Thursday, September 30, 2010

September Totals

  • 103.2 miles by feet: ran 54.1, walked 49.1
  • 19 trips up the hill
  • 27.0 miles on seat (bike)
  • 1 race
  • 1 rest day
  • 8 days with two activities logged
  • All in all, it was a good month. However, I didn't realize until the end of the month that I had really shorted myself on rest days. I'll fix that in October.
Plans for October
  • Run trails!!
  • Learn to hula hoop
  • Take rest days
  • Participate in Bosque Boogie 10K

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

For the love of trails

The best part of the 5K this past weekend wasn't the fact that it was my fastest 5K in two years. Although I must admit that was a nice surprise. No, the best part was that I realized just how much fun trail running is in comparison to road running.

And it just gets better. I'm having trouble finding current information on the 10K that I have tentatively scheduled in October, but a description from an earlier years' race described it as follows: "This unique off road race will run through the beautiful level road and single track trail network of the west side Bosque." Assuming they haven't changed the route too much, I think I'm going to have a blast with that one as well.

I think smart training includes running on similar surfaces to upcoming races. So for this next one, I plan to train primarily off road. I also want to mix it up a bit. I have a tendency to run the same routes over and over. That's going to change. And I started by taking a new route for my 4 miler this morning. Fun stuff. Plus a friend of mine showed me how to find some single track nearby. Can't wait to check that out.

Looking at my training schedule for the 10K, all I can think is "Bring on the trails!" This training cycle is going to be fun!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Corrida de Corrales 5K Race Report

Last night we went to an Oktoberfest party. Carb loaded on brats, homemade pretzels, spatzle, gurkensalat, and too many desserts to name. What? That's not the most healthy pre-race dinner? NOW you tell me...

The race venue is maybe a 10 minute drive from my house, so I set the alarm for 6:40. And hit the snooze button once before getting up. No rush, it was an 8am start time.

Wasn't quite sure how to dress. I knew that the race was starting on a shady dirt surface along the acequia. It was a bit chilly in the shade (57deg), but would be much warmer in the sun if the route went took us off that path. Decided to go with capri tights and a sleeveless shirt. Turned out to be a perfect choice for the 5K. Roughly half of the race was on the dirt, and half was on the road in the sun. Love the dirt portion. The surface was uneven and I had to occasionally duck for branches. So much fun! The part on the road was in the sun and not so much fun. [I think I may be a trail runner at heart, and need to seriously think about adding real trail races into my schedule. More on that later]

The power of adrenalin never ceases to amaze me. I managed to run the 5K in 29:51 which by my calculations is roughly a 9:37 pace, something I haven't seen in training anytime recently. Plus it was a good 40 sec faster than my 5K in Feb. [Wow. Where did that speed increase come from?] It put me at 5th F40-49. Very pleased about that. [edit: 1st overall F was in the 40-49 AG, so she was removed from AG results, so I ended up being recorded as 4th in my AG]

Now some photos!

First up, a poor camera-phone self portrait. I did capture the whole ensemble post race as part of my photo project, but you'll have to wait on that.

Tables set up with post race goodies: water, apples, green chile cheese bread, cinnamon raisin bread, juice.

They gave us flags at the finish line. Here's a photo of my shadow holding mine. The wind blew the flag into the photo just as I took it, I think it turned out pretty cool.

I stayed to cheer on the remaining 5K and 10K racers. This last one is just a random photo of the finish area.

All in all, it was a really fun event. I'm glad I signed up for this one and hope to do it again next year!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Follies

What I learned from my post a few days ago, is that many of you like/need a schedule, but you don't necessarily follow it exactly. That's pretty much how it is for me as well.

I was originally going to run 7 miles easy today. Coach wanted me to scale that back to 4 miles easy since I'm running a 5K on Sunday. But then a friend of mine wanted to meet for an early morning 4 mile trail walk. Couldn't say no to that! Decided to walk first, then cut back my run to something closer to 3 miles. To make up for decreased distance, I figured it would be a good idea to push the pace a little and try to achieve negative splits. So that's what I set out to do.

When I got home, I thought that I had completely failed on the run. Every time I checked my Garmin, it seemed like I was going slower. But I feel better now. I ended up running about 3.3 miles, and I nailed the progressive aspect. Plus there's a nice little pick up at the end:

I don't think I'm going to come anywhere my "normal" 5K race pace this weekend. This should be no surprise, since I haven't done any speed work or tempo runs in preparation. And the run this morning was a struggle for me. However, I still think it will be fun to be out there Sunday morning. In the end, that's really what it's all about, right? Fun. :-)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Three Things Thursday

All is going well with my self portrait project. Three observations so far: 1) Every one of my photos taken at home has my dogs in it; I think that's funny. 2) While I haven't blogged much about my weight loss this summer, I can see it in the photos and that makes me happy. 3) I have a lot of athletic wear, but of course I knew that when I started the endeavor. Hahahahaha.

It rained yesterday and last night. This is always big news in the desert; we always need the rain. I hope it doesn't keep raining though, or my race on Sunday will be a muddy mess. The entire race is on a dirt surface.

I'm 80% sure that I'm going to buy myself a hula hoop and/or a jump rope. Sounds like a fun way to cross train. Did some research to find a GOOD hula hoop and a GOOD jump rope. Now I'm trying to decide which I'd rather have first or if I should just bite the bullet and get them both at the same time. Probably ordering from, so shipping cost is factoring into my decision. [Edited to add: Received a couple small awards at work that cover the cost of the hula hoop exactly, so went ahead and ordered one. Now I begin the phase of obsessive package tracking. LOL]

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pseudo Taper & Training Schedule

I've been without a training plan for awhile because I haven't been running. When I was able to start running again, Coach & I agreed that I'd just stick to running 4 easy 3x per week. Didn't really need a plan for that. But now that I have some races on my schedule, and after hearing that I was planning to run 7 miles on Friday, he mailed me a scheduled that gets me through October and up to the Bosque Boogie 10K.

He wants me to stick with a 4 mile easy run on Friday as sort of a mini-taper for the 5K. Even though it's a fun run, he didn't think my plan of running 7 on Friday was such a good idea. Something about having fresh legs on Sunday. Okay. Makes sense. Guess I'm in a pseudo taper!

I notice that the plan doesn't have any target paces for tempo runs for about another month. I like this for two reasons. No pressure in the short term; I'll just stick with easy runs which are my favorite. Yet there are some confidence building tempo runs closer to the 10K race. Perfect.

One thing that I do need to talk to him about are all these REST days on the calendar. In the past, he has annotated certain days are REST and other days as Rest/Cross Training. This time I don't see the "Rest/Cross-training days. I assume this is an oversight, and I will typically will cross-train unless I know it's really supposed to be a true REST day.

Do you prefer running with a schedule or winging it? I happen to do much better with a well thought out schedule. And his schedules always make more sense than the ones I try to put together for myself. Guess that's why he's the coach instead of me!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A little bit out of the ordinary

I've completed precisely two races this year, a 5K back in February and a half-marathon in April. Oh sure, I had lots of things planned during the summer (a few triathlons and half-marathons come to mind), but my knee was having none of that.

Now that I seem to be back on my feet, I'm putting some semblance of a race schedule together with one race targeted for each month through the end of the year. I was looking for races that are a little bit out of the ordinary. Here is what I'm aiming at:

September: Corrida de Corrales 5K

It is held in conjunction with the Harvest Festival, it's all off-road, and it's close to home. Plus they are giving out running gloves instead of race shirts. The gloves pushed me over the edge when I wasn't sure about running this. I'm treating it as a fun run, though, not going to push it too much.

October: Bosque Boogie 10K:

I've only done a couple of 10Ks and while I really don't care too much for that distance, I do like mixing things up. From the photos I saw from last year, it looks to be a mix of road and trail. I hope it is, because that's the main reason I chose that particular event over a few other options during the month.

November: Veteran's Day 11K:

No that's not a typo. It's an 11K, probably because Veteran's day is on 11/11. Even thought the actual race will be held on the weekend a few days later. Hey, if nothing else, this will be a PR since I've never raced that distance before. Ha!

December: Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis 5K or 10K

This would be my 5th year running. It's a race for a great cause and it's always been a lot of fun. I'll decide which distance when it gets closer, but at the moment I am leaning toward the 5K option. Want to have fun with this one. The first year I ran in a Santa hat. Wonder what I can come up with this time?

Out of the four listed above, the only one that I've actually signed up for is the Corrida de Corrales 5K. The race is this Sunday. Eek! I'm not ready! Oh wait, I said I was treating it as a fun run. Because of the race, I am moving my long run of 7 miles to Friday.

At the moment, I'm looking forward to the long run more than the race. That's mostly because 7-8 miles is my favorite distance in training. I'm sure I'll be more excited about the race when I pick up my packet on Saturday. Either that or I'll panic and freak out because I'm not ready!

Anything a little out of the ordinary on your race schedule?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Solo 10K and new project

No run group today, it was deemed a "run-on-your-own" day which is fine by me. I was out the door at roughly 8:20 for an easy-pace 10K run. I opted to wear a hydration belt instead of carry my hand-held and that worked out well for me. Other than the final six tenths of a mile or so (which was uphill and in the sun - double yuck), I felt terrific. I'm so happy that my knee is cooperating again!

It has come to my attention that I probably have more choices for what to wear for a walk/run than I do for going to work*. And yet I keep buying/wanting more athletic wear.**

What's worse is that my strategy for what to wear to a race is typically "whatever is clean." This has resulted in some less than stellar race photos.

So I've decided to start a self portrait project whereby I snap a photo (using the self timer on my new camera) in whatever outfit I wear to walk the dogs, do yoga, run, bike, or whatever athletic endeavor strikes my fancy for the rest of the month.

Why am I doing this? Well, by the end of the next few weeks I hope to accomplish the art of self-photography plus be able to pick out a few of my best looks to target as race-wear for the future. It's a win-win!

I actually started this project a few days ago and it's turning out to be kinda' fun. I'll probably post all the photos to FB and a sampling to my blog at the end. You'll just have to wait to see what I come up with!

* In my defense, I'm typically in the office 4 days per week, whereas I run/walk/exercise 7 days a week (sometimes twice in one day). It makes perfect sense to me that my athletic wardrobe would exceed my work wardrobe. Ha!

** Seriously, have you seen the preview of what's coming from I'm all over that chocofleur skirt when it becomes available!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

On Goals and such

One of my stated goals for the month is to hit 100+ miles by feet (run+walk). We are now smack dab in the middle of the month. So how am I doing?

drum roll please...

56.2 miles by feet (25.5 running, 30.7 mi walking).

Thank you, knee!! I'm on track!!

I also put a few tentative races on my sidebar earlier in the month, all 5K or 10K options. I've decided that I'm not going to do anything at Chips&Salsa so I will be taking that off my list

Which brings me to an interesting exchange that I had with someone yesterday.

I was walking the dogs up the hill and came across a man who was doing hill repeats. I have walked this route 12 times already this month. Occasionally I see people running or walking up that hill, but I have never seen anyone doing hill repeats there before. So it really caught my attention.

On my way down, I happened to be walking by while he was catching his breath and taking a swig of water. Seemed awkward to pass by without saying anything, so I asked "What are you training for?"

He said "Just for fun."

Huh? Nobody does hill repeats for fun, do they? If you are doing hill repeats, I'm guessing you must be training for something. But whatever. I just kept on walking and left it at that.

After walking another half mile or so, I saw him again. He came running past me he said "Actually, there's a race here in a few weeks"

"Oh yeah, the Corrida de Corrales. I'm thinking about running that too," I responded.

Phew. Well at least I'm not crazy. He *is* training for something. And I am keeping that one on my sidebar for now. But I won't be doing hill repeats for it. LOL.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Two Things Tuesday

Morning Run

I opted to run solo again this morning instead of planning to meet the run group this evening. This time the decision was driven by convenience. The run group evening meeting time has changed from 7pm to 6:30pm and now 6:00pm in the interest of daylight. It's all good, except that it means I would really need to rush after work and that kind of defeats the whole running as therapy thing.

I also chose to run "naked," i.e. no garmin, no watch. I got a little carried away and also left the the house with no handheld. Oops. There's not much to say about the run, other than I went 4 miles easy and loved every moment of it.

JoLynn asked in comments on my last post "Why no photos?" The answer is simple. Husband had left for work already, daughter was sleeping, and I suck at self portraits. I could have had her take one when I got back, but by then I had forgotten about it.

To prove my self portrait suckage, I present the best of about a dozen photos that I took after my run this morning. Enough said.

Side note, the dogs are playing "bite my ear" in the background. It's non-stop with those two!

Speaking of the dogs...

A year ago, in the midst a difficult time in my life, we decided to adopt a 5mo old puppy. He had been rescued along with his mother and siblings at a construction site. I remember saying that he looked like he would be a big boy.

Here he is one year later. He seems to have topped out at ~80lbs.

I'm so glad we took him in. He's turned out to be a wonderful companion, he and Bandit are best buddies, he did great in basic obedience training, and he loves going on walks. :-)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Saturday Seven

Saturday morning I was scheduled to run with my group at 7am. Sounded like a good idea when I set the alarm Friday night, but when the alarm went off at 5:45 I had second thoughts. Most of the group was running eight, I was only running five. At most, I'd have a running partner for 2.5 miles and more likely only the first mile that we all run together because my usual running partner is out of town and the rest of the group is too fast for me. Plus, the weather has really cooled off. It was a brisk 50deg at that time of morning, but was only expected to be 60deg by 9am and 66 by 10am. No rush to beat the heat. I turned off the alarm, rolled over, and went back to sleep.

I woke up on my own closer to 7am. Had a leisurely breakfast & coffee and made it out the door for my solo run by 8:30am. I decided to debut the mini dots skirt and strappy top that had arrived in the mail Friday. And since it was about 55deg when I left the house, I added a long sleeve technical top for the first few miles. Sorry, no photos! Just trust me, it is a very cute ensemble. I know this for certain because when I got back home later in the morning, even my teenage daughter commented on how cute I looked. :-)

One of the benefits of running solo is that I can start my run from home, no driving required. Another benefit is that I can run my own pace; no artificial pressure. I took it at an easy pace and had no problems at all with my knee. In fact, I felt like I could have kept going. Next week, I will try running six easy and see how it works out.

Cooled down and had a snack when I got home. Then got the leashes and took the dogs for a walk up and back down my hill for 2 more miles. That makes seven miles total by feet and no knee pain. In my book, Saturday morning was a huge success!

[I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge September 11th. I know that it is an emotional time for many people. For me, it's now tangled up with the anniversary of my father's death (on the 10th last year). It was really good that I could get out and run today. That's really all I want to say about that.]

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1 - One of my goals for the month is to log 100+ miles by feet. I thought this was going to be easy until my knee decided to act up again. I need just over 3.3 miles per day on average to hit that number. I was counting on running 4s 3x week, walking 4 1x, and walking 2 sx. Now the running 4s is questionable. It takes FOREVER to walk so I don't know if I'll hit the magic number unless running is in the mix. Stupid knee. Which brings me to plans for today. I'm supposed to run this afternoon, but I'm thinking it may be wiser to walk and give it another day to recover before trying to run again.

2 - I bit the bullet and ordered the black mini dots running skirt from RunningSkirts. It was just too cute not to own. Now I'm tracking my package obsessively. Any of you do that? I'm guessing it will arrive Saturday. By the way, even if I need to take another break from running, skirts make great dog-walking wear. I'm quite certain that I'm the best-dressed dog-walker out in our neighborhood sometimes. :-)

3 - When my kids were little, I used to make their halloween costumes. Then they got older and wanted store bought ones. Then last year, Son asked me to help him sew up a Rorschach mask. I love little sewing projects like that! Well, this weekend is the Homecoming Dance at my daughter's HS. She wasn't happy with any of the dresses that she found shopping and decided to have me alter one for her. It was a fairly simple change. I made it strapless and it's much cuter on her that way. She also found a casual dress on clearance mark-down because it needs mending (it will be an easy repair). One of these days I should do a little sewing project for myself!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Within the past 24 hours I walked 4.2 miles, cycled 27, and ran 4. I would be happy about that, but now I'm wondering if I over did it, because the last mile of my run consisted of a lot of walking thanks to a recurrence of knee pain. It seemed to hit me out of nowhere. Maybe I did too much in too short a time. Or maybe it was the cycling.

I'd be lying if I said that this experience this morning wasn't discouraging. And it seems downright unfair sometimes. Why do I struggle with this stupid knee issue? Why can't it happen to someone who is perfectly happy sitting on the couch?

Then I thought about someone we saw yesterday while we were out riding. It was a guy with one leg. Out on the trail. Riding a bike. Just imagine how difficult it would be to cycle one legged the whole way. A lot of people would give up or not even try, but there he was. And he has a big grin on his face.

Then I thought about my own situation. Here I was, out run/walking on a beautiful morning. Sure, my knee is bothering me, but I'm out here. So I smiled.

Right about then I passed the house of a neighbor with Parkinson's disease. He was taking his garbage can out to the curb while walking with a cane. I was running by (slowly) with a smile on my face.

Guess what he said to me?

He said, "What a nice way to start your day."

And he was right.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Seeing Progress

Had a good run with the group last night. I was actually able to keep up with someone else for a change. I think I'm getting my stamina back!

I downloaded the data this morning and noticed some nice improvement in the 4 mile run times that I've captured on my Garmin over the past few weeks. While they all aren't exactly 4.00 miles, they are close enough. It's clear that my body is slowly re-adjusting to running again:

42:35 * [Edited to add Saturday morning's run, progress continues!]

I'm sticking with fours for another week. Perhaps after that, I can start building up my mileage. Even if I'm not training for anything, I'd be very happy to have my weekend runs get up in the 7-8 mile range. That is my favorite distance for some reason.

Have a great weekend everyone! I have a long weekend, but nothing special planned because Husband will be working. No worries, I'll find ways to enjoy my free time. I'm going to start it off with a nice long walk with the dogs. :-)