Saturday, September 29, 2012

An 18 mile warm-up for a 5K....

I thought about doing a before and after post. Before being last night, after being this afternoon. But I couldn't do it. I was nervous about today's run. Too nervous for a before post. Here's what it would have resembled.

I have a 21 mile run tomorrow. I've been thinking about it all week. I haven't had a successful long run for this marathon yet and tomorrow is the longest long run before the marathon. Gag this run down and then it's taper crazies... please let this run go well, or ok... just let it be ok.

The plan was to start at 6am, get in 18 miles and the stumble through a local 5K. This 5K has special meaning to me. It was the first 5K I ever ran back in 2007. And besides, what a great way to end a 21 mile run? A finish line!

Thankfully a dear friend joined me for the first 6 miles. She kept me at a great pace and we ran til just about sunrise. I felt good continuing on to the local rail trail and I hit it right after sunrise. It was then that I notice Fall had come! What? The leaves are changing color and the air was cool. Things were going well. All in all I'd say about 15 of the first 18 went well. Those other three sucked bad. But I had a deer pop his head out of some trees, see me and then skittered away. It was kind of like a cartoon.

I got back to the stadium to meet my friends for the 5k. That's right, I still had a 5k to run. Problem number one was that we stopped moving for awhile and then had to move again. Oh my OW! We started the race moaning and groaning like zombies. Great.... The best thing about this 5K is that they have orange slices at mile 2. Orange slices are silly for a 5k, but for your 20th mile... they are filled with magical rainbows and unicorns!
Finished the run, ate delicious food with my friends, drank a gallon of coffee, ice bath, and a mostly successful long run! Yeah! I'm breathing a sigh of relief. I needed that decent run to believe I could even get through this race. Done. Now on to the taper crazies... here we go!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Another Saturday... another long run

What is with me and these long runs? I go in with the best intentions but it just seems like at some point they all fall apart... Like today for instance.

My intial plan was to start at 6am before meeting the group, knock out 5ish miles and then finish up with 9 more. Well that didn't happen. The alarm went off way to early. 6am became 6:30 and 6:30 became oh I'll just start at 7 with everyone else. I did have a better breakfast than last week. So I've got that going for me.

I expected this to be a solo run filled with deep thoughts (ok dumb thoughts about dumb stuff), so I was pleasantly surprised to find out I would have a bit of company. One friend stayed with us for one or two miles and then I had a new friend to keep me company for ten miles. We kept the pace a little faster than I expected, the weather was lovely, and the conversations were easy. What could go wrong? Well, first my Garmin start/stop button wouldn't work. So that was weird, but no sweat I'll just give it the ol hard reset when I get home. I dropped my new friend off at the parking lot and then I was off for 4ish miles. And that's when things got unpleasant.

Thankfully I had charged my Ipod last night (learned my lesson last week). So I put on some music and off I went! I immediately felt tired and disinterested with the rest of my run. My back started hurting, my legs hurt, I'm a giant crybaby... Oh lord. I took a salt pill to see if it would help with some of the cramping. But mostly my game face had entirely left the game. I was just over it. Again. Struggled through 3 miles. The End.

Now back to this Garmin. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that a hard reset isn't gonna help crap if the button doesn't even beep. And the button doesn't beep. And of course it's the most important button. That would be the start/stop button. DOH! But I can fix stuff right? I'm super smart right? Want to know what the inside of a Garmin 210 looks like? It looks like this

They are also made with the crappiest stripable screws ever. In case you were wondering. I thought I got it fixed. But it broke again after one button press. Sooooo...... now I've got a new Garmin on the charger and I'm a little bit poorer.

Today's run had a few results:

New runner friend. YEAH!!!!
I have a new Garmin.
I have some SEVERE sports bra chafing.
And I'm wondering when the heck I'm going to have a "winning" long run!?!!


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ow. The Things You Learn

Nothing makes marathon training more real to me than running an 18 miler. Until I hit that point I can just pretend I'm messing around and continue to talk about how far away the race is. But the 18 miler is like a semi truck of reality for me. And that is what I got hit by yesterday. A semi truck.

I started an hour before I met everyone to say hi. Just me and my pepper spray ready to take on a sleepy campus. It was actually a very peaceful 5 miles to start. I realized I had forgotten my salt tablets, but it was a perfectly cool morning so I was sure I'd be fine. I did almost mace a runner guy that came bolting out of a driveway that was surrounded by trees. He didn't do anything wrong, but perhaps he could constantly announce his presence during his run? No? Ok. So the first 5 was good. Except I kept feeling like my pace wasn't matching my effort. Oh well, met up with the group to get my water belt, down a gel, and head off for the next 7 mile loop. I pull out my music, Ipod is dead. Ok, I don't really need music. Just keep running. By the the 5th or so mile of this loop my shins were starting to ache. This shin pain is not quite shin splints but some kind of horrible leg tightening that always happens to me while road running when my weekly mileage starts to creep into the 30s. It is always there, but occasionally it barks very loudly during runs.

So my shins were hurting, my  knees were hurting, and my tummy was growling. And my pace was slowing. Fan-freaking-tastic. Back to the car, another gel, fill up water belt, ditch planned route, just 6 more miles. Onward! Running has become shuffling, walking has become much more common, and pace has been thrown out the window. My new mantra is GET THE F$%#ING MILES IN! Just forward movement. Then the full body cramps come in. AHHHH!!! My whole body is locked up in pain. But what do you do? Storming into the nice Saturday Brunch place and grabbing a salt shaker was definitely an option I considered. But I abstained.  Thankfully, my route I was making up had me run into a few friends that allowed me some fantastic reasons to stop and chat. And then I was done. This run was about one third ok, one third oh well it's just a training run, and one third total shit show.

BUT! Training runs are just that... TRAINING (you see, that's why them call them that. Clever huh?) Training runs are great for upping mileage and learning what works and what doesn't work. I learned a lot about what doesn't work on yesterday's long run.

1) Tiny peanut butter chocolate chip sugar ball candy things do not a breakfast make. Eat something real. What was I thinking?

2) Bring salt pills. Duh.

3) Make sure your stupid Ipod is charged if you want to listen to music. Oops.

4) This shin pain isn't getting any better on it's own. Must be more diligent about rolling out and compression.

5) You can make it through a shit show run. F'ing awesome. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Speed workouts? Ok fine...

So it's been over a month since my trail marathon. I've stopped doing a race every Saturday... I guess it's time to start facing the facts that I've got yet another full marathon coming up in October. Time to get to work. I mean, even my blackened toenail from the full in August is growing out. Ugh...

What does get back to work mean today? Today it means, my legs are tired and I'm kinda grouchy. Enter awesome running friends. I texted my friend earlier when running seemed fun this morning. And I didn't want to be a deadbeat, so I showed up, grumpy mood still intact. AND tonight was workout night. Workout? Man, I hadn't done a workout in so long I kind of forgot about them. Oh boy was I reminded.

I know that speed work is supposed to be good for you. My coach/guy that gives me suggestions I ignore has talked about this and that and lactate threshold and science that I don't understand. And I know he's right (don't tell him I said that), but man it's hard work. Oh it pays off too. I may not gain a lot of speed but I gain some and I gain a lot of "suffer" practice. Suffer practice? It's that part of a one mile repeat that you get to and  you want to stop cause it's a nightmare but you speed up. It's that last Fartlek that you want to skip but you said you would do 10 so you suffer through the last one because that's just what you do. And when you get to mile 22 of your race and you hate everything and you want to be done, you remember that you know how to do this.

So, I worked my way through two one mile repeats and then my legs were dunzo. They were dunzo from the get go. But I actually put in a good effort. And I forgot the good "hey I did that" feeling you get after a good effort. Ok ok ok it's not my favorite. But I'll try to do it... sometimes.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Double Running is Double Funning?

Running twice in one day seems like a silly thing to do. I mean, it would be an awesome thing to do if I didn't have a job, or dogs to manage, or laundry, or a house to pretend that I clean... But I do have all of those responsibilities. Some days I do lift weights in the morning before work and then run after work. But those runs are often crap and I often say things like,"ugh this was a stupid idea, why did I think this was a good idea".

But I also like even numbers and double digits. Oh sure that sounds crazy. Because it is. I bought my first Garmin and immediately became the girl that jogged around the parking lot to make a run 8 miles exactly rather than 7.96. I could just leave it hanging at 7.96 could I? COULD I?

So yesterday I had a LOVELY seven mile run in some cooler weather with a friend that is one week away from her full marathon. I should have gone further, but due to my F Rule training plan... I said screw it, it will be more fun to run with my friend! So I did that and it was super fun. But then my training panic set in and I felt like I should go farther. That was after cheering for a 5k, getting coffee, and going to the farmer's market. What's a girl to do?


I had someone ask me once if it's still a long run if it's broken up by a few hours, like running half in the morning and half in the afternoon. The answer is no, it's not a long run. The end. But.... the extra miles can set a gals' mind at ease when she feels like she's abusing the F Rule in her training plan. When a gal feels like she is blowing off a weekend long run opportunity. Well, you get the idea. So I went home, dropped off my groceries and took off on a three mile run to give me 10 for the day. An even number AND a double digit. Still not as many miles as any training program would say I should go, but enough miles to set my mind at ease. It's not a terribly long run, but it works....

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sounds Like a Fun Race! What's the Time Limit?

Everyone looks for different things in races. Nice shirts, finisher medals, flat, hilly, trails, big, small, and on and on...I definitely think about those things too. But I look at one other key piece... what's the time cutoff? I have good races and bad races. But I've accepted the fact that I'm not Boston Qualifier material. I'm slowish. So it's something I have to think about while selecting a race.

My first half marathon, I trained for the whole race with one thought in my mind. Beat the van. You know, the sweeper van. It morphed shapes in my head throughout the training, but most of the time it look like this in my head.

Yep, I pictured an old timey dog catcher car chasing me down the streets of Indianapolis, Indiana. Every training run I had came down to... did I beat the cutoff? That's all I wanted to do. When I started the race I had worked myself into such a frenzy about the sweeper van I imagined I could hear it creeping up behind me. It wasn't, but the image helped move me along which was kind of a good thing I suppose.

Now I look at races and if the time cutoff is not within reason for me, I say, meh forget it, I guess I just wasn't invited to that race. I respect a race director's choice. It's not a job I would want, because man we runners can be a bit gripey. But if you don't invite us non-fasties, aren't you just throwing money away? OR, if the race directors aren't inviting us average runners but that's only in fine print on the advertising for the race... do those directors feel bad when our names don't get listed as finishers? I suppose it's really a case of buyer beware. I try to make sure to run fun races with fun people. But it's my job to know if I can "beat the clock"... or the van.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Always Pick the Fun Race

I ran a Women's Half Marathon yesterday. I did the same race last year. Last year it was about 100 degrees in full sun. This year it was about 85 with 100% humidity. Not raining, just oppressive, soul stealing humidity.DOH!

When I signed up for this race a million months ago, the prices were lower than some local 5ks. My thinking was that this race would be a training run. Sure it will be hot, but I'll have to run anyway, so why not have friendly volunteers give me water and get a medal at the end of a training run? That is a fantastic theory.

My running has been more about miles and less about speed  of any sort lately.And I'm enjoying that....when I'm at home. When I'm at a race I get that sense that I should be "racing". I sometimes wonder if I'm a defective runner because I rarely get the "racing" feeling. I like to run. I like to run races because they are a different way to run, but I don't care to much about the racing part most days. Some days, when all the stars align and I feel like I could PR, I might push myself a bit, but most races, not so much.

So here I was at the starting line with two of my friends that I ADORE, but never get too spend enough time with. Our three husbands were also there prepared to run to various viewing points, shouting encouragement and ringing a cowbell. Why would I try to "race" this race in miserable weather, when I could spend it catching up with these two lovely ladies? To me the choice is obvious, always pick the fun race.

When you pick the fun race it doesn't matter what your time is. What matters is that you finish with a smile. I never wan to finish a race saying "I'll never run a ______ again". I always want to finish saying, "it was fun" or "that didn't go as planned, but this funny thing happened". I finished this race with a smile. And I had an amazing cheering squad, and I got to run through sprinklers to cool off my legs, and I danced when I heard music at mile 12, and I got to spend a few hours with two delightful women. I'd say that was a good race.