Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wildcats Marathon



In addition to races, the kids have been doing a lot of running lately. We know this because we're keeping track for the school's first marathon. It's not a traditional marathon but it's an awesome idea. The kids from Kindergarten through high school (and their families too) run 25 miles over the course of 6-7 weeks. They can run any distance, they can run/walk, they can do every day or just a few days as long as it all adds up to at least 25. On the last day all of the participants will get together and run the last 1.2 miles.

They earn a wristband for finishing the marathon as well as other prizes (most miles, age awards). Most importantly they are given a taste of the joy of running and the opportunity to get their families involved. I've signed up SkyWalker and the Princess. I thought about signing up Chewie as well but I think I'll wait until next year when she is in kindergarten. I could sign up too but I already run plenty and I want this to be the kids' "thing." So far we've all run together at the park, they've run on the treadmill, and they've run by themselves in the backyard while wearing my Garmin. 

My school also has a running group for 4th grade and up that gets together to train for a local 5K. It's a great idea, but they meet at 5:30 in the morning. We're not doing that. So we jumped at this opportunity that's open to all grades and is very easy to fit into our schedule (provided it doesn't rain or snow for the next month). The gym class also does something called the stick run in which the kids run a designated route outside and collect "sticks" as they pass the gym teachers. The sticks tell them how far they've run. The kids love to compete for the highest numbers of sticks and they get really excited about it. I WISH I had been excited about anything in gym class when I was that age. Anyway, all the running they do for this will also count for their marathon logs. Awesome. 

I hope it's a successful program and I'm glad my kids are a part of its inaugural year. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Badassery

Five out of six of us ran a race this past Saturday. We got there later than I wanted to because what else is new? I said I wanted to leave a particular time and Vader sat in front of the computer. I wound up having to wrestle Lightrunner to get him dressed and we ran out the door 10 minutes later than I wanted. We live very close but I like to have time to park and get our bibs. Chewie's sprint was first so she and I got out of the car before Vader parked and ran to get her bib. We got to the starting line just in time and she ran her 200 meters. As she said she "didn't come in first" but she smiled an awful lot.

Next SkyWalker and the Princess had their 1 mile run. Vader ran with the Princess and SkyWalker ran ahead. He said he had to stop and walk but then the Princess's friend ran past him and that motivated him again so he started back up. He finished in 10:16 which really isn't bad for a lazy kid. Vader and the Princess came in after him at 12:05. They all enjoyed it.

It turned out to be a great day, not cloudy or raining at all. The sun was nice, the temperature was nice and it was an overall beautiful day. When the kids finished their race they had to leave for Chewie's first soccer practice so I was on my own for the 5K. Luckily I had a gazillion friends running it.

Last year when I ran this race I was shooting for the 28 minute range and I finished in 28:26 and I was pretty happy because I felt like I had given it my all. I ran hard and did the best I could do. This year I was aiming for 28:00 again and finished in 28:32. I did not run really hard and did not give it my all and I am still pretty happy. I'll be honest when I saw the clock I thought "really? again?". But this wasn't my goal race, I didn't want to go all out and really when I think about it I did exactly what I set out to do.
First race with the Bia. Slightly off but nothing to complain about.

I wanted to use this race to see where I am right now and what else I have to do in the next 2 weeks before my goal race. The entire time I was running I was breathing fine, I was feeling fine, and I could see my friends just up ahead. My mile splits were 9:14, 9:16 and 9:17. I kind of did the tempo run I've been trying to do for months. I was definitely not running at 100% and I'm actually pretty happy that I ran so consistently because I usually don't. 

Wearing my Strong Running Mama shirt.
So grateful for friends taking pictures!

The last tenth of a mile I ran really REALLY strong. I actually wound up passing the friends I was following. I could hear people yelling my name which was really nice and is one of the many benefits to running a race in your own community. I was completely focused though because I wanted to come in as strong as possible. I was totally excited that I had that final kick because I haven't had in a while. If I had started it just a bit sooner I could have finished closer to 28. 

Because I love to laugh at myself. Belly.

I am pretty confident that if I could do a sandy trail run at 80% effort and come close to my goal that I can do what I want to do for my next race. And then maybe actually earn the "Badassery" label from Bia!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dodging those damn deer again


In two days I will run my first race since the half marathon in October. All of the jedi, with the exception of the youngest, will be racing. Chewie will do the kids sprint, Skywalker, the Princess & Vader are doing the one mile and then I am doing the 5K. Unfortunately, Chewie has soccer practice at the same time as the 5K, so they will run and Vader will take them to practice. I will either run home or hopefully catch a ride with friends. Or maybe stay and wait for Vader to pick me up.

It will once again be on the chillier side. Last weekend was sunny and warm and beautiful. Race weekend will be chilly & probably include rain. Awesome.

I've thought long and hard about what I want to do for this race. My "goal" race is in 2 weeks so I don't want to go all out. I've been putting the miles in and doing my speedwork but I haven't quite been feeling as energetic as I could be. I'm not going to stress out when I have another race in 2 weeks (and a Ragnar after that!). I want to push myself … but only so much.

C. Beat my last time for this race: 28:26
B. 28:00
A. Find the joy in the run again.

If by some odd chance I manage to beat my overall PR (27:35), yipee. But I'm not focusing on that. I really just want that runner's high again.

Whatever happens, the day is sure to be a good one. I'll be racing with my new Bia watch (review on that coming soon), my kids are running, and the best part is we'll be having our good friends over for dinner. You can't beat friends and pizza after a race!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March stats and milestones

Like I said, March wasn't the best for me. But it wasn't the worst for me either. I had good speedwork sessions, long runs with friends, and I ran a mile with SkyWalker.


Stats:

Mileage: 48.8
Runs: 10
Cross training Days: 12

I did lots of good cross training routines. I joined a forum on Jessica Smith's website for extra accountability.

I've switched my speedwork to traditional intervals instead of the fast 30 second pickups. I did fast quarters and tomorrow I will do half-mile repeats. I'll get up to mile repeats before my goal race in May. I've failed miserably at the tempo runs and discovered that they were actually causing me more stress than they were worth. I've also had a hard time with my long runs, feeling like I just have no energy and am dragging through the whole thing. So I decided to focus on the intervals and drop the tempo run. I think I need more easy runs and less stressful ones… I might replace the tempo run with some (treadmill) hill runs or just keep it easy. My "tune-up" race is in just a couple of weeks so I'll see where I am then and re-evaluate.

While on my last long run, I passed 700 miles on my Dash Gloves. The beauty of minimalist shoes, no cushioning to break down means no reason to buy another pair until they start falling apart. So far, so good:

Taken right at the 700 mile mark.


I'm hoping April is a bit better and I can get some stroller runs done. Running outside--even with a stroller--is so much better than the treadmill. I am grateful for it and the week I couldn't use it sucked, but it just doesn't compare to outside.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Oh March

I thought we could be friends. I thought you would be warm and kind.

Oh March, how could I have been so wrong?

I was still optimistic the very first weekend of March when I skipped my long run because of a basketball tournament. It's okay, I thought, I will have plenty of time to run. Just a few days after that my treadmill started feeling wonky and then it got worse and I couldn't run on it at all. The drive belt inside the motor had to be replaced. So my one skipped run turned into 3 more skipped runs. I managed my long run but because it had been a while and I had to pick up 82 cases of girl scout cookies that day I cut it short and just did 6. We got my treadmill working and I tried to start where I left off, but that wasn't a good idea. Since then I've had to skip runs because of class field trips and days of no school and yesterday when the newspaper delivery guy decided to come to my front door which never happens and wanted to hand deliver the paper only I had no idea if he was my newspaper guy because the paper is always at the end of the driveway and never ever hand delivered and after some discussion and no response from the actual newspaper I decided to call the police just in case they were looking for houses to rob and so then I didn't want to go downstairs and run on the treadmill in my basement. So, yeah, there have been lots of skipped runs this March.

And it has not been warm and kind. It has been cold, so cold, and wet. I will be glad when March is over.

Hopefully April is kinder, because a couple of weeks ago when I was having a particularly not fun day I decided to sign up for a couple of races. On top of the races I had already signed up for. So I have:

April 19: Dodge the Deer 5K
May 3: Spring Runoff
May 9-10: Ragnar Cape Cod
May 31: Freihofer's

I'm letting Vader mow the lawn and transition to his new job in June and July and then:

August 16?: Clove Run 5K
October: Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon

I have a new-old plan on my fridge to get me PR-ready for the May 3 race, so now I just have to actually stick to it and not let any more random things get in the way!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

And February is done



I always make some sort of excuse for my February stats saying that it's the shortest month so I had less time to run. I'm really pleased that I didn't use that as an excuse this month. Even with taking most of the February break off from running & exercise, I still did pretty well.

Stats:

Mileage: 58.9
Runs: 11
Cross Training days: 9 (I'm including days I shoveled snow instead of following routines, because I did a lot of that)

I ran 5 fewer days than I did in January but only 3.1 less miles. Last February I ran 34.3, so I am definitely going up. I'm doing better with my tempo runs and still doing well with the intervals. I had been focusing on increasing my speed for each fast interval and lengthening the time of the fast portions, but last Thursday I decided to take a different approach. I went back to doing just 30 seconds at 7:30 (8.0 with 1% incline), but instead of walking each slow part, I ran slow. I wound up walking only 4 of them (compared to 12), so I was pretty happy. It's all well and good to get my faster parts faster, but if I have to walk after each one I'm not going to make that much progress. So for now, I'm going to master running in between each interval and then bump up the speed again.

I should be out doing my long run right now, but it's cold. I just don't have it in me to do it now. I also don't have any motivation to do 8 miles on the treadmill. I am afraid tomorrow won't work either because it's going to--surprise--snow again. If SkyWalker wins his basketball game later today, he'll be playing in the semifinals tomorrow anyway. His team has won one of the tournament games and lost another, so this game will decide it. I am technically not in training for anything specific, so I am okay with skipping it this weekend if I have to. Sometimes you need to let life be in charge.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Running with Jimmy Fallon

This winter has royally sucked for running. Snow, ice, bitter cold, wind. One at a time, all at once. A couple of weeks ago the temperature wasn't too bad so I decided to do my long run outside. I had the right clothes, I had a hat, a neck gaiter thingy, and swim goggles. Wait, what? Yeah, I had swim goggles because the neck gaiter makes my sunglasses fog up. I need the neck gaiter because my face gets too cold and if I breathe in the cold air I have a much harder time, but I need the sunglasses to keep the wind out of my eyes. And the sun. Such. A. Pickle.

So, I tried swim goggles:


They didn't work out the best. They started out okay but then they started fogging up too. And they were less than comfortable so I wound up taking them off and putting them in my pocket. Which was am amazing feat because my hands were horribly frozen. I was wearing running gloves but they just didn't cut it. When I started out the sun was out and everything was ok, but then the sun went away and it quickly went downhill. I had in my mind though that I needed to run 7.25 so I could get 20 miles for the week. So that's what I did. I knew I wasn't in danger of real frostbite, but my hands were seriously cold. It was so bad my left hand started cramping up towards the end of my run and stayed that way until the next morning. That was NOT fun. I think I'll just wear my regular old winter mittens the next time I go out. If that ever happens.

The next weekend was another snowy frigid one and I wasn't going to attempt another outdoor long run. But I needed to run long. So, I hopped on the treadmill. I rely on the treadmill during the week to do my tempo runs and intervals and easy runs. I can do 4-5 miles when I break it up into intervals. But doing a long slow consistent run would make me go insane. Nonetheless, it had to be done. I grabbed my water, my iPad and headed down to meet the only person who could get me through it: Jimmy Fallon.
I took this pic before my run on Tuesday, which is why it's The Tonight Show.
I was watching Late Night when I did the 7 mile long run. 
I've been running with Jimmy a lot this winter. The only danger is when I have to hold on so I don't fall off laughing. That's happened a few times… I may have also gotten a little choked up during his farewell episode of Late Night and his first episode of The Tonight Show. I made it through 7 long slow miles and there is NO way I could have done it without Jimmy. I want to get my long run back up to 10 but I'm seriously hoping the weather warms up enough for me to do it outside. I'm not sure I could do that on the treadmill. Even with Jimmy Fallon. 

I've wound up taking most of this school break week off from running/exercising, but I've done some tromping though the snow with the kids and I'm okay with it. I think it's good to take a break every once in a while. I'll be back at it soon enough, especially now that I know which Ragnar legs I'm running! 16.9 miles in 2 days. I'll be building the mileage up again pretty soon. Good thing I have Jimmy Fallon to get me through it!