Saturday, August 20, 2011

Trail Run

Thankfully I borrowed a headlamp when I went into the park bathrooms before we started the run. I would not have seen this little guy and his friend in the sink. Eeek!
The sun was just barely coming up when we started to run, so we stopped 1 mile in for a group photo. Fiona is missing in this pic because she was the photographer.
Shannon took a nasty fall with about 1.5 miles left in our loop. I was right behind her. We all stopped to help her clean her wounds (both knees and palms, one of which was awful) with water and baby wipes. We got back to the car and used some more proper supplies from Lesley's first aid kit. I've been teased on blogs and Facebook for my bandaging skills. Apparently my run-worthy bandage (because she planned to keep running and I didn't figure a band-aid would stick with sweat) made Shannon look like she was burned in a forest fire, not missing some skin on her palm.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Training Update

It's been a tough week. I'm trying to push my awful Hottest Half time out of my mind. I'm just really ready for it to cool down. Every single run is challenging and I don't remember it feeling like this when I trained for Rock n Roll last winter/spring. I was only running 2-3 days a week then. I'm running 4-5 now. I should be in better shape! So, temperatures please drop. Paces please drop. Perceived exertion please drop. OK? Good.

All that being said, I'm not getting in all the cross training I would like to do. If something has to get dropped from the schedule, it's going to be a Core class or yoga or strength training. I'm working 2 days this week, which sounds like nothing, but they're (at least) 12 hour days, depending on whether we actually get out on time. That makes a 5:30am run sound not very enticing, but I'm doing my best to get it done. Some regular early morning running buddies make it better. Without them, I can promise you I would not be getting out of bed 2 hours before I have to. All I can do is my best, right?

I also have to remind myself that my next half (September 25) is not my "A" race. Of course it would be nice to PR, but I have lots of other opportunities this fall to PR and get my sub-2... including a nice little DOUBLE HALF MARATHON on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. My tentative plan is to race the half marathon hard on NYE and take it easy on NYD. I've already registered. The race is local and lots of friends will be there. The race bling is really cool- you earn what looks like half of a medal for your race on each day, and for completing races on both days you get a plate that allows you to insert both medals for the full big medal. It should be a really great weekend! Only 3 more half marathons between now and then.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Ice Out of Her Bra

Shanda & me before
Charisma, Victoria, me, Shanda

This morning I finished the Hottest Half half marathon at White Rock Lake. That's your foreshadowing. I used the word "finished" instead of "raced" or even "ran."  Hottest Half or Hardest Half?

I'm so glad that I went into this (my second) half marathon with little to no expectations for myself. Finish, basically. Finish feeling good would have been icing on the cake. It turns out that I didn't get to have my cake and eat it, too. I'm blogging with ice on my foot. No worries, I'm not injured, it's the good-sized blister on the side of my foot and the blood blister on the tip of a toe that also looks like an animal mauled it. I'm a real runner, no doubt about it. My <horrible> time for today's half doesn't even make me think less of my runner status. 

I decided ahead of time to run with my friends Victoria and Charisma, who are training for their first full marathon. The plan was to use a 4:1 run/walk ration. It felt good for the first half. We even skipped a couple walk breaks because the crowd at the beginning was just too thick to selfishly slow to a walk. At the turn around I wasn't feeling great and I could tell the heat was starting to get to me. I just wasn't cooling off much during the walk breaks, but I still felt ok. The wheels fell off somewhere after the 10 mile marker. I started walking not long before I saw my friends from NTX Runners (who were awesome and brought ice and gummy bears for the runners) and I never made it back to a run after that. I went from thinking I might still be able to feel good at the finish if I just walk to, "Please, God, just let me make it to the finish line." Several times I stopped in the grass, thinking I was going to throw up. Victoria and Charisma were right by my side, pouring cold water down my back and offering to call for medics. I told them to go ahead several times, not wanting to ruin their race/training run, but they wouldn't leave me and I'm so grateful for that. Quite a few runners stopped to check on me or offer help. One woman literally took the ice out of her bra and told me to put it in mine. I'm certain that's taking the phrase, "I'd give you the shirt off my back" to the highest level of sincerity.

We finally made it to the finish line and I was at least able to convince Victoria & Charisma to run across the finish line. That's the first time I've ever walked across a finish line. I hope it's the last. I'm home now, showered, with a little food in my belly and feeling decent. I didn't take any nutrition during the race (though I took water/nuun at every opportunity and carried my own bottle, so I was never without) and wasn't able to stomach food for awhile after the race. But when I got hungry I was craving cheese. I ate a couple cheese sticks out of the fridge and my mom (who was out with the kids) brought home fried mozzarella sticks. So yummy! I'm feeling almost good enough to get out and eat some Mexican food.

 My stepdaughter medal with her sisters.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tequila and Speedwork

My sub-2 half marathon plan called for 6 miles with 4 at 9:00 pace. I knew it was on the schedule for today, placed there by yours truly.

And yet I went out with the girls last night. I ate chips, salsa, enchiladas, frozen yogurt, and washed it all down with TWO margaritas.  I know the pain of sweating out tequila, yet I did it anyway.

I wasn't willing to move speedwork to another day because I have Hottest Half this weekend and my legs are pretty slow to recover from fast running. So, this morning we went to the gym and I hit the treadmill as planned.

Mile 1: warm up-ish pace. 11:44 for the first half mile, 10:44 for the rest of the mile.
Mile 2: 9:01 but it was painful. I wasn't willing to quit the plan entirely, but I knew I would physically not be able to run 4 miles at this pace today without some sort of alteration in the plan. I walked 0.05 miles after 1 full mile.
Mile 3: 9:01 with 0.10 mile of walking after the fast mile.
Mile 4: 9:01 with 0.10 mile of walking after the fast mile.
Mile 5: 9:01 with 0.10 mile of walking after the fast mile.
Mile 6: Ahhh... finish it up with an 11:44 mile. So glad to be finished.

The good news is that on week 4 of the 10 week plan, that's what I perceive to be the 2nd most difficult speedwork day. I get to do it again later (at a pace 7 seconds faster) and the most difficult day is a 7 miler with 5 at this pace. The shorter tempo runs and the mile repeats seem easier, even if they're faster. The light at the end of the tunnel is closer!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Week 3 Training Summary

Yesterday completed week 3 of my Sub-2 Half training plan. I'm not setting any speed PRs in this heat, but I set a distance PR... I ran 28.5 miles, my highest mileage ever in 1 week. That's higher mileage than my plan called for, but the social run with NTX Runners on Thursday gave me some extra miles. This week will probably be about the same mileage, given my weekend plans- keep reading through the summary or just scroll to the bottom for my coming week plan.

Monday- Ran 5.15 miles with Teri & Fiona
Tuesday- strength training
Wednesday- Ran 5 miles with 3 at half marathon pace (9:09) on the treadmill
Thursday- Ran 4.02 miles with Teri & Fiona, strength training, ran 4.57 miles with NTX Runners
Friday- planned rest day
Saturday- skipped yoga when Mary asked me to join her for lunch and shopping... a bonus rest day
Sunday- Ran 9.8 trail miles with NTX Runners + Shanda

 Sunrise on our trail run yesterday

Next week calls for another challenging tempo run (6 miles with 4 at 9:00 pace), a 5 and 4 miler, and a long run of 9 miles. BUT, there's this little race that was featured in Runner's World this month called the Hottest Half. They're saying this year might be the hottest Hottest Half ever. Awesome. So, my long run will be a half marathon on Sunday. I am NOT racing. I'm not even trying to race. I'm running with some friends and I have 2 goals: 1- get that HOT medal 2- feel pretty good when crossing the finish line.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Three Things Thursday- late edition

I crossed the line from dedicated to nuts today. I did 3 workouts, one of which tonight when it was still 105 degrees outside.
  1. 5:30am run with my becoming-regular running buddies. 4.02 miles in 43 minutes. It was 92 degrees when we started our run and had actually cooled to a lowly 89 by the time we finished. 
  2. 50 minutes of strength training at the gym.
  3. This is where I got crazy. North Texas Runners had a scheduled social run starting at 7:30pm. I planned to just meet up after the run for shaved ice, but Lesley twisted my arm. I've been following her blog for some time and she was part of the run club before I joined. But we've never run together and this was the first run we could both make. So I agreed to run, but slowly and likely with walk breaks. I'm very much a peer pressure runner- I will run harder/faster/longer just to keep up with the cool kids. I ended up starting the run with Jake. We never get to run together, so that was an opportunity not to be passed up. The route offered a good amount of shade and surprisingly it didn't feel much (if any) worse than it did at 5:30 in the morning. We decided to run to the park, stop for a potty break, then back to the shaved ice place. On our way back from the park we ran with Lesley and a couple others. Total distance was 4.57 miles in 51 minutes. Finished off the run with an extra large cherry flavored shaved ice.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Coming over to (the other) dark side

Night runs were working for me when the temperature was below 100 when we started to run. After last week's miserable long run cut short we unanimously agreed that might be the end of evening running. With high temperatures pushing 110 this week, that decision has been made. I've gotten up at 5am for my past 3 out 5 runs. The only time I didn't go early was my treadmill speedwork today and on a day when Jake was working and I needed to run. Mornings are harder to work into the schedule, but I'll figure it out until it starts to cool off a little. I'm not a morning person by any means, but having friends who are waiting for me has kept me accountable on those planned runs. I bought a headlamp a couple weeks ago for the night runs, but now I'm using it for the other time of day when it's dark!

Today was my weekly speedwork. My plan called for 5 miles with the middle 3 at half marathon pace. With a goal of sub-2, that makes HMP 9:09. That's not much above my 5k PR pace! I'm doing speedwork on the treadmill because even at 5am today it was 91 degrees. That's not conducive to hitting near-PR pace! Jake ran on the treadmill next to me. I pulled up Nicki Minaj on Pandora (great running music although not what I listen to the rest of the time) and got started with my first mile at 10:30 pace. Then it was time to get down to business. I punched in 6.5mph, which is technically 9:13 pace. I'm using an app on my phone that adjusts treadmill pace based on the incline you set. With my 1% incline, my adjusted pace was then 9:09. The first mile was challenging, but not nearly as painful as my 1 mile repeats last week. The second mile was challenging. I made a deal with myself that I could walk for 30 seconds once I finished 1.5 miles at HMP. Once I got to that point, I denied myself the walk break and bumped the mark to 2 miles. Once I got to 2 miles I pushed through, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The last mile wasn't so bad. I think that middle one was just tough because it was far enough in to feel some pain and not close enough to the end to see the light. My last mile was a nice, comfortable 11-something pace. I finished 5 miles in 50:20, without any walk breaks. I'm not sure I'm ready to jump off the deep end and declare my undying love for speedwork, but I'm learning that it builds my confidence and I love the feeling of accomplishment when I finish a run that scared me.