Thursday, June 26, 2008

Perfect Timing

After my 10K race this weekend, my next race is the Lifetime Torchlight 5K which runs through downtown Minneapolis in the evening before the Aquatennial parade - for those non-twincitians, the Aquatennial is a huge 10-day festival in downtown Minneapolis that started in 1940 and has the best fireworks display (thanks Target) in MN. So, I will be running a 5K with thousands of people lined up waiting for the parade (according to the website, there will be about 150,000 people getting ready for the parade)…I really don't want this to be the first race that I finish last! So, once the 10K is over, my focus will be shifting to more speedwork (but keeping my long run of course). I really haven't done much if any speedwork the last month, I was focusing almost exclusively on just adding miles both to my long run and to my mpw.

So, this week I picked up the newest edition of RW (I really need to sign up for a subscription) and guess what they have? A training plan for running a faster 5K…thanks RW, now I don't need to search the web for training suggestions.

Still deciding on whether I will be running with or without the stroller...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Listening to My Body

Everyone always talks about listening to their body…what if your body suddenly wants to sleep in all week?

I had a very hilly 7 mile long run on Sunday. I wasn't intending the run to be so hilly, but that happens sometimes when you just follow a trail, not knowing where it is going. It was one of the hardest runs I have had in a while, and I had to walk way more than usual (typically only 2-3 very short walk breaks during a long run…usually after a big hill that I was determined to make it up). However, the good thing is that I finally think I learned how to run down a hill! I just never even put much thought into it, I mean down is a no-brainer, right? Turns out…not so much. As I was running up and down all these hills (sans headphones), I realized that my feet were awfully loud when I ran downhill. So, I started to pay attention to my form. It kinda felt like I was leaning back a little bit (in actuality, I was keeping myself vertical to a flat surface, so yes I was leaning back compared to the hill). The great people on RWOLBF explained to me the whole 'center of gravity' theory and that I need to be actually leaning into the hill (lean forward at the ankles for both up and down hill runs). I tried it out on my very short (1 mile) recovery run on Monday and what do you know…it works! I felt much more at ease (easy running instead of stopping myself from falling down the hill) and I wasn't nearly as loud. It is going to take some practice to get use to the feeling of leaning into the downhill, but it definitely works better than my old technique!

So anyway, I don't know if it was that hard run on Sunday, or just a little burnout, or some sudden lack of motivation, or just that I need to go to sleep earlier…but I have had a hard time getting up early enough to actually make it out for my runs this week! I had a little time Monday, but only enough for a couple times around the block for that 1 mile recovery - to try out the hills. But yesterday and today, I pretty much had to jump in the shower and head out to work. I used yesterday as a rest day, but I really need to get my butt out for a run tonight. Hopefully I won't be too worn out from that to run again tomorrow morning. I wanted to at least get in a speed workout before my 10K this weekend.

Push-up Update

Ouch! My upper chest (almost to my shoulders) is already feeling sore from the push-up challenge. I guess I needed this more than I realized…my upper body is really out of shape. I mean it is not like I am even doing that many. Monday I did 2-2-2-2-5 and this morning it was 4-3-2-2-7, so…carry the one…that is only 31 push-ups so far…how can I already be sore? Oh, and I regressed to the girly version…the manly version is pretty much pointless at this point, so I decided girly is better than none.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pros/Cons of Biking

As compared to running, that is.

· You can rest while moving (downhill that is)
· You always have a place to sit down
· You can stretch while still moving (well, unless you are going uphill)
· You get there faster (if you are in fact going somewhere)

· Uphill is HARD
· It is harder to restart once you stop (ie traffic lights, etc)
· Feeling sore in new places (ok, this could kinda be a pro too)
· More dangerous to navigate (curbs, off road, etc)

So, I finally went for it this morning…I biked to work. I have been thinking about it since the weather warmed up, since I only live about 3.25 miles from work. But I had a few concerns - What if it is raining when I am ready to go home? Should I shower at home or at work? Can I even bike for over 3 miles? Will I be able to bike the 3 miles home 8 hours later? Will it effect my running schedule?

Finally, I decided that I will never figure those questions out if I never even try it…and today was the day. The weather is suppose to be nice today…80* and only a slight chance of rain. The ride here was better and worse than I expected. The distance didn't seem as bad as I thought (I made it in about 23 minutes). But the actual work seemed harder. I could tell I was using muscles that I don't normally work. Biking on an actual bike is SO much different than the stationary at the gym…WAY more different that the road vs treadmill! But overall, I now know that I can do it (well, a day or two a week, maybe).

On a different note, it looks like there are a few fellow bloggers that are trying something called the "Hundred Push Up Challenge." It is a 6 week program to get you up to 100 consecutive push-ups. While I have very little faith that I can get there in 6 weeks (I think I will be repeating a week here and there), I am going to go for it and give it a try. I did the initial assessment this morning, and let's just say I am in the "Under 5" category. The program requires a workout 3 days a week, so I am going to wait until next week and try for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Anyone else want to join in? I know Jodes and Chris are already doing it…anyone else? Here is the website: one hundred push ups

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

(not quite) 2 mile run/walk

I have read it plenty of times on blogs and RWOL, and have even written a few times myself…"We all have bad runs now and then." Well, I sure had one this morning!

I woke up with a horribly dry mouth (a little dehydrated, maybe?) and feeling kinda stiff (my back mostly). But I figured once I got out on the road I would loosen up. I was only planning on going 2.5 miles afterall.

So, I grabbed a bottle of water and ate a little bit. I don't like drinking too much right before a run, I hate the feeling of the water sloshing around in my stomach - but I drank about half the bottle. I did a few more stretches than usual to try and work out the stiffness in my back…and away I went.

I don't know if I was holding my body different because of the stiffness or what, but I felt really awkward at first. Then only about half a mile into the run I had to stop and walk for a while. I felt like I was working awfully hard for the pace I was going. I thought maybe if I slowed down a little more it would be better, so I started running at my LSD pace. Nope, that didn’t work either. I ended up running about a half (or less) mile and then walking a bit for my whole run. I even ended up taking a short-cut so I only ended up at 1.9 miles instead of the planned 2.5 - I will try to pick up the other half mile on my Friday run (assuming it goes better than today).

On a positive note, my ipod was working fine this morning.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tough Getting Out There

Something really didn't want me to get my run in this morning!

I woke up and got out of bed fine (only one snooze) and the kids seemed to still be sleeping. So, I ate my PBJ grabbed a water and got dressed. I had a terrible case of bed-head this morning, so I stopped off in the bathroom downstairs to tame it before I slid into my shoes and grabbed my water/ipod. Just as I was putting the ipod on my arm…crying upstairs. And not just wimpering, I am just starting to open my eyes crying - it was loud I want my bottle NOW crying. So, out of my shoes, put down the ipod and head upstairs to get the bottles.

Half an hour later the kids were back in bed (not actually sleeping, but no longer crying). So now is my last chance to make it out the door. I slide back into the shoes, grab my ipod, and check to make sure it is picking up my sensor (I have been having some issues lately because I have 2 sensors, an ipod, and a sportband - so I think it gets confused what sensor/receiver it is suppose to be looking for). The ipod would not turn on! Now, it was only used once since it was charged last, and was sitting in my gym bag since. The 'lock' switch was on, so it couldn't have been accidentally turned on in the bag. Argh…back upstairs again to find the sportband…and I was actually looking forward to the music today for some reason!

Well, I finally made it out the door and had a pretty decent run (although I did miss the tunes). I made my typical 3 mile loop. It is getting kinda nice to have regular routes for my weekday runs. I don't have to think about it along the run. I already know where I am suppose to turn and how far it is going to take me. I get some adventure on my long runs on the weekend…but during the week, it is nice to know what to expect and just run.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Catch-up for the Week

Wow, it has been almost a week since I blogged! Where has the time gone? I have been reading everyone else’s, but have been slacking on my own. So, here is the update:

Tuesday – 2.3 miles @ 10:12 pace…pretty fast for me, left me wondering how fast I can run a mile now, I haven’t tried just one fast mile in a long time.

Wednesday – 3.4 miles @ 10:45 pace…just another run, not great, not bad, getting those miles in.

Friday – 2.25 miles on treadmill…I hadn’t run on the treadmill in while, but it was late and I wasn’t running outside in the dark, plus I needed to get some XT/weight-training in still. So, I did a mile warm-up, and then ran that fast mile (see Tuesday) which I managed to do in 9:16!! I was definitely pleased with that. Then I did some weights and finished off with a couple miles on the bike.

Sunday – 6.51 miles @ 11:42 pace…I have decided that I really like checking out all the paved trails that run throughout the twin cities. The problem is that I can still only go a few miles before I have to turn around and go back. This time I went the other direction on the trail that took me to the Lake last weekend. I thought maybe it would end up going the other direction around the lake – nope. Instead I ended up on a couple pretty long bridges through some marshland(??) Ok, I am not a natury person and I don’t know if it was a marsh, but there was a good 5-10 acres of those cattail things with the bridge and a RR track running through. I made a note of an intersection I could see from the trail near the end of the trail…so that I could figure out where I had actually run to! I really have to try to take the old camera with me next weekend so that I can take some pics when I come across cool areas like that.

The ‘out’ portion of my run was great. I was tempted to keep going when I hit the midway point in mileage. Boy am I glad I didn’t make that mistake! As soon as I turned around I realized just how bright the sun was getting (it was probably about 7:30 AM) and just how little shade there was on those bridges, and just how humid the air was getting from the combination of the storm the night before and now bright sun. At least I had plenty of water this time. Anyway, I was hot and exhausted by the time I made it home. Next week I have 7 miles on the schedule…I can do it – it is only another half mile, right?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Pretty decent run this morning. Except that in my not quite awake yet mind, I thought I was running faster than I was. I was going for 5K and set the ipod on a 3 mile distance run (so it would tell me when I got to .5, 1, 1.5, etc). When it told me I was at the halfway point I checked the time…multiply by 2…wow, I am on track for a new 5K record! Um, except that 5K and 3 miles aren’t quite the same!! Oh well, it is not like I had set out for a new record or anything, I was just excited for about half a mile or so until I caught my mistake.

So, I was almost to 3 miles (ipod was telling me I had 300m left to go) and up ahead along the trail (the only part of my usual run that is actually along the RR tracks instead of the road) was a deer. She was just standing there looking around. So, I slowed to a walk and calmly walked right past her…she was probably 4 feet away from me!! Didn’t even move except to follow me with her head. Now, this is not the first time I have seen deer in my neighborhood, but it still seems so crazy to me that an animal like that would be that close the city – I only live about a 10-15 minute drive to downtown Minneapolis.

Monday, June 9, 2008

An 8 Bunny Run

I finished my second week of ‘training’ (for the 10 miler, I guess) without missing a run yet…Yippee!! I totaled 14.12 miles in four runs and finished with a 6.25 mile run on Sunday.

Sunday morning, the kiddos woke me up at 5:30 – they usually sleep a little later on the weekend. Anyway, I gave them some bottles, changed some diapers, and then of course, couldn’t go back to sleep (they both did). I figured I might as well get that long run in, so I grabbed half a PBJ and a bottle of water then got dressed to run…then I decided it was raining too much and I sat in front of the computer for a while. Good call, cuz the rain stopped about half an hour later and I took off on the run a little dryer.

I decided to go in a different direction than I normally do for my shorter runs, and went to a nearby lake to see how far the paved trail went (I had only been about a mile up the trail previously). Well, since the lake is about a mile away, I still only made it 2 miles along the trail before I had to turn around and come back, but now I think I may drive the couple miles to pick up where I left off on one of my upcoming long runs. I am not sure if you can go all the way around the lake or not (it would probably be about 8-10 miles around if there are enough trails). I was surprised to see how many rabbits were out along the trail along with lots of squirrels, chipmunks, ducks, and other birds of course.

The run wasn’t bad…wasn’t great either. I ended up running out of water (the bottle wasn’t full to start off) and walked briefly a couple times. Time-wise, it was a few minutes longer than I want to run at my 10K in couple weeks, but I still have faith that I will be able to get that time closer at the race (my goal is 1:08, which McMillan calculated based on my 8K race time). I mean, hopefully I will be able to get rid of those walk breaks for the race. The only problem is that the race brochure mentions ‘rolling hills’ which may kill that goal.

After the 6 mile run, followed by a leisurely bike ride with the niece, I am now sore today. Well, I am ok unless I sit still for more than half an hour…too bad I have a desk job! I am sure it will be fine by tomorrow…

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Schedule Tweeks

So I think I need to rearrange my training plan a little bit. I just had a difficult 2 mile ‘easy’ run this morning. I mostly just felt tired/worn out. I think it is because I had a cross-training day yesterday and I went to the gym pretty late (about 9pm) after the kids were sleeping. The morning runs have been working out great, but I guess not coupled with a late cross-training session the night before. So, either I need to move the cross-training to the morning too (I put air in the bike tires this weekend, so that could possibly work) or have a rest day after cross-training. Right now I have both of my rest days (with no XT) pretty close together on Thursday and Saturday...I guess I could move the XT to one of those days. I guess I will have to play with the schedule a little.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Grand Old Day 8K - Race Report

So, I arrived at my first 8K very excited and a little nervous. My main goal was to run the entire distance…no walking allowed. My secondary goal was to do it in 55 minutes (right around an 11:00 min pace). I knew that I could do it, but I wasn’t feeling 100%. For some reason, my calves had started to hurt on Saturday. I honestly have no idea why. My last run had been on Friday morning, and they felt fine during and after the run. They didn’t start hurting until Saturday morning (which luckily was a scheduled rest day anyway). Also, my stomach was bothering me Saturday night. Both of these ailments were still lingering Sunday morning when I departed for the race, although not as bad as they were on Saturday.

This was my first chip-timed race, and I really liked how much more relaxed the start seemed. Instead of everyone immediately starting at their pace speed, the back of the group actually just jogged until we reached the mats, then sped up. It just felt more civilized I guess.

I little background: Grand Old Day is a festival/street party in a St Paul neighborhood that has been going on annually at least a couple decades. Grand Ave is lined for about 2.5 miles with food vendors, art vendors, music/beer areas, etc. The races were preceding the parade which is kind of the kick-off to the festival. The race went from one end of the festival to the other, made a quick turn around the block and returned to the start.

So, while we were running, the vendors were all busy along either side of the road setting up. There was lots of activity to distract me if I didn’t want to think about my breathing, stride, pace, or other running junk. It was also kinda odd, because while I am now used to smelling the lilacs on my morning runs, the aromas of BBQ and mini-donuts was a new experience.

As for the running…the hardest miles were the first and fourth. However, I did push through and did not walk one step between the start and finish mats! Goal 1 accomplished. I was trying to keep an eye on my pace using my new Nike Sportband (trying to get used to no headphones in races). But there were about 4 times that I looked down and it wasn’t picking up the sensor. Now, the sensor is only a few feet away in my shoe…it is not like it has to pick up a satellite or anything. In the end it only gave me credit for running 4.76 miles (about .2 miles short), so I guess that was for the time it wasn’t picking up and thought I was standing still.

As I approached the finish I actually had some energy left and was able to finish strong, but without killing myself in the process. Final time…53:58!!! Goal 2 accomplished. That means that I ran it in an average pace faster than the 5K I ran earlier this year, and on par with my 5K PR from 2006! Oh, and my calves didn’t bother me at all during the run – they just feel a little tight still.


Race: Grand Old Day – On the Go
Date: June 1, 2008
Distance: 8K
Official Time: 53:58
Average Pace: 10:51
Overall Place: 511/556
Place in Age Group: 59/64