Monday, March 08, 2010
For the past 2 years I've run a 5K around campus in April, and today I sent in my registration for this year's race. It's held after work and is a fun race with entrants ranging from walkers out for a nice stroll to those who finish the race in 18 minutes or less (envy is a terrible thing). There are three hills--the first is within the first mile, moderately steep, but not too long, so it's manageable and after running it numerous times I feel I have conquered it. Not at a fast pace, but at least I can make it up without walking, but arriving at the crest with some huffing and puffing and grateful for a level run for the next quarter mile before hitting the second hill.
Hill 2 is short and not as steep as hill one. I can zip up and over it without any trouble and can enjoy the short downhill. That is followed by some more almost flat roads before hitting THE LIBRARY HILL. I don't know what it is about this hill, but I have never been able to get up it without some walking. It doesn't look a whole lot different than hill 1, but it must be steeper and a tad longer or maybe it's because it's at the half way point and I'm half tired or maybe it's just a mental obstacle. It looms above me like Mt. Everest. Blocks before I get there I begin dreading it. The energy just seeps out of my legs like an old car slowly dripping oil.
But tonight I conquered it. Not just once, but FIVE TIMES. Was it the warmer weather, the sun shining down on me, or maybe that bowl of oatmeal at 4 p.m. that gave me such a burst of energy and determination? I don't know, but I headed out after work with a spur-of-the-moment plan to beat that hill into submission before the April 16 race. I doubt that this war is over, but for now, I've won the first battle.
Onward and Upward!!
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Yesterday I woke up ready to . When I checked the weather Friday evening, Saturday promised to be in the low to mid 40s and . The urge to go running outside and enjoy the warmer weather was strong. I felt almost giddy. It was almost 2 p.m. by the time I wrapped up some house work that had to be done--the dust looked like they were forming an army, and I was afraid they might launch a surprise attack some night while we were sleeping. Cleaning house was followed by 30 minutes to decide what to wear. First, it was long sleeves and a mid-weight running jacket. Then it was short sleeves and the jacket. I finally settled on short sleeves under the long-sleeved top, no jacket. Turned out to be just right.
I strapped on my Garmin and headed south to run a new route. I planned on 2 separate loops -- the first started on country roads, but the run back would be along a major road. The country road was wonderful; just a few rolling hills, absolute silence except for the creeks swollen with snow melt and a few birds. I was about a mile into the run before I realized I forgot my Ishuffle. The second half of the first loop wasn't so nice. The road was busy and heavily canted on the shoulders which made my ankles hurt. Whenever the road was clear, I'd work my way back onto the road. It was a straight away so I could see cars coming from a long distance. At the end of the first loop, I stopped at the house and changed socks. They kept bunching at my toes and were really uncomfortable; never had that happen before, but I'll have to remember not to wear them to the half marathon.
The second loop was around town. Some nice rolling hills about the half way point, but most of it is relatively flat. Lots of people were out walking dogs and babies, and a few women were washing the outside of their windows--a definite sign that spring must be near (and a reminder that we should start washing windows at our house).
About 3/4 through the last loop I was feeling really, really tired. More like I was running a marathon than a 15-mile training run. But mentally, I wanted to keep on running. It had turned out to be such a beautiful day, and I wanted to be outside and enjoy every minute of it. I stopped at the end of 15 miles; Spring is coming and there will be many, many more sunny, warm days.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
As of this moment on February 25, there are 65 days, 21 hours, and 55 minutes until the Pittsburgh Marathon. But who's counting? In-earnest training began January 1, but it’s been difficult to keep on schedule. The new year started out with me in bed for a week while I slogged through a horrendous cold followed by a week of recovery. Followed by traveling and another bout of being under the weather (no pun intended). But mostly I’m behind schedule because I’m a weather-weenie. A little bit cold today??? A little bit white and cold today??? A little bit windy, white and cold today??? All good scenarios for staying inside and skipping a training run. Yes, I’ve heard of a treadmill, but the machine turns into a dreadmill when I think of running hours and hours on it.
In between now and Pittsburgh, the Cook Forest Half Marathon is on my schedule, so I’m not being a complete slacker. Sunday I had a beautiful 10.34 mile run outside under sunny skies and temps in the 40s. Ahhh, this is what running is all about.
Tuesday it was back to the treadmill for 5.75 miles. The treadmill can be great for really pushing yourself. I did a quarter-mile walk for the warm up, then ran the first 1.75 miles at a comfortable 10 min. pace.
Then I decided to push myself to accomplish two goals: 1. increase intensity to burn some additional calories and see a couple of pounds fall off and 2. train at a faster pace so I can shave some time off my races.
I cranked the speed up to an 8:57 pace—way faster than I run out on the streets—and ran a 4-step ladder :
for a total of 2.5 miles. Between each running interval I walked ¼ mile. That last mile was a killer. I thought about running back down the ladder, but sanity returned and I finished off with a half mile walk. This turned out to be a fun run; I just need to be more creative when on the treadmill. To wrap up the evening, I did an upper-body workout on the weight machines for half an hour followed by 15 minutes of yoga and stretching.
The weather forecast doesn’t look promising for another outdoor run, so I guess it will be back to the gym.
Stay warm and keep moving!
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