Monday, February 28, 2011

Feb Tally & ABCs of Me

Feb Numbers:
  • 67.7 miles by feet (49.4 mi running, 13.3 miles walking)
  • 1 5K PR!
  • 2 treadmill runs
  • 4 group runs
  • several solo runs
  • 1 cranky knee
  • several missed runs
  • extra rest/ice days
  • 4 yoga sessions
  • 2 half hours snow shoveling
  • 1 weekend get-away
  • 1 dog on antibiotics
  • Still really pleased about my 5K PR
  • Equally displeased about my cranky knee
  • "Go with the flow" - cut back mileage, ice and rest
  • Rework half-marathon training plan and try get to the finish line with a smile.
ABCs of me:
  • (A) Age: 46
  • (B) Bed Size: King
  • (C) Chore You Really Dislike: Laundry - it never ends!
  • (D) Dogs? Bandit & Stymie. Also have two cats.
  • (E) Essential Start Your Day: Coffee!!
  • (F) Favorite Color: I love rich brown colors
  • (G) Gold or Silver? Yellow Gold or I actually prefer pieces with mixed metals (yellow & white both)
  • (H) Height: 5'5 1/2"
  • (I) Instruments You Play: IPod/CD player. LOL
  • (J) Job Title: Software Process Architect/Engineer
  • (K) Kids: Son, age 19 & Daughter, age 17
  • (L) Live: Corrales, NM
  • (M) Mom's Name: Jackie
  • (N) Nicknames: Mom, some relatives call me Lee, most people call me Lisa
  • (O) Overnight Hospital Stays? three times - one for tonsils and one each for childbirth
  • (P) Pet Peeve: Picking up after others
  • (Q) Quote from a Movie: "I don't like that cat, he reads minds" - from Ice Age. It's funnier in context
  • (R) Right or Left Handed? LEFT!
  • (S) Siblings: 1 older sister.
  • (T) Time You Wake Up? ~6am
  • (U) Underwear: Yes.
  • (V) Vegetable You Dislike: Brussel Sprouts
  • (W) What Makes You Run Late: laziness
  • (X) X-Rays: multiple times each for knee, fingers, elbow, teeth, spine
  • (Y) Yummy Food You Make: Apple Pie
  • (Z) Zoo, Favorite Animal: Zebras

Saturday, February 26, 2011

"Long Run"

Friday's test run was the route up and down my hill. Just from looking at the splits, it's not too obvious that anything was wrong. In fact, I think that's the fastest I've come down the hill all winter. And I wasn't really trying to run fast, just tried to run comfortably

What I learned on the test run, was that my knee bothered my on the way up. But didn't hurt at all on the way down. That's got to be a clue.

Based on that observation, I decided to give it a go for my long run this morning. I was originally planning to run 10. I had already decided to cut back and try for 8-9 instead. Also decided that I would walk any uphill portions. And if my knee started to bother my on the flats, I would stop immediately and walk the rest of the way in.

I planned to meet my running buddies about 2 miles into their run. Based on their planned distance, that would give me about 9 miles to play with. And part of our route was going to be on dirt, which is a big plus for me.

Our coach was running with the others in the group who had shorter distances planned, then would come out to meet us on our way back.

Everything seemed to be going according to plan. I was a little disturbed to find that my knee bothered me even walking the uphills. That's not a good sign. When Coach met up with us at about mile 5, he commented that he could tell that my knee was acting up as soon as he saw me running, even from a distance. That's not a good sign either.

When I got to about 7.5 miles, my knee started to ache even on flats. Just as I had promised myself, I stopped running and walked the rest of the way in. So I ended the morning with ~7.5 miles running and 1.8 miles walking.

My running splits aren't very encouraging either. I'm guessing the slowing down trend is mostly related to whatever is going on to my knee and is not a sign of my fitness level. I really didn't feel particularly tired or sluggish.

So where does that leave me? Well, for starters I'm icing it as I type. I've taken the 10 mile race off my calendar. I'll be scaling back my activity for the next few weeks. I'll call the orthopedic and try to make an appointment for right after the half marathon.

I'm discouraged that this is happening right when my running was going so well, but it reminds me that my main goal is to be able to run feeling good and cross the finish line with a smile on my face. If that means shorter distances for now, so be it. It sure beats not running at all.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Not this again...

I haven't run since last Friday. As I mentioned in my last post, we were in Pagosa Springs for the weekend. My knee was bothering me. I thought maybe it was from the snow storm coming through. Plus we spent a lot of time soaking in the hot springs, which is probably the opposite of what I should do when my knee is bothering me (should ice it).

Well, we've been home since Monday afternoon/evening and it's continued to bother me. A few days ago, I noticed that it was crunchy again. This is not a good sign.

If you've followed my blog for a while, you know that I have a recurring issue with my left knee. The Euflexxa injections help a lot, and technically I could go back in for another round already. I hope that I'm not at that point because it would also mean that it's time for another break. And I really don't want to take a break quite yet. I'd be a lot happier if I could get through this half-marathon cycle first.

If nothing else, I've learned that nothing good comes from running when my knee is acting up. Sometimes running on it makes my knee worse. Other times it affects my gait and I end up hurting something else. Been there, done that. So, I've been a good girl and have been letting it rest.

Anyway, this weekend I'm scheduled for a ten miler, which is really only important if I wan to do the ten mile race in a few weeks. But I can cut back the mileage if I need to, and still be okay for the half-marathon. So the plan is to test out the knee with a short (2-3 mile) run today. If that goes okay, I'll join the running group Saturday morning and see what I can do...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up

Friday afternoon I went out for my 8 mile long run. Solo. I really don't care for running anything over 6 miles solo, but I didn't want to miss my long run and we had plans to go out of town for the weekend. So solo it was. And it was a nice enough day that I was actually running in a skirt, compression socks, and a short sleeve shirt. No tights, no jacket, no long sleeves. Spring-like weather was in the air.

We woke up early Saturday morning to drop the dogs off at the kennel. I kennel them at a place that has doggy day care, which is something they absolutely love. So it was like the dogs were going on a vacation too. Then we finished packing and started our road trip.

We were heading to Pagosa Springs, which is in Southern Colorado. It's about a 4 hour scenic drive through Northern New Mexico. As we drove north, the spring-like weather was replaced with winter and there was snow on the ground. I made a mental note to take some photos on the trip home. It really was interesting watching the landscape change.

The Springs Resort is on the San Juan river. They have 23 hot spring pools on the grounds. We must have gone for a soak at least three times on the day we arrived. So relaxing! On Sunday, Husband spent the day skiing at Wolf Creek. I started my day off by a nature walk along the river. My knee was bothering me and I wonder if it was because of the snow storm that was passing through. Daughter and I explored the shops of Pagosa Springs and spent some time at the day spa (salt scrub is my new favorite treatment). We also saw some brave/crazy souls jumping in the the San Juan River. Brrrr.

Then I got a call from the kennel. That's never a good thing. My older dog, Bandit, was peeing blood and wimpering. I did not handle that news very well. Since this was happening Sunday evening, they were going to try to have him seen by a vet Monday. We decided to leave early enough to make it home in time to pick the dogs back up Monday afternoon instead of Tuesday morning.

I was happy to get a call back late Monday morning telling me that it had actually cleared up and he appeared in good spirits so they weren't going to take him to the vet after all. I was extremely relieved that he got better instead of worse. Right now he's home with me and we have an appt for the vet to see him tomorrow. I'm wondering if maybe he passed a stone?

All in all, it was a nice weekend get-away (except for Bandit's troubles). I took a few photos while we were there and also remembered to take some photos on the drive home, but you'll have to check on FB to see them if you are interested.

Back to the grind tomorrow...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thoughts from the night-stand

It's 4:00am and I should be sleeping. I often have difficulties sleeping and don't know why. This time, I had a disturbing dream and couldn't get back to sleep. After tossing and turning for an hour and a half, I decided to get up and do something.

Anyway, Sunday's 5K was intended to be a fun run on my way to the Zoo Half Marathon. Next potential race on the schedule is a 10-miler that is 3.5 short weeks away. I haven't signed up for it yet and probably won't make a final decision on it for another 3 weeks. After that, I'm thinking of doing a 10K in April. Then the Half-Marathon on May 1.

I've been trying to figure out what went right on Sunday. Maybe it was the winter running. Maybe it's fact that I'm not injured for a change. Maybe it was the cake in the morning Maybe it was a relaxed attitude. Probably a combination of the above.

I plugged the results into the MacMillan race calculator and had several observations.

1) My long/easy paces are right on. It always seems like I'm running too slow, but apparently not. That's good to know.
2) Macmillan predicts that I could run a 10K in 58:30. I don't know about that, but I'm definitely hoping to break an hour next time.
3) Macmillan predicts a 2:10:00 Half Marathon. To be honest, If I can get trained up and achieve anything under 2:15:00, I'd be happy.
4) Macmillan suggests tempo runs in the 9:30-9:55 range. That sounds difficult to me. It also has something that it calls steady-state runs that are 9:55-10:12. That sounds more achievable. I'm not sure what the difference is between tempo and steady-state is. Does Anyone know?

Ran 4.5 miles solo on Monday with another half-mile walking. Ran 4.0 miles with the group after work yesterday. That makes three days in a row of running with the race on Sunday. Surprisingly, I feel okay. But today I will 'rest' and do yoga.

Okay, enough rambling for now. I'm going to try to get back to sleep. My alarm doesn't go off until 5:45. I can almost guarantee that I'll be sleeping soundly when it goes off and won't want to get up. Isn't that how it always goes?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sweetheart Run 5K

Today Husband & I ran the Sweetheart Run. We've done this one many times because it's always near our birthdays. This year Husband was running in his brand new age group (50-59) and I was running on my actual birthday.

After the crazy cold weather we've had in the last few weeks, I was happy to see that it would be about 30deg at race time. The race started at 9am, which gave me time for a little extra treat (leftover cake) after breakfast. I joked that it might give me an extra kick near the finish line, and it might have just worked:

I'll skip the rest of the race details and cut to the chase. My Garmin says 28:05, which is well over two minutes faster than my time at this race last year. The icing on the cake? I beat my 5K PR from way back in 2006 by 43 seconds!!!! Un-freaking-believable!!!!!

How does that make me feel? They say that a picture's worth a thousand words, and this one says it all:

It's worth noting, Husband had a great race as well and got 2nd in his new AG. :-)

I was 4th of 26 F40-49, which makes me very happy don't get me wrong, but darn, so close to getting bling of my own...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Captain Obvious saves the day!

"If it's cold outside in the morning, wait until it warms up."

I really wanted to run outside on Friday rather than succumb to the treadmill yet again, but it was 17deg or so in the morning. Checked out the weather forecast and saw that it was expected to get to ~45deg in the afternoon. So I planned my day to allow running in the afternoon.

I'm happy to say that my run occurred outside on a dirt trail. Yes!

"Long runs tire you out. Not a good idea 2 days before a race."

Overall, I didn't do a very good job sticking to my training schedule this week. I was supposed to run 4 miles total on Thursday with 1 mile at 10K pace. That didn't happen at all. Rather than skip yet another run, I decided to run long on Friday. I actually wanted to run 8.0 miles on Friday, but finally listed to those wiser than myself and ran 6.2 miles easy instead.

Okay, so it would have been better to do the prescribed run on Thursday instead of this longer run on Friday, but at least I didn't go too far or too fast.

"The key to negative splits is to start off slow and then speed up."

It always sounds so simple, but is never easy to implement. I'm not sure about you, but I'm not so good at pacing in general. Add to the mix a tendency to start out too fast, and it ends up being difficult to pick up the pace after putting several miles on the legs.

I made a concerted effort to start out slow and managed to pull off negative splits while sticking with easy paces overall. From that perspective, the run was a success.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Back-up Plan

Runners have different opinions on a lot of things. One of those things is the treadmill. I'm in the "hate the treadmill" camp. Last year I ran one and only one time on a treadmill. That's how much I dislike them.

Having said that, I *am* training for a half-marathon. And the weather is *not* cooperating. It's time to make a tough decision. Do I despise treadmills enough to sabotage my half-marathon training? Or can I tolerate it as a back-up plan while the weather isn't playing nice? Decided to find out.

Monday morning I packed up some running clothes with the plan to stop at the gym after work on my way home. Unfortunately, I forgot to pack my ipod. There wasn't any music playing at the gym, so I found myself slogging away silently on the dreaded machine. After what seemed like an eternity, I checked the distance. 0.75 miles. Are you kidding me?!? Is this thing some sort of time machine? Anyway, I finally made it to 2.0 miles and just couldn't take it anymore.

At that point I was ready to swear off treadmills for good. Maybe I do hate treadmill running enough to sabotage my half-marathon training. But I decided to be fair, I really ought to give it another chance, this time with music. Reluctantly packed up my running clothes again Tuesday morning. This time I was darn sure to toss the ipod into the bag. Stopped at the gym on my way home from work. And I must say, my Tuesday treadmill experience was more tolerable. Although not necessarily because I brought my ipod.

The thing about the gym at work is that the elliptical machines, treadmills, and spin bikes are all in the same room. I was probably 5 minutes into my run when some lady came bouncing into the room energetically. She started messing with some speakers, a microphone, and turned on some music. It didn't take long for me to realize that she was preparing to teach SPIN class.

I turned up the volume on my music and kept plodding away. Students started showing up. Soon she cranked up the volume on her music and class began. Glanced down at the treadmill. I was roughtly 2 miles into my run in at this point.

I gave up on my music (I would have gone deaf trying to drown her out). This lady was LOUD. She was telling them to breathe. Telling them to count.Randomly screaming out words to the song. Grunting. I sweat it sounded like she was giving birth. I played with my speed a little while she was telling them to change resistance or increase cadence. Didn't really care for that, but it was a distraction. Glanced at the treadmill. 3.5 miles done. Half mile to go. Yes!

Stuck it out for another half mile while she led them through a few more drills, then decreased my speed for a short cool down. When it was all said and done, 4.1 miles were accomplished.

I still don't like the treadmill. Clearly, my preference would be for the weather to cooperate with my schedule so that I could simply resume outdoor running. But it's good to have a back-up plan. At this point, I know that I *can* get through a 4.0 mile run on a treadmill. At least during SPIN class.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Back to our regularly scheduled program

Weather took a turn for the better. We're expecting a high in the low 40s today. Gas company is working on restoring service to those who have gone without for several days. Things are slowly getting back to normal.

However, the running group canceled today. Luckily, our small group of winter warriors agreed to meet a little later (at 10am instead of 8am) when it was supposed to be in the mid-twenties. The three others were running 10, I met them a mile into their run and did 8.

I was glad to get out there, but this run was a struggle. I hadn't run all week, and that's never a good thing. The bigger problem is that they were running at a faster pace that I could maintain. A mile in, I decided to drop back. I would have been okay running solo, but one of them stayed with me. I felt good about the run overall because I was still able to kick it up a notch at the end. I always like it when I can finish strong.

Next weekend is the Sweetheart Run. At this point, I'm not feeling very confident about being able to run 'fast' for a 5K. I think I'm going to try to run long on Friday and let the 5K be what it may. After all, I'll be running that one on my birthday, and I can't think of a better way to celebrate another year on this earth.

Have a great weekend folks. And stay warm!

Med accountability:
Sun: 2 mile hill walk
Mon: 1.2 mile walk, yoga
Tue: yoga
Wed: yoga, 30min snow shoveling, yoga
Thu: yoga
Fri: nada :-(
Sat: 8 mile run, 0.5 mile walk

Friday, February 4, 2011

State of Emergency

I realize that everyone is tired of talking about the weather, but I don't think most people realize how bad things are in NM right now. We've had some of the coldest days on record, it was -9 when I woke up yesterday. And that was one of the warmer areas of the state. It started off as a somewhat of a novelty, but things got really bad really fast.

The problem is that the unusual cold temperatures combined with rolling blackouts in neighboring states has caused demand for natural gas to exceed the available supply. As a result, residents in some of the coldest part of the state (-20s) have been without natural gas to heat their homes. Water lines are freezing and pipes are bursting.

Just think about that for a moment. This situation has certainly caused me to take pause and be thankful for things that I normally take for granted.

The governor declared a state of emergency yesterday. Government offices, private businesses, schools are closed to conserve gas. Residents have been asked to turn down the thermostats 10deg. Today it's actually supposed to get above freezing for a few hours. That's a good thing, but I think it will be several days before things get back to normal

I haven't been running. A combination of icy roads, frigid temps, and the uncertainty of whether a warm shower is even going to be possible has kept me inside. And while we're being urged to conserve energy, I certainly don't need to be doing extra loads of laundry for sweaty running clothes.

Perhaps training will resume next week, but it's no big deal either way. Honestly, my training schedule is fairly unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New Yoga DVDs in my collection

When I gave away two of my least favorite yoga DVDs, I replaced them in my collection with two others. Ended up getting two more from Ana & Ravi, just because it's what I'm accustomed to. Plus I like that they come chaptered with a design your own workout option where you can pick and choose the sections to do on any particular day.

The first one that I got was "Fat Free Yoga - Lose Weight, Feel Great". This happens to be their best selling DVD, and was only $12 on Amazon, so I figured what the heck. My assessment, two thumbs up with a disclaimer. If you are looking for a relaxing yoga dvd, this is not the one for you. But if you are looking for a way to get in some upper and lower body work and some low impact cardio while improving flexibility then you might like this. My arms and abs hurt the day after doing this (in a good way), and it gets my heart rate up. Seems like a reasonable alternative to circuit work at the gym.

The second one that I got was "Yoga for Beginners and Beyond" not to be confused with "Kundalini Yoga for Beginners and Beyond" which I already have. They say this is a combination of Hatha Yoga, Power Yoga, and Kundalini Yoga. I'm guessing that yoga purists wouldn't like this at all. Doesn't bother me though. I like this one for stretching, strengthening, and balance. I find it to be a particularly good "after workout" on days that I run.

Now excuse me as I roll out my yoga mat...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuesday Two

1) The weather decided to play some cruel joke on us. It was 57 deg on Sunday. Then the threat of rain on Monday. Now this. It does not go unnoticed that the worst day is on Feb 2, Ground Hogs day. If I was Punxsutawney Phil, I wouldn't even bother to come out of my hole until Thursday.

2) When life gives you snow and ice, stay inside and do yoga! School is on a 2 hour delay because of icy conditions (based on the weather forecast, I wouldn't be surprised if they end up closed today and tomorrow), so the brief thought of heading out to the gym for a dreaded treadmill run was even less appealing than usual. Besides, I realized during my January stats that my half-marathon training actually got off to an early start due to a change in my target race, so I have already stopped fretting about getting in all my scheduled runs this week.