Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day

It would be really cool (though perhaps not too original) if I could start this post with a picture of me leaping. Alas, this white girl don't jump. And even if I did, I don't think I could manage an iPhone self portrait doing it!

Anyhow, Happy Day-where-salaried-employees-work-for-free. I certainly hope no one in my office has run across those internet articles that talk about how much money you are "losing" by working on February 29. I feel a little bit bad, but...I guess we'll call it a wash for all those paid snow days last month. But enough work talk.

I'll also by-pass all the Sadie Hawkins related topics.

I celebrated Leap Day with speed work on the track this morning! After several days of dry weather, the track puddles had finally dried up by yesterday and I was hoping that the rain would hold off until after my run this morning. Unfortunately, it did rain during the night, so the puddles were somewhat reconstituted...although I was able to find a dry strip to run on all the way around. And it did not rain at all while I was running.

I was determined to get out earlier this morning because my one goal for Leap Day was to be early at least on time to court today. That was so I could say, "You won't see this again for another four years!"

I did succeed in leaving the house at least 15-20 minutes earlier than my recent habits. Of course, 10-15 minutes (or more) earlier than that would have been even better. I was so happy that Daylight Savings Time hasn't started yet, so it was quite light even at 6:40ish. I will be very sad after March 9th....(until a few more weeks pass and we have light both morning and evening!)

I started with a warm-up run, 2.6 miles at just over 10-minute average pace. The first mile was slow, and I wasn't able to "easy run" fast enough to make up the difference. No matter. I really only needed a couple of miles for warm-up, but the entry to the track is on the far side so I ended up going a little further.

The plan was 6 x 400, twice (with a 2:30 rest interval in between sets). I will admit right now that I only did 6 x 400, plus 4 x 400. This was a failure of timing, not running...I just didn't leave myself enough time to get it all done and still get to work by nine. (Unless I had skipped my post-run Starbucks stop...but that wasn't happening!) On any other day I probably would have talked myself into squeezing in the last two intervals, but I really couldn't spare the five minutes.

While the intervals were not as fast as my best work, they were a lot closer to what I wanted than any other recent speed work has been. The ten quarter miles ranged from 1:58 to 2:02. The corresponding paces ranged from 7:52 to 8:08. I did a 1:30 recovery between intervals (except for the last two) and 2:30 after the sixth.

I am feeling quite encouraged and optimistic for March, especially considering that....

The Eugene Marathon is exactly two months away!

And yes, I caused quite a stir by walking into the building at 9 a.m. straight up. :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Jelly beans on the run

Did I mention that I gave up sweets for February and decided to extend it through Easter? (Yeah, I know I did. :) Anyhow, the exception is for long run days, which are usually be Sundays but may be Saturdays on occasion (like next weekend). The reason for that is not just to allow for running fuel, but just to treat myself.

Anyhow, today was long run day (18 miles, baby!), and for fun I had packed snack bags with jelly beans and gummy bunnies. Specifically, Sweet-tart jelly beans and gummy bunnies. I picked these out based on the opinion of Charlotte from The Great Fitness Experiment (love her! Go read her blog and book!) that this variety is the best Easter jelly bean. And I do love Sweet-tarts. My quick review on the candy...the gummy bunnies are way too chewy to eat on the run. I'll give the rest of the bag to my dad. The jelly beans were good...I'll keep them...but I'm not sure if I agree that they're the best. I suspect that I would like the Starburst jelly beans even more. And if I can find Jolly Rancher jelly beans, I'll be all over that! (Clearly, given my newfound jelly bean quest, I need to keep the long runs coming!)

A word on candy as fuel...I don't see how it matters much. 100 calories of jelly beans (which is a 3/4 serving, and the amount I bagged in each snack baggie) vs 100 calories of's all high fructose corn syrup, right? Yeah, the Gu has electrolytes and stuff, but I drink nuun in my water bottles. The only thing I miss is caffeine, but I did have coffee beforehand, and this is a training run, not a race. For a marathon or half, I'm sure I'll stick with Gu.

This week has been a good week in my comeback from nowhere. (If I used that sentence in a previous post, I apologize.) My speed work on Thursday morning called for 6 x 800 intervals, and I feared that the track might still be flooded and muddy from our days of rain (though Thursday morning itself was blissfully dry). So I decided to do them on the road, on my usual route. Since I was shamefully starting late again, it was perfectly light (at, ahem, 7 a.m.), and I would have no difficulty measuring distance on my watch.

There are goods and bads to intervals on the road. The good...less intimidating than the track, it's just running with a break every half mile, and I get the benefit of the ups and downs of the road (which would also be a detriment on the ups). The bad...I just can't run as fast on the road as the track, and stoplights mean that I sometimes have to stop during the half mile interval.

So, I did my warm-up of about two miles, then started my 800s on a downhill. Yes, that makes it easier, but I'll take it. I think anything that helps me improve leg speed is good, and running on a slightly easier downhill does that. The first half mile was really fast (for me), about a 7:45 pace, which is what I was running my good 800s at last summer. The rest were slightly slower, 8:00 to 8:15 pace. Still, I'm happy overall with the results. As I ran out of time I started shortening my recovery intervals from 400 to much less. May not have been best practice but it allowed me to get them all in without having to cut them short just to get to work. (Yeah, I know that's getting old...I'm sure they think that at court too.)

On Saturday I ran a 10K! The Smelt Run in LaConner. I feared that the weather would be bad, a return to the rain we've had so much of. But although it did snow at the beginning, no rain happened. There was a pretty tough wind during much of the run, but that was no surprise...this one is always windy.

IPhone pic taken by my mom...that's me in the blue top and florescent hat...and a lot of LaConner street.

Somewhat to my surprise (and delight), I managed to average an 8:30 pace and finish under 53 minutes...I think the clock time was 52:42. A good tempo run! After the race my parents and I went down to The Calico Cupboard and managed to get in a breakfast order before the changeover to lunch (the race hadn't begun until 10 a.m.). I had a veggie scramble with hearty grain toast and fruit. Very good. My dad had banana and coconut pancakes...envious sigh....

And that brings me to today. Eighteen miles on the schedule and rain in the forecast. But I woke up to a dusting of snow on the ground and sunshine! Beautiful! Temperature wise it was a little cold, so I dressed a little more warmly than necessary. The sun shining on me really heated me up. But I eventually took off my gloves and I didn't need to take off my jacket until mile 16.

Mentally (and physically), I divided the run into three parts. The first part was six miles and took me through the hardest hills and to the point of entering the Centennial Trail. Part two was five miles on the Centennial Trail to the Armar trailhead. The last chunk was the final seven miles, which I also divided further along the way.

I ran the same route as my last 16, 18, and 20-milers. I'm going to change it up soon but this is so convenient and I've already measured each route. I did manage to step it up a little bit. My first mile, plus 1-2 miles up a long hill, skewed my pace a little, but I did a lot of the (other) miles around 10-minute pace. For the final three, I really pushed myself to get solidly under 10 minutes. They were approximately 9:30, 9:40, and 9:00. I know the last one was exactly nine minutes. I wanted it under, but the last tenth was in the Safeway parking lot and dodging cars really slowed me down.

I got out the jelly beans at eight miles and had a few every mile for the next few.* Then I got out the gummy bunnies at mile 14 (too chewy) and had three of them each mile through 17. After the run I got my Americano at Starbucks and treated myself to a salted caramel petite treat bar. Yum oh yum.

The rest of the day I'll admit I spent pretty much lying around reading and going from one meal to the next. Lunch, half a Subway footlong and fruit, dinner (during the Oscars), three smallish pieces of Papa Murphy cowboy pizza and a pile of green beans and yellow bell pepper (to support the Oregon Ducks in their men's basketball win over OSU). I also had a delicious flourless chocolate cookie earlier in the afternoon...from Calico Cupboard but I've looked up recipes and I want to make some soon. Later I also had an evening snack/dessert of Chobani apple cinnamon yoghurt with chia seeds, plus a fun size Kit Kat. Generally I prefer to get plain Greek yoghurt and flavor it myself, but I did buy a few of the new flavors for fun.

A good day, a good week, and back to work tomorrow!

*I did eat a pretty hearty breakfast before I left...a large bowl of oatmeal (3/4 cup oats), with sliced banana, chia seeds, dried cherries (cooked in the last couple minutes) and brown sugar. It left me full and I wasn't hungry at eight miles, but I wanted to practice fueling on a schedule. Plus, I don't think that getting hungry is the cue to fuel in a run...that might be too late.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What a difference the day(light) makes

I love running...when I am at work and skipping over to internet explorer to look up new races to do. I love running...when I am warm at home in the evenings thinking about my plans for the next day and the weekend. But I don't so much love running at 6 a.m., when it is dark outside and very possibly cold and rainy as well, and I am tucked up in my bed pushing the snooze alarm.

My running schedule was a little messed up this week (in a good way), as I was able to do a medium long run on President's Day Monday, and take off Tuesday when it was horribly stormy and poured rain all day long. But my next scheduled run day was not until Thursday...and I didn't need to take two days off (though I considered it) I decided today would just be a bonus run.

Well, I decided that after lingering in bed for a little too long, listening to the wind blow outside and debating whether I should in fact just go to the Y instead (but I didn't really want to do that). Of course it got a little later than it should have been, so I finally decided that I would just do five miles (which is unheard of for me, I don't get out of bed for less than six miles) and just make it easy.

Although I wouldn't want to always cut my distance short, this decision gave me the boost to throw on my clothes and head out the door without too much more delay. Thanks to my delay, it was no longer dark outside (making the safety flasher on my jacket a little superfluous), and in fact it was much brighter than I had expected; there was a hint of blue sky and even sunshine looming.

But despite the blessed lack of rain, it was very, very windy. Blustery, even. My first few steps along the sidewalk (normally sluggish), felt light and speedy as the wind at my back pushed me down the street. That only lasted a moment, though, and as I turned the corner the wind turned against me and my graceful lope quickly turned to a stagger. In fact, the whole run would alternate between flying along with the greatest of ease and running right into a virtual wall.

While the benefit and detriment of the wind probably cancelled each other out, the benefit of running after sunrise on a sunny morning did not disappoint. I truly feel like a different person running during the day (this was from 7-8 a.m.).

I had no expectations for this run, which was good. Every time I felt like I was sailing along, a burst of wind would slow me down. Several times I had to grab my hat to keep it on my head, and once, at the intersection of Pacific and Colby, I was not quick enough and the wind took the hat right off my head and sent it hurtling along Pacific. Luckily it did settle by the curb, and I was able to run and get it back.

I definitely planned to run only five miles. But as I was nearing the point where I would turn to finish (which would leave me with about 5.25 miles), I looked at my watch and (even though my math skills are often deficient*) thought that I might be able to bring my average pace under 10 minutes with a strong downhill effort at the end.

So I hauled out the effort than I used for the end of the Birch Bay Half Marathon and pounded down Everett Avenue (a third of a mile downhill doesn't hurt your speed), and my 8:30-ish mile did the trick. Total 6.05 miles in 60 minutes, 9:55 average pace. I know that I am no speed demon, but it made me happy and gave me hope that I was finding my legs again.

I did pay the price for breaking my early morning promise to myself...the 8.5 extra minutes of running was about how late I was to work afterward!

*Even though I was a math star in higher math (calculus etc) in high school, I sometimes make crazy mathematical mistakes. For example, last weekend Rod ate a whole pan of tapioca that he had made with leftover half and half...I told him he had consumed over 6000 calories! Later review revealed that in fact it was 600-some calories in half and half (plus the tapioca mix). Not too different from eating a few servings of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Oops. He didn't seem too overly concerned, though.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Too lazy to blog?....

Yes, it's true. I can run many miles and make myself a sweaty mess on the elliptical (with the assistance of Glee), but when I sit down with my iPad or computer, typing out my thoughts just seems like Too. Much. Work. Instead I spend my minutes hours reading other blogs, browsing the net, online shopping, and reading Kindle books.*

But it's a work holiday, so I have free time on my hands and I think I can devote a few minutes to writing. (Before I turn back to my Google reader and guilty pleasure Get Off My Internets book club book, Sarah's Key.)

So here I am. Hi. I am tempted to launch into another blog topic which has been on my mind, to wit "Why am I always needing to make a Running Comeback when I have never Gone Away," but I'll save that for another day and turn to that other popular subject, "Catching Up."

Without getting into the Comeback issue, I will cautiously say that I feel like I am making progress in getting out of my winter slump and moving toward spring rejuvenation. After my solid 5K last Saturday (successfully hitting the tempo pace I had assigned to that run), and the decent 20-miler on Sunday, I went into Valentine's week with some optimism.

Side-note: I did not defile sugar-free** February with any kind of Valentine chocolates, cupcakes, or banana bread, all of which were on offer in my office and elsewhere. So good, that. I'm actually planning on extending sugar-free February through Lent, maintaining my long run days as feast days. Yes, I know, what a way to trivialize a genuine religious tradition. (In my Internet scanning I have learned that the Eastern Orthodox churches consider both Saturdays and Sundays feast days...something to think about.)

Anyhow, Tuesday was my easy/recovery run day. 6.25 miles, slow, no evidence of any comeback.

Wednesday was speed work (of sorts). It wasn't convenient to go to the track, so I changed the complex track interval scheme to a simple 4 x 1600 (mile), with 400 m (quarter mile) rest intervals. Mile intervals are the practical option when it is too dark in the morning to see my watch (and I have no idea how to program my Garmin for intervals). After two warm-up miles, I picked up my pace and pounded out the first mile. On the not-so-great side, my miles were about 45 seconds slower than prescribed. On the not-so-bad side, they were a lot faster than my usual pace! 8:35, 8:38, 8:20, 8:35, with quarter-mile jogs between. It might have been a good idea to stop then (and get to work on time), but I threw in another mile (9:40) plus a quarter mile at 9:10 pace (the clock was ticking) for a total of eight miles.

Then it was Friday. We'll call this one a tempo/pace run. Two miles warm-up, five miles tempo (about 8:45 average for the five miles), and a half mile cool-down before I had to stop and get to work (sensing a theme here?). Total 7.5 miles.

Conveniently, this was a cut back week, as my long run was a half marathon! I might do a separate race recap for this, as all my little stories would make this way too long. But the running part did result in my fastest 2012 half marathon so far (which, granted, isn't saying much). 2:03:54 officially. I was satisfied as my pace (9:23 on my watch) was exactly the long run training pace my scheduled called for on this day.

I might not typically do a weekday run on the day after a half, but I couldn't resist the opportunity on a work holiday to run at a time that was not pre-daybreak! After sleeping in till 8:00, then lounging around and making oatmeal for breakfast, I headed out a little after 10 a.m. for an easy eight.

It is so much easier for me to run in the mid-morning than early morning! I don't like running in the evenings after work, but give me a few hours of slothfulness before running and I am all in...and so are my legs. How refreshing to see my first mile start with a 10, rather than 11.

My moderate start made it possible to do something I haven't for a while, which is achieve an average pace of 10-minutes per mile after the first three. That required running pretty hard and fast in mile 3...but that also made the subsequent 9:30-9:45 pace miles feel sort of effortless. I ended up doing 8.5 miles total, average overall pace around 9:45. (I could go look at my Garmin to get the exact pace, but I am sitting now and don't want to move. I told you...lazy.)

And the rest of the day has been pretty much lunch then lounging. I heard an interesting piece on NPR about Rubin "Hurricane" Carter (boxer who was imprisoned for murder in 1966) and we might watch the Denzel Washington movie tonight.
Here's a video
of Bob Dylan singing about it (of course the song was many years before Carter was released from prison and the murder charges eventually dismissed in the late eighties).

And with that...Happy President's Day! Enjoy your time off if you have it!

*Although I am ashamed to admit that even reading has suffered from my Internet hampered attention span...too often I find myself skimming blog posts rather than chapters.
**Sugar-free meaning treats and desserts, not all sugar in any foods.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A couple Valentine's Dash pics

No great photos, but here's proof that I ran the 5K on Saturday...

I think the two people in blue are the couple that I paced off of for quite a while. This picture makes it look like I finished ahead of them, but a quick perusal of the race results shows that they were ahead of me by a couple seconds (literally) both in chip time and gun time.
This picture also shows a pretty nice midfoot strike. (Try not to be blinded from the glare of my white legs.)

I hope everyone had a nice Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

This weekend - Valentine's Day Dash + 20-miler

This weekend I ran 26.4 miles over two days. Not exactly consistent with the Run Less Run Faster doctrine (which would not stack two hard runs on two consecutive days), but sometimes the calendar (real calendar, versus training calendar) rules. In this case the calendar showed a 5K race on the same weekend as my first 20-mile run. So be it.

I did manipulate my training schedule for the week to accommodate this double run weekend. I originally did include five runs in the week, but the weather and my tired legs on Monday (after 18 on Sunday), quickly convinced me to change my runs to Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. 6.5 easy on Tuesday, 7 (with 3 x 1-mile speed work on Thursday), 6.4 on Saturday (3.25 warm-up plus 3.15 5K race "tempo"). Rather unfortunately (in a training sense), my tempo miles on Saturday were faster than my "speed" intervals on Thursday. I know I am slow these days...I felt like I was busting a gut on Thursday, even with rests between miles and occasional stoplights. The 5K actually felt easier (a bit).

Saturday morning my mom came with me to Green Lake for the race. We intentionally arrived really early, before 8:00 for a 9:30 race, so we could get good parking near the start and finish area. (We did.) That gave me plenty of time to check in, use the bathroom several times, and run a 3.25 mile warm-up (once around the lake plus a little extra).

Shortly before 9:30 we headed back over to the start and I seeded myself at the back of the 8-9 minute pace section. I didn't feel confident enough to get further up. Turns out I could have (a bit), but my position didn't really hinder me. It's a big, crowded race, and there are somewhat narrow spots, but the walkers did stay to the back and it worked pretty well.

When the starting horn sounded we jogged toward the start and I crossed about 30 seconds later (it was chip timed). I didn't want to look at my watch too much because I figured I'd run as hard as I could and not get caught up in worrying about my pace.

Green Lake is a popular walking and running spot in Seattle as the 3-mile circumference makes a nice route. The inner path right along the lakeside is 2.8 miles and the outer path alongside the road is 3.3 miles. The race course starts on the road, goes onto the lake path for a stretch, returns to the road, then finishes (about a quarter to half mile stretch) on the lake.

I did look at my watch enough to see that I was doing a decent pace (well below 8:30) once I got going on the road, but slowed down substantially at the narrow merge onto the lake. I did pick it up again and finished the first mile around 8:17. The next mile went even better, my fastest at 8:07.

In an ideal world I would have picked up the pace for the final mile, but unfortunately I slowed down a little bit and it turned out to be 8:20-something. Oh well. I did kick it up sub-8 for the final .15, for a finish time of 25:55 (chip). I was just happy to be under 26 minutes. My overall pace was 8:14 (8:22 officially). This was the FIRST time I have managed a tempo run so close to the prescribed FIRST plan pace of 8:13). Guess I need a race for all my speed and tempo runs.

My mother had stationed herself before the finish to take pictures, but unfortunately she didn't see me in the crowds. That also meant she didn't know when I finished and spent a lot of extra time waiting for me to come by. I spent that time walking around trying to find her. Finally we did meet up at our "last chance emergency meeting spot) and she took a post race photo. That's a cute Nuu Muu dress I am wearing, with a black shirt and capris under it.

Then, onward to Sunday and my 20-mile run. I have been "dieting" (naughty word, I know) during the week, but I had a good pasta dinner Saturday night to make sure I had fuel for my run. I also had oatmeal with banana for breakfast on Sunday morning. For a race I eat breakfast two hours early but for weekend runs I just eat and run. My stomach might feel a little heavy for the first few miles but nothing too bad.

My main "fail" for this run was not downloading a new audiobook to my iPhone last week. I have quite a few books in my purchased library but I've listened to everything I've actually downloaded. Bummer. I decided to listen to music instead (which actually makes me less slow than when I listen to books or podcasts).

I have a good long run route incorporating the Centennial Trail, which can be modified to the distance. I've used it for 16, 18, and 20 miles. After this third consecutive run, though, I am ready to do my next long run somewhere else!

The first five miles today were smooth and easy. (This is where I add the extra mileage.) I didn't feel yesterday's run at all. The next three miles I call the hardest, but actually the first of those is pretty easy too. Then. Ingraham Boulevard. A full mile of fairly steep, winding uphill. Actually, the first half is only moderately steep and then it really kicks your butt in the second half! At the top it merges with Getchell Road where I get to enjoy another mile of rolling hills (and a seriously lacking roadside shoulder) before reaching the Getchell trailhead at the eight mile point.

After a bathroom stop, I hit the Centennial Trail for five miles. This is pretty easy as it is slightly downhill (railroad grade) in the northbound direction. It's a wide, paved trail, great for running, biking and walking. I do find it a little boring but I focused on landmarks to aim for (road overpasses, crossings, benches, downed trees, etc.). I switched over to news-talk radio on my phone for a little change of pace...I listened to the last part of a food and cooking show, then another show for about half an hour. I tend to go slower with audio-talk than music, and at my next stop I went back to my "marathon mix" playlist (on shuffle for fun--ha).

I arrived at the Armar Trailhead at 13.1 miles. Seven miles to go. Despite the math, I always consider this point my halfway point, as it is where I turn back to head into town (west for a mile then south). I was feeling...okay, but getting tired. I would not have minded being done at all. Since I had eaten a pretty big breakfast, I didn't take a Gu until nine miles. I decided I would break out my packet of Luna moons after mile 14, and eat one piece every mile until I was done. This was for entertainment purposes as well as fueling.

The mile or two after leaving Centennial Trail is a little hard because there is no real shoulder and I sometimes had to run in grass when there were a lot of cars coming. Even so, I felt like I was running a little faster (at least in spurts) than I had been on the trail. Maybe it was adrenaline from dodging traffic!

Once I turn onto 51st I really feel like I am in the final stretch as it takes me almost to the end of my route. Of course, I still had almost six miles to go...but I did have my Luna moons to pass the time. I plugged along at 10:15-10:30 pace. About 30 seconds slower than my goal training pace, but consistent with my last two long runs.

This pace did not include my stops, of course. Overall I took three bathroom stops, several email stops, a few stoplights, and several "just stop for a second" stops (which often coincided with popping a Luna moon into my mouth).

In one email stop (about 3-4 miles from the end) I learned that Rod had gone to run errands and go to Safeway. It sounded like I would just miss him by 15 minutes or so at Safeway...which I rued as I really didn't look forward to a 2/3 mile walk after my post run Starbucks stop.

Last week I finished the last three miles of my 18-miler at 9:40-ish pace. At mile 17 today, I just didn't have it in me to kick up the pace (yet). But after 19 miles I dug deep and pushed my legs to go just a little faster for one final mile.

Mile 20 - 9:27, woohoo! And about five feet after that at 8:48 pace. Sure, there have been long runs in the past where the last couple miles were sub-9 (and one where I ran a 2-hour half marathon after a seven mile warm-up), but it's something. That last mile got my average pace to 10:29 (it took the whole to make up for my starter mile and the two slow hill miles).

And, just after I walked into Safeway and emailed Rod that I was done running, there he was, at the deli counter getting our lunch! His errands had taken longer than planned and he was behind schedule. Frustrating for him, but a boon for me! I had a ride. Hurrah!

Now, five hours later I am showered, fed, rested, and a little achey (legs and ankles). I am not sure whether I can do my planned easy run tomorrow morning or need to save it for Tuesday (there are some logistical difficulties with Tuesday, workwise).

Speaking of achey ankles, my troublesome heel/ankle/Achilles was giving me a low level of grief during the run. It never rose to what I would call pain, but the discomfort level definitely increased in the middle miles. Strangely, it backed off some in the later miles. I suppose I need to work on icing it in the evenings again. I do think I have been running with a mostly mid-foot strike, which seems to cause less stress.

A final word about my "diet." I really want to lose a few pounds to help with spring training. I figure I need to make my strongest effort during February, as marathon training will be more intense in March and April. So I started by cutting out sweets for the month of February, except for Sundays when I do my long runs (or Saturdays if applicable). Eating-wise, the plan I am somewhat casually following is pretty similar to my typical practice, except that there are less carbs (other than non-starchy vegetables) and more lean protein (in quantity). (Also, no random nibbles, which coincides with the ban on sweets.) I do eat somewhat more calories total than the plan contemplates, because I do run (and stuff). I'm actually enjoying it quite a bit (except for the lack of sweets) and I think I've shed the extra pounds I picked up over the Tucson Marathon and holiday period.

Today, though, is a long run "buy" for the plan, so today has included (after the oatmeal plus the on-run fuels...(This is not a diet menu!)

Lunch: Turkey, avocado, and bacon sandwich from Safeway (formerly called "California Dreaming"); we split a large which makes two very hearty servings. Plus 1/4 cantaloupe.

Snack/treat: Cherry turnover from Safeway.

Dinner (to come): Ribeye steak (I plan to save some for dinner tomorrow), with a lobster tail and a little butter; brown and wild rice mix; salad greens with blue cheese dressing.

Dessert (to come): Cheesecake (one little wedge or two? To be determined...) plus strawberries.

And I still put half and half in my coffee. Every day. And I plan to continue!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I saw my shadow

Even if we do have six more weeks of winter to look forward to (and technically, according to the calendar, it's seven), it was nice to see a little bit of sun this morning. Really, anything that's not rain is nice. Well, as long as it's also not snow, ice, sleet, or freezing fog. I'm not picky. I'll take the clouds.

February is the second month of my Eugene Marathon training plan. (Although the official plan didn't start till mid-January.) So far, so...okay. I have not achieved any of the paces that I adopted from the Run Less Run Faster plans. I am hoping that by March maybe I will start hitting those paces...for now I am just trying to run at a level of effort consistent with the designated paces. If that makes any sense.

I have also had to adapt the plan to accommodate my life. For example, during the week of snow I missed several runs. I ended up running just twice that week (out of typical four), and neither was a designated key workout. (To clarify, I also did three snowshoe runs during the week also, but they were in no way typical runs!)

Last week I had a pretty good week in running. I did my first track workout on Wednesday, just 4 x 800 but it kicked me in the gut. My pace was abysmal not great but I did work hard at it. On Friday I did eight with five at marathon goal pace effort...all sub-9:30 so that's okay for now. Okay, my effort was a little harder than marathon goal pace should be...but I got through it. On Sunday I did sixteen miles, which was a compromise between the fifteen miles I had to cancel the previous week and the seventeen which I originally had on the training calendar.

On Sunday I did have a little external motivation to make my run strong. I got a really late start, but Rod suggested that if I got back by 2:00 we could go out to lunch (there was a timing issue relating to a basketball game). After nine miles I looked at my watch and it was about 12:50. Oh dear. That gave me just about seventy minutes to do seven miles...including any stops along the way.

Well, I will tell you I worked hard through those seven miles! I skipped a bathroom stop because I was not desperate to go and I knew it would fritter away too much time. I had to stop at two or three lights but other than that there was no random dawdling. I ended up getting back at about 2:02 or 2:03. Not bad at all! I enjoyed a delicious Rueben sandwich for lunch.

Unfortunately my runs this week have been less felicitous. On Monday I forced out six miles but my legs felt like lead. Wednesday morning I postponed my track workout to afternoon because it was pouring rain, and supposed to clear up in the afternoon (which it did). However, the track workout fell by the wayside when I found the track full of deep mud puddles and very, very dark (as it was after nightfall and there were no lights). I did run twice around the track slowly and determined that, with the puddles and the darkness, there was no way I could make a strong speed effort.

Instead I left the track and ran a few more miles on the road (for a total of 6.65). The run actually felt pretty good (no heavy legs), but I was quite disappointed at my pace. Maybe I let the running feel too good? Or (I prefer to think) the satellites were messed up and Garmin failed to properly record my pace. I went to yoga after the run, and normally I am too wiped after running to make the trip to yoga. So that might be an indication that I was underworking.

I didn't try to run again this morning (12 hours after my night time run), so that means that tomorrow I have to choose between the omitted speed work and a planned tempo run. I am kind of inclined to go with the tempo run. It seems like it would be overall more beneficial to marathon training than short distance track intervals.

This morning I signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon on October 7! I'm pretty excited about that (as well as Eugene, of course).