That which does not kill us, makes us stronger. - Nietzsche

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

10k training, week 4

Monday: 4.7ish miles. 52 minutes and change.

Tuesday: 4.5 miles. Speedwork. Couldn't stand the thought of the treadmill and the weather was so perfect for running (besides the 20 mph wind gusts), so I did intervals on the bike trail - 2.5 minute easy warmup, then 2.5 minutes hard, 2.5 minutes easy. 9 repeats. Kicked my butt in a really good way. Time: 48:13. Actually, after the warmup, I did 4 miles in 41-42 minutes, which means my hard intervals must've been pretty hard indeed.

Today: circuit class. Good stuff.

Tomorrow: rest

Friday: run like hell 5k!! NO pressure, NO time goal, all fun.

There's no long run on the training plan this week. I may throw in another 6 miler anyway, for giggles. And maybe get another deliciously amazing frozen banana treat afterwards.

I should watch this every day

This guy is my hero.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

treadmills=bad; bananas=gooooood

Thursday's attempt at a 40 minute tempo run on the treadmill: 40:38. 4 miles. I HATE TREADMILLS. I tried to run the whole thing at 6.0 (ambitious, much?) but I think I didn't have it in me, mentally, to hang with that much time on the hamster wheel. I couldn't find a comfy pace - something would work for a while, then it would feel either too fast or too slow. I sped way up at the end, which is why the end result was so close to 40.

No more tempo runs on the treadmill for me.

Friday: circuit class. Lots of strength training.

Saturday: too much to do. Didn't get time to run. I'm having shin splint issues so that's not the end of the world.

Today: 6 miles, 1:04:23. I can't believe I pulled off that time; I didn't even want to run and I wasn't feeling great, thanks to bad food and bad beverages last night. ;) I really should've brought water, since by the end of the run I felt so dehydrated that I could barely swallow. Despite all was a really good run. It (mostly) felt great. I wasn't pushing myself to go fast but I got faster anyway. That would be my fastest 6 mile run to date.

And even better - I went to Loveland to run, for a change of scenery and to check out the Saucony van at the running store up there. There is a little coffee shop right on the bike trail that sells chocolate and peanut butter dipped frozen bananas. I can't think of anything yummier and awesomer that I've ever eaten after a run, EVER.

The saucony van featured a gait analysis. My result: I overpronate. Yeah, I knew that. Surprise: the inserts in my shoes actually cause my feet to roll OUT too far, so I'm actually overcorrecting my pronation issues. Something to keep in mind for the next time I buy shoes.

This week: Run Like Hell is Friday! I mentioned it to a coworker, who said, "Oh! You know that's half uphill, right??" That confirmed my decision to throw out a time goal and just have fun with that one!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

10k training, week 3

Monday: 4 mile run (44:15) plus one hour yoga class
Tuesday: 5k run (33:33) <--I thought that time was cool

More important: I enjoyed both runs. I even enjoyed the chilly weather once my butt was moving. And I DID NOT obsessively check my watch every 2 minutes like I usually do. Also, there is a cute cute cute little boy that waits for the bus down the road at about 8:30. He was pointing at me and telling his mom something. I waved at him.

Today: Off. Long work day, had to miss my usual circuit training class, and I'm fighting shin splints. Decided a break was in order.
Tomorrow: 40 minute tempo run
Friday: circuit training class
Saturday/Sunday: 6 mile run and 3 mile run, I'll choose the days depending on how I feel.

And also: husband and I after the Warrior Run:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My running must-have

Please note that I am not affiliated with this company in any way. I just think this thing is amazing.

I had a $10 off $50 purchase coupon for a local running store. I don't ever buy anything from running stores, because I am a bargain hunter, and running stores are generally not full of bargains. However, I wanted a 13.1 magnet for my car, and I decided to spoil myself with $50 worth of goods as well. Plus, I wanted something to put my phone in while running. Sometimes I'm on call at work and I've discovered that my hydration belt cushions the phone so much that I don't always feel it vibrating. Plus, the hydration belt is bulky and silly to wear when I just need my phone.

I really didn't want to spend $20 on such a tiny little thing, but OMG it's so worth it.

It's not at all bulky. It holds a lot, but when it's not holding a lot, it folds itself into a tiny little shape so it doesn't flop around. It pretty much conforms to the size of what's in it. I experimented, and it will hold my blackberry, my full set of keys (which I wouldn't even need to have with me) and a granola bar with room to spare. It will hold my big sunglasses. And when it's not holding anything, it's a neat little tiny, nonintrusive shape.

The belt is stretchy, so I can wear it around my hips and it doesn't try to pop up to my waist like my hydro belt does.

And it's CUTE. Just look how adorable:

Also adorable was the adidas long-sleeve shirt I got to round out the $50 (plus a little more.) yay!

Making this fun again

I think I figured out why I've been in a running funk lately.

It all started when I decided that I wanted to qualify for the National Half-Marathon. Ever since, I've made it my goal that I HAVE to hit that 31 minute 5k qualifying time.

The problem is, a 31 minute 5k time was not my goal. Matter of fact, as soon as I found about about the National Half, I replaced my 32:30 5k goal with 31, and instead of being happy with my 31:46 time that blew MY goal out of the water, I was disappointed. I pretty much missed the excitement that comes with a PR. Same with the most recent 31:20.

Problem 2 is that I replaced my usual goals, which I am usually happy to meet in a roundabout way, with a HAVE TO HAVE TO HAVE TO. Take the Flying Pig 10k, for example. My goal was an 11:30 pace, which would have been 1:11:18. Instead, it was 1:11:44. I was still ecstatic. A handful of seconds didn't matter, I was right in my goal range. I took away that goal range with my eye on that 31, so that it didn't matter that I ran at a pace barely over a 10-minute-mile, which used to be an amazing feat. Anything over was NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

And that's why, for the majority of the race yesterday, I Did. Not. Have. Fun. I usually smile for cameras at races; last night, I couldn't do it. I told myself I was focused. Really, I was a little bit miserable. It wasn't torture exactly, but it wasn't fun. And that's because I was pushing myself for a time that yes, I know I can hit, but I also know that to hit it I have to pretty much be running at my 100% best that I can possibly do. That's too much pressure.

So today, I decided to nix that goal and remember why running is fun. If I forget that, I'll quit and never do it again. I ran 6 miles on the bike trail and ran at a comfy pace. It was a workout, but it wasn't at the level where I feel like I HAVE to be faster and push myself to near-keeling-over levels.

I noticed a vast difference. I didn't feel the need to check my watch every 2 minutes. (I did check to see my time at every mile, but more as an informational thing.) I didn't feel the need to continuously skip songs on my ipod, looking for something faster or more motivational or more angry. I managed to zone out and forget that I was running. I didn't have to tell myself silly things like, "If you run faster, this will be over sooner!" I noticed people and dogs and trees and leaves and I smiled and waved at people, and I noticed the people who were apparently using so much energy that they didn't have any left to smile and wave back at me.

And as a result, I feel great. That run was FUN. And you know what, my time wasn't too shabby at all - 1:05:15. (10:52 pace.) My first mile was 10:37 so I was fairly steady. No walking at all.

And I need to recognize myself a little here, because I've missed some details lately in my strongerbetterfaster quest. It wasn't that long ago - maybe 6 months or so - that I ran my first 10 minute mile, and that was because I forced myself to do it on the treadmill. When I first started running, a 13 minute mile was a comfy pace. At the beginning of the year, I could not run 5 miles at a 12 minute mile pace. A 10 minute mile used to seem seriously fast. And now...look at me. :)

I am well aware that there are people out there who don't run and then train for 3 months and run a 5k faster than I've ever ran one. I am well aware that a 10 minute mile is slow to some. I am also well aware that some people are born with natural athletic ability and a long, lean, willowy runner's build and I do not have much of either. Until I was 27, I had never ran a mile in my life - when we had to run one in gym class, I'd walk most of it. What I have to do is run for me, and stop comparing other people's times to know if I'm fast or slow or if I'm really ok. What I really have to do, and what we all have to do regardless of athleticism or speed or shape or size, is get out there and do it and enjoy it. The speed will come in time - I know this because it has.

So this is a reminder to myself: no more forcing goals upon myself that aren't mine. No more trying to force myself to go so fast that I'm not having fun and am making my body do more than it's ready to do and hurt in ways that aren't pleasant. I have enough stress in my life that running needs to be my NON stressful thing. If I qualify for some race, awesome. If not, there are plenty of other ones that I can enter anyway.

Two other things I want to do to remind myself that running is fun: run in the Run Like Hell, in costume, with other people in costume, and laugh at everyone's costumes and enjoy it and forget about the time. Also, I'm trying to volunteer for Girls on the Run as a running buddy for an elementary-aged girl running in a 5k - to run with her and cheer her on. I'm enormously excited about these two things. Will keep you all posted.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Warrior Run 5k - 31:22

Not good news:
  • Still did not hit that 31:00 goal of mine. That is driving me crazy.
  • Had some weird moments. Somewhere in the middle of the race, I was thinking "This just is not fun." Two minutes in, I was feeling tired. I couldn't figure out what the heck was wrong with me but I managed to make myself keep going.
The ungood news can probably be explained in part by the fact that I went out and had a few drinks last night and then did not sleep well. I was debating a nap in the afternoon but didn't take one. I felt a little dehydrated before the race even started. The race was at 5pm when I'm used to running in the morning.
    Good news (and there's way more of this variety):
    • I hit another PR!
    • I have gotten faster every race I run.
    • The crowd support was really awesome. It was a pretty small race, so there weren't giant throngs of people, but the people who were there were cheering for EVERYONE rather than waiting for the ones they knew. Special props for being supportive go to:
      • The elderly man with a dog who smiled and waved at me like he knew me. I told him he had a cute dog. (He did.)
      • The woman toward the end who, even though I was running with nobody around me at all, cheered for me anyway. (I totally tend to do this in races. I guess I truly do run at my own pace.)
      • The adorable kids who stood in the middle of the road and were so excited to give high-fives. I told them thank you.
    • My splits were more even than they have been, I think, ever. I was able to run at a much more steady pace. This is good. I put effort into making this happen. Still not negative splits by far, but it's a start.
    • I came in 37th out of 65 - so in the middle. This is totally cool with me.
    • Very successful test drive of the new capris from Target, where I don't have to go into debt to buy decent running clothes.
    • Also successful test drive #2 of my spibelt. Seriously, this thing is AMAZING. It held my blackberry and chapstick and I forgot that it was there. (And after the race, I shoved two cliff bars into it with room to spare.)
    • Running it with my husband. :) I like sharing these experiences with him, and I love it when I can talk him into running with me!
    • It was for a good cause - a teen suicide prevention program at Children's Hospital.

    mile 1: 9:50
    mile 2: 10:15
    mile 3: 10:22

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    10k training plan, week 2

    Hal Higdon's intermediate 10k plan, with my adjustments:

    Monday: Running too late to run 3 miles before yoga class, so I ran 1.8 miles before and 1.2 miles afterward. I ran the .8 mile bike path that runs near the gym, ran back, and ran the .2 miles to my car too. :) I was just over a 10 minute pace on the bike path (for a bike path, it's hilly!) but the downhill to my car put me in at 17 and change. Then after yoga, I did a .2 warmup jog and then ran a mile on the track as fast as I could. That was 9:42, not bad considering an hour long yoga class can be tiring.

    Tuesday: Did speedwork on the treadmill - 8 run/jog .25 mile intervals. Started out WAY too fast. As it turns out, I can do three sprints at 7.5 mph and then I feel like keeling over. Had to walk a couple of times. Did 4 miles in 41:40.

    A note here, maybe some fellow runners can help me out: I don't get this part of the training plan. You're supposed to do 400m sprints at your 5k pace. How is this helpful? Shouldn't I be running, I dunno, 5k at 5k pace? It seems to me that if you're trying to get faster and you're only running 400m intervals, they should be faster than your 5k pace. OK, so maybe not a minute and a half faster like I tried, but still.

    Wednesday: Circuit training class. Lots of weights.

    Thursday (just now): 5k run. Tried to keep it comfortable but pushed a little, maybe a 7/10 effort. 32:52. Not bad at all when you account for the traffic light I got stuck at twice. (Impossible to run in this area without stopping at that light, especially during morning rush hour.)

    Tomorrow: Taking a break.

    Saturday: Warrior Run 5k. I tried to drive the route but couldn't figure it out due to the weirdness of the roads in Mariemont. But I do know it's pretty and FLAT FLAT FLAT! I've ran part of it during long runs and I love running in Mariemont. That's why I signed up for this one. The weather is supposed to be in the low 60's. If there was ever a day for a PR, this will be it!!

    Sunday: 5-6 mile easy run.

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    musica and airplanes

    Nice 5 mile run today...even though it was about 80 degrees by the time I was done with it. (WTF, October??) Farthest run I've done in a month. I downloaded an hour's worth of new music for my ipod - everything from 90's metal to Usher. Some of the highlights:

    -In the middle of the new stuff was Rammstein "Du Hast", Rage Against the Machine "Bulls on Parade" and Static X "Push It". How did I not realize that these are some of the best running songs ever invented? They pushed me on right smack in the middle of my run. YES.

    -I can't decide if "We No Speak Americano" (by Yolanda B Cool and DCup) is good for inducing a trance-like state while running or just annoying as all get out.

    -The new Usher song ("DJ Got Us Falling in Love") is another winner for the running playlist. My husband will give me crap if he reads this. Yep, I do indeed listen to cheesy top 40 rap/r&b while I run.

    -Nelly "Number One" is another one I had forgotten about. How can you hear the line "What does it take to be number one?" while running and not push on?

    I'm quite fond of my eclectic running playlist, which is now 10.3 hours long with plenty of room still left on the shuffle. It's everything from Otis Redding to Elvis Costello to Cyndi Lauper to Marilyn Manson to Rhianna to Flo Rida.

    So I had fun new music, and I ran the Lunken Airport loop so I was entertained by planes and helicopters taking off and landing, trees changing color, and a 10k race that happened to be going on at the same time. Run time: 54:48. Not shabby - still teetering on the edge of the pace I want. I'll get there!

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Running does weird things to my brain

    How the heck can I run (for the most part) 13.1 miles, but then have days like today, where I seriously feel like a 3 mile run might kill me?

    I have two 3 mile routes I regularly run in my neighborhood. (One's a 3.1) They both entail running down the main road, turning down another road, running to the end and then turning and coming back. For some reason, when I'm running to the end of road #2, it feels like I'm NEVER going to get there. The way back feels muchmuchmuch faster, even when it's not faster at all.

    And WHY did my hairline hurt again today? I mean, the back of my neck where my hairline is. It hurt again. No headband, no tight ponytail. Actually, the right side of my body hated me today - right side of my hairline, right arm went numb, right ankle hurt. Right knee hurt a bit too, but that's a welcome break because the right knee actually is the bad one, so it's allowed to hurt. I'm in need of a major chiropractic adjustment maybe?? I'm not running crooked....not that I'm aware of.....

    Today I think I was just mentally drained. It tends to happen toward the end of the week, and I've been working a lot. I really didn't feel like doing a single thing today, but I made myself run and I made myself go to work. I keep reminding myself that this feeling is temporary. When I feel like I hate my job, it doesn't last. I really do like my job. And when I feel like I hate running, it never lasts. In a couple of days I'll feel good about it again. It just kinda sucks when I don't get that nice feeling of stress relief like I do after a good running break.

    The good thing, though: if the run doesn't feel invigorating, the shower afterwards sure as heck always does.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    10k plan, week one, days 1-2

    So yesterday I decided to combine yoga class with my 35 minute tempo run for the week. Since I haven't found a consistent definition of what a tempo run is, I picked my favorite - a timed run at a "comfortably hard" pace - about an 8 out of 10. I ran it on the nice, smooth track at the gym since I always feel like I'm flying - partially because it's flat, partially because there are usually a lot of walkers and slow joggers on it and I pass them all. Muahahahaha!

    My 35 minute run turned into a 34 minute run. Seriously. I couldn't even make myself do one more minute. I had already done 17 laps (@.2 miles - so 3.4 miles) and another lap seemed unbearable. For one thing, I was bored. I was sick of looking at the same scenery. And I was worn out. Maybe I didn't eat enough yesterday, maybe I was mentally drained (this is why I usually run in the morning, before work has had a chance to suck my brain cells dry), maybe it was a bad idea to push myself the day after a race. I had myself convinced that a 5k is nothing after I've done a half, but if you really push yourself to do a fast (for you) 5k, yeah, it will still wear you down a bit.

    Although that variety of wearing down is nothing like how I felt after the half, when I collapsed on my bed and decided I wouldn't be capable of running again until nid-2011 at least.

    Plus, by that point, my neck hurt. My hairline hurt. It hurt pretty bad, actually. I don't even know how that happens. My best guess, and I don't even think it's accurate, is that maybe I was clenching my jaw without realizing it.

    But, I recovered enough to survive yoga class, even though I didn't push myself too hard. I was pleasantly surprised to realize how much my flexibility and balance have improved.

    I almost considered not running today, but I did anyway. Force of habit. But this time, I was determined to make it an easy run. I needed that. It was fun. The sun was coming up, it was chilly without being too chilly, and it felt good without feeling like I may kill myself. Plus, I kept it at an even pace. One of my goals is to whittle down my positive splits (what happens when you start a race way faster than you can finish it - I do this very well.) So I checked my watch once, at the halfway point of my 3.1 today. 17 minutes. When I was done, I checked it again. 34:04. Perfect. I'm starting to remember again that this is FUN. This is not meant for me to push myself to my limit every day and hate every step and swear under my breath.

    The running capri things I got at Target were a great buy. They're cool in the heat, warm in the cold. They're tight but I had my husband reassure me that my butt doesn't jiggle when I run in them.

    Tomorrow: either go to circuit training class, or, if I have an early meeting like I think I do, I'll make it a rest day. I already ran 3 days in a row and I think 4 is pushing it. Plus I gave blood today - resting wouldn't kill me.

    Oh yeah, this morning, post-run, I weighed myself and....dun dun high school weight magically popped up on the scale!! I think I may have been a little dehydrated, but regardless, that's a number I haven't seen in years. Oh yes. This is good stuff.

    Sunday, October 3, 2010


    Ran the 5k my work sponsored today. Final time: 31:46. PR. Not too shabby considering there were a few hills, and it was my first time running in the cold since last winter. It was CHILLY. I felt good by the end but in the beginning my lungs were burning. One coworker beat me, but she's got way more miles under her belt than I do. We were running together for a while but I was painfully aware that I was breathing too heavy to keep that pace for too long, so when she got ahead of me, I let her. I was not quite a minute behind her. She was the first place female. Did I mention this was a pretty small race???

    My first mile was 9:42 - first sub-10 minute mile I've ever done in a race. So there's a small victory.

    I feel good about the PR. That was a pretty good time for me. I'm a little bummed, though, that I'm still out of qualifying range for that silly half in DC. I'd almost rather a qualifying time be way out of reach (like the Boston Marathon) than to be close enough to it that my somewhat-OCD self is now obsessed with hitting that 31:00 time. I'm seriously considering signing up for a 5k in two weeks and another in 4 weeks. 4 weeks would give me more time to improve, and that's actually when I SHOULD run a 5k, according to Hal Higdon's 10k training plan (which it's time to start now, to prep for the thanksgiving 10k.) But I wanna do the one in two weeks, too, because it's only a few miles from my house and it's on a route that I've partially ran before, so I know it's pretty and flat.

    The one in 4 weeks is the Run Like Hell. People run it in costume. I think my old batman costume would work for running, except the cape may be a bit cumbersome.

    Also, I think having some idea where I was on the course (besides the mile markers) would have helped. I hate not being able to recognize exactly how far I have to go. That's when it starts feeling like I have to run FOREVER and I start slowing down. Oh, the mental blocks I have to get past....

    At least now I'm figuring that next year I should be running 5k's in the 20's. HIGH 20's, but who cares. :) A year and change ago, my 5k time was a whole 7 minutes slower. (So in 2 years, I can run an 18 minute 5k, right?? Hahaha.)

    Also, maybe one more run this week would've helped. (See? I'm obsessing!) I ran Monday and Tuesday, both times I ran 3 miles in less than 30 (but once was on the track at my gym, so perfect temperature, perfectly flat surface); I wanted to run Wednesday and/or Thursday but I worked 9-10 hours both days and I was fighting a migraine, so no running.

    Maybe by tomorrow my brain will have stopped its silliness and will just be happy that I set a PR. Then I'll figure out which race(s) to sign up for next!

    Edit to add: Oh yeah. Splits.
    Mile 1: 9:42
    Mile 2: 10:53 (? - seems odd - markers might have been off, or it may have been the hill in there)
    Mile 3: 10:15