Monday, December 8, 2014

Half training...week 8

Well, this will be an easy post to write, at least to record what I ran. I ran one five-miler. That's it. And we all know there's only one reason why I'd only run one run during the very middle of my training cycle. I'm injured.


I'm not exactly sure when it happened, as I have been running a lot. But I could take a good guess, especially considering my symptoms. On Monday I hit the treadmill for my usual beginning of the week run, and right away I noticed that both my Achilles tendons felt pretty tight. In hindsight I should have stopped then. But sometimes when you start running, a lot of things feel tight and it takes a minute or two to loosen up. I wasn't in any pain per se, but I wasn't comfortable either. When I got home I was sitting at the table when I bumped my foot, the part right below that bone on the outside your ankle, on my chair leg. That's when I realized something was wrong. When I pressed on that same area it was very painful. Great, just great.

The next morning it was still pretty sore, and I decided to do what anyone would do: I googled my symptoms. The pain and soreness was pretty exclusive to that one area, and while walking around didn't hurt, running did. What I found was this:

Basically, I over trained and one of the tendons in my foot/ankle is seriously pissed off about it. Also, this may be a contributing factor, but last week when I ran with my dad the sidewalk was tilted and it was super weird to run on. Running on a cambered surface was listed as one of the causes. Another cause, running in improper footwear. While I don't run in improper footwear, I was running in my backup shoes, which I hate! So it could have been any number of things.

For now I'm resting, icing and doing all the things I'm supposed to do, and definitely not running.  Heck, I'm not even planning a run. Mostly because I'm scared that I'll feel fine, take three steps and get hit again by pain. From what I've read, tendonitis can be a slow recovery since tendons take a long time to heal. *big sigh*

Right now I've already taken almost a week off, and I know I'm looking at at least one more. And yeah, my half marathon is in five weeks so to say I'm majorly freaking out about it is an understatement. At this point, even if I'm not fully recovered until race week, I may still go ahead and run it. I was running up to eleven miles at time before my injury so I know I can. If I'm still feeling pain by race week, I'll definitely skip it because I can't risk a more serious injury.

The good news is, walking and acting normal doesn't cause me any pain or discomfort, as long as I'm not standing too long. So life goes on as normal, for the most part. There are a few minor issues though, we're going to see the Nutcracker this weekend and I just realized heels are definitely out for me! Ugh.

Anyway, hopefully I'll be back at it soon. In the meantime, I'm just hoping to stay sane!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Half training...weeks 6 and 7

I'm halfway there! The first seven weeks of training have flown by for me. I've definitely learned a lot so far and felling more ready than ever to take on the half marathon in January.

Week six seems like a long time ago already, but I try to remember what I did and when. (Thank goodness for my running app that logs these things for me.)

Week 6
Mon:  5 miles - treadmill
Tues: Crosstrain - 45 mins
Wed: 6  miles - treadmill
Thurs: 5 miles - treadmill, Cross train - arms and abs
Friday: Cross train - 60 mins
Sat: 11 miles - road
Sun: Rest
Week 6 total: 27 miles

Even if I don't really remember most of the details, week 6 was great for one reason only: eleven miles!! Every week I get closer to thirteen the more excited I get. For that particular long run I ran nine on the road and two on the track. Don't worry, my half marathon course route is pretty flat, so I'm not hurting myself any by making those last few miles a bit easier on myself.

Also, that Saturday night after my big eleven miler I went ahead and signed up for my race!

Week 7
Mon: 7 miles - road
Tues: 8 miles - road
Wed: Rest
Thurs: Rest
Fri: 8 miles - road
Sat: Rest
Sun: Rest
Total Week 7: 23 miles

We had to stop for a selfie.
Obviously week seven was a bit off for me, since it was the week of Thanksgiving and we were traveling. I tried to get in as many miles as I could before we left on Wednesday. While we were in Florida I just did one long run with my dad. So I have my work cut out for me this week. Back to my usual schedule.

Total miles for November: 110!

You've got to love Nike Plus and their trophies!

And guess what else happened this past week... Brooks released the Pure Connect 4s! I'm currently running in a pair of Pure Connect 2s with far too many miles on 700 miles. I'm way overdue for a new pair but I've been waiting on some Christmas money to pay for them. Last week I finally got around to trying on the Connect 3s and was a little unimpressed. Here's hoping the 4s are better. I'm definitely holding out for a pair of these now. (I haven't seen them in stores yet, but I will be looking!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Half training...week 5

So I've decided to do these posts weekly just so I can have them for reference later...

Week five went great! Since I knew I was going to attempt a 10 miler on Saturday, I took my weekly runs down just a little and that worked out great!

Mon: 5 miles - treadmill
Tues: Cross train - 1 hour
Wed: 5 miles - road
Thurs: 5 miles - treadmill, 45 mins cross training  (arms and abs only)
Fri: Rest
Sat: 10 miles - road
Sun: Cross training 45 mins (arms and abs only)
Week 5 total miles - 25

Again, no mid-week track workout since the track remains unavailable. Football season should be ending soon, so I should be able to hit the track once during the week again. This past Wednesday I ending up on the road where I usually run my Saturday runs. That's all well and good, but it's fairly hilly.

Treadmill runs are kind of "meh" to me right now, but I just don't have the time to get out on the road four days a week, so it is what it is. One upside to running on the treadmill (besides being indoors!) is that the gym has WiFi. I like to take advantage and either listen to Pandora or stream a show on my Kindle. I LOVE Pandora, and its work-out stations are usually right-on, but this past week it kind of blew my mind by playing, "Baby Got Back." Yeah, no... Unfortunately I was already out of skips and running too fast to switch stations, so I just stuck it out!

Giving Sir Mix-A-Lot the side eye. Yes, that's a gym selfie. Something about those mirrors makes it hard to resist!!
I won't say that I was dreading that ten mile run on Saturday, but I was definitely a little leery of it. I've run ten miles before, this past March, but it was on the treadmill. We've been having a cold snap, like most of the country, and when I woke up and got ready to go out Saturday morning, it was a toasty 33 degrees! Instead of staying inside in the warmth and dreading it, I got out the door as soon as finished my breakfast. (My go-to breakfast before a long run is an egg, whole wheat toast or an English muffin, and coffee!) I had dressed warmly, long running tights, a tank, arm-warmers, and another long-sleeved shirt on top of that. When I got outside and realized how sunny it was already, I ditched my headband to keep my ears warm and my gloves. After a half mile, I pulled off my arm warmers and tucked them in my waistband. It's so hard to get started when it's cold, but you warm up so fast!

Anyway, since this was first double-digit run, I brought along a GU to try out. (It was this kind, in case you're wondering.) I started to feel a little tired at mile five, so I took it out then and just ate a little bit at a time. Upside, it wasn't nearly as gross as I thought, and I felt like it gave me some extra energy. I was nervous about it not sitting well with my stomach, so I ate it very slowly. It was probably mile seven by the time I finished it. My only complaint about the GU as opposed to the Sport Beans I'd already tried, is that it's kind of messy! When I finished I kind of rolled up the wrapper and tried to stuff it back in my arm pocket and ended up getting sticky junk all over it. I had to wash everything that was in there when I got home.

As I've said may times, it's pretty hilly here, so to save my legs I only ran eight miles on the road and did the last two on the track. I stopped at the car for about a minute to get some water and take off my long-sleeved shirt. Boy did that track feel flat and smooth after running on hills! (Gradual hills, but still hills!)


So, here are my observations five weeks in to half training. It's going great! I may totally bonk at some point, but so far so good. Also, I'm getting faster. I don't really know how that's possible but I'm not complaining. I plan on doing more or less the same thing this week before bumping up my mileage again next week. I have a feeling I might be hitting the treadmill a lot this week since it's cold again. Also, next week we're going out of town for Thanksgiving so it will be interesting to see how that factors into my training.

Yeah, I said I was going to take this one slow. I'm not so good at that! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Half training...week 4

Week four out of fourteen already? That's crazy! I have a feeling as the holidays and the end of the year grow closer, these next ten weeks are going to fly by. This past week of training went great, if I do say so myself. Take a look... and then I'll tell what I learned this week.

Mon: 6 miles - treadmill, 45 minutes cross training
Tues: 60 minutes cross training
Wed: 6 miles - road
Thurs: 5 miles - treadmill, 45 minutes cross training
Fri: Rest
Sat: 9 miles -road
Sun: Rest
Total miles week 4 - 26 miles

Phew, that was a tiring week! A few observations, I only double up on running and cross training when I know I'm not going to be able to get it in on a later date. For example, I knew I'd be busy all day Friday, so I tried to squeeze in some extra cross training on Monday and Tuesday. I'm no expert on the subject, but I think strength training makes me a much better runner. So I try and stay consistent with it.

I had to switch out my track run for a road run on Wednesday because when I got to the track at the school, the football team was practicing so the track was unavailable. In the old days, I probably would have changed my mind and just gone home or hit the treadmill. Instead I drove to my usual Saturday spot, parked, and ran my six miles on the road.

I took this picture trying to show how fall-like it has finally gotten in Georgia, only to realize later that it's still quite green!
My Saturday run was good, but with a lesson learned. The weather was great and I had it all planned out perfectly. Park, run a four mile out-and-back one direction, come back to the car for water and fuel, then another five mile out-and-back in the opposite direction. My only problem was that I went out way too fast, so by my last mile my legs were dead. I mean dead, dead. If this run had been any longer I would have had to cut it short. So this coming Saturday when I run my ten miler, I need to remember to slow down a bit more!

A few more observations: I'm thinking about cutting back on my midweek miles and my weekend runs grow longer. My legs were so tired all weekend and that's not a good feeling. It might have something to do with the fact that it's just so hilly here. It's almost impossible to find a long running route with no hills here in Georgia! Also, I really need to figure out this whole fuel situation. On Saturday I ate a few sport beans and that seemed to go well, though I could have used more during that last mile. I still have a few GUs to try, but I'm nervous that the texture will gross me out.

Okay, I think that's about it!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Half training...Weeks 1-3

Now that I've officially decided to run a half marathon in January, it's time to talk training! Last Spring I did a a 10K training program on my Nike Plus app, and I had originally intended to start their half training program as well. However, when I looked up what the actual program entailed, I knew I was going to have a hard time fitting it to my schedule. For one, the first week had all weekday runs, Monday through Friday. Now, I can usually get in a few mid-week runs, but not five. And I don't really like running that many days back to back. I googled a few other training plans, got some suggestions from friends, but in the end I decided to just put together a training schedule that fits my schedule. Basically I just altered my usual running schedule by adding a few miles to each of my weekly runs. Simple enough. Most training plans usually last about twelve weeks, but since I finished my last 10K exactly fourteen weeks out, mine is fourteen weeks long.

Here's what my first three weeks of training looked like:

Week 1
Mon. Rest day (I had just raced a 10K so I took some time off afterward.)
Tues. Rest day (I'm off to a good start!)
Wed. 5 miles - track
Thurs. 4 miles - treadmill
Fri. Cross train
Sat. 8 miles - road
Sun. REST!
Total for week 1 - 17 miles

That eight miler was the longest distance I've ever run outdoors (not on the treadmill). That run was a great morale booster for me and made me feel confident about my decision. Also, based on my pace for that run, I adjusted my goals to not just run a half marathon, but to finish sub-two hours. That means from now on I'll be aiming for the magic-sub-two hour pace for all my training runs: 9:09 and under. AHHH!

I ran an out-and-back for my eight miler, so I stopped at the four mile mark to take a picture to commemorate how far I'd run!

Week 2:
Mon. 5 miles - treadmill
Tues. Cross train
Wed. 4 miles - treadmill
Thurs. 5 miles - treadmill
Fri. Cross train
Sat. 7 miles - road
Sun. Rest
Total week 2 miles - 21 miles

So yeah, I run a lot on the treadmill. It's just more convenient to me on weekdays. Basically, as soon as Matthew gets home from work anywhere between four and five, I hustle down to our apartment gym and run. I have to shower and cook dinner as soon as walk in the door, but it's worth it. I have to mention that previously I'd been running on a treadmill at the gym that may or may not be older than I am. In fact, when I begin my training I was pretty certain that I would be killing that treadmill very soon with my sudden increase in mileage. Now, I'm not positive that I'm the only one who uses this treadmill, but I've never seen another soul on it. Well, lo and behold, when I visited the gym for the first time since I began my training I found a little surprise waiting for me...

Yup, that's a brand-new treadmill. I've enjoyed putting some miles on her over the past few weeks. I'm in love! And just to keep it honest, my long outdoor run on that Saturday sucked! It was cold, about 40 degrees, and I hated every mile. It happens!

Week 3 :
Mon. - 5 miles - treadmill
Tues. - Cross train
Wed. - 6 miles - track
Thurs. - 5 miles - treadmill
Fri. - Cross train
Sat. 9 miles - treadmill
Sun. Rest
Week 3 total: 25

Monthly total for October: 81 miles

Week three was not a bad week; at least my mileage was good. My Saturday long run was a bit of a bummer again. It was colder than cold and insanely windy so I wussed out and ran on the treadmill. The good news is, I've also started running on the track once mid-week. I really like track runs, so I always look forward to just cruising for a few miles. I run out on a sidewalk off a fairly busy road on Saturdays and it's quite hilly as well. Which is why I love the track, it's flat!!

Hopefully this weekend's long run will go better for me. I need to suck it up and get used to the weather. Since my race is on January 17th, it's guaranteed to be a cold one!

This is me running the Museum of Aviation 5K this past January, the same race I'll be running the half distance at next year. It was 22 degrees that day!

So, to sum up: Training is going well and I'm enjoying the new challenge of running more miles. With my current schedule I'll be on track to run 100 miles in November, which is completely crazy. Alas, I'll be training all through the holidays which should be interesting. We're going out of town the week of Thanksgiving so it will be a challenge to log miles that week, even though I'm already planning on dragging my dad along for one of my long runs! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Blue Mountain Beach 10K and a funny coincidence...

Okay folks, it's that time again. I raced, so I'm blogging. Because I'm consistent annoying like that! As you might know, this would be my third 10K. My first was this past March, the Cherry Blossom Road Race, and being my first, I set my PR at 52:30. I guess I didn't realize at the time what a great time that was for my first 10K, because my next was awful. The infamous Labor Day Road Race, where I ran a slow 56:49. (See below.)

So for this 10K I was in it for a little redemption! It didn't help my summer races at all that I was dealing with some annoying knee pain. Now I'm back at 100% and running as fast as I was before the summer!

Last year we went to PCB for Columbus Day weekend for several reasons. One: the Pirate Festival for the kids. Two: great race weekend. Three: it's actually still warm enough to swim in the gulf in October. Well, last year it was a three-day weekend for Matthew. Last year I ran the Run for the Treasure 5K with my dad (who ran the 10K) so this year we mixed it up and ran the Blue Mountain Beach 10K. They also host a half-marathon simultaneously and originally it was my plan to train for that. This was before I realized just how hard it is running in the South in summer, and before I screwed up my knee. Around June I realized that half just wouldn't be in the cards for me in October. Instead I've been working on 10K training and getting my knee back to normal.

Did I mention as soon as my dad registered us both for the race we found out Matthew did not get Columbus Day off? Yeah, so that meant driving down Friday after he got off work, and then driving home Sunday after the race. It was a bit of a whirlwind, but we survived.

The race was great, as soon as we arrived and started getting warmed up I was feeling it. And by "it" I mean I knew it was going to be a great run. Sometimes at races I feel nauseous and scared, but other times I just feel pumped to start running. This was one of those races. We lined up with all the halfers and it was time to run! My dad shot ahead of me like he always does. I always try to stay within eyesight of him, but this race turned quite a few times right away so I quickly lost sight of him, even though I wasn't far behind. It was a little hot and humid, about 70 degrees and 90 percent humidity, but that's almost cool compared to what I've been running in. My first mile was fantastic (8:23) and my second was even better (8:12), by the 5K turnaround I was averaging 8:18, so I knew I had a PR coming.

Then something weird happened, I realized the course was going to be short and that my Nike app wouldn't log it as a PR for me. (I know, I know, super OCD.) So as I'm sprinting for the finish, about to cross right around 51 minutes I decide to run through to get that extra .10 miles. The funny thing was, my dad saw me and I called out to him, "It's short!" thinking he would understand why I was running through. Did I mention the people running the half were running through to run another out and back in that direction? Yeah, they were and when I finally hit 6.22 on GPS and peeled off I realized that I could have easily kept running. Now, I wouldn't have been able to maintain my 10K pace (the woman running the half who was in front of me went on to win the the half for the women!), but I think I had a few more miles left in me. That's never happened before. Usually after a race I'm wiped and ready to quit, but I wasn't this time. Which made me realize something very obvious: it's time to run a half-marathon!!

Right after the race. They had finisher's medals for the 10K!

Race stats:
Official time: 51:36 (8:19)
Age group: 1st out of 11 
Overall: 13th out of 86 (I was also the fourth female finisher!)

Dad won his age group too, so we brought home FOUR medals.

So, long story short, I'm running a half on January 17th, 2015!

(And I just realized I forgot to say what "funny coincidence" I was talking about in the title. Just this little blog post I wrote almost exactly a year ago. I had only run two 5Ks at that time. Now I've run 12 and 3 10Ks.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Summer Races

Despite the fact that I fully intended to take most of the summer off from running, I ended up running three races this summer.

The first race I ran was part of the Chick Fil A Connect Series. My dad ran the Macon race on Memorial Day while they were here visiting us. I didn't run because Matthew and I had tickets to the Braves game that day. A couple days before the race, one of my friends (and my hairstylist) convinced me to run the Chick Fil A 5K. I really wanted to do the 10K, but wasn't trained and ready for one. So 5K it was! Mostly I agreed to go ahead and run this race because it was a similar route to my 5K PR race. I knew it would be relatively flat and simple. The weather that morning was dreary and about 70 degrees, but high humidity! Not too bad for early June.

iphonesummer 051
I only run with other fast runners. We both won our age groups that morning!
iphonesummer 049
This is me avoiding getting my picture taken with the giant cows.

I'd run a Chick Fil A race again in a heartbeat. They give you tons of good coupons and there's always fun stuff for the whole family after the race!

Race Stats:
Official time: 25:02 (8:05 avg - technically a PR for a full 5K since my last PR was on a short course.)
Age group: 1st out of 32
Overall: 36th out of 275

Again, with no real plans to race anymore during the summer, I got talked into yet another race while I was down in Florida visiting my parents. My dad signed us both up for a 6K trail run. I've never done a trail run, but figured it couldn't be that much harder than a regular race on concrete. While that turned out to be true, what we didn't consider is what the temperature would be like in late June in Florida! That  morning turned out to be a hot, sticky 80 degrees with yet even more ridiculous humidity. Even before the race started, I wasn't feeling good about my chances.

That's me in the yellow shorts with the grey shirt. The girl next to me won the race, she was a beast! And my dad is next to her.
Well, I was right to be concerned because about halfway in I knew this wasn't going to be a fun race. And at about the three mile mark (I think a 6K comes out to about 3.6 miles) I started feeling super awful and dehydrated. There was only one water station, and that just wasn't enough that day. So I did something I've never done in a race before: I walked. Probably for only about thirty seconds, but it was enough to make me feel discouraged. When I finally got moving again I managed to convince myself that I would cross the finish line, even if I had to crawl to get there! Also, it was a loop back in the trails so I wasn't even sure how I would get back to the start/finish if I didn't go ahead and run. Finally I reached the finish line, where I guzzled about a gallon of water and tried not to pass out. Dehydration is no joke!

iphonesummer 115
We both managed to pull off age group wins, despite the heat.
After this race I swore I wouldn't race again in high temps, so I didn't do a single race in July-August.

Race stats:
Official time: 32:47 (8:48 avg)
Age group: 1st out of 6
Overall: 19th out of 76

And that brings us up to my most recent race, the Macon Labor Day Road Race. I had just started racing this time last year, so I missed out on my chance to run this race. I had no idea it was such a huge production here in Macon. This time I was the one doing the convincing and got both my dad, and my running buddy Elizabeth to sign up for the 10K. Let me start by saying this race was a big challenge for me. Not only was I coming off two months of not racing, I also have been struggling with some chronic knee pain for the past eight weeks. Though it's finally under control I was nervous about how healthy I would be on race day. For this race I trained on the track at Matthew's school, running 25 laps every Saturday hoping to acclimate myself to the Georgia heat and humidity.

For this race, you not only have a chance to win in your age group, but you can also compete in a team event. Dad and I signed up for the "parent - child" category. Our team name: Positive Splits!

Fortuatnely by race day  my knee was finally feeling 100% and just in time, too. We drove out to the course route, which was a point to point across Macon, and took note of the several large hills throughout the course. Since I knew heat was going to be a huge factor, I drank way more water than usual, determined not to be fighting dehydration like I did on my last race. This race was already a late start, at 8:30, and we were delayed about another ten minutes after that for some reason. By that time it was already at least 75 degrees, and 100% humidity! I started off slow, because I knew I was going to have to conserve energy to make it through six miles in the heat. I was glad I made a mental note to myself where the big hills were, and the water stations. So I was prepared! I walked/jogged through the water stations to make sure I was drinking enough, which helped a lot. At mile four I hit the last big hill, about a seventy-foot climb and took it nice and slow. After that I knew I was basically home free so I picked up the pace as much as possible and hurried to the finish. I'm so proud of myself for running smart and still managing to finish strong after six brutal miles! My whole family was waiting at the finish line, so I high-fived the kids on my way in.

That's me in the pink shirt on the far left. Yes, I was running, I know I look like I was walking!

Crossing this finish line felt great! I knew it wasn't my best time, but some races are just about surviving! This was definitely one of them. I found out later from Matthew that a couple people collapsed at the finish line.
That is a look of relief if I ever saw one! (and yes, I'm floating again.)
It was so flippin' hot that at the end of the course firefighters had come and opened up a fire hydrant for us to run through, which I did. So I'm soaking wet in my finish photos. At at the finish line they were literally hosing people down. (See photo below.)

We all made it!
Since it wasn't my best time, I didn't win anything and we came up with nothing in the team categories, too. The teams who did place ran ridiculously fast times, so there was nothing we could have done differently. This just wasn't a PR race. Too hilly and way too hot! But it's not always about the bling. Sometimes it's about accomplishing something you never thought you could before. I still had a pretty good time and to come out of it smiling this time is a huge deal to me.

Race stats:
Official time: 56:46 (9:09 avg)
Age group: 6th out of 18
Overall: 212th out of 506

So I'm still chasing that 10K PR. Blue Mountain Beach 10K I'm coming for you!