Monday, July 05, 2010
Another week of training is in the books! I can’t believe that I am almost halfway to the Madison Mini Marathon now. Hmmm…why is it that every week I make the same boring comment about how quickly the time is passing? Maybe I’ll just have to be a bit more creative about it next week. Anyway, this week I had a pretty intense training week. I did a lot of mileage, and the hot and humid weather also contributed to the difficult of my workouts, I think. Is it fall yet??? Here’s the recap:
Tuesday 6/29: After last Sunday’s difficult long distance run, it was nice to take Monday off and ease back into running again on Tuesday. The weather was much improved, 73 degrees, 47 degree dew point. As I drove home from work, I felt the urge to join all the evening bikers and joggers, so once I got home, that’s just what I did! I ran a variation on my usual neighborhood route, which included Heartache Hill and a new whopper of a hill, which I’ll nickname Mammoth Hill. I can at least say this…I’m slowly getting MUCH better at running hills now that I’m doing more of it! I mean, duh, to get better at something, you have to practice, but it’s really amazing to see it in action! This is definitely a testament to the importance of running outside in varying conditions if you’re training for a road race. Tonight’s run ended up being a very relaxing 5.14 miles, a little longer than planned but not by much.
Wednesday 6/30: Tonight’s plan was a 7x400 speed workout, and unfortunately due to the timing of it, I had to do it on the ‘mill (YUCK) at ten o’ clock at night. I watched Food Network while repeating my sequence of running 0.25 miles full out, and then lightly walking/jogging 0.25 seven times. My “fast” lap times were 2:18, 2:14, 2:08, 2:10, 2:00, 2:07, 2:05. Hopefully one of these days soon I’ll break the 2:00 mark. This kind of reminds me of when I first started running and I was constantly trying to break the 10:30/mile “sound barrier” on the ‘mill. In time, I suppose. Hopefully for my next speed workout, I’ll be able to get back over to the track. I liked that so much better!
Friday 7/2: Another short/medium-ish length run on the treadmill. Oddly enough, even though it was nice out, I was in a treadmill kind of mood today (weird!) so headed for the gym right after work. I didn’t watch TV, but did a 50:00 program while listening to Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion soundtrack (which incidentally is the PERFECT amount of music for a 50:00 workout). I completed 4.86 miles. Not too shabby…
Saturday 7/3: I had planned to get out on the bike path early to “beat the heat” but turned off my alarm and went back to sleep for a while. I needed the rest! Anyway, I did go out for my run a bit later in the morning, around nine o’ clock and I could really feel that it was heating up out there! I just made sure to wear my sunscreen, drink lots of water, and take it nice and easy. I completed 3.57 miles in 36:12. Definitely did feel the heat, but it wasn’t overwhelming. I think I’m getting more used to it. After showering and resting at home a bit, I treated myself to a showing of Toy Story 3 (in 3D) and lunch at Noodles & Company.
Saturday 7/4: What better way to celebrate Independence Day than with a morning long distance run? OK, not really, but it was the best thing I had, given that the boys were out of town and I had the day all to myself! I hit my favorite recreational trail at 7:30, expecting hot weather again. Again, I took precautions to stay cool and hydrated, and the run generally went smoothly. The worst part was that on the eastbound portion of my run, I was facing right into the sun for a lot of it. NOT fun! And I forgot to bring Shot Blocks to refuel, but thankfully the workout was right on the border between needing fuel and not needing it, so it wasn’t a desparate situation by any means. (Although admittedly the fuel would have been nice to have!) I finished 8.41 miles in 1:31:40, definitely on the slower side, but I must remind myself that SLOW puts the S in LSD. Like many (all?) runners, my feet and mind are constantly arguing over how fast to go. The (sensible part of the) brain is insisting on slowing down, while the feet (and the rebellious and competitive portions of the brain) are pushing to go faster, faster, faster. Pacing is definitely challenging for me, made all the more difficult by the fact that I no longer have a Garmin to alert me of my pace in real time. I just sort of have to guess and go on feel, but my running instincts are still kind of new and underdeveloped, so I’m not too savvy about these things yet!
This week’s running (and walking) totaled up to 27.36 miles, bringing me to 114.51 for my Madison Mini Marathon training. Wahoo, triple digits! Next week is a cutback week, meaning that I’ll run one less day and have a shorter long distance run. It will be a welcome break. I don’t feel like I’m overtraining at this point, but at the same time, it will be nice to take a step back and focus on some other things during the week. Like strength training! I have slacked off big time on ST lately, and I am starting to feel the difference in my body. I just feel kinda fluffy and lame, I dunno. I know I need to get ST back on track, even if I just start out with something simple like 10 minutes each day. Also, believe it or not, and I never in a million years thought I would say this, I MISS cross training! (Remember how I used to loathe it???) The Hal Higdon Intermediate Half Marathon program doesn’t specifically call for cross-training, although he does note that you can substitute cross-training for running on an easy run day (but should not ADD cross-training on top of all of the running). So far I’ve just been doing all running, but I may switch one of those back to cycling. I am sure I’ve lost some of my cycling skill (if you could even call it that…) and would like to keep that somewhat in order just in case I do buy that bike and do a tri next year. And even if not, it’s nice to mix things up a bit. So that’s all I have for now. I hope you had a wonderful Fourth!
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Well..yet another week of half marathon training has passed by in a complete blur. Seriously...where is the time going? This week, I enjoyed (or didn't enjoy, as the case may be) a wide variety of running conditions. It made for an interesting week, and I definitely learned a LOT about dealing with different types of running-related challenges, lessons learned which will hopefully serve me well when race day finally arrives! And the recap...
Tuesday 6/22: I just didn't have it together going into today's workout. My iPod battery was dying, I couldn't find my car keys, I forgot my water bottle, and then I left my water bottle on the kitchen counter. D'oh! By the time I got to the gym, I was so annoyed with my workout (already!) that I was snarling. Thankfully as I launched into yet another treadmill workout, I started to calm down. Exactly 4 miles in 40:00. I felt kind of proud of myself because ven though I'm regularly running 9:40-9:50/mile pace outdoors, I struggle to hit the 10:00/mile mark on the 'mill. (Really, the thing slows me down and I seriously don't get it!)
Wednesday 6/23: Because I had to work out very late at night, I was back on the 'mill for another forty minutes. This time I stepped it up a little and squeezed out 4.06 miles, for a modest improvement over yesterday's pace. Not much else to report...as it was pleasingly uneventful!
Thursday 6/24: YAY, I got to run OUTSIDE! I'm still adapting to running sans Garmin. It's crazy how dependent you become on your gadgets and gizmos...you really don't even get how much you depend on them until you don't have them all of a sudden! The most bothersome thing about it was that I couldn't tell what my pace was just by looking at my watch. That's realllly bothersome for a Type A personality like me! I had to try and go more on feel and hope for the best! I ended up finishing 4.86 miles (a bit more than planned) at an average pace of 9:58/mile.
Saturday 6/26: I expected to spend most of the weekend running at the gym due to storms (more?!) on the forecast. So I was pleasantly surprised to see sunny weather when I got up today! Before I made my usual grocery run, I had a leisurely 3.57 mile jog (at a 10:02/mile average pace) on the Military Ridge recreation trail, a part of it I hadn't run before. It was a very peaceful setting, and I saw lots of cute little critters like chipmunks, bunnies, and birds along the way. Wonderful way to start the day!
Sunday 6/27: I capped off the week with a seven mile run. I woke up to stormy weather, but saw that it was going to clear up later in the day, so debated whether to go to the gym or run outdoors. Would it be too hot to run outdoors in the afternoon? I chanced it on the afternoon (outdoor) run and picked a route along the Capital City bike trail which appeared to have a lot of shady trees along it. By the time I got over there, it was already 78 degrees and intensely sunny. UGH. Thank goodness I brought my hydration belt, a lot of water, and money to buy more water if I needed it! The first couple of miles were pretty good. The trees kept me cool enough, although I was challenged by some rolling hills. And the times I was in open sun...HOLY MOLY. HOT, HOT, HOT! About three miles in, I started to feel myself getting more and more tired, and then I hit a part of my route that was hills and sun, sun and hills. Definitely started to slow. I was VERY relieved to hit my turnaround point. On the way back in, via Fitchburg, I was sluggish and WAY overheated so stopped at a local ice cream shop for a (SMALL!) frozen treat. It really hit the spot, and even though I usually wouldn't stop and rest for 15 minutes right in the middle of a workout, my body was telling me to STOP and rest a while. After my break, I was refreshed enough to get through the remaining couple of miles in one piece, although I still took extra walk breaks, especially on the uphill or extremely sunny bits. I FINALLY reached the end of the trail at 7.56 miles. My average pace was 10:51/mile, which was pretty decent, considering how much I slowed down and walked. (It probably could have stood to even be a bit slower, really...for the sake of enduring the distance! Maybe I can practice that next week...) I did end up with a bit of a sunburn on my shoulders because my sunscreen somehow wore off (I think I inadvertently used the kind that isn't "sweatproof") and I had a bit of chafing (my first ever, OUCH!) under one arm. But I made it...that's what counts. And I can enjoy a wonderful day OFF from running tomorrow.
This week of training included 24.56 miles of running/walking, which brings me to a grand total of 87.15 miles for this half marathon. Next week I will pass the 100-mile mark. This kind of blows my mind, considering that this time last year, I was just sitting on the couch wondering what it would take to lose the 35 extra pounds of weight I was carrying around. What a difference a year makes!
Happy running, and STAY COOL!
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Week Three of my half marathon training is now in the books…and I’m actually here posting about it before I even get started on Week Four (that’s tonight). I have to say that this is probably my most successful training week to date. I had several successful workouts, avoided the dreadmill, which hardly ever happens, and most important of all, I had a blast! It was one of those charmed weeks where it was clear, “This is why I run. This is what it’s all about.” Here’s the recap…
Tuesday 6/15: This week Bruce and I were talking about our “wish lists,” things we want to buy when we have a bit more extra spending cash. For him, it’s a set of new speakers, and an A to D (audio to digital) converter to go with his recording gear collection. For me, it’s a sweet road bike and a new Garmin (more on that later). I expressed to Bruce that I’d really love to bike commute once I no longer need to worry about daycare drop-offs. He gave me a funny look and said that he’d never want to do that because, at the end of a long work day, he is too worn out to do anything physical. I, on the other hand, often look longingly at the joggers and bikers along my commute home and want to jump out of the car and join them! So today, we had some gorgeous late afternoon weather after several days of on again-off again rain and humidity. As I drove home, I felt the itch to get out there. When I got home, I sprinted to the bedroom and changed into my running gear before I had a chance to talk myself out of it. I jogged 3.45 miles through the glorious sunshine, and completed it in 33:17, for a 9:39/mile average pace. What a great way to wrap up a busy work day!
Wednesday 6/16: Today Hal Higdon scheduled me for a 6x400 speed workout, my second one. Last time, I ran it on a treadmill, but every running book and website I’ve seen suggests using a track or outdoor surface for speed training. There’s a part of me that felt anxious about just showing up at the local high school track? What if I got kicked out for trespassing? What if some of the students saw me and laughed at my slowness? I hadn’t run on a track since, well, high school! And back then…well I was the poor soul who wanted to cry when the coaches made us run a mile for our annual fitness tests. So anyway, my mother was in town and she agreed to watch Timmy so Bruce and I could go out for the evening. We’re always trying to come up with creative (and inexpensive) date ideas, so I suggested a trip to the track followed by some kind of yummy frozen post-workout snack. Even though exercising isn’t typically “his thing” he agreed to it. (Perhaps he was just in it for the ice cream!) We arrived at the track as the sun was setting, and I was surprised to see that many other locals had the same idea! We walked and talked for two laps to warm up, and then I launched into my first lap. The track was so cushy that I felt like I was running on pillows! I completed the lap in 2:15. I walked a lap with Bruce and then ran another at a hard effort level. 2:02 this time. And walked another and – surprise! Bruce, who was sitting out the running laps, actually joined me for one! It was kind of fun having him at my side, and we finished in 2:00 flat. He was tired out and exclaimed that he wouldn’t be doing any more running anytime soon. But I was wondering if I could complete my next lap in under 2:00. Possible? Not this time, but I was still happy with my next three lap times: 2:02, 2:08, and 2:08 again. Very satisfying workout! I really put a lot into it and enjoyed being competitive with myself. And I wished I hadn’t waited so long to try a track workout! (I highly recommend it if you haven’t done one yet!) I’ll definitely be back. Not so sure about Bruce. But it was exciting being able to share my little runner’s world with him for the evening.
Thursday 6/17: And again, nice weather! I negotiated with Bruce for a (slightly) delayed dinner so I could get outside before the sun went down. (This was enabled by the fact that we were planning on eating leftovers, which only take a minute or two of microwaving.) I set out on my “usual” route with Coach Jack, aka Jack Johnson, singing his soothing tunes to me. It was hot, hot, hot, and somewhat humid, so that added a little extra challenge to my workout. I was relieved that I had worn my amphipod, and have a feeling that it will be a permanent fixture in my outdoor workouts, well, at least until the end of summer. I ended up completing 4.03 miles in 39:34, for a 9:49/mile average pace.
Saturday 6/18: Well I meant to get up at six o’ clock, but somehow managed to miss my alarm. I didn’t roll out of bed until closer to seven, but still got a pretty good jump on the day and squeeze my three mile run in before Timmy’s Saturday morning therapy session. It was very humid out, as seems to be the norm lately. I added a few bonus hills to my neighbohrood route to add a little extra challenge to my workout. They weren’t easy, but I managed to complete 3.42 miles in 34:47 (10:10/mile average pace) without too much trouble. Oh…and my Garmin officially died. It was starting to freak out again, so I had Bruce open it up to take a peek. He discovered that some tiny internal part had broken off and had likely caused the Garmin’s recent Jekyll & Hyde-like behavior. But the oddest thing was that the part had since vanished. Nowhere to be found. How on earth does that happen?! Well, time to start saving up for Garmin #2…too bad my birthday was three weeks ago! Also, I managed to get a short bonus run in this evening. We got a bit stir-crazy so walked Timmy over to a playground about 0.4 miles from our house. While we were over there, I felt nature’s call, but get this, some crazy prankster had flipped over the park’s lone porta-potty! Seriously! Who does that?! It was urgent, so I decided to jog over to another park, about a quarter mile away, to take care of business. So I did that and took a longer route back, to add 1.24 miles to this week’s total. I’m not sure at all of my pace, but I’m guessing that the first quarter mile was pretty darned fast!
Sunday 6/19: Today I did manage to get up with the alarm. Hal Higdon suggested a 5K race for today, but since I didn’t have one, I planned on a long slow run instead. I settled on a six(ish) mile route through my “normal” neighborhood streets, as well as a few new ones with some challenging looking hills. It was 63 degrees, but VERY humid. I settled into the run easily and felt comfortable until miles 2.5-4.5, when the big hills kicked in! I took a few extended walk breaks to conserve energy, but nothing too much. Then I had a one mile reprieve, which included a stop for a water refill and some strawberry Shot Blocks. And then I faced the BIG hill, which I recently nicknamed “Heartache Hill” because its steep incline and length just make my heart…ache, on the home stretch. I stopped and stared it down for a minute or two, and then charged right up! And it was all downhill from there. Literally. My total mileage, calculated on MapMyRun, came out to 6.66. Spooky. Had I realized it while I was still out there, I would have gone another 0.01! I completed my course in 1:10:06, for a 10:31/mile average pace. Not bad considering that the theme of today’s workout was Hills & Humidity!
And this wraps up another week. My total mileage, including the bits and pieces of walking, was 23.28, which brings me to a grand total of 62.84 miles. Much more to come, obviously! I’m already getting very excited about August 21. I don’t have any other races on my calendar for the summer. Not such a bad thing, since this will allow me to save a little money (like for a new Garmin…) and I can avoid the physical stress of racing in high heat and humidity. And I can just focus on having a GREAT half in 2 ½ months! But, typical me, I’m already thinking ahead to my fall plans. I hoped to re-run the 5K where I started out, a run to benefit the local zoo, but it conflicts with a good friend’s wedding. So it’s a no-go, but maybe next year! Then, in October, I’ll be at Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon, and I am psyched about that one. It’s a night race, which really appeals to me, goe through three of the Disney parks, and is centered around one of my favorite Disney events of all time. What’s not to like?! And on the same weekend, Timmy will make his racing debut in one of the kids’ events. Can we say “Awwwwwww”? Late in October, I hope to participate in the Halloween themed “Haunted Hustle” race in a nearby town. And then I’ll close out the year with the Berbee Derby and maybe the Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis. And in the dead of winter, I’ll start stalking the 2011 race calendar and sketching out next year’s racing season. I’m still cautiously optimistic that I’ll be able to join the Princess Half with my best running buddy…that’s at the top of my wish list! Ahhhh, good times!
Friday, June 18, 2010
So I’m already about to wrap up Week 3 of training, and I’m just now getting to posting my recap of Week 2! It’s been an insanely busy couple of weeks, and I’ve barely been on SparkPeople at all. I do miss it, and hope to be back to “normal” sometime in the very near future. But what spare time I have pretty much goes to my training…I’m sure many of you know how that goes!
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” would probably sum up this week’s experience. It still really boggles my mind that I can completely bonk one run only to have the most fabulous workout EVER the very next day. It makes so little sense, but I suppose there are a LOT of variables that determine how “good” a run will end up being. The weather (or what’s playing on TV at the gym), what I ate and how long ago, how I feel (emotionally and physically), what I’m wearing, how well all my gadgets and gizmoes are functioning, the running surface, the people around me…I could go on!
Tuesday 6/8: I did a treadmill run at the gym while watching Food Network’s Chopped. It’s always fascinating to see the wild combinations of ingredients the chefs have to put together on that show! I completed a 5k program in 31:10, so just a hair slower than what’s becoming my typical 10:00/mile pace. It was a fairly easy, agreeable run, except for the fact that it was on the treadmill, which I don’t typically prefer.
Wednesday 6/9: I was scheduled for a thirty minute tempo run this evening, but ended up having to skip it due to some three-year-old related drama at home. Having a preschooler can certainly make life interesting! I suppose I’ll wait until week four to de-mystify the tempo run. Still haven’t quite gotten a solid grasp of what a tempo run actually is.
Thursday 6/10: Due to missing Wednesday’s workout, I made the decision to lengthen tonight’s scheduled three mile run a bit. Perhaps NOT the best choice…or maybe I hit the treadmill running a little too enthusiastically. I turned out 2.97 miles in 30 minutes, but then found myself slowing…and slowing…and slowing some more. As I dragged myself out of the gym, I felt more tired than I really should have been for the kind of workout I did. At least I’d have Friday off!
Saturday 6/12: I was really looking forward to getting up early to run outdoors, and I did get out there, but what a DRAG! I wasn’t accustomed to taking water on short runs and didn’t with this one, but after only about half a mile of running, I was already feeling the need for hydration. It was miserably hot and humid, and it was taking a toll on my body. It felt like I was getting smacked in the face with a hot, wet towel. UGH. Thankfully, about 1.25 miles into my run, I passed by a park for a long drink from the water fountain. And since I was doing a three mile out-and-back route, I got to visit the water fountain again at the 1.75 mile mark. Did I mention that I ended up walking most of mile three because my little body just ran out of steam?! It’s been quite a while since that has happened! As I arrived at home, I vowed to myself that I would NOT run outdoors without water anymore, at least until it got closer to winter.
Sunday 6/13: After Saturday’s humid run, I was actually kind of dreading this one. I groaned when I looked at the weather report and saw the 91% humidity. Really?! This time, however, I went in prepared. I wore lightweight technical clothes and carried 16oz of water on my Amphipod belt, with plans to refill the bottles at the park if necessary. I played Jack Johnson music on my iPod in hopes that it would get me into a more relaxed frame of mind. When I got outside, what do you know…it was MISTING! And it felt DIVINE! The run went surprisingly well, and the mist kept me cool and refreshed. And my Garmin, which has been doing a weird Jekyll & Hyde thing lately, actually behaved! I completed 6.75 miles at a 10:18/mile pace, and it was amazingly good. It more than made up for my bonkage on Thursday and Saturday.
That about sums it up. I'm glad I stuck it out through the tougher workouts and enjoyed the reward of a sweet Sunday long distance run through the mist! My total weekly mileage ended up being 20.13, a bit higher than week one. My overall total is up to 39.57. I’m on my way…and week three is…already well underway!
Monday, June 07, 2010
After a couple of days of recovery from the scorching hot Madison Half Marathon, I eased my way gently into my next training endeavor: training for the Madison Mini Marathon, my third half, which will fall on 8/21/10. Even though the Madison Half Marathon was sweaty, exhausting, and even excrutiating in places, I crossed the finish line already feeling STOKED about my next race. (So even though I don't *think* I was smiling and I was barely upright, at least I met one of Jeff Galloway's three race goals of "wanting to do it again.") And how fitting that I kicked off my new training program on June 1, my birthday! What better way to treat myself than to give myself the gifts of physical fitness, an exciting new challenge, and the sense of accomplishment I will receive from completing the program?
For my first two half marathons, I used Hal Higdon's novice training plan. The plan was excellent in that it let me build my mileage up gently and didn't lead me into any overtraining-related issues. This time, however, I made the decision to upgrade to the intermediate training plan, which has a little bit more mileage and a touch of speedwork. I felt like I was up for the challenge, and figured that I could always scale back here and there, if it proved necessary. Like the beginner's plan, it is 12 weeks, but it allows for 4-5 days (rather than 3-4 days) of running. After one week of trying the new plan, I'm very happy with it. It pushes me a little harder and keeps me engaged, but it doesn't KILL me either. Here's a quickie recap of the workouts I completed this week:
Tuesday 6/1: I completed a very gentle 5K program on the gym treadmill while watching Food Network's Chopped. 3.1 miles in 33:18 plus a cooldown of 0.25 miles in 5 minutes.
Wednesday 6/2: First speed workout, 5x400 repeats. Basically, I would run 400m at 5k pace, walk a bit to recover, run another 400m, walk a bit, and so on until I got to five "laps." Ideally this workout is done on a track or measured outdoor route, but due to the time of day, it was me and the 'mill again. I actually really loved this workout, even though I expected NOT to. I can get pretty competitive with myself, so after each lap, I'd try to better my time a bit with the next one. I couldn't believe it when the workout was over! My five lap times were 2:22, 2:19, 2:16, 2:14, and 2:08. In total I ran/jogged/walked 4.09 miles. While I ran, Dinner: Impossible, an episode which took place at EPCOT (!), entertained me.
Thursday 6/3: I worked out at the gym again, this time in the Cardio Cinema. Legally Blonde, one of my all-time favorite guilty pleasure movies, was playing. (I love Reese Witherspoon!) i did another 5K program, this time a bit faster. I finished in 31:25, and did a five minute / 0.28 mile cooldown to wrap it up.
Saturday 6/5: Race for the Cure! I wrote up a race report on that...
Sunday 6/6: I actually managed to drag myself out of bed at six o' clock for an early morning outdoor (!!) run and I'm SO glad I did! The weather was perfect, a little sunny, just below 60 degrees, and not too humid. I chilled with some Jack Johnson tunes while I ran and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the early morning hours. There weren't many people out and about, only a few other joggers and people walking their dogs. I LOVED it...I really wish I could do AM running other days too, but work schedules don't allow for it except on the weekends. I completed 5.52 miles in 59:43.
My total weekly mileage (including running and the bits of walking) was 19.19. I also managed to complete 75 minutes of strength training, which was balanced between upper body, lower body, and core workouts. Much as I don't really enjoy strength training, I know that it has its benefits for running and many other things.
And now...on to week 2!
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