Monday, December 5, 2011

Providence Downtown Jingle 5K RR

Race Week:
The week of the race wasn't ideal. Nick had to travel, the kids were sick, there wasn't much sleep to be had...blah blah blah. I even had trouble with a few of my easy runs. I run with a few people at work, and generally we run around 8:30 pace. Yes, I struggled running 8:30 pace for seven miles, which seemed like a bad omen, but I chose not to think about it...too much.

Race Morning:
Because Nick was traveling, my parents invited me and the little ladies to stay with them Saturday night, which is really the only reason I was able to run the 5K (thank you mom and dad). I did my typical race morning routine. Coffee and toast with peanut butter and banana, but the race start was at 11:15. I prefer earlier races. The earlier the race, the less time I have to become overly nervous. And I was nervous. Partly because I didn't feel that great, and partly because I had told myself this was the last 5K for a while.

Around 10:00, my dad drove me down to Providence. We parked a mile away from the start and ran in. Even with running to the start, we were still 45 minutes early. If I hadn't been nervous, it would have been a lot of fun watching people. Tons of people were dressed up in all kinds of Christmas decor. Christmas music was playing. The atmosphere was cool. I did feel out of place though. I was in my typical race attire, while everyone else was in long sleeve shirts and running tights. I stuck out and received a few weird looks.

Race Start:
This race was awesome! They had a countdown clock, music, and a great announcer. I loved how everything was organized. Anyway, I lined up right at the front, which always makes me feel self conscious. The worst part of racing for me is waiting at the start. I feel so much better once the gun goes off.

Mile 1:
According to the clock at the mile marker, I ran a 6:02. My Garmin didn't agree with the mile markers. I wonder if the Garmin was inaccurate due to being in the middle of the city? Either that or the mile markers weren't in the correct place. In any case, I had to believe the race mile marker. I was a little disappointed. I wanted to run 5:55 - 6:00 for that first mile. There were three women ahead of me, but not too far ahead.

Mile 2:
I didn't feel any worse for mile 2, but the clock read 12:12, making that second mile 6:10. Now I was really irritated. I knew that I was going to need to run the third mile faster than the second mile to break 19 minutes, but I have never been able to do that.

Mile 3:
I'm guessing you probably read Mary: Iron Matron, who recently wrote a post entitled "How bad do you want it." I'm not nearly as contemplative about such things, but I must have wanted it pretty bad because the clock at the three mile marker read 18:15, which means I ran a 6:03 third mile. I passed the third place female, and really fought with the second place female. She passed me in the final 100 meters. Not because I was slowing mind you. I was hauling, she was just faster.

Results:
I was the third place female, and my official time was 18:52. The other two women were only a few seconds ahead of me, which really made the race more exciting. I felt like I was running in college again. When we crossed the finish the race director grabbed us and gave us our loot right away! I was so excited. He said he didn't want us to have to wait around for an hour, which was great because I never wait around. We each received a $50 gift certificate to a local running store.

Reflections:
My goal going into the race was 18:40. Actually, let me rephrase that...going into the race I believed that if I had a good day I could run 18:30-18:40. I'm sure that sounds ridiculous, given that it has only been the last few weeks that I've run in the mid 19 range. I feel weird even writing it. But I've been getting faster. And how exactly am I getting faster? Eh, I don't know. I suspect it might partially be a mental thing. Last year I read another great post over at Mary: Iron Matron entitled "Kicking Some Ass." Again, I rarely contemplate why I run. I find it satisfying, so I keep doing it. But why? I don't know. And how am I suddenly dropping minutes off my time? Beats me, but maybe Mary is onto something...

Anyway, I'll post my training notes next time, but I'm such an odd runner I'm not sure how useful they'll be to anyone else.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

18:52 :)

So, I ran the Providence downtown jingle 5k today.

Official results: miles 3.1
pace 6:05
total time 18:52

Garmin stats: miles 3.2
pace 5:53
total time: 18:52

I'm sure I'll post a real race report later, but "I'm super happy" pretty much sums it up...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Trot 5k

I'm typing on my phone, which makes for a short post...

My official time was 19:26. I was the second female and seventh overall. I'm pleased with the result, felt strong, ran smart, and feel fairly confident that I can run faster.

My Garmin clocked mile 1 at 6:02, mile 2 at 6:04, and mile 3 at 6:18. My final distance was measured at 3.19 with an average pace of 6:06. According to the Garmin, I passed the 3.11 mile point at exactly 18:59. Okay, so Garmin results don't really count, and maybe it was off a little, but I'm thinking I can break 19 on an accurate course...

We had a great day. There were pictures below, but the phone app did a terrible job displaying them. I just left one that seemed fine. Maybe I'll have to post more pics later.

I hope everyone else had a great day too!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shoe surgery and other stuff

Before I get into performing surgery on my lovely sneaks, let me just say happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'm feeling thankful the family is healthy (and that I'm injury free)!

I'm excited to run my turkey trot, mostly because my parents will be running, and it's just a great way to start the day. Does anyone else think that turkey trots are becoming a Thanksgiving tradition (almost like watching football)? Given that there are almost 1,000 people signed up for this race that was approximately 400 people a few years ago...I'm thinking turkey trots are becoming a tradition...


Moving on to shoe surgery. I bought these Saucony Kinvaras about a month before my marathon in October. I'm not going to do a shoe review, but if you like to read well written shoe reviews I would suggest runblogger. He loves shoes and consequently writes excellent reviews.

Anyway, I bought the Kinvaras, and absolutely loved them. Like the best running shoe ever. They just feel right. Unfortunately, after a measly 150 miles (three weeks), the left shoe started giving me a blister on my heel. When I got in there and checked things out, I noticed a piece of plastic was poking into my heel. I was furious! 150 miles, seriously that's ridiculous. I had to go back to my Nike frees for the marathon. A few weeks later, I dusted off the Kinvaras and figured I might as well try to fix them. I couldn't run in them as they were anyway. So I went at that left shoe with a pair of sharp scissors and didn't stop until I had cut out approximately one half inch of plastic. Then Macgyver style, I duct taped that bad boy. I've been running in them for three weeks now and they seem fine.


Now for a couple random notes. Here's a picture of some of my runner buddies at work. Every year we do a really easy run together before Thanksgiving. Then we eat pie. Personally, I enjoy the run more than the pie. The slice pecan I ate just gave me an upset stomach. Anyway, they're a fun bunch. There's a guy in there who's a three time Ironman. Three others who have run in the 3:20 range for the marathon. I'm the only one in long pants. It was only 45 ish degrees and we ran slow, so I'm sticking with my pants decision.

And for my last random note...on Saturday I did a two mile time trial in 12:00. I hope everyone has an awesome Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lisa's Lung Cancer Awareness 5K Race Report

I don't really have a race report for last weekend's 5K. I raced it unexpectedly, and the result was unexpected too. Everything is a bit blurry now, and I don't remember much.

I do remember that the first mile felt much harder than I anticipated. The plan was to run a 6:15 first mile and then hang on for dear life. Before the horn sounded, I assumed that I'd have to hold back to make sure I didn't run too fast, but when the race started and I settled down, I looked down at my Garmin to find that I needed to speed up. Mile 1 wound up being 6:16, but I had to work for it.

From there, I just kept telling myself to run harder. I crossed mile 2 at 12:40. Then my lungs started to feel as though they might burst from my chest, but I knew if I hung on I would break 20. This is where racing gets hard for me. In high school and college, I ran for a team, and the team was what motivated me to hang in there when things got uncomfortable. Now there's just me, and I don't care as much. Well, I care afterward, but during...not so much. Anyway, I did hang in there and it was a good day. I did wheeze for several days though. My asthma has been a little annoying lately. Below you can a scary race picture of me finishing.

There's not much else to report for the week. Today I ran 10 x 400 meters at 1:23, which is a good workout for me. I'm planning on running another 5K on Thanksgiving. I also have two halfs planned. One in February and one in March.

Is anyone else running a turkey trot? What's your favorite turkey trot distance? Right now, mine is the 5K, but lately I've been contemplating a 10K.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

19:36 :)

This will have to be short, but I did decide to go ahead and run that 5k today (and my official time was 19:36). I'm glad that I ran. I know the turkey trot course is .1 long, which will make it harder to break 20.

To be honest, I didn't want to run. It was right in the middle of the day, we had lots of chores to do, and everyone is still recovering. But Thursday I did another mile time trial. This time I clocked 5:43, which made me think that I should put in the effort to race.

Again, I'm happy that I did. Overall, I ran a smart race. My first mile was 6:16, and from there I just did my best to hang on. I was the first female finisher, which was cool (although it really just points out that the race wasn't very competitive).

The only downside is that my asthma has been acting up since the race, but that's okay. I haven't run that fast in almost a decade...

I hope everyone else had a good running weekend too!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

One good workout to go with one horrific week

Saturday morning before the snow started (last week), I ran 10 x 400 meters all in 1:26 with one minute jogs between intervals. It was a good workout for me, and I was glad to get in before we lost power that night.

We lost power for three days, which was actually less time than many others in our area. We stayed in the house for two nights, but I opted to take the kids to my parents the third night. (Thank you mom and dad!) It was just getting cold (48 degrees). Losing power in general isn't that big a deal, but we lost all the food in the fridge and came home to find ice cream had melted through the freezer onto the floor and under the fridge. Also, power was out everywhere. That means no gas was available and no stores were open. That was probably the scariest part. Seeing all the stores and gas stations dark.

Power came back and the next morning Kaylee started vomiting. She couldn't keep any fluids down. I called the doctor's office and brought her in. They thought she looked fine and sent us home. I called back a few hours later and they agreed we should take her to the ER. This was stressful for me. Nick stayed with Emily, and I took Kaylee into Boston. We waited over four hours to see a doctor. I was soaked in vomit. Kaylee was exhausted. They gave her an anti nausea drug and IV fluids. Her blood work indicated that she was bad enough to admit to the hospital.

They let us go home the next afternoon, just in time for Emily to have a bad case of croup for the night. The next morning I took her to the doctor's office and she was given a steroid shot.

Everyone in the house is sick and grouchy, but we're doing fine. Hopefully the kids will start feeling better soon. I could write more, but don't have time (and it would probably just sound like whining anyway). It was a crazy week. I'm feeling drained and looking forward to getting back into a routine. I had been planning on running a 5K this past Sunday, but for obvious reasons I was unable to do so. There's another 5K that I might try to run this weekend. We'll see.

How was your week? I hope it was better than mine. ;)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Running Predictors: Do you believe them?

The marathon is over. I trained, tapered, and recovered. Now I'm planning a few weeks of shorter faster training, in hopes of breaking the ever elusive 20 minutes for the 5K. Why the rush? Well, I always run the same turkey trot every year. It's fun, convenient, and I've conned my parents into going for the last three years. In short, I like it.

Unfortunately though, I had an unwelcome wake up call today. I did a 1 mile time trial (after an appropriate warm up of course). The result was a 5:58 mile, which at the time I thought was reasonably fast. Then I plugged that time into the Mcmillan running calculator to see my predicted 5K time. Ugh, that calculator spit back 20:40. Not what I was hoping. Especially, when I think about how I ran 20:25 5K 12 weeks after Emily's birth on a long course. Could I really be slower than so soon after having a baby? Apparently, I can.

To be honest though, I'm not sure that I trust that calculator. It also spit out a 3:21 predicted marathon time (for the 5:58 mile time), and I wasn't able to run that a couple weeks ago. Yet, I have this gut feeling that if I were to run a 5K right now I'd be able to do low 20 minutes. Basically, in my mind, it's short changing my 5K time and being overly optimistic about my marathon time.

Does anyone else use running predictor calculators? What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blogging in random picture style

Here are my splits from Baystate. In the past, I've complained that the Garmin software doesn't allow one to copy and paste splits. The standalone PC software still doesn't, but Garmin's online tool does have a copy and paste function!

BayState Splits 2011

Mile

Time

1

08:01.4

2

07:41.8

3

07:35.6

4

07:37.0

5

07:45.1

6

07:44.0

7

07:41.8

8

07:46.9

9

07:43.4

10

07:43.3

11

07:42.1

12

07:34.5

13

07:39.4

14

07:32.5

15

07:47.0

16

07:54.7

17

07:52.8

18

07:52.6

19

07:59.7

20

07:49.7

21

07:57.4

22

07:53.5

23

08:01.3

24

08:11.6

25

07:58.6

26

08:09.0



Here's the view from my kitchen window. I love this time of year. My only complaint is losing the extra daylight.




Here I am waving to the camera. When I see a camera, I just can't help myself. I'm automatically smiling or waving no matter how bad I might feel.


Here I am at mile 25. I've definitely looked worse...


Here's little miss Kaylee trying on her costume. She has been begging me to find her a dragon costume for Halloween. I kept telling her that I didn't think there were any. Then we found one...at Old Navy. How's that for random?



Anyone else use the Blogger app for the iphone? I used it for most of this post. I'm not sure what I think. It seemed ridiculously slow. Any thoughts?

Monday, October 17, 2011

BayState Marathon Race Report

3:26:58!

Yeah, I'm a little excited. I don't believe that I had the best day that I could have had, but I ran well regardless. Also for me, this is a huge PR.

I didn't post my goals prior to the race because I wasn't sure until that morning what my goals were. Two weeks prior, I went through my training logs several times trying to determine a good set of race goals. I was hesitant to commit to any goal until I knew how I felt on the morning of the race. This might seem odd, but I have yet to run a marathon when I'm not sick. A couple years ago I was sick and slightly injured. I didn't take that into account on the morning of my race. It was a disaster. I went out faster than I should have given the circumstances, and did I mention that it was a disaster?

Anyway, I'm trying to be smarter about this whole racing marathons thing. In high school and college the team races 5Ks, and the strategy is so different (and more aggressive). I'm just beginning to understand that racing a marathon requires patience and careful planning. After going through my training logs several times, I decided that 3:22:30 - 3:25:00 would be my goal (assuming I felt reasonably well on race day).

My plan was to run an 8:00 minute first mile, be around 7:45ish by mile 4, to hold 7:45ish until mile 20-22, and then either kick it up a bit or hang on for dear life (depending on how I felt). My first mile was 8:01 and I was at 7:44 pace by mile 5. Unfortunately though, something was amiss. I just didn't feel right. I was having trouble holding onto my pace. Initially I thought it was mental, so I started trying to find someone to run with, but I didn't have much luck.

I drank and took gels exactly the way I had during my long runs, and my long runs were done on the course at about the same pace. Yet, I was having so much trouble. I maintained 7:44 until mile 11, where I finally met a couple of nice people to run with. They said they were aiming to run 3:30, but they were pushing the pace a bit. I managed to hang with them for a couple miles, but my average pace dropped to 7:42 and I was having trouble. At that point, I figured my issue wasn't mental. There was simply something not quite right, so I let them run on. I passed the half at 1:42:00. Passing the half is great because then you can tell yourself you have more miles behind you than ahead, which is what I kept telling myself.

Somewhere around 14 miles I started getting a headache, which was weird. Around mile 18 my legs started burning, burning like the last mile in a 5K. At that point, I gave myself permission to let up on the pace. I was hoping that I was being smart and not a wimp. By mile 20, I was still hanging onto an average pace of 7:45 (according to my Garmin), but I was really hurting (my legs were still burning). When I hurt, I take things a mile at a time. I don't think about anything beyond the next mile. My slowest mile was 8:11, there was an 8:09 too, and a couple 8:01's. Then finally. The finish! I was so happy that I forgot to stop my watch!

I loved this race! Well, I didn't really like running the race, but I'm pleased with the outcome. I had a goal, things weren't going quite as expected, I adjusted, and still wound up running well. I've also decided that giving myself permission to back off the pace was the right choice. I felt extremely sick the rest of the day. My intestines felt like they were going to explode and my head was killing me. Also, everything is ridiculously sore today, my neck, back, stomach, chest, legs, feet...everything.

And I love that because? Well, the fact that I felt that bad afterward and I'm that sore today means I ran hard. Really hard. Also, my first half was 1:42:00 and my second half was 1:44:58. I would have liked to run even splits, but I don't feel my first half was so much faster than my second half that I went out too fast. Basically, I feel like I ran the best race I could have given the circumstances, and that's what it's all about.

Lots of love to my hubby for taking charge of the kiddos while I was out training and racing! A big thanks to my parents who were my support team for the day. And a huge congrats to AM who ran 3:14! Holy cannoli, she is smoking fast!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What would you do with 2 extra hours?

What does tapering mean? For me, it means that I had two extra hours last week. And what did I do with all that extra time? No, I didn't take a nap. Although napping would have been awesome, having a sick 13 month old and a crazy 4 year old doesn't make nap time an option. So I carved a pumpkin. Let me just say that pumpkin carving is not nearly as satisfying as a two hour run, but Kaylee loves it.

I did the carving, but she scooped guts and picked the carving design. I'm pretty sure scooping the guts is why Kaylee loves pumpkin carving. Emily was also a big fan of the guts. (She got her little baby paws on the guts bowl. And wow, it took her like 2 seconds to throw those pumpkin guts around.) Here's our jack-o-lantern.


As far as running goes, there's not much to report. I did do a 3 x 1 mile repeat workout that went 6:09, 6:19, 6:30. Clearly, I did the first repeat too fast. Also, it was 75 degrees out, which is a little warm for this time of year. I did some running with Emily in the jogging stroller too. When Kaylee started school a few weeks ago, it allowed me to start running with Emily in the BOB. Pushing that running stroller is hard work!


Other than that, I'm thinking about a music play list for the big day. I also ordered some Ascics arm warmers, that I'm excited to try out. Oh, and if anyone can control the weather, could you please arrange for a sunny 50-55 degree day on October 16th? At the very least, I'd like it to be cooler rather than warmer. Thanks!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Taper

With three weeks to go, it's taper time. At least for me. This is my first marathon training cycle that I've actually made it to the taper without being sick and injured. (Yes, sick and injured.) Granted I have three weeks to go, but with my last 20 miler behind me I feel good about my odds.

It's funny how training cycles go. This marathon was planned during my pregnancy with Emily, but after Providence this past May...I was seriously considering switching to the half. I just felt wiped. Emily isn't the best sleeper, and I had been surviving on 4 hours of sleep a night. The lack of sleep was getting to me. Thinking about training for another marathon so soon made me exhausted. Then AM asked if I was interested in doing a long run. I was hesitant, but decided that if I survived a 20 miler with her, I'd suck it up and run the marathon. Well, that first run went well. Two others have gone well too. Now I'm excited to race in three weeks. I'm excited to start tapering while healthy. And just generally feeling good.

My last 20 miler was this past weekend. AM and I wound up running 7:40 ish pace. It was gross out. Humid and unseasonable warm, but we got through it. I definitely didn't feel as good after this run as I have for the others, but I'm blaming the weather.

I'm looking forward to tapering. I'll be doing a 20% reduction in miles this week and another 20% next week. My peak mileage week was 53, which isn't a ton of miles, but I did have several weeks in the 50 mile range.

Now I just need to survive the bugs that a certain preschooler is bringing home with her. Seriously, we're drowning in snot right now. Everyone in the house is sick (except me). I fully expect to get sick, but given that I've made it to taper time I'm okay with that. I should be able to get the extra rest that I need to help me fight whatever is causing the river of snot.

Completely unrelated to running (but still fascinating), doesn't it seem like children were designed to spread yucky bugs? Kaylee is getting better at sneezing into her elbow, but I still get it in the face from time to time. And Emily? Well, if she sees me coming with a tissue she immediately starts wiping her nose on anything in sight (and then proceeds to play with the snot). It's glorious.

Since I'm just throwing randomness about, I received a "regret" email from the BAA today (meaning that my qualifying time was not fast enough to get me a number for Boston). I was a tiny bit disappointed, but given that I barely qualified in the first place the outcome wasn't surprising. I am impressed with how the BAA has handled registration this year. I actually received an email and the email stated what the cut off time wound up being for my age group (3:38 if you're interested). It's nice to know what to shoot for (and in this case 3:38 is actually slower than what the qualifying time will be for next year). I receive the news at an interesting time. Three weeks to another marathon that could potentially qualify me for Boston 2013...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Socks are cool

Things have been crazy! And the crazy has absolutely nothing to do with running. I didn't run anything particularly special last week. I ran 50 miles, most of them slow. There was one 10 mile MP run. That's really all I have to say about running...well yesterday I ran an 8 miler at 7:11 pace, which was cool.

Last week I mentioned preventative maintenance, or something to that affect. Getting stronger and preventing injury is at the top of my objective list this year. One of the more interesting activities I've picked up in my quest to remain free of injury is wearing compression socks.

I've had some nagging Achilles's heel tightness for the last two years. It doesn't seem to get worse, but it doesn't get better either. I've been trying to figure out what I can do to help those heels out. Advice I've found seems to range from don't wear shoes ever to wear shoes all the time. Every piece of advice I find, there's the opposite advice out there too. What seems reasonably correct is that once the the Achilles's tendon is strained or injured it's slow to recover due to poor circulation in the area. Hence the compression socks. Those super expensive socks claim to increase circulation. Also, through trial and error, I have figured out that there is something going on with my calves that isn't helping. Now I wear compression socks and stretch my calves, and the heels seem happy enough.




I have two pairs of socks. The Recovery Sock, which was confusing at first (at least to me). The socks are sold as a pair, not a single sock, but the literal engineer in me was a little nervous that I was only ordering a single sock (given the name). My review...I like them. I run in them, sleep in them, recover in them.








I also have a pair of CEP socks. These socks get an A+ for looking cool. I have the hot pink pair and personally think they're snazzy looking. (Nick thinks they look a little silly.) They're great for running and walking around in, but I find if I sleep in them my heels are tight in the morning. Not sure why that happens.





To be honest, I don't feel a difference between the Recovery Sock and CEP. Both pairs are helpful, but I wouldn't be able to recommend one over the other. The CEP socks look a bit cooler, but the Recovery Sock is almost half the price. Although I wouldn't want to recommend one over the other, I can definitely say that they do help me recover. Enough so, that I'm entertaining the idea of buying a third pair.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A refrigerator full of peaches

My refrigerator is packed full of peaches. Seriously. Peaches. Well, there's a huge bag of apples too. Nick told me the peaches make his mouth tingle. Since I rarely bake (and never peel things), it look likes I'll be eating four peaches a day for several weeks. We went peach picking on Friday and bought the "big" box for picking. The box looked smaller in the wide open space that was the peach orchard. I'm fairly certain it doubled in size by the time we got it home. It's a magic peach box that doesn't fit into the fridge... None of this has anything to do with running, but peach picking was cool.

Running is going well too. I think. This whole training cycle is about making me feel strong again, and bringing the fun back. That translates into running whatever I feel like, and not concentrating on a time goal. I'm not completely crazy though, I do have loose goals regarding long runs, marathon pace runs, and trying to keep my weekly mileage at a reasonable level. This past week I ran 53 miles. I'll probably peak at 55-60 miles (depending on how I feel). The one more stringent goal I've made for myself recently is to consistently do push ups, ab exercises, strength stuff for my knees, foam rolling, using "the stick", and icing whatever feels tight. I am making a real effort to avoid becoming injured. We'll see how that goes...

I had a great long run this weekend with AM. We did 22 miles at 7:48 pace. Because AM is faster than me, I prepared for the run almost like it was race. I cut my caffeine consumption by 1/2 all week. I went to bed early on Wednesday and Thursday. I ran most of my miles earlier in the week, and took rest days on both Thursday and Friday. I felt reasonably good the whole run, and felt great at the end. Running with AM makes long runs so much easier! And I don't know if it was the caffeinated Roctane or what, but I felt great the rest of the day too. We went to Boston, walked around for a couple hours, and saw a random break dancing street performance. Cool beans.

I ran a recovery run on Sunday, which went fine. By Sunday night though, I was feeling tired. And today, my legs feel trashed. That's fine. I'll take it easy until my legs no longer feel trashed. Problem solved.

In other news, my two little ladies recently had birthdays. Kaylee turned 4 and Emily 1! They're doing well and keep me busy. Yes, I am blaming them for my lack of blogging. I still read everyone's blogs on my phone, I'm just struggling to find time to post...okay, I'm off to eat some peaches. Happy trails!

Me and my little ladies

Monday, August 15, 2011

Nothing like a great long run to build confidence

Running has been hit or miss for me the last several months. It's probably a mixture of mental and physical fatigue, but whatever it is, it's annoying. I registered for the BayState marathon on a whim, but have been open to switching to the half. I figured I'd just be flexible and see how I felt as marathon day approached.

Around the time I registered, I quickly realized that something had to change with my "training" methods. I had been focused on getting in more miles, hoping to be running 50-60 miles per week, but I just didn't feel good. Many runs were of poor quality. My legs were constantly tight. And my breathing was not smooth. That's when I figured I should be prepared to switch races, and rather than focus on running more miles I should focus on feeling strong.

I stared doing core exercises, push ups, leg exercises, stretching, foam rolling, using "the stick", and icing my legs. Now I've been running for a long time, so I know all this stuff is important. But here's the deal, I'm time limited and figure I should do what I want when I have the time, which is run. Obviously though, running was becoming less fun, so something had to change.

Anyway, all that leads me to this awesome long run I ran with AM this past weekend. She mentioned us doing a long run together, which sounded great in theory, but she's a lot faster than me (and I'm not exactly at my best right now). But I really enjoy running with her, so I figured I'd run with her for as long as I could and if I had to send her off after 10 miles so be it.

The day came and I was nervous. We met up and started running. And It was awesome! We just ran. We talked and ran. The pace was fairly consistent, it did get a little faster towards the end. We did 20 miles at 7:45 pace. And I felt good! I was tired of course, but not any more tired than I usually get. I was a little sore the next day, but just a little.

I did a slow recovery run on Sunday. My legs were still a bit tired on Monday so I ran slow again, but I'm pretty sure I'll be running the marathon now. Hopefully AM and I will meet up for some more long runs too!

Completely unrelated, here's a pic of my little Emily.



Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Screaming Chicken

Nick calls me Katie Kaboom sometimes. He tells me that I'm crazy and that my craziness reminds him of a cartoon character called Katie Kaboom. The way he describes it: Ms Kaboom is a loveable sweet character, but then she gets angry and turns into this super crazy chic. Then he showed me a clip, and admitted I'm not really like her, but that I can go from sweet to crazy chic in mere nanoseconds. I love it when Nick tells me this stuff. I like to ask him random weird questions and see what he throws back at me. I asked him once, "What type of car do you see me driving? Let's assume money isn't an issue." His response, "Why do you ask me these questions? I don't know...probably a screaming chicken." I was all, seriously, a chicken car? I almost went Kaboom, but then he explained what a screaming chicken was, and I was impressed with the uniqueness of his answer. Now I want to drive a firebird...

In other news, I've registered for the BayState Marathon in October. I have no idea what my goals will be. Right now I just want to build a base and feel strong again. I'm going to give myself 5 weeks to build my mileage, then I'll figure out what I should be doing pace wise.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Recovery is hard

A whole month blogging hiatus! Yikes! Recovering from my marathon has been tough. I haven't been injured. But my running mojo has disappeared, and although I keep trying find it, I haven't been particularly successful.

After the marathon, it took about two weeks for me and the family to fully recover from our ailments (which included a ridiculously scary Emily vomiting episode about 5 days after the marathon).

With recovery in full swing, I started running regularly again. I even did a few speed workouts, which went quite well. I thought I might try to run some fast 5K's this summer. It's been a long time since I've broken 20 minutes, but I've been pretty close the last couple years. Well I ran a 5K last week (see awful picture above), and I was sorely disappointed. I wound up running 21:09. Granted it was at noon in 90 degree heat and I was the 6th overall finisher out of 50, but not even breaking 21 minutes was a huge disappointment. Also, my knees were killing me afterwards. Not IT band hurt. I know my knee issues aren't caused by running. It's from being on the floor a lot with Emily. The last few months we've moved her diaper changing area to the floor (just to be safe). It's a killer on my knees...

Even before the 5K, my running has just been lackluster. I'll have a good day here and there, but mostly I'm just blah. Part of the problem is sleep. I average 5-6 hours of sleep a night, which simply isn't good enough for me, but that's where I am. Emily is the happiest, cutest baby during the day, but she really struggles in the sleep department at night.

I had been planning on running the BayState marathon in October. After Providence, I told my friends and family that I'd be doing the half instead. I woke up this morning and thought to myself...I want to run the marathon in October. I don't know why, but I do. Nick told me I need help, to which I replied "good point, maybe I should get a coach." He shook his head and said, "that's not what I meant." Nick tells me fairly regularly "You're crazy, I love you, but you're crazy with a capital K..."

So here I sit, thinking about running BayState. I guess I'm still undecided, but right now I want to run.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cox Providence Marathon Race Report

Thanks so much for the kind comments! I wasn't even sure that anyone would see the post given it had been a while since the last time I posted. Anyway, on to the race...

The race itself is actually less interesting than the events surrounding the race. The entire week preceding the marathon was quite simply a disaster. The kids woke up with low grade fevers about a week before the race, which turned into a nasty chest virus. Nick had to travel for work. There were several visits to the pediatrician's office. Kaylee wound up on prednisone. Emily had croup. Then of course I got sick too. The low point was when Kaylee had a coughing fit and vomited while I was trying to get Emily ready for bed. Emily was already grumpy because it was past her bedtime and she had croup. I didn't want to put her down because crying would only make the croup worse. Blah! Disaster! Obviously, I survived. My mom came and helped out a couple days, which was nice not only for the extra set of hands, but for the company too. Then Nick came home about 24 hours before the marathon and had a fever too. Lovely.

I didn't even think about the marathon most of the week. On Thursday afternoon, I asked my mom what she would do if she were in my shoes. Would she run? She said she'd go to the race and make the decision at the last minute depending on how she felt. So that's what I did. To be brutally honest, I did not want to run. I was tired. And I was afraid. Once I make the decision to start a race, I want to see it through if at all possible, and it could have been a really bad day. I was definitely more sick than my last marathon and less rested, where I suffered greatly and wound up running a good 45 minutes slower than I expected.

I learned a lot from my last marathon debacle though, and tried to step up to the line with a plan that would hopefully see me through the race relatively unscathed. I have asthma and when I get sick, it gets worse. During my last marathon, I didn't realize that one of my inhalers greatly increases my heart rate. As a result, what was a comfortable pace during training, wasn't a comfortable pace on that day. Half way through the race I started having chest pain, and from there I had to alternate walking with running in order to finish. It. Was. Ugly.

What I've learned since, is that running doesn't actually impact my asthma as long as I adjust my pace properly. Also, my increased heart rate due the inhaler is fine as long as I adjust my pace. The key is to ignore what I think I should be running and simply run at a pace that breathing is easy. That, of course, isn't always easy to implement.

My second issue was going to be lack of rest. There wasn't anything I could do about that. I'll say it again, I was afraid. It could have been a really really bad day. I was also scared that I'd not only have a bad day, but then be extremely exhausted and go home and not be able sleep because the kids were still sick. At the same time, I didn't want to skip it and then regret it. Definitely a pickle.

Anyway, I went. I was not enthusiastic. I was not mentally prepared. I was tired. I was scared. But I ran, and I'm glad I did. The whole race was a struggle. Even the first mile. Did I mention that I was tired? I am amazed that I was able to run the time that I did.

A lot went wrong leading up to the race, but everything that went wrong was out of my control. I tried to maximize what I could control, which was:
  1. My training. It was solid. I knew that. All of my training paces were actually right on for a 3:22 even though my goal was 3:30. Also, when I started having IT band issues I immediately backed off. I stepped up to the line with no injuries. My IT band was fine throughout the race, and didn't hurt after.
  2. I needed to be focused on being patient and running what was comfortable for my breathing. The entire race was a struggle, but I just kept telling myself to get to the next mile. I never really hit "the wall," although I did slow down once I hit mile 24.
  3. I needed to fuel. I drank 50 ounces of electrolyte sports drink during the race, and I was ridiculously thirsty when I finished. I couldn't have done this without my parents. They were on the course and swapped out my bottles more than once. I have never drank so much during a run. I think it must have been because I was sick that I needed so much. I also took a gel every 30 minutes until I got to mile 20, when my stomach decided no more. I am certain that the race would have been a complete disaster if I hadn't fueled well.
That's it. It wasn't the time I trained for, but sometimes there are factors that are out of our control that change the game. I'm please that I was able recover and still run a reasonable race. Which, by the way, was an 11 minute PR. I'm also happy that I actually qualified for Boston, even if I can't get a number because my qualifying time is barely qualifying...I think it's sort of funny. It's like my brain and body knew just how fast it had to run to qualify and refused to run any faster. ;)

Oh, I'd also like to give a shout out to Pam, who made the first 10 miles of the race bearable. She ran up to me and another girl, Shelby, who I met at the start and asked if I wrote a running blog! So cool to have someone recognize me! She talked the whole time, and I mostly listened because I couldn't really talk. It was the best part of the race.

This was taken around mile 15. Looks painful, right?


I didn't look too bad at the finish though...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

By the skin of my neck...

It's been tough on the home front. The kids got really sick, now I'm sick, and not more than 4 hours a sleep a night for about 10 days now. I wasn't even sure if I should run. Honestly, I didn't really want to run. I'm tired. But I did run, and somehow I managed to pull a 3:40:51 out of my butt. I seriously cannot believe I did it...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I survived my last 20 miler before Providence

Yeah, there I am after my last 20 miler today. In all my sweaty glory. Phew. I feel so much better having run that last long run. My IT band did act up about 75 minutes into the run, and I thought I was done. I decided to keep going though. It was a risk, but without this run my last long run would have been 6 weeks before the race...turns out the initial tightness didn't get any worse. It was distracting and irritating, but I got through it. Also, very boring. I decided to run on the treadmill. The treadmill is flat, definitely has no camber, and has more give than the roads. It just made more sense, but wow, did it require focus.

For obvious reasons, I've been looking into the whole IT band thing and found that lots of people wind up with IT band issues 3 or 4 weeks before a marathon. Big surprise. It's an overuse injury, blah, blah, blah, often caused by weak hip flexors, running on cambered surfaces, running too much too fast. For me, I think it's the hip flexor thing. My hips are in a constant state of soreness. Note to self, work on hips.


During my IT band Google fest, I stumbled onto some people who seem to have good luck using KT tape to help get them through IT band issues. I just happened to have some KT tape, so I thought, why not? And had a go at it. I do think it helped. Plus, it makes you look like you're going into battle, and that's just cool.

Anyway, I haven't been able to run longer than 7.5 miles since this whole business started, and I managed to finish the 20 miler. It's been 10 hours since the run and my knee hasn't hurt walking around or going up or down the stairs. That's something. (My hip flexors are sore though, hmmm.)


With 17 days to go, I think I'll be taking a lot of time off. I'll run a few more times, but I've trained as well as I can. Now it makes more sense to rest (given that seems to be the only real solution to calming down an irritated IT band.) Of course, I'll keep foam rolling. I've also discovered the glory of a rolling pin. If you can't make it hurt enough with the foam roller, go ahead and have at it with a rolling pin. That's what I say. I did have a sports massage that focused on myofascial release, and I'll have one more before the race.

But mostly, I'll be chilling in my super sassy lime green compression socks. Eating, thinking, and dreaming marathon. Good luck to all you Boston runners out there! I can't wait to follow everyone!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I need a new set of legs

I'm still here! Last week was a little irritating and to be perfectly honest, I just don't feel like blogging about it. Nothing catastrophic. The week generally went fine. I did two interval workouts; a 4 x 1 mile workout at 10K pace and a Yasso 800 workout at 3:25 pace. Both went well. I had my long run scheduled for Saturday, but Kaylee woke up with a stomach bug so I skipped it. She was recovered by Sunday and decided I was long run bound. About 5 miles into the run, my IT band started acting up. It was bad enough that I had to stop.

I tried running again on Monday, but only made 3.5 miles. Tuesday I made it 4 miles. Wednesday I decided to take off. I'll probably try running again today. I'm honestly not sure what happened. I'm generally not running on cambered surfaces and I don't think I've drastically increased my mileage. (I ran more miles in the 6th month of my pregnancy than I did in March.)

I called a massage therapist that has experience with myofascial release. I've read that some runners with IT band issues have good luck with this type of massage. From what I've read, it's like foam rolling on crack. Sounds like heaven, right? (That's me being sarcastic.) I have an appointment. I'll give you all the gory details next week.

To stay sane, I've started rowing again. Because I haven't had any issues running in over a year (and because running is my passion), I haven't used the row machine in forever. I do have to say that it feels pretty good. I forgot how good rowing can feel...it's so smooth...ahhhh. That probably sounds weird, but I like it. Unfortunately, now that I'm in reasonably good running shape, the row machine doesn't even make me sweat. Obviously, if I rowed hard I'd sweat, but then my muscles wouldn't be able to sustain the activity for an hour.

That's where I'm at, sidelined for now. I'll keep you updated.

On a random note, I'm so excited to follow Boston this year! I read Kara Goucher's blog, and I'm so hoping she kicks some major running butt! And good luck to the rest of you Boston runners out there! It's so close!

Monday, March 28, 2011

How do you look at garmin data?

I love my Forerunner 305. I love recording my heart rate, distance, and pace. I don't, however, love the Garmin Training Center software. I would like to take my data and tweak the graphs or even just copy and past the distance and pace columns into a blog post. Neither is possible with GTC. What's up with that? I mean really, no copy and paste function? Am I missing something?

I find the GTC software frustrating. I'd like to import the data into excel, but from what I've seen I'd need to create some sort of script to filter the data into a more readable and useful format. I've heard some people use SportTracks? It looks like the older version of the software is no longer supported and I'm not sure I really want to spend $35 on the newer version. (Especially when I'm not really sure what it does.)

What do you use to view your garmin data? I see many blogs posting the distance and paces of their half and full marathons. I'm guessing that you don't manually enter that data into a post. How are you copying and pasting data? Teach me please!

On to training...last week was a bit lackluster. I managed to get in the miles, but the recovery from my long run took longer than I expected. (Like all week.) My legs are finally feeling recovered, which is good because with only 5 weeks to go I need to start running speed workouts. I have another long run scheduled for the end of this week. I was planning to run another 3 hour and 20 minute run, but I'm tweaking the plan a bit. I honestly wasn't expecting that 3:20 would get me to 24 miles, and another 24 mile long run might not be what I need at this point. Now my plan is to run 22 miles or 3:20, whichever I get to first.

I ran my first speed workout yesterday. I find it challenging to follow the directions for many interval workouts. This workout was a 4 x 1 mile workout at 10k pace with 800 meter recovery jogs. Normally, I'd disregard the 10k pace and run the repeats at 5K pace (or faster), but since I'm trying hard not to get injured I decided I'd try to follow the directions...mostly. Using the Mcmillan running calculator, I looked up what my 10k pace should be based on my most recent half marathon time. Apparently, Mcmillan thinks I should be running 6:55 pace for a 10k, which seemed reasonable. I did the workout on the treadmill so I ran the first repeat at 8.6 mph or 6:58 pace at a 1% incline. Then I got a little faster for each mile (6:53, 6:49, 6:44). I also changed the recovery time. Rather than running a half mile between intervals, I ran 2 minutes. I ran the warm up and recovery jogs at 8:34 pace, and the cool down was at marathon pace. I was satisfied with the workout because I mostly managed to do what I was suppose to, but it didn't feel super challenging.

And I have to wonder what the interval run was meant to accomplish? I found it on a Runner's World marathon training schedule, but I've seen similar workouts on other marathon schedules as well. It's definitely not meant to be a VO2 max workout, or the pace would be 5K. Wouldn't it be more beneficial to run a tempo run at that pace? A few weeks before the half marathon I ran a 5 mile tempo run at 6:56 pace. Maybe tempo runs make you more likely to get injured? Anyone want to weigh in?

Marathon Training Week 6 (3/21 - 3/27)
Total Miles: 50
Total Time: 7:11
Average Pace: 8:37 min/mile

Marathon Training Week 5 (3/14 - 3/20)
Total Miles: 57.1
Total Time: 7:40
Average Pace: 8:03 min/mile

Marathon Training Week 4 (3/7 - 3/13)

Total Miles: 42
Total Time: 5:51
Average Pace: 8:21 min/mile

Marathon Training Week 3 (2/28 - 3/6)

Total Miles: 52.2
Total Time: 7:17
Average Pace: 8:22 min/mile

Marathon Training Week 2 (2/21 - 2/27)
Total Miles: 50.25
Total Time: 7:15
Average Pace: 8:39 min/mile

Marathon Training Week 1 (2/14 - 2/20)
Total Miles: 50
Total Time: 6:40
Average Pace: 8:00 min/mile

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The hardest easy run I've ever done

Getting ready for that long run!

Last week was good for training. At least I think it was good. Hopefully I didn't run too hard. My whole mantra for this marathon training cycle is running wise and preventing injuries (while at the same time meeting my time goals). I don't want much.

Anyway the week was good. I didn't have any tempo or interval runs planned, just some marathon paced runs and a long run. I wound up running faster than marathon pace everyday, except on my long run day. Sometimes 20 seconds per mile faster, and I really wasn't running hard. My average heart rate never went above 141 for any run.

I blame canceled running dates for some of the speedier days. I usually have two runs during the week with other people, which forces my pace to be slower, but last week I was ditched. And of course, left to my own devices, I tend to run a bit faster than I probably should. I blame that on my ridiculously low heart rate. It's like my cardio system wants to run faster, but my body threatens me with the possibility of injuries. Stupid body.

Then there was the long run. I was planning to run for 3 hours and 20 minutes, and I did, and I covered exactly 24 miles (according to my garmin). It was the hardest easy run I've ever done because I've never run that long for a training run. Also, the course I did was very challenging. The garmin claims I ran 4170 vertical feet. Apparently though, the garmin is woefully inaccurate when it comes to calculating vertical feet. As a result, I'm not sure how I can accurately convey the hilliness. I know I spent at least 45 minutes running up hills. There was a hill that was 3/4 of a mile long from the base to the top that I ran twice, and a number of other hills in the 1/4 mile range. Good times.

I ran the whole run at a fairly even pace. I started around 8:25 pace and stayed right around there for most of the run. I had a few miles under 8:00 (downhills probably). I had a brief moment at around 19 miles, where I couldn't help but wonder what I was thinking. (I still had more than 40 minutes to go.) The thought passed quickly though. It also happened at the point where I was passing my house for the second time. It takes a lot of mental fortitude to run right past your house after running 19 miles. Around mile 22, I got my second wind and starting feeling good again. I wound up running 7:49 for the last mile. I was shocked by the last mile. I hadn't realized that I picked up the pace. Oh, and my average heart rate...138.

Once I finished, I drank some water, ate a banana, used the foam roller, and took an ice bath. I wasn't too stiff for the rest of the day, but I'm a bit sore now. My goal for this week is to run slower, recover, and not get injured.

I have a question for you, how much (and what) nutrition do you take in during long runs? I drank 20 ounces of water and took 5 gel shots. That gave me 500 calories for a 3 hour, 20 minute run. I think I could have used more water, but that's all I could carry with me...

Marathon Training Week 5 (3/14 - 3/20)
Total Miles: 57.1
Total Time: 7:40
Average Pace: 8:03 min/mile

Marathon Training Week 4 (3/7 - 3/13)

Total Miles: 42
Total Time: 5:51
Average Pace: 8:21 min/mile

Marathon Training Week 3 (2/28 - 3/6)

Total Miles: 52.2
Total Time: 7:17
Average Pace: 8:22 min/mile

Marathon Training Week 2 (2/21 - 2/27)
Total Miles: 50.25
Total Time: 7:15
Average Pace: 8:39 min/mile

Marathon Training Week 1 (2/14 - 2/20)
Total Miles: 50
Total Time: 6:40
Average Pace: 8:00 min/mile