Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Starting HM Training...but what HM?

Ok – I am officially starting a Half Marathon training plan. I have not signed up for a HM yet, although I am currently leaning toward the Chicago Half Marathon on 9/14. The problem is that I would have to travel alone. The family is already committed for that weekend (out of town visitors). I do have a good friend in town though. And I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, so I may try to convince my parents to make the short trip into the city to be my cheering section. I think Chicago would be a cool place to run my first HM, because I have been going there since I was a kid…I mean we use to do field trips to the Museum of Science and Industry in elementary school (the beginning of the race is right outside the museum). So, has anyone out there run the CHM? Any advice?

The CHM would give me 16 weeks to train. Most of the training plans are for 12 weeks, but I need to build my mileage some more anyway, so I pulled a couple training plans last night (Hal Higdon and Nike+ coach) and put together my own custom plan. Hal Higdon seems to be a popular one, but I can’t get over the fact that it only goes to a 10 mile long run before a 13.1 mile race. The Nike+ plan only has 3 runs per week, which seems a bit weird. Anyway, I scheduled myself for 3 shorter runs (building from 3 to 5 miles) during the week and a long run on the weekend (building from 5 to 13 miles). I also have one cross-training/weight-training day and two rest days. Most of the runs are easy runs, since my goal is just to be able to finish this thing. I do have one of my short runs designated as an interval run though. I figure I can tweek the plan if I feel I need more speed-work or whatever.

I did my first scheduled run this morning…3 miles interval training. I tried to use the Serena Williams “Spontaneous Speed” workout (Nike+) which I have done on the treadmill (not as good as her other interval workout, but still good). Anyway, I guess those things weren’t meant for road running…just about every time Serena would tell me to pick up the pace, I would happen to be working my way up a hill!

Also, I realized today that I have been running more outside runs under an 11 minute pace than I thought. It is weird – I guess I tend to run faster outside than on the treadmill now. Plus, I usually run more (no walking) and can go further outside too! I wouldn’t have thought that a couple months ago!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New & Improved: Adventures of SueBob

Ok, so I spent a little time cluttering up the blog today.

Thanks to Jillian, I have discovered “Breaking the Tape” which is a website to track training (like I need another one of those!) but it has some pretty cool graphs that show how I actually have been improving so far this year. There are also a couple cool ‘sidebar’ tools available (see my new “Last 4 Workouts”). The only problem is that I have to actually go to the website and enter my workouts. With the Nike+ system, it automatically uploads my runs to the old Nike Training Log…but the features aren’t quite as cool. I will try it for now, but we will see if I keep it up or not.

Also, I have been enjoying reading other blogs – it is inspiring to know that I am not alone out there. Unfortunately, there are 3 different computers that I regularly use, so with random blogs as favorites on each one, I feel my blog reading is so disorganized…thus, my first blog-roll has been added. I am sure more blogs will be added soon.

Ok, so I am getting back to working up that mileage again…I am surprised how hard it is to get back into the swing after a long vacation. Well, the 2-day work week followed by a 3-day weekend didn’t help. But now I am truly back into the swing at work, so hopefully everything else will follow. I have my first 8K this weekend, and I have been slacking…not a good combination. But, I did get in a 3.5 mile treadmill run on Sunday and am going to try REALLY hard to do some morning runs this week. I started with a 1.5 miler this morning in a chilly 40 degrees. I figured, the thing that takes me the longest in the morning is figuring out what to wear – so if I can pull that together beforehand, I can spend that extra time running! Well, I am going for 3 out of 4 mornings this week…we will see. Then I can take Saturday off and the 8K is Sunday.

Bad news on the possible Halloween HM – I checked some of last year’s RRs on RWOL and it sounds like it is a pretty disorganized race. I guess the chip timing is only at the finish…there is no mat at the start. Considering how many people would be running on basically a sidewalk, that sounds like a complete mess! So, I guess I am back to looking for a fall HM and hoping to get into the TCM 10 miler. If anyone knows any good fall HMs within a few hours drive of the twin cities…let me know!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Back to the real world

Ahhh, what a relaxing vacation (well, mostly anyway). I didn’t run as much as I would have liked, not that I am surprised, but I did make it a few times. The first time I went outside in the FL Keys early in the morning. The weather wasn’t too bad – the sun wasn’t full strength yet. But there wasn’t really anywhere to run on the resort! I followed every sidewalk I could find, and ran a few spots without sidewalks, and made it back to our place in about 1.5 miles. Oh well, I tried. After that, I stuck to the hotel treadmills, but the fitness rooms were so hot and there were no fans. So, I had a couple very short runs (only one *barely* over 2 miles), but at least I ran a few times. I really need to make sure I get that long run in this weekend, before my first 8K next weekend.

On the drive out of the Keys we kept passing these runners going the other direction who were obviously in some race (the bibs gave them away). But it was so weird, they were just running along the highway on either side and were pretty spread out. I noticed there were some vans here and there, so I figured it must have been a relay or an ultra or something. But, most of the runners didn’t look like my image of ultra-runners (I have never actually known any…I just always imagined they were skinny and all muscle). So, I checked it out online yesterday and determined it must have been the Keys 100 – a 100 mile race from Key Largo to Key West (there were individual and relay versions). OMG!!! Can you imagine running 100 miles in the Keys!?!? That is just amazing!! The temps were in the 90s and you can’t forget that FL humidity! I am still pretty awestruck…

Also, I think I may have found my first half marathon!! I have been looking for a fall HM either in the twin cities area or somewhere that I could combine a trip with my continuing education credits for work (since I will be making a trip anyway). But I didn’t want just any HM…it has to either be one of the ‘big’ ones (I so wish the TCM had a HM) or something that sounds especially fun or scenic. I mean, this is my first HM after all! So, I came across the Team Ortho Monster Dash 5K/HM at the end of October – cheesy Halloween theme, in the lakes area (scenic), closeby, and great timing. I need to look into some more – I don’t know much about it besides the above, but it may actually work…

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ok, so I ran the entire 8K distance this weekend (actually 5 miles). No walking at all – I was even drinking water and chewed a couple sportbeans while running! I typically let myself walk for water breaks, but really it is just an excuse to walk, right? I did walk about a minute after the 5 miles though, and then ran the last half mile back to the car.

So, total run was just over an hour (1:00:18 to be exact) which is a 10:56 pace…convert to km…8km distance…so, I should theoretically be able to finish an 8K race in 55 minutes! Ok, you heard it here – goal time for first 8K race on June 1 is to break 55 minutes (with NO walking).

Tonight me and the family get on a plane for vacation. I packed the running clothes. I am really going to try to use them.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Glad it wasn't a PR

Okay, so the official times are finally up for my 5K last weekend. I know when I crossed the finish the clock said 38:something. I always expect that there may be a little variance, and I honestly have no idea if the seconds were closer to 1 or 59. But how could my time have changed all the way to 39:36?!?! That is at least 37 seconds longer than the clock time! Oh well, at least I wasn't running for a PR...then I would have been really irritated! Here are the "official" stats:

Race: Arboretum "Bud Break"
Date: May 4, 2008
Distance: 5K
Official Time: 39:36
Average Pace: 12:45
Overall Place: 264/423
Place in Age Group: 38/59

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

First Run without Music

I got my new Nike+ Sportband in the mail yesterday. I had been debating getting one – I really like having my music, but if I am going to be entering longer races I am going to have to run without the headphones eventually. If I get into the TC 10 miler, I definitely want both my 10 mile race and all my training runs to count toward my Nike+ challenges and goals! Plus, I am one of those people who has to know how far I ran each run, for the week, the month, and eternity, along with my average pace for each. It is hard to find right now, since it is only on a limited release through Nike. So, once I found it for sale somewhere that I could use a coupon (I am addicted to coupons), I had to get it.

Anyway, I wanted to try it out this morning to make sure I could get it to work properly. There is a half mile ‘round the block’ loop near my house, so I figured I could check if the factory calibration was close. When the alarm went off at 5AM I did what I always do…snooze…ten minutes later I laid there trying to convince myself to get out on the road. I had to promise myself a Starbucks on the way to work (I only allow them as a treat about once a month or so).

I finally made it, and ran around the block twice (ok, so only a mile – but at least it was something). But it turns out that without the music I started thinking about some issues at work. I continued thinking about it while getting ready and I was then so eager to get to work and get started on it that I completely missed the turn into Starbucks!! Well, I made the u-turn and got my latte, so don’t worry about that. But, now I can see what those no-headphones runners are always talking about. I am going to have to test the theory more thoroughly of course, but I think I might actually be able to survive without the music!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Bud Break 5k 2008 - Race Report

Holy Crap! I have never seen such hills in my life! Probably not the best course for the first race with the twins! But it was still fun. At least I hadn’t planned on getting a good time or something like that so that I would be disappointed.

I started off at the back of the pack, because I didn’t want to be in the way with the double stroller (we are not the easiest to pass). But I didn’t think about all the walkers which I ended up behind…It took a good 30 seconds just to cross the start line, and at least a full minute before I could even try to start running. The pathway was pretty narrow for the 500 people who were registered since it was basically a wide sidewalk.

Once we got going, it was just huge hill after huge hill pretty much the whole way. I ended up walking up most of the hills and trying not to let the stroller pull me too fast on the downhill sections. My calves were just burning by the end of the race.

But, we had fun. DD was ‘talking’ to half the runners/walkers that we passed (or passed us). I couldn’t see her, but I can only assume she was waving at each one (waving is one of her favorite things to do). DS was quiet most of the run, but got a little crabby near the end – no serious crying though. Both had huge smiles once the race was over and they got out of the stroller.

It was beautiful running weather (a little chilly for the little ones though). Low/mid 50s with just a little breeze and some sun coming through the trees.

I finished somewhere over 38 minutes, which is close to what I expected. This morning my legs are sore in new places – I guess that means I got a good workout!

Race: Arboretum "Bud Break"
Date: May 4, 2008
Distance: 5K
Official Time: 39:36
Average Pace: 12:45
Overall Place: 264/423
Place in Age Group: 38/59

Next race: 6/1 – Grand Old Day 8K (my first race longer than 5K). I registered last night.