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























































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 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


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!