Monday, August 31, 2020

August Angst or Awesome August

August 2020 in review!

Total mileage for the month:  294.6
  • July 27-August 2:  64.0
  • August 3-9:  60.1
  • August 10-16:  69.7
  • August 17-23:  64.1
  • August 24-30:  64.2
#augustangst - we think we are funny!

Races:  None yet, but I did two time trials, a 2 mile in 12:13 and a 5k+ in 18:35.

  • August 4:  10 x 300 m with 100 m jog/1:00 total recoveries (2:00 recovery after rep 5) in 57, 59, 57, 58, 57, 57, 58, 57, 59, 57 (3.3 warm up, 3.5 cool down). When my coach gave me this workout she told me to keep them under 60, and I told her that was very, very, very ambitious.  She then said under 63, which I still didn't think I could do, but I guaranteed I'd try my hardest.  Rebecca and Sean ran this workout with me (plus 4 other members from our running group ran some workout on the track this morning!), and Rebecca's college miler speed is always very helpful to me during track workouts.  I tried to hang onto her as close as I could when we started, and during the first repeat my body was screaming and I thought, "Whatever this split is will be my goal, I cannot go any faster."  I was really surprised to see the 57 and looked at my watch until it disappeared to make sure I wasn't reading it wrong!  Rebecca was generally 2 seconds ahead of me on each rep, and Sean and I were neck and neck, which really pushed me.  I definitely couldn't have done this workout without my running buddies and the unseasonably cool 58 degree morning also played a bit part, but I also think just having the goal of doing my best helped because I didn't feel pressure to hit a certain time.
  • August 6:  2 x 3 mile (goal 6:50) with 0.5 recovery in 6:41, 6:42, 6:32/6:42, 6:35, 6:33 (2.3 warm up and 2 cool down).  This felt smooth and strong!  A goal of this workout was to see what my heart rate was at 6:50, so we didn't quite get that, but it was a nice cool morning and I had a hard time not cranking it down farther.  It was my first longer workout back that I finished strong vs. dying in the final mile (like I was in last month), so that felt like a victory too.  I ran this one in Hoka Cliftons instead of workout shoes because I was sore from the August 4 track workout.
  • August 10:  4 x 400 m with 200 m recovery jog in 1:28, 1:28, 1:30, 1:32 (2.3 warm up + drills and strides, 6.5 cool down) This workout was supposed to happen on August 11 but due to work travel I ran it a day early.  It was also supposed to be 12 x 400 m starting at 1:28 working down to 1:25, but I had a migraine the evening before and felt weak and nauseous.  I wanted to attempt the workout but called it after 4 because I just didn't have it and thought I was going to dig myself into a deeper hole by forcing it.  Without races on the horizon it scared me a little how easy it was to quit a workout and not care that I did, but once I started feeling more like my normal self I was excited to tackle workouts again.
  • August 12:  4 miles moderate (7:26, 7:25, 7:25, 7:21) within an 8 mile run. These felt nice and smooth and reminded me of when I used to run everything easy moderate!
  • August 14:  2 mile time trial in 12:13 (6:06.9, 6:06.7) + 5 mile progression run (goal 7:30 down to 6:50) in 7:26, 7:12, 7:08, 7:00, 6:47.   I had no idea what to try to for on the 2 mile so I decided to go by effort and was thrilled with my super even pacing without ever looking at my watch!  I guess I was neither excited or upset with the time I ran; it was really just information. 5 years ago it would have been a great 2 mile for me but last year it would have been a very disappointing one.  It was warm and humid (72 degrees, dew point 72) and I felt weak.  The progression felt good but the last mile got hard.
  • August 16:  5 x 0:45 hill sprints within an 8 mile run.  These woke my tired legs up and somehow I managed to run them all in sub-6:00.
  • August 18:  4 x 200, 2 x 400, 1 x 800, 2 x 400, 4 x 200 with equal distance recoveries (2.3 warm up, 3 cool down).  We had a great group of 8 on the track this morning and Casey and Sean both ran my workout and pushed me!  I think I need to remember how to hurt.  My main goal was to be consistent and to not back off when it got hard.  I was happy with my splits of 0:40, 0:41, 0:41, 0:41, 1:27, 1:25, 3:00, 1:25, 1:25, 0:40, 0:41, 0:40, 0:40.
  • August 21:  5k time trial in 18:35/5:56 average via 5:54, 6:02, 5:54 (5:36 final 0.13 - I stopped my watch a little late but figure most road courses with turns read a little long)  + 5 x 400 with 1:15 recovery in 1:27, 1:30, 1:32, 1:31, 1:23 (12 miles total).  You can read the details here.
  • August 24:  4 miles moderate (7:09, 7:08, 7:09, 6:54) in a 7 mile run.  I've decided I like moderate running - it feels smooth without being hard!
  • August 26:  3 x (4 x 400 m) with 1:00 recovery jogs between reps and 400 m recovery jogs between sets in 84, 85, 84, 84, 85, 82, 84, 83, 85, 84, 84, 84 (2.1 warm up, 4.3 cool down). My time goal on these was 86-88, and I was really happy to better that but even happier that I felt so good doing it.  I finished the workout with quite a bit left in the tank; I don't think I could have run any faster but I could have run more reps, which is pretty typical for me on speedy stuff. It was pretty refreshing to feel so strong at the end of the month, after having a lot of workouts when I first started back where I was just hanging on dying.  Christian did 400s as well and running with her helped me tremendously and made the workout fun.  Missy and Abby also ran, and having our group out on the track at dark o'thirty makes track work so much better!
  • August 28:  6 mile tempo at 6:24 average via 6:20, 6:21, 6:20, 6:26, 6:33, 6:23 (2 warm up, 1.3 cool down).  This was supposed to be a moderate tempo at 6:35, per the workout Christian's coach gave her that I coordinated with her to run together, but our group which also included Sean, Missy, and Rebecca got out fast and good luck stopping a group of 5!  I felt the too fast start on mile 5 but rallied to finish strong, which I couldn't have done last month.  This was a good day at 72 degrees/dew point 71.
  • Strides on August 3, 13, 20, 24, and before workouts.
  • Doubles started on August 24 with a 94 degree 4 miler, and continued on August 31.
  • Elliptigo-ing:  Doubles on the elliptigo on August 2, 4, 6, 12, 16, 18, 26 and easy rides on days off running on August 7 and 27 - total mileage of 66.3  (no biking this month).
  • Strength Training:  weekly totals of 2:05, 1:46, 2:00, 2:06, 1:28, including re-introducing plyometrics this month, which make me so sore.
  • Yoga:  weekly totals of 1:37, 1:50, 1:20, 0:52, 1:50.

Long Runs:
  • August 1:  16.3 miles (7:43) that felt really good!  Abby, Sierra, and Christian ran most of the way with me, and this was one of those runs where I felt stronger as I ran longer.  I had a 30 second pick up to tempo-ish effort every 5 minutes starting at mile 10, and it was crazy how much those little pick ups perked my legs up.  The final 6 miles were 7:07-7:27 and the pick ups were 5:44-6:18 (take those paces with a grain of salt, though, because I don't think Garmin is accurate with intervals that short).
  • August 8:  16.2 miles (8:14) that felt really meh.  It was a good group (Rebecca, Christian, Sierra, Abby, and Trae), and a different long run location, but it was also one of those days that running 1 mile seemed like a stretch on my drive to the run, mostly due to non-running life stuff.  I didn't really feel better as the run progressed but I also didn't feel worse, and I got it done!
  • August 15:  16.7 miles (8:17) for a fatigued long run after a Friday workout on a very humid morning with a great crew!  Casey, Christian, Sean, Claudio, Abby, and Rebecca all ran 12-14 with me.  I was supposed to run 16 but miscalculated the add-on loop and got back to my car at 16.7, then spent the rest of the day wishing I'd just gone to 17!
  • August 22:  12.2 miles (7:44), with the first half 8:00+ and second half under 7:30. I also ran a 12 mile workout on August 21, so the line of when long runs begin is getting blurry again.  I was a tad sore from said August 21 time trial/workout, but I also felt really good.  We had another great group showing with Eric, Casey, Elise, Rebecca, Abby, Collin, Christian, Claudio, and Sean, and we explored a trail that I'd never been on before (the connection to it is tricky!).
  • August 29:  17.1 miles (8:11), keeping my HR below 140, the day after a workout.  We had a group of 10 for this long run:  Sean, Christian, Paul, Abby, Sierra, Casey, Rebecca, Eric, and Trae.  It was warm and humid but the miles flew by and 17 didn't feel long at all!  I ran another mile about 90 minutes later with Albani too.
Running Highlights:
  • As of August 1, I'm working with my coach Nichole again, so she is the mastermind behind those time trials plus workouts, hah.  My running group is doing a couple of track time trials in September, and I'm going to do either a race or a time trial on November 1, but I'm mostly working on my weaknesses and longer term development, plus I will never be able to make the smartest training decisions for myself.  She decreased my mileage slightly from what I built to in July and threw me onto the track.  
Life Highlights:
  • Albani started junior high cross-country.  I didn't think she was going to want to run but she decided she wanted to do something and it was better than volleyball (haha).  She hasn't wanted to talk to me too much about practices but I'm excited!  She had a 2 mile time trial on August 29.
  • Albani started 7th grade in-person on August 20.  Our district gave us options and we chose full-time in-person instruction.  It's one of those situations where you have to weigh the risks and benefits and make the best personal decision.
  • I started teaching as an adjunct at Missouri State University (online only this semester).
Fresh produce

Awana awards party

More fresh produce


First day of school, 6:20 a.m. edition

7th grade!

First day of school, 7:30 p.m. edition
Time trial finish

Junior high & high school XC teams

Albani's coach & I running with her
  • Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West
  • The Sun Does Shine:  How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton
  • Stolen Children by Peg Kehret
  • The Story of Arthur Truluv (Mason #1) by Elizabeth Berg
  • Night of Miracles (Mason #2) by Elizabeth Berg
  • The Confession Club (Mason #3) by Elizabeth Berg
  • Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
  • The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes
  • The Party Upstairs by Lee Conell
  • Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris
  • The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
  • The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh
  • Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
  • The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) by Lemony Snicket
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt
  • The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
Theme for the month:
Indecision.  I've figured all along that the reason for my hip issue was probably because God knew I wouldn't deal well with the COVID-19 uncertainty of every race from March 2020 on, but this month made me even more sure of that!  I had a hard time deciding if I should target a race and found it difficult to do that knowing that any given race may not happen.  It's harder than you realize to direct your training without targeting a race, and "be in good shape and ready to jump into a race" is a vague goal.  Also, I like control!  I think that's why I'm embracing doing some time trials: they will happen.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Random Friday 5K Time Trial

Since I don't expect to have many/any race recaps this season, I thought I'd recap some of the time trials I do. Next time I'll have a better name - my running group is doing two "Pick Your Poison" track time trials in September.

My coach put a 5k time trial on my training schedule for August 21.  I think she mainly wanted to see where I was at and get my max heart rate.  I knew I wasn't in top shape so it didn't feel like a big deal, but at the same time I treated it like an actual race.  Even though I wasn't in PR form, I still wanted to get the best out of myself that morning.  I drank Generation Ucan and caffeinated nuun when I woke up, and also sipped on more nuun between my warm up and the time trial.  I wore an old pair of racing shoes, changing shoes after my warm up which always helps with the mental "I'm going to run fast" piece.

When you wear 3 different pairs of shoes
during the course of a run, you mean business

I'd run a 2 mile time trial one week before in 12:13.  I hadn't felt the best that day, and ended up having mixed feelings about the result - it would have been a good time for me 5 years ago but was slower than my PR half marathon pace from 2019.  I mostly looked at it as information, plus after 15.5 weeks off from February through May I'm thankful to run any pace.  For some reason, I just knew I was going to have a better day for the 5k time trial, so I decided I'd try to run it at the same pace, or about 6:06, hoping to sneak in under 19 minutes.  It was 58 degrees, which I also knew would help immensely (it was 72 with 100% humidity for the 2 mile).

Three friends (Casey, Rebecca, and Missy) decided to run the time trial with me, which made it exponentially more fun!  We warmed up together, and Missy and Rebecca said they planned to run the 5k, while Casey was undecided.  She ended up deciding she'd do about 2 miles, and try to stick with me (if you know Casey, you know that means be a step ahead of me!).  And, we were off!

Casey and I settled in side by side, at a clip that felt fast but reasonable, with Missy and Rebecca right on our heels.  I looked at my watch once early to see 6:03 average, which was about what I wanted.  I focused on working with Casey, and we went through the mile in 5:54.  Her watch beeped a little before mine for a 5:50 first mile, and she stopped at that point.  I was expecting her to run through at least 2 miles, and kind of thought she'd end up running the whole 5k with me then probably out-kicking me, so that threw me momentarily since running with her had helped so much.  I could hear Missy fairly close behind, though, so that helped me keep pushing, although I did let up a little during mile 2 for a 6:02.  Casey jumped back in with me for a bit during the final mile (we were on a 0.8 mile loop course), which helped tremendously.  I was determined I was going to get my pace back under 6:00 for the final mile, and I did that with another 5:54 and a final 0.13 kick at 5:36 pace.  I stopped my watch a little late, at 3.13, but I figure most road courses with turns read a little long anyway.  My time for the 3.13 was 18:35, with an average pace of 5:56.  The activity is on Strava here.

I was really happy with this one!  I thought 6:05 pace would be a fantastic day right now, so exceeding that was exciting, but also I just felt so good while I was doing it.  The cooler weather was a huge factor, but I'm getting stronger again and it's a great feeling.  In mid-June my heart rate was 170 (it averaged 168 for this 5k) running 7:45 pace - I am not exaggerating!  I started some workouts with Christian in July but typically felt like I was just hanging onto her.  The way I felt during this run was how I want to feel! 

How Rebecca felt after the time trial (Casey and I walking in
the distance as I recovered for the 400s)

After the 5k I had a full recovery then 5 x 400 m.  Unsurprisingly no one else wanted to do the 400s.  My splits were all over the place - 1:23-1:32 - but I got them done.  My legs were heavy but also I didn't have the mental energy to run anything else hard.  Afterward I texted my coach that the 5k went well, the 400s not so much!  She said that was how it was supposed to be.  :-)

The Missouri state road racing record for my age (39) is 18:33, so now I want to find a certified 5k race in the state that is actually happening before my birthday on October 26 - which so far hasn't been a fruitful search.  There are a lot of small 5ks, but very few are certified.  I do appreciate the irony that I am actually seeking out a 5k - I am not 5k runner, but I really enjoyed this time trial!