Saturday, February 27, 2010

It's 8 Miles To The Donut Shop

Despite all the odds being against us after getting 17 inches of snow in New York on Thursday night and it snowing for most of the day Friday, Drew and I actually made it to Michigan on Friday night - on time! We took our time getting to the airport figuring that there was no way our plane would leave on time and instead of having to wait around for hours and hours, we walked right onto the plane and flew away!

Saturday morning we had made plans to go for a run with my friend Ann. She's also training for a half-marathon and needed to get some miles in. Drew came along with us for the first part of our run and snapped a couple pictures of us running:

Ann asked me before we left New York if I had YakTrax. I told her that since I live in a major metropolitan area, I never really need them, since most sidewalks in New York are clear the majority of the time, even after a big snowstorm. She ended up finding an extra pair for me to wear, which ended up being really great. The road that we're running on in the picture above wasn't too bad, but it definitely varied from street to street - and sometimes from house to house. (Drew had to suffer through his run without them and managed okay, I think).

After we dropped Drew off, Ann and I set off on a tour of downtown Ann Arbor. Which turns out to be hillier than I remembered or ever really noticed before. I had told her that since there is such a monster of a hill in my half-marathon from mile 6 to mile 7, that I need the practice, and she definitely delivered a route with some serious hills.

Because of the terrain in some spots and just tiredness in others, we ended up taking a couple walking breaks. I have to tell you that running in snow is definitely a lot harder than I would have anticipated it being. I was actually really nervous about today's run because of my horrible experience on Thursday with my running shoes where I was just done with the whole thing. I ended up taking my older shoes with me to Michigan, since I figured that they might have a couple more miles left on them and it turned out that I was correct on that one (thank goodness!).

My feet, legs and knees still felt great when we were done with the run, so it was nothing like Thursday's disastrous run that made me want to quit all together. This is us, after the run, still smiling:

It was really, really nice to have someone to chat while while running instead of just being out there on a long run by myself. Too bad I couldn't convince her to do this half-marathon with me (although she's much faster than I am, so I don't think we would have run together anyway!).

After running almost 9 miles in total, Drew, Ann and I hit up my favorite donut shop in Ann Arbor (don't worry - only two of those donuts are mine!) as a treat. I also had a chocolate milk because I thought that would be a bit more of a recovery treat than two donuts.

As a side note, I didn't take anything to eat or drink on the run and actually felt okay. But it was pretty slow going the whole time, so maybe that's part of it. I was definitely ready for my donuts when we got them!

As far as wrapping up this week and the month of February, I definitely didn't make my mileage goal for the week, but as soon as I get new shoes, hopefully that will change for the next two weeks. I also had wanted to finish up my weight lifting book this month, and didn't do that either. I'm only going to say that I'm going to keep that in the back of my mind and try again next month. However, I did run 90.30 miles this month, which is definitely an all time high, so I'm pretty proud of that, even if I did miss out on some miles in this plan.

Time: 1:55:53
Distance: 8.91 miles
Pace: 12:54
Calories: 1485
Maximum HR: 187
Average HR: 175

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sigh. I Quit.

Wednesday was a well-deserved rest day after 4 days of running. That meant that today was back to the grindstone. Except that I didn't really feel like getting up this morning to go running. Which was okay, because I felt like I had a new tactic in going to the gym after work. I'd simply wait a bit (like an hour or so after getting home from work) and hope that it thinned out a bit by the time I got there.

Turns out that's not really the case. It's just busy all the time in the evenings, I guess. Either way, I was determined that since I had gotten back on the plan on Tuesday that I'd continue that trend tonight. Which meant that the plan was 6 miles, including 4 x 2:00 AI + 6 GP. Okay - that's not too bad. I figured I might just go ahead and skip those intervals, but I actually don't mind the pick-ups, so I figured I would do 6 miles + 6 pick-ups.

Except my lower body didn't really feel like that tonight. I've been thinking for a while now (about a week or so), especially as I've watched that mileage ticker increase over there on the right hand side, that I was probably about due for new shoes. My shins have not been all that happy, my arches have not been all that comfortable and my right knee seems to be weird every now and then. All of this adds up to the fact that when I started running tonight, it was bad. Everything that could hurt did hurt.

I tried slowing down from 6.0 to 5.0. I tried taking the incline down to 0%. I tried walking for a few minutes. Nothing helped. After two miles, I realized that this was an exercise in futility and I should just quit. And that's what I did. I'm not proud of it and in fact, I'm annoyed at myself for not realizing the shoe thing earlier (or, more accurately, not acting on it and buying new shoes!).

So, I'm a quitter. I went from thinking that 32-34 miles this week was actually obtainable to thinking that I'll be lucky to hit 20 miles this week. And I'm really frustrated about that. Of course, it's snowing like crazy here in New York and we're supposed to be going to Michigan this weekend to visit my family and friends, so if we do in fact actually get to fly there tomorrow night, I won't have time to buy new shoes this weekend. If we don't get off the ground and spend the weekend here, my first order of business will be to head to Jack Rabbit and get myself some new Mizunos!

Time: 24:22
Distance: 2.00 miles
Pace: 12:11/mile
Calories: 258
Maximum HR: 172
Average HR: 157

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Back To The Plan

Since it was raining this morning (and all day!), I decided to skip the Terrier run this morning in favor of going to the gym later on. Which meant that I thought that I should try to get back on the plan. Today's plan was: 3 miles / 2 x [2:00, 3:00, 4:00] AI / 2 miles. I haven't done any real aerobic intervals in quite a while, so I really wasn't looking forward to those at all.

I did the first three miles pretty slowly. I frankly am starting to feel like I'm moving backwards on my running times. I think I used to average more around 10:00/mile and now I'm getting slower? Is that even possible? I've mostly decided that I don't really care as long as I can finish this half-marathon. At this point, endurance seems more important that speed. Maybe I'm taking the wrong approach on that, but I'm okay with it.

I did the first set of intervals at 6.2. I pretty much hated the 4:00 interval. I know that you're technically supposed to return to a slow jog in between the intervals, but I just walked instead. At this point, what is the difference between my slow jog and walking? I did the second set of intervals at 6.3 and again hated the 4:00 interval. That is a really long time!

I was supposed to finish up with 2 more miles, but I could only convince myself to do one more. And then as I was realizing that made my total for the day 6.75 miles, I talked myself into making it an even 7.00 for the day. I probably could have talked myself into doing one more, but sometimes you just have to call it quits. I am pretty proud that I did most of the plan. That's a change from the past week or so!

Running #1
Time: 32:21
Distance: 3.00 miles
Pace: 10:46/mile
Calories: 388
Maximum HR: 177
Average HR: 169

Aerobic Intervals
Time: 30:09
Distance: 2.75 miles
Pace: 10:57/mile
Calories: 360
Maximum HR: 183
Average HR: 168

Running #2
Time: 2:35
Distance: 1.25
Pace: 10:03/mile
Calories: 143
Maximum HR: 177
Average HR: 168

Monday, February 22, 2010

Quick Recovery Run

This morning Drew and I had both set our alarms for the gym. He got up before me, as usual, but about three minutes later crawled back into bed saying that he wasn't going to go today. I decided that I should just go ahead and follow his lead and sleep in too.

I went off to work and had a fairly ordinary day. Except I couldn't stop thinking about running. I don't know if it was some sort of runner's high from yesterday or what, but I actually really wanted to go running today. Most times I don't dread it, but I also don't necessarily look forward to it either.

So, I rushed home from work, changed clothes, and headed off to the gymnasium. I guess I haven't been there in a while because they moved the treadmills around! My most favorite treadmill (type and position) has been replaced by one of the fancy-schmancy new treadmills. Eek! All I want is the old treadmill to be placed on the end.

That treadmill in the best location was taken anyway, so I settled for one of the medium-old treadmills. My plan was to run 4 miles as a recovery from yesterday. I ended up doing a bit of a running-walking combo where I ran 0.90 miles and walked the last 0.10. I did that for a total of three miles.

I thought about calling it quits then, but I just had four miles stuck in my head, so I decided to do some pick-ups for the last mile. I did five pick-ups at 10.5. I am actually not quite sure how long they were as I didn't realize until after the second one that the clock was counting down, not up, and it was no wonder I was confused about the timing.

I spent the vast majority of my time on the treadmill telling people who got on the one next to me that it was broken. I found it really fascinating to see who would trust me and believe me without pressing the buttons for themselves and who would have to try it out. I have to say that I'm not sure which camp I'd fall into. Probably depends on the person who told me. Maybe I don't look all that reliable?

Initially my plan for tomorrow was to get up early and run with Terrier, but I'm not 100% sure that will actually happen. I'm on my way to a birthday dinner in Brooklyn and getting up early depends a great deal on when I get home. Plus, truth be told, I looked at the website and they have a short run planned for tomorrow and I could really use a longer one, so it might be in my best interest to do my own thing.

Time: 31:34
Distance 3.00 miles
Pace: 10:30/mile
Calories: 394
Maximum HR: 1191
Average HR: 173

Time: 9:55
Distance: 1.00 mile
Pace: 9:55/mile
Calories: 118
Maximum HR: 184
Average HR: 169

Sunday, February 21, 2010

If I'd Known, I Would Have Worn Spandex

This morning I took advantage of the fact that I didn't really have to do anything today other than run and I slept in until about 10. Then I dragged myself out of bed, ate a bar and had some Gatorade and then got sucked into the TV for the next hour and a half. I didn't force myself outside until about noon. I just walked to the park because I figured that I would get enough running in without the extra mileage running there and back.

When I left the apartment, it was 41 degrees and sunny. I wore tights, shorts, thin long-sleeved shirt and windbreaker and shoved my gloves and hat in my pocket just in case. I also got to wear sunglasses! Also in my pockets were a couple of dollars as well as 3 full-sized Fig Newtons. I had tried the mini Strawberry Newtons before, but this would be my first time with the regular ones. Each one is 55 calories, so I had brought along a total of 165 calories.

Since this week was sorely lacking in the mileage department, I decided that it was time to test my legs and try out a double-digit run (my very first!). My plan was to run from the southwest corner of the Park up and over the Harlem Hill, down the west side, cross the 72nd Street transverse and then back up to 102nd Street and then all the way back down the west side back to where I started. Essentially, I made a circle within a circle.

I started out really slowly. I knew that today was less about time and more about breaking that mental barrier between 9 and 10 miles. I don't know exactly where all the mile markers are in the park, so that makes it easier to just plod along in complete bliss and not worry about how fast you're going per mile.

When I got to the Harlem Hill, I was running down the hill near Lasker Pool and there were three girls out walking. The oldest one seemed to be high-school aged and was probably with her younger sisters from what I could tell. They were sort-of goofing around and making fun of the runners who were passing them. When I was running by, I heard the oldest one say "If I had known I'd be running, I would have worn my spandex". Which really made me laugh, because in actuality, very little of what I was wearing was really spandex. (I'm such a dork that I actually checked this when I got home and my tights contain 12% spandex and my sports bra 8% and everything else is some sort of polyester - rayon blend). Next time I'll try to be all decked out in 100% spandex!

I will say that the best part of my outfit had to have been my Marilyn Monroe socks. I figure that on long journeys like this, it's best to have someone there with you - even if it is just on your socks. In case you're wondering, this is what my socks look like:

Drew's mom and dad actually sent me those socks a while ago and Marilyn and I have had some other good adventures together. However, just recently, my mom sent me an e-mail with this photo of Marilyn and JFK, so I think she was just on my mind:

After running about 5.6 miles, I was back at the 72nd Street transverse and I stopped to buy a water from the vendor on the corner. I knew that I wouldn't get through the rest of my run without some water. I ended up taking 2 walking breaks of 2:00 each to eat my Fig Newtons. I thought they were pretty good. Sweet, but not too sweet, and chased down with water, they weren't dry at all. I'm definitely thinking that they'll be my nutrition plan for the half-marathon. Especially since I don't have any of the issues that I have when taking gu or gu-related products.

After getting my water and heading back again, I was just thinking that I couldn't believe that I was really doing 10 miles today. I think that keeping a slow and steady pace really helped me not get too tired out in the beginning and having the Newtons definitely helped give me an extra little boost.

However, I don't know if they were quite enough. I just happened to look at my watch after I had burned about 1100 calories and it wasn't long after that point that I think I went a little bit crazy. I don't remember where I was exactly, but I was making my way back down the west side of the park. I was definitely getting a bit tired by this point, so I just started talking to myself. Normally I think about a lot of things while I'm running, but this time I just started talking out loud.

My dialogue went something like this, "This is easy!" "You don't need to stop again!" "You're incredible for doing this today." "This is easy!" "Lots of people out here walking today won't ever even run 1 mile and you're doing 10!" "This is easy!" "This is easy!"

The "this is easy" comment was definitely my mantra for the last mile or so. I just kept repeating it to myself. I also realized that talking to yourself out loud actually might not be as crazy as it seems since so many people are wearing iPods that they weren't paying any attention to me anyway and I had seen several people running and talking on the phone, so I couldn't be any crazier than they were.

In the actual plan from Runner's World for the half-marathon, the maximum that they have you run is 10 miles. I built in a week where I run 12, but that's really for my own mental benefit during the race. I think that doing 10 miles today really proved to me that this half-marathon is within reach and I still have a month to go!

This coming week is a little bit tough because I'm supposed to be aiming for 32-34 miles total this week and I'll be out of town over the weekend. I am planning on going running on Saturday while I'm out of town, so that'll be nice to get one long run while I'm away, so I don't know how well the rest of the week will go with following the plan. I figure as long as I can come close to the total for the week, I should be all set. (Fingers crossed!).

Time: 1:52:40
Distance: 10.20 miles
Pace: 11:02/mile
Calories: 1421
Maximum HR: 188
Average HR: 174

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Running for Haiti

This morning I was all excited for the New York Road Runner's Run for Haiti. It was a 4-mile run and I had been planning on just going out and really pushing myself hard and finishing under 40 minutes. The race was scheduled to start at 9:00. I walked to the park and then jogged from the bottom of the park up to the corral for 10-minute milers. I got into the corral at about 8:45, so I thought that was pretty good as I didn't think I'd have long to wait.

Except that there were 10,000 some people in the park who were also going to be Running for Haiti. The good news in that fact is that close to half a million dollars were raised to go towards the relief effort. The very bad news is that this was not a race to be setting any sort of time goals or personal records. Here's a good picture to give you some sort of indication as to how many people were there:

I had a really slow start. I didn't even cross the start line until 9:15, which meant that I was pretty cold by the time I got going. It was about 40 degrees and sunny, which was nice, but still not very warm when you're standing around waiting. I wore tights, shorts, a short-sleeved shirt, long-sleeved shirt, windbreaker, hat and gloves. Once I was actually running, I'm not sure I needed all that and ended up taking my hat and gloves off, but I was glad that I had it for standing around and especially for walking home after the race.

My first mile was over 10 minutes, which was really frustrating to me. I had thought that it might be smart to run on the inside of the road, but there were a lot of walkers and puddles of melting snow to dodge there. My second mile ended up being just about 10 minutes, slightly faster than the first. Somewhere after mile 2, I realized that no matter what, the race just wasn't going to thin out and open up for better running conditions. This was also about the time that I got pushed in the back while running. Granted, I understand that because it was so crowded that there was going to be a lot of knocking of shoulders and elbows, but this was different and was a literal push from behind, which I didn't think was so cool.

By the time I got to mile 3, I was just over the whole thing. There was a fluid station, so I got a cup of water and walked while I drank it. I knew that there was no way that I would be setting a PR, so I might as well just accept this race for what it was. I thought a lot about my half-marathon next month and how I have some time goals in mind for that race as well. I wonder if I should just throw those out the window so that I don't become as frustrated as I did today. I think it might be in my best interest to just tell myself that I'm going to do my best under the conditions of the race, whatever those may be. At least, that's my plan right now.

Once the race was over and I was walking home, I heard a lot of people complaining about the same thing that I had been frustrated with. A couple of guys who were aiming for 6-minute miles said that they had trouble with 6:45-minute miles. So, I guess I should be happy that I wasn't that much slower than my ideal time.

I will say that while this wasn't the race I was planning on having this morning, it was a good learning experience for me. I think that's probably a good thing overall. Even though I'm disappointed in myself and my times, I know that I can't really blame myself and I did the best I could under the conditions of the race. If I had pushed people out of my way, perhaps I could have done it under 40 minutes, but that extra 1:07 isn't the end of the world.

Time: 41:07
Distance: 4.00 miles
Pace: 10:16/mile
Calories: 532
Maximum HR: 191
Average HR: 172

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Swim: Cancelled Run: Game On

This morning I had planned to go swimming again with Laura, but she was up really late working, so she had to cancel our plans. When I woke up and figured that out, I thought I'd just go back to sleep instead of getting up to go running. Which meant that I had to go running after work. I actually was okay with that since I found my Road ID, so that meant that I'd feel better about running in the park.

The weather wasn't too bad today - about 40 when I went running, but there were some really gusty winds that cooled things off. I wore tights, shorts, short-sleeved shirt, long-sleeved shirt and my windbreaker. Plus gloves and a hat. When I first started, I was a tiny bit warm, but as I went on, I ended up being just right.

I ran from home to the park and then went from the bottom of the park up to the New York Road Runners headquarters in order to pick up my t-shirt and number for the Run for Haiti on Saturday. It's a 4 mile race and the proceeds go to the Haiti earthquake victims. So, I ran the the headquarters (2.5 miles) and picked up my stuff. I had figured that the t-shirt would be long-sleeved and I could just tie it around my waist on the way home. Except that it was short-sleeved instead. Since I didn't really feel like carrying it while I ran home, I tied it in a knot around my wrist and that worked out perfectly.

I started running back home and by the time I got to the end of the park (2.0 miles), I really wanted to keep going and do the 5 miles total, but I just couldn't face running on the sidewalks and running through pedestrian traffic for that extra half mile. I really love New York City, but sometimes I just want to punch pedestrians in the face. This is not a good attitude to have, especially when tired and hungry, so I decided just to walk home from the park.

This week has been pretty bad in terms of keeping up with my mileage, I know. The good news is that the weird pain I was having on the side of my leg seems to be better now, so I'm glad I didn't run and chance aggravating it more. As of right now, my plan is to do this 4 mile Run for Haiti on Saturday and do a nice long run on Sunday and call it a week. I'm not going to stress out about this. I've done really well all the other weeks and I think I can take a slightly more restful week this week. I'll get myself back on track next week!

Time: 45:59
Distance: 4.50 miles
Pace: 10:10/mile
Calories: 566
Maximum HR: 204
Average HR: 172

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wait, I Need Those Flags!

First, Vegas was a ton of fun! We did some shopping, saw a show, gambled very little, ate a lot and generally had a good time. The only negative thing I can say is that on Monday morning, I woke up with a very weird pain in my left leg. The best way to describe where it is would be if you placed your fingertips on your ankle, it's about where the end of your palm is on the outside of my leg. I'm convinced it's some sort of muscular thing, but it's just a weird spot and it's a little troubling that this happened while I was taking 3 rest days in a row!

Yesterday I really had planned on going running with Terrier. However, when I woke up to snow falling and continuing leg pain (it hurts when I take a step walking, so running seems like not the greatest idea), I decided to make it 4 rest days instead of 3. I think that's probably for the best. Plus, I had yesterday off of work, so I was mostly a lazy bum all day long and didn't leave the apartment (I blame the snow).

This morning, I've still got the leg pain and the good news is that it doesn't feel any worse. I'm not really sure that it feels better, but I'm glad it isn't any worse. I had made plans to swim with Laura this morning at Manhattan Plaza Health Club, so today is yet another running rest day. Interestingly enough, I'm not at all freaking out about this hiatus from running (yet). I think it's doing me good and I'm hoping to test out the leg tomorrow and see what happens.

Laura and I met at the pool at 6:45 as we wanted to get in a long swim and still have time for the hot tub after we were done with our swim. When we got changed and on the pool deck, one of the guys swimming yelled out to us that they'd be done at 7:00 (must have been some sort of Masters group). I got in the pool in a side area (it's about 10 yards long, I'd guess) and the lifeguard blew his whistle and told me that I couldn't move over to a real lane until everyone else got out at 7. At exactly 7:00, I tapped my watch and asked what the deal was. I didn't understand why I couldn't share a lane with ONE other person as I had assessed her swimming and knew I wouldn't be in her way at all.

At 7:02, we were able to start swimming. I had printed out a workout because I find that I'm much better at swimming when I have an actual workout to do and follow as opposed to just swimming about aimlessly. I was really excited because I think this was one of the first programs that I had gotten printed out for me that included a stroke other than freestyle!

This was the plan:
Warm Up (repeat 2 times)
1 x 100 Backstroke Easy, rest 0:15
2 x 50 Breaststroke Easy, rest 0:15

Build Up (repeat 6 times)
1 x 50 Backstroke Push & Glide, rest 0:15
1 x 50 Double Arm Backstroke, rest 0:15

5 x 100 Freestyle, target time 1:35, rest 0:25
4 x 100 Freestyle, target time 1:35, rest 0:20
3 x 100 Freestyle, target time 1:35, rest 0:15
2 x 100 Freestyle, target time 1:35, rest 0:05

Warm Down (repeat 2 times)
1 x 50 Freestyle Push & Glide, rest 0:15
1 x 50 Freestyle Easy

Total: 2600 yards

So, the really fun part of this workout was that I got to do backstroke! The really bad part of this workout was that as soon as the swim team was done and I was doing my very first length of backstroke, the lifeguard took down the backstroke flags. What? Why on Earth would he have thought that was a good idea at the swimming pool? I really don't understand that at all. Are only the special people who swim from 6 am to 7 am allowed to use the flags?

Anyway, I made the most of it and went ahead and did the backstroke anyway, just counting strokes very carefully and I managed not to hit my head on the wall at all, which was a good thing. I swam most of the plan according to the plan. In the core portion, I'd say that there were a couple times I managed to finish on the 1:35, but the majority of the 100s were done on the 1:40. And sometimes that was just a result of the fact that I was sharing a lane. Not much you can do in those situations. I did end up cutting out the end of the Core portion that was 3 x 100 and 2 x 100 in order to get out and head to the hot tub with Laura. So, instead of doing 2600 yards, I ended up only doing 2100. Still, not a bad workout for the day.

After doing the Warm Down, Laura and I hit the hot tub. It was really hot. In fact, when we got out, I felt really woozy and lightheaded for a while and had to sit down and have some of my Muscle Milk before showering. I still felt a little light headed while showering (even though I used fairly cool water), so when I was done with the shower, I finished my Muscle Milk and then was like an old lady sitting down on a stool to blow dry my hair and put on my makeup. I finally felt more normal by the time I got to work, but I'm sort-of disappointed by the hot tub experience today!

Time: 50:02
Distance: 1.19 miles (2100 yards)
Pace: 42:53/mile
Calories: 526
Maximum HR: 178
Average HR: 155

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy 100th To Me!

It's my 100th blog post here at Tri Tri Again! It's a little scary and also a little comforting to know that it's still almost 200 days until Timberman!

This morning I got up early and headed off to the gym before Drew did (which is probably one of the first times that's ever happened). In fairness, he did wake up before me, he was just putzing around when I left, which is why I made it there before he did.

I had to finish up my mileage for the week so that I can enjoy myself in Vegas this weekend without having to worry about running or missing out on miles. My goal mileage for the week was supposed to be 24 - 26 miles. In order to get 24, I had to run 5.9 today. I figured I'd just go ahead and run a full 6 miles so that I could really be in the 24 to 26 range at a whopping 24.1 total.

Since my stomach wasn't so happy yesterday with running, I was a little worried today, but I did a much better job yesterday of not having ridiculous amounts of snacks and cookies (I only had one cookie last night!) and today's run went by in a flash. I felt really strong and confident while running, which was the exact opposite of yesterday. Crazy how that proper nutrition stuff really (a) works and (b) makes a difference.

I ran miles 1 through 4 at 6.0 speed and then bumped it up to 6.1 for mile 5 and 6.2 for 0.75 miles of mile 6. The last quarter mile I sprinted to the finish. Seemed like a reasonable and realistic ending to the run. Now I'm just left hoping that today at work goes by as quickly as the running did this morning and there are no flight delays. I'm not even taking workout stuff with me (if you saw the size of my really small suitcase, you'd understand why), so I won't be back running or blogging until next week.

Time: 58:42
Distance: 6.00 miles
Pace: 9:46/mile
Calories: 737
Maximum HR: 185
Average HR: 173

Thursday, February 11, 2010

An Award & A Run

So, I got my very first Blog Award from Kristin at Triathlon Training Blog! Thanks, Kristin!

According to the rules, I'm supposed to do the following:
* List 10 things that make you happy.
* Try to do at least one of them today.
* Pass on the award to 10 bloggers who brighten your day.

Ten Things That Make Me Happy Are:
1. Drew, my friends & family
2. Sarah the Seal
3. Lounging about in bed
4. Chili the Cat
5. Snail mail - the good kind, not the junk mail kind
6. Drinking with a straw
7. Reading books
8. Going home from the gym/a good workout
9. Summer
10. Cooking

People I'm nominating for this award (like Kristin, I'm cheating and nominating fewer than 10):
1. Kristen at Change of Pace
2. Susan at The Great Balancing Act
3. Kathy at Athlete in Training
4. Steve at Steve in a Speedo
5. Leah at Leftovers for Lunch


And now, onto our regularly scheduled workout. Oh, wait, I didn't get that right either. Today really should have been 5-6 miles, including 4 x 1:30 AI + 6 GP, but I didn't really look at the plan before I left the house and I had in my mind that I'd do 5 miles and some pick-ups, so I guess I wasn't too far off. I packed some lemon-lime gatorade in my gym bag and off I went to the gymnasium.

When I got there, I did my normal 5 minutes of walking warm-up and then started running. I definitely was having a rough go of it today. We had a half snow-day yesterday (left work at 1:00) and after leaving work, we went home and had lots of chips and salsa and Drew's mom's Valentine's Day cookies as an afternoon snack. I think it turns out that those are bad things to eat in large quantities before running the next morning. My tummy was really not happy about whatever was in there rumbling about and I definitely had to pause the running to get off and go to the restroom.

After 4 miles of stomach-inducing misery, I decided that was probably mostly enough for today and that I'd just do 6 pick-ups and be done with the whole thing. So, I did 6 pick-ups at 30 seconds each, all at 9.5 speed, which was another 1.1 miles, so in total I managed to do just over 5 miles today. Not too shabby and still mostly according to my grand plan for the week.

So far, since Monday, I've run 18.1 miles, so in order to get to my goal of 24 for the week, I need to run 5.9 tomorrow morning. That seems pretty reasonable to me. Plus, that means that I can then go to Vegas tomorrow night and not have to worry about working out. I think that taking the weekend off might be good for my legs and my mental training as well. I'm hoping that I'll come back from vacation with a new spring in my step!

After I was done with all of the running, I went to stretch and do some foam rolling. My shin was bothering me a bit while running and I thought the foam roller might help that. Except that I gave it two passes the "normal" way (using body weight) and actually let out a little yelp in pain, so I decided that I'd do it my own way where I sat down on the ground and just rolled the roller over my legs using my arms as weight. Not quite the same, but not as painful either. Plus, I still think it helped accomplish some of the same goal.

Time: 40:44
Distance: 4.00 miles
Pace: 10:26/mile
Calories: 459
Maximum HR: 174
Average HR: 161

Time: 10:35
Distance: 1.10 miles
Pace: 9:37/mile
Calories: 115
Maximum HR: 177
Average HR: 161

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Not Cheating Myself

This morning I woke up to another 28 degree day. I didn't want to take any chances on being cold, so I bundled up in the following: running tights, shorts, short-sleeved shirt, long-sleeved shirt, 2 more long-sleeved shirts, gloves and hat. Yes, I know it might have been overkill, but I would always rather take something off than be cold.

I was running a little late to meet the Terriers this morning, but I still made it in time to do most of the drill workout before heading off to the main workout. Technically, today's workout should have been 3 miles / 3 x [2:00, 2:30] AI / 2 miles, but because of my mixed-up workout schedule, I was hoping to get in at least 7 miles today.

Before I get into the details of today's workout, I need to pause and say that I'm starting to get a bit nervous about nutrition on the day of the race and in my longer runs in general. I know that most runners eat bananas before they go running and have Gu/gels during their runs, but neither of those sit in my stomach well. I should definitely not have either of those things, especially while running. After some Google research on the subject, I have discovered that several people recommend trying Fig Newtons or PB&J. Drew was kind enough to buy me some regular Fig Newtons and mini Strawberry Newtons to try out while running. So, this morning, I had half of a Clif Bar and some water before I left the apartment and I packed along three mini Strawberry Newtons in a baggie in my pocket.

So, we did the drills and then we headed off to the 102nd Street Transverse to get the rest our our workout. Along the way, we were supposed to incorporate 6 pick-ups into our run. Coach Spencer said that we only had to do the pick-ups from one light post to the next, so that's exactly what I did, six times. I will admit that I picked easy spots to do them (all on flat stretches), but I think that's okay, especially with what the rest of the workout would entail.

I knew that it would involve running up and down the Harlem Hill. I just wasn't sure how much time was involved in this workout. It is also quite a hike there and back, so I was pretty sure that I'd have no problem getting my 7 miles for the day in. Once we got to 102nd Street, we found out that we were supposed to run up and down the hill for 30-40 minutes (or as long as we could before heading for home).

I ended up running the hill three times (from 102nd Street to Adam Clayton Powell Drive and back again) in my allotted time. So, I'm not the slowest person on our triathlon team. I'm the second slowest person on the team. On my first loop up & down the hill, I was running ahead of the slowest person. Then, when I went to turn around to go back for the second loop, she was suddenly ahead of me. I know that what happened was that she just didn't run as far as me, which maybe she had her reasons for, but in that moment, I felt annoyed that I'd "look" like the slower person, even though I was going the full distance.

I also realized after thinking about it for a while (because, let's face it, there isn't a lot of other stuff to think about while running up and down hills), that while I might have thought that she cheated a little bit, I wasn't going to cheat myself by cutting corners, even if I did look slow. Even if I did get lapped by the fastest guys on the team. I'd still do the workout that we were told to do. Sure, I might not have covered the most distance, but I could be proud of myself, and that's really what this is all about.

After doing the three hill loops, I took a minute or so break and walked and ate two of my mini Strawberry Newtons. Verdict - they're dry, but they didn't give me gas or cramps or make me want to run directly to the bathroom, so they're presently a big winner for those things! Also, I may not have had water with me today, but I generally have something with me at the gym and there will definitely be water at the race, so it's definitely worth trying these out again.

After walking for a minute or so, I went back to running home slowly. I was definitely feeling a bit cold and hungry at this point, so I really took my time and I even walked up the remaining hills home (I'm lazy, what can I say?). However, even with my slow pace on the run back home, my overall pace today was 9:58/mile, which I still think is fantastic. Especially since I ran 9 miles today! New record! And totally pushes me over my goal for today and makes up for yesterday's miss by a mile.

It is pretty incredible to see how I keep breaking the length of my longest run as this process goes forward, which I definitely really am enjoying. Also, the clothes today were perfect. I was a really good temperature while running and wasn't cold, which was a nice change from last week. I even got a really hot shower when I got home. However, right after that, I think it all just hit me because then I had to get back in bed because I was shivering and freezing cold. This has happened before where I just can't warm up all the way, but lounging about under piles of covers definitely helps cure that.

Tomorrow is a rest day (after 4 days of running) and I'll be picking back up on Thursday. I still might try to stick with the 4 on Thursday, 8 on Friday plan, but that might prove to be over ambitious for Friday morning, so I might do a couple more on Thursday instead. We'll see.

Running - Home to Park
Time: 12:58
Distance: 1.30 miles
Pace: 9:58/mile
Calories: 147
Maximum HR: 177
Average HR: 165

Running - 72nd to 102nd Street
Time: 18:58
Distance: 1.95 miles
Pace: 9:43/mile
Calories: 240
Maximum HR: 185
Average HR: 174

Running - Harlem Hill (x3)
Time: 34:35
Distance: 3.60 miles
Pace: 9:36/mile
Calories: 440
Maximum HR: 186
Average HR: 174

Running - 100th Street to Home
Time: 23:15
Distance: 2.15 miles
Pace: 10:48/mile
Calories: 265
Maximum HR: 177
Average HR: 165

Monday, February 8, 2010

Choose Exercise

Well, here it is ... Monday ... and I went to the gym. Monday is usually my reserved day off and especially since I just broke a new record yesterday with my mileage, I normally wouldn't push myself like this. However, we're going to Vegas for the weekend and I don't really think I'll be running while I'm there, so I'm going to try to squeeze in my required mileage for the week before we leave.

That left me at the gym on a Monday morning. When I got there, my normal treadmill was taken, which didn't make me any more excited to be there. Instead, I got on one of the "new" gym treadmills that are not my favorite and was greeted with this message scrolling along the treadmill screen, "Wellness is vitality ... choose exercise." Now, I would just like to point out that when I saw this message, I didn't feel particularly excited. I thought it was a little bit redundant to have this message flashing on the treadmill. I've already chosen to go to the gym and work out! Geez.

My goal for today was to do 5 miles. My weekly total (Monday - Sunday) for the week should be somewhere between 24 and 26 miles. I had been thinking that I would do 5 today, 7 Tuesday, rest Wednesday, 4 Thursday and 8 on Friday. That gets me to exactly 24. Except my legs weren't really in the mood to run five miles today.

I knew that I should keep the pace slow and treat today as a recovery run. I kept it at 5.5 pace 99% of the time (I did take one walking/drinking break). It was slow going, but I felt okay and just ran nice and easy. Even though I didn't quite hit my mileage goal today, I think it'll be okay. It's not the end of the world if I miss my goal by one or two miles this week. I keep getting really nervous about the race, but as Drew keeps reminding me, there is still lots and lots of time for training and I probably don't have to worry quite yet.

Time: 44:03
Distance: 4.00 miles
Pace: 11:00/mile
Calories: 480
Maximum HR: 171
Average HR: 160

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Great Gatorade Experiment, Take 1

For the record, I don't care for lemon-lime gatorade. However, that's what they usually serve at races, so in an effort to try to become accustomed to the flavor, I'm doing an experiment. Gatorade was on sale at the grocery store this week ($1.29/bottle instead of $2.29/bottle), so I stocked up on lemon-lime (and some other flavors that actually taste good). That meant that this morning when I went to the gymnasium for my 8-mile run (eek!) I brought along a water bottle filled up with the gross green liquid.

I gotta tell you, running 8 miles on the treadmill isn't really all that fun. It certainly doesn't sound like fun, so I'm not sure why I'd ever really think that I'd enjoy it. My biggest annoyance about this run was that somewhere in between miles 2 and 3, I realized that my heart rate monitor was flashing my heart rate at 55. So, um, that seemed wrong. I wore a tanktop with a built-in bra and somehow the bra part had found its way in between my heart rate monitor strap and my skin, which was causing the problem. I managed to fix it while still running and not flashing everyone at the gym, so that seemed like a good thing. I'm a little disappointed since I don't know how long that was going on and it threw my calorie and heart rate stats off for the day. Oh well. There are worse things.

Somewhere between Miles 3 and 4, things started to get hard. I definitely struggled for that mile or so, but then definitely turned a corner for the end of the run. I managed to do 6.25 miles before I ran out of time on the treadmill and the last 1.75 miles went by in a blur. It was generally "easy", which is to say that I didn't mind it at all. Probably mostly because I knew I was nearing the end!

As for the gatorade ... it was okay. I can't say it was good or even great, but okay seems like a good step. It did have ice cubes, which watered it down when they melted, which probably made it better. The thing that I actually didn't like was the fact that I normally drink water while running on the treadmill (it's really dry in the gym) and the sugar in the gatorade made my mouth a little bit sticky. I will say that I was pretty thirsty (as usual on the treadmill) and I didn't really notice the icky taste since I was more concerned with whetting my whistle. Take 1 of the experiment has been a success!

Time: 1:22:50
Distance: 8.00 miles
Pace: 10:21/mile
Calories: 945*
Maximum HR: 179
Average HR: 163

*99% sure this calorie count isn't quite right, but it's probably in the ballpark. I'm sure that having my heart rate at 55 for some unknown period of time made this a little bit off.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The 500 Calorie Run

Well, this morning I ended up sleeping in a bit (Drew headed off to the gym before I did), which was quite nice. I got to the gym and actually felt rested and ready to run. Although part of my excitement could have been due to the fact that I didn't really have to run that far today. Even better than that, I didn't have to do any drills, intervals, etc. All I had to do was run.

Over the past few times I've been running, I've been noticing that I burn about 125 calories per mile. So, I told myself that I'd cover up the miles/time on the treadmill and I'd just count the calories on my watch. I knew that when I got to 500 calories I'd be pretty close.

So, it turns out that today I felt like being an overachiever when it comes to calorie burning, so when I looked at 500 calories and wasn't quite done yet, I was really tempted to just get off the treadmill and be done. (In self defense, the plan does say 3-4 miles for today. Technically it would have been okay). However, I know that every quarter mile extra I can do now it'll just make it that much easier on race day. So, I sucked it up and finished up strong for a total of 4 miles.

Tomorrow is going to be a really big day for me ... I think I'll be doing my longest ever run so far!


Time: 39:11
Distance: 4.00 miles
Pace: 9:47/mile
Calories: 531
Maximum HR: 192
Average HR:180

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Short Slow Swim

This morning I met Laura for a swim. Not surprisingly, we wanted to go to a pool with a hot tub, so we agreed to meet at the 92nd Street Y for a swim. I'll just say right off the bat that I wasn't really in the mood to be awake or to be swimming. And my feelings didn't really change when I got in the pool (which was quite cool!).

I was really mostly pretty lazy while swimming, so this is what I did:

200 swim
200 kick
200 pull
200 breast
200 back
200 swim

1200 yards

Yup. I did 1200 yards. Lazy, lazy, lazy! And I did it really slowly. I thought after doing the first 200 of swimming that maybe I'd get into it once I warmed up, but I really didn't. I also didn't bring a plan with me, which probably didn't help matters any. Instead, I just tried to look at this as a nice recovery from running and giving my muscles a chance to recover a bit.

Of course, we cut our swim a little bit short to spend a couple extra minutes in the hot tub. Always worth it, in my opinion. I'm really not going to get down on myself for my lazy swim today. It probably was a good recovery for me and this weekend is most likely going to be my longest run to date, so I'll hopefully have lots of energy for that!

Time: 33:59
Distance: 0.68 miles (1200 yards)
Pace: 49:58/mile
Calories: 284
Maximum HR: 164
Average HR: 138

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I May Or May Not Be A Hypochondriac

This morning I just was not really excited to get out of bed and go for a run. So, I didn't. I stayed in bed and just slept instead. Which meant that I packed myself a bag so that I could head straight to the gym after work and get my run in then. The run for today was 5-6 miles, including 4 x 1:30 AI + 6 GP. I don't think I've been to the gym at night since the beginning of the year and if I was wondering where all the New Year's Resolutioners were, I found them! They all come out at night! I managed to get a treadmill (not my favorite one) and off I went.

I was a little worried (okay, a lot worried) about how my knee would feel while I was running, which was one of the main reasons that I decided to do this run inside. I thought that if I did have a problem it'd be better to be at the gym where I'm not miles from home and then have to figure out how to get home with a hurt knee. I'd say that within the first half mile, I was miserable. My knee felt okay. I could definitely tell that it was there, (which I don't normally feel my knee, so that's something) but it wasn't hurting me.

However, what did hurt were my feet. Every single step I took was painful. Something about my orthotics was literally rubbing me the wrong way. My arches were not happy about anything that was happening and I thought about crying (it really hurt that badly) and quitting, but instead after 0.85 miles, I decided to take out my orthotics and see what happened. I ran another 1.25 miles without my orthotics and my feet felt better, but I felt worse.

I decided that what I needed to do was get off the treadmill, take a bathroom break, and regroup. So, that's what I did. I was realizing that I had two choices (A) run in my orthotics and try to save my feet or (B) run without them and possibly really hurt myself. I decided to give my orthotics another shot.

So, I ran another 2 miles with my orthotics and really suffered through the whole thing. I was paranoid about every single pain I felt even if it was imaginary or nothing at all. I just could not get in a groove, but I did manage to do two of the four aerobic intervals for 1:30 each at 7.2 and 7.0, respectively in those two miles. I tried to play a game with myself and instead of looking at the time or the mileage, I told myself that I'd count calories on my Polar and I wouldn't even look at the mileage until I hit a specific calorie goal. It turns out that this was actually helpful in distracting me from everything else that was going on and trying to beat the mental battle I had going on in my head.

After getting 4 miles completed, I decided to do the pick-ups. I needed a break from "regular" running and I actually really like the pick-ups. I did 6 of them for 30 seconds each at the following speeds: 9.5 / 9.6 / 9.7 / 9.8 / 9.9 / 10.5. Yup, that's right. 10.5! Pretty sure that's my fastest yet.

After the pick-ups were done, I was faced with the dilemma of staying on and finishing or getting off and going home. I decided to stay on and finish. I really just wanted to get the whole thing over with and I knew that if I pushed myself, I could do it. I even did the last two intervals of 1:30 each at 7.2 both times. The last two miles actually weren't as bad as the preceding miles and I was glad that I stuck it out and finished it up. I ran 7.30 miles in total tonight (at an overall pace of 10:00/mile), which I think might also be a new record of total miles in one day. Of course, I'm looking forward to continuing to break that record as time goes on and gets closer to the big marathon day.

When I was leaving the gym, I felt like I had been there forever and that even though I had just run a really far distance, I might never be able to finish the half-marathon. I don't know why I was so down on myself tonight about this whole thing. However, after coming home and realizing that I'm right on track for running and the plan, I should just trust that this plan will get me to where I need to be by March! I did go home and ice both knees, just mainly for preventative measures, but I did notice that they were a little sore on the walk home and they did feel a lot better after icing!

Run #1
Time: 42:28
Distance: 4.10 miles
Pace: 10:21/mile
Calories: 504
Maximum HR: 187
Average HR: 168

Time: 11:26
Distance: 1.20 miles
Pace: 9:31/mile
Calories: 136
Maximum HR: 182
Average HR: 160

Run #2
Time: 19:08
Distance: 2.00 miles
Pace: 9:33/mile
Calories: 257
Maximum HR: 189
Average HR: 180

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Turns Out That 28 Is Still Cold

Last night Drew asked me if I was planning on going to the gym today. I answered "no." Then, when my alarm went off around 5:00 this morning, he was really confused about what was going on because he thought I wasn't going to the gym. Which was true. I was planning on running with Terrier today instead of the gym. So, I got up out of bed at 5:23, ate and got dressed. The weather on my phone said it was 28. The very first time I went running with Terrier last year, it was 28 as well and I couldn't help but think back to how nervous I was and how worried I was about what to wear.

Today I wore running tights, shorts, tank top, long-sleeved shirt and my windbreaker along with gloves and a hat. This turned out to be not quite enough. I never ever really warmed up, even though I was sweating, which in turn was just making me colder. I think if I had worn a warmer long-sleeved top or a short sleeved shirt instead of a tank, I would have been better. My knees were also really, really cold.

I ran to the regular meeting spot and instead of doing our normal stride drills, we did a whole lot of other drills instead. The very first one we did was to squat down and then walk like that while still squatting. Which did not go over very well with my right knee. The first step I took didn't feel good and it never really felt better. I didn't time the drills today since it wasn't really like running. It was just more like moving your knee around into funny positions while walking funny.

After the drills were over, we all ran over to the Start (the "S") in order to do some speed work in our workout for the day. The main workout was a 3-2-1 workout where we would run hard for 300 yards, run easy for 100, run hard for 200 yards, run easy for 100 and then run hard for the remaining 100 yards (total 0.50 miles). Then we would do a recovery jog back to the S. So one mile in total for each one. And we were supposed to do six of these. Which, I'm going to be honest, sounded like a lot to me.

It also didn't really sound that different than the plan that I was actually supposed to be doing today, which was: 3 miles / 3 x [2:00, 2:30] AI / 2 miles. I ended up doing only three miles of the main set instead of six because Nature called and I don't trust the park bathrooms enough to make it worth it, so instead I just headed home. I also didn't think that my knee was really hurting, but I also knew that it was really cold and I could barely feel my knees, so I knew that if it was hurt, I probably couldn't tell either way and I'd much rather play it safe than sorry.

These are my mile times:
Mile 1: 9:34
Mile 2: 10:11
Mile 3: 10:23

Obviously, I was getting slower as time went on. Mainly because I was really jogging slowly on the recovery jog back to the S. In total today, I ended up running total of 6.30 miles, so it's probably pretty equivalent to the actual workout I was supposed to do, so I'm going to call it a day and be fine with this.

I know that I should have gone home and maybe iced my knee, but that seemed really silly as it already felt frozen, so instead I chose to do nothing. And it took me a couple of hours for me to feel like a normal temperature again. Next time I'll definitely wear more clothes. I'm going to keep an eye on my knee and see how it feels. Tomorrow I'm taking the day off since I have an early eye doctor appointment and I won't have time to do anything before work. And just because I think I should rest up my knee, I won't do anything after work either.

Run to Park
Time: 13:00
Distance: 1.30 miles
Pace: 10:00/mile
Calories: 162
Maximum HR: 183
Average HR: 172

Run to Start ("S")
Time: 10:58
Distance: 1.20 miles
Pace: 9:08/mile
Calories: 151
Maximum HR: 191
Average HR: 182

Main Running
Time: 30:08
Distance: 3.00 miles
Pace: 10:02/mile
Calories: 420
Maximum HR: 189
Average HR: 183

Run Home
Time: 9:06
Distance: 0.80 miles
Pace: 11:22/mile
Calories: 107
Maximum HR: 179
Average HR: 169

Monday, February 1, 2010

Green Shirt Day

Welcome to February! I'm trying to start the month off on the right foot, so I actually got up and went to the gym to do something other than running today. I got some new workout clothes over the weekend (on sale, of course) and when I got to the gym, I realized that both Drew and I were wearing green shirts. We'll have to be sure to coordinate again on March 17.

I did something that I haven't done in a really long time. Rode a bicycle. Okay, not a real bike, a computerized spin bike. I have to say, I wasn't 100% comfortable sitting in that saddle, but it wasn't too bad. Thank goodness for bike shorts!

Last night I started working on laying out my half-Ironman training plan and I started realizing just how much of a time commitment this is going to be and I figured that I should have some sort of biking base to grow on once my training starts in earnest. The plan as it stands now is going to have to have some tweaking to fit into my life and hopefully along with the Terrier workouts, but it's good to have an idea of the time that I'll be spending each week.

Nothing about today's ride was particularly eventful or noteworthy. I pretty much just picked a resistance and kept my cadence up around 80 the whole time while I read my book. Not a horrible start to the morning as it wasn't too difficult (but it was still really sweaty!). I'm really glad that I got up today and went to the gym, especially since I won't be making it Wednesday morning due to an eye doctor appointment before work, so this seems like a really good way to try to fulfill some of my goals for the month.

Spin Bike
Time: 48:11
Distance: 17.20 miles
Pace: 21.42 MPH (average)
Calories: 435
Maximum HR: 157
Average HR: 143
17.2 miles biking