Sunday, July 22, 2012

Training recap – July 16-22

Crazy-busy week, and the running (as expected) was mostly set aside.  However, managed to stay generally on plan.  And I still got in my three runs this week – which is the only firm goal/commitment I’m making right now. Yay me!

The plan was:  Early week – 2 miles; Midweek – 5 miles; Weekend – 6 miles.

The reality:

Monday – 3.00 miles, ~32 minutes
Started out on a 4.5 mile loop.  First two miles felt great! Third one began the long decline.... walked back the last 1.5 miles. Must have been a bit more fatigued than I thought. Also forgot my Garmin at home, so no clue how my pacing was (a perennial problem for me), or how far I actually managed to get before I called it quits.

Fought my shoes the whole time too.  These shoes feel great for about two miles, then it feels like there’s no arch support.  A later consultation with the running store revealed that they’re just not the right shape for my foot; they’re forcing me to pronate and as my legs get tired, I lose my ability to stabilize against them.  So – they are now the backup/treadmill/cycling shoes.  All good.

Thursday –3.00 miles, 27:40
Felt like I should have tackled the five miles, but I didn’t have it in me mentally (work is crazy, people).  But rather than chucking the whole thing, I did get out for this shorter run.  So glad I did!  Keeping a 9:12 pace is crazy-fast for me, so that was a big mental boost.

Sunday – 5.3 miles, 55:11
The entire run felt like a warmup.  Legs were sluggish, and I couldn’t get a good deep breath the whole time.  Pace was all over the place:  mile splits of 10:33, 10:05, 10:31, 10:00, 11:14…  I miss my running buddies, these longer runs alone are not fun.

Planned for this week:
I’m not making any plans for the next two weeks.  This is my break; I’m going to take it as it comes.  However, my training plan would ask for 14 miles next week and 15 miles the week after.  I’ll have those parameters in mind and see how my total mileage stacks up against that.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Training recap – July 9-15

So this week started out well, and got front-loaded with miles… which was good, considering how the week ended.  Planned for 11 miles, did nine, and ended up not running at all this weekend.

The plan was:  Monday – 2 miles; Wednesday – 4 miles; Saturday – 5 miles .

The reality:

Monday – 2.00 miles, 21:29

The saving grace of this little run was that I followed through on getting up at 5:30 am, to be out the door at 6:00 am, and ran on a far-less-than-favored route.  I don’t like running on this busy road, but sometimes you do what you’ve got to do, right?

Wednesday – 4.45 miles, 46:01

Best run of the week by far.  Not only did I hold a 10:20 pace for a good long time (for me, anyway), I tackled the worry that I couldn’t do this longer lake loop on my lunch hour.  And it was warm, which is something that unnerves me, but still did just fine.  The mental boundaries are getting pushed, people…

Thursday – 2.12 miles, 25:30

I got back to my desk after a meeting to a voicemail from Soozan , asking if I could get out for a run at lunch.  I think my response was something to the effect of “Can I meet you in five minutes?”  She’d done a hard workout on Wednesday too, so we just kept a nice easy conversational pace.  Such an excellent brain break – and a great way to bank a couple miles for the week.

Saturday and Sunday - zilch

You can see what happened here and here. 

The weekend’s intended schedule got a bit upended, but that extra run on Thursday made up the balance for the overall goal:  consistently running three days per week.  And like I said, all the little mental blinders and boundaries and things that hem me in are being questioned and challenged to see what substance they actually hold.

Planned for this week:
If I were going to assign days to run, I’d actually look at my work calendar.  But it’s 8:30 on a Sunday night, and that just doesn’t seem like something I want to do right now.  I might end up switching the short early-week run with the mid-week run to balance out the lack of running since last Thursday.

Early week – 2 miles

Midweek – 5 miles

Weekend – 6 miles

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Plans? Whatever...

So… the plan for today was to take the gentlemen up to Husky Stadium to the start line for the Seattle-to-Portland Classic, grab a coffee, come back south with Schmoo, grab her bike, and go hit a nice easy paved trail so she could ride beside me while I got in my five-mile long run…

Yeah, talk about hubris.  Or underestimating the schedule.  Or both.  Yeesh.

Last night’s packing and anxiety and trying to force an early bedtime didn’t work too well.  And then we had thunderstorms roll through and linger until 1:00 am.  [Sidebar: so you know, that happens maybe every couple/three years around here – not AT ALL like, oh, the rest of the world.  I LOVED it.  My kids, notsomuch.]  Let’s just say the 3:30 am alarm came quite early.  And then – oh, yeah, this was the icing on the cake – the coffeemaker broke!  My sweet little four-cup drip, full of twenty ounces of water and a basketful of fresh-ground beans, stopped at one and a half cups.  Inexplicably.  [Okay, it’s fifteen or so years old, but still.]

By the time the girl and I returned about 8:00 am, I was completely discombobulated. I knew that run was NOT going to be happening today.  And at first, I was pretty unhappy about that.  I’m anxious enough with the amount of training I’m likely to miss in the next few weeks that missing today’s run seemed like a major addition to the risk log for this September half-marathon I’m doing.

But then… I began to see the opportunity.  See, this STP weekend means that Schmoo and I get to hang around home today, but tomorrow we hang out in Portland all day.  I was trying to figure out how we’d fill the day tomorrow, and really, there’s a lot to do with a chatty eight-year-old.  But… it’s easy enough to flip the days, right?  Have our mommy/daughter day today, and some of it tomorrow too, but include a run in tomorrow’s plans.

So, instead of the run, today included some of this:

And this:

And a bit of this:

Tomorrow, we’ll get in the run.  Or something close to it.  I can live with that.

Change of plans...

Today's regularly scheduled long run has been preempted by a deep desire for mother/daughter pedicures, assisted by lack of sleep and unexpected thunderstorms. 

Regular training will resume tomorrow, attitude permitting.  

We thank you for your patience. 


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

of sweat, sports drinks, and shiny things

Stats: 4.45 miles, 46:03

Factors: weather (low 70’s and climbing, humidity 60% (ugh)); fatigue (couple poor-sleep nights)

Overall this is a win.  Felt rather, um, challenged throughout the run, but part of that was the Factors (above) and part was my particular issue with going out too fast.  Still, this weather should be here for the next several weeks, which means we should acclimate fairly quickly.  Or not.  This IS the Pacific Northwest, there really is no telling, is there?
Mile 1 – 8:57.  WAAAAY too fast, even for a downhill.  My breathing felt off from the start – as though I couldn’t get a deep breath.  My body kept trying to get a big yawn out the entire run (still am now, several hours later).  I don’t think I’ve had that feeling before – at least not during a run, sometimes I get that “stuck yawn” thing, but this was a little bizarre.

Mile 2 – 10:27.  Stopped at the park’s water fountain, then settled down the pace a bit.  This segment is flat and straight.  Caught up to a gal pushing a stroller and paced off her for a bit – she was far better at keeping an even pace than I had been doing.  Easy conversation about acclimating to summer and different races for fall, then we split off, her baby waving and calling “bye”…

Mile 3 – 11:59.  Ugh.  The HILL mile.  This is the major challenge of this route, that the entire mile slopes upward – sometimes gradually, sometimes quite sharp.  I think as I learn the way the route feels, this will be less sucky, but for now, it’s sucky.

Mile 4 – 10:29 and Mile 4.45 –4:07 (9:20 pace).  So why does it always seem to click in toward the end?  Maybe because it was flat.  Maybe because “the finish” was in sight.  Maybe because it was the most familiar part of the route (this is where my normal 3-mile route goes).  Or, maybe… it was the ten minute stop at the running store for water and – ooh, shiny things… yeah, I got a little distracted by the compression socks.  Either way, it worked for a strong finish!

Three things about the run:
1.       I ran right up to the front door of the building, hit the STOP button on my watch, and did my happy dance – and then looked up to see my agency head honcho and deputy head honcho watching me, curiously.  I do love that I work at a place where that’s not necessarily a career-limiting moment.

2.       My watch is apparently set to “bring her home” mode.  As I got into the last mile, it started making weird beeps; and when I looked down, it said “APPROACHING TURN”.  Hunh…  well, I WAS planning to turn, so I did.  And then half a block later it did it AGAIN.  And again, I WAS supposed to turn.  And then as I approached the building it began beeping in a rather satisfied manner and said “ARRIVED AT BEGIN”.   Excuse me?  My runs are MY TIME.  I do NOT need to be told what to do and where to go, especially by an inanimate object.  Really, I have kids for that.

3.       A couple weeks ago I brought a rejected flavor of Gatorade into work – just in case – and stashed in the fridge.  Today that move paid off.  Yes, it was a scary shade of blue, but wow did it taste good after that run.

Training recap – June 30 – July 8

If this blog is about keeping myself accountable to the marathon goal, then reporting out on my training for the week seems to be a useful exercise…

Saturday, June 30th – 4.52 miles, 54:16
Talked the Math Teacher into trying a different route – heading off our nice flat lake basin loop up to a bit of a hill.  This was longer than we’d been doing, but we finished it!  Big accomplishment was the lack of walking – until we hit the last sharp uphill, we stayed at a jog.

Sunday, July 1st – 2.76 miles, 29:44
Needed to try the out-the-door route on a day my husband was home (busy road, no sidewalks, a couple fast curves with short sight distances).  The “big hill by the fire station” is much less intimidating than it looked from the car.  Also learned not to eat a sandwich five minutes before running.

Wednesday, July 4th – 5 miles, 50:45
Repeated Saturday’s loop with a few extra blocks. Wow, I keep surprising myself. 5 miles sub 10:10 pace? Unimaginable three months ago! And the last mile at 8:59 is icing on the cake.

Thursday, July 5th – 2.86 miles, 39:20
Fun trail run – a first for me!  We were down in a hollow, with lots of crazy ups and downs. Nice easy pace so we wouldn't trip over our feet (yeah, right!). So fun to run with my friend again!

Saturday, July 7th – 3.11 miles, 36:19
Quick, early-early run to get it in before scattering for the weekend.  What I love about this run is that we fought to make it happen, even though there was every excuse in the schedule to skip.

Planned for this week:
Monday – 2 miles (done)
Wednesday – 4 miles
Saturday – 5 miles (long run)

This week's challenges include a bunch of midday meetings, and the boys doing their Seattle-to-Portland bike ride this week.  The Saturday run will be the girl on her bike and I on foot - we'll see if five miles is a doable length.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

On why I do this running thing...

I run because…

…well, I’m not entirely sure.  I started running as part of triathlon training.  I hated running.  Or rather, I thought I hated running.  Swimming was fun (if exhausting), cycling was fun (if time consuming), but running – yuk!  Running was for gym class.  Running was for basic training.  Running hurt.  And I was a wimp, so if it hurt, it wasn’t going to happen.

(Note: I say “was a wimp.”  I shouldn’t put that in the past tense just yet.)

But, see, this triathlon training was something I fit in around my marriage, two very small children (toddler and newborn back then), a busy career, and the myriad other things that make up a life.  And sometimes it’s hard to find the time and childcare to go get in a swim.  And when you live in the Pacific Northwest where it rains ten months a year and the roads are slippery, it’s not easy to get those bike rides in either, especially if you’re a wimp. But running – that awful, painful, nasty running – was actually not that hard.  And I could do it on my lunch break.  I wasn’t going far – three miles was a long run – so my incredible slowness could be managed and I’d still make the 1:30 meetings looking fresh as a daisy.  The rain would still fall, but with short hair and a hat all I needed was a towel to mop off.  Oh, and baby wipes, which I had in abundance.  So, subversively, running became my de facto mode of exercise.

And then, even more subversively, I found that among all those things and people that make up my life, running was the one thing I did that was solely mine.  I did it for myself.   And it was the only thing I did for myself.  And while I still didn’t like the painful bits, I did like the peace and quiet.  For that glorious half hour or so, I could just be in my own head and not have to pay attention to anything else.  I could let my mind go blank.  I could count breaths as a mantra.  I could rehash that awful conversation and let loose all the snarky comebacks and witty rejoinders I really ought to have said in the moment (yeah, right).  I could sing.  I could talk to myself (that, I think, is my favorite one).  I could name my fears, call them out, and banish them from my head.  And pretty quickly, the longing for that mental space overcame any wimpy reticence that remained.

That all was several years ago.  And I have stopped and restarted many times since – I seem to have this habit of not running from, say, October to March (bad habit, must break).  But each time I come back to running, it finds its way back into my life as though it never left.  And each time I’m reminded that while I may not be able to articulate exactly why I run, that’s not what matters – what matters is that I do run.

The “because” must be the journey.  I look forward to seeking it out.