Monday, March 07, 2011
I sometimes complain about having nothing but hills for running. Six months ago, when I first started C25K, I mapped out a little one mile course that I could run down and back so that I didn't die trying to run hills. When I was in the final weeks of C25K I ventured out to some of the small rolling hills because I was tired of looking at the same scenery and wanted to start working towards being able to make it through the full 2.75 mile loop.
I'll never forget the day I conquered the Louisiana Monument hill. That's the biggie you see in the elevation graph between mile 1-2. It's like Mt Everest when you see it even though SP compresses the graph and makes it so much less scary. I hit the top of it still running and I would have shouted woo-hoo but I couldn't breath. So it was a silent woo-hoo as I sucked in air. I've run up that hill many times and it is still a feeling of accomplishment especially since now I can do it without gasping for breath when I get to the top. I didn't realize how much harder it is to run hills until I ran the first 5K that was flat with 2 inclines. I passed a lot of people that had to walk. Last month I did a 10K down and back that was so flat the elevation gain was only 25 feet. Thank goodness because I had been sick all week with a cold and my goal was just to finish. I did it in 1:04 which I was happy with because my best 5K was 31:26.
Every year since moving here I have envied the people participating in the Run Thru History race that takes place in the Vicksburg National Military Park (Civil War Battlefield). The race offers a 10K run & 5K walk. I always wanted to do it and, in fact it was one of the motivators that got me started on this journey last year. Another year had gone by that I didn't walk it. Fast forward to Week 9 of C25K and I put the Run Thru History on my calendar for 03/05/11. Nevermind that I could barely run 5K. I was going to run 10 by then. Just sending in my registration was emotional for me. It meant so much that I had far exceeded my "want to walk that race some day". Now I was going to run what is considered the hardest course around here.
I was a bundle of nervous excitement. It was supposed to thunderstorm from early morning through afternoon. That's ok, I've been rained on before. But I had this fear that my foot would slip on one of the steep climbs. I pictured my foot flying out behind me slamming my face into the pavement. Thankfully it didn't happen, but don't think I wasn't thinking about it on every incline! Parking is rather inconvenient so I decided to walk to the start (a mile from my house) then have my DH pick me up at the finish later. The finish was outside of the park 1/2 mile in the other direction.
The race started on time and I was rather displeased with myself when I checked my Garmin and saw that at the 1/2 mile I was running under a 9 min pace -that's way too fast for me and I seriously don't think I have ever done that in a practice run except blazing down a hill. My plan was to stay at 10 for the first mile because it is relatively flat and Mt Everest was ahead. I finished mile 1 at 9:46. About that time we rounded a bend and the beast came into view. A lady in front of me shouted "OH HOLY HELL ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?" That brought a lot of nervous laughter from the pack. It's not a long climb, it's just steep. A lot of runners stopped at the base and walked. At mile 2 it rained on us through mile 3. I was really glad I decided to use my fuel belt for my own water because the water stations were at miles 2 & 4. I need more than that. My heart rate was higher than I wanted it to be but since it was cooler, I was doing ok. When it gets too high, I get extremely hot and I have to dial it down or my breathing gets too heavy. I watched my HRM more than my pace. The Galloway run/walkers were making me nutty. Scurry past me, walk until I pass them and repeat. But hey it sure works for them because we all finished together.
The advantage in having experience with the course is that I knew after the back-to-back climbs in mile 5 that I was home free with a downhill to the finish. As I came out of the park and onto the road with finish line in sight, I burned it out on the last quarter mile at a pace I didn't know I had left in me. As I approach the inflatable archway I notice a man in a yellow vest in front of it shooing people to the right side. I'm blazing for the finish thinking "what is he doing?" when I hear someone shout "runner's finish to the right". And then I see it. This isn't the finish line. My finish line is another 100 yards --on an incline! I would have yelled like the other lady did, but I couldn't spare the oxygen required. Talk about diggin deeper! I maintained to the finish line and the clock flashed up 1:02:52. My official time was 1:03:10 though. My Garmin says 6.33 miles for 1:03:30. I have no idea. I thought the Dtag was supposed to give actual start to finish. I hit my Garmin start on the gun and it was at least 15 seconds before I crossed the start line so I guess the finish clock was wrong.
My only complaint is that there was no water at the finish. We had to climb a hill to the top of the parking lot to get to a single Igloo of water which two young ladies were slowly filling Dixie cups to hand to dehydrated, heavy breathing runners. Yep, 1 bucket of water for 700+ runners & walkers. I went inside to the after party thinking I could get something quicker in there. Hotdogs, bananas, oranges and a great band. No beverage. Or napkins, LOL. I tossed a few orange wedges into my empty water cup. I went back outside and the few people I knew were hovering at the beer truck. That's right. We drank a beer and ate a hotdog at 10am. I sent my DH a text and he arrived just as it started to rain again. I jumped in the car handing him a hotdog for his pick up fee (he loves hotdogs) and he asked where was my medal. Pbbbth. He thinks he's so funny.
I'm really happy with my race time. This wasn't a beginner's race and I held my own in the competition finishing 10/19 in my age group and 60/120 of women. I've been training for a half marathon (4/30) so I am not working on speed as much as I would have if I was only shooting for a 10K. I have to build my mileage right now. But next year... I'll be back. I'll be even stronger, fluff-less, and faster.
1 00:09:46 1.00 09:46
2 00:10:02 1.00 10:02
3 00:10:14 1.00 10:14
4 00:10:12 1.00 10:12
5 00:10:23 1.00 10:23
6 00:10:01 1.00 10:01
7 00:02:49 0.33 08:41
Summary 01:03:30 6.33 10:02
Monday, February 21, 2011
Consume less than you burn and you lose weight, right? I have researched my BMR for the umpteenth time and no matter which calculator I use, it's within a few calories of 1525. That's unadjusted for any activity. Sit on the couch and watch tv all day and I will burn 10675 for the week. Obviously I am no longer a couch sitter. But let's err conservatively and count only my exercise specific calorie burn -not the laundry, etc. That's a weekly average of 3000 calories burned. Since November I have maintained a weekly calories consumed of 10500. So here's the math....
10500 Calories in
-10675 calories out for BMR
-3000 calories out for exercise
3175 calorie deficit for the week
That (theoretically) gives me .9 pounds lost every week.
I've been analyzing my calories trying to figure out how much I need to eat to keep my metabolism going without hitting starvation mode or plateauing. Sometimes I think I'm not eating enough because I see other sparkers (with similar activity level) saying they eat 1700-2000. I'm never hungry, have energy to spare and don't crave anything so I think I am at the right amount of calories with 1550. I don't know!! I would hate to realize that I would be losing more if I was eating more.
I'm not complaining about my results -I just want to maximize all of my efforts! I've lost 60# in 9 months. I have 30# to go and I feel like it's going SOO slow although I have averaged 1# every week since November. It was coming off in 2's though. And now I'm working so much harder, but burning more efficiently and losing slower. That just doesn't seem fair! I'm scratching my head trying to figure out what I should be doing different. I updated my SP recommended range and it is down a tiny bit to 1380-1730. My 1500 is inline with that. I've tried both consistent and cycling calories. I'm not convinced it made any difference to cycle 2 days higher end of range (I was looking at it to compensate for my long run days because I burn so many calories).
Does everyone else obsess over calories, BMR and deficits like I do or am I the only number freak around here? Ok, maybe obsess is too strong of a word. I know some people don't track their calories, but I won't win any awards for patience and I want to see results -so I track. What works for you? Calorie cycling or consistently level calories? Do you use the SP range or wing it? Seriously... I'm curious as to how everyone else figures out the numbers as we all go along this ever evolving journey. It would be so much easier if everything was consistent the whole way through!
Sunday, February 13, 2011
So I'm working my way through the Higdon half marathon training plan... today I did 7 miles. I do not have many options for running because there is only one large park here, most of the city does not have sidewalks and the country roads aren't safe because of speeding drivers. I made 7 miles out of my usual 6.25 route with a double back to get the extra distance. This is only noteworthy because it was funny to see my dog's reaction as we came upon our exit point. The approach is an uphill curving to the right. I was psyching myself up as I was chugging up that hill (since that is my normal stopping point and I had to add another .75) with "I'm not finished yet". As we reached the top of the hill, Zoe started angling to the left side of the park road to get to the trail going back to our neighborhood. I said "no, keep running". I was probably saying it as much to myself as I was to her. She looked at me then continued pulling toward the trail. I said "come on let's run some more". She looked at me with total concern as if to say "are you serious? this is where we get off. we're done!" but she trotted back to her lead position about 8 feet in front of me. She looked back over her shoulder at me a couple of times as if to say "are you sure about this? this is not the way we're supposed to go". We reached the spot I knew would give me the right distance and said "ok turn around, let's go home" and I swear she smiled as she jumped with excitement, turned around and bolted past me. It made me realize that she was uncomfortable in pushing beyond her routine. Even though we run varying distances and different routes, she knew we were past the end and was eager to be back in the familiar. You see where I'm going with this? It's normal to want to stay with our routines. We have to challenge ourselves to change it up whether that is to try something new or just to push past where we normally stop. It's a little scary, we're a little unsure of where we're going, but we take that step and grow through the process.
We reached the trail and walked the half mile back home. I treated Zoe to a big peanut butter rawhide chew. She earned it! What was my reward? A big omelet with sauteed onions, mushrooms, red bell and spinach... topped with feta. Oh and a toasted wheat bagel thin with cream cheese and fresh blueberries. I earned it!
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