Tuesday, February 26, 2013

No Race Report!

On Racing
I was suppose to race this past Sunday, but didn't. It totally wasn't my fault though. Totally. I'm pointing the finger at Mother Nature. Early during the week they started predicting snow. La la la la la, I can't hear you weather people. Yeah, I ignored all that, and continued my marvelous taper. By Thursday, it was getting harder to ignore. SNOW SNOW SNOW! By Friday they cancelled the race. Yes, the race was scheduled for Sunday, and cancelled on Friday. Anyway, at the time I was sort of happy they called it because I was able to run again on Friday, run 21 miles on Saturday, and then 10 miles on Sunday to at least get me to 60 miles for the week. The race probably could have happened though. Where I was it was snowing all day, but only three inches of accumulation, and when we went out for the dinner the roads were just wet. Oh well. I've registered for the New Bedford half, which takes place on March 17. My parents are running it with their running club and lured me into it with promises of fun times with other runner friends and corn beef and cabbage. My parents know me so well. How could I decline a St. Paddy's day race or corn beef and cabbage? 

Training has been going well. I think. This training cycle has been a little crazy. I've been running 60-70 miles a week, which isn't outlandish for me, but I've been doing some crazy workouts. Instead of running a ton of 20 milers this time, I've been more focused on running harder but a little shorter. I've run a number of hard 16 milers. They always have purpose though. What I mean is, I don't just go and run as fast as I can. I'll do things like start at MP and then do 3x5K with 2 minute "rest" jogs at MP. The end result is fast (for me), but not just run as fast as you can for as long as you can. In fact, I've been doing a lot of runs like that. One of my runs last week was a planned "easy" run, but I also wanted to run some surges just to get my legs turning over. It was a 9 miler, and most of the run was done at 8:00 pace, but I did a hard 600 meter every 8 minutes, which brought the average pace down to 7:15. If I've being honest with myself, that's probably not a super easy run. Part of me has been interested in how far I can push myself before I completely unhinge. The trick, I think, is to sense the unhinging coming and then back off. That's what I'm telling myself anyway. And I did just that on Monday. I had a 10 miler planned. Mostly easy with 2x15 minutes at 10K pace. As soon as I started the hard part I knew I should back off. My sinuses hurt, my glands were swollen, and my legs were trashed from my long run. I did slow down. But then I started throwing in random surges at 5K pace. In the end, I was really irritated with myself. Sometimes it's hard to deviate from the plan even when it's in your own best interest. I want to run 70 miles this week, and since I'm clearly feeling under the weather, I am going to try to take it easy for the rest of the week.

BayState Pictures
Ah yeah, BayState was last October. I never did post any pictures. They're all pretty bad, which in a way is a sign that I gave it my all. Also, I look like a beast....

 If you look really really close at my eyes, it looks like I'm turning into a zombie...don't worry though, I didn't.

 Thank goodness I don't look like this all the time. I'm terrifying!

This is probably the best picture...

Completely Unrelated
Nick built me a new computer. The RAM he used is called Vengeance. He's so sweet. Now I have my very own speed machine.

My computer is a beast too.  ;)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Relating my race to how training is going...

Some additional thoughts on Derry:
It's funny, I found running Derry sort of befuddling. I really wanted to somehow correlate my pace to either my marathon pace or half marathon pace, but just couldn't do it. Then it dawned on my that I wasn't attacking the issue from the correct angle. Runners are just different. Some are really strong on a hilly course or in the bitter cold, and some aren't. As a result, it's very difficult to find the correlation I was looking for.

What I was truly looking for though, was how my training is going. I do most of my runs on the treadmill. It's a combination of being a busy mom and trying to stay injury free. But TM running simply isn't the same as running outside, so how can I tell if my TM runs are on track with what I think my MP and HMP should be? Well, I did run a workout on the treadmill two weeks prior to Derry that was meant to "simulate" Derry as much as possible. I ran 16 miles. The first 8 miles were at a 1% incline. Mile 9 was at at 4% incline, Mile 10 was at a 5% incline, and the first 2 minutes of mile 11 were at a 6% incline. Then I thought my heart was going to explode, so I paused the TM, took a 2 minute breather, jumped back on and finished the rest with no incline. My average pace for this run was 6:50 (excluding the 2 minute break). If I factor in the 2 minute break (because race clocks don't pause), then my pace was 6:57. I climbed around 800 feet during this "simulation." Derry has total climb of about 600 feet. My pace at Derry was 6:53. So my pace at Derry was a little faster than my TM run, but the climb was less too. I know it's not an exact science or an exact correlation, but it's as close I'm going to get. I actually felt a lot better running Derry than I felt running the "simulation" on the TM. (Probably because the week I ran Derry was a cut back week, while the "simulation" was during a 70 mile week.) Now, at least, I feel like I know where I stand with my TM running.

More on the tread mill:
Now the TM is interesting because I don't believe that all distances correlate the same. For example, I've broken 18 minutes in the 5K on the TM, but have only run 18:34 recently on the roads. (I don't count TM runs for my PR's.) I was running with no incline at the time, so there's that, but I also know from my own experience that as the distance gets shorter (or the faster the pace) there seems to be more "advantage" time wise on the mill (at least for me). As the distance gets longer, the times start to correlate better (for me). Last year prior to running the Hampton Half, I ran an 8 mile workout on the TM at 6:40 pace (with no incline). At Hampton I wound up running 6:49 pace, which probably seems like the TM was off by more than you'd like to see, but when you consider that the TM run was 8 miles (versus 13), and that I was incredibly sick at Hampton, I think it's probably not all that bad. This last summer and fall while training for the BayState Marathon, I did all my marathon paced runs at 7:19 pace (no incline), and did wind up running 7:19 pace at BayState.

Unfortunately, I don't feel like the TM builds confidence for me. I feel like it's "fake" running. When I input my runs into DailyMile, I feel like reporting those paces is cheating. I will admit, that once or twice I've added a couple minutes to a TM run when I reported it on DM. I know some of you are looking at my DM stuff, so 99% of the time, I am totally honest, but there have been maybe a half dozen runs over the last 2 years, where I ran a huge PR on the mill and just felt weird about it, so I added some time to the total. Part of the issue might be that I often keep one hand on the TM when I run, and I feel like that's cheating too. But running hard is sort of scary on the TM, and I've promised Nick that I'll be with him forever. Keeping that one hand on makes me feel less like I'm going to get thrown across the room if I stumble a bit. I do try to make sure that I'm not "hanging" on the machine in anyway.

I'm trying to get over my TM hangups. The truth is, that it's not exactly like running outside, but it almost doesn't even matter. It's a training tool, and there are things you can do with the TM that you can't do outside. If you have an elevation map of a course, you can sort of "simulate" that course like I did with Derry. You can train your body to know what a certain pace feels like. My workouts heavily rely on using the specific pace (or slightly faster) than what I'm training for. You can put the TM on that pace and just rely on it to maintain it for you. That's huge for me. When I'm outside by myself, it's so easy to just give in. For me, it's a lot easier to slow down outside, than it is for me to touch that minus button...It's almost like having a training partner or having someone pace you. I also found this interesting article on TM running. Basically it says running on the TM feels harder, but is actually easier due to lack of wind resistance. It was interesting to read, because most of my paces do feel harder on the TM (well all except 5K pace, 5K pace feels easier on the mill to me).

Derry Pics:
Remember how I mentioned the the Greater Derry Track Club (GDTC) did a great job organizing the race? Well, they had Nuvision Action Image do the photography. And guess what!? You can download the full resolution image for free! No strings attached! Apparently the cost of the photography is covered with the race registration fee. That's pretty cool. Derry's registration fee was $50, and I have to say it was worth every dollar. Okay, so here are a few pics of me at Derry. Note that I looked pained AND I'm slightly heel striking (so I was probably tired too). To be fair, there were a number of pictures where I wasn't heel striking, but I didn't like them as much as these...

 My Stride is a lot longer than I thought...oh, and yes, I am wearing arm warmers over my jacket.

 Those are the CW-X tights I mentioned last time...so ugly...yet so awesome.

 So my arm swing always crosses my body, which is bad, but I can't seem to fix it...