Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Staying Positive

Illness is still lingering in our household, but overall we're on the mend. I'm running again, but my lungs are protesting the effort. Today I ran an easy 5 miles at 8:30 pace. My legs were good to go and I wasn't gasping for breath, but my chest was tight and there was wheezing afterwards. I could be irritated, but I'm choosing to stay positive. I mean I did catch a break by having my half marathon before I was super sick, so yay for that. Oh, and Emily has been sleeping until 5:00 am (rather than 4:00), which is huge. HUGE! (Crossing my fingers and knocking on wood that she keeps it up!)

I would like to get back to some real training though (with like workouts and stuff), but for now I have to play the patience game. I had been contemplating running a 20 mile race in Salem this upcoming Sunday, but I hadn't registered yet and given my protesting lungs...running a 20 mile race seems like a bad idea. I think I'll try for an easier 20 mile long run instead. We'll see.

It's hard to believe but the Providence Marathon is about 9 weeks away! For marathons, it's about 8-10 weeks before the race that I begin to focus my training. Now it's time for me to start focussing!

In the spirit of staying positive, here are a few random pics off my phone.

"Mommy Mommy, look what I can do!"

"Rrrroarrrr, I'm a vicious, vicious dragon"
When the going gets tough, the tough crown themselves queen with their daughter's tiara.

I stay positive by taking silly pictures with my phone. How do you stay positive?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hampton Race Pics

I am so glad that Hampton was last weekend and not this weekend. Yes, I was sick for the race, but I'm sicker now. This chest virus really has my asthma all spun up. At this point, I'm having breathing issues even when I'm doing nothing. I've had to take the last few days off, which is driving me crazy.

Yes, not being able to run definitely makes me crazy. I know from a fitness prospective I'll be fine, but I like running. It gives me happy peaceful feelings. And when you don't feel good happy peaceful feelings are nice.

Anyway, here are a few pics from the race last week. I love race pictures even though they look awful most of the time. It's awesome to have proof of how hard you worked on race day...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hampton Half Marathon Race Report

In the Nut Shell:
1:29:12! This was a huge PR for me. That's the short race report.

Pre-Race Week:
Like almost every single race I run, the week leading up to the Hampton HM was crazy. Emily got this conjunctivitis, then spiked a high fever, which spurned some testing, which told us she had a white blood cell count triple the norm. Then there was more testing...Little miss is just fine now, but wow, did she stress us out. And of course, 48 hours before race time Kaylee lovingly gave me this chest cold. Given the circumstances, I had no idea what to expect for this race.

The race turned out to be awesome (even though I had no motivation going into it).

Race Day:
Nick stayed with the kids. (Thanks hon!) And my parents kindly drove me to the race. I'm more than capable of driving myself, but races are always more special when you get to share them with loved ones so having my parents there to cheer me on was great. The weather was perfect (for February in New England). Sunny, no breeze, and 40 degrees. My plan was to run the first mile and just see how it went. I figured I'd come up with a game plan in real-time.

The race started and I ran. Once I started, I felt good. I crossed the first mile at 6:36, which was too fast, but I felt comfortable. I adjusted my pace and my second mile was 6:52, maybe a little too slow. By the third mile, I realized there was a group of about six guys running just ahead of me that were aiming for just under 6:50 pace. They were clearly running the race as a training run. At that point, I decided to hang onto that group. And hang on I did. I stepped on some of their heels by mistake a few times, but they almost spit on me more than once, so it was all good. I couldn't really talk with them, but listening was fun. At some point someone in the crowd yelled "you go girl!" and then "take care of her guys, she's number 4!" They yelled back "we're on it!" So every once in a while someone in the group would say "how are you doing number 4?" This interaction really helped me mentally stay in the race. Some miles felt easy, others felt hard, but I just hung on.

Somewhere around mile 10 the group split up. Three of the guys wanted to pick it up. Three guys were waning. At that point, I wound up in the middle and on my own. A small part of me wonders if I could have hung onto the faster three if I hadn't known they were running faster. Mentally, it is always better to try and run with others. Once I was on my own, my pace did slow a bit. Not horribly, but I did lose about 15 seconds, which would have gotten me under 1:29 (had I not slowed). I ran the last 0.1 at 6:18 pace, crossed the finish, and smiled. It was an amazing race. I ran strong from start to finish, and that's all I'm ever really looking for when I race. A four minute PR was nice too.

Lesson Learned:
You never how a race will go until you run it. I didn't believe that I'd be able to break 1:30 with a chest cold. Chest colds are particularly problematic with my asthma. Today my ribs and stomach muscles are extremely sore, and I'm sure it has something to do with breathing heavy during the race. I am beginning to understand that, although this whole asthma thing is a huge pain in the butt, if I play my cards right it doesn't have to slow me down...

Race Stats:
1:29:12 (6:49 pace)
4th overall female out of 770
44th overall out of 1326

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super 5K Lowell MA RR

This will be short. I had a tough time today. My asthma was acting up, which often happens to me when it's cold or I'm sick. Today it was cold and I was sick, so it's not shocking that I had issues.

My official time was 18:49. I ran as fast as I could today, but given more ideal circumstances I'm pretty sure I could run faster. I'm pleased though. Breaking 19 again makes me feel like maybe it wasn't just a fluke last time. The race was super competitive. I was only the 6th female finisher. I would have thought breaking 19 at a small local 5k would be fast enough to earn at least a third place.

I could tell before the race even started that it was going to be crazy. There were a ton of people in running club jerseys, and they brought their game faces. It was a little intimidating actually. These runners looked tough and old school. (And apparently they were every bit as tough as they looked.)

It was definitely a great race. It's the same course as the turkey trot I run every year, but today it was accurate (not long like on turkey day). I've figured out that the course is only long on the days that they also have a 10k race. If there's only a 5k for the day, the course is accurate, and fast. There's one small uphill in the first half mile, but then there's a bit of downhill for about half a mile, and the remainder is flat.

Now I have to start thinking about my half marathon in two weeks! Yikes! I don't feel prepared at all...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Taking a Mental Health Week

I know that you're super concerned, but have no fear I haven't gone crazy. Yet. No really, things aren't going too badly here. Poor Kaylee did wake up with hives all over her face and head on Monday. I almost had a panic attack. I wasn't sure if they were actually hives or what they could be from if they were in fact hives. Did you know that sometimes viruses can cause hives? I didn't. Anyway the doctor's hypothesis is that a virus has caused the hives, for she also has a runny nose and cough now. Poor kid, she can't catch a break this year. Anyway hives, sniffles, and cough aren't nearly as stressful as vomit...so I'm doing okay.

As you might have guessed, I missed running on Monday. I can't completely blame my little lady, however. Having to go to the doctor's office really messed up the day's schedule, but had I been really motivated I could have run after the kids went to bed at 7:45ish. I wasn't really motivated though. I was tired. And Monday was suppose to be my longer day, which I could potentially do on Thursday, but I don't think I want to run long on Thursday because I'm running a 5K on Sunday and I want to have fresh legs. Phew, that was a mouthful! As a result, I'm taking a mental health week. I'm not going to worry about my mileage this week. I'd like to do my best to get to 40 miles, but I won't worry about the fact that I had planned to run 50. Running is, after all, my fun activity and there are 14 weeks until Providence.

Last week went fairly well as far running was concerned. I did a reasonable 15 mile progression run, a mile time trial in 5:36, and had a total of 52 miles. Overall though, I was tired. I had trouble with some of my easy runs, which isn't normal for me. Motivation was also an issue last week, which almost never happens. So the numbers were okay, but it was a blah week.

Today I had an awesome workout. One of my co-workers wanted to do 3x1 mile repeats on the track. We wound up not making it to the track due to meetings going long and other meetings later in the day, but we have a 1.25 mile loop around our complex that is mostly flat. The three of us went and banged out a stellar workout. My repeat times were: 5:38, 5:52, 5:56. Yes, the last two were significantly slower than the first, but to be completely honest I ran the first one too hard on purpose (and my shoe was untied for almost the entire 3rd mile). My goal was to keep all the repeats under 6:00. I was pleasantly surprised. The workout was hard, but we did a 2.5 mile cool down at 8:30 pace without any issues, which means we weren't completely spent.

Given my repeat times, I think I can break 19 on Sunday, and hence my mental health week. The opportunity to break 19 minutes in the 5K will bring more peace of mind than getting to 50 miles for the week. So there you have it, my training decisions are largely based on my peace of mind. Not a training philosophy for everyone, but it keeps me happy.

How about you? Do you have a strict training philosophy? Would it drive you nuts if you missed your numbers for the week?

In the spirit of good mental health, here are a couple random pics of my little ladies.

Poor Kaylee recovering from...something.

Emily is just too cute. She loves Kaylee's sunglasses. She's such a spunky punky.