Saturday, July 30, 2011

Week 2 Training Summary

Another week of training is done! Good thing I'm working tomorrow because I would otherwise be tempted to skip my rest day and make up the yoga session I missed yesterday due to shoulder pain. I vaguely remember feeling a pop in my shoulder/upper back area on Thursday while lifting weights. It didn't hurt terribly and I didn't really notice it again until I tried to sleep that night. Then it bothered me on my early morning (5:30!) run on Friday. I already had an appointment with my chiropractor so that was handy. He said it was a displaced rib head and nearly killed me adjusted it back into place. I was more sore after the adjustment than before but I feel good today. At any rate, I knew there was no way I could tolerate doing any downward dogs yesterday so I skipped yoga. I didn't exactly nail my training plan due to heat and pain, but I had 2 solid runs between my speedwork and the early morning trail run today, which ended up being my longest run due to cutting short my 9 miler on Monday night. We ended up doing one loop, which my Garmin called 7.09 miles. There were 9 women from the run club who met at the park. We all pretty much ran our own pace, maybe breaking into 2 smaller groups, but then meeting back up as a big group every mile or so. I enjoyed the trails. There were some areas of open fields, but the majority gave us shade in the trees. Whoever said running is cheap exercise was a liar. I spend so much money on my running gear and race fees! At least my trail shoes were/will be free (whenever they arrive!), but now I need a backpack for water. I carried my handheld bottle and wore my Amphipod belt. I'd gotten used to it when I was wearing it so much but I've been carrying water and using my Spibelt for my phone and now the Amphipod bugs the crap out of me. I think my hips are too big and my natural waist is so high that it just won't stay snug unless I wear it right below my boobs (which then makes me look like an 80 year old runner). I was worried that I might tear my Lululemon skirts or my favorite (and only) pair of running shorts, so I wore my turquoise Nike running skirt that's ok but I don't love. I was thinking I looked like Punky Brewster in all of my brightness, but one of the other girls more accurately pegged it- Rainbow Brite.

I finished the week with 20.36 miles over 4 runs. A little lower than planned, but I'm ok with that. I also got in 2 strength training sessions and a core class.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Did IT!

"IT" being this week's speedwork. My plan called for 2 x 1 mile @ 8:25 pace. That's 7.1 MPH on the treadmill with a 1% incline. That's super scary for this girl who is still scared of punching in 6.0 on the speed. Speed workouts are probably better on the track so you can feel yourself push for the speed (and maybe even pleasantly surprise yourself by running faster) but that wasn't an option today. The good thing about the treadmill, though, is that you can dial in the speed and know that as long as you slap your own hands away from the speed buttons, you'll hit the goal pace.

I chose the Woodway treadmills on the other side of the gym. Those are supposed to be better for you, but my number one reason for choosing them was that they're closer to the bathrooms. 8:25 seems awfully close to puke pace. ;)

I did a half mile warm up (perhaps it should have been a full mile, I don't really know, but I felt warm after the half mile so I went with it). Then it was time to crank it up. Immediately my lungs and legs began a dialogue with my brain...

Lungs & Legs: This sucks. 400's will be fine. That's still a speed workout.
Brain: No, you did that last week. I'll meet you halfway, though. How about 800's? But you still have to do the 2 miles of speedwork.
Lungs & Legs: Awesome. We love you, Brain!
... now with 800 complete...
Brain: Guess what, girls? You can do this- keep running! Do what you always have and get what you've always got!!! You have a sub-2 half to run.
Lungs & Legs: B!+**

It hurt. Badly. I was so glad when my mile was finished. I walked for a 1/4 mile then dialed it in again. Pretty much the same conversation took place between my lungs, legs, and brain. At one point a girl hopped on the treadmill next to me and must have been running the same pace or close to it. I tried to distract myself by running "with" her. Maybe she only planned to run for a couple minutes, maybe that treadmill sucked, maybe the sounds of me sucking wind was too much for her- but she left before my mile was over.

I walked another 1/4 mile, then finished with half a mile at 10:30 pace, which feels A LOT easier after running 8:25 pace. My total distance was 3.5 miles at right around 37 minutes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Long Run Suspended

Last night I met with 4 other women from NTX Runners for a 9 mile run. In the winter I checked the weather like I was an 80 year old woman. Multiple. Times. A. Day. !!! I don't bother in the summer because it's all the same. 20-something days straight over 100 degrees, and that's all I need to know. It's hot. So I don't even know if it was hotter last night or more humid or what, but something was different. We all had a tough time. We lost one friend after the first loop (3.35 miles) and another was feeling faint toward the end of the loop but wanted to keep running. We all agreed to slow our pace after that but it didn't get any better. I didn't feel like I was sweating as much as I should have been on the 2nd loop which was concerning for heat stroke so I decided there would be no 3rd loop. Everyone else was fine with that- we all struggled. If I die of heat stroke, it won't matter that I did the long run, because there won't be a race. I finished with 6.7 miles in 1:15:xx. Average pace was something like 11:15. We're going to run trails on Saturday morning, so maybe I can make up the long run mileage then.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Custom Orthotics for Running?

This morning I saw the other doctor at my chiropractor's office. I guess he's more into feet and soft tissue work. He evaluated my feet and legs and pretty much the only problem he found was that my right IT band is a little tight compared to the left. I'm having zero pain in my feet, ankles, legs, hips. Nothing. But he recommended custom orthotics. I asked why and the answer seemed to be "because it's better for your feet/legs and your running in general." But I don't have any pain, so why fix something that's not broken? Does anyone else wear orthotics? Why? Do they help you? How?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sub-2 Half Marathon Week 1 Review

I made it through week 1 of my 10 week plan. I got in my 4 runs, 1 core class, 1 yoga class, and 2 strength training sessions over 6 days and I took one day off from everything (well, I actually worked at the job that pays me). I posted my Monday-Wednesday workouts in my "Three Things Thursday" post.

On Thursday I did strength training, which was great. I like lifting weights. I increased the weight on about half of my exercises.

I worked on Saturday, but a group of moms from my friend's Baby Bootcamp franchise were meeting at 6am to run 5 miles. I decided I could join them and still make it to work on time if I showered at our gym rather than driving all the way home. I participated in this program when my kids were younger and it was called StrollerFit. I knew a few of the moms and one other former member also came out for the run. We ended up running together for about the first 3 miles. She is FAST. I was breathing heavy and she wasn't, but I knew it was good for me to hang with her for as long as I could. After about 3 miles I needed a walk break so I waved her on. I ran 5.1 miles in 51:13 (average pace 10:03). My fastest mile was 9:25. It felt like we were hauling ass, so it baffles me that I will be able to run 13.1 miles at a pace 20 seconds faster! But I know that the temperature plays a huge role in my performance right now. I trust my plan!

Today I went to yoga. I really liked the instructor- she was a sub. She was tough. There were no child's pose breaks!!! Class also ran long at about an hour and 20 minutes. I know my hips are very tight but she took us through some poses that made me realize just how tight they really are. But we did some good stretches that I'll have to incorporate to help loosen up through the hips.

I'm looking forward to week 2! I have 3 runs planned with women from my run club. The only one I have to do by myself is speedwork.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Half Marathon

I've gone back and forth on this race several times... half marathon - 10k - half marathon - 10k.

Half marathon. And yes, that's my final answer. I registered for the 10k, then I'm not sure who convinced whom, but a friend and I agreed to run the half together, so the difference in registration fees is in the mail. This will be my second half marathon.

On August 14th, I'm going to run the Hottest Half with several friends (because misery loves company). I am NOT racing. I'm in it to finish without medical intervention. This race was featured in Runner's World this month, in an article that discussed surviving racing in the heat. The medal is HOT and I can't wait to have it hang from my medal display... love the flames!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Three Things Thursday

I finally got on Daily Mile, so I've been posting my workouts there but not in detail here. I'm going to use TTT as my way to catch up this week. Training has been going great. I'm really happy the way it's starting.

1- (Monday) I did 2 rotations of my strength training circuit then ran 4 miles on the treadmill at my prescribed pace of 10:30. It wasn't easy but I wasn't dying either. 

2- (Tuesday) I did a 30 minute core class with group fitness at the gym in the morning. I posted my planned 8 mile long run on the members page for my run club and ended up with 6 other women joining me at night. We dropped the run/walk intervals from last week. Our route has a turnaround point at just over 2 miles, so we'd run almost continuously (stopping for lights or to allow everyone to catch back up since it was dark) and rest for a few minutes at the turnaround points. I did switch my Garmin to auto pause, so those breaks aren't included in the times. We ran a total of 8.3 miles in 1:34:24 with an average pace of 11:23. My fastest mile was 10:49 and slowest was 11:49.

3- (Wednesday) The run club had an organized speedwork session, which got me out of that scary tempo run that my plan called for. It comes back for me in a couple weeks, so it's not like I can avoid it forever. Jake and I ran together while the kids played with some other children of run club parents inside the track. I set my watch to 0.25 mile intervals with 1 minute walk breaks between. I jogged 2 laps each for a warm up and cool down. My total time was 29:25 with 2.95 miles. I used the McMillan calculator to get an idea for what times I should be aiming for. My 5k PR said something like 2:00 - 2:08. Out of curiosity I punched in a 1:59:59 half marathon and it said 1:54-2:00. I'm not really sure which times I should use- it kinda makes sense to me to try and hit the times for my goal half marathon. At any rate...
#1- 2:00
#2- 1:55
#3- 1:54
#4- 1:53
#5- 2:03
#6- 1:48

I'm really happy with those times. I got a little faster each time and hit the goal paces, other than that 5th interval.  After 3 days of running, my legs are ready for the next 2 days off from running.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I Won!

I usually catch up on blogs at night, but I didn't read blogs last night since I didn't get home until almost 11 after running 8.3 with the girls from North Texas Runners. When I woke up this morning I had a comment on my blog from somebody who found me because I won the giveaway Tall Mom on the Run was hosting for $100 towards a pair of Brooks shoes at Awesome!!! I was so jealous when Pam commented on her blog yesterday about the wide toe box on her new Brooks Ghost 4's and one of my friends was wearing Ghost 4's on our run last night. Ghost 4's have been on my brain since I was told about them a couple months ago before they were out. But I can't make my final selection until I go to the running store and try on my options. I shop online for anything and everything way too much stuff, but I've been groomed to go to the running store and be properly fitted. So hopefully I'll get a chance to do that with my free time during Babysitter Thursday so I can order my new Brooks shoes!

I studied the pictures of shoes in pretty colors the list of Brooks shoes available at and found a few options:

1- There's the Brooks Mach 3 Spikeless. It's purple. All of my running shoes are and have been blue. I can't help but be drawn to something prettier! Cool racing shoe. I've never bought any of those. Am I fast enough or competitive enough to warrant a racing shoe? Do you wear racing shoes for a sub-2 half marathon?(because that's pretty much all I care about right now) But maybe the answer to whether I should have a racing shoe is no- because it only comes in regular widths, as do all of the Brooks racing shoes. Hmmm. Fat feet can't be fast, apparently. Maybe it has nothing to do with fast twitch muscle fibers. I have a new study for somebody to do... fat footed fast runners- do they exist?
2- Then there's also the Brooks Adrenaline ASR 8. Another pretty option. Pink and gray. But it's gray because it's a trail shoe! So I ran trails one time when I thought it was hot, but it wasn't really hot, because NOW it's HOT. But the girls at NTX Runners are into trails and I have my first trail date next weekend. So I might be needing some trail shoes, huh?

3- And then there's the Brooks Ghost 4. What I've coveted for months but never actually tried on. Guess what color it comes in? Blue. Well, it comes in a green, but not for wide feet and unless the overall fit of this shoe is just plenty wide, I'll probably need the fat foot color.
So I'll plan on going by the running store after my pedicure and chiropractor appointment tomorrow. I can't wait to post which ones I choose!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sub-2 Half Marathon Plan

Today is the start of my half marathon training plan. My race is the Heels & Hills & Him Half Marathon on September 25th. I'm already registered. This will be my first attempt at a sub-2 half marathon. I expect that it will still be pretty warm so I'm not placing all of my eggs in this basket. I have quite a few more half marathons on my schedule this fall/winter/early spring (at present moment there are 4) and I'm certain I'll be able to get the sub-2 at least once at one of these races. But at the same time, I'm going to use a sub-2 training plan with some modifications. It's a 10 week plan with 4-5 runs each week. The longest run is 13 miles and the highest weekly mileage is 30. The long runs call for a 10:30 pace, which I believe I can do in cooler temperatures, but is really not comfortable in 90 degree (plus) temperatures. So, I'm giving myself the leeway to make those runs a comfortable pace. I will still push my hardest to achieve the paces the plan calls for on the speed workouts and other runs, especially when using the treadmill.

This plan was published in Runner's World  in August 2010. Dimity (co-author of Run Like a Mother) used this plan and ran a 1:52:14. It's easy to find the article by searching online, but for some reason finding the training plan that ran at the end of the article is super difficult. Here's a link to the actual article and plan online if you want to read the entire article or can't see my screenshot of the plan very well:
Sub-2 Half Marathon Article and Training Plan

The days that I complete each run (and also squeeze in core and strength training and yoga) will be different than the plan because I have to fit them into our funky work schedules but I figured nobody really cares what days I do the plan, but they might want to see the bones of a sub-2 plan.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Loving Running Buddies

Last night I messaged a girl from my running club who lives nearby to see if she might want to join me for 4 miles this morning. She did! Another friend of hers (who also lives nearby) had already asked her to run, so the three of us ran together. There's a short cut that goes between our neighborhoods, so we met there and ran an easy route that I often do from my house. I ended up running 5.5 miles by the time I was back home (could/would have been more but I decided to walk the 3/4-1 mile from my house to our meeting spot). I wouldn't have gotten out of bed to run if not for meeting these girls, but the warm up walk still did me some good. I didn't stop my watch for any street crossings or our stop at McDonald's to refill water bottles and we did some run/walk intervals , so the pace was a little slower. My total time was 1:06:42 with an average pace of 12:07. I'm usually not so consistent with pace but miles 2, 3, and 4 were 12:06, 12:07, and 12:06.

My total weekly mileage was 21.1 which is far more than I've run in a couple of months. My pace is slower than my plan calls for when I run with the groups, but it's so much more comfortable and it helps me enjoy the runs... which in the long run (ha) will make me happier than a sub-2 half. Which will still happen sometime this fall/winter. I look back at my times from cooler weather and I frequently hit the times I need to be getting now. I'm going to follow this plan for the next 10 weeks with some modifications as I need to make them, and maybe by the time I run my September 1/2 I can pick up the plan again and work harder at hitting the prescribed paces since it'll start to be cooler outside.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Scared of Speed

I have a long standing fear of speed, mostly when punched into the treadmill. I remember when I thought a 10 minute mile was unachievable, but I ran my half marathon at a pace of 9:49, so it's not unachievable. It's a mental block. But even now, punching 6.0 into the treadmill is scary. I'm instantly filled with self doubt and fear of failure.

My training plan calls for a 5 mile run with 3 miles at 8:54 pace in the very first week. I've been scared of that run since I laid eyes on this plan over 1 month ago. My 5k PR pace was 8:50, and I'm supposed to tack another mile on before and after repeating that performance? Fear. I keep telling myself that the pace is a goal. It's OK if I don't hit it. What's the worst that'll happen? I just need to aim for that pace but if I have to slow down so I can get those 3 miles in at a tempo pace or take walk breaks between each mile, so be it. But that's next week.

Today I did a 30 minute core class at the gym before hitting the treadmill for a mini tempo run- sort of a mental prep for next week. Since I will be using the treadmill more than I'd like during this training cycle, I've upped the incline to try and level out the playing field with running outside. My adjusted speeds for the run were:
Mile 1- 10:32
Mile 2- 9:01
Mile 3- 10:32

I had to take a little break after mile 2, because apparently my current level of fitness reveals that 9:01 is near puke pace. I really thought I was going to lose it. After a couple minutes in the bathroom I got back on the treadmill and ran the last mile.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Long Run with Run Club

Last night I met 7 other women from my run club for an 8 mile run. The girl who organized the run wanted to do a 3:1 run/walk at a pace around 12:30. I was completely fine with that, given my lack of a long run over 5 miles in at least a month. We did a 4 mile out & back route with short little potty/refill hand held water bottle breaks at each turn around point. We finished around 10:30pm but avoided the hot sun for the majority of the run. There's something about running with other people that makes it a lot less miserable. I was talking or listening to the conversation and didn't have the time to focus on how hot it was or what part of me wasn't enjoying the run. For probably about the last 3.5 miles, I ran ahead with 2 other girls. We dropped the walk breaks and picked up the pace a little.

We did 8.5 miles at an average pace of 12:48. I stopped my watch for the breaks we took at the turn around spots but not for waiting to cross streets. 

Several of the girls live in the same city as me and one lives just a couple minutes away. I'm so happy to have new running buddies!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Running Club!

Last night Jake and I joined a running club (after laying new flooring in the living room for 7 hours). I've seen people wearing their bright green club shirts at races and even in our neighborhood, so I stalked watched the activity on Facebook for awhile to get an idea for how active the group was and where they ran (let's be real- I'm not going to drive 30 minutes to do regular runs for the most part).

Last night was a social run to/from a frozen yogurt place near our house. Just 15 minutes out and back. We did 3.12 miles at an average pace of 10:29. I'm so not used to running in the heat, especially since I've only done treadmill runs for the past few weeks. I walked a couple of times in the last mile. I have to admit seeing the frozen yogurt place was as good as any race finish line and I had no guilt in filling my cup all the way to the top with cake batter fro-yo and Reese's PB Cups.

Afterward we chatted with the leader and a few members before heading home to relieve the babysitter. Everyone was nice and I think it'll be a group I enjoy. I'm jumping right in with the group. People post what they want to run and where on Facebook when they want company, so I'm going to join a few girls for an 8 mile run tomorrow night. My training plan officially starts next week (10 week plan) with 8 miles at 10:30 pace so this will be a little slower, but a good lead-in long run for the plan.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Chiropractor Update/X-ray Review

This morning I went to the chiropractor for a regular visit. I haven't been having much pain since my last visit. He went over my x-rays with me, which I thought were really interesting. As a nurse, I have almost zero training in reading x-rays. I can pick out problems on an x-ray about as well as anyone without medical training. So that being said, he could feed me total crap and I'd have no way of knowing whether it was true or false. Here's one of the x-rays:

See the (basically vertical) line drawn on the x-ray? That's normal spine curvature. See my spine? Not normal. My personal trainer called it correctly several weeks ago. Lordosis (curvature of the spine). It's likely from pregnancy and is just the way my body handled gaining far too much weight 9 months of carrying a baby. Twice. The good news is that I don't have any arthritis, the disk spaces are all good... no damage. So my big question, of course, was how we fix it. Surely there are some exercises I need to be doing or something. According to the chiropractor we do adjustments for several weeks to get the spine where it should be, then we start PT to strengthen the muscles. If my back muscles get stronger right now, they just reinforce the curvature.

Anyone have any experience or knowledge in this area? I'd love input.