Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Running goals

This weekend is my A-goal 5K race. It is also week 13 of my half-marathon training plan so I am supposed to do 8-10 miles. I have discovered that if I care about how I do at a race I am NOT one of those people who can run a few miles before and a few miles after. So I was going to do 8 yesterday to make up for missing it this weekend. I figured I'd do 5 miles of intervals on the treadmill and then get another 3 when I dropped the Princess off for Girl Scouts. But the 2yo wasn't interested in hanging out while I ran and we wound up cuddling on the couch reading books and then walking around outside and swinging. He didn't go down for his nap until too late and my treadmill hopes were dashed. But it was ok. I still had my evening run planned. 

As we know, Tuesday is speedwork day. I always want to do tempo runs but I fail miserably at them on the treadmill. So I thought I'd attempt one on the road. I figured I'd run at a 9:30 pace, that seemed pretty challenging to me, but not all out interval-pace. I was lucky enough to have a speedy friend who met me at the school to keep me on target. We started out (I forgot to do an official warm-up, but just before I had been running with the Princess on the playground, so I'll say that counted as a warm-up). I did the first mile in 9:30 and I felt pretty good. I wasn't dying and I was able to actually maintain a conversation, albeit not quite as easily. So I sped up a little bit. My friend and I parted ways and I continued and sped up more. I felt GOOD. I felt like I was running fast and strong, but like I had more to give. It was awesome. I finished up the 3 miles and walked a bit. I thought about continuing but I had to pee really bad so I wound up stopping at 3.21. I should have just stopped the damn watch at 3, but every bit counts. I knew my average pace (for the 3 miles) was 9:17 so I was pretty happy I had come under my goal but didn't feel like I had just raced. If it hadn't been for my bladder doing it's own running, I could have continued. When I checked my splits though I was SUPER STOKED. I am always aiming for negative splits but I can usually only manage to get the last mile or two faster (depending on the distance). Last night's run was PERFECT. 9:30, 9:12, 9:09. I felt strong. Even better, when I peed it was nice and clear. Because I didn't run until 6 pm, I had all day to hydrate, so I had hit my target water goal (80 oz) before I even left.  

I've been having such successful runs lately that I am feeling pretty confident about my races. Like I said back in January, before that Runner's World article started circulating, I'm really trying to base my success on my effort and not on exact times. I might not break any PRs this weekend, but I feel really good about my training. I am starting to think that my body can run faster than my mind thinks it can. When I thought about doing 9:30 last night I pictured a lot of huffing and puffing. But there wasn't. I was in control and was even able to talk a little. I think I can do more. 

But I'm not setting myself up for failure again. Race goals:

A. 27:35 or better
B. Better than Course PR of 28:06

Whatever I do, I want negative splits and I want to finish strong. I don't want to start too fast & slow down. I want to race smart and I want to run happy. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

About those 11 miles

I'll be reviewing this soon too! 

My 12 mile run a couple of weekends ago was ok and I was able to do some of those miles with friends so that was good. But when I hit mile 8 I kind of petered out. My last few miles were much slower than the previous ones. I felt totally drained.

So, yesterday before I set out on my last double-digit run before the thirteener, I had some goals. I wanted to finish faster than I started and I wanted to run smart. I knew I needed to run 11, which sadly is not evenly divisible by anything. I made do though and broke my run up into uneven sections. For each section I had an average goal pace. For the first 3 miles I wanted to warm up and run slower, 10:45-11:00 min pace. The next 3 I wanted to pick up the pace and run slightly slower than race pace, ideally 10:20. Then I would slow it down again, around 10:30-10:40, for two miles and finish up the last three faster than race pace, preferably at 10:00. I wanted to wind up with a 10:20-10:30 average pace for the whole thing. So, that's basically what I did:

1. 10:43
2. 10:22
3. 10:44
avg: 10:37

4. 10:16
5. 10:24
6. 10:20
avg: 10:20

7. 10:33
8. 10:24
avg: 10:29

9. 10:38

10. 10:11
11. 9:28
avg: 9:49

I realized as I was heading back that mile 8-9 was going to land me right up a hill so I decided to just let it go and not worry too much about being faster. Although I had walked the first minute of each mile up until that point (1-8), I wasn't planning on walking for miles 9-11. All things considered I'm not too disappointed with a 10:38 mile going up hill, especially on tired legs.

Full disclosure: I stopped to take this picture while running up the hill. 

My warm up was pretty close to what I wanted. I wasn't sure why I ran slightly faster in mile 2 & then I remembered the dogs barking in their yard motivated me to go a little quicker. I just don't trust invisible fences. I'm pretty stoked that I ran the second part exactly as I wanted to, as well as the third. I am SUPER stoked that I ran the last part much quicker and that my last mile was my fastest. I had a bit of help from some cowbells and good friends who magically appear on their doorsteps at the exact right moment. I did the whole 11 miles in 10:23, which was faster than I have ever done 11 miles before. I was hurting a bit when I was done but not as I expected. I actually felt pretty strong and like I could continue running. Except for the extremely painful chafing! My target skirt just didn't cut it. I ordered a new skirt with longer compression sleeves underneath that are not supposed to ride up, so I hope it gets shipped soon. Until then I'll have to run with capris and compression sleeves and hope I don't sweat to death.

Besides having a specific plan for this run, I did a couple of other things differently to avoid the slowdown at the end. I've been experimenting with Runner's Tea, a special tea blend made just for, you guessed it, runners (look for a full review soon!). I had some for my 12 mile run but I didn't drink it until the latter half. Yesterday I drank it right away, during the first 3 miles and then the rest of the time I drank regular water. I also recently bought more Honey Stinger chews. I haven't been using anything on my long runs and thought I was ok but after the 12 miler I thought it was a good time to get some more chews and see if they would make a difference. I started using the chews, two at a time, around mile 4 or 5 and finished them by mile 8. I think the combination of the Runner's Tea and the Honey Stinger chews kept my energy up, even though I was running much faster than I normally do for long runs. I didn't feel weak or tired.

I think I'm going to stick with this plan for my half. I'm sure with adrenaline and running with friends I'll be able to knock off a few seconds from my average pace and get back down to 2:15. The hard part will be not starting too fast. I may force myself to walk the very first minute to try to avoid the big rush of going out too quick. I really want to finish faster than I start.

Before I plan my strategy for the thirteener, I need to run my A goal race this Saturday. But that's another blog post.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Twofer Tuesday

Tuesday's are my speedwork days. I am a creature of habit and I stick to things much better when they are part of a defined regular routine. I hemmed and hawed all day Monday about whether I should do my intervals on Tuesday since I had just run a race on Sunday. I decided if I felt ok I would do it and if not I could do an easy run and switch it to Thursday instead. But I am, like I said, a creature of habit. So I really wanted to just do it on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, the cards seemed stacked against me yesterday. LightRunner and I lazed around like sloths during breakfast. I wanted to do pyramid intervals but for some reason I REALLY wanted to use my new watch too. So I programmed it to do the intervals I wanted, but then realized I messed up the number of repetitions so I had to edit it before I started running. It was already basically lunch time before I hit start. I was so focused on the damn watch not being in sync (I think the auto pause messed me up) that I ran longer than I wanted to for the initial intervals. Then I had to stop because LightRunner disappeared and I found him upstairs eating an apple. I had to deal with that and by the time I got to the "peak" of the pyramid, I was just done. So my 5 miles turned to 3. It wasn't an entire fail because I did run really fast for those early intervals, I just didn't do exactly what I set out to do. Did I need to use my watch? No. Not at all. But I wanted to. I cut it short at 3, took LightRunner back upstairs & intended on exercising before I ate lunch (LightRunner had eaten multiple snacks). But I got a phone call from the school nurse than the Princess was tired. So what, right? She had rammed her head into a pole earlier in the day and had a huge goose egg & being tired can be a sign of concussion. So off we went to pick her up and by the time we got home I really needed to eat lunch & get LightRunner down for a nap. No more exercising. 

If the Princess was feeling okay, we had to go to Girl Scouts that evening, so I planned on doing my remaining 2 miles outside around the school. Luckily, she was doing just fine and we could go.

Now, keep in mind, when I run speedwork on the treadmill, I generally do between 8:32 and 9:00 depending on the distance. I always have the incline set to 1 (except yesterday I kept it at 0). I thought about doing an easy 2 miles. But it was Tuesday. And Tuesday is speedwork. So I said screw it and planned 12 repeats of 1 min fast, 1 min walk. On the treadmill I usually do the fast portions at 8:32 when I do this workout.

I warmed up for only half a mile and then went right into it. I planned on running as fast as I could, rather than hit a particular pace so I also planned on waking each resting minute. I wound up with:


The slowest, 9:24, was up a hill. I had to run up that hill for portions of other fast repeats, but that particular one was entirely up the hill. My goal 5K pace right now is 8:48. So for 11 out of 12 repeats, I ran faster than my goal pace. And for 8 of them I ran way faster than I ever do on the treadmill. I wound up with 3.32 miles instead of 2. Oopsies.

And I did this after already doing intervals that day and running a race on Sunday. It was exactly the kind of confidence booster I needed just a couple of weeks before my goal race. I really think all the biking is helping me and doing the run/walk for my long run as well. At one time if I ran more than I should have I would be destined for some kind of injury. But I feel great. I hope I can carry this into the race in a couple of weeks... And then to the half-marathon.

Monday, April 13, 2015

2015 Dodge the Deer

Damn straight

I didn't get a chance to write up my goals for this race so you'll just have to take my word for it when I tell you I did what I wanted to do.


We did NOT get there as early as I wanted to--again--so we scrambled for the kids race--again--with Chewie and LightRunner lining up just in time. It was LightRunner's first race and he loved it! He ran the 200 meters with Daddy while Chewie ran ahead. He even fell at the finish line, got up, and kept on running. It was awesome.

SkyWalker, the Princess and I ran the 1 mile kids race next. The Princess started out WAY too fast and had to walk a few times. But she was motivated by her friends so she didn't give up. She only held my hand a few times. We finished in 10:37 and it took 12 minutes last year. SkyWalker ran ahead of us and even though he walked a few times he finished in 9:30 which was a PR for him too!

The 1 mile wound up being the perfect warmup for my 5K race. My A-goal race is in a couple of weeks so I was looking at this race as a tune-up where am I now type of race. Which was what I did last year too. But this year I took a step back and tried to think more logically. I've done this race a few times now and I always compare it to the other races I do when I think of my goals--but this isn't like the other races I do. This is a trail race not a road race. There's a narrower path to navigate, sticks, roots, trees, sand, mud, etc. I can't be disappointed if I don't break my overall PR because I'm running under vastly different conditions. I haven't even run the trail since the last race I did there in November. I looked back at all the times I've run this particular race and my fastest time was 28:26 a couple of years ago. So I set out to beat 28:26. I also wanted to run negative splits. Those were my only two goals (besides running happy and enjoying it).

I was warmed up but I lined up at the back end of the race to try to avoid going out too fast. It worked great. Almost too great--I started to fear that I'd never get around everyone else. But instead of starting out with a 7-8 minute pace and getting slower and slower, I started out with a 10 minute pace and got faster and faster. I passed people, weaving around them, and felt in control. According to my watch I hit the first mile at 9:08 which was exactly what I wanted, but as it happens EVERY SINGLE YEAR, the clock said something different: 9:18. It always happens at that first mile. I sped up a bit but tried to control it so I could run faster in the third mile. My watch and the clock were pretty close for the second mile (9:00 and 8:59). I really really wanted that last mile to be my fastest but the last mile is when the sand and the mud hit and it just didn't happen. Glancing at most of the other runner's splits though shows the same thing. A few runners managed negative splits but most did not. I did the last mile in 9:15. But I did it with a smile on my face and crossed the finish line at 28:19. I beat my Course PR of 28:26, last year's time of 28:32, and last November's Celebrate Women race time of 29:37.

I'm pretty happy with the results but now I'm going to focus on my next challenge: my A-goal 5K race in 18 days. And the half marathon in 33 days!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

March stats & wrap-up

Guess where I had that kidney stone problem...

March could have been a bit better if I had not had that damn kidney stone problem. It cost me 14 running miles! Grrr. Overall I'm okay with it. I'm not a 100 mile a month girl. Running 3 times a week & biking twice is working out for me. I'm not quite sure what the proper terminology is for biking... I'm on a semi--recumbent bike. Is that still biking, or cycling, or spinning? Does it matter? I'm on it right now which is why I'm musing about it. When I add my running and biking miles together it's a decent amount:

Total Mileage: 128 miles
Running: 63.5 miles
Biking: 64.5 miles
Crosstraining : 7 sessions

I skipped my strength training yesterday. I did my 1/4 mile repeats and I was really feeling it since it had been my first run since doing them last week. So I decided not to push it. Which kind of sucks since I'll be missing it on Friday as well. I'll just have to be more vigilant next week--when the kids are on school break.

I feel like my running is getting better, my biking is getting better, and I'm hopeful I'll do well in my next 5k. I've increased the resistance on the bike and I'm doing speeds I did at the lower resistance. That's progress. My speedwork is feeling better and my long runs are going well. The easy runs on the treadmill are NOT working out, but I am hoping to do my first stroller run tomorrow. I should just get up earlier and run in the morning but I think I need the sleep more. 

My next 5k is just a tune-up race to see where I am right now. Chewie & LightRunner are doing the 200m, SkyWalker is doing the 1 mile, I'm doing the 1 mile with the Princess and then I'm doing the 5k. That will give me 4 and I need 10 for the day so I'll have to stick around and run some more. 

I'm looking forward to my first double digit run this weekend (since my last half). I'll be using my new Garmin Forerunner 220. I've heard good things about it so I hope it can fill some of the hole left by my beloved Bia. We'll see. I'll have to squeeze 10 miles in to the weekend and see my sister's new twin babies too. I can't wait! For the babies. I'm looking forward to doing 10 miles again, but not in the same way.