Thursday, September 30, 2010

T-3, Airport-bound

Amazingly enough, everything on the list is done basically.  Still have to load this computer into my husband's carry-on, wrap the bread, and go buy sandwiches, but then the journey is underway. 

Feeling insanely excited and still nervous!  MSP, here we come! 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

T-4. Ho-lee crap.

Such a wonderful morning today!  4 miles on the schedule, met with my weekend coach doing MTCM and with the other weekend coach (doing St. George).  We ran the route I'd picked -- 2 miles up 140 feet, and then back.  Kept the pace fairly easy but what was most important to me was realizing that 140 feet of climbing over 2 miles isn't bad at all -- at least not when you have fresh legs, certainly a different story after 21 miles.  But I CAN do it!  And I will on Sunday.  Holy crap, again. 

The best part of the morning though was going to breakfast afterwards.  Two people I run with during the week had done a 10.5 mile hill loop and then came to meet us, plus the coach doing St. George's husband.  And the place we went was featuring free cinnamon pumpkin pancakes this morning and they were delicious!  All of us with marathons in a few days had clean plates!  Though I love to run for many reasons (social time, competition with self, outdoor time, etc.), on days like this I think I just run to eat.  I even ate all the cinnamon butter with the pancakes -- the problem was that it kept melting and so I couldn't see how well it was distributed and I just kept adding more...  But it was quite a lovely start to the day. 

My remaining to-do list is getting short: 
  • Print boarding passes
  • Finish timesheets for month at work
  • Change hotel reservation yet again
  • Check husband's packing (several things I don't want him to forget, like a netflix movie for the plane, a headphone splitter, etc.)
  • Decide what to do for arm sleeves -- use socks and pitch?  use good arm sleeves and pitch or carry/wear?  wear long sleeves?
  • Pack "purse" type carry-on, probably more like a backpack or yoga bag
  • Bake pumpkin bread to bring to cousin
  • Cut out Xmas wrapping paper for the couple unwrapped gifts we're taking (one is like a watergun, so I didn't want security to have to unwrap it)
  • Purchase, wash and bag grapes to eat on trip
And then tomorrow:
  • Pack make-up, vitamins, etc.
  • Turn off AC at home -- and maybe when we get back we won't have to turn it back on! 
  • Go to Eatzi's to get sandwiches for trip on way to airport
Wow.  The time is near.  I'm starting to feel better about things.  Far from certain that I can do it, but not convinced I can't. 

I think I've elected to go with the faster pace group or go on my own.  I just don't think I can count on a negative split, and realistically, my training and predictor races suggest I should be okay going 5 minutes faster.  That's 11 seconds per mile.  Hmm... just when I thought I'd committed to the faster pace group, I decided to check how many seconds per mile that meant as I guessed about 10.  Now that I write "11 seconds per mile faster," I'm not so sure it's a good idea.  I may just keep wavering.  Or maybe start with the pace group and use them to carry me through the first 2-4 miles, falling slightly further behind each mile, which would mean I'd be about 40 seconds back at 4 miles.  Lots of time to ponder still. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

T-5 Days.

Not a great run this morning.  Schedule was 6 with the last 4 at race pace, and my overall average (counting 2 water stops) was race pace -- which means it was too fast b/c the first 2 miles were actually at the right pace, just the race pace was too fast.  And the weather was perfect.  But the pace felt unsustainable.  As it should -- I haven't trained to sustain that pace in 5 days for 20-22 more miles. 

Even though MTCM doesn't have a pace group for my BQ pace, I'm considering going with a pace group 5 mins faster or 5 mins slower, just so I can make sure I don't go out too crazy.  I've been thinking this for a few days.  I just need to decide which one to choose if I'm going to do it.  I could really go either way.  If I start 5 mins fast, I could aim to stay there though 20 and then if I slow down by almost a min per mile, I'd be okay.  If I start 5 mins slow, I'd have to really pick it up toward the end -- and I've only negative split 2 marathons in my life (NY, I have no idea how, and St. George, where it's almost impossible not to have a neg split) and I don't think this course is good for it -- largest hill comes around mile 21ish and lasts about 2 miles.  So that suggests starting 5 mins fast.  But coaches have hammered it into me -- there's no such thing as a time bank in a marathon.  I really don't know what to do.  I'd prefer to start on my own and stay steady, but it's really hard not to go out too fast, in which case it's true that there's no such thing as a time bank -- you pay for going out too fast. 

I'm sure it's just b/c I'm getting focused, but on one of my must-read blogs, the post I read this morning seemed to be speaking directly to me, though she took it in a different direction.  SRG's post related her mom's advice: 

My mom always gave me this advice growing up: “begin how you mean to go on.”  Meaning, start each thing you do in life in the same manner that you intend to carry that thing out, forever.

Obviously I don't intend to run at BQ pace forever, but if I begin the race how I mean to go on during the race, that probably suggests either attempting to pace myself or going for the pace group 5 mins slower.  And then begging God for some major energy to shave a min per mile toward the end...

What to do, what to do, what to do... ??????

Monday, September 27, 2010

T-6 Days and Packing

Not much to report.  Went to camp today and didn't run much of anything, but did lots of arm weights and abs.  Hopefully just enough to make me sore for a couple days and then feeling good by the time we fly out of Dallas.  The weather was crazy cold here this morning -- mid-50s!  It was good practice for the race.  Reassured me I've made the right clothing choices not to be overdressed, but made me glad I'm bringing a pair of gloves to pitch as I warm up, since I think my hands might be cold for a few miles. 

My big project yesterday (after 10 miles and brunch with the group) was packing for the trip (which meant not reading for book club last night (but I hated the 100 pages I did read)). 

I got it all into my suitcase basically.  Still have a couple more gifts for nieces and nephews for Xmas that aren't wrapped or pictured, those will have to go in my "purse."  And I have to pack some more reading material and a pair of dressier shoes.  Plus make-up bag stuff. 

I packed 3 outfits for Friday (one to run in the a.m., one to wear during the day (mostly expo, etc.), one to wear out for dinner), one outfit for Sat (casual shoes and dressier shoes if I need them for dinner), race morning stuff, and an outfit to wear home Sun night. 

For the race, I packed what I plan to wear (shorts and short-sleeves), plus an alternative top (long-sleeved) and 2 throw-away shirts (one short sleeved, one long sleeved).  I'm kind of assuming I'll wear the race shirt home on Sunday, so the shirt I packed for the flight home might go into a gear check bag to wear after the race, and hubby will have the shirt I don't wear to pitch in the a.m., in case I find him before I get my gear check bag.  I also packed flip flops for my gear check bag. 

On the list to do still is to pick up a few blank race bibs in case I decide to pin my name on my shirt.  I need to bake bread and buy wine to bring for my cousin since we're staying at her house one night.  The morning we leave we are going to the grocery store to buy grapes to snack on during the trip (I'll have to wash and bag those), and then we're going to stop at Eatzi's, which is hard to describe to people who don't know it.  It's kind of like a very small upscale grocery store that sells mostly produce, imported snacks and prepared foods.  But they are on my very short list of best sandwiches in the country.  You build your own and I always build a monster, which will be perfect for a plane ride since I'm always hungry at airports it seems.  And I have to make a trip to the post-ofc to mail my bestie's bday gift.  Plus tons to wrap up at work, a 2 hour volunteer shift, and about 1,000 other things...

Getting very excited but still very nervous and 100% not confident. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Smooth sailing for the last weekend group run this morning.  10 miles, out and back to the lake.  Then a few of us with races next weekend went out for breakfast, including our 2 coaches.  I was completely shocked to realize that I've run more marathons than everyone else at the table combined!  There were 2 people doing Wineglass (one first timer, one who's done 2), 2 doing St. George (one coach who's done 1, one guy who's done 2), and then me and the other coach doing MTCM (other coach has done 2).  So basically, with 5 runners at the table other than me, they've done 7 marathons.  A week and a few hours from now, it should be a total of 12.  A week and a few hours from now, I'll be at 11 or 12 -- I need to count b/c I'm not actually sure what number this will be for me. 

Forecast is looking good.  A few days ago (first day of the 10 day), it was 48 low, 63 high, 10% chance of rain and mostly sunny.  As of today, race day forecast is 45 low, 60 high, 0% chance of rain and sunny.  That sounds completely ideal to me except for the sunny part.  But I'll wear my visor and hope the sun isn't too brutal.

I tried my outfit today with no Body Glide anywhere just to see if I'll have any hot spots to watch on race day (and it seems like there will just be one minor place, though I'll wear glide in all the usual culprits).  During the race, I don't think there will be any question about where I live.  Even though I hate them b/c they have a big side slit and show a lot of thigh, I'm going to wear my Texas flag shorts, and my white short-sleeved shirt that has a little Texas shape with the flag on the front.  It's been a fun outfit for out-of-state marathons. 

Gosh, it's 10:03 a.m. here right now, which should mean that one week from now my husband will be done with his 10 mile race and I should be more than halfway done!  Going to do some more focusing on success right now, picturing the finish, imagining how I'll feel at my 5 mile splits...  Woo-hoo! 

Lots of packing on the agenda today.  I have my trusty marathon pack list, but also need all the usual clothes and stuff, plus tons of Xmas presents to wrap and bring along to cut the bulk when we go for Xmas. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

T-8 Days and Taper Laziness

Maybe I don't have a compulsive need to exercise, in which case I'm down to only two of the symptoms of overtraining. 

I had an awesome run planned for this morning.  After months of searching, I found a route that we'd run that had an elevation change of 140 feet over 2 miles (but we'd run it downhill, not up, it was a loop day).  At MTCM, there is a climb of about 160 feet over just over 2 miles, and initially I wasn't nervous about it at all, but Adam has freaked me out a little.  He's mentioned it a bunch of times.  Hill repeats were on about 90 feet climbing over about .25 miles, so I tried to imagine going up it twice in a row.  Doesn't seem too bad, but Adam's point (which is correct) is more that 160 feet on a hill repeat morning, or at mile 3 of a marathon even, is very different from 160 feet at mile 21ish of a marathon. 

Either way, as part of my mental efforts, I was thinking it would be a good idea to run that hill here.  Then on race day, I'll know exactly what it's like.  I'll be able to tell myself I just did this climb and it's not that bad, that I can handle it with ease and then enjoy the downhill finish.

The plan today was to sleep a little late (6:30, part of my taper extra ZZZs plan), then meet Mike at 7:30 to run up the hill for 2 miles, and then I told him I didn't care what we did -- run, jog, walk or crawl back to our cars.  Preferably walk at least 1 mile of it.  Right before I left work, he emailed and said "rain or shine, I assume?"  I said let's talk around 7 if it's questionable. 

I woke up to rain, thunder and lightning.  I waited a little while and the thunder and lightning seemed to ease up, but the rain was still steady.  So I called him and he said maybe we could delay an hour.  And I said ... or ... we could just bag the run today and do it on Wed?  He liked that idea, so I'm back in bed at 7:30 in the morning!  Sooo nice.  And now there's no temptation to go to camp on Wed. or run too far. 

Another reason this is so perfect was that I got a comment on my blog yesterday (!!) from Seattle Runner Girl (!!!, I've read her blog for more than a year) who suggested I work on my mental marathon prep first thing in the morning.  I figured I already have to get up at 4:30ish one day a week, 4:50ish three days a week, and 5:00 three days a week.  Earlier than that sounds like torture.  I feel like we already go to bed earlier than most 8 year olds, but being fairly newly married makes that much easier. 

I thought I could adapt her suggestion and spend some time really thinking about my training, race day, goals, etc. immediately after I run each day.  I usually come home, make breakfast, and eat while watching the news.  But news isn't really needed, they repeat the stuff every hour anyway.  So I thought I could maybe stretch, eat and really think about it then.  But with no run this morning and a day when I really shouldn't work out at all (unless I run 2-3 miles per the schedule), there's plenty of time to do some marathon thinking right now! 

Friday, September 24, 2010

T-9 Days and Overtraining (not me!)

9 days to go.  I followed my plan for today and logged 0 miles.  I suppose I jogged about .3, but not enough to count.  I took it fairly easy at camp and just walked when everyone else ran, except the first little bit I jogged with hubby.  Tomorrow I've decided I'm going to drive to the local hill that's closest to the MTCM 21-23 hill elevation profile and run up it. 

I don't want to run more than about 2 miles tomorrow, but I really want to do that hill.  The realization struck me at camp this morning -- just because I want to run up the hill doesn't mean I have to run down it!  Tomorrow is Saturday so there's no huge hurry to get the workout done and get on with my day.  If it takes me an hour to cover 4 miles, fine.  Heck, if it takes me 2 hours because I decide I want to crawl back to my car instead of walk, that's okay too!  There's nothing to gain from running down the hill, so why do it.  My schedule says 2-3 miles, I'll do 2 uphill and no more. 

I took my pre-marathon physical inventory this morning, and things are looking pretty good.  I use a scale of 0-10, with 10 being crazy pain or appears crazy bad (like protruding bone, even if it's completely numb b/c my spinal cord was severed or something). 
Achilles - 0:  My blisters on both Achilles from a couple weeks ago are 100% pain-free and almost gone (though you can still see where they were), so that ranks at a 0. 
Calves -1:  The random calf pain that started on Sunday night/Monday is now basically gone.  It's still a bit tender if I really rub my inner calves with moderate-heavy pressure, but no pain when walking, standing, running or anything else.  I am also trying to be super careful about not crossing my legs.  It was a new year's resolution this year or last year to break that habit, but I still do it (or sit on one of my legs), but I'm going to try to be careful for the next week. 
Knees - 3:  Some fairly new biceps femoris pain for a couple days, mostly on the left again, but think it's more from working out at camp than any injury or anything.  I need to watch it though and not do anything else to aggravate it. 
Glutes - 3:  Left glute is also somewhat sore but seems worst when I'm just sitting.  Wonder if it could actually be IT-band, so I'll give that some extra stretching post-run for the next week, but doesn't seem to be alarming. 
Toes - 6:  They're ugly right now.  Unfortunately, the 5k cost me a toenail I think.  I can see the blister underneath it, so I'm sure it will go in the next month or two.  It's so random.  Same shoes as running 20-some miles a week earlier with no toe troubles, but that time it happened.  I feel like about every other year I have toenail issues while doing full training.  But my blister toe on the other foot is also a disaster.  Fortunately it's not actually painful right now, but that's just b/c I haven't had to run very long in a few weeks.  Oh the pain in that toe will definitely be back next weekend.  And it will probably double in size after the race.  Ugh.  But it will be worth it because I'll have run the best race ever!  And no, I'm not going back to wearing a toe cap. 
Back - 3:  Sore from lifting and doing rows on Wed., no worries there. 
Shoulders - 2:  Again, sore from weights but minimal.
Heels/plantars - 7:  Still a lot of pain if I jump out of bed to get my alarm instead of stretching first, but quite manageable.  No pain when running. 
Everything else - 0:  Feeling good, no complaints. 

So, it's all systems "go" right now, and I think it will just keep improving.  The lifting pain will be gone by Monday.  I still might do some weights and abs on Monday, but nothing major.  I'm probably going to skip camp on Wed., but that's still up in the air.  Sunday is more than enough time to recover from an easy workout.  We'll see -- I need to give that some more thought. 

I took a poll of the other MTCM runners I know and I think I'm doing better than most.  Adam is burnt out on running, and he continues to ignore my advice to find people to run with and to vary his route.  But he'll be fine b/c he's such an athlete and in such good shape in general.  Everyone else seems to have some fairly major complaint, but nothing that will prevent a finish.  Among the many family members who will be running MTCM next Sunday is my cousin Becca.  She said she is currently experiencing 11 of the 14 symptoms of overtraining right now.  If you'd asked me before my rockin' 5k last weekend, I'd have guessed I was at about 5.  Today, I'd say I'm at 3: 

Common Warning Signs and Symptoms of Overtraining Syndrome
• Washed-out feeling, tired, drained, lack of energy
• Mild leg soreness, general aches and pains
• Pain in muscles and joints
• Sudden drop in performance
• Insomnia
• Headaches
• Decreased immunity (increased number of colds, and sore throats)
• Decrease in training capacity / intensity
• Moodiness and irritability
• Depression
• Loss of enthusiasm for the sport
• Decreased appetite
• Increased incidence of injuries.
• A compulsive need to exercise

I feel I have the first one and the last two.  I feel pretty tired, but I think most adults in this country usually do.  I don't really feel more tired than usual, but starting tonight, I'm going to work on getting extra sleep every night until the race.  Even if it's just getting to bed 15-30 minutes earlier, it should help.  I think I have an increased incidence of injuries, but not really injuries.  It's more like pain (but maybe it's just paranoia).  Like I'll start running and feel like oh, my knee, oh, it hurts, and then 2 steps later, I'm wondering if it was just some phantom pain.  But my body is definitely feeling worn down and the taper is doing me good.  And I definitely have the compulsive need to exercise right now.  There was really no reason for me to go to camp this morning other than to see Joy and spend the extra time with my husband while he worked out.  But I just wanted to be out there and doing something, even if I knew I wasn't going to run.  But hopefully I'll stay as disciplined as I have been this week and my legs will be itching to run next weekend!  I also think I've seen some decrease in training capacity/intensity, but I didn't count that since that's what my schedule dictates right now.  9 days, 9 days, 9 days! 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Countdown is On. T-10 Days.

Ho-lee crap.  10 days.  Had my second to last weekday morning group run with the guys this morning.  Last track workout until who knows when. 

It was a little weird this morning b/c some people had 5x1600, others had 5x1000, and David and I had 5x800.  At first, I thought Yassos, but then I realized that the schedule today was 5x800 at 5k pace, which for me works out to be about 10 secs/half mile faster than my Yasso pace.

Aside:  Yassos are 800s you run and have your finish time (mm:ss) equal your marathon goal (hh:mm), so 3:40 marathon would be 3 mins 40 secs for an 800 (or 1:50 per lap), and a 4:30 marathon would be 4 mins 30 secs for an 800 (2:15 per lap).  The Yasso theory is that if you can do 10 yassos at the Yasso pace for your goal, it predicts you can hit your goal.  You're supposed to do the 10 fairly close to your race for optimal prediction.  So Yasso pace is not marathon pace.  For a 4:30 marathon, that's an average of 10:17 per mile, but the Yassos to predict that are actually going at 9 min/mile pace, so it is a speed workout.  But it's just another predictor form, and it's been fairly accurate for me in the past.  When I haven't been able to nail all 10 before the race, generally I've also missed my marathon goal -- I was too ambitious, hadn't trained enough, whatever, but if I've hit my 10 fairly comfortably, I've generally been close to goal as well. 

But I nailed them this morning.  First 1 was 1 second slow, second was dead on, third was 4 seconds too fast, fourth was 3 seconds too fast, last one was 1 second too slow.  And I was fine with going about 3-4 seconds plus or minus my goal pace, so to keep them all within a 5 second split made me very happy. 

This morning's workout also started with 2x200 w/ 200 recovery.  It felt crazy to be running that fast.  Kind of fun though!  I feel like I've been very short on speedwork this season.  Anyway, it felt very freeing to be able to run hard, even if it was only for a very short time. 

Based on something I read today, I was thinking -- my legs are as ready as they're going to get, all I can improve at this point is my mind.  I seriously need to work on my mental game.  I need to take my training log home with me at night (I log my miles at work) and study it.  I always take it with me to the race but I need to start looking at it now.  I've done the work, the race (and the finish time) should be my reward.  But it's not going to be easy.  I'll have to work at it.  But I have to believe I can do it.  I will do it.  I'll be Boston-bound if I want (that's another set of issues, did I mention we're planning to go with family to Italy in the spring?).  Maybe I can calendar some thinking time over the weekend.

I keep meaning to spend some time focused mentally before I fall asleep, but every night there seems to be something.  We went to the symphony last night and stayed through the first encore, so by the time we got home, it was late and I was beat, and knew the 4:52 alarm was going to go over way sooner than I wanted.  Tonight we're doing an Italian conversation group, so again, out much later than normal.  But maybe this weekend. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nice Quote

Adam recently shared this with me, not sure of source: 

The great advantage of our sport over all others is that we don't need a ball or a team or a field, or even, according to some, shoes. We just need to stand someplace, imagine ourselves in the center of a circle, pick one out of the 360 degrees available to us, and head thataway.

As I look at my MTCM packing pile that is slowly starting to grow (including things like family Xmas gifts I'm going to give to my folks to drive home so we don't have to fly home with as much crap), and I look at the piles of gear my weekday running buds photographed in preparing for their first tri adventures, and I think about all these other fun fitness things that require equipment or instructors or whatever, I'm reminded that I like the simplicity of running.  For me to run, I do need socks, shoes, and a bra, plus shorts (some form of bottom covering is required by law in Texas).  Beyond that, I like to have a watch and a shirt, but that's really it. 

My husband likes all that disaster-preparedness stuff and has convinced me that I should always have an old pair of running shoes in the trunk of my car.  If the worst happens and many highways are destroyed by natural or human forces and I happen to be at work when the $hit goes down, do I want to be trying to get to safety in my stylish but oh-so-impractical work shoes?  But I like knowing that if I had to leave my car somewhere, I have the self-propelled means to travel out into the suburbs at a moderate running pace.  Going that distance wouldn't kill me.  And I'm willing to bet I could get there (let's say Richardson, a northern suburb about 10 miles away) faster on foot than 90%+ of the people working in downtown Dallas on any given day.  Being able to run and have decent endurance makes me feel more self-sufficient, even though that skill is unlikely to ever matter in my daily life. 

As an aside, my work shoes during taper time are neither stylish nor impractical.  It wouldn't be fun to go 10 miles in these, but it's not like I'm wearing heels or something.  Definitely looking forward to being able to bust out some nice fall boots with heels after this race is over.  Right now I'm too paranoid about tripping. 

All this posting to avoid saying that I ran a bit too much this morning.  Schedule called for 3, and we had 1.5 at camp, including 1 mile that was fairly fast.  But Joy and I had a lot to talk about today, so I ran with her after camp anyway.  But it's not like I went completely overboard or anything, and we kept the miles easy.  Tomorrow we have yassos on the calendar, but only 5 of them.  One of my least favorite track distances ever.  I consistently underperform at that distance, but in terms of marathon pacing prediction, I can usually hammer out the 10 needed for it to be accurate (supposedly).  Last day at the track... 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


My calf muscles felt slightly less sore this morning, so I decided to go meet the group for my scheduled run.  Fortunately, no pain while running and I did some good stretching when I finished.  I ended up running the last 3 miles solo b/c everyone else had at least 8 on the schedule, so I u-turned alone.  I was surprised with a slight negative split, but I think that's mostly b/c I was a lot quicker at the water stop when I was solo. 

I'm struggling to find other things to write about right now.  I put up my motivational post-it notes yesterday.  One on my computer monitor and one on our bathroom mirror on my side.  I read recently that you should phrase them as faits accomplis, so I did that kind of.  I took my 5k goal that I accomplished a couple days ago and wrote that ("I run a sub-X 5k") and then I did similar phrasing for the marathon, saying I already do/did/can do what I plan to do next weekend.  The very sad part is I wrote the one for my computer and phrased the second part "I'm qualified to run Boston."  I decided that was kind of vague b/c being qualified doesn't necessarily mean you've posted a qualifying time.  So I decided the one for my mirror I would write with the exact finish time.  I wrote out the first post-it note and flubbed the word "sub" on my marathon goal.  I tried again and made the same mistake.  Finally on the third try I managed to write out the words as if I'd actually done it.  The fact that I had so much trouble writing a simple sentence means I'm really having a hard time mentally accepting that I can do this (or that I type too much and hand-write too little). 

I also officially started my marathon packing pile.  I put in it a book that I want to give Adam the day before the race and our confirmation sheets that came in teh mail yesterday.  So it's a small pile, but it's officially a pile.  I'm starting to get very nervous and excited when I think about next weekend, but it still seems very far away, so I'm not really thinking about it a lot.  Adam said he dreamt about it on Sunday night, dreamed of posting a dismal finish time and that he'd completely ignored the fact that he was running a race and was just kind of poking along.  I said, well, at least you're dreaming about the race, that means you recognize it's coming, for me it's barely on my radar these days.  I seriously need to devote some major mental time to thinking about the race -- in terms of what to wear, but more in terms of splits and how I'll feel holding the pace, and envisioning a successful finish.  I am so full of doubt right now and I need to put a lid on that soon! 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Yikes, still sore

My calfs are still insanely tight.  More on the left leg, but both of them are sore to the touch.  They feel like two big bruises right below my knees.  More on the inner calf.  If it wasn't both legs, I'd worry it was another gastrocnemius issue, but I think I'm just sore. 

When will I learn that I need to stretch after a hard 5k, just as much as I need to stretch after an easy 15 miles?  Another rookie mistake!  Oh well, I took it very easy at camp this morning and worked out with the woman who is usually the slowest person out there.  We skipped most of the running, though I probably jogged about 8 minutes with her at a very easy pace.  Perfect.  I felt okay while running, like my legs were loosening up a bit.  Hopefully they'll be better tomorrow -- an easy 6 on the schedule.  I don't think I've had an easy 6 miles on a group run since June!  Unfortunately I haven't found many stretches where I can really feel it pull yet, but maybe just taking it easy is all I need.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Unexpected PR!! And Consequences...

Well, it has been an insane running weekend.  5k PR and some major soreness, but there's still a huge smile on my face.

I went to the 5k early because there had been a big-pick-up issue and I was fairly certain I had a bib for the wrong race, in which case my chip wouldn't read.  As I mentioned, this race tends to attract a slow field.  That means chaos at race day pick-up.  Lines everywhere with people not sure what to do or where to go.  People who don't know how to put on chips and just milling about.  I was directed into one line by a volunteer who didn't really comprehend my issue.  Of course by the time I got to the front of the line it was 100% clear it had been the wrong line, so I was sent over to another line.  Got through that and got a bib reissued, but I was so nervous the change wouldn't be recorded.  It was just a random bib kind of laying there.  But there was tons of time, so I wandered around and ended up near the timing truck.  I asked if they had any bib change forms to enter and they looked at my new number and sure enough, I was on a piece of paper they were inputting.  Big relief.  I killed some time, mostly talking to a guy I kind of knew from speed class a year ago, maybe more.

Finally we lined up and were off.  The first mile was much less downhill than I'd remembered.  I'd talked to my bestie (a non-runner, ironically) about race strategy and pretty much decided I'd go pretty hard for the first mile, check my time and then make a game-time decision about the pace for the next mile. 

I should explain that I had two different good scenario paces.  I had a PR-breaking pace, and I had a goal pace (which would break my PR by about 40 seconds and beat Adam's 5k PR).  I knew what each per mile pace was, though I wish I'd studied Adam's numbers a bit more closely.

The course it turned out had been remeasured and was recertified.  In the past, even though it was certified, they'd put the starting line wherever they wanted (it just had to be before a certain corner, it was always well before that).  This time, the start line was fixed and it was measured from there.  So not too long anymore.  But last year I assumed mile marker 1 was in the correct place, but mile marker 2 was way too early (reflecting a time almost 1 min faster than my first mile) and thus mile 3 was way long (reflecting a time more than 1 min slower than my first mile, a total of 2 minutes).  So I didn't want to put too much faith in the placement of the mile markers, but it was all I had (as I'm still garmin-free, need to talk to Adam about that for Xmas). 

I thought the course had basically 2 significant hills.  One leading down from the start on a busy street to our turn (which was down in mile 1, up at the end of mile 2).  And then a huge bridge that you start climbing at the very end of mile 1, then go down, then u-turn and go back up, cresting not far after mile marker 2. 

So I ran pretty hard during the first mile.  Talked to another friend from speed class, formerly in my age group (until a few weeks ago when I moved up).  I think of her as significantly faster than me and I cut the conversation a little short b/c I didn't want to hold her up.  She went on ahead and shortly after that I got slowly passed by the woman who always wins my old age group if she didn't take an overall award.  That freaked me out.  I realized she must have started late b/c she should have been way out in front of me, but she wasn't pulling away as quickly as I'd expected. 

I hit mile marker 1 and I was dead on for Adam's pace.  Insane.  The other insane thing was that it wasn't as much downhill before the big turn as I'd remembered.  The bridge of course still sucked.  But since the pace was right, I figured I'd keep going.  I'd passed my female speed class friend on the climb up the bridge, which shocked me.  And the guy from speed class, Bill, was still roughly in my sight though uncatchable. 

I don't love out-and-back courses, esp with a huge bridge you then have to climb twice, but it is fun to see the leaders.  I was surprised how well I was doing overall.  There were plenty of women in front of me and I didn't actually count, but the number seemed count-able. 

I climbed back up the bridge and figured I'd check my pace again at mile marker 2.  I was sure I was slowing, in which case I was thinking of a major pull-back for mile 3, even if it meant my female speed class friend would pass me again.  Realistically, I was figuring she'd pass me whether I pulled back or not. 

Mile marker 2 and I was shocked..  Dead steady.  Same split as mile 1 to the second.  So still dead on for Adam's pace.  But mile 3 was tough.  I had to finish climbing the bridge and then the decline seemed long, and it was further than I remembered to the turn onto the main street, and then further still to the turn for the finish line. 

There was a friend cheering for me late in mile 2.  She yelled that I was on track for a PR.  I looked at my watch and figured a PR wasn't possible since marker 3 wasn't even in sight yet.  I told her not likely, gave her an idiotic guns/thumbs-up pose and kept moving along. 

Mile marker 3 was almost right at the turn.  I hit it 7-8 seconds slower than miles 1 and 2 and I figured the goal of beating Adam was completely scrapped at that point.  I ran hard the last .1, but there was really no kick left to give. 

I finished and hit my watch.  And I couldn't remember exactly what Adam's time was.  I knew it ended with a 6, 7, 8 or 9.  Mine ended with an 8, so I figured there was a good chance I'd at least tied him.  I was pretty excited about that, and completely shocked.

It's hard to explain how many times I'd gunned for a time right around my Saturday finish time.  It was my entire spring running goal.  Months of speedwork.  I probably made 4 or 5 attempts at it, only two of which were super-serious.  And I missed it both times.  And worse yet, I kind of crashed and burned in each and didn't even improve my own PR.  I got sick after the final attempt in April, but honestly that was probably a combination of vomit from being ill over the preceding week as much as it was vomit from running as hard as I felt I could. 

And all of a sudden, there was a decent chance I'd just done it! 

I waited for the awards and managed to get a cool age group award -- as awesome as I'd imagined it would be, but it was killing me not to know if I'd hit my goal or not.  My official goal had been to beat Adam, but I knew I'd be thrilled with a tie as well.  And I was trying very hard not to lose sight of the fact that even if I'd missed it, I still had a shiny new PR to go with my age group award.

I hung out at the awards ceremony for a long time, talking to Bill and my friend who'd been cheering.  And mostly waiting for the effects of my one post-race beer to fade.  Finally I felt steady and walked to the car.  Unfortunately, that was more than an hour after the race and basically the ONLY stretching or loosening up I'd done.  When will I learn???!!! 

I drove home and called Adam -- no answer.  I called my spring speed coach to tell him I'd gotten close and left him a VM too.  Got home and looked online.


Adam's time had ended with a 7, mine ended with an 8.  I could have kicked myself.  Of course I could have pushed 1-2 seconds harder for the tie or the win.  Maybe I need a new watch -- I'm not actually sure a garmin would fix this.  I guess it probably would if I didn't mark my mile splits.  On my watch, which is nice during a marathon or something, my current split is large and legible, my total race time is small and completely illegible at anything even slightly resembling a strenuous race pace. 

I think on a garmin if I didn't hit splits at the mile markers (and relied on the garmin's splits), my total race time would be large and legible.  That alone could be a reason to get one.

During a marathon, lots of advice is to "run the mile you're in," which seems ludicrous to me.  Run the mile you're in twenty-six separate times?  Give me a break.  Instead, I focus on my five-mile times.  I look at it as 5 races of 5 miles each, then 5 laps around the track.  I bet a garmin would let me record those splits.

Anyway, I spent most of the day relaxing around the house and getting ready to go to the big Oktoberfest festival, where I was meeting a bunch of people from a runners' drinking club, and Joy from boot camp.  I had to park further away than I expected and walk in my poor choice of footwear.  I developed new small blisters on each big toe, but nothing to worry about really, they didn't even hurt during today's run.

My husband had suggested I only have 1 big beer at Oktoberfest, but I ended up at more like 1.8, but I felt like it was about 4.  Here's the fraction:

Alcohol consumed 9/1-9/17 < Alcohol consumed 9/18


I hadn't really drank much in a while, plus I'd had the morning beer and I was probably slightly dehydrated all day from the race.  I had such a fun time at Oktoberfest though.  Met a bunch of runners who like their beer and shared race stories and just general chatter, plus multiple toasts and the occasional song.  I didn't eat much -- a dish of spaetzle (DELICIOUS), and part of one of Joy's potato pancakes. 

I got home well after midnight (hit the hay around 1:00), and the alarm at 4:45 came so early.  I got up and didn't feel hungover, just major cotton mouth.  Got ready for the run and headed out. 

At no point did the run feel good today, it was a long 15 miles, but it was bearable.  There were a few times were my legs felt insanely weak.  It was almost like my left leg would nearly give out for about 1-2 steps every 1-2 miles.  It was hard to describe, it was almost like I'd land on it and then collapse down on it, but I never fell or had to stop or anything.  We were supposed to have marathon pace on the second half of the run this morning, which we did and it was actually closer to my true marathon goal pace than it has been in the past (since several in the group have faster goal paces than me).  I basically ran with the group the whole time and was pretty happy with the run (and lack of vomit) overall. 

I've just spent today chilling.  By the final few water stops this morning, I realized that my calves were crazy and painfully tight, so I'm trying to spend lots of time off my feet today.  No complaints here.

So I got a new PR and I kind of paid for it.  But realistically, I don't think I actually sabotaged my marathon (I have two weeks of taper still), and even if this run costs me some minutes at the marathon, wow, I finally got a 5k PR! 

The other very good news is that my new 5k time input on my favorite pace predictor (McMillan) predicts me solidly qualifying for Boston!  That's a mental boost!  So both September races say I should be able to do it.  The true test is coming and I'll know the answer two weeks from now, when I'm hopefully drinking a beer with a big medal around my neck and a big smile on my face!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fave Food ABCs

As expected, I decided to skip working out today.  I might do some arm weight work tonight, but even that is unlikely. 

Of the 17 weeks I've been officially in training for MTCM now, I've worked out at least 5 days on each of those weeks.  And of those 17 weeks, 4 of them have been weeks where I've worked out every single day (generally meaning 13 straight days of exercise).  Since it's not the same activity every day, I think going 7 days a week is fine sometimes, but I didn't want to do it this close to the race now.  I'm about to transition into major marathon prep mode, which means germ avoidance, alcohol avoidance, extra caution when it comes to pretty much everything (I'd never want to fall down the stairs, but when it's less than 2 weeks to marathon, I will actually make many extra trips up and down the stairs at home so my hands aren't so overloaded I can't hold onto the railing).  And since my 5k strategy for tomorrow may still include running faster than most coaches would advise (I really want one of those cool awards!), I figured a day off today was good. 

Plus, yesterday was my husband's longest workday of the year, so he got home really late last night and also skipped boot camp this morning.  Since that's a workout we usually do together, while I don't mind going solo, it was easier to just stay in bed this morning while he slept and reset my alarm to catch an extra hour of sleep. 

So since there's no workout to write about and not much to report about life in general, I'm stealing this idea from Mary's post on the same subject.  My favorite foods for each letter of the alphabet. 

A:  Apples.  I always say that I love fast food, by which I usually mean apples.  Grab it and go.  Favorite kind are Honeycrisp, but I've only known that for about 3 years.  A co-worker raved about them and now I'm hooked.  Runner-up:  Avocado. 

B:  Brownies (Joy's caramel brownies come to mind first!).  Runner-up:  Baked potatoes (or twice baked potatoes). 

C:  Cheesecake.  One of my favorite foods of all time.  Runner-up:  Cheese.  Another favorite food of all time.  Honorable mention:  Corn on the cob.  Almost made the cut:  Cauliflower.  Lots of C foods I enjoy, one of the toughest letters to choose.  My cheesecake of choice is the recipe of a family friend -- I like it best when she makes it, but I haven't gotten to enjoy that in about 10 years.  I can also make it, but it's never quite as good, but of course I still love it.  I probably make it once a year and then eat more than half of it myself (I usually share the other half with friends or book club; my hubby doesn't like sweets).  

D:  Dolmas -- vegetarian and without pine nuts.  Was reminded on our honeymoon of how much I like these.  Am intimidated by the thought of making them and have never tried.  I heard it takes hours to work on the grape leaves alone, but I'd guess the filling wouldn't be too tough.  Runner-up: Donuts.  Hate to say it.  Eat them less than once a month, but when I do, I eat a bunch!  My faves are blueberry cake and lemon-filled.

E:  Eggplant parmigiana.  Runner-up:  eggplant involtini.  Can you tell I love Italian food?  Honorable mention:  English muffins, which I eat daily. 

F:  Fried mushrooms (if I have to choose one thing), fried cheese sticks, or french fries (probably in that order).  Something fried.  But it has to be good.  I'm kind of picky.  I've only found one place where I really like the fried mushrooms (Hunky's in Dallas), fries are slightly easier but I still don't like them much about half the time I get them, and actually, I'm not even a little picky about cheese sticks.  I almost always like them.  I also like odd specific fried things.  I liked the fried butter at the Texas State Fair last year (tasted like buttery toast to me).  I like the fried eggplant at a pizza place that I adore in Milwaukee (Balastreri's).  Runner-up to all things fried:  Frozen Custard from Leon's in Milwaukee.  I eat it every time I'm in the city, even if it's 10 below 0! 

G:  Grapes, preferably good, large, green, and seedless, though I know seedless is unnatural and modified and all that.  When my husband and I are on our way home from Italy, we sometimes try to look at the bright side and think of things that we're happy to come home to -- since they eat natural (seeded) grapes there, seedless grapes always make my list (a general population that showers daily always makes his list).  When grapes are in my lunch bag, I have trouble concentrating at work until I go to the fridge and get them.  The only days I ever eat them at work in the afternoon are if I've completely forgotten I packed them.  Grapes probably count as one of my all-time favorite foods.  Runner-up:  Gelato (see I).  Honorable mention:  Guacamole.  Didn't even like guacamole until about 2 years after I moved to Texas.  Oh, the many years I missed! 

H:  Hearts of palm.  Love them in salads, make me think of my grandma.  Recently included them in a salad I brought to a running party this summer (saying goodbye to a couple moving away) and was amazed at the number of people who didn't know what they were.  Especially since it's kind of a healthier crowd, I just assumed they'd at least recognize them. 

I:  Ice cream -- actually having trouble thinking of other "I" foods.  Ice cream of choice is B&J's Oatmeal Cookie Chunk (see O below for further detail!).  Don't actually eat that B&J's often.  About 2-3 pints per year, all during marathon season.  As for eating other kinds, it's fairly rare.  Maybe twice a year?  I like gelato though and we eat that almost daily on vacation overseas -- but that's usually only a couple weeks per year.  Runner-up would be Italian food in general, but I couldn't let that be my answer since it kind of seems like cheating since it's so broad. 

J:  Jicama -- another fun salad addition.  Hubby and I meet for Mexican food after my runs that are 20 miles or more so I can replenish my salt levels.  We generally go to a place called Cantina Laredo, and alongside my entree (avocado and artichoke enchiladas), is an unusual salad with jicama, lettuce, red peppers, carrots and mango. 

K:  Kiwis.  Always enjoyed them but didn't eat them regularly until we ate them for breakfast everyday during part of our honeymoon, now I love them with yogurt and remember to ask for them from the grocery store pretty often. 

L:  Liverwurst.  Not!  Trying to decide here.  Lentil curry and lavash are both in consideration, recent things I've started eating.  But since those aren't long-standing L food loves, I'm going to go with Lemon Bars made with my mom's recipe (which was my grandma's recipe I believe). 

M:  Mac and Cheese.  Almost any kind -- gourmet 4-cheese, or basic Kraft spirals.  It's just good stuff.  Another one of my favorite foods of all time (see also C, G, O and P).  Runner-up:  Mushrooms.  Can't seem to get enough of them, on a bun, in a pasta sauce, sauteed over rice, fried.  Pretty much any way except raw (which I'll eat, but isn't ever my preference). 

N:  Nachos?  I had a surprisingly difficult time coming up with an N food that I like.  I'm not a nut person.   For nacho thoughts, see T.  But I also like nachos when I'm at a game or carnival type event that has limited vegetarian options.  I pretty much never make them at home, but I used to like them with Velveeta cheese microwaved over the chips.  My folks would occasionally let us have that as a snack before dinner.  I don't think my husband would ever purchase Velveeta for us.  He's too healthy for all that, but it was really my original cheese love. 

O:  Olives.  One of my top 5 favorite foods.  Used to like only canned black, but have expanded that within the last 15 years to kalamata and green (except when stuffed with pimientos, which I like on their own but don't love with the green olives).  When I was little I used to put them on all my fingers and pretend they were Russian soldiers in hats.  I've been fascinated by Russia most of my life, which is why I was so excited we got to go this year on vacation.  It was my first time there and it was just as incredible as I'd always imagined it would be.  Runner-up:  Oatmeal crispies (a kind of cookie I make with my grandma's recipe). 

P:  Peas.  Probably my favorite food of all time.  Pasta is second, pizza is third, peaches are fourth, popcorn is fifth, Pringles light are sixth.  P was a much tougher letter than I ever would have guessed.  I can actually think of lots of other P foods that I enjoy but don't make the cut. 

Q:  Quiche.  Very cheesy and vegetarian.  I hate quiche if it tastes "eggy."  Love lots of veggies in it to go with all the cheese. 

R:  Raspberries.  Just hate that the seeds get in my teeth and that they spoil quickly, but I also love raspberry-flavored things like smoothies, gelato and cakes, along with anything else that can be raspberry-flavored.  I've recently found that I also enjoy golden raspberries.  Runner-up:  Raisins.  Eat them almost daily on my yogurt usually. 

S:  Strawberries.  Runner-up:  Sandwiches (especially from Gourmet Exxon in Charlottesville, Bashir's in Charlottesville, and Eatzi's in Dallas, those are probably my favorite sandwiches of all time).  Honorable mention:  Skittles, probably the candy I eat most often, but still rare.  I'm not a big candy person.  Until I became a vegetarian in 2001, I definitely would have put steak above strawberries. 

T:  Taco salad.  Ideally with beans, cheese, lettuce, salsa and olives, all in an awesome shell.  Runner-up:  tangerines, especially around Christmas-time. 

U:  Ugly fruit.  Jamaican citrus, frequently available here.  Can't think of many other U choices. 

V:  Vegan Chinese Thanksgiving Buffet!  There's an awesome restaurant here, all vegan, buffet lunch on Saturdays.  I eat like crazy every time I go, about twice a year, so I think of it as my own personal thanksgiving -- I have that same overstuffed feeling when I'm finished.  It's called Suma Veggie Cafe.  The most fake meat I ever eat in one sitting.  My fave dish there reminds me of General Tso's chicken, but without the cruelty!  Oh, I love vegan Chinese thanksgiving!  I am hoping to go with my friend David one Saturday in October.  My husband doesn't love it the way I do, so he's always happy if I can enjoy it with someone other than him. 

W:  White chocolate.  Runner-up:  Wasabi peas (goes with my love of all things peas).  Honorable mention:  Wraps.  Almost made the cut:  Wheat Thins.  Good thing I don't count water as a food, because I love that more than white chocolate.  I drink more water in a day than anyone I know or that my doctor has ever heard of.  I drink so much my doctor was worried and I had to be tested for all kinds of stuff when he found out last year how much I drink.  But I love it and don't often drink anything else.  Wine occasionally, but I'd choose water probably.  But they're drinks and not allowed on this list! 

X:  Xtra side of cheese!  Haha.  Can't think of anything. 

Y:  Yogurt, which I love and eat daily, sometimes twice daily, but I actually can't think of other choices for Y really. 

Z: Zucchini.  Another tough letter, but one of my favorite vegetables.  Especially grilled.

So my actual all-time fave foods, attempting to put in order:  Peas, Grapes, Cheesecake, Olives, Cheese, Macaroni & Cheese.  Mmm.... 

Not the best fuel for a 5k tomorrow, but all I can think about right now is a day enjoying all of those foods!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Annoying Top Gun Quote about the Need for Speed

Well, my marathon training has officially peaked and the downward slope began after this morning's run!  I had 5 repeats of 1000 meters at 10k pace with 200 recovery.  I gave myself a 10 second window for the repeats.  First repeat was in the second half of the window, but in the window.  Repeats 2, 3 and 4 were all in the front half of the window, also in the window.  And then repeat 5 was outside the window by 2 seconds, but it was faster than the window, my fastest one of all, so that's the way I like to have it.  Total spread for all 5 was only 8 seconds.  And if you don't count the first repeat, they were all within 5 seconds.  I'm quite pleased with that!  It didn't feel easy, but the temp was in the 70s and I could tell it was a couple degrees cooler than last week, even though the humidity was still sky-high.  I never felt like I was struggling more than I should on speedwork. 

This is going to be my last tough week.  Here's how my training broke out (and for the record, I did my July 4 long run one day early, but that skews the numbers, so I counted it instead like I'd done it on July 4 (otherwise one week looks artificially high and one week looks artificially low)):  12.1 (scheduling issue, couldn't run), 31.5, 31.7, 34.2, 39.6, 30.2, 36.2, 38.8, 31.3, 40.1, 34.8, 43.5, 39.1, 43.2, 44.3, 40.2, and this week will be at least 45.7 (assuming I skip camp tomorrow and do the 5k on Saturday). 

I have logged miles (sometimes very short, but at least something) at least 5 days a week for 16 weeks (since I had issues the first week).  I have not missed a single long run (nor have I had to cut one short), and I haven't missed a single weekday group run except the first week (and I even ran with a few friends the one day the group run was cancelled for lightning). 

Can you tell I'm trying to do some mental marathon preparation?  I want to reinforce how strong my training has been so I don't psyche myself out and become convinced I can't push hard on race day.

My mileage breakout in groups:
0-30.0 miles per week:  1 week (first week)
30.0-34.9 miles per week:  6 weeks
35.0-39.9 miles per week: 4 weeks
40.0-44.9 miles per week:  5 weeks
45.0 or more miles per week:  1 week (this week I hope!)

Or, as I used to look at it, 1 week under 30, 10 weeks in the 30s, 6 weeks in the 40s. 

Next week will be about 31, the following week will be about 23.  Then race day!  Holy cow!!  I need to focus more on how prepared I am, how it will feel to hold race pace for 26.2 miles, the fact that I can hold the pace, and how happy I'll be when (trying to say when, not if) I qualify.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

One more day, one more day...

I'm feeling beat down right now but when I logged my miles in my paper running log this morning, I realized there's really only one more day!  Tomorrow is a tough speed session and then it should be easy, peasy.  Cake walk for the remaining two weeks til race day. 

Saturday 5k but not racing.  Still hoping maybe for an age group award.  I didn't race last year but did place, but last year they moved away from their normal awards so I got whatever crappy thing it was.  This year they're back to the cool awards, so it would be nice to win one.  But this course is long (by about a tenth of a mile or more) and there's a crappy hill you go up at the end (you go down it at the beginning though).  And of course now that they're back to the cool awards, there might be more competition, so I probably won't get one. 

Sunday is 15 with some race pace.  Next Tuesday is only 6 easy.  CRAZY!  We're back at the track next Thurs., but it's not a very long workout. 

I went to a couple years of elementary school in the suburbs of the Twin Cities and have reconnected with a few people there via facebook.  I guess I need to post something soon telling everyone when I'll be there and seeing about setting up some coffee dates or lunches or something. 

I might have officially lost one more pound.  I'm snacking on carrot sticks right now and hoping to be eating clean for the next couple weeks, though I'm guessing few things really change in my diet.  Last night I went out with a bang though, thinking I really do need to cut out sweets and other garbage.  We eat dessert every night almost, but it's a healthy-ish dessert (Greek yogurt with fruit, granola, honey, sometimes white chocolate chips on mine) (but of course I don't eat this Sat nights, no dairy in the 12 hours before a long run except maybe the tiniest bit of cheese over my pasta).  Well, we have a houseguest with us and it's almost comical b/c we're all kind of blue in a way.  Hubby and I have this family health thing hanging over us, and the possible financial implications.  She has some relationship drama, plus her own family health issue and some work issues. 

Well, yesterday I was emailing with our mutual friend Elizabeth to see if she wanted to meet us for ice cream, maybe bringing along her daughter who is 3.5.  Elizabeth is still out of town for work though, so she said we should see if her husband wanted to go and bring the kids.  Turns out my godson (her son) has a fever, so her husband said they couldn't go.  He didn't think it was a good idea for the 3.5 year old daughter to walk the 2 miles to the ice cream store (even though it's a straight shot, I suppose he's a responsible parent with this decision).  He said he could put her carseat in my car and we could take her, or we could come to their house and take their car with her. 

We decided to go to the ice cream shop and get ice cream to bring with us to their house.  It's this place where you choose your cookie flavor and your ice cream flavor and then they make sandwiches for you.  I got vanilla sugar cookies with some kind of blackberry swirl vanilla ice cream.  Soooo good.  And her kids are completely adorable.  I could tell my godson wasn't feeling well, but he dug into the ice cream with as much gusto (but more mess) as I did.  Man, it was good stuff!  The kids were running around, singing and being silly.  It was a fun night. 

I guess my last binge of bad eating will be this weekend.  I'm going to Oktoberfest Sat night, which will mean a few beers, but hopefully not too many, given the 5:30 run of 15 miles...  Sunday our running group is having a bake sale to support a running program with a homeless shelter (and New Balance is matching the proceeds!), so I'm baking Joy's caramel brownies for that and will doubtless keep a few for myself, plus buy a few other tasty baked treats.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Taper Time on the Horizon!

I'm on page 4 of 4 of my running schedule now (started on Sunday), which is technically on the first week of the taper schedule, but it's not really taper time yet.  Instead, there is one tough week that immediately precedes the two true taper weeks (it's just on the taper schedule b/c your start to the taper schedule is tied to your race date).  So basically I'm on my last 40+ mile week of training and the cake walk starts next week -- I think it's only low 30s for mileage, followed by something like a 20 mile week. 

This morning's run was 8 miles, with 2 easy, 2 race pace, 2 easy, 2 race pace.  Because of people out of town this week, I was actually the only person in the group this morning who had that run on the schedule.  But since I run with guys whose race pace is significantly faster than my own, a couple of them were willing to stick with me and do my scheduled run.  Our first 2 easy were great pace-wise.  Then 2 great race pace.  Then the system broke down a bit.  Instead of doing 2 easy, we basically did 2 a tiny bit slower than race pace (about 10 seconds each mile).  And then instead of kicking back to race pace, we went way too fast for the last two -- about 15 seconds faster each mile than the first two race pace miles.  It did not feel sustainable, but if I really ran that pace, I'd qualify by a long shot. 

I need to practice more correct race pace.  Maybe tomorrow if my legs feel good.  One of my friends from law school is in town visiting so we drank a bit too much sangria last night, so that made it tougher to guage my effort -- couldn't tell what part of any struggle was related to alcohol, hills, heat, humidity, etc.  She joined us on the run this morning, which was nice.  She's trying to requalify, though technically her marathon time from last year qualifies her for Boston 2011 as well.  She's going to run Marine Corps. 

Another cool thing about our run today was that between about mile 0.5 and 2.5, we descended about 140 feet.  MTCM has a climb over 2 miles of 160 feet, and I'd really like to practice it, so this will probably be the place to do it.  I'd like to drive out to 2.5 one day in the next week or two and then run back to 0.5 to get a feel for what 140 over 2 miles feels like so I'll be less intimidated.  I've been searching for the perfect grade over the right distance and this is the closest I've found so far. 

My taper madness project is going to be to organize all loose paper in the kitchen related to recipes.  I've got a binder and tons of plastic page covers, and am going to buy dividers this week and then I'll get started on Sunday.  Woo-hoo.  It will be like my own custom cookbook when I'm finished. 

And the family medical issue is still there but we're adjusting to a new normal and the impending financial crisis may not be as imminent as originally feared.  So life is coming up roses right now for me!  Just need to hold strong for 19 days of running (including MTCM!) and get my mental game in order.  And then have this medical issue actually get handled so that things are back in the clear all around. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

78 degrees, 82% humidity, 22 miles... CHECK

Well, the last big run is down in the books.  22 miles yesterday morning and I survived, though it was anything but pretty.  We did 2 miles at 5 a.m., then met up with more people for 20 at 5:30.  One of the coaches from the next fastest pace group was running with us since one of our coaches was out.  I run with him, Craig, during the weekdays sometimes, so it was easy to stay by his side and chat.  Well, the crowd quickly thinned.  He said we were doing the right pace, but very few in the group were keeping up.  So it kind of ended up being us running together most of the time, occasionally with others.  We talked and I said I wasn't worried about being ahead of the group as long as we were talking and we were going at the right pace.  Well, by about mile 10, I was feeling significantly less enthused.  By about mile 14, there were 2 from our group in front of us, then me and Craig, then the rest of the group behind us.  By about 20, I felt like we were practically walking.  I looked at my watch and Craig saw me.  He said only about 12 more minutes, so I figured I'd keep going.  He was exactly right -- 12 minutes later, his watch chimed 20 (he'd skipped the first 2), and we were at the end of the route. 

After the run I didn't stretch enough.  I drank my recovery drink and drove to a gas station to buy 40lbs of ice.  Thankfully I went in to pay before loading up my car, but their CC machines were down and they don't take checks.  And of course I never seem to carry any cash, so I was SOL.  I drove toward home and stopped at the closest gas station to our house, which sells 8 lb bags for about the same price as the 10lb bags at the gas station by the running store.  So I went in to pay for 5 bags and the cashier was clearly a runner.  Asked me how far I'd gone, what my time was, said that was fast and then I reminded him what my final marathon time would be at that pace and he said, ah, yes, 22 not 26, well, still good for a training run.  So nice! 

Got home and did the ice bath Tami's way -- filled the tub with enough cold water to submerge my legs, dumped in our freezer ice, then added the ice I bought without opening the bags.  Laid 8 lbs across my thighs (so most of the ice was not submerged), 8 across my knees, 8 over each shin, and the other bag I opened.  Much less melted ice, which meant much more painful ice bath.  I called my husband when I had 4 minutes to go in the hopes he'd get my mind off it, but I gave up after 2 minutes.  By that point I'd opened all the bags and it was all melted, and with 2 minutes to go, I started letting it drain.  At least the back of my legs were submerged the full time! 

I got in the shower and felt awful.  Finally after about 20 minutes of sitting, I felt warmer and back to normal.  Got dressed quickly and headed out to meet my husband for Mexican food.  My favorite recovery meal.  Ate tons more food than usual.  Two baskets of chips got my sodium levels back in line and I felt infinitely better by the time I was done.  Went home and mostly laid around.  Ate my reward pint of Ben & Jerry's, did some reading, some cleaning, and watched some TV.  I didn't really nap, so I crashed hard last night.

This morning I woke up with some soreness in my quads, but nothing major.  Soles of my feet still hurt, but nothing major.  Went to boot camp w/ my husband and jogged a tiny bit, but mostly just walked or talked to the trainer.  My left knee felt a little wonky at times.  Not sure exactly what hurt or where, but I was thinking it was the biceps femoris, but I'll just wait and see if it hurts during the day today at all, or if it hurts on the run tomorrow. 

I think my taper officially begins on Thursday after speedwork that morning.  Oh, it will be nice.  I am doing a 5k this weekend, but probably running pretty easy.  No PR likely. 

Speaking of racing, I got a text from Adam on Sunday -- he broke my half PR by a couple minutes.  Not a big deal since his time is also quite beatable.  But he and his girlfriend both got PRs that morning.  He'd told me he was doing the half and asked what my time to beat was.  I told him I probably wouldn't race it at this point.  He agreed -- he's training for the MTCM full, not for a mid-Sept half.  He ran about 4 easy, 6 at race pace, and then let it rip for the final 3.  Crazy fast, considering he'd just run 10, but he should still be okay to run tomorrow easy.  I've got to think a little more about what my 5k plan will be on Saturday.  It's kind of a sucky course -- certified, but a little long (little known fact, a certified 5k means it is at least 5k -- thus a marathon could be a certified 5k; a certified 5k could be 100 miles long, just as long as it's AT LEAST 5k), and with a crappy hill at the very end of mile 2 (and another slight one earlier).  I'll see how I'm feeling, but I may just run the whole thing easy. 

We have a houseguest arriving this afternoon, which will be a lot of fun, a friend of mine from law school (kind of, friend of a friend in law school, became good friends when she lateralled to my firm after a couple years in another state).  She's training for Marine Corps, which she's done several times.  When I ran it a couple years ago, she actually ran alongside me for the last few miles when I was struggling.  Maybe she'll keep my company for my run tomorrow!

Friday, September 10, 2010


I managed to squeeze out 5 miles this morning, but I just wasn't feeling it.  Possibly my slowest miles of the season, but I think I might just be beat up from yesterday's mile repeats so I'm not getting too worked up about it.  Possibly also b/c my levels of stress right now are higher than they've been in years probably.  Neither my husband nor I slept well last night.  I think he was awake almost all night unfortunately.  We talked a few times when I woke up but I kept trying to remind him that I had a major hearing for work today, probably the most important of my career so far (and I've been a lawyer for almost 10 years!), so I really needed to get some sleep.  Hearing is now over (mostly successful).  Unfortunately, he is about to go into a very long stretch of work.  I am hoping to be able to rely on some of my non-marital support network this weekend to kind of talk things through and start wrapping my mind around the medical issues that have arisen this week (not relating to my body though). 

Our neighbors are out of town for a while now and I actually emailed them about it yesterday, still waiting to talk to my folks more and my besties.  I almost talked about it with Joy this morning, because she ran the first 1.5 after camp with me (she was with me Wed morning when we decided not to brave running through Hermine), but we got caught up in talking about other things and it was so nice to have my mind on something else that I didn't mention it. 

But if anyone reading this knows anything about CRT or ICDs, leave a comment and I'll email you some specifics.  Ugh.  But if you don't know what any of those acronyms mean, just consider yourself blessed! 

Not much else related to running that I can say right now.  Last night my husband and I went to cheer for a 5k that one of my best friends was running.  We saw at least 5 people from boot camp running too, as well as a couple who are on the local team with me, so it was a lot of fun.  I think we were maybe the only true spectators out there on the course, and we saw runners after about .15 miles and again right around mile marker 3.  It was so much fun.  My friend stayed with a co-worker of hers who was running her first 5k ever.  That was exciting. 

Our boot camp instructor tries to motivate us all the time by saying things about getting out there and doing it, otherwise you'll just be sitting on the curb clapping as they go by.  Well, honestly, I love sitting on the curb clapping!  I feel so encouraged in a race when someone is cheering, and a million times more so if I know they're cheering for me specifically.  I cheered during our local marathon almost 2 years ago for about 10 specific people, plus general friends I knew running, and I had so much fun doing it.  I walked and drove to about 5 different spots along the course. 

-- A weird aside about that.  So our local marathon (White Rock) is in December.  I cheered in Dec. 08.  I had my hair in a ponytail and was wearing blue swishy running pants (which I actually hate to wear to run b/c they're too noisy) and a green fleece.  I remember very specifically because someone took a photo of me running home carrying my signs, and one of my besties used that photo in a collage she made me for Xmas that year.  Anyway, my point is that I wasn't wearing anything particularly memorable or out of the ordinary.  About 8 months later, dead of summer, we had a new instructor leading our boot camp class.  My husband and I were a little apart from most of the group, doing our partner exercises, and the instructor was near us.  He told me he recognized me from the marathon.  I was like, what?  He said I was out there cheering and he remembered me.  I said I was and kind of looked at my husband like, is this guy crazy?  That was the end of it and he's not an instructor anymore (or at least not at our location), but it's something my husband and I both thought was incredibly weird.  I mean, there are hundreds of people cheering along this marathon course.  How in the world would he have remembered I was there, especially when there is no chance I was wearing the same thing?  He must have an absolutely incredible capacity for facial recognition.  I don't think there's anything particularly memorable about me.  Like if I was a stunning beauty, sure, maybe he'd remember me, or if I had a huge goiter on my forehead, that would also be memorable.  But I don't think I stand out of any crowd appearance-wise.  So bizarre! --

All that to say, I guess I'm not the only person who thinks it's special when someone's out there cheering during a race.  And since I wasn't running last night, I was happy to be able to take the opportunity to cheer for my friends, and also cheer for random runners, telling them they were almost there, to power up the hill, to give it a final kick, etc.  I even through out one of my fave support lines -- pain is temporary, internet results are forever!  (My other fave is, that's not sweat, it's your fat cells crying!) 

Strange that this is so long.  I'm still more of a blog reader than a writer, and I looked at one of my usual reads, A Merry Life, today, and there was a cool post about her favorite foods, one for each letter of the alphabet.  I was thinking I'd do a similar post today but I've already written a lot, so I'll save that idea for some other day.  And maybe in that time I can make my A and G choices.  I actually decided not to read her list b/c I wanted to come up with my own thoughts, but I saw the first few and saw she had avocado for A, and I thought, oooh, I love avocados, but I'd put it under G for guacamole, but then I saw she had grapes for G, and grapes might be one of my all-time favorite foods, so now I don't know how I'll arrange apples, avocado, grapes and guacamole.  Maybe I can have runner-up awards for a couple letters? 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hermine's Mercy

Crazy weather here.  Torrential rain yesterday, tons of flooding, and then tornados yesterday afternoon.  It didn't seem that bad really, nothing like tornado weather that I remember from my childhood.  I remember the greenish tinge to the sky very well but that never happened here yesterday, but tornados were present nonetheless. 

I heard the sirens go off while I was at work, maybe about 5:30ish, and I actually thought they were testing them and I thought that was completely idiotic, that they should never test them during even mildly inclement weather.  Talked to hubby and he was at the grocery store.  He'd called to say he ran into one of my running friends, Nicole, there and to ask some grocery question.  Then he called back and said he and Nicole and everyone else had been herded to the back of the store.  The touchdown in the city was on the same street as the grocery store, but that's not saying too much b/c it's a really long street! 

I decided to drive home when I heard the sirens, mostly b/c yesterday had been a really long and bad day already I was dying to get home and hang out with hubby for a while.  With all this stress lately, I'm so glad we're doing Sittember, sitting down for dinner every night like NewlyWedNewlyVeg.  My husband has kind of noticed we're doing it.  The first night, he said something like, oh, we're eating at the table tonight.  And the next night he asked if we were going to finish watching Notorious after dinner (which we still haven't finished watching!).  But he hasn't mentioned it since, but we also had company one night and did eat in front of the tv one night for the one weekly allowance for trash tv.  But last night we really needed the chance to talk.  It seems to make everything better.  Even if nothing has really changed, we have some ideas on how to handle things and I feel a lot calmer (and I hope he does too). 

And then my state of mind was further improved when I woke up to no rain this morning!  But wow, the humidity was insane and it's not looking good for my 22 miles on Sunday (current forecast is a low on Sunday morning of 77!!!!!).  Anyway, we ran 2 easy to the track, then the guys had 4 repeats of 1 mile at 15k pace, and I had 5.  I averaged out where I needed to be, but the repeats were kind of ugly.  First one was at the same pace as last week's last one -- which I now know to be way too fast.  I tried to give myself a goal pace, and the first was about 25 seconds too fast.  Repeats 2, 3 and 4 were all less than 10 seconds apart and all slightly faster than goal, but one by only two seconds and the others by less than 10.  But then the guys left b/c they were done with their 4 and the track was clearing out.  I ran my last one and it felt like a train wreck.  I ended up 11 seconds too slow, which isn't really the end of the world, but was disappointing.  That meant my total spread was 36 seconds, which is way too broad, but I could live with it if my last and first repeat times had been reversed.  Oh well.  At least I got the miles in and most were on track. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hermine = Road Block

No run this morning, the tropical depression Hermine that is sitting on top of Dallas made it too wet. 

If you ignore the very first week of my training schedule (during which I missed three days on the schedule b/c of a family member in the hospital), I think today is the very first day where I've completely missed a scheduled run.  I guess technically I also miss almost every single Saturday scheduled run, but I get in at least a couple miles on Fridays, which are supposed to be our off day (I switched the 2 but still don't run the full scheduled distance usually).  I suppose I missed a scheduled run on July 4, but I have worked out and logged running miles at least 5 days a week every single week since May 30.  I have not missed a single group run (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday), except that very first Tuesday. 

I say all that to make myself feel better.  I'll probably just take today's miles and move them to Friday, and skip the Saturday miles completely.  I'm over 27 miles for the week as of right now (which is low, but I still have 3 days left).  Even if I skip Saturday and just log a few on Friday, plus do the schedule tomorrow, I should still be mid-30s.

I kind of think mid-30s is the bare minimum for this stage of marathon training, but I've been at 43.2 and 44.3 for the last two weeks, so one step down week won't kill me. 

Aside from missing my run today, the rest of day has been complete $hit.  Major house problem happening today, and major family health issue that's arisen today -- and possibly creating an impending financial crisis.  Very bad news.  The financial crisis is coming, it's just a question of when.  I need to buckle down at work, but I can't focus at all.  I want to go home, go to bed and pull the covers over my head and not come out until it's sunny in all senses of the word.  What a rotten day.  Hopefully I will be able to hammer out the stress at the track tomorrow. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Running in Hermine and Heated Yoga and Yoga for Runners

I took yesterday off from running, though I probably got in about a tenth of a mile at camp.  After camp I got to eat my favorite breakfast indulgence -- a dutch baby from Original House of Pancakes.  Yum!  This kind of goes directly against my husband's suggestion of eating clean for the entire month before the marathon to avoid gaining any weight, but oh well.  I don't think I could do that for an entire month anyway, especially since I still have 1-2 days of birthday chocolate from Adam to finish. 

But since yesterday was similar to what I imagine my life would be like as a housewife, I went to not one but TWO yoga classes during the day.  After my post-camp breakfast, I did some things around the house and worked a bit -- just reading depos, so nothing intense.  Then I went to a class called Yoga for Runners.  There were some very experienced people there, but I think I did okay for a beginner.  It was fun and it felt like I did some good stretching.  Some of the things were too difficult or painful because of my plantar's (like going from standing with feet together to jumping into feet 3-4 feet apart), but I'd just do a small jump and then step my feet out. 

After Yoga for Runners, I went home and took on an unseen cleaning project -- organizing some of our filing.  I was looking for two things specifically, an invoice from our screen doors we had installed about 7 years ago (since one was lost during our recent condo work), and some paperwork related to a car we used to own.  I found both of those things and got a bunch of other paperwork stuff organized. 

Then it was time for yoga class no. 2 -- Bikram Yoga.  It's a 90 minute class in a room that's heated to 105, I wonder if they air condition it to 105 in the summer when it's hotter than that here?!  I had done Bikram before, but it was more than 5 years ago and the last time I went was a train-wreck -- let's just say it's not a good idea to do heated yoga when hung over.  Not only did I apparently reek of vodka, I got sick and have been too embarassed to go back.  Well, I finally did yesterday afternoon and it was wonderful.  Again, I was limited a bit by my plantars -- there were a couple things that involved holding onto your heel and it was just too painful, but I modified okay.  I again, think I did alright for a beginner.  There were also a couple stretches that I didn't try because I was too worried about getting injured and I know my muscles are too tight right now -- and I don't want to mess with it less than a month before race day.  So there was one pose where you stand on one leg and basically kick the other leg straight out -- no chance I was doing that, so I just stood on one leg and held my other.  The sweat was pouring off me, but I got used to it pretty quickly.  It was just like being back in mid- August!

This morning's run was interesting because Hermine, a tropical storm is in the process of arriving.  It was in the mid- to upper-70s when we started running and humidity was about 100% as it drizzled a bit before we started running and was raining steadily but not too heavily when we finished.  We went just over 9 easy and I didn't think I'd be able to keep up, but I did.  Several of my weekday buddies did their first triathlons yesterday.  It was just a sprint, which means swimming 300m (took about 6-8 mins for most of them), then biking 15 miles (about 45-55 minutes), and then running a 5k (paces varied a lot, some averaged 6:50s, a few averaged just over 7:30s).  Everyone was happy and proud to have finished, and everyone finished in under 1:30 total, so it seemed like quite respectable times (though I of course have no clue and probably couldn't do one unless I had about 6 hours), so it was fun to hear all about it this morning.  Sounds like most of them are hooked and will be doing another one in May.  It's not something I could ever see myself doing since I really hate swimming and haven't biked in so many years, but never say never, right?  But one goal at a time, right now I need to look at BQ.  Preferably before I'm in my 60s. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Always Look to Tomorrow

I think that should be my new motto, at least when it comes to Saturday runs.  But it was only partially my fault.  I'd decided to do a short race on Saturday but was going to run it easy with a weekday running buddy, Kiran.  We'd kind of agreed on a 30 second pace range, but I know he's substantially faster than me, but I figured we stick together during the week so it would be fine.  We emailed about it once on Friday and he mentioned again, easy pace and just referenced the faster end of our 30 second range.  Fine.  We met up Sat morning, and hooked up with Luis from my weekend group.  And the race started and we were going too fast.  I confirmed it at the half mile mark.  Instead of being at the faster end of our 30 second range, we were an additional 30 seconds faster by the end of the first mile.  I mentioned that I wanted to slow it down.  We did, very briefly.  Second mile was basically the same and I just wasn't interested.  I stopped to grab a cup of water at the stop and told them I'd see them later and they pushed on.  I saw them at the u-turn and I was about 6-8 seconds back, but on the way back, there was a severe uphill mile and I slowed (and the two of them separated).  I was still too fast though, faster than I wanted, faster than I'd planned. 

But with one mile to go, the damage was done so I decided to push a bit more over the last mile.  I was proud of myself.  I ended up with a PR by almost 30 seconds, but still not fast enough to place in my age group unfortunately.  But the good news is that I put my time into my fave pace predictor (McMillan), and it predicts me at a BQ, with a few minutes cushion actually.  I still can't get my mind around that. 

I gave Kiran some grief about bailing on our plan.  He said running a minute faster than the slower end of our range in the great weather we had Sat was the same as running at the slower end of our range in the heat.  I said that may be true for our lungs but isn't the case for my legs!  We hung out for a while after the race with Luis and his family, and one of my best friends (who actually did run it at an easy pace, I should have stuck with her!) and her family, including my sweet godson.  My hubby finished some extra miles after the race and then we all sat around while the kids played in the sprinklers.  The rest of the day was similarly relaxing.  Fun tasks like my car inspection, but we had our neighbors over for dinner and games, which was fun.  We played Scopa (Italian cards) before dinner and then chinese checkers before dessert. 

This morning I saw Kiran and told him that if he saw me walking or struggling on the 18 miles, he should feel guilty!  I wouldn't say it went well or felt good, but I finished and stayed with the middle of the pack pretty much.  It was cooler, which was nice, but my feet were sore.  Fortunately hubby bought me some of those blister bandaids and they actually stayed in place much better.  So I have sore heels but that's the most serious problem it appears.  I still wish I'd felt stronger or faster, but oh well.  Another 8 miles would have been ugly.  I'll be more careful to relax next Saturday before the 22.  I really need that run to go well. 

Planning to do some stuff around the house now, then going to see a movie this afternoon!

Friday, September 3, 2010

One Month to Go!

Full steam ahead!  One month from now I should be approaching the halfway point at MTCM! 

As far as good omens go, I got a big sign this morning.  We had to do the PT test at boot camp and for the first time in probably a year or so (didn't check my records yet, but definitely over 6 months), I scored 300.  My push-up form still needs some work, but I managed to get about 3 more than I needed and then I quit, even though I probably had 30 more seconds.  I completely rocked the sit-ups, getting about 20 more than necessary and going the full 2 minutes.  But the run was where I was happiest.  I ran the first mile pushing fairly hard but not crazy.  Got my one mile split and knew I could relax and add a full 60+ seconds on to my second mile time and still hit the max.  So I passed one guy who was also dialing it back (we were on a slight uphill and I just wanted it to be done).  Then I hit the south end of our loop and passed 2 more guys, then I just held steady but felt good.  By the time I had about 600-800 meters to go, I checked my watch and figured I was safe, but I could hear someone fairly close behind me.  I figured it was one of those guys, so I didn't look back but kept going.  I finally hit the last quarter mile or so and the person sounded closer.  Some of the guys at camp seem to struggle during the longer runs (longer at camp is about 2 miles) but somehow they come up with all kinds of energy over the last 400 meters and will sometimes blow past me like I'm standing still, which sometimes is a real blow to my confidence.  I was bracing for it, but I figured if I kept my effort steady on the uphill, even if my pace slowed a bit, I'd still be okay with my time.  Well, I kept chugging and hit the finish line with a negative split by about 15 seconds!  I turned around to watch the person finish and it was Joy!  I wish I'd looked back earlier b/c it would have been fun to run it in with her.  I think it was the fastest 2 mile camp time for either of us ever.  And we both turned 35 in the last 10 days, so woot!!!  Here's to getting stronger!  I know you're not supposed to look at running as a competition against yourself (that whole inevitable slowdown with age would otherwise make you stop all together), but wow, I love getting any kind of PR, especially this year when I can't seem to PR to save my life. 

It was a completely awesome run.  The temps have dropped a bit and it was low 70s this morning with very low humidity and a bit of a breeze.  I swear, it almost felt cold!  Of course, since I can find the downside to anything, one of my first thoughts was I wish it had been a certified 5k this morning.  I think I would have had a PR in the bag, and might have even been able to make a serious run at Adam's PR.  Oh well.  It makes me think maybe I should throw in a 5k sometime in the next couple weeks.  If the weather was right and I felt good, maybe it could happen!  Of course beating Adam's current PR wouldn't mean too much since I'm sure he could easily beat it himself, but it would be nice to reclaim the title for the record books before MTCM. 

After the 2 miles I waited for hubby to finish.  He wasn't pushing hard but wanted a negative split, which he got.  We relaxed a bit and then I decided to walk toward home and meet up with our neighbor, who was walking toward me.  I had thought about running, but didn't want to do too much today given the race tomorrow and the 18 on Sunday.  So I got on the trail and started walking, messing with my ipod, trying to decide what to listen to.  I got passed by a couple people running or jogging and then settled on something to listen to and started to pay a bit of attention to my surroundings. 

I was walking behind the people who had passed me and I realized one of them was one of the guys I'd passed early in the second mile (at the south end of the loop).  I don't know his name, but he's been coming to camp for quite a while.  I knew it was him b/c he wears a bandana, which is pretty distinctive.  I decided to run and catch up to him, being the miles whore that I am.  I got him within a couple minutes and asked how far he was going and if he wanted company.  He was planning to do 7 round-trip and said he'd love the company. 

So we jogged and chatted, very easy pace -- crazy easy, but it felt good.  He's training for his first half, White Rock in December.  He should have no problem doing it.  He said he lives near the lake and runs a loop there pretty regularly (about 9 miles) in 1:40.  I didn't ask if he had a time goal, since I figured he didn't for his first.  One of the most interesting things was that he's from Dallas and has actually never been north of St. Louis.  Wow!  It was fun to talk to someone new and after about 1.6, I saw my neighbor and parted ways with the guy as she u-turned and we walked home together.  We're having them over for dinner tomorrow night, which will be fun. 

What a lovely morning though.  One month to go, and I just PRed at 2 uncertified miles.  Wooooooo!!! 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mile Repeats in the Lightning

I was up much later than usual last night, which was a major bummer b/c we had 8-10 on the schedule for this morning and the group had voted to start at 5.  So when I got in my car to head home from my husband's godson's 8th birthday party, knowing I had a long drive and then a bunch of crap to do at home ahead of me, I just wanted to groan.  But I set the alarm for 4:28 by mistake (instead of 4:35, which is usually okay to start at 5) and finally got to bed around 11. 

I woke up and got my butt in gear and headed out.  As I was pulling onto the highway, I saw a huge flash of lightning.  It had stormed yesterday afternoon, but I'd thought it was finished.  The only reason our group runs are ever cancelled is for lightning or a major ice storm.  Well, at that point I was on my way, and since it's highway driving one exit, there was no way I was going to try to check my email.  I got there and it was pretty deserted, but since it was early and most people start at 5:15 instead of 5, I thought maybe it was normal.  But then it got later and a few more cars came but not many.  Turns out class had been cancelled, but Luis, one of the guys in my weekend group, was there, and we decided to live on the edge and run anyway.

We headed to the track to follow my weekend group schedule, which included 4 mile repeats.  And I realized I'd forgotten my watch.  I almost u-turned and gave up.  What's the point of speedwork if you can't make sure you're hitting the right pace?  Fortunately Luis had a watch that he hates (his garmin is in the shop), so he just gave it to me to wear.  That was what I needed.  I felt like I was struggling on the first one and Luis was way in front of me (or so it felt, really about 10 seconds by the end of the mile).  Then Rich, another weekend guy, showed up.  There were still occasional flashes of lightning but no real rain and a long pause before thunder.  We ran the second one and I again was at the back, behind both of them, and really felt like it had been a struggle.  I was quite surprised to see I was only 5 seconds slower than my first one, which was actually still a bit faster than I wanted.  Luis, who had wanted to go the pace of my first mile, had actually beat his first one by 5 seconds.  So basically, I was 5 seconds slower on the 2d repeat, and he was 5 seconds faster, making us about 20 seconds apart.

But since he actually wanted to run the pace I was hitting, the three of us ran the 3d repeat together.  I slowed a bit on the last lap and ended up 2 seconds slower than the 2d repeat, but still a couple seconds faster than goal. 

Then we all ran the 4th one together again, at least until the last lap.  During the 4th repeat, I had 2 recurring thoughts.  First, I was predicting my finish time and I guessed that my good news blog report today would be that I'd run 4 repeats all within a 10 second spread, but my bad news blog report would be that my first repeat was the fastest.  And my second thought was thinking, well, at most we'd have to run 1200 meters plus the cooldown in a downpour.  It had started raining, but it wasn't pouring, and actually, it didn't really start pouring until a couple minutes after I got in my car to go home. 

And even better, my first thought was also wrong!  I did not do all 4 in a 10 sec spread with number 1 being the fastest.  Instead, I did all 4 in an 11 sec spread (worse than planned) but number 4 was the fastest (optimal).  I wish I'd dialed it back a couple seconds more on the last mile so that I could have kept all my final times within 10 seconds, but if one of them had to be too fast, obviously it's best for it to have been the last one. 

What a surprise after thinking I couldn't hold my initial mile pace for 3 more, and thinking maybe I'd just quit to avoid getting struck by lightning.  There were a few major flashes that really lit up the sky.  I readily admit my choice was not the wisest and could have seriously compromised my safety, but I'm proud of myself for the times I posted and the fact that I got it down, when I easily could have gone back home and gone back to bed!  So shorter mileage than planned today, but solid! 

A nice first official trip to the track for marathon season.  And Luis is a great running buddy.  He was really happy I kept the pace so steady and even though we didn't really talk during the repeats (you're not supposed to), it was a companionable silence.  Nice day!  And I'm walking with my local bestie tonight, which will be fun!  I haven't gotten to see her in far too long.