Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Picking Up Training Slowly

Getting back into running happened slowly for me this summer.  After my marathon on June 3, I was running low mileage in an attempt to heal and recover.  Plus, it hurt to run!  It was no fun.  I started running a few of the long runs that my group was doing to train for an October marathon, just to see how I felt.  Then, Rick presented me with the idea to do the Baltimore Marathon.  I started to wonder if I could get into high mileage again without another injury.  I was a little gun-shy, I guess.

Speedwork was another thing I had given up for the summer.  I found out about a group meeting in our city on Thursday nights.  This group appealed to me  because it was led by a friend of mine, Linda, and because it was nearby.  I also liked the fact that we could bring our kids to the track and let them ride bikes around a larger outside track while we ran.  So I went out to see what it was like.

I recorded a couple of sessions here.  These sessions felt very hard to me.  At the first one, I had to walk in between repeats and could not keep up with my running partner, Julia.  At the second one, I ran with Linda and enjoyed her pace and company.  By making all sorts of grunting sounds and contorted faces, I was able to pull out some pretty good times.  These times gave me the confidence to race a 5K at the end of July. And that 5K gave me the confidence to begin full-out marathon training, which is where I am today.

June 28
600s 2:19, 2:21, 2:41, 2:18, 2:20, 2:19

July 5
100 4:42
2x800 3:06, 3:07
6x400 1:33, 1:30, 1:32, 1:30, 1:31, 1:26

20 Miler on August 23, 2012

I fit this long run in after school drop offs.  I drop my first grader off by walking him to school at 7:15 a.m., and I take my kindergartner to school in car line at 8:40 a.m.  I went straight from carline at 9:00 to a parking lot nearby, ran the 20 miles, hopped into the car, drove home, took a shower, and turned around and headed back to the preschool to pick her up.  BUSY morning!

It was a hot day with highs in the 90s, and I was running in the sun (from around 9:00 a.m.-12:00).  I was aiming for an under 8:45 pace on this run.  That is 90 seconds off my marathon pace.  I had an 8:30 pace until mile 16.  I ran up the Clift's Cove hill, and I just felt weak and tired, more than I would normally feel after a little over 12 miles of running.  I pushed through it and made it to Dublin Park.  I stopped under a bush for shade and stopped the Garmin.  I had 3 1/2 miles to go at this point, and I knew I didn't want to quit.  I also knew that if I didn't hurry I wouldn't have enough time to go home and shower before getting my daughter.  That was motivation!  I went into Dublin to get water and to refill my water bottle.  

I noticed the strangest thing around this point---my left ear was all clogged up (like how you feel after your go swimming and water gets into it).  I thought it might be running related and later learned that it was (see here).  But it stayed that way for the rest of the run and a couple of hours later.  I ended the run with 9:39 miles and feeling very defeated.  Overall, the pace was 8:45 for the 20 miles, so I met my goal, but I don't like the slow down at the end or the feeling of fatigue.

I now look at this as room for improvement.  It is much better to finish your first 20 miler in a series of 3 feeling like this than if I'd finished my last one this way.  This one just made me stronger for the next two.  I hope to see some cooler weather in the next few weeks too.  This will make a big difference in my performance during any daytime runs.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Turning 35

We were just 30 candles short!!!!
I had my 35th birthday on the day school started in our area.  What a way to spend a birthday!  I thought I could get out of the door of my first grader's classroom without crying, but no such luck.  What an emotional day!  He attended half day private kindergarten, so this new school and full day schedule are adjustments for all of us.

Two good things for runners about turning 35:

*Moving up into a new age group for awards (from 30-34 to 35-39).  There are some really fast 35-39 year olds women in our area, so this may not be such a good thing!  But I like competing with older women than me and not younger, like I was in the last age group.

*My BQ time just went down by 5 minutes!  The 18-34 year old group needs a 3:35, but now I need a 3:40 since I am in the 35-39 group.  Before the standards changed in 2011, 3:40 was the 18-34 year old time, so I pretty much have always needed a 3:40!

There!!!  I managed to find two good things about getting older!

So much more to post about training (just completed Hals' week of 2 10-milers and a 20-miler--ouch!!), but it will have to wait.  It is going okay, and now I am in a lower mileage week before hitting one of two of the hardest weeks of the program.  I am already dreading the 10 mile pace run followed by a 20-miler!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Runs with Jane

My good friend and fellow runner, Jane, is the kind of friend most runners just dream of finding---dependable, knowledgeable, determined, and driven.  I first met Jane through her blog, See Jane Run, and I felt an immediate connection to her.  Not only did we live in the same city, but she and I were both trying to run a marathon in every state.  I thought, "This girl sounds like someone I'd like to get to know!"  And, though I never do this kind of thing, I actually contacted her to ask if I could run with her group sometime. I secretly hoped she wouldn't think I was a weird stalker or something like that.  In all honesty, I was just a fairly new mom who was looking for buddies to run with since my old training partner (my husband) was now my babysitter during my runs.  I needed to find a new training partner, and I did just that when I met Jane in person almost three years ago for our first run together.  I arrived nervous and sleepy-tired (I was not accustomed to those early 5:00 a.m. start times!).  It was the beginning of a great friendship between us, something that has deepened over those early morning runs.  Two in particular stand out to me and will show you the type of friend Jane really is.

Rainbow Mountain Run November 6, 2011
This run was an unexpected and fun adventure!  I had a "girls' weekend" at my house, meaning my husband and son were out of town for the weekend, and it was just me and my four year old daughter at home.  On Sunday afternoon, I decided to head out for a run with my daughter in the single jogger.  The weather was perfect.  Jane lives a short distance from my house in a neighboring subdivision.  Sometimes we text each other before heading out for an afternoon run to see if the other wants to meet up.  So I sent Jane a text, "I'll be heading past your house in 15 minutes.  Want to join me?"  Her response was something like, "Yes, I was planning to run up Rainbow Mountain for 10 miles.  How does that sound?"  And I texted back that I had my daughter with me so it would be interesting with her in tow.  Rainbow Mountain is--you guessed it--a mountain with a HUGE hill that the group calls "The Dragon."  It's a brutal hill...not something I was planning to do that day, but I felt up to the challenge.  All in all, I estimated that this would be a 14 mile run for me, since I was not running directly to Jane's house and was doing another route first.  I must stop to say here that I am not one to involve my children in my long runs.  I just don't think keeping them in the strollers for hours on end is the right thing to do.  But this was one run with special circumstances.  The weather was nice, my daughter was completely comfortable (ate snacks and took a nap), and sometimes you just have to take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself.  So I did.

Jane and I had the best time on that run.  I did have to walk up "The Dragon" (no way I could push the stroller up it), and it was hard to break the stroller enough on the downhill.  It's been months since this run happened, so I don't remember what we talked about that day.  I just remember the feeling of freedom and happiness and peacefulness that comes from a great run like this.

I felt so happy, I had to snap a picture to remember the day.

Perfect day for a stroller run

When my daughter awoke from her nap, we were heading down the mountain.  I marveled at how a person could just sleep so peacefully like that, how it showed how much she trusted me to bring her back home safely.  I loved bringing her on that run.

Jane and I emailed later about our run (we actually had some pretty good splits that Jane wanted to share).

I wrote, "Awesome, awesome run.  One to remember.  I will look back one day and wish I had a little one to push...."
And she shared the splits below:

Mile 1 - 8:36
Mile 2 - 8:37
Mile 3 - 8:37
Mile 4 - 9:51
Mile 5 - 10:01
Mile 6 - 8:48
Mile 7 - 8:58
Mile 8 - 8:39
Mile 9 - 8:26
Mile 10 - 8:34

Then she wrote, "That is AWESOME - especially considering the dragon was in the middle!  Thanks for a GREAT afternoon run, my friend!  And C was the perfect running buddy as well."  

So thankful for Jane on that run.  

Rainy Run November 28, 2011
WHO meets for 12 miles at 4:40 a.m. in the pouring rain???  A friend like Jane does.  Who better to tell the story of this run than Jane herself.  The link to the whole story is on her blog here.

Jane writes, "I e-mailed my running crew about a morning run, but the weather did not look promising.  The forecast predicted 100% chance of rain for 5am Monday morning and I groaned in annoyance.  I don't get off work until 5pm and by then it is dark.  I'm not a big treadmill fan, but I will run on one if there are no other options.  I was trying to make a plan for the next day when I picked up my phone and noticed a text from Katie.  She wanted to know if I would run even if it was raining.  She wanted 12 miles and she wanted to start at 4:40am.  I said yes.  She probably knew I would, and that was the jolt I needed. 

There was a light but steady rain when I pulled up to our meeting place this morning.  Katie was already there and as I parked we shared a glance that said, "Are we really doing this?"  At least that's what I was thinking.  As soon as we got out of our cars, we started running.

It really was not so bad and we had a good time.  The rain came and went as we ran and chatted.  The miles seemed to go by quickly as they always do when I run with Katie.  We finished our 12 miles and we were both so glad to have gotten out there and done it.  It is hard for both of us to run any other time of the day, so even with the rain we knew this was our best shot.  Even being wet, I was warm and comfortable until I stopped running and then the cold set in quickly.  

We said a quick good-bye, still smiling after our rainy morning run.  I cranked up the heat in my car and rushed home to a hot shower and coffee.  As I drove to work I thought about the morning run and how I probably would not have gotten out there alone in the dark rain without Katie.  Sometimes, if you really want the miles, you have to get a little crazy to get them and I am so glad I have a running friend who will start at crazy early hours, run in crazy weather and help me get in those miles."

Jane has met me for spontaneous Sunday afternoon runs and has run patiently alongside me with my stroller in tow.  She's agreed to meet me when I text her about running in the rain.  She is one of the most dependable and determined people I know.

Jane is a new mom, ready to begin her own journey of marathoning and mothering.  And, if her dedication to her friends and to the sport she loves so much is any indication, I know she will do just fine.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Summer Cross Training

This summer I have spent a lot of time on the elliptical machine up in the bonus room of our house.  It was a good way to heal and recover after my marathon and calf injury in June.  It's also been what I've done on Tuesdays and Thursdays all summer.  I used to take my daughter out in the single stroller on those days during the school year (since those are Rick's days to run in the morning).  I tried using the double stroller in the beginning of the summer, but it just seemed to go better for everyone when I used the elliptical machine, so I stuck with that.  

Do you sweat a lot on your indoor machines?  I DO!!!  One day, I just had to take a picture of the drops/puddle of sweat after an hour on the elliptical.  Now this is only at 6 miles an hour!!!!  I am sweating a lot outside on my runs too--to the point of being able to wring out my shirt and shorts at the end of most runs.  I've also dealt with chaffing issues under my sports bra all summer.  Ahhhhh, summer with its heat and humidity!

So here is the set-up for my cross training.  I do not belong to a gym.  Years ago, Rick and I bought this Naulitus elliptical machine at Costco and knew we would pay for the machine and then be saving the money we would spend on a gym membership (we used the gym mainly to cross train anyway).  We have done that!  Now we each use this machine a few of times a week (I use it on Sundays for 30 minutes and an hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays).  We have it positioned by the window on the back wall of our bonus room facing the t.v. and a display of various running awards and pictures.  We don't have cable, and this little t.v. is the only one in the house that picks up NBC, so this is where I've watched the Olympics this year.    

Elliptical machine


What I see when I cross train