Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Intervals and Close Encounters


Intervals were on the schedule for yesterday evening. The workout was prescribed as: 15 min warmup, 3x (5 minutes HARD, 3 minutes REST), 10 min cooldown.

Decided to do this as an out and back. And I was mathmatically challenged and thought that I would turn around after the 2nd 5 minutes hard. To make the cool down closer to 10m minutes, I should have turned BEFORE the 2nd 5 minutes, but whatever. Just made for a longer easy segment at the end.

The splits were as follows

warm up - 11:01
5min hard 9:14
3 min rest 16:03 - walking
5min hard 9:28
3 min rest 18:20 - walking
5min hard 9:12
3 min rest 11:30 - walking, then running easy
cool down 10:36 - ended up being 18 min, 1.75 miles to get back

I'm not really sure how fast my HARD segments should have been, but I was impressed with myself for pulling off numbers in the 9:10-9:30 range, for me that is pretty darn speedy.


I was hit by a cyclist during my warm-up. Never expected that to happen!

Begin rant.

I was running the warm-up on the sidewalk next to a road with a bike lane. The cyclist was riding fast up on the sidewalk rather than in the actual bike lane. And as he came speeding by, either his body or his bars hit my forearm. SMACK! He didn't stop or slow down to say sorry or make sure whoever he hit was okay. I was okay, but that's not the point.

For the sake of argument, let's say I had been a little kid or part of a family walking on the sidewalk, this could have really turned out bad. Anyway, my arm was sore, but nothing serious. But still...

Being a seasonal cyclist myself, this really made me angry. The guy should have been riding in the bike lane and not up on the sidewalk. If he felt the bike lane was unsafe, he should have slowed down and been much more cautious around walkers/runners up on the sidewalk.

This is a perfect example of why cyclists get a bad name. Motorists and others are upset with them in general. They end up taking it out on the rest of us when we are out on the road (where we belong...not on the sidewalk!!)

End rant.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits

1) Just for grins, I took a photo of each of the dogs this morning.

Apparently, Bandit was too tired/lazy to get up for the photo. I was feeling the same way when my alarm went off, so I understand! Also note that he is sporting a reflective collar. He could be a runner, but he still pulls too much to go out with me. I leave it to Husband to run with him.

On the other hand, we have Stymie, the-giant-puppy-who-turned-1-yrs-old-a-few-weeks-ago-and-is-about-to-graduate-from-obedience-class. I'm thinking maybe I can start running with him soon.

The thing on the left in the picture with Stymie is the pool table and those tiles are 18" square, just to give you some idea of his small pony-ish size. I definately feel safe when I'm out with him...

2) Stepped on the scale this morning and was quite pleased with the number that showed up. Lowest weight that I've been for a good two years, and much closer to where I want to be. Yay!

3) We had church directory photos taken on Sunday. The photographer also took one other pose of our family which turned out nice, so I ordered that one. I am very happy about that. Might be the last opportunity for quite some time for a family photo with the four of us.

4) I was expecting to have a personal conflict tonight that would keep me from the running group. But that conflict went away. So now I'm on tap for intervals this evening. Not sure how I feel about that...

5) There are ants in my garden! I need to figure out a way to get them out of there without chemicals. Yesterday I tried sprinkling cinamon and coffee grounds on the opening to their hole. Later in the day, I saw a roadrunner hop the fence to my garden. Maybe he likes cinamon and coffee coated ants?

edited to add: Roadrunners are welcome to hang out in my garden. They eat things like snakes, rodents, insects, etc. They don't eat plants.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tempo Run

Before I get into the details of this run, some background for context.

My goal for the half-marathon was to finish strong & feeling good & uninjured. I didn't have a time goal, and Coach purposely didn't give me any specific paces to hit during training. Instead, he would prescribe something like "steady" or "tempo" or "easy" and I ran by feel.

Over time, I learned that "tempo" means something around 10:10. And easy means something closer to "10:45" And warm-up usually comes in at about "11:05". Apparently, so did he. I shared my Garmin data with him, so I guess this is no surprise.


When he handed me the training plan for the next month, I found it to have pace targets All.Over.It. I don't know why, but this makes me very nervous. *gulp*

Which brings me to yesterday. Coach ordered up a tempo run for Saturday morning. He asked for 15min warm up, 4 mile tempo (10:00-10:20 pace for me), 10 min cool down.

As soon as we started, and area near my right hip going down my leg started to hurt. What the heck?!? Where did that come from? But I found that it got better as I got warmed up. So I was determined to go ahead with the run as planned.

I was nervous about hitting my tempo pace target. But as I thought about it, I decided to just to run by feel. This is what I have been doing for the past three months, and the pace has sorted itself out. Why should today be any different?

I used my lap button to separate the tempo portion from the warm-up and cool-down. And I was thrilled after the run to see the results: ~11:00 for the warm up, 10:03 for the tempo portion, ~11:30 for the cool down.

Now for some serious attention to that IT band. Foam roller, here I come...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Five

1) Tuesday I was supposed to run 4 miles @ 10:30. I did not have a pacer with me, so I had to wing it. I ended up doing the following:

mile 1: 10:51
mile 2: 10:07
mile 3: 10:01
mile 4: 9:46

Oops. Had it been a progressive run, that would be success. But for the prescribed run, it was a big FAIL. However, given that I've had a lot of my mind lately and certainly felt much better at the end, it's all good.

2) Last night our group was supposed to run 30 minutes, then meet at a local diner for dessert. We don't do this often, but we were celebrating our recent successes including our club-mate who PR'd with a 3:18:35 at Boston.I was the ONLY one who actually showed up to run. Everyone else had planned to skip the run and head straight to the food. I caved into peer pressure and consumed a breakfast burrito and a huge serving of bread pudding. Yummy!

3) My son has less than a month to go before high school graduation. In the fall, he will be leaving home to attend school out of state. While I'm extremely proud of him and excited for the opportunities that lie ahead, I'm really not doing very well with the whole leaving home thing.

4) Coach gave me a training plan for the next month, but from a race perspective, I don't have a plan for what's next. Must.Remedy.This.Soon.

5) One of the spectating run club members took photos at the race last weekend. I look like a dork in all of them, but I'll share one from near the finish line in which I look happy (because I was!).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


First off, Congrats to all the Boston runners. How exciting it was to follow along yesterday! I can't wait to read the race reports. I am also looking forward to talking to the guy from my run group who ROCKED Boston yesterday and achieved a PR for the marathon distance!

While my half-marathon achievement may pale in comparison to running Boston, it truly was a significant accomplishment for me. I'd like to take this time to reflect back on my past half-marathons just to put it in perspective.

2007 Chips & Salso 2:38:08 - This was my first ever half-marathon attempt. I planned to accomplish the distance by employing a run/walk strategy. By mile 11, I was done, caput, finished! I walked practically the rest of the way. I was hurting in a big way afterwards, but was quite pleased with myself for getting to the finish line.

2007 Duke City 2:36:58 - Second half-marathon attempt, a mere 6 weeks or so after the first one. Same strategy. Slightly faster result due to a bit more training, but still hurting at the end. Slower and slower as each mile progressed and more walking. If someone would have come by in a golf cart at mile 12 and offered to take me to my car, I would have given up and jumped right in!

2008 Unser 20K - While not technically a half-marathon, it was close enough to include in my history. Finish time was 2:21:35 for 12.4 miles, so it would be something like a 2:30:00 finish for a full 13.1 miles. Walked through most of the aid stations. Again, I was hurting by mile 10 or so.

2008 Chips & Salsa DNF* - This was the year that my knee issue (patella-femoral-syndrome) made itself known. My knee was hurting at the start line. I never should have attempted run the race. I stopped running at mile 6.5. I walked to mile 10 at which point I was picked up by car and headed to urgent care...

2008 Duke City 2:29:07 - Once again, about 6 weeks after my DNF. For some stupid reason, I tried running a half-marathon AGAIN. My knee was feeling better because I basically didn't run between the two races. However, once again, knee pain emerged. This time at mile 5. I was miserable throughout the rest of the race. Walked a bunch at the end. Very unhappy. A few weeks later, finally had the appt with an orthopedic that set me on a path to get healthy with regard to my knee.

2009 Duke City 2:25:14 - A full year and much knee therapy later, I tried again after racing nothing longer than a 5K in between. I had trained almost exclusively on dirt trails. Running the race on ashpalt took a huge toll on my body. Everything hurt by about mile 8. Lots of limp-walking especially the last few miles. Did not achieve my goal of finishing strong, feeling good. Not a happy camper.

2010 Albuquerque Half-Marathon 2:21:31 - Slight knee pain at mile 11, otherwise, I felt good and ran steady throughout. Planned my race and raced my plan. Finished strong and feeling good. It was a long road to this point, but I finally conquered the distance, it didn't conquer me!! VERY HAPPY!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Albuquerque Half Marathon Race Report

Official Time - 2:21:31. Half-Marathon PR!
Age group placing pending, but I think I was 18th of however many W45-49

Woke up in the middle of the night to let the dogs out. It was raining, but not too hard. I figured that I could run in that if it didn't let up in the morning.

However, when the alarm went off, all I heard was rain coming off the roof. It was wet out there, but the rain had stopped.

Checked the weather and it was about 47 deg with temps expected to be about 53 in late morning. I decided to wear capris and a long sleeve shirt. Had it not been for the threat of more rain, I would have gone with a short sleeve shirt.

Arrived at the parking area and had a good 3/4 mile hike along a muddy ditch bank to the race start location. Husband & I commented about how much it would suck to have to run on that. Ha! If I only knew...

Got our chips and found the others from the run group. Two were running the 10K. Three of us were running the half. A few were spectating. Wished everyone well and waited for the race to start.

While lined up for the start, the RD announced that we would be running down the road, to the foot bridge and across, then around a field on that same muddy ditch bank that we walked up from the parking area.

You have got to be kidding me! First off, the foot bridge is only wide enough for two people at a time. Secondly, the ditch was a slippery muddy mess.

But alas, he was not kidding. And roughly 2 minutes and 30 seconds after the gun went off, I found myself in a dead stop, waiting my turn to get across the narrow foot bridge. Sigh.

I took a picture of the foot bridge afterwards to show that I'm not exagerating about how narrow it was:

Once we cleared the bridge, we had roughly 2 miles of mud running before we finally got to the street. So yeah, the first 2 miles basically sucked. On the bright side, I definately didn't go out too fast. Ha!

After that, we finally made it out onto the road, where we stayed for the remainder of the race.

I won't bore you with a mile by mile replay, here are some highlights:

  • My kids showed up at roughly the halfway point to cheer us on. I really appreciated that.
  • On the asphalt, I settled into a pace that was basically the same as in training, ~10:45.
  • The only walk break that I (purposely) took was at the final aid station.
  • I believe I would have finished close to 2:20:00 if it wasn't for that stupid foot bridge at the beginning.
  • I ran solid throughout. I wasn't able to turn it up at the end, but I didn't slow down either. I am happy with that.
  • My knee started to bother me a little at mile 11. Not horribly, but enough to make me take notice.
  • The run group did great overall. Both 10K racers won their age groups. Two of us had half-marathon PRs

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, folks. As for me, I'm ready for a nap!

Edited to add: I failed to mention it earlier, but I fully met my primary goal of finishing strong and feeling good. I'm VERY happy. :-)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Five - Freakout Edition

1) I am praying the weather forcast for Saturday is wrong. Low 44, High 59. 60% chance of showers with occasional t-storms. I do NOT want to run my half-marathon in rain and/or t-storms.

2) Somebody in my running group asked what I am wearing to the race. This question was aimed at spectating, being able to easily locate me. I responded - "I dunno, whatever is clean?" But seriously, what AM I going to wear to the race? Why haven't I figured this out yet? I need to figure that out today and make sure that it IS clean. After all, the race is tomorrow.

3) Coach had running partner & I run fairly easy last night. 15 min easy, 20 min steady, then a cool down at the end. I asked running partner if he could pace us at 10:00 min/mi during the steady. He totally rocks as a pacer. Garmin said we ran 10:50 for the easy, 9:59 for the steady, and 10:25 for the cool down. It was a very short run, but another confidence booster with regard to being able to control pacing.

4) Busy busy day today. I need to plant my beans, cucumbers, & watermelons this morning. Clean up. Take Stymie to obedience class. Return Stymie to home. Go across town to pick up packet ( Come home and call the guy about the controller on the irrigation system. Meet with guy about said irrigation system. Figure out what I'm going to wear tomorrow. Make sure it's clean. Make dinner. Stop obsessing over the weather forcast and try to relax so that I can sleep well.

Please forgive me if I do a lousy job of catching up on blogs in the midst of all of that.

5) Have I mentioned that the race is tomorrow?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fabulous Four

Taper must be messing with my mind, because I showed up to my running group lacking anything and everything resembling confidence. But I'm persistent if nothing else, and wanted to make something happen today.

With the race 5 days out, I needed this run for my mind more than I needed it for my body. I was doubting myself before, but now I'm back to believing in myself. I can and I will start out easy and pick it up at the end.

I'm ready.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Done, Done, Not Done

Thursday's run was not a 5 mile run like I thought. Not sure where I got that crazy idea. It's not at all what the training plan says. It was 15 easy, 20 steady, 15 easy. I must admit, I didn't like the idea of the steady portion of this run, but reluctantly went ahead with the plan. Coach said to shoot for 10:15-10:20 on the steady.

I explained that while he can give me whatever numbers he wants, I have no idea how to aim for a pace. I agreed to start out easy with the group, then pick it up for 20mins, then slow down again at the end. The paces would be whatever they were.

When I got home and evaluated the run on my Garmin, the numbers were as follows: 10:45, 10:07, 10:33. Emailed this to coach and he was pleased.
Thursday run - DONE.

Saturday's run was scheduled as 6 miles easy. Most of my easy runs have been ended up in the ~10:45 range, so I expected to see the same again. Oddly, I ended up running with 3 other people in my running group, none of which were feeling it on that particular morning. Personally, I think the problem was that it was too warm (45 when we started) and we were all dressed for ~30s like it's been for the past several months. Our pace was ~11:20. Blah. Note to self, check the weather carefully on race day and dress appropriately! Anyway, Saturday run - DONE

I had one other item on my list this weekend - early packet pick up. The other day for packet pick up is next Friday. However, the combination of son coming home from another out of town campus visit (which I was eager to talk to him about) and then getting ready for prom (which he looked very handsome for), put a squeeze on my time. Packet pick-up - NOT DONE; it will have to wait for next week.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


All kinds of bloggy ideas were coming to me while I was running on the ditch bank this afternoon (to make up for the run I didn't do yesterday). Now I'm here typing and drawing a blank. Why is that? Perhaps my brain is wired somehow to my legs. When I stop and sit down, the brain shuts off? Who knows. So I shall resort to babbling...

I really enjoyed the comments to my last post. I found it very interesting to see where each of you draw the line (or not). Lots of different opinions. Seems to depend somewhat on your particular circumstance including what you are training for, what your goals are, and what weather you have to deal with on a regular basis.

Ten days 'til my half-marathon, but who's counting. Oh, I guess I am. Hehehehe. I believe it is a fair statement to say that I have enjoyed every single run leading to the race with the exception of the bad 12-miler. Back at the beginning of the year I set a goal for myself to "Race to Train, not Train to Race" and I believe I've scored a well deserved A+ on that one thus far.

In the last few half marathons that I've run, I've finished feeling like the course defeated me. This time, I want to conquer the course. I'm not positive, but I think I will go in with the attitude that the race starts at mile 10. Everything up to that point is a warm up. Slow-steady for 10 miles, then pick up the pace and own that last 5K. Sounds good on paper. We'll see what happens on race day.

Group run tomorrow. I think 5 miles is on the schedule. Then my "long" run is 6 miles on Saturday. Seems funny that my long run is only 1 mile longer than a mid-week run, but whatever. I'm trusting my training, and that's what the schedule says.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Where do YOU draw the line?

Everybody draws the line somewhere. It's just a matter of where.

Let me back up.

This morning I checked the weather forcast and it was predicted to be ~54 deg, winds 25-30mph with gusts up to 40mph at run group time. I immediately thought. "I'm not running in that"

And I'm okay with that.

Because everyone draws the line somewhere. I've run when it was 11 deg outside. I've decided that 15deg is my lower threshold. One line is drawn there.

I've run in light snow. I've run in heavy snow. I've run in sleet (ouch!). I've drawn a line at sleet. And any time the roads are icy. Or when visibility is low.

I've run in heat. I've run in humidity. I've run in hot sun. I don't like it, but I haven't drawn the line there yet.

I've run on wet pavement. I've run in light rain. I've run in moderate rain. I draw the line at heavy rain or deep puddles. Oh, and I've drawn the line at thunderstorms too.

I've run in the early morning. I've run in the afternoon. I've run in the early evening. It's all good as long as the sun is up. I draw the line at darkness.

I've run in sand. I've run hills. I've run at the track. I think this year, I'm drawing another line at the track. My knee doesn't seem to like all the turning.

And that brings me to today. I've run in light wind. I've run in moderate wind. I've run in heavy wind. And I'm not exactly sure where the line is, but it's well below 20-25 mph with 40mph gusts.

So where do YOU draw the line?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Nine Mile Run

Holy Saturday started off with a nine mile run. This was my last long run before the half-marathon. From here on out, nothing longer than six miles. Taper has arrived!

My plan for the race is to go out slow-steady and then pick it up at the end. I believe that this strategy that has the best potential to position me to accomplish my main goal - finishing strong, feeling good, smiling, and wanting to do it again.

With that in mind, I wanted to test out this approach on my last long-ish run. Success! I finished with a smile and am feeling great! I ran the first seven miles at ~10:52 and the last two miles at ~10:14. Overall average pace was 10:44. I will be thrilled if I can to do it just like that on race day.

After the run, for a cool down, I spend some quality time walking each of my dogs separately. This is to practice what I'm learning in the obedience class. Leash manners are getting much better! Maybe in another month I can try walking them together.

A few of you asked about pictures of the dogs. Here's one that I took last week that might give you some idea of their sizes. I was inside the fenced garden area watering my strawberries and Stymie was peeking his head through trying to find out what was going on in there. Bandit didn't seem too interested. I'll try for some better photos later this week. :-)

Happy Easter, everyone!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1) March Numbers:
Ran 81.6 miles, I'm quite certain this is a monthly mileage PR for me! With a vacation week in there, no less. Woot!

Didn't bother to tally bike or strength, while it was non-zero, it was also non-impressive.
April plan is to stick to my training and *rock* the half-marathon in two weeks by finishing strong, smiling, and wanting to do it again!
2) Thursday non-Run:
The group ended up *not* running today due to high winds (25mph with 40mph gusts). Sure, I could have run solo, but I declined due to allergies. The plan is to run tomorrow morning instead. I really need my Garmin to cooperate on Saturda for my long run. But I must say that I'm happy that it seems willing to cooperate tomorrow morning:

3) Dog Obedience Training

Stymie and I are headed to obedience class #2 tomorrow. First class went well. We've been doing our homework all week, and it's going well. I'm looking forward to whatever we will learn/practice tomorrow. I'm also hoping that maybe I can begin to include him in some of my shorter runs soon. He seems to be past the massive growing stage. Not sure his exact weight, but I'm guessing ~80-85lbs as he is bigger/longer/taller than Bandit who weighs ~75 lbs.