Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Week #6 update

I woke up yesterday with a really killer headache (but not a migraine) so I wasn't able to get my morning run in which bummed me out. I made plans to run later with someone who is a bit faster than me but I also know that just because this person is faster, I am currently capable of running for longer than I ever have so really it shouldn't matter what my speed is. My run yesterday wasn't a speed run anyway, but it turned into a faster pace than what I had planned.

The run was a strength training run with 5 hill repeats in the middle.
1 mile warm up
5 hill repeats at 90%
1 mile cool down
Total: <3 miles

Our modified workout:
.5 Walk
2 mile run
5 hill repeats (.6 mile)
1.5 run
.75 walk
Total = 5.4 (with a little over 4 miles of running)

So what I ran actually was a little more than I was supposed to run, but that's okay! We ran most of the run at an average 10:10 pace.

Tonight is cross-training and I think I'm going to get an easy bike ride in. I'm a little sore from the hills but nothing that some riding, strength exercises and stretching won't help!

Tomorrow is track night and we're starting off by doing 4 x 800 repeats at 90%. I hate 800's. To be fair, I dislike 1200's even more. I don't like having to keep count. One lap and 4 laps are programmed in my head, but 2 and 3 just throw me off. Trying to do any sort of math in my adrenaline runners brain doesn't work and our coach has us try to keep even splits and that requires my brain to do math. The track I run on has a big timer but it isn't helpful for me when I'm on the other side of the track and trying to make sure I'm at the same pace so I use my watch a lot. We have some weird instructions for our workout tomorrow so I'm going to try to look at it tonight and figure it out so I don't have to do any math tomorrow.

I have a 4 mile run on my birthday and normally I'd want to take my birthday off, but running doesn't feel as torturous anymore so I'm excited about it. Okay, running was never torturous, but I surely lacked motivation and an excuse for a day off was fine by me. I'm not sure when I'll get my run in though unless I wake up super early! Thankfully it is only 4 miles and if I can keep a decent 10 minute-ish pace I'll be done with my whole work out in an hour. I'm trying to remember to allot about 10 minutes each for a warmup/cool down because they make everything so much easier.

This was just a quick check in update. Nothing spectacular, but I'm keeping up with everything and still on track! This weekend I will probably not run the crazy 14 mile distance that I think the marathoners are running because my half is a week away. By the way, even though I talk about running a lot I'm not running much more than in the low 20's for mileage a week right now. I'm happy with this program and feeling good about the progress I've been making so far! Hope everyone is having a lovely week!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

It wasn't 10 miles, it was 12! Sneaky!

Thank you Dad for sending me a happy little email today about my progress. I read it after my run and it made me feel really good :)

I also received a Happy Birthday card from Grandma in the mail today! That was a little perk after my run too! My wine barrel garden is pretty exciting and yep, no weeds! Thank you Grandma!
(My birthday is next Thursday for anyone wondering)

These things help, especially since I had started out today wondering if I was even going to be able to finish the entire run. Well, it turns out I did, and more!

The map my run link was incorrect. Being the attentive to detail person that I am, I checked out the link again and saw two things that changed our route:

1) We ran along the waterfront but came up into town a little earlier for some zig-zag route up onto 4th to the track.

2) We then did a 1/2 lap around the track and started up the hill. The coach didn't even mark the first bend of the hill on the map and started us up from a different section.

My Garmin, which I double checked the route accuracy came in at 11.85 miles. The 11:30 pacer only was running the 6 miles today so my choices were 11:00 or 12:00 minutes. I conservatively chose 12 minutes. I also had run with Deb the first week and I liked her. She did a good job of keeping us just a little faster for some of the run and backed off up the hill. (She is used to running sub 10 minute miles on a 1/2 and 11 min miles on a marathon). My overall pace was 11:29 because I ran away from the pace group and ran down the hills quicker.

I was a freaking chatty Cathy today! I am never like that, but this pace was really easy for me and I was going on and on until I realized my running mates may not appreciate someone rambling about my cats. Sorry running buddies.

After today's run though I am really considering staying with the marathon group for most weeks. I proved to myself that I can run 12 miles even though I emailed my coach before the run with some concerns. He told me the map was a little off and it was actually SHY of 10 miles. Mmmhmm. He had about 40 people tell him he was way off today as the turn around point was 6.1 miles, haha. (We cut off some distance on the way back running through town instead of the waterfront)

Our coach drove to the track today to be our aid station. I put my water bottle in the back of his car so I had my poor mans gatorarde with electrolytes at that point and then some skittles that he had. There aren't enough people showing up each week to guarantee I'll have a buddy if I end up switching back to less mileage after Lacamas. Maybe more pacers who are running the shorter distances will show up. Or maybe we'll do loop runs and I can stick to the one loop.

But the main thing is, the group spirit is much more prevalent in the longer runs.
The long runs are really focused on the full marathon and it's clear because all of our pace leaders are set up to go that distance. Finishing something like what we did today get's us some awesome high fives and pats on the back. I like to finish and walk around the running store dripping sweat and looking at fancy running gear and it's totally okay. They don't look at me like I'm some ape, because they know I just ran 12 miles in the freaking rain. Did I mention it was raining?

Today I used my $15 gift card and bought a water belt for $30 after the discount so I can try out something in lieu of my handheld bottle. I have 30 days to "take it on as many trail runs and marathons as I want and still return it". This is why I love Fit Right.

I went and bought some jambalaya at Whole Foods and a sandwich after my run. It was delicious and I couldn't eat it all so I have half of both leftover for dinner. I told my landlord I was too tired to move my furniture and asked if we could rent the steam cleaner next weekend (yes), so I am going to sleep in tomorrow and get in an actual rest day.

There is some maniac kid upstairs running around and making whirling noises and driving me nuts. S/he is making my cats super alert and keeps saying the name of the cat upstairs, "Joey!" in funny voices. I hope s/he leaves soon.

Tonight is catch up on cheesy TV show night. I won't lie, I watch the Bachelorette even though it's pretty awful. No, I don't believe in the "true love and proposals after 6 weeks" and I don't watch it because I'm some romantic who wants to be on the show. It's pure and simple mindless trashy tv and perfect for a night in after a pretty productive day!

Goodnight world! I'll check back in early next week to see how I'm doing!

Oh, and that hill, it really wasn't that bad at all. It wasn't easy but it wasn't as scary as I imagined and I would easily run it again for training.

Friday, June 22, 2012

A big hill + 10 miles = a tired Brie!

I'm pretty darn nervous about tomorrow's run. It says 10 miles on trainingpeaks (the website we use for our training plan) but I looked at his pdf map and it's closer to 10 1/2 miles.


I did everything right today though. I made sure to drink enough water, eat enough protein and I even added in some extra carbohydrates for fuel. I did strength training stretches for runners that our coach gave us and I also spent 30 minutes in some yin like yoga stretches. I did treat myself to a few peanut butter malted milk balls that come in the bulk bins because those things are carbalicious, Although they're not good kind of carbs, I needed a little bit of a splurge since I've been doing so well with my diet. When I say diet, I just mean general nutrition/eating. I'm not on any diet except the be conscious of what you eat, cook whenever possible, no processed junk and lots of whole fruits and veggies diet.

Tomorrow's run though is not just distance challenged, it's elevation challenged too. We're running up Terwilliger, which is something that I never have felt compelled to do. For the Shamrock 15k, runners take on Terwilliger and while maybe one year I'll run the 15k to get the cool bottle opener medal, I would have never thought I'd tackle that hill in the middle of a 10 mile run.

Elevation at each point during climb:
Mile 2.1 = 30ft
Mile 3.1 = 140ft
Mile 4.1 = 355ft
Mile 5.1 = 478ft
508ft max at mile 5.7

Overall it doesn't seem like a significant elevation gain to a hiker, but during a run pretty much any hill (for me) is difficult. Plus this one isn't a little baby - it's a little over 3 miles of constant climbing. I need myself a pep rally for this one!! :D

Coach Jeremy will be at the top where we turn around with an aid station but I'm still going to bring my handheld water bottle and fill it with my special training run mix. I like to mix the juice of a navel orange, 1/2 a lemon, a tsp of salt, and a small bit of sweetener (usually honey). I like adding lime juice too.

It's only 8:23 but I'm about ready to head to sleep! I've had a bit of a social lull recently and have been focusing mainly on work and training. I did start talking to a few girls on Wednesday who recognized me from the Saturday hill run when I turned around early and met up with them but they are in the 10k group so I won't be running with them on long days. I'm hoping to form some bonds soon though as we get into longer distances. As I'll be jumping back and froth from the marathon training group to the half group though there might be a lot of unfamiliar faces for awhile!

The good news is we have all of our pacers back! Since this run is going to be physically demanding I think I am going to run with the 11:30 pace group. I don't care about time at this point, I just want to complete the run. I know that the rest will come together in time.

I'm working on patience and being kind to myself for all the progress I've made. I can be my own worse critic when I've had a run cut short or my pace is flailing all over the place. I'm reminding myself that I don't need to be fast and if getting faster is my goal it will come with everything I'm doing. I've already proven time and time again that my race pace is a lot quicker. The adrenaline kicks in and being around so many other people really does something to your body and to your brain. It's pretty awesome.

So tomorrow morning I am going to take it really easy and hope I make it through the ascent. I'm not very good with hills yet so staying in a slow pace group will ensure I have a fighting chance. Don't get me wrong, I'm nervous, but I'm totally looking forward to this challenge!

Hopefully tonight I'll get a good nights worth of sleep. I did get very lucky and scheduled a last minute acupuncture appointment today to help with my painful womanly related cramps. Thankfully since acupuncture is a holistic medicine, she (Boynn) addresses much of what is going on. I usually sleep pretty well after seeing Boynn and she also made me an herbal mix for tea that is actually pleasant. It has cinnamon, white peony, frankincense and myrrh and I believe there may be some fennel or anise as I taste a slight hint of that flavor. I'm going to mix some up and head to bed so I can wake up early enough to eat a proper breakfast. Updates will be forthcoming!

Please wish me luck! Getting your emails and comments really mean a lot to me and help get me through some of the harder moments. I did start this blog to keep a record for myself but also because I can't do it without support. Much love to everyone who reads and supports me, it means the world!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My worst enemy

I absolutely love my neighborhood, but even a run at 10am with the glaring sun is starting to be too much for me. I feel like I'm in some video game, constantly dodging across the street and down side streets to stay in the semi-shade.

I know I am physically able to run 4 miles but mentally I can't seem to get past the heat so I stopped short at just over 3 miles today. I checked the weather and feel like a wimp (65F) but the direct sun makes it feel a lot warmer.

I've not even bothered to look at my pace from the Garmin; it was slow. Today was a tempo run and I should be able to run 4 miles in at least a 10 minute pace but no dice. I ran to the track and it was bathed in sunlight too so I just putzed around my neighborhood trying to rack up mileage.

It looks like I need to wake up early enough to get out on the pavement earlier! (ugh pavement!) Tempo runs are crucial for getting faster and improving cardiovascular muscle and health. I can't skimp on these workouts, especially since I know it's mostly a mental block.

I've never been very good with heat and direct sunlight. I love being outside but I'm a shade girl. I'm also a 55 degrees with a touch of wind girl. Currently, I'm also a really late for work girl! Whoops!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Quick Recap - Track Night

I'm feeling a burst of energy still so I am going to get a quick entry in about tonight's workout. As I said before, I was striving for equal splits.

The challenge with consistency is making sure you don't start out too fast. I aimed for a 2:15 pace because that seemed like a good number. In retrospect, I think I should have cut anywhere from 5-10 seconds off that time because I was running a lot faster (comfortably) for most of my laps and had to slow down the second part of the lap and then it felt too slow.

For myself, and anyone else, here are some details (time on lap/avg pace):

2 lap warm up slow: 10:32
These are the 400m splits
1) 2:11 / 8:35 pace
2) 2:04 / 7:57 pace
3) 2:16 / 8:49 pace
4) 2:16 / 8:53 pace
5) 2:18 / 8:55 pace
6) 2:12 / 8:58 pace
7) 2:15 / 9:09 pace
8: 2:17 / 9:06 pace
9) 2:13 / 8:57 pace
10) 2:12 / 8:50 pace
1 lap cool down slow: 11:02 pace

Total: 3.30 in 30:29

I was striving for my average pace to be 9 minutes, so while I lengthened the time of the run, you can tell I ran faster than planned on most of the runs. I'm aiming for consistent pacing and while the lap time is important, I can manipulate that by slowing down at the end when I realize I need to "use up" 20 more seconds.

So, there's some more information for me to take in and reflect on. I really think that for speed work because I'm capable now of going a little faster, I should just go for it! The workouts are short and designed for us to push ourselves a bit. Another reason why I love track workouts so much is because I never go home feeling like I had a bad workout. I learn a lot about myself and I also feel more fit because of them.

I talked to my coach and I'm going to jump in with the marathoners this weekend. I was going to try and run the 9 mile Leif trail with someone, since the marathon people aren't doing the distance I want to run Saturday, but he's made plans, so up Terwiliger I go! Coach agreed that running with the marathon people makes sense from now through Lacamas.

I found out that my bosses wife, Claire, broke her toe and she won't be running the 1/2 on the 4th. I am disappointed for her and also a bit sad that my boss won't be there to see me in a happier place than I am at work.

One other thing I learned tonight was that you should not be training at your goal pace on long runs. I think there was some miscommunication along the line and I found out that for my 2:10 1/2 marathon goal, I should be running long runs at 10:58-11:58 pace. This sounds okay to me and where I ran the 9 miles last weekend, but I also wasn't fully ready for 9 miles then either. I suppose this makes sense when there is a whole training program in place with speed workouts as well as other runs throughout the week. Plus, paces change. I will probably jump in the 11 minute group for this weekend and see if it feels too slow. We're now on a 6 day a week schedule with two of those days cross-training. I'm a busy girl!!

Time for some stew (yay crockpot!), netflix and then sleep! I've got myself a 4 or 5 mile run tomorrow morning to tackle. Goodnight all!

Track Night - Week #5

I'm really looking forward to track night tonight. After Saturday's long run and Sunday's garden mania I was too exhausted Monday to do my workout. I've now had 3 days off from running, which feels like a lot, but I know I needed it. Last week was supposed to be our recovery week, with less mileage and I pushed it because I'm training for my half in 2 weeks (from today!). I'm pretty sure if I didn't spend most of Sunday carrying around heavy gardening supplies I would have felt fine on Monday. My justification was that Sunday was more than enough to consider as cross-training (switched with Tues) and Monday (switched with Sunday) was my full day off. It's my first actual running work out that I missed anyway, so I'm not worried!

Tonight our workout is: 10 X 400m @ 90% with :30 rest. It sounds easy on paper, but I have a feeling my main goal to maintain pace is going to be difficult. I've got to be honest and say that I have NO IDEA what my 90% goal is. I am pretty confused right now. I am not dialed into a pace and I seem to be all over the place. Some days 10 minute miles feel nice and easy. On track nights, low 9 minute miles feel super comfortable. Other days an 11 minute mile feels good.

I always run faster on track night. It's partially because of the flat track and also because I'm around a lot of people. Last week I ran my 80% mile at 8:47, which I know was too fast. I think I am going to try to maintain even splits at a 9 minute pace, so one lap would be 2:15. The best thing for me right now is just to learn how to pace myself and stay consistent.

Track nights are probably my favorite workouts. As someone who is aiming to be better at running longer distances I probably shouldn't admit this. I like the short and fast sets though. I would never pursue anything track-like, as I am not fast by any means, but I do like the little bursts of energy I get from track night. Even if I can't finish everything I still feel accomplished and happy.

Tonight I need to talk to my coach about the races I'm running and the best thing for me to do. It's looking more and more like I should jump in with the marathon group for the next month since they're doing longer runs, but I'm weary about being able to keep up. I'm also happier with my shorter during the week runs and marathon people run a little more. I think the most important thing to keep me motivated is enthusiasm and if I'm not looking forward to what I'm doing then I already know I'll slack. So it's time for me to figure out a good plan but also stay motivated and happy, which I'm realizing is the most important thing to my success!

I'll post a quick update after tonight on how I did!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My backyard and building a wine barrel garden!

This post is going to be picture heavy because it's a lot easier to post a bunch of pictures!

A few months ago my side yard looked like this:

There were a lot of tarps up because we discovered this winter that the french drain was no longer working and anytime there was a downpour my apartment would flood. This first started a week or so before Thanksgiving and happened about 4 more times. The last time was the worst though because we had removed the tarps and started to clear out the yard and we had a big thunder/lightening storm and downpour. We never get thunder and lightening so it was exciting! Well, everything except the water filling up in my window-well and then draining into my bedroom!

My room is wool carpeting and I do have a dehumidifier, however this past time I think may have been too much water and I need to talk to my landlord about the musty smell. I think we need to replace some carpet padding and shampoo the carpets in part of my room. I have had some allergy symptoms and have been sleeping poorly, so it seems like there might be a cause for concern! Very much a bummer!

My landlord hired some people to come out and re-dig the french drain though so I was really happy about that. It was an interesting process and I took some pictures.

First they dug a huge trench:

Then they put down some plastic looking piping with holes in it and some gauze looking stuff. I really don't know what these things were. Finally they laid a bed of river rock on top.

Martha, my landlord, had gotten some really nice, fine soil delivered to put over top of the river rock but she decided not to cover it. She said that it will get better drainage this way. The side yard is a bit barren, but it looks a lot better than it did before and she is going to be planting grass seed.

A few weeks before she had the french drain done she had the same people come in and tear out the garden beds in the back yard and put in a pond. There are too many trees in the backyard and not enough light for any gardening. Martha made a really neat swing for the kids too. I think it looks really nice and I spend a lot more time in my back yard now!

I took this picture for Kim! We have a garden gnome that watches over the pond. There are some goldfish in there but I couldn't get a good picture of them. They're still tiny. I sit on this bench and eat dinner sometimes because it's tucked away in the back of the yard and peaceful.

This weekend I finally set up my garden! Back in March I found some halved wine barrels from someone off Craigslist and bought 4 of them. They were stained a very beautiful red from the wine and smelled pretty divine when I brought them home. I will admit that time got away from me and I didn't get to setting these up nearly as soon as I wanted, but it was pretty important to get the french drain stuff settled first, since those barrels weren't going anywhere once they were filled!

Over the couple months the barrels lost a bit of their color, as expected, but they are in great shape for planting. I read up a lot about wine barrel gardens and my biggest concern was the cost of all the soil. I found out that at a minimum I would need about 3 cubic feet of soil for each barrel. The most important thing for plants is good soil so I wasn't going to skimp on that expense, as I want some healthy plants. I'm not growing 100% organic, but I'll be using compost and compost tea instead of things like miracle grow.

I bought 6 bags of 2 cubic feet each worth of soil, 1 bag of cheap, 1 cu ft soil, 2 bags of pebble river rocks, a drill bit to drill bigger drainage holes, 12 bricks and a bunch of starter plants. I had a coupon to a local garden store for 20% off and managed to buy all my soil and starters for $77, which I think is pretty awesome! I got a gallon of compost tea for free from a local garden shop.

I had never used a drill before and felt like I needed to take a cool picture of me with it for proof that I did, indeed, use a power tool and didn't hurt myself!

After drilling the holes I set the barrels up on the bricks. I added the pebbles, a little bit of the cheap soil and then a lot of the good soil.

I was pretty happy once I was done because wine barrels are very heavy, about 60lbs each. The bags of soil felt heavier and I proudly lifted/transported all of them, plus the rocks myself. I'll tell you that putting together this garden wiped me out a lot more than my run on Saturday!

I planted: broccoli, swiss chard, collards, 1 yellow pear tomato plant, a slicing cucumber, yellow squash, dill, cilantro, thyme, chives, and then a barrel full of romaine, mixed greens and spinach. I have some radish and carrot seeds that I'm going to start inside and toss in between some of the spaces since they grow pretty fast. I really wanted to buy some more herbs but I was trying to be realistic on what I would use. I love rosemary but there are bushes everywhere around here. I want to get spearmint and oregano to complete that barrel and then I think I'm done.

Happy little plants! I poured the compost tea over the plants after I transplanted them and some of them grew a lot overnight! They seem to be taking well and look great.

Building the wine barrel garden was pricey and it took a lot of work, but hopefully I will have some delicious veggies in a month! The initial cost is high but maintaining this type of garden is not that expensive and it will be so nice to not have to buy nearly as much lettuce and spinach.

In other news, I've been talking to Anise quite a bit. She's been messaging me and calling during the day so it's been so nice to hear from her. I can tell she is a little lonely during the day so I'm putting together a care package to send her with some of her favorite things and a bunch of pictures of my garden and kitties. She tells me she misses me a lot and I certainly miss her too! 2 more months and I'm counting down the days!

This is me after I finished my garden! I was sweaty and very happy to be done. I was also happy because I had been invited to a co-worker/friends house for a graduation BBQ and I was able to spend time with friends and have a tasty meal. Yum. It was a good weekend!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

BAM! 9 miles down!

9 miles, I seriously just did 9 miles! I am so excited I was able to do this! I took one 4 1/2 minute walking break at mile 7 when I felt like I couldn't go any further and that was just enough time to rest and regroup. My last mile and 1/2 were at a 9:40 pace and I caught up to Claire, who ran the entire distance without walking. I wish I were there yet, but I barely walked, and I didn't give up, so I have nothing to feel bad about. I was only going to run to mile 1, then walk the rest, but I really wanted to catch up to Claire. It was her longest run and I know the last two miles were really hard on her. I'm so proud of both of us.

Since I've been training/aiming around at a 10 minute pace, but my longest consecutive run to date was 5 miles, I had no idea what to expect today. The total distance was 9.7 miles (a hike up to the trail and then a tiny bit more than 1/4 mile walk). We started running at the 9 mile marker and it conveniently counts down the mileage in 1/4 mile increments. This is super motivational to me to watch the white poles count down. We completed the 9 miles in 1 hr 38 min and 42 seconds. I was excited to see that averaged out at a 10:58/mile pace. I know I didn't pace myself as well as I would have liked for this run and some miles were slower, but I'll get there!

Things can only really get better from here and I'm glad I did this run in lieu of the 4 mile run with the Get Fit Live Fit group today. I am sad to have missed it, but our run was also in Vancouver today and it's the Vancouver Marathon weekend so I can't imagine how crazy it would have been to be over there. Our program is a 3 week increase, with a 1 week cut back. This week was our cut back week and I did cut back a bit this week except for our track workout - but since I'm running the 1/2 in 3 weeks I needed to feel like I could do this. After today, I know I can.

Hey, guess what? I ran 9 miles! Wahooo!!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My fastest mile since high school and a little ode to my heart

Yesterday was my 4th week of track runs and it was seriously nuts. Nuts in a good way. I was pretty darn quick and I think I got a little too excited about that because I ended up not being able to complete the entire workout. It's okay though, I listened to my body and instead of running the 2 800 meters at 90% I broke them both up into nice little 400 sets. Extra rest I've realized is pretty important.

Overall I went 4.02 miles in 36:30 and that included 2 slower laps of warming up and almost 2 laps of cooling down. If I take out those times and distances I went 3.08 miles (almost a 5k) in 26:39 minutes, and that is pretty blazing fast! I did have 30 and 60 second rest breaks between each set which helped a lot, so this wasn't continuous crazy fastness, but I'm still proud that I was able to do all of that!

For anyone curious here is the breakdown:

400m Warm Up: 11:37
Dynamic Stretches/Strides (my watch isn't on for this)
400m Warm Up: 10:21
1600m at 80%: 8:47
1200m at 85%: 8:41
800m at 90%: couldn't complete - I started it but couldn't finish so I stopped @ 400m
-subbed: 400m at 90%: 8:34
400m at 100%: 7:17
400m at 100%: 8:05
800m at 90%: couldn't complete, split into 400's
-subbed: 400m at 90%: 9:18
-subbed: 400m at 90%: 8:55
cool down .42 of a mile: 10:11

Now that I'm looking at it I realized I missed running an extra 400m. Oh well!

Trying to run at 100% was really hard. I started out way too fast (6 min pace) and realized that there was no way I could keep that up even for one lap. My Coach said there is no right or wrong because 100% is your all out effort at that moment. It makes sense but the 50 second difference between my first 100% effort and my second meant I got tired pretty quick.

One cool thing was that I ran my fastest mile since high-school yesterday! How exciting is that? The effort we were supposed to run at was 80% and I may have overdone it a little, but it still felt pretty good. I still really want to do a mile time test just to see what I can do. Kim and Cliff have done them a couple times and I think it would be fun to go all out and just see how fast I can go for only a mile. My fastest mile ever was in 5th grade at 7:20 because I was keeping up with this boy I had the biggest crush on. I couldn't beat that now, but maybe in a few more months I could get close!

Another thing I want to say is that my heart rate beats per minute has significantly shifted. I only saw it drop a couple beats last year during my training and didn't think it would drop much more but I was wrong (and also I was not working nearly as much or as hard as I am now). I had concerns because it would always shoot up to the high 180's really fast. It was also almost impossible to keep it below 185 while running faster than 11 minute miles. I've had my heart rate go up to 204 at the end of a race before. It felt as scary as it sounds. But it seems like now I never hit the 180's unless it's really fast/hard effort running like I was doing yesterday. I've always had a pretty quick recovery too, but now it jumps from 170 to 130 with just 30 seconds of rest. My resting heart rate in the morning is 58. I think I have a pretty swell heart!

Today was a recovery run - two words I would have never put together in the same sentence a year ago. I woke up pretty sore from last night's work out and went out and ran 2 1/2 miles in 30 minutes, very nice and slow, and I felt so much better!

Right now I'm finishing up all my laundry and am going to head to bed early. Tomorrow is an official rest day and then Saturday is a 9+ mile run with my bosses wife, Claire, at 8am. I'll let you know how that one goes! I'm a bit nervous actually. On Sunday, my landlord's nanny (a few years prior) from Germany is arriving. She will be staying in the spare bedroom upstairs and watching the kids during the day. Her name is Katrin and my landlord thinks we'll get along so I'm looking forward to meeting her. Yay for possible new friends!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Week #4 Training Update!

Right now my weekend schedule is up in the air. After a 3 week increase of mileage (longer runs) the program has you cut back one week then back up again the next. Since I entered the half though I'm considering a long run (with walk breaks) this weekend and the next.

I'm actually in the process of coordinating a run/walk with Claire, but I'm not sure what that would look like. From what I gather she sounds quite a bit slower and incorporates a bit of walking, but since I'm not ready for 9 miles, I'm more than okay with walk breaks. After all, this half is more just for fun and to see where I'm at! I just want to make sure to get a couple longer distance run/walks in before the race.

Monday's workout was really difficult for me this week. The run was 35 minutes at 80% but my 80% effort was pretty darn slow, especially at first. It was pretty warm out and I was running in some direct morning sun so that made a big difference. As always, after about 25 minutes things got a little easier, but it may have been because I was on my way home and knew I had only a mile to go.

Today is cross-training day and I'm not sure yet if I want to swim or bike. I have an acupuncture appointment from 5-6 and will just see how I'm feeling after that. Biking is free, so I may just stick to that.

Tomorrow's track workout sounds like a lot of effort. I'm going to guess this is probably why he has us doing a short 30 minute easy recovery run on Thursday instead of our normal strength training run. I don't have doubts that I can't complete the workout though, as the recovery times he set are good ones. Here is the workout in case anyone is curious:

Wednesday June 13, 2012
1 lap warm up, dynamic stretches, 1 lap warm up
1 mile at 80% (2:00)
1200 at 85% (:90)
800 at 90% (:60)
400 at 100% (:60)
400 at 100% (:60)
800 at 90%
2 lap cool down and stretch

So far I've always had really good track work outs. I feel fast and pretty on point with my pace. I have no idea what 400 meters at 100% will be like; all I know is that it brings back memories from track in high school. I think my 400 time was around 1:35, but it's doubtful that I can do that now.

I took a lot of pictures this weekend of my back yard and side yard. My side yard is being dug up for a french drain to be put in place, and it's an interesting, yet long process. My back yard is starting to look nice, as my landlord put a pond, a swing and a bench in, so it's a comfy place to hang out. The french drain digging is taking longer than anticipated so no garden yet. I'm pretty sure not much is going to happen with that this year! I'll post the pictures soon.

PS: I've been told that contacts make me look older, but I swear it's the opposite. My hair is also growing in and I'm able to pull it back. This is an accomplishment for me! Here is me, sans any make-up, post run yesterday. I'm trying not to be super squinty in the second one but it was bright out!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Happy news! Plus Week #3, Long Run

I pitched the race registration idea to my mom, as come bday time she's always looking for ideas and she signed me up! I'm pretty excited about running my first half of 2012 on the 4th of July. It'll be good to see where I'm at in a month. Will I be walking part of this race? Unless an act of miracle happens, of course I will be. I'm looking forward to seeing where all of my training has taken me after only 6 weeks (at the time of the race) though.

Thank you mom! It's a great present! To anyone else, race entries right now are complete luxuries and while I know running isn't that exciting to most of you (and it probably sounds dangerous or a lot to some), just know that I really do love races. I'm not the fastest one out there by any means, but I love a little dash of competition here and there. I love seeing how training has paid off. Certainly this year, (even though it's only week 3) I am a lot more consistent and I can tell already. I would love some more feedback though occasionally. I think I need to get out there and start linking this blog onto the runner blogs that I read. When I say feedback I think I just mean encouragement. I guess some of this can get pretty boring because there aren't pictures. I know I'm also not currently right to an audience that runs so I don't expect too much, but you guys, I want to share in my happy excitement of these little moments.

Today's long run was not really long, but it was super challenging. I ran 3 1/2 miles instead of the 5 we were supposed to run because the route was treacherous. I can run up hills, but the Thurman hill up to the Leif Erikson trail is pure evil. It's a mile and 1/2 from the store to the trail head, with the first 1/2 mile being a steady elevation gain and the last part to the trail head is just nuts. Then once you get on the trail the first 2-3 miles are a pretty solid (steady) elevation gain. I went to trail marker 1/4 mile on the trail where I was supposed to go to mile marker 1, but I was just too tired to keep going. We also only had one pace leader for the 1/2 group and he seemed really concerned about his 10 minute pace and making up our time lost while we were struggling up the hill, on the down part. I decided to ditch him and I turned around and went back alone. I still feel accomplished and my legs are sore! My heart rate hadn't gotten that high in awhile, so I knew I wasn't ready for it.

Today I'm thinking a nice day of relaxing is in store. I got all of my supplies to make more granola bars and I have some salmon to cook up for dinner later. I may actually even nap today! All I know is that I'm about 5 times more tired than when I ran the 5 miles last week so rest is in store. I have a google offer I bought a few months back for a pedicure and manicure that I might go get because having my calves massaged right now would be amazing. My landlord has people outside fixing the french drain today, which hopefully means no more water in my bedroom! We shall see!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Birthday Present Race Entry? :)

Today my boss sat me down for a one on one meeting. He knows my job is incredibly stressful and while he wasn't saying, go look around, or change your attitude, he was saying that if I wasn't happy that I'm not chained to this job. It's nice to hear that though because I would feel incredibly guilty if I left. This makes me feel better if down the line something did come up, but I'm not looking. The funny thing is, I am more at peace with my job than I've been in a long while. Am I stressed out when I'm at work? YES. Do I carry the stress at home with me anymore? Almost never.

I think he is afraid I am just going to get up one day and quit and in that case he wouldn't be in a good position. Honestly, he wouldn't be in a good place even if if I made the decision to leave (with notice) because the thought of training someone all the inns and outs of my position is more overwhelming than leaving. I am 100% certain he doesn't want to see me go and he asked me what I did outside of work for stress relief, which is where running and this program I've taken came up.

It turns out his wife is running the Foot Traffic 1/2 Marathon and I was just looking at that race two days ago. It's on July 4th so the race would be sooner in my training schedule, so there would be definite walking, but it's also very flat and on Sauvie Island, which I haven't been to yet! I imagine that in a month I will be able to run a lot of this race, and it helps a ton because it's flat. The race also starts at an evilly early time (6:30am) but it will at least be cool an be over before it's too warm for the day. Of course I'm not running the marathon, but apparently this race has one of the highest percentages of Boston Qualifiers because of how easy the course is, so it sounds like some good training grounds for me.

Part of me is intrigued because Claire, his wife, is training alone (I think?) and from what little I do know of her I wouldn't mind seeing if she wanted to run sometime. I've only met her once but she seemed really nice. Bill doesn't know her training speed though so I asked him to ask her and also to ask her what her goal time was. If we're anywhere near one another I may try to reach out to her. My company is small and it wouldn't feel weird to run with the boss's wife or anything - and having someone else to run with sometimes would be much appreciated. I think there is a lot to learn from both sides - even if this is her first 1/2 (which I think it is).

There are two dynamics here: one is a shared passion for running (which is nice to be able to connect with others on!) and the other is the desire to show my boss what I am capable of and can do outside of the accounting world. I feel like he needs to see this side of me because I don't go home and sulk all night, like he may worry about me doing.

The race fee right now is my only barrier and why I didn't sign up earlier this week. The race is actually reasonably priced for a half marathon, even now, during the last month. It's $58 plus a shuttle bus from NW Portland for $6. I can't order a t-shirt until the day of, which is $12, but I doubt I'd order one anyway. I've been tight on cash over the last month from fixing my car and on Anise-care, so I've had to cut back on some fun races that I've wanted to join, but this would be a great bday present!! The registration is filling up fast though so to my family: I would love an entry for my b-day and I would be super excited to be able to run this race! This would be my first race running as a 29 year old! Eeeeek!

Sauvie Island is the largest island on the Columbia River, and it's really accessible to Portland. I'm not sure why I've never been because it's about 10 minutes from my work. I hear about how pretty it is and how I should go all the time. They have a lot of U-pick berry farms in the summer and corn mazes in the fall. The finisher's medal is really neat!

This is the website in case you're interested in checking out the activities/race stuff: Foot Traffic Flat Page.
Unfortunately most of the photos are watermarked from the photographers page, but you can click on the main page and view all photos to see some of them. Here are a few pictures of Sauvie Island from google images:

There are even nude beaches if you're into that kind of thing. Haha! (I'm not!). Seeing all these pictures (and there are so many more!) makes me wonder why I haven't gone out to visit the island yet! We even get fresh strawberry shortcake after the race. Yum!!

So family - this would be an awesome bday present. <3 My only thing is I don't have the money to sign up for this one now and would need to asap, before it fills up. My other birthday wishes are at least 2-3 more sports bras, a possible massage and a couple small 5k races! So there is my birthday list. I finally have one this year!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Week #3 - Track Workout and Injury Update

Last time I posted I mentioned a possible hamstring injury. The good news is that after yesterday's workout I don't think it's that bad, but it is something that I need to take into consideration. My main concern (and my coach's) was that because I had found some mild bruising in the area that could indicate a tear.

My coach had me do a strength test where I laid down on my stomach, bent my knee and pushed my foot/ankle back against his hand. He said that my right side was considerably less strong (about 1/2), plus I had a bit of pain doing that so we discussed how to modify my workout's if needed, to keep my fitness level up.

I planned to do the first part of last night's track workout at a slow pace and then see how I felt. It was our mile test again and I was told that if my pain level went above a 2 or 3 I needed to stop. I focused on my cadence and form, ignored my pace, and I was almost pain-free! I also ran that mile in 10:07, when I felt like I was going so much slower.

Since I felt good I kept on going with the workout! I just made sure to keep my effort level at what felt really easy and comfortable. Everyone else did 4 sets of 400 meter's at 80% (:30 rest) and then an introduction to speed work: 4 sets of 100 meters at 90% alternating with 100 meters at 60%. I ran everything but at lower efforts. All in all I completed 3.75 miles and my average pace during the core of the workout was a little bit under 10 minutes - which is nuts cause I didn't feel like I was expending much effort at all. I was telling Kim at the race on Saturday that whenever I expect pain I usually have a great run.

So I'm going to continue to be cautious but I think I might be alright! Instead of a hill run tonight I am just going to run to the track, run a 1/2 mile and then run home (2.5 total). The route is mostly flat. I'll see how I feel tomorrow to determine what group and route I am going to run with for Saturday morning.

Last night was the last time Anise and I were going to be able to spend time together until she comes back from her mom's. We got to spend Tuesday and Wednesday together and I will miss her dearly. I cried more than I want to admit saying goodbye - but her and I have a cell phone and we'll stay in touch. We have lots of plans for camping when she gets back too!! <3

I had another successful run! I took it easy and went a total of 4.2 miles, so I did go further than I planned. About .75 of that is walking though for my warm up/middle of work out lap around track/cool down. I didn't conquer any hills and kept my route flat and my pace about 10:30. It was a nice recovery run and I didn't have any hamstring pain - yay! I used the foam roller a few minutes ago and the spot is still sore, but I think if I just make sure to go a little slower for now I'll be okay. Whew!

I seriously love that it feels so easy and good to run most days. I love that I finish a lot of my workout's feeling energized and like I could keep going! Wahoo to positivity!

I made myself some collard greens the other day and am heating them up along with some rice right now for a quick dinner! I'm also working remotely for another hour tonight and then I'm going to head to bed early. Extra sleep tonight will be fabulous and tomorrow is a rest day! Yipee!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Moonlight 5 Recap - with pictures, ohhhh!

This Saturday I ran my first consecutive five miles without stopping to walk! I know I've run 2 half marathons so you're probably thinking, what is she talking about? But I have never been very good at being consistent and pacing myself. I tend to end up running a little too fast which causes my heart rate to shoot up and then I feel like I need to walk. I don't usually walk for long, on average it's probably 20-30 seconds, but the longer distances I run the more walk breaks I take.

Until this Saturday the longest run was about 4 1/2 miles last September, at the Eugene Women's Half, when I was running with the 2 hour 20 minute pacer. I was struggling though after 4 miles and the group pretty much left my sight during that mile. I ran a lot of that race but I also took a lot of walking breaks.

The race this weekend was so much fun! It was great to see Cliff and Kim again and I think we all did a fabulous job by beating our goal times. It was also a really pretty because of the luminaries and I secretly loved that the course was so flat.

The LED luminaries were neat and I can't imagine how long that took to set up! All the volunteers were full of energy and cheering. One guy even commented on my (good) form, which I took as a huge compliment. He actually said to his buddy, "wow, look at her form!" then to me, "you have really great form!" so I don't think he was saying it to everyone. My form isn't always wonderful but it is something I am conscious of and try to work on. It's also something that I felt was on point for Saturday because of how great I felt during the run.

I found a few pictures really nice pictures of the course online. The daylight picture is from someone on the Moonlight 5 crew from their facebook page and the two night pictures are credited to Stevi Sayler Photography.


Kim posted an entry about this race too on Lyddanish so many of these pictures are the same, but I am not sure who read's both of our blogs.

We all got a glow bracelet for the race and Kim went to the dollar store and bought us glow in the dark necklaces. (I owe you a dollar, Kim!) I opted for orange because orange is an awesome color. Kim went with a blue color scheme and Cliff picked yellow. I kinda was a bit restless a few hours before the race and ended up breaking one of the necklaces which leaked glow goop all over me. Kim and Cliff seemed concerned but I checked and glow stick goop is non-toxic. I did try to put a bandaid on it, because it was comical. I kind of wish the goop glowed on my skin but it didn't. It was also a sticky orange mess by the end of the race but since it was dark no one else noticed.

Here we are pre-race with our pre-race awesome pose. I was thinking NINJA, hence my stance. I'm glad Kim took some pictures. I am hesitant about race pictures but non running ones are okay. I think this one was pretty awesome.

There was some flash photography during the race, which I actually didn't mind too much because I was in such a good mood. They also weren't taking too many pictures. I did give one guy a big thumbs up and a grin, so he took my picture. I'm not sure where or when that will surface!

Overall I am really proud of all of us. We all had goals and beat them. Cliff held a pace just shy of 8 minute miles, which I was really impressed with. (I think his time was 39:19 and he was hoping for 40 minutes or less). He ran the stinkin' 5 mile miles in a slower person's 5k time. How crazy is that?

Kim's goal was an hour and 10 minutes and her posted time was 59:13, but really her time was right under 59 minutes. Her goal time seemed slow to me. I think she underestimates herself, cause she is totally kicking butt with running and she also ran the whole 5 miles without walking too - which is not something many people can do!

My goal was to come in under 52 minutes. I picked this because it was about the pace I ran the 4 miles last Saturday (10:30/mile), so I thought it would be a good goal. My posted time was 50:29, but the real time was 50:15. According to my Garmin, I ran 5 miles in exactly 50 minutes and the last 15 seconds were .02 of a mile. Funny! Either way, I was super excited and that meant that I ran the race at a 10 mile/min pace, which is beyond awesome. Progress!

This race wasn't chip timed, which for about 700 people that is kind of insane. It's a lot of work for the finish line people and one reason why results weren't posted until about 5pm the next day. At the starting line, Kim and I started back in the crowd a little bit. I didn't hit the start on my Garmin until we ran past the official start banner. I wasn't sure what the lag time was after they rang the cowbell (haha), but once my time was posted I saw that it was 14 seconds. Because I'm a numbers person, non-chip timed races kind of bug me, because seconds do matter (even if you're not competing for any award). This is probably why I like to time myself!

My splits were fairly even, with the slowest mile (10:20) being the first, because of the hoards of people to pass. My last mile was the fastest, at 9:35 and my recovery after the race was really quick. I felt amped up and full of energy. Honestly, I think I could have kept running because I felt so good and the weather was perfect. Here is myself, Kim and Cliff after the race (taken inside)

Since my goal was to run the whole race, I was conservative on my pace. I ran with what felt comfortable. There is usually a part when I'm running where I start to negotiate with my brain about how much more I can run before I walk. Just one more mile. Three more lamp posts. The next aid station... The coolest part was that I didn't have any of that.

I danced around a lot and stretched a bit inside while we waited for results. Kim took some silly pictures of me as I was basking in my runners high.

I kind of bombed today's workout though. I'm not sure what happened but my right hamstring kept spazzing up and it hurt really bad. If I've learned anything, the one thing is, if some pain surfaces while running that I've never had, I need to take it seriously and not push through it. I stretched, walked home and have been using my foam roller. I don't have any reason to believe anything bad happened, so hopefully by taking it easy and stretching I'll be feeling fine in no time!

Yay for fun races and running with family! And pictures!

Friday, June 1, 2012

I am loving this rest day

My energy levels today are pretty low. They were also pretty low yesterday too even though I got a bunch of great sleep. Last night I didn't sleep that well though because I've been feeling pretty sad since I just found out Anise will be gone for almost 3 months this summer starting next Friday. That's a long, long time and I don't really have much time to spend with her before she leaves. I stayed up pretty late last night thinking about it all.

Yesterday's run was a strength training run. So far the strength runs mean hill repeats and while they're super helpful, they take a lot of energy. I knew the only way I was going to get that workout in was if I did it in the morning, so I did. The work out was to run a 1-2 mile warm up and then 6-10 repeats of stairs or a hill. I picked a longer hill and since I was pressed for time I only ran a 1 1/2 mile warm up, did 4 repeats and then ran a 1/2 mile home.

Tomorrow morning is our long run and if I still feel this exhausted at 7am tomorrow I will skip it and sleep a bit more. We're having a short seminar before the run that I don't want to miss but I also know that sleep and rest are just as important in training. Idealistically, I'd love to go and run either the 2 1/2 or 4 miles at the 10 or 10:30 pace (depending on if they have a 10:30 pace leader again) and then run the 5 miles race at an 11 minute pace. I'm looking forward to the race but I'm not really thinking about it competitively or even as more than a pretty cool night run.

I'm about to leave work and relax for the night! These plans may or may not involve a piece of carrot cake. I do need to wash some laundry though, as I'm going through running clothes like crazy. I have more than enough everything except bras. You'd be surprised at how much a good running bra costs and how darn important those things are. It's kind of jumped up in priority level for the next thing I plan to buy once I am less broke. I would love to get another pass to the Adidas store as everything there is 50% off and I can score the sports tops I love for $20. I need to find myself an Adidas employee to hang out with. Hello lovely Adidas employees, please help a girl out! :)

Have a great weekend friends and family!! I am bringing my camera for tomorrow's event and I will try to capture the awesomeness that is glow in the dark running!