Monday, February 27, 2012

Half Marathon Training Week 2 - 2/20 - 2/26

Time flies when you're having fun.  Can't believe I'm already 2 weeks into this.  I had to condense the week into 4 days since I was heading out of town for the weekend, so all of my rest days were stuck at the end. Made for a bit of a hard week.

This week started with a not so great run.  I'm still learning what works for pre-run snacks and what doesn't.  Monday I learned that no matter how good they taste, peanut butter on eggo waffles do not work.  About a mile into what was supposed to be a 4 mile run, I felt incredibly sick and had to turn around way sooner than I wanted to.  Tuesday was a hill day, so I headed out to tackle the "hill of death" behind the house 3 times, topped off with half a lap of the neighborhood.  I hate the torture of the hills, but I have to say, I think they're paying off.  Wednesday,  ordinarily a rest day, turned into long run day.  I tried out a new route because I wasn't in the mood to run repeated loops; ventured out onto the main road and then into a new neighborhood.  Don't know if I'll do it again - the evening traffic was kind of heavy and it didn't feel all that safe out there.   Thursday I was supposed to run tempo intervals, but after the hard, consecutive days leading up to Thursday, I just did 4 easy recovery miles.  And that was the end of my scheduled runs for the week, because Friday I was off to Girls Weekend!!!

I took running clothes with me on the trip, but didn't know if I'd actually do any running.  But my two friends who are doing the Couch to 5k program were going to go run.  And I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to run with 2 of my best friends!  Never mind the fact that it was only about 25 degrees (maybe) and snowing.  Out we went into the weather for a 25 minute run.  So much fun to run with my girls and I'm so proud of them!  Our goal is to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon together in 2013, and we're well on our way!!

Monday 2/20 - 4  mile recovery fail - 2.62 miles
Tuesday 2/21 - Hills - 2.27 miles, quick abs & arms workout
Wednesday 2/22 - Long run - 6.1 miles, quick abs & arms workout
Thursday 2/23 - recovery - 4.09 miles, quick abs & arms workout
Friday 2/24 - rest
Saturday 2/25 - Run with Friends - 2.35 miles (plus a 2.06 mile walk back to the house)
Sunday 2/26 - rest
Total Miles - 19.49

Bring on Week 3!!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Half Marathon Training Week 1 - 2/13-2/19

At about 12 weeks out from the UC Half Marathon, I made the decision to run it final by signing up.  Clicking that "submit" button is equal parts scary and exhilerating.  Running a half means a lot of hard work, a lot of training time, and a lot fun.  I ran my first one in November (you can read about it here) and couldn't wait to run another.

I signed up and was ready to start a 12 week training plan when, on the morning training was to start, I was rushing to get ready for work. I turned to hurry out of my bathroom and I kicked the door frame with my left foot.  OUCH!  No bruising, no swelling, but it still hurt. However, it wasn't extremely painful; there was kind of a dull soreness at the base of the littlest 2 toes, which would increase when I tried to bend the toes.  I decided it was probably a good idea to take some days off from running to allow any injury that might be there to heal.  After 5 days of rest, I ran a 2 mile test run and the foot felt ok, and the rest of me was totally thrilled to be out on the road again.  The training could begin.

The first 2 runs of the week were awesome.  I felt strong and surprisingly fast.  A late meeting at work one day threw an extra rest day into the schedule, which was a little annoying at the time, but ended up just fine.  Friday was a long hard day, and I used my run as a therapy session.  Then came Sunday, my  long run day.  I was totally unmotivated and it took me 2 tries to even get dressed in my running clothes.  But I ended up heading out the door with no gadgets ("naked" as runners tend to call it), no GPS to map the run, no watch to time the run, no ipod with music, no nothing.  Just me, my shoes, and the road. (It felt pretty good).

Monday 2/13 - Tempo Intervals - 4.05 miles
Tuesday 2/14 - Hill work - 2.08 miles; quick abs & arms workout
Wednesday 2/15 - scheduled running rest day; NTC ab burner workout
Thursday 2/16 - extra rest day (late work meeting)
Friday 2/17 - Progressive run - 4.01 miles; quick abs & arms workout
Saturday 2/18 - scheduled rest day
Sunday 2/19 - Long run - 6 miles
Total Miles: 16.14

More details of all the runs can be found on Daily Mile, if you're curious (my profile is here.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Looking for Focus...

I'm almost a week into my training for my next half marathon, and I'm searching for my focus. 
While training for my first half, I focused on mileage and just crossing the finish line - walking, running, whatever.  I just wanted to get to the point where I could go the distance.  I did it by run/walking at an interval of 3 minutes running, 1.5 minutes walking.   It worked out great for  me and I finished in 2:25:47, with an average pace of 11:04 per mile.

Now here's my issue/question/puzzle, whatever you want to call it.  I know I can do the distance.  I've been working hard over the winter to improve my strength, stamina, and pace.  And I can tell my hard work is paying off.  So...

Do I focus on training to try to run/run the whole half (whole half - would that be an oxymoron??), without doing the run/walk thing?


Do I stick with the run/walk, and focus on training to speed up the run intervals and finish with a faster time?

Here's the facts:
  • As of right now, I can comfortably run a 10k (6.2 miles) without having to walk.
  • I have not consistently run a distance farther than that - I've always used the 3:1.5 run/walk interval (or some other less structured run/walk method) for longer distances.
  • My training plan is structured so that my long runs increase by 2 miles every 2 weeks (2 weeks at 6 miles, 2 weeks at 8, 2 weeks at 10, and 2 weeks at 12, plus 2 additional weeks if I need an extra week at one or two of the distances)
  • I'm doing hill work, tempo interval runs, and progressive runs, to try to increase both my stamina and speed
  • I've added strength and core workouts into my training this time around, because I know it's important for the whole body to be strong, not just the lungs & legs.
Which all boils down to this:
  • I'm pretty sure I can get to the point where I can run the whole way, but I don't know what my pace would be. I'd guess it would be around 11 mpm. 
  • I 'm also pretty sure that I can get to the point, that if I run/walk, I'll be able to do the run intervals at a fast enough pace to get down to a 10:00 - 10:30 mpm pace overall.
Hence, my problem:
  • Do I want the satisfaction of having increased my strength and fitness enought to actually run a whole half marathon without having to walk? or
  • Do I want the satisifaction of being faster and finishing with a PR?
Both are awesome and admirable goals in their own right...  what to do, what to do?   Anybody  have any thoughts?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Overall Winter Series Results

my Winter Series results -

203 of 297 in 5k - 29:25 (garmin time 29:17)
194 of 270 in 8k - 49:30 (garmin time 49:26)
206 of 292 in 10k - 1:01:56 (garmin time 1:01:48)
146 of 210 in whole series  - 2:20:51-

Met my goals for all 3 races!

Winter Series Race 3 - 10k: Race Report

The third race of the Winter Series was on Sunday, February 5.  It's taken me forever to write this report, because I didn't want to write about a bad run.  But life is not always wonderful and rosy and happy.  And runs and races aren't always easy, pretty, or fun.  So in the spirit of keeping it real, here's the race report for the 10k.

That Sunday, the weather was kind of chilly and grey and it was slightly damp.  I wasn’t all that pumped up to run – I was tired and not feeling the best.  I had rushed out of the house and forgot several things, my SPI belt, my extra, easy to carry car key.  I got to the race later than I wanted and didn’t find an ideal parking space.   I went to sign in and picked up my sweatshirt, and the thought of “I’ve got the shirt, I don’t need to run, I can just go home” went through my head.  It was totally unlike me to think that way, and even more unlike me to be seriously considering doing it. 

As I got back to the car, someone else was pulling out, so I was able to move my car into a better parking space (an end space :o) ); so that made me feel a little better.  But then while waiting in the car for the race start, I noticed my ponytail was loose.  I took it down and was trying to get the band to go around one more time so it would be tighter, and SNAP! The ponytail holder broke.  I searched through the car and my purse and couldn’t find another one.  I don’t like running with my hair down because it gets in the way, so I starting looking for anything that would work to hold it back.  Found an elastic headband in my purse and used that.  I think the ponytail was sticking out 3 inches from the back of my head because the headband had to be twisted around so many times, but my hair was up, and it didn’t feel like it was going to slip out, and that was all that mattered. 

The time for the race got close, so I went to the start line.   It was  cold,  I was still tired, and I was still not excited to run.  The thrill of being in the crowd wasn’t working this time.  It was bad.  I took off with the crowd, settled into a decent pace and thought “just put one foot in front of the other” and “relentless forward progress” that’s all I need to do.  Mile 1 came and a lady I was running near, stated “1 mile done, only 5 to go”   At that point, the “only 5 to go” seemed like a long way and next to impossible.  But oddly, at the same time, the mile point didn’t seem as far out and as tiring as it had in past races.  I guess that even though I wasn’t feeling the race, I did notice how much stronger I’ve gotten over time.  

Sometime in Mile 2 I started to see the front runners heading back towards me.  Here I was not even halfway done, and they were almost to the finish...  Very demotivating and made me feel even more like giving up.  I remember thinking “hmm…  I’ll just sneak in with them and run back.”  But I’m not and never will be a cheater, so I didn’t ever seriously consider doing that.  Before I would cut the course short and cheat, I would drop out and get a DNF; and that I did seriously consider doing.  I didn't; I kept on with the one foot in front of the other.

Then I got to the 5k, halfway point.   The race volunteer at the turn around point was helpful enough to announce our times as we went around the cone.  I don’t remember exactly what mine was, but I do remember that it was well within my goal time. Turns out I wasn’t having as bad a race as I thought I was.  So for the second half, I decided I was going to suck it up and run.  Changed my mental attitude, got rid of the negative thinking, and starting working toward finishing the race stronger than the start.  Decided I was going to meet my goal (62 minutes).  I was tired, it was tough, but I did it.

My mental block/bad attitude during the first half didn’t have as bad an effect on the overall race as I thought it might.  My pacing throughout the race was pretty spot on - almost had consistent negative splits (just one wasn’t).  I finished in just under 62 minutes and felt a lot stronger than I thought I would.   I ended up happy that I was able to push through the bad parts and turn the race around and end up with decent finish.

Mile 1 - 10:13
Mile 2 - 10:11
Mile 3 - 9:56
Mile 4 - 9:59
Mile 5 - 9:52
Mile 6 - 9:47
Mile .21 - 8:39
Total - 6.21 miles, 61:48, 9:57 avg. pace (Garmin time)  (official finish time was 61:58)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Good food

Recipe is from the Good Housekeeping Rush Hour Dinners cookbook.

1 pound hot Italian sausage links, casings removed (I just use regular sausage)
4 small zucchini, trimmed and each cut lengthwise in half
1/4 cup plain dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped

1. Preheat broiler. In 10-inch skillet, cook sausages over medium high heat, breaking up sausages with side of spoon, until browned.

2. Meanwhile, scoop out pulp from zucchini halves, leaving 1/8 inch shell. Coarsely chop pulp. Place shells, cut side up, in microwave-safe baking dish. Cook in microwave oven on high 3 minutes or until tender.

3. With slotted spoon, transfer sausage to paper towels to drain. Discard all but 1 tablespoon fat in skillet. In remaining fat, cook zucchini pulp over medium-high heat until very soft and almost all liquid has evaporated. Remove skillet from heat; stir in sausages, bread crumbs, and all but 1 tablespoon of parmesan.

4. Fill zucchini shells with sausage mixture. Place zucchini in broiling pan (without rack); top with tomatoes and sprinkle with reserved parmesan. Broil until tops are browned and tomatoes are heated through (about 5 minutes)

4 main dish servings.

Serve on bed of rice or orzo.

Each serving: about 365 calories, 22g protein, 14g carbohydrates, 25g total fat (10g saturated); 3g fiber; 68mg cholesterol, 910mg sodium