Monday, February 28, 2011

week 6: not enough eating

There were a lot of great things about this week, but I think the best thing about it is that it's over.  Not because it was bad, but because my training was rearranged into two back-to-back high volume weeks, and I'm wiped.  Now it's time to cut everything back and let my body get strong; while it's doing that, I'm going to go take a nap.


I rode the success of last week's long run pretty far into the week.  Monday I managed to get out on my bike for an easy-paced 40 miles - the longest ride of my training cycle so far.  I didn't bring enough nutrition and it rained on me for 30 minutes, but it was a great ride.  However, I didn't eat enough during the ride or after, which dumped me into a calorie deficit that I was still trying to get out of when track rolled around Tuesday evening.  My legs felt great but my stomach was in full sloshing revolt and 800s were on the schedule.  I worked my way steadily through, doing 8x800 and hitting them all in a 5-second window that averaged 3:41, but when I was done, I was DONE.  I still didn't manage to eat enough Tuesday night and after floating and paddling through a pool run Wednesday morning, I declared Wednesday a day of rest, food and wine.  I felt a million times better by Thursday evening and smashed my 4M tempo run, missing my goal time by 1 second but being incredibly thrilled about getting the longer tempo distance.  My plan for the next 4 weeks is to very carefully use the tempo run as a race pace run, and train my brain to be ready to run this for miles 9-13.1 of the National Half.  


And I had another huge confidence booster of a long run on Saturday, 14 miles that I ended up doing completely alone.  I was pretty frustrated and upset for quite a few reasons in the first three miles - all of which were far slower than my long run pace window - but I managed to mentally slap myself and turn things around, finishing out the 14 with another 4 race pace miles that weren't quite as fast as the tempo on Thursday evening, but an incredibly satisfying 8:54, 8:20, 7:44, 7:40.  I'm really struggling mentally with the long slow runs right now.  I'm having trouble trusting the fact that by running these runs 1-1:30MM slower than my goal pace, I'll be ready for race day.  I understand the logic and the math and I've watched other runners work through this, but I haven't yet seen the effects of it on my own body, and I'm scared.  My main goal is, as always, to show up at the start line healthy and whole. That said, I'm trying to rough out some time goals for the race without setting myself up for a huge disappointment on a day that I should be letting off fireworks and balloons.  All I can do right now is trust in the training and have faith in the fact that the formula works.  Faith, not fear.


Monday: 70 minutes lifting (L), 2:33, 40.25M cycling
Tuesday: 45 minutes lifting (A), 1:09/7.8M track workout, including 8x800
Wednesday: 60 minutes/6M pool "run" but actually a rest day
Thursday: 45 minutes lifting (A), 54 minutes/6.1M tempo run
Friday: 60 minutes lifting (L), 31 minutes/1600yd easy swim
Saturday: 2:10/14.1M long run
Sunday: 42 minutes/4.1M recovery run, 75 minutes yoga


How was your week of training?  Are you getting close to your A spring races?  Can you help calm my ruffled little brow about the long slow training runs?

Friday, February 25, 2011

music & mantras

This post is mostly for Lauren, who is running the Hyannis Marathon on Sunday.  She is primed and ready to smash it.  A week or so ago, she put out a request for mantras and music suggestions.  Babes, here you go!


Coming back to running hasn't been easy.  And the mental battle is somehow much tougher while running than while cycling or swimming.  I have a few mantras, things I repeat to myself when I'm trying to get through the 8th 800 or talking myself through finishing a tempo run.  Quite a few other bloggers play on a quote - "There will come a day when you can no longer do this.  Today is not that day."  I love that, but the way it plays out in my head is a bit different.  There have been a lot of days where I wasn't able to run, where I was sad and unhappy and jealous of everyone who could.  Not today.  And that's what I think, what I let beat along with my feet, what I was thinking last night while trying to finish out a tough 4M tempo.  Not today.  Not today.  Today I am able to do this, today I WILL do this.  There have been times when I wasn't able to do this, when I would have given anything to be able to do this.  So am I going to give up?  Not today.


The other mantra I read on a blog somewhere a few years ago, and I wish I could remember where and give credit.  I wrote it on my hands last year before my first triathlon.  Faith, not fear.  It gives me a lot of strength when I need it.  I thought it over and over last week at the 5K.  It's what I say in my head: have faith in your training, girl.  Don't be afraid to give it everything you've got.  Faith, not fear.
I also have tremendous music-related OCD, and when I find a song that I can run to, I tend to listen to it on repeat 42397 times during a run.  Sometimes it's just because it's good trashy beats, but sometimes it's because a lyric becomes a mantra, even in the worst pop songs.  Here are a few songs I've been shuffling through lately.  Feel free to judge my incredibly bad taste in running music and/or steal all these songs.

More by Usher (Red One Jimmy Joker Remix)
I love this song for running, but the lyrics that get me are when he says: "I'm a beast/I'm an animal/I'm that monster in the mirror."  It reminds me that I've changed a lot in the past year or so, the person in the mirror isn't who I used to be.  I'm a beast.

Born this Way by Lady Gaga (Liam Keegan Club Remix)
I just started listening to this song, but it was stuck in my head for most of tempo last night.  She says, "I'm on the right track, baby/I was born this way," quite a few times, which I love, but later in the song she says, "I'm on the right track, baby/I was born to survive."  It reminds me that I fought so hard to be running again.  I'm a survivor.

Raise Your Glass by P!nk
This is a kickass running song, and I really love the lyrics, "We will never be/never be/anything but loud," because that's true, but the part that pumps me up is where she says, "It's so fuckin' on right now."  That's what I think at the beginning of a race.  It's so fuckin' on right now.

We R Who We R by Ke$ha
I found this song because someone else mentioned it on their blog, and it's awesome.  The motivating lyrics for me are, "Tonight we're going hard/just like the world is ours/we're tearing it apart/you know we're superstars/we are who we are."  When I hear, "we're tearing it apart," I make my angry growly face and can push a little harder.

Club Can't Handle Me by Flo Rida featuring David Guetta
Confession time: I listened to this song through the entire 5K last Sunday.  "You know I know how/to make 'em stop and stare as I zone out."  Make 'em stop and stare, girl.

Welcome to the Show by Britt Nicole
I have no idea how this song found its way into my library, but it's pretty great.  The lyrics that kick my ass are, "Oh, oh, we're on a mission nothing can stand in our way/Oh, oh, we don't need permission/We're gonna rise up and we'll be the change."  That's an easy one: nothing can stand in my way.

Bleed It Out by Linkin Park
This one is interesting.  It's good in a short race that hurts.  "Fuck, this hurts, I won't lie/it doesn't matter how hard I try."  I've listened to it in lots of 5Ks.  It hurts.  I won't stop.

Till I Collapse by Eminem
I got this one when another blogger sent me a YouTube video of IM finishes with this playing.  I listened to it at the end of the 10K last December when I was grunting like an elephant.  "Till the roof comes off, till the lights go out/Till my legs give out, can't shift them up/Till the smoke clears out and my high burns out/I'm gone whip this shit till my bones collapse."  It always makes me think of that video, and if all those people didn't give up, neither will I.  Till my legs give out.

Survivor by Destiny's Child
This is the first song I ever remember listening to while running.  When I ran in college, I would listen to it on repeat.  Every time I come back to running after an injury, it makes me emotional to hear it come up on shuffle.  "I'm a survivor/I'm not gone give up/I'm not gone stop/I'm gone work harder/I'm a survivor/I'm gonna make it/I will survive/Keep on surviving."  I'm a survivor.  

LPT, we're all pulling for you.  YOU GOT THIS.  Everyone else, leave some mantras or tunes here (hey, I'm going to need them in a few weeks too) and I'll send them on over!  

Thursday, February 24, 2011

three things thursday

1. The turkey slider recipe!

Put this in a bowl:
1lb of ground turkey, I use 99% lean
1/3-1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
salt
ground black pepper
chili powder
red pepper flakes

Smush it all up with your hands.  Make small patties - this recipe gave me 16 sliders.  Heat up about 2 tbsp oil in a pan.  Dust each slider with flour and drop in hot oil.  Flip after a minute or two.  When both sides are crispy, pour about 3 cups of white wine over them and turn heat down to low.  Let simmer for a while until cooked through.  

I sliced hot dog buns in half and put them in the toaster oven with gorgonzola cheese, then topped them with a slider, ketchup, and pickles.  They were delicious.

2. I'm trying to make a decision about drinking during taper.  Hang on, I'm not a boozehound.  The last time I trained for a half, I didn't drink a single drop throughout the entire training cycle (until I got injured 3 weeks out, then that all went to hell).  But I don't drink often/in a large enough quantity that I think it makes a difference AT ALL on my training.  If I had to honestly guess, I would say that, on average, I have 2-3 drinks a week.  Sometimes I got 3-4 weeks without drinking at all for no real reason, and sometimes I have a couple of days where I'll have a glass of wine or something at night before bed.  It would not be difficult to not drink at all for a few weeks out from the race, but I have this feeling that I'm going to go so bonkers even during a short taper than the poet is going to want to medicate me every night.  Thoughts?  What do you do during a training cycle and leading up to a race?

3. I've had a lot of discussion lately with some friends about the merits of a "real" rest day vs. the "fake" rest day.  Meaning, taking 24-36 hours completely off but not taking a full calendar day.  For example.  My usually Wednesday schedule is to do a recovery run in the pool for an hour, swim for 20-40 minutes, and lift legs.  (I've also had some discussions lately about lifting, and the fact that what I call "legs" day most people would call "core & stability with a little bit of legs" day, but that discussion is for another time).  Anyhow, Wednesday.  I either go to the pool in the morning and lift at night or vice versa.  Everything I do in the pool is gentle and recovery-style, not busting my ass, so it's a very easy day between two tough days of running (track Tuesday, tempo Thursday).  However, yesterday I got to the pool a bit late and the water was cold and I had slept horribly and I didn't want to get in (I WANT A COOKIE!).  So I decided to bag the swim entirely and just gently pool run and chat with my friends.  (Sometimes I feel like the biggest benefit of a pool running session - due to my effort that day - is having my legs in cool water for an hour, but again, discussion for another time).  

I went off to work and spent the day feeling stressed out by work, tired from not sleeping, and just cranky overall.  When I got home, I decided to skip my legs day and hang out on the couch for a while, and then go out for happy hour & dinner.  I slept 9 hours last night and am still, right now, at this moment, laying in bed with my puppies.  I'll probably do some core stuff this afternoon before tempo tonight, but here's the question: 36-38 hours between exercise, is it a rest day?  Please think about it for a hot second before grabbing me by the ear and yelling, "NO" at the top of your lungs.  I know that the triathletes and the runners will have very different opinions on this, and to that end I say: I have 2 complete "leg" rest days every week - days where I do NO running/biking activity with my legs.  I only run (on land) 4 days a week: track Tuesday, tempo Thursday, long run Saturday, and recovery run Sunday.  I never do 2 tough running workouts 2 days in a row, and the only reason I run both Saturday & Sunday is that they are both easy-paced runs and there aren't 8 days in the week.  I'm still working on adjusting my training schedule so I have time to recover from the tough workouts, and sometimes I will do what I did yesterday - turn a recovery day into a rest day (trust me, I wasn't working hard in the pool) instead of doing what my schedule said, which was wait until Friday for the rest day.  I also think that sometimes the "fake" rest day allows me more recovery time in hours than the "real" rest day.  What do you think?  If you think the real rest day is mandatory, why?  What are the benefits/merits?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

wordless wednesday

Another cooking experiment resulted in the most delicious turkey sliders I've ever had.


They were gone before I even thought to take a picture (this shot stolen from Emily).  Ignore my straight-out-of-the-pool hair, the frosting on my shirt, the puppy butt and the look on the poet's face.  I'm sure he was just thinking about how special our marriage is.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

victory (speaking of drunk...)

Last night I sat for - and passed - my final exam for my final class of my MBA, despite my slightly less-than-awesome studying habits this time around.  I celebrated with these:
and a bunch of this:
And then thought it was a good idea to catch up on my blog reading and commenting.  Erm, sorry about that.  Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 21, 2011

week 5: i'm all drunk on it

This might be one of the best training weeks I've had in a long time.  I feel like I locked into almost every workout I did, and finished each feeling like I had achieved exactly what I set out to do.  This was also my first - but certainly not last - 15+ hour week of half IM training.  The last 4 weeks have all been in the 10-13 hour range, but this is the first time I've gone over 15 since last summer, and guess what, players, I'm here to stay.


Following the 5K last Sunday, I launched straight back into training, headfirst, mouth open.  I got in 3 swims this week, one of which is my highest yardage swim since I pulled my intercostal.  I've been really frustrated with my short pool workouts, but now I'm almost to the point where I feel like it's worth it to go to the pool, especially when combined with pool running.  I took it easy ("easy" being a relative term here) at the track on Tuesday night in the 2x800, 1x1600, 2x800 workout, but smashed my last 800 for yet another confidence-building session.  I attended the extra-credit tempo session with Amy on Thursday morning and ran a totally respectable 2M tempo with heavy and tired legs.  Friday dawned gorgeous and explosive with sunshine, so I got back on the bike for a windy and wild ride with Emily that had to include a cupcake refueling stop. 
Yes, I have a cupcake problem.
The wind was ridiculous coming around the south side, but in our last lap, I had the brilliant idea to draft off a car to avoid the winds that were almost unridable.  I'm sure he was thrilled about the cycling parasite in his blind spot.
All this adds up to a pretty stellar week of training, right?


But the key workout for me this week was the long run.  This week included my first double-digit run of this training cycle, but even more importantly, my first double-digit run since the run that signaled the beginning of the end, way back in early 2008.  This one.
Walking back through my exercise log, I can tell you that it was Sunday, March 1, 2008, exactly 3 weeks out from the Shamrock Half.  I can tell you that we put off the run all day, so we started somewhere around 7:30pm.  I can tell you that it was snowing like crazy, and we had to make bathroom pit stops in Chipotle not once but twice, once headed into Georgetown, once headed back out.  I can tell you that as we chatted and I checked my Garmin, I unabashedly lied to Rudi about how far we had already run, because I wanted to run 10-11 and she was only in for 7-8.  I ran 11 miles that night, and I'm sure it took me at least 2 hours, and after I had gotten home and ice bathed and showered and changed and eaten dinner, I can tell you that I stood up from the couch and felt something in my right foot snap.  It was a small snap and I shook it off, but 2 days later I had to cut my 4 mile run short to limp home, and 8 days later I was handed an air cast and a death warrant for the Shamrock Half.  


Those days are gone, bitches.  This may be a small milestone on paper, but it's a huge mental breakthrough and I'm going to celebrate every last second of it.


My schedule had me running 10, but I've been slightly ahead and was saying "10-12" all week.  I had planned on taking this run very easy, and when I woke up Saturday morning to bright sunshine and 40+ mph winds, I was really excited to bust this one out.  I had a terrible time deciding what to wear, what to carry, and how and when to fuel, and ended up changing my clothes for the tenth time in the parking lot of Fletcher's and making a last-minute decision to carry the small water bottle.  We headed out, uphill towards Bethesda and directly into the wind.  The first 2 felt awful, which is normal, but after a few I just felt like things settled in and were easy.  We weren't chatting all that much, just ticking away.  A teammate and I stopped at the 5-mile mark to take a Gu and head back down the trail.  She had been having some knee issues, and after a short conversation, she decided to walk for a bit and made me leave her.  I plugged in my Akon song on repeat shuffle and took off.  When I hit the 9-mile mark, I realized that I still had a tankful, so I turned around and headed back up the trail to find her.  We met up at 10, but she was still doing the walk/run to protect her knees.  We chatted for a moment and I headed back.  I picked up the pace a bit at this point but still felt comfortable, and when my Garmin beeped 11, I picked it up just a bit more to finish out 12.  TWELVE.  Did you see that?  I RAN TWELVE MILES.
I spent the rest of the day being obnoxiously drunk on how amazing I felt.  My legs felt tired but fantastically happy.  None of my injury locations hurt or ached or twinged at any point during this run. I ran out of water towards the end, but that's fixable.  And the thing that I'm continuing not to think about is, I finished my slow and easy 12 at almost the exact time I think might be possible to finish my 13.1 next month.  I don't want to talk about it.  I know that a training cycle immediately following a major injury - or a series of major injuries - will generally be filled with moments of confidence and moments of relief, and this one was both.  Not only can I do this, but I am going to smash the shit out of doing this.  I am so overwhelmed and grateful to be running again.


Monday: 60 minutes lifting (L), 28 minutes/1500 yard swim, 1:20/8M pool run
Tuesday: 45 minutes lifting (A), 53 minutes/6.18M track workout
Wednesday: 50 minutes/5M pool run, 27 minutes/1550 yard swim, 60 minutes lifting (L)
Thursday: 41 minutes/4.66M tempo run, 45 minutes lifting (A)
Friday: 2:10, 35M ride
Saturday: 1:52/12M long run
Sunday: 38 minutes/3.75M recovery run, 75 minutes yoga, 40 minutes/2200 yard swim, 55 minutes/5.5M pool run


How was your week of training?  What builds confidence in your training cycle?  What races are coming up for you guys?

Friday, February 18, 2011

random friday facts

1. I watched the first episode of "Secret Life of An American Teenager" last weekend.  Big mistake.  Huge.  It's awful and I can't look away from the blood-letting.


2. I'm taking a fake rest day.  24 hours, no exercise.  So what if it's 9am - 9am?  It's still 24 hours off.


3. I always wait about 9 days too long to go back for a bikini wax.


4. I took a shower every day this week (M-T-W-R).  Huge fail.


5. I guess this is "random facts about this week."


6. I just finished reading the Harry Potter books backwards.  


7. I finally started reading "Racing Weight" and my body is 100% the body of the "cyclist."  Well, crap.


8. I'm starving all the time, I'm exhausted, my legs are totally beat up, and I'm only training for a half marathon plus a half IM.  What happens when I train for a full?


9. I'm thrilled to have legs that are totally beat up from running.


10. I don't like reading books on the iPad, I need to touch the pages.


11. Making an entire batch of chocolate chip cookies when I'm this hungry and cranky was not a very good idea.


12. I haven't been back on the trainer since I last rode outside, I just about can't bear it.  Damn you, sunshine!


13. I clean the kitchen counters at least 7 times a day.


14. I plugged my new 5K PR into the McMillian calculator and have been staring at the 13.1 estimated race time all week.  I don't want to talk about it.


15. I now own 4 different cheese graters.


16. My feet don't match.


17. I'm a huge suck-up to teachers, coaches, bosses, etc.


18. I only have one pair of dress pants that fit, and I wear them every week to the office.


19. I brush my teeth before I eat breakfast.


20. I'm basically a hermit.  I only leave my house for exercise-related purposes.


21. Somehow I've turned into a person that loves to cook.  I like it.


Your turn!  Leave me some random facts about you, I really enjoyed last week's facts!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

three things thursday

Hi friends!  I'm done being cranky, I promise.  HURRAH BIG PR FOR ME!


1. Big big giant running news yesterday that is unlikely to ever have anything to do with me: changes to the registration and qualification process for the Boston Marathon.  For those of you that this directly affects, what do you think?  Being on the outside, I actually feel like this is a pretty fair way to change things, but I'd love to hear from everyone else.  The discussions I've seen in the past 12 hours have been fascinating.  I'm also a giant nerd and would love to see the numbers behind the decision.  As in, what percentage of the 2010 field would have been eliminated by the 2013 standards?  


For the record, a 3:20 marathon (my get-in-right-away qualifier) is faster average pace than the 5K I ran on Sunday.  Um.  Right.  YAY KATIE!  Also, I'd probably have to stop getting injured every other day.  But seriously, what do you guys think?  


Along those lines, I'll be in Boston this year, cheering my fool head off.  Side note: if you'll be there as well, join us for one of the many blogger meet-ups!


2. Blog shout-out time: Puppy pics, just for you :
and more ridiculous pictures of awesome here.  Be my friend, I'll send you terrifying emails after dark.  What?  


3. It's been really interesting how my perspective has changed as I've gotten a bit faster these past few months.  Before, when people would post their splits on dailymile or their blogs, anything faster than 9MM was, "Fast," anything with a 7 was, "Really Fast," and anything with a 6 was, "Have Fun Up There You Crazy Ridiculous People, I'll Be In The Back Drinking Wine."  But now that I'm consistently running in the 9s, 8s, and even 7s for some of my workouts, my perspective has completely changed.  I'm able to recognize the difference between running tempos at 7:50 and 7:10 - before, I would've considered it "the same," but now that I'm running my tempos at 7:50ish, I can see the gaping cavern between that and what a 7:10 average would look and feel like.  It's made me a lot more self-aware - before I was just a "10ish" person most runs - but I think it's also made me better able to understand and appreciate the strides that my friends and teammates are making in their own training, and how awesome those steps are, these steps that may seem kind of tiny on paper.  What do you think?  Has anything in your training ever shifted your own perspective?


So, to sum up today's 3TT test: 
1. What do you think of Boston?
2. Why don't you like puppies?
3. Faster = smarter?  (Just kidding, please don't punch me in the teeth).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

wordless wednesday

I'm not pretty when I PR.
I guess it's actually not that much better after.
Remember?  During?
After.
Does anyone know why my thighs look like that?  Oh, right.  Genetics.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

week 4: all mixed up, the non-borked version

Note: when I first posted this, comments weren't working.  Then they started working, but then a bunch of people let me know that this didn't show up in the RSS readers.  So, my apologies if you see this twice, but hopefully this one will post!
______________________________________________________________
Okay, I think I’m done with the woe-is-me wallow in misery.  I can’t wallow for long anyway, I’ve got lots of races to train for, and lots more to be cranky about.
Last week was a solid week, even though I turned my training schedule on its head.  My original plan was to flip my long run and recovery run days, and to just stack up some miles after the 5K to get to 9 for the day.  I was also planning on skipping Thursday night’s tempo run in favor of an easy run.  I think it was Tuesday night after track that the lightbulb in my big fat head went on - I could do my long run on Thursday, recovery run on Friday, pool run on Saturday, and turn up to the 5K with fresh legs, but still have gotten a longer run in for the week.  It also meant I could go straight to brunch after the race without having to worry about getting more miles in after stuffing myself with waffles and whipped cream.  Win.
Looking back, this was the best way to do things.  After trying to figure out 9 different ways I could meet up with some insane girls that occasionally make bad decisions teammates to do my long run, I instead came up with running to work Thursday morning.  It’s been a while since I’ve been running at 6:30am.  My legs were heavy and it was windy and ice cold, but I got in 8 easy miles of gorgeous sunrise before 8am.  I spent the day walking around with a total badass swagger and eating everything I could get my hands on.  At least until 4pm hit and I became the crankiest wench in the district.  Don't get between me and my carbs.
I only got my new hotness out once this week, but the weather forecast for this week is ridiculously amazing and I’m going to try and get out at least twice this week, fierce wind be damned.  I only swam once last week because I woke up on Thursday with yet another ear infection (yes, I am 6 years old, thanks for asking, isn't it amazing how well I can spell for my age?), but it’s clearing up and I’m sure I’ll be in the pool this week a few times.
Continuing to make adjustments to my schedule... I’ve decided that I want to run a longer race as part of my ramp up to the National Half.  NOT to race it, but to have longer than 24:15 to walk through a practice race day.  Based on that, I’m going to do a very slow 9-11 miles for my long run this weekend, and I found a 10M race to do next weekend.  The plan is to do the first five at the pace I’ll go out in the half (TBD) and then slowly and gently slam the hammer down for the back five.  Honestly, I have no intention of trying to race the crap out of this one.  I’ve only ever run one 10M race and since Athlinks sucks doesn’t have my time, I don’t know for sure what it is, but it was definitely in the 1:53 area.  Hopefully I can scoop up another PR in the process, and if not, have another reason to eat an entire container of dark-chocolate-covered-edamame while sulking and watching really bad TV on the couch all afternoon.
Monday: 75 minutes lifting (L then at PT), 23 minutes/1000 yard swim, 1:50/31M ride
Tuesday: 40 minutes lifting (A), 54 minutes/6.05M track workout
Wednesday: 60 minutes lifting (L), 10 minutes/500 yard swim, 60 minutes/6M pool run
Thursday: 1:19/8M long run
Friday: 40 minutes lifting (A), 31 minutes/3.25M recovery run
Saturday: 70 minutes/7M pool run
Sunday: 29 minutes/3.7M run, including 5K
How was your weekend?  Did you race?  Are you happy about it, or a sullen grumpus that is never satisfied like me?

week 4: all mixed up

Okay, I think I’m done with the woe-is-me wallow in misery.  I can’t wallow for long anyway, I’ve got lots of races to train for, and lots more to be cranky about.
Last week was a solid week, even though I turned my training schedule on its head.  My original plan was to flip my long run and recovery run days, and to just stack up some miles after the 5K to get to 9 for the day.  I was also planning on skipping Thursday night’s tempo run in favor of an easy run.  I think it was Tuesday night after track that the lightbulb in my big fat head went on - I could do my long run on Thursday, recovery run on Friday, pool run on Saturday, and turn up to the 5K with fresh legs, but still have gotten a longer run in for the week.  It also meant I could go straight to brunch after the race without having to worry about getting more miles in after stuffing myself with waffles and whipped cream.  Win.
Looking back, this was the best way to do things.  After trying to figure out 9 different ways I could meet up with some insane girls that occasionally make bad decisions teammates to do my long run, I instead came up with running to work Thursday morning.  It’s been a while since I’ve been running at 6:30am.  My legs were heavy and it was windy and ice cold, but I got in 8 easy miles of gorgeous sunrise before 8am.  I spent the day walking around with a total badass swagger and eating everything I could get my hands on.  At least until 4pm hit and I became the crankiest wench in the district.  Don't get between me and my carbs.
I only got my new hotness out once this week, but the weather forecast for this week is ridiculously amazing and I’m going to try and get out at least twice this week, fierce wind be damned.  I only swam once last week because I woke up on Thursday with yet another ear infection (yes, I am 6 years old, thanks for asking, isn't it amazing how well I can spell for my age?), but it’s clearing up and I’m sure I’ll be in the pool this week a few times.
Continuing to make adjustments to my schedule... I’ve decided that I want to run a longer race as part of my ramp up to the National Half.  NOT to race it, but to have longer than 24:15 to walk through a practice race day.  Based on that, I’m going to do a very slow 9-11 miles for my long run this weekend, and I found a 10M race to do next weekend.  The plan is to do the first five at the pace I’ll go out in the half (TBD) and then slowly and gently slam the hammer down for the back five.  Honestly, I have no intention of trying to race the crap out of this one.  I’ve only ever run one 10M race and since Athlinks sucks doesn’t have my time, I don’t know for sure what it is, but it was definitely in the 1:53 area.  Hopefully I can scoop up another PR in the process, and if not, have another reason to eat an entire container of dark-chocolate-covered-edamame while sulking and watching really bad TV on the couch all afternoon.
Monday: 75 minutes lifting (L then at PT), 23 minutes/1000 yard swim, 1:50/31M ride
Tuesday: 40 minutes lifting (A), 54 minutes/6.05M track workout
Wednesday: 60 minutes lifting (L), 10 minutes/500 yard swim, 60 minutes/6M pool run
Thursday: 1:19/8M long run
Friday: 40 minutes lifting (A), 31 minutes/3.25M recovery run
Saturday: 70 minutes/7M pool run
Sunday: 29 minutes/3.7M run, including 5K
How was your weekend?  Did you race?  Are you happy about it, or a sullen grumpus that is never satisfied like me?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love The Run You're With 5K: race report

This is a tough post for me to write, for many reasons, not least of which because I should be out celebrating instead of wallowing in disappointment.
First, I really do want to say this.  Over the past few months, I’ve tried to take the focus of the blog off of pace.  I read some really great posts in the blog world about this topic a few months ago, and while I didn’t chime in with my two cents (strange), I did completely agree.  And with that, I’ve stopped posting my daily workouts with average paces and full descriptions of how fast and slow every moment of the workout was.  I do post my workout overall times in the weekly wrap, but not to give you math people the chance to figure it out, just to show the amount of time I’m working.  I totally get it: my fast is your slow, or my slow is your fast, and it’s all relative.  Going along with that, I’ve tried to take my own focus off my pace at any given moment.  I’ve been generally running my tempo workouts without looking at my Garmin until the interval is over, and trusting that the comfortably hard pace I’m working at is where my body wants to be right now.  I’m here to do my thing, and then go cheer y’all on while you do yours.  But this post is going to be all about pace, and if hearing about my pace is going to make you upset because either you run a lot faster that I do and want to give me a little pat on the back OR you run a lot slower and want to shake your little angry fist at me because you think I’m being an asshole by complaining about it, then you should probably go look at puppy pics instead. They are still here here.  Oh, here here and here and here.  Because this post is about my pace, where I am now and where I want to be.  It’s just really difficult to write a meaningful and reflective race report without talking about numbers.
I’ve been injured for so long, and that has been my excuse for my performance, and I’m tired of it.  I’m tired of hearing, “Well, that’s great, considering...”  I started running again in November.  I solidly PR’d the 10K in December, 5 weeks back into running, but it was tough and the PR, for me, is not even close to what I think - what I hope - I can do.  I eased back into speed training starting in January.  I’ve had 4 weeks of fairly decent tempo runs, and last Tuesday I ran some times in my first interval workout that surprised and delighted me.  So as far as I’m concerned, I’m healed.  Because of that, I wanted to run this race, hard and fast and strong, and accept the time I ran.  No excuses.  And that’s where I’m disappointed.
Spoiler: I PR’d the 5K, and even by more than the 3-minute window I was hoping for.  Wow, now I sound like an even bigger asshole.  So why am I wallowing?  Well, I had goals for this race.  I was hoping to take 3 minutes off of my current PR (27:35).  I was hoping to take 10 minutes off last year’s time on this course (34:14).  And based on my last few weeks of tempo runs, I honestly thought I could sub-24, and maybe even get close to 23.
Amy deserves a ton of the credit for this race, because she was a fantastic pacer and me being frustrated has nothing to do with her.  She let me control the pace but kicked my ass when all I could say was, “I can’t,” and she was tough and strong and for that, I’m thankful.  I ran this race last year, and it’s a tough course.  A decent uphill the first half-mile or so, and then rollers the whole way out and back.  Our goal was to run the first mile in 8:30 - and not a whole lot faster - and then let loose on the rest of the course as it eased up.  When I got there, we left the crowd of crazy and ran a short warm-up, and then jumped in the masses.  I put some music on to give myself space to focus and then the gun went off and we were on our way.
Amy made the brilliant decision to wear my Garmin so I couldn’t stress about pace, and we got up and over the hill pretty quickly.  A bit too quickly - there was a clock at the 1-mile mark, and it said 7:41 as we went by.  I was a little bit worried about how far ahead we were, but pretty soon I had a different problem - my piriformis.  I started feeling twinges during the big uphill, but hoped it would smooth out once we got to the top.  It didn’t, and it got worse pretty quickly.  We hit the 2-mile mark at 15:13, and I felt like I was starting to limp.  Not too far after the 2-mile mark I stopped to try and stretch it out, and this is what I’m angry about.  Because now I had exactly what I didn’t want - an excuse for my time, a weak race, another problem that kept me from running the time I’m capable of and being proud of it because it’s what I can honestly do.  I know this doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it broke my heart to stop and stretch.  
About a half-mile from the finish I had to stop and stretch again, and at that point, I figured I’d blown most of my goals, but we cranked back up pretty quickly anyway.  I was too tight to really make the most of the flying downhill back to the start, and I didn’t look at the clock until I was only a few feet out from the finish line.  It started with 24, and that made me sad.  Especially when I realized that without those stops, I would have run a sub-24 by a pretty big margin.  My tank was definitely empty when I crossed the finish line, and I’m glad that I can feel like I left it all out there on the course, but I’m still frustrated.  My final net time: 24:15, a PR by 3:20.  A course PR by a really annoying 9:59.  And not a sub-24.
2 weeks ago I ran a 2x2 mile tempo: 7:58, 7:35 and 8:06, 7:53 and felt great afterwards.  I don’t think that going for a sub-24 was that unreasonable.  I planned the entire week around good preparation for this race so I’d have reasonably rested legs, and I was itchy and chomping at the bit to race yesterday, to see exactly what I could do.  And now, after this race, I feel like I failed, like my body let me down, like I gave up when I was so close to the strong finish I wanted and needed.  

I am sure it’s difficult to understand why I’m upset.  Runners and the mental game - wow, what a mess we all are.  I know a lot of things.  I know that hill work irritates my piriformis, and I probably should have avoided this course in favor of a flatter race until I was a bit further away from the injury.  I know that I've only been running again for 3 months after 2 years of on and off due to various injuries.  I know that I've only been doing speed work for four weeks.  I know that I've posted times in workouts over the last month that I've never seen before in my life, and I know that all of these facts should add up to me being thrilled with my performance today.  And I'm not nearly as upset about the time itself as I am about the way things unfolded.  I want to run a race where I feel strong and run hard and get from the start to the finish without blowing up, for whatever reason.  And I want to be sore and tired and happy that I had a plan and executed it, instead of being furious that my body is yet again holding me back. 

There’s nothing to do from here but move forward, to continue with my training plan, to keep doing all the things that are necessary for me to get to the starting line of my half marathon in one piece, but it’s going to take me a few days to get past this.  While the logical and reasonable part of me knows that is a great step in my training cycle, it instead feels like yet another frustrating setback.  

Friday, February 11, 2011

random friday facts

1. I sleep with one leg sticking out from under the covers, but I have to have the blankets pulled up over my shoulders or I will just freak out.


2. I really really really despise touch typing.  I turn on autocorrect, but it pisses me off, so I turn it off, and then all my texts & emails are completely illegible.  


3. I always use fabric softener or the laundry detergent with fabric softener inside.  I don't like the smell of clean clothes without it.


4. Unread email messages in my inbox makes me itchy.  But getting new emails makes me happy and excited.


5. I have Burt's Beeswax chapstick in about 34 places: car, purses, desk, computer bag, saddle bag on my bike, iFitness belt, everywhere.  


6. I am thinking about selling my motorcycle to help pay for my new bike because I've only ridden it once in the past year.  


7. I ate about 1/2lb of fresh grated parmesan cheese last night on my pizza slices.  This is not out of the ordinary.


8. I've tried to cut back on the cussing in print a bit, but if the word "fuck" offends you, you probably won't enjoy most of the rest of my blog, anyway.  And you should definitely never do a tempo workout with me.


9. I am overly sensitive to bad smells.  The poet has no sense of smell.  This often equals disaster.


10. I have awful eyesight.  Something like -11 and -13 plus astigmatism.  I've been evaluated 3 times for laser eye surgery, and every time they say, "Well, we could make it a little better, but you'd still need glasses and/or contacts all the time.  Try again in a few years."  Technology can make a computer that you can slide under a door and I can update Twitter at 25,000 feet, but we still can't fix my eyes?


11. Shiraz was the first kind of wine I ever loved.


12. Having 2 dogs, I now understand why parents have favorite children.


13. I don't care about Valentine's Day at all.  I don't love it or rage against it, I just don't care.  Although I do like those delicious little candy hearts.


14. I wish I had different teeth.


15. I hate my dishwasher.


16. I always send thank you notes.  Sometimes really late, but they always go.


17. From where I am sitting, I can see 11 scented candles.  Seriously, I have a problem.


18. I wish I had screen doors.


19. If I won the lottery, I'd be one of those boring people that lived off the interest and kept working.  But I would definitely redecorate, and take some amazing vacations.


20. I like gel toothpaste better than paste toothpaste. 


Hey, let's turn it around.  Tell me some random facts about yourself in the comments.  I love random!  I HATE AWKWARD.