should feel good for my runs and not run down all of the time - and that I can, even running higher mileage and hard workouts!  He thinks I can stay healthy and run more mileage this time, and so far so good. 

The body is a funny thing, and recovery is just as important as training - but how easy is it to forget that!?  I see a lot of runners over-training - by running hard every run - and I hope they learn this lesson sooner rather than later!  I'm stubborn and would have probably never believed it until I saw it work for me, so I get it.  It's still hard to see other runners running more or longer hard workouts than me, but I remind myself that I am not them and I am working smarter for me, and toward my long-term goals!

Monday, June 20, 2016

5Ks: The Struggle is Real!

The older I get, the worse I seem to get at 5Ks.  I haven’t trained specifically for a 5K since college (or since high school because I was injured more than not during college running), but even so I would expect that I could eek out a decent 5K while I am PRing at other distances.  I’ve raced a lot of 5Ks over the years because they are common and convenient, but in 2015 I could not run one that was comparable to my other race performances to save my life.

Put in perspective:  my fastest 5K of 2015 was the second 5K of a 10K.  This was the only time I broke 19:00, with an 18:51 second 5K (although technically I did finish one 5K in 18:42, it was a bit short and my average pace on my Garmin was 6:09 so it shouldn't have been sub-19).  Most of my certified 5Ks were 19:0X, and a few slower than that (I did manage to keep them all under 20:00, though - even during two races in which I took wrong turns as the leader to make them 3.25ish mile 5Ks!).  I could never get those few extra seconds to go sub-19! To make my 5K races even more pathetic, the final 5K of my 1:24 PR half marathon was 19:10!!!  So following running 10 miles at 6:30ish pace, I can run a 5K just a few seconds slower than my all-out 5K.  Following running 3.1 miles of a 10K in 19:14, I can run another 3.1 miles faster than my all-out 5K.  What the heck!? I tried running longer and faster warm ups before my 5Ks but still no luck. 

I had some workouts that I thought meant for a promising or even PR 5K (my current PR is 18:18 run in 2010), including my best mile repeat workout of all time which was 4 x 1 mile all between 5:49-5:51, but I could never put together a nice 5K race.  My last of 2015 was on New Year’s Eve, and my time in it was the best I did for a certified straight 5K: 19:03.  The irony in that one was that it was also by far the most challenging course I ran, with 212 feet of elevation gain.

I’ve only run one 5K thus far in 2016, and if I had known what the course was like beforehand I probably would have never gone (more details here)!  The first half mile was all straight uphill, and there wasn’t really a flat stretch in the whole thing (several rollers after the first up, then a steep up and steep down before the turn around...the main redemption being that that last half mile was all downhill since it was out and back).  Once I saw the first hill and ran the course for my warm-up, I was ready to turn around and go home, and I told Jon that I wouldn’t be able to get under 20:00, especially considering that I was 6 days off racing the Prairie Fire Half and had done no speed work.  The reason we went to this one was because it had nice prize money for the top 3 women and the times hadn’t been under 20:00 for #2 and #3 in most past years (our local Olympic Trials qualifier was always #1), so I decided I wouldn’t worry about my time and just try to place.  I didn’t look at my watch during the race because I knew my pace would be super erratic with the elevation changes, and I ended up running 19:16, which I was shocked and amazed with on that course and with how my spring training had been.

I am going to run another 5K this Saturday, and I’m not as terrified about this one as I usually get of them, because I’m expecting to run slower than 10K pace!  In fact, it’s slated as a tempo workout for me, and will fall at the end of a 53+ mile week and after a Thursday workout and double run, so I won’t exactly be rested.  My tempo pace has been 6:18-6:30 per my coach, and I am going to aim for 6:20ish so I can keep it under 20:00 (and also go for the win).  It’s a huge relief to not even think about aiming for under 19:00, and I haven’t done much running under tempo pace in 2016 (I think only a couple of reps this speed workout, the 19:16 5K I raced in May, and 6 x 20 second strides which I do once a week usually), so my speed is definitely not there even if I wanted to try!

Why are 5Ks so hard and scary?   Give me a half marathon any day!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

All About that Base

Week of June 13-June 19

Mileage:  53.2

My themes for the training week were "all about that base" and "all about that loop"!  Most of my runs were at base pace.* My husband was out of town this week, leaving me as a single mom.  Albani is 8 and we live in a very safe area, so I feel comfortable running outside nearby early while she is sleeping behind locked doors, but I don’t want to be more than a few minutes away at any given time.  There is a loop around our neighborhood that is 0.8 mile, so if I run laps around it I’m running by the house every 5 minutes or so.  If Albani wakes up and needs me (rare), she turns the porch light on and I stop and go in the house as soon as I see it.  Most of my weekday morning runs were done on this loop!  It wasn’t bad at all, and it was FAR better than running on the treadmill (which is loud and would wake her up, so would not work at 5:15 a.m. anyway)!

*Per my coach, my base pace is 7:30-8:30, but he prefers that I keep it at the lower end of that range, especially for long runs. The upper end is there for days when I'm fatigued and 7:30 pace feels like work. When I first started training with him, this was a big change because I used to run my easy and long runs slower, but I have gotten used to it and 7:30ish is my go-to pace now!  I didn't train with him this spring, but I still used the same principle, so I've been doing this for 11 months now, and it has definitely been helpful for my stamina.  Going from 7:30ish pace on long runs to 6:30ish pace (half) and 6:50ish pace (full) isn't as big of a shock as trying to go from 8:00+ pace to those race paces.

Monday – 35 minutes elliptical warm-up plus 45 minutes HIIT bootcamp for cross-training Monday.  Our instructor is emphasizing hip strength in June which I really appreciate!

Tuesday – 11.3 miles base pace, with 8.2 in the morning and 3.1 in the evening.  My morning 8 was around the neighborhood loop with a 7:25 average pace, and my evening 5K was around the YMCA dirt loop at 7:16 average pace.  All base/all loop.  This is the second double in as many weeks that I've felt fantastic during the second run, even at over 90 degrees today.  I think I ran a little faster on this one because I felt guilty about picking Albani up from daycare only to drop her off at Kids Zone at the Y, even though she loves going on the inflatables there, so I just wanted to get the run done and get us home.  Doubles as a full-time working mom are not the easiest even when the second run is less than a half hour long.

Rolling for recovery!
Wednesday – 11.1 miles base pace (7:32 average), mostly on the neighborhood loop with Missy.  She was such a good sport to run this course, repeatedly, with me!  When I was coming up on 10 miles, Albani turned the porch light on.  It had started clouding up and getting windy, as if a storm was imminent, during miles 9-10.  She woke up and is scared of storms so wanted me home.  I came super close to just calling it a day at 10.1 when I went inside, but my schedule from my coach said 11 miles so gosh darn it I was going to follow it – so after comforting her I ran 1 mile on the treadmill while watching Curious George with her.  That 1 mile felt almost longer than the 10 outside, and my hips felt a little wonky running on the treadmill, so I was thankful it was only 1 mile and decided if she needed me during my run the next day, I would just call it. 

Thursday – 8.7 miles total with 2 miles warm-up, 2 x 2 mile repeats with 1 mile recovery between, 1 mile cool-down plus 6 strides after.  The prescribed 2 mile paces were 6:30 for the first rep and 6:15-6:20 for the second rep, which are slower than I would aim to run 2 mile repeats at, but I am pretty sure the purpose was a tempo workout that was uptempo but not speed work or too much pounding - and also to do this on tired legs from Tuesday's and Wednesday's mileage.  I ran again with Missy, and again around the loop! 

My 2 mile tempo times were 12:28 (6:18, 6:10) and 12:29 (6:21, 6:08), which I was good with.  It was super sticky humid but I seem to be doing okay with summer running so far.  I am really good about hydrating so I think that helps.  My morning run hydration secret is fruit before bed - Wednesday night I had generous portions of cantaloupe and grapes before bed, and although I had to get up and pee overnight, I felt more hydrated for my 5:15 a.m. run because I think the fluids in the fruit release more slowly into my system then if I just drink water (I have nothing besides common sense to confirm this). I also always drink first thing after I wake up. 

2 x 2 mile in the middle
Friday – 3.1 miles base pace shake out (7:23) on the YMCA dirt track, before 50 minutes of bootcamp strength training.  Jon got back Thursday night so I was able to go to Friday morning bootcamp.  My glutes were yelling at me the rest of the day after weighted goblin squats, single leg squats, curtsey lunges, and jumping lunges. Also yelling at me on Saturday, but hopefully I am getting stronger from the bootcamps.

Saturday – 13 miles base pace (7:20). I've gotten spoiled in the past almost year with some amazing training partners and rarely running long runs alone. This was the long run that I had to ask 5 people to run with me before I got a yes: Missy (going out of town), Jamie (going out of town), Amy (7:30 pace is too fast right now), Daniel (riding a century), and Casey (yes!). I met Casey through racing her and because she ran at MSU with Jamie, and she lives in Rolla but her parents live less than 2 miles from me.  I saw her out running on my way to work on Thursday so I knew she was visiting them. Bingo! She said she hadn't been running longer than 8 or so since she ran Boston in April, so might not run the whole 13 with me, but I was happy with company for any of it! She ended up running 7 with me, about miles 2-8 because we each started at our homes and met in the middle. 

This run went pretty well and went by quickly. It was hot and humid even at 5:15 a.m. when we started, but it's going to be for a few months so I should probably stop noting it! I felt fine, but when I finished and took off my shoes at home, my sock was blood soaked! The best I can figure I developed a blood blister that popped during the run, but I didn't feel a thing. I've worn the shoes I had on for some 20+ milers and had no problems, and the socks were the best I own, so all I can figure is that my feet swelled in the heat, causing this. I am due for a new pair of shoes (I have 4 pairs in rotation and 3 of them have over 500 miles on them), so will go up a half size for my summer shoes and see if that does the trick. When Albani saw the blood she told me that I ought to not run for a few days and that I needed to put some Spray and Wash on the socks!

Saturday afternoon we went to Incredible Pizza, which was kind of a cross-training workout! Although we had a fantastic time, I will note that Incredible Pizza is incredibly time-consuming and incredibly expensive (we had a gift card for a portion of it at least)!

Long run
Bloody sock
Bloody sock 2
Incredible Pizza has incredible desserts
Jon and I had an intense competition on this game
She thought the toilet for a seat concept was gross
Race face
Sunday – 6 easy base miles (7:35).  Sundays are usually the only day I have a hard time getting out the door - ironic, because they are also typically my shortest run of the week and start the latest.  I used to take the day after my long runs off, and when I first started Sunday runs they were a slog at 8:30-9:00 pace.  They gradually got easier and faster, but just recently has my easy pace dropped to 7:30ish on them, so I hope this means good things for my endurance.  I walked back in from this run and made Sunday breakfast for the family in my sports bra and shorts before getting ready for church, so I will say I like Sunday runs better when it's warm out because I don't have to rush into the warm shower or risk freezing like I used to (family cooked breakfasts were not happening then!).

Until next week!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Summer's Here & Finishing the Week in Chicago

Week of May 23-29:

My “normal” schedule was tweaked a bit this week based on my training partner’s schedule and on travel, but I got in a solid 55.2 miles and also came away ready for my planned cut-back week next week.

Monday – HIIT bootcamp 45 min. + elliptical 45 min. (the Monday usual, but feeling a bit draggy)

Tuesday – Speed workout!  Full description here.  I felt peppy again on this one and knocked out 10 miles total with repeats of 2 miles (12:24), 1.5 mile (9:11), 1 mile (5:59), and 0.5 mile (2:54) on the roads.  My splits exceeded my goal times of 12:30, 9:15, 6:05, and 3:00, and I walked away feeling good about this.  It was the first run of the season that I was so hot I took off my shirt and ran in my sports bra (note to self:  increase ab work).

Wednesday – 16.1 total (12.1 a.m. and 4 p.m.).  I had 8-12 base pace miles planned in the morning depending on how I felt, and I met up with Missy just before an imminent thunderstorm.  We ran through some periods of heavy rain, but for the most part the weather wasn’t THAT bad.  I will run in anything and so will she, so it was just a question of what we might have to deal with!  I learned that the outfit I had on held onto a lot of water, even after I shed the tank top.  I felt better than I expected after Tuesday’s workout, so went for the 12 miles (7:35 average).  

During the day at work, my legs started to feel the miles…around that magic 36 hours post-workout the fatigue really set in from Tuesday’s workout, and it was just in time for me to do a second run!  As usual, I hemmed and hawed about whether or not to actually do the second run, and the only reason I decided that I actually would was because I was planning a day off Thursday (and a little bit because I was with Albani at kids’ training so might as well do something while she was running).  My legs would not get going and 4 miles at 8:24 pace was long enough!  However, I did finish faster and feeling looser than when I started, so it did something.  I was so hungry after my second run, and so tired as I was putting Albani to bed!

We should all always run with this joy!

Thursday – Lap swim 45 minutes.  I woke up tired and glad that I was only doing an easy swim!  Then I started the swim and was ready to stop after about 5 minutes, but as I continued I loosened up and felt better.  I swim super slow anyway!

Friday – 12 miles total:  2.6 warm-up (7:37), 6.2 tempo (6:24), 3.2 cool-down (7:45), mostly with Missy.  This run was loosely planned on Wednesday, but we didn’t know quite what we were doing until Thursday evening, or exactly what we were doing until we had already started (oops!)!  We had discussed doing a workout similar to our tempo last week, and right after we hit start on our watches I asked, “Wait, what exactly are we running?” – hah!

Our initial plan was 5 miles tempo (around 6:30 pace), 1 mile recovery, 1 mile throw down, but around 3 miles in I asked her if she wanted to just do 6 miles tempo straight, as my legs were tired and I worried that if I slowed down after 5 miles for a recovery jog I would not be able to speed back up for 1 more, but that I could continue on the current pace for 6 miles.  She agreed to that.  Thank you, Missy, for your flexibility!!  Then, when we were nearing mile 5 I was doing the math in my head and told her that I was going to go to 10K because if I finished strong I would have a sub-40:00 10K.

My tempo splits were: 6:30, 6:27, 6:22, 6:30, 6:26, 6:17 (and 5:40 for the final 0.21) for a 39:45 10K (6:24 average)!  I felt really good about doing that on tired legs in a humid 70 degrees (let me tell you how much I smelled afterward!).  My math was also poor because I thought I needed to run the last mile in about 6:15 to put me just barely under 40:00 (I was thinking 39:59!), but if I have learned nothing else recently it’s that 5 miles into a tempo run or towards the end of a double-digit long run, my calculations start sucking!  So I did not have to pound that last 0.2 like I did, but eh.  I told Missy that this was a better tempo run than last week, as the weather today was sticky warm, whereas for our last tempo run it was 45 degrees!  Time to acclimate for summer!

Tempo splits

Saturday – 8.1 recovery miles (7:50), 35 minutes of strength training (basic moves such as single leg squats, lunges, dead lifts, calf raises, rows, planks, etc.), then sat in a van for 8+ hours en route to Chicago.  Oy!

Sunday – 9 base pace miles (7:27 average), with 6 strides in mile 8, mostly on the Lakeshore Trail in Chicago. This was supposed to be 8 miles, but I got a little lost at the end trying to get back to my hotel! This was a fun run because there were so many runners, cyclists, and walkers out (no solidarity on runs here - which I would loathe if I lived here but is fun for a few days), and it was so flat. I love exploring on my runs when I am traveling!

Lakeshore Trail

"Nailed it!"

This was my first week of official training under my coach in 2016, and also I guess you could say I am "officially" marathon training now since I am building towards the Prairie Fire Marathon in October and the Bass Pro Marathon in November through his training schedules!  What this means:  no longer deciding my workouts the night before based on texts with Missy.  Oh, and also that I have someone looking at my longer-term goals and development. :-)

Week of June 6-12:

Mileage: 48.4 (it wasn't easy to be this close to 50 yet not run 50 - nailed not being too obsessive and following the schedule here!)

Monday – My new schedule started with a non-running day, and I nailed it.  Hah!  I truly needed a day off pounding and exertion, so I opted for a super easy 35-minute lap swim in the morning in lieu of my usual Monday bootcamp, and also did 10 minutes of planking in the evening.

Tuesday - 8 miles base pace (7:31).  This run took me 1:00:09, which is true proof that I don’t obsess on my watch on easy days – because you know I would have knocked out that last mile to get in in 59:59, even though that really wouldn’t mean anything (therefore we will say I nailed being not obsessive today!).  Right after the run I did 25 minutes of strength work:  goblin squats, rows, single leg squats, curtsy lunges, single leg dead lifts, push-ups, calf raises, and glute bridges (I think that was it!).

Wednesday – 10.1 miles base pace (7:20) with 6 x 20 second strides in the last mile.  This was one of those mornings where I just couldn’t slow down once I got warmed up (my first mile was 8:01, which I guess I needed to wake up).  The course I ran has a lot of downhill on the way out (miles 2-4 especially), and you have to climb back up it coming back, but it seems like the downhill helps me get going and I don't slow down too much coming back up. It was beautiful out and 55 degrees!  I wished I had had a hard workout on tap this day because I know I would have nailed it, but I nailed this base run. 

Base pace 10
Base pace 10 elevation
Thursday – 11.2 miles total, with a workout and a double day!  Morning was 2 miles warm-up, 4 miles tempo, 2.1 miles cool-down.  After bombing my 10K last weekend, my confidence for this workout was shot.  My goal pace range per my coach was 6:18-6:30 and I was questioning my ability to even run at the high end of that range.  However, I’d felt great on Wednesdays run and knew I would give it my all on this workout, whatever pace that was!

I ran with Missy, around my 0.8 mile neighborhood loop – so the tempo was 5 laps.  Based on my awful race, I thought that 6:30 pace was going to be HARD, so I started out at a harder effort that I worried wasn't fast enough, looked at my watch and saw 6:02 pace, and then had to reel it in.  I came through mile 1 at 6:14 and this felt sustainable.  Mile 2 was also 6:14!  Mile 3…6:14.  I feel like I should win some even pace award here!  I was torn between trying to hit a 4th mile of 6:14 (because how cool would that be?) and picking up the final mile a bit, and ended up doing the latter with a 6:07 final mile.  And it felt great!  I definitely could have continued on for 2.2 more miles at that pace if I were in a race, although my glutes and hamstrings were feeling my Tuesday strength session.  Where oh where was this performance last weekend?!?  But I was glad to nail it today for sure.  I just hate to have my best performances in training and not racing.

2 warm-up, 4 tempo, 2 cool-down
In the evening, I ran a 5K mostly with Jon (7:33 average).  I felt the best I have in a double in a long time, possibly ever!  The ironic part is that it was 88 degrees.  I haven't done too many doubles, but often the second run is quite a slog! 

Friday –  Cross-training Friday:  40 minute easy lap swim and 45 minute HIIT bootcamp.  I could tell that I hadn't been to bootcamp for a couple of weeks!  Not sure how much I like swimming before, because I had goggle marks and wet hair for class, but I feel like it's more beneficial than lazily doing the elliptical as I usually do to loosen up before bootcamp.  My arms were more tired for sure!  I also had a little soreness in my upper body the next day (traps, pecs, delts mostly).

Saturday – Long run of 13.1 (7:25 average for the whole shebang).  This was actually supposed to be 12, but Missy and I clearly cannot do math when we start and end at different starting points and run a loop course (we met when I was at about 1 and she was at 2.5ish).  This is the second time in as many long runs that we ran like this that I ended up long when I got back at my house, haha!  This run was 8 miles base pace, then cut down each mile by 5-10 seconds for the final 4 miles (then my extra 1.1 mile was just base pace again).  I love a good fast finish long run!  This also feels pretty short for a long run, but the distance will change soon enough.
Saturday's run was actually a half marathon on accident
Sunday - 6 miles easy (7:39). I started this one late for me, at 6:59 a.m., and it was warm and humid so I was quite okay with stopping at 6! I was a bit tired but it was perfect for a shake out.  I spent quite a bit of time outside on Saturday, didn't eat very healthy, and didn't sleep enough, so I was happy and surprised that my easy pace was still in the 7:30's!

Hardest cross-training I did all week!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

And Now It's June!

This was a planned cut-back week, but with traveling for work and for a family visit, I didn't feel like I got the full benefit because I was wiped out from the trips (plus I ran a little farther than planned - surprise). I ran in 3 different states this week!

Week of May 30 through June 5: 

Mileage: 44.1

Monday - Cross-training as usual. My hotel had a nice gym and I did 45 minutes on the elliptical, 30 minutes of strength training, and 15 minutes on the spin bike. 

Tuesday - 10.1 miles along Chicago's Riverwalk and Lakeshore Trail. 3.3 warm up (7:35), 2.5 miles uptempo (6:28), 4.2 more miles (7:35). I didn't plan any hard workouts while out of town, but wanted to get a little turnover in my legs so this was a nice moderate effort. It was harder than it should have been, but I just expect that while away from home. 

View of Navy Pier from the trail
Lakeshore Trail
Wednesday - 8 recovery miles (7:55) along Lakeshore Tail, with 6 strides in the last mile. It was pouring for most of this run, and I was draggy but glad to be out there. The benefit of the rain was that there were dramatically fewer people out. Have I mentioned that I prefer deserted country roads to big cities any day?!

Thursday - Back in Missouri! This was a day off pre-race, and I was so zonked from the trip I was thankful. I just did 30 minutes easy on the elliptical (plus about 7 hours of cleaning, laundry, and yard work - happy day off work to me, eh?). 

Friday - 4.1 miles/30 minute shake out run with 6 strides in the final mile (7:18 pace for the whole shebang). Felt a lot more normal on this run after "sleeping in" until almost 7:00 a.m., and reveled in my solitary farm roads. 

Saturday - 10.4 miles total, including the River Run 10K in Wichita, Kansas. We will just say that this 10K felt eerily like the final 6.2 miles of a marathon! It was rough from the gate, but often after the first mile or so I relax and feel better. Not on this one! I came close to dropping out, finished over 3 minutes off my goal time, and my pace was 19 second per mile slower than my recent 10K tempo run that I finished with some left in the tank. Oy! I finished this one with nothing left in the tank and my cool down mile was 9:30 pace and barely manageable. Yikes! We will just say lesson learned on combining a ton of traveling with a race, and I also worry I may be getting sick after spending 18 hours in a confined space with someone who had bronchitis (perhaps I was also dehydrated/depleted?). I could blame a 60-90 second failure on the heat and humidity we had today, but something else has to give for a 3 minute failure! Embarrassing!  Let's just hope that this is my Epic Fail of 2016 and there will be no more of that.

Running happy on my warm-up (this did not last into the race!)

Sunday - 11.5 miles base pace (7:38) with my Wichita running buddy Kim. After feeling like death on Saturday I almost didn't run this, but since I had already scheduled to meet her and didn't want to cancel I decided to give it a go. I was glad I did, as after a slow start I felt closer to normal. Guess the rest and nutrition I emphasized on Saturday was good for something. Thankful as always to be out there - good days and bad! Now tomorrow may be a day (mostly) off...  I start my "formal" marathon training schedule tomorrow, but Mondays are non-running days and I can choose some cross-training or a day off.  I will always do at least a little cross-training to maintain the workout streak, but 20 minutes of easy swimming is pretty much a day off!