Tuesday, October 04, 2011
I just happened to glance at the "My SparkAmerica Fitness Minutes" widget on the side of my Spark page and saw this:
This Week: 79
This Month: 156
This Year: 9,204
Holy cow! October has only just begun and I'm already 2,294 fitness minutes over my yearly goal! I'm averaging around 1,000 minutes per month, so 12,000+ fitness minutes by the end of the year is not only possible, but highly likely!
I don't think I'll hit 15,000, but wouldn't that be awesome?
I changed my SparkAmerica Fitness Goal to 12,000 minutes.
1) Go to sparkamerica.com (from the widget, or typing the url into your browser).
2) Click on "My SparkAmerica" on the top menu
3) Just below "My SparkAmerica - Welcome [username]!" click on "Account Settings".
4) Now, just change your goal numbers and hit the "Save Information" button at the bottom.
Monday, October 03, 2011
I've wondered many times over the past year whether or not I was actually getting faster. I don't know if I will continue to run half marathons, but the one thing I do know is that I want to get faster at any distance that I do continue to run.
For a while i did seem to be getting faster, but after each race my training times seemed to always drop back rather than step up.
But, I have continued to run and train, all the same while adding in some extra rest.
Well, over the past couple weeks my patience seems to be paying off. My runs last week all seemed to be fast without feeling like I was expending the extra effort. Even when running 3 times in 24 hours.
On Sunday I ran my first long distance run in 3 weeks. My lsd runs should be at 9 or 10 miles, right now, but I've had some busy weekends with no time to run, so instead I matched my last lsd and ran 7 miles. My goal was to run at an even pace without worrying about running too fast or slow. I didn't need to run as fast as my runs during the past week, but also didn't want to run a real slow recovery pace.
It started our pretty much right on pace with almost an exactly 10 minute mile. Despite continuing to run at a slight uphill, my pace kept getting faster. 9:40 was my second mile time. Then, with a slight downhill during the first half of my third mile, I found I had picked it up to 9:05, even though I was not trying to run any faster.
Mile four was back to a full uphill, however, halfway through mile four another runner made a u-turn behind me and was matching my pace and that always gets my goat and pushes me to run faster. I tried to continue to keep my pace, but run strong up the hill. I finished my fourth mile in 8:52!
I had sped up from a 10 minute mile without really feeling like I had ever consciously picked up the pace!
I had 3 more miles to go and as I turned the corner, the other runner took to the other side of the street which was a relief because I really didn't want to keep this pace up if I didn't have to. As luck would have it, the sun was coming up and I stopped to take a picture of a red barn in front of the sunset. This let the other runner disappear into the distance and allowed me to reset my pace - although I was now going downhill.
When I finished mile 5 I forgot to hit my watch, so I didn't get accurate 5 or 6 mile times, but I did hit my watch after my 6th mile. My combined 5th & 6th mile time was 19:50 - which included my stop to take 3 photos - so I probably averaged a 9:30 for those two miles which was a better pace.
Of course, I still had to finish and I never like to relax for my last mile and I finished my final mile in 8:30.
My total time for my run was 1:06:50-ish (i reset my watch without checking my exact time). That was a pace right around 9:25. Not bad for taking it easy on my long run. If I can feel this good during my next half marathon, I will definitely break 2 hours.
Now, it's back to Ragnar training. I'm hoping that upping my training back to 4 days a week - while adding another extra run on Wednesday (running both morning and evening) - will do more good than harm. I'm hoping it gets me ready for the race without over-training - I sure know how bad those dreaded dead legs feel!
Friday, September 30, 2011
The past two days I have partaken in copious amounts of exercise and my body is telling me to sleep. Of course, I have a few other big responsibilities I have to do, first, so while I finish them, I blog.
The Ragnar Relay is coming up quick. Oct 21-22. I have wanted to start training twice a day at least one day a week to get myself better prepared for running 3 times in 24 hours... and this week was the first week that I was able to do it. I ran 5 miles on Monday morning, then ran 5 miles on Wednesday (yesterday) morning at 5am. Then I ran 3 miles Wednesday afternoon at 4pm. Then I ran 3 miles on Thursday morning at 5:30am. I wanted to just run them all at recovery pace (10-11 min/mile) and just get ease my body into the idea of running more often.
Well, after a burner of a workout on Monday, my pacing was still a little fast and on Wednesday I ended up running my 5 miles at just above 9:00 pace and my 3 miles at 9:30 pace. That was faster than I wanted.
So, naturally, I was a little tired on Thursday morning (today) and ran my 3 miles at 10:30 pace. Fortunately, my last leg of the relay will be a long downhill, so even if I am a little tired, the terrain should be kind to me.
I plan to continue this little plan for the next two weeks and hopefully 3 weeks of this extra training will still show some benefits even though it's so close to race time.
And then there was Thursday at work. I have been helping to GPS some planned new trails on the forest, recently, and that's been great for a few reasons. I've been able to get out of the office (my job is 99% a desk job), I've been to go up to the mountains where it's cooler, and I've been able to get in a bunch of extra exercise with all the hiking.
So, trail hiking can be challenging on different levels depending on the trail, however it doesn't light a candle next to hiking trails that don't even exist, yet. We spend the whole time bulling our way through the thick underbrush of Serviceberry, Manzanita, Mountain Mahogany, etc, where someone will later come and clear a nice path for hikers to hike on unimpeded. It is very slow going and it took us 4.5 hours to GPS 3.5 miles of trail.
Yes. 4.5 hours of hiking. That's 270 glorious fitness minutes. But, we only made it 3.5 miles.
That doesn't include the 20 minutes and half a mile of extra hiking to find my phone after the thick brush stripped it from my belt. I thought it was a goner, but to my relief, we eventually found it right where I thought it would be (but still had a hard time seeing it in all the bushes).
So, that's 4.5 hours of hiking to go 4 miles. SparkPeople's fitness tracker doesn't even have a pace that slow and instead calculated it out using 30 min/mile pace. Heh.
So, if you're counting at home, That's 8 miles in (46:30+27) 73 minutes on Wednesday, 3 miles in 31 minutes and 4 miles in 4.5 hours on Thursday. That's approximately 375 fitness minutes in two days!
I was feeling pretty good up until the 4.5 hours of hiking. Now I am scratched up and exhausted. I've got my shower in, and now I'm about done with this blog. Hopefully in 5 minutes I will be sleeping soundly. Hopefully someone will help make sure it's a full night sleep. *cough*
Even though I could use a day of rest, there's the possibility of more hiking, tomorrow. All things considered, I'll take all the hiking I can get! More hiking, please!
Addendum: I forgot to mention that I ended Thursday by going to Physical Therapy for my shoulder for an hour from 5-6! At 4, when I got back to the office, I was ready to fall over. But, I still had to do a hour of PT! At least PT is mostly upper body work as opposed to the hiking which is all legs. So, I guess you could say I got a whole day, full body workout!
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
This morning I woke up 5 minutes earlier than usual (4:40am) to see if that gave me enough extra time to make it out the door for a 6 mile run instead of my usual 5 miles. I was extra tired because our daughter woke us up at 1:45 and it's usually my job to get her back to sleep. It only took 10-15 minutes, but that's enough to mess up a good night's sleep.
I was right on time to be ready to run by 5am and just 5 minutes away from stepping out the door... when our daughter woke up crying again at 4:55am. I spent a little over 20 minutes trying to get her back to sleep before my wife took over for me so that I could go run. Those 20+ minutes meant that I didn't have time for either a 6 or a 5 mile run. Instead I was going to have to settle for 4.
I was frustrated that I couldn't get her back to sleep and also that my plans were foiled, so I started out faster than usual and decided to salvage what I could with a tempo run.
For the first time in a while I used my watch to time my mile splits. I used to do it all the time before my first HM, but since then I've not done it very often, if at all.
I knew I was running faster than usual and at a good pace (for me), but figured I wasn't running TOO fast. A couple weeks ago I ran a 24:03 virtual 5k, so and it took all my strength to carry on to the finish. I knew I wasn't running that fast, so I figured I was probably running around 9 minute/mile pace which would equal out to around a 36 minute run which would just about match the fastest I've ever finished a 4 mile run in my latest 2-3 years of training.
I felt pretty good, but was definitely tired when I finished and hit my watch. What I saw was so shocking that I thought it HAD to be a mistake or I HAD to have accidentally cut my run short.
My watch read: 33:39.
I blurted out something like "Oh my God!" I quickly racked my brain to verify that I had actually run the correct route (which I had). I then scrolled through my mile splits to see how fast I had actually ran. 9:13, 8:10, 8:05, 8:09! Not quite as fast as my virtual 5k, but pretty darn close! Way closer than I had expected. Beat my best 4 miles time by well over 2 minutes!
So, despite being tired and not getting in the run I wanted, I still ended up with a great run!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Started 6 weeks of PT, yesterday, and I'm actually looking forward to it. I've been having a hard time doing any strength training for the past couple months, so this is probably just what I needed. My trainer is great. He really listens to me and has all kinds of great ideas of things for me to try and will change things up as needed. I always look forward to my sessions. Maybe this will be the jump-start I need to get me back into some regular strength training.
Oh, and I hope it helps my shoulder feel better, too. :-P
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