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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Week One Done (at least mentally if not in actuality)

I've done all my workouts this week. I know that I actually have 3 more days before this week is over (at least that's how I consider weeks on my schedule) but the hard part is done. Friday is yoga (a delight), Saturday the group run (not too hard to motivate myself for that), and Sunday is rest, GLORIOUS rest.

But it's been an interesting week. I tried out a new yoga instructor who was, well... odd. At first I was excited about more yoga times and I worked out my schedule to run and do yoga afterwards (really benefiting from that stretching). Well we spent the first 15 minutes just breathing and moving our arms. And the dude liked to breathe - loudly and with enthusiasm. We were finally getting into some stretches when I had to leave early but I wasn't sad to do so. I'll give him another chance - you can't judge a yoga class by one session - but it may not find its way onto my regular workout schedule. Tomorrow's yoga is with an instructor I know and enjoy so no worries there.

Monday's run was pretty easy - 3 miles under 30 minutes (closer to 28 min actually). Tuesday was Ultimate Sculpt which kicked my arse last time but they had a sub who was much gentler with us. I wasn't sad about this since I am easing back into a full workout schedule again. I didn't really need to feel beat up again in the first week. Wednesday's 3 mile run was hard and much slower. I got it done but with walking breaks. My legs were weak and sluggish.

Then today = speedwork. Lovely speedwork that I dreaded all day. I tried to get it done at lunch but apparently students that "MUST BE SEEN RIGHT AWAY" always choose the lunch hour to show up at your office. So it was after 4 before I got over to the rec center. I'm doing most runs either inside or first thing in the morning since the heat is unbearable. I wanted speed work on the treadmill so that I wouldn't have to worry about pace or tracking distance.

Since my legs were so tired and wondering what the hell I was doing after 2 months of little running I started off with a jog around 2 laps of the inside track and then stretched before going to the treadmill.

Then it was (no incline at all this time):
1/2 mile at 12 mm (5 speed)
1/4 mile at 8:57 mm (6.7 speed)
1/4 mile at 12 mm (repeat 4 more times)
1/4 mile walking to finish cooling off.
Total run with pre-stretch laps was about 3.5 miles.

The speed work wasn't hard which tells me I wasn't doing it right. I either need longer distances at the faster speed or shorter breaks at the slower speeds. But once again I let the excuse of, "this is your first week back" drive my decision making process. Also I felt rather smug and self righteous while running since the t.v. above me was showing "Down Home with the Neely's" and the bowl of bacon-potato salad had to be about 3000 calories per serving (and yes it looked delicious).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Not the sporty type

It's hot again this week (high 90's, indexes in the 100's) so I did my mileage on the inside track yesterday. It's more boring but you're less likely to melt on the hot asphalt. This week also happens to be some type of Jr High Girls' Basketball Camp so the rec center is overrun with basketball players. It's brought back some painful memories of my stint as a Jr High Basketball player.

In 7th grade I had the unfortunate experience of going to a small private school whose only requirement for you to play in the Jr High girls' division was that you were a girl and in junior high. Skills mattered not.

So there we were, a sad group of players (some of whom were actually afraid of the ball), forced to run up and down the court against teams that actually had people who knew what they were doing. We lost. A lot.

And the running - always running.

Not leisurely long distance runs where you keep your heart rate at a certain beat. No! Up and down until you puke because we don't have enough players to ever bring in an alternative.

Not that I ever puked. But I felt like it. Needless to say, this experience did not instill a love of sports into my teenage mind. My 8th grade year we moved to a new town and I did not participate in any sports. I had enough.

So now 20 years later as I circle above the girls running back and forth across the court I feel two things. 1) Thank God it isn't me anymore. 2) I wish I would have had a better experience and not ended up a size 16-18 in high school.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Since I didn't perish...

That means I'll have to go ahead with my 1/2 marathon training plan this summer. This is the first week of training and it's pretty easy mileage wise. But I'm perfectly happy with it being easy since I slacked off so much during the last month. My quads are still a little sore from Saturday's run but overall the soreness wasn't too bad. I'm going to lose a toenail again - the same one I always lose (and yes my shoes are big enough). That toe will never be the same I fear.

So here's the plan (and I'm stickin' to it):
Monday - 3 miles (easy) and yoga
Tuesday - Ult Sculpt (a truly evil and wonderful class)
Wedneday - 3 miles (easy again but I'll make easy=9:30 mm)
Thursday - Speed: 1/2 m warm up, then 1/4m speed & 1/4 m rest (repeat 5 times), 1/2 m cool down = 3.25 miles. I want my speed runs to be 9 mm this week.
Friday - yoga
Saturday - 4 miles long - the plan is for 10:30 mm but this is my first group run so I might just go with the flow to test things out.
Sunday - rest/walk (and clean house like a mad woman - family is coming to visit)

Total Miles: 13.25

Saturday, June 19, 2010

RC Cola and Moonpie 10 Miler

Sunrise on June 19th - heading towards Bell Buckle, TN. Home of the RC Cola and Moopie Festival and my possible death from heat exhaustion (though here's a spoiler alert - I didn't die). It's about a 1/2 hour drive from my house to this place. The race started at 7 am but there was no pre-race pickup so everybody got their stuff that morning. I had never been to Bell Buckle so I left my house way too early. But it was better this way because I never felt rushed or worried about getting things done on time.

When I got into Bell Buckle my first job was to find someplace to park. I looked through the website and race materials but never found any information about where to park. I really wish they would have included, "Parking anywhere within a mile of the race will cost you $5." I had no cash on me and the town is so tiny there's no readily available ATM's (that I could see anyway). So I kept driving up the road and finally found a parking lot for the private school that had no signs on it. It was a good 1/2 mile up the road which was no big deal BEFORE the race. But the town of Bell Buckle is charming and has a lot of cute little shops. I really should go back someday when I'm not sweaty and gross.

They had a lot of port-o-pots that were only semi-nasty and I made use of them before the race. I drank a lot more before the race than I usually do so I could stay hydrated. Normally my strategy is to not fill my bladder before-hand. As since there were no other port-o-pots on the course it became a long 10 miles and bit awkward when I starting coughing on some water.

The start and finish of the race were in two separate areas. The start line was a bit disorganized but I just joined a crowd and went with the flow. Since I had no goals for time it didn't matter to me how slow they started. I was found by another Running Mama from an online community I chat in and it was nice to chat with someone before the race.

Also before the race, as I was posting on Facebook about my questionable choice of running this race, I listened in to a conversation between this guy and his grandsons. He warned them that if he passed them they were going slow and that he was going to be running 12 mm. I figured I probably shouldn't let him pass me either. But the grandsons cracked me up - typical high schoolers that run in anything as evidenced by the shoe below.

The race started right on time and headed down the main drag of town and out into the countryside. The weather was pretty nice at the beginning but more humid than I originally thought it would be. The sun was mostly obscured by some clouds but I knew it wouldn't last long. About a mile into the race the road dipped down and I was able to get a good shot of the crowd in front of me. I normally don't take my camera with me on a race but since it didn't matter if I stopped to take pics I brought my new BlackBerry with me to take some pics to share and remembered the experience.

After the second mile the hills got worse. From miles 2-5 it was just up and down and up and down and up and down (you get the point). I found the cow crossing sign amusing. It was close to here that a local had out his water house and dosed anyone that wanted it. Blessed townsfolk!

But then came mile 4. I knew that at mile 4.5 there was one BIG hill. And here it was. I had chatted with another girl who was also looking for it and suddenly I could see some people above us and thought, "crap they weren't lying about the hill." I didn't get a good picture of the hill that truly showed its incline so I drew this picture as an accurate portrayal:

*Notice the Running Angel floating off to heaven.

I got to mile 5 right at 1 hour. I started off with 1 mile= 10:50, 2 mile= 22:00, 3 mile= 34:??, 4 mile=46:??. So you can see that hill in mile four really ruined my splits. :) But I wasn't even going to attempt any jogging up that hill. It was rotten enough to walk it. After mile 5 most of the road was flat but it was far less shady. There were some stretches that the sun just beat down on you. At this point all clouds had gone away.

But then another Blessed Townsfolk! He had some kind of farm equipment with a spray. I took off my iPod and went under that thing twice. I was just going to do it once but it felt so good that I quickly turned around and went right back under it. It raised all our spirits for a while. But in mile 7 I lost my 12 mm splits again and had to accept the fact that I would be over 2 hours. I had gotten to the point where I occasionally felt a chill (which I figured was a bad sign on such a hot day) so I wasn't pushing myself at all. I had brought 3 6 oz bottles with me (2 with Nuun tablets and one plain water) and I took cups at every water station (miles 2, 4, 6, 8, & 9). I also had GU Chomps to help with energy and I'm very glad I took them. My stomach handled them much better than the Jelly Sport Beans and they were easier to eat while I ran.

At mile 7.5 we turned onto a new road and suddenly there was shade again (Praise Jesus) but there were also some hills too (#$%@). I forwarded to my favorite songs and picked up the pace on mile 9. I passed a gal that wanted us to run together. I was fine with that but she couldn't keep up so I let her go. And then there was the finish line.

They totally screwed up my name but I'm used to that. And I prepped myself to prop one foot up on the stool to get my timing chip off. I remember the first race I did I almost fell over when I put my foot up there.

I was happy to be this close to 2 hours (2:01:02). I haven't looked at official results yet but I'm sure it will be about the same. I was about a minute behind the gun time every time I passed a course clock. It certaintly wasn't my best race ever but I really enjoyed not having any pressure on trying to finish at a certain time. I could enjoy the course and didn't feel like death at any point of the run. So upon reflection I think I should have at least one race each year that I do just to enjoy it and have fun.

Right after I crossed the finish line I went to get my t-shirt. They handed them out before the race but I didn't want to hike back up to my car or carry it with me. After getting my shirt I waited in line for food. It was some good grub though I didn't see any RC Cola's. I ate my food, used the ports one more time, and then started back towards my car.

It was at that point that I looked up and saw big dark clouds forming and thought, "Really? Now it gets dark and cloudy? Thanks for nothing weather."

Friday, June 18, 2010

Last Will & Testament

It could be worse I realize that. All week long the temps have been in the upper 90's with heat indexes in the 100's. Brutally hot. So upper 70's to mid 80's with low humidity tomorrow morning sounds pretty darn delightful.

I have Nuun tablets & GU Chomps along with ultra strong (overpriced) sunscreen - apparently worn by surfers so you KNOW it's good...

This is not a race to prove anything time wise - just that I don't have to use hot weather as an excuse to not run. I will jog/walk and aim for 12 mm. I should not be the last one on the course though I will be pretty far back. And it doesn't matter because the only reason I'm still doing this race to prove that I can finish it - not to prove that I'm improving as a runner.

But in the case that I don't finish it because I'm whisked up to that big running trail in the sky; I am willing these things out to my small audience:

To Jen - my running mix on my iPod shuffle.

Uhhh does anyone else read this? :)

I guess my husband will have to dig through the shoes and race t-shirts and divvy things up himself. Ugh the hassles of not doing any estate planning. Really I should have thought ahead.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


As promised it's time to consider the perfect hat for your summer running needs. There are many things to consider.

1) Should I go "green" and try to recycle materials I already have in my home?

2) Did you pick your hat after one too many tequilas on a Saturday night? (though I must admit the shading options given by sombreros are fantastic).

3) Do I want to win friends on the race course by showing I'm a funny person or would I risk being tripped as they get mad about being reminded that they're hungry?

4) Nothing proves you're a proud American by showing your patriotic pride. After all Flag Day was this week.

5) Or do you just go with the technical dry fit fabrics in an overpriced visor?

In the end I went with the boring practical choice (except mine is in neon green). I found that regular hats are making my head too hot but I still wanted shade for my eyes. I also wanted to get the right materials to "wick" the moisture away. So $20 later I have what I hope will be the right hat. I'll let you all know.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Today's 4 mile run (well more like 3 mile run with about 1 mile of agonizing walking breaks sprinkled in) was an experiment in "what works during hot runs?"

First, I had previously decided to only run three miles but then pushed it up to four. Bad mistake - I would have been better with three miles.

Second, I ran at a "normal" pace and let myself walk for whatever time I had before reaching the 12 mm mark. For example, I ran the first mile in 10:20 and then walked for 1:40. Then for the second mile I reached that mile marker at 20:10 and was able to walk for longer. While I enjoyed the walking breaks I was beat after that second mile. I need to really focus on running slower for the 10 mile race if I want to finish. Today's temps were close to 90 (with a heat index close to 100) while I was out running and I chose a section with less shade because the race course won't have much shade. Temps for next weekend currently are forecasted to be about the same as this weekend. Hooray....

Third, I wore shorts today and lathered up with Aquafor before the run. While I didn't have any issues with chaffing I still didn't like the feeling of shorts. They still bunch up on the inside of my thighs and my stride changes as I try to adjust the way they rub together. For the race I'll wear either my blue under armour capris (featured in most of my running pics) or my newer black Reebox capris (featured a few posts back). I don't want the black capris in the heat but they have a zipped pocket in the back which is handy. I may however, end up wearing my water bottle belt so I won't really need the pocket... There will be water stations every two miles but there may be points where I need a small sip or a chance to dump water over my head to cool down so I'll want the extra water.

As for my shirt I've enjoyed the new singlet I bought as it's quite airy. But I fear the sun exposure over 2 hours. My other tech shirts though might be too warm. I need something in between but will probably not be able to convince the hubby of the need to buy a new shirt within the next week. :)

I'll dedicate a whole post later this week regarding which hat would be best to wear.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Not so much a race but a horrifying long run

Yes, a lack of posts means that I haven't done a lot of exercising in the last month. But I'm still running the 10 mile RC Cola and Moon Pie race next weekend - you know the one that's "hot as hell and has hills that make grown men cry." My only hope is not to be carted off by the DNF van or ambulance around mile 6 or 7. I have no goals for time though I hope to keep it around 2 hours total (12 minute miles). But if I go slower than that it will be ok as long as I end up finishing at some point.

I ran 5 miles today in the extreme heat and humidity. It was pretty brutal. Towards the end when I started to feel sorry for myself I was reminded that if I felt that bad at 4.5 miles then just imagine how much worse 8 miles would feel. It was uplifting for a moment. I think the image of myself at 8 miles next weekend was my body sliced open on asphalt with vultures pecking away at my innards. Made how I was feeling at that moment almost like being on a spa vacation.

After the race my 1/2 marathon training plan officially starts so I'll get back on a weekly schedule and will start group long runs on the weekends. It will be a nice change to run with other people and get some coaching. I also look forward to the accountability of staying on track over these gross summer months. My goal for the Oct 1/2 will be to run it under 2:15 (just under 10 minute miles). I was on pace for this back in April but have to get back into the grove after being lazy for a month.

But I don't feel wrecked after my 5 mile run today. It was gross while I was out there but I felt fine afterwards. So I'm going to run again tomorrow, Tuesday, and Thursday - keeping between 3-5 miles for each run. I'm not worried about getting a lot of miles this week, just getting my body adjusted to the heat more. Monday and Wednesday will be cross training and Friday a rest day (maybe yoga at lunch). Sunday will be dedicated to hobbling around while on massive amounts of painkillers - both for the pain and to kill the memories of the horrifying long run/race.