Wednesday, August 31, 2011
In the last two weeks...my house was broken into and burglarized during the work day (I only lost a stereo, TV, and a bunch of DVD's, but it's traumatic and I had to replace all my locks because they also took a house key)...one of my cats went reclusive and would not come out from under a futon until forcibly removed (this started before the burglary, so it's not that she was traumatized)...I have been plagued by late summer fleas and have been trying to eradicate them (completely unfair as my cats never go outside; I blame the burglars for bringing in fleas)...a dear friend has been diagnosed with breast cancer...and basically I am constantly waiting for the next shoe to drop.
On Saturday I felt inexplicably anxious for a long time; I think it was a mild type of post-traumatic stress disorder. This is quite unlike me, as I am almost always ridiculously optimistic and good natured.
Running does not make things better. It does help relieve anxiety a little bit (though not the underlying causes), and it does create a distraction for a while. Although I would not necessarily insist on running in the midst of a true emergency, it is important to me not to let problems and disruptions in my life be an excuse not to run. I will admit that I have skipped some cross training and yoga classes over the last couple weeks (waiting for police can interfere with your schedule), but I have gotten in all my runs as planned, and pretty much met my goals for them as well.
Last week I did my usual Monday run on Tuesday, only because I had already put in a lot of miles on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and needed to give my legs a rest. I think I did about 6.2 miles on Tuesday (actually it turns out it was 6.5 miles, 9:35 average pace).
Wednesday I cross-trained and moved speed work to Thursday. On Thursday I ended up with nine miles, a couple warm-up then 8x800 intervals at the track with about a quarter mile recovery between each. All the half mile intervals were well under four minutes, mostly around 7:45 pace. After the eight repeats I realized I was close to 10K. If I did a short recovery lap then another fast 400 I could get a 10K. So I did it...total 10K time just over 51 minutes. Including the slow recovery jogs but not including the time I spent staring at the other side of the track. After the 10K I finished off with a recovery jog to Starbucks.
On Thursday I cross-trained in the morning and got a pedicure in the evening (using a gift card I got for my birthday). I figure I can enjoy the results of the pedicure for six weeks--until the Portland Marathon mashes up my toenails again!
Friday was the closest to a "FAIL" workout. It was not a fail, though; I just had to adjust my goals. My plan was 8-10 miles with some at "pace." Originally I thought a few at half marathon pace (8:30) and a few at marathon pace (9:00). But I tried to speed up after my two warm-up miles and realized that 8:30 was just not happening. Sub-9 was, however. So I did nine miles at hybrid pace (somewhere between marathon and half pace.) The splits weren't bad--10:11 and 9:48 warm-up, then 8:42, 8:54, 8:58, .07 mile at 8:37 pace, 8:58, 9:16 (a little bit of an oops there, I have no idea why), 8:52, and 8:55. Average pace for all 11+ miles was 9:07.
Saturday was a rest day. I had no time for any exercise except for a short walk to and from Starbucks. We had two big get-togethers to attend, one a lunch barbecue and baby shower with my office folks, the other a dinner barbecue and steak grilling cook-off. I made vast quantities of caprese salad to bring to these events. (I ate the last of the prepared salad today, but still have some Costco-sized hunks of fresh mozzarella in my fridge.)
Finally Sunday rolled around, and time for my long run. I had done 21 the week before, and have 22 planned this week, so I thought 16 would be a nice interim distance. By the time I got halfway through I thought 17 would be an even better distance, so that's what I ended up doing.
We've actually been having summer weather in this second half of August, and last week was particularly warm (up to the 80s late in the day, that is HOT here!). On Sunday it was not quite so warm, and it was a little foggy in the morning, but as the sun broke out I did regret a little dawdling until after 9 to begin. Luckily though, my sweating and the breeze kept me from ever feeling very overheated.
I broke up my route into sections, and at various points I would backtrack or run a little extra to get to a certain mileage point before moving to the next section. My checkpoints were...around Jennings Park, 3 miles. To 108th, 5 miles. To McDonald's, 8 miles (this required almost a mile of "extra" and it was what made my 17 mile total viable). To the highway leaving Marysville, 11 miles. To the little park off Marine View Drive, 14 miles. And finally, to Starbucks/QFC end point, 17 miles plus a hair. My average pace for the whole distance was 9:46. Most of my miles were just around that time as well, with a few closer to 10:00 and a few (including miles 16 and 17) at 9:30 or so.
Which brings me to the title of this post, Monday's "easy eight." I have to admit that I was lazy Monday morning and didn't get myself out of bed in a reasonable time for a run. The Y is closed this week so I didn't have a quick alternative...I ended up just staying in bed and having a leisurely breakfast. I suppose if I am going to skip a run it would be smart to decide the night before so I can actually sleep in!
But I did decide to run Monday night after work instead. I had some idea that I might go to yoga afterwards but that didn't work out. I wasn't sure how this run was going to go at all. I had a nasty headache in the afternoon which only went away temporarily when I ate spoonfuls of ice cream from the office freezer. When I got home I took some Tylenol and lay down for just a few minutes. The headache did subside and I headed out.
After some effort at completing the first two miles in twenty minutes (I missed it by two or three seconds), I settled into an easy pace which really did feel easy. Other than the first mile and a couple others, all my splits were 9:30-9:40. Mile 7 was 9:44 but then Mile 8 was 9:25. I ended up doing 8.3 miles in 80 minutes (9:39 average).
This is going to be an interesting week. I was back out this morning (Tuesday) for 6.33 miles, and tomorrow I have a tempo run planned (I am hoping my legs will cooperate). Thursday should be off running, Friday I'll do some sort of run, and then Saturday I have 22 miles on the schedule. Woohoo.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Friday morning was a progression run. The plan: 8-10 miles at progressively faster paces in two-mile blocks. I decided that the pace points should be 10:00, 9:30, 9:09, 8:45, 8:30 (or faster). My reasoning was that 9:09 is the pace for a two-hour half/four-hour marathon, 8:45 is my current typical half pace, and 8:30 (or faster) is my goal half marathon pace. I also felt that a 30-second pace increase was too much for the faster pace levels.
I felt pretty good on Friday morning from the start. Maybe it was because I rested my legs and had a massage Thursday night, maybe it was because I went out at 8 a.m. instead of 6:30 and my whole body feels more alive a little later in the morning.
Anyhow, the first mile went well, just under 10:00, and mile two was a little quick, about 9:35. Both miles three and four were on track at 9:25 or faster. The rest of my paired splits:
5 - 9:07
6 - 9:00
7 - 8:45
8 - 8:48
9 - 8:30
10 - 8:08!
Plus an additional .3 mile at about 8:30 pace.
I had just enough time left to take a quick shower and head to the office to meet up for a birthday lunch. Three of us in the office have the same birthday, is that weird or what? We went to Anthony's Homeport and I had yummy salmon cakes. Here I am with the traditional birthday marionberry pie, made by Lorraine. I also had a piece of chocolate cake that was Lisa's birthday dessert...Tonna is eschewing sugar right now and did not want a dessert.
The rest of my birthday was pretty quiet. Rod had been out riding motorbikes with his dad, which is pretty tiring plus it included a long drive (in the truck) to and from Eastern Washington. So we got takeout chicken teriyaki for dinner and just relaxed.
On Saturday I had registered for a birthday 10K, but earlier in the week I had called to switch to the 5K, so I could get out of there fast and go to the memorial service for a retired judge who had died earlier in the week. My mom picked me up early to drive to and from the race and go to the service as well.
The run was called the Ann Jackson Memorial Run and it was a fundraiser for the Skagit County Humane Society. It also started and ended at the Humane Society property. One of the things I had not anticipated was the sound of barking audible in the parking lot. I didn't experience much as I was running a lot of the time we were there, but my mother got to listen for more than an hour from the time we arrived until we left. While I was running she went over to make a donation.
I got there early in order to do a long warm-up. I had enough time to run the whole 5K route in advance. I think this was helpful because I knew what to expect in the way of elevation changes (nominal, except for a hill, down and back up, just before the 5K turnaround). This did not, however, help me run as fast as I would have hoped to.
I ran hard, but in the end my pace was only slightly faster than my current 10K pace. I kind of knew this was happening when my first mile was only slightly under 8:00 (should have been sub-7:45 for a strong 5K). My splits for the first three miles: 7:56, 8:12, and 8:03. Total time: 25:02.
Still, I was third in my my AG and maybe fourth female overall. I couldn't stay to get my ribbon, but still, it was nice to know. I had my mother take a picture of me indicating my third place status.
That afternoon and evening we had a combination birthday dinner for me and my sister's husband Todd. I got to pick the menu though. Of course, I also prepared a lot of it....here it is.
Faux Lomi Lomi salmon made by me with lox and pico de gallo
Kalbi ribs, made by Rod
Corn on the cob
Mango and pineapple chunks
The rest of the Lomi Lomi salmon
Raw apple cake with cream cheese frosting (my favorite)
Key lime pie (Todd's favorite)
Slow churned coconut pineapple ice cream
Yeah, quite a meal. But I showed restraint...I didn't have any key lime pie.
Which brings us to Sunday...my 20+ mile long run, including a half marathon trail
My mother picked me up again, this time quite early as I wanted to run at least six miles before the official run. We were about an hour's drive from the location, Soaring Eagle Park in Sammamish, and thanks to some navigation errors we did not get there until almost 8:00.
I quickly geared up, used the port a potty, and headed out for a few miles on the road. I did about two miles out then back, at a comfortable pace slightly under 10:00. Back at the park I checked in, then had plenty of time for two more miles. Total pre-race - 6.21 miles (couldn't resist making it a 10K). I got in the port a potty line and just was able to make it to the front before the run was due to start. While I was waiting I changed my shoes into slightly sturdier trail shoes and filled up my water bottles with nuun.
The half marathon was three loops of about 4.2 miles plus about half a mile at the end to the finish. I am taking the race coordinators' word for the distances as my Garmin measured way short in the park. I actually measured twelve miles total (but they assured me it was further). The Garmin has trouble getting a satellite due to the tall trees, and doesn't accurately measure the many twists and turns and zigs and zags on the trail. All I know is, those miles seemed really long, even as slowly as I was going.
The trail was mostly single track and moderately technical (roots and some rocks). It had a fair amount of hills, but nothing horribly steep or long. During the first loop we were running with a larger group of 4.5 mile racers, so it was much more crowded. In fact there were long stretches with a line-up of runners. Also there was much more passing in this loop, especially as we got into the second half of it and people started pushing for the finish.
I was happy to let those runners drop off and head out pretty much on my own on the second loop. I occasionally saw other runners in these next two loops. I did get passed by a very speedy female who was finishing her final lap as I was still on my second! But then, I also passed some people in their second laps (okay, walkers) when I was in my final lap.
I stumbled several times throughout the run, but I am proud to say I never actually fell down. It was close at times though. On one occasion I tripped and had to run all the way down a short hill before I got my bearing. My empty gel packet had flown out of my hand when I tripped and I couldn't bear to climb back up the hill to find it after I regained my footing. Mother Nature please forgive me for littering! I probably tripped more often as the race wore on and my legs got tired (you run into more tree roots when you are shuffling!).
During the second lap and into the third I played cat and mouse with another woman who was doing a run walk pattern. She would run ahead of me but I would catch her during her walks. We passed each other a few times but eventually she stayed ahead of me for quite a long time (until the final couple miles when I passed her for good and stayed ahead through the finish).
The second lap was probably the hardest on me and possibly the slowest. In addition to me losing steam, I had to slow to get around some horses, and stop entirely for two mountain bikers on the path. The third lap was better. There is something to knowing you don't have to come back ever again! I plodded along pretty slowly but when my watch said ten miles I figured I had two miles left (based on the skewed mileage) and made a real effort to pick up the pace and finish strong. I felt that anything under an 11 minute pace was pretty strong).
With the 6.2 miles before the race, by the time I finished the first loop I had run about ten miles. I figured I probably could use some fuel at that point. I had a few Gu's in my fuel belt, but instead I took one of the race-provided gels, an agave gel called Chocolate #9. It was quite tasty, but I was a little nervous about whether it would have a negative effect on my stomach (it didn't). I never got around to eating anything else during the run, though. Hopefully this helped develop my ability to use my fat stores for fuel!
At the end of the second loop, I did drink a cup of water and a half cup of sweetened iced tea at the aid station. I also drank nuun from my fuel belt, more as the morning passed and the temperature grew warmer. Luckily since the race was in the woods, most of the trails were quite shady (except for a few hot sunny patches along the way).
When I started the third and final loop, I told myself that this was the last time I had to do this (on this day, anyway), and I should just enjoy myself. Being on the last round really did take some of the pressure off. It was in this segment that I believe my run-walk friend got ahead of me some. However, once I passed the ten mile point I finally felt the end was reasonably near. Based on my prior loops (with the belief that Garmin was under-measuring the distance), I figure the whole race would finish at about twelve miles on my watch. I'm not sure if I sped up at that point, but at least I felt able to make a strong finish. I passed my run-walk friend and a few other women as well. I also passed several ladies who were still finishing their second loop.
Near the end of each loop the wooded trail opened up onto a dirt road for about half a mile. This time when I got there I forced my legs to speed up a little. I am pretty sure I got below a ten-minute pace at last! (Just for that section.)
After passing the aid station I headed for the finish line. Except that it was a little farther to the finish line than I expected. For some reason I thought it would be just around the corner--instead I was back winding along another trail through the woods. It was probably a quarter to half a mile long, though I still managed to keep up a pretty sprightly pace. Then I turned a bend and finally, there was the finish line. My time was about 2:35. If the course really was 13.1 miles long--and they assured me that it was--then my average pace was 11:53 per mile. I consider a 12-minute mile pace perfectly okay for a trail run.
I collected my chocolate medal but only wore it for a moment--I was afraid my hot body would melt the chocolate. I gave the medal to my mother and went in search of water. There was a selection of chocolate treats for the finishers as well. I took a few little brownies which I wrapped in a napkin to save for a little later.
I still had about a mile to make up my 20 miles, but I thought I might bump it to 21 miles if I could. I headed back to the road, this time in the noonday sun with legs that were protesting my efforts to run. I did a round trip of 1.8 miles (at an exhausted 10:44 pace). That put my total mileage for the day to 21.13. Plenty, I would say. Twenty-miler number two is in the books.
Before we left I changed out of running shoes to flip flops. My legs were coated with a layer of dirt. Even though there hadn't been any "mud" on this dry, hot day, I had managed to kick up plenty of dirt which clung to my sweaty legs. (This picture doesn't fully reveal how dirty I was; and yes, I put the medal back on for the photo.)
The rest of the day was pretty unproductive. We drove back to Marysville and then went out for delicious pastrami Reuben sandwiches and sweet potato fries. And a lot of lounging about afterwards.
The weekend of running (37.73 miles on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) put me over 50 miles for the week. This was the first (and probably only) week over 50 in this training schedule. Total Monday through Sunday - 52.79 miles. Not bad for the week I turned 46!
*Me and Bill Clinton and Tipper Gore and John Stamos.
**Not really excessively, but a lot. Maybe I meant obsessively. All those words sound the same. Yes, in fact I was an English major. Isn't it obvious?
***That time I really did mean excessively.
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Tuesday, August 16, 2011
This last week was a good example, with total mileage of 38 miles, despite running five days instead of four (you'd think it would be higher) and despite this being a cut back week on my schedule (you'd think it might be lower). Well, it's not higher because my longest run of the week was nine miles. And it's not lower because I did run on five days rather than the typical four.
I'm pretty happy with how everything went this week, though. I don't usually do a weekly recap, but in brief...
7.01 miles general aerobic/recovery. This was the day after my 20-mile run, but my average pace was a speedy 9:19! I felt the long run a little, though, as my legs were feeling tired after only a few miles, like 4-5. I plugged through, though, and my last full mile was a surprising 8:35! I'll take it.
In the evening I did about 35 minutes on the elliptical and also had yoga.
This is my lighter day, just a stint on the elliptical (about 75 minutes). That evening I went and had a massage. It hurt so good! The massage therapist was great and more sports oriented than most.
Speed work, I wrote about it here. 8.02 miles total.
I skipped an evening workout and yoga to have dinner with my parents at Lombardi's. I got a free dinner (from the restaurant, not my parents) for my upcoming birthday!
Bonus run, 6.02 miles in exactly 60 minutes. (That's a 9:40 pace, perfectly fine for an uplanned midweek run on the day between speedwork and pace training.) I felt like getting a little extra running in because I had weekend travel plans which would put a damper on excessive running and also lead to a lot of eating.
I did skip an evening workout and yoga so I could pack for an early departure on Friday morning.
Pace run! Two miles warm-up (20:04), four miles half-marathon goal pace or better (8:25, 8:22, 8:36, 8:26), two miles marathon goal pace or better (8:48, 8:52), then one more mile at faster-than-HMP (8:22). Total mile 9.04, 1:20:20, 8:58 average pace overall.
Left on trip to North Central Washington at 9 a.m.!
Rest day. Swam about six laps in a pool. Wore me out.
8.21 miles in Waterville. 9:59 average pace, which I think was great considering that I was out of town and running hilly. I ran from the Waterville Hotel toward the Badger Mountain Ski Hill, which is about five miles out of town. As you might guess, this route is largely uphill, although on my way out there were definitely rollers. I knew I didn't have time for the entire round trip, so I turned back at about 4.25 miles. I took an alternative return road (the P Road) which appeared to be a gentle downhill all the way (and it was!). Everything looked so near (I could see Waterville in the not-so-far distance) that I thought my distance would be way shorter than planned. But apparently the eye deceives and my "shortcut" was still almost four miles long (cutting only a quarter mile off, which was perfect for my total distance and the time allotted).
While running on the P Road I saw this awesome old house in the middle of the wheat fields.
Then I couldn't resist taking a shadow self portrait!
Here is a creative and decorative use of old farm machinery!
We left Waterville around 9:30 a.m. and I was home by early afternoon. I took the opportunity of an open afternoon to walk down to the Everett Sunday Farmer's Market. It was a nice walk down (and I do mean downhill). I left carrying six pounds of cherries and maybe ten pounds of vegetables and the walk home was not quite so nice!
I think that this was a good cut back week in between 20-milers (another one scheduled this weekend!). None of my runs were overly long but I got some good quality work in all categories--speed, pace, and hills. My Monday run yesterday was a little difficult, 7.02 miles at 9:44 pace, but today is a total rest day (due to some unforseen circumstances). Hopefully that will leave me fresh for some quality speed work tomorrow. I had hill repeats on the schedule but I am pretty sure I am going to switch things around, considering I did a hilly run on Sunday.
Friday is my birthday and I have some
crazy challenging fun running plans for the weekend. We'll see how it all plays out!
I didn't have an opportunity to do a three-mile stand alone run, so I decided to pick three miles from one of my regular runs on those days. During the time period I ran 8.02 miles on August 10, 6.2 miles on August 11, 9.04 miles on August 12, 8.21 miles on August 14, and 7.02 miles on August 15. (But none on August 13, sorry Amanda!)
I have decided to dedicate the first three miles of my August 12 run to this race. My total time for those three miles was 28:29 (splits 10:44, 9:20, 8:25). The reason the splits are so wildly divergent is because the first two were warm-up miles and the third was the first of a series of pace miles. (Of course I could have gotten a "better" time by cherry-picking my splits a little more, but I decided just to roll the dice and take what I got.)
Anyhow, cheers to Amanda for a fun little diversion and for not asking us to run 30K or miles for her birthday instead! I wish I'd thought to eat a piece of cake in her honor as well! Happy Birthday!
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
I'll try to document my progress in the sidebar. It seems like there would be a better way to do it than by manually replacing the pictures, but I don't know it. This has replaced the weight loss ticker, by the way, since that wasn't doing anything....
5:45 a.m. "I still can't get out of bed yet."
6:10 a.m. "I guess I can get out of bed now...."
6:45 a.m. (After one mile warm-up) "I can't run fast today, maybe I should postpone speedwork."
7:00 a.m. (After 2.3 miles warm-up and a bathroom break) "I guess I can try to get up to speed for some half mile repeats on the track...."
7:25 a.m. (After 4 x 800 plus recovery jogs) "I CAN do three more of these."
7:40 a.m. (After 6 x 800 at 7:45-7:59 paces) "I CAN do the last one faster than the rest!
7:45 a.m. "I DID the last half mile at 7:30 pace! So I CAN go to Starbucks and still get home in time for work."
8:00 a.m. "I CAN pack up my breakfast and lunch, take a shower and fix my hair, get dressed and still get to work by 9 a.m."
9:05 a.m. "I CAN rush into the courthouse and not be too embarrassingly late."
TOTAL - 8.02 miles, 8:58 overall average pace, with 7 x 800 (half miles) at 7:59 - 7:30 paces.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
That is what happened in the 10K I ran Saturday morning (River and Rails, Arlington). No PR, but it was my fastest 10K this year, and I won my age group, and also finished second female overall. All right, it was a small 10K (many more people chose to run the 5K), but there were four other F40-49 runners, so I earned my ribbon!
This race is fundraiser for Cocoon House, a teen shelter, and I've run it several times before. This year they changed the course, though. The original route went south through Arlington on the Centennial Trail, crossing some roads and including some gravel sections alongside the railroad tracks. This year the whole race was on the paved trail going north. (This is a new section of the Centennial Trail.) No gravel, and quite a lovely countryside view (especially compared to railroad tracks). The trail is quite flat, although there are a few gentle dips, and I'm pretty sure there were sections with a slight incline or decline...although that may have been an optical illusion. (I especially like the kind of optical illusion that seems like a decline in both directions.)
The group at the start was a modest crowd, with about three quarters wearing 5K bibs. Of the women wearing 10K bibs, I tried to estimate who might be faster, slower, or comparable to me. It is really hard to gauge. There was one woman I could pick out as likely faster than me, though. She just had "the look." She was not too tall, and lean in a wiry way, and her hair was very short (might be a fashion choice but I felt it made her more aerodynamic). She told me as we waited that she was checking bib stickers to see who was in her age group. (I wasn't, she was older than me.)
I moved near the front to make sure I got a fast start. (I left a little room for the real fasties, ha!) I took off hard, maybe a little too fast but I like to set a good pace in the beginning. I probably started in the low sevens but by the time I passed the first mile point it was 7:58. That would be perfect if I could keep it up. But I didn't.
In the first mile and a half I had lots of 5K-ers to keep pace with, but at their turnaround all my companions turned back. There were a few males ahead of me but no one I could try to catch up too. They told me I was the first female but I figured that wouldn't last. Sure enough, at about two miles the Fast Lady passed me up. I would be chasing her the rest of the race but sadly the distance between us continued to grow. After mile two (which was my slowest at 8:21) I slowly picked up the pace again but not enough to catch my opponent. (Interestingly, my average pace for the first two miles was the same as my overall average pace, about 8:10!)
There is not too much to describe about the next few miles. I told myself "I am strong" several times, even as I am thinking things like, "this is hard," "I hate running fast," "why didn't I do the 5K?" I kept my eye on the red shirt ahead of me and tried to close the distance even as the gap widened. I saw her pause for water at the turnaround (3.1 mile point), and I did close in a bit. But I think she took off even faster from there. Mile 3 (just before the turnaround) - 8:17.
I don't know if it's true that there was a slight decline in the return trip, but I managed to go just a little faster. Mile 4 - 8:09. Mile 5 - 8:05.
In the last full mile I really wanted to push hard and I ran from random object to the next to keep my sprints short. The last little uphill was in this bit though, and I would like to think that accounts for the few seconds I lost. (And not just that I was tapped out.) Mile 6 - 8:10.
I did manage to sprint out the last bit, sort of. Mile 6 - 6.23 - 1:47 (7:58 pace). Yeah, it could have been faster. Finish time 50:48 (8:10 average pace).
Could I have been a little faster? Probably. Could I have broken 50 today? I don't think so...I don't see myself shaving off 8 seconds per mile. (This time.) Could I have beat the woman ahead of me? Um, no way. Not unless she broke her leg or something. Her time was 48 something. Amazing!
Since I did a 1.9 mile warm-up, I finished with just over eight miles today. Tomorrow - 20 miles.
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