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Race Pace Training

Monday, March 05, 2012

With two weeks left until my March race, I decided that this was the best time to check my race pace speed since my friend insists on racing me (and apparently I'm game to oblige him).

So, Saturday I set off for my long run which was scheduled to be about 12 miles. When I mapped it out on mapmyrun.com it mapped out to right around 12.1 miles (give or take a couple hundredths of a mile).

My last two long runs I did with my Camelbak, but I always feel like it slows me down some. It's kind of a mixed bag, really. When I use my Camelbak I know I don't have to slow down during races to grab water or Gatorade and being able to have Gatorade at my beck-and-call is perfect for allowing me to keep up my energy levels, but carrying anything on me, especially 72 oz of water, is enough to bother me and slow me down and distract me. I haven't figured out which is better, yet. So, anyway, since I used it the last two times, I decided this time I would do my run without it and see how it went. I've trained for my first two HM's without it, so I know I don't *need* it.

I know I started out a little fast, but I also started out downhill. After a couple miles I knew I was getting a little tired and slowed down some when my route turned uphill.

Somewhere around mile 4 I knew I was tiring and deliberately let myself slow down my pace. It must have work - tho, I didn't know it at the time - because once I hit the halfway point, I fell into what turned out to be a good pace between miles 6 and 10 and sped up some.

Around mile 8 I was feeling better and the route was beginning to flatten into a slight downhill for the rest of the run and I slowly began to speed up since I knew I was only 4, then 3 miles, from the end of my run.

I slowly sped up over the last 2 or 3 miles, tho I didn't push as hard as I could have since this was still just a training run and I didn't want to kill myself just two weeks before my race.

I did to my standard sprint finish, tho. When I stopped, I checked my watch and was happy to see a pretty good time of 1:52:37 for my 12.1 miles. That put my pace at 9:18/mile. That won't get me under 2 hours, but if I can use a little bit of the energy I saved to drop that down to a 9:10 pace (or just under), then I have a fighter's chance of breaking 2 hours, or if I can't do that, at least easily breaking my PR time of 2:04:22.

The weather was nearly perfect with temps in the upper 40's and calm/light winds. It's already warmed up since then, so we'll have to see how the weather breaks for the race.

My Mapmyrun app worked correctly, this time, so I was able to see my splits for the entire run and they matched right up with how I felt during my run.

I started out with an 8:50/mile pace for my first 3 miles. I gradually slowed down to my slowest pace of 9:50 for miles 6 & 7 before speeding back up to a 9:11/mile pace for mile 12. If just need to even that out on race day and then use all the extra energy I've saved to push myself in over the last few miles.

I'm starting to get that nervous/excited feeling for my race!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

INTHEFASTLANE2 3/6/2012 1:26PM

  Nice job!
And I am totally rooting for you to beat your friend.

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JENN03275 3/5/2012 4:45PM

    Sounds great! I have been training inside and my last race pace was 9:55 (bowing head) but treadmill is only between 10-12. Not sure how to determine my race pace.

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KKINNEA 3/5/2012 4:31PM

    Nice work!!

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February in Review

Monday, March 05, 2012

February was significant for a few reasons.

First, I switched to running 5 days a week (from 4 days).

Second, I switched my long runs from Sundays to Saturdays so I could get used to running the day after my long run.

Third, I increased my mileage and ended up going over 100 miles for the month.

So, as you can see from my calendar, above, that I began running 5 days a week beginning the first full week of February. And that week deceptively looks like a massive increase in mileage because the week began with me running my long run on Sunday and ended with me switching my long runs to Saturday. You can see that it drops back off again after that week once I established my new schedule.

Also, if you haven't been following my blog, it rained that next Tuesday (the 14th), so I skipped a run and my second week of February ended up only having 4 running days - since I want to keep my rest day on the day before my long runs. The very next week I got sick and skipped my Wednesday running and ended up with yet another 4 day week. This week I was feeling mostly better and I got back into the 5 running days per week, but it does make me a little nervous. I only had 9 weeks to get ready for my back-to-back races and I've already blown up 2 of them.

On the positive side, tho, I still ran my long run and also ran the day after on every weekend in February, so all is not lost. It's just a hiccup, and March should be a good month since the weather should be warming up, slowly. Daylight savings time will make getting up early extra challenging, but I'll just have to roll with it. I will get it done.

I posted a nifty blog about running fast or slow. Check that out here:

I've started to speed up, again, and I think that's a good sign.

March should be challenging as I have my first HM race of the year on the 17th and I try to get my tapers and recovery done right. This is the first time I've had races this close together (my two big April HM's are just 4 weeks after). I'm only planning to do a one week taper before my March race and a one week reverse after. Even tho it's the one race I place to actually race and run the hardest, it's still essentially just a training run for my April races. I will still have to play it by ear and ease up on some of my runs if I feel I'm doing too much.

It feels like February just started and it's already March 4! Time sure flies. My races are getting closer and closer!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KKINNEA 3/5/2012 10:23AM

    Nice work - sounds like progress to me!

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Am I a Part-Time-Omni-Flexi-Pesca-Vegan-Tarian?

Friday, March 02, 2012

I don't know what rock I've been hiding under, or if this is some kind of a new fad, but lately I've been hearing about a bunch of new "eating labels" that I've never heard of before.

Up until I started listening to Moby (and reading his CD liner notes), I had only heard of two types of eaters: Normal eaters, and Vegetarians. Sure, humans are considered by scientists to be "Omnivores," but no one ever felt the need to promote themselves as one. Anyone who was not a Vegetarian never felt the need to give their eating habits a label. We were all just "Normal" or "Regular" people who just ate food. Only Vegetarians seemed to feel the need to make sure people knew that they abstained from meat and felt they needed a name they could throw around to easily remind people of this.

Sure, there was the occasional confusion over whether Vegetarians ate fish or not, but usually it was generally agreed among those I talked with that it was a personal choice that was up to each individual. And there was no separate label differentiating the two types of Vegetarians.

In the 90's, I began reading Moby's rants on his CD liner notes against meat and the alleged waste and inefficiency of the meat industry, and that was when I first began to hear the term "Vegan" being tossed around.

And that was it for 20 years. You were either a:
a) Regular eater
b) Vegetarian (fish or no fish)
c) Vegan

Then suddenly, in the last two weeks I've seen an explosion of eating types and sub-types flying all over the place. Are these new or have I been hiding under a rock?

Pescatarians? Flexitarians? Part-time vegetarians? Where the heck did these all come from?

And maybe this makes me Captain Obvious, but...

Aren't most of these labels the same thing?

Ominivore - Eats a combination of both plants and animals.
Flexitarian - Mostly eats plants, but occasionally eats animals.
Part-time Vegetarian - East plants, but also sometimes eats animals.
Pescatarian - Eats plants and animals, but the only animal they eat is fish.

So... what's the real difference here? Everyone in all four of these groups is an Omnivore.

Flexitarians? Part-time vegetarians? Pescatarian? Omnivore? All the same thing.

So, I consider myself a "Normal" eater. I have never felt the need to label my eating. I eat animal meat. I also eat plants. But, I don't always eat either one at every meal. Based on my eating habits, I could fall into the Omnivore, Flexitarian, and Part-time Vegetarian categories. And occasionally, I have a meal that could be considered Vegan! *gasp!*

I don't intentionally skip eating meat, but I have plenty of meals that don't include meat.

Yesterday, I had a bowl of cheerios in milk for breakfast, but a chicken quesadilla for lunch. Does that make me a Flexitarian? Or does that make me a Part-Time Vegetarian?

This morning I had an apple, banana, orange, OJ smoothie (no milk or yogurt) for breakfast, but I'm planning on having a chicken burrito for lunch. Am I a Flexi-Vegan?

For dinner, on occasion, I will have pasta in marinara sauce with a side salad. Or sometimes a cheese quesadilla with salad. Sometimes I skip the salad. Sometimes I use meat sauce. Sometimes, I substitute spaghetti squash for the pasta. Does that makes me a Flexi-Vegan? A Flexitarian? A Part-Time Vegetarian?

I can tell you one thing it does.

It makes me head hurt!

(Does Tylenol contain plant or animal products?)

Eating labels are obviously a convenience factor in trying to explain your eating habits to other people. I get that part. But aren't you just trying to make yourself seem different when really you're not? When your label means the same thing as someone else's label, doesn't it just introduce more confusion? Isn't it just redundant? And what's the real point? Aren't we all just trying to eat healthy?

That's all I'm trying to do. I don't feel the need to label and sort my eating habits. I eat what I want. I don't need to fit myself into an eating category created by me or anyone else. I try to eat healthy and that's the important thing. Whether that makes me an Omnivore, and Flexitarian, a Part-Time Vegetarian, a Weekend Vegan, or an Part-Time-Omni-Flexi-Pesca-Vegan-Tarian, it is all just pointless organizing and labeling. It's not the label that matters. It's how healthy you are that matters.

I just want to eat healthy.

That's the only label I care about.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JENN03275 3/5/2012 4:55PM

    These eating labels can give one a headache. I don't eat meat, I mainly maintain the "vegan" but really its because I can't tolerate milk products. The only "animal" products that I miss eating are eggs and fish.

I tell people I am a vegetarian because it makes it easier and is self explanatory. Everyone knows what that is!

I agree, many feel they just need to feel "special" with a "label". What is the saying, you are special just like everyone else.

Great blog!

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GIANT-STEPS 3/2/2012 3:50PM

  When I became a vegetarian in the Spring of 1980 the terms in common use were:

Vegetarian (ambiguous)
lacto-ovo vegetarian (no meat but eats dairy and eggs)
Pesco-polo vegetarian (fish and fowl but no other meat)
Vegan (eats and uses as few animal products as possible)

The person to took the cake for stretching the meaning of vegetarian was one of my college roommates. I was excited when I learned that my roommate was a vegetarian until I learned that his "vegetarianism" was not eating red meat one day/week.

Some terms that I've seen only recently:

Flexitarian (near-vegetarian who is "flexible" when it comes to meat meals)
Pure Vegetarian (like vegans eats no animal products but still uses leather, fur, etc)

There are diets that as far as I know do not have a term.

I know people who are vegetarian or vegan all year except during traditional feasts. They might have ham on Christmas, turkey on Thanksgiving, then be vegan or vegetarian the rest of the year. Flexitarian covers them but it seems to me that people who only eat meat during annual feasts deserve a name of their own.

I met people who were vegetarian except they still eat seafood from the mollusk family (clams, mussels, oyster, scallops,). The reasoning here is that mollusks are the most primitive animal with no brains, rudimentary nervous systems so they are not self-aware and can not feel discomfort.

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KKINNEA 3/2/2012 2:06PM

    Actually, since I believe the 70s, the standard division of vegetarian is 2 labels - Vegan (no animal products of any kind) and Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian (nothing with muscles although animal protein [milk, eggs, etc] is allowed).

I like when people say "part-time" tho so we that are trying to avoid "muscle-meat" don't accidentally get it in error. Your body starts rejecting things like that if you don't eat them for a long time.

I'm not a militant but it is a pet peeve of mine when people ask if fish is included - yes, they have muscles! :)

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MBSHAZZER 3/2/2012 1:36PM

    LOL! Great post! I hate all of the eating labels and people wanting to be special little snowflakes with their eating. I'll never forget a few years ago, I offered to cook for a going away dinner for a friend that was being hosted at someone else's house. In order to accomodate a large-ish group, I made baked ziti, since it traveled well, along with some other stuff. Well, I get there, and all of a sudden, this one doesn't "do" dairy, and that one is in Phase 1 of the South Beach diet, etc, etc. So, I had a lot of leftovers. What really got me was by the next week, everyone was off of South Beach, eating what they wanted. GRRR!

People always ask me if I'm a vegetarian because I don't eat meat and you know what? I'm not. I don't eat meat b/c I don't like it. No label there! :D

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Final Benjamin Button Update - Odd Taper Question

Friday, March 02, 2012

Okay, looks like my cold finally turned the normal direction and is do a slow march out of town. Every day my cough gets better and better. It's just about gone. Only barely hanging on.

Yesterday, I surprised myself by running a 24:30 for my 3.03 mile run. That was my second fastest run, yet, even though I didn't feel I was running that fast. Was expecting to see something close to 26 minutes.

Today, I felt like I was going to have another day where I ran faster than I felt, but unfortunately, I was not having one of those days. I thought I was going to end up running my 5 miles in around 46 minutes, but ended up barely finish under 49 minutes.

It's odd how some days I feel faster than I am and other days I feel slower and yet neither match my actual output.

I could very well have been that my legs were a bit tired from yesterday's speedy run.

Assuming nothing goes wrong, this weekend, I should get my run in on Saturday and get my 5 runs in for the second time in four weeks. I'm a little disappointed that I only ran 4 times the two previous weeks, but it really couldn't be helped. Of course, if I had known two weeks ago that I was about to get sick, I would've run in the rain, anyway, since the whole reason for skipping that workout was to not get sick. But, that's hindsight for ya.

So, it's 12 miles this weekend and then I start my taper for my race that will then be just 2 weeks away.

That makes me kind of nervous. I'm still considering whether I really want to taper and if so, how much I want to taper. I've already run 13.1 miles two weeks ago. So, if I run 12 this weekend and then 13.1 in two weeks for my race, it's not really any different from my usual training schedule. The real difference will be the intensity.

Here's the real issue. If I do a taper leading up to the race, I will then have a two week reverse taper afterward culminating in a 12 mile run two Saturdays after my race. However, that 12 mile run will also mark the beginning of my next taper because just two weeks later I will be running my back-to-back half marathons.

So, if do a two week taper, race, a two-week reverse taper, then another taper, will that cause any de-training issues for my two races in April? I will be running 5 days a week. T (5), W (3), Th (5), Sat (LSD/race), Sun (5)

At the very least, I will need to do some sort of reverse tape on the week after my race in March for recovery purposes.

This is all making my head hurt. But, as long as my knees don't hurt, I'll be fine.

Any suggestions?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIVE2RUN4LIFE 3/2/2012 8:09PM

    Pick one as your goal race. Treat the others as training runs. Taper for the goal race.

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KKINNEA 3/2/2012 11:56AM

    I wouldn't do a full reverse between races, just enough to rest up some. Also, I would proabably only "race" one of the 2, to ensure I stayed out of injury. Sounds like you'll do great!

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JENN26POINT2 3/2/2012 11:34AM

    I got nothing for ya. That is a crapton of running, though! I'm super impressed and overwhelmed. Great job! Good luck with the half and your decision of whether or not to taper. I'm not good enough at running to offer any advice. sorry.

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You're Not Slow!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

...but you're not fast, either!

The concept of "fast" and "slow" has been running through my head a lot, recently.

I've posted in a couple of my blogs about my times getting faster or slower. In some of them I've said that I was "slow" rather than saying "slower." A few people replied saying that my "slow" was faster than their "fast." I've also read a lot of my sister's workout notes and thought "wow, she's fast." I've also happened upon booklet showing some of my old high school times and thought "wow, I used to be fast," while also remembering that while I was in high school I thought I was "slow." After reading some comments and doing some pondering while out on a lot of my runs, I have come to a moment of clarity.

Nothing is "fast" and nothing is "slow."

These two terms are subjective and non-quantifiable because the usage changes based on the location of the observer. They are a relative, not concrete, terminology.

Some days I feel "fast" when I compare my time to my previous times. Some days I feel "slow." For instance. Today, I ran 3.03 miles in 24 minutes and 30 seconds. I've only run faster than that on one occasion when I ran 3.1 miles in 24 minutes and 3 seconds.

However, that in and of itself does not make either of my two times "fast" or "slow." Someone who has a 3.1 mile PR of 29 minutes might say that I'm "fast." However, they might think that someone who runs it is 18 minutes is "fast" and still considers anything over 21 minutes as "slow." As you can see, "fast" and "slow" is all dependent on the subjective opinion of the observer.

This is similar to discussions of the temperature. Two people can be in a room that is 72 degrees and one may consider it "hot" while the other considers it "cold..." and they would both be right. That is because "hot" and "cold" are subjective terms. So, the one who feels it is too cold is right. So is the one who feels it is too hot.

However, what they could NOT say is that it is hot-ter or cold-er. 72 degrees is equal to 72 degrees. It is not colder or hotter than itself.

On the other hand, if one person is in a room that is 72 degrees and the other is in a room that is 74 degrees, strictly based on temperature alone, Both would have to agree that the room that is 72 degrees is "colder" than the room that is 74 degrees. And by reverse, the room that is 74 degrees is "hotter."

So, have you ever said you were slow? Well, you were correct. Have you ever said you were fast? You were also correct. You being either "slow" or "fast" was all based on your own subjective opinion.

However, your time all by itself is neither fast or slow. Your time can be faster or slower than another time, but that requires a comparison between your time and another time. Compared to a cheetah, we are all slow. Compared to a snail, we are all fast. But, that is still only an opinion. If we are faster than a snail, slower than a cheetah, and way slower than a race car, does that make us fast or does that make us slow?

The answer is "neither." It only makes us slower than one and faster than the other. We are all not either fast or slow. We are faster than snails and slower than cheetahs... and way slower the race cars. Faster and slower are quantifiable. You can measure exactly how much faster a cheetah is than a snail. You can measure the difference in speed between a cheetah and a race car. You can't measure "fast", but you can measure "faster."

So, are you running "faster" than you were when you first began your fitness or Spark Journey? That is quantifiable. And chances are that you are.

Being "slow" or being "fast" is only a label in your own mind. You are what you want to be, regardless of your actual measured time. Paula Radcliffe's bad day may seem "slow" to her, but that's just her opinion. Her opinion of "slow" is most likely faster than my opinion of "fast," but maybe not. Either way, it's subjective and correct to her and correct to me, but it's not measurable. However, it really is measurably "slower" than one of her "faster" days and definitely "faster" than my "faster" days.

So, take heart. You are not "slow," if you don't want to be. All it takes to change "slow" to "fast" is to change your mind. And if you want to be "faster," that takes real work, but it is within your control.

You, too, can be "faster." All it takes is a second.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTHYL1 3/2/2012 8:14PM

    Very true!

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RUNNER12COM 3/2/2012 7:52PM

    This is brilliant stuff right here. This should be "popular blog of the day," definitely!

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-POLEDANCEGIRL- 3/2/2012 9:50AM

    I totally agree!!! Great post!

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INTHEFASTLANE2 2/29/2012 9:02PM

  Exactly. It has taken me a long time to make peace with my now being just right and not "slow" as I compare it to what I once did.

And also, I have learned that it is more about effort and "just doing it" than it is about fast or slow. There is so much more that goes into it than just a time on a watch. Respect your journey. Honor where you are right now and "run with it."

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MAGGIE101857 2/29/2012 6:49PM

    I think I need to go back and read this again - slower this time! emoticon

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WONDERWOMAN 2/29/2012 6:22PM

    Great post! Thanks.

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KKINNEA 2/29/2012 5:46PM


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