Wednesday, February 27, 2013

That which I have been missing?

So after a rough-ish start, this week's moving along pretty well.  Tuesday night brought 4.7 miles after work, and tonight I joined the Wednesday night ladies run for a shy five-mile loop.  (Between those two, I'm crossing off Run #1 and Run #2, by the by.) I've realized that while my training plans throw in speed work and hills and tempo runs and all that, my first priority is to build my running base so I'm ready to take on marathon training come June. What that means in reality is that I'm willing to blow off the instructions that say "1 mile warm-up, 2 miles tempo, 1 mile cool-down" and just go run four miles at whatever pace feels good.

How have I not tried running with this group before?  They are so much fun!  I screeched into the lot about three minutes late, and saw the group gaggled by the bandstand listening to someone talk about race entries and giveaways and something else... to be honest, I was nervous, and my shy introvert went and asserted itself.  I knew from their Facebook page that this group split into a 3-mile batch and a 5-mile batch, and I definitely wanted the 5-miler... but I couldn't tell if they'd organized or not or what!  So after glancing around a bit, I softly asked the lady next to me if they'd split up yet.  She assured me they hadn't, and she figured out pretty quickly that I was new and graciously took me under her wing. 

The group leader got us to stand for a picture, then reminded folks that the run tonight was to be an easy paced one, since many in the group have a killer half-marathon this weekend.  And then, we were off. I forced myself to chat (shy! ack!) until it wasn't forced; the miles moved quickly, even at an easy pace.  This run felt as easy as a lunchtime walk, but the pace was sub-10:00 miles the whole way.  By the time we returned, I realized that I recognized several faces from around town... or perhaps we've passed each other on runs.  Either way it was all grins and hugs and then back into cars to head home.

So many of my runs are solo.  A few are run with one, maybe two others.  This was a different experience - and a new challenge.  Maybe this has been a missing link?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Not every run...

Not every run can be awesome.  Not every run will inspire you to keep going.  Not every run will feel light and springy and effortless. 

But that's okay.  Because not every run will have you gasping 100 yards into it, struggling to put one foot in front of the other, heaving your weighted carcass across the sidewalk step by excruciating step.  Not every run will end in a lightheaded jumble two miles from your starting point, leaving you wondering what on earth you forgot to do (like, maybe, eat?).

These things balance out.  Most runs are nice, middle of the road, doable runs.  It's the work we put into it to get those lovely advances in our speed, strength, and svelte-ness.  Some are absolutely fantastic - they leave you singing praises to the Creator for this beautiful planet and these wonderful bodies that let us enjoy it all.  And some... some we wish to never speak of again.

Not every run can be fantastic.  And not every run will be miserable. 

* * * * * * *

Not that today's run was anything so absolutely terrible as all that.  It was just a very tired run, with a messed up schedule.  I ate a poor breakfast, but it was timed for a noon run.  It wasn't until 11:45 am that I remembered I was scheduled to be on a conference call for the noon hour.  I literally had my bag in hand, headed for the ladies' room, when the reminder popped on the screen.  (AAAUGH!!!)  So instead I grabbed my sandwich and refilled my water.  That turned out to be my big mistake - when I did finally get out at 1:30 pm, that sandwich was stuck in my gut.  I also underestimated how tired I was from the kids' swim meet this weekend - a weekend of super-early wakeups, managing anxious, sometimes-cranky, sometimes-elated youngsters (our own and many many others - the swim community is one big family, after all) and randomly getting drafted for various "volunteer" duties I thought I'd avoided this weekend (which ended up being fun, and not too egregious, it was just not planned for).

Hmm... "Not planned for."  That sums up a large part of what derails me.  I plan things.  Carefully.  I even plan for when I'm going to take things easy, be spontaneous, decide on the fly.  Here's a week where I'm just going to go with the flow and see how it goes.  Back to normal schedule next week.  I think I'm just really understanding as I type how very goofy that looks. Heh heh...

* * * * * * *

Speaking of plans... I have no idea what or when I'm running this week.  This is the first "post-swim season" week when the schedule is all jumbled, the usual patterns are ignored, and everything is topsy-turvy.  The boy won't be going to evening practices, so I don't have my built-in run window - which means, I will probably have to find a different way to plan those in.  Probably the same thing, just run right after work on the way home.  Soon he will have baseball practice, which ought to afford me the opportunity to get a run in.  But this week will be an odd mix of creating that spontaneous space AND still trying to make mileage goals.  I guess we'll see how it works...

Run #1: 4 miles, mid two at tempo pace
Run #2: 5 miles, negative split
Run #3: 3 miles easy
Run #4: Long run, 8-10 miles

We won't count today's run unless we have to (it was 2.5 miles @ 10 min pace).  I want a mulligan.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

When did this happen???

So, this week - two mid-week runs.

Two six mile midweek runs. 

When on earth did I start being the runner who could do mid-week six milers?  When did that become not-a-long run?

I'm stoked.  I realized on my run that once I gain some confidence in what I'm doing, I start having fun doing it.  It's that way at work, at home, with my kids, in the community... and now with running.

The other midrun musing I had - I seriously look like Mrs Whatsit when I run.  Remember the character from Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time who wears the crazy, mismatched patterns and socks and layers?  Yeah, that's me.  Every single run.  Tonight it was red long-sleeve shirt with neon vest, white hat, crazy-pattern orange/blue bandanna on my ears, white-and-purple skirt, over black tights, and pink striped socks.  Add a headlamp, a blinkie on my back pocket, and a pair of knuckle lights and I must have been visible from at least 400 yards.  (Either that or they should not have been driving.)  I tried to get a picture of it after the run, but my arms are apparently too short to do that very well and there were no mirrors around...

* * * * *

On another note, be sure to check the "Team Weebee" page (up top, to the right) and leave a comment if you are thinking of joining our team for You Go Girl! in September.  ALL are welcome - we're basically a team-for-the-sake-of-the-discount. :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


So I don't know what I did yesterday, but whatever it was, it was the right thing to do, apparently.  (Cue happy dance here.)  Five-point-eight beautiful Tuesday night miles, no bonking issues (must remember the veggie-and-cheese sub for lunch), no overexhaustion, no nothing to take away from the loveliness of an evening run. Reasonable expectations, better pacing than I've had in several runs, and I didn't beat myself up for the occasional short walk break.  Refreshing, rejuvenating, redemption.

Just before finishing I stopped dead in my tracks and looked up at a beautiful half-moon sky, constellations shining brightly through the openings in the light skittering clouds - Orion, the dippers, the Sisters.  Stars can be a rare sight in the Pacific Northwest - when it's dark at a reasonable hour, we're socked in with clouds, and when the weather is clear, it's light until well past bedtime; I take my star sightings quite dearly.

Anyway, on pace to do okay this week, even with the schedule weirdness.  Today's rest was well-enjoyed; I have been walking errands on lunch hours, and today was an enjoyable trip downtown for several stops.  The kids are both writing research reports, so every day has brought another trip to the library to pick up books off the hold shelf.  Tomorrow should be another good six-ish miles (probably repeating Tuesday's route or some close variation), then hopefully a few easy miles on Friday if it's not too crazy (deadline day at work, might not make it - and if so, then that's that).  Either way, it's unheard of for me to be at ten miles on Tuesday evening, so I'm happy with whatever I get.

* * * * *

My son just asked me if I knew how the marathon got its name.  (Um. Yes, child, I do.)  He's now charged with finding me the historical evidence for the declared-victory-and-died legend - if/when he does, I'll be sure to post it.  (really?  it's not an unverifiable legend?  I'm skeptical but open-minded...)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Technical difficulties

Some days you just can't get your act together. This morning was one of those days.

The day off work presented the opportunity for a morning run, so I'd planned 6 to 8 miles. This being my "first" week of training for CCM half, and with a two-day swim meet this weekend upcoming, I've got a plan that pushes my long and tempo runs to midweek, along with other screwy stuff that may not make sense. But I get ahead of myself.

Anyway, six to eight miles this morning.  Should have thought of that last night when I allowed "just one more" episode of TV until nearly 11:00 pm. Should have thoughtful that when I sat for nearly twelve hours on a hardwood floor,  cross legged, sorting receipts and other sundry tax paperwork. Should have thought of that when my food intake yesterday  basically consisted of a large bag of pretzels and black coffee. So, no, I did not set myself up for success this morning.

Regardless, it was wonderful to wake up without the alarm clock, somewhere around 630, and recognize that it was already light outside (yea!) and I was looking forward to a run. Made my toast and juice, got dressed, told my hubby I'd be home by ten, and headed to the lake.

First: it was COLD out. Fully ten to fifteen degrees colder than what I've been running in the past few weeks. I’ve been trying to dial in exactly what to wear for any given temperature run, and I thought I'd done okay with my jacket over a short-sleeved shirt.  It was at first. But a mile in I realized I was going to be too hot in that getup.  So, stopped at the car on that loop, which was preordained by the fact that I'd left my gels at the car, instead of putting them in my pocket. Dropped the jacket, and had a gel since my body was not feeling like I had any energy (coffee and pretzels, anyone?). Started back out, and got maybe 200 yards before I recognized that I still needed SOMETHING on my arms or I would be frostbit by mile 4. Back to the car for arm sleeves. Get a block away and go to press the button on my Garmin - it's not there! Yep, it back on the hood of the car where I left it.  Nice, real nice.

So. All that back and forth, and I'm two miles into this run. I should be warmed up and things should be working. Except they're not. My back and hips just feel weird, not firing like they usually do and splaying everywhere. My form is crappy. I'm trying to keep an easy consistent pace, yet I'm not succeeding on either measure. I am now just trying to make it to the water fountain at the next mile marker. And I'm indulging a moment of despair. Really? Why is this run failing today? If today fails how am I going to make it through the plan for the week? How am I going to make it through the next thirteen weeks? I'm an idiot, thinking I could pull off marathon training.

Yeah. Love my mind on a despair bender.

The good thing is, I've been there enough times that I recognize them. I also know and trust that they're false in every way. Somewhere that rational brain says, shut up. You're lying to yourself.  Stop talking. And I do.

When I got to the water fountain I stopped for a gulp and considered my options. I've got an aggressive schedule planned for the next two weeks, both running and the rest of life. I'm coming back from two weeks off for illness. Pushing now, if I'm not prepared, has consequences. So I made the choice to call it good.  I headed back toward the car, finishing with four miles - miles I'm happy to have banked for the week.

* * * * * * *

Planned for this week:

Monday – 4 miles (adjusted from the 6-8 intended)
Tuesday - 5-6 miles
Wednesday - off, most likely
Thursday - 5-7 miles
Friday - 3 miles
Saturday - off
Sunday - if I can get it, 3-4 miles.  (depends on swim meet progress, but my bag will be in the car. And I hear there's a lovely trail next to the aquatic center.)

The overall plan is also pretty ambitious - I'm preparing for the Capital City half marathon in May, after which there are exactly twenty weeks to the Portland Marathon. When I really get my head on straight, my only goal for this training cycle leading to Capital City is to get my weekly mileage consistent and up to the level I need to enter the marathon training cycle. I'm estimating that to be about 25-30 miles per week, consistently, by May. I'm using the plans from Train Like A Mother, a bit more loosely right now than I'd like, but they're providing the structure and I'm riffing off them.  Last year was the first time I'd used a training plan to prepare for a run, so this is all new territory for me. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Breaking habits

Some perspective here… I started running after my daughter was born (she who turned nine last week).  I would complete some short fun run in late summer or early fall, keep running a little as the rains came, and then stop by Halloween, only to pick it up again in about March, when the work schedule eased from insane to merely crazy and a “lunch hour” actually included sufficient time to change, jog two miles, and change back (thank you, baby wipes).  All that to say, I’ve got a nearly-decade-long habit of not running through the holidays and cold months – and that, dear friends, is the habit I’m trying to break.

So with that said, I will admit that I’m pretty proud of this:

Yes, there’s a couple goose-eggs.  Yes, those “4” weeks are likely generous.  But this is huge progress in consistency for me. 

*  *  *

However, it’s not sufficient progress to jump right into a training plan for Capital City half marathon.  So the past two weeks I’ve been focusing on running enough days per week (at least four) and getting a long run (it’s all relative).  Two weeks ago, I got close – but no long run (swim meet weekends, I tell ya). 

This week it came together.  Woohoo!


I’ll recap last week’s training a bit later – I want to think about my plan for this week first – but today’s run was pretty close to glorious.  I have been enjoying its high all day.