Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Ditch Bank Run

I normally do my mid-week runs on Tuesday and Thursday. However, tomorrow happens to be Passover. I'm planning to attend a Passover Seder and won't have time to run.

So I needed to do my 5 mile run today. I decided to run on the ditch bank for a change. I wish I had my camera with me. I saw a several ducks swimming in the ditch and some flowers along the ditch bank that were beginning to bloom. Very cool.

I've been having trouble with my Garmin not seating well on the cradle.. Today was one of those days when I found it mis-seated and uncharged. I have a pretty good idea where my turn around point is and it was scheduled as an easy run so I didn't need to know my pace. But I must admit to being addicted to data. It bothers me somewhat not knowning precisely how far I ran (4.9? 5.0? 5.2?) or what my splits are. But I'll get over it.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


If you follow me on FB, you already know that I consider my Saturday run a success. I finished a total of 11.1 miles with no knee pain (YAY!), finished strong, and felt awesome afterwards and throughout the day. It was sooooo much better than last week. But why?

I'm not an expert, but these are a few things that I think may have contributed to a successful pain-free run.

1) The massage on Friday.

She did more of a sports massage and was able to work out some tightness in my muscles. In addition to putting me in a very relaxed state, I could tell that my body was moving more freely afterwards. It was a good experience. I'm going to go back again sometime, just not sure when.

2) New shoes.

I wore my Saucony Triumph 6 shoes instead of my old 5s. I prefer the 5s, but I think it may be time to retire them. I've had the 6s in rotation for a few weeks, but this was the first time they went with me on a long run.

3) Better pace management

My running partner wanted to push the pace this weekend. I knew that would be a bad idea for me. So we went our separate ways. Actually we went the same way, but at our own paces. Hehehe. I started off about 15sec per mile slower than last week and held that throughout. It was a very sustainable pace for me and my body seemed happy. I felt great and picked it up a bit for the last two miles, a sign to me that my run strategy was 'smart.'

4) Less Stress

Last week we ran at a later time than usual. I was feeling a little rushed because it was getting later in the day and I had a lot to do before picking up my kids from their trip. When I am stressed, I get tense. This weekend, however, we ran at our usual time. No time pressure at all. Plus I was still relaxed from the massage. I can't help but think this is a much better mental & physical state to be in when running. Stress and tension must impact form, especially when one gets fatigued.

What do you think? Am I way off the mark or do these seem like reasonable contributing factors? And am I overanalying? It's just so important to me to finish pain-free, strong, & happy. I want to be able to do that over-and-over-and-over again.

We're three weeks out. Next week's long run is only nine, then six, then RACE!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Five Things Friday

1) I think the extra rest/recovery on Tuesday was just what I needed. I felt notably better yesterday and was able to run 5 miles with the group on a BEAUTIFUL early evening without knee pain. Everyone else was doing easy/steady/easy. I stuck with easy (and coach agreed). My pace ended up being 10:34. Which, by the way, was my steady pace last year. Even though I have not been focussing on speed, my speed seems to be improving. Actually, I'm a lot happier this way. When trying to get faster, I got frustrated when not seeing the desired improvement. Now that I'm focussion only on endurance and injury-prevention, the improved speed is a bonus.

2) Stymie and I have our first obedience class today. Assuming it doesn't get cancelled. I'm questioning it just a bit because I was supposed to get a reminder call yesterday and didn't. And I didn't have time to follow up myself. Will just show up and hope that we are on.

3) This afternoon, I'm also scheduled for a massage. This is a huge deal for me. Husband talked me into a massage while we were on vacation. He gets them every 3 weeks or so and finds that themt o be very beneficial. The concept sounds good to me; however, I am completely weirded out by the thought of a complete stranger touching me. It took me a good 15minutes to calm down the first time. But once I did, I did notice a positive benefit. So, I decided to give it a try here at home. Fingers crossed that it will go well...

4) Husband decided to sign up for the upcoming half-marathon as well. Woot!! And he *might* run the 11 with me this weekend. Or not. He doesn't like getting up early to run. I don't like running later in the day. So we'll see what happens with that. But he will be running with me on race day and that ROCKS!

5) I keep meaning to post about our wonderful vacation get-away, but haven't had time. Maybe I'll get to it this weekend. Maybe I'll just skip it all together. Not sure yet. One observation that I will share is that I was surprised that the food in Puerto Vallarta was MUCH milder than the local food here in New Mexico. Not sure if that is because their chilis are milder due to the difference in climate or if they purposely keep it mild for tourists.

That's all for now. Enjoy your weekend!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Adapting the Plan

"Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach." - Tony Robbins

Until today, I haven't missed a training run for this upcoming half marathon. Today I've carefully considered my situation and have purposely chosen to skip the scheduled run. While my knee is feeling better, my back is a bit sore after the shuffle-hobble on Saturday. I truly believe that I need a few more days of recovery more than I need this run. I'm listening to my body this time. Given that my goal is to finish feeling good, it just doesn't make sense to run when I'm experiencing the bad kind of pain.

In light of this decision, I made it a point to get up from my desk and do a bit more walking than usual. And up and down the stairs a few times at work. I've also decided do some stretching in the hot tub later this evening. I'm aiming for active recovery.

So...Thursday I have 5 miles on the schedule that I'm intending to complete. Then 11 on Saturday. I *really* want Saturday's 11 to go well; it's my second chance at a big run in prep for the half.

It's all downhill from there with the remaining weekend long runs scheduled as 9 miles, then 6, then 13.1 on race day.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

She's Back!

Did you miss me? I didn't make a huge deal of it on blogger (didn't seem like a great idea to announce to the entire internet that we were going to be gone), but we've gone to and returned from Puerto Vallarta since my last post. Where, among other things, we celebrated our 21st anniversary.

And the kids have gone to and are currently en route to home from their trip to New Orleans. Where they spent four long grueling days of labor to rebuild houses. I'll save any other details from both of those trips for another post. This one will be devoted to running.

On Tuesday, Husband & I ran up and down the beach. I didn't have my Garmin, so I'm estimating based on time that it was roughly 3 miles. Man o' man that was a workout. Husband felt it mostly in his calves, I felt it in my abs. Running in sand is something all together different than running on hard surfaces or even packed trail.

On Thursday we thought about beach running again, but quite frankly I was not interested in being out in the sun. So we headed to the hotel fitness center where I succumbed to 5.2 b-o-r-i-n-g miles on the treadmill. If you have followed my blog for even a short amount of time, you will know how difficult that was for me. I despise the treadmill. But, I figured it was better than skipping the run, so I endured.

We got back late yesterday evening and I had 12 miles on the calendar for today. Our normal running time is 8am, which wasn't looking so good given that it was snowing when our flight came in and was supposed to snow all evening. I was actually relieved when I got a text from my running partner that he needed to postpone his run from 8am to 11:30.

As it turns out, by the time we started running, the storm had passed and the sun was back out. And Husband decided to join us! Seemed like it was going to be a good run.

And it was. For 9 miles, that is.

Then my knee started to bother me. Not good. I decided to ease up and let my running partner go on ahead. I was determined to finish this run, but I needed to back off the pace. That worked fairly well until the last mile. By then I was doing a full-on limp-hobble-shuffle. Still determined to get in the mileage, I backed off some more.

About two hours and sixteen minutes after I started, I was back at the car. Nine minutes after my running partner made it in. That means I slowed down an average of 3 minutes per mile on those last three miles. Blah.

So, I'm chalking this up as my first bad run of the season. All I can do is shake it off, take care of my knee, and try again next time. And hey, without the bad runs, we'd never appreciate the good ones, right?

Now I have a BUNCH of blogs to catch up on. Enjoy your weekend!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Terrific Ten

I'm not sure why, but 10 miles seems to be where it becomes a real mental game for me. I was already nervous about the run last night. That's not a good sign.

But I broke it down logically. It's simple really. All I need is a good night's sleep, appropriate fuel, some fast tempo music, and a charged up Garmin. Eat appropriately, dress appropriately, & show up at the meeting spot on time. Find an easy/sustainable pace. Run for 5 miles. Turn around. And run back. Believe in yourself. Believe in your training.

The sleep was good (not great, but good enough). My ipod was charged. My Garmin was charged. I figured out what to wear. Had time to eat. Got there on time. Running partner was there already. We decided to head out early, assuming some of the others would catch up with us anyway. And so we were off.

It helped that he was a bit tired and didn't feel like pushing the pace at all. It helped that we had stories to tell that kept our minds occupied most of the way. It helped that the weather was quite pleasant actually.

I kept waiting for the point in the run where it begins to suck. That point never came. We stayed fairly steady the whole way. Picked up the pace just a bit at the end and finished strong. Overall pace was 10:47, final mile was 10:24.

Next week the schedule calls for twelve. You know what? I think I can do this.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Coachless Run

Showed up at the meeting spot yesterday to find that the speedy training-for-Boston guy and I were the only ones who showed up. Coach wasn't there, but I really didn't expect that to be a deterrant for the rest of the group. Oh well, their loss!

It started off a little awkward. The Boston guy felt obligated to run with me, but I didn't want to hold him back. I kept telling him that he could go on ahead, but he insisted that we stick together. When it was all said and done, we had gone 4.6 miles. Time actually went by fairly quickly because I had someone new to chat with.

Today is a rest day. Tomorrow I have 10 on the schedule. *Gulp*

Thursday, March 11, 2010

3 Things Thursday

1) I haven't managed to get down to my goal weight, but I'm okay with that. My clothes are fitting differently and I just might need to go down a size in running shorts. Not taking action on that quite yet, the last thing I need is smaller running shorts that don't actually fit, but I'm keeping this in mind as a possibility.

2) The weather has been weird lately. Another storm has passed through threatening to dump snow and/or rain on us. We really haven't had much precipitation from it though. Or at least not yet. I hope it stays that way throughout the day so we have reasonable running weather this afternoon. Then it can rain or snow all it wants. Is that asking too much?

3) I'm rediscovering jewerly. I got into a habit of wearing exactly the same stuff over and over and over again for the past several years. Leaving the rest to sit in my jewelry box. Recently, I decided to start switching it up again. Quite refereshing actually. The downside is now I want more... Heheheh.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tuesday Training

I don't know, maybe just blogging about what was keeping me up at night helped. But I'm thinking the 4.25 mile run before dinner didn't hurt either. In any event, I slept well enough that I woke up a half hour before my alarm went off and feel rested this morning. Yay!

About that run. My training plan said 45min easy. Coach said that he wanted me to pick it up and run "steady" at the end once I passed the bridge. For clarification, he added "try for ~10:15."

We went out a slightly different route than usual, heading north up a dirt trail rather than heading south and onto the bike path. I dutifully turned around at 22:30 minutes. Some of the others continued on for a bit as we each have slightly different plans based on individual goals. I found myself alone when I got to the bridge. No one to pace off of. Drat. Unsure whether I was anywhere close to the prescribed pace at the end, I picked it up a bit.

I was pleasantly surprised when I checked my Garmin later in the evening. My average pace for the first 3.5 miles was 10:43. The .75 mile section after the bridge was at 10:08. Mission accomplished!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Not sleeping well

Are you familiar with the song Trouble by Ray Montagne?

Worry, worry, worry, worry
Worry just will not seem to leave my mind alone"

There are several things other things going on in my life that keep me up at night. It's a bad habit as there isn't much I can do about things at night, but that's when they trouble me the most. I don't wish to share the details on some of the more personal ones, but here's an example:

Background for Context: My kids will be heading out to New Orleans for Spring Break to help rebuild/repair homes destroyed by Katrina. I'm incredibly proud of them for choosing to spend their spring break this way. However...

Worrisome Thoughts: They are making me crazy by postponing packing until the last minute. Do we have everything they need? Am I caught up on laundry? It will take 2 full days of driving there and then again on the way back. What if something happens on the road trip? Son has to fly out Sunday to meet up with them. What if something happens with his flights or connection? We'll be travelling that week also. What if something happens while they are there? How easy it might be (or not) to contact us in case of emergency?

Reality: We can make an emergency trip Thursday for supplies if needed. I've supplied emegency phone numbers and back-up contacts that will know how to get a hold of us. Son is an experienced traveller, surely he can figure it out what to do if there is an issue with his connectons.

Sometimes I wish I could just turn off my mind, relax, and get some decent sleep. Sigh.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Saturday Surprises

Saturday started off with a long run. My training partner & I decided to go 9 instead of 8. We are scheduled for 10 next weekend and both of us felt better building up a little more gradually. My request was that we try to stay together for the first half. After that, if he needed to speed up, don't worry about leaving me behind. I'd be fine.

We started off with the rest of the training group. The group stayed together for the first mile. Then everyone found their own training paces and carried on.

Surprise #1 - Once everyone found their paces, we weren't the furthest ones back. This is extremely unusual, which is why I noted it.

Surprise #2 - Negative splits. AGAIN. In fact, the final 3 miles were the fastest of the bunch. Nice and steady at a 10:30 pace. Props to the running partner for this one, he set the pace and I focussed on staying on his feet. If I started to fall back a bit, he'd turn around and say "come on, you've got this." I believed him.

Surprise #3 - Overall pace for 9 miles was 10:42. Un.freaking.believable. I have no idea how I'm doing this. Smarter training? Lack of injuries? Maybe both?

Surprise #4 - Coach gave me a gift certificate for a RoadID! I'm going to order two of them, one for me and one for Husband.

Surprise #5 - I felt good afterwards. Tired, but not sore. If I can add 4.1 miles to this on race day and still feel that way, it will be a huge success.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Chilly cycling

This morning's ride home from the shop (after dropping off the vehicle) was quite pleasant for the most part, despite chilly morning temp of about 38deg. I wore two pairs of socks and toe covers - feet were fine. Sugoi tights, two long sleeve shirts, a fleece, and a wind breaker - body was fine. Balacava under helmet - head/face was fine. A single pair of full fingered gloves - woah! should have doubled up. Fingers were NOT fine. I should have known that if it was cold enough for extra layers for my feet that I also needed extra layers for my hands. Oh well, it was tolerable, just not ideal.

Speaking of chilly, our hot tub has been a cold tub for several weeks. Apparently the circuit board that controls the heating element needs to be replaced. We've been waiting impatiently for the part to arrive. Good news is that it's in and the repair guy is supposed to be here this morning to fix it. Fingers crossed!

Changing subjects completely, both of my midweek runs went fairly well. Met up with the running group each time and accomplished 4.4 and 4.2 miles respectively. With daylight savings time just around the corner, the group should be able to meet up just a bit later without racing against sunset. That will be a good thing. It is difficult for me to get from work to the run group location on time.

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Three Thoughts Thursday

1) Got my training schedule for now through the half marathon. The progression of upcoming weekend long runs is as follows: 8, 10, 12, 11, 9, 6, race. The only thing that I'm nervous about is that 12 miler. And not simply because it is 12 miles, but because I'll be on vacation the week between the 10 and the 12. Not sure how that's going to work out. Other than that, I'm excited to do this thing!

2) Last weekend, I brought my handheld with nuun on my long run (8 miles). This weekend, I'm switching to the belt with a combination of nuun in some bottles and accelerade in others. I'm hoping that will work out better for these upcoming runs over 7 miles.

3) I need to drop one of the cars off for service tomorrow. Assuming the weather cooperates (ie, no snow, ice, wind, etc), the plan is to toss the bike in the back and cycle home. I don't know about the rest of you, but with my busy schedule, finding creative ways to insert cross-training into an errand is generally a win for me.