Wednesday, August 22, 2012

On Tempo

After the longest weekend ever, I am back on track. Before I get to today's workout, I'll give you a little recap of the past couple of days. 

On Saturday I had to be at work at 6 AM. Ugh...but I was done by 12:30 (supposed to be 11:45), but we had a lot of people working on DIY home projects this weekend I guess, and it was super busy. That night, I went to Slate's with my gal pals to celebrate Jill and Jess's birthdays. Dinner was delicious, but we were kicked out kindly asked to leave because they were waiting to seat a party of 30. Really, we weren't even offered another table elsewhere in the restaurant. So I was home by 8:30. Us running moms really know how to live it up on a Saturday night.

Sunday morning I had to be at work again at 6 for a staff meeting, but hey, I got two awards, so it was worth it. Then I had to go to my other job to work a double, so I got in a 16-hour work day and the last 12 hours I did not sit down once. Yup, I was sure tired when all was said and done. I had a long run of 16 miles set to do on Monday morning, but I really needed to recoup and my legs felt like they had done at least 16 miles from being on my feet all day, so I opted to rest and skip the long run this week. It was not going to be a quality run if I chose to do it and my training is not about the junk miles.

Fast-forward to today...

I had two options, my track workout or a tempo run. I really wanted to head to the track, but I was concerned about getting it all done in time. Driving to the track (even if it is less than 5 minutes away), is sometimes a hassle and I didn't think I was going to get it all in. So again like last week, I'm switching these two runs around. 

Today's tempo run called for one mile at an easy pace (9:32) and five miles at marathon pace (8:49). I just need to note here that I think an 8:49 marathon pace is insane. It's a good goal, but I'm not sure I'll be able to sustain that pace over 26.2 miles. Maybe I in your training, right? We'll see...

Anyway, this is how my run went - 

Mile one - 9:17 (nice and easy)
Mile two - 8:49 (ooh, right on the button!)
Mile three - 8:47 (excellent)
Mile four - 8:34 (even better)
Mile five - 8:35 (steady pace)
Mile six - 8:16 (seriously, this is uphill...I friggin' rock!)
Overall time - 52:22, 8:43 pace

This was a full minute faster than the week before. And it felt so easy! The difference? It was only 54 degrees. Oh, cool weather - I've missed you so badly. Can I carry that pace over 20 more miles? I'm really not sure, but I'm hoping it is cool like this morning on September 30th and we don't have some crazy heat wave that weekend. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

This Week in Training

The Maine Marathon is just over six weeks away! I just had to check that and I have to admit it got my heart rate up a bit with anxiety. Yikes, I'm really doing this thing. Like I said in my last post, I put that craptastic 22-miler behind me and had two decent runs since. I'm really hoping that one was my last. 

If Miss Zippy said it, it must be true. That lady is a smart cookie and knows her stuff. 

I gave myself an extra day of rest after said long run and swapped my runs, so I did my tempo run on Wednesday and my track workout today. 

Tempo - 1 mile easy, 4 miles @ marathon pace (8:49), 1 mile easy
My splits - (9:28) 8:51, 8:56, 8:42, 8:40 (8:44)

Track - 3x(2x1200m) @ 5:27 w/ 2:00 rest between intervals, 4:00 rest between sets
I underestimated the time it would take to complete this run, so I did 2 sets of 3 instead, basically meaning I rested less. And big surprise, I forgot to check my target pace, so I went on feel. It was a nice change this morning to have the temperature read 60 degrees. I had goosebumps at the start!
My splits - 5:38, 5:40, 5:42, 5:41, 5:41, 5:33
I was off my pace, but at least I stayed consistent. I was enjoying not struggling to breathe with the lower temps, instead of really pushing the pace. I'm still considering this a successful run as I was dreading this one a little, hence pushing it all the way to Friday.

Now for a little bit of fun tomorrow to celebrate Jill and Jess's birthday, then a long day of work on Sunday (6am-10pm), and a long solo run on Monday...I hope I make it!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Week Nine RUNdown

Week nine of marathon training was sure a mixed bag of running for me. Let's do a quick recap.

Saturday - L.L. Bean 10K (recap here)

Sunday - treadmill 5K (sweated all the beer out from the night before consumed at Ian's 20th high school reunion)

And because I apparently didn't sweat the day before.

Monday - 1500m run from the ferry to the cottage on Long Island because there was no room on the golf cart)

Tuesday - rest

Wednesday - sprints on the track (800, 400, 200, 100)
This was a fun one. While track workouts are a weekly occurrence, I don't run all out. This was a part of the Virtual Games at Run with Jess, as was every run this week. (Of course, my printer ran out of ink so I couldn't print out the scorecard, take a picture of me with it, and enter the giveaway, but it was fun to do anyway.)

Thursday - rest

Friday - 4 miles
Most successful road run in a while. Each mile got progressively faster (9:20, 8:51, 8:40, 8:26). Great run!

Saturday - rest

Sunday - 22 miles with Jen
The hardest run I've ever done. It was the furthest I've ever gone and the worst I've ever felt. The first 18 miles were great. Not easy in close to 100% humidity, but we were cruising right along. Then when we got to 18 miles, my body started shutting down. I ran out of water in my Camelbak and could not catch my breath. So we walked. My neck was aching and my head felt so heavy. My legs were cramping and it felt better to run, but I was gasping for breath. And we walked some more. And walked and walked. I wanted to just curl up on the side of the road. I might have if I was alone, but Jen helped me keep going. I started feeling a little light-headed and stopped a couple of times. We were so close to being done but it took so much effort to keep moving. Jen made a mention of making me an egg sandwich when we got back and while I love eggs, sometimes just the thought of them make me gag. That put me over the edge and I was sick. Lovely. I was grateful for it actually, because as soon as that episode was over, I felt great. Like night and day. For the run, we still managed just over 11-minute miles even with close to four miles of walking. It was also the first time I've ever run/walked for over four hours. Seriously, we runners are crazy. I was glad to be done with that one and I've already put that run behind me and am looking forward to the next one. I surely I can not wait for the fall and cooler weather. I hate humidity. It really, really sucks, but I will not quit.

Source: via Pauliene on Pinterest

Friday, August 10, 2012

Beach to Beacon 10K {Race Recap}

Last Saturday, I ran the 15th Annual Beach to Beacon 10K. It's taken quite a while to get this recap written! It ended up being a pretty warm day, to say the least. Temps were in the mid-80s with high humidity by the time it was over. While it was hot and humid the previous year, a lot of people thought it was worse this year. I didn't think it was, but given my performance, maybe it was. 

I rode down with Stacy, Jill, and Wade and we parked in South Portland to catch the shuttle into Cape Elizabeth to get to the start. They dropped us off a good half mile or more from the starting line, so we got quite the warm up in. I checked my bag and we hopped in a port-o-potty line and even had time for some stretching and relaxing before lining up. 

Everyone was responsible for self-seeding, so I tried to line up between the eight- and nine-minute-mile pace signs. I think for future races, they need to enlarge these areas a bit. There is corral fencing starting behind the nine-minute sign, so you have to get in before that. I walked up to where the eight-minute sign was, but there was no way I was going to squeeze in there. There was already a mob of at least fifty people or more outside the fence at this area. I headed back to where the fence started, but I couldn't even get in there. I was able to secure a spot right on the edge of the fence, so I was forced to seed myself between nine- and ten-minute miles. People were still forcing their way past to get into the mob, even though there was no room. Patience, people! 

Finally, we started moving, however we were so far back that no one ever heard a gun go off. It took a full three minutes to reach the starting line and that was when I pushed start on my watch. I was able to keep pace with a girl who was standing next to me at the start and I just followed her as she weaved through the crowd. Obviously, she was stuck in a slower pace group at the start too. It seemed much more congested this year than last and was a full two miles until I had some room. I know that I was stuck in a slower seed, but still I was passing people that were walking within half a mile of the start. I have no problems with walking, but seriously, I can't believe how many people are so rude to take up space of faster runners if you are going to be walking this soon into the race. Move to the back! One of my biggest pet peeves. 

There were water stops at every mile and I skipped the first one. I didn't feel too hot yet, and usually skip the first water stop. First mile split - 8:19. Slower than I was hoping for to PR, but it was as fast as I could go with the crowd. I did take water at mile two, but only a sip and dumped the rest down my back. Mile two split - 8:35. I let go of hopes for a 10K PR given the start and the heat, it just wasn't going to happen today. I was completely okay with it. 

I was still feeling good at the halfway point. I did walk through the water stop, and each one hereafter, and grabbed two cups - one to drink and one to dump down my back. Mile three split - 8:37 (about a 38-second cushion for a course PR). 

It is a beautiful course to run with quite a lot of shady parts, but the final two miles are the hardest with a few hills. I was still going strong holding onto hopes of a course PR at the mile four water stop, hitting a split of 8:32 (49-second cushion). And then it went downhill, my performance, not the course.

I found myself walking the hills. I hated doing it, but the heat was taking it's toll. It was harder to breathe, my legs were starting to feel fatigued, and I was fighting back nausea. Mile five was on a hill and was where photos were being taken, so I have my very first race picture of me walking.

I am still holding a cup of water here. (Photo courtesy Maine Running Photos)

Mile five split - 9:15. I'm still ahead of a course PR, but my cushion has dwindled to only 16 seconds.

Another hill and more nausea. Quite a few people are getting medical assistance on the side of the road. I entered the park and heard my name. I look over to see Reach the Beach teammate, Andy, cheering. This gave me a boost and I powered up the final hill only to be hit with another bout of nausea. Then I see Jen and Ward and head over to give her a high five and try not to puke on their shoes. Mile six split -  9:34. Argh... I somehow power it in for 1:33 on the last .2 and my second Beach to Beacon is complete. I missed a course PR by 20 seconds.

Under the arrow - at least I'm running in this one. (Photo courtesy Maine Running Photos)

I found Wade, Joe, and Jess (who finished way ahead of me), on the sidelines. The first thing they say, "you're not even sweating." I sure felt like I was, but was actually quite dry. I couldn't believe that I was dehydrated given all the water I was drinking two days prior and at four out of five water stops during the race. 

I picked up my medal. (So excited that they did medals this year! My first one for a 10K.)We got food, met up with everyone else (who totally rocked their races), took some pictures, and saw that the lines to get on the shuttles back to our cars were crazy long, so we walked the 2.5 miles back instead. I did almost 10 miles that day with all the walking before and after!

Me, Stacy, and Jill...just in case you can't read that on our bibs :-)
Joe, Jess, Me, Stacy, Jill, Wade
Mizuno represents! 

I'm so glad that Jill drove too, since we got to ride with the top down on the way back. All in all, a great race, I'll just have to do it again next year to get that course PR.

Final standings - 54:26, 8:46 m/m, 2347 out of 6107 overall, 109 out of 452 in age group (35-39)

Photos courtesy of Jen Boudreau unless otherwise noted.

Friday, August 3, 2012

What to Expect

Tomorrow I'm running the Beach to Beacon 10K in Cape Elizabeth. Last year, it was my second 10k ever and it was hard. Partly because I hadn't been running for very long, but mostly because it was ridiculously hot and humid and I hadn't much experience with hot-weather running. What I remember most was how badly my legs felt like bricks for the entire race. You can read that race recap here. While I've had fairly consistent training with higher miles than ever (with the exception of this past week), the weather promises to be hot and humid again. You'd better believe that I've been hydrating like crazy the last couple of days, so hopefully my legs will be ready to go. At the very least they will be well-rested from my major tapering of mileage this week.

So what do I have for goals?

A sub-50 10K. This was goal I set last year to accomplish this year. My current PR of 50:11 came at the Great Osprey Ocean Run in Freeport last November. While it would be great to reach this goal tomorrow, the weather will be a good 50 degrees warmer and without the nice dry air of a Maine autumn. I'm not completely discounting this goal for tomorrow. Anything can happen.

A course PR. This is a goal I hope to accomplish any time I repeat a race course. I'm hoping all the training I've done in the last year will pay off. Mentally, six miles is a relatively short distance compared to my long runs which have consistently been in the teens and above. The weather is a repeat of last year, so it will be in having more experience that I'm hoping will push me to be faster. It didn't work out at the L.L. Bean 10K last month, but being violently ill the night before kind-of messed up all hopes of PR-ing that course. I think this is a legitimate goal to have for tomorrow as my time last year was 54:06 or an 8:43 pace. I'll try to reach the lighthouse below as fast as a I can because - 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mid-Week Musings

In a few days I'll be halfway through marathon training. I have also finally made it official and registered for the race.

That being said, this week could be considered an epic fail in following my training schedule. I suppose I could list off a bunch of excuses, like:

  • staying up late to watch the Olympics (one night it was 2 am before I realized it)
  • summer laziness
  • the heat
  • adjusting my schedule to take into account other races (like the Beach to Beacon this weekend)

Most importantly, while I really am committed to this marathon, it is not the most important thing in my life. That belongs to my family. My dad finally got to come home a couple days ago since breaking and having surgery on his knee and the boys and I have been over here helping out and building ramps to enable him to get in and out of the car, the house, and bed. We just completed another one so he can get out onto the back deck and enjoy the beautiful weather we've been having. 

I had planned on doing a longish run yesterday to bring my monthly total to 100 miles for the month, but was having a serious lack of motivation. And it's just a number anyway. I still had my biggest running month ever at just shy of 90 miles.

This morning I had planned on hitting the track for some speedwork. I even slept in my running clothes to ensure I wouldn't make an excuse not to go. I got up with the alarm and to the sound of rain. Normally, rain would not stop me from a run. It is particularly refreshing with the summer heat. Unfortunately, when I looked at the radar, a very long stripe of dark yellow-orange was nearing my location. Very heavy rains and a possible thunder storm. intentions were good, but I'd rather be safe. Sure, I could have just run on the treadmill, but I was grumpy and slept until seven instead.

I will get my act together this weekend. I WILL run tomorrow to stretch my legs to be ready for the Beach to Beacon 10K. It's looking like it's going to be hot again this year, but I'm hoping to at least match my time if not do better. I'm curious how much taking this week practically off will affect my performance. At the very least, my foot, which has had nagging pain (I assume plantar fasciitis) feels better. First thing in the morning is the worst when I feel pretty much crippled as I go down stairs, until I move around a bit to stretch it out. I can still tell it's there, but I'd say it's 80% better than it was. Hopefully, taking this time off (still 60 days from the marathon) will help.

I'm off to go watch some more of the Olympics. I promise to not stay up too late!