Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Speedy September or Sluggish September

September 2020 in review!

Total mileage for the month: 291.4
  • Aug. 31-Sep. 6:  71.2
  • Sep. 7-13:  70.6
  • Sep. 14-20:  65.9
  • Sep. 21-27:  76.3
  • Sep. 28-Oct. 4:  67.8
  • Sep. 1:  7 x 800 m (track) with 2:00 recoveries in 2:57, 2:58, 2:58, 3:10, 3:16, 3:15, 3:18 (2.1 warm up, 3.6 cool down).  I strained my hamstring between lifting on Aug. 27 and my Aug. 28 tempo run, and 3 days of easy running wasn't enough to heal it (I didn't know it was actually strained until I had it looked at on Sep. 3). I started the workout and planned to just stop if the hammy acted up, but instead I backed off to tempo effort for the final 4 reps. The first 3 were on pace, but my hamstring hurt more after each one and it wasn't worth the risk! It was also raining and half of my running group didn't come to this workout, which in the end I was glad about since that meant less people to see me slowing down!
  • Sep. 3:  6 x 200 m (road) with 200 m jog recoveries after a 7 mile easy run in 42, 42, 43, 42, 42, 43.  I was hoping my hamstring would be back to normal, but it wasn't completely so I was tentative on these. A few hours later I got my hammy checked out and treated with ART, and was advised not to run fast again until it felt 100%.
  • Sep. 7:  4 miles of 0.5 at 6:00ish/0.5 at 7:00ish with half mile splits of 3:01, 3:25, 3:04, 3:26, 3:03, 3:31, 3:04, 3:28 (2 warm up, 3 cool down).  The biggest victory of this run was that my hamstring felt great!  Hitting the paces was a struggle on the faster parts and I had to stop for about 30 seconds after my third faster half mile to be able to complete the workout, but it was warm and humid, and I hadn't been sure if I'd be able to run this so I wasn't mentally focused as much as I should have been (I'd planned to stop if my hamstring wasn't 100%).
  • Sep. 10:  Fartlek of 3 x (3' on, 90" off, 2' on, 60" off, 1' on, 30" off), 2 warm up, 3 cool down.  I went out hard then died hard on this one!  My Garmin told me my paces for the 9 ons were 5:26, 5:14, 5:20, 5:43, 5:35, 6:00, 6:28, 6:22, 6:08.  I'm not sure I totally believe those, but I did push early and fade.
  • Sep. 15:  2 x 8:00 at 20kish pace in 6:29 and 6:18 pace during a 9 mile run.  Mentally I needed an easy workout so this one was perfect.
  • Sep. 18:  20k time trial at 6:29 pace, details here.
  • Sep. 22:  3 x 1 mile at 5k effort with 2:15 recoveries in (about) 5:55, 5:51, 5:59 (3.5 warm up, 3 cool down).  I ran this workout with Christian and Casey, and our watches read pretty differently.  Casey finished 5-10 seconds behind Christian and I each rep, but her watch had her faster than us on every repeat.  Christian's watch had her a little slower than mine despite us being side-by-side.  I sure felt like the final rep was in the 5:40s (per Casey's watch I was 5:45ish).  I have no idea what was happening!  But we all put in a very good effort and found that 5k pace gear that is easy to lose during marathon training.  I would not have run sub-6:00 without those girls with me; we are definitely better together!
  • Sep. 25:  3 warm up, 15:00 tempo (6:20, 6:20, 6:16), 3:00 recovery, 10:00 tempo (6:18, 6:21), 3 cool down.  My pace goal was 6:20 for this so I was right on. We ran this on the same course we'd done the 20k time trial on the week before, and it was a harsh reminder of how much difference 10 seconds per mile can make!  I feel like I could run 6:30ish pace all day, but 6:20ish is a different story.  I felt average on this workout but was pretty proud of my metronome pacing!
  • Doubles (running) on Sep. 7, 10, 14, 21, 29.
  • Strides on Sep. 9, 17, 21, 29.
  • Elliptigo-ing:  as a double on Sep. 6, 9, and 15, and as day off running on Sep. 11.
  • Strength Training: weekly totals of 2:10, 1:56, 1:45, 1:55.
  • Yoga: weekly totals of 1:00, 0:47, 2:25, 1:25.
Soaking wet September (after a
rainy track workout)
Stretching September

Silly September
Long Runs:
  • Sep. 5:  17.3 miles (with 20k at 7:19, probably 7:30ish for all 17) mostly with a group of 7!  I was planning to run a 20k time trial for the virtual Dam to DSM race, which I'd entered long before it rescheduled then turned virtual (also before COVID and even before my hip issue), but I tweaked my hamstring the previous week and at my ART/Graston appointment for it on Sep. 3 my chiropractor advised against running fast until it healed.  I knew it was the right call, especially since my hamstring hadn't been right on my attempted workouts that week, so I ran it as a faster easy pace.  I had zero pain in my hammy so was pleased about that!
  • Sep. 12:  20 miles (7:55) of feeling great!  I was excited to do this run and it did not disappoint. I love running 20+s.  Colin ran all 20 with me, and Casey, Christian, Sean, Claudio, and Abby ran most.  It flew by, I felt amazing, and I kept my heart rate 140ish.  
  • Sep. 18:  17.2 miles (with 20k at 6:29plus real easy warm up and cool down).  Since the 20k time trial didn't work out on Sep. 5, I did it on Sep. 18 in much cooler weather (58 degrees) with a 100% hamstring.  Too bad I couldn't count this time for the virtual race instead!  I ended up getting an award in the mail from my 7:19 pace 20k, though.
  • Sep. 27:  18 miles (7:46) that was average to good, to cap off an average to good week!  Like the entire week, I didn't feel amazing but I didn't feel bad either.  Christian ran 16 with me, which made it fly by.  Missy also started with us but she did a progression so left us around mile 6.
Speedy September or Santa September
(I think you had to be there!)

Sluggish September
I can't remember what this one was!

Same September
Running Highlights:
  • I had a very minor hamstring strain, but it never hurt when running easy and really only affected two workouts (Sep. 1 and Sep. 5), plus I didn't do deadlifts or hamstring curls on the exercise ball for few strength sessions.  I definitely erred on the side of caution with it!  My hip also started bothering me after my Sep. 25 workout, and it was so minor that normally I'd have thought nothing of it, but after the spring I had with hip issues, I ended up being extra cautious with it too, and skipping a Sep. 30 time trial.  I am not sure why I'm having these little issues, or maybe I'm just acknowledging every single little thing that I wouldn't have even noticed before.
  • Albani is running cross-country and had several meets!  The current week we are in she has 3, which seems excessive to me (Sep. 29, Oct. 1, and Oct. 3).
  • My friend Liz completed an awesome feat on the Appalachian Trail and visited us driving back home to Portland.  You can read about her journey here!  Talking to her about the details was really fun and my mind is boggled by what she did.
  • I ran the final 10 miles of my friend Amy's virtual Boston with her, which ended up being a lot of fun.  I bragged to people along the trail about her, and then announced that she was the Boston Marathon winner as she finished.
First XC meet!

Amy's virtual Boston

Life Highlights:
  • Jon and I celebrated our anniversary on Sep. 17 then Albani's birthday on Sep. 18.
  • Albani had a slumber party for her 13th birthday...oy!
  • We still mostly stay at home on weekends, and I have really grown to love that.  I have definitely learned to nap more during this pandemic.
Chicks at our local farm store

Bandit helping me work

God's promise

  • Elanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events #2) by Lemony Snicket
  • The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events #3) by Lemony Snicket
  • The Miserable Mill (A Series of Unfortunate Events #4) by Lemony Snicket
  • The Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events #5) by Lemony Snicket
  • Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo
  • In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
  • The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrkc
  • The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events #6) by Lemony Snicket
  • The Vile Village (A Series of Unfortunate Events #7) by Lemony Snicket
  • The Hostile Hospital (A Series of Unfortunate Events #8) by Lemony Snicket
  • The Carnivorous Carnival (A Series of Unfortunate Events #9) by Lemony Snicket
  • The Slippery Slope (A Series of Unfortunate Events #10) by Lemony Snicket
  • The Grim Grotto (A Series of Unfortunate Events #11) by Lemony Snicket
  • The Penultimate Peril (A Series of Unfortunate Events #12) by Lemony Snicket
  • The End (A Series of Unfortunate Events #13) by Lemony Snicket
  • Goodbye Ed, Hello Me by Jenni Schaefer
  • How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry
  • What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez
  • History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
  • Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo
Theme for the month:
Every day is different.  I had great runs, I had bad runs, I had everything in between, my body felt good, my body felt terrible, some days it flows, some days you're slow.  :-)

Friday, September 18, 2020

2020 20k (Random Friday Time Trial #2)

The idea to run a 20k time trial started because I was registered for the Dam to DSM 20k race.  I'd entered long before it rescheduled then turned virtual (before COVID and even before my hip issue!).  The virtual race window was August 31 through September 7 and I planned to run a hard 20k on September 5, but due to being overly cautious with a hamstring I tweaked lifting I ended up just running an easy 20k that day.  The hammy was back to 100% just a few days later, and for some reason I still wanted to run a 20k, so Christian and I both asked our coaches if we could run it on Friday, September 18.

I have no idea why I thought September 18 was a good day to run it; my wedding anniversary is September 17 and Albani's birthday is September 18, not to mention that Albani had a cross-country meet the evening of September 17, I teach an MSU class on Thursday evenings, and I have an 8:00 patient at work on Friday mornings.  Clearly this was not a well thought out plan, and I ended up being pretty unexcited about it.  But I also didn't have any legitimate reason not to run it, and I didn't want to let Christian down since we were planning to work together.  She hadn't felt very good on September 5 so was glad we'd rescheduled, and the weather ended up being much cooler on September 18 too.  I guess the only disadvantage of switching was that we had to start at 5 a.m. and run in the dark due to it being a work day!

Christian, Colin, Missy, and I were the brave souls who showed up to run.  We did a 2 mile warm up, a quick pee stop, and then decided where we should start.  We planned to run two loops of a course we call "The 6 mile loop" that is actually 5.8 miles.  After we finished the second loop we would continue straight until we hit 20k (12.43 miles).  No roads in my area are flat, but this was the flattest course we could think of where we wouldn't have much traffic and that wasn't our workout loop (the workout loop is 0.82 so a 20k would be a lot of laps, although I have run 20 miles on that thing before).  The course we chose ended up having about 520 ft of elevation gain.

We started off with Colin immediately jumping out front as expected, Christian and I falling in side by side, and Missy tucking in behind us.  I figured I could do about 6:30 pace for a 20k on the course we were on, but I wanted to start off a little slower, so I looked at my watch during the first mile and to see the first mile split in 6:38.  I was aiming for 6:40, so was pretty much right on, and I didn't look at my watch again during the run.

It was nice working with Christian, although with much less talking than our easy runs together!  I felt average at the beginning, and the pace felt do-able but my motivation wasn't great.  But the miles clipped by as we chased Colin's blinking Noxgear vest in front of us, and by the time we finished the first almost 6 mile loop I felt fantastic.  Just needed to get those endorphins flowing I guess!  I also started thinking about past half marathon races - fond memories.

During mile 7 I inadvertently pulled away from Christian.  I was feeling good and staying pretty steady, and she slowed just slightly.  I yelled encouragement and continued on, although I didn't push myself nearly as hard for the final 5 miles as I would have if I'd been with someone.  I have always been someone who races (truly races, not pitch dark country road time trials!) much faster than I train, and it always blows my mind to see people run race pace for nearly race distance or to PR in training.  In fact, one reason I wanted to run this was because typically the pace I can do for 12-14 miles in training is about what I can race for a marathon, and I'm probably going to run a November marathon, so I thought I'd have a good gauge on where I was at from this run.

The second loop was just as uneventful as the first, and I felt strong through the finish but never fast, which is pretty much where my fitness is at right now - solid but not sharp.  I ran a little too far, stopping my watch at 1:20:56 at 12.47 miles.  My average pace was 6:29, which calculators tell me is a 1:20:35 20k.  This is technically an unofficial PR since I have only run one 20k race ever, although I have run much faster 20ks in half marathons and my marathon PR is 6:19 average pace.  But!  I'll take what I can get in 2020!  I wouldn't count a Garmin PR anyhow, but one reason we ran a 20k instead of a half marathon was so everyone could unofficially PR (maybe we will do a 25K next, hah!).  I was also pretty excited that I estimated my current capability so closely with my 6:30 pace estimate, although I really don't know what I based that on aside from one 6 mile tempo run at 6:26, hah.

You can see my Strava activity with splits and elevation here.

Colin averaged 6:14 pace and Christian 6:33; both were pleased with their results.  Missy stopped at 6 miles due to tummy troubles, but she is in incredible shape and ready to sub-3:00 this season.  After cooling down to 17 miles I rushed home and went to work!  I didn't have time to stretch or roll like I typically do after runs, but after a lunch break walk and yoga session I felt great.

I'm glad that I did this, because it was fun and I really love long efforts.  I also finished with some gas still left in the tank and ready for more.  Now that I've been back to running for 3.5 months it's becoming harder not to compare to my previous times.  I'm not back there, but I'm determined to chase down 2019 Sara at some point!
We called this #seewhathappensseptember